The Electric Commentary

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Everybody was kung-fu fighting

On TNR.com, Gregg Easterbrook has an insightful article into why special effects don't wow us the way they used to. I think he's largely correct that, for special effects to be truly awesome, there needs to be some suspension of disbelief on the audiences part. Movies like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon use special effects gratuitously, bestowing superpowers on normal people for no good reason (just think how much more amazing old Jackie Chan stunts are by comparison). He also includes some of his trademark "movie physics" analyses. Check it out.

Welcome...

to Peter Johnson and Ryan Simatic who join my brother Danny and me on the commentary. We will, technology willing, be adding my brother's friend and classmate Brad shortly as well. We look forward to reading their stuff and childishly bantering about it in the comments section.

World Record Shattered

See Article. And the accusations of performance enhancing drug use can't be far behind.

An interesting point about Mike, Mel and preaching to the choir

From Andrew Sulivan:
It occurred to me as I witnessed the unanimity in the audience watching "Fahrenheit 9/11" that I had been in a similar situation before. Yes - this was exactly what it felt like at an early showing of Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ." Both movies were designed for people who already held - as theological certitude - the basic line of the work. Both used the most egregious devices of propaganda to reinforce this point. Gibson used extreme and constant violence - as if to say that recoiling from that horror was proof that his vision of Christianity was correct. The loving camera shots of pure pornographic pain and gore were devices to end thought, short-cut any audience autonomy, and reinforce orthodoxy. And that was Moore's device as well. The long views of the faces of various villains; the camera edits to create menace; the emotional manipulation of a bereaved mother; the swelling, ominous orchestral swoops. All we didn't have was a Pieta scene. One was designed for the unthinking hordes of the far right; the other for the unthinking hordes of the far left. Both were deeply depressing indicators of how far our culture has curdled into unthought and emotional extremism. Neither sought to convert or explain or persuade. Both were designed to bludgeon the viewer into ideological conformity. And if you resist? You are a heretic or a dupe. Whatever happened to "intelligent viewer"?

Monday, June 28, 2004

United by Love, Divided by Law

I attended the “Pride” parade this Sunday in San Francisco. Common among the marchers were couples celebrating their marriage and long-standing commitments to each other. Often they held up enlarged copies of their marriage certificates granted by San Francisco City Hall, or signs that pronounced how long they had been together. The parade put a very tangible human emotion to the issue of gay marriage and I could see the obvious joy the couples shared by declaring their one and only loves to the world. One of the arguments I hear in opposition to gay marriage is the supposed promiscuous, wanton lifestyle of homosexuals and the assumed damage that lifestyle would bring to the institution of marriage. These couples seemed to indicate otherwise; they held signs that read: 9 years together, 12 years together, 16 years, 30 years, and it seemed genuine. Then again, maybe they were displaying the signs to further the gay marriage agenda. They did look very believable, but I suppose I would be foolish to trust someone based on their looks because then I would be…making a judgment on a group’s character based solely on the outward appearances of a few members of that group…and that would be foolish, right?

Distinguishing Medical Marijuana from Recreational Pot

The Supreme Court has granted cert in Raich v. Ashcroft. This case, an appeal from the 9th circuit, asks the Supreme Court to determine whether sick people in california who grow and use marijuana under doctor's orders are subject to the federal drug ban. The decision could make a big impact on the reach of the Interstate Commerce Clause.

The Interstate Commerce Clause has, for much of its history, been the tool of the government to do what it wants. Case law relating to the clause has consisted of the courts extending its power beyond what the framers could have possibly intended the clause to mean using terms like "having a substantial effect" on interstate commerce. The extention of the clause culminated in Wickard v. Filburn, a case in which the Court held that a farmer who grew wheat, for personal consumption, beyond the quotas of the Agricultural Adjustment Act was subject to congress under the Interstate Commerce Clause. The court finally put an end to its ridiculous extension on the Interstate Commerce Clause in two important decision. The first was Lopez, a case in which the court held that Congress did not, under the Interstate Commerce Clause, have the power to make a federal law forbidding people from carrying guns near schools. The second was Morrison, a case in which the Court held that Congress did not have the power to pass a federal law that provides a civil remedy for gender-motivated violence.

