Thursday, July 31, 2008


You stay inebriated Kenyon College

The War Against Beer Pong

"You can't drink if you're not 21, but that does not seem to have deterred [students] in any way," admits Tammy Gocial, dean of students at Kenyon College in Ohio, where a drinking-game ban has been officially repealed. Gocial notes that it's already against the law for underage students to drink, so "to do the same thing [with a campus ban] — we know it's not working," she says. Instead, according to Gocial, Kenyon is developing a student-responsibility campaign in an effort to change campus culture and reduce binge-drinking.

Nice to know that Kenyon is maintaining its traditions.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Housing Bail Out Summary

Who are the victims here? People who are protected from the consequences of their actions are beneficiaries. People who have to pay for the consequences of the bad decisions of others are victims.

Friday, July 25, 2008


It's 90s disco night at Brain Droppings



Of course for Barack Obama. Although I like Ace's nickname better.


Friday, July 18, 2008


Where are they now?

Viral video stars.


Thursday, July 17, 2008


Pelosi stands firm against offshore drilling

So you know who to blame.

Upon entering Congress in 1987, Representative Nancy Pelosi quickly became part of the solid California front against oil drilling along much of the nation's coast.

The 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill and the steady push to tap the potential reserves off the state's rugged coast had galvanized Californians and made opposition to offshore drilling part of the political DNA of up-and-coming figures like Pelosi.


"This is part of the fight we are in," she said. "We have to get to a place where one day my grandchildren will say, 'Do you believe our grandparents had to go with their car and fill up?' It will be like going with a barrel on our head to a well to get water. That will be the equivalent."

Actually I think she would be happy if her grandchildren didn't know what a car was and were proficient with a buggy whip.


BIKER STORY Receives New York Times Best

A biker is riding by the zoo, when he sees a little girl leaning into the lion's cage.
Suddenly, the lion grabs her by the cuff of her jacket and tries to pull her inside to slaughter her, under the eyes of her screaming parents.
The biker jumps off his bike, runs to the cage and hits the lion square on the nose with a powerful punch.
Whimpering from the pain the lion jumps back letting go of the girl, and the biker brings her to her terrified parents, who thank him endlessly.
A New York Times reporter has watched the whole event. The reporter addressing the biker says, "Sir, this was the most gallant and brave thing I saw a man do in my whole life." The biker replies, "Why, it was nothing, really, the lion was behind bars. I just saw this little kid in danger, and acted as I felt right."
The reporter says, "Well, I'll make sure this won't go unnoticed. I'm a journalist from the New York Times, you know, and tomorrow's paper will have this story on the front page. So, what do you do for a living and what political affiliation do you have?'"
The biker replies, "I'm a U.S. Marine and a Republican." The journalist leaves. The following morning the biker buys The New York Times to see if it indeed brings news of his actions, and reads, on front page:

HT: Mom & Claire


Friday, July 11, 2008


Planning All My Days Away

but however hard I want
I know deep down inside
I'll never really get more hope
or any more time


Fannie and Freddie have already failed

The shares of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are down about 45% this morning in pre-market trading on the gov'ts signaling that they are considering a bailout of both mortgage originators. They better hurry because both companies equity is vanishing at an incredible rate and there is a real danger that the rumor of failure is enough to push them over the edge.

However, this is not an easy decision despite Maverick's bold call to save them on the taxpayers dime. For the federal gov't to take on both financial companies balance sheets means about taking on $5 trillion in iffy mortgage-backed securities.

To put that in perspective, consider that total U.S. federal debt is about $9.5 trillion, compared to a total U.S. GDP of $14 trillion. About $5.3 trillion of that debt is held by the public (in the form of Treasury bonds and the like), while $4.2 trillion is intragovernment debt such as Social Security IOUs. This is the liability side of America's federal balance sheet, and its condition influences how much the government can borrow and at what rates.

The liabilities of Fan and Fred are currently not on this U.S. balance sheet. But one danger is a run on the debt of either company, putting pressure on the Treasury and Federal Reserve to publicly guarantee that debt to prevent a systemic financial collapse. In an instant, what has long been an implicit taxpayer guarantee for both companies would be made explicit – committing American taxpayers to honoring as much as $5 trillion in new liabilities. U.S. debt held by the public would more than double, and the national balance sheet would look very ugly.

