Friday, April 28, 2006
More Gas Price Hilarity
Since it is becoming increasingly clear that high gas prices will kill us all before next Monday, I thought we'd go out with a bang. Here's some wonderful footage and articles about what the politicians are doing about high gas prices...Classic!
Hastert's short, hydrogen drive
What Would Senators Drive…Two Blocks?
Going a Short Way to Make a Point
I remember a few years back when all the movie stars where showing up to award show in hybrid cars all smug in their greeness...of course I also remember Midgie calling me from California to convey stories of how she saw the same stars at the gas station filling up their SUVs...
Behold the Wonders
Via BoingBoing, here's a great look back at all the high technology available to us back in the 1983 Sears Wishbook. Funny thing is that as we complain about high gas prices, look at how much a CD player was back then - over $500! What's more surprising is that the price for TV's and other such things hasn't changed that much.
I think a vast majority of us voters/consumers have a pretty good grip on why gas prices are high and know that if anything, government attempts to provide some sort of quick fix will likely only succeed at making things worse. But of course that doesn't stop the media frenzy and idiot politicians on both sides of the aisle from fanning the flames.
What is most shocking to me is that the GOP majority is seriously considering issuing $100 rebate' checks to every taxpayer...WTF?! So can I know expect that every time gas prices or other utility prices rise, the federal government will bail me out? Who is coming up with the GOP agenda the ghost of Lyndon Johnson?! (Of course we know it isn't the Ghost of Lyndon Johnson since he SPENT LESS MONEY expanding government during the Great Society than the current GOP is.)...This is what the sad state of GOP Theocratic Socialism has led us to.
Of course we all know that high gas prices are really caused by GAY MARRIAGE AND ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION!
Thursday, April 27, 2006
The Economy Will Be Just Fine....
Again this morning in the media...gas prices, gas prices, gas prices...Marcia, Marcia, Marcia. Yes, gas prices are high and no, there is probably very little politicians can do about it expect probably make matters worse in the long run. But the good news is that the things we are doing about it, will likely help out in the mid term. Ending diversions to the strategic petroleum reserves, lifting the odd and balkanizing 'summer blend' requirements and such will help ease supply concerns and things will chug along nicely, if not as fast this summer. By fall prices will retreat, the economy will grow even faster and we'll all be just fine.
Interstellar Deathray Not Likely to Hit Earth!
You may now carry on with your Thrusday....
Why the Dems won't take the House in 06
As much as I am not enamored with the track record of the current GOP majority, I'm profoundly perplexed by the continued inability of the Democrats to come up with a plan to take back the House and or Senate. I mean, the GOP majority has governed so badly this should be a cake walk. But when looks to the opposition to see what ideas or alternatives are on tap, what you find is a whole lot of nothing.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is part of the Dems. problems. As minority leader, she's supposed to be leading the charge and coordinating strategy and ideas for moving forward. But checking out the Minority Leaders website I found no policy alternatives. When the GOP took back the House they had a ten point plan (Contract with America) and said, vote for us and this is what you will get. Here's the "Policy Positions" found on the Democratic Leaderships website:
What you will find at this links is not a set of alternate policy proposals, but rather a laundry list of gripes with the Bush Administration. We all have gripes with the Bush Administration and it is all fine and good to complain, but what we need is a clear, concise and well thought out set of alternatives to the direction we are going. Blaming high oil prices on a Bush and Big Energy Conspiracy just makes me think that you're as bad as the folks we've got in control right now. What voters need to know is that a Democratic Majority would be less-sucky than the current republican one and I don't think they've made their case.
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Gas Prices: The President Has a Plan
I forgot to mention that for the last few months, I've been getting unsolicited emails from the White House Press shop. I guess some young staffer (after lunch-time Bible study no doubt) had the brilliant idea to 'go directly to the people' with their message. So some intern had to go through the DC Association Directory and make an email list of all the Association and Government Relations type people in the city. Actually, even though it seems sort of 7th grade level marketing, probably not a bad idea. Of course I never read them...but like those emails from Nigeria they just keep showing up.
So, to show these kids over at the White House I care, here is yesterday's email... (It's rather long, but hey, we all know this administration likes BIG Government!)
