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  • Archive for August, 2008

    Men, Don’t Let This Happen to You!

    Posted by Jonathan on 26th August 2008 (All posts by )

    small ugly dogs with sweaters

    Waiting until dark to walk her stupid little dogs.

    Posted in Humor, Photos | 6 Comments »

    Tourette Syndrome

    Posted by Shannon Love on 26th August 2008 (All posts by )

    Incidents like this really reinforce the long held belief by non-leftist that leftist have long since stopped caring about racism and instead just reflexively use it as a thoughtless bludgeon to attack anyone who disagree with them. Watching the Clinton’s and their supporters being savaged as racist was darkly amusing as schadenfreude but given their track record as solid leftist it really just shows that few on the left actually care about real victims of racism. If they did, they wouldn’t trivialize the accusation of racism in this manner. 

    Years ago, I use to stammer and make denials when someone called me a racist. Now I don’t even blink. I’ve come to accept the accusation as merely part of conversation with leftist. It’s somewhat akin to expecting profanity or ticks when speaking to someone suffering from Tourette’s Syndrome. The wild accusations hurled at Clinton supporters fit this pattern all to well as they seem to arise from some analogous uncontrolled impulse. 

     Obama’s candidacy might change race relations in America in a way far different than many of his supporters suspect. 

    Posted in Politics | 21 Comments »

    Thatcher’s Economy

    Posted by Chicago Boyz Archive on 25th August 2008 (All posts by )

    [T]he British economy began its long boom, combining economic growth with price stability. Loss-making industries were closed down or reduced in size. Manufacturing industries shed labor, often while increasing output, as they restructured to meet foreign competition. New companies or entrepreneurs from academic and non-industrial backgrounds established new industries in the financial services, information, and high-tech sectors. Privatization transformed inefficient state-owned industries into dynamic private sector enterprises. New financial instruments allowed entrepreneurs to take over sluggish low-earning companies and put their assets to more profitable uses.
     
    In general, Thatcher’s British economy, like Reagan’s revived U.S. economy, was characterized by change, profitability, growth, the better allocation of resources (including labor), and the emergence of new industries—indeed of an entirely new economy—based on the information revolution.

    John O’Sullivan. RTWT.

    We are so far into the era of the Big Lie about Mrs. Thatcher and what she accomplished, that it is good to refresh our recollections from time to time.

    Posted in Anglosphere, Britain, Conservatism, Economics & Finance, History | 5 Comments »

    Wear Your Raincoat

    Posted by Shannon Love on 25th August 2008 (All posts by )

    If you go with this idea, remember this fact.

    Posted in Humor | 2 Comments »

    Eeek! A Gun!

    Posted by Shannon Love on 25th August 2008 (All posts by )

    It is both amusing and disturbing to see people squealing like a victorian matron sighting a mouse whenever someone sees a gun. Honestly, rural America is awash with guns and such communities are far safer than urban areas. If someone cleared a hotel in my hometown because someone walked in with a deer rifle, the laughter would never stop. 

    [Update (7:28 9.25.2008): The FBI has determined that “no credible threat” existed in an incident in Denver separate from this one that some believed might have triggered this silliness.]

    Posted in Political Philosophy, Politics | 21 Comments »

    Real vs. Hypothetical Deaths

    Posted by Shannon Love on 24th August 2008 (All posts by )

    So, a mere 50 years after the development of the technology, the FDA has graciously allowed us all to purchase produce irradiated to kill pathogens. Hooray! 

    Too bad so many people had to die needlessly in the last 50 years, and in the last two years in particular. 

    The long saga of irradiation fits the mold of a more general phenomenon: The willingness of many leftists to tolerate very real, actual deaths today in exchange for the hypothetical risk of deaths tomorrow. 

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Politics, Science | 33 Comments »

    I Own My Vote

    Posted by Shannon Love on 24th August 2008 (All posts by )

    I wonder how big this group actually is?

    Posted in Politics | 4 Comments »

    My Turn For Thoughts On Service

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 24th August 2008 (All posts by )

    It seems Carl las opened up quite the can of worms talking about the shoddy service he receives on a regular basis in Chicago.  First off, Carl needs to move to Racine or Valparaiso and start commuting every day so he can begin to enjoy the fruits of living rural.  Jokes aside, I do have some relevant thoughts.

    I agree with Ginny in her post on the subject on the red/blue states.

