Saturday, January 31, 2009
We're The Government - And You're Not.
What if they messed up and released an accurate one?
Irony Is Dead
Hold a mirror up to its mouth, and you'll see no fog.
Irony has achieved room temperature.
You can bury it now. Don't even bother to take the morgue tag off its toe.
In the past, liberal western democracies have understood that no nation has ever "protected" its way to prosperity. The only way for anyone or anything to prosper is through trade. Trade with other people, families, neighborhoods, counties, cities, states, and especially, nations. That's the only way for consumers in one area to take advantage of the comparative advantage held in another area.
Well, it ain't looking good for Free Trade these days, mostly because those who can only survive and prosper inside a Protectionist Greenhouse are bribing others to put up more trade barriers.
But wait ! ! ! Four unlikely heroes, men of good sense, logic, and an understanding of history have risen to save the day ! ! They understand math, psychology, and economics ! ! According to some accounts, they can read books ! ! Some say they can read books without moving their lips ! !
Here's Lee Hudson Teslik, writing for RCP :
Pleas for economic openness rang out at this year's summit, particularly among the leaders of emerging economies. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin warned against reliance upon intervention and protectionism to cure economic ills, saying such policies could backfire (Guardian). Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao backed Putin, saying world leaders must remain vigilant (Xinhua) in their efforts to curb trade protectionism. Egypt's trade minister echoed concerns (Reuters) about protectionism, as did India's (Reuters).
Russia, China, Egypt, and India. Four of the most bass-ackwards places on earth. They get it.
The date and time for Irony's funeral service has not yet been announced. But the family asks that you not bring any flowers or food that you didn't produce yourself. You might as well get used to it now.
Irony pic from here.
The White Man's Burden, by Rudyard Kipling
"Take up the White Man's burden--
Send forth the best ye breed--
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives' need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild--
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child.
Take up the White Man's burden--
In patience to abide,
To veil the threat of terror
And check the show of pride;
By open speech and simple,
An hundred times made plain
To seek another's profit,
And work another's gain.
Take up the White Man's burden--
The savage wars of peace--
Fill full the mouth of Famine
And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest
The end for others sought,
Watch sloth and heathen Folly
Bring all your hopes to nought.
Take up the White Man's burden--
No tawdry rule of kings,
But toil of serf and sweeper--
The tale of common things.
The ports ye shall not enter,
The roads ye shall not tread,
Go mark them with your living,
And mark them with your dead.
Take up the White Man's burden--
And reap his old reward:
The blame of those ye better,
The hate of those ye guard--
The cry of hosts ye humour
(Ah, slowly!) toward the light:--
"Why brought he us from bondage,
Our loved Egyptian night?"
Take up the White Man's burden--
Ye dare not stoop to less--
Nor call too loud on Freedom
To cloke your weariness;
By all ye cry or whisper,
By all ye leave or do,
The silent, sullen peoples
Shall weigh your gods and you.
Take up the White Man's burden--
Have done with childish days--
The lightly proferred laurel,
The easy, ungrudged praise.
Comes now, to search your manhood
Through all the thankless years
Cold, edged with dear-bought wisdom,
The judgment of your peers!
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Trying To Drink Ourselves Sober
You won't believe what's in that stimulus bill.
Oh? Try me.
....We've looked it over, and even we can't quite believe it. There's $1 billion for Amtrak, the federal railroad that hasn't turned a profit in 40 years;
But think of all the Americans who just might use Amtrak one day. Maybe. Perhaps.
$2 billion for child-care subsidies;
In other words, a breeding incentive....
$50 million for that great engine of job creation, the National Endowment for the Arts;
Hello, Doctor Ralph ! Tell all the BoHo's to break out their paintbrushes !
$400 million for global-warming research....
Hmmmm.....I wonder what conclusions they'll reach? Is there any doubt? Should they even bother with buying thermometers?
and another $2.4 billion for carbon-capture demonstration projects.
That's $2.4 billion just to DEMONSTRATE carbon-capture. They're not yet paying for it to be done in the real world. But you soon will be.
