Amazon Deals

New at Amazon

Friday, January 4, 2013

What Makes an Anti-Semite? Wiesenthal List Induces Hand-Wringing in Germany

An interesting, albeit not-new issue: are you anti-Jew if you don't like Israeli policy?

Most of the entries on the 2012 list of top anti-Semites published by the Simon Wiesenthal Center just after Christmas are unsurprising. Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood makes the list. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is there. European soccer fans, some of them notoriously racist, land at No. 4. A handful of right-wing extremist parties in Europe are also fingered.

Number nine on the list (PDF), however, has caused many in Germany to scratch their heads. It is Jakob Augstein, the editor of the weekly paper Der Freitag and a columnist for SPIEGEL ONLINE (whose editorials are occasionally translated for publication in English). His offense? The fact that he has been vociferously critical of Israeli policy.

Intuition leads us to think—wrongly—that without government we’d be victims of fraud.

At Reason:

In the short time since President Obama was re-elected, government has issued hundreds of new regulations. The bureaucrats never stop. There are now more than 170,000 pages of federal regulations.

President Obama wants still more rules. Cheering on increased financial regulation, he said, “We’ve got to keep moving forward.” To the president, and probably most Americans, “forward” means passing more laws.

It is scary to think about a world without regulation. Intuition leads us to think that without government we'd be victims of fraud, as I explain in my latest book, “No, They Can't!” But our intuition is wrong.

Consider this: An entire sector of the economy operates almost entirely without government controls. Complete strangers exchange big money there every day.

It's the Internet. It does have regulation, just not government regulation.

On my next TV show, titled "Freedom 2.0" (which the Fox Business Network airs this Thursday at 9 p.m. EST), economics professor Ed Stringham explains that, which transfers billions of dollars for people, at first assumed they needed government help to prevent fraud.

"They faced fraudsters from all over the world. They turned to the FBI," says Stringham. "But the FBI had no idea who these people were."

So PayPal invented a new form of regulation. "They developed a private fraud detection system, where they used computers to say, 'This might be fraudulent,' and then it would send it to a human to investigate that." That dramatically reduced fraud, and PayPal thrived.

Court: Stormwater runoff not a pollutant, EPA can’t regulate it

A federal judge ruled Thursday that the Environmental Protection Agency exceeded its authority by trying to regulate water as a pollutant and restricting stormwater flow into a Fairfax County creek.

“Stormwater runoff is not a pollutant, so EPA is not authorized to regulate it,” said federal judge Liam O’Grady, who sided with the county and Virginia in the ruling.

Previous post: EPA withdraws threat against W.Va. chicken farmer

Friday links

Why Does The New Year Begin On January 1?

Photos That Inspired Norman Rockwell’s Paintings.

3 very creepy ad campaigns from last year.

The evolution of the hand.

19 year old Isaac Newton recorded his secret sins in code.

Medieval snowball fights.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Biden: “Spread your legs, you’re going to be frisked”

Great - four more years of Bidenisms.

Supercut of Every Pop Culture Reference From Quentin Tarantino Films

NSFW (Language)

via Laughing Squid.

Hot Chocolate Tastes Better In an Orange Cup

Scientists have discovered that an orange or creme-colored cup definitely makes chocolate taste better, while a white or red cup will not enhance the flavor. The discovery demonstrates once again that our taste buds are definitely influenced by the colors our eyes perceive.

Homeowner shoots naked intruder found choking dog

Great headline: A naked intruder who was trying to choke a pet Rottweiler was shot by a homeowner in Miami Wednesday morning, police said.

Thursday links

Food sculptures: Bacon Eiffel Tower, CheeseHenge, PB&J Big Ben and more.

How does the Queen answer the phone?

Squash Holds Decapitated King Louis XVI's Blood.

Speaking of coprophagia, here's the science behind why dogs eat poop.

The 20 Most Beautiful Bookstores in the World.

Does a guy's mood synchronize with his girlfriend's menstrual cycle?

At Straight Dope, thoughts on sympathetic hormone swings.

Doc Zero: Fiscal Cliff Payoffs

For a lucky few with the right political connections, the “fiscal cliff” presented an opportunity to take flight upon pork-encrusted wings. The bill, which no one in the House of Representatives had time to read before voting on it, was packed with juicy special-interest tax breaks and subsidies.

Mother, Should I Trust The Government?

I highly recommend this long guest post at ZeroHedge.

When he (Roger Waters) sang the lyric, “Mother, should I trust the government?” the entire stadium responded in unison – NO!!! This revealed a truth that is not permitted to be discussed by the corporate mainstream media acting as a mouthpiece for the ruling class.