    I tend to agree with the comments about red state/blue state divisions, though clearly it is often a matter of rural/urban and mompop/corporate.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Business, Customer Service, Personal Narrative | 2 Comments »

    Further Thoughts on Service

    Posted by Ginny on 23rd August 2008 (All posts by )

    On Service:  I tend to agree with the comments about red state/blue state divisions, though clearly it is often a matter of rural/urban and mompop/corporate.  Engagement takes energy and minimal intelligence, but most of all it takes an attitude.  Tailoring service to customers is generally best done by widely distributed responsibility and encouragement of innovation.  Shannon’s observations are good. Establishing a relationship requires some time – a large turnover of either customers or workers means that the relationship can’t grow.  Knowing customers, we soon expect that customer to add the extra change that keeps his pockets cleared – though such an exchange was surprising the first time it happened.  After a while, a customer knows what the business can do and a business knows what the customer is likely to like.  In the old days, clerks at stores would put aside certain dresses they knew their customers would like; clerks would step into the dressing room and discuss exactly how a bra should fit.  But the temporary nature of workers, the shifting clientele – all these make such interactions impossible. 

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Business, Customer Service, Personal Narrative | 2 Comments »

    Thoughts on Service

    Posted by Shannon Love on 23rd August 2008 (All posts by )

    Carl From Chicago’s post on poor service reminded of my own service career during my extended college tenure. I learned that some problems in service have to do with customers. 

    For example, Carl innocently observes: 

    There are two dimensions for my coffee – “black” and “large”. I have learned through hard experience to wait until the clerk is ready to receive this complex and easily forgotten information; you’ll just have to repeat it five more times. 

    The problem that a counter-jockey has with this order lies not its complexity but rather its ubiquity.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Business, Customer Service | 3 Comments »

    Expectations… and the Productivity of the Service Economy

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on 23rd August 2008 (All posts by )

    Recently I needed to go to the post office in downtown Chicago for a certified letter. Yes, it would seem, the post almost writes itself… the lines were long and, in the middle of it, one of the two employees wandered off to take a break or something. The guy next to me, an older guy, was about to lose his mind with rage. He said “this must be how it is under communism” and seethed with rage. My response was that the selection of employees was essentially designed to “employ the unemployable” in the name of limiting social unrest as a thinly disguised government work program. At one point, an actual competent employee came in and took all the people in line to self-service machines and helped me personally, for which I was thankful. The entire process, which should have been simple, took over an hour.

    I was in a local sandwich shop called “Corner Bakery” (which I usually call “Corner Confusion”) where you order in one place and they give you a tag to put on your table, and then you wait for your sandwich to come to you. This sort of process always scares me, because the shop is big and there is a patio outside, so they don’t know where you are sitting and it just seems like they could miss you. Well, this time they found me… a waiter who didn’t speak English very well came over and set my sandwich in front of an older guy and gave him my sandwich (one was flat bread so it should have been obvious which was which). The other guy was about to go apoplectic with rage but I had been watching the whole thing, just assuming that it would be screwed up, and I calmly got up and switched sandwiches with the guy (I was watching him, too, to make sure he didn’t take a bite out of it). He was in mid rant but I didn’t care, I just wanted lunch.

    Often I go by McDonalds for coffee (I don’t like Starbucks very much, although I usually go there just because it is preferred by others and I don’t care very much overall) and it is part of the rest of my order. There are two dimensions for my coffee – “black” and “large”. I have learned through hard experience to wait until the clerk is ready to receive this complex and easily forgotten information; you’ll just have to repeat it five more times. It is beyond expectations that you could ask for your order (like a number “9” or something and AT THE SAME TIME say “large coffee, black”) without having to repeat it later. But you need to stay on it, or you never know what you’ll get.

    Through myriad travels and eating out continually for years I have three expectations for the US service sector, so that I am never disappointed:

    1) they know nothing
    2) they do nothing
    3) they annoy me

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Business, Customer Service, Management | 15 Comments »

    On Character

    Posted by Shannon Love on 22nd August 2008 (All posts by )

    In a previous post, I noted that the matter of Obama’s brother bothered me due to the window that it offered into Obama’s character if it proved true. Yet, what do we mean by “character” and why does it matter in a Presidential candidate? 

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Human Behavior, Political Philosophy, Politics | 12 Comments »

    Shooting Down Missile Defense

    Posted by David Foster on 22nd August 2008 (All posts by )

    In late June, the U.S. Missile Defense agency conducted a successful test of THAAD, the Terminal High Area Defense system. THAAD is intended to provide the upper level of a multilayer defensive shield, with a lower-level defense provided by Patriot or a similar system. It is particularly intended as a defense against short- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles, although it also offers some capability against intercontinental missiles.

    I don’t think Barack Obama would be much of a THAAD supporter. In this speech, he says he would cut investments in “unproven missile defense systems” and indeed seems pretty hostile to defense technology programs in general.

    I guess THAAD counts as an “unproven technology,” given that it has not yet been combat-tested or even deployed. The radar-and-communications network that protected Britain from air attack during WWII was also an “unproven technology” when it was deployed: it is very fortunate that Neville Chamberlain, rather than Barack Obama, was Prime Minister of Britain at the time.

