“The fact is, guns do more for female empowerment than modern feminism which prefers government as their protector. But legal ownership gives you real power, equalizing the battle between you and evil. Ask any girl: The confidence from learning to shoot a pistol is far superior to any gender studies course, and a stalker is less likely to stalk if you can ventilate his groin. Which is why a whirring bullet is the ideal rape whistle and the real feminist icon should be Annie Oakley, not Sandra Fluke.”

— Greg Gutfeld

What a difference a few years makes…


This from the people who basically invented the concept of the Asshole Player-Killer:

"EA owns your gold, your swords, your characters --- they are all just digital bits. If your entertainment is to destroy other peoples' entertainment, you're going to be tossed."

(in fairness, I should note that they pretty much dumped the entire UO team sometime after all of my friends gave up in disgust)

On gay marriage


I’m starting to think that the best response to an amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and woman would be one defining marriage as a relationship requiring emotional commitment and sexual fidelity. That’d shut everybody up.

Smoking gun on obesity?


While reading the entertaining (if occasionally credulous) book Tobacco: A Cultural History of How an Exotic Plant Seduced Civilization, I was struck by the repeated mention of nicotine’s role as an appetite suppressant. As a non-smoker, I was vaguely aware of this trait, and the problem many people experience with weight gain when they attempt to quit, but I hadn’t thought to tie it to the current hysterical claims of an obesity “epidemic”.

Some of the available data argues against this connection, but other sources are rather coy about weight gain by former smokers. It’s pretty hard to accept the NIDDK’s simplistic approach to the subject after they admit that 10% of former smokers gain 30 pounds or more.

Do I think the anti-smoking movement has a causal relationship with the obesity “epidemic” (which, by the way, is also plagued by sins of omission when it comes to data quality)? No, not really. It’s simply one of the many lifestyle changes that took place during the same period, all of which undermine the simplistic cause-and-effect scenarios put forth by greedy lawyers, nitwit busybodies, and activists with thinly-veiled agendas.

But it does make me wonder, especially since so much of the data on both subjects is based on self-reports over long periods, rather than actual measurement. The nicest thing I can say about them is that the claims aren’t as far-fetched as the ones made for second-hand smoke, red meat, carbs, fat, grilling, butter, salt, etc.

Dear Terry McAuliffe,


I’m writing today to thank you for your recent pre-approved offer for The NEW Democratic Party VISA Card, and to explain why I won’t be applying for one.

It’s not that I dislike the “five attractive card designs,” although as a former Boy Scout I find it a bit offensive to swipe a flag through a card reader.

It’s not that I find the 11.99% interest rate too high, although it’s higher than any other credit card offer I’ve received in the past two years. For that matter, even though the 19.99% cash advance rate is higher than I’ve seen from any non-sucker offer, that’s not it, either. Nor is it the 3% balance transfer fee.

It’s not even the optional “donate my 1% rebate to the Democratic National Committee” feature, even though I never have, and never will, donate money directly to any national political party.

No, it’s the fact that I plan to vote for George W. Bush in the upcoming presidential election.

Why? Because, while I strongly disagree with many of the Bush administration’s domestic policies, I believe that American liberty is safer in the hands of John Ashcroft than American lives are in the hands of Johns Kerry or Edwards.

Global Warming and Intelligent Design: Separated At Birth?


This commentary in The Washington Times struck me as being precisely the right approach to take when biblical literalists attempt to force their beliefs into the science classroom.

Actually, if you could count on the existence of quality science teachers in the public schools, I’d be delighted to see “Intelligent Design” brought up in class, as an object lesson in how to distinguish between scientific theories and religion.

This article might be useful as well, applied to both types of hot air.

Trudeau opens mouth, inserts foot, shoots self in foot


As the evidence piles up that George W. Bush’s military service record was completely satisfactory, with no irregularities (certainly nothing on the scale of John Kerry awarding himself a medal for beaching his boat and abandoning his crew to chase down a wounded enemy soldier), Garry Trudeau offers to pay ten grand to anyone who can confirm the President’s service.

The only question I have is, will he give ten grand to each person who has already come forward? You know, all the folks that this hip, sophisticated media critic hasn’t managed to notice?

Scam spam


Not only did I finally get one of the “you use illegal file sharing” extortion scam spams, it actually slipped past OS X Mail’s filters. Just the once, of course, now that I’ve told the system about it.

I’d love to know where they came up with the phony IP address they claim I’ve been using, though. I suspect it’s just boilerplate, since even if I were using a file sharing app, there’s no way they could associate it with that email address. Unless they (gasp!) really did manage to confiscate the contents of my computer. Tee hee.

Of course, there’s also a trojan attachment for infecting Windows boxes, which pretty neatly undercuts any claim that they ever got anywhere near the contents of my Macintosh…

Best part: the use of a phony Italian email address (from a machine that really is in Italy) while claiming to be associated with the FBI’s Department for “Illegal Internet Downloads”. They even supply a phone number.

Worst part: according to multiple news reports, there are quite a few people who are dumb enough (or, to be charitable, “sufficiently unsophisticated about the Internet and con artists”) to fall for this cheesy scam, and the associated “we found illegal porn on your computer” version.

more...

iPod mini


I found myself near an Apple Store on Friday afternoon, and saw the line forming for the new iPod mini. I’d been thinking of buying one, using the failure of the wired remote on my existing iPod (poor strain relief) as an excuse. “Hey, it’s like a $40 discount.”

Sadly, the mini doesn’t come with a wired remote, so I had to invent a new excuse. “Now I can leave the 30GB model in the car all the time, and not have to fiddle with cables when I want to go for a walk or get on the cross-trainer.”

Not as compelling a reason, but it does at least include the practical advantages of the mini. Smaller, lighter, much better controls, full compatibility with my existing iTunes library (including playlists and iTMS purchases), and compatibility with most 3G iPod accessories.

Sadly, the accessory I’d most like to use it with, the Belkin Voice Recorder, is not currently supported by the mini’s firmware. Hopefully Apple will fix that soon, since I’d love to take notes while I’m out walking. Dodging traffic seems to stimulate my creativity. :-)

New accessory I’d most like to see: a horizontal version of the clip-on holster it comes with. I’ve got one of these for my cellphone (which is about the same size…), and it’s very nice.

Oh, and by my rough count, there were 150 people waiting in line at the Valley Fair Apple Store at 6pm to buy a mini. There were eight people in line at 4:30pm, which I know because I was number nine. Fortunately I had my other iPod and a large stack of magazines to read.