Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Today in History: April 30

  • 1006 Observers from Switzerland, Egypt, Iraq, China, Japan record supernova SN 1006, brighter than the "evening star", Venus.
  • 1777 German mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss born; one of the handful of greatest mathematicians of all history; magnetic field strength measured in gauss.
  • 1789 George Washington takes the oath of office as first President.
  • 1897 English physicist Joseph John Thomson announces his discovery of the first sub-atomic particle, the electron; 1906 Nobel.
  • 1916 American mathematician Claude Shannon born; father of information theory.
  • 1945 Adolf Hitler suicides during the Battle for Berlin.
Yesterday | Tomorrow

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Today in History: April 29

  • 1854 French mathematician Henri Poincaré born; father of algebraic topology; father of multivariate complex analytic function theory; co-discoverer (with Albert Einstein and Hendrik Lorentz) of the special theory of relativity.
  • 1875 British-Italian writer Rafael Sabatini born; wrote The Sea Hawk (1915), Scaramouche (1921), Captain Blood (1922), The Black Swan (1932). Buckle your swashes!
  • 1893 American chemist Harold Urey born; 1934 Nobel, discovered Deuterium, a heavier isotope of Hydrogen; (with Stanley Miller) showed that lightening in an early-Earth atmosphere produces amino acids, the building blocks of DNA.
  • 1945 American troops capture Dachau labor/death camp;
  • 1992 Black people riot in Los Angeles, killing 53 and destroying hundreds of buildings, after police are acquitted of excessive force charges in arresting Rodney King.
Yesterday | Tomorrow

Monday, April 28, 2008

Today in History: April 28

  • 1758 James Monroe born; 5th President of the United States; created the Monroe Doctrine.
  • 1900 Dutch astrophysicist Jan Oort born; discovered that that Milky Way was a galaxy by analysing star and hydrogen gas cloud movements; created the Oort Cloud model of comet genesis.
  • 1906 Austrian-American mathematician Kurt Gödel born; created Gödel's Incompleteness Theorems (1931), proving that Bertrand Russell couldn't axiomatize Arithmetic.
  • 1928 American astrogeologist Gene Shoemaker born; pioneer of asteroid Earth-strike geological theories; initiated geology training of Apollo lunar astronauts; coined "regolith"; co-discovered Comet P/Shoemaker-Levy 9, which impacted on Jupiter with larger-than-Earth effects.
  • 1945 Benito Mussolini and his mistress Clara Petacci are executed by a firing squad.
  • 1952 United States ends occupation of Japan; Japan remains a racist country to this day.
Yesterday | Tomorrow

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Today in History: April 27

Yesterday | Tomorrow

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Connections: 211-12

Episodes 11 and 12 of Connections II.
(Click on the image to play — it will open in a separate window/tab)

Episodes 1-2 | 3-4 | 5-6 | 7-8 | 9-10

Original Connections Episodes:
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10

Today in History: April 26

Yesterday | Tomorrow

Friday, April 25, 2008

Today in History: April 25

Yesterday | Tomorrow

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Today in History: April 24

  • 1533 William I, Prince of Orange, born; led rebellion against the Spanish control of the Netherlands -- successful 24 years after his death.
  • 1800 President John Adams establishes the Library of Congress.
  • 1915 Turkish government begins the Armenian Genocide and death march; 1.5 million murdered or starved to death.
  • 1953 Eight years after becoming obvious that Winston Churchill's policies had saved England from slavery, it occurs to Queen Elizabeth II to knight him.
Yesterday | Tomorrow

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Another "Too Good to Pass Up!"

You may be familiar with the writings of one, P.J. O'Rourke.

Well, he has a post over at The Weekly Standard which, IMHO, is just too good not to point out.

Please enjoy some hilarious word-smithing with a point.

Just. Too. Good.