“A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.”– Aldous Huxley – Brave New World

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Boehner Promises to Pass Sandy Bill Without Senate Pork

Comments and links at Gateway Pundit.

Photo of Baby Grasping Doctor’s Finger From the Womb During C-Section

More details and links at The Blaze.

Speaking of coprophagia, here's the science behind why dogs eat poop

via Laughing Squid.

Trailer for the return of Walking Dead

3 very creepy ad campaigns from last year

The taxpayers of Atlanta paid for this one:

Mens' underwear:

Little Baby's ice cream:

Watch an equally crazy second spot here.

WSJ chart of the taxes that are going up

via Dr. Zero, who has links and comments in America Gets Smaller: read the whole thing.

There isn’t much “deficit reduction” in the fiscal cliff deal. The only thing that got substantially reduced is the size of the American private sector.

Video: easy to understand guide to American federal debt.

From a previous post, here's the non-video version:

Lesson # 1:

  • U.S. Tax Revenue: $2,170,000,000,000
  • Federal Budget: $3,820,000,000,000
  • New Debt: $1,650,000,000,000
  • National Debt: $14,271,000,000,000
  • Recent Budget cuts: 38,500,000,000
Let’s now remove 8 zeros and pretend it’s a household budge:
  • Annual family income: $21,700
  • Money the family spent: $38,200
  • New debt on the credit card: $16,500
  • Outstanding balance on the credit card: $142,710
  • Total budget cuts so far: $385
Got it?…. OK now…
Lesson # 2
Here’s another way of looking at the Debt Ceiling:
Let’s say you come home from work and find there has been a sewer backup in your neighborhood… and your home has sewage all the way up to your ceilings.  What do you think you should do?
Raise the ceiling or remove the shit?

Cromwell's speech to Parliament: "Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation"

Actually, wrt Congress it's almost always apropos, but I was thinking of it in the midst of the "fiscal cliff" stuff:

"It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice; ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government; ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.

Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess? Ye have no more religion than my horse; gold is your God; which of you have not barter'd your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth?

Ye sordid prostitutes have you not defil'd this sacred place, and turn'd the Lord's temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices? Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation; you were deputed here by the people to get grievances redress'd, are yourselves gone! So! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors.

In the name of God, go!"

Is There Really a Difference Anymore?


Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike.  No questions, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.  [Animal Farm, last paragraph]
Republicans were ushered into power in 2010, buoyed by limited government populism spawned by the Tea Party. They publicized a document called the GOP Pledge to America. You should take some time to read it. There are many interesting declarations in there. You’ll find lectures about the need to let the legislative process work; about the 3 day legislative transparency rule; about not spending most of the time on banal suspension bills; about cutting taxes; about getting rid of Obamacare; about cutting spending. Interesting indeed.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Cleaning the windows on the world's tallest building

Burj Khalifa in Dubai - it takes 3 months to clean all 24K windows, then they start again. You may not want to watch if you're afraid of heights.

Predictions for 2013, made in 1913

See the whole list, and a link to the original newspaper, at Weird Universe.  This is my favorite:

— these new aircraft will require "the protection of pedestrians and householders, possibly by wire netting laid over the housetops and even over the streets."

Monday, December 31, 2012

Must read: excellent resolution

"Thirteen years ago, I happened to be at my folks for New Year's."

"Both my Dad and my significant other were asleep in couches and Mom and I were sitting drinking and gossiping."

The subject of resolutions came up and somehow we decided we were going to do a good deed at least once every day for a year.

It seemed so much better than depriving ourselves of something or quitting something or losing weight or whatever. It could be as simple as letting someone ahead of us in traffic, helping a person find the right aisle in the grocery or even being nice to a telemarketer.

My Mom passed away that year. I have done a good deed every day since, for the last thirteen years. And every time I do, I think of her.

Pandacillin? Giant Panda May be New Source for Antibiotics

The antibiotic is thought to be released by the bear’s immune system to protect them infections when they are living in the wild. Researchers discovered the compound, known as cathelicidin-AM, after analysing the panda’s DNA.

Dr Xiuwen Yan, who led the research at the Life Sciences College of Nanjing Agricultural University in China, said: “It showed potential antimicrobial activities against wide spectrum of microorganisms including bacteria and fungi, both standard and drug-resistant strains.

more at Neatorama.

Every Batman Actor’s Face Morphed into One Perfect Bruce Wayne

Good-looking guy.  Via io9.

Seniors: they didn't get old by being stupid

via .

Asparagus, Famous Heavy Drinkers tips, science and more: hangover prevention (and cure) roundup

Be prepared.

According to a 2009 study in the Journal of Food Science, the amino acids and minerals found in asparagus extract may alleviate alcohol hangover and protect liver cells against toxins.

