Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

Every Easter I post a work of religious art for the occasion.  Usually it's a painting, but this year it's a sculpture.  I give you one of my favorite underappreciated works of the great Michelangelo: his beautiful, triumphant Risen Christ (1519-21) in marble, now in the Church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome.  By the way, Michelangelo's work is a heroic nude; the bit of drapery was added later in the Baroque period.

Oh, it's Easter.  Here's something fun from a previous celebration.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

LOL: Chocolate Easter Bunnies Are Still Bunnies

A humorous bit of holiday photography for you.  The caption on Flickr reads: "Leave them alone, and they multiply."

Starting Off on the Right Foot

Apparently some traditionalists were scandalized by Pope Francis's inclusive take on an old ritual.  Well, good for the Pope if he did it to lead by example!  I seem to recall that some establishmentarian religious traditionalists were scandalized by the behavior of one Jesus of Nazareth, back in the day.  (Who did he think he was, hanging out with tax collectors and prostitutes?)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Baskets for Basket Cases

All I'm going to say is, THANK GOD we have new March Madness games again!  I'm pretty much an exhausted basket case from the last couple days.  I don't want to hear about academics, politics, Supreme Court decisions, various people behaving like jackasses, or anything else.  I'm going to watch college basketball tonight until my eyeballs bleed.  Thatisall.  Join me.

Monday, March 25, 2013

"Why the Spectator Won't Sign the Royal Charter"

From the mess about oversight, regulation, and press freedom in the UK comes a moment of clarity from The Spectator:
It is just as the advocates of press freedom feared: politicians cannot stop themselves. Give them control over print and they’ll come back for digital. Next they will want to distinguish between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ journalists, to reward their friends and punish their enemies. Just a whiff of this sort of power has intoxicated Alex Salmond, who commissioned a review which recommended that Scotland make licensing of the press compulsory. His devolved government would license bloggers, a handy tool in the run-up to the 2014 referendum. He was forced to drop the plans after they caused an uproar, but his intention was clear. 
Perhaps the general public think state regulation is a good thing; that hacks should be restrained by people who aren’t themselves in the media. But what may not be appreciated is the insidious influence politicians already try to exert over the press: the quiet words over dinner, the phone calls made to editors, myself included. I have been asked to chastise ‘irresponsible’ reporters and remove articles that politicians find insulting from the website. On minister called to ask if I was aware that a Spectator journalist had been rude about him without first seeking the advice of his spin doctor. It’s as if MPs have lost sight of what a free press is for. 
When the public think of a ‘bad journalist’, they imagine a hack who plagiarises, lies, or in some other way breaks the law. When a politician thinks of a bad journalist, more often than not he imagines someone who has criticised him, unfairly in his opinion. So of course there’s political lip-smacking about an era in which politicians have the power to define what is acceptable journalism. Or, as Labour’s Jim Sheridan put it on Tuesday, expel the ‘parasitical elements’ within the press. But this is an attack on freedom.

"Ghost Marriages" in China

Um ... ewwwwww.  When the term "grave robbing" appears in any article, the "ick" factor instantly multiplies by a factor of at least 10.  Imagine the response from feminists when they discover that women are being trafficked as objects and commodities even after they're dead!

Monday Therapy: "Look at That Piercing Scowl!"

Everybody's grumpy on Monday morning, but this Internet celebrity could teach a master class.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Earth Hour? Pffft. FIAT LUX!

The annual idiotic nonsense is upon us again, though I haven't found a response better than this one by a Canadian professor from a few years ago.  Do read the whole thing.  See too what Bjørn Lomborg has to say.  Perhaps celebrate Human Achievement Hour instead?  (Related thoughts.)  Awesome Aussie Tim Blair is treating this Earth Day with his usual panache (see his hilarious writeup from 2012).  As for me, I intend to carry on doing what I had planned to do tonight regardless of silly, sanctimonious publicity stunts.  It's March Madness, people, and my compatriots and I will be in front of the TV!

Headline of the Day: From Albania

"Paranoid Dictator’s Communist-Era Bunkers Now a National Nuisance."

Friday, March 22, 2013

Forgotten History: Artistic/Intellectual Feuds

Spanning the Renaissance to the modern age, here are some delicious tales of brilliant people engaging in some memorable feuds

Quote of the Day: Cyprus and the Euro

Here it is:
"For a small, open economy like Cyprus, euro adoption provides protection from international financial turmoil."
These were the words of Jean-Claude Trichet, then-president of the European Central Bank, on January 18, 2008.  What a difference 5 years make!

