Saturday, July 19, 2008

Holy Sh*t, Batman!, the online realm of Entertainment Weekly, has the ongoing track of The Dark Knight's opening weekend box office performance.

I am happy to say that my Chief of Staff and I participated in the record-setting opening-day $66.4 million gross.

It is amazing!

Heath Ledger delivered an Oscar-worthy performance as The Joker and the A-list cast does not disappoint.


Go see it! We use Fandango, and you may want to also to avoid the lines.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Doctors are stoopid

The New England Journal of Medicine has an editorial about guns.

Note to the idiot doctors who wrote it. The Second Amendment to the US Constitution is not a "risky epidemiological experiment." It is the cornerstone to a free society. The right to defend yourself--and the right to bear arms to that end--is an ancient right only enjoyed by free men (in the whole species sense) and is not a new or extreme view.

If you (the doctors) don't like treating people with gunshot wounds, GET A NEW FRAKKIN' JOB!!
If there is a widespread loosening of gun regulations, we will learn over the next few years — in a before-and-after experiment — whether the laws we had in place had a significant impact in mitigating death and injury from handguns. In our opinion, there is little reason to expect an optimistic result; research has shown and logic would dictate that fewer restrictions on handguns will result in a substantial increase in injury and death. (Emphasis added)

Really? See John Lott. The research pretty much supports the opposite.
In April, just after the oral arguments in District of Columbia v. Heller, we wrote that "health care professionals, whose responsibility it is to treat the wounded and the dying, have special reason to be concerned." In light of the Court's decision in the case, that concern has been magnified.

Really? Special concern? As above, if you can't stand the heat, get the frak outta the kitchen. How about the concern of an unarmed, law abiding citizen at the mercy of a felonious goblin? Isn't that person's concern a bit more immediate and special?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in concert with health authorities across the country, keeps careful records on the number of injuries and deaths that result from handgun use. In 2005, the last year with complete data, there were more than 30,000 deaths and 70,000 nonfatal injuries from firearms. About one quarter of the nonfatal injuries and a tenth of the deaths were in children and adolescents. To place these numbers in perspective, 10 times as many Americans die each year from firearms as have died in the Iraq war during the past 5 years. Firearm injuries represent a major public health problem that seems certain to be exacerbated with less handgun regulation.
Oh dear. So many obfuscations, so little time.
Let's take these one at a time.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in concert with health authorities across the country, keeps careful records on the number of injuries and deaths that result from handgun use.

OK, how do they control for use of the handgun? That is to say, how many of these are at the hands of a criminal engaged in a criminal enterprise? How many are a result of a law-abiding citizen engaged in defending themselves from a criminal? How many are an abused spouse/significant other defending themselves from an aggressive partner? Shouldn't injuries and deaths be treated separately? And as to the injuries outnumbering the deaths, do guns kill or do they just hurt you really, really badly? So much for the careful records.

In 2005, the last year with complete data, there were more than 30,000 deaths and 70,000 nonfatal injuries from firearms.
The number is 30,364. Let's break it down further, shall we?
789 Accidental discharge of firearms (2.6% of total)
17,002 Suicide by gun (56% of total)
12,352 Homicide by gun (40.7% of total)
221 Gun discharges of undetermined intent (0.7% of total)

However, that's not the whole story.
Accidental discharges are in the Accidents category. Total deaths due to Accidents? 117,809.
Guns represent 0.7% of the total Accident deaths.
Motor vehicles represent 38.5% of the total Accident deaths.

Suicides are in the Intentional self-harm (suicide) category.
Guns are 52.1% of the total. The other 47.9% found other ways to off themselves.

Undetermined event firearms discharges are in the "Events of undetermined intent" category.
The guns are 4.7% of the total.

Homicides? Firearms represent 68.1% of the total homicides. About what you'd expect. Unfortunately, we don't know how many were criminals killing an innocent victim and how many were potential victims killing their attackers. We also don't know if any of the perpetrators were multiple offenders (as in one killed many) or if a victim had to defend themselves multiple times in 2005 (attacked by a group or attacked multiple times). To these doctors, apparently, any death by bullet is bad regardless of the circumstances.

The raw numbers, on the other hand, suggest that there are more common ways to shuffle off this mortal coil.

For example, Certain other intestinal infections (other than salmonella, shigellosis, and amebiasis) killed 5,667 in 2005. That's seven times the number that died from accidental firearm discharges. It equals nearly half of the total homicide deaths attributed to firearms.

Falls killed 19,656 folks. Yep. More people died from falling than from firearms homicides in 2005. How about we ban any buildings over one story tall, stairways, escalators, step ladders, trampolines, and ballistic sex acts? No? Onward.

34,136 people died during 2005 from septicemia--that's a blood infection. That's more than the total combined firearms deaths. How did these editorializing doctors miss that?

Pneumonia killed 61,189 people in 2005. That's more than we lost during our entire involvement in Vietnam! In one year! It's also more than twice the total number of the firearm deaths...the TOTAL number! Here's an idea, let's ban pneumonia!

Chronic lower respiratory diseases killed 130,933, malignant neoplasms (cancer) killed 559,312, and Major cardiovascular diseases killed 856,030. Perhaps these are areas the docs should look into as well.

About one quarter of the nonfatal injuries and a tenth of the deaths were in children and adolescents.
So what? The total number of deaths for children and adolescents due to firearms (How do they define adolescents? Adolescence? By physiological standards--the onset of puberty and menarche, etc--or by legal definitions dealing with the age of majority?), if we consider adolescents to be those under the age of 15 (the CDC chart has age-defined groups and there's a break there. I.e., 5-14 and then 15-24. I guess 15 is the medical beginning of adulthood unless they have some magic insight into the chart that eludes me.), is 404 or 1.33% of the total firearms deaths. "Other diseases of respiratory system" killed 458 adolescents--or 1.7% of the "Other...respiratory system"--during the same period.

