Friday, August 22, 2003


From press gaggle with Ari Fleischer on 26 March 2003:
Aboard Air Force One -   - En Route Tampa, Florida

MR. FLIESCHER: Anything else?
Q Yes, why was the French toast named Freedom toast? (Laughter.)
Q Is that a White House decision?
MR. FLEISCHER: I'm not a Hobbit, so I didn't have a second breakfast. I had my breakfast before I came in. Is that what it said?
Q Yes.
MR. FLEISCHER: It said Freedom toast?
Q Yes.
Q Was that at the administration request, or was that --
MR. FLEISCHER: I just -- we're always proud of the men and women of our Air Force. (Laughter.)
From the New York Times U.S. Presses U.N. Members to Bear More of Iraq Burden (22 Aug 2003)
Using the bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad as a rallying cry, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell sought today to build support for a new Security Council resolution that would persuade other major nations to contribute more troops and aid to secure and rebuild Iraq under the aegis of the American-led occupation.
His appeal was not rejected out of hand by any Council members, but it met with a wary response from Germany and Russia and an icy rebuke from France.
From Reuters: France Dismisses U.S. Call for More Troops in Iraq (22 Aug 2003)

Please, please, please change the menu on Air Force One so that it reads French toast!


Voluntary or not?

Bush wants efforts to combat global warming to be voluntary. From the White House's Global Climate Change Policy Book
  • Substantially Improve the Emission Reduction Registry. The President directed the Secretary of Energy, in consultation with the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of Agriculture, and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, to propose improvements to the current voluntary emission reduction registration program under section 1605(b) of the 1992 Energy Policy Act within 120 days.
  • Review Progress Toward Goal and Take Additional Action if Necessary. If, in 2012, we find that we are not on track toward meeting our goal, and sound science justifies further policy action, the United States will respond with additional measures that may include a broad, market-based program as well as additional incentives and voluntary measures designed to accelerate technology development and deployment.
  • Enhanced National Registry for Voluntary Emissions Reductions The Administration will improve the current federal GHG Reduction and Sequestration Registry that recognizes greenhouse gas reductions by non-governmental organizations, businesses, farmers, and the federal, state and local governments. Registry participants and the public will have a high level of confidence in the reductions recognized by this Registry, through capture and sequestration projects, mitigation projects that increase energy efficiency and/or switch fuels, and process changes to reduce emissions of potent greenhouse gases, such as methane.
  • Improve the Quality of the Current Program. A registry is a tool for companies to publicly record their progress in reducing emissions, providing public recognition of a company's accomplishments, and a record of mitigation efforts for future policy design. This tool goes hand-in-hand with voluntary business challenges, described below, by providing a standardized, credible vehicle for reporting and recognizing progress
  • The President directed the Secretary of Energy, in consultation with the Secretary of Commerce, Secretary of Agriculture, and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, to propose improvements to the current voluntary emissions reduction registration program within 120 days.
  • Background on Current Registry Program. The Energy Policy Act of 1992 directed the Department of Energy (with EIA as the implementing agency) to develop a program to document voluntary actions that reduce emissions of greenhouse gases or remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
  • Progress Check in 2012 The domestic programs proposed by the President allow consumers and businesses to make flexible decisions about emission reductions rather than mandating particular control options or rigid targets. If, however, by 2012, our progress is not sufficient, and sound science justifies further action, the United States will respond with additional measures that may include a broad, market-based program, as well as additional incentives and voluntary measures designed to accelerate technology development and deployment.
  • EPA's "Climate Leaders" Initiative: EPA will launch a new, voluntary Climate Leaders program with a group of major companies including: Florida Power and Light, GM, Lockheed Martin, Miller Brewing Company, Bethlehem Steel, Interface Inc., SC Johnson and Holcimus Inc. These companies have agreed to test new greenhouse gas reporting guidelines as the basis for agreeing to targets in the future. Each participant will establish an individual goal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and will voluntarily report those emissions. The Climate Leaders program provides a significant opportunity to achieve the greenhouse gas intensity reductions set forth in this policy through a voluntary approach. In the coming months, the Administration will aggressively pursue additional corporate partners representing a wider spectrum of the U.S. economy.
  • Semiconductors: On March 13, 2001, EPA and the Semiconductor Industry Association signed a new voluntary agreement, the PFC Reduction Climate Partnership. Under this partnership, the industry agreed to reduce emissions of perfluorocarbons (PFCs) by 10 percent from 1995 levels by the end of 2010.
  • Aluminum: Twelve of the thirteen U.S. primary aluminum producers, representing 96 percent of the U.S. primary aluminum production capacity, have joined EPA's Voluntary Aluminum Industrial Partnership. Companies participating in this program have committed to make reductions in two potent PFCs, tetrafluoromethane (CF4) and hexafluoroethane (C2F6).
But Bush said this yesterday in Oregon:
" ... for many years the reliability of electricity in America depended on companies observing voluntary standards to prevent blackouts. I don't think those standards ought to be voluntary, I think they ought to be mandatory."


