Thursday, August 30, 2007

Washington County Fair, Thurs Night

I was manning the Washington County Republican's booth at the fair this evening. Things were a bit quiet since there is no elections going on. Mostly we sat and talked and gave away balloons and candy to the kids. Ron Paul's supporters had a booth. I must stop by and talk with them. The booth is a bit interesting. You should stop by and see it if you have the chance. I will be manning the booth again tomorrow night. Stop by and say hi! Oh yeah! The blackberry cobbler and ice cream from the Cattleman's Association food booth is wonderful.

Eli in the Cabinet

Ah Ha! I caught you! No, the cat file is not in the bottom drawer. The nap file isn't there either.

Cats are posted at Friday Ark and Carnival of the Cats

Where Has All The Money Gone?

Ryan Alexander, guest commentator in today's NWA Times, bemoans the fact that
the Highway Trust Fund (HTF ) will be in the red by as much as $ 4. 3 billion by the end of fiscal year 2009, even before the current transportation bill has expired.

He goes on to chide Congress for making the problem worse by adding thousands of earmarks to the final bill.
And while it’s not up to the appropriations committee to propose or pass legislative fixes (in fact, they are forbidden from doing so ), its deep concern for the state of the HTF was apparently not enough to stop them from allowing 1, 400 congressional and administrative earmarks worth more than $ 2. 2 billion in its bill. The Senate will surely want its share of the pork as well, and taken together you can start to understand how big a problem this is.

Ryan accuses Congress of lacking a sense of priorities. Our highways and bridges are deteriorating and Congress is more interested in funding their unimportant pet projects. Some congressman have been saying that in order to resolve the funding problems we need to raise the federal gas tax or give less money to the states. Yeah, that's going over like a lead balloon.
However, we really don't need to do that. Lawrence Kudlow has dug up some Government spending figures on New Orleans.
Here's a pop quiz: How much money has Uncle Sam spent on New Orleans and the Gulf region since Hurricane Katrina ripped the place apart? I'll give you the answer because you'll never guess it. The grand total is $127 billion (including tax relief).

Just how ludicrous is this? Well, the Gross Domestic Product of Louisiana is $141 billion. We've dropped all this money into New Orleans and it's still not fixed. Where was all this money spent?
Well, the White House fact sheet says $24 billion has been used to build houses and schools, repair damaged infrastructure and provide victims with a place to live. The fact sheet goes on to say that $7.1 billion went to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to rebuild the levees; that the U.S. Department of Education spent $2 billion on local schools; and that the Laura Bush Foundation for America's Libraries has awarded more than $2.5 million (the pikers). The administration also provided $16.7 billion as part of the largest housing-recovery program in U.S. history.

Now, if you do the math, there is $74.7 billion that's unaccounted for. This is an extraordinary amount of money that has been wasted. The money should have been used for things as important as the safety and drivability of our highways. We will probably never know where all that money sent to New Orleans ended up. Before Congress starts yelling tax increases or funding cuts they need to start looking into the extraordinary amount of money that they are wasting.
Remember President Reagan's line during the 1980 campaign about how LBJ fought a big-government spending war against poverty, and poverty won? Well think of all this Katrina spending as the Great Society Redux. And it failed. I suppose the current Bush administration would like to label this "compassionate conservatism." But guess what? That failed, too.

Too many people hauling up to the trough to eat pork.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Awww, Mexico is Upset with NW Arkansas!

The Mexican Consul, Andres Choa is really upset that cities in NW Arkansas are sending their police officers to get immigrations enforcement training. Awww, the poor little man, so upset that police might actually stop and deport illegal immigrants committing serious crimes. Good heavens, the cities of NW Arkansas are getting sick and tired of the crimes committed by illegals and want to actually stop it. How shameful! Why, Mexico needs those illegals to keep sending money to Mexico. Who cares if it comes from criminals.
The solution to that problem [of immigration ] is to open the communication channels, to open the doors to the community," Chao told a meeting of the Arkansas Committee on Foreign Relations. "They’re going to close the door."

