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April 29, 2007

JIB Awards -- initial voting is over

The first round -- for me, the final round -- is over at the JIB Awards. As you can see from the screencap (below) of the unverified results, I finished last in Humor Group A, with 12 votes, but just barely behind the next two, with 13 and 14 votes. I did finish ahead of a couple of blogs in the other groups, for whatever that's worth. And I guess the consolation is that four of the top five humor blogs overall were in Group A, so the butt kicking I was given looked even worse that it was.

Anyway, thank you to anyone who voted for me. Thank you to Soccer Dad for having nominated me in the first place. Thank you to my competition for not spiking the ball in the end zone. And please go over there and vote for the worthy blogs in the next round.

Click here to read more . . .

Recent data on contacts with police

I've been on the mailing list for the Bureau of Justice Statistics, a bureau within the Justice Department, for about the past 15 years. Sometimes I don't give BJS reports the attention they deserve, but I noticed this one. BJS has just released a report on contacts between police and the public in 2005. The full text is here.

There are several interesting findings in this report.

First, in 2005, about 41% of contacts with police were driver stops. In these stops, police stopped white, black, and hispanic drivers at essentially the same rates, between 8% and 9%. (See chart below.)

Second, if you look at the same chart, blacks and hispanics were subjected to searches at higher rates than whites. The report doesn't offer reasons; it just gives the data. This is certainly a disparity, but most of the accusations of racial profiling center on the stop itself, and these data suggest that there's no disparity at the point of the stop itself.

Third, among drivers stopped by police, 91.7% of whites, 83.7% of blacks, and 87.5% of hispanics felt the police acted properly during their contact. (See chart below.)

Although the percentage of blacks who said the police acted properly is lower than for the other groups, it is still surprisingly high. Five out of every six black drivers stopped by the police reported that the police acted properly during that stop.

None of this will satisfy people who think there's racial profiling going on, but this certainly suggests that the any profiling that may exist is not as prevalent it's often made out to be.

UPDATE: Right on time, the complainers weigh in. Including the ACLU.

Click here to read more . . .

Hillary was right?

Hillary was right: "We could solve global warming if we just ended cow flatulence. But politically, everyone's so goddamn sure that PEOPLE cause global warming. I can't get any interest in my damn program -- unless they think it's going to hurt people."

OK, so it wasn't really Hillary. It was my photo comic version of Hillary back in January. So give me credit.

Because the EU -- for present purposes, pronounced "EWWWWW!!" -- is now focusing on cow flatulence as a cause of global warming.

BARMY Euro MPs are demanding new laws to stop cows and sheep PARPING.

Their call came after the UN said livestock emissions were a bigger threat to the planet than transport.

The MEPs have asked the European Commission to “look again at the livestock question in direct connection with global warming”.

The official EU declaration demands changes to animals’ diets, to capture gas emissions and recycle manure.
According to the UN report, "livestock farming generates 18 per cent of greenhouse gases while transport accounts for 14 per cent."

(via McGehee, posting at protein wisdom) *

* Why McGehee wasted this gold over at pw, a blog with only about a gazillion times my traffic, instead of sending it to me I really will never understand.

Click here to read more . . .

Attention JIB Award visitors (Bumped)


Rather than keep my "Pillage Idiot cheat sheet" at the top, I'm going to stop bumping it. You can check it by clicking here. It's got links to a bunch of posts that you, as a new visitor, might want to read if you're thinking of voting for me, or even if you just want to get a feel for the blog.

I'm stopping here to keep this a short post, and I'll bump it to the top instead.

Sunday (final voting day) update: Today's the last day for voting in the first round. Since I'm in last place with 12 votes (my profound thanks to the 11 of you who voted for me), this is it for me. In case you haven't voted yet and feel like doing so, you might be able to move me ahead of the next two lowest ranking blogs, who have only 13 and 14 votes, not that I'm asking for your vote.

THURSDAY EVENING UPDATE: Thanks to several readers, I now have nine votes, one ahead of last place, one behind sixth place. Please read what I wrote in the previous update, not that I'm asking for your vote.

