Saturday, October 22, 2005

Coburn amendment goes down

82 members of the US Senate decided that it was inappropriate to cut back pork spending in the face of a heavy hurricane season and rising deficits. Only 15 thought it was appropriate. Since the Republicans have 55 seats that does not sound to me like a group that wants to be thought of as fiscally conservative. Powerline has the money quote from Alaska Senator Ted Stevens:
I've been here now almost 37 years. This is the first time I have seen any attempt of any senator to treat my state in a way different from any other state.

I don't kid people. If the Senate decides ... to take money from our state, I will resign from this body.

And John's follow up point...
When Stevens talks about treating Alaska differently from any other state, he isn't referring to the astonishing amount of federal money that is spent there. No, his definition of "treating differently" is subjecting his own pork requests to any rational scrutiny.

And when Stevens talks about "taking money from" Alaska, he means deciding not to spend $220 million to build a bridge for the benefit of 50 people. This statement, by a Republican Senator, is analogous to claims by liberals that when taxes are cut, the federal government is giving money to the rich.

Now for those of you (and that presumably includes most of the Senate) who are mathematically challenged, $220M / 50 people = $4.4M / person. How about we just give each person who lives on the island $1M tax free and call it a day?

3 good Vox posts

Read about Vox doing a photo shoot with flaming swords. And make sure to go check out the picture. How would you like to open your front door and see that?

Funny because it is insane personal ad from Kung-Fu Cybertronic Jesus.

Finally, go read the anti-science of evolution where he makes the following point that I happen to agree with.
I do happen to be a Christian, but I am largely agnostic on the question of origins, and I suspect that the truth is far stranger than anything anyone sane currently believes. I mean, it's not as if quantum theory looked either practical or credible to anyone prior to 1900, right?

Friday, October 21, 2005

Captain Moonbeam is still on another planet

I read Jerry Brown's blog on ocassion, mostly for the humor factor. This post opening is a case in point:
On Friday I attended the inauguration for Antonio Villaraigosa, the new Mayor of Los Angeles. It was a beautiful day. In addition to such luminaries as Jesse Jackson, David Hasselhoff, Warren Christopher and Cardinal Roger Mahoney (ed: emphasis mine), thousands of ordinary Angelenos filled out the south lawn of city hall and cheered their new mayor.

Luminaries? I know there are nuts out there that might put Jesse "the hold up man" Jackson in that category. David Hasselhoff and Warren Christopher are also luminaries where Captain Moonbeam lives. I am glad I don't live there.

Literacy and a modern Army

Major K. has a great posting on one of the problems with forming a great army in Iraq that I hadn't considered.
In the USA, we take literacy for granted. Here it is a mark of distinction. A bachelor's degree here carries the same clout as a PhD in the USA. US Officers are required to have a bachelor's and US Colonels have at least a Master's Degree. Here, a high school diploma is the bar over which you must pass to become an officer. In the US Army, it has been the basic requirement to become a soldier. (They don't have GED's here.) The result is that many Iraqi Soldiers are illiterate. Special skill training classes are sometimes hard to fill, not because of a shortage of soldiers or recruits, but because of a shortage of ones that can read and write basic Arabic.

more Ronnie Earle

RandomNumbers has a great post on the possibility that Ronnie Earle could be charged with Aggravated Perjury (HT: Wizbang). I am not a lawyer but his reasoning makes sense to me. If what is alleged did happen then it should be illegal and he should be charged.

Airbus whistleblower faces prison

Ouch!!! You have to read this story in the UK Telegraph to believe it (HT: Wizbang). As many of you know I don't fly on Airbus planes due to my own safety concerns and my belief that the EU is using unfair competition practices with our own Boeing Corp. So I do have a dog in the fight to be fair. That said, I would hope that a Boeing employee who came forward with a concern like this would be treated far better by our own justice system and safety boards. Not using different kinds of systems in something that needs to be redundant to ensure the survival of human beings is insane, IMHO.

Balco Exec found guilty

The CEO of Balco, Victor Conte, pleaded guilty to selling illegal drugs to sports figures. These were "performance enhancing" drugs and not "reality altering" drugs, but controlled illegal substances none the less. He got 4 months in prison and Barry Bonds trainer got 3 months. What would they have gotten if they were selling, oh, say, heroine or cocaine or ecstasy? The feds want to put grandma in jail for longer than that for smoking a joint for her glaucoma. The Reuters article does not make it clear if this is a problem of law or an insane judge. Remember that these idiots ruined baseball for millions of little boys (and little boys at heart).

