Eww Ick Ack Put-t-t-t-t! (Dallas water again)

Just stopped by the water fountain. Ewww. The algae’s turned over on the bottom of the lakes again. Happens every year, long about August, when every fountain in downtown Dallas starts tasting like ass for three weeks. It’s supposed to have stopped by now and gone back to (relatively) decent-tasting water. For this to be going on in late December is just another mark of what a tinderbox the region is lately.

Rain rain, come our way….

60-car pileup in Hungary on the M1

It’s not just Austria getting pounded in that snowstorm.

The Dallas Rooftop Society

I don’t know what else to call it, but in the coming year, I intend to start canvassing the radio and media guys to see what can be done about this:

See that? Isn’t that just ass-ugly? It’s worse than that, actually. From the 51st floor downtown where I used to work, I could see Ft. Worth on a clear day… but if I looked North-by-Northwest, all I saw was thousands of acres of warehouse roofs. Bare. Soaking up rain and sun damage, and worst of all, turning into a giant heat-collector during the summertime, superheating the air all around it. What happens then? You get a giant high-pressure bubble that doesn’t let in an ounce of wind, and seals in the heat and pollution on top of a million-plus people just aching for relief on a 90-plus day that can easily get up to 110 in the parking lot or during one of the harder droughts.

It doesn’t have to be like this. Sure, North Texas is hot, but not that hot. We’re all a bunch of pansies compared to what the Arizonans go through. But that heat bubble kills us each and every summer, turning what ought to be damned near a paradise into a months-long scurry from AC unit to AC unit, like roaches fleeing from the kitchen light.

And the solution is technically simple, but fiscally and legally complicated: find a way to convince the building-management firms that it’s legally safe and financially in their best interest to put plants up on the roofs. They don’t have to be big, and it’s better if they weren’t… bushy crepe myrtles and hybrid native roses (you know, the plants that even God can’t kill?) would do just fine. And you wouldn’t have to do the whole city to get an effect, either: it’s the warehouse district that sits right in the path of the winds that ought to be coming through Dallas… break the edge of the heat bubble, especially in conjunction with the Trinity River Project, and it would break up into smaller, more easily-manageable areas to green up, since much of the rest of town actually has some green to speak of.

And then, summertime would have an actual breeze now and then, and with twice-a-year crepe myrtle and rose blooms, would go from being an overheated eyesore, to something you could actually put on a postcard and write home about.

Awww, Lynndie England got burned in the kitchen…

she’d better watch it, or else she’s gonna fall down some stairs a few times, too.
(Schadenfreude: enabled.)

Sometimes even an asshole is right.

Sure, Evo Morales won’t allow coca eradication. But let’s not count that among his numerous other faults… you try making daily or semi-daily 5,000-foot altitude changes without a cheap antidote to altitude sickness, and see where it gets you.

Do FARC and the cocaine gangs suck? Yes. Are drug dealers high on tons of profit from pushing their poison? Of course they are: nobody would ever set up a glue-sniffing cartel.. w/o money, the stupidity overwhelms the supposed glamor.

Is any of that the fault of some shit-poor shepherd on the mountainside? Not hardly…

Look, you don’t mess with the bus driver…

Especially not when the bus crew happens to be an airplane. Getting dropped off on a desert island may or may not be more than he deserves… but it should prove some mighty fine deterrent value… let’s hear it for common courtesy and not being thrown out the tail end of the airplane by a harried flight attendant at 30,000 feet…

While everybody laughs at the kid who went to Iraq…

I gotta admit, I admire the bastard. Why am I calling him a bastard if I admire him? Well, because you just don’t do that to your folks. And because it helps to bring a phrasebook when you go to another country. With Lebanese family friends, he should have caught that very large clue…

Otherwise, the kid put his money (and potentially his balls, given the threat of kidnapping) where his mouth was, and went to take a look. More power to him.

