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Note: This is an archive of the old Quick Hitts Blog. The new Quick Hitts blog is here.

5.22.07 The High Cost of Poverty

Last year John Edwards charged $55,000 to give a speech at University of California at Davis.

The subject? Poverty.

Back in 1971 there was another Jonathan Edwards who had a #4 hit with the song Sunshine. The lyrics included:

Sunshine go away today,
I don't feel much like dancin'
Some man's gone, he's tried to run my life
Don't know what he's askin'

He tells me I'd better get in line
Can't hear what he's sayin'
When I grow up, I'm gonna make it mine
These ain't dues I been payin'

How much does it cost? I'll buy it.
The time is all we've lost. I'll try it.
He can't even run his own life,
I'll be damned if he'll run mine

At least I think it was a different John Edwards.

Here's a bit more commentary on the issue.

5.21.07 Dirge for a Dirtbag

Finally, after 73 years, Jerry Falwell made the world a better place, by leaving it. With his passing there is a little less evil and hatred in the world.

You can't polish a turd, but you can put it in a two thousand dollar suit, slam a smarmy smile on it's skull, and watch in horror as millions of moronic minions do obeisance to it. Legitimate religious leaders try to appeal to our finer qualities and inspire us to be better than we are. Falwell appealed to his follower's worst, most base emotions, encouraging their ignorance, intolerance, and downright stupidity.

His goal in life was to tear down the wall between church and state, and he was remarkably successful. We can see his legacy as The White House, Congress, and The Supremes continue eviscerate the constitution, especially the Bill of Rights.

This is one of those very rare times when I envy the faithful, because it would be comforting, and appeal to my sense if justice, to believe that Jerry is in one of the deepest and darkest places in hell. A special a place reserved for his ilk, where the most vile and disgusting tortures are carried out, for eternity, on the most vile and disgusting creatures who have ever infested the human race.

3.20.07 Kiss Me, I'm Famous

I was so busy bragging about this elsewhere I forgot to put it here.

3.07.07 Nanny Nation Notification.

As usual, Jacob Sullum gets it right: "Although Democrats frequently are portrayed as meddling do-gooders eager to save you from yourself, they are no worse in this respect than Republicans. The targets may differ, but the basic impulse is the same."

2.25.07 I would Like to Buy This Man A Beer

Twelve senior citizens were enjoying themselves on a Costa Rican tour bus when three armed thugs tried to rob them. One thug was armed with a gun; the other two had knives.

A 70 year old ex-marine got the gun wielder in a headlock and permanently removed him from the gene pool. Initial reports said he broke the muggers neck, but later stories said he broke the guys collarbone and strangled him.

Moral of the story: Do not fuck with old people. Some of them have secret ninja powers. Seriously.

2.22.07 Nanny Nation Notification

The National Action Against Obesity is calling for a boycott of Girl Scout cookies. Evidently eating a few of boxes of them a year is the reason so many of us are fat.

On their web page do-gooder MeMe* Roth claims that obesity is child abuse. If she gets that stupidity accepted by the general public, can there be any doubt about the next step?

*Could there be any more approrpate nanny name than MeMe?

'Nother Nanny Nation Notification

People are replacing old style incandescent light bulbs with florescents and other energy saving models. Compact florescent bulbs use about 10% of the energy of incandescent bulbs that put out the same amount of light. LED bulbs are even more efficient They use about 1% of the energy of conventional bulbs. Right now they're as expensive now as compact florescent were when they first came out, but that will change rather quickly. Driven by nothing other than consumer demand and electric companies pushing them, we're switching away from the old style bulbs.

But that's not enough for a lot of Big Brothers. California, Australia, and Ontario are all looking to outlaw Edison's invention. This way they can take credit for what was already happening.

Of course, if you've got a Lava Lamp, Easy Bake oven, or dimmer switch you're screwed.

Pissing Off the Nannies

On occasion I've walked around with an unlit cigar in my mouth in places where it's prohibited, just to gage the reaction. I've seen a few other people do it to, mostly with cigarettes, but not very often. I've read of people doing it with novelty cigarettes, which not only look like the real thing but emit a power that looks like smoke.

