Saturday, August 2, 2008

Bob Barr: Karl Rove Is In Contempt

I don't know which I like more about this YouTube Clip - Bob Barr saying that Karl Rove is in contempt of Congress? Or the opening and closing guitar licks from Ted Nugent's "Stranglehold"?

I believe that, for better or worse, Bush had the right to fire the eight AG's in question. Heck, Clinton replaced them all. That's the way the law is written.

By the same token, if Congress asks you questions, or asks for evidence, you have to answer. That's the way the law is written.

Go Bob.

This is from an email I got today from the Barr campaign:
A candidate running for president as an Independent in 2008 would have to collect 867,134 signatures from voters in all 50 states in order to have their name printed on the ballot on November 4th.
In comparison, Republican and Democrat nominees must collect zero signatures to have their name printed on the ballot in all 50 states on November 4th.That's right, to get their name printed on the ballot, John McCain and Barack Obama will need to collect no signatures - zip - zero - nada.
Had it not been for the three decades of work done by the Libertarian Party, the Barr Campaign would not be in such fine shape right now in regards to Ballot Access. But the job is not done just yet.

Do you think that's just a little bit screwed up? Democrats and Republicans AREN'T the government. They are social clubs who nominate candidates. Just like Libertarians, Greens, Whigs, or The Bull Moose Party. Why do the Yin and Yang of Tax and Spend get freebie ballot access?

Throw 'em out.

Go Bob.

Barack Obama and William Ayers

There have been a lot of posts the last few days about William Ayers and The Weather Underground.

The Weather Underground took their name from the lyrics of Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues": You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. They were an early 1970's radical group that ran around plotting to blow up things they didn't like - The Pentagon, Nation Guard Armories, their parents, etc etc etc.

The group could have used a safety consultant, as three members accidentally blew up themselves in a Greenwich Village safe house.

Chicago magazine once published an excellent profile on Ayers. The funniest part is how the guy rants against globalization, but saw no problem with supporting Starbucks. I believe that he'd never thought about the contradictions until this interview:

What are you doing in a Starbucks? I ask the man who professes to hate globalization.
"Oh," he says. "I have an addiction to caffeine."

There you have the complexity of Ayers: a man who once tried to overthrow his country's government and now works for a state university; an opponent of the bourgeoisie who has been married for 20 years; a left-wing radical who loves a good cup of imperialist coffee. Maybe he's always known how to choose his battles. Once one of his sons wanted to hear about how Ayers had been a draft card burner. "Tell me again how you burned your credit card, Pop," his son confusedly asked.

Here's a video that gives you something to contrast with the frumpy academic in that interview:

Here's a YouTube of Hillary mentioning Ayers in a debate:

If I remember correctly, Obama immediately slammed Hillary for mentioning the guy, since Bill Clinton either pardoned or commuted the prison sentences of two convicted Weather Underground members near the end of his second term. Obama and Hillary shouldn't air dirty Democrat laundry during debates.

Ayers and Obama both live in the same high-toned Hyde Park suburb of Chicago. (Yeah, lots of the anti-capitalists seek out those places. But Ayers has the unique distinction of having said "Kill the rich". They've served on boards together, and Obama had one of his early state senate fundraiser/exploratory committee meetings at Ayers' home.)

I've been waiting on the Republicans to make a bigger deal out of this guy, but so far not much has happened. They've created a mock FaceBook page, showing Obama and Ayers as "friends". Kind of funny, but not enough to justify the trouble they went through to create it. If the Republican National Committee thinks this will save them from the horrors of one-party government, they're mistaken.

Republicans need to get kicked out of office nationwide so they can get back to their small government roots. But I've worked in manufacturing for a long time, and I just hate to see an underutilized resource like Bill Ayers. They could do so much more than FaceBook silliness.

William Ayers is god's gift to Republicans, but they're too timid to do anything with him. Or maybe McCain is too much the military gentleman to get down in the mud.

If that's the case, McCain is doomed.