There's even $650 million on top of the billions already doled out to pay for digital TV conversion coupons.
That's paying a lot of bread for people to watch the circus. Didn't Juvenal have something to say about that?
....Most of the rest of this project spending will go to such things as renewable energy funding ($8 billion) or mass transit ($6 billion) that have a low or negative return on investment. Most urban transit systems are so badly managed that their fares cover less than half of their costs. However, the people who operate these systems belong to public-employee unions that are campaign contributors to . . . guess which party?
The Greens? Strom Thurmond's Dixiecrat Party? The Constitution Party? The Surprise Party? I give up. Tell us, Oh Wall Street Journal, tell us.
Naw. Let's delete that part.
.....Here's another lu-lu: Congress wants to spend $600 million more for the federal government to buy new cars. Uncle Sam already spends $3 billion a year on its fleet of 600,000 vehicles.
Well, how are they going to demonstrate Carbon Capture unless they have Carbon Emitting Cars to capture the carbon from? Doh !
....As for the promise of accountability, some $54 billion will go to federal programs that the Office of Management and Budget or the Government Accountability Office have already criticized as "ineffective" or unable to pass basic financial audits. These include the Economic Development Administration, the Small Business Administration, the 10 federal job training programs, and many more.
Those people vote too, you know. Don't they deserve something for Christmas?
Oh, and don't forget education, which would get $66 billion more. That's more than the entire Education Department spent a mere 10 years ago and is on top of the doubling under President Bush. Some $6 billion of this will subsidize university building projects. If you think the intention here is to help kids learn, the House declares on page 257 that "No recipient . . . shall use such funds to provide financial assistance to students to attend private elementary or secondary schools." Horrors: Some money might go to nonunion teachers.
I'll let that one stand on its own.
The larger fiscal issue here is whether this spending bonanza will become part of the annual "budget baseline" that Congress uses as the new floor when calculating how much to increase spending the following year, and into the future.
No, that's not an issue. Don't act like they're even arguing the point. This is going to become a permanent part of the budget. Nothing is more permanent than temporary government spending.
This is supposed to be a new era of bipartisanship, but this bill was written based on the wish list of every living -- or dead -- Democratic interest group. As Speaker Nancy Pelosi put it, "We won the election. We wrote the bill." So they did. Republicans should let them take all of the credit.
I'm really tired of people talking about bipartisanship as if it were a good thing. Republicans worked hand in hand with Democrats to run up our current bar tab of $10,800,000,000,000.00
And now the Republicans want to run for the parking lot without paying? Just because the bar tab is about to double? Now that we're teetering on the edge of a spending disaster, they don't even want to argue about who ordered the last Margarita or the three JaegerBombs or the extra-spicy buffalo wings with Ranch dip?
Freakin' cowards, all of you.
Texas Senators John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison ! ! ! I'm calling you out on this one ! ! ! Get your wrinkled butts back in there and help the Democrats blow some money.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
A Nigerian Goat Has Been Arrested !
Super Bowl Picks
We have a football game this weekend.
Super Bowl 43.
The Arizona Cardinals vs The Pittsburgh Steelers.
The line opened with Steelers -6.5, and there was so much money wagered on the Steelers that they've increased the spread to Steelers by 7. Super Bowls are usually blowouts by the home team. The favorite usually wins. But I like the Cardinals to at least cover a 7-point spread.
And now, the fun stuff....
The winning coach usually gets a sideline Gatorade shower. Odds are 3-1 that the Gatorade will be yellow, instead of any other color. Load up on the other color. There's been so much publicity on this bet, I'm predicting some contrarians have stocked the coolers with the Red Fruit Punch flavor.
Here are a few others listed by Fox Sports:
Kurt Warner -23.5 passing yards over Ben Roethlisberger. If the Cardinals are going to at least cover a 7-point spread, it'll be because Warner throws at least 75 yards more than Big Ben. Take Warner.
