Tuesday, June 28, 2005

 

The Lost Liberty Hotel

This strikes me as a wonderful idea.

HT: Instapundit.

Monday, June 27, 2005

 

Third Of All CDs Are Pirated

Well, gee, if you record industry guys wouldn't have fought against the market trend towards downloading, maybe this wouldn't be quite so large of a problem:

A leading industry group claimed this week that the global black market for stolen music discs reached $4.6 billion last year -- or one in three CDs. In 31 countries, including Chile, the Czech Republic, Greece, India and Turkey, sales of pirated discs exceeded legitimate sales.

 

Broken

Ouch.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

 

Top 50

Props to Autoblog for making Time's 50 Coolest Websites 2005 list.

 

A Contender For This Year's "Shut The Hell Up" Award

Is it just me, or is Hubie Brown about as worthless as John Madden when it comes to adding anything of substance to a sports broadcast? I don't really care about his credentials - he's seemingly unable to make a single intelligent comment.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

 

300C SRT-8 Runs 12s

Damn.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

 

Cycle Of ... Caring?

I pulled the road bike (Cannondale 2.8) from the barn today to do my first ride on it in two years (the mountain bike has gotten far more attention lately). I managed to do 47.5 miles on a relatively calm day, over mostly flat terrain. I did most of it on a "rail trail", ensuring no sudden elevation changes. But those "false flats" sure can sneak up on ya. The 15-mile return leg on public roads was the killer, as it was hilly (relatively speaking), had kinda crappy pavement, and there was a constant headwind (normal anytime when traveling west towards the lake).

Next Saturday, I'll be doing a 100-mile ride in support for Chuck Watson, a fellow worker in the auto industry who's in need of a new liver. His insurance will cover 90% of his medical bills, but when the estimated cost is $600K, that's a lot of out-of-pocket money. If you can spare any money at all, please make a donation at Chucksliver.com. At the very least, please consider signing up for organ donation - it could save a life (this process varies from state to state, but here in Michigan it's as easy as signing the back of your driver's license).

 

KKK Byrd

Instapundit reminds us of Senator Robert Byrd's history. On the other hand, Daily Kos is running a blogad for Byrd, with the text "Click here to Support an American Hero". Needless to say, I have to question dKos' judgement. I'm all about forgiving one's past mistakes, but that doesn't extend to electing that person to high office.

 

Snark

So, if 44% of G6 sales are "conquests" (the buyers previously owned a non-GM vehicle), and if G6 sales are down significantly from Grand Am sales, then is it OK to ask where the GA buyers are going?

Saturday, June 18, 2005

 

Income Inequality

Alan Greenspan, the nation's most powerful libertarian, had this to say concerning the increasing disparity between the upper and lower classes:

"As I've often said, this is not the type of thing which a democratic society - a capitalist democratic society - can really accept without addressing."

Hmm. Now, how to address this is the question. One thing is for certain - the problem isn't getting any better. The top 1% of the population earns 11.4% of the after-tax income in the US. But according to the guys at Power Line, inequality is simply an indicator of opportunity! Makes sense, if one happens to be a rich lawyer.

 

Hypocrisy In Action

Joel Rosenburg at Open Sites posts this:

Well, we had Million Mom March organizer, spokeswoman and activist Barbara Graham gunning down a man in an attempt to avenge the murder of her son (she shot the wrong guy, and crippled him). And then we had antigun activist Annette "Flirty" Stevens keeping an unlicensed handgun, with the serial filed off, in her home -- along with some narcotics.

And now we've got antigun activist Sheila Eccleston calling the police about a burglary next door, and encouraging them to make it quick because she had a sawed-off shotgun in her home, one that she admits had been there for six months.

I think some of these folks are unclear on a lot of concepts.

No, I think these people are very clear on the concepts. Guns are bad, but only when they're in hands of "bad people" (those people probably perceived as being youngs males with dark skin). It's the same reason why Dianne Feinstein possesses a CCW permit (at one time, she was the only person in San Francisico with one), and it's a close cousin of the reason that causes cops to drive at Mach 3 through a school zone to pull over a driver that's doing 31 in a 25.

 

Not To Be A Jackass, But...

ABC News just ran a segment on a clock factory in Chicago where most of the employees are blind. It was honestly a touching story. But what really struck me was this - every worker was wearing safety glasses.

 

Adult Spelling Bees?

Apparently so. It's a bit disturbing, for reasons I can't quite put into words. Maybe this is why:

"I never really let go of the fact that I didn't win the national one as a child," said Kirsch, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of Spanish and Portuguese. "I thought, 'Well, I'll compete in the senior one."'

Um, yea.

Friday, June 17, 2005

 

No "Superstars" In The NBA Finals?

The league offices and fans in big markets supposedly groaned when it became clear that the Finals would pit the Pistons against the Spurs. Not only were the games supposed to be defensive grindfests, but both teams supposedly lacked superstars. OK, so the first prediction wasn't that far off, but the second? First, there's Tim Duncan. If he doesn't qualify as a superstar, I'm not sure who should. Oh, yea, that's right - he doesn't cut rap albums or show up on MTV Cribs. And the energy of 'Sheed or Ben Wallace, and the way they can take over a game has to be respected outside of the Motor City.

