Tuesday, May 30, 2006


Another President Bush?

Thanks, but no thanks...

No Jeb, No Hillary...No Dynasties please....


Hello Summer!

That was quick...

Today's forecast: 98 and Sunny...


June 6, 2006

A Day to Remember...

That Hollywood is all about devil worship. That Ann Coulter loves Jesus. Oh yes and the Senate, in a nod to their fundamentist overlords...may vote on the FMA on 6/6/06.


Poltical Correctness on the Right...


It gives me the same rage as when Department store clerks don't acknoweledge the birth of my savoir!

The next big federal holiday is Flag Day...let's see which web search engines acknowledge that holiday.


Speech Practice

Say it together now..."Hello Speaker Pelosi"

A wee bit of rare sanity from Senator First. The FBI raided a Congressman's office. They had a warrant from a judge, they gave notice, but that's not enough for Denny and the House GOP. Remember contract with America guys?! Remember how you promised to subject yourselves to the same rules of law as the rest of us...and to sit and be outraged as you all rubberstamp warrentless searches for the rest of us?!


Metro: Dark and Depressing

Like a Tomb...

Well, now that DC's Metro system has shed it previous leader, the new regime is set to shine some light on Metro's operations...literally. Seems good to me, as a daily rider I find it unbelievably depressing to trudge down into the dark subway on a nice shiny day.



Drive Bigger and Faster...Then Pay...

While I understand some of the griping about high gas prices (e.g.- you sort of have to buy gas..there isn't a readily available subsitute), I don't understand this. And since we're all rushing out to buy V-6 and V-8 engines simply to drive to the office, and supporting faster speed limits I don't understand why we are 'shocked' and 'surprised' when gas prices rise.

Drive bigger cars, drive them more miles at a fast speed uses more gas.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Blogging and Smoking?

A Secret Link?!

Well, I'm starting my 6th week as a nonsmoker and loving every minute of it. I'm less stressed, sleeping better and not crabby in the least. But I have noticed that my interest in blogging has waned somewhat in seeming unison with breaking my nicotine addiction....who knew. That and the fact that linking to a stupid picture of a puggle has been driving my hit count into the stratosphere rather than more people reading because of something interesting I've written.
Oh well...


Oh Congress!

At Least They Had A Warrant!

I can no longer believe the silliness coming out of Congress. We can complain about the Administration all we want, but need to remember it is the current crop of "leaders" in Congress who have rubber-stamped just about every policy decision by the President.

I find it ironic that after months of Congress's acts of fealty to the administration on the oxymoronic concept of "warrant-less wiretapping" that members of the GOP leadership would go ape sh#t over the search (with warrant mind you!) of an 'allegedly' corrupt politician.

People on both sides of the aisle and blogosphere have been griping about the unfettered eaxpansion of executive power (again rubber-stamped by this very Congress) over the past few years...now it seems, when the rules are applied to Congress, it isn't enough...they want even more exceptional treatment.

Oh yes, there has been some jawing about how this is 'unconstitutional' under the debate clause..but trust me, that's pure baloney....

I think it is time we need a little purge legislature....throw the bums out.

I must say I stand with the Administration on this one...

Monday, May 22, 2006


Summer Time!

Get's me thinking about Roller Coasters!

Of course around the time I turned 30, roller coasters suddenly made me very nautious...which is a pitty because I still think they are cool, it's just much harder to ride them now...

Anyway, I'd love to go on any of these...

But sadly, could probably only handle this kind of park now...


A Good Time

Was Had By All...

Played host to my parents this past weekend and I must say it was pretty fun. They arrived last Wednesday night and left this morning. Toured DC, took the train to Philly for the day, shopped for art and produce at Eastern Market, and went to the Nations game (and they won!). It was all big fun and I'm sad to see them go.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


More Shocking News from DC

You could knock me over with a feather...

House ignoring pledge over pet projects ... so what else is new....


Meet the Parents

Hanging with the folks

My folks are coming in from the Midwest tonight to visit through next Monday. I'm taking the rest of the week off to show them around...not that I've been posting much anyway.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Tuned Out

And Kind of embarrassed

Sorry for the lack of postings...I had a board meeting for my work last week up in NYC and followed that up with a trip to Pittsburgh...I returned home yesterday. despite my lack of blogging, nothing seems to have changed.... Immigrants= Bad, Govt. spying on Americans=good, etc... Politics is quickly loosing my interest (and as a lobbyist, that's probably not a good thing.)...

