Penn and Teller Call Bullshit on Al Gore

Check out this great clip from Penn and Teller’s show “Bullshit”. Al Gore is such a clown, but the scary kind of clown. Penn and Teller, on the other hand, are funny.

Good pub for the Tennessee Center for Policy Research here, which highlights Gore’s overuse of power while trying to make everyone else in the world feel guilty about their habits.

Oh wait, he bought carbon credits (from himself) to offset his consumption.

A Simple Tip for McCain

Dear Senator McCain,

I’m not sure why Senator Obama is busy campaigning in other countries.  I thought his goal was to be President of this country.  This seems like a point you, who also claim to want to be our President, would want to exploit.  I’m sorry none of the members of your posse thought of this, but they should have:

You should be on TV about every 30 minutes or so in both small towns and big cities calling Mr. Obama out.  At each of your tour stops, you should be pointing out the fact that you are talking to the people of this country (or at least trying to) while he’s busy talking to the people of other countries (with the press accompanying him).  You should be inviting him to jump on his plane and fly back to the U.S. immediately to debate you at the airport terminal, in the parking lot of the airport, or any other place you catch him out.

I’m not trying to help you get elected, I’m just sayin’…

The truth is, I’m no more excited about the prospect of you becoming President than I am Mr. Obama.  Whether it’s your constituency or his, whoever elects you is pretty much going to get what they deserve for supporting you.  It’s a shame that the rest of us are going to be stuck too.

But I Thought It Was About Limits

I don’t want to put words in anyone’s mouth here, but it seems like the Left (correctly) despises the idea of one man, the President, and more specifically the current President having too much power to regulate. They see this as a dangerous proposition to individual liberty.

I tend to agree.

Why, then, do they seem at the same time to favor giving this same power to a few hundred folks, Congress and the courts? Don’t the same principle and potential abuses apply whether the power is given to one man, one body, or *gulp* one party?

Althouse: Chemerinsky’s idea of “Enhancing Government.”.

So the liberal idea of “Enhancing Government” is about expansive federal regulatory power combined with enthusiasm for regulating business and enforcing federal rights.

HT Instapundit.

How Much Schooling is Enough?

I was listening to Dave Ramsey this afternoon and he fielded a call I’ve heard him take several times in the past–“Should I quite my job (or sell my house, or cash in my savings, or sell my kid, etc.) to go back to school and get a master’s degree?”  I think this is a pretty tough question to deal with.  On one hand, there’s a ton of knowledge to be gained by going back to school, and the fact that you’re paying to learn in an intense environment means that at least some of it will soak in.  On the other hand, is there any information they are giving you in school that you can’t get in a book or online?

I’ve considered an MBA several times.  It’s easy to talk myself out of it since my brother-in-law is storing his entire Duke MBA experience in our garage right now–all I have to do is open up boxes and start reading books.  But the advantage I see of going back to school, especially for business, is the connections you can make; the people you meet.  Those connections are a little tougher to make out in the real world, but it can be done.

I guess I tend to believe that the value is in the information you have and the people you know, not in the piece of paper you earned.  A degree doesn’t always imply an education, and an education doesn’t always imply a degree.  There’s no denying the fact that the degree can open some doors that the knowledge itself can’t.  Then again, the people you know can probably open more doors than both.  However, in the long term, it seems like knowledge and talent are ultimately going to trump everything.  As Dave Ramsey says, “Your raise will be effective when you are.”

And if your abilities are going to be discounted based solely on the fact that you don’t have the right degree, you probably aren’t keeping the right company to begin with.

At this point, more school almost seems like a luxury purchase to me.

Fed Plans to Meddle…Again

Because further regulating lending is the best way to protect consumers from predatory lenders who are in danger of not being paid.  Who are they trying to protect again?  Sure some people may lose their homes, but they are still free to go rent.  Last time I checked there were still plenty of houses and apartments for rent, and there’s nothing in the Constitution that guarantees us home ownership.

The real losers in this situation should be the institutional lenders who were handing out money like it was popcorn.  The people running these companies are supposedly educated and able to assess risk.  Of course, there really isn’t a need to assess your own risk if you know the tax payers are going forced to assume it for you courtesy of your old college classmates and buddies in the gov’ment.

Washington is so afraid that Wall Street may have to suffer through a bump in the road that they are willing to sell us down the river to keep it from happening.

Hell, why not take over the FICO and every other credit rating system while you’re at it?  You could tie it to income tax returns, making sure that only people who filed taxes had the opportunity to even rent.  And why not handle payroll for every company in the country while you’re doing that so that you can make sure that everyone’s being paid fairly?

