Monday, March 22, 2010

The Elegant, Insightful Tom DiLorenzo...

gives us some adult commentary on the political scene:

"The Obammunist’s socialized health care legislation..."

Oooh! "The Obammunist"! The only possible comeback would be something like "The DiLofascist." I think I will offer my services to Obama.

"Wicked Witch Pelosi (D-Botox)..."

Whoa! Tom ups the ante. But Tom, you forgot to mention Poopy-Pants Boxer (D-DooDooLand) or Skunk Breath Sanders (D-Uranus).

"It’s more like Ted Kennedy’s 1965 immigration law that drastically reduced the number of Europeans who could immigrate to the U.S., more than half of which voted Republican, while vastly expanding Third World immigration quotas, almost all of whom vote Democrat."

Who even knew quotas were allowed to vote?

Now GOP Hacks...

care about public opinion.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Microsoft Ups the Ante

You know how Apple would advertise with the young hipster representing Macintosh and the nerdy guy representing Windows PCs? Well, Microsoft has escalated: during the NCAA tournament, Microsoft is running ads with a black man representing Windows. Word is out that Apple is furiously seeking a lesbian, Rastafarian poet with whom to strike back.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Meanwhile, Here in the World of Actually Existing Capitalism...

I have an iPhone. At my house in Pennsylvania, I can't get cable or satellite Internet service, but I did notice that my iPhone was loading e-mail and web sites quicker than was my dial-up connection on my computer. So I asked AT&T if they had something that would get me on the 3G network from the desktop. Sure, the rep told me, they have a little USB cell phone that would connect for me.

So I got the thing, which involved signing up for a two year contract with an early termination fee. This worked fine... for about a year. Then, AT&T "upgraded" their 3G network, and I haven't been able to connect since, from either my phone or computer.

After waiting a couple of months to see if the service would ever come back, I called AT&T and asked them to stop billing me for the service they were no longer delivering. The first person I talked to was sympathetic, but said she would have to put me in touch with a manager, because she could not waive the termination fee.

"But look," I said, "you terminated the contract, but stopping my service. I'm just asking you to stop billing me for the service you are no longer delivering."

She again expressed sympathy but helplessness. I was forwarded to a manager. She "checked the service" in my area, and said, "But you do have service there."

"Well, no I don't, and I have two different devices, one of which gets 3G service fine in many other places, that confirm that fact."

But no, her map of where service is theoretically available trumped my actual experience. She told me that AT&T "would not even consider waiving the cancellation fee" until I called tech support.

So now I have to do yet more work before it's even possible that I can stop paying AT&T for service they have stopped giving me. And it will be pointless: there's no friggin' service at my house! What is tech support going to do... move my house? Build a new tower just for me?

"Why," you may ask, "don't you just stop paying AT&T and make them take you to court if they want the money?" Well, I could, but the first thing AT&T would do would be to cancel my iPhone service. And Apple won't let me get service from anyone else.

Yes, my libertarian friends, I know there is a beautiful, theoretical capitalism you admire in which these sort of things never, ever happen. There is also a beautiful, theoretical Marxism in which the socialist calculation problem is solved and everyone works hard for the common good. Unfortunately, we don't live in a theoretical world.

Three Sins You Can Commit That Begin with 'M'

'If we find a man whom we respect as a sensible and thoughtful person confessing that he was once led into materialism or Mormonism or murder, we expect him to be able to tell us what it was in these things that he found worthy to attract him.' -- R.G. Collingwood, Speculum Mentis

Out of 4.8 Million NCAA Tourney Brackets...

how many are perfect after one day of play?

"All the upsets caused havoc in ESPN’s Tournament Challenge yesterday, where just 56 perfect brackets remain of the 4.8 million entries."

I figure random selection on the part of all participants would have produced 1172 correct brackets.

They Said Attacking Bush Was Unpatriotic and Amounted to Treason

So why is it OK for the very same people to so gleefully attack Obama?

Monday, March 15, 2010

That Illegal Constitution!

You've probably seen this kind of complaint before: the establishment of U.S. Constitution was done illegally under the Articles of Confederation. I will just give a brief sample from one web site:

"Therefore the delegates had exceeded their instructions and were acting illegally."

"The ratification procedure was patently illegal..."

"Some say bribery and other illegal or at least immoral tactics were used to push the Constitution through."

What few of these folks seem to make much of, though, is the fact that, per the previous constitution (you know, the one involving the king in parliament and all that), the Articles of Confederation were themselves pretty darned illegal, and seemed to be "pushed through" with a bunch of shooting.

More Hoops Talk Annoyance

"And we've got a Florida State at number nine in the West."

A Florida State? Ugh.

The Giant Shrew Toilet Plant

Here. (Hat tip to Elizabeth Higgs.)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

City Folk Can Be Weird

OK, in New York City, there are muggers, speeding taxis, electrified subway lines, drug shootings, crashing helicopters, bricks falling off of buildings, exploding man holes... and what are people all worked up about? Opossums! "Brooklynites say city officials must take action to ensure the safety of residents." People, they're friggin' opossums! They weigh about ten pounds, don't eat humans, and when you bother them, they play dead. Get a grip, you bunch of marones.

OK, I Give Up

In ESPN's story on West Virginia's Big East Championship victory, I read: "Mazzulla and Darryl Bryant both were suspended in the fall -- Bryant after a traffic incident and Mazzulla following a domestic assault outside of a bar."

OK, how can something be both 'domestic' -- inside the home -- and occur 'outside of a bar'? Is Mazzulla's home just outside of a bar?

Slippery Little Book

I was looking for my copy of Physics and Philosophy by Werner Heisenberg, and damned if every time I pinned down its location, it didn't shoot away at some indeterminate velocity!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

John Derbyshire on the Tea Parties

Here: "The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved."

Eric and Benedict

The Pope, getting down with Eric Voegelin:

"As I survey all the perplexing shifts in the spiritual landscape of today, only these two basic models seem to me to be up for discussion. The first I should like to call the Gnostic model, the other the Christian model. I see the common core of Gnosticism, in all its different forms and versions, as the repudiation of creation."

—Joseph Ratzinger, “The Consequences of the Faith in Creation” (1979)

(Hat tip to the Front Porch Republic.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Woods Advised by Fleischer

The word is out on the street that former Bush Press Secretary Ari Fleischer is now a PR consultant to Tiger Woods. Fleischer is apparently telling Woods that if he only can start a war in some remote, Moslem country, his domestic troubles will be forgotten, at least for a few years.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

This blog has moved

This blog is now located at
You will be automatically redirected in 30 seconds, or you may click here.

For feed subscribers, please update your feed subscriptions to

Buy and Fold

So, how's that buy-and-hold strategy working? Let's say you bought the NASDAQ when it stood at 5048.62, almost exactly ten years ago. Well, today it's at 2,340.68, down 54% -- or, inflation-adjusted, down an even worse 63%. So how long is the buy-and-hold strategy going to take to get back to even? Well, if you can earn a higher-than-average 6% per-year after inflation, it will take you around 17 years. That's 27 years under water.

Old-fashioned excuse: "The dog ate my homework."

Modern excuse: "Dual-factor authentication ate my ability to do my homework."