So, short on blogging for the moment, but I am sure this malaise will pass.

Oh yes, and my parental units will be arriving tomorrow night for five day visit...

Monday, May 08, 2006


Grassroots Television

You Tube and the Future...

Yesterday I was working on a DVD presentation on my iBook. The software is pretty basic, but there were certainly a lot of professional level features that I found quite surprising and inspiring. In fact, a while later I was talking with Donkey about how long it would be before we saw the rise of Grassroots programming, where enterprising techies developed, edited and distributed their own 'tv' shows. Then today on BoingBoing I read this...(Monday, May 8th, 1st article)

Seems like we are already there, so my follow up question is how long until a show like this breaks through to the public at large?

Looking at what's on TV now, probably not all that long.


Jesus (Copyright)

Forbidden Fruit...Oh So Sweet...

You know the whole story in the novel The Da Vinci Code is kind of lame, but what I found riveting was the discussion (fictional) of an alternative history of Jesus as well as contemporary writings about him that were not included in the biblical cannon. It made me want to learn more about how the Bible was assembled, what was not included, and general got me interested in the historical aspects of Christianity. Probably not too bad a thing as far as my soul is concerned.

But of course, if such explorations or musings are beyond the authority of the "Church", yikes! So, in a great marketing move the Catholic Church is telling folks not to go see it (with the usual success), and even threatening legal action (on the theory I guess that Jesus is somehow copyrightable?)...


Pre-Gentrification London


See Maria, Starbucks is mapping out ways to wipe out you and your semi-criminal element!



Washington Post Style..

Today the Washington Post takes a hard hitting look at gentrification in DC's Columbia Hieghts neighborhood and concludes...""It's not always bad and not always good. It really depends on how you look at it." Of course the article was written through the eyes of the 7 year-old girl, which is pretty much how the post looks at everything...

Oh, and Starbucks employees hate the world..."The people in Starbucks don't care about the people living in the neighborhood. All they care about is making money."

This is what passes for news people...

Friday, May 05, 2006


A Kennedy, A Car, A Crash..Congress!

Oh Congress...

No wonder most of us think less of Congress than we do of the Administration. Another Kennedy and a car (sleep driving my @ss), just a few weeks after Cynthia McKinney, and of course the Senate passes a pork laden bill that President Bush would never veto...

Thursday, May 04, 2006


Worse than Death

And No Martyrdom to Boot...

In what must have been an agonizing decision, the jury in the Moussaoui trial hands down a sentence of life in prison w/0 parole. For poor little Zacarius, this will mean 23 hours a day lock up in a cell, alone and of course no twenty virgins or whatever waiting for him in his so-called heaven. Throw in the chance for some forced sodomy and I think we've achieved some justice here. Either way, from Elephant's perspective, a lifetime alone in the federal government's "Care" and being robbed of his martyrdom is far, far worse than death.

I'm picturing a nice little cell right next to Manuel Noriega's.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


It's Time to Get Over Gas Prices

A Problem of Our Own Making...

Well the ongoing 24/7 coverage of rising gas prices continues. Panic, Panic, Panic. Even the government seems to be getting in on the panic action. (Here, and Here) But let's get real here for a moment shall we. There are many reasons for the rise in gas prices, some we control others we do not, and one thing is for certain, that any knee jerk reaction and cries for government assistance will only make things worse. So let's take a look at why gas is expensive and what we could reasonably do about it.

First off, gas is not at a record price (although it may soon be). See here. Anyway, looking at this chart you'll see that the relative price of gas is fairly stable, only increasing recently. But of course that is cold comfort when you're shelling out $60 to fill your tank twice a week.

Why is gas so expensive:

As mentioned above gas is currently expensive for several reasons:

Instability in Oil Producing Nations: First and foremost seems to be international instability in oil producing nations. Iran is crazy for the nukes, Iraq...well we all know how well that's going, Venezuela seems intent on becoming the next Cuba, Nigeria is coping with banditry and so on. This instability has led to a premium on gas as there is now a stronger likelihood that supply could be interrupted.

