Thursday, July 27, 2006


The Volokh Conspiracy - -:

The classic example of chutzpah is the person who murders his parents, then pleads for mercy because he's an orphan. But how about a government leader that puts a terrorist organization in his cabinet; gives the organization free reign over the southern part of his country from which the organization every so often attacks a neighboring country; and defends the organization as 'liberators;'* and then demands reparations from the neighboring country when the terrorist organization starts a war?"
I don't know why but i've always loved the word chutzpah -- it makes me feel like I'm a character in Fiddler on the roof or something. Anyway, David's point is well taken.

Pork, Earmarks, and Congress-vermin

The Club For Growth -
"Thanks to Congressman Jeff Flake's 19 anti-pork amendments, we now have every House member on record regarding their positions on earmarks. Before now, House members have been able to avoid scrutiny because their pork was co-mingled with other projects and tucked into the dark corners of big spending bills."
So here's the deal; our congressman (R-Jeff Miller, Florida District 1) has a pretty good record -- he voted against pork on 15 of the 19 ammendments. But why wasn't he 100%? Yes, he could have joined the hundreds of Dems and rebulicans that voted FOR pork on all 19, but I'm not satisfied with even 4 votes for pork.

So I looked a little closer to see what types of pork our dear congressman likes. Answer: 1. ($1,000,000) for a locomotive shop in Penn. 2. Swimming pool in Banning, CA ($500,000) 3. Lewis Center for Education Research ($4,000,000) 4. Leonard Wood Research Institute ($20,000,000)...
24.6 million dollars on a bunch of pork. Thanks Jeff Miller.

Sorry droning on here, but I dug down a little to see some specifics and came across the actual text of the debate on the House floor. They all sound basically the same but I'll copy the dialogue surrounding the first one to give you a flavor of what's being said:

Amendment offered by Mr. Flake (R-Arizona):
None of the funds made available by this Act may be used for Juniata Ultra Low Emission Locomotive Demonstration, PA.

Mr. FLAKE: Mr. Chairman, this is $1 million for the Juniata locomotive shop…it goes to a locomotive shop owned by Norfolk Southern. I can't know for sure, because there is no description of the earmark anywhere in the bill.
…Again, here is a situation where we know so little about this earmark, and this seems to be the only forum where we can find out about it ... Has this been authorized? What is the process of oversight? That is what we are here for.

Mr. HOBSON: Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment.

Mr. HOBSON: Mr. Chairman, I yield 4 minutes to the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Shuster).

Mr. SHUSTER: Mr. Chairman, I rise today in strong opposition to my colleague's amendment, which seeks to eliminate an important research and development program that would take place in the Juniata locomotive shop, which is in Altoona, Pennsylvania. Yes, that is my district. [ed. Obviously, you freaking vermin. Lets use money from taxpayers all across the nation to fund your buddies in your district.] I am proud to stand up and take claim for this earmark. [ed. its just shameless…]

…This new hybrid locomotive will reduce harmful emissions, increase fuel efficiency and take locomotive research and development in a new direction. [ed. So what? Just because something is good doesn’t mean the federal government should fund it!]

The freight rail industry consumed over 4 billion gallons of diesel fuel in 2005 and freight rail traffic has grown at unprecedented levels in the past 3 years. Finding new technologies to save fuel in the movement of freight will benefit everybody. [ed. Bull-crap.]

Additionally, it is important to note that any technology gains from this project and research development will be open to the public. [ed. Keep dreaming. Any technology will be patented by GE so fast it would make your head spin.] So this a 10 percent investment by the public, and everybody will benefit. General Electric will benefit. [ed. That’s the truth] The other rail companies will benefit by this research and development.

Further, Mr. Chairman, this is about more than just reducing energy use. It is about improving our environment. [ed. More bull-crap.]

I prefer working cooperatively with the private sector to reduce harmful emissions of nitrous oxide, hydrocarbons, and particulate matter. This program seeks to accomplish this as well. [ed. we have a whole federal program to work on protecting the environment – if you want to bump up funding for it, then do so. Don’t try to sneak in this pork under the guise of environmentalism. Freaking vermin.]

Mr. Chairman, I would encourage my colleague from Arizona to withdraw the amendment, but, if not, I hope my colleagues will support me and vote down this amendment. This initiative, if enacted, it will, by 2008, will have hybrid locomotives as well as hybrid cars moving us into the future. [ed. Right – this 1million dollar kickback to a locomotive shop in your district is going to help get us hybrid cars. What a liar…]

Mr. Chairman, let me just make the point that why would we assist only the locomotive sector? What about construction vehicles, highway vehicles? Again, we are picking and choosing, just based on our decisions. We are not the font of all knowledge. [ed. Exactly! Jeff Flake for President!]

And if we decide that we are just going to direct every bit of spending and that we are not going to have oversight because we have directed it and therefore we need no oversight, and all we have in terms of oversight is this 5 minutes that we have really never exercised before to question an earmark when it comes to the House floor, Mr. Chairman, I would submit that we have a broken process here. It is simply wrong. We cannot be doing this.

In 1987, President Reagan vetoed the highway bill because there were 152 earmarks. The last highway bill we passed last year had over 6,000. Other bills have had similar increases in earmarks. And yet we say it is not enough.

If we know our own districts and we know how to direct spending, then why not direct it all? Why not earmark every account?

