June 28, 2008

New Jersey Scholar Tackles Rumors About Ties Between the Bush Family and Osama Bin Laden

Oh, wait. I'm sorry.

That wasn't her focus at all . . . my bad!

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And He Kept Getting Richer, and He Finally Got His Picture

. . . on the cover of the Rolling Stone.

Via Ed Driscoll, via Glenn.

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"I Was for the D.C. Handgun Ban Before I Was Against It."

"Look, I teach Constitutional Law, and I know that individual communities need to take illegal handguns off the street. If they do that by making all handguns illegal, so much the better. By the way, NRA = bad. Supreme Court decisions that strike down handgun bans = good. Now let me finish my waffle; they told me I could eat all I want—they'll make more."

h/t: Captain Ed at Hot Air.

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Althouse: "Are Handguns a Feminist Issue?"

Yeah, Professor: I do agree that when Scalia discussed the virtues of handguns over longarms for those with less upper-body strength, he probably had women in mind, along with the elderly and disabled. But the Kool-Aid consumed by orthodox feminist groups—and even readers of mainstream women's magazines, such as Family Circle and Women's Day—is powerful stuff: we have been told repeatedly for years and years that merely having a gun in the house puts us and our children in danger, and that handguns are terribly easy for potential attackers to turn against us. Because, you see, they often have greater upper body strength.

For more of the nonsense we've been reading about for decades about how women are "armed and in danger," skim through this discussion thread over at McArdle's place, and find those juicy bits that display how egregiously the gun-grabbers have been "lying with statistics" to women for years.

(X-posted at Right Wing News.)

June 27, 2008

"We Could Look at Puppies."

"After all," I explain, "that is not the same thing as a dog."

"Puppies have a marked tendancy to turn into dogs," he tells me.

I sigh. "Don't you remember what Juie Bernstein told us?&mdaash;'Once a puppy, always a puppy. Though sometimes the dimensions get slightly larger.'"

"The dimensions always get larger, unless you manage to off it," he responds.

You see how badly he wants one, right? Else why protest so much?

"You know," I tell him, "I think you're getting way into some left-brain-dominant thinking. Do you need to go back to T'ai Chi class? Because it seems to me like you aren't living in the now. Be here now. Don't worry about the future. If your heart calls out for a puppy, you need to respect that call."

See, he thinks I want a pit bull, or a golden Lab, or German Shepherd, or a retreiver. But to me a tiny little terrier would be just fine, once I got Mandy acclimated to him or her. Mandy is very tender with little doggies, once she understands that they are family members.

So I think we have everything all settled, now. Except for the part wherein A the H sees the puppy and realizes the error of his ways, and submits to what he really wants, deep down. And how long could that take?

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The Gender Thing: A Heteronormative Post

I love the portrait, but scroll down. People have to play games about sex? I dunno. Life is short. I got this via McArdle, who has her own grotesqueries to relate from her friends' stories—male and female.

I am acquainted with an older man who, in marriage #3, no longer feels a need to fool around behind his wife's back. The reason? Well, it's probably a bit complex (wives #1 and #2 were interesting ladies), but I think in his 70s he's real hip to the demographic data: if something were to happen to his marriage, he wouldn't have to be alone if he didn't want to be. The male:female ratio among senior citizens is simply enormous.

Therefore, he's got nothing to prove any more.

I cannot imagine ever not being a flirt, and it's safe for me now because I'm married. My sister-in-law wore a wedding ring on a sojourn to the Middle East, though she was single. If I were to lose my husband I'd probably keep wearing the ring, because guys like me, and I don't believe in hanging out in a dark theatre without an "Exit" sign clearly visible.

Naw—I won't have to gain a bunch of weight to check out of the game, either. If A the H has a heart attack and checks out early, I keep the ring, watch my back even more than I do now, start carrying again, and stay single.

It isn't that I don't like men. I love men. But they now make detachable shower heads that pulse and vibrate and do all kinds of things. And no ego games.

I'm good at the games, but I have no aversion to being single, either, should I lose the love of my life.

If something happened to my husband, I'd be crushed. I might never get over it. But compared to the rest of the elderly sisterhood, I'd be sitting in the catbird seat.

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Palin! Palin! PALIN!

Can she be McCain's Veep and still do what needs to be done in Alaska? There is no other area of this country as critical to assuring our petroleum reserves over the next few decades (beyond the Gulf Coast), other than Alaska. Yes, we need to drill on the Continental Shelves (Atlantic, and Pacific). And, yes, the Gulf Coast is nearly as fecund a source of petroleum as Alaska.

But every other area requires cooperation between states: the expertise isn't concentrated like it is in the Last Frontier. Inter-state cooperation wouldn't be rquired as it would be in the Gulf, and to harvest the shale oil in Utha, Colorado, and Wyoming.

If the Feds—and by that, I mean silly Northeastern congresscritters—would get out of the way, this could happen in a safe, efficient manner that would help to get the boot of Middle Eastern fascism off the faces of the normal people in the world while we develop more sustainably forms of energy.

Every other option we have on the table (other than building a few well-made, God-fearing nuclear plants) will take some new engineering. As Governor Palin states, drilling in ANWR is something we know how to do, and the area in question is a tiny sliver of land—akin to a metropolitan airport.

Plus, the whole operation is a stone's throw from Prudhoe Bay, so we can do what we did there: but better, faster, and in an even more environmantally friendly way.

Plus, Palin is smokin' hot. Look her in the face, consider how popular she is among her constituents, and tell me she's wrong. Come on: it can't be done.

Via Hot Air, which quoted my own Governor running off at the mouth about how he'll keep his Hummer running by . . . . I dunno: getting Production Assistants to peddle really hard, and turning the thing into a giant, combat-ready rickshaw. I didn't read Arnold's critique really carefully. I think he likes being homecoming queen around here, and discussing realistic sources of energy would knock that crown right off his head.

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The Latest from Jane Novak

This is what we are up against when we stand up to the Yemeni thugs:

As always, go to Armies of Liberation for the latest on the Yemeni People vs. the Yemeni Government.

This little girl deserves to have her dad back in her family. Free Abdulkarim al-Khaiwani! Now.

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And Speaking of Flex-Fuel Vehicles,

PJM's Zubrin has found the pearl in the oyster of McCain's energy policy. And it's a badass mabe pearl, too. Because (1) I'm a selfish asshole, and (2) I don't trust everyone to "go read the whole thing," I'll quote extensively, because this is a pivotal point.

Zubrin begins with the proposed prize for developing a bitchin' battery for use in electric and hybrid vehicles—because of course no one's really working on that project . . .

More to the point, why focus on battery development at all as a major element of energy policy? With or without revolutionary batteries, there is no realistic prospect at all of electric or hybrid cars gaining a sufficient share of the American market — let alone worldwide car sales — on a time scale fast enough to do anything significant to stop the crushing of the United States by the Islamist-led oil cartel.

Let’s stop fooling around. This year the United States will import 5 billion barrels of oil. At $130/barrel, the bill for that will come to $650 billion, or more than five times the cost of the Iraq war. Add to that $400 billion the Americans will pay for domestic oil, and our total fuel bill this year will come to over a trillion dollars, and the world as a whole will pay $4 trillion. These petroleum costs are up a factor of twelve from what they were in 1999, and represent a huge highly-regressive tax on the world economy. For Americans, the $1000 billion oil levy is equivalent to a 40% increase in income taxes across the board - with sixty percent of the sum being paid over in tribute to foreign governments.

Averaged over the US population of 300 million people, the $1000 billion OPEC tax levies a tribute amounting to $3300 per head — for every man, woman, and child in the country, or $13,300 for a family of four. The average American worker makes about $45,000 per year, or $35,000 after taxes paid to Uncle Sam. In 1999, such a worker supporting a family of four had to pay 3% of his disposable income for oil. Now Uncle Saud and Uncle Hugo are taxing him for over 38% of his take-home pay. Is it any wonder that such people are not buying houses? Such a massive drain of cash from the pockets of consumers must perforce collapse the real estate market — as well as that for many other kinds of consumer goods.

So, as a result of this massive tax increase — by far the largest in American history — the United States is being driven into a recession. Subjected to the same tax, Europe and Japan will follow, while poor third world countries who can afford high oil prices even less will be pushed towards starvation. And as the misery spreads, the Saudis and other OPEC potentates are putting together huge Sovereign Wealth Funds to execute takeovers of the western corporations their extortion forces into insolvency. Indeed, OPEC will clear $1.5 trillion in net export profits this year. The entire worth of the US Fortune 500 is $18 trillion. So at their current rate of looting, OPEC will accumulate enough cash to buy majority control of the entire Fortune 500 within 6 years.

This is a 5-alarm emergency. The oil crisis is not a matter of high fill-up prices, or even the loss of economic prosperity. Our independence is at stake. Under such circumstances, McCain’s proposals for battery prizes, enforcing CAFE standards, encouraging “zero-emission vehicles,” and even opening the east and west coast continental shelves to oil exploration, range from silly to, at best, marginally relevant.

Fortunately, however, there was one proposal that McCain put forward that could really make a difference. This was his call to require that all new cars sold in the USA be flex fueled.

Flex fuel cars can run on any combination of alcohol (including methanol and ethanol) or gasoline. The technology is readily available and it only costs about $100 per vehicle.

Making America a flex-fuel vehicle market would effectively make flex-fuel the international standard, as all significant foreign car makers would be impelled to convert their lines over as well. Within three years of such a mandate, there would be 50 million cars on the road in the USA capable of running on alternate fuels, and hundreds of millions more worldwide. Around the globe, gasoline would be forced to compete at the pump against alcohol fuels made from any number of sources, including not only current commercial crops like corn and sugar, but cellulosic ethanol made from crop residues and weeds, as well as methanol, which can be made from any kind of biomass without exception, as well as coal, natural gas, and recycled urban trash. Creating such an open-source fuel market would enormously expand and diversify humanity’s fuel resource base, protecting all nations from continued blackmail, robbery, and in some cases, starvation, induced by the oil cartel.

Methanol is selling today, without any subsidy, for $1.50/gallon on the spot market, equivalent in energy terms to gasoline at $2.80/gallon. Make cars that can choose between methanol and gasoline, and the power of OPEC to set high prices will be broken for good — everywhere in the world.

So break out the champagne. Amidst a pile of campaign nonsense, John McCain just set forth one policy that could save the nation.

Emphasis all mine. And, hey—I called it.

h/t: Reynolds.

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Okay, So I Shot the Moon on My Amazon Wish List

(Beyond the real "hail, Mary" of putting the Amazon Kindle on there.)

1) But I certainly don't need two of those cheap, cool video cameras. It's just that I couldn't decide whether (should I have a rich , web-savvy aunt whom I don't yet know about) I would rather have the Aiptek A-HD 720P 5MP CMOS High Definition Camcorder, or the Flip Video Ultra Series 60-minute Camcorder.

It seems that the Flip is more compact, but I like the fact that the Aiptek has a fold-out screen that allows you to monitor how the footage is coming out a bit better, without (apparently) increasing the bulk significantly.

Also, the Flip 60-minute has a one-hour limit on it. Period. If you forgot your laptop, or don't have time to download the existing vid right then and there, you're SOL. With the Aiptek (if I'm reading the specs right), if you run out of space you throw in a new card, get the rest of the footage you want, get on with your life, and download the vids that night.

2) Related question: I do want to do a bloggers' talk show with some of the SoCal folk, so does anyone have any idea how difficult it would be to electronically alter someone's fact after the footage were taken? Ideally, I'd prefer to simply repace this one deep-cover blogger with an avatar, but I realized I need a motion-capture suit and a computer-graphics lab to achieve that.

Is there cost-effective technology that would simply allow me to pixillate her face, or would I have to make her wear a stupid mask, and give her her own mike? Thoughts?

Oh, yeah: and my birthday is on July 9th. Cash works, too: or a used desktop monitor for my MacBook that I can use for watching movies thereon. Actually, my very favoritest thing would if you bought Blogads from me.

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Krugman in the New York Times

Every once in a while, the man makes a good point.*

Congress has always had a soft spot for “experts” who tell members what they want to hear, whether it’s supply-side economists declaring that tax cuts increase revenue or climate-change skeptics insisting that global warming is a myth. Right now, the welcome mat is out for analysts who claim that out-of-control speculators are responsible for $4-a-gallon gas.

Back in May, Michael Masters, a hedge fund manager, made a big splash when he told a Senate committee that speculation is the main cause of rising prices for oil and other raw materials. He presented charts showing the growth of the oil futures market, in which investors buy and sell promises to deliver oil at a later date, and claimed that “the increase in demand from index speculators” — his term for institutional investors who buy commodity futures — “is almost equal to the increase in demand from China.”

Many economists scoffed: Mr. Masters was making the bizarre claim that betting on a higher price of oil — for that is what it means to buy a futures contract — is equivalent to actually burning the stuff.

But members of Congress liked what they heard, and since that testimony much of Capitol Hill has jumped on the blame-the-speculators bandwagon.

Somewhat surprisingly, Republicans have been at least as willing as Democrats to denounce evil speculators. But it turns out that conservative faith in free markets somehow evaporates when it comes to oil. For example, National Review has been publishing articles blaming speculators for high oil prices for years, ever since the price passed $50 a barrel.

And it was John McCain, not Barack Obama, who recently said this: “While a few reckless speculators are counting their paper profits, most Americans are coming up on the short end — using more and more of their hard-earned paychecks to buy gas.”

Why are politicians so eager to pin the blame for oil prices on speculators? Because it lets them believe that we don’t have to adapt to a world of expensive gas.

No. It's because we don't want to tackle the most important steps:

• increase use of natural gas for transportation needs;

• build environmentally sensitive, clean-burning nuclear power plants so we can develop the electricity to use for our electric cars;

• enhance harvesting of domestic petroleum (in ANWR, on the Continental Shelf, and in Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah);

• increase use of shale oil—that is, reverse the moratorium on its harvesting‐and repeal the prohibition on its use for military applications;

• create a fair, flat, arch-capitalist playing field among the various biofuels we're researching; and

• encourage flex-fuel vehicles that will take either petroleum products or biofuels, thereby insulating the economy from market shocks as supplies of different types of fuels wax and wane.

Do I sound like a broken record, here? That is most certainly my intent.

* James Thurber [from memory, but it should be close]:

Don't get the impression that writers never agree at parties. They usually do, once during the course of the evening; it generally sounds like this: "you're right, you're absolutely right. The problem is, you don't have the faintest idea why you're right."

h/t: The Memesters.

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June 26, 2008

Dark Lord Rove Hasn't Yet Given Me Today's Marching Orders

. . . so I'll quote his editorial in today's WaPo:

Mr. Obama, in his first national TV ad rolled out Friday, claims credit for having "extended health care for wounded troops," citing the 2008 defense authorization. That bill passed 91-3—but Mr. Obama was one of only six senators who didn't show up to vote. This brazen claim underscores the candidate's thin résumé and, again, his chutzpah.

Mr. Obama has now also played the race card, twice suggesting in recent weeks that Republicans will draw attention to the fact that he's black. Who is unaware of that? Americans overwhelmingly find it a hopeful, optimistic sign that the country could elect an African-American president. But they rightly want to know what kind of leader he might be. They may well reject as cynical any maneuver to discourage close examination of him by suggesting any criticism is racially motivated.

