Saturday, November 18, 2006

I'll Take Fries With That Flu Shot

It had to happen sometime in our convenience-driven society: Drive through flu shots. Motorists in several cities can get a flu shot without leaving their car. To reach the passenger side, they use a really big needle. Just kidding.

Article from the Orlando Sentinel

Austin News

Get it with a bagel in Galesburg, IL

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Microsoft's Zune versus Apple's iPod

Today Microsoft rolled out its entry into the portable music/video market -- it's called Zune. An odd name. It combines music and video capabilities with a large screen and built-in WiFi.

Most of the reviews have simply compared the Zune to the iPod based on style and features. The Zune comes in a bland brown and isn't fancy to look at. The iPod definitely bleeds coolness.

But in the midst of all the reviews, I found one at Mac News World that I thought was particularly insightful. It looks beyond the style differences to why Microsoft may have created the type of device they did.

You can read it here.

San Francisco Boots Jr. ROTC

This is one is filed under "We used to live there." My wife and I lived in the Bay Area from 1996-2001 and much of what contributes to San Francisco's reputation is basically true.

Look no further than the recent decision to ban Junior ROTC from San Francisco public schools. A few quotes should suffice:
  • "We need to teach a curriculum of peace."
  • "We don't want the military ruining our civilian institutions."
  • "JROTC discourages thinking for oneself."

So with a 4-2 vote, the SF Board of Education voted to end JROTC. The 90-year-old program will be phased out after two years. The primary motivation was the JROTC's connection to the larger military and its "Don't ask, don't tell" policy towards gays. In the words of one elected official, "The JROTC creates an uncomfortable environment for other students." This is despite the fact that the JROTC in San Francisco included openly gay students.

Did anyone stop to think that the existence of gay and lesbian student clubs (who also use public facilities) might create an "uncomfortable environment" for students who disagree with those lifestyles? Of course not.

San Francisco Chronicle Article

San Francisco Chronicle Editorial (this one might surprise you).

Thursday, November 09, 2006

How Bush Did Conservatives Wrong

Wednesday's press conference at which Bush announced he was "accepting" Rumsfield's resignation as Secretary of Defense was astounding. Obviously, decisions of this magnitude are not made willy-nilly (that's political speak for without due diligence). In fact, the New York Times and others are reporting that this decision had been in the works for months (article).

What doesn't make sense is why Bush wouldn't have made this decision one or two months BEFORE the election -- which would have helped Republicans in the mid-term election. With the war in Iraq dominating political water coolers, removing Rumsfield would have denied the Democrats of a highy visible and polarizing whipping boy. Why Bush would wait until the day AFTER the election is hard to understand.

We know that he is fiercely loyal. But loyalty to Rumsfield alone can't explain this. It wasn't that long ago (read one or two weeks ago) that Bush was telling people that Rumsfield would be there for the remainder of his term. Now we learn he was being less than candid.

What other reasons could there be ...

Bank Robbery is Stressful

I heard this on the drive home and found this post online:

SAN DIEGO -- A man who police said robbed a bank in the Core-Columbia district collapsed from an apparent heart attack when a security guard confronted him outside the financial institution, authorities said Thursday. The robber used a demand note to steal an undisclosed amount of cash from a Bank of America branch at 450 B St. about 11:10 a.m Wednesday, San Diego police said.

The bank security guard followed the suspect outside and confronted him when he made a failed attempt at climbing a fence, said San Diego police Sgt. Kerry Tom.

The suspect, who is in his 60s, then collapsed from an apparent heart attack, Tom said, adding that he was taken to a hospital. His condition Thursday was not immediately disclosed.

Moral of the story? Robbing a bank is bad for your heart.

Source: 10 News).

Monday, November 06, 2006

California Proposition 85

On tomorrow's ballot here in California is Proposition 85, a proposition that has gotten lost in the sea of propositions on this year's ballot. Proposition 85 would require doctors to notify the parent or legal guardian of a pregnant minor at least 48 hours before performing an abortion involving that minor. It does not require a physician or a minor to obtain the consent of a parent or guardian.

In other words, it's simply allowing parents to know that their child is about to undergo a substantial medical procedure. It's not requiring their consent (which I think would be appropriate).

Here's why I think it makes sense:

In California, a girl under 18 can't get an aspirin from the school nurse without adult consent. She also can't get a flu shot or have her tooth pulled without parental consent. But she can have an abortion and never have her parents notified.

Here are the official argument against Proposition 85, with my comments added in red. I'll leave their usage of all caps, though someone should tell them it's not polite to shout.

They understand that while PARENTS RIGHTFULLY WANT TO BE INVOLVED IN THEIR TEENAGERS’ LIVES, in the real world, SOME California TEENAGERS COME FROM HOMES where they can’t talk to their parents, where there is violence, or WHERE A FAMILY MEMBER HAS SEXUALLY ABUSED THEM.

I love the comment about who's living in the "real world." This proposition allows a judge to provide a waiver for the very reasons listed in the above paragraph.

THESE TEENS CAN’T GO TO THEIR PARENTS. They fear being kicked out of their homes, beaten, or worse. Proposition 85 forces these teens to delay critical medical care or turn to self-induced or illegal back-alley abortions. Some will go across the border; some will suffer serious injuries or even consider suicide.


By denying parents the right to know, they are also discouraging proper medical and psychological follow-up after the abortion. In a vast majority of the cases, a 48 hour waiting period will not delay "critical medical care." This loads the argument by assuming that most of these abortions are life or death matters, which they are not.