China and India:The world's two most populous nations are growing like weeds, becoming richer, buying more cars and are now competing with us for these resources. More gas usage means higher demand, higher demand means higher prices.

The Falling Dollar: It's often said that deficits don't matter. Well, they do matter. The record sending by the current administration has double that U.S. national debt in the past five years. As a result the U.S. Dollar has declined versus other currencies...by around 20 to 30%. Oil is priced in dollars, so if an oil producing nation wants to make the same profit on its oil, priced in dollars, prices have to rise.

Your SUV: Just like back in the 1970s, we all love driving our monster SUV's and muscle cars. Even your truly, when renting a car always goes for the Charger or the Jeep. I think it is great we can buy whatever car or truck we want, but we shouldn't be surprised when we use more gas because we drive less efficient cars.

Federal Clean Air Regulations: Under current clean air regs. Refineries are mandated to switch from winter blended fuels, to cleaner summer burning fuels to reduce smog. No problem there. But the clean fuel blends differ from region to region. California has one formulation, the Midwest another and so on for other parts of the country. This creates supply bottlenecks and shortages in one market (say California) can not be mitigated by supplies from other states. Also, due to strict clean air act regs, it is virtually impossible to build a new refinery in the U.S. so the ones we still have are old and working 24/7 to meet ever growing demands.

What can we do about it?

First, we must accept that there is very little the government can do regarding gas prices in the short term. In fact government intervention would likely cause more harm than good in the short, medium, and long term. But, there are things we as voter, consumers and a nation could do that would get oil prices back under control, or at least give us more control over our energy prices. The question is are they worth it and would you be willing to live with them?

Harmonize Summer Blend Regulations (or eliminate them): As mentioned above the current market for summer fuels is fragmented. Every Spring this creates supply bottlenecks that cause price spikes. These various summer formulas should be harmonized to de-balkanize the market place, or perhaps temporarily suspended (I think Bush has done the later...good for him). If air quality issues trump other concerns, don't complain about the resulting costs.

Drive More Fuel Efficient Cars: There is a lot of interesting technology out there (Hybrids and such), but there is no need to even shell out the extra money for a hybrid. Next time your in the market for a car, buy something a bit more fuel efficient than your current mini-van our SUV. Just switching one of your cars to something more efficient will help curb demand.

Reimpose the 55 MPH Speed Limit: Believe it or not, this nationwide policy from the Carter years was instrumental in breaking the OPEC cartels pricing power back in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In fact OPEC was so crippled (cartels are inherently unstable anyway), that we had nearly 20 years of cheap gas, lasting well into the 1990s. As recently as the late 1990s, even the Economist magazine was predicting oil at $5/bbl. Imposing the 55 MPH speed limit would increase fuel efficiency and curb demand. I wouldn't be surprised that within hours of announcing a return to this policy that oil would drop in price by $10 to $15 a barrel. (Seriously!)
Get our Fiscal House in Order: Think gas is expensive today? What happens if the dollar looses even more of its value? To finance our federal deficit spending the U.S. needs to attract $2 Billion a day in foreign investment. If that investment dried up, or if China and Japan (who buy most of our national debt) stop buying our bonds, the dollar could collapse (think $12 gal gas), even the best and most likely scenarios project that the dollar will decline by up to 40% over the midterm if you don't get our finances in order. I don't know the relationship between the value of the dollar and the price of gas at the pump...but a 40% decline in the dollar would no doubt push prices up even more.

Explore Realistic Alternative Fuels: This year Brazil will stop importing gasoline, having successfully implemented a national ethanol policy. (more on that here). We could probably do the same, or at least look into that and other alternative fuels. Popular Science has the ins and outs of that here.



The Return of Mr. T...

The "T" apparently is for "Talking"....


Emergency Supplemental Spending

Senate set to pass bloated bill...

The Senate is set to pass the emergency supplemental spending bill, designed to fund the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afganistan as well as fund ongoing hurricane recovery in the gulf. The bill is laden with 'extras' to the tune of $14 billion plus. President Bush has threatened a veto (LOL!) will he follow through?

