Note: This is an archive of the old Quick Hitts Blog. The new Quick Hitts blog is here.
12.03.05 Some people call 'em busybodies, I call 'em nannines. Mmmmm.
"Smoking can kill you. That's why I don't smoke, and it's why you shouldn't, either.
There. I've just done the only things that should be done in a free society to stop people from smoking: I've told you that it's dangerous, I've urged you not to do it, and I've even set a good example. If you'd like other people to be healthy, you should also discourage smoking, too.
But if you'd like to be free, and you'd like your neighbor to be free, that's all you should do. It isn't my business to come into your home or business and stop you or your guests from smoking. . . "
I call 'em nannies. John Stossel, one of the few reporters in the world who has a clue, calls 'em busybodies. Either way, they're the same vile, despicable creatures. You can read the rest of his article here.
His book, "Give Me A Break," is an excellent read, one that every Smartenized® person should have on their bookshelf.
11.05.05 Nanny Nation Notification
Deborah Bolton wasn't worried when she was pulled over in Washington D.C. The cop asked her if she had been drinking, and she told him the truth - she had a single glass of wine with her dinner. He still subjected her to the litany of intoxication tests, but when she took the breathalyzer she had a .03 reading - well within the legal limit, and well below any impairment.
So the cop arrested her, put her in handcuffs, and dragged her to jail, where she was incarcerated until 4:30 AM.
In D.C. crack smokers can be mayor, but any alcohol level over .01 can get you arrested. Ms. Bolton was harassed for months, and when she refused to take a twelve week "diversion" course (at a cost of $400), she ended up spending $2,000 fighting the bogus charge. It took four court appearances before the charge was finally dropped.
Dennis Fair, the inappropriately named cop who arrested her, is as sanctimonious as he is stupid. " "If you get behind the wheel of a car with any measurable amount of alcohol, you will be dealt with in D.C. We have zero tolerance. . . . Anything above .01, we can arrest." He admitted most people aren't aware of the District's policy. "But it is our law," he said. "If you don't know about it, then you're a victim of your own ignorance." No, Sparky, they're the victim of a cop who's barely qualified to be a Wal-Mart greeter, and a bureaucracy full of cretins operating at a similar level of arrogant incompetence.
Read the Washington Post article here.
Welcome to America, folks, where this kind of thing is becoming the norm. You're not silly enough to think that MADD and the other prohibitionists are going to stop at .08, are you? Once we're used to that, you can expect it go go down to .05, and sooner or later (nannies are as patient as they are dishonest) we'll be at zero tolerance.
Here's a couple of quotes from MADD:
"Forget limits on BAC. It's just not acceptable to drink and drive, period" - Madd President Wendy Hamilton.
“Lowering the legal [arrest] standard will be a deterrent for light drinkers as well as heavy drinkers. There is no safe blood alcohol level, and for that reason, responsible drinking and driving means no drinking and driving.”—Catherine Prescott, former President, MADD.
Did you really think the nannies would stop at tobacco? Booze and fast food are next on their list, and they're just getting started.
11.02.05 The Real Cause of Global Warming
The phrase “Global Warming” is now being changed to “Climate Change” so proponents are covered no matter what happens. (Further commentary on this is available in the podcast “Weasel Words.”) I've read reports and articles and studied charts and history on the subject and still can't decide if there's any merit to it. But recently I found a chart that explains it all perfectly.
Finally, some real, irrefutable proof. The decreasing number of pirates causes global Warming. This chart comes from the Church of The Flying Spaghetti Monster, a very funny site that deals with Intelligent design. (Shameless plug #2 – a solution to the problem of I.D. idiots is presented in the podcast “What Year Is This?”)
Sony Wants To Own Your Hard Drive
Speaking of pirates, Sony has been adding copy protection to their music CDs that uses a rootkit, a way of installing their copy protection so deeply into your operating system it's nearly impossible to remove. If you like to listen to Sony music artists on your PC, you're much safer downloading an illegal MP3 than buying the CD.
They've been doing this for eight months, but it has only recently been discovered. We can expect the Scum Sucking Bottom Feeders to start lining up to sue, and this is one of the very few times it will be justified.
