Archives for the Month of August 2006 on Jeffrey Quick's Blog

Will the Girlie-Man sign...

...California's new universal health care bill? Dollars to donuts he does.

The problem with actors running for office is that they're used to being adored, and can't cope with not being liked.

Speaking of Hillarycare, partisans can find a great mastur-work at http://steelturman.typepad.com/thesteeldeal/2006/08/another_piece_o.html

Thanks to Mr. Beck.

A serious lack of people skills at Radio Shack

The company announced Aug. 10 that it would cut 400 to 450 jobs, mostly at headquarters, to cut expenses and "improve its long-term competitive position in the marketplace." RadioShack has closed nearly 500 stores, consolidated distribution centers and liquidated slow- moving merchandise in an effort to shake out of a sales slump.
Anyone so obtuse as to fire 400 employees via email would of course miss the most probable cause of their financial woes: people are not anxious to shop at a place where you have to endure interrogation to make a simple cash purchase.

Coulter: a bit too far

"They shot the wrong Lincoln"?!

Ann, Ann, supporting the assassination of political figures doesn't even fly on Democratic Underground. Anyway, Chafee hasn't yet been responsible for 600K deaths and the conquering of a sovereign nation. And if he's as lame as you claim, he never will be.

And you seem cranked over Bush supporting the "wrong" Republican (a trait Pat Toomey remembers well). Tell me, Ms. Coulter, what business does ANY sitting president have taking sides in state party business, given that he has to work with whomever is elected? Bush should sit on his hands until after the primary...and then (as you rightly note) he should be supporting the Republican, not a rogue Democrat.

Who's more clueless about Bach: PD or AP?

BERLIN (AP) — A previously unknown work by Johann Sebastian Bach has turned up in a crate of 18th-century birthday cards removed from a German library shortly before it was devastated by fire last year, researchers said Wednesday.

This is extremely old news, about a year anyway. The edition "to be published in the fall" was added as a bib record to Kulas on 3/29, and the actual item was put on the shelf this summer. I guess that now that JonBenet's killer is again a mystery, it's a slow news day for entertainment reporters.

SmokeFree vs SmokeLess Ohio

Both are arguing about which specific ways they are going to violate private property rights. A plague on both their houses. And a special case of cancer to the petitioner who found 1122 Clevelanders with the same handwriting.

No Lane Bryant in Oak Park

"The sexiest suburb in America" apparently doesn't want to see fat people shopping, so they've told Lane Bryant they aren't welcome to open there.

Since the right of property is intrinsically related to the right to life (property being necessary for survival), why don't they just cut to the chase and RENDER the chubbies?

Thanks to rightwingprof.

Ban SUVs!

No, I haven't gone Green on you. But when some nutter uses a gun to do what Omeed Aziz Popal allegedly did, that's what every weeping hormone-case demands, so why not be consistent?

And look at that name. Is this private jihad?

Misfortune for soldiers of fortune

It's not a big segment of the economy, but South Africa is again shooting itself in the foot, this time by banning mercenaries.

How's a poor ex-JackBootThug supposed to earn a living anyway?

Spying on farmers

Via Wolfesblog, this tale of agri-cops photographing the entire country. We got an offer for aeriel pictures this summer, and I wonder if the company was subcontracting for the government, and just trying to make a little extra.

I'm not as excited about this as Claire is. I believe that any farmer who takes subsidies DERSERVES to lose his privacy. It's just too bad that the rest of us lose ours as well.

DEA agent fighting CO marijuana referendum

Michael Moore (not the movie-making fatso, but his soul brother) needs to be unemployed, NOW.

I don't care what Federal law allows. It's just WRONG for members of the Federal government to meddle in state referenda while on the job.

Doubting your own sanity

...is probably evidence that you're sane. Representing yourself in a child-molestation case, on the other hand...

I can hardly wait for the "sacred rituals" with Big Bubba.

Tower Records in trouble again

Each Tower Records location used to have its own buyer to stock inventory so that it reflected the preferences of the local population. But when it decided to centralize its buying so that all stores carried more or less the same titles, the company began to feel like the big chain it had become, VanCleave said.

That's the problem.

When I walked into a Tower in NYC in 1996. I was delighted and amazed to find they had a divider card for my old U-M classmate Karolina Eiriksdottir. That's the kind of place it was.