Global Cooling, The New Pink

The world climate has just taken a sharp turn colder. For the first time in over four years, the area covered by sea ice over the globe has been greater than average -- and it's been that way since January. Currently the Earth has nearly a million square kilometers more sea ice than normal. The Earth also experienced a million square kilometers of sea ice above normal back in December -- more than any December since 1988..

Unlike fuzzy anecdotes and spotty human estimates about the coverage of sea ice, electronic satellite imagery is the gold standard for accuracy. These images have been taken daily since 1979. Sea ice coverage is measured against the standard daily average of the 1979-2000 period.

Don't know what happened to all that CO2 that was supposed to be causing Global Warming (tm). It's not like any of the major world economies has reduced its CO2 output over the last year. Maybe the CO2 theory has just gone bankrupt.

Today in History: April 23

  • 1564 William Shakespeare (by tradition) born; wrote some tremendous plays -- now is the time to brush up your Shakespeare.
  • 1858 German physicist Max Planck born; 1918 Nobel, founding quantum theory through his analysis of black-body radiation and the discovery of Planck's Law.
  • 1895 Kiwi author Ngaio Marsh born; one of the Four Queens of Crime (which included Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers and Margery Allingham); wrote detective Roderick Alleyn mysteries.
  • 1982 The Mayor and Council of the city of Key West declared "independence", establishing the Conch Republic. In 2006, over an attempt to annex the abandoned Seven Mile Bridge span, the Republic was recognized by Florida governor Jeb Bush: "With all due respect to the Conch Republic, the bridge belongs to all the people of Florida, and we're not currently in negotiations to sell it."
Yesterday | Tomorrow

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Today in History: April 22

  • 1724 German philosopher Immanuel Kant born; deduced that the Milky Way was a lens shaped collection (galaxy) of stars, that nebulas were similar collections of stars, and that the solar system coelesced from a gaseous nebula; wrote Critique of Pure Reason.
  • 1889 Oklahoma Land Rush: Oklahoma City and Guthrie formed in a single day each with over 10,000 people.
  • 1904 American physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer born; scientific director of Los Alamos laboratory during the Manhattan Project which created the atomic bomb. Read Rhodes' The Making of the Atomic Bomb.
  • 1919 American chemist Donald Cram born; 1987 Nobel, for synthesizing three-dimensional molecules that could mimic the functioning of natural molecules.
  • 1929 British mathematician Michael Atiyah born; 1966 Fields, for development of K-theory in topology, which led to a deeper understanding of quantum string theories.
  • 1945 In Croatia, Jasenovac death camp prisoners revolt; 520 killed, 80 escape. Before leaving the camp the same day, the guards murdered the remaining prisoners and destroyed the buildings. More than 70,000 people were murdered at this death camp.
Yesterday | Tomorrow

Monday, April 21, 2008

Today in History: April 21

  • 753BC Romulus and Remus found Rome.
  • 1913 Chinese-American biochemist Choh-hao Li born; isolated in pure form ACTH(the adrenocorticotropic hormone that treats arthritis) and HGH (the human growth hormone, somatotropin); discovered ß-endorphin, a natural painkiller; first to synthesize "Growth Factor 1", which promotes the growth of cartilage and bone.
  • 1994 Polish-American astronomer Alex Wolszczan announced his team's discovery, the 1st extrasolar planets.
Yesterday | Tomorrow

