Archive for February, 2006

America’s Wackiest Streets

Monday, February 27th, 2006

Mitsubishi Motors sponsored a poll of its readers to determine the wackiest street names in America. Tennessee made the list.. Twice! The top ten went something like this (via Sukhmani Singh Khalsa):

10. Tater Peeler Road in Lebanon, Tenn.

9. The intersection of Count and Basie in Richmond, Va.

8. Shades of Death Road in Warren County, N.J.

7. Unexpected Road in Buena, N.J.

6. Bucket of Blood Street in Holbrook, Ariz.

5. The intersection of Clinton and Fidelity in Houston

4. The intersection of Lonesome and Hardup in Albany, Ga.

3. Farfrompoopen Road in Tennessee (the only road up to Constipation Ridge)

2. Divorce Court in Heather Highlands, Pa.

1. Psycho Path in Traverse City, Mich.

Are You a Survivor?

Monday, February 27th, 2006

Via Say Uncle, try this survival quiz. I scored a 10 out of 17, meaning I survived but am “badly injured or maimed for life.”

Former Taliban Official Attends Yale

Sunday, February 26th, 2006

Still worried about the UAE/port situation? Try worrying about this:

Never has an article made me blink with astonishment as much as when I read in yesterday’s New York Times magazine that Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi, former ambassador-at-large for the Taliban, is now studying at Yale on a U.S. student visa. This is taking the obsession that U.S. universities have with promoting diversity a bit too far.

Something is very wrong at our elite universities. Last week Larry Summers resigned as president of Harvard when it became clear he would lose a no-confidence vote held by politically correct faculty members furious at his efforts to allow ROTC on campus, his opposition to a drive to have Harvard divest itself of corporate investments in Israel, and his efforts to make professors work harder. Now Yale is giving a first-class education to an erstwhile high official in one of the most evil regimes of the latter half of the 20th century–the government that harbored the terrorists who attacked America on Sept. 11, 2001.

“In some ways,” Mr. Rahmatullah told the New York Times. “I’m the luckiest person in the world. I could have ended up in Guantanamo Bay. Instead I ended up at Yale.” One of the courses he has taken is called Terrorism-Past, Present and Future.

Read the whole thing. It is at once hilarious and horrifying.

More on the Ports

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006

The more I hear about the UAE port deal, the more it seems like a non-story. Sure, when I first heard, I had the knee-jerk reaction that it was bad policy. Who in their right mind would outsource port security to a Middle Eastern regime? Then I learned that nothing of the such was happening.

Some further research led me to find nothing really substantive about the opposing arguments. Basically, as far as I can tell, those who are angry are angry because the United Arab Emirates is an Arab country (Most – Bob Krumm being an exception – won’t admit this.). That alone isn’t enough to convince me the policy is bad. I say this as someone who has argued in favor of strict border enforcement and defended profiling. I have nothing against giving the UAE company closer scrutiny – I’m all for it. But refusing to do business with Arabs because they’re Arabs does not strike me as a good way to win the war on terror. It is also worth noting that P&O hires local labor (read: Americans) and has no responsibility for port security. The Longshoremen and Coast Guard handle that, just like they always have.

The UAE ties to terror are pretty tenuous. Yes, it’s true that two 9/11 hijackers came from that country. It’s also true that the attack plans were made in Germany. Shoe bomber Richard Reid hailed from Great Britain. Jihad John Walker Lindh called California home. Get where I’m going with this? People who believe in individualism over collectivism, well, believe in judging individuals on their own merit, not what other like them do. The UAE isn’t perfect, but it is one of the most open and Westernized countries in the Arab world. Winning the war on terror requires us to cultivate such nations. Refusing to do business with them doesn’t seem like an effective strategy for this.

The argument that Americans should run American ports is a good argument – if you don’t believe in free trade. If you do, it’s necessary to recognize that foreign companies are going to do business in America, just as American companies do business abroad. Either you believe in free trade, or you don’t. Or you favor total nationalization of our ports, which is a different argument and is irrelevant to the issue at hand. Ultimately, P&O wants to make money. Do you think smuggling terrorists or weapons into its client nation is a good way to do this?