A new idea for tax avoidance

Become an illegal immigrant retroactively.
Write your Senator today!

Imitation moonbattery

The probable first hurricane of the season is Ernesto?
Clearly this was a deliberate slam at Hispanics. It's also a tweak at Castro, since that was Che's given name, and Che is a good (i.e., dead) Communist.
Bushitler has been laying low on the HAARP playing, just to make that point.

The election fixer and his friend

Half the candidates for governor of Ohio will debate Sept. 20. And the less interesting half, at that.

Van Gogh to go

There's a village in China where everyone's an artist art copier. They produce 60% of the world's fake paintings.

And I used to joke about the village in the Black Forest that produces Telemann....

Now I know how Salieri felt

I just heard about Jay Greenberg, who has been signed to a contract by Sony, who is releasing his 5th symphony. He's 14. He for damn sure has more facility than I do. I don't know what his music sounds like yet..."Brahmsian" was suggested by one of the articles on his webpage. I'm getting little snippets (streaming audio doesn't work from this dialup), and as far as I can tell by the 3-second bursts of sound, it may indeed be Brahmsian, in a root sense, but it doesn't sound like Brahms...or like the zitfaced kid that stares from that page.

Grrr!

At the county fair

I played hooky from work today, partly to help my wife deal with the mysterious symptoms her car has been exhibiting, partly to go to the Rogers flea market, and partly because it was fair time and I wanted to use the whole weekend for farm work.

The only problem with county fairs is that they are COUNTY fairs, i.e., they have some relationship with government. The animals were wonderful, the rabbit sandwich and sugar-free Klondike bar were tasty, and we even found out what to do about my brush-hog eating PTO pins. But our interactions with government were dodgy at best.

First there was the visit to the county health department. I was idly gazing at their table full of propaganda, and gazing back from a pamphlet was this gorgeous little moppet who had doubtless taken over all JonBenet's gigs, with the politically-proper Heinz 57 features (could be of almost any race, but certainly of no one race). And the title of the pamphlet was: "Food stamps make America stronger." Needless to say, I about horked. The publication did not make a single argment backing this assertion, but instead told us how to do it. (An argument could be made, though personally I think that encouraging weak links to remain weak does not make the chain of "us" stronger.) I started fantasizing out loud about the brochure "Cheese-sucking: your patriotic duty", and Darling Wife pulled me away from there.

Then we visited both branches of the American Socialist Party. Rusty considers herself a Democrat, though a Democrat "in recovery", and I nourish this vain hope that the Republicans will someday match their actions to their rhetoric. The Pugs gave Rusty a fan, and I got a little book that will tell me whether Fran DeWine's cooking is as bad as her husband's voting (at first glance, it doesn't appear to be). Rusty politely gushed about Janet Esposito, the county auditor, who reduced our taxes. Then we went across to the 'Crats. "Look, they're giving out something useful: nail files," said Darling Wife cheerfully. "That's so Democrat women have something to do during sex," I said loudly....getting me pulled away again.

Then there was the site put together by the organization of townships, and each township had its own display (there was also free drinking water, the main reason I was there.) Windham's was much lamer than the others. It wasn't so much that nothing ever happens there, but that no thought was taken in putting it together; it was just a mass of unidentified (and mostly badly-shot) photos. And there was an aerial map of the county, and this woman talked about how her son works for some company called EROS (lovely, that...NOT) which analyzes satellite data for the government. "He says they can read your licence plate from up there. So if they can do that, why can't they find Osama?" The truth hit my brain and mouth at the same time: "Because Osama doesn't use licence plates." That was a big camel-jockey joke to them, but that wasn't the point...which was that if you wear big horking tags identifying which driver you are, you can be identified; that's the whole point of that little exercise.

We had fun in spite of politics...which is more and more the way I try to live.

Back to the Underworld

Pluto is no longer a planet.

Ok, so it's stuck in the same "dwarf planet" pigeonhole as Ceres. Aside from tripping up us old farts when we're asked "How many planets are there?", it's not terribly important science.

