Thursday, September 01, 2005

Denver Airport in the News Again

It really seems like the city of Denver doesn't do much of anything well. They have now taken the contract for the payphones at DIA away from the current carrier, FHS, and given it to RMES. FHS is alleging that the contract process was unfair. It gets better. Check out these quotes from the Denver Post article.

FSH proposed to give the city 30 percent of its projected gross sales, resulting in estimated payments of $476,875 the first year and $410,713 the next. Verizon Communications Inc. offered 15 percent of its sales. RMES Communications offered 16 percent.
RMES will generate $360,000 for the city over the next three years, according to the contract. The money goes to the airport fund.

This makes very little sense but those are the cold hard facts. Charging consumers the same amount of money to the consumer the folks who were going to give the biggest slice of the revenue to the city does not get the contract. Fishy! Here come the allegations and the response.... which is the funny part.

FSH contends it would it have given the city the highest commissions and alleges the head of the city's small-business opportunity office, Tamela Lee, favored RMES because she knew the owner. The company also claims there was a conflict of interest because Lee and her brother-in-law, City Councilman Michael Hancock, both participated in the contractor evaluation.

So they think that a city employee and a councilman (who just happen to be closely related) threw a little business to a friend at the city's expense. Nobody is going to believe that. Never, ever happens. But on to the response.

The city said the commission was only one of 11 factors used to evaluate the proposals. It said it denied both FSH's and Verizon's proposals because they didn't adequately address Disadvantaged Business Enterprise requirements.

Now, I have never been a fan of using the race/gender of small business owners in considering handing out city contracts. It is bad business IMO. But this is where the funny part comes in..... wait for it......

"FHS is owned by three African-American men, and they are being thrown out because of disadvantaged business requirements? That doesn't make sense," Hudson said.

Have a nice day!

Better math in public schools

Powerline has once again proven that New York Times journalists are unable to do basic mathematics. It really is worse than that because in this case the journalist didn't even need to do any math, just read a basic set of statistical charts. Somebody else had already done the math and made the pretty pictures that most 5th graders could accurately interpret. Amazing.

Large Hurricane Rates are DOWN, not up

So I guess the right response to the folks who are running around claiming that Katrina was caused by global warming (and by the way, it's all Bush's fault) would be..... We need to burn more fossil fuels and emit lots more CO2 so we can keep the rates declining :-) Hat Tip to Powerline on this James Glassman article.
Giant hurricanes are rare, but they are not new. And they are not increasing. To the contrary. Just go to the website of the National Hurricane Center and check out a table that lists hurricanes by category and decade. The peak for major hurricanes (categories 3,4,5) came in the decades of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, when such storms averaged 9 per decade. In the 1960s, there were 6 such storms; in the 1970s, 4; in the 1980s, 5; in the 1990s, 5; and for 2001-04, there were 3. Category 4 and 5 storms were also more prevalent in the past than they are now. As for Category 5 storms, there have been only three since the 1850s: in the decades of the 1930s, 1960s and 1990s.

I really hate it when the facts don't line up my preconceived opinions. And if you think the water levels in the south are staggering and unprecedented do a search on the 1927 flood.

Don't get me wrong, I feel sorry for the people who are impacted by this natural disaster. They are in my prayers and I wish them well (except the looters and the idiot who shot at the helicopter rescuing people, they should be summarily executed). But let's not let this tragedy cloud our judgment and go off and do things based on crazy, unsupported accusations of people who are clearly talking out of their....... ears (it's a family show).

Mixed metaphors

Sometimes I wonder whether the typical technology "journalist" managed to graduate high school. The clip below from a Yahoo news story is very typical:

Limited demand had kept the prices up, but all that has changed with more college students using laptops. Pollster Student Monitor LLC says nearly three-quarters of college-age students who plan to buy a new computer in the next year intend to purchase a laptop. Just four years ago, less than 16 percent of students surveyed owned a laptop.

Today 75% of students who plan to buy a computer in the next year plan to buy a laptop but 4 years ago only 16% of students owned one. How do these two facts tell me that the percentage of students buying a laptop is going up? When I was in college I planned to buy a Ferrari. I still don't own one. And the article says nothing about even the percentage of students buying computers at all. Is it up or down? What percentage of students are there "who plan to buy in the next year"? I suspect the premise is correct but the writer, as is typical in technology stories, gives us no reason to believe he can count to ten while holding a cup of coffee. This is not that hard a story.

why are we different?

Many people often suggest that our nation is no different than the others on the planet. People with a brain, and more to the point, people with a conscience know that we are. How do we know that?

