October 31, 2007

A Halloween Mask You Really Do Not Want to Become Popular

rudy giuliani....!

And, no, he does not warrant a picture.

Teresa Nielson Hayden has scoops of details.

She probably hates that the lead "Ads by Google" when you go to the above link is: Support rudy giuliani in 2008

Posted by Steve on October 31, 2007

It's Pumpkin Time!

Happy Halloween!!!


I received a larger BMP version of this via email from Daughter Modulator. It is a varaiation on and reverse image of the cover of a recently published book called Extreme Pumpkins

by Tom Nardone.

Posted by Steve on October 31, 2007

October 30, 2007

Guidance From Arthur

Pay attention:

The law is not the only method by which the state controls us, and strips our national discussion of all meaning. There is another, less formal but no less constricting means, which is commonly identified by the phrase, "the rules." We must all follow "the rules." You cannot ever break "the rules." Be very, very clear on this point: the only way you can speak the truth on any subject of importance in this country today is BY BREAKING THE RULES.

Friends, if this country -- and if you individually -- are to have any kind of human future at all, and by "human," I mean a life with any genuine meaning and joy, a life not fatally compromised by ongoing murder, torture, and brutality -- you had better fucking disturb the peace every second of every day.

You know the routine.

Oh yea, start today, start now: start breaking the rules!

Posted by Steve on October 30, 2007

The Pope Advocates Career Change for Catholic Pharmacists

Pope Benedict XVI said Monday that pharmacists have a right to use conscientious objection to avoid dispensing emergency contraception or euthanasia drugs — and told them they should also inform patients of the ethical implications of using such drugs.

Benedict told a gathering of Catholic pharmacists that conscientious objection was a right that must be recognized by the pharmaceutical profession.

Benedict said such status would "enable them not to collaborate directly or indirectly in supplying products that have clearly immoral purposes such as, for example, abortion or euthanasia."

I could not agree more that these folks have a right to conscientious objection to dispensing certain pharmaceuticals and that they should not collaborate in distributing drugs that they consider immoral.

Of course, the only appropriate mechanism for them to exercise this right is to either change profession or work for a pharmaciy that agrees with their views. For instance:

Baldwin pharmacist Lutful Chowdhury thinks Catholicism's leader is dispensing sound advice when he told pharmacists in Rome yesterday to exercise their right to refuse to fill prescriptions of medications that could end a pregnancy, assist in euthanasia or contraception.

"These are moral issues," said Chowdhury, who is Muslim and the owner of Aim Pharmacy. "This is for the betterment of mankind so I agree with the policy."

Chowdhury owns the business and has every right to sell or not sell whatever he wants to agreeable customers and long as no fraud is involved.

You and I have every right to take our business elsewhere.

For those who argue that there needs to be a law, well, no. Whether in the US, Italy or Chile this is an issue that should exist between employer, employee and customers.

Posted by Steve on October 30, 2007

October 29, 2007

October 27, 2007

Spin, Spin, Spin

fema, building on a long tradition of strong bush administration public relations efforts such as colin powell's un security council presentation and the fine news reporting provided by embedded reporters in Iraq, had demonstrated new skills in government puffery:

The U.S. government's main disaster-response agency apologized on Friday for having its employees pose as reporters in a hastily called news conference on California's wildfires that no news organizations attended.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, still struggling to restore its image after the bungled handling of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, issued the apology after The Washington Post published details of the Tuesday briefing.
No actual reporter attended the news conference in person, agency spokesman Aaron Walker said.
The agency had called the briefing with about 15 minutes notice as federal officials headed for southern California to oversee and assist in firefighting and rescue efforts. Reporters were also given a telephone number to listen in on but could not ask questions.

But with no reporters on hand and an agency video camera providing a feed carried live by some television networks, FEMA press employees posed the questions for Johnson that included: "Are you happy with FEMA's response so far?" (Ed: emphasis added)

A made up presss conference to provide made up answers to made up questions. Can it get any better?

Perhaps, but not for the citizenry. fema's director of external affairs could have stopped the conference:

"It was absolutely a bad decision. I regret it happened. Certainly . . . I should have stopped it," said John P. "Pat" Philbin, FEMA's director of external affairs. "I hope readers understand we're working very hard to establish credibility and integrity, and I would hope this does not undermine it."(Ed: emphasis added)
Lucky for us philbin is leaving fema:
Philbin's last scheduled day at FEMA was Thursday. He has been named as the new head of public affairs at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, ODNI spokeswoman Vanee Vines said.
No, this is not from The Onion.

