Archive for the ‘self-righteous political diatribes nobody wants to read’ Category

knock knock

July 20, 2009

Drudge and some knee-jerk inclined friends of mine are up in arms about re stimulus spending.

I don’t know why I’d dignify this with a response – Drudge is the king of just throwing up shit that *seems* like it might be an interesting story but is in fact just a bunch of crap that is way over the average Drudge reader’s head, apparently. The example cited to me was OMG $1.4 MILLION FOR A DOOR!!

That did seem suspicious. So instead of calling my folks and saying OMG $1.4 MILLION FOR A DOOR!! I figured I would spend 2 minutes googling the issue.

First step, the link on Drudge itself leads me to the recovery.org site.

http://www.recovery.gov/?q=content/contracts-recipient-summary&id=57-FA466106D0006&mode=details&primeid=1400

hangar

Hmm. Project Location: Dyess AFB. AFB means Air Force Base. I wonder if Air Force Bases have buildings with some sort of large, expensive door through which large, Air-Force-Related pieces of machinery might have to go .

Still $1.4 million seems like a lot. So why don’t we see if we can get some kind of cost breakdown from this link. Scroll down (use your mouse to move the square on the bar on the right, if you don’t know) and you see the following heading for “Transactions” with 2 separate IDs. If you hover over an ID you get descriptions as seen below:

hangar2

Suddenly we see that the door is only $246K, not $1.4 million, and the balance is for replacing gas mains. Still, $246K is a lot for a squeaky hinge and we don’t have a confirmation of our suspicion that this might be for a hangar door. What if we in fact googled something like [dyess air force base building 5112]?

After a bunch of blogs already freaking the hell out about the Drudge posts, we find this:

http://www.osfr.state.tx.us/WRfiles/MILCON%20and%20SRM%20Project%20lists%20by%20State%20-%20TX.pdf

hangar3

Wow. $246K for a hangar door. And they went $7,000 over budget! I’ve never heard of such a thing from contractors, be it for government work or for remodeling my kitchen! I’d better tell all my friends about the government waste!

The lesson is that Drudge is a jerk, but if you fell for this, you’re an idiot. You play right into his hands by jumping to conclusions.

ticket to history

November 3, 2008

Four years ago it was in the law library, while “studying.”

Four years before that, I didn’t even really care much, but I remember watching part of it in Willard at NU, and the only reason I would have been at Willard would be to drink.*

This year I will be watching election returns in a mildly more exciting place: with the Democratic nominee and current favorite for President-Elect, at his rally in Grant Park.


Before the rally, there’s some voting to do. I am voting for Barack Obama. Ten years ago I came to college as a conservative, raised to believe that gays were wrong, affirmative action was reverse racism, and that generally you had to look out for number one. I still look out for number one, but I also realize that I’m much better off when everybody is better off. My Republican co-workers are up in arms over the few dollars of an increased tax burden that Obama might place on their already ludicrously high salary; I am more concerned about the fact that our ludicrously high-paying jobs could be in jeopardy if the economy does not improve, and John McCain gives me no reason to trust him with economic leadership. Tax policy, in any event, takes a back seat to issues like the separation of church and state, freedom to associate, the right to privacy, and in general, not being treated like an idiot by our leaders. Is voting for Obama something of a gamble? I suppose, but I do not think it is substantially more of a gamble than any major candidate we’ve had out there in my lifetime.

Anyway. You don’t really care what I have to say about that.

update: for the record, my views on gays, race, and just about everything else my parents told me was true have changed approximately 180 degrees in the last decade and change.

*or chase girls I guess – my girlfriend-of-four-years-to-be was living in Willard at the time, but we would not get together for another week; I remember this because our anniversary was Veteran’s Day, 11-11, which is about as easy a day to remember as any.

News from Iraq

October 25, 2005

Two milestones from Iraq today.

First you have the ratification of the Iraqi draft constitution. You may be sure that the slack-jaws at FreeRepublic view this as a great triumph for Iraq and the US. Hey, after all, the votes were 78% in favor!

Seventy-eight percent is nice, but meaningless. The majority Shiites drew up this Constitution and they had no trouble passing it. The only way the Constitution could be rejected is if 2/3 of the voters in any three provinces voted AGAINST it. That’s not exactly a ratification vote, right? Two-thirds against means that you only need 1/3 to vote to approve. Can you think of any other situation where a one-third vote is all it takes to approve something?

As it turns out, the three Sunni provinces voted AGAINST the Constitution. But only 2 count. The third province had 44% yes/55% no, which under the ratification scheme above, means YES.

So what. Sunnis are assholes, right. Saddam was a Sunni and the insurgency is run by Sunnis. But you can’t stack the deck against a political minority in a constitutional process. Why?

  US Iraq
Constitution approved by majority of 13/13 States 15/18 Provinces
Majority votes needed for passage 9 States 0 Provinces
Result: Oops! Stay tuned.

Despite compromise and unanimous ratification of the Constitution, the outcome was that the politically slighted (at least from their point of view) Confederacy plunged the country into the bloodiest war it has ever seen – we lost 2% of our population and more people than in all our other wars combined. We lost FEWER lives fighting for our independence, fighting Hitler, the Kaiser, losing Vietnam, losing our capital in 1812, dying in Korea, than we did over a Constitutional debate in our own country.

How can we expect any better from an Iraq that is already plagued with violence?

As if to underscore this point, the other milestone today is of course the 2,000th U.S. military death. Not as many as the wars I just mentioned, of course, but too many nonetheless. We also have more than 15,000 American soldiers injured to date. We’re going to end up losing more lives in Iraq than we did on 9/11 and we’re probably going to have dick to show for it.

W voters, please defend your vote. You’ve got a lot of scrubbing to do to get the blood off your hands.

The game is afoot

October 13, 2005

I have many talents. In addition to finding shit I’m also blessed with Sherlockian crime-solving abilities. For example I was way ahead of the federales on the smiley-face pipe bomb guy a few years back, you remember:
Image hosted by Photobucket.com

…a case which I solved by watching TV and saying “hey, that pattern looks like a smiley face.” Take that, “special” agents!

Now we’ve got an alleged letter from al-Zawahiri to al-Zarqawi (and as an aside to terrorists, please, a lot of people in this country have a hard time remembering the difference between Sauron and Saruman. If you want terror to bring you fame, try to make your names a little more distinct). And my first thought is, how is it possible that we intercept a letter from one High-Value Target, or whatever the euphemism is, to another, and yet are completely unable to follow the chain backwards OR forwards? This is either pathetic (entirely possible, exhibit 1: successful resolution of anthrax investigation) or it means that the letter is not exactly, you know, real.

And in fact the terrorists say that it IS fake. Not that that proves anything. But the part about the letter saying “Go say hi to Zarqawi” does cut against the idea that the letter is TO Zarqawi. So we’ve likely just be pwn3d again.

But hey, we caught Bin Laden, right?