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April 2009

Good point

Holman Jenkins, yesterday's Wall Street Journal:

When the L.A. Times wrote [nearly 25 years ago], the labor cost differential versus a Japanese plant was about $2,000 per car. Twenty years later, the cost difference was about $2,000 per car. Today's lament is, "The bankers have benefited from a bailout, so why shouldn't auto workers?" But they have, they have -- for decades. For the business model described above could not possibly have survived otherwise.

The U.S. auto industry sounds so very Atlas Shrugged: one government "fix" leads to another which leads to another, and pretty soon you have a big, intractable mess.

More for the soon-to-be college graduates

"How to Nail An Interview (22 Tips)". Some are--or should be--obvious, but most are worth remembering.

9. Profiles to private

If you don't think interviewers Google you or look you up on Facebook or MySpace, you're crazy. Hiring managers I've talked to all do this, as one put it, "to weed out people who wouldn't be a good fit in the company's culture." Don't give them ammo to not like you, set your profiles to private. . . .

11. Don't babble

When answering a question, answer the question. Don't start out answering a question and then veer off to talk about something else. Make sure your answer directly reflects the question being asked.

More on the "best views"

After I posted a link to the "The 20 Best Views in the World", reader Pat Sullivan commented that several on the list were not as good as ones he had witnessed. I asked him for details and he kindly e-mailed this information (reprinted with his permission):

Being from the Pacific  NW, I've got a lot to choose from.  You can drive, in the summer, to the summit of Mt Olympus in the Olympic Mountain range.

The top is about 8,000 feet, and really is an inverted V.  Looking south you see all the other peaks, to the west is the Pacific Ocean. To the north, Vancouver Island, west is Puget Sound.  All visible to the naked eye.

In addition, watching the sun set behind these mountains from Seattle is pretty spectacular.  As is Mt Rainier, to the south of Seattle, on a sunny day.

And we have 'lowlights' too.  Lots of great views of the Columbia River, like this one on I-5 between Seattle and Spokane:

Further from home, the train between Zurich and Saltzburg has spectacular sights in the spring/early summer.  I've never seen grass as green as in an Alpine meadow. 

Montserrat in Spain; which was featured in the movie 'Barcelona', was cool too:

Man made sights, would be the view from balcony of my room at the Parador across the river from the walled city of Toledo: (Especially in the early AM when the rising sun shines on the walls.)

And the view I had of the gardens of the Alhambra, Granada, from the balcony of my room there:

"Enough With the Torture Sanctimony"

Excellent piece by Chirstopher Buckley.

It is, yes, good that the U.S.A. is not doing this anymore, but let’s not get too sanctimonious about how awful it was that we indulged in these techniques after watching nearly 3000 innocent Americans endure god-awful deaths at the hands of religious fanatics who would happily have detonated a nuclear bomb if they had gotten their mitts on one. And let us move on. There is pressing business. (Are you listening, ACLU? Hel-lo?)


P. J. O'Rourke's speeches are even better than his books and articles. Here, an extract from a lecture he delivered to the Centre for Independent Studies in Sydney.

Long term there's only one thing that gives me hope as a right-winger - the left-wing.

It's going to be hard to do a worse job running America than the Republicans did, but the Democrats can do it if anyone can.

The Left is the party of government activism - the party that says government can make you richer, smarter, slimmer, taller, and take a dozen strokes off your golf game.

The Right is the party that says government doesn't work. And then they get elected and prove it.

Also great:

Obama has committed more troops to Afghanistan. But committed them for what? For whatever the NATO allies want, I guess. Great. Obama is going to decide what to do in Afghanistan by waiting to see what France does.

Although waiting to see what France does may not be such a bad idea.

Because France is a treasure to mankind. French ideas, French beliefs, and French actions form a sort of lodestone for humanity. Because a moral compass needle needs a butt end.

Whatever direction France is pointing - toward Nazi collaboration, Communism, Existentialism, Jerry Lewis movies, or running for cover in Afghanistan - we can go the other way with a clear conscience.

Read the whole thing.

Link via Conservative Grapevine.

It would shatter the world record for irony

What if we will need global warming to offset a period of solar "quiet"?

[The sun] has hit a 100-year low in sunspot activity, a 50-year low in solar wind pressure and a 55-year low in radio emissions. . . .

Natural cycles of the sun directly affect our climate. Between 1645 and 1710, the sun went through an unusually quiet spell which some believe triggered a mini Ice Age.