President Bush's Four-Part Plan To Confront High Gasoline Prices
Today, President Bush Discussed The Four Parts Of His Practical Plan To Confront High Gas Prices. The President's plan includes making sure consumers and taxpayers are treated fairly, promoting greater fuel efficiency, boosting our oil and gasoline supplies, and investing aggressively in alternatives to gasoline, so we can eliminate the root cause of high gas prices by diversifying away from oil in the longer term.
America Is Addicted To Oil, And An Increasing Amount Of The Oil We Need Comes From Foreign Countries. Some of the nations we rely on for oil have unstable governments or agendas hostile to the United States. These countries know we need their oil, and that reduces our influence. We must not allow America to be put at risk by the unfriendly leaders of foreign countries.
It Is Important To Understand Why Gas Prices Are High. The market for oil is global, and America is not the only large consumer. Countries like China and India are consuming more and more oil, so global demand for oil is rising faster than global supply. As a result, oil prices are rising around the world, which leads to higher gas prices in America. America's gasoline demand is projected to increase this summer, and our refining capacity is stretched tight, making it difficult for supply to keep pace with demand. To compound the problem, we are undergoing a rapid change in our fuel mix – a transition from MTBE to ethanol in certain fuel blends, and that transition is temporarily pushing up gas prices even more.
The President's Four-Part Plan To Confront High Gasoline Prices Includes:
1. Ensuring That American Consumers Are Treated Fairly At The Gas Pump.
Americans Will Not Accept Fraud Or Manipulation Of The Market, And The President Will Not Tolerate It. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is investigating whether the price of gasoline has been unfairly manipulated since last year's hurricanes. The President is also directing the Department of Justice to work with the FTC and the Department of Energy to conduct inquiries into cheating or illegal manipulation related to current gasoline prices. The FTC and Attorney General are contacting all 50 state attorneys general to offer technical assistance and to urge them to aggressively investigate illegal price manipulation within their jurisdictions.
The President Calls On Congress To Repeal Certain Tax Breaks That Are Unnecessary For Energy Companies. With oil prices at record levels, energy companies have large cash flows – and energy companies should reinvest their profits into expanding refining capacity, researching alternative energy sources, developing new technologies, and expanding production. Record oil prices and large cash flows also mean that energy companies do not need unnecessary tax breaks like the "geological and geophysical expenditure" depreciation acceleration provision in the Energy Policy Act of 2005. This unnecessary tax break allows energy companies to rapidly depreciate costs related to oil exploration. The President also calls on Congress to repeal the Energy Policy Act provision subsidizing energy companies’ research into deepwater drilling. The President is looking forward to Congress taking about $2 billion of these tax breaks out of the budget over a 10-year period of time.
2. Promoting Greater Fuel Efficiency.
The President Calls On Congress To Make All Hybrid And Clean Diesel Vehicles Sold This Year Eligible For Federal Tax Credits. An immediate way for drivers to get more miles out of each gallon is to choose a highly efficient hybrid or clean diesel vehicle. Hybrid vehicles run on the combination of a traditional engine and an electric battery. These twin sources of power allow hybrid cars and trucks to travel about twice as far on a gallon of fuel as gasoline-only vehicles. Clean diesel vehicles take advantage of advances in diesel technology to run on 30 percent less fuel than gasoline vehicles. More than 200,000 hybrid and clean diesel vehicles were sold in the United States last year – the highest sales in history. The Energy Policy Act President Bush signed into law expanded the tax credit for purchasers of hybrid and clean diesel vehicles to as much as $3,400, but these tax credits apply to only a limited number of hybrid and clean diesel vehicles for each manufacturer.
A Proven Way To Conserve Gasoline Is To Reform Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards. The Administration has reformed the way the CAFE program determines standards for light trucks by emphasizing the size of the vehicle. CAFE standards for light trucks have been increased from 20.7 miles per gallon when the President took office to 24 miles per gallon in 2011. The President's reforms bring CAFE standards for light trucks to the highest level in the history of the program – and they are helping American drivers save money at the pump.
3. Boosting Our Supplies Of Crude Oil And Gasoline.
The President Supports Halting Deposits To The Strategic Petroleum Reserve For A Short Period Of Time. The President has directed the Department of Energy to defer filling the Reserve this summer. Our Strategic Reserve is sufficiently large to guard against any major supply disruption over the next few months. Deferring deposits until the fall will leave a little more oil on the market – and when supplies are tight, every little bit counts.
