Archive for September, 2007

30
Sep
07

Go Forth And Sin No More

While I generally acknowledge that most politicians are a collective of scum and villainy, it would appear that the Democrats have descended to a remarkable new depth. At stake is a $35 billion expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. President Bush has said that he’s not going to sign anything nearly that large. But, in a classic “it’s for the children” move, congressional Democrats have chosen a way to fund all $35 billion: on the backs of cigarette smokers. Stick with me here… The House and Senate passed legislation last week that would be financed with a 156 percent increase in the federal cigarette tax, taking it to $1 per pack from the current 39 cents. Low-income people smoke more heavily than do wealthier people in the United States, making cigarette taxes a regressive form of revenue. So much for the Democrats being the champion of the poor.

“I’m very happy that we’re paying for this,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said in an interview Friday, noting that the plan would not add to the deficit. “The health of the children is extremely important,” he said. “In the long run, maybe it’ll stop people from smoking.” Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., defended putting the burden of expanded medical care on smokers. “The tobacco tax is a great way to pay for it,” he said, “because if you tax people who are smoking and they smoke less, then we have less health problems.” Rep. Jim McCrery, R-La., did not buy that logic. “To propose funding a growing program with a declining revenue source is, I would submit, irresponsible fiscal policy,” he said.

So to distill this to its essence, the Democrats want to tax the mostly poor people who smoke cigarettes, to pay for the health care of those who do not smoke, in a way that seeks to eliminate the original tax through less use anyway. And the President is going to veto the legislation anyway, so this has all been a bunch of fluff. Clear?

30
Sep
07

Saddam’s Crap For Sale

If you have a macabre interest in owning some of the stuff that Saddam Hussein once owned… Haitham Rashid Wihaib, Hussein’s former Chief of Protocol, has got a little yard sale going.

30
Sep
07

Go To Food

As much as I love to cook, there are certain times when I just don’t have the inclination or concentration to be fabulous in the kitchen. That is why there are always “go to” ingredients in the house for a simple, comforting, often not-quite-healthy, dish. For some, it’s always having eggs and butter for scrambled eggs. For others, it’s about stockpiling the refrigerated crescent roll tubes and lunch meat for easy roll-ups. For me, it’s all about the grilled cheese sandwich. And just to get this out of the way… a toasted cheese sandwich does not count. A grilled cheese sandwich is made in a pan or on a griddle, period. No excuses. And it really will not taste as good if you use some kind of whole grain, rope-embedded, make you crap for days bread. Plain bread works fine, thank you.

Ingredients:

Butter
Sliced American Cheese
2 Slices of Bread

Method:

Heat up the pan or griddle to a little under medium. Butter one side of each of the slices of bread. When cooking surface is hot, add a glob of butter and allow to completely melt. Put both slices of bread on surface, dry side down. Cook until just brown. Flip bread. Place sliced cheese on both sides of bread (how much is all determined by how much gluttony you can muster). When bread has sarted to brown, assemble sandwich, but leave in pan. When the down side has reached desired doneness, flip the whole sandwich and brown the other side. Slide onto a plate when done. Yes, you can tuck in sliced tomatoes or ham or bacon into the sandwich. But that involves added concentration and creativity. And yes, you can use fancy cheeses, too. But who are you trying to impress?

Eat it while it’s hot so that you can insure that you a) scald part of your mouth and b) make a mess. Do not share.

29
Sep
07

Brain Eater!

The genus Naegleria includes several species of free-living uninucleate amoebae that live in aquatic environment (ponds, lakes, sewage). It belongs to a family of amoebae (Valkampfiidae) whose members can transform into flagellate stage, which is a transient, non-feeding non-dividing form; the amoebal stage can also transform into a resistant cyst stage. The species Naegleria fowleri is occasionally pathogenic to a variety of mammals including humans. Following direct intranasal contact, usually by swimming, N. fowleri invade the olfactory bulb and progress along the olfactory nerves to the brain, thereby causing an acute and fulminating disease called primary amoebic meningoencephalitis.

Care for that in layman’s terms? You go swimming in a lake. This amoeba thing swims into your nose, crawls to your brain, consumes your brain, and then you die. 6 people in the US have already succumbed this year (3 in Florida, 1 in Texas, 1 in Arizona). Fun, eh?

29
Sep
07

Cabbies Are Pissed

It’s pretty much a given that New York cabbies all have a particular goal: if able, take the customer on the longest possible route (one that usually falls just short of complaint) so that the highest fare can be extracted. Oh and be as difficuly as possible regarding getting paid. New York City finally decided to do something about this wart on their face. They created a new rule requiring taxis to have GPS devices and credit card processing. A federal judge refused to block this new rule. Yes, that’s right, the cabbies are fighting this. Their lawsuit says that the city overstepped its authority and acted unconstitutionally when it mandated the units. Their lawsuit also claims GPS will give away trade secrets by disclosing the cabbies’ driving patterns, which they say give them a competitive edge. After that hearing, dejected driver Beres Ford Simmons said: “Gentlemen, prepare for another strike.” Back at the beginning of this month the drivers staged a two-day protest of the intrusive GPS technology by idleing their cabs.

One could assume that, after this ruling and after the cabbies get over their tantrum, it will now be possible to travel in New York city in a cab, via the most direct route, and pay exactly what you should without hassle. What a country!

28
Sep
07

Why Not Attempted Murder?

 

A northwest Harris County middle school student was arrested Friday after bringing a handgun to school, officials told KPRC Local 2. Authorities said the 12-year-old female student at Dean Middle School, located at 14104 Reo St., threatened to kill a coach after being sent to the office. She was then suspended, and her parents picked her up. Officials said the girl returned to school three hours later with a gun and pointed it at two coaches and a maintenance worker. A Harris County Precinct 4 deputy constable stopped the girl, who was immediately isolated from students, according to authorities.

The campus was placed on lockdown during the incident. Students were detained in classrooms for about 15 minutes until officers took the student into custody. The principal sent home a letter to parents explaining what happened. Officials said no students were in danger at any time.

The student faces three counts of aggravated assault.

28
Sep
07

No Lift For You

Days after banning “sexually provocative sounds” on television, China has now stopped networks showing “saucy” adverts for push-up bras and figure-hugging underwear ahead of a major Communist Party meeting next month. Full story. That’s right, no push-up bras or skimpie panties. One wonders if boxers and duct tape are okay? I wonder how this will go over with the Electric Venom link fest