Blogressive April 19, 2006
Man uses ebay device to change red lights to green
Jason Niccum of Longmont, CO purchased a device similar to those used by emergency vehicles that changes red lights to green lights. To his surprise, such devices are illegal. (Yelling at the light is still legal.)
“They told me they’d been tracking me using it for about a week, and I thought, ‘What about the other 900 days I’ve used it?’
What's wrong with this picture?
Did you mail your taxes yesterday? If so, here's the good news: Your taxes were much lower than nearly every other industrialized nation on the planet.
In 2003, total federal, state, and local taxes in the United States were 24.2% of our gross domestic product, ranking among the lowest in the world, with only Mexico at 19.5% with a lower tax rate. Along with the higher taxes, the difference between the U.S. and some of the other industrialized countries are increased social services, such as pensions and health-care funding.
Source: MSN MoneyCentral
Now the the bad news: A huge chunk of your money went to the military. How huge?
The US military spending was almost 7 times larger than the Chinese budget, the second largest spender. The US military budget was almost 29 times as large as the combined spending of the six 'rogue' states (Cuba, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Sudan and Syria) who spent $14.65 billion. It was more than the combined spending of the next 14 nations. The United States and its close allies accounted for some two thirds to three-quarters of all military spending, depending on who you count as close allies (typically NATO countries, Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan and South Korea). The six potential “enemies,” Russia, and China together spent $139 billion, 30% of the U.S. military budget.
"The sweetest illegal immigrant we've ever met."
A cat made it across our Northern border. Lou Dobbs is waiting to see the color of the cat before he expresses an opinion.
A stowaway who made it past Customs agents and into the United States on the metal frame of a fertilizer truck has won over locals, who call her the 'sweetest illegal immigrant we've ever met.' The migrant — a cat — hopped aboard a semi trailer hauling fertilizer from Esterhazy, Saskatchewan, to Eldridge, near Jamestown. Customs agents at the border alerted the driver, but no one could catch the feline. When the semi arrived in Eldridge, the furry stowaway was still clinging to the frame.
"Like a Rock": GM shares more than we really need to know about health care costs
General Motors is causing a few snickers around the water cooler with its announcement that it spent $17 million on Viagra, Cialis, and other erectile dysfunction drugs.
The annual compensation of GM's top five executives was not mentioned in the announcement: $13,755,000. Imagine all the fun you can have with that kind of money!
The company spends $17 million (U.S.) annually on such drugs, said GM spokeswoman Sharon Baldwin.Although that's a small fraction of GM's overall health care costs, which in 2005 were more than $5 billion, company executives often use the example to illustrate what they say are out-of-control health-care costs. The world's largest auto maker lost $10.6 billion last year and says skyrocketing health-care costs are partly to blame. GM provides health care for 1.1 million employees, retirees and dependents.
Traveling Abroad? In a new pamphlet for U.S. citizens traveling abroad, the State Department would like you to act, well, less like their President.
Your religion is your religion and not necessarily theirs. (Religion is usually considered deeply personal, not a subject for public discussions.)
If you talk politics, talk - don't argue. (Steer clear of arguments about American politics, even if someone is attacking US politicians or policies. Agree to disagree.)
Steve Martin on Page 6
Steve Martin has a nice parody of The New York Post's Page Six column.
How great a guy is Tom DeLay? He is a class act who continues to earn the respect of everyone he meets with a double dose of charm and wit. This is one politico who’s simpatico. (Full disclosure: We love our new Armani sweater vests!)
Source: The New Yorker
Christopher H. Sheppard, a former Marine Captain who served two tours of duty in Iraq, is doing something even the top brass aren't ready to do: admit he was wrong.
As I watched the Iraq war begin, I completely trusted the Bush administration. I thought we were going to prove all of the left-wing antiwar protesters and dissenters wrong. I thought we were going to make America safer. Regrettably, I acknowledge that it was I who was wrong.
Source: Seattle Times
Matt Stoller at MyDD says DNC chair Howard Dean isn't going to support Joe Lieberman if he bolts the party.
I was at an American Prospect breakfast with Howard Dean, and he said among other things that the DNC won't be involved in the Connecticut primary. However, he went out of his way to single out Joe Lieberman for being an 'outlier' on national security, and he did say that the DNC will support the eventual Democratic nominee. You hear what I'm saying? If Joe goes Indy, he's losing major backing.
New Hampshire is poised to reject the national ID card.
The lawmakers behind the New Hampshire proposal argue that the federal law effectively would establish a national ID system that would threaten civil liberties. They also have voiced concerns that the law is an unfunded mandate that places an unfair financial burden on states to comply.
"Katrina kids" serenade First Lady
A chorus of children serenaded First Lady Laura Bush at the annual White House Easter egg hunt with a song praising the President, Congress, and FEMA. An event featuring the Easter Bunny is a perfect place for this:
To the tune of 'Hey Look Me Over,' about 100 young children from Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama sang:
Our country’s stood beside us
People have sent us aid.
Katrina could not stop us, our hopes will never fade.
Congress, Bush and FEMA
People across our land
Together have come to rebuild us and we join them hand-in-hand
Source: Wall Street Journal
New guidelines for federal grant money
The Administration for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has issued new guidelines to organizations applying for grants for abstinence-only education programs. The guidelines include definitions of "marriage" and "spouse."
Throughout the entire curriculum, the term "marriage" must be defined as 'only a legal union between one man and one woman as a husband and wife, and the word 'spouse' refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.'
Net nut Michelle Malkin beat out wrestling promoter Vince McMahon and an abusive teacher to win Keith Olbermann's "Worst Person in the World" honor. After Malkin posted the private numbers of anti-war protestors on her blog, they were predictably flooded with death threats from her intelligent readers.
If she thought that was her right, then she's even crazier and dumber than we all thought.
Video: Crooks & Liars