The President Is Directing EPA Administrator Steve Johnson To Use All His Available Authority To Grant Waivers That Would Relieve Critical Fuel Supply Shortages – As He Did After Last Year's Hurricanes. Under Federal air quality laws, some areas of the country are required to use a fuel blend called reformulated gasoline. This year, we are undergoing a rapid transition in the primary ingredient in reformulated gas – from MTBE to ethanol. State and local officials in the Northeast and in Texas worry that supplies could run low. To ensure that there are not needless restrictions to get gasoline to the pump, the EPA should be able to meet the request of officials seeking to waive local fuel requirements on a temporary basis. If Administrator Johnson finds he needs more authority to relieve the problem, the Administration will work with Congress to obtain the authority he needs.
The President Is Also Directing Administrator Johnson To Bring Together Governors To Form A New Task Force To Confront The Larger Problem Of Too Many Localized Fuel Blends (Boutique Fuels). America's uncoordinated and overly complex set of fuel mixes raises the risk of painful local price increases, even during only minor supply disruptions.
The President Calls On Congress To Allow Refiners To Make Minor Modifications To Their Refineries Without Having To Endure Years Of Delays In The Approval Process, And The President Also Calls On Congress To Simplify And Speed Up The Permitting Process For Refinery Construction And Expansion. The President asks Congress to cut through the red tape and guarantee that refinery construction permits will be processed within a single year. To boost America's gasoline supply on a large scale, we need to expand our oil refining capacity. There has not been a new refinery built in America in 30 years. As a result, America now imports about a million barrels of gasoline every day – that means that about one of every ten gallons of gas Americans get at the pump is refined in a foreign country. Part of the reason for this is that the refinery permitting process in the United States is extremely complicated.
Congress Needs To Send The President A Bill This Year Authorizing Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) Exploration. America has the ability to explore for oil in environmentally responsible ways, and we should make use of the ability. The Administration has taken steps to increase access to offshore oil, and Congress should allow environmentally sensitive oil exploration in ANWR.
4. Investing In Alternatives To Oil, So That We Can Dramatically Reduce Our Demand For Gasoline.
The President Calls On Congress To Support His Advanced Energy Initiative (AEI). The AEI is focused on three of the most promising ways to reduce gas consumption: increasing our use of ethanol, improving hybrid vehicles, and developing hydrogen technology. The AEI will strengthen our economy, our energy supply, and our national security.
Renewable Fuels Producers Are Using One Of The World's Oldest Industries – Agriculture – To Power Some Of The World's Newest Technology. While the price of oil continues to go up, advances in technology are bringing the price of alternative fuels down. Years of investment in fuels like ethanol have put us on the threshold of major breakthroughs. With a bold investment in alternative energy technologies, we can reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
Increasing Our Use Of Ethanol.
Ethanol Has Tremendous Potential For Growth As An Alternative To Gasoline. Any vehicle on the road can run on a fuel blend that includes 10 percent ethanol. And with minor modifications, cars and trucks can become "flex fuel vehicles" that run on a fuel blend called E85 – a mix of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. About 40 percent of America's gasoline now includes some amount of ethanol – and that number is going to keep growing in the years ahead.
Ethanol Is A Versatile Fuel Delivering A Wide Variety Of Benefits. Ethanol is good for farmers because it provides a new market for their products. Ethanol is good for rural communities because new biorefinery construction creates jobs and local tax revenue. Ethanol is good for the environment because it burns cleaner than gasoline and produces less air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Ethanol is good for drivers because it replaces gasoline consumption. And ethanol is good for our whole Nation because every time we use homegrown ethanol, we support American farmers and refiners – not foreign oil producers.
The Ethanol Industry Is Booming. Last year, America used a record 4 billion gallons of ethanol – more than double the level when the President took office. There are now 97 ethanol refineries in our country. Nine of those are expanding, and 35 more are under construction.
President Bush Has Supported Ethanol More Strongly Than Any President Before Him. Since the President took office, we have extended the 51-cent-per-gallon tax credit for ethanol suppliers; created a new 10-cent-per-gallon tax credit to provide extra help to small ethanol producers and farmers; provided about $85 million in loans or grants for ethanol business ventures; and signed into law a Renewable Fuels Standard that will nearly double the amount of ethanol in our fuel supply over the next six years.
