26 June 2009

A Personal Note.

It’s been more than a week since my last post. (I was going to put up some snarky excuse about hanging out with Gov. Mark Sanford, but after the truth was revealed I’m glad I didn’t. I mean, I'm not Argentinian...) I wish I could tell you there was some extenuating circumstance for the lack of things to read round here, but there isn’t. I just haven’t wanted to post.

Call it burnout. Call it blogger’s fatigue. Call it… whatever you want. I’m in a funk.

Why? Well, first, our country is going to hell and there doesn’t seem to be a damn thing we can do about it. Voicing your opinion gets you ostracized and ridiculed; protesting gets you labeled a “domestic terrorist.” Our Rights as Citizens are being taken away in the name of some amorphous greater good provided by the State which - in light of all evidence to the contrary – our leaders promise will somehow provide that good at a higher quality and lower cost than what we can currently choose for ourselves without government control. And the same leaders pushing this are also spending all of us, and our children, and our grand-children and our great-grand-children into the poor house – again in the name of some amorphous greater good provided by the State. Not that I’ve become a Ron Paul conspiracy theory zombie – those folks seem to be a putsch looking for a beer hall – but I guess I’m tired of yelling “It’s a cookbook!”

And as for my home state, what do you do when something becomes a parody of itself? For me, this pretty much about sums up the state of my home state:

Watch it all. It shows an up-and-coming rapper - one Hurricane Chris - serenading the Louisiana House of Representatives and our State about, well, wanting to fuck Halle Barry. (A harsh, but I think accurate, description. Look at the words, dear readers – that ain’t a love song.) They even gave this young wordsmith a commendation for his efforts. And the reason he was given this opportunity? He is the godson of the legislator who introduced him. Clifton Chenier is whirling in his grave.

So much for the mortal side – but the spiritual side ain’t much better. As an orthodox and Anglo-Catholic Episcopalian, I have watched for the last 30 years or so as The Episcopal Church ™ slowly jettisoned 2,000 years of Christian understanding and values in the name of some non-specific feel-good secularism. They are now worried more about my political values and who I have sex with, than my mortal soul. That trend has gone from a trickle in 1979, to a flood in 2003, to a torrent in 2006. And in few weeks The Episcopal Church ™ will gather in it's General Convention, and jettison the last remnants of what I value - like scraping so much shit from their shoes - and fully embrace their "new thing" secular theology of “inclusiveness” and the Millennium Development Goals. I’m tired of being told I’m only welcome at the Episcopal table if I keep my mouth shut and my checkbook open.

So that’s where I am right now. I’m still in the fight on all these things, but not anything I feel like blogging about right now.

Maybe a little hiatus will do me good. I started Red Stick Rant as a “training blog,” but it got discovered and well, that was that. Compared to blogs that I admire, I’ve always thought RSR lacked focus (or, more accurately, reflected my lack of focus), and for some time I have wanted to refine it’s focus and maybe restructure it’s format. Maybe even a new name. Maybe I should take the time now and do that.

But do not despair, dear readers, I ain’t leaving the fight, and I will be back in a few weeks. I just need some time off the front lines. This blogging thing takes up a lot of time – seeing what’s out there, looking up facts and figures, writing posts – and that’s time away from work, family, and the other things that make up our lives. In the interim, I will still be posting occasionally; and you can still find me (sometimes) on Twitter at @redstickrant.

18 June 2009

Wednesday's Required Reading.

Senator Tom Coburn's List of 100 Questionable Stimulus Projects.

Get rid of pork by calling it "stimulus". Well, that is change...

16 June 2009

Iran Update. (UPDATED)

From Flicker:

(When those headscarves start to disappear, the mullahs should start packing their bags. -ed.)

Seen at Twitter #iranelection: "140 characters is a novel when you are being shot at."

Some images of student dorms after a police raid.

Robert Fisk may actually redeem himself. For the time being, that is.


Iranian government Photoshopping. Are they that worried?

Will Collier says it's 1979 all over again with respect to Iran. When the headscarves disappear (see the image above), I'll believe it. I do have "My Sharona" queued on the iPod, though, just in case.

More from the BBC.

This guy should get a bloody award. Original New York Times story is here. The point:
The request, made to a Twitter co-founder, Jack Dorsey, is yet another new-media milestone: the recognition by the United States government that an Internet blogging service that did not exist four years ago has the potential to change history in an ancient Islamic country.
(emphasis mine)

Indeed. Double "indeed."

Myth Vs. Reality.

Christopher Johnson at The MCJ compares and contrasts.

An Iranian Irony.

