Found the following snippet over at Lileks. Methinks that Randy Andy might keep this sort of thing in mind. Excerpt:
I have my doctrinal differences with the Catholic church as well; I understand the reasons for requiring priestly celibacy, but I don’t agree with them. I don’t agree with many Catholic positions on issues regarding sexuality. Growing up Lutheran, I was gently guided away from the clanging errancy of Maryolatry. Because I disagree with the Catholic Church on these and a few other matters, I am– how do I put this? – NOT CATHOLIC. Hence I am always amazed by people who want the church to accommodate their thoughts, their new beliefs, their precarious and ingenious rationales, instead of ripping themselves from the bosom and seeking a congregation that doesn't make them feel like a heretic banging thier head on Filarete's doors. To those who want profound change, consider an outsider’s perspective: the Catholic Church is the National Review of religion. You may live long enough to see it become the Weekly Standard. In your dreams it might become the New Republic. But it’s never going to be the Nation. And if ever it does, it will have roughly the same subscriber base.
I realize that I'm violating one of Harvey's cardinal blog rules by telling you this, but I'll be away on vacation until next weekend. No computer, no posting.
They killed The Hitchhiker's Guide To the Galaxy! You bastards!!
I'm not certain whether to weep or have a seizure. Just yesterday I told my wife that "They'd better not screw up this movie." And yes, I'll probably watch the damned thing just so I'll be in the right frame of mind to light the torches before stormin' the castle.
Thanks?? to Vox for the link.
All those book covers with partially disrobed women displaying the effects of push-up bras swooning before Fabio look-alikes tend to disguise some of the worst prose in the history of mankind. Truthfully, the covers suck as much as what's inside. Longmire decided to Photoshop a few. Excerpt:
His readers also got into the act.
And finally, some of the dirtier book covers. Click on the extended entry.
Received the following via email. They're old, and they're all gag-inducing. And yes, I already knew all of them. That probably doesn't bode well for my mental health:
1. A vulture boarded a plane, carrying two dead raccoons. The stewardess stopped him and said, "Sorry sir, only one carrion per passenger."
2. NASA recently sent a number of Holsteins into orbit for experimental purposes. They called it the herd shot round the world.
3. Two boll weevils grew up in S. Carolina. One took off to Hollywood and became a rich star. The other stayed in Carolina and never amounted to much--and naturally became known as the lesser of two weevils.
4. Two Eskimos in a kayak were chilly, so they started a fire, which sank the craft, proving the old adage you can't have your kayak and heat it too.
5. A 3-legged dog walks into an old west saloon, slides up to the bar and announces, "I'm looking for the man who shot my paw."
6. Did you hear about the Buddhist who went to the dentist and refused to take Novocain? He wanted to transcend dental medication.
7. A group of chess enthusiasts checked into a hotel, and met in the lobby where they were discussing their recent victories in chess tournaments. The hotel manager came out of the office after an hour, and asked them to disperse. He couldn't stand chess nuts boasting in an open foyer.
8. A woman has twins, gives them up for adoption. One goes to an Egyptian family and is named "Ahmal" The other is sent to a Spanish family and is named "Juan". Years later, Juan sends his birth mother a picture of himself. Upon receiving the picture, she tells her husband she wishes she also had a picture of Ahmal. He replies, "They're twins for Pete's sake!! If you've seen Juan, you've seen Ahmal!!"
9. A group of friars opened a florist shop to help with their belfry payments. Everyone liked to buy flowers from the Men of God, so their business flourished. A rival florist became upset that his business was suffering because people felt compelled to buy from the Friars, so he asked the Friars to cut back hours or close down. The Friars refused. So the florist then hired Hugh McTaggert, the biggest meanest thug in town. He went to the Friars' shop, beat them up, destroyed their flowers, trashed their shop, and said that if they didn't close, he'd be back. Well, totally terrified, the Friars closed up shop and hid in their rooms. This proved that Hugh, and only Hugh, can prevent florist friars.
10. Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot his whole life, which created an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him frail, and with his odd diet, he suffered from very bad breath. This made him.... what? (This is so bad it's good...) --a super-callused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.
Update: Professor Bainbridge has more. Money quote:
So why is Sullivan so worked up? Here's his real gripe in his own words:
... the impermissibility of any sexual act that does not involve the depositing of semen in a fertile uterus ....
It's always about sex with Andrew, isn't it?
And here’s the good news -- a lot of people are building machines you’ll be
able to buy.
One of those people is an inventor named Woody Norris. This week, he will receive America’s top prize for invention. It’s called the Lemelson-MIT award -- a half-million dollar cash prize to honor his life’s work, which includes a brand new personal flying machine. Correspondent Bob Simon reports.
It's called the AirScooter, and self-taught inventor Woody Norris says it goes on sale later this year.
Norris, 66, asked one of his test pilots to demonstrate the AirScooter for 60 Minutes on a hilltop outside San Diego, Calif. It can fly for 2 hours at 55 mph, and go up to 10,000 feet above sea level.
"Look how quickly it stops, hovers, sideways, sideways, straight down," Norris tells Simon.
Everything is controlled from the motorcycle-like handle bar. Push it forward and the two counter-rotating blades pivot forward. Push it back and it goes back. Norris says you won’t need a pilot’s license if you fly it under 400 feet in non-restricted air space. And he’s going to sell it for $50,000.
Scattered flying sausages, with automobile collisions out of the northwest.
I'm going to send money to the campaigns of whoever the Democrats run against Senator George Voinovich of Ohio and Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska. Why are they dicking around? Are they afraid the NY Times won't like them? Wait until they see what it's like when the Republican voters don't like you.
I think I've determined the one necessary qualification for a UN ambassabor that the Democrats will aprove of: someone who bends over for some hot Kofi.
Well, you knew that hackers would eventually target Firefox. Here's the fix.
Sounds pretty good to me, especially with two small children in the house. Anywa, some details found here and here. Interestingly enough, the game Supremacy sounds suspiciously like one of my favorite old board games, Stellar Conquest. You, and up to three opponents, begin at the 4 corners of the galaxy. You colonize planets, improve your technology, build warships and attempt to conquer the universe. This game provided my first introduction to probability and permutations due to the different die-roll combinations required to win during combat. Suffice it to say that the ability to work complex fractions in my head-quickly- proved quite useful. Unfortunately, I played with other geeks and gearheads, so my advantage was essentially nill.
By the way, if anyone knows where I can aquire a copy of Stellar Conquest, let me know. I've checked at numerous gaming conventions and over the Internet. No results yet. Maybe you'll have better luck.
What do you do when some asshats throw pies at speakers with whom they disagree? I guess that you can blame the victim or claim some sort of moral high ground for the pie-thrower. This article accomplishes both. Nice. Here's an excerpt:
The last few days have seen the predictable lament that the pie-throwers represent the worst thing about democracy—people so inarticulate that the only way they can counter such toxic thinkers as Coulter is to seize the moral low ground by trying to curtail their free speech.
That is far too simple an argument. Throwing a pie at someone who deserves it is one of the most celebrated traditions in our so-called culture.
Clearly, throwing a pie at a lecturer is anathema to serious debate. But what’s worse is the quality of pie-throwing today. Coulter was barely grazed. A PETA pie-hurler a few years ago hit Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman in the back (the back!). Horowitz had more pie on his shirt than on his face. Perhaps, the pie itself is the culprit.