Promoting Other Alternatives To Regular Gasoline.
Researchers Are Pioneering Ways To Make A New Form Of "Cellulosic Ethanol" From Natural Materials Like Wood Chips, Stalks, And Switch Grass. The President has proposed $150 million in next year's budget for research into advanced forms of ethanol – a 65-percent increase over current levels. Our goal is to make cellulosic ethanol affordable within six years – and allow millions more drivers to put ethanol in the tank.
Biodiesel Fuel Can Substitute For Regular Diesel In Cars, Trucks, Buses, And Farm Equipment. Like ethanol, biodiesel is renewable, fully domestic, and a good way to support farmers and the rural economy. The President signed into law the first-ever Federal tax credit for biodiesel producers. Biodiesel refiners now receive 50 cents for every gallon of biodiesel they blend.
Engineers Are Designing A New Type Of "Plug-In Hybrid" That Can Be Recharged Through A Standard Electrical Outlet. These hybrids will have fully charged batteries as soon as you start the car, which will allow them to travel much farther on electricity alone. Plug-in hybrids could make it possible to drive 40 miles on electricity alone – and that means millions of Americans could make their daily commute without a drop of gasoline. The President's budget for next year provides $31 million to speed up research into advanced battery technologies – a 27-percent increase over current levels.
Since 2003, The Administration Has Made Hydrogen And Fuel Cell Technology A High Priority. When hydrogen is used in a device called a fuel cell, it can deliver enough electricity to power a car that emits pure water instead of exhaust fumes. The Administration has dedicated $1.2 billion over five years to the research and development needed to get hydrogen cars into the showroom.
I am a Non-Smoker
After a scary bout of not being able to breath during my vacation in Hawaii, in what the doctors were calling a 'possible asthma attack', the writing was pretty much on the wall for my seemingly beloved habit of smoking.
Of course, knowing one needs to quit and actually quiting are two different things. Midgie turned me on to this book, and I'm proud to report I've been smoke free for over a week now. No cravings, no nic fits, just a real sense of peace that I made the right decision. A great book if your thinking about quitting, or know someone who is.
Hurray for me! I'll keep you posted, but seriously, I don't think there is anything interesting to say...the 'worst' is over and it really wasn't bad at all.
Standing While Flying
Gridskipper has pics of the Airbus proposal to have us all flying standing up...Dear Lord!
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Hmm...remember this post? In it I noted that:
Already you can see some of the effects. As background, Michigan is pretty much divided into two parts that roughly follow the I-75 corridor that splits the state into the industrial east, and the more conservative west. Having grown up in the industrial east (Saginaw-ish) it's a bit ironic that neither I nor my brothers, nor anyone I was close to in high school, still lives in that part of the state, if they live in the state at all.In fact of my four fellow H.S. graduates who went on to the prestigious University of Michigan, only one still lives in the state. Most, like me have gone on to other places, DC, NYC, LA, SLC, etc. Even my brothers have lodged themselves in the still growing and diversifying western half of the state. One in Grand Rapids (which is diversifying into high end health care) the other in the touristy Traverse City. Both are in services as well (Accounting, Medicine).
So check out this story in today's USAToday! The article notes that the industrial eastern part of the state is still in decline...but notes that parts of the state are adapting and growing..particularly...
West. Counties including the cities of Muskegon, Holland, Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo are seeing modest to robust growth. A highway extension south of Grand Rapids, home of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, has opened neighboring counties to commuters. The Grand Rapids area is attracting medical investment and professionals.
Northwest. Traverse City and counties on the shores of Lake Michigan are benefiting from tourists and retirees moving in. Beaches and other natural attractions are luring entrepreneurs and executives who can work anywhere because of wealth and technology.
Who knew that I was keeping you all on such a cutting edge of news!
High Gas Prices...
Dude, yes, gas is getting expensive. It's even to the point where local news channels seem to be ready to ditch all other news to report solely on this issue - they are literally freaking out. The rest of us will sadly just have to suck it up. Fortunately, I've got a minimal commute (about 2 miles) and I usually take mass transit (which isn't that great, but it's a lot less expensive than driving).
Anyway, the high gas prices are pushing more people onto metro, which on a good day can barely handle a moderate crowd...creating delays and packing in the trains. Apparently, this week has seen 4 of the top 10 ridership days in metro's history...It's all harshing my mellow.
