Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Okay, maybe I can drop my umbrella insurance policy. Link.
HONOLULU (AP) — The Hawaii Supreme Court has ruled a golfer may not be held liable for mistakenly hitting another golfer with an errant golf ball.

In a unanimous decision, the court upheld a lower court ruling to dismiss Ryan Yoneda's lawsuit against Andrew Tom, whose wayward ball hit Yoneda in the eye at Mililani Golf Course in 1999.

Chief Justice Ronald Moon wrote Yoneda assumed the risk of the injury when he played golf.

It is "common knowledge that not every shot played by a golfer goes exactly where he intends it to go," the ruling said, adding there wouldn't be much "sport" in the "sport of golf," if golf balls went exactly where the player wanted.

Alabama Supreme Court candidates are putzes

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - In a debate with powerful echoes of the turbulent civil rights era, four Republicans running for Alabama's Supreme Court are making an argument legal scholars thought was settled in the 1800s: that state courts are not bound by U.S. Supreme Court precedents.

The Constitution says federal law trumps state laws, and legal experts say there is general agreement that state courts must defer to the U.S. Supreme Court on matters of federal law.

Yet Justice Tom Parker, who is running for chief justice, argues that state judges should refuse to follow U.S. Supreme Court precedents they believe to be erroneous. Three other GOP candidates in Tuesday's primary have made nearly identical arguments.



Are the unpaid internships a bad thing?



I had an unpaid internship at the U.S. State Department between my junior and senior years of college. In fact, in order to get college credits for it, I had to pay tuition to the school. The ironic thing is that the government spent approximately $10,000 doing a background investigation so that I could get a "top secret" security clearance. I always assumed that expense was not a deterrent to the bureau that I worked at because it came out of someone else's budget.

I suppose that it is true that kids from well-to-do families are in a better position to spend a summer working without pay, but kids from well-to-do families are in a better position to go to private colleges too. Does that make Harvard evil?


Quote #1.
"This is probably going to be the most issue-oriented campaign out of 435 races for Congress," Robinson said in an interview.
Quote #2.
Robinson has already run a radio ad that features mariachi band music playing in the background. "If Miller had his way," says the announcer, "America would be nothing but one big fiesta for illegal aliens and homosexuals."

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Political headline of the day

Pedophiles to launch political party

Immigration poll

USA Today reports on the results of an interesting poll regarding attitudes about the illegal immigration issue. But this has to be one of the stupidest paragraphs ever written by a serious journalist.
Those who want to take the toughest steps against illegal immigration also feel the most urgency about the subject. Two-thirds of the "hard-liners" call the issue "extremely important." No one in the most lenient group, the "unconcerned," feels that way.
No sh*t, Sherlock. If you are "unconcerned" about an issue, what are the chances that you would describe the issue as "extremely important"?

Friday, May 26, 2006


This is interesting.

NEW YORK ( - The tiny state of Rhode Island still ranks rock bottom in terms of driving knowledge, according to a national test conducted by GMAC Insurance. Oregon drivers answered the most questions correctly.

The test revealed that about one in 11 licensed drivers in the United States would fail a state drivers test, according to GMAC Insurance.

Rhode Island ranked last year, also, with an average score of 77. Last year, Oregon's average score was 89, which still placed at the top of the rankings that year.

Based on average scores, northwestern states generally ranked highest while the bottom-ranking states were mostly in the northeast.
I am always fascinated when I travel how differently people drive from state to state.


This is interesting.

NEW YORK ( - The tiny state of Rhode Island still ranks rock bottom in terms of driving knowledge, according to a national test conducted by GMAC Insurance. Oregon drivers answered the most questions correctly.

The test revealed that about one in 11 licensed drivers in the United States would fail a state drivers test, according to GMAC Insurance.

Rhode Island ranked last year, also, with an average score of 77. Last year, Oregon's average score was 89, which still placed at the top of the rankings that year.

Based on average scores, northwestern states generally ranked highest while the bottom-ranking states were mostly in the northeast.
I am always fascinated when I travel how differently people drive from state to state.

In my e-mail

I received the item below in my e-mail from someone who does not want attribution.

"This man (on the left, wearing a fabulous vintage chiffon-lined Dior gold lame' gown over a silk Vera Wang empire waist tulle cocktail dress, accessorized with a 3-foot beaded peaked House of Whoville hat, and the ruby slippers Judy Garland wore in the "Wizard of Oz") is worried that The Da Vinci Code might make the Roman Catholic Church look foolish."

You gotta admit that is at least a little bit funny.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

What it is all about

Blair's Britain.

