Saturday, February 26, 2005

You Didn't See This on the TV news

President Bush greets members of a cheering
crowd in Slovakia on his trip to Europe. Reuters
photo from Boston Globe.Click for the full article.

Posted by Hello

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Tsunami, earthquake, mudslide, flood

From GeoBandy

I’ve lost count now…how many millions, public and private, will the United States be pouring into tsunami relief? Any figures yet on what we’ll be sending to Iran for this earthquake? Anybody remember how many millions we contributed after the last Iranian earthquake? Or the flooding in Bangladesh?

The Mayor of Los Angeles is requesting President Bush and Governor Schwarzenegger declare the city and county a disaster area because of flooding and mudslides.

Heard about all that aid being offered by the international community? Me neither. And where’s the U.N., just declared “indispensable to humanity” by Kofi Annan? They were quick to demand that they take over administration of the tsunami relief effort, despite the fact that their “officials” hadn’t even started holding meetings in resort hotels yet, while Australian and U.S. military forces, and USAid officials, were already operating hospitals, helicoptering supplies to remote areas and organizing relief convoys…for which the U.N. folks, miles away in a swanky hotel, tried to take credit.

But we must make allowances for the U.N. They were probably still busy trying to sort out all that emergency relief assistance they contributed to the Ohio valley flooding this winter…or maybe all worn out from their massive effort on behalf of the victims of the serial hurricanes in Florida.

Not sure whom it is that Kofi thinks would perish without the “indispensable to humanity” U.N. Oh, wait, he must mean the victims of genocide in Rwanda and Darfur. No, wait, they DID perish…and are STILL perishing in Darfur. Maybe he means the women and children of the Congo and Bosnia. No, wait, it’s the U.N. peacekeepers who are sexually abusing those folks. Wait, I’ve got it…he means France! The U.N. is indispensable to France in its efforts to continue the pretense that France is a world power. Oh yeah, and Saddam Hussein…the U.N. was indispensable to his efforts to stay in power and starve his people to death while he built palaces and stole billions from the U.N. oil-for-food program.

Aside from the Saudi prince whose check was unceremoniously returned when he said he wanted to help the 9/11 victims, but it was their own government’s fault because of its support for Israel, can you remember the last time the “international community” lifted a finger to help Americans in a time of disaster?

The international "community" is more like a family…a family of spoiled brats standing there with their hands out for their allowance while living in Dad’s basement and running their mouths about what a jerk Dad is. Maybe its time for Dad to put his wallet away and tell the children to stop taking advantage, get out of the house, and grow up.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You

Received in an e-mail:


I want to thank all of you! To all my friends and family, Thank you for making me safe, secure, blessed, and wealthy by sending me your damn chain letters over the last year. Because of your concern:
* I no longer drink Coca Cola because it can remove toilet stains.
* I no longer drink Pepsi or Dr Pepper since the people who make these products are atheists who refuse to put "Under God" on their cans.
* I no longer drink anything out of a can because I will get sick from the rat feces and urine.
* I no longer use Saran wrap in the microwave because it causes cancer.
* I no longer go to movies because I could sit on a needle infected with AIDS
* I no longer check the coin return on pay phones because I could get pricked with a needle infected with AIDS.
* I no longer want to pump my own gas - where I will either get AIDS or cause an explosion by cell phone or static.
* I no longer use cancer causing deodorants even though I smell like a wet dog on a hot day.
* I no longer go to shopping malls because someone will drug me with a perfume sample and try to rob me.
* I no longer receive packages from UPS or FedEx since they are actually Al Qaida in disguise.
* I no longer shop at Target since they are French and don't support our American troops.
* I no longer answer the phone because someone will ask me to dial a stupid number for which I will get the phone bill from hell with calls to Uganda, Singapore, and Uzbekistan.
* I no longer eat pre-packaged foods because the estrogen's they contain will turn me gay.
* I no longer eat KFC because their chickens are actually horrible mutant freaks with no eyes or feathers.
* I no longer look at the opposite sex because they will take my kidneys and leave me taking a nap in a bath tub full of ice.
* I no longer have a cell phone because I don't want brain cancer.
* I no longer have any sneakers because I would hate to see all those poor kids in the sweat shops overseas suffering because I wanted a pair of Nike shoes.
* I no longer buy expensive cookies from Neiman Marcus since I now have their recipe.
* I no longer worry about my soul because I have 363,214 angels looking out for me.
* I no longer have any savings because I gave it to a sick girl about to die in the hospital for the 1,000,000,000th time.
* I no longer have any money but that will change once I receive the $18,624 that Microsoft and AOL are sending me since I participated in their special e-mail program.

