Thursday, October 15, 2009

Dust Bowls, Torn Overalls, and My Mac...From Paris

"How ya doin' honey", he said in his usual chipper morning manner, as he wheeled into my office. "This is for your husband." He reached into the pocket of his wheelchair, and handed me"Human Events", that fabulous flaming right wing rag. I grinned my appreciation. "Thanks Mac."

My Mac. My favorite patient. A World War II vet who wheels down to my office every morning. A man who has smelled war, death and tragedy. This morning, he was unusually talkative.

"Ya know honey, I'm afraid of what's happening to our country because I've lived through real wars and I've lived through real depressions. We all got along then. Welfare was a shared bag of cornmeal. Everybody had chickens in the backyard--EVEN IN THE CITY! I miss the sound of roosters as my morning alarm clock. I'd pay a dime to ride the streetcar; newspapers were 3 cents and gasoline was twenty five cents a gallon. We made elderberry wine in the basement--mashed elderberries, sugar--Oh. I can't remember the exact recipe."

His voice trailed off . I giggled. My crusty old friend and I, colliding in a moment of awkward generational reflection. My 51 year old innocence fully exposed. "Hey! I thought elderberry wine was just a song by Elton John. It's a real thing?"

"Of course it's a REAL thing. Who's Elton John?" his question ringing confused. Our conversation took a poignant somber turn and we spoke of hardships he'd seen. Dust bowls of the late 30's, due to over farmed land. "We'd have to stop and clean out our carburetors every 50 miles, due to all the dust. People were starving and hopeless. They'd cut off the back end of their cars, and attach a truck bed, trying to move their families to hope."

"Like Grapes of Wrath?" I exclaimed, obviously a spoiled and pampered child of the 60's.

In today's WSJ style section, Christina Binkley profiles what's new in fashion: "Newsboy caps. Tweeds. F.Scott Fitzgerald...these styles, whose origins range from Dust bowl Okies...

"...even Grandpa's shoes are making a comeback. Timberland Co. this fall issued a collection of shoes and boots inspired by styles of 1900-1945. The company calls the period "an era of hardship, war and industrialization--marked by a shift to cities and women entering the work force."

My Mac. He's somethin' else. Who knew he had the power to influence the entire fashion industry? I can't wait to tell him tomorrow morning...

O’s White House

WH head of communications names Chairman Mao as her favorite philosopher

Is it about us or him?

Barack Obama: 'Oh, did I mention I won the Nobel prize?'

Can you remember Lotus?


Supasse V: Super-Light JDM-Only Compact Sports Car Heads To Toyko

The Supasse V is a Japan-only, compact sports car set to debut at the Toyko Motor Show. It'll sport aluminum and fiberglass construction, a tuned, 270HP Mazda3 MPS mid-mounted engine and a total weight of a delicate 1,874 lbs.

Learning from Robin Hood

That is how problems always look at first


Image: The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle

When four men seized the miller's sack of meal, the miller shouted, "Do me no harm. . .ye are upon Robin Hood's ground, and should he find you seeking to rob an honest craftsman, he will clip your ears to your heads and scourge you even to the walls of Nottingham."

Some people are trying to equate a government that takes money from you and gives it to someone else to Robin Hood. Not so. Robin Hood stole from the Sheriff of Nottingham and from rich clergy - the tax men - to return their money to those who had earned it. His target was rapacious government.

So far that would be $25 million a job, When 10,000 is less, Ted Turner and CNN again.

The Hill: First Hard Stimulus Data Finds Only 30,000 Jobs Saved or Created.


Don't get too excited by the DOW at 10,000; adjusted for inflation, that's 7,537. And compared to gold, it's near historic lows


Ted Turner wants to run CNN again...

40 kilometers vs 10. That is a big rock

Giant Impact Near India -- Not Mexico -- May Have Doomed Dinosaurs

Three-dimensional reconstruction of the submerged Shiva crater (~500 km diameter) at the Mumbai Offshore Basin, western shelf of India from different cross-sectional and geophysical data. The overlying 4.3-mile-tick Cenozoic strata and water column were removed to show the morphology of the crater.

ScienceDaily (Oct. 15, 2009) — A mysterious basin off the coast of India could be the largest, multi-ringed impact crater the world has ever seen. And if a new study is right, it may have been responsible for killing the dinosaurs off 65 million years ago.

“If we are right, this is the largest crater known on our planet,” Chatterjee said. “A bolide of this size, perhaps 40 kilometers (25 miles) in diameter creates its own tectonics.”

By contrast, the object that struck the Yucatan Peninsula, and is commonly thought to have killed the dinosaurs was between 8 and 10 kilometers (5 and 6.2 miles) wide.

In our prayers


So much for the balanced budget, no impact, twitter

Harry Reid Admits Health Care Bill Will Cost $2 Trillion...


HARRY REID: "He talked about CBO saying that there would be $54 billion saved each year if we put caps on medical malpractice and put some restrictions — tort reform — $54 billion. Sounds like a lot of money, doesnt it, Mr. President? The answer is yes. But remember, were talking about $2 trillion, $54 billion compared to $2 trillion.

Where the priorities are

People like to frame governing philosophies in a classic reductio ad absurdum choice between “guns or butter.”  In Washington DC, that has changed to guns or pork.  The Washington Times reports that Congress diverted $2.6 billion in defense funding away from war priorities such as ammunition and fuel in order to fund pet projects through the earmark process:

Senators diverted $2.6 billion in funds in a defense spending bill to pet projects largely at the expense of accounts that pay for fuel, ammunition and training for U.S. troops, including those fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to an analysis.

