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January 27, 2005 - January 20, 2005

Thursday, January 27, 2005


Hitler was Crazy -- And how could anyone have known that way back when he first got elected chancellor?

Michelle Malkin pointed out that there was a BLOGBURST underway to remind people of the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz -- see Survivors join world leaders at Auschwitz.

The participants in the BLOGBURST don't seem to be participating, or perhaps we just looked too early. Our cursory review found few posts on the topic, but, like we said, maybe we've looked too early.

Hopefully, you won't be taking history so lightly to avoid consideration of what all this might mean for us today. Like, how is it that a civilized country began to behave in such a manner? A manner that everyone seems to simply want to forget and demonstrates what governments are capable of doing to us. The insistence by some that Democracies have never attacked one another seems to be putting too fine a point on the definition of democracy.

NOTE:
Do not miss our headline link today sporting additional links for your edification.




Wednesday, January 26, 2005


Working the List
Somebody throw Grey Beard a line. Maybe you could stop by and wish him well or lay some of your hard earned lessons learned on him. All we can say is don't be afraid to do something you want to do -- creditors and detractors be damned.





A Meaningless Random Accident
Clearing snow can get you killed -- or, at least, shot. PhillyBurbs.com is reporting that a man was carrying a two-shot Derringer when it accidently dishcarged a round into his chest while he was working the snow blower.

Come on fellas, check those guns while your doing the heavy lifting of snow removal. Or, move some place warm.





The Will of the People -- meaning their feelings
If you're going to address your critics, you may as well pick on the weakest nitwits and the bunch that can't help but use the most vitriolic language and character assassination. That way it is easy to dismiss them all.

This is the approach Mr. Boortz chose to use in dealing with his nonsense comments about the permanent unemployment of smokers -- as a class.

Of course, he did not address the real concerns raised by our own InstaPunk. Why? That would have required more thought and more than the 300 words he dedicated to defending himself against his critics -- especially since his own site's pool showed that 65% of respondents disagreed with him.

Get yourself a box of fine cigars or a carton of cigarettes and enjoy one of life's simple pleasures (may we suggest this). And, if you can't smoke in the work house, take up the ghastly habit of chewing tobacco. You can spit in a coffee mug and who will be the wiser. If it gets disgusting enough, maybe they'll welcome smokers back into the office.




Tuesday, January 25, 2005


Chipping Away at a Hot Potato -- see Yanks.20.9-10
We first heard of The Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act (S.2466 and H.R.4420) yesterday and today, The Washington Times is reporting that the Bush Administration is going to support the measure. Chip . . . Chip . . . Chip.





The Hypocrite Dumbass Award

Neal Boortz, Self-Important Nonsmoker

HARRIER INTELLIGENCE. Right-wing talk radio host Neal Boortz is on his high horse today. A news item about smokers caught his attention, and he commented on it in his daily feature Nealz Nuze:

This morning on CNN Jack Cafferty was a bit exercised over reports that more and more companies are not only refusing to hire smokers, they're firing them. They're getting fired not for smoking on the job .. but for just being smokers. Bad? No ... Good!

Neal likes being a provocateur, of course, and we take some of the tirade that follows this opening with a grain of salt, but our native inclination to let it go, as we do with so much of the antismoking hysteria, was overturned by his weaseling conclusion to the piece:

So there. If you're a smoker, don't direct your anger at me. I'm not your problem. YOU are your problem. You need to figure out why you hate yourself and why you're so bent on self-destruction. I don't know the answer to that question. You do. Start figuring it out.

