Saturday, May 15, 2010

For Hillary Clinton, tax burden contributes to progress in Brazil,para-hillary-clinton-carga-tributaria-contribui-para-progresso-do-brasil,550822,0.htm&sl=auto&tl=en

They just don't get it. Yes, let's keep raising taxes everywhere. Then we'll have even more "progress."

Brazilian General Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Antonio Patriota: "It was interesting to hear Clinton's secretary said that one advantage of the Brazilian system is a collection rate was very high in comparison with other countries. ... This is not necessarily seen as an advantage by the Brazilian public. Many in Brazil think that we need to simplify taxes."

Here's an excellent follow-up from the Mises Institute:

Engineering Philosophy

Engineering != Philosophy

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Google Suggest Game

Just go to, start typing, and see what Google suggests. The results are often entertaining and always enlightening. I highlighted this from a different angle in one of my earlier posts, "Web Search Nuances."

Okay, go ahead and type "how do I" and see what comes up.

What did it show? Here's what I got, on Friday, 5/14/10:

Yes, I'm ripping on Facebook again. But, honestly, what does it say about Facebook that this is such a popular question? Are that many people leaving? More importantly, what the hell is Facebook doing that they hide stuff like this?

The Google Job Experiment

The $6 Job Search, Using Google AdWords!

This is simply a brilliant use of technology. Targeted ads at specific people in order to land a job. Why didn't I think of that? Better question: Did I even do enough research to know who the key people are?


And the video:

Song of the Day: Darude - My Game

This is not normally my type of music. But how can I resist a music video that is a spoof of the movie Slapshot? This is hilarious AND I happen to agree with the lyrics, which speak to me. Anyway, I don't have to make excuses. I really like this song.

And yes, Ville ("The Team's #1 Player"), is a very good hockey player. He was on my team in Atlanta for one season before he got too busy again with work.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Ice Cream and Immigration

This has been bothering me for a while. Just how low will Barack Obama go to distort the facts?

Barack Obama: "If you are a Hispanic-American in Arizona, your great-grandparents may have been there before Arizona was even a state. But now suddenly, if you don’t have your papers and you took your kid out to get ice cream, you’re gonna be harassed. That’s something that could potentially happen. That’s not the right way to go."

Remember, he holds a law degree from Harvard. He knows better.

[Tangent: You know what I find fascinating? Almost every online "news" story about this topic fails to post a link to the bill. This is very basic, people. When posting stories online, you can post LINKS to the FACTS, so PEOPLE CAN READ FOR THEMSELVES.]

Okay, back to the discussion. Here are some links. First, a summary of Arizona Senate Bill 1070:

And here is the bill itself:

This law does not authorize law enforcement officials to stop people and ask for their papers. This applies only "For any lawful contact..." That is, the law goes into effect only when someone is suspected of committing a crime. Just as when I am asked to produce my driver's license if stopped for speeding.

The crux of the matter, then, is just what "lawful contact" means. So what does it mean?

Here's a column by Andy McCarthy that discusses this issue:
Note this paragraph: "So the Arizona immigration law does not allow the police officer to have contact with the person unless the contact is lawful. This means if even the briefest detention is involved, the police officer must have reasonable suspicion that some crime has been or is being committed. Absent that, the officer is not permitted to stop the person."

McCarthy makes the further point that this law places more restrictions on law enforcement officers than are required by federal law: "...federal law would probably permit an inquiry into citizenship as a part of establishing who the detainee is — again, as long as the officer had a good reason for detaining the person in the first place."

McCarthy continues: "The Arizona law, by contrast, does not give a cop this latitude. Instead, the officer is permitted to attempt to determine the person's immigration status only if, in addition to the initial contact being lawful, there also exists specific 'reasonable suspicion that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States.' As I noted above, our Fourth Amendment jurisprudence teaches that reasonable suspicion requires specific, articulable facts — not a hunch or generalized suspicion. Thus, the Arizona law requires that there be reasonable suspicion for both the initial stop (e.g., the police officer observed erratic driving and concluded the person might be intoxicated) and for pursuing a line of inquiry about whether the person is an illegal alien."

Federal law does not appear to require reasonable suspicion for the latter. See the 2004 Supreme Court case Muehler v. Mena, "holding unanimously that you don’t even have to have reasonable suspicion to ask about someone’s immigration status" according to Rich Lowry. Here is a summary of this case:

The Court held, in a 9-0 judgment, that officers had the authority to detain occupants of a house while executing a search warrant and (more importantly for the issue we are now discussing) that while the occupants were detained officers were permitted to question the occupants about immigration status even though they did not have reasonable suspicion.

