Wednesday, January 24, 2007

State of the Union 2007

It's interesting to review last year's speech, where Bush said America was addicted to oil and set a goal of reducing America's dependence on the Middle East by 75% by 2025.

This year

President Bush called on Tuesday for a huge government-mandated increase in renewable fuels — mainly ethanol — and tougher mileage standards for cars and light trucks.


The centerpiece of Mr. Bush’s proposal, which he said would cut the projected use of gasoline by 20 percent over the next decade, was a nearly fivefold mandatory increase in the production of ethanol and other alternative fuels for cars and trucks. (NY Times)

A 10-year plan started in the last two years of Bush's presidency (in addition to last year's 20-year plan). Pity he didn't start something like this 6 years ago.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Subsidizing billionaires II

Another city may lose a sports team in 2010: New Orleans. The Saints' lease of the Superdome ends in 2010. There's lots of talk of the owner going to greener pastures unless someone (read: government) coughs up a lot of money to stay.

The Saints face formidable obstacles. Not the least is whether local and state governments, with enormous rebuilding priorities, can, or should, help finance a new stadium or let Benson move elsewhere.


“We hope to sit down with the team and discuss an extension beyond 2010, and that would include inducement payments,” said Larry Roedel, counsel to the Louisiana Sports and Exposition District, a state-appointed commission that oversees the Superdome and other facilities. “I don’t know if they’ll want more than what they’re getting.”

Imagine that. With all the ways money could be spent rebuilding New Orleans, hiring better cops, and so on, we may see millions given to one man, who's already pretty well off, thank you. Wait and see.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Netflix & the internet

A raspberry goes to Netflix for only offering their streaming view to Windows users. They've been planning on some sort of web delivery forever -- it was part of their original business plan. This sounds like a good way for them to start providing the service, but I hope they don't plan on exluding Mac users forever.

On a related note, kudos to NBC for offering Heroes episodes online, free (and viewable on a Mac). I completely missed the first run and catching up to this Monday's new episode helped pass the time during a recent illness. I'll be following it from now on!

Update MacFixIt reports:

We've now received unconfirmed word that a Mac OS X version of the service is in the works, though we're not sure what DRM scheme will be used. Verification from Netflix officials on these plans is pending.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Islam & the Christian

I am afraid that every Christian is going to be increasingly challenged by violent Islam, in ways that will be harder and harder to tacitly ignore. Ironically, much of what Islam hates about America are things that Christians ought to likewise resist: gluttonous consumption, recreational shopping, celebrity culture, trashing of the environment, the trivializing of sex, the sexualizing of children, the killing of unborn children, artificializing women’s bodies, depriving boys and men of a coherent and worthy identity, jingoism, any belief that being “American” takes precedence over membership in the body of Christ. If we are going to face the threat of death for what we believe (as Christians have been doing for 1300 years in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East), let it truly be for what we believe, and not for Angelina Jolie, the “4th Meal,” and extra cupholders.

Frederica Mathewes-Green

Spinning what is pro-life

we believe that in the case of embryonic stem cell research, being pro-life means that one supports the quest for better treatments and cures for the 100 million Americans who suffer from cancer, diabetes, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, spinal cord injuries and other debilitating diseases and disorders for which stem cell research provides great hope. (Sean Tipton, president of the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research.)

By that definition, I suppose we could define war as "pro-life". And maybe some cases of genocide. As long as some lives are saved in the snuffing out of others?

Perhaps the only people in history we can define as not pro-life are pacifists not willing to kill in defense of themselves or others?

This would all make sense as we already know that, in the abortion debate, it's the abortionists that are the true pro-lifers.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


whenever you hear someone griping about cruel the Crusades were to Muslims, remember the 300 years of slave raids in coastal Europe conducted by Muslims

Rod Dreher

Apple TV disappointment

Well, this is a little disappointing. I had been looking forward to the new Apple TV device that would allow me to easily stream videos from my computer to my TV. (Yeah, yeah, I know other devices exist but [a] they're not Mac-friendly and [b] I want something that'll "just work", preferably with iTunes.) I don't have cable and download more shows than I watch over broadcast. But look at one of the requirements:

Widescreen (16:9) enhanced definition or high definition television with an HDMI, DVI, or component video input

Maybe I'm on the only one on the planet that would be willing to pay $300 for this device but only has a TV with composite inputs? If a Macbook can output to an analog TV, why can't this thing?

Not to say that I wasn't going to have to think about it. $300 is quite a bit to pay for the convenience of not having to hook my notebook computer to the TV. But I did have some gift money saved up and would probably have gone for it. Oh well, guess I'll have to find a more honorable use for the money (because, no, I'm not going to plunk down over $1000 for a new TV).

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Wal-Mart & compact fluorescent bulbs

Wal-Mart is pushing compact fluorescent bulbs. Why? Because it's good for the environment, big time. Oh, and if that helps its image, who am I to complain?

If it succeeds in selling 100 million compact fluorescent bulbs a year by 2008, total sales of the bulbs in the United States would increase by 50 percent, saving Americans $3 billion in electricity costs and avoiding the need to build additional power plants for the equivalent of 450,000 new homes.

Wow. More power to ya.

The bulbs are also available practically everywhere else, including Home Depot and Amazon. Not at my grocery store, though.