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Friday, April 28, 2006

I was reading an old David Letterman Top Ten List book last night (circa-1989). There was a Top Ten List about Dan Rather and ways to improve the CBS Evening News. One of the suggestions was: "At the end of the broadcast, announce which stories were made up." That could have saved him a lot of trouble in 2004 had he done that with the Bush/National Guard story.

No Way to Treat a Relative
When I first saw this, I wondered if it was April Fool's Day, but it's not. And it turns the unimaginable is, in fact, true: Pamela Anderson has an editorial in the Wall Street Journal.
We're closer to them than they are to gorillas, so when I see chimpanzees being used as on-screen comedians, dressed up in silly costumes to sell credit cards, I think, Is this any way to treat a relative?
While I am in agreement with much in the article about the mistreatment of animals, this is an example of someone living in a glas house throwing stones. Hasn't Ms. ANderson spent much of her career "dressed up in silly costumes" (when she's dressed at all) in order to sell advertisers' products?

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Anna Venger calls attention to this promotion: On May 13, a large number of Delaware attractions will be offering free admission to Delaware residents. Go to the page linked above (or click here) to see the list.

Unfortunately, I'll have to miss this since I'm attending a wedding.

CNN.com - Cheeseheads speak up: It's Wis-KAHN-sen - Apr 26, 2006
To help you remember how to pronounce it, I offer this website.

(Wow. Two Star Trek related posts by 9:10 AM. Hube's re-nerdifying me.)

The COLOSSUS OF RHODEY: "Trek" will be back ... in two years
Following up on the discussion linked above, looks like that news about the next Star Trek movie being about Kirk and Spock at the Academy is in error:
Mission: Impossible III director J.J. Abrams is hitting back at unauthorized reports he is directing the next Star Trek movie. The Alias creator is furious the news was released prematurely and is also upset that key details regarding the storyline were incorrectly reported. He explains to Empire online, "The whole thing was reported entirely without our cooperation. People learned that I was producing a Star Trek film, that I had an option to direct it, they hear rumors of what the thing was going to be and ran with a story that is not entirely accurate." Last week, Hollywood trade paper Variety, reported Abrams was on board and that the film would center on the early days of Captain James T. Kirk and Spock and that Philip Seymour Hoffman was in talks to play the ship's doctor. Abrams won't reveal the true storyline, but hints that it won't feature characters Captain James T. Kirk or Mr. Spock at all, but doesn't rule out bringing some of the original characters back for the new film, adding, "Those characters are so spectacular. I just think that..you know, they could live again."

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Are the Republicans about to start acting like Republicans?
Senators Frist, McConnell, and Sessions just finished assembling over 34 Senate signatures on a letter backing the veto threat the President laid out yesterday on the groaning Senate supplemental. This plan—have the President say he will veto a fat bill, and have the Senate leadership deliver fiscal conservatives to that cause—should serve as a rallying point for those who have been horrified at the spending spree underway in Congress, for which the House, Senate, and White House all share responsibility. It’s time to rally to the fiscal conservative flag, and the sooner our friends in the conservative community know that there is a majority in the Senate worth listening too when it comes to spending matters, the sooner people can realize what the stakes really are in November.
Let's hope so. Maybe they're starting to realize that right now, they're not worth voting for. They have between now and Election Day to convince myself and many other disillusioned conservatives that they're worth voting for or they could face disaster.

Note: in no way am I expecting Mike Castle to prove he's worth voting for, even if the rest of the party does. I vote for Republicans, so that excludes Castle.

