Monday, January 30, 2006


Another Reason To Dislike This Area

Nice to see that Ottawa County, MI - home to yours truly - ranked a healthy 302nd of 316 counties in the latest salary growth survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average growth in gross wages was 2.44%, or a lovely -3.26% when adjusted for inflation.

I'm not sure, then, who the hell is buying all the McMansions that are springing up all over the place, but I'm sure those folks are busy patting each other on the back over the nice job they've done keeping down wages.

Oh please oh please oh please, can we get that lovely Toyota engine plant that's being rumored? No, probably not, and once Delphi goes tits-up and the Coopersville injector plant gets closed, I'm guessing that things will only get worse.

Thursday, January 26, 2006



Someone needs his ass kicked up above his ears:

ICG President Ben Hatfield accused the union Wednesday of "trying to insert itself into the investigation in a self-serving attempt to boost their organizing efforts."

Yea, I can't figure out why the union should have any part in this investigation; after all, the 12 guys who died were part of the management team, right? Oh, wait...

I'm pretty sure that the union has larger concerns than "their organizing efforts". Of greater priority might be tasks like "reducing the number of men that come out in body bags" and "avoiding conditions that turn our workers into vegetables".

There are a lot of reasons I think that unions are of vastly decreased importance in this day and age, but this case certainly convinces me that they still have their place.

Sunday, January 22, 2006


Supersizing Gets Out Of Control

I'm as interested in bulk purchasing as the rest of the American public, but this is getting out of control:


Now, if someone could tell me how to get through a standard 1 ounce bottle of CA adhesive without clogging up the tip, then maybe I'd be interested in buying a full pint (I just got done throwing away about a half-dozen tubes and bottles that had dried up while languishing in my toolbox). I am curious, though, as to how much stuff I could, say, glue to a wall if I had this much superglue at my disposal.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


General Zod Takes On Valentine's Day

I'll let him take it from here:

You humans actually rip flowers from the ground, the same plants that provide you with your life-sustaining oxygen, and give them to your loved ones? Why is it that you choose to give your loved ones the carcasses of befallen vegetation? Is this love? Perhaps I am beginning to understand and even relate to it after all. The way to express your "love" for someone is to demonstrate that you are willing to kill another life form for them.

Zod rules. So does my wife, who is largely unenthusiastic about this particular holiday.


NSA Wiretapping Backlash Makes For Some Strange Bedfellows

The Patriots To Restore Checks And Balances released a statement yesterday calling for a broad congressional enquiry into the NSA wiretapping situation. Seeing retired representative Bob Barr among those making this request isn't surprising (he apparently hasn't been sipping from the same Kool-Aid as other Republicans), but what's this - Grover Norquist is part of this crowd? That's, shall we say, somewhat shocking - and encouraging.

And then there's Christopher Hitchens, who has joined the ACLU lawsuit against the NSA. Granted, maybe this just marks a return to his liberal roots, but giving the oral service that he's provided to the current administration for the last four years, I'm just a bit shocked that he'd so quickly turn against his new friends.

UPDATE: Hitchens speaks out at the Huffington Post:

The better the ostensible justification for an infringement upon domestic liberty, the more suspicious one ought to be of it. We are hardly likely to be told that the government would feel less encumbered if it could dispense with the Bill of Rights. But a power or a right, once relinquished to one administration for one reason, will unfailingly be exploited by successor administrations, for quite other reasons. It is therefore of the first importance that we demarcate, clearly and immediately, the areas in which our government may or may not treat us as potential enemies.

Well stated. He's going to get thrown under the bus by the rest of the neocon writers, methinks (HT - John Cole).

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Justice Roberts Fails His First Test

I had high hopes for Chief Justice Roberts, based upon what I thought was a sterling performance during his comfirmation hearings. Those pretty much went down the drain with his dissent in today's ruling on Oregon's Death With Dignity law.

As BlueOregon points out (HT: John Cole), his opinion in this case runs, shall we say, somewhat contrary to the views he professed to hold during his confirmation hearings. It, in my opinion, certainly isn't an opinion that's respectful of state's rights, but as we've seen from Scalia in the Raich case, that seems to matter little to certain "strict constrictionalists" when it comes to certain topics of morality.

I'm not quite understanding why Thomas dissented to the ruling in Raich (siding with the right of the state to control medicinal use of controlled substances) and yet dissented in this case (side with the right of the feds to say what is and isn't a medicinal use of a controlled substance). That seems, well, totally inconsistant.


Definition Of "Torture Test"

You gotta love any product review that includes the following:

We felt it was time for a more comprehensive & impartial analysis, geared toward the paranoid survivalist mountainbiker of discriminating taste & special needs.

And thusly, the Mountainbike Militiamen Movement brings us their exhaustive product testing of the Cannondale DD60 fork. Hilarious.


Fitness Challenge Follow-Up

Back in December, I commented on my pathetic state of fitness, and mentioned that I'd joined a fitness challenge at the gym that my wife and I attended.

Well, the first six weeks have passed, and so it was time for a mid-point weigh-in and body fat test. On the weight side, I managed to drop just under two pounds, and now I'm just a bit above 170. The more remarkable - and somewhat unbelievable - transformation was on the body fat measurement, where I managed to drop from 31.4% to 19.7%. If both of those numbers are accurate, that represents a loss of approximately 21 lbs of fat, and a gain of 19 lbs of muscle. As I said, I'm not sure that's plausible, and I'd have a lot more faith in the results if I had, say, weekly data showing a trend of this magnitude. But I don't, and so I'm just looking forward to the last weigh-in in another six weeks to see if I can maintain the same progress.

My dinner after tonight's workout, you ask? A real gutbomb - a can of tuna mixed with a bit of shredded cheddar cheese, and two scoops of soy protein in twenty ounces of water (I ran out of reasonably fresh skim milk). That's a bit over 60 grams of protein, which hopefully my digestive system puts to good use.


A Statement Of Fact

Just in case anyone was wondering, getting food poisoning just before boarding a 7-hours trans-Atlantic flight is not much fun. That was way too much time spent in an aircraft bathroom. On the plus side, those air sickness bags hold at least a couple of pounds before they start to leak. My apologies for anyone seated around me.

The flight back home was far less eventful, thankfully.

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