I will assume by this writer's tone that conservative pie-throwers will be welcomed with open arms at Hillary!'s next press conference.
My wife and I watched the HBO special about the birth of Air America. Kind of funny, and yet somehow pathetic. I started wondering how the hole "BusHitlerHalliburtonWMDLIESLIESLIES!" thing was going. Fortunately for me, I didn't have to wonder too long. Dirty Harry over at Jackson's Junction has the goods. Excerpt:
Liberals want the facts confronted and then to be told why it was the United Nations that made Iraq free or why it was Clinton policies that caused the rise of freedom in the Middle East. They want an intellectual, logical, and compassionate explanation of why the Bush successes are luck and how liberalism birthed them. Instead they get diversions and non-sequiters about Hitler and Halliburton.
I heard Dennis Miller confront Harry Shearer about the success in the Middle East and ask about giving Bush a little credit for it. Shearer refused to even pretend he was asked the question and went on and on about how we would invade Iran and how Bolton was this or that. It was pathetic. Miller asked again. Same response.
Conservatives turn to talk radio to hear, among many things, why we're right. In the face of it all, please tell us why we're still right. Air America can't do that. All they can do is ignore the question. That's mighty cold comfort and no way create to a revolution.
Update: I'm always behind the times. Of course Michelle Malkin was onto this story before me. Of course she was.
Steve Zahn will burn in Hell for this. Burn! I tell you. Excerpt:
He told the Calgary Sun: "Right after I finished Sahara, I flew off to a desert in Mexico to film Bandidas with Penelope and Salma Hayek.
"It's set in 1888 in Mexico. Penelope and Salma are a pair of Robin Hood-style bank robbers. I'm the American detective who's sent down to Mexico to capture them.
"They capture me and blackmail me by taking some risque photos of the three of us. I end up tied up naked on a bed with Salma and Penelope. I spent three days naked with the girls."
I think if you look up the word "prick" in the dictionary, you'll find Zahn's picture next to it. Think I'm wrong? Check out the extended entry.
Let me reiterate: bastard.
Patterico makes an analysis of the legal arguments surrounding the Schiavo case and concludes that the courts should have granted the temporary injunction to reinsert the feedin tube. As always, a worthy read.
Okay, maybe not, but Megan McCardle is (rightly) kvetching about the compensatory taxes she's forced to pay. Excerpt:
It is at times like this that I start to believe the supply siders, even though the empirical evidence for their propositions is pretty shaky. Book reviews look a lot less attractive when I net 47 cents on the dollar--why not have my evenings and weekends to myself, instead? Why not move to New Jersey, where I can get rid of my city tax, lower my state tax, and pay less sales tax to boot? Or if my parents hadn't weighted me down with all these middle American ideas about obeying the law and playing it straight and narrow--and I didn't have a morbid fear of going to jail--I could take the "poor man's tax shelter" and ask my employers to move my income off the books. This is what economists call deadweight loss, and as Zimran Ahmed points out, estimates are that the United States government burns about 25 cents this way for every dollar it raises in taxes.
I've no doubt that the liberals who read this will think "Waaa! waaa! Poor educated white professional girl has to pay her taxes." But I was against marginal rates this high before I had to pay them. There is some level at which taxation becomes confiscation, and I'd argue that when you are working more hours for the government than you are for yourself, we have crossed that bright line. By what moral right does the government tell anyone, from Warren Buffet on down, that it has a right to more than half their life?
I believe that the question isn't one of moral authority, but rather the fact that government has lots and lots of big effing guns. Morality doesn't enter into it.
Check out this article. Excerpt:
For more than a century, it has caused excitement and frustration in equal measure - a collection of Greek and Roman writings so vast it could redraw the map of classical civilisation. If only it was legible.
Now, in a breakthrough described as the classical equivalent of finding the holy grail, Oxford University scientists have employed infra-red technology to open up the hoard, known as the Oxyrhynchus Papyri, and with it the prospect that hundreds of lost Greek comedies, tragedies and epic poems will soon be revealed.
In the past four days alone, Oxford's classicists have used it to make a series of astonishing discoveries, including writing by Sophocles, Euripides, Hesiod and other literary giants of the ancient world, lost for millennia. They even believe they are likely to find lost Christian gospels, the originals of which were written around the time of the earliest books of the New Testament.
The original papyrus documents, discovered in an ancient rubbish dump in central Egypt, are often meaningless to the naked eye - decayed, worm-eaten and blackened by the passage of time. But scientists using the new photographic technique, developed from satellite imaging, are bringing the original writing back into view. Academics have hailed it as a development which could lead to a 20 per cent increase in the number of great Greek and Roman works in existence. Some are even predicting a "second Renaissance".
So the mayor of San Francisco believes that gay marriage is the hot button issue that will lead the Democrats back to the promised land of majority rule. Huh. Apparently the 2004 election results were an aberration. Sure they were.
I guess by this idiotic standard, men shouldn't be allowed to be bald unless they're Greek actors portraying private detectives on television. The lollypop sucking isn't mandatory, though.
Let's hope that Serenity box office receipts are large enough so that asswad(s) at Fox responsible for screwing Firefly over get, well, fired. Okay, that's a bit harsh. Just reorganize their positions so that their job responsibilities include cleaning all of the network toilets with their tongues. Just a thought.
RUmsfeld finally comes out and admits that he has no exit strategy and the NY Times prints it right away. Uh huh. Looks like the Times' headline is of the abridged sort. Check out LGF.for the whole story.
Plenty of people have weighed into on Yglesias' diatribe about the abolishing the estate tax, so I don't have anything of value to add. However, the following comment almost left me speechless:
The purpose of citizens is to pay taxes. Government has no reason to tolerate citizens otherwise. Dead or alive, what difference does it make? They should pay.
How do you respond to such horseshit? Short answer: you don't. Anyone who actually believes that my life has no meaning outside of servitude to the government probably deserves my pity. Unfortunately, I'm not in a charitable mood; all he gets is my contempt.
Wait a minute, I've figured out how to converse on his level after all. Here goes:
Maybe someone should remind Senate Republicans about the first rule of holes...
I didn't bother to comment on McCain's moronic "now the NY Times will love me" statement on Softball with Chris Matthews that he would oppose the "nuclear" option with regards to ending judicial filibusters. And yes, the Reuters' scare quotes are intentional around the word "nuclear". The idea that a filibuster is some sacrosanct, immutable law of the Senate is complete and utter bullshit. Check your history books(not the version found in California where George Bush roasts small children for shits and giggles) and you will notice that it used to require 67 votes to end cloture. The number now stands at 60. That change occurred in 1975, when Senator Byrd was Majority Whip, and it came about by simple majority-vote rule change. Anyone else notice the irony?
I hear that Senate Majority Leader Frist is backpedaling from the whole judicial filibuster thing and plans to focus on legistlative issues instead. Um, Senator Frist? You don't have a fucking clue. Try and beat the filibuster; you might actually win. And if enough wayward Republicans defeat the effort, that's fine, too: some of them are up for re-election next year. I'm already looking forward to those campaign speeches. But dicking around like, well, the French is only pissing of your base, including someone like me who nominally supports the (former)Republican economic issues. Not worried about losing my vote? Well, yuo ought to be worried about losing Hugh Hewitt's vote. Excerpt:
My message is simple: I will support on air and with cash those Democrats who oppose the Senate Republican incumbents who defect on this vote --so basic is the right of a nominee who reaches the floor to have an up or down vote, and so crucial are the coming battles for the Supreme Court.
