From the Road:

If you're ever down on Highway 1, you might find this little honky tonk.

Here's a closeup of the sign on the door.

Actually, they didn't seem to mind my knife at all. They have bands on Friday and Saturday, and a mechanical bull. If you stop in while the sun is shining, and they happen to be there, they'll be glad to open the place up just for you if you're wanting a beer.

Some appropriate music:

And they're off!

A French plane has fired the first shots in Libya as enforcement of the UN-mandated no-fly zone begins.

The UK prime minister later confirmed British planes were also in action, while US media reports said the US had fired its first Cruise missiles.

The action came hours after Western and Arab leaders met in Paris to agree how to enforce the UN resolution.

It allows "all necessary measures" to protect civilians from Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's forces.

Where it will end, nobody knows. (Least of all, the President.
War On The Poor: Minnesota Republicans Want To Bust Poor People Who Carry Cash

Sounds awful, doesn't it? But if one actually consults the proposed legislation rather than relying on the purple prose of writers like Suzie Madrak, (I think there's a reason she complains about being unemployed on her wannabe named blog, 'Suburban Guerilla' ), one will find something slightly different:

1.10 Subdivision 1. Electronic benefit transfer or EBT debit card. (a) Electronic
1.11 benefit transfer (EBT) debit cardholders in the general assistance program and the
1.12 Minnesota supplemental aid program under chapter 256D and programs under chapter
1.13 256J are prohibited from withdrawing cash from an automatic teller machine or receiving
1.14 cash from vendors with the EBT debit card. The EBT debit card may only be used as a
1.15 debit card.
1.16 (b) Beginning July 1, 2011, cash benefits for programs listed under paragraph (a)
1.17 must be issued on a separate EBT card with the head of household's name printed on the
1.18 card. The card must also state that "It is unlawful to use this card to purchase tobacco
1.19 products or alcoholic beverages." This card must be issued within 30 calendar days of
1.20 an eligibility determination. During the initial 30 calendar days of eligibility, a recipient
1.21may have cash benefits issued on an EBT card without the recipient's name printed on the
1.22 card. This card may be the same card on which food support is issued and does not need
1.23 to meet the requirements of this section.
2.1 (c) Notwithstanding paragraph (a), EBT cardholders may opt to have up to $20
2.2 per month accessible via automatic teller machine or receive up to $20 cash back from
2.3 a vendor.

So, it looks like a rather restrictive measure to attempt to ensure that people getting these welfare grants are not using them for things like booze and tobacco, and I suppose, (since I've seen similar instruments used in PA), using them to buy groceries at stores that will take the card.

This thing actually looks pretty onerous to use in any case, and one can imagine the bureaucratic red tape that recipients have to wade through, but it's hardly criminalizing "poor" people for having cash.
It really doesn't matter where they are, officials in a disaster always seem to start out unable to tell it like it is.

Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency admitted that the disaster was a level 5, which is classified as a crisis causing 'several radiation deaths' by the UN International Atomic Energy.

So the UN finally passed a resolution.

UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations Security Council voted Thursday to authorize military action, including airstrikes against Libyan tanks and heavy artillery and a no-fly zone, a risky foreign intervention aimed at averting a bloody rout of rebels by forces loyal to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.

Senator Lugar thinks the President has to ask for a declaration of war. (Where was this guy in 2003? Seriously.)

Anyway, the UN resolution means that yes, Libya can be bombed now. The Enterprise was in the Red sea on March 10th. Anybody know where it is now? Will the President order airstrikes? Can he? Does Congress have to approve any action? Will they?

I had heard that the movie "Red Dawn" was being remade, this time with the Chinese as the bad guys instead of the Russians and Cubans--I'm sure people will remember that the Chinese were actually allies in the original movie--but apparently no longer:

Without Beijing even uttering a critical word, MGM is changing the villains in its 'Red Dawn' remake from Chinese to North Korean. It's all about maintaining access to the Asian superpower's lucrative box office.

You'd have thought that somebody would have realized that out in the pre-development meetings, rather than having to digitally airbrush Chinese flags and dialog and such.

North Koreans?
oh reary Pictures, Images and Photos

The remake will suck like a vacuum.

What Do All These Radiation Numbers Mean?

What Do All These Radiation Numbers Mean?