Why Health Care Costs Continue to Soar
Speaking of scum sucking bottom feeders, they are one of the primary reasons health care costs continue to soar. While lining their own pockets at the expense of you, me, and everyone else who goes to a doctor, SSBFs have made life saving and life enhancing drugs unavailable or prohibitively expensive, driven malpractice premiums to ridiculous levels and forced doctors to routinely order a plethora of expensive, unnecessary tests to cover their asses.
Consider Vioxx, a drug that allows people who would otherwise be crippled by pain to live an normal life. Vioxx users do face an increased risk of stroke or heart attacks. Specifically, the risk goes from about 1 in 1,000 to 3 in 1,000. That's statistically significant, and users should be aware of the risk. But once they've given that information, they should be allowed to decide for themselves if they're willing to take that risk. I know if I had the choice between an active lifestyle that included that risk, and being a bed-ridden cripple who was always in severe pain, it would take me about six nanoseconds to make the decision.
But that decision has been taken from consumers, because SSBF lawsuits have resulted in the drug being pulled from the market.
When it was first announced that it would be unavailable, I received a panicky e-mail from a reader whose been occasionally writing in for years. He's 87, and Vioxx has let him enjoy the latter years of his life. (He had just remarried.) He was desperately trying to hoard a lifetime supply in order to continue an active life. The prospect of going back to severe pain every time he moved was unbearable. He knew the risks, and was quite willing to take them.
I haven't heard from him recently, I can only hope that his hoarding attempt succeeded. And I'd also like to wish a case of advanced rheumatoid arthritis on every one of the dirtbags whose self serving money grubbing is ruining the lives of people like him.
This rant was inspired by this excellent report on just how much these scum bags are costing you, me, and everyone else in the country, for the sole purpose of lining their already bulging pockets.
Nanny Nation Notification
New York State has a Department of Health but that's not good enough for NYC. They have the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Evidently, the second part of their mission is to make sure we keep our thoughts clean.
Their latest mission is to get restaurants to stop using Trans Fats, which are The Latest Scary Thing That Will Kill You. Preliminary reports said that it was going to be mandatory, but their actual statement says it's voluntary. But considering how heavy handed they've been in the past, it seems unlikely they'll continue to let restaurants and dinners make their own decisions on the subject.
Back in 1992, the PC utopia pictured in the popcorn movie "Demolition Man" seemed pretty far fetched. Now, in 2005, we're almost there. Likewise, this story must have seemed far fetched when it was first published in 1978. Now it seems inevitable.
Political Correctness On The March
In their continuing effort to protected children from the real word, a group of teachers in Britain want to do away with the word "fail" and replace it with "delayed success."
Try that in the real world. "Did you get the job?" "Well, I didn't get hired, but it's was a delayed success!"
07.08.05 My I Ha ff your Papers, Please?
Stand outside your school, waiting for your mom to pick you up, minding your own business, and get arrested.
07.02.05 Zero Tolerance Nonsense
Zero Tolerance nonsense is spreading beyond schools. Fitzroy Barnaby had to swerve to miss hitting a 14 year old girl who walked in front of his car. He called her over, and grabbed her arm.
Now he is a registered sex offender.
Still think it's a free country?
Don't take skydiving lessons in Australia.
The Victorian Curriculum Assessment Authority has announced that students taking their physics exam no longer have to use the correct formal for acceleration. The standard of 9.8 meters/second/second has been rounded up to 10, to make calculation easier for the students. So there will be two possible answers, the correct answer, and the politically correct answer. (Just to be nice, correct answers will also receive full credit.)
In the future, if you're looking to buy a helicopter, airplane, parachute, bungee chord or some handy home artillery, you just might want to avoid anything that's been designed in Australia.
06.27.05 Lots of New Stuff
We have a wealth of new stuff on the site.
There's a new article in The Hittman Chronicle: R.I.P. America. It's rather somber, but there's no way to put a happy face on it - America no longer exists.
The Quick Hitts Podcast has several new episodes for you. In addition, the podcast subsite has been reworked and expanded. It now contains pages that explain just what podcasts are and how to get the most out of them. There's also a page full of recommended podcasts, to help you get started.
05.27.05 Nanny Nation Notification
The nanny who initiated the ban on hand held cell phones in NY is now going after smokers in their homes.
He's introduced a bill that would require public housing to immediately become 50% smoke free, and forbid it entirely by 2010.
Take a look at this pompous dick. (Requires free registration.) Is this the kind of person who should be telling people how to behave in their own homes?