Hugh is as big a GOP cheerleader you will ever find. If you lose him over this issue, you are, uh what's that word? Oh yeah: FUCKED.
Final word: I've argued many times with my (far more conservative) sister over voting for Republicans who are actually donkey's wearing a Velcro elephant costume. My point to her was this: "Why should I vote for Democrat-lite when the real thing exists?" Of course, she believes that voting for someone you think might be an asshole(my word, not her's) is better than voting a an honest-to-God shit-stain. In other words, the lesser of two evils is always better. Well, she's just plain wrong. I've voted GOP many times because I believed that the opposing Democrat would be a disaster for this country. So I sucked it up and decided to slowly apply the breaks to this country's descent into FUBAR-ville. Now? I'm so over it. I want to grease the rails to this handbasket to Hell and ignite a fucking JATO on the back. If we're heading down, I want to hit bottom as quickly as possible so that one of two things will happen:
1) Mass revolt of the population in general, who will throw off the tyrannic yoke of their government or
2) This grand experiment of ours will finally reached its historical cul de sac
Either way, I get to see what happens sooner rather than later.
Your choice, Senator: force a vote to the floor, or look forward to your position as Senate Minority leader.
Update: Just saw the following image at IMAO. Instant classic:
A married woman is having an affair. Whenever her lover comes over, she puts her nine year old son in the closet. One day the woman hears a car in the driveway and puts her lover in the closet, as well.
Inside the closet, the little boy says, "It's dark in here, isn't
"Yes it is," the man replies.
You wanna buy a baseball?" the little boy asks.
"No thanks," the man replies.
"I think you do want to buy a baseball," the little extortionist
"Twenty-five dollars," the little boy replies.
"TWENTY-FIVE DOLLARS?!" the man repeats incredulously,
but complies to protect his hidden position.
The following week, the lover is visiting the woman again when she
hears a car in the driveway and, again, places her lover in the
closet with her little boy.
"It's dark in here, isn't it?" the boy starts off.
"Yes, it is," replies the man.
"Wanna buy a baseball glove?" the little boy asks.
"OK. How much?" the hiding lover responds, acknowledging his
"Fifty dollars," the boy replies, and the transaction is completed.
The next weekend, the little boy's father says "Hey, son. Go get
your ball and glove and we'll play some catch."
"I can't, Dad. I sold them," replies the little boy.
"How much did you get for them?" asks the father, expecting to
hear the profit in terms of lizards and candy.
"Seventy-five dollars," the little boy says.
"SEVENTY-FIVE DOLLARS?! That's thievery! I'm taking you
to the church right now. You must confess your sin and ask for
forgiveness", the father explains as he hauls the child away.
At the church, the little boy goes into the confessional, draws the
curtain, sits down, and says "It's dark in here, isn't it?"
"Don't you start that crap in here now," the priest says.
One day at a busy airport, the passengers on a commercial
airliner are seated, waiting for the cockpit crew to show up so
they can get under way.The pilot and copilot finally appear in the
rear of the plane, and begin walking up to the cockpit through the
center aisle.Both appear to be blind.The pilot is using a white
cane, bumping into passengers right and left as he stumbles
down the aisle, and the copilot is using a guide dog. Both have
their eyes covered with huge sunglasses.
At first the passengers do not react; thinking that it must be
some sort of practical joke.However, after a few minutes the
engines start revving and the airplane starts moving down the
runway. The passengers look at each other with some
uneasiness, whispering among themselves and looking
desperately to the stewardesses for reassurance.
Then the airplane starts accelerating rapidly and people begin
panicking.Some passengers are praying, and as the plane gets
closer and closer to the end of the runway, the voices are
becoming more and more hysterical. Finally, when the airplane
has less than 20 feet of runway left, there is a sudden change in
the pitch of the shouts as everyone screams at once, and at the
very last moment the airplane lifts off and is airborne.
Up in the cockpit, the copilot breathes a sigh of relief and turns to
the pilot: "You know, one of these days the passengers aren't
going to scream in time and we're gonna get killed!"
I found this in my old email logs. It's old, and it was only marginally funny a decade ago. But what the heck. It IS my blog, after all:
THE TOP TEN REASONS TO BUY A PENTIUM MACHINE ==================================================
10. YOUR CURRENT COMPUTER IS TOO ACCURATE
9. YOU WANT TO GET INTO THE GUINNESS BOOK AS
"OWNER OF MOST EXPENSIVE PAPERWEIGHT"
8. MATH ERRORS ADD ZEST TO LIFE
7. YOU NEED AN ALIBI FOR THE I.R.S.
6. YOU WANT TO SEE WHAT ALL THE FUSS IS ABOUT
5. YOU'VE ALWAYS WONDERED WHAT IT WOULD BE
LIKE TO BE A PLAINTIFF
4. THE "INTEL INSIDE" LOGO MATCHES YOUR DECOR PERFECTLY
3. YOU NO LONGER HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT CPU OVERHEATING
2. YOU GOT A GREAT DEAL FROM JPL
And the #1 reason to buy a Pentium machine:
1. IT'LL PROBABLY WORK
Q&A: THE PENTIUM FDIV BUG
Q: How many Pentium designers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: 1.99904274017, but that's close enough for non-technical people.
Q: What do you get when you cross a Pentium PC with a research grant?
A: A mad scientist.
Q: What's another name for the "Intel Inside" sticker they put on
A: The warning label.
Q: What do you call a series of FDIV instructions on a Pentium?
A: Successive approximations.
Q: Complete the following word analogy: Add is to Subtract as Multiply
4) On a Pentium, all of the above
A: Number 4.
Q: What algorithm did Intel use in the Pentium's floating point divider?
A: "Life is like a box of chocolates." (Source: F. Gump of Intel)
Q: Why didn't Intel call the Pentium the 586?
A: Because they added 486 and 100 on the first Pentium and got
Q: According to Intel, the Pentium conforms to the IEEE standards 754
and 854 for floating point arithmetic. If you fly in aircraft
designed using a Pentium, what is the correct pronunciation of "IEEE"?
TOP TEN NEW INTEL SLOGANS FOR THE PENTIUM
9.9999973251 It's a FLAW, Dammit, not a Bug
8.9999163362 It's Close Enough, We Say So
7.9999414610 Nearly 300 Correct Opcodes
6.9999831538 You Don't Need to Know What's Inside
5.9999835137 Redefining the PC -- and Mathematics As Well
4.9999999021 We Fixed It, Really
3.9998245917 Division Considered Harmful
2.9991523619 Why Do You Think They Call It *Floating* Point?
1.9999103517 We're Looking for a Few Good Flaws
0.9999999998 The Errata Inside
18. By the end of the party, he's got every damn kid doing the "pull my finger" trick.
17. Clown car must be started with breathalizer device.
16. Keeps screaming, "My name's not BO-zo, it's bo-ZO!"
15. References to Kierkegaard and Nietzsche are lost on most 5 year olds.
14. Props for his "disappearing" trick: a moving van and your wide-screen
13. Scares the holy hell outta the kids during the "Severed Limb" trick.
12. Tells the kids he killed Barney in a blood match in Newark
11. Didn't bring balloons but managed to twist your dachshund into other
10. Prefaces each trick with, "Here's a little number I learned in the
9. NOt exactly the Peewee Herman impression you were expecting.
8. Wears a t-shirt that says, "Drug-free since March!"
7. More interested in squirting seltzer into his Scotch than in his pants.
6. Those huge ears look too darn life-like, and the entire act consists of
showing charts and
complaining about the deficit.
