Charles Oliver - Econ/Media-Boy
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Charles C. Watson - Science/Tech-Boy
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Ron Campbell - sushi-bait.
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Even a blogger needs to eat. This blog is primarily Charles' hobby. But if he is intent on continuing to woo the Hooter's waitresses in Chatanooga he needs something that pays.... wings don't come free you know. Here's a link to his day job where he works the education beat and, assuming he can't annoy enough people that way, is sometimes allowed to write opinion pieces.

Need perspective? Watson offers readers all they could possibly eat. For a unique view on current events, namely how they look from orbit, here's Chuck's Real-Time(ish) Satellite Imagery of Areas of Interest. Whenever it strikes his fancy, and there's good telemetry, Chuck will process and post near real-time images of locations in the news. Eminently engrossing.

Wanna get into the head of a Japanese salaryman? Why, for Chis'sakes?! Well, assumin' you do, feel welcome to check out the on-line journal of Campbell's English class. Everyday, a group of disaffected salarymen are required to spill out their inner-most thoughts about life, the universe and everything in broken English. Amazingly prosaic.

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Shoutin' across the Pacific
Chiizu taberu koufuku shiteiru saru ga kangei-saremasen.
Tuesday, December 31, 2002
The Spielberg Effect. Or why those who apply to Ivy League universities and are rejected do as well in life as those who are accepted.

posted by Charles at 4:26 PM

Monday, December 30, 2002
No Carbon Copies. Apart from obvious loons, I don't think reproductive cloning, as opposed to therapeutic cloning, has much of a future, even if all of the kinks are worked out. A host of factors besides DNA go into forming a person's looks and personality. Even identical twins, who share not only DNA but also many of those environmental factors, can turn out to be quite different.

Some groups have already started cloning pets for owners who have too much money. Reportedly, many of these owners are upset to find that their new pets often bare only the faintest resemblance to Fido.

Once this point becomes more widely known, I can't imagine that anyone will be trying to recreate himself or his departed child or spouse because it just can't be done.

posted by Charles at 9:03 PM

Sunday, December 29, 2002
He Ain't A Doctor. LewRockwell.Com has never a good source for medical info. He seems to embrace just about every "alternative" thereapy imaginable. So it's no shock that he links to a story on botox being used to treat severe back spasms with the line "Wrinkle remedy changes woman's life." Botox has been used to treat neuromuscuular disorders for over a decade. That's what it was originally developed for. It's use as a "wrinkle remedy" is fairly new and was discovered by accident.

posted by Charles at 1:33 PM

Saturday, December 28, 2002
Narrow Little Boxes. Here's a fascinating piece from the Washington Post on how Latin American concepts of race are colliding with U.S. attitudes.

" 'Where are you from?' they ask me. I say I'm from Brazil. They say, 'No, you are from Africa.' They make me feel like I am denying who I am."

posted by Charles at 11:57 PM

The Real News. The Raelians may be making headlines, but the real story is the move by Asian nations, especially China, to make themselves into biotech powerhouses. They see Western squemishness about cloning as their opportunity to take the lead in these matters.

In the Americas and Europe, stem-cell research is the subject of such visceral dismay - and so many government restrictions - that it has been nearly impossible for scientists to make progress. Things are different in China. Not only is the field less controversial, but the government is erecting state-of-the-art lab buildings, creating university appointments with princely perks, and providing the capital to establish new biotech firms. If the current trend continues, the next great discoveries in biomedical science - and the industries they spawn - will occur not in San Francisco and Boston but in Shanghai and Beijing.

posted by Charles at 11:50 PM

Friday, December 27, 2002
Things Aren't Looking Good. We are waiting for some independent confirmation of Clonaid's claims. But I've got Severion Antinori in my local betting pool. So I could be out $10.

posted by Charles at 12:28 PM

Wednesday, December 25, 2002
Merry Christmas. To many of you, this is just a song by Robert Earl Keen Jr.. But some of us lived it.

posted by Charles at 10:16 PM

Monday, December 23, 2002
My Latest. Here's a piece I did on the new report cards for Georgia schools.

posted by Charles at 9:46 PM

Playboy in the News. My pal Nick Gillespie picks up on study that claims Playmates have gotten more boyish over the last few years. Nick accepts the claims that this shows that standards of beauty are changing. I'm not convinced it shows much of anything.

A similar study of centerfolds a couple of years ago had different results. That study found that modern centerfolds' bust and waist measurements were pretty much identical to the centerfolds of old, but the modern Playmates have slightly smaller hips. That study also found today's Playmates to be a couple of inches taller on average.

But modern and ancient are very relative terms here. The Playmate data sheet didn't start running until 1977, so all of the classic 50s and 60s centerfolds aren't included in that study. I'm not sure how the authors of the new study got height, weight and body measurements for older centerfolds given that Playboy it self doesn't have those numbers.

Another thing skews these results. How do we know the Playmates put down their correct measurements when filling out these forms?To this day, I am not convinced that Patty Farinelli had a mere 36-inch bust.