We are so looking forward to future information programs from the odni!

Posted by Steve on October 27, 2007

October 26, 2007

Friday Ark #162

We'll post links to sites that have Friday (plus or minus a few days) photos of their chosen animals (photoshops at our discretion and humans only in supporting roles). Watch the Exception category for rocks, beer, coffee cups, and....?

Visit all the boarders, Link to the Ark and check back for updates through Sunday afternoon!

You can find out how to board the Friday Ark at the Arkive page.


Other Vertebrates




In Memoriam

  • x

Didn't Make It

  • x

Exceptions (inclusion not guaranteed)

Extra, Extra: All Ark boarders are invited to shout out at the Friday Ark Frapper Map.

Dog folks: remember to submit your links to:

Cat folks: remember to submit your links to:

Birders: I and the Bird: A Blog Carnival for Bird Lovers is published every 2 weeks.

For the spineless: Circus of the Spineless. A monthly celebration of Insects, Arachnids, Molluscs, Crustaceans, Worms and most anything else that wiggles.

For other current carnivals check out The Blog Carnival and The TTLB Uber Carnival

Posted by Steve on October 26, 2007 | Comments (8)

October 25, 2007

The 100 Most Informative Blogs

You want to stay informed but you do not have time to read every blog and newspaper out there. How can you achieve this?

Some researchers at the Carnegie-Mellon University School of Computer Science have an answer for you!

Mores precisely, their study (PDF here) provides answers to this question:

Which blogs should one read to be most up to date, i.e., to quickly know about important stories that propagate over the blogosphere?
The answer will vary depending on how you ask their model the question, i.e., what criteria you give it. You will, for instance, get a different answers depending how quickly you want to find out about an event or how much time you have to read blogs and posts.

The Top 100 list that making the rounds of the blogosphere now is based on 2006 data and answers this question:

If I can read 100 blogs, which should I read to be most up to date? Unit cost (each blogs costs 1), optimizing population affected (PA, we want to be the first to know with many many people coming in the cascade after us)
The Modulator staff is thrilled to be ranked #7 on this list which we provide in full for your reading pleasure:

  1. Instapundit
  2. Don SurberT
  3. Science & Politics
  4. Watcher of Weasesls
  5. Michelle Malkin
  6. National Journal's Blogometer
  7. The Modulator
  8. BloggersBlog.com
  9. Boing Boing
  10. Atrios
  11. A Blog for All
  12. Gothamist
  13. mparent777
  14. TFS Magnum
  15. Alliance of Free Blogs
  16. anglican.tk
  17. Micropersuasion
  18. Pajamas Media
  19. BlogHer
  20. MyPetJawa
  21. Reddit
  22. Soccer Dad
  23. Nose on Your Face
  24. aHistorically
  25. The Anchoress
  26. AmericaBlog
  27. SFist
  28. TBogg
  29. HorsePigCow
  30. Why Homeschool
  31. The Daou Report
  32. Sisu
  33. MetaFilter
  34. Megite
  35. LAist
  36. Captain's Quarters
  37. Shakesville
  38. Guy Kawasaki
  39. Lucy by Lucy
  40. Blue Star Chronicle
  41. Official Google Blog
  42. The Glittering Eye
  43. asterisco.paradigma.pt
  44. Read/WriteWeb
  45. Hullabaloo
  46. The Conservative Cat
  47. Phillyist
  48. The Social Customer Manifesto
  49. The Next Net
  50. Gateway Pundit
  51. Crooks and Liars
  52. Right Wing News
  53. 10,000 Birds
  54. O'Reilly Radar
  55. Cowboy Blog
  56. Business Opportunities Weblog
  57. DCist
  58. Creating Passionate Users
  59. Citizens For Legitimate Government
  60. What About Clients?
  61. Rough Type
  62. The Unofficial Apple Weblog
  63. Dans la cuisine d'Audinette
  64. The London Fog
  65. Bostonist
  66. Seattlest
  67. Austinist
  68. Indian Writing
  69. Power Line
  70. Firedoglake
  71. Blog d'Elisson
  72. Rhymes With Right
  73. Written World
  74. The Jeff Pulver Blog
  75. blog d'eMeRY
  76. Hugh MacLeod's gapingvoid
  77. Catymology
  78. Hugh Hewitt
  79. Lifehacker
  80. jordoncooper.com
  81. Econbrowser
  82. A Socialite's Life
  83. Gates of Vienna
  84. NevilleHobson.com
  85. Waxy.org
  86. A Life Restarted
  87. The Volokh Conspiracy
  88. See Also...
  89. Dr. Sanity
  90. Mudville Gazette
  91. www.saysuncle.com
  92. Privacy Digest
  93. Londonist
  94. Shanghaiist
  95. Catholic and Enjoying It
  96. Single Serve Coffee
  97. Jeremy Zawodny's blog
  98. ScienceBlogs
  99. Basic Thinking Blog
  100. Scobleizer
Check out all these fine blogs. Quite a few of them are posting about this study. The linked Technorati search will give you a much more up to date list than I can maintain here. And, well, I've already linked to the top 100...

