Saturday, July 3, 2010

Did you read the decision?

Lots of people have comments on the recent Supreme Court decision in the case of McDonald v. City of Chicago. Few people appear to have actually read it. You can do so here:

Don't forget to read Stevens' dissent, starting on page 123, and Scalia's blistering concurrence, starting on page 52, which he apparently specifically wrote to slap down Stevens. And he does a pretty good job.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Hair Plug at Kopp's

Some people are so thin-skinned they can't even take a joke. Here's a video from Vice President Hair Plug:

Here's another video, with a brief comment from Republicans:

C'mon Joe, the guy was making a JOKE. Everybody asks politicians to reduce taxes. The difference here is that Hair Plug realizes that his party has a very bad record on taxing and spending irresponsibly--this is a touchy subject for him.

Also interesting is that Biden is so stupid that he didn't even realize he was in a frozen custard shop, not an ice cream shop. He doesn't know or care about the people he is interacting with, he doesn't understand the nuances, he doesn't understand what is important to them.

This video works for me on so many levels, because Kopp's is the finest frozen custard I have ever had anywhere. I used to go there regularly when I lived in Milwaukee, and this location, near 76th & Layton, was the closest Kopp's to where I lived.

People who love frozen custard (like me) would get the monthly "flavor forecast" for the upcoming month (back then we had to use PAPER!) and plan our trips. I love chocolate and I love certain fruit flavors, so I would look for those flavors. Remember they always serve Vanilla and Chocolate in addition to the flavor(s) of the day. You could get your custard in a cone or in a dish.

So, I would go for flavors like "Midnight Chocolate Cake" and "Chocolate Almond," stuff like that. Once in a while I'd go for a rare flavor like "Rum & Coca-Cola." But the best flavors were "Red Raspberry" and "Black Raspberry." These were days not to be missed! Chunks of raspberries in the delicious custard. Wonderful stuff.

I would order two scoops in a dish. This was important, because you need to be able to mix the flavors. I would say, "Two scoops in a dish, bottom scoop chocolate and the top scoop red raspberry." Because you want your last taste to be chocolate, of course.

And Hair Plug walks in and calls it ice cream. Idiot.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

World Cup Musings, Part 4 - Go Paraguay!

Okay, it's official. I'm rooting for Paraguay.

Supermodel Larissa Riquelme has said she will run through the streets naked if Paraguay wins the World Cup. She did clarify that she would paint her body in the team's colors. Still...

Where's the Beef?

So every now and then there are catchphrases that become popular. And then they're gone. Some of them are cool, some are clever. And some aren't.

I happen to be old enough to remember when "Where's the Beef?" could be heard everywhere. I was new to catchphrases at the time. I had no idea that something so popular could utterly disappear a few years later. I was just a kid, after all.

Relatively recently, "It is what it is." Or maybe at this point, "It was what it was"??? By the time I heard this I was smart enough to ask people, "How long do you think we'll still be saying that?"

The term "epic fail" seems to be very hot at the moment. It is also not very clever. This one is destined to hit the trash heap earlier than the others. The very first time I heard it I thought, "It's just a matter of time before this one is gone. Thank God."

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Rule of Law

This article asks the provocative question: "Does the rule of law even exist in the U.S. anymore?"

In many ways, the answer is no. Lawmakers essentially change the rules in the middle of the game. Public officials choose to enforce some laws but not others, or enforce laws inconsistently. They even make up stuff on the fly, as we are now seeing our president do with BP. (If you're not aware, there are already laws governing responsibilities in the event of an oil spill.)

You see some people get speeding tickets, others do not. I can show you people literally every week running red lights with impunity because they know that this law is not enforced. As if on cue, yesterday, at a major intersection near my house, I saw a police car run a red light while turning left. You can't make this stuff up.

I have seen city councils change their rules regarding what businesses can be located where. And then when that didn't work (threatened by lawsuits), change the way the the existing rules were interpreted.

And then there is immigration. I have talked about this before; here are a couple of the most relevant posts:

Not only do different government agencies interpret the same laws in different ways, these government agencies often find themselves in conflict. Witness the case of the White House's opposition to the recent Arizona immigration law.

None of this is good. It makes people mistrust the government and ignore or openly flout existing laws.

For example, some people got the Census long form and refused to answer. There is no Constitutional reason to ask all the questions on the long form. Yet when people decline to answer (answering only the questions that are on the short form) they are threatened with prosecution. (One person I know still refused and ultimately the government backed down.)

I happen to believe that the main root cause of such problems is that governments at all levels have too much power. When they have such power, they will use it--not always (not often?) wisely. Furthermore, maintaining such power requires a lot of resources. Taxes and fees go up (check out the price of a pack of cigarettes lately?). And some laws are selectively enforced in order to maximize state revenue, not to protect citizens.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Oh No!

Steve Carell is leaving The Office!

Occasionally they tell the truth, Part 3

Following up on my "Occasionally they tell the truth" series, here are two more interesting quotes.

Democrat senator Chris Dodd on the new financial reform bill: "No one will know until this is actually in place how it works." His quote is included in this nice compilation:

Democrat representative Hank Johnson of Georgia (we're so proud) gave away the true reason for passing the DISCLOSE Act: If the House doesn't pass the Act, "we'll see more Republicans getting elected."

Past episodes of this series:

April 21, 2010
Occasionally they tell the truth, Part 2
"Every day we don’t act, the same system that led to bailouts remains in place – with the exact same loopholes and the exact same liabilities. And if we don’t change what led to the crisis, we’ll doom ourselves to repeat it." As Obama advocated for more bailouts and loopholes.