Sadly, These Links Are Not Jokes...
'cause only the government should have the power to sodomize you!
Coffee, Tea, Sharp Stick in the Eye?
Airlines considering 'standing room only' tickets?! Yes, and it will cost extra for the stap to hold on too. I'm sure Northwest Airlines is already on the case.
Ok, I'm finding myself in an increasingly disturbing pattern that can best be described as collateral damage. This past week, it has struck again. The issue is that some minor problem crops up at my house and in the process of fixing that problem, another problem is found. It all started with the squirrels in the attic.
On Friday my sink and dishwasher were backed up, so I called the plumber to snake the drain. The plumber ran into some problems and wanted to see the 'stack' where all the pipes come together. The stack is in my crawl space which is basically the front 1/4 of my house (the back 3/4 is a finished basement that was redug when the house was rehabbed.) So anyway, the plumber cuts through my basement drywall and wiggles into the crawl space. The plumbing checks out just fine but he then points out something more disturbing. A hole in my foundation.
Yup, it seems my foundation has a nearly 1ft sq. hole where the bricks have popped into the crawl space. There doesn't seem to be any apparent structural issues (no sagging of the floor or anything)... but there is a small section where about 12 bricks have just popped out as a unit. As much as I would just like to jam them back in like some legos, I think a real solution will be much more expensive.
Of course when the foundation guy comes to fix the wall, I'm sure he'll tell me that my house is built on an ancient Indian burial ground.
Monday, April 24, 2006
President Hu Visits the White House...
Talk about loosing face?! Not only did we refer to China as the wrong country "The Republic of China (e.g.- Tiawan!), and then play our national anthem (so embarassing) but then a protester shouted down President Hu...(less embarassing! good for her)....The little I know of Asian culture and the concept of 'face' has me believing that our visiting friends from China were very embarassed for us.
Of course I wandered down and took some pictures of protesters near the White House...
One can only imagine the confusion caused by this visit.
"Mr. President, President Hu is here to see you."
Thursday, April 20, 2006
The Emerging Consensus
Well, it really doesn't surprise me it's come to this. Rollingstone has to goods....
"George W. Bush's presidency appears headed for colossal historical disgrace. Barring a cataclysmic event on the order of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, after which the public might rally around the White House once again, there seems to be little the administration can do to avoid being ranked on the lowest tier of U.S. presidents. And that may be the best-case scenario. Many historians are now wondering whether Bush, in fact, will be remembered as the very worst president in all of American history. "
Ouch! More here...
The bigger question for true conservatives and even progressives is how to we clean up the policy, fiscal and diplomatic messes created by this administration.
I was busy.
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
The End of Oil?
Here we go! Instability in the Middle East - e.g. Iran - is pushing oil to record prices and there's nothing like high oil prices to get the media all in a lather. But seriously, while gas in expensive now and will likely get a little more pricey as we move into summer, the underlying pricing issues aren't related to overall supply, but rather the impact of politics on supply...a situation that the markets will sort out in due time. Until then, let's just suck it up and recognize it is not yet the end of the world.
Boeing Kicking Airbus's Tail
Even with the reality of commercial flying as bleak as it is find the whole concept of plane design fascinating. Particularly the ongoing Airbus v. Boeing battle. For years now it looks as if Airbus was set for long-term dominance. But having placed a good portion of the 'eggs' in betting on the monstorous A-380, they gave Boeing an opening...and Beoing has exploited it with the introduction of the 787. Now even Airbus's planned competitor to the 787 is getting hammered.
Things look bleak for Airbus....but competition in this market is brutal and I wouldn't count them out.
Back from my pleasant trip to Chapaign, IL. Pleasant place...nice college town surrounded by some of the richest looking farmland I have ever seen. Of course, the excitement of my trip was highlighted by the Welcome Tornados that greeted my arrival.
Friday, April 14, 2006
A Puggle is Worth
The site meter is off the charts...seems this puggle pic link from November is driving the numbers (951 hits this week alone...?!) Oh well, I'll take the numbers wherever I can get 'em.
