Saturday, November 24, 2007

Holiday Drivers

Is it my imagination or are the current crop of holiday drivers mean as snakes and nuts to boot? I have been flipped off twice this week by drivers--both who were at fault. One driver with some real Christmas spirit--with a tree in the back of his truck for goodness sakes--ran a stop sign, almost hit us and had the gall to flip us a bird. Another car was using the turn lane to drive in as if it were a regular lane and was mad that I was there--uhh, turning. Naturally, the two young guys in the car had to jump up and down flipping birds. Then to top it off, a car crossed two lanes of traffic while I was going straight and nearly plowed into me; only by quickly pulling to the other side of the road did I avoid a collision. And they looked mad at me! Anyone out there experience this level of holiday cheer while out cruising around?

Update: Speaking of road rage, here is a pretty funny video from a movie of two women drivers who duke it out in a parking lot, make sure you catch the bumper sticker on the back of one of the cars stating, "War is not the answer."

Friday, November 23, 2007

Rudy's My Man!

So, if you're bored today and want to take yet another quiz, how about the Ultimate 2008 Presidential Matcher? Here are my results:

Ultimate 2008 Presidential Candidate Matcher
Your Result: Rudy Guiliani

The former New York City mayor emphasizes his tough foreign policy stance. His primary issue is national security, and would continue to pursue Bush's war on terrorism. Guiliani is liberal on social issues, favoring civil unions for gays and abortion rights. He is more conservative on tax policy, healthcare, and social security. He wants to expand nuclear energy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

John McCain
Mitt Romney
Ron Paul
Hillary Clinton
Barack Obama
John Edwards
Dennis Kucinich
Ultimate 2008 Presidential Candidate Matcher
Take More Quizzes

You can take it here.


Thursday, November 22, 2007

A First I would Like to Forget

SayUncle mentions a couple of firsts he experienced this week; one was listening to our podcast on the Second Amendment with Bob Levy and the other was going to the local Greyhound station in Knoxville. The latter first is amazing to me, given that in the earlier part of my life, I spent a great deal of time at the Greyhound bus station going various places and can't imagine never having spend even one day at the local bus terminal. A trip at nineteen was the most memorable bus ride I can remember. I rode back from San Francisco to Knoxville on a Greyhound bus and it was one of the worst experiences of my life.

The ride was three days long and I sat next to a woman eating fried chicken for a day and a half. She made no qualms about taking up part of my seat and I sat slumped to one side for most of the ride trying to sleep in the middle of the night. I spent a day just going through Texas and have no fond memories of the place--you will understand this if you have experienced the seamy side of small towns on a bus for days at a time. I was traveling with a friend but the bus was packed and we could not get a seat together. At one point on the trip, people were standing in the aisle and had no seats. This led to some pretty grumpy behavior that soon turned ugly.

The driver stopped at one Texas town and told everyone to get off to eat and that we had only 45 minutes. "If you are not back on the bus, I'm leaving without you," he groused. The passengers herded off like cattle and went to find a fast food place for lunch. My friend and I got some food and got back on the bus, fearful that we would be left behind. At exactly 45 minutes to the second, the bus driver pulled out to the dismay of several passengers whose comrads had not come back to the bus. The driver took off and the passengers became irate and started accusing the driver of being prejudiced--the passengers he left were black and the driver was white. One passenger then stated that he was hijacking the bus, pulled a knife and starting yelling at those of us who were seated. My friend and I had been through such hell on that bus at that point that we looked up with boredom and tried to go back to sleep. The driver pulled into a police station that was nearby and the "hijacker" was taken off the bus and our ride continued. After this experience, I swore I would never ride a bus again, but I did and had a number of other adventures that I will not bore you with.

My bus riding days are pretty much over, and I doubt that I will ride a Greyhound again, but after my last airplane flight, I can honestly say that I can't really tell the differece between an airplane and a bus with wings.


What Accent do You Have?

I was reading The Corner the other day and came across a quiz entitled, What American Accent do You Have? My results?

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Inland North

You may think you speak "Standard English straight out of the dictionary" but when you step away from the Great Lakes you get asked annoying questions like "Are you from Wisconsin?" or "Are you from Chicago?" Chances are you call carbonated drinks "pop."

The Northeast
The Midland
The South
The West
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Well, this doesn't really fit what most people from other areas than the South tell me. When I am in New York, people almost always detect a Southern accent but when I am in the South, people say I have a Northeast accent--the switch back and forth probably comes from living in both areas. And I have never called a soda "pop" in my life. What about you?


Happy Thanksgiving

Hope all my readers enjoy their Thanksgiving!

If you want to take a break from the family festivities--you can tune in tonight (Thursday) to XM Channel #130, POTUS ‘08 at 6:00 PM Eastern/3:00 PM Pacific for Pajamas Media’s weekly PJM Political show (And at 11:00 PM Eastern/8:00 Pacific for a rebroadcast) to hear me interviewed by Ed Driscoll about surviving political warfare at the holiday dinner table.

