Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Cross-posted from Gus Van Horn

When it rains, it pours! On top of going to the dentist in the middle of a very busy week at work, half the bloggers I follow put up some really good stuff. Let's see how much of it I can blog in an hour before I leave for work.

More on Gus's Teeth

Oh. And the trip to the dentist? Pretty good for someone who stayed away for ten years and went mainly to make sure everything was okay: one minor cavity and wisdom tooth fracture. Only the former needs fixing, and that's not urgent.

The trip brings up a couple of things. First of all, the submariners who stop by my blog are doubtless saying, "Wisdom teeth?" The submarine force preemptively extracts pretty much everyone's wisdom teeth as a matter of routine. I am the only one I know of who still has his. By the time that came up, I had already had two other teeth removed from each jaw to make room for straightening, so I had plenty of room for mine.

And the trip reminded me of this funny story in The Onion: "Dental Hygienist Sick of Being Lied To". Before I went in, I pondered what I would say to the inevitable question about my flossing habits. I floss twice a day, but past trips to the dentist have told me that there is no such thing as a good answer to that question. You will be told to buck up and do a better job of flossing.

Imagine my surprise when I was told, "You actually do a pretty good job of taking care of your teeth." I guess one way to avoid a scolding is to say, "I haven't been to a dentist in ten years."

A Question of Font Color

In the comments to this post, I was told that the subheadings in my blogroll show up green. (I coded them as grey.) This guy uses a Mac. They look fine on my computers, but do they look green to anyone else?

Enough about me, and on to the blogging roundup.

Move Over, Commissar!

Chap, an admirer of the Commissar's cartography, but not one to wait to be included on one of his famous maps, has taken matters into his own hands. Move your cursor over the diagram (i.e., the enlarged image) of the submarine at his blog and click to find the various submariners who populate the blogosphere. You can find me at the torpedo loading hatch.

Just Shut Me Down!

And speaking of the Commissar, he has a news flash that bodes ill for anyone who annoys the thin-skinned pseudonymously. He quotes from a news story.
It's no joke. Last Thursday, President Bush signed into law a prohibition on posting annoying Web messages or sending annoying e-mail messages without disclosing your true identity.

In other words, it's OK to flame someone on a mailing list or in a blog as long as you do it under your real name. Thank Congress for small favors, I guess.

This ridiculous prohibition, which would likely imperil much of Usenet, is buried in the so-called Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act. Criminal penalties include stiff fines and two years in prison.

"The use of the word 'annoy' is particularly problematic," says Marv Johnson, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. "What's annoying to one person may not be annoying to someone else."
Good thing Bush is protecting freedom at home while keeping the Mullahs from getting nukes abroad!

Cox and Forkum Skewer Two Republicans

Over at Cox and Forkum is a hilarious cartoon which includes the following dialogue.
PAT ROBERTSON: Perhaps this is our punishment for --
TOM DELAY: Oh, shut it, Pat!
Military Discipline, Then and Now

Over at Molten Eagle, Vigilis looks at a court martial in Britain which seems to have been convened because of a captain's vociferous leadership style.
[There were] five charges of "unwarranted" abusive treatment that went "beyond robust leadership and management" of four officers and Chief Petty Officer Coxswain under his command through repeated, unjustified, verbal abuse. Victims of Captain Robert Tarrant's "aggressive and humiliating" leadership on board HMS Talent, a hunter-killer submarine, felt scared and intimidated. One, Lieutenant Ryan Ramsey, was so frightened that he used to vomit before going on watch. The charges cover a period between February 1998 and July 1999.
Part of me is ambivalent on this one. I don't know what I hated more while I was in the Navy: That particular style of leadership or the kind of people who won't respond to anything else.

Conspiracy Theories Dot Gov

The Gaijin Biker notes that the government now runs a web site that debunks conspiracy theories, and correctly points out that this will only make conspiracy theorists even more paranoid.