DC Immigration March
Earlier this week, I hosted my annual meeting for my association members. One of the hotest topics of course was immigration. The industry I represent has a desperate need for workers, and were not talking about low paid workers here...in the hospitality industry, immigrants not only do the cooking and cleaning, they are increasingly working their way up into middle management. Anyway, the last two panels of the day were about immigration reform. Just as the final panel of the day ended, the immigration march began to pass the club where our meetings were being held. A wonderful coincidence and a bit ironic that those marching in the streets and those of us from the meeting were on the same side of the issue.
Here's some pics of the march.
He's smiling here, but this guy was real shouty
Lots of American flags.....
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Charley the Puggle....
Sad news from DC. My neighbor's dog Charley the Puggle has been kidnapped. Charley is a laugh riot, he's always out and about when I'm working the back yard and follows me along the fence line. From time to time he'll even bring his toys over so we can play. He's too cute.
Sadly, sometime late last week, someone snatched him out of the yard. He's gone missing! Sadder still are reports that there are theives working the area to steal dogs to use in dog fights, that is a thought I cannot even contemplate knowing Charley's sweet and affable nature.
So, think positive and be on the lookout for a cute dog who's ears perk up when you shout.."Charles!"....
More on Puggles here...
Rumors of the GOP's Majority's Demise...
No one is happy with the current state of affairs within GOP majority on the Hill, except of course the folks we here in DC refer to as the "Kool-Aide Drinkers." The mid term elections seem to be getting a lot of press and I've read lots of reports that there is a growing consensus (among reporters at least) that voter discontent could play out as a repeat of 1994, when the GOP swept a complacent and corrupt Dem majority out of the House. Mark my words, these reports are exaggerated.
Are voters discontent with how the GOP majority has governed? You betch-ya. But that doesn't mean that they've yet found a resonant message from the left. In my humble opinion, the leadership of the House needs some major revamping (Boehner was a good start) and it would be nice to see some fresh blood in the House (even upstart GOP'ers challenging current incumbents). But the numbers just don't seem there.
The Senate is the same story, even if everything goes right for the Dems, the best outcome I can come up with for them is a 50-50 split.
This is only bad news if the GOP majority does not change course and return to its alleged principles on spending, government power and such. When they retain the majority this fall, they should view it as a very generous third chance to get things right, not - as they likely will see - an affirmation of their miserable track record.
The Post has more....
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
I've Got Squirrels!
Is $1,300 in squirrel Trapping Fees Tax Deductible?
So for the past five days, there have been odd sounds coming from my fireplace. Not the fireplace per se, but the space between my mantle and the metal frame of the gas fireplace unit.
Occasionally you could hear some chirping sounds, so I figured it was a bird who got in through the flue. (Donkey says I have "Bird Flue".) So, anyway, I don't want the Karmic debt of some cute little animal starving to death inside my walls, so I call the trapper folk. That's when things go from bad to worse.
The trapper arrives and indicates that I have a juvenile squirrel inside my mantel. He'll probably have to destroy the custom mantel to free him. But as he's messing with the mantel to free the animal, we notice that the entire fireplace unit just pulls away from the wall. He grabs the squirrel (who I assume is sent off to some nice squirrel rehab center) and then we notice something even more interesting... The contractor who installed the fireplace never installed a vent to the outside. It appears that they tried, but when they cut through the drywall to install it, they were blocked by the main duct work to carry my HVAC to the second floor. So, my fireplace, for the foreseeable future is ornamental.
On the squirrel front, the trapping service came in a $295 for the baby squirrel, with the potential for more to trap the rest of the squirrel family. Then recommendations for additional flashing along the roof line to keep out future squirrel squatters and new gutter traps (my gutters are apparently clogged), will come in at about $1,300 if not more. I have no idea how much fixing the fireplace is gonna cost me.
It seems to me there is an alternate spelling of "Homeowner"..S, U, C, K, E, R!.....
(Actually, I still love my house, but sometimes the maintenance issues are crazy)
Friday, April 07, 2006
Brave New World Edition:
Alpha's work so hard, I'm so glad I'm a Beta. On this rainy Friday in the nation's capitol, what better way to kick off the weekend then by taking a positive look at the future. Granted because of Massachusetts we will all be in gay marriages, but at least we'll have someone to watch baseball with. So with that, here is your weekend reading...
Never mind the mutt, how about a pugahuahua?
Where the word "mutt" once sufficed, pop-culture aficionados and dog-lovers alike are uttering "labradoodle" and "snorkie" and "puggle."
