Monthly Archives: February 2007

big old jet airliner…

A must read by the brilliant Bruce Schneier:

This is “Cover Your Ass” security, and unfortunately it’s very common.

Exactly what I was thinking as I dealt with airport security last week.  Why are we still removing our shoes?  If I wasn’t such a coward, I’d try this tonight so I could go pick up my wife at the gate when she gets off her flight.  That would be a lovely surprise, and I could help carry all the baby gear.  I wonder what the penalty is for using a fake boarding pass to get through security…  probably Gitmo.  Nevermind.

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Middle Ages II

  1. Cadillac is using a Stone Roses song in their latest commercials.
    Last time around it was Led Zepplin’s “Been a Long Time”, and that was fine because it was clearly the musicof a generation prior to my own.
    But the Stone Roses?  Madchester?  Who does GM think they’re kidding? Another version of the commercial has Iggy Pop proclaiming “I’m a punk rocker, yes I am.” (below)… you might demonstrate some punk-cred if you’re rollin’ in an old Caddy, but not if you stroll down to the dealership to drop $60K on one of their new CTXs… that’s like the opposite of punk. Not that I was ever ‘punk’, but I did go through a Sex Pistols phase and still have an affinity for Doc Martens. (Don’t get me started on that cruise line using Iggy Pop’s tribute-to-smack, “Lust for Life” in their ads…)

  2. I also don’t understand why American auto companies are stuck on playing up the nostalgia factor — a Chevy commercial shows their trucks progression (with ranchers) since before WWII (who cares), Cadillac shows all their cars since the beginning of time (above) (who cares), the big Chevy Superbowl commercial had Dale Jr singing “no we’re not the jet-set, we’re the old Chevrolet-set” — sorry, this wasn’t supposed to be a rant about American cars, it just turned out that way.
    Right, so back to my point… I wonder if Cadillac realizes that the song they chose is a “scathing attack on the traditional image of Jesus” (wikipedia). For the record, I didn’t realize it either until I read the Wikipedia reference, and I’ve been a big fan of the song since it’s release in 1992 — I knew there were references to the Messiah, and “cold black skin”, and “she’s my Sister”, and it’s probably mostly-right since Jesus would not have been caucasian like most American’s seems to think he would be; but then why is that “scathing” and not just “historically accurate/likely”? (Full lyrics to “Love Spreads”)

  3. So I joked about “Rebel Rebel” in yesterday’s post, but sure enough they played that very song on my drive in to work this morning. No big thing, but they also played “Lola”… L-O-L-A, LOLA.

    Rebel Rebel: “Youve got your mother in a whirl/Shes not sure if youre a boy or a girl.”
    Lola: “Girls will be boys and boys will be girls;… Well Im not the worlds most masculine man/But I know what I am and Im glad Im a man/And so is lola”

    I expected “Dude Looks Like a Lady” to come on next. It didn’t, but the frequency of Prince songs was almost as unnerving. They say their agenda at 947TheGlobe is the environment, but I have to wonder if they aren’t trying to spread a trans-gender message across the DC area. Think about it — the Marv Albert trial was held in Northern VA (I know; my Wife-to-be and Best Man went to the courthouse — true story). (BTW, Holy-Google: not able to remember Marv’s name, I entered “women’s panties sportscaster”, and Google’s first link was here. Thanks Google; another pop-culture reference save!)

  4. Greatest Stone Roses song ever: Fool’s Gold. One of my all-time favorite top-10 tracks. Kids these days just wouldn’t get it. Embrace middle-age!

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The Government Makes Stuff Up

reprinted in it’s entirety because I have nothing else to add: [tip to Radley Balko at Reason]

If you find this surprising , you haven’t been paying attention:
Nearly all of the terrorism-related statistics reported by the U.S. Justice Department and the FBI from the September 11 attacks until early 2005 had some inaccuracies, the department’s inspector general said on Tuesday.
[…]
The report found that only two out of 26 statistics were accurate after reviewing the number of terrorism convictions in the 2003 and 2004 financial years, the number of convictions or guilty pleas from September 11, 2001, through February 3, 2005, and the number of terrorist threats tracked by the FBI in 2003 and 2004.
“We found many cases involving offenses such as immigration violations, marriage fraud, or drug trafficking where department officials provided no evidence to link the subject of the case to terrorist activity,” the report said.
Looks like it may be time to fire the inspector general.

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Boogie woogie, woogie!

Finally — a clear sign that we must stop with the Electric Slide already

The inventor of the “Electric Slide,” an iconic dance created in 1976, is fighting back against what he believes are copyright violations and, more importantly, examples of bad dancing.

Ironically, bad dancing may save you —

“Someone who performs it noncommercially or adds their own artistic flair to the dance has a pretty good fair-use argument that their performance is noninfringing,” Schultz said.