Don't Believe the GAO Every Time

Meanwhile, Bubblehead also discusses the value of the government as a source of information and relates the following bit.
I'm hesitant to give much credence to GAO reports because of a yearly paper they put out in the 90s about submarine officer shore duty slots, and how most of them should be eliminated to save money by cutting the number of required submarine officers to that number needed to fill the nuclear billets. (I can't find this report on-line anywhere, but I remember reading the following in Navy Times, so this stuff is unclassified.) Not even considering the effects on retention if sub officers didn't get shore duty, the report complained that several hundred Ensigns were on shore duty; they thought that only 3 of the billets were justified. This might sound reasonable, until you consider that the Ensigns on "shore duty" were the ones who were going through the Nuke pipeline! So, they apparently thought that officers didn't need Nuke School, Prototype, and SOBC. That's marginally defensible, until you realize what the three billets they wanted to keep were.

Back in the day (they might still do this) the NPTUs (other than Charleston) were allowed to have three "Staff Pickup Officers" stay around for a year after their class graduated. They helped train the officers in the following classes. These were the three Ensign billets the GAO said were OK to keep, and you can see where I'm going here: Why keep three officers around to train student officers who, under the GAO plan, wouldn't be there? Any, since there weren't any officers going through the pipeline, where were they supposed to get these three officer? This did not make sense.
Conspiracy theorists should take note: Incompetence very often explains bad information from our government.

Resident Egoist Catches Fire

The Resident Egoist writes three good posts on "security" at Microsoft, "information brokers", and central banking.

Democracy and the Right to Vote

Amit Ghate examines claims that freedom can be measured by whether the people somewhere can vote in elections.
Is the form of government we advocate really best denoted by the term "democracy" and is the freedom to vote truly a citizen's most important right?

Our Founding Fathers certainly didn't think so.
Read it all. I particularly like the end.
To avoid such potentially catastrophic errors, both in foreign and domestic policies, we must dispense with our focus on democracy and voting -- to instead champion the proper form of government: a constitutional republic; and its guiding principle: the defense of each individual's right to life.
The Five New Guys

I figured I'd end this week's roundup by introducing my readers to the five new blogs I added to my blogroll this week since I normally do that when I add them.

1. Toiler at Acid Free Paper notes his surprise at being blogrolled and laments his unfortunate sense of timing! He then tells us what his blog is really about!

2. Bruno T. Raymundo is the author of the The Simplest Thing in the World, first blog on my 'roll from south of the Equator. An Objectivist from Brazil, he will make it easier for us to keep an eye on Latin America's recent leftward drift, as he does in this post, where he discusses a coffee shortage in Venezuela. I loved this opening line: "You old fashioned laissez-faire capitalists, behold the miracles of a 21st century socialist planned economy." But that's not all he discusses. Go over there and check it out.

3. Wayne of Downer's Grove, Illinois, hosts a conservative blog called Wayne's World. He recently pointed out a story on the kind of sentencing our judicial system recently handed out for repeated child rape: sixty days. In our loony world, I am sure this is less than you might get for either (a) yelling at subordinates too much in the military or (b) "annoying" people anonymously on the internet. (See above.)

The judge who handed out the sentence claims not to believe in punishment any more. I have one further question for him: "Never mind punishment. Do you believe in protecting the rights of law-abiding citizens?" From the story, it sounds like the judge has a little bit more on the ball than it sounds at first. His sentence, after all, was meant to force a "low-risk" offender to get rehabilitation. But can child molesters ever really get rehabilitated, and isn't that only of concern to the sex offender himself?

4. What do the seven principles of Kwanzaa and the Symbionese Liberation Army have in common? Visit Andrew Dalton's blog to find out!

5. I introduced readers to Grant Jones's blog some time back with Amit Ghate's help. Through his blog, I learned of the following resource: As of this writing, Islamists have, according to the site, carried out more than 4003 deadly attacks.

-- CAV


Today: corrected typos