MrSpkr's random thoughts . . .
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Succinct and definitive . . .
is how I would describe Rep. Sue Myrick's (R-NC) letter to President George Bush. The letter reads as follows:
In regards to selling American ports to the United Arab Emirates, not just NO -- but HELL NO!Not only succinct, but eloquent. Keep up the good work, Rep. Myrick.
Member of Congress
Hat tip, Redstate.com.
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
When Jimmy Carter agrees with you politically . . .
it's time to reconsider your position.
President Bush is taking a battering from fellow Republicans, even the governors of New York and Maryland, over the administration's support for a decision that gives an Arab company control of some commercial operations at six major seaports. . .As well he should. Giving control of commercial operations of American ports to a foreign company is a foolish idea -- whether that company is British, Chinese or Arab.
But he got a boost Monday from an unlikely source, frequent critic and former president Jimmy Carter, who downplayed fears that the deal poses a risk.Take this as a hint, Mr. President. If Jimmy likes it, taking the opposing position is ALWAYS a safe bet.
Now, however, Bush has compounded his mistake. Today, he threatened to veto any legislation that would block the agreement.
A local radio host had it precisely right: Bush is tone deaf on this issue.
Monday, February 20, 2006
Fixing Humpty Lumpty has called it quits . . .
I noticed this morning that Humpty's blog was blank; apparently, most of it has been taken down. KT has left one post to explain what happened.
For those of you who haven't visited her blog, you missed out. KT is a young mother of four kids. In December, she had extensive cosmetic surgery to repair the damage that having four kids in quick succession had done to her body.
She occasionally posted "before and after" photographs, described how she felt, and even broke down the financial aspects of her surgery.
Last week, she lamented that several people had made very negative remarks about her blog in general, and KT in particular. These included remarks about KT being "shallow"; lamentations about how having such a "vain" and "superficial" mother would impact KT's kids; and other comments along similar (and often much more brutal) lines.
My take on these comments (and blogposts on other sites) was pretty straightforward -- there are a lot of jealous people out there. My hat's off to KT for taking the time to share a very personal part of her life with her readers. My wife and I have talked for several years about the possibilities of her having some minor cosmetic surgery for the same reason KT had hers -- Amy gave birth to four kids, three of them in a four year period of time, and that sort of stress causes damage to a woman's body. I appreciated KT's willingness to talk about her recovery, the financial aspects, and how it impacted her emotionally and otherwise to undergo the surgery. I think many of those who castigated KT for her blog were engaged in a sort of jealous self-loathing; wishing that they had the opportunity (or the life or the body) KT had.
Now, however, it appears that some people have gone farther than merely excoriating KT in comments and other blogs. Without giving any specifics, KT said:
The safety of my family can not be risked due to my willingness to post about my experiences and other's desires to be the unfortunate people they are.Very sad. I'm not sure whether this decision is the result of the types of posts KT described last week, or if something more sinister is afoot.
KT, I know you can't tell more than you have already. But I will miss your blog. It was a daily read for me, and I am more than a bit sad that it is gone.
UPDATE: Apparently, when you delete your blogspot blog, the name becomes available immediately for whomever may want it. Some of KT's detractors apparently took over her old site, so, at her request, I have removed the links.
Thursday, February 16, 2006
Don't Laugh at Dick . . .
or he will get you . . .
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
In a bit of a jam . . .
with deadlines, lost laptop, and life. Will post tomorrow (unless Dick Cheney and I go hunting first).
Thursday, February 09, 2006
I do not think those words mean what you think they mean.
The Wright Amendment, an odious remnant of the era before airline deregulation, has been under considerable fire for some time now (see previous blog entry here).
Now, Senators Cornyn and Hutchinson are asking DFW and Love field to
Figure out a solution that is acceptable to the region, or Congress might overturn the Wright amendment in a fashion that could be distasteful to almost everyone.Huh? "Distasteful to almost everyone?"
Maybe -- if by the term "everyone", you mean "Everyone except members of the flying public who currently pay far more to fly out of the DFW area than any other comparable metropolitan area in the country."
What is the worst that could happen?" Last year, Congress expanded the Wright Amendment's reach to include Missouri. The result? Passengers flying from DFW to Missouri airports in Kansas City and St. Louis saved hundreds of dollars.
In fact the disparity between American Airlines' inflated rates out of DFW and Southwest's lower fares is such that the addition of Missouri to the list of "approved" states under the Wright Amendment is such that many travelers between Omaha, Nebraska and DFW find it much cheaper to drive an extra 180 miles from Omaha's Eppley field to Kansas City's airport and hop on a Southwest flight to Love field.
