Friday, December 23, 2005

Merry Christmas

Just wanted to wish all our multitudes of readers a very Merry Christmas, or whatever else you celebrate.

Here's a pic that I took yesterday off the back pier at my office in Baltimore's inner harbor. I hope you enjoy. Apparently, they make the sugar that goes on the sugar plums this time of year, or some such nonsense.

Anyway, I don't know if we'll be around and posting for a few days. If not, we'll catch you next week.

Kid H. - I have been incredibly good this year (relatively speaking).

Transit System Held Hostage

So after three days of useless protest, the NY Transit Union strike is over, and the workers are back on the job without a contract. What EXACTLY was accomplished here? I'll tell you what I learned - that we cannot allow our governments who run our infrastructure to be unionized. What these unions did, in a period of three days, could be equated to terrorist act on the United States executed by Americans.

That's right. Americans, who were "fighting for the rights of the working people" held our transit system and other working people hostage for three days. Granted, the Union used non-violent methods to take the City hostage, but what's to say that a terrorist group couldn't gain influence in a union and do this for a longer duration. Seems to me this just openned up a whole new way to economically terrorize the United States.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Tipping on Carry-Out

Has anyone noticed a trend by carry-out joints sliding in a "tip" line when you pay by credit card? I'm not talking anything illegal here, just when you pay, you get a slip to sign, and on that receipt is just another line to add the tip.

I'd like to consider myself a relatively good tipper, considering I worked in the food industry back in the day, but I'm going back and forth about actually leaving a tip when all I'm doing is picking up food that I ordered over the phone.

Quick informal, non-binding poll for anyone willing to help. Do you leave a tip when picking up food from a carry-out restaurant? If so, how much?

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Explain to Me how this is a law

Apparently it's against the law to leave your car idling in the morning in order to warm it up. I guess the law is supposed to protect you from yourself - but you actually get a point on your license for it. Can anyone think of a valid reason for passing this law?

What if you have an extra key and lock your car after you start it?

Who ever introduced this law needs to be kicked repeatedly in the nuts (or whatever the equivalent is if it was a woman)?

Seriously people, what is wrong with you that you needed to pass this law.


Once again stealing links from The Agitator

Another Post In My Tireless Defense of Your Civil Liberties

Even though I'm sure you guys are sick of me moaning about how the Government doesn't care about your rights, I'm linking this story to show you how bad it has gotten. You know it's bad when politicians don't even pay lip service to your rights anymore.

“None of your civil liberties matter much after you’re dead,” said Sen.
John Cornyn (R-Texas), a former judge and close ally of the president who sits
on the Judiciary Committee.

Sen. Russ Feingold* (D-Wis.), who has led a bipartisan filibuster
against a reauthorization of the Patriot Act, quoted Patrick Henry, an icon of
the American Revolution, in response: “Give me liberty or give me death.”

He called Cornyn’s comments “a retreat from who we are and who we
should be.”

*Nice response by Feingold - he of the horrible McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance law that is an absolute affront to the 1st Amendment. Anyway, this is one of those instances where I'm siding with the Democrats - even though they're only complaining because that's all they ever do where George Bush is involved.

Also, has anyone else heard the rumor that George Bush was recently heard to say: "The Constitution is just a goddamned piece of paper"? If that's true - WOW.

Kid H

And in lesser tales of Tyranny of the nanny state (I won't even put in a lede) other than you'll find this hilarious - despite its social implications.

Update (to respond to comments) - First read this about how the President's wiretapping decision is completely unnecessary. Essentially, the Govt. already had the power to get the same information without stomping on the Constitution. Then read this post from Hit & Run, which is at least tangentially related.

Update #2 - What the heh, while I'm at it, Hit & Run is on a roll today.

New York's Transit Worker's Strike

It looks like Chowda was precient with this post about federal unions recently. Apparently they also don't belong in state governments. Here is a look at the blogosphere's reaction to these transit workers who seem to have a great deal (and are arguing for an 8 percent raise instead of a 4 percent raise). They already make more than the police, fire dept., and teachers.

Michelle Malkin has a round up; so does Instapundit, who points to the transit workers' blog, which is unofficial. Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds hilariously captured some of the comments on the blog.

In fairness, do read the transit worker's blog and decide for yourself whether they make a good point.

Kid H.

Boot Billie

Don't call yourself an American, and then stomp across a stage draped in an Australian flag in front of 37,000 fans in Australia and bash your President. That's exactly what Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day did last Saturday night on foreign soil.

To me there is a fine line between freedom of speech and unpatriotic behavior and Billie Joe crossed that line by bashing America's highest public office on foreign soil. Regardless of how you feel about President Bush, don't disrespect the office.