April 14, 2010
Occasionally they tell the truth
"We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it."

World Cup Musings, Part 3

Is soccer even a real sport? Honestly, this is like watching boxing. Do they just make up rules as they go?

Disallowed goals for phantom fouls. Inability to see the ball in the net. Dead people on the field--oh wait, foul was called, now I feel fine. Some of the dumbest rules in all of sports (soccer offsides call is a joke, completely subjective).

Frank Lampard disallowed goal - Germany v England | World Cup 2010 (27/6/10)
Is it really that difficult to see the ball in the net?

Mexico vs. Argentina FIFA WORLD CUP 2010 HIGHLIGHTS
Watch around 0:48 of this video to see a textbook offsides call that they simply ignored. It looks to me that there might also be an offsides call at 0:27 of the video. Just more evidence for me that this rule is a joke.

Here are some optical illusions, to test your eyes (

And finally, let's put this whole thing in perspective:

Monday, June 28, 2010

Finding Arizona

This is a real treat. So much material to work with here. Check out Peggy West's comments from last week:

Before I continue, do you think this is dumber than Hank Johnson's recent comments about Guam? I know, it's a tough call, isn't it?

As other commentators have pointed out, if you had to guess which party West and Johnson belong to, what would you guess? Pretty obvious, isn't it.
West claims that she misspoke. "I did get a passing grade in Geography in high school and in college and I do obviously know that Arizona is on the border."

But this is simply not believable given the context of her statement. She compared Arizona with Texas, "...which is a state that is directly on the border with Mexico..." Her point was that she would think twice about supporting a (Milwaukee County) ban on doing business with Arizona if Arizona shared a border with Mexico. Which, of course, nobody believes. She would just make up some other excuse for desiring this ban.

Which brings up another question: Why is Milwaukee County even considering such a ban? What business it is of theirs?

How old is this girl anyway? She speaks like a 12-year-old.

Did you catch the part about "linkage"? What the hell does that mean? Apparently the governor of Arizona talked to Obama so therefore Arizona should not have passed the law in question? It is pretty clear that the federal government isn't doing a damn thing about immigration. So why should a conversation with a man who could not care less about Arizona's problems influence Arizona lawmakers?

Who is Peggy West? She is a Milwaukee County (Wisconsin) District Supervisor. Check out her web page:

Peggy West - 12th District ▪ (414) 278-4269 ▪

Peggy West was elected 12th District Supervisor in 2004 and, after being reelected in 2008, is serving her second term representing 50,000 residents on Milwaukee's south side. She currently serves as 2nd Vice-Chair on the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors. Supervisor West also has the unique distinction of being the first Latino/Hispanic American to be elected to the Milwaukee County Board.

Supervisor West grew up in Milwaukee and graduated with a degree in Human Services from the Milwaukee Area Technical College. Prior to her election to the Board, Supervisor West worked for 10 years in the human service field.

Supervisor West is currently Chairwoman of the Health and Human Needs Committee and is a member of the Economic & Community Development and Finance & Audit Committees.

Active in her community, Supervisor West was named the 2004 Hispanic Woman of the Year by UMOS, Inc.

A committed believer in community service, Supervisor West volunteers for UMOS, Inc. and Mexican Fiesta and serves as a mentor at Notre Dame Middle School.

Peggy serves on the Latina Resource Center Advisory Board, Sports Authority Planning Council, Health Care Policy Task Force, Milwaukee Center for Independence Board of Visitors, Kosciuszko Community Center Advisory Board and Esperanza Unida Board of Directors; she is Co-Chair of the Side Side National Night Out Planning Committee as well as the Cesar E. Chavez Drive Advancement Committee. She also serves on the Executive Committee of the Milwaukee Democratic Party.

Supervisor West resides in the Walker's Point neighborhood and is the proud parent of three daughters.

She is apparently Hispanic. She represents a Hispanic district (the near south side of Milwaukee). She is very involved in Hispanic groups in Milwaukee. And yet she is completely ignorant.

Here is some input from Tuscon:
"In a stunningly ignorant rant about Arizona’s Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act (SB1070), Peggy West a county supervisor from Milwaukee WI, states in part 'If this were Texas a state that borders Mexico I would have to look twice at this, but it’s Arizona, a state that is a ways removed from the border…' What adds insult to the injury of her stupidity is that she had listed one of her interests as Mexican history on her FaceBook page. The interest has since been removed."

Also removed is a picture of West in her office with a Mexican flag. According to a local talk radio show host, a constituent asked her about it and she denied it. He pointed to a picture on her Facebook page. So, she either lied about having a Mexican flag in her office or she doesn't know what the Mexican flag looks like (which is completely believable, actually).

Back to one of her quotes: "I did get a passing grade in Geography in high school and in college and I do obviously know that Arizona is on the border." College. As if. She went to MATC, for crying out loud. Know what that stands for? "Milwaukee's Alternative To College." I don't have anything against MATC, but to call it college is a bit strong. If you're from Milwaukee and you say you went to college there, people think Marquette, UWM, or MSOE. Nobody includes MATC in that group.

I wonder if West took the same geography class that Obama did.
"I've now been in 57 states, I think, one left to go."

Maybe West thinks that some of these additional states are south of Arizona, between Arizona and Mexico.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Working at Google

I love posts like these. They remind me of the awe I felt when I first joined Google myself. I posted about this before (Things's I've Learned at Google, April 14, 2010). Here's another good one.

Although I don't work at the Googleplex now, I did work there for two months when I first started at Google. It is an amazing place, and when I get a chance to go back I deliberately soak it in.

Map link to the Googleplex:,-122.085485&spn=0.010089,0.013561&t=h&z=16