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Archive for December, 2003

The Dean Game

Tuesday, December 30th, 2003

Game Girl Advance pointed out a Shockwave game geared towards people interested in Dean. You play as a Dean campaign volunteer in Iowa and carry signs, go door-to-door in neighborhoods, and pass out pamphlets all for the cause of spreading the word of Dean.

I thought the game took too long to get to the end (it was also annoying not having a pause button) and it didn’t have much of a strategic element. There’s no political message that I could detect because I still don’t know any more about Dean and what his goals are, other than to spread his influence across Iowa like a zombie plague.

Still, it’s an interesting addition to Dean’s internet presence.

Structural Integrity

Tuesday, December 30th, 2003

This Julian Sanchez piece (Hat-tip, Drezner) not only has a nice explanation of the problems America has with entitlement spending, but also manages to work in a reference to Akira. Even you non-econ folks have got to love this:

The source of the problem has been long familiar to policy wonks. The American population is aging (and longer lived), while technological developments drive up health costs even as they extend our lives. The pending mass retirement of the Baby Boom generation threatens to make entitlement spending explode like Tetsuo turning into the amoeba-monster.

On English Coastal Towns:

Tuesday, December 30th, 2003

I’m unwilling to research this one, for fear of spoiling a beautiful quote with facts. So I shall report it exactly as I heard it in the pub last night.

At some point during the invasion of Iraq, at a press briefing or something like that, the town of Umm Qasr was described as a “strategically important port, like Southampton.”

The story goes that a squaddie saw this reported and responded thus:

Either he’s never been to Umm Qasr, or he’s never been to Southampton. There’s no beer, no prostitutes, and people are shooting at us. It’s really more like Portsmouth.

Possibly-apochryphal quote of the year, I’m saying.

The Only Thing More Annoying Than People…

Tuesday, December 30th, 2003

…Is their total lack of ability to understand basic probability and/or statistics and/or data of any sort. Dan Drezner (in for Sullivan) has a nice post with a few links about BSE. That’s “Mad Cow” for all you folks who aren’t familiar with it. According to the CDC the chances of getting “MadCow” from the ingestion of British beef are roughly one in ten billion. Yes, that’s billion. With a “b.”

Meanwhile, Juan Non-Volokh is taking apart the Endangered Species Act. Nice to see somebody take that on, but he does cite the DDT myth. The theoretical possibility, mostly disproven, that it may cause thinning of bird eggs is no reason to disallow DDT’s use in the Third World where very real people are dying of very real malaria.

UPDATE: Minor spelling/grammatical things fixed, the *British* beef statement stays because I believe the TCS column speaks specifically about British beef in reference to it being banned from import to the US.

Paging Mr. Biv, Mr. Roy G. Biv.

Sunday, December 28th, 2003

In my Texas-induced boredom, I have decided to hit “I’m feeling lucky” over at google on the major colours, I’ve also included the shades “black” and “white,” just to see what pops up. Grey doesn’t get a spot because, well, grey is boring and nobody likes it. Green, however, came up with something I wasn’t exactly expecting. ONWARD!

Red

Orange

Yellow

Green

Blue

Indigo

Violet

Black

White

Also, because I haven’t hit this subject in a while, the sugar policy is in need of a major change, because it’s going to kill the US candy manufacturing sector. And, yes, that is a real harm.

"Here We Have A Government Disintegrating Between Our Eyes"

Saturday, December 27th, 2003

Given the author, this is as inevitable as Tim linking to that Steve Verdon guy, but I feel compelled to recommend a book.

It utterly lacks topical relevance in the US and so will presumably never be published over there, but I thought you should know. If you’re unfamiliar with the interesting word usements structured by the Deputy Prime Minister, here‘s a nice one to get going with.

And my favorite from the book, taken from the “Prescott And The Press” section:

JOHN PRESCOTT: Bear in mind that it’s something like 70 to 80 percent of the actual demand are single-parent households or single youngsters or people who are living in a single house – can we do that again?

People who are living in a single house – can we do that again? I made that crap.

INTERVIEWER: We are actually live at the moment.

Diary of a Dean-o-Phobe

Friday, December 26th, 2003

The New Republic’s Jonathan Chait is no fan of the president, but as of late, the mental space in Chait’s head that contained his Bush-hatred has been overrun by his increasing hatred for Dean. About two weeks ago he started a blog to follow Dean’s campaign and to critique it from a democrat’s perspective. Here’s a snippet from the ‘What is Diary of a Dean-o-Phobe‘ entry.

