Friday, May 27, 2005

$2.1 Million for a Round Trip

$s Costello<
We need to tighten standards for public office. I, for instance, would propose that we make it a disqualification for public service if it can be proven that a candidate or a nominee for any position of authority has paid more than a buck or a cup of coffee. I often believe that indulging in such conspicuous extravagance as a $3.50 cup of coffee betrays a yearning to impress, not only with one’s high-falooting and subtle tastes that can only be satisfied with the very best, but also by exhibiting a carelessness with money that is supposed to advertise prosperity.
But, even $3.50 for a cup of Joe is cheap compare with more than $2.1 million for a season ticket on a commuter train. At a time when the state is about to add 9.5 cents/gallon to our gasoline bills, primarily to pay for Puget Sound transportation projects, it’s worth reviewing how wisely the west side of the state has spent the money it already had.
Between Everett and Seattle runs a commuter train. It’s a very expensive commuter train too. Initiating the service cost $316,000,000. Those little numbers don’t convey the enormity of the expense. Expressing it in words might help. That’s three hundred and sixteen million dollars. For all that cash, the “Sounder” carries 150 round trip passengers per day. Divide $316,000,000 by `150 and you get a very expensive failed public transit experiment.
So, how does Sound Transit propose to rectify this? Well, by running another train.
"Ridership has not been as high as we expected," according to Mark Olson, who serves as both the vice chairman of Sound Transit and as an Everett City Council member. "It will be very interesting to see what happens when we add a second train in September."
Interesting! Good grief! Does this man have the slightest idea what that sounds like to those of us who squirm at the thought of 50 cent cup of coffee? He’s running one nearly empty train and his solution is to add another? This is roughly equivalent to the Seattle Mariners drawing 500 fans per night into Safeco Field and thinking that the solution is to add more seating.
Currently the Sounder runs 12 round trips per day and the transit board has convinced itself that offering a broader choice of departure times would improve ridership. That probably true, but would it be enough to justify the expense when there are more pressing transportation needs that required new taxes? It would seem to make infinitely more sense to tell those 150 riders to hitchhike to work, then dismantle the Sounder and sell it for parts, or even scrap.
Washington does have urgent transportation needs. The highways, bridges and surface roads in western Washington are hopelessly inadequate. And, eastern Washingtonians should not reflexively begrudge the disproportionate share of the new taxes that will go to the Puget Sound. Jammed roads and glacially slow commutes exert a drag on the entire state’s economic growth and was one of the factors that was considered when Boeing pondered moving its manufacturing to Kansas. Good roads facilitate growth by moving not just people, but goods into and out of the state.
It is precisely because the state needs improved transportation that Washingtonians need some reassurance that value will be returned for the large bill that they have just been handed. If Washingtonians’ justifiable skepticism of their masters’ fiscal responsibility cannot be overcome with good deeds, then the only winner will be Tim Eyman, as he will embark on another of his initiative-for-profit campaigns and the tax increase will be rolled back.
Voters who use history as their guide will gloomily presume that this mountain of cash will evaporate through mismanagement and overspending. Even left leaning westsiders, with a $316,000,000 commuter railroad burning holes in their pockets, will side with the part-time wristwatch peddler. Already, Washingtonians who read their papers and see the extravagant schemes of those greedy for bushels of cash know that 9.5 cents will not satisfy. Visions of dollar bills dancing in their heads has already inspired some rather exotic ideas about how to modify Seattle’s Alaska viaduct that go far beyond the “repairs” that were advertised.
Unless the Olympia overlords show more sense than they have so far, Tim Eyman won’t need a real job anytime soon.

It's Called a "Fillibuster!"

The Washington Post reports that Democrats have, "extended the debate" on John Bolton's nomination.

Does Viagra Make Hair Grow On Your Palms Too?

Well, you can't say we weren't warned about this as teenagers.

"Federal health officials are examining rare reports of blindness among some men using the impotence drug Viagra."

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Kofi Annan's a Lying Scumbag

This is why we need John Bolton at the UN. We don't another UN bootlicker there.