I don't drink much at this point in my life, but I do remember that large doses of B complex vitamins prior to drinking were supposed to help.  Ed swears by 2 aspirin swallowed with a shot of Pepto Bismol before you go to bed.

Here are cures from 12 Famous Heavy Drinkers.

Dark Liquor Makes For Worse Hangovers.

How to Cure a Hangover

Got any tips to pass along?

So what's really going on with Hillary?

She hasn't been seen since Dec. 7.

She was admitted to NY Presbyterian Hospital yesterday with a blood clot.

National Enquirer says it's a brain tumor.  Yeah, I know I should consider the source, but they certainly were way ahead on all of the John Edwards stuff.

Drudge has a bunch of links:

NFL head coach tracker: Ax falls fast on Black Monday

Firings so far:

Arizona Cardinals
Ken Whisenhunt and general manager Rod Graves are out, according to a team source reports Ian Rapoport.
Buffalo Bills: Coach Chan Gailey was let go after three seasons that went nowhere in Buffalo. The defense and quarterback play never improved. It's unclear if general manager Buddy Nix will remain.
Chicago Bears: In the first mild surprise of the day, coach Lovie Smith was fired after three playoff appearances in nine years,'s Ian Rapoport reported. General manager Phil Emery took the job last year and will hire his own man.
Cleveland Browns: The team announced Monday morning that coach Pat Shurmur and GM Tom Heckert are both out. They never had much of a chance once new owner Jimmy Haslam bought the team.
Kansas City Chiefs: Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt announced the team has parted ways with coach Romeo Crennel. The team said it has not made a final decision about GM Scott Pioli's status.'s Steve Wyche reported Sundaythat the Chiefs are expected to retain Pioli despite a disastrous season.
Philadelphia Eagles: Owner Jeffrey Lurie confirmed Monday morning that coach Andy Reidis out after 14 seasons in Philadelphia. The Eagles won't waste any time starting a coaching search.
San Diego Chargers
The Chargers announced both coach Norv Turner and general manager A.J. Smith have been let go.

Judicial Watch's 10 Most Corrupt Politicians of 2012

Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, today released its 2012 list of Washington’s “Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians.”

High School Yearbook Photos of Famous Movie Monsters

via Laughing Squid.

Mark Steyn: Laws Are for Little People

David Gregory intended to demonstrate what he regards as the absurdity of America’s lax gun laws. Instead, he’s demonstrating the ever greater absurdity of America’s non-lax laws. His investigation, prosecution, and a sentence of 20–30 years with eligibility for parole after ten (assuming Mothers Against High-Capacity Magazines don’t object) would teach a far more useful lesson than whatever he thought he was doing by waving that clip under LaPierre’s nose.

Three days after scofflaw Gregory committed his crime, a bail hearing was held in Massachusetts for Andrew Despres, 20, who’s charged with trespassing and possession of ammunition without a firearms license. Mr. Despres was recently expelled from Fitchburg State University and was returning to campus to pick up his stuff. Hence the trespassing charge. At the time of his arrest, he was wearing a “military-style ammunition belt.” Hence, the firearms charge.

His mom told WBZ that her son purchased the belt for $20 from a punk website and had worn it to class every day for two years as a “fashion statement.” He had no gun with which to fire the bullets. Nevertheless, Fitchburg police proudly displayed the $20 punk-website ammo belt as if they’d just raided the Fitchburg mafia’s armory, and an obliging judge ordered Mr. Despres held on $50,000 bail. Why should there be one law for Meet the Press and another for Meet Andrew Despres? Because David Gregory throws better cocktail parties?

NYT: "Let’s Give Up on the Constitution"

AS the nation teeters at the edge of fiscal chaos, observers are reaching the conclusion that the American system of government is broken. But almost no one blames the culprit: our insistence on obedience to the Constitution, with all its archaic, idiosyncratic and downright evil provisions.

The Mega Scandal Everyone Has Forgotten

Fannie, Freddie, and Congress get off scot-free.

New Year's Eve links

Not all end-of-year related, but Happy New Year anyway!

Who owns the fish, a brainteaser supposedly written by Einstein.

Security garden gnome conceals wireless camera and motion sensors.

Top Scientific Discoveries of 2012.

The Most Amazing Bowling Story Ever.

An excellent set of vintage holiday photos.

Dave Barry’s Year in Review.

Dispose of your Christmas tree by attaching a few rockets.

Dispose of your Christmas tree by attaching a few rockets

and shooting it into the air:

Here's a previous version:

via Gizmodo.

RG3!!! And Alfred Morris!!!

Just needed to get that out of my system.