The Wall Street Journal posted a graphic that I found helpful in understanding a barrage of confusing radiation-level reports over the last five days. If I'm understanding this correctly, everything before Tuesday morning was small potatoes, even onsite, let alone in the surrounding area. Tuesday morning things got more serious, though still far from deadly, and certainly not in the same league as Chernobyl.

It remains a hard story to follow. The MSM reports are alarming, but if you try to run down the details it generally turns out they didn't understand the words they were quoting. In those circumstances, just a little bit of paraphrasing can take all the meaning out of story, even if you set aside the massive agenda being injected. On the other hand, the consequences of failed cooling systems are anything but minor, and it remains to be seen whether the many varieties of backup cooling are keeping up with the problem. As I understand it, as long as the containment vessel holds, things can't get too bad, and no containment vessel has ever breached. On the other hand, the vessel isn't built to withstand the heat and pressure of a complete loss of coolant and consequent buildup of steam, hydrogen, etc. So they can't afford simply to evacuate and hope for the best. So far, they have only temporarily withdrawn workers to shelter and then sent them back in. God bless all the brave workers, who presumably have a far better grasp of the dangers than I do. They are having to do this against the backdrop of a shattered region and homeland, without time to mourn their losses.

The red lines are recorded levels at Fukushima Dai'ichi. The blue lines are for comparison. As this is a little blurry, you might prefer the original at the WSJ.


From a commenter on the long-running WSJ piece "Japan Does Not Face Another Chernobyl":

I only found this out recently. (Of course. Why would any power source other than nuclear make the news?)

As a result of the earthquake, a dam failed, washing away 1800 homes downstream. Of those 1800 homes, it's very likely many were inhabited, and many people died. (I don't know if the dam produced electricity or was used for other purposes. I don't think it matters to the victims however.)

So, while the world worries about what WILL happen with the nuclear power plants, almost utterly unreported is that a dam ALREADY failed in a way that puts it on par with Chernobyl.

The Voters Are Revolting

The Voters Are Revolting

Not just a recall of the Miami-Dade county mayor and commissioner but a real spanking. Mayor Carlos Alvarez pushed through property tax hikes, pay hikes for county workers, and the construction of a several-hundred-million-dollar ballpark. In a special recall election yesterday, voters ousted him by almost a 90% margin with over 200,000 residents voting. Commissioner Natacha Seijas was recalled by similar margins.


Riding Out:

I'll be out on the road for a few days.

With God's permission (insh'allah) I should be back next week. Happy St. Patrick's Day.

L'homme Armé:

As performed by the Welsh National Opera, at St. David's Hall in Cardiff.

The lyrics state:

L'homme, l'homme, l'homme armé,
L'homme armé
L'homme armé doibt on doubter, doibt on doubter.
On a fait partout crier,
Que chascun se viengne armer
D'un haubregon de fer.

The man, the man, the armed man,
The armed man
The armed man should be feared, should be feared.
Everywhere it has been proclaimed
That each man shall arm himself
With a coat of iron mail.
The armed man, then, bears arms at the order of his civilization and in its defense. He is to be feared, though he is a defender. He is the prototype of what we later came to call a gentleman, and the bedrock of our civilization.

In Praise of Mael of Moray

In Praise of Máel Brigte of Moray:

Máel Brigte, called "the Tusk," had a single buck tooth that gave him his by-name. He was a Pictish warleader in the Viking Age, and like many who lived in that age he fell to the Vikings. In death, though, the very thing for which he was so often mocked gave him his revenge.

...made an arrangement to meet in a certain place, with forty men each, in order to come to an agreement concerning their differences. When the appointed day arrived Earl Sigurd was suspicious of treachery on the part of the Scots. He therefore caused eighty men to be mounted on forty horses.... Earl Sigurd and his men fastened the heads [of their enemies] to their saddle-straps, in bravado, and so they rode home triumphing in their victory.

As they were proceeding, Earl Sigurd, intending to kick at his horse with his foot, struck the calf of his leg against a tooth protruding from [Máel's] head, which scratched him slightly; but soon it became swollen and painful, and he died of it. Sigurd the powerful was buried in a mound at Ekkialsbakki.
Powerful and treacherous, full of guile; but the buck tooth of a slain enemy brought him low.



The nation was left reeling yesterday by the revelation that the presidential election of 2008 was a hoax. The shocking announcement came when White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters that Barack Obama has been working in secret with conservative provocateur James O'Keefe since 2007....