You don't need a Weatherman to see which way the wind blows.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Obama "The One" - The New John McCain Ad

Here's the new John McCain ad, where McCain asks if Barack Obama truly is The Bringer Of Light that the prophets foretold.
Since we're so conditioned to respond like Pavlovian dogs to this type music and that movie trailer voice, I'm afraid there are those in our great republic who will take this ad as an endorsement of Obama.

Roby Duke, "Be Thou My Vision"

I found out (belatedly) that Christian singer/songwriter/guitarist Roby Duke passed away quite a while back.
We graduated from the same school in Mississippi.
This is Roby doing an incredible arrangement of "Be Thou My Vision". Fast forward to the 2:50 mark, as all that precedes it is just Roby noodling around. Enjoy. The last ten seconds are priceless.
Roby was a good man, and he'll be missed.

Why Are Democrats Taking Money From Wal-Mart?

Jonathan Tasini of The Huffington Post asks "Why Are Democrats Taking Money From Wal-Mart?"
Kimberley A. Strassel of The Wall Street Journal answers: It's a Protection Racket. Politicians, lobbyists, and consultants cash in by protecting companies from their own party's agenda.

There. Any other questions?

Or does anyone else have a better answer?

Phil Gramm Died For Your Sins, Part 2

I know this is a huge disappointment, but we're still not in a recession.
How can Obama run against the economic policies of Bush The Younger if we can't have a decent recession?

C'mon, folks. Stop spending. Stop producing. Lay off some employees.
The media has called for a recession, and we need to make it happen.

Otherwise, people are going to say that McCain advisor Phil Gramm was fired for telling the truth.
We can't let that happen.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

An Inconvenient Test

I really, really need to stop doing posts about this.
Kevin Colby (who is hosting the next Carnival Of The Libertarians, see widget to your right) had a link to it.
It was so wonderful that I couldn't leave it alone.

So I've created a test. These sentences are from a 1974 Time magazine article.
Fill in the blanks.
You will be graded, so take this test Oh So Very Seriously.
Try to learn some Inconvenient Truths.

1) In Canada's wheat belt, a particularly _______ and rainy spring has delayed planting and may well bring a disappointingly small harvest.

2) A series of unusually ______ winters has gripped the American Far West....

3) ....when meteorologists take an average of temperatures around the globe they find that the atmosphere has been growing gradually _______ for the past three decades.

4) Telltale signs are everywhere (such as) the unexpected ___________ of pack ice in the waters around Iceland....

5) Since the 1940s the mean global temperature has _______ about 2.7° F.

6) Areas of Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic, for example, were once ______ snow in summer; now they are ________ year round.

7) Scientists have found other indications of global ________ .

8) Indeed it is the widening of this cap of ________ air that is the immediate cause of Africa's drought.

9) Man, too, may be somewhat responsible for the _______ trend.

10) Whatever the cause of the ________ trend, its effects could be extremely serious, if not catastrophic.

Ok, class, have you filled in all the blanks? Hit the link and check your answers.

If you filled in all ten blanks with the correct word(s), or acceptable synonyms, you have proven that you aren't susceptible to marketing. More than likely, you have never purchased anything over the phone. You have an intense distrust of Saint Albert The Goracle and the get-rich-quick schemes of his partners. You may have been reading this blog for way too long.

If you missed 1 or 2 questions, you still have your wits about you, and perhaps you feel guilty when you purchase fuel that contains ethanol. You may need a refresher course. Please read the Coyote Blog once a week to stay up to speed.

If you missed 3 or 4 questions, you are in danger. Look in the Bible, Revelation 3:16

If you missed 5 or 6 questions, there are some authorities who believe you are already beyond hope. I disagree. Start by asking yourself if this summer seems milder or more severe than others you remember. Pray about it. Then, examine your heart. Open yourself to that still small voice.... Our trained counselors stand at the front, waiting to lead you to the Lord. They'll also give you a free thermometer.

If you missed 7 or 8 questions, well, admitting that you have a problem is the first step toward recovery. But you have to want to change, and you're pretty far down the path to oblivion. No more voting for Democrats who claim they can change the weather. No more voting for weak-kneed Republicans who go along to get along.

