~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I O 93 93/93 I O ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Location: LaGrange, Kentucky, United States

The opinions and interests of a husband, analyst and Iraq war veteran.


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I'm easily amused

This is the cork for Smoking Loon pinot noir.

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Monday, April 28, 2008

Animal art

I'm not buying this for a hot second. Calling shenanigans, I am.

Give me some good ol' fashioned BBQ schtick. That I'll buy.

(Via: HA for the first vid, Ace for the second.)

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Friday, April 25, 2008

All pork considered

Pork chops and apple sauce?


Drew Carey defends bacon dogs. Bottom line? Government can't stop the bacon. It's too strong.


Bacon Salt - "We're on a quest to make everything taste like bacon." And check out Operation Bacon Salt - "...an initiative to provide bacon salt to the men and women serving overseas..." A worthy cause if ever there was one.



Bacon Vodka

UPDATE: Bacon Wallet, Bacon Band Aids, and the Bacon is Meat Candy Bacon Club. I just became a member. Got a favorite porcine link? Drop it in the comments. All hail the magical meat animal!

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Life imitates art

From the AP:

New church holds service in bar to reach new people

SIDNEY, Ohio -- Another round and amen! Beer was on tap and a mechanical bull inspired the sermon as a new church held its inaugural service in a western Ohio bar.

The Country Rock Church drew about 100 people to Sunday night's meeting at the Pub Lounge in Sidney, 35 miles north of Dayton.

The barroom church is an offshoot of Sidney United First Methodist Church, whose head pastor says he's been looking for creative ways to reach people in unconventional places.

Sounds familiar!

More Tim Wilson here.

(Via: Paladin's regular Dojo Info series)

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Capital idea!

Tom Sowell, on paying for college:

Another option would be to allow students to sign enforceable contracts by which lenders would pay their college or university expenses in exchange for a given percentage of their future earnings.

That way, students would be issuing stocks to raise capital, the way corporations do, instead of being limited to borrowing money to be paid back in fixed amounts -- the latter being equivalent to issuing corporate bonds.

Not only would this get the conscripted taxpayers out of the picture, it would also make it unnecessary for parents to go into hock to put their children through college.

Still, the financially poorest student in the land could get money to go to college, with a good academic record and a promising career from which to pay dividends on the lender's investment.

More fundamentally, it would confront the prospective college student with the full costs of all the resources required for a college education.

Question though, as I have not studied the figures... How much "human capital contracting" is already going on? Our local Kroger markets have tuition reimbursement programs for students at culinary school, and UPS has a similar program. And wasn't there an popular TV series whose entire premise turned on the idea of repaying investors the cost of a medical degree?

Is Tom suggesting we bring back a proven idea, or is he re-inventing the wheel here? I honestly don't know, but I think it's an intriguing, market-based idea. I'll investigate some more.

(Via: Phi Beta Cons blog UPDATE: which links this CATO analysis, which says MyRichUncle.com is the only outfit actively brokering private loans of the type Sowell mentions)

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

My libertarian nightmare

I'm hard pressed to think of even one bill to come out of Congress in the past four years that made me proud of the excellent and needful work of the legislature. Not one.

I can think of plenty that made me embarrassed or angry, though. And now this abomination:

Cynicism and Big Tobacco

A bill expected to be voted on soon would impose new restrictions on marketing, raise cigarette taxes, and police the ingredients in tobacco products, including nicotine levels. Any reckless FDA policy is bound to be popular, and sure enough, the bill has 220 co-sponsors in the House and 54 in the Senate, including all three Presidential contenders.

This is all phenomenally cynical, even for Congress. Since the 1964 Surgeon General's report, the health consequences of this hazardous if legal product have been ubiquitous, which no doubt accounts for the 58% plunge in smoking among U.S. adults. The FDA tobacco gambit is explainable only because the politicians have dumped public health for public revenue.