Yeah, he is scared that illegals will no longer be able to get all that free stuff those stupid gringos keep handing out. You know, health care, food stamps, schooling and yes, the Social Security benefits. Choa wants the USA to keep all the poor they've sent over the border. Heck, why should Mexico take care of it's poor when the USA will? Damn you Steve Womack for mucking up Mexico's plans!

Larry Craig, What is His Crime?

Oh Good! I'm glad there is some one else who doesn't quite understand what in Larry Craig's conduct constituent a crime? I've read the complaint as the Captain has and I don't understand why every one's so morally outraged.
Even so, nothing Craig did should constitute a crime, with the possible extreme interpretation of battery by touching his foot to the undercover officer. A series of signals that consist of foot-tapping and hand-swiping harms no one but the reputation of the man using them.

Everyone is freaking out over moving feet and hands? The scandal mongers are really over reaching on this. Yeah, Craig's behavior is a little nauseating, but there is nothing illegal in asking for consensual sex. So it's a bit creepy for him to appear to be asking for it in the men's bathroom. He should have just done the same little patty-cake game in the bar. That way he wouldn't have been arrested. The only thing I see he's guilty of is embarrassing himself.

UPDATE: An interesting debate. Slate Editors Squabble

(h/t)AmSpec Blog

Watching Lunar Eclipse

Yup, I hauled myself out of bed 4 AM to watch the eclipse. Really wonderful. I have a great view from my patio. Really nice to sit, drink coffee and have a scone while watching the moon. The moon is full so it was fairly light enough to see, but as the moon was eclipsed it turned darker. Now I'm bumping into things on the patio. I tried taking pictures but my camera wasn't able to get it. Oh well, at least I got to play around with more settings.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Total Lunar Eclipse

There is going to be a total eclipse of the moon occurring during the early morning of Tuesday, August 28th. NASA will having a live web cast of the eclipse. I will definitely be up earlier to get a glimpse of it.

Alberto Gonzales's Resignation

I have heard about how good Alberto Gonzales was, particularly when he was with President Bush in Texas. But I am struck on how ineffectual he was as Attorney General. I always felt sorry for him when he was being grilled by the Democrats. The Democrats' attacks on him the last few months were so over the top and it was really painful to watch him testify before Congress. Of course Gonzales and the Bush Administration are mostly to blame for this royal botch-up. Yeah, the Democrats were particularly obnoxious, but Gonzales allowed this to happen. He fought back way too late and much too poorly. He should have come out right at the beginning and done some slaps up-side-the-head of the Democrats. So who is Bush going to nominate to replace Gonzales? Robert Bork comments
The appointee will inevitably be charged, among other things, with investigating the firing of eight U. S. attorneys, possible perjury by Gonzales and others who testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and whatever additional matters Senate Democrats’ fertile imaginations can pack into the special prosecutor’s charter. Grand juries will be convened, subpoenas issued, witnesses badgered, documents demanded from the White House, and so on, through the full repertoire of special prosecutors’ antics.

Is this what the Democrats really want? Their approval ratings are already in the toilet and they think that going down this path is going to help them? Hopefully President Bush will nominate some one who will be able to stand up to the Democrats and tell them where to shove it.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Saturday Morning Storm

What a nice little storm this morning. I got over 2 inches of rain. I didn't mind one bit that the thunder and lightening woke me up. Of course, Trixie was going nuts. I think she tried to crawl under the bed a couple of times. The geese are back. I noticed them while I was out shopping and a few flew over the house. I'm also getting a bunch of hummingbirds at the feeder. I've been refilling the feeder every other day. It makes me wonder if we are going to get an early winter.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Ring, Ring, Where's AT&T

Quess who my phone service is with?
FORT SMITH, Ark. -- Mobile phone service has been knocked out to thousands of customers across northwest Arkansas and River Valley on Thursday.
A severed fiber-optic line knocked out service at about 2:30 p.m. by a backhoe operator between Van Buren and Fort Smith, representatives with AT&T said.
Officials said the outage is widespread and affecting AT&T customers and several other carriers.

