The Unrepentant Individual

...just hanging around until Dec 21, 2012

November 19, 2005

Mutual fund theory of government

I was thinking about classifications of political parties while bagging leaves today, and a way to relate it to the investment world.

Republicans: Republicans are bond investors. They think government can offer certain expected returns (services) to you. Those returns aren’t very big, but they’re dependable. The Republican theory of government is to not promise too much, but not to screw it up either. Republicans view the goal of government as taking on a task they know it can handle, performing it adequately, and no more.

Democrats: Democrast are actively-managed mutual fund guys. They say you’re way too stupid to manage your own money. The only way you can hope to get rich is to place your trust in smart people like them. There are slick marketing campaigns to make you believe that they can manage your money much better than you can. They give you confusing sheets of investment performance over time to make you think they’re going to make you rich beyond your wildest dreams, but in reality, they aren’t all that good at what they do.

Libertarians: Libertarians are index-fund guys. The key point between Libertarians and Democrats is that actively-managed mutual funds are all marketing and no performance. The S&P 500 as an aggregate outperforms 85% of actively-managed funds every year. And the systems the Democrats offer aren’t in the other 15%. Index funds are a simple system, based on performance, of understanding underlying truths about a system and setting up rules to make the most of those truths. An index fund looks at the way the market works, sets up rules of how to buy and sell individual stocks in a simple, hands-off approach, and then just sit back and watch the market work. The Libertarians are all about setting the right rules and then simply acting within those rules. Most Libertarians are Constitutionalists because they believe the rules our founders set forth are pretty close to the most efficient possible set.

Republicans want to use government as a tool, but only in certain limited cases. Democrats want government to do everything for you, because they think they’re smarter than you and can make better choices. Libertarians want to set up a basic, fair system based on sane rules, and then let everything develop from there.

People become Libertarians because they see that Democrats screw up 85% of what they touch, and see that Republicans are following the mold of Democrats, but to a smaller degree. Furthermore, they see that if they want to make the best of themselves, the bond market and actively-managed mutual funds underperform the Libertarian system. linked with I have $4 in pennies on my desk
Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 8:58 pm || Permalink || Comments (6) || Trackback URL || Categories: Uncategorized

College Football Week 11

Sorry for skipping out on last week. It’s good I did, because in the wife’s office pool I went 2-4 against the spread, not 5-1 like the previous week. So I’m going to pick against the spread again. The first 4 games this week are part of the office pool, and the final two, I just had to add:

#8 Alabama (9-1) @ #13 Auburn (8-2):
Vegas says: Auburn by 6.5
This is a tough one. We’ve got two great teams here. It’s a rivalry game. Alabama has an absolutely incredible defense. They have a good offense, which was great before star WR Tyrone Prothro broke his leg against Florida earlier this year. Since his injury, they’ve struggled against great defenses. Auburn has a pretty great offense, and a decent defense, so this is a tough matchup. And the line is 6.5, in a pitched battle between two great teams, that’s a BIG number. This game hinges on the performance of Auburn RB Kenny Irons. If he runs over the Alabama defense for more than about 125 yards, Auburn wins comfortably. If Alabama slows him down (and they’re only giving up 89 yards/game on the ground), it will be close, and the winner is a toss-up. I’m going to pick Auburn here, because after Alabama’s tough loss to LSU last week, I think they’re a little bit shaken. And the game is @ Auburn, which should help.

Prediction: Auburn covers (barely)
Expected final score: Auburn 27, Alabama 20
UPDATE — Result: Auburn covers — Final Score: Auburn 28, Alabama 18

#4 Penn State (9-1) @ Michigan State (5-5):
Vegas says: Penn State by 7.5
When you look at this, your brain immediately says Penn State will roll, and blow out a 5-5 MSU team. But there’s some history here. Over the last few years, the home team has almost always won large. MSU is at home. MSU has a history of losing games they should win, and winning games they shouldn’t. They’ve played spoiler many, many times. And PSU hasn’t been that great on the road. PSU has a great defense, but even with MSU’s offensive woes over the past few weeks, they’re still averaging over 500 yards total offense on the season. Penn State had trouble containing Northwestern, and I think they might have a similar problem with MSU. I still think Penn State will pull out the win today, but it’s going to be close.

