An American Way

Headline in Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: Quarry doesn’t dig development: Operator fears new residents will gripe about dust, noise:

In the usual tug of war over suburban development, residents clamor to keep noisy businesses away from their backyards. But in this no-stoplight village, a stone quarry operator wants the backyards to stay away from his business.

Bill Halquist, the president of Sussex-based Halquist Stone, is objecting to a $30 million development that could bring 220 condominium and apartment units – and, he says, a population of new residents to complain about noise and dust from his processing plant.

“They wouldn’t let us put a plant 54 feet away from somebody’s house,” Halquist said. “So why are they putting a house 54 feet from our plant?”

He has every reason to fear. Look at how people who have moved into homes abutting highways have agitated for sound barriers when they discover why the properties were so cheap, or residents who have moved into neighborhoods near gun clubs that have forced the existing gun clubs to close.

Some would say it’s the American way, since settlers have displaced the native Americans and have remade the country to suit themselves, but criminey, haven’t we gotten past that yet?

I guess we have; now instead of smallpox and bullets, now we abuse the power of the majority and the overweaning, controlistic government.

Spyware Sneaks In Through Blogging Software

CNet reports: Spyware infiltrates blogs:

Hackers are using blogs to infect computers with spyware, exposing serious security flaws in self-publishing tools used by millions of people on the Web.

The problem involves the use of JavaScript and ActiveX, two common methods used to launch programs on a Web page. Security experts said malicious programmers can use JavaScript and ActiveX to automatically deliver spyware from a blog to people who visit the site with a vulnerable Web browser.

Spyware tools also have been hidden inside JavaScript programs that are offered freely on the Web for bloggers to use to enhance their sites with new features such as music. As a result, bloggers who use infected tools could unwittingly turn their sites into a delivery platform for spyware.

Well, when you’re not technical and you’re cutting and pasting code from unknown Web sites into your blog templates, you’re assuming that the code’s author hasn’t put a little something extra in it.

This is not new; remember when I uncovered that Bravenet counters were delivering pop-up ads when used on blogs?

No? My moment in the investigative sun, and there was a solar eclipse that day.

Caesar, Render Unto Us What You Have Rendered Unto Us Before

Clergy challenge Blunt’s plans to make deep cuts in Medicaid:

A broad spectrum of big-name religious leaders came together Tuesday to announce their intention to challenge Gov. Matt Blunt’s proposed Medicaid cuts.

The meeting at Christ Church Cathedral in downtown St. Louis came on the heels of a boisterous rally Sunday at Lane Tabernacle C.M.E. Church in St. Louis, which was organized by clergy members of the Association for Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN.

I’m saddened that these non-government sources want to make up for the shortfall of Christian charity under their watch by government funds. But then, the government is often the easiest solution for tough problems because it allows the citizenry to wash its hands of effort to do good.

Something for Cagey

Sure, Cagey throws me a bone and reminds me that the Atari 2600 was only # 9 in MobilePC’s The Top 100 Gadgets of All Time, but come on, it’s a magazine entitled Mobile PC–who could have foreseen that laptops and PDAs would weigh heavily?

As a retaliatory strike, I say to him: How many of these classic games do you recognize by their screenshots? It should be easy, old timer, since you’ve probably played at least one of them at an Atari Party sometime and you’ve played the close sibling of another.

(Link seen on A Small Victory.)

Send Picture Books, Please

Hey, I was not aware of this, but there’s apparently a blogospheric challenge to read and review 50 books this year.

Heh. The picture book I reviewed yesterday was my 14th of the year.

I am in good shape, but I won’t officially enter into the challenge because I don’t want to advertise that I have no life. As long as I mention it on the blog here, it will remain a well-kept, unread secret.

(Link seen on Signifying Nothing.)

Special Shout-At

I just want to give a special shout-at to Atari, Bioware, or whatever genius that decided I need to type

90 characters of CD keys

to install Neverwinter Nights.

90 characters, I kid you not. Three lines of six blocks of five characters of nonsense. In one step, in one screen, in small print on the inside of the manual. Ha ha!

I guess I got them all right, since it installed, but maybe I put a 0 instead of an O and the BSA is helicoptering in right now. Given my track record with games, the four or five minutes represents the most fun I will spend on the game, but they got Heather’s thirty bucks, so who cares if they spit on me and exacerbate my mypoia?

Book Review: Kittens and Cats In Colour intro by Christine Metcalf (1971)

Well, I’ve explained that sometimes I cut corners to make my annual quota of sixty or seventy books and that I sometimes count pamphlets as books to make sure I stay on pace. So let me expand my repetwa to picture books. This bit of kitty porn contains a rambling introductory essay about cats through history and then 80 pages, in living British colour, of cats and kittens.

Hey, don’t get me wrong, the pictures are colorful and playful and lack inspirational clichés, but I am going to make an admission here that might get me permanently banned from Carnival of the Cats: Pictures of other cats aren’t that inspiring.

Part of my appreciation of cats lies in their dynamism, in their movement, and in their activities and play and moods and the particular facial expressions I’ve grown to know over time. Thirty-some year old stills really aren’t my bag. But I inherited this book from an aunt, the former crazy cat lady of Lemay, and I’ve looked through it and at each of the pictures and will continue to think of her whenever I dust this book on my read shelves. Granted, she only bought it to try to sell on eBay some years ago when I led her down that dark and destructive path, but there you go, and there I go with that damn Robert Crais turn of phrase IN MY HEAD.