That notwithstanding, isn't it interesting to see a guy like Mano Ginobili or Tony Parker make a name for himself by shining in the spotlight, or watching Antonio McDyess or Lindsey Hunter showing the form that made them well-respected veterans? Isn't that more interesting than watching Shaq get 20 points and 10 rebounds, like he seems to do every damn game (except for a certain string of three games in Detroit last June)? I'd say so.

The only complaint so far is that all four games have been blowouts. I'm not sure what to make of that - usually by the time teams make it to the Finals, they're capable of winning on the road (or at least keeping it closer than 15 points).

 

Slitting Your Own Throat

Brunswick announced yesterday that it will move bowling-ball production from Muskegon, MI to Mexico. Worker compensation will go from $35/hour in pay and benefits to $3/hour. That's fine and all.

But considering that bowling is a blue-collar sport, and that they've just put a bunch of those people out on the street, isn't this an example of shrinking one's own market? Sure, it's "only" 110 jobs and therefore a small portion of their overall market, but when so many companies are engaging in similar behavior, it's gonna have an effect.

Oh well. Instead of ranting about the death spiral of American industry, I should instead find a way to make it enjoyable. Like by selling, Idunno, T-shirts or something. I could put an American flag and some smart-ass slogan on them, and then get them produced off-shore.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

 

And Why Do I Have Little Faith In Homeland Security?

Because chainsaw murderers are allowed to enter the country with bloody chainsaws, that's why. And yet, I get hassled for wearing Red Wing workboots through airport security.

 

Ha


 

PNAC Calls For More Troops

While the US military continues to miss its recruiting goals (even after lowering their expectations once already), the PNAC thinktank - a group that could be said to pull some weight in Washington - is recommending an increase in troop levels of 25,000/year for the "next several years". How this is to be accomplished remains to be seen. I'll stop short of saying the "D" word, but would respectfully suggest that increasing the compensation of the men in the field (such that they can actually support a family back home) and leaving absolutely no fuckin' doubt that they've got the very best equipment that the military can provide would go a long ways towards increasing one's willingness to enlist.

 

A Bad Day For Someone

Fire on a coal train? Bad. Fire on a coal train on a wooden bridge? Somewhat worse.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

 

Michigan CCW Holders Behave Themselves

Posse Incitatus has a great post on Michigan's annual Concealed Pistol License report. The bottom line? CPL holders behave significantly better than the public at large. So much for concerns about concealed weapons turning Michigan in the Wild West. Now, how about we get a real concealed-weapons law that doesn't discriminate against knifes and less-lethal self-defense tools?

 

Recommended Political Blog

One of the few level heads in the rhelm of political blogging nowadays seems to be John Cole of Balloon Juice. I've got no idea how he came up with that name, but when a blog is this good, who cares about the name?

 

Surprise Of The Week

In a complete and total shocker, the Washington Times reports that intelligence analysts missed several key Chinese military developments. Well, gee, ain't that amazing? I figured that with the billion dollars a day that we were shipping over there, they'd be building polling places for their citizens and pulling the majority of the country from the dreadful poverty that it's mired in. Who woulda thought that they'd just build weapons that someday are likely to be used against the US?

[T]he report looks like a bid to exonerate analysts within the close-knit fraternity of government China specialists, who for the past 10 years dismissed or played down intelligence showing that Beijing was engaged in a major military buildup.

It's always nice to see egos placed ahead of national security.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

 

A New Low For This Blog

This will be a post linking to an article about American Idol in Rolling Stone. I swear, that's the last time such a thing will happen here. The lure of lines such as "This show has to be the last place where thirty-year-old AM radio standards like "Vehicle" and "Spinning Wheel" can brand you as a badass" was just too much to resist.

 

Quote Of The Day

From the truly awesome Jerry Flint:

When I went to school, they taught us that trade was based on comparative advantage. The folks in one place had piles of coal and iron ore, so they could make steel cheaply and we would all benefit using it. Other folks somewhere else had marshland and lots of people, so we would all be better off eating their cheap rice. See, everyone had some comparative advantage.

When I grew up I discovered that sometimes you couldn't find a comparative advantage. The Japanese had no raw materials or cheap energy. They just worked hard, kept their currency cheap and kept the competition out. They didn't have to worry about defending the home market and could concentrate on exports. China's comparative advantage seems to be having enough prison cells for anyone who wants a raise or a real union.

Nicely stated. Of course, I'd recommend reading the rest of the article as well.

Monday, June 06, 2005

 

The Hiatus Is Over

I apologize for the lack of recent posting. The immediate cause was a 6-day trip to Germany (the Stuttgart area) for a customer presentation. Internet access is lacking in that area, to say the least. I got to stay in a beautiful 400-year-old hotel, though, and the food was great throughout the region. And a beer was never further away than, "Ein Pils, bitte!". Good stuff.

I've accepted a position with Autoblog, so I will no longer be posting much (if any) automotive-related content here. This blog was never intended to be exclusively about cars; that just happened to be what I was focused on recently. I still plan on blogging about non-auto stuff, but the frequency of that posting may be somewhat irregular, depending on my free time and interest level in whatever's newworthy at the time. That could mean several posts per day, or only a few every week. Stay tuned, and we'll see what shakes out over the next month or so.

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