The editorial goes on to point out that this scheme protects Philip Morris and the other biggies in the industry from future shakedowns by giving them a list of rules to follow. They will be able to point to scrupulous record keeping (read those words while imagining the sarcasm fairly dripping off the screen) and avoid all future prosecution. Naturally they love this proposal. It's protectionist in other ways, as well. Any new product would require extensive (and expensive) pre-market testing and approval thereby starving smaller competitors.

And mandating "safer" products completely contradicts the point of Congress' attack on tobacco in the nineties:

Initiated by Janet Reno and continued by the Bush Administration, the federal suit argued that the industry committed fraud by falsely implying that light or low-tar cigarettes were healthier than standard smokes. Now Congress wants the FDA to mandate less nicotine and tar – the very practices it once claimed to find so odious.

I've written before here and on other blogs about how silly this country has gotten over tobacco. It's the modern day "demon rum." We've turned its use into a synonym for "weak moral character" and that has opened up a plethora of shallow excuses for un-American behavior. Big companies turn to unethical business practices in order to protect their market share in the face of whithering extortion attempts by moralizing health nuts. Government, prone to meddling anyway, jumps onboard with sin taxes and regulation, and as the above editorial points out, incoherent and cynical regulation, at that. Local and state governments impose blanket bans in public instead of encouraging the real solution to second hand smoke; proper ventilation.

I tell you it really rankles me that a plant (a simple freakin' plant!) has become the excuse for so many humans to inflict so much pain and suffering on their fellow Americans. I guess it's just further proof there's a dark side to human nature.

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Monday, April 21, 2008

A late night rumination on vodka conniseurship

We're calling it "The Sophisticate."

Double shot of Absolute Raspberry vodka poured over ice, topped with one 12 oz can of Canada Dry Raspberry Sparkling Water. It'll be especially tasty come Summer.

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Friday, April 18, 2008


Why, if I didn't know any better, I'd say we just had a minor earthquake!

Certainly woke me up!

UPDATE: Yup. A quake. A quick basement check reveals no new cracks. The dog is freaked out, of course. But no interruptions in power, gas or internet.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Bitter beer face

I find the Red State Update guys pretty hit or miss. But this is out of the park!

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Friday, April 11, 2008

Pride and embarrassment

I'm proud to have served in the military with a man like silver star recipient, and medal of honor nominee, David Bellavia. I'm equal parts embarrassed to share a first name with Keith Olbermann.

Anyone with an ounce of perspective knows exactly what Bellavia intended to convey with these words:

"Fortunately, I have the privilege, the distinct privilege today, of introducing a true American hero who defies political norms in Washington. Sen. John McCain has spent a lifetime in service to our nation. His example of unwavering courage is a model for every American. Rest assured that men like Senator McCain will be the goal and the men that my two young boys will emulate and admire. You can have your Tiger Woods, we've got Senator McCain."

Bellavia here is lamenting the awkward and difficult transition phase society is going through, right now. We are transitioning from a draft-era, "citizen soldier" military to a leaner, all volunteer, high-tech "warrior class" model in which only a few Americans serve, and fewer still will go on to serve in public office. Our emerging warrior class obviously worries about future representation in civilian government. After all, in our American system, civvies are the bosses over even Generals.

With the nation at war, the threat of another 9/11 style attack, and a seemingly never ending election cycle, these are stressful times all around. But I'm confident that America still loves her warriors in the military, and that we'll get through this transition eventually. It will take time and effort, and it will get messy and rude and frustrating at times.

Keith Olberdouche on the other hand, hears racism in Bellavia's comments. Well, actually he doesn't hear racism. Keith is stupid, but not that stupid. He merely says he hears racism because he wants nothing more than to smear the eventual Republican nominee with the serious charge of racism.

Or maybe, and I'm just thinking out loud here... Keith here has made Tiger into the victim of a racial slur that never actually occurred. Why does Keith hate Tiger Woods? Is it because he's black?

(Via: Hot Air and J.D. Johannes)

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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Kling on "financial power"

Inequality and Excess:

What the super-wealthy have that the merely wealthy do not have is more financial power. When it comes to deciding which causes are going to receive money, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have more power than other people. Which is exactly the power that politicians have.