Frankly, I have a hard time understanding how we as Americans tolerate celebrities who take issue with America overseas and then return to enjoy the freedoms that so many patriots have died to protect. I also have a hard time understanding how 37,000 fans in Australia had no issue with chanting American hate along with Billy Joe, but somehow let go the fact that their national symbol (Australia's flag) was being desecrated in public - not by an Australian, but by an American. Is this a person you want winning AOL's Male Music Artist of the Year? I hope not.

I guess we can all rest easy knowing that the real inspiration for Green Day's last album, "American Idiot," was Billie Joe himself.

Flood or Wind-Driven Surge?

Get ready for Congress to open it's pocketbook and your tax dollars to bail out folks in MI and LA who didn't have flood insurance when Katrina hit. Seems kinda silly to have a national program that provides flood insurance for homeowners who live within a floodplain, but then after a flood, provide a $150,000 check to every homeowner who didn't have flood insurance.

Further defying logic is the insurance industry, which is really the root of this problem. Insurance companies will have you believe that the water creeping on your doorstep needs to be qualified in order for you to collect on your policy. That's right...so if Katrina Part 2 comes a knocking with some packed hurricane-force winds, generally, that's considered "wind-driven surge" and you probably won't see a penny from your homeowner's insurance.

This happened to a friend of mine on the Eastern Shore when Isabel touched down in 2003 and took out their house, boat, and practically all their belongings. Because the water was considered "wind-driven surge," they saw nothing from the homeowner's flood insurance. There you have it - even the prepared get screwed, and guess who gets left with the check...

Instead of approving tax payer dollars to fund folks who weren't prepared, Congress needs to pass some legislation that forces the insurance industry to redefine how they cover floods and protect folks who expect to be covered when the tide is high.

Monday, December 19, 2005

24 Fans - Extended Preview

So I'm a big 24 fan - clearly the best television series in a long time as far as I'm concerned. Season 5 starts on January 15th and you may have seen some of the commercials every now and then, but the REAL fans will want to visit the Fox website and click on the extended preview of this season's 24. Jack Bauer for President.

The Chronic - what - cles of Narnia

An awesome SNL skit (I know, how does that happen anymore) from this weekend. I think that show might just be cycling towards being good again. It won't happen this year, but sometime next year - it might be funny again.

I can't stop watching this thing.

Kid H.

This is a video - it's a rap done (hardcore style) by Andy? Samberg and Chris Parnell.

The View of Baltimore's Inner Harbor

Just a view of the lovely skyline of Baltiless. I took it sometime this summer when my company was buying a pier (If anyone is interested in purchasing a pier that is already wired and has plumbing, let me know). I don't know how much detail you can make out from this picture, but the city does look nice when you are separated from it by a large body of water.

I took the picture over by the Canton district of Baltimore. The area around the water is getting much nicer every year. Already Baltimore is leaps and bounds better than Washington D.C., which is the worst city in the entire world and a national embarassment due to its crime, filth and traffic woes.

Anyway, I didn't mean to sit here and trash D.C. or besmirch our beloved Baltimore. I just thought you might enjoy a summery picture to help beat back all this cold weather.

Kid Handsome

Liberty "Chicken Little's" calling for impeaching the President

I agree with the sentiment - even if I don't agree that we have great grounds for impeachment. However, Bush has stolen, from the people, powers for the executive branch that we will never get back - regardless of the party who is in power.

Also, the "Civil Liberties Chicken Littles" line is from Michele Malkin who I often agree with. However, no is claiming that the sky is falling, rather the erosion of our civil liberties is more like a glacier. It may not be moving fast, but I'm not going to stop it by trying to melt it with a hair dryer, or even a flame-thrower . . .


A little mid-day hilarity . . .

Some guy details his experiments with the toll booth operators on the Massachussets turnpike.


Wait, I thought the Govt. wasn't really looking at Library Records

Apparently they are. They investigated this kid for ordering Mao Tse Tung's "Little Red Book." The order was placed via UM's inter-library loan system and was for a term paper. Here are some quick excerpts:
The student, who was completing a research paper on Communism for Professor
Pontbriand's class on fascism and totalitarianism, filled out a form for the request, leaving his name, address, phone number and Social Security number. He was later visited at his parents' home in New Bedford by two agents of the Department of Homeland Security, the professors said.

Although The Standard-Times knows the name of the student, he is not coming forward because he fears repercussions should his name become public. He has not spoken to The Standard-Times.

