Saturday, February 07, 2004

Stop Making Sense

No, no, no.  I’m not thinking about the Talking Heads video, I’m, as Kim du Toit states, “Gobsmacked.”  Why?  Because, as Kim points out, Cook Country Illinois is not going to prosecute a homeowner who “whacked a goblin” who thought he could invade a home that was not his and help himself to various and sundry items the homeowner was the rightful owner of.  Unfortunately, for the goblin, the homeowner was home and owned a pistola.  Why, you may ask, would Cook County even consider prosecuting the homeowner?  Because the homeowner’s pistola FOI card was not current.  But, in a fit of common sense, Cook County officials had this to say.

He purchased a gun legally. It was registered. What he failed to do was keep current (his FOI card), and we chose not to prosecute this memory lapse,” Goebel said.

Prosecution, Goebel said, “would violate the spirit of the law and be a narrow-minded approach.” He said his office decided not to pursue the case after conferring with Wilmette police, who brought the charge.

Hear, hear.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/07 at 09:14 AM
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“Kludge: a dirty, inelegant solution”

I had never read, or heard, the term which is the title to this post, which, is not necessarily surprising, since I am not a computer programmer and willingly profess my ignorance of technical jargon and computer programming.  Still, I like the term.  I happened across the term in an article titled Things fall apart.  Published in The Economist, the article takes a look at an emerging theory that asks the question “What if the dark energy and dark matter essential to modern explanations of the universe don’t really exist?”

An interesting cosmological question.

Via J. Orliln Grabbe.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/07 at 09:04 AM
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Friday, February 06, 2004

Should Efficient Market Theory Be a Hypothesis?

Alex Tabarrok, at Marginal Revolution, has a short post up concerning the game Marketocracy.  Alex’s description of the game.

Marketocracy is a game where investors are given $1 million in virtual money to build a mutual fund, much like fantasy baseball. Currently some 55,000 players manage 65,000 fantasy mutual funds. But at Marketocracy fantasy becomes reality (I ought to be paid for that line) because the sponsoring firm monitors and ranks the performance of all the traders using an algorithm incorporating short and long-term analysis, market sector, risk and so forth. The stock picks of the top 100 portfolios are then used to create a real portfolio of stocks, the M100 (MOFQX). In addition to fame, the players have an incentive to trade carefully because top managers are paid a percentage of the assets in the fund!

Alex had an opportunity to invest in one of these funds, but passed it up, because,

I demurred based on efficient market theory and bought Webvan instead. Ugh.

Lesson:  Question everything and think for yourself.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/06 at 02:06 PM
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Hey Coach, Can I Go In Now?  I Sat in the Corner for Five Minutes Already

Radley Balko provides a little history on GOP Rep., and former Nebraska football coach, Tom Osborne.  Really no surprises there.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/06 at 01:55 PM
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Can You Tell Me How to Get to the Swann’s House?

Greg Swann’s son, Cameron, was tasked with writing an essay, which, would provide directions to the Swann home from the school which Cameron attends.  Cameron, dutifully, completed the assignment, but, unfortunately, the individual who assigned the task, felt, that Cameron had not taken the essay assignment seriously.  The instructor thus required Cameron complete a re-write of the essay.  What follows, is Cameron’s re-write.

From the edge of the parking lot, turn left. Go straight. When you reach the crossing guards on Peoria Avenue, turn right. Cross 39th Avenue. Go straight until you reach 37th Avenue. Turn right. Walk straight until you reach Cochise Drive. Turn left. Walk straight until you reach 3608 W Cochise Drive. Stop walking. Think about a universe with no style, with no creativity, overrun with mediocrity. Cry yourself to sleep.

Now, go and read the essay Cameron orignally submitted, which, was deemed unsatisfactory and sarcastic.  Greg also has some comments on this, and, allows us to read his letter to the school on this matter.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/06 at 01:37 PM
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More on North Korea

Sasha Castel, spurred on by the recent Anne Applebaum piece I commented on below, has more on the total disregard for individuals that is the defining factor of socialism/communism/marxism, no matter how loud the faithful preach from their bully pulpits that the ideology they are propounding is for the “people.”  Sasha has many links embedded in her piece for you to peruse.

