Monday, March 30, 2009

Extreme Shepherding: seriously awesome!

Friday, March 27, 2009

What you really need to know about the infamous AIG bonuses

Read these two pieces, here and here. Do it.

Link Roundup

Here are some links to posts on topics that have interested me over the last week or two:

1) The Obama administration asserts that the fact that the law is ambiguous is a valid legal defense - if you're a government employee:
... I will observe that the Obama administration’s position in the last sentence is NOT the one it takes with my business any time or any place. Qualified immunity because the law was unclear? Hell, most of the regulations we deal with are wildly unclear — everything from anti-trust law, which is anything a jury says it is, to how many sinks I need in my store. No one has ever suggested that I have qualified immunity because the law is unclear. In fact, the government makes very clear that I am absolutely liable for whatever they think the law says, even if this opinion changes from day to day.
2) And I thought I hated airline security crap. This really takes the cake. Ladies and gentlemen, the TSA!

3) NOT OKAY. An asterisk cannot legitimately be used to flatly contradict the statement to which it's appended.

4) I agree pretty much entirely with this mini-manifesto.

5) "And in what twisted world do you protect children from making bad decisions by arresting them and charging them with child pornography? ... You aren’t protecting these kids by arresting them and threatening them. You’re damaging them."

6) Truth in advertising! I certainly hope these claims aren't true, however.

7) See everyday objects - from the inside out!

8) By all means, put them in charge of healthcare, too. What's the worst that could happen? "It turns out that the FCC just accidentally sold off the B-2 bomber’s radar frequency for radio purposes."

9) Shamus just got a new PC. It came with Vista. His take on Vista is hilarious.

10) "President Ron Burgundy." Ha!

11) Some people don't understand the concept of conditional probability. (link NSFW)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ripping it Straight from Popehat

Over at (the awesomely named blog) Popehat, Ken has this to say:

The entire AIG bonus brouhaha has encouraged an unusually large number of people to say an unusually large number of very stupid things. I don’t think I’ve heard anything quite as stupid, though, as what Rep. Barney Frank had to say:

But retention bonuses are to a great extent extortion. It is people saying as you suggested in the question, Harry, I’ve got the combination to the safe and if you don’t bribe me i’m going to leave and you’ll never be able to open the safe. I think it is wrong and let’s point out a lot of very talented people have lost their jobs in this financial crisis. It’s not that they wouldn’t be able to hire good people to do this. So I really resent the extortionist element of this and I think that’s one of the things we have to deal with, not just with AIG but going forward to restrict that.

Someone needs to brand the text of the Thirteenth Amendment into Frank’s fat confiscatory ass. I don’t care whether your entire company — your entire industry — will collapse without me. I don’t have to work for you if I don’t want to. And I may not want to if you don’t make it worth my while. What is “worth my while” is up to me, in all of my avarice and irrationality. If I make outrageous and unreasonable demands, you can tell me to take a hike, or not, depending on your needs and how you value my services. But I am a free man.

*wild cheering*

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Poetic

Spartans Defeat Trojans... again.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Not all transactions based on something other than legal tender qualify as barter!

People keep talking about the resurgence of bartering within this weakened economy (I have yet to see it, but that's not surprising). But Instapundit just linked to an article with the headline "In tough economy, some turn to trading for items and services," saying that people are "responding to a tough economy with barter." The story discusses a system wherein people join a group and then earn "trade credits" by providing goods and/or services, and then these credits can be redeemed with other participating people or companies. Get a grip, people. Bartering is the direct swapping of one good or service for another. This isn't barter. This is scrip - an entirely different phenomenon.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Wow. That's freaking EPIC:
Syracuse Defeats UConn in Sixth Overtime!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Heartbreaking

This story in the Washington Post is probably the most tragic story I've read in years. I encourage you to read it, but I'll warn you - it'll make you cry.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

What Exactly Are You Saying Here?

These headlines were written by either (a) extremely clueless people or (b) people with twisted senses of humor:

New York Times:
Obama Taps Clinton Ideas but Not Clinton Herself

Reuters:
Depp's 'Chocolate Factory' has tasty opening

(via Radley Balko)

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Link Roundup

1) This is just evil.

2) Clueless judge fails to comprehend internet.

3) D.C. apparently has half-busted parking meters that it won't replace because they, in the words of Radley Balko, "can't afford to stop ripping people off."