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Today in History: April 20

  • 1786 French engineer Marc Séguin born; invented the wire-cable suspension bridge; built the first one over the Rhône River.
  • 1893 American actor Harold Lloyd born; Safety Last! (1923), Girl Shy (1924), The Freshman (1925), Speedy (1928), Feet First (1930), The Cat's-Paw (1934).
  • 1999 Two crazy students massacre 13 people and wound many at the "gun-free zone" of Columbine High School, near Denver, Colorado. The crazies murder 10 people and wound 12 during the ten minutes *after* police arrive on the scene. Eleven minutes after police arrive, the final victim is murdered. Twelve minutes after police arrive on scene, Jefferson County SWAT arrives. Twenty five minutes after police arrive, Denver Metro SWAT arrives. Twenty eight minutes after police arrive, SWAT, which is already on scene, is given authorization to enter the school. Forty one minutes after police arrive, the crazies are still wandering around shooting. Forty two minutes after police arrive, the first SWAT team enters the school. Approximately forty three minutes after police arrive, the crazies commit suicide by themselves. Fifty three minutes after police arrive, a young man who had come through a nearby park to help police, with a .22 rifle, is disarmed at gunpoint. One hour seven minutes after police arrive, SWAT is moving toward the west side of the school. Two hours fifty one minutes after police arrive, a SWAT member sees a sign in a window, "1 BLEEDING TO DEATH". Approximately four hours after police arrive, the 10 murdered in the school library are found, along with numerous wounded and bleeding. Five hours and twenty one minutes after police arrive, the school is declared "safe", again.
Yesterday | Tomorrow

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Connections: 209-10

Episodes 9 and 10 of Connections II.
(Click on the image to play — it will open in a separate window/tab)

Episodes 1-2 | 3-4 | 5-6| 7-8

Original Connections Episodes:
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10

Today in History: April 19

  • 1721 Roger Sherman born; signer of the Declaration of Independence; also signed the Articles of Association, the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution.
  • 1775 The 14 April order by the English government to disarm the Massachusetts citizenry was resisted this day at battles of Lexington and Concord, the first battles of the American Revolution.
  • 1883 Austrian-American mathematician Richard von Mises born; pioneer of aeronautics boundary-layer theory and airfoil design.
  • 1912 American nuclear chemist Glenn T. Seaborg born; created ten transuranic atomic elements (beyond the heaviest natural element, Uranium); 1951 Nobel; Chaired the Atomic Energy Commission; Element 106, Seaborgium.
Yesterday | Tomorrow

Friday, April 18, 2008

When words are no longer a means of communication


As an intervention into our normative understanding of .the real. and its accompanying politics of convention, this performance piece has numerous conceptual goals. The first is to assert that often, normative understandings of biological function are a mythology imposed on form. It is this mythology that creates the sexist, racist, ableist, nationalist and homophobic perspective, distinguishing what body parts are .meant. to do from their physical capability. The myth that a certain set of functions are .natural. (while all the other potential functions are .unnatural.) undermines that sense of capability, confining lifestyle choices to the bounds of normatively defined narratives.

When words are no longer used as a means to convey ideas but, instead, as a means to confuse and camouflage ideas, the speaker has ceased to be an honest broker and has become a huckster. In case you have somehow been lucky enough to miss it, the quote above comes from the "artist" Aliza Shvarts.
For the past year, I performed repeated self-induced miscarriages. I created a group of fabricators from volunteers who submitted to periodic STD screenings and agreed to their complete and permanent anonymity. From the 9th to the 15th day of my menstrual cycle, the fabricators would provide me with sperm samples, which I used to privately self-inseminate.

Emphasis mine.I'm not going to address what Ms. Shvarts chooses to call "art" but rather the words she uses to describe and justify this waste of her parent's money. In the bolded passage above "I created a group of fabricators" is camouflage for a much more straightforward construction: "I asked some guys to be sperm donors" But Ms. Shvarts cannot speak in such banal language because she must hide the banality of her point. is a myth that ovaries and a uterus are .meant.[sic] to birth a child.

I beg to differ, Ms Shvarts. Birthing a child is precisely and exactly what ovaries and a uterus are "meant" to do. More specifically, that is what they are designed to do. If I may lapse into "artist" speak for a moment, "They have a function and their form flows from that function." Yes, they may be used for some other purpose (I once used a ratchet to drive nail) but that doesn't change what they were "meant" to do.
[Click on the title above, or date stamp below, to see the full post. Graphic Content]

