Saturday, November 22, 2008

"We shall offer them liberal and enlightened terms..."

"...dictated at the mouths of our cannons."

Michael B. Oren has some
thoughts on Somali pirates, in the Wall Street Journal.

Less PC was Ceasar's response to piracy:
Caesar took his leave..., and went off to Pergamus, where he ordered the pirates to be brought forth and crucified.
I guess we aren't supposed to do that nowadays.

Maybe that's why we have pirates.

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Friday, November 21, 2008

ISI Civics Quiz

Here is an interesting civics quiz which nearly everyone who has taken it flunked. So much for our schools.
In 2006 and 2007, ISI published the first ever scientific surveys of civic learning among college students. Each year, approximately 14,000 freshmen and seniors at 50 schools nationwide were given a 60-question, multiple-choice exam on basic knowledge of America’s heritage. Both years, the students failed. The average freshman scored 51.7% the first year and 51.4% the next. The average senior scored 53.2%, then 54.2%.
Interestingly, the summary says:
Officeholders typically have less civic knowledge than the general public. On average,they score 44% , five percentage points lower than non-officeholders.
I think this supports my idea that we don't pay these jobs nearly enough: Bright, highly educated, motivated people have much better things to do with their time than suffer the privacy invasions, campaigning efforts, and nuts and bolts of politics for a lot less money than they can get in the private sector. My suggestion: Pay Congresscritters and Senators at least a half million bucks a year. At least.

Big city alderman/county councilmen should get a few hundred thousand each.

You couldn't find the difference in the overall budgets, and we would at least have a chance of attracting decent people.

As for students not knowing anything, it seems to me that the people setting the curricula should be payed more too. The current crop are not producing very impressive results.

I wonder what percentage got 100? 90% puts one in the top 0.8%



This is sooooo insensitive.

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Lesson for the coast of Somalia

Like a couple Russians in a slapping contest

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Gun Free Zones = Murder Bait

Curious, but hardly counter-intuitive:
The other statistic that emerged from a study of active killers is that they almost exclusively seek out "gun free" zones for their attacks.

In most states, concealed handguns are prohibited at schools and on college campuses even for those with permits.

Many malls and workplaces also place signs at their entrances prohibiting firearms on the premises.

Now tacticians believe the signs themselves may be an invitation to the active killers.

The psychological profile of a mass murderer indicates he is looking to inflict the most casualties as quickly as possible.
I guess that's why they are called mass murderers.
Also, the data show most active killers have no intention of surviving the event....As soon as they're confronted by any armed resistance, the shooters typically turn the gun on themselves.
So, armed victims could stop a mass murderer? Naw. Couldn't be. Only criminals know how to safely use a gun to kill people. If a victim tried that, she'd be sure to hurt someone.
They may select schools and shopping malls because of the large number of defenseless victims and the virtual guarantee no on the scene one is armed.
Hmmm...I guess I never heard of a mass murder at a shooting range.
After the Columbine High School massacre in 1999,...Commanders realized that it simply takes too long to assemble a tactical team in time to stop an active killer.

The new tactics developed in response to Columbine involved creating an ad-hoc tactical team using the first four or five patrol officers on the scene.

They would enter the shooting scene....This technique was employed by police departments around the country.

Then 32 people were killed by a lone gunman at Virginia Tech in April 2007....Once again, the gunman continued shooting until a four-officer team made entry and then he killed himself....Every minute the officer waits for back-up, another three or more people could die.

In other words, while it was once considered suicide for a lone officer to take on an active killer, it is now considered statistical homicide for him not to do so.
So, it seems that if you want to minimize the chances of being shot by a mass murderer, you should stay away from Gun Free Zones.

Brendan Keefe of has the story, along with video.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Vicious cuts at Detroit's Big Three miss the low hanging fruit

Brian Ross and Joseph Rhee have the story in the New York Times.
The CEOs of the big three automakers flew to the nation's capital yesterday in private luxurious jets to make their case to Washington that the auto industry is running out of cash and needs $25 billion in taxpayer money to avoid bankruptcy.
Well, big private jets don't cost much...
(Rick)Wagoner flew in GM's $36 million luxury aircraft to tell members of Congress that the company is burning through cash, asking for $10-12 billion for GM alone.
Well, OK, but they already own it, right? Can't cost much to operate. Pennies.
Wagoner's private jet trip to Washington cost his ailing company an estimated $20,000 roundtrip. In comparison, seats on Northwest Airlines flight 2364 from Detroit to Washington were going online for $288 coach and $837 first class.
Well, OK, a lot of pennies.

Ford, tho, Henry Sr's old place, surely is more tight fisted.
Ford CEO Mulally's corporate jet is a perk included for both he and his wife as part of his employment contract along with a $28 million salary last year. Mulally actually lives in Seattle, not Detroit. The company jet takes him home and back on weekends.
Hmmmm...Detroit to DC is roughly 1000 miles, costs $20,000. Detroit to Seattle mebbe twice as far, but the cost shouldn't be twice as high. There must be some efficiency. But let's call it $20,000 per week so the poor babies don't have to remove from chic Seattle to that tacky, icky old Detroit where he pulls down $28,000,000 per year to drive Ford into the ground...I mean selflessly serve as a Titan of Industry.
Mulally made his case Tuesday before the committee saying he's cut expenses, laid-off workers and closed 17 plants.

"We have also reduced our work force by 51,000 employees in the past three years," Mulally said.
Good for him. Reducing unnecessary expenses is key. Good man!
Yet Ford continues to operate a fleet of eight private jets for its executives.
GM and Ford say that it is a corporate decision to have their CEOs fly on private jets and that is non-negotiable, even as the companies say they are running out of cash.
Oh, well, if it's non-negotiable, they must be locked in, no matter what, sort of like the Constitution mandating elections. Or the school lunch menu saying that Thursday the kids will have green Jello.

Mitt Romney has a decent column in today's New York Times about these jokers. Among other things, he says "management as is must go...Get rid of the planes, the executive dining rooms — all the symbols that breed resentment among the hundreds of thousands who will also be sacrificing to keep the companies afloat." But...but...Those are non-negotiable. Hand over the billions, chumps...I mean Taxpayers.

As Romney said: "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt." That should be non-negotiable.

UPDATE: Jim Lindgren at Volokh Conspiracy has more.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Not just a chick in a chariot anymore.


Volokhian Zeugma



Monday, November 17, 2008

Peter Shiff vs the Yea Sayers

I wonder who is talkin' kinda brash tonite:

Fair warning: Ten minutes long.

Thanks to Ann Althouse.