If you missed 9 or 10 questions, you are prime bait. Prepare to be fleeced. But don't drag the rest of us down with you, ok? I don't ask the government to mandate that everyone buy Bob Dylan CD's, or Bud Lite, or anything else that I support. You shouldn't ask the government to mandate that everyone has to invest in Saint Albert's alternative energy start-up companies.

Class dismissed. And it's okay to sneak into the school restrooms to smoke. It helps warm the planet.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Let The Bailout Begin ! ! !

Becky, The Girl In Short Shorts Talking About Whatever has the best post I've found on the subprime mortgage bailout. This is how it begins:

Congress has given us the most expensive, scandalous financial bailout in seventy years. Bush has promised to sign the shameful bill, designed to prop up the housing market, and calm the jitters of the Wall Street boys and girls.Like almost everything Congress does it will be expensive, underwhelming, put American taxpayers on the hook, make money for their partners in crime, is a nice pander to bring home to the voters—and will, in the end, exacerbate the core problems with the economy.

This is how it ends:

The final rub is the national debt ceiling is increased to 10.6 trillion, so it is legally possible to fund the bailout.Don't you wish you could call up VISA, and tell them you have doubled the limit on your card?

The really good stuff is in the middle.

Becky likes the artwork to the left. Don't know where she finds it.

Oh, He's A Lawyer

My friend Dr. Ralph (in a somewhat bizarre context), has asked why people often say "well, he's a lawyer" or "she has a law degree", as if that gave moral authority to the argument opposed by the attorney in question.

Do people ever say "well, he's a bricklayer" when they're trying to discredit a bricklayer's argument?

Then, there are the lawyer jokes. And the Shakespeare quote, often seen on bumperstickers: "First, let's kill all the lawyers".

I've actually given this some serious thought. A functioning court system for the enforcement of contracts is a vital part of any free market/capitalist system. It doesn't work without lawyers.

Attorneys are alone (I think) in being required to work a certain number of hours per year for those who ordinarily couldn't afford the services of an attorney.

Several years ago, we had problems with an alcoholic neighbor. We complained to the police. The neighbor pressed charges against us. We had friends in a downtown law firm who represented us at no charge. They just liked us. They liked my wife.

Blah, blah, blah. So here's where lawyers get a bad rap. I work in the shipping, freight and logistics industry, and therefore I'm qualified to comment on these issues:

1) Every lawsuit, criminal trial, or custody hearing has a winner and a loser. Both sides are represented by lawyers. The loser generally comes away from the event with a white-hot hatred of the victorious attorney. This doesn't go away.

2) Whether this is an accurate stereotype or not, lawyers are perceived as being mercenary. They'll argue side A or side B, depending on who is paying the tab.

3) We often elect lawyers to public office. This gives them the opportunity to write laws. These laws are often written to guarantee business for....lawyers.

4) The United States is one of the few nations that allows lawyers to charge a percentage of the plunder, rather than a flat rate. This makes for some staggering paydays.

5) Hillary Clinton has a law degree.

6) I used to manage a retail establishment on Camp Bowie in Fort Worth. We closed every night at 9:00. One night around 9:10 p.m., a drunk lawyer started banging on the windows, wanting inside. We explained that we were closed. He explained that he was a lawyer, and that he wanted inside. It deteriorated from there. He slid his business card between the doors, and told us we'd be hearing from him in court.
I called his mega-law firm (where he was a junior scribe or something) every day for about a week, asking if I was going to be sued. I enjoyed it more than I should have. Not my finest moment.
But I wouldn't remember the incident if the guy had been a butcher, baker, or candlestick maker.

That's my take on the problem. I could be wrong.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

It's Wednesday, So I Need A Caption For This

It's Wednesday, so I need a well-balanced caption for this picture:

Congratulations to Jay at Soobdujour, winner of last week's caption challenge. Jay is the winner of a two dollar gift certificate to the Helen Thomas school of journalism, modeling, and facial massage.

Thanks to Grouchy Old Cripple for the pic. (Didn't remember where it came from when originally posted.)

Phil Gramm Died For Your Sins

Phil Gramm may (or may not) have been forced out of John McCain's campaign for saying that the United States is "a nation of whiners", and that any recession was only in our heads.

