Sunday, February 20, 2005


I'll sign off with a good QOTD I heard on the trip up here:
"Truth has no anger."
Collective Soul, Blame

on location in Philly

Just got back from the Music/Kasavian show...not bad. Loud, but not the loudest I've ever been to I don't think. And the price was right so worth the trip.

Unfortunately my laptop has crapped out for a fifth time (I think, it's happened so much I've lost count). So no more blogging for a few weeks.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005


From Vox Day, concerning some of Howard Dean's antics:
Yep, that pretty much describes the intellectual appeal of left-liberalism. Someone, somewhere, needs a hug.

Sure does.

(illegal) immigration in northwest Arkansas

Just read a WSJ article about my home turf, northwest Arkansas, via Malkin. (Aside: That's two out of three days--those of you who would question her spot on the blogroll have some answering to do.) According to the authors the area is in the beginning stages of an economic boom. From living there and visiting often I'd say it's been booming for the last few years. So I'm curious as to how much the growth will escalate in the near future. I hope it stays somewhat rural and the living costs stay down, in case I should ever decide to move back, but I doubt that will happen. (The costs staying low I mean; I could see myself returning to my old stomping grounds one day.)

The part of the article that really jumped out at me, though, was the bit on immigration. Good discussion on the effects of too many immigrants from third world countries--both legal and illegal--on the local economy. Basically, jobs are becoming more scarce and many that are available are too low-paying to support a household. This is rightfully bothering people there a lot, as there's a widening gap in household income--the very rich and the very poor. (As a side note, immigration isn't a new problem in northwest Arkansas. I remember the biggest local employer getting busted for importing illegal alien workers when I was growing up and the situation is continually getting worse. So the economic boom didn't cause the immigration problem.)

Any nutjobs who still support Bush's watered-down version of amnesty need to think hard on that. If there are unemployed Americans who can't get jobs due to the overpopulation of unskilled workers or people having to work two or more jobs just to support a family, that should say something about the wages. The solution isn't to farm out domestic jobs to anyone in the world willing to come work for that meager allowance, at least not if you don't want our standard of living to plummet. Companies simply need to start paying realistic money to their workers. It simply doesn't make sense to look for a workforce elsewhere when we've got one here at home.

Another problem that arises from excessive immigration, and one that often seems to get overlooked, is the burden placed on schools. Putting aside the argument over the validity of the public school system, it's easy to see that schools are having to stretch their dollars to cover more students. Immigrant workers often rent instead of purchase housing, which means they aren't increasing the property value by developing land or paying the millage to support the local schools (at least that's how it works in Arkansas). Yet those same schools are burdened with having to accommodate students who speak little or no English. When one considers the extra cost of translators, books, etc. for these students, it's easy to see how this can become a major expense. And it's especially hard on rural school districts that don't have much resources to work with in the first place. This was a huge issue in my school district when I graduated in 1997 and I can only expect that it's gotten worse.

What has been happening in northwest Arkansas for some time is happening across the country. Folks had better wake up, and presidents had better quit playing pander politics, or we're in for a rough ride in the coming years.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

the stupid holiday post

As promised, I shall enlighten the masses with my infathomable wisdom on such matters as overhyped holidays. No, it's not a coincidence that this post appears on (the day after) Valentine's Day (which shall henceforth be referred to as V-Day due solely to laziness on my part). Note that I didn't say it was utterly pointless, just overhyped. More on that later, but for now read on. Oh, and in the spirit of full disclosure I'll add that I've never once celebrated V-Day.