I've noticed, by the way, that in the Humor B and C groupings, there are a couple of people worse off than I am. I've also noticed that all the blogs labeled "MATURE" in the original nomination list are at or near the bottom. Maybe, contrary to my original thought on the matter, it was actually the kiss of death to be labeled. (On the other hand, it just could be that we "mature" blogs suck major eggs.)

WEDNESDAY EVENING UPDATE: I told you I wouldn't ask you to vote for me, and I won't, but as of right now, I'm in last (eighth) place, only two votes behind sixth place, and it wouldn't take much to avoid total humiliation, not that I'm asking for your vote.

Click here to read more . . .

April 26, 2007

More feed weirdness

There's something amiss about the site feed here. I've created a "pipe" that's worked pretty well until now. But for some reason I can't figure out, it's reversing the order of posts, and this morning, my Pillagemail went out with about four weeks' worth of posts in reverse order. I've tried editing the pipe, to no avail. I hope something happens soon, because it's irritating.

Please bear with me in the meantime.

UPDATE: I re-edited the pipe, and I think it's working now. Possibly.

Click here to read more . . .

Not a lawyer joke

Question: What do you call a guy who sues a dry cleaner that lost his pants and asks for $65 million in damages?

Answer: A lawyer.

UPDATE (5/7): Interesting update on the case.

Click here to read more . . .

April 25, 2007

Late April linkfest

I barely have time to yawn these days, but I didn't want a few classic stories to go by unnoticed. So you'll excuse me if I put them in a linkfest.

1. You know how little kids have potty mouths these days? Well, check out the newest fad: potty heads.

LONDON (Reuters) - Firefighters said on Wednesday they had come to a [2-1/2 year old] boy's rescue after he got a toilet seat stuck on his head which he couldn't get off.
That must have been some party!

2. Florida: A state senator who was "convicted of grand theft for paying his office staff with state money while he worked on his re-election campaign" but is still in office has introduced a bill that would allow schools to suspend students for up to 10 days for showing their underwear. The bill is called "Pull Up Your Britches." The link contains video.

3. A British documentary on the "telly," called "Human Footprint," makes a remarkable claim: "The average person will eat over 10,000 bars of chocolate, shed 121 pints of tears and have sex more than 4,200 times" over a lifetime. The article at the link is accompanied by a chart stating how much or how many in a lifetime for a whole variety of things.

Particularly relevant to Pillage Idiot is this: "35,815 litres of wind passed." This figure might make sense to me if I knew how many inches there are in a litre.

And if you believe all of these figures, that means you had better get going if you want to have sex 4,239 times in your lifetime, which coincidentally is the exactly the same number of rolls of toilet paper you'll use. Unless, of course, you're Sheryl Crow.

4. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi speak to the press, and Harry puts his hand on Nancy's shoulder. Nancy pretends she doesn't mind. But she's faking it.

(1-3 via Fark, 4 via Hot Air)

UPDATE: 5. Ace updates a post from HuffPo about how to tell if your husband is gay. My answer: "Are you a man? If so, your husband is gay. So are you."

Click here to read more . . .

April 24, 2007

Impeachment is in the House

This is the day I've been waiting for since before the last elections: The Lunatic Wing of the Democratic Party is feeling sufficiently empowered to introduce an impeachment resolution in the House.

OK, I admit it's not to impeach Bush. That's a real disappointment. It's only Dick Cheney, because, you know, you can't just go and impeach Bush first if that would make Cheney president.

And I realize it's only Dennis Kucinich, D-Fruitcake, who introduced it and currently has no co-sponsors.

Here's the text of the resolution. Kucinich delayed his press conference because of reports that Cheney was having emergency medical treatment for his blood clot. It turned out to be routine.

He ended up holding the press conference late Tuesday afternoon. Did you know that his resolution was "deeply researched"? Did you realize it's "not . . . partisan"? If you didn't, you should thank me for actually reading the transcript.