Dr. Williams said in his research, he regularly contacts people in Afghanistan, Chechnya and other Muslim hot spots, and suspects that some of his calls are monitored. "My instinct is that there is a lot more monitoring than we think," he said. Dr. Williams said he had been planning to offer a course on terrorism next semester, but is reconsidering, because it might put his students at risk. "I shudder to think of all the students I've had monitoring al-Qaeda Web sites, what the government must think of that," he said. "Mao Tse-Tung is completely harmless."

Wow, don't I remember Ashcroft saying that we don't really monitor people's library habits? Anyway, this kind of stupid surveillance does have a chilling effect on individuals. As noted above, the kid involved is scared of repurcussions if his name surfaces, and the professor is frightened to teach a class on terrorism (sarcasm alert: it probably would have been some stupid liberal apologist class anyway).

I can honestly say that I do not feel safer. In light of the president's admission last week that the NSA is now doing warrantless surveillance of U.S. Citizens (which was weird considering the FBI can get a warrant for just about anything), I'm starting to feel a lot less safe.

Kid H.

Link garnered from this post on Hit & Run.

UPDATE: - there is some question as to how accurate this story is. There is an update at the Hit & Run post. As of right now, this is not confirmed.

UPDATE #2: - Per the link at Hit & Run, it appears that this story is unlikely to be true. However, it has not yet been confirmed as a hoax.

Friday, December 16, 2005

EBAY Getting Some Unwanted Attention

My experience is that EBAY sucks. I don't use it, and I don't think it is especially cool as a tool for getting things. Now, I am clearly aware that the vast majority of people disagree with me. These people number in the millions. My problem with EBAY is that their customer service sucks (or does not exist), and their ratings system is stupid.

I tried to deal with an EBAY situation for my father. He had a 100% good rating. Then he contracted to buy some item from an antique shop somewhere in North Carolina. He sent his money via Paypal (a good idea), and did not receive his item for over three months. After several phone messages and e-mails to the antique dealer that did not get a response, he wrote that if the dealer did not respond to him he would be forced to leave negative feedback. He ultimately received no response, and they did not return his money to him. At that point he contacted Paypal, and after an investigation, they got him his money back and he left negative feedback for the antique dealer.

It was only at that point that he heard back from the antique dealer, who left negative feed back for my father in response to his negative feedback (You are starting to see how stupid the system is). The dealer requested arbitration and mutual removal of the feedback from both parties, in fact, there was a clear pattern of this antiques dealer doing just that several times - however, until you are involved in a dispute, it is a difficult pattern to recognize, so even if you did due dilligence, nothing seemed untowards unless you were familiar with the process of complaining through EBAY. Anyway, my father said he was not interested in arbitration. He was also unwilling to remove his negative feedback - he never got his items and lost some small amount of money in charges associated with the refund he received from PayPal.

My father requested that EBAY remove the negative feedback from his account. As a matter of principle, it was important for him to have 100% good feedback. His contention was that the dealer was guilty of feedback abuse - that is, the dealer did not fulfill their part of the bargain, and then used its ability to give negative feedback as leverage to try and get both sides to erase the feedback. Essentially, you cannot give negative feedback unless you yourself are willing to take a negative feedback hit - even if you did nothing wrong.

So, my father requests that EBAY investigate the matter, which he did by e-mail. Apparently, EBAY will not have a live human speak with you on the telephone. It was literally impossible for me to speak with anyone on the telephone. Moreover, their e-mail arbitration system was useless. They would never respond with actual findings. Finally, I e-mailed them about a month after the initial complaint. The next day he received an e-mail saying that EBAY thought he was guilty of feedback abuse - no reasoning was provided. The next day there was a strange e-mail that said they were investigating - it was as if they kept starting over but never getting anywhere. The worst part about the whole thing was that if they had let us speak with a real person (by phone or e-mail) they could have settled the whole thing. Instead, my father just cancelled his account (over 250 transactions without a complaint), and EBAY lost his business. He could have sued the antique dealer for fraud or defamation, but it really wasn't worth it to him to go through a court battle over a $300.00 item. Still, the whole thing could have been dealt with by even the least remotely qualified customer service department. Instead, all we ever dealt with were automated e-mails.

Having been through that, it is with some considerable glee that I read this article about how Law Enforcement is getting sick of all the fraud and theft reports that are generated by EBAY:

EBay is also under fire from law enforcement officials and manufacturers
over levels of crime on the site and the levels of cooperation they receive.

Trading standards officers who regularly investigate crimes perpetrated
on the site have accused eBay of being "obstructive" in the way it shares
information. North Yorkshire Trading Standards says eBay can take up to two
months to provide the names and addresses of suspects it is pursuing.