I remember well when the Ayatollah Khomeini came to power in Iran in 1979. Many in the West expressed surprise at how this elderly cleric, who they had never heard of before, could so easily topple the Shah of Iran. And I remember a commentator on one of the evening news shows back then explaining the how: Khomeini and his followers had used cassette tapes of his speeches and books - thousands of tapes, made from his home in (surprise surprise) Saudi Arabia, circulated hand-to-hand and copied again and again, to get his message out and circumvent the Shah's heavy censorship.

Now fast forward 30 years, and substitute Twitter, Facebook, cell-phones and blogs for cassette tapes. The very same clerics who used distributive and autonomous networks to deliver information for their revolution, are now being confounded by the very same thing.

UPDATE: Seen at Twitter #iranelection: "I've learned something today. Americans DO care about the world outside America. Their media just doesn't." Indeed.

Cut By The Red Tape.

My friend Doug Ritter, who runs the excellent disaster preparedness website Equipped to Survive (which I write for on occasion), is also the founder and chairman of Knife Rights, an advocacy group for knife owners akin to what the NRA is for gun owners. ("Knife control," and things like this appear to be the next step in "crime control", so Doug's organization is rather necessary.)

Knife Rights is currently opposing proposed changes in the Federal regulations that would re-classify most of the one-hand opening knife blades sold in this country as "switchblades," and therefore illegal under Federal law. ("Switchblades" are spring loaded and pop open at the push of a button or release of a slide.) Since many State laws follow the Feds in this case, they would become illegal in a number of States well.

One-handed opening blades are very popular these days - most hunters and fisherman you see have one, and almost every person working in the electrical and IT fields, or in construction, sports one on their belt or clippped in their pocket. Most of the popular "multi-tools" sold in the US (including my Leatherman Charge) have such blades. All of these would become illegal if these rules changes take effect.

The issue has been noticed by Davil Kopel at Volokh Conspiracy and over at Instapundit. If you oppose these changes, write your elected representatives. And, join Kinfe Rights.

ABC = All Barry Channel.

The Hopenchange doctrine of fairness, and the Mainstream Media's new definition of a free press, all rolled into one.

Funny, they never did that for Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush...

Not that the Old Media matters much anymore - even they are having to keep up with what's happening in Iran via Twitter, Facebook and blogs. Heck, you and I can do that - who needs Katie, Charlie, or Brian?

PS: I love Matt's "updated" ABC logo.

15 June 2009

Shooting The Wounded.

FEMA may go after a local New Orleans agency for paying "excessive" fees to get rid of debris and do cleanup right after Katrina. Lessee; when the city was in dissarray, most of the population wasn't there, and it's infrastructure was in utter shambles, it costs a bit more to get it done, pinheads.

This is proof, if more was needed, as to why I don't believe in government conspiracy theories. The Federal Government can't seem to conspire to do that they are paid to do in this case - disaster relief and recovery - so how could you believe that they are conspiring to advance the agenda of the Illuminati, or could conspire to provide you with quality, affordable health care?

What He Said.

For my Anglican/Episcopal readers: An excellent essay on two very different - but very similar - upcoming religious conventions.

Because I Look Awful In Tinfoil Hats.

Via Glenn Reynolds, the American Spectator is asking what's next for those supporting Tea Party movement. With July 4th coming up that's a good question. All I can say is, becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of these folks is not the way forward.

UPDATE: Googling around today, it appears some Ron Paul disciples formed their own "non-partisan" Louisiana Tea Party about 10 days ago. Like Ron Paul's Campaign for Liberty, things like this and this seem to be their focus. Anti-Republican and anti-Democrat, yes; but hardly non-partisan. Sad thing is, I support many of the things these kids and Ron Paul do - smaller Federal government, return to a balance between the States and the Federal government, a return to a powerful Bill of Rights, government living within it's means, etc. - I believe we need them to counteract inept government, not some dark, sinister New World Order conspiracy that is at work in the world.

14 June 2009

Governing with Scissors.

Political "reform," Louisiana-style:
Adding a new layer of policy and political intrigue to the ebbing legislative session, Senate President Joel Chaisson II has invoked a rare procedural move to delay delivery of the budget to Gov. Bobby Jindal, effectively ensuring that lawmakers cannot consider overriding any gubernatorial vetoes of spending items.

The tactic, which pits Chaisson against House Speaker Jim Tucker, intensifies House-Senate tensions as the two chambers continue to haggle over cuts to higher education and health care while trying to find money for legislators' favored projects.
If we are going to use the State Capitol as we have in the past - to house immature, spoiled brats and incurable blowhards - the least we could do is put a fence around it and toss some Playskool equipment out back to keep them busy.

And take away all the sharp objects, too - they could hurt someone.

Like, us taxpayers.

You Want These People To Control Your Health Care?

It appears Team Hopenchange just mortgaged our future, our grandchildren's future, and our great-grandchildren's future... on a guess. A "wrong guess".