    THAAD is a hit-to-kill system: it destroys its targets via force of impact, rather than with an explosive charge. This is basically “hitting a bullet with a bullet,” an idea that opponents of missile defense have long mocked.

    An aerodynamicist once supposedly “proved” that it was impossible for bumblebees to fly; however, the bumblebee continues flying happily, unaware of the impossibility of its behavior. Similarly, THAAD “hits a bullet with a bullet,” not deterred by the supposed impossibility of this action.

    Very clearly, “progressives”–and even many mainstream liberals–have long been hostile to the very idea of missile defense. They were hostile to it when the principal threat was from the Soviet Union, and they are hostile to it when the principal threat is from rogue states, terrorists, and a brutish theocracy. They were hostile to it when the latest thing in computer technology was the IBM System/370, and they are hostile to it several generations of technology later. It seems to really bother them that any system should be so presumptuous as to interpose itself between Americans–and citizens of allied nations–and those who would launch missiles at them.

    Why?

    Posted in Elections, Iran, Middle East, Military Affairs, Politics, Tech | 28 Comments »

    “Photography as a Weapon”

    Posted by Jonathan on 22nd August 2008 (All posts by )

    Another thoughtful essay by Errol Morris:

    …But doctored photographs are the least of our worries. If you want to trick someone with a photograph, there are lots of easy ways to do it. You don’t need Photoshop. You don’t need sophisticated digital photo-manipulation. You don’t need a computer. All you need to do is change the caption.

    Worth reading in full (and shorter than his previous essays on photography).

    (A related post of mine is here.)

    Posted in Media, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Rhetoric | 7 Comments »

    Quote of the Day

    Posted by Jonathan on 22nd August 2008 (All posts by )

    Above all – as in his appraisal of Obama and Hillary – Nader doesn’t talk like a spinmeister for his political team. With the post-2000 polarisation of the country and Bush Derangement Syndrome, more and more people – ordinary people, not paid campaign politicos – now conduct ordinary conversations about politics as though they were lawyers pushily trying to spin a jury for their political side. Unlike such lay people (especially Democrats, I think) who now seem to do this as a matter of course, Nader really is more or less a professional politician. But he talks like a human being, and seems to say what he really thinks. More power to him.

    Maimon Schwarzschild

    Posted in Politics, Quotations, Rhetoric | 2 Comments »

    You Don’t Say!

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 21st August 2008 (All posts by )

    Seriously – they weren’t 16?  Great blog here detailing the hacking.  The internet does appear to be forever, even in China.

    Posted in China, Internet, Sports | 2 Comments »

    Hello, Sailor!

    Posted by Jonathan on 20th August 2008 (All posts by )

    sailboat entering harbor ahead of storm

    Chicagoboyz attempt to reach port ahead of a geopolitical storm.

    Posted in Photos | 3 Comments »

    Who Cares?

    Posted by Shannon Love on 20th August 2008 (All posts by )

    “I have seen two of my friends killed. I have scars from defending myself with my fists. I am good with my fists.”

    Guess you have to be when you’re Obama’s half-brother

    Meanwhile, Dick Cheney, Dark Lord of the Sith, gave 75% ($6,869,655US) of his 2006 income to charity

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Leftism, Libertarianism, Political Philosophy, Politics | 62 Comments »

    New! – Your Chicagoboyz Daily Poll

    Posted by Jonathan on 20th August 2008 (All posts by )

    Which of these is NOT a US ally?
    Georgia
    Israel
    France
    The UK
    Poland
    The CIA
    The State Department
      
    pollcode.com free polls

    Posted in Humor, International Affairs, Polls | 3 Comments »

    Quote of the Day

    Posted by Chicago Boyz Archive on 20th August 2008 (All posts by )

    While America has a legitimate concern in encouraging former Soviet states to develop into market democracies, there is no intrinsic economic or strategic American vital interest in Georgia per se and even less in South Ossetia. Georgia is our ally for only two reasons: Tblisi was enthusiastic to send troops to help in Iraq in return for military aid and it occupies a strategic location for oil and gas pipelines that will meet future European energy needs. In other words, Georgia’s role is of a primary strategic interest to the EU, not the United States. Which is why European and British companies have such a large shareholder stake in the BTC pipeline and why European FDI in Georgia exceeds ours. Yet it will be American troops in Georgia handing out bottled water and MREs, not the Bundeswehr or the French Foreign Legion. Something does not compute here.

    Mark Safranski, a/k/a Zenpundit.

    Mark has an excellent post on Pajamas Media entitled Let’s Not Rush into Cold War II, which the quote above comes from. RTWT.

