Friday, April 28, 2006

Government: Republican Congress Failed 6th Grade Civics

Well, my life just got even more confusing:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Eleven House Democrats said Thursday they would sue the Bush administration, alleging the $39 billion deficit-reducing legislation signed by the president is unconstitutional because the House and Senate failed to approve identical versions.


A version of the bill that was narrowly approved by the House on Feb. 1 contained a clerical error. That error was fixed when the bill was transmitted to Bush, who signed it Feb. 8.

The White House and House and Senate GOP leaders have said the matter is settled because the mistake was technical and top House and Senate leaders certified the bill before transmitting it to the White House.


House Democrats have sought another vote, accusing Republican leaders of abusing the legislative process. The 11 Democrats pursuing the Michigan lawsuit contend they were denied their right to vote on legislation signed into law by the president.

The lawsuit asks a judge to declare the act is not law and provide a temporary restraining order preventing it from being implemented.

This sort of sloppiness happens all the time with this Congress. They hold votes at 2am. Many, many different versions of a bill are passed around. The committee system is bypassed. Regular Order is ignored. And so mistakes are made a lot more often.

Usually, they just vote on and pass a resolution after the fact, clarifying what they meant to pass, and the White House sends a signing statement, saying that they meant to sign it. But this time around the bill was so unpopular, and the vote was so close, they decided to just forgo another vote and hope no one noticed. But plenty of people noticed, for good reasons.

On one hand, I want the law to be held unconstitutional because, well, its blatantly unconstitutional. It's also a lousy law that harms tens of millions of Americans.

On the other hand, millions of civil servants, grantees, and contractors will be really, really screwed if this law is even just legally enjoined for a few months while the Supreme Court sorts it out. From the day the President signed the bill, BILLIONS of dollars started flowing out the door for various purposes. Recalling those dollars, canceling contracts, and delaying grants would be a nightmare, costing BILLIONS more to sort through, take back, and then put out again whenever they did pass a budget, perhaps in an altered form.

Perhaps I should just root for the invention of a time machine instead.


Demotivational Friday: Education


Thanks to Sneezy D for this week's Demotivator. Also, someone remind me to home school my future children 10 years from now.


Thursday, April 27, 2006

Article: Tylenol Tempts Fate

This article would be very funny, if it weren't so sad:

There's a not-so-new buzzword attacking the world of consumer products: "Customizability." It's the latest trend and the latest push, and outside of having Burger King's meat YOUR WAY, there's never been a more clear cut example of customizability infiltrating the world of we-the-consumers as Tylenol's new "Flavor Creator" kit -- medicine that you make yourself!

Medicine that tastes like candy. Great. This is exactly what you should have lying around the house where your children can drink it.

Is there a way to buy stock futures for a lawsuit?

Monday, April 24, 2006

Clone High

Once you watch this you will be able to look at people and say "You've never seen Clone High? Figures..." Then take a drag off a Parliament cigarette and have a sip of a Cafe' Latte that you bought at an indepentent coffe house and walk away with a sense of aloof accomplishment.

Welcome Mike

You might have noticed that we've added another contributor. Hopefully, his meanderings will be more interesting then mine.

Government: Build Up to Iraq

By now, you've probably heard about this report on 60 minutes. Here's a reprise from Josh:

The now-retired CIA officer who was head of covert operations in Europe during the lead up to the Iraq War.


First, Drumheller says that most folks in the intelligence community didn't think there was anything to the Niger-uranium story. We knew that in general terms; but we hadn't heard it yet from someone so closely involved in the case itself. Remember, the CIA Station Chief in Rome, the guy who first saw the documents when they were dropped off at the US Embassy in October 2002, worked for Drumheller.

Second, Drumheller told us a lot more about the case of Naji Sabri, Iraq's Foreign Minister, who the CIA managed to turn not long before the war broke out. Drumheller was in charge of that operation. The White House, as Drumheller relates it, was really excited to hear what Sabri would reveal about the inner-workings of Saddam's regime, and particularly about any WMD programs. That is, before Sabri admitted that Saddam didn't have any active programs. Then they lost interest.

To quote the erudite and beautiful Sarah Vowell:

The thing about the current President is, I wrote about this a little bit, how he keeps opening up new possibilities for us, you know? Like I talk about going to his inauguration and standing there crying when he took the oath cause I was so afraid that he would wreck the economy and muck up the drinking water. The failure of my pessimistic imagination at that moment boggles my mind.

Replace "standing there crying" with "sitting in a dark bar drinking in the middle of the day" and "muck up the drinking water" with "prevent me from ever getting a job again" and you had my experience exactly.


Friday, April 21, 2006

Demotivational Friday: Success

On one hand, everyone hates Paris Hilton, and a large chunk of the population doesn't like Hugh Hefner for some reason or another. On the other hand, they're wildly rich, famous, and by all accounts quite happy with their lives. We put sex, money, and beauty on a platform, we seek them our entire lives, but then despise those who attain it.

My explanation: We're idiots.

Slightly longer version: Envy, hypocrisy, Freudian need fulfillment, misogyny, capitalism, biology, religion, and human nature vs. morality.

Anywho, happy 80th birthday Hef. Can I come to the party, you soulless smut peddler?


Thursday, April 20, 2006

Wow, just... wow.

You can't make stuff like this up.
1- Go to Google

2- Type in the word "Failure"

3- Instead of clicking "Google Search," click "I'm Feeling Lucky."

4- Spread the word before the people at Google "fix" it.

That is all for today.


