Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Things That Annoy

Two turns of phrase that get under my skin:

1. "Correlation is not causation."

What this is meant to convey: Just because X and Y are correlated doesn't mean that X causes Y.

Example: Doctors have observed a positive correlation between shoe size and IQ score for children. Most people would reject the explanation that big feet cause increased intelligence, because a more reasonable explanation is that as children get older their intellects mature and at the same time they are growing physically and their feet are getting bigger. However, it's not correct to make the general statement that correlation is not causation, because, as this counter-example shows, correlation sometimes does suggest causation: Doctors have observed a positive correlation between the number of blows to the head and the severity of headache pain in the victim. Not many people would bother to look for another cause for this relationship: it's reasonable to conclude that X is correlated with Y, because X is causing Y.

Corrected version: "Correlation does not require causation."

2. "I could care less."

What this is meant to convey: I don't care at all.

Example: Ever since Thompson dropped out of the race, I could care less about the coming election. Logically, however, this implies the opposite of the intended meaning. If there is still capacity to care less, it means I care more than not at all. (Somebody actually created a chart to show how this works.)

Corrected version: "I couldn't care less."*

What are your grammatical pet peeves?

[* Prediction: Some reader will comment to the effect that he "could care less" about my analysis.]

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Goodbye, Fred; Goodbye, Conservatism

I'm with Carnaby. There are no Republican candidates I can vote for, and I'm thoroughly disgusted that the worst of them -- our RINO and closet socialist, McCain -- is doing so well.

What the %^&# has happened to conservatism in this country?

Looks like I'm either staying home on election day or writing someone in. Maybe four years of Democrat horribleness will bring conservatives back to reality.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Fred's out, so it Looks like I'm going to vote Dem in 08. I dislike the entire crop of Republicans, and so it goes. It'll have to be four years of Democratic crap and then hopefully a return to a small government GOP candidate after that.

I will vote for Paul if he gets the nomination, but I doubt that will happen.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Should I Vote My Race or My Gender?

Well, CNN thinks it's an important question:
For [black] women, a unique, and most unexpected dilemma, presents itself: Should they vote their race, or should they vote their gender?

No other voting bloc in the country faces this choice.
Hold on while I take a moment to compose myself before I mock the author, CNN correspondent Randi Kaye:

I always thought that folks ought to vote for the person they thought would make the best president for the country. I also thought that this could be determined by the candidates' stances on important issues, their track records, and their characters, as demonstrated to us by their behavior in public and private life.

Silly me, I should have known better. This year, I guarantee that I will vote for both my race and my gender, since the alternative would be to vote for either my race or my gender, and that choice, my friends, is just too darn tough. I guess I have that distinct advantage over black women. White men, black men, and white women can all vote for both. Black women have obviously been disenfranchised, and I think there ought to be a law.

Update: Argh! Now it's on the front page at CNN! No, nobody can be this shallow and stupid! Please!

Update: Ha.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Movie Review: In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale

Q: What do you get when you mix movie-making and German tax-shelter shenanigans?
A: Uwe Boll movies.

It explains a lot, actually, like how such a horrible director keeps getting lots and lots of money to make his cinematic stink-bombs.

In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale is exactly what I expected in a big-budget Uwe Boll movie. It's The Lord of the Rings meets Excalibur meets Conan the Barbarian meets Xena: Warrior Princess meets Joan of Arc meets a bunch of other crap, all directed by the Ed Wood of our time. It sort of makes sense in a grand, cosmic way that this is the quality you get whenever government more or less subsidizes your "art," but what I don't understand is how Boll gets successful, recognizable actors to embarrass themselves in his clunkers. Last time it was Ben Kingsley. This time it's a three-fer: Jason Statham, John Rhys-Davies (no, Gimli, no!), and Ray Liotta. Are these guys hurting for money? What's going on?

"What the %^&# was I thinking?"


*** possible spoilers (if you really care)***

Memorable moments:

Burt Reynolds as the king didn't just phone in his performance, he tapped it out in Morse code.

