Archive | May, 2009

Transit Wegmans Parcel

31 May

I saw and snapped this at the Transit Rd. Wegmans in East Amherst (or Williamsville or whatever it is over there) today.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Following up on this post, the Clarence Town Board will be taking this up at its June 10th meeting.

Killing is Pro-Life

31 May

An abortion doctor was murdered in Wichita, KS today while on his way in to church.

This isn’t just murder, and most likely a hypocritical one, at that. This is terrorism. The cops have a plate and are searching for the suspect.

Comment Threads are Fun

31 May

This thread has become quite comical, with Ostrowski accusing me first of being a member of the Political Class™, then when he couldn’t prove that, of being a “stooge” and “errand” boy for the Political Class™. The proof is that I support politicians like Higgins and Obama. Also, I ran for office. This is somehow objectively bad, and makes me a member of the Political Class™, despite the fact that I failed epically at 30 – 70%.

Of course, by that metric, his support of Ron Paul makes him a stooge and errand-boy for the Political Class™, seeing as his hero, Ron Paul, has been in elected office since 1976.

When Mr. Ostrowski is criticized as Geek and I have done with respect to his little group’s clumsy messaging, and mocked the fact that he’s hitched his wagon to the future-Trivial-Pursuit-answer du jour, of Teabag Parties, he does what he says he hates seeing on the Internet – he does exactly what he says all the mean people on SpeakupWNY who no longer support him did – he hurls labels and insults, and otherwise behaves like a petulant 4th grader who cries to the teacher about having his toys taken away when, in fact, he’s merely misplaced them.

Jim Ostrowski is a self-aggrandizing boor, and this is a truth made evident through everything he writes.

And, Jim, you should thank me for posting about you and your little circle-jerk of a blog so that you get some hits, and other people can get involved. Especially the posts about the scary brown people. Love those.

Cheney the Fear Fetishist: STFU and You’re Wrong. The End.

31 May

Richard Clarke in the WaPo:

Yet listening to Cheney and Rice, it seems that they want to be excused for the measures they authorized after the attacks on the grounds that 9/11 was traumatic. “If you were there in a position of authority and watched Americans drop out of eighty-story buildings because these murderous tyrants went after innocent people,” Rice said in her recent comments, “then you were determined to do anything that you could that was legal to prevent that from happening again.”

I have little sympathy for this argument. Yes, we went for days with little sleep, and we all assumed that more attacks were coming. But the decisions that Bush officials made in the following months and years — on Iraq, on detentions, on interrogations, on wiretapping — were not appropriate. Careful analysis could have replaced the impulse to break all the rules, even more so because the Sept. 11 attacks, though horrifying, should not have surprised senior officials. Cheney’s admission that 9/11 caused him to reassess the threats to the nation only underscores how, for months, top officials had ignored warnings from the CIA and the NSC staff that urgent action was needed to preempt a major al-Qaeda attack.

Frank Rich in the New York Times (I especially enjoy the link to here, outlining Cheney’s lies):

The speech itself, with 20 mentions of 9/11, struck the same cynical note as the ads, as if the G.O.P. was almost rooting for a terrorist attack on Obama’s watch. “No one wishes the current administration more success in defending the country than we do,” Cheney said as a disingenuous disclaimer before going on to charge that Obama’s “half measures” were leaving Americans “half exposed.” The new president, he said, is unraveling “the very policies that kept our people safe since 9/11.” In other words, when the next attack comes, it will be all Obama’s fault. A new ad shouting “We told you so!” awaits only the updated video.

The Republicans at least have an excuse for pushing this poison. They are desperate. The trio of Pillsbury doughboys now leading the party — Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, Cheney — have variously cemented the G.O.P.’s brand as a whites-only men’s club by revoking Colin Powell’s membership and smearing the first Latina Supreme Court nominee as a “reverse racist.” Republicans in Congress have no plausible economic, health care or energy policies to counter Obama’s. The only card left to play is 9/11.

Eugene Robinson in the WaPo, via the Buffalo News, compares & contrasts Obama World and Cheney World. Leonard Pitts, also in the Buffalo News, argues that Cheney is little more than a fear fetishist.

While I am mindful of the fact that a Democratic ex-POTUS or VPOTUS making outrageous charges such as Cheney has done would be the Republican Hissy Fit of the Century™, I enjoy Cheney’s mouth-shits, because they remind people how happy they are to be rid of him.

Think of Canada as a foreign country

31 May

That’s the headline of this Buffalo News article today.

I look forward to future insightful headlines including,

Think of Cuba as an island.
Think of Everest as a mountain.
Think of Mars as a planet.
Think of Motrin as an anti-inflammatory.
Think of Europe as a continent.
etc.

GM & Chrysler

31 May

GM is expected imminently to go bankrupt, and Chrysler’s sale to Fiat, S.p.A. is expected to go be concluded by the end of next week.

While in a perfect world, these companies wouldn’t need government handouts to stay afloat, this isn’t a perfect world, and it’s more desirable to bail them out than it is to throw hundreds of thousands of workers out on the street and let the companies fail. Because it’s not just GM or Chrysler. It’s also parts manufacturers, dealerships, and myriad other allied industries. When the spiral is going downward, you don’t hasten it.

The business model for GM has been an anachronism for decades, and this was

The German plate is no accident

The German plate is no accident

inevitable. GM was too big, too heavily laden with legacy costs, building too many crap cars that could barely compete. This bankruptcy offers GM a chance to slough off unnecessary businesses and marques, and a chance to fundamentally restructure its operations to bring them up to 21st century standards.