The Respect MP George Galloway has said it would be morally justified for a suicide bomber to murder Tony Blair.

In an interview with GQ magazine, the reporter asked him: "Would the assassination of, say, Tony Blair by a suicide bomber - if there were no other casualties - be justified as revenge for the war on Iraq?"

Mr Galloway replied: "Yes, it would be morally justified. I am not calling for it - but if it happened it would be of a wholly different moral order to the events of 7/7. It would be entirely logical and explicable. And morally equivalent to ordering the deaths of thousands of innocent people in Iraq - as Blair did."

Saddam's Iraq.

Nobody in Saddam Hussein's inner circle was more tirelessly reverential toward him while he was in power than Tariq Aziz, who is said to have been in the habit of saluting the telephone when Mr. Hussein called. . .

Mr. Hussein, 69, is charged with directing the persecution of the townspeople of Dujail, 35 miles north of Baghdad, after a foiled assassination attempt on him there in July 1982. The indictment says Mr. Hussein's secret police arrested hundreds of men, women and children; tortured dozens to death; banished more than 300 others to years of exile in the desert; and ordered a vast acreage of date palm groves at Dujail plowed under.

Mr. Hussein is accused of signing execution orders for 148 people, including 32 who were under age 18. . .

Mr. Hussein, Mr. Aziz said, had done no more than what any president would have done after an attempt to kill him

The juxtaposition of these two stories reveals what this generation's struggle is all about.



A first-grade student is taught that "Every religion other than Islam is false"; the teacher instructed to "Give examples of false religions, like Judaism, Christianity, paganism, etc." Fifth graders learn "It is forbidden for a Muslim to be a loyal friend to someone who does not believe in God and his prophet, or someone who fights the religion of Islam." . . .

The results, they say, outline a systematic theme of "hatred toward 'unbelievers,' " mainly Christians, Jews, Hindus and atheists, but also Shiites and other Muslims who do not ascribe to the country's orthodox Wahhabi teaching of Islam.
With friends like these . . .

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Travel notes

Given that I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night, I had little doubt that my brilliant arguments would cause me to prevail in court today. I was right. Anyway, Flint is everything that it is cracked up to be.

More regular blogging should resume soon.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Money to burn

At a charity event in the capital of Doha, a Qatari bidder paid $2.75 million for the mobile phone number 666-6666.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Light blogging

Things will continue to be quiet here for a few days. I just found out that tomorrow I have to go to Flint, Michigan. Contain your jealousy.

Friday, May 19, 2006

The wrong Guy

During a bout of insomnia last night, I saw this story. It is hilarious.

In short, one guy named "Guy" was sitting in a room waiting to be interviewed by the BBC on camera as an expert. Another guy named "Guy" was sitting in another room waiting for a job interview. Punchline: They put wrong "Guy" on the air.

Travel notes

Tip: If you are going to Chicago, see if Midway (as opposed to O'Hare) is an option. I went through Midway for the first time this week on AirTran because the ticket was 1/3 of NWA or United to O'Hare. What I found was a nice airplane with XM radio, no delays, and a train ride to and from the Loop that was about 30 minutes, as opposed to 45 minutes to and from O'Hare.

In sum, as far as I can tell, all O'Hare offers over Midway is (a) more congestion, (b) more delays, (c) more money, and (d) longer commute times. Nice selling points, don't you think?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Rhertorical question

I am the only person in the country who has not seen even 30 seconds of American Idol, ever?

Taking life for granted

Last December, my young secretary was diagnosed with lung cancer and died within two weeks. Today, a young attorney in my department advised people that his wife has a brain tumor. And this poor guy's father died last year after losing a long battle with cancer.

My problems in life seem rather trivial today.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Gay marriage

This comes from a "right wing" blog:

And that is part of why I support gay marriage. It allows people to set up their own family unit, to become more stable and secure members of the society. It gives them a bond to their society and culture, and increases the general prosperity of the culture as a whole.

Yes, I understand the religious objections, and respect them. But there is supposed to be a separation of church and state in this country, and allowing a civil ceremony (or even a civil union) apart from religious sanction should be no skin off the church's nose. They don't have to perform the weddings, or sanction them, or even recognize them -- they just need to butt out and let those of us who don't ascribe to their beliefs to go our own way.




The lights are out at MinneNapolis, a store at the Mall of America that sold naps for 70 cents a minute.

The nap center, which charged $14 for 20 minutes in a private, themed room, brought in fewer than 1,600 customers during its six-month run, far short of owner Steev RamsDell's projections.

