Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Houston - Let it Rot in the Landfill

Having lived during the past 20 years in both Houston and Northern New Jersey, one thing that strikes you is that in Houston you just throw out the trash, whereas as in NJ you are expected to recycle newspapers, plastics, glass, etc. It turns out that Houston ranks dead last among large US cities in recycling, according to this article from the NY Times.

I read somewhere else that recycling is becoming more lucrative now that commodity prices are so high, so maybe Houston will get with the program and give the landfills a break in the future.

Kerry’s office: Sen. wasn’t partying with women

You know what; I believe Sen. Kerry's office. Not being female, I can't say this with real authority, but I just don't see this stiff as a real babe magnet.

This comment by Kerry spokesman David Wade is great; “No wonder everyone in the Massachusetts Republican Party was shocked by the photo - they’ve never had a candidate surrounded by supporters,”

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Term Limits

The case of Sen. Stevens of Alaska is a warning about what happens when public officials serve for extremely long periods. I firmly believe that treating service in the House and/or Senate as a career creates greater problems than benefits. We end up with the likes of Sen. Stevens. Others that come to mind, and I am not implying they are criminals, are Sen. Byrd, Sen. Thurmond and Sen. Helms. These men become ingrained in the culture of power and in the end just hang on to hang on.

I think it is a mistake to provide pensions to legislators. Provide them a reasonable salary, make them participate in social security and encourage them to have a life outside of the Washington power circles. Over time they become so accustomed to power that they think they deserve things that they truly don't. Additionally, they lose context for the laws that they are tasked with enacting. Living inside DC is not anything at all like living in Peoria, Portland, LA, San Antonio or, really, anywhere else in the country.

It is deplorable that Sen. Stevens abused his position, but it is a danger to anyone that sits in a position of power for such a long time.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Hurricane Season - Fast Start in 2008

I am a weather geek so I'm very interested in all things meteorological. After all of the excitement in Texas this week for Hurricane Dolly, I found this article which suggests that the high level of hurricane activity for July 2008 could mean that we are going to have a lot of hurricane activity in the months to come.

Masterful writing

Gerard Baker has a very entertaining column about the Messiah in the Timesonline.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

California Dreaming (of reasonable pay)

The Governator is slashing salaries for 200,000+ state workers to federal minimum wage. Interestingly, the state doesn't have to pay the California minimum wage of $8.00, but can go directly to the federal rate of $6.55; there is something wrong with that. The state is in the midst of a budget standoff, and this is (surely) intended to force the legislature to pass the budget the Governor wants. I'm certain that the California legislature will do the right thing and raise taxes so that even more businesses will flee the state.

I am no fan of minimum wage laws, but forcing state employees to live on federal minimum wage might be an educational opportunity; as one commenter says "after my rent, that would leave only $218 left." My money is on the budget being completed fairly quickly.

Liar or idiot

Senator Obama claims to be on the U.S. Senate Banking Committee; which he is not. Two choices; he is so green he doesn't know the committees he serves on, or he will tell any lie to make a point. But if you're an Obama supporter don't worry, the press will never question him on anything, even a blatant lie.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Tone deaf

PETA is one of the most idiotic organizations that exists. They run advertising campaigns that surely cannot convert anyone who is not already on their side, as they are crude and insulting. This video is so tasteless and just plain stupid that it is hard to believe any television station would air it. Then today they come out against the military using pigs to train troops on managing critically injured soldiers. PETA ad campaigns are so sanctimonious they they actually make you want to run out and kick your dog!

These idiots have their priorities so far out of whack that they consider animals more important than humans. Humane treatment of animals is one thing, but animals are not human.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

"American History X"

“American History X” is not a new movie, but I had not seen it until tonight. It is a good commentary on how poor race relations can be in America. The skinheads are disgusting, but the black gang bangers are not a notable improvement. It is rather hard for me to form any connection to either group, or the motivations that drive them. What is it about hatred that people, and young people in particular, find so consuming? Is it just confusion over one’s place in the world? Or is it something deeper and more innate? Is it natural to be uncomfortable, and by extension, hate the other; the different?

I don’t have the answers to these questions. I have certainly come into contact with people that held hatred for the other, but I’ve never been able to understand it. In high school I knew people who hated blacks; but why? They had never in their lives known a black person. They would malign Jews, again they might, maybe, know one. It is beyond me to grasp the basis for racial, ethnic, or religious hatred in individuals that are really uninformed about the other.

I don’t know, I don’t understand.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Supply and demand still applies, who would of thunk!

Senator Obama said offshore drilling will not lower gas prices "this year, next year, five years from now." But, the mere announcement of the lifting of restrictions led to a drop from $142 per barrel of crude to $138.50 in a single day, this is from a high of near $147 last Friday. Martin Feldstein predicted this very thing.

Perhaps the candidates should be required to take an economics course before they are allowed to take the oath of office!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Mmm, beer

George Will writes about beer today. I knew there was a good reason to enjoy beer.

I've always loved the Benjamin Franklin comment; "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I'll carry my gun by God!

