Thursday, July 29

Battlestar Gallactica Spinoff to Cover 'Young William "Husker" Adama in the first Cylon War'

At the end of the 'Re-imagined' Battlestar Gallactica series, many wondered what possible spinoffs might come from this series to carry on the story. One spinoff is Caprica. However, I was hoping that another spinoff would go back to the first Cylon war and carry on the story that was introduced in a couple of webisodes during the series. This seems to be coming to life in the near future:
An online series called "Blood & Chrome" is in the works, one that would follow the experiences of a young William "Husker" Adama in the first Cylon War. - Chicago Tribune
And note that this is coming online and not straight to TV:
"Blood & Chrome" would consist of nine or 10 episodes of nine or 10 minutes each, and it would make use of cutting-edge digital technology and special effects to depict the Cylon War. If it is greenlit to production, it will be filmed using green screens and virtual sets, not unlike Syfy's "Sanctuary" or James Cameron's "Avatar." - Chicago Tribune (Go click to read the whole story)
I look forward to this coming out. I guess this is a test to see if they can make a full series out of it.
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Wednesday, July 28

It is Financially Irresponsible To Buy A $41,000 Chevy Volt!

So word comes out that Chevy's new 'Green' car, the Chevy Volt is going to sell for the insane amount of $41,000. Are they crazy?
The long-anticipated Chevrolet Volt, General Motors' electric car, will cost $41,000, the company announced Tuesday, leaving consumers to decide whether its environmental appeal is worth a price far above that of similarly sized conventional autos.

Electric-car technology has been around for years, but the high cost to make the vehicles has prevented automakers from producing them for the mass market. The price announcements for the Volt and its electric rival, the Nissan Leaf, have been highly anticipated as a result. Nissan, the only other major manufacturer expected to bring such a vehicle to market this year, said the Leaf will cost $32,780.

GM and Nissan are relying on a $7,500 federal tax credit for buyers of electric vehicles to offset some of the added cost, and they're hoping that the allure of their novel power source will make up the rest. - Washington Post
First, forget the tax credit because you need to pay for the whole car, and I suspect that many people once they get the credit, will use it to either pay other bills, such as higher interest rate credit card, or simply blow the money on some other personal 'reward.'

A look at a car loan calculator gives an $800 monthly payment for a 5 year loan. This is on top of insurance and other costs. For most all Americans, this is an unreasonable monthly expense for a car to the point of being irresponsible.

Given the amount of debt that many Americans are carrying, this car does not make sense given the investment required. Hell, I wonder when it would make sense given that there are many nice alternatives as half the price. And since many families are 2+ car families, this choice is a great way to load up on crushing debt.

And people wonder why GM was in financial trouble. This car is a good example why. buying this car will just give you a share of GM's troubles.

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Tuesday, July 27

Obama Grants PLO Officials in US Diplomatic Immunity

I guess this falls in the catagory of 'Smart Power'.
After a year and half in office, Obama recognized that his previous view of the Middle East was wrong. And as a pragmatist, he has embarked on a new course.

Yet before the ink on their proclamations had a chance to dry, Obama demonstrated that their enthusiasm was misplaced. Late last week the administration decided – apropos of nothing – to upgrade the diplomatic status of the PLO mission in Washington.

From now on, the PLO will be allowed to fly its flag like a regular embassy.

Its representatives will enjoy diplomatic immunity just like diplomats from states.

Indeed the PLO delegate in Washington Maen Areikat claimed that the administration’s move equates the PLO’s diplomatic status in the US to that of Canada and states in Western Europe. - JPost
And just what did they do to earn this? While he is at it, why not just extend the same courtesy to the Iranians? Or how about the Taiwanese?
TO PUT this move in perspective, it is worth comparing the PLO’s new status to that of the US’s firm ally and fellow democracy – Taiwan, the Republic of China. Whereas the PLO now has a “delegation general” in Washington, Taiwan has the “Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office.” - JPost
Maybe if this Administration can find the time, perhaps they might consider strengthening our relationships with our friends for a change...

