Category Archives: News

Quote of the Day

From Radley Balko:

Just saw an interview with rescue workers on TV. They said the thing that keeps sticking with them is the sound of cell phones ringing on the bodies of the dead students they were carrying out–calls from desperate parents and friends frantically trying to reach them. I’m not a parent. But that brought tears to my eyes.

Nice to know that their pain is enabling certain douchebags — Dr. Phil is latest — to advance their agendas.


I should never go in to work. A root beer in my laptop bag decided to leak, soaking my cell phone, my powerbook cord — of which I need a perfect one since TSA decided to bash the side of my powerbook — netflix DVDs. Fortunately, it seems like my powerbook itself escaped the worst. But man, what a way to start my day. Hence, there will be light blogging for some time, until I pay Apple another seventy fucking dollars for about my 78th powerbook cord in the last three years.

Passover Blogging

I’m back home for the Holiday. A few thoughts before I hit the hay:

  • I am getting very close to putting an ax through the TV when i see more coverage of this Anna Nichole Smith business. Enough!
  • I’m still convinced Iran is trying to provoke an attack to rally their people. The demonstration in Iran are, like those of thirty years ago, likely staged.
  • I thought Boortz and Limbaugh could be bad. Then oday I was “treated” while driving to listening to Hannity and Savage. Hannity was debating Charlie Rangle on Iraq and kept focusing on “Hillary thought there were weapons of mass destruction!”. He doesn’t seem to have any time to address the mission creep that is getting our boys killed.
  • Savage is annoying as hell but he made a decent point on Pelosi going to Syria, saying the President should have goaded her to repeat the party line — i.e, “Hey Syria! Behave yourself!”. I can’t say he’s right but it was a decent idea. Who the hell does Pelosi think she is anyway? Much as I have railed against the massive expansion of executive power under this President, there is one aspect of our government where he is supposed to have untrammelled power — diplomacy.
  • Baseball season is back. Sweet. And I told you it would be a conservative Final Four. Boy, Buckeyes must really hate Florida now. This is twice they’ve toppled mighty Ohio State from a consensus #1 ranking.
  • It’s funny how you notice things. For 3.5 years, whenever I’ve had to use . . . dial-up . . . on my powerbook, I thought that little flashing dot on the modem icon was a heart. Now I see it’s a modem plug. What a goober.
  • Pregnant women can’t run.
  • It’s Working

    I shouldn’t jinx it. But my anti-spam measures appear to be working. The hits on this site have slowly declined this month from the 40-50k range down to the 20-30 k range. Yesterday, I had only 2483 hits — this is good since 99% of the hits are spam. Today looks like it will bounce back up to the 20k range. But I’m making progress.


    I just installed Askimet, which should help filter any spam posts (it’s already killed 22 in the last few hours). I don’t know how these guys are getting past the registration requirement but they are. If any of you two or three people who are reading this register and start posting comments, let me know if any are blocked as spam.

    Sob Sisters

    Read this article which seems to blame the eeeevill mortgage companies for the current round of foreclosures. Of course, without these experimental loans, these people wouldn’t have been able to buy a house at all. And a significant percentage are weathering the storm and becoming home-owners. By my math, that’s good. But we must have a sob-story about the 20% who are being fore-closed on not the 80% who got a home they’d never have been able to purchase just five years ago.

    Notice also the irresponsibility of the home-owner they talk to:

    He cannot afford his mortgage payment, which jumped to $1,300 a month from about $1,000 after his loan reset to a higher interest rate last summer. A divorce and the loss of his county government clerical job, which paid $14.80 an hour, have also hurt.

    In 2004, Mr. Shields took out a popular hybrid mortgage that carried a fixed interest rate for two years before becoming an adjustable-rate loan for the remaining 28 years. In August, his loan’s interest rate rose from 6.6 percent to 8.1 percent, and to 9.6 percent now. “I love the house,” said Mr. Shields, 47, who now works in a custodial job with the Chicago school district that pays $10.40 an hour. “I put a lot of money in the house — a deck and a new garage — and they are just going to take the house.”

    Bought a house too big for his income; got a divorce; invested money he didn’t have in improving the house; lost his job. How is this the fault of an “over-extended loan market”?

    And I would point out that these two-year adjustable rate mortgages are designed to allow someone with bad credit to get their, um, financial house in order and refinance. Most people who buy the 1 or 2 year ARM’s do precisely this. But we have to hear about the ones who don’t.

    But what got me was the NYT just can’t, just can’t write this article without getting into some good old liberal wealth hatred:

    The mortgage interest deduction, the biggest single subsidy to homeowners, will cost the federal budget about $80 billion this year, according to the administration’s projections. Deductions for state and local property taxes will cost $15.5 billion. Allowing homeowners to pocket tax-free much of the profit from selling their homes is expected to cost $37 billion more. Altogether, this amounts to almost 5 percent of the federal government’s total tax revenue, and almost three times HUD’s entire $42 billion budget. Now even some in Washington are questioning the soundness of pushing homeownership so broadly.