Matthew Lillard needs to cut back on the caffeine or the meth or whatever.

In a deathbed scene, we get a lecture about seaweed and agriculture. (This got a lot of laughs.)

The hero is attacked by a library in the climax ("Conan the Librarian"?)

And by "memorable moments" I mean that's all I can remember. The movie was over two hours long, and that's about all I got out of it.

Apparently, this and Seed (which the Grand Master of Crumminess, himself, is presenting in Austin, TX tonight) will be the last of his great cinematic experiments. The German government has put the kibosh on his tax-shelter-funded big-budget schlockos, so it's back to low-budget filmmaking for Dr. Boll.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Quote of the Day

Morgan Spurlock -- the guy who made the documentary Super Size Me -- has a new film premiering at the Sundance Film Festival wherein he travels to the Middle East and documents his search for Osama bin Laden. You see, he wanted to make the world a safer place for his soon-to-be-born child, but according to a source he was less than successful.

At the end of the movie, he is about to go into the Tribal Area of Pakistan, where a huge sign says no outsiders allowed, you will be shot. He thinks about his kid and decided to turn around.
Thanks to a reader at the conservative film blog Libertas for this perfect response:

The difference between Spurlock and our troops is… he thinks about his kid and turns back, our troops think about their kids and go forward.


Monday, January 07, 2008

How Do You Spell Inadequate?

I went and read Bill Whittle's latest. And I wished for a moment that I could come up with stuff like that to write, and then actually write it. I can't. Then I thought I'd make myself feel better by going off to some lefty blog to make fun of them, but then I see that Bill already did, and much unlike I could ever do. Darn it! I guess I'll just have to stick to what I'm good at, whatever that may be.

"... it woke my inner Balrog." Heh. Unfortunatly, the best I seem to get is a stirring in my inner orc, which is usually grumpy and not a little bit smelly, but does not evoke terror in my enemies in the way the Balrog would. Such is Mango.

Fill Up Fred's Tank!

Go here and do it!

Friday, January 04, 2008

I Can Link to Snark, Too

The BPD has made it clear that if he so much as uses an aerosol can improperly or removes the tag from a mattress, he’s going down.

Is the ATF Really that Evil?

Apparently so.
"By the way, I am very empathetic to your problems with the Treasury Department's Waffen SS. My house burned down about a year ago. I almost died trying to find my dog in the smoke and flames, but I could not find him. The fire started in the garage from faulty electrical wiring. and the flames had engulfed the entire garage within a couple of minutes.

Unfortunately, I had just filled 3 bar-b-que propane tanks that day and set them in the garage. When those exploded, the additional heat caused my hunting ammunition and cabinet full of paint cans to explode. All of that was bad enough, but then my oxy/accedaline tanks exploded and the blast shook the neighborhood.

After the fire was out, I had the painful task of burying my dog. I could hardly see the hole I was digging through all the tears in my eyes. I had just laid him to rest when an ATF agent walked up and started asking me questions. He said that he had just listened to the 911 calls that had come in from the neighbors when the fire started. He said that there were 14 calls, and 8 of them reported bombs going off inside the garage. I explained that the neighbors simply heard the paint cans, ammunition, and black powder exploding from the heat. At that point he said, "Tell me more about the black powder, because as it stands you are facing 10 years." WHAT? Ten years for 10-20 lbs. of black powder? I told him that the law allows an individual to keep 50 lbs at home, and I had no where near that amount. He told me that in "His Town", he expects a phone call if I keep as much as a firecracker at my house. Since I had not been in contact with him, he said he was inclined to believe that my black powder was intended for bomb manufacturing. I told him a jury would hear the truth and see that the whole thing is absolutely ridiculous! He then told me that jury's are simply decorative ornaments in court cases the ATF is involved with, because the Federal Government does not lose. After two hours of questioning me and threatening me with prison, he wrote me a $500 "fireworks" citation. He told me I better count my blessings and be happy with just a citation.