EBay is suffering because their business plan doesn't include, to my knowledge, an even remotely effective plan for customer service. Serves them right. In fact, in my opinion their complete negligence with respect to monitoring their accounts or providing any customer service makes them complicit in what they can't deny is likely tens of thousands of fraud cases. Still, EBAY blames you for that fraud.
eBay blames its account holders for not installing proper security on their home
computers and for replying to so-called "phishing" emails.

But the thing is, even if you recognize fraud on your account it takes too long for EBAY to do anything about it. That is because, in order to maximize its profits, EBAY said, effectively, "screw the customer." If a mistake is made, let them deal with it. Normally, I don't complain about this attitude, but that assumes that EBAY allows their customers the tools to correct the problems on their own - EBAY doesn't. Instead it has a half-assed "Feedback" system that doesn't work to deter people who are dishonest or who hijack accounts. It only serves to harm people who are honest merchants.

Adidas told the BBC that it monitored up to 12,000 auctions involving its
goods every day on the British site - yet it estimated that up to 40% of all
Adidas products available were counterfeit.

Many big brands are far from happy with eBay's response eBay says it has a special relationship with brand owners, who can notify the site of auctions involving counterfeit goods which will then be taken down within hours. However, the Ben Sherman clothing brand says it recently took eBay five days to take down an auction of counterfeit clothing - by which time much of it had been sold. "I think one must say that it's highly unsatisfactory," said Barry Ditchfield, Ben Sherman's brand
protection manager.

"With all the amount of profits that eBay makes, then there is ample scope for additional staff. Frankly, it is totally unsatisfactory, not just for Ben Sherman but for all brand holders. EBay have rejected the accusations, saying that the company has a good relationship with law enforcement officials.

Like I said, I don't use EBAY, but my experiences with them lead me to believe that they sacrificed customer service in the name of profit. Hopefully, the market will make that a decision that backfires - and allows competitors to come in and force EBAY to put out a better product.

Until then, I hope they keep taking hits to their reputation. Say it with me now, EBAY sucks! Cancel my account!

Kid H.

Patriot Act Reauthorization has Failed

Link is to an Instapundit post. I'm certain it will pass in the near future, hopefully without the laundry list of law enforcement's deepest (non-terror-related) desires, which are otherwise known as your Civil Liberties.

Kid H.

Read this link that demonstrates . . .

that much of current DUI enforcement is driven by revenues rather than safety. Read the whole blog and discover some of the problems that the government consistently and purposely ignores with respect to the inaccuracies inherent in many breathalyzer machines.

And don't believe for a second that our complicated registration and licensing laws for vehicles, not to mention general traffic enforcement, is not primarily instituted to raise revenues for cities, states and counties.

Also, read this article that I found linked on Instapundit:

Despite the laudable .04 percent change in the standard for acceptable BAC in
Washington (before “police discretion” can be evoked), the city is still left with a rather draconian DUI law. The Cato Institute’s Radley Balko puts all this another way:

But when two-thirds of alcohol-related traffic fatalities involve blood-alcohol levels of .14 and above, and the average fatal accident occurs at .17, this move [changing the legal limit from .1 to .08] doesn't make much sense. It's like lowering the speed limit from 65 to 60 to catch people who drive 100 miles per hour. In fact, the U.S. Government Accountability Office reviewed all the statistical data and concluded "the evidence does not conclusively establish that .08 BAC laws by themselves result in reductions in the number and severity of crashes involving alcohol." (Emphasis added.)

The prima facie argument for a single BAC standard is that there is no other fair standard available for police to make a determination. BAC was introduced because many thought that police discretion and sobriety tests were too subjective on their own, and people were thus vulnerable to abuse by cops looking to fill a quota. BAC was to be an objective standard upon which the law would rest -- with subjective sobriety tests becoming a supplement. It turns out that while the BAC standard is an objective standard for measuring the percentage of alcohol in the blood. It isn’t an objective standard of someone’s ability to drive safely. The very term DUI stands for “driving under the influence.” But the breathalyzer and other BAC measures can’t determine the influence of alcohol on one’s reaction times, faculties, and motor skills. If we were trying to determine whether someone is actually impaired, aren’t reaction times, faculties and motor skills what we ought to be looking at?

It's all about revenue my friends - and you have no rights when the government
wants your money.