Sometimes even a libertarian has to love socialist policies

… for example, paying women to have kids. Why not? The government-caused economic and social malaise of Central and Eastern Europe is well-known to have held down the birth rate in the region to soon-to-be-collapse levels. Now, as Technogypsy puts it, “the plural of anecdote is not evidence,” but my four years living in Central Europe showed me an entire generation of women who were literally scared off of having kids, because they were certain that they couldn’t afford to raise them… which made sense, since most of them were on a none-too-solid financial footing themselves.

It’s like that dippy song…do you believe that children are the future? Well, you’d better, unless your vision of the future is grey, arthritic…. and LONELY.

Squirrel Tsar? No, not Foamy.

Apparently Scotland’s cute red cows aren’t that unique… cute red squirrels are endangered by their mob of grey cousins…

Gas crisis hits fightin’ words in Ukraine

Now claimed to be at “230 or else” levels, Russia has also denied Ukraine any rents on pipeline use, and issued bald threats on the “Ukrainian Counterpunch” earlier discussed.

UPDATE: Over at a Step at a Time, new data clinches the idea that this is a Gazprom/Kremlin attempt to put a powerlock on Ukraine: Gazprom has bought off Turkmenistan’s surplus gas, leaving Ukraine with no other potential supplier.

Our press and politicians need to start screaming bloody murder about this… of course, that would take reporting and statesmanship. Whose job is that lately?

Joy to the World, Our Plane Didn’t Crash

And my, step-grand,ma’s kyooot!

Merry Christmas Eve!

Red v. Blue going away?

Patrick Cox over at TCS Daily has an interesting media take on things. However, he has fundamentally committed an error by cleaving too closely to Brooks’ Red-v-Blue hypothesis.

First off, there is some truth to the “density is destiny thesis.” But it can be carried too far.

When Brooks first wrote, in order to find a conservative space, he had to leave the DC area and drive out to the sticks. (Fine with me, I like the sticks.) But this skewed his writing, on the assumption that liberal and conservative areas were merely “urban v. retro,” as the saying goes, completely missing the fact that there are large urban areas that are quite conservative, Dallas being my home-town example, and, perhaps more importantly, that the number of medium-sized cities that are “red” without having anything at all in common with the countryside, is huge.

Therefore, just because big cities are starting to fester less, doesn’t mean that the red-blue divide is in any danger of vanishing.

“Instead of Drilling for Oil, Tap our Minds.”

In a USA-Today op-ed that is breathtakingly clueless even by the standards of the US Senate, Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) lays out her opposition to drilling in ANWR. And she is aptly named for the task, because her opposition is nothing but disingenous cant for her constituents in Washington State (aka, a place so full of leftist environmental nuts that ELF and ALF are actually taken seriously, rather than derided as the crack-brained terrorists they are).

Thus, we get to enjoy patronizing schlock like this:

….the fight to protect the refuge today is also a fight to
confront our national priorities for tomorrow. Those who limit this discussion
to caricatured arguments about the competing value of oil reserves and protected
lands are irresponsible. We must ask hard questions.

Yes, we must, starting with why on earth you think that actually addressing economic questions in economic terms is irresponsible… why is it irresponsible to limit the discussion to whether ANWR has any value as a wildlife reserve? Perhaps b/c it’s not the photogenic Garden of Eden Borealis that folks would like to make it out to be?

Realizing that God gave America less than 3% of the world’s
remaining oil, would we rather gamble on the future goodwill of unfriendly
Middle East regimes, or bet instead on American ingenuity and investment?

WTF, over?
1. It’s not a binary choice, idiot. That rhetoric went stale with the Soviets.
2. Who cares where the rest of the world gets its oil supply?
3. Personally, I’d prefer to bet on the American ingenuity of ANWR oilmen…

Drilling advocates argue that we ignore the need for an immediate
boost to domestic oil supply. But their arguments ignore the facts: Opening the
refuge would do little to meet our energy needs and nothing to reduce

Hrm… now, Ms. Cantwell, I know that you’re in the Senate, but might I interest you in my two friends from Economics 101, Supply and Demand? Or, would that be irresponsible?