Will Kurt Warner break Joe Montana's Career Super Bowl Record of 1,142 Passing Yards? Yes: +475 No: -700 (If you don't understand Money Line "Yes/No" bets, click here.) Take the NO, and quickly. Warner would need 364 passing yards to do this, and that ain't going to happen.
Total rushing yards by Willie Parker — Over/Under 75.5 The guys at Fox News don't like the odds of Parker breaking 75.5, and took the under. The guys at Fox News also didn't like the odds of Barack Obama being elected President. Take the over.
Total receiving yards by Larry Fitzgerald — Over/Under 83.5 Larry Fitzgerald is a beast. Larry Fitzgerald is not human. Larry Fitzgerald doesn't just bite, he also chews. Take the over.
Total kickoff returns by both teams — Over/Under 9.5 Remember, you have a kickoff to begin each half. That leaves you with only 8 more touchdowns or field goals needed to break this one. I think we'll have plenty of field goals. I like the over.
Total distance on the first punt of the game — Over/Under 41.5 yards Yeah, your typical NFL punter can boot it a lot further than 41.5 yards. But what if you're kicking from somewhere in no-man's land between midfield and field goal range? Go under.
Pittsburgh + Arizona total points -12.5 over LeBron James total points at Detroit For newcomers to Super Bowl betting insanity, you might need me to break this one down for you. Here's how it works. Add up the total points scored in the Super Bowl. Subtract 12.5 points. (The half point eliminates any chance of a tie.) Is this number higher or lower than the number of points that the NBA's LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers will score against the Detroit Pistons?
LeBron knows about this bet, right? LeBron will want to reward everyone who picked him to cover this, right? LeBron has been averaging 28 points per game, right? LeBron can control his own destiny in this thing easier than the Steelers and Cardinals, right? Take LeBron.
Pittsburgh + Arizona total sacks -0.5 over Ernie Els fourth round birdies (18 holes/Dubai Classic) It's golf, fer heaven's sake. Who cares? Take the sack total anway.
How long will it take Jennifer Hudson to sing the National anthem? — Over/Under 1:54 Just one minute and fifty four seconds? Jennifer Hudson is going to throw in more obligattos, fermatas, trills, shakes and shimmies than Francis Scott Key could have imagined. Yes, I know the music at these things is always pre-recorded. There are people out there who already know the exact length of Sunday's national anthem. But if you're singing at the Super Bowl, you don't sing it like a marching band plays it. Take the over.
What color will (Cardinals owner) Bill Bidwell's bow tie be? Red -600, Any other color +400 Cardinals are red. The team and the bird. Bidwell usually wears red bow ties, except for when he doesn't. He wears red so often that I think this one is fixed, simply because they're willing to take money on it as a competitive wager. I think someone has gotten Bidwell a good luck bow tie in a color other than red. Take the other color.
These picks have been brought to you by The Whited Sepulchre Sports Wagering Ministry.
US Air Rescue Cartoon - Please discuss
Did God intervene in the US Air jet landing and rescue operation on the Hudson river?
If God does intervene, why didn't he do something about the 25,000 or so people who died of malnutrition on the same day as this rescue?
If God intervenes, why didn't he simply intervene to save the geese?
Why are there no rescue tugboats in the cartoon?
Are we terrified to admit/affirm that we've been in an unbroken chain of cause and effect ever since The Big Bang?
John Cornyn - Damaged ! Defective ! On Sale While Supplies Last !
Big, Fat, Hairy Deal. It doesn't matter. These are symbolic little protests, meaning nothing.
The fix is in. They've already thrown the fight. Senator John Cornyn (Daddy Party, Texas) voted in favor of the Timothy Geithner confirmation. If you can vote to confirm Tim "The Tax Dodger" Geithner as Chief Tax Collector/Big Brother Of The Bailout , is there anything you won't do?