$42 an hour to take a nap? Little surprise that this store didn't work out.

Gore on SNL

If you haven't seen Gore's opening skit from Saturday Night Live, you should. (Here.)

Road rage

Apparently, road rage is not as bad in Minneapolis as in at least 19 other big cities.

My personal experience suggests that road rage is not as bad now as it was 5 years ago, but there are still plenty of a**holes on the roads. I have particular disdain for the jerks who try to block vehicles from merging.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Group blog implodes

A popular conservative group blog, Polipundit, is a group blog no more. It imploded over the issue of immigration. This demonstrates how angry some of the conservative base is with Bush and like-minded Republicans on the issue.

The old joke is that Democrats specialize in circular firing squads. Apparently, Republicans have decided to set up one of there own.

Stupid criminal of the day

Guy breaks into van to steal tools. Can't get out because of child safety locks. Link.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Immigration - take home test

1. What has created the apparent perfect storm that has made illegal immigration the urgent issue of the day? (It is not like the problem hasn't been apparent for 20 years, at least.)

2. What are the best approaches to the issue that are actually likely to make a difference?

3. Does the current political environment make an effective response to the problem impossible?

My response to all three questions is "don't know." Please help.

(For cross-post at Centerfield and comments posted there, click here.)

UPDATE: There really is a good discussion going on at the Centerfield link above. Take a look.


The hawkish Ralph Peters says that we should talk to Iran. Pat Buchanan agrees. These columns provide food for thought.

Sunday, May 14, 2006


I guess that there is no limit to the narrowness of a person's "expertise."
"The price of living in a democracy is that you might have to tolerate a bunch of nonsensical speech," said Robert Justin Goldstein, a flag-burning expert and retired professor at Oakland University in Rochester, Mich.
Based on this weekend's work, I'm declaring myself a gutter cleaning expert.

"I will show you"

This idiot professor quit his job because the Secretary of State was invited to be the commencement speaker at the school.

The irrational demonization of and hatred of any person associated with Bush by so many is baffling to me. I don't think that "Bush/Cheney/Haliburton/Hitler Co." has done a particularly good job, but that does not make them evil liars.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Ads by Google

You might notice that I have added "Ads by Google" to this site. Going forward, when anyone clicks an ad link, I will get some impossible-to-figure-out monetary credit. Frankly, the level of traffic here right now is unlikely to generate much at all in the way of revenue. On the other hand, I figure that there is no downside, and I have resolved to simply deposit anything that I get into my kids' college funds. So if you see an advertisement on the right side that grabs your interest, please click. Every few pennies in the college funds will help. And when people say, "how do you have time to blog?", I will now be able to say "are you kidding, the payback is at least 20 cents an hour!"

OJ Simpson is a putz

This guy is unbelievable.
LOS ANGELES - In a scene from his new candid-camera program "Juiced," O.J. Simpson pulls a prank involving the infamous white Bronco, drawing criticism from the family of a man he was accused of killing.

As part of the pay-per-view show, Simpson pretends to sell the Bronco at a used car lot and boasts to a prospective buyer that he made the vehicle famous, according to a segment aired Thursday on "Inside Edition."

"It was good for me — it helped me get away," Simpson said, referring to the slow-speed, televised police chase that preceded his 1994 arrest on charges of murdering his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman.

It was bad enough that he got away with murder(s). Now he is joking about it.

Repayment in full

This is an interesting story that I saw last week but didn't get around to posting.
The UK will repay debts owed to the US dating from the World War II by the end of this year, the government says.

Under the lend-lease programme, which began in March 1941, the then neutral US could provide countries fighting Hitler with war material.
I wonder if the day will come that the U.S. pays off the national debt. That certainly won't happen in my lifetime.

The new, new John Kerry

This article highlights why I could never get comfortable with John Kerry in 2004. To the extent that I could figure out where he stood on the issues that were most important to me, I couldn't reconcile the 2004 John Kerry with the 1984-2003 John Kerry, or trust that the 2004 John Kerry would not become somebody else in 2005 and beyond.

He is a professional chameleon.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Picture of the day


Prizzly bear

This is kind of cool.
IQALUIT, Nunavut - Northern hunters, scientists and people with vivid imaginations have discussed the possibility for years.

But Roger Kuptana, a guide from Canada’s Sachs Harbor was the first to suspect it had actually happened when he proposed that a strange-looking bear shot last month by an American sports hunter might be half polar bear, half grizzly.

