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Archive for June, 2006


Sauna Dump

Friday, June 30th, 2006

I especially like the guy with the sock.


Political Compass

Wednesday, June 28th, 2006

I know I’ve taken these political compass tests before. So I’ve taken another.

Here’s how I score:

Economic Left/Right: 7.50
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -0.41

You can see my map here. And you can take the test for yourself here.


Rob Smith

Tuesday, June 27th, 2006

Rob Smith has died.

Velociman writes the eulogy.


Well Then

Friday, June 23rd, 2006

No surprises there:

You Are 40% Gentleman

You tend to think that etiquette is crap, and you pretty much act however you please.
And while this does please you, it pretty much offends everyone else.

(Via Jay Solo)


The War On Food

Thursday, June 22nd, 2006

It’s somewhat different from the War on Christmas.

Tony Blankely writes:

Last week (6/15), in a related case reported by the Associated Press (AP), the natural foods grocery chain Whole Foods Market ruled that they will stop selling live lobsters and soft-shelled crabs “on the grounds that it’s inhumane.” They will, however, “continue to sell frozen, raw and cooked lobster products.” According to the AP, animal rights activists welcomed the decision.

Of course. Animal rights activists. That’s not all they’re up to. They’re banning foie gras in California:

Sacramento, CA (September 2004) – Demonstrating he truly cares about the welfare of animals, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today signed SB 1520 into law, a bill that bans the force feeding of ducks and geese in the production of foie gras. The bill also bans the sale of the product when made from force fed birds, both provisions taking effect in California in the year 2012.

SB 1520 was authored by Senate President Pro Tem John Burton, who took on the legislation because he felt that, “Cramming food down a duck’s throat to make a gourmet item known as foie gras is not only unnecessary, it’s inhumane.”

They’re done it in Chicago:

News readers in the Windy City this fall might be forgiven for thinking they’ve stumbled into California by mistake.

Last week the city council approved a far-reaching smoking ban; now, they’re following in California’s footsteps again as they consider outlawing another un-PC indulgence: foie gras.

If the bill passes, the world’s hog butcher will become the first city to restrict sale of the delicacy (California’s ban won’t take place until 2012). It passed out of committee and could be brought to a council vote as soon as Wednesday. [ed. it did pass]

And they’re banning the export of American horsemeat to countries where horse is more regularly eaten.

It’s the salami slice strategy*. Start by banning the most cruelly treated animals, or the ones you see live in the supermarket, and then demand consistency. After all, if you wouldn’t kill a lobster whose brain is miniscule, then why should you kill a goose or a duck? And if you wouldn’t kill a bird-brain, then why kill a horse? And if not a horse, then why a cow or pig?

I’d say it’s a war on meat, but that doesn’t really account for this:

In the United States, hyper-hygienic standards are also a significant issue. Chief among Slow Food’s concerns are attempts to regulate or ban raw milk cheeses. Already, the sale of raw milk cheese aged for less than two months is prohibited by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The agency is currently considering a ban on all raw milk cheese, including such favorites as Vermont cheddar, Swiss Gruyere and French Roquefort.

Granted it’s not part of the same movement, exactly, but it’s part of the same mentality. Attacking what we eat is an attack on our very essence, an attack on one of the most basic joys one can get out of life. Never mind the absurdity of the various positions being taken. Never mind that “rights” don’t belong to non-sentient creatures who cannot articulate right and wrong, such as plants and animals. Never mind that Darwin’s theory of natural selection holds that large brains in humans evolved when our ancestors started having to hunt for meat. And forget about showing anyone, anyone, who has ever gotten sick from eating parmesan cheese. The point, in some sense, is control. Control over your life, but not just that: control over one of the most intimate areas of your life, your relationship with what you eat.

Frankly, this is not what comes to mind when I think of living in a free country. A belief in freedom is predicated on the notion that people are capable of choosing what’s best for themselves, including what to eat. People can make choices about health risks, about being cruel to animals and whether or not that even matters, etc. In a free country, if activists wanted people to stop eating certain things, they’d convince them, not force them by highjacking the political process. If activists wanted their neighbors to be healthy, they’d promote good health, or warn about risks, not ban the importation of gourmet items.

I worry, frankly, that the war on food, starting with gourmet items but sure to snowball over time, is indicative of a larger more general war on our freedoms. For tofu and soylent eating puritan killjoys who hate life itself, I’m sure they feel morally superior doing what they do. As for me, I mourn the day when the French Laundry will no longer be free to serve foie gras.

