"Fascism and communism both promise "social welfare," "social justice," and "fairness" to justify authoritarian means and extensive arbitrary and discretionary governmental powers." - F. A. Hayek"

"Life is a Bungling process and in no way educational." in James M. Cain

Jean Giraudoux who first said, “Only the mediocre are always at their best.”

If you have ten thousand regulations, you destroy all respect for the law. Sir Winston Churchill

"summum ius summa iniuria" ("More laws, more injustice.") Cicero

As Christopher Hitchens once put it, “The essence of tyranny is not iron law; it is capricious law.”

"Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it." Ronald Reagan

"Law is where you buy it." Raymond Chandler

"Why did God make so many damn fools and Democrats?" Clarence Day

"If I feel like feeding squirrels to the nuts, this is the place for it." - Cluny Brown

"Oh, pshaw! When yu' can't have what you choose, yu' just choose what you have." Owen Wister "The Virginian"

Oscar Wilde said about the death scene in Little Nell, you would have to have a heart of stone not to laugh.

Thomas More's definition of government as "a conspiracy of rich men procuring their own commodities under the name and title of a commonwealth.” ~ Winston S. Churchill, A History of the English Speaking Peoples

“Laws are like cobwebs, which may catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through.” ~ Jonathon Swift

Monday, May 31, 2010

Elaine...Elaine, Lame

Ever since I saw "The Graduate" when it first came out in 1967 (I saw it in '68), it was always a mystery to me as to what any appeal the Dustin Hoffman character, Benjamin, held for the mother and daughter duo who found him attractive. He represented the ultimate pampered weenie from the Baby-Boomers, the Weenie Generation, my generation.
The Boomers have spawned a bunch of anti-males who register to vote as democrats, want gun control, claim metro-sexuality (why not just bi--- hell, just gay, and not all of a sudden) and have engendered a new batch of effeminate "males" that are now archetypal as found in films such as the "Twilight" series.
I was absolutely amazed when my thoughts about it were broached in the film "Barcelona," although with irony, coming from the imperfect, wounded and now physically as well as mentally myopic, Fred.

While I'm at it, here's a great scene from "Bringing Up Baby," where Cary Grant is not quite himself:

Sunday, May 30, 2010

State Rep. in accident with suspected illegal alien

State Rep. in accident with suspected illegal alien

State Rep. Mike Moran of Brighton was rear-ended by a suspected illegal immigrant this week. The suspect was wearing a Mexican costume at the time of the crash where he slammed into Moran at 60 mph.

You can't make this up, nor can you understand how stupid Moran and his comrades in the Mass. Statehouse really are!
The best analysis is from John Derbyshire's RadioDerb:

07 — Law-hating lawmaker rear-ended by scofflaw. New Yorkers cherish the memory of the late Judge Bruce Wright, who presided over criminal courts in the city thirty years ago. The judge was known to one and all as "Turn 'Em Loose Bruce" for his lenience towards the criminals who came up before him, releasing or setting very low bail even for violent offenders. One day Judge Wright got mugged in the street near his home. He was off work for a few days. It was a big story in the tabloid newspapers, and a lot of people were making jokes about it. When Judge Wright returned to the bench, he made a point of starting off that day's session with an announcement: "As I'm sure you all know, I was the victim of a criminal assault the other day. I want to make it clear that this experience will in no way change my sentencing policies on this bench!" As he paused to let this sink in, someone called out from the back of the courtroom: "Mug him again!"

Now here is this generation's successor to Judge Wright: Massachusetts state representative Mike Moran. Rep. Moran has been an energetic supporter of open borders and illegal immigration. He has enthusiastically supported the policy of governor Deval Patrick to prohibit Massachusetts police from making any inquiries about a perp's immigration status. Massachusetts is a sanctuary state, the
anti-Arizona, and Rep. Moran is just fine with that.

Well, there he was sitting in his car at a red light the other day when he was rear-ended at 60 mph. The vehicle that rear-ended him was driven by an illegal immigrant from Mexico, 27-year-old Isaias Naranjo. Mr. Naranjo was driving without a license and was seriously drunk — blood alcohol level 0.25, which is over
three times the legal limit in Massachusetts and corresponds to "severe motor impairment" on the AMA chart. He was charged with DUI, leaving the scene of an accident and driving without a valid license. According to the police report, when told of these charges, Mr. Naranjo laughed and said that nothing would happen to him as he would just go back to, quote, "my country."