AT least I still have cable. I would have gone bonkers without my internet.

Food Now!

The Human of the house has decided that we cats need to lose a few pounds. She has refused to give us all the food we've demanded. No matter how cute we try to look, she still refuses to give us more food. The pathetic "we're starving" meow isn't working either. We have to keep trying. I'm sure she'll give in to us eventually.

Cats Against Diets at Friday Ark and Carnival of the Cats

Playing in the Back Yard

The temperature has finally come down a bit. It's comfortable enough to play around in the evenings. Casey, of course, isn't allowing Trixie to play with his toys.

More dogs at Friday Ark.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Me Republican, Me No Read Good

Pat Schroeder, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Association of American Publishers, has decided to trash some of her customers. Schroeder was responding to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll that found people who consider themselves liberals read more books than conservatives. I really don't know what she's bragging about. The difference stated by the poll wasn't much.
Among those who had read at least one book, liberals typically read nine books in the year, with half reading more than that and half less. Conservatives typically read eight, moderates five. By slightly wider margins, Democrats tended to read more books than Republicans and independents.

It just might be that conservatives read one less book than the average liberal because they are “gainfully employed”. It’s easy to read an extra book a year with all that government assistance. Of course, what one reads is far more important than how much one reads.
I'm watching less TV because I'm reading more articles and journals on-line. My reading has changed too. While I would love nothing more than to curl up with a good book, who has time? That's why I subscribe to an audiobook club and download free/voluntary payment books. I figure I listen to at least 1 book a week. The poll didn't even consider people listening to books.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Nevermind, Forget Biofuels

What the hell are they trying to do? Opps, we're sorry for the doomsday scenario! Just never mind about the crap we've been shoveling on you about the necessity of using biofuels to save the planet.
..the journal Science last Friday concluded that the continued burning of oil-related energy products combined with the planting of additional forests is better for the environment than the manufacture and use of biofuels such as ethanol.
In fact, the authors suggested that governments across the globe move away from biofuels as a global warming solution completely, and instead focus moneys and energies on reforestation and increasing the efficiencies involved with the burning of fossil fuels.

New Scientist explains
The reason is that producing biofuel is not a "green process". It requires tractors and fertilisers and land, all of which means burning fossil fuels to make "green" fuel. In the case of bioethanol produced from corn – an alternative to oil..
What is more, environmentalists have expressed concerns that the growing political backing that biofuel is enjoying will mean forests will be chopped down to make room for biofuel crops such as maize and sugarcane.

Well, isn't that just great! What about all those people who bought those hybrid cars who thought they were saving the planet? Now they are actually causing more destruction. Those poor, poor people. They are going to need some psychiatric help after they hear the news. Oh! What about Fayetteville's Mayor Coody, who has been so proud of the city using biodiesel. Should some one break the news to him? I'm not. I kinda relish the idea that a left wing, environmental wacko is actually causing more damage to the environment.

(H/T NewsBusters)

Now It's Pyjamas, China's Safety Scandals

Just how much of China's exports are bad? How much of the goods China makes is inspected before it reaches the stores?
The safety problems affecting Chinese goods spread from toys to textiles on Monday as New Zealand said it would investigate allegations that imported children’s clothes contained dangerous levels of formaldehyde.

Is China becoming so greedy that it's willing to endanger it's customers? As the news of more tainted products show up it might be a really good idea to check the "Made in" label to see if it comes from China. It might be worth it to buy something that's "Made in USA" even if it costs a few dollars more.

Hurrican Dean

Reuters is reporting that Hurricane Dean has strengthened into a monster Category 5 storm. People in Mexico are definitely going to need our prayers and help. Hugh Hewitt is recommending contributing to World Vision, which is a great idea. I already sponsor a child. I also recommend The Salvation Army.

