Saturday, November 01, 2008

Better asthetics--More honest

On a jog through Bedford last week I saw signs for Obama that looked like this.

There are two reasons to like this design more than the more common one with the swooshie thing in the O.

1. The red star is better looking.

2. The red star traditionally represents Communism, so it might well turn out to be a more honest sign. Which is good. Can't say we weren't warned and all.

Friday, October 31, 2008

This is Halloween

Yes, She barked each and every time the door bell rang.

The girl holding her own head is too cute to be scary.

Meant to be a devil holding his own head. I am more artistic in my head than my hands...

Meant to look like Stewie Griffin.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

More Math...Sort of...

Before I had decided to run in the Bay State Marathon, I was considering running in the Cape Cod Marathon. The CCM is one week after the BSM, so they are both at the perfect time of the year here in New England for marathon running.

I ended up choosing the BSM entirely because it is very close and convenient to where we live, in fact part of the race is in our town.

Partly as a result of almost running the CCM and that it was only a week after my run, so I still had marathon running on my mind, I was interested in seeing the results.

2008 Cape Cod Marathon--899 finishers, 20th percentile time 3:41

2007 Cape Cod Marathon--1006 finishers, 20th percentile time 3:33

2008 Bay State Marathon--1195 finishers 20th percentile time 3:19

2007 Bay State Marathon--717 finishers 20th percentile time 3:24


1. The CCM is smaller this year than last, while the BSM got bigger this year.

2. The BSM is faster than the CCM.

3. In both cases, the larger field had faster times.

Here is my all-purpose hypothesis. This year, the BSM was selected as a New England championship race. This would account for the larger field this year as well as the faster times. It may be that we can divide runners into elite runners and local runners (there is lots of overlap between the groups). So when a field is larger or smaller than normal it is due to the presence or absence of the elites. The elites are by definition faster and so a large field gives a faster times.

Update: I am tempted to run the Cape Cod next year since it would be fun to place in the top 10% (as I would have this year with my time in the BSM), instead of the top 25% in the BSM. On the other hand, the CCM course might just be a lot harder; if I placed at the 25th percentile in it this year, I would have missed qualifying for Boston by 15 minutes.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Too good to not repost

This is from National Review's The Corner

Keeping Brothers & Sisters [Jonah Goldberg]

From a reader:

For crying out loud: there IS no "Biblical injunction" to be one's brother's keeper. The phrase only occurs once, in the Old Testament, and was a one-line attempt by Cain to deflect God's rhetorical query as to the whereabouts of his (murdered) brother. God neither spoke it Himself nor replied to Cain's asking of it. He instead immediately turned to punishing Cain for the murder of his brother.

We as individuals are enjoined to have charity toward the poor and misfortunate, which in Biblical times were almost always the physically and mentally handicapped. Also, both the Old Testament and the New Testament address responsibility as to family members or church officers looking after widows and their minor children. However, even those calls to charity are never extended to able-bodied adult "brothers" (or sisters, for that matter).

Paul in 2 Thess 3:10-12 says, "10For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: "If a man will not work, he shall not eat. 11We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. 12Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat." (KJV)

Jesus in Mark 14:7 - "The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me." (NIV) (italics mine)

Update: From a reader:


Re: "Again, I’ll start by noting an incidental incoherence. If individualism is the way to go, where is the self-evident rightness in the biblical injunction to be our brother’s keeper?"

As a Christian myself, I find no incoherence between individualism and the injunction to be my brother's keeper. The key to the puzzle that Holbo finds so insoluble is simple: free will. WE are commanded to help our neighbor. We are NOT commanded to force some of our neighbors to help other neighbors.

The Charity commanded in the Bible (not compelled, you'll notice - God invented free will) blesses all sides of the transaction. The giver is blessed by God, and by the joy that comes from choosing to help someone. The receiver is blessed by, not just the gift, but the knowledge that it was freely given by someone who cared about them and their situation.