But I'm curious: what are the astrologers saying? If Pluto is no longer a planet, does its influence end or diminish? A lot of them use Ceres and other large asteroids, so this might not affect them so much. But how big does a piece of rock have to be before it affects life on earth? It will be interesting to see what kind of BS they weave.

Give us a break, Taranto!

James Taranto (who apparently doesn't believe in permalinks or trackback URLs) comments on Iran's answer to MoveOn:

The Iranian government's pledge of 500 million dollars to Hezbollah has angered many Iranians who say they are still awaiting money to help rebuild their homes that were damaged by wars and natural disasters, informed sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.

The anger is particularly fierce in the Khuzestan district, which sustained severe damage during the Iran-Iraq war, and in Bam, which was hit hard by an earthquake three years ago. . . .

"Informed sources" told Asharq Al-Awsat that spontaneous demonstrations were staged in Bam and in Khuzestan on Friday as protesters shouted slogans critical of Hezbollah and the government. They were demanding their homes be rebuilt instead of the government intervening in Lebanese affairs.

This is one reason why democratizing the Middle East is such an important goal. It's very unlikely that a democratic Iran would be waging war on Lebanon. Democracy is a check on unnecessary war. Indeed, a drawback of democracy is that it's sometimes a check on necessary war; just look at Old Europe and its approach to Iraq, Hezbollah, etc.

This is laughable on so many fronts:

1. Democracy has not been a check on a necessary (or unnecessary, depending on your viewpoint) war in Iraq.

2. Democratic regimes in the Middle East have tended to support jihad, it being a popularly-supported concept.

3. Iran is not "waging war on Lebanon", any more than we waged war on Nicaragua or the Soviet Union when we supported the contras and the Afghani muhejadeen; rather, it's following the established (by us) Cold War pattern of supporting proxy fighters. If this constitutes waging war, then clearly American democracy failed to stop it, in spite of the general unpopularity of foreign aid.

4. A year ago, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, when it was suggested that we should bring the boys home to help with reconstruction, the conservative bloviacracy howled that it was just Democrats playing politics with the victims. Well, now Iranians are demanding the same (real Iranians in the streets, not talking heads), and suddenly it sounds like a better idea. just because it would be in our national interest.

Another charming product of Ohio

The leader of the campaign against in-room porn is Phil Burress, a self-described former porn addict who heads the Cincinnati-based Citizens for Community Values.

"As more and more of these (hardcore) titles become available, we're going to have sexual abuse cases coming out of the hotels," he said. "Hotels are just as dangerous as environments around strip joints and porn stores."

Oh sure. Oh the other hand:

"Really ultraconservative groups try to target the hotels in their zest to eliminate porn," [Kathy] Shepard [spokeswoman for Hilton] said. "In their zest to have their personal morals prevail, they're eliminating choice for others."

Hey Phil, when you rent a room, turn the pay-for-view off. And if you don't like it, don't go there. It's your money, and Mariott's hotel.

TATP in the skies

Was the latest terrorist bomb plot technologically feasible?

You read this, and tell me.

But the Hollywood myth of binary liquid explosives now moves governments and drives public policy. We have reacted to a movie plot. Liquids are now banned in aircraft cabins (while crystalline white powders would be banned instead, if anyone in charge were serious about security). Nearly everything must now go into the hold, where adequate amounts of explosives can easily be detonated from the cabin with cell phones, which are generally not banned.

Thanks to Mr. Beck.

Flipper vs. the American voter

"You put an animal in a box, even a lab rat or gerbil, and the first thing it wants to do is climb out of it. If you don't put a lid on top of the bowl a goldfish will eventually jump out.

"But a dolphin will never do that. In the marine parks the dividers to keep the dolphins apart are only a foot or two above the water between the different pools."

Perhaps, then, given current attitudes toward liberty, the question is not whether dolphins are intelligent animals, but whether humans are.

Beautiful day on the farm

The barn side is now 40% painted. It's all I had prepped and ready, given that I kept getting rained out yesterday. But that was good, because I got to work in the garden after the painting. And after half an inch of rain yesterday...no puddles, no crusting, seeds up and happy, surrounded by baby purslane that I could wipe off the face of the earth with my bare hand. In other words, real soil. I don't know how it happened, but I'm happy.

Moslem prayers on the plane: not such a good idea

Yes, the airline overreacted. Yes, the man who complained was a drunken fool.