Again, we have demonstrated again and again, some of the authors of these amendments have not even shown up to defend them. We do not even know if there is any oversight for previous earmarks or for the ones that are here now. Yet we just blindly just say, all right, if a Member wants it, let's approve it.

We try and try and we will come up with an example of where this earmark led to this discovery or that, and we ignore that when we take money from the taxpayers and spend it on a teapot museum or on the Punxsutawney Weather Museum in Pennsylvania or on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame or on the Baseball Hall of Fame, then we are taking money we should not take from the taxpayers at all.

Go Jeff Flake! Boooo on Miller for the 4 times he voted for federal pork spending.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Pictures ...

Hillary Clinton's American Dream :)

ScrappleFace: "The junior senator from New York said the American Dream Initiative “recaptures the spirit of our forefathers.”

“When they journeyed across the mountains and rivers,” she said, “they faced hardship, disease , back-breaking labor and death in hopes that some day they could become middle class, and turn over the reins of their destiny to a large, centralized federal government. The Democrat party represents the best hope for fulfilling that American dream.”

Friday, July 21, 2006

Nice. Fake, but still a nice ad concept. Via John Scalzi's blog.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Sony pulls "PSP White is coming" ads in Netherlands - Engadget

Sony pulls "PSP White is coming" ads in Netherlands - Engadget:
"Sony's pulled the plug on their 'PSP White is coming' ad campaign in the Netherlands, which depicted, well, you know."
Want to laugh -- follow this link and check out Sony's ad for the new white psp.

CleanFlicks v. Kate Winslet's Breasts

Reason: How Hollywood won a lawsuit while losing a cultural battle:
"I have no problem with gratuitous nudity (is there any other kind in a movie?), foul language, and graphic violence; but I'm squarely on the side of the easily offended CleanFlicks' customers. They are doing precisely what technology is there for: to create the sort of art, music, video, and text that an individual or group of individuals wants to consume.

By all accounts, the CleanFlicks-type outfits weren't ripping off Hollywood in any way, shape, or form—they were paying full fees for content—and they weren't fooling anyone into thinking their versions were the originals; the whole selling point of CleanFlicks' Titanic is that it spared audiences the original movie's brief moment of full-frontal Winslet. CleanFlicks was simply part of a great and liberatory trend in which audiences are empowered to consume culture on their own terms—not the producers'."
For those living in a cave -- a federal judge ruled that cleanflicks' business model is illegal because it violates the copyrights of hollywood directors ... I hate to harp on these intellectual property items, but are you sensing the insanity here? Here's a company that performs a service that any consumer could legally do for himself (make an edited copy of a movie that was legally purchased). They charge a premium for doing the service; everybody wins. The customer is spared the pain and effort of doing the editing himself. Cleanflicks makes a profit. And Hollywood sells movies to people that otherwise wouldn't buy the smutt-laden offerings. Crazy crazy crazy. To paraphrase the BBC, may this judge rot in hell.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Dilbert Blog: Secret Society

The Dilbert Blog: Secret Society:
"My Solution to the Two Epidemic Crisis of the United States

This is a 2 phase plan that will make our country superior to all other nations on the globe.

Phase 1: Liposuction Farms
We establish a centralized Facilities for Fat Deposits. All citizens we get free liposuction from Enron, Mobile, Shell, BP. These fat deposits will then be taken to be processed into Phase 2.

Phase 2: Lard Bio-fuel Technologies
Fat from the fat people repository is processed and refined into a clean burning fuel to run my automobile.

Now we have a motive to be fat. I am helping our countries dependance on foreign energy sources seems perfectly sane and rationale. Fat people won't feel so depressed. When you put that whopper into your mouth you can smile and feel good about it knowing later on its going to power the world."
humor from a commenter at Scott adams' blog. LMAO.

Friday, July 07, 2006

What's So Great About America?

The American Enterprise:
"For the Third World visitor, the American supermarket is a marvel to behold: endless aisles of every imaginable product, 50 different types of cereal, multiple flavors of ice cream, countless unappreciated inventions like quilted toilet paper, fabric softener, roll-on deodorant, disposable diapers.

The immigrant cannot help noticing that America is a country where the poor live comparatively well. This fact was dramatized in the 1980s, when CBS television broadcast an anti-Reagan documentary, “People Like Us,” which was intended to show the miseries of the poor during an American recession. The Soviet Union also broadcast the documentary, with the intention of embarrassing the Reagan administration. But it had the opposite effect. Ordinary people across the Soviet Union saw that the poorest Americans had television sets and cars. They arrived at the same conclusion that I witnessed in a friend of mine from Bombay who has been trying unsuccessfully to move to the United States for nearly a decade. I asked him, “Why are you so eager to come to America?” He replied, “Because I really want to live in a country where the poor people are fat.”"
Yeah Americas got problems, but what the anti-american possie lacks is perspective. If considered against, for example, the rest of planet earth, the US is a great place to live. Can you think of somewhere else *you* would rather live? Found via Instapundit.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Instapundit wants in ...
"Still, I'm apparently a Pollyannaish techno-utopian because I hold a Faulknerian belief that mankind will not only survive, but prevail."
Well, Heyyyyy! Glenn reynolds is a technoutopian too. Welcome to the fold. I'm not ashamed of a little optimism and the hope and belief that technology will enable a better world. technology = applied wisdom/knowledge.