5. A sad clown is one thing - a clown who spends the entire party with a
gun to his temple is another
4. Only balloon animals he can make are a snake and a "snake on acid."
3. Business cards include the phrase, "From the mind of Stephen King."
2. Price list includes "lap dance" and "around the world."
and the number 1 sign you've hired the wrong clown for your child's party
1. All the balloon animals are ribbed and lubricated.
Received via email:
Shortly after the Korean War had ended, an Army Sergeant wandered into the Airport Bar and bought himself a drink. The waitress, having no other customers, started a conversation with him.
He described his time in battle, how scared he was, and how he had been away so long from home, he barely remembered how to have fun.
Touched by the tale, she asked "How long has it been since you were with a woman?" "1945 was the last time" he replied.
Amazed, she asked if he would like to accompany her back to her place.
"Maam, I would be most honored", and they left together.
Later, as she rolled over, she exclaimed "Wow, I cannot believe that after that, you would remember so much!"
"What do you mean?"
"Well,... you mentioned you hadn't had sex since 1945"
"What do you mean?" he said looking at his watch. "It's only 2245 now!"
Rachel Lucas(I don't know her married name- piss off) is in fine rant more today. The source of her irritation? Why, the IRS, of course. Excerpt:
There is some comfort in knowing that, though it is true that I am being financially reamed by my government so that it can spend lots of money on shit I wholly and viscerally disapprove of, it also spends lots of money on the military and related technology which we can use to kick the ass of mass murderers like Saddam. I like that, very much indeed. And I like my good ol' American infrastructure. But still. I just did a report for work on a 39-year-old woman who has been on disability for seven years because - hold your breath for the shock - she's so fucking fat that she "can't" work. I'm not even leaving out any explanatory details. She is simply so obese that she can't breathe well, can't walk well, can't sit at a desk, can't do anything except lay around on her enormous ass, stuff her enormous face, and collect checks from the government, which got the money from people like me.
And from the April 25 post in Nealz Nuze. The article no longer exist on his website. However, armed as I am with Google, I was able to retrieve it elsewhere. Here it is in its entirety, with some passages in particular highlighted:
APRIL 15th TAX DAY
From Neal Boortz
"Taxes are not levied for the benefit of the taxed."
– Robert Heinlein
"There are two methods, or means, and only two, whereby man's needs and desires can be satisfied. One is the production and exchange of wealth; this is the economic means. The other is the uncompensated appropriation of wealth produced by others; this is the political means."
– Albert Jay Nock
The income tax is “a vicious, inequitable, unpopular, impolitic and socialistic act … The crusade for an income tax is the most unreasoning and un-American movement in the politics of the last quarter-century.”
Editorial – New York Times. 1894.
TAX DAY … FOR ABOUT ONE-HALF OF US
It’s April 15th. That day is important for just about one-half of Americans; the one-half that actually carries the load for all of us. For the remaining one-half of income earners it’s either just another day, or it’s a day they revel in their ability to not only avoid paying taxes themselves, but in their ability to loot the pockets of those who do through such gimmicks as the rancid Earned Income Tax Credit.
April 15 is depressing ... and not just because your taxes are due.
OK … I know you’ve heard this before, but it doesn’t do any harm for you to review the facts just once a year.
This is the day when a simple question can lead to the discovery that most people have no idea how much income tax they pay, though this is becoming less and less true as we go along. There is one group that does know how much federal income tax they pay every year, and this group is growing ever larger. It's that segment of wage earners who pay nothing. So, we'll revise this statement to read: "Most people who actually do pay federal income taxes have no idea how much they pay."
For proof, try this little test: Approach a friend or co-worker whom you actually suspect may pay federal income taxes and ask them what their tax tab was. You will get one of two responses. For the majority of taxpayers who actually get refunds, the response will be "I didn't have to pay anything! I'm getting some back!" Taxpayers who actually have to write a check on April 15 will quote the amount of that check as their tax bill.
This is all by design. Politicians know that if those who pay federal income taxes knew what they were really paying there would be an instantaneous and ugly tax revolt. To hide the ugly truth, these politicians have kept alive our wonderful system of withholding. With the magic of withholding, the money is gone before the wage earner even gets the slightest whiff of it. It's almost as if it was never really there in the first place ... so, what's to miss?
Not only do most people not know how much tax they pay, they don't even know what they make!
You've already asked your co-worker how much tax they had to pay in 2001, and they didn't know. Now, ask them how much they make! Most will tell you it's none of your business. Some will respond, though, and their response will begin with the words, "I take home ..."
If you wanted to be particularly obnoxious at this point – or if you fancy yourself to be a radio talk-show host – you could say: "I didn't ask you how much you took home. I asked you how much you made." Then, standby for the inevitable blank stare.
See how well this system of withholding taxes has worked! The majority of wage earners can't even tell you what they earned! Just what they "took home." It's as if they viewed their "take home" pay as their total earnings! No wonder they don't think they paid any taxes when they get that refund check from the IRS!
But --- if you happen to work for youself then it’s a good bet that you DO know how much tax you paid. The owners of small businesses – the businesses that employ about 80 percent of the workers in this country ... you know. You are the people who have to sit down four times a year and write a check to the IRS for your quarterly tax payments.
WHY WE’LL NEVER HAVE A TAX REVOLT.
One word. Withholding.
Withholding was sold to the American wage earner as a purely temporary measure to speed up cash flow to the government during World War II. As soon as the war was over, things were supposed to return to normal and the wage earners would get their entire checks, just as before the war.
In case you haven't checked, the war has been over for about 58 years or so, but withholding is still with us. It's still with us because the proliferation of the "I take home ..." workers and the "I didn't have to pay anything, I'm getting some back" taxpayers are such a boon to our politicians. As long as the majority remains ignorant of the extent to which their paychecks are plundered, politicians will be safe.
Now ... get those tax returns completed and then completely forget what they say so that you can join the ranks of the unknowing.
I can’t let this April 15th go by without reminding you of what a wonderful job politicians, especially Democrats, have done insuring that there will never be enough angry taxpayers to cost them their jobs.
Politicians pay attention to polls. Polls are indications of the presence or lack of job security. When politicians read a poll which says that the majority of Americans (a) don’t think they’re paying too much in taxes, and (b) don’t see any need for a tax cut … they sit back and smile. Politicians – and especially Democrats – have been working for generations to shift the burden for the payment of federal income taxes to a small minority of high-income earners. They have succeeded marvelously. Today the top 10 percent of income earners pay over one-half of all federal income taxes. The bottom 60 percent of income earners – a majority, as you can see – pay less than 10 percent of all income taxes. Even someone educated in a government school can tell you that this leaves politicians free to increase taxes on the upper-income minority and then spend that money on the middle and lower-income majority in return for votes.
AND NOW --- TIME FOR SOME TAX AND SPENDING OUTRAGES.
We begin with a statistic that should jolt you right out of your seat. Have you ever stopped to consider just how many cumulative hours are spent across this entire country every year just handling the paperwork associated with the federal income tax? American businesses will spend about 3.4 billion man-hours doing tax paperwork this year. Individuals will spend another 1.7 billion man-hours. These figures represent 3 million people working full time all year just to do tax preparation work. Now --- get this. It takes more man-hours in this country to pay federal income taxes than it does to build every car, van and truck produced in this country during the same year. (Money Magazine)
Where does your tax money go? Try this:
Between 1986 and 1998 the IRS spent $5 billion of your money on a computer system that they were never able to get to work. Five Billion … that’s with a “B”.