"By combining empty, touchy-feely slogans like 'hope' and 'change' with far-left-wing policy planks and presenting them in the person of a racial minority from a major Midwest city with an Ivy League background, we thought we might be able to make a good showing in Iowa and New Hampshire, maybe even capture the Democratic nomination," Carney told reporters. "But the entire country? No. We never, ever for even a second imagined the American people would elect someone who had served only half a term in the U.S. Senate to be the leader of the entire free world."
That would explain some things. I hear Saudi Arabia has sent troops into Bahrain to quell Shi'ite protests in favor of a more democratic, constitutional regime. That's our major ally in the Middle East helping to suppress protests in the nation that hosts the U.S. Fifth Fleet. It is doing so to suppress an ethnic minority -- which happens to be the majority in our other regional ally, Iraq.

Apparently America has nothing to say about that. There will be a statement on the NCAA tournaments, though.



A Virgina fire chief reports on the week he spent last summer with the Tokyo Fire Department:

The Tokyo Fire Department (TFD) has 18,000 highly-trained and supremely capable firefighters; without exception, they are up to the monumental task facing their department, city, and country.

Everywhere we went in Tokyo we found well-disciplined, fit, and confident personnel who seemed to be training constantly. When we asked about safety issues that often face U.S. fire departments (e.g. seat belts, SCBA compliance, etc.), the firefighters couldn't understand why anyone wouldn't wear the required/provided safety equipment; to them, it just didn't make sense!
I've been reading, too, about the orderly and disciplined response of the populace to the emergency shortages. It seems you can hand out the food and water to anyone, and they'll all make sure it gets shared properly. There is no looting.



Happy Pi Day. Little Miss Attila says Iowahawk refuses to celebrate Pi Day, because it's irrational.

As we said in my old college cheer, "Secant, tangent, cosine, sine/Three point one four one five nine."

For Want of a Nail

For Want of a Nail

Brave New Climate has one of the most comprehensible descriptions of the Fukushima reactor accident that I've seen so far, though there's a lively debate in the comments section about how accurate it is. While quite a few of the comments sound like ignorant hysteria, others make me wonder, since I don't know nearly enough to be able the answer the questions they raise. By far the most amazing part of the story to me is why it proved impossible to get backup generators in there fast enough to circulate the coolant to bleed off the post-shutdown residual heat:

Things were going well for an hour. One set of multiple sets of emergency Diesel power generators kicked in and provided the electricity that was needed. Then the Tsunami came, [at least five times as big as the plant had been designed for]. The tsunami took out all multiple sets of backup Diesel generators.

. . . When the diesel generators were gone, the reactor operators switched to emergency battery power. The batteries were designed as one of the backups to the backups, to provide power for cooling the core for 8 hours. And they did.

Within the 8 hours, another power source had to be found and connected to the power plant. The power grid was down due to the earthquake. The diesel generators were destroyed by the tsunami. So mobile diesel generators were trucked in.

This is where things started to go seriously wrong. The external power generators could not be connected to the power plant (the plugs did not fit). So after the batteries ran out, the residual heat could not be carried away any more. [Emphasis supplied]

There are hundreds of comments, but it took a while for someone to say, "Really? The plugs didn't fit? They couldn't just wire around somehow?" (But more colorfully.) Another commenter tried to explain why that might be harder than you'd think:

I think that we’re talking 100s of KVA needed to run the coolant pumps. You can’t exactly splice those wires without dedicated tools. You need a hydraulic ram with correct die to do attach lugs to the wire. You can’t do temporary insulation using electrical tape either. It just takes ONE missing piece for the job to be stopped. You don’t have the right die for the size of the wire available, or you don’t have the lugs, or, or, or. It’s very easy NOT to be able to do such a job when it’s unplanned for.

The following commenter is beating an anti-nuke drum, but I do take seriously his caution about the inevitability of human error:
[Y]ou can be certain humans will screw up. Constantly. And do things like build nuclear power plants on a subduction zone – with small containment vessels – and then put the power hookups for the cooling system in the basement. The cooling system which is the only thing that stands between them and a meltdown. It’s cheaper. Or extend the operating licenses of dozens of plants here and in Europe even though they are past there design lifetimes (and some like Vermont Yankee are leaking radioactivity into the the ground water). It’s cheaper. Or the contractors that cut this and that corner.

Along those lines, there are reports that all coolant is now being supplied by fire trucks, but the trucks keep running out of gas, or sustaining damage from the explosions.