And it wasn't "everyone," Joe. Just you and your buddies.

13 June 2009

Happy Birthday, Carole!

Doesn't 29 get a bit old?... (grin!)

It's A Wonderful Conspiracy.

Personal note:

Every time a "patriot" looses an opportunity to reveal "THE TRUTH", an applicant for the Council on Foreign Relations gets his membership.

(hee, hee.)

09 June 2009

Just In Time For Father's Day.

My present.

Only Team Hopenchange Could Pull This Off.

Make the current crop of GOP leaders look good:

Voters now trust Republicans more than Democrats on six out of 10 key issues, including the top issue of the economy.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 45% now trust the GOP more to handle economic issues, while 39% trust Democrats more.
Lord knows the GOP isn't making this happen.

The Freedom To Comply. (UPDATED)

It's a new freedom, dear readers; one that Team Hopenchenge hopes you'll get used to in all aspects of your life. Here's an example hidden in the proposed cap-n-trade energy bill:

The bill would give the federal government power over local building codes. It requires that by 2012 codes must require that new buildings be 30 percent more efficient than they would have been under current regulations. By 2016, that figure rises to 50 percent, with increases scheduled for years after that. With those targets in mind, the bill expects organizations that develop model codes for states and localities to fill in the details, creating a national code. If they don't, the bill commands the Energy Department to draft a national code itself.

States, meanwhile, would have to adopt the national code or one that achieves the same efficiency targets. Those that refuse will see their codes overwritten automatically, and they will be docked federal funds and carbon "allowances" -- valuable securities created elsewhere in the bill that give the holder the right to pollute and can be sold. The Energy Department also could enforce its code itself. Among other things, the policy would demonstrate the new leverage of allocation of allowances as a sort of carbon currency -- leverage this bill would be giving to Congress to direct state behavior.
Brought to you by the same lefty busybodies who decided how much water we could use to flush our toilets, and soon won't let you buy incandescent light bulbs.

Back in the 80's and even into the 90's, these very same folks were pounding the "fear-on-the-Right" drums about "the government in our bedroom." Isn't it ironic they don't seem to mind the government in our light sockets, the government in our thermostats, or the government in our wall cavities.

This kind of "code" has nothing to do with protecting your health or safety, and everything to do with forcing you to comply with a political goal by taking away your freedom to choose. If your house or your office isn't "sustainable", it may be expensive to operate but it won't make you sick or kill you.

Mark my words, if something like this is imposed it will make it prohibitively expensive for non-governmental entities (like, you and me) to build or renovate. It would effectively kill the small to mid-range private construction market.

Someone needs to show Eric Holder, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reed, et.al., the Tenth Amendment. Now.

Hattip: Volokh Conspiracy.

UPDATE: Here is a link to the text of the bill. And just so you know I wasn't kidding about this hitting you, too, here is Section 201, which modifies Section 304 of the Energy Conservation and Production Act:


`(a) Energy Efficiency Targets-

`(1) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in paragraph (2) or (3), the national building code energy efficiency target for the national average percentage improvement of a building's energy performance when built to a code meeting the target shall be--

`(A) effective on the date of enactment of the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, 30 percent reduction in energy use relative to a comparable building constructed in compliance with the baseline code;

`(B) effective January 1, 2014, for residential buildings, and January 1, 2015, for commercial buildings, 50 percent reduction in energy use relative to the baseline code; and

`(C) effective January 1, 2017, for residential buildings, and January 1, 2018, for commercial buildings, and every 3 years thereafter, respectively, through January 1, 2029, and January 1, 2030, 5 percent additional reduction in energy use relative to the baseline code.
So, 30% reduction as soon as this bill is passed, 50% in 2014/15, and 5% every three years until 2029/30. And yes, that did say residential. So I guess the government in your bedroom is a good thing, after all.


Here's A Little Something To Keep You Awake At Night.

Take a look at this chart:

Look at it well. The Congress and the Administration plan on borrowing 100% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) - that's the value of all the goods and services the private sector creates - and doing so for the foreseeable future.

This, apparently, is the Team Hopenchange definition of fiscal responsibility.

Where is this cash coming from? Well, Team Hopenchange is bumming lots of it from the Chinese, but also tidy sums from the Saudi's, Kuwaiti's, the Russians, and some very fair-weather Europeans.

So ask yourself this, dear readers - how long can we keep this up and - more important - what are we gonna do when our "friends" want their money back?