But...

There's a case to be made for suspicion when a Moslem babbles to himself in Arabic on a plane. Non-Arabic speakers don't know what are the normal prayers and what is "I'll take the 72 virgins; into Thy hands I commend myself." If that's ethnic profiling, so be it. I would also be suspicious of a Christian who was babbling Christian prayers in an airplane...not that he would bring the plane down, but that he had a poor sense of boundaries and would be an unpleasant cabin-mate. In either case, there is a simple solution which does not (to my mind) violate the religious rights of those concerned: say the prayers in your head. What, is Allah so deaf that He can't hear what you're thinking?

And in related news: passengers are doing their own ethnic profiling.

This is the worst sort of collectivist judgement. It is also the wave of the future. Look, and weep.

PETAoids go after anglers in Britain.

A mob of about 35 got chased away (not arrested mind you) from a grouse hunt, came upon "a handful" of people fishing, and decided to have some fun. And the government isn't sure what, if anything, to do:

Pc Duncan Thomas, the force's wildlife officer, said that saboteurs were increasingly attacking anglers.

"Both anglers and grouse shooting parties should be aware of the threat to them and they should have contingencies in place to protect themselves."

Uh, "PC" Thomas, HRH's government has BANNED such contingencies. Or did you expect them to do battle at 7 to 1 odds with the same sticks the rioters were carrying? Odd how I haven't heard of any similar attacks on this side of the pond.

I'm sick about this...

I'm not much of a visual arts guy, so I can't fully appreciate the loss of Masumi Hayashi and John Jackson. But damnit, that could so easily have been me. And that punk Cifelli...did he ever, in his 29 years on the planet, create anything that didn't exist before? Even something as trivial as a bookshelf? And that neighborhood doesn't need this kind of stuff happening in it.

God rest them all.

Yes the deed was disgusting...

...but FOUR YEARS?

when "justice" has become a virtual wankfest anyway?

Oh jeez, just when the tabloids finally forgot JonBenet...

...now we'll have three more years of her.

Look, murdering a child is horrible. But it happens every day, in every state in the Union. It just doesn't happen so often to cute white girls. What's the obsession anyway? And it's another bleeding schoolteacher...

And what's a guy from the Heimatsicherheitsdienst doing commenting on a domestic murder case?

Goats for ADHD OK for now

BATAVIA, Ohio (AP) — A 13-year-old boy can keep the two goats he uses to help treat his attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, under a settlement with a township that claimed the animals violated zoning codes.
Good news, but why should he have to settle?
Mary Makley Wolff, who voted against the agreement, ... said she also was troubled that the agreement allows a goat to be replaced if it dies.

"I was concerned about the precedent we're setting when we allow multiple farm animals in people's yards," she said.

Well, I'm concerned about the precedent that says you can tell people what to do with their own property. But unlike you, I don't get a vote on it.

Saturday the Prevaricator-in-Chief turns 60...

...and he's whining about it.

Maybe his former opponent can fix him up with some drugs to put the spring back in his...step.

Kentuckyfriedcruelty.com is off the menu

Those who are regular readers here know that only Ted Nugent surpasses me in contempt for PETA. However, I just got news that has nibbled at my heartstrings: Goveg.com (nee Karin Robertson) and Kentuckyfriedcruelty.com (nee Christopher Garnett, aka "Tucker" around the office) have reverted to their given names.

Garnett's case was particularly poignant:

All was going well until recently, when Garnett applied for a passport and credit card in preparation for a family trip to Europe.

"Since Kentuckyfriedcruelty.com doesn't have a social security number, it became a big hindrance," he said. "From what I've been told, it's a real nightmare to go through the whole process."

In other words, the little dweeb got caught in the same kind of bureaucratic tangle he wants to put the rest of us in. It's almost enough to make one feel sorry for him. Almost.

Two questions arise:

1. If he'd changed his name legally, why wasn't the courthouse talking to the SSA?

2. What kind of sick human associates his entire identity with a political cause?

Definitive statement on WW IV / War on Terror /War against Islamofascism

Tam says:

If they "hate our freedom" so much, Georgie, then why are we doing everything we can to help them kill it?

Thanks to Mr. Beck.