Every year during the weeks leading up to V-Day, we're constantly reminded of how crucial it is to drop loads of money on a sparkling rock or piece of metal for that special someone. But I've never seen the point in this. Sure, it's just another example of the greed-driven perversion of a holiday into an excuse to run out and buy something, but there's more that can be said. The main thing that comes to mind is, why would a woman appreciate her man spending so much money on a trinket? Perhaps I'm revealing my complete ignorance in the matter of relationships here, but it simply doesn't make sense. I mean, there's a lot of things two people can do with that kind of money. Buying an expensive piece of jewelry for something other than a significant personal holiday (anniversary, birthday) wouldn't be near the top of my list. If it's the act that counts, something cheaper would show the same thing. Okay, it wouldn't show an impulsiveness that leads one to stupidly spend a large portion of one's income in one shot, but it would get the point across. You know, a nice dinner, flowers, whatever. Like I said I have no experience here so use your imagination. But I for one hope that any future mate of mine would hold me to a higher standard of managing my resources than to spend such money simply for an emotional response.

Another thought: If someone has to go so far out of their way and into their wallet to show their love for a significant other, does that say anything about the relationship? Shouldn't such love be implied? Sure, reminders are nice, but there are anniversaries for that. Or how about just random occasions? Wouldn't that mean more than just doing something because some date happened to creep up? Now I'm not saying that any celebration of V-Day is excessive (although I'm not saying it isn't either). Just pointing out to y'all that V-Day shouldn't carry with it any additional weight or importance. And especially, it should pale in comparison to those personal holidays.

Lest anyone think this is just another rant from some lonely single guy (okay, this is a rant and I am a lonely single guy but you know what I mean), I don't actually have anything against V-Day. In fact, there are times I wish I actually had reason to celebrate it. Although I must admit that it's usually the opposite around V-Day due to the commercialization of it all. But if I were in a relationship I can't see myself treating this day with significantly more importance than any other day in the year. And hopefully I'd be able to show my love enough during the rest of the year that it wouldn't matter. If not, overcelebration of V-Day isn't likely to cure that problem.

Monday, February 14, 2005

uhh....isn't this a war?

I was going to write on the stupidity of a certain "holiday" being celebrated by millions of morons around the world, but that will have to wait. Just read this over at Malkin about a Marine in trouble for...well, shooting a couple of possible enemies. What a load of total bullbleep. It's crap like this that makes one just loathe the military every now and then. Seems to me that Lt. Pantano was defending himself, not to mention doing his job. So, USMC, what's the alternative? Walk up to some Iraqi strangers that look hostile and search them first? Yeah right, and get shot or blown up or killed some other way. His fellow soldiers know this and at least they're behind him--better than we can say for our government that sent him there and put him in that position in the first place. You want a war? That's war, you idiots. It ain't pretty. WTF...

Washington Times article here.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

here goes...

After getting pounded for a few weeks straight the Gnostics were glad to see a bye week come up (in the form of a team that's been unmanaged for months). Even with a dismal performance for the week I'll come out well ahead. That is, unless my trick to steal an extra point or two backfires. The stats are close enough that, with a full team on the floor this evening, Copeland could erase some gaps. But to hell with common sense, I'm going to bench about half my players and keep the good free throw shooters out there, and see if I can't make up a full three percentage points in one day. And the Gnostics have a (very) outside shot at taking turnovers too, which would complete my first 9-0 sweep of the year. Stupid? Of course, but I'm curious as to how close the result actually is. I can afford to drop a couple points since I'm basically a lock for fifth place anyway. All that's left to do now is just keep those Pelagians from nipping at my heels and wait to see who fills the four spot, and then stack my team to send the poor soul packing in the first round.

UPDATE: It worked! Well, not so much my lineup-stacking as Copeland's astonishing five-point drop on a Sunday--gotta be some sort of record. But my percentage increased due to the right guys starting, so I'll claim the credit. Any NBA teams out there looking for an up-and-coming basketball genius such as myself should send their offers by email.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