In case you missed it, let me repeat: The Supreme Court ruled this way UNANIMOUSLY. Even the left wing of the Court agreed with Chief Justice Rehnquist's opinion.

For those of you who are still concerned, Arizona is expected to clarify that "lawful contact" explicitly excludes racial profiling as a reason to stop someone. This article sums up these developments:

It is my belief that people raising emotional objections to this law have not even bothered to read it. The law is a measured response to a real problem (as McCarthy says). There is a reason a large majority of Arizona residents support it.

Now, if you haven't read the law you shouldn't feel bad. Heck, you might be qualified for a job in the Obama administration. Much like not paying taxes might quality you for Treasury Secretary, not bothering to read laws you criticize might qualify you to be Attorney General. Case in point, Attorney General Eric Holder hasn't read the law, either, but that hasn't stopped him from commenting on it.

News story:

Interview transcript:

Post script, May 19, 2010:
Readers might assume from the above that I am anti-immigration. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. Putting myself in the other guy's shoes, I know damn well that I would try to come to the U.S., too, given the economic conditions in Mexico. I am not at all opposed to people who come here for the right reasons, to work hard and improve their lives. I think that with our overly generous benefits, however, some people come for the wrong reasons. The root cause here is not immigration, it is the welfare state. This post is already pretty long. I might resume this discussion and elaborate on my thoughts at a later date.

Operation Bernhard

History is full of interesting stories. Here's one I just heard about: Operation Bernhard. Turns out that the Nazis tried to counterfeit British pounds and flood Britain with them during World War II in an attempt to destabilize the British economy. Not sure how successful it was, but the point is that this is something that is known to harm an economy. More importantly, I don't know why we tolerate our own governments doing this to us. I guess it's bad when Nazis do it but okay when your own Federal Reserve does it...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


The very definition of irony:

Dave Barry @Google

Lots of funny people visiting lately! Dave Barry is the latest.

10:29 - "I live in Miami. I moved there, in 1986, from the United States."

11:21 - "My proposed solution to the tourism image problem ... a new tourism promotion campaign based on the the slogan, 'Come back to Miami. We weren't shooting at you.'"

18:30 to 31:00 (okay, this is most of the talk) - A dramatic reading from Dave's book. Hilarious discussion of women and men, and men's critical role in human history that explains many of their quirks.

35:22 to 38:15 - Discussion of state capitols (in response to a previous comment Dave made), which led to a discussion of North Dakota, which led to a mention of the infamous Dave Barry Lift Station #16. "They had this ceremony ... and the mayor of Grand Forks read a proclamation very eloquently comparing my work to the production of human excrement."

Random image I found:

41:30 - "There are actually six Weinermobiles, I don't know if you knew that. This nation leads the world in Weinermobile technology, although Iran is developing one." When the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile came to Miami they asked if Dave wanted to drive it for a day. "I said heck yes. I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted to pick my son up in middle school." "I know what you're thinking, well Dave it was a lot of fun for you but you scarred your son psychologically for life. Yes, but it was worth it!"

42:55 - In response to whether he's running for president again, and if so whether he might have more to his platform than banning low-flow toilets: "I'm always running, in the sense of accepting contributions." Health care is his newest issue. "I really don't care what else we do about health care in this country but we need to find a way for the medical profession to get to the prostate gland other than the way they're getting to it now."

46:00 - Talking about his first job, at the Daily Local News in West Chester, PA. "This is not the best edited newspaper in the world. We had a front page story with the headline once, 'Woman beats off would-be rapist'."

On a serious note: Barry indicated that the next generation of humor writers are not writing for newspapers. There is no next generation of writers like him. Rather, they are writing for TV or other media. He mentioned shows such as Glee, Community, The Office, 30 Rock, Parks & Rec, and South Park. But he laments the fact that he doesn't know the names of those writers (with the exception of South Park).

Skate Farm!

This reminds me, I have to do Skate Farm again!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tom's Parenting Advice

A friend at work just had a baby. Naturally, I had some helpful advice. I've expanded on that here, for the benefit of you, my 7 readers (assuming my readership has grown by approximately 7 people since I last checked).

First of all, and most importantly, giving your kids nicknames is an ENDLESS source of amusement. My girls are named Psycho-baby A (Gabriela) and Psycho-baby B (Natalia). They are crazy. I don't know where they get it from...

