Thursday, March 31, 2005

If you can’t beat ‘em, drop your prices and raise their taxes

The people who brought you the 35 hour work week, national socialism, and an unatural love for Jerry Lewis are upset that the US supports corporations subject to unfair dumping of European products:

The European Union and Canada said Thursday that they would impose trade sanctions on a variety of American goods in retaliation for a tax system that compensates American manufacturers deemed to have been hurt by foreign goods sold below cost.

Beginning May 1, the European Commission and Canada will raise import duties 15 percent on a range of American products. In Europe, pocket diaries, women’s trousers and frozen sweet corn are among the $28 million in exports that will be taxed more heavily. Canada will impose the duty on some $11.5 million in American exports of cigarettes, pigs, oysters and specialty fish.

Evidently, some evil Repugnican thought that it wasn’t fair that Euro and Canuck corproations got to sell their goods in America for less than it cost to produce them. Who is the evil right-winger neocon fanatic?

The actions Thursday were in retaliation for the Byrd amendment, named after Senator Robert C. Byrd, the West Virginia Democrat who proposed it in 2000. The amendment gives American companies the proceeds of duties levied on foreign companies that are selling their goods in the United States at below-market prices, a practice known as dumping.

Oops. Never mind.

Albert Einstein is going to be so bummed

This is not a post about Evolution or Creationism. It is however, a reminder that the scientists who know everything keep being reminded that they don’t:

Black holes ‘do not exist’

Black holes are staples of science fiction and many think astronomers have observed them indirectly. But according to a physicist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, these awesome breaches in space-time do not and indeed cannot exist.

That is unless, of course, the good folks at Nature.com are really shills for the extremist, fanatical Christian right that is really running this country in concert with the Jews. I’ll have to ask Hillary what’s up with all this.

National Health Care is better

Just ask these parents in Australia:

Family gets bill for return of body

A FAMILY has been sent a bill to cover the cost of returning their three-year-old son’s body from Newcastle, where he had been sent after a hospital bed could not be found in Wollongong.
The boy was flown almost 200km from Wollongong hospital (on the New South Wales South Coast) to Newcastle (on the NSW Central Coast) to find a bed after his parents were told it was the only intensive care spot left in NSW.

Matthew Starkey, 3, arrived at Wollongong hospital at 7.30am, but it took staff more than five hours to find him an ICU bed at Newcastle’s John Hunter Hospital, his father Robert said yesterday. Wollongong did not have the specialist facilities to deal with the boy’s condition.

He died and the family were left to pay a $390 bill to have his body brought home.

On September 11 last year Matthew was placed in an ICU bed at Newcastle because no other children’s beds were available in NSW.

And while Mr Starkey said he could not fault the care his son received, he said facilities at Wollongong were inadequate.

“The doctors are not to blame, it’s the bureaucrats,” he said.

I’m getting the warm fuzzies already.

I Hope This Doesn’t Mean What I Think It Means…

...I wonder if Elvis will ever come back...

Is France Our Future?

You really should take the time to read Macomber’s latest. It kicks the French for their self-destructive socialist ways and does it in what may be the most thorough way I can imagine. Specifically, it relates to the rescinding of the French law that mandated no more than 35 hour work weeks.

The law took on a Darwinian/progressive air when a 2003 heat wave killed 15,000 elderly French men and women while their families were on vacation and medical personnel were restricted from working overtime—even to save lives.
NEVERTHELESS, THIS SHOULDN’T BE a debate on the merits or failings of either the free market or command economies. The real question is what should be the role of government in the working lives of individuals in a free society? After all, forcibly limiting individuals from doing whatever they choose with their lives, including setting their own working hours, is authoritarian on its face.

As the former French Industry Minister Alain Madelin has noted, such a law is “an attack on the freedom to work.”

While it is fun to kick France (though “cheese eating surrender monkey” has grown stale), the truth is that France is a not-so-pretty picture of America’s potential future. Where we haven’t gone quite that far down the road, and while we may never get there, it is still a powerful warning about our own socialized systems.

