Thursday, August 28, 2008

Top 100 Movies - Cool Hand Luke

Cool Hand Luke belongs on anybodies top 100 list of movies.

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Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Sunday, August 24, 2008

I have an uncle who used to be a pilot in the Air Force. After retirement he worked for Pan Am for a while (as a flight instructor, not as a pilot) and currently teaches high school math in a US school in Germany.

While he was in the Air Force he spent some time in places like Saudi Arabia and Iran. I don't know if he made any lasting Muslim friends from those places but he may well have. No he resides outside the US.

Does he have trouble going through airports? I don't know if he does or not. This guy, with a very similar background, sure does.

Since my Uncle looks more like a 70 year old blonde-haired, blue eyed version of Ricky Nelson than he does some swarthy middle eastern bomb thrower I suspect he doesn't have a problem.

Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Friday, August 22, 2008

Parsing words

During that Saddleback Church interview (whenever I hear that I can't help but think Brokeback for some reason), McCain and Obama both pandered to a bunch of religious nutcases, so in my book they both lost the "debate".

But there's been some discussion about Obama's comment's about Clarence Thomas.

Some critical of his comments say that he was hypercritical in that Thomas was better experienced for the SC job than Obama is for the presidency.

Dispatches from the Culture Wars disputes that Obama said that by quoting from a written transcript.

I'm pretty sure that Obama didn't actually yell. I'm not sure why Ed thought he needed to yell.

But if you listen to an actual recording of what Obama said (and I don't have a link to one) it's very clear that he started to say that Thomas didn't have the experience for the job. But he caught himself after getting out just the first syllable of the word experience.

It's an empty debate and both sides of it are full of it.


Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Thursday, August 21, 2008

kill all the lawyers

How to kill all the lawyers and win in Iraq at the same time.


Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Gangster Movies

I'm a little late with this.

AFI lists their top ten gangster movies as

The Godfather
The Godfather, Part II
White Heat
Bonnie and Clyde
Scarface: The Shame of a Nation
Pulp Fiction
The Public Enemy
Little Caesar

I'd have to take The Godfather, Part II off the list and put My Blue Heaven. It's a gangster comedy, but I liked it a lot.

Also, how can the leave a Coen Brother's gangster movie off a top ten list? Miller's Crossing has to be on the list. I don't think I've ever seen White Heat, a Cagney movie from 1949. So take it off the list to make room for Miller's Crossing.

Also, there's a couple of Martin Scorsese films that belong on a top ten list -- The Departed and Casino.

Again, since I havn't seen them, take off Scarface: The Shame of a Nation, a 1932 film directed by Howard Hawks, and The Public Enemy, a Cagney movie from 1931, to make room.

Although more of a caper movie than a gangster movie, Reservior Dogs belongs on the list also. So take off the last one on the original list that I havn't seen, Little Ceasar.

Scarface I've seen. And I didn't like it. So take it off the list. Add Analyze This to round out the revised top ten.

That makes my top ten list

The Godfather
Bonnie and Clyde
Pulp Fiction
My Blue Heaven
Miller's Crossing
The Departed
Reservior Dogs
Analyze This


Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Sunday, August 10, 2008


The Mafia just won't die.

Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Saturday, August 09, 2008

When the jails fill up

Harris County Texas has overflowing jails. They've been overcrowded to the extent of becoming a constitutional violation for decades. When I was teaching at Sam Houston State in the early 90's I did some work on a jail/prison population forecasting project ("Techniques for Forecasting an Urban Jail Population During Periodsof Policy Disequilibrium", presentation to Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, March 12, 1992, with C. M. Friel and Disaggregated Forecasts of the Harris County Jail Population: 1992-1997. Prepared for Commissioners Court, Harris County Texas, May 1991, 1-114, with C. M. Friel and M. Bodapati.)

Back then they were blaming the overcrowding conditions on state prison policy.

But the State of Texas has fixed their prison population problems (to some extent) and Harris County is still with overcrowded jails. Much of the jail population is detainees -- people who have not been convicted of a crime but just can't make bail. Judges could move to reduce bail requirements to relieve overcrowding.

But that would be easy. And cheap. Better to just contract with out of state jails to house them. That way they are far enough away from friends and family so that we can be sure they won't be able to make bail. Gives them incentive to plead guilty to save the county the trouble of actual trials.

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Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Thursday, August 07, 2008

The Best They Can Do

If you'd listen to Bush/Cheney you'd hear that we only have the worst of the worst locked up at Guatanamo. Then they cherry picked from the crowd locked up to present their best case for that claim for a public trial. It took them 5 years to figure out which one was the worst of the worst of the worst, but they picked one.

They gave him a trial. With a military judge and military lawyers and a jury of military officers hand-picked by the Pentagon.

They did not find him guilty of all charges, although they did find him guilty of one minor charge. The government asked for a 30 sentence. They got a 5 1/2 year sentence. With credit for time served he should be released before Christmas.

But now we're saying we don't care, we're not going to release him even when he's served his sentence.

What a country. What a President.


Simple Justice has some things to say about the sentence.

Dispatches from the Culture Wars is stunned.

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