I want to thank all of you soooooooo much for looking out for me!!!Now if you DON'T send this e-mail to at least 12,000,000 of your closest friends in the next 60 seconds a large bird with diarrhea will crap on your head at exactly 5:00 PM tomorrow!!!!!!!!!HURRRY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Things I've Learned About Blogging

Here are a few things to think about. Take it for what it’s worth.

1. Someone, somewhere, has a record of every web site you’ve ever visited and every page you’ve ever looked at. And false names or anonymous clicks don’t make a bit of difference. Every computer has a unique IP number, or address, that gets left behind like a fingerprint on every page it touches. If you have SITEMETER on your blog, take some time and look at some of those reports in detail…drill down a level on a few entries. You’ll be shocked at how much information you collected…and you’re NOT TRYING to collect information. Think about this if you’re surfing or blogging AT WORK, because it’s just as effortless to collect this information from the user end as from the destination end.

2. It doesn’t have to be “War and Peace”. If in doubt, go ahead and post. Not that you should slap slop up on your site just to have a new post, but if you find it interesting enough to write a paragraph or two, there’s somebody else out there who will also find it interesting. This is part of the beauty – and the power – of the internet. Two people separated by thousands of miles who share a passion for pre-1979 Rubbermaid products or Sgt. Rock comic books can find each other. (and yes, I know the mag was actually “Our Army at War featuring Sgt. Rock of Easy Company”). Also, visitors are more likely to return if they find something new on a regular basis.

3. Comment. Let’s face it, most of us would blog whether anybody reads it or not. But comments can make a blogger’s day. It tells you somebody was interested enough to… well…comment… on what you had to say. It will oftentimes lead to a return visit to your site, and who knows, it could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Or not. But at any rate, be an active commenter, but don’t be a jackass about it. First, make your comment relevant to the post. You might think President Bush is a chimpanzee in a human suit, but that really has nothing to do with some blogger’s post about about the fact that not all tulip bulbs are truly perennial or the engine rebuild on his ’66 Chevy station wagon. When you leave comments that have nothing to do with the post what you’re really saying is “gee, I am so clever and everything in the world is about me.” Which is exactly the attitude of a typical five year old. Second, remember, like your mother taught you; “if you can’t say something nice…” so comment positively. That doesn’t mean your comments have to be limited to “wow, your website is awesome and this post is awesome and you must be really brilliant and your mother should be so proud.” Actually, something like “interesting post. But I have to disagree with your basic assumption because…” is also positive. “That is so stupid you obviously are an uneducated piece of trash…” is not positive. Finally, satire and sarcasm must be wielded like an artist’s brush, not a two-foot length of galvanized inch-and-a-half pipe. Don’t leave condescending comments. Ignorance and arrogance are generally directly proportional to one another.

4. Explore. If you’re on BLOGGER (Blogspot) use the “next blog” button every so often. I’ve discovered some very interesting spots that way. Of course, I’ve also discovered some stuff you couldn’t pay me to look at, and some stuff I really didn’t understand but was pretty sure I didn’t want to, anyway, and some stuff that was downright scary. Hey, not all the pebbles in the stream can be gold nuggets. Follow the links on other folks’ sites. And visit the sites of folks who leave you comments. Join Blogsnob and visit sites that pop up in the little ads. Blogroll. Link. Get yourself an aggregator and subscribe to feeds from blogs you like. Saves time going from site to site wondering if there’s anything new. I use Bloglines, but there are others out there for free, too.

5. You’re not getting paid for this. Well, most of us aren’t. OK, I’m not. Maybe you are. But I figure, if I’m not getting paid it had better be fun. So have fun with it.

Friday, February 18, 2005

The Argument Clinic

Lifted in its entirety from GeoBandy

For you younger viewers, this is the classic Monty Python skit in which a man pays a fee to sit across a desk and argue with another man. The argument soon degenerates into an argument over the nature of argument: “An argument is a series of statements intended to establish a proposition.” “No it isn’t.” “It’s not simply the automatic gainsaying of anything I say.” “Yes it is.” Or something like that…it’s been a long time since I’ve seen it. But hopefully you get the gist. If you’ve never seen it, you really should. It’s hilarious.Unfortunately, it’s also an almost perfect parody of the state of political debate in the United States today.

Has political discussion become impossible in this country? The only consistency in most people’s political views these days seems to be a fierce, often ignorant, and sometimes downright stupid factional loyalty. If a Republican says, “the sky is blue”, Democrats must reply “No it isn’t.” If a Democrat says, “the sun rose this morning”, Republicans must reply “No it didn’t.”

The same people who complained that Clinton was using “the social security crisis” (and, yes, that is how he characterized it, and I agreed with him) to distract attention from the whole Lewinsky/lying under oath thing now embrace the need for social security reform. The same people who complain that Bush is a unilateralist cowboy criticize the insistence on including South Korea, Japan and China in multilateral talks with North Korea.

