On stimuli

The Republicans in Congress have issued a list of stimulus package line items they consider wasteful . Looking at the list, it’s pretty easy to deduce how Republicans see the world: anything related to energy efficiency, pollution reduction, government infrastructure or public health is “wasteful”. Oh, sure, there are a few stupid items. $246m for Hollywood to buy film with is a waste of money; there are already more crappy Hollywood movies being released than anyone wants to go watch, and film is a dying technology anyway.

Beyond satire

Official White House proclamation: The Congress, by Public Law 85-529, as amended, has designated May 1 of each year as “Loyalty Day.” This Loyalty Day, and throughout the year, I ask all Americans to join me in reaffirming our allegiance to our Nation. NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 1, 2007, as Loyalty Day. I call upon the people of the United States to participate in this national observance and to display the flag of the United States on Loyalty Day as a symbol of pride in our Nation.

One billion heartbeats

One of the defining features of mammals is the four chambered heart. A curiosity of biology is that all mammals have more or less the same lifespan, if you measure it in heartbeats: one billion beats, give or take a billion.

If you’re a large mammal, like an elephant, your heart beats slowly, and you live many years. If you’re a mouse, your tiny heart beats far faster, and you’re lucky to live more than a handful of years. If you’re a human, your heart usually beats around 70 times a minute. Mine is a little different. It likes to throw in an extra beat here and there.

No trick too dirty, continued

“Unfortunately, independent efforts by the NAACP, America Coming Together, John Kerry for President and the Capri Cafaro for Congress campaign have been illegally registering people to vote and apply for absentee ballots. […] Please be advised that if you were registered in this capacity that you will not be able to vote until the next election.” —Text from fraudulent letter sent to Ohio Democratic voters

Educational vs non-educational TV shows

The US Department of Education has changed its policy regarding which TV shows should be provided with closed captions for the deaf. The new criteria are secret, and were decided by a five-member panel of people whose names are also secret. All that we know is that the rules set down by Congress require that captioned material be “educational and informational”. So, to help illustrate the difference between factual educational programs and non-educational entertainment, here are some examples from the official list of updates produced by the panel.

Two-faced weasels illustrated

“I’m the only person in the United States Senate who has been elected four times who has voluntarily refused to ever take one dime of political action committee, special interest money in my elections” —John Kerry AP continues the story: Kerry collected more than $470,000 directly from companies and unions in 2002 [just before those types of donations were outlawed] for his Citizen Soldier Fund, and spent large amounts of it sowing goodwill in key primary states just before Congress banned the use of such “soft money” donations, according to records his group filed with the IRS.

Troll droppings

Naturally the Massachusetts decision brought out the trolls on Usenet, with lots of postings of frothing articles from worldnetdaily.org. However, it also brought out some amusing parodies of said ravings: Mass. Decision Said to Encourage Federal Marriage Amendment Christians fear an end to traditional marriage and abortion clinic shootings WorldNutDaily.org Thousands of formerly ardent Christians filed for divorce this morning, as others raped their children and household pets, after the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that gay people are citizens too.

Putting an end to partisan politics

From the Washington Post: A day after Congress voted to authorize Bush to use force against Iraq, a mass e-mail was distributed by the executive office of the president. It referred to Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.), who led the opposition to the resolution, as “doddering old Bob Byrd, the senile senator from West Virginia.” It called Hispanic Democrats in the House who opposed the resolution “self-centered, do-nothing, $150,000/year plus perks yo-yo’s.

Pluto (not the dog)

In order to save 50¢ per taxpayer, George W. Bush has cut NASA’s budget so that they can’t afford to send an unmanned mission to Pluto. The problem is, the last viable launch window to get a gravitational slingshot to Pluto is in 2006. If we don’t hit that window, Pluto will move too far away from the sun, and its atmosphere will freeze and precipitate out onto the planet’s surface.

ENRON

Ken Lay has resigned from Enron, told Congress he won’t answer their questions, and now he’s mysteriously gone missing… Maybe he’ll turn up in Spain with Ronnie Biggs, Minnie Driver’s father Ronnie, Jim Slater, and all the other (alleged) crooks…