June 22, 2009

Well, That Certainly Reeks

...of "hope".

...the White House has assumed "a posture of watchful waiting," adding: "There will be big increases in stimulus spending in the fall and early next year. We have to wait to see what happens with that. If you get to the end of this year or early next year and employment is still limping back, then we have to do some serious thinking about whether there might be special problems in the labor market that require targeted interventions."

But he's already been on the telly this morning, so all is right with the world. It's gotten to be so commonplace that none of us at work ~ including the drycleaning guy doing his rounds ~ can function until the 10 a.m. answer to "Has he been on yet today?" is in the affirmative, "Oh, there he is already!"


Part B of the query consists of "Great. For what this time?" "Healthcare." "Great. Change the f*cking channel before I lose breakfast."

Posted by tree hugging sister at 12:18 PM | Comments (6)

June 18, 2009

You Could "Look for the Union LABEL"

But you'd be much better off carrying a union CARD.

...The Democrats' other problem is that the usual populist line won't fly. The party would like to be able to protect itself by saying that only those who now receive the most generous benefits will face taxes. Then again, the Americans who now have the Cadillacs (or, in these post-bailout-days, the Swedish sports car Koenigsegg CCXs) of health-care coverage are union workers. Union workers "would be stuck footing more of the bill than others," says Paul Fronstin, a senior research associate with the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

This was the big gripe back when President George W. Bush first proposed rewriting the tax code to equalize the tax treatment of employer-provided and individually purchased health care (albeit as a means of creating a market-oriented system, rather than funding a federal entitlement). In Michigan, home of the once-mighty auto workers, Sen. Debbie Stabenow growled in 2007: "There are 160,000 people [in Michigan] with excellent health insurance plans . . . who for the first time would end up paying taxes on them."

The attack against Mr. Wyden was an early shot across the Baucus-Obama bow, and it resonated. Mr. Baucus officially floated his plans for a tax this week, only with a surprising twist: His levy will not apply to union plans, at least for the duration of existing contracts. In other words, Mr. Baucus intends to tax the health-care benefits only of those who didn't spend a fortune electing Democrats to office. Sen. Ted Kennedy, who is circulating his own health-care reform,

...has also included provisions that will exempt unions from certain provisions.

I thought we lived in the UNITED States and ALL shared the burden. I'm so naive.



In the age of hope and change, the only ones sharing the burden are the taxpayers who don't have a card that says "UNITED" followed by "Auto Workers", Steel Workers", "Operating Engineers", "Food and Commercial Workers", "Laborers International", or any such thing associated with bought and paid for Democratic voting blocks. The rest of us are chum and I don't mean the "best friend" sense.

Obama's given them Chrysler, he's giving them GM and, any moment now, tax dollars courtesy of your "Cadillac" health benefits supporting Obama healthcare.

...Baucus said his proposal is likely to cap benefits at "a level higher than the actual benefit that members of Congress receive today." An employer-provided plan worth less than that level [$13,000/yr per family of four] would remain tax-free, he said, while any benefit exceeding the cap would be taxed as ordinary income.

Such a tax, if adopted, would be phased in over "several years," Baucus said. And it would be likely to "grandfather" in health benefits set as part of a collective-bargaining agreement, he said...

allowing union plans to remain tax-free
...until new contracts can be negotiated.

I despise this guy and his toadies more every day, to the point of choking on bile when his schmug appears, yet again, on the telly. Can anyone count the fuckin' balls this guy has in the air at any given time? I know he's hoping the ones that fall to earth won't be noticed until they're jammed so far down our throats we can't breathe to bitch about the ones still suspended in flight.




Healthcare's the flaming poopie torch on the right.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:38 PM | Comments (9)

June 17, 2009

A Couple More Numbers for Bingley's Health Care Lament

...There was a report from the Congressional Budget office that the health care plan offered by Senator Kennedy would cost $1 trillion and include only 16 million of the uninsured.
That's $62,500 a pop for ten years but when have government projections been anywhere near reality.
This was followed by a late report from the Senate that health care plans being kicked around would cost $1.6 trillion over ten years. To Greg Valliere it looks like there is a real threat that President Obama's campaign pledge to not raise taxes on the middle class will go the way of "Read my lips. No new taxes." But that is what political capital is for. To be able to react to the real world and not the campaign world. Joe Biden jumped ahead in the cue and said the stimulus won't save or create 3.5 million jobs but more like 600,000. And it looks like whatever is planned in the White House will have a fight on Capitol Hill as Senator Dodd has said taxing health care benefits is not a good idea while the Senate Finance Committee is kicking around a proposal to tax benefits worth more than $17,000 as regular income.
This is starting to look like the gang that couldn't shoot straight.
And lucky us!

Posted by tree hugging sister at 03:49 PM | Comments (1)

June 11, 2009

You Think Obama Doesn't Want to Regulate Every Aspect

...of your LIFE?


Oh, you are so wrong, baby. It's coming.

Administration: Rein in pay in US private sector

Obama administration: Executive pay needs curbs, better management, across US private sector

Enjoy that flush while you can.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:19 AM | Comments (1)

I Found a Video Illustrating My Stimulus Philosophy

Walk it back, baby.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:12 AM

May 31, 2009

Enabling Addictions

...makes the inevitable, delayed withdrawal even more painful.

..."The basic strategy appears to be to try to bring us back to 2006 by propping up asset prices and reflating the popped credit bubble, subsidizing bank creditors and shareholders, and delaying needed bank recapitalizations while hoping for an economic recovery," Greenlight Capital's David Einhorn said at the annual Ira Sohn Investment Research Conference.

..."Government intervention could draw this out much further than is necessary and is useful, although for some areas it may feel somewhat good in the interim," said Sokol, a contender to succeed Warren Buffett as head of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.




..."As any drug addict knows, if you stop using drugs you will go through withdrawal. Government is making the situation worse," said Schiff. "We don't need any more stimulus. We are suffering from the stimulus we have already been given."

He joked years of misguided U.S. fiscal policy has created a Ponzi economy, where new Treasury bonds must be sold to repay existing investors just to keep Uncle Sam solvent.

"I don't know why we have Bernie Madoff in jail," Schiff said.

"We should appoint him secretary of the Treasury."

Posted by tree hugging sister at 06:05 PM | Comments (3)

May 29, 2009

Gerry, We Need 'Ya

Because all those electoral votes are coming to Washington with their hand out


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - If AIG was too big to fail, how about the world's eighth-largest economy?

In a move with only one modern-day precedent, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Democratic lawmakers are pressing the Obama administration and members of Congress for federal loan guarantees to help the state out of a desperate, multibillion-dollar jam.

California is not asking for cash, like the tens of billions given to AIG, General Motors or Morgan Stanley. (MS) Instead, the state with the worst credit rating in the nation is asking that Washington act as a sort of co-signer on the state's borrowing, to be backed up with money from the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

Remember those innocent days our youth, when we were told that we "had" to give billions to Chrysler and GM or they might *gasp* have to declare bankruptcy? Remember how horrible-henny-penny-the-sky-is-falling we were told that would be? And now that we've collected on the daily double by both giving them billions and having them none-the-less declare bankruptcy...what was the point of wasting those billions? And the billions we've wasted on AIG, et al? Well, ok, trillions. My bad.

California has to cut their spending, and completely expunge their legislators (as does NJ).

California leaders say that would make it easier and cheaper for the state to borrow money on the bond market, reducing the interest rate by as much as half and saving taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.

How about this: save taxpayers hundreds of millions by not spending hundreds of millions.

The Obama administration has responded cautiously to the idea, and members of Congress from other states worry that it would put the federal government in the business of backing municipal bonds - a job traditionally held by investment banks.

They worry also that the U.S. government could overextend itself and risk its triple-A credit rating if California and other states or cities in distress start coming to Washington hat in hand.

Could overextend itself? Could?


As an aside, oh for those happy, simpler times when the Dow being down 12 whole points would be reported as a "skid."

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:05 AM | Comments (7)

May 27, 2009

Change You Can Believe In: Here Comes A VAT

Because, you know, obviously cutting spending is a non-starter

With budget deficits soaring and President Obama pushing a trillion-dollar-plus expansion of health coverage, some Washington policymakers are taking a fresh look at a money-making idea long considered politically taboo: a national sales tax.

Common around the world, including in Europe, such a tax -- called a value-added tax, or VAT -- has not been seriously considered in the United States. But advocates say few other options can generate the kind of money the nation will need to avert fiscal calamity.

..."Everybody who understands our long-term budget problems understands we're going to need a new source of revenue, and a VAT is an obvious candidate," said Leonard Burman, co-director of the Tax Policy Center, a joint project of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution, who testified on Capitol Hill this month about his own VAT plan. "It's common to the rest of the world, and we don't have it."

I really really want to hit these guys with a clue-by-four: CUT SPENDING!

But as long as we keep voting them in, they're going to keep spending.

And us and our kids are screwed.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 08:41 AM | Comments (9)

May 26, 2009

Hey, You Know What We Really Need?

Another freakin' "Czar"

President Obama is expected to announce late this week that he will create a "cyber czar," a senior White House official who will have broad authority to develop strategy to protect the nation's government-run and private computer networks, according to people who have been briefed on the plan.

The adviser will have the most comprehensive mandate granted to such an official to date and will probably be a member of the National Security Council but will report to the national security adviser as well as the senior White House economic adviser, said the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deliberations are not final.

Oh hooray. More heavy-handed government intrusion in our freedoms; what could possibly go wrong?

The report suggests that although it is a key government responsibility to help secure private-sector networks, regulation should be the last resort, the sources said.

Since when is it a "key" government responsibility to help secure private-sector networks?

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 08:01 AM | Comments (10)

May 13, 2009

Why Cut Spending

...When you can tax fun?

If you make big bucks — or enjoy alcohol, cigarettes and Coke — the government might hit you up to pay for fixing the nation’s health care system.

On Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee peeked into vending machines and liquor stores, company payrolls and health savings accounts, looking for a mix of tax increases and spending cuts as a way to pay for a health overhaul — which could cost more than $1.5 trillion over 10 years.

...People who like the tax-free status of their company health benefits could be asked to ante up. Money in the pot: more than $700 billion over 10 years.

Treasure the tax benefits from your health savings account? Some experts say the accounts encourage “excess consumption” of health services — and committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) agreed they’re worth a look. Money in the pot: $60 billion over 10 years.

What encourages “excess consumption” of health services is making them free.

Update: And of course I see the Fearster was on this yesterday.

Oh well, that will teach me to go out of town for a few days...

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 06:30 AM | Comments (7)

May 07, 2009

Liar, Liar, Smokey Bear Hats

...on fire?

U.S. to Condemn Land for Flight 93 Memorial

The government will begin taking land from seven property owners so that the Flight 93 memorial can be built in time for the 10th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks, the National Park Service said.

In a a statement obtained by The Associated Press, the park service said it had teamed up with a group representing the victims' families to work with landowners since before 2005 to acquire the land.

"But with few exceptions, these negotiations have been unsuccessful," said the statement, which was to be released later Thursday.

..."It's absolutely a surprise. I'm shocked by it. I'm disappointed by it," said Tim Lambert, who owns nearly 164 acres that his grandfather bought in the 1930s. The park service plans to condemn two parcels totaling about five acres — land, he said, he had always intended to donate for the memorial.

"To the best of my knowledge and my lawyer, absolutely no negotiations have taken place with the park service where we've sat down and discussed this," Lambert said.


(The design itself has enough problems as it is...)

This whole memorial thing is completely and utterly out of hand. If you can't frickin' get something built within eight YEARS of such a horrific event that touched ALL Americans, f*ckin' fuggedaboudit. Leave both sites empty with simple plaques or put them back the way they were before. Save the touchy-feely, deeply profound, over wrought, over thought, endlessly argumentive sh*t for, oh, I don't know ~ how 'bout Obama's presidential library?

Almost a decade of wrangling and divergent interests do nobody any honor.


Posted by tree hugging sister at 07:56 AM | Comments (5)

That's Fine as Long as There's a "Catholic Day"

..."Wiccan Day", "Espicopalian Day"...you get my drift.

Hawaii Lawmakers Pass Bill to Create 'Islam Day'

Why am I thinking that's not the case?

Posted by tree hugging sister at 07:39 AM | Comments (3)

May 04, 2009

Ever Feel Like the Law's on Everyone Else's Side?

Well, sometimes you should.

An illegal immigrant who uses false identification papers must know they belonged to another person to be convicted of identity theft, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday.

Apparently anybody can be you...as long as they "don't know it".

This is gonna make defense lawyers real happy ~ spend five minutes rehearsing the "I know nozzink No sé nada" line...


...and you're done.

Next!

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:52 PM | Comments (2)

April 29, 2009

Discipline Your Children

...while you still can.

A global children's rights treaty, ratified by every U.N. member except the United States and Somalia, has so alarmed its American critics that some are now pushing to add a parental rights amendment to the Constitution as a buffer against it.

The result is a feisty new twist to a long-running saga over the U.N. Convention on the Rights of The Child. The nearly 20-year-old treaty has ardent supporters and opponents in the United States, and both sides agree that its chances of ratification—while still uncertain—are better under the Obama administration than at any point in the past.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 03:01 PM | Comments (4)

Couldn't Agree

...more.

Not only did we give the mouse a cookie, we gave him the whole darn factory.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 02:57 PM

April 22, 2009

It's An Odd Definition Of "Volunteer"

Maybe it's my simple mind and humble upbringing stunting my cognitive faculties yet again, but if Obama is touting this as "volunteering" then why the heck is it costing so much?

WASHINGTON (AP) - Calling on Americans to volunteer, President Barack Obama signed a $5.7 billion national service bill Tuesday that triples the size of the AmeriCorps service program over the next eight years and expands ways for students to earn money for college.

"We need your service, right now, in this moment in history. ... I'm asking you to stand up and play your part," said Obama, a former community organizer in Chicago. "I'm asking you to help change history's course."

That's an edited transcript of course. What The Greatest Orator Of All Time actually said was

"We, um, need your, uh, service, your service right now, in, in this, uh, moment in history. ... I'm, uh, I'm asking you to, um, well, to stand up and, uh, play your part," said Obama, a former community organizer in Chicago. "I'm asking you to, uh, help change history's, um, history's course even though I, uh, was, uh, only a uh small child when history, or, uh, as some would say, uh, and they, er, would, uh, not be incorrect in so, uh, stating, to uh, inclusively say herstory as, uh, as well, but as I was only a, uh, small child when his or, uh, her story began I, uh, can not be held a, accountable for uh, how it, er, turned out."


Can someone explain this to me:


The service law expands ways for students and seniors to earn money for college through their volunteer work.

Isn't this saying that "The Government will pay you for doing something for free"? Have I been "volunteering" at my job for the past 20+ years? Who knew I was so civic-minded! Certainly no one who knows me...

It aims to foster and fulfill people's desire to make a difference, such as by mentoring children, cleaning up parks or buildings and weatherizing homes for the poor.

What place is it of the Government's to "foster or fulfill (my) desire(s)", let alone take it upon itself to decide what those desires actually are?

The "Nanny State Express" rolls along.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:39 AM | Comments (6)

April 16, 2009

How Is This Not Just a Convoluted

...kick-back scheme?

...Under its terms, local companies can receive tax breaks of $10,000 a year - for three years - for each ex-offender working at least six months as of Jan. 1, 2008.

...To receive the credit, companies must provide $2,000 worth of tuition support and vow to remain in Philadelphia for at least five years. As for the ex-offenders, they must turn over 5 percent of their paychecks to the city.

...Some companies, in addition to not wanting to be publicly named, object that the program requires them to pay ex-offenders more that their current unionized workforce. For a company to get the tax credit, it must pay ex-offenders 150 percent of the federal minimum hourly wage - which currently adds up to about $10 an hour.

"Employers don't want to set up a situation where their union employees are paid less," Gillison said. He added that the administration planned to introduce legislation before June to address this issue and others.

Ray Jones, a director at Impact Services Corp., which helps find ex-offenders jobs, pointed to another possible impediment, saying some ex-offenders opposed giving up 5 percent of their paychecks. Given that many have restitution and child-support payments on top of rent and food bills, he said, "it just does not make a whole lot of sense for them to buy into it."


What a deal. Surprisingly, no one's applied for it. And I'm a smidge befuddled by the whole "someone else pays you more so we can take some back" approach. I can't see much difference between this and the situation a certain local sheriff is parked in the hoosegow for...
...The federal complaint alleges that Morris and Adams created phony performance bonuses for sheriff's department employees involving hundreds of thousands of dollars. Employees were directed to return all or a portion of the bonuses as cash and cashier's checks under the pretense that the money would be used for charity.

It doesn't strike me as a good thing for anyone.


Posted by tree hugging sister at 07:11 AM | Comments (2)

April 09, 2009

I Have to Work During the Start of the April 15th Pensacola Tea Party

I was gonna jet to the protest when the jefe got back around 3, but, considering the flow of email traffic, it's probably just as well. One poor guy tried to organize it, but he got schwamped. Got an email from a different fellow today claiming to be his right hand man:

Hello, My name is A* I will be helping J* as his available time has diminished due to personal issues.
I work with several political/activist groups in the area, some partisan and some independent.
I want to stress the importance of keeping the message of our signs peaceful, universal, and legible.
Large sections of cardboard work well for a sign, also you can buy thin sheets of wood, or craft project board.
If you use wood or cardboard paint it white first, then use spray paint and stencils or a medium sized paintbrush with dark paint.
Signs with a paragraph of text or thin writing(sharpie) will most likely not be legible from the road.
Text should be ½" -1½" thick, and strongly contrast the background material color.

To keep our message peaceful please refrain from attacking political personalities, or parties.
We must not forget the bailouts began before Mr. Obama took power, and will continue afterwards if we do not stand against it now. Just as the Sons of Liberty protested "Taxation without Representation", we will be protesting the private banking institutions such as the Federal Reserve and its "Inflation Tax" and the bankster gangsters and their unconstitutional bailout as allowed by the Legislative Branch.

I am thankful to J* for getting the location organized and getting notice to the TV and newspapers.
Many of you have written thank you notes to J*, he should be able to respond sometime next we ek.
I will be checking this email for him in the meantime, or you can send to my email listed below.


I hadn't had time to read it when this "reply all" hit the Inbox:
I apologize for sending this to list addressees individually. However, I was so shocked by Mr. A*'s words and the "activist" website where he has his email address (www.meetthetruth.org) that I felt it prudent to contact everyone directly.

It is perfectly appropriate to suggest that signs be legible and coherent and their messages peaceful. But this is an exercise of First Amendment rights. NOBODY has any business telling demonstrators what to say or why they're participating. This is the sort of "message control" leftist gangs like ACORN engage in.

Unlike Mr. A* I am NOT "protesting private banking institutions." I am demonstrating against *our elected representatives* - at every level - who have abused our trust by rewarding bad corporate and personal behavior with taxpayer money, mortgaging our grandchildren's future, and expanding the role of government. I am demonstrating in favor of free markets and individual responsibility.

Most disturbing: the website which hosts Mr. A*'s email address (www.meetthetruth.org) is an antiglobalist, antiwar conspiracy-theory group. Among its tamer claims is that the 9/11 attack was an inside job done by "Zionists." This is just the kind of association the media would love to jump on to discredit to the entire Tea Party movement.

If this is any indication of who's trying to run the show, count me out. It's hard enough being a conservative without this kind of baggage.

No shit. If you wander over to Meet the Truth, they've got a lovely Rosie O'Donnell sort of primer on steel pancaking, lots of airplanes crashing into buildings footage and...forget it. They're fucking nut jobs. And this card carrying loon is presenting himself as OUR Tea Party go-to-guy. The Blogfaddah linked to a Roger Simon article about [ACORN] Agent Provocateurs and I think this is the first inkling of something rotten in our humble burg. He's a Ronulan. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?!



Schmaybe this guy thinks it's a GOOD thing he's got a national affiliation. I got news for him...don't be hijacking my pissed-off-ed-ness and giving me etiquette lessons. I'm smart enough to know I what I can write and who I can name and NOT invite...well...guys like you to make an issue of it.

I don't have a clue now who in Sam Hell's running this thing and I could give a rat's ass. I'm half tempted to be the lone wolf with a sign in front of the Federal Courthouse on Garden Street (Site of the original party but moved for "jurisdictional" reasons ~ ¿que? ~ to the back end of a no-where-but-dead mall at the edge of town.), since it's supposed to be a citizens' impromptu fiesta anyhow.

This is a little town. What are they trying to pull where the numbers are bigger?

UPDATE: Ronulans Attack!

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:05 PM | Comments (51)

April 02, 2009

Yet Another Stat to Commit to Memory

...for use when they start chanting the mantra.

The Myth of 90 Percent: Only a Small Fraction of Guns in Mexico Come From U.S.

...There's just one problem with the 90 percent "statistic" and it's a big one:

It's just not true.

In fact, it's not even close. By all accounts, it's probably around 17 percent.


Put it right up there with cannibals in the Super Dome and fire not melting steel.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:07 AM | Comments (1)

March 31, 2009

You Can't Get Much More "Out Of State"...

...than by being an illegal immigrant, for god's sake. But Dear Governor Corzine never let a simple fact like that stand in the way of "doing something for the children"

JERSEY CITY — A state panel on immigrant policy released recommendations Monday that include in-state tuition eligibility and driving privileges for illegal immigrants, as well as the creation of a commission on New Americans.

Gov. Jon S. Corzine, who convened the Blue Ribbon Advisory Panel on Immigrant Policy last August, said Monday he agrees that illegal immigrants, especially those brought to the U.S. as children and attending local schools, should be able to pay in-state tuition at the state's public colleges.

First off, they are not "New Americans" but illegal immigrants, which is a very hurtful phrase that means, um, "criminal." Why should they be "entitled" to privileges that hard working and tax paying residents, both native born and legal immigrants, have been paying for all these years? Someone who hops off a container ship in Perth Amboy gets reduced tuition at Rutgers but the child of a serviceman born and raised in Iowa has to pay full fare? What kind of crap is that? Demo-crap, that's what kind.

We are broke, he is taxing the middle class out of existence, yet he wants to in effect increase government spending and create a whole new class of entitlements.

The report recommends several ways to make the delivery of federally mandated social services more culturally relevant, as well as improve conditions for immigrants in education, health and the labor force, among other areas.

Corzine said he'll push lawmakers to approve the creation of the state commission on immigrant issues, although funding for new programs is expected to be scarce in the current economic climate. If approved, New Jersey would become one of the few states with a government entity dedicated to immigrant affairs.

The governor also is urging a re-examination of an immigration directive from the New Jersey Attorney General ordering police to notify immigration authorities when they arrest someone suspected of being an illegal immigrant. He's also backing moratorium on federal immigration raids in the state, which he says often tear mixed-status families apart.

There's a scary phrase: "ways to make the delivery of federally mandated social services more culturally relevant." No, no, and a thousand times no. The government should not give a rat's ass about how things are "culturally" done amongst other, er, cultures, but only how we do things in a fair, western legal fashion. In other words: women are fully equal to men, we eat pigs and we love dogs. If you've got a problem with any of that, tough.

Not surprisingly, Lawhawk was on this last night.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 06:54 AM | Comments (5)

March 25, 2009

Sometimes, Reading a Newspaper

...can ruin your day.

The Huntsville Housing Authority buys an apartment complex in southwest Huntsville, and that move has a lot of people fired up about it.

Folks in the neighborhood said they just found out about over the weekend while reading the newspaper.

...Many said they're angry that they were not notified about this until the deal was already made to purchase Stone Manor Apartments.

Paige Rucker, the spokesperson for the Housing Authority faced a meteor shower of questions.

She says that the Housing Authority could not say anything to anyone about it, not even the residents at Stone Manor Apartments until the authority purchased the apartment complex.

Rucker said the owner of the property at the time, decided not to notify the residents about the sale.


Odd how NO ONE could tell NOBODY, isn't it?

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:53 AM | Comments (1)

Politicians: Why Not Bail Out Newspapers?

Hey, they've always been there to bail out certain politicians

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - With many U.S. newspapers struggling to survive, a Democratic senator on Tuesday introduced a bill to help them by allowing newspaper companies to restructure as nonprofits with a variety of tax breaks.

"This may not be the optimal choice for some major newspapers or corporate media chains but it should be an option for many newspapers that are struggling to stay afloat," said Senator Benjamin Cardin.

It seems to me the reason they are "struggling" is because they have already in fact become "non-profits." We have an old joke in my office: "we're a non-profit corporation; we didn't intend to be..."

If you are losing money because people aren't buying your product, well, either you change or go under; don't expect to be transformed into some quasi-governmental agency. This is crap.

A Cardin spokesman said the bill had yet to attract any co-sponsors, but had sparked plenty of interest within the media, which has seen plunging revenues and many journalist layoffs.

Ooh, there's a shocker. Expect lots of investigative stories about government corruption now.

Not.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:21 AM | Comments (4)

March 16, 2009

What's Thong With New Jersey?

Well, here's one good example

TRENTON, NJ - Things could get hairy in New Jersey this summer for women who sport revealing bikinis or a little bit less.

The painful Brazilian wax and its intimate derivatives are in danger of being stripped from salon and spa menus if a recent proposal to ban genital waxing is passed by the state's Board of Cosmetology and Hairstyling.

...New Jersey statutes allow waxing of the face, neck, arms, legs and abdomen, but officials say that genital waxing has always been illegal, although not spelled out.

While I'm really not in the demographic that might partake of these services I fail to see where it is in any way the State's duty to intervene in this. If you find it painful then simply don't get it done.

It's amazing that the Party that screams long and loud about "keeping the Government out of the bedroom" wants to get the Government into your shorts.

Well, I guess it's not so surprising.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:41 AM | Comments (8)

March 12, 2009

I'm Running Out of Ways to Say "We're..."

"...fucked".

The Senate is gearing up to ratify a Nixon-era U.N. treaty meant to create universal laws to govern the seas -- a treaty critics say will create a massive U.N. bureaucracy that could even claim powers over American waterways.

LOST -- the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, also called the Law of the Sea Treaty -- regulates all things oceanic, from fishing rights, navigation lanes and environmental concerns to what lies beneath: the seabed's oil and mineral wealth that companies hope to explore and exploit in coming years.


Gee, everyone thank Crusader for the day brightener. This is all a bad, BAD dream, from which there is no escape possible. FOR YEARS.

Unless...

Worth a try, right?

Posted by tree hugging sister at 07:51 PM | Comments (5)

March 10, 2009

Personally, I Would Have Said "Pay My Mortgage"

...but he's entirely correct, regardless.

Imagine a child falls down a well. Now imagine I offer to lend the parents my ladder to save her, but only if they promise to paint my house. Would you applaud me for not letting a crisis go to waste? Or would you think I'm a jerk?

I ask because I'm trying to come to terms with Rule No. 1 of the Obama administration.

...Michael Kinsley famously said that a gaffe in Washington is when a politician accidentally tells the truth. As they say, it's funny because it's true.

But the White House tactic isn't funny at all. It's scary. Its amorality is outweighed only by the grotesque and astoundingly naked cynicism of it all.


Posted by tree hugging sister at 02:11 PM | Comments (4)

February 27, 2009

Dust In The Wind. All We Are Is Dust In The Wind...

And according to the EPA we're liable for it, too

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Nothing says summer in Iowa like a cloud of dust behind a combine.

But what may be a fact of life for farmers is a cause for concern to federal regulators, who are refusing to exempt growers from new environmental regulations.

...Under rules imposed in 2006, rural areas would be kept to the same standards as urban areas for what the Environmental Protection Agency calls "coarse particulate matter" in the air.

...In 2006, the EPA determined larger particles in the air than previously thought were a danger to the public. The increased threshold covered air mixes that occur in rural areas.

EPA spokeswoman Cathy Milbourn said the changes are not just a matter of regulating dust. They serve the public's well-being and, regardless of whether someone lives in a rural or urban area, the threshold for unsafe levels of dust in the air must remain consistent nationally.

"It's health-based," she said. "We don't look at a particular industry. The goal is to protect public health."

So farmers plow their fields, it doesn't rain and the wind picks up. Break out your checkbooks, boys!

Absolutely insane, and yet another wonderful example of why we need radically less government.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 06:51 AM | Comments (5)

February 26, 2009

"Homeland Security" My Ass

Well, technically it's the Hugh Moore Historical Park's asses

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A federal anti-terror law that requires longshoremen, truckers and others to submit to criminal background checks has ensnared another class of transportation worker -- mule drivers. Mule skinners must abide by federal law and apply for Transportation Worker Identification Credentials, TSA says.

Yes, so-called mule skinners -- in this case, seasonal workers who dress in colonial garb at a historical park in Easton, Pa. -- must apply for biometric Transportation Worker Identification Credentials (TWIC), according to the Transportation Security Administration, which says it is bound by federal law.

The requirement has officials of the Hugh Moore Historical Park perplexed.

"We have one boat. It's pulled by two mules. On a good day they might go 2 miles per hour," said Sarah B. Hays, the park's director of operations.

The park's two-mile canal does not pass any military bases, nuclear power plants or other sensitive facilities. And, park officials say, the mules could be considered weapons of mass destruction only if they were aimed at something resembling food.

... On Wednesday, the mule skinner debate reached Capitol Hill, when Dent asked new Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano about the necessity of conducting background checks on mule drivers. He displayed a photo of two mules, Hank and George, tugging a canal boat in the company of two park employee mule drivers in colonial working attire.

"Now Hank and George, while sometimes are ornery, they are not terrorists," Dent said. Napolitano said she would try to be flexible.

"Try to be flexible." Blech. What asinine bureaucrat-speak. How about just saying "This is stupid," Madame Secretary?

Do we really want the government regulating and licensing our asses?

Talk about invasion of privacy.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:38 AM | Comments (8)

February 22, 2009

Sunday Noodling

There are a couple things troubling me at the moment. While I am absolutely sure there will be MORE things, these are gnawing away. And I'm out of bellini mix, hence nothing to do but brood.

The first thing is something major dad overheard being asked on CNBC and there was no answer forthcoming from the Congressperson to whom it was addressed:

What happens to the proceeds of these refinanced/bail-out mortgages when home values go up ~ as they will eventually ~ and the previously distressed home owners who availed themselves of the government largesse expect to sell at a profit?

"Hey! It's MY house! I pay the mortgage!" (No, excuse me ~ WE payed your mortgage...)What about that? Have they even thought of it? The folks who are busting their collective tookusses to keep up with the obligations of their lives have sure as hell thought of it.

Then there's the question of being laid off from a job (or experiencing a critical income squeeze, ie., partner job loss, severe compensation cut-back, etc.), but managing to throttle back enough to meet your obligations as you should. You're just making due, but. You can't stop...

...wondering ~ come April ~ what magic cloud the dough's supposed to drop from that will pay an additional IRS obligation, if owed?

And lots of folks owe anywhere from a little to a buttload by the variability of their income stream. Is the Geithner Daschle "Cabinet Secretary" Rule in effect yet? (I think the blackguard in charge of the Treasury is morally obligated to give us ALL the benefit of an extended payment plan, 'cause at least we'll pay it.)

And what happens to the "stimulus" projections when tax receipts tank? That what was withheld during '09 may be all that's in the pipeline, regardless of what Turbotax says you need to write a check for? (Unless, of course, you've got Geithner's Daschle's a Turbotax "Watch Me Pull a Rabbit Outta My Hat" version.)

Then what happens to the whopping $65/mth if you do have a job?

Do they take it back?

Stuff like that really bugs me.


Posted by tree hugging sister at 06:04 PM

February 13, 2009

In Response to the Headline

...on HotAir...

Final stimulus vote in Senate imminent

...let us pray:

Oh, Lord [or insert your personal diety],
Let your miserable servants...Arlen, Susan and any other wishy-washy losers even THINKING about voting in the affirmative...grow a pair.
Amen

UPDATE: All for naught. The bastards sold the country out.

Damn.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 05:18 PM | Comments (6)

February 09, 2009

That IS the Commonly Shouted Threat of Choice

...in most instances.

"My dog is hungry and he's hungry for buttocks."

Only in America ~ Land of the Free ~ would this even be in court.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 08:28 AM | Comments (16)

February 03, 2009

Hilarious

The highlowlights're laughable and enough to make you cry...

$400 million for the Centers for Disease Control to screen and prevent STD's.
Like those insidious germoids causing the current Democratic "Alzheimered Muh Taxes" pandemic. STD = Smarmy Tax-dodging Democrats.

$75 million for "smoking cessation activities."
Michael Phelps is signed as spokesman.

$25 million for tribal alcohol and substance abuse reduction.
Leave 'em alone. If I could afford a drink, I'd join 'em.

$10 million to inspect canals in urban areas.
We can't have the flow of Washington sh*t impeded anywhere.

$125 million for the Washington sewer system.
Can't have sh*t flowing BACK up to the Hill

$6 billion to turn federal buildings into "green" buildings.
I think we've poured in enough "GREEN". Roof leak? If not, leave the f@ckin' things alone.

$1.2 billion for "youth activities," including youth summer job programs.
Modeled after the successful "Paris-youth" intervention programs developed by the always resouceful French.

$160 million for "paid volunteers" at the Corporation for National and Community Service.
Is that one of those trick phrases like "ethical Congress" or "transparent administration"?

$850 million for Amtrak.
I misread that ~ I thought it said "an Ark" and I was all for it, as in:



"Pack 'em up and get them the f*ck OUTTA here, Lord!"
>

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:55 AM | Comments (1)

February 01, 2009

Well, I'm Spittin' It Out

...when I get to the one stamped "BINGLEY WAS HERE".

Oh, I've known for a while about Obama's plan to Render the population into a green food-substance. I think I saw a documentary about it once.

But it won't be the terrorists. HOPELENT GREEN will be REPUBLICANS.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:40 PM | Comments (1)

January 13, 2009

Another Loss In NJ For The People

I couldn't find anything in their online edition, but in the dead-tree edition of yesterday's Asbury Park Press there was a story that this law eliminating school budget voting had been passed and was on its way to Corzine's desk for signing. What a shock, the political machine moves to take away the one venue folks have in deciding how their monies are spent. Can't have the Little People muddying up the process now, can we?

I love the "logic" behind this bill

“School boards and school budgets are being decided by a minute population, and it’s disheartening,” said Assemblyman Wayne P. DeAngelo, a Democrat from Hamilton Township, who co-sponsored the bill.

I'm willing to bet that the number of people who voted in the school budget elections in my town alone far exceeded the number of people who voted in the Assembly to take this right of ours away from us.

Once I get the results on how each member voted on this I will post them.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 06:47 AM | Comments (4)

January 08, 2009

If Only Carl Sagan Were Still Alive...

His trademark phrase "billions and billions" would be appropriated by the Governments "trillions and trillions

Obama also confirmed that he plans to lay out a roughly $775 billion economic stimulus plan on Thursday but indicated that the amount could grow once it gets taken up by Congress.

"We've seen ranges from $800 (billion) to $1.3 trillion," he said. "And our attitude was that given the legislative process, if we start towards the low end of that, we'll see how it develops."

How is this money they are throwing about ever going to be repaid?

Sadly, our children are going to be so screwed by all of this.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:49 AM | Comments (2)

January 05, 2009

Perhaps 600,000 New Government Employees?

Boy, that will do wonders for the deficit, now won't it.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 06:40 AM | Comments (4)

December 09, 2008

Obama: "No Need To Stock Up On Guns..."

Well, this is a relief, isn't it?

As gun sales shoot up around the country, President-elect Barack Obama said Sunday that gun-owning Americans do not need to rush out and stock up before he is sworn in next month.

"I believe in common-sense gun safety laws, and I believe in the second amendment," Obama said at a news conference. "Lawful gun owners have nothing to fear. I said that throughout the campaign. I haven't indicated anything different during the transition. I think people can take me at my word."

Great, Mr. President Elect!

Like, er...this word?


Obama answered "yes" in 1996 to a questionnaire from an Illinois group on whether he supported a handgun ban. But he later said a staffer filled out that answer and he did not support a ban.

Hmmm.

But I have to say I'm a tad more concerned about the words of one of your supporters

"We don't dispute [the gun sales hike] because the numbers from the federal system certainly confirm that there is increased activity out there. We just think it's a bit stupid," said Peter Hamm, spokesman for the Brady Campaign against Gun Violence.

"Anyone who thinks they need to rush out and buy a firearm clearly has not been paying attention to how quickly we make progress on this issue. We don't think these are first-time buyers. We think they are people who already have more than enough guns at their homes to protect themselves and are buying more."

In other words, "we are planning to make things much more restrictive but we're not there yet."

And, as a side note, who the hell are you buddy to pontificate on why someone should be allowed to have guns or how many is "more than enough." The Constitution doesn't say that people can have guns only for home defense or hunting; it says "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." So if people want to collect them, use rifles a la Gaston in all of their decorating, whatever, they can and should and must be allowed to.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:20 AM | Comments (2)

December 05, 2008

A Hot, Steamy, Heartfelt FOAD

...to the mahROONS f*cking PINHEADS WEASEL D*CK LOSERS inhabiting the Escambia County Commissioners' chairs.

Escambia County commissioners are considering a gasoline tax to pay for running Escambia County Area Transit buses.

However, with transit usage at a 50-year peak nationally, including vastly increased bus ridership in Escambia, more funding will be needed. And transit officials say it's likely state and federal funds could fall short next year.


(The article makes no mention of the fact that the county already HAS a $.06 gas tax in situ.) It appears that bus ridership has increased exponentially, which is why they want the extra dinero. As opposed to 2007, when there WAS no bus ridership, hence they wanted the extra dine...you get it.

An especially fervent shout-out to our own carpetbagger Gene Valentino for royally F*CKING OVER his OWN district!!! Yee HAW! THERE'S bi-partisan ignorantship at work!

Moron quote of the day? Oh, THAT belongs to that deep thinking, young whippersnapper of the bunch, Grover Robinson.

...Commissioner Grover C. Robinson IV said. "I see it as a true user fee. If you want to pay less of it, ride the bus.
We have got to reduce our dependency on foreign oil."

Hey, GROVER!!! How 'bout we DRILL right offshore? Huh? Where ya stand on THAT?

As for your smug, simplistic sloganeering about "ride the bus": since you live in the part of town SERVED by said bus, that's easy, cheesey for YOU, little man. If you live out where the majority of the county lives (ths waves hand violently here), please note a simple fact: THERE AIN'T NO BUS. As we succinctly pointed out in January 2007, whence last you all pulled a "ride the bus" gas tax on a then $3/gal out your fat, collective asses.

Let me revisit a few of the more cogent arguments I made:

This tax would go to 'save' the bus system*, not expand it to the hundreds of miles of county (like Pi...Mr. Valentino's district ) which have never (and will never) witness a bus rumbling through, but ARE full of the hardworking, minimum wage renters that the county is famous for. And carefully fosters the climate for, keeping it favorable for the endless supply of drones required by our captains of local industry. These people have to DRIVE for their $7/hr. These people have no property to get a break on. Most are probably not subscribers to the local paper (which has to be delivered by minimum wage types in CARS, too) and pretty informationally challenged. And then there're those lucky, forgotten folks who live in the upper 4/5's wasteland of the county* but WORK in the privileged lower 5th. The highlighted area (click for full size) is the sum and parcel of the ENTIRE Escambia County Area Transit service.

*As their own route map says "Some routes do not travel every route as depicted on this map" (DAMN, THAT'S helpful!)

And what's happened to the farthest reaches of the county in the intervening years? Big county employers like Solutia Corp. (up bumf*ck north, almost at the border) is laying off about 171 workers and GE (on the bay, at the very eastern reaches) is letting over 70 go. That doesn't include all the teensy little firms dumping their 3 or 4 or 5 employees into the unemployed line. And, thanks in great measure to Escambia County government, teensy little employers are what we're all about! I'm sure those folks will be THRILLED to help finance a bus line they CAN'T use with extra funds they DON'T have, as they look for all those jobs that DON'T exist here in the employment armpit of the Gulf.

Come to think of it, maybe the 50 or so folks the Pensacola News Journal is laying off live mostly in ECAT ridership areas! If they do, Grover, you're in like flint.

But for you, Mr. Valentino, I have something special planned. It's a big, fat, pissed-off constituent phone call, so tell your secretary to stand by! And I'm giving YOUR number to all my bus-riding-challenged friends in our little 'hood here.

Oh, you betcha.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 08:38 AM | Comments (7)

December 03, 2008

Oversight? Paulson Don't Need No Steenkin' Oversight!

