30 December 2007

The Squirms of the Doomed

Soon they will be dead but, for now, they writhe, flail and snap:
In legal documents in its federal case against Jeffrey Howell, a Scottsdale, Ariz., man who kept a collection of about 2,000 music recordings on his personal computer, the industry maintains that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer.

The industry's lawyer in the case, Ira Schwartz, argues in a brief filed earlier this month that the MP3 files Howell made on his computer from legally bought CDs are "unauthorized copies" of copyrighted recordings. Whether customers may copy their CDs onto their computers -- an act at the very heart of the digital revolution -- has a murky legal foundation, the RIAA argues.
Murky indeed - name another industry where the producers hunt down their consumers.

The RIAA's legal crusade against its customers is a classic example of an old media company clinging to a business model that has collapsed. Four years of a failed strategy has only "created a whole market of people who specifically look to buy independent goods so as not to deal with the big record companies," Beckerman says. "Every problem they're trying to solve is worse now than when they started."

The RIAA says moving the music you legally purchase to you computer is against the law. Don't tell that to the 38 bazillion people who just got iPods for Christmas.

And Your Mother Dresses You Funny

It's not just the photos, it's the captions:

Thoughtful Lance. Mirthful Lance. Two sides of a delightful coin.

The Green, Green Grass of Home

And the 'green' of the rest of the home.
In one month this residence consumes more energy than the average American household does in a year. The average bill for electricity and natural gas runs over $2,400. In natural gas alone, this property consumes more than 20 times the national average for an American home.
I'm not sayin' . . . I'm just sayin' . . .

Guardian's Person of the Year

General David Petraeus:
(T)he reason for picking Petraeus is simple. Iraq, whatever the current crises in Afghanistan and Pakistan, remains the West's biggest foreign policy challenge of this decade, and if he can halt its slide into all-out anarchy, Gen Petraeus may save more than Iraqi lives. A failed Iraq would not just be a second Vietnam, nor would it just be America's problem.
So much for the, uh, angle taken by the tools at MoveOn.

The Temperture Drops in Edmonton

The Minnesota Wild staged a furious comeback to earn a 5-4 overtime win over the Edmonton Oilers at Xcel Energy Center on Saturday. Petteri Nummelin netted the winner on a wrist shot from the right circle while on the power play for Minnesota (22-14-2), which capped its first-ever comeback from a three-goal deficit at home.
Edmonton was leading 4-1 late in the second period and mopey me was on their backs from my perch in section 227. Turns out I was reminded of why we play the games and why we stay for the whole thing.
Kim Johnsson, Brent Burns, Brian Rolston and Marian Gaborik also tallied for the Wild, which allowed a franchise-high two short-handed goals but managed to rally for the victory.

29 December 2007

It Must Be Irony Day

A real real trifecta of unbelievableness on the radar screen.

First, Mrs. OctaneBoy's alumni magazine arrives from the old alma mater. It features an article about how students face the challenges of paying for college. This from a place that has nearly tripled it's tuition in last 15 years; now at an unjustifiable $41,000 per year.

Next we have the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) humping a new show starting in January. It's the weekly adventures of an elite security detail that hunts down terrorists. Yea, the Canadian government plying an active role in in defeating Islamic crazies; pretty believable premise there.

Finally, after a pathetic session of amateur lawmaking, a pair of seriously fossilized careerists decide they need to meddle in the business of a private, for-profit entertainment corporation. Where in the Constitution does it say we have the right to watch a football game on free TV?

21 December 2007

Yea, We Were There

A bit of history in Saint Paul the other night:

Racing up the ice with the puck and only New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist in front of him, Marian Gaborik was not going to be denied. The third-period breakaway that gave Gaborik his fifth goal of Thursday's game was a vintage sequence by the 25-year-old Minnesota Wild star, whose smooth strides and speedy skates have energized the fledgling franchise since the young Slovakian became the first player it drafted in 2000.

Gaborik's was the first five-goal outing since Sergei Federov did it for Detroit on Dec. 26, 1996, in an overtime game against Washington. Pittsburgh's Mario Lemieux was the last to net five in regulation, on March 26, 1996, versus St. Louis.

Whether it was on a power play, a breakaway, or just by batting an errant puck out of the air, Gaborik scored every which way to lead the Wild to their fourth straight win. Lemaire said he had flashbacks to the great Guy Lafleur's goal-scoring success when they were teammates with Montreal in the 1970s.