Interestingly, 792 adolescents in 2005 died as a result of "Assault (homicide) by other and unspecified means and their sequelae". That's almost twice as many as the total number of adolescent firearms deaths and is 13.7% of the total deaths in that category. The highest percentage of adolescent deaths versus total deaths in any of the firearms categories is 9.5% in "Accidental discharge of firearms" followed by 6.8% in "Discharge of firearms, undetermined intent." Note that the actual number of deaths of those two leading firearms categories for adolescents is 90 deaths versus the 792 adolescents killed by other forms of homicide. That's nearly nine times the number. Which brings us to...
To place these numbers in perspective, 10 times as many Americans die each year from firearms as have died in the Iraq war during the past 5 years.

Well, those Americans in the Iraq War are armed with selective fire (capable of automatic or burst fire) weapons and have other similarly armed and trained comrades to watch their backs. Perhaps if we were allowed to carry M-4s, M-249s, have air support on call, and sniper support we could do better in Washington, D.C. and other such "rough" places. This only proves my point that an armed populace is a safe populace. Plus, see how dangerous pneumonia is, above. Let's outlaw sneezing in public and save some people, people!
Firearm injuries represent a major public health problem that seems certain to be exacerbated with less handgun regulation.

Hmmmm. Let's see if there are any public health problems on the chart that constitute a more serious threat--at least as far as total kills for the year as that seems to be the defining characteristic of a "...major public health problem."

Firearms deaths--30,364 (1.2% of total deaths--2,448,017--for 2005)
789 Accidental discharge of firearms (2.6% of total firearms deaths--0.03% of total deaths)
17,002 Suicide by gun (56% of total firearms deaths--0.7% of total deaths)
12,352 Homicide by gun (40.7% of total firearms deaths--0.5% of total deaths)
221 Gun discharges of undetermined intent (0.7% of total firearms deaths--<0.01% of total)

Septicemia--34,136 (1.4% of total annual deaths in 2005)
Malignant Neoplasms--559,312 (22.8% of deaths)
Some of the specific Malignant Neoplasms that contributed to number above--559,312:

Colon, Rectum, Anus--53,252 (2.2% of total annual deaths)
Pancreas--32,760 (1.3% of total deaths)
Trachea, bronchus, lung--159,292 (6.5% of total deaths)
Breast--41,491 (1.7% of total deaths)
Lymphoid, hematopoietic, and related tissue--55,028 (2.2% of total deaths)
All other unspecified malignant neoplasms--62,851 (2.6% of total deaths)

Diabetes mellitus--75,119 (3.1% of total annual deaths)
(Yep, that's correct. Diabetes killed more than twice as many people in 2005 as firearms.)

Alzheimer's--71,599 (2.9% of total annual deaths) Almost as bad as Diabetes!

Major cardiovascular diseases--856,030 (35% of total deaths) More than 1/3 of ALL deaths in 2005!!

Some of the cardiovascular diseases that contributed to total--856,030:
Acute myocardial infarction (that's a heart attack)--151,004 (6.2% of total 2005 deaths--double that of diabetes)
Other forms, chronic ischemic heart disease--291,118 (11.9% of total deaths)
Heart failure--58,933 (2.4% of total deaths)
All other forms of heart disease--109,579 (4.5% of total deaths)
Cerebrovascular diseases--143,579 (5.9% of total, or nearly 5-times that of firearms)
Atherosclerosis--11,841 (0.5% of total deaths--same as homicide!) Looks like cholesterol is as dangerous as a loaded gun or it was in 2005. That's a gun as used in a homicide.
Aortic aneurysm and dissection--13,843 (0.6% of total deaths)

Pneumonia--61,189 (2.5% of total deaths)Twice as much as firearms, almost 5-times that of homicides.

Emphysema--14,002 (0.6% of total deaths) More than homicides.

Other chronic lower respiratory diseases--112,181 (4.6% of total deaths)

Alcoholic liver disease--12,938 (0.5% of total deaths)
Other chronic liver disease and cirrhosis--14,602 (0.6% of total deaths)
Hey! Here's an idea. Why don't we outlaw/ban alcohol sales to save those unfortunate folks in the last two examples? That'd save TWICE the number murdered by firearms and nearly as many as ALL of the firearm deaths! We could pass an amendment to the Constitution and outlaw ethanol and, oh, waitadamnminute!

Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis (kidney stuff)--43,901 (1.8% of total deaths)
Renal failure--42,868 (1.7% of total deaths)

Certain conditions originating in the perinatal period--14,549 (0.6% of total deaths)
What does "Certain conditions..." mean? Well, look who's most affected:
Of that 14,549, the number of deaths in the <1 year old category was 14,423. 58 dead in the 1-4 year old category and 26 dead in the 5-14 year old category. So, more newborns died in this perinatal period than total firearms homicides in 2005. Wonder how that ranks on the "major public health problem" scale?

Symptoms, signs and abnormal clinical and laboratory findings, not elsewhere classified--31,999
(1.3% of total deaths) This exceeds the total firearms deaths.

All other diseases (Residual)--217,632 (8.9% of total deaths) Wow, that's behind major cardiovascular diseases (35%) and malignant neoplasms (22.8%) for leader in total deaths. Sounds like a "major public health problem" to me.

Transport accidents--48,441 (2% of total deaths)
Motor vehicle accidents of 48,441 under Transport--45,343 (1.8% of total deaths) Four times the homicide rate, more than total gun deaths. Time to ban motor vehicles.

Nontransport accidents--69,368 (2.8% of total deaths) I looove the breakout below.
Falls--19,656 (0.8% of total deaths) More than suicide by gun or all other (non-suicide) gun deaths combined. We are a clumsy nation!
Accidental discharge of firearms--789 (0.03% of total deaths--Yep, not even a thousand.)
Accidental drowning and submersion--3,582 (0.1% of total deaths)
Accidental exposure to smoke, fire, and flames--3,197 (0.1% of total deaths) Firemen ROCK!!
Accidental poisoning, noxious substances--23,618 (1% of total deaths)
Other and unspecified nontransport accidents--18,526 (0.8% of total deaths) See Falls, above.

So, there may be an area or two of more immediate concern than firearms deaths vis a vis "major public health problems" for the concerned doctors.
It is well documented in the medical literature that regulation of guns benefits the public health.

Really? Where?
For example, a careful study demonstrated that the 1976 restrictive handgun law in the District of Columbia, which was the focus of the Heller case, resulted in an immediate decline of approximately 25% in homicides and suicides by firearms, but there was no such decline in adjacent areas that did not have restrictive laws.