Today in History: April 18

  • 1775 "Two if by Sea": Paul Revere and William Dawes ride from Boston to Lexington to warn leaders John Hancock and Sam Adams that the British are advancing by ship. The warning helped prepare the militia for the battles of Lexington and Concord.
  • 1942 Four months after the Japanese surprise attack at Pearl Harbor, sixteen B-25 land-based bomber aircraft commanded by LCOL Jimmy Doolittle launch from the deck of aircraft carrier USS Hornet, fly 650 miles to Tokyo, and drop bombs on military targets -- shocking the Japanese. Some of the bombs were used to 'return' Japanese 'friendship' medals that had been awarded by the Japanese government to U.S. servicemen before the war.
  • 1943 The architect of the Japanese surprise attack at Pearl Harbor, Isoroku Yamamoto, is killed during his morale-boosting tour of forward areas when eighteen P-38 aircraft from Guadalcanal fly 430 miles to intercept him and his six Zero aircraft escort.
Yesterday | Tomorrow

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Phoenix Mars Lander Update

The trajectory of the new Phoenix Mars Lander, NASA's first low-cost Scout mission, was changed a week ago on the 10th. Since its launch on August 4th, Phoenix has travelled just over 380 million miles, currently running at a reported 46,000 miles per hour (73,577 kph). The speed is tricky because it depends on your frame of reference, and on the fact that the project FAQ lists the cruising speed as 74,000 mph (presumably relative to Earth) and 14,000 mph wrt Mars, but the 73,577 kph reported above is from the 16 April computer-generated trajectory views from the project web site. Phoenix is expected to land on May 25th.

Today in History: April 17

  • 1397 Geoffrey Chaucer first recites his Canterbury Tales, for Richard II.
  • 1901 German-American mathematician Richard Brauer born; invented the modular representation theory of finite groups.
  • 1937 Cartoon chaotician Daffy Duck born, in Porky's Duck Hunt; AKA "The Egyptian god of frustration."
  • 1961 Bay of Pigs, exiles invade Cuba to topple the dictator Castro; John F. Kennedy reneges on his support; they are killed.
Yesterday | Tomorrow

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Too Many Dogs

Our old buddy Don dropped this one at the tipline:

Henry Carroll lives in Fayetteville, NC; home of Fort Bragg and the 82nd Airborne. He's in trouble with the guv'ment because he's looking after his son Adam's two dogs while Adam serves his country in Iraq. Why would looking after two dogs get Henry in trouble? Well it seems there is a county ordnance that says if you have five dogs you are running a kennel....and he has three dogs of his own. But it also seems that the ordnance isn't cut and dried as Henry has gotten two interpretations from two different county employees.

To try to solve the problem, Henry got the Army to write a letter to the county saying that the two dogs belonged to his son. The county's response: since Adam didn't sign the letter it might not be valid. That the letter is signed by Adam's platoon leader isn't enough for some people.

In the meantime, Henry says that if he is forced to give up any animals, he will give up two of his own. He's not going to break a promise to his son.

If the employees of Cumberland County don't have anything better to do than to harass a man taking care of his son's dogs, maybe we need to find them something to do. OR maybe we need to fix it so that they don't have to worry about this anymore. Can you say "You're fired!" boys and girls? I knew you could!

Today in History: April 16

Yesterday | Tomorrow

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Today in History: April 15

  • 1452 The original "renaissance man" Leonardo Da Vinci born; designed buildings, bridges, canals, forts and war machines; painted the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper.
  • 1707 Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler born; one of the founders of pure mathematics; one of the most famous men of the 18th C. in Europe; e^(πi) = -1, e^(ix) = cos x + i sin x.
  • 1715 The Pocotaligo Massacre: an emergency diplomatic party of six from the governor of South Carolina is met cordially by Yamasee indian leaders the previous evening but are attacked as they slept; four are tortured to death and two barely escape. This starts the Yamasee War, which includes Creek, Cherokee, Chickasaw and Shawnee tribes among others.
  • 1923 Insulin becomes available to the public for use by diabetics; 1923 Nobel to Frederick Banting and J.J.R. Macleod (who each shared his prize with his colleague).
  • 1927 American physicist Robert Mills born; 1980 Rumford Prize (with office-mate Chen Yang), for Yang-Mills field theory, the one of the foundations of the Standard Model of elementary particles and of string theory.
  • 1945 The British 11th Armoured Division liberates 60,000 prisoners of the Bergen-Belsen Nazi death camp; 13,000 unburied corpses litter the grounds; "The living lay with their heads against the corpses and around them moved the awful, ghostly procession of emaciated, aimless people, with nothing to do and with no hope of life, unable to move out of your way, unable to look at the terrible sights around them".
Yesterday | Tomorrow

