Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Sky is Green!

The way I read the 5-4 decision of the Supreme court on the Lousiana Child Rape case can be written as follows:

The Supreme Court today, by a vote of 5 to 4, in the case of Stupidity vs. Reality, that the sky is green. The changing norms of society do not uphold that sky cannot be green as proven by the fact that only six states have passed legislation stating that the sky is blue.

The results of this decision are such that if any state passing legislation stating that the sky is blue will immediately be ruled unconstitutional and thus, cannot be enforced.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

O-Surance (Insurance based on Obama's understanding of economic principles)

Click to enlarge:

Ammendments I'd like to see to the "OPEC Accountability Act"

Some ammendments I'd like to see to the "OPEC Accountability Act"


2d Session

S. 2976
To require the United States Trade Representative to pursue a complaint of anticompetitive practices against certain oil exporting countries members of Congress.


May 6, 2008
Mr. LAUTENBERG (for himself, Mr. DORGAN, Mr. LEVIN, Mr. CASEY, Mr. SANDERS, and Mrs. CLINTON) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance


To require the United States Trade Representative Department of Justice to pursue a complaint of anticompetitive practices against certain oil exporting countries members of Congress.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


This Act may be cited as the `OPECCongressional Energy Accountability Act'.


Congress makes the following findings:

(1) Gasoline prices have more than quadrupled since January, 2002, with crude oil recently trading at more than $119 per barrel for the first time ever.

(2) Rising gasoline prices have placed an inordinate burden on American families.

(3) High gasoline prices have hindered and will continue to hinder economic recovery.

(4) The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC ) The House and Senate of the United States (Congress) has formed a cartel and engaged in anticompetitive practices to manipulate the price of oil, keeping it artificially high.

(5) Eight member nations of OPEC --Ecuador, Indonesia, Kuwait, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela--are also members of the World Trade Organization. Algeria, Iran, Iraq, and Libya are also Observer Governments of the World Trade Organization. Members of the Democratic Party in Contress are also United States citizens.

(6) The agreement among OPEC member nations to limit oil exports is an illegal prohibition or restriction on the exportation or sale for export of a product under article XI of the GATT 1994. The agreement among members of the Democrat and Republican parties to limit production of United States resources is anticompetitice in a free-market society.

(7) The export quotas moratoriam on domestic drilling and resulting high prices harm American families, undermine the American economy, impede American and foreign commerce, and are contrary to the national interests of the United States.


(a) Definitions- In this Act:

(1) GATT 1994- The term `GATT 1994' has the meaning given such term in section 2(1)(B) of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (19 U.S.C. 3501(1)(B)).

(2) UNDERSTANDING ON RULES AND PROCEDURES GOVERNING THE SETTLEMENT OF DISPUTES- The term `Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes' means the agreement described in section 101(d)(16) of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (19 U.S.C. 3511(d)(16)).


(A) IN GENERAL- The term `World Trade Organization' means the organization established pursuant to the WTO Agreement.

(B) WTO AGREEMENT- The term `WTO Agreement' means the Agreement Establishing The World Trade Organization entered into on April 15, 1994.

(b) Action by President-

(1) IN GENERAL- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the President shall, not later than 15 days after the date of enactment of this Act, initiate consultations with the countries parties described in paragraph (2) to seek the elimination by those countries parties of any action that--

(A) limits the production or distribution of oil, natural gas, or any other petroleum product;

(B) sets or maintains the price of oil, natural gas, or any petroleum product; or

(C) otherwise is an action in restraint of trade with respect to oil, natural gas, or any petroleum product, when such action constitutes an act, policy, or practice that is unjustifiable and burdens and restricts United States commerce.

(2) COUNTRIES PARTIES DESCRIBED- The countries parties described in this paragraph are the following:

(A) Indonesia.

(B) Kuwait.

(C) Nigeria.

(D) Qatar.

(E) The United Arab Emirates.

(F) Venezuela.

(G) Ecuador.

(H) Saudi Arabia.

(A) Democrat.

(B) Republican.

