Archive for October, 2006

Bush’s tax cuts are FAKE

October 30, 2006 11 comments

“You know, if you let me write $200 billion worth of hot checks every year, I could give you an illusion of prosperity, too.”
- Lloyd Bentsen, 1988

The universal diss against Democrats is that they “Tax and spend”.  Thank goodness for the Republicans who cut taxes!  And if any Democrat opposes them, they can plant their feet resolutely and demand; “Are you willing to make Bush’s tax cuts permanent, or NOT?”

Only trouble is, Bush’s tax cuts are fake.  As long as we keep spending vastly more than we are taking in, we’re heading for disaster.  So says America’s ‘Accountant In Chief’, the head of the GAO, David M. Walker. 

We. Are. Headed. For. Disaster.  Deficit spending will destroy our economy.  Thanks for the big favor, mister president.

At least with “Tax and spend” the transaction is done.  You taxed, you spent, that’s it.  Well, not really ‘it’.  The money didn’t disappear from existence; it went back into the economy.  Some government programs actually do some good, too.  OK not many, but some.

Not so with “Borrow and spend”.  When you borrow money, you have to pay it back someday under conditions of compound interest.  This is just as true for governments as it is for individuals.  Bush’s tax cuts just push off the taxes to our children.  By then, interest will be the bulk of the federal budget.

It’s no use whining about Democrats – it’s been a Republican shop for six years now.  House, Senate, President – it’s all yours.  Our president never vetoes any spending.  But “borrow and spend” is a bigger threat to our country than Al Queda could ever think of being.  So when i talk about Bush being a threat to our country, I mean it; absolutely, literally, in the most direct sense.  He and his band of borrow-and-spend so-called “conservatives” are on-track to destroy our country. 

Only thing I can’t figure out is how the Democrats were too dumb to come up with the phrase “borrow and spend” a long time ago.  It’s been obvious to me for years.  And now it’s official.

Can we call it the Ministry Of Propaganda?

October 30, 2006 1 comment

Rummy can’t sleep.  But a new Pentagon initiative will help:

The newly-established Pentagon unit would use “new media” channels to push its message, a spokesman said.

“We’re looking at being quicker to respond to breaking news,” the spokesman said. “Being quicker to respond, frankly, to inaccurate statements.”

According to the BBC’s Justin Webb in Washington, the Bush administration does not believe the true picture of events in Iraq has been made public. He says the administration is particularly concerned that insurgents in areas such as Iraq have been able to use the web to disseminate their message and give the impression they are more powerful than the US.

A Pentagon memo seen by the Associated Press news agency said the new unit will “develop messages” for the 24-hour news cycle and aim to “correct the record”. A spokesman said the unit would monitor media such as weblogs and would also employ “surrogates”, or top politicians or lobbyists who could be interviewed on TV and radio shows. BBC News: Pentagon mounts ‘media offensive’

It’s OK, Pentagon; knock yourself out.  Here in blogland we can spot Astroturf a mile away. 

Categories: defense, Politics

But it’s for my health!

October 30, 2006 1 comment

There are three separate research programs going on to investigate the effects of tumeric in the body: it has anti-imflammatory properties that could help arthritis, blocks another protein that causes cancer, and may fight cystic fibrosis.  That’s some grub.

That’s shaping up to a pretty strong argument to have lunch at the Indian buffet sometime this week.  Mmmmmm…. chicken tandoori…

Categories: Food, Reviews

comment problems

October 30, 2006 7 comments

Having trouble receiving comments at this time – thank you for your patience.  I am awaiting a reply from pMachine.

Categories: Blogging, Geeky

The coffee shops in Athens must be really crowded

October 30, 2006 2 comments

I love headlines like this: “World discusses Internet future”.  No, it isn’t “the world” meeting in Athens to discuss the future of the Internet, but the “Internet Governance Forum” which

“is not a decision-making body but instead is designed to give stakeholders in the internet a chance to form consensus around key areas.”

Oh, goodie.  We’re forming consensus.  The world, I mean.  Forum chair Nitin Desai explains:

“Issues around spam, cybersecurity, openness, what are the blocks to freedom of speech? – they speak to all internet users directly.”

“Everybody has an experience of spam, sadly a lot of people have an experience of phishing attacks. People have got experience of viruses. They might be aware that internationally there are different approaches to freedom of speech – not just the obvious examples of regimes cracking down on content.  “Within Europe there are issues around dealing with content that is perhaps not illegal but distasteful to some countries and not to others.

“These are issues that matter.”

Well, we wouldn’t want any content that would be distasteful to any countries that are part of the world.  That wouldn’t be in the spirit of the consensus. 

Distasteful, offensive speech doesn’t worry me much – in aggregate it fuels social progress as cultures get a bright light shined on their dark corners (see previous post).  The speech that worries me is the smooth, well-intentioned code-words of those who want to restrict what you can say.  And, I guarantee that’ll be part of the inevitable document this ‘non-decision-making’ governance body will produce. 

I’m guessing that “the US has too much control of the Internet” will pop up as an “issue that matters”, too.  Call me cynical…

Categories: Politics

It’s hard out here for a cleric

October 30, 2006 1 comment

Poor Australian Sheik Taj el-Din al-Hilali complains that his remarks comparing women to ‘uncovered meat’ and laying most of the responsibility for rape on them, were taken out of context.  He feels he’s being treated unfairly for that one remark, which he concedes “may not have been appropriate for Western culture”.

OK, here’s some context:  Excerpts of al-Hilali’s speech.  Go check it out.