Friday Fun Video: Russian Hitman vs. Snowmen

I suppose we all welcome spring in different ways!  I for one am totally sick of the cold.


A Tale of Two Gifts

A rock vs. a tree.  

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Escaping From Oppression

Here is a collection of 6 TED talks, beginning with Hyenseo Lee's escape from North Korea.

Fouad Ajami on the Aftermath of Iraq

See what he has to say. Here is a bit of it:
First, look at the map.  To Iraq's east lies Iran and a border of several hundred miles.  Had we kept the residual presence in Iraq we would have had a listening station on Iran's border.  The Iranians knew this, and that was why they were eager to push us out.  The Iraqis were more than willing to have us stay without advertising it.  We squandered that possible advantage.  The Iranians would have had to think things over if we were so close to them and right on their border.  

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Movie Review: "Magic Mike" (2012)

It's feigning men.

The movie is pretty much just an animated version of the its poster: all flash and no depth.  Neither fully guilty pleasure nor truly incisive storytelling, Magic Mike shows us a lot of muscles while neglecting the two most important organs of all: the heart and the brain.  

Quote of the Day: Politicizing History

NERD FIGHT! It's journalism professor versus historian as David Greenberg excoriates Howard Zinn.  Here's a piece of it (my emphasis in bold):
... historians are obliged to explore the viewpoints of elite actors, however unattractive, not to parcel out sympathy in proper proportions, but to show, in a faithful account of the past, the interconnectedness of the rulers and ruled, and of all strata of society, and how one group’s experiences influence another’s.  But Zinn reduced historical analysis to political opinion.  He assessed a work of history by its author’s partisan loyalties, not its arguments about causation, influence, motivation, significance, experience, or other problems he deemed “technical” in nature. 
... the fatal flaw of Zinn’s historical work is the shallowness, indeed the fallaciousness, of his critique of scholarly detachment.  Zinn rests satisfied with what strikes him as the scandalous revelation that claims of objectivity often mask ideological predilections.  Imagine!  And on the basis of this sophomoric insight, he renounces the ideals of objectivity and empirical responsibility, and makes the dubious leap to the notion that a historian need only lay his ideological cards on the table and tell whatever history he chooses.
I don't need to tell you how dangerously enstupidizing this is.  The "nerds behaving badly" tag belongs to Zinn, of course, whose book has warped countless impressionable readers and still makes life harder for honest, responsible teachers of history.

You Can't Spell "Cypriot" Without "Riot"

It's been a few days since the news broke, and the angry aftermath has set in.  Protests in Nicosia, the revolt of the Cypriot lawmakers against the bailout proposal, and the prospect of no end to the debt crisis.

I am bemused by how some people/analysts/bureaucrats are calling the proposed "let's grab a chunk of depositors' money" ploy the Orwellian term of "deposit levy" or even "tax."  I'll just quote a piquantly relevant response:
This is not really about Cyprus, of course, but about the precedent that is being set there. In exchange for an infusion of capital into the nation's banks, Cyprus is being asked to impose a "special bank levy" ... This is described as a "wealth tax," except that it's not a tax. A tax is a regular rule that operates uniformly according to a pre-determined formula. A one-time, ad hoc seizure of money isn't a tax. It is confiscation. Or we can use a plainer word for it: theft.
If you want a Puckish application of this whole mess, I give you the incomparable Instapundit, who recently suggested:
... an enterprising GOP member of the House or Senate would introduce a bill immediately to make such shenanigans illegal — and dare the Dems to oppose it.
Put those Dems on the defense.  It's a brilliant idea ... which means establishment GOP leaders and pseudo-cons will be too stupid to adopt it.  Hey, Rand Paul, are you listening?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Take Me Out to the Twitterverse: Hank Aaron Is Now Tweeting!

Look at this brand-new announcement from MLB:

Operation Iraqi Freedom 10 Years Ago

Eric over at Eric's Learning Curve will be doing a series of posts on Iraq, beginning with this one today.  The whole series is sure to be worth a read.  Has it really been 10 years?  Dignified Rant also weighs in.  