So all the gov't can do is slow the process by taking on these liabilities. If they did they would spread the risk over the entire gov't and, this is very important, put into doubt the solvency of the the U.S. I say it is better to let Fannie and Freddie fail than to risk the AAA rating of the United States. This would be one hell of a gamble and I just don't think it is worth it.

Be very, very careful.

Update: The 10 year U.S. treasury is down 4/32nds despite the stock markets being down 1.5%. This is proof that the market is worried about the effect of a bailout. I repeat, we should never mess with the credit rating of our country.

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Tuesday, July 08, 2008


Internet Explorer

Don't use it unless you must

Via cnet, Ryan Naraine warns that exploit code has been published for a bug that can be used for a variety of malicious attacks against users running IE. He quotes this from the US-CERT advisory written by Will Dormann:
Microsoft Internet Explorer fails to properly restrict access to a document’s frames. This can allow an attacker to replace the contents of a web page’s frame with arbitrary content. Internet Explorer still appears to enforce the cross-domain security model, which limits the actions that a malicious frame can take with the parent document. For example, a frame that exists in a different domain should not be able to access the parent document’s cookies or HTML content, or other domain-specific DOM components. However, components that are not tied to a specific domain, such as the onmousedown event. By monitoring this particular event, an IFRAME can capture keystrokes from the parent document. Other actions may be possible.

…By convincing a user to view a specially crafted HTML document (e.g., a web page or an HTML email message), an attacker may be able to access non-domain-specific elements from a web page that exists in a different domain. For example, the attacker may be able to capture keystrokes while a user is interacting with a web page in a different domain.
Microsoft won't be producing a patch for this. Narine also warns us about another IE vulnerability here.

Anyone who uses IE to access the internet should consider using Firefox or Opera instead. They are both free and much less vulnerable to malicious attacks. This is why I like Firefox:
Firefox does an excellent job of updating itself, Internet Explorer does not. The survey found many IE users running old versions of the browser, moreso than other browsers. For example, Firefox defaults to opening up a window telling the user that there is a new version, what the new version is, and asking for permission to install it. Internet Explorer doesn't come close to being that user-friendly.

Not only is the Firefox self-updating system well designed, it benefits from only having to update Firefox. Internet Explorer is udpated as part of Windows Update and Microsoft Update and thus lives in a bigger more complicated, more intimidating system. Microsoft uses this system to update Windows, IE, the .NET frameworks, Office, it's Defender anti-malware software and who knows what else.
Firefox is customizable. There are many different ad-ons available, including some which improve browser security.

I am responsible for security on 6 different computers belonging to friends/family and I strongly discourage all of them from using IE unless its necessary. (Some websites only load in IE.) They all use Firefox and like it.


Robert Reich's Advice

Let's not take it

From a NY Times interview with Robert Reich:
What do you make of the argument that the only way to lessen our dependence on foreign oil is to tap more oil wells here — in Alaska and off the coasts of Florida and California? When you consider that the oil we pump goes into a global oil market, offshore drilling makes no sense. We take the environmental risk, but we’d have to share the negligible price gains with Chinese consumers and every other user around the world.
This answer makes absolutely no sense. And it is the height of arrogance to demand that others the take 'environmental risk' (which is negligible) on our behalf.

Reich wrote this in support of a windfall profits tax on oil companies. He argues that cutting taxes actually costs taxpayers money, the government should discourage Americans from driving, that companies shouldn't return profits to their owners, increasing the supply of oil won't reduce its price and that the government should confiscate private capital for a government led effort to develop renewable energy:
They have more money now than they know what to do with. Their quarterly reports, out this week, will show galactic profits. But for them, basic research in alternatives is too risky. And why should we expect them to invest in alternatives to oil, anyway? They aren't even putting as much as they did five years ago into oil exploration, as a percent of their profits. They figure the best way to keep their stock price high is to use their windfall profits to buy back their shares. This may be good for their shareholders but it's terrible for America.
No, it isn't. What would be terrible for America is if we took his advice.


New McCain ad

It's effective. (Via Hot Air.)

It’s an effective and affecting ad. Will it work? That depends in large part on how people see the 60s. For those who lionize it and its excesses, McCain’s ad will seem silly and pointless. For those who see it as a moment when America lost its way, McCain’s ad will have great appeal, especially in its emphasis on philos over eros. Those of us who believe that the 60s were a mixed bag can still appreciate McCain’s point.

Captain Ed is right about the target for the ad and it will work because it successfully contrasts McCain with the young Obama. Even though Obama was too young to be a hippie, his campaign theme of Hope and Change reverberates with youth movement of that decade. There was an unseriousness about the 60's and early seventies when a lot of young, overindulged people were able to turn their backs on the traditional values due to the wealth that those values had created.