Bush is like the next-door neighbor who lets his dog poop on your lawn and his kid shoot bb’s at your house and who says something irritating to you every day on his way to work. Dean, on the other hand, is like the ne’er-do-well who’s dating your daughter. You realize the neighbor is a worse person than the boyfriend, but the boyfriend (and the frightening prospect that he’ll become your son-in-law) consumes more of your attention.

Also, the boyfriend has a creepy smile.

Meppy Chrisnukkah!

Thursday, December 25th, 2003

You would think that a man who only works one day every year would lay off the sauce while on the job, but this game shows otherwise.

This is what happens if you leave a few glasses of port out for ol’ Saint Nick instead of some milk and cookies. Watch out for that third rail, Santa.

Then, of course, there is this.

Amuse Yourself and Your Pets

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2003

That is all.

But, please don’t amuse yourself like this. Eww, also, ick.

Methinks God is trying to tell us something.

Sunday, December 21st, 2003

And I think he’s trying to tell us that it is time to shut the hell up about all the Michael Jackson shit; like right now.

In the first of what may become many smitings tward those who simply will not stop talking about the child molesting pop singer, God directed a car to smash into another that was carrying a woman who had called a radio talkshow to farther bitch about Michael.

Let this be a lesson to us all. It’s time to let this whole thing die.

Who Needs Merit When We’ve Got The State?

Sunday, December 21st, 2003

Steve Verdon (DRINK!) and Steve Antler are savaging a Krugman article on income inequality. Read them both, and remember there is no microeconomic justification for the poverty line.

The Man Who Wasn’t Livid

Friday, December 19th, 2003

VICTORY! At least a partial one as the RIAA has been denied the names of downloaders and KaZaa is not responsible for the illegal copying done on its system, well, according to the Dutch.

Far be it from me to deny property rights to the creator of something, and my pro-business stance is well known. But, the RIAA is a thuggish cartel bent on destroying our ears. Plus, there’s definite firm collusion there, and I’ll give you better than even odds of some serious predatory pricing. So, in short, they can go to hell. They can go to hell and die.

Jingle Bell Shakra

Friday, December 19th, 2003

A shameful and uncharacteristic shortage of internet has kept me from posting this in a timely fashion. It may an old column, it may be an old joke, it may already have been thoroughly pored over for meaning and picked clean for giggles, but here it is, as it should be: for posterity, dammit. (Where I suppose “posterity” means “as long as the Emerald maintains its archive”.) Merry Christmas, one and all.

Quote? Oh, go on then. Just a little one.

If Christmas trees were humans, we’d be burying them, not decorating them, ornamenting them and then displaying them prominently in our houses.

Yes. And if Christmas turkeys were humans, we’d be cannibals for eating them. Makes you think, doesn’t it? However, there is also this line to consider:

At this point, I might risk becoming a cliché of myself…[sic]

Not at this point, my friend. Not at this point exactly.

(Also: hi, everyone. I’m alive. But jetlagged. How’s it going?)

Classic Media Quotes — 2003

Thursday, December 18th, 2003

The Media Research Center (a “watchdog” for liberal bias in the media) has released a compilation of quotes from various news organizations — all fantasticly biased, idiotic, or some combination of the two. My personal favorite comes from Tom Brokaw and Mike Taibbi on NBC Nightly News:

Brokaw: “NBC News ‘In Depth’ tonight. In the aftermath of the war on Iraq, new anxieties for some of the country’s educated, successful women. Although many may be glad to be rid of Saddam Hussein, many are also worried that a new government could set them back….”

Taibbi: “While the end to the Saddam regime means a return to long-denied freedoms for all Iraqis, it may also mean at least a temporary rollback of some hard-won freedoms for millions of Iraqi women…. While Saddam’s regime brutalized women – rape, torture, even beheadings – his secular government also gave women more rights than their counterparts in many other Islamic countries.”

That’s right, kids. Rape, torture and beheading are a small price to pay for basic human rights.

See the rest of the winners here.

Texas Bloggen

Thursday, December 18th, 2003

Well, the US has advised diplomats to leave Saudi Arabia. Hrm…this could mean any number of things and I’m not going to speculate.

In other news, United Airlines has indeed begun charging for food on some of its domestic flights. The lady at the gate was also snarky to me about my Krispy Kreme carry-on. My response to her statement that I could not take my half-dozen doughnuts on the plane was “watch me.” Friendly skies indeed.