Saturday, November 7, 2009

Buy A Pelosicare Policy, or go to jail for five years ?

Can anyone really describe how badly they're going to screw this up?

Buy something from my constituents, or you're going to go to jail? (Granted, we have similar requirements on auto insurance, but that is to protect other drivers from you.)


I'm gonna go to The Texas Motor Speedway, and watch people drive around in circles. Y'all have a good weekend.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Sara Island, Goodfellas, Fort Hood, and Gun Control

When I was a kid, my father and I would go to a deer hunting camp called Sara Island (actually a peninsula) on the Mississippi River. If I remember right, if you started off in north Mississippi, you had to go through Arkansas and Louisiana to get there. And it was in Mississippi.
That place had more guns per acre than anywhere I've ever been.
About a hundred yards outside each entrance to the camp housing area was a sign stating YOU MUST UNLOAD GUNS NOW ! $50.00 FINE FOR ANY LOADED WEAPON IN CAMP. Hunters who had been friends for life didn't hesitate to check each other's guns, good manners be damned, just to be sure. Ammo was everywhere, in pockets, vests, and glove compartments, but the guns were unloaded in camp. We were in an incredibly remote area, but had no fear. No one in his right mind would attack us, rob us, or anything else. It was one of the safest places I've ever been.

Remember the wedding reception scene in Goodfellas, where Ray Liotta's new bride is worried about whether their wedding cash will be safe if left alone at their table? Liotta laughs, and says that they're probably in the safest room in the United States. She doesn't know that everyone in the room is Mafia. Would anyone have dared to rob someone in that room?

Which gets me to my point.... Are military bases gun-free zones? Can anyone except M.P.'s carry while on base? Is there a point to having 500,000 U.S. soldiers on duty if every single one of them isn't packing heat? This is an incredibly sad day, and I don't want to cheapen the tragedy by making a cheap anti-gun control point, but lord have mercy, how can someone go onto a U.S. military base and kill that many soldiers before people start shooting back?

But I can't resist cheapening the tragedy by taking this cheap shot:
This must have been one hell of a conference. Before our president got around to delivering the national announcement about the Fort Hood shooting, he gave us two-minutes worth of remarks about an incredible policy wonk conference, including a shout-out (:25) to his homies in the crowd. Dang, I wish I could have been at that conference. Sandwiched in the middle are some incidental remarks to the nation about the shooting at Fort Hood. At the 4:35 mark, he gets back to the conference.

We're in the best of hands....

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Paul Krugman tries for a Teachable Moment and fails

Here's the White House pet economist Paul Krugman, learning the hard way about statistical polling samples:


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Why Jesus only had six disciples

As I've stated in earlier posts, I've devoted the last 6 months to re-translating the New Testament. (Since I work in the shipping and logistics industry, this qualifies me for almost anything.) You can hit the "Bible re-interpretation" tag at the bottom of this post to read more translations.
The section posted today is so shocking that I'm bracing myself for harsh and savage criticism from the theological, political, and economic communities. The properly translated text reveals that there were some complications when Jesus called his twelve six disciples. This is from the Gospel Of Mark, Chapter 1, beginning with verse 16.

