Cub Scout Pack 250 (Waltham, MA) had it's annual rite-of-spring last night...our pinewood derby! A fine time was had by all, and as our chairman said, "I only saw two kids crying", so it was a good night. The Cubmaster's son fared well, taking 5 first place ribbons out of 6 races, but that wasn't quite good enough to finish first in his den.
So, on to the news at hand...
You know we all love to complain about Congress and the ridiculous laws that they often focus on to the exclusion of all else. Do you ever wonder if congressmen themselves think the bills stink? One of the more libertarian members (no, not Ron Paul) has recently expressed his opinion on the 3 worst bills in recent memory:
Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ.) is one of the most libertarian, or libertarian-leaning, members of Congress. The four-term congressman is a member of the Republican Liberty Caucus, which pushes for libertarian ideas within the GOP, and he is earning a national reputation for his outspoken and controversial opposition to GOP drunken-sailor-type spending. In fact, the small-government lobbying group Citizens Against Government Waste recently dubbed him a "taxpayer superhero." Prior to entering Congress, Flake was head of Arizona's free-market Goldwater Institute.
In January, the libertarian magazine Reason asked Flake to name the three worst bills recently inflicted upon us by Congress.
Here are Flake's choices and explanations.
1. The Farm Bill: "Both the House and Senate versions of the farm bill extend subsidies, distort markets, and hamper future free trade agreements, and the final bill is only likely to get worse in a conference committee. Sugar growers who didn't get what they wanted in the initial legislation are urging conferees to repeal portions of NAFTA."
2. The Omnibus Appropriations Bill: "Congress rolled 11 appropriations bills into one massive package and passed it in late December. House members had less than 24 hours to read the legislation before we voted on it. We're still finding out what's actually in the bill. But we do know it contained nearly 12,000 earmarks. That was reason enough to vote 'no.'"
3. Economic Stimulus Package: "Any time Republicans and Democrats can so easily agree on legislation as expensive as this, it's not a good sign. Rebates look to me like an admission by Congress that perhaps the federal government shouldn't have taken that money in the first place. Hopefully, Congress will keep this in mind as the Bush tax cuts get set to expire."
The great Yogi Berra uttered the famous phrase "it's like Deja Vu all over again" when discussing Roger Maris and Mickie Mantle hitting home run after home run. It's hard to look at the Iraq war and remember Viet Nam and not think the same thing. The wasted lives, the wasted money, burning the village to save it, the inability to get out of it despite its unpopularity.
Looking back on how we got into this war in the first place, are we experiencing another case of "deja vu"? How likely is it we'll start another war - this time with Iran?
I have a problem with America not learning from, nor paying attention to, history. Truthfully, I have a problem with women acting like racism and sexism is ok, because they don't seem to know or recall history...
Right now, I'm not happy with the Clinton campaign. Specifically in this instance - for this blog - it is the fact that they are using race as a means to defeat Obama. It is something that has been happening for a while (go on - google stuff... see Bill Clinton, Ed Rendell, Robert Johnson, and now Geraldine Ferraro... I will not go into details. I think you all, as readers of this blog understand what I am talking about. If you don't, please, google, seriously).
I find it shameful that I, as a woman in the year 2008, am seeing sisters using the fact that they are women as a way to fight a black man for the democratic nomination. Not shameful, actually embarrassing, to tell you the truth. Continue reading...
146 comments(Latest Comment: 03/14/2008 05:01:50 by livingonli)
I was reminded last night about the art of distraction by a boorish drunk at the bar. He performed a simple trick that confounded my companion. It was simple enough - he merely had to distract from what his right hand was doing for a brief second while he focused our attention on something less important. Since I was an observer and not the participant, I noticed it right away. In the world of magic, it's a vital skill.
If there's one thing we've learned about this administration, it's that they seem to use this trick all of the time. Whenever there's a terror alert, whenever there's a scandal, it seems certain that there's something else going on that they want kept out of the news cycle. Could this be the motivation for the timing this time? Lori Price over at CLG thinks so. Some of the items she mentions we've seen here at this blog.
Over the past week, we've finally crossed a devastating financial milestone.
We find today's cost of war passing through $501,570,000,000.00
Such a number is difficult to grasp. That's 500 billion that's been squandered on Bush's folly.
With the current US population at a hair over 300 million, let's do some math.
That's $1,670 for every man, woman and child currently alive in the US, from 100 years to 100 seconds old. Just think of it. The baby emerging from its mother at the very moment you read this is already saddled with almost $1700 of debt. Your elderly grandmother on a fixed income, too.
33 cities in the United States could have a public works project on the scale of Boston's Big Dig.
We could send 2 million students to Harvard University on a full, four-year scholarship.
Or, you could buy about 5 billion barrels of oil, at the current market rates...
Water. Our most treasured resource. The thing none of us can live without, and we are forcing our troops to bath in tainted, filthy dirty water.