NB: Many thanks to all the Friday Ark participants in 2006 who, I suspect, played an important role in Modulator's high ranking.

Posted by Steve on October 25, 2007 | Comments (5)

Watchin' the Boys Go At Caesars

Would this cause you guys some consternation?


Read the full report at Carmichael's Position. He has more pics and larger versions

Posted by Steve on October 25, 2007

October 24, 2007

The Totalitarians Amongst You

Who are they?

...to the totalitarian, something does not have to be 'evil' to warrant the use of force to discourage it, you merely have to have (a) coercive power (b) disapprove of another person's choices regarding their own life. That is all the justification you need, simply the fact other people are not living the way you think they should, in your presumably infinite wisdom.

Do you recognize any in your community?

Posted by Steve on October 24, 2007

October 23, 2007

When to Apologize for Telling the Truth

See a full explanation over at Brilliant for Breakfast.

Posted by Steve on October 23, 2007

On Boomers

Jim Borgman tells it like it is for retiring boomers:


Posted by Steve on October 23, 2007

Tuesday Kitty Skritchin' and Daisy Mae Updatge

Via cookiejill comes word that Daisy Mae has gone home! Thanks to everyone that helped out.

Go skritch'm:


Posted by Steve on October 23, 2007

October 22, 2007

Help Wanted? Work Wanted?

If you live in Japan Just answer your cell phone:

Joi Ito introduces us to otetsudai networks:

With Otetsudai Networks, if you are willing to work, you sign up for the service with your skills and focus, take a GPS reading on your phone and then just hang out. If you are looking for someone for say... 3 hours to man a cash register or help wash dishes, you just send the request to Otetsudai Networks and within minutes, you have a list of people available. The list shows what each person is qualified for, how others have rated their work and exactly how far away they are. Typically you will receive a list of half a dozen or more people within a few minutes.
Amongst a zillion other things it would be interesting to find out:
  • How many of these part timers eventually go to work full time for one of the businesses they worked at.
  • If a business is frequently hiring folk for 2-3 hour shifts does the potential workforce start congregating closer to the business.
There are aspects of this that many business areas need to be moved toward:
It's also a perfect example of a location based, peer-to-peer reputation based, mobile behavior oriented product for an aging society.
Law and health care come to mind as easy examples. Almost completely missing from our interaction with the legal and health care system is a good reputation based evaluation system easily available to potential customers via a variety of easy to use network access methods: cell, web, etc. A
...marketplace, in which families armed with specific information about the treatment success and prices of hospitals and doctors can shop at will for the best quality and most affordable care.*
I'd rephrase this along the lines of consumers can shop at will for the quality of service and price that they prefer.

This type of information needs to be available for each of the monopolistic, read government licensed, service organizations.

Medical and legal licenses may provide a bit more asssurance that the holder knows something but when you get right down to it be it a hairdresser, doctor, real estate agent, lawyer or other state licensee all we really know is that they are licensed. We know nothing more about the quality of their work than that they have not been tossed out of their respective licensing organization. In many cases we know little to nothing about their fee structures.**

This needs to change.

*Strange, I just favorably quoted a paraphrase of a bush appointee's vision. Rather wrenching.

**Well, we do know that the typical realtor charges monopoly pricing.

Posted by Steve on October 22, 2007 | Comments (2)

The Deciding Factor in Most Elections

It's the top issue of the 2008 US presidential campaign and it is not work safe:

Poll: Bullshit Is Most Important Issue For 2008 Voters

Via Tony at milkriverblog.

Posted by Steve on October 22, 2007

republicrats At Work

I've said it more than once and now the New York Times is catching on:

It was bad enough having a one-party government when Republicans controlled the White House and both houses of Congress. But the Democrats took over, and still the one-party system continues.
At best the differences between the democrats and republicans are minor points of emphasis when it comes to protecting your life, liberty and pursuit of happiness...they are not really interested in this. The differences are a bit larger when it comes to the constituencies whose votes they try to buy.

