Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
All I Want For Christmas

It's not available on, so I cannot add it to my Wish List, but that should not dissuade you, gentle reader, for buying me a NES Controller Belt Buckle.

You're so thoughtful!

Electoral College Defended

Someone in a populous coastal state defends the electoral college:
    What should an election system for choosing the president attempt to achieve? Certainly one goal is to reflect the popular will, an outcome that might (or might not, depending on how the system is structured) be achieved with a direct popular vote.

    But as the founding fathers recognized, reflection of the popular will is not the only goal.

    Another goal is to provide candidates with incentives to broaden their geographic and political bases and to steer toward the center rather than the extremes of the political spectrum.

    This, the founders felt, would help reduce the sources of political strife and, in the extreme case, avoid civil war. They understood that passions and irrationalities can afflict mass decision-making under direct democracy.
(Link seen on Roger L. Simon.)

Too Much Adventure

A Japanese "adventure traveller" is the latest hostage threatened with beheading in Iraq, according to this story:
    Japan scrambled Wednesday to win the release a 24-year-old Japanese man taken hostage by Islamic militants in Iraq, dispatching high-level diplomats to the Middle East and launching an appeal for his freedom on Arabic television.

    A man identified as Shosei Koda, an adventure traveler from the southern Japanese island of Kyushu, was shown pleading for his life in a video released to a militant Islamic Web site Tuesday and broadcast on national TV early Wednesday in Japan. Under a sign bearing the name of the radical Muslim group led by Jordanian Abu Musab Zarqawi, the hooded kidnappers threatened to behead Koda if Japan did not withdraw its 550 non-combat troops from Iraq within 48 hours. That demand was immediately rejected by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.
Unfortunately, it's more of the same. Although this fellow's impending beheading is barbaric and deplorable, I'd hate to think that foreign policy of any sovereign nation is beholden to the fate of people who foolishly put themselves in harm's way for fun. I sympathize more with workers who put themselves in danger for money.

I'm saddened, too, with anyone who thinks that the foreign policy of a nation should change to spare the life of a single person. This thinking begets more kidnappings and more beheadings, but it elevates those who think it above those rabble in touch with reality; that is, those who recognize that uncivilized human nature is a dirty, base, and ultimately despicable thing in many, if not most, cases.

(Link seen on Outside the Beltway.)

The Sound of One Hand Washing the Other

The city of St. Louis is offering tax incentives to keep a heavy-hitting, politically connected law firm downtown: City offers incentives to keep Bryan Cave downtown:
    The city of St. Louis is offering one of the area's oldest and most prestigious law firms up to $25 million in tax breaks to stay downtown. While the city frequently uses tax incentives to lure or retain businesses, the benefits extended to Bryan Cave exceed "to a significant degree" those that have been offered to other businesses in the past, according to a confidential letter obtained by the Post-Dispatch.

    The city is hoping to lure the firm into a new building. In return, the city would give partial tax abatement for up to 25 years, cut in half the taxes due on equipment such as computers and furniture and provide breaks on payroll and earnings taxes.

    Additionally, the city is considering using a consultant paid for by Bryan Cave instead of city workers to do the building inspections for the new property. Such a step has never been taken before in St. Louis.
Not that I am trying to tell St. Louis how to handle its business, but perhaps downtown would have more businesses coming to it if it abated that 1% payroll tax and spent its tax revenue on infrastructure instead of sports venues.

But I work in the real world and don't have an advanced poli-sci or urban planning degree, so what do I know?

Impressive Passive

The St. Louis Post-Dipsatch once again deploys the passive voice creatively in a headline: Wal-Mart employee injured after man flees from store security:
    Hendricks said the security officials were attempting to stop Taylor from leaving when Taylor put the car in reverse, allegedly causing injury to one of the Wal-Mart employees.
Man, what sort of style guide do they have down there on Tucker that says that injuries done in the course of a crime just happen spontaneously?

One Issue

I am a one issue voter.

This issue.

You can believe Kerry would prove better for domestic policy, and you can almost convince me. You cannot, cannot, convince me that his foreign policy will protect America better.

That's the most important job of the president.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004
It's Not a Washington Post Award, But I'll Take It

Well, it's not a Washington Post 2004 Best Blogs - Politics & Elections Readers' Choice Award, but I will take it: Musings from Brian J. Noggle: Your #5 Yahoo! hit for make sex symbol.