And no questions, either; his judgment is beyond reproach by us mere taxpayers

WASHINGTON -- The Treasury Department has failed to address a number of critical issues while implementing the $700 billion financial rescue plan, including how to ensure its efforts are successful, the Government Accountability Office said Tuesday.

The report, which was required by the legislation authorizing the rescue plan, said Treasury has yet to figure out how to make sure financial firms receiving billions of dollars of federal funds comply with limits on executive compensation and dividend payments. (Read the full report.)

On a more basic level, the Treasury's efforts to establish "an effective management structure and an essential system of internal control" are incomplete, the report said.

"Without a strong oversight and monitoring function, Treasury's ability to help ensure an appropriate level of accountability and transparency will be limited," the report said.

They didn't just give him a blank check; they gave him the whole checkbook and a printing press.

Oh, and did we forget to mention this minor detail?

The report also noted that the Treasury has yet to announce whether it will require firms that receive capital injections to report on the use of the funds. Doing so, the report said, "would enable Treasury to monitor, to some extent, how the infusions were being used."

Gee, ya think?

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:42 AM | Comments (1)

November 26, 2008

Continuing On Our Theme

I find this via Insta on the state of NJ's pension system

New Jersey's pension fund has lost more than $23 billion this year, dropping to its lowest level since 2003 as a collapsing financial market battered its investments, a new state report shows.

The latest losses -- nearly $9 billion in October, and another $3 billion so far this month -- mean the fund is now worth $57.8 billion, or less than half the $118 billion in benefits it is due to pay out over time.

And our glorious Governor's cunning plan to fix things?

While Clark delivered his report to the State Investment Council in Trenton, Gov. Jon Corzine was in Atlantic City promising a convention of local government officials that he would let them postpone about a half-billion in payments they are scheduled to make to the pension funds in April.

Specifically, Corzine proposed letting local governments skip paying $541 million of the $1.1 billion due. They would gradually work their way back to full payments by 2012 under his plan.

Brilliant! The plan is under-funded, so the best way to solve the problem is to fund it even less.

And when you consider this

New Jersey is $60 billion in the hole on pension funding and the Governor is planning on skipping payments in a "pension payment holiday" until 2012 so as to not increase property taxes. To top it off, the ongoing plan assumptions are 8.25%. Sorry NJ, that simply is not going to happen.

Our state is in a huge mess, and I haven't seen anyone in either party come up with a realistic solution...or even an honest assessment of the state our state is in.

Oh, but let's spend over $100 million on a new football stadium for Rutgers.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 09:05 AM | Comments (5)

Here's Another Bailout

As I've mentioned before, there's a huge looming problem with the under-funded State employee pensions, and given their strong support for the incoming administration you know they will be a main concern. But there's also a big problem in the private sector

Americans with 401(k) plans in stocks have been feeling queasy for months as they've watched their savings vanish at alarming rates.

But workers covered by traditional pension plans -- the ones 100% funded and managed by companies for employees -- have so far avoided that sinking feeling.

Unlike the 401(k) crowd, they don't get monthly statements bearing the grim news of the lousy performance of the investments in their pension plans.

But with stocks and bonds crushed, many of these old-school defined-benefit plans now look downright wobbly. If the economic weakness continues long enough, many could end up in the hands of the independent government agency responsible for taking over failing plans.

This would mean that, down the road, the agency would likely ask for a $50 billion to $100 billion boost from tax dollars, experts say.

That's right: This would affect you even if you didn't have a traditional pension plan. It's the looming bailout no one is talking about.

And these losses can not be completely blamed on the poop that is the Dow, because many of these companies have been under-funding their plans for years.

About 340 of the S&P 500 companies now have plans with shortfalls. And 227 of them -- almost half -- have plans that are less than 80% funded. That's a 266% increase from the 62 companies in 2007 with plans that were less than 80% funded.

...Not surprisingly, General Motors and Ford top the list. Much of the talk in favor of allowing the big automakers to go into bankruptcy centers on how it would let them shed pension obligations. Guess who gets the bill if they do.

Unisys, which offers information technology to governments and the private sector, also places high.

These three now have pension fund shortfalls equal to anywhere from about 80% to 180% of their market capitalizations, by Zion's calculations.

We've seen this before in the airline industry in the 80s. The government allows them to under-fund their pension obligations, then they go into Chapter 11, and the employees get screwed.

But hey, what's another couple hundred billion in taxpayer mullah?

And of course no "executives" will be fired, because that might destabilize things...

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:57 AM | Comments (1)

November 14, 2008

Here We Go

"I want some too!"


WASHINGTON (AP) - Three big city mayors asked the federal government Friday to use a portion of the $700 billion financial bailout to assist struggling cities.

The mayors sought help with their pension costs, infrastructure investment and cash-flow problems stemming from the global financial crisis.

The mayors—Michael Nutter of Philadelphia, Shirley Franklin of Atlanta and Phil Gordon of Phoenix—made their request in a letter to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.

Nutter said cities are facing an economic crisis not seen since the Depression and need help just like financial institutions.

"I want to make sure that cities and metro areas are at the table, that their voices are being heard, that our challenges and problems are well understood, so that we can get relief," Nutter said.

President-elect Barack Obama has also called for some sort of aid to state and local governments so they don't have to raise taxes or lay off workers while the federal government is trying to revive the economy, but he hasn't proposed or endorsed a specific aid plan.

The Government that couldn't say "no."

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 12:53 PM | Comments (16)

November 06, 2008

The Coming Round Of "Bailouts"

Think the Bank welfare was fun? We've only just begun. The "Big 3" automakers will be meeting very soon with Pelosi and crew, who are already promising billions more in "stimulus" packages for them. This Congress is going to ram through the "Employee Free Choice Act," more properly known as the "Let Me Make You An Offer You Can't Refuse Act," to radically enhance union power. Next they will in effect nationalize the auto industry, to be followed by the airlines and so on down the line. They will be using your money to strengthen their union powerbase, thereby ensuring their grip on electoral power for years. Most ethical evah my ass.

And I promise that if I ever use the words "Pelosi" and "stimulus" (and "package"...ick) in the same sentence again I will jump in front of a bus.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 03:15 PM | Comments (4)

October 30, 2008

They Said If George Bush Were Re-Elected...

...we'd see censorship on the internet. And they were right!

AUSTRALIA will join China in implementing mandatory censoring of the internet under plans put forward by the Federal Government.

The revelations emerge as US tech giants Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, and a coalition of human rights and other groups unveiled a code of conduct aimed at safeguarding online freedom of speech and privacy.

The government has declared it will not let internet users opt out of the proposed national internet filter.

The plan was first created as a way to combat child pronography and adult content, but could be extended to include controversial websites on euthanasia or anorexia.

Communications minister Stephen Conroy revealed the mandatory censorship to the Senate estimates committee as the Global Network Initiative, bringing together leading companies, human rights organisations, academics and investors, committed the technology firms to "protect the freedom of expression and privacy rights of their users".

Mr Conroy said trials were yet to be carried out, but "we are talking about mandatory blocking, where possible, of illegal material."

A sad, sad day.

And frankly a scary one, given how we are going to get this "Fairness Doctrine" rammed down our throats here.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 09:22 AM | Comments (5)

October 17, 2008

Since 2004 Two Children In NJ Have Died From The Flu

So naturally Trenton demands that every child get a flu shot

As flu season approaches, many New Jersey parents are furious over a first-in-the-nation requirement that children get a flu shot in order to attend preschools and day-care centers. The decision should be the parents', not the state's, they contend.

Hundreds of parents and other activists rallied outside the New Jersey Statehouse on Thursday, decrying the policy and voicing support for a bill that would allow parents to opt out of mandatory vaccinations for their children.

Look, I think there are many cases where mandatory vaccinations are important: polio, measles, the various hepatitises etc. This is not one of them.

In fact, flu kills about 36,000 Americans a year and hospitalizes about 200,000. But children make up a small fraction of the victims - 86 died last year, from babies to teens, according to federal figures. Only two flu deaths of children in New Jersey have been recorded since 2004.

Two children have died since 2004 from the flu. According to what I could find the death rate among influenza vaccine recipients ranged from 0.01 to 0.02% within 7 days and 0.09–0.10% at 30 days. Not a huge risk, it seems to me. But in NJ in 2006 alone there were roughly 670,000 children between the ages of 0 and 5 who would be required to get this vaccine. By my math one would expect, what, 6 or 7 of them to die? Even if I'm off by a factor of 100 on my math it sure seems like the cure is worse than the disease.

I'm sure all those campaign contributions by the pharmaceutical industry in NJ had nothing to do with this.

Nothing at all.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 08:04 AM | Comments (17)

October 15, 2008

As Always...

Theo makes an excellent point

Back in 1990, the Government seized the Mustang Ranch brothel in Nevada for tax evasion and, as required by law, tried to run it. They failed and it closed.

Now we are trusting the economy of our country to a pack of nit-wits who couldn't make money running a whore house and selling booze.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 10:17 PM | Comments (3)

September 26, 2008

I Will Support The Bailout Plan If...

...every member of Congress who votes for it also resigns and promises not to run for office again.

It only seems fair that they make some sacrifice and take some responsibility for this mess which is largely of their creation.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 02:08 PM | Comments (8)

What They Didn't Tell You Was In The Bailout

Well, lookee here

Here’s the relevant part of the Dodd proposal:

TRANSFER OF A PERCENTAGE OF PROFITS.

1. DEPOSITS.Not less than 20 percent of any profit realized on the sale of each troubled asset purchased under this Act shall be deposited as provided in paragraph (2).
2. USE OF DEPOSITS.Of the amount referred to in paragraph (1)
1. 65 percent shall be deposited into the Housing Trust Fund established under section 1338 of the Federal Housing Enterprises Regulatory Reform Act of 1992 (12 U.S.C. 4568); and
2. 35 percent shall be deposited into the Capital Magnet Fund established under section 1339 of that Act (12 U.S.C. 4569).

Get that? "Countrywide" Dodd wants to use at least 20% of any profits generated to issue more sub-prime mortgages...and fund groups like La Raza and ACORN.

In other words, use your money to fund groups that support their agenda. As opposed to, say, paying down the US debt.

Or something radical like giving it back to the Taxpayers and letting US decide where to spend OUR money.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 08:13 AM | Comments (11)

The Bailout Stumbles

So it seems that this plan may be dead for the moment.

(CNN) -- What began as high-stakes negotiations over the proposed $700 billion bailout of the nation's financial system dissolved into bickering, begging and a roiling battle between parties Thursday night.

One day after President Bush said the nation's economy is at grave risk, lawmakers argued over competing counterproposals and wound up without any apparent financial bailout deal on the table.

I'm frankly glad that this rush to spend at least 700 billion dollars has been slowed. That's an insane amount of OUR money that the very people, Congress, who created the conditions that allowed this situation to develop want to hand over to the geniuses who went out and actually lost it all. It's insane.

I agree the economy is at grave risk. It's at grave risk from damn near anything this Congress does.

But the bright spot out of this is that the true nature of our parties is being revealed, it seems to me: all they care about is the next election and their hold on power. Every issue is a partisan squabble. The Democrats and the Republicans both now place party interests above that of national interests. Power has corrupted both, absolutely. Sure, there are decent, honorable people in both parties, but they are swamped by those who see every issue, every discussion only through political lenses and in terms of how it can be turned to their side's advantage.

It's sad but inevitable; these two parties have had a long run but they have fallen into corrupt machines solely interested in their own self-preservation, and they use the tools of government; laws, coercion and your money; to ensure it.

They need to go.

Oh sure, we'll replace them with at best other parties that will eventually founder as well, as all human institutions surely do, but at least we'll hopefully get a few good years out of them.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:26 AM | Comments (2)

September 25, 2008

Gosh, This Will Sure Help

Hmm, maybe it's me, but it seems something's missing from this exciting and bold legislation

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - The New Jersey Assembly on Thursday is expected to vote on a package of bills to help the state's economy as national leaders grapple with the Wall Street financial meltdown.

The seven-bill package, spearheaded by Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan, D-Middlesex, would loosen New Jersey's corporate law requirements to make it easier to operate a business in the state.

...Specific measures include:

_ Allowing corporate notices to directors and shareholders to be sent electronically.

_ Eliminating a rule requiring at least 10 days' notice to shareholders about items that could be voted on.

_ Simplifying rules involving the resignation of corporate directors.

_ Providing speedier options for businesses filing with the state Division of Commercial Recordings.

_ Giving corporations more flexibility to adopt alternative voting methods to select directors.

_ Expanding the types of foreign business entities allowed to merge with corporations in the state.

_ Give corporations more flexibility to award stock grants instead of stock options to executives.


Sure, it's nice having fewer rules for Board of Directors...I guess. Although given how brilliantly various Boards of Directors have performed of late, I'm not sure making life easier for them is such a winner of a plan.

But what about something crazy and wild like, oh, I don't know...say lower taxes and other measures to lower the cost of doing anything in NJ?

Silly me.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 03:28 PM | Comments (4)

Jim DeMint is En FUEGO!


We've just been alerted that despite House Democrats relenting on extending bans on offshore drilling and oil shale in the continuing resolution (CR) appropriations bill, Democrat Senate Leader Harry Reid has decided to sneak an extension of the oil shale ban through as Congress fights over the financial bailout. Oil shale in America's West is estimated to hold be between 800 billion and 2 trillion barrels of oil -- that is more than three times the proven oil reserves in Saudi Arabia alone.

LOVESES him!. Go get 'em, tiger!

Posted by tree hugging sister at 01:29 PM | Comments (1)

Part Of How We Got Here

via Ace, here's a useful reminder of where a good part of the blame in this mess lies

Fannie Mae Eases Credit To Aid Mortgage Lending

By STEVEN A. HOLMES
Published: September 30, 1999

In a move that could help increase home ownership rates among minorities and low-income consumers, the Fannie Mae Corporation is easing the credit requirements on loans that it will purchase from banks and other lenders.

The action, which will begin as a pilot program involving 24 banks in 15 markets -- including the New York metropolitan region -- will encourage those banks to extend home mortgages to individuals whose credit is generally not good enough to qualify for conventional loans. Fannie Mae officials say they hope to make it a nationwide program by next spring.

Fannie Mae, the nation's biggest underwriter of home mortgages, has been under increasing pressure from the Clinton Administration to expand mortgage loans among low and moderate income people and felt pressure from stock holders to maintain its phenomenal growth in profits.

In addition, banks, thrift institutions and mortgage companies have been pressing Fannie Mae to help them make more loans to so-called subprime borrowers. These borrowers whose incomes, credit ratings and savings are not good enough to qualify for conventional loans, can only get loans from finance companies that charge much higher interest rates -- anywhere from three to four percentage points higher than conventional loans.

''Fannie Mae has expanded home ownership for millions of families in the 1990's by reducing down payment requirements,'' said Franklin D. Raines, Fannie Mae's chairman and chief executive officer. ''Yet there remain too many borrowers whose credit is just a notch below what our underwriting has required who have been relegated to paying significantly higher mortgage rates in the so-called subprime market.''

...In moving, even tentatively, into this new area of lending, Fannie Mae is taking on significantly more risk, which may not pose any difficulties during flush economic times. But the government-subsidized corporation may run into trouble in an economic downturn, prompting a government rescue similar to that of the savings and loan industry in the 1980's.

''From the perspective of many people, including me, this is another thrift industry growing up around us,'' said Peter Wallison a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. ''If they fail, the government will have to step up and bail them out the way it stepped up and bailed out the thrift industry.''

Fannie Mae, pushed by the Clinton Administration into making loans to people who they knew would have trouble repaying them. And all the while Congress, both sides of the aisle, whistled and said "tra-la-la." In 2005, after Raines was forced to retire because of the burgeoning mess, some Republicans to their credit wanted to increase oversight and the Democrats on the Banking Committee quashed the bill on a straight party line vote so it never reached the Senate floor. And so the Republicans let it go.

And they want us to give a blank check to the same people who caused this mess.

Like hell.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 08:19 AM | Comments (1)

September 24, 2008

This Bailout Must Be Stopped

As I talked about below I'm very much against this bailout, as it seems many of you are too. And as I feared it now seems that those bastards sorry I meant really smart and terrific folks in the Treasury Department and Congress decided to really open up our purse (link via HotAir)

In the dark of night over the weekend when most people were snoozing, the Treasury dramatically expanded its bailout plan to include buying student loans, car loans, credit card debt and any other "troubled" assets held by banks.

The changes, which were included in draft language that also opened the bailout program to foreign banks with extensive loan operations in the United States, potentially added tens of billions of dollars to the cost of the program.

Although it was a major addition to what was already the nation's largest-ever bailout, it did not become part of the debate between Democrats and the Treasury over details of the program. A Monday counterproposal by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher J. Dodd included such consumer loans as well as mortgages, just as the Treasury's draft did Saturday night.

This is simply gobstoppingly outrageous and unwarranted. I remember when I was in college in the early 80s; I was besieged everyday even back then with "pre-approved" credit card applications. I had no job; well, I drove buses at Virginia to make my beer money, that's true, but I was at least in theory a full time student, no real income, but I could have gotten all the plastic my heart desired and lived large. And my heart did desire, it's true. But I had this weird archaic notion that if I spent some money I would need to pay it off relatively soon; like the next month. So I never took any of those folks up on their offers. Fast forward a few years to after I take my degree and get a full time job working for an exceedingly large grain company in Manhattan. Sure, I was only making about $14,000, but as a single guy sharing a house with 2-3 other people in Bloomfield in 1986 you could survive. And so now that I was gainfully employed with absolutely no debts you think I could get a credit card? Nope, nary a one. I couldn't even get a charge card from a freakin' department store, let alone a "major" credit card. So I had to work and scrimp and save and live humbly until my situation and salary slowly improved and I was able nibble at that opium-laced pie that is Credit.

Did I say "live humbly"?

Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. stressed that the additions were needed to ensure that student loans and credit cards - which have become indispensable to the spending habits and career plans of many Americans - do not become victims of the widening credit crunch.

Maybe I'm missing something here, but it seems to me that perhaps, just perhaps these "spending habits" are in fact a major part of the problem and should not be encouraged or subsidized. And they sure as hell should not be subsidized by my taxes. And 'foreign banks' should not be allowed in either; I'm sputtering on that charming little addition to this ball of crud.

On a related issue, it's very tempting to go after the obvious targets, the CEOs of these companies that have screwed so many pooches. It is indeed obscene how some of them are pulling in millions of dollars in compensation as their companies go belly up and lose billions; I agree it's a subject that needs to be looked at.

But the real problem here, as Paco alludes to, the real problem that needs to be addressed is Congress. Oh the Barney Franks and Chris Dodds and Joe Bidens and the Larry Craigs and the Pete Domenicis and the Barack Obamas and the John McCains will all tell us to pay no mind to the folks behind the velour curtain, will point their fingers at those greedy executives and cry "for shame!" But it has been Congress that has allowed these things to go on; it is Congress that has taken millions of dollars in bribes from these various industries; it is Congress that has abandoned any semblance of fiduciary responsibility or moral leadership and has instead used the taxpayer's sacred trust as merely a fund to buy re-election; it is Congress that has allowed extra-Constitutional "regulatory agencies" to run rampant and legislate with no review or say by the People. This is the primary issue that needs to be addressed; Congress needs to be held accountable. Every incumbent needs to go.

Will we throw out some babies with the bathwater? Sure.

Bummer.

When the bathwater is so fetid even the rare good one is fouled by the contact.

Update: Further reading:
Jim

Ace

Volokh

Another update: Read Eric too.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:29 AM | Comments (10)

September 23, 2008

Brother Can You Spare A Trillion?

I am really disgusted by this whole bail-out by the Federal Government. I strongly believe in capitalism, but I also believe that people are fallen and greedy and need to be restrained; that's why in spite of Marx's Utopian dreaming the State has not withered away. We need laws to restrain us, and we must have punishments meted out to us when we violate them; it's the only way we learn to rein in our baser impulses. No company should be allowed to grow to the point where it is "too big to fail" and no appointed official, hell, no elected official either, should be given unquestioned, unreviewable authority to spend a trillion dollars (and you know damn well that once those...creatures...in Congress start handing out your money it will be well above that amount).

I've never missed a mortgage payment. Before we bought our house my Bride and I did our homework and budgeted very carefully on how much debt we wanted to assume and felt "comfortable" carrying. When we applied for our mortgage the company then offered us 2.5 times as much money, saying we could "afford" it. Say what? Look, I felt the Siren's call as much as anyone would; the money was awfully tempting. I mean, hey, the Bank says we can afford it, so we must be able to, right? So I do have some sympathy for the folks who said "ok." Some. I think there's lots of blame on both sides. People who didn't budget properly, people who ignored their budgets, people who lied on their applications and/or wildly over-estimated their earning potential got themselves into trouble. When you pair them up with mortgage brokers who didn't do due diligence but who were in fact only looking to make the commission on writing the initial mortgage, because they were immediately going to sell the mortgage to someone else to deal with, well, who's the chicken or the egg in this situation? This in turn encouraged them to inflate the amount they were willing to lend because they weren't lending it but only getting a fee based on the size of the mortgage. I think a good place to start would be requiring every company that wanted to buy or sell mortgages to have to re-verify them; reduce their liquidity (the of the mortgage in terms of being bought and sold) and require companies that write the mortgages to service/hang on to them for at least, say five years to further encourage realistic valuations and mortgage sizes.

None of which is any reason why the US Taxpayer should bail out people who made bad loans and people who took out bad loans; neither the people who refinanced their houses 3 times and bought fancy cars and trips based on ever-rising property values nor the ones who made millions writing flaky loans deserve or are owed one penny of assistance from the Government on these deals.

As my Bride succinctly put it the other night, this bail out privatizes the profits and socializes the losses, and that's just wrong. Oh, it's great business for the banks and just what one would expect from a corrupt Congress and corrupt political structure, but wrong none the less.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 08:41 AM | Comments (7)

September 19, 2008

Don't Let the Door

...hit you in the caboose.

Muslim leader says 150 workers fired at Neb. plant

About 150 Muslims were fired from a Grand Island, Neb., meatpacking plant that has been embroiled in a prayer dispute, a Somali-American leader said Friday.

Mohamed Rage, who leads the Omaha Somali-American Community Organization, said 80 workers were thrown out after an altercation late Thursday. He says when they tried to return for their shift Friday, they were fired, along with 70 others.

Police said were called to the plant late Thursday amid reports of a riot or serious fight. But when officers arrived, the situation had calmed, said police Chief Steve Lamken.

Muslim workers have been asking for accommodations with break times to allow prayer at sunset. The issue led to walkouts this week—not only from Muslims but from non-Muslims who protested such accommodations as preferential treatment.

... Hundreds of Muslim employees walked off the job Monday and Tuesday, saying they weren't being allowed to take a break to pray during Ramadan. Break times were then altered on the second shift so the Muslim employees, mostly Somali, could make their fourth of five daily prayers at sunset.

Then hundreds of non-Muslim workers walked off the job in counterprotests Wednesday and Thursday morning. Later Thursday, plant managers did an about-face, saying the new break times weren't working.


Posted by tree hugging sister at 07:14 PM | Comments (4)

August 25, 2008

But What If It Really IS a "Man on the Street"?

Council staff banned from saying 'man on the street'... in case women are offended

Well, I AM offended.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:31 AM | Comments (10)

August 08, 2008

A Really Hate The Outrageously Over-Used Word "Outrage"

But this story sure as hell deserves it if anything does

When the shooting stopped, two dogs lay dead. A mayor sat in his boxers, hands bound behind his back. His handcuffed mother-in-law was sprawled on the kitchen floor, lying beside the body of one of the family pets that police had killed before her eyes.

After the raid, Prince George's County police officials who burst into the home of Berwyn Heights' mayor last week seized the same unopened package of marijuana that an undercover officer had delivered an hour earlier.

What police left behind was a house stained with blood and a trail of questions about their conduct. No other evidence of illegal activity was found, and no one was arrested at Mayor Cheye Calvo's home in this small bedroom community near College Park.

Read the whole thing. These police SWAT raids, especially the "No-Knock" ones, have got to stop.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:36 AM | Comments (6)

August 01, 2008

I'll Leave It to You to Decide

As it's already been a long day.

Plant Drops Labor Day For Muslim Holiday

More Than Half Of Tyson Plant's Workforce Muslim

Some workers at a local plant will no longer to be able to take their Labor Day holiday because of religious reasons.

Workers at the Tyson Foods poultry processing plant in Shelbyville will no longer have a paid day off on Labor Day but will instead be granted the Muslim holiday Eid al-Fitr.

According to a news release from the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, a new five-year contract at the plant included the change to accommodate Muslim workers at the plant.


But I'd be calling the ACLU if I was an AMERICAN union worker who just lost a paid Labor Day.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 05:40 PM | Comments (1)

July 30, 2008

Fire. His. Ass.

And charge him with assault. I support the cops, but not thugs like this guy. Sure, the Critical Mass people can be complete jerks, but you have to be smoking something pretty illicit to watch this

and not see it as a completely unprovoked assault. I don't care what the other cyclists may have said to the cop as they rode by; I don't care what the guy on the bike said; they're just words.

Of course, the Police Union defends him

...union head Patrick Lynch staunchly defended the officer's actions and laid the blame directly on the cyclist.

"This officer observed the reckless actions of a specific individual weaving in and out of traffic and creating a hazardous condition for the public and took action," said Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association.

Uh-huh. Spin like a cyclist.

Sources said Pogan spotted Long weaving through traffic and riding with just one hand on the handlebars. Pogan yelled at Long to stop and when the cyclist tried to veer around the cop, he leaped into action, Lynch said.

"Instead of slowing down or stopping as any reasonable person would when an officer approached, this rider dropped his shoulder in an attempt to avoid arrest by plowing into the officer's chest, which resulted in the officer pushing him away," he said.

That's a hell of a laugh; I can only hope that he hadn't seen the tape when he said that bit of fantasy.

Oh, and if you read what this Criminal Complaint he filed, he claims the cyclist knocked him down and injured him! The video clearly shows that to be a lie; what are the penalties for filing a false complaint?

The cyclist got arrested and spent 26 hours in jail; how much do you think the City will end up paying him?

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 09:07 AM | Comments (13)

July 29, 2008

Oh, For Chrissakes!

Here we go.

House poised to apologize for slavery, Jim Crow

... The resolution will not be the first time lawmakers have apologized to an ethnic group for past injustices.

In April, the Senate passed a resolution sponsored by Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kansas, that apologized to Native Americans for "the many instances of violence, maltreatment and neglect."

In 1993, the Senate also passed a resolution apologizing for the "illegal overthrow" of the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1893.

In 1988, Congress passed and President Reagan signed a law apologizing to the 120,000 Japanese-Americans who were held in detention camps during World War II. The 60,000 detainees who were alive at the time each received $20,000 from the government.


Cue the music...

Posted by tree hugging sister at 03:10 PM | Comments (5)

Are They Saying That Poor and Minority Residents

...aren't SMART ENOUGH to decide what to eat?

L.A. wants to clamp yearlong ban on fast food
City Council to vote Tuesday on plan for impoverished southern part of city

In the impoverished neighborhood of South Los Angeles, fast food is the easiest cuisine to find — and that's a problem for elected officials who see it as an unhealthy source of calories and cholesterol.

The City Council was poised to vote Tuesday on a moratorium on new fast-food restaurants in a swath of the city where a proliferation of such eateries goes hand-in-hand with obesity.


I believe it's a consumer freedom issue. Since I'm pretty sure most restaurants can't accept food stamps, it's a purchase of choice. Now the nanny nazis get to tell those folks where they may spend their few dollars?

If a discrimination lawsuit ever smelled as good as Popeye's spicy, it would be this one.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:42 AM | Comments (11)

July 28, 2008

So Where Does That Leave the Folks in Appalachia?

'Cause it's, like, GLOBAL, dude.

What it Does

The Global Poverty Act:
• Declares it official U.S. policy to promote the reduction of global
poverty, the elimination of extreme global poverty, and the
achievement of the Millennium Development Goal of cutting extreme
global poverty in half by 2015.

• Requires the President to develop and implement a comprehensive
strategy to carry out that policy.

• Includes guidelines for what the strategy should include - from aid,
trade, and debt relief, to working with the international community,
businesses and NGOs, to ensuring environmental sustainability.

• Requires that the President’s strategy include specific and
measurable goals, efforts to be undertaken, benchmarks, and
timetables.

• Requires the President to report back to Congress on progress
made in the implementation of the global poverty strategy.


Considering the smiling faces who introduced it on the propaganda site, I think I'll just say "no".

Well, wait a minute. Maybe I'm being hasty. WTF is it, anyway?
Obama’s Global Tax Proposal Up for Senate Vote

AIM Column | By Cliff Kincaid | February 12, 2008

It appears the Senate version is being pushed not only by Biden and Obama, a member of the committee, but Lugar, the ranking Republican member.

A nice-sounding bill called the "Global Poverty Act," sponsored by Democratic presidential candidate and Senator Barack Obama, is up for a Senate vote on Thursday and could result in the imposition of a global tax on the United States. The bill, which has the support of many liberal religious groups, makes levels of U.S. foreign aid spending subservient to the dictates of the United Nations.

Senator Joe Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has not endorsed either Senator Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton in the presidential race. But on Thursday, February 14, he is trying to rush Obama's "Global Poverty Act" (S.2433) through his committee. The legislation would commit the U.S. to spending 0.7 percent of gross national product on foreign aid, which amounts to a phenomenal 13-year total of $845 billion over and above what the U.S. already spends.

The bill, which is item number four on the committee's business meeting agenda, passed the House by a voice vote last year because most members didn't realize what was in it. Congressional sponsors have been careful not to calculate the amount of foreign aid spending that it would require. According to the website of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, no hearings have been held on the Obama bill in that body.


(It's: "Added to calendar on Apr 24, 2008: Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders. Calendar No. 718" after "Apr 24, 2008: Committee on Foreign Relations. Reported by Senator Biden with amendments and an amendment to the title.")

Hmmm. THAT site has an agenda, because it has all anti-liberal ads on it. (And Glenn Beck's take is funnier anyway.) Let's be fair and balanced.
Wiki says "it's LIES!!!! All LIES!!!!"

A number of news outlets have made false reports about this bill and called it Global Poverty Tax.

I KNEW it could only be good for us. And the world. And the children.

*Many thanks to ee-ville genius ebola for the Mary make-over.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 02:56 PM | Comments (9)

July 17, 2008

Keep Voting Until You Get It Right!

Ah, the gallic arrogance of the Ruling Class! Here's Democracy, Euro-Style


Irish politicians reacted angrily Wednesday after French President Nicolas Sarkozy suggested Ireland should hold a second referendum on the EU's new treaty, after rejecting it last month.

Irish voters dealt a blow to the European Union last month by rejecting the Lisbon Treaty in the only popular vote on the text anywhere in the 27-nation bloc.

According to deputies who attended a meeting with Sarkozy Tuesday, he said that the Irish would "have to re-vote", despite 53 percent opposition.

A key adviser to the French president said later on Wednesday that Sarkozy could ask Ireland to hold a second referendum on the document, but with some minor changes.

"One of the solutions would be indeed to eventually ask the Irish to re-vote, but probably not on a text that would be exactly the same," said Henri Guaino in an interview to French television.

Gee, are they going to let the folks who voted "Yes" also revote?

Hell, are they ever going to let everyone in Europe vote on it, too?

Methinks...not.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:11 AM | Comments (10)

July 15, 2008

Ya Think?


"I am sure you see the absurdity of a university threatening an employee with discipline for reading a scholarly work that deals with the efforts of Notre Dame students in the 1920s to fight the KKK," American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana attorney Ken Falk said in a letter to an IUPUI lawyer.

The irony is, with all that education...they don't.

It takes the fall out from an article in the Wall Street Journal months later to force the "apology".

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:18 AM | Comments (4)

July 10, 2008

Good Thing The NOLA Police Brass...

..are crackin' down on the real criminals


With minutes left in the last shift of his 35-year New Orleans police career, Sgt. Bobby Guidry received a call from a supervisor telling him he had been suspended for wearing the wrong uniform shirt, the veteran officer said.

The Police Department confirmed the censure Tuesday, though it quibbled with the term "suspended." Rather, Guidry is "under investigation for wearing the wrong uniform," said Police Department spokesman Bob Young.

Instead of the standard-issue all-black uniform, Guidry, a veteran officer in the city's Uptown 2nd District, chose the powder-blue uniform shirt that he wore to work for more than three decades.

Yes sir, they come down hard on Blue Collar crime in the Big Easy.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 06:54 AM | Comments (11)

July 09, 2008

So Where Does That Leave the Furor

...over "Yo Quiero Taco Bell", considering the Mexican attitude?

A comic-book character popular in Mexico for generations has run into a cultural barrier at the border, where Americans see him as a racist caricature.

... "This is absolutely insensitive toward race, in particular the African-American culture, and also people of color," Quannel X said. "This is poking fun at the physical features of an entire people."

But Mexican readers who grew up following the shenanigans of Memin say critics need to look beyond the cover and understand the stories.


Mexicans weren't quite so understanding about the cute little dog...

...or another cartoon character years before him.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 04:22 PM | Comments (9)

June 26, 2008

Waiting On Heller

Will the Supremes allow more gun restrictions?

Update: affirmed! DC gun ban overturned.

Updated Update: Here's the decision

Updated updated update: The sweetest sentence you'll read all year: "The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditional lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home."

thanks to SCOTUSblog for the updates

ths Adds: Some of the most astonishing words major dad and I have ever heard just came out of a CNN anchor's mouth while interviewing a female Slate legal type. She had just finished saying (oh, surprise) how obviously this had been more political (!) than correctly interpretive, when Tony Harris responded (and I paraphrase, but get the key-word JUST right):

"But isn't it [Heller], on it's face, vaguely un-American? It sounds un-American."

Turns out he'd also bet it would be a unanimous decision in favor of the individual right. Refreshing in light of the Slate types we'll be hearing from ~ unchallenged ~ for the next freakin' five years.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 10:10 AM | Comments (6)

June 09, 2008

Dumb and Dumber

But I'm having trouble determining what's the former and which qualifies as the latter.

Report: Maryland Textbooks on Islamic Teachings Dumbed Down

A textbook monitoring group said that Maryland middle and high school students will be required to read about Islamic teachings that have been dumbed down and are products of political correctness.

According to the New York Examiner, a new report issued by the American Textbook Council said that administrators who approved books for use in the Montgomery County school district caved into pressure by pro-Islamic groups seeking to present a less violent interpretation of Islam.


So I'll settle for the whole frickin' thing being about as ridiculous as...well...most ANYTHING ridiculous I could think of.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 05:57 PM | Comments (2)

May 01, 2008

Relax, Folks. The Government Is Protecting Your Privacy

What could possibly go wrong?

There has been outrage in Italy after the outgoing government published every Italian's declared earnings and tax contributions on the internet.

...The finance ministry described the move as a bid to improve transparency.

Unbelievable.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:14 AM | Comments (1)

First They Came For Our Runny Eggs...

It's really amazing the crap they come up with in Trentoon. Once again, instead of actually cutting spending, which is what you and I, slovenly normal taxpayer citizen types that we are, do when the budget gets a little tight, our Beloved Betters in Trentoon are floating the idea of a new tax.

WINDSOR, N.J. (CBS) ― The sputtering economy has caused an increase in prices of many staples including gasoline, rice, ice cream, even beer. Now some lawmakers in New Jersey are considering taking food taxes a step further and install a proverbial "sin" tax on fast food.

...The thought of taxing a Big Mac or a Wendy's burger came up at a New Jersey Hospital Association meeting where Gov. Jon S. Corzine was asked if it could be an option to help fund struggling hospitals. At the meeting, he reportedly called it a "constructive suggestion."

Here's a "constructive suggestion" Speed Racer: cut spending by 10% across the board. Every Department. No exceptions. An immediate freeze on all hiring.

No

New

Taxes.

Everyone in Trentoon needs to go. There may be a few babies that get tossed with the bathwater, but when the water is so fetid, youse gots to do what youse gots to do.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 06:42 AM | Comments (2)

March 28, 2008

What Does 4.3 Billion Pounds Get You These Days?

Not a whole helluva lot, evidently

British Airways admitted that the Terminal 5 chaos is set to last into the weekend as the airline put its hands up to a string of blunders.

The carrier is facing a wave of anger from holiday and business passengers who claim the shambolic launch of the £4.3billion facility is 'a national humiliation'.

It sounds like the "Keystone Bobbies"

Baggage handlers arriving at the airport for work in the morning found there was only limited parking.

Many were still driving around desperately looking for a space as the first passengers began checking in their luggage.

Arriving late for security screening, handlers then discovered a programming 'human error' meant they were unable to log on to the sophisticated computer-operated system.

One insider said bags were only able to be taken from the first incoming flight from Hong Kong because managers mucked in and helped drag them from the plane.

Inadequate training also meant handlers did not know where they were going to take suitcases off the conveyer belts and into the gates.

But at least BA took care of their customers

Leigh Wallace, 25, was flying to Johannesburg, South Africa, where she is meant to be getting married today.

She was forced to stuff her wedding dress into her hand luggage and beg a taxi driver to take the remainder of her belongings back to her flat in Kingston before boarding her flight.

She said: 'It was terrible, we had no help and no one seemed to know what was going on. Everyone was left to their own devices, things were really chaotic.

'I had to beg a driver to take my things back to Kingston. I don't know if there was anyone there to take them, perhaps they were dumped on my doorstep, who knows?'

Robert and Priscilla Greene, both 75, from New Mexico, spent the night sleeping in the arrivals lounge after their bags were lost on a flight from Edinburgh.

Mr Greene said: 'Other elderly couples slept here too. There is nobody to help us and nobody seems to know what is going on.

'We spent six hours waiting for our bags until 1.30am. We still haven't found them but it was too late to go to a hotel because we had to be back at the airport for 5am.

It's a quagmire at Heathrow!

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 01:38 PM | Comments (1)

March 27, 2008

Maybe Her Feet Should Not Have Been On The Seat?

I dunno, from my reading of this it seems she is at fault

A dancer who had her toe amputated after a school bus accident has won a payout after suing the coach company.

Kristen Evans reached an out-of-court settlement for an undisclosed amount with Bluebird Buses.

The 18-year-old had part of her toe amputated after it became trapped between seats in September 2005.

...Miss Evans needed an emergency operation after the digit was severed on the way to Perth High School.

Her toe had become caught in the fold-up seat in front of her when someone sat down on it.

From that it seems like she had her feet up on the seat in front of her...like an ill-mannered noodge. I mean, sorry about the toe and all but keep your goldarn feet off of the seats!

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:44 AM | Comments (20)

March 04, 2008

This Is Just a Test

Harvard gym tests Muslim women-only hours

Harvard University has banned men from one of its gyms for a few hours a week, a move to accommodate Muslim women who, for religious and cultural reasons, cannot exercise comfortably in their presence.

The policy is already unpopular with many on campus, however, including some women who consider it sexist.

"I think that it's incorrect in a college setting to institute a policy in which half of the campus gets wronged or denied a resource that's supposed to be for everyone"...

Of course, it's a private school and they can dang test out any old thing they want. In keeping with the apparent Islamic custom of graciousness and inclusion, an unaffected Muslim student feels free to dhimmi dictate to her fellow Harvardians.
...Student Ola Aljawhary, who is Muslim and works out elsewhere on campus but is not one of the women who requested the change, rejected that argument.
"The majority should be willing to compromise," she said. "I think that's just basic courtesy.
We must show tolerance and respect for all others."

Strange how the argument always works 'round to a bended knee before Islam.

Update: To the commenter from Saugus, Mass, who keeps posting anti-Muslim drivel under different names: Spare us. Go over to Cambridge and say it on the street corner, tough guy.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:00 PM | Comments (17)

A Couple Pointers for Our Illinois Brethren

1. Ammunition manufacturers would be required to imprint a secret code on cartridge casings so that the purchaser of the ammunition could be identified.
2. When you purchase ammunition, that secret code would be registered to your name.
3. All your ammunition purchases would be registered with the Illinois State Police.
4. You would be responsible for all eternity for ammunition registered to you.
5. It would be in your best interest to destroy all expended ammunition casings because an unaccounted for empty casing could be used to frame you for a crime you did not commit.
6. You would have to surrender all unregistered ammunition you now own to the Illinois State Police.
7. Reloading would be banned.
8. The Illinois Department of Revenue would be authorized to place a tax on ammunition and raise that tax any time for any reason.
9. Taxes and increased manufacturing costs would raise the price of a box of .45 ammo to $200 or more.
10. Gun ownership would become too costly for most people.
It's new ammunition ban bills on their way to an Executive Hearing tomorrow morning. Might oughta wanna call someone about them, if you feel so inclined. Chief Running Tab That 1 Guy has all the pertinent numbers should you fingers need to do some walking.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 06:00 PM | Comments (5)

The Obligatory "Everybody But Me..."