For years the nicotine nannies have claimed the one place they'd leave smokers alone was in their residences. Woe to those who believed these compulsive liars.
05.27.05 Nanny Nation Notification
The anti-smoker movement continues it's hateful spread across the globe. In India it is now illegal to show anyone smoking in any movie or TV show. Older shows must start with a health warning. The WHO has praised the decision. (Of course.)
Nicotine nannies in the US continue their relentless work toward the same goal in the land of the "free."
In Des Moines five hospitals have announced they're banning smoking, not only in their facilities and on their property, but even inside private vehicles in their parking lots. In a joint statement they said "Patients also have the right to receive treatment from health care professionals without being exposed to secondhand smoke or the smell of smoke on their clothing."
The smell of smoke on their clothing? Good lord, who put these pathetic pussies in decision making positions? Waaaaaah! I smell smooooooke. Waaaaaaaah!
The CDC made 30 million Americans obese overnight without anyone gaining an ounce. They modified the BMI so that now Tom Cruise and Ahhhhhhnold are classified as obese. They were caught lying about how widespread (sorry) the problem is, and are desperately trying to justify their existence by sending a squad of Grease Police to West Virginia to study an "outbreak" of obesity. Dimitri Vassilaros has something to say about that.
If you don't have an opinion on this nonsense yet, pick one up at the The Hittman Chronicle, where the stupidity of it all is summed up nicely in one brief article. If you prefer the portable Hittman, you can receive a slightly updated version as a podcast.
05.27.05 Nanny Nation Notification
Back in 2000 The Hittman Chronicle predicted we could expect a wave of lawsuits over perfume, cologne, and other scents. Like every other prediction made by THMC, its happened. I hate to say I told you so.
(That's not true. I love to say I told you so.)
Elsewhere in the nanny front, the puritanical protectors of the public are banning alcohol vaporizers and pushing vaccines that claim to neutralize the effect of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. Jacob Sullum of Reason Magazine ponders the problem.
05.27.05 Worth a Click
Mind Games. Understanding the mind of a smoker is difficult when every one of your premises is faulty.
People who get their nicotine from lighting a cigarette are degenerate and depressed, neurotic and schizophrenic; but let them get their same nicotine through a spray or patch, and, voila! they're completely normal. (Which proceeds to the new conclusion that it's MATCHES that make us nuts.)
Worth a Click
The Religious Right - An Anti-American Terrorist Movement. An exelent article, well worth reading, but we must note that it contains one glaring mistake:
The halls of academia do not spawn the likes of Tim LaHaye or Pat Robertson.
Ward Churchill, anyone? Noam Chomsky? Leonard Jeffries? Academia certainly does produce it's share of hateful, misinformed demagogues who preach that their point of view is the only valid one. They aren't as dangerous as the religious right, because the public recognizes them as wing nuts and shrugs them off instead of electing them to office, but they are the product of the halls of academia.
Nanny Nation Notification
Warning! Knives are pointy! A team of doctors want to ban kitchen knives to reduce stabbing, proving that you don't necessarily have to be smart to be a doctor. They are now seeking grants to research performing surgery with plastic butter knives.
05.26.05 New Podcast
Don't miss Quick Hitts Podcast #5, where you'll learn how to solve one of the countries biggest problems by abandoning one if it's our stupidest polices.
Getting Your Shit Together
Flags bearing a portrait of George Bush Jr. are becoming increasingly popular in Germany.
05.19.05 Damn Americans!
America, as we know, is responsible for all the world's ills. Everything bad that has ever happened since 1776 (and perhaps before) can be blamed on America.
For instance, now we're stealing entire lakes.
05.16.05 Take a bite out of PETA
All charitable organizations that push political agendas, including ones I agree with, should lose their status as a charity. That's the law, but it's ignored.
Here's a great place to start.
05.05.05 Sacrilegiously Delicious
(Note: Not safe for work.)
05.05.05 Nanny Nation Notification
In Alabama (state motto: "Jesus Wore a Mullet") lawmaker Gerald Allen introduced a bill that would ban schools from buying any books written by gay authors or that contained gay characters. Books by Gore Vidal, Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, and even some of Shakespeare's plays would have to go. Under pressure, he put in an exemption for "the classics," without defining what constituted a classic.
"I don't look at it as censorship," Allen said. "I look at it as protecting the hearts and souls and minds of our children."
