February, 2008 archive
Hands Across the Chest Department 0
Phillybits has the scoop.
I’ve Never Figured Out . . . 1
. . . why persons transporting illegal substances don’t obey traffic laws:
A rookie state trooper making a routine traffic stop near Harrington uncovered 140 pounds of marijuana Thursday stashed in three laundry bags hidden in the vehicle.
State police spokesman Cpl. Gary Fournier said the trooper, who had been on patrol for less than a week, was driving south on U.S. 13 with his field training officer about 9:35 a.m. when he saw a 1999 Chevrolet blazer bearing the registration belonging to a 1988 Mazda.
On Tuesday night, Laurel police stopped a New Jersey man on U.S. 13 in Laurel for running a red light and discovered 105 pounds of bundled marijuana worth an estimated $85,000 in two cardboard boxes in the rear of his van.
Of course, it’s not always that simple. Some years ago, there was a run of busts on the Jersey Turnpike in Carneys Point township. A cop–actually, he was a Captain in the APD–I was working with at the time told me what was happening:
The smugglers would send the mules north. They would then call the cops and turn them in. The cops would pick the mules up, and the smugglers would collect the reward.
Too long. They should have stopped with the first two words.
Too Dumb for Words 0
How can one reclaim a state of nonbeing?
Good Bye, M$ 0
70,000 desktops switching to Linux.
The French gendarmerie has blown a big framboise at Microsoft by ditching Windows XP in favour of Ubuntu.
The paramilitary police force is to switch 70,000 desktops over to the Linux OS, two years after switching its browsers to Firefox, and three years after dumping MS Office for OpenOffice.
Wrong Crowd 0
I’ve known some bikers. By that, I don’t mean persons who ride bikes and pin false ponytails to the back of their balding heads.
I mean perosns who would break your kneecaps for a dime.
No hard feelings, of course. Just business. They want the dime.
These perps picked the wrong crowd with which to mess:
The Southern Cross Cruiser Club was enjoying its get-together at the Regents Park Sporting and Community Club last Wednesday when the masked pair, bearing blades and machetes, burst in and “yelled at patrons to drop to the floor as they emptied cash registers at the bar”, as CNN puts it.
The bikers quickly entered from an adjacent room and laid into the master crims with tables and chairs and “pretty much anything that wasn’t bolted down”.
Pine View Farm Mobile, Reprise 0
I installed a different plugin for mobile devices. Unlike the one I was using, this one comes with its own theme and does not strip links and pictures out of the content.
There’s no special URL. As long as your mobile device identifies itself as a mobile device, the blog will be reformatted to fit on a mobile browser screen.
Now my two or three regular readers can be annoyed my me anywhere they go.
Any WordPress users out there who would like to take a look at the plugin here.
I’ve also added a few other plugins to make this site easier to use and to administer. There will be more coming.
The Votes Are In 0
LQ announces the winners of the 2007 Members Choice awards.
If you are thinking of throwing off the Micro$oft yoke, these are some apps you might consider.
And LQ is a great place for help and support. When I have Linux questions, it’s the first place I go after I RTFM.
Living in the Past 0
R. I. P. William F. Buckley 0
As wrong as he was in throwing the public good under the bus in favor of private gain, he was a brilliant and witty man and a scintillating writer.
Dick Polman offers a memoriam.
Why We Need a Single-Payer Universal Health Care System 3
The person who wrote this had health insurance. She got t-boned in a traffic accident–not her fault. First, her health insurance carrier cut her off. Then the other driver’s auto insurance cut her off.
This happens when health care is based, not on caring for health, but on making money for anonymous third parties. (Emphasis added)
So here I am, some 4 years later more than $20,000 in debt and still without a job, a car, or health insurance. I was very fortunate to meet someone special who has helped me out, and given me the time to learn a new career that I can actually physically do.
Now, I am sure I left a bunch of stuff out of this, and if you have questions I will gladly answer them. But here is my point.
Universal Health Insurance doesnâ€™t solve a damned thing. Insurance companies, all types of insurance companies, do what they want. What good is having insurance if they can refuse treatment?
I had insurance. I had health insurance from work, I had insurance for my car. I had disability insurance. I had insurance for my credit cards.
You know what it did for me? Not a damned thing. We donâ€™t need universal health coverage, we need universal health care; where you cannot be told, oh sorry, weâ€™re not going to cover that.
Electrons Don’t Lie 0
But Bushies do. ASZ has the scoop.
Bushonomics and Original Sin 8
What Duncan likes to refer to as the Big Shitpile has gone to graduate school and earned a Ph. D. (Pile It Higher and Deeper), as shown by a bunch of stories in the local rag:
In the latest signs of the U.S. economy’s weakness, reports yesterday showed sharp declines in housing prices but higher costs for almost everything else.