Here's the frustrating thing.... John Cornyn is great on Free Trade and 2nd Amendment rights. He's consistently voted
But he believes that Social Security benefits are sacred, that we need a constitutional amendment against flag desecration, and that we need a constitutional amendment against gay marriage. When George W. Bush did the right thing and vetoed the latest obscene Farm Bill, John Cornyn voted to overide the veto. Cornyn is also for teacher-led prayer in the public schools.
In short, John Cornyn is a typical Daddy Party politician. (All of the above info comes from a site called On The Issues. Long-time libertarians will be interested in the chart at the bottom of the page....)
Our current party system has an infuriating division with The Daddy Party advocating economic freedom and an insane amount of government interference in what should be private matters, while The Mommy Party fully embraces economic insanity, but has an ok record on social freedom (after the mid-1970's, anyway).
Having to vote between The Daddy Party and The Mommy Party is like shopping in a massive warehouse full of Factory Seconds, Damaged & Defective Product, and goods that couldn't pass the final Quality Control Inspection. Every now and then a Jeff Flake or a Ron Paul appears on the warehouse shelf by mistake, but those guys are like diamonds in a dungheap.
In the meantime, $1,000,000,000,000.00 gets taken from your pocket and given to the Daddy/Mommy Party supporters because you don't think you have any other choice.
Just a reminder....there are other warehouses where you can shop.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
How Jesus Evolved
"We need to be prepared....to discover that there is an enormous gap between the theological claims that have been made for Jesus in the life of institutional Christianity and the record that was actually contained in the Gospels....Most believers....do not learn in church that the virgin birth accounts were not original to Christianity, and did not appear in Christian history until the ninth decade."
"Perhaps more important....the divine nature of Jesus....was also a late-developing reality."This might need a bit of elaboration. The first books to be written in the New Testament were those of Paul, who probably wrote between 18 to 34 years after Jesus' death.
Then came the Gospel of Mark.
Matthew was next.
Got it? Paul, Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John. You can argue the fine points, but even some of the most fundamentalist of Biblical scholars agree with that timeline. The Apostle Paul was blogging away long before the first Gospel accounts of Jesus' life were written.
Paul writes as if Jesus didn't perform any miracles during his lifetime. Not once does Paul mention a virgin birth. Paul says that Jesus was designated a "son of God", but God did all the designating. There's no sense of divine equality between God and Jesus. You can search Paul's writings (and the rest of the Bible) in vain for the word "Trinity".
Paul claimed that the designation of Jesus as God's divine son took place by his "resurrection from the dead." You could make the case that Paul believed Jesus wasn't thought of as God's son until Jesus experienced a spiritual resurrection, something totally different from the heroic "Jeff Bridges In White" moment shown below.
About ten or fifteen years after Paul, someone wrote the Gospel of Mark. Like Paul, the author of Mark doesn't seem to know anything about virgin births, Mary being visited by angels, or even any post-resurrection appearances. (Note how the oldest copies of Mark end at Chapter 16, verse 8. Someone got creative with Mark about 100 years after the first draft.)
The author of Mark wasn't content with Paul's theory that "God designated Jesus as 'God's Son' at the time of the resurrection". Some one-upmanship was in order.... Mark took Paul's words and put them in the voice of God during Jesus' baptism. When Jesus is lifted out of the water, the voice of God says "This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased". But read the text in Mark 1:9-11, and you get the idea that no one saw the heavens splitting open or heard God's voice except Jesus.
Yeah, right. Good job there, Mark.
Anyway, Mark moved the moment of Jesus' divinity forward about three years, from the resurrection to the baptism.
Then, about 50-55 years after the time of Jesus, came the book of Matthew. Spong writes that "It was for Matthew an intolerable idea that Jesus became something either at his baptism or his resurrection that he was not already,"
So an unnamed angel appears to Joseph (only in a dream) and tells him that Mary's child is from the Holy Spirit. "She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."
Matthew trumped Mark and Paul nicely, giving Jesus a divine pedigree at the moment of his conception.
Just a few years later, Luke used the same storyline, but firmed it up a bit. The angel was given a name (Gabriel), and appeared in person to Mary, not Joseph. Gabriel tells Mary that she's to be the mother of "the Son of God", the "Son of the Highest", and that "The Holy Spirit will come upon you".