Among the 778 such projects, known as earmarks, packed into the bill: $25 million for a new World War II museum at the University of New Orleans and $20 million to launch an educational institute named after the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat.

This is always startling. And the gap has not narrowed over the years.


According to the data, not all races are considered equal in the college admissions game. Of students applying to private colleges in 1997, African-American applicants with SAT scores of 1150 had the same chances of being accepted as white applicants with 1460s and Asian applicants with perfect 1600s.

The results of the study come three years after Jian Li, a rejected Princeton applicant, filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. He alleged in the complaint that he had been discriminated against based on his race when he was denied admission to the University.

The Rush Limbaugh media lynch mob

Which public figure can be quoted as having said something bigoted and disgusting and it doesn’t matter whether he did or not because he might have? Who can Big Media brand a racist without checking the facts? Who has to prove he did not say something racist, rather than the accuser proving he did?

A pat on the back for anyone who guessed the answer: Rush Limbaugh (OK, the blog headline was a clue). From CNN  to MSNBC to ABC, it’s been put about that Limbaugh said this:

I mean, let’s face it, we didn’t have slavery in this country for over 100 years because it was a bad thing. Quite the opposite: slavery built the South. I’m not saying we should bring it back; I’m just saying it had its merits. For one thing, the streets were safer after dark.

It’s also been spread around that he said this, about the death of the man who assassinated Martin Luther King:

You know who deserves a posthumous Medal of Honour? James Earl Ray. We miss you, James. Godspeed.

Trouble is, he didn’t say either of these outrageous things. And it wasn’t difficult to check, as protein wisdom shows here. They originated from, er, Wikipedia and Wikiquotes. Both quotes ended up in this book - a hit job that doesn’t cite any sources. They’re also included in this internet list posted a year ago and endlessly ripped off ever since.

The irony is, of course, that the people reporting this as fact are the same types who are always denouncing bloggers and the internet as forces of evil intent on destroying proper journalism – proper journalism being the kind that involves checking facts. In the case of Rush Limbaugh, however, it seems to be enough that the intention (i.e. to show the talk radio host is a racist) is considered pure. 

Certain opinions are worse than torturing dogs to death

So the NFL won't allow the likes of Rush Limbaugh within its hallowed tent, but dog torturer Michael Vick is just fine.

Yet another in a long line of mind-numbing double standards.

Misc items with a subtle common thread

Majority of Nobel jury 'objected to Obama prize'...  Smoot with the Nobel Prize ...

Troop funds diverted to pet projects; $20M for Ted Kennedy institute...

Geithner aides made millions on Wall Street; Treasury 'counselors' escaped Senate hearings...

CAIR spent $160,000 to silence talk host Michael Savage...

From Jim: 3,622,088 votes in at Yahoo so far

Q. The president's progress with the battered economy has been both praised and criticized. How well are his efforts measuring up with you?

Extremely well. We are undoubtedly moving in the right direction.

Fairly well. There's still a long way to go.

Not well at all. His plans are hurting more than helping.

Not sure/No opinion.

3622088 votes

The fastest go faster

Usain Bolt And Asafa Powell Set To Race, Die In Cars This Weekend

Usain Bolt, will race his new Nissan GT-R (a replacement for his flipped BMW M3) against track star Asafa Powell in a Mercedes Black Series CLK C63 AMG this weekend in Jamaica. Gentlemen, start your obituaries.

Is Obama A Fool?

President Obama's apparently unilateral concession to Russia in abandoning our anti-missile defense system in central Europe, with no publicly-acknowledged quid pro quo, may support the view that in international relations, at least, Obama is a fool.

But we need to be fair here: it is possible that this seemingly unilateral giveaway was, in fact, a bargain, and that Obama got something from the Russians, presumably in relation to Russia's client Iran, that has not yet become public.
So this report on Hillary Clinton's trip to Russia is worrisome:
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin warned major powers on Wednesday against intimidating Iran and said talk of sanctions against the Islamic Republic over its nuclear programme was "premature". ...
Clinton failed to secure any specific assurances from Russia on Iran during her visit, leaving her open to criticism at home that she had not received anything from Moscow after earlier U.S. concessions on missile defence.

For those who know bookies

Baseball Guru Says Yankees, Dodgers Should Make World Series

ScienceDaily (Oct. 15, 2009) — With the League Championship Series set to begin tomorrow, NJIT Mathematics Professor Bruce Bukiet has, once again, analyzed the probability of each team winning their post-season series. Bukiet updates his calculations daily during the Major League Baseball post-season.

  • "The Los Angeles Dodgers have a 63 percent chance of defeating the Philadelphia Phillies in the best of seven National League Championship Series," he said. "The Yankees have an even stronger 68 percent chance of winning the American League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Angels."

Only a simpleton would believe


CAMILLE PAGLIA ON OBAMA AND THE MEDIA. “The mainstream media’s failure to honestly cover last month’s mass demonstration in Washington, D.C. was a disgrace. The focus on anti-Obama placards (which were no worse than the rabid anti-LBJ, anti-Reagan or anti-Bush placards of leftist protests), combined with the grotesque attempt to equate criticism of Obama with racism, simply illustrated why the old guard TV networks and major urban daily newspapers are slowly dying. Only a simpleton would believe what they say.”

As we pointed out yesterday!

Senate Dems seek higher doctor payments; Another quarter-trillion dollars to deficit?