Saturday, February 12, 2011

New wisdom from She Whose Name Is Not Spoken

New wisdom from She Whose Name Is Not Spoken:

On building new cathedrals to make the Weather Gods happy (It creates jobs !)

The Republicans are making a show of opposing the latest EPA boondoggles. 
Riding to the defense of the EPA is The Boston Globe's Derrick Z. Jackson. 
Derrick Z. Jackson is so deeply and profoundly wrong, I've liked him on Facebook just to keep track of his whereabouts. 
Here's Mr. Jackson on how the EPA's insistence on new machinery painted green is going to create jobs. 

Lisa Jackson, the EPA administrator, was ready to combat the job-killing rhetoric. In her opening statement to a House Energy and Commerce Committee subcommittee, she quoted a UMass Amherst study that found that the construction and retrofitting investments in the eastern US under two new EPA air quality rules would produce nearly 1.5 million jobs over the next five years.

James Heintz, associate director at the UMass’s Political Economy Research Institute, which did the study, said in a telephone interview that the potential job growth was not only dynamic, but diverse. “You are talking about an intense infusion of new capital for construction and installation and direct jobs for [people making] boilers, pollution control technologies, scrubbers, and component parts,’’ he said. “The indirect jobs are the kind created that when you install a natural gas-fired generator’’ which includes components made at factories across the country.

The study was based on forecasts by the Boston-based Charles River Associates of pollution control installations, coal plant retirements, and construction for new power generation. The study estimated that about 640,000 direct jobs and 820,000 indirect jobs would be created.

Good Lord in heaven.  Al Gore on a pogo stick.  Paul Krugman riding side-saddle on a shetland pony. 

Yeah, if the EPA were to demand that we all drop everything we're doing to create 300 giant aluminum statues of Calvin Coolidge to ward off alien invasions from the planet Nekthar, and those statues had to be 89 stories tall, and engraved with the poetry of the late Helen Steiner Rice, that would create lots of jobs.  It would require a full-time commitment from just about everybody. 

But would it be productive?  Would it allow us to do what we're already doing, but at less expense?  If you weigh the cost of building the statues against the likelihood of an alien invasion from Nekthar, is the expense worth the economic loss? 

That's the question that Derrick Z. Jackson fails to ask.  Lordy, look at how much of Europe's wealth was spent on new cathedrals to make various gods happy.  Do you think everyone's time could have been spent on more productive projects?  I mean, they're pretty, and still draw tourists, but....

Speaking of questions that people are failing to ask....Here's the Wall Street Journal on whether the weather (the reason the EPA wants us to buy new machinery painted green) is really getting more extreme:

Last week a severe storm froze Dallas under a sheet of ice, just in time to disrupt the plans of the tens of thousands of (American) football fans descending on the city for the Super Bowl. On the other side of the globe, Cyclone Yasi slammed northeastern Australia, destroying homes and crops and displacing hundreds of thousands of people.

Some climate alarmists would have us believe that these storms are yet another baleful consequence of man-made CO2 emissions. In addition to the latest weather events, they also point to recent cyclones in Burma, last winter's fatal chills in Nepal and Bangladesh, December's blizzards in Britain, and every other drought, typhoon and unseasonable heat wave around the world.

But is it true? To answer that question, you need to understand whether recent weather trends are extreme by historical standards. The Twentieth Century Reanalysis Project is the latest attempt to find out, using super-computers to generate a dataset of global atmospheric circulation from 1871 to the present.

As it happens, the project's initial findings, published last month, show no evidence of an intensifying weather trend. "In the climate models, the extremes get more extreme as we move into a doubled CO2 world in 100 years," atmospheric scientist Gilbert Compo, one of the researchers on the project, tells me from his office at the University of Colorado, Boulder. "So we were surprised that none of the three major indices of climate variability that we used show a trend of increased circulation going back to 1871."

In other words, researchers have yet to find evidence of more-extreme weather patterns over the period, contrary to what the models predict. "There's no data-driven answer yet to the question of how human activity has affected extreme weather," adds Roger Pielke Jr., another University of Colorado climate researcher.

We do know that carbon dioxide and other gases trap and re-radiate heat. We also know that humans have emitted ever-more of these gases since the Industrial Revolution. What we don't know is exactly how sensitive the climate is to increases in these gases versus other possible factors—solar variability, oceanic currents, Pacific heating and cooling cycles, planets' gravitational and magnetic oscillations, and so on.