Kid H.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Here is a really cool article about Farming Advances in Cuba

Since we were discussing Cuba a little bit below, I wanted to link to a really cool article that I read in Harper's magazine (my sister got me the subscriptions - thanks, Sis). After the fall of the Soviet Union, Cuba was left completely isolated, or thereabouts, from the world economic market. Their people, already poor, suffered even more. However, in a testament to the adaptability of people, the Cubans began finding innovative solutions to many of their economic problems:

In other words, Cuba became an island. Not just a real island, surroundedby water, but something much rarer: an island outside the international economic system, a moon base whose supply ships had suddenly stopped coming. There were other deeply isolated places on the planet—North Korea, say, or Burma—but not many. And so most observers waited impatiently for the country to collapse. No island is an island, after all, not in a global world. The New York Times ran a story in its Sunday magazine titled “The Last Days of Castro’s Cuba”; in its editorial column, the paper opined that “the Cuban dictator has painted himself into his own corner. Fidel Castro’s reign deserves to end in home-grown failure.” Without oil, even public transportation shut down—for many, going towork meant a two-hour bike trip. Television shut off early in the evening to save electricity; movie theaters went dark. People tried to improvise their waysaround shortages. “For drinking glasses we’d get beer bottles and cut the necks off with wire,” one professor told me. “We didn’t have razor blades, till someone in the city came up with a way to resharpen old ones.”

But it’s hard to improvise food. So much of what Cubans had eaten had come straight from Eastern Europe, and most of the rest was grown industrial-style on big state farms. All those combines needed fuel and spare parts, and all those big rows of grain and vegetables needed pesticides and fertilizer—none of which wereavailable. In 1989, according to the United Nations Food and AgricultureOrganization, the average Cuban was eating 3,000 calories per day. Four yearslater that figure had fallen to 1,900. It was as if they suddenly had to skipone meal a day, every day, week after month after year. The host of one cookingshow on the shortened TV schedule urged Cubans to fry up “steaks” made fromgrapefruit peels covered in bread crumbs. “I lost twenty pounds myself,” saidFernando Funes, a government agronomist

Anyway, the article, and it is a long article, goes on to explain how Cuba was able to thrive despite the fact that they could no longer get parts for tractors or fertilizers for their crops. In fact, while I say that Cuba came up with farming advances, what they really did was look to the past for ideas on how to increase their yields. They did this by taking an holistic approach to farming, from there they were able to make some pretty cool advances:

Cuba had learned to stop exporting sugar and instead started growing its own food again, growing it on small private farms and thousands of pocket-sized urban market gardens—and, lacking chemicals and fertilizers, much of that food became de facto organic. Somehow, the combination worked. Cubans have as muchfood as they did before the Soviet Union collapsed. They’re still short of meat,and the milk supply remains a real problem, but their caloric intake hasreturned to normal—they’ve gotten that meal back.

In so doing they have created what may be the world’s largest working model of a semi-sustainable agriculture, one that doesn’t rely nearly as heavily as the rest of the world does on oil, on chemicals, on shipping vast quantities of food back and forth. They import some of their food from abroad—a certain amount of rice from Vietnam, even some apples and beef and such from the United States. But mostly they grow their own, and with less ecological disruption than in most places. In recent years organic farmers have visited the island in increasing numbers and celebrated its accomplishment. As early as 1999 the Swedish parliament awarded the Organic Farming Group its Right Livelihood Award, often styled the “alternative
Nobel,” and Peter Rosset, the former executive director of theAmerican advocacy group Food First, heralded the “potentially enormous implications” of Cuba’s new agricultural system.

The really cool thing about Cuba's current agricultural system is that they have learned or relearned how to increase their yield and decrease their pest problems by growing certain plants next to others, placing magnets on irrigation pipes (to reduce the surface tension of the water), and a bunch of other cool things. I see no reason why other nations can't borrow from Cuba's successes and rearrange their agricultural systems in a way that takes advantage of the best of systems that possess great technologies as well as Cuba's holistic approach.

See, I'm no dirty hippie or whacko environmentalist nut who does more harm than good, but I am fascinated by systems and the notion that a tweak here and a tweak there can have tremendous impact for good or ill. For that reason, it seems to me that under the right conditions, not only can organic farmers in the U.S. benefit from the lessons learned from Cuban farmers, so too can "traditional" farms. If that happens, I forsee a future with greater or equal crop yields and fewer chemicals and artificial fertilizers that can have a negative impact on the surrounding environment.

Sorry for the lengthy post - someone needs to teach me how to "hide" parts of my posts so that people can click a link if they want to continue.

Kid Handsome

Sitting at a bar...

Two Irishmen were sitting a pub having beer and watching the brothel across the street.

They saw a Baptist minister walk into the brothel, and one of them said, "Aye, 'tis a shame to see a man of the cloth goin' bad."

Then they saw a rabbi enter the brothel, and the other Irishman said, "Aye, 'tis a shame to see that the Jews are fallin' victim to temptation."

