10:30 PM Jan 31, 2006

by Rob Ritchie

World Muslims have their turbans in a twist because of those Danish cartoons, huh?

Wait 'till they see Zombie's Mohammed Image Archive.

Take a look at Mo through the ages.

Try to guess: what is this thing?

6:34 PM Jan 31, 2006by Rob Ritchie

Click the image. I want one!

4:38 PM Jan 31, 2006

by Rob Ritchie

Thank goodness that's over:

Senate confirms Samuel Alito as the 110th justice of the U.S. Supreme Court

The Senate voted 58-42 to confirm Alito - a former federal appellate judge, U.S. attorney, and conservative lawyer in the Reagan administration - as the replacement for retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who has been a moderate swing vote on the court.

As Professor Reynolds notes, if the 42 who voted against him had voted against cloture, then the filibuster would have been successful yesterday.

Which has got to make these dramaqueens really pissed.

(Except, of course, they weren't trying to pressure Pubbies to support a filibuster, only their own guys.)

Update:  Paul Mirengoff writes:

This was basically a straight party line vote -- 90 percent of the Democrats voted no. The vote changes the "rules" for confirming Supreme Court Justices. Under the Alito rule, Senators will vote against highly qualified nominee for no reason other than that they expect the nominee to rule contrary to their preference on major issues. Under the Alito rule, the president's party, in effect, must control the Senate in order for the president to have top-notch nominees of his choice confirmed. When the the president's party doesn't control the Senate, only compromise nominees acceptable to both parties can expect to be confirmed.

It was objectionable for the Democrats to have changed an understanding of the Senate's "advise and consent" role that has worked reasonably well for 200 years, or so. The new approach will probably produce more mediocre Justices, selected not for their intellect, fairness, or other judging skills, but because they haven't offended anyone. But the process is not irrational, and in some ways it makes more sense than its predecessor in a world where the Court exercises as much power as it now does. In any case, the important thing is to have one set of confirmation rules that applies to both parties. Thanks to the Dems, we now have a new set.

Actually, I think this might go some ways towards reining in the Supreme Court from it's current position as the most powerful of the three branches of government. But at what cost?

Why, yes I am....

5:03 PM Jan 30, 2006by Rob Ritchie

kiss my ass2
congratulations. you are the kiss my ass happy
bunny. You don't care about anyone or
anything. You must be so proud

which happy bunny are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

4:32 PM Jan 30, 2006

by Rob Ritchie


Are you all right?

James? James?

Update:  Whew! He's back!

This is *not* me.

1:47 PM Jan 30, 2006by Rob Ritchie

Fear of Girls

Pious gratitude to: Ducky Dan

12:45 PM Jan 29, 2006

by Rob Ritchie

John Hinderaker sees Ahabs Everywhere, in a terrific post on the Democrats' single-minded hunt for anything with which to tar George Bush.

11:54 AM Jan 29, 2006

by Rob Ritchie

Glenn Reynolds writes:

I favor making legal immigration easier -- essentially under the guidelines above -- but I also favor much stricter enforcement against illegal immigration. Which, I think, puts me pretty much on the opposite side of the issue from the Bush Administration.

Yeah, I do wish the Administration would get serious about immigration.

Florida Extravaganza!

6:09 PM Jan 28, 2006by Rob Ritchie

This afternoon, Mrs. Agnostic and I went to the FX 2006 Show, which is a big toy/sci-fi/collectibles/comic book convention they hold in Orlando every year. I usually avoid it, and I would have this year as well since it is being held at the Fair Grounds, but this year we simply had to go because two of the stars from Firefly/Serenity were there to sign autographs.

Pictures of me with Alan Tudyk (Wash) and Summer Glau (River) below. Both were very gracious and kind, and as lovely in person as they are on screen.

12:20 PM Jan 28, 2006

by Rob Ritchie

Verity asks Is there not one damn’ politician in the entire Anglosphere who will take a stand?

