Friday, March 04, 2011

WORD AROUND THE NET

"Colleges are similarly abandoning standards and tradition in order to appear hip to what are, basically, hyper-libidinous know-nothing barbarians."

Government shutdown! That's what the Obama administration is warning of if congress passes a budget with actual cuts rather than the huge increases in spending he keeps calling for (high speed rail, increases in the transportation and Justice Department budgets, etc). Yet I remember well the last time one took place in the Clinton administration and you know what happened? Nothing, to me at least. Nothing to almost anyone. The networks were busy hunting up someone they could put on television who was negatively affected, but the fact is, a government shut down has almost no effect on people - in fact, according to Andrew Taylor at the Associated Press, it doesn't even shut down:
Fewer than half of the 2.1 million federal workers subject to a shutdown would be forced off the job if the Obama administration followed the path taken by presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. And that's not counting 600,000 Postal Service employees or 1.6 million uniformed military personnel exempt from a shutdown.

So we're talking fewer than one in four federal workers staying at home. Many federal workers get paid on March 4, so it would take a two-week shutdown for them to see a delay in their paychecks.

The rules for who works and who doesn't date back to the early 1980s and haven't been significantly modified since. The Obama administration hasn't issued new guidance.

The air traffic control system, food inspection, Medicare, veterans' health care and many other essential government programs would run as usual. The Social Security Administration would not only send out benefits but would continue to take applications. The Postal Service, which is self-funded, would keep delivering the mail. Federal courts would remain open.
Still, park workers would get time off and you can bet they would be on TV again blaming Republicans.

Libya has a human rights award. Its no joke, the award has been handed out for several years. The latest guy to get it is Turkish president Erdogan. Even as Khadaffi orders his military to bomb and shoot protesters, vowing to fight to the last man, to the last drop of blood, the United Nations is preparing a special report. In that report... praise to Libya for its human rights record.
The review commends Libya for improving educational opportunities, for making human rights a "priority" and for bettering its "constitutional" framework. Several countries, including Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, and Saudi Arabia but also Canada, give Libya positive marks for the legal protections afforded to its citizens -- who are now revolting against the regime and facing bloody reprisal.
Libya being on the human rights council probably has something to do with this.

In England, Christian parents were barred from being foster parents. Eunice and John owens were told they could not be foster parents because they would teach their children that homosexuality was morally wrong. The Equality and Human Rights Commission told the pair that they could undergo "reeducation" and be allowed to be foster parents. George Orwell rolled over in his grave.

Good Christian Bitches, that's the working title for a new TV drama on ABC. By the makers of Sex And the City, here's how Marisa Guthrie describes it at Hollywood Reporter:
The dramedy... follows a woman who moves back to her Dallas neighborhood after a divorce only to become the center of salacious gossip from the community’s church-going wives.
Soon to come out on ABC, Hairy Muslim Morons... yeah, sure.

Brisbane Australia had a brilliant idea: make rental bicycles available for people to ride around town. They reasoned that commuters were driving around only because of a lack of enough bicycles, so if some were around, then they'd stop driving and polluting and we would save the planet!
Figures provided to The Courier-Mail showed only 175 of the 700 bicycles available for hire were being used each day, on average, since the CityCycle scheme began in October 2010.
That's what Robyn Ironside reports at the Brisbane Courier-Mail. Undaunted, city officials plan on making even more bicycles available, claiming "more and more people" are using them every day! Look for a city near you to try the same thing.

New York City Councilman Eric Ulrich has a plan that rivals Oregon's legislators: require all bicyclists to register and have to get a license to ride in the city, but Assemblyman Michael DenDekker plans to extend the law to the entire state, not just the city. Why? DenDekker claims it is about:
"ensuring personal protection for cases such as bicycle theft or bicycle accidents. With a recent high increase in bike use on roads, rising from 30% in 1980, and doubling to 60% just ten years later, it is essential that the state of New York be able to identify the bicycle riders." And the commercial cycling bill would "be beneficial for small businesses to have liability insurance because the insurance would pay for any medical bills, instead of having the payment come directly from the pockets of the business."
The fact that this would raise almost $2 million a year and reduce bicycle traffic in a city plagued with out of control cyclists probably factors in as well. But what of the planet?

Speaking of saving the planet, President Obama is big on the topic, repeating climate change alarmism and calling for legislation to cripple the economy even further. Meanwhile, he turns his heat up to 80 in the oval office, jets all around the country, and flies his fitness trainer in every week all the way from Chicago. Its almost as if they don't take their own rhetoric seriously.