Uh uh, Neal. You don't get off that easy. Ostentatiously self-righteous health choices are not synonymous with moral virtue, and risky lifestyles are not synonymous with self hatred. They are a choice. Are they an irrational and self-destructive choice? Perhaps. But it shouldn't take a genius to realize that some people do not place a higher value on longevity than on simple pleasures that accord with the ancient ideal known as 'carpe diem.' As a libertarian who constantly inveighs against the kind of statism that makes so many old people into helpless chattels during their final ten or twenty years of life, Neal, you should be able to understand that some of us would prefer to live life on our own -- not your -- terms for 65 or 70 years rather than stagger on into our nineties on a diet of veggies, Evian water, and sugar-free chewing gum. Instead, you seem pretty intent on imposing your own tediously mundane values on everyone else:

In Michigan Weyco, Inc. has a new policy. They won't hire smokers. They're also requiring all current employees undergo testing to see if they are currently smokers. Presumably this will be a step toward firing all smokers. Employment lawyers says this reeks of discrimination. Well, duh! Of course it's discrimination! It's discrimination against people with unhealthy lifestyles who are going to send your health insurance costs even higher. [emphasis added] It's discrimination against people who have been shown to have poor work habits and higher absences from the job. Oh .. and it's discrimination against the stupid and ignorant ... and people who stink. Now don't you think that these are all perfectly good reasons to discriminate?

Nothing like an argument for unregulated corporate despotism that's built on a collectivist platform of "us good, you stink." Stalin would no doubt approve the logic. As it happens, we agree that employers should be able to hire and fire as they choose. This is not the same thing as congratulating those who would fire all employees who are too fond of the color lavender, have been known to play poker in their off-hours, wear unfortunate colognes, or ride motorcycles on the weekends. Intelligent libertarians know that not all the freedoms afforded by their ideal form of government should be exercised. Most, if not all, will be exercised, including the freedom to engage in risky behaviors such as smoking -- and the persecution of unpopular minorities by those who feel themselves superior to the Great Unwashed. Only hypocrite libertarians commit the sin of arguing for the institutional enforcement of their own prejudices via mechanisms created by a welfare-state bureaucracy they elsewhere deplore.

Boortz's insurance discussion is an example of the latter kind of argument. He says:

Just consider health insurance. Unfortunately we have come to the point in this country where it is expected that employers will take care of most of the health care for their employees. This unfortunate situation is the primary reason health care costs are seemingly out of control in this country .. but that's another subject for another sermon from the Church of the Painful Truth. If you, as the employer, are going to be responsible for the cost of your employee's health care then you should be allowed to select employees, and get rid of employees based on any aspects of their lifestyle that would be unhealthy and, therefore, would cost you money.

This falls into the "two wrongs make a right" category of reasoning. What, one wonders, would Boortz's position be if employers were not responsible for the cost of their employees' health care? Presumably, it would be the same: in a libertarian world, employers would still be able to fire smokers because they don't like them. Therefore the health insurance argument is a logically irrelevant disguise for the fact of Boortz's prejudice. It's also an argument that's eerily reminiscent of the decidedly anti-libertarian defense of motorcycle helmet laws. Motorcyclists take the position that if they bash their heads in an accident, they are hurting only themselves and have every right to accept such risks. The healthcare bureaucrats counter that the virtuous majority who do not ride motorcycles too often wind up paying the treatment costs of head injuries suffered by cyclists who do not carry enough insurance. This is an institutional argument which effectively demonstrates that in an era of government-mandated safety nets, the government owns every part of your body but your uterus (if you have one). In the bad old days before doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies locked their lips on the teats of government regulators, a motorcyclist would have have been able to ride helmetless and uninsured, and if he smashed his head on the pavement, a physician who believed in the quaint language of the Hippocratic oath would have treated him, and the cyclist or his surviving family would have been morally obligated to make good on the debt to the doctor and the hospital. Which of these scenarios better represents the libertarian ideal? A vast incestuous network of government agencies and insurance cartels which extort increasingly less individualistic behavior from the herd -- or a society in which individuals really are free to accept risks to life and limb that others prefer not to accept? Yet Boortz asks us to accept the flimsy proposition that the right response to the general loss of liberty in our society is further erosion of liberty for those the elect(?) deem to be deficient in secular virtues like health.