6:06 PM Jan 26, 2006

by Rob Ritchie

By now, I suppose you've read about the brainless column written by Joel Stein and published in the LA Times. If you haven't, please go to any of the blogs listed to the right, click at random, scroll a bit, and you'll find someone who can inform you and delight you.

As part of this brutal post on the subject, commenter Mike Anderson wrote:

My teaching assistant and I had a related conversation a few weeks back.

We were writing up solutions for an upcoming homework assignment, and, after successfully working a particularly clever problem, he asked "What's the answer in the back of the book?"

"Why do you care?" I responded. "The goal of your education is to solve problems that have no predetermined answer. You need to have the confidence in your knowledge that you can solve most common problems without the answers, even without the book. You must not rely on authority for the answers to scientific questions. You need to rely on the proper application of theory to observation."

He was stunned--no one had ever told him that before. But he's a good kid, and a smart kid, and I think I can break him of that appeal-to-authority habit.

I found this a wonderful anecdote. And he's right; as grown-ups, we work every day in an environment where we don't know (and can't know) "the answers" and such have to trust our own powers and judgement.

And tax season is right around the corner! Ouch!

4:15 PM Jan 26, 2006

by Rob Ritchie

File this in "The World's Worst Ideas" file:

Iran Wants Direct Civilian Flights To The US

Iran has asked the United States to allow direct flights between the two countries after a break of more than two decades, a senior civil aviation official said on Thursday.

The request comes as the United States and its European Union allies are pressing for the Islamic Republic to be reported to the United Nations Security Council where it could face possible sanctions for its nuclear program.

"We sent a letter to the relevant American officials on Wednesday, announcing Iran's willingness to resume direct flights," Nourollah Rezai-Niaraki, head of Iran's Civil Aviation Organization, told state television.

He said the decision to make the request was taken by hardline Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad due to demand from the large Iranian community living in the United States.

"They have repeatedly complained about wasting time and losing their baggage on connecting flights," the official said.

Yes, losing luggage is a real concern, especially when you have spent $800-million for it.

Pious gratitude to: lgf

2:39 PM Jan 26, 2006

by Rob Ritchie

According to this story, in Bahrain Michael Jackson has taken to going about completely veiled in a woman's abaya, and apparently looks so "ladylike" that it's hard to tell it's him under all the cloth.

I suspect that under shariah law, the penalty for transvestitism is pretty tough. al-Jackson might want to rethink his wardrobe.

12:09 PM Jan 26, 2006

by Rob Ritchie

Powerline reports on a story in today's New York Sun: Iraq's WMD Secreted in Syria, Sada Says:

The man who served as the no. 2 official in Saddam Hussein's air force says Iraq moved weapons of mass destruction into Syria before the war by loading the weapons into civilian aircraft in which the passenger seats were removed....

"There are weapons of mass destruction gone out from Iraq to Syria, and they must be found and returned to safe hands," Mr. Sada said. "I am confident they were taken over."

Caution is warrented, but his story is intersting. He's selling a book, so who knows it this is true.

But it bears watching. Read it all.

Update: Michelle Malkin has a roundup of reaction from around the blogosphere.

11:54 AM Jan 26, 2006

by Rob Ritchie

The Pali's choose genocide.

Did anyone really expect them to choose otherwise?

As Scott Johnson writes "With the election results yesterday in the Palestinian Authority, Arafatistan frankly joins the Axis"

Update:  A "small minority of extremists" voted into power by a huge majority according to this AP story. The story also indicates that Hamas and Fatah "activists" clashed violently. Expect a civil war within six months.

Update 2:  Meanwhile, Jimmah is full of hope.

Update 3: Gerard Van der Leun isn't surprised, and writes about the upcoming war:

The Arab/Israeli conflict isn't a political or geographical or economic or religious "dispute." This is a blood feud, pure and simple and brutal. It will end in simple brutality. The side that can be the most brutal the quickest will win.

If the Israelis win, the Palestinians and every Arab state that comes to their aid will have to be reduced to an utter and crushing defeat. If the Palestinians win, the Israelis will simply be slaughtered wherever they can be found. One side is crushed or the other side is annihilated. It is a simple choice, but it is clear we are dealing -- as today's election results underscore -- with a simple people.