Prediction: MSU beats the spread
Expected final score: PSU 33, MSU 30
UPDATE — Penn State covers — Final Score: Penn State 31, Michigan State 22

Clemson (6-4) @ #19 South Carolina (7-3)
Vegas says: Clemson by 1.5
Conventional wisdom over the past few years says that South Carolina, following a big win (like last week against Florida) will be followed by a loss. But South Carolina hasn’t had Steve Spurrier at the helm until this year. Spurrier leads this team to victory over Clemson.

Prediction: South Carolina beats the spread (and wins)
Expected final score: South Carolina 27, Clemson 24
UPDATE — Result: Clemson covers — Final score: Clemson 13, South Carolina 9

#23 Boston College (7-3) @ Maryland (5-4)
Vegas says: Boston College by 2.5
I don’t know anything about either of these teams. I know less about these two than I do about Clemson or South Carolina. The only thing I know about BC is that Doug Flutie went there. What I do know is that oddsmakers are typically smarter than the general public. 60% of bettors are taking Maryland. So I’ve got to pick BC, because those oddsmakers probably know more than the bettors.

Prediction: BC covers
Expected final score: Boston College 34, Maryland 27
UPDATE — Result: BC Covers — Final Score: Boston College 31, Maryland 16

Purdue (4-6) @ Indiana (4-6):
Vegas says: Purdue by 13
This is the way the Old Oaken Bucket rivalry used to be. Two teams with nothing to play for in a grudge match just to avoid losing this game. 10 years ago, Purdue fans would be somewhat happy with a 1-10 record, as long as we played Notre Dame tough and beat IU. But then we hired Coach Tiller, and went to 8 straight bowl games, beating IU seven of those eight seasons. This season, on the other hand, completely derailed, with a 6 game losing streak right in the middle. On the upside, Purdue has won their last two games behind the leadership of freshman QB Curtis Painter, and a defense that has regained its swagger. They’re looking to finish the season on a high note, signalling that they might be competing for the top of the Big Ten next season. IU started this season very strong behind new coach Terry Hoeppner, and people started to wonder whether they’re actually stepping out from the bottom of the Big Ten. Of course, that was against non-conference opponents, and when they got into their Big Ten schedule they started getting killed. They’re looking to finish the season with an emotional win over their bitter rival, signalling that they’re making important progress inside the program. Make no mistake, a line like 13 points is pretty big, but with a young QB and a grudge match, Joe Tiller won’t take his foot off the throttle in this game. Purdue takes it handily.

Prediction: Purdue covers
Expected final score: Purdue 27, Indiana 10
UPDATE — Result: Purdue covers — Final Score: Purdue 41, Indiana 14

THE Game: #9 Ohio State (8-2) @ #17 Michigan (7-3)
Vegas says: Ohio State by 3
This is nearly universally acknowledged as the greatest rivalry in College Football. This is it. Woody and Bo. The Big House and the Horseshoe. The game that almost every year determines the winner of the Big Ten (and will again today if MSU knocks off Penn State). I realize I’m building it up, but it just doesn’t get any bigger than this. So who’s going to win? I’m not going to bore you with stats or analysis, because this game throws all that out the window. This game is emotion, pure and simple. And this year, Ohio State has it together– Michigan does not. OSU covers.

Prediction: Ohio State covers
Expected final score: Ohio State 27, Michigan 17
UPDATE — Result: Ohio State covers — Final Score: Ohio State 25, Michigan 21

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 9:05 am || Permalink || Comments (1) || Trackback URL || Categories: Uncategorized

Avoiding embarrassing someone

Have you ever been in the situation where you inadvertently learn something extremely embarrassing about someone, and you really want to bust their chops over it, but if they found out that you knew it would be uncomfortable? You can’t tell friends, because they may know the person in question. And because you don’t blog anonymously, you can’t even go spouting your mouth off on your blog, because you don’t know if the person in question reads your blog or if someone who does read your blog might rat you out to them.