Then they saw a catholic priest enter the brothel, and one of the Irishmen said, "What a terrible pity... one of the girls must be quite ill."

The Treasury Dept. won't let Cuba Play Baseball

I'm not a big fan of the Cuba embargo (I just think that by this point it has been proved that it didn't work - also, I believe that an open market would go much further to undermine Castro's rule).

Anyway, I don't understand the rationale behind not letting Cuba play in a pretty cool baseball tournament - this type of thing could be like the Olympics of baseball. Though, as they won't explain themselves, we'll never know.

KH - by the way, the link goes to Hit & Run, which allows links to the comments section - so to read the post, you have to scroll up.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The TSA Shooting of a Man Last Week

Otter and I have been discussing this case off and on recently. I tend to agree with the notion that TSA agents should shoot to kill anyone who claims they have a bomb, but something about the case has been bothering me. I think I've been disturbed by the fact that this man was, according to many accounts, rather obviously mentally ill, that he had already cleared at least two security checkpoints, and that he was running off the plane (I believe he was killed in the part of the airport that extends between the plane and the airport). My position was that the officers might have exercised a little bit of restraint and not fired at the man so quickly - especially as his wife was on the plane and could have informed the officers of his mental illness.

Now it appears that the initial account of the shooting provided by the government has changed. Apparently, he never said he had a bomb (which is the only reason to shoot first and ask questions later).

"According to law enforcement officials, Alpizar 'uttered threatening
words that included a sentence to the effect that he had a bomb.'" It is a long
way from running up and down aisle shouting about having a bomb to using
unspecified "threatening words." What sort of sentence includes threatening
words "to the effect" that one has a bomb—but apparently does not include the
word bomb?

Anyway, I have no problem with the TSA's actions if the story went how they initially told it, but it's starting to appear as if my unease with their facts is becoming more and more justified. Also, it's interesting to note that:

"Seven passengers interviewed by the Orlando Sentinel—seated in both the
front and rear of the main passenger cabin—said Alpizar was silent as he ran
past them on his way to the exit." No passenger the Sentinel spoke to offered
any account akin to what the feds claimed.

That certainly seems to go against the TSA's action. Anyway, I'm still ambivalent about how I feel about this case, but it would be nice if the TSA would have told their actual version of this story in the first place - instead of changing it several days later. It's just a little too convenient.

Anyway - read the link.

Kid H.

Can I borrow $347 million or so?

Apparently the Atlanta Braves are for sale. I want to buy the team. If they had an owner who cared, they would actually win every so often in the playoffs. AOL Time Warner is a crappy owner - they have cut the payroll almost every year recently and the Braves are only winning due to a talented farm system, John Schuerholz and Bobby Cox. If the payroll gets cut any more, they simply aren't going to be able to compete.

So, if you can spare a dollar or 500 million, I would really appreciate it.


Really interesting post on the European Left (LONG)

I really enjoyed this post, and the comments are good as well. Reading the post and the comments should take about 15 minutes.

Kid H.

Link via Instapundit.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

TV Firsts

A pretty interesting look at TV firsts through the years. Archie Bunker and Star Trek make the list a couple times.

Check it out.


I Don't Watch American Idol

but I might start after hearing the phone messages that Simon Cowell left for porn star Tabitha Stevens. The messages themselves aren't all that great, but I'm waiting for Cowell to be a real jerk to someone on the show and have them fire back at him about leaving weird messages for porn stars. I think it would be hilarious.


Instapundit has Reasons to Vote Against the Patriot Act

The major problem with the PATRIOT Act and just about every federal criminal law is that it expands from it's original approved purpose to include a ton of other uses. In this case, fighting terrorism has become fighting Methamphetamines. In it's short history, there are plenty of examples of the PATRIOT Act powers being used in drug cases against U.S. citizens, even though law enforcement has always had plenty of tools to use (and abuse) to combat people who voluntarily use drugs.

Besides, now that people are having to register to by cold medicine like Nyquil, it isn't as if we're short of draconian legislation that punishes cold sufferers because someone could possibly use cold medicine to make an illegal drug. Register your Sudafed people - of course if you live in Virginia or Oregon, you already have. Hawaii is next. These measures are supposed to protect you from meth users - they won't. Now all the meth will come from Mexico, which what Oklahoma has discovered. What's really important here is that police now have a new scary drug (remember Oxycontin) to justify their bloated budgets.

Kid H - I'd rather be free with a cold, than a prisoner without one.