However, here we have the following:
"The chance of being murdered in Washington,DC in 1990 was 3 times greater than the chance of an American soldier being killed in the Gulf War. The average American city with a population of 250,000 or greater has a murder rate of about 20, whereas cities in the 100,000 to 250,000 range have a rate of about 12. About as many Americans were killed (over 54,000) in New York City between 1962 and 2002 as died in the Vietnam War, but the murder rate in 2002 was only about a quarter what it was in 1990, when there were a record 2,245 murders. Mayor Giuliani is credited with the transformation.

And then, "In the 1976-1997 period, the average age of victims fell from 35 to 31 and the average age of murderers fell from 31 to 27. 16% of homicides involved multiple murderers, whereas 4% of homicides involved multiple victims in 1997."

A-ha. Multiple murderers, multiple victims. Now we're getting somewhere.
Hmmm..."Gun control laws are stiffer in Canada, and many claim this accounts for the murder rate being lower in Canada than in the United States. 65% of US homicides were committed with firearms, versus 32% in Canada. However, a large American study indicated that liberalized laws for carrying concealed weapons reduced murder rates in the US by 8.5%. US homicide rates in the year 1900 were an estimated 1 per 100,000 -- at a time when anyone of any age could buy a gun. Statistics-gathering may have been less thorough at that time -- and few people had the money or interest to buy guns. But American gun supply (including handguns) doubled from the 1973-1992 period, during which homicide rates remained unchanged (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 4-Aug-2000, p.A10)."

In addition, although the NEJM study states that,
"METHODS. Homicides and suicides committed from 1968 through 1987 were classified according to place of occurrence (within the District of Columbia or in adjacent metropolitan areas where the law did not apply), cause (homicide or suicide), mechanism of death (firearms or other means), and time of occurrence (before or after the implementation of the law). The number of suicides and homicides was calculated for each month during the study period, and differences between the mean monthly totals before and after the law went into effect were estimated. RESULTS. In Washington, D.C., the adoption of the gun-licensing law coincided with an abrupt decline in homicides by firearms (a reduction of 3.3 per month, or 25 percent) and suicides by firearms (reduction, 0.6 per month, or 23 percent). No similar reductions were observed in the number of homicides or suicides committed by other means, nor were there similar reductions in the adjacent metropolitan areas in Maryland and Virginia. There were also no increases in homicides or suicides by other methods, as would be expected if equally lethal means were substituted for handguns,"
I have some questions about it.

Here we see that the homicide rate for the years in question (1968-1987) fluctuated greatly. (Sorry, too lazy to code the table manually.)

Year Murders Murders per 100,000
1968 195 24.1
1969 287 36.0
1970 221 29.2
1971 275 37.1
1972 245 32.8
1973 268 35.9
1974 277 38.3
1975 235 32.8
1976 188 26.8 (Year the ban, erm, law went into effect.
1977 192 27.8
1978 189 28.0
1979 180 27.4
1980 200 31.5
1981 223 35.1
1982 194 30.7
1983 183 29.4
1984 175 28.1
1985 147 23.5
1986 194 31.0
1987 225 36.2

Why stop at 1987? Hmmmm...

1988 369 59.5
1989 434 71.9
1990 472 77.8
1991 482 80.6 (Year the study was published)
1992 443 75.2
1993 454 78.5
1994 399 70.0
1995 360 65.0
1996 397 73.1
1997 301 56.9
1998 260 49.7

The population steadily declined during the period in question too. (The above figures do not include suicide numbers which the study included as well.

I can give the benefit of the doubt to the study's authors as they published in 1991 and some of the later data may not have been available to them. But the idiots who cited the study as proof of the effectiveness of gun laws should be required to repeat their internships as punishment. Look at how the numbers jump in 1988 and continue to exceed the historical bad ol' days that preceeded the "Law That Saved Everything"TM.

What were the benefits of this law? A peaceful, bucolic society living in harmony? Nope.

From the D.C. police:
"2006 Crime Emergency Data
On Tuesday, July 11, 2006, Chief of Police Charles H. Ramsey announced a Crime Emergency due to an increase in violent crime. The Crime Emergency initiative was officially implemented on July 12, 2006. On Friday, November 3, 2006, Chief Ramsey ended the Crime Emergency and reinstated the specific articles of the labor agreements that were originally suspended on July 11."

Details here, here, and here.

Back to the NEJM editorial:
With the weakening of handgun regulations, we are very concerned about the health of the public, especially young people, whose safety is disproportionately affected by firearms. We have a heightened concern about suicide, in which impulsivity may have an important role; ready access to a gun may significantly increase the risk of completion.

Hmmm, really? You really think so or are you just so politically motivated that you forgot how to read, reason, and really work on the things threatening our youth?
What did the chart say again? Oh, yeah. Does this sound "disproportionate"?

Of the 32,637 souls who took their own lives in 2005, only 272 (0.8% of all suicides) were in the adolescent age group--as per the above, 15-24 isn't counted.

Of those 272 adolescents, 84 (31% of 272, 0.3% of total suicides) died from firearms discharge, 188 (69% of 272, 0.6% of total suicides) by "other and unspecified means."

How about murder? Surely that must be taking a toll on this age group.
Out of 18,124 total homicides--12,352 of which were firearms related--only 1,022 are in the 14 and under age group. Only 230 of those (14 and under) (1.3% of total homicides, 1.9% of total firearms homicides) were killed by firearms.

So, no, it's not that big a deal when measured against things like:

Drowning--810 deaths (14 and under)(22.6% of all drowning deaths)

Major Cardiovascular Diseases--1087 deaths (14 and under)(0.1% of total Major CV disease deaths)

Malignant Neoplasms--1,452 deaths (14 and under)(0.3% of total malignant neoplastic deaths)

Motor Vehicle Accidents--2,210 deaths (14 and under)(4.9% of all MVA deaths)

Perinatal conditions--14,507 deaths (14 and under)(99.7% of all perinatal deaths)

Perhaps the docs should be advocating for swimming lessons, airbags, and get to work in the lab rather than focusing on a red herring--to wit, that fewer guns equal fewer gun deaths.
"There is no language in the Constitution that would limit regulation.

