Federal Government

Secret Law is No Law at All

There was some excitement in my twitter feed this morning regarding an opinion from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) that instructed the White House to declassify some of its opinions:

In an opinion from the FISC itself, Judge F. Dennis Saylor on Friday told the White House to declassify all the legal opinions relating to Section 215 of the Patriot Act written after May 2011 that aren’t already the subject of FOIA litigation.

I am all for declassifying this material but this misses the key issue entirely.

In a free land there is no such thing as a FISC! No secret courts, no secret proceedings, no star chambers.

Secret law is no law at all.

The Port of New Orleans Should Find Its Own Money

This gentleman, the Executive Director of the Port of New Orleans, thinks that you should keep paying to keep the silt from building up on the Mississippi River bottom:

“All that water is bringing a whole lot of sediment,” LaGrange says. “When it starts falling, the sediment will drop out.” He says the Lower Mississippi has a design channel depth of 45 feet. “The last five years, the cost of dredging the Lower Mississippi River is $104 million. On an average, Congress and the Administration have appropriated $55 million to $65 million.” He explains that previously, when it ran out of funds in September, the Corps would “reprogram” funds from districts that had a surplus, and they would make their depth. “We received an announcement that this year they would no longer reprogram funds. Now, with the higher rivers, the shipping industry has projected that that shortfall will be $95 million.”
He leaned forward in his chair. “Every foot in lost depth costs the economy $1 million per ship call,” says LaGrange, because ships have to carry lighter loads. Less cargo equals less production. “We have 12,000 ship calls per year.”
That’s $12 billion per annum. “And we need $95 million.” He thinks the government should find the money.

I won’t spend time questioning his claim of economic loss.
Rather, there is a very straight forward mechanism for getting the $95 million/year. One that places the cost of dredging more closely to where it belongs.
Lagrange claims 12,000 ship calls per year. Assessing each ship call $8000 will generate $96 million.
Very straightforward and helps reduce the deficit. Lagrange should find the money. By his numbers his operation will get a rather large return.
I suspect the only ones who would oppose this are the Corp of Engineers and the folks getting subsidized.

Not So Calm about CALM

I have been as annoyed as anyone else by the abrupt decibel increase when a television program rolls over to a commercial break.
However, that this is has become a federal issue; something that the bright people in congress have spent time on is, well, ridiculous:

Finally, Congress passes a piece of legislation that citizens on both the right and left side of the political spectrum can get behind. Late yesterday, Congress approved the CALM (Commercial Advertising Loudness Mitigation) Act, which “requires TV advertisers to ensure their ads don’t play at a volume louder than regular TV programming.” The new bill requires ad makers to use “industry technology” to prevent the volume annoyance from occurring.

No, I can not get behind this legislation.
senator whitehouse it is not the job of congress to eliminate minor annoyances of everyday life.
The bill as passed calls out commercial advertisements with no mention of those most annoying of all commercials: the political ones.
So, again, no from where I sit on the political spectrum…no support forthcoming.

*&ck You, That’s Why!

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Make it Rain – Bank of America
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Health Care Reform

Maybe you still need to carry a credit card for some situations but you can minimize it’s use, pay it off regularly, use cash instead of debit/credit for most transactions, you know, like that expresso from Starbucks.
Really, do you enjoy giving the banks a cut of everything you purchase? Their execs love it when comes to bonus time. Your congress critters love it when it comes to lobbying payoffs. timothy, ben and the rest of the boys and girls in the executive branch love it when you use your credit and debit cards as they contemplate leaving their so-called public service positions for their payoff positions in the financial industry.

Via Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog.

The True Nature of Senators

They are assholes

With few exceptions, US Senators are assholes. They are as pompous as they are ignorant, which is not surprising, since they are as powerful as they are unaccountable.

Well, there probably are not any exceptions; not in the senate and not in the house.
Both the above writer and Richard Posner whom he quotes at length miss a key supporting point: all these folks pretend they have some meaningful authority to tell the rest of us how we should live our lives.
They have none. The very fact that they choose to pursue and occupy these offices is all the reason we need to give them no respect.

Oh yea, anyone who thinks these congress critters are anything about representing the people in their states or districts is as foolish as the critters are arrogant.