Now Ken Frost, of the Nanny Knows Best blog, would like to turn this into a movement.

This sounds like a fine idea, and I'd encourage anyone who is interested in liberty to take part, and to spread the word.

Here are some suources:

I'll be ordering mine today.

Thanks to Rogier van Bakel for notifying me.

2.07.07 Nanny Nation Notification

But officer, I turned it off when I crossed the street, honest!

Podcast Peer Awards Finalists

The finalists for the second Podcast Peer Awards have been announced. If you're looking for great shows to listen to, or watch, and are disappointed with the top ten lists, check out some of the shows that other podcasters have judged to be the best.

11.16.06 Typing With An Accent

I signed up with a free service that pings my sites and sends me an e-mail when the site is down. This morning I received a notice that had been down since 5 A.M. It was 10:30, and it was still down.

I went to the Startlogic site clicked on their chat support, and had the following conversation.

Chat Information Please wait for a site operator to respond.

Chat Information You are now chatting with 'Bob B.'

Bob B.: Welcome to "Startlogic's" live chat service. How may I assist you? (Startlogic is in quotes. Not a good sign.)

Dave Hitt: My site is down. According to a site monitor I use, it's been down since 5am.

Bob B.: Hello!

Bob B.: Please let me check

Bob B.: We apologize for the minor interruption. Our system administration is aware of the issue and is currently working to resolve it. Your account should be up momentarily

Dave Hitt: Six hours is a minor interruption?

Dave Hitt: Ten minutes is a minor interruption. Six hours is major downtime. Is there a problem with the server?

Bob B.: We are sorry for inconvenienced faced by you, We will try to get back to you asap. (Bob? Or Borat?)

Dave Hitt: Bob, what part of the world are you typing this from?

Bob B.: Hello Dave, your site will up within a short time.

Dave Hitt: And again, I'd like to know what the issue is. Why did it go down. And your name isn't really Bob, is it?

Bob B.: Yes we have been doing quite a bit of maintenance on this server. We have system administrator working on this server.

Dave Hitt: Thanks "Bob." Next time, you might want to try notifying customers if you're going to take a server down for hours.

Bob B.: Yes Dave

Dave Hitt: So please answer just one question, to satisfy my curiosity. What country are you responding from?

Bob B.: Phoenix, AZ

Bob B.: May I help you with anything else?

Dave Hitt: No, "Bob." I'm tempted to ask you some questions about Phoenix, but I think I know the answer. Have a good day.

Bob B.: You are welcome. Please do not hesitate to contact us at anytime. We are here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

I resisted the temptation to ask him questions about Phoenix, like his favorite bar or favorite local band, because it was already obvious he was typing from the other side of the world, most likely India.

Note to "Bob," and anyone else doing this tiresome job in India: Please don't be afraid to tell us your real name. Don't be afraid to tell us where you are. I like India; I think it's a fascinating place with a fascinating culture, and it's great that you're using technology to improve your country. So please stop lying about who you are and where you're from.

Startlogic managed to get the site back up a half hour later, but the BBS was, and remains, broken. Another connection to chat, also typed with an obvious accent, resulted in the extremely helpful solution of telling me to send an e-mail to support. A call to their 800 number resulted in ten minutes of hold time, then they hung up.

So I sent an e-mail to support, and received a URL for a tracking page that I'm locked out of.

So if you're thinking of using Startlogic for a host, don't.

11.16.06 Nanny Nation Notification

Years ago the Nicotine Nazis claimed they only wanted to protect workers health, they'd never ban it in people's homes. Those of us familiar with the megalomaniac fanatics knew better. And of course, we were right.

Belmont just passed a law making it illegal to smoke anywhere in the city except inside single family attached homes. Live in an apartment or a townhouse? Sorry, we're going to tell you what you can do in your home. Want to have a smoke in your car? That's forbidden. How about a smoke on your own patio? No can do, comrade.