The real mystery to study is why so many ugly women have made it into the magazine in recent years. If you look closely, most of the real dogs are Hefner's "girlfriends," which is odd, since he once chose only the cream of the crop for his harem. Remember, Barbi Benton or Shannon Tweed? Today, Hef apparently thinks a pair of bolt-on boobs, a bottle of bleach and an ugly-ass tattoo can make any woman a 10. Well, it can't.

And btw, Donna Edmondson is still the greatest Playmate of all time.

posted by Charles at 12:22 PM

A million miles awaaaaay.... synchronicity No sooner do I mention (or heck, even think of) Ed Tillman for the first time in five years than I notice the very episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 I downloaded today, Future War, ... was a stinker. OK, that's a given. (God, it really stunk.) BUT! It also features as Second Unit Photographer, "Damage Control" unit member, and Generic Policeman.... Ed Tillman.

HA HA HA. God! It was so terrible! And they made fun of Ed's lisp!.... HA HA HA!! Oh, I can watch it a hundred times and the previously mentioned envy just keeps diminishing.

At least he went on to shoot Bikini Hotel.

posted by Ron at 11:23 AM

Just a thought... Following up on Charles' speculation about John Schneider's pants, how many of you, on seeing that picture of Robert Byrd in confederate uniform thought to yourselves, "My God... it's Denver Pyle! We can make another Dukes reunion film."?

posted by Ron at 8:56 AM

The muse has got to Knowles Harry's movie reviews are usually painful and beyond annoying (I specifically remember one that didn't actually start reviewing the film until 9 paragraphs into the page -- under the theory that Harry subscribes, "you must know my frame of mind when I saw the movie to appreciate my review," he spent the first part talking about a farting contest he had with his dad and who laid the largest turd before they went to the theater). But in his review of The Two Towers, he hits on some deep concepts and there are some gems of writing ... before he falls into the ever-present pit of inept sequaciousness. However his apparent enjoyment of the movie seems real enough and, for a moment, made me envy Ed Tillman (a college friend of Charles and mine who gave up the search for gainful employment to work production, sometimes, in Hollywood).
I once was on a film criticism panel with Harlan Ellison and someone from the audience in Atlanta asked us which we preferred writing�c A positive review or a negative review. Harlan said that he loved writing negative reviews because after you say you love a movie, what else is there to say, whereas with a negative review you can make those bastards pay for every execrable moment that they made you suffer.
I took Harlan to task for that statement. I told him that if you love a movie, there's a thousand things you can say about it, because if you love a film, there are reflections of your dreams, loves and soul. That you can spill everything in your heart that you've recognized in this work to paper and make others understand not only the film better, but what makes you tick. And if you can't do that, then you're a soulless son of a bitch!
Harlan deferred to me saying, "He's right."
And in describing how much he appreciated the latest installment he offers this somewhat worrying passage:
I love these films. Not in that idle sort of, "Oh, I just loved it," kind of way, but in that deep marrow of the bones type of love. Aching love, needy love, that roll around with a smile on your face, can't wait to see it, be near it, just be close to it kind of obsessive love. I love FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING and THE TWO TOWERS the way you can't think of anything, but that object of your affection. It's just sick how much I love these films. It is dangerous, it scares me, because I get the genuine sense of worry that I'll never find films that I'll love this intensely again.
There's more and it's worth the 5 minute read.

PS If you have a fast ASDL or better connection, be sure to click the "Inside the Effects" banner on the left. Lots of streaming videos about the production of LOTR and the artists who put it together... including one sorta hot choreographer / computer modeling chick who explains the elfin and orcan battle moves and really brought out my "Gosh you're the sexist thing at today's Ren-Fest aren't you?"- ubergeek.

posted by Ron at 8:32 AM

Here's the deal... Charles, I'm not Japanese and I don't play one on TV but I can kinda give you an anecdotal-based theory on what's going on. I told you before that the kids I taught were not in any way shy or reserved about their bodies or those of others. Until pre-puberty hits Japanese kids are like puppies, free-spirited and without social controls. There are all kinds of stories of women, especially foreign women with larger than normal (to Japanese) attributes getting grabbed, groped, squeezed, felt up, by children of both sexes. When I used to do my dances (yes, I was lord of the dance for the kiddies) with kindergarten classes, undue crotch attention was a frequent occupational hazard. Given our respective heights, if I didn't remember to crouch or bend during the routine, my uh... talents were right at eye-level to the kids.

And kids being naturally curious about the big hulking gaijin, some would take advantage of that spacing to deliver swift punches or grabs... or just to see how much hulk he really had in him. And it didn't just come from the bad kids or those trying to torque me off. One of my sweetest students, a girl of 5, Tomoko, had been having a great day in class, laughing at my stories and enjoying the alphabet games. For the younger children we usually had the parents in the room during the lesson. And in a heartfelt show of appreciation during a lull between activities, Tomoko suddenly made a full on, to the wall, package grab (beans and franks in both hands), turned to her mother and, without a trace of irony or spite yelled, "Ron-sensei daisuki yo!" "I love, Mr. Ron!"

