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2010 March — Why Now?
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Posts from — March 2010

Who’s Ignorant?

A note to the so-called liberal and progressive A-listers: If you are going to claim that someone is ignorant, you should check your facts first.

Before deciding to join the attack on Carly Fiorina started at a dKos diary for being ignorant and referring to matzo as bread, Digby might wanted to have checked with a rabbi, or the Manischewitz web site, where she would have been told that matzo is “unleavened bread”.

For all of those who keep referring to it as a cracker I would note that if you knew anything about it, you would know that the machine produced product of companies like Manichewitz is not the only form of matzo. There is hand-made matzo that is very similar to pita bread, and other forms that are like flour tortillas.

Since matzo, the bread of haste, was consumed at the Passover seder known as the Last Supper, I would have thought that even those raised in the Christian tradition would know that it is the bread of the “bread and wine”.

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March 31, 2010   8 Comments

Here We Go Again

The Pensacola News Journal reports that Sneads’ job losses could benefit Santa Rosa:

TALLAHASSEE — Fighting to save the industry that has sustained them for generations, protesters in the tiny North Florida town of Sneads will gather today to rail against a Senate proposal to save $20 million by closing at least one state prison and privatizing others.

Before the state privatizes anything else, I want some proof that it saves money. I want the state to show that it has actually saved tax dollars on anything that has been privatized over a period of five years. They keep doing this and get a small savings the first year or two, but then the costs go up and the quality goes down.

Private companies need to make a profit and the government doesn’t, so I want to see proof that it is cheaper to outsource government functions. I’m getting really tired of hearing that “private industry is more efficient” without any proof to back up the statement.

March 30, 2010   9 Comments

Say What!

McClatchy tells us the un-news that a Republican Senator is a jerk, Mad over health care, North Carolina’s Burr scuttles hearing, but what really ticks me off is this bit:

Senate rules prohibit committees from meeting after 2 p.m. unless there is unanimous consent. Such consent usually occurs with no problem, but around lunchtime today, Burr stepped in.

I have had “Senate rules”. The Senate rules are designed by lazy slugs, for lazy slugs. The rules are designed to prevent useful work from getting done. Until these guys start putting in some 40-hour weeks, stop the months of paid vacations and the unlimited travel budgets, nothing is going to get done. They are contracted for six years and the job is in Washington. They should get Federal holidays and 4 weeks of vacation.

They have been creating rules so they don’t have to work and then complaining that nothing gets done. It’s time they started pulling their weight.

March 30, 2010   Comments Off on Say What!

What A Novel Concept

I am not in favor of the UK libel laws in general, as I think they tilt too far in favor of the plaintiff, but this would certainly alter the op-ed pages in the US.

The CBC notes that the U.K. press watchdog cracks down on blogger

Britain’s Press Complaints Commission has censured a blogger who made claims that most of the violent crime in London is committed by young African-Caribbean men.

It is the first time the press watchdog, which oversees editorial content of newspaper and magazines, has upheld a complaint against a blog.

The Press Complaints Commission requires editorials that make statements of “fact” to back up the claim or print a retraction. This would save the print media a lot of money on columnists as they would have a day of retractions for every day of columns. It apparently doesn’t affect opinion, only claims of fact.

Fact-checking – a whole new concept for the print media.

Oh, the “blogger” was working for a newspaper, and posting on the newspaper’s site.

March 30, 2010   Comments Off on What A Novel Concept

Patent Sanity?

The ABC reports on the US court decision: Landmark ruling deems cancer gene patents invalid

A district court judge in the United States has ruled that patents should not have been awarded over the breast and ovarian cancer genes BRCA1 and 2.

The decision raises serious concerns about whether patents should be awarded on human and other genes and proteins found in nature.

Discovering the genes that are indicative of illnesses might justify a Nobel, but it is not an act of creation. The methods used to discover the genes are certainly candidates for patents, but not the genes themselves.

Intellectual property laws are all about rewarding creativity, not discovery. If you didn’t create it, you shouldn’t be able to patent it. Gene patents have slowed vital research and increased the costs.

March 30, 2010   2 Comments

Things Are Getting Weird

I mentioned the last minute filing of a Democrat for the special election to fill the state house position that was vacated by the incumbent’s legal problems. Well, Jan Fernald is actually running. I got a call from her phone bank today, the first time I have received a live person political call since I’ve been back in Florida. The Republicans just use robo-calling.

On top of that, I had the TV on while I was working at my Mother’s in hopes of news, and I heard an ad from Allen Boyd, the Blue Dog who represents the neighboring Florida District 2. Allen was trumpeting his vote for the Health Insurance Law. If you click to his official web site, you will see he’s also doing it there. He obviously doesn’t think it’s a negative.

Things are definitely getting strange.

March 29, 2010   Comments Off on Things Are Getting Weird

Happy Pesach

As Elayne notes on today’s Silly Site, sundown today marks the beginning of Pesach [Passover]. The story is found in the Book of Exodus.