"Shall not be infringed." That seems to limit regulation. It may not completely proscribe regulation, but it damn sure limits regulation to something less than the outright banning of arms. (Which, for all intents and purposes is what the 1976 law in D.C. did.)
Indeed, the preamble to the Second Amendment includes the phrase "well-regulated" in reference to the use of firearms by militias.

Nothing more dangerous in this world than a doctor with a little knowledge. The phrase "well-regulated" is well-addressed in the majority's opinion by Justice Scalia's in Heller. (My entry on the day the opinion was released.)
Justice Scalia on the meaning of "well-regulated" (554 U.S. 23 (2008)):
"Finally, the adjective “well-regulated” implies nothing more than the imposition of proper discipline and training. See Johnson 1619 (“Regulate”: “To adjust by rule or method”); Rawle 121–122; cf. Va. Declaration of Rights §13 (1776), in 7 Thorpe 3812, 3814 (referring to “a well-regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms”)."
And regarding militias, the very same page of the decision (above the "well-regulated" portion):
"Although we agree with petitioners’ interpretive assumption that “militia” means the same thing in Article I and the Second Amendment, we believe that petitioners identify the wrong thing, namely, the organized militia. Unlike armies and navies, which Congress is given the power to create (“to raise . . . Armies”; “to provide . . . a Navy,” Art. I, §8, cls. 12–13), the militia is assumed by Article I already to be in existence. Congress is given the power to “provide for calling forth the militia,” §8, cl. 15; and the power not to create, but to “organiz[e]” it—and not to organize “a” militia, which is what one would expect if the militia were to be a federal creation, but to organize “the” militia, connoting a body already in existence, ibid., cl. 16. This is fully consistent with the ordinary definition of the militia as all able-bodied men."

Back to the stoopid doctors.
Given the diversity of geography and population in the United States, lawmakers throughout the country need the freedom and flexibility to apply gun regulations that are appropriate to their jurisdictions. The Court's decision in District of Columbia v. Heller may greatly reduce the latitude that legislators have had in setting firearm regulations for their localities.
There is no latitude. Here is Justice Scalia again (554 U.S. 19 (2008)):
"c. Meaning of the Operative Clause. Putting all of these textual elements together, we find that they guarantee the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation. This meaning is strongly confirmed by the historical background of the Second Amendment.
We look to this because it has always been widely understood that the Second Amendment, like the First and Fourth Amendments, codified a pre-existing right. The very text of the Second Amendment implicitly recognizes the pre-existence of the right and declares only that it
“shall not be infringed.” As we said in United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U. S. 542, 553 (1876), “[t]his is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence. The Second amendment declares that it shall not be infringed . . . .”(Emphasis original)

and then (554 U.S. 21 (2008)):
"In the tumultuous decades of the 1760’s and 1770’s, the Crown began to disarm the inhabitants of the most rebellious areas. That provoked polemical reactions by Americans invoking their rights as Englishmen to keep arms. A New York article of April 1769 said that “[i]t is a natural right which the people have reserved to themselves, confirmed by the Bill of Rights, to keep arms for their own defence.” (cite omitted). They understood the right to enable individuals to defend themselves. As the most important early American edition of Blackstone’s Commentaries (by the law professor and former Antifederalist St. George Tucker) made clear in the notes to the description of the arms right, Americans understood the “right of self-preservation” as permitting a citizen to “repe[l] force by force” when “the intervention of society in his behalf, may be too late to prevent an injury.” 1 Blackstone’s Commentaries 145–146, n. 42 (1803) (Emphasis added)

'Nuff said.


(H/t Instapundit) These folks had their guns seized by the cops during Katrina. The same cops who weren't able to protect them. The same cops who should be charged with a variety of crimes (Assault, Battery, Illegal Seizure, Assault with a Deadly Weapon, etc.) for doing it. The elected officials in charge of the parishes and cities/towns should be held accountable too.

I especially like the baptist minister, Ms. Marie Gallatis (sp?) at about 3:18.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Tony Snow, RIP

(H/t Instapundit)Fausta's Blog breaks the news that Tony Snow has died from complications from colon cancer.

He was a class act--before, during, and after his stint as White House Press Secretary.

Now he and Tim Russert can have panel discussions in the hereafter.

Requiscat in pace, Tony. We'll miss you.

Fox's coverage here.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Nancy Pelosi aids terrorists to help Obama

Got your attention? Then go here to read the story on Power Line.
(H/t Instapundit)

Let's hear some calls for her recall...

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Birthday United States of America!!

Take a minute today to revisit the Declaration of Independence at the Library of Congress.

The gentlemen responsible for the Declaration:
Declaration Committee
Thomas Jefferson-Virginia, John Adams-Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin-Pennsylvania, Roger Sherman-Connecticut, and Robert R. Livingston-New York

What a grand job they did.

Of course, Jefferson and Adams also died this day mere hours apart in 1826--50 years to the day after our nation was born.

Today (2008) HBO will be re-airing the astounding miniseries, "John Adams" in its entirety. If you have the opportunity, I highly, highly recommend you watch it.

It is based on the book by Pulitzer Prize-winner David McCullough and a 30-minute show featuring him precedes the miniseries. Looks like it all begins around 12:30 PM on the East Coast.

In any case, have a happy Fourth and Happy Birthday America!!

Doin' it doggy...

In keeping with the canine theme, the FOX Mothership relates the case of the victimized porno pooches.

Apparently, these Tulsa, OK mutts were to be offed for getting off with a human after the sheriff's department said the dogs looked agressive. Mebbe they were just horny?

Anyway, the undersheriff (now that just sounds dirty) isn't gonna kill 'em, "Because of their status as being victims in this whole thing..."

Yeah, victims like boys who have sex with their teachers.

The best part? The undersheriff,
"His intent is to maintain them until they can be rehabilitated and then to get them adopted by people or organizations who are aware of their background and get a good home for all of them."

Oh, crap..I'm busting a gut laughing at that one. Yep, ol' Fluffy's a good dog, just be careful you don't drop nothing in front of him.


One toe over the line

The Fox mothership has this story about a woman's dachshund that, "gnawed off her right big toe while she was asleep."

She is 56 and diabetic--hence the lack of feeling in her toe.