Also, at least Senator Frist seems to have backed away from his federal government handout of $100 due to gas prices. That's a shame as I was hoping to get some federal assistance for my higher cable bill, cell phone bill, natural gas bill and other expenses I have. Oh wait, they're more tone deaf than I thought.. it's still alive!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Happy, Happy - Joy, Joy

Two Awesome, Smoke-Free Weeks!

I almost forgot to celebrate today. It's officially been two full weeks since I became a non-smoker. The scary part is, as I mentioned, I almost forgot it's been two weeks...things are going that well. In fact, I haven't felt this good in a long time...

Seriously, if I can do this anyone can...If you're thinking of quiting, go pick up a copy of The Easy Way to Quit Smoking by Allen Carr. Midgie reccomended it to me (She's going on five weeks as a nonsmoker) and I in turn have recommeded it to Donkey who's almost done with it.

Again, a really great experience and not at all a grit-your-teeth-so-happy-to-be-ironing-Stimpy's-socks type thing.


Speaking of Fealty...

Colbert Speaks Truth-to-Power at Annual Press Suck-Up-Fest...

What happens when the network and cable news media is so intertwined with the power elites that they can't do their job properly? Well the duties of the fourth estate then seem to fall unto comedians. Perhaps this is why most folks my age and younger see the Daily Show as a viable news source, rather than say the blathering of CNN's Lou Dobbs or Fox's Bill O'Reilly.

Andrew Sullivan reverses course and declares that Colbert's performance at the White House Correspondent's Dinner was in fact, true genius....popping the bubble of fealty around the president created by his subordinates and increasingly respected by so-called journalists.

Despite my ranting, check out Sullivan's thoughts here...

Colbert's transcript viewable here.


Metro Service Improvements

Updated Signage for Passenger Convenience

Finally, some visible evidence of Metro's long talked about service improvements. The photo to the right shows that metro is now updating the escalator outage signs. The one here, at the metro stop by my house, shows how this escalator repair sign is updated for my convenience. Originally the sign read, "Operational by 1/25/2006." And every month since some hardworking (Union employee no doubt) takes time away from their bi-hourly breaks to update the outage sign on a little piece of paper. Currently, according to the sign, this project, which was supposed to be completed by 1/25, then 2/25, then 3/25, then 4/25...is now on track to be completed by 5/25. That's customer service in action.


You Have Got to be Kidding Me?

Why not a "Fealty Day"...

Sigh...It's funny now how I have no expectations of anything remotely conservative (at least in the sense of what that means policy wise) from the GOP majority. In case you missed it, last Sunday was officiallly "Loyalty Day" as declared by President Bush. Yes, Loyalty Day.

I can see perhaps relfecting upon a Patriot's Day (September 11), but Loyalty Day? There used to be a time when loyalty, from a GOP perspective, mean questioning just about every aspect of the government, if it worked, if it was better performed by the markets, etc. Now we get "Loyalty Day," where I guess the goal is to not question anything the goverment does at all.

Under the current Administration, have we grown so insecure as a country that we have to have a national day to pledge loyalty to the government and its actions? That we're somehow denigrated when people sing our national anthem in another language? (Can you imagine how moving it would be to have it sung in Mandarin in Tianamen Square back in the day?!). A lot of pundits like to promote the idea that liberals are all soft and whimpy, but it seems to me that this administration, and its remaining supporters, are so insure it's beyond laughable. So many missed opportunities and so little chance of anything turning around in the next three years.

Monday, May 01, 2006


Collateral Damage Update

Foundation is A-OK!

That's the report issued by my foundation contractor this weekend when examining the somewhat gaping hole in my foundation. Basically some bricks popped out...no structural issues, so it will likely only cost $100s, rather than $1,000s or tens of $1,000s to fix....

WHEW! I feel better now.


Happy Birthday!

Old Lady!

Wow! The Empire State Building is 75 years old today. Interesting. I love tall buildings. In fact, I have a small collection of those plastic/pewter little tourist trinkets you buy when you go visit these structures. Here's some tall buildings I've been to.

Empire State Building
World Trade Center
Sears Tower
Aon Tower
John Hancock Tower
SeaFirst Center
Jin Mao Tower
Petronas Towers
Eiffel Tower
Pearl Orient TV Tower
Stratosphere Tower

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