Unfortunately for all of us none of these critters represent even a majority of the citizens in their states or districts. If they did it might be more appropriate to call the United States a representative democracy and its government a government of the people. Today, our congress critters represent themselves, their parties, lobbyists, state corporate interests and government power. Their only interest in the citizens of this country is how to get enough votes to stay in office.

Kudos to the NYT for this editorial.

Where were they, though, during the lead up to the Iraq invasion? When the patriot act was being passed?

They have a lot more work to do to re-establish their position as the paper of record for the people of this country rather than whoever is currently pulling the strings from the Washington, D.C.

NB: Will chris dodd be able to survive as the independent he is playing?

Via Hullaballoo.

Posted by Steve on October 22, 2007

October 21, 2007

A Mom's Work Never Ends

A shorter Mom:

Via Mrs Modulator.

Posted by Steve on October 21, 2007

October 19, 2007

Friday Ark #161

We'll post links to sites that have Friday (plus or minus a few days) photos of their chosen animals (photoshops at our discretion and humans only in supporting roles). Watch the Exception category for rocks, beer, coffee cups, and....?

Visit all the boarders, Link to the Ark and check back for updates through Sunday afternoon!

You can find out how to board the Friday Ark at the Arkive page.



Other Vertebrates



In Memoriam

Didn't Make It

  • x

Exceptions (inclusion not guaranteed)

Extra, Extra: All Ark boarders are invited to shout out at the Friday Ark Frapper Map.

Dog folks: remember to submit your links to:

Cat folks: remember to submit your links to:

Birders: I and the Bird: A Blog Carnival for Bird Lovers is published every 2 weeks.

For the spineless: Circus of the Spineless. A monthly celebration of Insects, Arachnids, Molluscs, Crustaceans, Worms and most anything else that wiggles.

For other current carnivals check out The Blog Carnival and The TTLB Uber Carnival

Posted by Steve on October 19, 2007 | Comments (7)

October 18, 2007

Beware! The Taliban...

...is everywhere!

Posted by Steve on October 18, 2007

Recent Shuttle Mission Photos

Just fascinating!!!

Via Scott.

Posted by Steve on October 18, 2007

October 17, 2007


Yes, the weapon of mass stupidity bush administration is at it again:

On Monday, President Bush appointed Susan Orr to oversee federal family planning programs at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Orr, who is currently directing HHS child welfare programs, was touted by the administration as “highly qualified.”

But a look at Orr’s record shows that her strongest qualifications appear to be her right-wing credentials and endorsement of the Bush administration’s failed abstinence-only policies. Before joining HHS, Orr served as senior director for marriage and family care at the conservative Family Research Council and was an adjunct professor at Pat Robertson’s Regent University.

Another wonderfully Orwellian appointment.

From the perspective of the bushies and some religious sects there is nothing stupid about this. It is exactly the type of appointment that they intended to make from before bush was selected president by the supreme court and have made over and over again.

For the rest of us it is another example of bushidity.

For many it is also yet another sharp example of government waste. As John Cole asks:

...why the hell do we even need this damned office?
A good question!

If the department has any use at all it might be to help educate folks about what it takes to raise a child, encourage them to hold off on having children until they have the resources to raise them and explain over and over how valuable contraception is both in disease prevention and in birth prevention.

I'm not so sure a democratic or progressive administration would properly focus on both these points.

So, either give the money to Planned Parenthood or quit stealing it from us.

Posted by Steve on October 17, 2007

Has Artificial Life Been Created?

Greg Laden says:

I think it has been created over the last few months but the announcement is delayed for obvious reasons … nobody wants the equivilant of “Cold Fusion” tacked to your resume.
Surely that will get you to follow the read it all link!

You will find this gem and many more cool science oriented posts at the current edition of Tangled Bank hosted by The Other 95%.

Posted by Steve on October 17, 2007

October 16, 2007

Proud To Be A Conservative?

...or not..?

Posted by Steve on October 16, 2007

Your Camera May Be A Weapon


If you are standing within arms reach you could use it as a club. In more desparate straights you could through it at someone at a distance.

This guy would have needed Mr. Fantastic like powers to use his camera as a weapon before he was attacked by police:

When one woman was told to stop recording, she gave the videocamera to Waterhouse. He walked to the edge of the property, climbed up a dirt embankment and continued to record. At one point, he yelled to his friend, "Yes, I got it all on film. They had no right to come on this property."