Disregard the fact that we still haven't had two negative quarters in a row. Forget that we're now paying as much as the rest of the world for our gasoline. Ignore the reality of their being more food in your Kroger's or Albertson's than there is in all of Darfur.

Phil Gramm's offense was to point out that whining has become a strategy. Check out this guy, who blogs at a site called Publius Endures. The post I've linked to is called "The Politics Of Whining", and Mr. Publius Endures gives us a great explanation of why your only choices are Republicans and Democrats.

Phil Gramm commited two unspeakable crimes.
1) He told the truth, and
2) He drew attention to the strategy of whining.

Bear Warning

Here's a rare photo entry from my youngest sister.
Dr. Liz, you'll have to click on the picture to increase the size. It's worth it.

Codex Sinaiticus And A Call For An Expanded Canon

Here's a site that is pure greatness.
The University of Leipzig library is in the process of putting the entire Codex Sinaiticus online.

Codex Sinaiticus is one of the most important books in the world. Handwritten well over 1600 years ago, the manuscript contains the Christian Bible in Greek, including the oldest complete copy of the New Testament. Its heavily corrected text is of outstanding importance for the history of the Bible and the manuscript – the oldest substantial book to survive Antiquity – is of supreme importance for the history of the book.

Wikipedia (which had the most concise explanation of the book's present locations) states that The codex is now split into four unequal portions: 347 leaves in the British Library in London, 12 leaves and 14 fragments in St. Catherine's Monastery of Sinai, 43 leaves in the Leipzig University Library, and fragments of 3 leaves in the Russian National Library in Saint Petersburg. Anyone wanting to research the book until now had to cash in a lot of air miles and call in all sorts of political favors. In other words, it couldn't be done.

I've pulled up a random section from the text, just to show how it works (you can't download pics at this point, or I would post one). Hit this link to see a section from The Book Of Tobit.

Wait a minute, say all the Protestants.... my Bible doesn't have a book of Tobit.

Well, this one did. So did the original Geneva bibles, and the original King James versions. According to my friend J.C., at his Moderate Episcopalian blog, the Codex Sinaiticus also contains books called The Epistle of Barnabas and The Shepherd of Hermas.

Here's a good online explanation of why these books, known as The Apocrypha, aren't in Protestant bibles. In short, they weren't fully accepted in the Jewish Canon, Jesus didn't refer to them, there aren't many references to these books in the rest of the New Testament books, many of the Early Church Fathers rejected them, they fail something called "tests of propheticity", and they've got some downright impossibilites in them.

But wait a minute, wait a minute..... Here's a Roman Catholic site that asks some difficult questions of Protestants (I'm a Protestant, BTW. Grew up Southern Baptist, and am now a Borgian Baptist).
Saint Augustine thought these books were inspired, and so did many of the early popes.
So did The Council Of Hippo, the first Christian group to sit down and vote on what is and isn't scripture.
Here's a listing of which Apocryphal books are included in the oldest Christian manuscripts. Here's a chart of which Christian denominations have these books in their bibles.
Here's the same thing in a different format.
And this guy has a listing of all the New Testament verses that reference the Apocrypha ! ! ! Some of these verses were statements made by Jesus.

People are starting to think we made a mistake somewhere.

But let's assume that Martin Luther was truly inspired when he didn't include The Apocrypha in the earliest Protestant bibles, just like he was inspired when he began the Protestant Reformation. The problem here is that Luther had a very low view of the book of Hebrews, and the books of James, Jude, and Revelation. He put a special preface in his first german bibles which explained his concerns about these books, pointing out their inferiority to the rest of scripture.