Water Makes US Troops in Iraq Sick Dozens of U.S. troops in Iraq fell sick at bases using "unmonitored and potentially unsafe" water supplied by the military and a contractor once owned by Vice President Dick Cheney's former company, the Pentagon's internal watchdog says.
A report obtained by The Associated Press said soldiers experienced skin abscesses, cellulitis, skin infections, diarrhea and other illnesses after using discolored, smelly water for personal hygiene and laundry at five U.S. military sites in Iraq.
The Defense Department's inspector general's report, which could be released as early as Monday, found water quality problems between March 2004 and February 2006 at three sites run by contractor KBR Inc., and between January 2004 and December 2006 at two military-operated locations. [...]
"Therefore, water suppliers exposed U.S. forces to unmonitored and potentially unsafe water," at the military sites by late 2006, the report said.
The problems did not extend to troops' drinking water, but rather to water used for washing, bathing, shaving and cleaning. Water used for hygiene and laundry must meet minimum safety standards under military regulations because of the potential for harmful exposure through the eyes, nose, mouth, cuts and wounds.
Velveeta has been asked to blog today about the end of civilization and is quite happy to oblige. In fact, Velveeta is going to let ya’ll in on a little bitty secret. Well you men anyway. Admittedly, its been really tough to keep the plot going for so long, men were bound to figure it out - some of the brighter ones must have sensed that something was going on.
But this won’t be the end of civilization as much as the end of boorish civilization. The end of NASCAR and beer, the beginning of Gardening parties and tea. The end of jet plane travel, where one gets to their destination by speed, and the beginning of luxurious full-service train travel, where one arrives by class and style. The end of Sports Illustrated swimsuit editions and Victoria’s Secret fashion show, the beginning of pool-boys and servants who can give massages at a moments notice.
Frankly our plans were starting to reveal themselves of late. It was George W. Bush - male robot # 46355-88-01-OIL/CHIMP that gave away our plan. But at some point we began to loose control of him. His code went awry and he began spewing nonsense like: "Listen, I want to thank leaders of the - in the faith - faith-based and community-based community for being here." or "At any rate, we look forward to working with you. Let me put it another way: We look forward to hearing your vision, so we can more better do our job. That's what I'm telling you."
46355-88-01-OIL/CHIMP aka (Male George W Bush) was definitely screwing up the works and making us put our diabolical plan into order much faster. Despite our spy (agent "Karl Rove") trying her best to control things - the situation continues to collapse.
14 comments(Latest Comment: 03/10/2008 02:38:33 by livingonli)
We've had some new members join us this week...so why don't you come and join us on the weekends, too? We're like Dave's Lounge; We're always open!
We've got a new Liberator Online this week, so let's see if there's anything interesting going on...
Since a fair number of our members are heading to Washington, DC in a few weeks, maybe you should all have a make-over before you get there. After all, Big Brother is Watching You.
According to the Washington Post: "D.C. police are now watching live images from dozens of surveillance cameras posted in high-crime parts of the city, hoping to respond faster to shootings, robberies and other offenses and catch suspects before they get away.
"Since August 2006, the city has installed 73 cameras across the city, mostly on utility poles, at a cost of about $4 million. But until recently, officers were using them mainly as an investigative tool -- checking the recordings after crimes were committed in hopes of turning up leads and evidence."
Now, however, under a new policy, police watch live feeds from a dozen or so cameras. And they want to greatly expand that.
Live police surveillance of citizens via camera is already standard policy in U.S. cities including Baltimore, Chicago, New York and Philadelphia.
U.S. cities are following the model of London, where 500,000 surveillance cameras allow government agents of Big Brother to peer at citizens around the clock. The average Londoner is caught on camera several hundred times a day.
Many U.S. politicians and enforcers are eager to follow London's example. New York mayor Michael Bloomberg toured London last year and virtually salivated at the widespread surveillance there. He dismissed critics of government surveillance as "ridiculous," and, observing that London has a camera in every bus and subway car, declared, "We are way behind and we really do have to catch up."
Similarly, D.C Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier told the Washington Post: "I'd love to have the whole city wired like London."
According to the Washington Post: "The District's cameras have quite a range ... Officers can rotate angles for different views. They can zoom in on faces of potential suspects and pick up license plate numbers from cars several blocks away."
Around-the-clock government surveillance of streets and public spaces fits in nicely with other developing government trends, like the REAL ID national ID scheme (discussed last issue), the continuing erosion of Fourth Amendment protections, plans for the creation of massive government databases on U.S. citizens, and reports of new levels of federal electronic eavesdropping.
It's Friday and I should be happy it's almost the weekend. Yet after perusing the headlines, I'm pissed off. There are so many things, I can't tie them all together with quotes and commentary, so in a rare departure from my usual eloquence , I'll just give you the links and let you see for yourselves:
393 comments(Latest Comment: 03/08/2008 05:53:04 by livingonli)