Shots Across the Bow

A Reality Based Blog

 
Thursday, October 31, 2002

Check this out

Go to south Knox Bubba's page. Now.

Trust me....

Posted by Rich
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Jesse slaps around Minnesota Dems

Jesse Ventura may nominate an Independant to fill Paul Wellstones seat until after the elections.
Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura was so offended by the political rally that evolved out of a memorial service to honor Wellstone that he said he will try to appoint an independent instead of a Democrat to fill out Wellstone's term until a replacement is certified.

"I feel used. I feel violated and duped over the fact that that turned into nothing more than a political rally ... I think the Democrats should hang their heads in shame," Ventura told Fox News on Wednesday.

Of course, the organizers claim it was an accident that the memorial turned into a political rally, but the state Republican party is now asking for equal time.
Here's a nice bit of p[olitical hypocrisy to add to the mix:
Polls appearing in Wednesday's Minneapolis Star Tribune showed Mondale leading Coleman 47 percent to 39 percent, a wider margin than separated Wellstone and Mondale. The poll of 639 adults conducted on Monday, the same day Republicans conducted an internal poll that was criticized by Democrats as callous, found that 98 percent of Minnesotans recognized Mondale's name and 66 percent had a favorable image of him, including several Republicans surveyed. [Emphasis mine]

Of course, it goes without saying that the legal wrangling over absentee ballots will carry on long past election day.

I don't know how the race will turn out. It depends on how long the sympathy bounce lasts.

Posted by Rich
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Best Halloween Cartoon

Foxtrot
ft021031l.gif

Posted by Rich
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Halloween

This one is going to get me into trouble.

I like Halloween. I think it is a blast. Dressing up in costumes, going to parties, taking the kids trick or treating, 'inspecting' their candy (my first encounter with graft, by the way, was having my parents skim all the good stuff from the pile, a tradition I proudly carry on with my own kids), making caramel popcorn, enjoying the crisp evening; it's just a good time.
The first Halloween I can remember my brother sister and I walked the entire neighborhood. We were using pillowcases to carry our loot, and they were full by the time we got home. Mom would only let us eat a few pieces that night, so we made sure to cram as much down as we could before we got home. Later, our parents tried to scare us with tales of razor blades in apples to keep us from eating the candy.
We just didn't eat the apples.
Since then, I've taken my kids trick or treating every year, and had just as much fun, watching them go. I've escorted angels, princesses, witches, dead rock stars, aliens, skeletons, ghosts, pumpkins, and big orange M&Ms on nocturnal candy missions. We live out in the country, so we have to take our kids to the mall, or to a nearby trailer park to trick or treat. I never imagenied I would have to bus my kids for trick or treating!
I know there are people who don't like Halloween. One group doesn't like how it seems to glorify death.
"The gravestones and people coming out of the ground are upsetting to some of our members," said Nancy Ruhe-Munch, executive director of Parents of Murdered Children. "I just think it's sad when we make a game or a costume out of death."

What Ms. Ruhe-Munch doesn't realize is that it is our ability to laugh at death which makes us human. Think about it; every other species, when confronted with the inevitibility of it's own demise, sinks into apathy and dies. Man is the only exception to this rule. We know we are going to die; we know it from the time we reach maturity, yet we go on living, when every other organism would quit. Why is that?
Because we can laugh at death. We can evolved the ability to look past death. We can minimize it, trivialize it, ward it off with laughter.

Others object to it's pagan origins, and I can respect that. But there is a sub group of these people that I don't understand, and do object to.
Several of the churches in my area run "Judgment Houses" as a replacement for the typical haunted houses. The portray scenes of torture and damnation, the fate awaiting any sinner who refuses to be born again. Now, in a typical haunted house, the terrors are imaginary, fiction, they aren't real, and even the younger kids know this. Wolfman, Dracula, Frankenstein, the Mummy; they're all fake. They've seen monsters unmasked by Shaggy and Scooby, so the scare is temporary. Mom and Dad are there to tell them it isn't real, it's just makeup and special effects.
In a Judgment House, kids don't get that. They get hellfire and damnation, everlasting torment, and Mom and Dad this time tell them it's real.They're told every Sunday by the preacher that these things are real. What a terrible thing to do to a child!
Being scared is fun when you know it isn't real. You get the adrenaline rush, and the endorphine high afterwards. Being scared for real isn't fun at all. The difference between going to a haunted house and a Judgment House is the difference between bungee jumping in Gatlinburg, and falling out of a 10 story window.
There's another risk to the whole Judgment House thing. By presenting it as entertainment, don't you devaluate it? Aren't you putting the fires of Hell on the same level as Scooby Doo?

Posted by Rich
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More typecasting

No comment needed:
Futurama returns November 10, with former Vice President Al Gore appearing in cartoon form as a preserved head in a jar.