This statement is from The Bible Researcher:

Luther's criticism of these books will perhaps be found disgraceful and even shocking to modern Christians, but it should be pointed out that his attitude was not so shocking in the context of the late Middle Ages. Erasmus had also called into question these four books in the Annotationes to his 1516 Greek New Testament, and their canonicity was doubted by the Roman Catholic Cardinal Cajetan (Luther's opponent at Augsburg. See Reu, Luther's German Bible, pp. 175-176).
The sad fact is, the Roman Catholic Church had never precisely drawn the boundaries of the biblical canon. It was not necessary to do so under the Roman system, in which the authority of the Scriptures was not much higher than that of tradition, popes, and councils. It was not until the Protestant Reformers began to insist upon the supreme authority of Scripture alone that a decision on the 'disputed books' became necessary.
If Luther's negative view of these books were based only upon the fact that their canonicity was disputed in early times, we would have expected him to include 2 Peter among them, because this epistle was doubted more than any other in ancient times. But it is evident from the prefaces that Luther affixed to these four books that his low view of them had more to do with his theological reservations against them than with any historical investigation of the canon.

And then there are the dozens and dozens of Gnostic Gospels and other books that never made the cut due to political reasons. It makes your head hurt after a while.

So the Catholics value tradition, and the Protestants value scripture.

How do we Protestants know what is and what isn't scripture?

Catholic tradition.

What about the rest of it?

Protestant tradition.

What if the traditions are in error? Where does that leave all my frequent Anonymous Commenters and emailers who have condemned my support of The Jesus Seminar? (They're a group of Bible scholars similar to The Council of Hippo. They try to determine what is and what isn't authentic

If we were to open the Biblical Canon for new entries, what should be included? "Dark Night Of The Soul" by Saint John of The Cross? MLK's "I Have A Dream" speech? Mark Twain's classic "On Smells"? One of Ronald Reagan's "Morning In America" TV ads? "Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God" by Jonathan Edwards? Christopher Moore's "Invocation" at the beginning of his novel "Lamb"?

Please advise.

Monday, July 28, 2008

W Trailer - a preview of the new Oliver Stone movie about George W. Bush

Here's the trailer for "W", the new Oliver Stone biopic about George W. Bush.
Define "trailer": What we used to call a preview.

Pause at 1:28 to see who those vaguely familiar looking actors are.

I thought Stone did a great job with "JFK", and an even better job with "Nixon". (The Nixon one was very even-handed, which surprised me.)
Since I work in the freight, logisitics, and transportation industry, that qualifies me to pass judgement on movies.
Anyway, this one looks good. They've already gotten the casting right.

The U.S. National Debt Clock

Look to your immediate right, and you'll see a U.S. National Debt Clock added to the blogroll.
To determine your share of the United States National Debt, divide the total debt by 304 million - the estimated population of the nation at 8:04 p.m., Central Standard Time, July 28th 2008.

You'll come up with $31,300.00

I don't know if your part of the tab for the subprime mortgage bailout has been added yet.

You don't remember guaranteeing and approving those risky loans? I don't either.

Anyway, your share of that fiasco will only come to about $1,300.00. That's less than 5% of your total percentage of the national debt, but you've been able to rationalize similar percentages at Christmastime, haven't you? None of this goes toward the children, though. In fact, that's who we're going to leave holding the tab.

If you want to add a similar clock to your own blog, website, or better yet, an email to all the people you're not going to vote for in November, you can click here.

The National Deficit is harder to figure each year since jacking around with tax rates has an influence on people's spending and earning. Plus, who knows what goodies will disappear into the hands of the bailout recipients each year?

If you're still wondering why American dollars are worth less and less as compared to yen, pesos, euros, or that stuff that comes with the Monopoly game, look no further. There are only two ways we'll get out of this, and everyone overseas is assuming that we'll choose Option A: just start printing the stuff.

Option B is to quit voting for the people who got us into this mess.

Nahhhh. We've never done that before.

Fire up the presses.

Help Save Libby And Lola

Here's the story as I understand it:

In house A there is a de-clawed cat. In my opinion, if you own a de-clawed cat, it's your responsibility to keep the cat in the house.
In the back yard of house B are two large dogs. The dogs are kept in a fenced back yard, a back yard that also has an electircal barrier buried underneath the fence.

Cat A somehow gets outside and gets eaten by the dogs of B - dogs named Libby and Lola.

