Archive for category Current Events

Department of Odd Coincidences

I’m reading Instapundit when I come across this story about a black bear attacking a boy in the Smokey Mountains:

The incident began about 7:30 p.m. when the boy, Evan Pala of Boca Raton, Fla., was playing in a creek about 300 yards from the trailhead of Rainbow Falls Trail, which is near the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, Miller said.

Wow – just last Thursday we (AKA the Murphy Family) parked at the Rainbow Falls trailhead and hiked up to Rainbow Falls. I did prep us by reading the blurb on the map on what to do if a bear attacks (don’t approach or run away, but if attacked fight back) although I think only I paid much attention. I have to admit after reading about the 2 bears per square mile density I was nervous with all the smellables we were taking on the hike, including lunch.

We didn’t see hide nor scat of bear on our hike (thankfully), although when we got back to the van someone had written “Go Patriots!” in the dust of the back window. This really weirded out the Murphy women since somebody figured out what school the funDaughter goes to with just a PS sticker and Missouri plates to go by.

Anyway, here’s a picture of the falls:

Rainbow Falls

Our hearts go out to the Pala family and we hope and pray they make a full recovery.

Potpouri for $100

When did ‘nuts’ become an unprintable and unspeakable word? Gen. Anthony McAuliffe used the word to great effect during the Battle of the Bulge and nobody bats an eye at it. Jesse Jackson uses the word and all those bastions of anti-censorship and forward thinking like the NYT all of a sudden can’t bring themselves to print the word. And if you haven’t seen the film – it’s great theatre as Jesse leans in and whispers to his co-panelist and even includes the hand gestures of sawing the coconuts off (apparently they take some effort to remove).

Mark Wadsorth on the difference between left and right wing dictatorships: the recovery from them. Via My buddy in hell, Tom McMahon.

What explains the difference in reaction to the deaths of Tim Russert and Tony Snow? Both were caring people at the top of their profession. Both were involved in politics as well as journalism. Yes, that was a hint.

So Democratic politicians assure me on the one hand it takes a minimum of 10 years to drill a hole in the ground and get oil out of it, and on the other keep bitching about what is taking so long in Iraq. Last time I checked, removing a dictator, and then fighting against a terrorist organization (al Qaida), 2 groups of militias (Sunni and Shia), and a country (Iran) while trying to rebuild a country and create a civil society in country that has never known one is several orders of mangitude harder than drilling a hole.

Can’t Drill Our Way Out Of It

At first blush I didn’t much care for the response that we “can’t drill our way out of” high gas prices, but then I read the full text of Sen. Obama’s remarks and was somewhat mollified. But then I thought for a moment, and I was back to thinking the remarks are wrong:

“If we reduce our consumption of oil, that’s what will reduce gas prices, the presumptive Democratic nominee said in a one-on-one interview with The Post-Crescent during a campaign stop in Kaukauna.”There’s really no other way of doing it.”

“We can’t drill our way out of the problem because there’s just a finite amount of oil out there and you have got increasing demand from countries like China and India.”

Ok, so what’s my beef. Well for one thing, back when I took my Econ 101 class from a Marxist I learned that both a decrease in demand and an increase in supply will lower cost. So to say that a decrease in consumption (i.e. demand) is the only way is flat wrong. But I was temporarily molified by his modifier that there’s just a finite amount of oil out there. And then I thought and realized that there is just a finite amount of anything out there (wherever you draw your boundary since ultimately the Universe is a closed system) so really the only time that makes any sense is if you are currently up against a limit in your ability to increase supply.

Are we there? No way, not with all the oil in the US that is politically out of reach, and the refining capacity we don’t have because of political considerations, and the inefficiency in the government oil producers which control most of the oil right now, we could increase supply without much difficulty. So in the short term, i.e. my lifetime, we can in fact “drill our way out of it”. In the long term, the economics of something else will make more sense than oil and we will switch over to that. Again and again.

So while I wait with anticipation for solar energy to get cheap and efficient enough to power all our energy needs, I say drill away.

Left Out, As Always

I feel so left out. I slept through the first quake at 4:30AM. I was jamming to Joe Satrioni at work and so missed the big aftershock. But I can be part of today’s big story by directing you to this story that details how republicans are responsible for midwest quake. Thankfully, no one was hurt and damage was minimal.

A Spectacular Fall

Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. Although it’s like getting Al Capone on tax evasion – his other crimes are much worse but at least he got got.

St. Louis had our own version of Eliot, without all the other baggage.  George Peach was a prosecuting attorney who by day crusaded against the porno business and by night was in bed with them. Yeah, he too was a Democrat. Mr. Peach was like Gary Hart – he all but dared the local newspaper to investigate him. As I’m not a psychiatrist and don’t actually know the people, you wonder is the dare from a desire to get caught so they can stop or just arrogance.