More "Justice" - Courtesy of our Outstanding Legal System

Police save society from a sick old man - Seriously what is wrong with our criminal justice system? It just gets worse and worse. We can't enforce the laws we have, but we have no fear of passing hundreds of new ones every year. Here's an excerpt:

"On July 29, my elderly husband went to the beach. He walked a while and then lay down on the sand. Suddenly, he found himself being arrested. It turned out a woman had seen him stumble and, out of concern that he might be intoxicated, called the police. Two police officers spoke to him and mistook his foreign accent for slurred speech and his inability to rise quickly for drunkenness.Without giving any sobriety test, they handcuffed him and put him in a cold jail cell wearing nothing but a wet swimming suit. They refused to let him call home.

Then they called our number but hung up without leaving a message. If I did not have Caller ID, I would not have been able to call and find out where he was. He could have been locked up all night, without access to his heart medicine, which might have been fatal."

Read the whole thing (it's short).

Kid Handsome

Once again I'm fake blogging by stealing posts from "The Agitator" - but hey, he writes the posts I want to write.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Some things I’ve wanted to post about…

First of all, sorry for the slow posting, and commenting, and all that other blog stuff. I just can’t seem to find the time lately.

Next, Zoom’s comment the other day really deserves some attention and thanks. Basically she left a comment saying, “I’m still here guys, even if I don’t post political oriented comments.” Speaking for every posting on Scaggsville (Me, Kid Handsome, Chowda and the Cheese Steak guy…yes we are 4 different people), we really appreciate everyone who reads the crap we write (you know who you are, even if we don't).

Everyone who has a blog out there knows how good it feels to have someone leave a comment on one of your posts. After all, we cared enough about something to write about it; just knowing someone is out there reading it makes all the difference. It’s the only reason I write. Thank you.

Another thing is we know not everyone is political, even more so, not everyone has the same opinions as us. Hell, even though we have similar opinions KH and I argue about a lot of topics.

However, I believe that debate is not about butting heads or making enemies but rather a learning opportunity. In the best possible situations people should be able to drop all the “Bush is Hitler” or similar crap, and get down to discussing real policies and ideas.

I know we are not completely innocent of throwing around gross generalities, but we really don’t strive to piss people off (well I do, but I want my own Fatwa issued against me). Rather we just want to get people talking about things. I post stories that I think that people need to hear about. We’ve been lucky for the most part, in that we have found several people (Chuck and the Reverend) to debate with whom we don’t see eye to eye with, but still remain civil. I really appreciate that, and think it’s the only way to act.

Stickwick Stapers, (if you come back) I am so sorry I assumed you were a male. Maybe it’s an East Coast thing, but I seldom find those without a Y chromosome discussing guns and (small l) libertarian ideals. The fairer sex I’m accustomed to just isn’t that interesting. BTW, you are now on our Blog Roll, I really enjoy your site.

Lastly, we try not to always be so serious, because I for one am not all that serious. Dear readers I hope you enjoy some of the non-political posts we write about here or there or even there OR I hope you don’t mind reading some of the political posts we write about in between the other thoughts being spewed about in Scaggsville.

Merry Christmas, or if you must, Happy Holidays.


LA To Burn...

Sorry for the slow posting guys... more soon...

Anyway, my phone just told me that Arnie is NOT going to spare that childrens book auther who killed those 4 asian people... I'm betting we're in for a BIG OLD RIOT... I hope that those who are going to need them bought their guns earlier, cause you don't have enough time with the waiting period they have there.


This is a Cool Story

It's about a nice lady in Kentucky recently passed away at the age of 101. Apparently, she spent her life bootlegging moonshine to support members of her family and community. She was arrested hundreds of times and juries (via jury nullification) refused to put a good woman in jail. Finally, the government stopped trying to prosecute her - and, alarmingly, society didn't completely fall apart.

Perhaps we don't need the government as much as they would have us believe.

Kid H

Friday, December 09, 2005

Why Unions Don't Belong in Federal Government

  1. Currently in the works are personnel reforms that will fundamentally change how the performance of government employees is measured. The DoD initiative grabbing the headlines for the last year or so is the National Security Personnel System (NSPS) which will implement, among other things, is a performance or market-based pay program. The importance of this program is that government employees will be held accountable for their actions and rewarded for good performance.

    Anyone who works in the private sector realizes that this is just how businesses ensure they have good workers aligned with their strategic mission. But cultural differences asside, the federal government is actually doing something good here - effectively building a worforce that has performance measures and resources available to hire good workers from the private sector to do an even better job for the federal government.

    This article explains the ongoing struggle with unions as the federal government implements the NSPS system across DoD. Federal (and private) unions from the AFL-CIO oppose this measure simply because it removes them from the collective bargaining power of negotiating standard raises - not based on performance (of course).


Thursday, December 08, 2005

Canada to Ban Handguns . . .