The candidate's self-centeredness has been on display before. Having effectively sewed up the Democratic nomination, he could have agreed to seat the Florida and Michigan delegations (states Hillary Clinton had carried). While reducing his lead by 50 to 55 delegates, it would not have altered the outcome. But Mr. Obama supported cutting these battleground-state delegations in half. At a time when magnanimity was called for, the candidate decided he'd strut.

Mr. Obama's alpha-male attitude was evident even as he stumbled towards and over the primary finish line. First, his campaign announced in May it was talking to Patti Solis Doyle after Sen. Clinton fired her as campaign manager. This served only to pour salt in the Clintons' wounds.

Then, after the primaries ended June 3, Mr. Obama's campaign leaked word that Leon Panetta (a Clinton supporter who'd apparently angered the Clintons by persistent criticism of their performance) and Ms. Doyle would conduct its outreach to the Clinton camp. Ms. Doyle was named chief of staff to the as-yet-to-be-chosen vice presidential running mate. All this was pointless, but reveals a disposition certain to manifest itself in other ways.

Mr. McCain will be helped if he uses Mr. Obama's actions to paint his opponent as someone driven by an all-powerful instinct to look out only for himself. In a contest over who is willing to put principle above personal ambition and self-interest, John McCain, a war hero and a former POW, wins hands down. That may not be the most important issue to voters in electing a president, but it's something they will rightly take into account.

Read the whole thing; it's freakin' beautiful—the more so because Our Dark Lord tends to prefer understatement, but couldn't help getting a few jabs at Senator Hubris.

Via the Memesters.

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But Please!—Flex-Fuel Through the Transition, If You Don't Mind.

We've got a lot of competing fuels out there, and the more choices the consumer has, the better. Via one of my favorite roundups on biofuel research, National Geographic's cover feature from October of last year, Brazil's experience provides an instructive example:

It's easy to lose faith in biofuels if corn ethanol is all you know. A more encouraging picture unfolds some 5,500 miles southeast of Mead, where the millions of drivers of São Paulo, Brazil, spend hours a day jammed to a standstill in eight lanes of traffic, their engines, if not their tempers, idling happily on álcool from Brazil's sprawling sugar belt. The country had been burning some ethanol in its vehicles since the 1920s, but by the 1970s it was importing 75 percent of its oil. When the OPEC oil embargo crippled the nation's economy, Brazil's dictator at the time—Gen. Ernesto Geisel—decided to kick the country's oil habit. The general heavily subsidized and financed new ethanol plants, directed the state-owned oil company, Petrobras, to install ethanol tanks and pumps around the country, and offered tax incentives to Brazilian carmakers to crank out cars designed to burn straight ethanol. By the mid-1980s, nearly all the cars sold in Brazil ran exclusively on álcool.

Formula One-loving Brazilian drivers embraced the cars, especially since pure ethanol has an octane rating of around 113. It burns best at much higher compression than gasoline, allowing alcohol engines to crank out more power. Best of all, the government subsidies made it significantly cheaper. Not that ethanol didn't hit a few bumps in the road. By the early 1990s, low oil prices led the government to phase out the subsidies, and high sugar prices left the sugar mills, or usinas, with no incentive to produce the fuel. Millions of alcohol car drivers like Roger Guilherme, now a supervising engineer at Volkswagen-Brazil, were left high and dry.

"Guys like me had to wait in long lines two hours or more to fuel up," Guilherme says in his office at the massive Volkswagen plant in São Bernardo do Campo. "Consumers lost confidence in the alcohol program." A decade later when oil prices started to rise, Brazilians wanted to burn alcohol again, but given their past experience, they didn't want to be wedded to it. So Guilherme's bosses gave him a challenge: Find an inexpensive way for one car to burn both fuels. Guilherme's team worked with engineers at Magneti Marelli, which supplies fuel systems to Volkswagen, to write new software for the engine's electronic control unit that could automatically adjust the air-fuel ratio and spark advance for any mixture of gasoline and alcohol. Volkswagen introduced Brazil's first TotalFlex vehicle in 2003, modifying a small soccer ball of a commuter car called the Gol, which means—you guessed it—"goal!" It was an instant hit, and soon every other carmaker in Brazil followed suit.

Today, nearly 85 percent of cars sold in Brazil are flex: small, sporty designs that zip around the lumbering, diesel-belching trucks in São Paulo. You can even get a flex Transporter—the beloved loaf-shaped VW van, still made here. With a liter of alcohol running an average of one Brazilian real cheaper than gasoline at the pump, most flex cars haven't burned gas in years. Sugarcane, not engine technology, is the real key to Brazil's ethanol boom. The sweet, fast-growing tropical grass has been a staple export for the country since the 1500s. Unlike corn, in which the starch in the kernel has to be broken down into sugars with expensive enzymes before it can be fermented, the entire sugarcane stalk is already 20 percent sugar—and it starts to ferment almost as soon as it's cut. Cane yields 600 to 800 gallons (2,300 to 3,000 liters) of ethanol an acre, more than twice as much as corn.

Flexibility, as much as keeping supply somewhere in the neighborhood of demand, is not just a good idea: given how closely linked our energy challenges are to our national security challenges, it is our duty to demand not just

(1) hybrid vehicles;

(2) improved use of electricity for our vehicles [better batteries, more use of plug-in cars];

(3) enhanced use of natural gas for transportation;

(4) building of state-of-the-art, environmentally sensitive, clean-burning nuclear power plants so we can get the electricity to use for our electric and hybrid-electric cars (whether they are Priuses or Volts or something even better);

(5) enhanced harvesting of domestic petroleum (primarily in ANWR, since we have the technology to do that right now in an efficient, environmentally responsible fashion), but also on the Continental Shelf, and in Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah;

(6) increased use of shale oil—and a repeal of the prohibition on its use for military applications;

(7) a fair, flat playing field among the various biofuels we're researching;

(8) flex-fuel vehicles that will take either petroleum products or biofuels, and insulate the economy from market shocks as supplies of different types of fuels wax and wane; and

(9) Get rid of the tariff on imported ethanol.

It's time to roll up our sleeves, here.

UPDATE: Darth Aggie had to remind me of item #9. Added!

Posted by Attila Girl at 01:53 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Cutting-Edge Biofuels

From Popular Mechanics:

Amidst increasing criticisms of ethanol's shortcomings—lower energy density, energy-intensive production and distillation, and the inability to transport the fuel within existing pipelines—a growing handful of companies are betting that the biofuels of the future will look almost identical to the petroleum-based fuels of the present.

"It's getting easier and easier, but it still takes a decent amount of effort to engineer a biological system into doing something that you want it to do," says Neil Renninger, co-founder of four-year-old Amyris Biotechnologies, a company that previously engineered microbes to churn out inexpensive antimalarial drugs. "So before going down the route of engineering a bug to make a biofuel, we wanted to make sure we were making the best biofuel possible."

The claim is that these "test tube" biofuels approach the energy-density of gasoline itself.

Faster, please.

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It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood!

And today, it really, really is: The palm trees stand out against the foothills. The hazy sunshine is just the right kind of hazy. The overpriced blueberry muffins from Ralph's seem slightly less overpriced.

The New York Times is focusing on how shocked, shocked the hoplophobes are about the Heller ruling: Dianne Feinstein is regurgitating her very best made-up "facts," and Mayor Daley is afraid that Chicagoans will attain the means to defend themselves from crime, which will, of course turn it into the Wild West all over again (without, of course, those pesky Chi-town typewriters).

It's all just music to my ears; turn up the volume, Baby.

Gun-control advocates across the country reacted with shock and outrage at the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the District of Columbia’s ban on handguns today, saying the ruling would threaten gun-control measures in other states.

If there was any doubt that other bans would be in peril, the National Rifle Association quickly put those questions to rest when it announced shortly after the ruling that it would file a flurry of lawsuits challenging restrictions in San Francisco, Chicago and several Chicago suburbs. The law in Washington, which spelled out rules for the storage of weapons and made it extremely difficult for most people in the district to legally possess a handgun, was among the strictest in the nation.

“I consider this the opening salvo in a step-by-step process of providing relief for law-abiding Americans everywhere that have been deprived of freedom,” Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president of the N.R.A., said in a statement.

In its 5-to-4 decision, the court ruled that the Constitution protects an individual’s right to own guns, not just the right of the states to maintain regulated militias. It also said that the District of Columbia’s requirement that lawful weapons be disassembled or limited by trigger locks was unconstitutional because it made them virtually useless.

In Chicago, Mayor Richard M. Daley, a staunch supporter of gun control, called the decision “frightening” and said he was bracing for a fight with the gun lobby, which has long criticized the city’s ban on the sale and registration of handguns for everyone but police officers and a handful of others. Enacted in 1982, the law was created in response to the murders of two police officers and the assassination attempt on former president Ronald Reagan.

“Does this lead to everyone having a gun in our society?” he said at a news conference. “If they think that’s the answer, then they’re greatly mistaken. Then, why don’t we do away with the court system and go back to the Old West? You have a gun and I have a gun and we’ll settle in the streets.

“They’re changing the rules,” Mr. Daley said of the Supreme Court. “Why should we as a city not be able to protect ourselves from those who want guns in our society?”

Of course, the way the "rules" are being changed is by bringing them into conformity with that older set of rules, the Constitution—maybe Daley should read that thing someday. He might learn something.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, a former mayor of San Francisco, which also restricts the owning of guns, reacted strongly to the ruling, saying she was “viscerally affected” by it and worried for the nation’s safety.

“I speak as somebody who has watched this nation with its huge homicide rate, when countries that have sane restrictions on weapons do not have that homicide rate,” she said. “And I happen to believe that this is now going to open the door to litigation against every gun safety law that states have passed — assault weapons bans, trigger locks, and all the rest of it.”

Next thing you know, citizens will have to take action themselves when they see a crime in progress, rather than allowing public officials to be slain every time some crazy person ODs on Twinkies.

The ruling was quickly seized upon by John McCain, who in recent months has tried to repair a fractured relationship with the gun lobby stemming from his support of regulations on gun sales at firearm shows and other restrictions. Mr. McCain praised the decision today, and used it to renew criticisms of his Democratic rival, Senator Barack Obama.

“Unlike the elitist view that believes Americans cling to guns out of bitterness, today’s ruling recognizes that gun ownership is a fundamental right — sacred, just as the right to free speech and assembly,” Mr. McCain said.

Mr. Obama, however, was more careful and moderate in his statements about the ruling, saying it would provide “much-needed guidance to local jurisdictions” across the country.

“I have always believed that the Second Amendment protects the right of individuals to bear arms, but I also identify with the need for crime-ravaged communities to save their children from the violence that plagues our streets through common-sense, effective safety measures,” he said. “The Supreme Court has now endorsed that view, and while it ruled that the D.C. gun ban went too far, Justice Scalia himself acknowledged that this right is not absolute and subject to reasonable regulations enacted by local communities to keep their streets safe.”

Provided that those reasonable restrictions don't include doing bad things to any actual criminals, of course.

More coffee for me, I think. And a fresh peach—which, yes: I do dare to eat one. I dare, and I dare, and I dare.

Had I mentioned that it's a beautiful day?

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June 25, 2008

And the Winner Is . . .

Philips SHL9500 Lightweight Premium Headband Headphones.

They're cool--not quite noise-cancelling, but more comfy than earbuds. And they'll work with the computer or the iPod.

And they fold up.

Also, they didn't cost a jillion dollars. Earphones shouldn't cost a jilion dollars.

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McArdle on the Luxury of Morality

I adore Megan, particularly since she doesn't preach veganism—nor even vegetarianism—for the rest of us. She's just bein' her bitchin' self:

Prosperity allows us to have things that we all now regard as moral requirements. It permits us liberal democracy, a form of social organization that doesn't much work in hunter-gatherer tribes. It enables us to forgo infanticide, a necessary form of population control when Mom has to carry the babies everywhere and an extra unnecessary mouth might doom the whole tribe. It lets us reserve the death penalty for the most heinous violent crimes, because stealing a loaf of bread no longer threatens its owners own nutritional health. We don't have to stone adulterers, because we have enough breathing room that such behavior no longer poses an existential threat to the tribe. Wealth enables charity in the deeper, older sense of the word.

That this is true in no way undermines the decision to be charitable. Morality lies in doing the best you can with what you have. Given that I do have the luxury of finding delicious vegan food and non-leather shoes, I believe I have an obligation to do so. If that should change, I will go back to eating and wearing animal products without moral regret--though with a fair amount of digestive distress.

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By The Way . . .

I may need to go to Alberta, Alaska, Utah, and Wyoming to do some petroleum research. So please send me more money; thanks.

Posted by Attila Girl at 09:30 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Rule Is . . .

Poor people produce energy (unless they live in Alaska or Utah, where it's just naughty to do so). Rich people consume energy, but—as with sausages—they don't want to know where it comes from.


This is a genius picture by Rick Lee; for the backstory, go here. My point is that this isn't the view from the Kennedy compound, where even wind farms are verboten.

h/t for the Surber story: Glenn. h/t for the Rick Lee story; Surber.

Posted by Attila Girl at 09:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Power Puff Girl

It'll be interesting to watch Clinton's Senate career for the next 12-24 months.

If she stays in the Senate—and I think she should—it might be Obama who has to come to her, hat in hand, to get anything done over the next few years.

Posted by Attila Girl at 08:01 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

In Other News . . .

Barack Obama criticized Ralph Nader fpr "talking like a far-left, out-of-touch loon."

Posted by Attila Girl at 07:42 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 24, 2008

"Okay, Okay; I Admit That I Overreacted to Her Overreaction!"

"Anyway, you'll note that I made it good to her, which she certainly didn't do with me."

"You did say something about feeding her your gun."

"I made the point that that was metaphorical, and represented the fact that I had no intention of getting all suicidal anymore because of other people's tactlessness. That's growth."

"Also, you called her a 'cunt.'"

"Ah--but I meant that in the Canadian sense. What do you want?--A fucking affidavit? 'I hereby do concede that I overreacted to KT's overreaction.' I'll even sign it and get it notarized. You guys will have it on the East Coast in a matter of days, and you can all fucking frame it."

I don't sound defensive, do I? I'd hate to think that I was acting defensive. My imaginary friend Binker gets defensive all the time, but that's Binker--just a volatile guy.

More James Thurber/New Yorker cartoons: "The hounds of springs are on winter's traces--but let it pass, let it pass."

Posted by Attila Girl at 03:50 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Here's Your Homework!

Read this PJM article on rail travel in America, and tell me what you think.

We'll have a nice rational discussion about it tonight and tomorrow morning.

Don't pull your punches, just because you know that I have a rail-travel fetish.

h/t: Glenn.

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Thanks to Zoey

. . . for reminding me of this great clip:

Thanks, Z!

Posted by Attila Girl at 08:08 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Roger Simon on Scoring a Prius in L.A.

He had to pull strings.