The dog was 1-year-old--was, because of the lack of feeling in her heart.

She had the dog put down, "for the safety of others." (Emphasis mine.)

Yeah, riiight. She was actually afraid that she'd be left without a leg to stand on.

Poor Roscoe.

At least her dogs won't be barkin' now.

Benny Hill, meet Chairman Mao

CNET's Planetary Gear blog has a story about the CHICOM Army demonstrating their prowess on Segways.

They can shoot and scoot--look ma, no hands!--thanks to Dean Kamen's invention. (Photo at the Xinhua site.)

It really looks like something outta Benny Hill or from the mind of Mike Myers.

Of course, this will really give the terrorists pause.

Hydrogen Home

Renewable Energy International is the website (blogged it earlier) of the NJ engineer who is completely off the grid and carbon-neutral by using solar electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.

The hydrogen gets stored in 1,000-gallon tanks until winter when the solar power drops off. He then uses the stored hydrogen to power fuel cells that produce electrical energy, heat, and water.

The water goes back into the cycle.

What isn't mentioned in the video is that he also uses the hydrogen to power his car.

Check out the video.

REI Founder speaking about Renewable Hydrogen technology - video courtesy of New Jersey Network

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Mini Fuel Cells coming, we hope...

Back in April, CNET reported on the company MTI Micro. The company says they'll be mass producing fuel cells in 2009.

The catch? Their goal is to "start displacing lithium ion batteries with fuel cells in portable electronics."

How kewl!
Check out their website.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Muslims are stoopid...

Daily Mail in Britain (also picked up by Fox and The Corner):
A postcard featuring a cute puppy sitting in a policeman's hat advertising a Scottish police force's new telephone number has sparked outrage from Muslims...The advert has upset Muslims because dogs are considered ritually unclean and has sparked such anger that some shopkeepers in Dundee have refused to display the advert.

And then:
Dundee councillor Mohammed Asif said: 'My concern was that it's not welcomed by all communities, with the dog on the cards.

'It was probably a waste of resources going to these communities.

'They (the police) should have understood. Since then, the police have explained that it was an oversight on their part, and that if they'd seen it was going to cause upset they wouldn't have done it.'

Councillor Asif, who is a member of the Tayside Joint Police Board, said that the force had a diversity adviser and was generally very aware of such issues.

Ahhhh, a diversity advisor. The Soviets had a word for that, it was zampolit.

Here's the part most Americans can identify with:
A spokesman for Tayside Police said: 'Trainee police dog Rebel has proved extremely popular with children and adults since being introduced to the public, aged six weeks old, as Tayside Police's newest canine recruit.

'His incredible world-wide popularity - he has attracted record visitor numbers to our website - led us to believe Rebel could play a starring role in the promotion of our non-emergency number.

Followed, of course, by:
'We did not seek advice from the force's diversity adviser prior to publishing and distributing the postcards. That was an oversight and we apologise for any offence caused.'

Here's the offensive photo:
Police Poster

Here's a photo of the head of my Muslim Complaints Department:
That's my Chief of Staff with the Head of Security--you figure out who's who.

Oh, and in case you think, "Well, THAT could never happen HERE."
Here's a related case from Minnesota (via the Corner, see above).

Black National Anthem...say what?

Via Fox Mothership
Denver's State of the City speech was supposed to be kicked off by a black jazz singer singing the Star Spangled Banner.

You know, our National Anthem.

Apparently, she thought otherwise.
She took the music from the Star Spangled Banner and sang lyrics from the Black National Anthem instead.
Kanye West hates white people.

According to Mayor Hickenlooper (I am NOT making that up):
"What she said was that she was very sorry, that she meant no disrespect, that she was trying to make a creative expression of her love for the country," Hickenlooper said.

Seriously, WTF is wrong with these people--and by these people I mean black idiots like Rene Marie (the singer in this story) and Kanye West (Idiot at Large). Kanye West hates white people.

And let's not forget City Councilman Charlie Brown (really, I am NOT making this up!):
Nevertheless many people, including city councilman Charlie Brown, were really upset. "Is this a long introduction into the real song?” Brown says he wondered. “And then I kept listening and thought, what the heck is going on here? This is not the national anthem I’ve been singing for 50 years.""I was mad," he told "I almost walked off the stage."

Interestingly, you have to get the, "I was mad. I almost walked of the stage," quote from the Mothership website. Hmmmmmm.

Here's a link to the lyrics of the so-called "Black National Anthem," which is really titled "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing" by James Weldon Johnson. (Like to see 'em get those lyrics past the atheists.) Kanye West hates white people.

Y'know, there is a country founded by former slaves for those poor, down-trodden, oppressed masses of black folk stuck in this fascist state. It's called Liberia and you can go live there and have your own national anthem--we already have one here.

P.S. Kanye West hates white people.

Al Jolson Diversity

(H/t Instapundit)
This article at uncovers a curious approach to "diversity" by the University of Wisconsin at Madison and the University of Idaho.
"In September of 2000, the University of Wisconsin at Madison and the University of Idaho were both embarrassed when they were forced to admit that they had doctored promotional photographs to make their campuses look diverse. In both cases, non-white faces were added to real student photographs of all-white groups."

"How I love ya, how I love ya, my dear ol' mammy!"

Monday, June 30, 2008

Right-to-Carry in National Parks

The NRA-ILA has an article about today (June 30th) being the last day for public comment on the proposed lifting of the ban on carrying firearms in National Parks.

So go here and leave a comment if you so choose.

I did...
Given that the US Supreme Court found just last week that the Second Amendment to the US Constitution protects an individual right to keep and bear arms-and that the underlying purpose of the enumeration of that right is to preserve the right of self-defense-it seems extremely odd that part of the Executive Branch would deign to infringe that same right in the areas where it may be most immediately needed.

There are few law enforcement personnel on patrol in our National Parks when compared to urban and other built up areas. There is spotty coverage by cellular phone networks in some of the Parks also. In some areas the boundries of the Parks are not well marked and an otherwise law-abiding resident of a state that allows the carriage of a firearm may inadvertantly cross a National Park, thereby running afoul of this regulation. All of these are reasons why US citizens should be allowed to exercise their Second Amendment rights in our National Parks.