"Poverty is uncomfortable; but nine times out of ten the best thing that can happen to a young man is to be tossed overboard and compelled to sink or swim." —James Garfield

"A man who never has gone to school may steal from a freight car, but if he has a university education, he may steal from the whole railroad." —Theodore Roosevelt

"There is never any peace for those who resist God." —Francois Fenelon

"I think sometimes incumbents forget that we're sent here to reform Washington. We're not sent here to be co-opted by Washington." —Newt Gingrich

"Despite all the tax cuts that the federal government has passed recently, Americans will still spend more on taxes than they spend on food, clothing and housing combined." —Tax Foundation President Scott Hodge

"It's not at all about who gets what vote, it's about continuing a system of laws that has allowed America to become, among many other things, a place immigrants want to come to. And it's about admitting immigrants in a coherent, orderly, legal manner, with an eye first to what America needs." —Peggy Noonan

"Immigrants in past centuries came here to become Americans, not to remain foreigners, much less to proclaim the rights of their homelands to reclaim American soil, as some of the Mexican activist groups have done... Today, immigrant spokesmen promote grievances, not gratitude, much less patriotism." —Thomas Sowell

"[M]y real exercise, that truly keeps me fit, is to get on my knees each morning and each night and thank God for waking up in America, and to thank God for the men and women who wear the uniform in Iraq and Afghanistan and everywhere else they serve..." —Ben Stein

"[President] Bush said that massive deportation [of illegal aliens] is unrealistic. He said you can't just move 12 million people to another country. I don't know—Mexico did it." —Jay Leno

"Mistakes are made in every war; there's a reason the word 'snafu' began as a military acronym whose meaning we can't reprint in a family newspaper." —The Wall Street Journal

Park Rangers: Licensed to Kill
Just kidding. Got some feedback from people knowledgable about park rangers and why they carry firearms.

From my friend, the former national park ranger:
Because the parks, like the rest of the country, are full of criminals some of whom want to hurt people, transport/manufacture drugs, steal archeological artifacts, smuggle aliens etc. ad naseum.
From someone familiar with law enforcement in Delaware:
Park Rangers go through the State Police Academy.

Park Rangers enforce and prosecute all state laws.

Park Rangers are real Police.
I guess I associate park rangers too closely with Smokey the Bear to really think of them as law enforcement officials, but I can see why they are now.

UPDATE: My former park ranger friend is embarassed by what she wrote above due to spelling and "homonym" issues. Not that I noticed them myself, so who's the real "moron" to use her term, the person who wrote it quickly while running late to work or the person who didn't even notice himself? Rest assured, she's very intelligent, despite the impression you may or may not have received above.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Bush eases environmental rules on gasoline
Here's a list of what the article says he does and my reactions:

* President Bush on Tuesday ordered a temporary suspension of environmental rules for gasoline, making it easier for refiners to meet demand and possibly dampen prices at the pump. [...] Easing the environment rules will allow refiners greater flexibility in providing oil supplies since they will not have to use certain additives such as ethanol to meet clean air standards. I wonder if this will have the effect he hopes for. After all, since you can't mix ethanol-based gas and MTBE due to some chemical issues I don't completely understand, it won't help those who have already begun cleaning their tanks and will make their gasoline more expensive compared to those who haven't begun making the switch. They'll either have to use the MTBE stuff and make the switch again or lose business by charging for more expensive ethanol-based stuff.
* He also halted for the summer the purchase of crude oil for the government's emergency reserve.I have no idea if this will make a difference, but the article said likely not. It seems mostly symbolic.
* He urged Congress to take back some of the billions of dollars in tax incentives it gave energy companies, saying that with record profits, they don't need the breaks. This is good, although it seems to say that if they weren't having record profits, the subsidies would be okay. We shouldn't be subsidizing these companies anyway.
* He urged lawmakers to expand tax breaks for the purchase of fuel-efficient hybrid automobiles. I don't like distorting the marketplace like this. I'm all for conservation, but I don't like government mandates.
* Instead, he called for increased conservation, an expansion of domestic production and increased use of alternative fuels like ethanol. Right track here.
* The administration also contacted all 50 state attorneys general to offer technical assistance to urge them to investigate possible illegal price manipulation within their jurisdictions. Ugh. Economic illiteracy. What really concerns me is that some attorney generals will find manipulation even if none exists. Even if the companies are found not guilty, any trials would just further inflame the political mood. This isn't a good idea. There isn't anywhere near dominance of the gasoline market to fix prices. The temptation to undercut the "cartel" and make more profits by charging a lower price would be too strong. To the extent that monopolies do exist in the country, it's the government supported monopolies, we call "utilities." If they want to investigate price-fixing look at those.