All my mom had to do was get on the waiting list, wait for a bit of a break on same, and exercise that white-haired little-old-lady charm that she's been resorting to in the last couple of decades. (It's her best chance for manipulating people since she chopped her breasts off a while back to ease up on her back problems. As a matter of fact, I think the white hair might work better than the breasts did. After all, my mother always gets her way, and I don't always get mine. Perhaps I ought to dye my hair white.)

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"Do I Dare Disturb the Universe?"

"In a minute there is time for decisions and revisions that a minute will reverse.

Posted by Attila Girl at 06:52 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Has Anyone Ever Noticed that Governor Palin Is Really Hot?

Like, in that Dr. Amalfi way from The Sopranos.


Apparently, she's getting hot in that other way, too—as in, mad. Apparently, it's tiresome to watch the economy of one's state get screwed over so that dictators can become more powerful and one's own nation can be weakened.

Who knew?

Posted by Attila Girl at 06:22 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Belts and Suspenders.

It's time:

Posted by Attila Girl at 06:15 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Or, You Know . . .

we could go grab the oil out from under the tundra, and the prairies and the plains and the water and the continental shelves that aren't controlled by dictatorships, while we develop alternatives to burning "petrol."

And then the dictators could go . . . pound sand.

How many times do I have to reiterate that alternative fuels and producing more here in North America are not either/or propositions?

h/t: Insty.

Gotta go, now: I'm picking out my next car: maybe a hydrogen-powered Honda? Who knows?

Posted by Attila Girl at 05:49 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

June 23, 2008

"I Don't Mind Living in a Free Country . . .

as long as it's other people's kids who are keeping us free."

Bill Kristol in today's The New York Times:

The people at MoveOn.org have a new Iraq ad that is, if they do say so themselves, their most effective ever. Then again, for the group that brought us the “General Petraeus or General Betray Us?” ad last September, that might not be saying much.

Nevertheless, the organization boasts on its Web site, “This isn’t your average political ad — it lays out the truth about McCain’s Iraq policy in a personal and compelling way.” MoveOn also claims, “We just got the results back and polling shows that voters found it to be more persuasive than any other ad we’ve tested before.”

Yeah, well, again: this is MoveOn.org, the set of activists who formed in response to an assault on the Chief Executive's God-given right to get blowjobs from young girls in the Oval Office.

Kristol again:

The ad is simple. A mother speaks as she holds her baby boy:

“Hi, John McCain. This is Alex. And he’s my first. So far his talents include trying any new food and chasing after our dog. That, and making my heart pound every time I look at him. And so, John McCain, when you say you would stay in Iraq for 100 years, were you counting on Alex? Because if you were, you can’t have him.”

Take that, warmonger!

Now it might be pedantic to point out that John McCain isn’t counting on Alex to serve in Iraq, because little Alex will only be 9 years old when President McCain leaves office after two terms.

And it might be picky to remark that when McCain was asked whether U.S. troops might have to remain in Iraq for as long as 50 years, he replied, “Maybe 100” — explaining, “As long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed, it’s fine with me, and I hope it would be fine with you if we maintain a presence in a very volatile part of the world. ...”

In other words, McCain is open to an extended military presence in Iraq, similar to ones we’ve had in Germany, Japan or Kuwait. He does not wish for, nor does he anticipate, a 100-year war in Iraq.

But it is surely relevant to point out that the United States has an all-volunteer Army. Alex won’t be drafted, and his mommy can’t enlist him. He can decide when he’s an adult whether he wants to serve. And, of course, McCain supports the volunteer army.

All of this is pretty much par for the course in political advertising. And I’m of the latitudinarian school when it comes to campaign discourse; politics is supposed to be rough and ready. So, why, I wondered after first seeing the MoveOn ad, did I find it so ... creepy?

He finds his answer over at Blue Star Beth's site:

I wonder about the actress (I doubt she’s really the mother of the baby because she’s obviously acting) saying that John McCain can’t have her son. Does that mean she’d rather her son live in a terrorist state or under the constant threat of acts of terrorism? Does that mean that she wants other people’s sons to keep the wolves at bay so that her son can live a life of complete narcissism? What is it she thinks happens in the world?

Actually, I can relate to what she’s saying. I can’t imagine my son being off in a foreign land being shot at by people who are trying to kill him. Its horrific to even contemplate. Its a reality that many of us have to live with day in and day out as our sons do their duty for the country. Its an unimaginable and untenable thing … to have your son ‘over there’ and to know that at any moment something horrible can happen. You don’t go for a second not knowing that. Not for a second for the entire time he’s deployed.

But what would this little actress, or moveon.org, have us do? As a mother, I have learned that I have to let my children grow up and make their choices in life, just as I made mine. I respect the choices my children have made and I support them 100%. I am proud of my son. His deployment changed him, but mostly in good ways. He is definitely a man now. He has a self-confidence and personal strength he never had before. That doesn’t mean I wanted him to go to Iraq. It just means that I understand that at some point a mother has to stand aside and allow her son to become a man.

I would rather do it than send my son to do it, but that’s not how it works. People like moveon.org would rather we surrender and appease than stand up to danger. By doing that, they put our sons in more danger.

Someone has to stand between our society and danger. If not my son, then who? If not little Alex then someone else will have to stand and deliver. Someone’s son, somewhere. This commercial makes me angry. What she is saying is that she is not willing to do her part. She’ll put us all in more danger to hide herself and her child in a corner. I love my son as much as she loves hers. I held him in my lap when he was a baby. I watched him take his first steps and go to school for the first time. I sat with him when he was sick and listened to him when he was confused. I waited in terror the first time he took the car out for a drive by himself.

The hardest thing I have ever done is spend 15 months knowing that he was in imminent danger half-way around the world and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it.

This woman should get used to it. That’s what its like to raise kids.

And Kristol concludes:

Unless we enter a world without enemies and without war, we will need young men and women willing to risk their lives for our nation. And we’re not entering any such world.

We do, however, live in a free country with a volunteer army. In the United States, individuals can choose to serve in the military or not. The choice not to serve should carry no taint, nor should it be viewed with the least prejudice. If Alex chooses to pursue other opportunities, he won’t be criticized by John McCain or anyone else.

But that’s not at all the message of the MoveOn ad.

The MoveOn ad is unapologetic in its selfishness, and barely disguised in its disdain for those who have chosen to serve — and its contempt for those parents who might be proud of sons and daughters who are serving. The ad boldly embraces a vision of a selfish and infantilized America, suggesting that military service and sacrifice are unnecessary and deplorable relics of the past.

And the sole responsibility of others.

Well, you know: that is at the end of the day, all the military is to those who benefit from their vigilance: a pair of dirty hands.

Posted by Attila Girl at 12:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Who Knew that "the Next Ronald Reagan"

. . . would be from Florida, of all places?

(Yeah: I know there was only one Ronald Reagan. But for the next set of economic and national security challenges, we can do even better. Lt. Col. West is a true-blue conservative with crossover appeal—someone who can be popular without having to resort to populism or pandering. Whether he wins or loses this immediate, upcoming contest, watch that man.)

Posted by Attila Girl at 10:28 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

As Tennessee Goes . . .

so goes the nation?

Infrastructure is a big problem—both in terms of the Interstate system/local roadways, which we need, and in terms of better use of rail—which we also need.

Get America Moving Again: The Alliance for Improving America's Infrastructure
FHA's Site
The History Channel on How We Got Here
The Economist Talks About the Issue Last Summer, after the Minneapolis Bridge Collapse

Matt Eden link via Insty.

Posted by Attila Girl at 09:23 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The Quote of the Day

. . . comes from Reynolds, re: the Canadian Kangaroo Court and its case against Mark Steyn/Maclean's—which the Canadian populace finds too silly to take terribly seriously: "When the stormtroopers wear clown shoes instead of jackboots, it's easy to forget that they're still stormtroopers."


Posted by Attila Girl at 09:02 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Goodbye, George Carlin.

Last night, heart failure. He was only 71.

And, of course, he helped to popularize Doc, Grumpy, Sleepy, Sneezy, Happy, Bashful, and Dopey.

No, wait: it was lust, gluttony, greed, envy, sloth, wrath, and pride.

Vaya con Dios, my friend. And . . . . mother fucker.

Posted by Attila Girl at 08:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Jettas

. . . . family cars of the future?

Pretty good, for a vehicle that doesn't fly. It's supposed to fly, you know.

Posted by Attila Girl at 12:11 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 22, 2008

The Funky Western Civilization . . .

Iowahawk in ghey Paree:

"So vhat are you doink here? Are you artist or writers or zomesink?" laughs Fille un.

The Doctor and the Professor point at me. "He's a writer."

"Really?" they ask, enthusiastically. "Novels? Screenplays? Have we heard of you?"

I'm still looking around trying to figure out who they were pointing at.

"He's a blogger," offers Professor Jonathan. "He's . . . well, sort of known."

The three filles react to this as if they had learned I wrote school lunch menus or lawnmower warning stickers. Despite his revealed association with blogospheric scum, the filles continue their flirtation with Dr. Carlos, who deftly extracts a party invite for Saturday night.

Apparently, that Burge Magic doesn't quite work across the Atlantic. Which is cool, because that means that the Chicks of the Americas have him all to ourselves.

I mean, I know that I'm married, and all—but it's nice to have that Dove Bar in the freezer you know you'll never eat.

Posted by Attila Girl at 10:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I Know, I Know.

You've been wondering what to get me for my birthday, which is coming up on July 9th. Me too! (Though I'm thinking of chocolate croissants.)

Here are some suggestions:

• Hit my tip jar! (left sidebar)

• Send me a lead on some copyediting, proofreading, or line-editing work.

• Send me something from my Amazon wish list.

• Ship me out some pinot grigio (I'm in a white wine phase right now).

• A Pier One gift certificate is always great for a chick who just moved.

• Buy an ad from me!

• Tell me what a genius I am, and how reading my material has changed your life for the better.

(And let me know if you need my business address for the gift certificate or the wine.)

Posted by Attila Girl at 10:25 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

And . . . . Cassandra Blows the Lid Off Melanin-Gate!

It turns out, Barack Obama is black. No, really. He is.

I was skeptical, too, but Cassandra dug up the proof:


Turns out, he's just as black as a . . . as a person who's black. Why didn't this come out earlier? Shouldn't his tax returns have shown low expenditures on sunblock?

I definitely suspect a coverup. Cassie goes on:

I don't know. Could you work the words "fear", "afraid", "scary", and "black" in there just a few more times, Barry? Because I'm "afraid" voters might miss the point.

You know, that you're... like, totally ... black. And the bad, scary Republicans want us to be afraid of you. Because you're so ... black. Even though you're half white. Which we're not supposed to talk about, because that would be focusing on race and you were so hoping we could get beyond that, I know. Damned Republicans. If only they'd quit bringing up the fact.

That you're black. And we should fear you.

Cassandra concludes: "Obama: healing racial and partisan divides by accusing his opponents before they attack him!"

Juliette chimes in:

This is just pathetic.

[Quoting a news account that begins with Obama's own words] "[The Republicans are] going to try to make you afraid of me. 'He's young and inexperienced and he's got a funny name. And did I mention he's black?'


That old stuff just divides us," he said.

Obama, born to a white mother from Kansas and a black father from Kenya, has cast himself as a candidate who can bridge divides within the country, including those involving race.

[And Baldilocks replies:]

Most people couldn't care less about your name and your color, Senator Obama. They fear being led by you because you have no substantive legislative record, you're a chronic liar, and, after explicitly stating that you choose your friends carefully, you have repeatedly and systematically made friends with people who hate this country.

You would "bridge the divide," Senator, by burning that bridge.

Folks, don't let this Sower of Discord shut you up.

I think Baldilocks is trying to make me afraid.

Back to Cassie, whose comments section on the above-linked post overflows with gems like the following, in her own words:

It has taken me a very long time to confront the Ugly Truth: as a person who was not raised in a multicultural environment I cannot look at Barack Obama without subconsciously seeing a cop killing gansta rapper (you know, something on the order of John Forbes Kerry). It's the tragic legacy of a lifetime of unearned white privilege. The menace just oozes from every polysyllabic word he utters in that mellifluous voice of his.

Perhaps therapy will help.

Nice Deb notes that he's just trying to innoculate the country against any negative information that might come out about him whatsoever:

Yeah, Republicans are so well known for their fear of blacks. That’s why the Republicans keep appointing them to ground breaking positions….to keep them “placated." [Editor's note: that's also why the GOP legislators voted for the Civil Rights Act in greater proportions than the Dems did. It was a trick!]

Never mind that McCain has made clear that he is not interested in doing any negative campaigning at all, not even when warranted.

Never mind that the only real race-baiting took place on the Democratic side during the Democrat primaries.

This is merely Obama’s way of tainting any attempts on the Republican side to bring up Obama’s genuinely scary radical and Commie associations as “racist” allegations. But a clear eyed look at the man’s biography is enough to send shivers down even a few “progressive’s” spines.

It’s also his way of preparing his followers for what lies ahead. (There will be scurrilous, ‘untrue’, nasty things said about him, and it will all be because he’s black).

Fausta's also got a crazy salad of Obamania, including some remarks about that weird-ass quasi-Presidential seal.

(Is anyone else obsessing about that James Thurber cartoon in the New Yorker? "Okay, okay—have it your way: you heard a seal bark!")

Posted by Attila Girl at 10:12 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

The Other Day I Wrote Something About a Friend.

Usually, when I write about my friends I use the "blog a clef" technique, and don't name them, but every once in a while I'll use real names if the story seems particularly interesting and the facts are all a matter of public record anyhow.

I did so the other day, and I sent a copy of such a story to my "friend" to make sure she was okay with the piece.

Well, she wasn't. She hit the roof and wrote me a scathing note accusing me of sabotaging her career, and making her look "self-promotional" at the same time. (A bit oxymoronic, but what the hell.)

Of course, I took the article down as quickly as I could, but I lost a day to a depression that that had to do partly with her cruelty, and partly with my own ambivalence about using my journalistic skills strictly for things that are perfectly unlikely to bring any renumeration in whatsoever.

You see the oddity, right: an old high-school chum behaves like a cunt, and I'm the one who wants to give up writing, and/or eat my gun; was anyone over the age of 17 ever this sensitive? Christ.

I know the solution, and I'll bet you do, too: start selling articles for Actual Money; get my books published, rather than let them molder away on my hard drive, and never again turn my back on people whom I can't really trust.

I'm indebted to this person in a moral sense, just as I'm morally indebted to the family practitioner in Tehachapi I see every year or so who likewise rags on me for what probably (also) amounts to being bright and good-looking—even in middle age. But at this stage in my life I'm not prepared to take unlimited amounts of shit from anyone.

Ack: why eat my gun when I can feed it (metaphorically speaking) to other people?

UPDATE, 6/24: Prof. P. assures me that KT is quite likely to read this someday, and take exception to the word "cunt." After all, she did conclude her note by saying that she recognized that I didn't mean to hurt her. What she did not specify, of course, was whether she'd intended to hurt me. And it appeared to me that she had intended to hurt me, and in no uncertain terms.

"Besides," I told him. "She won't ever read it. She doesn't believe in blogs."

"Bullshit," he responded. "You know she's going to be monitoring your site after you removed the offending article."