"U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan did not initially tell investigators in the oil-for-food probe that he met twice with representatives of his son's employer as the Swiss company began soliciting United Nations business.

Annan's omissions last November raised credibility concerns with the chief investigator, Robert Parton, that persisted even after Annan later provided his recollections about the meetings. Investigators had uncovered the contacts in calendars recovered from computers, according to interviews and documents reviewed by The Associated Press."

The Soft Bigotry Of Low Expectations, And How to Solve It

Those darned right wingers! They've been saying all along that blacks and hispanics are just as capable as whites, and they've been condemned as racists for saying so.
Now, there's a school in Connecticut that's proving it. And they're taking what they've learned to other schools.

"Amistad is part an informal network of "no excuses" schools challenging the notion that black and Hispanic students are doomed to perform at a lower level than their white and Asian American counterparts."

Now gee! Who has been promoting the notion that "black and Hispanic students are doomed to perform at a lower level?"

I wonder if blacks and hispanics, upon discovering that their "friends" on the left have condemned generations to squalor will ever make them leave that party?

Friday, May 13, 2005

Seattlistas Against Choice

Seattlistas seem not to be such big believers in choice after all. After all, King County residents are not even allowed to pull weeds without first obtaining the permission of the city’s latte marinated cognoscenti. Oh yeah, Seattlistas believe that mothers should be able to choose whether or not to kill their unborn babies. But Seattlistas do not believe that, once born, parents should be allowed to choose where to send their children for their education.
After years of permitting parents dissatisfied with their neighborhood schools to send their children to a better school, those compassionate Seattle liberals are now telling parents that they have to enroll their kids where they are told. And they are being told that they will have to attend a school in their own neighborhood. Poorly maintained? Indifferent teachers? Impoverished? Dangerous? That’s just too bad.
It’s supposedly about saving money. Seattle schools are facing a $20 million shortfall. Currently, Seattle provides transportation to children who wish to attend better, safer schools away from their home neighborhoods. Seattle spends $1200 per year, per student on transportation – far, far more than neighboring cities. Terminating that service would save the school district millions. Politicians and educrats have one strategy in common. Whenever they want more money, they take a particularly popular program and hold it hostage unless they are given more money.
Ending the bus service would certainly save some money, but why not simply end the bus service and allow parents who are willing to drive their own kids to the school of their choice? The reason is that, it’s not fair. Not all kids have parents who care enough to do that.
Seattle’s Chief Academic Officer, Steve Wilson, explains. "The haves get to do something and the have-nots do not," he said. "That's a serious equity issue."
Good grief! So now we’re going to redistribute parental love and attention?
It seems to me that it’s a serious equity issue when only rich kids get to attend shiny, safe new schools in their home neighborhoods, while the poor kids in the rough neighborhoods are shut out. But that’s not how the Seattlistas see it. Former president Jimmy Carter once expressed sympathy for those who wished to defend the “ethnic purity” of their neighborhoods. I’m sure he would approve of Seattle’s new plan to keep the poor kids out of the best schools.
Where in the world did Seattle get the idea that it should be in the business of rationing expressions of parental interest in their children? What gives Seattle the right to get into the business of leveling the playing field between kids with caring parents and those with parents who don’t really give a rip? As is always the case with socialists who see unfairness, they hobble those who do a good job so that their results will be no better than the slovenly.
The next thing we’ll hear is that all children will be required to spend at least 5 hours per day in front of a television so that even the kids with attentive parents will experience the same mind numbing that children with negligent parents endure. I can picture some little equity drone in a cubicle trying to come up with some way to force all children to grow up with abusive drunks. That should even things up a bit.
And the experiment with school choice was never really a matter of providing choice after all. It was about competition. Seattle schools were losing students to parochial and private schools and thought that school choice would lure some of those kids back into the public school system. It hasn’t. Parochial school enrollment has grown a bit, keeping up with population growth.
The Seattle public school system also complains that freedom of choice has also complicated funding and staffing issues for the lousy schools that parents pull their children from.
Is that a bad thing? Successful schools are the fruit of the quality of the people doing the teaching. If bad schools are losing students, then the staff at those schools should not feel secure in their jobs.
Certainly the educrats resent it when parents have the power of the consumer who can take his business to whomever gives him the best deal.
Seattle’s educrats will no doubt sleep better knowing that their customers are captive once again.