Monday, April 14, 2008

Today in History: April 14

  • 1629 Dutch mathematician Christiaan Huygens born; founded wave theory of light; discovered the first moon of Saturn, later named Titan; patented the first pendulum clock (1656)
  • 1898 Harold Black born; invented negative feedback (1927), revolutionizing electronics.
  • 1912 The British Titanic passenger ship hits an iceberg and sinks in the North Atlantic.
  • 1932 Physicists John Cockcroft (English) and Ernest Walton (Irish) first to split an atom; they used the first nuclear particle accelerator; 1951 Nobel.
  • 1935 Black Sunday; 20 simultaneous dust storms in the Great Plains Dust Bowl turn day into night.
  • 1956 Ampex Corp makes 1st commercial video recorder
Yesterday | Tomorrow

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Today in History: April 13

Yesterday | Tomorrow

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Connections: 207-8

Episodes 7 and 8 of Connections II.
(Click on the image to play — it will open in a separate window/tab)

Episodes 1-2 | 3-4 | 5-6

Original Connections Episodes:
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10

Yuri's Night

Yuri's Night. In 1961, Yuri Gagarin was the first man into Outer Space, to orbit the Earth three times and then return safely.

The celebration begins: 178 parties in 50 countries -- find one near you.

Ed, note: Corrected in response to a comment.

Today in History: April 12

  • 1861 Army of the newly formed Confederate States fire the first shots of the Civil War on the half-finished Fort Sumter, South Carolina.
  • 1864 Fort Pillow Massacre, Tennessee: Confederate soldiers under Nathan Bedford murder some 250 Union soldiers, mostly "colored", after they had surrendered.
  • 1924 Austrian-American physician Peter Safar born; (re)discovered the "Kiss of Life", mouth-to-mouth resuscitation -- part of CPR.
  • 1937 World's first jet engine successfully tested by English inventor Frank Whittle.
  • 1961 First man to orbit the Earth (going into what was then called "Outer Space"), Yuri Gagarin.
  • 1999 Sitting President Bill Clinton cited for contempt of court for lying under oath in a deposition; a lawyer himself, he was later disbarred.
Yesterday | Tomorrow

Friday, April 11, 2008

Today in History: April 11

  • 1689 William III, the Prince of Orange & head of the most important Dutch states, and his cousin Mary II, eldest daughter of James II, are crowned as joint sovereigns of Britain after their November invasion and the defection of the English Army and Navy, the Glorious Revolution, had sent James II escaping to exile in France. King James' rejection of December's Bill of Rights didn't help.
  • 1961 Holocaust inventor and mass murderer, Adolf Eichmann, stands trial in Israel.
  • 1979 Ugandan dictator and murderer Idi Amin Dada flees to neighboring Libya after the Libyan dictator's help failed to stop elected Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere's army from capturing the Ugandan capital.
  • 1984 First satellite repair, of Solar Max, in space, by Challenger astronauts.
  • 1986 Halley's Comet comes within 39 million miles of Earth; it'll be back in 2061.
Yesterday | Tomorrow

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Too Good To Let Pass!

Dr. Walter E. Williams, who serves on the faculty of George Mason University as the John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of More Liberty Means Less Government: Our Founders Knew This Well, has an outstanding post at this location.

