Thursday, January 11, 2007

Firetrucks disturb Scooter's sleep....

From News8Austin:

A million-dollar new home under construction in Tarrytown was destroyed by fire early Thursday morning.

LOUD SIRENS for an hour straight...dogs in the 'hood (in honor of our new subtitle) went crazy.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Paul Greenberg

One of the things about the Internet, generally, and Jewish World Review, specifically, for which I’ll always be grateful: they introduced me to Pulitzer Prize winner for editorial writing, the editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Paul Greenberg.

Excerpts from today’s column:

Dear Ozark Correspondent,

It was wholly a pleasure to hear the newest euphemism in your part of the state for the now politically incorrect term, hillbilly: Ozark-American.


So are hillbillies the same as rednecks? Those categories may overlap, but they're certainly not the same. You gotta hand it to rednecks; they don't care who calls 'em rednecks. Indeed, the true redneck takes pride in the name, and it does beat all heck out of the more scholastic classification, Southern Yeomanry.


The least appealing may be the professional Southerner, aka the More Southern Than Thou variety. The species can often be found up North or on the fringes of the Old Confederacy. It seems that those most removed from the center of any ethnic group may be most insecure in their identity and most bent on exaggerating it. [Me: the professional Texan is so annoying that Bud Light dedicated a "Real Men of Genius" commercial to Mr. Way Too Proud of Texas Guy.] The way Austrians make the most fanatic German nationalists. Or American Jews the most fervent Zionists.

One of the best, funniest and warmest columists in America.

My Morning Chill

From Mark Steyn at National Review:

There are ten million people in Moscow. Do you know how many of them are Muslim? Two and a half million. Or about a quarter of the population. The ethnic Russians are older; the Muslims are younger. The ethnic Russians are already in net population decline; the Muslim population in the country has increased by 40% in the last 15 years. Seven out of ten Russian pregnancies (according to some surveys) are aborted; in some Muslim communities, the fertility rate is ten babies per woman. Russian men have record rates of heart disease, liver disease, drug addiction and Aids; Muslims are the only guys in the country who aren’t face down in the vodka.

Faced with these trends, most experts extrapolate: thus, it’s generally accepted that by mid-century the Russian Federation will be majority Muslim. But you don’t really need to extrapolate when the future’s already checking in at reception. The Toronto Star (which is Canada’s biggest-selling newspaper and impeccably liberal) recently noted that by 2015 Muslims will make up a majority of Russia’s army.

More scary stuff....

Monday, January 08, 2007

Avian Flu or the commencement of the the 80th Texas Legislature???

KLBJ reports:

They've closed off most of Congress Avenue for the morning downtown -- along with all side streets between Colorado and Brazos streets. That's after dozens of birds were found dead in the area.

It’s not quite the same as the “recycling” scam, but it’s close...

This is just nuts and another example of (i) good intentions driving policy without examining the bad results and (ii) what happens when the market is influenced by subsidies rather than, well, the market.

From John Fund’s column at WSJ’s opinion website:

As for corn-based ethanol, Jerry Taylor of the Cato Institute calls the current mania to subsidize it "the closest thing to a state religion America has." Corn farmers have done a good job of disguising the fact that it still takes more than a gallon of fossil fuel — 29% more is the best estimate — to make a gallon of ethanol. [emph added] In addition, various mandates requiring the use of ethanol significantly increased gasoline prices last summer and led to spot shortages because ethanol can't be carried through pipelines and requires special blending plants. James Glassman, an economist with J.P. Morgan Chase, notes that expensive ethanol was a big factor in the sticker shock consumers encountered at the pump this summer. "We'd probably have retail gasoline prices between $2.30 and $2.40 a gallon if not for ethanol," he told The Wall Street Journal last June, when pump prices were topping $3 a gallon.

So, it takes a almost 1.3 gallons of gasoline or oil or the equivalent of natural gas or coal to create a gallon of ethanol. And not only that, I paid an extra $0.50 per gallon of gasoline this summer because of it.

Terrific policy. Right up there with recycling.