Perhaps I am now the crazy cat blogger of Casinoport. Who doesn’t particularly like picture books about cats.

What’s the Problem?

St. Louis County cuts a program, and the program performs well:

A recent survey of Choices reported that 95 percent of its graduates last year remained out of jail and drug free for at least a year. This is good news for a program that was badly hobbled after St. Louis County reduced its funding from $950,000 to $200,000 last year.

The budget cut forced officials to reduce the number of counselors in the program from eight to two, cut the number of inmates it served from 320 to 147 and shorten the overall program from 120 to 90 days. A midyear grant helped officials add another full-time and part-time counselor.

Sounds like they streamlined the course and targeted those inmates who the program could help. Probably at the expense of people who were looking forward to killing time over the course of 120 days of their sentences and then looked forward to scoring some dope after their sentences were up.

But undoubtedly, this represents a travesty because MORE TAX MONEY COULD BE SPENT!!!! Proponents of spending a million dollars where $200,000 would do have scoured the St. Louis County ordinances to discover that the Law of Diminishing Returns does not apply here.

Hunter S. Thompson Must Have Hated His Wife

It’s one thing to take your life, but this indicates Thompson either hated his wife or didn’t even think of her:

Pitkin County, Colo., Sheriff Bob Braudis said in a brief telephone interview that Thompson was alone in his kitchen of his Woody Creek home when he shot himself with a handgun. His wife was at a gym, Braudis said.

He left her to walk in on his mess. What a jack.

(Link seen on Michelle Malkin.)

Quiz Time

Free Will links to a quiz called the Moral Matrix.

Here’s how I did:

Apparently, that means:

As a Robert Crais character would say, “There you go.”

A Good Idea, But…

Powerline’s Hindrocket suggests:

Leach’s belief that the anti-hunting forces are just getting warmed up is undoubtedly correct; as another hunter quoted by the Times observes, some of the hunting opponents “would protest the opening of a meat pie.”

This is one time when we can say “It can’t happen here,” and really mean it. America’s hunters are too powerful; I suspect they’re also better armed than their English counterparts. I think it’s time for the NRA to open a branch in England.

Huh, too bad they don’t have a second amendment to defend in England.

Subsidy Sense Tingling

It starts with an anecdote:

Lou Emery used to sell donuts and bus rides out of town until a company man came by this month to tell her the Greyhound had made its last stop here.

He broke the news gently to Emery and the rest of the crew at Daylight Donuts on Interstate 44, about 65 miles southwest of St. Louis. The man gathered up Greyhound’s equipment and apologized for shutting down the service. He left the slightly rusted bus sign in the parking lot.

Now the bus doesn’t stop anywhere around Sullivan for miles. And most residents didn’t even hear about it.

“It was never in the local paper or anything that we had lost it,” Emery said.

The whole story has the tone of a prelude. These people can no longer get transportation! Greyhound is losing $140 million a year! States have tax money or the ability to get tax money! Certainly, states should support this piece of Americana that allows dozens of people to travel every day!

Stories like this, and the inevitable calls for tax money to help a relatively few people make relatively few trips, confuse an offered service with a duty. If private business won’t lose money providing something, the government should. That’s asinine, and perhaps it’s even a straw man, but isn’t that the sense you get?

You know what the government can do to improve Greyhound’s business? Stop propping up airlines. When airline ticket prices go up, Greyhound will once again become the idolized piece of Americana because it will compete with train service for people who cannot afford to pay as much for a airline ticket as it actually costs to ferry the person there.

Nothing from Nothing Leaves State Taxpayers Paying More

The Montana legislature has a really bad idea: setting a retail minimum wage at $22,000 a year. Friends, Montanans, and countrymen, that’s a $10 an hour minimum wage. Rationalizing:

Wal-Mart pays its workers such low wages that they qualify for state welfare benefits subsidized by Montana taxpayers, people told a Senate committee Tuesday.

As an incentive for these “big box stores” to pay a living wage to their workers, Sen. Ken Toole’s Senate Bill 272 would impose a gross proceeds tax on these companies. They would be exempt from the tax if they paid their employees an entry level wage of at least $22,000 a year, counting both pay and benefits and if less than half of their workers were part-time.

Because legislators would prefer that the workers receive only state welfare benefits, which is the choice that legislators are making.

The socialists chirp:

“State taxpayers are subsidizing Wal-Mart’s payroll,” said Kim Abbott, lobbyist for Working for Equality and Economic Liberation, a low-income advocacy group. “It’s ridiculous.”

and:

Gene Fenderson of the Montana Progressive Labor Caucus agreed, saying “The Wal-Marts, Targets, Home Depots are not paying their fair share of taxes for the amount of wealth they extract from our states and the services they demand.”

Because business is the chupacabra of society, and the government and the ‘progressives’ who want to forcibly redistribute wealth according to their whims are doing good.

This bill, should it pass, would yet again prove that the government is a Keynesian flat tire, loudly slowing economic progress.

(Link seen on Rocket Jones.)