10.15.06 Nanny Nation Notification

Big Brother has decided that you're to stupid to make your own decisions about how to spend your money, and is going after online casinos and poker sites. Contrary to many erroneous reports, they haven't made playing illegal. Instead, they're putting restrictions on banks and financial institutions, demanding that they refuse to do business with online gambling sites.

This isn't as big a deal as it may seem, because most banks already refuse to transfer money to gambling sites. There are a variety of alternatives (like Netteller) that are happy to help you out (for a fee.)

There are exceptions to the law, of course. If you want to play lotto, a pure luck/no skill game, you can continue to do that online. You will get the most horrible odds of any game of chance, ever. Depending on the game, you're 5-100 times more likely to be hit by lightning than to win at lotto.

Poker is a game of skill. The fact that the same people keep showing up at the final tables of large tournaments proves that. Yet Big Nanny doesn't want you to play, and so is trying to make it impossible.

I've been playing online poker for several years. In my best year I made a couple hundred dollars; in my worst I lost a hundred. It's cheap entertainment, and great fun. I used to Play at Party Poker, but even though they're overseas they decided to kneel before Big Brother and refuse to let Americans play. I closed my account there - all of $2.47 - and went to the only other site I've played with real money, Paradise Poker. I was disappointed to learn they've gone the cowards way out too.

Which brings us to Full Tilt Poker, a site that isn't chickening out, and is still accepting US players. They have the largest bonuses of any site on the internet - a 100% on your first deposit, and 50% on reloads (subsequent deposits). They've also got a very cool site that lets you change the appearance of the card room, select an avatar, apply color codes to other players (as a reminder of how good or bad they are), and lots of other features. And I've signed on as an affiliate with them, so if you go there by clicking the banner on the top of this page, and sign up, I'll make a few bucks which I promise to spend beer and cigars.

It's important to note that the new law doesn't make it illegal for you to play poker online. It just attempts to hamstring you. So I can recommend that you sign up at Full Tilt and play. If it were illegal, I'd make a different recommendation: that you play online while making obscene gestures in the direction of Washington D. C.

10.15.06 Nanny Nation Notification

The food police aren't just reducing our choices in the US. In the U. K. a ten year old boy was disciplined because the lunch he brought had two snacks instead of one. (The horror!) The headmaster stood by the decision, saying, "We take healthy eating very seriously and everyone is aware of our new policies."

Smoking Makes Your Skin Fall Off

There appears to be no limit to the outrageousness of clams made by the nicotine nazis. This is an older article that was just sent to me, in which the U. K. chief medical officer repeats the claim that smoking ages the skin by 10-20 years. And a bit into the article we're told, "He also warned smokers who have surgery - even plastic - that their skin could fall off." (Note, this is a nicotine nazi site.) I hate it when that happens.

10.02.06 But who's your daddy?

Politicizing young children is rotten parenting. For a perfect example, check out the sample pages of "Why Mommy Is a Democrat." It mixes cutesy pictures with such words of wisdom as "Democrats make sure we all share our toys, just like mommy does." (I'm sure you won't mind if I borrow your boat this weekend, comrade.)

The message is clear: The Democrats want to be your mommy.

For a more vocal rant about this, check out the latest Quick Hitts Podcast, titled "Wasted Votes."

09.15.06 9/11 Remembered

This week we've been seeing all kinds of remembrances and responses to 911. It's hard to believe that it's been five years. It's even harder to believe how many of our liberties have been sacrificed in the name of security. And it's even more disheartening to see most "Americans" cheering on these loses.

The night after the attack I couldn't sleep and stayed up most of the night doing this picture. The latest plan for rebuilding on the site calls for five towers. The biggest one is considerably taller than the buildings that were destroyed, and I think that's important. But it's in the wrong place. It should be in the middle, to signify, forever, our response to these evil bastards.

I'm serious.