"...killed my dream!"

Bernanke: More must be done on foreclosures

...One of the suggestions Bernanke made was for mortgage and other financial companies to reduce the amount of the loan to provide relief to a struggling owner. “Principal reductions that restore some equity for the homeowner may be a relatively more effective means of avoiding delinquency and foreclosure,” Bernanke said.


One of the best things I heard all week in a similar vein:
"I can't afford my Ferrari and now my congressman won't take my calls!"

And he won't. But if your homebuying vision version of The New Math went something like this:



...then I guess he's music to your ears. Reality check says "if you couldn't afford it beFORE the mortgage lender penciled in some magic earnings number, you still can't." Which doesn't make it his fault you're greedy and stupid. And it doesn't make it my civic responsibility to bail you out.

I wanted a Ferrari, too, dammit.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:24 AM | Comments (10)

February 20, 2008

Even Those Among Us Who Worship Rocks, Trees

...and the destructive power of the thrown lightening bolt ( or judicious curse/hex laying ) can get behind the Reverend on this one.

"Children should learn science in science class, not religion disguised as science," said the Rev. Brant Copeland, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Tallahassee. "To speak of evolution as a theory in the context of these standards is to minimize its importance as the basic concept in biological science; because, as a Christian, I am not threatened by what science can tell us about God's marvelous, mysterious and every-changing creation."

"Oh, AMEN!" sings the choir.

It's a wonderful day when Floridians can look as retarded ignorant as a hardline Islamic state or the Kansas school board.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:50 AM | Comments (5)

February 15, 2008

Yes We Can...Pick Up the World's Bartab

A Special Guest Blogger Post From Ebola

....I had respect for Obama. That just ended.

I had respect for him right up until I read the bill (and then researched) he sponsored that basically authorizes a .7% GNP tax on the US by the UN and subsequent agreement to a number of protocols and conventions. You won't find the wording in the bill itself. Instead, you'll find the trail of crumbs in the bill to the block of cheddar: the United Nations Millennium Project and it's Development Goals (for a more enticing view of EXACTLY what this is). Obama has sponsored and is pushing for this bill to pass the senate (it's already passed the house, because apparently not a one of our representatives can f*cking read the shit they're voting on. Good job guys.).

The bill mandates that the US, through the governorship of the president, will meet the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. No big deal right? Well, let's read what the MGD actually says, eh?

"Strategy- The President, acting through the Secretary of State, and in consultation with the heads of other appropriate departments and agencies of the Government of the United States, international organizations, international financial institutions, the governments of developing and developed countries, United States and international nongovernmental organizations, civil society organizations, and other appropriate entities, shall develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to further the United States foreign policy objective of promoting the reduction of global poverty, the elimination of extreme global poverty, and the achievement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goal of reducing by one-half the proportion of people worldwide, between 1990 and 2015, who live on less than $1 per day."

The declaration commits nations to ban small arms and weapons, ratifying a series of treaties including the International Criminal Court treaty, the Kyoto Protocol, the Convention on Biological Diversity. Hell, we've poured over four trillion dollars into welfare in the last forty some odd years and our own local "war on poverty". Jesus, look at how ineffective that has been, and we don't have warlords stealing shit on top of bankers and government officials. Are you people stupid? Does no one research anything on their presidential candidate or read bills in congress anymore?! God damn it makes me furious. I read bills (A great site, go us!), and I still missed this one. It was pointed out to me by a friend (with a few unsupported issues) but regardless, I'll be damned if I'm going to pay a global tax when we can't solve poverty domestically. .7% of our GDP hits about $78 billion a year.

Not to mention this bill makes it an additional statement. That means $78 billion, PLUS the billions we're already paying (wastefully in most cases, look at Palestine) in foreign aid. Then add in that we're giving it to the UN. Who, last year, approved saying self defense is...NOT a right. F*ck the UN. And taxing me and everyone else to pay for the rest of the world when we can't maintain ourselves.

Saying we're helping places like Africa is all nice and cooey, but how about reading this interview of a Kenyan economist. Give money to the UN, and that money ain't goin where you think.

A good write up on it here.

Don't even get me started on the fact that this is coming from a presidential front runner.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 03:36 PM | Comments (8)

Pop Quiz

Which costs the US taxpayer more: The entire US military establishment, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, or benefits for elderly citizens?

For 2007 total military related expenses were a tad over $626 billion.

Total benefits to the elderly were $952 billion.

And the Boomer Boom is just starting folks.

As horrible as the Republicans have been with the budget, and they have been scandalously disgraceful, can we really afford the Democrats?

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 08:59 AM | Comments (8)

February 10, 2008

And While You're at It

...put a shot in that big mouth of yours.

Athletes face Olympic ban for criticising China

British athletes will be banned from competing in this summer's Olympic Games in Beijing if they criticise China's totalitarian regime.

The gagging order has been imposed by the British Olympic Association. Competitors who break the rule will not travel to the games or, if they are already in China, will be put on the next plane home.

It means sportsmen and women will be unable to raise concerns about China's human rights record or its occupation of Tibet.

Critics accused the BOA of bowing to political pressure and said the move raised the spectre of the 1936 Berlin Olympics, which passed off without protest and were hailed as a propaganda coup for the Nazi regime.

Since the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, British competitors have been asked to sign contracts including a pledge "not to comment on any politically sensitive issues".


Somebody buy the Archbishop of Canterbury some tennies and a set of Speedos, and send him.

He gets along with everybody.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 03:07 PM | Comments (3)

January 14, 2008

We've Come For Your Liver


In what seems to be a scene straight out of Monty Python, hell, in what is a scene straight out of Monty Python, the UK Government has decided that they can take your organs with out your consent


Gordon Brown has thrown his weight behind a move to allow hospitals to take organs from dead patients without explicit consent.

Writing in The Sunday Telegraph, the Prime Minister says that such a facility would save thousands of lives and that he hopes such a system can start this year.

The proposals would mean consent for organ donation after death would be automatically presumed, unless individuals had opted out of the national register or family members objected.

Now that's bad enough, but they are going even further: they are going to pressure hospitals to come up with ever larger numbers of "donors"

The Government will launch an overhaul of the system next week, which will put pressure on doctors and nurses to identify more "potential organ donors" from dying patients. Hospitals will be rated for the number of deceased patients they "convert" into donors and doctors will be expected to identify potential donors earlier and alert donor co-ordinators as patients approach death.

The outcome of this is clear: since it costs far more money to keep patients alive the UK system will devolve into little more than an organ farm. Hey, why waste time and money prolonging your life when they've got that back-log of transplants to attend to? Heck, the medicines they give you to cure whatever ails you might in fact harm some of your organs, and the hospitals do have their quotas to meet!


"A system of this kind seems to have the potential to close the aching gap between the potential benefits of transplant surgery in the UK and the limits imposed by our current system of consent," Mr Brown writes.

Yes, allowing people to decide how their bodies are used is so limiting, isn't it, Gordo? Such an archaic concept like "consent of the governed" is so limiting when you, the big happy friendly government want to "help" people, isn't it?

Oh, but this is a policy from the Labour Party, so it can't possibly be bad, right?

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 01:36 PM | Comments (7)

December 04, 2007

Um...

DUH.

Implementing the proposed bailout of subprime borrowers who face foreclosure may be so difficult that it will turn out to be no better than the loan modification efforts already underway, analysts said.

And why should this year's resets be any more special than last year's? What do you plan to tell those guys?

Posted by tree hugging sister at 05:11 PM | Comments (2)

November 29, 2007

The 800 Pound Gorilla In The Healthcare Discussion

Here's a clue: it's initials are "I.I."

About 30 percent of all immigrants and their children lack health insurance, Mr. Camarota reports, compared with 13 percent of native-born Americans. One of every three uninsured people in the country is an immigrant or a young American-born child with at least one immigrant parent, he found. Immigrant families account for almost three-quarters of the increase in the uninsured in the past 15 years, he concludes.

...“Immigrants have had an enormous impact on the lack of health insurance,” Mr. Camarota said. “If we are going to have a debate about health insurance, we should recognize that most of the growth in the uninsured comes from recently arrived immigrants and their American-born kids.”

For many many reasons we simply must secure and regain control of our borders.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:04 AM | Comments (5)

November 19, 2007

Couldn't Have Said It Better

...myself.

"I cannot imagine that the framers of the 1964 Civil Rights Act intended to say that it's discrimination for a shoe shop owner to say to his or her employee, 'I want you to be able to speak America's common language on the job,' "

Disaster relief would also be more of an effort if one needed a translator's intervention before goods and services could flow and needs articulated to be met. I mean, we've all seen how Washington, FEMA and local goverments play 'telephone' during a catastrophe ~ they're ALL speaking 'English' but there's little comprehension as it is.

Toss a foreign language into the gumbo and stand by.

...After testy negotiations, the Hispanic Caucus finally agreed to let the tax bill proceed after extracting a promise from Ms. Pelosi that the House will not vote on the bill funding the Justice and Commerce Departments unless the English-only protection language is dropped. "There ain't going to be a bill" with the Alexander language, Mr. Baca has told reporters.

Sen. Alexander says that if that's the case, "thousands of small businesses across America will have to show there is some special reason to justify requiring their employees to speak our country's common language on the job." He notes that the number of EEOC actions against English-only policies grew to some 200 last year from 32 a decade ago. In an attempt at compromise, he has offered watered-down language that would still allow the EEOC to file many actions, but he says House Democrats rejected it.


I can only infer that the Democrats intend to compel me to learn a second ( or third or fourth) language to be able to communicate with a counter clerk with whom I'm conducting business. I just don't see how that's my responsibility.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:58 AM | Comments (6)

November 17, 2007

A New "Boston Tea Party" Is Needed

This trampling of the Constitution must not be allowed


Boston police are launching a program that will call upon parents in high-crime neighborhoods to allow detectives into their homes, without a warrant, to search for guns in their children's bedrooms.
more stories like this

The program, which is already raising questions about civil liberties, is based on the premise that parents are so fearful of gun violence and the possibility that their own teenagers will be caught up in it that they will turn to police for help, even in their own households.

In the next two weeks, Boston police officers who are assigned to schools will begin going to homes where they believe teenagers might have guns. The officers will travel in groups of three, dress in plainclothes to avoid attracting negative attention, and ask the teenager's parent or legal guardian for permission to search. If the parents say no, police said, the officers will leave.

There exists too much potential for intimidation by the presense of armed officers. There is no way this unconstitutional plan should be allowed to go forward. Do they really think a parent, perhaps on parole themselves, will be able to freely choose to turn a group of police away?

What a horrible program.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 11:08 AM | Comments (13)

November 13, 2007

Just Say 'No'

Not, 'Yo'.

The Los Angeles Unified School District, which serves about 700,000 students, is embroiled in a nasty debate about whether meetings of a district advisory board should be conducted in English or Spanish.

I don't have a child in the school district, but let me say this as clearly as I can for the activists wanting to conduct meetings in anything but English: Yo quiero Ingles, por favor.

For the rest of you: I want English, please.

One parent said it was racist to demand people who come to America speak English. I think not.

What's really odd about this debate out in L.A. for many of us is that it is not the usual clash between Anglo-nativists and newly arrived Hispanic immigrants. Instead this is a battle which pits African-Americans against newly arrived Hispanic immigrants. The African-Americans think they are getting ripped off if a key advisory council to the school district is conducting business — dividing up federal money in many cases — in a language they cannot understand.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 01:22 PM | Comments (3)

Well, It's "Comforting" To Know That In England...

...Their immigration service is as screwed up as ours

The Tories say it appears the Home Office put "spin" before public safety in a row about 5,000 illegal immigrants wrongly cleared to work in security.

They say leaked papers show the home secretary knew of the problem in July.

David Cameron said it appeared it was not announced then because it was "going to look bad for the government".

...Ministers ordered fresh checks on 40,000 people after it emerged the Security Industry Authority (SIA) was not checking applicants could work in the UK before granting licences.

The Metropolitan Police has confirmed that some of those who were not properly vetted by the SIA had been working for them. Others were employed at airports and ports.

Great, just great.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:07 AM

November 12, 2007

Makes Sense To Me

Although I'm not quite sure how one proves one's status

Seventy-three percent (73%) of American voters say that when someone is pulled over for a traffic violation, police officers should routinely check to see if that person is in the country legally. A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that just 18% disagree while 9% are not sure.

If someone pulled over for a traffic violation is found to be in the country illegally, 62% of voters say that person should be deported. Seventeen percent (17%) disagree while 21% are not sure.

Unfortunately we're going to have to come up with some sort of Government issued ID which shows one's status.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 08:12 AM | Comments (6)

Second Amendment Case

This could make for some interesting times


The justices are facing a decision about whether to hear an appeal from city officials in Washington, D.C., wanting to keep the capital's 31-year ban on handguns. A lower court struck down the ban as a violation of the Second Amendment rights of gun ownership.

The prospect that the high court might define gun rights under the Constitution is making people on both sides of the issue nervous.

I would hope that the Court would use this as a chance to clearly say "the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

Oh wait, the Constitution already says that.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:55 AM | Comments (14)

October 04, 2007

This Is Where It Gets Ridiculous

Halloween ISN'T religious, unless you're...well...into Samhain rituals. That would be about.0000002 percent of the population.

Parents in Oak Lawn sounded off Tuesday night about what they see as an assault on traditional American celebrations. At issue is whether Halloween and Christmas celebrations are insensitive to school children who are Muslim.

Ask any fundamentalist Christian in our redneck o' the woods~ they lose their minds over it EVERY frickin' year, trying to equate it to devil worship, with which it has JACK (o-lantern) to do. And why they write pitiful, bombastic bullsh*t letters to our local rag. Screeching screeds about having to explain these horrible, terrifying decorations that heathen merchants put out earlier every year to their frightened/confused/under assault from demon forces young-uns. ("Mommy!!! It's a pumpkin?!? What would Jesus DO...?!?!?!?" See how stupid it sounds?) I guess maybe it's too cold to stand outside McGuire's waving bibles and shrieking threats about hell, so they turn to tamer assaults. Which is ALSO why they get shot down time after time. Halloween's secular, it's FUN, it's boatloads of scary make believe. It's...

The MOST WONDERFUL Time of the Year!!

Fight about Christmas if you have to have a religious throwdown ~ it, at least, has those connotations. But be forewarned. Much to the dismay of traditionalists everywhere, Christmas has also become a day, a SEASON, for the masses, however many fights rage over keeping the 'reason for the season'. In my humble, tree worshipping view, if ever Christ's vision was fully realized, it's by the arbitrarily selected December 25th. How we spend the weeks surrounding it, how we treat our fellow man during it, how we feel during the close of autumn and in the sparkling birth of winter. We feel good. We feel disposed to kindness and bon homie, be we black, orange, green, white, purple, Jew, Baptist, Catholic, agnostic, Druid or whatever, and wherever our origins If we're here, we feel good. 'Can't help yourself' feel good. I don't see that same sense of inclusion permeate the very air at any other time of year, in any other religion or any other celebration.

We feel good. When Ramadan, Eid or insert-Islamic-ritual-of-your-choice has that same effect on EVERYone, we'll discuss it. So far I haven't seen any evidence they want to share the love.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:28 AM | Comments (4)

October 02, 2007

Dhimma Bells, Dhimma Bells

It's Dhimmitude time in the city

Oak Lawn Schools May Cancel Holiday Traditions School District To Discuss Possible Cancellation Or Renaming Of Holiday Celebrations

(CBS) OAK LAWN, Ill. A southwest suburban school district has taken action, responding to the concerns of a parent who is Arabic.

But now, as CBS 2's Suzanne Le Mignot reports, other parents are angry that traditional school holidays will be renamed or even eliminated.

"That does not represent all the Muslims, all of the Arabs at that school," said Qais Nofel, the father of a student in Ridgeland School District 122.

There was some heated discussion between parents outside Columbus Manor Elementary School in Oak Lawn on Friday. The thought of no more traditional holiday celebrations has many parents really upset.

For now, children in Ridgeland School District 122 will celebrate fall festival instead of Halloween and winter festival instead of Christmas.

It's not our country any more.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:30 AM | Comments (3)

September 30, 2007

This Would Take Bingley's Bobble Head, TNT Turbaned Mohammed

...right off his expensive counter-tops.

Religious hatred law in force

...There were two attempts by the Government to introduce it, first in 2001 and then later with the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act. They faltered because of the concerns.

But ministers pressed for the law a third time because it was seen as an important counter-balance to anti-terror laws which can be seen to disproportionately target Britain's Muslim population.

In the Act that was actually passed, ministers believe there is a high enough "threshold" built into the law to protect free speech.



Of course, wind-up Nunzilla wouldn't offend a fly, because I'll bet money more Catholics own her than everyone else combined.

There's a lesson in there somewhere...

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:14 PM | Comments (7)

September 27, 2007

There Should Be No Woman Left Alive in Italy

...France or Germany considering this statement. Like the Ent wives, they should all be gone.

...But experts now say there is enough evidence to blame alcohol for breast cancer — and to start educating the public.

VS
And my blood runs cold at the 'start educating the public'...

Posted by tree hugging sister at 01:07 PM | Comments (3)

September 17, 2007

Federal Appeals Court Re-Affirms Simple Concept: Bulldozers Don't Kill People

Being Stupid kills people.

A federal appeals court panel has refused to reinstate a lawsuit brought against Caterpillar Inc. by the family of a 23-year-old peace activist crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 05:31 PM | Comments (17)

September 06, 2007

Your Tax Dollars At Work

Well, at least we know that in Governmentese when they say 'setback' they mean "waste of twenty years and Gawd knows how many dollars"

DENVER - A 20-year government effort to restore the population of an endangered native trout in Colorado has made little progress because biologists have been stocking some of the waterways with the wrong fish, a new study says.

Biologists called the finding a setback and a potential black eye but said there is still hope for restoring the greenback cutthroat trout because at least four pure populations of the fish have been identified.

There is, sadly, no hope for restoring our greenbacks.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 12:57 PM | Comments (17)

September 05, 2007

One Obvious Consequence Of A National Health Plan

Is that the politicians and bureaucrats decide to only treat those who are healthy

Failing to follow a healthy lifestyle could lead to free NHS treatment being denied under the Tory plans.

Patients would be handed "NHS Health Miles Cards" allowing them to earn reward points for losing weight, giving up smoking, receiving immunisations or attending regular health screenings.

Like a supermarket loyalty card, the points could be redeemed as discounts on gym membership and fresh fruit and vegetables, or even give priority for other public services - such as jumping the queue for council housing.

But heavy smokers, the obese and binge drinkers who were a drain on the NHS could be denied some routine treatments such as hip replacements until they cleaned up their act.

...The report calls for a greater emphasis on the "citizen's responsibility" to be healthy and says no one should expect taxpayers to fund their unhealthy lifestyles.

This really shouldn't be a shock to anyone; the Nanny-Staters are so much wiser than the rest of us, they know best how we should live our lives while they spend our money.

Now, I wonder, will the NHS now refuse coverage for drug addicts? Pretty unhealthy lifestyle, I'd say. Pregnant teens? Sorry! And I'm sure AIDS patients won't get any coverage, either.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:32 AM | Comments (4)

August 30, 2007

You Can Almost Hear Him Choking On These Words

Our Swilling Bud JeffS sent us this article the other day; I'm sure you've seen it by now

GENEVA — There are nine guns for every 10 people in the United States, with about 270 million firearms in circulation, according to a report released Tuesday.

Worldwide, civilians now have access to 650 million small arms — from handguns to semiautomatic rifles — an arsenal that far outstrips what is held by police and militaries, according to the annual Small Arms Survey. It estimates that civilians account for about three-fourths of the 875 million such weapons in circulation.

"Civilian holdings of weapons worldwide are much larger than we previously believed," the director of the Geneva-based group, Keith Krause, told reporters.

But it is the United States that has the heaviest concentration of firearms.

It contains the usual 'civilians with guns are bad' sort of blather and statistics, but some of them force Director Krause to say this:

The figures dispel the idea that gun ownership and high levels of violence necessarily go hand in hand, he said.

"There's no clear relationship between more guns and higher levels of violence," Krause said, pointing to low ownership and high crime rates in Latin America.

But of course little inconvenient details like "no clear relationship between more guns and higher levels of violence" don't matter to those who wish to completely disarm us for our own supposed good. Criminals will always have weapons, no matter how many laws are passed to 'prevent' it. In the US all the gun control lobby has succeeded in doing is hinder citizens' ability to defend themselves.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:09 AM | Comments (4)

August 29, 2007

Is Your Science Exam Too Hard?

Well, then I guess you've got two options. 1 - Study more. Or 2- Get more multiple choice questions on the test:

Exam boards in England are planning to put more simple questions in science papers, the Times reports.

A document seen by the newspaper says that from next year, some papers should consist of 70% "low demand" questions, instead of the current level of 55%.

The document was prepared by the umbrella group of exam boards, the Joint Council for Qualifications.

There is concern that fewer students are taking science GCSEs, although there was a small upturn this year.

Since 1984, the number of people studying A-level physics has slumped by 57% and the take-up of chemistry has dropped by 28%.

Under the new proposals, exams would contain fewer tough questions requiring detailed answers and more that ask students to tick a multiple-choice box, the Times said.

Sounds like a brilliant plan to improve the quality of English science, it does.

And the students will feel better about themselves, which is really what matters most.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:30 AM | Comments (3)

August 22, 2007

Scandal! Outrage! How Dare They Punish...

Prisoners who break rules

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina's prisons director on Tuesday defended a policy of punishing inmates who perform sex acts by dressing them in pink, despite a lawsuit claiming the rule subjects prisoners to ridicule.

State Corrections Department John Ozmint said the two-year-old punishment deters inmates and protects female officers. His agency has asked a federal judge to dismiss the lawsuit.

"We don't believe the United States Constitution protects an inmate's right to publicly gratify himself," Ozmint said. "We're hopeful federal courts won't look into our Constitution and create such a right."

I'm with ya', Mr.Ozmint.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 08:37 AM | Comments (4)

August 01, 2007

NYC Mammies Nannies Suck

...in more ways than one. The headline for this piece...

NYC Health Officials Move To Get Babies Off Bottle
New Campaign Launched To Deter Use Of Formula

...started the eye rolling, but dang if it isn't the little things tucked into the article that just make ya cringe.
...Kim Williams-Mann breastfed her daughter for five years, and doesn't agree with the ban.

Dear GOD.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:20 AM | Comments (12)

July 29, 2007

I'd Have to Disagree With the Basic Premise

The number of Atlantic hurricanes in an average season has doubled in the last century due in part to warmer seas and changing wind patterns caused by global warming, according to a study released on Sunday.

...From 1900 to 1930, Atlantic hurricane seasons saw six storms on average, with four hurricanes and two tropical storms. From 1930 to 1940, the annual average rose to ten, including five hurricanes.


What jumps out at you with these dates? Yes, you're right up there with my thinking. In 1900 they didn't even have frickin' electric street lights ("Gas lighting for streets gave way to low pressure sodium and high pressure mercury lighting in the 1930's..."), telephones were an obscene luxury ("The first regular telephone exchange was established in New Haven in 1878. Early telephones were leased in pairs to subscribers. The subscriber was required to put up his own line to connect with another.") and the vast majority of the country had yet to be connected to a power grid , less mind being able to count every low pressure system that developed in the vast Atlantic or even the more exotic reaches of the Gulf of Mexico. No clue. Just ask the folks who watched as the Great Galveston Hurricane of 1900 rolled ashore ~ to the tune of over 8,000 people dead ~ devoid of the usual warning signals accepted for impending heavy weather of the time.
... The usual signs which herald the approach of hurricanes were not present in this case. The brick-dust sky was not in evidence to the smallest degree. This feature, which has been distinctly observed in other storms that have occurred in this section, was carefully watched for, both on the evening of the 7th and the morning of the 8th. There were cirrus clouds moving from the southeast during the forenoon of the 7th, but by noon only alto-stratus from the northeast were observed. About the middle of the afternoon the clouds were divided between cirrus, alto-stratus, and cumulus, moving from the northeast. A heavy swell from the southeast made its appearance in the Gulf of Mexico during the afternoon of the 7th. The swell continued during the night without diminishing, and the tide rose to an unusual height when it is considered that the wind was from the north and northwest. About 5 a.m. of the 8th Mr. J. L. Cline, Observer, called me and stated that the tide was well up in the low parts of the city, and that we might be able to telegraph important information to Washington.

'Might be able to telegraph' information and expecting what answer? ("Ya'll be careful out there"?) Washington certainly couldn't give them particulars or prognostications in return. They could only wait for a damage report. That's 1900. Let's take a couple decades' leap to 1926. The communications and weather forecasting have improved little.
...Therefore, in those days before satellite pictures and reconnaissance aircraft, the hurricane remained somewhat of a mystery, with only a few ship reports to tell of its existence.

In those days, storm warnings were centralized in Washington, DC, and disseminated to field offices like Miami. However, as late as the morning of September 17, less than 24 hours before the category 4 storm's effects would begin in South Florida, no warnings had been issued. At noon, the Miami Weather Bureau Office was authorized to post storm warnings (one step below hurricane, or winds of 48 to 55 knots). It was only as the barometer began a precipitous fall, around 11 PM the night of September 17, that Gray hoisted hurricane warnings.


If they had no clue in Miami what was about to happen, Pensacola was even worse off...
...The 1926 Miami Hurricane made a second landfall in Florida on September 20 near Pensacola before moving on in a weakened state to coastal Mississippi and Louisiana on September 21.

...and might could have used a little warning.
PENSACOLA DAMAGE PUT AT $3,000,000; Naval Air Station Near There Also Hard Hit -- Eight Docks in City Destroyed.
September 23, 1926, Thursday
PENSACOLA, Fla., Sept. 22 (By Wireless to The Associated Press, New Orleans). -- Destruction of eight docks and numerous small craft, the beaching or damaging of twenty-five fishing smacks and the crippling of public utilities constituted the toll taken by the tropical hurricane which struck Pensacola on Monday.

And damn near a couple hundred dead between us and it's route out of town through Alabama/Mississippi. But there's no accurate body count, because there's no accurate census of our Godforsaken Red-neck of the woods at that time. (Ooooh! Dovetails NICELY into my thesis...) By virtue of NOAA's own website, if you didn't have a ship free itself from disaster and report a storm, no one had Clue One what was swirling around out there or on it's way in. No barometers, no cell phone, no radar (doppler or otherwise), satellite views (either visual or water vapor) ~ no satellites, period. (Werner von Braun was just breaking out his chemistry set as a 12 year old.) Sorry, research types ~ it was all a big mystery right up to the middle of the century. And, even then, folks were still washing out to sea. We simply didn't have the tools, and, when we finally got them, the interpretive skill set had to evolve. But, if you point out the obvious, you get the head tilt and dreaded 'S-Word'..
...Skeptics say hurricane data from the early decades of the 20th century are not reliable because cyclones likely formed and died in mid-ocean, where no one knew they existed.

'Skeptic' as soon as you point out the obvious problem with their data set. 'Skeptic' as soon as you question what they so confidently assert. 'Skeptic' as soon as you want to know how they know what is basically unknowable.
...More reliable data became available in 1944 when researchers had airplane observations, and from 1970 when satellites came into use.

But Holland and Webster said the improved data from the last half of the century cannot be solely responsible for the increase.

"We are led to the confident conclusion that the recent upsurge in the tropical cyclone frequency is due in part to greenhouse warming, and this is most likely the dominant effect," the authors wrote.


Well, I could be confident in asserting ANYTHING if I, as confidently, discount common sense and the complete lack of data bolstering my confident conclusion from ANY source which might upset my confident conclusioning. If I assert wholeheartedly that I KNOW that the period from 1900-1930 had X amount of storms AND NO MORE ~ regardless of scientific observations confirming or discounting my assertion, because of the technological limits of the time ~ it must be SO. And if I then accept I am correct in the unproven basis of my assertion, all that I assert thereafter MUST BE SO.

So there. (I'm blonde ~ it works for me.) (Well, it would if, even as a blonde, I could live with myself so ethically debased/deluded.)

This isn't tree rings, or layers in an ice core, or geologic stratigraphy, or carbon dating. They're MAKING. IT. UP.

The MSNBC homepage says:

"Study: Rise in storms tied to warming"

...but the story headline adds: "U.S. officials call study citing doubling of storms since 1905 ‘sloppy science’". Talk about misleading and oh, PUHleez ~ call it what it is!
"MAKING. SH*T. UP".
(And since when do maker-uppers get their name in the news as if they were experts? Whatever happened to peer review before a study made the big time news?)

God, these a$$holes are insufferable.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:16 PM | Comments (17)

June 18, 2007

Oh, You Just Gotta Love a Feisty Old Codger

...So, if global warming isn't such a burning issue, why are thousands of scientists so concerned about it?

"Why are so many thousands not concerned about it?" Bryson shot back.


...like this. It's music to my ears.
...Bryson didn't see Al Gore's movie about global warming, "An Inconvenient Truth."

"Don't make me throw up," he said. "It is not science. It is not true."


As he notes, he's gone in to work gratis every day since he retired in 1985, so he doesn't owe jack to anybody. It's like the scene in 'Fried Green Tomatoes', where Kathy Bates says, "I'm older and have more insurance." It gives you a certain freedom to stop speaking with a forked tongue.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:39 AM | Comments (2)

May 31, 2007

Oy! I Heard This Interview on the Car Radio This Morning

...and the LOOOONNGGG pause before he answered the question. My first thought was, "Holy scha-MOLY! Is he gonna catch it!"

NASA administrator Michael Griffin is drawing the ire of his agency's preeminent climate scientists after apparently downplaying the need to combat global warming.

In an interview broadcast this morning on National Public Radio's "Morning Edition" program, Griffin was asked by NPR's Steve Inskeep whether he is concerned about global warming.

"I have no doubt that a trend of global warming exists," Griffin told Inskeep. "I am not sure that it is fair to say that it is a problem we must wrestle with."


Sure didn't take long.
...Griffin's comments immediately drew stunned reaction from James Hansen, NASA's top climate scientist at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York.

"It's an incredibly arrogant and ignorant statement," Hansen told ABC News. "It indicates a complete ignorance of understanding the implications of climate change."


I love how when you disagree with these a$$holes, you're 'incredibly arrogant and STOO-PID'. Whatever happened to "I'd have to strongly disagree with my esteemed colleague's opinion..."

I think we have Cindy Sheehan to thank for this total lack of civility in a discipline that ~ prior to shrinking polar bear gonads ~ had always been pretty circumspect in public.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 01:34 PM | Comments (6)

May 30, 2007

The Fat In NJ Is Not The Citizens

But the government

N.J., with new agency, steps up fight against fat

TRENTON - New Jersey's health department is escalating the battle against the bulge by starting an Office of Nutrition and Fitness to better coordinate programs aimed at preventing obesity.

When will the Governor work on the Battle of the Bulge in Trenton, whose expanding girth and ever-greater hunger threatens to crush us all?

No, goodness, that would take work. Much better to start yet another agency, higher more state workers and increase the state's long-term fiscal liabilities all in the name of "the children."

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:29 AM | Comments (3)

May 22, 2007

Whenever I See The Term "Safety Activist"...

Then I know the hyperbole is about to fly fast and furiously

Blind spots are a deadly flaw for most SUVs 'There’s actually an epidemic going on right now,' safety activist warns

By Herb Weisbaum
MSNBC contributor
Updated: 6:43 p.m. ET May 21, 2007

How many kids can sit behind an SUV without being seen by the driver in the rearview mirrors? This is not a trick question. In fact, knowing the answer could save a child’s life.

According to the consumer group Kids and Cars, as many as 62 children could be in that blind zone and you’d never know it. And that’s a huge problem.

Well, you'd never know it if you never looked behind your car, but why quibble.

Your driveway is the last place you’d expect a child to get hit by a car. But Janette Fennell, president of Kids and Cars, says at least 100 children are killed there each year in backover accidents. Another 2,400 children are seriously injured this way each year.

Actually, my driveway is the first place, because when she was young that's where my daughter and her friends spent most of their time, drawing with chalk.

“The problem has gotten worse with the increased popularity of SUVs, pickup trucks and minivans as family vehicles,” says Mike Quincy, an automotive expert with Consumer Reports. “Some of the blind spots are incredible.”

Perhaps. But I would also say that the problem, if it has indeed gotten worse, has done so because people are rushing out of houses, jabbering on their cell phones, and because frankly a lot of people seem to be spending less time watching their kids.

Is federal action needed to cut the tragic toll?

This may surprise you, but there is no federal standard for rear visibility. Last week, the “Kids Transportation Safety Act of 2007” (S.694) passed the Senate Commerce Committee and is now headed to the full Senate for a vote.

The bill, which covers a number of automotive safety issues, would require the U.S. Department of Transportation to create rules that would expand the required field of vision behind a vehicle.

The bill does not say how this would be accomplished; that would be worked out in the rulemaking process.

Hooray! Let's increase the size of the Government!

Look, it is a terrible tragedy when someone runs over their own child in their driveway, but do we really need a whole heap of Federal Legislation and Regulation? How about an ad campaign to remind folks to peek behind their car before they hop in it and zoom off?

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 08:52 AM | Comments (8)

May 17, 2007

Al Gore's "Assault On Reason"

Between phone calls I've been working my way through the Time extract this morning, and while he's at his slick seductive best here there are still some parts where the real Al shows up. He spends several paragraphs sketching out an interesting and frankly compelling case for how television has changed American Democracy for the worse, and admits to having taken part in it, which is all well and good. He rightly decries how Congressmen have basically stopped being people who stand for a set of principles and have rather become simply people who are continually standing for election. He claims to want to re-empower the American People

In order to reclaim our birthright, we Americans must resolve to repair the systemic decay of the public forum. We must create new ways to engage in a genuine and not manipulative conversation about our future.

Sounds great, except that very quickly he makes it quite clear that what this means to him is "People Must Stop Disagreeing With Me." Am I over-reacting? Look at the very next line to the quote above:

We must stop tolerating the rejection and distortion of science.

Gosh, someone is taking the criticism of someone's little movie kind of personally, no? The very next line could well be applied to some of his crusades:

We must insist on an end to the cynical use of pseudo-studies known to be false for the purpose of intentionally clouding the public's ability to discern the truth.

So it is clear that his 'solution' for a people who are feeling disconnected from 'their' government is more restrictions on what they can say; to paraphrase Henry Ford (and in a sense George Orwell) "You have the freedom to say whatever you like as long as I approve it."

Thanks, but no, Al.

But what really shows that Al, like so many of his ilk, looks disdainfully down on We the Sheeple from his intellectual perch is this little paragraph:

Unfortunately, the legacy of the 20th century's ideologically driven bloodbaths has included a new cynicism about reason itself—because reason was so easily used by propagandists to disguise their impulse to power by cloaking it in clever and seductive intellectual formulations. When people don't have an opportunity to interact on equal terms and test the validity of what they're being "taught" in the light of their own experience and robust, shared dialogue, they naturally begin to resist the assumption that the experts know best.

My God. Put all your faith in the "experts". Do not question them.

And don't look behind the curtain, little girl.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 09:19 AM | Comments (19)

If Global Warming Were True

...there should be more Canadian strippers, not fewer, and they wouldn't need special visa programs to entice them in


Under the current law, the onus is on strip club owners to prove there is a shortage of Canadian dancers each time they apply to bring in a foreign exotic dancer.

The new law will take the restriction one step further, and is based on the government's concern that foreign dancers are in some cases forced into the illegal sex trade.

Many strip clubs rely on dancers from Asia and Eastern Europe to fill their rosters.

Hell, so do most hockey teams.

Critics say a proposed Tory law that will stop immigrants from coming in on a stripper's visa solves a problem that largely no longer exists and may make things worse.

...In 2004, when Liberal Paul Martin was prime minister, there were 423 visas issued for foreign exotic dancers.

Since Conservative Stephen Harper took over in early 2006, 17 permits have been issued -- seven so far this year.

What horrible trait do Canadian men possess that only foreign women will dance for them?

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 06:55 AM | Comments (7)

May 01, 2007

Um, So What?

I'm not sure why the AP feels this is some scandalous issue

OAKLAND, Calif. - The driver who crashed a tanker loaded with gasoline and brought down a heavily trafficked highway overpass had a history of criminal activity, including drug and burglary arrests, yet was given a commercial trucker's license.

James Mosqueda, 51, served two years and eight months in prison following a 1996 arrest for heroin possession in Sacramento County, court records show. His criminal rap sheet stretching back to 1981 includes arrests for burglary, felony drug charges and possession of stolen property, according to the California Department of Corrections and the Sacramento County District Attorney's office.

Yet Mosqueda was able to get his commercial truck driver's license because there is nothing in the state's vehicle code that prevents a convicted felon who has served his sentence from working as a truck driver — so long as he has a clear driving record, California Highway Patrol Chief Steve Vaughn said.

And that's as it should be, it seems to me. He served his time and unless the state wants to ensure that he have no option but return to crime you have to give the guy a chance to earn a living. If the theory is that criminals who serve their time are to be re-integrated into society then most professions need to be open to them.

Otherwise be prepared for a lot more burglary.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:16 AM | Comments (4)

April 30, 2007

Stop The Presses!

A Supreme Court ruling in favor of the police

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday gave police officers significant protection from lawsuits by suspects who lead them on car chases.

The justices ruled 8-1 against Georgia teenager Victor Harris, who was left a quadriplegic after a police vehicle rammed his car off the road in 2001.

A police officer used "reasonable force" when ramming the teen's speeding car, the high court ruled. A videotape of the pursuit played a key role in the decision.

8-1. Good.

Orin Kerr at Volokh has a much more thoughtful analysis, naturally.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 01:35 PM | Comments (6)

April 18, 2007

"An Inconvenient Truth...

...or Convenient Fiction?"
Both installments below the fold, courtesy of Powerline.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 01:12 PM | Comments (1)

BREAKING NEWS: Whoa...

And. It's. Huge.

Top court upholds ban on abortion procedure
Partial birth abortions at issue; first time justices ban specific procedure

The Supreme Court upheld the nationwide ban on a controversial abortion procedure Wednesday, handing abortion opponents the long-awaited victory they expected from a more conservative bench.

The 5-4 ruling said the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act that Congress passed and President Bush signed into law in 2003 does not violate a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:28 AM | Comments (11)

April 05, 2007

ARGH! The BASTARDS!!

Update The Florida State Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR), which oversees direct shipping and issued the regulatory determination that allowed direct shipping in early 2006, may reverse that existing regulatory ruling on May 5, 2007.

The Department’s website states that a legislative solution is required and it will remove the web page on May 4, the final day of Florida’s 2007 legislative session. The ominous implication is that your ability to purchase wines from out-of-state wineries licensed to ship to Florida will be eliminated in four weeks.



...Florida began allowing winery-to-consumer direct shipping in February 2006. Since then, the number of wineries filing shipping reports and paying the required excise taxes has increased from 0 to more than 500. From July 2006 through January 2007, out of state wineries shipped approximately 30,000 cases and paid more than $157,000 in excise taxes. By all accounts, the transition has been a success.

Proactive information below the fold.

And our own, sweet 'lil Holly Benson's part of this now. Has she lost her cotton pickin' Bangla-cola brain?!

Action

Please personalize the sample letter, below, and fax today or over the weekend, to the DPBR’s Secretary Benson and Governor Crist. Send us (Free the Grapes) a copy too, please (fax 707-254-0433)
Time permitting, you can voice your opinion on wine direct shipping at a committee hearing scheduled for this Monday, April 9. Apologies for the late notice; it was just scheduled this morning.
When: Monday, April 9, 1:15 – 3:45 pm
What: DPBR Committee Hearing on Senate Bills 126 and 2282 (Saunders and Geller), open to the public.
Who to Contact: If you can attend, please call Susanne Dudley at Core Message at (850) 519-5759 or (850) 222-3767, or email her at Susanne@coremessage.com. She can provide more information on both SB 126 and 2282, too.
Where: The Capitol, Senate Building Room 110 (ground floor), Tallahassee. When facing the Capitol, it is the building on the left and you can enter the Senate Building directly from the outside without having to go through the main Capitol doors. Metered parking is available around the Capitol, and there is a public parking garage at Kleman Plaza, 306 S. Duval Street.