Raich, however, has the potential to put Commerce Clause jurisprudence back to the Wickard standard. Ann Althouse notes the similarity between Raich and Wickard:

"The 9th Circuit solved that problem by characterizing the homegrown medical use as separate from the commercial market in marijuana, both "the broader illicit drug market -- as well as any broader commercial market for medicinal marijuana." The idea is that a home-growing, recreational user could quite easily turn to selling his crop, and the need to control the market justifies reaching him, but the home-growing medical user does not pose a similar risk, so Congress cannot similarly justify looping the medical patient into the large federal scheme to control the sale of marijuana. A key precedent(Wickard) involves a farmer who grew more than his allotment of wheat, but planned to use the wheat on his farm and not sell it. The Court saw the wheat as "overhang[ing] the market": the farmer might change his plan and sell the wheat. Thus, Congress, pursuant to a plan to control supply in the wheat market, could also regulate the home-consumed wheat. Similarly, the Controlled Substances Act means to control the market in marijuana, and people who claim their crop is for home use might turn around and sell it, so controlling their production is a legitimate part of controlling the market. Will the Court say the medical users' supply does not overhang the market? Arguably, these users are off in a different sphere of life where they are not tempted to become dealers."

Althouse's understanding of the Wickard decision seems to miss a key point. The Court did not say that the farmer could not grow wheat for personal use because he may change his mind and sell it if the market was good. They said he could not grow his own wheat beyond the quota because, if he was growing his own wheat, he was not buying other wheat and therefore affecting the market and in turn affecting interstate commerce. This decision will probably have less of an impact on the Raich case than Althouse contends because there is no legal market for marijuana. Could the court really argue that Raich can't grow her own marijuana for personal use because it affects the market, and interstate commerce, by making it unnecessary for her to buy it elsewhere?

The problem is this idea applies equally to those that grow marijuana for medicinal purposes and those that grow marijuana to make Pink Floyd tolerable. Either way, it is beyond the power of commerce to stop them because it wants them to participate in the weed-market. The Court won't see it that way but hopefully they will at least find some way to distinguish medical marijuana from recreational marijuana.

Why I can't vote Republican...

Stephen Spruiell has an interesting article about what was supposed to be a free trade bill but turned in to a multimillion dollar corporate welfare giveaway. This included a subsidy and/or tax break to the rum industry and the tobacco industry. The good bits:

Congress, spending like a drunken sailor for the last four years, has finally come right out and subsidized rum and whaling. Fine. But if Bush allows them to dole out yet more farm subsidies, take a step backward on tax reform, and create a large distortion in the economy, he might see what's left of his credibility with fiscal conservatives sail over the horizon.

Read the whole thing.

Rum and tobacco? What exactly are they doing in the capitol all day?

(Via Andrew Sullivan, who has several good posts today.)

Friday, June 25, 2004

He's so lucky. His parents gave him...

a mutation. Researchers that have been studying an unusually muscular five-year-old have determined that his superior strength is caused by a mutation that disrupts the gene that encodes a muscle protein called myostatin er something. He will be enrolled in Professor Charles Xavier's school for gifted youngsters in Westchester, New York in the fall.

Mandering Meanderings

A follow up to my Karl Rove post. If the parties have become more extreme, gerrymandering is almost certainly the reason. Wisconsin lost a seat in the house during the last census and was forced to reapportion. This resulted in districts that were completely safe for the incumbents (especially in the Milwaukee area). You may have also heard of the controversial redistricting in Texas that had democratic legislators illegally hiding out in a neighboring state so that they would not have to vote on the new borders. Every time a state redraws it's line, fewer and fewer contested areas exist. What is the result?