Well, I’m in that situation now. So I have this little nugget of information rattling around inside my head that I never wanted, and I can’t do anything with it. This sucks…

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 8:02 am || Permalink || Comments Off || Trackback URL || Categories: Uncategorized

November 18, 2005

More on Peak Oil

Kevin Drum, the esteemed liberal voice of Washington Monthly, recently gave a quick update on Peak Oil. The good and the bad?

The bad news is increasing evidence that the decline rate for existing oil fields might be close to 8% per year, not the 3-6% per year everyone’s been assuming. If that’s the case, then new discoveries won’t come close to matching the decline from existing fields, and oil production will peak in the very near future.

It wouldn’t be so bad if environmentalists let us drill in places like ANWR or NIMBYs let us drill off the coast of Florida, where we know we could get some oil. And if we’re able to get the oil shale thing working, we might be even more able to push back that “peak” by a great margin.

The good news comes from Henry Groppe. He believes that oil production is near peak, but points out that about 25% of the world’s oil production is currently used for heat and power generation, mostly in developing countries. The U.S. and Europe switched almost all their heat and power generation to coal and natural gas (and nuclear) in the 70s, and it’s probable that developing countries will do the same if oil prices stay high. This gives the world a bit of headroom on the demand side, even if oil production does peak in the near future.

And if environmentalists would let coal and nuclear power generation be expanded, we’d be even better off.

But Kevin’s “good news” has an even greater silver lining to it. He points out the exact thing that we who trust markets have been saying all along. As we reach and cross the “peak”, oil prices will jump. The reaction, of course, is that as oil becomes more expensive, other methods for generating power will become feasible. He is saying that the response of the world to rising oil prices, decades ago, was for the market to solve the problem by branching out into other, cheaper energy sources. The problem was seen back then, and the market was already trying to solve it. This esteemed liberal is advocating the same response that free-marketeers like myself are pushing!

The problem, of course, comes when environmentalists & NIMBYs try to speed us towards Peak Oil by not allowing expansion of supply, and try to hamper efforts to change power generation by stopping our ability to expand nuclear and/or coal power generation. They hate the market and they’re pushing policies that actively tie the hands of the market to solve the problem. If we do have a Mad Max 2 breakdown of society due to Peak Oil, I point squarely at the people pushing the policies that are stopping us from addressing the problem now, not the market who is trying their best to supply cheap, plentiful energy to the world.

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 5:25 pm || Permalink || Comments (4) || Trackback URL || Categories: Uncategorized

Illegal aliens & Wal-Mart

100 Arrested at Wal-Mart Construction Site

Federal immigration agents detained more than 100 workers at a construction site for a new Wal-Mart distribution center, authorities said.

The workers, who Wal-Mart said were employed by a subcontractor and not by the retailing giant, were detained Thursday on suspected immigration violations, said Department of Homeland Security spokesman Marc Raimondi. They were being taken to Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention centers for processing, he said.

Of course, immediately Wal-Mart is going to get blamed for this. The fact that this was a subcontractor won’t mean anything. Of course, it is partly due to the fact that Wal-Mart is going to contract out to the cheapest bidder, who is more likely to be using illegal alien labor than not.

So I’m sure there is an indirect culpability to Wal-Mart, and I think we must all get mad at them for hiring companies that will pay immigrant workers $2/hour, well below the minimum wage…

At least 120 illegal immigrants, most of them from Mexico, were detained, Schuylkill County Sheriff Frank McAndrew said. He said he began investigating the site and contacted federal officials after getting complaints from local tradespeople.

“You’ve got a situation here where illegal immigrants are coming into Schuylkill County and taking (local union workers’) jobs for eight bucks an hour. They are working for poverty wages, and creating unemployment because our skilled tradesmen are out of work,” McAndrew said.

Wait… Did he say eight bucks an hour? So these workers are making $3/hour over minimum wage? But I guess they’re taking jobs away from “skilled” tradesman. Which, of course, I’m sure will mean that the rash of Walmart stores collapsing and crushing shoppers over the last few years was caused by unskilled labor building them…

Hmmm, now that I think of it, I can’t think of a single Wal-Mart store that has collapsed…

AHA! I think I’ve figured it out! Local cartel UNION employees want to charge more for their labor than the market is willing to pay. They’re getting upset, because there are people willing to do a satisfactory job for less money than they charge. Instead of compete with those laborers, I guess that means they’re going to have to call in the feds to crack down on the illegals who are doing their jobs happily for well above minimum wage!