*incidentally, most dry-cured salamis cannot be imported into the United States.


Suicide Bombings and the Virtue of Selfishness

Wednesday, June 21st, 2006

Rob Tracinski has a great piece on Palestinian culture and suicide bombing. His conclusion:

Only one prominent intellectual in the last century–Ayn Rand, the great intellectual defender of individualism–has been brave enough to name the moral lesson. Rejecting the morality of sacrifice, she declared that “The purpose of morality is to teach you, not to suffer and die, but to enjoy yourself and live,” while in her classic novel The Fountainhead, her hero laments that “The world is perishing from an orgy of self-sacrificing.” Ayn Rand remains a controversial figure, scoffed at by both left and right. But this phrase, “perishing from an orgy of self-sacrificing”–could there be a better description of the Palestinians’ suicide bomb society?

Look at the horrific plight the Palestinians have chosen, and you can observe the real meaning of a culture of self-sacrifice. Look at America, by comparison, and you can see the life-affirming benevolence of a culture of rational self-interest.

The evidence is out there, and its moral lessons are clear–if only we are brave enough to learn from them.

Read the whole thing here.


Ahoy Matey!

Monday, June 19th, 2006

Check it:

TOKYO: To woo young customers more fond of burgers than traditional whale cuisine [ed. they’re just not eating enough whalemeat, DAMNIT!], a Japanese restaurant has come up with a new taste sensation: the fried whaleburger.

The sandwich, which features fried whale meat nestled in a bun with salad greens and lashings of mayonnaise and ketchup-based sauce, is the creation of a small whale restaurant in the town of Wada, about 100km southeast of Tokyo.

“Young people think whale and bread really go together well, so the burgers are quite popular,” said restaurant owner Akiji Ichihara.

For the whaleburger and a whale cutlet sandwich, both of which sell for 300 yen, he uses the meat of Baird’s Beaked whales taken by Wada-based ships.

The third sandwich option, a whale hot dog priced at 350 yen, is made from minke whale meat taken by the “scientific whaling” programme run by the Japanese government.

Scientific whaling. Right.

I have to admit being curious. I’d prolly try one if I went to Japan.

Read more here.

Also, read about Japan taking over the International Whaling Comission (via instapundit).


Well, They Got That Right

Monday, June 19th, 2006

Your Eyes Should Be Brown

Your eyes reflect: Depth and wisdom

What’s hidden behind your eyes: A tender heart

(via j-walk)


More on Gates

Monday, June 19th, 2006

I was thinking further on Bill Gates departure. The year that would mark his complete departure struck me: 2008. There’s a Presidential election that year, no?

I have to figure Gates is a Democrat. And frankly, the Democrat lineup is weak this time around, mostly because of the presence of an 800lb gorilla who has developed very deep pockets for her upcoming campaign, thus scaring off other candidates. Her problem is, of course, that she’s an extremely divisive figure, and would motivate the opposition to show up and vote no matter who the Republicans nominate. Not so with Gates.

Where Hillary is shrill, Gates is mellow. Where Hillary is headstrong, Gates is happy to accept (or steal) the good ideas of others. And where I suspect that deep, deep inside, Hillary is a closet socialist with a severe disdain for the free market, Gates is a capitalist through and through. If anyone can take the Democrats away from their screaming socialist minority status as personified by Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean, is it far more likely that Gates could do it over Hillary.

So it’s just a thought. But if he’s really done at MS by 2008, he may be ready to run for President. Anyone want to start a Draft Gates campaign?


Gates Is Gone

Thursday, June 15th, 2006

So Gates is gone:

In a press conference held Thursday after the stock markets had closed for regular trading, Gates announced that over the next two years he will gradually step away from his daily responsibilities at the company he co-founded some 30 years ago.

Frankly, I suspect he was shown the door. What, with all the problems Vista has been facing, I suspect that the company began to view Gates as obsolete. Alternatively, he may be figuring that by leaving now, the history books will read that when he left the company it had a 90% market share in desktop operating systems and office suites, something which is likely to change (IMO) as MS gets a long overdue ass whooping from Apple, Google, or both.

Regardless, it is the end of an era. I only wonder if Apple will depict the PC quitting in their latest ad series.