stick to what you do best

Been reading on a few sites about this Easongate thing, as everyone else likes to call it. Seems that there are a lot of bloggers out there who suddenly feel mega-powerful now that they helped orchestrate the ouster of a media mogul. It's almost as if there's a witchhunt mentality out there, like everyone else had better watch their backs because suddenly the blogosphere is on a roll and looking for more victims. Careful, guys. If the blogosphere starts trying to throw its weight around and undo its enemies just by its mere presence, it sinks to the level of the legacy media it so loves to condemn. Bloggers need to just keep calling the news as they see it and not get carried away with their own agendas. Not that such doesn't already happen, but certainly not to the same extent as in the dinosaur media. I think the blogosphere has a seat at the news table not only because it's the fastest news source but because it is often the most credible news source. Little-known facts and evidence and such are exposed quickly in the blogging world. Not so with the other guys. But if bloggers start playing by the old media rules and become more concerned with promoting themselves than reporting the news, why would they be any better than the problem we're trying to get rid of?

Friday, February 11, 2005

good riddance, Eason

So, that liar Eason Jordan finally stepped down (story here). Given his colorful history of baseless insults against the military, it's about time. It's nice to see someone in the media actually take some small amount of responsibility for their words. (Hello Dan Rather, are you listening?) Although I kinda suspect he took the fall so his fellow media leftards could continue marching, not to mention the nice buy-out that was surely involved. But I can't see it changing anything in those circles. The legacy media is infested with ideologues like that who will stop at nothing to promote their pet causes, and it shouldn't be hard for the Communist News Network to replace Eason with another choice liberal. And the slanted news coverage, if we can even call it that much, will continue unabated.

Any fool who is still watching CNN for news--all five of them--will not care that the network's news chief was forced out by a controversy he couldn't control. In fact, plenty probably see him as some sort of martyr who took the fall for speaking the truth. So will CNN lose viewers or drop in the ratings? I doubt it. And will the behavior of other top execs and talking heads change? I doubt that even more. Well, okay, they might try harder to keep up the facade of fairness. Oh, and they'll certainly hate those pesky bloggers even more. Damn those basement hacks who keep exposing the truth!

Thursday, February 10, 2005

on suffering

Finally went to my Bible study tonight, first time in a long while due to just about everything in my life happening on Thursday nights lately. It's kinda hit and miss with this group; some nights I feel like I get something and others leave me wondering if I learned anything or grew any at all. The people are cool but the theology just isn't there. Anyway I'm just not used to it yet I guess. But this one was very good...talked mostly about suffering, basic stuff and some good discussions. Been thinking a lot about such things lately (mostly self-centered admittedly), in large part as a result of lots of looking at my own past.

One thing that seems to stick in my mind a lot is how my suffering can allow me to help others. Not those I know, but those I might hang out with for only a short time or even random strangers I may never see again. I have always found it easy to let down my guard a bit when I'm not around people I know. For me that usually means going about my business without paying attention to anyone around me, or being in such a hurry that I wish everyone and everything would just disappear so I wouldn't be so inconvenienced as to have to deal with the little things. Basically, just tune everything else out until I have to see someone I know again.

But one thing suffering does is force us to come to grips with the fact that we desperately need others in our lives. Not just good friends but those who can just lift us up here and there. Perhaps God lets us go through crises in our life so that for the brief stretch of time we're around somebody we'll understand a bit more about them and would be able to actually have an impact on them, rather than being just another acquaintance they might or might not remember. Oftentimes a passing moment to one person is a critical point to another. No matter how much I can recall from over the years, it's those small things that really stay with me. There are people out there who likely don't know who I am today, but a few words they said to me or something small they did for me affected me greatly. So it only makes sense that my actions would do, and are doing, the same for others.

Something to think about the next time we get in that shut-down mode. I'd like to write more on this but my brain just isn't working with me this evening. But I think about it often so maybe there will be a sequel of sorts.

quote of the day

From John Adams, as stated in today's Breakpoint commentary:
facts are stubborn things...our wishes [and] the dictates of our passion...cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.

Amen. But as Colson makes clear, it sure won't stop feminists from trying.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

why do they hate us?

