October 31, 2006
“You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”And there may be some truth to that, based on his life.
Consider this history. Two blue-blooded American young men both attend and graduate from the same prestigious Ivy League university. One of these young men has a better academic record than the other. The one with the better grades is smart enough to get himself in the National Guard, the other - he was stuck going to Vietnam.
Now of course Kerry is a spin cycle that would make the Maytag repairman blush. He says he was not insulting our troops but making a joke about the Presidents intelligence and academic achievements. Again - review the history above.
Any minute now, spokesman for the two most prestigious universities in the country, if not the world, are going to stand up and complain that people are calling a man they both awarded degrees to stupid. I mean it doesn't say a lot for their academic reputation now does it.
I'm sure it's coming.
It's on the way.
Soon I think.
October 30, 2006
Our children's planet is at stake...And it only gets smarmier from there. It's cloying emotional environmental indoctrination pure and simple.
For millions of years the changes in Earth's climate have been driven by forces of nature. But for the last century and a half Earth's average temperature has been rising. faster than any time in the past ten thousand years. The consensus in science is that much of that change has been driven by us.So for millions of years the climate of the Earth has been changing. These changes weren't caused by factories, power plants and SUVs, because there weren't any of those things millions of years ago. But forget about all those millions of years when climate change was a perfectly natural phenomenon. Let's only look at the last ten thousand years. And out of the last ten thousand, let's really look at only the last 150 years. Because in comparison to the history of the planet that goes back hundreds of millions of years, 150 years is significant time frame.
But let's assume that the narration as presented is correct. And the temperature of the planet has gone up faster in the last 150 years than at any time in the last ten thousand. What about the ten thousand before that? Or the 200 million before that? No let's not face the fact that we just don't know, lets just change the way of life of everyone on the planet - just in case.
You know there are people who still say global warming needn't concern us. if it's happening at all it's a natural trend and there's not much we can do about it.Yes Alanis about a minute ago you said that for millions of years climate change was caused by forces of nature. In fact there are many people saying that and despite climate alarmist's claims of consensus to the contrary, there is still significant scientific debate on the issue.
The simple truth is that for everything the global warming activists assert as fact, there is counter evidence and ample room to doubt and question. Even one of the experts in the video presents contradictory statements:
We're on a track to 700 parts per million of carbon dioxide on the planet. We haven't seen that for 50 million yearsThis begs the question what caused those levels of carbon dioxide 50 million years ago? But we have the answer - Alanis told us. It was those forces of nature. And if the forces of nature could do that all by themselves 50 million years ago, what would they need our help for to do it again?
I know it's probably unfair of me to pick on Alanis Morrissette. She is just reading what some global warming propagandist put on the cue cards. But you get the sense that she does so with unquestioning faith.
The climate of the earth is not a static thing. It has changed and evolved over hundreds of millions of years, and it will continue to change and evolve long after humans have gone the way of all the previous dominant species. Isn't that ironic?
October 22, 2006
October 21, 2006
1. What's the scariest movie you've ever seen?
I remember being a little stressed watching the shining, but I don't recall actually being scared by a movie
2. What was your favorite Halloween Costume from childhood, and adulthood?
In college I dressed up as this really annoying guy that lived in the dorm. (no I did not go as myself) He came to the party, and didn't get it.
3. If you had an unlimited budget, what would your Fantasy Costume be for this Halloween?
A knight in full armor
4. When was the last time you went Trick Or Treating?
Does going along with the kids count?
5. What's your favorite Halloween Candy?
The bite sized candy bars. No kid that comes to our house has ever walked away with a mini Hershey Special Dark.
6. Tell us about a scary nightmare you had.
Usually work and deadline related.
7. What is your Supernatural Fear?
I cannot fear what doesn't exist.
8. What is your Creepy-Crawlie Fear?
Bugs. Any and all bugs.
9. Tell us about a time when you saw a ghost, or heard something go Bump in the night.
In the book Salem's Lot, the way vampires got new victims was to tap on friend's window and get them to let them in. About two days after I finished the book I was standing in the kitchen at night when an unexpected visitor who had never been to the house and didn't know which door to go to, knocked on the window behind me. Completely freaked me out.