This is protectionism, folks, plain and simple. Although I’m one to argue that minimum wage laws tend to be discriminatory and hurt low-wage workers more than they help, that doesn’t even enter into the discussion, because these workers are making more than that. This is a case of a cartel union trying to force lower-priced competition out of the market.

Of course, this is going to be spun in the media as an anti-Walmart story. And it will be spun as employers “exploiting” immigrant labor. Now, I think our entire immigration system is completely whacked out, but that’s not the issue here. These illegal alien laborers are making a heck of a lot more than they could be in Mexico, and I’m sure they don’t feel exploited. In this place, the only party getting exploited will be the customers and/or shareholders of Wal-Mart. The cartel union will be protected, and Wal-Mart will be charged more money to build their distribution center. And as businesses always do, that cost will be borne either by customers in the form of higher prices, or borne by shareholders in the form of lower returns.

Always remember, folks. When you’re uncompetitive in the market, it’s a lot easier to get the government to shut down your competitors than try to become competitive. Sadly, it’s become the American Way.

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 5:01 pm || Permalink || Comments (1) || Trackback URL || Categories: Uncategorized

Salvation for Married Men!

Nasal Spray Arouses Women’s Desire To Have Sex In Minutes

A new nasal spray aphrodisiac for women that works in minutes may soon hit the market, according to a Local 6 News report.

Doctors said women who used the drug PT-141 in test studies felt a tingling or throbbing followed by a strong desire to have sex immediately after spraying their noses.

PT-141 is a synthetic version of a sex hormone that works on both men and women, according to a report.

Immediately? That must be some pretty powerful stuff!

I wonder if it’ll be cheaper than lobster dinner and flowers?

I think this might actually reduce the divorce rate in this country!

The “money quote”, so to speak:

Melinda Gallagher said in the report. “We’re all for that. But one caveat that we have about that is they should probably look around themselves before they start taking a pill.”

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 9:15 am || Permalink || Comments (4) || Trackback URL || Categories: Uncategorized

November 17, 2005

Shiny Happy People!

Lucy MacDonald of Positive Perspectives has begun an entirely new blog carnival. Aptly titled the Positive Carnival, it is a collection of posts that have:

…to do with positive mental attitude, emotional wellness, well-being, facing and overcoming obstacles, mental health, etc. are welcome.

I submitted my post, State of Fear, to the Carnival. It’s only partly positive, a good portion of it is designed to make negative-thinking people feel like idiots. But it does give a glass-half-full type of outlook. Of course, as an engineer, I’d be one to say that the glass is twice the necessary size, but that’s neither here nor there…

Submissions for the Carnival are due Nov 30. Some people might say, if you don’t have anything positive to say, don’t say anything at all. Following that advice would make the blogosphere a really boring place, so I’ll change it a little. If you have something positive to say, submit it to the Positive Carnival ASAP!

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 10:48 pm || Permalink || Comments Off || Trackback URL || Categories: Uncategorized

Positive [Baby] Steps…

NASA wants private sector help for space

NASA wants private enterprise to get involved in its plans to send manned spaceflights to the moon and beyond, the agency’s head said on Wednesday.

Businesses could, for example, take on the task of flying and tending to fuel depots in low-Earth orbit that would service spaceships heading to the moon and eventually Mars, NASA Administrator Michael Griffin said at the Florida Space conference being held at the Kennedy Space Center this week.

Fuel makes up half the weight of what a rocket leaving Earth must carry for a trip to the moon. Griffin is hoping commercial launch providers will be able to fly fuel aboard less expensive rockets, leaving NASA with a smaller load to haul on its more expensive moon ships.

“It would free us from the cost of transporting thousands of pounds of fuel,” Griffin said.

As long as this isn’t a no-bid contract, I think we’d be alright. Of course, it might be tough to find some pock-faced teenagers willing to man the pumps at the first few interplanetary filling stations, but I think they can manage it.