You might think that Rep. Moran, having been rear-ended at 60 mph by a guy who then threw all Moran's stupid pandering right back in his face, would see the light. That, however, would be to reckon without the insane fanaticism of the open-borders ideologues. Interviewed by Fox News later, Moran was asked whether the incident had changed his views on our immigration laws at all. Here's his response. I've edited it slightly for length, but you can watch the whole video at www.myfoxboston.com, search on the phrase "hit by illegal." This quote starts at 3m 11s into the main video, quote: "I have been and will continue to be pro-immigrant and in some cases even pro-illegal-immigrant. It would be politically expedient for me at this point in time to change that. That should give you some indication of my commitment to immigration and immigrants, to tell you that even after being hit by one I will continue to advocate for immigrants and their rights as citizens in this country."

Just pause to savor those last few words: "as citizens in this country." Rep. Moran is concerned about Mr. Naranjo's rights as a citizen in this country. He has also declared there, in his capacity as a maker of laws for the State of Massachusetts, that he is, quote, "pro-illegal immigrant." Here is a lawmaker advocating the violation of the people's laws.

Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens, observed Schiller, and he was not wrong: "Against stupidity, the gods themselves struggle in vain." Wait a minute: I hear a voice calling from the back of the room: Rear-end him again!



In other words, what a putz!

Steyn on America

Barack Obama's remarkable powers of oratory are well known: In support of Chicago's Olympic bid, he flew into Copenhagen to give a heartwarming speech about himself, and they gave the games to Rio. He flew into Boston to support Martha Coakley's bid for the U.S. Senate, and Massachusetts voters gave Ted Kennedy's seat to a Republican. In the first year of his presidency, he gave a gazillion speeches on health care "reform" and drove support for his proposals to basement level, leaving Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid to ram it down the throats of the American people through sheer parliamentary muscle.

Like a lot of guys who've been told they're brilliant one time too often, President Obama gets a little lazy, and doesn't always choose his words with care. And so it was that he came to say a few words about Daniel Pearl, upon signing the "Daniel Pearl Press Freedom Act." Pearl was decapitated on video by jihadist Muslims in Karachi on Feb. 1, 2002. That's how I'd put it. This is what the president of the United States said:

"Obviously, the loss of Daniel Pearl was one of those moments that captured the world's imagination because it reminded us of how valuable a free press is."

Now Obama's off the prompter, when his silver-tongued rhetoric invariably turns to sludge. But he's talking about a dead man here, a guy murdered in public for all the world to see. Furthermore, the deceased's family is standing all around him. And, even for a busy president, it's the work of moments to come up with a sentence that would be respectful, moving and true. Indeed, for Obama, it's the work of seconds, because he has a taxpayer-funded staff sitting around all day with nothing to do but provide him with that sentence.

Instead, he delivered the one above, which in its clumsiness and insipidness is most revealing. First of all, note the passivity: "The loss of Daniel Pearl." He wasn't "lost." He was kidnapped and beheaded. He was murdered on a snuff video. He was specifically targeted, seized as a trophy, a high-value scalp. And the circumstances of his "loss" merit some vigor in the prose. Yet Obama can muster none.

Even if Americans don't get the message, the rest of the world does. This week's pictures of the leaders of Brazil and Turkey clasping hands with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are also monuments to American passivity.

But what did the "loss" of Daniel Pearl mean? Well, says the president, it was "one of those moments that captured the world's imagination." Really? Evidently it never captured Obama's imagination because, if it had, he could never have uttered anything so fatuous. He seems literally unable to imagine Pearl's fate, and so, cruising on autopilot, he reaches for the all-purpose bromides of therapeutic sedation: "one of those moments" – you know, like Princess Di's wedding, Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction, whatever – "that captured the world's imagination."

Notice how reflexively Obama lapses into sentimental one-worldism: Despite our many zip codes, we are one people, with a single imagination. In fact, the murder of Daniel Pearl teaches just the opposite – that we are many worlds, and worlds within worlds. Some of them don't even need an "imagination." Across the planet, the video of an American getting his head sawed off did brisk business in the bazaars and madrassahs and Internet downloads. Excited young men e-mailed it to friends, from cell phone to cell phone, from Karachi to Jakarta to Khartoum to London to Toronto to Falls Church, Virginia. In the old days, you needed an "imagination" to conjure the juicy bits of a distant victory over the Great Satan. But in an age of high-tech barbarism the sight of Pearl's severed head is a mere click away.