Given the unknowns, it's possible that even if we spend trillions of dollars, and forgo trillions more in future economic growth, to cut carbon emissions to pre-industrial levels, the climate will continue to change—as it always has.

That's not to say we're helpless. There is at least one climate lesson that we can draw from the recent weather: Whatever happens, prosperity and preparedness help. North Texas's ice storm wreaked havoc and left hundreds of football fans stranded, cold, and angry. But thanks to modern infrastructure, 21st century health care, and stockpiles of magnesium chloride and snow plows, the storm caused no reported deaths and Dallas managed to host the big game on Sunday.

Compare that outcome to the 55 people who reportedly died of pneumonia, respiratory problems and other cold-related illnesses in Bangladesh and Nepal when temperatures dropped to just above freezing last winter. Even rich countries can be caught off guard: Witness the thousands stranded when Heathrow skimped on de-icing supplies and let five inches of snow ground flights for two days before Christmas. Britain's GDP shrank by 0.5% in the fourth quarter of 2010, for which the Office of National Statistics mostly blames "the bad weather."

Arguably, global warming was a factor in that case. Or at least the idea of global warming was. The London-based Global Warming Policy Foundation charges that British authorities are so committed to the notion that Britain's future will be warmer that they have failed to plan for winter storms that have hit the country three years running.

A sliver of the billions that British taxpayers spend on trying to control their climes could have bought them more of the supplies that helped Dallas recover more quickly. And, with a fraction of that sliver of prosperity, more Bangladeshis and Nepalis could have acquired the antibiotics and respirators to survive their cold spell.

A comparison of cyclones Yasi and Nargis tells a similar story: As devastating as Yasi has been, Australia's infrastructure, medicine, and emergency protocols meant the Category 5 storm has killed only one person so far. Australians are now mulling all the ways they could have better protected their property and economy.

But if they feel like counting their blessings, they need only look to the similar cyclone that hit the Irrawaddy Delta in 2008. Burma's military regime hadn't allowed for much of an economy before the cyclone, but Nargis destroyed nearly all the Delta had. Afterwards, the junta blocked foreign aid workers from delivering needed water purification and medical supplies. In the end, the government let Nargis kill more than 130,000 people.

Global-warming alarmists insist that economic activity is the problem, when the available evidence show it to be part of the solution. We may not be able to do anything about the weather, extreme or otherwise. But we can make sure we have the resources to deal with it when it comes.

Friday, February 11, 2011

An explanation of the lyrics of "The Star-Spangled Banner"

Have you ever had the experience of growing up with a song, having it become part of your sub-conscious, and not understanding or even thinking about what the lyrics mean until you are much older? 
I think that's how a lot of people experience "The Star-Spangled Banner".  How many people still know what a "rampart" is? 
There's been a lot of buzz about the song ever since Christina Aguilera butchered it during Super Bowl Disaster Week in Arlington. 
As a public service, I would like to offer an explanation of the lyrics to our national anthem. 

The song was written by amateur poet Francis Scott Key.  He was held captive on a British warship during the War of 1812, and had a front row seat for the bombardment of Baltimore's Fort McHenry.  As humorist Richard Armour once explained:

In an attempt to take Baltimore, the British attacked Fort McHenry, which protected the harbor. Bombs were soon bursting in air, rockets were glaring, and all in all it was a moment of great historical interest. During the bombardment, a young lawyer named Francis Scott Key wrote "The Star-Spangled Banner", and when, by the dawn's early light, the British heard it sung, they fled in terror. 

The thing requires a vocal reach of an octave and a half.  As many a vocalist will tell you, if you start off in too high of a first note, you're going to be in big, big trouble when you get to The Land Of The Free. 

That's all the preliminaries you need.  Here are they lyrics. 

O! say can you see by the dawn's early light,

What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming,

It's morning.  The only light you have to see by is the dawn's, and the dawn's light is early.  Pointing out that the dawn's light is early seems redundant, but it was necessary for the meter and the rhyme scheme. 
We're looking for something that we saw last night, something that we were so proud of that we hailed it, even though it was dark (twilight). 
So an evening has passed.  Something was there last night, and we're wondering if it is still there the next morning. 

Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?

The thing we're looking for had stars and stripes, and it was capable of "streaming gallantly".  Do you know what the thing was?  Do you?  Give up?  Ok, the thing with stars and stripes, capable of streaming gallantly, the thing that was there the night before but could not be seen clearly the next morning, it was our flag !!