Normally over the course of an election the two candidates will start on the fringes of their respective parties. This is because, for the most part, active partisans dominate preliminary elections. However, once the nomination is in hand, the candidates are forced to the center to attempt to pick up swing votes which, by and large determine the winner on any election. In an uncontested district there is no pull to the center. If there is no credible threat from the opposite side of the spectrum, why cater to them at all?

Which raises the question, why do legislators get to draw their own districts? Any ideas?

Three Umpires are sitting in a bar...

discussing the method by which they make their calls.
The first umpire says, "I calls em as I sees em."
The second umpire says, "I calls em as they is."
And the third umpire says "They ain't nothin till I calls em."

Serena Williams and Andy Roddick have accused Karolina Sprem of being unsporting for accepting a point awarded to her in error in her upset win against Venus Williams at Wimbledon.

Is it really unsporting to accept the umpire's call? Was it unsporting that Venus didn't say anything? Was it sportsmanlike for John McEnroe to acknowledge the "incorrect" calls made by umpires throughout his career? There are a lot of close calls in tennis or any sport. This wasn't one of them. However, Roddick and Serena are trying to draw a line. How close does an "incorrect" call have to be for the player who benefits from it to accept it and not be called "unsporting?" The calls are not for the players to make on center court at Wimbledon whether they help or hurt the player.

Blame should not go to Sprem for accepting the point, it should go to the official for making a bad call and for the event organizers and the sport's governing body for not having extra officials, better score-keeping methods etc.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Big Opening Weekend For Fahrenheit 9/11

Michael Moore's "documentary" Fahrenheit 9/11 will open tomorrow on 868 movie screens nationwide. It is being touted as the biggest opening for a documentary ever. A documentary is a film or TV program presenting the facts about a person or event. If you are going to broaden the definition of "documentary" to include Fahrenheit 9/11 the number of theaters that showed this "documentary" was still greater than 868.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Voter Turnout

Dan (and Andrew) make a good point that while Bush is often labeled as an extreme right winger, he is objectively a "foot in the oven, foot in the icebox" moderate. This makes him an unpalatable candidate in my view, as I am only conservative with regard to fiscal matters and he spends money like Ted Kennedy at a drive through liquor store. He has increased the budget of almost every department, put through a huge new entitlement that will only raise the cost of prescription drugs further, and he keeps imposing tariffs on things (First steel, but most recently Chinese furniture. From Ahren).

Then, he goes off and compounds my dislike by supporting increased entanglement with religion, a ban on stem cell research, and the horrifying Federal Marriage Amendment. How has this all come to pass?

Karl Rove is in charge of this shift. He is the president's chief strategist. He's a stats guy and he thinks that he can win the next election just on the strength of "the republican base" if it turns out in nearly full support. Apparently the base no longer contains fiscal conservatives. He stated that in 2000 "over four million evangelicals stayed home" and has made it his quest to get them all out to vote. If he can, he believes that the president can not be beaten. This should scare everyone to death.

I often say things like "I like low voter turnout" and "please don't vote today" when an election comes up. This will usually get me dirty looks. But I have a rational reason for this. Most people don't know a thing about the candidate they vote for. Some will not vote for Bush because he's an "imperialist, racist, anti-environmental Hitler-ite." Some will not vote for Kerry because he's an "unpatriotic soft, wishy-washy, elitist, socialist who's out to destroy America and looks like Lurch from the Addams Family." Both of these are wrong (Well, except for the Lurch part). Fortunately, these people tend to cancel each other out, leaving the real decisions to those of us who pay attention (this is similar to how Sandra Day O'Connor operates on the US Supreme Court). I think we usually do a pretty good job. But Karl Rove is threatening to upset the balance.

For every extra member of the "Republican Base" that comes out, it basically cancels out a vote from an "informed" person. If he can get enough, he can disenfranchise all of the informed people! This strategy is not new, as democrats have been busing people to the polls for years. But this strategy has more potential for success. The social right is already organized into a block. There is no need to drive around buses and round them up. Just to spread the word. The president has been doing a smashing job at hurling out bribes (note: almost all discretionary government spending is a bribe to someone). This is what is responsible for the increase in discretionary spending under Bush. Bribing old people with drugs, and evangelicals with money.