A reporter at the press conference (do they get paid extra to attend these things?) told Kucinich he had spoken to Nancy Pelosi, who said this was going nowhere. Which is really a big disappointment to me. Come on, Nancy, make our day!

Click here to read more . . .

Carnival of Maryland -- 5th edition

The 5th edition of the Carnival of Maryland is now up at Kevin Dayhoff - Soundtrack Division of Old Silent Movies. Please go and take a look.

Also, please check our Blog Carnival page in the next few days to find out where the 6th edition will be hosted.

Click here to read more . . .

JIB Awards -- Pillage Idiot cheat sheet (with updates)

BUMPED again for updates. (Scroll down for regular programming.)

Click here if you feel like voting for me. For the record, I'm getting my butt kicked pretty badly already.

UPDATE: As of 7:30 p.m. EDT on Monday, April 23, I'm running dead last with three votes. Serves me right.

UPDATE: As of 12:30 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, April 24, I'm still dead last, only I now have four votes. Technically, it's possible to vote for myself again, but that would be truly demeaning. Thank you to my three voters. Funny, but this seems to prove me right that this is not a humor blog at all. I'm actually relieved.

Now that I'm starting to get referrals from my listing at the JIB Awards site, I probably should give you a little cheat sheet. There may be two or three people who aren't already familiar with Pillage Idiot.

This isn't really a humor blog at all. As I've said, I'm just the guy in the back of your sixth grade class who shouts out an occasional wisecrack, solely to get attention.

But you've obviously come here for humor, so I'll try to oblige. Let me offer you my cheat sheet, which, as you'll see, is a bunch of links to selected posts in certain categories, in reverse chronological order.

And just let me say this again: "I don't deserve the honor, so I won't ask you to vote for me. But if you're so inclined, I promise not to give you a wedgie if you do. I'll be too busy getting my butt kicked."

Photo comics

Bill Clinton grabs some contributions for Hillary

Hillary responds to Kate Michelman

Hillary begins a conversation

When Harry dissed Nancy

Ned Lamont kicks into high gear

General stuff

My conversation with Julie at Amtrak

Top ten signs that Sen. Allen's mother is Jewish

Fish story

What's that smell?

EXCLUSIVE: Pillage Idiot interviews the late Abu Musab al-Zarqawi

The official "Is Josh Bolten Jewish?" post

President Cleavage, Part 2

The four stages of kitniot

A few serious posts (which is not why you're here)

Looking for bias in all the wrong places

The hidden Jewish vote

Jew in America

Click here to read more . . .

April 23, 2007

Caution: Low-flying pizza

A day at Fenway. (via Baseball Crank)

Click here to read more . . .

Pillage TV

If I ever start talking about doing TV, please say this to me: "It's been done."

Seriously. Pillage Idiot, the cartoon, described thus:

Animated cartoon about a dim-witted Viking and the various 'secret weapons' with which he plans to obliterate his British Adversaries. Unfortunately, these ingenious devices never quite work as intended.
Sure, I can do the Hun, but that's been done, too.

Click here to read more . . .

Visitor of the day -- 4/23

If you've ever had the pleasure of driving on Rockville Pike, MD 355, a six-lane road that runs through the heart of Rockville and is described in a Wikipedia entry as "home to many strip malls and ... notorious for its congestion," I think you may appreciate today's visitor of the day.

Two words: Forget it.

Click here to read more . . .

April 22, 2007

Privatizing the police

There are quite a few government agencies that could be privatized (if they weren't going to be abolished), but one of the very last on the list would be the police.

Apparently, however, the Brits have begun privatizing (or in their case, "privatising") the police. According to the Sunday Times, the police now charge 105 pounds (roughly $200) to recover a stolen vehicle and investigate its theft. (via Fark) As an alternative, if the police find the vehicle, they'll tell you where it is and you can pick it up yourself. "That's free, sir."

Now, the government simply has to cut the taxes that are being paid to have the police do their job in the first place. Otherwise, Brits pay twice.

Remember the Beatles' song Taxman?

Click here to read more . . .