(c) Initiation of WTO Congressional Dispute Proceedings- If the consultations described in subsection (b) are not successful with respect to any country described in subsection (b)(2), the United States Trade Representative Department of Justice shall, not later than 60 days after the date of enactment of this Act, institute proceedings pursuant to the Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes with respect to that country member of Congress and shall take appropriate action with respect to that country member of Congress under the trade remedy criminal code laws of the United States.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I Want O-surance

Health Insurance

Something I don't get about Obama's "Health Insurance" program. He said that he wants everybody who wants to buy insurance to be able to buy it. He also said that insurance should cover pre-existing conditions. So, if I'm healthy, I don't want to buy it and I won't. But if I get cancer or need a heart transplant, guess what, I'm buying it and the good news is that it has to cover my cancer or transplant. Am I missing something -- the only organization that would take on a scheme where they are guaranteed to pay out more than they take in is the government. oh. . . wait. . . I get it now.

Auto Insurance

I also want to be able to buy auto insurance from the O-surance company. You don't have to have it to drive. But if you do buy it, it has to cover pre-existing accidents. So I won't buy it until I have an accident, which the insurance then has to cover.

Homeowners Insurance

And I want to be able to buy the O-surance homeowners policy that pays for pre-existing tornado, hurricane or earthquake damage.

Mortgage Insurance

Can I also get a mortgage insurance policy that will pay my mortgage if, for some unforeseeable reason (like, say, a change in market conditions). This should also cover pre-existing conditions. And I don't think I should even have to pay a premium for this insurance. oh. . . wait. . .

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Why "Gay Marriage" will lead to "Universal Health Care"

The main problem I have with the California Supreme Court redefining marriage is the slippery slope arguement. On TV we have seen gay relationships portrayed as normal. Now on HBO, the series Big Love treats polygamy as normal.

So since there is no state interest in denying gay marriages, what is the arguement for denying other definitions of marriage? Why shouldn't a man be allowed to marry three women? Why cannot three men marry five women? I predict a court case soon that will challenge the polygamy rule and that based on this precident, polygamy, in all its forms and fashions, will be allowed. And just think of the work for divorce lawyers! What if one person wants out of the marriage, but the others do not. How do you go about determining who gets what in a divorce settlement? Oh what fun!

Now, lets move to work-place benefits, specifically healthcare. My healthcare insurance plan has a family option that allows me to claim my wife and my children. (Note, my employer's plan also allows for "domestic partner" benefits already).

If I had three legal wives and ten children, would my company be compelled to provide insurance to all of them? My wife's sister does not have nearly as good of a medical plan as I do, so can I marry her also so she and her kids can benefit from the better insurance? I suppose these insurance plans already have restrictions in place that only allow one named spouse or domestic partner, but would that not be discriminatory? Insurance companies will begin dropping family coverage policies pretty darn quick, I would think. Luckily the government will be there for us so it can provide coverage for those who are dropped by evil Big Insurance.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Increasing Taxes on CEOs -- Who will it Hurt?

Saw this little bit on Townhall:

(I don't remember exactly where I heard or read the following supposition, but it is not original to me. It's also a very, very simplified look at corporate boards, but it is usefull, nonetheless).

But, lets look at how CEO salaries get set. Many corporate boards are comprised of CEOs (and other corporate bigwigs) of other companies. The Boards typically set the CEOs salaries. And, finally, the whole CEO/Board relationship tends to be a bit incestuous, corporately speaking, that is.

Imagine five companies named A, B, C, D & E. It doesn't matter what industry these companies are in. Now each company has a CEO coincidently named CEO-A, ... CEO-E.

For simplicity's sake, let's say each company has three members on its Board. So Company A's Board consists of CEO-B, CEO-C & CEO-D. Company B's Board consists of CEO-C, CEO-D & CEO-E, and so on. S Company E's Board consists of CEO-A, CEO-B & CEO-C. Thus, each CEO sits on three other Companies' Boards.

Now, when it's compensation time, Company A's board meets and agrees that CEO-A is doing at least an average to better-than-average job, so his new compensation should be about or slightly more than his peers. So round-and-round it goes and each CEO gets their "reasonable" compensation.

Let's throw in the new Obama Tax. Company A's Board (who's members are also CEOs and know that the tax will hit them also) meets and decides that CEO-A's compensation needs to be increased to pay for the additional Obama Tax. The other four companies' boards (comprised of the same CEOs) do the same for their respective CEOs.

One of the major complaints against CEO's is that the make many multiples of the "lower" earners in their companies. But, the Obama Tax will actually increase this multiple! You can bet that the average worker will not get the same percentage compensation increase as the CEO -- after all they're not affected by the Obama Tax, so why would they? What are the other consequences of the increased CEO Salary to offset the Obama Tax? The company will either have to cut costs (i.e. people) or increase the cost of their product or service.

