In the Name of the King, Review This Meaningless Number!

The government-mandated EnergyGuide from my new dishwasher:

A useless bit of trivia courtesy the FTC

Note the assumptions on the bottom:

  • Estimated costs based on four loads a week. Hey, we eat 3 meals a day here, cook them, and sometimes bake with them. What kind of family does four loads a week of dishes, really? Some fluffy yuppie couple in the city with a standard-sized restaurant dishwasher?
  • Estimated costs are based on 2007 energy costs. Remember those halcyon days? Back before the depression?
  • Estimated costs based on natural gas? Well and good for you city folk, but we’re in the country here. We pay whatever David’s boss tells him to charge us when he fills up our Liquid Propane tank.
  • The standard for “standard” sized washer is not given in actual, you know, cubic feet nor anything.

This number is meaningless, but thanks to the government, IT MUST BE PRESENTED so I can better make up my mind which color suits my decor better and which one looks like its moving and grabbing parts are made of the least cheap plastic.

I wish I could blame this on a Democrat, but I know that the ruling party in Washington is the Entrenched Bureaucrat Party.

(Thanks for the link, Tam.)

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Filling In The Uh-Oh For Ace

At Ace of Spades HQ, Ace links (indirectly) to this story. The story sez:

Harvard scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute say they have for the first time partially reversed age-related degeneration in mice, resulting in new growth of the brain and testes, improved fertility, and the return of a lost cognitive function.

In a report posted online by the journal Nature in advance of print publication, researchers led by Ronald A. DePinho, a Harvard Medical School (HMS) professor of genetics, said they achieved the milestone in aging science by engineering mice with a controllable telomerase gene. The telomerase enzyme maintains the protective caps called telomeres that shield the ends of chromosomes.

As humans age, low levels of telomerase are associated with progressive erosion of telomeres, which may then contribute to tissue degeneration and functional decline in the elderly. By creating mice with a telomerase switch, the researchers were able to generate prematurely aged mice. The switch allowed the scientists to find out whether reactivating telomerase in the animals would restore telomeres and mitigate the signs and symptoms of aging. The work showed a dramatic reversal of many aspects of aging, including reversal of brain disease and infertility.

Ace uses the headline “Uh-Oh: Age-Related Disease Reversed In Mice?” and sez:

Why the “uh-oh” in the headline? I don’t know. Just seems so big, possibly, it deserves an uh-oh.

Let me fill you in on the “uh-oh” portion of the program. Why does this suck rocks?

In spite of the advances and eventual application to humans, Congress still won’t raise the Social Security eligibility age.

Because in 2028, seniors will think they’ve earned the right to live 140 years on Social Security after putting in the requisite number of quarters in their 40 of work. FDR promised!!!!

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He Came Bearing A Plastique Turkey

T.S.A. Chief Visits Airport to Buck Up Employees and Defend Tactics:

As John Pistole strode through Concourse B of Ronald Reagan National Airport on one of the busiest travel days of the year, flanked by airport employees, a news media handler and a reporter, a bewildered traveler looked up and wondered aloud: Is a celebrity flying through?

On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, he was greeted in the airport by T.S.A. employees, whom he fist-bumped and thanked for their hard work, and who beamed and thanked him back. “Thank you for standing behind us,” said the woman checking IDs. Later, two young T.S.A. officers approached him to say, “Thanks for everything you’re doing for us, dealing with all this media stuff.”

George W. Bush went to Iraq for Thanksgiving to inspire the troops and (part of) the nation. This guy goes to the Washington airport and inspires his troops. You can see the difference, can’t you?

Not if you’re the New York Times. Or in the TSA.

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In Real Life, She Would Have Been Arrested

Bookworm dreams about getting a pat-down from the TSA.

As they started to pat me down, I started to sing The Star-Spangled Banner. The more they patted, the louder I sang. And since this was a dream, I was singing in tune. Gradually, all airport noise around me stopped, and everyone started singing The Star-Spangled Banner with me.

In real life, that sort of thing would get you arrested. There are bombs explicitly mentioned in that song, and that’s the sort of music that the TSA cannot let stand.

See also this.

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It’s A Ruling, All Right

You’re the ruled. The bureaucrats are the rulers:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will effectively ban the sale of beverages that combine caffeine and alcohol, including Four Loko and Joose, by ruling that caffeine is an unsafe food additive, according to Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).

Bask in the reflected glory, subject, of the beauty of the fiat, of the diktat of the unelected officials who exercise so much anonymous power over your life. Caffeine? An unsafe food additive because they say it is. A rule that applies only in the case of alcohol, now. Because caffeine is only unsafe when added to something in a fashion that the bureaucracy has deemed unsafety.