20 December 2007

The Heat You Feel is Likely the Hot Air

To borrow from the rhetoric of the Very Sure, I say that those who still use the term "unanimous consensus among all climate scientists" are the modern version of Flat-Earthers.
Over 400 prominent scientists from more than two dozen countries recently voiced significant objections to major aspects of the so-called "consensus" on man-made global warming. These scientists, many of whom are current and former participants in the UN IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), criticized the climate claims made by the UN IPCC and former Vice President Al Gore. The new report issued by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s office of the GOP Ranking Member details the views of the scientists, the overwhelming majority of whom spoke out in 2007.

This blockbuster Senate report lists the scientists by name, country of residence, and academic/institutional affiliation. It also features their own words, biographies, and weblinks to their peer reviewed studies and original source materials as gathered from public statements, various news outlets, and websites in 2007. This new “consensus busters” report is poised to redefine the debate.
But all these are American retired scientists on the payroll of Big Oil, right?
This new report details how teams of international scientists are dissenting from the UN IPCC’s view of climate science. In such nations as Germany, Brazil, the Netherlands, Russia, New Zealand and France, nations, scientists banded together in 2007 to oppose climate alarmism. In addition, over 100 prominent international scientists sent an open letter in December 2007 to the UN stating attempts to control climate were “futile.” (LINK)
But, but, but one of those talking children on CNN said the debate was over after he saw that crackpot film Gore financed:

Former Vice President Al Gore (November 5, 2007): “There are still people who believe that the Earth is flat.” (LINK) Gore also compared global warming skeptics to people who 'believe the moon landing was actually staged in a movie lot in Arizona' (June 20, 2006 - LINK)

CNN’s Miles O’Brien (July 23, 2007): The scientific debate is over.” “We're done." O’Brien also declared on CNN on February 9, 2006 that scientific skeptics of man-made catastrophic global warming “are bought and paid for by the fossil fuel industry, usually.” (LINK)

On July 27, 2006, Associated Press reporter Seth Borenstein described a scientist as “one of the few remaining scientists skeptical of the global warming harm caused by industries that burn fossil fuels.” (LINK)

19 December 2007

Beware Weasels with Publishing Tools

HonestReporting.Com gives out awards; here's the Middle East-based categories:

Stupidest Unstifled Debate: The Doha Debates

Oxford students hosting The Doha Debates in May shook off the dark powers of suppression and agreed, by an impressive two-thirds majority, on the following motion:

"This House believes the pro-Israeli lobby has successfully stifled Western debate about Israel's actions."

The sheer stupidity of the topic wasn't worth the effort of suppressing -- had the motion failed, it would've been better "proof" that the issue was true.

18 December 2007

There Goes the Neighborhood

Entire galaxies destroyed!
A bright spot in the VLA and MERLIN radio image shows where the jet has struck the side of the galaxy - about 20,000 light years from the main galaxy - dissipating some of its energy. An even larger "hotspot" of radio emission detected by VLA reveals that the jet terminates much farther away from the galaxy, at a distance of about 850,000 light years away.

This "death star galaxy" will produce large amounts of high-energy radiation, which may cause severe damage to the atmospheres of any planets in the companion galaxy that lie in the path of the jet.
Boy; blame Bush/Cheney for that one, I guess.

God Help That Sort-of Country

Right before you decry the United States as a lousy member of the world community and cast you lot with some other outfit, ask those folk if they have protection of speech as any part of their constitution. That is, if the have a constitution in the first place.
Celebrated author Mark Steyn has been summoned to appear before two Canadian judicial panels on charges linked to his book “America Alone." The book, a No. 1 bestseller in Canada, argues that Western nations are succumbing to an Islamist imperialist threat. The fact that charges based on it are proceeding apace proves his point.

After the Canadian general-interest magazine Maclean's reprinted a chapter from the book, five Muslim law-school students, acting through the auspices of the Canadian Islamic Congress, demanded that the magazine be punished for spreading "hatred and contempt" for Muslims.

Two separate panels, the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission, have agreed to hear the case. These bodies are empowered to hear and rule on cases of purported “hate speech." Of course, a ban on opinions - even disagreeable ones - is the very antithesis of the Western tradition of free speech and freedom of the press.
Could some Canadian please explain that "God keep our land glorious and free" part to me?

17 December 2007

My Vacation Fiascos are Never This Good

When something goes wrong on my vacations, they don't ever end up with a cool ride in a Navy chopper:

The crew of Ronald Reagan and HS-4 helped MEDEVAC a 14-year old Illinois girl who had suffered from a ruptured appendix while vacationing aboard the Dawn Princess cruise ship off the coast of Baja, Mexico. Upon arrival to the ship, the ship's surgeon conducted an emergency appendectomy and the patient is resting comfortably aboard Ronald Reagan.