I know, I know, I can hear both ends of the political spectrum screaming: “But that’s different!” Yeah. Sure.Partisans don’t disagree on issues any more. Partisans just disagree. The automatic gainsaying of whatever the other says.

A number of years ago I worked as a graduate assistant with Dr. John Green, a political science professor who had emigrated from the ivy-covered halls of the Northeast to the midwest. He had identified what he referred to as the “decline in the level of civility in American society.”

This trend has become so deeply rooted in the political discourse of the nation that it is difficult to find a civil discussion anywhere. No one who disagrees with me has a different point of view anymore, they are a LIAR! Nothing happens by coincidence anymore, it is a CONSPIRACY! And no one can support an agenda with which I do not agree unless they are a NAZI! The really sad part is that the people to whom this most applies, at both ends of the spectrum, will not see themselves in this post.

They will instead recognize me as a lying Nazi engaged in a conspiracy to destroy (their vision of) the world.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

NEVER FORGET Posted by Hello

A Question of Language

Received in an e-mail:

A friend of mine is an officer in the naval reserve. A few weeks ago, he was attending a conference that included admirals in both the US and the French navies. At a cocktail reception, my friend found himself in a small group that included an admiral from each of the two navies.

The French admiral started complaining that whereas Europeans learned many languages, Americans only learned English. He then asked. "Why is it that we have to speak English in these conferences rather than you have to speak French?"

Without even hesitating, the American admiral replied. "Maybe it is because we arranged it so that you did not have to learn to speak German."

Sunday, February 13, 2005

The Social Security Problem in a Nutshell

Actually, it's simple. SS benefits are increased based on the level of increase in wages, rather than the increase in costs (inflation). In a long period of very low inflation, such as we have had since 1980, payouts to non-working people who are drawing benefits rise at the same rate as wages paid to working people, which rise faster than the cost of living. Thus, fixed-income folk who draw ss benefits can not only maintain their standard of living, they can improve it, courtesy of the taxpayers still working.

This is the result of fifty years of congressional tinkering, and it bears no relationship to social security as it was created. It's not rocket science, it not even complicated, like the politicians on both sides make it sound. People live longer and benefits rise faster than the cost of living. So people collect bigger benefits for longer periods of time. When the baby-boom generation retires, the number of people collecting bigger benefits for longer periods of time skyrockets, and the system collapses.

Or you keep raising ss taxes and raising the retirement age to keep the pyramid scheme going.

Or you start doing something NOW to address the problems.

Compare Chile's system with France and Germany.

It's just not that complicated, folks!

Saturday, February 12, 2005


Thursday, February 10, 2005

War Between Ireland and France Averted

Jacques Chirac, The French Prime Minister, was sitting in his office wondering what kind of mischief he could perpetrate against the United States when his telephone rang.

"Hallo, Mr. Chirac!", a heavily accented voice said. "This is Paddy down at the Harp Pub in County Sligo, Ireland. I am ringing to inform you that we are officially declaring war on you!"

"Well, Paddy," Chirac replied, "This is indeed important news! How big is your army?"

"Right now," said Paddy, after a moment's calculation, "there is meself, me cousin Sean, me next door neighbor Seamus, and the entire dart team from the pub. That makes eight!"

Chirac paused. "I must tell you, Paddy, that I have one hundred thousand men in my army waiting to move on my command."

"Begorra!" said Paddy. "I'll have to ring you back!"

Sure enough, the next day, Paddy called again. "Mr. Chirac, the war is still on. We have managed to get us some infantry support equipment!"

"And what equipment would that be, Paddy?" Chirac asked.

"Well, we have two combines, a bulldozer, and Murphy's farm tractor."

Chirac sighed, amused. "I must tell you, Paddy, that I have 6,000 tanks and 5,000 armored personnel carriers. Also, I've increased my army to one hundred fifty thousand since we last spoke."

"Saints preserve us!" said Paddy. "I'll have to get back to you."

Sure enough, Paddy rang again the next day. "Mr. Chirac, the war is still on!" We have managed to get ourselves airborne! We've modified Jackie McLaughlin's ultra-light with a couple of shotguns in the cockpit, and four boys from the Shamrock Pub have joined us as well!"

Chirac was silent for a minute and then cleared his throat. "I must tell you, Paddy, that I have 100 bombers and 200 fighter planes. My military complex is surrounded by laser-guided, surface-to-air missile sites. And since we last spoke, I've increased my army to two hundred thousand!"

"Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!", said Paddy, "I'll have to ring you back."

Sure enough, Paddy called again the next day. "Top o' the mornin', Mr.Chirac! I am sorry to tell you that we have had to call off the war."