Vox Day responds to the question of why Jihadists don't seem to like us:
That's simple enough. They hate us because we're over there. If we would leave them alone, they would focus their energies in places such as India, Indonesia, the Phillipines, the former Soviet Union and Europe...

Now Vox is plenty intelligent, but this proves that even someone that smart can be dead wrong every now and then. Are we to conclude that those pesky Jihadists would just ignore us if we didn't have troops in their desert? Fat chance. These radicals see themselves as being opposed to the entire infidel world, not just parts of it. They've told us that themselves. And yet, despite their current animosity toward non-Muslims and centuries of violent history, we're supposed to think that we can ignore that problem and it will go away, or at least ignore us in return? Give me a break. There are plenty of good arguments as to why we shouldn't be fighting in Iraq (I happen to think we ought to be taking the fight to them BTW) but the "everyone will leave each other alone" crap is not one of them.

Vox Popoli commenter Soup says it well:
So the hope herein is...what? That maybe if we leave them alone they'll stop killing us, and only kill other people? That perhaps they'll stop bothering us by flying planes into our buildings, bombing our ships, slitting the throats of journalists/tourists/contractors (that is of course until they mature militarily and can threaten us with nuclear annhilation)? Yeah, that's the ticket, ignore it, and it will go away. Sounds like "A Field of (Pipe) Dreams" to me.

Me too.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

SB XXXIX prediction: all pats, baby

I can't believe what I'm reading on some other sites. 42-10 EAGLES?!?! If the guy hadn't went to such length to slam Belicheck and the Pats I'd think he was joking. Since when has the Eagles offense been that dangerous, especially against a D like the Pats have? And sure, Belicheck may be overrated, but you're going to bet against Tom Brady in a playoff game? The guy is unreal in the postseason.

Methinks all one has to do is look at the schedules. One team came out of the loaded AFC with a 14-2 record and then embarassed two of the best teams in the league, even holding the supposedly unstoppable Colts to ZERO touchdowns. The other team emerged from the weaker NFC with really a 15-1 record (they could have easily won both of those last games if they had to) and did a good job shutting down two potent offenses. But in neither playoff game did they show any kind of shock-and-awe offense, and those weren't exactly defensive powerhouses they were playing. And...someone out there somewhere is going to take the Eagles? In a rout??? Um, okay.

Eagles fans might hope that Pats are coming in overconfident, but come on, these are the Patriots. And he's Bill Belicheck. All week the Pats have been the calm, reserved, "let's just play" team while the Eagles and their fans have been excited like they'd just made the leap after three straight conference championship losses or something. The one gleam of hope I can see for the Eagles is that the Pats haven't faced a running QB like McNabb all year. But how often does McNabb just take over a game? If it were Vick out there I could see it but not Donovan. Face it, the Eagles offense just isn't that scary. So while the game might be close if the Eagles D can hold the Pats down, I can't see the offense putting up enough points to win much less run the Pats out of Jax. Call it luck, an uncanny ability to win close games, or whatever you want. The Pats just win. And in this case, with one of the best Super Bowl quarterbacks of all time and against the tame offense of Philly, they'll win big. 38-21 New England, with a TD or two from the Eagles in garbage minutes.

UPDATE: Wow. The Eagles actually impressed me. Note that I only saw the halftime show and third quarter--this was one of those nights when I really wish I had cable--so I didn't see all the sloppy stuff. But the Eagles did well I thought; had McNabb not completed that pass to Harrison at the goal line they might have won this thing. And even more surprising to me was how good the halftime show was. I'm not at all a Beatles fan but I really liked McCartney's show for some reason. Between that and U2's epic performance in '02 the NFL oughta just stick to British bands for big shows from now on. Overall a good Super Bowl, coming from someone who didn't see most of it.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

entrance exam stats

Interesting discussion over at Vox Popoli about entrance exam statistics and what they say (or don't say) about voter intelligence.