And the rest of "the world"? Most gave a shrug of indifference. And far too many found the reality of Pearl's death too uncomfortable, and chose to take refuge in the same kind of delusional pap as Obama. The president is only the latest Western liberal to try to hammer Daniel Pearl's box into a round hole. Before him, it was Michael Winterbottom in his film "A Mighty Heart": As Pearl's longtime colleague Asra Nomani wrote, "Danny himself had been cut from his own story." Or as Paramount's promotional department put it, "Nominate the most inspiring ordinary hero. Win a trip to the Bahamas!" Where you're highly unlikely to be kidnapped and beheaded! (Although, in the event that you are, please check the liability-waiver box at the foot of the entry form.)

The latest appropriation that his "loss" "reminded us of how valuable a free press is." It was nothing to do with "freedom of the press." By the standards of the Muslim world, Pakistan has a free-ish and very lively press. The problem is that some 80 percent of its people wish to live under the most extreme form of Sharia, and many of its youth are exported around the world in advance of that aim. The man convicted of Pearl's murder was Omar Sheikh, a British subject, a London School of Economics student, and, like many jihadists from Osama to the Pantybomber, a monument to the peculiar burdens of a non-deprived childhood in the Muslim world. The man who actually did the deed was Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who confessed in March 2007: "I decapitated with my blessed right hand the head of the American Jew Daniel Pearl, in the city of Karachi." But Obama's not the kind to take "guilty" for an answer, so he's arranging a hugely expensive trial for KSM amid the bright lights of Broadway.

Listen to his killer's words: "The American Jew Daniel Pearl." We hit the jackpot! And then we cut his head off. Before the body was found, The Independent's Robert Fisk offered a familiar argument to Pearl's kidnappers: Killing him would be "a major blunder... the best way of ensuring that the suffering" – of Kashmiris, Afghans, Palestinians – "goes unrecorded." Other journalists peddled a similar line: if you release Danny, he'll be able to tell your story, get your message out, "bridge the misconceptions." But the story did get out; the severed head is the message; the only misconception is that that's a misconception.

Daniel Pearl was the prototype for a new kind of terror. In his wake came other victims from Kenneth Bigley, whose last words were that "Tony Blair has not done enough for me," to Fabrizzio Quattrocchi, who yanked off his hood, yelled "I will show you how an Italian dies!" and ruined the movie for his jihadist videographers. By that time, both men understood what it meant to be in a windowless room with a camera and a man holding a scimitar. But Daniel Pearl was the first, and in his calm, coherent final words understood why he was there:

"My name is Daniel Pearl. I am a Jewish American from Encino, California, USA ..."

He didn't have a prompter. But he spoke the truth. That's all President Obama owed him – to do the same.

I mentioned last week the attorney general's peculiar insistence that "radical Islam" was nothing to do with the Times Square bomber, the Pantybomber, the Fort Hood killer. Just a lot of moments "capturing the world's imagination." For now, the jihadists seem to have ceased cutting our heads off. Listening to Obama and Eric Holder, perhaps they've figured out there's nothing much up there anyway.

The Orange County Register, May 21st 2010

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Tuesday, May 25, 2010



Rear-end collisions jump at red-light camera intersections in West Palm Beach

Rear-end collisions jump at red-light camera intersections in West Palm Beach

Advocates for a law passed this spring giving state authorization for the cameras said the whole point was to increase safety - and there was no time to lose.

"We've got to do something," said state Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, during the legislative session that ended in April.

The losing side in the debate contended another motive is in play. Motorist group AAA pointed out a private camera contractor working with West Palm Beach and several other cities, American Traffic Solutions of Arizona, is partly owned by Wall Street titan Goldman Sachs, which gained control of two ATS board seats in 2008.

"It's more about the money than it is traffic safety," said Kevin Bakewell, a vice president with AAA in Tampa who unsuccessfully urged Gov. Charlie Crist to veto the state law.

In West Palm Beach, a barrage of fines dwarfed the total number of wrecks, yet accidents still increased. The city issued 1,337.5 citations per crash in the first full month of fines, March. There were two documented accidents in that month at the three city intersections with red-light cameras: Australian Avenue at Banyan Boulevard, Belvedere Road at Parker Avenue, and Summit Boulevard at Parker. By comparison, there was one crash at those intersections in January, the last full month without fines.

Hey Tucson, Guess Who’s Teaching Your Kids? | NewsReal Blog

Hey Tucson, Guess Who’s Teaching Your Kids? | NewsReal Blog

The Racial-Profiling Smoke Screen - Heather Mac Donald

The Racial-Profiling Smoke Screen - Heather Mac Donald - The Corner on National Review Online

The Racial-Profiling Smoke Screen [Heather Mac Donald]

As each day passes without any abatement in the increasingly surreal hysteria over the Arizona immigration law, the ground for that opposition becomes ever clearer: The real problem with the Arizona law is that it threatens to make immigration enforcement a reality. Every other argument against it is a smoke screen.