He says in the suit that police immediately came after him, and yelled at him "put it down." Officers moved towards him, and he said, "Don't come after me." Waterhouse said seconds later he was shot with a bean bag gun and a Taser and fell to the ground.

Officers wrote in their reports that Waterhouse ran off, they chased and then bean-bagged and Tasered him. One officer wrote, "He had refused to drop the camera which could be used as a weapon."

Waterhouse was arrested, accused of criminal trespass and disorderly conduct. A jury acquitted him of all charges.

Rightfully so!

When you have interactions with police or see police activity film it! It may save you or a fellow human from police misconduct. You have every right to do so:

Earlier this summer Radley Balko penned a compelling column arguing in favor of a citizen's right to videotape police (the related ITA post and comments can be found here). The evidence supporting such freedom seemingly mounts daily as ordinary citizens videotape police conducting illegal or unethical activities, typically to the citizens' detriment.
If they are properly serving their employers, you and me, then police officers should have no objection to being filmed.

In a free country any objections they might have are irrelevant.

Update 10/18: Kip's thoughts on this.

Posted by Steve on October 16, 2007

October 15, 2007

Quote of the Day #3 ~ Education

...I could not help receiving the impression that I was being cheated out of something. Out of what I knew not, yet I did not believe that twelve years of unrelieved boredom was exactly what the state had in mind for me.

Scout in To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee, 1960, page 37 in the 1982 Popular Library Edition

Hmmm, this is probably exactly what the state had/has in mind...

Given the structure of the education school systems in the US those who are not afflicted with boredom must be the small exception.

Posted by Steve on October 15, 2007

October 13, 2007

Mirror, Mirror On the Wall

rice on putin's Russia

Posted by Steve on October 13, 2007

Who Shot Daisy Mae?

There is no excuse for this:

Daisy%20Mae.jpgDaisy Mae, an outside cat, had a routine. When she wanted to come back in the house, she'd mew outside Bryan Booker's bedroom window, the teen would open the window, and she'd jump in.

But late Thursday night, the 3-year-old white longhair cat meowed weakly, then limped to the front door, dripping blood from her mouth, where someone apparently had shot her.

May the perpetrator rot slowly....

Pasado's Safe Haven is helping:

What Happened:
Daisy Mae, a 3 1/2 year old pet came indoors last night, laid down, and began bleeding on the floor. The owner, who cannot afford veterinary care, rushed her beloved cat to an emergency clinic anyway. The cat had been shot with a .22 in the jaw and in the gut. Surgery estimates? $2000+

That's when a kind-hearted veterinary technician called Pasado's Safe Haven.

We offered to pay for Daisy Mae's surgery AND offer a $5000 reward.

You can help out by donating to Pasado's!

Via Cookie Jill

Update - 10/21: updated the Pasados SAve Haven link. Thanks to whaleshaman for the updated link!

Posted by Steve on October 13, 2007 | Comments (3)

October 12, 2007

Making What is Old Appear New

The Huffington Post headline reads:

New Trend Among The Fabulously Wealthy: Family Mission Statements

Nothing particularly new about this...such stuff has surely been around longer than the Steven Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Posted by Steve on October 12, 2007

Friday Ark #160

We'll post links to sites that have Friday (plus or minus a few days) photos of their chosen animals (photoshops at our discretion and humans only in supporting roles). Watch the Exception category for rocks, beer, coffee cups, and....?

Visit all the boarders, Link to the Ark and check back for updates through Sunday afternoon!

You can find out how to board the Friday Ark at the Arkive page.





Other Vertebrates

In Memoriam

  • x

Didn't Make It

  • x

Exceptions (inclusion not guaranteed)

Extra, Extra: All Ark boarders are invited to shout out at the Friday Ark Frapper Map.

Dog folks: remember to submit your links to:

Cat folks: remember to submit your links to:

Birders: I and the Bird: A Blog Carnival for Bird Lovers is published every 2 weeks.

For the spineless: Circus of the Spineless. A monthly celebration of Insects, Arachnids, Molluscs, Crustaceans, Worms and most anything else that wiggles.

For other current carnivals check out The Blog Carnival and The TTLB Uber Carnival

Posted by Steve on October 12, 2007 | Comments (4)

October 11, 2007

A Deliberative Congress?