"I'm sorry to hear that," said Chirac. "Why the sudden change of heart?"

"Well," said Paddy, "we've all had a long chat over a bunch of pints, and decided there's no foo-kin way we can feed two hundred thousand prisoners."

For the history buffs out there...

Interested in history? Take a few minutes and check out HISTORIUM. It’s an interesting site and well worth a look.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

The New Europe Posted by Hello

If Noah Built the Ark Today

It is the year 2005 and Noah lives in the United States. The Lord speaks to Noah and says:
"In one year I am going to make it rain and cover the whole earth with water until all is destroyed. But I want you to save the righteous people and two of every kind of living thing on the earth. Therefore, I am commanding you to build an Ark."
In a flash of lightning, God delivered the specifications for an Ark.
Fearful and trembling, Noah took the plans and agreed to build the Ark.
"Remember," said the Lord, "You must complete the Ark and bring everything aboard in one year."
Exactly one year later, a fierce storm cloud covered the earth and all the seas of the earth went into a tumult. The Lord saw Noah sitting in his front yard weeping.
"Noah." He shouted, "Where is the Ark?"
"Lord please forgive me!" cried Noah. "I did my best but there were big problems.
First, I had to get a permit for construction and your plans did not comply with the codes.
I had to hire an engineering firm and redraw the plans. Then I got into a fight with OSHA over whether or not the Ark needed a fire sprinkler system and floatation devices.
Then my neighbor objected, claiming I was violating zoning ordinances by building the Ark in my front yard, so I had to get a variance from the city planning commission.
I had problems getting enough wood for the Ark, because there was a ban on cutting trees to protect the Spotted Owl. I finally convinced the US Forest Service that I needed the wood to save the owls.
However, the Fish and Wildlife Service won't let me catch any owls. So, no owls.
The carpenters formed a union and went out on strike. I had to negotiate a settlement with the National Labor Union. Now I have 16 carpenters on the Ark, but still no owls.
When I started rounding up the other animals, I got sued by an animal rights group. They objected to me only taking two of each kind aboard.
Just when I got the suit dismissed, the EPA notified me that I could not complete the Ark without filing an environmental impact statement on your proposed flood.
They didn't take very kindly to the idea that they had no jurisdiction over the conduct of the Creator of the universe.
Then the Army Corps of Engineers demanded a map of the proposed new flood plain. I sent them a globe.
Right now, I am trying to resolve a complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that I am practicing discrimination by not taking godless, unbelieving people aboard!
The IRS has seized all my assets, claiming that I'm building the Ark in preparation to flee the country to avoid paying taxes.
I just got a notice from the State that I owe some kind of user tax and failed to register the Ark as a "recreational water craft."
Finally the ACLU got the courts to issue an injunction against further construction of the Ark, saying that since God is flooding the earth, it is a religious event and therefore unconstitutional.
I really don't think I can finish the Ark for another 5 or 6 years!" Noah wailed.
The sky began to clear, the sun began to shine and the seas began to calm. A rainbow arched across the sky.
Noah looked up hopefully. "You mean you are not going to destroy the earth, Lord?" "No," said the Lord sadly. "The government already has "

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Tax Cuts For Dummies

Let's put tax cuts in terms everyone can understand. Suppose that every day, ten men go out for dinner. The bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

* The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
* The fifth would pay $1.
* The sixth would pay $3.
* The seventh $7.
* The eighth $12.
* The ninth $18.
* The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

So, that's what they decided to do. The ten men ate dinner in the restaurant every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve."Since you are all such good customers," he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily meal by $20."

So, now dinner for the ten only cost $80. The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes. So the first four men were unaffected. They would still eat for free. But what about the other six, the paying customers? How could they divvy up the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his 'fair share'?

The six men realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being 'PAID' to eat their meal. So, the restaurant owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay. And so:

* The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
* The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% savings).
* The seventh now paid $5 instead of $7 (28% savings).
* The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
* The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
* The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to eat for free.

But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings. "I only got a dollar out of the $20," declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man "but he got $10!"

"Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man. "I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got ten times more than me!"

"That's true!!" shouted the seventh man. "Why should he get $10 back when I got only $2? The wealthy get all the breaks!"

"Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison. "We didn't get anything at all.. The system exploits the poor!"

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn't show up for dinner, so the nine sat down and ate without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up at the table anymore. There are lots of good restaurants in Europe and the Caribbean.

(Attributed to David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Economics, 536 Brooks Hall, University of Georgia)

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Support Social Security Reform

BILL HOBBS has posted a link to an online petition supporting President Bush's Social Security reform initiative. Stop by and visit Bill's blog on your way to the petition.