This is one of those stories that makes me happy and sad at the same time. After all, the market is the absolute most efficient way of procuring resources. But at the same time, this will be a government contract. So you won’t have filling stations run by BP, Shell, Texaco, Chevron, etc up there, from which the shuttles can shop fuel prices. You will have the government accepting bids from multiple companies and then granting a monopoly up there to the company they like.

Now, this is what we’ve got when it comes to military contractors. When government wants a new fighter, they take bids from the major military aircraft guys, pick one, and then accept it. They don’t do this to reduce cost, they do this because they know that the government can’t figure out how to build airplanes. And when you look at the military, nobody has ever accused them of being efficient from a budget standpoint. They have more of a desire to be the most efficient battle machine in the world, and will pay whatever it takes to do it.

So this is a good development. A company familiar with the technology needed to do this (like Northrop-Grumman) will have a much easier time setting something like this up than NASA could. But I doubt, I really doubt, that this will come anywhere near approaching a market solution. This is no X-Prize. This will be like a military contract, an efficient procurement method and something that gets the job done, but I don’t know that we’ll see the innovation that’s spurred by a free market, when there can only be one buyer and one seller.

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 10:28 pm || Permalink || Comments Off || Trackback URL || Categories: Uncategorized

NCAA allows Beer Sponsorships

Beer sponsorships make NCAA uneasy during postseason

No one is willing to say, or even guess precisely, how much value the NCAA adds to its $6.2-billion basketball television contract with CBS by allowing the network to sell and air beer and other malt-beverage ads.

“(With) a truly national property, which is obviously what the NCAA and its championships are, you’re talking a significant investment from these alcoholic beverage concerns,” says Steve Angelucci of the media and marketing handler Host Communications. “Certainly in the the millions and millions – high millions.”

Nonetheless, NCAA officials say the decision to allow the limited number of ads is not about the money.

“The general feeling at that stage was that it might be more beneficial to try a ‘responsible drinking’ approach rather than totally eliminating them,” Dempsey says.

Yeah, because college students have listened to the “responsible drinking” approach so much in the past… I’m sure they’ll be willing to stress the 1-second “Please drink responsibly” admonition at the end of the commercial, right after the babes in bikinis stop wrestling in the fountain. Heck, that commercial is already making me want a beer, and I’m just calling it up from memory!

To be sure, March Madness is much bigger than just a college thing. I would guess that the vast majority of people who are tuning in are not college students, but college alumni. Students are at the games. Alumni are drunk at home watching the games on TV. And outside of Doogie Howser, most college alumni are over 21. So the position isn’t that contradictory.

But the biggest thing that makes me think this is about money, and not about doing what’s politically correct?

Before the 11-year deal was negotiated with CBS in 1999, then-NCAA President Cedric Dempsey says he and members of the association’s Division I men’s basketball committee discussed whether to keep alcohol in the advertising mix. They ultimately reasoned that a vast majority of member schools had made their positions clear, permitting the ads on their own radio and TV broadcasts, and that an NCAA ban would be “contradictory,” he says.

Riiiighht. Because the NCAA wouldn’t do something silly like banning Indian-inspired mascots in a desire to appease the gods of political correctness. If you’re going to go after the schools who honor the bravery and folklore of Native Americans by naming their teams the Illini or the Seminoles, I don’t think you can claim “deference to the policy of member schools”. If you’re going to go for political correctness, and you suddenly shy away from that stance when there are millions of dollars involved, I’d call that “about the money.”

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 5:50 pm || Permalink || Comments Off || Trackback URL || Categories: Uncategorized

Collegiate Jokes

Over on the forums, people were bringing out their favorite rivalry jokes. You know the drill, “How do you get an Indiana University graduate off your porch? You pay him for the pizza.”

So here’s one of my favorites. Feel free to add your own in the comments, or post and trackback if you’d like…


Three guys from Indiana are taking a leak at the urinals of their favorite sports bar on one fine Saturday afternoon.

The first one finishes, walks to the sink, washes his hands (taking care to use quite a bit of soap and water), then dries his hands with about 15 paper towels. He proclaims loudly, “At Notre Dame, they taught us that cleanliness is next to godliness,” before walking out.