4) This cheered me up a little bit, at least. I agree: "Now if I can just get those 59% of people to remember this the next time John Q. Candidate promises to fix everything for them and then take them for a magical unicorn ride, we might start to see some progress."

5) Man wants to renovate shop. Man works in conjunction with city officials on plans to do so. Man has permits denied by said officials. Man rents storefront to sex shop, scandalizing everyone. Mmmmm... irony!

6) EPIC FAIL.

7) Ways not to propose.

8) That is quite the accomplishment.

9) This is just hilarious:

Doom, Gloom, and More!

The market is apparently voting "no confidence" on the stimulus bill.

Good Grief

No wonder American car companies are broke - with dealerships like this and this, I wouldn't buy one either!

Calvin and Hobbes Sentimentality

On a somewhat more cheerful (or at least sentimental) note, here's some stuff speculating about Calvin and Hobbes, my favorite comic strip ever, grown up!

My favorite is probably this one:


which reminded me of (a) the wonder of childhood, and (b) how much of my old stuff I actually am saving for my future children.

(via Whatever)

Oh, and just a reminder...

We taxpayers are apparently chumps, given that seemingly every Obama cabinet nominee owes a metric buttload in back taxes.

UPDATE: Wow, now that's chutzpah.

So, how's that defecit look now?

In case you've forgotten just how much a trillion dollars is, Tyler Cowen points out this explanation by James Hamilton:

A trillion dollars is about the total amount collected in income taxes by the U.S. federal government in fiscal year 2006-- $1.04 trillion, if you're curious to use the exact number. That gives me a simple rule of thumb for personalizing these numbers. If I want to know what an additional trillion dollars in government borrowing or spending will mean for me, I just imagine what it would be like to pay twice as much in federal income taxes for one year.

So, for example, with the President's proposed budget calling for deficits of $1.75 trillion for 2009 and an additional $1.17 trillion for 2010, after 3 years of paying twice as much as I paid in 2006, I'd have about paid off my share of the bill for the first two years of the proposal.

Blech.

Atlas, shrugging

When you tell the "rich" that they'll be paying more taxes - a lot more taxes - they'll simply take more time off. The route to prosperity does not lie in convincing people to less productive: "Why kill yourself working if you're going to give it all away to people who aren't working as hard?" I wouldn't.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Two Links: Police Abuse of Power Edition

Here are a pair of stories likely to make you a little less trusting of the boys in blue.

1) A Rickety, Wooden Story

Deputies Jeremy Freeman and Trevor Vander Veen should be in hot water. Their actions in tasering, arresting, and charging Brian Wiederspohn with assault have gotten their employer, the Whatcom County, Washington Sheriff’s Department, socked with a $500,000 judgment for false arrest and malicious prosecution. But that’s no skin off the deputies’ noses. The judgment will be satisfied by taxpayers, and neither deputy has been charged with a crime, lost his job, or even been disciplined.

Despite attempting to frame an innocent man.

Despite tasering an an innocent man.

And despite lying about their actions in court.

2) Chicago cops seem out to get this poor dude:
Over the last 16 months, Mark Geinosky has received 24 parking tickets.

All but one have been dismissed. You can bet that one will be thrown out, too, when he goes to administrative court next week.

For reasons Geinosky can't explain, he believes Chicago police officers have targeted him with the barrage of citations—sometimes issuing four tickets at a time for such things as parking too close to a fire hydrant, obstructing the roadway or leaving his vehicle in a crosswalk.

Even after the Orland Park man traded in his Toyota Highlander in September, the tickets continued to roll in, issued to the old plate number—even though he took the plates off the vehicle and stashed them in his garage. Someone, he said, is out to get him. And he wants to know why.

More amusing links

Here's another roundup of online amusement I've seen recently. Enjoy!

1) The height of fashionable cold-weather headgear: The Beard Head!

2) "Fireman... accidentally inhales kitty"

3) The best Ig Nobel prizes of all time.

4) Heh.

5) Real life mermaid! (Sort of...)

6) How the sound on your TV really works (riiiiight...)

Awesome

The Onion nails this one: Are Violent Video Games Adequately Preparing Children for the Apocalypse?


Are Violent Video Games Adequately Preparing Children For The Apocalypse?