Fact checking Mitt Romney

Let’s wade into some poly-ticks.

The British media is having a field day making fun of Mitt Romney’s recent stumbles in London, where he insulted his hosts by criticizing their preparation for the 2012 Summer Olympics. (The Guardian‘s headline yesterday: “Mitt Romney’s Olympics blunder stuns No 10 and hands gift to Obama”.) This has lead some bloggers and journalists to reprint this passage from Romney’s book, No Apology: The Case for American Greatness:

England is just a small island. Its roads and houses are small. With few exceptions, it doesn’t make things that people in the rest of the world want to buy. And if it hadn’t been separated from the continent by water, it almost certainly would have been lost to Hitler’s ambitions.

That’s pretty insulting, but is it true? Let’s take these assertions one by one:
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System Administrator Appreciation Day

I have learned (from BoingBoing, TeXblog, and a few other places) that today is System Administrator Appreciation Day.

I don’t know who the system administrators are for this site. I pay a company, NearlyFreeSpeech, to host this site, ChrisPhan.com, and PhanBudd.com. I have not had any communication with NearlyFreeSpeech, save a few automated emails reminding me to renew domains, et cetra, so I haven’t had an opportunity to get to know my sysadmins. But I will say this: in the four or so years since I started using NearlyFreeSpeech to host my stuff, I have not, to my knowledge, experienced a second of downtime. So, NearlyFreeSpeech sysadmins, even though I don’t know who you are, you all rock, and you are very much appreciated!

Michigan and Ontario photos

The Mackinac Bridge, connecting Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with the Mitten, is the third-longest suspension bridge in the world.

Mackinac Bridge (#1)

Mackinac Bridge (#2)

Bikes parked on Mackinac Island, where cars are banned:

bikes on Mackinac Island

The International Bridge, connecting Michigan and Ontario (from the Ontario side):

International Bridge

In Sault Ste. Marie, you can see two sets of fireworks in early July, for Canada Day and Independence Day:

bi-national fireworks

The Soo Locks (allowing ship traffic between Lake Superior and Lake Huron):

Soo Locks

I got this awesome souvenir from Michigan:

Oven mitten-chigan