    I can’t even begin with the stupidity here. Deductions do not cost the government shit — they return money to the owner. It’s only right to deduct property taxes (which are smaller than pork spending) as we shouldn’t be taxed twice — we deduct income taxes, don’t we? And deducting the profit from selling a home (only after two years of residency, BTW)? Well, how else do you expect people in a mobile society to not get jobbed when they sell? If I have to sell my home in the near future because Sue and I change jobs, a full tax plus agent commission would wipe out any profits. I might even lose money on the deal.

    But the NYT apparently believes only irresponsible people should get tax breaks.

    And the government’s efforts to promote homeownership are far from an unqualified success. From 2000 to 2005, homeownership rates increased significantly only among households in the top two-fifths of the income distribution, those earning more than $46,883, according to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.

    Gee, it’s almost like the responsible choices that give you wealth also make you buy a house.

    Homeownership declined for families in the bottom two-fifths of the income scale. In the lowest fifth — where families make less than $20,180 — homeownership was only 42.4 percent in 2005, which was 3 percentage points less than it was 25 years earlier and 26 percentage points below the national average.

    Whoa! Irresponsible choices can both make you poor and prevent you from owning a home? Say it ain’t so! And, of course, this has nothing to do with excessive property taxes, the disaster or urban renewal, property forfeiture, imminent domain abuses or Chapter 8 subsidies.

    No, nothing at all.

    I actually do agree with one point here. It’s not the government’s business to encourage people to buy homes. And we are seeing the Law of Unintended Consequences rear its ugly head once more. George Bush has been a big driver behind this ownership society business because he is, at heart, a leftist who believes government can make people better.

    And I would glady trade in my home mortgage interest and tax deductions for a Fair Tax. But I don’t think that’s what the NYT intends.

    New Link

    I’m beginning to enjoy the Freakonomics blog. Not only are the posts consistently interesting, the comments are usually quite thoughtful — unheard of!

    Today’s post isn’t the best, with it’s link to David Remnick’s fellating of AlGore that indulge every liberal fantasy you could imagine about a Gore administration. But the blog is always fun.

    What Happened

    I’m hoping to upload an image soon. But if you want to know why my site shut down for a week, here are the usage numbers: One February 1, I had 2920 hits. On February 5, I hade 18,694. By February 12, we we were up to 79000. And on February 14, my brother shut it down when traffic hit 112,000 hits. These were not people reading the blog. These were people putting in thousands of trackbacks and comments for spam.

    Since the blog was rebooted, the traffic has fallen to 54,000 hits. And I hope it will keep falling as the spammer figure out it is no longer open season.

    Fucking spammers. What the hell did they think they were accomplishing?

    What I Learned

    During my 12-day absence, I missed the hell out of blogging. I was relentlessly pressuring my brother to “Get the blog back up!”, which is fairly presumptuous since I don’t pay him nuthin’. Anyway, there may only be three people that read this blog if you include my cat. But there’s something therapeutic about putting my thoughts out there. At the very least, it puts off my rendezvous with a rooftop and an AK-47 off for a few more days each time I post.

    There’s been a lot to talk about. We’ve had:

  • Republicans insisting that the Brit pullout means things are going well. The GOP loves the “everything is going fine in 80% of the country” meme. I’m really glad we’ve secured such huge areas of uninhabited desert. When it’s possible to drive from Baghdad to the airport without being shot, let us know.
  • Walter Williams brilliantly guest-hosted for Limbaugh and wrote a column on one my favorite subjects — the danger of Opportunity Cost.
  • John Stossell had a nice special on the disproportionate fear we have of things. We fear terrorism and child abduction more than we fear lightning strikes, which kill more people. Of course, it’s not that simple. We feel like we can prevent terrorism and child abduction. Most people don’t feel that way about lightning.
  • Cato reported that kids are, for the first time, trailing their parents in education. The NYT chimed in that grades are rising even as reading ability falters. This is the system we have to forgo vouchers to protect? Every day makes it clearer to me that our education system is fundamentally broken.
  • And there was a nice diatribe from Radley Balko in response to Michael Medved’s nonsense about how only men of God can be President.
  • Ye Olde Posts

    So what has happened to the last fifteen months of blogging? I have no idea. I’m hoping there is a database somewhere in my directory structure that I can eventually resuscitate. But for now, we’re a blank slate here at Ah, the possibilities. I coudl pretend to be a liberal or something.

    Of course, since I started criticizing Bush, everyone already thinks I ama liberal. Oh well.

    Right now, I’m recovering my last few from the old RSS feed.

    Back to Life

    Just a note to indicate we’re back on the air. What happened? Well, the spam had gotten to the point where my brother’s server was being overloaded. We have now switched to WordPress, which should mitigate the problem. We hope.

    I’m still tinkering, hoping to set this up so that registration will be required to comment.

    And how appropriate that the damn thing crashed on Valentine’s Day?