But Boortz is at pains to gloss over the specious and totalitarian heart of his position. He would have us believe that there is, in fact, a valid market-based argument to be made as well. He asserts that:

Generally speaking, smokers simply aren't as productive in the workplace as are non-smokers. They take more frequent breaks (to do drugs,) and they're absent from work more often due to illness.

And ... to cap it all off ... smokers just aren't all that bright. In repeated trials smokers have scored lower on intelligence tests than non-smokers. Smoking, then, is an excellent way for you to get an immediate indication of who has common sense, and who doesn't . OK .. I know that there are exceptions, but across the board the rule holds. An employer who has a policy of simply not hiring smokers, and getting rid of employees who do smoke, is going to have a smarter, more capable workforce than will an employer who hires these pathetic drug addicts.

Note that he is careful to use the word "trials" in preference to "studies." Could this uncharacteristic (for Boortz) nicety of diction be attributable to his own bent for railing against the various studies undertaken by liberals to prove the existence of global warming, the efficacy of affirmative action, and the correctness of innumerable other progressive policy positions? We think so. He likes studies which result in sweeping disparagement of those he disdains, regardless of the fact that tobacco use has been the subject of frequent statistical horseplay (ref. the fraudulent pseudo-research continually being conducted to document the dangers of secondhand smoke). He almost certainly doesn't like studies which disagree with his views, such as the unwelcome finding that smoking is strongly correlated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer's. In this he's as much a hypocrite as the lefties he's continually eviscerating in the carelessly written and punctuated (though oxymoronically longwinded) apothegms of Neals Nuze.

And beyond that he is a dumbass. Smokers less intelligent? Tell it to these guys, Neal. But be prepared for the fact that some of them might tell you a thing or two -- such as the idiocy of relying on math geeks to measure something as subjective as productivity. If this prized commodity consisted only of putting in hours at a desk, maybe there'd be more than smoke and mirrors to your point. But productivity has to do not with hours served but quality of output. Not to be rude about it, Neal, but you could live to be 144 and you would not have been as productive as F. Scott Fitzgerald, who gave us two truly great American novels before dying of a heart attack at age 44. And don't try to tell us that no one in the past knew that smoking wasn't healthy. Cigarettes were called "coffin nails" all the way back in the twenties.

We can't wait to hear what you've got to say about lard-asses. Heavens, to read your writing, one might suspect that you were some kind of Adonis. Are you?


Oh. Well, shut up, then. So there.

Other thoughts on this story:
Ravenwood's Universe -- lists other dangerous employees.
Frizzen Sparks -- counting the lawsuit winnings.

UPDATE: One brave blogger commented on this post. Where is everybody else? And, don't miss Dave Hardy's spot on comment in the commentary section. You can see Dave's site here.

And, there is more talk:
  My Way, My View, My Opinion
  New England Republican -- who knew?
  Dump Dick Durbin




Monday, January 24, 2005


Doing the Dirty Work
Blogs of War records the existence of 'Yoda' and it is worth a read. Especially informative for those who would like to forget the type of people required to cut through the web of international, Islamo-Facist, terrorism.





Don't Make Your Bed
Well, well, well. I knew it. Making your bed is really just making a nice home for dust mites (you really have to see the picture). Horrible creatures with horrible things for you and your family.

I have two children and a husband that have all been in excellent health. I don't do all that much housework -- my daily routine includes leaving food out all night, not making beds, and doing laundry only when absolutely necessary -- meaning, somebody has no clothes to wear. You might call me a slob, but I always knew it was doing something that kept my family healthy. Now, modern science is helping to explain the counter-intuitive results achieved through slovenly sloth that has been on the lips of my detractors lo these many years. Thanks to The Geek Press for calling this out.





Watching Too Much Television
Having been to a few March for Life rallies, the most striking thing about this 32nd Anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision by the U.S. Supreme Court (1/22/1973) is the number of elected representatives at this one. Usually the speakers were made up of various firebrands from organizations involved in the pro-life movement with a video message from some high profile politician. We remember Congressman Henry Hyde introducing himself as a 700+ month-old fetus . . . but, elected legislators typically kept a low profile.