Transgendered poplars

In another major initiative by the Chinese government -- so far as we know, unrelated to the 2008 Olympics -- about 300,000 "female" poplar trees will be given hormonal treatment to deal with the changes brought about by arborial menopause.

Only kidding, I think. It's a little hard to tell what's serious and what's not when a news article says that "female" poplar trees will receive "sex changes operations." Apparently, the pollen produced by these trees in Beijing is causing health problems for people with asthma and allegeries. The trees will be injected with some unspecified substance, perhaps testosterone, to reduce the female pollen. I don't really know that it's testosterone, but if you suddenly begin to notice that the trees in Beijing are punching each other and making loud belching sounds, I think we'll know how that happened.

Next initiative: Circumcising the males of the species.

Click here to read more . . .

April 20, 2007

Tommy Thompson's botched joke

Remember John Kerry's botched joke? Here it is:

"You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq."
The noteworthy thing about this joke is that it's just plain mean-spirited. It's a put-down of the American troops -- or, if you believe Kerry's explanation, George Bush.

But not all botched jokes are mean-spirited. Some are meant as compliments. Like Tommy Thompson's botched joke at a conference on poverty sponsored by the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism:
Republican presidential candidate Tommy Thompson began his speech by saying that after 38 years in government, the former Wisconsin governor was for the first time in the private sector and earning money. That, he said, is "sort of part of the Jewish tradition, and I do not find anything wrong with that. I enjoy that."
According to the article, at the end of Thompson's half-hour talk, Rabbi David Saperstein "alerted him to the crowd's murmurings." And Thompson made this immediate clarification:
Returning to the podium, the former secretary of health and human services said he didn't "want to infer or imply anything about Jews and finances." He said, rather, that he was referring to "the accomplishments of the Jewish religion and the Jewish people. You have been outstanding business people and I compliment you for that and if anybody took what I said wrong, I apologize. I may have mischaracterized it. You are very successful. I applaud you for that."
Unlike Wesley Clark's "New York money people," this really is nothing to complain about. After all, jokes about making money are a staple of Jewish humor and have been for years.

One of my favorites: Moish and Sam are walking past a church, and they see this notice on the message board: "Become Baptized, Get $20." Moish says, "You know, Sam, I'm going to do it." Sam can't believe it. "You're going to get Baptized?" Moish says, "Yeah, I'm going to go inside right now." And he does. About a half hour later, Moish comes out of the church. Sam says, "Nu? Did you do it?" Moish says, "I did." Sam says, "So, did you get the $20?" Moish looks at him with contempt. "Is that all you people think about?"

Another oldie: A mother is in the park with her two young boys. Another woman says to her, "What lovely boys you have. How old are they?" The mother responds, "The doctor is six, and the lawyer is four."

So Thompson's apology puts this all to rest, right? Well, not exactly. The article reports that Thompson made two other "gaffes." First, he referred to "Jewish" bonds, when he meant "Israel" bonds. Second, he said "Jewish Defense League" when he meant "Anti-Defamation League."

Each of these is amusing in its own way, but if this gentlemen really thinks he's ready to be our President, I wonder if Jacob Weisberg is ready.

Click here to read more . . .

April 18, 2007

An end to pleasant groping in Beijing?

One of the small redeeming features of a decision to give the 2008 Olympics to a Communist dictatorship is that signage is being updated. Click on the image to read the story.

Hat tip: Number One Son, who reminds me about a Dave Barry column in which we learn that Coca-Cola, in Chinese, means "Bite the wax tadpole."

Click here to read more . . .

Quotation of the day

"Mr. Spizz was the second well-known figure in New York’s smoked-fish community to die this month."

Conrad Spizz, 90, an Opera-Loving Master of Smoked Fish, Dies

Click here to read more . . .

April 17, 2007


The Washington Post has announced that the latest trend for the young and hip is to go to hear lectures on their dates: "It's a chance to impress a mate, or a potential date, by flexing a body part that has lost ground in recent years to biceps and pecs -- the brain." Or as one hipster was quoted as saying, "Maybe we'll agree, maybe we won't. But at least we're getting inside each other's heads."