Think Progress reports this from CNN:

More and more, Congress is acting less like a deliberative legislative body, and more like a political campaign. We’ve been seeing the politicization of every aspect of government.
Pshaw! Nothing new here.

These folks have apparently been operating under the delusion that congress has been a deliberative body anytime during the past couple of centuries.

Most vote changes have occurred in the the hallways and offices of the congressional office building; and, yes, in quite a few DC bars and restaurants. These changes as well as some that have occurred on the floor typically fall under the labels of arm twisting, back scratching and purchase rather then deliberative debate.

Don't expect this to change. They don't represent you.


Posted by Steve on October 11, 2007 | Comments (1)

Turn Them All Into Video Arcades

Commenting on some churches use ofHalo 3 as a recruiting tool Myers suggests:

I'd be happy to see churches all across the country turned into free video game arcades.

Perhaps if they charged they'd make enough money to entice the other con men and women off the cable systems.

Posted by Steve on October 11, 2007

October 9, 2007

One Too Many

Some folks are getting tired of all the candidates debating each other. Personally, I like to listen to, even participate in, complex, nuanced debates about important issues. I'm looking forward to this happening sometime.

Still, I have a bit of empathy for this yearning for a simpler process:

Man, I am tired of debates. Pakistan has the right idea: instead of 16 presidential candidates, or however many we have these days, just one. And no vote of the actual, you know, people. Says Generalissimo Musharraf, “Democracy means majority, whether there is opposition or no opposition.” So much more succinct than the Federalist Papers.
Yet, one is still too many holding this type of office.

It is time to start getting serious about No One for president!

Posted by Steve on October 9, 2007

It Could Have Been My Mom

But for the grace of fate this could have been my Mom:

City of Miami police charged Shenika Shanatle Vicks with one count of child neglect after police found the toddler walking barefoot about 8 a.m. Sunday.
Police kept the toddler at police headquarters until Vicks, 27, reported her son missing about 1 p.m.
The difference, at least according to oft repeated stories at family gatherings, is that my Mom knew I was gone rather quickly and was out searching for /finding me in short order...15-30 minutes. None of this 5 hour crap for her.

The linked story doesn't provide much detail. Maybe Vicks was out looking for him for five hours before reporting him missing. On the other hand maybe she didn't know he was gone. The latter would be neglect!

Another difference was that back when I was a young'n we didn't keep our doors locked. We didn't keep kids under lock and key because of desperate fear of the world around us. Even so, 2 was a little young to be doing this much wandering but by the time 1st grade we were out learning about the world around us without having to deal with parental myopia.

Posted by Steve on October 9, 2007

October 8, 2007

A Surtax to Pay for the Iraq War Would be Great...

Thomas Friedman gets 2 out of 3.

He rightfully hammers bush mouthpiece dana perino, acknowledges that wars ought to be paid for in real time and then continues his support fo the Iraq debacle:

Of course, the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, the Democrat David Obey, in proposing an Iraq war tax to help balance the budget was expressing his displeasure with the war. But he was also making a very important point when he said, “If this war is important enough to fight, then it ought to be important enough to pay for.”

The struggle against radical Islam is the fight of our generation. We all need to pitch in — not charge it on our children’s Visa cards.

How should a war be financed?

Setting aside for now the moral absurdity of this question lets get to the answer.

Taxes of one kind or another are the pretty obvious method. You either reallocate funds already being collected or you add new taxes. In the case of Iraq and Afghanistan there are no funds to reallocate so additional taxation is required. But who should pay those taxes?

A number of suggestions have been proposed for obey's war tax. For example, Mark Thoma says:

I don't think that now is the right time to raise taxes given the weakness in the economy,...

...what if the rich and powerful had been told that their tax cuts would have to wait until the war ended, ...

Being forced to pay for a war I don't support would tick me off, but that's the point -- by making the public fully internalize the cost of the nation's decision to go to war (including the human cost), it will motivate more pressure to bring this war to an end.

Sounds pretty much like a take back the tax cuts argument which implies that whoever received the benefit of the bush tax cuts should pay for the war. Mark wavers on paying for the war now because of weakness in the economy but it seems that that is part of the point of those that argue that the war would end if the costs were internalized. On the other hand if Hale Stewart is correct about the real source of the economic strength of the past few years then Mark's argument re the economy's current weakness may not be that strong.

Mark should be ticked off anyway. He and his kids are paying for the war one way or another just like the rest of us.

