Saturday, August 16, 2003

Ha Ha Ha!

In the news:
PARIS - Gravediggers were called back to work on a national holiday Friday to deal with the grim aftermath of a heat wave that left up to 3,000 dead in France.

With morgues full, authorities took over the vast storeroom of a Paris farmers market or kept bodies in refrigerated tents -- as temperatures subsided throughout Europe, ending one of the most severe periods of intense heat on record across the continent.

Morgues and cemeteries have been overwhelmed in the heat wave, which the health minister called "a true epidemic." A Paris regional funeral official said families would likely have to wait 10-15 days to have relatives buried.
In a reaction to the news, the Washington Post has this editorial:
TO LISTEN TO THE FUSS Europeans are making about their weather, anyone would think that it was actually hot over there. In Paris, shops have experienced a run on electric fans.   ...   Okay, so maybe it's a bit warmer than usual.   ...   But is this really hot -- hot enough to close businesses, hot enough to cancel trains (the tracks might buckle), hot enough to wax nostalgic for the summer rain to which some Europeans, notably residents of the British Isles, are more accustomed?

... maybe [Europeans] will now at least stop turning up their noses at those American summer inventions they've long loved to mock: The office window that doesn't open, the air conditioner that produces sub-arctic temperatures and the tall glass of water, served in a restaurant, filled to the brim with ice.



From Buffett Suggests Calif Property Tax Too Low (excerpts)
Billionaire financier Warren Buffett, an adviser to Arnold Schwarzenegger's campaign for California governor, suggested in an interview with The Wall Street Journal published Friday that the state's property taxes should be higher.

But he used his own properties to illustrate an example.

Buffett's home in Omaha, Nebraska is valued at about $500,000, and recent yearly property tax on the home totaled $14,401, he said in the report.

He paid $2,264 in annual property taxes on his $4 million home in Laguna Beach, California -- about 16 percent of the tax he paid Nebraska for a much cheaper property.

Buffett said in the interview that taxes on his Nebraska home grew by $1,920 this year, while those on the California home rose by only $23, thanks to limitations on increases in property tax established by Proposition 13.
Property tax in Nebraska: 2.88 %
Property tax in California: 0.05 %
(that's one twentieth of one percent)

From another wire story:
"Warren's right," said Bruce Cain, director of the Institute of Governmental Studies at UC Berkeley. "It's an unequal system. But all the polling indicators I've seen show the appetite for changing the system is very low."


Friday, August 15, 2003


Nicholas Kristof writes today about religion in the United States, and cites some poll results (83% belive in the Virgin Birth of Jesus, 28% in evolution, 58 that it is necessary to believe in God to be moral). In the article, readers are informed that details about the polls cited may be found on a Kristof Responds page. We took a look, and found this interesting nugget:
... the Pew survey finds that the American emphasis on the need to believe in God to be moral, while rare in the industrialized world, is common in developing countries like Nigeria and Pakistan.




The president takes a stand:

From the White House's President Bush Thanks Military
We will not trust the restraint or good intentions of evil people.

And apparently Bush has a new doctrine: (emphasis added)

You enforced the doctrine which said, if you harbor a terrorist, if you hide a terrorist, if you feed a terrorist, you're just as guilty as the terrorists ...


Thursday, August 14, 2003

What happened last August?

From the White House's President Meets with Economic Team, Q&A session: (emphasis added)
THE PRESIDENT: ... And as the economy was beginning to recover, the enemy hit us on September the 11th, and that affected our economy in a big way. And then we had corporate scandals which we've dealt with. And then, of course, you remember the "march to war." I've reminded people -- I think this isn't the first time I've said this -- that some would put on their TV screens that we were "marching to war." As a matter of fact, it was a year ago that we began the "march to war." During the August vacation, as I recall, there was the march to war. It's hard to have an upbeat view of the world when you're "marching to war." War is not exactly a positive thought, particularly when it comes to people willing to take risks, and consumer confidence.
What happened in August 2002? That was when Cheney launched the "Get Iraq" campaign.

From the White House website: Vice President Speaks at VFW 103rd National Convention [26 Aug 2002] (excerpts, emphasis added)
... a person would be right to question any suggestion that we should just get inspectors back into Iraq, and then our worries will be over.

A return of inspectors would provide no assurance whatsoever of his compliance with U.N. resolutions.

Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us.


Tough guy:

From the White House's President Meets with Economic Team, Q&A session: (emphasis added)
Q: ... if a Democrat were President ... and were running a $455 billion deficit, as are you, all other things being equal, wouldn't you be upset about it?

THE PRESIDENT: Let me tell you something, the deficit was caused by a recession which we inherited and did something about. The deficit was caused because we spent more money on fighting a war, and the American people expect a President to do what is necessary to win a war. So I look forward to taking this debate on. I really do. We did the right thing when it came to tax relief. We inherited a tough situation.

But most importantly, the American know that I'm not afraid to lead and to make a tough decision. And I made a tough decision, a series of tough decisions. One, to make America more secure, a tough decision to make the world more peaceful, and I made tough decisions when it comes to making sure our economy grows.


One year old:
Today is the first anniversary of our initial weblog post.

We've learned a lot during the last year. Blogging tends to do that, 'cause you have to read more news and think carefully about it in order to present a sensible post for readers.