In spite of all this, the author's conclusion is that the "core catcher" is there in case back-ups one, two, three, and four fail. The core catcher is designed to catch anything that slags down and is built to hold up easily to the total residual heat of the powered-down core. It will be a tedious and expensive business to clean up, but that's a headache for TEPCO, not the civilized world or even the immediate neighborhood. He believes there's practically no risk of a containment rupture, no matter what happens to the outside buildings, whose primary function is to keep rain off of the reactor and perform some air/steam filtration. In particular, he minimizes the level of radiation that can be detected in either the vented steam or the debris from the hydrogen explosion

I'm not finding very good information yet about that last part. It all seems to have been translated through a couple of layers of bureaucrats and/or journalists who don't have the slightest idea what they're talking about.

By the way, if you want to see how differently the story reads when an operator isn't as scrupulous as TEPCO, try this account of Chernobyl, especially the role of the grid operator, who insists that the plant power back up halfway through its safety test, because someone out there needs the electricity. Then reflect on the fact that Chernobyl had no containment dome of any kind. Then consider whether warm-hearted socialists make better engineers than the cold fish-eyed capitalists.

Spring Fertility:

The winter winds and snow took down many trees and branches, and we had to take down a few more with saws because they were dead and likely to fall on something we valued. Gathered up and burned on a garden spot, these provide potash and charcoal to the soil: natural fertilizer.

I also built some raised beds out of the larger limbs of some of the bigger trees. We're going to have a more formal garden this year, with the raised beds on one end, and the rows enclosed by a hedge of rosemary that should help keep out the deer. Our fruit trees -- planted last year -- are still not likely to produce, but by a year from now we should have several varieties of apples and pears. We also have numerous blueberry bushes and blackberry canes.

All of this is still at an early stage. It takes years to make it all right. Still, the work is good work, and it is coming along.

Gun Control

Presidential Gun Reforms:

President Obama's editorial from Sunday's Arizona Star is an unusually refined example of his rhetorical style. Normally he has the habit of positioning himself rhetorically as the single voice of reason between two groups of ugly, warring extremists. While this allows him to suggest that his position is the road of sensible compromise, it has the disadvantage of painting his allies as well as his ideological foes with a very negative brush. Since most Americans have interests aligned with one or another of the factions being painted, over time this rhetorical strategy tends to annoy most everyone.

This letter is finer than the usual technique because it uses the "compromise" rhetoric with far less disdain for his opponents (or, for that matter, his allies). It's well crafted.

Here's the part directed at gun rights supporters:

However, I believe that if common sense prevails, we can get beyond wedge issues and stale political debates to find a sensible, intelligent way to make the United States of America a safer, stronger place.

I'm willing to bet that responsible, law-abiding gun owners agree that we should be able to keep an irresponsible, law-breaking few - dangerous criminals and fugitives, for example - from getting their hands on a gun in the first place.

I'm willing to bet they don't think that using a gun and using common sense are incompatible ideas - that we should check someone's criminal record before he can check out at a gun seller; that an unbalanced man shouldn't be able to buy a gun so easily; that there's room for us to have reasonable laws that uphold liberty, ensure citizen safety and are fully compatible with a robust Second Amendment.
The one rhetorical flaw here is the phrase "common sense." The line is about getting beyond 'stale' debates, but the phrase "common sense gun [controls/reforms/laws/etc.]" is perhaps the oldest and most worn of the many old chestnuts here. I can't think of a single proposed gun control law that wasn't described as a 'common sense' reform.

If you've always had the feeling that somehow that particular rhetorical strategy was unfair, you're right. The "common sense" is an idea we have from Aristotle's Parva Naturalia (and De Anima, although there is some dispute about whether his "common awareness" here is analogous to his "common sense" from the other work) where it is a mental faculty of the individual's: it is the "sense" that unifies and orders all the other senses into a "common" picture. Thus, you see a beach and an ocean; you smell the salt water; you hear a seagull behind you: your common sense is what puts that all together into a mental representation of being on a beach, and allows the part of your mind that does hearing to warn the part of your mind that handles sight to expect a seagull arcing into the picture. When the gull appears from behind you, you are not surprised and are prepared to track its movements through space.

"Common sense" as we normally use the phrase in natural language is an extension of this capacity to humanity as a group. Now, instead of ordering separate senses (sight, hearing, etc.) we're ordering together our several separate representations. We are able, as a group, to compare our several ideas about what the world is like, and put them together into a picture we can agree upon.