According to average SAT scores across the country, Republican voters are slightly smarter than Democratic voters. Okay, tell us something else we didn't already know.

But there are several problems with using such statistics. The most glaring one that I see is that the distribution of students taking the SAT varies widely from state to state. In the northeast, where the SAT is the exam of choice, anyone even thinking of college will take it. But in the south and to a lesser extent the midwest, the ACT is preferred so a much smaller percentage of students will pay the money and go through the trouble of taking the SAT. The only reason to take the SAT is if you're considering a school in another part of the country or are shooting for National Merit Finalist status. And to be considering such a school in the first place, you're probably going to be smarter and better prepared than most students taking the exam. Thus it can be reasonably assumed that the SATers from the south and midwest are, on average, better prepared than those from the northeast.

Not to say that northeastern high school students aren't as smart though. The above argument would also apply to the ACT. Since northern students only have a reason to take it if they're thinking of heading out of state, the average scores will be higher in those states than in the southern states where just about everyone considering any form of higher education will take the ACT.

As an example, most of my high school graduating class took the ACT but I'm the only one I know of (out of 100 or so graduates) who took the SAT. It's not a coincidence that I'm also the only one I'm aware of who applied to a school in the northeast.

Another problem is that those exams often aren't a very good indicator of actual wisdom and common sense, which I think are far more important in determining someone's worldview and thus their political views. Someone could be a rocket scientist and still be blind to basic truths, and vice versa. Those tests are measuring scholastic aptitude and ability to excel in higher education, not how much someone knows about the world around them. And in my opinion they're not very good indicators anyway. I know several people from my high school that didn't do very well on the ACT yet are probably considerably smarter in a lot of areas than I am. And yours truly blew away those entrance exams but it didn't carry over into college. I barely slipped out after six years of killing time and doing whatever was necessary to keep advancing; actually trying to learn something rarely crossed my mind. Okay, they're probably not too bad across the board, but it's easy to slip through the cracks.

Thirdly, only college-bound students or those thinking of college ever take the exams in the first place. That's getting to be a larger and larger chunk of the population but it's by no means representative of the whole. So such an analysis fails to even measure those with no education beyond high school. Though since they tend to lean Republican in red states and Democratic in blue states anyway this might not make much difference. But you'd at least want to make some mention of all those voters, right?

There are probably several more reasons that I can't think of right now because it's past my bedtime. But if I were trying to put together an solid case for why Pubs are smarter than Dems entrance exam scores isn't someplace I would look for evidence.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

the wonders of social security

Just received a "Social Security Statement" in the mail today. Basically this waste of taxpay--er, government--paper and money tells me what my benefits would be if I become disabled. (It also has spouse/child survivors' benefits but that doesn't mean anything to guys like me.) If I become disabled right now, my estimated benefits would be in the neighborhood of $1,000 per month. That's right, taxpayers, if I am suddenly get injured and were unable to return to work, you get to pay me that much per month to sit on my @$$ for the rest of my life. And at my age that could be a while. Stepping in front of an oncoming bus sounds like a pretty good career move. Hey, if you're going to cash in, why not cash in early, right? Ain't Social Security great?

And how about this: "Your benefit amount may be affected by military service, railroad employment or pensions earned..."

Uhh, railroad employment? How'd that snake its way in there? Sounds like some effective lobbying from the railroaders to me.

I have a better idea for that money: How about the government give me everything in my "account" (as if it's somehow mine and I somehow have access to it), blacklist me for any SS benefits for the rest of my life, and let me put that money someplace where it will actually multiply*? Actually, why doesn't the government just quit taking it from me in the first place? Save us both a lot of trouble.

Robbery, I tell you.

*A caller on C-SPAN Radio (yeah, the radio stations around here suck that bad) recently pointed out that the Dow Jones was at 680 in 1965 and just recently closed at over 10,200. For you mathematically challenged folks, it's gone up 1,500% in the last 40 years. Think your SS interest could do that well? Does SS even have interest?