Taxes now comprise 31% of the cost of a loaf of bread, 30% of the cost of a hotel room and 43% of the cost of a bottle of beer. (Money Magazine)
The two major tax writing committees of congress are the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee. Money Magazine reports that seven out of ten members of these committees cannot figure out their own taxes. They have to hire professionals.
Your government recently gave $170 million to a group called PSI. PSI was founded by Philip Harvey. Philip Harvey runs a mail-order porno business called Adam and Eve. PSI wants to hand out condoms around the world. They now have $170 million of your money to fund their project.
At a series of employee retreats workers played children’s games and sang “We are family.” They wrote Christmas carols, went on treasure hunts, dressed in cat costumes and talked to imaginary wizards and magicians. It was a “team-building” exercise for the U.S. Postal Service. Cost? $3,600,000.00.
There are 1.2 million paid tax preparers in the United States. That’s six times more than the number of troops in Iraq. These 1.2 million people add absolutely nothing to our quality of life or standard of living.
Do you know what IRS form 8845 is? It’s the form you fill out to get your “Indian Employment Credit.”
In 1969 the congress discovered that there were 155 taxpayers who paid no taxes because their deductions eliminated their tax liability. That’s when congress passed the Alternative Minimum Tax … just to catch those 155 taxpayers. Today the AMT nails 3 million taxpayers. Within 7 years that figure will soar to 36 million.
The IRS still insists that the income tax is “voluntary.” If you believe that then you believed Bill Clinton when he said that oral sex isn’t sex.
The solution is twofold.
First --- reform the tax system by getting rid of the income tax, repealing the income tax amendment and moving to a national retail sales tax. I've been promoting such a system for over 15 years. You can find out everything you want to know by studying the website for Americans for Fair Taxation at http://www.fairtax.org.
Second -- Government must be reduced to its constitutionally appropriate size. Neither Republicans nor Democrats are up to the task. That's why I'm a Libertarian.
I just took the Nerd Test and received the following feedback:
Here's the text that came with the image:
Your Score Summary
Overall, you scored as follows:
3% scored higher (more nerdy), and
97% scored lower (less nerdy).
What does this mean? Your nerdiness is:
All hail the monstrous nerd. You are by far the SUPREME NERD GOD!!!
All hail the monstrous nerd. I like the sound of that.
I was a small child when we first landed on the moon. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that us poor Earthlings would give up on space and remain ground-bound for 30 years. Now that President Bush has expressed interest in going back to the moon, and then on to Mars, others are starting to investigate the possibility of a permanent lunar station. Following is an excerpt from a Nature column:
The perpetually sunlit spots proposed by Bussey's team could make perfect sites for building a manned lunar base. For one thing, they would benefit from bountiful solar energy.
What's more, climate calculations suggest that they would hover at a relatively balmy -50 ºC. This is far more hospitable for man and machine than the Moon's equatorial regions, in which temperatures swing wildly from -180 ºC to 100 ºC. "It's quite mild in space terms," Spudis says.
More can be found here.
Growing up, I dreamed that I or my children would get to visit, and spend time, at a permanent lunar base. Let's make that dream a reality, shall we?
This week's assignment is a doozy in that it requires us to take a peek inside Al Gore's brain and discover, amongst all the dust-gathering copies of Earth In The Balance, the following: What programming will appear on Al Gore's cable network, "Current"?
Sure, Gore's promised to stike out a bold and separate course from the one chosen by
the Titanic Air America, but let's face it: that's about as likely to be true as any of his 2000 campaign press statements. Anyway, I've managed to grab a draft copy of the upcoming network's programs. Here's a sneak peek:
6:00a.m.-8:00a.m: Wake Up With Al Gore! promises to be an exciting way to start the day, with the former Vice-President reading Moveon.org's latest press release, discussing his latest inventions or proclaiming Bill Clinton the greatest president in history. Gore's comedic timing, expressive face and sense of humor will awaken you like no coffee in history!
8:00a.m.-noon: The Morning Bile w/Howard Dean and Janeane Garofalo will be must-see TV, as the two take on topics generating buzz, such as "President Bush: Hitler or Uber-Stupid Hitler?", "Republicans Are More Evil Than Satan and Must Die!" and "Fairer Taxes, or Everyone Pays More Except for Politicians and Actors". You won't want to miss a second of this; get that TIVO set today!
Noon-3:00p.m.: Join Alex Baldwin as he regales everyone with amusing anecdotes and clever jokes during I'm Moving To Canada When You F**king Make Me". Laugh until your sides ache as he describes stoning your political opponents to death! It'll be the best after lunch pick-me-up since crack cocaine.
3:00p.m.-6:00p.m: While others are driving home, enjoy your afternoon watching Sen. Ted Kennedy in The Traffic Safety Report, where he gives all the advice you need to
cover your political assget home without drowningsafely. Pay close attention to the traffic reports; watch for news of bridge closings, rising water and campaign staffers, all which can cause you trouble.
6:00p.m.-midnight: The Streisand Show stars our very own Funny Girl offering advice on how to become better stewards of the environment.
Warning: the electrical interference from her house creates a blackout area within 20 miles of Barbara's home. Please ride your bicycles to a position outside the affected area to watch.
Midnight-6:00a.m.: Join us for Movie Time, where you will be treated to the best cinema Hollywood has to offer, such as The Day After Tomorrow, Fahrenheit 9/11 and OutFoxed. It doesn't matter when you watch; you can't lose!
Pigs competed in their very own Olympics. Events to be added next: Quickest To The Slaughterhouse, Tastiest Bacon and the new Pinto Beans with Ham Hocks, which is sure to be a crowd favorite.
Voters in Wisconsin are breaking out the catnip and yarn to bait their traps. Yes, it's open season on cats.
Some years back, the Richmond Times-Dispatch stopped carrying Chuck Shepherd's column, probably for including snippets like the following:
A female Zimbabwean athlete who had won several track and field events at meets in Botswana and Mauritius was arrested in Harare in February after authorities discovered she actually had a small penis. Samulkeliso Sithole, 17, said she was born a hermaphrodite but that her parents had paid a traditional healer to make her totally female, and, "because" her parents failed to pay the healer's full fee, the penis had begun to grow. [News Limited (Australia), 2-10-05]
I'm going out a limb here and guess that it was probably the other female Zimbabweans that caused it to grow. Call me crazy.
The first Mother of the Year candidate appears in this story. Excerpt:
A mother is under arrest, accused of selling a 12-year-old daughter into prostitution and trading a 14-year-old daughter for a car.
I know that flogging is illegal in this country, but I kind of think no one would mind in this woman's case.
News flash: water is wet and size matters. Well, duh.
A two-seater bike for one. Now all those losers at the ST conventions can ride in style.
I bet you didn't know that today is Blame Somebody Else Day. Like I need a special day to scapegoat someone.
Another good reason to not fish using dynamite. Just an FYI.
Well, I suppose this is one way for vegetarians to enjoy the warmth and feel of a fur coat.
Newest sandwich creation from McDonald's: The McAfrica.