Thursday, August 21, 2003

Are things getting better? And should Detroit get the credit? (or blame)

In the news: Cadillac Escalade is chosen car of celebrities and thieves which cites a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. On their website, you can read more about the statistics gathered, and it includes this provocative graph:

The institute says:
Since 1980 overall theft claim frequencies have declined while average insurance payments per claim have increased, although these trends have leveled off in recent years. Some of the decline in claim frequencies and overall losses reflects the increased installation of immobilizing antitheft devices in many new vehicles.
It has been our impression over the years that automakers could have made changes years ago to hinder auto theft, but that it helped their bottom line to have cars stolen (it generated business in parts, repair, and new car sales). For some reason (most likely competition from Japan) they had to implement theft deterrent measures, and now we see the results.


Ten Commandments monument update:

Judge Moore refuses to move the monument, defying an order to do so.

But the monument has more than the Ten Commandments. It also has quotations on all four sides. They are a mixed bag (excerpts from documents or statements made in the 18th century by well known individuals), although we're not sure how to interpret this entry:
"So help me God" --Judiciary Act of 1789
For those interested, A Minority of One has photographs of all four sides.


Ignorant Texans:

Via Tbogg we learn that students in Texas will now have to recite their own state pledge:
"Honor the Texas flag, I pledge allegiance to thee, Texas, one and indivisible."
Indivisible? Not according to this Texas Facts webpage:
As part of the negotiations to enter the "Union", Texas was given the right to divide itself into an additional four states at some point in the future, for a total of 5 "Texian" states, though no one has ever considered it worthwhile - it still has that right!

We suggest the following pledge instead:
"Honor the Texas flag, I pledge allegiance to thee, Texas, one - yet potentially divisible into five states of 'convenient size' and 'sufficient population'."
For more details on the legislation surrounding Texas' admission to the Union, go here.


Another F&B sighting:

From the Washington Post: (emphasis added)
Dem Start Group to Try to 'Recall' Bush

WASHINGTON - The latest Democratic drive to make sure President Bush serves just one term takes a page from the effort to oust a Democratic governor in California, calling its web site "bushrecall" and garnering support through petitions.

A new committee called the Fair and Balanced PAC plans to launch its Web site Thursday. The PAC's founders include Joe Lockhart, a press secretary to former President Clinton, and Mike Lux, a Democratic political consultant.
From their website: (emphasis added)
BushRecall.Org is a special project of the Fair and Balanced PAC, established so that like-minded, concerned citizens can influence the outcome of the national election, and in turn, the balance of power in Washington, D.C. BushRecall.Org's intention is to provide individuals, who normally have little political power, to aggregate their contributions with others to gain a greater voice in the political process.

Under the laws of the Federal Election Commission rules, the Fair and Balanced PAC may accept contributions from individuals up to $5,000 in one calendar year to support its on-going efforts.
And from the contribution form (pdf):
This form can be mailed with your check to the Fair and Balanced PAC, 1224 M Street, NW Washington, DC 20005.
So, when will the Fox News lawyers go after these guys?

NOTE: We went to the Federal Election Commission website, but their records are not completely up to date, and we couldn't find any information about the (presumably) just-formed Fair and Balanced PAC.


Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Killing civilians is good - if they work for the U.N.

Right-wing blogger and operator of "The Anti-Idotarian Rottweiler" blog was delighted to learn of the bombing of the U.N. facility in Baghdad. Says, "It's a start."

And for those who question his attitude, has a simple response: "I don't give a shit."

Normally we don't care about morons who make stupid remarks, but this blogger is getting a fair amount of traffic (ranked 27th with 2300 daily visits according to The Truth Laid Bare). So it's not something you can easily dismiss. There are some real unpleasant bloggers out there and - more disturbingly - lots of visitors that imbibe the vitriol.


Monday, August 18, 2003


Larry the Liberal lives in California (naturally). He wants to meet his leftist friends who live in a commune in Maine. But he wants to avoid as much as possible traveling through any state that voted for George Bush in 2000 (AKA "red state"). Can you find the best route for Larry?

Challenge #2: How can Larry travel from California to Maine while entering every (continental) blue state so that he can collect generous welfare benefits yet as few red states as possible (where everybody has a copy of Ann Coulter's Treason).