Sanctuary Cities, Fayetteville

What happened in Newark, New Jersey can easily happen here. Fayetteville is essentially a sanctuary city, although not by city council degree, yet. Fayetteville is as political correct as Newark. While Springdale and Rogers is attempting to do something about illegal felons, Fayetteville is choosing not join them. Which spells danger to the citizens of Fayetteville. Once Springdale and Rogers starts cracking down on illegals, they'll starting moving into Fayetteville. Fayetteville's political hacks will prevent police and other authorities from inquiring about a suspect's immigration status, even if they have committed a felony.
So what's a citizen of Fayetteville to do? Vote the offending officials out of office? Hard to do in Fayetteville which is mostly liberal Democrats who'd protect the rights of illegal criminals before they'd protect citizens. Nope, the call is to file class-action lawsuits against individuals and organizations who have defied federal immigration law. Hit the PC bums in their wallet. Maybe if a few billion is extracted from the sanctuary city's coffers they'll get the message. Of course, we can only pray the Fayetteville abandons the illegal immigration protection program before anyone gets killed.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Marriage in Arkansas

Why do things like this happen in Arkansas? Arkansas is going to be a laughing stock again.
A law passed this year allows Arkansans of any age — even infants — to marry if their parents agree, and the governor may have to call a special session to fix the mistake, lawmakers said Friday.
The legislation was intended to establish 18 as the minimum age to marry but also allow pregnant teenagers to marry with parental consent, bill sponsor Rep. Will Bond said. An extraneous "not" in the bill, however, allows anyone who is not pregnant to marry at any age if the parents allow it.

What gets really scary is people like this really took notice of it. I wonder how many people would take advantage of this error and try to marry a child?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Surviving the Heat

The temperature has been the the 100's for the past week. Tigger is the only cat in the house that will actually venture outside in the evening. Bows and Eli prefer the air-conditioned house or the porch with the fan going.

Not that Tigger actually does anything strenuous. He'll poke around for a bit and plop down anywhere in the shade.

More cats at Friday Ark and Carnival of the Cats

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Exciting Day at Work

It wasn't going to be a typical day at work. To begin with, I came in knowing that an instrument that has been causing me fits for the past two weeks had gone down again. I was going to have to call tech support again and have them come and fix it for the 6th time. Early this afternoon the power went out and came back on a few minutes later. Well, not quite everything. One section of the power grid was out. We went around silencing instrument alarms and waiting to see if the other part would be turned on. Suddenly the fire alarm sounds and people run out saying that this is the real thing. A small fire had broken out in a boiler/maintenance room. It was quickly put out but we had the excitement of 2 fire trucks pulling up to the building. Anyway, people were sent home early because they needed to repair some of the electrical systems which required the electricity be shut off in the building. I'll have to go in to work earlier because a lot of work was left undone on my desk. As for why the power went out, an electrical pole on Gregg street went down and most of the buildings around WRMC lost power.

The Complexity of Global Climate

Boing Boing tipped me to an interesting essay on global warming by Freeman Dyson.
HERETICAL THOUGHTS ABOUT SCIENCE AND SOCIETY. He starts the essay out with this statement,
My first heresy says that all the fuss about global warming is grossly exaggerated. Here I am opposing the holy brotherhood of climate model experts and the crowd of deluded citizens who believe the numbers predicted by the computer models. Of course, they say, I have no degree in meteorology and I am therefore not qualified to speak. But I have studied the climate models and I know what they can do. The models solve the equations of fluid dynamics, and they do a very good job of describing the fluid motions of the atmosphere and the oceans. They do a very poor job of describing the clouds, the dust, the chemistry and the biology of fields and farms and forests. They do not begin to describe the real world that we live in. The real world is muddy and messy and full of things that we do not yet understand.

This is the biggest problem I have with the global warming alarmist crowd. They pick and choose the little bits and pieces of science that they can mold into the models they want to create. The papers I read portray a world that is extremely complex and interactive and no scientist has any idea how everything works together to create the world's climate.
When I listen to the public debates about climate change, I am impressed by the enormous gaps in our knowledge, the sparseness of our observations and the superficiality of our theories. Many of the basic processes of planetary ecology are poorly understood. They must be better understood before we can reach an accurate diagnosis of the present condition of our planet. When we are trying to take care of a planet, just as when we are taking care of a human patient, diseases must be diagnosed before they can be cured. We need to observe and measure what is going on in the biosphere, rather than relying on computer models.