No law can mandate good family communication. The real answer to teen pregnancy and abortion is strong, caring families and comprehensive sex education, including abstinence. But sadly, not all California teens live in homes with strong, caring families.

So ... how does further eroding the rights of parents to be parents encourage "strong, caring families"?

FORCING A SCARED, PREGNANT TEENAGER who can’t go to her parents INTO CALIFORNIA’S OVERCROWDED COURT SYSTEM WON’T WORK— AND COULD CAUSE TEENS MORE HARM. Courts are already backlogged, there’s a lot of red tape, and they are hard to navigate, even for adults.

This is ironic since liberals have used the courts to enact what they couldn't get passed into law.

Think about it. The teen is scared, pregnant, her family might be abusive. SHE DOESN’T NEED A JUDGE. SHE NEEDS A COUNSELOR AND GOOD MEDICAL CARE—WITHOUT DELAY.
Proposition 85’s new bureaucratic rules WON’T GUARANTEE that parents are notified. Who will sign for the mail? What happens when the mail is delayed, or the parents aren’t home, or the teen intercepts the letter?

Again, this argument goes back to the assumption that the teen is coming from an abusive family. That's a redherring that avoids the real issue of parental rights.

The real answer to teen pregnancy is prevention and caring families—NOT NEW LAWS THAT ENDANGER OUR DAUGHTERS. AND PROPOSITION 85 IS NOT ABOUT PROTECTING TEENS FROM OLDER MEN AND SEXUAL PREDATORS. Clinics already provide counseling about responsible behavior and report illegal activities.

Proposition 85 won’t reduce teen pregnancy rates, can’t force families to communicate, is complicated and unworkable . . . and is not about predators—BUT IT WILL PUT GENERATIONS OF CALIFORNIA’S TEENAGERS AT RISK.

How in the world does this law "endanger our daughters"? Are the authors admitting that their daughters come from abusive homes? While it's true that Proposition 85 cannot force families to communicate, not passing it will prohibit them from communicating!

Other blogs on Proposition 85

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Way to Win

While listening to the Michael Medved show yesterday, I heard an interview with John Harris one of the authors of "The Way to Win." It's a book about political strategy, especially as it applies to winning presidential elections. So ... with a little free time on my hands last night I stopped at the local Barnes and Nobles and picked up a copy. It's been a good read so far.

The first part of the book deals with how the New Media (blogs, talk radio, cable news) has changed the political landscape. It zeros in on the influence of Matt Drudge as the one who brought about the revolution. The authors call this New Media revolution and its production The Freak Show.

I'm especially looking forward to the chapters on how Karl Rove operates. I thumbed a few chapters in the store and it looks pretty interesting.

Here's the book on Amazon ...

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Thank You, John Kerry

And I thought Howard Dean was the gift that kept on giving.

John Kerry has again handed the Republicans a gift, this time in the form of a "botched" joke. Kerry essentially said that if you study and are smart, you will succeed. If you don't, you'll end up in the military. Then -- as the rain began to fall -- Kerry became defiant, then confused, and ended up as a struggling comedian. Yet it's hard to find any detection of humor as you watch his comments.

Let's cut Senator Kerry a bit of slack and assume for a moment that he was intending to make a joke about President Bush ... why tell a joke that makes light of people giving life and limb for our country?

My own personal assessment is that this is simply a continuation of Kerry's elite brand of liberalism that began in the 1960s. It's the type of baby boomer elitism that continues to believe the world revolves around them. While the 1960s ended 36 years ago, they still talk as if they were smoking weed and joining a sit-in. Of course, they've updated their language and shed the Birkenstocks (at least in public).

In fact, if you listen really closely I think you can hear Kerry start to say Vietnam instead of Iraq. Seriously. Here's what he said: "Education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq."

The next time you see the video (click here to watch it), listen really closely and see if you can't hear him start to say "Viet" and then quickly change it to Iraq.

And then there was this gem which quickly surfaced on Drudge and then went worldwide.

Finally, you can't expect youtube to get left out. This is the "John Kerry Guide to Stand Up Comedy."

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Follow the Money

This post comes from the Power Line blog and provides an interesting analysis of the upcoming mid-term elections.

        Senate races: What the money says

        Tradesports is the Internet site that brokers bets (or futures contracts) on just about everything, politics included. Donald Luskin has a good explanation of how the Tradesports futures contracts work in a column on the betting on the North Korean long-range missile test ("Tradesports' bad call").

        The Tradesports betting line introduces a reality principle that is lacking in, say, any given Star Tribune Minnesota Poll. At present, if I understand the betting line correctly, the odds of the GOP losing the House are roughly the same as the GOP retaining its majority in the Senate.

        What about individual races? From the perspective of the GOP candidate, I'll divide them into Favorites, Underdogs and Long Shots. As of this moment, here's what the money says (per the last traded futures contract) in the Senate races that have attracted most attention (ours and others'):


        George Allen, Virginia (72)
        Bob Corker, Tennessee (65)
        Jim Talent, Missouri (59)


        Tom Kean, New Jersey (37)
        Michael Steele, Maryland (30)
        Conrad Burns, Montana (25)

        Long Shots:

        Rick Santorum, Pennsylvania (12.7)
        Mike DeWine, Ohio (8.5)
        Mark Kennedy, Minnesota (7)

        The Tradesports betting line also places our favorite governor, Minnesota's extremely successful Tim Pawlenty, in my Underdog category (33), trailing Democratic challenger Mike Hatch. It is a line that indicates to me how strongly the headwinds are blowing against Republicans this year.