The new law, the first bill Governor Rick Perry signed from the last session of the Legislature, now allows gun owners without a permit to carry a concealed gun both "to and from" their premises and their vehicles. Guns can be carried in cars with a few restrictions: They must be hidden from plain view, and the owner cannot be involved in criminal activity or a criminal street gang or otherwise prohibited by law from carrying a weapon.

In other words, if you're caught carrying a concealed pistol on the street and don't have a permit, tell the cop you're walking between your car and your home, either getting ready to travel somewhere or coming home. The burden now falls on the police officer to prove you are not really "traveling," which Dallas District Attorney Craig Watkins says is virtually impossible.

This is from an October 2007 Dallas Observer article. The bottom line is that you can carry or travel with a firearm any time you wish. This predates the SCOTUS ruling on the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Thank goodness Texas is sane on the right of a citizen to keep, carry and, if necessary, use a firearm. Also, a long gun, rifle to most of us, has virtually no restriction in its possession or carry.



Buck naked

Maybe this is the guy the Lady from Ipanema's grandson was talking about.

Daft

How clueless do you have to be to not know you have a bat in your bra?

GWBS

I was just watching the Weather Channel, and they were kind enough to tell me what the weather would be like in July 2050. The forecasters cannot even predict the high temperature 72 hours from now within a 3 degree range, but they were happy to tell me that we will be 3-4 degrees hotter in July 2050.

Bullshit!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

National Popular Vote for President

I know J.R. has made some earlier posts about the electoral college system; in particular, how unlikely it is that it will ever be eliminated by amendment to the Constitution.


I was reading an article last week that Maryland and New Jersey have enacted laws that will allocate their electors to the winner of the national popular vote, if enough other states also enact the same law to equal a winning margin in the electoral college (270 electoral votes). Some other states have partially passed the law (e.g. legislature passed it but governor didn't sign).


I'm not sure if the backers of this law will ever be able to get enough states to enact to reach 270 electoral votes, but it is definitely more of a possibility than getting 3/4 of the states to ratify a constitutional amendment.


I know the framers of our Constitution did not intend for the President to be elected by national popular vote, but I believe the current implementation of the electoral college is not done as per the Constituion. I believe there is nothing in the Constitution requiring states to even hold elections for President, just that the states can allocate their electors as they see fit. (I could be wrong on this, but I think I'm basically correct). Since the 19th century most states have allocated all of their electors to the winner of their statewide election.


Therefore, to me it seems that the individual states can change the way they allocate their electors, and if they want to do it by national popular vote, they can do it. The good people of Wyoming would lose their 4 to 1 voting power over the good people of California, but that's too bad!

Koran abuse

A group called the Book of Signs Foundation is leaving copies of the Koran on doorsteps in Houston. It frequently rains in Houston. Some of these holy books might get wet and be damaged. Shouldn't Muslims around the world rise up and riot in the streets over disrespect for the word of the Prophet? They certainly did when a false rumor was circulated that a Koran was dropped in a toilet at Guantanamo.

But, I am certain, that this is just another example of Muslims being inconsistent. Muslim art has a long tradition of images of Mohammed, but if his image is used in the West it will bring a Fatwah.

A pox on this religion of hatred and murder.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Poor pitiful Muslims

Wow, the Muslims are now upset because a puppy was used in an advertisement. What a God awful bunch of asshats they are. I can't claim to really give a damn when Muslims decide to be offended, but this really does take the cake. And perhaps even more offensive is that an apology was issued.

I hope that my country never becomes this politically correct. I can't really relate how loathsome this type of kowtowing to one group of religious fanatics is.

Muslims show no respect for the beliefs of others; why should they be allowed to dictate what is appropriate to the rest of us?

Patriotism

Jonah Goldberg writes about patriotism and makes an effort to explain what Americans mean by the word. It is indeed a difficult thing to explain. If someone does not have any patriotic fervor then it is unlikely that they can understand why someone else does.

I believe that patriotism is the belief that America is fundamentally good; that it is the greatest nation so far created; that we are lucky to live in a nation of free people; that the pursuit of happiness is the greatest boon we can be granted.

That is not to say that there are no flaws with the U.S., but that we as a people work to repair those flaws. We disagree on what the flaws are, and on how to fix them, but we are able to do that in open debate, and to elect representatives who reflect our ideals and biases.

A measure of a nation's greatness is the immigration rate, and the emigration rate. People of the world are willing to endure hardships to get here, and, despite frequent comments about leaving the country if this or that happens, very few people elect to surrender their citizenship and move elsewhere.

I am proud to be an American, and know that no matter what the naysayers predict, the people of this country will not allow it to become a place of which they are not proud.

McCain's military experience

Senator McCain retired from the Navy with a rank of Captain. This is equivalent to the rank of Colonel in the Army. This would make him the most militarily experienced President since Eisenhower.

Being a captive during the Vietnam War is not necessarily applicable experience for Commander in Chief, but moving up the career ladder to the rank of Captain is certainly good experience.