Why would anyone do this? Simple:
Airfare for a nonstop round trip to Dallas from Kansas City is running about one-fourth or less of the cost of flying nonstop from Omaha to Dallas. In one example, the difference was more than $450. The disparity is greater for some trips, such as those returning the same day as departing.Some examples:
The first scenario: An overnight trip reserved seven days ahead, with travel any time in the morning and evening. The best Internet fare was $128 from K.C. and $584 from Omaha.Okay, so flying out of KC makes more sense economically. It can also hurt Eppley's business.
Scenario 2: Overnight, reserved seven days in advance, with both the departure and the return flight booked during rush hours. The best fare was $156 from K.C. and nearly $1,200 from Omaha. A World-Herald check found a fare of $644 from Omaha.
Scenario 3: Booking one-day in advance with departure and return on the same day, the best fares were $184 from K.C. and $704 from Omaha.
Don Smithey, executive director of the Omaha Airport Authority, said that over a year, the difference could add up to at least $18 million more in air fare to fly from Omaha, if the same number of passengers continued to fly from Omaha to Dallas on American.And why is there such a disparity?
American Airlines spokesman Tim Smith said the low fares are due to competition.Tim and Stan are both right. Competition benefits the consumer. Kansas City passengers are enjoying the benefits of competition. American Airlines wants to make sure that those benefits are not expanded to any other markets, because, absent competition, American Airlines and DFW can fatten themselves on the pocketbooks of passengers who have no alternatives available.
"This is perhaps no solace," he said, "but there is perhaps no other market in the country right now that is going through the extreme competition of the DFW-to-Kansas City market."
Stan Kathol, finance and administration director of the Omaha Airport Authority, said American's Omaha fares display a lack of competition.
"When they lack competition, they charge whatever the market will bear," he said.
Of course, given that the lowered fares in KC Given has probably taken business away from Eppley, Nebraska congressmen are now seeking another expansion of the Wright Amendment. ""The repeal of the Wright Amendment could provide better fares and air travel opportunities for Nebraskans," [Rep. Lee Terry, R-NE, said]. "Recent analysis shows this antiquated law is hindering economic competition and not providing Nebraskans with the best travel options.
And once Nebraska has it's exemption, South Dakota will certainly want one, too. After all, Sioux City is about as far from Omaha as Omaha is from Kansas City.
The real answer, of course, is to give the public what they want, and what worked so well in the past: deregulation. The Wright Amendment needs to go away.
Some say that eliminating the Wright Amendment would kill DFW International Airport and/or American Airlines. Nonsense. What it would do is force DFW and American to engage and compete in the marketplace, just like every other company and organization. I am supremely confident that both American and DFW will not only survive Wright's demise, but thrive.
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
Carter loses it . . . again . . .
This time, he's delivering a speech at Coretta Scott King's memorial service.
This time, in addition to a couple of cheap shots regarding wiretapping and civil rights, Carter stated that the U.S. struggle for equal rights is not over, because "we only have to recall the color of the faces of those in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi, those who are most devastated by Hurricane Katrina, to know that there are not yet equal opportunities for all Americans."
Family feud will not go to the voters . . .
Last month, I blogged on Jessica Reyes-Martinez' decision to run against her soon-to-be ex-husband for a seat in the Texas Legislature.
Now, it appears Reyes-Martinez has decided to drop the issue. Apparently, she submitted her ballot without writing out her full address. The local Democratic Chairman, eager to preserve a party incumbent, declared that her ballot would be thrown out for violating the state election code. While current Supreme Court rulings tend to indicate that Reyes-Martinez could have corrected her ballot, she opted to drop her campaign, saying her family is more important right now than the race.
For those who are confused, check my prior blog post on this race. To quote the McAllen Monitor,
Martinez and Reyes-Martinez were married for less than one year before filing for divorce in 2005 and engaging in a custody battle for their son in District court. He alleges she is unstable and has a history of mental illness. She claims he mentally and physically abused her.It would have been a fine circus.
What in the heck are they thinking II?
Illegal immigration (and border control) is a issue upon which a large majority of Americans agree. In fact, in a November 2005 poll, 75 percent of Americans identify controlling illegal immigration as a major issue, and 60 percent favor a barrier upon the Mexican border to reduce levels of illegal immigration.
