James's blog

The cost of war

Nothing conceptual here. Just another disastrous economic fact to report. Dear Leader's war on terror is now costing $9.8 billion per month. That's right. Nearly $10 billion a month.

Best current predictions for the total cost? One fucking trillion dollars.

Scott Wallsten, a resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, put the direct cost to the United States at $212 billion as of last September and estimates a "global cost" of $500 billion to date with another $500 billion possible, with most of the total borne by the United States.

Groaners

Sorry. Someone had to do it.

1. A vulture boards an airplane, carrying two dead raccoons. The Stewardess looks at him and says, "I'm sorry, sir, only one carrion allowed per passenger."

2. Two fish swim into a concrete wall. The one turns to the other and says "Dam!"

3. Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, so they lit a fire in the craft. Unsurprisingly it sank, proving once again that you can't have your kayak and heat it too.

4. Two hydrogen atoms meet. One says "I've lost my electron." The other says "Are you sure?" The first replies "Yes, I'm positive."

Dear women ricochets

A couple of weeks ago, I posted this, which also ran as a column in a local paper, which was also read on a local radio station, which also got accepted for the virtual exhibit here, which also got posted on the intranet at a women-friendly consulting company. Seems there's pretty good interest in women taking over. Good women, of course. I even caught the attention of a snarky dominatrix. There is hope.

My name is Anglico and I am an addict

My particular vice is blogging . . . but the negative impacts of that pale in comparison to gambling addiction. I've written about this before, but this column in the Rocky Mount paper underscores the absurdity far better than I could.

North Carolina legislators have eagerly touted the lottery's future economic windfall — all in the name of education. But they are wagering the well-being of adults with addictive tendencies who may be lured into a new vice.

While the state has committed money to curb an expected increase in people with gambling problems, it hasn't budgeted enough.

Now boys and girls

There's no end to the hypocrisy running rampant among Pope Puppets this St. Patricks Day. Consider this story about a Carrboro teacher who decided to experiment with separating boys and girls in middle School. It's perfectly predictable.

God: Okay to whip kids with plastic pipes

As a back-sliding Baptist, I am fully authorized (by god and my mama) to comment on all things insane from the evangelical right. What you are about to read from the Raleigh News and Observer fits the bill.

A few years ago, Lynn Paddock sought Christian advice on how to discipline her growing brood of adopted children.

::snip::

Paddock ordered Michael and Debi Pearl's books and started spanking her adopted children as suggested. After Sean, the youngest of Paddock's six adopted children, died last month, his older sister and brother told investigators about Paddock's spankings. Sean's 9-year-old brother was beaten so badly he limped, a prosecutor said. Bruises marred Sean's backside, too, doctors found.

Blottery

NC Policy Watch has an excellent summary of North Carolina's sad lottery saga. I've excerpted some of the best commentary, but please go read the whole thing.

If all goes according to plan, retailers in North Carolina will begin selling scratch off lottery tickets in two weeks. If that happens, it will be the first thing about this lottery that has worked the way it was promised.

Even lottery supporters have to admit that this game has been flawed from the beginning. It was passed by the General Assembly unethically, if not illegally. A pending lawsuit will settle that question.

OPM

Master Puppet John Hood of the John Locke Fornication is in rare form today, writing about the favorite subject of wingers: Other People's Money.

Iterations of the OPM myth pervade state political debates. For example, there is a major move afoot in Raleigh right now to convince state lawmakers to put some costly bond issues on the November ballot. Water and sewer needs will cost North Carolina localities $7 billion in just the next half-decade, the argument goes, and “they” can’t afford it all. “State government” should pick up at least $1 billion of the cost in a new statewide bond.

David Price: On the Record

No one would accuse me of being a moderate in any regard. Not in work, not in play, not in love, not in politics. But I must admit to a certain curiosity about people who bring a more considered approach to their words and actions. One such person is David Price of North Carolina’s 4th Congressional district. I recently had the chance to interview him – to find out what he thinks about the state of affairs in Washington.

What's it like being in the minority party with George Bush in the White House? In all my nine terms in Congress, I've never seen as bitter and punitive a partisan atmosphere. Democrats in Congress have virtually no say in the major legislation that comes before the House. Bills are rammed through to appease the right-wing zealots of the Republican Party, giving the minority no opportunity to amend them or to vote on alternate legislation that would appeal to members on both sides of the aisle. Even more troubling is the utter lack of oversight. Instead of functioning as a co-equal branch of government, Congress is abdicating its constitutional responsibility to hold the Administration accountable - at a time when accountability couldn't be more critical.

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