The 14 year-old girl from Albion Ill., experienced abdominal pains while aboard the Dawn Princess. The Bermuda-flagged vessel was located off the coast of southern Baja California, Mexico and was approximately 550 miles away from Ronald Reagan the distress call was issued late Saturday when evening."

It's a great example of the type of things we are called upon to do, and it's neat we were able to execute it as well as we did," said Capt. Terry B. Kraft, Ronald Reagan's commanding officer.

Homage to a Great Device

As a fan of Glenn Reynolds, I'm especially amused by his "they told me" posts. Every so often he'll come across an item that will fly in the face of those who foretold of doom and gloom should W get reelected in 2004.

Here's a couple of samples:
MORE THOUGHTS ON THE REPORTED hate crimes at Princeton. I'll just note that they told me if George W. Bush were reelected, unpopular groups would be subject to beatings and intimidation. And they were right!

. . . the kid wrote some anti-gay slurs outside of his high school dorm room; he's readily copped to doing that as part of a hoax, but the Anscombe Society is asking that people not start shouting about the attack until it's confirmed that there actually was one. So there's that.
THEY TOLD ME THAT IF GEORGE W. BUSH WERE REELECTED, freedom of speech would be on the way out. And they were right.

But the legislation may be amended on the floor to restrict grassroots groups that encourage citizens to contact members of Congress. The amendment, pushed by Rep. Marty Meehan of Massachusetts, would require groups that organize such grassroots campaigns to register as "lobbyists" and file detailed quarterly reports on their donors and activities.

10 December 2007

On Being Your Own Sheepdog

How many often do you enter a public place in Minnesota only to be greeted by a sign that says guns are banned on the premises? What's the point of that sign? To help make sure that all the law-abiding citizens inside are sitting ducks for whatever whackjob who decides he wants Larry King to talk about him at 9:00 PM CDT? The signs are big with churches who were the driver behind such a preposterous provision to the 2003 conceal & carry law:
Like employers, business owners may also restrict individuals from carrying guns on-site if the operator of the establishment makes a "reasonable request that firearms not be brought into the establishment." To satisfy the "reasonable request" requirement, the private establishment must: 1) have a conspicuous sign posted at every entrance to the establishment that states, "[name of the company] bans guns in these premises." The sign(s) must be in black Arial typeface at lease 11/2 inches in height against a bright contrasting background that is at least 187 square inches in area (which translates to an 11x17 sign). The sign(s) must be readily visible and within four feet laterally of each entrance with the bottom of each sign at a height of four to six feet above the floor.
Preventing law-abiding citizens from protecting themselves makes everyone equally sheep-like and ripe for predation. Every now and then, there are tangible examples of the other side of the coin; events that make the sheeple quiver:

The gunman was killed by a member of the church's armed security staff before police arrived, Myers said. The gunman's name was not released. Officers found several smoke-generating devices on the church campus; their intended purpose wasn't clear. Boyd said the security guard rushed the attacker, who didn't get more than 6 feet inside the building, and "took him down in the hallway."

"She probably saved 100 lives," Boyd said of the guard. The gunman, he added, "had a lot of ammunition to do a lot of damage."

08 December 2007

Unseen Overseas Links

That was then:
Nov 28 - Wild 3 -1 Phoenix
Nov 30 - Wild 2-1 St. Louis
Dec 2 - Wild 2-1 Vancouver

Nov 24 - Liverpool 3 -0 Newcastle
Nov 28 - Liverpool 4 -1 FC Porto
Dec 2 - Liverpool 4 -0 Bolton

This is now:
Dec 5 - Wild 1 - 3 Philadelphia
Dec 7 - Wild 0 - 5 Detroit
Dec 8 - Liverpool 1- 3 Reading

07 December 2007

Bird Art

"Bird on the Radio" by Tom Stack

You Will Think Like Us, or Else

About 15,000 folks are in Bali preaching to the their respective choirs, because when everyone repeats the same chant, no one has to do much thinking on their own. How do they keep the message so pure? Ban the dissenters:

The United Nations has rejected all attempts by a group of dissenting scientists seeking to present information at the climate change conference taking place in Bali, Indonesia.

