Saturday, November 03, 2007

A Sane Analysis of Hillary and the Right

This is actually very good.

That might be one reason the Right can’t rally against Hillary. Conservative division has led to depression, a sense that a Clinton restoration is inevitable, and that the best plan going ahead is to wait for her election and watch as, like her husband, she stumbles and seeds a GOP comeback. A mid-July CBS News poll revealed that 53 percent of Republicans thought it was very or somewhat likely that Clinton would win the presidency. Few Republicans think the party can win back Congress in 2008. Combine that with the anger that between one-third and one-quarter of the GOP base feels toward George W. Bush, and the relentless negativity starts to make sense.

There is another reason conservatives can’t count on Hillary: she offends and irritates them so deeply that they have trouble actually strategizing against her. They launch attacks, but compared to the carefully plotted Swift Boat strike on John Kerry or the years-long effort to spotlight Al Gore’s strange bragging and fibbing, the anti-Hillary attacks are erratic, grabbing early media attention and then fading out of the picture. Conservatives fixate on long-dormant scandals, like Bill Clinton’s treatment of Kathleen Willey and Juanita Broaddrick, without appreciating that reporters no longer want to chase those stories and that their very mention stokes sympathy for Clinton’s wife.

But it’s all some anti-Hillary agitators know how to do. In July, Sean Hannity told professional Hillary slayer Dick Morris the question he wanted some intrepid hack to ask the candidate: “Do you believe the women that claim that your husband serially abused them? Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey, Paula Jones. Is that a legitimate and fair question?” Morris repeatedly shook his head and tried to explain where Hannity was going wrong: “Whenever anybody hits Hillary on her personal life, her marriage, or whether she is a lesbian or not, it plays into her hands.”

I'm no fan of her's and I think it's unlikely I'll vote for her, but no because I think she's evil incarnate. It's ironic that the GOP has spent a lot of the last 7 years trying to dumb down the civil discourse to a few black and white catch-phrases (For us or against us! The smoking gun could be a mushroom cloud!), and now seems to be paying the price.

The 8 Best Simpson Episodes Ever


It's a lot of fun if you have a working knowledge of Simpson's quotes. I agree with most of the entries, although maybe not the order. IMHO the Chilli Episode is the best ever, if only for the line, "C'mon Marge, less artsy, more fartsy!"

Also, Homer's Phobia for the scene with "the Anvil"
Bart: "Why did you bring me to a gay steel mill?"
Homer: "I don't know!!!"

Cons I Wish I had Thought Of

I was watching TV and saw an ad for Kinoki Detox Footpads. They are basically gauze pads you put on your feet while you sleep that supposedly pull "toxins" out of your body.

They are debunked here, and there is even a water-based foot bath version (even more bogus).

A $0.10 pad covered with $0.01 worth of salicilic acid sold for $19.99, genius!! I really wish I had the kind of devious mind that could come up with this kind of con. Alas, I am more of a mail tamperer than a poisoner...

And people wonder why I am a fan of the FDA...

Friday, November 02, 2007

Get Your Ass Kicked...

with these outstanding fashions in the J.C. Penny Catalog circa 1977!


Actually, it's a map of the Earth's magnetic field anomoly (difference from the dipole geometry). More here.

No More Red States?

The President's popularity is no longer above 50% in *any* state in the Union.

Wow. I have to admit, I did not see that coming.

Mine's Dry, FTR

Something I really had no clue about this morning:

There are two types of earwax, wet and dry. Wet earwax is common in Africa and Europe, while dry earwax is characteristic of East Asian populations. South and Central Asian populations are half wet and half dry. Native Americans tend to have dry earwax. Recently, the New York Times reports, Japanese researchers have isolated the gene responsible for earwax differentiation. The curious thing is that earwax doesn't seem to be terribly important to human survival:
Since it seems unlikely that having wet or dry earwax could have made much difference to an individual's fitness, the earwax gene may have some other, more important function. Dr. Yoshiura and his colleagues suggest that the gene would have been favored because of its role in sweating.
They write that earwax type and armpit odor are correlated, since populations with dry earwax, such as those of East Asia, tend to sweat less and have little or no body odor, while the wet earwax populations of Africa and Europe sweat more and so may have more body odor. Several Asian features, like small nostrils, are conjectured to be adaptations to the cold. Less sweating, the Japanese authors suggest, may be another adaptation to the cold in which the ancestors of East Asian peoples are thought to have lived.


New Art: Late Draft

Everyone who does digital art hits a few familiar themes, once of which is The Watch. I passed this way back in 2002, but have always wanted to do a pocket watch, with some geers and stuff. I'm still tweaking this, but I'm mostly happy with it. I'll probably finish the render this weekend.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Fall Colors

The US Housing Data is out, and Wow! is it colorful!