Off To El Salvador

My light blogging of late will become even lighter as I am heading out of the country for a couple of weeks.
The Salvadoran cheese industry wishes to export their products to the United States but right now doesn't really know how to manufacture cheese in a manner that would satisfy US health and safety standards. So, I'll be working with them to introduce modern cheese making and sanitation practices so that hopefully, in a few years, they'll be able to make the jump, and keep themselves healthier in the process.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Is Conservatism Illegal?

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting is attempting make its format more ideologically balanced, rather that just a monotone left wing shriek.

Matt Drudge is reporting that two Democratic congressmen are arguing that this is illegal.

It's About !#$%&! Time!

John Bolton will finally be approved as US ambassador to the UN.

Not Just In Seattle

Democrats everywhere are into voter fraud. It now appears likely that John Kerry stole Wisconsin from George Bush. My goodness aren't we fortunate that Ohio went Bush's way. It would be catastrophic if we were to learn now that Kerry had in fact won through massive voter fraud. Just look at what a stolen election is doing to Washington.

MILWAUKEE - A task force looking into potential voter fraud on Election Day said Tuesday that it found more than 200 felons voted illegally and more than 100 instances of people voting twice or using fake names and addresses.

The investigators found hundreds of fraudulent votes in all and counted 4,600 more ballots than registered voters in Milwaukee — but did not uncover any proof of a plot to alter the outcome of the hotly contested presidential race in Wisconsin's largest city. They also found ballots cast using the names of dead people.

Prosecutors have not filed criminal charges in the probe.

"There is not the evidence of an overriding conspiracy in all of this," U.S. Attorney Steven Biskupic said.

The task force, however, did find evidence of sloppy record-keeping and poor training for poll workers, who were overwhelmed by thousands of absentee ballots. Biskupic said the faulty records will make it tough to prosecute many of the crimes.

Hmmm. Apparently, sloppiness is the best defense against criminal charges in vote fraud cases. I guess this means that those crooks in King County will walk too.

More On The Coalition Of The Bribed

Again, it turns out that some of our fiercest critics were being enriched by Saddam Hussein.

A longtime ally of French President Jacques Chirac and a leading British critic of the Iraq war received huge contracts to resell Iraqi oil from Saddam Hussein under the U.N. oil-for-food program, Senate investigators have found.
In findings being released today, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs permanent subcommittee on investigations charges that former French Interior Minister Charles Pasqua and British Member of Parliament George Galloway each received the right to market more than 10 million barrels of cut-rate oil from dictator Saddam's Oil Ministry between 1999 and 2003.

So far, George Bush has been too gentlemanly to make an issue of this. But these and other revelations about Saddam Hussein's allies will be made public before Congress next week.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Break Out The Brass Knuckles

The Democrats have reminded me lately of the snotty younger brother who taunts his old brother, then retreats behind the safety of his mother's apron.
In this case, the apron that the Democrats hide behind is the mainstream media.
It's time to get tough with these cry babies. Go nuclear.

As the Senate returns from a week-long recess, Republicans are reminding everyone that four years ago today, President Bush nominated Priscilla R. Owen and Miguel A. Estrada to federal appellate courts. Neither received a Senate confirmation vote, Republicans note, because of Democratic filibusters.

It's time go get tough with these brats and roll over them.

The Triumph of the Blog

The old media is dead. It just doesn't know it yet.

Rupert Murdoch, speaking at the recent convention of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, advised the group to encourage their readers to use the Internet more as a supplement to print coverage He warned that newspapers risked being “relegated to the status of also-rans” if they don’t make use of the Internet. Columnist Rick Brookhiser had a blunt comment in the New York Observer: Murdoch was just being polite--what he meant is that newspapers are dead. The older electronic media are nervous too. According to Advertising Age, Google and Yahoo will take in as much ad money this year as the prime-time revenues of the three major networks combined. Another sign of the times: Bloggers are now trying to set up a consortium to draw heavy advertising themselves.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Beware The Power of the Blog

The director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory resigned yesterday under pressure from employee-bloggers.