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Article: McClellan Resigns as Press Secretary

From the Post:

White House press secretary Scott McClellan said Wednesday he is resigning, continuing a shakeup in President Bush's administration that has already yielded a new chief of staff and could lead to a change in the Cabinet.


Also, a senior administration official revealed another move in the ongoing shakeup of Bush's staff, saying that longtime confidant and adviser Karl Rove is giving up oversight of policy development to focus more on politics with the approach of the fall midterm elections.

As SNL's Amy Poehler recently observed, "McClellan says he'd like to spend more time lying for his family."

Honestly though, this is a good thing. Bush has an incompetent crew of hacks running the government. Replacing them with somebody else, ANYBODY else, will be an improvement.

I sorta feel sorry for Scott McClellan. No matter how competent he might be (there's no evidence of that, it's just a theoretical to make a point), he was impotent to effect change, even though he worked in the center of global power. He doesn't actually run anything. He's not in charge of anything. He gets fed garbage by his superiors, and when he goes in front of the press, all he can do is spew out their garbage. It's a thankless, soul crushing job.


Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Distraction: Cavalcade of Things to Do Other Than Work

Thanks to Mikey for forwarding me these:

The Chef

Great Slim Goodbody parody. Don't remember Slim Goodbody?....Lucky you.

After you watch this you get to say "You never heard of Clone High? Hmph...typical. (MAY NOT BE SAFE FOR WORK 22min long)

Fun flash game


Thursday, April 13, 2006

Demotivational Friday: Disappointment

Have I mentioned to anyone that I've been having a bad couple of weeks?


Statistics: Inflation Calculator

I stumbled across this really useful online tool. Enter in an amount of money, an initial year, and the final year, and it calculates the answer for you. Viola, instant inflation calculator for any years between 1800-2005.

So, the average (it varies by state) maximum welfare benefit in 1970 was about $193.
The average maximum welfare benefit in 2003 was about $412. Welfare benefits have more then doubled, right?

No, in reality, $193 in 1970 would be worth about $925 in 2003. So welfare benefits have actually decreased by over 50% in the past 30 or so years.

And hey, poverty has gone up, what a surprise! But don't worry, welfare caseloads have gone down, and that's the real policy goal right now. Probably because its not worth it to jump through all the bureaucratic hurdles just to get a maximum of $412 a month for your family.

Now, I'm not proposing that welfare programs solve the problem of poverty. But there is pretty overwhelming evidence that welfare programs reduce poverty, and at the very least make living in poverty more bearable.


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Distraction: Least PC Commercial Ever

Can be found right here.

Why is it that funny liberal media focuses on how conservatives are stupid or corrupt, but funny conservative media focuses on screwing or killing liberals? Liberals think we're better then everyone else - conservatives just want you to die? Sadly, I think they win in that match up.

Hat tip to Wizbang.


Friday, April 07, 2006

Demotivational Friday: Naiveté


Thursday, April 06, 2006

Article: Let's Go Terps!

I am a proud alum of the University of Maryland. Our women's basketball team just won the championship. Making it all the sweeter is the fact that we defeated arch-rival Duke. The post victory "celebration" was inevitable:

"This is my craziest riot," said a woman who identified herself as Shelley Avney. "Trying to knock over a bus, tearing down street signs, burning things -- it's crazy."

Shea Hoxie, 21, a senior majoring in government and politics and criminology, said: "I was disappointed we didn't flip over the bus. We rioted for the women's basketball team, which is out of character for us. We needed something to cheer for."

Armon Emdad, 19, said he was opposed to the idea of disorder. "It doesn't make sense to destroy your own campus," he said. But he told a reporter he intended to join last night's crowd anyway.

Oddly enough, our post victory celebrations against Duke often resembled our post victory commiserations against Duke. Go figure.

Here's a tip for my fellow Maryland Terrapins - don't give your name to reporters, ever, unless you just saved a baby from being eaten by a bear or won the Nobel Prize. Every employer for the rest of your life will now know that you were disappointed you couldn't flip over a bus when they Google you before the interview.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Hellenism: Archaeologist Links Ancient Palace, Ajax

This article is brought to you by Qui Gon Jesse, who shares my love of history...

Among the ruins of a 3,200-year-old palace near Athens, researchers are piecing together the story of legendary Greek warrior-king Ajax, hero of the Trojan War.

Archaeologist Yiannis Lolos found remains of the palace while hiking on the island of Salamis in 1999, and has led excavations there for the past six years.

Now, he's confident he's found the site where Ajax ruled, which has also provided evidence to support a theory that residents of the Mycenean island kingdom fled to Cyprus after the king's death.

"This was Ajax' capital."

Telamonian Ajax, King of Salamis, is one of my favorite literary characters, and one of the great tragic figures of all time. He is best known as one of the central figures in Homer's Iliad, but he is also the title character of a play by Sophocles, and frequently written of in classical poetry, such as Ovid's Metamorphoses.

His story is as important today as it was when it was written. The most powerful of warriors are most often brought down by madness, and by their own hands. As Mark Twain commented, "History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme."

Article: Delay Resigns

You've probably already read this:

In a videotaped message aired this morning on stations in his home district, DeLay said that "the voters in the 22nd District of Texas deserve a campaign about the vital national issues they care most about . . . and not a campaign focused solely as a referendum on me. So today I am announcing my intention to resign my seat in the House."

The decision came three days after Tony C. Rudy, his former deputy chief of staff, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and corruption charges, telling federal prosecutors of a criminal enterprise being run out of DeLay's leadership offices.

Sometimes, the system works.