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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The booty’s on duty

In the City of Angels, they say that the true comic sense is passed down from one generation to the next, not by word of mouth, but by contact in a different place altogether.

In which case, Sandra Bullock should be telling some hellacious jokes in the years to come:

Sandra Bullock and Betty White

Well, okay, that’s not exactly how it happened. Maybe it’s just the desire to touch the Queen’s, um, raiment. Either way, it’s one more story added to the Legend of Betty White.

(Bounced this way by Smitty.)

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Spam fail

This is the next step beyond “Your comment is being held for moderation”:

Comment moderation was enabled so that you can’t post comments on the blog. Yes, you specifically. Your comments will not show up. Not now, not ever. No one will ever see your links through this blog. No one will ever click on them from here. No one will see whatever kind of spammish website it is that you want them to see. You may post infrequently or frequently, weekly or daily or annually. You may try to sneak them in by including a vague phrase in English that, if I were very stupid, could be considered a comment on a blog post. Usually, betting I’m stupid wins you money, but not this time. I know it’s wrong and I will need to ask forgiveness for doing so, but I pray you develop carpal tunnel syndrome from all your typing. In the meantime, you may waste a fraction less time than you do now by not attempting to comment anymore. Persistence is futile. You will be ignored.

Some of us could use this as a macro.

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You just can’t rouse good rabble these days

You know, maybe Cloward and Piven weren’t so damn smart after all.

A quote from Donkey Cons, by Lynn Vincent and Robert Stacy McCain, reproduced on McCain’s Web site:

The welfare explosion of the 1960s was the brainchild of a group of Columbia University professors, including Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward and crusading New York anti-poverty lawyer Edward Sparer. They saw welfare as a means to shatter “patterns of servile conformity” among the poor, transforming them into a force for revolution.

Yeah, right. Mikey NTH, in comments:

Boy, did they ever get that wrong! Revolutionaries have to have some self-discipline; putting people on welfare just results in drugged out drunk petty thieves who watch daytime television.

Somewhere there’s a guy with a $500 car with a $1000 stereo system and a bumper sticker that says I’M A DRUGGED OUT DRUNK PETTY THIEF AND I VOTE.

On the other hand, servile conformity is rather easily observed at a lot of levels besides the Permanent Underclass. And you can see some of it on daytime television, assuming you get C-Span.

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W. Thomas Forrester has his doubts

And so will you, perhaps:

One’s attitude about oneself, and the treatment one receives from others, might be affected, in some small but measurable way, by stigmatic or salutary labeling due to one’s name. If names affect attitudes and attitudes affect longevity, then individuals with “positive” initials (e.g., A.C.E., V.I.P.) might live longer than those with “negative” initials (e.g., P.I.G., D.I.E.). Using California death certificates, 1969-1995, we isolated 2287 male decedents with “negative” initials and 1200 with “positive” initials. Males with positive initials live 4.48 years longer (p<0.0001), whereas males with negative initials die 2.80 years younger (p<0.0001) than matched controls. The longevity effects are smaller for females, with an increase of 3.36 years for the positive group (p<0.0001) and no decrease for the negative. Positive initials are associated with shifts away from causes of death with obvious psychological components (such as suicides and accidents), whereas negative initials are associated with shifts toward these causes. However, nearly all disease categories display an increase in longevity for the positive group and a decrease for the negative group. These findings cannot be explained by the effects of death cohort artifacts, gender, race, year of death, socioeconomic status, or parental neglect.

These conclusions were subsequently refudiated by two individuals without middle names.

(Via Francis A. R. Krebs.)

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Charge that up for you, ma’am?

Actually, it appears to be self-serve, but no matter, maybe; the parking garage at Portland, Oregon’s World Trade Center now has its own electric-vehicle quick-charger, which, if you have lithium-ion batteries, can boost you to 80 percent of full charge in 20 to 30 minutes.

This strikes me as a sensible location, since (1) Portland has a solid core of greenish individuals who might be on the waiting list for, say, the Nissan Leaf — there might even be a Tesla or two around town — and (2) a parking garage is a likely location for these things, since presumably you’re going somewhere and might be gone for 20 or 30 minutes. (Then again, there’s the question of whether Oregon drivers can be taught to fuel up their own cars.)

This may not be the first public-charging station in the States — there’s a different-looking sort of device in Vacaville, California — but I figure that if EVs are going to be anything more than the nichiest of niche vehicles, there will need to be charging stations in both metropolises and cowtowns.

Portland’s charger is free, but then you’ve already paid $3.00 to get into the garage.

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Creepy Old Guy mode

Stacy McCain has the video of David Letterman’s apparent first encounter with Zooey Deschanel, and regarding Dave’s tendency to perv on the female guests, he remarks:

The thing is, before the sexual harassment stuff made headlines, I’d always thought of Letterman’s hubba-hubba routine with female guests (e.g., famously, Drew Barrymore) as a sort of ironic sarcasm thing. But the geezerly nudge-wink ceased to be funny after we discoverd that Letterman’s been shagging the office help since … well, forever.

Then again, Drew was up to the task of taking matters into her own hands.

Extra bonus perviance: In McCain’s comment section, the topic briefly turns to, um, me.

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Hey la, hey la, my boyfriend’s Beck

This is actress/fashion designer Marissa Ribisi, whose twin brother (yes!) is actor Giovanni Ribisi.

Marissa Ribisi

And actually, she and Beck were married in 2004; they have two children.

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