We know that for many reasons but this post includes one of the most obvious ones.
The United States gave more than all other nations combined to the Tsunami relief efforts in Southeast Asia last December. As my friend, Layman, wrote recently, we sent 20,000 soldiers and sailors, over 24 million pounds of relief supplies, thousands of tons of food, thousands of gallons of drinking water. That is what we do.

It's who we are. It's what we do. It's part of our history. Think back to the Marshall Plan. We helped our enemies after the war. How many other nations can be counted in the same category?!

And exactly how many national leaders have we heard from in the last couple days offering anything for the stricken in our country????

Why I love Ann Coulter

Great political analysts are like great comedians. They are at their best when they are completely over the top but still manage to strike a note of reality. This week's Coulter column at WND is one such example. Nothing new here, please don't look for the man behind the curtain! Nothing to see here!
If the Senate needs to know what Roberts thought about the law at age 26, then the Senate certainly needs to know what Kennedy thought about the law at age 36, when he drowned a girl and then spent the rest of the evening concocting an alibi instead of calling the police.

And if that doesn't violate your favorite lib's sense of non-PC alert...
This isn't a "rehash" of Chappaquiddick; it's never been hashed. The Senate needs to know whether Kennedy was guilty of manslaughter. How else can the Senate be expected to carry out its constitutional duty to expel Kennedy unless Kennedy makes these key documents available?

Ann will go to any extreme to make sure every PC lib is offended. The best comedians violate this imaginary boundary on both sides. But the simple brilliance of coherently violating it on one side is why I follow Ann and Bill Maher closely. They will never make the all time greats list because they are too partisan, but they are both hilarious when they are on target.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

More lies about John Roberts

Check out the latest outlandish ad about Judge Roberts at Does the truth not mean anything to lefties? Is a rational debate about the qualifications of a nominee not possible in the current climate? Has the average Senate Democrat moved so far left that they no longer see the same sky that we do? Has the level of public education fallen so low that they can no longer read the Constitution in English? I hope my thoughts on this are wrong... man I hope I am wrong.

Update: Having temporarily lost my reference site... I must do better at this (HT: Powerline)

Gov't ban on guns in any workplace?

Joseph Farah, who is often rightly called a right wing moonbat, has this to say about the call from Robert Reich (an all the time left wing moonbat) to pass laws prohibiting guns in all businesses.

There are very few things which really enrage me, but this is one of them. Farah, unusually, makes the argument in a completely cohesive and rational manner. I boil it down to the bumper sticker I put on my car in high school "when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns". That isn't entirely true in this country as it will be the outlaws and people like me :-)

Just 1 question for opponents of the war

Just go read this Dennis Prager article. The man just makes too much sense.

Al Sharpton, hitchhiker :-)

Immediately after his little photo of with the lead Moonbat in Crawford (which about 10 people attended and 50 reporters covered), our boy Al's driver gets busted speeding (110 mph) him away to the airport. Our boy Al has to hitch to the airport.... presumably (and this is a guess) because, like a lot of New Yorkers, he doesn't have a driver's license. The article does not tell us if the car was impounded because of the speeding or because it was abandoned (with nobody who could legally drive it). Since the driver presumably did not own the car, my guess is the latter, but never-the-less:
Chief Deputy Charles Sullins said the driver, 43-year-old Jarrett Maupin of Phoenix, ignored police attempts to stop the vehicle, which was weaving in and out of traffic before state troopers were finally able to get in front of it.

Maupin was arrested on charges of evading arrest with a vehicle and reckless driving. He has since been released after posting a $1,000 bond. The car was impounded.

This is too funny... from a common sense point of view. Brother Al was headed down to be seen with the lefty media's latest superstar. One has to assume that the average state trooper in and around Crawford TX is either an out-and-out Bush fan, or at the very least despises Chief Moonbat of the Day. If I were Brother Al I would not let anyone in my presence spit on the sidewalk, let alone do 110mph on a public roadway until I crossed the state line in such a situation.


Or however the grunts spell it, is the only way to describe the story told in this post from Major K.
A second shot was fired that hit SGT C. in the throat. He was not grazed on the side, he was shot through the center of his neck. SGT C. already knew at the time that his unit was under attack by a sniper. As his men came to get him out of the line of fire he warned them to stay back. He knew that one of them could be next, and he was unwilling to put his men at risk. Well, they just wouldn't have it, and came forward anyway, pulling him back to a covered position where they administered first-aid and prepared to evacuate him.