McCain is smart to remind us that just wanting peace will not bring it. Peace is the product of diligence. That is the lesson of the 19060s.

Sunday, July 06, 2008


Iraqis lead final purge of Al-Qaeda

The good news out of the M.E. is coming fast and furious. The last urban stronghold in Iraq of Al Qaeda is in Mosul and the U.S. and Iraqi armies are putting the squeeze on them.

American and Iraqi forces are driving Al-Qaeda in Iraq out of its last redoubt in the north of the country in the culmination of one of the most spectacular victories of the war on terror.

After being forced from its strongholds in the west and centre of Iraq in the past two years, Al-Qaeda’s dwindling band of fighters has made a defiant “last stand” in the northern city of Mosul.

Last stand should read final resting place. Is the MSM reporting this? I don't know, I don't read newspapers or watch the evening news.

Major-General Mark Hertling, American commander in the north, said: “I think we’re at the irreversible point.”

Great news! Now we can think about troop reductions but not for domestic political reasons. Because we have achieved victory over our enemies. Of course, Al Qaeda will not give up and that is why the U.S. will always have some troops in Iraq. They will be a deterrent force which is a nice segue to the next bit of good news.

According to the official, who has been engaged in low-key "second track" discussions with Syrian representatives for many months, Syria's President Bashar Assad is increasingly open to a deal which would greatly weaken Iranian influence in the region.

Alon Liel, a former director of Israel's foreign ministry, said the prospect of a peace agreement with Syria was growing, though it might require a new American president before a deal could be agreed. Syria's support for radical groups including Palestinian Hamas and Lebanese Hizbollah, both also backed by Iran, has played a large part in fomenting trouble in the Middle East.

For any peace agreement to be struck between Israel and Syria, it would first be necessary to agree on the future of the Golan Heights - the lofty piece of territory claimed by Syria but occupied by Israel, which supplies much of that country's drinking water.

It seems that Bashar Assad has seen the writing on the wall. Being an Iranian proxy state is not much of a future considering the Iranians seem bent on going to war with the U.S. and the rest of the region. If Boy Assad is willing to make peace with Israel there must be a good reason to abandon the low level proxy war that Syria has been waging. The only thing that has change is that Al Qaeda in Iraq has been crushed and because of that Syria is even more isolated. IOW, Assad wants to save his own neck.

Our military victory in Iraq and the decision by Syria to enter negotiations is more proof that diplomacy and military strength are intertwined. Talking for the sake of talking is worse than useless when it gives your enemies a chance to prepare to attack you. A lesson our progressive friends need to learn.


"He should not have taken the law in his hands."

Yes he should have.

If your dumb ass son and his friend hadn't been robbing the Subway and trying to hustle this 71 year old former Marine into the bathroom then this whole incident wouldn't have happened.

The criminal then ordered him into the women's restroom. As he was being forced into the restroom, Lovell felt certain of the armed man's intentions. The survival instinct of the 71 year old Marine kicked into hyperdrive.

So he put a bullet in the head of this punk and another in the chest of the one whose parents are complaining when someone shoots their masked, armed robber of a son.

Her husband, Ivory Jones, also condemned the media for its portrayal of Lovell's actions."I don't condone what they did, (but) I definitely don't condone the news people making him out to seem like they're making a hero out of this man because he shot somebody down," he said.

He didn't just shoot anybody, he shot your armed robbing, moron son and that same son will be going to jail for a very long time because someone died while he was committing an armed robbery. So he is a hero and you, the parents of this scumbag soon to be jailbird, should thank him for not aiming at your son's head.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008


An Early Kick Off For The Democratic Convention?

'Black national anthem' stirs controversy for city:

At the start of the event Tuesday morning, (Denver) City Council President Michael Hancock introduced singer Rene Marie to perform the national anthem.

Instead, she performed the song "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing," which is also known as the "black national anthem."

So what did she have to say for herself?

"When I decided to sing my version, what was going on in my head was: 'I want to express how I feel about living in the United States, as a black woman, as a black person,'"

I doubt she was asked to express herself but rather was asked to sing the national anthem. At best this was an ignorant act by someone who should know better but what probably matters most to her is that it made her feel better.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


Empty of Full?

Is the glass 1/6 empty or 5/6 full? Depends on which you prefer.

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