If she cared that much, I think she would have thanked me for taking the article down. Or perhaps even apologized for telling me that something I had meant in a nice way had been a "shock," and an "embarrassment" to her.

As for the "feeding other people my gun" line, that's simply my way of saying that whenever possible, I don't want to turn my anger inward, and contemplate "eating my gun" (that is to say, committing suicide). I've admitted my part in this: I need to get people's permission before I write about them without veiling their identities (or at least make an honest effort to do so).

The other party in this hasn't owned up to her part in the kerfuffle.

This is someone I see every four years or so. We can remain friends, or not. It makes no particular difference to me. I did something wrong. I made it right. I'm getting on with my life.

Posted by Attila Girl at 06:40 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

In a Big Shocker, Bus and Rail Use Is Up in L.A.

As everyone knows, I'm a big fan of public transportation, and I remember the huge spike in rail use after the 1994 earthquake—how it was about to permanently transform life in Southern California. Since then our rail lines have expanded drastically—in smart ways, and some that weren't so smart.

But largely we've gone back to our old ways, for the obvious reasons that (1) at the time it was easier to listen to the radio in one's own car [this was in the pre-iPod era]; (2) it's a lot easier to go grocery shopping on the way home if you have a car to drop by the supermarket in; (3) without a car, how does one get to the dry cleaners on the way to work, or take a late lunch to go to the dentist's office?

So most of us will still need cars, even if we use them less—just on errand-days, or appointment-days.

And here it is again: a huge increase in the use of SoCal public transportation, propelled by insane prices that commuters are able to sidestep to some degree (though only in some ways related to the direct prices of gasoline—not in the rising commodity prices that are driven [pun intended] by higher fuel costs).

And hidden deep inside the Los Ageles Times article lies is the tale o f a restaurant worker who spends an hour and a half getting to his job in Koreatown, versus the 30 minutes it took him to get there by car.

I'm one of the lucky ones: I can read in trains and buses. But I hope that others learn to do it, too. And if this is part of our solution to Energy Crisis 2.0, I hope we get cooking on mobile web access: that'll be key to putting the time to good use.

And, please: can we make 'em faster? Please?

It isn't just in SoCal, either: it's the entire country that's re-thinking transportation. Definitely something to think about as we drill off the coasts, drill in ANWR, build more nuclear power plants, expand our refining capacity, increase the use of natural gas, and improve battery technology and biofuel efficiency.

Link for the L.A. Times article via the California Energy Blog; second link (FuturePundit) via Insty.

Posted by Attila Girl at 05:53 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 21, 2008

"The Memphis Murder Mystery"

If you haven't read this Atlantiic article on the spike in crime in certain suburbs—and how they correlate to the redistribution of poor people via Section 8 Housing—it's one of the most important articles I've read in months. Maybe years.

If urban planners have decided that any given city's public housing projects breed crime, and should be dismantled or demolished, then it behooves them to figure out which members of "the projects" really want to escape the pathologies there, and give them the training, life skills, and support network they need to achieve a transformation, rather than simply depriving them of the only community they know.

As for those who plan to continue living crime-ridden, dysfunctional lives—or whose kids do—we might want to at least warn the police where they are being relocated to, so law enforcement officials can adapt—and plan around—the new patterns.

Otherwise, we're simply "busing" adults, believing that they will live according to middle-class values if they live next door to white people—just as black children were bound to learn more if they were sitting next to whilte students.

It's the power of white skin: superhuman, I tell you.

(X-posted to Right Wing News.)

Posted by Attila Girl at 04:14 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


Very few of us in this country have anything to complain about.

Posted by Attila Girl at 05:42 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 20, 2008

Working on a Long Story, and My Freelance Gig.

So blogging will be light for the rest of the day. Tomorrow, however, I'll have lots of bloggy goodness up here, and probably at Right Wing News as well.

As usual, we'll be focusing on energy issues: drilling on the coasts and in ANWR, and learning how to get more effective use out of oil shale.

Posted by Attila Girl at 06:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

You Know, I Can't Quite Suss Out the Intellectual Framework Being Promoted Here.

I was, BTW, twelve years old when this video was produced:


I felt that it had Important Life Lessons, if I could only absorb them.

McCain: "About That ANWR Thing . . ."

"What I meant was that I was against drilling in ANWR as long as there was one Alaskan in the entire state who did not support the idea. And I found her, two years ago: she's a lesbian who lives in an anarcho-syndicalist collective with three other ladies who draw their water from the local township's pump, have turned their living room into a hothouse, and sport a moose-proof fence outside their garden that is 15-feet high and reminded me vaguely of the perimeter defenses in Jurassic Park.

Now that the girls have pointed out that it takes some petrol to get their our-of-season heirloom purple-and-white-striped tomatoes to the local farmer's market, I've decided that that the residents of a state should actually have some say in whether that state's petroleum resources are harvested to tide us over the next 25 years, until we are all using fast-food fryer oil to power our private jets . . . what do you mean, that shit doesn't wok for aviation? Say what?"

Posted by Attila Girl at 02:44 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Oh, Hey--Wow.

So, drilling off of the coasts wouldn't be a quick fix for the current energy crisis? Way to harsh my mellow, WSJ.

Um. How stupid do they think we are? More to the point: how stupid are they?

Posted by Attila Girl at 02:23 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Speaking of Food . . .

If the traditions of past years have held, two of the three or four issue of Bon Appetit you actually need to buy each year will be on sale soon:

(1) You must get the July issue, which focuses on grilling.

(2) August tends to feature "no-cook" recipes: salsas and so forth. Meals that require little or no use of the oven or range. My advice would be to get a blender, and use these recipes all year long. (Oh. You don't live in California. I'm sorry.)

(3) Whatever your favorite comfort-food issue is: October, with its winter-squash fever; November, with its turkey and sweet-potato fetish; December, with its extravagant whistling in the graveyard of high winter. (Oh. You have real winters; I'm sorry.)

Personally, I'm just waiting until my husband and I get married to the third person who is In The Mood To Cook. I shall keep her company, and give her tips. I'm not perfectly heartless, you know.

Posted by Attila Girl at 01:42 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I Dunno . . .

Zucchini muffins that are as good as banana muffins? Show me.

And . . . any Real Gardeners on the north side of Glendale, California should feel free to contribute the raw material I might need for this Scientifical Project.

In all fairness, of course, anything with dried cranberries in it is unlikely to suck. But banana muffins, and banana bread, occupy a special place in Paradise. They just do. As do corn muffins with cranberries, and any quick bread that isn't overly sweet . . . and yet features blueberries . . . that is a no-problem breakfast. I'll take two.)

As soon as A the H and I find the third partner for this marriage, our gustatory lives will really take off. She just needs to handle the gardening, and go to the farmers' markets, and do all that other stuff that needs to be done before noon.

And then, my dears, I shall cook. Oh, will I cook.

Posted by Attila Girl at 01:03 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 19, 2008

Need Advice on Cheap Earphones.

A the H just got a bitchin' set that cost a million jillion dollars, in celebration of his new paying assignments. I, of course, am still hanging with my fun-but-ill-paying gigs, so I'm wondering if I could get some noise-cancelling headphones for something in the area of $50. (Earbuds don't work for me, unless I can get some designed for children. Anyway, even if I can find some that don't hurt my ears, so I can use 'em with the iPod, they might not serve for watching videos and TV shows on the laptop.)

Needless to say, I'm also on the market for 1-2 used, dirt-cheap Mac-compatible monitors (one to save my spinal cord in the official office, and the other to function as a tiny television in the kitchen).

As always, Darrell is forbidden to take part in this scavenger hunt (or, for that matter, in my upcoming Birthday Whoring, the first week in July). Because I should have a couple of things around the house that Darrell didn't send me. It's a married thing, you know.

Also: K in Florida is forbidden to send me money or gifts. Ever. So is K2 in Arkansas, for that matter—she already gave me the best gift a girl could ever get. (She told me that my mother-in-law, were she still around, really would like me. That was the best thing I've ever heard! Well, one of five super-bitchin' things I've heard over the past almost-46 years.)

So: bottom line. Send me money, and tell me what non-earbud earphones that are cheap are the best for noise-cancelling functions.

Posted by Attila Girl at 09:17 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Apparently, Obama's Newest Campaign Advisor Is . . .

Michelle Malkin.

(And, yes—if I got their linking system right, that's Mary Katherine Ham's new venue at the Examiner. If I didn't, it isn't my fault, and I shall have to sack my webmaster . . . again.)

Posted by Attila Girl at 09:03 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Chris Muir Is God.

That is all.

(For the next 24 hours or so, just look over to the right. As of Friday evening, you'll need to follow the link.)

"Owning." That's it, in a nutshell. Once African-Americans begin to figure this out in larger numbers—and it's already begun, as you know—the Democratic Party is going to have some 'splainin' to do.

Posted by Attila Girl at 07:59 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Light Blogging Until Tonight.

I had a great conference call with the folks from the API to discuss domestic energy production (focusing on natural gas and petroleum products). There was a lot of material to absorb, but as it turns out there is a great deal that the average citizen can do to break the logjams created by state and Federal legislatures.

Bottom line: We are now experiencing shortfalls that because ten years ago our legislators failed to give the energy industry enough latitude to do what has to be done. Now we are "saving the environment" by having tankers bring us crude oil from halfway around the world—which increases the chances of environmental mishaps and is in and of itself an energy drain.

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"Seems Like Old Times . . .

dinner dates, and flowers."

Iraqi tea.

Via Hot Air.

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June 18, 2008

A Discussion with My Primary Mac Consultant . . .

who once again has selfishly taken a Staff Gig. Whenever he does this, he is less available to help me with my computer angst. People never (as G.B. Trudeau once had Zonker complain), "consider the human cost."

So he walked me through the immediate crisis, and indicated that since my other computer-chick is no longer available, he'd help me if I "absolutely" needed him.

So of course I spent five minutes telling him how wonderful he was, and how incredible, and how I was about to built a small alter to him here in the new condo. You know: perfectly normal things to say to the guy who can make your computer work no matter what is wrong with it.

"All right, all right," he finally growled. "Stop kissing my ass."

"I can't stop kissing your ass," I told him. "That is an impractical idea. I just need you too much."

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Bush Makes a Plea for Drilling in ANWR; the UK Guardian, Shockingly, Finds Another Pretty Picture Well Outside the Wasteland under Discussion to Illustrate the Story.

I mean, have you seen the parts of ANWR that hold the oil reserves? It's like this: if you drive East from Pasadena along the 210, and then head down toward Whittier, California, you will pass strip mine after strip mine—big stretches of phenomenally ugly, mega-industrial gashes in the landscape. And it's no better where the dirt hasn't been mined, notwithstanding the fact that a few of these stretches are in the shadows of the San Gabriels.

Not every stretch of undeveloped land is beautiful—not Prudhoe Bay (where, by the way, the caribou herds are thriving), and not the next wasteland over, which holds billions of barrels of oil.

But try to tell that to the Brits who are reporting on this story.


Oh, how pretty! And the picture was taken in ANWR, so it must be from the proposed drilling site; after all, the media wouldn't mislead us about something like that.


This is the terrain we're discussing; it might be on the Prudhoe side, and it might be on the ANWR side (Jonah Goldberg, from whom I stole the pic, makes the point that it's impossible to tell which side any given image is on without checking his notes. This is not the High Sierras we're talking about "despoiling"; the terrain is objectively ugly. So provided that the native flora and fauna are protected when the oil is harvested (as they are in Prudhoe Bay, though our technology for doing same is getting better and better), there is no reason not to avail ourselves of this important natural resource, to buy ourselves time as we develop alternative fuels.

Posted by Attila Girl at 07:05 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

A Memo to Johnny Mac:

Make energy and the economy your issues, and therein outflank Obama, who wants to go the "alternative energy only" route.

Or, as the biggest political genius of my lifetime used to put it, "it's the economy, stupid."

Via Insty, who remarks that ultimately "hairshirt environmentalism" never ends up being very popular with voters (no matter what they say, I might add, in their more idealistic moments).

I think we can have both: alternative fuels and more development of petroleum reserves. But we have to do it sensibly, and right now gasoline and electricity are our most cost-effective options. Let's not limit ourselves, or risk another recession.

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Abdul Karim al-Khaiwani' Acceptance Speech for the Amnesty International Human Rights Media Award


He was, of course, unable to accept in person, due to the fact that he is, once again, in prison for speaking the truth about what is happening in Yemen. He wrote the speech, and it was delivered by a spokesman:

Ladies and Gentlemen, Peace be upon you Conferring this award on me is a great honour to my colleagues in Yemen and myself. I would like to extend my thanks and gratitude to Amnesty International, as well as to all those attending this event. I wish I were among you to accept this award in person and to talk to you face to face. However, I am imprisoned in my country, following a six-year prison sentence handed down by a special court on June 9. The authorities in my country commit systematic violations against journalists and activists. What I have been through is only a example of the attacks and risks facing Yemeni journalists as a result of their professional and moral commitments. The freedom of the press has faced an increasingly deteriorating situation recently, because of the authorities' insistence on keeping national and international public opinion in the dark about serious crises, like the war that broke out four years ago in Sa'da, (north of Yemen) and the resulting tragic humanitarian situation, the citizens' peaceful protests in the southern and eastern governorates against marginalization (exclusion) and denial of political, civil and economic rights. The independent and opposition press, one of the most important instruments of peaceful change and democratic reform, is operating in a tough and precarious environment, especially in the absence of independent judiciary, disrespect for the rule of law, widespread institutional corruption and the government's monopoly over broadcast media. The authorities have developed repressive methods against journalists, those who hold anti-government views and human rights activists. These methods range from prison, torture, death threats to the use of subservient newspapers that are supported by public funds to discredit human rights defenders and government's opponents, especially independent women journalists and human rights activists. Those who believe in liberty, justice, equality and democracy realize that the embodiment of such human values requires sacrifice, patience and hope, as well as a belief that they are not alone in this confrontation. This award is strong evidence to this effect. The authorities have frequently banned me from traveling abroad. I have already been through the prison ordeal four years ago, and have been kidnapped and tortured more than once. However, I have never been alone, thanks to solidarity by my colleagues and support from the fledging Yemeni human rights movement that has never lost hope. Also thanks to an influential international human rights movement that have persistently responded to the violations by the Yemeni authorities aimed at isolating me and breaking my will. Repeating my pride in this award with its noble humanitarian and human rights significance, I would like to assure you in this regard that I consider it an honour well deserved by everyone who stood by my side against repression, intimidation and the culture of hatred and intolerance, namely my dear and persevering wife and beloved children. Thank you Abdul Karim al-Khaiwani

Naturally, I recommend making Jane Novak's Armies of Liberation a daily stop to stay on top of Yemeni issues.

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June 16, 2008

Men Are Bad.

Especially at computer programming; everyone knows this.

Bad. Bad!

Via Insty, who seems to link that Helen chick a lot.

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The L.A. Premiere of Indoctrinate U Was Last Night.

It was interesting to see the final cut of a movie that I've been watching digests and rough cuts of for years.

