Death by Shopping

I have some more thoughts on yesterday’s death at a Wal-Mart on the other site. Also I found an interesting site about crowd disasters and crowd dynamics. There are many, many examples of people being crushed to death in crowds, usually because too many people are trying to squeeze through too small a space. I learned it’s more common for people to be crushed to death against fences or walls than to be trampled. Sometimes when people are trying to go both ways through a small space they make a “human mincer” and crush each other.

And the moral is, dense crowds should always be regarded as potentially dangerous.

BTW — the racist comment I didn’t link to on the other site is here.

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Never Use HighBeam Research

A substantial amount of money was just wiped out of one of my bank accounts through bogus charge on a debit card. The charge was made by HighBeam Research. I reached the company on the phone and was told the money was for an annual subscription fee. I said I was unaware I was a subscriber, I’d received no notice I was going to be charged, and I wanted my money back. They said they’d get back to me.

It’s possible (I have no memory of it) that I tried out their free trial subscription at some point, but I don’t remember signing on for the regular subscription, and I can’t imagine I would have, given what they charge. However, make a note not to ever use them at all, even for free. It’s not an honest company.

And if you can send a donation, I could use it.

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Gobble, Gobble

While the world slides into a financial sinkhole, George W. Bush wants us to know he’s a good president.

“I would like to be a person remembered as a person who, first and foremost, did not sell his soul in order to accommodate the political process,” Bush said in the interview. “I came to Washington with a set of values, and I’m leaving with the same set of values. And I darn sure wasn’t going to sacrifice those values.”

“I’d like to be a president (known) as somebody who liberated 50 million people and helped achieve peace; that focused on individuals rather than process; that rallied people to serve their neighbor,” the president added.

He also called No Child Left Behind (Because We’re Setting Them All Back) one of the “significant achievements of my administration.”

Some things snark themselves. I think the line about “the political process” is particularly interesting, however. The “political process” is important. As in “due process of law.” As in “our form of government.” Governing is a process. Preserving the process is important. Chucking the process of government out the window in order to get the result you want is dangerous and foolish.

Matt Yglesias writes,

Part of the effort to pull the wagon of conservatism out of the ditch into which Bush piloted the country is going to be an effort to deny that George W. Bush was a real conservative.

Going to be? They’ve been reciting that line for at least a year.

In reality, Bushism should be understood as the highest form of conservatism. In particular, the High Bushist years of 2001-2006 represent the only time that the post-war conservative movement has had total control over the federal government. If the practical consequences of pre-Bush conservatism were less disastrous, that’s largely because conservative political power was more constrained in those earlier eras.

Meanwhile, it’s worth recalling that at the peak of his political power, when Bush was making his most disastrous decisions, conservatives not only thought he was a good president, but a great one.

Matt is pulling conservative testimonials to the greatness of Bush out of the memory hole. If you have any tidbits to nominate, let Matt know.

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