Posted by Rich
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More new math

According to this story, the economy grew at 3.1% in the third quarter, pushed by strong consumer spending. This is good news, right?
Not according to this story. The bulk of the column continues to ptell how bad things are, and that they are going to get worse. Let's see, unemployment is around 6%, and the economy is growing at about 2%. Yep, times sure are tough!
The article also brings up this piece of garbage:
Democrats, however, point to the tax cut as a key reason why the federal government posted a $159 billion deficit in the 2002 fiscal year, ending four straight years of surpluses.

The war on terror and Sept 11 had absolutely nothing to do with that, right?
Another quick question: If we had four years of surpluses, how come the National debt kept going up? Does Arthur Andersen do the government's accounting?

Posted by Rich
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UN = useless nitwits

The US drafted resolkution on Iraq is running into a stone wall in the UN Security Council.
The three veto-holding Security Council members want to ensure that Iraq is given a chance to cooperate with U.N. weapons inspectors before any military action is authorized — and they're now waiting to see what the United States and Britain are going to do to address their concerns.


After a third meeting council session Wednesday on the U.S. proposal, Russia's deputy U.N. ambassador Gennady Gatilov said Moscow still has "quite a number of problems" with the U.S. draft, centered on the automatic authorization to use force.

I keep hearing people ask us to justify going to war with Iraq. When we point out that Iraq is in violation of the cease fire accords, these people dismiss that as irrelevant, and ask for further justification. In thier minds, since Iraq has ignored the resolutions for so long, they must be null and void. In fact, some members of the coucil object to the fact that the US brings up the old resolutionsin the text of the new. I guess they don't like being reminded of their own spinelessness.
The UN, by their own actions, are proving their irrelevance. What good is a resolution when you've demonstrated repeatedly that you don't have the will to back it up?

Posted by Rich
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Hooray for New Math!

From the mail bag (she hates it when I call her that):
Teaching Math in 1950: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price. What is his profit?

Teaching Math in 1960: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price, or $80. What is his profit?

Teaching Math in 1970: A logger exchanges a set "L" of lumber for a set "M" of money. The cardinality of set "M" is 100. Each element is worth one dollar. Make 100 dots representing the elements of the set "M." The set "C", the cost of production contains 20 fewer points than set "M." Represent the set "C" as a subset of set "M" and answer the following question: What is the cardinality of the set "P" of profits?

Teaching Math in 1980: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80 and his profit is $20. Your assignment:
Underline the number 20.

Teaching Math in 1990: By cutting down beautiful forest trees, the logger makes $20. What do you think of this way of making a living?
Topic for class participation after answering the question: How did the forest birds and squirrels feel as the logger cut down the trees?
There are no wrong answers.

Teaching Math in 2000: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $120. How does Arthur Andersen determine
that his profit margin is $60?

Teaching Math in 2010: El hachero vende un camion carga por $100. La cuesta de production es...

Posted by Rich
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Overkill?

A frat at UT has beensuspended for committing the heinous crime of having some members dress up as the Jackson 5 for a costume party on Cumberland Ave. Here's my problem with the whole thing:
Crabtree also pointed out measures that UT has taken over the past few months to widen the African and African-American Studies program and a planned semester-long program beginning in January to "celebrate Africa's cultural, entertainment and educational contributions to non-African cultures around the world."

Isn't that what these guys were doing? 50 years ago, would a bunch of Southern frat boys seek to emulate a black pop group? Not unless they were suicidal. They may have mocked the group, but not impersonated them. Note that the article does not describe the behavior of the frat boys. There is nothing to suggest that they lampooned or degraded the Jackson 5. Instead, the fact that they wore black makeup is treated as sufficient offense to warrant suspension.
I saw a show in Las Vegas which featured a Michael Jackson impersonator. He was white, using black makeup. I guess he should go to prison.
I've seen Eddie Murphy imitate white folks, with the aid of makeup, in several of his movies. I guess we should boycott his movies.
Now, had the frat boys done an Al Jolson impersonation, there might be a point to this mess; as it is, this is just another example of political correctness run amuck on our campuses.

Posted by Rich
(1) CommentsPermalink


Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Meditations on Matrimony

Two old bachelors were discussing their lives, and how they'd stayed single so long.
One sighed and said to the other, "once, long ago, I met a woman and fell in love at first sight."
The other asked, "Why didn't you marry her?"
"I took a second look!"
---------

The honeymoon was over, and she had discovered that two cannot live as cheaply as one. Disappointed, she became a terrible nag. Nothing was ever good enough. Finally, one night in the midst of a major argument, she cried, "Before we were married, you told me you were well off!"
"I was," he replied bitterly. "I just didn't know it!"
---------

I haven't spoken to my wife in years.