Consider, when welfare went through meaningful reform, the cry from the left was that we were rolling back decades of social progress--that a wealthy society could afford more compassion for the poor, not less. The same accusation is being made about Social Security. Even people who lean right on social issues can fall into the “wealthy can afford it” trap; they believe that the wealthy can afford higher taxes to supplement health care or education or the National Endowment for the Arts or whatever pet program that someone, somewhere might believe will change the world for the better.

The sense of entitlement coupled to a willingness to delve further into income redistribution in the name of societal progress leads to, as Shawn put it, “shackling anyone with motivation to a sinking raft of bureaucrats and the lazy.” He says that about France, but it would take a blind man to ignore the implications for American society.

Heinlein was, and always will be, right. There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch; and that means that if you aren’t paying for it, someone else is. While I’ll always support the idea that governments are necessary (no anarchist here), the level of intervention and control that a government has to have to support its primary functions is something substantially less than the size and scope of our current government.

Bureaucracy tends to self-perpetuate, and if citizens are unwilling to prune the growth back from time to time, a nation will become like France: moribund, overburdened, and under-motivated with a stale economy and marginal industry. I don’t really want that future for the United States.

Click on through.

Two Things

  1. I’m learning Swahili. In about a month, after I’ve gone through a good number of the lessons that I’m taking, I would like to find a way to start practicing with native speakers here in Denver. I think that would make the lessons more useful and the information stick in my head a little better. If anyone has any ideas on how I could achieve that goal, suggestions are welcome.
  2. Since AfricaBlog is on hiatus until I can get it imported into ExpressionEngine--and that means traffic is at a steady near nothing--my Africa-related posts will be going here. As such, I’ll be adding Knowing Africa to my blogroll. There are a bunch of useful links to information on the site.

Terri Schiavo has Died

Foxnews is reporting that Terri has died.

From Nat Hentoff’s article this week in the Village Voice:

For all the world to see, a 41-year-old woman, who has committed no crime, will die of dehydration and starvation in the longest public execution in American history.

As the argument over the subject in the blogosphere has grown increasingly passionate, I’ve stood by and watched. I watched quietly because the arguments have grown increasingly acrimonious and I have no wish to start name calling and picking fights. It also became increasingly clear that no appeals court was going to overturn the original ruling; sadly I watched as the inevitable played out to its obvious conclusion.

So, Terri has died and her family mourns. I mourn with them.

Michelle Malkin’s reaction is, as usual, graceful.
Wizbang’s reaction is subdued.
Bryan, at Spare Change, offers up a prayer.
McGehee offered up his final thoughts just before finding that Terri had passed away.

Don Singleton adds his thoughts and links to quite a few others.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Blogger Bash 4.0: You Are Going, Aren’t You?

Rocky Mountain Blogger Bash 4.0 is coming up this weekend. If you’ve been wondering whether you should attend, it’s only fair to tell you that not only will you (probably) get to meet all of the people on this list--and whatever others didn’t quite meet my (arbitrary and completely unfair) RSVP date--but you’ll also get to drink.

Stay focused, people.

Steve Green, Vodka Pundit
Jeralyn Merritt, Talk Left
Jeff Goldstein, Protein Wisdom
Andy O’Reilly, World Wide Rant
Nathan Alexander, Brain Fertilizer (Visiting from Spokane)
Matt Moore, The Blog of the Century of the Week
Tiffany Trott
Darren Copeland, Colorado Conservative
Jed, Freedom Site
Steven Wheeler, Off in the Tall Weeds
Scott, Dorkafork
Michael Ditto, Janus Online
Peter Saint-Andre, One Small Voice
Brian Behm, Confessions of a Flabby Ironman
Ryan Scott, A Bellandean
Matt Traylor, RoverPundit
Chad, Pirate King
Andrew Olmsted
Bob Hayes, Blogger News Network
Avoiding the Tar Baby
Robin Roberts
Walter, Walter in Denver

See you there, kids.

