Friday, April 30, 2004

What to Do, What to Do

Aaron Haspell, who blogs God of the Machine, has a post up titled “Business Ethics” where he presents a dilemma, so to say, on a couple of items sold at auction (lamps), where, after the bids are finalized, price tags are discovered, showing the lamps are quite a bit less expensive than the winning bid, and, could possibly be purchased at another retailer’s shop at a lower price.  What do you do?

I think caveat emptor applies, as there was no misrepresentation made as to the value of the lamps.  Bids were made, and a winning bid was accepted.

Now, what about the seller’s business goodwill?  Does the seller, who auctioned the items, owe it to the winning bidder to drop the price, or rescind the sale, to maintain goodwill?  Once again I say no.  The sale took place at auction, rather than a buy off the shelf retail shop, where other considerations would apply, and a price agreement would, in all likelihood, be agreed upon.

With that said, I will add that the seller’s, the auctioneer, mistake, was lack of attention to detail.  He was not familiar with the piece being sold, but he does not owe the winning bidder any concessions.  Purchasing at auction is different than purchasing at a retail shop.

Posted by John Venlet on 04/30 at 09:16 AM
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“The Way I Should”

Was listening to a little Iris DeMent this morning, and thought I’d post the lyrics to the song which is the title to this post.  The song expresses a sentiment I agree with.

“A cold wind against my shoulder woke me up in the middle of the night
An Autumn leaf was scraping against my window
like it was trying hard to get inside
and then a ghost that I had met before kept me up ‘til dawn
and everything I thought was right was suddenly all wrong
He said, “Your score is looking pretty bad”
and then he asked me what it was that I had to show

So I went running down a list of things
some were real, but on some of them I lied
‘cause I felt I had to justify each breath that I’d been breathing in this life
Then I realized I was playing into someone else’s rules,
trying to keep my score up in a game I did not choose
Then I looked that ghost straight in the eye
and said “You’d better not be coming back by again”

And it’s true that I don’t work near as hard
as you tell me that I’m supposed to
I don’t run as fast as I could
but I live just the way I want to
and that’s the way I should

October’s leaves were dancing ‘round
like angels dressed in robes of Red and Gold
but November’s come and gone now
and they’re lying in the gutter out along the road
They’re gonna make their way out to the ditch or someday to the sea,
they’ll get to where they’re going without the help of you or me
and if each life is just a grain of sand
I’m telling you man, this grain of sand is mine

And it’s true that I don’t work near as hard
as you tell me that I’m supposed to
I don’t run as fast as I could
but I live just the way I want to
and that’s the way I should
but I live just the way I want to
and that’s the way I should”

(c) 1996 Songs of Iris ASCAP

Posted by John Venlet on 04/30 at 08:45 AM
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Semper Fi

“Well, it’s surprising, to be honest. ... I have spoken to a lot [of Marines] who have been engaged in some of these firefights. In fact, I was in one of the combat surgical rooms where they were working on a couple of these guys.

Two of them had been ambushed, not where the main fight is going on tonight, but their unit had been ambushed east of Fallujah. And seven people rolled in. There were two that had gunshot wounds. And they pulled a huge slug, a bullet, out of the leg of one of the Marines. And another one had a bullet wound right through the back.

And, amazingly, they were trying to convince their commanders that they were ready to go and go back out. I have been really surprised at ... the high degree of morale that these Marines have shown. Remember, they have only been here for a month and a half. Many of these units that are here now engaged in the initial invasion last year and were in Iraq for several months.

Now they’re back. But they seem to be engaged. They’re taking casualties. But it’s really surprising. You don’t see much head-dragging or anything like that. I mean, you know, what you see is kind of more encouragement for these guys.

And, for example, the one who had the gravest—the bullet in and out through his back—was trying to convince his commander that he’d be back. And his commander actually promised him that his spot was still going to be there. Another soldier who was injured in that huge firefight yesterday who I spoke to earlier this morning, he wanted to get back out there. But the only problem was, was that half his shoulder was missing around his firing arm.

But he was convinced he would be able to sit there on a roof and not have to run anywhere and he could contribute that way. So it’s been surprising. But ... the Marines that are here certainly appear to be geared up for whatever the future holds.”

From a Paula Zahn interview of Scott Peterson who is embedded with the 1st Marine Expeditionary Unit, Fallujah.