Flair!  That’s it judge, I added my own flair.  I expect a similar IP violation complaint from Elaine Bennis any day now…

[tip to Mises.org]

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Middle Ages

Dearly beloved
We are gathered here today
2 get through this thing called… life

  1. Filling out the snowboard rental form, I look for something less than “Advanced” and more than “Intermediate”… and realize that they need a category between the two called “Old”.  I might have been Advanced 10 years ago, but now I’m “Smart” and won’t be getting airborne for more than a few inches at a time.  This “Old” category would also absorb those who may have been Intermediate for a time, but who now can rightly claim a higher perch due to the fact they’ve been snowboarding since before the punk who is renting them their board was born.  Word.
  2. My new favorite radio stations are George104 and The Globe: “World Class Rock”.  George plays “70’s 80’s and whatever we want” (oooh, Rebel Rebels) and that J.Peterman guy from Seinfeld does their intros.  The Globe is the first “green-focused” radio station, so during their SaveTheEarth PSAs I can check what’s playing on George104.
    Both of these stations caught my ear with something unique; the Clash (but not one of their typical hits), Madness, The Cure, and something else that made me say “hey, this station is just like me!” — but today I found myself rocking out to John Cougar Melloncamp, Poison, Davie Bowie, that piano guy that played with the Grateful Dead with the song about “welfare lines” (Bruce Hornsby), and Prince (“When Doves Cry”, and “Kiss” AND)…  Somewhere in the middle of “Let’s Go Crazy” I realized that this would be the music my daughter would mock me about.  And I’m not even a huge Prince fan.  After a moment of resignation, I prepared to air-guitar the final wailing riff.  I could almost feel the purple rain.
  3. Top five ways that my wife and Prince are similar:
    1. They both love purple
    2. Both are 5′ 4″*
    3. Both weigh 120 lbs*
    4. Both dropped their legal names in favor of a symbol in the 90’s to get out of an unfavorable personal-services contract**
    5. Neither one exposed themselves during the Superbowl half-time show, though my wife did feed the baby during his set (technically neither a “wardrobe malfunction” nor a “show”, as she has to periodically remind me).

So I’m coming to terms with my middle-aged-ness.  A book I read recently said that the American code-word for ‘youth’ is ‘mask’; that we feel like we can be young by wearing/doing certain things.  Snowboarding would probably be one of those things.  Air-guitar in the car is certainly one of those things.  What are your things?

I hope I die before I get old.

hat tip to Bryan
* just kidding — he’s shorter, she’s lighter…  but they’re close
** not at all true of my wife

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Great Presidents?

bassplayerswife, this one is for you:

My idea of a great president is one who acts in accordance with his oath of office to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Not since the presidency of Grover Cleveland has any president achieved greatness by this standard. Worse, the most admired have been those who failed most miserably. Evidently my standard differs from that employed by others who judge presidential greatness. [mises.org]

[bassplayerswife’s original post]

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The Really Inconveinent Truth

Fareed Zakaria had an interesting piece in the Washington Post this week (also Newsweek apparently): Global Warming: Get Used To It.

No one likes to talk about adapting to global warming because it seems defeatist. But the result is that, as we debate the meta-theories about global warming, we’re increasingly unprepared to deal with its consequences. Whether or not CO2 emissions are triggering certain reactions in the atmosphere, we can see that sea levels are rising. What are we going to do about it?

Let’s adapt.

I get so frustrated when people propose that they are making a difference by driving a Prius…  it’s still fueled 100% by gasoline — until it starts charging from the electric-grid or starts giving >100% better fuel economy, it’s really just an expensive plastic car that grants the driver an air of environmental superiority.  Meh.

Or as Robert Samuelson writes in We Have No Global Warming Solution:

Don’t be fooled. The dirty secret about global warming is this: We have no solution. About 80 percent of the world’s energy comes from fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas), the main sources of man-made greenhouse gases. Energy use sustains economic growth, which — in all modern societies — buttresses political and social stability. Until we can replace fossil fuels, or find practical ways to capture their emissions, governments will not sanction the deep energy cuts that would truly affect global warming.

Considering this reality, you should treat the pious exhortations to “do something” with skepticism, disbelief or contempt. These pronouncements are (take your pick) naive, self-interested, misinformed, stupid or dishonest. Politicians mainly want to be seen as reducing global warming when they’re not. Companies want to polish their images and exploit markets created by new environmental regulations.

Word.  It seems like nothing private business does is good enough unless it is approved by the government and endorsed by the Sierra Club, despite the fact that our cars and power plants have never been cleaner.  You want to see a dirty coal plant — look at China (who will be building 2200 in the next 10 years — that’s probably 2199 more than will be built in the US in the same timeframe).  Of course, China isn’t bound by Kyoto (which the US Senate, including John Kerry, voted against preemptively).  Why didn’t the Democrats include a Kyoto resolution in their first 100 hours?  Because it wouldn’t pass, and they’d be exposed for the hypocrites that they are (see Byrd-Hagel).

I recently read a proposal that could reduce the global temperature by 1.0 degree Celcius by spreading some particulate in the upper atmosphere, reflecting a tiny bit more solar energy each year.  That would make up for the last 100 years of global warming (0.7 degrees) and provide a bit of a buffer for the next decade.  It would cost somewhere in the range of 10’s of millions of dollars, versus 100’s of billions to implement all the traditional initiatives to stop global warming.  ExxonMobil could fund this effort with one fiscal quarter’s profits; it wouldn’t require billions of people to change their everyday habits and standards of living.

If such a plan had a high probability of working, shouldn’t we consider it?  Thoughts?

Reason on Global Warming

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