The second one finishes, walks to the sink, washes his hands using water and soap sparingly. He then dries his hands with only one paper towel. He proclaims loudly, “At Indiana University, they taught us that while cleanliness is very important, being environmentally conscious is also necessary,” before walking out.

The third one finishes, and as he strolls out the door, says to himself: “At Purdue, they taught us not to piss on our hands.”

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 3:46 pm || Permalink || Comments (2) || Trackback URL || Categories: Uncategorized

Want to host a Carnival?

Eric is looking for hosts over the next few months for the Carnival of Liberty. It’s a great way to draw some traffic to your site, and it’s always a good way to support individual liberty.

While the Carnival tends to be heavily weighted towards members of the LLP community, that is in no way exclusive for submitting articles or hosting the Carnival. So if you’re interested, even if you’re not a member of LLP, go have a look.

As for me, I’ve hosted twice already, so I’m probably not going to toss my name in for this round of hosting, unless spots aren’t being filled. I’d prefer to coast while the rest of you do the work :-)

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 9:02 am || Permalink || Comments Off || Trackback URL || Categories: Uncategorized

November 16, 2005

Cassandra and the State of Fear

Yesterday I opined about the State of Fear. I said that there are vested interests in keeping us, as a population, afraid of anything and everything in the world, so long as it makes us more dependent on politicians and media. I had planned to link an article that I’d come across on Monday, and completely forgot about it. So here it is.

The J. Patrick Buchanan Memorial Library for Failed Prophets of Doom

Imagine if you will, a library that is stocked with books that relate to one thing, the Cassandra like predictions from the past that have failed to come true. A Library entirely dedicated to the published works of blowhards, pundits, college professors, and economists everywhere who like the sound of their voice and are certain that they have seen the end times just around the corner. But for some reason never seem to be able to predict the disaster we all know is waiting for us out in the murky future. The Library should serve as a warning to all who wish to see the future darker than it really is.

But there is something about the future that we in the modern world have managed to turn upside down. The future is truly unknowable, but for some reason we have decided that it must be filled only with doom, dread and disaster. There is no equal consideration for how things might just be better, despite all the evidence that things in general are much better than they were in the past.

If we were to go back to the world of 1905, we would see a world very different from our own. A world largely without paved rual roads and interstate highways, rural electricity, inoculations to immunize against childhood polio and thousands of other diseases that were commonplace at the time, antibiotics and penicillin, food and drug standards, building codes, child labor laws, sewage systems, and yet in the modern age people are convinced that stray electrons from power lines and cell phones antenna radiation will kill you. All those things I listed are things that have bettered the lives of billions of people but to the world of 1905, they barely existed. You tell someone in 1905 that there’s a one in a billion chance that their child might get autism from a polio inoculation and they will just point to half a dozen kids in their area who are severly crippled from the disease and then they will tell you of half a dozen other families where the afflicted child didn’t survive at all. In 1905, you expected that at least one of your children would die before they reached puberty, today, no one lives with that expectation. Ive seen what the just the word “polio” can do to older folks, they remember real horror, not the fake made up crap of today.

How did the human race survive all of that to end up at a point where today it’s practically afraid of its own shadow? We are all the descendants of those who came before us, who in each of their lives saw and experienced things daily that would make each of us wet our pants in fear. We face none of those horrible things in our lives today, yet we are more in fear of life itself than any of those people were in theirs while they faced very real threats and not the imagined ones of that we face in ours.

Why is that? And why were the people of 1905 so positive about the future and we are so negative?

We’re at the absolute current zenith of human existence. I highlight the word “current”, because the future will undoubtedly be incredibly more exciting than the days of today. But everyone looks around like the other shoe is going to drop any second now, and the world will be plunged into darkness and despair.

Please, people, get over it. The world’s doing pretty darn well. And while there are chances things might get worse, there are quite a lot of reasons to believe it will get better. If nothing else, history has proven that humanity has a “knack” for progress. Why does everyone think that’s going to suddenly end?