Update: 28 July
And what about Tibet? How about extending them the same courtesy...
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Sunday, July 25

Murtha's Death Side Effect - Congressional Charges Against Rangel?

About a year ago I had heard an interesting theory as to why Congressman Charlie Rangel was not likely to face an ethics investigation in the US Congress for his ever-growing list of questionable, possible un-ethical (and possibly illegal) activity. This came from a lobbyist and former Capital Hill staffer.

As it was, the Congressional Black Caucus was already pissed over Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi doing nothing to protect Former Congressman William Jefferson, who had hid $90,000 in bribe money in his freezer.

Going after Congressman Rangel, would result in a second member of the Congressional Black Caucus turning out to be crooks. The problem for Mrs. Pelosi is that the Congressional Black Caucus might have a problem with Congressman Rangel being investigated while other White Congressmen continue to be protected by the speaker. The most obvious example was her friend Congressman Murtha who had, among other questionable activity, connections to Lobbyist firm PMA which is currently being investigated by the FBI. But he never faced an Ethics investigation by Congress.

So it is funny to see that soon after Murtha's death, Congress finally decides to move forward with charges against Congressman Rangel. As they say, 'I question the timing'. After all, they waited years before deciding to charge him...

I was also told that many members of the Congressional Black Caucus has been behaving unethically, violating rules if not outright breaking the law, especially in terms of receiving 'gifts'. as part of being the party in power. I guess time will tell.

Update: 26 July 2010

The Wall Street Journal gives a summary of what Congressman Rangel has been up to:
Allegations include Mr. Rangel's failure to report assets and income totaling at least a half-million dollars that, when he "amended" his reporting last year, doubled his net worth; his use of four rent-stabilized apartments in New York's tony Lenox Terrace complex, including one that he used as a campaign office; concealing taxable rental income from his Dominican Republic beachfront villa at the Punta Cana Yacht Club; and using his official Congressional letterhead to solicit donations for the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at the City College of New York. - WSJ

Also, don't forget that he illegally parked a car for years in the House of Representative's garage as well as claimed that he was a DC resident in order to take advantage of a tax break:
City officials said Rangel, who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, got the tax break from at least 1995 until 2000, amounting to $288 per year, said Natalie Wilson, a spokeswoman for the Office of Tax and Revenue. Officials yesterday continued researching whether the break covered a longer period.

The exemption is designed as a break for people who buy a home in the District and use it as a primary residence. But Rangel always has maintained his primary residence in New York, making him ineligible. - Washington Post
Who knows what else he has been up to...

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Monday, July 19

Predictions Concerning Shirley Sherrod, USDA Georgia Director of Rural Development

By now you have probably seen the video of Shirley Sherrod, the USDA Georgia Director of Rural Development explaining at a NAACP function how she discriminated against a white farmer.
We are in possession of a video from in which Shirley Sherrod, USDA Georgia Director of Rural Development, speaks at the NAACP Freedom Fund dinner in Georgia. In her meandering speech to what appears to be an all-black audience, this federally appointed executive bureaucrat lays out in stark detail, that her federal duties are managed through the prism of race and class distinctions.

In the first video, Sherrod describes how she racially discriminates against a white farmer. She describes how she is torn over how much she will choose to help him. And, she admits that she doesn’t do everything she can for him, because he is white. Eventually, her basic humanity informs that this white man is poor and needs help. But she decides that he should get help from “one of his own kind”. She refers him to a white lawyer.