Inventing the hard way

Today's trivia:

Nitrocellulose was invented by the German-Swiss chemist Christian Friedrich Schonbein in 1846 when he accidentally spilled a mixture of nitric acid and sulfuric acid on his kitchen table. He grabbed a cotton apron, wiped up the mess and hung the apron by the fire to dry. A violent explosion resulted that damaged much of the house. The cellulose in the cotton had undergone a process called nitration. Without realizing it, Schonbein had invented nitrocellulose.

Taranto discovers the War on Individuals....

...though I'm sure he doesn't quite understand the real meaning of his words:

Last week, after the British terror plot bust, President Bush used the term "Islamic fascists," which the Council on American-Islamic Relations finds irksome. What term does CAIR prefer? Here's its statement about the plot:

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today issued the following statement at a news conference in Washington, D.C., in response to the arrests of 21 individuals for allegedly plotting to use liquid explosives on passenger flights traveling from the United Kingdom to the United States.

The war on individuals! Why didn't we think of that?

Yes, that's exactly what we're in: the War on Individuals. And their nationality and religion are totally irrelevant. Indeed, if you're American and Christian, you're even easier to war against, as your territory is occupied and the supply train is short.

Michael Flatley wins his case

Evidently Michael Flatley (of Riverdance fame) misplaced his shillelagh within a lady noted for affairs with the rich and famous, followed by litigation. 25 days after the adventure, she decided it was rape. The Las Vegas police being unimpressed, she sued for $33 million. Her lawyer was a tad aggressive (nay, extortionate) in seeking a settlement, so Flatley countersued for three times as much, against both the lady and the lawyer. The California Supreme Court has just decided that the case can proceed.

Good on 'im, I say. Teach these shakedown artists some manners.

Thanks to Wendy McElroy.

Ebay: Pennsylvania's fence of choice.

You thought all those pocket knives and fingernail clippers seized stolen at airports were taken for the safety of us all? Turns out there's money in selling that stuff on Ebay...along with Christmas ornaments from Nathan's Famous, assault blenders, artificial palm trees, sombreros, and other items of dubious utility as weapons. I wonder when the airports involved (which include Cleveland Hopkins) will get tired of such penny-ante pickings, and start stealing musical instruments, computers and rare coins. After all, anything can be a weapon.

Zimbabwe South?

They're moving more carefully, "under color of law", as it were. But racism under the guise of eminent domain rears its head in South Africa. If they rush this thing through, watch for South African agricultural productivity to go down the toilet.

All kinds of thankfulness

The farm stuff continues apace. Friday my darling surprised me by excavating the berry patch. And behold things were growing, even the blueberries, though the the pH was as high as 6.1. I took stock of tree fatalities, and yesterday True Value was selling their potted tree stock at 50% off, and the Granny Smith apple and Asian pear that didn't appeal at $38.99 were just the thing at half that to stick in the orchard holes, mounded up this time to protect against sogging. We'll see if they take. Weeds are under control in the garden, we've begun (but only begun) harvesting elderberries, and I got a start on priming the barn wall. It's slow, because there's lumpy white rust that needs to be wire-brushed away. But this place is now breathing a sense of order. It's really "all good". In spite of a wedding reception Sat. evening and a do late this afternoon, I got lots done. And maybe some rain tomorrow!

Screw McCain-Feingold




At least *sigh* commeasurate with my employer's tolerance level....

Thanks to Mr. Bond.

Lieberman and democracy

David Sirota has a rant on at AlterNet. I don't generally do leftist rants, but this one is focused around an interesting idea:

Lamont's Victory and Lieberman's Insult to Democracy

Understand how insulting this is: Connecticut taxpayers just spent a large sum of money to hold a democratic primary election in a country founded on small-d democratic principles. An 18-year incumbent who had 100-percent name ID and a $12 million war chest (thanks to, among others, Joe's good friends in the pharmaceutical and financial services industries) was unable to win that election. Now, instead of respecting small-d democracy or the party he has spent the last week pledging his devotion to, he's behaving like a Third World autocrat who ignores democracy and running to hard-core GOP voters and fundraisers in Connecticut and begging them to help him hold on to his job in the Senate club. This undemocratic chicanery from a man who has long justified his support for the Iraq war by saying he has a supposedly heartfelt devotion to spreading democracy.