Here's what the B people are now up against:

Upon arriving at the mandatory criminal trial against them, Libby and Lola's people realized too late that they were in way over their heads. After having filed multiple different testimonies to both the court and insurance agencies, the neighbors, one of which recently became a licensed attorney in the State of Texas, changed their entire story that day on the stand and under oath, claiming that Libby and Lola crawled under the cedar fence that was hotwired at the base and without causing any damage to the fence, hotwire, and boulders along its edge, attacked the helpless "T" then ruthlessly dragged him back under the fence and over to their yard as the neighbors watched in horror. The city prosecutor, who was trying Libby and Lola's people, denied them their right to provide evidence at every single request and objected to their usage of nonlegal verbage requiring them to act as their own attorney and question one another on the stand as witnesses without any prior knowledge or experience. Shortly after the trial started, it was over and Libby and Lola were deemed "Dangerous Dogs" by the city of Fort Worth. Libby and Lola's people stood horrified as they were given the paperwork offering them only two horrendous options in order to retrieve Libby and Lola from their prison, euthanize them or permanantly cage them in their own back yard. Now they have 15 days from July 16th, 2008 to comply with a laundry list of orders including $100,000 insurance policies on each dog, a permanent concrete padded enclosure with a roof, flourescent collars and jackets stating "Dangerous Dog" and muzzle for each to wear if they ever need to be out of their cage, microchipping of both Libby and Lola, signed affidavits they won't ever be sold, etc. If these requirements are not complied with and approved in time, Libby and Lola will be euthanized by the city of Fort Worth at their people's expense!
Euthanized at their people's expense? What the hell? Isn't that kinda like the Totalitarian Government practice of sending someone to the firing squad, and then sending their parents an invoice for the bullets? Do we really want to live in that kind of world? ? ? ?

If you have a de-clawed cat, you have taken away the cat's ability to defend itself. (Typing that sentence almost sent me into a 2nd amendment rant, but I don't have time.) So keep your helpless cat inside.

If there are large dogs in a back yard, they eat things. Kids, cats, shoes, burglars, etc. That's why you need to keep your stuff out of Yard B if you don't want it eaten.

Save Libby and Lola. See links above.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Modest Wager On Global Warming Climate Change

I try not to post too much on Global Warming Climate Change, since it eventually comes down to placing bets on what's going to happen with the weather. It's either going to get warmer or cooler. It's going to rain more or it's going to rain less.
I think that we cannot change the weather, but Reverend Pat Robertson and Al Gore disagree with me.
After a while it becomes tiresome.

But I found this series of charts on an Australian site. Interesting stuff. The links provided in the comment field could keep you busy all day, if you are so inclined.

The seven charts basically demonstrate the following:
(The italics are just me reminding you of other unfounded fears.)

1) The world isn't warming (and the sky isn't falling).
2) The lower atmosphere has actually been cooling (and airliners aren't going to drop out of the sky because of the Y2K problem).
3) The seas have been rising for about the last 150 years, but now they've stopped (and God isn't going to call down judgement on New Orleans because of a heavy concentration of Gays and Lesbians).
4) The amount of sea ice is heavier than usual (and no one has ever documented a case of razor blades hidden in Halloween apples).
5) We don't have any more cyclones or hurricanes than usual (remember the freakout in China over SARS? Chill. There's nothing to worry about).
6) It still rains (remember last week, when we were all afraid to eat tomatos? Turns out, we should've worried about jalapenos. Or something totally different. We don't know.)
7) There were once farms in Greenland, somewhere beneath all that ice. (and if you step on a crack, it won't break your mother's back).

We enjoy good food. We enjoy companionship. And we enjoy freaking out over things that aren't going to happen. Otherwise we feel guilty for "not doing enough about it".

For years and years, I've known that people enjoy supporting the home team, even when the odds are against them. So I make money betting against home teams with home team supporters. It's easy, and keeps me in lunch money. But now it's time to branch out.

A U.K. athlete/adventurerer/explorer named Lewis Pugh is going to try to kayak from Norway to the North Pole. His point is that there won't be enough ice to prevent him from getting there.

I'll bet $50 against your $10 that he doesn't make it. Email me (see user profile) or use the comment field. First person to do so gets to make the bet. All bets are off if he uses his support boat as an ice breaker.

Any takers?