SAMPLE LETTER

Date

Department of Business & Professional Regulation
Secretary Holly Benson
Fax 850-921-4094

Governor Charlie Crist
Fax 850-487-0801

Dear Governor Crist and Secretary Benson,

As an adult voter of Florida, I urge you to continue allowing direct shipments of wine to adult consumers like me.

I want to continue purchasing limited amounts of my favorite wines, from any winery, regardless of their production size or location. The DBPR’s regulatory ruling that began allowing direct shipments in 2006 has been a boon to wine lovers like me, and provides additional tax revenues for the state. Thank you!

But the DBPR’s website implies that this regulatory ruling will be revoked on May 5, unless legislation is passed. If that’s the case, I support Representative Bogdanoff’s House Bill 1217, which currently includes provisions shown to be successful in the majority of U.S. states, and gives consumers like me the ability to choose from wineries licensed to ship to Florida. On the other hand, Senate Bills 126 and 2282 both include an arbitrary “cap” provision that would ban shipments from many popular wineries that happen to produce more than 250,000 gallons. This is arbitrary, discriminatory and similar provisions in three states are being challenged in court. Don’t cap my wine!

If you are going to replace the ruling with legislation, I hope that you will support HB1217, and without a cap. As a voter and citizen of our great state, let’s make the right decision by placing consumer choice ahead of special interests.

Sincerely,
Your Name
Street Address
City, FLORIDA Zip Code

Posted by tree hugging sister at 04:11 PM | Comments (2)

April 04, 2007

Thank You Sweet Baby Jeebus!

There are signs of intelligence at the FCC

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A government agency on Tuesday said it will keep a rule in place that requires cell phones to be turned off during airline flights.

My god, it's bad enough listening to idjits on the boat and train yammering constantly; to have to put up with one of them for hours on a flight would have been incentive to moider.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 11:51 AM | Comments (1)

March 27, 2007

Assume the Position

I think the world's coming to an end.

Merck's Vioxx did not cause woman's death: jury
... Plaintiff Frank Schwaller sued Merck after his wife, Patricia, took Vioxx for 20 months for shoulder pain before dying from a heart attack in August 2003.

The state court jury also found Merck adequately warned Schwaller's doctor about Vioxx's dangers and that the doctor knew of the risks.

Lawyers for Schwaller, from Granite City, Illinois, alleged that Vioxx was defectively designed, inadequately tested, dangerous to human health, and lacked proper warnings, which subjected users to risks of heart attacks, strokes and other illnesses.

Merck argued that Schwaller's preexisting risk factors -- a family history of heart disease, morbid obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and sedentary lifestyle -- were responsible for her sudden cardiac death.

...The vote was unanimous from the seven-woman, five-man jury.


It's as if millions of personalinjurylawyervoices cried out...and were suddenly silenced.

For a minute, anyway.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 12:28 PM | Comments (17)

March 12, 2007

Sorry, Drudge

I'd hardly characterize this as "NYT Plans Hit on Gore". It's more like a poke in the side with a dull thermometer.

From a Rapt Audience, a Call to Cool the Hype

Hollywood has a thing for Al Gore and his three-alarm film on global warming, “An Inconvenient Truth,” which won an Academy Award for best documentary. So do many environmentalists, who praise him as a visionary, and many scientists, who laud him for raising public awareness of climate change.

But part of his scientific audience is uneasy. In talks, articles and blog entries that have appeared since his film and accompanying book came out last year, these scientists argue that some of Mr. Gore’s central points are exaggerated and erroneous. They are alarmed, some say, at what they call his alarmism.

“I don’t want to pick on Al Gore,” Don J. Easterbrook, an emeritus professor of geology at Western Washington University, told hundreds of experts at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America. “But there are a lot of inaccuracies in the statements we are seeing, and we have to temper that with real data.”


And I count one "he got it right/has enormous credibility" for every "what a weasel".

Posted by tree hugging sister at 08:55 PM | Comments (6)

March 11, 2007

"The Whole Thing Stinks"

If you've got an hour, this is a worthy use of it ~ the Channel 4 "Great Global Warming Swindle" documentary.

I doubt you'll see it on Discovery-Times Channel anytime soon. Or anywhere else, for that matter.
If you want a bigger screen version, click through the Google video icon on the lower right hand of the wee screen.

Swill Salute to LGF.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 12:12 AM | Comments (7)

February 28, 2007

Let's Call Them "Phone Homes" Instead

It seems that some people are upset by the term "illegal aliens"

TALLAHASSEE -- A state legislator whose district is home to thousands of Caribbean immigrants wants to ban the term "illegal alien" from the state's official documents.

"I personally find the word 'alien' offensive when applied to individuals, especially to children," said Sen. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami. "An alien to me is someone from out of space."

She has introduced a bill providing that: "A state agency or official may not use the term 'illegal alien' in an official document of the state." There would be no penalty for using the words.

It's heartening to know that she abides by only her personal definitions of words, not on, say, something so arbitrary and racist as Websters

Main Entry: 1alien Pronunciation: \ˈā-lē-ən, ˈāl-yən\ Function: adjective Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin alienus, from alius Date: 14th century 1 a: belonging or relating to another person, place, or thing : strange b: relating, belonging, or owing allegiance to another country or government : foreign c: exotic 1 2: differing in nature or character typically to the point of incompatibility

especially where 1:b, the "relating, belonging, or owing allegiance to another country or government" bit comes in. No, it wouldn't do to mention that at all.

The best part part is this quote

"There are students in our schools whose parents are trying to become citizens and we shouldn't label them," she said. "They are immigrants, through no fault of their own, not aliens."

Through no fault of their own? Did some tornado touch down and sweep them off to Oz? Did they pay thousands of dollars to some coyote in Chiapas, innocently thinking they were simply getting a ride to the local bodega when in fact the coyote was under orders from Darth Rove to transport them to Tucson?

I will give her credit for this, however

Wilson said the first word isn't as bad as the second.

"'Illegal,' I can live with, but I like 'undocumented' better," she said.

There may be some hope for her.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 03:16 PM | Comments (5)

February 19, 2007

Nanny Rising

Anybody remember in the dim far distant past when a certain party bitterly attacked another certain party for its arrogance and presumption in interfering in the internal affairs of other nations, for its cultural insensitivity and lack of nuance in how it dealt with foreign leaders and peoples, for how its heavy-handed idealistically-driven actions that only created animosity towards our country and made other nations not like us (oh, the horror!)? And how certain folks pledged that once they got the reins of power they would show such suavity and sophistication of statecraft that they would rapidly return America to its warm and comfy spot in the bosom of humanity? Well, I guess they changed their minds


Japan has expressed its displeasure at a resolution before the US Congress calling on Tokyo to apologize for the country's use of sex slaves in wartime.

Foreign Minister Taro Aso said the resolution was not based on facts.

Sponsored by several members of the US House of Representatives, the proposed text urges Tokyo to formally resolve the issue of so-called "comfort women".

Hmm, seems quite cowboy-like to me to tell Japan this. And then there's H. Res. 106


Calling upon the President to ensure that the foreign policy of the United States reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, ethnic cleansing, and genocide documented in the United States record relating to the Armenian Genocide, and for other purposes.

"And for other purposes"...like, say, really pissing off Turkey?

The measure is likely to touch raw nerves in Turkey, which rejects the charge that genocide was at the root of the deaths. The Bush administration has warned that even congressional debate on the matter could damage relations with Turkey, a vital Muslim ally and member of NATO.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., a co-sponsor, acknowledged that the resolution might harm U.S.-Turkish relations in the short term. Nevertheless, he said, "I'm optimistic that the relationship will go on. We will move beyond this."

...Turkey has adamantly denied claims by scholars that its predecessor state, the Ottoman government, caused the Armenian deaths in a genocide. The Turkish government has said the toll is wildly inflated, and Armenians were killed or displaced in civil unrest during the disarray surrounding the empire's collapse.

After French lawmakers voted in October to make it a crime to deny that the killings were a genocide, Turkey said it would suspend military relations with France. Turkey provides vital support to U.S. military operations.

"We will move beyond this." Oh puh-lease. Such a firm grasp of history and the region displayed there, as if all of these discussions and resolutions take place in the rarified atmosphere of a college classroom.

Lets keep passing resolutions condemning other nations for things done generations ago by completely different governments, and let's see how well they "move beyond this."

And let's see the response in Congress when those other countries start, justifiably, passing resolutions condemning our slave trade and 'genocide' of the Indians.

Maybe we'll get a national "Ward Churchill Day"; hell, I could use another day off.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 10:55 AM | Comments (4)

February 13, 2007

NYC School Uniform: The Burqa

Imagine the Sex Ed classes here

The Department of Education says that it will open a public school next fall dedicated to Arabic language and culture.

The Khalil Gibran International Academy is one of 40 new schools that will their debut in the city next September.

Education officials say although half the classes at the school will be taught in Arabic, they want to enroll a diverse student body.

The school is set to open in Brooklyn.

Will they have courses with titles such as "Beheading Or Stoning: A Critical Perspective"? No course list posted yet, but we'll keep an eye on it.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 02:46 PM | Comments (5)

February 02, 2007

Dear Prof. Reynolds ~ Please Do Not Confuse the IDIOTS in South Florida

~ with their shrieking Democratic operatives and multitudes of Gramma Yettas (bless their hearts) ~
...who are costing the state $32+ MIL to get rid of electronic machines we KNEW wouldn't work (copious eyerolling the instant the idea surfaced)...
...with us paper ballot obsessed Rednecks in the Riviera.

When you say "Florida", we ALL get tarred with the fugly stick.


I reiterate: It's called a BIG FAT MARKER and a STRAIGHT LINE.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:33 AM | Comments (2)

Honestly ~ ARE We That Stoo-pid?

I hope, I hope, I hope the answer for the general population is "no". Otherwise, these fascists are going to be able to take over every morsel headed toward our ignorant, gaping maws.

Organics spreading to snack food aisles
Companies offer natural, organic versions of chips, cookies, mac & cheese

...That’s been good news for the food industry because it offers a new venue to potentially boost sales. But the trend raises concerns for some nutrition experts, who worry that people don’t realize that even organic snacks can still be packed with as many calories and fat as more traditional junk food.

“You still need to read the food label,” said Christine McKinney, a registered dietician with Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. “Just because it’s organic doesn’t meant it’s healthy.”


It's the potato chip versus rice cake thing that always kicks my ass. Why does my brain always say "potato chip"?

I think I was abused as a child. So it's not my fault, hence I'm not stoo-pid. I'm 'decision challenged'.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:15 AM | Comments (7)

In Case You Didn't Have a Chance to Read It Yesterday

...when the Drudge link crashed their server. It's pretty freakin' entertaining.

...“WOW," SAYS GIEG AS Al Gore struts onto the stage of The Oprah Winfrey Show. “He looks like he’s had Botox or something.”

It’s afternoon in America, and Oprah is offering her millions of viewers a class with Dr. Gore that the producers are calling Global Warming 101. I’ve asked Gieg to watch it with me.

The show turns out to be pretty much a synopsis of An Inconvenient Truth, with Gore clicking through his hyper-produced PowerPoint program and Oprah exclaiming “Wow! Wow!” with dramatic concern. To dramatize the melting of the floating ice cap at the North Pole, Gore has inserted an animated clip of a polar bear swimming desperately to a tiny ice floe that isn’t strong enough to hold him. Global warming is drowning helpless bears. Oprah thinks it’s the coolest and saddest thing in Gore’s whole movie. Gieg starts shouting:

We don’t know that. We don’t know that! We don’t know that polar bears haven’t drowned in every interglacial period. Nobody was watching them back then.

It’s got to be a frustrating experience, seeing a topic you’ve spent some 50 years studying turned into an Oprah episode. “I like her,” Gieg says. “She’d beat Al Gore if she ran for president.”

Then Gore clicks again to dramatic footage of a collapsing polar ice shelf. “That’s irresponsible,” Gieg says. “What he’s doing is no less than the scare tactics used by people like Karl Rove.”

Posted by tree hugging sister at 08:52 AM

February 01, 2007

Stupid Human Tricks

"All Your Retards Are Be...On Second Though, You Keep Them"


By now everyone has heard about the Little Ad Campaign that blew up.

BOSTON, Massachusetts (CNN) -- Two men pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges they created panic by placing "bomblike" electronic light boards displaying a cartoon character with an upraised middle finger throughout Boston.

Assistant Attorney General John Grossman called the light boards "bomblike" devices and said that if they had been explosive they could have damaged transportation infrastructure in the city.

Now, I won't go into how, um, inappropriate shall we say an ad campaign like this is in the post-9/11 world. It's just retarded. No, what I want to talk about is how misguided Assistant Attorney General John Grossman is.

...if they had been explosive they could have damaged transportation infrastructure in the city.

Well, if your sister had balls she'd be your brother, goober. But since she doesn't you can't call her a female impersonator.

The judge was suitably leery of Mr. Grossman's hyperbole

Judge Paul K. Leary told Grossman that, according to law, the suspects must intend to create a panic to be charged with placing hoax devices.

It appears the suspects had no such intent, the judge said, but the question should be discussed in a later hearing.

The question that should be asked by every resident of a city where these Lite-Brite creations went up weeks ago is, after all of the billions and billions of dollars that have been spent on Homeland Security how the hell did people climb all over buildings and bridges in 10 cities and no one notice? That's what should be investigated.

That's what scares the hell out of me.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 01:53 PM | Comments (12)

January 30, 2007

While the Pequannock School Board Is At It

...why don't they just crawl up the randomly selected freshman a$$ to check for proof of consumed transfat laden french fries?

Students at Pequannock Township High School in New Jersey will soon be subjected to a new sort of pop quiz, one that alerts their parents if they have been drinking.

They face a random urine test for alcohol, but unlike saliva swabs or Breathalyzers, the ETG urine test can detect whether a student has had a drink anytime in the last 80 hours, so a Friday night party would register on a Monday morning test.

...Now Pequannock and several other schools around the country are using government grants to step up their alcohol monitoring, as underage drinking and driving kills about 2,000 people under the age of 21 each year.


Doesn't this cost boatloads of M-O-N-E-Y? New Jersey schools are so W-E-A-L-T-H-Y, they have leftover cash to fund this fascist little witch hunt? (Of course, it's 'for the chi-dren', so that makes it okay.) And the end is result is "I'll call your mommy"?! Sorry, folks ~ I'm with the ACLU on this one.

We can't get Bingley in situ soon enough.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:23 AM | Comments (19)

January 29, 2007

Gobble-Dee

...gook.

Advocates hopeful Congress will ban racial profiling

The repercussions of an airline's decision to remove a group of imams from a commercial flight in Minneapolis could be heard in Congress this year, where newly dominant Democrats are ready to consider a national ban on racial profiling.

..."I'm convinced that once the body of evidence of racial profiling occurring in our nation is presented before the U.S. Congress and the American people, that indeed they'll be compelled to do something about it," said Hilary Shelton, director of the NAACP's Washington Bureau.

...Feingold's bill, the End Racial Profiling Act, didn't come up for a vote in the GOP-controlled Congress in the last session, and there was no House version. The bill would have banned racial profiling by federal, state and local law enforcement, defining profiling as "the practice of a law enforcement agent or agency relying, to any degree, on race, ethnicity, national origin, or religion" during investigatory activities.

It included an exemption when specific information "links a person of a particular race, ethnicity, national origin, or religion to an identified incident or scheme."

...Peter Gadiel, of Kent, Conn., president of 9/11 Families for a Secure America, mocked the legislation.

"The 9/11 atrocity was committed by 19 young single men from Arab nations. If you want to hand this country over to terrorists, why don't you say it right out front?" said Gadiel, whose son, James, died in the attacks on the World Trade Center. "We don't have to worry about 80-year-old ladies with bleach-blonde hair and southern accents."


I dunno about that statement. Our 80 year olds here are usually from Sheboygan.
UPDATE: Like, if you look back on it, WAS 9-11 such a big deal? I mean, really? Worth all this fuss afterward?
Really, cooler heads should prevail.
...Yet as the comparison with the Soviet experience should remind us, the war against terrorism has not yet been much of a war at all, let alone a war to end all wars. It is a messy, difficult, long-term struggle against exceptionally dangerous criminals who actually like nothing better than being put on the same level of historical importance as Hitler — can you imagine a better recruiting tool? To fight them effectively, we need coolness, resolve and stamina. But we also need to overcome long habit and remind ourselves that not every enemy is in fact a threat to our existence.

Via Crittenden.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:29 AM | Comments (8)

When I Get My Award For Environmental Excellence...

Will they send a private train for me, too?

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall arrived in New York from Philadelphia by private train and visited the Harlem Children's Zone's Promise Academy.

The royal couple are on a weekend visit to the United States focusing on youth development, urban renewal and environmental stewardship.

...Earlier in the day, the couple waved to adoring fans in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as they walked to a private church service. The couple spent Saturday and early Sunday in Philedelphia.

Afterward, they boarded the New York-bound private train, accompanied by the dean of Temple University's School of Education, C. Kent McGuire and several other Philadelphia-area community leaders.

"The prince was gracious and engaged," said McGuire, who said the prince talked about urban redevelopment and other issues his 17 foundations address.

On Sunday evening in New York, Prince Charles is scheduled to receive an award from Harvard Medical School's Center for Health and the Global Environment. He also is expected to give a speech on environmental issues. Last year's recipient, former Vice President Al Gore, is scheduled to present the award.

Well, Sis might get me a bottle of Night Train to celebrate, I suppose. And I'd raise a toast to Chuck, as well, because that's the kind of big-hearted guy I am.

Unlike these fellows:

While Charles has won kudos from environmentalists for his calls to action on global warming, British environmentalists have said the prince should have abstained from flying to the United States. In response, Charles' office said it would cancel a skiing trip to Switzerland, a gesture that would reduce his carbon footprint -- the carbon dioxide created by his travels.

The sacrifices that he is willing to make really brings a tear to my eye.

I'm too choked up to continue.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 08:57 AM | Comments (3)

January 26, 2007

How About "You're Fired"?

Man, I am so tired that this crap is still going on

In the past five years, 5,400 would-be taxi passengers at the airport were refused service for this very reason, said the Metropolitan Airport Commission, or MAC. Last May, passenger Bob Dildine says he waited for 20 minutes, and five cab drivers would not give him and his daughter a ride. He was carrying wine he bought on vacation.

..."It is expressly stated," said Kahlid Elmasry of the Muslim American Society. "Transportation of alcohol for Muslims is against the Islamic faith, and therefore forbidden."

Last September, airport officials sought a compromise, and suggested that distinctive lights could be put on the roofs of cabs operated by drivers who will not transport alcohol. That way, taxi starters -- airport staff who direct people into cabs -- could send passengers with alcohol to those drivers who have no objection.

"But the feedback we got, not only locally but really from around the country and around the world, was almost entirely negative," said airport spokesman Pat Hogan. "People saw that as condoning discrimination against people who had alcohol."

No sheet, Sherlock. It's also the State forcing a set of religious beliefs upon someone, which you would think might upset someone in the People's Republic of Minnesota. Oh, wait, those beliefs aren't Christian.

Right now, MAC says any cabbie who refuses a passenger carrying alcohol must go to the back of the line. No small thing, given cabbies often have to wait at the depot up to three hours for the next fare.

But because MAC officials have received thousands of complaints, they're considering stiffer penalties: a 30-day suspension for a first refusal, a two-year suspension for a second.

"We're now at a point where the drivers may have to make a choice," said Hogan.

Hello? They made a choice when they became cabbies: to serve the public, all of the public. They can not discriminate. They should be fired. Not 'sent to the end of the line'.

The interview with Adan took a long time. Our fare came to $150, a very good day for him. Normally, he makes about $100 a day, so it became more clear to us that refusing a fare is a big loss. But Adan said he won't accept the idea that in America a cab driver should allow something his religion forbids.

Well, you have to, Adan. That's what America is about. In your private life you can do mostly whatever your religion demands. But when you are in public, especially when you are licensed by the State to provide a service to other citizens, you render unto Caeser.

However, I hear that cabbies on Mogadishu can refuse whomever they'd like.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:31 AM | Comments (8)

Criminals "Fearful" Of Law

Heck, I'm "fearful" when I run a red light, but at least I 'fess up that I'm the one in the wrong, not the cops

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Cook Rosa Maria Salazar's eyes dart anxiously to the door as customers file into the Salvadoran cafe in a heavily Hispanic neighborhood near downtown Los Angeles.

"We're terrified. The police could come for us at any time and deport us," she said in Spanish earlier this week as diners fingered maize tortillas stuffed with beans and pork scratchings and chatted softly.

The 55-year-old undocumented worker from Guatemala is among many Hispanics deeply shaken by recent immigration raids at the heart of Latino communities in southern California.

The-seven day Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) sweep, dubbed "Operation Return to Sender," targeted jails across five counties in the Los Angeles area, where police took 423 of what they called "criminal aliens" into federal custody for deportation, after being held on charges unrelated to their immigration status.

They really can't complain about people being deported for reasons beyond their illegal immigrant status.

"We used to feel secure here," Nicaraguan electrician Manuel Salomon told Reuters as he sipped coffee in a Mexican bakery in the city. "But it looks like that honeymoon is over."

With 10-12 million illegals here, there is simply no way to deport them all. It is not possible without Nazi-like rail cars scooping them up and dumping them at the Rio Grande, and that's not a road we should ever even consider going down (unless, say, we suddenly get a huge influx of illegals from, say, France). But we need to secure the border immediately and deport absolutely any of those here that commit a crime while here or have outstanding warrants from wherever they're from, and let the balance work towards citizenship.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 06:12 AM | Comments (7)

January 11, 2007

La-La-La-Wyer Land

One of my favorite blogs is The Volokh Conspiracy. I don't comment there much, because most of the discussion is way out of my league, but many of the posts and comments provide interesting explanations and views on things legal in a manner that is pretty accessible for average idiots like myself. Eugene Volokh is especially brilliant, but sometimes he gives little hints that he's spent just a tad too much time teaching law instead of living with the real-world effects of it (and certain types of lawyers) on our society and how it operates:

Restaurants and Aspirin (and the Like): On occasion, I've found myself with a nasty headache in a restaurant; and when I've asked the front desk whether they had any aspirin (or whatever else, but I'll just say aspirin for now) I could have, they've always said no.

Now my sense is that, like most employers, they do have some aspirin for their staff, likely in those little individually wrapped packets. It's also probably in their interest to help out with it: If I've got a bad headache, I'm going to have a less pleasant dinner, and while I probably won't consciously resent them for not helping, I'll be slightly less likely to come back soon (since often one comes back to a restaurant because of memories of recent pleasant dining experiences there). And of course giving me some of the aspirin would cost very little money and time. So why not help out, especially given that they're in a service industry where the presumption (I'd think) is that they should try to help the customer with simple requests that could make him happy?

One possible theory, which I recall having heard a couple of times from restaurants, is that they don't want to give out aspirin for fear of product liability should anything bad happen to me. But I don't really see the real liability risk: There's nothing negligent in their giving me something that I could buy over the counter at a gas station — it's not like they're giving me medical advice. Given that they're not negligent, the only extra risk is strict product liability, but that only arises in the extraordinarily rare circumstance the aspirin was somehow defective; and even in that rare case, it's likely that the payment would come from the manufacturer, not the distributor, with the distributor being on the hook only if the manufacturer is insolvent.

So is it that the restaurant just doesn't want the hassle of helping me? That, contrary to my assumption, they don't have aspirin around for the staff? That they fear liability without much foundation, because there's some industry myth about it afoot (or because they just haven't looked into the legal question, and err on the side of caution)? That, contrary to my sense of tort law, they may in fact be legally on the hook if I react badly to the aspirin? Or something else?

One of the commentors said that

You're living in "la-la-la-wyer" land if you believe that a restaurant won't be sued for a bad reaction to the aspirn, much less found liable.

which to me exactly sums it up. Because of the way trial lawyers have been allowed to run amock you can and will be sued for everything and anything now in this country, and we are forced to read and sign 'legal disclaimers' before doing damn near anything. The result is that more and more people, and most businesses, are afraid to do anything extra to 'help' anyone because they know they will get sued, and even if they 'win' the case they will be out thousands of dollars in legal fees plus whatever bad press is generated. This is a perfect example of why our system needs to be reformed immediately. First off the loser should pay all the legal costs in civil suits. This would eliminate a lot of these nuisance lawsuits that pop up constantly and force businesses to fear any sort of extra service to clients (like aspirin or pepto-bismol type stuff). Secondly judges should be given wide discretion, and be encouraged to use it, to dismiss such lawsuits before they even go to trial. Third, people like John Edwards should be taken out to the most convenient woodshed and severely paddled. Actually, do this first. And third. And...

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:08 AM | Comments (5)

January 10, 2007

If You Have to "Help Them Interact"

...their imaginations are NOT being engaged.

New York City, with its rich history of public playgrounds, is on the verge of a bold experiment in the way children play, one that could accelerate the trend away from monkey bars, swings and seesaws used by generations of city children.

In an unusual public-private partnership, the city is developing a playground near the South Street Seaport that will have trained “play workers” on hand to help children interact with features of the new playground: water, ramps, sand and specially designed objects meant to spur the imagination.


Sweet JESUS, people!! LET THE KIDS PLAY BY THEMSELVES.

Confronted with a puddle, WHAT child has EVER stopped, looked to an adult and asked "Excuse me, sir? What is the specific purpose of this?" Sand and water features ~ damn. That sure is a stretch for today's kiddies, right?

I promise you ~ within five minutes they will have worked things out their OWN way, be intently busy for HOURS and have a helluva lot more fun than if you showed them...how to have fun.

I'm gobschmacked.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 08:58 AM | Comments (18)

January 03, 2007

Where Is Ken's Pogo Stick

When I need it?

Cheese is to be treated as junk food under new advertising rules for children's television.

Commercials promoting it will be banned during children's TV programmes and those with a large proportion of young viewers.


"I did it for the children, Gromit!"

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 08:43 AM | Comments (5)

December 15, 2006

Will Skinny Clothes Come With A Coupon For A Big Mac?

Youe don't get much more Nanny State than this

Oversize clothes should have obesity helpline numbers sewn on them to try and reduce Britain's fat crisis, a leading professor said today.

And new urban roads should only be built if they have cycle lanes, according to Naveed Sattar, Professor of Metabolic Medicine at the University of Glasgow.

It boggles the mind how they want to control every aspect of your life.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 11:48 AM | Comments (6)

October 30, 2006

Eliot Spitzer: Fortunate Son

With thanks to Insta, here's candidate for NY Governor Spitzer's stand on housing in NY State:

New York State's housing crisis threatens to strangle our potential for economic growth and crush the dreams of many families. New York State consistently ranks among the five worst states in the nation on housing affordability, with more than 1.6 million households spending more than 35 percent of their income on housing. We are in this situation because, over the past decade, our leaders in Albany have failed to make affordable housing a priority.

Starting on Day One of the Spitzer administration, we will begin work to develop a comprehensive plan to increase the supply of affordable and quality rental housing and expand homeownership opportunities throughout the state.

...Finally, we should partner with local communities to encourage reform of zoning laws and permitting and approval processes to allow for higher densities of residential housing and make it easier for sites to become buildable.

Via the Taxprof, it seems that Eliot certainly has found affordable housing:

Interesting article in the Sunday New York Daily News: Empire of the Son, by Douglas Feiden:
Spitzer has lived rent-free with his family at 985 Fifth Ave. for 13 years. The 25-story tower off 79th St. has just two apartments per floor and terraces that look down at the Metropolitan Museum of Art....Thanks to his dad's generosity, Spitzer, his wife and three daughters have lived in a home graced with at least three bedrooms, four baths, a balcony, library and sweeping vistas of Central Park....

Vetted by lawyers and accountants, the living arrangement is both lawful and proper, said Darren Dopp, Spitzer's communications director: The father pays an annual gift tax on the present he gives his son. "These and other financial matters are handled by professionals who ensure that everything is done in strict accordance with city, state and federal law," Dopp said. The market value of the gift is reported annually on real estate tax filings and on Bernard Spitzer's tax returns. But citing privacy, Dopp declined to disclose the apartment's rent, the gift's value or the amount of the gift tax paid. Three real estate brokers familiar with the building say that a spread of comparable size could lease for $16,000 to $20,000 a month. That puts the gift's current value at an estimated $192,000 to $240,000 a year.

I wonder if he's willing to share that arrangement with other citizens of NY if he wins? At the very least, since he's in favor of "higher densities" in residential housing, I'm sure he'll subdivide his free apartment so that a few disadvantaged families can move in, no? What better way to "partner with local communities"?

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 01:31 PM | Comments (6)

Green Tax

Here's a shock: The wise and all-knowing lefty UK Ministers have decided that the best way to fight perceived climate change is via a tax

HARD-WORKING families face crippling new bills as the Government fights global warming with a raft of stinging taxes.

But critics accused ministers of forcing the public to pay for their failure to react earlier to the crisis.

Shadow Environment Secretary Peter Ainsworth said last night: “We don’t need a programme of green taxes: We need a green programme, full stop.

“This is just a list of taxes when what we need is a system of mutually reinforcing carrots and sticks.”

He was speaking after it was revealed that Environment Secretary David Miliband had already drawn up sweeping green tax plans which he has put to Gordon Brown.

He wrote to the Chancellor: “As our understanding of climate change increases, it is clear more needs to be done.”

Funny, it seems to me that as our understanding grows the less we actually understand about the globe's weather.

I especially liked this bit:

The green proposals are revealed as leaked documents show people living in crime-free areas are to be penalised with a giant hike in council tax.

That's equality in action, friends: if the thugs don't steal from you then the government has to, or you're deprived of your constitutional right to be pillaged.

Oh, and prepare for massive snowstorms in the UK:

Mr Brown has recruited ex-US vice-president Al Gore as his green guru. He will advise the Chancellor on international environmental issues.

You can't say you haven't been warned, Mr. Brown.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:05 AM | Comments (2)

October 26, 2006

New Jersey And You: Perfect Together...Sort Of

Well, the NJ Supremes have ruled on Gay Marriage. EnlightenNJ has a link to the opinion. I must warn you that in keeping with current rules of lawyerly liberal jargonese it runs to 90 freakin' pages. Dredd Scott is under 30 paragraphs; Marbury v. Madison has a few more paragraph, but most of them are single sentences. What does such excess verbiage that our modern Solons bestow upon us actually get us?

Not much, I'm afraid, in the specific, but quite a lot in the general, as clearly shown here and here at the always worth reading in full Volokh Conspiracy. So go read them already. The Slippery Slope is now officially confirmed as a key part of the activist agenda; indeed, it's the key to the whole process.

As far as the whole issue of gay marriage goes, I'm for strong marriage. What do I mean by that? Well, a committed relationship that is not easily entered into nor is it easy to get out of. Marriage is hard, but divorce should be harder. It is in society's best interest that people be encouraged to form such long-lasting unions, and that encouragement takes the form of various tax benefits as well as estate issues, health benefits and survivor benefits. I would much prefer that a committed gay couple be allowed to legally marry and gain such benefits than to allow an unmarried hetero couple that has merely been cohabitating, for however many years and offspring, to access such benefits when they are unwilling to make any sort of a legal and binding vow to one another. I am not, however, in favor of allowing gay couples to adopt children (if they actually have them, obviously, that's a different story), as that to me is like allowing baseball players to score touchdowns: as talented and gifted as you may be you're playing the wrong game, folks. I feel that a child's best interests are served by a father and a mother, warts and all.

Your mileage may vary.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 06:51 AM | Comments (19)

October 23, 2006

The Rotten State Of State

Sis yelled at me this morning because I said that all the folks at the State Department are scum.

US State Department mouthpiece Alberto Fernandez issued a statement tonight saying he's sorry for condemning American "arrogance and stupidity" in Iraq:
"Upon reading the transcript of my appearance on Al-Jazeera, I realized that I seriously misspoke by using the phrase 'there has been arrogance and stupidity' by the U.S. in Iraq," said Fernandez, director of public diplomacy in State's Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. "This represents neither my views nor those of the State Department," Fernandez added. "I apologize."

Okay. But like I said, it was where and how he chose to criticize Iraq policy--in Arabic on the terrorist propaganda network, al Jazeera, right after a terrorist spokesman called on jihadis to bring America to its knees.

And I will admit to a lapse of judgement. Why, I seriously misspoke by using the phrase "all the folks at the State Department are scum."

Blech.

The problem with State is they forget who they work for. Much like ensconced Academics who lose touch with the real world and grow to despise their students, the analysts and career 'diplomats' at State feel that it is they and they alone who have the special insights and should set US foreign policy, regardless of what the elected officials, let alone those mindless sheep of us who elected them, feel or desire. The arrogance of these people towards US citizens is palpable, and treasonous. Statements like this are giving aid and comfort to our enemies. It's that simple. I'm sorry if I'm not displaying sufficient nuance here. State's job is to advise the elected officials and to promote a positive view of the US around the world; you don't do this by saying we're stupid and arrogant and thereby weakening US policy. If you disagree with current US policy...tough. Write reports showing the errors and try to bring about a change in a manner which is not harmful to our country.

Don't become poster boys on terrorist networks.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 08:47 AM | Comments (4)

October 18, 2006

Brussels Seeks to Ban E.U.Tube

As Voltaire might have said "I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death my right to regulate it"

"The European Commission proposal would require websites and mobile phone services that feature video images to conform to standards laid down in Brussels."

Or was that quote from Jefferson? I get so confused...

UPDATE: Rally 'round the Tube!

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 09:25 AM

October 17, 2006

"But You Separate Yourself From Society"

"Were you interviewed face to face by a male governor of the school for this job? It's a simple question...To assess your suitability for this job? And you did not wear the veil for that interview?"

Taking the veil to school

Wow.

Swill salute to Davo in the comments at Tim's.

UPDATE and BUMP: You'll never guess who just used the word "separate"...

British Prime Minister Tony Blair stepped into the debate over the integration of Muslims into British society on Tuesday, calling the full veil worn by some Muslim women "a mark of separation".

Controversy has erupted in Britain over the wearing of the veil with some leaders of Britain's 1.8 million Muslims accusing the government of stirring up Islamophobia.

...Asked if a woman who wore the veil could make a full contribution to British society, Blair said: "It is a mark of separation and that's why it makes other people from outside the community feel uncomfortable."

"No one wants to say that people don't have the right to do it, that's to take it too far, but I think we do need to confront this issue about how we integrate people properly with our society and all the evidence is when people do integrate more they achieve more as well.

...Blair called for a debate on how the Muslim community integrates into British society and on how Islam comes to terms with the modern world.

His government has begun to question whether Britain's traditional policy of promoting a multicultural society -- where different communities live side by side without having a single British identity imposed on them -- has backfired by contributing toward the isolation of some communities.

..."What is happening, especially in the last few months, has been a barrage of demonization of the Muslim community to such an extent that the community is now scared and the whole community feels vulnerable," MCB General Secretary Muhammad Abdul Bari told BBC Radio.


"Scared" and "vunerable" like the way the British feel about "bombs in the subway", "on buses" and "airplanes"? THAT kind of "scared"?

You can thank your freakin' neighbors for that, Abdul.


Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:27 AM | Comments (4)

October 11, 2006

Somebody STOP Nancy "Pond Scum" Pelosi

...before she starts ta draining!! The swamp's doin' just FINE, thank you.

Federal deficit falls to smallest level in 4 years
Decline seen helped by higher tax revenues

The federal budget deficit, helped by a gusher of tax revenues, fell to $247.7 billion in 2006, the smallest amount of red ink in four years.

The deficit for the budget year that ended Sept. 30 was 22.3 percent lower than the $318.7 billion imbalance for 2005, handing President Bush an economic bragging point as Republicans go into the final four weeks of a battle for control of Congress.

Bush called the 2006 outcome a “dramatic reduction” in the deficit which allowed him to fulfill his 2004 campaign pledge of cutting the deficit in half earlier than his original 2009 target date.


If we're lucky, there'll be NO Fall gator wrestling for you, chitlin' cheeks.

UPDATE: Well, I didn't hear anything about it on World News Tonight just now, but I mighta missed it. I did work around airplanes.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 05:47 PM | Comments (2)

October 06, 2006

Where Is This Officer's Loyalty?

Do police in the UK have to take an oath to uphold the law?

A Muslim police officer who asked to be excused from guarding the Israeli embassy was married by the radical cleric Omar Bakri Mohammed, The Daily Telegraph has learned. Pc Alexander Omar-Basha's father-in-law is related to Bakri, who performed an Islamic ceremony at the family home in north London.

...Scotland Yard said yesterday that Pc Omar-Basha, a member of the Metropolitan Police armed Diplomatic Protection Group (DPG), had been allowed to absent himself from armed patrols outside the Israeli embassy after expressing concerns about the effect it might have on the safety of his relatives in Lebanon during Israel's military campaign in August.

The decision provoked a debate about political correctness in the police force and drew accusations that Muslim officers were being treated differently to others.

This is complete and total bullshit. He should be fired. Will they allow any muslims who work for the fire department to 'absent themselves' from any fires at synagogues or AIDS clinics?

This is a perfect example of the Balkanization that is creeping in to the West as a result of all this pandering to sensibilities. The law is the law, and it applies to everyone equally. Freedom of speech and thought can not be abridged because someone might feel offended.

Lots more on this here.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:33 AM | Comments (3)

October 05, 2006

Your Tax Dollars at Work

Being the considerate soul I am, I refrained from comment the night of the Saints' return to the Superdome. I didn't have a problem with FEMA (read:our money) dollars being spent to refurbish a New Orleans landmark, even though it's obvious there are crushing needs elsewhere. Having spent bunches of time in the city, I know what that place and it's pitiful but always beloved gridiron squad mean to the denizons of Duvalle. My beef, pure and simple, is with the AMOUNT FEMA spent. Out of ONEHUNNERTEIGHTYFIVEMILLIONDOLLAH ~ yes, $185 MILLION ~ the NFL ponied up...$15 mil.

Tagliabue, whose league provided a $15 million grant for repairs and improvements that cost $185 million, urged the team leading the reconstruction to ratchet up the job.

Well, thank you, white man. Now...
Do. The. Math.
According to Doug Thornton, regional vice president of the private management company for the Superdome (which is owned by the State of Louisiana), the remaining $170 million
“was from the public-assistance program from FEMA on insurance disasters to cover state property.”

I'm also wondering if the National Flimflam League is quietly still collecting their extortion payola from the city and state for the privilege of hosting said team, per our post in May 2005.
Under the current agreement, the state will pay the Saints $15 million this year and in 2006, $20 million in 2007 and 2008 and $23.5 million in 2009 and 2010. The Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District refinanced bonds on the Superdome to cover this year's payment.

That sort of stuff just hurts coming from an organization (ed.note: the NFL) with teams that can pay just ONE 'PLAYER" $35+ million a year and has an average salary (read: regular player) of ...
The NFL Players Association's research department says the average player salary rose 5% in 2005 to $1.4 million and that the average starter earns $2,259,000. The median salary for all starters was $1.7 million, an increase of 17%. The average for quarterbacks, running backs and offensive tackles was in excess of $3 million.

...and income streams like this...
The popularity of the game and the players and the NFL's ceaseless efforts to market every aspect of it make this a lucrative operation for all parties.

"The revenues are continuing to grow and the salary cap will continue to grow alongside it," says agent Neil Schwartz. "Therefore, players make more money, owners make more money and so do general managers, coaches and assistant coaches. Everyone reaps the fruit."


...while generously giving the American Taxpayer (read: us) $15 million to fix a part of that very revenue stream.

So why did I bring this up now? Besides the fact that it bugs the sh*t out of me, we have, here in Bangla-cola, that very thing happening in miniature. And it bugs the SH*T out of me. ELEVENMILLION FEMA dollars (read: yours) have been allocated to repair...our fishing bridge.

Fishing bridge reels in support
FEMA will help pay remaining cost of span across Pensacola Bay
...The Federal Emergency Management Agency has agreed to help pay the remaining cost to replace a local landmark -- Escambia County's portion of the fishing bridge over Pensacola Bay.

FEMA, which already had agreed to pay Escambia $5.3 million, will put up another $5.8 million to help demolish and rebuild the north half of the old bridge.

...The old three-mile, two-lane bridge -- formerly U.S. 98 -- was replaced in the 1960s by the current four-lane span. The center portion of the old bridge was removed, creating the separate Escambia and Gulf Breeze fishing piers.

