Saturday, January 24, 2009

Quote of the day

"I suppose counsel have a penumbral constitutional right to regard each other as schmucks, but I know of no principle that justifies litigation pollution. … This case makes me lament the demise of dueling. I cannot order a duel, and thus achieve a salubrious reduction in the number of counsel to put up with."

- U.S. District Judge Wayne Alley

Rules to blog by....

I'm not sure whether this guy is from the right or from the left (no hat tip because I forgot how I got there), but these rules would make anybody's political writing more palatable.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Is that rape included in the price?

OK, this question does not rank high in the annals of good taste, but I really did wonder about it while reading the article "Alien World" in Reason magazine, about a theme park that let you try out the experience of being a Mexican immigrant trying to make it across the US border.
Women and children are tossed into Border Patrol vehicles and driven off into the night. M-80s stand in for shotgun fire. Then there are the female screams in the distance, a soundtrack of rape.

Reassuringly (I suppose), actual rape does not take place in the theme park as part of the regularly scheduled entertainment. A couple of pages later, the article explains how it is done:
Then there are the screams that come from behind the bushes. During quiet lulls in the walk, female park employees periodically issue blood-curdling cries that echo through the mountains. It is not an overly histrionic touch. Rape has become so endemic to the border crossing experience that women often start taking birth control before making the trip, expecting abuse from coyotes or the bandits that travel with them.

Note that "coyotes" refer to the "businessmen" whose job it is to smuggle immigrants across the border. I guess you've got to really want to be an American!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Quote of the day

Women need a reason to have sex. Men just need a place.
--Billy Crystal

Education and Tea Leaves....

Megan McArdle chimes in with her thoughts on wasted education dollars and this case her own. This one focuses on Sallie Mae, which makes education loans that in many cases are never paid off, for an education that never benefits those who work to get it.

Who benefits? Unscrupulous schools, especially those taking advantage of dreamers:

I don't know how I ended up at Career Blazers (yes, I cringe myself at the name). It was like one of those plucky, poor-but-honest people you read about in Victorian novels--everything clean, freshly painted, and nonetheless falling apart. But I was too desperate to get out of that secretary's chair to be picky. I gave them something like $5,000, in 1995, to teach me to be a Certified Netware Engineer--an administrator of Novell's corporate networking software.

The technies in the audience are wincing, and believe me, I am too. As I found out after I'd wasted thousands of dollars and three months, a CNE was a necessary, but not sufficient, credential to get a job in IT. The minute anyone tells you that he has one (or an MCSE, the Microsoft equivalent), any seasoned professional will bar that person from touching his equipment. Anyone who would actually mention his CNE is definitionally too ignorant to be useful, and just knowledgeable enough to be dangerous. Of course anyone competent usually had the credentials--but all the credentials proved, by themselves, was that you could breathe and answer a multiple choice test.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Bad Boyfriend Bonus

Professor Drezner comments that Obama will be benefiting from a phenomenon apparently oft witnessed on Sex & the City (never seen the show myself): the boyfriend after a really bad one gets an extra dose of benefit of doubt.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Never trust a live Jedi

It always amuses me when something as frivolous as Star Wars is treated with mock seriousness. This item does a marvelous job of that.

So much for that newspaper theory. In "Another Roadside Attraction", Marx Marvelous chooses his name to be the most loathsome possible, and
What do they most loathe? The answer I arrived at was Communism and homosexuality. Communists and homosexuals are the targets of the majority of the normal male's fear-honed barbs. Thus you can see how I in my rebellion selected the given name of 'Marx'. The surname was more difficult. Obviously, I couldn't ccall myself Marx Homosexual or Marx Queer or even Marx Fag. But I remembered having read in a syndicated newspaper column that the one word no red-blooded he-man would ever ever utter was 'marvelous.'

Since I am the epitome of the red-blooded he-man, don't trust syndicated newspaper columns any more than you would trust a Jedi!