Sunday, December 05, 2010


Look..I love Jack in the Box as much or more as anyone. I even used to work there once. I think the Jack in the Box commercials are funny. But have we really gotten to the point where it is OK to make jokes about dominence sex on TV? Tonight I saw the commercial at 7:45 PM during an NFL football game. Have we really become this coarsened? I have no children, but what do you say if your kid turns to you and asks you to explain the joke?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Kevin Spacey at his Best

My Lost Hour

I just spent a an hour roaming around the AFI channel on Youtube watching various clips at different AFI awardshows. And I'll probably go back.

Don't judge me until you have tried it.....

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Random Thought........

In 1775 we revolted against the King when he demanded we buy stamps to put on our documents. Today Congress demands we buy healthcare...........

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Breakfast Club

1) I have just realized how we can internalize things without realizing it. Remeber the scene when the prinicipal throws the Judd Nelson character into a closet and then basically threatens to beat him up? And promises to deny his threats later?

I kind of did the same thing once as a new teacher, without realizing I was doing it. I told a kid once that if I ever saw him as an adult I would kick his ass, and that I would deny that I ever said that. I was new, extremely frustrated, and this kid purposefully sabotaged my class every day.

It was wrong, and I regret it now. But I wonder if unconciously I was reaching back to this scene.

2) When I first saw this movie, and when I was young, I was on the side of the five kids. I just saw the movie last week, and I was struck by the fact that now that I am older and a teacher, I'm on the principal's side and think the kids are acting like a bunch of punks.

Hello, my Name is Gary and I am.....

...addicted to the Internet.

My computer broke down last Wed around 1:00 PM. It froze up and when I tried to restart it, Windows wouldn't work right. I tried to fix it, and then reboot it and nothing worked. I was without internet access until I went to my parents' house around 1:00 PM on Friday. 48 hours without being able to log on. I nearly went crazy! My whole life was disrupted.

Yet 15 years ago, I had no internet access. I managed pretty well.

Stop for a few minutes and imagine your life with no:

cable or satellite TV
cell phones
game consoles and handheld games
MP3 player

Scary huh?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Is Obamacare Constitutional?

Here is a site that makes the argument that Obamacare is constitutional.

Here is my counter argument that I first posted at a blog called The Living Room Times.

My take on the Balkin article:

I) He spends a lot of time discussing the House bill. This is off topic and I will ignore it.

II) His argument that this is not an individual mandate:

A) Listing a set of people who are exempt from the mandate does not invalidate the fact that for most people it remains a mandate. Instead it reinforces the fact that it is a mandate for those not exempted.

B) At least four of the exemptions Balkin describes are temporary states, and when that person’s status changes the mandate will cover them.

C) He argues that it is a tax, and not a mandate.

1) He first argues that it is an excise tax, in his words a “tax on transactions or events”. However this is not a tax on a transaction or event, it is a tax on the absence of a transaction or event. The person is not being taxed on something he did, but rather because he didn’t do something. This is not an excise tax.

2) He then argues that it is a penalty tax, a tax for not doing something you are mandated by the government to do. Logically this defeats the whole basis of his argument that it is not a mandate. You can’t be penalized for not doing something you are not mandated to do.

D) If his argument is that the term individual mandate is misleading, why does he then proceed to use the term in the rest of his article?

III) His General Welfare argument

A) The term general welfare had a much different meaning when the Constitution was written than it does today. The general welfare clause originally was a justification for passing laws, not a justification for entitlements.

B) Balkin states:The individual mandate is a tax. Does it serve the general welfare? The constitutional test is whether Congress could reasonably conclude that its taxing and spending programs promote the general welfare of the country
The individual mandate is not a tax. The individual mandate is a requirement to purchase health insurance. The tax is a penalty for not complying with the mandate. The argument is not that the government cannot impose taxes or penalties, it is that the government cannot require you to purchase health insurance. If this bill simply taxed the people to pay for health care this constitutional argument would not exist.