For years, the two sides of the bridge were popular fishing sites because of access to water up to 30 feet deep. They also were a sort of walkway for people who wanted exercise with a view of the bay.

But Hurricane Ivan's storm surge on Sept. 16, 2004, lifted many segments of the old bridge off their pilings and dumped them into the bay.


Happy, happy fisherfolk voices are raised in support, but COME ON. "SORT of a walk way"? An $11 million 'sort of a walkway'?
Hey, it's your money ~ I'm just the messenger. I also like fish and fisherfolk, but there's a whole lot in this backwater that those greenbacks (note: not the turtles) could help. They left the old bridge standing to begin with because it was cheaper(!) than dismantling it (imagine that) and schmaybe someone could make a buck or two charging folks to fish.
Hel. Lo.
Before and after...
And Hell.
No.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:36 AM | Comments (11)

October 03, 2006

The Theocracy Arrives In Dhimmiapolis

After years of warning us that it was happening, I have to grant the Left their due: we are indeed heading towards a theocracy.

Only it's not the evul kkkristians.

As Tim Blair has noticed, this constant kow-towing to muslim sensibilities has placed them in charge. Look, let's be clear: you can believe what ever you want. What you CAN NOT do is impose your beliefs on someone else, especially if you work in a government-sanctioned industry. Remember 'separation of church and state' that people always go on about? Well, I guess that doesn't apply to taxicabs in Minnesota. Taxicabs are granted exclusive licenses from the State and Local governments, so it is unconstitutional for them to discriminate...unless, of course the drivers are muslims. Then the Taxi commission, instead of yanking their license for refusing a fare based on religious beliefs, which is what they'd do to say a Baptist cabbie who refused to take a gay couple, surrenders:

Now the airports commission has a solution: color-coding the lights on the taxi roofs to indicate whether a driver will accept a booze-toting fare. The actual colors haven't been decided on yet, but commission officials met Thursday with representatives of the taxi drivers and the Minnesota chapter of the Muslim American Society to continue working on the plan.

No, that's not a 'solution', that's a surrender. There is but one solution: any cabbie who refuses a fare for religious reasons loses his license. End of story.

Until that happens, which is not likely anytime soon in the People's Republic of Dhimmisota, I have this suggestion: I want every single person who flies into Dhimmiapolis to buy a bottle of booze* at the airport, every single person, and I want all of you to carry them openly out to the cabs so that you get refused a ride. Only take rides with those who allow alcohol; screw the other ones.

Now, as winter is approaching I wonder who will be the first person to die from exposure in the 50-below-zero weather there after they have been refused a ride for having a bottle of bubbly with them at New Years. Will the cabbie be charged with a Hate Crime?

*Update: This plan also helps out all the Duty Free retailers in the airports who have been pounded by the new security restrictions for flights. The rising Bingley tide lifts all boats, folks!

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 06:46 AM | Comments (1)

October 02, 2006

Paging John Ashcroft!!

We'll be needing those draperies back...

Museum Field Trip Deemed Too Revealing

“Keep the ‘Art’ in ‘Smart’ and ‘Heart,’ ” Sydney McGee had posted on her Web site at Wilma Fisher Elementary School in this moneyed boomtown that is gobbling up the farm fields north of Dallas.

But Ms. McGee, 51, a popular art teacher with 28 years in the classroom, is out of a job after leading her fifth-grade classes last April through the Dallas Museum of Art. One of her students saw nude art in the museum, and after the child’s parent complained, the teacher was suspended.


I hope it wasn't a Picasso or anything they saw.

Jeez, they'll need counseling!
Now cover your eyes, or I call your parents.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 04:09 PM | Comments (5)

September 30, 2006

A Grievous Blow To The Rovian Reich

Here we are spending years of effort and gazillions of dollars to turn our once Idyllic Cupcakeland™ country into the Rovian Land of Dispair™, and Tim Worstall uncovers stuff like this still going on:


The New York Governor George Pataki ruled that Mr Dicks had not committed a crime while physically in either New York or Louisiana. And, as online gambling was not outlawed in the State of New York, he had no choice but to release him.

The governor's counsels said in a statement: "While the Governor supports efforts to restrict illegal off-shore gaming, he does not have the legal authority to order the extradition of Mr Dicks."

That's the way it works, or ought to. No discretion, rather, the law is the law and if you can't be convicted when the system follows all of said law, then you should not be convicted.

I mean, he's a danged furrner, too!

If we can't make them disappear into the endless morass of the Lileksian Gulag System, well then I fear all is lost, my friends.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 08:54 AM

September 27, 2006

Oh Lord...

Take me now.

Senators Propose Funds for Paper Ballots to Back Up Electronic Ones

Three Senate Democrats proposed emergency legislation today to reimburse states for printing paper ballots that can be ready at polling places in case of problems with electronic voting machines on Nov. 7.

The proposal is a response to grass-roots pressure and growing concern by local and state officials about touch-screen machines. An estimated 40 percent of voters will use those machines in the election.

If someone asks for a paper ballot they ought to be able to have it,” said Senator Barbara Boxer of California, a co-sponsor of the measure with Senator Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut and Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconson.


They should have left it paper to begin with, duh. But not punchy things that blind-as-a-bat 85 year old transplanted New Yawker ladies in Palm Beach can and do f*ck up routinely. Let's go uncomplicated and eezy cheezy, like here in Escambia County. It's called a BIG FAT MARKER and...a straight line.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:20 AM | Comments (5)

"Anybody Moves, The Nigger Gets It"

Should we not allow Mel Brooks and Richard Pryor to run for public office?

The MSM has been all a-twitter about what George Allen did or did not say whilst at the University of Virginia in the 70s, and the blogs have been following this frankly ridiculous story.

Yes, ridiculous. It disgusts me to no end how all these people are primping and parading around saying "Ooh golly, I never said that word with these sainted lips!". Oh bullshit. I was born in 1964, and everyone said it at some point. To our society's great credit as the 60s became the 70s became the 80s people gained awareness of such casual racism and people who used it were mostly quietly shunned, and those who used it and meant it in its full derogatory nature more and more likely to be openly and publically shunned and dressed down. That's called progress, folks, and it's a good thing. Social change does not happen overnight, and frankly the change that I've seen in my lifetime over how minorities are treated by people in everyday life in our country is one of the things I'm proudest of as an American.

And I include myself in that change, as I certainly used all types of racial epithets growing up, as did everyone of my peers, in everyday normal conversation (to set the record straight, I've also jaywalked, smoked pot and run several red lights). But then the strangest thing happened: I grew up, as did my society. What was ok to casually say in 1972 was bound to cause some embarrassed looks by 1982 and would certainly cause problems by 1990 because people had learned that it was false in their hearts, regardless of its status legally; this change in social mores is far more important than any law could ever be.

I attended the University of Virginia in the early 80s, roughly a decade behind the folks embroiled above, and I certainly heard the word used by both blacks and whites, but I have to say that even by then most times the context was more Blazing Saddles than David Duke.

It's only a word, folks. A hateful word. A word that reminds us of the worst in ourselves and our country's past. Perhaps it should remind us of how far we've come from that shameful past.

Oh, I'm certainly not saying we should just casually toss it about (although any quick listen to the music blasting from many cars these days would lead one to assume that that is indeed the case), but for its useage thirty some-odd years ago to become a major issue in a political campaign without any indication of its relevance to Allen's current views seems rather assinine, at the very least. And for his attackers to piously claim never to have uttered it is beyond belief.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 08:28 AM | Comments (17)

September 18, 2006

Bean Counters in Bean Town

...have bean proven horribly wrong.

Big Dig project managers persuaded the designer of the Interstate 90 connector tunnel ceiling to reduce by half the number of bolts supporting each ceiling hanger, The Boston Sunday Globe reported.

The newspaper reported it obtained a 1998 memo in which an official of Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff, the joint venture that supervised the Big Dig, expressed confidence that two bolts would hold up the concrete ceiling panels.

...The ceiling designer, Gannett Fleming Inc., had planned to use four-bolt anchor plates.

"Unless I'm missing something, I don't see why (the ceiling designer) requires a 4 bolt anchor plate when a 2 bolt anchor plate would be sufficient,"Robert Richard of Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff wrote.


Not knowing the Bechtel guy's background, I'll just assume the ceiling designers were probably an engineering firm. I think they get taught to figure 'how many bolts per bolted thingee doodle' in school. (Right, Jeffs?)
Richard's memo, dated June 23, 1998 and addressed to Gary Baxter, also of Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff, said Gannett Fleming should either cut the number of bolts in half or submit calculations"proving that 2 anchor bolts do not work,"the newspaper reported.

That's a helluva choice ~ prove Richards right OR prove him...right. Sure glad it's not my name on that memo. I wonder if he got a bonus for cost cutting. And I'm curious why the design firm backed down.

Ooooh. Sucks to be them.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:24 AM | Comments (5)

September 13, 2006

Oh, Fer Chrissake

The vast majority of people would survive the rollover if they'd wear a freakin' seat belt. How hard was that?

U.S. to Mandate Anti-Rollover Technology
The government, impressed by the promise of anti-rollover technology, is planning to require automakers to include electronic stability control devices on all new vehicles in the coming years.

The seat belt's already in the car, duh. And KEEPS you in the car...duh. But when y'ain't got it on, 'n yer shot out yer winder as she's spinnin' an' the SUV keeps on rollin' along over ya, there's bound ta be somethin' squished.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 04:08 PM | Comments (1)

September 08, 2006

"Oops! Silly Me!"

So now Armitage is saying he made an innocent boo-boo

In July 2003, Armitage told columnist Robert Novak that Ambassador Wilson's wife worked for the CIA, and Novak mentioned it in a column. It's a crime to knowingly reveal the identity of an undercover CIA officer. But Armitage didn't yet realize what he had done.

So, what exactly did he tell Novak?

"At the end of a wide-ranging interview he asked me, 'Why did the CIA send Ambassador (Wilson) to Africa?' I said I didn't know, but that she worked out at the agency," Armitage says.

Armitage says he told Novak because it was "just an offhand question." "I didn't put any big import on it and I just answered and it was the last question we had," he says.

So for 3 years we've had all this crazy shit going on in the press, all this diversion from the task at hand, and he hasn't come forward to 'fess up until now...why?

That was nearly three years ago, but the political firestorm over who leaked Valerie Plame's identity continued to burn as Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald began hauling White House officials and journalists before a grand jury.

Armitage says he didn't come forward because "the special counsel, once he was appointed, asked me not to discuss this and I honored his request."

"I thought every day about how I'd screwed up," he adds.

Armitage never did tell the president, but he's talking now because Fitzgerald told him he could.

When did he tell this Fitzgerald that he was the source? How much money has been wasted on this witch-hunt, and how much political damage has been done for no good reason? Why didn't Fitzgerald immediately reveal him and end the inquiry?

This whole thing stinks to high heaven.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 06:59 AM | Comments (6)

September 05, 2006

Your Tax Dollars At Work

It's good to know our Legislators are focused with laser-like precision on the pressing issues of the day:

The major legislation on the floor in the House this week is a bill that would ban trading in horses to be slaughtered for human consumption.

We're in good hands, folks.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:46 AM | Comments (4)

August 24, 2006

Why Does This

The world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart, is now host to the world’s largest communist party, state media said on Thursday, after establishing the first party branch in one of the U.S. company’s China stores.

A Chinese Communist Party official in the northeast city Shenyang said a Wal-Mart store there had set up a party branch on Aug. 12 — the first branch of the ruling Communist Party in the U.S. icon of global capitalism, Xinhua news agency reported.

“Employees at the Wal-Mart store will now have access to CPC membership,” Xinhua said, referring to the Communist Party of China.


...in the Land of THIS...
...give me a whoppin' big case of feeling like this......?

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:30 AM | Comments (1)

August 09, 2006

Lamont Wins - Democrats Lose?

So Lamont pulled off the primary win, based solely on bringing home the troops from Iraq. It's a pity about Lieberman, as he was the one Democrat that I could conceive of myself voting for. It will be very interesting to see how this affects other Democratic races. Certainly this will tend to polarize and radicalize them more in the North East, as the nutroots folks now have a scalp and will apply these tactics to every race they can in the future.

But where does this leave moderate Democrats (who, unlike "moderate muslims" actually seem to exist)? I think this is the begining of the splintering of the Democratic Party; well, actually this is when the cracks become public and gaping. People are going to have to choose to jump with the nuts or stand against them. I think the next few years will see the rise of a strong third party movement that will eventually supplant one of the other two.

Interesting times.

Real Clear Politics agrees:

And as much as mainstream Democrats may try to downplay this result as a Connecticut issue, the rejection of a three-term Senator who was the party's VP nominee only six years ago will have repercussions throughout the country and they don't help the Democratic Party.

Yep.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 06:34 AM | Comments (14)

August 04, 2006

I'm Not Sure Why It Costs Nearly $2 Billion

To build this

The Senate did an abrupt about-face yesterday, voting overwhelmingly to begin paying for 370 miles of fencing and 500 miles of vehicle barriers on the U.S.-Mexico border, just three weeks after voting against the same spending. The amendment's sponsor said senators were so embarrassed by that July 13 vote that most felt they had to reverse course and vote for it this time -- especially after so many were on record in May voting to build the fence in the first place. The amendment, which provides nearly $2 billion for the project, passed 94-3, with 66 senators switching from "no" to "yes" votes since last month.

But it's a start. I just hope that certain Senators from Boston were not able to slip in a provision awarding the contract to their Big Dig cronies...

Build it strong and high.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:31 AM | Comments (2)

August 02, 2006

Some "Justice" This Is

She keeps a slave for four years and she only has to go to jail for two frikkin' months??

CENTENNIAL, Colo. - A woman was sentenced to two months in jail Tuesday for effectively stealing the services of an Indonesian woman who prosecutors said was held as a virtual slave for four years.

Sarah Khonaizan, 35, a Saudi citizen who lives in suburban Denver, also was ordered on the theft charge to pay $90,000 in restitution and was ordered not to have any contact with the 24-year-old woman.

Sorry, that's wrong-wrong-wrong. She should be jailed for at least twice as long as she held that woman.

Her attorney, Forrest Lewis, has said she wants to return to Saudi Arabia and will not fight deportation.

Oh, you bet she wants to return; back in Jihadiville she would probably get a government subsidy to keep indonesians chained up in the basement.

Put her in jail, now, for a long, long time.

Next to her charming husband:

...her husband, Homaidan Al-Turki, 37, was convicted in June of sexually abusing and imprisoning the woman. He faces a federal trial in October on other charges in the case.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:27 AM | Comments (8)

July 26, 2006

What Is It With Chicago?

Foie gras and now...WAL-MART.

Brushing aside warnings from Wal-Mart that it might take its business elsewhere, the City Council approved an ordinance Wednesday that makes Chicago the biggest city in the nation to require big-box retailers to pay a "living wage."

...The ordinance passed 35-14 after three hours of impassioned debate.

The measure requires mega-retailers with over $1 billion in annual sales and stores of at least 90,000 square feet to pay workers at least $10 an hour in wages plus $3 in fringe benefits by mid-2010. The current minimum wage in Illinois is $6.50 an hour and the federal minimum is $5.15.


Hell, I'd wear a smiley blue vest for that ~ or Home Depot orange, because it affects them, too. But it sort of defeats the purpose, doesn't it? Besides being hugely discriminatory, the chains're competitive because they pay entry level wages. The catch being if you stick around long enough, you have the potential to actually make a living. No, you're not buying a Ferrari, but it IS a living. This was pushed through by a coalition of churches and rights groups, but there were other voices that aren't going to be heard. One of them was the bishop of an Apostolic Church of God* who was worried about the new jobs that are going to never open. Or the old ones that completely disappear because of this; Jobs that folks who aren't so well off and want to work need desperately. But that extra $3 for two minimum wage earners adds up to another body at minimum wage. How are the big boxes going to make up the additional cost? I'd lay money on letting somebody go.

We'll see if this survives the court challenges that are coming. There are other 'living wage' laws in other cities and no one's folded up their tent. But I haven't seen any figures on what the impact was on the communities' employment figures, their retail expenditures or what it cost in lost tax revenue from a smaller number of workers.

*corrected ~ see complete story below

UPDATE: The full AP Report notes :

Other cities with living-wage laws include Santa Fe and Albuquerque in New Mexico; San Francisco; and Washington.

...The first Wal-Mart in Chicago itself is set to open in September, and the Bentonville, Ark.-based company has more than 40 other stores within 50 miles of the city.

Wal-Mart said that its average hourly wage is almost $11 an hour in the Chicago area and that the lowest wage that will be paid at the new West Side store will be $7.25 an hour.


The AP article with the background info here.
"I think it's immoral to pass laws that will rob people of jobs. I think there's something wrong with that," said Bishop Arthur Brazier of the Apostolic Church of God on the city's South Side.

Lisa Cox is transferring from a Wal-Mart store in the Chicago suburbs to the new West Side store just five minutes from her home.

"Now I can just walk down the street to work," said Cox, 40, who during her eight years working at Wal-Mart has advanced from a $7.25-an-hour cashier to a $13.40-an-hour customer service supervisor.

Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce president Jerry Roper warned that the business community will push back if the measure passes.

"We will go back to the business community after Wednesday ... and make sure they know which aldermen voted to kick thousands of jobs ... for Chicagoans and millions of dollars of tax revenues that could be helping our schools out of Chicago," Roper said.


Posted by tree hugging sister at 06:59 PM | Comments (5)

July 24, 2006

My Kind of Town

...Chicago ain't.

"We have children getting killed by gang leaders and dope dealers," an angry Mayor Richard M. Daley said earlier this year. "We have real issues here in this city. And we're dealing with foie gras? Let's get some priorities."

Posted by tree hugging sister at 05:27 PM | Comments (6)

July 18, 2006

Another Stupid Amendment Defeated

At least something good has come out of this Congress:

The House on Tuesday rejected a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, ending for another year a congressional debate that supporters of the ban hope will still reverberate in this fall's election.

The 236-187 vote for the proposal to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman was 47 short of the two-thirds majority needed to advance a constitutional amendment. It followed six weeks after the Senate also decisively defeated the amendment, a top priority of social conservatives.


Good to know this is one of the most pressing issues facing the nation these days.

Retards.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 03:11 PM | Comments (10)

July 13, 2006

The Malaise BoysPersons Are Back

So it seems the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has a new ad titled "America Needs a New Direction." I don't have speakers on my computer, so I couldn't hear the stirring score or the inspired words of doom and gloom; I could only watch the horror show. It opens with lovely scenes of flag-draped caskets of our soldiers and a grave of a soldier in the sand with his gun stuck in the ground topped by his helmet. Nice. And then there are the obligatory scenes of Katrina and Abramoff (never mind the inconvenient fact that he gave money to Democrats as well), with Bush's and Rove's photos everywhere. This is followed by the scariest part of all: photos of Pelosi. Shudder. Anyhow, it all builds up to a crescendo of 'America Needs A New Direction' which ends with...a picture of Bill Clinton striking an almost Nixon-like pose. WTF? That's their idea of a 'new direction'?

Amazing.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:48 AM | Comments (2)

July 11, 2006

Even to the Resident Druid

...this makes great good sense.

Court: Illinois U. Must Reinstate Group
A federal appeals court ruled Monday that an Illinois university must reinstate a student group that had its status revoked over its requirement that members pledge to adhere to Christian beliefs.

The ruling reverses a lower court decision that denied the group a preliminary injunction re-establishing its status while the lawsuit proceeds.

The Christian Legal Society sued Southern Illinois University in 2005 after the school revoked the group's registered status, meaning it no longer could use the university's facilities or name and was ineligible for school funding. The group claimed the university's decision violated its First Amendment rights to free speech and free exercise of religion.


Not a Christian? Don't join. How hard is that? A little quick Googling revealed there's a "Muslim Student Association" and that said "Muslim Students Association (MSA) is a registered student organization at the University of Illinois..."

If it's okay enough for them, what's the problem with Christian legal beagles?

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:59 AM | Comments (6)

Hooray For Judge Hogan!

He ruled that the raid on "Freezer Bill" Jefferson's office was legit:

WASHINGTON - A federal judge on Monday upheld the FBI's unprecedented raid of a congressional office, saying that barring searches of lawmakers' offices would turn Capitol Hill into "a taxpayer-subsidized sanctuary for crime."

Chief U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan rejected requests from lawmakers and Rep. William Jefferson (news, bio, voting record) to return material seized by the FBI in a May 20-21 search of Jefferson's office.

The overnight search was part of a 17-month bribery investigation of Jefferson, a Louisiana Democrat.

In a 28-page opinion, Hogan dismissed arguments by Jefferson and a bipartisan group of House leaders that the raid violated the Constitution's protections against intimidation of elected officials.

Hogan acknowledged the "unprecedented" nature of the case. But he said the lawmakers' "sweeping" theory of legislative privilege "would have the effect of converting every congressional office into a taxpayer-subsidized sanctuary for crime."

I love that line: "a taxpayer-subsidized sanctuary for crime." Sadly, that is in fact be what Washington is, but heck, no reason to ensconce that in law, now is there?

Enjoy this judge's brilliance, because with rulings like this:

A member of Congress is bound by the same laws as ordinary citizens, said the judge, who had approved the FBI's request to conduct the overnight search of Jefferson's office.

There's not a snowball's chance in hell that his name will ever be approved in the Senate to move higher up the judicial foodchain.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California also said Congress will continue to work* with the Justice Department on procedures for searches.

Gosh, ol' Goggle Eyes, that's awfully big of you. You mean like how I get to 'work' with the Police Department when they want to search my house? Hmmmm? Nope, didn't think so.

Still, "This particular search could have been conducted in a manner that fully protected the ability of the prosecutors to obtain the evidence needed to do their job while preserving constitutional principles," she said.

Such as the principle of "I can hit cops because I'm a Congressperson who wasn't wearing their pin" principle; one of my personal favorites.

*As a service to our readship, we hereby provide the Congressional Dictionary's definition of "work" as used in the above-referenced sentence:

The raid on Jefferson's office angered members of Congress, some of whom threatened to retaliate by tinkering (i.e. "work") with the FBI and Justice Department budgets.


Bingley in '09!

*

(h/t to Insta)
*ths/campaign strategist edit

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:39 AM

July 06, 2006

Yippee! We're Closed!

Enlighten NJ has a good roundup of where NJ stands in the budget shutdown mess

Budget negotiations remain deadlocked. Governor Jon Corzine and Democrats in the state Assembly have agreed state spending should be increased by about 9.2 percent, but can’t agree on who or what to tax for an additional $1.7 billion or so. It’s all pretty hazy now, but one thing is for sure, millions are being lost in private sector wages, business income and taxes. All this has something to do with putting the state’s economy and budget on a more fiscally sound footing.

And he has an elegant solution to the problem:

There’s a simple answer to New Jersey’s budget stand-off. There’s no need to shut New Jersey government, especially when you learn state workers will be paid retroactively whether on not they work for the days the government is shut down.

Just because New Jersey’s legislature passes a budget authorization bill it doesn’t mean the Governor has to spend every last dime approved. It simply lays out the maximum the Governor is authorized to spend. So why not pass last year’s budget and allow state government to keep chugging along?

What a crock the bit that state workers will get retroactive pay for time they didn't work during the shutdown. I'm sure the legislators are making sure that they get paid for all the work they didn't do to avoid this mess, as well.

I'm sorry, but no one should get paid for when they're not working (aside from usual vacations, of course). And every elected 'representative' should not get one more dime; indeed, they should be fined an amount equivalent to the amount of the tax revenues that the State has lost due to their inability to pass a budget in a timely fashion.

The one bright spot in this is that if anyone had any ideas of Corzine moving back onto the national government stage, this should effectively kill that. I mean, my god, if a traditional big-money Democrat, elected Governor in a Democratic state with a Democratically-controlled legislature can't even get his budget passed than the man is worthless on the national level.

Of course, that means we are stuck with him for the next four years...which gives me time for my run.

Vote Bingley for Governor in '09!

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:55 AM | Comments (10)

July 03, 2006

What If The Government Shut Down...

...And nobody noticed?

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - Atlantic City's casinos were ordered to close Wednesday, the latest casualty of a state government shutdown that entered its second day Sunday after the Legislature failed to adopt a budget by its July 1 deadline...Corzine shut down nonessential government services Saturday after the Legislature failed to adopt a budget by its July 1 deadline, leaving the state without the means to spend money. Budget talks became heated this year as Corzine, a Democrat, proposed increasing the state sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent to help overcome a $4.5 billion budget deficit.

It seems to me that if they are arguing over 1% or 2% of the budget that if they just keep the government closed for a week, which is over 2% of the fiscal year, that should solve everything.

Aw heck, keep Trenton closed for a month.

Please!

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 06:57 AM

June 29, 2006

I Don't Know If These Touchy ~ Feely Things

...work ~ they sound kinda stupid to me.

...Researchers at Indiana State University in Terre Haute tried a small experiment to test the effects of having kids play with heavier toys. They found that 10 children ages 6 to 8 burned more calories and had higher heart and breathing rates when they moved 3-pound toy blocks instead of unweighted blocks.

But I know for a FACT this does.
A pair of pot smokers picked the wrong day to use the drive-through window at a KFC restaurant in Buffalo, N.Y.

Two men in their 20s pulled up to the window at the KFC Wednesday afternoon and asked for the daily special.

Narcotics detectives, who were inside ordering their usual Wednesday special, noticed a cloud of marijuana smoke wafting into the restaurant and spotted the two men smoking what one of the cops called "the biggest marijuana cigar your ever saw."

The detectives went outside and arrested 23-year-old Charles Morris and 26-year-old Gregory Quick, both of Buffalo. The two men are charged with possession of marijuana and smoking it in public.

One of the cops said he got the cashier to refund the pot smokers' money for the Wednesday special.


Hey ~ however and whatever keeps your hand outta the fried chicken bucket is a good thing.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 05:34 PM | Comments (9)

June 28, 2006

And These Are the LEGAL Ones

The numbers of permanent residents eligible for citizenship.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 05:27 PM

June 20, 2006

At Least You're Safe in Your ICU Bed

... when those New Jersey taxes cause a cardiac arrest......for now.

Earlier Monday, Mr. Corzine backed away from a plan that would have brought in $430 million by taxing hospital beds in the state, conceding in a morning radio interview that the plan was dead. "I've relented on that," Mr. Corzine said in an interview on WKXW-FM, 101.5. "There are fights you're going to have. That isn't the biggest part of my budget. And it's out."

And it was a humdinger of a plan, too.
...Gov. Jon S. Corzine in his proposed budget called for a monthly tax on hospitals at a rate of about $1,400 per bed. Half of the $430 million raised would go to the state's general fund for a variety of programs. The other half would be used to increase the amount of matching funds the state receives from the federal government under the Medicaid program, which covers health-care costs of the poor.

You all sure can pick 'em.


Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:03 AM | Comments (2)

The NOLA Police

Are they useless or what?

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Acting at the mayor's request, Gov. Kathleen Blanco said Monday she would send National Guard troops and state police to patrol the streets of New Orleans after a bloody weekend in which six people were killed.

Now I am glad that Mayor Noggin did this, as it will give them a chance to get reorganized and get some seemingly sadly needed efficiency...esprit...heck, I don't know, but that police force sure seems to need something. Is there any reason why the top brass in the department should not be canned? Imean, first there was their disgraceful action in the wake of Katrina, and now look at this:

The police force has been operating with depleted ranks. It has about 1,375 officers, compared with about 1,750 before Katrina. The city's pre-Katrina population of 465,000 has rebounded to about half its size.

Depeleted ranks my left, er, foot. Before Katrina there were roughly 266 residents per officer. Now there are roughly 169 residents per officer. And things are worse?

Now I realize that the efficacy of a police force also depends heavily on the civic spirit of the populace; if the general population does not respect the political leadership and the police then they will not tend to respect the laws and the city will be very difficult to keep safe and orderly. This seems to me to be a perfect chance for Noggin to show that he is indeed a 'reform' mayor who can restore order and respect for the law.

However, it seems that the NOLA police chief is more concerned about the image to tourists than he is in building trust with the residents:

Riley assured residents that the Guard was "not coming in and taking over the city."

"You will have to look for them to find them," Riley said. "They will not be uptown, downtown or in the French Quarter. Our people will be there. This will allow us to have more of our people there."

In other words, if you live here we will treat you like a criminal and have the Guard posted by you, but please come and spend money here and chat with the fat friendly cop on Bourbon Street.

Doesn't sound like a formula for success to me, but more like a way to shift some blame to the Guard when things don't work out.


Update: Michelle Malkin hits this from another angle.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:38 AM | Comments (1)

June 16, 2006

Your Tax Dollars At Work

Katrina certainly devastated a lot of lives, and there are thousands upon thousands of folks working very hard to get their lives back in order who deserve and value what help we can give them.

But then there are also people like Theon Johnson

This winter, FEMA put up over 300 Hurricane Katrina evacuees in New York City hotels. Almost all of them have gone back to their lives, their jobs. But not Theon Johnson. He’s currently sprawled out watching Halloween 5 on one of the two full-size beds in his room at the JFK Airport Holiday Inn. He is one of four evacuees still living in a hotel in the city.

The others left in February and March, when, after spending more than $500 million, FEMA stopped paying for hotel rooms housing some 40,000 evacuees across the country. That left many scrambling for places to live. But thanks to the city’s squatters-rights law, evacuees here were safe. Their rooms weren’t paid for, but since they’d been in them for more than 30 days, the hotels couldn’t just kick them out. Only a judge’s order could evict them.

...When Johnson’s caseworker, Sharon, comes around, she gives him some bus passes and maybe a few bucks, but she’s getting frustrated. “They sit around on their butts watching TV. There’s only but so much I can do if they’re not willing to help themselves.”

After being flown here for free back in September, Johnson’s been at the Holiday Inn since Super Bowl Sunday. On April 21, the hotel served Johnson with three notices of occupancy termination, saying that it would begin court proceedings if he wasn’t out by May 9. He wasn’t, so it did. If the court boots him, Johnson could end up in one of the city’s homeless shelters. He’s been broke for over a month now. FEMA sent him $9,000 in housing aid, but he spent it all on booze, cigarettes, some clothes, and food—partying, mostly. “I spent my money just the way I wanted, and I think [fema] should send me some more,” he says.

I wish we could boot his lazy ass to Mexico; there are a hundred hard-working illegals in my town that I'd much rather have in this country and help out with my tax dollars than this piece of crap.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:34 AM | Comments (4)

June 14, 2006

I Want My MTV

But if you don't want yours, you
may soon find it tough to figure out who to complain to.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 04:12 PM | Comments (1)

Say It Ain't So: FEMA Waste?!?!

In a shocking development, FEMA gave out lots of money to people who didn't need it

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A $200 bottle of champagne from Hooters and $300 worth of "Girls Gone Wild" videos were among items bought with debit cards handed out by FEMA to help hurricane victims, auditors probing $1 billion in potential waste and fraud have found.

The cards -- given to people displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita -- also bought diamond jewelry and a vacation in the Dominican Republic, according to the Government Accountability Office audit.

You know, a billion here and a billion there; pretty soon it adds up to real money. Your money, and mine.

I'm not sure I agree that all of the money was wasted, though:

The GAO uncovered records showing that $1,000 from a FEMA debit card went to a Houston divorce lawyer; $600 was spent in a strip club and $400 was spent on "adult erotica products," all of which auditors concluded were "not necessary to satisfy legitimate disaster needs."

It seems to me that those expenditures were for some legitimate disasters...

Anyhow, this is the natural result of the MSM and politicians screaming at FEMA to throw money at the recovery, as if that was somehow all that was needed. So of course it was easy for people to feed at the trough, especially when I'm sure that the FEMA officials (much like cops with tickets) were under a lot of pressure to show via big numbers that they were 'doing something,'which of course led to them completely ignoring their guidelines for checking out the validity of claims. So now the MSM has something else they can point to to show this Administrations incompetence, however much a hand they may have had in its creation.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 09:24 AM | Comments (6)

More Scum Lawyers

What is it about "fried chicken" that they think the stupid public doesn't understand?

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (AP) -- A doctor and a consumer group have sued KFC in an effort to stop the chicken chain from cooking with high-fat partially hydrogenated oil.

Dr. Arthur Hoyte, a retired physician from Rockville, Maryland, and the Center for Science in the Public Interest, want a judge to order Kentucky Fried Chicken to use other types of cooking oils.

Anytime I see a quote from someone associated with any organization that has the phrase "Public Interest" in it I always check to make sure I still have my wallet.

Update: Thanks to Cullen who points out that Wunder Kraut was all over this yesterday.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 08:26 AM | Comments (6)

June 13, 2006

Shock and Awe

First that it's San Francisco. Second that someone there had the guts to do this ~ I mean, how WHACK is this headline?

Calif. Judge Overturns Firearm Sales Ban
A California judge on Monday overturned a voter-approved city law that banned handgun possession and firearm sales, siding with gun owners who said the city did not have the authority to prohibit the weapons.

Judge James Warren sided with the National Rifle Association, which argued that a local government cannot ban weapons because the California Legislature allows their sale and possession.

::SNORT:: We LOVE it!

And Mr. Summers, as always, has some excellent links, it being his neck of the Left Coast.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:07 AM | Comments (1)

I May Have To Take A Drive This Weekend To Philly

And have lunch at Geno's for Father's Day:

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - A civil rights watchdog agency opened an investigation on Monday into a Philadelphia cheese steak restaurant that posted a sign saying "This is America - when ordering, speak English."

The Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations complaint effectively opens a case against Geno's Steaks of South Philadelphia, said Rachel Lawton, acting executive director of the agency.

...The sign may violate the city's Fair Practices Ordinance, which bans businesses from discriminating on the basis of nationality or ethnicity, Lawton said.

"The complaint will say that the sign discourages patronage by non-English speakers because of their national origin and/or ancestry," Lawton, whose agency enforces the city's anti-discrimination laws, said before the official filing.

No, a$$wipe, it discourages no one because of where they're from; it says speak English.

Roberto Santiago, executive director of the city's Council of Spanish Speaking Organizations, said he received around 50 "hate" e-mails in response to his criticism of the sign.

..."This is dividing this nation," he said. "I'm really saddened by these individuals who are upset by having to be tolerant. I'm glad I'm living in an America where comments like Mr. Vento's are out of order."

What is "dividing the nation" is people who are refusing to learn English and assimilate, people who want no challanges in their lives but all the advantages that millions of people have worked and died for over hundreds of years. Don't give me this 'tolerant' crap. Who is less tolerant: the citizen of a nation who gladly embraces immigrants who make a minimum of effort to join their new culture, or those illegal immigrants who demand that the citizens of their new country change for them?

In the America I live in Mr. Vento's comments are protected and precious; they are the order.


Michelle Malkin's been all over this for a while now.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:43 AM | Comments (14)

June 09, 2006

Who Were The Secessionists?

Who are the 56 bastards in the Senate who voted to break up the Union?

I want them all to explain wtf they were thinking.

Update: roll call below the fold. This failed by one vote, I believe. One.

It's worth recalling exactly what they were voting on:

Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2005 - Establishes the U.S. Office for Native Hawaiian Relations within the Office of the Secretary of the Interior.

Establishes the Native Hawaiian Interagency Coordinating Group.

Recognizes the right of the Native Hawaiian people to reorganize the Native Hawaiian governing entity to provide for their common welfare and to adopt appropriate organic governing documents.

Establishes a Commission to: (1) prepare and maintain a roll of the adult members of the Native Hawaiian community who elect to participate in such reorganization; and (2) certify that the adult members of the Native Hawaiian community proposed for inclusion on the roll meet the definition of Native Hawaiian.

Outlines the process for the reorganization, which includes forming a Native Hawaiian Governing Council.

Reaffirms the political and legal relationship between the United States and the Native Hawaiian governing entity upon certification required by the Secretary regarding the organic governing documents and the election of the entity's officers. Extends Federal recognition to the governing entity as the representative governing body of the Native Hawaiian people.

Authorizes the United States, upon the reaffirmation of such political and legal relationship, to enter into negotiations with the governing entity to lead to an agreement addressing specified matters, including the transfer of lands, natural resources, and other assets, and the protection of existing rights related to such lands or resources.

This is big stuff. They want to break up a state and create a new sovereign nation within it that we would have to negotiate with concerning resources and assets. Good God.

Alabama: Sessions (R-AL), Nay Shelby (R-AL), Nay
Alaska: Murkowski (R-AK), Yea Stevens (R-AK), Yea
Arizona: Kyl (R-AZ), Yea McCain (R-AZ), Yea
Arkansas: Lincoln (D-AR), Yea Pryor (D-AR), Yea
California: Boxer (D-CA), Yea Feinstein (D-CA), Yea
Colorado: Allard (R-CO), Nay Salazar (D-CO), Yea
Connecticut: Dodd (D-CT), Yea Lieberman (D-CT), Yea
Delaware: Biden (D-DE), Yea Carper (D-DE), Yea
Florida: Martinez (R-FL), Nay Nelson (D-FL), Yea
Georgia: Chambliss (R-GA), Nay Isakson (R-GA), Nay
Hawaii: Akaka (D-HI), Yea Inouye (D-HI), Yea
Idaho: Craig (R-ID), Nay Crapo (R-ID), Nay
Illinois: Durbin (D-IL), Yea Obama (D-IL), Yea
Indiana: Bayh (D-IN), Yea Lugar (R-IN), Nay
Iowa: Grassley (R-IA), Yea Harkin (D-IA), Yea
Kansas: Brownback (R-KS), Nay Roberts (R-KS), Nay
Kentucky: Bunning (R-KY), Nay McConnell (R-KY), Nay
Louisiana: Landrieu (D-LA), Yea Vitter (R-LA), Nay
Maine: Collins (R-ME), Yea Snowe (R-ME), Yea
Maryland: Mikulski (D-MD), Yea Sarbanes (D-MD), Yea
Massachusetts: Kennedy (D-MA), Yea Kerry (D-MA), Yea
Michigan: Levin (D-MI), Yea Stabenow (D-MI), Yea
Minnesota: Coleman (R-MN), Yea Dayton (D-MN), Yea
Mississippi: Cochran (R-MS), Yea Lott (R-MS), Nay
Missouri: Bond (R-MO), Nay Talent (R-MO), Nay
Montana: Baucus (D-MT), Yea Burns (R-MT), Nay
Nebraska: Hagel (R-NE), Yea Nelson (D-NE), Yea
Nevada: Ensign (R-NV), Nay Reid (D-NV), Yea
New Hampshire: Gregg (R-NH), Nay Sununu (R-NH), Nay
New Jersey: Lautenberg (D-NJ), Yea Menendez (D-NJ), Yea
New Mexico: Bingaman (D-NM), Yea Domenici (R-NM), Yea
New York: Clinton (D-NY), Yea Schumer (D-NY), Not Voting
North Carolina: Burr (R-NC), Nay Dole (R-NC), Nay
North Dakota: Conrad (D-ND), Yea Dorgan (D-ND), Yea
Ohio: DeWine (R-OH), Nay Voinovich (R-OH), Nay
Oklahoma: Coburn (R-OK), Nay Inhofe (R-OK), Nay
Oregon: Smith (R-OR), Yea Wyden (D-OR), Yea
Pennsylvania: Santorum (R-PA), Nay Specter (R-PA), Yea
Rhode Island: Chafee (R-RI), Nay Reed (D-RI), Yea
South Carolina: DeMint (R-SC), Nay Graham (R-SC), Not Voting
South Dakota: Johnson (D-SD), Yea Thune (R-SD), Nay
Tennessee: Alexander (R-TN), Nay Frist (R-TN), Nay
Texas: Cornyn (R-TX), Nay Hutchison (R-TX), Nay
Utah: Bennett (R-UT), Nay Hatch (R-UT), Nay
Vermont: Jeffords (I-VT), Yea Leahy (D-VT), Yea
Virginia: Allen (R-VA), Nay Warner (R-VA), Nay
Washington: Cantwell (D-WA), Yea Murray (D-WA), Yea
West Virginia: Byrd (D-WV), Yea Rockefeller (D-WV), Not Voting
Wisconsin: Feingold (D-WI), Yea Kohl (D-WI), Yea
Wyoming: Enzi (R-WY), Nay Thomas (R-WY), Nay

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 09:02 AM | Comments (18)

June 08, 2006

Back to Hawaii

(Not the Marines; the Swilling.) This morning I read RadioBlogger's transcript of Hugh Hewitt interviewing Frank Gaffney and thought "WHAT?!" My jokey little post yesterday got turned on it's ear. This Senate Bill ~ S.147 ~ is an amazing piece of racist effrontry and is threatening to slide through the Senate TODAY because no one knows about it, what it intends and they DON'T believe they have the votes TO BLOCK IT! MSNBC has the short story on it:

The bill recognizes the right of Native Hawaiians to form a governing entity that, upon approval by Washington, would be authorized to negotiate with the state and federal governments over such issues as historical grievances and control of natural resources, lands and assets.

