Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Fun with Geography II

Also via The Corner, we have this page of puzzles, dealing with European geography. I started with Level 5 and came up with this score:

Score: 43/44 correct
Pct correct: 98%
Time: 178 seconds

(I misplaced Switzerland a bit; it's hard to locate when you have not done any of the countries surrounding it. It came up fourth, after Ireland, Iceland, and Finland.)

I tried the level 7 puzzle next, and came up with these results:

Score: 43/44
Pct correct: 98%
Time: 170 seconds

(I guessed Croatia for Hungary. It was hard to tell exactly where the star was located. It would be a LOT easier if they put the stars on the capitals.)

The "no borders" puzzles are a lot more fun for geography geeks. Try them!

posted at 04:29 PM | permalink | Comments (0)

Fun with Geography I

From Jonah Goldberg at The Corner I found this little game. (This is the harder version of the US geography game.) It's easy to place the states along the coasts and the southern border, but the interior states and the Mountain West can be hard to pin down. See if you can beat my score:

Score: 80%
Average Error: 17 miles
Time: 376 seconds

The average error is the true test of how close you are.

posted at 04:10 PM | permalink | Comments (0)

On filibusters

The politico-centric portion of the blogosphere is expending a great deal of time and effort over the judicial filibustering issue, with the predictable party-line breakdown. I'll toss in my two cents on the issue.

Democrats have alleged that they are not the first to filibuster judges, but the facts are a little different than what they claim. Abe Fortas, who was threatened with a filibuster by a bipartisan opposition, was also corrupt, and soon after resigned from the Supreme Court under ethical stormclouds and talk of impeachment. (Note that he was already on the Supreme Court; it was his proposed elevation to Chief Justice that was blocked.) Rosemary Barkett, Lee Sarokin, and Marsha Berzon (Clinton nominees) were subjected to halfheated filibuster attempts; none succeeded and all three were confirmed to appeals courts. Richard Paez could have been filibustered (he received fewer than 60 votes when he was confirmed), but his nomination also went through. Henry Foster (not a judge) was filibustered, but I guarantee that if a Republican had nominated a doctor who performed involuntary sterilizations to the post of Surgeon General, the screams of "FASCISM" from the left would blow out everyone's eardrums, and NOW would have been shrieking for impeachment.

"What about Ronnie White?", one may ask. Ronnie White was the only Clinton judicial nominee to be defeated, on a party-line vote. 25 Republican senators who voted to reject the White nomination did not vote against any other Clinton nominee, which can hardly be described as partisan animus. And White at least was afforded a vote on the floor, unlike what is going on now where the Democrats are preventing such votes from occuring.

The Democrats have also trotted out the fact that Republicans failed to push through the nominations of a number of Clinton appointees. This is true, but it does not compare to what is going on now. Republicans had a majority in the Senate during Clinton's last six years in office, so they controlled the flow of which nominees would brought out for a vote. Every Clinton appointee who made it to the floor was afforded a vote, and only one nominee (White) was rejected during Clinton's two terms in office. Now, even though the Republicans have both a majority in the Senate and a president in the White House, Bush's nominees are still being blocked by a recalcitrant minority.

Some of the defenders of the current logjam refer to it as a bulwark against a "tyranny of the majority", and insist that they will stop all legislation in the senate if they don't get their way. This means that a minority will rule, a "tyranny of the minority". There is another term for that—APARTHEID.*

Yes, it's hyperbole. I'm wildly overstating the case to make a point. "Tyranny of the Majority" is equally overstating the case, and I'm tired of watching the left get a free pass for their verbal pyrotechnics. Fight fire with fire (to continue the analogy).

posted at 10:17 AM | permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Officer Material

Last week, two sailors who work in my shop were formally recognized for their hard work and merit, and received notification that they had been accepted to our military universities. One will go to the United States Naval Academy and one to the Air Force Academy Preperatory School (as a prelude to attending the Air Force Academy). They will be leaving us in June to report to Annapolis and to Colorado Springs. Congratulations to Edmond (Gary) Daugherty and to Katie Weber!

You can read the story (and see a picture) at the Navy's Puget Sound regional newspaper, Northwest Navigator. The story is here.

posted at 06:09 PM | permalink | Comments (0)

Nuking filibusters

When even the Los Angeles Times is chastising the Democratic Party, it is apparent that Harry Reid's minions are on shaky ground. The Times has an editorial today which essentially tells the Dems to back down and let the entire senate vote for confirmation of Bush's circuit court judicial nominees, ten of whom were filibustered in the last congress. Three of his nominees withdrew their names from consideration, but Bush has renominated the other seven, and two have gone through the judiciary committee. Reid and Bill Frist, the Republican leader, have been trading threats, with Frist threatening to eliminate the filibuster maneuver forever on judicial nominees (the "nuclear option"), and Reid threatening to shut down the government if that happens. (Reid might need to be reminded of the 1996 elections, in which the Republicans suffered after they tried the same thing.) I support ending the filibuster. I also support a number of other changes to filibusters, ones that will weaken it, and also return it to the unpleasant and rarely executed maneuver it was in the past.

Firstly, Make the filibustering senator actually speak. The current policy is far too nice. Since CSPAN always has a camera running, let the public see how incoherent some of their senators really are when they are deprived of a teleprompter and notes.

Next, I support sequentially reducing the number of votes required to end debate on a topic. This has been proposed several times, including a 1993 proposal by Tom Harkin of Iowa (in response to a Republican filibuster of one of Clinton's budgets).

Last, I propose that a vote to end the debate change to a majority of senators present, (rather than the full senate) which will ensure that the filibustering party keeps butts in seats, lest the other party outlast them and end the debate.

This last option is fairly radical; I don't recall seeing it suggested elsewhere. I've seen the other two proposed in several places. It's extremely unlikely that my "filibuster reform package" would ever be seriously considered by the Senate, but somebody has to make the proposal.

(Link courtesy of QandO Blog.)

posted at 10:40 AM | permalink | Comments (0)

Another quiz

English Genius
You scored 100% Beginner, 100% Intermediate, 100% Advanced, and 80% Expert!
You did so extremely well, even I can't find a word to describe your excellence! You have the uncommon intelligence necessary to understand things that most people don't. You have an extensive vocabulary, and you're not afraid to use it properly! Way to go!

Thank you so much for taking my test. I hope you enjoyed it!

For the complete Answer Key, visit my blog:

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

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You scored higher than 60% on Beginner

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You scored higher than 73% on Advanced

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You scored higher than 72% on Expert


(Link courtesy of Dodd, who scored slightly higher than me.)

My results are in the "more" entry. Contains spoilers, so take the test before you read further.

33. I wavered between C and D, before choosing C. I was thrown off by "awhile", which looks to me like a non-word such as "alot". All three were correct, hence D was the correct answer.

35. I hate the "who/whom dichotomy, and naturally screwed this one up. I chose C, which in retrospect was foolish. The correct answer was B, whomever.
I missed two questions in the expert section, both because of multiple choice issues.

posted at 09:47 AM | permalink | Comments (0)

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