10. Would you ever stay in a real Haunted House overnight?
Whatever. (see #7)
11. Are you a traditionalist (just a face) Jack O'Lantern Carver, or do you get really creative with your pumpkins?
Jack O'Lanterns are a hollowed out pumpkin with a carved face and a candle.
12. How much do you decorate your home for Halloween?
A couple of Jack O'Lanterns for the kids
13. What do you want on your Tombstone?
Buried at Sea
UPDATE: Michele wants to be memed, and I'm happy to do it.
October 19, 2006
Once you get them to agree to that the argument is over. they have to acknowledge that in a given situation or choice there are some things that are black and some things that are white, and that the mixing of those creates a shade of grey.
If they don't get it - and a surprising number of people don't, hit them with a simple analogy to make the point. I like the hemlock dilemma.
On the table in front of you are three glasses. In the glass on the left pure clean life sustaining water. The center glass is empty. The glass on the right contains hemlock. You must drink one full glass of liquid. You can drink the glass of water (white), drink the glass of hemlock (black) or mix part of each in the center glass (grey) What do you do?
October 16, 2006
John Kerry apparently believes he is entitled to a second chance at the White House. I can't help but wonder what his platform could be? Is there any position he didn't take in his last failed attempt?
The only thing left open to him may be to run as a pro Bush candidate.
October 12, 2006
What doesn't the Department of the Interior have against me? And just what would it take to have this site be banned by Department of the Interior? If the Department of the Interior wants to start banning blogs, then I certainly don't want anyone from the Department of the Interior reading this one.
The Department of the Interior can kiss my posterior.
Basically, they didn't know what happened or where it happened, and certainly not how it happened (we still don't know that) but they knew it wasn't terrorism.
I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that if an airplane crashes into a building in New York City I am going to assume it is probably terrorism until it's proven otherwise.
October 10, 2006
This is precisely how a lot of Libertarians reacted to Markos Moulitas' (AKA Kos of the Daily Kos) argument for the strong presence of Libertarian Democrats. There were and are skeptics, but increasingly the reaction borders on "You like me. You really like me."
I don't buy Kos's argument. Libertarianism to me is best summed up by Thomas Paine "That government is best which governs least." Given that the Democrats have essentially never seen a problem that they don't government can and should solve, I don't think they can make a remotely plausible claim to that principle. If you possess a memory longer than an episode of American Idol, you might recall that one of the first great policy adventures of the last great "moderate" Democratic administration in the White House was national health care. And don't forget that the chief complaints from the Democrats about massive Republican social spending (No Child Left Behind, Medicare Drug Coverage etc) is that they didn't go far enough. None of this strikes me as particularly libertarian.
Throught the 80's and 90's many libertarians, like myself, identified with the Republican party. We did so without illusion that the GOP was a libertarian dream. To be sure, conservative Republicans supported ideas that were anathema to libertarians. We supported the GOP based on their espoused, and more importantly practiced, principle of limited government.
Now that the current Republican administration has cast aside the principle of limited government, they have also cast aside libertarian support in the process. It is as though the current GOP believes it can hold on to what were once called Reagan Democrats by being more like Democrats. When they held the principle of limited government, libertarians could hold their noses and vote Republican. Now that they have merged the less than libertarian ideas of the left with the statist impulses of the right, nose holding isn't enough. A libertarian would need a HazMat suit to cast a vote for the GOP.
Left wing operatives like Moulitas see this as a political opportunity. A voting block, however small, that is up for grabs. But a libertarian who is not overly impressed with attention from a national party would see that the divide between today's Republican and Thomas Paine is only slightly exceeded by the gap between Paine and the Democrats.
The libertarian voter is left with a choice among the Libertarian Party Candidate running on the legalize heroin platform (in other words a candidate without the slightest hope of having their total votes listed as "other") and two different versions of socialism. Since there is no option to vote "none of the above," I'm probably going to sit this one out.