I stood there with my arms in the air and mouth open in frozen half-smile... realizing this must've been how that kid felt in Riki-Tiki-Tavi when confronted by the female python*... and only moved enough to make eye-contact with mom. With every bit of psychic energy I tried to communicate, "Call her off! Whatever you want... I'll do it. Just get the kid to stand down."

The mother apologized later saying something to the effect of, "Well, I guess she really does like your class." Oh, that's nice... did I tell you about the bruising?

The point of this, beyond cathartic release, is that Japanese children are not taught good-touch / bad-touch until much later in development. And parents here are notoriously indulgent of their children. I've seen 5 year-old boys attack other children's moms... well frankly in ways that I think I would very much enjoy doing myself. (Have I mentioned that Japanese mothers, on average, reacquire their hotness sometimes just weeks after having a child? It's frankly amazing to see a woman walking a 4 year old boy, carrying a toddler on her back and pushing an infant in a stroller and yet have an ass your average high-school cheerleader would kill for... but I digress.) And the women treat it as no more than a good-spirited game. Which, coming from a 5 year-old, it is.

*This obvious joke space left here by your friends at SAP.

posted by Ron at 8:05 AM

Sunday, December 22, 2002
The Varsity. Thanks to Domenic Anghelone for pointing this story out to me. The Varsity is an institution in Athens and Atlanta, frequented by more than 50 years worth of college students. When I was in college, I devoured way too many hot dogs there.

In Los Angeles, the Original Tommy's is pretty close, but it's menu isn't quite as extensive. Tommy's burgers are better, but Tommy's doesn't have anything like The Varsity's onion rings.

I was in Atlanta just a few weeks ago, and my trip just happened to take me past The Varsity. I really wanted to stop in, but alas, my schedule just didn't permit it.

posted by Charles at 8:38 PM

Ron, What The Hell Is Going On Over There? I want you to explain this.

posted by Charles at 5:23 PM

Saturday, December 21, 2002
Racism. Let's remember that not everyone on the right was on the wrong side of race in the 1960s. This is from Ayn Rand's 1963 essay "Racism:"

The policy of the Southern states toward Negroes was and is a shameful contradiction of this country's basic principles. Racial discrimination, imposed and enforced by law, is so blatantly inexcusable an infringement of individual rights that the racist statutes of the South should have been declared unconstitutional long ago.

The Southern racists' claim of "states' rights" is a contradiction in terms: there can be no such thing as the "right" of some men to violate the rights of others. The constitutional concept of "states' rights" pertains to the division of power between local and national authorities, and serves to protect the states from the Federal government; it does not grant to a state government an unlimited, arbitrary power over its citizens or the privilege of abrogating the citizens' individual rights.

It is true that the Federal government has used the racial issue to enlarge its own power and to set a precedent of encroachment upon the legitimate rights of the states, in an unnecessary and unconstitutional manner. But this merely means that both governments are wrong; it does not excuse the policy of the Southern racists.

posted by Charles at 12:14 AM

Friday, December 20, 2002
Bush and the Economists. Why does George Bush turn otherwise sane and intelligent liberal economists into rabid idiots?

Paul Krugman is an obvious example. Brad De Long is turning into another. His blog has featured often insightful criticisms of Bush's economic policies. But it also increasingly features snide comments on Bush.

Yesterday, he posted, apropos of nothing, this

Why does our President--the child of two yankees--have a brother named after Confederate cavalry general J.E.B. Stuart, a guy who would round up free Blacks during Confederate invasions of Maryland, ship them back to Virginia, and sell them as slaves?

In the comments, section, several people point out that Jeb Bush isn't named after Jeb Stuart. Rather, his name comes from his initials -- John Ellis Bush.

Rather than admit he was wrong -- and an ass to boot -- De Long digs himself in even deep by claiming that no one was ever called Jeb before Lost Cause types started named their kids after Stuart in the late 1800s.

If that seems unlikely, it is. Several readers pointed out that Jeb is an old diminutive for Jebediah and Jacob. I did a quick Google search using the terms "Jeb" and "born," and I found a dozen men named or nicknamed Jeb born in Great Britain and the U.S. before 1860. I likely would have found many more if I'd gone through more than a couple dozen of the several thousand returns I got. All of the Jebs I did find were born in the border area of England or the back country of the Southern U.S., so it seems the name was popular in the South even before Jeb Stuart became famous.

De Long has yet to respond to those posts. Let's see if he's man enough to admit when he's a jerk.

posted by Charles at 11:46 PM

What If Ol' Strom Had Won? Charles Paul Freund looks at what happened when a neoconfederate did win the presidency.

posted by Charles at 8:44 AM

Islam And Women. Muslim militants are being blamed for killing three young women in their homes just days after posters appeared in India's Jammu and Kashmir state ordering women to wear a veil.

posted by Charles at 8:43 AM

Thursday, December 19, 2002
Eat Your Hearts Out Yankees. Bet you don't have anything like this.

posted by Charles at 10:38 PM

Someday the Mountain Might Get 'Em But the Law Never Will. Andrew Sullivan reveals today that "some of my first erotic fantasies were built around the 'Dukes of Hazzard.'"

