You Got to Be Kidding Me!

Links For 11/21/2008

Posted in Four Wheels, Miscellaneous, Politics by Stacy McMahon on November 21, 2008

* Study says some kids can learn marketable skills through social networking. I’ve also personally seen several people learn social skills online and then go out and use them in the real world.

* Google isn’t the only game in town for web searching, but it’s one of the recommended ways to search for more specialized search engines.

* Don’t let people get away with being jerks in public. I’m of two minds on this. I’m all for taking hateful snobs down a peg, but I don’t see any value in having people get in each other’s faces over politics. Anecdotally, that’s what preceded the civil wars in Bosnia and various other places in the last 20 years.

* What financial crisis? Small banks that hold deposits and make loans the old-fashioned way are doing just fine, thanks. Imagine that.

* The electric Mini-E has impressive specs for a pure electric car, plus a long-ass press release. Though, at $850/mo to lease the car, it’s not for everyone. Or anyone.

* Lung cancer patient’s own stem cells used to grow a new section of windpipe! This is Star Trek stuff ; replacement body parts with no anti-rejection drugs. The future is now.

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What’s On My Mind, Nov. 17, 2008

Posted in Miscellaneous by Stacy McMahon on November 17, 2008

Trying to make this more of a “what I’m reading and thinking about” versus just fun “links” of the day…

* The Financial Times has an insider perspective on the financial crisis in Iceland, where apparently a dozen or so banker who worship at the altar of Nick Leeson managed to literally bankrupt the entire country several times over. For comparison, the article mentions that the $700bn bailout allocation in the US is about 5% of GDP; Iceland’s banking liabilities are several multiples of its entire GDP.

* Autoblog has engine porn — the Callaway Cyclone V-16. Though it recently abandoned the architecture, Yamaha is famous in the sportbike world for its 5-valve-per-cylinder heads, which Callaway (primarily known for its Corvette-based supercars) apparently helped develop. The Cyclone has four 5-valve cylinder heads from the late 1990s 1,000cc Yamaha R1, arranged around a common crankshaft in an aluminum block claimed to have a dry weight under 400 lbs. It’s good for 550 bhp at 10,000 rpm. Me being me, I’m picturing it with a two-speed supercharger and installed in a Thunder Mustang

* Autoblog also has a great regular feature called “Sunday Drive”. This week’s route takes us through Malibu Canyon and is – I’m sure – great on two wheels or four. Too bad I live on the east coast, but then maybe there are other readers out here who might like a Sunday Drive on 33/250 in WV.

* And YouTube comes through with the original music from the Canon Rebel XSi commercial (“Life is a journey…”). You know, the one with the nostalgic piano solo playing under a montage of family photos.

Links For 11/16/2008

Posted in Miscellaneous, Politics by Stacy McMahon on November 16, 2008

* So you put wheels on your treadmill and drive it down the street, Fred Flintstone style. It is “The Most Pointless Exercise Machine Of All Time“, or just an epic fail waiting to happen?

* And speaking of fail, how about this picture from the California wildfires!

* UAW boss Ron Gettelfinger wants us to know it’s the economy, not the 40% higher cost of union labor at the Big Three, that has Detroit swirling down the drain. Yeah.

* The New Scientist has a roundup of myths and reality about going green at home. A couple of the answers are a little off, like the claim that laptop batteries should be completely drained and then recharged, but overall it’s topical and up to date.

* I am shocked, shocked! to learn that redlight-camera industry insiders get out of paying their tickets.

* ” ” ” ” ” ” that Democrats in Washington want to use the Federal bailout to reprioritize Detroit from building gas guzzlers most people don’t want, to building CAFE-designed cars most people won’t want.

Links For 11/14/2008

Posted in Miscellaneous, Politics by Stacy McMahon on November 14, 2008

* John McWhorter on how Obama’s election will affect black attitudes (via Instapundit). I especially hope he’s right about Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton being put in perspective. Their outlook has been obsolete for years, but they were still the only game in town. Now they’re not.

* Robert Farago reminds us that bailing out “domestic” automakers is an elusive goal when GM, Ford and Chrysler all import major subassemblies or entire vehicles from overseas, and Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi and BMW make vehicles in the US for sale here and abroad.

* A Chicagoland high school student demonstrates that provoking the followers of a personality cult gets the same results today as it always has (via Snowflakes In Hell). Well, she’s still alive so maybe there’s been some progress.

* Former county treasurer Grandpa Simpson Carol Elliott of Ventura County, NH, blamed those damn kids for replacing her with a college student on election day. No, really. And she’s a Republican. Sigh.

* And an analysis of Prop 8’s success in allegedly liberal California. I read elsewhere that almost all the newly registered voters in this election were minorities who registered as, and presumably voted Democrat. I suspect a lot of these people helped vote down gay marriage even while they were helping vote up Barack Obama. The black community – at least where I live – is no friend of gays, and I have the impression that the hispanic community is quite socially conservative too.

* And finally, some good old-fashioned FAIL! from our friends at the Fail Blog.

Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain!

Posted in Politics by Stacy McMahon on November 11, 2008

Greg Mitchell at E&P has this feeble denial of media bias in the late presidential campaign:

We’ve posted on this subject in recent days, suggesting that the widely-publicized recent studies, including the Wash Post’s self-audit, are flawed or misleading, but now I have done a full article about it over at E&P.