We adhere to the Blogger's Code:
  • Significant changes marked with an "UPDATE".
  • Make it clear what a link is about.   No "Go read this" posts.
  • Quoted material clearly identified by a change in font.   In our case, the color.
  • When emphasis is added to quoted material, provide notification.
  • All sources are, as much as possible, respectable news outlets.
  • No flaming of other bloggers (Mickey Kaus and Andrew Sullivan excepted).
  • If we first learn something from a blog, we cite that in our post.
  • Image file sizes are as small as is reasonable - so that low bandwidth readers aren't stuck with long waits.
We try to bring original material to readers, even if it is a re-presentation of information in a table or as a diagram.

Of course, we love diagrams. They're not always appropriate, but sometimes with complicated relationships between players, a diagram helps sort out the issue better than lots of text.

We must admit to almost catching "lefty blogger disease" at times, especially after reading about one more lie from the administration or a right-wing commentator, but we've been lucky so far and have kept up our spirits.  And as far as being a "lefty", we're really, as Tom Tomorrow said in a recent Salon interview,"... the radical center expressing its voice."

Thanks to all our visitors for stopping by; we appreciate you taking time to visit uggabugga. We're only 2nd or 3rd tier in the ecosystem, but still proud of our over 1/4 million visitors in the last twelve months.

Finally, a big Thank You to Ted Barlow, who encouraged us to start blogging. Ted's a great writer and a blog pioneer.


Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Getting his just desserts?
Nader Hit With Pie During Calif. Event


Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Hidden words:




  - Special Election -  
  Tuesday, October 7, 1862      
  Shall Abraham Lincoln, the President of the
United States, be recalled from office?
  Yes è ¡  
  No è ¡  
  If Measure One carries the people shall
select a replacement from a list of candidates.
The candidate receiving a plurality
of the votes, shall become president.
  Vote for only one candidate:      
 Gen. George Brinton McClellan
Dilatory commander
è ¡  
  Sen. Stephen Arnold Douglas
Lost in the last election; wants a 2nd bite of the apple
è ¡  
  Rev. Henry Ward Beecher
Moralist (who got caught with his pants down)
è ¡  
  Gen. Joseph Hooker
Fun loving soldier
è ¡  
  Rep. Benjamin F. Butler
Uncompromising ideologue
è ¡  
  Harriet Beecher Stowe
è ¡  
  Brig. Gen. Ambrose Everett Burnside
Fashion statement
è ¡  
  Ralph Nader
Green Party
è ¡  
  Jefferson Davis
Council of Conservative Citizens
è ¡  
  John Wilkes Booth
Popular actor
è ¡  
  • October 7 is a Tuesday in 2003 and 1862.
  • Benjamin Butler did not become a Representative until 1867.
  • In the summer of 1862 the public mood was sour; there were few Union victories up to that point in the Civil War; Lincoln was extremely unpopular.


Monday, August 11, 2003

Only two:

From the White House today: President Bush Names Gov. Leavitt to Head EPA
Mike Leavitt will come to the EPA with a strong environmental record and a strong desire to improve on what has taken place during the last three decades. He served for over a decade as governor of an important state.
Any others? According to Google, only one: Remarks by the President in Bob Riley for Governor and Alabama Republican Party Victory 2002 Luncheon
I'm confident in telling you that the vision of Bob Riley as governor of the state of Alabama, the education vision is the right vision for the future of this important state.


Schwarzenegger's income taxes:

From the New York Post:
The muscle-bound mogul raked in more than $31 million in 2000, then pumped up his earnings with another $26 million the next year, according to the just-released records.

But not all of that dough filled the former body-builder's personal coffers.

Schwarzenegger paid more than $15.4 million in federal taxes for both years. He also paid $4.6 million in California state taxes.
15.4 / 57 = 27   % (federal income taxes)
  4.6 / 57 =   8.2% (state income taxes)

These are rates very similar to those that middle/upper-middle class pay. Looks like we already have a flat tax.


An interesting look at the record:

From a list of California governors since 1900:
Since 1900, Democrats have held the governorship for only 24 years - a mere 8 if you don't count the father-and-son Browns. Even though the state senate and assembly have tended to be Democratic in the last 50 years, the Republicans seem to expect to win the governor's office as a compensation. No wonder they were so hot to oust Davis via the recall.

NOTE: Early Republican governors were progressive (e.g. Hiram Johnson), but have gotten more conservative over time.


What does Karl know?

From the August 10 interview on Ian Masters' Background Briefing* of Sen. Art Torres (Ret.), California Democratic Party Chairman:
Art, let's just go back to the roots of this. Do you think that Tom DeLay and Karl Rove were behind this recall and getting Issa to go and put his money up there and then of course played him for a sucker?
Art Torres:
I think it was mutual. I think they found in Darrell a willing participant. Whether they had specific conversations, I'm not certain. But it's clear that once Issa agreed to put in the 1.7 - he's spent $1.9 million, poor guy - in an effort to create a recall, I think that's when Karl Rove came in and did his number.

And quite frankly I think the White House called Darrell right before he made his announcement. Because all the information I had was that he was planning to announce his race for governor. The only thing I can figure is, somebody had more information than Darrell wanted to be released, and I think Karl Rove is a very swift operator and presented that information.

As Willie Brown told me yesterday, "I think Darrell found the head of a horse on his bed."
Yeah, to go and spend two million of his own money and then to be told he can't run is pretty tough politics.
Art Torres:
I'm sure he was told "You can't run, and here's why." Because if you think that Torres is talking about handguns and car theft and insurance fraud, this is what we really have.
* - heard on Pacifica radio stations.

NOTE: Temporary .wav file of the exchange is here (575k, 8-bit, mono, 8KHz sample rate). Will be deleted after August.