Unfortunately we are suffering with politicians and activists who are bound and determine to subject us with policies that are attempting to correct a problem that doesn't seem to exist. For the past forty years politicians have made some bad decisions which have created the current energy crisis for the United States. They still continue down that path which could cripple us even more. I really hope that the "crowd of deluded citizens" smarten up before it's too late.

Reclaiming Red Oak Park, Fayetteville

When I first moved into this neighborhood this stream did not exist in Red Oak Park. Storm water from the surrounding developments has eroded this little valley and when it rains water gushes through this bed. In some spots it has carved deeply to the bed rock and other places is eating away at the banks. A number of trees have had their roots undercut and other trees are threatened.

The AR Game and Fish Commission Stream Team has worked together with the Parks and Recreation staff to solve the problem. The solution involves recreating the bed, stabilizing the banks and placing blocks of stones along the stream in an effort to slow the water down. In the process of creating the new bed some trees will have to be cut. This disturbs some people, like Mayor Coody.
"If we try to fix the problem on the upstream side of the street, they’ll be taking out huge swaths of huge trees that you’ll need to decide if you want to lose or not because it will change the character of that piece of land dramatically," he told the council. "You all need to just go take a look with your two eyeballs before approving this out of hand."

The Parks and Recreation staff aren't happy about cutting down some trees but they realize that in order to save the whole park, some healthier trees will have to be removed. They do plan to plant more shrubs and trees in the park to replace anything that is taken down. If this plan works, the park will have more vegetation in it before the erosion. Frankly, I don't understand why the Mayor seems resistant to removing some trees. He and the City Council have approved of the removal of thousands of trees when they approve housing developments, banks, grocery and department stores. Why suddenly balk at the prospect of repairing a park?

A majority of the residents meeting Monday night with the Parks and Recreation staff approved the plan, although mourning the loss of some trees. One resident suggested that some of the removed trees be re-used as perhaps some sort of a memorial. One small group of residents wanted the problem dealt with at the southern most tip of the park in the form of a detention pond. The problem with that is they would have to remove a number of houses at that end and convince the remaining home-owners that they would want to live next to it. I look at this problem as we would in the medical field. We have to remove a diseased part and to ensure healing we'll have to not only removed the diseased portion but some of the healthy parts to ensure a complete healing. Removing some trees to ensure a healthy and enjoyable park is the right thing to do.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Where in the World?

Well, I have been a bit busy this past week, but I have also been a little burned out with blogging. What little time I've had this past week I've just haven't felt like using it for blogging. Hopefully the adage "Absence makes the heart grow fonder" works and a blogging vacation will be good for me.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Definitely Summer

Ick! It's hot and sticky, even in the early morning or at night. The cats have no interest in going outside and prowling around. They just plop down on the porch floor as Bows is demonstrating. With the fan going it's not a bad place to sit.

More cats at Friday Ark and Carnival of the Cats

I still Look Good!

I haven't shown a picture of the dogs for awhile. Casey has developed hot spots the last couple of weeks. I'm hoping it's because of the heat. I'm keeping him inside the house and he's wearing that Elizabethan collar. Fortunately he doesn't seem to mind it much. Trixie is really feeling her age. I've stopped taking her to the Farmer's Market. The crowds, noise and other dogs made her uncomfortable. She doesn't like to go outside particularly at night. Sigh, it's sad to see her slow down.

More dogs at Friday Ark.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Ebay Listing, Assault Rock

This is a hilarious Ebay listing. Scroll to the bottom and read the questions and answers.