...A Senate vote was scheduled for last fall but was delayed when lawmakers became occupied by the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Since then, Akaka has sought to ease opposition to the measure by working out language with the Bush administration clarifying several provisions. The altered bill allows the federal government to assert sovereign immunity so that land claims may not be heard in courts of law.

It also exempts the Defense Department from future negotiations over land use, and it makes clear that the new government would not be allowed to take private land, deny civil rights or set up gambling operations similar to those allowed to American Indians.


Better yet, Ed Meese weighs in with a wonderfully instructive dissection of the bill and it's inherent unconstitutionality, excerpted in the Hawaii Reporter today.
The U.S. Senate is scheduled to begin debate as early as June 7, 2006, on the misleadingly named “Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2005” (S.147).[1] The proponents of this bill, some motivated by seemingly benign purposes and others by a desire to benefit from special preferences, argue that it redresses ancient wrongs done to early Hawaiians by various powers, including the United States. The bill purports to authorize the creation of an exclusively race-based government of “native” Hawaiians to exercise sovereignty over native Hawaiians living anywhere in the United States. This “Native Hawaiian Government” could allegedly exempt these Hawaiians from whatever aspects of the United States Constitution and state authority it thought undesirable. Not only is this a terrible idea; it is also unconstitutional.

The United States Supreme Court ruled decisively that this approach violates the Constitution in Rice v. Cayetano (2000). Yet the proponents of S.147 believe they can bypass this ruling simply by enacting a law that calls the descendants of so-called “aboriginal” Hawaiians an American Indian tribe. The bill would require the federal government to create a database of persons with one drop or more of “aboriginal” Hawaiian blood, organize elections for an “interim government” of this alleged “tribe,” and finally recognize the sovereignty and privileges and immunities (or lack thereof) that the new government establishes for its “tribal members.” Although Hawaii correctly argued in the Rice litigation that descendants of aboriginal Hawaiians are not an American Indian tribe, state officials have changed their minds—because that is the only way they can practice racial discrimination on behalf of a favored interest group. Hopefully, the United States Constitution is not so easily circumvented.


Read the WHOLE THING.

But call/email your Senator/Representative FIRST.

Unbelievable.
UPDATE: Doowwwnnnn she goes ~ Akaka bill goes under, 56-41. Mary Katharine Ham at Hugh hewitt has a round-up.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 12:12 PM | Comments (6)

June 07, 2006

Do Marines Get Blamed for Everything?

It really seems so. Now it's our fault Hawaii's a state.

Hawaii Sen. Daniel K. Akaka thinks Hawaiians should be allowed to govern themselves as Native Americans and Alaskans do, and after seven years of pushing a bill to start the process, the Senate is expected to take it up this week.

Mr. Akaka says the bill is a way to give "indigenous" Hawaiians a sense of pride and a chance for sovereignty for the first time since 1893, when Queen Liliuokalani was deposed and lands were illegally seized by U.S. Marines and a cadre of sugar-plantation businessmen.


Illegal is a state of mind, ya'll. But not to worry about your Diamond Head digs...
"The bill will not authorize gaming in Hawaii. The bill will not allow private lands to be taken. The bill will not create a reservation in Hawaii," Mr. Akaka said.

No private lands taken? I was betting they'd already have the roadsigns for Waikikelo Beach.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 04:29 PM | Comments (4)

Another Reason the State of Florida

...(per our discussion below) should keep it's arbitrary paws off your Chuck E. Cheese stranded children?

Number of foster children missing from state care on the rise
While Florida has increased its efforts to track down children missing from state care, the number of foster children who are missing has gone up six fold in the last few years, a newspaper reported Tuesday.

State child welfare officials confirmed that 652 children are missing from the foster care system. Most of them are runaways, although some are believed to have been taken from their foster homes by their biological parents.

They do such a BANG up job with the kids they get through regular channels. If I was six, I'd take my chances with the rodent, thank you.


Posted by tree hugging sister at 08:56 AM | Comments (3)

June 06, 2006

Axis of Ee-ville?

French fries, soft drinks and road rage all meet in diabolical confluence worthy of today's date. (Only it happened yesterday.)

A customer upset over the long wait for an order of french fries assaulted the manager of the McDonald's on Brent Lane, Escambia County deputies said.

...The man threw two drinks across the counter while waiting on his french fries when the restaurant was busy, a police report said. The manager told deputies the man "began yelling and cursing," the report said.

He left the building after being confronted by the manager. When the manager followed him to the parking lot to write down his tag number, the man charged at the manager, who retreated back inside the eatery, the report said.

The man followed the manager inside and "grabbed (the victim) by the back of her neck and threw her into the counter," the report said.

Obviously he's a victim of the dreaded MacJacka$$ Explosive Disorder. (The "dis" is signaled by the flinging of soft drinks, indicating you no longer wish to conduct business within said establishment ~ you have "disordered" ~ thereby reversing the kinetic energy of the transaction. Flinging said manager was counter-productive in this case*.)
*I just know these things.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:13 AM | Comments (3)

June 02, 2006

The Rise Of The Nanny Plate

I'm starting to think John and Ilyka and Ken were right and I was wrong about these Federal agencies we've got, and how this "republican" administration (and all the liability lawyers) wants to micromanage every facet of our lives. Today's report from the Kremlin FDA (ok, "FDA commissioned and funded") is the latest example:

WASHINGTON - Those heaping portions at restaurants — and doggie bags for the leftovers — may be a thing of the past, if health officials get their way.

The government is trying to enlist the help of the nation’s eateries in fighting obesity. One of the first things on their list: cutting portion sizes....

The report encourages restaurants to shift the emphasis of their marketing to lower-calorie choices, and include more such options on menus. In addition, restaurants could jigger portion sizes and the variety of foods available in mixed dishes to reduce the overall number of calories taken in by diners...

“If companies don’t tell them, people have no way of knowing how many calories they are being served at restaurants. And chances are, they are being served a lot more than they realize,” said Wootan, adding that Congress should give the FDA the authority to require such disclosure.

No, I don't want anymore 'authority' being given to regulatory agencies; they should, in fact, have all of their unconstitutional powers stripped, which would effectively result in their elimination as they currently exist.

I don't want the government encouraging restaurants to change their menus, because the government encourages by coercion, and this gives ammo to a whole slew of "health" lawsuits.

I neither want nor desire nutritional information when I go out to eat, and if I choose to Mr. Creosote myself I will do so and blame myself. Now I know this "personal responsibility" bit sends shudders of horror through law firms and 'think tanks' across the land, but none of us need the government (or advocacy groups with lawyers) restricting the size of portions we get for dinner; we can make those decisons for ourselves, thanks.

"Eat Free Or Die"

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 02:17 PM | Comments (10)

"Republican" Becoming "Retardlican"

This crap has no business being in the Constitution:

President Bush will promote a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage on Monday, the eve of a scheduled Senate vote on the cause that is dear to his conservative backers.

The amendment would prohibit states from recognizing same-sex marriages. To become law, the proposal would need two-thirds support in the Senate and House, and then be ratified by at least 38 state legislatures.

Please, dear Lord in your infinite mercy and compassion, please come up with a third Party that we can vote for, because, if I may paraphrase Black Adder, if I have to choose between voting for the current crop of Retardlicans or Democraps then I will choose starting a family with my dog...


Bush has lost support among conservatives who blame the White House and Congress for runaway government spending, illegal immigration and lack of action on social issues such as the gay marriage amendment.

Chalk me up as a "Yep" for the first two and a "I do not give a flying frankfurter with all the other crap going on in the world" for the third.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 08:02 AM | Comments (13)

June 01, 2006

Sex Offenders On Playgrounds

Nice headline on CNN :Sex offenders sue for playground access

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana (AP) -- Six sex offenders sued the city Wednesday to block a new ordinance that bars them from venturing within 1,000 feet of parks, pools and playgrounds when children are present.

The plaintiffs went to federal court to argue that the law is unconstitutionally vague, violates their rights to vote and attend church, and prevents them from freely traveling on roads that may pass within 1,000 feet of the affected sites.

They're right. I dislike these Megan Laws. If these convicted sex offenders are still a threat then they should not be released from prison; increase the jail time and various 'treatments', but you can't keep punishing people after they've served the proscribed time for the crime they committed.

And don't give me this sort of bullshit:

Tenley Drescher, an attorney for the city, said officials planned to defend the ordinance. "The important part is protecting kids," she said.

Not at the expense of the Constitution.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 11:07 AM | Comments (7)

May 26, 2006

Whoever Runs Against Mel "the Mushroom" Martinez This Time Around?

I'm voting for him. (I don't care if it's Scott the Hutt from Travelodge or a Broward County Wexlar type. But I AM looking like a genius, since I didn't vote for the moron to begin with. ) Michelle Malkin has the last straw nicely covered.

S.Amdt.4188 - Specter: Managers' amendment, a collection of amendments, including Dodd's S.Amdt.4089 that requires local, state and federal governments to consult with Mexican counterpart authorities before commencing new construction, was PASSED on a 56 - 41 vote.

Republicans who voted for the Mexican consultation requirement:

Bennett, Bond, Brownback, Chafee, Coleman, Collins, Craig, Graham, Hagel, Lugar, Feingold, Collins, McCain, Specter, Stevens, Warner, Martinez, Murkowski, Snowe and Voinovich


Consult with Mexican authorities for what? Where to put the holes? And what happens if, say, Sheriff Jose Frijole in Yuma, who also has to get re-elected by voters who WANT A FENCE ~ and a big, high one ~ says "bite me" to the Feds y Federales?

As for El Presidente Fox in the Hen House, major dad heard John Gibson ask a few pertinent questions I thought I'd share (In the extended entry). They make sense to me. Don't hold your breath for the answers. Apparently Sr. Fox doesn't choose to provide any. Ever.

Time to flood the House of Representatives with firm language. Help me, Obi Wan Ke Miller! You're my only hope.

UPDATE: All the more reason to be pi$$ed about this vote...

Mexico's Fox Praises U.S. Immigration Vote
...Instead, he praised the Senate's action, which would tighten border security and create a path to citizenship for many of the estimated 11 to 12 million immigrants in the country illegally.

Fox's visit has stirred passions among the fiercest partisans in the immigration debate. Some Republican lawmakers boycotted his speech, while others attended wearing yellow buttons that said, "No mas," which they said meant no more illegal immigration.

"Mexico has much more strict immigration laws than we do, yet they criticize us, said [CA] Assembly Republican leader George Plescia. "I don't think that's right."

But Democrats embraced Fox, as did Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is trying to regain the trust of Hispanic voters in time for the fall election.


I like that Plescia guy.

Exactly.

First: Don't you feel a little moronic that one in ten Mexicans are forced to leave their home country and live in a foreign country, the USA?

Second: Why is your country so corrupt it cannot support your own people? After all, Mexico is the second largest importer of oil to the United States, outranking even Saudi Arabia.

Third: President Fox, have you noticed how Saudis live? Why can't Mexicans live like that if you've got so much oil? Why are they beating down the doors to get out of their oil-rich country? Do you see Saudis trying to sneak into Yemen?

Fourth: Aren't you embarrassed that the so-called remittances from expatriate Mexicans — illegal aliens living in America — actually dwarf income derived from selling oil to the U.S.? How can $6, $8, $10 an hour Mexicans send more dollars home each month than your country sells in oil? Isn't this a huge embarrassment to you and your country?

Fifth: Don't you want Mexicans living in Mexico? Why does 40 percent of your country want to leave? Why is 20 percent willing to leave illegally?

Sixth: How much money is in your bank account as you leave office? Have you been ripping off the country like virtually every presidente before you?

Seventh: Drug lords beheaded two of your federal police recently and the decapitated heads stuck on a fence outside a government building as a warning to your government. Why isn't your government winning a war with simple drug dealers?


Posted by tree hugging sister at 07:54 AM | Comments (7)

May 24, 2006

The More Things Change...

You just have to laugh, or cry if you live there:

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- A mock evacuation that was supposed to be part of a two-day statewide hurricane preparedness drill was canceled after a misunderstanding about who had jurisdiction over a Federal Emergency Management Agency trailer park.

The two-day statewide drill that began Tuesday was aimed at avoiding the chaos that followed last year's deadly Hurricane Katrina...

Tell me again that we can trust that all the billions being given to these incompetent fools is not going to be flushed away?

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 08:14 AM | Comments (42)

Was The Raid On "Freezer Bill" Unconstitutional?

So now we have Hastert saying the raid by the FBI on "Freezer Bill" Jefferson's office was "unconstitutional"

House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) told President Bush yesterday that he is concerned the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) raid on Rep. William Jefferson’s (D-La.) congressional office over the weekend was a direct violation of the Constitution.

Hastert raised concerns that the FBI’s unannounced seizure of congressional documents during a raid of Jefferson’s Rayburn office Saturday night violated the separation of powers between the two branches of government as they are defined by the Constitution...

...In the Speaker’s lengthy statement, Hastert complained that the seizure of legislative papers, no matter how innocuous, was a violation of the “the principles of Separation of Powers, the independence of the Legislative Branch, and the protections afforded by the Speech and Debate clause of the Constitution.”

Well, I'm no lawyer, which sadly means I take words to mean what they actually say. Here's the relevant clause of the Constitution:

Article 1, Section 6:

Section 6. The Senators and Representatives shall receive a compensation for their services, to be ascertained by law, and paid out of the treasury of the United States. They shall in all cases, except treason, felony and breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any speech or debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other place.

He wasn't arrested on the floor or on his way to the floor. His office and house were searched as part of an investigation that has absolutely nothing to do with any "speech or debate" but rather an ongoing criminal case. Sorry, but all these false protests from lawmakers about how this is some 'gross violation' of the Constitution makes me want to search more offices. If he had been arrested or bodily searched right after or before giving some fiery anti-Chimpy speech from the House floor, then fine, I would agree that that would be clearly prohibited.

But scummy little bastards on the take need this wake up call.

Update: Michelle Malkin found his brand of bag.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:38 AM | Comments (10)

May 23, 2006

Insta's Best Idea Ever!

This is brilliant:

At any rate, members of Congress who are offended by an unannounced late-night raid on an office might profitably be asked what they think about late-night unannounced raids on private homes, which happen all the time as part of the Congressionally-mandated War on Drugs.

I think if you searched 435 randomly selected American homes, and 435 Congressional offices, you just might find more evidence of crime in the latter. . . .


I want this done! Search them now!

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 09:20 AM | Comments (2)

May 19, 2006

Attack Of The Christo-Folic-Fascists

So I get home from choir practice last night (well, to be honest, I got home from having a bluecheese burger and a couple of pints after choir) and I see my bride sitting in the family room with her iBook, reading a site with a look of stunned disbelief. And man, was the Bride a'sputterin' at what she was reading. You see, the government thought that since something on the order of 50% of all pregancies are 'surprises,' (by which I guess they mean people forgot they had sex) and, as Donnah says:

If you remember last year's March of Dimes TV ad that had a stork dropping by bringing a woman the surprising news of a pregnancy, you know they're on a campaign to teach women the importance of always having folic acid in their systems. A mother's having folic acid in her system at the time of her baby's conception will prevent 50-70% of all neural tube defects. That means life-long and extreme impairments like spina bifida and anencephaly can be prevented with a little spinach salad. The point the March of Dimes stressed is that because half of all pregnancies are surprises, and because the brain and spinal cord are forming in that large gap of time between when a woman becomes pregnant and when she actually finds out that she's pregnant, women of childbearing age should have folic acid in their system just in case. Concurring with them is the CDC, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention's Division of Reproductive Health and the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities.

It all seems perfectly reasonable, no? This is the sort of thing that government health agencies are supposed to advise, right? Like, maybe possibly preventing some birth defects in a relatively easy fashion might maybe sort of be an okay kind of idea f you are thinking of possibly maybe sort of perhaps getting pregnant?

Welllll, that might have been the case before we became a Theocracy, you see, because now everything is a part of The Agenda Of Karl. Now everything must be viewed through the prism of Insane-O-Matic Twitchometer:

Uterii Unite!

Basically, federal guidelines are to happen that will ask that any woman able to have a baby should act as if she's going to, "pre-pregnant," whether or not she ever plans to do it. So no smoking, alcohol, be healthy, take folic acid supplements. Because women are only uteruses. Not that men have to worry about this or be healthy. Just us uteruses.

New guidelines show what the federal government really thinks of women.

Ladies of America: It's time to learn about your importance in the the national healthcare debate. Do we as a country care what's going on with your body because you're a person? Hell, no! It's actually because you're an incubator.

Womb of ones own

Since we're talking about a mandate by the federal government, I can't help but think that there is something else behind this "recommendation." Should I expect an agent from the Department of Womb Health to show up at my home and steal my cats away? According to federal guidelines, I should "avoid contact with cat feces." I guess that's one way to get out of cleaning the litter box.

Theocrats!

That's right! Giving women's rights the "shaft" was introduced today in the form of "guidelines" to insure that a fertilized egg has a head start. Sure! Great! By all means let's take better care of ourselves. However when you are telling me what to do with my body THAT raises my hackles a wee bit. The religious right will no doubt use this as cannon fodder to ensure that their agenda to outlaw abortion is met with an iron fist. The basis of the Roe v. Wade argument will be no doubt tested, and tried. It comes down to life beginning at conception. They will no doubt try to protect that life with these very guidelines.
In that protection I look for an overview and complete overhaul of birth control period. Their (theocratic) argument for doing so is obvious. In order to protect the child that a woman "may" be carrying.
The age old argument is proven once again. The theocrats care so very much about an unborn child. When you get here however, you're on your own.

Someone sees The Agenda

first, the senate decides to build a fence and militarize the US-Mexico border.
then, democrats are labeled the party of death, because we're clearly godless baby-killers.
THEN, the US marines are executing innocent iraqis because they have rage issues.
THEN, i find out that i am only as valuable as the number of healthy babies i can produce.

and now, the republicans get to use gay marriage as a political tool again.

all of that has surfaced in two days. seriously, for a president who's so completely alienated from the american people, he sure as hell manages to push his agenda through.

Just go and randomly look at links here and be amazed.

But wear a lobster bib to help deflect the spittle.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 09:21 AM | Comments (18)

May 18, 2006

Yes, This Is THE Pressing Issue Of The Day

I am so tired of these idiots in Washington:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A Senate committee approved a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage Thursday, after a shouting match that ended when one Democrat strode out and the Republican chairman bid him "good riddance."

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I'd much rather the State allow gays to marry and enter into a legal arrangement with eachother, with all the obligations and responsibilities therein, than allow unmarried couples who have made no such binding agreement access to spousal survival benefits, tax breaks, etc.

Yes, it's so comforting to see these titans of our Republic eloquently debating these matters. Oh golly? We're at war? Oh golly, our borders have more holes in them than Bonnie and Clyde? Better add a definition of marriage to the Constitution!

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 01:42 PM | Comments (5)

May 08, 2006

Counting Chickens Before They're Elected

So now ol' Goggle Eyes is planning what she's going to do when she's elected Speaker:

Democratic leaders, increasingly confident they will seize control of the House in November, are laying plans for a legislative blitz during their first week in power that would raise the minimum wage, roll back parts of the Republican prescription drug law, implement homeland security measures and reinstate lapsed budget deficit controls.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) said in an interview last week that a Democratic House would launch a series of investigations of the Bush administration, beginning with the White House's first-term energy task force and probably including the use of intelligence in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. Pelosi denied Republican allegations that a Democratic House would move quickly to impeach President Bush. But, she said of the planned investigations, "You never know where it leads to."

And who knows, she may actually have a chance:

Democrats need to pick up 15, a task that many analysts still believe is a long shot. Democratic leaders do not.

I'm certainly no great fan of these supposed "Republicans" who are running things these days. For the most part they are indistinguishable from the folks on the other side of the aisle. The complete lack of spending control is disgusting, as is the lack of any real effort to secure our border with Mexico.

But it seems to me the best thing they could hope for is for Pelosi to keep talking like this, as if her only concern will be vengence on the Republicans, as opposed to, oh, something silly like budget restraint and security. Oh, sure, she'll make noise about those things, but it's clear from the deranged look in her eye and the spittle on her lips what she's really interested in.

Okay, she's always got that deranged look, but you know what I mean.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:41 AM | Comments (2)

May 01, 2006

Puerto Rico Is Broke

Can they fix it?

Two things sort of leap out at you when you read the article:

1) "The island currently has no sales tax."

2) "The government is Puerto Rico's largest employer, with some 200,000 workers. Salaries make up about 80 percent of the government's operational costs."

Not surprising they're broke, is it?

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 03:45 PM | Comments (5)

Well, Let's See What Goes On Today

I'm not sure if I'll be able to pop out at lunchtime and take a look at all the iilegals saying that their situation is my fault. Hey, maybe those of us who've gotten speeding tickets should march and get the laws rewritten? It's the same thing, right? Anyhow, I'm not sure if my boss will let us legals go take the rest of the day off, but if I do I'll have my canera.

Update: Florida Cracker has the right idea.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 08:08 AM | Comments (6)

April 28, 2006

May Day Follies

I have to say that this sort of thing may well backfire.

(AP) SACRAMENTO California's state senators on Thursday endorsed Monday's boycott of schools, jobs and stores by illegal immigrants and their allies as supporters equated the protest with great social movements in American history.

By a 24-13 vote that split along party lines, the California Senate approved a resolution that calls the one-day protest the Great American Boycott 2006 and describes it as an attempt to educate Americans "about the tremendous contribution immigrants make on a daily basis to our society and economy."

Sorry, but if I see a mob of marching shouting folks talking about how we stole the land from them I can assure you that they are not going to get any sympathy from me to legalize their illegal activities. Nor, frankly, do I have tender feelings for the folks who hire them. If I have to cut my own grass or pay a little more for a sandwich to be delivered from the deli then I will.

We can not simply wave a wand and bless the continual breaking and flouting of laws and then expect that these very same people who are being rewarded for breaking our laws will suddenly morph into model citizens. It's ludicrous, and we'll have the exact same problem again in a few years. Clearly, however, deporting 11 million people is not possible, so we need to firstly stop anymore from coming via physical barrier and also by discouraging the incentive, i.e. prosecuting the people who hire them. Next we need to go through the illegals that are here and deport any with criminal records. The remainder then we come up with a program for so that they can work towards citizenship over a several year period, with any violations during that period resulting in deportation. I'm against any sort of 'guest worker' program because that creates a permanent, legalized sub-citizen in our society; I seem to recall we killed several hundred thousand of ourselves the last time we had to get rid of such a system.

Anyhow, let's discuss.

Update: Michelle Malkin has the scoop on how the "Nation of Aztlan" charmers are getting involved. Nice.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:34 AM | Comments (43)

April 27, 2006

NIMBY Ted (Not "Nimble" Ted)

Ah yes, the Champion of the Poor is all for alternative energy (because BushyMcChimpler is in Oil's pocket, natch)...just so long as it doesn't affect the view by his multi-gazillion dollar vacation home:

WASHINGTON -- As record oil prices turn attention to the need for renewable fuels, momentum is building in Congress to buck Senator Edward M. Kennedy's bid to block the proposed Cape Cod wind energy project, potentially reviving efforts to construct the sprawling windmill farm in Nantucket Sound...

...Environmental groups have launched an aggressive advertising and lobbying campaign to persuade Democrats to abandon Kennedy and back a promising source of renewable energy. If the wind farm becomes a reality, advocates say, it could provide three-fourths of the Cape and Islands' energy needs and could set an example for the nation.

The maneuver to stop the wind farm ''is clearly a backroom deal, and they're going to get called publicly on it," said John Passacantando, executive director of Greenpeace USA. ''The Democrats are going to kill the first big offshore wind farm in the United States because of their relationship with Ted Kennedy."

I'm agreeing with Greenpeace.

What have I become?


Posted by Mr. Bingley at 10:41 AM | Comments (14)

April 21, 2006

Interesting take on minimum wage.

The Prof has an interesting write up on it. Could a higher minimum wage increase teen drop-out? I'm not a fan of the minimum wage, but this be easy to prove by looking at drop-out rates around increases in the minimum wage. Just not sure how large the effect would be.

Update: Link fixed. Duh!

Posted by Crusader at 01:56 PM | Comments (3)

April 18, 2006

2 Duke Players Arrested

Well, so let's see how this plays out now. From what I've seen it sure doesn't seem like there's a lot of evidence to support the charges.

But I do sleep better knowing that this high level of MSM quality is on the job:

Throughout Monday, there were many more reporters on the sixth floor of the courthouse than the 18 members of the grand jury panel. Reporters tracked the district attorney's movements in minute detail. Just after noon, Nifong emerged from his office and walked across the hallway to the bathroom.

Reporters surrounded the bathroom door in a crowd that included five television cameras, three still photographers, sound men with boom microphones and at least a dozen print reporters. At the sound of flushing, the group tensed, raised cameras and prepared. Nifong did not emerge with news.

I hope he at least emerged with clean hands.


As Insta says, see La Shawn Barber for more details.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:39 AM

April 13, 2006

Base Ball

Insta has the following comment about the Democrats not coming out tougher than Bush on immigration

I've been kind of surprised that the Democrats haven't done more of this, given their African-American and labor constituencies. It strikes me that both parties are doing their best to ignore the base on this issue, and I'm not quite sure why that is.

I don't think they are ignoring the base; they are both actively courting their new base. Look, the Democrats have got the black and the labor votes pretty much locked up, and the Republicans have there various conservative elements as well. But they are both vying for the latin/hispanic/whatever you want to call it base, which all the demographics show is the base of the future, especially when at the end of the day most of these 11 million are going to end up as voting citizens. So the game is really about who can attract these folks to their party, sadly, and not about something silly like, oh, say what's best for the country.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 11:44 AM | Comments (1)

April 10, 2006

Message In A Vacuum

I took a stroll up to City Hall today to see the big illegal immigration protest. I had to leave my job early, but I figured it might be interesting. I have to say, the NYPD did a great job in containing the crowd. They had all the side streets blocked off a full block away from them, and they were only allowing people who lived or worked on those bordering blocks into the area, so the protestors were putting on a show solely for the media. I am a little disappointed, as I wanted to get some pictures of the signs and see how they compared to the ones THS linked to and took.

I've got a picture or two I'll put up later.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:29 PM | Comments (3)

April 07, 2006

The Mess At Homeland Security

Michelle Malkin has a huge post up on the mess that is DHS.

Sickening. And infuriating.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 09:21 AM

March 31, 2006

Exactly Why We Need To Strengthen The Border

Via Insta, here's a great argument for stronger borders:

Members and supporters of the Mexica Movement building the posters that would help educate our people as to the background behind all of this racism.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 11:42 AM | Comments (1)

March 30, 2006

Who The Hell Does She Think She Is?

I am so sick and tired of these 'Representatives' placing themselves above the law:

According to sources on Capitol Hill, U.S. Representative Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) punched a Capitol police officer on Wednesday afternoon after he mistakenly pursued her for failing to pass through a metal detector.

...An unconfirmed statement attributed to McKinney has been released on the Internet, where she allegedly claims to have been harassed by Capitol Hill Police.

The statement's writer says that she has been harassed by white police officers she says do not recognize her due to her recently changed hairstyle.

"Do I have to contact the police every time I change my hairstyle? How do we account for the fact that when I wore my braids every day for 11 years, I still faced this problem, primarily from certain white police officers," the statement says.

The writer details the incident, saying, "I was rushing to my meeting when a white police officer yelled to me. He approached me, bodyblocked me, physically touching me. I used my arm to get him off of me. I told him not to touch me several times. He asked for my ID and I showed it to him. He then let me go and I proceeded to my meeting and I assume that the Police Officer resumed his duties. I have counseled with the Sergeant-at-Arms and Acting Assistant Chief Thompson several times before and counseled with them again on today's incident. I offered also to counsel with the offending police officer."

Supposedly it's all on tape. I hope so.

I don't think that the officer, you know, the guy who risks his life to save your sorry ass, is the one who needs 'counseling.'

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:59 AM | Comments (3)

March 24, 2006

Somehow I Don't Think That Kids In Daycare In Berkeley...

...are indicative of the general population:

Remember the whiny, insecure kid in nursery school, the one who always thought everyone was out to get him, and was always running to the teacher with complaints? Chances are he grew up to be a conservative.

At least, he did if he was one of 95 kids from the Berkeley area that social scientists have been tracking for the last 20 years. The confident, resilient, self-reliant kids mostly grew up to be liberals.

I would imagine that, in fact, everyone in Berkeley was out to get the conservative kid...

Whenever I read stuff like this I'm reminded more and more of the old Soviet Science Academies and the 'facts' they would churn out.

But maybe I should just quit whining...

Update: I see Ken was up whining even earlier than I was.

Update and bump: Michele Malkin has a scoop on this center that was studied:

Well, the Harold E. Jones Child Study Center is only open to children of U.C. Berkeley faculty and staff:

The University Preschool offers full-day developmental child care for preschool-aged children of UCB faculty and staff.

(The "Preschool" is a subset of the "Child Study Center.")

In other words, ALL of the children in that study were the offspring of U.C. Berkeley professors, lecturers, and staff members.

Gee, ya think that might have some effect on the 'study'?

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 09:52 AM | Comments (16)

March 21, 2006

We Will Not Stop Folks From Living On The Railroad Tracks...

...Just 'cos a train may come through:

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (CNN) -- All New Orleans residents whose homes were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Katrina should be allowed to rebuild if they choose, and the city will not stand in the way of reconstruction in areas considered vulnerable to flooding in future storms, Mayor Ray Nagin announced Monday.

Now, I have to say I agree with this. If people want to take the risk and spend their own money, fine. But I really don't want a lot of federal money going towards insuring them and billions going towards stopping a couple of square miles of swamp that are below sea level from getting flooded.

There's also this little gem at the end of the story:

Nagin, who is black, has drawn 23 opponents in the April 22 municipal election. Many of his major challengers are white, reflecting the changed demographics of the city, which was two-thirds black before Katrina struck in August.

Oh really? Let's look at the 2002 election: From what I can find, there were several white challengers then, too. Maybe there are more now because Nagin has shown himself to be not-quite-ready for prime time, not because of skin tone. Heck, maybe there are more vibrant candidates because they smell all that Federal money; what political wannabe can resist that?

But to blandly state that it reflects "changed demographics" when no one has any idea what the hell the demographics are seems a little silly.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 10:51 AM | Comments (2)

March 17, 2006

You Waited Too Long To Act Too Quickly

I guess that sums up this latest scandal in how contracts were awarded on the chaos after Katrina hit. Of course, we mustn't forget that this is all GWB's fault, as the throw-away line at the end of the article helpfully reminds us:

Some of the firms, including Gulf Stream Coach and Bechtel, have close ties to the Bush administration or have contributed significantly to the GOP.

Update: Great minds think alike! When I saw this story, I spent some time trying to follow this contribution angle. Well, our good friend Gateway Pundit does the work so I don't have to! Go read!

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 09:54 AM

March 15, 2006

And An Xbox360 In Every Living Room...

I wasn't aware that broadband access was a 'right' that the government needed to address:

America lags behind other countries that have universal broadband deployment, Pelosi said; but the Democrats' agenda "guarantees" that every American will have affordable access to broadband within five years.

"We also believe that the nationwide deployment of high speed, always-on broadband and Internet and mobile communications will fuel the development of millions of new jobs in the United States," Pelosi said.

"Mr. President, we've got a broad...band gap with the commies!"

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 11:40 AM | Comments (7)

March 07, 2006

Freedom Of Speech Under Attack In NJ

This disgusting bill introduced by Rep. Peter Biondi would restrict speech online:

Makes certain operators of interactive computer services and Internet service providers liable to persons injured by false or defamatory messages posted on public forum websites.

What kind of crap is this? What next? Will they require names from people in crowds, in case they shout something nasty as well?

I'm writing my Reps about this piece of poo.
UPDATE (JInx! Jinx!) ths adds:
Maybe the politicians of New Jersey ARE all wise and all-powerful...

Update the Second: Jon Swift has some backround on Biondi and the Bill.


Update the Third: NJ has a great site where you can find your Representative and easily contact all of them with one click. Neat. I sent an email to them. I urge you to do the same.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 09:29 AM | Comments (13)

March 02, 2006

Katrina Part 58

Ok, so now we've got a video showing how Chimpy McHitler KNEW the levees would fail and did, of course, nothing because, hey, it would only be poor minorities getting flooded.

Yep, right there in the transcript it says

"The Superdome is about 12 feet below sea level.... I don't know whether the roof is designed to stand, withstand a Category Five hurricane," he said.

Pretty damning. Here are these specific warnings about what would happen if a CAT 5 storm hits NOLA, and they were seemingly ignored. I'm sure the MSM will have an orgy with this...and conveniently forget these other minor details:

1) Katrina was only CAT 3 at landfall.

2) Katrina made landfall east of NOLA, and if you've got to be near where a hurricane comes ashore, you definately want to be on the western side of it, as the winds are weaker there and the surge is much less.

Now, if I went to bed fearing a CAT 5 landing on top of me, and woke to find a CAT3 coming ashore east of me, I would relax a bit too.
Were there mistakes made? Sure. But this continual blaming of the Federal government for all the problems is ridiculous. It is clear that the State and local governments dropped the ball, but politicians with a (D) next to their names seem to get a pass.

Can you imagine the outcry had Emperor McChimpatine actually unfurled his Invincible Shield of Halliburtine Armor and redirected the storm away from New Orleans, which he clearly could have done?

Geesh.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 08:49 AM | Comments (7)

February 21, 2006

A "Them and Us" Installment

Dr. Helen discusses some interesting facts contained in a new book.

In Bruce Bawer's new book, While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within,the side effects of the appeasement of Muslims by the Danish government are clear--as their government pumps more and more welfare money into the pockets of disgruntled Muslims, the rate of violence against "infidels" there increases.

Bawer points out that in Denmark, Muslims make up only 5% of the population but receive 40% of welfare outlays. Many of these immigrants are told by their leaders that Muslim law gives them the right to "cheat and lie in the countries that harbor them." They are told to view the benefits they receive as jizya--the tributes that "the infidel natives of Muslim-occupied countries are obliged to pay to Muslims in order to preserve their lives." And the welfare offices in Denmark can be the setting for violence--termed "culture clashes" by Danish journalists. "Some clients lay waste to social security offices and hit social workers--not out of frustration but because they've learned that bullying gets them what they want. The Danish government is not repressive; welfare workers tend to be sympathetic and eager to help. Many immigrants perceive this as weakness, and exploit it, 'tyrannizing' the social workers." The Danish solution? More PC behavior--get translators to translate not only between languages but between cultures. Yeah, that will work.


There should be more 'facts' available, on both sides ~ for instance, I've heard that there has never been a mosque constructed in Denmark. Is that true? If so, why? Have they been truly marginalized, or have they chosen to isolate themselves? Things like that ~ things like the welfare stats and the ingrained Muslim contempt for a society they freely immigrated to ~ things that flesh out the picture. We need to be able to read more of that.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:37 PM

I Agree

Kresbach, however, said people "should have a right to be wrong."
While I can sympathise with Austria and Germany's desires to break the chains of hate that bind them to their Nazi past, a trial is wrong. Going to jail for being ignorant and hateful is wrong.
The verdict was welcomed by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which also highlighted the issue of freedom of speech.

"While Irving's rants would not have led to legal action in the United States, it is important that we recognize and respect Austria's commitment to fighting Holocaust denial, the most odious form of hatred, as part of its historic responsibility to its Nazi past," the center's associate dean, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, said in a statement.


It said this numbnuts was the "author of nearly 30 books" ~ so? How many did he actually sell? How many more when his layer of lunatic obscurity was stripped off by this trial, giving him an international forum ~ pulling happy little haters out of the woodwork who'd never even heard of him before? It said he was getting "300 pieces of fanmail" a week from "all over the world." I'd lay money he didn't get one letter a month before they made him a martyr. Even the Wiesenthal Center spokesman calls them "rants". Like Fred Phelps' evil minions, these kinda weasels get theirs ~ if not on this plane, in the next. We don't have to give of any of our rights for that to happen. And there's real danger in picking and choosing which group gets to be defended with punitive measures when they're offended and who doesn't. I wouldn't be surprised if Muslims point to this trial when shrieking about those stoopid cartoons and I think the Simon Wiesenthal Center screwed up ~ this guy wasn't an Auschwitz gate guard or an SS member. They need to save their credibility for the bigger battles.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:43 AM | Comments (2)

February 17, 2006

Blasphemy

I am a religious person. Heck, I reckon by many 'post-modern standards' I am very religious. Not only am I at church several times a week, but I'm also fairly involved in my church's governance. I'm a Presbyterian. I believe in God, and I believe that Jesus Christ was His Son. Your mileage may vary.

I am an American, and I believe in our Constitution. I especially believe that

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances

and that means to me that you or I can say whatever we like about any religion, and the government can not do anything about it. Specifically, it can not pass any laws making 'blasphemy' a crime, because to do that would clearly be making a law respecting an establishment of religion as well as abridging the freedom of speech.

And that's how it should be. A central strength of our society is that while we all have a right to different beliefs (including of course believing in, er, not believing) we do not have the right to impose the strictures of our faith on others who have not willingly signed on. And we most certainly do not have the right to get the government to force our religious beliefs or non-beliefs on others. End of story. Christians, Jews, Muslims, Worshipers of C'thulu, Pastafarians, Atheists, whatever; our freedom requires that all ideas and beliefs are subject to debate and, yes, ridicule.

If this offends you, too bad. Argue back. Try and convince others of the validity of your position. Were Christians offended by Piss Christ or the painting of the Virgin Mary covered in dung? Yes. Did they riot and destroy stores? Not that I recall. Violence is not an acceptable option. If your god or prophet or xenu master is offended by something that a non-believer says then it seems to me they should make their case, not the government and not you by throwing rocks at people. As I said in an earlier thread I could not worship a god who required humans to settle his scores for him, and I'll add nor one that runs to secular law either.

And neither should you.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 11:08 AM | Comments (12)

February 06, 2006

Make Sure Your's Is

40 States Re-Examining Eminent Domain

Anna DeFaria stands in front of her small bungalow, next to a neighbor's sold and boarded-up home, in Long Branch, N.J., Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2006. If DeFaria doesn't willingly sell the home that she and her husband bought in 1960, officials are going use eminent domain to take it from the 80-year-old retired pre-school teacher. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)


Flamingo bashing bastards!
...New Jersey state Sen. Diane Allen, with bipartisan support, is pushing for a two-year ban on all eminent domain actions and for a bipartisan study group to re-examine its use in New Jersey.

"Right now government, I think, is using eminent domain to take people's private properties and hand it over to another owner," said Allen, a Republican. "It's really putting a hole in the American dream. Ownership of private property plays such a large role in that dream."


I'd have to vote for her.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 02:47 PM | Comments (4)

This Will Engender Some Lively Debate

...I'm thinking.

The British government wants to reduce the welfare rolls by getting the able-bodied and able-minded back to work. But that may not be so simple: Already, the idea has reignited old debates on work vs. welfare and Britain's unemployment culture.

...Under the old incapacity benefit system, long-term claimants received higher welfare payments than those who had recently been assigned incapacity benefit -- and sometimes received more in benefits than they could from working -- leading to "perverse incentives" to stay on benefits that Welfare Secretary John Hutton has called "one of the greatest barriers to social justice in Britain."

Under the new Employment and Support Allowance, however, the government will be "set(ting) a new direction, enabling and empowering people to fulfill their potential and ambitions, not consigning them to a lifetime on benefit," Hutton says.

"Essentially we want to return to fundamental principles where the welfare state is able to respond to people's abilities and help them into the work place -- not one that condemns them to a life on benefits."


The interesting thing so far seems to be that the major objection to the plan is a fear of employer discrimination. Companies don't want to hire these 'off-work' people and apparently are going to have to be coaxed or coerced. I remember the opposite problem here with 'welfare reform'.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 03:05 AM | Comments (1)

January 25, 2006

Wait a Minute Big Guy! We Can't Deduct Our SWILL!!