NOPE: Feinstein's "Assault Weapons" Ban

The guys over at Reason are Schadenfreudeliciously happy.  Well, good, because the despicable demagoguing and hypocritical skulduggery that went into the current gun control hysteria was well nigh intolerable.  And all for naught if Reid can't even scare up 40 votes in the Senate.  Here's a little song:

O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Here's some fascinating forgotten history, a tale of two siblings. While one brother joined the Nazi Party, the other helped Jews during the Holocaust.  Meet Albert Göring, the younger brother of Hermann Göring.  Yes, that Hermann Göring.

Monday, March 18, 2013

May the Force Be With Your Brackets

March Madness is here!  Time to fill out your brackets. Even Darth Vader is excited:

Rant: Press Freedom in the UK

Take a good look.  Here's a more humorous commentary on the topic by the famously eccentric Mayor of London.

Quote of the Day: the Bailout Debacle in Cyprus

Have you been watching the nightmare unfolding in Cyprus over the weekend?  It actually took me a couple hours before I could believe what I was seeing.  Imagine waking up and realizing that 6.7% to 9.9%  3%-15% (updated figures) of your savings accounts have been - oh, let's just say it - confiscated.  It might be a way to get back at dodgy Russian oligarchs using Cyprus and possibly money-laundering and whatever, but it's a horrible precedent and plenty of ordinary Cypriots are getting screwed.  This passionate rant gives us the quote of the day:
"The establishment of the principle that a government can, and at times of economic strain must, help itself to your savings, and that this is a legitimate tool of statecraft, ought to provoke riots. I am amazed at the tranquillity with which it has been accepted so far."
Perhaps there aren't any riots yet because everybody is right now busy sprinting to the ATMs.  Hell, I would!  Once folks figure out that they can't get to their money, then I'll expect panic to turn into rage.

Hey, remember all that crazy talk about how cash-strapped governments might start raiding people's retirement accounts?  Doesn't sound so crazy now, does it?  Meanwhile, all those jokes that the Cine-Sib and I used to make about putting your money into your mattress instead of a bank ("Haha, I'm sure my Sealy Posturepedic can give me a better interest rate") now aren't so funny anymore.

Anyway, the thought occurs to me as I watch Cyprus: the leadership in the euro zone could scarcely do a better job of crashing that country if they were trying to do so.  I mean, look at what's been done in the name of "saving it."  When you spark panicked bank runs in the name of saving anything, I think it's fairly safe to say that you've screwed the proverbial pooch.

PS: Interesting (and prescient) anecdote.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Awesome LOL: A Biologist on St. Patrick's

Full lyrics are here.  Besides, some people like this clinical professor of psychiatry think beer gave us civilization. Enjoy your festive (green-tinted?) beverages responsibly, my darlings, and enjoy this video too!

Ireland By Facts and Figures

Since we're all Irish today, here's a nice look at the Emerald Isle.  Oh, one more factoid.  Did you hear about the Swedish geographer who claimed Ireland is really Atlantis?  

Boil 'Em, Mash 'Em, Stick 'Em In A Stew

Everybody remembers the Irish potato famine of the 1840s, but has anybody wondered lately just what kind of potato was behind it all?  Here's the fascinating tale of a curious Irish farmer who decided to try growing this bit of history. (Kudos, sir!)

MM in the Kitchen: Irish Stew + Soda Bread

Did you have a nice breakfast?  I hope you're hungry for dinner later: here's some Irish lamb stew and soda bread.  Oh, and if you're not a lamb person, here's a beef version.  Here's a video lesson if you want some visual aid.  (Want more Irish edibles?)

Your Snarky Headline for St. Patrick's Day

"Patrick Wasn’t Irish: He Was British. Deal with It."

Perhaps you might find this write-up of St. Patrick to be useful.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

That Was Fast: Beijing Bullies New Pope Francis Over Taiwan

According to this, Beijing said that the Vatican must sever ties with Taiwan before its relations with China could improve.  *Sigh*  

Obamacare and the Doctors' Revolt

"Direct primary care."

Celebrate Pi Day!

It's Pi Day!  Here's a fun infographic about this useful and delightfully unruly number:

Satire Alert: Vatican Fashion

What would happen if you took the fashion-obsessed commentary associated with movie stars on the red carpet and combined that with the recent papal conclave?  The Onion experiments hilariously.

Kids and Toys: A Global Tour

Take a look at this intriguing collection of photos from around the world.  Goodness, doesn't it make you think back to your favorite toys when you were little?  I remember loving teddy bears but not really liking Barbie dolls.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The French Philosopher vs. the Venezuelan Strongman

Bernard-Henri Lévy takes on Hugo Chavez and the useful idiots who are his fans.  Here's a taste of it: "to pretend that the overall record of Chavezism has been positive is an insult to the Venezuelan people."