Officials seized the creature after noticing its white fur was scattered with brown patches and that it had the long claws and humped back of a grizzly. Now a DNA test has confirmed that it is indeed a hybrid — possibly the first documented in the wild.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Political cartoon of the day


Deja vu

"Bush approval rating hits new low"

How many times have we seen that headline in the last 6 months? Outside of foreign policy issues, he is a lame, lame duck with very little chance of shedding any of his lameness in the next 2.5 years.

The political situation has not helped some of the more prominent members of the Democratic Party. Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, who was Mr. Bush's opponent in 2004, had a lower approval rating than Mr. Bush: 26 percent, down from 40 percent in a poll conducted right after the election.

Battleground state

Once again, Minnesota will be a battleground state in 2006. See here.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Dick Morris


For the first time since the Gingrich revolution, the Republican Party is facing massive defeat. Will its congressmen and senators go down in the upcoming 2006 elections like the Democratic lemmings did in 1994, faithfully parroting their president’s dogma while they sank below the horizon? Or will they have the dexterity and flexibility to move to the center and the left to meet the coming onslaught?

The only way for a Republican to survive in 2006 is to run like a Democrat.

The most important (because it is the largest) voting bloc in the country seems to be undergoing a gradual shift from center-right to center (but not center-left). It is not impossible for Republicans to make the shift too and keep their majorities. But the Democrats are in a better position to capture that ground because, with everything else being equal, protest votes for change will win out.

The vision thing

The conventional wisdom is that the Democrats are in a good position to make big gains in the House this year, and maybe even regain majority status.

Here is an interesting article about the debate that is going on in internal Democratic circles regarding how "to sharpen the party's identity and present a clear alternative to the conservatism that has dominated political thought for a generation. "

For me to vote consistently Democratic, at least at the national level, an essential element is for them to "reclaim the tough-minded approach they brought to the cold war — recognizing the need for strong engagement in the fight against totalitarianism and for democracy . . ." Unfortunately, I just don't see that happening.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Instant millionaires

If you sold your house in Boulder City, Nevada anytime recently, you probably regret it.
One of the biggest jackpots in Nevada may not be a casino.

Residents of Boulder City could vote on a plan to make every man, woman and child there a millionaire.

An initiative that could be on the November ballot calls for the city to sell 167 square miles of undeveloped open land in one of the hottest real estate markets in the country. The property is about 25 miles southeast of Las Vegas.

The ballot measure would require the city to distribute the billions to the 15,000 residents of Boulder City.

But it's too late to move there. Only people who lived in Boulder City as of March 31 would qualify.
Think it will pass?

All Iraq, all the time

Even the most supportive, optimistic person about Iraq should find this ridiculous.
Career appointees at the Department of Agriculture were stunned last week to receive e-mailed instructions that include Bush administration "talking points" -- saying things such as "President Bush has a clear strategy for victory in Iraq" -- in every speech they give for the department. . .

Let's say you're talking about U.S. agricultural productivity. Try this: "I'd like to take a moment to talk about a nation that is just now beginning to rebuild its own agricultural production.

"Iraq is part to the 'fertile crescent' of Mesopotamia," the sample script says. "It is there, in around 8,500 to 8,000 B.C., that mankind first domesticated wheat, there that agriculture was born. In recent years, however, the birthplace of farming has been in trouble."

Why does this administration continue to do such obviously stupid things?

Friday, May 05, 2006

Michelle Wie

Well, she did it.
INCHEON, South Korea (AP) -- Michelle Wie accomplished something in her ancestral homeland she had failed to do in seven previous tries elsewhere: The American teen made the cut at a men's tournament.
Those who don't play golf may not realize how remarkable of an accomplishment this is.


Sen. John Thune must think that we are idiots.

Last Friday's New York Times:
Washington Senate Republicans, trying to get the upper hand in the escalating political battle over high U.S. gasoline prices, have proposed a $100 rebate for taxpayers and suggested that they might increase taxes on oil industry profits. . .

"The American consumer is the one that needs the break today, and we need to be taking steps to make sure that they aren't emptying their wallet every time they fill their tank," said Senator John Thune, Republican of South Dakota, as the party's leadership unveiled its legislative response to an issue quickly taking over the congressional agenda.
Today's New York Times:
"I never was in favor of that," Mr. Thune said Thursday.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

More self-inflicted pain

After I finished the Phoenix Marathon in January, my second marathon in 3 1/2 months, I planned to retire. But recently my wife has decided that she would like to complete a marathon. She will walk and most marathons are not particularly walker-friendly, so she picked this one. Being a good husband, I have tentatively (and stupidly?) agreed to do it with her in 2007.