Silly Global Warming Story (SGWS)

A "leading" environmentalist, Chris Goodall, campaigning author of How to Live a Low-Carbon Life has calculated that walking does more to cause global warming than driving. He says
"The troubling fact is that taking a lot of exercise and then eating a bit more food is not good for the global atmosphere. Eating less and driving to save energy would be better.”

Wahooo! I like that idea, avoiding exercise and driving my truck is saving the planet! Goodall then suggests that people stop eating beef, because cows create methane which damage the environment. Organic beef is suppose to be the most damaging because organic cattle emit more methane. So what's a person suppose to be eating to reduce their carbon footprint?
But there are other ways to reduce the carbon footprint. "Don’t buy anything from the supermarket," Mr Goodall said, "or anything that’s travelled too far."

OK, as far I as can tell he's suggesting the best way to stop global warming is for humans to become extinct. These "environmentalists" are getting more ridiculous.

How Fat is Your Cat?

My cats have a long way to go before they start looking like this guy. I wonder how much it weighs. I'm guessing at least 25 to 30 lbs.
Vet Elaine Pendlebury said much of the problem was because of owners giving their cats calorie-laden treats.

It's really hard to resist giving them treats. They always act as if they are starving and it's hard to resist their cuteness.

Full Story

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Adam Watkins, Benefit Concert

Oh Boy! Was I glad they held the concert in the community building. It was just perfect to sit inside and listen to the music with a cold drink and a nice dinner. It's too bad I couldn't stay longer. They did a really good job organizing it and everyone looked like they were having a good time. Even this trio of young ladies who were signing a card for Adam.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Jennifer Dugger, Number 17

Congratulations to Michelle and Jim Bob Dugger on the birth of their 17th child. Most people are amazed on how many they have and also at the prospect of the possibility of more children. Maybe 20? Having met the children, I'm all for them having more. Michelle and Jim are wonderful parents and there need to be more like them.

Picture "taken" from Fox News

Thursday, August 02, 2007

It's So Good to be a Cat

It must be at least 90 degrees outside. I'm mowing the lawn and pulling out some weeds. It sure is hot! Casey's pool needs to be dumped because it has acquired some mosquito larvae and I smell something dead around the dog houses. Yup, there it is, under one of the houses, a dead bird. Toss that over the fence. Last thing I need to do is water all the vegetable and flower beds.
Tigger is watching me do all this work from the comfort of the back porch. I've even turned on the fan to make it more comfortable. Life is tough, isn't it?

More cats at Friday Ark and Carnival of the Cats

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Ozark Regional Transit, NW Arkansas

Guess who's looking at getting some money out of your wallet.
Ozark Regional Transit, which operates bus lines in Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers and Bentonville, is looking at the possibility of a dedicated revenue source, possibly a sales tax, to support those bus routes.

All the cities around here already collect over 9% sales tax. Are they seriously going to be able to get people to pay more sales tax? They must be kidding!
Why is the ORT looking for funds? Aren't they operating as a business? Isn't the fares they collect enough to pay all the expenses? There are small businesses operating taxis, limos, and courier services. They must be making profits. I don't see them asking the NWA cities for money.
I checked the fares on the ORT web site. They are charging $25 for a monthly pass. When I was a student in L.A. I bought a student monthly pass for $24. That was nearly 20 years ago. They are now charging adult students $36. The cost of a regular pass(no freeway) was $45 for an adult. They are now charging $62. Before the ORT starts looking for taxpayers to pay their bills, they really need to make their fares a little bit more realistic. A monthly pass of $25 is ridiculously low. They need to have the people who are using the buses pay for them.

Bridge Collapse in Minneapolis

I came home tonight from a meeting and turned on the TV and saw this. The last time I saw a bridge collapse this bad were the double-decked Nimitz
Freeway in Oakland and all the freeway bridges that collapsed in the Northridge Earthquake. The scenes are extremely familiar. The Northridge quake was particularly memorable, because I was living in L.A. at the time. I've been through many earthquakes and they've never bothered me. This was the first time I was truly scared in a quake. I remember just watching the TV all day. I definitely will be saying prayers for all the victims.