Wednesday Roundup: Ripped Scrotums, Cats and Bats, Star Trek Lives & More

  • In English: cat, bat; in French, chat, Rambo. It really is quite obvious, don’t you know?
  • I pretty much thought alarm systems are standard issue these days. Apparently not. Who doesn’t have one already? Why wouldn’t you?
  • And now a special treat for my fellow geeks:

My Home Internet is Down

Will be at least until 8 p.m. Talk amongst yourselves.

I’ll turn comments on. Feel free to spit on the floor and call the cat a bastard.

Slouching Toward Something Ugly

This is a bit depressing, but hardly surprising. From this month’s issue of The Atlantic (which features an awesome new look for the old girl and a great column by Virginia Postrel.)

Jackboot Junkies

People living under the yoke of corrupt governments tend to want … more government regulation. It’s a vicious cycle: in trusting societies, people act civilly and expect less government interference. In distrustful societies, people act selfishly and expect tighter regulation. But more government corruption leads to less-trusting societies, and citizens will generally “prefer state control to unbridled production by uncivil firms”—even when they know their leaders are crooked.

—“Regulation and Distrust,” [PDF] National Bureau of Economic Research

Given the choice between conspiracy and incompetence, I usually chalk up what the federal government does more to the latter. But it makes you wonder about the mess the government created with the housing market through Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, and going all the way back to the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). It’s almost like they planned this, knowing they could cash in on “disaster socialism.”

In fact, it looks exactly like that.

Friday Roundup: I Got Nothing

I’m running late for a meeting this morning and have some pressing deadlines. I’ll have some stuff up later today after noon. I’d rather be late and put up something good than put up crap just to put something up. Although you could argue this honest post is, indeed, crap. So there’s my morning conundrum for you.

Also, I need your input. I’m thinking of going from a morning roundup format to posting several items throughout the day. I’ve developed a good stable of readers and I’d like to hear from you. A morning buffet to start your workday, or somewhere you can come back several times throughout the day?

I’ll leave you with this little ditty from a reader who has a knack for parables — this one on the FAILOUT.

Once upon a time, in a place overrun with monkeys, a man appeared and announced to the villagers that he would buy monkeys for $10 each.

The villagers, seeing that there were many monkeys around, went out to the forest, and started catching them.

The man bought thousands at $10 and as supply started to diminish, they became harder to catch, so the villagers stopped their effort.

The man then announced that he would now pay $20 for each one. This renewed the efforts of the villagers and they started catching monkeys again. But soon the supply diminished even further and they were ever harder to catch, so people started going back to their farms and forgot about monkey catching.

The man increased his price to $25 each and the supply of monkeys became so sparse that it was an effort to even see a monkey, much less catch one.

The man now announced that he would buy monkeys for $50! However, since he had to go to the city on some business, his assistant would now buy on his behalf.

While the man was away the assistant told the villagers, “Look at all these monkeys in the big cage that the man has bought.

I will sell them to you at $35 each and when the man returns from the city, you can sell them to him for $50 each.”

The villagers rounded up all their savings and bought all the monkeys. They never saw the man nor his assistant again, and once again there were monkeys everywhere.

Now you have a better understanding of how the stock market works.

Wednesday Roundup: Other ISD Shortfalls, Robots at D/FW & More

  • So Lancaster ISD has a $1.5 million budget shortfall, and they’re putting their superintendent on administrative leave. Which means he gets paid to do nothing. Incidentally, he’s paid $197,600 a year for running district a fraction of the size of DISD (superintendent salary over $320,000) and LISD is in state conservatorship. So Michael Hinjosa has that going for him. Which is nice.
  • D/FW International has a new system to guide planes in during inclement weather, which forces ground crew indoors. Why don’t they use this all the time? I mean, the pilot just flew 3,000 miles across country, does he really need a guy with flashlights to get him that last 30 feet?
  • I hate John Stossel and his wonderful mustache. He shouldn’t be this good. TV news guys aren’t supposed to be great writers. And yet he puts the sword to the wrong-headed idea that the current financial crisis was caused by deregulation, or could be helped by more regulation. Good stuff.
  • Set your DVR — the final debate is tonight.