Now maybe fiscal conservatives will stay home this election (right now I will not vote for either candidate) in which case the balance will be restored somewhat, but this is something to keep an eye on.

And next time someone says that voter turnout is too low in America, ask them if they want more of these people voting.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Bush is such a...

Liberal. Andrew Sullivan points out another example of how the president is your typical big-government liberal. How do politicians tell eachother apart these days? Does the Bull-Moose Party have a candidate this year?

Le Tour for Le Dummies
July is almost here and that means its time for The Tour de France. The only cycling race that Americans pay any attention to. This is a shame because cycling is a really great sport. Cycling, the Tour in particular, is the ultimate test of strength and stamina and guts and heart. It is full of athletes whose bodies are so finely tuned that most of us cannot even comprehend being in such good shape. And most of these guys don't have the egos that typically go along with such abilities. Most of us that watch Tour coverage are really only watching to see how Lance does so few of us really understand exactly how a stage race works or why it is a team sport.

The Tour de France consists of 20 stages and a prologue and covers about 2,100 miles (3,395k if you are French) and crosses the Alps and the Pyrenees mountains. Each stage within the tour is either a "road race" or a "time trial." Road races are typically about 100 miles and all of the riders ride together. Time trials are about 30 miles and the riders leave about two minutes apart so they will not have the benefits of drafting and team support. There are 22 teams in this years tour with 9 riders per team. The overall title goes to the rider with the fastest time over all of the stages.

The interesting thing about the Tour is that not every rider is trying to win the race. Most of the teams are there to provide support for their team leader. The US Postal team, for example, is there to help Lance Armstrong win the race. Most teams have riders with different specialties. Some are sprinters. Some are Climbers. Some of them are basically bitches, or Domestiques whose job is to bring water and food to the leader and chase down breakaways and ride up front to provide a draft for the leader. Having strong bitches... er Domestiques is crucial for a team leader.

The Rider with the fastest time at the end of each stage wears the "yellow jersey" the following stage. Some of the team leaders are not even competing for the yellow jersey. There are other races within the race. Riders can score points by being among the first few to reach the top of certain climbs. Climbs are categorized by their length and incline with category four being the easiest and "beyond category" being the hardest. Points are awarded accordingly. The rider with the most climbing points at the end of each stage sports the climber's jersey which is white with red polka-dots. Seriously. There are also sprint points awarded for being among the first few to cross certain lines in sprinting situations. The Rider with the most sprint points wears a green jersey. There is also a white jersey for the best young rider (rookie).

I think what I like best about the tour is that most of the competitors are not out to win at any cost. They are out to win if, and only if, they are the best rider. Several years back, Lance and German star, Jan Ulrich were leading a stage together. Ulrich wiped out and fell hard down a hill on the side of the road. Lance did not attack. He waited for Ulrich to catch up before he made his move. Last year the favor was returned. Lance and Ulrich were the top two riders. During the 18th stage Lance's bike got caught on a fan's bag and he tumbled to the ground. Ulrich slowed his pace and allowed Lance to get back in the race before he made his move. It may have cost him the race but he knew that when he did it. He didn't want to beat Lance because Lance fell. He wanted to beat him because he was a better rider. He wasn't. It should be an exciting race this year.

Monday, June 21, 2004

The Mother of Invention
Kudos to Burt Rutan, Paul Allen and company for their success with SpaceShipOne. It is an amazing time we live in. Private Citizens, albeit rich private citizens, can fly to outer space.

Space exploration is important. However, since the time of the Apollo missions and the early days of the Shuttle, it isn't getting the attention it deserves. The government doesn't fund it as much, the media doesn't cover it as much and people don't seem to care about it as much. Many view it as an unnecessary ego display that has no practical, useful results. Many people would rather see its funding diverted to more "humanitarian" type causes. But NASA and its scientists have provided more than nice snapshots of planets and stars and galaxies. They have provided new, useful technology and answers to many difficult and important questions.