16. As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.
17. "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men."
18. At once they left their nets and followed him.
19. When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets.
20. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.
21. And Matthew the tax collector came unto James and John, saying "Here is a W-4 form so that your share of our donations can be withheld in Jerusalem." And James and John disputed among themselves over who would claim their father, Zebedee, as a dependent.
22. Jesus rebuked them, saying, "You sons of vipers, you whited sepulchres, for both of you are registered Democrats, and have clamored for more spending. What care you for tax deductions? Let he who votes Libertarian claim the first deduction. Let all others reap what they have sown, and pay until the budget is balanced."
23. And Judas, the disciple who would betray Jesus, came unto the brothers, saying "Here is form I-9, which will show that you are not a Samaritan, a Roman, a Greek, an Ethiopian, or any other form of Gentile, especially a Mexican. Bring me your a) Social Security cards and your Drivers Licenses, or b) your passports for I must keep copies on file with our Human Resources Department, lest we be audited for hiring illegals.
24. For our brother John The Baptist was busted using non-documented workers to harvest locusts and honey, and his head was handed to Herod on a silver platter."
25. Simon The Zealot came unto them, saying "I am Simon, the union steward, and we are all now your brothers. We have negotiated a four-day work week with mandatory overtime pay for all healings done after 5:00 p.m., seven days off with pay after casting out any demons, and an automatic pay increase after you complete evangelism training. This is a Card Check shop, and we can not require you to sign this union card. But I would hate to see something happen to those nice camels you have out there in the parking lot."
26. When Bartholomew saw the brothers, his heart was filled with compassion for them, and he said "Here is our insurance program, which has a ninety-day eligibility waiting period, for we are a small company and we are sustained by the kindness of others. Have you considered The Public Option?"
27. And Thomas said, "I doubt it." For the brothers had seen other government programs and wanted no part of them.
28. And James and John were filled with remorse for putting down their nets and abandoning their father, and they left the six disciples and returned to their boat on The Sea Of Galilee.
29. Then Jesus looked at the economy, the paperwork, the tax witholding, the business climate, the administrative expense, and the union organizers, and said "Verily, verily, I say unto you, we shall not call more disciples; we shall bring in shipments of loaves and fishes from China.
30. If we have the faith of a mustard seed, we can cast out demons using the new software. When we go into all nations sharing the good news, we will use a Temp Service, for this reduces our liability. And this will be called downsizing, and six disciples is a nice number."

The picture of Jesus calling his disciples came from here. Hit the link, and look at the little blog widget about halfway down the page showing how many people have died and gone to hell since you opened the link. Ya gotta love it.

Al Gore - "Compel, Don't Sell"

Al Gore might be set to become the world's first Carbon Billionaire. Here's John M. Broder in the New York Times:

The deal (to purchase perpetual motion machines from a Gore company) appeared to pay off in a big way last week, when the Energy Department announced $3.4 billion in smart grid grants. Of the total, more than $560 million went to utilities with which Silver Spring has contracts. Kleiner Perkins and its partners, including Mr. Gore, could recoup their investment many times over in coming years.

And just how will The Goracle Of Music City make good on his investment?

Representative Marsha Blackburn, Republican of Tennessee, asserted at a hearing this year that Mr. Gore stood to benefit personally from the energy and climate policies he was urging Congress to adopt.
Mr. Gore says that he is simply putting his money where his mouth is.
“Do you think there is something wrong with being active in business in this country?” Mr. Gore said. “I am proud of it. I am proud of it.”

Al, if you are lobbying for government grants for your company, you are taking taxpayer money. If various Climate Warming/Cooling/Changing legislation passes, homeowners will be forced to use your voodoo gadgets. Local governments will be forced to pay for them.

This is called "Compel, Don't Sell".

You aren't "being active in business in this country" when you do this. You are participating in a theft when you force people to use your products. It's nothing to be proud of.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Libertarian Party positions on proposed amendments to Texas Constitution

Here are the Texas Libertarian Party positions on the proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution. One thing to remember.... even if some of these pro-tax amendments fail, you can still give the state more of your money. Hit the link, and read away.

One brief word on #11, the Eminent Domain amendment....

The proposed amendment would appear on the ballot as follows: "The constitutional amendment to prohibit the taking, damaging, or destroying of private property for public use unless the action is for the ownership, use, and enjoyment of the property by the State, a political subdivision of the State, the public at large, or entities granted the power of eminent domain under law or for the elimination of urban blight on a particular parcel of property, but not for certain economic development or enhancement of tax revenue purposes, and to limit the legislature's authority to grant the power of eminent domain to an entity."

This one is so poorly worded that it defies logic. On the one hand, it claims to prohibit the taking of private property. On the other hand it allows "a political subdivision of the State", meaning "damn near anybody" to take away your house and give you less than you want for it. Or it allows them to take land because of "Urban Blight". They would call The Bass Hall in downtown Fort Worth "Urban Blight" if doing so would help them get their grubby little hands on the land beneath it. What a horribly worded piece of junk. If this bill passes, we'll think we have an anti-Eminent Domain bill, and that whatever the State steals in the future is justified. If it doesn't pass, it gives the impression that Texas voters support land theft by the State. What a horribly worded piece of junk.

