Obama Picks Sotomayor

Well, no real surprise here. President Obama has thrown a sop to his far-left buddies by selecting Sonia Sotomayor, the farthest-left of the various judges whose names had been bruited about as nominees to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice David Souter, as his pick. Sotomayor has a reputation as a hard-left ideologue. My guess is that he picked her because Rosa Luxemburg was already dead.

And while Obama said that he didn't have any particular prerequisites in terms of demographic groups, he did indeed pick a woman, (and a minority woman at that) as was predicted. Perhaps he thinks she's the best qualified person for the job, the brightest legal mind in the country; but perhaps she's just another affirmative action pick. When it comes to the Supreme Court, people who are appointed for life, being selected because you're a woman is just as offensive as not being selected because you're a woman.

Can You Dig It?

Who doesn't love a cutesy kid story? Did you see the story about the woman in New Zealand who was on her computer visiting an auction site looking for children's toys? Well, she went to bed after putting in some bids, but didn't log off the site. The next morning, her three-year-old daughter, Pipi, wakes up before her parents and starts playing on the computer. I think you can see where this story is going, right? Well, the mother wakes up and checks her e-mail, finds out that she's won an auction, and gets another e-mail from the seller telling her that he's sure she's going to love the digger. Was this some kind of Tonka construction toy? Well, no; Pipi had bid on a $NZ20,000 (US $12,400) digger! Fortunately, the parents were able to explain the mistake to the web site, and the seller agreed to re-auction the digger. I had the Tonka toys when I was a kid, but I never got a real honest-to-God construction equipment. Probably just as well; it can be difficult to find a place to park them.

Lessons to be learned here: Be sure to log off secure web sites when you are done, and don't let your kids surf the net without supervision!


Contrast: East vs. West

I saw in the news this morning that beleaguered former South Korean president Roh Moo-hyun committed suicide early today by climbing a mountain near his home and leaping from the summit. He had been embroiled in a bribery scandal involving about $6 million, and had been interrogated about it by prosecutors at the end of April. It's kind of sad, because according to local accounts, he was "widely known for his relative integrity compared to other Korean presidents." His was an up-by-his-bootstraps story: He was from a town in the provinces, and since he was too poor to attend college, he worked regular jobs while studying law on his own, and he did so well enough to pass the tough Korean bar exam. He became a lawyer and then a political activist working for the downtrodden against the authoritarian government of the time, and worked his way up to president of the country. And then, this scandal, the shame and loss of face, the apologetic note and the leap off the mountain.

Contrast this with American politicians, most of them scions of wealthy families, born with a silver spoon in their mouths. When an American politician gets caught in a scandal, there is no feeling of shame. (While this is especially true of Democrats, it is true of some Republicans as well.) Rather than own up to their shortcomings and apologize, they deny, deny, deny. They don't take responsibility for their wrongdoing (see House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accusing the CIA of lying to her and refusing to provide any evidence, for instance). Instead, they attempt to deflect the blame on others, or they just stonewall and refuse to talk about their scandals.

While I'm not calling for anyone to climb a mountain and hurl herself off of it, I would like to see some personal accountability, some honesty and integrity, and most of all, some feeling of guilt and a promise to atone for what they have done wrong. Former president Roh took it to an extreme, but at least he was sorry for what he had done.


Some Days Are Better Than Others

And the same is true of some weeks. This one's been bad. Nowhere to go but up.


Every Letter Tells A Story

There are a million stories in the naked city, and every so often, we brush across the edges of one of them. Last night, I brushed across two. First, there was a letter in my mail from an inmate in a local jail, written to a Mrs. N. something-or-other, a different last name than his own. Scrawled across the address in large rough letters was "Return To Sender" and written in the same hand below the return address was the salutation, "You can kiss your own ass yourself." I wondered if that was written by Mrs. N. something-or-other, or by her husband. The hand wasn't feminine (indeed, the man writing from jail had much nicer handwriting), but that really doesn't tell us anything, does it?