    See also a post on his site with additional comments and links.

    And congratulations to Mark on the Pajamas Media gig. Nice.

    Posted in Quotations, Russia | 13 Comments »

    Oil Greases as well as Burns

    Posted by Ginny on 20th August 2008 (All posts by )

    “I don’t think much of demonizing Russia. I consider Russia as part of Europe,” Mr. Schröder told Der Spiegel. He did not say whether Moscow considers large chunks of Europe as part of Russia.

    (Wall Street Journal)

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Germany | 2 Comments »

    Quote of the Day

    Posted by Chicago Boyz Archive on 19th August 2008 (All posts by )

    The appropriate personification for Russia circa 2008 is not an oil-fueled Genghis Khan, threatening to surge once more across Eurasia … no, it is more like a drunk with a knife unable to admit they have terminal liver disease .. a vodka-fueled Genghis Khan’t if you will.
     
    Surely a policy of political containment is really all that is needed while nature, rust and liver sclerosis on a Biblical scale do the rest.

    Perry de Havilland

    Posted in Quotations, Russia | 18 Comments »

    Post-war East Germany was no safe place for Jews

    Posted by Ralf Goergens on 18th August 2008 (All posts by )

    As an exhibition in Berlin earlier this year demonstrated, Jewish Communists returning from exile to the Soviet occupied part of Germany were confronted with prejudice and suspicion and sometimes even had to fear for their lives. The exhibition was located in the rebuilt Neue Synagogue (New Synagogue) and curated by the Centrum Judaicum Foundation, in cooperation with the historian Andreas Weigelt, who is attending to the documentation center for the former concentration camp Lieberose.

    Called “Zwischen Bleiben und Gehen” (“Between Staying and Going”), the exhibition documented the lives of 10 Jewish men and women in the post-war Soviet occupied zone, later East Germany:

    Nelhans’ fate was especially tragic. Having survived the war underground in Berlin, he helped found a Jewish community in East Berlin in late 1945, only to be arrested in 1948 by the NKVD, the Soviet secret service – allegedly for helping Jewish Red Army soldiers escape to Palestine.

    Jailed for 25 years by a military court, he died in a Soviet labor camp in 1950, aged 51. Some 47 years later the Russian military authorities conceded Nelhans had been falsely convicted and ordered his posthumous rehabilitation.

    The East-West propaganda battle began immediately after the war. The Communist Party loudly trumpeted its view that East Germany was innocent of the evil Nazi past.

    Stalinist party purges in Eastern Europe, accompanied by anti-Semitic show trials in Prague and Budapest sparked fear among Jews in East Berlin.

    Jews who were communist party members often found themselves accused of being “Zionist agents” or “Jewish nationalists” at a time when the communist Eastern bloc was supporting Arab states in their conflict with Israel.

    The website of the Centrum Judaicum itself currently has no information on this exhibition, but here is some English language information on two other past exhibitions: Pioneers in Celluloid: Jews in Early Cinema and Relatively Jewish. Albert Einstein – Jew, Zionist, Nonconformist.

    Some more pictures of the Neue Synagoge can be found here.

    Posted in Germany, History, Judaism | 20 Comments »

    Be Careful Around Wild Animals

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 18th August 2008 (All posts by )

    the top of the pecking order

    ChicagoBoyz is at the top of the pecking order.

    Posted in Humor, Photos | 5 Comments »

    Wall Street, Pro Wrestling, and Seventh Grade

    Posted by David Foster on 17th August 2008 (All posts by )

    A couple of years ago, Sallie Krawcheck, then CFO of Citigroup (now Chairman & CEO of Citi Global Wealth Management) was asked how being a woman had affected her career. Her response:

    I think it’s an advantage. I grew up in Charleston, a very genteel, very Southern city, a gorgeous city. I will say there’s something about going to an all-girls school in Charleston that’s tougher than Wall Street. You don’t know what it’s like. I had the glasses, the braces, the corrective shoes. I was half-Jewish, half-WASPy. I couldn’t have been further outcast. There was nothing they could do to me at Salomon Brothers in the ’80s that was worse than the seventh grade.

    The current issue of Fortune (8/18) has a profile of Meredith Whitney, who was one of the first securities analysts to recognize the seriousness of the subprime/CDO situation. Ms Whitney is married to a professional wrestler. From the article:

    Another eye opener for Whitney has been how gracious most wrestlers are–at least when the cameras aren’t rolling–in comparison with the viper-pit culture on Wall Street. It sounds absurd–the world of high finance being less collegial than an industry in which employees belt each other in the face.

    If we put these two assessments together, we get:

    Pro Wrestling

    is nicer than

    Wall Street

    which is nicer than

    Seventh Grade

    Posted in Business, Education, Sports | 9 Comments »