(My new favorite word - Labradoole!)
Viruses 'trained' to build tiny batteries
Researchers trying to make tiny machines have turned to the power of nature, engineering a virus to attract metals and then using it to build minute wires for microscopic batteries.
Work to begin on maglev between Shanghai and Hangzhou
I really wish this headline read, "Work begins on Maglev between DC-NYC, but alas...
The best and the brightest are still working on it. Hurry Up!
Epochal fossils found, filling water-to-land evolutionary gap
Or so the scientists would have us believe! Everyone knows that the earth and all life on it is only about 25 minutes old and exists solely on a piece of alphabits floating in a cereal bowl in a small town on the planet Roygbiv which is populated by a race called the Nestursums. (Or so Tom Cruise tells me.)
Thursday, April 06, 2006
This is good!
Got a call yesterday to give a speech, in October, In Vancouver BC! How awesome would that be!
Or not. Getting ready for a weekend board meeting and my annual conference on Monday and Tuesday. Top that off with figuring out my annual department and over all office budget for FY07 and I am actually working hard this week. Sigh. Just a heads up, out of the office Monday and Tuesday so no postings.
Goodbye Apple OS?
I don't hate windows, but I have a Mac laptop that's three years old and have NEVER crashed. My windows based laptop died after two years. This is probably good marketing, but it makes me sad.
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Somewhere, Edward R. Murrow is weeping. The rumors continue to circulate that the affable Katie Couric (soon to be Katherine Couric) is set to take over the coveted chair at CBS Evening News. The seat once held by the likes of Walter Cronkite will now be held by a reporter best know for breaking into coverage of the Asian Tsunami to tell us about another tragedy ...the Brad Pitt-Jennifer Aniston break-up.
No doubt this will be a blog topic for a few weeks. I think it illustrates the massive change in how we as consumers get and process our news. In my youth your choices were simple, NBC, CBS, or ABC and your local morning and evening papers. Now nobody reads the paper and the ritual of sitting down to watch the 6:30 national news is on life support. (Aren't most of us stuck in traffic at 6:30 pm if not still in the office?). So the networks need to jazz things up and I guess that's what they're trying to do by bringing in someone who can seamlessly go from talking about spring fashions to Iraq. I don't watch the evening news, let alone CBS news that much to care but it just seems like another nail in the coffin of network news if you ask me.
(Note: My criticisms of Ms. Couric shouldn't be taken as sexist. I think there are other female heavy hitters out there who have much more hard-news gravitas than Katie. Diane Sawyer for example...)
MAXJet Arrives in DC
All business class airline MAXjet begins service from Dulles to London today! Hurray. The current return fare is about $1,700, not cheap, but much more within reach than the $6,000 return fares other airlines charge for business class to London. Here's hoping that MAXjet has the same effect on business class fares that Southwest does on regular fares.
Trent Lott - The Anti-Delay
Funny that the Tom Delay thing would happen today. Yesterday I attended an intimate luncheon (about 20 people) with Trent Lott, where he discussed his book. The juxtaposition of hearing Mr. Lott speak and Delay's resignation this morning has prompted a whole lot of thinking (or thinkin') on my part. They two were vastly different leaders (granted they also led vastly different bodies), and Lott was so much better and his loss has been a loss for the party.
The thesis of Mr. Lott's discussion was ideology is important, but the bottom line is that the party has to deliver results. It is better (I'm totally paraphrasing) that you get 75% to 80% of what you were shooting for than to produce nothing. (The implication I think is that the current leadership is producing - nothing). In fact, he mentioned several times that he was able to work around blockages set up by Daschle and others by both utilizing his power as majority leaders, but more often by simply talking to the other side. Stuff that isn't happening now. The Senate of course being designed to slow things down, working out differences instead of digging in ones heals is the key to successful leadership. Lott gets it, I don't think the Frist does.
Even since shedding Lott, J.C. Watts, and Gingrich the party's been adrift.
Live by the sword, die by the sword, or something. Tom Delay, one of my least favorite people in the GOP has resigned. Delay was a wickedly strong leader, and my time on Capitol Hill led me to believe that he ruled more out of fear than real respect. Stories also abound about lobbyists headed up to meeting with him and he or his staff pulling out a little book and looking up how much money they'd given to him or his causes. The lesson here is that if your Senior press guy is engaged to your deputy press person, and both know all your secrets, for the love of God don't let him break the engagement!
