Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Off To The Music City

I'm off to Nashville, to try my luck at the music biz.

Okay, I'm actually going on business. But I'm hoping to catch some of the sights while I'm there.

Ryman Auditorium, former home of the Grand Ole Opry

And maybe find some stuff on the L&N...

Monday, February 27, 2006

What's So Interesting About The Falkland Islands?

Some bad ideas just won't die. From the Scotsman: "Falkland fear as Argentina steps up show of strength."

AN INCREASINGLY anxious UK government is closely monitoring a build-up of Argentinian military strength and a series of confrontations with the RAF close to the Falkland Islands, Scotland on Sunday can reveal.

The activity has led Tony Blair's most senior advisers to demand he issues a "hands-off" warning to Buenos Aires.

The Falkland Islands have long been a sore spot for British-Argentinian relations and Argentinian pride, but they usually remain out of the news until the Argentine government needs a distraction from troubles at home. I wasn't aware that things were that bad; I thought the Argentine economy was doing better than its troubles of a few years ago.

Apparently, I'm wrong.

For more references on the 1982 war, consider:
BBC News
Honour Regained
Battles of the Falklands War

Cartoon Jihad Update, and new FFQ

A new Friday Furo Questus is up over at The Wasatch Front.

There's also a couple of new items of interest on the "cartoon jihad" today:

Protein Wisdom: "Fifth Calumny."

Time Blair:
"Attack Only The Safe Targets." Apparently, free speech extends only to those subjects approved by The Enlightened Ones. By the way, the two-minute-hate begins in just a few minutes...

Colby Cosh:
"The Friends of Imam Slimi."

Good-bye, Don...And Thanks

Don Knotts, passed away at 81.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Random Thought - Comment Spam

Can someone, somewhere, explain to me the rationale behind comment spam?

And why can't you spell. Folks, I'm not going to trust a dime to someone who doesn't even know how to spell "million" correctly.

Really, I don't get it. Leaving a spam comment on this blog is like putting a billboard advertising feminine hygiene products in the middle of the Dugway Proving Grounds. Any woman who does happen across it would be far more worried about the seal integrity of her gas mask than the latest innovation in tampons.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

From My Cold Callused Fingers

*** From The Hewitt Center For Internet Addiction ***

Sorry for the extended abscence. An internet outage at work has kept me from blogging much.

Well, that, and the commitment by my so-called friends to this facility.

I'll never break, you fiends! You hear me?

Umm - I hear footsteps. Uh-oh.

Tyler - Cooler!

Uh-oh. Gotta go. I'll be back soon...

*** An email from the desk of Igor ***
*** Hewitt Center For Internet Addiction ***

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Delirium Nevadens

There's nothing that says "paralyzed" like seing State Street bumper-to-bumper, in both directions, between 39th South and 45th South, and extending far beyond those streets.

We're having what feels like our biggest storm of the season today. Nothing dramatic, just steadily dropping snow since early this morning - and the roads icing over during the evening commute. UDOT has done an outstanding job this season until today - I think the commute hurt their ability to get out and plow. With traffic going nowhere, the plows can't make their rounds either.

Apparently it's worse up north, between Ogden and Salt Lake. Stretches of I-15 have been closed off and on as the UHP tries to deal with several bad accidents.

It doesn't help that it appears that most drivers simply forget how to drive in bad weather. I think it's called delirium nevadens, and it's not a new phenomenon - I know of a case occuring in California in 1846.

Today was different, though. Considering the relatively small amount of snow actually on the ground, traffic was bad everywhere, including the streets near my work. It was a little eerie to see what is a normally moderately travelled street backed up bumper-to-bumper in both directions, with distant sirens heard in all directions. It was very disquieting - there was a sense of unease that the whole experience brought out, which is very unusual considering the tranquility that snowstorms here usually bring.

Well, what happens, happens. I have a full tank of gas, and I'm staying in tonight. We'll see what the morning brings.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Cartoon Rage and Hate Crime

The strange furor over the Danish editorial cartoons I mentioned last Friday continues. Indeed, it has taken on a strange cast in Canada.

Ezra Levant, publisher of the Calgary-based magazine, says he expects that some outlets will decide against selling the issue, which was published Monday but will not be readily across the country for up to 10 days.

"With something this spicy, it may be that some newsstands decline to take it for their own reasons," said Levant, noting that half of the magazine's 40,000 circulation goes directly to subscribers.

Levant says Canada's mainstream newspapers and civil liberties organizations are hypocritical by self-censoring the cartoons, which he describes as innocuous.

"We think these cartoons are the central artifacts of the largest news story of the month," said Levant, whose magazine is published 24 times a year.

"The question is not why would a news magazine run a newsworthy picture, but rather why would 100 other news magazines and newspapers not?"

But stranger still - Canadian Muslims are calling this a hate crime.
Mohamed Elmasry, national leader of the Canadian Islamic Congress, says he would like the Western Standard charged with distributing hate literature.

"They already know this is hurtful to Muslims," said Elmasry. "For Western Standard to go out of their way and re-publish them, the only explanation is provocation."

Elmasry says there is a limit to free speech. If no charges are laid against Levant, the Islamic group plans to lobby federal politicians to toughen up the hate laws.
But don't question their patriotism...

Mr. Levant goes on to raise an excellent point:

Levant dismisses suggestions from some editors that they don't like to offend religious groups. He points to the current cover of Rolling Stone, with rapper Kanye West portrayed as Jesus Christ with a crown of thorns.