Nuclear war, that's what the planet needs! National Geographic magazine used to be about cultures, plants, animals, geography, exploration, and travel. Then around 1998 they decided every single issue had to be about how man is destroying the planet and we're all doomed from global climate catastrophe unless we take drastic measures. Recently Charles Q Choi wrote an article for their online site with the headline "Small Nuclear War Could Reverse Global Warming For Years." Asserting boldly that the planet is unquestionably in a long-term warming trend in the face of all evidence in the last 12 years, the article then describes how nuclear winter would reverse that! Well, our course is clear I guess.

Green Jobs are said to be the future too, but Versoe Economics (pdf file, courtesy Andrew Bolt) has done a study recently and they discovered the future must mean economic collapse:
The report’s key finding is that for every job created in the UK in renewable energy, 3.7 jobs are lost. In Scotland there is no net benefit from government support for the sector, and probably a small net loss of jobs…

Research in Spain, Germany and by the EU suggests that net employment effects are negative with the likely opportunity cost, or costs associated with higher energy prices, outstripping the creation of green jobs. ...

(The) policy to promote renewable energy in the UK has an opportunity cost of 10,000 direct jobs in 2009/10 and 1,200 jobs in Scotland.
Yes, but they mean well. Which brings us to...

Toilets. San Francisco not long ago required all toilets to be changed over to the low-capacity jobs that require most people to flush more than once. Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross report on how well that's working out in the San Francisco Chronicle:
Skimping on toilet water has resulted in more sludge backing up inside the sewer pipes, said Tyrone Jue, spokesman for the city Public Utilities Commission. That has created a rotten-egg stench near AT&T Park and elsewhere, especially during the dry summer months.

The city has already spent $100 million over the past five years to upgrade its sewer system and sewage plants, in part to combat the odor problem.

Now officials are stocking up on a $14 million, three-year supply of highly concentrated sodium hypochlorite - better known as bleach - to act as an odor eater and to disinfect the city's treated water before it's dumped into the bay. It will also be used to sanitize drinking water.

That translates into 8.5 million pounds of bleach either being poured down city drains or into the drinking water supply every year.
Remember the story of the series of animals, each brought in to deal with the previous animal which became a pest?

Sweden has an infestation of animals, bunny rabbits, to be exact. Brought in as pets and set free, they've done what bunnies do best: breed. The place is over run with the animals, and the Swedish government has come up with a way of dealing with the rabbits. Burn them as fuel. I'm not making this up.

Canada is a huge source of oil, in the sands of their cold north. Well, colder. However, the US and much of Europe refuse to buy the oil because it is too "dirty," claiming that it pollutes too much for them to feel comfortable buying it. Ezra Levant writes in the Toronto Sun about how mistaken that is:
...last week, the very week when Gadhafi and his son told the world they’d fight democracy protesters to the last bullet, was the week the European Union chose to criticize Canada’s oilsands because — get this — they say we have 20 more grams of carbon dioxide per megajoule of oil than Libya does.

It’s true, it takes more energy to produce oil from Canada’s oilsands than from Libya’s desert because we have to steam it out of the sand.

European oil imports from Iraq and Nigeria have the same carbon footprint as our oilsands. Those countries burn off the natural gas that comes up when they pump oil — an illegal environmental practice in Canada. And oil from Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela has even higher carbon emissions.

Our European friends are silent on all of this.
Of course it could just be hypocrisy - or corruption, as Canada is less likely to bribe officials to get people to buy their oil than, say, Khaddafi or Chavez.

President Obama advisor and AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka has a plan for new jobs in America: raise taxes! How would this produce jobs? Well the government would have all that money to hire people with, union workers, specifically. Mind you the rest of the economy would suffer because higher taxes = less spending, less expansion of business, less investment and less hiring, but those government and union workers would be set!

While we're on the subject of unions, here's a dirty little secret courtesy Doug Ross at Right Wing News:
...the Wisconsin Education Association Council, the largest teachers union in the state, has grossly abused [collective bargaining] for decades, resulting in the unnecessary siphoning of millions of dollars from Wisconsin public schools. Under current Wisconsin law, the [choice] of the insurance company that provides health coverage to school employees is a matter of collective bargaining in each school district.

In the majority of districts around the state, WEAC negotiators have used that law to pressure local school boards into purchasing coverage from WEA Trust, an insurance company established by and closely associated with the union.
...
Officials from other districts say they're also eager to dump WEA Trust coverage, but need their employees' anonymous claim histories from WEA Trust to share with other bidders. Several say they have never requested that information because they were told WEA Trust would punish them by pulling them out of local insurance pools, resulting in skyrocketing premiums.