You can watch the rally on television via EWTN over your cable or satelite system -- or on-line at their website. It started at 11:00 a.m. today and will be on until around 5:00 p.m. today and will be rebroadcast at 10:00 p.m. today and again on Saturday, January 29th, 2005 at 1:00 p.m. (all times EST).

If you're not doing anything, take a look. We're pretty sure you won't hear a word about this anywhere else today. Maybe we're just too cynical.

The Chain Gang is watching the TV and taking notes.




Saturday, January 22, 2005


FREE! -- Porn Magic for You.
Urthshu points out an interesting article related to search engines and internet traffic. So, as part of our little totally unscientific analysis, please have the courage to leave us a comment on how you found this post and whether or not you read the referenced article above. If you're feeling particularly philosophical, tell us what all this means. Or, you could just follow our headline link for some illuminating commentary -- see 'Information Explosion.'





So, You Want to Have an Abortion . . .
January 22, 1973 -- Roe v. Wade. Today marks the 32nd anniversary of this great decision by the Howdie! Supreme Court and there has been no up or down vote on the abortion issue from our fearless legislators yet. That's right. For all their arguing and campaigning not a single member of Congress or U.S. Senator has cast a vote for legal or illegal infanticide. Not Sen. Kennedy, not Sen. Santorum, not Sen. Kerry, not any of them.

We thought it would be good to note that for those of you that think that some law has been made one way or the other on the abortion issue. And, please don't write us about the 'Partial-Birth Abortion Bill,' we know that got passed but that's really not the issue -- is it?

So, on this anniversary we thought we would direct you to some previous musings as you consider the 44,695,262 abortions that have been performed since this date in 1973 (See the Priests for Life website -- the counter is near the bottom of the page and the number we use was where it was at the time of this posting.) -- see The Doorway by our own, RFLaird.

Our picture on the right is from the Show the American people what an abortion is! section of the Priests for Life website. You should go there if you are unfamiliar with this prevelant surgical procedure.

UPDATE: Thanks Michelle for the link.
Others are talking as well:
Simpleblog
This is Life!
OSLBlog
LaShawn Barber's Corner
Generation X -- see the site for the full title
Feministing.com -- real fun
Kill Them All from the UK
Right Thinking Girl
Wudrick Blog
Sondra, born in 1981, thanks her 17 year-old mother for not aborting her.
Stand in the Trenches
Here's another guy that almost bought it . . .Glad to know you Mr. P.
Everyone seems to love this article




Friday, January 21, 2005


We are Provincials No Longer -- Yanks.74.7-8
We are provincials no longer. The tragic events of the thirty months of vital turmoil through which we have just passed have made us citizens of the world. There can be no turning back. Our own fortunes as a nation are involved whether we would have it so or not.

And yet we are not the less Americans on that account. We shall be the more American if we but remain true to the principles in which we have been bred. They are not the principles of a province or of a single continent. We have known and boasted all along that they were the principles of a liberated mankind. These, therefore, are the things we shall stand for, whether in war or in peace:

That all nations are equally interested in the peace of the world and in the political stability of free peoples, and equally responsible for their maintenance; that the essential principle of peace is the actual equality of nations in all matters of right or privilege; that peace cannot securely or justly rest upon an armed balance of power; that governments derive all their just powers from the consent of the governed and that no other powers should be supported by the common thought, purpose or power of the family of nations; that the seas should be equally free and safe for the use of all peoples, under rules set up by common agreement and consent, and that, so far as practicable, they should be accessible to all upon equal terms; that national armaments shall be limited to the necessities of national order and domestic safety; that the community of interest and of power upon which peace must henceforth depend imposes upon each nation the duty of seeing to it that all influences proceeding from its own citizens meant to encourage or assist revolution in other states should be sternly and effectually suppressed and prevented.





Instapunk012105

W is for the World


B IS FOR BASICS. For months we've all been talking about blue states and red states, but what do we really know about them? Here's an efficient little test that should be a no-brainer for all who believe they have excellent insight about what's good for the country.