All through the perilous (dangerous) fight (for Fort McHenry), Francis Scott Key watched the flag from the other side of the ramparts (a type of defensive wall).  Got it?  The flag is flying on one side of the rampart, and you're on the other side in a boat with Francis Scott Key every time you sing this song.  You're taking part in an 1812 battle reenactment. 

Fans of the Dallas Stars hockey team put particular emphasis on the word "Stars" when singing the anthem. 

And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;

Remember, it is still nighttime but the bloody British are still bombing the daylights out of Fort McHenry.  What are they using?  Rockets.  Bombs. 
What do the rockets and bombs produce?  Glare.  Bursts. 
Why are the glare and the bursts important?  The rocket's red glare and the bombs bursting in air do nothing but provide enough light to prove to everyone on the ship that the U.S. flag is still flying over Fort McHenry. 
This couplet is a little jab at the declining effectiveness of British Sea Power, proven true later at Dunkirk and the overkill in the Falkland Islands. 

Fans of the Houston Rockets basketball team put particular emphasis on the word "Rockets" when singing these lines.  Fans of the Cincinatti Reds baseball team put particular emphasis on the word "Red" when singing these lines.  The remaining fans of the Dallas Cowboys football team put particular emphasis on the word "Bombs" when singing these lines, because that's what their team has done ever since coach Jimmy Johnson abandoned Jerry Jones. 

O! say does that star-spangled banner yet wave,
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

The last two lines are less complicated.  The poet is simply asking if our flag with stars all over it is still waving over his country. 
And every time we sing the song, that's where we end it.  We never answer the question.  Francis Scott Key is stuck on the boat in Baltimore harbor, with nothing to eat but truly godawful British food, wondering if the flag is still flying. 

Look at the first verse of Martin Luther's "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God".  If you just sing the first verse, and nothing else, it's like you're singing a song about the power of Satan. 
Singing the first verse of The Star-Spangled Banner without singing the rest is like singing the Beverly Hillbillies song, but stopping before you get to the part where Ol' Jed's a millionaire. 

So why don't we ever sing the other verses? 
Give me time.  I'll get there. 
Here's the second verse, the one that ends the suspense. 

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,

Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,

I'm not sure if this verse is referring to the American army reposing or the British army reposing (haughtily).  I don't think it matters.  The important thing is that it's still misty and things are only "dimly seen". 

What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?

Now we're getting somewhere.  Something is blowing fitfully in the breeze on the "towering steep" hill.  Half concealed, half revealed....

Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:

we're getting ready for the big reveal here....what is it....what is it....???

'Tis the star-spangled banner, O! long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

I think I'm as patriotic as the next person, but I'm glad I got that over with.

So why don't we ever sing the rest? 
Because the third verse is kind of embarrassing, especially in light of the "land of the free" business. 

In the War of 1812, the British augmented their army with divisions of mercenaries and freed slaves.  These slaves were promised an opportunity to shoot their former owners if they would help out the redcoats. 
Heck, that's a bargain I would have probably taken. 
Now, look at the third verse in that light: 

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore

That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.

The British army stunk up the place with their foul footsteps, but we used their blood to wash the place out. Kinda militaristic and barbaric, but we've all felt that way before, haven't we? 
Now for the money quote:

No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:

Yeah, if you try to create an army with hirelings (mercenaries) and slaves (ours), then you're going to get what you paid for.  But by contemporary standards, bragging about a military victory over an army of freed slaves makes the closing couplet into a freakin' joke:

And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.


Let's move on again.  The fourth verse has created all sorts of mischief.  The sentiments have been inappropriately placed in the mouths of our Founding Fathers, created lawsuits about The Ten Commandments in our courtrooms, and have even shown up on our currency.  As far as I can tell, this is where one of our American slogans makes its first appearance:

O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand

Between their loved home and the war's desolation.

As long as the freemen are (ahem) white. 

Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!

That would be a strong Constitution, giving power to the people and acknowledging that we are governed by our own consent.  Our government works for us, not vice-versa.  If higher Powers were involved, it was in pounding that basic concept into some of our heads. 

Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,

I don't have time to deconstruct that one.  Gotta be at work in thirty minutes.  Let's just say that we've had a long, long run of Presidents who could find a "just cause" for war by looking into a kindergarten dispute about nappy time.   

And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."

It wasn't our motto until Francis Scott Key said that it was.  End of story.  Why couldn't the boys at Fort McHenry just sink his damn boat? 