Ron Beasley provides a a slightly different target for a war tax:

I have thought for some time that the quickest way to end the war would be to add a surtax to the incomes of the top ten percent, the bloated oil company profits and the profits of the largest corporations. These groups would be ready to pull out in no time.
He is exactly right that a surtax should be imposed. He and Mark are both exactly wrong on whom it should be imposed.

The only even marginally ethical method of paying for a war is for those who support the war to pay for it. Yes, only those who support the war and no one else no matter how small or large their income.

The mechanism should be relatively easy for the IRS to set up:

  • Either by mail or online you periodically tell the IRS that you support the war (it shoudl be opt in) though governments and business prefer opt out
  • The war costs $x for a collection period
  • The estimated taxable income of the war supports is $y for the collection period
  • Each supporting tax payer pays $x/$y % of their estimated income each collection period; before deductions
No progressivity. If you are going to support a war you pay for it.

What might the impact be. Well, in 2006 personal wage and labor income(pdf) was $6.989 Trillion. If 50% of this income supported the war a 6% surtax would give the bushies about $210 billion to play with.

If only 30% of the income supported the war a 10% surtax would generate $210 billion. There is no excuse for not making the war's supporters pay.

There is also no excuse for the Iraq war. It would probably have ended a few years ago. If it even managed to get funding to start!

Posted by Steve on October 8, 2007

October 7, 2007

Best Movie of the Year

My vote now goes to Into the Wild!!

All the usual stuff is excellent: acting, directing, cinematography, soundtrack and powerful story,

If it doesn't rip at the core of your being, well, you just might not be alive.

Posted by Steve on October 7, 2007

October 6, 2007

Following A Bad Example

If you are in the market for breast support, you know, bras...then you might be interested in this Shock Absorber ad. I wonder if it will make Avedon's Bra of the Week sometime....

Harvey says: Best Bra Advertising ever.

Posted by Steve on October 6, 2007

October 5, 2007

Friday Ark #159

We'll post links to sites that have Friday (plus or minus a few days) photos of their chosen animals (photoshops at our discretion and humans only in supporting roles). Watch the Exception category for rocks, beer, coffee cups, and....?

Visit all the boarders, Link to the Ark and check back for updates through Sunday afternoon!

You can find out how to board the Friday Ark at the Arkive page.

Cool Animal Meme: Regualar contributor Bora (with a bost from Anton) has launched a nifty Interesting Animal Meme. You are now tagged! Go play!





Other Vertebrates

In Memoriam

Didn't Make It

  • x

Exceptions (inclusion not guaranteed)

Extra, Extra: All Ark boarders are invited to shout out at the Friday Ark Frapper Map.

Dog folks: remember to submit your links to the Carnival of the Dogs hosted by Mickey's Musings. Also, there are more doggies at Weekend Dog Blogging hosted this weekend by Sweetnicks.

Cat folks: remember to submit your links to the Carnival of the Cats which goes up every Sunday and the 184th edition, 9/30, is up at Life from a Cat's Perspective . The 185th edition will be hosted on 10/7 by Stranger Ranger. There are more weekly cats at Weekend Cat Blogging #120 hosted on 10/6-7 by Paulchen's Food Blog?!. Do go shout out at The Catbloggers Frappr Map.

Birders: I and the Bird: A Blog Carnival for Bird Lovers is published every 2 weeks. The 59th edition is up and hosted by Naturalist Notebook. The 60th edition will be hosted on 10/18 by the Search and Serendipity.

For the spineless: Circus of the Spineless. A monthly celebration of Insects, Arachnids, Molluscs, Crustaceans, Worms and most anything else that wiggles. The 25th edition is up and hosted by The annotated budak. The 26th edition will be hosted at the end of October by The Other 95%.

For other current carnivals check out The Blog Carnival and The TTLB Uber Carnival

Note for Haloscan Users:

Over the past month or so Haloscan started (the end of July) handling of trackbacks has improved though it is still pretty broken for carnival type posts. Now, instead of rejecting every attempt to ping it accepts single pings for a while and then will start rejecting them. I will keep trying to track back to Haloscan boarders but can make no guarantees for any particular week.

Note for Typepad Users:

Typepad continues to behave similar to Haloscan for trackbacks. I been able to get trackbacks to most, if not all, Typepad based boarders. I have to do it one at a time and wait a while in between pings but Typepad does not go into semi-permanent rejection mode like Haloscan.

