Saturday, June 16, 2007

$790,000 Later

After months of work and a cost of approximately $790,000, the London 2012 Olympic Committee has put forth this piece of crap as it's official logo:

What a great use for taxpayer money. According to London 2012 organizing committee chairman Seb Coe:

"It won't be to be eveybody's (sic) taste immediately but it's a brand that we genuinely believe can be a hard working brand which builds on pretty much everything we said in Singapore about reaching out and engaging young people, which is where our challenge is over the next five years.

"If we don't that, then frankly the whole project is unsustainable."

Friday, June 15, 2007

A Little Understatement Before Supper

Nothing like a little understatement before sitting down to supper:

"It has become increasingly apparent, during the course of this week, in some ways that it might not have been before, that my presence as the district attorney in Durham is not furthering the cause of justice," Nifong said.

Earlier Friday, Nifong acknowledged that he "maybe got carried away a little bit" in talking about the three lacrosse players who were once charged with raping a stripper, and he said he expected to be punished by the state bar.

Lucky Bastards

OK, so not only do they have some of the most beautiful women in the world, but the Czech's also have, as far as I can tell, the most libertarian president in the world.

The more that I read about and by Vaclav Klaus, the more I envy the Czechs. I have spent a considerable amount of time in Europe and while I consider Salzburg, Austria to be the most beautiful city I have ever visited, I could never imagine living in Europe under their current systems. The specter of Socialism is well advanced here in the US, but Europe makes us look like stumbling neophytes in that respect. Klaus sure makes it tempting though.

Could you imagine a US president saying something like this and actually meaning it:

“Fifteen years after the collapse of communism. I am afraid more than at the beginning of its softer (or weaker) version, of social-democratism, which has become – under different names, e.g. the welfare state or the soziale Marktwirtschaft – the dominant model of the economic and social system of current Western civilization. It is based on big and patronizing government, on extensive regulating of human behavior, and on large-scale income redistribution.”
Or this:

As someone who lived under communism for most of his life, I feel obliged to say that I see the biggest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity now in ambitious environmentalism, not in communism. This ideology wants to replace the free and spontaneous evolution of mankind by a sort of central (now global) planning.

Girl Friday - 061507

For those of you that appreciate the darker side of life, this week's Girl Friday is a Suicide Girl:

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Daily Must Reads

OK, since I have been gone from the blogging scene, several of my favorite daily/weekly reads have gone dormant but randomly clicking through some of the huge blogrolls out there is not something I cherish.

With that in mind, I would like some suggestions from my readers. What sites do you consider must reads on a daily or weekly basis?

Finding Their Religion

I have made no secret that I believe environmentalism in general, and global warming in specific, has become a de facto religion for many on the left. In fact, the proselytizing is often more militant and annoying than anything coming from Christians.

This has always struck me as odd coming from a group that is so openly hostile to religion, at least it did until I realized that most of the hostility was directed solely at Christianity and Judaism, not religion in general. It is not uncommon, on leftist sites, to hear about how religious Republicans (and Bush in particular) are a bunch of theocrats 1000 times worse than the Taliban.

Of course, as an atheist myself, I find all religion bizarre and disturbing. However, not being of the militant type, I am content to live with my beliefs and let others live with theirs so long as I am not proselytized and they don't try to force their beliefs on me via government.

Lately, however, there seems to be a trend within left to claim Christianity as their own. It started with the typical sound bite stuff like "Jesus was a Liberal" etc and moved into attempts at justifying their desire for socialism with religious appeals. Well, that honestly scares the crap out of me. It was one thing when those on the right wanted to throw their social mores on me using the law, because as long as I have economic freedom, I can have social freedom.

Now that the left is combing its religions of socialism and environmentalism they can only get more fanatical, and might even get some on the right to join them. That is likely to have a much more troubling affect on my day to day life. Already the neo-prohibitionists are at work on the left trying to control everything from what we eat and drink to what is and is not allowed on TV and radio. Because of that, you get stuff like this:

Once she wrested control of the Senate’s Environmental and Public Works Committee from conservative stalwart Sen. Jim Inhofe (R.-Okla.), Sen. Barbara Boxer (D.-Calif.) was expected to aggressively pursue legislation to combat global warming. What wasn’t expected was that she would do it with blessings from the Church.

Last Thursday, Boxer held a hearing that highlighted the growing role of religion in liberal political campaigns--particularly in the name of “environmental justice.” There, a coalition of 35 religious denominations called for an 80 percent reduction in global warming emissions by the year 2050, and bill S.309, sponsored by Boxer and avowed socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I.-Vt.), calls for the same.