Today many Wisconsin school boards consider themselves stuck with expensive WEA Trust health coverage, until state law is altered to take the identity of the insurance carrier off the collective bargaining table. Gov. Scott Walker's current legislative proposal would do just that, giving school boards the opportunity to freely shop for insurance and save millions of tax dollars for instructional purposes.
You thought those unions were fighting so hard just because they were upset about little cuts in pay and a change in collective bargaining? Oh my no, its about money, and Democratic Party power. If the unions lose power, so does their pet party.

President Obama's supporters, defenders, and the legacy media (but I repeat myself) have long used the "racist" charge to attack anyone who dares question or disagree with him. Personally I only disagree with his white half. For a long time, many have suspected that this came from the Obama team, if not the president himself, without any proof. Until now. Ace of Spades HQ reports that he was always pushing for the "subterranean racism" charge all along:
Kenneth T. Walsh, in a "Special Report" for US News Weekly (2/26) titled, "Race in the Era of Obama," writes that in May 2010, President Obama "told guests at a private White House dinner that race was probably a key component in the rising opposition to his presidency from conservatives, especially right-wing activists in the anti-incumbent 'Tea Party' movement. ... A guest suggested that when Tea Party activists said they wanted to 'take back' their country, their real motivation was to stir up anger and anxiety at having a black president, and Obama didn't dispute the idea. He agreed that there was a 'subterranean agenda' in the anti-Obama movement -- a racially biased one."
Well naturally, they couldn't just disagree, it has to be about race.

The Government Accountability Office has found a few places in the federal government that could be cut. Damian Paletta reports for the Wall Street Journal about these areas of redundancy, waste, and duplication, here's a summary of someof the findings:
  • 15 different agencies overseeing food-safety laws,
  • more than 20 separate programs to help the homeless
  • 80 programs for economic development.
  • 82 federal programs to improve teacher quality
  • 80 to help disadvantaged people with transportation
  • 47 for job training and employment
  • 56 to help people understand finances,
  • 18 federal programs on food and nutrition assistance
  • 80 different economic development programs
  • 52 different programs that fund entrepreneurial efforts
  • 35 programs for infrastructure
  • 26 programs for telecommunications.
The military isn't excluded here. The report claims "there were 130,000 military and government medical professionals, 59 Defense Department hospitals and hundreds of clinics that could benefit from consolidating administrative, management and clinical functions." According to Tom Coburn (R-OK) the report identifies an estimated 100-200 billion in duplicated spending. But if you try to cut anything, the Democrats start screaming about starving children and elderly eating dog food.

I've written briefly about this in the past, but when the financial crash happened in 2008, it was triggered by a massive run on the banks by certain unknown and unnamed persons. Who were they and why did they do it, and why then? Nobody seemed to want to find out, until now. Bill Gertz writing at the Washington Times reports that a Pentagon report lays out evidence of financial terrorism which triggered the collapse. Given how greatly President Obama benefited from this event I'm not sure how deeply he wants to dig into this.

In Pakistan, the only Christian minister in the government, Shahbaz Bhatti, was shot to death by the Taliban. He was troubled by and opposed new blasphemy laws that would have effectively outlawed all faiths but Islam.

Libyan protesters seeking to overthrow the tyrant Khaddaffi are asking the US for help with the planes bombing and shooting them. They specifically are begging for President Bush to assist them. Reuters reports it this way:
Opposition activists called for a no-fly zone, echoing a demand by Libya’s deputy U.N. envoy, who now opposes Gaddafi.

Bring Bush! Make a no fly zone, bomb the planes,” shouted soldier-turned-rebel Nasr Ali, referring to a no-fly zone imposed on Iraq in 1991 by then U.S. President George Bush.
Now, which is more likely to you: they mean President Bush the younger, who recently bombed and destroyed planes while toppling dictators in middle eastern countries... or the elder, who established a no-fly zone resulting in the slaughter of Kurds 20 years ago? Reuters is sure they know.

Finally, I'm not going to go into details here, as they aren't child-friendly and are somewhat NSFW but they involve a human sexuality class in college, the corrosion of college quality, and some thoughts by Ace at the Ace of Spades HQ. I recommend the read, even if it is dealing with a somewhat scandalous story.

And that's the Word Around the Net, March 4, 2011.

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