How did you do? Is that because you're from a red state? A blue state? Or because you took your Ritalin like a good little kid when you were in school?

If you did great, take the test again and name the capitals. Feel free to share your scores with the other children.




Thursday, January 20, 2005


Football - a great high school and college game
I understand there was a bit of a problem with the previous commentator. By way of introduction, let me just say that I've been doing this in one form or another since 1970. I've won a lot. I've lost a lot. Figuratively speaking. Under the extreme circumstances facing the guys at InstaPunk, I've agreed to give them a hand here near the end of the season, on short notice, for no money. Maybe I'll get a chance to give you a more fuller explanation of my thoughts on sports betting, but for now, let me just say that you shouldn't be betting anything you cannot lose -- unless, of course, you absolutely know what is going to happen. So -- for entertainment purposes only -- let's take a look at the upcoming games.

According to SportsBook.com:

FAV

LINE

DOG

Venue

Game Day

Eagles

5

Falcons

Lincoln Financial Field
Philadelphia, PA

JAN 23, 3:00 ET (FOX)

Patriots

3

Steelers

Heinz Field
Pittsburgh, PA

JAN 23, 6:30 ET (CBS)

I hate to do it, but I've been saying all year if a team consistently runs the ball against the Eagles, they can win. Eagles might win, but I see a close game.

NE -- Pittsburgh? Huge coaching mismatch. I think NE wins by more than 10.

Good night, mother.





instapunk011805

Above and Beyond

Senator Barbara Boxer at Rice confirmation hearing

PRINCIPLES, ETC. Chain Gang has adroitly characterized the contribution of Senator John Kerry to the Condoleeza Rice confirmation process, but we can't help feeling that another senatorial performance of note has been overlooked. We refer, of course, to Barbara Boxer, who showed up at the confirmation hearing to reaffirm the Democrat conviction that the U.S. government should conduct itself as if nothing whatever had happened on September 11, 2001. In our humble opinion, this represented courage above and beyond the call of duty, since Senator Boxer's tweed rag of a coat, her fright-mask makeup and rat's nest hairdo spoke volumes about where she had come from to put in an appearance. Everyone knows that homelessness is a tragically persistent affliction in the city of San Francisco, but it is sad indeed that a U.S. Senator should be ensnared in the west coast hell of cardboard box apartments, Sterno aperitifs, and grueling daily commutes from soup kitchens to curbside urinals to panhandling stations outside the finest nouveau cuisine restaurants. Frankly, we are overcome with admiration that this brave public servant would bestir herself to demand turning back the clock to forget a traumatic event she probably doesn't even remember in the first place. For this reason, we are bestowing a rare InstaPunk award on Barbara Boxer, a scale model of a supermarket shopping cart. If she weren't so clearly in need, we'd have had it done up as a lapel pin, but in hope of facilitating her travels among her constituents, we have elected instead to render it full size, with complete operability. Maybe she can find another friendly red jacket to put in it so that she will be prepared for future special occasions in the nation's capital. Failing that, she can still use it to stockpile a whole bunch of muscatel.


Cheers, Senator.





Instapunk012005

InstaPunk Scoop!

Lawrence Summers, projected President Emeritus of Harvard

MAWRITES.22.1-30. The other day, our attention was drawn (by Chain Gang, if you must know) to an astonishing imbroglio involving the president of Harvard University. It seems he had been invited to speak at some forum or colloquium or filibuster about the plight of women and minority scientists and engineers. Then, in his remarks to the assembled aggrieved, he said something that ticked them off no end. The full story is here, but we offer the following as an example of the angry reactions he inspired:

According to a report in The Boston Globe, when Summers' remarks turned to a possible genetic basis for differences in ability between men and women, several incensed guests got up and walked out.

Included among them was prominent Massachusetts Institute of Technology biologist Nancy Hopkins. A Harvard graduate who spearheaded an influential study on gender-based inequalities at MIT, Hopkins later said that if she hadn't left, she "would've either blacked out or thrown up."

