Fear of Clowns

"Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable."
- H. L. Mencken

Sunday, August 26, 2007

More Imaginary Liberals 

Beth continues to pontificate from the suburbs,

Further illogical ideas: the liberals who denounce free market capitalism. They say how dare the Wal Mart heirs get money for doing nothing but sitting on their butts. Nevermind the fact that they get said money from you and I paying for items at Wal Mart which we consume. But the lefties have no problem giving welfare money to people sitting on their butts doing nothing, where you and I give our money in taxes and get NOTHING in return for that money we gave. Meanwhile the lefties ignore the fact that the Walton family has a foundation, and that Wal Mart has programs that also give back to the community.

I frequently cite the WalMart heirs as an example when someone tries to claim we live in a meritocracy or that excessive wealth is OK because those with it perform excessively valuable work. So, that's probably me she's thinking of, an actual person.

She goes of the track of reality rather quickly though. I don't typically shop at WalMart. Around the year 2000 I bough a spatula at a WalMart because my car broke down near one and I needed coin to make a call. The plastic part separated from the wooden handle the first time I used it. Last summer, I moved to within 1/4 mile of a WalMart: Since that time, I've bought 2 aquarium air-stones there. I recall on that visit I picked up a bag of cookies or chips.

Yet Beth is angry because I allegedly contribute to the enrichment of people I use as examples of the excesses of our free market.

She also fits in a welfare queen complaint even though those receiving welfare have been required to work for over a decade now. It's easy to be a pissed off right-winger when you allow yourself to create the reality you're pissed off about.

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

More RANT 

On a roll, Beth then reveals her lack of study of the Constitution while at the same time referring to it as if was divinely revealed,

What is the role of government anyway? Is it not meant to provide for the common defense? Then why is the world would we wish to reduce the budget at the Pentagon, without at least looking first to all the other budgets that have no Constitutional basis? But the backward thinking of the average lefty is to slash that defense budget first and foremost, but do keep that federal money pumping into the public broadcast system! We'd have no TV shows otherwise!

Of course, the Founders very intentionally left out the authority to support a permanent federal army, "those large and permanent military establishments which are forbidden by the principles of our free government" in the words of James Madison.

That Beth sees in the Founders' words an actual endorsement of our current war machinations reveals not only an ignorance of the actual text of the document, but also story of our nations founding - Minutemen vs. King George's Standing Army of redcoats. The complaint in the Declaration of Independence of King George "[keeping] among us, in times of peace, standing armies, without the consent of our legislatures."

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The Imaginary Liberal 

A very real right-winger circlejerks on a Sunday morn ... Beth congratulates "Uno",

Get out of my bedroom, but be in the boardroom, and other inconsistencies

Obob's thought for a Sunday morning got me thinking, especially Thought Uno,

"I am confident that the hottest places in hell are reserved for the soul of sick and brutal people who hold God's creatures in such brutal and cruel contept," he (Sen. Byrd) said. He's referring to dog fighter's not those who provide the warm and fuzzy service called partial birth abortion.


Why is it that we are appalled by cruelty to animals, but not equally outraged by the dismembering of an unborn child in his mother's womb? How come we find mutilating a corpse disgraceful, but mutilating a living being in a womb acceptable? Hell, isn't it even a crime to tamper with a grave, and yet sending an unborn child to a garbage dump is a-okay?

This is the low-intelligence and lower-curiosity right-winger confabulation of all things liberal - liberal being a concept defined as is whatever is needed to infuriate the red horde enough to look away from real-world issues like our petroleum dependence or national debt.

Here, liberal means someone who donates to PETA, believes ending a pregnancy before term is morally acceptable, and who digs up graves in search of precious metals and stones. These liberals are determined to destroy long-cherished and common sense values such as not murdering babies and leaving graves intact. At least until we need a strip-mall more than a full cemetery.

