Saved for a Dead Period

Haven’t felt much like blogging lately, but in a previous fit of blogging, I saved this image:


It describes the popularity of the name “Sandy” for boys and girls from 1900 to 2003. As you can see, I was named “Sandy” at the halfway point of the slide to nothingness. Since most Sandys I’ve seen that are guys are either Scottish or Jewish, I wonder what they’ve been up to instead.

You can check your own name here.

One Small Step for a Web Search Tool

So today is July 20, on which date in 1969, shortly after the six-month anniversary of my birth, Neil Armstrong set foot on the Moon. To celebrate, Google has launched the extremely cool Google Moon, basically Google Maps for the Moon. It includes locations for each of the Apollo landings.

My favorite bit? When you zoom in past the limit of the data NASA have for surface features on the moon, it shows you the terrible secret of space: it’s really cheddar cheese.

(Hat tip: Liberty Belles)

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

In the wee hours of this morning, I finished the new (sixth) Harry Potter book.

No spoilers–there’s a lot to spoil, just a couple of notes:

  1. Don’t be put off by the first couple of chapters. They’re not up to the rest of the book’s standard, quite frankly.
  2. It is better structured than the last couple of books–it flows better. The end is every bit as dramatic as the last couple of books. I’d say the overall tone is not quite as dark as the last book.

Not sure yet where to place it in the series, but once I got into it, I liked it as well as any of the others–maybe on a par with the third book, or even the second.

Don’t believe the hype–just read it.

So Much for That Covenant

Consider this piece by Jamie Campbell published almost a year ago in the New Statesman: Why Terrorists Love Britain. It’s kind of eerie.

In it is occasionally self-satisfied speculation that Britain’s legendary tolerance has made them safe from terrorism: give them a safe place in which they can plan to bugger the wogs, and they’ll not foul their nest. If this was believed at any level in government (or the public), even implicitly, they’re quite foolish.

A number of Islamists have lived in France, and yet they attacked France. The 9/11 hijackers lived in the US for some time quite safely but were not convinced they should abandon their plans. Germany, home to the infamous “Hamburg cell”, should be looking at London today with unease. In fact, look at this timeline of terrorist attacks since the invasion of Iraq to see that they haven’t exactly been shy about attacking places they live.

Yes, the liberals are partially right that terrorist prioritization is based on foreign policy. But Islamists’ claim to power is based partially on an analysis that demonizes the West as generally corrupting as well as specifically harmful in foreign policy. Their legitimacy is based on all Arab problems being caused by non-Arabs, specifically the West and the Jews (not necessarily just Israel).

So it is not in their interest to let us out of the Middle Eastern quagmire. That means, among other things, continued terrorism to keep us interested and to be seen as fighting the enemy to their domestic audiences. If we were to hang Israel out to dry, they would claim we really hadn’t. If they were to destroy Israel and murder every single Jew in the Middle East, they’d claim that they just escaped to the West.

That being said, some actions are more patently egregious than others, on our part. The Islamists’ message only works to the extent that Arabs believe there is something to what they say. The more reality begins to diverge from the Islamists’ claims, the more they’ll be asked what they can do about providing clean water. Surprisingly, the Koran has little to say about such things, and people who only study it and nothing else in Madrassas have even less to say about it. Surprisingly, proficiency with an AK-47 is only minimally related to lowering the childhood disease rate. And, despite theory to the contrary, it does little to fight political corruption. In fact, it makes it rather easier.

There are no tolerance strategies that will protect us from Islamic terrorism. It has been a factor in Europe for decades and shows no sign of abating. We won’t be free to just let terrorists be; however we need to be mindful of how our actions play in the Middle Eastern press. A very few actions against terrorists may be military, but many more should be based on police actions, and the vast majority by working to distance them from their support base in moderate Muslims. That means solving the Palestinian problem to get it out of the headlines, wrapping things up quickly in Iraq to get that out of the headlines, and finishing the job in Afghanistan so we can get that out of the headlines.

Then we prosecute terrorists, rework our alliances with other Western powers, share intelligence, and slog through for another few decades. But most of all, we should quit tossing logs onto the flame of Arabic excuses for their own failures–and part of that is investing in nuclear energy for power and not buying SUVs. And none of that is compatible with a live and let live approach to groups advocating violence, just because their skin may be darker or lighter than yours.

When Google RSS Ads Go Awry


Judith Miller is indeed getting a cheap (for her, not for the taxpayers) “vacation” to the DC area, in what comes suspiciously close to a judicial attack on the First Amendment, and is certainly an example of the horrid perversion the Grand Jury provision in the Constitution (like the Commerce Clause or Public Use) has become.

But that doesn’t make the confluence of RSS ads any less darkly humorous.

So Much for That Rationale

Horrible, but unsurprising, sadly.

This puts paid to Bush’s argument that we’re fighting in Iraq so we don’t have to fight here. If Al Quaeda can hit London, they can still hit in the US. The British have been doing better security for longer than we have. Among other things, London is covered with security cameras and police have historically had greater powers there.

Hopefully the security cameras will help catch the perpetrators, but they weren’t much help in preventing it.

Yer Goin’ DOWN, Fat Boy!

Looks like Rush Limbaugh may be a step closer to answering for his illegal drug use. The only reason I’m cheering is the utter hypocrisy of the man on drug use. He had no compassion for those who’d gotten addicted to anything, despite his own continuing addiction.

The other thing is that this proves that being an addict also does not necessarily lead people into the gutter. Sure, he was addicted, but he also managed to run a national daily talk show and increase his audience during his addiction.

That his own experience failed to give him pause about demanding everybody else go to jail for drug addiction (or who are just casual users) isn’t surprising, but it does give you a reason to wonder the next time he calls somebody else “hypocrite.”

Eminent Domain for Real Public Use

Here’s a case of eminent domain that is clearly allowed for in the Constitution. Liberals defending the Kelo decision claimed that environmental protection would be harmed by a bright line distinction limiting localities from using public domain to take land from private citizens to give to private developers. Could someone explain to me how that would affect a plan to restore the Everglades by getting rid of private development? Or was there some other case of environmental protection that was at stake that involved transferring property from one private entity to another?

South Park *Conservatives*??

It’s a sad comment on the vacuity of the current political debate that NPR‘s On the Media is trying to decide whether South Park is conservative or liberal.

“I hate conservatives,” they report Trey Parker as saying, “but I really bleeping hate liberals.” [their bleep, not mine]

Um, yeah. Skepticism over people wanting power over people in order to impose their viewpoints on others…a creator who says he hates the two main random association of opinions…lampooning both sides. Yup, that isn’t liberal, so it must be conservative. Because there are no other viewpoints. Certainly none that have names.

Since they took on Earth Day, I think it’s pretty much guaranteed it’s not the Greens.

Hmmm…what could be left? Hmmm…what a hard question!


Boom Today


OK, there was no boom. In space, no one can hear you boom. But NASA put on one of the most spectacular fireworks in history and did it on July 4…so I’ve already seen some fireworks.

This means they will be able to do some great analysis on the material that was ejected, so we’ll finally know if they’re dirty snowballs or, as one brave pundit predicted, actually negatively-charged asteroids. That’s a theory that may be brutally shot down in a few days. Certainly anybody who predicted there would be no discernible impact is eating tasty, tasty corvid now.