Thus, the rhetorical ploy is unfair because it attempts to slide over the fact that there is substantial disagreement about the proposed new law. In order for a reform to be "common sense," it really needs to be something that we all pretty much agree 'fits our picture.'

Does the President's proposal achieve that for you? It's a little unsettling to read the Chief Executive of the United States arguing before the public that the first major reform needed is better enforcement of existing laws.

Good point: if only there were someone whose job it was to make sure the laws were enforced!

Aside from that, though, I think there is a serious sticking point in terms of defining what constitutes an "unbalanced" person in the right way. We all know this category exists -- we were just talking about ax-murderers yesterday -- but for the purpose of the proposal we would need to be able to define its membership pretty precisely. We talked about this at the time of the shooting. At that time, it was Rudy Guiliani who was proposing the restriction.
What is the due process that could work here? The diagnosis process, as I understand it, is largely an Occam's razor process -- that is, you look at reported symptoms and determine what is most likely. There's no lab test. No one can be sure the diagnosis is right.

There's also no meaningful appeal. Presumably, since the diagnosis has no force, you could simply get a second opinion. However, why would anyone give you one? They can't be any more certain of their diagnosis than the original doctor. That puts them in particular legal jeopardy if they give you the 'all clear': if they say you're good and they're wrong, they are personally liable for the harm you do. If they concur, or give a report that is noncommittal, they're safe. Why would they take the risk?

You might answer: "Because they believe in individual liberty." In that case, though, how can we rely on their clearance? Let us say that the ACLU were to set up a shop of psychologists who took it as their duty to clear everyone possible, in the interest of civil liberty. (Or say it was the NRA; whoever.) Now you really do need due process, to decide between the competing reports.

On what basis, though, would a court decide? Something as sentimental as the judge's personal sense of whether or not you 'seem normal'? A jury's? Shall we pursue a foundation for our fundamental liberties no more certain than that?

All of this suggests to me that we're far better off absorbing the occasional shooting -- and preparing ourselves, as individual citizens, to resist it -- than accepting this kind of restriction on basic liberty.
I still think 'a good sharp knife' is a better defense than the law in cases like this; the law is too blunt, you might say. Many times liberty can only be adequately defended by the individual who possesses it. This strikes me as a case of that type.

At the Great Rising Day

At the Great Rising Day

Jesus wept at the death of Lazarus. We're not meant to think death is no big deal. This being Lent, too, the liturgy and lessons are more focused on the trial than the overcoming. So when the lay reader mentioned Cheyenne in the service this morning I pretty much lost it. I came home and decided I needed a dose of this:

Why do we mourn departing friends,
Or shake at death's alarm?
'Tis but the voice that Jesus sends
To call them to His arms.

Why do we tremble to convey
Their bodies to the tomb?
There the dear flesh of Jesus lay
And vanished all the gloom.

Thence He arose, ascended high,
And showed our feet the way.
Up to the Lord our souls shall fly
At the great rising day.

Bons Mots

Bons Mots

Of course pragmatism is true; the trouble is it doesn’t work.

-- S. Morgenbesser

This book fills a much-needed gap in the literature.

-- Geoffrey Pullum

He is a quantum philosopher. I can’t understand him and his position at the same time.

-- S. Morgenbesser

He speaks in semi-entendres.

-- Unknown

Only you can prevent solipsism.

-- Unknown

I have learned from my mistakes, and I am sure I could repeat them exactly.

—Peter Cook

I was walking down Fifth Avenue today and I found a wallet, and I was gonna keep it, but I thought: well, if I lost a hundred dollars, how would I feel? And I realized I would want to be taught a lesson.

-- Emo Phillips

“I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn’t it.”

-- Groucho Marx



This is why we don't have much idea yet how many people were killed in the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. It's like Galveston after the 1900 hurricane: the destruction is so complete that's there no information coming out of some areas. This site has a couple of dozen pictures, of which I've included just a couple.

Teaching an Axe Murderer

Teaching an Ax-Murderer:

An accused and convicted one who is now appealing the verdict, in any case. The problem of having an accused murderer in your classroom is an interesting one; but I was more intrigued by this claim:

Perhaps I should change [the syllabus] all overnight, or at least drop the group-project requirement for this term.