The sniper's bullet had passed through his neck and throat with an absolute minimum of damage. It missed his carotid artery, jugular vein, spine, and spinal cord by millimeters. He was offered the opportunity to fly to Germany and probably then on to the US to recuperate by the medical staff. He turned it down. He wanted to get back to his men and his brothers in Charlie Company.

OK, so does anybody doubt that this guy is the real deal? Does anybody doubt that his men would follow him through the eternal fires of hell? Is this a story?
While the news of Dup's tragic death made headlines in local papers back home, no reporter ever came by to learn about this. They just regurgitated the military press release and called the family.

I think so, but nobody has (as of yet) put me in charge of a major media outlet.... and how many hours have they spent on the afterlife channeling moonbat in Crawford?

God Bless them, every one!

Brits on abortion

While we think that Europeans are more "liberal" on social issues than we are, this is not always the case. This article in the Telegraph is on a poll of Brits on abortion. It suggests that most Brits want the current abortion laws restricted more than it is now (which is more restrictive than ours in the US). The thing that is most similar with US polls is that the women are more "conservative" on this topic than the men.


SAD, or the Standard American Diet, leaves us with the astonishing fact that coffee provides the average American with more antioxidants than fruits. Please note that the article about the study does not suggest that coffee is not a healthy source of antioxidants, nor that it contains a high level of them compared to fruit juice, etc. SAD!

Even Kids can be Stupid Criminals

From this CBS News report, a Kansas City 11 year old gets charged..... because he was stupid.
An 11-year-old boy is accused of forcing a teenager and two young children out of a car and then driving the stolen vehicle to school the next morning.

So he thought nobody would notice an 11 year old DRIVING himself to school?

Monday, August 29, 2005

Hugh vs. Tim Rutten

RadioBlogger has this transcript of Hugh Hewitt's discussion with Tim Rutten of the LA Times.

It is really frightening that people who are so out of touch with even the wierdos in LA run a newspaper that people actually buy.

TR: But look. I work at the L.A. Times, and I'm pro-life.

HH: But I'm just asking just as a percentage. By the way, being pro-life, does that mean you favor a reversal of Roe V. Wade?

TR: Do I favor a reversal of Roe V. Wade? No.

HH: Well, then you're not really pro-life. I mean, as the term is understood. It's kind of Orwellian.

TR: Now, wait a minute. Wait a minute. As you understand the term? Or as I understand the term?

HH: No, as the world understands. If we asked like a thousand people...

TR: No, I don't know that it translates into being against Roe V. Wade. And, you know, I think you can make an argument that Roe V. Wade was wrongly decided as a matter of law. I think as a matter of...I am opposed to abortion, but I think in a pluralistic society...

HH: Why?

TR: Why?

HH: Yeah.

TR: Because out of religious conviction on my part.

HH: But what's that religious conviction? That life begins at conception?

TR: Um, that life begins at conception?

HH: Yes.

TR: Uh, I think the question is out on that. But, you know, I'm a Roman Catholic. But the truth is that the Church is...the Church's approach to this issue, and the issue of when life begins, has...has been more fluid over the last hundred years than people tend to credit. Even Aquinas spoke in terms of insoulment.

I am not a liberal because I am pro-life, but I don't support repealing Roe vs. Wade. I am only personally pro-life because I am a devout Roman Catholic but I don't think the whole "life begins at conception" thing is actually settled.

Hello? What planet do you live on?
TR: I go to the Church I was baptised into. I've been married to one woman all my life. I mean, I have, you know, kids I take care of. What's more conservative than that?

Oh, sorry, he is conservative because he married the right person the first time around and has kids he takes care of? Since when did any responsible conservative accuse liberals of being wife beaters, deadbeats, or child abusers? What in the world does the fact that you have a stable marriage have to do with your political philosophy?
HH: When Hollywood figures out that people are buying, getting their impressions of movies from Fandango and from other places, and when Craig's List and Re/Max, and all the classified advertising for real estate goes away, you guys are in...I mean, new media is going to crush you. You're just not going to have any revenues left. Does that alarm you? Or are you close enough to retirement that you can sprint home?

TR: No, I'm not that close to retirement. And moreover, I would still be concerned about the future of newspapers. I think that there's a very good future for newspapers. I don't think all those things are going to happen. And I also think that newspapers are going to become much more adept in using new media to reach readers.