The two main lines of attack against SB 1070 — that it is preempted by federal immigration laws and that it will lead to racial profiling — make sense only if you believe that we should not be enforcing our immigration laws.

Putting state resources behind immigration enforcement interferes with federal enforcement only if it is federal policy not to enforce the immigration laws. Without question, more people will be picked up in Arizona for being in the country illegally with SB 1070 than would have been picked up without SB 1070. Arizona has only several hundred ICE agents, and they are are overmatched by the estimated 560,000 illegal aliens in the state. Authorizing the state’s 15,000 police officers and deputies to inquire into suspected illegal aliens’ immigration status during lawful stops acts as a significant force multiplier for ICE.

That is SB 1070’s only effect. Opponents of SB 1070 can argue that a state’s detection of illegal aliens conflicts with federal policy only if it is federal policy that those illegal aliens never be subjected to the immigration laws in the first place. Everything that the Obama administration has said regarding SB 1070, as well as its implementation of the 287(g) and Secure Communities programs, suggests that such lax enforcement is in fact its de facto stance on immigration.

President Obama reiterated the racial-profiling trope in his meeting this Wednesday with Mexico’s president, Felipe Calderón: “We’re examining any implications, especially for civil rights, because in the United States of America, no law-abiding person, be they an American citizen, a legal immigrant, or a visitor or tourist from Mexico, should ever be subject to suspicion simply because of what they look like.”

The Arizona legislature agrees. SB 1070 states that a law-enforcement officer may make an inquiry regarding someone’s immigration status only if he has reasonable suspicion — a longstanding legal concept requiring defensible objective facts — for thinking that the person may be in the country illegally, and only if the officer has stopped or detained that person as part of an independent and lawful police investigation. What someone “looks like” is not a sufficient basis for reasonable suspicion under the law, paceObama. The most likely trigger for an officer’s immigration inquiry under SB 1070 will be driving without a license or not possessing another form of valid government identification during a lawful stop, having no credible explanation for the lack of identification, and giving answers that suggest possible illegal status. If someone presents a valid ID, any possibility of reasonable suspicion arising is gone.

But let’s be honest: National origin is an inevitable part of immigration enforcement. Foreign alienage is a prerequisite to being an illegal alien; to say that national origin may not be a factor in assessing whether someone may be in the country illegally is to render immigration law nonsensical. If foreign alienage were not a valid consideration regarding border control, incoming passengers on international flights could not be separated into U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizens for customs clearance. Yet the illegal-alien lobby, in its nuclear assault on the Arizona law, has managed to discredit notice of foreign birth as a factor in immigration enforcement and to fold foreign alienage into the utterly lethal category of “racial profiling.” The original version of SB 1070 said that a “law enforcement official#...#may not solely consider#...#national origin in implementing the requirements of this subsection except to the extent permitted by the United States or Arizona Constitution.” In the uproar that followed passage of the law, Arizona legislators took out “solely.” It is not clear how this change affects legislative intent or the impact of the law. The Supreme Court has allowed border-patrol agents to use apparent foreign birth as one factor in the initial decision to make a car stop near the border. Lower courts have applied that ruling in cases challenging car stops far from the border as well, allowing apparent foreign alienage to count as one part of reasonable suspicion in initiating a stop, so long as the stop was based on other specific, articulable facts as well. SB 1070 is narrower than those rulings, since it applies only to the development of reasonable suspicion after a stop has already been made. To argue, as the illegal-alien lobby is currently doing, that a local law-enforcement officer may not consider apparent foreign origin in deciding whether to ask someone about his immigration status is tantamount to shutting down immigration enforcement entirely.

And let’s be honest about another fact as well: There is a greater chance that a legal-alien Hispanic in Arizona driving without his license could have a question asked of him regarding his immigration status during a stop than a native-born Anglo driving without his license. According to the illegal-alien lobby, that possibility renders the law unconstitutional and a fundamental assault on human rights. But the police may question someone based on reasonable suspicion even if, after the fact, it turns out that the person is not breaking the law. And the minimal intrusion on lawful Hispanics from being asked about their immigration status must be balanced against the massive effects on Arizona from the absence of immigration enforcement.

Again, if the possibility that a lawfully resident alien or person of ethnic ancestry may be asked a question about his status is unconstitutional, then we can’t have any immigration enforcement at all. Given the breakdown in border control, immigration enforcement will always have a disparate impact on members of the national origin groups who form the greatest portion of illegal aliens. That is not “racial profiling,” it’s common sense, something that is in short supply surrounding the Arizona law.