And there was a third dose of bad news, prompted mostly by the slump in housing and rising inflation: Consumer confidence fell to the lowest point since just before the Iraq war began.
Yesterday’s reports raised the threat of a return of “stagflation,” the economic curse of the 1970s, in which economic growth stagnates at the same time that inflation continues racing ahead.
The United States is on the brink of experiencing a toxic economic mix not seen in three decades: Prices are speeding upward at the fastest pace in a quarter-century even though the economy is losing steam.
Economists call the disease “stagflation,” and they are worried it might be coming back.
Already, paychecks are not stretching as far as they did just a year ago. Jobs are harder to find, threatening to set off a vicious cycle that could make things even worse.
The economy nearly stalled in the final three months of last year and probably is barely growing or even shrinking now. That is the “stagnation” part of the ailment.
Typically, that slowdown would keep prices in check – the second part of the diagnosis. Instead, prices are climbing higher.
Once the twin evils of stagflation take hold, it can be hard to break the grip. Consumers, stung by rising prices and shriveling wages, cut their spending. Businesses, also socked by rising costs and declining demand from customers, clamp down on their hiring and capital investment.
That would be a nightmare scenario for Wall Street investors, businesses, politicians, and most everyone else. They are already looking to the Federal Reserve for help, but the Fed’s job is complicated by the dual nature of the problem.
Three (not that I can get too worked up over the misfortunes of Toll Brothers, who are responsible for some of the ugliest houses I’ve ever seen):
Toll Bros. Inc. today reported a first-quarter loss as revenue fell 23 percent from the same period a year earlier, reflecting worsening conditions in most of the Horsham-based builder’s markets around the country.
Total revenues for the three months that ended Jan. 31 were $842.9 million, compared with $1.09 billion a year ago. The first-quarter backlog of unsold homes was 42 percent lower, however, at $2.40 billion, compared with $4.15 billion, the company said.
So, what does original sin have to do with all this? Fraudulent sales techniques, stupid consumer decisions, stupid business decisions–none of them seem particularly original.
It seems to be a verse in the NeoCon Bible that all regulation is bad and that, somehow, Adam Smith’s invisible hand of the market will resolve all problems and lead to nirvana. Instead, we are closer to Valhalla.
During the course of the last eight years, the Bushies have hamstrung the EPA, OSHA, the FDA, the SEC and any other agency charged with ensuring that businesses comport themselves with integrity.
And we know the results. Just look at the recents successes of the FDA.
Meat recalls. Spinach recalls. Drug recalls.
I won’t even bother to look up stuff for the other agencies. Just one word: Enron.
As I have mentioned before, one of the traits of wingnut thought seems to be the belief that wealth indicates virture. (And the corollary: that poverty indicates sin. That’s why those in economic need don’t deserve health care.)
There is, of course, a fallacy in this reasoning. Hell, there is a fallacy in the whole NeoCon Weltanschauungen, but that’s another story.
And that fallacy is ignoring original sin, or, more properly, imagining that the wealthy are somehow exempt therefrom and will therefore, in following the dictates of Adam Smith’s “invisible hand,” act with integrety.
Some do, of course. Warren Buffet and George Soros come to mind.
But others do not.
Society needs to deal with them, to protect the common good and the good of the common.
The instrument society has for dealing with them (and for building roads and for defending the nation and for putting the bad guys behind bars and for doing lots of other things) is called (gasp!) Government.
Government is not some evil thrust upon us from outside, as the Club for Greed would have us believe (I have to say, I agree completely with Mr. Huckabee on the characterization of that organization).
Government is the only instrument we have to protect ourselves, as a citzenry, from those who would defraud and delude us.
Government is a necessity for life in a civilized world.
And those who, in order to make the rich richer and the poor poorer, thwart its legitimate function to promote the general welfare betray the public trust.
Fortunately, they are easy to identify. They call themselves “Movement Conservatives.”
Check Out Pine View Farm Mobile 0
I’ve activated a new plug-in that reformats From Pine View Farm to a mobile friendly format when you connect from a mobile device.
When I tested it on my cell phone, it worked pretty good, but it did seem to strip the links out of the bodies of the posts.
If you have PDA, cell phone, or other mobile device, check it out and tell me what you think.
Native Dress 1
We’re Going to a Show 0
Paula Poundstone is playing Rehoboth.
We always look forward to her appearances on Wait, Wait. She is truly witty.
And it will be a weekend with no kids (no disrespect meant, Second Son) and no dogs (disrepect meant, dogs).