It is a quick read, with a very pithy point about the U.S. Presidential Oath of Office that really is just too good to let pass! Note especially the title of his article, in reference to his point.


Patsy Cline

The purest female voice in Country Music EVAR! This audio doesn't do her justice. Keep in mind; there were no fancy recording studios. You didn't get to record multiple tracks then cut and splice what sounded good. No one "re-mixed" your voice. You sang it live, with the musicians, and it was imprinted on the vinyl.

Today in History: April 10

  • 1735 Button Gwinnett born; signer of the Declaration of Independence; Governor of Georgia.
  • 1944 Rudolf Vrba and Alfred Wetzler escape from the Auschwitz "labor" camp; two weeks later they dictate the Vrba Wetzler report to the Allies about its mass murder.
Yesterday | Tomorrow

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Today in History: April 9

  • 1770 German physicist Thomas Seebeck born; discovered the Seebeck effect (inverse of the Peltier effect) where for a circular metal loop, half of one metal and half of another, if you keep one bimetallic join cooler than the other, electricity flows in the loop; AKA the thermocouple effect.
  • 1794 Bavarian musician Theobald Boehm born; invents the modern flute fingering mechanism.
  • 1869 French mathematician Élie Cartan born; introduced modern differential forms, wedge products and the exterior derivative; invented spinor theory used in quantum mechanics.
  • 1919 American engineer Presper Eckert born; coinventor (with John Mauchly) of the first general-purpose electronic computer, ENIAC.
  • 1928 American songwriter Tom Lehrer born; wrote "Be Prepared", "Lobachevsky", "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park", "The Elements", "The Masochism Tango", "Rickety Tickety Tin".
Yesterday | Tomorrow

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Today in History: April 8

  • 1641 Englishman Henry Sydney writes the invitation, from the Immortal Seven, to William III of Orange to take over the throne of England by force from King James II. He is made the 1st Earl of Romney.
  • 1779 German physicist Johann Schweigger born; invented the galvanometer, measuring electric current strength.
  • 1886 German scientist Carl Gassner patents the first regular ("dry" cell) battery; his patent leads to the "D cell" and portable electric lights in just 12 years.
Yesterday | Tomorrow

Monday, April 7, 2008

Today in History: April 7

  • 1794 English chemist Joseph Priestley, discoverer of Oxygen, moves to America to escape mob murder; earlier on Bastille Day 1971 a mob burned his home, library and lab in Birmingham and he had fled to Clapton, near Hackney.
  • 1815 The Sumbawa island's Mount Tambora volcano erupts in Indonesia; removed 4,000 feet off the top, left a crater 5 miles across, killed 92,000; global aerosol cooling led to the Year Without Summer (1816); greatest eruption in history.
  • 1866 Swedish mathematician Ivar Fredholm born, founded modern integral equation theory.
  • 1943 German soldiers round up and murder 1,100 Jewish civilians (men, women and children) in Terebovlia, Ukraine.
Yesterday | Tomorrow

Sunday, April 6, 2008

From His Cold, Dead Hands

Charlton Heston has died at age 84. Gun-control victim-disarmament advocates are advised that they may now attempt to disarm him:

Heston was willing to stand for political positions that the Hollywood elites oppose vehemently. Who knows how many film roles he lost as a result of his willingness to really "speak truth to power"? Rest in peace.

Today in History: April 6

  • 1849 English Pre-Raphaelite painter John Waterhouse born; painted The Lady of Shalott, Ophelia, Hylas and the Nymphs.
  • 1903 American engineer Harold Edgerton born; inventor of really high speed movies.
  • 1928 American molecular biologist James Watson born; discovered (with Francis Crick) the double-helix structure of DNA.
  • 1938 Du Pont chemist Roy J. Plunkett and his assistant Jack Rebok accidentally discover Teflon, polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE).
Yesterday | Tomorrow

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Connections: 205-6

Episodes 5 and 6 of Connections II.
(Click on the image to play — it will open in a separate window/tab)

Episodes 1-2 | 3-4

Original Connections Episodes:
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10