Does Obama think through his positions or does he just throw 'em out there like a rider on a Mardi Gras float? (Sorry, being from New Orleans, I have to use analogies that are cogent to me).

Now let's throw in some numbers to make it more real. Let's say that CEO-A's before tax compensation is an even mil. And Joe Worker at Company A makes $50 grand. That means that the CEO makes twenty (20) times what Joe makes. Now we'll put the CEO's tax burden at 25% (given all of those darned rich-people loopholes) and Joe's tax burden at 15%. So their respective take home pays are $75o,000 and $42,500. Company A's Board wants to make sure that the CEO's take home remains the same with the new Obama Tax rate of, say 35%. So the CEO's pre-tax pay becomes $1,154,000. Now, lets give both the CEO and the employee a 5% COLA raise. New before tax salaries are $1,212,000 and $52,500, respectively. But look at the ratio -- instead of being 20 times, its 23 times. Won't this increase the resentment of the common folk even more?

Monday, May 5, 2008

My kind of green

Just enjoying the backyard on a spring afternoon yesterday. Look at all of the shades of green in the trees
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Less Global Warming, More Climate Change

An update to a prior post. The number of media references (per Google News Archive Search) of the term "global warming" alone is down to 25% of those articles that contain the term "global warming", "climate change" or both. But those that mention "climate change" alone is up to 50%.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Dean's Anti-islamic Bigotry

I couldn't help watching Meet The Press on Sunday to watch Dean explain the meltdown. But I couldn't believe this quote pertaining to McCain's "100 years in Iraq" vs. Germany, Japan, Korea presence:
Secondly, if Senator McCain believes that you can occupy a country like Iraq for a hundred years without having a long war and violence and our troops being hurt and, and killed, I think Senator McCain is wrong.

So, do I understand Dean correctly: Iraqis (or Muslims) cannot (or do not want to) live in peace. Isn't the above statement the epitomy of "soft bigotry" in action? And let me get this right, we can sit down and negoatiate with Iranians, but they any agreement we come to won't matter because they can't live in peace anyway?

Wright Dukes it Out

A few years ago when we in the great state of Louisiana had the dubious choice between Edwards and Duke for governor. There was a nice bumper sticker I remember seeing: "Vote for the Crook, It's Important". So, I went in the voting booth, held my nose, and voted for the crook. (Note: I voted for Roemer in the open primary).

Now, we knew Edwards was a criminal and David Duke said a lot of things that "made sense". Duke had also somewhat repudiated the things he had done in the past as being youthful indiscretions. However, given the totality of Duke's past and that the motivations of his rhetoric were likely dubious, I simply could not vote for him.

I know Wright is not running for office, but Obama's lengthy tenure under his tutelage makes me wonder what motivations are behind Obama's rhetoric.

A bit about myself, my wife and I are white and we have four children, two biological and two adopted. The two adopted children are biracial (black/white), so, while I can never understand having dark skin, I do get some vicarious idea from rearing my children. Luckily we live in the New Orleans area, where there are many hues and shades of people and race relations is often very good.

Perdigao's Web

Since I'm just a simpleton from New Orleans, I thought I'd try to graph out the relationships from Patterico

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

BSG Ships of Light: Then and Now

As mentioned in the Galactica Quorum ( there is a similarity between the original series' ships of light and Kara's artwork.

compared to a screenshot of Starbucks visionary artwork.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

BSG pays homage to TNG

Anybody else see the homage paid to Star Trek The Next Generation by Battlestar Galactica. Notice the number on the weapons locker where the four skin-jobs met:

Friday, April 18, 2008

No Environmental Outrage over Bonnet Carre Spillway opening

I drove over the Bonnet Carre Spillway this morning and the water is high and flowing at a pretty good pace. For those of you who don't know southern Louisiana, the spillway is a man-made channel a little over a mile wide between the Mississippi River and Lake Ponchartrain, located about 25 miles upstream of New Orleans. The Army Corps of Engineers maintains the spillway for recreation purposes when it is not being used for its designed purpose, which is to divert part of the Mississipi River to the lake during very high river stages. This reduces the possibility of the river breaching or topping a levee in the more populated downstream Jefferson and Orleans Parishes.

