Tuesday, April 30, 2002
I pondered what it would be like if the witnesses testifying before the Senate dared to give real answers to the likely stupid, leading, propagandizing and self-aggrandizing questions the Senators would be asking. I think it might go something like this:
S: Mr. Greedy Oil Company Executive, gas prices are rising. You have colluded with your competitors to reduce capacity, increase profits, chill competition and generally be a naughty boy. You have profited unduly by selling the American public a product at a price higher than it cost you to produce it. So, Mr. Greedy Oil Company Executive, would you please, in your own words, tell me, the committee, the Senate, and in fact the entire United States of America why gas prices are going up?
MGOCE: People drive more in the summer so demand goes up. Our supply is down because we have lost the economies of scale we used to enjoy before federal regulation required us to produce 27 different formulations of gasoline instead of just one. Because each formulation can only be sold in a very particular market, the supply in each market is artificially limited. Endless petty regulations create real costs to the consumer. The Middle East is even more screwed up than normal. The law of supply & demand, coupled with the near unbearable cost of federal regulation, set the price of gasoline. And by the way, just exactly where in the U.S Constitution do you find your assumed power to call me here as a witness today, much less conduct this investigation in the first place?
These comments constitute the entirety of my testimony. If you don't mind, I have some real work to get back to at my office, ensuring that my company continues to deliver its product, and that your ridiculous taxes continue to get paid.
Monday, April 29, 2002
But school officials said Mahon, who is the editor of the school newspaper, knew the rules prohibiting drugs, alcohol and nicotine before he agreed to the testing that's required for those in extracurricular activities.Knowing the rules and forcing people to accept the rules does not mean that the rules make sense. All kinds of bureaucrats, armed and otherwise, use this excuse everyday attempting to buttress their support for immoral, illegal and unconstitutional laws. Hell, when Mr. Mahon bought his cigarettes the tax on his smokes likely helped fund his shitty school!
Don't worry, Dr. Jarmen, the camera won't steal your soul -- you obviously do not have one to steal.
[This story and its link courtesy Overlawyered.com.]
MR. RUSSERT: How concerned are you that you’re creating a whole new generation of young Palestinians who want to do nothing but destroy Israelis?
MR. NETANYAHU: Well, we’re not creating them. What’s creating them is the inculcation that they receive in these schools. And you have no choice but to defend yourself and to dismantle these regimes. The key is the regimes that inculcate these people. You know, it’s often said, and you just heard it, that between the lines that what produces terrorism, and, by extension, what produces suicidal terrorism, is the deprivation of rights. OK? Well, if that were the case, then in the 19th century—you can say that to an audience whose historical understanding goes back to breakfast. OK? But if you look at the thousands, thousands of conflicts for national liberation and for equal rights in the 19th and 20th century, hardly any produced terrorism. Martin Luther King didn’t use terrorism. Mahatma Gandhi in fighting for the liberation of India from Britain didn’t use terrorism. The peoples of Eastern Europe in fighting—struggling to bring down the Berlin Wall didn’t use terrorism. In the 19th century, the Poles, the Czechs, the Greeks, the Italians, all fighting for their independence, never used terrorism. And neither did most of the people who fought for these freedoms.
I think that Bruce Sterling may have been on to something when his biggest complaint about the Bush administration was how it treated us like children. Netanyahu is not merely impressive for how he speaks and what he says, he is impressive because he not afraid to treat his audience like thinking adults. He may be more grounded in reality than any current U.S. politician, with the possible exception of Reps. Ron Paul or Roscoe Bartlett.
Wednesday, April 24, 2002
Quoting Justice Stevens:
“Land-use regulations are ubiquitous and most of them impact property values in some tangential way — often in completely unanticipated ways. Treating them all as per se takings would transform government regulation into a luxury few governments could afford."I might not put it as eloquently as would my land use control professor, but isn't that the fucking point! If the government cannot afford to take property away from people "for public use" than it needs to re-prioritize its desires. Ours is supposed to be a country (and states) of limited government, a place where the government, not the citizenry, should have to choose its battles. Instead we now face an overwhelming administrative burden, one that is justified as proper to use against us because it would cost the state too much to not do things this way. My head is spinning as I pound this rant into my keyboard. To rephrase this thinking, "Government must be allowed to be burdensome because it wouldn't be able to be burdensome if it had to follow the rules."
The Constitution is a clear and easy to read document, especially in areas considered a sacred part of the social contract the Constitution memorialized. It is as clear as day that government (feds by 5th, states and their progeny incorporated by the 14th)is supposed to pay when it takes propertly and puts it to a public use. If crippling all economically meaningful uses of a property for 21 years, a period so long that many of the property owners died before this case reached a final decision does not constitute a taking of the property than I cannot imagine what would qualify.