Small businesses threatened with 1099 tax form tyranny provision in health care bill

Small businesses threatened with 1099 tax form tyranny provision in health care bill

This is the most outrageous, waste of time and added expense for the satisfaction of bureaucratic intrusion and insinuation into all American Small Business. This was buried in Obamacare as an added means of extorting funds for Obama's Road to his Socialist Paradise!

May 24, 2010

Small businesses threatened with 1099 tax form tyranny provision in health care bill

by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor

(NaturalNews) According to a recent report from CNNMoney.com, the massive U.S. health care system overhaul includes more than just a transition to government-run medicine. A small section hidden away in the 2,409-page bill requires all businesses to send 1099 tax forms to every company or individual from which they purchased more than $600 in services and goods throughout the tax year, beginning on January 1, 2012.

As you'll see below, this new law threatens to cause a wave of paperwork chaos across the entire U.S. economy, stifling the operations of small businesses and driving more jobs overseas.

Here's why...

1099s required for virtually any expenditure

For those of you who aren't familiar with a 1099, this tax document is typically issued to independent contract workers who receive payments for work they've done. "Employees" of businesses are issued W-2 forms at the end of the tax year while independent contractors and other freelancers making money outside of the wage structure receive 1099 forms.

But the new change (conveniently slipped into the health care bill that nobody actually read prior to voting on it) drastically expands the scope of 1099s. Not only will contract workers be receiving them, but so will millions of individuals and companies that receive more than $600 in payments for services and products they provide throughout the tax year.

And if you're a small business owner, you will be required to issue a 1099 to every business from which you purchased more than $600 worth of goods or services.

If you buy a laptop at Best Buy, for example, you will be required by law to issue a 1099 form to Best Buy. If you purchase over $600 in internet services, you need to issue a 1099 to your broadband provider. If you get a car repair over $600, you have to issue a 1099 form for that, too.

This law might as well be called the "Accountant employment act of 2010" because it will drastically expand the mountain of tax paperwork needed to be filed by all U.S. small businesses and corporations.

How the changes will really impact small business

Remember: The new law will require 1099s to be issued to both individuals and corporations. This means that a musician who buys an expensive new guitar will have to send the retailer a 1099 at the end of the year for that purchase. A florist will have to send 1099s to each of her suppliers as well, including the flower growers, the ribbon company and even the place where she buys tape and scissors if those purchases exceeded $600 throughout the year.

In fact, the more sources businesses buy from, the more 1099s they will have to issue, which will likely cause many of them to consolidate their vendors.

Do you see where I'm going with this? These "small" changes are going to have a monumental impact on how business is run in America, particularly small businesses who are already strapped with heavy regulatory burdens. 1099s will be used for a lot more than just taxing compensation. They will be used to tax virtually all business expenses, driving up prices for everyone.

The changes are also going to create an "avalanche of [new] paperwork", according to Bill Rys, tax counsel for the National Federation of Independent Businesses. Business owners are going to have to spend a lot more time tracking purchases and saving receipts, which for many is going to be a logistical nightmare that could drive them right out of business.

Small businesses will go out of business, thanks to the IRS

Those of you that own or operate a small business already know how difficult it can be to stay afloat and compete in today's economy, especially during tough times. Besides the regular day-to-day operations, there are all kinds of fees, taxes and other regulatory burdens that make doing business a challenge.

Can you imagine having to track and tally every single business purchase you make throughout the year and send 1099 forms to all of them? How about having to collect names and taxpayer identification numbers from every vendor or payee that you dealt with? Can you imagine how long it would take on the phone with Wal-Mart customer service to try to obtain the company's tax ID? Multiply this by the other five hundred companies you do business with, and you start to get an idea of the new burden this is going to place on small businesses across America.

It's going to take a whole lot more time to comply with these rules, and many small businesses will probably have to hire someone full-time just to take care of it all. The additional expense will either further strain companies who can take the hit (which will just drive up prices for consumers) or force them out of business. But no matter how you look at it, it's a lose-lose situation for American businesses.

And what about all the companies on the receiving end? Imagine the flood of 1099 forms companies like Apple will receive at the end of the year from all the freelancers who bought new computers from them? Or Office Max for millions of dollars of office supplies? The burden will be tremendous not only on those who have to track and send all the 1099s, but also on everyone who receives them.

And it's not just the big guys that will bear the burden. There are plenty of small, family-owned suppliers who are going to have a tough time complying. Many of them will most likely be forced out of business because they won't be able to absorb the cost. Or businesses will choose instead to make purchases only from large "one-stop" shops because the paper trail will be a lot easier to manage.