And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave
Done.  Complete.  Explained.  Hope this has helped. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Obamacare: The Comic Book

Some of you might remember this Barackaganda comic book, the one where Spiderman and the newly-inaugurated Teleprompter Jesus teamed up to fight evil.  Or success.  Or profit.  Or high employment.  Or something like that. 

As quoted in Reason magazine, someone is about to take it to the next level.  You see, ObamaCare® is greatness.  Pure undiluted greatness.  That doesn't explain why so many unions and corporations are demanding and getting waivers from it, but still....  It's greatness.

The great unwashed masses just can't understand it.

That's why we're getting....ObamaCare® - The Comic Book !!!!
Maybe we'll like it better when we don't have to wade through the 2700 pages in the Senate bill and the 6000 pages of requirements that the program has added to the Federal register. 

Heck, I wish I had thought of it.  Instead of 10,000 pages of regulations, lets boil it down to "illustrated, bite-sized panels". 
But enough of me, and my inability to contain my excitement.  Here's Reason:

The MIT economics whiz who crafted President Obama’s national health-care overhaul now plans to explain the complex and controversial plan to the masses — in one long comic book.

Jonathan Gruber, a nationally recognized health economist who devised the economic underpinnings of Obamacare (Gruber hates the term), said his three comic-loving kids encouraged him to use the hip format of the graphic novel — basically an expensive comic published in book form — to tell the story of the complicated plan to 300 million Americans.

Unlike most comic books, Gruber’s won’t have a superhero like Batman or Captain America or a villain like the Joker, he said.
“I’m going to use the facts to tell the story,” Gruber, 45, told the Pulse yesterday. “I’m the narrator guiding the reader through the law. It’ll have lots of pictures and text.”
Hill and Wang, a division of publishing powerhouse Farrar, Straus and Giroux, plans to release Gruber’s book, tentatively titled “Health Care Reform: What It Is, Why It’s Necessary, How it Works” this fall.

And if that's not enough to have you hanging out with the other geeks at the Comics Shop on release day, here's The Boston Herald:

Even one of the national health plan’s fiercest critics, Michael F. Cannon of the free market Cato Institute in Washington D.C., tipped his hat to Gruber’s comic book.

“I’ve got to hand it to him,” said Cannon, the think tank’s director of health policy studies. “It’s a brilliant idea.”

Ok, seriously....I know the Cato Institute.  I've met people who work there.  Michael F. Cannon of the Cato Institute is not quite telling the truth, IMHO.  He does not think ObamaCare® The Comic Book is a brilliant idea.  He's giving Jonathan Gruber enough rope (and encouragement) to hang himself. 

Michael F. Cannon and the Cato Institute had rather have access to this comic book than a free month in The Playboy Archives.  They can't wait to get a copy.  Neither can I. 


Here's a shout-out to my ex-boss, Marvel Variants.  (We're still employed by the same company, he's just put a buffer between us, a new guy who will soon be known on these pages as Colonel Klink.  The new guy looks a LOT like Werner Klemperer.) 

Mr. Variants, you have made a ton of money by hoarding and re-selling "variant" copies of comic books.  That's why your blog is called....Marvel Variants. 

Do you think that Mr. Gruber will publish a variant SEIU version of his book, outlining the waivers that they've received from the program?  Will there be a collectible United Auto Workers Waiver cover?  Perhaps one that sells for a different price? 
Mr. Variants, do you have any interest at all in persuading Mr. Gruber to issue a variant Baptist Retirement version of the comic book?  Complete with a cover depicting Obama shaking hands with the director of the Southern Baptist Annuity Board ?  (Hey, look at #714 on the waiver list.)

I can't wait.  I just can't wait.   

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Keep Food Legal, The Department Of Agriculture, and Sherpas For Subsidies

There is a new political organization and website in town, and it is dedicated to something that I love dearly....Groceries. 
The Keep Food Legal group is dedicated to getting the government out of our farms, our pantries and our kitchens. 
We have one employee in the Department Of Agriculture for every eleven farmers.  The ratio of other leeches, parasites and regulators is even higher if you count the guards at our borders who make sure the prescribed quotas and amounts per nation (but no more) of food can cross the border into our cage. 

Here are some details from the Keep Food Legal site.  

We Love Food
Do you love food? If you’re like us, you do. Maybe you love particular foods. Do your tastes skew toward artisan cheeses, wines, and meats? Do you live for flavorful organic vegetables sold by small farmers and producers? Or do you prefer street foods—tacos, barbecue, and the like? How about fast food? Or maybe fine dining? Or, like us, do you love some or all of the whole range of food options available across America today?