That Life Thing, Intruding Again. (UPDATED)

Blogging was non-existent this weekend as we got my son ready for summer camp and drove up to northeast Alabama (hi, Zana) to deliver him, and drove right back again. The trip was not all monotonous motoring - we took some time to visit Little River Canyon while we were "on the mountain" because, well, you just don't get views like this in the Bayou State:

It was interesting to note that I-59 through Mississippi and Alabama, usually pretty well maintained, was looking pretty shaggy this trip. The medians and shoulders had not been cut in quite a while, and there was litter - something we don't normally see. My wife remarked that it looked like Mississippi and Alabama had adopted Louisiana's road maintenance standards.

Once I get a handle this morning on things work-ish, normal posting will resume. See you then.

UPDATE: Note to the person getting on the Interstate in Tuscaloosa - if you want to own a Prius, knock yourself out. It's a free country. I'll even fight for your right to own one. But please, please, stay in the right lane as you put your petal to the batteries, or the dynamo, or the flywheel, or the rubbing Berber carpet, or whatever it is powers your vehicle. It took you 20 seconds in the left lane to get to 60. So you don't feel all smug with your "yes, but I'm saving the planet" excuse, know that we averaged 24.1 MPG on our trip. In a 300 HP SUV. With 4 people and lots of luggage. And the AC on 'Ice Station Zebra'.

05 June 2009

Under The Spreading Crunchberry Bush, The Village Idiot Stands...

A woman sues - in Federal Court - over the existence of "crunchberries". She feels misled since they are not real berries. Just wait till she finds out that putting the government in control of her health care won't make it cheaper, making the economy "green" won't generate millions of jobs, and a lot more than the "rich" will see a tax increase.

As for me, I'm a purist - I like my Capt'n Crunch neat.

UPDATE: Having fun in the comments, so be sure to take a look.

04 June 2009

You Don't Know S**t.

Well do 'ya, punk?

I got 100% right. That's because a) it takes one to know one, or, b) I watch entirely too much Dirty Jobs.

Hattip: My altar ego, James Likes.

Comparing Baptism To Waterboarding.

Respecting the dignity of every human being, on national TV:

“Isn’t it like water boarding- when they dump your head under there like that?”
Of course, only us us ignorant, intolerent, hate-filled Christianists would find anything wrong with Ms. Behr's commnets.

Honesty In Marketing.

The new, um, more accurate, GM logo. I still think we should put GM and Chrysler together and name the new company, 'American Leyland.'

Five Year Plans And New Deals...

...Wrapped in golden chains.

Team Hopenchange wants to see that 16.2% number get much, much bigger - and stay that way. A dependent voter is a compliant voter.

03 June 2009

Murder. Compare And Contract.

On Sunday, one of the leading abortionists in the US is murdered, allegedly by someone motivated by faith.

A US solider is murdered, and another critically injured, at a Little Rock, Arkansas, recruiting station the next day, also allegedly by someone motivated by faith - but a different faith.

Ethel C. Fenig at American Thinker is wondering why The Messiah was so quick to condemn one of the killings, and not the other.

Perhaps The Episcopal Church (tm) will also consider the two soldiers who were cut down to be "saints" or "martyrs" , and be equally "horrified" by the religious motivations of their attacker. Yeah, right.

It's All A Matter Of Perspective.

Saw this image today over at izismile:

This is pretty much how the world sees us architect types. We, however, see things a bit different:

There. That's better.

02 June 2009

Well, Duh.

Joe Biden today on the stimulus plan:
"We know some of this money is going to be wasted," Biden said during a roundtable discussion in New York with business leaders aimed at promoting the two-year stimulus plan.
And this:
"There are going to be mistakes made," said Biden. "Some people are being scammed already."
Is this official confirmation that ACORN got some of the $787 billion?

Tramps Like Us, Baby We Were Born To Run. Not Putter...

Like Chrysler before it, Team Hopenchange has now taken over GM completely, and folks on the Web are waxing nostalgic for their youthful GM loves.

The days of American cars matching the American spirit are over, dear readers, and the future offerings of GM and Chrysler will be what our compassionate, sensitive betters think we should drive. So like the Cubans before us, if you want a decent American car anymore you will have to keep an old classic running. (If anyone has a '73 Pontiac Firebird for sale, let me know. 455 V8. Must not get more than 15 miles to the gallon.)

01 June 2009

Beat It...?

Hey, at least it's a girl. And that's just a loaf of bread.

From here.

As God As My Witness, I'll Never Be Second At The Dirt Track Again!

Turbo Heather.

What's Bruce Springsteen Going To Sing About Anymore?

P. J. O'Rourke on the demise of the American automobile.

I mean,

"I got a two-thousand nine Smart Car with a seventy one,
Duel seats and an optional door...

That version of 'Racing in the Streets' just doesn't do it for me.

The Study Of Manbearpig. I'm Totally Serial.

It's the realm of Pre-Conceptual Scientists.

(Snarky post title reference is here.)

Hattip: SOYLENT GREEN. (Great site, but NSFW.)