Please vote. Flip a coin on #11. You're damned if it passes, and damned if it doesn't.

Velociman and Scribbler Spiders

During the last Camp Blownstar Meetup, Denny recommended a guy who blogs under the name Velociman. I don't understand why he's got the Spaghetti Western picture of Eli Wallach at the top of his site, but that's ok.
Lord have mercy, that man can type. Here are some excerpts from something Velociman wrote about seeing a Scribbler spider, a variety known for webs that look like handwriting:

I should take her appearance as a portent of Good Things, that I will find the ability to write something, anything, of value. I believe there is a direct relationship between the fullness of one's soul and the desire to put fingertips to keyboard. Even as the well of the soul is dry, so does the inkwell of ideas empty for me. And my inkwell of late has been as encrusted and moistureless as a sclerotic old artery.

He continues:

What we have now is a different thing altogether. As different as that Scribbler and the dangersome Brown Recluse. I am free to impute ill will and bad faith to my opponents in this arena, as they are with me. I consider bad faith to be preferable to rank stupidity at any rate, so it's not that demeaning a charge.

And then:

The loyal opposition (Republican Party) is no help: they brought us to this tear in the fabric of our civilization in the first place with their free-whoring ways and glib repudiation of their constituents.
Perhaps I should have smashed that spider; not all omens are favorable, after all. And spinning a fabric of such unfathomable despondency is normally considered poor form, if not self-destructive. Fortunately, they haven't re-introduced Prohibition, so there's the John Barelycorn approach to the tip of Maslow's hierarchy. Perhaps I should just go self-actualize myself, two fingers at a time.

Velociman. He posts stuff like this about three times a week. Go there to read the whole thing. Hope he can make it to the next Blogger meetup.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Steve Fromholtz, Mike Blakely, warehouses, NORML, Halloween Parties, Proton Nectar, and dachshunds

I've had the privilege of attending a lot of great events during the last few weeks, and I've been doing one long post of pictures every weekend. Political rants not included.
Here goes:
Friday night I went with The Jihadist Safety Consultant to The Texas Theatre in Waxahachie. (According to The Aggie, Waxahachie is an old Indian name meaning "small town with no mall".)
The Consultant also brought his long-suffering wife, and his daughter, Dobby The House Elf. We were there to hear Steve Fromholz and Mike Blakely.

Steve Fromholz has been described as "Texas' legendary songwriter, poet, author, humorist, river guide, cowboy, entertainer extraordinaire and Texas Poet Laureate Emeritus." That's a mouthful.
Fromholz had a stroke several years ago, and briefly lost the ability to play guitar, speak, sing, or even remember lyrics and songs he wrote prior to the stroke.

I thoroughly enjoyed this guy. He's got a great stage presence and wonderful sense of humor. He doesn't have the physical skills to do his older material any more, but the new stuff is still fun. Imagine Roy Rogers after being stranded on a desert island for 10 years with nobody to jam with but Yoko Ono, then getting high and performing some Steve Martin cover tunes. I don't know any other way to describe his new music.

Here's a cover version of Fromholtz's "I'd Have To Be Crazy", also recorded by Willie Nelson:

I know I've done wierd things, told people I hear'd things
When silence was all that abounds
Been days when it pleased me, to be on my knees
Followin' ants as they crawed across the ground.
I've been insane on a train, but I'm still me again
And the place where I hold you is true
So I know I'm alright, 'cause I'd have to be crazy
To fall out of love with you.

Brilliant lyrics. Brilliant.

Fromholz was joined on the stage by singer, songwriter, rancher, and novelist Mike Blakely. This guy is good. Great songwriter. Sort of a cowboy Harry Chapin. I WILL be going to hear Mike Blakely again as soon as possible.

Mike was Willie Nelson's ghostwriter for this western novel "A Tale Out Of Luck". Go here to see all the other books Mike's written. (My father and I used to read Western novels all winter long, back on the farm.) The Jihadist Safety Consultant knew both of these guys, and introduced me to them before the show. I can't believe I'm getting to meet all these people.