Today in History: April 5

  • 1753 British Museum is founded.
  • 1827 British surgeon Joseph Lister born; father of antiseptic medicine, the basis of modern surgery.
  • 1900 American actor Spencer Tracy born; Two Consecutive Oscars (1937 for Captains Courageous and 1938 for Boys Town).
  • 1908 American actress Bette Davis born; Two Oscars (for 1935 Dangerous and 1938 Jezebel); "Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night!" from All About Eve (1950).
Yesterday | Tomorrow

Friday, April 4, 2008

Today in History: April 4

Yesterday | Tomorrow

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Obama: Law-Abiding Threaten the "Innocent"

The Mississippi Sun Herald reports that while politicking in Philly PA on Tuesday, Senator Obama (D-IL) claimed that trained law-abiding citizens who are licensed to carry concealed handguns are "a threat to innocent people". In a later statement Obama said to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

"I am not in favor of concealed weapons. I think that creates a potential atmosphere where more innocent people could (get shot during) altercations."

This view of seeing trained law-abiding citizens as a threat is consistent with his answers on a 1996 political positions questionnaire wherein Obama indicated that he supported a complete ban on handguns, including those for these same trained citizens.

Today in History: April 3

  • 1965 The first nuclear reactor in space, SNAP 10A, was launched; activated four hours after achieving orbit, giving 500 watts of electricity for 43 days. It's still in orbit.
  • 1882 Bank robber and murderer Jesse James is shot dead.
  • 1946 Leader of the WWII Bataan Death March, Japanese Lt. General Masaharu Homma, is executed.
  • 1997 Islamists stage coordinated massacres near Algiers; in Thalit, slitting the throats of all but one resident -- men, women and children.
Yesterday | Tomorrow

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Senate's War For Oil Profits

So, you had to work an extra day's overtime last weekend? Well, even though you didn't get to relax with your family, and you didn't even get paid time-and-a-half for your extra effort -- just straight time, one extra day's pay.

But wait! The U.S. Senate has just hauled your rear end into their "court". Seems that they think you're just as bad as Big Oil.

That's right. You got an extra day's pay for an extra eight hour shift. That's 20% extra pay for the week. A windfall profit! They call you an Evil Capitalist.

You argue that you're different from Big Oil. You claim that your boss forced you to work that weekend.

So what? That committee of Senators points out that your profits for the week are 20% higher than your profits for the previous week. Just like Big Oil this year versus last year. It's a windfall.

But, you argue that your pay was the same per hour -- it was just the extra time you had to spend that was different. It wasn't a "windfall".

The committee is not amused. They point out that Big Oil's pay was the same per cost, too -- it was just the extra costs they had to spend that was different. To remain in business, they were forced (by some Arabs) to pay much more for the oil they refined into gasoline. Their costs went way up, but they still only charged 9% over the costs -- the same $1.09 for every $1 they spent buying and refining the oil. That was the same 9% profit margin over costs that they made last year, just like you got the same pay rate as the previous week. But because they had to spend 20% more on buying and refining, just like you spent 20% more effort on that weekend, they got 20% more profit just like you got your 20% extra profit.

But, you plead, you didn't know that working longer hours, expending more effort, was a bad thing. You didn't know it created a "windfall profit". Oddly, this changes their minds and, because this is your first time before the committee, they let you off with a warning not to let it happen again.

You quickly thank them and head out of the room muttering that, now, you'll have to change jobs because you know your boss will be demanding that you work on the upcoming holiday, and you'll even get time-and-a-half. If that happens the committee will likely send you to jail.
[Click on the title above, or date stamp below, to see the full post.]

As you leave the Senate committee room, the next guy in line quietly agrees with you. He's from Big Oil, and he's going to get out of the gasoline business, too, before they send *him* to jail for working too hard. (H/t Don)

Today in History: April 2

Yesterday | Tomorrow

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Today in History: April 1

Yesterday | Tomorrow