This really scares me. The ad dollars/inch are falling faster than subscription rates at most newspapers. There is a very simple set of explanations for this. I will offer two that apply at my household. We get the local daily paper because my wife wants the sale ads and coupons. She figures the coupon savings exceed the cost of the paper. She never reads the paper and I rarely do in print. I read it online because I hate newsprint and I can get through it many times faster online. On the rare occasions that I do read the print paper I pay little attention to the ads. How much value is an advertiser getting from my paper subscription? News print cannot do hotlinks which makes the value of the ads much lower than their electronic counterparts. People who work at major papers should, by now, have a clue about how quickly the ad budgets of major markets are moving away from newspapers and to talk radio, blogs, online papers, etc.
TR: Blogging is one thing. I think that blogging...I think, you know, now, this is more your field than mine, but I suspect that at some point, there's a kind of convergence that will occur, between blogging and newspapers. I think that bloggers, you know, right now the relationship between blogs and newspapers is symbiotic. I mean, if the so-called mainstream...

HH: Yes, you give us the target, and we hit it.

TR: If the so-called mainstream media didn't exist, you guys would have to invent it, because you wouldn't have anything to write about otherwise.

HH: I know. You give us the target, and we hit it. You betcha. We love you.

TR: I know you do.

HH: Keep distorting the news. Keep sending Dan Rather out to report on forged documents, and we'll get bigger.

TR: I don't know. You know, I can't be responsible for this vast liberal conspiracy and Dan Rather.

This is the most important part of the article. As much as I love the blogosphere, we need the print media (or it's electronic equivalent) to survive. It would be better if it thrived. The major media have the ability to put reporters places that we would never find bloggers. Further, they have the means to pay someone to track down stories that take months and lots of $$$ to get to. The major papers are a scandal at this time in history but those of us that "hit the target" largely do so to assist in forcing them to do better over time. Blogs will forever have their place. I would like to see the day when they are a supplement on point to the electronic major media (including the online version of the paper).
HH: If you took five thousand Republicans, and you put them to work...if you let Ken Mehlman staff the newspapers of the New York Times, Washington Post and the L.A. Times, and he got to pick everone, they would turn out to be as badly biased on the center-right as you folks are on the left. And that's just the way it would be, because people, unless there's balance in the ranks, it's going to turn out badly for fairness, truth, and objectivity.

TR: I don't know. You know, most of my career, Hugh, I have to tell you, there are very few things that have been looked on in major American journalism, in the newspapers I've been around, than an obvious display of politics.

He really is living in a different time/space than the rest of us..... and the scary thing is that he is the norm at any major paper in the country.

Great job Hugh. Tell Tim to leave his knife at home for the next gun fight.

2 good posts on the Bush nominations

The New Hampshire Union Leader has this piece by Kathleen Parker.

YOU HAVE to figure John Roberts is a shoo-in for the Supreme Court when detractors resort to criticizing his attitude. When he was 17.

The ever informative Claudia Rosett has this one at OpinionJournal.
A few things, however, are within Mr. Bolton's power. Most important is that he simply perform the immense public service of telling Americans--who represent the bulk of the U.N.'s so-called global taxpayers--the truth about what goes on inside the institution. The last time anyone in possession of both a fancy title and a U.N. grounds pass attempted that feat was when President Reagan sent Jeane Kirkpatrick to serve as his U.N. ambassador back in 1981.

And here's to hoping that he is worthy of that comparison. Jeane Kirkpatrick reminded me of my grandmother. Warm and friendly but frank and direct to a fault - without an ounce of pretentiousness and a "let's just get it done" attitude to whatever task was at hand.

Post of the month, maybe the year

This post on "365 and a Wakeup" is in the permanent top 10 I have seen on a blog for personal stories. Honor these men and their bravery and their sacrifice.

I collected up my security team, and we all dutifully followed her to the field to see just what it was she was talking about. As we climbed over the berm surrounding the field the smooth, deadly lines of the shell were all too obvious. The round was sitting in a shallow crater, as if it were some metallic seedpod blown in by some dark wind. Rather then wait around in the projectile's kill zone we jumped back over the berm and returned to the vehicles to call up the EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) team. As soon as we called up the report the EOD team called back requesting coordinating information. "How big is it?" they asked. I responded back with a highly technical infantry term "It's uh, very big". Their next question boomed out over the speaker box "Roger, is it fused?". Since I hadn't approached the shell I answered back "I couldn't tell from our position", hoping that would be the end of it. I had no such luck, the next message that came out of the squawk box was the one message I didn't want to hear "Understood, we will standby while you check for its fusing status".

Yeowsa!!! go read the whole thing. It is serious, very real, and very funny all at the same time.