More Bad News For Democrats

That soft patch in the economy was barely a stitch.

A surge of 274,000 new jobs last month in health care, education, construction, finance and other service- and housing-related industries cast doubt on assertions the economy is going through a "soft patch."
The robust jobs report from the Labor Department yesterday offered estimates of job growth that were 93,000 higher in the past three months and brought the monthly average of new jobs to nearly a quarter million.

Trying To Preserve the Fixaroo

Paul Volcker is doing all he can to keep the coverup on the Oil for Food scandal. Unfortunately for him and Kofi Annan, he hire honorable people as investigators and now they're rebelling.
Volcker is now pleading with Congress to cooperate in the coverup.

Paul Volcker, the head of the U.N.-appointed panel probing the oil-for-food scandal, yesterday asked Congress to drop its efforts to force an investigator who resigned from the panel to testify about any top-level corruption at the world body.
Mr. Volcker, the former Federal Reserve chairman, warned the integrity of his investigation and the safety of witnesses interviewed by the committee both could be at stake if U.S. lawmakers follow through on subpoenas for Robert Parton's appearance.
Mr. Parton, a former FBI agent, and a fellow investigator quit Mr. Volcker's $30 million investigation last month to protest the soft treatment they felt was given to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
Mr. Volcker also said the congressional committees probing the $10 billion Iraq oil-for-food scandal should immediately return more than a half-dozen boxes of documents Mr. Parton turned over to the House International Relations Committee Thursday in response to a subpoena.
"An overriding concern of the committee is to safeguard the security of witnesses whose lives, quite literally, would be at risk if information about their cooperation became known," Mr. Volcker told reporters at a press conference in New York.

Right now, it appears that all of us who doubted the UN's ability to investigate itself have been vindicated.

Friday, May 06, 2005

What About the Gay Gene?

Homosexual men are upset about new FDA regulation that forbids homosexuals from making anonymous donations to sperm banks. The FDA says it's about AIDS, which makes sense. If you've been in the tropics, you can't donate blood because you could be carrying tropic parasites and diseases.

[T]he Food and Drug Administration is about to implement new rules recommending that any man who has engaged in homosexual sex in the previous five years be barred from serving as an anonymous sperm donor.

The FDA has rejected calls to scrap the provision, insisting that gay men collectively pose a higher-than-average risk of carrying the AIDS virus. Critics accuse the FDA of stigmatizing all gay men rather than adopting a screening process that focuses on high-risk sexual behavior by any would-be donor, gay or straight.

"Under these rules, a heterosexual man who had unprotected sex with HIV-positive prostitutes would be OK as a donor one year later, but a gay man in a monogamous, safe-sex relationship is not OK unless he's been celibate for five years," said Leland Traiman, director of a clinic in Alameda, Calif., that seeks gay sperm donors.

Why I find especially bizarre is that there is a sperm bank specifically for gays. Is this an effort to secretly and annonymously proliferate a "gay gene," if such a thing exists? Why would anyone wish to expose unwitting mothers to a gay gene? It would seem that, if gay men wanted to donate to sperm banks, they would do so upfront, so that mothers could decide upon the risk for themselves.