The last time the spillway was opened was back in 1997. At that time, I remember the environmentalist uproar on how it was going to kill all the oysters and upset the delicate-ecological-balance. (Never mind that mankind had already upset the delicate-ecological-balance when the river levees were built. For thousands or millions of years, the river had periodically overflowed its natural banks, self-diverting to the lake).

Of course, now in 2008, two-and-a-half years after Katrina, which put 75% of the area underwater, I do not hear ANYTHING from anybody about upsetting the delicate-ecological-balance. Even if the spillway had not been opened, the experts believe that it is unlikely that the levees would have breached or over-topped. But in the post-Katrina world that we live in, even a teeny-weeny chance of causing flooding completely overshadows the delicate-ecological-balance argument.

I beleive environmental concerns should be part of the decision making process, but they should not be the only or even the overwhemling concern.

Someone who fervently believes in man-made global warming might apply this example to the global warming debate as follows: even if there is only a small chance that global warming will harm the earth's biosphere, shouldn't we do something to prevent that harm. OK, I agree, with the following two caveats:

(1) we positively know that the actions we take will reduce the potential for the harm to occur and/or will reduce the severity of the predicted consequences. In the levee situation, we absolutely know that opening the spillway will divert water around New Orleans and thus will reduce the risk to New Orleans. I do not know that the actions proposed by GW proponents will indeed reduce potential risks.

(2) The costs of our preventative actions are relatively well understood and the future costs of inaction are also well understood. In that way, as a society, we can do a cost-benefit analysis to decide if we want to take the preventative actions. In the case of the levee, we know that flooding the brackish Lake Ponchartrain with fresh river water does have an affect on the flora and fauna. Oyster beds and fish schools are affected. We also know from experience that these effects correct themselves after the spillway is closed. I don't think we yet have enough information to make a decision regarding "Global Warming" or "Climate Change".

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

How New Orleans and Amsterdam are Alike

Having visited Amsterdam, NL, I came away with the following observations on the similarties between New Orleans and Amsterdam:
  • Both are below sea level. Canals, levees, dams and dikes everywhere to keep the city from going underwater.

  • Both have a distinctive European feel -- Amsterdam, well, because its in Europe and New Orleans because it was once ruled by the French.

  • Landmark church in the middle of the debauchery: Oude Kerk in the Red Light District vs. St. Louis Cathedral in the Vieux Carre (French Quarter)

  • Napolean Bonapart installed the Netherlands government (led by his brother) in Amsterdam and installed a colonies (what was to become the Louisiana Purchase) government in New Orleans.

  • Coffee shops on every corner (of course thats true of most American cities these days) and, well ok, the American and Dutch menus in this regard are a bit different.

  • Amsterdam has boobs behind glass, New Orleans has boobs on balconies.

However, there is one major difference. . . the natives of Amsterdam speak English far better than the natives of New Orleans.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Dan Rather Loon Star

Yet another book title photoshoped (well actually, gimped):

Globe Warms to Climate Change

What happens when to the global warming advocates when it becomes obvious that the globe is not warming. Simple: change the term.

This is by no means a rigorous analysis, but just a few minutes using the Google News search engine. So hopefully anyone else can re-create the results.

The chart below was developed using Google News: Advanced News Search (for the end or March and April 2008) and Google News: Advanced News Archive Search (for the first part of March 2008 and earlier). For each quarter, beginning in 2000 through what is available through May 2008, I performed searches for the phrases "global warming", "climate change" and both of the phrases together. The numbers from Google News searches are at the end of this post.

Then to get a total of the number of articles that have one phrase or the other or both, add the number of "Global Warming" hits to the number of "Climate Change" hits and subtract the number of hits that contain both.

Next I ploted the percentage of each phrase to the total number of posts. This "normalizes" the data since there are far more news articles posted in 2008 than were posted in 2000.

Note that the percentage of articles that contains both phrases has remained roughly constant at around 15% to 20%. But the number of articles that only used the phrase "global warming" in 2000 was around 55% falling to about 30% recently. Conversely, the percentage of articles that only used the phrase "climate change" in 2000 was about 30%, rising to nearly 60% recently.


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Pics from RoboSapien filming in New Orleans

I snapped the attached pictures of the cute lil robot from the film scene near 850 Gravier St. in New Orleans
Notice both the metallic-looking and the "green-screen" versions of the robot.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Better Liberal Book Titles:

"My Lie", Bill Clinton:

"Lying History", Hillary Clinton:

"Audacity of Hype", Barack Obama:

"an inCONvenient truth", Al Gore