Let's see if I have this right: the DEMOCRATIC PARTY (with which what percentage of CT voters are registered? And how many of those have donated time and money?) has chosen Lamont instead of Lieberman as their standard-bearer. Lieberman has chosen to appeal to other voters instead. So we have THREE candidates (at least) running instead of the two we would have if Joe had taken his licking and slunk off quietly. In other words, voters have 50% more choice than they would have otherwise. What's undemocratic about this?

What's undemocratic is the notion that if a candidate doesn't have the approval of the two major parties, he shouldn't be allowed to run. Historically, I'm sure this has indeed been Lieberman's position, and only his ego makes him behave otherwise. I strongly suspect that it is also Lamont's position. I would love to see him campaign on reducing ballot-access bars to third parties, but I'm not holding my breath. ANY adult who is not clinically insane should be allowed to run, even Lieberman. And anybody who complains about "insults to democracy" while supporting an organized conspiracy against democracy (the Democratic - or Republican- Party) gets no respect from me.

More family-friendly law from Minnesota

If you're a massage therapist, don't marry a client; you could lose your license.

And awfully presumptuous of the State to assume that the marriage was consummated, isn't it?

Bono: hypocrite

He's awfully into telling governments to steal more swag from their citizens to give to Turd World hellholes. But when the Irish government decided that £170K was quite enough for an "artist" to make without paying taxes,U2 Ltd was outta there.

U2 really should have gone to Zimbabwe. I would love to see Mugabe nationalize their copyrights.

Order on the farm

It was a great weekend...two whole dry days, and 2 more in the week .Weeds have been dealt with, most late plantings in. Now a little rain wouldn't hurt (first time I've said THAT this year).

Saturday I bought a 2-bottom plow and and back blade at Chalkers, for the princely total of $70. Got them home in the back of the pickup, which was fine for the blade but a bit trickier for the plow as the plowshares kept digging into the bed liner when I tried to move it. But I got it off at last. Haven't tried it, futzed with the blade a little. Really need a box blade, but for $25 instead of $275 I can see what can be done with a simple blade. And I got a subsoiler at TSC. So I'm pretty much set except for a post hole digger.

Sunday I finished sheathing the side of the barn. Now the old steel needs to be cleaned and painted. But it's still satisfying not to have insulation board facing the elements.

And the weeds in the garden are pretty much caught up, thanks to good weather and Travis, local kid who's been grubbing out the strawberries for $5/hr. Vines are producing, though some squash was showing signs of disease. 1st okra is blossoming, peppers and tomatoes coming on. The beans were weak though, and so bug-eaten that I decided to just let them go to seed. There are still a few things I want to plant, but if they don't get in this weekend, it'll be pushing it even for mustard greens.

Rusty has been weed-whacking. The place looks picture-perfect, or as close as it's ever come. Now I have to pay attention to music.

Brownshirts in Connecticut

A friend of mine just returned from Connecticut, where he had spoken on several occasions on behalf of Joe Lieberman. He happens to be a liberal antiwar Democrat, just as I am. He is also a lawyer. He told me that within a day of a Lamont event--where he asked the candidate some critical questions--some of his clients were blitzed with emails attacking him and threatening boycotts of their products if they did not drop him as their attorney. He has actually decided not to return to Connecticut for the primary today; he is fearful for his physical safety.

Lanny Davis, linked by Beck
.

And here I thought the Dems were the International Socialists.

Governors to lose state militias?

This is getting almost NO media attention. And when governors of both parties oppose it, you can bet that it's not just another attempt to embarrass Bush.

"Duh, shouldn't the Commander in Chief have control over all the armed forces?" Duh, shouldn't the sovereign states of the United States have some way to exert their will?

"Crucify him!"

It's not like Mel Gibson hasn't heard those words before, though at least last time they were in Aramaic.

It's a pretty disgusting attitude that the booze revealed. I'm not sticking up for the attitude for a minute. It's low class, literally. But what's even more disgusting is when orthodox Christians like this one get out the wood and nails. (He's cap-O Orthodox these days, a denomination with a history of anti-Semitism at least equal to any other in Christendom, which may or may not be relevant in this case.) You've GOT to criticise your own when they're wrong, if you don't all want to be associated with their sin. But that's different than wishing career-destruction on somebody. I seriously doubt that Jesus wished unemployment on the money-changers in the Temple, just a change of venue. I'm sure that Jesus thinks that Mel (and rightwingprof, and me) is a total ASSHOLE. But those are the people He died for, and He loves them. Maybe some imitation of Christ is in order here.