Decisions, Decisions

Viagra May Cause Vision Loss. Tonight, a million guys are thinking, can I do it just until I need glasses.

Heavy Metal v/ Heavy Metal

Or why Anthrax might want to stick to rock-related endeavors.

Er, rock music, that is.

1962 paid me a visit this morning

...in the form of a new-to-us-but-well-worn-by-somebody-else coffee machine!

All hail the coffee-mat!

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Craig Is Gonna Be Big

Craig is on the radio. I like that about him.

Back to the Idol

Tonight they sing the 90’s. There was a lot of really good stuff in that decade, but there was just as much crap. This could be frightening…

Bo Bice Some Black Crows song. This song sucks--in its original version and in this setting. The good of it is that the man knows how to perform and that’s his saving grace. The vocal performance wasn’t so great tonight, but the overall performance was, ahem, rockin’. Simon’s wedding singer comment was a little harsh, but the fact is that this wasn’t a great musical moment.

Can I tell you how much I hated the Black Crows? I don’t see myself ever being nostalgic for that band…

The rest of the updates will be in the extended entry to save McGehee’s rather particular tastes.

Read the Rest...

Hey, Who Turned on the Lights?

Evolution. Intelligent Design. Creation Science. Creationism. Big Bang.


See, I know what I believe and I have yet to have someone explain either side of the argument to me in a way that moves me much from my chosen position. But it does seem to be raising a few hackles these days, doesn’t it?

So, in the spirit of inquiry, I ask, “Who turned on the lights?”

And while you think about that--and whatever implications it might have--I invite you to peruse the creation mythology of other cultures.

With its bounty of brawny, barrel-chested gods and buxom goddesses, the ancient Norse religion of the Scandinavian and Germanic countries is truly the creation myth for fans of both pro wrestling and heavy metal music. According to Norse lore, before there was Earth (Midgard), there was Muspell, a fiery land guarded by the fire sword-wielding Surt; Ginnungagap, a great void, and Niflheim, a frozen ice-covered land. When the cold of Niflheim touched the fires of Muspell, the giant Ymir and a behemothic cow, Auðhumla, emerged from the thaw. Then, the cow licked the god Bor and his wife into being. The couple gave birth to Buri, who fathered three sons, Odin, Vili, and Vé. The sons rose up and killed Ymir and from his corpse created from his flesh, the Earth; the mountains from his bones, trees with his hair and rivers, and the seas and lakes with his blood. Within Ymir’s hollowed-out skull, the gods created the starry heavens. What can we say: Pure metal magic!!

Rock on, dude!

Check out the rest o the top 10 “Intelligent Designs.”

(Warning: If you have a slightly naughty mind, you might imagine the the illustration of the Egyptian creation myth (number 7) is illustrating a slightly uncomfortable sexual position. Or maybe it’s just me...)

Miss Jo’s Kentucky Derby Q & A

A brief Question and Answer segment for those who know nothing about the Kentucky Derby.

Because the Kentucky Derby is only a matter of weeks away, and because it is an American sporting institution no less than the Super Bowl, it is time for me to provide you with an extremely basic primer. I consider it my duty as a horseman (or would that be horsewoman?) and a patriot.

Read the Rest...

Review: Woven Hand at Benders Tavern

On Good Friday, the g-phrase and I attended what was probably the best concert that I will see this year.

Benders Tavern is a bar and small concert venue that sits in the building formerly occupied by the Goth bar, Onyx. Where it used to be dark and gloomy, with its TVs showing a mix of stylish and campy cult films, Benders is a brighter space with more buoyant colors. It was the first time I had been in the bar since before it had changed ownership, and the experience was a little disconcerting.