C) As Sully says above his polluter analogy is flawed. To be correct he must instead argue that everyone, polluters and non- polluters alike are forced to pay for pollution control equipment or pay a fine. Indeed it would be more accurate to say that everyone is forced to pay for yearly pollution offsets every year or pay a fine, whether they produce pollution or not. (in any case the analogy would still be flawed)

D) I strongly disagree with his proposition that “the textual argument for Congress’s authority under the General Welfare Clause is obvious and powerful” in this case. He assumes that proposition. His only arguments are the flawed pollution analogy and a flawed definition of the individual mandate.

IV) His Commerce Clause argument:

A) Both of the cases he cites, Wickard v. Filburn and Gonzales v. Raich (both of which I disagree with), are cases where the government prohibited people from taking an action that might affect interstate commerce. This is a case where the government is forcing people to take an action by arguing that their inaction affects commerce. Prohibiting an action is not the same thing as mandating an action.

B) Where is the logical end of this argument? Using this argument the government has a basis to mandate that individuals purchase anything they want because it could affect commerce. Why can’t the government mandate the purchase of a new GM or Chrysler car every four years? Not buying GM or Chrysler products has a huge impact on interstate commerce, especially on other buying their products.

“Because Congress believes that the GM and Chrysler bailouts won’t succeed unless these people are forced to buy GM or Chrysler products, it can regulate their activities in order to make its bailout of GM and Chrysler effective.”

V) In my opinion, the argument is not properly “Will the Supreme Court over turn this law.” sadly, I agree that it is unlikely that there are enough votes to overturn this law. However the argument properly should be “Should the Supreme Court overturn this law?” In that case I think the only answer is yes.

Update 10/27/10 9:45AM: Great minds think alike.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

What's Next?

Dateline Washington D.C. June 3, 2010:

The Democrats regained their filibuster proof majority in the Senate today after Democratic Governor Steve Beshear resigned and was appointed to fill out the term of Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell, who died in a tragic and mysterious home invasion robbery last week; by his successor, Daniel Mongiardo (D), who had formerly been the Lt. Governor.

Dateline Washington D.C. June 12, 2010:

President Obama held a joint press conference today with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi today to announce the introduction of a new bill, the Invest in America and Americans Act.

"For far too long millions of Americans have lacked access to a savings account and financial security", said President Obama. "This bill will fix that, and at the same time allow every American to own a piece of this great country, and help build a better future." "The American people have a right to a savings account, and we will provide them with one!" Sen. Reid proudly proclaimed.

The bill would require every taxpayer to set aside 10% of his gross income every year in savings, in the form of a 25 year Treasury bond issued by the government directly to a savings account in a government approved bank of their choice. Those with no income, or incomes under $50, 000 a year, would be issued a $2,500 dollar savings bond in their name in a similar manner. The savings would be collected by the I.R.S. through deductions from paychecks and on tax forms for other types of income.

"For far too long the poor have been made to feel that they have no part of America," said Speaker Pelosi, "today that has come to an end!"

The bill is expected to be quickly passed by Democratic majorities in both Houses of Congress so that the I.R.S. can begin collecting the savings from income in July of this year.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Miss America 2010

Congratulations to our new Miss America for 2010, Caressa Cameron.

Now, at the risk of being indelicate, we have obviously reached the point where it is no big deal for a Black woman to win the Miss America pageant. Anyone want to bet on the chances of a White woman winning the Miss Black America pageant, or the existence of a Miss White America pageant?

It is long past time for separatist organizations like Miss Black America to go by the wayside.

Edit: Linked at The Other McCain

Friday, January 29, 2010

Democrat Style Politics

How about H.R. 4474 Idaho Wilderness Water Facilities Act?

The Republican from Idaho introduced a bill on Sept. 8, 2009: H.R. 3538: Idaho Wilderness Water Resources Protection Act. The Democrat from Idaho was the co-sponsor.

The purpose of the bill was: To authorize the continued use of certain water diversions located on National Forest System land in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness and the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness in the State of Idaho, and for other purposes.

On January 20, 2010 the bill was defeated by the Democrats in the House 225-191 with 187 Democrats voting against it.