Hiring an illegal immigrant is, well, illegal and can subject the employer to severe fines (when the fines are enforced).
So why in the heck is a trustee of the Dallas Independent School District suggesting that the District begin hiring illegal immigrants to serve as bilingual educators in DISD schools?
Yes, due to federal laws requiring states to provide free education to illegal alien minors, and due to regulations requiring bilingual education, the DISD has a large population of students who don't speak English and therefore need bilingual teachers.
But maybe, just maybe, the answer is to stem the flow of illegal immigration in order to keep the number of non-English speakers from continuing their exponential rise. Maybe if we make it much more difficult for illegal aliens to enter and remain in this country, we won't have such a large population of people unable to even speak the language.
This proposal would do the opposite: it would provide a high-paying (DISD pays its starting, first year bilingual teachers a base salary of $39,150, plus a bilingual education bonus of $3,000, for a base salary of $42,150 per year (not counting any other benefits, stipends or bonuses). I think offering such a high starting salary would attract illegal immigrants rather than discourage them. Maybe it's just me.
I wonder if its any coincidence that theDISD Trustee, Joe May) who advocates this measure is a past two-term president of LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens) and a current board member of SER -- Jobs for Progress (a LULAC entity whose primary mission is to find jobs for impoverished Hispanics)?
Nahhh. Couldn't be. The fact that LULAC believes
building a wall across the southern border that is high enough and wide enough to prevent border crossings sends a dangerous message to our second largest trading partner, to our future trading partners, and to the U.S. regime of allies and friends in Latin Americais irrelevant. I'm equally sure that LULAC's call for the United States to provide illegal immigrants (1) a pathway to legal residency at the worker's option; (2) access to federal and state health and other benefit programs paid for by taxpayers, as well as a call for universal health care; and (3) allowing illegal immigrants to obtain driver's licenses didn't have anything to do with Trustee May's support of the DISD hiring illegal immigrants.
He's just trying to do his job, right?
Friday, February 03, 2006
I never thought I would see the day . . .
when the Europeans would show more brass than the United States in dealing with Islamofascism.
Disturbing . . .
Drudge is reporting the following story:
WOMAN ARRESTED AFTER 'RACIST LANGUAGE' AT TACO BELLThis is troublesome on a number of levels. The most important, however, has to do with why there is a statute barring "ridicule on account of race, creed or color."
Fri Feb 03 2006 09:24:48 ET
A woman accused of using racial epithets while waiting for food at a Connecticut Taco Bell drive-through window was arrested Wednesday.
Jennifer Farrelly, 19, of East Windsor, has been charged with ridicule on account of race, creed or color and second-degree breach of peace. Farrelly's boyfriend, Eric Satterlee, 22, of Ashford, was charged with breach of peace in the incident.
On Dec. 18, Farrelly and Satterlee became frustrated by the slow service at the Taco Bell restaurant on Brookside Place, according to an arrest warrant. Farrelly banged on the drive-through window and called the Taco Bell attendant, Jamelle Byrd, a racial epithet, according to the warrant. Satterlee allegedly cursed and banged on the window.
Farrelly denied using racial epithets when she was interviewed by police, saying Byrd caused the dispute by ridiculing her for parking her car far away from the drive-through window, the warrant states. Byrd's supervisor told police that Byrd should not have been working the drive-through because he had gotten into a similar incident with another customer, the warrant states.
Out of sheer morbid curiousity, I pulled the statute in question, Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-37.
§ 53-37. Ridicule on account of race, creed or color.I was unable to find any cases interpreting the constitutionality of this statute, but it seems to me that the statute is unconstitutional on its face. While racial epithets may be extremely offensive, they are speech. Criminalizing speech is generally a bad idea unless the speech in question incites others to violence or otherwise poses a risk of imminent physical harm to others (for example, where one shouts "FIRE" in a crowded movie house). Given the penalty (I would presume the $50 fine would be the most common penalty imposed), however, appealing an adverse ruling would be financially prohibitive (at best).
Any person who, by his advertisement, ridicules or holds up to contempt any person or class of persons, on account of the creed, religion, color, denomination, nationality or race of such person or class of persons, shall be fined not more than fifty dollars or imprisoned not more than thirty days or both.
Do I agree with such racial epithets? Of course not, but that doesn't mean I agree with allowing the heavy hand of government to criminalize speech.
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
Can you name them all?
I'm vaguely disturbed that I can.
Dear Lord, they wrote a song about my college roommate . . .
Yeah. My college roommate. That's it.
Watch the whole thing.