Well, I thought that little mini-drama would be the highlight of the night, until I went back to pick up mail at another machine and one of the women standing there showed me something even more bizarre: A letter with a slice of cheese in it, with the return address being only a mysterious "Cheese Woman." The oils in the cheese had saturated the paper of the envelope, rendering it translucent and making plain the orange slice of American cheese within. All I could do was laugh and wonder, "What the hell?!"


Movie Review: Star Trek

I don't go to the movies that often; most of the time, I'm content to wait until the film makes it to the pay cable movie channels. Every so often, there's a movie that I really want to see in the theater. Even then, I normally try to avoid going on the first day. Today, however, I made an exception and went to the 10:15 a.m. showing of Star Trek. All of the buzz that I had heard was positive, so I had fairly high expectations. They were not disappointed.

Star Trek is a non-stop thrill ride from the opening sequence until the end. It runs over two hours, but when it was over, I was already ready for the sequel. I'm not going to go into the plot, since I don't want to spoil it for anyone who is planning to see the movie, but it was well done and exciting. The casting was superb, and the performances were enough to bring a smile to the face of anyone who ever watched the original series on television. Chris Pine makes a rollicking James T. Kirk and Zachary Quinto was spot-on as Spock; indeed, he looks more like Spock than the venerable Leonard Nimoy, which is saying something.

If you are a Star Trek fan of any sort, you must see this movie. Even if you aren't, you still might find it enjoyable if you like any kind of science fiction at all. This one will be a huge summer blockbuster. Don't miss it.


The Internet Answers My Question

Last night at work, I saw a flyer that turned out to be for premium electrical tape, which showed rolls in designer colors like green, red, orange, etc. At first glance, they looked like tires. It made me wonder about something: Why are all automobile tires black? After all, you can get your car in just about any color you want, but your tires will invariably be black. Why is that?

Well, I went to Ask.com and poked the question above into the search field, and was rewarded with the answer from ProperAutocare.com, which explained that ozone and ultraviolet light from sunlight attack the polymers in the tire:
To protect against ozone and UV damage, a stabilizer molecule called a “competitive absorber” is blended with the tire polymer. Competitive absorbers work by capturing and absorbing UV radiation and converting it to heat which is dissipated harmlessly. All tire manufacturers use the same competitive absorber, carbon black. This is why all tires are black...why tires are not available in designer colors.
How did we get along before the Internet came along to answer all of our trivial questions? The answer: Not as well as we do now.


Laura Doesn't Grok "Blasphemy"

Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit points to a column by Laura Varon Brown on the Detroit Free-Press site, where she writes:

Parties were more fun when George W. Bush was president. You could debate, argue even, praise and condemn, throw darts and laurels and solve the world's problems over a bottle of wine.

No more. At least not in my circles. If you want to stop a conversation in its tracks, just question something President Barack Obama has said or done. It's not open to debate -- and I don't think that's healthy, for the country or the president.

It's especially unsettling for a free speech girl like me. The First Amendment is important -- but lately, it feels like my right of self-expression is being squashed.
Reading the whole column, it's apparent that like most of the media, she's an Obama supporter. She feels, however, that when he makes a mistake, it should be valid fodder for criticism. What she apparently doesn't understand is that for most of his supporters, Barack Obama isn't just the President of the United States, he is The Messiah. You can criticize a President, but you dare not criticize The Messiah. That's called "blasphemy," and it will get the same reaction among those on the Left in America as those Danish cartoons got from outraged Muslims around the world. The religious have always said that blasphemy doesn't fall under the rubric of free speech.

Sorry, Laura, you may not take the name of the Lord Barack Obama in vain. That was part of the deal you made when you guys voted him in. You're just gonna have to live with it until January 2013.

Now, for those of us on the other side who view him as an underfed incipient Mussolini who has yet to make the trains run on time, well, we can be iconoclasts. You can't, at least if you don't want your friends to stone you to death or burn you at the stake.