We Hate Food Bans
If you’re like us, you’ve probably also noticed that there are too many restrictions on our right to procure the foods we love, and that these restrictions are growing. At the local, state, and federal levels, elected officials have banned or are working to ban or severely restrict everything from traditional farm products (like raw milk and cheeses) and locavore-friendly farm practices (like on-farm animal slaughter and meat packaging), are seeking to prevent chefs from using common food ingredients (like salt and trans fats), and are looking to ban others from selling a variety of foods (including soda, energy drinks, bacon-wrapped hot dogs, and giant pizza slices).

Our Mission
Does all this regulation make your stomach growl, leave your palate dull, and make your blood boil? Us too. That’s why we founded Keep Food Legal (KFL).
KFL is the first nationwide membership organization devoted to culinary freedom—the right of every American to grow, raise, produce, buy, sell, cook, and eat the foods of their own choosing. KFL’s mission is to promote goodwill, fellowship, and a sense of common purpose among those who grow, raise, cook, and sell food—and those who buy and eat it. We want to unite people in the middle of the food chain (like grocers and restaurateurs) with people at both ends of the food chain (like producers, farmers, and consumers), and to use the power of this union to create a meaningful and lasting partnership between all links in the chain. KFL will thrive and be a non-partisan force for culinary choice and freedom by coalescing the food community—food producers, farmers, food sellers, chefs, home cooks, diners, foodies, grocers, bar owners, and restaurateurs. The diversity and number of our members—people like you—will be our strength.

KFL on the Issues
What are some of the issue KFL take on? The list is too long to print here, but these are some of our most important targets:
  • KFL will advocate in favor of abolishing all food-related subsidies. Government subsidies distort prices and demand, cause environmental problems, and have played a large role in creating America’s obesity problem.
  • KFL will work to defeat food regulations and bans which limit our freedom to produce, cook, buy, and sell the foods we want. The government has no right to tell people what we can and can’t eat.
  • KFL will advocate at the federal, state, and local levels in favor of more food choices. It is not enough to oppose bad new laws. We will work—in legislatures and in the courts—to roll back bad ones already on the books.
One thing KFL will never do is advocate in favor of (or against) any particular foods or dietary choices. We believe strongly that adults should eat what they want (or what they and their doctor think is best for them). And we also believe that children should eat what they and their parents think is best for them. Government shouldn’t tell you what to eat, and neither should KFL.

Go here for some reasonably entertaining rants about what happens to your waistline if you adhere to the Department Of Agriculture's food pyramid. 

My God, ELEVEN servings of bread, cereal, rice and pasta.  No wonder the USDA is, you know, ummm, bloated. 
Those jokers don't know any more about health, growing methods, crop rotation, or erosion than anyone who actually farms.  They are Sherpas for subsidies and quotas.  That is all.  Hit the "sugar" label below. 
Let's see if the Republicans shut 'em down.  Anybody think it's going to happen? 
I didn't think so. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

"At the twilight's last reaming"

Most people secretly want their enemies to crash and burn. 
Then there's taking it too far by wanting to dance on their graves. 

That's kind of how I feel this morning.  I've been whining and griping and moaning about Jerry Jones and the City of Arlington stealing land for stadiums for a long, long time.  I'm going to say it.  I feel sorry for Jerry Jones.  Lord have mercy, what a mess. 

A few days before the Super Bowl, I posted pics of the disastrous weather, the unlikely rolling power blackouts, and all the other signs that Jerry and Arlington were sinners in the hands of an angry God. 

I suggested some purifying rituals that Jerry could undergo.  He apparently did none of them. 

Here's the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on the game day meltdowns.  Or lack of melting.  Whatever:

These weren't the text messages, phone calls and e-mails that Bill Lively had envisioned.

On Monday, the president of the Super Bowl Host Committee and his staff expected to revel in the afterglow of the region's first Super Bowl, which they had promised would be the "the biggest and best" ever. Instead, they found themselves among several entities facing a barrage of questions about what went wrong and who was to blame.

After more than 31/2 years of work and with a well-choreographed plan that was praised by National Football League officials, the Host Committee is under fire for a series of events that were out of its control during Super Bowl week.

For his part, Lively said he would essentially use the same approach, with a few refinements, when the region makes its next Super Bowl bid.

"The stadium is a great venue and it will get us another Super Bowl, whether it is 50, 51 or 53," he said.

