It’s the Chicago-suburb way

Libertyville (!), Illinois has apparently gotten its Governing Panties into an uncomfortable wad, what with this prodigious threat on the horizon:

Tuesday night the [village] board unanimously called for a moratorium on building permits and certificates of compliance for “personal service” businesses — which is what [Mark] Hoffmann and his building’s owner had thought the new business would fall under.

And what nefarious business was Mr Hoffmann planning? A tattoo parlor:

“It is my personal opinion that it is not a good idea to have a tattoo parlor downtown,” [Mayor Terry] Weppler said. “Two of my three kids have tattoos. I understand it is common among younger people and I was impressed with his presentation.”

Where did Weppler’s kids get their ink? Well, there are three other tattoo joints in Libertyville, but none of them are as horrifying to the board as Hoffmann’s. Said trustee Donna Johnson:

“Everyone might not carry your same moral fiber,” she said, “and that is what is driving my desire… I’m definitely not comfortable (with a tattoo shop) in downtown.”

This in a town with an annual Goose Dropping Festival.

(Via the Consumerist.)

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I think we’ve had enough August

From KRTV, Great Falls, Montana:

The National Weather Service in Great Falls has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for elevations above 7000 feet for snow, which is in effect from midnight tonight until noon on Friday.

Snow accumulations of up to three inches are possible above 7000 feet, with a mix of rain and snow mix between 6500 and 7000 feet. The advisory also calls for north-northwest winds of 10 to 20 mph.

Locations affected include Logan Pass, higher elevations of Glacier National Park, and the Potomac/Seeley Lake area.

I am predisposed to hate winter, but after this week, during which the temperature has yet to drop more than a tick below 80, even snow starts to seem, um, nice.

(Via Dynamo Dave, who is glad to be out of this heat.)

Addendum: The National Weather Service is now trying the power of suggestion:

Screen shot from NWS, 13 August 2010, 50 degrees

Not working, guys.

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Good, rhymes with “hood”

The Downtown Ranger has come up with descriptive ratings for the city’s near-northside neighborhoods, from “Best of the Best” down to downright “Dangerous.” While I think his assessment is probably pretty close to spot-on, something he says before he ever gets to the ratings is pivotal:

The importance of placemarking is that if people do not know what neighborhood they are in, they won’t care what neighborhood they’re in. They won’t even be curious about it. Oklahoma City’s neighborhoods are extremely lacking in demarcation, which impairs the inner north side’s sense of identity.

Comparisons are made with Tulsa, which calls out neighborhoods on the street signs on major corridors, and St Louis, which has some entrance markers that make contemporary “gated communities” look like a rural petting zoo.

And here’s the catch: you ask any resident of any of the highly-rated neighborhoods where they live, and they’ll not only tell you the name of the neighborhood, but six or seven really nifty things about it. Get into the lower ranks, and you should be surprised if they know the name of the neighborhood at all. Hence the importance of placemarking.

There’s also a call for a name for this area besides “near-northside.” I’m thinking in terms of “The Loop,” the area enclosed by I-44, the current I-40, and I-235, despite the fact that this technically puts me a few blocks out of The Loop.

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The truck remains unloaded

Rather a lot of people who don’t live in Major Metropolitan Areas have been subjected to a speech which boils down to “Jed, move away from there!”

I suspect, however, that few are urged to move to the imposing metropolis that is Boise.

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Those who must be kept at a distance

Actually, my parents were married. To each other, yet.

That said, I wanted to give this an airing:

[T]he lessons best learned are the ones you pay dearly for. I had always prided myself on being more like Elinor Dashwood, only to make the dismal discovery that my expectations and behavior were nearly identical to that of Marianne’s when she saw Willoughby in London. In conclusion: MEN ARE BASTARDS, RAMPAGE LIKE AKASHA THE QUEEN VAMPIRE AGAINST THEM — I jest! Well, about parts of it…

I just liked the idea of melding, however briefly, Jane Austen and Anne Rice.

As to the story that prompted this outburst, well, it’s none of my business.

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Tart response

To be one of the cool kids, you need to eschew swiping stuff from the actual creator.

And that goes for you basic-cable stars too:

I need fresh air so I ask my daughter to join me on the deck and for entertainment, we peruse the latest copy of Food Network Magazine. She’s already been though this edition so I ask her to tell me what’s good inside. She reads off a title — “Melissa D’Arabian’s PETITE ORANGE AND RASPBERRY POCHETTES” and shows me the photo of a plate full of jam tarts.