More regulation=more expense for the consumer.  Thanks gov’ment!  You’ve effectively made yet another thing more expensive.

Parenting for Adults

When (if) my kid(s) decide to go to college as adults, I expect they’ll do some pretty stupid things during the first couple of years and beyond.  To me, making mistakes and dealing with the consequences are important aspects of the learning process; part of acquiring an education.  Luckily, the State of Tennessee now has taken it upon themselves to get involved in my chosen method of nonparenting, if my kid adult decides to drink a couple of cold beers on campus.

Let’s take this to its logical end.  Why not also notify the parents when they skip class, jaywalk, or get thrown out of an intramural floor hockey game for beating down an opposing player while protected with full goalie gear?  Not that I ever participated in any such activity as a student.  I did, however, have a friend who talked filthy talk at a football game once.  Luckily for him, his parents weren’t notified.

It’s nice to see that while State universities don’t have the ability to support actual academic programs, they still have the ability to parent effectively.

Artnorant

I know nothing about art. I take that back–the one thing I know about art is that a lot of the “modern art” doesn’t pass for art. Then again I guess that’s just an opinion. But a canvas painted black and I’m supposed to be admiring the width and length of the brush strokes? I don’t think so.

I think modern art is stuff like this video. It uses modern mediums, and is comprehensible by modern people like me (morons). Even if you don’t consider this art, you have to admit it’s really cool, unlike a black canvas.

ht SayUncle

Some Good Reading

Unfortunately, I don’t read as much as I used to–at least not books. I actually spend most of my time reading, but that’s mostly on the web–techie stuff, blogs, news, and millions of emails. I don’t get much of a chance to read fiction just for fun except in my, uh, “office”. Lately I’ve been reading a book of American short stories, and there’s some really good stuff in there that I’ve never read before.

I just finished “Imagine Kissing Pete”, which is a John O’Hara novella and part of Gibbsville, PA: The Classic Stories, which is going onto my “to read” list. The story follows a couple through a troubled marriage as seen through the eyes of their friend, the narrator. The story itself is interesting enough to keep your attention, but there are little bits of commentary scattered throughout that really make it a great read:

Prohibition, the zealots’ attempt to force total abstinence on a temperate nation, made liars of a hundred million men and cheats of their children; the West Point cadets who cheated in examinations, the basketball players who connived with gamblers, the thousands of uncaught cheats in the high schools and colleges. We had grown up and away from our earlier esteem of God and country and valor, and had matured at a moment when riches were vanishing for reasons that we could not understand. We were the losing, not the lost, generation.

I’d never read anything by O’Hara, so I went to check him out on that there Wikipedia. I found even more to like about him and his writing there, like his support for Barry Goldwater and this quote from one of his coworkers at The New Yorker:

“Oh,” writes Gill, “but John O’Hara was a difficult man! Indeed, there are those who would describe him as impossible, and they would have their reasons.”

He sounds like a real jerk–someone I’d love to either drink or argue with. Either way, we’d both have a good time.

Big Oops for Former Electrical Engineering Professor

J. Reece Roth was allegedly involved in providing sensitive data to the Chinese.

I had professor Roth for a class.  Here’s how remarkable the guy was–I’m not 100% sure what class it was.  Plasma engineering maybe?  All I remember about him is that he was slightly on the tubby side, the suits he wore included a vest, and he seemed very disinterested in dealing with undergrads.

My class attendance record probably insures that he remembers even less about me.

Mongolian Spots and CPS

I just got a phone call from a friend who was upset to the verge of tears. She’d had Child Protective Services called on her by the daycare that she’s used for more than three years for her first child, and most recently for her six week old baby. Why did they call CPS? Because they mistook the Mongolian spots on her baby’s back for bruises.

I’m not expecting everyone who reads this to know what Mongolian spots are, so here’s a quick explanation. They are birthmarks that occur on almost every baby of East Asian decent and are common in other races as well. They look a lot like bruises, as the photo above demonstrates. (More on Mongolian spots at Wikipedia).

Mongolian spotBut Mongolian spots aren’t bruises. And while I’m pretty sure that the average person who hasn’t seen them before doesn’t know what they are, I would definitely expect the director of a child care facility to know exactly what they are, especially when this facility exists in a THE family fitness center (you can probably guess the one) that presumably services a variety of members from different ethnic backgrounds.

How embarrassing for her, not only to have CPS called on her because of someone else’s inexcusable ignorance at their job, but also because she is an instructor at this facility and was leaving her children with her co-workers while she taught her class.