October 07, 2006
The morning was grey, windy and damp so we chose to skip the scheduled 9:00 soccer game. The boy child I curled up in front of the fire and put on a DVD. Yu-Gi-Oh! I quickly fell asleep. Yu-Gi will do that to you when seen the DVD a dozen times or more. Unless, of course you are a six-year-old boy. In that case it inspires you to duel.
Yu-Gi-Oh, or more accurately Duel Monsters, is a complex trading card game. There are monsters of different strength in attack and defense; some with unique "Special Abilities" and effects. There are spell cards and trap cards. There are detailed rules about the playing of each and the progress of a player's turn. Strategy both in the composition of your deck and the way in which you play your cards is crucial.
Unless, of course you are a six-year-old boy. In that case your strategy becomes do whatever you want. The rules are limited to the steps of each turn. What you do with your cards during your turn is limited only by your imagination. The only nod given to rules governing the cards is that the further you stray from them, the more loudly and dramatically you call your play.
As usual, I lost badly and quickly.
The sun had come out so we planned a trip to the park. The boy with his sandbox implements. Me with the Treo.
On the way it occurred to me that we had missed lunch. I decided to try something beyond fast food. So we went to favorite Mexican place La Salsa. Good food cooked fresh and quick. For the boy - cheese quesadilla. For dad a steak burrito.
I don't think this will mean the end of Happy Meals any time soon, but it is a giant step foreward.
October 05, 2006
Here's today's discovery. It's a Widget that translates text into Morse Code.
I can think of so many reasons to need a Morse Code translator - can't you. For instance here is this post translated into Morse Code:
October 04, 2006
If the Democratic party wants to have a chance at becoming a long term majority once again, once they gain control of the Congress, they have to actually govern. If they are seen as putting forth ideas and legislation designed to advance their vision of what America should be and how America should be kept safe - even if every piece of it is vetoed by President Bush, then they will keep the congress and take the White House in 2008.
I don't think there is the slightest possibility of that happening.
The first thing the Democrats will try to do once they have gained control of the Congress is exact their revenge for the impeachment of Bill Clinton. From the opening gavel of the next Congress, the investigations will begin. And if they find nothing, they will investigate again. And again. They will be seen by voters as petty and vindictive partisans who are more interested in wielding the mechanisms of power than in governing the nation.
For the GOP it will be a two year gut check. Do they return to the conservative principles that brought them to a majority or do they continue on the path that lead to a place where the voters would prefer to give the left another chance?
I am an optimist at heart, though it is sometimes objectively difficult to reconcile that outlook to reality. I believe that the idea of the individual will not lose out to the failed ideas of collectivism. The idea freedom, not from the ebb and flow of life and the consequences of decisions, but from government dominance of individual lives is not an idea that Americans will give up and allow to fade away.
October 03, 2006
It has been interesting lately to observe just what the critics of the Fair Tax have to say. Lately, much of what has been said has centered around percentages. Clever as it may be to confuse people with cleverly worded assertions that tend to fool the average American when it comes to these issues. If anyone in the audience is similar to me, it takes focused attention lest my eyes glaze over at the thought of following someone's lessons involving percentages, statistics and numbers in general.
Succinctly, what has been asserted that I have seen generally resembles something such as this: (http://www.jpfo.org/fairtax.htm)
Remember, even the proponents admit they'd need a 23 percent tax rate to fund the current size of the federal government. However, they are starting out their new "fair" tax system with highly deceptive language.
H.R. 25, Section 101(b)(1) states "FOR 2005- In the calendar year 2005, the rate of tax is 23 percent of the gross payments for the taxable property or service." Note the phrase "of the gross payment."
Here's how it works: You buy a candy bar for a total price, including tax, of $1.30. One dollar of that price pays for the candy bar; $.30 goes to the federal government.
One dollar purchase + $.30 in tax sounds like 30 percent to you and me (and to every state that currently has a sales tax). But the "FairTaxers" don't calculate it that way. They say: $1.30 total price. $.30 = 23 percent of $1.30, therefore the tax is 23 percent.
