Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Umm, About that Increased Transportation Spending . . .

Another Little “Diversion”

It seems that our esteemed Governor has decided to set up a “Commission” to study the devastating contributions to “global warming” we in the Commonwealth are making. I heard of using the “rainy day” fund, but this is ridiculous! Seriously, though, I wouldn’t put it past the Dems to call this a legitimate form of “Transportation spending” (after all, to study climate, right?) Then, gee whiz, the study will show that all those roads we need in Northern Virginia will cause global warming, so the extra fees will just have to go into rail projects or grants to some (politically favored) environmental groups. So I guess not all the lane miles of roads will get built. Well, unless we agree to another tax hike . . .

Right-Wing Liberal rips the Commission up here. Speaker Howell, are you listening? Senator Ken, do you know about this? Well, you will hear from one of your constituents in a few minutes, anyway!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

John Edwards Fabulous Facts

If you haven't read these from IMAO, you should. Just sayin' . . .

("Leather or tights?")

Kat's Carnival of Christmas

OK, I don't celebrate Christmas (though I'll take the day off that they give me), but Kat did a heck of a job on her Carnival of Christmas, so I for one congratulate her for all her hard work. Best wishes to all!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Taxes, Civil War Style

What Was Written in the 1860s

Whatever you think of the Washington Times, they run a great “Civil War” page each week. This week, the subject was Abraham Lincoln and his personal finances. Lincoln was evidently a pretty good saver (despite his wife’s alleged extravagant spending), because at his death, Lincoln’s estate was valued at over $80,000 (and a total of about $110,000 was distributed to Lincoln’s widow and two surviving sons a couple of years later).

The topic of taxes also came up in this article. Evidently, an income tax was levied to help fund the Civil War. It is possible that this same tax was declared unconstitutional, which is why we have the 16th Amendment instead. The passage from the article is quite interesting:

To help fund the war, Congress passed legislation that pegged interest rates on bonds at 6 percent. Treasury notes, which paid 7.3 percent, were referred to as seven-thirties. In addition, Congress passed the Revenue Act, imposing the first income tax, then called an "income duty," on Americans.

As of Sept. 1, 1862, income became taxable at the rate of 3 percent for amounts greater than $600 and up to $10,000, 5 percent for income greater than $10,000, 1½ percent for interest income, and 5 percent for all property of any kind. In June 1864, the rate of tax for income greater than $600 increased to 5 percent. The pro-tax New York Herald had this to say on Sept. 1, 1862, the day the national tax began:

"To-day begins a new era of this country. Beyond a few local and state taxes, which were felt by none but owners of real estate, this country has never been taxed before. We have jogged along quietly and comfortably, and have amused ourselves greatly by laughing at the over taxed people of England, where a man is taxed from the cradle to the grave; where light, heat and water are taxed, and where not only
every rich man, but even the poorest peasant, is obliged to pay largely for the
privilege of existence and the blessings of bad government. ...

"We could have wished, however, that this necessary tax should be more equally
imposed than at present, and that the Eastern manufacturers and the Western farmers had been compelled to bear an equal share of the burden with the people
of the other States, instead of being almost entirely exempt, and leaving the
commercial people of the Middle States to pay an unfair proportion of the debt.

"The effect of the tax will be to deepen public sentiment. The people will be less ready to excuse the mistakes of our government and our generals. ... The war will be better conducted, for every man, having to pay his money towards carrying on the war, will insist and assist that it shall be properly prosecuted and speedily and gloriously concluded."

Years later, when it was determined that the tax did not apply to the president or
Supreme Court justices, Lincoln's executor filed a claim that resulted in a $3,555.94 refund check paid in 1872 to Lincoln's heirs.

Of course, this was before the days of widespread government dependency. Still, it is interesting to note how some issues do not change over time. And what’s this about the President being exempted from the income tax?

Friday, December 21, 2007

You Can Have the Power

With Your Own Neighborhood Nuclear Reactor!

Hat tip: Ace

Toshiba builds micro nuclear reactor.

The 200 kilowatt Toshiba designed reactor is engineered to be fail-safe and totally automatic and will not overheat. Unlike traditional nuclear reactors the new micro reactor uses no control rods to initiate the reaction. The new revolutionary technology uses reservoirs of liquid lithium-6, an isotope that is effective at absorbing neutrons. The Lithium-6 reservoirs are connected to a vertical tube that fits into the reactor core. The whole whole process is self sustaining and can last for up to 40 years, producing electricity for only 5 cents per kilowatt hour, about half the cost of grid energy.

The down side is, that's still not enough to meet Al Gore's home energy needs.

Just a Few Hundred Nobodies

Over 400 Prominent Scientists Disputed Man-Made Global Warming Claims in 2007

See Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee Blog post here.

Now what gets me is that I tend to see scientists trending in the "skeptical" direction, not the other way around.


Czech Republic: Czech-born U.S. climatologist Dr. George Kukla, a research scientist with the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University, expressed climate skepticism in 2007. “The only thing to worry about is the damage that can be done by worrying. Why are some scientists worried? Perhaps because they feel that to stop worrying may mean to stop being paid,” Kukla told Gelf Magazine on April 24, 2007.

Now that is what I call a "money" quote!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Chinese Food on Christmas

Kat is going to kill me, but what the heck.

See video here.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

More Holiday Stupidity

Ham for Chanukah #1

Holiday Stupidity

Happy Hanukkah!

Hat tip: Ace

What better way to kick off the holiday than to link an article about "Green Hanukkia Campaign Sparks Ire." Yes, a bunch of crazed Israeli environmentalists want all Jews to light one less Hanukkah candle to cut down on carbon dioxide emissions.

For those of you who aren't familiar, on Hanukkah, Jews light an increasing number of candles on each night of Hanukkah. There is also a "Shamash" candle that is used to light the rest. So basically, one candle is lit on the first night (plus the Shamash), and it increases to eight (plus the Shamash) by the last night of the holiday. So the total number of candles lit is 45. So these green whack jobs want to light 37 instead?

Here's what some rabbis had to say, according to the article:

"The environmentalists should think about how much pollution is caused by one solitary diesel truck on the road," Ze'ev said. "They should be fighting the trucks instead of Judaism. This is so trivial, so anti-Jewish and so anti-religious that even the worst anti-Semites couldn't think of it. Just like the Helenists, they are trying to extinguish the flames of the Jewish soul."

United Torah Judaism MK Avraham Ravitz called the environmentalists "crazy people who are playing with the minds of innocent Jewish people." He said the campaign would only convince people who do not light candles anyway.

Note: MK = Member of Knesset, the Israeli Parliament

The Hellenist comparison is apt. Clearly, these anti-religious nuts have lost the true meaning of the holiday, and are picking a different deity (Gaia? Appropriately Greek!) of their own.

Somehow I think the "Hellenists" aren't exactly shomer Shabbat (keeping Sabbath). Why don't these idiots just sit a couple of extra hours in the dark?

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Elementary Thoughts X

More from the ever-inquisitive mind of Ron's seven-year-old son

Whhhhhhhhhhhha? What's the most drowsy medicine in the world? It is one of those that you put somebody under.

I don't want to say anything else.