Frankly, I'm not buying any of that. If you're a hipster chick, don't buy it, either. He's not trying to get into your head; it's your pants he wants to get into.

But if, as the Post insists, "gray matter is the new black of the hip social scene," then I guess the future Mrs. Attila and I were hip before being hip was cool.

Unlike the hipsters profiled by the Post, we didn't go to vapid lectures on the latest left-wing fad. When we started dating, it was the big "nuclear freeze" summer, and there was plenty of malignant vapidity to go around. We skipped it completely.

Our first date, 25 years ago this month, was at a young musicians' competition at the 92nd Street Y. I don't remember our second and third dates, but our fourth was a "summer sing," where we and about 150 others sight-read Beethoven's Missa Solemnis. Our fifth was a Mostly Mozart concert, which featured the mostly non-Mozart Schumann's piano quintet.

So, looking back, I guess I must have been major-league hip, not that I (or anyone else) knew it at the time.

It was a full five months before I took her to a Mets game.

Click here to read more . . .

April 16, 2007

JIB Awards -- Me, a nominee?

I got an email over the weekend.

This email informed me that I could enlarge my, um, brain by three inches. But that's not the one I want to tell you about.

I also got an email informing me that I had been nominated for a JIB award. JIB stands for Jewish and Israeli Blogs. I had been nominated in the category of Best Humor Blog. This puzzled me, because I don't really do humor. I'm just the guy in the back of your sixth grade class who shouts out an occasional wisecrack, solely to get attention. But who am I to turn down a nomination, right? The downside is that now the pressure's on me to be funny, and I don't feel very funny right about now.

The most amusing thing about this situation is that Pillage Idiot is listed at the JIB award site with the warning "MATURE Content" next to it. If you've ever seen my Pillage Idiot Advisory System, you'll know that my content isn't mature -- it's immature. But I figure the MATURE Content warning may actually work to my advantage. If you're looking for humor blogs, and one of them says MATURE Content, which is the first one you're going to check out? Hmmm?

The voting opens on Sunday, April 22, and I'll probably have an update then, or just bump this post. I don't deserve the honor, so I won't ask you to vote for me. But if you're so inclined, I promise not to give you a wedgie if you do.

I'll be too busy getting my butt kicked.

Click here to read more . . .

April 15, 2007

Worth reading

The New York Times has an article in the sports section called "The Short and Happy Career of Ron Wright," a baseball player who played in one major-league game five years ago:

Five years ago, in an otherwise forgettable baseball game between the Seattle Mariners and the Texas Rangers, a 26-year-old rookie named Ron Wright struck out, hit into a double play and hit into a triple play.

“Best day of my professional life,” Wright said.
There aren't a heck of a lot of feel-good stories about ballplayers these days. This is one.

Click here to read more . . .

April 14, 2007

Geezer cars and gay cars (not that there's anything wrong with that)

Last year, I finally got rid of my Ford Taurus, which I'd had for 13 years. I'd had a miserable time with it, and I decided to buy a Toyota. Specifically, a Toyota Avalon, which, I might add, is a pleasure to drive.

My kids, however, refer to my Avalon as "the geezer car." I really can't understand why they'd say such a thing. Could it be the butt warmers?

One feature my geezer car has is a keyless push-button starter, which oddly the New York Times gave front-page attention to today. The starter works if you carry the key fob with you. When I bought the Avalon, I thought the push-button starter was an absurd waste of money, but it turns out that it lets you avoid digging around in your pockets for your key many times a day, and if you're like me, and you carry a million things in your pocket, that's a blessing.

Now, a friend of mine, in fact the one who recommended Toyota when I was fed up with my Taurus, had a different concern after buying his Toyota RAV4, a small SUV. He heard from several people that the RAV4 was the car of choice for gay men.