Found this link over in the comments at Ace's place. Imagine: some people believe that there ought to be some controls over the judiciary. Oh, you mean that there are such controls? The legislature has always had the authority to limit the purview of courts instead of meekly submitting to whatever heroin-influenced ravings a particular judge might scribble out before sniffing a line of cocaine to reduce the effects of the crash? Will wonders never cease.
Interesting invention here. You hook up your toy, login to the website and then let someone stimulate your gizmo remotely. Talk about your safe sex.
And it doesn't stop there. Now men can... I'll excerpt from this article instead:
But it gets even better. You probably want to stick to the dashboard if you're at the office, but for home use, the Interactive Fleshlight is where it's at. The Fleshlight is a standard, sleeve-style vibrator for men, with a twist: It's also a transmitter. It measures the speed and force of each thrust and communicates those metrics to the software, which translates them into vibration and pulse on the other end.
In other words, a man can be thrusting in Cleveland while a woman is penetrated in Seattle, and the cybersex experience gets one step closer to the holodeck.
I'm always the last to know. Must be what happens when you avoid a certain UNC-loving blog after said team wins the NCAA men's basketball championship, although, truthfully, I kind of deserve any gloating which she wants to administer to me. Anyway, long story shorter, Cal Tech Girl has moved, and she's now one of us.
Sigh. Guess I have to update my pull-down menu again. It's just that I'm so damned lazy.
Don't worry; no one else does either, since I've spent my entire "career" laboring in obscurity. However, I've finally found a group of misfits, losers, geeks, dorks and dweebs still living in their parents' basement who will pay big money for my autograph: fans at a Star Trek convention. My 30-second appearance as Red-shirted Cannon Fodder #3 in episode 13 has garnered me more attention than any of my other roles, including Guy in Drive-Thru in Coming To America. I've even almost been offered sex for my John Hancock. Either that, or she just told me to "Fuck off". Regardless, my social calendar is completely booked for the rest of the year, as I will be appearing at DorkCon XXIII, LoserFest XIV and PizzafaceQuest III.
The SAG Unknown Bit-players Card: don't leave home without it.
TNT of Smiling Dynamite suffers through the 6th anniversary of her wedding at gunpoint to Harvey. As she looks back over the ruin her life has become, April 9 stands out as the worst example of a lifetime commitment that only 13 tequila shots can buy.
Give her credit, though: she did try and escape from time to time. After watching a Discover Channel special on the Flying Walendas, TNT made her most daring attempt yet, which was captured on film here:
Sadly, Harvey managed to pull the rope back just before freedom was achieved. And I have a description of something even more outrageous in the extended entry below. Click only if you have a strong stomach:
Happy anniversary! And many, many more.
Update: And here's Harvey's post wherein he gives his wife the appropriate props.
Claire Wolfe's latest Hardeyville column is a good one: Twelve Tips for Toppling Tyrants. She pays homage to Douglas Adams with Point #1. Excerpt:
POINT ONE: The same advice applies everywhere in the known (and unknown) universe: Don't panic. No matter how terrible things get, panic won't help our cause. As a very wise person recently observed, fear of government's power to control us is a more effective control mechanism than most of the government's actual control mechanisms.
POINT TWO: Don't allow your enemies to push your buttons. When they can keep us in perpetual reactive mode, the opponents of freedom control us. We will never win by pursuing a purely defensive strategy.
By all means, get angry. Indignant. Outraged. Stay informed. Take action. Don't just roll over and tolerate injustice -- ever. But think how power-hungry tyrant-wannabes must laugh to know they have the power to make us run around like Chicken Littles every time they propose some ghastly new act of evil.
If you must react to bad news, be clever and use the news to strengthen your own cause and to help victims of abuse. Be proactive, not merely reactive.
It's a good 'un. Read it all.
Too effing bad. At least, that appears to be the gist of this article. Excerpt:
United Virtualities is offering online marketers and publishers technology that attempts to undermine the growing trend among consumers to delete cookies planted in their computers.
The New York company on Thursday unveiled what it calls PIE, or persistent identification element, a technology that's uploaded to a browser and restores deleted cookies. In addition, PIE, which can't be easily removed, can also act as a cookie backup, since it contains the same information.
When a consumer goes to a PIE-enabled website, the visitor's browser is tagged with a Flash object that contains a unique identification similar to the text found in a traditional cookie. In this way, PIE acts as a cookie backup, and can also restore the original cookie when the consumer revisits the site.
While consumers have learned to delete cookies, most are unaware of shared objects, and don't know how to disable them.
Mookie Tanembaum, founder and chief executive of United Virtualities, says the company is trying to help consumers by preventing them from deleting cookies that help website operators deliver better services.
"The user is not proficient enough in technology to know if the cookie is good or bad, or how it works," Tanembaum said.
[editor's note: Fuck you, dickwad]
Using technology like United Virtualities's to circumvent consumers could cause a backlash, JupiterResearch analyst David Schatsky said. The research firm found that many consumers understand cookies, and may be willing to allow some in their computers, if they are given the choice upfront.
"(PIE) sounds like it flies in the face of what consumers are telling us," Schatsky said. "They're seeking privacy and control, and if this is denied, then they won't be happy."
Tanembaum also warned against using PIE to thwart consumers.
"Any abuse of this technology is not welcomed by us," Tanembaum said. "We believe people should use this technology responsibly. If people don't want cookies in place, then (their browsers) shouldn't be tagged."
Consumers can make PIE inoperable by raising the security settings in their browsers to its highest level, Tanembaum said. But he acknowledges that such a high setting would also hamper consumers' ability to visit non-PIE websites.
But there is hope: "For its part, Macromedia has posted on its website instructions for disabling shared objects uploaded to browsers. "
Upon interrogation, Lohman confessed to cutting the woman's hair and to cutting the hair of Asian female students at least eight other times, University communications director Lauren Robinson-Brown '85 said. All of the hair-snipping incidents occurred on campus, Davall said.
Lohman also admitted to pouring his bodily fluids into the drinks of Asian female students on more than 50 occasions, Robinson-Brown said. The fluids poured into the drinks were semen and urine, Lt. Dennis McManimon, the Borough police's spokesman, said in an interview Tuesday.
"In my 23 years in the department, this is clearly the most bizarre case that I've seen," McManimon said.
I should hope so.
Received via email today:
Carpal tunnel syndrome has become a scourge among today's active and
computer literate population. Men, especially, are becoming afflicted
with this serious health problem.
To help stamp out carpal tunnel syndrome, new mouse pads have been
devised to assist men in their computer operations. Ergonomically improved
mouse pads to support the wrists such as these will enable men to avoid the
pain and suffering associated with this serious health concern.
A man is at work one day when he notices that his co-worker is wearing an earring.
This man knows his co-worker to be a normally conservative fellow, and is curious about his sudden change in "fashion sense."
The man walks up to him and says, "I didn't know you were into earrings." "Don't make such a big deal, it's only an earring," he replies sheepishly.
His friend falls silent for a few minutes, but then his curiosity prods him to say, "So, how long have you been wearing one?"
"Ever since my wife found it in my truck."
Don't shoot the messenger, I'm just relaying the following "jokes":
3 guys, 1 Irish, 1 English and 1 Scotch, are walking along the beach one day and come across a lantern and a Genie pops out of it.
"I give you each one wish, that's three wishes in total", says the Genie.
The Irish guy says, "I am a fisherman, my Dad's a fisherman, his Dad was a fisherman and my son will be one too. I want all the oceans full of fish for all eternity."