Politically, this will damage Bush. Everyone agrees it’s bad politically. But does that make it bad policy? I say no. This won’t stop politicians from taking advantage of the situation, though. I received a press release from the Van Hilleary campaign which contained plenty of Van-isms. One quote: “How do we expect Americans to take the War on Terror seriously… when leaders in Washington are turning over control of several of our seaports… to the enemy?” When did the UAE become “the enemy”? I though Islamofacists were the enemy? Van by far isn’t the only one (see Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, et al.), but he’s the only one who sent me a press release (twice, actually).

In the meantime, if anyone has any evidence of P&O ties to terrorism, I certainly want to hear it. I am completely prepared to change my view if additional evidence surfaces. Until then, I stand behind my belief that this whole thing is a non-story.

Elsewhere: Glenn Reynolds, Opinion Journal, Outside the Beltway, Jay Bush and Mansoor Ijaz

Education or Indoctrination?

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006

The always on target Walter E. Williams, a professor at George Mason University, has some thoughts on the proselytizing that is occurring in our public schools and on college campuses.

Port Security

Tuesday, February 21st, 2006

The whole uproar over the fact that a company owned by the government of the United Arab Emirates is helping to run certain ports is interesting. Pundits from both sides of the aisle are pounding the Administration for this decision. I certainly understand, even share their concern. However, I wonder if this might perhaps be the result of a misunderstanding over what the UAE company will actually do. The Christian Science Monitor reports (via Daniel Drezner):

Companies like P&O [The UAE company in question] don’t provide security at the ports. The US Coast Guard and Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement do. For instance, in New Orleans, P&O is one of eight terminal operators responsible for marketing the port, signing agreements with shipping lines, hiring labor, loading ships, and moving cargo.

But P&O has no responsibility for security. “We have our own police force, harbor patrol, customs officers, and Coast Guard,” says Chris Bonura, spokesman for the Port of New Orleans. “That won’t change no matter who is operating the terminal.”

I will admit to being somewhat confused as to why this is so important to Bush – his numbers are low and this could endanger an area where his numbers remain fairly strong – national security. Yet Bush has shown again and again that he is unwavering when he thinks he’s right, and he does not like Congressional meddling. Perhaps cooler heads should prevail. But as it stands, I just don’t see cause for the fury that has erupted over this issue.

On the other hand, getting Charles Schumer to endorse racial profiling is pretty amusing.

I’m a Talent!

Monday, February 20th, 2006

I’m a Talent!

You’re a risk-taker, and you follow your passions. You’re determined to take on the world and succeed on your own terms. Whether in the arts, science, engineering, business, or politics, you fearlessly express your own vision of the world. You’re not afraid of a fight, and you’re not afraid to bet your future on your own abilities. If you find a job boring or stifling, you’re already preparing your resume. You believe in doing what you love, and you’re not willing to settle for an ordinary life.

Talent: 56%
Lifer: 37%
Mandarin: 48%

Take the Talent, Lifer, or Mandarin quiz.

Via Professor Bainbridge.

Individualism Should Be #1

Monday, February 20th, 2006

David Gulbraa:

Liberals believe the purpose of government is to “help people.” Conservatives believe the purpose of government is to enforce morality. I believe the purpose of government is to protect individuals from being “helped” by the Liberals – or forced to pray by the Conservatives.

Exploring the Forrest

Sunday, February 19th, 2006

Interesting article in today’s Sentinel on Tennessee’s most controversial son, Nathan Bedford Forrest.

Huddleston for Congress?

Thursday, February 16th, 2006

My friend Rob Huddleston is considering a run for Tennessee’s First Congressional District. Rob would make a good Congressman, so here’s hoping he runs. Between him and Bob Krumm (who may run for the State Senate), it looks like bloggers may be taking over Tennessee politics.