Updates from January, 2009 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Hober Short 5:55 pm on 31 January 2009 Permalink  

    Congress loots public largesse to give themselves $93,000:

    Isn’t this a direct violation of (if somehow not the letter) of the 27th Amendment?

    No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.

    Never mind the despicableness of this move. Is this even Constitutional?

    EDIT: I can’t find anything verifying this on any other news outlets or any kind of resolution passed to this effect. So far it’s just this one Fox News clip. This seems a little fishy.

  • Hober Short 2:05 pm on 29 January 2009 Permalink  

    The USPS definitely needs to get involved with the internet, at the least to preserve the franking privilege so that Congresscritters can send e-mail for f–


    Correct me if I’m wrong, but the underlying principle of the franking privilege is to allow Congress to communicate with constituents, sponsored by the government. Okay, keep the idea, dump the USPS, and give them government-sponsored YouTube channels.

    I’m sure even YouTube’s sprawling business could subsist on the Post Office’s budget.

    Outside of that, what Constitutional role do they have? Outside of their Constitutional role, what role do they have? Advertising venue for circulars and mass-mailings?

  • Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. 9:32 am on 29 January 2009 Permalink  

    The U.S. Postal Service is considering a reduction in service to five-day delivery, apparently because of declines in revenue. The economic downturn is partly to blame, but the Postmaster General points out that the Internet has taken away much of their business.

    This got me to thinking: that trend will certainly continue, and eventually there will be no purpose for traditional first-class mail. The only reason we still need delivery services is for packages, and those can be delivered by UPS and FedEx.

    It’s tempting to say the USPS should just shut down, but that’s problematic because the Constitution specifies postal powers for the government. Instead, perhaps the USPS should become an ISP.

    It’s not that much of a stretch, really; in fact, I suspect it’s the norm in most countries, where the postal service is often also the telephone utility. I’m not suggesting we need the USPS to become an ISP; but it seems clear to me that their current business model has no future. If they are to continue to exist, and to perform their Constitutional role, that might be their only option.

  • Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. 9:22 am on 28 January 2009 Permalink  

    This makes no sense to me:

    Decaffeinated coffee is quietly slipping out of the post-morning brewing rotation at Starbucks Corp.

    The Seattle coffee giant has instructed its U.S. baristas to stop regularly brewing batches of decaffeinated coffee after noon, according to a memo reviewed by The Wall Street Journal and confirmed by the company….

    “For many of our stores, the demand for decaf is greatly reduced in the afternoon and therefore yields high waste with the current standard,” the memo says.

    I’ll have to take their word for it that demand for decaf falls off in the afternoon, but I’m at a loss to understand it. People order more decaf in the morning than in the afternoon? Why?

  • Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. 2:40 pm on 26 January 2009 Permalink  

    A private Christian high school in Texas has fired its girls’ basketball coach because the team kicked butt, scoring a 100-0 victory over its hapless opponent. In a public statement, the school administrators apologized for the lopsided victory:

    It is shameful and an embarrassment that this happened. This clearly does not reflect a Christlike and honorable approach to competition.

    I can’t help thinking of The Incredibles, wherein Dash Parr was compelled to “hold back” and avoid winning track events — but of course, he was trying to keep his powers a secret.

    But I also find it interesting that the school described the incident as not Christlike (rather than “not Christian”). This made me wonder: how well did Jesus play basketball? Was he any good? If so, did he intentionally have to hold back in order to avoid totally smoking the opposition?

    UPDATE: I’ve just remembered that a recent Straight Dope rerun said that Jesus was tall, but “it’s not like he would have been a first-round draft pick in the NBA.”

  • Hober Short 1:59 pm on 26 January 2009 Permalink  

    An interesting bill was introduced in the House of Reps today saying

    • Delaying the digital television changeover will cost millions and gain nothing,
    • The converter box coupon program has only used approximately half its budget and not all of it as reported
    • “Government and industry can help households get coupons and converter boxes if such households want them, but a small group will always be unprepared no matter what the government and industry do.”

    It makes too much sense.

  • Pat 5:33 pm on 22 January 2009 Permalink  

    There’s been a lot of commentary about the “I Pledge” video produced by Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher, which various people find weird and disturbing in different ways. But I haven’t seen anyone point out what strikes me as odd about it. These celebrities promise to do a lot of stuff, but it’s all stuff they could have been doing before Obama was inaugurated. The key statement comes at the end of the video, when they “pledge to be a servant to our President and all mankind.” This is a vow of allegiance and service to a person, not a country or cause. That makes this video an oath of fealty. The celebrities are proclaiming that they are vassals of Barack Obama, and he is their lord.

    Someone should tell them we don’t live in a feudal monarchy. But I feel sure these people would have absolutely no idea what that means.

  • Hober Short 3:49 pm on 22 January 2009 Permalink  

    I wondered what Kim du Toit would be up to after he hung up his blogging spurs. So it makes me glad to see this post over at “A Keyboard and a 45” (via SayUncle).

    It’s a report on a news article of an office rampage ended early by concealed-carry holders, two of whom fired “multiple” shots at the attacker, who yet miraculously survived.

    From the comments:

    Kim du Toit said…

    This, children, is why we practice “mozambique” drills.


  • Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. 2:32 pm on 22 January 2009 Permalink  

    Pedantically, I might suggest a difference between “former president of France” and “French person who is a former president,” but it’s hard to think of a real-world instance of such a distinction. So I won’t attempt to rationalize imprecise writing by the Fox editor.

  • Hober Short 10:11 am on 22 January 2009 Permalink  

    Why would you write “Ex-French President” and not “French Ex-President”?

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