Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Chilling Effect

Lone Star Times shuts down.
The proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back” however recently came in the form of our growing awareness of the legal uncertainty and jeopardy faced by bloggers being sued in mass-fashion over questionable copyright claims. See here and here for more information, if you want to learn more.

Put simply, from a risk/reward standpoint even the remote possibility of getting entangled in this type of mess wasn’t worth it. The time to pull the plug had arrived.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Why do the ChiComms even try?

I've been reading ChinaHush a lot lately. I don't know why the CPC even bothers with the censorship now. Reading ChinaHush is like reading any western news source... soccer riots at Hanghai stadium, trust fund kids, drunk politicians, hooters, bad planning. When Chinese news reads like it could have happened in any western country, going to absurd lengths to hide this stuff is dumb.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The dumbest thing I've ever seen

Well, not the dumbest, but certainly one of the dumbest. It was in a small gift shop in New Hampshire in the mid-1990s. Remember Beanie Babies? Of course you do. This store was overflowing with them. In the midst of the displays was a small rack of items for sale. The items on the rack were Beanie Baby tag protectors.
I don't remember how much they were, probably $3 for a package 20 or something. See, if the tag was touched in any way by a bare human hand, if there was so much as a fingerprint visible in the tag's coated glossy surface, the Beanie Baby would be worthless. Hence the Beanie Baby tag protectors, which I am sure were placed on each tag only after the operator was wearing protective gloves.

UAW in action

Great job, guys. You wonder why your jobs are vanishing? I bet your competitors in Korea and Alabama and Mexico aren't doing this during their lunch breaks.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Robert Rizzo ate the evidence

LA Times:
Former Bell City Manager Robert Rizzo, whose high salary sparked the outrage that led to the investigations of the city, was among those arrested in the sweep. No details have been released, but a source not authorized to speak publicly about the case said that Rizzo; former Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia; Mayor Oscar Hernandez; Councilmembers Luis Artiga, Teresa Jacobo and George Mirabal; and former Councilmembers George Cole and Victor Bello were among those arrested.
Now if we could only get the FBI to investigate Congress as intently as the Los Angeles County's DA's office investigated the political leadership in Bell.

A small problem with electric vehicles

Just wondering how we're going to pay for roads, bridges and highways if electric cars like the Leaf and Volt become as popular as some expect. Fuel tax collections could plummet very quickly, and if governments raise gas taxes dramatically to make up the difference it will only cause the collapse to occur even faster as people switch to the new technology.

Texas governor Rick Perry has been an advocate for tolls. An advocate to the point of idiocy. But in the future we may have no choice. We gotta pay for roads somehow. If the electrification of our nation's auto fleet occurs, I see a mixture of:
  • Automated tolling on many more highways
  • Steep annual registration fees.
  • Government monitoring of your driving habits and mileage via transponder and taxing you accordingly.
I don't want government monitoring where or how I drive, and more toll roads are a given. I think Texas drivers will see their annual registration fee go from roughly $70/year to something like $500/year if electric vehicles take off in a big way.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Minor economic note

For the past two weeks our local Wallymart has been selling milk for $1.89/gallon. Don't know how the dairies are making money.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Why are Democrats so hard on Christine O’Donnell?

Is it because she's attractive?
Is it because they think she's nutty? Well, we had a nutty president who is beloved by Democrats.
It's interesting that Karl Rove and Democrats hate her. Me personally? I think it's good for a purge. I wish both parties would purge their insider party hacks.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

How to get rid of a bat

We have a new guest that I noticed early this morning. My son and I call the bat "Steve." Steve roosts in a gap between the rain gutter and the siding. Steve is tiny, about the size of a small mouse. I think he's been there a very long time, based upon what the prior owners of the house have told me.

This seems like good advice.
If bats are roosting outside of your house in a place you'd rather they didn't, then a can of dog/cat repellent is a good thing to pick up. Wait to apply the repellent to the area until all of the bats are out feeding, and spray all of the immediate surfaces generously. Whatever you do, don't spray the bats directly with the repellent. You're better off attending the Running of the Bulls wearing nothing but red--and that should be left to very macho but very stupid young Spaniards.
Anyone try this? I'd rather not call an exterminator who will probably kill it.

Tubby German smokers avoid marriage and kids, EU figures show

Ouch.
An average German is likely to be a fat, childless, unmarried smoker, according to 2010 European Union demographic statistics released this week.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Why were there no Ike riots?

Ike hit two years ago today. On the talk shows they were reminiscing and asked why there were no riots or widespread looting incidents. The gist is we are better than New Orleans and lots of private law-abiding citizens are packing heat. I think the main reason is the weather. We had the first cool front of the year blow through the day after Ike, and for two weeks we didn't need air conditioning. It was quite comfortable, and I think that defused what could have been a bad situation.

That's my theory and I'm sticking to it.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The woes of the 20-somethings

The New York Times has a lengthy article about the woes of our educated 20-somethings.
How about expanding programs like City Year, in which 17- to 24-year-olds from diverse backgrounds spend a year mentoring inner-city children in exchange for a stipend, health insurance, child care, cellphone service and a $5,350 education award?
How about quit being a slacker and get a damn job?
Or a federal program in which a government-sponsored savings account is created for every newborn, to be cashed in at age 21 to support a year’s worth of travel, education or volunteer work — a version of the “baby bonds” program that Hillary Clinton mentioned during her 2008 primary campaign?
How about quit being a slacker and get a damn job?
Maybe we can encourage a kind of socially sanctioned “­rumspringa,” the temporary moratorium from social responsibilities some Amish offer their young people to allow them to experiment before settling down.
How about quit being a slacker and get a damn job?
It requires only a bit of ingenuity — as well as some societal forbearance and financial commitment — to think of ways to expand some of the programs that now work so well for the elite, like the Fulbright fellowship or the Peace Corps, to make the chance for temporary service and self-examination available to a wider range of young people.
How about quit being a slacker and get a damn job?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Houston is a polluted hellhole

I remember years ago Al Gore and noted scientists like Cher loudly proclaiming that Houston was the most polluted city in the country. I think there was an election or something going on at the time.

Not sure what happened over the past 10 years. Our population continued to grow enormously, industries along the Ship Channel continued to do business, more cars are on the roads. But now it seems that Houston is nowhere close to being the most polluted city in the country. Hmm.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Cicero on balancing the budget

I see this quote referenced all the time.
The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be filled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome be bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance. - Cicero, 55 BC.
It is solid advice and I agree with it. Unfortunately, Cicero never said it.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The downfall of Taco Bell Jeff

Amazing. It's been 3 1/2 years since Taco Bell Jeff puked in the shower.

Some people feel sorry for Jeff because he had a last-minute realization that he screwed up. I have absolutely no sympathy. He was extremely cocky and denigrated people who warned him that his "investments" would end in catastrophe. His greed cost us taxpayers a lot of money.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

China produces clean energy

I keep seeing nonsense like this.
Even as China grudgingly accepts the mantle of the biggest energy consumer, investment dollars are being poured into renewable energy research. China has already surpassed the United States as the largest producer of clean energy, whether it be hydro, wind, solar, or nuclear.
How much you want to bet that wind and solar account for less than 5% of the "clean" energy China produces, with nuke plants and Three Gorges accounting for the rest? There's nothing "clean" about Three Gorges. And Tom Friedman is still an idiot.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

See Chaz Spin.

Spin, Chaz, Spin!