07.07.06 New Podcast

I've been wanting to so a show on statistics - what they are, how they really work, how to spot bullshit in articles that report them, for a while. But Quick Hitts is designed to be fast (ten minutes or so) and smart ass. Statistics aren't very entertaining, and it takes a lot more than ten minutes to explain them. Still, the beauty of podcasting is there are no constraints except self imposed ones, so I gave it a shot and put out a show that's three times longer than usual.

I'd guessed that the response would be mixed - some listeners would like it, others wouldn't. Instead, every response has been almost embarrassingly enthusiastic, many of them asking that I add an occasional longer, more fact filled show into the mix.

The episode is called "I've Got Your Number." It's just one more way for you to get Smartenized®.

06.015.06 The Accidental Terrorist

The New York Times printed this stirring, heart wrenching tale by someone unjustly held at Gitmo.

"Detainees in Despair" tells the firsthand account of Mourad Benchellai.

“In the early summer of 2001, when I was 19, I made the mistake of listening to my older brother and going to Afghanistan on what I thought was a dream vacation. His friends, he said, were going to look after me. They did — channeling me to what turned out to be an Al-Qaeda training camp. For two months, I was there, trapped in the middle of the desert by fear and my own stupidity.”

A dream vacation in Afghanistan?

“Dear, I’ve saved enough so we can go on our dream vacation.”

“You mean. . .. Afghanistan! Really?”

“Yes, it’s where we’ve always wanted to go.”

“And I’ve got the cutest burka. . .”

He goes on to tell his tale of woe, and injustice, and WAAAAAAAAAHHHHH. He was shocked, shocked I tell you, to find his trip had anything to do with terrorism.

He closes by saying most of the people at Gitmo are innocent.

Like him.

But the old grey lady left out just a few facts.

On the day the article was printed, his father was convicted of terrorism.

The brother he went with? A convicted terrorist.

Well, at least he can console himself in the arms of his dear old mum. Ooops, she’s a convicted terrorist too.

And his sister? Yep, her too.

But the NYT didn't think any of that news was fit to print.

Sure is a good thing there’s no bias in the media.

Oops, I amost forgot (does that qualify me to be an NYT reporter?) his trial starts soon. Guess what the charge is?

05.01.06 You, Too, Can Be A Narc

Check out these pictures, and you might earn yourself a cool fifty bucks.

The University of Colorado and their Police Department are offering a reward if you can narc on kids who smoked pot at an annual celebration. There were signs all over the place warning people they'd be photographed, but that didn't stop many determined weed smokers. Their photographs are posted on this web site, and if you are the first to fink on one of the revelers you'll get spiffy new fifty dollar bill.

All you have to do is call (303) 492-8168 and supply as much information as you can about the evil, evil weed smoker.

It would be a horrible disaster if people from all over the country called with bogus information, perhaps making up names and bogus street addresses, overloading their system. Yes sir, that would be a horrible thing. And probably illegal. So don't do it, OK?

And if you identify number 85, please have her give me a call.

04.30.06 Nanny Nation Notification

Sheldon Silver, a nasty little New York congressweasel with no redeeming qualities whatsoever, evidently feels so manly about having put hundreds of bars out of business with a smoking ban he's exapnding the effort by trying to create statewide preemptive zoning. Under his proposal there could be no more than three liquor licenses within a 500 foot radius. This would include bars, restaurants, bowling alleys, pool halls, etc. Existing licenses would be grandfatherd in, but couldn't be transferred to new owners, making the resale value of the business worth less than a bucket of Sheldon's integrity.

If this nonsense gets through it would prohibit communities from keeping most of their bars and restaurants in one area, a very workable solution to noise and traffic problems.

Since incumbents have stacked the deck so it's virtually impossible to vote them out, I'm thinking a better approach would be to take a step back in history and deal with these weasels in a more direct manner. I'm considering opening a specialized hardware store in downtown Albany, selling nothing but a variety of wide brushes, several different brands of hot tar, and a wide assortment of colorful feathers.

More on the story here.

03.11.06 Worth a Listen

Check out the song Skullcrusher Mountain, by Jonathan Coulton. The second verse is one of the best combinations of creepy and funny that I've heard in a long time.