Monday, April 22, 2002
"Although (he) was reminded and educated many times by authorities and functional agencies, Son still deliberately infringed."I wonder if they meant to say that Son had been re-educated?
The Paris-based media rights group Reporters Sans Frontiers (RSF) said Son was detained after translating and publishing on the Internet an article entitled "What is Democracy," which had previously appeared on a U.S. embassy Web site.
Here is the proof of their sincerity. The Bush Administration has a secret, back-up government, in case they get killed. It's parked outside Washington, with a spare-tire Vice President to run it when and if the President is turned to glassy slag. Does AOL Time Warner have that? Or Disney, or Microsoft? How about you? Does your law firm have a strategic action plan for what to do when the Supreme Court is turned to ashes? How about you NGO activists? Who's the first guy you plan to email when you hear that Washington has had a nuclear, biological, or chemical strike? Can you email them, without routing the traffic through Washington?
The Bush Cabinet isn't afraid about the danger. Rumsfeld is not a jittery guy. Wolfowitz is a little pocket Bismarck. Condi Rice is scary. Colin Powell is a general, and he's the softie of the group. Bush himself is ticked-off. He's personally insulted. He's got a dead cop's badge in his desk drawer and he looks at it every damn day. Their courage is not the problem here. The problem is that they consider the rest of us to be children. Like the Congress, for instance. The Congress are children.
Friday, April 19, 2002
Assuming arguendo that the apple did not fall too far from the tree, I think I might know why Cuomos repeatedly bail on public events at the last minute -- they aren't prepared to face up to the unknown. Check out this quote by Andrew Cuomo and his henchman from the Ithaca Journal:
Cuomo was asked if it's good public policy to give a private-sector business public cash, putting it in direct competition with other private sector businesses with no such advantage?So, in Cuomo land asking a candidate a question about a pressing local issue created by HUD while that agency was under his watch is "sandbagging." (Not to mention the fact that his answer is meaningless drivel. Government intrusion into the market is the opposite of a free market.)
"Your supposition makes no sense," Cuomo responded. "Competition is part of the market. Under your supposition there would be only one restaurant and one gas station ..."
That's when Peter Ragone, Cuomo's campaign adviser, stepped in.
"Next question," Ragone said.
Later, Ragone accused the reporter of 'sandbagging' the candidate, and suggested Cuomo would have had a better answer to the question had he known in advance it was going to be asked.
Pitiful, just pitiful.
Wednesday, April 17, 2002
Monday, April 15, 2002
"Murder bomber" doesn't get it done for me either. Might I humbly suggest any of the following:
- Crazy-Bastard Bomber
- Stupid-Bastard Bomber
- Evil-Bastard Bomber
- Evil-Fucker Bomber
- Mother-Fucker Bomber
- Insane Mother-Fucker
- Cock-Sucking Bomber
- The Masturbating Hand of Allah
- Desperate Loser Bomber
- Empty Soulless Fuck
- Poor-Illiterate bomber
- Pawn Bomber
- Murder-Sucide Islamic Trailer-Park-Equivalent Bomber
- World's Worst Temp-Job
- Yassir's Butt-Boy-Bomber
It had been quite a while since I stood next to a train going more than 50 miles an hour. The effect of so much steel going so close by was a bit disorienting, almost dizzying.
I decided to mention this simply because everything about cargo containers fascinates me. I had a complete intermodal toy system as a child including trains, trucks, a container ship, high loader and cargo crane. I've even owned a "Lego" container train car. I vividly remember seeing container yards in Montreal, container ships in Holland, the container port in Halifax, container barges on the Main River in Frankfurt, countless trucks and trains carrying containers all over the World. The Discovery Channel has profiled the powerful cranes used at the Long Beach container port.
I guess I just took it for granted that cargo was shipped this way since it has always been done this way since I was a child. I had no idea before today just how revolutionary containers were for the shipping industry. Standardization of shipping trade goods in pre-packed containers has lowered the cost of goods, reduced the time to market, and increased the ability to trade in sensitive goods all over the world. The inventor of containerized shipping, Malcolm McLean, passed on last year.
I note in passing, so as to maintain my blogs general tone, that when first proposed to the United States federal government it was opposed to the idea and would not change ICC regulations to accommodate containers!
Friday, April 12, 2002
Thursday, April 11, 2002
After the shoes were declared safe, bomb squad officers took them to a remote area of the airport and blew them up to ensure that would not cause further confusion. "His shoes are in a million pieces," Wilson said.So said this story on Yahoo news.
The shoes were declared safe. Then the shoes were blown up.
The bomb squad was sure that the shoes were safe, but they blew them up anyway. To avoid further confusion. Blew them up.
Boys and their toys...
After spending a few million dollars equipping a bomb squad it would be gauche to expect them to not blow up something every now and then. Even if it is just a pair of heated shoes.