Pro: "The Mount Desert Island marathon will be probably the most breathtaking run you will ever participate in. Fall foliage will be at peak levels. The route goes past lakes, quaint village centers, high ocean bluffs, mountains of Acadia National Park and the only fjord in the Eastern United States. "

Con: "We would rate our marathon course as challenging. The terrain is hilly throughout the entire route. Though, we don't want to scare any runners off, prepare for a tough run. It is our opinion however that marathon running is supposed to be a challenge and that hilly courses are usually the most satisfying aka: Boston." Not only is it hilly, but miles 20-25 are all uphill.

My legs hurt already.

Wow Part 2

Apparently, he is not as bad as John Daly, but that isn't much of a compliment.

BRISTOL, Conn. (AP) -- Charles Barkley estimated that he's lost about $10 million gambling over the years in an interview Wednesday.

"My agent has really worked with me to try to get it where I can go and gamble and have fun," Barkley told ESPN. "That's easier said than done. Do I have a gambling problem? Yeah, I do have a gambling problem. But I don't consider it a problem because I can afford to gamble."

Barkley, who is an NBA analyst for TNT, later had a different assessment of his gambling habits.

"It's not a problem," Barkley said on TNT during halftime of the Pistons-Bucks game. "If you're a drug addict or an alcoholic, those are problems. I gamble for too much money. As long as I can continue to do it I don't think it's a problem. Do I think it's a bad habit? Yes, I think it's a bad habit. Am I going to continue to do it? Yes, I'm going to continue to do it."


Wednesday, May 03, 2006


The higher you go, the harder the fall. But this is truly stunning.

NEW YORK (AP) -- John Daly says he has lost between $50 million and $60 million during 12 years of heavy gambling, and that it has become a problem that could "flat-out ruin me" if he doesn't bring it under control.

Daly discussed his addiction to gambling in the final chapter of his autobiography, John Daly: My Life In and Out of the Rough, to be released next Monday.

He told one story of earning $750,000 when he lost in a playoff to Tiger Woods last fall in San Francisco at a World Golf Championship. Instead of going home, he drove to Las Vegas and says he lost $1.65 million in five hours playing mostly $5,000 slot machines.

Given his plan for recovery, it is hard to feel sorry for the guy.

He said he plans to start at the $25 slots in the casinos and set a "walkout loss number," which would tell him it's time to leave.

"If I make a little bit, then maybe I move up to the $100 slots or the $500 slots, or maybe I take it to the blackjack table," he wrote. "It's their money. Why not give it a shot, try to double it? And if I make a lot, I can ...

"Well, that's my plan."

Like the alcoholic whose plan is to drink only beer.


I'm fascinated by the politics, personalities, and operations of the Supreme Court. If you are too, read this. Here is just a taste.

While it is too soon for substantive appraisals of the first year of the Roberts court, it is not too soon for stylistic observations about what is clearly, in the view of lawyers who have appeared there this term, a different court.

"The tone has changed," Prof. Richard J. Lazarus of the Georgetown University Law Center, where he runs the Supreme Court Institute and teaches a course on Supreme Court advocacy, said on Tuesday.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Lieberman and the Left

One of the hard left's pet candidates this year is Ned Lamont, who is mounting a primary challenge against Senator Lieberman. And they smell blood. Here is just one example.
All available evidence indicates Lamont's campaign is taking off like a rocket, while Lieberman's campaign is sinking like a stone. . .

And this raises a crucial question: if Joe Lieberman is detested by the rank-and-file members of the state Democratic Party (presumably excluding the handful of top officers) then what large group of Democrats will actually vote for him in the August primary?

Atrios and the Kossacks have also enthusiatically joined in.

The problem is, once again, we have proof that the hard left can't smell too good.
In a possible Democratic primary, the incumbent beats businessman Ned Lamont 65 - 19 percent, with most Lamont supporters saying they are voting against Lieberman.

"Running as an independent, Lieberman has 56 or 57 percent in possible three-way races, with Lamont challenging him on the Democratic line and either former State Rep. Alan Schlesinger or businessman Paul Streitz running on the Republican line.

"Most Connecticut voters, 57 percent, know Lieberman supports the war in Iraq, but only 15 percent would vote against a candidate based only on his position on the war.

I actually feel sorry for these people, trapped in their "all we have to do is yell louder and people will start agreeing with us" world.


The most recent dumb idea from a group that seems to specialize in dumb ideas has been abandoned. They deserve the humiliation they should feel, but undoubtedly don't feel.