Problems at Cowboys Stadium on Super Sunday and unexpected bad weather in the days leading up to the game have called that faith into question.

The biggest single-day event in the country once again set a record for the most-watched TV program of all time.

But a number of the 103,219 people in attendance Sunday might be wishing they had stayed home to watch. About 1,200 fans had to be moved just hours before kickoff because temporary seats in the end zone and on the main concourse were completed too late and judged unsafe.

And ice and snow on the giant domed roof prompted closure of some stadium gates, creating long delays for fans trying to enter. Six people were injured by falling ice on Friday. Even Lively felt the pain, waiting for two hours to get inside, a member of his staff said.
People waited outside for three freakin' hours to get inside of The Debt Star.  According to DFW talk radio, cops were instructed that if anyone left their place in line to go to the restroom, they had to go to the back of the line.  Half the gates were shut down because of ice overhanging the Dome Of The Wreck.  1200 people had no seats. 
The NFL offered 'em seats in the media area, out in the parking lot, in a bar someplace, merchandise, a chance to go onto the field after the game, 3 times the purchase price of their tickets, and a free ticket to next year's Super Bowl.  Yeah.  Green Bay and Pittsburgh fans are totally pumped about a chance to go see Tampa Bay and Arizona next year. 

For the sadists among you, here's some video of pissed off fans chanting "Jerry Sucks". Can you imagine flying or driving from Green Bay or Pittsburgh, having paid 3K to a scalper for a ticket, and being told "Oh, your seat isn't built yet"? It....Got....Ugly....

Bill Lively eventually offered up this classic line:
"I don't think it will be harder next time," he said, "when you consider that we were laboring under the deepest recession in 70 years."
I think Mr. Lively has seen too many of Mr. Obama's press conferences.

Here's The Startlegram on the seat problem....

Several days before the Super Bowl, the National Football League, the Dallas Cowboys and the city of Arlington knew that the installation of about 15,000 temporary seats was behind schedule, but they still believed that the seats would be finished in time.

Some of the bleacher seats were deemed dangerous and placed off limits during the game. On Monday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league will not only refund affected fans $2,400 per ticket but also invite them to next year's Super Bowl in Indianapolis.

"There were some very unhappy fans, but people went home safe," said Arlington Fire Chief Don Crowson said. "That is what matters to us."

Arlington fire inspectors had been monitoring the installation of the vertical metal bleachers for at least two weeks before the game, he said, and there was a concern that their completion "was going to be close." Contractors were working on the stands, set up in the end zones and along the main concourse, through the afternoon of game day.

But time ran out.

At about 2 p.m. Sunday, Crowson said he told the NFL that about 500 bleacher seats in the west end zone were not going to open. The staircases leading up to sections 425A and 430A, at either end of the stand and about 30 feet tall, didn't have guardrails and handrails as required.

"We were hopeful work would be completed, but it was not," Crowson said. "When it became apparent the stairs were not going to be completed, we told the NFL those seats were not going to be in use."

The NFL and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones wanted to break the Super Bowl attendance mark of 103,985, set in 1980 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. In the end, they fell short with a crowd of 103,219.

And then there was the national anthem.....Christina Aguilera has more talent in her little finger than most of us have in our entire 210-pound selves.  She has been on stage since she got out of diapers. 

I've heard Willie Nelson and Roseanne Barr botch the anthem, but they weren't laboring under the Jerry Jones Eminent Domain curse.  Aguilera left out lines, doubled up on others, and left us with the classic line "At the twilight's last reaming". 

So, one last time before next year's football diasters start to fall on the heads of Jerry Jones, The City of Arlington, and the Dallas Cowboys....
God doesn't like it when you steal somebody's land for a football stadium. 

Monday, February 7, 2011

Al Sharpton gets a Whitey

Waaaay back in January 2009, I began taking nominations for something called "The Whitey Award".  Whited Sepulchre = Whitewashing a stain = Whitey Award, etc etc etc....(You either get the joke or you don't.) 

The Whitey Award goes to those who have done the most to prevent government waste.  And the best way to keep governments from wasting your money?  Don't pay taxes. 

Well, everybody with good sense does that to some degree.  But not all of us clamor for more and more government spending.  That's what'll get you a Whitey.  Hit the post label down below to see all the other nominees.  Heck, back when Obama was trying to fill his Cabinet with Democrats who had paid their taxes, it felt like the Special Olympics around here.  We used a 10-year-supply of trophies in six months ! 