''It is so upsetting that all these brilliant young women [at Harvard] are being led by a man who views them this way," she said.

University of California, Santa Cruz, chancellor designate Denice D. Denton told the Associated Press she was also offended by Summers' presentation.

"Here was this economist lecturing pompously (to) this room full of the country's most accomplished scholars on women's issues in science and engineering, and he kept saying things we had refuted in the first half of the day," she said.

Wow. It seems almost inconceivable that a president of Harvard would say anything that might offend "biologist Nancy Hopkins... a Harvard graduate who spearheaded an influential study on gender-based inequalities at MIT." Surely those who excel in the academic world are endowed with a gene that automatically prevents them from uttering any word or phrase that could be interpreted as acknowledging any kind of difference between men and women. We were so startled by the dudgeon that we scoured the article for any kind of direct quote from Summers's remarks. There was none. All the reporter offered was a characterization of the offending points:

Among his reportedly inflammatory remarks were questions about how great a role discrimination plays in female advancement at elite universities, as well as a suggestion that child-rearing duties keep women from committing 80 hours a week to their careers.

But when he suggested that the discrepancy may be attributed more to genetics than socialization, Summers caused a stir.

Shouldn't there be a transcript? It was Carl Sagan who used to promote the (flagrantly illogical) notion that "extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof." And while we never agreed with the Cornell professor on this, it's clear that those who are responsible for reporting on scientific developments believe it absolutely. Otherwise, the general public might have a slightly better appreciation of the honest-to-God (sorry) scientific problems with the Dawkins theory of evolution. Therefore, something so incredibly unlikely (i.e., extraordinary) as a Harvard president casually dissing women in public has to be verified by evidence beyond eyewitness testimony and hearsay.

We looked through other reports for a transcript. (Actually we asked Chain Gang to do it, because he's not as lazy as some other folks.) CG reported back in an email whose title said it all: No Transcript.

Wow again. This got our blood up a bit, so we put in a call to Summers's office. Unsurprisingly, he was not in that day, but his secretary was. We pursued the matter of a transcript with her. A charming young lady named Mimi LeBoeuf, she proved to be very sweet, though a bit of a giggler. Between helpless little laughs, she admitted that she had typed the speech and still had a copy. She also said she didn't see what all the fuss was about; it was just another speech. We offered her cash money for a transcript, which she refused. But then, happily, after a fifteen minute conversation about the amazing gift assortments one could wire to pretty girls from Godiva chocolates via the internet, she gave in and emailed us the text of Summers's remarks. You can read them for yourself, but we have reluctantly concluded that there may very well be some cause for the indignant responses noted above. Something about the tone, we think. Herewith, an amazing InstaPunk Scoop: the only actual transcript you will find anywhere of what Summers actually said.

After an exhaustive review of the available research, I would suggest that it's time for us to admit the truth and terminate the farce known as female science and engineering. As a practical matter, these do not exist. So-called female scientists are either dreary data entry clerks for legitimate male scholars or skirt-clad Barnums perpetuating the pseudo-scientific fraud they call either social science or, through a spectacular corruption of correct usage, gender studies. The girls, in short, are wasting our time, our valuable academic and research resources, and who knows how many places in our student bodies. They can never be more than mediocrities in this field. How could it be otherwise? Their genetic makeup is dedicated exclusively to the non-intellectual processes of childbirth, shopping, and interior decoration. It is no accident that American science is gradually falling behind that of countries who maintain the wise tradition of keeping their women at home while the men attend university and learn how to think. If we do not immediately disband nonsense organizations like this one, science in these United States will gradually degenerate to a kind of women's auxiliary in which consensus replaces logical rigor and gassy meetings replace the hard lonely work of the laboratory. Can't we all agree on this today?

You see? A mite strong for a Harvard president, don't you think? Maybe if he apologizes to enough women...? No. Probably not. Hail and farewell, President Summers.





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