It is time that all of our laws and regulations reflect the common sense principles enshrined in the Bill of Rights--rights, mind you, that Justice Scalia emphasized issue not from the government, but that are intrinsic to every free citizen. To put it another way, we have the right to defend ourselves wherever we may need to and we have the right to bear arms to that end. Granted, schools and government buildings may be off limits (although that may change in time as well), but certainly our National Parks will not be harmed by law-abiding, conscientious citizens going about armed on the chance that they may meet those who would do them harm. Indeed, there is nothing in place right now to prevent the unlawful possession of firearms in the National Parks and woe be the lawful citizen who currently meets an armed offender within the confines of a Park without being equal to the task.

It may help to preserve the peace if the rule is changed to allow carry in a Park, but to prohibit the discharge of a firearm within the Park without such discharge occurring in the earnest attempt to defend oneself or another from attack. That is to say, to discourage target shooting or hunting activities while allowing for the actual self-defense priniciple of the Second Amendment to guide the use of any such allowed firearm.

I have faith that the Secretary will see fit to protect that which an oath was taken to uphold and that whatever changes are wrought, that they shall be done considering the best interests of the American people and their National Parks.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


In light of the Heller ruling today--and because these quotes also are cited in Justice Scalia's opinion--I thought I'd share some of my favorite e-mail signatures.

"One of the ordinary modes, by which tyrants accomplish their purposes without resistance, is, by disarming the people, and making it an offence to keep arms, and by substituting a regular army in the stead of a resort to the militia." ~~Joseph Story

"The prohibition is general. No clause in the constitution could by any rule of construction be conceived to give to congress a power to disarm the people. Such a flagitious attempt could only be made under some general pretence by a state legislature. But if in any blind pursuit of inordinate power, either should attempt it, this amendment may be appealed to as a restraint on both." --William Rawle

"This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty...The right to self-defence is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine the right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction." ~~St. George Tucker

Update: Although I don't use this one as a signature, it really goes to the core of the 2A issue. It is the core of liberty going all the way back to Molon Labe.

“The right to bear arms has always been the distinctive privilege of freemen. Aside from any necessity of self-protection to the person, it represents among all nations power coupled with the exercise of a certain jurisdiction. . . . [I]t was not necessary that the right to bear arms should be granted in the Constitution, for it had always existed.” J. Ordronaux, Constitutional Legislation in the United States 241–242 (1891). (Emphasis added.)

From my cold, dead hand

SCOTUSblog showing that Heller was AFFIRMED by SCOTUS!

Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm

Great news...the decision should be available in a little bit.

Decision was 5-4 down ideological lines.

C'mon stimulus check...let's go shopping!

Update: Justice Scalia's MAJ opinion here. Original District of Columbia v. Heller case.

Update: I'm only 53 pages into the decision, but DAMN can Scalia write. He is SCHOOLING Stevens. I think Justice Stevens may have problems sitting down for a while after this one. Whoo, Nellie!

George Carlin Tribute

If you have HBO2, they're running 11 of his specials over tonight (sorry this is late) and tomorrow.

Always loved his command of English...less fond of his strident tone in his last years.

I'll miss him.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

"You damned, dirty ape!!"

Spanish Parliment is definitely seeking to keep Cornelius and Zira happy.

Actually, I think this is geared more towards Doctor Zaius and General Urko.

Great news if you're a Great Ape, unless, of course, you're in a Spanish amnesity for you!

It's in the brain...

This SciAm article refers to a study by Swedish researchers at the Stockholm Brain Institute that says
that gay men and straight women share similar traits—most notably in the size of their brains and the activity of the amygdala—an area of the brain tied to emotion, anxiety and aggression. The same is true for heterosexual men and lesbians.

This is not the first such study to intimate that homosexuality has a biological basis.

Personally, I believe such a basis will be confirmed as more studies are performed. Unfortunately, since the subject is such a political third rail in US politics, the real research shall continue to be performed abroad when it is undertaken at all.

Off the Grid

This Scientific American article is about a NJ civil engineer who powers his house, his car, his lawnmower, etc using a combination of solar-powered electricity and hydrogen.

He built it all himself and generates his own hydrogen onsite.

The catch? It cost him $500,000--$100k of his own money and $400k of NJ taxpayers' money, erm, grants.

He's perfecting the tech and has the cost down to $150k per house--check out his company website.

This is what I want!

This is what I believe is necessary to TerrorProof(tm) our power grid. Get every residential building off the grid and preserve the high power lines for heavy industry--like aluminum smelters--that require a lot of power.

It's the ultimate in a distributed target set. If every home/apartment building/condo is a mini-power plant, you can't take out our power.

Also see Honda's efforts in the same area. Note, however, that it is not yet commercially available.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Jenny Mac and Green Our Vaccines

Today, Fox had coverage of the idiots around the country--and specifically in New York State--that allow parents to "opt out" of getting their kids vaccinated. The excuses range from religion, to autism, to just plain stupidity.

Now, don't get me wrong, I am sensitive to the claims that vaccines may have a causal relationship with autism--my best friend has twin autistic daughters, so I'm very familiar with the denouement of those affected. Here's a link to a study on mercury in vaccines and the related increase in neurodevelopmental disorders--to include autism and autism spectrum disorders--published in the Journal of the Neurological Sciences this year.

That said, if you're not willing to vaccinate your kids then your kids should be homeschooled and kept out of public schools. Unvaccinated kids are liable to contract a plethora of diseases that vaccinated children do not. They may also act as a vector to transmit those diseases to areas that currently do not normally encounter those diseases--like hospitals, malls, and movie theaters.

The best and most level-headed approach I have seen yet is the one promoted by Jenny McCarthy.

This link is to a transcript of Jenny McCarthy's (yep, THAT Jenny McCarthy) interview with Greta Van Susteren on her Fox show, "On The Record."

She has an autistic son who has made a complete recovery. Her focus now is on a more considered approach to childhood vaccinations. For example:
VAN SUSTEREN: So what is the most direct thing people can do to help now? What can help?

MCCARTHY: You can call your congressman.


MCCARTHY: You can walk to your pediatrician's office and demand an alternative schedules.

VAN SUSTEREN: For the vaccinations.