On January 20, 2010 The Democrat from Idaho introduced a bill: H.R. 4474: Idaho Wilderness Water Facilities Act. The republican from Idaho was the co-sponsor.

The purpose of the bill was: To authorize the continued use of certain water diversions located on National Forest System land in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness and the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness in the State of Idaho, and for other purposes.

On January 27, 2010 it passed the House 415-0.


A Republican bill sits in the House for 5 months and is defeated by the Democrats.

The same bill is introduced by a Democrat, sits in the House for a week and is passed with no opposition.

Funny how that works.

(note: This post is comprised of two comments I made on a post over at The Living Room Times)

1/29/10 3:40 P.M.: edited for clarity

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Some "Inconvenient Truths" Pt. 2

I have spent a long time arguing AGW and Climategate, both here and at other blogs as a skeptic.

One of the most common rejoinders, especially from a particular lefty named David K, is that this may be messy and ugly, but the science is still good, and no paper or conclusion will have to be withdrawn.

Looks like that argument just fell by the wayside:

A WARNING that climate change will melt most of the Himalayan glaciers
by 2035 is likely to be retracted after a series of scientific blunders by the
United Nations body that issued it.
Two years ago the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a benchmark report that was claimed to
incorporate the latest and most detailed research into the impact of global
warming. A central claim was the world's glaciers were melting so fast that
those in the Himalayas could vanish by 2035.

In the past few days the scientists behind the warning have
admitted that it was based on a news story in the New Scientist, a popular
science journal, published eight years before the IPCC's 2007 report.
It has
also emerged that the New Scientist report was itself based on a short telephone
interview with Syed Hasnain, a little-known Indian scientist then based at
Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi.

Hasnain has since admitted that the claim was "speculation" and was not
supported by any formal research. If confirmed it would be one of the most
serious failures yet seen in climate research. The IPCC was set up precisely to
ensure that world leaders had the best possible scientific advice on climate

So, the IPCC, in the most important document on AGW, one supported by "thousands of scientists" and the "scientific consensus", one written and peer reviewed by the top scientists in the field of AGW, a document designed to force a radical change in the economies of the world and transfer immense quantities of wealth, contains a section that relies on no science, but instead a pop science article based on a telephone interview.

I'm betting that this is only the tip of the iceberg.

Update 2/22/09: Predictably, David K rejected my example above. Well here is another example, one that explicitly states that a study published in one of the top journals in the field has been withdrawn:

Scientists have been forced to withdraw a study on projected sea level rise
due to global warming after finding mistakes that undermined the findings.
study, published in 2009 in Nature Geoscience
, one of the top journals in
its field, confirmed the conclusions of the 2007
report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
. It used
data over the last 22,000 years to predict that sea level would rise by between
7cm and 82cm by the end of the century.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

My Three Wishes

If a genie granted me three wishes tomorrow, they would be:

1) Return the United States to a federal republic. All governmental actions and responsibilities would be moved to the closest point of contact with individual Americans. For instance, the Dept. of Education would be eliminated, and education would become the responsibility of city and county government. In fact all the cabinet positions created after the Washington administration would be eliminated and their responsibilities shifted to the states, counties and cities. I would abolish the income tax and the IRS, because the national government would no longer require absurd amounts of money if it returned to only true constitutional duties.

2) Withholding of any taxes or governmental payments to any level of government would be unconstitutional. Any and all payments to the government by American citizens and corporations would be due on the first Monday after the first of November every year. Furthermore, these payments would require an affirmative action by the individual. (writing a check, making an electronic payment, paying in cash, etc) This way, when they voted the next day every other year they would have a clear reminder of what they were voting on.

3) Anyone receiving any governmental money except payments for goods received would no longer be eligible to vote in elections for the level of government they received the payments from. This includes employees (except active duty members of the armed services). Federal employees would be prevented from voting in federal elections, state employees would be prevented from voting in state elections. Welfare recipients, food stamp recipients, social security recipients, farm subsidy recipients, members of the boards of directors for corporations receiving subsidies, etc..all would be prohibited from voting at the level they received governmental payments.

You may call me a dreamer, but I'm not the only one......