June 30, 2010

The Funny Parts

The Top Five Jokes of the Kagan hearings.

There you go Ma'am, disarm those crusty old Senators.

June 29, 2010

Price of Prefection

Problems with Jabulani ball caused because it is "too perfect."

This is why I always strive for some small flaw. That's not a typo, that's a small deliberate flaw to prevent problematic perfection.

The Old "Brush Pass" Move

Great real world/spy world match-up in the headlines, with ten members of Russian spy ring caught and a Federal indictment that reads like Smiley's People.

June 28, 2010

Robert Byrd, Dead.

The longest serving Senator in history has died at 92. He served 51 years. There's some good to praise in Byrd. There is something amazing about longevity in itself. Just showing up to work every day for that long shows something. He was a clear voice against the Iraq War. He brought classic old-fashion oratory to the Senate floor. He could pull off a seersucker suit, which is a rare thing these days.

But there is a lot to criticise about Byrd, not to speak ill of the dead, but to speak ill of the system from which he comes. There is no way you can be an effective Senator at age 92, and I say that as a guy who helps take care of his 93 year old grandfather. But Senate rules reward seniority, and voter love to send the same guys back to DC year after year. Byrd was a master of pork, sending project after project to a West Virgina that wouldn't rate them otherwise. All the power that comes from seniority and Byrd used it to fund the Robert Byrd Center for the Study of Coal or a airport for a town not big enough to rate a airfield. That is the sum total of his legacy. No legislation to address the problems of the nation. Just a lot of goodies of his home state.

So that is legacy of Robert Byrd.

June 24, 2010


Bristol Palin, worlds most famous teen mom, tries to play teen mom on TV show, fails horribly.

Acting is tough, even acting as yourself.

June 22, 2010

Plane Rides of Shame

Gen. Stanley McChrystal flight to the White House.

French National team's flight home.

The French flew coach. Ouch. Not sure how the general is flying.

June 21, 2010

No Kill Switch

I must admit I was rather drawn to the idea of a Presidential Kill Switch. It appealed to my sense of drama, if no my sense of civil liberties. Carry it around like the nuclear football. The nerd hero, the President's personal hacker, storming into the Oval Office "Mr. President, the virus continues to spread. We must pull the kill switch or lose the Country."

Turns out to be a myth.

June 15, 2010

Now With Legos

U.S. - England, recreated with LLegos:

The Theological Implication...

...are staggering.

A six-story-tall statue of Jesus Christ with his arms raised along a highway was struck by lightning in a thunderstorm Monday night and burned to the ground, police said.

What does it all mean? No idols? No tacky idols? Some other god is jealous? (I suspect Zeus, lighting is his style) The random workings of a random universe?

June 14, 2010

The Saudi Arabia of Lithium

So it turns out that Afghanistan is sitting on a massive storehouse of valuable minerals. Is it just me, or is this not really the best news for a Country with a massively corrupt, barely functioning government still wracked by civil war? Oil hasn't solved the problems of Sudan or Nigeria, and being called the Saudi Arabia of X doesn't imply a clean and democratic future for your government. But hey, at least we won't be facing a cell phone battery shortage in the future. That could be as bad as peak oil,

June 1, 2010

Voter Guide

Woo, I know you've been look forward to it and so have I. Propositions are my life:

Prop 13. Seismic retrofits. Gives a tax break to fix up existing builds to better withstand earthquakes. Which do happen from time to time here in California. Anything that makes it less likely that I will be buried under a pile of masonry when the big one hits gets my support. The Chant recommends Yes.

Prop 14. Open Primary.
Creates an "Open Primary" for California elections, where all candidates run on the same ballot and the top two run the general, regardless of party. I know this isn't popular in this post-partisan era, but parties are important. Knowing if a (D) or (R) comes after a names tells you a lot, even if you know nothing else. This prop blurs those lines and could even end up with with two D's or two R's. Vote for me, I have the same legislative program as this other guy. The Chant recommends No.

Prop 15. Public Financing of Elections. Actually, just a big toe in the water of public financing of elections. Its just for Secretary of State and just for a couple of election cycles, but its a start. You want big money of politics? This is how you start. The Chant recommends Yes.

Prop 16. Voter Approval of Public Utilities. Biggest scam on the ballot. Purely funded by PG&E, this requires a two-thirds majority vote before forming a public utility. Two-thirds votes are impossible, which is why California can't pass a budget and the US Constitution is never amended. Plus, public utilities can't spend money on campaigns. So PG&E can completely block any competition (public utilities like SMUD in Sacramento are much cheaper) This is why Propositions suck. The Chant recommends No.

Prop 17. Auto Insurance. The second biggest scam on the ballot. Look, I know the commercials say this is a deal, but do you really think that a insurance company is going to go to all the trouble of getting the signatures, put this on the ballot and spend millions on commercials JUST TO SAVE YOU MONEY? Sure. The Chant recommends No.

In the Democratic primary, I'm going to go with Jerry Brown (I know, I know, but he's what we got) Gavin Newsom for Lt. governor (Sexy pol of the future) and Kamala Harris for Attorney General. Don't even think about voting for Mickey Kaus for Senate, not even as a joke.

You Republicans are on your own, but I must say, if Steve Poisner was as liberal as Meg Whiteman's commercials say, I might vote for him. But its all probably lies, anyway.

One week till election day. Have fun.

This Weeks Middle East Crisis

Drama on the high seas. I'm not saying the "freedom flotilla" was wholly pure or wasn't looking for trouble, but commandos vrs aid workers will never result in good PR for the side with the commandos. Israel is destined to look bad these days. Israel, justified or not, is basically trying to starve out Hamas and 1.5 million Palestinians in the Gaza strip. Much like millions of gallons of oil in the water, there are some things that just can't be spun.