Here's some video on Mike's book. I apologize for the commercial at the beginning:

Watch CBS Videos Online

I worked at the Jukt Micronics New Everman warehouse Saturday morning. Thanks to Danny Ray for loaning help to put up all the new pallet rack. One day that place will be filled with pallet rack. One day, it won't hold any more. One day. One day. Thanks to Igor for help with taking apart things to make them another color (long story).

Saturday afternoon, I went to the DFW NORML meeting in Arlington. (That's the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.)

They had a speaker named Rusty White, from LEAP. (That's Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.) Rusty is a riveting speaker, and I'm going to try to get him to a Tarrant County Libertarian event ASAP. I'll post what he had to say sometime later this week.

Saturday night our neighbors Amy and Cheryl had a Halloween party. The Aggie came dressed as The Neon Color Spectrum. I came dressed as Geek Apnea.

Our neighbor April came dressed as a Monopoly board, and brought her daughter dressed as a lamb. Here's a picture of Zaria, the little lamb, being held by Mary. Get it? Mary had a little lamb? Get it? Get it?
Amy Don, one of the two hostesses of this event, came dressed as Dr. Peter Veckman (Ghostbusters). Her proton pack dispensed something she called proton nectar. Good stuff.

Here's Amy Don recharging the Proton Nectar dispenser. I participated in this party until about 2:00 a.m. Somewhere out there are pics of me smoking through the Sleep Apnea mask. Maybe even video. I don't remember. If they appear, I'll post them.

My sister and nieces came by Sunday morning to see the new babies. This bunch of puppies is LOUDER than any of Mandy's previous litters. I can't wait to see what racket the next month will bring....
I'm posting these dachshund pics every week so whoever adopts these little yipping balls of meat can show their kids what the dogs looked like as babies. (Compare these to last week's pics when they were newborns. They take up a lot more space this week.)

Sunday afternoon I met a friend to not have drinks with (long story), and gave a tour of some of our warehouses. That was enough to remind me that this next week will be a difficult one, but hey, at least I've got a job.

Here's my favorite line from the Steve Fromholz concert Friday night. I'm sure I've gotten some of these lyrics wrong. This was written by a guy who had a stroke and lost the ability to play guitar, to sing, or even remember lyrics written prior to the stroke:

Sometimes you think there ain't no point,
you haven't got a prayer....
Well, there ain't no use bitchin'
About the heat in the kitchen.
It's always been hot in there.

Words to live by.

Pics of Texas Theatre came from here.

Give unto Caesar. And then give some more unto Caesar.

I've devoted the last 6 months to re-translating the New Testament. The document that you think of as "Bible" is filled with so many translation mistakes that I believe some of the errors were intentional. You can hit the "Bible Re-interpretation" tag at the bottom of this post to read more translations.

You might be familiar with the story of the religious leaders coming to Jesus and trying to trap him with his own words. They ask if it's ok to give money to the government. In the erroneous version, Jesus replies "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's."

This is wrong, wrong, wrong. Here's the corrected text, based on more recent scholarship (mine). This is from Matthew, Chapter 22, verse 15.

15 Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words.

16 They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. "Teacher," they said, "we know you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren't swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are.

17 Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?"

18 But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, "You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me?
19 Show me the coin used for paying the tax." They brought him a denarius,

20 and he asked them, "Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?"

21 "Caesar's," they replied. Then he said to them, "Give to Caesar that what is Caesar's, and then follow up by giving to Caesar that what is God's. Give unto Caesar that which is not yet even yours, through the Value-Added Tax. Give unto Caesar your firstborn sons to be his warriors, and give him your daughters to be his maidservants. Give Caesar your chariot manufacturing companies, and give him the right to lower the compensation of executives. Give unto Caesar all responsibility for your brother, and the aged, and the poor, for this relieves you of responsibility. Make your wealthy neighbor give more unto Caesar, for he thinks he's better than you. Oh, and I almost forgot. Put Caesar in charge of healthcare, since he does such a great job of delivering the mail."

22 And then Jesus finished by saying "Caesar is freakin' awesome."
23 When the Pharisees heard this, they were relieved, for they knew their faith-based funding from The Empire would remain intact. So they left him and went away rejoicing.
The pictures of Rendering Unto Caesar came from here and here.