So Luke is sitting back, in the words of Mark Twain, with "the calm confidence of a Christian holding four aces". Nobody would EVER be able to improve on that. Conception is the earliest point in our existence, right?
Here's Bishop Spong again: "Jesus' identity with God had become so complete by the tenth decade of the common era that he was said to have shared in that identity prior even to his conception and birth. So pre-existence became a category of which Christians began to talk."
Near the end of the first century someone composed the Gospel of John. Chapter one of John begins like this: " 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made..... 9 And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us."
And there, ladies and gentlemen, is your proof that plants and animals aren't they only thing to evolve.
Gods do it too.
Pictures from here and here and here and here and here.
Does Your Package Need Stimulating ???
The video proposes several obvious things:
1) The stimulus package is nothing more than a payoff to contributors, or a way of bribing selected voters to become Big Government Sheeple.
2) George W. Bush increased government spending at a previously unimagined rate. This failed to stimulate the economy, or anything else, except the packages of military contractors.
3) All government spending is money taken out of the "regular" economy. Therefore, it is money taken from those who will use it most efficiently, and given to those who will use it least efficiently.
4) If you need to have your package stimulated, persuade someone else to stimulate it for you. Or stimulate your package yourself. Forcing someone else to stimulate your package is just wrong.
Caption Contest - Frosty Edition
According to The Competition Committee, Flea won the last caption contest. There would have been more entries, but the comments degenerated into analysis, deconstruction, and mutual admiration.
It reminded me of a basketball game where the players stopped the action to critique each others' jump shots.
Monday, January 26, 2009
So Many Blogs, So Little Time
They have good general interest posts and other Town Of The Cow-related stuff.
The site has the look and feel of a Pete Wann production.
Going to Pete's site led me to Fort Worth Foodie. It's all about unhhh....Fort Worth Food. You get hungry looking at the screen.
And The Ghetto Plainsman.... one of the Fort Worthers I'd most like to meet. He's your typical African-American vegetarian fitness expert environmentalist kind of person.
Thimblethwicket - by Cynthia Shearer, a TCU writing perfesser. Check out this post about Mississippi (NOT CHICAGO, DAMMIT) blues legend Muddy Waters. She even gives a shout-out to Nicholas Lemann's brilliant but forgotten "The Promised Land", the best book ever written about the Black migration from the Mississippi Delta. And Good Lord Have Mercy, she used to be a curator at William Faulkner's house. Ms Shearer must have deep Mississippi roots, and therefore she is the best writing professor at TCU. Sign up now. I bet space is limited.
All are now blogrolled in the Fort Worth Bloggers section, and all are worthwhile.
Everybody on this planet is now typing faster than I can read. I love it.
If someone wants to smoke on their own property, it's their own business.
If they want to allow others to smoke on their property, it's their own business.
Like carpenters who risk their thumbs, like high rise construction workers who risk their life, like schoolteachers who risk their sanity, if you're willing to expose yourself to 2nd-hand smoke, it's your own business.
Fort Worth Weekly's Blog (Blotch) has an article on our effort to fight The Health Nazis (yeah, I just violated Godwin's Law).
Here's a brief excerpt:
I’ve never really understood how a city can legally force private property owners to ban smoking in their own establishments, whether a bar, restaurant, or whatever. It seems like a smart thing to do health-wise, but doesn’t seem legally possible. Still, cities across Texas and the country are cracking down on public smoking.The Libertarian Party is fighting back, calling it a private property rights issue. Here’s their announcement about an upcoming legislative push....
The comments have already gotten interesting, and it would be nice to see a few dozen more added to the dogpile.
"First they came first for the Gays and Lesbians, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t Gay or Lesbian;
And then they came for the Pot Smokers, And I didn’t speak up because I didn't smoke marijuana;
And then they came for the Gun Owners, And I didn’t speak up because I didn't own a gun;
And then they came for the Cigarette Smokers, And I didn't speak up because I didn't smoke cigarettes;
And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up.