Er, seriously, you’re not fooling anyone. Obama may have been the better candidate, but the vicious attacks on Palin, near-total blackout on Biden and total blackout of anything remotely embarrassing (especially anything liberal) about Obama’s past can’t be explained or justified in any other way.

The most you can say for the MSM in this campaign is that they did manage to treat McCain more or less with the respect he deserves. My personal theory is that 90% or more of working journalists (and 100% of editors) are just arrogant fatheads who see themselves as the guiding star sent out to lead the dumb masses by the nose. But I’m willing to entertain alternatives, such as that reporters bashed Palin to get back at her for bashing them in her convention speech, that they were more interested in Obama because of the historic nature of his potential election, that Biden was ignored because he’s an old story in Washington, the campaign was covered as a horse race because all campaigns are covered as horse races, etc. The only problem is that if true, none of those explanations are really any better than plain political bias.

And Mr. Mitchell, at least don’t deny it. The few other countries with a free press have media companies who wear their political leanings on their sleeve and let the public decide what to read. Only in the US does the major media pretend to be objective and unbiased. We now know that’s not true and never has been — at least have some dignity about it.

Links For 11/8/2008

Posted in Miscellaneous by Stacy McMahon on November 8, 2008

What I’m Seeing Tonight:

* Berlusconi: Medvedev is a friend of Dorothy (via Ann Althouse). You can’t make this shit up!

* Jeremiah Wright says he was used to try to derail Obama’s campaign …by the media. See above.

* Drop.io (drop-ee-o) looks like a nice free dropbox site. Like Xpenser, it gives you a lot of ways to get to it besides just a web browser on a PC.

* I don’t get real excited by pimped-out cars anymore, but I guess there might still be a reason to attend SEMA

* 1.) Panic over gas prices, 2.) Trade Suburban for Civic, 3.) Slap forehead after realizing your kids don’t fit in the back now.

Michael Crichton Has Died

Posted in Miscellaneous by Stacy McMahon on November 5, 2008

On Election Day. Wow. And for some reason I’m surprised that he was in his mid-60s. I guess I shouldn’t be, since his early novels were published in the 60s. Anyway, take a moment and mourn the passing of a great American writer and thinker. Besides creative tours de force like Andromeda Strain, Eaters of the Dead (movie-fied as The 13th Warrior) and ER, he had some cogent things to say on politics. He will be missed.

On Obama’s Election

Posted in 2008 Election by Stacy McMahon on November 5, 2008

I have a lot of thoughts, but just due to the sheer number of people talking and writing about the election none of them are original. In a nutshell, Barack Obama is my president, whether I voted for him or not. There will not – at least not here – be any “Obama Derangement Syndrome”. I think the Facebook comment exchange between myself and a friend says it fairly well:

L is content, but will always question authority…no matter who it is. 9:08am – 2 Comments

Stacy McMahon at 9:30am November 5 via Facebook Mobile
Me too – I am loving the final death of racism as a political force though 🙂

L at 10:55am November 5
As am I 🙂 As am I! I’m thrilled he won. I am. I mean…I *did* vote for him! I just don’t see him as a savior like others. That’s one of the things I couldn’t stand about all the Bushies out there.

Yep – enough of this personality cult stuff. What I and others have wanted for a long time now is a competent, reality-based President. I think we just might have that in Barack Obama. My favorite line from his victory speech (emphasis mine):

In this country, we rise or fall as one nation, as one people. Let’s resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long.

Exactly.

Election Not-Live Blogging

Posted in 2008 Election by Stacy McMahon on November 4, 2008

I thought about liveblogging the election results for a hot five minutes before I realized it would make me want to stick nails in my eyes. I checked in with a couple of networks around 8:15 and was:

1.) Not surprised the BBC had a crew of commentators sitting around chortling about the poor dumb Republicans trying to cheer themselves up by listening to choir music (ok, choir music – but still, can the BBC at least try to avoid outright self-parody?) Well, I was a little surprised to see Christopher Hitchens at the table. Hey guys, a British accent doesn’t make up for being an asshat. Particularly hilarious – the poor guy with the election return graphics trying to read the tiny numbers on the computer monitor offstage while pointing at the huge ones behind him that only viewers can see.

2.) Fox News …are you serious? Reporting multiple state returns with a miniscule percentage of precincts reporting in. No shit, they were reporting IL and MO with “<1%” and several others with 2, 5, 9, 14… And they’d called at least a dozen states and were posting electoral vote totals, apparently based on those kind of numbers. Doesn’t anyone remember all the people who called Kerry the winner without bothering to look at how much of the vote was still out?

About The Two-Party System

Posted in Politics by Stacy McMahon on November 4, 2008

I haven’t been able to keep up the blog lately, mostly because I’ve been sick and/or had a sick kid to take care of (no worries, she’s doing fine!)

I have, though, found another blog that often has interesting, intelligent and civil debates – if mostly from a political perspective that I don’t share. I still can’t really keep up with daily posting, but I’ll cross-post my last comment over there:

“My working theory is that since we effectively force 95% of the population to choose from just two parties, the United States is really a sort of confederation of two oligarchies.

This theory explains the otherwise-bizarre overlap in the two parties’ legislative actions (as opposed to their marketing slogans platforms) and is why popular movements effect political change only by ‘taking over’ one of the major parties, as with MoveOn/Netroots, the religious right, “neocons”, etc. The real political action takes place in local elections and federal primaries; by the time of the national election you’re just choosing which constituent state will control the superstate.”

Update: Yeesh, I guess the cold medicine was kicking in last night. Link now added to the Punkass Blog.