Pressly Says Her Character Is a Composite

6:39 PM Jan 24, 2006by Rob Ritchie

Pressly's feisty character, Earl's ex-wife, has become a hero for women who approach Pressly and say Joy says exactly what they would like to say.

"I've thoroughly enjoyed playing her from the day I set foot on that set," the 28-year-old actress said Sunday.

The range she's shown with Joy - a gutsy woman who sometimes shows her insecurities - has enabled her to break down stereotypes about her as an actress, she said.

Joy is ignorant, selfish, conniving and dumb as a box of hammers...and women look to her as a role model?

11:01 AM Jan 24, 2006

by Rob Ritchie

I've been a fan of the Engrish.com site for several years, and now they have T-Shirts!

Somebody buy me up the shirt, thank you!

9:54 PM Jan 23, 2006

by Rob Ritchie

Via Hugh Hewitt, I found this cool game.

Give it a try.

9:22 PM Jan 23, 2006

by Rob Ritchie

Over at Powerline, they report:

Lt. Gen. Michael Hayden, former director of the National Security Agency, delivered a brilliant and heartfelt speech on the NSA's international terrorist surveillance program at the National Press Club today. You can, and should, read it....

I agree.

11:30 AM Jan 23, 2006

by Rob Ritchie

More Cowbell

9:31 PM Jan 19, 2006

by Rob Ritchie

"I am late for my weekly colonic irrigation with a solution of ambergris and champagne."

There's no reason to read the rest of this Lileks Screed, but you just can't help yourself.

7:09 PM Jan 18, 2006

by Rob Ritchie

Via Mitch: Rap Lyrics Translated

1:10 PM Jan 18, 2006

by Rob Ritchie

Shatner Sells Kidney Stone for Charity

"This takes organ donors to a new height, to a new low, maybe. How much is a piece of me worth?" he said in a telephone interview.

GoldenPalace.com is noted for its collection of oddities, which includes a partially eaten cheese sandwich thought to contain the image of the Virgin Mary.

"This is a bold new addition to our fleet," GoldenPalace.com Chief Executive Officer Richard Rowe said in a statement.

The money will go to Habitat for Humanity, which builds houses for the needy.

12:26 PM Jan 18, 2006

by Rob Ritchie

You may have seen this over at Instapundit, but take a look at Cassandra's list of MSM Lies of 2005 .

She writes:

We cannot be sure of anything we see in the MSM/DNC. There are many battles to come, including the elections of 2006 and 2008 as well as continuing efforts in the War. In each of these encounters we must always remember that we cannot trust the MSM/DNC's version of events. We cannot get discouraged by apparent setbacks or polls. We must adopt views and opinions only after the greatest consideration without undue weight in favor of what we might have seen on television or in a newspaper.

I counted 54 lies during 2005 [not counting the ones I missed].

Give it a look. It's a sobering stroll down memory lane.

9:58 AM Jan 18, 2006

by Rob Ritchie

This post is for my family who have a hard time understanding what I do:

In today's Bleat, Lileks makes slight reference to this page, which describes a particular computer system. Lileks sort of pokes fun at himself because he doesn't understand the jargon on the page.

See, I understand the jargon on the page. Expressions like "A collision-resolution chain for colliding records" are, to me, an open book, as Bertie would say.

Like most jargon, it's just a matter of learning it and working with it; but, it does sound pretty cryptic and difficult until you do.

I don't work with Hash tables directly all that much any more, but I have in the past. Anyway, each member of my extended family has their own set of terms that are baffling to me, like anything to do with sports or sales.

This is the stuff I understand that they don't. There's precious little "Science" in the "Computer Science" I studied in school, but the design and implementation of schemes to store and access data is part of it.

Some progress....

11:19 AM Jan 17, 2006by Rob Ritchie

The old laptop hard-drive went into the external USB case just fine, and I'm able to access my old data (which is nice, since I needed my contacts and calendar).