I don't want to interrupt her!
---------

Two for the ladies

Women's faults are many
Men have only two
Everything they say
And everything they do!

A husband is proof that a woman can take a joke!
---------

From the Devil's Dictionary:
LOVE, n. A temporary insanity curable by marriage.
MARRIAGE, n. The state or condition of a community consisting of a master, a mistress and two slaves, making in all, two.
---------

Love is blind, but marriage is an eye opener
---------

Love is a sweet dream. Marriage is the alarm clock!
---------

He promised to go through hell itself for her. She married him and now he's doing just that.
---------

A bachelor thinks he's happy, until he gets married.
Then he knows he was.
---------

Marriage means commitment. Then again, so does insanity.
---------

And finally:

When a man steals your wife, there is no better revenge than to let him keep her. -- Guitry
---------

No, I'm not bitter, why do you ask?

Posted by Rich
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FedEx truck explodes on the I-270

This just came over on the FoxNews site
They don't think it was a bomb because the blast wasn't big enough.

We'll see.
UPDATE: The driver fell asleep and ran over a light pole, igniting the gas tank.

Posted by Rich
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Of course, they’re completely impartial….

A British group has analyzed the probable course and consequences of a war with Saddam Hussein, and declared that it simply isn't worth the cost.
LONDON - A U.S.-led war on Iraq would heighten the risk of regional conflict and increase support for Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terror network, researchers warned Monday.

The independent Oxford Research Group said conventional war would kill 10,000 civilians in Iraq, and could trigger a desperate and destructive response from Saddam Hussein's regime.

The Baghdad regime was bent on survival at any cost and would retaliate using "all available military means," including chemical and biological weapons, which could in turn trigger a nuclear response from the United States and Britain, the group warned in a new report.

Isn't it interesting that the peace movement tells us over and over that there are no links between Iraq and alQuaeda, but that if we attack Iraq, al Quaeda will respond.
Fascinating stuff.

Anyway, I went to the group's website, and found their mission statement
O.R.G combines rigorous research into nuclear and international security decisions with an understanding of the people who make those decisions. Since O.R.G.’s foundation in 1982, we have contacted key decision-makers worldwide and developed a personal dialogue with them on global security issues. We bring together government officials, senior military officers and diplomats with nuclear physicists, independent defence analysts and non-government organisation (NGO) representatives to debate steps towards building a more secure world through the elimination of nuclear weapons, reduction and control of the arms trade and effective non-violent resolution of conflict.

It comes as no surprise that any report commisioned and executed by this organization will be opposed to war. But maybe they did a real review of the facts, and just happened to get the conclusion they wanted. Let's look at the report itself.
We'll start with the executive summary
Regime termination is thought necessary, in part, because of Iraq's likely development of weapons of mass destruction, but the control of the region's oil resources is also a major factor.

It will be interesting to see how well Rogers proves this contention. Off hand, if we had wanted control of the oil fields, we could have taken it the first time around.
Conflict in Baghdad will involve the use of area-impact munitions as well as precision-guided munitions and the civilian casualties will be high. A civilian death toll of at least 10,000 should be expected but this may be a low estimate, given the experience of urban warfare in Beirut and elsewhere.

We've been here before. In Afghanistan, it was the brutal winters, and urban fighting that were going to lead us into an unwinnable quagmire. Instead, superior tactics and weapons kept civilian casualties to a bare minimum. And Beirut is probably not a good comparison as the mission objectives are completely different.
Evidence from the 1991 war indicates that it is highly likely that the regime will use all available military means, including chemical and biological weapons, if its very survival is threatened. Such weapons may be used in tactical warfare to hinder invading forces but may, in extreme circumstances, be used strategically against forces in other countries.

This is called "cowardice." In effect Professor Rogers is admitting that Hussein is holding Israel and the peace of the region hostage. This is terrorism by proxy, and warrants intervention, not restraint.
In such circumstances, and especially if high casualties result, there is a possibility of a nuclear response.

What's the probability, and how do you evalute it? Should make for some interesting reading. Again off hand, why would the US use nukes if they want the oil? Wouldn't crapping up the entire country sort of defeat the "major factor" driving the US intervention?
The United States has sufficient forces to ensure regime destruction but the regime's replacement by occupying forces or by a client regime, even if the war is not greatly destructive, should be expected to increase regional opposition to the US presence. It is likely, in particular, to increase support for organisations such as al-Qaida and to prove counter-productive to peace and stability in the region.

If the US went in and took over Iraq, then yes, that could be a problem. But that isn't the plan, and it is disingenuous to claim it is. If the US goes in, gets rid of Hussein and the Baath party, then withdraws and allows the UN to oversee the building of a new Iraqi gov't, as they did in Bosnia, then this concern should be alleviated. Unless Rogers assumes that any state friendly to the US will be perceived as a client state.