Government greed and corruption is ruining America

The U.S. economy is already in shambles and many Americans are unemployed, but leave it to the American government (and the puppet masters who control them) to increase the burden on American business even more. Are these people out of their minds?

This small tax change is going to have huge ramifications once it kicks in starting in 2012. Small businesses will take the biggest hit, resulting in even more lost jobs and higher prices for goods and services. Many companies might decide to just pack up shop now and move to another country before it all kicks in, and that means more American jobs being exported to other countries.

The whole thing speaks volumes about how things are run in Washington where it's all about money and control. Bureaucrats are always looking for new ways to pass new laws that will bankroll their out-of-control spending programs. You know... the ones that get them reelected.

Fortunately, not all politicians are in on the game. Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Calif.) recently introduced a bill called "The Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act, which would rescind the 1099 provisions from the health care bill.

It's a good start, but what about the rest of the politicians? Where is the outcry from the alleged "public servants" over tax changes that threaten to destroy American small businesses?

Small businesses are the primary drivers of our economy. They are the ones responsible for real job creation in America. Provisions like the 1099 mandate only work to destroy the very fabric that has held America's economy together. Any government that tries to destroy this crucial sector is only accelerating the country's financial demise.

It's time for people to wake up and take a stand against this paperwork tyranny. A nation drowning in tax forms can't get much of anything else done, and Washington, it seems, just can't help but heap another tax compliance paperwork nightmare upon the People.

That is has all been hidden inside the health care reform bill is yet another insult to the intelligence of us all. Who do these politicians think they are? How quickly they forget that Government derives its power from the People and not the other way around.{SubscribeHealthRangerBlock}

And why stop there?

Mileage Fees Over Gas Taxes?

Of course, governments could just use general revenues - exacerbating budget deficits - for road construction. But this wouldn't require drivers to pay for their road use. The most obvious substitute for fuel taxes is to charge drivers directly for vehicle miles traveled (VMT), enabling them to get the roads they are prepared to pay for.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in one of his first speeches on the job that he favored VMT fees, whereupon White House press secretary Robert Gibbs announced that such a fee "is not and will not be the policy of the Obama administration."

But the decline in fuel tax revenues is not going away, and individual states, such as Oregon, and countries, such as Germany, are experimenting with VMT charges.

Current fuel taxes, with 2008 collections of $36.4 billion, aren't yielding sufficient revenues for maintaining or improving the road network, according to the 2009 report of the National Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission, chaired by Robert Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. The report is the most comprehensive source of data on road finance.

Federal gasoline taxes, now 18.4 cents per gallon (24.3 cents for diesel), yield revenues equivalent to VMT charges of 0.9 cents per mile for cars and 5 cents for trucks. But the Commission estimated that to improve the road network between 2008 and 2035 would require gasoline taxes of 48.4 cents per gallon - or mileage charges of 2.3 cents per mile for cars and 13.2 cents for trucks.

Payment on the basis of VMT could cost more, or less, depending on the type of road and time of day. Charges for trucks could account for axle configurations, since, for the same weight, trucks with more axles do less road damage. Some drivers might prefer to pay more for a faster trip and a better-maintained road, just as many cell phone users prefer the more expensive iPhone.

Technology for VMT pricing now exists from numerous companies worldwide, such as Skymeter Corporation, Siemens, Continental Automotive Systems, Satellic, eROADS Technology, and Octo Telematics.

According to Mr. Grush, "Cars dominate our travel preference, vehicles are becoming more efficient, and we are beginning to electrify our automobiles. The migration from fuel tax to pay-by-use is fairer and likely inevitable. Whether we use odometers, GPS, cellular triangulation or swearing on a Bible is not the core issue. The key is uninterrupted funding to keep our transportation system running, safe, and expanding."

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Why Amelia Bombed- from last year

Why Amelia Bombed

Glamour and charisma are two different things.

Amelia Earhart was daring, adventurous, modern, and beautiful, among the 20th century’s most enduring icons. Sixty years after her disappearance, high-profile advertising campaigns for Apple and the Gap were still employing her image as a symbol of independence and glamour. A movie about her must have seemed like a sure thing. Yet Amelia is a critical and commercialdisaster. What went wrong?

In the 1920s and ’30s, “the aviatrix was the ultimate glamorous and daring modern woman,” notes Kristen Lubben in Amelia Earhart: Image and Icon, the catalog for a 2007 exhibition of Earhart images at the International Center of Photography. Earhart, of course, was the ultimate glamorous aviatrix. She achieved that status not because she was the best female pilot—many were better—but because she was media-savvy and able to embody the public’s multiple aspirations.