Hoo, Hah.

Via Musings of The GeekWithA.45.

Posted by John Venlet on 04/30 at 07:16 AM
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Too Smart to be an Enforcer

One of my five brothers, at one point in time, was considering becoming a cop.  I was flabbergasted when he told me this.  During the qualification process, various tests were administered, physical, intelligence, and psychological.  The physical and psychological tests he passed with aplomb.  Just prior to one of our flyfishing outings, he was administered a battery of intelligence tests.  As we sat in camp, on a Friday night, I asked him how the process was going.  He informed me that everything had gone swimmingly, except for the fact that he seemed to have scored too highly on the intelligence tests to be of much use to the enforcers.  It appears he isn’t the only individual.

“Police reject candidate for being too intelligent.”

You see, if you’re too intelligent, you probably won’t arrest 97 year old ladies for having expired license tags, or taser, pepper spray, and knock to the ground blind 71 year old women.

Via Blog.

Posted by John Venlet on 04/30 at 06:58 AM
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A Blogger Report on Supreme Court Doings

Al Maviva attended the courts session where oral arguments were presented in the Padilla case and Hamdi case.  In a post at, he shares his impressions.

Posted by John Venlet on 04/30 at 06:12 AM
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Under the Big Top

Laaadies and gentlemennn.  May I have your attention please.  I direct your attention to the center ring.  Feast your eyes on individuals who have accomplished feats of derring-do, spewed forth mountains of blather, and generally made a nuisance of themselves.  I give you,

“Presidential Candidate John Kerry Opens Door for Rival Sharpton to Address Democratic National Convention.”

Mencken would have a field day with this.

Link via Drudge.

Posted by John Venlet on 04/30 at 05:51 AM
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Thursday, April 29, 2004

Opening Day of Trout Season

My brother Mort, his bro-in-law Rick, myself, my boy J, Bert, and my faithful Aussie, Iz, hangin round the Jeep, Woodrow, on Opening Day afternoon, deep in the Mason Tract.  It doesn’t get much better than that, unless we’re in the stream, with trout rising to hatching mayflies.


Posted by John Venlet on 04/29 at 03:35 PM
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“Tu Quoque”

I don’t often stop by Steven Den Beste’s site, but when I stopped by Aaron’s Rantblog today, he recommended taking the time to read one of Den Beste’s posts filed as “The Truth Is…”.  So I did.  A couple of excerpts from Den beste’s post.

“For instance, The Truth Is… that “liberals” who suddenly have started talking about reintroducing the draft are not in the slightest concerned with military readiness, and do not believe that filling out the army with draftees is an essential step in winning the war. What’s actually going on is that they know that one of the biggest reasons that the people of America ultimately turned against the Viet Nam war was because it was being fought primarily by draftees. And one of the biggest reasons why America’s college campuses were particular focal points for anti-war activism was because it was men that age who were being drafted.”

Also this.

“The Truth Is that many of them recognize that the primary justification for our invasion was to gain the opportunity to establish a liberal democracy there, in hopes of infecting the entire region with liberal ideas (using “liberal” in its traditional meaning) and of “destabilizing” the entire region. They recognize that to be dangers to themselves or to close friends of theirs, and hope to prevent it. If Iraq disintegrates into civil war, or if it is once again ruled by a brutal dictator, then the Iraqi people will again suffer but these leaders would all heave a sigh of relief. (And who knows? They might even be able to get back onto the gravy train again.)”

And there is plenty more to read by clicking the link, above, to Den Beste’s post.

Posted by John Venlet on 04/29 at 02:05 PM
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On Affinity for Israel

Why do individuals either support Israel or denounce Israel?  Is it because of the Jewish people?  Is it Holocaust related?  Is it because the Israelis have stood up to the Arab bullies and gotten up every time the bullies have tried to knock them down?  Is it because of the Israelis success in an area of the world where success is measured either by the amount of oil lucre in your pocket, or the number of goats and camels one has accumulated?  There are a myriad of reasons, I’d say, depending on the individual.  Roger L. Simon was asked why he has an affinity for Israel and he answered the question in a post titled “Sympathy for the Devil (not).”

Why do I support Israel?  Because I think, of all the countries in the world, Israel is closest in spirit to what being an American is all about.