OK. Those are his main points. Next step is to read the report itself and see if he backs up his claims. The report is available here as a pdf file. After I get a chance to read through it, I'll see if the good professor makes his case or not.

Posted by Rich
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Winning isn’t a sin

As for the lottery issue, I just have one question: How long will it take after the amendment passes before we see the same groups campaigning against a lottery start holding raffles, cakewalks, and other now illegal games of chance? About as long as it takes for the ink to fdy on the raffle tickets is my guess. A congregation in my neighborhood has outgrown their old building and is moving to a larger building. Maybe it's just coincidence that their pastor is in favor of allowing lotteries, and gaming for charity.

But I doubt it

A buddy of mine at work asked an interesting question: Where in the bible does it forbid gambling? I did some searching on the web and found this page containing several links to verses which the author purports to be anti-gambling.
Most notable is that the Bible never specifically mentions gambling, except that the soldiers cast lots for Jesus' clothing as he was crucified. Other than that New testament reference, there is no mention of gambling in the Bible.

So, where do they get their belief that gambling is a sin? Well, based on the page referenced above, there are several factors.
  1. We should work to get ahead.
  2. We should trust God to take care of us.
  3. Gambling relies on greed and covetousness, wanting something for nothing.
  4. It focuses us on material rather than spiritual wealth.

Just off hand, it looks like 1. and 2. are contradictory. We are supposed to let God take care of us, but work our tail ends off to survive. Sounds like holding down a job is a sin according to 2, but being unemployed is a sin by number 1. Puzzling.
Gambling does have a component of greed, but so does investing. Is investing in the stock market a sin as well? How about buying corporate or government bonds? What about putting your money in a savings account that pays interest? Isn't that something for nothing?
Number 4 gets the cart before the horse. We gamble because we are already concerned with material things. Or because we like the excitement. Or because we like the entertainment. Or because we are bored. Or because we don't know how to calculate the odds. Or for any of a dozen other reasons.
Personally, I don't gamble much, because I have better things to do with my money than give it to a slot machine. But I do make the occasional wager with my brother or father, and I did gamble some in Vegas on a business trip, and in the Bahamas on a trip with my wife. I will even purchase a lottery ticket every now and again, just for the fun of dreaming. It's just entertainment.
If you are gambling to take the other guy's heart out, then you're sinning whether you sit at the table or not. If you are throwing away money you need to support your family, you are sinning whether you are spending that money at the track or giving it to a charity. The sin is not in your actions, but in your heart.
I think it comes down to this; some folks believe that success in this life means failure in the afterlife, that winning is of itself a bad thing. To have a winner, we must have a loser, and that's bad. We have non-competitive sports leagues for our kids now. How ridiculous is that?
There is nothing wrong with winning, with success. It's OK to get ahead, whether you work for it, or win it. All of life is a risk; every decision we make is a gamble.
"Do I accept this promotion, or move to another job?"
"Do I ask for a raise now, or wait for 6 months?
"Should I take this job, or wait for a better offer?
"Do I get married now to her, or do I establish my career first?"
"Do I go to college, or into business?
"Should I wear the blue tie, or the red one?"
These decisions all affect our lives and fortunes, and all are gambles we accept as a matter of course. Gambling, whether directly or indirectly is an inherent part of life.

Posted by Rich
Commentary • (2) CommentsPermalink


Voting

The early voting period is a great convenience for me. Between my wrok schedule (doubles every Tuesday) and my commute (from Sevierville to Johnson City) the chances of my being able to vote on election day are roughly the same as John J Hooker's chances of being elected governor. Or Senator.

Yep, he's on the ballot twice.

Anyway, even though I already voted, I'm still following the elections, particularly the commercials. Last night I saw a couple of Phil Bredesen's latest ads, and I have to wonder: Is he running against Van Hilleary or Don Sundquist? The tag line on his latest ads goes something like "After 8 years of Don Sundquist, we can't afford Van Hilleary."
Now, if Hilleary had been Sundquist's right hand man over the last eight years, then I could see the comparison. Or if Hilleary had been a vocal supported of Sundquist, then too, the comparison would be apt. But Hilleary has been an extremely vocal opponent of the centerpiece of the last four years of the Sundquist administration: the income tax. In fact, it would be difficult to find a person in the legislature more adamantly opposed to the governor's agenda.

Ah well, all's fair in love and war, and even more so in politics.

Posted by Rich
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Movable Type rocks!

I just embedded my first picture in a post, and I'm very pleased with hoe easy it was. Blogger made it difficult, with everything done manually, but MT handled it all automatically. I just downloaded the pic to my desktop, then clicked Upload File on my control panel, and MT did the rest.

Gotta be happy with that!

Posted by Rich
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