All best wishes to the new Pope Francis.  Wow, that conclave didn't waste any time choosing Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, did it?  It's a historic moment of firsts:  He is the first Latin American and the first Jesuit to become pontiff, and he chose a papal name that had never been used before, to boot.

The new pope's first official tweet:

Fun with the Papal Conclave: Alternative Smoke Colors

Previous papal hilarity here and here, and now comes this.  Please note the terrifying meaning of pink smoke.

Quirky Asia Files: The Masked Japanese Politician

He calls himself "Skull Reaper A-ji"!  This fellow certainly has a lot of personality.  Perhaps he's watched Nacho Libre once too often?  Then again, back in Renaissance Venice, people got into trouble for wearing carnival masks to church.  There's also this:

Rant: Poverty and Cultural Authenticity

Short version: you don't need the former in order to have the latter.

So tell me, ye judges of authenticity: am I "authentic" enough for you?  Maybe my smartphone and laptop and high heels disqualify me as a "proper" Taiwanese.  Should I be back wading in the rice paddy and wearing a coolie hat with a baby strapped to my back?  Does that better meet your laughably ignorant expectations?  Would it make you feel better if all the businesspeople and computer engineers of Taipei knock down the high-rises and go back to living in villages?  trade in their cars for wagons and water buffalo again?  ARE WE ANY LESS TAIWANESE BECAUSE WE'RE NOT POOR?  How insulting.

Oh, and heaven forbid that anyone say that the greater issue is whether quality of life is better.  Let me tell you: on my last visit to "the old country," one of my elderly aunts started telling me about life 50 years ago when she knew that "culturally authentic" poverty firsthand.  I won't weary you with details; suffice it to say it was horrifying and included phrases like "no running water" and "no indoor plumbing."  Then she smiled, gestured around her comfortable modern home, and said, well, thank goodness that's all over with!  Indeed.

Lord, give me patience with those horrible people who argue about "authenticity" ... or, better yet, Lord, give me the self-control not to punch them in the face.  Why, one might even think the authenticity police's breathtakingly arrogant behavior is ... raaaaaaaaaaacist or something.

OK, OK, how about something like this for a solution?  Wealthy tourists want to see "authenticity" from the ethnic locals while the ethnic locals want a better life with modern advances.  Why not take a hint from the brilliant Gary Larson's cartoon?  

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Headline of the Day: North Korean Antics

This is a few days old, but I couldn't resist noting it:  "North Korea declares war on everyone; chances of victory thought to be slim."

"Argo" and Mangled History

I was actually going to get around to this, but someone else has saved me the work.  Here, read this.  

I'm on the record as loving this movie, but if I had to point out the one thing that bothered me, the fly in the ointment, it was the intro that purported to give the audience the historical background to the crisis of 1979.  The whole thing was only a few minutes long, but I hated it.  Still, the rest of the movie was absolutely splendid storytelling.  The creative liberties taken for the plot and its fantastic drama were fine by me.  It was the intro that rubbed me the wrong way, because I'm sure it's given a whole bunch of ignorant moviegoers a totally wrong idea of what happened. Well, we  should all know better than to expect actual history out of Hollywood, for goodness sake.  But you knew that already.  

I have to say, though: What may be more remarkable - and worthy of praise in this age of "America is always the bad guy" media - is the fact that the movie does not attempt to make the Iranian hostage takers sympathetic.  It does not glorify them at all.  We are clearly shown the revolutionaries' brutality not only to the captured Americans but also to other Iranians.  I think the flick deserves some kudos for that.

The writer of the article is also quite exercised about the Jimmy Carter epilogue to the film.  I can understand his annoyance, but I thought Carter's voiceover spin-doctoring was so flat-out ludicrous that I just laughed it off.  Come on, all Jimmy's done lately is try to revise his (disastrous) legacy.  Nobody mentioned Ronald Reagan at all in connection with the end of the Iran hostage crisis, but he was the elephant in the room and was conspicuous by his absence.

Oh, you might want to read the 2007 Wired article that started the whole moviemaking ball rolling.  You may also be interested in the new book The Coup: 1953, the CIA, and the Roots of Modern U.S.-Iranian Relations.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Movie Trailer: "Star Trek Into Darkness" Trailer 2

YES, PLEASE!  Bonus: Bruce Greenwood is back as Pike.  I thought he was a fabulous presence in the first Abrams Trek movie, and I'm delighted to see him again.

