Here's an interesting item: electric power comes to residents of an island for the first time - literally. Just in time for the new year celebration. And of course, Dave Barry has his rundown on the events of 2007. Best wishes for a happy new year!
In Alaska, it's illegal to serve liquor to a moose. Why on earth there should be a law like that seems beyond comprehension; it simply defies common sense. But as it happens, there are a lot of stupid laws on the books when it comes to the serving of alcoholic beverages. And as it turns out, the RIAA is doing everything it can to transfer that kind of silliness to copyright law. Their latest tack: if you purchase a recording and transfer the content to your computer, you're a thief. You probably thought this was all settled back when cassette recorders and videotape recorders came blasting into the market, but you'd be wrong.
In legal documents in its federal case against Jeffrey Howell, a Scottsdale, Ariz., man who kept a collection of about 2,000 music recordings on his personal computer, the industry maintains that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer.
It seems clear that the RIAA monolith has not only outlived its usefulness, but is now actively engaged in tactics that are essentially guaranteed to ruin them. Note to RIAA: adapt, or die.
So now New Yorkers are all in a panicabout another bloodsucking parasite. Go figure. They elect Mrs. Clinton to the U.S. Senate, then get all perturbed when other bloodsucking parasites move in. Try to keep the whining down, folks - you sent her to Washington, and nature abhors a vacuum.
It looks as though the Savior will be born anew- in Vancouver, WA. Whether voters like it or not, the "vision" of the hundreds of "planners" in CoPo, Metro, and TriMet will prevail, and fixed-rail's going to move across the river into Vancouver. Yo Ho Ho! Please give a warm welcome to your soon-to-be-arriving gang-bangers, Vancouver!
In Texas, plans are afoot to build the first new nuclear reactors in the USA in 30 years. Naturally, the same folks who whine and cry and invoke "global warming" as an excuse to avoid any sort of progress are opposing this "greenest" of all energy sources presently available. It's the usual suspects, like Sierra Club. These environmeddlists also opposed the captive breeding program for California Condors. They just don't like anything that smacks of problem-solving. Not too surprising, really, as their income depends on people who are all stirred up about catastrophic "problems". If we solve problems, then the Sierra Club doesn't reap the kind of cash that they've become accustomed to.
And it's about time - this whole campaign trail thing's got really old. These Midwesterners have a chance to do the right thing, however, and pragmatic bunch that they are, it's reasonable to suspect that they'll take the most distrustable of the candidates down a notch. That means that Mrs. Bill Clinton, of cattle-trading futures fame, of Whitewater, Rose Law firm, of funny money , of Travelgate and many other claims to fame will - ideally - find that her grab for ever more power has hit a snag. If that happens, it's going to be interesting to watch.
The fact of the matter is that Mrs. Bill's much-touted "experience" is limited: there was her socialized health-care implosion, the "bimbo eruptions", and her snarky firing of the White House travel agency staff. That's pretty much it. Does that give her the skills to lead the USA? Somehow, it doesn't seem likely.
Even half of all registered Democrats find her distasteful. Will they hold their noses and vote for her anyway? Not if they're as ethical and intelligent as they claim to be.
Her whole campaign is based upon non-existent "experience". "Don't worry, I have experience. I'm not a surgeon, but I was married to one for eight years".
It's the same thing: "I have experience; I was married to a President for eight years".
Frankly, that's just not good enough.
It'll be interesting to see how Iowans react to that whole line. And if they approve her, well - that opens a whole different can of worms. It'll demonstrate that Iowans aren't nearly as pragmatic as they were a couple of decades ago, and it'll jump-start Mrs. Bill's campaign. And Mrs. Clinton will take that to mean that we all want this:
The fastest way to profit is by lobbying to outlaw certain technologies, then delivering your product to the needy masses. And without question, in today's "image is everything" culture, it works.
Henry Ford didn't push the feds to outlaw horses - though today that would certainly be one of the first items on the agenda. Back then, however, Ford simply came up with an interesting concept and an equally interesting assembly method. People liked it, and so they bought in. The horseless carriage just kind of took over.
In today's world, Henry would hire folks to chat up politicians. We call them "lobbyists". They'd point to the manure and urine left on the streets by horse-powered vehicles, and attempt to convince the politicians that a major health disaster was just waiting like a ticking time-bomb. They might also point to the emissions of all of the horses, and accuse people who happened to like horses of being "global warming deniers".
Henry's lobbyists might note that horses are a significant contributor to "greenhouse gases" because they emit both carbon dioxide and methane (they would conveniently ignore the fact that all living animals do so). To drive the point home, they might hire artists to draw graphs in support of their view, and the artists might even draw some images depicting the End of the World due to human-caused global warming. This End would be due in its entirety to irresponsible human horse-owners.
Now, human-caused global warming might be reduced if humans downsized from horses to, say, ponies or donkeys, but such downsizing would likely only extend the time-frame before global catastrophe struck. No, the only way to "Save The Planet" would be to ban ownership of horses, ponies, donkeys, and other forms of transportation and to force people to drive "horseless carriages". These devices produce far less carbon dioxide and essentially no methane, and would thus stall catastrophic climate change.
Admittedly, the scenario described above sounds a bit far-fetched. However, using identical "logic", the U.S. House and Senate passed an "energy bill" that our dumbass President signed into law. Under this rule, incandescent light bulbs will be banned. The market doesn't get to decide, because people are too stupid to make decisions on their own. Ever notice that every time government makes decisions for you, they always turn out badly?
Perhaps they'd need a bit less if they followed the leadset by 32 other states. Florida established the first state-funded online learning program in 1997, and 32 other states now offer them.
Oh, right...if it works, Oregon won't bother with it. "Green" Oregon would rather bus students to brick-and-mortar sites than offer online classes. After all, allowing online courses would have the effect of reducing the number of public employees, among other cost-savings. Quite simply, that will not do! Oregon may, however, "lead the way" by installing energy-efficient lamps, or perhaps by growing flowers on the roofs of public buildings. Yes, there's the ticket: they'll need to hire more horticulture staff to maintain the roofs!
Darn - that'll mean that they'll be running out of money again. Which means that they'll have to run yet another expensive campaign in order to guilt-trip that wallet out of your pocket.
A number of folks have claimed in letters to the editors of various fishwrappers around the Portland area that crime along the light rail line is essentially concentrated in Hillsboro on the west end, and in Gresham on the east end. They argue that talk of eliminating "Fareless Square" - which encompasses essentially all of downtown Portland on the west side and extends to Lloyd Center on the east side - is just silly, because there's almost no crime in "Fareless Square". Well, that's not entirely true. As the illustration clearly indicates, "Fareless Square" is essentially awash in crime. Dark red indicates over 500 per year, while the lighter red indicate "only" 300 to 500 in a year.
It's not as bad as it looks, though, as fully 53% of the "crimes" are just little ones like larceny: that's where they steal your wallet or your purse, but they don't hit you over the head. Another 22% are car prowls, which is also technically larceny, as all they do is bash in your window and steal whatever they can get. Actually, only 6% of the crimes in "Fareless Square" involve assault, which is defined as an attack intended to severely injure or kill. Don't you feel safer, now?