Or you can just listen to the interview here at Pajamas Media.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Podcast: Robert Levy on the Second Amendment

Today we interview Robert A. Levy who is a senior fellow in constitutional studies at the Cato Institute, and the driving force behide the effort to overturn Washington D.C.'s gun ban on Second Amendment grounds. To date, in D.C. no one but police officers and retired officers are allowed to have a gun in their home for self-protection. Mr. Levy hopes this case will change that.

He's won the D.C. Circuit and the case is to be heard before the Supreme court. We talk to Mr. Levy about the background of the case, why he filed it and if the decision will be a big issue in the 2008 elections. You can read a recent op-ed by Mr. Levy in the LA Times entitled, Unholster the 2nd Amendment to learn more about the case or listen to the interview or do both.

You can listen directly -- no downloading needed -- by going here and clicking on the gray Flash player. Or you can download the show and listen at your leisure by clicking right here. You can get a lo-fi version, suitable for dialup, by going here and selecting lo-fi. And you can always get a free subscription via iTunes -- and we'd like it if you did. Our show archives are at

This podcast was brought to you by Volvo Automobiles. Music is by Todd Steed and the Suns of Phere.

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Ask Dr. Helen: Holiday Fun or Holiday Hell?

My PJM column is up:

Not everyone looks forward to sitting around the Thanksgiving table with their extended family, notes PJM advice columnist Dr. Helen Smith - particularly those whose politics differ from members of the clan. She offers a food-fight prevention survival guide.

So, go read the column and let me know here or there if you get into heated political discussions with family and friends at the holidays and if so, how you handle it. It might just keep the rest of us out of jail this holiday season!


Grants for me but not for thee

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) serves few male victims even though it was reauthorized in 2005 to include male victims of violence; in fact, a recent report from the General Accounting Office (GAO) shows that only 3.9% of legal aid money goes to males for legal assistance. Do men not ask for legal help or is it refused when they do? If the latter, it is no wonder men without funds cannot get custody of their kids or do so poorly in divorce settlements. Thanks to Jon for pointing out this report.


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Things I Learned in Yale

Okay, in Yale Alumni Magazine, that is. Glenn is an alumni of the law school and yesterday, while rather bored, I picked up the magazine and thumbed through it. Here is what I learned. First, most doctors can't do stats:

Almost every medical school student takes a course or two in biostatistics to learn how to understand research data. But Donna Windish, an assistant professor at the School of Medicine, has shown that the information often doesn't stick. "A significant percentage of physicians-in-training do not understand the statistics they encounter in the medical literature," she says.

In her own teaching, Windish had seen that trainees often read only the abstracts, or "ignored the statistics and skipped right to the results." This practice turns out to be common throughout the medical profession -- and potentially troubling. "An abstract usually says little about methods of design, conduct, and analysis," says Windish, citing an earlier study that showed frequent data mismatches between the abstract and the paper.

"Doctors don't necessarily need to know how to do the mathematical calculations," Windish says. "They need to understand the concepts and how to use them."

Funny, talk to most doctors and they will tell you that only MDs can prescribe because they "know all that calculus, stats and stuff." Really? I've never seen a doctor do any calculations to write a prescription. Now, I've learned that many of them them don't know how to interpret a piece of research thoroughly. That really breeds confidence.

Next, I found out in the magazine that:

Morning people are more likely to be emotionally stable than their "night owl" counterparts. Yale psychology postdoctoral researcher Colin DeYoung and his colleagues studied 279 students in an introductory psychology class at the University of Toronto and found a moderately strong correlation between "morningness" and character traits associated with stability.

Uhmm, okay, but I am not sure I buy this theory for the population at large. Undergrads are notorious for partying at night and sleeping during the day. When they have kids or get older and have to be at a job, I wonder if this still holds true? Can't researchers ever get away from studying undergraduates, who are such a peculiar type of cohort that findings may not carry over to other people at different points of life or in different environments?

Finally, I learned that working at Starbucks can save your life. There was an interesting book reviewed in the magazine with the intriguing title, How Starbucks Saved My Life: A Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else. Apparently, the author, who is a member of the Yale class of 63, got a plum job with J. Walter Thompson ad agency only to lose it at the age of 53. Then he goes on to have a number of misfortunes including impregnating a mistress, getting kicked out by his wife, a brain tumor etc. He loses his job and ends up working at a Starbucks in Manhattan and loves it. Naturally, the book review makes fun of this fact, describing the author as a "Starbucks sycophant" but whatever.

The book sounds fun and interesting enough to consider for my collection of reading material that I can never get to since I am too busy reading magazines such as the one described for no other reason than it was sitting beside me on the coffee table.