Evan Coyne Maloney of On the Fence Films, Brain Terminal blog, and Moving Picture Institute is one of the most talented young conservative filmmakers around; he cut his teeth covering lefty protests of Bush, the Iraq War, and any number of other causes. The "guerilla filmmaker" side of his work is especially effective, since he's able to ask reasonably questions with perfect deadpan, and allow those he's questioning to betray their . . . less-than-rigorous thought processes . . . without so much as cracking a smile.

Indoctrinate U, however, is a much more sophisticated work. Like Ben Stein's Expelled, it has to do with freedom of thought and speech in the academy. Unlike Stein's work, however, it doesn't promote—or even allude to—any kind of religious point of view. Nor does it vilify Darwin (much as Darwin's eugenics probably deserve vilifying).

The problem on college campuses has to do with several phenomena:

1) The overwhelming majority of college professors are leftists, or liberal Democrats;

2) These professors tend to inject their beliefs into classroom discussions, no matter how unrelated they may be to the subject they are putatively teaching;

3) Students are afraid to disagree with these teachers, because many professors are so convinced that "no reasonably person would disagree with me on a political notion" that students are in fear for their grades if they speak up, or write essays from an "unpopular" point of view (that is, a centrist or center-right one).

4) Students are getting cheated of hearing dissenting views on nearly any subject that might have a political component or application.

My favorite moment may in fact be when Maloney's father, a 1960s campus leftist and free-speech proponent, comes on camera to grimace a little and say, "I taught him to think for himself, so I shouldn't get too upset when he does it." Honest man.

I honestly hope every academician sees Indoctrinate U, so he or she can do some soul-searching about whether they are on the side of a uni-dimensional teaching style and draconian speech codes, or whether they welcome dissenting points of view in their students (or even, shocking as it might sound, in their fellow faculty members).

Finally, no blog post on Indoctrinate U would be complete without mentioning the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a bi-partisan (left-leaning, actually) organization that thinks students ought to be able to express themselves in reasonable ways. F.I.R.E. is out to upset the totalitarian applecart, and more power to them.

Posted by Attila Girl at 07:12 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Nope. We Haven't Seen the Last of Any of Our Political Dynasties.

Not the Kennedys. Not the Clintons (Hillary will still be active for years, and Chelsea my become a Tsunami when she gets older—particularly if she combines her mother's talents with her father's).

I'm not sure Jeb Bush has the interest (or the strong stomach) to seek Federal office. But his son, George P. Bush, may well be unstoppable in the future.

Posted by Attila Girl at 06:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 15, 2008

An Interview with Geoffrey Sanford

I just happened to come across this as I was researching something else; it has a number of pithy quotes for aspiring writers. (And al writers, no matter how successful, aspire to something. Remember that.)

Jeff Sanford once accused me in a backhand fashion of being wordy, and asked me, in a rather cross, harried moment, what I would do if I didn't turn out to be "the next Virginia Woolf."

Fortunately, that never came about, for I am. I didn't have much of an answer for him yet, though: blogging had not yet been invented. I was thinking, "literary genius, or maybe beach bum." I hadn't yet decided for sure. I still haven't.

And yet Jeff and his wife Midge, their daughter Kate Sanford, and the Matthews family (Kerry, Scott, Joan, and Don) did something for me that I will never be willing to fully acknowledge, much less able to repay, in this lifetime: they took me in for months at a time when I was in high school/college and my mother "went violent."

Had it not been for the Sanfords and the Matthews (and, to a slightly lesser extent, the Perrys, Turleys, and Goldfarbs) I would have ended up on the street.

So when one discusses "the tender side of agenting," one hasn't even scratched the surface of the Sanford "mizvahs." Having a crazy teenager under your roof—coming and going at all hours—is much, much harder than holding any writer's hand through the dark tunnel of creative troughs.

I've done both. Writers are awful, but teenagers are worse. Teenaged writers? The mind reels.

Posted by Attila Girl at 12:59 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

I Had to Double-Check the Byline on This One.

>Ed Morrissey

“If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun,” Obama said. “Because from what I understand folks in Philly like a good brawl. I’ve seen Eagles fans.”

They put one of yours in the hospital, you put one of theirs in the morgue, Sean Connery said when he completed that thought in the stylized (read: fictional) account of Eliot Ness’ efforts against Al Capone. The difference between Connery’s character in The Untouchables and Barack Obama is that Connery was prepared to confront his opponents anywhere at any time. Obama not only doesn’t like a good brawl, he can’t even take an open-forum debate unless it takes place on the Home & Garden Channel at 2 am on a holiday weekend.

Ouch; that was downright tart. Almost more like AllahP than Ed.

Posted by Attila Girl at 12:39 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 14, 2008

Sources for ADD and ADHD . . .

Reader Gregory has a good-faith question out there on a previous thread. After I made a rather cavalier joke about ADD (assuming everyone realized I was including myself as a target of same), Gregory enquired as to how, objectively, we can tell the difference between these conditions and those of ordinary, energetic children.

There is a real concern, here, inasmuch as Ritalin may well be overprescribed to minors, and we shouldn't be giving our kids speed without some thought (any more than we should be using the television as an "electronic babysitter").

Given that I'm pushing 46, I reserve the right to take any drugs I like (provided my personal meth lab—now located in the back of my Cruiser—doesn't blow up).

But seriously . . . what are your thoughts?

Posted by Attila Girl at 03:08 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

What's the Buzz

. . . on the Heller case? Glad you asked. Via Insty, Mike O'Shea has some thoughts on the possible implications—in the form of a handy-dandy "top ten" list.

(X-posted on Right Wing News.)

Posted by Attila Girl at 02:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

California and Chile Sign "Alternative Energy Agreement"

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet is a >go-getter, meeting with the Canadian head of state and with Governor Schwarzenegger in quick succession in an attempt to grapple with her country's energy needs.

I would love to see solar power become cost-effective for something other than heating swimming pools; certainly the next few applications for that may be residential, until we've improved fuel-cell technology. But Chile and California (the world's seventh-largest economy) have a lot in common in this regard: Chile imports three-quarters of its energy, and the U.S. as a whole is importing over half its petroleum products.

(X-posted at Right-Wing News. Scroll around there, though: my old buddy William Teach [one of the illustrious blogospheric pirates] is posting today, as is Kathy Shaidle, the embattled Canadian blogger and free speech heroine with whom I disagree on nearly every social issue.)

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June 13, 2008

American Cities, by Commuting Times.

Yeah, yeah: I'm still obsessing about infrastructure, and conservation, and how we live, and how we commute. I know Americans love the suburban life, with the private backyard concept. And yet generations of New Yorkers have been taking their kids to public parks instead of hanging out in backyards . . . with little apparent brain damage. (Though I will concede that they talk funny.)

Of course, I spent my formative years in Santa Monica, California, and it was the best of both worlds: a suburb of Los Angeles on a small enough scale that one could walk around in it. I think that Santa Monica and Manhattan may be the most pedestrian-friendly places on the planet. (Manhattan being a smidge more vertical, and a smidge more counter-intuitive to get around in.)

But if I had to choose, I'd pick living in a smaller place without a backyard, and being able to walk—versus having a yard but being forced to drive everywhere I go. (Oh, wait: I just made that choice, and I find it more delightful every day.)

It isn't a matter of one's carbon footprint (though as you know I'm a foreign-policy conservationist, and I have been recycling longer than anyone I know). It's burnout, really: I spent years of my life losing 1.5-2 hours each working day just getting to and fro. Now I work on-site only when I have to (but stagger my hours so I'm getting there before or [preferably] after the rush hour), and I work from home when I can. And if I were doing a staff job I'd find a way to carpool or use public transportation at least two days a week, concentrating my errands-on-the-way-home into the other days.

I means, I loves to drive, but enough is enough.

h/t: Insty originally turned me on to this article about how freaking old our transportation infrastructure is (other, of course, than in the Bay Area and in Washington, D.C.). And L.A., I guess, though that system doesn't appear to go anywhere. After that, I just followed the links. Kind of like commuting, but . . . it's less important to have a good sound system when one is travelling through "cyberspace." (A word I haven't heard in years, and am starting to feel wistful about.)

Posted by Attila Girl at 11:52 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Nice Start, There.

Throw in ANWR and Utah, and we'd really be on our way.

Posted by Attila Girl at 03:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

No Blood for Cute European Scooters that Get 70 MPG!

Rummy has a Vespa! Dang, those things are cute.

I don't need a Vespa; I can walk everywhere I need to go. I feel so sorry for people who need to use their cars. (Actually, I'm going to get my bike fixed up, and use that for some errands; the excellent thing is, it'll fit into the back of the Cruiser without any problems. And the Cruiser doesn't get horrible mileage, considering the fact that I can use it for some kinds of hauling.)

Via Insty.

Drill ANWR.

It's time.

Stacy McCain:

Some have scoffed at how much impact Barr could have on the presidential race, but now at least one candidate is talking common sense on energy.

"At least" 86 billion barrels of oil? What are we waiting for?

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Goodbye, Tim Russert.

It goes so quickly sometimes, doesn't it? "Between the forceps and the stone," as Joni Mitchell put it.

I'm in a Team America mood: I want to insist the my husband promise me he's immortal, in exchange for sex. Problem is, he's not a good liar.

Every minute here is precious; let's keep that in mind.

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On "Porn-Gate"

Glenn Reynolds on the Kozinski "scandal":

People want to know what I think. I don't have much to say about this nonstory, except to offer this compelling legal analysis: Since it's generally thought that men are disproportionate consumers of porn because of their gender, and because, hormonally, they're driven to favor visual stimuli, then obviously punishing porn consumption constitutes sex discrimination, and is probably unconstitutional. Plus, research establishes that porn is good for America. You don't hate America, do you?

The man has a point!

Posted by Attila Girl at 11:36 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Light Blogging Today.

We've got a lot going on at the house (plumbers, floor-tile people), along with some computer concerns. We're both also doing work-work (me: mostly editing, with some writing; A the H: mostly writing, with some editing). And at this moment we've got one computer down, and one that isn't getting along with the internet. And then this one—which does connect to the internet—doesn't have A the H's writing program, Final Draft, installed.

Of course, I shall be blogging tomorrow at Right Wing News, so you've got that goin' for you.

Posted by Attila Girl at 11:32 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 12, 2008

Have You Signed the "Drill Here" Petition?

If not, head over to American Solutions and make your voice heard!

Remember: we have ANWR; we have the petroleum off of both coasts, and we have huge reserves of shale oil in Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming that Shell has already invested millions in harvesting.

We can do this, people—but we need to show Washington D.C. that we mean business.

Posted by Attila Girl at 09:58 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

I Am Not Obsessed with Shivaree.

And Waldorf Salad Cilantro, or whatever she calls herself. The woman is a slim brunette—yet has an amazing voice, dark hair, phenomenal presence, and . . . nicer boobs even than mine.

"Goodnight Moon"

There's a nail in the door
And there's glass on the lawn
Tacks on the floor
And the TV is on
And I always sleep with my guns
When you're gone

There's a blade by the bed
And a phone in my hand
A dog on the floor
And some cash on the nightstand
When I'm all alone the dreaming stops
And I just can't stand

What should I do I'm just a little baby
What if the lights go out and maybe
And then the wind just starts to moan
Outside the door he followed me home

Well goodnight moon
I want the sun
If it's not here soon
I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say
Goodnight moon

There's a shark in the pool
And a witch in the tree
A crazy old neighbour and he's been watching me
And there's footsteps loud and strong coming down the hall
Something's under the bed
Now it's out in the hedge
There's a big black crow sitting on my window ledge
And I hear something scratching through the wall

Oh what should I do I'm just a little baby
What if the lights go out and maybe
I just hate to be all alone
Outside the door he followed me home
Now goodnight moon
I want the sun
If it's not here soon
I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say
Goodnight moon

Well you're up so high
How can you save me
When the dark comes here
Tonight to take me up
To my front walk
And into bed where it kisses my face
And eats my head

Oh what should I do I'm just a little baby
What if the lights go out and maybe
And then the wind just starts to moan
Outside the door he followed me home
Now goodnight moon
I want the sun
If it's not here soon
I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say
Goodnight moon
No it won't be too soon 'til I say
Goodnight moon

(Scutwork courtesy of AZ lyics.)

The lyrics work on at least four different levels, and I love that. Of course, to me that whole incubus/realio trulio stalker distinction is fairly clear. For the former, I used to have cutting quips. For the latter, I suspect I'd go for JHPs. YMMV.

And I long—long—to explain all this to Ms. Parsley. At some length. Like, as a public service.

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"Ego-Less Women?" Uh-huh.

But it makes for controversy in one's writing, and great headlines.

This summer Colorado is holding an uncompetitive women's bike ride (I shan't be so gauche as to say "race"). There are others, such as the Bay Area's "Cinderella Classic," which my sister-in-law and my mother once rode in. ("No," they told me. "It is not quite a century. It's less than a hundred miles."

"Aw," I thought. "Why bother? By the way: where are we eating tonight? Did you want Mexican, or should we do Thai?")

One is bound to have a certain ambivalence about female-only athletic events, but I figure anything that gets us out there is probably a constructive notion. This isn't "male-bashing"' it's just changing the framework.

Of course, if there is no competition, I'm not sure why you'd want to exclude men—though I shan't try to untangle that tonight. This is the one I want to do someday: not so much for the Tiffany necklace as for the views.

Naturally, of course, I'm afraid that the olive will fall out of my martini.

Posted by Attila Girl at 12:15 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 11, 2008

"It's Dead, Jim."

For now: the bill that would have permitted offshore drilling was killed, by the Democrats.

Oh, who cares? This won't not solve the immediate energy crunch; just the next one, in five or ten years—which . . . look over there! la la la la la la, I can't hear you!). We musn't develop any domestic supply. Let's leave the drilling to the sand niggers, shall we? Let other countries get their hands dirty—and never mind whether it's done in an environmentally sensitive fashion. Nor how much energy it takes to ship petroleum products here from overseas.

I want to remain pure, and untouched by the taint of petroleum. And, anyway, I must go wash my Prius off with Simple Green, using very little water. Then I shall go buy some Burt's Bees lip balm—it costs four times as much, but there's no petroleum in it. Sometimes I put a little on my halo, to shine it up a bit.

Look; I'm doing my part. Didn't I tell you about the solar heater for my pool? And I've been letting my hemp T-shirts dry in the air.

I did fill the tires in my bike, and now I can ride to Starbucks, which is a nice place to enjoy a cold chai latte on a hot afternoon while I check my email. Sometimes I get the green tea because it's got such healthy antioxidants in it.

Where were we? Oh, yes: oil. Dirty stuff. Simply don't want it around. Horrible smell, too: just like the tar on the beach in Santa Barbara. Ruined my best pair of running shoes.

Conclusion: oil is bad. Smells bad, and I hear that it makes people bleed, too. Bad, bad.


Okay, I'm back. Do we need to look at that map again?

The No Zone.jpg

There is no denying that we are in the middle of an energy transition, and I believe that recent oil prices have really brought that home to people: fossil fuels will not last forever. We are living on borrowed time. We all know it.

But we can ramp up domestic production for the next 10-25 years to ease the transition. Given how dense a fuel petroleum is, we will still have uses for it even after most of us are driving electric/biofuel cars. And we don't want to be buying oil from dictators then, either.