Personally, I’m having a difficult time imagining the context that would redeem the cleric’s remarks.  He goes on at length: it’s 90% the woman’s fault.  He has a solution: when rape occurs, punish the man… and jail the woman for life.  Because women are the tools of Satan.

Oh, and Christians and Jews are going to hell, too.

Categories: Uncategorized


October 29, 2006 4 comments

It isn’t often something really frightening finds its way into a Sunday comic.  But Foxtrot nailed it this morning.  Jason is showing off his Halloween costume to his brother, and explains;

“Computer experts have been warning for years that these things can be easily hacked, and without a paper trail, there’s no way to verify the vote counts weren’t tampered with.  Now, here we are nine days before elections, and reportedly one third of all jurisdictions will use them.

“Seriously, can you think of anything scarier?”

And then Jason’s brother does. (Click the single cartoon frame above to find out what)

BONUS QUESTION:  Why aren’t Republicans up in arms about electronic voting machines?  Setting aside the hypothetical Diebold conspiracy that would benefit their side, do you suppose there are more Democrat hackers or Republican hackers?  Paper ballots are in everyone’s interest.

Categories: Politics

Justice O’Conner on “Activist Judges”

October 28, 2006 2 comments

Like a lot of meaningless political catch-phrases, “Activist Judges” is a way of swaying large numbers of people without much danger of unauthorized thinking.  It pretty much means; “a judge who made a decision that I don’t like”.  It is a corruption of political discourse, and reflects a misunderstanding of what judges do.  Briefly, judges represent the constitution, not the people.  They are there to hold lawmakers and the president to a constitutional standard.

Retired Justice Sandra Day O’Conner has some insights on the constitutional importance of an independent judiciary.  Specifically she ain’t happy about the implications of the phrase “activist judges”.  Though of course, she would never use the word ‘ain’t’.

Categories: Politics

“Idiots in offices,” she said

October 26, 2006 2 comments

I saw the video on FOX news – replayed from different angles, in slow-motion, stop frame… 

It was absolutely clear.  The Winner of the Chicago Marathon, who had just completed a 24-mile run without slipping, stepped onto the plastic sticker that a sponsoring bank had stretched across the finished line, and slipped.  His head bounced off the pavement, and he lay writhing in pain.  (Watch the video.)

CHICAGO:  Robert K. Cheruiyot was released from a Chicago hospital Tuesday, two days after his victory in the Chicago Marathon.

The Kenyan runner slipped on a decal and fell to the pavement just before crossing the finish line Sunday, causing a brain contusion, the Chicago Tribune reported. His body skidded forward, bringing his torso across the line so that he became the official victor by 5 seconds.
Oct. 24 (UPI)

He was treated for internal and external bleeding in his head and was expected to spend the night at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Agent Federico Rosa said he was not sure if his client lost consciousness.

“They don’t talk of any severe complications,” Rosa said. “They just say he’s stable. … At the moment, it is nothing serious.”
ABC News: Kenya’s Cheruiyot Wins Chicago Marathon

“Nothing serious?”  No such animal with any head injury that causes internal bleeding and a detectable bruise to the brain, or that requires hospitalization for more than two days.  And “lost consciousness” is a relative term.  His question is revealing:

“Did I win the race?” he asked his coach. “What happened?”

After his release from the hospital, Cheruiyot still didn’t seem that focused:

‘‘I was just speedy and I just fell down. I don’t know why,’’ he said, refusing to blame the possibly slick logo for his fall. ‘‘There was really nothing wrong with the ground. I don’t know [why it happened].’‘

The decal was removed within a minute of his fall by marathon staff.

When asked point-blank if he planned to file suit against the marathon, Cheruiyot said no.
Chicago Sun-Times: Marathon Runner out of hospital

Yeah… the reason the marathon staff removed the decal was that it clearly caused the accident.  But luckily for the race organizers and the bank, the Kenyan runner is not planning to sue.  He is apparently not that familiar with American culture.  Every personal-injury lawyer in Chicago must be jumping up and down, waving their arms and yelling; “Pick me!  Pick MEeeeee!!!”

Speaking from experience, Cheruiyot,  there’s a reason they tell you not to make any important decisions after a head injury.  Including the decision not to sue the people responsible for the decal, whose defense was “we are very careful, and we never had this problem before”. 

MrsDoF was reading the Chicago Tribune and she perfectly encapsulated the image of people in suits sitting around a conference table discussing the plastic decal they wanted to apply to the finish race of a marathon course…

“Idiots in offices.”, she said.



Categories: Stupidity

Missing bloggers

October 25, 2006 8 comments

A bunch of people are down – I just went skipping around my blogroll and got ‘Server Error 500’ from Joe Irvin, GUYK, Justice Day, KeesKennis, Lemons and Lollipops, Unclaimed Territory, and WeeDram. 

Slowly it dawned on me… Blogspot is down.  Missed all you guys.

Scienceblogs and WordPress are both up, as are the independent servers of everyone else on the blogroll.  Recently Terry at (I see invisible people) had her hosting company go south on her so she was off the net for quite a while getting into a new host.  She was able to restore most of her posts, though.  Back up your database, folks!

While we’re at it, Gran’s OnBran has quit blogging.  I enjoyed reading her personal stories and very British take on life.  Guess I’ll sadly remove the link next time I tidy up the template.

On a positive note, Chris Clarke of Creek Running North is back up after assessing the threat to his elderly dog, Zeke.  Noting that activists pets have been killed in the past, everlasting shame to anyone who would ever threaten someone’s pet.  Glad it turned out OK this time.

Categories: Blogging, Geeky