Monday Therapy: All the Political Commentary You'll Need

It was 1959 when this film of the 1956 Broadway musical "Li'l Abner" (itself based on the comic strip) came out, but this song lampooning the government is evergreen in its relevance.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Perspectives on the Rand Paul Filibuster

I was trying to write an honest-to-goodness analysis of the filibuster (I meant to include links like this, this, this, this, this, and this in my discussion of how even though I don't agree with Rand on a number of things in general, I was overjoyed to see him "hack" politics and bust out of the business-as-usual DC opacity to engage a much wider audience ... When was the last time you watched C-SPAN in delight while social media exploded as a conversation about civil liberties took off?  Be honest.  Never), but in the end, my congenital inability to resist a joke has overpowered me.  You may enjoy a rather more visual explication, gentle reader?

How Twitter, Facebook, and social media responded:

How Rand Paul fans see him and the filibuster:

How John McCain and Lindsey Graham see Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and everybody else who rallied to Rand:

How McCain and Graham see themselves:

How Rand Paul fans see McCain and Graham:

How C-SPAN sees Rand Paul:

How libertarians hope this conversation about civil liberties, limits of executive power, and government overreach turns out:

How Mad Minerva treated the filibuster as it happened:

Watch This on DVD: "End of Watch" (2012)

Bad Boys.

I missed this when it was in theaters, and that was my bad, because End of Watch is a great flick (hey, it's by the writer of 2001's excellent Training Day!) rating 85% on RottenTomatoes.  Come for young hotshot LAPD officers Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Zavala (Michael Peña) as they go on duty in gang-and-cartel-ridden South Central LA, but stay for a surprising dose of humor and engaging depiction of personalities.  I was expecting a gritty crime drama with lots of action, and the flick is definitely that, but it is also, at its core, a buddy movie in the best sense of the term; it's a flick about two cops who are as much brothers as partners, and as riveting as they are when they're chasing criminals, they're even better when they're just interacting with each other (these guys have some of the best on-screen chemistry, banter, and badinage I've seen in recent memory).  Gyllenhaal is great and Peña simply superb as they create their characters as touchingly real individuals who make you care about them even through (or even because of) all their flaws and foibles and locker room language as they go out day after day into a dangerous world.  You can keep your insipid rom-coms, Hollywood marketing-to-girls department.  I would rather watch movies like End of Watch any day.  End of Watch runs 109 minutes and is rated R for violence, language, drug use, and disturbing images.

"Just the Beginning": Rand Paul on His Own Filibuster

The junior senator from Kentucky has a piece in the Washington Post. It's fascinating to see what he has to say as he looks back on that electrifying experience.  I'm working on a post on all that, but for now, do see what Rand Paul has to say for himself.  Goodness know it's more interesting than what John "Wacko Bird" McCain and his minion Lindsey "Senator from McCain" Graham have been (bitterly? even enviously?) squawking.

For our quote of the day, let's take a snippet from the Kentucky senator, shall we?
I hope my efforts help spur a national debate about the limits of executive power and the scope of every American’s natural right to be free. “Due process” is not just a phrase that can be ignored at the whim of the president; it is a right that belongs to every citizen in this great nation. I believe the support I received this past week shows that Americans are looking for someone to really stand up and fight for them. And I’m prepared to do just that.

Steyn on Surveillance and Drones

Steyn is always worth your time.  Here are two tastes of his latest: "the government is too craven to stray beyond technological warfare and take on its enemies ideologically" and "government is increasingly comfortable with a view of society as a giant “Panopticon” — the radial prison devised by Jeremy Bentham in 1785, in which the authorities can see everyone and everything." 

Medical Tech and Robots

"The robot will see you now."

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Forgotten History: Mango Madness in Mao's China

And you thought you knew just how bizarre and terrifying the Cultural Revolution was.  Here is another tale of madness and Mao's cult of personality.

The Morning After: Arguing About the Filibuster

In the interest of fairness, here is an opposing view of yesterday's/last night's/this morning's Paulian Senate floor fireworks.  There's also this from the Economist.

I, here in the cold light of morning as opposed to the electrifying atmosphere of the filibuster as it was in progress, still think it was a good thing, by the way. According to a recent poll cited by Reason, plenty of people are concerned about drones and the abuse of power.  There's hope yet.