The fiction of the Imaginary Liberal is so central to the world-view of individuals such as Beth who have invested in a lifetime subscription that it doesn't occur to them to check to see if Robert Byrd voted for or against the "Partial Birth Abortion" bill. In fact, he voted for it, meaning he voted against "dismembering of an unborn child in his mother's womb."

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Prescient protest 

These signs were protesting Pawlenty's 2005 veto of the 2005 transportation bill because it copntained what would have been the first state gas tax increase in 20 years. The tax is levied as a number of cents per gallon, not a percentage.

road closed by pawlenty

In 1988 - when Minnesota last raised the gas tax from 17¢/gallon to ¢20/gallon - the price of a gallon of unleaded regular was about $0.95, in 2005 it was about $2.30.

Minnesota's transportation budget falls short by $1.8 billion a year. Opposing a gas tax increase can only be interpreted as opposing transportation or supporting a deficit in its funding. Or wing-nut excessive greed for accumulating a few more pennies for each gallon of gas spent.

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May 15, 2007: Tim Pawlenty: "VETOED" 

I have vetoed and am returning House File 946, Chapter 84, the Omnibus Transportation Finance Bill.

With more than $5 billion in tax and fee increases, this bill would impose and unnecessary and onerous financial burden on Minnesota citizens and would weaken our state's economy.

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A week later, Strib on publicly available reports 

A week later, reporting on MN/DOT's reports.

State bridge inspectors warned for nearly a decade before its collapse that the Interstate 35W bridge had "severe" and "extensive" corrosion of its beams and trusses, "widespread cracking" in spans and missing or broken bolts.

Not only was the superstructure in poor condition, but certain components were "beyond tolerable limits," and one of the bridge's piers had "tilted to the north," they reported.

By 2000, the inspectors wrote that "eventual replacement of the entire structure would be preferable" to redecking the bridge. They added: "If bridge replacement is significantly delayed, the bridge should be re-decked."

That recommendation was repeated in every report afterward, but it never happened.

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Saturday, August 04, 2007

Photos of the I-35 bridge 

From the MnDOT website. Bridge inspection reports are available there, search for 9340, the bridge's official name. A lot of the language is technical jargon I don't understand, but at a few things are clear.

Minneapolis I-35 bridge defect

Minneapolis I-35 bridge defect

Minneapolis I-35 bridge defect

\ Minneapolis I-35 bridge defect

Minneapolis I-35 bridge defect

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The people know how to spend their money better than governement? 

bush and the collapsed bridge

The Reagan conservative movement has been tremendously successful in spreading disdain for taxes and governmental spending on everything unrelated to war. One result in Minnesota has been a perennial $1.8 billion shortfall in transportation funding.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty followed through on his "won't raise taxes" promise each time a transportation bill including a tax increase came before him.

Minnesotans obviously didn't take the initiative to spend their tax relief wisely.

bush and the collapsed bridge

The bridge was known to need structural maintenance, but the MN Department of Transportation needed to do things on the cheap,

More than a year before the Interstate 35W bridge collapsed, a consulting firm advised the state of Minnesota that the aging bridge should be reinforced with steel plating.

Instead of following that advice, state officials asked the firm to come up with other options.

Six months later, the URS Corp. did just that.

It repeated its recommendation for steel plates, but offered an alternative described as "most cost efficient" -- the state could inspect the 40-year-old bridge for cracks and repair any it found.

The day it happened, emergency vehicles started passing me as I turned off I-35 on to 46th St. to pick up a friend on the way to the Twins game. Forty-sixth is about three miles south of the bridge. We didn't know exactly what had happened until we left the game - I had guessed there had been an industrial fire at the paint plant by the bridge as we saw helicopters and black smoke when approaching the Metrodome, just blocks from the bridge. Creepy to think had I not been going to the game, I wouldn't have written two personal letters after work and that may have put me in a bad window of space-time.

But I can be thankful the collapse will only add 10 or so miles to my commute and that my state taxes haven't gone up recently.

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