It's amixed-bag of propodals, but I'll give it a general thumb's up.

AmericanPapist: Not Your Average Catholic!: TomKat clearly didnt know their Hebrew...
Suri, the name chosen by Hollywood couple Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes for their newborn daughter, is raising more than its share of interest in Israel. It means "get out of here" in the local language, Hebrew.
Too funny, ebcause it describes exactly what I wish "TomKat" would do.

And Jeff the Baptist might enjoy this post from the same site.

Bush Orders Probe Into Gas Price Cheating
This is clearly just a political move. The fact is India, China and the US are all gowing economically and increasing their demand for oil which is raising prices. If we want to bring the price of oil down, there are two things we can do: increase supply, or decrease demand.

To increase supply, we can open up drilling in new areas such as in Alaska, which is currently off limits. The new MTBE regulations are also restricting supply as refineries are still switching over to the new production methods.

On the demand side, we can use less gasoline: more commuters can take the bus, switch to nuclear energy for power, turn your thermostats up or down depending on the season.

Government artifically reducing prices will simply increase demand which is the exact opposite of what we need to do. Let the free market work and solutions on both sides of the supply/demand equation will be found.

Monday, April 24, 2006

delawareonline | The News Journal | Officer kills man, is wounded, in shootout
A man in his early 40s was shot and killed this afternoon on a road beneath the St. Georges Bridge by a state environmental enforcement agent, who also was wounded in the exchange of gunfire.
Police say man killed was wanted on robbery charges in Newark.
Two questions:
1) Why do DNREC officials have guns?
2) And why are they attempting to apprehend a suspect, rather than calling for the real police?

UPDATE: Well, I glad to know that the rangers weren't trying to apprehend a known suspect, according to the News-Journal this morning. They were merely looking into something weird when they were fired upon and they defending themselves. I do wish the article had explained why they were armed to begin with, although it appears fortunate that they were in this case.

A friend of mine is a former park ranger (for the national government). I'll see if she has some input.

Can We Fire Congress?
Rich Lowry writes:
This oil thing is, needless to say, idiotic. But it points to a larger issue: the GOP problem at the moment is by no means limited to the White House, as folks on Capitol Hill would have it, but very much includes Congress. Bush can get himself a top-notch White House staff firing on all cylinders and consulting like crazy with Congress, but if Capitol Hill is still run by what often seems a bunch of bungling, spend-thrift, unreformable, tin-eared, unimaginative, hysterical pols, not much is going to change.

Take the opportunity the House had with the selection of John Boehner as majority leader. He was a relative fresh face to most of the public, even if, obviously, not a stranger to K Street. What came of this departure? Very little. Did the GOP take advantage of the moment to institute some serious ethics and earmarks reforms? Of course not. Now, in this moment of political crisis, over in the senate the GOP has come up with the $700 million "railway to nowhere," just in time to remind conservatives why they are so dispirited, if they had by any chance forgotten. Then there's the immigration charade, with the GOP unable press what should be--given public opinion--their advantage on the issue and unable to exploit Democratic divisions on it.

On top of all this, they are running pell-mell from Bush with no or little purpose beyond pure panic, when Bush is more actually more popular than they are (Bush's approval is at 33%, Congress' at 25%; Bush's approval rating is 66% among Republicans, Congress' is at 28%). So tell me: Which end of Pennsylvania Avenue is most in need of a shake-up?
A good analysis of why Congress deserves much of the blame for the current state of the GOP. As disappointing as Bush has been, many of mistakes have just been tied to allowing Congress to do things they shouldn't. (It's called a VETO. It's in the Constitution, look it up. You're allowed to do it, I promise.)