Well, they’re clearly somebody’s tarts, but they’re not Melissa D’s: the recipe dates to, at the latest, eight years before she was born.

Shenanigans are being called. (Actually, it’s a bit stronger than mere shenanigans.)

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As heads bow

Let us pray:

Bacon Prayer

This may or may not have been written for Bacon-Fest (The Other Fundraiser), which takes place on the 28th in the Waldo district of Kansas City, around 75th and Wornall. Beneficiary of all this bacon-y goodness is the Rehabilitation Institute of Kansas City.

Oh, and just who is the patron saint of bacon? St. Anthony the Great, of course.

(Seen at Nicole’s.)

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Nary a coattail

A pertinent Jeri Askins quote:

“Every time I’ve run a campaign, especially the statewide races, there are areas where Democrats say I’m too conservative,” Askins said. “Then as soon as I win, the other side tries to tie us to partisan politics outside the state of Oklahoma.

“I really am a centrist. I don’t try to target any particular group. I just try to appeal to the average Oklahoman.”

Well, that would certainly explain this:

The campaign manager for Lt. Governor Jari Askins in her bid to become the first woman governor of Oklahoma made it clear today there will not be an invitation to the White House to have the President visit Oklahoma.

“We don’t have any plans to have any Washington politicians campaigning for the lieutenant governor,” said Sid Hudson, the Askins campaign manager. “We’re campaigning for the governor of Oklahoma and we’re going to be asking lots of Oklahomans to help us in this campaign.

And I was so looking forward to a perfunctory meet-and-greet with Joltin’ Joe Biden.

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A Goodyear to be hacked

Back in the spring, I made some noise about how the protocol used in OBD-II was something less than secure, although up to that point it had only been hacked via direct connection.

But that was then, and this is current:

The tire pressure monitors built into modern cars have been shown to be insecure by researchers from Rutgers University and the University of South Carolina. The wireless sensors, compulsory in new automobiles in the US since 2008, can be used to track vehicles or feed bad data to the electronic control units (ECU), causing them to malfunction.

Oh, joy.

The pressure sensors contain unique IDs, so merely eavesdropping enabled the researchers to identify and track vehicles remotely. Beyond this, they could alter and forge the readings to cause warning lights on the dashboard to turn on, or even crash the ECU completely.

Unlike the work earlier this year, these attacks are more of a nuisance than any real danger; the tire sensors only send a message every 60-90 seconds, giving attackers little opportunity to compromise systems or cause any real damage.

Still, a tiny packet can pack a wallop if it’s properly — or improperly — programmed.

(Via Autoblog.)

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More of a Mach, really

Usually it doesn’t take four teams to pull off a trade in the NBA, but this week saw a player-go-round of near-epic proportions. The participants: Houston, Indiana, New Jersey and New Orleans. And ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz had this to say on the subject:

Every acquisition has a cost, which is one of the bedrock principles of bartering. Unless you’re purchasing Manhattan or annexing the Sudetenland, it’s virtually impossible to get something for nothing.

Sam Presti’s working on it.

But this bit is so snarky I simply had to bring it over here. Former Hornet backup point guard Darren Collison is headed to Indianapolis, and Arnovitz notes the Pacers’ unhappy history at the one:

“Point guard, Indiana Pacers” has been the NBA equivalent of “Drummer, Spinal Tap.”

There admittedly have been times when they played like they had armadillos in their trousers.

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Another Question of the Ages answered

It appears that yes, Hello Kitty can has cheezburger:

Hello Kitty bags a snack

(Raked up from the fires of Hello Kitty Hell.)

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You can’t raise the Keynes back up

Not when it’s in defeat like this, one hopes:

If there’s one positive to come out of the Great Recession, it should be the end of Keynesian economics as a serious policy choice. The notion you can grow the economy via North Korea-style command economics should have been long-dead even before [Christina] Romer’s 1992 paper, but Obama’s miserable failure may finally drive a stake through this productivity-sucking, economy-killing meme.