Ag policy: peeling the onion

Rightwingprof riffs on a new Jonah Goldberg piece (which regrettably comes up empty, both from the link and from the LA Times link). We're all pretty much in agreement, but a few things need to be said.

First, Goldberg said:

Meanwhile, our system — chiefly the Senate, which gives rural states outsized power, and the Iowa presidential caucus, which forces politicians to whore themselves to agricultural welfare — is rigged to prevent real free market reform.

I find it odd as all hell that a conservative is complaining about the function of the Senate as representatives of the states. One might as justly complain that the House gives urban states outsized power. Now, senators would not pander so cravenly to Big Ag if they were chosen by the state legislators instead of the people.(One could bribe an entire legislature for less than the price of one TV ad.) But the chances of getting 17th Amendment repeal past the Senate are nonexistent. As for the Iowa caucus, it's a red herring. It isn't presidents (or even the whole handful of wannabes) that drive ag subsidies; it's the congressional rank-and-file, which have nothing to do with Iowa (unless of course they are rank and file FROM Iowa).

Agriculture has never played on a level field in this country. We're not at all unusual in that; most nations are protective of their ag sector. We started with tariffs. Unfortunately, the ones for manufactured goods tended to clash with the ones for ag commodities, with results to the agrarian South that helped lead to the War for Southern Independence. Canals were transpoprt subsidies. The Homestead Act could be considered a subsidy. The railroad subsidies were indirect ag subsidies, aimed at providing markets for Western farmers. And that was just the beginning. The pace of this nonsense picked up drastically during the New Deal.

The problem with current ag policy is that it is designed to help big farmers at the expense of small farmers. And it is the minutiae of those policies that help bring out the conditions where subsidies appear to be needed. Looking at milk, you have a thoroughly regulated industry. In most states, all milk must be pasteurized, and can't be sold directly to the end user. Minimum butterfat content becomes maximum butterfat content, since there's no way of telling in homogenized milk whether you are getting more. The producer tax milk check-off forces everyone to pay to advertise "milk" as if all milk were the same. If the government has its way, soon we will have NAIS, which has different rules and effects for large producers. There are ways for small farmers to compete, but Big Ag's minions in government do their best to block them.

None of this excuses subsidy. But it shows that ag policy is like health policy or practically anything else government is involved in: the government creates a problem, then creates another problem to fix that problem, which then needs a fix of its own. And we won't fix the broken system until we address the fundamental premises: whose farm/milk/body etc. is it?

John Carroll radio goes sterile

When I first came to Cleveland (late 1986), I always tuned in Fred Ziwich's polka show on WJCU. Now it's to be "new rock and alternative music" (Hey, I thought polka WAS alternative music.) A pity...it would have been better to make it all-Catholic radio, to fit the school's mission. At least there's still WRUW.

Expensive chicken

My wife interacts with the USPS:

Mail man came to the door with a package from Stromberg's chick and game birds... I greeted him at the back door and told him that I was killing chickens. The front of my wet - see though white T-shirt was also splattered with chicken blood, my hair was dripping wet with my Rambo tie across my forehead. The front of my jeans were also covered with chicken blood splatters. If he was looking for some afternoon, air-conditioned delight, I scared him off. Like I said, you owe me dinner.

For letting some of the birds out this morning, not for her preserving her virtue. I thought the chickens a little small (3-pounders), but she did a dandy job on them, all by herself

Why just have religious police...

...when you can join the ranks of civilized countries such as France and Iceland and have language police?

I'm surprised that Iranians are even allowed to eat pizza elastic dough, because it isn't mentioned in the Koran.

Maybe we should get rid of some loan words in English. The word for Islam can be "boom-boom", and mullah can be "burdizzo"...whoops, that's not English either.

Again, Taranto helps me bring you the news you couldn't live without.

Look at the face on that stolen licence...

...before you present it as ID to the person whose name is on it.