But they kept the tobacco subsidies in place, because lots of millionaire tobacco farmers liked the money, and they were big time campaign contributors."
With sincerest apologies to Pastor Martin Niemoller
Verbosity - An Example, and A Test
This is because I truly believe that if you disagree with me, it's because you're not aware of all of the facts.
But I'm an amateur.
Click HERE to see the longest comment in the history of the internet. I gotta admit, I'm proud to host it. I can't even walk onto the same verbosity playing field with this guy.
I Googled some of the phrases used, and found that he (why do I just know that it's a He?) has copied the same comment onto more than 900 websites and blogs. You have to admire that kind of commitment and stamina.
While looking for a picture to illustrate this post, I discovered somthing called the Blog Verbosity Test, which should probably be taken with not a mere grain, but an extremely large shaker of salt.
They claim that my average post is 67 words in length. That's 87% fewer words than other bloggers who took the test.
So take that, YOU and YOU.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
The Church Of Global Warming might be due for a membership drive
In 1971, perhaps entertaining thoughts of entering the full-time ministry, Al Gore, raised in and baptized into the Southern Baptist Church, entered the Vanderbilt Divinity School.
His sojourn was relatively brief. In three semesters, he enrolled in eight classes. He received an “F” as his grade in five of those classes.
I left Southwestern Baptist Theological Semetary (not a typo) with a 3.0 Not that I'm particularly proud of abandoning the same grad school program as The Goracle.
So, having failed out of school, he entered the family business, which was politics. But he apparently never lost his desire to enter a ministry, and since he couldn’t make the grade in the conventional sense, he did the next best thing. He started his own religion.
The result was the Church of Global Warming. With Gore as its high priest, the church was not long in establishing tenets of faith, nor in immediately branding those who refused to worship there as apostate.
The tragedy is that Gore, in his tenure in the family business, learned well how to work the political system, and when he turned to evangelizing for his new church, he was able to effectively use what he learned as a politician to grant government sanction to that church, sanction that would have been vehemently opposed had he attempted to grant government sanction to the church in which he grew up.
Think about the similarities between the global warming/cooling/climate change movement and a religion..... The earth is our mother (God is our father) something must be "saved" (You've got to get saved), people who deny that the earth is warming are compared to holocaust deniers (You filthy atheist), we've got to act now - we don't know what tomorrow will bring, no sacrifice is too great (If you were to die tonight, do you know where you would spend eternity?) The earth is offended, and it's all your fault (God is offended, and it's all your fault) I could go on and on....
The entire article is worth reading. Here are a few more that take a hatchet to the Church Of The Inconvenient Thermometer. Let's start with The Washington Times:
Turn up the heat, somebody. The globe is freezing. Even Al Gore is looking for an extra blanket. Winter has barely come to the northern latitudes and already we've got bigger goosebumps than usual. So far the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports 63 record snowfalls in the United States, 115 lowest-ever temperatures for the month.
How are anyone's campaign donors going to make any money off of that? You mean, it's not getting warmer? Not to be undone, The Goracle's disciples have introduced a new threat to all that is holy. We're not worried about global warming any more. The One True Church is now threatened by.....Climate Change ! ! !
The polar ice is accumulating faster than usual, and some of the experts now concede that the globe hasn't warmed since 1995. You may have noticed, in fact, that Al and his pals, having given up on the sun, and no longer even warn of global warming. Now it's "climate change." The marketing men enlisted by Al and the doom criers to come up with a flexible "brand" took a cue from the country philosopher who observed, correctly, that "if you've got one foot in the fire and the other in a bucket of ice, on average you're warm." On average, "climate change" covers every possibility.
Watching the Church of Climate Change try to loot The Treasury for money to invent perpetual motion machines is going to be comical, now that most of the nation is colder than a well-digger's posterior. The sad thing is, they'll probably be succesful.
They've got God on their side.
(Thanks to the G.O.C. in Atlanta for the Church of G.W. article)