"Every child in America should be acquainted with his own country. He should read books that furnish him with ideas that will be useful to him in life and practice. As soon as he opens his lips, he should rehearse the history of his own country." —Noah Webster

"Just think about the situation Christ's disciples were in after He left them. Here was a group of peasants, powerless, up against the most powerful empire in the world. Possible prison time was the very least of their worries. They knew that torture and execution could be in their future if they refused to stop preaching the name of Jesus Christ. But they couldn't stop. To a man, they kept talking about Christ's life, death, and resurrection to anyone who would listen. None of them would deny or retract their story. Eventually, just as the authorities had threatened, most of them were executed for it. But still, all of them maintained to the very end that Jesus had risen from the dead—that they had seen Him, touched Him, talked with Him. What would inspire men to suffer and die for a belief? Only one thing—the absolute certainty that their belief was true... Which leads me inescapably to one conclusion: Jesus' resurrection was not a lie. These apostles would have turned state's evidence in a heartbeat, copped a plea, unless they had seen the risen Christ in the flesh... Their courage, their steadfastness, proves that their story is the truth. And that makes it a truth worth living—and dying—for." —Chuck Colson

"Ever since the late 1960s, the tax code has included alternative minimum tax provisions theoretically designed to prevent the 'rich' from using loopholes to avoid paying any federal income tax at all... Three things are now pulling middle-class families into the maws of this tax. First, unlike the normal income tax, the AMT was never indexed for inflation. As wages have crept up with prices, workers making relatively less-affluent incomes have crept closer and closer to the threshold that will subject them to the AMT. Secondly—and ironically—the cuts in the income-tax rates secured by President Bush are causing more middle-class families to have lower tax bills under the ordinary tax, thus exposing them to a potential AMT liability that would essentially seize the income that the Bush tax cuts would let them keep. Thirdly, the AMT does not allow deductions for dependent children, state income taxes or property taxes. Under AMT, more children means more federal taxes, and a more valuable house means more federal taxes... Why won't an all-Republican government push to simply abolish the AMT? Because it has already made plans to spend every penny of revenue the AMT will bring in to the federal coffers from its expanded taxation of middle-class families." —Terence Jeffrey

"The character that takes command in moments of crucial choices has already been determined by a thousand other choices made earlier in seemingly unimportant moments. It has been determined by all the 'little' choices of years past—by all those times when the voice of conscience was at war with the voice of temptation, [which was] whispering the lie that 'it really doesn't matter.' It has been determined by all the day-to-day decisions made when life seemed easy and crises seemed far away—the decision that, piece by piece, bit by bit, developed habits of discipline or of laziness; habits of self-sacrifice or self-indulgence; habits of duty and honor and integrity—or dishonor and shame." —Ronald Reagan

"Every new sweeping tax law Congress enacts—always called a 'reform' —makes the job even more complicated and, if possible, more confusing. And the tax code longer. But we're all supposed to swear, on penalty of perjury, that we've done our best to find it... Is tax reform the answer? It's more like the problem, since every reform tends to complicate tax law only more. And the longer and worse the tax code gets, the less chance there is of really reforming the thing. What to do? Don't mend it, end it. Abolish the tax code and start all over. Think about it: Would anybody starting from scratch come up with a system as indecipherable and counterproductive as the one we've got? So why not opt for a clean break with the past? Abolish the Internal Revenue Code and begin anew." —Paul Greenberg

"In the early 1970s when I helped found Greenpeace, I believed that nuclear energy was synonymous with nuclear holocaust, as did most of my compatriots. That's the conviction that inspired Greenpeace's first voyage up the spectacular rocky northwest coast to protest the testing of U.S. hydrogen bombs in Alaska's Aleutian Islands. Thirty years on, my views have changed, and the rest of the environmental movement needs to update its views, too, because nuclear energy may just be the energy source that can save our planet from another possible disaster: catastrophic climate change." —Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace

Frank Sinatra Parody: You Are Either With Frank Or You Are With The Terrorists!
An oldie but a goodie.

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