Incompetence Factor 
I started re-reading Animal Farm and ran across this:

"The pessimists failed to allow for the stupidity and incompetence factor among people who would run the totalitarian states."

- Russell Baker, from the preface

He, of course, was talking about the Soviet Union but this quote can be applied to America today. Democrats got their wish and annexed another segment of the population into perpetual dependency. Even without being a totalitarian state (yet), the people see only the promise of another handout but cannot see the "incompetence factor" within it.

Businesses, of course, are subject to this factor too. However, when a business fails or misleads or hurts someone or is just plainly run by stupidity and incompetence, mechanisms exist to combat this. People stop buying their products. Government shuts them down or legislates them out of business. Government is meant as the fallback, not as a the primary. Once government is primary in some venue, no fallback exists anymore. Dependence is assured and with dependence comes power, not from the consent of the governed as intended by our Founding Fathers but rather from those giving the handouts. Perhaps we can rewrite Baker's quote:

"The pessimists failed to allow for the stupidity and incompetence factor among the voters who would chose their leaders."

Forty-five years and running we've been doing this - voting for leaders who promise handouts and entitlements. Authoritarian control (listen to Rep. John Dingell admit it) can fall under the guise of good intentions and the voters suckers buy it every time. Once we get our handout from the government, they own us and when they eventually display their stupidity and incompetence, we cry like the dependent little brats we've become.

Existing entitlement programs like Society Security and Medicaid are broken due to mismanagement and due to leeches sucking the system dry. The incompetence factor comes into to play when those in congress cannot say 'no' to another group who wants part of it. Then, who suffers? Those the system was meant to help.

Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Handouts. To paraphrase a famous line, eventually we will run out of other peoples' money. Actually, we already have but let's continue to tax and spend and flush money away. Idiots.

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President's Day 


Happy 278th George!

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201 


Happy Birthday Abe!

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Portent 
Considering that Washington DC just set a December snowfall record and now was at ground zero of a monster storm that dumped 32.4" at Dulles and up to 40 inches in the Maryland suburbs, I wonder if someone is trying to tell Washington something? Another storm is forming out west and may hit the region by midweek. If this happens, surely something is amiss.

Maybe some entity is reminding us that we have little effect on weather and climate.

Maybe these storms are symbolic of how Washington is burying us in debt. Bush & Co. were amateurs at this compared to the current crop of buffoons.

Or, maybe it's just luck of the draw. Sometimes you get 65F days in February in Washington and sometimes you get a record-setting blizzard. The rebranding of "global warming" to "climate change" functions as good CYA for these kinds of things.

***

By the way, my Super Bowl XLIV prediction:

Saints 34
Colts 31

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CBS Ad from 1966 


Awesome!

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LED Traffic Lights 
From the "oops" department:

Energy-Efficient Traffic Lights Can't Melt Snow

After seeing this story, I have adopted a new saying that I will utilize often in conversation:

"Eco-friendly doesn't mean people-friendly."

But, hey, maybe this is what BHO means by creating green jobs - hiring extra people to blow snow off the traffic lights. One day, his teleprompter may tell him to say:

"You see, the traffic light has the color green in it, and anyone who adds more green to the earth, is working in a green job."

When things that aren't broken get fixed, often one ends up with something that really is broken and, in this case, dangerous.


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Unix 


Someone took the time to etch their OS of choice onto to the plate of this hand dryer at a McDonald's in Carlisle, PA. It's been there for at least a few years too.

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Get Your Nobel Peace Prizes Here 


Just remember to wait your turn. Everyone gets one not based on deeds or accomplishments, but just by showing up.

The committee has forever tarnished this once prestigious award. Hey, good intentions are all that matters now, not actually doing anything. What a bunch of maroons.

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Consolation Prize 
BHO has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Maybe this is a consolation prize for not being able to land the Olympics for war-torn, poverty-stricken Chicago.

From the BBC:

"In awarding President Obama the Nobel Peace Prize, the Norwegian committee is honouring his intentions more than his achievements"

What a joke. What a joke. So much for any credibility that organization may have once had. On the bright side, it appears that US Congress isn't alone in being run by knuckleheads and buffoons.

What a joke, a bad joke at that.

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My Plan 
I was thinking of some common sense requirements that should be included in any health care reform legislation:

1. Everyone who is uninsured, mail them a letter (the gov't does know who these 47 million uninsured people are and where they live, right?) and ask them if they would like to be covered by a government plan, if such plan is implemented. If forms are not returned within 90 days, it counts as a “no.”

2. Anyone who replies “yes” would be required to get a physical. If that person is obese, as defined by the FDA BMI scale, said person should submit an action plan on how he/she will lose enough weight to get within a BMI index of 25. Said action plan must be submitted within 90 days of acknowledgment of “yes” response. Said plan must include reasonable goals.

3. Anyone who qualifies for the plan must submit to regular physicals which will include drug testing. Failing any physical will result in immediate discharge.

3a. If the public (taxpayers) pay for the health insurance of an individual, the public will be allowed to dictate what said person eats, drinks, and ingests into said person's body. Excess sugar and salt, tobacco use, and failure of drug tests will be cause for policy cancellation. Other ingestables will be brought to public forum for vote.

4. Discharged persons or persons deemed ineligible for health insurance who demand a right to health insurance will be provided a one-time payment that will dictate that they to move (and revoke their US citizenship) to Cuba, Venezuela, or France. Refusal of option cancels the payment.

5. Government will reserve the right to require beneficiaries of said plan to offer their services on a subcontracting basis to manufacturers of clothing, shoes, computer components, books, furniture, and food staples in order to maintain manufacturing facilities within the United States.

It's just a start but if I'm going to pay for health coverage for someone who makes no effort to care for his/her body, then I think these and like provisions are more than reasonable. Number five needs some work but I think it can be done.

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Great Opening Lines 
Recently I read Neuromancer, the novel that is credited with launching the cyberpunk genre. The opening sentence of Neuromancer also seems to be widely acclaimed as of the great literary opening lines:

The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.

Here are some of my favorites:

It was a pleasure to burn. Fahrenheit 451

Elmer Gantry was drunk. Elmer Gantry

Howard Roark laughed. The Fountainhead

If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want the truth. The Catcher in the Rye

By ten-forty-five, it was all over. The Moon is Down

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. Nineteen Eighty-Four

These lines are mostly simple and almost summarize their respective texts in a nutshell. Holden's opening statement is long but that's about as close to a nutshell summary as Holden can get. The opening sentence to 1984 is just chilling. And, the more I think about it, 1984 was cyberpunk way before cyberpunk; and a whole lot more, obviously.

Edit - as I revisited this topic this morning I remembered that 1984 has a very memorable closing sentence.

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Blight 
In May I planted 12 tomato plants, 12 pepper plants (banana, anaheim, jalapeno), and started two pumpkins from seed. Due mostly to the fact that March lasted about 115 days this year, I have nine peppers still standing and of the 12 original tomato, it appears that only about three will really produce. None are dead yet but many have the ecru-colored leaves indicative of blossom-end rot and the plants are withered and appear to be dying. Most have tomatoes but I don't know how long that will last. On the bright side, the peppers are producing and the third attempt at pumpkins has finally given me two flourishing plants but I don't think the pumpkins will be ready by the end of October.

The constant rain and cooler temperatures of the 3.75 Marches we had this year have wreaked havoc on the tomatoes. The three pepper plants I lost were due to wind gusts from the maelstrom of rainstorms knocking them down and uprooting them - even as they were staked.

So, next year - what to do to guard against this? I will have some work to do.

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