So, with a blink of the Genie's eye "AlKaZoom" the oceans were teaming with fish.
The English guy was amazed, so he said, "I want a wall around England, protecting her, so that nothing will get in for all eternity.
Again, with a blink of the Genie's eye "AlkaZoom - POOF" there was a huge wall around England. The Scot asks, "I'm very curious. Please tell me more about this wall."
The Genie explains, "Well, it's about 150 feet high, 50 feet thick, protecting England so that nothing can get in or out."
The Scot says, "Ach, fill it up with water."
A Scotsman was shipwrecked and finally washed ashore on a small island. As he regains consciousness on the beach, he sees a beautiful unclad nymph standing over him.
She asks, "Would you like some food? "The Scot hoarsely croaks, "Och, lassie, I havna' ittin a bite in a week and I am verra hungry!" She disappears into the woods and quickly comes back with a heaping helping of haggis.
When he has choked it down, she asks, "Would you like something to drink?" "Och, aye! That haggis has made me verra thirsty and I wad verra much like a drink!" She goes off into the woods again and returns with a bottle of 75-year-old single-malt Scotch whiskey.
The Scotsman is beginning to think that he's in heaven when the unclad nymph leans closer and says, "Would you like to play around?"
"Och, lassie, don't tell me ye've got a golf course here too!"
With 450 golf courses and a long history of the game, the Scots take their matches very seriously:
Two Scots golfers were just about to putt on the 16th green, adjacent to a road, when suddenly a funeral procession passes by. One of the golfers, Tam McGregor, interrupted his putting, and took off his hat as the procession goes by. His partner said "That was really gentlemanly of you - paying respects like that". To which Macgregor replied "It was the least I could do. She was my wife for 25 years..."
And because no list would be complete without a dick or fart joke, I give you this one:
Tae A Fert
Oh what a sleekit horrible beastie,
Lurks in yer bellie efter a feastie,
Just as ye sit doon among yer kin
There starts to stir an enormous wind.
The neeps and tatties and mushy peas
Start working like a gentle breeze
But soon the pudding wi' the sauncie face
Will hae ye blawin' a' ower the place
Nae matter whit the hell ye dae
a'body's gonnae hae tae pay
Even if ye try tae stifle
it's like a bullet oot a rifle
Hawd yer bum ticht tae the chair
Tae try tae stop the leakin' air
Shift yersel fae cheek tae cheek
Pray tae god it disnae reek
But a' the efforts go asunder
Oot it comes like a clap o' thunder
Ricochets arrond the room
Michty me! a sonic boom
God almighty it fairly reeks
A' hope a' huvnae shit ma breeks
Tae the bog a' better scurry
Whit the hell, it's no ma worry
A'body roon aboot me choakin'
One or two are nearly boakin'
I'll feel better for a while
Cannae help but raise a smile
It wis him! I shout and glower
Alas too late, he's just keeled ower
Ye dirty bugger! They shout and stare
I'm no that welcome any mair
Where e're ye go let yer wind gang free
That sounds jist the joab fir me
Whit a fuss at Rabbie's party
Ower the sake o' one wee ferty.
Received via email:
1. If you are choking on an ice cube, don't panic. Simply pour a cup
of boiling water down your throat and presto. The blockage will be
almost instantly removed.
2. Clumsy? Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting
someone else to hold them while you chop away.
3. Avoid arguments with the Mrs. about lifting the toilet seat by
simply using the sink.
4. For high blood pressure sufferers: simply cut yourself and bleed
for a few minutes, thus reducing the pressure in your veins. Remember
to use a timer.
5. A mouse trap, placed on top of your alarm clock, will prevent you
from rolling over and going back to sleep after you hit the snooze
6. If you have a bad cough, take a large dose of laxatives, then you
will be afraid to cough.
7. Have a bad toothache? Smash your thumb with a hammer and you will
forget about the toothache.
Sometimes, we just need to remember what the rules of life really
You only need two tools: WD-40 and Duct Tape.
If it doesn't move and should, use the WD-40.
If it shouldn't move and does, use the duct tape.
In honor of my Scottish roots, I give you some images of Scotland. I scanned only a few images so far, but more will follow. Hopefully, the few that I've posted in the entended entry will give you taste, something that will whet your appetite for more, which desire can only be assuaged by traveling to Scotland.
A shot of Stirling Castle
Two views of the castle's perimeter defenses
B&B where we stayed, right at the base of the hill upon which Castle Stirling sits; you can see it above the roof of the house
Images from inside the William Wallace monument
And me and my partners in crime. The Rovers are dormant, but they are not extinct.
Oh, and don't forget the William Wallace Single Malt Whiskey Liqueur.
Dirty diapers and life in general have distracted me from the most important things in life: Alliance assignments. Anyway, Harvey posted a doozy this week: What effect will Frank and Sarah's marriage have on the War on Terror?
I'm having trouble wrapping my brain around this one. However, being the sick, twisted individual that I am, I will make the attempt before the deadline tomorrow.
Update: And here it is:
Top Ten effects Frank J. and Sarah K.'s marriage will have on the war on terror:
10) Frank J.'s feminine side will finally emerge, which will scare the crap out of those manly terrorists. After all, if Frank J. starts wearing pink, no one is immune
9) Terrorist-free zone in Florida will enlarge due to the increase in the number of handguns in the state
8) Two incomes will allow greater charitable contributions, reducing the number of hobos in Florida, thereby shrinking the pool of Evil Glenn's potential victims
7) Frank will post even more pictures of Sarah K. holding a handgun, which will scare the shit out of the terrorists. They're not used to women being able to fight back.
6) If a terrorist runs towards them at the shooting range while screaming "I would gladly die!!", two shooters are more likely to grant his wish than just one
5) Afterwards, Frank and Sarah will argue over who created which wound
4) Kind of tough to make that call on Swiss Cheese, though. Just an FYI
3) Sarah will finally get Frank to stop leaving his used undies lying around, thereby eliminating one potential biological weapon
2) Their marriage will likely produce its own little anti-terrorism dividends, creating a new Armed Family
And the number one effect that Frank J. and Sarah K.'s marriage will likely have on the WOT:
1) The sight of two more happy, God-fearing, gun-toting Americans will cause some terrorists to spotaneously combust. And that's a good thing.
For more details, go over here.
I took photos of the William Wallace sword in its natural habitat at the William Wallace Memorial, which I still have to scan and upload. More importantly, I brought home several bottles of Wallace Single Malt Scotch Whiskey Liqueur, which you can purchase at the Whiskey Exchange or The Tryst. The smarter choice, of course, is to trundle your sorry butt over to Scotland and pick some up. I'm just saying.
Truly, ambrosia of the gods.
I usually head over the Megan's website to read analyses of issues economic, as well as the occassional stab at social issues. Today, however, I stumbled onto a serious discussion about gay marriage. Megan tackles this topic in her usual, logical manner. Excerpt:
Now, economists hear this sort of argument all the time. "That's ridiculous! I would never start working fewer hours because my taxes went up!" This ignores the fact that you may not be the marginal case. The marginal case may be some consultant who just can't justify sacrificing valuable leisure for a new project when he's only making 60 cents on the dollar. The result will nonetheless be the same: less economic activity. Similarly, you--highly educated, firmly socialised, upper middle class you--may not be the marginal marriage candidate; it may be some high school dropout in Tuscaloosa. That doesn't mean that the institution of marriage won't be weakened in America just the same.