You can, of course, just pop in a DVD of The Ten Commandments, Cecil B. DeMille’s version.

March 29, 2010   Comments Off on Happy Pesach

Some Down Time Tomorrow

I’m doing some maintenance tomorrow, hopefully in the late morning, but I may put it off until tomorrow night depending on “real life”.

There have been a couple of backend things going on that are annoying, and I hope to clean them up with a software reload. I have been putting this off because there is a new version coming out, but it hasn’t appeared. Such is computers.

Better late than buggy.

Update: Done and things still seem to work, so that’s one less thing to check if the problems continue.

March 28, 2010   2 Comments

How Bad Is It?

Money magazine has a cheery little article on FHA’s Florida fiasco:

Until the recent downturn, condos generally performed better than the housing market as a whole, agency officials said. Now, however, 28% of the FHA condo loans in Florida are seriously delinquent. In Broward County alone, four in 10 condo owners are behind in their payments.

One reason was the condo building boom earlier in the past decade. Speculators joined homeowners in snapping up luxury apartments in new developments, driving prices sky-high. But when the market collapsed, these investors were among the first to bail out, dragging the entire development down with them.

They are throwing around numbers like 1 in 5 mortgages are in trouble, which coincides with the real 20% unemployment rate in the state. These aren’t the risky mortgages, these are FHA conventional mortgages that were investigated and required proof before they were granted.

A significant portion of the problem in South Florida was caused by the prices being pushed to absurd levels by speculation, gambling, not by demand for housing. This is what happens when housing stops being about sheltering people, and becomes an “investment”.

March 28, 2010   Comments Off on How Bad Is It?

How Low Can We Go?

People can take their “green shoots” BS and use it to fertilize their survival garden.

The Pensacola News Journal says: Florida’s unemployment rate hit a record 12.2 percent in February and likely tops 20 percent when “discouraged workers” who opt for part-time jobs and those who have given up hope of finding work are counted.

The Miami Herald tells us that Floridians’ personal income fell by 2.7 percent from 2008 to 2009, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis said Friday.

Housing and growth are the consistent engines for Florida’s economy, and we are losing residents while having a glut of housing. They don’t know for sure how bad the housing glut is because lenders are keeping some portion of their foreclosures off the market in hopes that prices will go back up. It isn’t going to happen until people have jobs.

The state and local governments are being forced to lay people off, because they can’t “run a deficit” and the GOP refuses to support the Federal stimulus needed to jump start the economy.

The state legislature is messing around with school prayer, and probably new places to hold gun battles. I’m waiting for the bill that makes it legal to shoot people who protest against organized prayer at school functions and authorizes a new license plate to support it. 😈

March 27, 2010   2 Comments

Friday Cat Blogging

Vinnie Waits

Friday Cat Blogging

Come on, fire up the grill!

[Editor: If Vinnie were older he would not be hanging around the grill. Molly could tell him about me and the grill after hurricanes. It isn’t a fun story. I’m handy with a camp fire, but that stupid grill has never produced anything edible.]

Friday Ark

March 26, 2010   22 Comments

What A Wuss

Congressman Eric Cantor took to the stage to respond to the threats to Democratic lawmakers and said that his office was fired on. Alas he never expected that there were going to be forensics involved: Richmond Police Detail Shooting Of Cantor’s Office.

The short version – some whacko fired a gun into the air and gravity took it to an empty meeting room in the building where Cantor’s office is located. The bullet broke the glass, but was deflected to the floor by the miniblinds.

Of course, as a Congresscritter, Mr. Cantor could introduce a bill to make it a Federal felony to shoot into the air, and then he would have something to worry about.

March 25, 2010   7 Comments

Bye Bye, Bibi

Ha’aretz reports: Netanyahu leaves U.S. disgraced, isolated and weaker.

Bibi can’t control his foreign minister; his interior minister was the one who actually insulted Joe Biden; his brother-in-law called Obama anti-Semitic; and the city government in Jerusalem torpedoed his emergency trip to mend fences with the US.

Netanyahu is not in charge of his government, and everyone can see it. The Palestinians can truthfully say there is no one in Israel to negotiate with, so there is no point in talking.

From the US point of view, Israel has twice insulted the current administration and refuses to honor its previous commitments.

Bibi should just call an election and bow out. He isn’t even getting respect from his own coalition partners.

March 25, 2010   2 Comments

A Programming Note

The cats are annoyed, but not as annoyed as I am about the lack of sleep available to me.

They are re-paving a major road a block away. To avoid annoying drivers, they are doing it at night from 8pm to 4am. The huge machinery they are using in this task is being parked on my tiny little, no traffic street when it is not in use. Because of the size of the machinery, they don’t turn it around. Of course they all have the backup alarms on these vehicles, so that is going all night long. One pass with the roar of diesels, and then the roar is joined by the beeping of the alarms.

There are several large parking lots in the area, lots with plenty of open space, thanks to the Hedgemony and the GOPression, but they would rather park this stuff on a quiet, residential side street. 😡

March 24, 2010   4 Comments