MCCARTHY: For the vaccines because really my main goal right now is to stop the increase of autism and I really do believe by delaying the vaccine schedule, separating them, do not give eight shots at once. Hanna Polling (ph), that federal court case that was just conceded, her autism was triggered by vaccines due to a visit where her doctor gave eight shots at once.

Don't do more than one shot in a visit. Do you see what I'm saying? Not to not vaccinate. Space them out, ask for mercury-free. Make sure your child is not sick before you vaccinate. Your child does not have a good immune system. How is it supposed to detox the vaccine? Test your child for an immune system. Make sure they have really good glutothion. Glutothion is your body's naturally antioxidant to detox these things.

So you can go in and I want people to go in empowered, to take safety of their children back into their own hands, ask questions and demand things.

The story was occasioned by a Green Our Vaccines rally that Ms. McCarthy and her beau Jim Carrey (yep, THAT Jim Carrey) held in Washington D.C.

As for those that just don't like vaccines at all or object on religious grounds, well, go live in a commune somewhere where the rest of us don't have to accept the risk of your choices.

You'll probably die out from polio/diptheria/tetanus within a generation or two anyway.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


H/t to Instapundit

The Guardian has the story.

Here's the important bit:
Blueprints for a sophisticated and compact nuclear warhead have been found in the computers of the world's most notorious nuclear-smuggling racket, according to a leading US researcher.

David Albright, a physicist, former UN weapons inspector and authority on the nuclear smuggling ring run by the Pakistani metallurgist Abdul Qadeer Khan, said the "construction plans" included previously undisclosed designs for a compact warhead that could fit on Iran's medium-range ballistic missiles.

"These advanced nuclear weapons designs may have long ago been sold off to some of the most treacherous regimes in the world," wrote Albright.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Nothin' up his sleeve...Presto!

Over at The Virginian, is this bit about Justice Kennedy's creation of law from the bench:
Not so with last week's decision in Boumediene v. Bush. You don't have to slog through the many dozens of pages of Justice Kennedy's torpid prose, nor even glance at either Chief Justice Roberts' or Justice Scalia's dissents, to find out just how much support this decision actually has in the prior case-law of the U.S. federal courts. Instead, consider this remarkable paragraph (at page 49 of the .pdf file; italics in original; boldface mine):

It is true that before today the Court has never held that noncitizens detained by our Government in territory over which another country maintains de jure [i.e., formal legal] sovereignty have any rights under our Constitution. But the cases before us lack any precise historical parallel. They involve individuals detained by executive order for the duration of a conflict that, if measured from September 11, 2001, to the present, is already among the longest wars in American history. See Oxford Companion to American Military History 849 (1999). The detainees, moreover, are held in a territory that, while technically not part of the United States, is under the complete and total control of our Government. Under these circumstances the lack of a precedent on point is no barrier to our holding.

You could not possibly seek a more candid admission that Justice Kennedy is making up not just law, but constitutional law, out of thin air. And a more conspicuous or egregious example of "legislating from the bench" would be hard to imagine, particularly since this time, the Court is not only legislating itself, but sweeping aside as unconstitutional the legislation actually passed by Congress and signed by the President.

(If, nevertheless, you actually do go on to read the dissents — and if you're wondering why Hermann Göering and his crew weren't permitted to assert their supposed Fourth or Fifth Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution at Nuremberg — you'll find that Justice Kennedy and the majority also disingenuously disregarded contrary precedent that is on point, most particularly Johnson v. Eisentrager, 339 U.S. 763 (1950), which quite sensibly held that such foreign nationals who acted, and were captured and tried, entirely on foreign soil, had no rights under the U.S. Constitution, and could not use habeas corpus to claim any.)

Well, I guess the best way to address this is to stop detaining the enemy and just wack 'em in the field. Prolly save a bundle on transport and housing costs too.

Thar he blow(viates)

Professor Victor Davis Hanson hands Pat Buchanan (Windbag Extraordinnaire) a rather complete refutation of Buchanan's ill-advised sortie into the Professor's area of expertise.

My comment on a comment there:
“Matt S: Certainly the results of the Second World War were good for the emerging United States on the world stage. But I think most of us in the States, because it has been our time in the sun, fail to see the indescribable pain and suffering of the scores of millions who are at the bottom of the heap.”

Yeah, like our defeated foes from WWII, Germany and Japan. Oh, the woes they’ve suffered as a result of our continued support and friendship in the four decades since that conflict ended.

I think a great number of countries in the world would rather be our defeated foe–given how we treat those we have defeated–than the ally of our enemies.

Far from causing the suffering of “scores of millions” (whatever that means), we have rebuilt and continued to support our erstwhile enemies even after suffering scores of thousands of dead in conflict with them. The people of Iraq and Afghanistan will also prosper and benefit from our assistance and friendship, just as Germany and Japan have, if they but embrace a flavor of democracy.

I personally believe that in The Shield of Achilles, Philip Bobbitt is correct in counting WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and the Cold War as chapters in an epochal war to determine what form of government is to replace the previously dominant form. However, I also believe that in American Jihad, Emerson has identified a profound connection between our current foe as represented by al Qaeda/Muslim Brotherhood and the fascists of WWII. Namely, that the Muslim Brotherhood was formed as the Middle Eastern “branch” of fascism–an answer, and ally, to the Italian and German versions of it. Therefore, this “Long War” has not yet ended and we are in a fight to determine whether the democratic republic or fascist theocracy will prevail.

As to our “moribund empire,” what is it that we get out of imperial “outposts” like Germany and Japan versus the benefits they reap from our association? Some empire. If our nation’s imperial ambitions are so overwhelming and all-consuming, why is it we haven’t added more stars to our flag in the past 40-years? Germany? Make it a state! Japan? East Hawaii, I say!

What a curious way to build a hegemonic empire when compared with the historical exemplars.

Professor Hanson? Thanks for wielding that sharp instrument and letting the air out of the windbag. I look forward to the next installment as I am sure you will have a surfeit of targets in the months to come.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Roger on SCOTUS on GITMO

Roger Kimball on the recent 5-4 decision by the Supremes to grant GITMO detainees habeas rights.