So how do you get off by being a big loser?

Gambling losses: If you won big in Las Vegas, you have to pay taxes on your winnings, but you can offset some of your gains with gambling losses. "People don't realize that their gambling losses are deductible," said Hockenberry.

I wonder how much that little loophole has cost us.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 02:53 PM | Comments (3)

January 24, 2006

What a Bunch of Stiffs

This is a plan?

For the first time, the federal government would rate the academic rigor of U.S. high schools in a quietly added GOP-backed education program, a report said.

The academic rigor rating is part of a five-year, $3.75 billion education plan that Republican senators tucked into the budget bill last month and one the House of Representatives is expected to approve next month, The New York Times reported.

The Bush administration-backed plan would give grants of $750 to $1,300 to college freshmen and sophomores who have completed "a rigorous secondary school program of study."

The secretary of Education would define what constitutes a "rigorous" high school program


It sounds more like someone was getting a nickel for every time he could use 'rigor'* in a sentence. Reminds me of a line from one of my favoritest movies :
"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

* "NOTE: 5b. rigidness or torpor of organs or tissue that prevents response to stimuli

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:09 AM | Comments (10)

January 12, 2006

Work And Booze

Continuing today's theme of shoddy science, look at this little story that Sis saw and immediately thought of me:

Study: Alcohol affects 15 percent of workers Workers drink on the job, arrive under the influence or work with hangover

NEW YORK - There may be an alcohol problem brewing in American offices, shops and factories.

An estimated 15 percent of the U.S. workforce consumes alcohol on the job, has a drink before going to work or otherwise is under the influence of alcohol, according to a study by the University of Buffalo’s Research Institute on Addictions.

That equates to some 19.2 million workers impaired during the workday via intoxication, withdrawal or hangover.

I'm reminded of the old Twain bit about statistics. The headline on the article and the extrapolated math in the first few paragraphs pretty strongly implies, it seems to me, that 15% of the US workforce is working under the influence every day. But if you have the temerity to read some more you find out that's not the case.

Coming into work with a hangover was the most common finding.

Er, ok. This is something requires "clear policies" (and, of course, more government funds for "further studies").

The institute said that 10.8 percent admitted they either drank at work, before work or turned up with a hangover but that it happened less than once a month, while 2.9 percent said it was a monthly occurrence and 1.65 percent said weekly.

So that's where they get 15%! Oh sure, 11 of the 15% only do it less than once a month, and most of them are simply hungover. Nothing sexy in that headline. No, no, much better to get creative with the math and say "That equates to some 19.2 million workers impaired during the workday via intoxication, withdrawal or hangover." Much better copy, no?

Incredible.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 12:22 PM | Comments (11)

January 11, 2006

HA HA HA HA !!

With Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito watching the theatrics from his chair, two senior senators on Wednesday engaged in a fiery exchange over a request for records tied to Alito’s membership to a Princeton alumni group more than 30 years ago.

Questions about Alito’s membership in Concerned Alumni of Princeton, a group that at the time tried to limit entry to Princeton by minorities and women, led to the exchange between Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa.


Oh, Teddy, Teddy, Teddy. Okay, let's GO back more than 30 years for everybody. First quotes I can think of?
"I attempted to open the door and window of the car but I have no recollection of how I got out of the car. I came to the surface and repeatedly dove down to see if the passenger was still in it. I was unsuccessful in the attempt. I was exhausted and in a state of shock and I recall that I was able to get back to some friends who had a car parked in front of the cottage. I asked someone to bring me back to Edgartown. I remember walking around for a period of time and when I suddenly realized what happened, I immediately called the police," Kennedy said.

That was in June, 1969. I would hope one grows (and not only in the literal sense) in 30+ years' time. Maybe you haven't, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

UPDATE: Oh saints preserve me, this is EVER SO MUCH MORE DEE-LISH-us than I have any right to expect. That thirty year old Alumni scandal Teddy's trackin' down? They've pulled the Democratic witness. Cause he writes things like this:

For the Democrats, Stephan R. Dujack had been scheduled to testify on Alito's membership in Concerned Alumni of Princeton, a group known for its opposition to opening the school to women and bringing in more minorities. Dujack, also a graduate of Princeton, covered the group for the Ivy League school's alumni magazine for a decade.

Problem: He wrote a column for the Los Angeles Times in April 2003 titled "Animals Suffer a Perpetual Holocaust," defending the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. In it, he quoted his grandfather, Nobel Prize winner Isaac Bashevis Singer:

"In relations to (animals), all people are Nazis. For (them), it is an eternal Treblinka." In a column published in the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday, Dujack said he has apologized to Holocaust victims who were offended.


BhhuuWAHAHAHAHAHAHA !!


Posted by tree hugging sister at 01:56 PM | Comments (7)

January 09, 2006

When is a Plan No Plan at All?

When it starts out something like this...

The commission will propose that the city should discourage homeowners from rebuilding in the hardest hit areas until a plan can be hammered out, but will not forbid them from doing so.

But ultimately, the areas that fail to attract a critical mass of residents in 12 months will probably not survive as residential neighborhoods, Mr. Canizaro said, and are likely to end up as marshland as the city's population declines and its footprint shrinks.


So the rocket scientists running what's left of New Orleans say go ahead and rebuild where ever your little heart desires. BUT, if you can't get any neighbors to build next door in a year, we're tearing your sh*t down.

Try getting a mortgage for that casa.

Quit suckin' up to the critics there, local officials. Nobody's going to like anything that needs to be done. Like the ABCNews report a few weeks ago about how the dang FEMA and Feds weren't tearing down houses and cleaning up the mess the way they would have if it had been a 'white city'. Lo and behold, the NEXT DAY those very same folks are throwing themselves in front of bull dozers to STOP the demolition. People complaining from HOUSTON and points beyond that they hadn't had a chance to get back to their houses (Or what's left of them, even if they floated three streets over from their original lot.), while making no attempt to get back. But they're being disrespected alright. Sheesh. Get a grip. There's such a schizophrenic sludge of duck soup, hatefulness and lies floating around that swampland, that's it's going to be next to impossible to put one's foot down and get the thing done. Especially if the local officials all have the backbone of oysters. And they wonder why the American taxpayer has a certain amount of resentment about the grandiose plans to rebuild our Third World Mecca. Trust me, it's not because they're black.

UPDATE: Hold everything. Why just pick on local officials when there's a wealth of material coming out of a certain Senator's mouth. This quote courtesy of her taxpayer funded trip to the Netherlands to see how they keep their puddies dry.

"We've had this patchwork, catch-as-catch-can attitude from Washington," said Landrieu, D-LA. "What we need to see is a nation that has really made flood protection a priority."

I'm guessing that's because the Dutch wouldn't have a nation without it? Not exactly our situation. And I'll bet she'll see there're no Mardi Gras fountains courtesy of the local levee board in the Hague either. Schmaybe, just schmaybe, the Dutch are a little more interested in results rather then well lined local pockets.


Posted by tree hugging sister at 07:46 AM | Comments (1)

January 07, 2006

Meanwhile, On The Home Front

Our friend Gunslinger passes along this gem of Solomonaic Wisdom from a Missouri Legislator:

A state senator wants to force Missouri stores to sell warm beer. Under a bill by Sen. Bill Alter, grocery and convenience stores would risk losing their liquor licenses if they sold beer colder than 60 degrees. The intent is to cut down on drunken driving by making it less tempting to pop open a beer after leaving the store.

As someone who has admittedly driven in the past under the influence far more times than I ever should have I feel I can speak to this with some degree of expertise: what horseshit. 99.999999999999% of drunk drivers are drunk long before they get in the car. No one buys beer while sober and then drives around drinking it and getting drunk, you moron (well, almost no one: I had a friend in HS who worked for the township road department, and when there were strong thunderstorms they would hop into the big dump trucks, pick up a few six packs, and then go "look for downed trees". But I digress.) People get drunk, they hop in their cars, and yes some continue drinking while driving, but they are drunk already, and if they are continuing to drink while driving it is more than likely that they'll be drinking hard alcohol as opposed to beer, for criminy's sake.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 10:22 AM | Comments (8)

January 03, 2006

Quote of the Day

...(the state) no longer exists to "protect our rights but to do us good or make us good — anyway, to do something to us or to make us something. Hence the new name 'leaders' for those who were once 'rulers.' We are less their subjects than their wards, pupils, or domestic animals. There is nothing left of which we can say to them, 'Mind your own business.' Our whole lives are their business."
C.S. Lewis, in his essay "Is Progress Possible? Willing Slaves of the Welfare State". A Swill salute to R. Andrew Newman for his NRO piece today. You can see why I was instantly hooked...
"And they made good laws and kept the peace and saved good trees from being unnecessarily cut down, and liberated young dwarfs and young satyrs from being sent to school, and generally stopped busybodies and interferers and encouraged ordinary people who wanted to live and let live."

Posted by tree hugging sister at 02:19 PM | Comments (1)

December 14, 2005

Criminalizing Thought

For the past few years we've been hearing constantly from folks, mostly on the left, about how our essential freedoms were being eroded by the practices and policies of Bush and Blair. Oh, they'd go on about how there was a 'chill' in the air, how they were at risk by these neo-con fascists in bravely airing their thoughts on the evil and repressive nature of Chimpy's jackbooted minions. And we all know how many of these brave academitions and artistes have *cough-cough* disappeared *wink-wink* shall we say into the retched gulags squirreled away in the frozen wastes where the Lileks doth play. Something on the magnitude of, um, zero, I think.
But I'm forced to admit that these folks may have a point. We've seen a rise in 'hate crime' legislation here in the States. And now there's this from Mark Steyn about what's happening across the pond:

So what is a "priority crime"? Well, the other day, the author Lynette Burrows went on a BBC Five Live show to talk about the government's new "civil partnerships" and expressed her opinion - politely, no intemperate words - that the adoption of children by homosexuals was "a risk". The following day, Fulham police contacted her to discuss the "homophobic incident".

...As it is, Lynette Burrows has been investigated by police merely for expressing an opinion. Which is the sort of thing we used to associate with police states. Indeed, it's the defining act of a police state: the arbitrary criminalisation of dissent from state orthodoxy.

This is the scary trend that's going on. Curse at Bush and call him Hitler, and you get to host an MTV show. Put a crucifix in a jar of urine and you're idolized. Make a film showing how muslim women are treated in Europe and you end up like Theo Van Gogh. Express some doubts about letting homosexuals adopt children and the police come calling.

As Steyn says

No society with an eye to long-term survival should make opinion a subversive activity. Here's a thought: we should be able to discuss homosexuality, Islam and pretty much everything else in the same carefree way Guardian columnists damn Bush's America as "neo-fascist".

Words for all to consider.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 01:53 PM | Comments (5)

December 08, 2005

As Noted Thespian Keanu Reeves Would Say

...WHOA. The logic in this is just so whacked, even a blonde can't make any sense of it.

The Liberals say the thinking behind this crime strategy is that if no one is allowed to have a handgun in Canada, policing authorities will be in a better position to act on anyone who has a handgun or attempts to transport or sell a handgun.

Swill Salute: Professor Volokh via The Blogfaddah.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 03:55 PM | Comments (5)

November 29, 2005

Gird Your Blog

...and your loins. George Will points out infringements and inequities.

But liberals' abhorrence of political money is selective. Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, recently reported that when Democratic senators met in a Capitol room near the Senate floor to plan strategy, their leader, Harry Reid, permitted Stephen Bing to attend. In 2004, Bing, 40, gave more than $14 million of his inherited wealth to Democratic candidates and liberal groups supporting them.

Was there any appearance of impropriety—say, cash purchasing access? Gosh, no, said Democrats to Roll Call: "Reid's aides and other Senate Democrats said there is nothing wrong with such a big donor attending meetings otherwise open to only senators and a few top aides, because Bing is not a lobbyist and is not seeking any favors from Democrats." Sen. Barbara Boxer explained that Bing is "just really interested in making this country better." Oh, well, in that case...


Posted by tree hugging sister at 12:32 PM

November 05, 2005

Like a Bridge Over Troubled Water?

...In a speech to a group of conservative academics and policy experts, DeLay blamed the runaway spending of recent years on minority Democrats. When he took questions, the first came from a senior official at the American Conservative Union, who asked DeLay, "How large does the Republican majority in the House and Senate need to be before Republicans act like the fiscal conservative I thought we were?"
Give the guy that asked the question a Tootsie Pop!

Posted by tree hugging sister at 08:15 AM | Comments (3)

November 04, 2005

Well, um...YEAH!

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Contending that the Supreme Court has undermined a pillar of American society -- the sanctity of the home -- the House overwhelmingly approved a bill Thursday to block the court-approved seizure of private property for use by developers.

The bill, passed 376-38, would withhold federal money from state and local governments that use powers of eminent domain to force businesses and homeowners to give up their property for commercial uses.


The one nay voter they quote has a "D" by his name, go figure. But I'm sure there's just as many slavering little "R's" in local governments, scrambling to get the dirty deeds done before this kicks in. Greed is universal. So is grease.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:04 PM | Comments (1)

November 03, 2005

Why Not?

FBI: Muslims detained at stadium weren't profiled

EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (AP) -- Five Muslim football fans were detained and questioned during a game at Giants Stadium because they were congregating near an air duct on a night former President Bush was in the stadium, the FBI said Wednesday.

Some of the Muslims said they did not know they were in a sensitive area, and they complained that they were subjected to racial profiling while they were praying, as their faith requires five times a day.

First off, once again there is this seeming conflation of 'race' and 'religion', which drives me nuts to no end. Secondly, a bunch of RoPers getting together in a packed stadium where a former President of the US was? Hello?

Anyone congregating there should have been detained and questioned, as these folks were, but, sorry, especially RoPers. Too many things have exploded in their wakes around the world of late.

"We do not profile anyone that comes into our arena, stadium or racetrack on any basis," said George Zoffinger, president of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which operates the stadium. "There was no profiling of our customers. I want to make that clear."

I'd feel safer if you did.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 12:22 PM

November 01, 2005

A Room With a View

...is gonna cost you.

ORFORD, N.H. --The one-room cabin David Bischoff built in a cow pasture three years ago has no electricity, no running water, no phone service and no driveway.

What it does have is a wide-open view of the surrounding hills -- a view valued at $140,000, according to the latest townwide property revaluation.

The so-called "view tax" increased the value of his property sevenfold, from $22,900 to $162,900, a figure he believes is far more than its actual value. He expects a sharp jump in his $500 annual property taxes as well.

"I'd be happy if they assessed me $50,000 for the view," said Bischoff, chairman of the Board of Selectmen.


I guess that's a White Mountain version of 'beach front property'.

A problem named Maria checks out her bitchin' New Hampshire pad, recently purchased for her as a vacation love nest by Captain von Trapp. "Ach du liebe!" she gurgled with delight.
"It goes from here...all zee way to dere!"

"You little minx," he's quoted as saying, while handing her the keys. "See what happens when you put out?"
©TPI


Posted by tree hugging sister at 01:35 PM | Comments (7)

October 28, 2005

The Plame Game

Ok, so I've read through the whole indictment.

This is all we get after 2 years' work? I'm underwhelmed. I ain't no stinkin' lawyer, but it seems all they have is that this guy said he didn't have sex with that women to the Grand Jury.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 01:49 PM | Comments (14)

Circle Jerks

A great article in the NY Sun on the corruption and cronyism going on between the National Park Service and Circle Line here in NY:

Circle Line-Statue of Liberty Ferry Incorporated, which next month will ask the National Park Service for permission to raise its fares, has apparently paid for more than $1.7 million of its own operations by using a fund meant to pay for capital improvements at the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

One of the most outrageous bits in the article is how Circle Line took $100,000 from the federal capital improvements fund, which means your and my tax dollars, and gave it as a 'donation' to the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation. I'm sure they were properly feted at the Black Tie Gala Event for their kindness. Bastards.

The collusion this points to between certain Park "Service" employees and Circle Line is disgusting, and horribly corrupt. You want some pork to cut? Here's a great spot to start.

Thanks to the NY Sun for great reporting.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 09:44 AM

October 26, 2005

Judge: Port Authority Negligent in 1993 WTC Bombing

Good grief.

NEW YORKA jury ruled Wednesday that the Port Authority was negligent in the bombing of the World Trade Center (search) in 1993 — a long-awaited legal victory for victims of an attack that killed six people and wounded 1,000.

The six-person jury ruled that the Port Authority (search), the agency that owned the World Trade Center, was negligent by not properly maintaining the parking garage, where terrorists detonated more than a half-ton of explosives in a Ryder van. It said the negligence was a "substantial factor" in the allowing the bombing to occur.


Posted by tree hugging sister at 07:37 PM | Comments (5)

October 20, 2005

Six Degrees of Lawyer Denny Crain

I was just talking badly about last night's anti-Bush/Brady Bill lapse lamentation/screed episode at Boston Legal, which stars William Shatner as lawyer Denny Crain who believes in a person's right to bear arms, and is shown on ABC, which also has John Stossel as one of their reporters, who just had an excellent opinion piece on Real Clear politics about the right to bear arms and the Brady Bill's not making a damn bit of difference, the exact opposite of Boston Legal last night, but exactly on point with lawyer Denny Crain, which I found via LAW Professor Reynolds. (Weird how this happens, n'est pas?)

UPDATE:

Congress gives gun industry a lawsuit shield
President Bush expected to sign bill following approval by House
Just in time to put the clamp on more lunacy, like the settlements with the D.C. sniper victims' families.
Opponents say the strength of the bill’s support is testament to the influence of the gun lobby. If the bill had been law when the relatives of six victims of convicted Washington-area snipers John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo sued the gun dealer from which they obtained their rifle, the dealer would not have agreed to pay the families and victims $2.5 million, they said.


"Don't tell me this bill will not make a difference," said President Clinton, who signed the Brady Bill into law.

Sorry. Even the federal government can't say it has made a difference. The Centers for Disease Control did an extensive review of various types of gun control: waiting periods, registration and licensing, and bans on certain firearms. It found that the idea that gun control laws have reduced violent crime is simply a myth.

...(the study) found that what felons fear most is not the police or the prison system, but their fellow citizens, who might be armed.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 03:09 PM | Comments (37)

October 17, 2005

The Dawning of an Age of Personal Responsibility?

Or at least the waning of the Age of Corporate Coercion?

Supreme Court rejects tobacco ruling appeal
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected on Monday the government's appeal aimed at reinstating a potential $280 billion penalty in its landmark racketeering case against cigarette makers.

Without comment, the justices denied a request by the Justice Department to review a U.S. appeals court ruling that barred the government from seeking $280 billion in past tobacco profits as a legal remedy for decades of alleged fraud by the tobacco industry.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:49 AM | Comments (2)

October 05, 2005

Piglet Update

Cox and Forkum strike again.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 09:14 AM | Comments (5)

October 04, 2005

Mayor Noggin Says "You're Fired!"

What a nice guy! He asks Uncle Sam for a gazillion dollars, than lays off 3,000 city workers.*

Damn you Bushy McChimphitler!


*This edict has been issued from the cozy confines of his new Dallas digs, of course.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 03:20 PM | Comments (4)

October 01, 2005

$100 Million Dollars

Spent on ice:

Ninety-one thousand tons of ice cubes, that is, intended to cool food, medicine and sweltering victims of the storm. It would cost taxpayers more than $100 million, and most of it would never be delivered.

And people want the government to take a larger role in disaster relief?

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 05:28 PM

September 28, 2005

Delay Indicted

If he's convicted, boot his butt.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 01:12 PM | Comments (10)

September 27, 2005

What An Amazing Statement From a Member of Congress

"We don't spend a million dollars so we can have an excercise. We spend a million dollars so we can learn."
Chris Shays grandstanding to Michael Brown on C-Span just now (no transcripts or video link yet). What a despicable bunch, but I have to give Brown credit. He's not taking it sitting down, he's giving it back. They are raking him over the coals right now
"That's less than 24 hours before the storm. How are people supposed to evacuate then?"
Shays is asking the wrong frickin' person. Free pass to Mayor Noggin and Governor Blameco.
"That's why I'm glad you left. That look of deer in the headlights...I want to know what you did to co-ordinate?"
The same Mayor who gets to stay Mayor of New Orleans, mind you, even though he has already purchased a home, moved his family to his primary residence and enrolled his daughter in school in Dallas. The same Mayor whose cell phone rings during a press conference and he checks to see who's calling. As Radioblogger asks:
What do you suppose people would have said if Rudy Giuliani had "Cleveland Rocks" as his ringtone as they were still cleaning up the mess at Ground Zero?
Indeed. A class act all around.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:05 PM | Comments (1)

September 26, 2005

Bushy McChimphitler Has Destroyed Our Society!

Which is why crime is at a 30 year low:

The nation's crime rate was unchanged last year, holding at the lowest levels since the government began surveying crime victims in 1973, the Justice Department reported Sunday.

Because, as we all know, Rove has gathered his minions about him in the super-secret lair where they perform their own, unreported crimes! Muwhahahahahaah!

Oh, in case you were wondering which crime victims were surveyed:

Murder is not counted because the bureau's study is based on statements by crime victims...

Mother Sheehan speaks for them, natch.

...In a separate report based on preliminary police data, the FBI found a 3.6 percent drop between 2003 and 2004 -- from 16,500 to 15,910. Chicago was largely responsible for the decrease.

So murders have dropped quite a bit in Chicago, as have the resultant voter registrations.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 08:30 AM

September 23, 2005

Personally, in Normal Circumstances

...I think Wayne LaPierre is a complete jack-ass. But boy, oh boy, whatever it takes to shut this bullsh$t down, I'm with him.

The police superintendent's comments were echoed by the city's Deputy Police Chief Warren Riley, who told ABC News: "No one will be able to be armed. We are going to take all the weapons."

Yes, that's the second in command of New Orleans' finest. The same finest who should be around protecting folks?
"Things are worse at night, and people say their gun is the only source of comfort they have, the one thing they can depend on to save themselves and their families," Mr. LaPierre said, noting that a "third of the New Orleans Police Department walked off their jobs" during the Katrina emergency.

Oh yeah. That's them. When they're not at Wal-Mart.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:12 AM | Comments (5)

September 20, 2005

"You Are Stuck On Stupid"

Gen. Honore sums up the MSM in one sentence.

Go to Radio Blogger and listen. It's beautiful

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:37 PM | Comments (8)

September 16, 2005

Hold Your Hand Out, Hold Your Hand High!

Isn't that, like, an Argent song or something? NO, it's NOT...

Surprise!!! It's the Governor of Louisiana!!

In her address Wednesday night, Louisiana Democratic Governor Kathleen Blanco (search) said, “…in order to rebuild this state, ALL levels of government must work together, as never before, with one purpose — the well-being of our people." Then she said, "I have asked the federal government to cover 100 percent of what Louisiana will spend on this disaster."

As for the subsequent contracts for rebuilding, will they go to the lowest bidder? Not necessarily. Blanco said she told the Federal Emergency Management Agency to give top priority to Louisiana companies.


Has she said 'sorry' yet? I missed that part.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:41 AM | Comments (10)

September 15, 2005

The Emasculation Of History

The recent outrage at the Islamo-friendly memorial for Flight 93 is just a continuence of the trend. Hell, look at the other 'finalists', if you have the stomach. Any of those designs bring to mind the glory and strength of those wonderful souls who so bravely fought back against the bastards in the cockpit, knowing full well that they were in all likelyhood doomed? Or do they bring to mind the kind of posters one can buy in a catalogue on an airplane, the blurry-pictured ones that say things like 'vision'? How does staring wistfully out across a meadow show any respect or appreciation of the valor shown by those wonderful folks? Why are we so ashamed of acts of valor that we have to tone the story of them down for future generations?

And it's not just here in the States. How the hell did England go from this to this? I just read Seize the Fire : Heroism, Duty, and the Battle of Trafalgar over the weekend, which, in addition to merely reciting the order of the battle, goes into great detail on the state of British society at the time to show how they were able to produce men with the fire in their bellies needed to sail at 2 knots across the French and Spanish battle lines to close and attack? My god, and now we 'honor' their sacrifice by talking timidly about "Red" and "Blue" fleets? We 'honor' the memory of the poor souls slaughtered in the WTC by having a "Freedom Center" that equates horrors from around the world?

Where has our society's courage gone? Where is the fire in our bellies? What kind of memorial is worthy of what they accomplished? A quiet glade with rustling leaves...or a world free of the bastards that murdered them?

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 11:12 AM | Comments (19)

September 14, 2005

America Declared Unconstitutional

CNN has a headline saying that a Federal judge in San Francisco has declared the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional.

A$$hat.
Update: Here.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 02:19 PM | Comments (26)

September 12, 2005

Canada Just Says NO

McGuinty rejects Ontario's use of Shariah law and all religious arbitrations
TORONTO (CP) - Ontario will not become the first Western jurisdiction to allow the use of a set of centuries' old religious rules called Shariah law to settle Muslim family disputes, and will ban all religious arbitrations in the province, Premier Dalton McGuinty told The Canadian Press on Sunday.

In a telephone interview with the national news agency, McGuinty announced his government would move quickly to outlaw existing religious tribunals used for years by Christians and Jews under Ontario's Arbitration Act.

"I've come to the conclusion that the debate has gone on long enough," he said.

"There will be no Shariah law in Ontario. There will be no religious arbitration in Ontario. There will be one law for all Ontarians."


Thank God.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 02:48 PM | Comments (3)

September 07, 2005

But the Christian Kids Don't Get to Have a Bible Circle?

Color me Druid (which is not hard), but even I see a huge inequity in this. If it's lunchtime and okay for her, why can't the Born Agains gather, the Buddhists chant, the Native Americans do peyote? And she gets her own room?? Look, say your little prayer over your bologna sandwich like everyone else has to and save the good stuff for when school's out. Or try homeschooling.

CLIFFSIDE PARK, New Jersey (AP) -- Yasmeen Elsamra had a simple request: While her classmates were eating lunch, she wanted to go off by herself for a few moments to pray.

The 14-year-old was told she couldn't, and went home distraught that afternoon in October 2003. Praying five times a day is a cornerstone of her Muslim faith.

"If I wasn't allowed to pray my second prayer at school, I couldn't do it at home," she said. "When school finishes, the third prayer begins."

Her family contacted a Muslim advocacy group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which asked the school district to reconsider. Eventually, the district acknowledged it had no policy preventing a student from praying on his or her own during free time, and allowed Yasmeen to use an empty classroom to unfurl her prayer rug, face Mecca and touch her head to the floor in a few moments of worship...


Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:37 AM | Comments (16)

September 02, 2005

"I need 500 buses, man."

So said our favorite mayor today.

Hmmm. Why didn't you take these

which were sitting in your city on Friday and could have been used in your 'mandatory' evacuation.

You know, last week when they weren't flooded.

Damn that Federal Government.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 03:55 PM | Comments (4)

Yeah, This Is A Leader

Nagin blamed the outbreak of crime and violence on drug addicts who are cut off from their drug supplies and wandering the city "looking to take the edge off their jones."
On Thursday, Nagin's frustration was palpable.

"I've been out there man. I flew in these helicopters, been in the crowds talking to people crying, don't know where their relatives are. I've done it all man, and I'll tell you man, I keep hearing that it's coming. This is coming, that is coming. And my answer to that today is BS, where is the beef? Because there is no beef in this city. "

There is a lot of bull, though.

Look, obviously this has just exploded far worse than anyone expected, but he and the Governor got to take a goodly portion of the blame; this is a state issue before it's a federal one.

"Get off your asses and let's do something."

Where were your police? Why didn't you order them to enforce the law?

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 09:18 AM | Comments (9)

August 31, 2005

Hurray For Texas

This is how americans help each other out, by gum:


5:10 P.M. - AUSTIN, TX (AP): Texas public schools will enroll children of Hurricane Katrina refugees sheltered within each district.

The Texas Education Agency has been directed to provide all needed support for districts having to absorb children from Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. TEA has said the refugee children can qualify as "homeless" and may enroll without proof of residence.

Also, normal immunization requirements for attending school or child-care facilities in Texas will be temporarily waived for children displaced by the hurricane. Schools are allowed to waive the 22-to-one teacher-student requirement.

Districts with an influx of 50 or more students can get an immediate funding increase, rather than waiting until the end of the school year.

Austin schools are working to ensure the students get backpacks, school supplies and clothes.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 08:19 PM | Comments (2)

August 25, 2005

Boneheads

You live on a frickin' island. An island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. You're so far out you can't even make a map of the U.S.. They give you a little 'Hawaii' box, for God's sake! Things have to go thousands of miles BY BOAT to get to you. That costs more money than a freight train to Topeka or a semi to Sioux City. And why it cost us lots of money if we want to fly to your island (ISLAND!!) to spend our money. So STFU. Ride a bike, paddle an outrigger. Because you're going to be the first ones screaming when no one can afford to send your dumba$$es any oil.

Hawaii sets caps on wholesale gas prices
Some analysts warn move may spur supply problems
HONOLULU - In an effort to gain some control over what motorists pay at the pump, Hawaii on Wednesday became the first state in the U.S. to set caps on the wholesale price of gasoline.

The 2004 law authorizing the caps was intended to force Hawaii's two refiners, Chevron Corp. and Tesoro Corp., to set their wholesale prices closer to mainland rates. Proponents of the law said the refiners were taking advantage of the small, isolated market to charge exorbitant prices.


(And from the prices I see in the background of the photo AND in the text, I know people in California would be happier than dog schnoodles to pay $2.76 a gallon. So STFU and quit being stupid.)

Posted by tree hugging sister at 03:33 PM | Comments (12)

August 19, 2005

Australians Say 'Sod Off' to Anti-G'Day Mates

‘G'day mate’ OK again in Australia
‘Mate’ ban in parliament is lifted, ridiculed as ‘pomposity gone mad’
CANBERRA, Australia - A ban by Australia’s Parliament House on the term “mate,” a popular colloquialism and symbol of egalitarianism, has been overturned following a barrage of protest.

Security guards at Parliament House in Canberra had been directed on Thursday to refer to people as sir and ma’am. The ban was imposed after the head of a government department complained about being called mate, local media reported.

But a parliamentary circular issued on Friday removed the directive warning staff not to use “mate” when dealing with the public or members of parliament, instead suggesting they use their judgment on when a more formal approach is required.


They're a few tinnies short of a slab, I'd say. "Pomposity gone mad'? Like kangaroos in the top paddock.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 12:25 PM | Comments (11)

August 17, 2005

I Predict Increased Fooooornication

Liberty University is now Sodom State:

Capri pants and flip-flops will be fine in class but shorts will remain forbidden as school starts next week at Liberty University, the college founded by the Rev. Jerry Falwell.

The end is nigh.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 09:16 AM | Comments (17)

August 16, 2005

If Kids Fail The Test, Make The Test Easier

Here's a shocking headline:

Report: High school exit exams pressuring limited-English students

According to the story

Huge numbers of students who don't speak or read English well may be denied a high school diploma based on graduation tests that do not fairly measure their skills, a study suggests.

Er, it seems to me that if they "don't speak or read English well" then the test is measuring their skills quite fairly, no?

Graduation tests in math, reading and other subjects have become an increasingly common way for states to gauge whether students have earned a diploma -- even though the content of the exams typically covers material learned through grades nine or 10, not grade 12.

Well maybe that's because education is a cumulative process and what comes later builds on and requires what came before ("Gosh, I am sorry about forgetting the anesthesia, Mr. Bingley; You see, they covered that in the 1st year of Med School, and I only really needed to pay attention in my 3rd year to pass the Boards.").

Some students may fail a math test, for example, because they lacked the English skills to understand the framing of a question, the report found. English learners also may not get enough time to learn the material covered on a graduation test because they spend a larger portion of their week learning English.

Sooo, I'm thinking they should learn English sooner, no? And friggin' "bilingual classes" ain't the place to do it.

Overall, states with exit exams are in dilemma -- they've been challenged to hold all children to the same standards, but in doing so, they may withhold diplomas from many kids with limited English. Almost all states with exit exams implicitly require students to know English to graduate, but high schools often find immigrant students are just getting started.

What is the dilemma? They damn well better hold all kids to the same standards. Screw "implicitly" (which, as an aside, would make one hell of a bumper sticker); they should explicitly require students to know English to graduate.

Otherwise the only thing our 'modern' education system will have created is an entire generation of welfare recipients.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 01:20 PM | Comments (3)

August 05, 2005

The Florida State Seminals?

I guess, since you can't have Injun I mean Indian dammit Native 'Merkun names in the NCAA post-season anymore:

The NCAA banned the use of American Indian mascots by sports teams during its postseason tournaments, but will not prohibit them otherwise...

Nicknames or mascots deemed "hostile or abusive" would not be allowed by teams on their uniforms or other clothing beginning with any NCAA tournament after Feb. 1, said Harrison, the University of Hartford's president.

Ah yes, the mighty Hartford Hawks (nothing hostile about a hawk, now is there?). Am I suprised that prominent on their homepage is a link for "Menopause: The Musical"?

No, I am not.


Posted by Mr. Bingley at 12:59 PM

July 27, 2005

Ghetto Stylin'

You do have to wonder what Miami City officials were smoking when they came up with this brilliant idea:

Miami city leaders are apologizing for a news release that invited summer campers to a ''Ghetto Style Talent Show'' and ''Watermelon Eating Contest.'' The release said that children participating in the summer camp who "know the meaning of ghetto style" would have a chance to "prove just how ghetto they are.''

And far be it from me to get in a Scripture-Quoting Contest with the esteemed Rev. Carl Johnson, but I just don't seem to recall this part:

"Watermelon, back in the days, was a good food for African Americans, according to the Bible, but at the same time, it had an attachment with slavery and bondage ties," the Rev. Carl Johnson said.

Idjits.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 08:58 AM | Comments (4)

July 22, 2005

You Can Take The Byrd Out Of The Klan...

But you can never really take the Klan out of the Byrd, now can you? Can you imagine the hue and cry if a feller with an (R) next to his name said this:

Mr. Byrd embraced the same judicial philosophy as the president in his memoir, "Child of the Appalachian Coalfields," released earlier this summer. In the book, he repeatedly blamed "liberal judges" and "activist judges" for many of the nation's problems.

"One's life is probably in no greater danger in the jungles of deepest Africa than in the jungles of America's large cities," he writes. "In my judgment, much of the problem has been brought about by the mollycoddling of criminals by some of the liberal judges who have been placed on the nation's courts in recent years."

Pop Quiz: Who's up for re-election next year?

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 10:25 AM | Comments (4)

July 21, 2005

Beauty, Eh?

Arthur Chrenkoff discusses a story from The Great White North, though I suppose one can't use that melanin-challenged description any more, either:

Canadian Miss Universe Natalie Glebova was forced to take off her official sash at a local festival celebrating Thailand when Toronto authorities invoked a law against sexual stereotyping.

The winner of the international beauty competition held in Bangkok in May, Glebova was to open the festival last weekend sporting her official beauty queen's regalia.

However, city employees invoked a regulation against activities which degrade men and women through sexual stereotypes or exploit their bodies to attract attention.

Amazing, really, that they pass and enforce laws likes this but have the cojones (or whatever the equivalent is for beavers-oops, more 'sexual stereotyping'!) to attack the US for being so eeeevuul?

Blech. What do I know. I'm just a stupid redstate guy with a bluestate address.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 08:43 AM | Comments (3)

July 18, 2005

Um, Isn't It Their Job?

Maybe I'm missing something, but I really don't get what the hoopla is about this:

FBI agents monitored Web sites calling for protests against the 2004 political conventions in New York and Boston on behalf of the bureau's counterterrorism unit, according to FBI documents released under the Freedom of Information Act.

Well, ok, I admit I do know what this is about, as the next sentences explain it perfectly:

The American Civil Liberties Union pointed to the documents as evidence that the Bush administration has reacted to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States by blurring the distinction between terrorism and political protest. FBI officials defended the involvement of counterterrorism agents in providing security for the Republican and Democratic conventions as an administrative convenience.

Bushy McChimphitler! Look, the FBI is supposed to share information amongst its various sections so that there's a better chance we don't miss the next batch of flight students from a 'friendly' nation. And it is many in Academe and the MSM that have "reacted to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States by blurring the distinction between terrorism and political protest" by promoting the argument that the blood of those who died is to be found on the hands of Team America, as opposed to on the hands of the people who carried out the attacks.

"It's increasingly clear that the government is involved in political surveillance of organizations that are involved in nothing more than lawful First Amendment activities," said Anthony Romero, executive director of the ACLU. "It raises very serious questions about whether the FBI is back to its old tricks."

What, is the Director a transvestite?

A Sept. 4, 2003, document addressed to the FBI counterterrorism unit described plans by a group calling itself RNC Not Welcome to "disrupt" the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York. It also described Internet postings from an umbrella organization known as United for Peace and Justice, which was coordinating worldwide protests against the convention.

"It's one thing to monitor protests and protest organizers, but quite another thing to refer them to your counterterrorism unit," said Leslie Cagan, national coordinator for United for Peace and Justice.

No, it's not, shit-for-brains. I want the FBI to look at the information on the organizers and the protestors. I want them to refer that information to the Counter-terrorism Unit with the question "Is this something we should worry about?" And when the C-T Unit comes back with the answer "No", I want them to to say "OK", and move along to the next project...which is exactly what happened. Quit wasting government resouorces with your attention-whoring.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 02:21 PM | Comments (3)

July 14, 2005

Having Never Actually Read The Label...

...on a Coke bottle and, assuming from personal experience that one else really has, it follows that this is another huge change-my-diapers-and-save-me-from-myself waste of time.

Soft drinks 'should carry health warnings'

A US consumer group has called for cigarette-style health warnings on soft drinks, to alert people to the harmful effects of too many sugary beverages...

...In a petition to the US Food and Drug Administration, the CSPI said people--especially young people--needed warning about the risks of obesity, diabetes and tooth decay associated with excessive consumption of sugary drinks.

Suggested warnings included: "To help protect your waistline and your teeth, consider switching to diet sodas or water."

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:18 AM

July 11, 2005

Terrorists? Pshaw!

The EU is concentrating on the important things:

"The EU's objective is to substantially reduce the number of people in Europe affected by noise by 2012," Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said in a statement.

Funny, that's Osama's objective, too.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 01:21 PM | Comments (3)

July 01, 2005

Counter Tenors Unite!

This sure seems like discrimination to me:

Singing soprano is for girls only in Texas' elite All-State Choir, eliminating a 17-year-old boy's chance to audition for a statewide honor and raising questions about gender discrimination.

As someone who sings countertenor, I can vouch that the ladies don't like it when I sing alto or soprano...divas don't like another voice in the fray (especially one that's on pitch!).

Now here's some beautiful logic for you:

Taylor said the policy doesn't amount to discrimination because Rawls can try out for any of the more traditional male parts.

By the same line of reasoning Rosa Parks wasn't descriminated against becuase there were other seats on the bus she could have sat in. I love it.

Now, normally in a situation like this you would expect the lawsuits to be flying, but to the family's eternal credit his mother said

"We just don't think that would be the right thing to do."

I hope he keeps singing countertenor. It has a lovely tone and there's a lot of fun found in watchng the audience's reaction when they hear a man singing so high.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 10:51 AM | Comments (5)

June 29, 2005

Finally An Honest Politician

But of course he still weasels:

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. -- A New York state lawmaker says he's embarrassed, after he mistakenly sent out an e-mail message that referred to his constituents as "idiots."

Assemblyman Willis Stephens says he thought he was sending the e-mail to an aide. Instead, he sent the note to nearly 300 people on an online discussion group that focuses on the community of Brewster.

The message included the comment that he was "just watching the idiots pontificate."

Within an hour of sending the message Monday morning, Stephens sent another e-mail apologizing for the slip-up.

Yes, the usual "I'm sorry I sent the email" not "What I said was wrong."

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 01:48 PM

June 28, 2005

Justice: "The Lost Liberty Hotel"

I can't wait to spend a nice weekend here and contribute to the increased tax revenues of Weare, New Hampshire:

Weare, New Hampshire (PRWEB) Could a hotel be built on the land owned by Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter? A new ruling by the Supreme Court which was supported by Justice Souter himself itself might allow it. A private developer is seeking to use this very law to build a hotel on Souter's land.

Justice Souter's vote in the "Kelo vs. City of New London" decision allows city governments to take land from one private owner and give it to another if the government will generate greater tax revenue or other economic benefits when the land is developed by the new owner.