There are the bursting-bubble metros, which on the chart start with L.A. and end with New York. Within that group there are some pretty interesting differences: L.A. and Miami peaked higher and later than the rest; Phoenix was just moseying along well outside the bubble zone until mid-2004, after which prices almost doubled in just two years; San Francisco and New York saw steadier (and possibly less bubblicious) gains than the rest.
Then you've got Seattle and Portland, which have seen substantial if not staggering price gains and are still living in their own happy, Northwestern alternative reality in which the real estate bust is just something you
read about in your favorite newsweekly.
Then there are the three mini-bubble metros: Boston, Chicago and Minneapolis.
Finally, there are the metros, all in the South and Midwest, that never really participated in the post-2000 house-price boom. Most are doing okay, but Detroit and Cleveland--for reasons that have more to do with problems in the manufacturing sector than with problems in the real estate business--are not.

more here

Doing Better at Halloween This Year

This year I actually have candy to give out, trying to avoid last year's disaster. Last year I forgot completely. There was a knock at the door, which is rare in a condo building, and I was confronted by a 6 year-old in a ghost costume, a 4 year-old dressed as Spiderman, their mother, and the glowering spectre of my own stupidity. I couldn't find any candy in the house, so in complete desperation I grabbed a few things off the spice rack, ran back to the door, reached deeply into their plastic pumpkins and dropped them in. I smiled, said Merry Halloween or something and sent them on their way.

Somewhere in Seattle, a mother was wondering where her child received a shaker of cumin for Halloween.

This year will be different, though, I promise.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

David Horowitz Attacked!

The founder of Islamofacism Awareness Week is physcially attacked at the closing ceremonies on the Columbia Campus!

or, whys *isn't* anyone hanging a noose on my door? C'mon guys! How can I claim persecution if you all won't play the game????



C'mon, tase me Bro!

Is "The Golden Compass" Athiest Enough?

Good Christians appearently say "No!"

But the removal of the Godless themes from the movie has some Christian organizations seething.
"They’re intentionally watering down the most offensive element,” Donohue said. “I'm not really concerned about the movie, [which] looks fairly innocuous. The movie is made for the books. ... It's a deceitful, stealth campaign. Pullman is hoping his books will fly off the shelves at Christmastime."


I guess there is no pleasing some people.

If they want to put more godlessness inthe movie, great! I never found Pullman to be all the subversive, but I read it as an adult. And, to be fair, I guess then god dies of old age and his lifeless corpse crashes to the ground, that could be seen as some kind of metaphor or something. I guess.

Thanks to Action Jackson for pointing this out.

A Blast From the Past

Jeff Gannon, the man who gave male prostitutes a bad name by dressing up as a reporter and phallating the President on national television, is in the news again. Apparently the boys at FEMA took a page from his book and held their own fake press conference, all in the interests of being fair and balanced.

Jeff has written a book and paid to have it made through a vanity press (iUniverse! Let that roll around in your noggin a bit as a name for a vanity publisher.). The book itself is not interesting. What *is* interesting is the page at Amazon where you can see "Customers Who Bought Items Like This Also Bought", which is a list of right-wing masturbatory authors who believe OBL is a master terrorist who will never be caught and is probably hiding under your chair right now!(tm), Jesus will make All Things Right by coming down and killing all those hippies in congress, we should repeal the 19th amendment before things get worse, and anyone who disagrees with a war president should be shot without trial.

Republicans! I will miss them when they are gone...

Fun With Imaginary Friends

When I was a kid of about 7, I found the best way to annoy one of my cousins was to take his G.I. Joe dol...errr action figure, and make it do non-millitary things, like sit in his sister's Barbie Dreamhouse and be the pool boy or get a law degree and become a property lawyer. It would tick him off instantly and provide me hours of fun.

30 years later, TJIC ups the ante.

Wait until they discover fan-fic! PZ Myers gets in on the action today as well.
Jesus is quite versitile as a mythic figure.

Update: I'll claim stupidity and cryptomnesia on that one.

Monday, October 29, 2007

What You Know About Math?


Buy Low, Sell HIgh

The price of a particular stock I own has been in the doldrums for years, hovering around $27-$29/share. I put in a limit order to sell about a third of it if it ever hit $35 (and another third at $40). With small orders such as mine, the price is usually a "best guess", i.e. I told it to sell at $35, but my expectation is that when the stock actually sells on the market, it will have dropped back down below $35.

Last week, the order triggered. The stock peaked at $35.97 for about 10 minutes. When I got the confirmation this weekend, I found it sold at $35.85.


It's now back around $34. When it drops back to $29 I'm going to buy it all back.

Ben Stein Gets Beat By A College Sophomore

Well said.

If Stein and his ilk really want to leave their mark on the debate between science and intelligent design, the absolute best move on their part would be to define intelligent design in unambiguous terms, outline exactly what the theory predicts and explain how it can be tested. Until then, apparently, 90-minute "documentaries" filled with soundbites and rhetoric will have to do.

Red Sox Nation

with authority!
...but not with The Authority.