The prospect of private groups shooting for the stars may prove to be even more productive for humanity. Groups like Rutan's are well funded but the $20 million Paul Allen spent on SpaceShipOne is still pocket change compared to most government sponsored missions. This may be good. It forces them to be creative, to inexpensive ways around the barriers that stood in their way and removes the constraints that a bureaucracy would put on them. I think it was Carl Sagan who said that if government employees would have been charged with finding a cure for polio they would have come up with the best iron lung possible but would not have created a vaccine. Who knows where this will lead or what serendipitous discoveries will be made. With interest in space exploration somewhat rejuvenated and people like Allen willing to take the financial risk the sky is the limit. Or maybe its not.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Science and Journalism
We often hear stories in the news that center around themes like "Bush mispoke" and "kerry is longwinded." Eugene Volokh seems to have taken a particular dislike to these stories and dissected many of these claims made by sites like slate and spinsanity. I think that stories like these, like a lot of things, come down to the absence of scientific method. The facts are twisted to suit the theories rather than the theories twisted to suit the facts. If you start by theorizing that "Kerry's speech today will be long-winded" you will conclude, often erroneously, that many of his words were unnecessary but if you just take in the speech and form your theory later you will be forced to examine why he chose particular words and may come to a different conclusion. Volokh points out for example:
Kerry was asked:

Is the support for Roe v. Wade a critical point, a litmus test, for
court appointee you would make?

Kerry answered:

To the Supreme Court of the United States, yes.

The Kerryism edited version, which I assume is supposed to be equivalent
to Kerryism's original point but better put (remember their original
charter, which is "translat[ing]" Kerry's words "into plain English," by
removing "caveats and pointless embellishments") is:

Yes.

But that's not what Kerry wanted to say! It would be a stupid thing to
say, both from a policy perspective (even if he firmly supports
constitutional abortion rights, why should he turn it into a litmus test
for district court judges?) and from a political perspective (if he does
set up such a broad litmus test even for district court judges, he'd look
like a fanatic).

Science, and its methods, seems to apply to journalism and news in the same way it applies to launching rockets and splitting atoms. If you do it in the right order, you get good science and good journalism. If you do it in the wrong order you get pseudoscience and pseudojournalism.

The South Will Rise Again
Question: What do Georgia, Florida, Alabama, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Arkansas, South Carolina, Louisiana, and Mississippi have in common? If you guessed poor schools, an appreciation for motor sports and country music, questionable voting practice, funny accents or a rich heritage of owning other people you're probably right but thats not what I was looking for. A United Health Foundation survey marks these as the ten unhealthiest states in the nation.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

ONE MOORE TIME

Have you heard of the documentary "Supersize Me?" The subject of the film eats nothing but McDonald's for a month, always accepting every offer made to him. Do you want fries with that? Sure. Supersize? Absolutely. The movie is doing quite well, and prompted this Onion headline from the current issue:

"Michael Moore Kicking Self For Not Filming Last 600 Trips To McDonald's"

Michael and Me
A film by Ray Bradbury. Not really, but that would be classic. The author of Farenheit 451 called Michael Moore a "Screwed Asshole" for stealing his title in an interview in the Sweedish Daily paper Dagens Nyheter. "He stole my title and changed the numbers without ever asking me for permission," the 83-year-old Bradbury reportedly said in the interview.
When I read that "Bradbury reportedly tried to contact Moore about the title several months ago, but the filmmaker avoided him" it conjured up images of Moore's film Roger and Me in which Moore repeatedly tries to get into contact with the Chairman of GM who avoids him throughout the entire movie. I think that Bradbury should turn this into a "documentary." He could call it Michael and Me if he could get Moore's permission to use his title.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

NRAdio

The McCain-Feingold law is a piece of un-Constitutional garbage. The Supreme Court upheld it on first challenge, but it is now starting to come under more creative fire. First on the front lines is the National Rifle Association which plans to launch a "news and commentary program" on the radio. Under MF, corporate PACs are verboten (I'm sorry, that's forbidden. I don't know why I slipped into German there) from taking out an ad that advocates or opposes a candidate within 60 days of an election. This does not apply to news and commentary organizations. So if Peter Jennings goes on TV and says that President Bush was caught picking his nose with the quill pen used by Thomas Jefferson to write the Declaration of Independence, it is no problem. However, if the Federalist Society takes out an ad stating that John Kerry was picking his nose with the pen used by Alexander Hamilton to write the Federalist Papers, and it's within 60 days of the presidential election, it is illegal.