As I considered eliminating one story after another, however, I confirmed what I had sensed would be the case: Every story on the syllabus had some degree of relevance to this crime and to these students. Each story seemed crucial for students to read and for me to teach. Even if I revised the syllabus, the textbook's table of contents listed comparable stories. In fact, the course came to seem like an emergency measure, something akin to academic triage. The universal truth and central questions within the literature invariably circled around some aspect of this student and the crime.
The question that interests me is whether (as the author seems to fear) the subconscious had taken over and caused her to draw up a syllabus oriented around the ax-murder of a family by one of its sons; or if, rather, serious literature will always be found to be relevant to such questions. It can be more-or-less relevant, perhaps; but the great questions certainly include family tensions and violence. I wonder to what degree it is possible to get away from them. If you had been teaching Louis L'amour novels, where the family is usually a bulwark against violence from the rest of the world, you'd still be thinking in terms of families and violence. If you were teaching Jane Austen, you'd be asking whether the pressures of the family on its members were unduly aggressive in forcing compliance with accepted social standards. Mightn't that lead to violence? And so forth.

When I was eighteen or so, one of the members of my old Boy Scout troop took his .22 rifle and killed his whole family -- starting with his little brother, then his mother, then his step-father. We'd known him for years and years; he'd been out on camping trips with us many times.

What is to be made of all this? Or of any of it?

I think Corb Lund has a pretty good answer.

To return to the story, then, the lady asks:
Was there a risk? If so, could I ensure my students' safety? Could anyone? How much time would it take for security to respond to a call for help? Of course, I obsessed about my own safety....
The song answers, "Always keep an edge on your knife... because a good sharp edge is a man's best hedge against the vague uncertainties of life."

And that's right, as much as "right" has anything to say about these things.

Philosophy & Violence

The Philosophy of Violence:

"Leiter Reports: A Philosophy Blog" has come under some fire lately for having written this with regard to Wisconsin:

At some point these acts of brazen viciousness are going to lead to a renewed philosophical interest in the question of when acts of political violence are morally justified, an issue that has, oddly, not been widely addressed in political philosophy since Locke.
Dr. Althouse says, "And for the ordinary people outside of the circle of Leiter's respect, it's a simple matter to reject violence." Indeed, I suppose, it is a simple matter: but that's only because they haven't thought about it very much.

Leiter himself hadn't, and is therefore surprised to note (as he does in an update) that there has been quite a bit of discussion of the problem of justifiability in terrorism in the last few years. That article, like all the ones from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, is well worth reading. There have been many recent attempts to justify terrorist violence; there have been some attempts to ban it absolutely as a moral matter.

Of course, justifying violence is much easier than justifying terrorist violence: if you merely want to know when you may take up arms against the government, as opposed to a civilian population, the standards are much easier to meet. In general, too, the philosophical community has been enamored of nonviolent resistance movements like Gandhi's and Dr. King's; and they invariably miss the fact that Gandhi's movement led to the wars of partition, in which perhaps a million people were killed; while Dr. King's movement was successful not because its nonviolence swayed the violent, but because it finally forced the President to call out the National Guard. It was the Guardsmen with their rifles that made real King's reforms.

The question of violence is one that we've discussed here very often over the last eight years. I'd be damned glad to see Leiter take it up, if he has the guts for the exercise.



The Atlantic was.

If you pay your bills on time, then you're probably also a good driver. This statement might come as a surprise to you, and Fair Isaac Corporation CEO Mark N. Greene says his firm didn't expect this result either. But over the years, auto insurers noticed a correlation between his company's FICO credit scores and their customers' driving records. As any good business would, FICO saw this as an opportunity.
Why would this be a surprise? Both of these qualities play off the same mental faculty. To be specific, it is the faculty of threat-awareness. The good driver has to remain aware of the world about him, and keep track of all the things that might impact him in his course of action; the man who pays his bills on time is likewise keeping track of external factors that may cause him problems if they are not adequately addressed.

If I pay my property-tax bill on time, the government doesn't auction off my house on the courthouse steps; if I pay my other bills on time, I don't have to field calls from irate collection agents. It's the same skill as avoiding car crashes. The world is full of threats; you're tracking them and putting them down as they come up. Good for you!
Health care is another industry that you might not expect FICO to be able to employ behavioral analysis. It turns out that many people with imperfect credit scores are also imperfect patients. Greene explains that his company has found that these individuals often don't take their medication as indicated and don't adhere to health care regiments set up by doctors.
Again, is this really surprising? The faculty here is self-discipline. So?