Got some spare scratch in your pocket?

Perhaps you’d consider pledging it to The Hurtt Prize, dedicated to catching Houston top cop Harold Hurtt doing something — anything — illegal. After all, this is the jackass who said “If you are not doing anything wrong, why should you worry about it” when asked about his proposals for more pervasive police surveillance in Houston.

Dept. of Weird Malapropisms

Mike Tyson famously once said something about “fading into Bolivia,” which we like a lot. In the same vein, we dreamed the other night about someone being ineptly described as vicious by saying they “go straight for the juggler.” Awesome.


Fafblog weighs in on the cartoon controversy. It begins like this, and then gets even better:

“What if it’s not really a picture of Mohammed,” says me, “just a picture of a picture of Mohammed?” “Metablasphemy!” says Giblets. “It is sacrilegious and pretentious!” “What if it just looks like a picture a Mohammed but it’s really a picture a Jesus wearin a real good Mohammed costume?” says me. “Then it is pretend blasphemy,” says Giblets. “God can’t tell the difference. He has to smite you just to make sure.”

(Their follow-up is deliciously pointed as well.)

Google Video Update

It turns out, at least according to BoingBoing that Google Video allows the uploader to determine what countries may or may not view the file. Ergo, whomever uploaded the IED video decided that USAians need not see it, not Google.

Things we’re sorry to see

Our cousin, being a jerk and whining about “legislating from the bench.” Either he doesn’t understand the function of the Judiciary, or he’s being deliberately disingenuous for political reasons. As the aforelinked blogger notes, it’s only “legislating from the bench” if you don’t like the ruling.

The appearance — at a rural junior college not far from the Heathen hometown — appears tied to a promo tour for his book on the confirmation process. Pickering refers to it as bitter and partisan, but presumably assumes no blame for resistance to his nomination based on his actual record. We don’t think he’s a racist, but anyone who did work for the Sovereignty Commission — and who wrote memos in support of anti-miscegenation statutes — shouldn’t expect a smooth glide to the appeals bench.

Things we love

SSH tunneling, because it means we don’t have to trust nefarious hotel wireless networks (though despite the endorsement implied, we didn’t actually use the tool — geeks that we are, we wrote a script).

Amateur Night at the Airport

We totally forgot that there was some big to-do in Houston this weekend, so we were taken by surprise by the degree to which the airport was taken over by rank amateurs. We damn near missed our flight partly due to gawking tourists wholly unaccustomed to airports, cities, security, etc.

Look: if you don’t fly much, at least take the time to check out what the regulations are before you get to the security checkpoint. Wearing metal-accented clothes in an airport is just plain dumb in 2006, people. Ditto on boots that take 10 minutes to take off while the line grows behind you. Know what you have to take off and what you don’t, and plan accordingly. You did just spend 30 minutes in line, didn’t you?

How much is that really?

BoingBoing points us to a fascinating tool for comparing the relative value of dollars in different time periods. One of their illustrating examples is pretty cool:

Babe Ruth’s salary in 1932 was $80,000. In 2004 the CPI was 13.8 times larger than it was in 1932 and the GDP deflator 12 times larger. This means that if we are interested in Ruth’s purchasing power of housing or meals, then he was “earning” the equivalence of about $1,000,000 today. The relative cost of (unskilled) labor is 42 times higher in 2004 than in 1932. So if we wanted to compare his wage to what someone selling hot dogs would earn, we could say his “relative wage” is $3,400,000. GDP per capita and GDP are 80 and 200 times larger in 2004 than they were in 1932. Thus Ruth’s earnings relative to the average output would be $6,230,000 today. Finally, as a share of GDP, Ruth “output” that year would be $16,000,000 in today’s money.

Things you should know, Mac edition

We received a concerned email in re: the “Mac virus” that’s floating around. Here’s our reply:

From:   [king heathen]
Subject: Re: what about this mac virus mary's telling me about?
Date: February 17, 2006 8:32:32 PM CST
To:   [co-worker]

> On Feb 17, 2006, at 8:07 PM, [coworker] wrote:
> what do I need to know / do?

1. If people try to send you files with iChat that 
   you're not expecting, don't accept them.

2. If you do accept them, 
   don't uncompress them.

3. If you do accept them 
   and uncompress them, 
   don't execute the contents by double-clicking the file.

4. If you do accept them 
   and uncompress them 
   and double-click the contents, 
   don't type your admin password.

5. If you do accept them 
   and uncompress them 
   and double-click the contents 
   and type your admin password, 
   well, then you'll be infected, and the trojan will try to spread 
   itself. It doesn't do anything else, but it will be annoying.

Summary? It requires so much intervention from the user to get 
installed and run that it's only barely a trojan. Since it's so 
lame in those terms AND has no destructive payload, it's pretty 
much a non-event.

There more here if you want.

Dick Cheney Says He’s Above The Law

Cheney has asserted that he has the authority to declassify information.

Setting aside for a moment that no statute grants him this power, consider the implications for the Plame affair if it’s true. Could Cheney have declassified Plame’s status before leaking it? Would that make it legal (if, perhaps, even more reprehensible)?

More lies

The Austin American Statesman is reporting that Whittington was hit with around 100 pellets.

A 28-gauge shell only has about 300 pellets in it. This absolutely does not square with the “thirty yards” bit we’ve been fed earlier. Overnight observation is one thing, too, but Whittington is by all accounts still hospitalized three days later. If you hit someone with 1/3 of the load in as tight a pattern as his injuries suggest (lower face, chest, left shoulder), and he’s in the hospital for days on end, well, your unfortunate hunting parter was substantially closer than 30 yards.

(Paul Begala agrees.)