Secondly, note the huzzahs from an elected official, an elected legislator, who could have introduced this properly as an act and had Congress pass this as a law. Instead, he’s thrilled that the control and the possible will of the people has been subverted through governmental processes designed to get around the basic processes of a Republic.

I’d weep, but my tears are an unsafe blog additive as ruled by the FCC.

(More reax: Tam, the voices in Jennifer’s Head.)

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They Control The Horizontal

Instapundit links to a PDF letter from C-SPAN to forthcoming House Speaker Boehner about relinquishing control of the cameras in the House chamber to C-SPAN. Apparently, the House itself controls them now, and C-SPAN wants the ability to show wide angle shots and reaction shots.

I wrote a reaction letter to Instapundit, I wrote the following:

I’d expect some resistance. If C-SPAN could show wide-angle shots, it would show viewers how few legislators actually attend debates on the weighty issues and the calls of History. While the number of those present probably exceeds the number of legislators who read the bills these days, it would provide pretty visible evidence of how unseriously most of our elected leaders take their roles. Or more would have to actually show up. Our Congressmen most likely want to avoid either of these inconveniences.

Just so.

Hopefully, a new incoming Republican Congress will recognize what a boon this would be. Also, it would be a nice accompaniment to shorter bills focused on a single thing.

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Remember how I poked fun at this Department of Education billboard last month? Well, apparently, the government is not getting a multimonth discount on the billboards, since we have a new one there at the corner of Scenic and Battlefield this month:

The US Government Implies Hispanics Are Bad Fathers
Click for full size

The text of the billboard is “Take the time and be a good father today.”

The message: The United States Department of Health and Human Services has too much budget.

Seriously, what is it with the government that it spends so much money on signage at the expense of doing things like governing. As I drive along Republic Road south of Springfield, which crosses the James River Freeway several times, the road narrows each time it crosses the highway. Because the government does not have enough money to replace the two-lane bridges with four-lane (and room for six lanes eventually) bridges.

But the governments have the money for billboards, radio ads explaining the dangers of radon, midnight basketball, and lots of social services. Why? I’m cynical enough to think because those things are easy and are done by cool people. Building things? Uncool people who probably bowl on leagues.

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Pushing the Back of the Envelope

With an annual deficit of $1,000,000,000,000, the government pretends that it will someday have 10 years of $100,000,000,000 surplus to pay the loan back. A government debt of $15,000,000,000,000 requires 150 years of $100,000,000,000 (one hundred billion dollars) of government surpluses to pay off the principles, and this does not include the interest on the debt.

In the Internet bubble years of the Clinton year and the first two years of the 21st century, we had 3 years of $100,000,000,000 surplus (and a fourth surplus less that $100,000,000,000).

The government knows at this time that it will never pay that money back, which is why the throttle is full open. It’s $1,000,000,000,000 in borrowing today, because sometime the rest of the world will change the revolving credit not in the United States’ favor.

(Data source.)

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Federal Government Touts Success at Killing Jobs

With many more successes like this, we won’t have any environment-killing commerce at all!

Doe Run Resources Corp. has agreed to spend about $65 million to correct violations of several environmental laws at 10 of its lead mining, milling and smelting facilities in southeast Missouri, according to an announcement Friday.

Also Friday, the company said it will end operations at its Herculaneum lead smelter by the end of 2013, rather than 2016 as required by state regulations for sulfur dioxide emissions.

The Environmental Protection Agency said the company “made a business decision” to shut down the smelter instead of installing pollution control technologies needed to reduce sulfur dioxide and lead emissions as required by the Clean Air Act.

Note how the regulations are state regulations and the decision is the business’s, but the act? All Federal government, baby. And it looks like the plant is closing down just 3 years earlier than planned, but that original plan is due to state regulations designed to comply with Federal law.

I love the little end zone dance here. It’s good for our team, the environment, woo! Those of you on the other side, who have to put food on your families’ tables, IN YOUR FACE!

Meanwhile, China is locking up natural resources and doesn’t give a damn about how many die to produce them because when you’re one in a million in China, there are a thousand just like you.

Certainly, the EPA is doing its job here. It’s job is to thrash businesses who violate regulations and then to create new regulations whose violations will require a thrashing of businesses. Certainly, we could collectively balance commerce with good stewardship, but those entrenched in our Federal ranks just want a good score for their performance reviews.

Since I’m already on the record as being an EXTREMIST! who wants to DISENFRANCHISE VOTERS!, I’d like to add EXTREMIST! who wants to feed LEAD CANDY BARS TO CHILDREN AND TO ACE ALL ON FAWNS by asking if the EPA is doing a job the majority of the population really wants.

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Iä! Iä! Bipartisanship!

Is it for something trivial? You bet it is! Does it add regulation to industry? Hell yes!