Here's an excerpt:
Writing for the minority in 1949 in Terminiello v. Chicago, a case about free speech, Jackson noted that

"This Court has gone far toward accepting the doctrine that civil liberty means the removal of all restraints from these crowds and that all local attempts to maintain order are impairments of the liberty of the citizen. The choice is not between order and liberty. It is between liberty with order and anarchy without either. There is danger that, if the Court does not temper its doctrinaire logic with a little practical wisdom, it will convert the constitutional Bill of Rights into a suicide pact."

Alas, Justice Kennedy and his left-liberal confreres have gone far in converting the constitution into a suicide pact. Today’s decision is historic. Please, remember the men and women who signed on to it: Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, David Souter John Paul Stevens, and Kennedy. Remember their names. They have just made you, your family, and your country more vulnerable to attack by theocratic fanatics bent on the destruction of Western civilization.

Justice Kennedy’s opinion will appeal to all of the sophisticated “why-can’t-we-all-just-get-along” spokesmen for peace and comity who crowd the parliaments of the EU and, in the Democratic Party of the United States, are vibrating with anticipation at an Obombamanic attack on the U.S. in November. (Please pardon the unorthodox spelling.) Personally, I believe that the instinct for self-preservation is sufficiently alive and well enough among most voters to prevent the dégringolade that an Obama administration would mean for this country. Most people, I have to believe, do not want to see themselves taxed into penury. They do not relish the prospect choking the engine of prosperity with stupid bureaucratic over-regulation. They object to the erosion of individual liberty in the name of political correctness. They rebel at the sentimental invocation of “change” when it is nothing more than an empty epithet designed to reinforce the prerogatives of a big-government, anti-freedom elite.

Read the whole thing...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Wackjob Kucinich

Reuters has a story about the latest effort by the Dennis Kucinich (Congressional Wackjob, D-OH) to have the President impeached.

On the floor of the US House he has leveled "more than two dozen charges against Bush."
Many Democrats and civil liberties groups have accused the Bush administration of providing misleading information before the 2003 Iraq invasion as well as violating the rights of U.S. citizens with its warrantless surveillance program. The White House denies the charges.

So, what about that "misleading information"?

Wasn't there a Rockefeller-led Senate Select Committee on Intel that was to investigate and produce a report?

Fred Hiatt of the WaPo has this to say: (Via Instapundit)
But dive into Rockefeller's report, in search of where exactly President Bush lied about what his intelligence agencies were telling him about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, and you may be surprised by what you find.

On Iraq's nuclear weapons program? The president's statements "were generally substantiated by intelligence community estimates."

On biological weapons, production capability and those infamous mobile laboratories? The president's statements "were substantiated by intelligence information."

On chemical weapons, then? "Substantiated by intelligence information."

On weapons of mass destruction overall (a separate section of the intelligence committee report)? "Generally substantiated by intelligence information." Delivery vehicles such as ballistic missiles? "Generally substantiated by available intelligence." Unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to deliver WMDs? "Generally substantiated by intelligence information."

As you read through the report, you begin to think maybe you've mistakenly picked up the minority dissent. But, no, this is the Rockefeller indictment. So, you think, the smoking gun must appear in the section on Bush's claims about Saddam Hussein's alleged ties to terrorism.

But statements regarding Iraq's support for terrorist groups other than al-Qaeda "were substantiated by intelligence information."

And what did Senator Rockefeller (D-W Va) have to say in October 2002?
"There has been some debate over how 'imminent' a threat Iraq poses. I do believe Iraq poses an imminent threat. I also believe after September 11, that question is increasingly outdated. . . . To insist on further evidence could put some of our fellow Americans at risk. Can we afford to take that chance? I do not think we can."

So, Bush didn't lie, our intel is broken, and the Dems are willing to compromise on the facts to serve political ends.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Oooh, shiny!

New 3G Apple iPhone with GPS, support for Microsoft Exchange, App Store coming, in 70 countries by the end of the year, and the 8Gb model will only be $199!!

Now, you have to wait until July 11. Heh.

The Apple Store is down! Woo-hoo!

The Apple Store being down signals that Steve Jobs is in mid-keynote address at the 2008 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

That's means we'll soon have new goodness to drool over.

I'm following it intermittently at Engadget while monitoring the match between Romania and France in the Group of Death (!) at the Euro 2008 tournament.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

The earth shook, the People wept

Paul Gravett has a feature by Coco Wang about the earthquake in China back on May 12th. Coco has turned the stories into comic strips that, well, better you go see for yourself.

Run along now and find a quiet place to look at the comix.

Friday, June 06, 2008

That thing got yer name on it?

So, via CNet news (follow the link in the title) you can go here and add your name to a microchip that will fly on NASA'a next moon mission, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO).

Notice the word Orbiter as in orbiting the moon, not landing on it.

Don't tell her, but I finally can tell my wife, "One of these days, Alex, POW! Straight to the moon!" I even saved the certificate with her name on it.

The deadline is June 27th, so go do it if you're a-gonna.

Santa Fe Brewin'

If you find yourself in the Santa Fe region--or if you're lucky enough to live there--head on over to my brother's place. They don't serve alcohol there, but you can get everything you need to make beer or wine at home.

And that's the important thing--make it at home. That way we won't have to look at you stumblin' all over the place when you're in your cups!

You can tell him I sent you, but he'll just laugh.

Gay bashing for Allah

Gay Patriot has the story on 10 muslim, ahem, immigrant youths who pulled a gay runway model off the runway and groped and beat him at an event on Queen Day promoting--wait for it--tolerance.

Comment #12 is mine.

Go read Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. It's an unvarnished, autobiographical look at the journey of a muslim girl born in Somali who eventually becomes a MP in Holland and lives each day under the threat of being murdered by islamic decree.

Then read America Alone by Mark Steyn. His tongue-in-cheek style is well-suited to providing an entertaining romp through statistics and quotes that portray Islam--and the West's inevitable demise at the hands thereof--in an honest light.

Pass them around to your friends, family, and elected officials. Oh, and have a nice day.

Monday, March 24, 2008


Sorry for the long drought.

I had intermittent connectivity while in Africa last year.

I also had some family emergencies last fall.

More details soon. Be well.

In the meantime, go visit Instapundit and enjoy the smorgasborg.