"The difference is when they offend Christianity, Christians write a letter to the editor or maybe invite them out for lunch and try to appeal to them," said Levant, who is Jewish. "What the Muslim world has demonstrated over the last month is that they will get violent."

Again, I'm not saying that newspapers deliberately going out and stirring contoversy is a good thing. But they do have the right to provoke, and the right to offend. Such is the freedom of the press. I may not agree with it or how responsibly they use it, but the press does have that right.

I also think that the press has been very selctive in exercising religious discretion. The Rolling Stone cover Mr. Levant mentions is hardly difficult to find.

I can appreciate where Muslims can be offended - I would be offended by similar depictions of the founder of my church, or of Jesus Christ. But looking at the cartoons actually published by the Danish newspaper, they are pretty mild compared to some depictions of Christ and Christianity that were committed in the to name of art, and on the taxpayer dime (through an NEA grant to the sick individual responsible) to boot.

What this furor has exposed is there is something wrong with a significant portion of those who call themselves Muslims. That so many could be whipped into such a frenzy bodes ill for us all. If anyone proves more successful in placing himself at the forefront of popular Islam, and succeeds in mobilizing that support, will make the Crusades look like child's play.

[An aside: Cases like that above are what make me nervous about "hate crime" laws. There's been a big hullabaloo here in Utah for years over this. But we are charging a person for their thoughts - not their actions. And that makes me nervous. Criminalize acts - cross-burning, vandalism, cold-blooded murder - not thoughts. Just my two cents.]

UPDATE: Andrew Stuttaford has more on Denmark and their abandonment in today's NRO.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Zimbabwe: Do-Over

Now Zimbabwe is considering a partial reversal-of-course.

From the London Telegraph:
President Robert Mugabe has begun to reverse his "insane" land grab and offer some white farmers the chance to lease back their holdings in Zimbabwe.

With the fastest shrinking economy in the world, Mr Mugabe has had to backtrack on six years of chaos and his own determination to rid the country of all white farmers.

In an orgy of violence, Mr Mugabe seized the land, homes, equipment and infrastructure of about 4,000 white commercial farmers who produced almost half of Zimbabwe's foreign currency.
Oh, but the government will be retaining the land - it's leasing it back to the farmers who originally owned it. How benevolent.

Check this out:
The government is expected to admit in the next few days that it has only used about 50 per cent of the land it seized. In reality, land economists say the figure of idle land is nearer 80 to 90 per cent.
No wonder they're starving.

The whites that have left should tell Mugabe to stick it. His socialist paradise is collapsing around him. Let him enjoy the rubble - and the angry consequences that will follow.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Zimbabwe: What Hath Mugabe Wrought?

A nation in collapse.

The latest throes of a nation in collapse are now occuring:

50,000 Zimbabwean dollars can now barely buy you a loaf of bread.

It is now probably too late; now we can only watch the madman reap his bitter harvest, a harvest of death, disease, and despair.

Some vision, President Mugabe. A vision of Hell.

Prior Articles:
You Reap What You Sow
Plowing Zimbabwe Under
Old Bad Ideas Never Die

Friday, February 03, 2006

Seen At The Corner

Jonah Goldberg:


I'm basically on Derb's side of this argument. I don't think everyone wants freedom. Indeed, when we get around to coming up with a new metaphysic, I think we're going to need to include the fact that the human brain is wired to prefer tribal organization. All of the big "isms" of the 20th century -- communism, fascism, socialism, environmentalism, progressivism -- are predicated on a truly reactionary vision which tries to recreate tribal living on "modern" lines.Communism is a tribalism of class, fascism is tribalism of nation, Nazism is tribalism of race, Jihadism is a tribalism of religion, etc etc. Indeed, egalitarianism itself is a form of tribalism, if you ask me. It comes from the instinctive jealousy which says "no one should have more than his share of mastodon."

For all the b.s. we've heard from "revolutionaries" these last 200 years, there has been only one truly revolutionary political idea: liberalism (of the classical variety). Locke, the founding fathers, Adam Smith et al.: these were the most radical thinkers of the last 2,000 years because they tried to break the logic of tribalism. Freedom is what we have in a state of nature and it naturally terrifies us. Which is why we like to live in the tribal arrangements we evolved in. Liberty, on the other hand, is a human invention requiring civic education and commitment to certain enduring principles. It takes work precisely because it doesn't come naturally.

A New Friday Furo Questus

...is up at The Wasatch Front.

Also, a look at allocating Utah's budget surplus is here and here.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Adventures In Small Business - Business Relationships

I am currently working on delivering a product which is late. Very late. Yes, I know it is late. If I had forgotten, the daily phone calls from the customer would have sufficed to remind me. The daily faxes are also a helpful reminder. I have a stack of them in front of me now, waiting for the day when Al Gore's fantasy strikes, "The Day After Tomorrow" comes, and I have build a fire using faxes for kindling and my stapler for sparks. But I digress.

MBA school teaches you about communication, and that the customer is always right. While I have my doubts about the validity of those teachings, what they don't tell you is that what to do when your customer is a gold-plated [CENSORED].

And now, the latest daily fax has arrived, and accuses me of being a liar. For a contractor, that's a stretch. (Hello, pot? This is kettle - you're black!)

So today has been a day of delights unmentionable.

And the probability of me telling someone to do something anatomically impossible to himself and the horse he rode in on has gone up considerably.