Via Mike Silverman at Red Letter Day.

Posted by John Venlet on 04/29 at 01:26 PM
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And People Still Deny It Happened

On April 29. 1945 Dachau concentration camp was liberated.  It was not a pretty sight.

Here you can view the art of Jan Komski, an Auschwitz survivor.

Damn Nazis.

Link to Komski’s art, and story, via Fred Lapides.

Posted by John Venlet on 04/29 at 09:35 AM
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Popeye’s Spinach, It’s Not Just for Muscles

When growing up, I heartily enjoyed Popeye cartoons.  There was just something about Popeye popping open a can of spinach, when in a tight spot, and muscling his way free, that appealed to me.  Today, BBC News is reporting that spinach possibly may hold a cure for blindness.

Via Fred Lapides.

Posted by John Venlet on 04/29 at 09:18 AM
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How Deep Does the Rabbit Hole Go?

Over at Dean’s World, Tim Machesney posts a short essay, written by Michael Levy, titled “The Bonding of Science and Spirituality.”  From Levy’s essay.

“FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS, religious dogma and tribal superstitions kept scientific thinkers in a locked box. Many outspoken scholars were executed because their scientific findings were looked upon as heresy. It is only in the past two hundred years that free academic study of science was allowed to flourish unhindered by ancient religious doctrines.

Once modern-style academic scientific studies were established, they rejected and ridiculed anything spiritual or metaphysical if it could not be proven by a mathematical formula. Even today, a few professors and scientists are closed-minded to anything that resembles spirituality. But things are changing at a very rapid pace. For just as religion had to succumb to scientific knowledge, science is beginning to unravel the mysteries of the universe with quantum physics; and scientists’ latest findings are stretching the field into the realms of metaphysical spirituality.”

Posted by John Venlet on 04/29 at 07:16 AM
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Drudge Abuse

Drudge gets a ton of traffic through his site, and for someone who supposedly has an eye for peeking around corners, to see the real story, he posts some misleading headlines.  Case in point in this headline link this morning.

“43,220 Road Deaths in ‘03; 13-Year High; SUVs Cited…”

The actual article headline.

“Highway Deaths Hit 13-Year High in 2003.”

Here’s the SUV citation from the article Drudge links to.

“It was the fifth straight year road deaths rose, although passenger car fatalities decreased. Sport utility vehicle deaths went up roughly 10 percent over 2002, with more than half of the victims in those crashes killed in rollovers. Motorcycle deaths also jumped.”

Which is followed later in the article by this statement.

“Sport utility deaths went up by 456 with more than two- thirds of victims not wearing seat belts, the safety agency said.”

The actual culprit for the increase in deaths, as reported within the same article.

“In 2003, more than half of those killed in passenger vehicles were not wearing safety belts. Forty percent of all fatalities, or 17,401 deaths, were alcohol-related, essentially unchanged from 2002.”

Neither of the above culprits, seatbelt use or drunks who drive, are effected by increasing the number of laws which supposedly will protect us.  It ain’t the SUV’s which are the problem.

Posted by John Venlet on 04/29 at 06:35 AM
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Less than Impressed, I Guess

George Packer, writing for, admits an addiction to reading blogs, but states “The Revolution Will Not Be Blogged.”  He seems to have the impression that blogs are written, for the most part, by bright young men, who don’t get out of their pajamas, and who hash and rehash over a subject, to such a degree, it goes dead.  I think he’s reading the wrong blogs.

Via Arts & Letters Daily.

Update:  Daniel Drezner has some half-digested thoughts of his own, and multiple links to other’s thoughts, on Packer’s piece.

Posted by John Venlet on 04/29 at 06:06 AM
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Wednesday, April 28, 2004

To the Cops, We’re All Just Criminals

Here’s the explanation, from the Highland Park police, a suburb of Dallas, TX, of why they handcuffed and jailed a 97 year old woman for having an expired license tag.

“Police said they have a no-exceptions policy. Everyone gets treated the same—arrested, handcuffed, and taken to jail even on minor traffic warrants.”

Is it any wonder why I have a no-exceptions policy regarding the relative moronic intelligence of the police?

“97-Year-Old Woman Cuffed, Booked For Unpaid Ticket.”

Via Drudge.

Posted by John Venlet on 04/28 at 04:21 PM
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