Future Trivia Answer

This will come in handy in some future trivia game:


You're welcome.

Cori Dauber: Apostate

Cori Dauber, the Ranting Professor, demonstrates apostasy:
    Via Instapundit, rather than just link to the apology, I'm linking to Lileks wonderful response where, as always, you need to scroll down past the blather about his daily life -- unless you care about his trip to retrieve his daughter's Barbie -- but keep reading past the Guardian's apology because the section on Bill Maher and the Canadians is just too good to miss.
Obviously, Dauber does not embrace La Vida Lileks as she should. Why, since I have become an acolyte, I have found more meaning in my life. I clean house amid my paying home-based job during the day. I pilgrimmate to my local Target for household wares. I make snarky and sometimes clever turns of phrase on my Web site (thanks for visiting!). I seek to emulate Lileks in all aspects of my life.

Lileks' daily Bleats serve as a guide for my day-to-day existence.

To call it blather is to undermine my very being. How dare Dauber? How dare she, indeed!

Monday, October 25, 2004
Citywide Controversial Redevelopment

From a story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch entitled "Demolition gets under way on 108-year-old building":
    Demolition of the Century Building downtown began this week, a major first step in the controversial redevelopment of the 1884 Old Post Office.

    The first signs are evident. Piles of rubble lay on the sidewalk - the remains of what was a corner of the 108-year-old building.
You know, I've been a resident of the St. Louis area for well nigh eleven contiguous years now, and that description--rubble on the sidewalk and whatnot--sounds like how much of downtown St. Louis has looked for as long as I remember. Year after year, the same buildings with scaffolding, safety nets, or closed sidewalks to prevent the unused, crumbling buildings from killing passersby.

First signs of redevelopment? That's a good and optimistic way of thinking about it.

Sunday, October 24, 2004
Important Take on International Finance

Bono, of the musical group U2, favors international debt forgiveness, which means he wants anyone who's loaned money to a third world country to allow the loan recipients to not repay the money because that will let the corrupt little cesspools to grow into, well, corrupt little cesspools that can borrow money easier.

Meanwhile, on the U2 single "Vertigo", Bono pays homage to and demonstrates his deep understanding of international finance by saying, "One, two, three, fourteen," in Spanish.

It must just be harder to perform calculations and enumerations in other languages.

Hey, I know it's a cheap shot, but I cannot afford an expensive one.

Geek Out

A San Francisco magazine offers Dorkstorm: The Annihilation: The ten geekiest hobbies.

Although I score pretty highly, I cannot imagine mixing Collectible Card Games and Dungeons and Dragons in a single person, but then again I am one of the role players throwing four-sided dice in the bloody CCG vs RPG wars that used to take place at GenCon. I mean, for crying out loud, Collectible Card Games take the worst aspect of role playing games--rules lawyers magic users who thought the point of the game was their demonstration of arcane computations and recombinations of magic which invloved spending a lot of a gaming session flipping through supplemental spell books and outwitting the game master--and made that worst aspect a game into itself.

Oops. I guess that little screed probably detracted from my utter sexability more than my creepy Peace Gallery picture.


Anti-Bush violence in Oregon:
    Someone smashed the windows of the Multnomah County Republican office in Southeast Portland on Thursday, perhaps the latest sign some Oregonians have tossed out civility in their zeal to put their man in the White House.
Civility? Civility? This is a little beyond using the improper fork for one's salad or even boorishness. This is barbarism and a descent from civilization. How large a step is it from smashing windows to physical violence or killing Republicans? Not large enough for my taste.

Fortunately, the Democrats in the area have issued strong words:
    "But the fact is that the reason the Republican Party is feigning righteous indignation is because they don't want to talk about the 30,000 jobs lost and the 180,000 Oregonians who have lost health care," said Neel Pender, executive director of the state Democratic Party.
Because Republicans embrace vandalism and property destruction on all other occasions, Neel Pender implies as he uses the question about actual physical violence and destruction to hit upon Democrat talking points and excuses the vandalism because some people in Oregon don't have health care.

Unbelievable. No, I take that back. All-too-believable. This is the Teamster party, and this election's more and more seeming like a strike with the Rebublicans playing the role of the despicable, greedy management against the rough-hewn authentic proletariat who just happen to bring molotov cocktails to the picket lines.

(Link seen on Powerline.)

To say Noggle, one first must be able to say the "Nah."