Posted by Attila Girl at 10:02 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

"The Muftis of Cascadia"

Graeme Wood summarizes Mark Steyn's show trial today for The Atlantic.

The plain language of the British Columbia Human Rights Code prohibits exactly the kind of ridicule and contempt to which Mark Steyn exposes everyone left of John Howard, often with dazzling effect. He's guilty as charged -- and not only of violating the BC Code. The U.N.'s Universal Declaration of Human Rights protects against "attacks upon honor and reputation." These are Steyn's tools of trade. But the U.N. version, I note, also guarantees "the right to freedom of opinion and expression," which by contrast with protection from taunters seems like an actual human right, and a right in direct conflict with the right not to have one's honor attacked. The B.C. Human Rights Code is at least consistent: it makes no mention of the right to free expression at all. Whatever else the Steyn show-trial demonstrates, it's proven that "human rights" remains a hopelessly muddled concept, and that British Columbia is a place where the best face conviction, even when the worst aren't filled with passionate intensity.

Wood's conclusion? The hyper-sensitive Canadian Islamic Wankers are much less creative than were those who opposed Salmon Rushdie's Satanic Verses, back in the good old days across the pond.

And the world is poorer for it—in so many ways. Read the whole thing.

Posted by Attila Girl at 07:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Oh, Canada.

Unbelievable: Canada's HRC is now sending hired thugs to harass senior citizens—namely, Ezra Levant's parents.

Just as well that I live in this country, and that it's a free country. My mother may not approve very heartily of what I do on the internet, but she doesn't take kindly to strange men messing around with the family.

Neither does her dog, who always has to be reminded that my husband and my brother are "good people"—there is that split-second of hesitation that tells me that a grown man was mean to her when she was a pup.

I'm just so angry about this. I know there are bullies in the world, but it makes me crazy when they attain power, and governmental "authority."

This is, I suppose, as good a place as any to plug Mark Steyn (also a victim of the HRC), and Canada's "Freedom Five": Kate McMillan, Kathy Shaidle, Mark and Connie at Free Dominion, and Levant himself.

Thanks to Insty.

Posted by Attila Girl at 01:49 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

"I'm an Environmentalist, and I'm Here to Help."

The industrialized world screws the developing world—but it's okay: the greens are doing it, and they have good intentions.

Posted by Attila Girl at 01:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sure. No Sampling Error Here.

Nor sublimation.

Remember "food is the good girl's sex"? I guess shopping is the London/Park Avenue/Montana Avenue version of food.

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"McCain Is a . . . a CHICKENHAWK!"

. . . or, er . . . something.

Posted by Attila Girl at 12:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 10, 2008

Surviving an Obama Presidency?

Dr. Helen asks her readers what the effects would be on the economy if Obama were elected President, and if he were to enact his economic policies.

Tax shelters? Municipal bonds? Moving to a part of the country with a lower cost of living? Making a conscious effort to earn less, to avoid being taxed at a higher rate?

What's your survival strategy, should worse come to worst?

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Welcome to Canada. Now Go Home.

P.S. Thanks for your service to our country; please die in the Philippines, though.

h/t: Q and O.

Posted by Attila Girl at 11:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Oh, Fiddlesticks.

If the blinky screen thingie is so difficult to concentrate with, Nicholas, why not pick up a book? Oh, right: you can't. Just like you couldn't do your research in an old-fashioned liberry without getting distracted.

Gawd. Take some Ritalin, for crying out loud.

(I just read the article on-screen, though I'm two feet away from the paper version. It wasn't super-deep, if you want to know the truth.)

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Bob Barr Sees the Light . . .

And recants his drug-warrior ethos:

For years, I served as a federal prosecutor and member of the House of Representatives defending the federal pursuit of the drug prohibition.

Today, I can reflect on my efforts and see no progress in stopping the widespread use of drugs. I'll even argue that America's drug problem is larger today than it was when Richard Nixon first coined the phrase, "War on Drugs," in 1972.

America's drug problem is only compounded by the vast amounts of money directed at this ongoing battle. In 2005, more than $12 billion dollars was spent on federal drug enforcement efforts while another $30 billion was spent to incarcerate non-violent drug offenders.

The result of spending all of those taxpayer's dollars? We now have a huge incarceration tab for non-violent drug offenders and, at most, a 30% interception rate of hard drugs. We are also now plagued with the meth labs that are popping up like poisonous mushrooms across the country.

While it is clear the War on Drugs has been a failure, it is not enough to simply acknowledge that reality. We need to look for solutions that deal with the drug problem without costly and intrusive government agencies, and instead allow for private industry and organizations to put forward solutions that address the real problems.

It gives me hope that my brain won't get calcified when I'm his age.

h/t: Memeorandum.

Posted by Attila Girl at 03:22 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Oh, That'll Work.

Windfall taxes on the oil companies. Why didn't I think of that?

Via Stacy McCain, who suggests that, "like shag haircuts, polyester leisure suits and the BeeGees," the gas tax is "a Seventies fad we don't need to go back to."

Why not? We don't seem to want to learn any of the other lessons from the 1970s.

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Combatting Old Bloggers' Tales.

Glenn Reynolds cites a NYT news report that suggest white wine may be just as healthy as red.

Hooray! And just in time for my newfound love of pinot grigio! (This is inspired partly from the heat, which seems to suggest something out of the refrigerator, and partly from my brand-new light-colored carpeting.)

But then, alas, Reynolds passes along this bit of anti-lush bigotry: "Drinking a bottle a day will not make you five times better than a glass . . . ."

Of course not: it's only four and a half times as healthy. Let's stick to the facts, Professor.

(Yeah, yeah: I know that the health benefits of alcohol decrease after one drink a day for females, or two drinks a day for males, depending on the study. I read one article that suggested six drinks per week is the optimum for women, and that they could be "saved up" for up to 48 hours, making two or even three drinks a day permissible. But I've only seen that in one place, and I'm pretty skeptical.

This is also interesting in that my mother's doctor has asked that she refrain from drinking because of her fatty liver; she mostly complies, though I'll sometimes pour a little of my beer into a juice glass for her, or place my margarita where she can drink some of it, or hand her a quarter of a glass of wine to drink with dinner. There are, after all, quality-of-life issues to consider.)

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June 09, 2008

This Is Not Complicated!

I mean, it is, but it isn't.

We have on our hands a 1970s-style energy crisis. We cannot afford to bet the entire table on one solution; we must use a multi-pronged approach.

(1) We must begin developing domestic supplies; we know how to do it in an environmentally sensitive fashion, and there are massive reserves out there that can be used over the next decade without even making much of a dent. We can buy time this way, and we must.

(2) We need to build nuclear power plants for our electrical needs. This doesn't address our transportation needs, but it will help. Electricity is cheap, and will become cheaper as we learn to use it better in cars. Nuclear power is one of the cleanest alternatives out there.

(3) All of the other avenues we're exploring right now—for electricity, the uses to which we put natural gas (and the other possibilities it holds), the delicatessen of hybrid, electric, flex-fuel cars, biodiesel, and the legion of biofuels—must be sorted out by the market, which means that the government shouldn't be playing favorites among 'em.

If the Feds want to make themselves useful, they might want to come up only a few fuel standards (or maybe even only one—but certainly formulations by region) for this country. One of the burdens we are carrying right now is the need to formulate different gasoline for nearly every state. This is not just a commerce issue; it is a national security issue. Just as we needed an Interstate Highway System, we should at least consider streamlining our fuel requirements.

More: Jazz Shaw at The Moderate Voice, and Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. (Ed's got a poll, too—and it forces one to choose between developing U.S. petroleum reserves, researching alternative energies, and building nuclear power plants. I see all three of those as equally important.)

Personally, I'm okay: I just moved to a location from which I can walk to the supermarket, restaurants, the bank, and theatres. But this is no way to run an economy; the situation is desperate, and we've got to take the handcuffs off of those entities that are in a position to help.

Posted by Attila Girl at 08:06 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

My Girl's Having a Breakthrough!

She's come a long way from tipping off the nightstalker that he should ditch his tennis shoes. This courtesy of WaPo's Paul Kane:

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairman of the Rules and Administrations Committee, which oversees the operation of the Senate, said she had no choice [but to privatize the Senate's restaurants and cafeterias].

"It's cratering," she said of the restaurant system. "Candidly, I don't think the taxpayers should be subsidizing something that doesn't need to be. There are parts of government that can be run like a business and should be run like businesses."

In a letter to colleagues, Feinstein said that the Government Accountability Office found that "financially breaking even has not been the objective of the current management due to an expectation that the restaurants will operate at a deficit annually."

It's the least they can do, with other people's money. Thanks, Dianne.

h/t: Memeorandum.

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The Freakazoid! first-season DVD is available for pre-order on Amazon.com; release date will be July 29th.

Also, John P. McCann, Jean MacCurdy, and Paul Rugg will be appearing at this year's Comic-Con International in San Diego (July 24-27).

I would go, but I'm afraid that at some point someone will hand me an English-Klingon dictionary, and I will be utterly dismayed to see it. (Actually, I don't know if that episode wherein Cave Guy chases Freakazoid to Comic-Con actually aired; it might have just been put together for a panel at Comic-Con itself. The denizens of CC were delighted to see themselves—and their penchant for costumes—thoroughly skewered.)

What can you say about a writing team that is asked to put more "toyetic" elements into its plots, and ends up writing about the term toyetic itself? (I might have that story wrong, but that's the way I got that one.)

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End the Oil Shale Moratorium!

Toying with the energy companies, in Fortune magazine:

Salazar's efforts [U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo.] have essentially pulled the rug out from under Shell (RDSA) and other oil companies which have invested many, many millions into oil shale research since the passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which established the original framework for commercial leasing of oil shale lands. (Last year, oil shale represented Shell's single biggest R&D expenditure.)

Salazar says he's simply trying to slow things down in order to ensure environmental considerations don't get trampled in the rush to turn western Colorado into a new Prudhoe Bay. But, ironically, his bid to extend the moratorium comes at a time when his fellow Senate Democrats have been blasting Big Oil for not reinvesting enough of their profits into developing new sources of energy.

It's hard not to see all the obstructionism regarding energy development as a sort of Marie Antoinette approach to fuel transitioning: we should force conservation, force biofuels, force diesel. And we should do it on the backs of the poor and the middle class.

After all, if someone can't afford a Prius: well, fuck 'em. And, by the way: those who are suffering from the dictatorships and authoritarian governments propped up by American fuel dollars? Fuck them, too.


Fortune: Why do you consider developing oil shale such a high priority?

Sen. Hatch: We have as much oil in oil shale in Utah, Wyoming and Colorado as the rest of the world's oil combined. Liberals and environmentalists can talk all they want about wind, solar and geothermal - all of which I'm for - but last time I checked, planes, trains, trucks, ships and cars don't run on electricity. 98% of transportation fuel right now is oil. Ethanol is the only real alternative, and we're seeing that ethanol has major limitations.

It's pathetic. Environmentalists are very happy having us dependent on foreign oil. They're unhappy with us developing our own. What they forget to say is that shipping fuel all the way from the middle east has a big greenhouse gas footprint too.

Fortune: Any hope of changing Sen. Salazar's mind? After all, he says he's not opposed to oil shale production in principle.

Sen. Allard: His mind seems pretty set. His argument is, if we delay this, it gives us an opportunity to phase it in gradually. But he's got it turned around. We need the rules and regulations in place first. When the oil companies go to bid on their leases, they need have some idea what their royalties might be and what their remediation requirements might be [for restoring the land at spent drilling sites].

Fortune: Have you talked to Shell about this?

Sen. Allard: We have, and they've indicated a great deal of frustration. They've put it this way: Look, we can't continue to invest millions and millions of dollars in this kind of research without seeing some light at the end of the tunnel.

Fortune: Sen. Salazar insists he just wants to take things more slowly.

Sen. Hatch: Sen. Salazar and the Colorado governor [Democrat Bill Ritter] say they don't want it to happen too fast. Well, the existing law that I sponsored [which became part of the 2005 energy act] makes it abundantly clear that each governor gets to decide how quickly developments should move forward in their respective states. [Salazar and Ritter] know that. What they're really doing is making sure that the governor of Utah and the governor of Wyoming never get to make that decision for themselves.

No blood for oil. No sweat and tears, either.

Via Insty.

Posted by Attila Girl at 09:38 AM | Comments (22) | TrackBack

American Journalist Saves a Life in Yemen.

I'm toggling back and forth between grief and rage on the one hand (for the fact that another person sentenced today got the death penalty, and for the incarceration and oppression of Al-Khaiwani), and relief on the other—that Jane's efforts paid off in saving Al-Khaiwani's life, so he can fight another day. So we can fight another day.

This from the same court that finds it legal and even admirable when Yemenis murder Iraqis in Iraq. But writing about the Yemeni civilians suffering during Ali Mohsen’s personal jihad in Sa’ada is punishable by six years in jail. Every journalist in Yemen is much less free now. And so is the world.

Jane goes on to point out that the ruling thugs in Yemen have at least been unmasked as a junta. She is planning more international civil disobedience (that is to say, consciousness-raising pranks against the Yemeni thugs). So stay tuned.

Posted by Attila Girl at 08:38 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Victor Davis Hanson

In The Corner:

Why are Republicans, who voted in overwhelming numbers for off-shore drilling, ANWR, nuclear, shale, tar sands, liquid coal, etc—and were opposed by Democrats on grounds of wanting to enrich energy companies—not appealing to the country to develop domestic supplies on the basis of fairness (the poor have the least access to energy efficient homes and hybrid, fuel efficient new cars), the environment (the US can extract oil, in a fungible market, far more cleanly than Russia or the Middle East), and national security (most of OPEC, Russia, Venezuela are belligerents and becoming more dangerous the more trillions of dollars the West, China, and Japan transfer to them in their hard-won national wealth)?

It is a ready-made issue for them, and with skill can appeal to Americans of every persuasion who are starting to snicker when Obama soars in pie-in-the-sky sermons about wind, solar, and millions of new jobs in green energy. Maybe—but back on planet America until we get there the working class is going to be paying a day or two per week of their wages to fuel their second-hand cars, while the environmentalists will buy new Priuses and an on-demand water heater for their tasteful homes. One would have thought the President, who was on right side of these production issues, would give a national address calling for a bipartisan effort to produce energy to get us through these hard times, or Republican senators would now be reintroducing energy legislation almost daily.

But given the current conservative ineptness, $5 a gallon gas will be blamed on the war, or lack of federal subsidies to solar, or the oil companies, and not the elite agenda of utopians who were not willing to do what was necessary for the collective good to help us transition through to new fuels.

My emphases; link via Insty.

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A Tale of Two Approaches

"The pump don't work 'cause the vandals took the handle." Or maybe it's that my debit card was declined again; I'm not sure.

Pajamas Media has two articles up on high gas prices; they seem contradictory (high gas prices are good; high gas prices are bad). But they really represent different sides of the same coin.