One of my first, um, "crushes" was on Daisy Duke (Catherine Bach). I always thought she was the only reason to watch that show. Well, her and Waylon Jennings's narration.

To my surprise, I later found out that the show was popular among teenage girls for another reason. I never noticed that Bo Duke (John Schneider) -- okay, how do I put this -- really, really filled out his jeans.

I saw Catherine Bach a few years ago, and she really hasn't aged well, to put it mildly. On the other hand, John Schneider looks not much older than he did back in the 1970s. He now plays Pa Kent on Smallville, and the producers of that show seem to go out of their way to get him out of his shirt as often as possible. I assume he still fills out his jeans.

posted by Charles at 12:08 PM

Wednesday, December 18, 2002
Why Won't Lott Leave? Maybe because he still has significant support in the Senate.

According to the CongressDaily survey, 14 senators said Lott should remain as majority leader and another four said they are leaning in Lott's favor.

Not all the senators who support Lott were willing to say so publicly. Among Lott allies who have publicly indicated that they would support him are Sens. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, R-Colo.; Mike Crapo, R-Idaho; Larry Craig, R-Idaho; Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, John Ensign,R-Nev.; Orrin Hatch, R-Utah; Richard Lugar, R-Ind.; Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.; Rick Santorum, R-Pa., Ted Stevens, R-Alaska; George Voinovich, R-Ohio, and Specter. Another three senators are inclined to back Lott, but did not want to say so publicly. Beside Chafee, no senator opposed to Lott agreed to be identified.

I believe that at least one incoming senator will likely support Lott, so he has 19 votes, just seven away from the number he needs to remain in power.

posted by Charles at 7:00 PM

Tuesday, December 17, 2002
The GOP Can't Catch a Break. A routine White House photo op turns into a Sam Fuller movie.

posted by Charles at 4:13 PM

Bad Science Reporting
Look at the headline for this story. As usual, it is less than meets the eye. Life hasn't been found in space - only in the upper atmosphere, which isn't very surprising.

posted by Chuck at 2:03 PM

First Principles. Mackubin Thomas Owens has some thoughts that Republicans would do well to reflect upon.

posted by Charles at 12:37 PM

"There has been immoral leadership in my part of the country for a long time." Trent Lott, in BET interview
The question now is: how much will this idiot's continued verbal self-destruction cost us? How many more big-government programs? How much more government interference in every day life? How many more activist judges? That is what this has come down to.

As usual, Michell Malkin said this better.

posted by Chuck at 9:03 AM

Monday, December 16, 2002
A Patriotic Christmas. Here's my latest story for the Citizen, a piece on a local elementary school's efforts to honor American heroes.

A few people have asked if all of my stories are online. The short answer is no. The Citizen posts only front-page stories, local sports, wedding announcements and obits. My (semi)weekly columns and any other pieces I do that are on the inside of the paper aren't online.

posted by Charles at 12:53 PM

It's Spelled Centre. But pronounced center. One of my aunts had a birthday over the weekend. So we all went to help her celebrate at Tony's Steak Barn. The sirloin I had was one of the best I've eaten in a long time. So if you are ever in Centre (and why wouldn't you find yourself there at some point), stop in at Tony's.

posted by Charles at 8:38 AM

Sunday, December 15, 2002
I don't buy it
Drudge has a couple of links to stories such as this one reporting that in a book by an "FBI consultant" Paul Williams, he claims that al Qaida purchased 20 nukes from the former KGB. Williams claims that UBL got the nukes through Chechen contacts. I don't buy that at all - if the Chechen's had nukes they would have used them already - not sold them to UBL's folks. And, if al Qaida had multiple nukes, I think they would have used them rather than the aircraft bombs used in 2001.

I wouldn't be totally surprised if UBL got his hands on some enriched Uranium, but probably not in bomb quantities. My guess is the biggest risk in the nuclear department is from a radiological (dirty conventional) bomb. I would be very surprised if they had acquired a single device. 20? Really unlikely. I worry more about snipers, suicide bombs, and those types of events than from a nuke or chemical attack.

posted by Chuck at 12:49 PM

He's Toast. Fox News reports that Sen. Don Nickles has called for a new election for Senate majority leader.

And the Washington Post reports today that Lott sought public support last week from Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell but was rebuffed.

And one final note, Virginia Postrel asked yesterday who Lott's allies was. The Post story finally names a name. It says Mitch McConnell has been furiously working the phones on Lott's behalf.

posted by Charles at 9:47 AM

Saturday, December 14, 2002
Lott's Threats. The Weekly Standard has a nice recap of the last 10 days, with some details I haven't seen elsewhere.

It wasn't apparent to Lott just how much trouble he was in until the middle of the week. His response to the growing tide of conservative critics:

Lott's chief of staff began calling local conservative activists to enlist their support. His message was direct and, some believe, threatening: We will remember who is supporting us in this time of need, and you'll want to be on that list.

But that didn't work.