Also not mentioned, much to my chagrin, is whether Conte and his deputy will be allowed to continue being involved in the drug business. Conte owns the company so he won't be fired. Will federal law allow a guy convicted on selling drugs illegally to continue to run a drug company?

Oppression of 5 year olds

In Baldwinsville, NY there is an elementary school that has taken the cake on outlandish behavior under the guise of "separation of church and state". From this story covering the matter on WND:

The student reportedly was expressing his belief that God was the only way to save the environment.

School officials rejected one version of the poster and then obscured a portion of the second version when it was placed on display at an assembly, citing concerns over its "religious" nature.

Liberty Counsel, a Florida-based public-interest law firm, filed suit over the second poster.

"To allow a kindergarten poster to be displayed for a few hours on a cafeteria wall, along with 80 other student posters, is far from an establishment of religion," said Mathew D. Staver, president and general counsel of Liberty Counsel. "To censor the poster solely because some might perceive a portion of it to be religious is an egregious violation of the Constitution."

The PUNCHline of this whole thing is that the courts are bouncing this one around and this case will likely wind up at the Supreme Court before it is over. Have we lost our sanity?

Media nonsense

Mark Steyn points out the contortions that much of the press is going through to avoid telling the whole truth about the recent attack in Nalchik, Russia. They carefully avoid either mentioning or highlighting two things. In what was clearly a terrorist attack they avoid using the dreaded "T-word". They also avoid or bury any mention of the fact that the perps were Muslim. Go read it, you will be appalled.

Check out these cartoons

Dry Bones has a great King Solomon cartoon after the Egypt/Gaza border broke into chaos. Then try this one on Rosh HaShana. We really are teenagers.

Texas vs. Louisianna on hurricane behaviour

Tammy Bruce has a theory on TX/LA looting. I grant you that it is not an original theory, but she found an interesting picture to illustrate it (below). As a child I often saw signs in small businesses in rural areas reading "This establishment guarded 3 nights a week by a 12 guage shotgun... you guess which 3".

I also got the following in an email from a friend that I thought was worth posting and emailing to everyone I know it TX.

2 States, 22 Observations

Things noticed while watching media coverage of the recent hurricanes.

1a. Texas: Productive industrious state run by Republicans.
1b. Louisiana: Government dependent welfare state run by Democrats.

2a. Texas: Residents take responsibility to protect and evacuate themselves.
2b. Louisiana: Residents wait for government to protect and evacuate them.

3a. Texas: Local and state officials take responsibility for protecting their citizens and property.
3b. Louisiana: Local and state officials blame federal government for not protecting their citizens and property.

4a. Texas: Command and control remains in place to preserve order.
4b. Louisiana: Command and control collapses allowing lawlessness.

5a. Texas: Law enforcement officers remain on duty to protect city.
5b. Louisiana: Law enforcement officers desert their posts to protect themselves.

6a. Texas: Local police watch for looting.
6b. Louisiana: Local police participate in looting.

7a. Texas: Law and order remains in control, 8 looters tried it, 8 looters arrested.
7b. Louisiana: Anarchy and lawlessness breaks out, looters take over city, no arrests, criminals with guns have to be shot by federal troops.

8a. Texas: Considerable damage caused by hurricane.
8b. Louisiana: Considerable damage caused by looters.

9a. Texas: Flood barriers hold preventing cities from flooding.
9b. Louisiana: Flood barriers fail due to lack of maintenance allowing city to flood.

10a. Texas: Orderly evacuation away from threatened areas, few remain.
10b. Louisiana: 25,000 fail to evacuate, are relocated to another flooded area.

11a. Texas: Citizens evacuate with personal 3 day supply of food and water.
11b. Louisiana: Citizens fail to evacuate with 3 day supply of food and water, do without it for the next 4 days.

12a. Texas: FEMA brings in tons of food and water for evacuees. State officials provide accessible distribution points.
12b. Louisiana: FEMA brings in tons of food and water for evacuees. State officials prevent citizens from reaching distribution points and vice versa.