Kate Berry discusses high gas prices in the context of reshaping our habits into ones more appropriate in a wartime economy (though she doesn't quite put it in those terms). At this point, we are importing an alarming amount of oil from unsavory people, so her advice is important. I especially like the fact that she advocates married people having . . . sex. After all, staying home is great for the nation's oil reserves. I hadn't quite thought about it that way.

Tom Blumer talks about existing high gas prices—and the even higher ones proposed by those who would like to see us paying Europe-crazy fuel bills—in the context of what it is doing to our mobility, and to the auto industry. (Though I am not sure the overall trend is downward; I do realize that truck and SUV sales are down, possibly for good. I think the "family truck" bubble may have burst. But smaller cars are doing quite well, for obvious reasons.)

Blumer's most important point is that the U.S. still has tremendous untapped petroleum reserves that we need to develop. This is true: even if we are in the twilight of petroleum's heydey, we must buy time to develop the next generation of fuel alternatives. High prices push us to do this, to some degree, and they certainly make it more cost-effective to do so. But we are still working on excellence in our hybrid and electric cars, and we are still investigating biofuels. We cannot present people with a choice between supporting foreign dictators or absorbing a violent shock to the nation's economy by trying to rely on alternative fuels prematurely. Both the raw research and some of the distribution issues will take time to work out.

There is also the issue of energy apart from out transportation needs (though if one of our solutions to the car problem is hybrid/electric, these need not be separate issues). And for that, of course, we must look to France. Less-draconian regulations there allow the French to enjoy both better-quality cheese and environmentally friendly energy. Yeah, I'm going there: we need to start building more nuclear power plants in this country, The Simpsons' rather quaint characterization of nuclear power notwithstanding. (Does Matt Groening work for the French? Just askin.')

Drill. Conserve. Research all our options for transportation. And go nuclear for some of our electricity.

Posted by Attila Girl at 01:51 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Good News on Airport Security . . . Maybe.

According to Annie Jacobsen, we might finally be ready to learn from the real experts: the Israelis.

It all depends on whether (1) we commit to hiring airport security screeners who consider their jobs to be careers; and (2) we get rid of some of the "passenger annoyance" fillips we now use once we have actual security systems in place.

I don't think anyone wants to cope with both, but we're not doing great right now by confiscating new, sealed bottles of drinking water.

And (to turn our attention to the TSA's partners in crime, the airlines) it makes even less sense to charge passengers for checking baggage—that will simply increase the number of people who carry-on luggage that could have been checked, which slows down the boarding process and annoys more people.

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Sentencing Day in Yemen

Please say a prayer for the journalist al-khaiwani, who is facing the death penalty today for the crime of . . . journalism.

According to Jane Novak, the courtroom will be packed; we're hoping that this embarrasses the Yemeni government into doing the right thing.

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June 08, 2008

Steyn, on Pine . . .

If Obama is political Viagra, the media are at that stage in the ad where the announcer warns that, if leg tingles persist for over six months, see your doctor.

Out there in the voting booths, however, Democrat legs stayed admirably unthrilled. The more the media told Hillary she was toast and she should get the hell out of it and let Obama romp to victory, the more Democrats insisted on voting for her. The more the media insisted Barack was inevitable, the less inclined the voters were to get with the program. On the strength of Chris Matthews’s vibrating calves, Sen. Obama raised a ton of money — over $300 million — and massively outspent Senator Clinton, but he didn’t really get any bang for his buck. In the end, he crawled over the finish line. The Obama Express came a-hurtlin’ down the track at two miles an hour.

But what does he care? Sen. Obama has learned an old trick of Bill Clinton’s: If you behave like a star, you’ll get treated as one. So, even as his numbers weakened, his rhetoric soared.

It's over at NRO; read the whole thing.

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Hey! Someone's Finally Taking on the "Jewish Lobby"!

Barack Obama is my hero.

Via Glenn, who notes that some of the antisemitic material is being "disappeared" from Obama's official site. I'd be happier if it hadn't been allowed up there in the first place.

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Has Anyone Not Seen

. . . "Crisis on Omaha?" I know I'm a few days late, but here it is just in case some of my readers didn't catch it on Friday:

Remember: when the media tell you that it's "Game Over," they might be engaging in wishful thinking.

h/t: Neocon Express.

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Michael Goldfarb on the Hillster:

In case you hadn't seen this one, Goldfarb speaks here as part of the McCain campaign, here, about Senator Clinton's withdrawal:

It was interesting that she barely touched on foreign policy in her concession speech today. She mentioned Iraq only twice, she mentioned terrorism only once, and she didn't mention Iran at all. After all, her serious approach to each of these issues proved [a] liability in the Democratic primary. She spent years building a strong record on national security, and in the end her party opted for a candidate with no national security experience at all.

Senator Clinton also didn't mention John McCain once during her speech. This came as something of a surprise over here, and a pleasant one at that. But it's clear that John McCain and Hillary Clinton respect each other -- and there is a genuine affection for her here at McCain HQ.

My emphasis.

Yeah; it's been a year of surprises. Like the fact that despite my decision to vote for John McCain, I've found so much to agree with Ann Coulter about lately; you will recall that this has not always been the case. Anyway, here's Ann on how "our plucky Hillary" got shortchanged:

Every time Hillary breathes a word about her victory in the popular vote, TV hosts respond with sneering contempt at her gaucherie for even mentioning it. (Of course, if popularity mattered, networks like MSNBC wouldn't exist. That's a station that depends entirely on "superviewers.")

After nearly eight years of having to listen to liberals crow that Bush was "selected, not elected," this is a shocking about-face. Apparently unaware of the new party line that the popular vote amounts to nothing more than warm spit, just last week HBO ran its movie Recount, about the 2000 Florida election, the premise of which is that sneaky Republicans stole the presidency from popular vote champion Al Gore. (Despite massive publicity, the movie bombed, with only about one million viewers, so now HBO is demanding a "recount.")

Ann points out that Hillary's case now is much stronger than Gore's was in 2000, since the Electoral College is enshrined in the Constitution, and Party Primary rules are not.

Of course, I am not a member of the Democratic Party. (I'm not much of a member of any party, to tell you the truth). So they can structure their rules as they like. But disenfranchising people in the primary may not be the best strategy for ensuring turnout in the general.

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Travelling Back to the Year 1000.

It all seems to hinge on whether this is Terminator-style time travel, or whether one is showing up wearing wildly inappropriate clothing (and one's gold tooth fillings, and wedding ring—maybe even one's Swiss pocket knife).

Beyond that, there's the issue of whether one is allowed to take a small bag of necessities: spices, a few reference works, a cigarette lighter. (I'd take Tampax and a water-purification kit.)

Via McArdle, who suggests:

Your biggest comparative advantage is the ability to read and write, and your knowledge of modern sanitation techniques. However, given that you don't speak the language, or know how to do any of the basic manual labor careers open to you, you may have a hard time surviving long enough to employ these. Do not be tempted to do nifty things with modern technology, as this will probably cause people to suspect you are a witch or similar. Go to church regularly and mumble in fake Latin; no one will know if you're getting it wrong anyway.
Posted by Attila Girl at 08:09 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Still Don't Think Earmarks Are Evil?

Start here. Then recall that this is money taken from American citizens—teachers, waitresses, 7-11 clerks—at the point of a gun, supposedly to pay for government.

Posted by Attila Girl at 07:57 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 07, 2008

So, She Endorsed Obama.

But was she sincere about it?

I just don't think her heart was really in it.

Posted by Attila Girl at 09:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

It Isn't That Intelligence and Leadership Don't Correlate . . .

it's that intellectualism and leadership don't.

I like brains as much as the next girl, but a lot of people get a bit weighed down by same.

I think Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter may have been the smartest guys to occupy the White House during my lifetime. Clinton is certainly a brilliant politician.

At the end of the day, what did that do for us? One person's intuition might be worth a lot more than another's certified left-brain, genuinely rigorous analysis. Remember what professor Sowell used to say?—that the type of intelligence many black men seem to possess is suited to split-second, extemporaneous decisions?

I want a jazz musician in the White House, not a policy wonk. A running back, not an attorney.

Bottom line: Obama just isn't black enough for me.

Posted by Attila Girl at 08:26 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


I can think of no better reason to vote against Obama than the prospect of an administration where any criticism of the President is treated as racism.

Yes, indeed.

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New Video from American Solutions!

"Drill Here. Drill Now. Pay Less." Sign the petition at American Solutions.

(This is not, BTW, a movement that is against alternative energies—it is about buying us time to develop them properly, and about taking money out of the pockets of America's enemies.)

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Goodbye, Harriet McBryde Johnson.

We need more like her.

If she gets her wish, and we do manage to eliminate the "disabled Gulag," we will probably get more like her, and the world will be richer for it.

Thanks for the thoughtful tribute, Ed.

(X-posted at Right Wing News.)

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Right-Wing Environmentalism . . .

is not a contradiction in terms.

Melissa Clouthier, over at my new weekend gig, discusses right-wing participation in those "strange bedfellows" ads regarding global warming.

This is a delicate issue, because no one I know (um, that is, among my political homies) wants to (1) join the stampede toward the "majority vote" approach to science; (2) concede that global warming is anthropogenic, without just a bit more evidence; (3) specify that an increase in the earth's temperature would necessarily be A Bad Thing.

And yet, like Ms. Clouthier, a lot of us are saddened by the idea of ceding all environmental issues to the left. Remember in the 1970s, when there were two approaches to what we now call environmentalism? There were ecologists on the left, and conservationists on the right.

Now we have the magic of ever-evolving language (no word means anything from decade to decade any more: that would be like sticking with one tie width for 20 years; don't be silly). And the term "environmentalism" means left-wing resource management. And there is no term for right-wing stewardship of Planet Earth. Mostly because many of us suspect that the Third Rock from the Sun is hardier than we've been led to believe. But also because we tend to recoil from the puritanism we see in the modern "environmental" movement.

And yet most of us recycle, and most of us try not to waste resources. Most of us support alternative fuels (if only for foreign policy reasons).

It is not, in short, that we disagree with the goal of keeping the ecosystems running: it is more that we have different ideas of what the tactics should be, and that we still think humans aren't an unmitigated scourge upon the Earth—nor is science and technology any particular enemy.

Like that.

Posted by Attila Girl at 11:36 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Let's . . .

stick with the facts.

Posted by Attila Girl at 10:55 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Help Wanted: Presidential Running Mates.

Robert Novak mentions the Jindal buzz in the New York Post: Jindal-mania naturally has my friends in Louisiana concerned that a national Presidential campaign will spirit the state's new Governor away.

Much as I despise a "bean counting" approach to ethnic/gender diversity, I do believe that—all things being equal—the McCain campaign would be better off placing an ethnic minority and/or a woman on the ticket. (Also, the person should be bright, vibrant, and apparently ready to be involved in the administration in a Cheney-esque fashion [that is, to be a sort of uber-Chief-of-Staff, as Cheney has been to President Bush]. That would answer the unspoken (and spoken) fears about McCain's age.

Novak also addresses some of the job being discussed for Senator Clinton in an Obama Presidency. I'm a good deal less horrified by the idea of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State than I feel I ought to be, but the idea of making her a Supreme Court Justice makes me want to throw up—all day, every day. I'd almost rather have Harriet Miers.

Of course, for Clinton to get either of those jobs would imply that Obama has won the Presidency; his qualifications for same are every bit as lightweight as Miers's were for the Court. Obama is terribly liberal, and terribly young, and terribly naive on foreign policy, the trickiest (and most critical) issue of our day.

(X-posted at Right Wing News.)

Posted by Attila Girl at 10:35 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

June 06, 2008

John Hawkins

. . . in the news.

BTW, tomorrow is my first on-duty stint as part of Hawkins' Saturday crew. So send me lots of tips tonight and tomorrow morning. Thanks!

Posted by Attila Girl at 08:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Ahoy, Maties.

I'm here, but exhausted and busy. Regular blogging will resume tomorrow.

Posted by Attila Girl at 07:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wake Up! Get Some Coffee in Your System!

Jane Novak will be on Fox & Friends in just a few hours, discussing the plight of the Yemeni people. (That is, she should be on-air at 6:20 Eastern, 4:20 Central, and Oh-Gosh Pacific. I'm staying up, and will crash on the couch afterward, with a stern note to my husband that I don't really exist until noon. At that point, of course, I'll make all my outstanding phone calls, and be up in time to greet the plumber at 2:00 p.m. This whole thing is not mitigating my vampirism, in case you were wondering.)

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June 05, 2008

On Mass Transit

Which could be a normal part of our infrastructure, but isn't, most of the time.

h/t: Insty.

Posted by Attila Girl at 01:56 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Overheard . . .

"So. Why do you have so many pairs of nail clippers?"

"Because my wife keeps borrowing them and losing them. I have to have extras, or I wouldn't have any at all."

"Perhaps your wife is simply doing her bit for the ecosystem: it's bad for nail clippers when there are too many of them in the bathroom drawers. Someone has to cull the herd."

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Ha! No Risk of Arthritis Here!

'Cause if moderate drinking keeps it at bay . . . .


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Robert Goldberg on How Ted Kennedy's Policy Proposals Kills People with Similar Conditions.

From The New York Post.

(I'm going to have to throw in a reminder here that I don't want to see any attacks on Ted Kennedy in the cancer context.

I do realize that some people can't help but think of deep water, alcohol abuse, lack of enunciation, and lace-curtain Irish when the man's name comes up; knock yourself out. Any excessively vitriolic or "let him die" kinds of remarks, however, will be subject to deletion, or to whimsical editing for my personal, childish amusement.)

But one cannot help but be struck by the irony: in the quixotic attempt to make sure that every healthy 25-year old is covered by health insurance, we might not pay attention to those "unintended consequences" the Canadians and Britons both endure, and we could end up killing some of the people we were hoping to save.

As with most of these misguided projects, the risks are lower with McCain in the White House, vs. Obama.

. . . [T]he dangers of the liberal health-care agenda are being made clear by the care that a liberal icon, Sen. Ted Kennedy, has received since his brain seizure last month.

One day after an MRI detected a tumor, Kennedy was quickly diagnosed with a malignant glioma—a rare and often-fatal form of brain cancer. Less than two weeks later, his tumor was being removed by one of the world's experts in brain cancer at Duke Univeristy Medical Center. He'll follow up with chemo and radiation therapy tailored to the genetic makeup of his cancer to keep the cancer from spreading.

He'll likely take Avastin, a drug that in experiments with brain cancer has extended survival by months. A new cancer vaccine being developed in partnership with Pfizer could extend his life by six years.

Of course, with his wealth and power, Kennedy would get good treatment anywhere. But the same care is available to every American. Not so - if we make the health "reforms" called for by Kennedy and other liberals.

Filmmaker Michael Moore gives their standard line when he says: "There are problems in all health-care systems, but at least Europeans and Canadians have a health-care system that covers everyone." Problem is, governments that promise to "cover everyone" always wind up cutting corners simply to save money. People with Kennedy's condition are dying or dead as a result.

Consider Jennifer Bell of Norwich, England. In 2006, the 22-year-old complained of headaches for months—but Britain's National Health Service made her wait a year to see a neurologist. Then she had to wait more than three months before should could get what the NHS decided was only a "relatively urgent" MRI scan. Three days before the MRI appointment, she died.