Barbarians At The Gate

Well, it may well be that aspiring journalistic piranhas will in the future turn their attention away from politics and go into sports. After all, lately it has been the sports journalists who have enjoyed the greatest successes destroying icons and mounting the heads of their victims on their trophy walls. Political journalists’ triumphs have been few and far between.
Lately, bloggers have had more success bagging journalists than journalists have enjoyed in their pursuit of politicians.
Since 1974, when Washington Post reporter Robert Woodward and Carl Bernstein managed to drive a sitting president from office, journalism schools have churned out uncountable hordes of scheming barbarians with dreams of making their place in history by tearing down someone of accomplishment.
These vipers were not satisfied with writing the first draft of history. They wanted to create that history, while writing themselves into the plot. Journalism devolved into a blood sport.
But, when one compares the number of politicians brought low by journalists in the last 30 years, and compare that to the swarms of reporters looking for fame, it’s clear that most have suffered decades of frustration equivalent to attending a senior prom every night.
Sports reporters, on the other hand, have taken far more prizes hunting small game on the athletic fields. Rarely does a year pass when some prominent figure in sports is not driven from his pedestal by some otherwise inconsequential ankle biter who staggered out of college with a C+ grade point average and a journalism degree.
Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder was forced from his television analyst’s job for speculating on the genetic origins of black athletic superiority. Sports journalism tasted blood, and liked it.
Years later, former Los Angeles Dodgers’ general manager Al Campanis remarked to ABC’s Ted Koppel that the reason that there were so few blacks in baseball management positions was that blacks, “lacked the necessities” for the jobs. He claimed that he meant that few had gained the needed experience, but once blood is in the water, the sports journalism community will be satisfied with nothing less than red meat. Nothing short of Campanis’s head on a stake would do.
The modern sports media saw to it that Al Campinis’ legacy will not be that he was the man most responsible for bringing Jackie Robinson into the game. His legacy will be that he chose words that allowed the sports savages to caricaturize him as a closet Klansman.
You can fill in the blanks from then until now. To be prominent and accomplished is be a target.
There’s a new head on the trophy wall, former University of Oklahoma baseball coach Larry Cochell. Cochell uttered what were meant to be off the record complimentary remarks to ESPN reporters about Joe Dunigan, a black freshman baseball player on his team. He used language he had probably heard black players on his team use.
ESPN then tattled to the university administration, clearly trying to create a story. Within days, Cochell’s career was in ruins.
Largely overlooked was the fact that Dunigan, along with other current and former African-American players, defended their coach.
Without passing judgment on coach Cochrell’s remarks, the troublesome part of this story was that ESPN created the news. As the retired editor of this page once remarked, that’s like a place kicker kicking the field goal, then running up to the broadcast booth to give expert commentary on his own efforts.
It’s not just that ESPN makes itself the story. It applies its version of justice unevenly. A few years ago, ESPN directed both barrels at former Atlanta relief pitcher John Rocker for oafish remarks he made to a Sports Illustrated reporter, which he believed were off the record. Rocker was driven from the majors and his career has foundered ever since.
But, shortly afterward, when basketball star Allan Iverson of the Philadelphia 76er’s recorded a rap CD with far more offensive language, the judges, juries and executioners at ESPN and Sports Illustrated sniffed disapproval, but did not release the hounds.
Recently, Seattle Supersonics coach Nate McMillan reacted to a rival coach’s complaint that the Sonics were too rough by saying, "We don't play playoff basketball in skirts."
Either their blood thirst was slaked, or McMillan has a get out of jail free card. John Rocker would have been crucified.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The Superiority of Vegetarians

Now this is a reach. The missing link, from when primitive meat eating dinosaurs evolved into superior herbivores.
Who would you want in a back alley fight?

Rats To Inherit the Earth

I have seen the future, and it looks like Ted Kennedy.

More Anti-Western Propoganda from Hollywood

Islamic organizations have endorsed "Kingdom of Heaven" for its "historical accuracy" regarding the crusades.
That must mean that such Islamic practices as mass beheadings and the sellin of women and children into slavery are omitted.

I plan to miss it.

Death is Hard on Morale

A letter addressed to Iraqi terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi that was recovered from the body of terrorist killed in a raid by US Special Forces describes deteriorating morale within the rebellion.
No doubt the author's morale is as low as his core body temperature now.

Capturing this asshole has to sting too.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Lost Finger Epidemic Worsens

Another consumer found a severed finger in a food product he purchased at a restaurant.
At least they know whose finger that one belonged to.
Not at all like this one.

Now This Really Sucks!

One day after completing a cross country bicycle trip to demonstrate the good health his heart bypass surgery had given him, Broc Bebout dies of a heart attack.

"It was a trip of a lifetime," his wife said.

Unfortunately, that was true.