Many critics have pointed out that this is a deceptive way to calculate a sales tax. AFT rebuts the critics by saying (we paraphrase for simplicity), "If you made $1.30 in income and paid $.30 of it in tax, you'd call it a 23 percent tax rate." The 23 percent figure is what AFT refers to as the "tax inclusive" rate.
But a sales tax is not an income tax, and when we see national sales tax advocates and uncritical journalists promoting the 23 percent figure without giving the underlying explanation, we can only think that some very thick wool is being pulled over people's eyes.But, as we shall see, there is yet again another major study that has been conducted that definitively illustrates the merit of the Fair Tax. As has been reported by The Fair Tax Blog (http://www.fairtaxblog.com/20061002/kotlikoff-study-23-fairtax-revenue-neutral/), Boston University Economics Professor Laurence Kotlikoff's much-anticipated study of the necessary revenue-neutral rate for the FairTax has been published and released. Terry and I will refrain from reproducing the entire study, but peruse through the abstract below to see just how much the supporters already know!
As specified in Congressional bill H.R. 25/S. 25, the FairTax is a proposal to replace the federal personal income tax, corporate income tax, payroll (FICA) tax, capital gains, alternative minimum, self-employment, and estate and gifts taxes with a single-rate federal retail sales tax. The FairTax also provides a prebate to each household based on its demographic composition. The prebate is set to ensure that households pay no taxes net on spending up to the poverty level.
Bill Gale (2005) and the President's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform (2005) suggest that the effective (tax inclusive) tax rate needed to implement H.R. 25 is far higher than the proposed 23% rate. This study, which builds on Gale's (2005) analysis, shows that a 23% rate is eminently feasible and suggests why Gale and the Tax Panel reached the opposite conclusion.
This paper begins by projecting the FairTax's 2007 tax base net of its rebate. Next it calculates the tax rate needed to maintain the real levels of federal and state spending under the FairTax. It then determines if an effective rate of 23% would be sufficient to fund 2007 estimated spending or if not, the amount by which non-Social Security federal expenditures would need to be reduced. Finally, it shows that the FairTax imposes no additional real fiscal burdens on state and local government, notwithstanding the requirement that such governments pay the FairTax when they purchase goods and services.
Implementing the FairTax rate of 23% would produce $2,586 billion in federal tax revenues which is $358 billion more than the $2,228 billion in tax revenues generated by the taxes it repeals. Adjusting the base for the prebate and the administrative credit paid to businesses and states for collecting the tax results in a net tax base of $9,355 billion. In 2007, spending at current levels is projected to be $3,285 billion. Revenues from the FairTax at a 23% tax rate, plus other federal revenues, are estimated to yield $3,209 billion which is $76 billion less than current CBO spending projections for 2007. The $76 billion amounts to only 2.73% of non-Social Security spending ($2,177 - $2,101). This is a remarkably small adjustment when set against the more than 30% rise in the real value of these expenditures since 2000.
Ensuring real revenue neutrality at the federal level, given the net base of $9,355 billion, implies a rate of 23.82% on a tax-inclusive basis and 31.27% on a tax-exclusive basis. These and other calculations presented here ignore a) general equilibrium feedback (supply-side and demand-side) effects that could significantly raise the FairTax base (see, for example, Kotlikoff and Jokisch, 2005), b) the possibility that tax evasion would exceed the considerable amount automatically incorporated here via the use of NIPA data, which undercount consumption expenditures due to evasion under the current tax system, and c) the roughly $1 trillion real capital gain the federal government would secure on its outstanding nominal debt, were consumer prices to rise by the full amount of the FairTax.
The FairTax redistributes real purchasing power from state and local governments to their state and local income-tax taxpayers. It does so by reducing factor prices relative to consumer prices and, thereby, reducing the real value (measured at consumer prices) of state and local income tax payments, which are assessed on factor incomes (namely, factor supplies times factor prices).
Gale (2005) and the Tax Panel (2005) recognized this loss in real state and local government revenues in claiming that these governments need to be compensated for having to pay the FairTax. But what they apparently missed is that this loss to these governments is exactly offset by a gain to their taxpayers.