Why didn't they blow up their own shoes? Lazy bastards, not willing to pull an extra shift now and then to save up for their own "safe but blow-up-able" electrically heated shoes. No, they have to confiscate some perfectly legal, perfectly safe shoes from a sad sack tourist and then blow up his shoes. I wonder if they even bothered to get him replacement shoes?
When a small town fire department first gets a hazmat team it rolls with lights and siren every time a motorist over-fills his car's gas tank by 2 ounces. Only after the boys have had time to play with their toys will they finally settle into a rational and reasonable relationship with their new gear.
Thanks to these bozos we now have an increased Airborne Electric Shoe Bit Particle Index Rating in the Bay area, not to mention some poor tourist with cold feet.
I hope he wasn't flying to his wedding in NY.
Hazleton, Pennsylvania-AP -- A judge has thrown the book at a Pennsylvania woman who didn't pay her library fine.
The judge sentenced 24-year-old Theresa Keller to jail this week until she forks over 120 dollars in late fees for three overdue books.
Reference librarian Jane Dougherty filed a private criminal complaint against Keller for not returning the books -- "Star Trek," "Triangle," and "Fall of Freddie the Leaf."
Dougherty says charges are filed against patrons who don't pay a bill or return books after the library sends them a notice. Those who ignore a court summons are sent to jail.
The books were checked out September 14th, 2000. Keller was sent a bill the next month, charging her 40 dollars per book.
Keller declined to comment.
Wednesday, April 10, 2002
§ 1.04 Bearing arms; standing armies; military powers (1851)
[ View Article Table of Contents ]
The people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security; but standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and shall not be kept up; and the military shall be in strict subordination to the civil power
Tuesday, April 09, 2002
I think his analysis of the risk falls short for two at least reasons.
First, he discounts the fact that bombers in the U.S. need not be suicide bombers. Delivering explosives to crowded areas in Israel requires suicide bombers due to the alert nature of its citizens. A suspicious package, bag, box or backpack left alone in public for even a few moments draws the immediate attention and suspicion. Here in the U.S. people routinely leave things of substantial size lying around in public without anyone batting an eye. Even in airports I see passengers still leaving their luggage alone for minutes at a time as they wander off to parts unknown. So long as we remain oblivious to potential threats around us, terrorists need not hang a “suicide bombers needed” sign.
The second complaint I have with Mowbray’s article is his assumption of a disarmed, submissive and compliant citizenry. He blindly accepts as fact that citizens will not have with them a means to stop suicide attacks in progress. Colin Ferguson succeeded in his evil plans because he was the only armed passenger on that train. Had the State of New York not forcibly disarmed its citizens under threat of prosecution than the other people on that train could have ended his killing spree sooner.
Over the past few months there have been several instances, both in Israel and in the U.S. where a mass killing has been stopped by armed civilians. Now more than ever the folly of unilaterally disarming us against terrorists and other criminals should be clear. Introducing armed civilians to the mix might not stop terrorists, but leaving us disarmed certainly cannot make us any safer.
Monday, April 08, 2002
It might just be that Delta hires better help than does American. It could be that airline help in Ohio are more competent than those in Chicago. It might be that getting searched by someone who speaks clear English, is demonstrably and quickly identified as a U.S. citizen by mannerisms and accent, who is professional, courteous and efficient reminds me less of living in some banana republic than getting searched by some F.O.B recent ex-commie who touches my private parts without so much as verbal "Look out!"
Either way, I have to say Delta did a great job. Those were 25,000 well spent frequent flier miles.
Thursday, April 04, 2002
Eric Alterman wrote in the Nation: "While [Sullivan's] site arouses a certain gruesome car-wreck fascination, it serves primarily as a reminder to writers of why we need editors. [It] sets a standard for narcissistic egocentricity that makes Henry Kissinger look like St. Francis of Assisi."
Why are Web logs so infuriating to their shrewish detractors? Is it really the narcissism? Or is it the political opinions being expressed? Ask yourself this question: If Palestinian intellectual Edward W. Said were blogging, would Alterman and Beam be calling him a navel gazer? Or would they praise his brave alternative point of view and complain that the mainstream press is too conservative?
Web logs are infuriating because they are thoughtful alternatives to the self-important New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and their toady satellites, much of whose reporting has become hardly less biased than the bloggers'. Bloggers at least have the honesty to admit their biases up front. They don't pretend to be objective.
(I make no claim that any of the positive language about blogs applies to this one.)
Tuesday, April 02, 2002
Solution to the Palestinian Problem
Pundits have argued that the only possible long term solution for the "Palestinian Problem" is the total destruction of one side of the conflict. We propose instead a peaceful, historically proven solution: A lengthy attrition period followed by relocation to geographically challenged sovereign sub-nations, allowing the remaining natives special economic incentives as compensation for their displacement.