I don't know why this bothered him. He's a family kind of guy -- wife and kids and all -- so it wasn't as if people would wonder, but bother him it did. He asked me whether I'd heard about this gay-car stuff -- as if I would know -- so, of course, from then on, knowing how sensitive this subject was for him, naturally, I've constantly asked him about his gay car.

Anyway, I'm sure he's happy to learn that the RAV4 isn't mentioned at all in the article in Thursday's New York Times about gay cars (hat tip: Mrs. Attila). Sample: "Cars are no more straight or gay than cellphones, office chairs or weed whackers. But in recent years that truism has not stopped a perception among some motorists that certain cars can, in the right context, be statements about a driver’s sexual orientation."

From the article, it's really hard to know what's politically correct here. Are homosexuals people with their own unique tastes, men who buy the Mazda Miata or women who buy the so-called "Lesbaru" (the Subaru Outback) -- or are they just like heteros, the kind of bland people who buy Camrys? Hard to tell. The article spends numerous column inches suggesting the former and then closes with the latter, just in case you might be laughing about this subject. (It's not funny, by the way.)

But if you really want the answer to the political correctness question, you'll have to turn to an article cited in the Times article. You'll need to Google it yourself, though, because the Times can't bring itself to provide the link. You just might be one of those yahoos who would laugh at all of this.

So I Googled it myself. The article is "Top Ten Gay Cars" by Ramone Johnson. And, no, the RAV4 isn't listed there, either. But the Subaru Outback is, along with a bunch of other cars whose gay-ness had absolutely never occurred to me.

I'm still searching for the Top Ten Geezer Cars, myself.

UPDATE: Car Talk listeners have weighed in on gay cars.

UPDATE (4/22): Uh, oh! I discovered through a visitor's Google search for 'Toyota Avalon gay' that maybe the Avalon is gay, after all. Perhaps only for gay "graying boomers," though.

Click here to read more . . .

April 10, 2007

Bill Clinton grabs some contributions for Hillary

For links to other photo comics, click here and check the sidebar.

Or start with these:

Hillary responds to Kate Michelman

Hillary begins a conversation

When Harry dissed Nancy

Ned Lamont kicks into high gear

Bush meets the press

Click here to read more . . .

Judith fisks Robert Novak so you don't have to

At Kesher Talk, Judith Weiss fisks Robert Novak's latest asininity on Israel. Take it away, Judith!

Click here to read more . . .

Carnival of Maryland -- 4th edition

The fourth edition of the Carnival of Maryland is up at Politics, Hon. Go there and enjoy!

The next edition, scheduled for Sunday, April 22, will be hosted by a Maryland Blogger Alliance member to be named later. Check our page at Blog Carnival for the update.

Click here to read more . . .

April 08, 2007

De-activating backlinks

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

A while back, I activated backlinks at Blogger, which are automatically created links to posts that link to yours. Trouble is, there are lots of spamblogs out there, which aggregate posts from real blogs and then add spam posts, so my "links to this post" section was just filling up with links to a bunch of spamblogs.

So I've de-activated the backlinks. You probably won't miss them.

Click here to read more . . .

April 07, 2007

Global warming reports cause cold weather -- II

I've noted before that global warming reports can cause cold weather: "And sure enough, this past weekend saw the release of an alarmist report on global warming. Since then, it's been incredibly cold."

Again this week: "UN panel issues stark climate change warning."

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Climate experts issued their starkest warning yet about the impact of global warming, ranging from hunger in Africa to a fast thaw in the Himalayas, in a report on Friday that increased pressure on governments to act.
And right on schedule, we had snow in April. The Post headlines it: "In April, Trotting in Winter Wonderland / Unusual Cold Snap Drops 4 Inches of Snow, Cancels Plans."

I wish they'd stop issuing these reports.

UPDATE: In case you were wondering, it doesn't feel much like spring when you play softball with the temperature in the mid-30s and a 10-15 MPH wind. Layering doesn't quite do the trick.

Click here to read more . . .

April 05, 2007

Maryland fights the last war

How deeply has Bush Derangement Syndrome been absorbed into the bloodstream of the Democrats? I can't say with any precision, but if recent events in Maryland are indicative, the answer is very deeply.