Here, take a look at 3 things we can take away from the filibuster.  In fact, it yields the Quote of the Day:
The filibuster succeeded precisely because it wasn't a cheap partisan ploy but because the substance under discussion - why won't the president of the United States, his attorney general, and his nominee to head the CIA explain their views on limits to their power? - transcends anything so banal or ephemeral as party affiliation or ideological score-settling.

LOL: Jon Stewart on Rand Paul's Filibuster

Take a look.  A bit of it: “I can’t say I agree with Rand Paul about everything, but as issues go, drone oversight is one certainly worth kicking up a fuss for.”

UPDATE: Video embedded. There's an ad first. Sorry.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Dare We Hope

... that somehow out of the filibuster we might get a new GOP that focuses on freedom, liberty, limited government, and American optimism?  that presents a shining vision of America in opposition to the miserable pettiness of the status quo and its power-grubbing mandarins? OHGODPLEASE.  Paul, Rubio, Cruz, et al are making me dare to hope a little.  It's terrifying and exhilarating all at once.  Let it start here with the pushback against the abuse of power.  As Rand Paul just said, this isn't about Republicans or Democrats, but about executive power and the US Constitution.

UPDATE: It's 11:40 PM, and we're all still up and a-filibusterin'.  How much longer can everyone keep going? Honey, grad students don't sleep as a matter of course.  We're in for the long haul (while doing schoolwork, natch).  (Meanwhile, I note that a bunch of other people are finally showing up on the Senate floor to jump on Paul's bandwagon.  Shamed into action, eh?  GOOD.  Do the right thing for the wrong reason, eh?  So long as the right thing gets done in a snakepit like DC.)

Tweet of the Day on Raul Paul's Filibuster Against Drones

The spectacle of Rand Paul's filibuster today (still going as I type, with 10 Senators involved now!) has been eating up the news, so I'm not going to babble much about it here other than to say that it's pretty darn awesome.  It was high time somebody poked the establishment in the eye about this.  I think you all might also appreciate this observation that just appeared via Twitter:
Oh, heck with it. Here's the beginning of the whole thing: 

“I rise today to begin to filibuster John Brennan’s nomination for the CIA. I will speak until I can no longer speak. I will speak as long as it takes, until the alarm is sounded from coast to coast that our Constitution is important, that your rights to trial by jury are precious, that no American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found to be guilty by a court, that Americans could be killed in a cafe in San Francisco or in a restaurant in Houston or at their home in Bowling Green, Ky., is an abomination. It is something that should not and cannot be tolerated in our country.”

Quote of the Day: Government Budget Cuts and Cynical PR

Via Cafe Hayek comes this observation by economist Thomas Sowell:
Back in my teaching days, many years ago, one of the things I liked to ask the class to consider was this: Imagine a government agency with only two tasks: (1) building statues of Benedict Arnold and (2) providing life-saving medications to children. If this agency’s budget were cut, what would it do? 
The answer, of course, is that it would cut back on the medications for children. Why? Because that would be what was most likely to get the budget cuts restored. If they cut back on building statues of Benedict Arnold, people might ask why they were building statues of Benedict Arnold in the first place.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Venezuela's Chávez Dead; Exiles Rejoice

Venezuelans in south Florida respond with cheers.

Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em. Or Not.

Russia fears its troops will riot if cigarette rations end.  (The ration is 10 a day.)

State Dept. Addresses Dennis Rodman's Norkophilia

I don't know what's more ridiculous: ex-basketball player and full-time freak show Dennis Rodman, Rodman's bromance with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, or the fact that some guy from State actually had to say this at a press briefing:
"Dennis Rodman has never been a player in our diplomacy, he does not represent the views of the United States, he is a private American."
Meanwhile in the real world, apparently a top Chinese Communist wants China to abandon North Korea.

Forgotten History: Guys and High Heels

Once upon a time, the ladies weren't the only ones who loved high heels. OK, as long as we don't go back to this!

One Patient's Thank-You Note to His Doctor

Kudos!  Dr. Daniel Chan is the man! (Of course, John Williams is also the man!).

Taiwanese News Animators vs. Sequester Fearmongering

Gentle reader, in this nightmarish post-sequester hellhole wrought by 2.3% budget cuts, I have taken a minute from cannibalizing my neighbors, burning books to keep from freezing to death, dodging airplanes plummeting from the sky, and fighting off zombies in order to bring you this hilarious video: