Sunday, June 29, 2008

I ran across this a while back but forgot to blog about it. Consider that mistake now corrected. TJIC quotes this article, and then proceeds to add his own commentary:

One sentence re-ordered slightly:

… On December 8, the Florida Supreme Court ordered a recount in certain counties, raising the chance that Gore would win. On December 13 … Gore conceded to Bush…

If politics means profit, a “Republican” company should have taken a knock on December 8, but surged on December 13…

A recent study … found exactly that: … Republican companies [ with board members who had served as Republican senators or congressmen or members of a Republican administration, and with no Democratically connected board members .. ] beat the market by 3 per cent over the week after Bush’s victory was assured; Democratic companies took almost a 3 per cent knock…

The article goes on to point out that the same effect happened on companies with Democratic ties when the flip-flop went the other way.

I am going to restate TJIC's basic point (the rest of his post), in my own pithy way. This needs to be noticed by all of you who want to "clean up" the political process and/or "get the money out of politics." Such an endeavor is largely going to be futile so long as the occupant of a single political office controls a share price swing of something like $450 billion. To get the money out of politics, one needs to make it a bad investment for the companies in question. That won't happen unless we drastically reduce the scope of the power of our government to affect the distribution of wealth.

Friday, June 27, 2008

George Carlin died a few days ago. He was hilariously irreverent, and had some fantastic routines (as well as being responsible for a landmark Supreme Court case).

Here's his best routine (in my opinion), on football vs. baseball:

Thursday, June 26, 2008

D.C. v. Heller affirmed, and the Second Amendment recognized as an individual right as of today (and about damn time). Woot! No word on incorporation against the states.

Go look up a link for yourself. I'm lazy, and you have Google News.

It's Scalzimania, right here in this post! As many of you may know, I am a huge fan of author/blogger John Scalzi. This is a collection of links I've been meaning to post to his blog about various things he has recently posted, both good and bad.

1) Bad: In this post, Scalzi qoutes (from here), that:
The Illinois Family Institute’s blog refers to the legalization of same-sex nuptials this week in the Golden State as “the California marriage disaster.” Such recognitions “do not and cannot exist, no matter what legal document the state issues homosexual couples,” writes institute blogger Laurie Higgins. “There is an existential, ontological reality that supersedes the ill-begotten works of man.”
Scalzi then proceeds to mock it mercilessly, saying:
Translation: “They’re legally married but I’m in denial, so I’m just going to pretend it didn’t happen, like that season on Dallas. La la la la la la, I can’t see you married homos.”
He proceeds to "wish away" many valid marriages on obviously spurious grounds (e.g. "think[ing] Dane Cook is funny"). Then he asks:
Do these people’s marriages really not exist because I just now wished them away? Yes, exactly to the extent that the marriages of same-sex couples who got married in California no longer exist simply because a bunch of bigots prefer to pretend they don’t. Which is to say: No. Because, you see, real, legal, actual marriages don’t stop existing just because some malign jackass doesn’t want to have accept that those marriages are real, and legal, and actual.
Go through to his post for the full effect.

I can't chase the quote back to it's context, so I may be overly charitable toward the Illinois Family Institute, but I could make a reasonable argument for their position. It appears to me that they are trying to draw a distinction between the religious institution of marriage and the legal one. To a Christian (which is the typical anti-gay straw-man) this difference is crucial. For example if my wife and I had not filled out the marriage certificate and turned it in to the State, we would legally not be married (this almost happened). In the eyes of the Church and God, however, that paper means nothing, and we were married as soon as the ceremony was concluded. To a Christian, what does and does not constitute marriage is not a matter for the State to decide - it has not the proper authority. Just as there are legal marriages that the Church may not recognize (e.g. homosexual marriage, common law marriage), so can there be marriages that it recognizes but the state does not (e.g. had we not submitted the paperwork, legal divorces). Presumably in the eyes of the Illinois Family Institute, though these couples may be legally married, they believe the religious (the real, to them) definition of marriage cannot encompass such a union, and thus in their eyes, such couples are not, in fact, married.

Frankly, since Scalzi majored in Philosophy in college, I'm a bit shocked he didn't pick up on the distinction.

2) Good: His ridiculous book is on preorder at Subterranean Press: Your Hatemail Will Be Graded: A Decade of Whatever, 1998-2008

Oh, and it has a sweet cover:


3) Awesome: He answers questions in quasi-podcast form, including some of mine (from "Randomscrub," obviously) here. My 3 questions start near the 12:20 mark. (Though only the third will be of any interest to people who don't actively read his blog.) Enjoy!

4) Also awesome: a hilarious home-improvement tip.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

It appears that the opinion for the last remaining case from the Supreme Court's March docket - D.C. v. Heller, otherwise known as the D.C. gun ban case - will be released tomorrow. It also appears increasingly likely that the majority (or possibly plurality) opinion will be authored by Justice Scalia, the only remaining Justice without a majority opinion from that sitting.

This is good news for those, like myself, who are eagerly hoping for a clear and definitive statement of interpretation of the right to bear arms as individual, rather than collective. I eagerly await the opinion.

Also, what if Justice Scalia Writes D.C. v. Heller? It may look a lot like this.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Just cool: the world's smallest plane. (Clearly for making the world's smallest violin...)


Just weird: the popener.


Both courtesy of Toolmonger.

Heh. Fun with G.I. Joes:

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Another truly epic failure from English Fail:


I think getting replacement bulbs would be high on my priority list were I running that store...

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Sci-fi election shirt designs - full of awesome! I'd actually wear the Reynolds/Washburn 2008 shirt:


But this one is really funnier:


"Why vote for a lesser evil?" Indeed.

Wholeheartedly agreed: Bugger whales. Save Zimbabweans.

Well, the wedding, honeymoon, moving, and shipping out for my summer job are all done. Back to the blogging!