Girls With Guns: Today’s DMN Column

So today my column on buying my daughter, who’s 5 years old, her first hand gun runs. Here’s a preview.

My little girl is growing up. That very special change is coming in her life. She is about to blossom into a new stage of maturity. As a father, I have to face facts.

She’s 5 now; it’s time to buy her first gun.

I actually picked out her first rifle back when she was just 3. It’s a Remington .22-caliber rifle, just like I had when I was her age.

Except hers is pink. And it has a Hello Kitty emblem inked on its pink butt. (Just like her mom.)

That one awaits her being an age when she can handle it. I’m thinking 8, like I was.

No, her “first gun” that she’ll get to keep will be a plastic BB-firing Airsoft replica of a hand gun. Preferably an H&K replica, because when she’s old enough, that’s probably what she’ll find in all the little fast-access gun safes that may be stashed around the house. Near all points of entry and common seating areas. (You never know if a burglar will clear the string of Claymore mines out front.)

The full column is here.

Tuesday Rundown: Convention Center Hotels, Risky Stock Picks, Zombies & Other Bad Things

  • A new group is forming to fight the horrendously bad idea of a city-owned convention center hotel in a city that can’t pay for paving the streets. Boo-ya. As Heywood Sanders, author of the only non-biased study on the subject out there, has shown, if it made business sense to build a convention center hotel someone would have done it for profit instead of needing to dip into taxpayer wallets.
  • Speaking of rose-tinted budgeting, anyone get the idea that when it comes to this year’s City of Dallas budget, City Manager Mary Suhm is shaving the cat a little close?
  • New evidence from the Dallas-based National Center for Policy Analysis shows that yep, the American Dream is alive and well and income mobility is a fact. The rich get richer, and so do the poor. When they try. Turns out you have to work at staying poor in America, despite what you hear from the chattering class.
  • When they hit lows on Monday, I bought some AIG at $3.61, WM at $2.14, and BAC at $27.10, following the same contrarian strategy that netted me a nice gain when I bought Bear Stearns back when it hit around $4 and sold it when it rose to above $13. It’s a big gamble with AIG and WM, but I think BAC is sure to make a strong comeback and quickly, while the other two are just rolling the dice. Sold a bunch of AMR at $11.61 just because I figured it was time (bought most at around $5 a few months back) and was surprised by its performance in the wake of Ike. Maybe jumped the gun on that, but time will tell.
  • Hurricane Ike’s Aftermath: Zombies?

Hurricane Ike’s Wake: Thank God For ‘Price Gouging’

Watching Ike bear down on Houston from the safety of a beach house in Pensacola (yeah, I know, weird, huh?) I discussed with the family how what some people call price gouging is really a benefit for disaster areas. It enforces rational rationing and discourages hoarding. People don’t buy up all the gas or bottled water, and large families double and triple up in hotel rooms instead of taking up three or four rooms at the Motel 6.

I was going to write something more lengthy on this today but this guy beat me to the punch. Enjoy.

Monday Roundup: More Cowbell

Playing catch-up so just a little brunch buffet for you this morning.

  • SNL’s great Palin/Clinton skit
  • Today’s Science Find: Google could become the first entity to make the dream of creating offshore floating havens away from government control and taxes. They want to set up floating data barges free from control. Is it a first small step toward fulfilling a longtime pie-in-the-sky libertarian dream of free-floating artificial island societies?
  • Mark the London Sunday Telegraph as the first mainstream paper to predict the end of the Obamessiah’s inevitable rise. Why? Read on.
  • Finally, you can answer the call for MORE COWBELL. Upload your favorite tune to this site and get all the cowbell you want or need. (h/t Radley Balko)

Here’s my upload, “Take on Me”.

Make your own at

Programming Note: On Vacation

I’ll be back on Monday.