The IT guy at work got me a new laptop and loaded all the operating system, network and anti-virus stuff on it, and deposited it on my desk so it was waiting for me when I came in this morning.

He neglected to include the power supply cable, and the battery life was about 90 seconds, so I'm out of business until he comes in around 9:00.

10:57 AM Jan 14, 2006

by Rob Ritchie

My Sony GX140 laptop, which I've had for 5 years, is on the fritz. I brought it home from the office, where it's my primary work computer, to run some standard maintenance programs on it, and it shut down on me and now it won't complete the Windows XP boot cycle.


Update 1/16 AM:  Still down for the count; new computer being laboriously reformatted. I'm fairly fine at home, but at work I've got to use borrowed equipment (and here I am updating my blog!).

Update 1/16 PM:  They tell me that they are going to remove the hard drive from my old laptop and put it into a casing to make it into an external USB hard drive. I never heard of that before; it's pretty cool if they can do it.

Meet the candidates!

6:36 PM Jan 13, 2006by Rob Ritchie

Jonathon "The Impaler" Sharkey is running for Governor of Minnesota as a member of the VWP Party.

That's the "Vampires, Witches and Pagans" Party.

Honesty is very seldom heard nowadays, especially from a politician. So, I am going to break from political tradition. My name is Jonathon “The Impaler” Sharkey, Ph.D., L.D.D.D. I am a Satanic Dark Priest, Sanguinarian Vampyre and a Hecate Witch. My Magikal Path name is: Lord Ares.

I despise and hate the Christian God the Father. He is my enemy.

Admit it: you suspected he was running DFL, didn't you?

6:10 PM Jan 13, 2006

by Rob Ritchie

Every year during the annual Hajj to Mecca, Muslims have a "Stoning the Devil" ritual (which, interestingly, does not have anything to do with the Great Satan or the Lesser Satan). During this time, thousands of the faithful hurl stones at a carved pillar which represents the devil, situated in the town of Mina, outside of Mecca.

Practically every year, hundreds are trampled underfoot and killed during this religious ceremony. This year was no different. One would think that Hajj organizers would do something to prevent this terrible loss of life; apparently, one would be wrong about that.

This has led some to theorize that this is some sort of "human sacrifice", an expected part of the Hajj.

I think this is unfair, because obviously this sort of thing happens all the time at big events in Vatican City, too. Right? When the Pope died last year, there were like, 850 people trampled at Saint Peters, weren't there?


There was no-one hurt? No reports of injuries of any kind?

Never mind....

5:30 PM Jan 13, 2006

by Rob Ritchie

Clinton says he didn't use warrantless wiretaps

"Now you listen to me," former President Clinton intoned, shaking his finger into the camera, "I did not perform warrentless wiretaps on that woman, er, I mean, the American people."

5:05 PM Jan 13, 2006

by Rob Ritchie

The brainbox and the blowhards

TED KENNEDY is deeply troubled by the ethics of the Supreme Court nominee. Between 2001 and 2006, Samuel Alito, who is currently an appeals court judge, accepted $7,684,423 in “donations” from special interests who perhaps wanted the law tweaked in their favour. That included $28,000 from defence contractors, $42,200 from drug firms and a whopping $745,373 from lawyers and law firms.

No, wait. Those are Senator Kennedy's conflicts of interest—or, rather, a brief excerpt from a long list compiled by the Centre for Responsive Politics.

Entire post stolen from: PowerLine

11:58 AM Jan 13, 2006

by Rob Ritchie

Continuing in a series I consider so obvious it hardly requires comment:

Under Clinton, NY Times called surveillance "a necessity"

7:02 PM Jan 12, 2006

by Rob Ritchie

The Anchoress writes about the Iraqi Marsh Arabs and the restoration of their Mesopotamian homeland since the Iraq war; and how this terrific success story is ignored.

Liberals - some liberals (I do know a few who are intellectually honest enough to admit that a great deal of good has come out of our exercise in Iraq, both for the Iraqi people and the world in general, but they’re not the ones with the megaphones) wonder why we who have supported the president and the Iraq war seem so bitter, sometimes, toward the press and the left. This is why. As I have said before, had a Democrat president done the things Bush has done, he would be hailed as the Great Liberator, the Visionary and there would be movements afoot to rescind the 22nd amendment. At the very LEAST there would be a huge purchase of TNT to get the next head going on Mt. Rushmore.