The NRA will run its show on a few local affiliates as well as on Sirius satellite radio. The line between advocacy and news (and especially commentary) is blurry, and this attempt by the government to regulate certain commercial speech could only result in someone testing the boundaries. So where will the court draw the line? The NRA has a perfect right to run a news show. There is no law restricting newsgathering and reporting to news organizations. If McDonald's wants to start a news network, focusing on all of the latest chicken nugget processing technology, there is no reason (other than reason) that they may not. Furthermore, the NRA's news selection is protected by the first amendment. The government can not restrict any speech based on its content. Precedent awards special protections to "the media" lest we all become uninformed boobs who do not pay attention to issues and vote for draft dodging drug users who start illegal wars (note: you will read that last sentence differently if you are a democrat than if you are a republican. You are both right). Assuming that this show is in form a news show, it will be free to rant about pro-gun positions for all of it's three hour time slot every day.

So this is what MF has wrought? Peta sponsored tofu wrestling? NRAdio? "The Anti-Abortion All Fetus Hour?" Tonight, Dan Rather marries Ted Koppel? Tonight, Bill O'Reilly shows exclusive photographs of the number 666 written on Al Franken's forehead? Tonight Brit Hume eats 15 Big Macs and smokes 24 packs of Marlboros and lives?

OK, so some of these are good ideas. But why should these groups have to go through this sham? And think about what the sham is. They must take on the appearance of objectivity, of an informer and not an advocate. They do not even want to be in this position. They are, essentially, forced to lie in order to be heard. It will confuse people more than it will inform them, and this is precisely what the first amendment was supposed to prevent.

It is as if it is written:

Congress shall make no law restricting info-mercials.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Huh?

This was a poll taken of 1,011 actual grown-ups in America. I bet some of them went to school and have jobs and everything. The poll provides no information on what percentage think Santa Clause is literally a fat guy in red that brings you presents at X-Mas.

ABC News PrimeTime Poll. Feb. 6-10, 2004. N=1,011 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3. Fieldwork by ICR.

"I'm going to ask about a few stories in the Bible. [See below.] Do you think that's literally true, meaning it happened that way word-for-word; or do you think it's meant as a lesson, but not to be taken literally?"


"The story of Noah and the ark in which it rained for 40 days and nights, the entire world was flooded, and only Noah, his family and the animals on their ark survived."
60% Literally True
33% Not Literally True
7% No Opinion

"The creation story in which the world was created in six days."
61% Literally True
30% Not Literally True
8% No Opinion

"The story about Moses parting the Red Sea so the Jews could escape from Egypt."
64% Literally True
28% Not Literally True
8% No Opinion

Friday, June 11, 2004

I received an email the other day that made me rethink my opinion on an issue that is prominent in the political scene in my town. The Madison (Wisconsin) City council recently voted, in a 15-5, decision to pass a smoke-free workplace ordinance to go into affect in 2005. A smoking ban for bars is still in the works. A member of my triathlon team sent an email to the entire team that informed us all that “we won!” when the ordinance passed. I was troubled by this because I already knew the result of the vote and “we” did not win. “We” lost a bit of freedom.