Not one drop would come from the refuge for 10 years. At its peak,
drilling would cut our reliance on imports by only 4 percentage points and the
price of gas by just one penny.

Therefore, Senator, since ANWR isn’t a magic wand that will instantly right the world, it shouldn’t be done? Personally speaking, I like the idea of being 4% less dependent upon the toad-like House of Saud, not to mention Cubazuela. However, since we’re bandying numbers, let’s put a number out there: $10,000,000. That’s the annual gas savings to America, using the Senator’s numbers, assuming that there are only 100 million vehicles in America, that they only need to be fueled once per month, and that they only need to have 10 gallons put in them during fueling. (Nice round numbers so Mme. Senator won’t get confused.)

Others claim it can’t hurt. They’re wrong: It would hurt badly. Oil
companies drilling on the neighboring North Slope have caused, on average, 504
spills annually since 1996. They have released almost 2 million gallons of toxic
substances, most commonly diesel, crude and hydraulic oil. Just one spill can
significantly damage this fragile ecosystem.

Yeah, and just one cigarette in a bar will cause a Dallas Democrat to fall dead on the spot from second-hand-smoke. The Senator has obviously been reading too many letters from her friends in the touchy-feely Eden Borealis club again… either way, the Alaskan oilmens’ record is pretty darned good, judging by the absolute explosion of the caribou population.

The plan before Congress could make matters worse.

Could? Could make matters worse? You don’t even have the spine to say “no sir, don’t like it, here’s why?” Come on, Senator, you’re supposed to be pretending to be wise so that you can represent six and a half million people in Washington State. Do some pushups or something and grow a pair so you can play with the big boys and girls.

Not only would it hijack defense funding that our troops desperately need, this plan would also
circumvent many federal laws — safeguards with which every American business has
to comply.

Which laws? Put up, or shut up and admit you’re conjuring a scare tactic from the ether. Can we pass some rules to get the rest of the American business out from underneath some of these rules, too? Or better yet, get Congress to actually review the effectiveness of the regulations it’s already passed? And, you’re a Senator, so you know better than to pull that defense-funding b.s.: since 1963, the only thing hijacking defense funding is Democratic Senators.

We have other choices. We should empower our farmers to grow
cost-competitive biofuels, and we should produce cars that let Americans get
more miles to the gallon.

Which won’t do dick to drop oil prices, given that the rest of the world is going through a giant surge in oil demand known as “we’d like to take part in modernity, too.” And biofuels are nice, so far as they go, but they’re NOT cost-competitive per unit of energy in spite of vast Congressional “empowerment.” And if you actually attended the briefings on the Energy and National Resources Committee in which you serve, you’d know that.

By tapping our nation’s spirit of innovation, we would stabilize
prices, expand supply and reduce the burden on so many hard-working families. By
investing in alternative fuels and new technology, America could cut its oil use
in half and do far more to secure our energy independence than drilling in the
Alaska wildlife refuge ever could.

Again, we already ARE investing in alternative fuels, and alternative means of producing fuels. None of them are ready for prime time, and many of them will never form effective oil substitutes. We’ve got biofuels, Fischer-Tropf synfuels, tar sands, hydrogen…. all kinds of innovation already going on.

In the mean time, let’s tap our nation’s much more noble spirit of telling members of the Political Class to stick it in their ear, and let hard-working people who want to get to work get to it, so that everybody profits and Senator Cantwell can engage in disingenuous cant on whatever else fascinates her this week, like scrapbooking in the rain forest.

God to Ray Nagin: Who’s your Daddy now?

The Almighty has re-emphasized his decree regarding the Ruins of BonTemps and the return of business therein…

Kali the Terrible Stamps the dwarf skull of Ignorance…

Intelligent Design, a.k.a., creationism with 35% bullshit added, has been struck down as an evolution alternative in science classes in PA.

Nifty little religious dogma, I guess, but since there are no falsifiable hypotheses, there’s no way it has any place in a science class…

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