Also, any bets on how long it will be before Delay is indicted by the feds?
Monday, April 03, 2006
John McCain isn't even running for President yet, and my former favorite candidate back in 2000 has already lost my vote. He's setting himself up to be the John Kerry of the right.
McCain in 2000
"Gov. Bush swung far to the right and sought out the base support of Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. Those aren’t the ideas that I think are good for
the Republican Party. "
RUSSERT: Do you think that Jerry Falwell’s ideas are now good for the Republican Party?
MCCAIN: I believe that the “Christian Right” has a major role to play in the Republican Party. One reason is because they’re so active and their followers are. And I believe they have a right to be a part of our party. I don’t have to agree with everything they stand for, nor do I have to agree with everything that’s on the liberal side of the Republican Party. If we have to agree on every issue, we’re not a Republican Party. I believe in open and honest debate. Was I unhappy in the year 2000 that I lost the primary and there were some attacks on me that I thought was unfair? Of course. Should I get over it? Should I serve — can I serve the people of Arizona best by looking back in anger or moving forward?
RUSSERT: Do you believe that Jerry Falwell is still an agent of intolerance?
MCCAIN: No, I don’t. I think that Jerry Falwell can explain how his views on this program when you have him on.
Now, my issue isn't with the so-called religious right. I don't agree with them on any issue and they are pretty much trashing Christianity for profit and power. But they have a right to participate in the process. My problem is that there are already candidates out there is great conservative records that I'd consider voting for - like George Allen of Viringia. George is what he is, he's conservative and doesn't pretend to be a moderate. He's a much better potential presidentail contender than McCain as he's generally been true to his ideology. McCain is already starting to flip-flop, and doing so to please the very people that in 2000 called him a traitor and a fag.
What does that say about John McCain?
A Chavez at our Doorstep?
Hugo Chavez was popularly elected in Venezuela. Since then he's done everything he can to set himself up as President for life like his hero Fidel Castro. While we are focused on the Middle East, leftist thugism seems to be making a comeback in Latin America. Former Presidential Advisor (and prostitue afficiando) Dick Morris sees a danger lurking South of the Border...A Chavez proxy president in Mexico.
That would suck.
Do Elephant's Have Green Thumbs?
Spent this past weekend doing yard work. Installed four, 4 ft. by 4ft garden boxes in my back yard with the goal of growing some fresh tomatos, herbs, and assorted vegetables. The boxes look great...we shall see about the veggies as the spring progresses.
Spend, Spend, Spend!
For the first time that I can remember the dems are polling higher in the ability to reign in spending than are the republicans. Who should we blame? Clinton? The "Liberal" Media? Nope, we have no one to blame but the GOP. Thanks guys.
Remember my little story about the Abramoff scandal and how it all went down? Last Friday, the same story appeared on the FRONT PAGE OF THE WALL STREET JOURNAL! Of course my graphic was much, much better.
I saw a bit about this on Boing-Boing. I chuckled, then realized I owned this game! I have no recollection of playing it at all, but do remember that the Big Foot would click out these little chips. I think if a chip with a footprint fell on the spot your piece was on you lost or something.
Senator Frist is calling for a vote on immigration "reform" legislation this week. The challenge is whether the Senate will work to fix a broken system, or follow the House's lead and make things worse.
Earlier, the House approved a bill that would make all illegal immigrants felons and build a wall along the border. This feel good legislation, would in essence, declare that a population roughly the size of the entire state of Ohio are criminals, would criminalize employers who employ any undocumented worker and would build a wall along the border. Of course this all comes with the promise that it wouldn't impact the economy at all. That's right, take Ohio out of the economy, deport more than 11 million people, and everything will be just fine...trust us!
President Bush has a better idea. (YES, I AM SAYING THIS!). Give these folks, who risked life and limb to come here (albeit illegally) to redeem themselves through a guest worker program. That's the essence of one of the two bills pending in the Senate. The McCain/Kennedy bill embodies the principles of President Bush's guest worker program, the Frist Bill is a repeat of the House's impossible legislation. Here's hoping the Senate does the right thing this week.
Even if they do, they'll still have to reconcile the legislation with the House's...