Sherrod’s racist tale is received by the NAACP audience with nodding approval and murmurs of recognition and agreement. Hardly the behavior of the group now holding itself up as the supreme judge of another groups’ racial tolerance. - Big Government



Link to video

I have a couple thoughts after watching this video:
  • Her actions in the case of deciding how much to help a farmer based on her color is the very definition of racism.
  • Given that it was not her money, it would have cost her nothing to help this white farmer at no cost to helping other farmers including those that are black. Her actions are simply spiteful and racist.
  • Prediction: Before this is over, I bet we will discover that she also failed to do 'her best' to help black farmers as well, instead doing 'enough'. The reason in those cases will be that she is simply lazy.
  • Prediction: Her defense (if she is ever held to account for her actions) will be that she acted no better in helping black farmers.
  • She should be fired.
  • The NAACP will defend her remarks.
  • The white farmer should sue.
Unfortunately, you can bet that she is not the only person in the Government who discriminates.

Update: 21 July 2010
Well, seems that the video above is only part of the story.

We wanted it and now we’ve got it. Forty-three minutes and 15 seconds. I haven’t had time to watch all of it — the full clip will be crowdsourced in the comments, I’m sure — but skip ahead to 16:30 for the segment about the white farmer and stick with it until at least 24:00 or so. She actually introduces the story by saying how she started working in order to help black people but then, through divine providence, came to realize that she was meant to work for poor people generally. The key moment comes just after the 21:00 mark when she talks about how helping the Spooners “made me see that it’s really about those who have versus those who don’t. You know, and they can be black, they can be white, they can be Hispanic.” And the crowd murmurs its assent. From there she segues into a historical narrative about racism being an artificial construct manufactured by wealthy interests to keep lower-class blacks and whites divided when in fact they should be working together. Exit question: How long before Vilsack gives her her job back? - HotAir
My post above was written given the information available at the time. Hell, even the NAACP condemned what was presented on that tape. In light of the now more complete story, my comments above are no longer valid. She does make a good point in that there is a need to fight poverty. That is the issue. The problem, as covered here in the past, is how the Government goes about tackling the issue. There is welfare, rent control and various government programs that both prevent families from moving to where the jobs are and killing their motivation to find a paying job.

I am not one for deleting posts when they are no longer correct. I will note that in this case I removed the word racist from the title. Also, clearly my predictions turned out wrong.
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Wednesday, July 7

US Supremacy Clause Claim Against Arizonia, But Not Against California?

So the Federal Government is going after Arizona claiming that it has not right to pass a law targeting illegal aliens because that is the right of the Government.
1. In this action, the United States seeks to declare invalid and preliminarily and permanently enjoin the enforcement of S.B. 1070, as amended and enacted by the State of Arizona, because S.B. 1070 is preempted by federal law and therefore violates the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution. - Legal Filing
Although states may exercise their police power in a manner that has an incidental or indirect effect on aliens, a state may not establish its own immigration policy or enforce state laws in a manner that interferes with the federal immigration laws. The Constitution and the federal immigration laws do not permit the development of a patchwork of state and local immigration policies throughout the country. - Legal Filing
This is a nice argument that the Government is taking. It does make me wonder though:
  • Why is the Government not taking the same position against 'Sanctuary Cities'?
  • Why is the Government not taking the same position against laws legalizing medical marijuana?
In both cases above, jurisdictions are violating the Supremacy Clause as the Government argues in this case.

However, there is one very distinct difference between the Arizona Law the Government is challenging and the laws that they are not challenging. In the case of Arizona, their law is supportive of Federal law, making Federal immigration crime also a State Crime. The laws supporting a city's status as a Sanctuary City and decriminalizing marijuana go directly against Federal Law.

I look forward to seeing Arizona fight this lawsuit and hope they include the hypocrisy of the Government in how they ignore violations of the Supremacy clause.

The Legal filing is an interesting read. I will post more of my comments on that later.

UPDATE: 7 July
The Governor of Arizona has now commented on the lawsuit and makes the point I made above:

"Today's filing," Brewer said in a formal statement, "is nothing more than a massive waste of taxpayer funds. These funds could be better used against the violent Mexican cartels than the people of Arizona."