When he handed me that citation, I was absolutely stunned. I said, "last night I lost my house and all of my possessions to the fire, I just buried my dog that I loved like a child, and you are writing me a $500.00 "fireworks" citation for having 20 lbs of black powder in my garage?" His response, again, was "yes, count your blessings." Before he left, he said, "Be aware that the ATF knows who you are now and where you live.....You better not cross paths with us again".

Cross paths with them??? My house burned down for God's sake! I didn't cross paths with those evil bastards. They found me, and then victimized me when I was at the lowest point in my life! I don't have as much as a traffic ticket on my record, but the ATF is "watching me" now?"
Via Red's Trading Post.

DC Heller Brief

The DC Heller Brief was recently released. As has been noted elsewhere, it is long. This part, at the top of page 15, is interesting

Nothing about this language or the opening clause as a whole so much as hints that the Amendment is about protecting weapons for private purposes.

“. . . the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

The second clause standing alone also has a dis-tinctly military cast. The crucial words are those that define the “right of the people” that the Amendment protects: “to keep and bear Arms.”

“Arms” are military weapons. The term histori-cally meant “[i]nstruments of offence used in war; weapons,” and the Oxford English Dictionary notes a 1794 dictionary that understood “arms” as “those in-struments of offence generally made use of in war.”

So far it seems that I am in agreement with DC.

Then they go on to say that not only are "arms" military weapons, but to "keep and bear" them has military connotations as well. Further, they focus on the notion of a "well regulated militia," and claim that it is the focus of the Second Amendment. We all knew how they were going to approach this case in this way. This paragraph on page 21 sums up DC's argument:

The Framers’ phrasing of the Second Amendment was in fact a natural way to protect a militia-related right. As the majority itself emphasized, the surrounding amendments are part of “a catalogue of cherished individual liberties.” Given the context, it made perfect sense to speak of “the right of the people” to describe what rights the people held against the federal government. Entitling individuals to exercise this right only as part of a state-regulated militia was consistent with the Framers’ recognition that the states and the people would defend each others’ interests.
I have an idea how Heller's attorneys will respond, but I do wonder how the Supremes will judge the arguments. DC certainly has done their homework, as far as a lay person like myself can tell.

The District of Columbia spends many pages outlining the crime problem that DC had before the ban , and how handgun use was an integral part of this crime. They spend many more pages dissecting the very few words in one of the shorter amendments in the Bill of Rights. They claim that the right of the people so clearly and briefly stated is not what it appears to be, but is instead a much more complicated right of the states, even though the framers were not so miserly with words in other amendments, such as the Seventh or Eighth.

A federal election looms, the Supreme Court is about to decide a Second Amendment case for the first time since before WWII. Indeed, a new era is upon us.

Significant Problems with the Lancet Study

Have a look here.

Among the most egregious problems, in my opinion

A car bomb attack in Sadr City that killed at least 60 people appears to
have been counted by the researchers, even though it happened a day after the
survey was to end, critics say. There are several other significant problems,
including research funding by George Soros. Go have a read.
I wonder what Tim Lambert will say about this? It's true that there may be problems with this critique, and Tim will expose them if they exist. On the other hand... suppose the National Journal's criticisms hold up?

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Thompson Wins Iowa!

Well, sorta. Huckabee got 34% (so far), Romney 25%, and Thompson + McCain + Paul + Giuliani 41%. Now if all the fine folks currently supporting that batch of candidates would throw in the Thompson, I think we'd get a mighty fine president. He's leading that pack, and nobody really wants McCain, so how about we take one for the team and vote Thompson?

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Fred Thompson 2008 Again

A note to current supporters of John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, and Ron Paul: They have no chance. I'm thinking that supporters of these candidates would support Thompson before Romney or Huckabee. If that is the case, then you better get reasonable quick and throw your votes behind Thompson. Otherwise you will get neither McCain, nor Giuliani, nor Paul, but one of the other two, or a Democrat.

Think about it.