The part that made it so strange wasn’t the new style, though, it was that some of the clientele didn’t seem to have changed all that much. Pierced and tattooed people still attended, wearing their uniforms of black PVC and leather, carefully cultivating their ironic detachment and sartorial separatism. At least one of the concertgoers was a former Onyx employee who wore a familiar starter Al Jourgenson Goth cowboy getup. I was surprised to see them at the comparatively happy Benders and even more surprised to see them attending a Christian rock concert.

But that’s precisely what was happening. The scene was the people--the tiny shot girl with the pink, wool bunny ear cap and an unsettling, vampiric smile; the cocktail waitress with the exaggerated, cat’s eye granny glasses; the cocktail waitress with what looked to be tatts covering her entire torso and arms. Scattered throughout was a smattering of people like me: jeans and sweaters type people who looked more out of place than the guy with plugs in his earlobes.

Read the Rest...

Beading, My Anti-Drug

Pedantry has a quick rant about anti-drug measures on an Indian reservation in Maine. (Click on the link to go see the ad.)

Honest to God, I suspect it’s stuff like this that keeps drug addiction rates so high on native reserves. I mean really, get bored stupid doing traditional arts and crafts for the tourists, or get stupid directly thanks to a little puff of weed. I’d probably take option two.

Meanwhile, Kevin at Wizbang has more information about the shooting at Red Lake Indian reservation in Minnesota. The shooter had a partner. They may have been planning another Columbine. A decade or so ago in a native town in Canada a bunch of teenagers decided to commit suicide by sniffing gas. They were found out and saved but not until after they’d sniffed a lot of gas and lost a lot of brain cells.

The idea that we should preserve an ancient way of life, and force people who through the sheer chance of genetics happen to be inheritors of this ancient way of life to live that life is insane. It’s more than insane, it’s racist.

There are many who choose to preserve their ancestors’ ways. That’s fine with me, and I support it. I’m not sure what the ancient ways have to do with casinos, bungalows and beat up Fords, but that’s not my concern. If the goal is to preserve tribal identity and live as a nation-within-a-nation then there’s something that needs to be said—You can’t preserve tribal identity if your kids are frying their brains using the white mans drugs.

You guys need a different plan. Personally, I don’t think making beads for tourists cuts it.

Note: There are tribes out there that are quite successful. I mean no disprespect to them.

What if? (Sadaam version)

From the NYT: Panel’s Report Assails C.I.A. for Failure on Iraq Weapons. Just think, if the CIA had gotten their facts straight then Sadaam Hussein would still be in charge and the Left would be smiling. And, dissenters would still be being fed into industrial shredders feet first. Uday and Qsay would still be, literally, raping the populace, the secret police would still be kidnapping people, and 25 million Iraqis would have been spared the humiliation and indignities of democracy.

Seriously though, we’re not getting our money’s worth out of the CIA and other spy agencies. These agencies have been politicized since at least the Vietnam War. I hope Negroponte can clean house and get the agency back to being respectable. Ironically, I think the best way to do this is to remove Congressional oversight of the agencies. Pontificating politicians bloviating to their core constituencies have damaged our abilities to protect ourselves. It ain’t right.

On the other hand, if CIA incompetence is what it took to get us into Iraq and free 25 million people from oppression, then maybe we need more “incompetence.”

A final note to all current and future despots—next time the CIA asks you some questions, be honest in your answers. It would also help if you gave them unfettered access to your facilities.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Gay Patriot and the 13th Ammendment

Over at Wizbang, Jay Tea puts it all in a nutshell:

That amendment no longer applies to gays. As noted here, gays are now the property of the left. They own your prissy little asses. So if you don’t toe the party line and get too uppity with your massas, they will do all they can to destroy you.

Read his whole rant, it gets beter.

Congratulations to Frank J

SarahK to Become SarahJ. Don’t miss Sarah’s account, it will make you… uh, uh… just don’t miss it (photos included). BTW, just because you’re proposing doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be ummm, prepared.

Hey Zombyboy,
I was just thinking, maybe you should have a Babes in T-shirts contest. It would help sell T-shirts you know, and be a good way to publicize the site, and… well… you know, other things.


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