Oh well, one can hope that New York gets a better, less self-aggrandizing governor out of the resignation.

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The World Outside

Perhaps it’s because I’m getting over that killer flu that’s going around and it seems like winter is never going to end, but my thoughts keep returning to the Norse idea that the end of the world is presaged by a winter without end – Fimbulwinter. But then that leads me to think Ragnarok and Roll and I can’t help but smile.

And now, not only am I not alone in thinking this has been a particularly bleak winter, but I’ve got data to back me up.

No, I don’t honestly think the world is coming to an end, the weather and my frailty combine to make my mood sink like the Earth’s temperature recently. I know my mood won’t be permanently affected (I really do have a naturally sunny disposition), and I’m hopeful the Earth’s temperature isn’t permanently affected, because no matter what climate alarmists tell you, warmer is better than colder. In moderation, of course.

Sometimes, Oops Isn’t Enough

Every military base I’ve ever been to has had displays of equipment. I can still remember the directions I was given the first time I went to Pax River – “turn right at the plane on a stick.” And when I got there, I turned right at the plane on a stick to visit the Armament hanger. Sometimes, things are exactly what they seem:

Apparently when Lincolnshire County Council were widening the road past RAF Scampton’s main gate in about 1958, the ‘gate guards’ there had to be moved to make way for the new carriageway. Scampton was the WWII home of 617 Sqn, and said “gate guards” were a Lancaster…and a Grand Slam bomb.When they went to lift the Grand Slam, thought for years to just be an empty casing, with an RAF 8 Ton Coles Crane, it wouldn’t budge.

Read the rest if you can’t figure out what happened or want to find out just how big a 22,000 lb bomb is.

I’m reminded of the story my old english teacher, Mr. Felling, used to tell of when he was assigned to a destroyer in the Navy. He went aboard, and noticed the sailors would sit and smoke on the depth charges- the live depth carges that is. At first, he thought they were crazy, but within a couple of weeks he too was lounging and smoking on the depth charges.

First They Came For The Gadfly

Free the Inner City Press!

Cheaters Never Prosper

Or Super Bowl 42.

An exciting quarter of football, a rewarding outcome, so so ads, a brief old school rock interlude, all stretched out over 4 hours.

Tom Brady is a great quarterback, but he had a poor game.

If Belichick is such a great coach, why is he such a cheater?

The Patriots were lucky all game until finally the Manning somehow escaped two defenders and Smith caught the ball on his helmet. Live by luck, die by luck.

News You Can Use

Here at, we don’t believe in scaring you during sweeps week. No stories about flesh eating bacteria, just important news you can use.

First up, Marvel Comics is putting their catalog of comics on the internet. No downloads, just access to titles like X-Men, Amazing Spider Man, and as the Marvel Marketer put it, hot recent series and so much more! Looks like I waited too long to put my collection up for sale.

Researchers at Texas Tech have created a new drought resistant wildflower, “Raider Amethyst”. That’s the kind of plant I need around my house. I just love that phrase, researchers created a new wildflower.

Jay Rosen wants to improve reporting by having beat reports meet Facebook. Put another way, he wants to support beat reporters with what he terms a social network, but what I’d call a team of experts, but then I’m so last millennium.

I’m sorry, but I think polls like this are fun but meaningless: Zogby poll shows liberals play more games than conservatives. Just for the record, I’ve been playing strategy games since I was 9, video games since they were invented, and I don’t play Madden NFL, Mario, or the Sims.

The Fed will make four expanded forecasts instead of the current two. What that really means is that the Fed will explain what they’re thinking more often, because nobody, even the Fed, can make economic forecasts that are accurate – even figuring out what happened can be mighty hard.

My town, St. Louis, has a dubious distinction – we’re tops in STD rates. So let’s be careful out there.

In related news, it’s now scientifically established that bars cause drinking — Bars and nightclubs, but not liquor stores, are linked with excessive alcohol consumption and heavy episodic drinking in adults who live nearby, according to a new study from the Pardee RAND Graduate School in Santa Monica, California. I loved this line from the report: “The investigators were not surprised with the results, they write, because bars, taverns, and night clubs, especially those that do not allow minors, are where social and cultural norms are more likely to accept, if not encourage, excess drinking.”

I’m sorry, but this strikes me as a gag: What’s in a Name? Initials Linked to Success, Study Shows. And not just success, but failure, too. “Students whose names began with ‘C’ or ‘D’ earned lower GPAs than students whose names began with ‘A’ or ‘B’. Students with the initial ‘C’ or ‘D’, presumably because of an unconscious fondness for these letters, were slightly less successful at achieving their conscious academic goals.” One has to wonder just how large this effect is and thus how significant it is. Just remember, just because you read it somewhere, or somebody in a white coat with more education than you says so doesn’t necessarily make it true.