To preserve her glamour, Amelia must keep her at a distance, without flaws, doubts, or character development. We learn nothing of the struggles of her youth, her political commitments, or her limits as a pilot. She ends the film essentially the same as she began it—as an icon.

Here, another recent film about a pioneering aviatrix presents a sharp contrast. Currently making the film-festival rounds and expected to air on public television in the spring, The Legend of Pancho Barnes and the Happy Bottom Riding Club is a straightforward documentary made on a tenth ofAmelia’s production budget. Yet for all its still photos and talking heads, it is far more entertaining. While Amelia struggles against the glamour of its heroine, The Legend of Pancho Barnes is imbued with its protagonist’s charisma. The contrast between the two pilots, and the memories they left behind, illuminates the distinctions between these two often-conflated qualities.

Move Over, Miss Earhart

A Born Aviator

Florence Lowe Barnes was born to a socially prominent family in San Marino, Calif., the wealthy town adjacent to Pasadena. Her grandfather, Thaddeus Lowe, had started the balloon corps for the Union Army during the Civil War and encouraged his granddaughter to dream of flying.

All images © Pancho Barnes Trust Estate Archive

Glamour and charisma are two different things.

Photograph of Pancho Barnes and Amelia Earhart © Pancho Barnes Trust Estate Archive and reprinted with permission.


Glamour is an imaginative experience, charisma a personal characteristic. A place, an idea, even an object can be glamorous, but only a person can be charismatic. A still photograph best captures glamour; a live performance most powerfully conveys charisma. Glamour operates at a distance; it requires mystery, allowing the audience to fill in the details with its own desires. Charisma works through personal contact. It draws the audience to share the charismatic figure’s own commitments. Charisma enhances leadership; glamour enhances sales.

For Florence “Pancho” Barnes, the commitment was to flying. An irrepressible spirit and a pilot’s pilot, she was at the center of two great—and deadly—eras of aviation. In the barnstorming era, she was a pilot herself, doing aerial stunts in a half dozen Hollywood films, testing planes for Lockheed, and in 1930 breaking Earhart’s speed record (just two years after taking her first flying lesson). “Amelia Earhart got all the publicity and Bobbi Troutmade all the money, but I was the best pilot,” she bragged. Despite the rivalry and Pancho’s distaste for Earhart’s promoter husband, the young pilots were friends. They belonged to an elite sorority who met at hangar parties, raced in the transcontinental Women’s Air Derby, and mourned the fellow pioneers who died in crashes.

Unlike Earhart, who supported her flying with commercial endorsements and lecture fees, Barnes was an heiress with independent means. Profane, outspoken, and chunkily built, she didn’t have, or try to cultivate, a marketable image. To the contrary, Pancho—a name she got when she ran away to Mexico—used flying to free herself from the constraints of Pasadena high society. “It’s my escape from everything conventional,” she said. “It acts as a safety valve. Why do I fly? To keep from exploding, that’s why.” She felt at home in the air and among her fellow pilots, male as well as female.

When the Depression wiped out her wealth, however, Barnes had to sell her property, including her beloved Travel Air “Mystery Ship” plane, and give up flying. She rebuilt her life on a tiny, barren ranch in the Mojave Desert, where she and her young son started farming alfalfa in 1934. A child of privilege, she proved a natural entrepreneur. By the time postwar test pilots began flying jets out of nearby Muroc Air Field (later known as Edwards Air Force Base), she had a thriving guest ranch, with its own air field and hotel, restaurant, gambling hall, and stables. Soon renamed the Happy Bottom Riding Club, Pancho’s place became the test pilots’ hangout, with plenty of booze, lots of pretty hostesses, and a proprietor who understood the excitement and perils of experimental flight.

“Pancho was, above all, a very accomplished pilot,” says Robert Cardenas in the film. “We could talk to Pancho about what we were encountering in flight, and she understood.” The documentary’s writer and producer, Nicholas Spark, says his interest in Barnes began with Tom Wolfe’s short but memorable depiction of her in The Right Stuff. “I was intrigued by the idea that she was friends with all these test pilots,” he says.

It wasn’t just pilots. Misfit though she was, throughout her life Barnes attracted friends from every stratum of society: ranch hands and movie stars, the refined attorney Shirley Hufstedler and the flamboyant evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson, Howard Hughes and George Hurrell. The friendship and loyalty she inspired were heightened by the shared cause of aviation. But Barnes was never a symbol. She married four times. She spent years in a nasty court battle with the government, which wanted to seize her ranch to expand Edwards. She was herself—a woman without mystery.