Posted by Steve on October 5, 2007 | Comments (3)

October 4, 2007

Annotating Birds

The Naturalist Notebook hosts and nicely annotates I and the Bird #59. There are some nifty feathered creatures there including at least 1 or 2 you may not have previously met.

Did I mention Scaly-naped Pigeons? Nope, but you can find them there.

Posted by Steve on October 4, 2007

Have An Apple

Well, 150 or so of them:

(Click to embiggen)

Read the interview with James Savage, the owner, at the above link.


Posted by Steve on October 4, 2007

October 3, 2007

Criminalizing Identy Theft

Canada has the right idea:

The Canadian government plans to criminalize identity theft to give police the ability to stop such activity before any fraud has actually been carried out, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said Tuesday. He said he would introduce legislation targeting the actual gathering and trafficking in credit card, banking and other personal data for the purposes of using it deceptively.

Identity fraud is already a crime in Canada, but gathering and trafficking in identity information generally is not.

Personal data is just that: personal data.

Canada and every other legal jurisdiction needs to go a few steps further and recognize that personal data belongs to you and that no one can have legitimate access to this data for any purpose without your express permission.

The related definition of personal data needs to be very broad and even in situations where one has given their permission for use the boundaries around this use must be very tight. Examples:

  1. using a credit card to make a transaction should trigger the legitmate use of a bank using that information to bill you but nothing more.
  2. Placing a cell phone call should trigger the legitimate use of the carrier using that information to bill you but nothing more. Any other records of where you have been that a cell company may be able to collect should be unusable by anyone for any purpose without your consent.
None of this has to be complex. A simple statement that it is a Class x felony to gather, possess or use someone else's personal data without their consent should do.

The onus must be on the users of personal data to prove they have a legitimate use.

Posted by Steve on October 3, 2007

October 2, 2007

Check Your Burgers Before You Eat Them

Mother Jones is back on her diet after this experience:

I was really looking forward to my forbidden treat, but I lost my appetite after I bit into my hamburger. It was blood red in the center.

Fast food can be faster than you want. You might want to at least check the cooking after the first bite instead your usual approach.

Posted by Steve on October 2, 2007

What's This?

Write down your answer before you go below the fold to find out what this is (click on image to see it full size):

This is one of the co-winners of the 2007 Visualization Challenge:

Human anatomy it may be, but the airways that riddle the space behind our noses take on an alien aspect in this unearthly rendering created by Kai-hung Fung, a radiologist at the Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital in Hong Kong.

A computed tomography (CT) scan from a 33-year-old Chinese woman being examined for thyroid disease provided the raw data for Fung's rendering. He stacked together 182 thin CT "slices" to create a 3D image looking upward at the sinuses from underneath the head.

All the winners and honorable mentions are fascinating. Set aside a little time to be blown away and, perhaps, learn a thing or three.

Via Greg Laden.

Posted by Steve on October 2, 2007

Yes, Applaud These Kids

Ed Brayton encourages us to applaud these kids and I am happy to join him.

They are certainly taking a step in the right direction.

However, why are they reciting any pledge at all?

The only ones who should be reciting a daily pledge are our servants: government employees everywhere.

As I wrote here a couple years ago:

..there is a group who by dint of their position should recite a pledge...probably several times per day. That would be the set of government employees, elected, appointed or hired, throughout the world. Our servants: congress critters, kings and queens, premiers, secretaries of desks and states, governors, presidents, soldiers, firepersons, police, mayors, etc.

They, each and everyone, in every government job throughout the world should start their day with something like:

I pledge allegiance to the people of name your jurisdiction and swear to protect their lives, help them maintain their liberty and assist them in their pursuit of happiness.

...and repeat it frequently throughout the day and once again before going to sleep at night.

Free individuals are under no obligation to recite pledges of allegiance of any kind.

Posted by Steve on October 2, 2007 | Comments (1)

October 1, 2007

A Failing Grade for the US Post Office

We recently left home for a week and used the USPS online tool to have our mail held.

We gave them the stop date and the restart date and printed out a nice form confirming all the relevant information.

How did they do?

Not well!

They delivered mail for at least two days after the stop date and the restart date has gone by and we are still waiting for mail to arrive....

This level of performance may earn one a high school diploma but out in the real world the grade is failing.

Unfortunately, the USPS has a monopoly on certain types of mail. This needs to change!!

There is some competition and even though I'm a bit of a Luddite when it comes to electronic bills I will confirm our evaluation of the USPS by moving a 4-5 monthly and quarterly items to electronic delivery or payment.

Posted by Steve on October 1, 2007