Well, it could be worse: she could have been Cuban, and dealing with the roach-infested facilities that most of those on the island are relegated to. ("But at least everyone's at the same level, there." Um, no. Not the well-connected. Under socialism, one has to kiss up to dictators to get one's needs met. Here, all one has to do is scrape up some cash. That is, of course, an easier project.)

More from Goldberg:

Consider, too, the chemo drug Kennedy is receiving: Temodar, the first oral medicine for brain tumors in 25 years. Temodar has been widely used in this country since the FDA approved it in 2000. But a British health-care rationing agency, the National Institute for Comparative Effectiveness, ruled that, while the drug helps people live longer, it wasn't worth the money—and denied coverage for it.

Barack Obama—and other Democrats—have been pushing a Senate bill to set up a similar US "review board" for Medicare and any future government health-care plan.

After denying this treatment completely for seven years, the NICE [. . .] relented—partly. Even today, only a handful of Brits with brain tumors can get Temodar. And if you want to pay for Temodar out of your own pocket, the British system forces you to pay for all of your cancer care—about $30,000 a month.

That's one of the evils of some Medicare rules, even here and now: there should never be a rule against buying something extra "a la carte." And yet most of these bureaucrat-driven systems won't let you get anything "on the side" that your insurance won't pay for. That's just evil.

Goldberg continues:

Things are no different in Canada, where the wait for an MRI (once you finally get a referral) has grown to 10 weeks. For Canadians relying on their government health care, the average wait time from diagnosis of cancer to surgery is beyond the guideline set by both the US and European societies for surgical oncology.

And HealthCanada, the government system, similar[ly] refuses to pay for treatments that are often covered in America. Chad Curley, a 37-year-old auto worker from Windsor, Ontario, had a brain tumor like Kennedy's but can't have surgery because his is too large to be operable.

His tumor didn't respond to Temodar, and the same doctors now treating Sen. Kennedy told him and his wife that the Avastin combination could stop his tumor from growing and add months to his life. But HealthCanada wouldn't pay to use Avastin to treat his tumor.

I want our health-care "system" in which patients have the power to affect their care. I don't want someone else deciding what I do and don't need. Under socialized medicine, these calls are being made by people who haven't even met the patients. That's not okay.

h/t: Flopping Aces.

Posted by Attila Girl at 11:02 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Vicious Pit Bull in Action!

Scary, scary!

h/t to Eric Classic.

Posted by Attila Girl at 03:42 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 04, 2008

Jane Novak on Fox & Friends Friday!

"Janey's going to be on Fox & Friends," I remark to my husband. "So at the end of the week I have to either get up really really early, or stay up a bit late."

"Which Jane?" He asks.

"Armies of Liberation Jane, of course. The one who's trying to pressure the Yemenis into allowing freedom of speech, and get them to stop killing/imprisoning journalists. That Jane."

"I'll bet the State Department hates her," he muses.

"I wouldn't be surprised," I tell him. "But we love her. She's saving lives. We are unanimous that she must get a terrific tube of lipstick for this appearance."

In retrospect it feels like rather a small contribution to the cause.

Posted by Attila Girl at 11:10 AM | Comments (2)

Thanks, Mr. President!

I'm sure Obama was waiting to hear from you, wondering what you thought. I know I was.

You're pretty much the go-to guy for political insights, foreign-policy recommendations . . . nearly any subject having to do with American governance and statesmanship. We seek your opinion because of your track rec . . . oops. I meant to say that we actively solicit your input because we know that you mean well, and that's all that's really important.

Truly. You're a wonderful guy. There, there. Think good thoughts. And thanks for all your hel . . . thanks for trying. Look at it this way: every President is special.

h/t: Memeorandum.

Posted by Attila Girl at 10:03 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Goodbye, YSL.

I haven't known what to say, exactly. Fortunately, this is Virginia Postrel's beat.

The Coco Chanel comparison was perfect. Perhaps neither one of them was of the world—but they were both in the world.

Thank you, Yves Saint Laurent.

Posted by Attila Girl at 04:01 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Obama "Made History."

Is that difficult?

Is it like baking, wherein the proportion of ingredients is key?

Or is it more like a soup, in which one has to tend to the balance of flavors, one against another?

Perhaps history is like a pie: the filling is easy, but the crust will fuck you up.

If history is like a stir-fry, then it's all in remembering which vegetables cook most quickly, and adding them in inverse proportion.

Come on, people: history occurs when time passes. History makes itself, without any special help from us.

Okay, okay: there was a time when I had plenty of team spirit. I was even happy when William Jefferson Clinton appointed the first female attorney general.

You see where this is going, right? Down to Texas, to the small town where Janet Reno made her mark.

These days I don't give anyone points for having ovaries. Nor for having a good suntan from birth.

And history will bury its dead.

Posted by Attila Girl at 03:45 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

What Is this "Summer Reading" You Speak Of?

I mean, I sort of get the notion when it applies to high school and middle school (and secondary school) and college students.

Also, to the teachers thereof.

But what about everyone else? Where are they getting extra time to read? Is it the effects of the "longer" days, with more sunshine? Is there an illusion that one has more time?

As the daughter of a schoolteacher, I definitely associate longer days and more sunshine with housework and household organization (though of course I've learned to resist the temptation to create cleanliness and order over the years). But I don't associate long days with reading.

Winter is for reading, curled up on the couch or in a window seat. Drinking hot chocolate or Earl Grey tea with a bit of whole milk in it. And for just grabbing something off the bookshelf: Wuthering Heights, or Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, or anything by James Thurber.

Summer is for walking, or driving. Or for soaking up the sun somehow. Certainly not for placing a white sheet of paper in front of one's eyes and letting it reflect the sunlight into one's eyeballs.

The only thing I really want to read in the summer are cookbooks (with a focus on grilling and creating bitchin' salsa, natch) and Shakespeare.

Because I'll burn my retinas out for Billy the Shake any day of the week. But for no one else.

Posted by Attila Girl at 02:46 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Mark Hemingway . . .

on the Obama speech tonight.

With all three candidates giving major speeches, I threw my hands up in the air and boycotted television this evening.

(Some of you will ask how this differs from an ordinary night. It's simple: I didn't watch TV, but I didn't feel guilty about it. So there.)

Posted by Attila Girl at 02:11 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

I Swear I Loved Her Before I Saw This Video.

But it didn't hurt.

Good. Lord. The word hawt is inadequate.

(And, thank you, David Linden. DJQ has been making me music compilations since he was in graduate school. No, wait—undergrad. I still have most of 'em, and the cassette tapes are holding up well, in every sense of the term.

"No good deed goes unpunished." Last winter after a visit with him and his fam [during which I think I might have been particularly selfish and boorish, but perhaps my lack of manners was within the normal margin], I more or less demanded that instead of waiting for my birthday, he make my next music CD right then and there, before I caught my flight back to L.A. It was ready by the time I got back from blogging in the room outside his office.

The Shivaree track was on it.

Every music collection he makes for me is my favorite, with the possible exception of all the other ones he's made for me.)

Now that I've pulled my head out of my ass long enough to see that an incompetent contractor has basically tossed his beautiful, beautiful office, let's all buy more copies of The Accidental Mind in a show of solidarity.

It turns out mine is in Arcadia. When I called my favorite San Gabriel Valley furniture/decor place to get the new condo measured for blinds, I was informed that both the women who work there had been "enjoying" my book.

"Um. I went back and got that after I left it behind, right?" I started to feel a bit queasy, then.

"No. You said you would, but then you didn't. So we've been reading it, and we really like it."

"Cool. A friend of mine wrote it. But you're sure I left my copy at your store? 'Cause I thought I'd gotten it, but my husband had just put it into storage, with all the rest of my valuable . . . um . . . stuff."

"It's here. I'm looking at it right now; we put your name on it. But we'll give you the book back when you come in to pick out the blinds for the new place."

"Okay. That'd be . . . that'd be great."

To my credit, I didn't ask them to flip through Accidental Mind and figure out whether short-term memory problems in one's 40s are predictive of future senility. I wouldn't have remembered the answer, in any event.

UPDATE 2: To me, the photos suggest that David's tiny antique tea table probably survived the disaster, along with his fetching little cranium.

Is it possible that the Johns Hopkins contractors need to spend more time watching Modern Marvels? Just a thought: I must go, before I get upset again. I'm actually pretty mad, and this thing happened, like, a week ago or something.

Posted by Attila Girl at 12:23 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 02, 2008


. . . takes on the Canadian Human Rights Commission, along with infamous anti-speech agitator Warman.

Go. Now. S'good.

Posted by Attila Girl at 11:29 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

"Beyond the Pale."


If you need me, I'll be drinking myself into a stupor.

Mother England: must we re-fight the Revolutionary War all over again? I thought we were in a groove, here . . .

Posted by Attila Girl at 01:33 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Hillary's Secret Weapon!

Giant pillbugs.

I hope McCain has some kind of seven-legged helpmates waiting in the wings . . . Six-legged, though, would be fine. And eight-legged would be excellent. (Yeah: I still let spiders live, even in this small home. Of course, I usually only let one reside in each room, and we have fewer rooms here. And I don't let them onto my computer or my easy chair, because I don't really want 'em crawling on me. But they do eat insects, and they are better than birds or gekkos.

I did have a girlfriend once who kept house gekkos in her little Santa Monica apartment; it was rather awful, because (1) it is unusual when I don't get up to pee in the middle of the night, but at her apartment I had to screw my courage to the sticking point, and carefully step over any shadows that might be hiding lizards. Also: (2) I'm not much of a night person, and being awakened at dawn by lizards who made human-sounding cries was not my idea of a good time.

But she was the brightest, oddest creature I've ever bedded, so there's that. Totally worth it, in case you were wondering.)

(I got the pillbug thing from Memeorandum. D'jou?)

Posted by Attila Girl at 12:25 AM | Comments (19) | TrackBack

June 01, 2008

Point of Etiquette:

Is it rude to ride around Glendale, with its high Armenian population, with the They Might Be Giants song "Constantinople" blaring from one's car?

(I swear: I don't have any idea how Tiny Toons got in that vid: I had no idea that they'd done a version of That Byzantium Song—much less one that featured Elmyra!

But I have to go, because I'm sailing for Byzantium now: I hear it has a lot of stuff in it that's made of gold. I likes me some gold.)

Posted by Attila Girl at 11:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

So, We Need a TV.

It should be a large-ish one: at least as big as the old one, which was enormous by my standards but quite modest among entertainment-industry people. As I recall, these things are measured on the diagonal, which would have made ours 4-5 feet. I think.

Any advice you have would be appreciated.

Naturally, we'd like a flat-ish screen, and HD capability. But we won't be hanging the thing on a wall: rather, we'll probably just place it on the entertainment center I got to hold my LP collection. It's shallow, but I like it. If we keep it, I'll probably have to get holes drilled in the back, and get one of those thingies installed: those doohickeys that allow a flat-screen to be angled in one direction or another. (If we have to get a new entertainment center, that's okay. Though I'd rather not. A the H likes glass, but A the H hasn't thought about how difficult it is to keep glass clean.)

We're retaining the old television so we can keep our VHS tapes, and so I can get back in the habit of watching television in one of the other rooms. Not the kitchen, though: we have to get the Charter Charmers [these guys are really, really nice--A the H is ready to write a letter to The Powers That Be about how great their techs are] back in order for me to watch TV in the kitchen. So it's the office, or the bedroom.

As you can imagine, with no media room and only one den/guest bedroom, we're going to have to coordinate much more closely about hours from now on. The touchy time is late at night before A the H has gone to bed--but while I'm starting to groove in "vampire" mode. If A the H is watching the big TV, I'll be in the den. If he's watching the small TV, I'll be in the living room. It's a matter of me not having to relocate when he goes to bed, because I'll be trying to unwind, too: it's just that I take 3-10 hours to do it.

But, yeah: when we're rich again, I might get a small telly for the kitchen so I can watch movies while I make soup or bread or whatever.

I'm starting to really like this place. Except for the piercing screams of children and the occasional yelling down on the street—or engine-gunning—by the local youts, it's not a lot more noisy. And there aren't all those fucking birds around here: just pigeons, and (yes!) hummingbirds.

I figure if I want to see birds, I can go hiking in Brand Park. Or I can go walk my old loop in Flintridge—it was 3.3 miles, and it took me an hour in my prime. It was more like an hour twenty, an hour fifteen, in the last year, but that route contains ungodly changes in elevation. If I don't stop off to check out any of the views, I can do it in an hour and ten. Not bad, considering.

Now I can start the loop any place I like, so I do the hike up front, rather than ending on the steepest climb, after I'm exhausted. Like hiking to the Rio Grande: expend all your energy up-front, going downhill. That way you can just fucking die on your way back to the trailhead, and as you pass the rangers, your face beet-red, your spouse can come up and give them a hearty "hi," so they don't attempt to try their first-aid skills on you.

Where the hell was I? Oh, yeah: advice on TVs, and on either repelling or attracting birds, depending on my mood. Please send. Thank you.

Posted by Attila Girl at 11:37 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack


I'm so glad we went with Charter for our entertainment/internet/phone service package, rather than AT&T. For ten to twenty dollars more a month, we:

• don't have to put up with an awful dish taking up space on our balcony;

• deal with the nicest installation/customer support people out there (quite a transformation from eleven years ago!);

• could pull out all the ugly extra cables around here, and cover up the ugly extra outlets in the wall;

• are getting a much faster internet connection.

Of course, I haven't attempted to actually watch TV here, yet. I must get around to that soon.

Posted by Attila Girl at 10:57 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

The Latest from Rasmussen . . .

When it comes to the economy, 47% of voters trust John McCain more than Barack Obama. Obama is trusted more by 41%. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey also found that, when it comes to the War in Iraq, McCain is trusted more by 49% of voters. Obama is preferred by 37%. McCain has an even larger edge—53% to 31%--on the broader topic of National Security. These results are little changed from a month ago.

Obama enjoys a 43% to 39% advantage when it comes to government ethics and reducing corruption. McCain has a 44% to 38% advantage on taxes.

It is interesting to note that while McCain has the edge over Obama on these issues, Democrats are trusted more than Republicans on a generic basis. This ability of McCain to outperform the party label helps explain why he is competitive with the Democrats in the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking poll.

It'll be an interesting fall, in at least one of the senses of "interesting."

h/t: Insty, who notes:

a lot of Republicans don't like McCain, but it seems clear that the GOP primary process nominated the one candidate with a decent chance of winning in November. If Democrats respond to this year's primary debacle by revising their procedures, they should probably conside adopting a winner-take-all primary, too. Of course, that approach on the Dem side would have produced a Hillary nomination. . . .

Yup. But she's the stronger candidate.

Posted by Attila Girl at 10:38 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic "Let the issues be the issue.

About Joy W. McCann: I've been interviewed for Le Monde and mentioned on Fox News. I once did a segment for CNN on "Women and Guns," and this blog is periodically featured on the New York Times' blog list. My writing here has been quoted in California Lawyer. I've appeared on The Glenn and Helen Show. Oh—and Tammy Bruce once bought me breakfast.
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