Southern states are tired of being seen by the rest of the country as slack jawed, toothless goobers. Here's a solution to that problem: Get your most prominent citizens to stop acting like slack jawed, toothless goobers.
(Note: the bill died because there weren't enough people to vote on it when it was introduced.)
There were technical problems with the "Social
Security For Lefties" podcast. They've been resolved, so if you received
a partial or corrupt file, you can now download a corrected one.
04.22.05 The Vatican Rag
Apparently the Catholic church is determined to remain the laughingstock of the world.
Cardinal Law spent decades in an elaborate scheme of shuffling vile creatures from church to church where they could find new victims. He now lives in palatial splendor in Rome, and is a prominent figure in Vatican City. They didn't just ignore the pedophile priest scandal, they promoted one of the principal people responsible for it.
The new pope was behind the demand that John Kerry be refused communion for refusing to help make Catholic doctrine on abortion the law of the land. (Some priests went along with it, others ignored it.) On this side of the pond, we rather like the separation of church and state, but Ratzinger (a.k.a. "Ratso") doesn't agree. This puts him the same camp as other towering religious intellects like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson.
I'm guessing it's only coincidental that he chose the name of America's most
notorious traitor. I was going to suggest that as the successor to Pope John
Paul, he could grab the attention of the boomer generation by adopting the
name Pope George Ringo, but he doesn't strike me as someone with even the
slightest sense of humor.
04.16.05 Nanny Nation Notification
The WHO wants to go after booze, using the same kind of junk science they've been relying on for what has become an international war on smokers. Junk Science expert Steve Milloy gets into the details.
04.11.05 Moron of The Month
The cashier at the company cafeteria really hates her job, and makes sure, by her altitude, that everyone knows it.
She overcharged me fifty-cents for a meal, and when I pointed it out to her she started fumbeling with the cash register. It was apparent that issuing a refund was going to take most of my lunch hour, so I said "just charge me fifty cents less the next time."
A few days later I bought a $5.49 meal and reminded her her that she owed me fifty cents. I was not at all prepared for what happened next.
Now I'm bad at arithmetic. Really bad. I transpose numbers and screw up basic calculations with the greatest of ease. But even I can subtract two bits from $5.49.
She couldn't. She pulled out a pad and spent a full minute scribbling numbers on it. I could almost smell the smoke coming out of her hears.
Finally satisfied, she turned to the register and rang me up. For $4.90.
I had a very hard time keeping a straight face while I paid.
Nanny Nation Notification
Here's a couple of good articles about the the policy at Weyco. (In case you missed it, Weyco is an insurance company owned and operated by a Nicotine Nazi. He has fired four people people for smoking at home, on their own time.)
03.31.05 Nanny Nation Notification
This is one of the best pieces I've ever seen on the subject. Click on the "Whose Your Nanny" graphic at the top of the page to see a short film that will make you laugh and cry at the same time.
The Last Word on Schivo
I don't think I've ever been as sick of a news story as I am about the Schivo case, or as disgusted with sanctimonious politicians and religious zealots using one family's tragedy as a political football for their own aggrandizement. So this will be the only mention of her on this blog, ever. If you click on this link you'll find something so crude and tasteless that you may feel guilty for laughing so hard. Rest assured, you're not nearly as guilty as the grandstanding weasels.
03.26.05 The Hittman Speaks
I figured the best way to really understand the podcast phenomena was to participate in it. The all new Quick Hitts P
odcast is available here. It's not only guaranteed not to rust, bust, collect dust or freeze up in the wintertime, it's also lemon scented and microwaveable.
As with everything else on these sites, updates to The Quick Hitts Podcast will be sporadic, depending on how many other things I've got going on and that all important criteria - whether or not I feel like doing another one at the moment. For this reason, subscribing to the podcast (as opposed to just downloading the files manually) is vitality important. Otherwise your friends and enemies may hear it first, getting Smartenized® before you do, which may have dire consequences.
03.10.05 Moron of The Month
I received the following letter in resposne to the article Name Three:
This is the most narrow-minded, ignorant piece of literature I have ever
had the misfortune to read. If I have read your article correctly, then I
have to assume that if you cannot name three or four people that have died
then the 63,000 dont matter.
Is it any wonder that you didnt receive replies to your utterly offensive question! (sic)
I sent the following reply:
Let me try to splain it to you, Loopy.