By Friday, tensions between the White House and Lott had grown. Sources say Lott made clear that if he were forced to step down from the Senate leadership, he would also likely resign his Senate seat, a significant development because Mississippi's current governor, Ronnie Musgrove, is a Democrat.

posted by Charles at 11:10 PM

For those not on the Democrat Party Mailing List
This just came in on the DNC's mailing list:

Republicans Continue to Embrace Racially Divisive Politics

Dear Charles Watson,
When incoming Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott told a roomful of people that "we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years" if America had voted for Strom Thurmond's segregationist presidential campaign in 1948, his words shocked the nation.
It was almost inconceivable that, in 2002, an incoming Senate Majority Leader would even imply that segregation would have a beneficial effect on the country.

But then we learned this wasn't the first time.

In 1980, Lott said almost the same exact thing, saying at a political rally, "You know, if we had elected [Thurmond] 30 years ago, we wouldn't be in the mess we are today."
Do Senate Republicans really want someone with a pattern of racially divisive statements and a history of supporting organizations with racist policies and goals as their leader? Does Lott's statement represent the values of the Republican party?
With the GOP supporting voter intimidation efforts in recent elections, it's hardly a surprise that they would choose someone like Lott as their leader.

Click here to send an email to President Bush and Senator Lott telling them to reject the racially divisive politics of the past.

Click here to tell your friends about Lott's recent racially divisive statement.

Quote of the Week
"I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years, either."
Trent Lott

In all honesty, I think a lot of Republicans really weren't too upset with the specific content of Lott's statement, but saw it as yet another stuipd comment by someone who's neither the brightest bulb on the tree or a very good leader. They saw it as an opportunity to cause him enough embarassment to step down as majority leader, and helped fuel the fire over this controversy. Unfortunately, that strategy appears to be backfiring, and we may end up with the worst of both words: Trent Lott as an even more crippled majority leader than he would have been in the absence of this incident (which was bad enough). Or, as Charles noted below, he may just leave in a snit and throw the senate back to the Dem's. Either way, it seems there is one thing in politics that the Republicans are truely better at than the Democrats: self destruction.

posted by Chuck at 4:30 PM

Friday, December 13, 2002
What A Sweetheart! CNN's Jonathan Karl reports that Trent Lott has warned Senate Republicans that if he is removed as leader he will resign his Senate seat. Karl says senators see that as a threat since Mississippi's Democrat governor will replace Lott with a Democrat.

posted by Charles at 11:44 PM

Bancroft For Bellesiles. Rescinded!

posted by Charles at 8:58 PM

The Army's Secret Weapon? Big American breasts.

Now American female soldiers start gun raids in Afghanistan by bounding out of helicopters and stripping down to their sports bras. Only then do they take village women aside to be searched. It is a quick way to prove their femininity to Afghan elders unaccustomed to seeing women in trousers. I reckon it must leave quite a few of the old boys slack-jawed and goggle-eyed.

posted by Charles at 8:57 PM

CSC buys DynCorp
CSC is buying DynCorp , an interesting move given DynCorps rumored problems in keeping it's pants up and its employees from running brothels and slave running operations. This was discussed here and elsewhere, but again can't find the link.

posted by Chuck at 11:44 AM

Why Do People Not Take Libertarians Seriously. Maybe because some of them aren't embarrassed by mash notes like this.

I want to tell you, ladies and gentleman, that there's not enough troops in the army to force the southern people to break down segregation and admit the Nigra race into our theaters, into our swimming pools, into our homes, and into our churches.
Strom Thurmond, 1948

Although a New Yorker born and bred, I was a staunch supporter of the Thurmond movement; a good friend of mine headed the Columbia Students for Thurmond, which I believe was the only such collegiate movement north of the Mason-Dixon line.

My support, however, was not extremely enthusiastic, because, although I agreed wholeheartedly with the platform and Thurmond’s campaign speeches, I felt that it was keyed too much to purely Southern interests.
Murray Rothbard, 1949

The negro is a native of tropical climate where fruits and nuts are plentiful and where clothing is not required for protection against the weather ... The essentials of society in the jungle are few and do not include the production, transportation and marketing of goods. [Thus] his racial constitution has been fashioned to exclude any idea of voluntary cooperation on his part.
Dixiecrat Platform, 1948

I would like to add that, as an economist, I enthusiastically support your proposals on national debt and taxes – in fact, taken all and all, from the news reports I would say that your new platform is one of the best in American history. Indeed, it is one of the finest political statements in America since Calhoun’s Exposition.

Murray Rothbard, 1949

posted by Charles at 8:40 AM

Bet there is a pattern here?
North Korea now accuses us of piracy. And there is the recent threat to reactivate their nuclear program. (side note: how can you reactivate something that was never shut down?) Our unhealthy preoccupation with Iraq is causing us to overlook more important issues.