I was slightly troubled by the assumption that because I was a triathlete I was expected to take a particular stance on this issue. My guess is that the majority of the people that compete in endurance sports such as triathlon are anti-smoking, myself included. I have smoked three cigarettes in my life. The first was in Mexico when I was a senior in high school. I was slightly drunk and a really hot girl asked me if I wanted a cigarette. The second and third were this year. I bet a smoker friend that he couldn’t make it until the end of finals week without smoking. I smoked in front of him because it was fun to watch him fidget and I wanted to win $50.00. However, just because I don’t smoke, I hate being in smoky bars, and I hate smelling like smoke does not mean that I support a law that would make it illegal to smoke in restaurants or bars.

This issue should not be looked at as a division between smokers and non-smokers. It should be looked at as a division between tavern-owners and totalitarians. The ends that the supporters of the ban are aiming for sound pretty good to me but the means they employ to achieve those ends are scary. They ask that the government tell people (I’m talking about business owners, not smokers), that they must submit some control of their business--their means of production--to the government.

They do this by disguising the issue as one between smokers and non-smokers. Smoking IS a public health issue but, as Smoke-Free Madison points out, it is preventable. What they ignore is that it is preventable without the government telling the business owners what to do. That goes for second-hand smoke too. If you do not want to be in a smoking bar you should patronize the bars that, by choice of the owner, do not allow smoking. There are some.

I will probably enjoy bars more when they are smoke-free. For one thing, I bet they will be less crowded—an effect I’m sure the tavern owners will not appreciate as much. But, like so many order-versus-liberty debates, this is a big step down the slippery slope. What “health issue” will the government ban next? Here are some fun facts, one from the smoke free Madison website
and one from peak performance online

-14 out of every 1000 workers will die from lung cancer attributable to their worksite exposure. This statistic assumes 40 years exposure in that worksite. (It is interesting to note that the site does not give any information regarding how many people who work in places that allow smoking, like bars, work there for 40 years or how many of them smoke themselves. It does say, in another "fact," that many of the people who work in bars are students with little choice for jobs. This seems inconsistent with the 40 year requirement in the statistic that supports this argument.)

- Any athlete who participates in a strenuous test of endurance lasting about three hours or more has an increased chance of dying during - and for 24 hours following - the exertion, even when the athlete's chance of a death-door knock is compared with the risk incurred by a cigarette-smoking, sedentary layabout who spends the same 24 hours drinking beer and watching TV.

Maybe we should vote to ban marathons.

Police to let England fans smoke dope

Perhaps we can use this as a way to fight terror. The good bits:


From NICK PARKER in Portugal

ENGLAND fans will be allowed to smoke dope before Sunday’s crunch clash with France — to keep them calm.

Cops in Lisbon plan to crack down on drunk supporters while turning a blind eye to those spotted puffing on a spliff.

Pot-smoking fans have been assured they will not be arrested, cautioned — or even have their drugs confiscated.

Last night experts said the Portuguese police’s “Here We Blow” policy would reduce chances of a punch-up between rival fans.

From the Sun, via Drudge.




FULL CIRCLE

I noticed something strange today. Back when I was a kid, there was a Garfield cartoon. It started as just holiday specials, but eventually morphed into a Saturday morning cartoon (combined with US Acres). Garfield was voiced by voice actor Lorenzo Music, who has done hundreds of cartoon voices in his career. Another voice he performed was that of Peter Venkman in the Saturday morning cartoon "The Real Ghostbusters" (Note: Shortly after the release of the movie "Ghostbusters" some enterprising cartoonist penned a Ghostbusters cartoon that involved a skinny guy, a fat guy, a Gorilla, and a bat, fighting ghosts. I don't know how he managed to use the phrase "Ghostbusters" without getting sued or paying a big fee, but he did. Therefore, the Ghostbuster cartoon based on the movie was forced to go by "The Real Ghostbusters" to distinguish it from the fake "Ghostbusters." But I digress). Peter Venkman is played in the movie by Bill Murray. When the cartoon was made, Lorenzo got the job, as he naturally sounds like Bill Murray acting goofy. Think Karl in Caddyshack. Bill Murray's latest project is voicing Garfield, in Garfield the movie. It has come full circle.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

BLAME CANADA

Canada signed on to the Kyoto treaty. This is what they got. (From Instapundit)


 
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