Here's the latest nominee.  I know it's only February, but this character is so blatant that we might have to retire the trophy for 2011.  Is there any point in holding the competition for the remainder of the year? 
Here's The New York Post:

The Rev. Al Sharpton, who has vowed to clean up his fiscal house, has a new tax lien to pay.
Sharpton owes $359,973 to the IRS for 2009 personal income tax, according to documents on file with the city.
Public records show he owes a total of $3.7 million in city, state and federal taxes, including penalties, dating to 2002. But Sharpton's spokeswoman, Rachel Noerdlinger, said that he had paid back "well over seven figures" as part of agreements with the state and IRS and that the liens remained on the books as "a matter of bureaucracy."

Of course it's a matter of bureaucracy !  When you lobby for more and more spending, you're going to get bureaucracy.  Bureaucracy that could screw up a brass donkey.   

Sharpton made $250,000 as head of the nonprofit National Action Network in 2009, a year that ended with the group owing $1.1 million in taxes and having just $36,397 cash on hand.
The organization also pays for first-class or charter travel for Sharpton and other NAN staff, according to its 2009 tax return. Noerdlinger declined to say for whom.

Congratulations, Reverend Al ! 

Because of your constant lobbying and yammering for every spending program that comes down the pike, programs that you try to avoid paying for, you have accomplished something that no other human could. 

In your case, to be nominated is to win.  Yeah.  In February.  You've won the 2011 Whitey Award. 

Unless Obama, Pelosi, Reid or Paul Krugman gets caught trying to keep their own money for themselves, the 2011 trophy is retired. 


An Afghan physiotherapist will be executed within three days for converting to Christianity.

Said Musa, 45, has been held for eight months in a Kabul prison were he claims he has been tortured and sexually abused by inmates and guards.

Mr Musa, who lost his left leg in a landmine explosion in the 1990s, has worked for the Red Cross for 15 years and helps to treat fellow amputees.

He was arrested in May last year as he attempted to seek asylum at the German embassy following a crackdown on Christians within Afghanistan.

He claims he was visited by a judge who told him he would be hanged within days unless he converted back to Islam.

But he remains defiant and said he would be willing to die for his faith.

He told the Sunday Times: 'My body is theirs to do what they want with.

'Only God can decide if my spirit goes to hell.'

Defence lawyers have refused to represent him, while others have dropped the case after receiving death threats.

Mr Musa was arrested after a TV station showed western men baptising Afghans during secret ceremonies.

So many gods, so many creeds,
So many paths that wind and wind,
While just the art of being kind
Is all the sad world needs.

— Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Insane Locavore quote of the day

Various people have told me to broaden my horizons and stop reading and viewing so much libertarian propaganda.
So yesterday I went to Barnes & Noble and picked up this month's copy of Adbusters, the most anti-capitalist publication I could get my hands on.  (The New York Holy Times was sold out.) 

Adbusters is a big-time environmentalist, anti-capitalist, anti-consumption and anti-marketing periodical.  They have a visceral hatred of shopping malls.  Adbusters gives the impression that the Soviet empire fell because of bad luck and poor execution of the Marxist roadmap.  "Profit", the concept that supports Adbusters, is in such ill-repute that I would feel guilty about ever purchasing a copy.   

Adbusters supports something called "Buy Nothing Day"

(It's on November 26th.  You're supposed to purchase nothing.  Don't support your neighbors, your friends, or anyone but yourself.  Don't swap your own stuff for anyone else's. Regardless of their intent, that'll be the result.)

They do have some cool advertising parodies.  Here's one taking a stab at Joe Camel.

I was kind of enjoying their (ahem) unique point of view until I got to this quote.  It's from a guy named Bill Mollison, founder of something called the Permaculture Movement.

"We're only truly secure when we can look out our kitchen window and see our food growing and our friends working nearby." - Bill Mollison

Oh for the love of God.  Where to begin, where to begin. 

We are more secure than we've ever been because we can't look out our kitchen windows and see our entire food supply.  If the view from your kitchen is your only food supply, and something happens to the area in front of the kitchen window, you're in deep, deep shit.  Google the word "famine" when time permits. 

But if you have cheerfully taken part in the capitalist evils of globalization, you don't have to worry as much.  Iowa could waste its entire wheat crop by converting it to enthanol or some other useless boondoggle, and it will hurt me.  But there's always Nebraska.  And Canada.  And Russia.  The Ukraine.  As long as those places are growing wheat, and as long as someone in our government doesn't shut down the supply of wheat (to protect American jobs), then I'll probably be okay. 