There is a narrow window of opportunity to deal with North Korea. They currently have several (estimates range from one to five) nuclear bombs, and they have the delivery mechanisms to threaten the entire Northern Pacific rim (see the charts at the bottom of the link). Compare this to Iraq, which has minimal delivery capability and no known weaponized NBC stocks. With a reactivated nuclear program, the PDRK will have the ability to create several bombs a year. At what point will they be in a position to effectively blackmail us? Saddam is evil, but he's not crazy. I don't think you can say the same about the leadership of the PDRK. They are both crazy and evil.

posted by Chuck at 8:12 AM

Thursday, December 12, 2002
Ron, You'll Know What I Mean. Time reports that Trent Lott fought to keep his college fraternity from integrating. That doesn't surprise me. Nor does it surprise me he was a Sigma Nu.

posted by Charles at 10:54 PM

It's Worse
We apologized to Spain???? First, we ask an ally to take a reasonable action, find contraband, then let it go muttering about international law. Now, we apologize? Anybody still think we are serious about making the world safer?

This is expletive deleted unbelievable. And with the Lott controversy, it will probably drop off the radar.

posted by Chuck at 2:04 PM

Yemeni scud update
This story seems to be fading, but I'm still outraged. Here we had a perfect opportunity to demonstrate that we are serious about national security, with (in my view) minimal risk. We had a rouge nation secretly shipping a clearly offensive weapon system to a nation that, while sort of half heartedly cooperating with us at the moment, has not in the past and had agreed not to acquire further weapons of this type. So what do we do? Let Ari explain. It is my understanding that given the lack of flag or manifest, we had every right to seize the ship and cargo. It's also hard to see how you could class a SCUD-D as a "defensive" weapon . It's so inaccurate that it is considered an area weapon - and therefore technically speaking, indescriminate and therefore could be considered illegal international law. We could have tied this thing up at The Hague for years, past the point where it mattered, even it we wanted to play the international law game. I would have prefered to just take the crew off and sink the thing.

More importantly, we had an opportunity to demonstrate we are serious about allowing offensive weapons in to the hands of nations that are not entirely in our camp, and making nations who make agreements with us stick to them. We could have shut off an important source of hard currency and trade for North Korea (who's gonna pay them for something the US is going to intercept and send to Davy Jones Locker?).

Letting this ship go is a major policy blunder, and when combined with other actions the administration is taking is starting to make me think that the "war on terror" is more about internal US politics rather than a serious effort to make our nation safer.

posted by Chuck at 1:38 PM

Wednesday, December 11, 2002
The Yemen Scuds
Unbelieveable. We are letting 15 scuds, clearly disguised in an attempt to smuggle them, in to Yemen! And, worse, we are citing "no provision under international law" to impound the cargo. expletive deleted. It wasn't flying a flag, and had unmanifested cargo. We should have sunk it.

All I can say is if those things weren't "accidentally" damaged during the inspection process, somebody in the US Intel business should be fired.

posted by Chuck at 3:19 PM

Global Warming and the coming Ice Age
Domenic Anghelone writes that "it's the salt thats gonna get us!" He notes that Pejman Yousefzadeh wonders how the environmental lobby will deal with this article, that reports some of the latest research on the so-called "Atlantic conveyer system".

I've ranted about the climate change debate before, and somewhere in the blog (couldn't find the link - will the link fairy show up again?) I've commented that an ice age is a logical consequence of a rapid, short term warming. In addition to the fresh water affect noted in the Philly paper, warmer air holds more moisture than cold air. "warm" is relative - air at -10 C holds a lot more moisture than air at -20C - that's why the poles are largely deserts, from a precipitation standpoint. If you warm up the northern areas some, you greatly increase the amount of snow over the winter, until the snow can't melt over the summer: glaciation results. Of course, if you warm up enough, the snow melts over the summer (or just falls as rain over the winter), but there is a gray area where things can go either way - ice age, or permanent heat wave.

Past climate seems to have undergone rapid swings before, where the system is stable for a while, then suddenly (years or a decade) swings from one extreme to another. It's just a theory, but it seems to explain some past observations.

As for the profressional environmentalists, facts have never bothered them in the past, so why should it now?

posted by Chuck at 8:00 AM

Tuesday, December 10, 2002
Carpet Capital. Here's a piece I did on a speech by the author of a forthcoming book on Shaw Industries. Shaw is the largest carpet company in the world.

posted by Charles at 11:39 PM

More Wisdom From Hayek.

Liberty not only means that the individual has both the opportunity and the burden of choice; it also means that he must bear the consequences of his actions and will receive praise or blame for them. Liberty and responsibility are inseparable. A free society will not function or maintain itself unless its members regard it as right that each individual occupy the position that results from his action and accept it as due to his own action. Though it can offer to the individual only chances and though the outcome of his efforts will depend on innumerable accidents, it forcefully directs his attention to those circumstances he can control as if they were the only ones that mattered.

posted by Charles at 11:37 PM

Trent Lott Is As Stupid As He Looks. Drudge reports that Lott said basically the same thing about Thurmond back in 1980 at a campaign rally. Did he really think that wasn't going to come to light?

posted by Charles at 11:29 PM

I Warned You. Right after the election.

posted by Charles at 5:54 PM

Monday, December 09, 2002
Rush Limbaugh Is A Big Fat Idiot. Well, I asked where he stood on the Trent Lott matter. I still don't know what he had to say on his radio show, but on his website he dismisses Lott's comments because Robert Byrd was once a member of the Ku Klux Klan and Jesse Jackson refered to New York as Hymietown.