On Monday June 27, Logan Darrow Clements, faxed a request to Chip Meany the code enforcement officer of the Towne of Weare, New Hampshire seeking to start the application process to build a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road. This is the present location of Mr. Souter's home.

Clements, CEO of Freestar Media, LLC, points out that the City of Weare will certainly gain greater tax revenue and economic benefits with a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road than allowing Mr. Souter to own the land.

Heheheheheh.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 03:37 PM | Comments (3)

Somebody...

...is rolling in his grave.

Trafalgar show a poke in the eye for Nelson kin
Admiral's family upset over political correctness for bicentennial of battle
LONDON - Britain celebrated one of its greatest naval victories on Tuesday but a descendant of Admiral Horatio Nelson said the Battle of Trafalgar was trying too hard not to offend historical enemies.

After Queen Elizabeth presides over the world’s biggest navy review, two fleets will enact a 19th century sea battle.

But they will be known -- neutrally -- as the red and the blue fleet rather than by country names, which has sparked an angry shot across the bows from the great great great granddaughter of the British naval hero...

...“I think the idea of the blue team fighting the red team is pretty stupid. I am sure the French and Spanish are adult enough to appreciate we did win that battle,” she added.

The historian playing Nelson in the mock battle is equally annoyed.

“If you obliterate history for the sake of political correctness, you can’t learn from the past. Nelson thought politicians were cowards. I tend to agree,” Alex Naylor said.


Indeed.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:54 AM | Comments (6)

June 25, 2005

A Kelo Irony I Missed

As I and many much smarter folks have pointed out, a very real danger from the Kelo decision is that public officials will be bribed out the wazoo from people looking to get their hands on attractive parcels of privately held land.

Thanks to a reader at Power Line for pointing out what I in my drunken furor missed:

UPDATE: Bob Cunningham adds: "[T]he irony is that the case defers to the political process in Connecticut, where the governor has just been convicted of malfeasance from undue influence by....real estate developers!"

Heh indeed, as someone might say.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 11:56 AM

Hooray For Clarence Thomas

Randy Barnett at Volokh has found a beautiful summation in the dissent by Clarence Thomas of the problems with the Supreme Court in the Kelo decision:

"Something has gone seriously awry with this Court’s interpretation of the Constitution."

If Thomas were a liberal his praises would be sung to the highet heavens; since he has the misfortune to be a conservative he is pilloried.

*Update: In the comments there a reader provides this wondrous quote from "Judge Kozinski's Silveira dissent:" (I suppose that means something to lawyers - Ed.)

"The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed for those exceptionally rare circumstances where all other rights have failed--where the government refuses to stand for reelection and silences those who protest; where courts have lost the courage to oppose, or can find no one to enforce their decrees-- however improbable these contingencies may seem today, facing them unprepared is a mistake a free people get to make only once."

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 11:36 AM | Comments (2)

June 24, 2005

More On Kelo

God Damn I'm pissed. Alright, I'm pissed for a variety of reasons but I'm gonna take it out on those five desicated assholes in black robes. Can someone explain this decision to me? It's like the old Monty Python "Dennis More" skit coming to life

He robs from the poor, and gives to the rich; Stupid bitch

Here you have the 5 left/liberal Justices supporting taking private property from people who will invariably be on the poorer end of the spectrum and giving their property to wealthy real estate developers. Hello?

"The city has carefully formulated an economic development that it believes will provide appreciable benefits to the community, including -- but by no means limited to -- new jobs and increased tax revenue," Justice John Paul Stevens wrote for the majority.

Increased tax revenue. And think of the one institution that is always squarely in the sights of the left that pays no taxes? Churches. Any church, anywhere, regardless of denomination, is now open to this line of attack, as is any private citizen who owns any property that is attractively sited. That nice cabin on the lake? See ya!

Look, I freely admit that there is a part of me that would love to see Ted Kennedy booted out of Hyannis Port for something that would generate "taxes and jobs" like, say, I dunno, a Hooters (come to think of it, Ted might not mind that, either...), but it is so wrong for the government to take property in this manner. "Private property" has no meaning if this is allowed to stand.

I think every candidate for office should state very clearly where they stand on this. I want this to be overturned and countermanded by very clear legislation on the state and federal levels.

*update: Donald Sensing, as always, says it better.

*update: Florida Cracker has a link that will let you email your elected representatives. I did it.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 08:00 AM | Comments (7)

June 23, 2005

Fitting that we may not own our bodies soon...

if the AMA has their way. Of course, I am safe, since no one wants what’s left of me for medical use, though I am sure my fertilizer value is high.

Posted by Crusader at 12:47 PM | Comments (5)

The Supreme Court Outlaws Private Property

Oh good God. Now the SCOTUS says it's ok to take private property and give it to private developers.

Nothing is safe from the reach of government now. And you can thank the Gang of Five:

...Justice John Paul Stevens wrote for the majority. He was joined by Justice Anthony Kennedy, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer.

Thank God Congress is hard at work protecting the flag instead of, oh, say something silly like our constitutional rights that are actually mentioned in the goddamned Constitution!

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 10:50 AM | Comments (16)

June 22, 2005

Why is Congress wasting time on....

this? Why are they screwing with a document most seem to ignore anyway? God, I hope this goes down in flames......

Posted by Crusader at 04:37 PM | Comments (6)

June 20, 2005

...When They Pry My Cold Dead Fingers From The Mug

An incredibly condescending article in the Washington Post on Javanomics.

At a Starbucks across the street from Seattle University School of Law, Kirsten Daniels crams for the bar exam. She's armed with color-coded pens, a don't-mess-with-me crease in her brow and what she calls "my comfort latte."

She just graduated summa cum laude , after three years of legal training that left her $115,000 in debt. Part of that debt, which she will take a decade to repay with interest, was run up at Starbucks, where she buys her lattes.

Part of the $115,000 debt Kirsten Daniels of Seattle incurred to finance law school went toward her regular caffeine fix.

The habit costs her nearly $3 a day, and it's one that her law school says she and legions like her cannot afford.

David Adesnik fisks this with both barrels, and the result is lovely. As the Man says, read the whole thing.

What an interfering, nosey-assed article.

To quantify the craziness, Lim distributes coffee-consumption charts. One shows that a five-day-a-week $3 latte habit on borrowed money can cost $4,154, when repaid over 10 years. She also directs students to a Web site she helped create. The "Stop Buying Expensive Coffee and Save Calculator" ( http://www.hughchou.org/calc/coffee.cgi ) shows that if you made your own coffee and for 30 years refrained from buying a $3 latte, you could save $55,341 (with interest).

Inside the Starbucks across from the law school, Daniels seemed surprised -- but unmoved -- to hear all this. "I guess I never had done the math," she said. "On the other hand, I would be a very crabby person without my comfort latte."

Therein lies the rub for those who would curb latte consumption with pocketbook reasoning. As Lim concedes, "no one pays any attention."

Perhaps because you are a fool. Who needs internet? Who needs parking? Who needs counselors? Toilet paper? Wouldn't the money be better spent elsewhere? Why don't you just STFU and let people decide where, when, and how to spend their money? And yes, it's their money even if borrowed.

Asshat.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 12:17 PM | Comments (6)

June 13, 2005

I Have to Wait For The Michael Jackson Verdict...

...before I can rampage like an oliphant through this. Okay, okay, a teeny, tiny taste...

Autry hears immigrant activists
Mayor declines to apologize for using the word 'illegal' in his State of the City speech.
...A coalition of advocacy group leaders sought an apology from Autry for using the term "illegal." They told him they believed his comments last week portrayed illegal immigrants as an economic burden. They said that image fuels hatred, especially when the contributions made by immigrants are left out. Members of the coalition asked Autry to use the word "undocumented" in the future.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 04:10 PM | Comments (12)

June 12, 2005

I Wouldn't Get Between Me...

...and my cheeseburger. I can promise you a fight to the death.

"There are attempts to create ill-conceived regulations at the state level and there will certainly be rogue lawyers filing obesity lawsuits against companies," he said. "And if Michael Jacobson has his way there will be a tax on every food product that is not a vegetable. We can't let that happen."

Pravda ran an interesting piece on Striking Back at the Food Police.

WHEN it comes to food fights, John Belushi's character in "Animal House" has nothing on Rick Berman. A prominent Washington lobbyist, Mr. Berman runs the Center for Consumer Freedom, a nonprofit advocacy group that is financed by the food and restaurant industries. Two months ago, after a report in a leading medical journal cast doubt on several assumptions about obesity, he pounced.

His group ran $600,000 worth of full-page ads in a half-dozen newspapers, gloating that the study showed that obesity was not an "epidemic" but rather a lot of hype. "Americans have been force-fed a steady diet of obesity myths by the 'food police,' trial lawyers, and even our own government," the ad said.

In recent years, Mr. Berman, who is not a scientist, has emerged as a powerful and controversial voice in the debate over the nation's eating habits. In some ways, he has become the face of the food industry as it tries to beat back regulations and discourage consumer lawsuits. Food and restaurant companies, he says, are being unfairly blamed for making Americans fat and unhealthy; he adds that people are smart enough to make their own well-informed choices.

Hmmm. Here goes that personal responsibilty thing again. Thank God it's not our fault and someone's watching out for the mindless drones that we are.

Run for 30 years by Mr. Jacobson, a tenacious Ph.D. in microbiology, the Center for Science in the Public Interest has consistently shined a bright light on the nutritional ills of the standard American diet. Last year it raised $16 million, mostly from subscribers to its monthly newsletter.

To Mr. Jacobson, food companies have followed the profit motive, making bigger sizes to encourage people to spend more money, and engineering food that is full of sugar, fat and salt - and thus has an irresistible taste. As a result, he says, people have become fat...

Mr. Berman, on the other hand, argues that potato chips and hamburger combo meals have very little to do with America's ballooning waistline. The real culprits, he says, are a lack of exercise and people's unwillingness to take personal responsibility for their own diets. He points to separate studies showing that over the last two decades, the rates of exercise among American adolescents have decreased considerably, while total caloric consumption has risen only slightly.

Not surprisingly, Mr. Jacobson cites government data that show just the opposite: that the average American consumed anywhere from 166 to 560 more calories a day in 2000 than in 1980.

Oh well, pooh. Here's where my willingness to blame everyone but me for my midriff bulge was trumped by my inability let that last paragraph pass. Hopefully readers of the article will note that the last sentence of the previous paragraph pretty much explains the 1980 statistics. Kids today sit on their tender buns a great deal of the time. Whatever social dynamics one chooses to point a collective finger at ~ working parents/daycare/latchkey, deficit ridden school systems, ad nauseum ~ the fact remains that majority of children no longer have the chance to be 'kids'. The 'shoved out the door at dawn, don't come home 'til lunch' kids. Like us. Shoved out the door after lunch, not to be heard from again until Mom yelled 'dinner'. Neighborhoods aren't safe, excess scheduling of 'activities', sports or otherwise, parents who don't stroll in the door until the stroke of 7 ~ it doesn't leave time to charge around slaying dragons. That's where we burned those calories off.

When you've worked all day and are dead dog tired, it's easy to stop at Micky D's on the way home, call for a pizza, shove a Stouffers in the oven, give Jr. the soda he's whining for, 'cause you're just so damn pooped. But it's a parent who needs to set the limits. A parent who needs to make things in bags for dinner with sodas the exception, not the rule. Exhausted as I was from my time as active military, the one thing I made sure was that Ebola had a real breakfast and I made his lunch. Dinner, with that lovely SoCal traffic was always a crap shoot, so I wanted to make sure his day started out right. (Of course it bit me in the a$$ too, since I had a child who wouldn't touch boxed cereal...) He didn't need soda at 5 years old and wasn't getting it in our house. (And he sure as hell didn't get all those Capri Sun, faux fresh juice packs. Blech.) In my humble opinion, excessively, they set a taste for sweets that only develops into problems later. It has nothing to do with the ee-ville food manufacturers making sure things have 'an irresistible taste'. Bacon is damned nigh irresistible naturally. Parents set limits; they have to, 'cause kids can't. As in 'you can't eat bacon until it puts you in a coma'.

Now, as an adult, I have my own food issues. I like to blame childbirth for the change from my 'military cheesecake' photo, but it's been the cheesecakes since that are the culprits. I also sit here typing or painting, drink my red wine with dinner and grudgingly trot my expanded, um, assets only rarely on evening constitutionals. But I'm not in denial. I know I did it to myself, just as I know what the fix is and am too indifferent to get moving. On the other hand, I never finish what's on my plate (unless it's bacon) and realize that my chair does indeed push easily away from the table. Moderation is the key. 'The low fat qualities of SnackWells doesn't mean a green light to eat the whole box' moderation.

And the group is planning a new television commercial assailing the food police. The ad shows a hand yanking an ice cream cone away from a little boy and grabbing a beer away from a guy at a bar. "Do you ever feel like you're always being told what not to do?" the ad says. "Find out who's driving the food police at consumerfreedom.com."

The Nanny State is alive and well if you have to be told what not to do. And you just abdicate one more slice of your cheesecake if you let them. Don't drop the chalupa until you want to and know you should.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 05:07 PM | Comments (3)

June 08, 2005

Hey, We Do Have Standards, After All...

The Watchful Babbler notes the story of the fellow who came to the US border with Canada carrying a bloody chainsaw...and was let in to the US. He then notes (well, actually, he notes before quoting the story)

So, Cat Stevens' plane is forced to turn away before entering American airspace, but Customs lets in a guy carrying a bloody chainsaw?

I feel compelled to point out that this fellow harmed one head with his chainsaw, while Cat Stevens has damaged millions with his guitar.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 08:27 AM | Comments (5)

June 06, 2005

Sheeee's Baaaaack!

Just when it seemed like Hill was staking out Bill's Middle-of-the-Road turf she needed to hit the ATM:

"There has never been an administration, I don't believe in our history, more intent upon consolidating and abusing power to further their own agenda," Mrs. Clinton told the audience at a "Women for Hillary" gathering in Midtown Manhattan this morning.

"I know it's frustrating for many of you; it's frustrating for me: Why can't the Democrats do more to stop them?" she continued to growing applause and cheers. "I can tell you this: It's very hard to stop people who have no shame about what they're doing. It is very hard to tell people that they are making decisions that will undermine our checks and balances and constitutional system of government who don't care. It is very hard to stop people who have never been acquainted with the truth."

I guess she feels secure that as the Democratic Hawk (Ha!) in the Senate she can take up some of Howard Dean's mantra.

I loved this little bit at the end, though:


On a brighter note, she said, Democrats appear to have all but "stopped" President Bush's "scheme" to overhaul Social Security. But she decried his fiscal policies, particularly Republican-backed tax cuts, saying they were ballooning the deficit and ceding "fiscal sovereignty" to countries like China (as opposed to ceding your technology, eh Hill? - ed.), which are harder to influence when they become "your banker."

If there's anybody who has experience with the Chinese as their personal banker, it's the Clintons.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 06:23 PM | Comments (1)

June 01, 2005

The New Florida Self Defense Law In Action

Florida Cracker has a heart-warming tale for us about this new law in action.

And it worked like a charm, I'm happy to say.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 01:51 PM | Comments (3)

May 26, 2005

Oh the shark babe, has such teeth, dear

And he shows them, pearly white
Just a jack knife, has all Mac Heath, babe
And he keeps it, out of sight

Though I don't think jack knives are on the list, I guess 'Iron Chef U.K.' is out of the question.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:21 PM | Comments (10)

May 19, 2005

Florida's Packin'

There's a nice post over at Volokh by David Kopel on the new Florida Right-to-Defense law. Go read all of it, as the Man says:

WHEREAS, the Legislature finds that it is proper for law-abiding people to protect themselves, their families, and others from intruders and attackers without fear of prosecution or civil action for acting in defense of themselves and others, and WHEREAS, the castle doctrine is a common-law doctrine of ancient origins which declares that a person's home is his or her castle, and WHEREAS, Section 8 of Article I of the State Constitution guarantees the right of the people to bear arms in defense of themselves, and WHEREAS, the persons residing in or visiting this state have a right to expect to remain unmolested within their homes or vehicles, and WHEREAS, no person or victim of crime should be required to surrender his or her personal safety to a criminal, nor should a person or victim be required to needlessly retreat in the face of intrusion or attack, NOW, THEREFORE, Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 01:15 PM | Comments (1)

May 18, 2005

All The More Reason To Make It Tighter

So Mexico doesn't like the US tightening border controls from "laughable" to "merely ludicrous" eh?

Mexico is complaining about tough new U.S. rules on foreigners that make it more difficult for millions of illegal immigrants from Mexico to get driver's licenses.

I don't want it to be tough, I want it to be impossible. I want our borders secure. End of story. If it means that strawberries cost a little more or someone in Rumson has to mow their own lawn, so be it.

Our border has been the escape valve for all of Mexico's social ills. It's time for the mexican elite to face the music of their corruption.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 12:16 PM | Comments (5)

May 11, 2005

A License To Steal

Amazing. A judge has allowed United Airlines to shift its pension fund obligation to the government. For those of you playing at home, this means you and I will pick up the $3.2 billion tab. That various administrations have been allowing companies to underfund and abandon their pension obligations for years is a complete disgrace. Whatever your thoughts on private pensions, the fact remains that they are legally binding contractual obligations that companies should be required to keep. Now that judges continually let these companies off of the hook you can expect more and more to go hat in hand to Congress and be let off of the hook.

And we get to pay for it. Great.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 09:00 AM | Comments (8)

April 22, 2005

A Crime I Guarantee My Child Won't Commit

My kid will be chauffered to school...on the bleepin' bus; or she'll walk. No kid needs to drive a BMW at 17.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 08:20 AM | Comments (6)

April 18, 2005

British Granma Throws Gnome At Burglar...

...And the EU is investigating her for "actions disrepectful to the gnome's dignity."

Well, not really, but sadly believable, isn't it?


(via Ken,, who is so desperate for Lesbian Gorilla News that he's fantasizing about gnomes. Sad, really)

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 08:41 AM | Comments (12)

April 15, 2005

Happy April 15th!

Courtesy of MUSC Tiger, we now know where all the money is going.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 01:56 PM

April 14, 2005

Ban Baseball!

Whenever you see a statement like this

"He is not a monster. He's a good boy who made a bad mistake. This is a mistake that will haunt both families for the rest of our lives," the statement said.

you just know that something like this has happened:

A 13-year-old pitcher was accused of clubbing a teenage friend to death with a baseball bat, moments after the friend apparently teased him at a concession stand following his baseball team's first loss of the season.

Hate to break it to you, mom and dad, but he is a monster, for according to witnesses "the two boys teased each other before the suspect pulled a bat from his bag and hit Rourke in the knees, then the head."

He must have learned that combo from the Sopranos. Nice kid.

The dead one.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 01:26 PM | Comments (4)

April 13, 2005

Ag Lobby Wins Again

Well, it's no surprise that the Ag Lobby has defeated efforts to reduce payments to farmers. And we're not even talking eliminating, but only reducing. Disgraceful. There is no excuse for these huge subsidies to farmers. As the article points out

Johanns has argued that bigger operations collect too big a share of government payments. According to his department, 8 percent of producers receive 78 percent of subsidies.

so the 'family farmer' crap doesn't apply here, folks. These are big Agribusinesses living off of your tax dollars (which are due this week).

And that sucks.

*Update: As Ken points out in the comments, people like Sam Donaldson and Ted Turner are beneficiaries of this, which means that cuts in the Food Stamp Program, which is where the AgSec says he's going to cut now, will be going directly into Ted Turner's pockets. Do you think that might rate a mention on CNN? What about if it was going into Cheney's pockets?

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 10:47 AM | Comments (2)

April 05, 2005

The Slippery Slope In Action?

Kind, sweet and pure Eccentrica G (whom Ken so kindly informed me has a brother Kenny) has post up about some scary legislation being discussed in Britain.

Here's the money quote:

The government estimates binge-drinking costs Britain about £20bn a year and MPs want pubs to pay more towards policing drink-fuelled disorder.

Under this rationale there is nothing that the government can not outlaw, in the interest of equity and cost savings.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 10:42 PM | Comments (9)

April 04, 2005

Seeing Red About...

...not seeing red. Apparently there is another excuse I can employee vis á vis the origins of my twisted sisterness. I am a smidge off plumb not only because of my parents, but because of my BASTARDly teachers and their development impairing, 'feelings-of-inadequacy' inducing corrections in RED INK.

"My generation was brought up on right or wrong with no in between, and red was always in your face," Kazmark said. "It's abrasive to me. Purple is just a little bit more gentle. Part of my job is to be attuned to what kids respond to, and red is not one of those colors."

Three top pen and marker manufacturers - Bic, Pilot Pen and Sanford, which produces Papermate and Sharpie - are making more purple pens in response to rising sales. School leaders and teachers are largely driving that demand, company representatives say.

"They're trying to be positive and reinforcing rather than being harsh," said Robert Silberman, Pilot Pen's vice president of marketing. "Teachers are taking that to heart."

The disillusionment with red is part of broader shift in grading, said Vanessa Powell, a fifth-grade teacher at Snowshoe Elementary School in Wasilla, Alaska.

"It's taken a turn from 'Here's what you need to improve on' to 'Here's what you've done right,'" Powell said. "It's not that we're not pointing out mistakes, it's just that the method in which it's delivered is more positive

I only wish someone had thought of this and saved me from myself. It's the formative years that count, folks, so a little kinder-gentler please. NJSue, when you reach for that red pen, take a moment. And just say no. Do it for them. Do it for our future...

Posted by tree hugging sister at 01:09 PM | Comments (13)

March 22, 2005

Correlation Is Not Causation

Diet soda causes obesity. Since you only ever see fat people drinking it, the proof is clear.

Our audience is encouraged to provide other examples of this logic.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 09:53 PM | Comments (13)

The Real Problem Facing The West

Mark Steyn has, as always, a brilliant column up today talking about how the lowering birth rates in western countries are at the core of many of the problems staring at us. Go read it, think about it...and crack open an extra bottle of wine with your beloved this weekend.

(hat tip to Chrenkoff)

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 11:12 AM | Comments (2)

March 21, 2005

What Liberal Media?

The Editor of Playgirl was fired after admitting she voted Republican.

Well, I'm sad. Thanks to Ken's efforts she gave me my big break...

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 11:35 AM | Comments (2)

March 10, 2005

Cross Off Another One

Another one bites the dust......

Posted by Crusader at 11:30 AM | Comments (3)

IKEA: Sexist Pig-Dogs

I dunno, but this is one of those "what the..." stories. Firstly, a swedish company only has men or "cartoon figures whose sex is unclear" (for which I for one am thankful) shown putting together its furniture...and the Prime Minister of Norway feels that he has to comment? So much for those Scandanavian bastions of social equality. And the Ikea spokesman (and why not "spokes person"??) defends it by saying "We have to take account of cultural factors. In Muslim countries it's problematic to use women in instruction manuals."

"Problematic"? Many of them treat their dogs better than they treat women, and Ikea is concerned about "offending" the poor devils by showing a woman with a screwdriver? Screw them.

Ikea's stuff sucks anyway.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 09:10 AM | Comments (9)

March 08, 2005

Being Teresa Heinz

In response to Nightfly's brilliant post below:

I hope someone fisks this crap. "Ultraconservative" bishops refusing Kerry communion? Since when is it ultraconservative to actually take a stand in favor of something the whole Church teaches? Or to insist on Catholic doctrine on Sunday? I hear stuff like this and I sound like the end of "The Right Profile" - gkkkknnn... grbblbllb... thppht wwrrrraaaaaah!

It's Teresa Heinz Kerry, honey!

(which gets my vote as "Best Comment" so far in the month+ history of the Coalition) I present the following humble attempt.

In The Northwest: Teresa Heinz Kerry hasn't lost her outspoken way

By JOEL CONNELLY
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER COLUMNIST

Well, in space, no one can hear you scream, which is what I was doing after reading this. And I guess in Seattle they're so Blue State and advanced that they're post-intelligence.

What made Teresa Heinz Kerry so refreshing to some voters, and threatening to others on the 2004 campaign trail, is summed up when THK talks about her speech to last year's Democratic convention:

"Nobody told me what to do," she told a Saturday fund-raiser here.

The implicit afterword: Nobody better try.

...or their sorry-ass would've been fired, which, as I recall is what happened to the Kerry Staff on November 3rd.

In her speech at the 2004 Democratic convention, Teresa Heinz Kerry said "no one will defend this nation more vigorously" than her husband, John Kerry.
The sails of the philanthropist wife of Sen. John Kerry were not trimmed by November's narrow electoral defeat.

No, but his boat was swiftly sunk, eh?

The softly accented voice gives pointed advice to the Democratic Party, which she lately joined, formerly having spent 15 years as wife of a Senate Republican.

The Democratic Party, her gardeners, her hubby; somehow I think THK is pointed with everybody because she's rich and no one has the cajones to tell her to Sod Off!; certainly JFK ain't opening up his mouth.

Heinz Kerry flew into town on her own Gulfstream jet (the Flying Squirrel, named for a Sun Valley ski run) direct from a conference on global philanthropy at Stanford.

She talked energy-efficient building design with Seattle Art Museum boss (and old friend) Mimi Gates. She dined at Wild Ginger and flew back east with takeout food from the Third Avenue restaurant.

My, now there's an "energy efficient" use of a Gulfstream: picking up take-out! Kind of takes the phrase "limousine liberal" to a new level, eh?

At a lunch for Rep. Adam Smith, guests were treated to more spicy observations than will likely be heard at all fund-raisers under the Westin's roof from now to the 2008 presidential race. A sampling:

Not knowing what "Westin" is, I can only assume it's some sort of mental instituion.


THE CATHOLIC CHURCH: A practicing Catholic, as is her husband, Heinz Kerry remains outraged at attacks by bishops on her husband's pro-choice views.

Yes, yes, how dare those men issue statements in support of their doctrine.

"You cannot have bishops in the pulpit -- long before or the Sunday before the election -- as they did in Catholic churches, saying it was a mortal sin to vote for John Kerry," she said.

Heinz Kerry gave no examples. Last year, a few ultraconservative prelates said they would not allow the Democratic nominee to receive communion in their dioceses. The bishop of Colorado Springs declared that Catholics voting for pro-choice candidates were not welcome at the communion rail.

"The church has a right and obligation to teach values," Heinz Kerry declared. "They don't have a right to restrict freedom of expression, which they did."

Ho boy. This is a beaut. "Ultraconservative" is Theresaese for "guys who have read catholic doctrine and have the nerve to, um, believe it" evidently. The church, whether you believe what it teaches or not, has a perfectly legitimate right to enforce its doctrine and rules. If you don't like the rules and doctrine of the catholic (or any) church there's a simple solution that involves no government or lawyers: you leave the church and join another one. "Free association" baby. It's a beautiful thing.

Sorry Teresa, but the only one who's interested in restricting freedom of expression is you. You're the one who seems interested in restricting the speech of pastors in their own pulpits. Been reading McCain/Feingold, have we?


COUNTING THE VOTES: Heinz Kerry is openly skeptical about results from November's election, particularly in sections of the country where optical scanners were used to record votes.

"I'm never wrong, because I'm rich (and everyone tells me I'm beautiful); therefore I wuz robbed!"

"Two brothers own 80 percent of the machines used in the United States," Heinz Kerry said. She identified both as "hard-right" Republicans. She argued that it is "very easy to hack into the mother machines."

One wacked-out hag owns 80% of the ketchup used in the US. Makes me think that it would be very easy for her to slip something into our condiments...

"We in the United States are not a banana republic," added Heinz Kerry. She argued that Democrats should insist on "accountability and transparency" in how votes are tabulated.

Yes, and I would also like the Democrats to insist on "accountability and transparency" in how people are registered to vote.

"I fear for '06," she said. "I don't trust it the way it is right now."

Well, since it's '05 right now there isn't a whole lot of '06 to worry about, is there?


A SECOND KERRY RUN: Heinz Kerry won't stand in the way of a second presidential bid by her husband. She tersely summed up emotions at the end of November's long election night: "No tears, some sadness."

"I think we should focus on '06: If '06 doesn't work out, '08 will be impossible," she argued. "If it were right for John to do it -- and he felt right -- he would do it again (in 2008). If he didn't feel it right, he wouldn't."

Teresa dear, I'm not sure how to break this to you, but you've never stood in the way of his running; but you are a hell of a speed bump on the road to him winning.

Theresa Heinz Kerry campaigned tirelessly -- "When I put out, I put out" -- but seemed to scorn the political wife's expected role of fixing her husband in adoring upward gaze.

At Saturday's fund-raiser, she talked openly about conflicting emotions when confronted with her spouses' ambitions. Born in Mozambique of Portuguese parents, she was married to Republican Sen. John Heinz of Pennsylvania. Heinz was killed in a 1991 air crash.

She inherited her husband's fortune, took charge of Heinz family endowments and married Kerry in 1995.

When she puts out, she puts out (Hey, she said it, not me!).

"I kept my first husband from running for office for four years," she explained. "Terrified" at the prospect of public life, as a non-native born American, Heinz Kerry adjusted to what she described as a life of "losses, diseases, hurt, disappointments and many joys."

The billion dollars helped with the adjustment phase.

She confessed to similar self-doubts when John Kerry launched his bid for the White House: "I'm too old. I can't handle it. I have too much to do."

A hike by herself in the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho gave THK time to reach another conclusion: "I thought, 'There's no way I have a right to keep him from doing it'. "

Que up the Tammy Wynnette.

She was always a hit in Seattle -- even while Deaniacs had John Kerry's campaign in the doldrums -- but ran into bumps on the campaign trail.

She responded to nasty questions by a columnist with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, a paper owned by right-wing mogul Richard Mellon Scaife, using words familiar to many Americans: "Shove it!"

Ah, the class and elegance that those schtuuuupid Red Staters denied in November. What a welcome change she would have been from that shameless hussy Laura Bush!

The Drudge Report, a popular conservative Web site, missed no opportunity to run unflattering pictures of THK or float untruthful personal rumors about her husband.

That Drudge! Never posts anything unflattering about conservatives. Uh-huh.

A gossipy, superficial book on the 2004 campaign by the Washington, D.C., bureau of Newsweek depicted Heinz Kerry as a loose cannon requiring constant maintenance.

And this differs from reality how?

Heinz Kerry is still steamed at what the Republican attack machine did to her husband.

"Think about last year," she said. "Once John had his nomination, the Republicans spent $90 million to destroy his reputation."

"Destroy" being Theresaese for "uncover unfortunate truths."

"Dammit John! You said the Magic Hat would protect you from everything!"

She cited dirty tricks used in the campaign to mobilize what the religious right called "Values Voters."

"In West Virginia, John was going to burn Bibles," she said. "It's not 'values.' It's outright lies."

No no no, he was going to grill small children and serve them to the elderly while wearing a white hood as part of the "Robert Byrd Appreciation Month" festivities. Geesh, get your facts right, honey.

Often a vigorous overseer of grants, Heinz Kerry has taken a lesson from the concentrated incoming fire she received from the right flank.

"We have to develop a discipline for this party, so the people of this country know more clearly what it is to be a Democrat," she said.

Your right, we do need to know what it means to be a Democrat; we have all to clear a knowledge of what it requires to be a Democratic Leader, and we really hope there's a difference.

She came away from 2004 with a high opinion of Americans' ideals and gratitude to a campaign that exceeded Bill Clinton's winning vote total of 1996 by 9 million votes.

...and still got schmackerooed by sevreal million votes. That's gotta leave a mark.

"Basically, we are at a crux, a crossroads right now," Heinz Kerry said. "It's no place for self-indulgence. It's no place for looking back. We must be totally committed to this journey ... to believe again, to hope again."

If it's no place for self-indulgence, then what are you doing here?

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 02:06 PM | Comments (3)

She's Baaaaaack!

Oh sweet baby jeebus please no more from Tuh-ray-zuh.

Repeat after me: You. Lost.

Why is this so difficult to accept?

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 09:39 AM | Comments (8)

March 06, 2005

Tender Harvard Souls, Part II

Further to what THS posted below, what really struck me about this whole "issue" was the way it was first reported by the Harvard Crimson:


After some students were offended by Jada Pinkett Smith’s comments at Saturday’s Cultural Rhythms show, the Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, and Supporters Alliance (BGLTSA) and the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations have begun working together to increase sensitivity toward issues of sexuality at Harvard.

Students said that some of Pinkett Smith’s remarks concerning appropriate gender roles were specific to heterosexual relationships.

In a press release circulated yesterday by the BGLTSA—and developed in coordination with the Foundation—the BGLTSA called for an apology from the Foundation and encouraged future discussion of the issue.

Now, ignoring for a moment the blatant descrimination that the BGLTSA is showing towards Lesbian Gorillas and Plushies, if you possibly can, and believe me I know it is difficult and frankly hard to accept, this 'issue' and the grievences that these students air are capture perfectly so much of what is wrong with universities today. These poor coddled little dears spend four years (at least) as supposed 'adults' having every little pea in their collective mattresses legislated away by an administration and a mindset that has been so successful at "increas(ing) sensitivity" that the slightest utterances from people lead to "crises" which need to be negotiated and discussed and apologies must be issued and genuflections, er, genuflected or however one does that.

Get a fucking grip people. The lady gives a perfectly cookie-cutter ok touchy-feely 'inspirational' speech for women (or should I say "womyn"?). Now, if you want to be curmudgenly about the speech you could say it's perfectly legitimate to say that yes girls (and I use that term in a gender neutral, non-patriarchalistic sense) you can "have it all" if you and your husband luck out and both work in fields where you get paid millions of dollars for a few months of reciting lines that someone else has written; it's a tad more difficult when you work at Jiffy Lube and your bride works at Target. This whole "You Can Have It All" mantra of feminism has caused more damage to women (aside, of course, from Leif Garrett) than anything else that came out of the 60s. No you can't have it all. But that's a topic for another rant.

Anyhow, like I said there are reasons to question some elements of her speech, but

“Some of the content was extremely heteronormative, and made BGLTSA members feel uncomfortable,” he said.

ain't one of them. Part of being a big boys and girls (AIEEE! Gender stereotypes!) is dealing with people who are different from you, shrugging your shoulders and moving along. Sometimes things happen that you don't like, or maybe you disagree with. Hell, sometimes you get a boo-boo on your knee. It's called life. Grow up. Get used to it.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:05 AM | Comments (6)

March 04, 2005

Excuse me sir, is this the ladies room?

I'm still reeling from the current...insensitive climate at Harvard. At least they're trying to right the ship.

Ms. Pinkett Smith's stumble is a reminder of how hard it can be to be sensitive. Who at Harvard would have thought, until BGLTSA brought it to their attention, that bathrooms labeled "men" and "women" can create an atmosphere of hostility and fear for some people? The next speaker at the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Racial Relations may have a better chance of getting it right. On Tuesday, the BGLTSA issued a document saying that the foundation "will make a statement of apology about the incident." Acknowledging that the foundation "had not reviewed Pinkett Smith's speech in advance and was not responsible for her words," the BGLTSA said that the foundation "pledges to take responsibility to inform future speakers that they will be speaking to an audience diverse in race, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, gender and class."


An 'atmosphere of fear and hostility' ~ who would have thought, indeed?

I've always liked to kid myself that my choices for institutions of higher learning would have been Rutgers or Juilliard, simply so I could turn Harvard down. But I didn't go, period. I haven't any of the sophmoric memories the Bingster has of his halcyon days at UVa. You know "Committee to Pave the Lawn", bake sales for steam pavers, stuff like that. (By God, he was light hearted when he was young.) Most times I'm cranky and defensive concerning my status sans goatskin. But every once in a while comes that great...shining...moment...where I'm tickled to

just
be
me.

Now, put that toilet seat down and get out of my stall, you over educated fascist. You're crowdin' me.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 03:05 PM | Comments (11)

A Needed Reminder To The Supreme Court

I haven't posted anything on the recent SCOTUS decision in Roper v Simmons because, well, Volokh just does it better than I possibly could (go figure). But the issue of the US Supreme Court relying on foreign courts in their decisions bothers me a hell of a lot.

That's why I was very happy to run across this post over at Literal Barrage on this very issue that I agree with 100%. It is completely inexcusable for foreign courts to exercise influence in our court system, and this branch of the government needs to be clearly reminded of this constitutional fact.

*Of course, Iowahawk provides the clearest commentary of all.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 12:14 PM | Comments (11)

March 01, 2005

Let Me Get This Straight...

Troubled youths suffering from Post-Modern Parking Ennui have decided that their therapy should consist of jumping between buildings 80' high, and when their therapy fails to...take hold they are suing the city. Now, ignoring for a moment the awful typos and editing in the article (hey, I make tons of typos and editing errors, but I don't get paid to publish stuff. Geesh, where the heck are their editors?) and work with me on the last line:

The family says that's not good enough and that both garages need to take responsibility before a garage jumper loses his life.

Um, what about the garage jumper taking some responsibility and realizing that maybe, just maybe jumping between 2 buildings 80' high might not be the best thing to do on a slow day?

I wonder if Andrea's going to sneek over there and pull down a fence or two to get her homies their Darwin Awards...

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 11:33 AM | Comments (8)

February 17, 2005

Self Esteem Chickens Come Home to Roost

A very worthy post by those scalpel-wielding Clemson graduates at MUSC Tiger on just how infantile the cult of self-esteem has made today's generation of youth. Quite a bunch of milque-toasts we've raised. Go read it. I see this all the time in parents rushing to protect their little dears from every boo-boo life has to offer.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:59 PM | Comments (2)

February 09, 2005

NJ to Tax 401k?

This is outrageous. As my wife so clearly said this morning, "They are taxing our retirement savings to support their profligacy."

Exactly.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 08:29 AM | Comments (10)

February 03, 2005

Pssst! Hey little girl...want some Bayer?

My lovely and talented bride is a university professor (and no, none of her brilliance has rubbed off on me). One of her cardinal rules is that a student's cell phone is only allowed to ring if someone has died; a reasonable prohibition given the complete breakdown of any semblence of decorum in their use these days.
So it was a bit of an attention grabber the other day in "Sixteenth Century Sonnet Writers, And The STDs They Died Of" (ENGLIT208) when her phone rang...

It was the middle school nurse, calling about our daughter who evidently wasn't feeling well. Nothing at all life-threatening, mind you, but the kind of thing that a couple of aspirin (or 60 Tylenol Flu Caplets) would most likely have made tolerable.

Except the nurse is not allowed to give them to her. Not at all. Not without prior written consent. Please note that the nurse speaking to my wife on the phone does not constitute prior written consent.

Oh, and the school system has a name for kids whose parents think they're smart and give the kids a couple Anacin to keep in their pockets and take if they don't feel good. These kids are called "pushers."

Yes, the only way for a kid to get an aspirin in school these days is for the parents to give a bottle (hermetically sealed against all known forms of nuclear attack) of them to the nurse, along with a notarized document stating the specific instances where under the afore mentioned nurse of the first part may, subject to the relative lunar positionings of the second part, dispense such controlled and dangerous substances to the party of the parents' parts.

Amazing, really.

Especially when one considers that, in the State of New Jersey, while my daughter may need my written permission to have an aspirin, she, as a well-under 18 year old person, may get an abortion at any time without any notification to her parents at all.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 05:25 PM | Comments (15)

Tylenol...that evil controlled substance

I recently went down to Brazil for a business trip. A friend there asked me to bring him some Tylenol Flu capsules, which for some odd reason he couldn't find there. Please note that one can buy Codeine over-the-counter in Brazil (and believe me, I have), but evidently not Tylenol...
Anyhow, I mosied to the local chain pharmacy to pick up a few boxes, and was confronted by "Daytime" and "Nighttime" formulas. Argh. So I took 2 boxes of Day and 1 of Night, just to cover all the bases. When I handed them to the clerk, she told me that she wasn't allowed to sell me three boxes...

"Excuse me?"
"I'm sorry, but we're not allowed to sell more than two boxes, because you might OD on it."
"Ma'am, there are a helluva lot of things I'm gonna OD on long before I get desperate enough to pop 30 Tylenols."
"I know; I think it's retarded, but I have to get the manager to override the resgister to let me ring it up."

So over came the pasty-faced manager, who mumbled something about it being "the law" as he put his VERY SPECIAL KEY OF GREAT IMPORTANCE into the register, but I doubt that even a "retarded" (if I may quote the clerk) state like New Jersey would have such a rule; I'm more inclined to think it's some Nervous Nelly corporate policy.

Mind you, NJ did outlaw over-easy eggs for awhile...

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 09:10 AM | Comments (46)