03.10.06 Skeptic Debate

I've always liked the Skeptics Dictionary, run by Robert Carroll. It's very good (but not perfect) resource. I was happy to see The Facts mentioned in the newsletter two years ago.

However, Mr. Carroll changed his mind on the subject, and edited his newsletter to to reflect that. He had it right the first time. We had a few exchanges on the subject. You can find the details here.

03.05.06 Fun With Albert

You can make your own poster here.

03.04.06 Dilbert on SHS

When you start a creative project you usually have an idea of where you want to take it, but it often veers off in unexpected directions. The Quick Hitts Podcast started out as a verbal version of articles in The Hittman Chronicle. I intended to include plenty of stuff about nannies and junk science, because I'm obsessed with such things, but it also developed an unplanned theme of testing and calibrating your bullshit meter.

I noticed a lot of activity coming from the Dilbert site, and it turns out that Scott Adams not only has a finely tuned BS meter, but uses second hand smoke as an example.

If you haven't checked out the Quick Hitts Podcast recently, what are you waiting for? The latest one presents a very simple way to dramatically improve public schools, and the one before that will help you test your BS meter.

02.18.06 Business as Usual

Anyone who has ever run a small business is familiar with the scenario.

And this is for a very small business. Try to do something even slightly larger, and that problem isn't doubled, it's squared (and sometimes cubed.)

Eminent Domain Abuse

In 2005, the City of Los Angeles seized private land by eminent domain to build an animal shelter. The furniture factory that was there for 20 years was "thriving," said the firm. It cost the city $5.8 million to buy them out. But after just a year, the city announced it wants to build the shelter somewhere else, so it's going to sell the property even though the switch will add $5-11 million to its cost. And who is buying the land? A furniture manufacturer -- not the same one, but another company that has contributed $17,600 to city politicians.

The expensive new deal is better, says City Councilman Bernard Parks. The area is "one of the last inner-city industrial areas, and so we are trying to ensure that it continues to develop," he says, while "the original proposal impairs the growth of a major economic development." Parks' election committee received a $1,000 contribution from the company trying to buy the property. (Los Angeles Times) ...The surprising thing isn't how easily politicians can be bought, but rather how low their price is.

Source: The This Is True newsletter, which sends out stories like this once a week. Sign up for a free subscription.

02.16.06 Shooting Lawyers In The Face

The only thing more entertaining that Dick Cheney Shooting a Lawyer In The Face has been the media's reaction to him sitting on the story for the better part of a day. They are furious that he didn't call the wire services before he called 911. They are especially angry that the story was first given to a small newspaper.

It would have been smarter to tell the press about it within an hour or two of Shooting A Lawyer In The Face, but this is nothing more than a minor, non-fatal hunting accident. It affected no one except Cheney and the lawyer he Shot In The Face. The only people who could possibly claim they had a Need To Know were comics, who have been having a field day and might have appreciated an extra day to work on their material. (I just typed in and sure enough someone has registered it, although there's nothing there but a place holder as I write this. However, is still available.)

It’s now five days later, and the media are still whining about it. Their complaints can all be summed up in one word: WAAAAAAAAA!

The way they’re all carrying on you’d think they were all Democrats.

Wait. . . what’s that? Oh.

Never mind.

02.11.06 Hate Crimes

For years we've been warning you that the attack on smokers is based on hate, not health. Advertisements about second hand smoke are becoming increasingly offensive, and are designed to make others hate and fear smokers. Yet, a large percentage of the public refuses to see the obvious, and still believes that the nanny organizations are really concerned about health and are doing this for our own good.

They're not going to be able to ignore the obvious much longer. ASH, one of the most hateful of the anti-smoker groups, is now actively encouraging employers to refuse to hire smokers and to fire any current employees who smoke, even if they're only doing it on their own time. Headed by the vile John F. Banzhaf, ASH's web site is almost as ugly as it's attitude and it's founder. (Banzhaf, a porky Napoleon, is also trying to make himself a prominent figure in the war on fast foods and snacks. Evidently he's not satisfied being a Nicotine Nazi; he wants to head up the Grease Police as well.)