This is not to defend Trent Lott, but when you're going to be all high and mighty and claim somebody should resign for impropriety, you'd better not be dirty yourself when it comes to these kinds of things.

Okay, Rush, what do you have to say to Jonah Goldberg and David Frum and Bill Kristol?Are they clean enough to criticize Lott?

We now have the Republican leader in the Senate praising segregation and the most well-known conservative in the nation can't bring himself to say the man is fool. He can only defensively say that the other guys are almost as bad.

Conservatism has become too closely wedded to the Republican Party, and for many conservatives politics is now solely about winning and losing, our side vs. theirs. As long as the GOP beats the Democrats, that's all that counts. Never mind if all the GOP does is pass pork-laden budgets, enact privacy-shattering homeland security bills and raise import barriers. They're our guys, and we'll forgive them. Are our guys mentally or ethically challenged? Well, they aren't as bad as the other guys. Or maybe they are, but they are still our guys, so we'll circle the wagons when they get caught.

No wonder the movement hasn't had any major achievements since Ronald Reagan was president.

posted by Charles at 10:16 PM

Another Story. Here's a piece I did on how Sonny Perdue may handle education in the coming months.

posted by Charles at 9:11 PM

Everybody's Getting Into Blogging. The gang over at Reason magazine now as a group blog.It's off to a good start. But I have to differ with Nick Gillespie's post on the Florida manatee. Dom Deluise never spent a lot of time at Burt Reynolds's theater in Jupiter. But Charles Nelson Reilly seemed to be a constant presence.

posted by Charles at 9:10 PM

Conservatives Speak. Drudge finally picked up on Trent Lott's comments about Strom Thurmond. Meanwhile, Jonah Goldberg and David Frum tore into Lott. I'd be interested in finding out if Rush Limbaugh and other talk radio types discussed this today.

But I still haven't seen any prominent Republicans ask for Lott to clarify his remarks or step down as the Republican leader in the Senate.

posted by Charles at 9:02 PM

Goodbye, Larry. There seems to be no one lamenting the firing of Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neil. But even some of White House economics advisor Larry Lindsey's toughest critics are puzzled by his firing.

If O'Neil is being punished for being a loose cannon who couldn't keep his disagreements with the administration quiet, Lindsey shot himself in the foot playing the good soldier. He never spoke out against his boss, even when the man pursued idiiotic economic policies.

Brad DeLong hits the nail right on the head

There is a story I have now heard three times about Larry Lindsey's first day in the White House in January 2001. At one point he met with the now-headless Council of Economic Advisers staff--no CEA council members had yet been named. "Well," he began. "You should all be happy: the people who understand economics are now back in charge."

Today such a claim sounds totally ridiculous--mendacious, or simply mad.

But Larry was not mendacious (biased, maybe), and not mad. Remember: he was speaking before the 2001 tax bill that did nothing to increase national savings and investment, something to further complicate our tax code, next to nothing to reduce marginal tax rates, and a good deal to transfer wealth from the middle class to the more-than-$300,000-a-year rich. He was speaking before the farm bill, the steel tariff, and Bush's summary rejection of Pakistan's request for an increase in its textile export quota marked the Bush administration's turn to protectionism.

However, the attempts to tell the senior power brokers that economic policies mattered and that good economic policies were preferable to bad must have really annoyed a number of spin doctors inside the White House. And so when the spin doctors turn their attention to demonstrating that Bush cares about the economy and can act strongly and decisively, what do they decide to do? To summarily fire the badly-miscast Treasury Secretary, Paul O'Neill--and to fire Larry Lindsey.

DeLong says that for the Bush clan loyalty seems to be a one-way street. Bush hasn't done a lot to prove him wrong.

posted by Charles at 1:44 PM

Latest Stories. Now online is a story I did on a local school's art project for a new restaurant. And a story on how Dalton State College is being affected by budget cutbacks.
Update:I corrected the link for the Dalton State College story.

posted by Charles at 12:29 AM

Sunday, December 08, 2002
Where Are The Conservatives? My pal Virginia Postrel rightly notes that the New York Times is oddly absent on the story of Trent Lott's praise for Strom Thurmond's segregationist campign for president in 1948. But where is Fox News? Shouldn't they report on this and let viewers decide what they think of Lott? Where's the National Review or the Wall Street Journal editorial page? Where was Matt Drudge? Where's Rush Limbaugh or Neal Boortz or Sean Hannity? Where's Ann Coulter or Robert Novak? Let's give credit to Bill Kristol for denouncing the remarks. Will any other conservatives step forward?