Legislation to turn down the volume on those loud TV commercials that send couch potatoes diving for their remote controls looks like it’ll soon become law.

The Senate unanimously passed a bill late Wednesday to require television stations and cable companies to keep commercials at the same volume as the programs they interrupt.

Bear in mind that is our beloved Republicans standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Democrats to burden industry for a trivial citizen complaint.

So how good are you feeling about the Brave New Principled Free Market World swearing into the legislature in 2011?

Me, too.

Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was.

(Link seen on Boots and Sabers.)

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Well, ‘e Quipped

Story: FDA considers revoking approval of Avastin for advanced breast cancer

Federal regulators are considering taking the highly unusual step of rescinding approval of a drug that patients with advanced breast cancer turn to as a last-ditch hope.

The debate over Avastin, prescribed to about 17,500 women with breast cancer a year, has become entangled in the politically explosive struggle over medical spending and effectiveness that flared during the battle over health-care reform: How should the government balance protecting patients and controlling costs without restricting access to cutting-edge, and often costly, treatments?

The Food and Drug Administration is reviewing the recommendation of influential scientific advisers to revoke authorization of the drug to treat metastatic breast cancer. Contrary to initial research, new studies indicate that the benefits of the drug, which costs $8,000 a month, do not outweigh its risks, the advisory panel concluded.

Quip: They’re not Death Panels. They’re Not-Life Panels.

(Link via Ace and Hot Air.)

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The Money Acted Alone, On Its Own Initiative

Nearly $82 million will help expand high-speed Internet service in rural Missouri.

Well, that’s right neighborly of that money, at loose ends since it left the military, to volunteer for community service like that.

Oh, wait.

The federal government has approved nearly $82 million to expand high-speed Internet access in rural Missouri.

The Missouri money is part of $1.2 billion of Internet grants announced Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Well, it’s right neighborly of foreign bondholders and domestic institutions that buy t-bills to throw this money away in an endeavor that will not only cost a billion now, but will cost money on upkeep that the ISPs will not be able to cover with subscriber fees.

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Proper Marketing

A new poll indicates that the population loves the idea of a border fence, but the political class hates it:

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 68% of U.S. voters now believe the United States should continue to build a fence on the Mexican border. That’s up nine points from March when the Obama administration halted funding for the fence and the highest level of support ever.

Just 21% oppose the continued building of the border fence.

Support for the fence is strong across all demographic groups. But while 76% of Mainstream voters think the United States should continue to build the fence, 67% of the Political Class are opposed to it.

Do you know the best way to get our superiors in Washington, D.C., and New York to back a fence on the Mexican border?

Tell them it is there to keep American guns out of Mexico.

We need to keep each and every gun, both of them, that would cross the border into Mexico in the good old USA.

(Link seen on Ace of Spades HQ.)

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So Who Is Stupid Here?

Headline: Mueller says no racial targeting with guidelines


FBI Director Robert Mueller told Congress on Wednesday that the bureau’s domestic surveillance guidelines are being used properly and that agents are not employing them to target people for investigation based on race.

The FBI director’s defense of the guidelines at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing followed criticism by civil liberties groups that the guidelines unfairly target innocent Muslims.

The guidelines “do not target based on race,” Mueller said.

So is it the press or the legislature in this case that is the blockhead who thinks a religious choice is a race?

False dilemma. It could be both.

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My Disability Is That I’m An Animal Less Equal Than Others

I don’t know why conservatives aren’t still in an uproar about the Americans with Disabilities Act and its magical ability for the court to discover new disabilities and new ways that the world should be changed to accommodate smaller and smaller numbers of people. Case in point: Counters at Chipotle restaurants are too high for people in wheelchairs to see over, which is a civil rights affront akin to not letting disabled people worship, vote, or (in Finland) have a broadband computer connection.


On the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a federal appeals court said the law entitles wheelchair users at a restaurant to the same view as everyone else of the food that awaits them – in this case, burritos, tacos and the rest of the fare at Chipotle Mexican Grill.

The 45-inch-high wall between the customer line and the food preparation counter at two Chipotle restaurants in San Diego County, which blocked the view of patrons in wheelchairs, violated the 1990 federal law that requires equal treatment of the disabled, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said Monday.

That’s going to apply to Subways, too, you know, and it might well apply to any restaurant like Zio’s here in Springfield, the Elephant Bar in St. Louis, or the Macaroni Grill chain that has a small wall dividing the kitchen from the dining area. As a result, of course, they will simply put in a full wall and stop preparing the food in the open. The disabled won’t get to see it anyway, nor will anyone else. This is the Harrison Bergeron world of the ADA.