California has succeeded in banning smokers from beaches and parks. Litter is a commonly used excuse, but they've also admitted they don't want children to see smokers. Ever. There's an ongoing movement to ban actors from smoking in movies. A few years ago the misnamed town Friendship Heights banned smoking on the sidewalk. (Surprising no one, the despicable Banzhaf showed up cheering.) That was overturned on a technicality but they're at it again, this time in Del Mar, CA. Guess who showed up to support the bill.

There can be no more pretense that this has anything to do with heath. The evidence is undeniable. This movement is fueled by pure, unfiltered hate.

Speaking of people driven by hate:

The Muslims are Revolting

When an Arab newspaper printed an article suggesting that Mohamed would have approved of a beauty pageant, Muslims rioted for a week, killing 142 and injuring over a thousand. Inaccurate allegations that parts of the Koran were flushed down the toilet in Guantanamo resulted in week long riots, although the death toll was a mere twenty. Officials are still not finished tallying the death and destruction of the two weeks of Muslim riots in France.

And now it's cartoons. Cartoons! Is there anything that won't piss off these humorless barbarians? Anyone care to guess how many people will die and how much property will be destroyed before this blows over? (By "blows over" I mean a temporary lull, until they find something else that pisses them off.)

We're sure lucky they're a religion of peace.

Please note, the above comments are aimed at the fundy Muslims, not the moderate Muslims.

(For those unsure of the difference between the two: Moderate Muslims are the ones who only stay pissed off for eight hundred years.)

01.23.06 Nanny Nation Notifications

We've got three NNNs for you today.

Washington state, which recently enacted the most hateful anti-smoker legislation yet, seems determined to turn make the state less fun that Utah. the state into something "cleaner" that Utah. Philip Dawdy chronicles Seattle's crusade against strip clubs, cheap beer, and of course, smokers.

ASH, one of the most active and vile of the anti-smoker hate groups, is trying to censor a CBS news story about discrimination against smokers before it airs. Stories that sympathize with smokers instead of stigmatizing them are as rare as honest politicians, but ASHoles can't bear even one story that might counter their propaganda.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, who should be charged with fraud for using the word "science" in their name, is threatening to sue Kellogs and Viacom for running ads for foods that they don't happen to like.

Non-profits are not supposed to be politically active. Isn't it time we enforced existing law and stripped the non-profit status from nanny groups for trying to force their lifestyles on us?

01.17.06 This Made My Day

It's always nice to see other sites link to this one, but last week a reader notified me about a link that really made my day.

It was from a Smoke Free {city name} organization. Like many such sites, they had downloadable propaganda sheets that spewing all the usual nonsense about second hand smoke causing every ill ever suffered by mankind. In one of these sheets, they listed a half dozen sites where readers could find more information, and there, listed among the nanny sites, The Facts, my subsite on this domain that debunks the SHS myth.

I won't tell you who they are, not yet, because they might see traffic coming from this page, realize their mistake, and correct it. If/when they do remove it, I'll fill you in on the details. But until then, know that there is at last one group of idiots out there that doesn't bother to check where they're linking to, and have inadvertently provided their readers with a potent counter to their propaganda.

01.09.06 Nanny Nation Notification

"In an appalling extension of the nanny state, New York is slated to become the first city to monitor diabetics' blood-sugar levels. It plans to register them like HIV or tuberculosis sufferers and nag them when their levels aren't healthy enough. Drop the cupcake; here come the sugar police."

Read the entire editorial here.

01.07.06 Nanny Nation Notification

Senator Bill Alter, a Missouri lawmaker, wants to outlaw the sale of cold beer. Under his proposal, and store selling beer at less than 60 degrees would lose their licence. He foolishly thinks this will cut down on drunk driving.

But he's not taking credit for the idea. He got it from a fifth grader. Here's a free clue for you, Bill. When looking for advice, you might want to search for someone just a bit more mature.

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