Because a Republican president has done these things, and worse, a dreaded Bush, why…we don’t even get to see them grudgingly acknowledged. Stories like this just get buried or, in some cases - as when terrorists actively plotting against the US are arrested thanks to “warrantless wiretaps” - they simply refuse to report it at all.

If there is bitterness, it is not without basis.

6:55 PM Jan 12, 2006

by Rob Ritchie

Go read this:


2:33 PM Jan 12, 2006

by Rob Ritchie

Susan Sullivan is a liberal former law clerk for Judge Alito who has written an op-ed supporting Alito's nomination, which she has shared with the good folks at PowerLine. After establishing her liberal bona fides, she expresses her dismay that someone she knows to be a good judge and fine man should be slandered so scurrilously by the Senate Democrats.

Generally, her column is good, though urging sense and moderation upon Democrats seems to me to be a lost cause. However, one of her paragraphs rankled a bit:

In all candor, I expect that if I did not know the Judge, I may have responded to the nomination with the same distrust, fear and suspicion with which I usually respond to everything the Bush Administration does, so I understand the genesis of the attacks by my fellow liberals. However, having worked closely with the Judge, I know that he is not a political ideologue intent on advancing a conservative political agenda. If he were, we would not have the decisions in which he reached or supported "liberal" outcomes. These include pro choice decisions that affirmed and applied Roe v. Wade, as well as cases favoring plaintiffs bringing discrimination suits, cases that ruled in favor of criminal defendants, or a case that expanded a women's rights to seek political asylum on the basis of gender. These are just not the results you would expect to see if he were a conservative ideologue.

Just a few questions for Ms. Sullivan: in light of her personal insight into Judge Alito's character, is she more likely now to reexamine her knee-jerk "distrust, fear and suspicion" of the Bush Administration? Might she perhaps consider that application of existing law without regard to personal opinion; dedication to true equality for all before the law; respect for the rights of defendants; and emerging understanding of the politics of gender issues just might not solely be within the purview of liberal thought, but might actually be shared by conservatives?

11:29 AM Jan 12, 2006

by Rob Ritchie

I've recently learned that my kinsman, David Ritchie, has started his own eponymous family blog on blogspot.

I think he writes very well.

12:46 PM Jan 11, 2006

by Rob Ritchie

A headline you'll (probably) never read:

Sago mine tragedy defies improved mine safety trend under the Bush administration.

5:01 PM Jan 10, 2006

by Rob Ritchie

Today, in 1861, Florida Seceded From The Union.

Sorry about that....

4:40 PM Jan 10, 2006

by Rob Ritchie

This one is for my brunette sisters and all their blonde grand-children: The World's Best Blonde Joke!

1:04 PM Jan 10, 2006

by Rob Ritchie

Just in case you wanted to hear "Heh. Indeed!" in his own voice, Glenn Reynolds now has a podcast.

I expect a new episode every fifteen minutes.

10:19 AM Jan 10, 2006

by Rob Ritchie

Today I welcome a new blog into the Florida Blogosphere:

Florida Venture Blog, with your host Dan Rua.

Dan describes his blog as

A running perspective on Florida's growing tech and venture community, with an occasional detour to the Southeast/national scene, venture capital FAQs and maybe a gadget or two....

Sounds like it will be interesting. Welcome Dan!

4:34 PM Jan 9, 2006

by Rob Ritchie

Where do you live? Bedford Falls or Pottersville?

11:13 AM Jan 9, 2006

by Rob Ritchie

In times of sadness, I go to comfort food (Starbucks) and this guy.

Marie Theresa Ritchie (1916-2006)

10:58 AM Jan 5, 2006by Rob Ritchie

We have lost our mother, with whom we were blessed.

3:01 AM Jan 1, 2006

by Rob Ritchie