28 August 2008

Recessha-what-now?

John over at Powerline summarizes it way too neatly for me to try to improve on it. Some aspects of the economy may be unpleasant right now, but we are, and to some extent have been, far from recession.

(Arresting) An Inconvenient Reporter

From Powerline, this is extremely disturbing:

Police in Denver arrested an ABC News producer today as he and a camera crew were attempting to take pictures on a public sidewalk of Democratic senators and VIP donors leaving a private meeting at the Brown Palace Hotel.

...

A police official later told lawyers for ABC News that Eslocker is being charged with trespass, interference, and failure to follow a lawful order. He also said the arrest followed a signed complaint from the Brown Palace Hotel.

...

The sheriff's officer is seen telling Eslocker the sidewalk is owned by the hotel. Later, he is seen pushing Eslocker off the sidewalk into oncoming traffic, forcing him to the other side of the street.


(If possible, watch the video linked from the ABC report and note the five police officers that were apparently needed to arrest a single reporter.)

To be fair, if indeed the hotel (and/or the Democrat bigwigs holding their meetings there) had a valid complaint in that the reporter was shooting video from a privately-owned sidewalk, then the police action taken wasn't completely out of line. A bit extreme, perhaps, but not out of line.

But. I took the liberty of looking up the real estate records for the Brown Palace Hotel in Denver. The following is an image (taken directly from the Denver Real Property Records site, here) of the boundaries of the Brown Palace's property lot overlaid with a 2006 aerial photo (click to enlarge to new window):


(Click to enlarge to new window)


For clarity, I also pulled up a satellite image from Google Maps (link here):


(Click to enlarge to new window)


It sure looks to me like the official boundary of the hotel's property does not include the sidewalk. In that case... I don't see that the hotel had any right even to tell the reporter to leave, much less to have him arrested. Possibly if he was harassing the guests, there'd be some charge of, well, harassment or assault or something, but other than that it seems to me a case of suppression of the press.

Or, well, I guess the First Amendment might only apply to people who agree with the Democrats. <shrug> Silly me, thinking it applies to everybody.

Amusing Typo

Yahoo reports this morning about the concerns and/or non-concerns that some Democrats have expressed about the Grecian-style backdrop that's been prepared for Obama's speech at the DNC in Denver tonight. I have my own opinions about all that, but I don't want to go into that here. I'm simply interested in what was, presumably, a humorous error made near the end of the piece:

[Tennessee Gov. Phil] Bredesen also said that while he has concerns, Obama is a virtuoso performer who cannot be underestimated.


Is Obama able to meet the lowest of my low expectations? :-P

20 August 2008

Video Review In Major League Baseball?!?!

In truth, video review will be implemented in a rather restricted capacity, at least initially:

Baseball umpires and management signed an agreement Wednesday that will allow the sport to start using instant replay to help determine calls on the field.

...

Replays will be limited to boundary calls, such as determining whether fly balls were fair or foul, or whether they went over fences.


Since most MLB games are televised somewhere (with attendant replay capability), and the Jumbotron replays reveal actual ball position to the crowd in the stadium, spectators have been able to re-examine these kinds of calls for a long time now. It seems reasonable on one level to allow the umpires access to the same sort of technology to re-evaluate their calls, in case of dispute.

However. Having done some umpiring myself (local Little League games, while I was in high school), one of the basic tenets of the role, roughly stated, is that the umpire is always right, even if he's wrong. The umpire is the boss of the field, and when it comes down to it, as long as none of the technical rules of the game are violated, the umpire's judgment is the final word. I would argue that errors in judgment by the umpires (which will happen, due to their inevitably imperfect humanity) could almost be considered part of the ground rules. To be sure umpires should strive to call games as accurately as possible, but the occasional error cannot be avoided.

Open one type of call to video review, and I have to imagine that others will follow, in time. <shrug> I think I'd prefer video review never be instituted, but perhaps, ultimately, it will end up being a net positive.

15 August 2008

Whence the "Nuke" Card

Allow me to quote you a story, from the always-eloquent Tycho:

Let me tell you a story about Robert. I have often wondered if Business School transformed him into a monster, or if his psychology simply whirls around an inherently bestial core. This tale may deliver a hint.

Negotiation is a course you can take in these institutions, like Usury or Potions. On the first day, they separated into groups of two to play a highly codified version of Nuclear War. It's mostly discussion, but it does have three game "pieces," written on three-by-five cards:

1. A "Nuke" card, which represents your sleeping arsenal.
2. A "Strike" card, used to wake up the aforementioned.
3. A "Peace" card, which probably doesn't see much use.

As the first round commenced, Robert suggested to his partner/opponent that, you know what, listen. Let's just tear up our nukes right now, in plan sight, and move forward in a spirit of shared purpose and reconciliation. Agreement was instantaneous. Cards were torn. Of course, Robert had torn his peace card. As the silos opened and coordinates were entered, the tenor of the negotiations were altered irrevocably.

Robert found it difficult to make friends.


Awesomely devious, no? :-)


* * *

Now, please check out this post to refresh yourself on what Russia has been doing in Georgia of late. Note especially how Russia has reneged on its own cease fire; I believe this is not the first time it's happened.

There are different opinions as to whose fault this whole thing is. I tend to distrust Russia (Putin, specifically), but whatever. It sounds to me like Russia was jabbing at Georgia via support to separatists in South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Then, when Georgia tried to move in to reassert control in the region, Moscow took that as sufficient provocation to pounce. It just now occurs to me - Ossetia and Abhkazia were previously part of Georgia... what other reason than aggression or political manipulation would Russia have for interfering in what, formally, was an internal Georgian matter? Gr.

Anyways... the Bear, to my mind, is rousing from slumber, far from dead or defunct.


* * *

Now to tie the first two parts of this post together... found via Power Line, one of the reasons why I won't be voting for Obama come November (embed revised to include full video clip):



How much are you willing to bet that today's Russia (or Iran, or...) would tear up their "Nuke" card while we shred ours...? Disarmament is a noble goal. It is regrettably also, given this imperfect world, a thoroughly foolhardy one.


* * *

Update: Via Hot Air, on Yahoo News this morning:

A top Russian general said Friday that Poland's agreement to accept a U.S. missile defense battery exposes ex-communist nation to attack, possibly by nuclear weapons, the Interfax news agency reported.

...

"Poland, by deploying (the system) is exposing itself to a strike — 100 percent," Nogovitsyn, the deputy chief of staff, was quoted as saying.