This should not be taken as an endorsement of the idea that gay marriage will weaken the current institution. I can tell a plausible story where it does; I can tell a plausible story where it doesn't. I have no idea which one is true. That is why I have no opinion on gay marriage, and am not planning to develop one. Marriage is a big institution; too big for me to feel I have a successful handle on it.
However, I am bothered by this specific argument, which I have heard over and over from the people I know who favor gay marriage laws. I mean, literally over and over; when they get into arguments, they just repeat it, again and again. "I will get married even if marriage is expanded to include gay people; I cannot imagine anyone up and deciding not to get married because gay people are getting married; therefore, the whole idea is ridiculous and bigoted."
They may well be right. Nonetheless, libertarians should know better. The limits of your imagination are not the limits of reality. Every government programme that libertarians have argued against has been defended at its inception with exactly this argument.
It turns out that Annika's birthday is April 1st. I declined to post every smartass comment that popped into my head, which means I failed to leave one at all.
Annie, I hope it was a great one. And many, many more.
And of course it's from Mark Steyn. Excerpt:
Even Sen. John Danforth, who should know better, got in on the act, taking half a page in the New York Times to give the Full Monteagle to the "religious right." Blog maestro Andrew Sullivan decided that America was witnessing a "conservative crack-up" over Terri Schiavo and the embrace of her cause by extreme right wing fundamentalist theocrat zealots like, er, Jesse Jackson and Ralph Nader. Sullivan was last predicting a "conservative crack-up" during the impeachment era, on the grounds (if I recall correctly) that Republican moralizing would dramatically cut into Strom Thurmond's share of the gay vote. In the '90s, the Weekly Standard ran innumerable special editions devoted to the subject: Conservative Crack-Up; Conservative Crack-Up 2; Conservative Crack-Up -- The Musical; Abbott And Costello Meet The Conservative Crack-Up; Conservative Crack-Up On Elm Street; Four Weddings And A Conservative Crack-Up; Rod Stewart Sings Timeless Favorites From The Great Conservative Crack-Up, etc.
The notion, for example, that poor Terri Schiavo will cost Republicans votes in a year and a half's time is ludicrous. The best distillation of the pro-Schiavo case was made by James Lileks, the bard of Minnesota, responding to the provocateur Christopher Hitchens' dismissal of her as a "non-human entity." "It is not wise," wrote Lileks, "to call people dead before they are actually, well, dead. You can be 'as good as dead' or 'brain dead' or 'close to death,' but if the heart beats and the chest rises, I think we should balk at saying this constitutes dead, period."
I have no further comment on this story. The headline says it all.
Brain On Drugs Rock the Vote has joined forces with the AARP to oppose private retirement accounts. Check out the following quote:
"To us, it's totally black and white. This is the first generation ever that would be asked to pay for their own retirement and Social Security at the same time. This is what private accounts do. They saddle young people with an unfair burden."
Roll those words around in your head a while. Try and make some sense out them. I think a hefty dose of mescalin mixed with LSD might be useful in that regard.
Aaron's Rantblog has re-opened for business with a new name: Aaron's cc:. I've finally gotten around to updating my blogroll and changing all references from la4israel.org/wordpress to aarons.cc. I've been too lazy to complete this trivial task before simply because all of the old links automatically connected to the new site. That, and bookkeeping has never been a strength of mine.
Very soon, Pope John Paul II will pass away. He's been a voice of hope and faith for people all over the world. His death will leave a gaping hole that world will struggle to fill.
Jonah Goldberg weighs in:
I suppose I'm with Ramesh & co. Though I am not a Catholic, I can muster many emotions at the the thought of John Paul II passing away. But grief really isn't chief among them. The man has been suffering for a long time and he has endured that suffering with greater dignity than most of us could dream of mustering. He lived a long life of great courage and conviction, acting nobly when acting otherwise would have been much easier and less dangerous. Through his actions and his example he left the entire world a better and safer place than when he left it. When his time comes, be it in hours or days or whenever, few will say he hadn't done more than his fair share. This is no tragedy. His life isn't being brought short by the hand of man. There's no cause for rage. But there's room for gratitude and the sort of remorse one feels when the world is made a little less by the loss of someone it sorely needed. So why overly grieve for a man who is surely worthy of reward in the next life?
Perhaps the answer is simple, because it is human to do so.
Okay, there's no such thing, but I might have to institute one. Bill posts a couple of images for Desperate Red-Blooded males over here. See extended entry for more.
Actually, it was a trip to Ireland and Scotland, but I spent the majority of my time in Scotland. I and my friends stayed in Stirling, using it as a central point from which to investigate the surrounding areas. Anyway, I haven't scanned any of my pictures from that time yet. Until I do, I'm posting some pictures found on the 'Net. Here's a great shot of Stirling Castle:
Oh, and one more place that I visited in Scotland: Eileen Donan Castle. If you've seen the original Highlander, you've seen at least a few images. Here are a few more:
Tartan Day is coming, so let's celebrate. My Scottish/Irish/English blood warms at the thought. Okay, not so much the English part. Ith of Absinthe and Cookies is preparing a blogosphere celebration of all things Scottish. Drop by and leave a comment or send an email if you want to participate. FWIW, the name of my Scottish ancestors predates the clans. Ergo, no clan tartan. However, since they originated in the county Galway, I have the right to proudly display the Galloway tartan:
Or the Galloway district hunting tartan:
Ith has created TartanBlogs group on Yahoo! Here is the image displayed there:
Also, I've added the Gathering Blogroll to the side bar, complete with button pilfered from Absinthe & Cookies.
I actually bought into it for a minute. Hey, it's early and I'm not a morning person. Anyway, go here right now. Assuming that it won't be there tomorrow, I've putting a screen shot in the extended entry.
S P E C I A L A N N O U N C E M E N T
DO NOT CONNECT TO THE INTERNET FROM MARCH 31st 23:59 pm (GMT) UNTIL 12:01am (GMT) APRIL 2nd.
*** Attention ***
It's that time again! As many of you know, each year the Internet must be shut down for 24 hours in order to allow us to clean it. The cleaning process, which eliminates dead e-mail and inactive ftp, www, and gopher sites, allows for a better working and faster Internet.
This year, the cleaning process will take place from 23:59 pm (GMT) on March 31st until 00:01 am (GMT) on April 2nd. During that 24-hour period, five powerful Internet-crawling robots situated around the world will search the Internet and delete any data that they find.
In order to protect your valuable data from deletion we ask that you do the following:
1. Disconnect all terminals and local area networks from their Internet connections.
2. Shut down all Internet servers, or disconnect them from the Internet.
3. Disconnect all disks and hardrives from any connections to the Internet.
4. Refrain from connecting any computer to the Internet in any way.
We understand the inconvenience that this may cause some Internet users, and we apologize. However, we are certain that any inconveniences will be more than made up for by the increased speed and efficiency of the Internet, once it has been cleared of electronic flotsam and jetsam.
We thank you for your cooperation.
Fu Ling Yu
Interconnected Network Maintenance Staff Main Branch,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Sysops and others: Since the last Internet cleaning, the number of Internet users has grown dramatically. Please assist us in alerting the public of the upcoming Internet cleaning by posting this message where your users will be able to read it.
Please pass this message on to other sysops and Internet users as well.
Update: Click on extended entry for more information.
The clean up is known as Allied Protection Review Internet Loss For Overseas Outsourced Linked Services.