Via InstaPundit.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/06 at 01:19 PM
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Observed Buying Lunch

After visiting with my co-conspirator, in exercising my duty to limit the amount of “enforced exaction” of my monies, I drove through what would be classified as the “inner city” of Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Our patriotic endeavor had instilled a hunger in me for classic Americana victuals, so I pulled into one of the “inner city” mom and pop rib cribs to sample their wares.

Mom and pop businesses are typically my favorite places to spread my dollars, and I wasn’t disappointed with the heaping helping of rib tips, fries and slaw the rib joint served up to satisfy my hunger.  With apologies to the Colonel, it was finger lickin good eatin.

What I mostly enjoyed though, during my short visit, was one particular sign mom and pop had posted.  They had the standard signs, “No Smoking,” “No Cell Phones,” and “In God We Trust Everyone Else Pays Cash.”  They also had, in deference to their location and the gangstas swaggering around, “Only 3 Young’uns in the Store at a Time.”  But the sign that got me going was this, “Pull Up Your Pants While in the Rib Crib.”  And the best thing about this, was, when a couple of gangstas sauntered in, pants down to their knees, ignored the sign and attempted to order.  Mom, standing behind the counter, steps up as if to take their order, and says, “Boys, if youse is going to get something to et, get them pants pulled up.”  They meekly complied.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/06 at 12:50 PM
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Tax Quote

Posting may be limited today as I will be burdened with “tax planning.”  I leave you with the below quote as I suffer under my “enforced exactions.”

“Tax planning is totally legal and the right of every American.

Over and over again courts have said that there is nothing sinister in so arranging one’s affairs so as to make taxes as low as possible.

Everybody does so, rich or poor, and do right, for nobody owes any public duty to pay more taxes than the law demands.

Taxes are enforced exactions, not voluntary contributions.”

- Justice Learned Hand
of the United States Supreme Court


Posted by John Venlet on 02/06 at 07:44 AM
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Thursday, February 05, 2004


A “sexy bridge.”

Via Brian’s Culture Blog.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/05 at 09:19 AM
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Asking the Right Question

Robert, at the blog Astropolis, is asking the right question in regards to the Cubans who so ingeniously have been attempting to free themselves from Castro’s slavery in Cuba by converting old cars into boats.

Can someone tell me why the United States government would send back, to the steamy and decrepit dictatorship of Fidel Castro, people such as these - so obviously ingenious and innovative?

Robert’s post is complete with a photo of the freedom vehicle and a summation of the recent articles concerning these freedom loving individuals.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/05 at 09:13 AM
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Yeah, But It’s An Addiction

Jacob Sullum, at Reason’s Hit & Run, neatly sums up C. Everett Koop’s, Julius Richmond’s, Jesse Steinfeld’s and David Satcher’s call for a $2 dollar increase in cigarette taxes as a treatment method to induce people “addicted” to smoking to quit.

In other words, people who can’t break tobacco’s tenacious hold suddenly find that they can when the price of cigarettes goes up. Apparently, the free choice that is lost when you start smoking can be restored through taxation. Only the fleeced are truly free.

Time for a Fuente Cubanito and a cup of joe.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/05 at 08:39 AM
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Excellent photo, with accompanying caption, of seconds before crash of F-16 Falcon.

Update: Repaired link.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/05 at 08:24 AM
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Taking Out the Trash Used to Be Simple

Kim du Toit has a few words to say about taking out the trash, not all of them kind.  My personal favorite from Kim’s post.

2. As kitchen trashcan gets full, make sons take trashbags out to outside trashcan.

The method mentioned above, works wonderfully, most of the time, though my sons have a tendency to grumble about this from time to time.

Kim also looks at why taking out the trash has become more burdensome.  I’ll give you a hint why, it has to do with government.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/05 at 08:14 AM
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British Humor and an Aviation Note

Click this link to Samizdata for a morning laugh.

Update:  For those in need of more erudite material in the morning, and, who have an interest in aviation.  Samizdata also informs us of a plane for sale.  Not just any plane though, it is an “Me-109e-7 (upgraded from a -1)...”

Posted by John Venlet on 02/05 at 07:38 AM
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A Prognostication on “The Passion”

“‘This will be the catalyst for the conversion of hundreds of thousands of people,’ said the Rev. Jerry Johnston, pastor of First Family Church in Kansas City, Kan.”

Greg Swann, who posted the above quote, doesn’t doubt that this could very well be the case.  My money won’t bet against it either.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/05 at 07:33 AM
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