Update: A reader sends word that on "Meet the Press" Robert Novak dismissed Lott's remarks as a harmless joke. Can anyone confirm that?
Update Update. I caught the repeat of the show, and while Novak called the remarks a mistake. He did say that Lott was basically just making an impromptu joke that fell flat.

posted by Charles at 12:11 PM

This Is What The Times Found Objectionable? Dave Anderson's spiked column is now out, and its disagreement with the New York Times' editorial policy is pretty mild. If Howell Raines can't stomach this, he must be a very petty man.

posted by Charles at 1:53 AM

Saturday, December 07, 2002
If You Watch A Lot Of CMT you've probably been wondering about these things. The babe in the video for Toby Keith's "Who's Your Daddy" is Miss Georgia USA 2001 Tiffany Fallon. (She was second runner-up for Miss USA.) The girl in Willie Nelson's video for "Maria, Shut Up and Kiss Me" is Spanish model Almudena Fernandez. And that's my shameless effort to get hits for the week.

posted by Charles at 9:21 PM

Ouch. Reader Domenic Anghelone sent me this link to a story that is, unfortunately, right on the money.

A couple of years ago, Liberty magazine did a poll of its readers. It was full of questions like: Your car breaks down in the middle of winter and its near zero and you are miles from civilization. You walk a couple of miles and find a farmhouse. It's the only sign of human life you've seen. But no one is at home. Do you have a right to break into the farmhouse in order to save your life?

I'm not kidding. Libertarians spend a lot of time discussing these things. I always want to ask them if they are actually likely to be driving down deserted country roads in the middle of winter without a coat or a cellphone.

posted by Charles at 2:45 PM

Thursday, December 05, 2002
I'm Sure This Is A Stupid Question. But it's bothering me nonetheless. I keep my thernostat at a constant temperature. But sometimes it seems coler in the house than others. Right now, I'm freezing. But last night, with the central heat set exactly the same I was fine. And a couple of days before that it was cold. No, I'm not wearing less clothes. I can't figure out the difference. So why do I sometimes feel colder?

posted by Charles at 2:52 PM

There are increasing noises that Rumsfeld (who was special mideast ambassador in the mid 80's, and opened the dialogue with Iraq) and the Reagan/Bush administration's actions in the 80's caused the current Iraq problem. For example, the Savannah Morning News published this AASU Public Admin and Government professor's take on things, where he manages to combine sophmoric analysis with psych department style psycobabble. My reply, as published, is here, the unedited version is here.

posted by Chuck at 1:37 PM

Wednesday, December 04, 2002
Say Hello. The latest citizen of the blogosphere is Deregulator. It's the child of Rick Henderson, editorial writer and columnist for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Rick, like me, is one of a select few who've worked at both Reason and Investor's Business Daily. He's off to a good start with his blog.

posted by Charles at 7:00 PM

Tuesday, December 03, 2002
RIP Here's the obit for Mr. Wrestling from the Charlotte Observer.

posted by Charles at 4:54 PM

Monday, December 02, 2002
There's A Word For This. A couple of weeks ago, I was talking to a very important Republican about how Gov.-elect Sonny Perdue and the GOP are going to finesse the flag issue. He told me that what they'll probably do is have a commission with a wide variety of people -- black and white, Democrat and Republican, urban and rural, etc. -- come up with a new design for the state flag. Then, they'll have a referendum where people can choose between that flag, the current flag and the pre-1956 flag. The people won't get to vote on the old flag. "We promised a referendum on the new flag, not the old one," I was told.

That plan sounds remarkably like what the Atlanta Journal-Constitution suggests. The difference is that the AJC says the commission should be explicitly told its design should not incorporate the Southern Cross. I don't think that will be necessary. I'm told that most republicans, including some who would surprise me, don't really want the old flag back. Perdue could appoint some of those people for show and be pretty confident they'll deliver an acceptable flag.

posted by Charles at 8:06 PM

Better Ban Most Private Gun Ownership. England and Wales have the highest crime rates of the world's 20 largest nations.

posted by Charles at 7:45 PM

Latest Headlines. I've been busy as a bee lately. Here's a story on day-after-Thanksgiving sales at the local mall. And a story about a charity paintball game. And finally, an article on how local schools will be affected by state budget cuts.

I've actually had a few more stories appear in the paper that aren't on line yet.

BTW, the latest ABC numbers are in, and The Daily Citizen is the fastest-growing newspaper in Georgia.

posted by Charles at 10:22 AM

Sunday, December 01, 2002
RIP. The Wrestling Observer web site has this info on Tim Woods:

For those interested in sending any sympathy or encouragement cards to Tygre Woodin, the widow of Tim "Mr. Wrestling" Woods, who passed away last night from a heart attack, you can send them to Scott Teal, P.O. Box 2781, Hendersonville, TN 37077-2781 and he'll forward them. Tim Woods was both a tremendous amateur and pro wrestler who was one of the major stars of the early 70s, including headlining the first event ever to sellout the Omni in Atlanta, which he was always proud of as a career accomplishment. He was one of the classic babyface main eventers, both with and without his mask, and spawned Mr. Wrestling II, who he teamed and feuded with in Georgia. The two Mr. Wrestling's were probably the dominant babyfaces in Georgia during the 70s.

posted by Charles at 7:49 PM

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