Thus, the comparison between legislators and the super-rich is actually quite apt. Both are able to exert an unusually large level of control over which worthy causes receive money. Financially, wealthy people and politicians have the same type of power. The difference is that politicians have much, much more of it, by orders of magnitude.

Which is why ethics are important. Consider the new phenomenon of international, super-rich Non Governmental Orgs (which need staffers, and the only pool of qualified applicants with experience wielding that kind of financial power are ex-legislators) and one starts to want only "good" men and women holding any kind of public office. Character really does matter in politics. It's not enough to say, "Well, he may be a moral cretin, but at least he's a competent administrator." The stakes are just too high. We're handing over the keys to something just too valuable. We can't afford not to question the character of wannabe politicians.

Today's dog-catcher is tomorrow's judge is tomorrow's senator is the future director of a multi-billion dollar NGO with the power to turn out the economic lights of a small country.

(Via: Insty)

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I prefer A.E. Housman over Kipling

... but I'll certainly take Kipling over the NYT!

Why I do not like The New York Times, Section 10, Chapter 687

And speaking of endangering American military personnel, I wonder how Ms. Kantor and her editors feel about the second reason Mr. McCain gave for not talking publicly about his son’s service [as a Marine in Iraq]? Ms. Kantor notes that “The McCains declined to be interviewed for this article, which the campaign requested not be published.” But she published it anyway. What if, God forbid, some harm comes to the junior McCain? Would she feel badly about that? Would she think, “Gee, perhaps I should not have published details about the military service of a son of a prominent politician?” I doubt it.

Maybe one day I'll warm up to Rudyard. This is from Kimball's essay in the New Criterion:

Kipling was above all the laureate not of Empire, but of civilization, especially civilization under siege.


RELATED: "The secret of social harmony is simple: Old men must be dangerous."

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Socialism sells!

David Boaz addresses our uniquely American socialist/capitalist schizophrenia in the WSJ:

Starbucks and 'Laissez Faire'

Starbucks's company policy is this: "We review each Card before printing it to make sure it meets our personalization policy. We accept most personalization requests, but we can't honor every one. Some requests may contain trademarks that we don't have the right to use. Others may contain material that we consider inappropriate (such as threatening remarks, derogatory terms, or overtly political commentary) or wouldn't want to see on Starbucks-branded products."

Is the phrase "laissez-faire" threatening? Only to officious bureaucracy, I would think. So, it must be that the phrase is considered to be "inappropriate" by corporate Starbucks.

Socialist chic sells shirts, or in this case, coffee cards. (Sorry, I've an unconscious habit of alliteration. I'll try to work on that.)

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Monday, April 07, 2008


New blogroll addition in the column to your (far!) left. Zomblog watches Berkeley, so you don't have to.

Don't miss that first post. Code Pink is a whole 'nuther level of crazy. It's... um... it's a spectacle. Full-on, drive-by weirdness has always been Zombie's bread and butter, so you don't want to miss this.

(Via: DPU and Nice Deb)

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Sunday, April 06, 2008

Color me not amused

As Steve Martin in the movie LA Story said in sloughing off the prospect of an interview, "[It] would be fascinating, by the way, because of the interesting word musements I structure." Great comedy. I recommend it.

This LA Times op-ed? Not so much.

So whenever I come across an Arabic word mired in English text, I am momentarily shocked out of the narrative. Of course, English has pilfered numerous bits of Arabic -- "artichoke," "zero," "genie," "henna," "saffron," "harem," "tariff" -- but the appropriation was so long ago that few English speakers know the words' origin. These dictionary entries were probably introduced by the Moors into Spanish first, and then by the Spaniards into English.

If someone insults my "mongrel" English tongue, all I ask is that he do so with elan. (That's a French word, by the way.) I caught a whiff of the same condescension from some (thankfully, not all) of my Arabic language instructors. Did you know that Jazz and Rock and Roll were Arabic inventions? It's true! "Guitar" is an Arabic word. Born of Moorish conquest, long live Al Malek!

(Via: Hot Air)

RELATED: More grist for the stereotype mill!

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