The International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC) has been denied the opportunity to present at panel discussions, side events, and exhibits; its members were denied press credentials. The group consists of distinguished scientists from Africa, Australia, India, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The scientists, citing pivotal evidence on climate change published in peer-reviewed journals, have expressed their opposition to the UN's alarmist theory of anthropogenic global warming. As the debate on man-made global warming has been heating up, the UN has tried to freeze out the scientists and new evidence, summarily dismissing them with the claim "the science is settled."

On That Nebraska Stain

Thomas Baker from Roger Kimball's blog:

The reason they choose "Gun Free Zones" is they want to be famous. They want to be somebody...even posthumusly. The way to acheive this goal? Kill a bunch of people and get yourself on the 24 hour news channels. Going to a "Gun Free Zone" increases the odds of a high body count as it decreases the odds of armed resistance.

If that troubled kid had walked into a police station he'd have been dead before he got that rifle out of his coat. If someone as mentally unstable as Mr. Hawkins understands this obvious fact, why don't liberals?

If businesses want to ban firearms on their property they should face the wrath of the plaintiff's bar when someone comes in and murders their defenseless patrons.


06 December 2007

Philosophy on the Pitch

"Beckenbauer a bit of a surprise there."

Today in Cherry-Picking

This morning I heard a Minnesota Public Radio show where the host and at least one guest breathlessly paraded the latest National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) that, in part, claims Iran stopped their nuclear weapons program years ago as a means to . . . well, I'm not sure what the point was. I think their motivation lies in the product of a mix president-as-idiot, war/military bad and wanting to have a cookie exchange with Tehran, capitol of a safe, friendly, open happyland. Well, this morning, John Bolton was in the WaPo with some balance and perspective:

All this shows that we not only have a problem interpreting what the mullahs in Tehran are up to, but also a more fundamental problem: Too much of the intelligence community is engaging in policy formulation rather than "intelligence" analysis, and too many in Congress and the media are happy about it.

The current NIE freely admits to having only moderate confidence that the suspension continues and says that there are significant gaps in our intelligence and that our analysts dissent from their initial judgment on suspension. This alone should give us considerable pause.

That such a flawed product could emerge after a drawn-out bureaucratic struggle is extremely troubling. While the president and others argue that we need to maintain pressure on Iran, this "intelligence" torpedo has all but sunk those efforts, inadequate as they were. Ironically, the NIE opens the way for Iran to achieve its military nuclear ambitions in an essentially unmolested fashion, to the detriment of us all.

Now, just gotta get Big Media to catch its breath, and remember what journalism is all about, and OH LOOK OVER THERE; IT'S A CELEBRITY!


Since the US Congress seems to be more and more about feelings, this's gotta hurt especially bad:

Let us review. In November, Gallup pegged the Congressional job approval at 20% with 69% disapproval. In December, Gallup found that 40% of Americans think the Surge is working, 39% say not working.

And while 57% now say going into Iraq was a mistake, 41% say it was not a mistake. Apparently 69% say electing this Congress was a mistake. Only 20% apparently believe this Congress was not a mistake.

Meanwhile, the person elected to represent Minnesota Tundra folk like me has other priorities:
McCollum, a Minnesota Democrat, is in the Middle East to assess the plight of the refugees in Syria and Jordan. She traveled there as a one-member congressional delegation from the House Appropriations foreign operations subcommittee."By better understanding the scope and the size of the problem, I hope we can find ways in which America can work more efficiently and effectively with the international community," she said.
A one-woman State Department, too, I guess.
Syria has tightened visa rules for Iraqis to try to prod people to return home and keep new refugees from coming."They're very concerned about how much Damascus can absorb," McCollum said. "They're saying at some point, what more can they do?"McCollum said the refugees told her they were desperate for peace in their lives.
Peace in their lives . . . in Syria? Either way, wasn't aware that McCollum was elected by the Iraqi people.
One (Iraqi) woman bluntly told McCollum, "I wouldn't be here today if you hadn't attacked my country," according to the congresswoman."I said I'm only one of 435, and I was on the losing end of that vote, and I apologized," she said.
Yea, and I'm only one voter way back in the 4th congressional district in Minnesota (remember Minnesota?) and I apologise for you, Betty.

01 December 2007

Best Wishes to the Best

Wes Walz has hung up the blades.

Obviously I'm very lucky to play in the greatest state of hockey, and this state and the people in it have truly welcomed my family as one of their own. As a player on the Minnesota Wild hockey team, I wish that fans could experience just once what I felt as a professional hockey player when they would announce my name over the PA system. It's something I'm going to miss. I'm really going to miss that and I'll never forget those feelings."