Remember this post from Otter the other day? Well read the two posts at the link above (The Volokh Conspiracy).

The first post tells you what's happening (the gun ban), whilst the second one shows how the government, in this case Canada, lies to it's people. See, the second post shows all the governments comments about how requiring registration won't lead to a ban on guns. Here is a telling excerpt:

"There is no evidence that gun registration will ever equal arbitrary seizure, or a law against ownership. In the end, this is about having firearms registered, so police will have more knowledge of who has guns and be in a better position to protect the public where danger does exist. That's an eminently reasonable goal."

Oh Yeah? Well, there's some evidence now.

Look, I try not to curse on this blog because it seems a little base and childish, but . . . . . . . . . FUCK CANADA! Your "government" hates you!!!!!!!!! You stupid weak bastards.

Kid H. - If I had a handgun I would shoot Canada in the head right now.

It's not really Blogging if . . .

all I do is steal posts from another blogger. Here again today is some good stuff from "The Agitator." Oh, and here is an article from George Will which contains this gem:

"If you think America is suffering an entitlement glut, you may have just hurled the newspaper across the room. Pick it up and read on, because this story illustrates the timeless truth that no matter how deeply you distrust the government's judgment, you are too trusting."

Unfortunately, I stole that one from The Agitator as well.

Anyway, I guess it isn't that much different than what Instapundit does.

Kid H - refusing to apologize

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

My problem with our legal system . . .

from enforcement on the street to enforcement in the court is that the State and its representatives (police, prosecutors, juries, legislators and politicians) is that they don't care about justice.

Read the link above - it's yet another example in a long line of what is wrong with the people who run this country.


P.S. My month long self-imposed probation is up and I've decided to come back with a vengeance.

P.P.S. - here are some selected posts from the Agitator that make my blood boil: one, two, three and four. (Note that 3 &4 are Baltimore-related).

I need your money!!!!

Scaggsville needs your money! Become an investor!


Thursday, December 01, 2005

Amongst the Canucks

How does a Canadian, who has been living in Texas for several years, feel when visiting home.
It's knowing that every single person on this block is probably unarmed, as well. And that everywhere I go, the only people who are armed are criminals (there is virtually no police presence in Vancouver). I like to tell Canadians that I am surrounded by armed and dangerous people in Texas -- my neighbors -- and that's a good thing. But Canadians just don't get it.
Really a pretty good piece... Light hearted funny... But with a real point...
My first couple of times to the range, I wasn't 100% sure that the guy next to me wasn't some kind of maniac. It was weird trusting a complete stranger with the power of life and death over me -- and that's the root of Canada's problem with guns. Canadians just don't have faith in freedom. They worry that people are going to screw it up, which people do, but really not all that often.
Most of those who fear guns, fear them because they don't trust themselves with a gun. If they can't trust themselves with the responsability, then no one else can be trusted either.

Anyway... Read the whole thing...I really wanna try one of those Coffee Crisps!


Hey Kids! Let's play TSA!

Funny 'cause it's true!


Ummm, I like my Internet free (as in speech, not beer)...

An article from Pajamas Media...

Greetings, and a quick tip: Anyone in favor of censorship and internet taxes can skip the rest of this column.

OK. For those still with me, who probably agree it is not a good idea to have Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe editing your blog and then charging you for it, it’s time to talk about the great UN internet grab. Thanks to the U.S. just saying no, the UN bid to get its hands on our keyboards failed this month at the United Nations Internet conclave in Tunis. But don’t drop your guard. The UN will be back. The pickings are potentially too rich, and the stakes too high, for them to resist. In case anyone has any doubts, Secretary-General Kofi Annan himself (about whom you can read more by googling his name together with “Oil-for-Food,” “Rape-by-Peacekeepers” and “Bribes-for-Procurement”) appeared in Tunis to proclaim that while the U.S. had blocked a UN takeover of the internet this time, “I think you also acknowledge the need for more international participation in discussions of Internet governance issues. So let those discussions continue.” Then came Annan’s scariest line: “We in the United Nations will support this process in every way we can.”

You can bet your laptop they will. Any institution brazen enough to hold a “World Summit on the Information Society” in internet-censoring journalist-jailing Tunisia is obviously ready to try anything to get hold of the net. This initiative has been bubbling along since Tunisia first proposed it in 1998, and by now there have been enough conferences, theme papers, working groups and planning sessions so that this UN campaign has put down roots. The WSIS website is already an empire unto itself, packed with stocktaking questionnaires, press releases, a photo library and the outpourings of the Preparatory Committee, abbreviated UN-style as the Prepcom, which sounds like something out of George Orwell, because it is.

Read the rest...