Nothing in the article said anything about the worth of anyone. The article is based on a very simple premise, which you are sadly too simple to comprehend: if something kills a million people over twenty years, it should be possible to name three of them. Or at least one of them. If no one can produce even one single person who has been proven to have been killed by SHS, then a reasonable person, (i.e. not you) would have to conclude that those making the claims are full of shit.
Of course, the claimants will still be able to fool really stupid people, as you so well demonstrate.
But thanks for your letter. It has inspired me. Im going to post it, with your name (but not your e-mail address, Im not that cruel) on my Blog, to introduce a new feature, The Moron Of The Month. Look for it in Quick Hitts, sometime in the next few days.
02.17.05 Instant Justice
A friend sent me this link with a note proclaiming, "You will LOVE this article!"
He was right.
The Sky Is Falling, Again
In the half dozen articles I read about this, no one asked the most obvious
question how accurate is the model? Instead, the clueless "journalists" blithely accepted the claims, apparently so awed by the way the software worked that it never occurred to them to ask if the results were accurate.
The method, distributed computing, has PC users download a program, often in the form of a screen saver. When no one is using the PC the software takes over, processing data in the background and sending it back and forth on the net. This allows the software to run on an enormous number of computers over 95,000 in this case. But if the model being run is inaccurate, then the fact that lots of computers are running is irrelevant.
The atmosphere is so complex, with so many things interacting in so many different ways, that it's unlikely anyone will ever come up with an accurate model. As a small, simple example, consider just one effect of a large solar flare. Increased solar output increases the temperature of the atmosphere, just a bit. This increases evaporation, which has a cooling effect. The increased water vapor creates more clouds, which trap heat, but also reduce heating by reflecting sunlight back into space. The shade they provide may slow down the photosynthesis of some plants, so they dont absorb quite as much CO2, or the slight warming may increase their growth. Your assignment is to write an equation that will accurately consider all these effects, with a 1% margin of error. Then come up with a few thousand more equations, many of them far more complex than this one, and get them to all work together. Accurately.
For extra bonus points, create the equation for the following scenario: 95,000
computers are left on for 24 hours, instead of being turned off when their
owners aren't using them. Some of the users might leave their PCs on all the
time (I do), but a PC working on something uses more electricity and gets
hotter than one sitting idle. Calculate the excess heat these PCs spit into
the atmosphere. Most of the electricity used by these computers is created
by burning something, releasing more CO2 and other green house gasses into
the atmosphere. With these factors in mind, please calculate how much global
warming is caused by running 95,000 computers 24/7.
02.08.05 A Blast From The Past
Change This picked up an older Hittman Chronicle article and published it on their web site. Although I don't like PDFs on the web, (or any place else, for that matter) I have to admit they did a very nice job with the formatting and layout. It certainly looks better than the original. (I was trying to get the title graphic the texture and color of Twinkies, but it didn't quite work.)
Watch Out Mapquest
Google is now beta testing their mapping site, and it makes most other mapping sites look pathetic. It's in beta, so there are some glitches and missing features, but what's there is impressive, and massively cool.
Try typing in your name, followed by your city and state. The result may be a bit creepy.
It does a somewhat better job of planning routes than Mapquest, and a much better job than Microsoft.
01.30.05 Something Nice to Say, for a Change
I bought a fax machine a few days before Christmas, used it twice, and found it didn't get along with my answering machine. I had the box and all the packing materials, but couldn't find the receipt.
I called Office Max, where I bought it, and talked to Randy. I gave him the approximate date I bought it, and told them I'd be bringing it in.
When I got there, he had the information he needed to do the refunded. It had taken him a while to find it, digging through a couple hundred MasterCard sales, but he had it there and was ready to do the refund.
Their system didn't make it easy. It took him and the cashier he was working with a half hour to get a refund back on my card. They were a little frustrated, but hid it well. When they were done, I thanked the cashier. She smiled and said "No Problem." I said, "It's nice of you to say that, but it was a huge problem, and I appreciate you taking care of it."
So, this is just a note to send kudos to Randy and the cashier (whose name I didn't get) at the Clifton Park Office Max. I caused them a headache because I didn't have the receipt, but they just plowed through and took care of it without a hint of complaint. Nice Job, folks.
(I promise to post something more cranky next time.)
01.24.05 Reasonable Conclusions
There's a new article for you in The Hittman Chronicle. It explains how to debunk "scientific" studies by asking one simple question.