And that is why she has been largely forgotten. Barnes survived Earhart by nearly 40 years, but she was legendary only to those who knew her personally. Charisma dies with its possessor. Glamour is fragile because it is imaginative and illusory; it can vanish when aspirations change or the audience learns too much. But as long as it has an audience, glamour can endure forever.

My impressions of Earhart over the years grew less and less favorable. When I was younger, I became intrigued by the intrigue about her possibly setting out around the world to spy on the Japanese. There was a possibility of their expansion into the Pacific Islands during the 1930s. The theory was she might possibly have been shot down by the Japanese because she had observed they planned expansion, but it was based only on bluff, not military installations.

As it turned out, that theory and just about all others were just bunkum.

Amelia Earhart was first a famous flight passenger. As noted, she was more flim flam that flyer. She was well dressed as the Tomboy looking Aviatrix who somewhat resembled Charles Lindbergh. Crashes were too often caused by her limited experience and lack of preparation. When she ultimately made her over-publicised, but under-prepared round the world flight, she never learned how to use her radio properly. It was the key to keeping her alive over the Pacific, but she ignored the advise and warnings she was given over the months before takeoff.

Top Official Says Feds May Not Process Illegals Referred From Arizona

FOXNews.com - Top Official Says Feds May Not Process Illegals Referred From Arizona
Why should we expect the Federal Government to Protect Us?
Even if they deport illegal Mexican aliens, they seem to just get a new alias and come back. And since they are already criminals as illegal aliens, what-the-hell, why not get a new alias as alien, then commit more heinous crimes?



- May 21, 2010

Top Official Says Feds May Not Process Illegals Referred From Arizona

A top Department of Homeland Security official reportedly said his agency will not necessarily process illegal immigrants referred to them by Arizona authorities.

This article was updated at 4:36 p.m. on May 21. See editor's note at the bottom of the article.

A top Department of Homeland Security official reportedly said his agency will not necessarily process illegal immigrants referred to them by Arizona authorities.

John Morton, assistant secretary of homeland security for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, made the comment during a meeting on Wednesday with the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune, the newspaper reports.

"I don't think the Arizona law, or laws like it, are the solution," Morton told the newspaper.

The best way to reduce illegal immigration is through a comprehensive federal approach, he said, and not a patchwork of state laws.

The law, which criminalizes being in the state illegally and requires authorities to check suspects for immigration status, is not "good government," Morton said.

In response to Morton's comments, DHS officials said President Obama has ordered the Department of Justice to examine the civil rights and other implications of the law.

"That review will inform the government's actions going forward," DHS spokesman Matt Chandler told Fox News on Friday.

Fox News legal analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano said ICE is not obligated to process illegal immigrants referred to them by Arizona authorities.

"ICE has the legal discretion to accept or not to accept persons delivered to it by non-federal personnel," Napolitano [Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano] said. "It also has the discretion to deport or not to deport persons delivered to it by any government agents, even its own."

Morton, according to a biography posted on ICE's website, began his federal service in 1994 and has held numerous positions at the Department of Justice, including as a trial attorney and special assistant to the general counsel in the former Immigration and Naturalization Service and as counsel to the deputy attorney general.

Border apprehensions in Arizona, where roughly 500,000 illegal immigrants are estimated to be living, are up 6 percent since October, according to federal statistics. Roughly 6.5 million residents live in Arizona.

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-AL, said it appeared the Obama administration is "nullifying existing law" and suggested Morton may not be the right person for his post if he fails to enforce federal immigration law.

"If he feels he cannot enforce the law, he shouldn't have the job," Sessions told Fox News. "That makes him, in my view, not fulfilling the responsibilities of his office."

Sessions said the U.S. government has "systematically failed" to enforce federal immigration law and claimed Morton's statement is an indication that federal officials do not plan on working with Arizona authorities regarding its controversial law.

"They're telegraphing to every ICE agency in America that they really don't intend on cooperating with Arizona," Sessions said. "The federal government should step up and do it. It's their responsibility."

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-AL, said it appeared the Obama administration is "nullifying existing law" and suggested Morton may not be the right person for his post if he fails to enforce federal immigration law.

"If he feels he cannot enforce the law, he shouldn't have the job," Sessions told Fox News. "That makes him, in my view, not fulfilling the responsibilities of his office."

Sessions said the U.S. government has "systematically failed" to enforce federal immigration law and claimed Morton's statement is an indication that federal officials do not plan on working with Arizona authorities regarding its controversial law.

"They're telegraphing to every ICE agency in America that they really don't intend on cooperating with Arizona," Sessions said. "The federal government should step up and do it. It's their responsibility."

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly attributed a quote by Judge Andrew Napolitano to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.