Somehow, bad ideas passed into law become untouchable after a certain amount of time. A statute of limitations makes them unopposable, or some sort of legislative stare decisis sets in and you can’t cure a case of it with antibiotics. Sometimes, the trigger of veneration is just the president’s signature, depending upon the party of the President and the sweeping nature of the power grab.

People who oppose them or dare, dare to ask for some sort of proof that the ideas work or solve the problem, much less ask if those laws are a legitimate or moral function of government get labeled as wingnuts or extremists by right-thinking people in politics, government, and the press.

Republicans and conservatives running for office should not shy away from questioning these laws, whether the purposefully nebulous ADA, a ban on incandescent light bulbs, centralization of education into a Federal Department, or Obamacare. The press and the ruling class might well pillory conservative candidates for this stance–a rational, open mind–now, but a growing portion of the electorate is becoming amenable to considering it if candidates can provide reasoned arguments for dismantling the existing structure of the bloated government.

Too many people think the Republicans don’t want to do that, but you know what you call politicians and candidates who lay out reasoned paths, convince constituents of their values, and then carry them out? Leaders. Unironically and without quotation marks.

(Link seen on Althouse. Those playing the MfBJN drinking game (rules) take a shot. Given how few people actually read this, I can buy.)

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Congress Passes Law of Unintended Consequences

Actually, everything coming out of this Congress could be summarized as Title+Concept+Unintended Consequences.

  • Some insurers stop writing new coverage for kids

    Some major health insurance companies have stopped issuing certain types of policies for children, an unintended consequence of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul law, state officials said Friday.

  • The Young and Jobless: New evidence that the minimum wage has hurt teenage workers.

    The wage hikes were implemented in three stages between 2007 and 2009, and not all states were affected because some already mandated a minimum wage above the federal requirement. But for the 19 states affected by all three stages of the federal wage increase, “there was a 6.9% decline in employment for teens aged 16 to 19,” write the authors. And for those who had not completed high school, “we estimated that the hikes reduced employment by 12.4%,” which translates to about 98,000 fewer teens in the work force.

You know, one would start to think the government doesn’t know what it is doing. But those who have religious faith in its benevolence and efficacy won’t be swayed from their fervor by mere evidence.

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Uncle Sal Wants His Taste

Congress is looking out for the little guy when it comes to new airline add-on fees:

U.S. House Democrats criticized airlines Wednesday for increasingly charging for checked baggage, seat selection and other services, and indicated they are considering legislation to tax the revenue collected from the fees.

Airlines are increasingly relying on ticket surcharges to offset spikes in fuel prices and overcome weak demand. Airlines collected $1.3 billion from fees for checked baggage and reservation changes in the first three months of this year, a 13% increase over the same period in 2009, government data show.

House Transportation Committee Chairman James Oberstar (D., Minn.) called the fees a “backdoor price increase” in airfares, with consumers now paying for many items that until three years ago were included in the price of a ticket.

“You can impose these taxes with impunity by calling it a fee,” Rep. Oberstar said. “Passengers are paying for meals, for pillows, for blankets, for headphones, for beverages, to check the luggage.”

Did I say little guy? I meant Uncle Sal is looking out for Uncle Sal:

He and Rep. Jerry Costello (D., Ill.) held the hearing to determine whether legislation should be proposed to rein in the fees and ensure the government gets a cut of the revenue.

Currently the government collects a 7.5% excise tax on passenger fares but not on ancillary fees. Applying the excise tax to baggage fees, which provided about $2.5 billion in revenue for airlines last year, would have led to an additional $186 million in federal excise taxes, congressional investigators said.

Remember, when Congress says it’s looking out for you, it’s because Congress thinks you’re an easy mark.

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Obama Administration Finds Its Record Growth

Just like jamming on the brakes is technically accelerating, the record negative numbers here technically represent growth:

The Obama administration expects a record budget deficit this year of more than $1.5 trillion, or 10.6 percent of GDP, according to projections the White House released in February. The U.S. deficit is a greater percentage of GDP than any other major industrialized nation except the U.K., where it is estimated to reach 11.4 percent, and Ireland, where it will be 12.2 percent, according to International Monetary Fund projections released in April.

We’re number -1!

(Link seen on Gateway Pundit.)

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The Plus Side of the 2011 Nonbudget

The Democrats in the House are not going to vote for and pass a budget for fiscal 2011:

Last night, as part of a procedural vote on the emergency war supplemental bill, House Democrats attached a document that “deemed as passed” a non-existent $1.12 trillion budget. The execution of the “deeming” document allows Democrats to start spending money for Fiscal Year 2011 without the pesky constraints of a budget.

On the plus side, if the Republicans take the gavel in 2011 and implement any sort of austerity programs, the Democrats absolutely cannot complain about the Republicans cutting the budget if there was no budget to cut.

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