Brewer's statement added:

The irony is that President Obama’s Administration has chosen to sue Arizona for helping to enforce federal immigration law and not sue local governments that have adopted a patchwork of ‘sanctuary’ policies that directly violate federal law. These patchwork local ‘sanctuary’ policies instruct the police not to cooperate with federal immigration officials.

- NY Times

As for an example of Obama deferring to State Laws that are in violation of Federal Laws, there is also this from the NY Times:
In the Bush administration, federal agents raided medical marijuana distributors that violated federal statutes even if the dispensaries appeared to be complying with state laws. The raids produced a flood of complaints, particularly in California, which in 1996 became the first state to legalize marijuana sales to people with doctors’ prescriptions.

Graham Boyd, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union drug law project, said Mr. Holder’s remarks created a reasonable balance between conflicting state and federal laws and “seem to finally end the policy war over medical marijuana.” He said officials in California and the 12 other states that have authorized the use of medical marijuana had hesitated to adopt regulations to carry out their laws because of uncertainty created by the Bush administration. - NY Times
Lets see how the Government explains this away. Surely with more BS.

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Sea Shepherd's Pete Bethune Escapes Prison Sentence in Japan

Thinking about it, I have to say that while I was expecting Japan to give Pete Bethune jail time, I am not surprised that they are letting him go.
TOKYO — A Japanese court on Wednesday convicted an anti-whaling activist from New Zealand of assault and obstructing Japan’s whaling fleet in the Antarctic. But his sentence was suspended, meaning he will not be jailed.

Peter Bethune, a member of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, boarded a Japanese whaling ship from a Jet Ski in the southern Antarctic in February, and threw bottles of butyric acid at the whalers. One bottle cracked open and three crew members suffered minor burns, prosecutors charged.

The Tokyo District Court also found Mr. Bethune, 45, guilty of trespassing, vandalism and possession of a knife. The presiding judge, Takashi Tawada, sentenced Mr. Bethune to two years in prison, with the sentence suspended for five years.

Mr. Bethune pleaded guilty to all charges except assault at the start of his trial in May. Under a suspended sentence, those convicted do not have to serve the prison term unless they are charged with further criminal offences. - NY Times
I figured that they would have made an example to him, if for no other reason than to put a real fear into other Sea Shepherd activists of facing the same fate if they are foolish enough to also board a Japanese whaling vessel. Still, I would like to think that spending a month confined on a Japanese whaling ship and then being a 'guest' in a Japanese jail is disincentive enough.

Personally, I think the Japanese need to hit back harder. Sinking the ADY GIL was a step in the right direction. There is lots more they can do like disabling the small boats and helicopter while on the deck. Hell, where are their potato cannons? Also, if I were them, I would target the camera crews. Simply because they are a tool for the Sea Shepherds and taking out their camera equipment has a real cost. (Note, I am against all Japanese whaling.)
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Thursday, July 1

No Citizenship For Illegal Aliens, Ever...

Rewarding illegal aliens with Citizenship, no matter how long and difficult a path you create for them is sending the wrong message about breaking the law. To offer illegal aliens the possibility of Citizenship also tells the rest of the world to come here ASAP to get in line for the next amnesty.

Also, offering citizenship to those who broke the law simply cheapens it's value. Frankly, illegal aliens do not deserve it. For if they do, you might as well offer citizenship to every person on the planet. At least the rest of them have not broken our immigration laws.

Also, the issue of legalization of illegal aliens can be solved by giving them legal residence. This would give them the right to stay and work. Why on earth would we give them the right to shape our country's Government and laws. Again, they did not earn it. And for the Democrats to promise it to them makes them agents of foreign Governments like Mexico. This is in addition to trading citizenship for the votes of these new citizens.

The President has declared that he is not holding border security hostage in return for an amnesty for illegal aliens. How about he actually do something about it. Yes, he talked about immigration today. Too bad he ignored illegal immigration. Whatever, the Government is full of BS when it comes to dealing with this problem, starting with this President.

For more detailed posts on this subject, click on the label below.

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