Let's imagine for a moment that in a particular presidential election, you vote for some loud, angry moron with a huge carbon footprint, and the election is very close. Your candidate wins the national popular vote by about half a percent but loses by a handful of votes in one specific state, whose electoral votes completely determine the winner. Your candidate choses not to recognize the results gracefully -- as even Richard "I am not a crook" Nixon did in the face of voter fraud several decades earlier -- but instead forces the country to endure six weeks of recounts, invoking new standards for eligible ballots and (naturally) bringing multiple lawsuits before finally giving up.

As a result of this, you are royally p'ed off, and you throw around accusations that the election has been stolen. It becomes far worse for you, because you absolutely despise the guy who wins the election. Perhaps you come to believe that the next election is stolen, too, even though it isn't nearly as close.

So about six years later, you decide you're going to shoot the winner -- metaphorically speaking -- while he's down. You aim low to hit him.

Unfortunately for you, you miss and hit your foot by mistake.

If this story applies to you, you might be a member of the Maryland legislature, which has just passed a bill that would throw out the traditional winner-takes-all method of assigning electoral votes for the state and substitute a rule that gives all of the state's electoral votes to the national popular vote winner. The text of the state senate's bill is here.

The joke's on you. Maryland is a blue state for the foreseeable future. Under current electoral-vote rules, Maryland's electoral votes will be a lock for the Democrats' candidate. If this change is ever going to make any difference at all, it can only be to throw Maryland's electoral votes to a Republican candidate who narrowly wins the popular vote but loses the electoral vote under traditional rules. Any damn fool knows this. The only reason for Democrats in Maryland to support this bill is Bush Derangement Syndrome. By changing the way electoral votes are assigned, they get to refight the election of 2000 and to say to themselves, "If only this rule had been in effect . . ."

Yes, I know this bill doesn't go into effect until enough other states, whose electoral votes represent a majority, pass similar legislation. That doesn't alter my analysis. It's the blue states that are most likely to demand changes in the electoral college.

So how can this legislation help the Democrats? Only if the country as a whole eventually moves toward a pure popular vote. A pure popular vote regime enhances the value of voter fraud, which traditionally favors the Democrats. This is a large enough problem at the state level. In a national election, every single vote in the country could affect the result, and even if the Democrat won in California by two million votes, the Republican would have an interest in reducing that margin by even 50,000 votes. Hello, statewide recount in California! A close election would absolutely paralyze the country. Just imagine 50 separate state recounts like what we had in Florida. The final results could be delayed for months, if not years, into the presidential term.

Whatever else you think about the Electoral College, it has one clear advantage: It almost always magnifies the size of a victory. (For example, in 1992, Clinton won 43% of the popular vote, Bush 38%, and Perot 19%. In electoral votes, Clinton won 370, Bush 168.) In some ways, I guess that doesn't seem "fair." On the other hand, it isn't so bad if you place any value on finding a winner and moving on.

UPDATE: Great minds think alike, although others are not as immature as I am.

Click here to read more . . .

April 02, 2007

Opening Day 2007

The Mets narrowly lost to the Cardinals in the seventh game of the National League Championship Series last fall, and the Cards, not the Mets, went on to the World Series and greater glory.

Last night, the Mets opened the 2007 season in St. Louis and had to watch the Cardinals receive their championship rings.

Then, the Mets proceeded to kick their butts, 6-1. Chris Carpenter is a great pitcher, but the Mets hit him hard. The Mets also kept Pujols and Rolen quiet and made several very slick fielding plays. A New York Times article about the game is here. Nice photo at the top, by the way, showing Paul LoDuca tagging David Eckstein out at the plate.

I didn't actually see much of the game. We were busy cleaning our kitchen and kashering it for Passover at the time, but we had the TV on in the next room.

Nice start to the season.

Quotation of the day: "'A lot of guys know what's coming,' Glavine said. 'I know they know it's coming.'" (via MetsBlog)

Click here to read more . . .