We should be so lucky. To get that way, though, we’ll have to acknowledge this:


Government spending is not demand, it is command spending. To “aggregate” it with private sector demand is like counting your dog’s ringworm as a “pet” on a census form, at least for purposes of stimulating the economy. It does not follow the same rules as private sector spending, as it is always seized and distributed according to law/fiat by bureaucrats indifferent to costs and benefits, not exchanged consensually between self-interested private parties seeking to maximize their utility. That’s why Keynesianism is “unexpectedly” falling flat on its face before our eyes: it relies on a fallacious aggregation.

People who understood Keynes, as distinguished from those who merely embraced Keynes, didn’t find any of this “unexpected” in the least.

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Sublime, yet mighty

Twitter, I have to figure, was a harder sell fifty years ago:

Twitter ad, circa 1960

I have to admit, the chap with the handlebar mustache does appear to be a truly magnificent tool.

(Swiped from here. Also: more of the same.)

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I, dropout

In purely chronological terms, I spent less time in school than anyone I know who’s old enough to vote. Which may or may not have something to do with why I somehow managed never to develop this particular habit:

All a person has to do is go around talking about how he’s an “intellectual” and that he prefers reading to almost anything and drops random “erudite” (which really means “trivial bullshit no one cares about”) bits of wisdom and nine times out of ten he gets treated with a respect he probably didn’t earn. Since when did we become a nation of egghead-worshiping proles like some Third World country where hardly anyone except upper-caste children get to go to school? I’ll tell you when — when we stopped being a WASP-influenced culture and started pushing “multiculturalism” (which is just another word for “all those bad customs that everyone came to the US to get away from”) in everything. WASPs admired smart people, it is true — after all, we produced so many of them — but we also knew that they needed to be kept in their place. Sure, Professor Absentmind, you might have a lot of book-learning, but can you gut a deer or rivet a girder? But now we’ve outsourced anything sweaty to places like Thailand, and now everyone thinks they’re Ashley Wilkes.

With one minor difference: Major Wilkes had said, “If Georgia fights, I go with her.” His heart may have not been in it, but he went. Your contemporary eggheads won’t go anywhere more frightening than Crate and Barrel.

Disclosure: If there are any WASPs on my family tree, they’re at a safe distance from the rest of us.

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Tag, you’re late

Last year, the state quadrupled the penalties for late vehicle registration, bringing in an additional $26 million in revenue.

I’m guessing this guy, commenting on the NewsOK article reporting the “windfall,” contributed to that $26 million:

Hmmm … A fine is nothing more than a tax in disguise. A fee is nothing more than a tax in disguise. So raising the late registration penalty by 75% is OK with the Republican controlled Legislature and Senate. So much for their “lower tax” mantra. And, yes I know they lowered the income tax, but what good did it do when the make up shortfalls by increasing fees (tax) and penalties (tax)? Like hunting and fishing? Like boating or watercraft? Maybe not so much when these licenses go up by 75%. Hope you’re not working class. Funny how the “well to do” in this state pile it on the working class.

I’ll grant him his definitions of “fine” and “fee,” but that’s all he gets. The penalty went from 25 cents a day to $1, which is not 75 percent. And the penalty is imposed only on people who are more than 30 days late on their vehicle registration: if your tag expires at the end of August, you don’t get into the penalty phase until the first of October. I haven’t gone through all the umpteen bazillion lines of text in the state Constitution lately, but I’m pretty sure there’s no enshrined right to be as late as you goddamn please.

Bottom line: To avoid late fees, pay stuff on time. It’s not rocket science; it’s not class warfare.

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It’s dead, Brad

Brad Henry’s scheme to use traffic cameras to catch insurance scofflaws? Not going to happen, at least not this year:

Lawmakers failed to authorize the money collected from uninsured motorist fines to go to the state’s general fund, the principal funding source for state government, state Treasurer Scott Meacham said Tuesday. Without that provision, the money would go to the state’s court systems, he said.

That’s easily changed. This, not so much:

There is no one company that has all the vehicle insurance verification data of all 50 states, Meacham said.

In the meantime, more mundane means of enforcement will be employed:

Effective Nov. 1, law officers will have the authority to tow vehicles of drivers who do not have insurance and are driving with a suspended driver’s license. Law officers also will be required to run insurance verification checks on all traffic stops.

By Thanksgiving, expect a dustup or two as police discover that some folks who paid no attention to the border crossing also paid no money to the insurance company.

(Via Mike McCarville. Previous coverage here and here.)

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