“Evangelical Christians, Catholics, African Methodist Episcopals, Jews, mainline Protestant Christians, and many other people of faith see the need for action on global warming as a moral, ethical and scriptural mandate,” Boxer said.
As McQ over at QandO points out, much like the feminists did with Clinton, you can expect most of the secularists on the left to just shut up and pretend this isn't happening. After all, Christianity is only bad when it is being used to push things you don't like, when it works for you, then it is great.

Monday, June 11, 2007

GOP Demagogues -- Our Last, Best Hope

Probably the most significant reason (behind Iraq) for the Democrats return to power was their promise to clean up the "Culture of Corruption" that is created by the way earmarks are handled. I called bullshit at the time, not because I didn't think the process needed to be cleaned up, but because I knew the Dems wouldn't actually keep that promise.

After a just-for-show swat at the earmarks during their 100 hours agenda, it was back to business as usual, or at least it was briefly. Now things have gotten even worse. House Appropriations Chairman David R. Obey (D-WI) has decided to take the process completely underground and tack the earmarks on after the passage of bills just before they went into conference. This makes the chance of sunlight reaching these projects virtually nil. Indeed there are already some 30,000 requests (more than under the Republicans even) waiting to get slipped in.

Fortunately, there are a few members of the Grand 'Ol Party that either still hold to small government beliefs or that have found religion on the subject now that the electorate has kicked them firmly in the balls. They are making noise and the Dems don't like it. We've already seen Murtha castigating anyone that would dare challenge his place at the trough and now Obey is trying to get those pesky few Republicans to pipe down:

House Appropriations Chairman David R. Obey, D-Wis., today outlined how earmarks will be disclosed before conference, and warned that if Republicans “demagogue” the issue there might be no earmarks in the fiscal 2008 bills.

Now call me crazy, but you have to be one hell of an idiot to threaten these guys in such a manner. If I was a member fighting against earmarks and the guy that controlled all earmarks threatened to put an end to all those earmarks if I didn't pipe down, what do you think I would do?

Update: There may be some progress.

Freedom in Fiction

When I was in junior high, I read all of the Chronicles of Narnia series. In high school, it was Lord of the Rings books that had my attention. Back then, I just enjoyed the books and didn't really put much thought into the allegories behind both series.

Despite my ignorance at the time of my first readings, both series do indeed represent something beyond just what appears on their pages. If you understand that and would perhaps be interested in creating a literary work that represents the ideas of free markets, liberty and personal responsibility for the next generation, then you should consider vying for the Freedom in Fiction Prize.

I have, in the past, considered writing a non-fiction book, but there were always excuses. I had never considered writing a fictional book, but I bet there are plenty of good writers out there that cherish such ideals as those put forth by this prize that may have no idea of this opportunity. If you have a blog, you should consider helping to get the word out.

Sunday, June 10, 2007


OK boys and girls, the Spanish word for today is "ironía".

Translation: Mexican officials complaining that the US government is not doing enough to stem the flow of illegal items across the border

Party in a Pouch

Just wait until MADD finds out about this:

DUTCH students have invented powdered alcohol which they say can be sold legally to minors.

The latest innovation in inebriation, called Booz2Go, is available in 20g packets that cost €1 to €1.5 ($1.60 to $2.45).

Top it up with water and you have a bubbly, lime-coloured and flavoured drink with just three per cent alcohol content.

There is sure to be a full on battle to keep this from making it to our shores here in the US. I would be very interested to see a legal analysis of US alcohol laws to see if this is or is not currently permitted.

Also, look for this reported loophole to be closed as quickly as is legislatively possible:

The students said companies interested in making the product commercially could avoid taxes because the alcohol was in powder form.
Update: In search of the answer to Tom's question concerning how the alcohol is powdered, I came across a post from 2005 about a German company that had a powdered alcohol product:

According to the manufacturer, the powder is produced in the following way. A solution of water and alcohol is mixed with maltodextrin and then spray-dried at relatively low temperatures. Each molecule of alcohol is encapsulated by dextrin during the spray-drying process and the smaller water molecules are allowed to pass through the surface and evaporate. There is about a 5% loss of alcohol on the surface of each droplet.
I have no idea if the Dutch students used a similar process or if this description is correct as the website of the German company is currently down.

I will do some more searching to try to track down the exact technique used by the students.