Natalia was only 2 lbs. 13 oz. when she was born. She looked like an alien. Big head and REALLY SKINNY body. Eyes wide open. And skin as white as the sheets. I called her "Alien Baby" and "E.T." for a while. I called her "CB" (for camouflage baby) because she was so white. When she daydreams I still ask her if she's communicating with the mother ship. I also ask the wife when she hooked up with an alien.

Gabriela currently goes by the nickname "Crab Leg." She is skinny so I called her "Chicken Legs" and sometimes I called her "Crably Gably" and the two nicknames just sort of merged over time. Seems to fit, though!

Gably's hair stood straight up when she was born, so I called her "Spike" for a while. She also grunted a lot, so I also called her "Gruntilla." Sometimes a basic "Crazy G" works. But the Spike thing comes back to haunt me once in a while. Gably uses it back at me now when I get my hair cut short (we have the same hair)!

Talia has had a lot of nicknames, many of which I don't even remember. I called her "Puffy" for a while after a bee stung her on the side of the nose and her eye swelled up like a boxer who had been punched in the eye. One of my favorites was "Tractatalia" when she won the tractor pull (pedaling a small tractor with weights on the back) at the Gogebic County Fair (Google it!) in the summer of 2009 (see picture).

And that is just the tip of the iceberg. There were times when I called the girls "Barfy" or "Leaky" for obvious reasons. I mostly just call them Snugglies, but I shorten that up, too.

My nephew is named Maxwell. I call him Maxwell House (among other things). When he was little and he was drinking from his bottle I told him: "Hey Maxwell, make it good to the last drop!" Drove my brother nuts. I think he's just mad because he didn't think of it.

My niece is named Macy. Sometimes I call her Macy Gray (one hit wonder--what song did she sing again?) or ask if she wants a parade. Stuff like that.

My point: Have fun with the nicknames. It gives the kids a sense of humor. At least that's my theory. Either that or it will keep some psychologist gainfully employed in the future.

Next tip: Use duct tape. It works great when the girls get too loud. Nowadays you can buy it in practically any color at all. If I had it to do over again, I would use pink duct tape for my girls.

Save money on baby sitters by using dog crates.

Walk safely in the mall by using shock collars that can be activated with a hand-held remote control.

Final tip: WEAR EARPLUGS. Sometimes it's the only way to stand the kids when they're young, when they do that grating chainsaw type crying. Wife, too, but that's another story! ;)

Someday I'll write a parenting book. Title will be "No Negocia con Las Terroristas!" (Don't negotiate with terrorists.) You're the parent, they're the children. Some people get that relationship mixed up, I think, and let the kids make the decisions. They will manipulate you (in the best sense of the word) if you let them...

Song of the Day: Communist Daughter - Soundtrack to the End

Communist Daughter - Soundtrack to the End

Great song. Thank you, IndieFeed, for bringing this group to my attention. This is one of the essential podcasts out there. Who the hell needs radio anymore?

Any other music podcasts I should know about?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Go Android!

I'd ask you to buy an Android phone, but it appears as though many of you already are! Here are a couple links:

Today is Tuesday. Are we taxing banks or bailing them out today?

What do they want? To give banks money (force them to take it, even) or take it from them? Do they even know?

Check out this video:

Watch one senator after another beat up on Timmy (pay your taxes) Geithner. In over his head, just like the rest of the amateurs in this administration.

Banks that didn't take bailout money should be taxed? Really?

Any idea when the administration might release details of where the TARP money went? This is transparency?

Reminds me of this cartoon...

...and, of course, of Reagan's famous quote:
"Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it."

Scale of the Oil Spill

Interesting use of Google Earth, to show the magnitude of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico:

May 11: More on this story.

Fortune Magazine:

And the best yet, a mention on NBC Nightly News and a reference to this Google product on (a joint venture with Microsoft).

Sunday, May 9, 2010

You just never know

Regarding Justin Bieber...

I have literally never heard a song from this kid. (Actually, I lied, I just checked out a few songs while doing this post--not my kind of music at all.)

Anyway, I figured that he was just another packaged pop star (and maybe he is). However, there is more to the story. Check out this link.

Turns out the kid is a hockey player, apparently a good one. You just never know someone's full story, I guess. People have many dimensions. I take back anything bad I may have said about him. ;)

P.S. Out of respect for your ears I will refrain from posting a song link.

Ode to the North Georgia Mountains

Here's a haiku I composed while riding in North Georgia on Sunday.

Ode to the North Georgia Mountains
A haiku by Tom Blooming

Tar snakes, how they squirm.
Life is too short to be stuck
Behind a Camry.