As long as some raving locavore doesn't require me to live off what's visible from my kitchen window, I'll be okay. 

 But wait, Mr. Bill Mollison, founder of the Permaculture Movement, there's more.  I've got more for you.  Where are you going to get your kitchen, the kitchen you're going to look out from to view your wheat, your bananas, your strawberries, your lowfat decaf triple-skinny mocha, your carrots, lettuce, arugula, your mineral supplements and your chicken, fish, and occasional slice of roast beef?  Where will this kitchen be produced?  The kitchen itself.  The wood, the brick, the sheetrock, the heat and air vents, the electrical wiring, the ducts, the oven, the stove, the sink and the water faucets?  The refrigerator?  Pots, pans, and George Foreman Grill?  Does that have to come from your front yard?   

Will you need to grow the trees for wood within view of the damn kitchen, just to feel safe?  Are you going to set up a kiln to make bricks out of local mud?  Mr. Mollison, have you ever looked at the different locations that Adam Smith's Invisible Hand blindly coordinates in a united effort to put ceramic tile on your countertops and your floors?  Are you going to go off into a blind lefty panic if some of that stuff is manufactured by little dark people who don't look like you, you racist son of a bitch? 

Sorry about that.  I can't stand racism masquerading as compassionate save-the-earth do-goodism.  Back to the topic at hand....

Let's get to the window itself, that window Mollison is looking out of to see his garden and his wheat field and chickens and goats and fish tank and brick kiln and lumber forest and all the other things required to make Bill Mollison feel safe from the efforts of other people in strange places with funny names. 

Bill, do you have any idea, any idea at all, what goes into making a damn window?  Do you want all that going on in your front yard?  Or is food the only thing that makes you break out in fantods if it's handled by Mexicans?  Is it ok if Mexicans or Canadians, or people from across the county line make your window? 

"We're only truly secure when we can look out our kitchen window and see our food growing and our friends working nearby." - Bill Mollison

Ok, we're getting to the end of that insane sentence.  "We're only truly secure when we can look out our kitchen window....and see our friends working nearby."  Hell, is there going to be room for them if Bill Mollison requires all of this industry in his front yard?  Or are they all going to be Bill Mollison's employees? 
What will the view have to look like from their kitchen windows if they have the same phobias and anxieties that afflict Bill Mollison? 

Do you think we might all be better off if we allow everyone else in the world to compete for the honor and privilege of producing our food, kitchens and windows?  And we can give them what we produce in return?  And maybe, just maybe, they can one day have a kitchen of their own?  With windows? 

Sorry for such an ill-tempered rant.  I wrote Mollison's sentence down in my notepad yesterday and just found it a few minutes ago.  If you want to read a more calm and measured explanation of the evils (yeah, evils) of Bill Mollison's worldview, check out "The Future And Its Enemies" by Virginia Postrel. 

Unintended consequences of the war on warming

The following post makes no sense.  I'm trying to make some kind of point about all the contradictions in various government ripoffs.  The task is so huge that I can't quite get my arms around it.  Oh well. 

They have finally backed themselves into a corner. 
The New York Holy Times, apologists for The Teleprompter Jesus and all his works, came up with a great excuse for last month's anemic job growth.
The snowstorms in January probably had some effect on the anemic job growth, given that the transportation and warehousing sector and the construction sector both shed jobs.
Here's a CNBC video on the same topic.  The cold weather is killing us.'s a shout-out to all my guys driving trucks and working in warehouses.  Don't even THINK about shutting your rigs off at lunch or break time.  Let those bad boys idle.  Forklift drivers, let your machines run all night. We have a planet to warm.  Heck, that's what they're paying us to do, right?  Hit this link to see that, yes, they really are paying us to run the forklifts all night.  Otherwise, we wouldn't be able to prove that we needed the forklifts through a Cash For Clunkers-type boondoggle.  But we're doing it to fight Warming.  We supposedly want Cooling.   

It all gets really confusing when the government gets involved in anything but Defense, Enforcing Contracts, and Intervening In Disputes. 
Doesn't it? 
Think about how freakin' great it would be if the government just sat back and stopped trying to save us by fighting warming, cooling, unemployment, wealth, poverty, weather, Arabs, enemies of favored dictators, The Non-Existent Soviet Union, imports, exports and unclean African genitals?
Think of all the money we could save if they just....stayed.....home.