Were state and local governments to maintain their real income tax collections - the assumption made here - by increasing their tax rates appropriately, their taxpayers' real tax burdens would remain unchanged and there would be no need for the federal government to compensate state and local governments for having to pay the FairTax on their purchases. The second is that H.R. 25 does not preclude state and local governments from levying their sales taxes on the FairTax-inclusive price of consumer goods and services. This produces significantly more revenue compared to levying their sales taxes on producer prices.
Moreover, Gale (2005) and the Tax Panel (2005) arrived at a higher tax rate because they did not estimate the FairTax rate, but instead estimated a sales tax of their own design which had a substantially narrower base.
The FairTax Blogburst is jointly produced by Terry of The Right Track Blog and Jonathan of Publius Rendezvous. If you would like to host the weekly postings on your blog, please e-mail Terry. You will be added to our mailing list and blogroll.
There are now 5 people watching the auction and someone has entered a bid for at least the $50 minimum I set. There's just over 2 days left in the bidding, so I'm still hoping for a little more activity.
Malkin describe the Page program in fairly positive terms
"It's a highly competitive process to become a page. And its an exclusive and exciting opportunity to see Wahsington up close."She also used words like "prestigious" and "venerable." She didn't elaborate in the implications, but I'm sure having a session as a Congressional Page on your resume is probably a good thing for your future.
Her solution deny any teen the exclusive and exciting opportunity.
There are simply too many adults in washington who cannot be trusted to ensure the safety of young people under their wing. I believe it is time to suspend the Page system and reassess the wisdom of putting underaged teens so easily impressed by power in such vulnerable positions. The Page system has been abused as a sexual Romper Room one too many times.As I see it, the problem is not the existence of the Page System, but level of scum that manages to get elected to the Congress.
These teens did not go through the competitive process to become a page in the hopes of seducing or being seduced by a member of Congress. Punishing these young people by depriving them of this opportunity because of the behavior of a few immoral predatory adults is just wrong. It's like saying to a rape victim "If you hadn't been in that bar wearing a short skirt, none of this would have happened."
There are not sex scandals because there are young Pages serving Congress. There are sex scandals because people like Foley and Krane and Studds get elected.
October 02, 2006
Have these morons given the slightest thought to where gasoline comes from? News flash fools; gas is made from petroleum. Petroleum that is pumped out of the ground in places like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Russia, Venezuela. How much oil is pumped out of the ground is largely determined by a group called the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. If you need help with the acronym, its OPEC.
In order for the White House to control the price of gas. They need to control the price of petroleum. Which means they need to be able to pick up the phone and give marching orders to OPEC which OPEC member nations will blindly follow. I'm sure the Mullahs in Iran have no problem with this arrangement. The only complaint from Hugo Chavez is likely to be the faint whiff of sulfur in the air when he hangs up the phone.
Once Bush, Cheney and Rove have given OPEC their pricing and production orders, then they issue their orders to world oil trading markets. I'm sure it was a big hurdle to convince China to accept having the White House determine how much oil they are allowed to purchase on the "open market" but they'll get used to it.
I'm sure it wasn't too difficult to order the National Hurricane Center to make sure no Hurricanes impacted our energy infrastructure. They're federally funded after all. Getting them to keep it secret must be a a constant headache. I'm sure they must be worried by now that having no hurricanes make landfall in the U.S. looks a little suspicious so I am sure they are already debating what part of the East Coast will gate a late season thrashing.
Anyone want to suggest a target?
UPDATE: Bush has been busy on the OPEC Hotline today.
October 01, 2006
It served it's purpose well. I was living in Maine at the time, but the events that would lead me to relocate me Connecticut were already in motion. Being able to be in CT with my computer when I needed to be was a definite plus. I got six years of good use out of the Portable before replacing it with a Performa bought on a seep discount two months before Apple discontinued the line. The Performa is now as dead as it is obsolete and is sitting in the garage waiting for trash day.
I have made the decision to part with the Portable. I put it up on eBay. It's been up for 48 hours without a bid, but there are 5 people watching it so I hope for some activity as it gets closer to the auction's end.
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