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 11:37 pm || Permalink || Comments (1) || Trackback URL || Categories: Uncategorized

Ashes in space, and template updates

Alright, first things first. I’ve made some updates to the template, which I need some feedback on. I tweaked the content of the left and right sidebars a little bit, and I think the site is looking fairly good in both IE and Firefox (better in IE). But I only have access to test this in 1024×768 resolution. If you’re reading the site at 800×600, buy a new monitor ASAP. But I’d really like to hear from those running at 1280×1024 or other resolutions. If you see anything strange, let me know.

On to the ashes in space:

Beam up to space delayed for Star Trek’s Scotty

Plans to launch the remains of “Star Trek” actor James Doohan into space next month have been delayed pending more rocket engine tests, organizers said on Wednesday.

Doohan, who played the “Star Trek” engineer Montgomery “Scotty” Scott on the TV series, died in July at age 85. In accord with his last wishes, his cremated remains were set to be launched into space by commercial flight operators Space Services.

Charles Chafer of Space Services said the flight, due to blast off from California, was likely to be delayed from December 6 until at least February because engineers working on the Falcon One rocket wanted to do some more engine tests.

I’d probably be a big fan of sending my ashes into space. But at the moment, I’m planning on living forever. And if I don’t manage to pull that one off, my secondary plan is to die somewhere elsewhere than Earth. So I think I’ll probably choose to be buried on whatever rock I lose temperature upon.

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 10:22 pm || Permalink || Comments (4) || Trackback URL || Categories: Uncategorized

Carnival of the Vanities #165

The newest Carnival of the Vanities is up at The Examining Room of Dr. Charles. For those of you unfamiliar with this Carnival, it’s a forum for people to submit their best post of the week on any topic. Since I went to the trouble of breaking this blog’s own #1 rule in a post, I figured I’d pass it along. Lots of good stuff over there, check it out.

Some of my favorites:

Harshly Mellow asks just what Libertarian means to those who call themselves “Libertarian”. Hint: It has to do with a logical political philosophy that flows from first principles, not polls, not democracy, and not your “feelings”.

The Nose on your Face has a Top Nine list (I guess Ten is too “cliche”, huh?) titled Top 9 Other Terrell Owens Complaints Against The Eagles. My favorite?

2. They don’t acknowledge that you can’t spell “team” without “m-e”.

Last, Ruminating Dude wonders Why Are We So Bent Over Bird Flu? He points out that right now, we’ve got 90,000 people dying every year from Staph bacteria that are immune to modern antibiotics. Do you hear about this on the news? Is President Bush touring the world talking about drug-resistant Staph? Doesn’t it make you think we’ve got some priorities out of whack?

It amazes me, really it does. So many of us are all gaga over bird flu, scrambling with some huge money to do something about being prepared for it, yet right now if you went to the hospital to have a hang nail removed you could die from MSRA, or maybe some other interesting little microbial agent of death and bodily destruction

And people wonder why I don’t ever go to hospitals. Sheesh!

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 5:30 pm || Permalink || Comments Off || Trackback URL || Categories: Uncategorized

Congress responds to Porkbusters pressure!

…and completely misses the point!

The ‘Bridge to Nowhere’ Is No More!

CNBC’s Squawk Box is reporting that the “Bridget to Nowhere” has been officially defunded. However, this can only be seen as a small victory. The millions of dollars allocated for this pork project will go to the Alaska state government for them to spend as they see fit…instead of the money going to the Katrina relief effort…or, heaven forbid, back to federal taxpayers.

Well, I’m sure Ted Stevens will find other responsible uses for that money…

I’m glad they realized that they shouldn’t waste our federal tax dollars on stupid projects that only benefit a few local residents. After all, when they decided not to cancel those projects, the rationale was that we shouldn’t try to tell local governments which of their projects were and were not acceptable, because we were supposed to trust local governments and local Congresscritters to spend money wisely. Now, we say the way they wanted to spend the money was wrong, but we’ll trust them with the money anyway? I think they’ve gone from bad to worse. Now, instead of funding a bridge, they’re just giving the our tax dollars away with absolutely no accountability. WTF?!

Maybe, just maybe, we can find a little silver lining in this whole mess. Since these bridges are no more, does that mean Ted Stevens will resign? Q and O thinks we should put the pressure on him to live up to his word.

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Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 10:27 am || Permalink || Comments (1) || Trackback URL || Categories: Uncategorized

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