13a. Texas: Media cannot find poor blacks in need of assistance, looking for something else to blame on Bush.
13b. Louisiana: Media focuses on poor blacks in need of assistance, blames Bush.

14a. Texas: Coastal cities suffer some infrastructure damage, Mayors tell residents to stay away until ready for repopulation, no interference from federal officials.
14b. Louisiana: New Orleans is destroyed, Mayor asks residents to return home as another hurr icane approaches, has to be overruled by federal officials.

15a. Texas: 24 killed in bus accident on highway during evacuation, no storm related deaths.
15b. Louisiana: Over 400 killed by storm, flooding and crime.

16a. Texas: Jailed prisoners are relocated to other detention facilities outside the storm area.
16b. Louisiana: Jailed prisoners are set free to prey on city shops, residents, and homes.

17a. Texas: Local and state officials work with FEMA and Red Cross in recovery operations.
17b. Louisiana: Local and state officials obstruct FEMA and Red Cross from aiding in recovery operations.

18a. Texas: Local and state officials demonstrate leadership in managing disaster areas.
18b. Louisiana: Local and state officials fail to demonstrate leadership, require federal government to manage disaster areas.

19a. Texas: Fuel deliveries can't keep up with demand, some run out of gas on highway, need help from fuel tankers before storm arrives.
19b. Louisiana: Motorists wait till storm hits and electrical power fails. Cars run out of gas at gas stations that cannot pump gas. Gas in underground tanks mixes with flood waters.

20a. Texas: Mayors move citizens out of danger.
20b. Louisiana: Mayor moves himself and family to Dallas.

21a. Texas: Mayors continue public service announcements and updates on television with Governor's backing and support.
21b. Louisiana: Mayor cusses, governor cries, senator threatens president with violence on television, none of them have a clue what went wrong or who is responsible.

22a. Texas: Republican Senator says "when you call 911, the phone doesn't ring in Washington, it rings here at the local responders".
22b. Louisiana: Democratic Senator says FEMA was slow in responding to 911 calls from Louisiana citizens.

anti-religion is not just a US problem

LGF finds an interesting story from Norway. A school is telling a teacher in Kristianland, Norway (interesting town/city name for this to happen, don't you think) is being told he cannot wear a Star of David necklace because.... wait for it ..... it might offend the Muslim students. One interesting twist is that the teacher is a Christian.

From the original article in the AftenPosten:
Telhaug teaches immigrants Norwegian language and culture at the education center. Telhaug is not Jewish. “I see it as the oldest religious symbol we have in our culture, because without Judaism there would be no Christianity,” [said] Telhaug.

Mapes continue to show her ignorance

This post on LGF points out that Mary Mapes is

a) an idiot
b) insistent that the whole world know it.

It also has the old transpose image of the CBS memo versus the Microsoft Word version in case you are new to reading the blogs.

Money quote:
In other words, she’s arguing that faxing a typewritten document from the 1970s is more likely to make it appear as if it were printed with modern proportional typefaces, and would alter the spacing to exactly match a Microsoft Word replica.


RantingProfs catches MSNBC pretending to have a guy on the ground early after the terrible quake in Pakistan when he is in fact watching the same stuff we are from London.

Dude, You Blew Up My Car!

You absolutely must go read the entire post on 365 and a Wakeup. It is humorous but also points to a significant cultural difference and a harsh reality that the good (meaning law abiding) citizens of Iraq are dealing with. How well would you handle it?

The man who had approached us was indeed the owner, he had the vehicle identification to prove it. The problem was that his vehicle had been stolen the night before, and though he didn't get a good look he was certain they were part of the AIF. He seemed more embarrassed about the situation then anything else, but he made it imminently clear that he wasn't going to get anywhere near the car until we checked it out.

As this was all unfolding the rest of our patrol had split off to the cardinal directions and started stopping traffic from moving through the possible kill zone. Just about the time our last vehicle was in position we placed the call over the net for EOD assistance. We explained the situation in a few clipped transmissions and once the information had been passed up a voice came over the net and said So this guy knows we are going to blow up his car right? There was a long pause as the translator passed the message to the owner, and an even longer pause as he considered his options. Then the owner shrugged his shoulders and agreed.

Sorry for my absence

I had some h/w problems and was making too many trips to the computer stores/etc to post all the good stuff I have found recently. So get ready for a fire hose :-)