GM’s automotive offerings have been improving quite starkly lately, and if they could make plants leaner, more flexible, and improve the speed with which new models come to market, they can actually begin to compete with the likes of foreign marques that seem somehow to be able to build good cars competitively in North America.

Chrysler is a different animal altogether. I just looked at Consumer Reports’ auto guide for 2009, and not one, single Chrysler vehicle is “recommended”. Not one. That’s just an epic failure from a car company that very recently was well-respected and innovative. The design of the Chrysler 300 became legendary, but the interiors remained cheap and the drivetrains remained unrefined. I don’t know why former master Daimler-Benz, which certainly knows better, let that happen, but Chrysler is literally to the point where it needs a complete overhaul of its entire line-up, and needs to return Jeep to its core competencies – Grand Cherokees and Wranglers. I’ve seen renderings and photos of Chrysler’s new auto interiors, and they’re a nice step up from what exists now, but probably a step behind where Honda or Toyota or Volkswagen.

Although Fiat has a bad reputation in the States because it generally sold crappy little cars that broke down a lot, in Europe that’s changed. While they still build the occasional quirky thing like the Multipla, their cars are innovative, well-designed, and well-built.

Could be worse. Could be selling rebadged North Korean cars.

C’mon Down to Cleveland Town, Everyone

30 May

It’s time to make something similar poking fun at Buffalo.

HT Shredd & Ragan

A New Pledge of Allegiance?

30 May

I found this interesting.

I pledge allegiance to the principles of the American Revolution, stated by Jefferson, and for which the Minute Men and Washington’s Army fought: that government’s only purpose is to protect our natural rights to life, liberty, and property; that any government that does more than protect our natural rights must thereby violate those same rights and become a tyranny that the people have the right to alter or abolish. I pledge to resist that tyranny by peaceful means if at all possible.

The United States is a tyranny. Glad we sorted that out.

About the Buffalo Libertarian “Movement”

30 May

Here’s a comment I posted in Ostrowski’s thread, and I’m reprinting here.

The United States has evolved over its 200+ year history, and with each election, the social contract changes. Sometimes rightward, sometimes leftward. Never has it gone to either extreme, however. We have never had a fascist nor communist coup or government of any sort.

Libertarianism is an extreme concept, and one that obviously appeals to some people. But by no means a majority. By no means in any sort of numbers that would tend to lead to the sort of anti-government, every-man-for-himself utopia you envision.

The ideas you are proponents of simply don’t compete when it comes time to vote for people. You can tout your microscopic menagerie of occasional libertarian conquests (like supposedly defeating the penny county tax), but that’s the smallest of small potatoes and hardly equivalent to convincing a mass of people that what Hayek and von Mises think is the bees’ knees.

And yes, in order to prevail in a marketplace of ideas, you have to sell those ideas to people who may be uninformed or ignorant or disinterested or beholden to some other ideology. Otherwise you’ll be stuck with 5% of the Republican electorate, like Rep. Paul was.

So, the point of Chris’ post was that you need to grow beyond 5% if you expect to make any sort of real difference. Seriously, it’s basic mathematics.

And if you continue behaving like you’re the only ones who are right, and everyone else is wrong, that in and of itself is, I guess, fine. But to add in what you do – that those who are wrong are also stupid sheeple, then don’t be surprised if that 5% shrinks rather than grows.

You guys don’t get the message, and persist in being fucking assholes all over the local internet, parroting the same tired lines, the same easy one-line answers, the same links to the same posts from websites more obscure and dull than those belonging to the CPUSA or National Alliance.

And then, when you go around behaving like assholes all over the internet, you bitch and moan that people won’t “debate” you in a serious manner. Make up your minds.

So, the social contract in the United States shifted leftward in 2008. It continues apace, given the blind flailings of the rudderless, extremist Republican Party.

Libertarians actually have an entree into the debate. But because they generally act like jerks, freaks, or both, their ideas are generally rejected by the people. Remember the libertarian candidate in NYC who decided to hand out toy guns to kids in Harlem when the state required toy guns to be colored in a way so that they are easily identified as toys and kids don’t get shot? Yeah, keep doing idiot stunts like that and you’ll guarantee the perpetuation of the general rule:

You’ll never win a meaningful election because of your extreme views and nasty attitudes, and you’ll continue with your extreme views and nasty attitudes because you can’t win an election.

Preening Freeners

29 May

Here, Buffalo Geek explains that the movement to, say, get the state constitution overhauled isn’t really off to an auspicious start.

Leonard A. Roberto, founder of Primary Challenge, is hoping to get 4.7 million New York voters to cast a ballot next year to abolish state government. Before a crowd of 11 people in the back room of Gene’s Junkyard Bar and Grill, Roberto tried to make that goal look not only attainable, but essential. The injustice of a government using property taxes to deprive the people of their right to property was one of the examples he used to illustrate the point.

Geek goes on to suggest,

Your message is off and you’re ideas are too fringe to gain wide acceptance. You need to drop the liberty speak, stop talking like a fresh graduate of the Cato Institute and get back to basics. Talk to people, don’t scold them. Build a big tent, listen to the concerns of the people and break down the issues into simple blocks of information that are divorced from ideology. Once you do that, you might get people to work with you. Until then, you’ll be yelling “fire” into an empty theater. Good luck with all of that.

Naturally, Ostrowski is outraged, and this entire thread devolves literally into predictable self-parody.

This does not bode well for…well, for much of anything.