Forced "charity" destroys all parts of that equation, creating feelings of resentment on one side, and entitlement on the other. And there in the middle? A massive and overly intrusive government that gets to pick and choose the "Haves" and the "Should Haves" . That's not giving. That's just taking . And that has a Commandment all to itself.

Update II: The first emailer adds:

Just saw this up on the Corner site - wow, never expected that! One thing, though, and it's my bad - both quotes are NIV (I have KJV on the first one).Best wishes and thanks for all the great writing!

I especially like what the second writer has said. In essence what the government does by taking over the charitable function is turn the gold of charity into the lead of faceless bureaucracy. Not to mention the loss of efficiency in replacing a free-market system with centrally-planned one-size-fits-all solutions.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Press Bias, Example # 2,718,281...

Bias is not just in how a story gets told, it is also in what stories get told and in what stories don't get told.

Google search for "palin wardrobe cost" gives 608 news stories.

Google search for "obama hawaii trip cost" gives 87 hits, only one of which was about the expense for these trips to Hawaii. The rest were just stories which had the word "cost" in them and mentioned that he went to Hawaii. A perusal of the first couple of pages of palin hits showed that almost all of the stories were about the excessive ($150,000) cost of her wardrobe. This, inspite of the fact that each trip Obama took to Hawaii cost several times as much (about $400K each time).

Here is the one story I could find on The One's Hawaii junkets...Newsmax.

From the Chicago public radio interview...

I just want to do a little deconstruction on the below bolded part of the quote.

In normal usage "I'm not optimisic about.." would imply that the thing I want is not likely to happen. For example, say I had gotten a blood test for cholesterol. I hope my level is low, but worry that it might be high. Would I say:

"I am not optimistic that my levels will be low".


"I am not optimistic that my levels will be high".

..... Karen (Caller): The gentleman made the point that the Warren Court wasn't terribly radical with economic changes. My question is it too late for that kind of reparative work economically, and is that the appropriate place for reparative economic work to take place? Host: You mean the courts? Karen: The courts, or would it be legislation at this point? Obama: Maybe I'm showing my bias here as a legislator as well as a law professor, but I'm not optimistic about bringing about major redistributive change through the courts. Y'know, the institution just isn't structured that way. You look at very rare examples where during the desegregation era where the court, for example, was willing to, for example, order changes that cost money to local school districts, and the court was very uncomfortable with it. It was hard to manage, it was hard to figure out. You start getting into all sorts of separation of powers issues, y'know, in terms of the court monitoring or engaging in a process that essentially is administrative and takes a lot of time. The court's just not very good at it, and politically it's very hard to legitimize opinions from the court in that regard. So, I mean, I think that although you can craft theoretical justifications for it legally, y'know I think any three of us sitting here could come up with a rationale for bringing about economic change through the courts. .....

He gets on track later in the quote (my italics) as far as courts not being a suitable place for redistributive change. But his clear intent is that the legislature is better suited to this kind of work, and it is the kind of thing he is for.

As an added note: Let me just point out that steep income taxes are not true wealth redistribution. Income is a measure of current productivity: Someone thinks that your work is worth what you are payed. Wealth as an accumulation of savings or inheritance is not touched by changes in income tax. So those who already have a pile of cash will be okay, but those of us trying to get there will find ourselves thwarted.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Yard Signs in deep blue MA

Four years ago I don't think I saw a single Bush '04 yard sign. Not a big surprise given that the Bay State was never (seriously) considered in play. It probably isn't in play this year either, yet I have seen tons of McCain-Palin signs. Noticeably more than Obama-Biden signs.

Maybe 04 wasn't all that typical: After all, Mass Senator Kerry was at the top of the ballot and local pride goes a long way. Other things could be in play as well. Hillary Clinton won the Democratic primary here by a lot, as did Mitt Romney on the R side.

Everything seems pretty civil so far. All the signs I have made note of are still standing--none defaced. This is how it should be.