Tuesday, September 27, 2005

FT.com / In depth / Hurricane impact - Fema ex-chief blames 'dysfunctional' Louisiana

"Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leaders, said the hearings were a '“sham'.

"Questioning one Republican crony will not get the truth of the disastrous federal response to Hurricane Katrina and prevent it from happening again,"” she said. A group of Democrat congressmen has introduced a petition calling for a vote on the creation of an independent commission.""

I think that it is fine to hold hearings to address how the disaster response to Katrina was handled, but I have a problem with these 'independent commissions'. What knee-jerk concession led to this concept? Why does Congress create commissions to do the job of Congress? As I see it, Congress is authorized and duty-bound by the Constitution to provide oversight for the other two branches of the Government. The Congress are elected because the citizenry feel that they are qualified to do so. So, I have a hard time comprehending why we would want an extra layer of bureaucracy. We need to return to the days where if Congress wants to hold hearings , they do so, and Congress is answerable to the people.

Hurricane impact

Monday, September 26, 2005

Spaceflight Now | Delta Launch Report | GPS modernization begins with Delta rocket launch

A new modern GPS has been launched-the first of many to replace the older satellites. It is backwards compatible with most older receivers. I'm hoping the accuracy of my GPSr will improve. It should take a while for an entire constellation of new satellites to be put in place, but this is a start.

"The advancements for the military will provide warfighters with a more robust jam-resistant signal and enable better targeting of GPS-guided weapons in hostile environments, while the new civilian signal removes navigation errors caused by the Earth's ionosphere.

"I think this is a pretty huge step. We have essentially been operating on the original-design signals of GPS for over a decade, and this is going to be the first time we are actually adding new signals from space," said Col. Allan Ballenger, GPS system program director at the Space and Missile Systems Center. "

Spaceflight Now|GPS modernization begins with Delta rocket launch

Friday, September 23, 2005

CRS:Terrorism-Riding the wave of illegal immigration

In 2004 1.6 million illegals attempted entry into the U.S. 93% of these aliens were Mexicans. The acronym OTM is used to describe those that are "other than Mexican" aliens. Mexico won't take OTM's back, and we don't have enough beds to detain them here so they are let loose inside the Country with explicit instructions to attend their court hearing. Is it ridiculous to assume that a person entering this country illegally won't volunteer to appear before a judge? It is It only takes a handful of people to execute a terrorist agenda (9 in the case of 9/11).

"...Terrorists and terrorist organizations could leverage these illicit networks to smuggle a person or weapon of mass destruction into the United States, while the large number of aliens attempting to enter the country illegally could potentially provide cover for the terrorists. Additionally, the proceeds from these smuggling networks could potentially be used to finance terrorism. The issue of OTM apprehensions has received publicity recently for many of these reasons, which were highlighted during congressional testimony by DHS then-Deputy Secretary Admiral James Loy when he stated that AlQaeda is considering infiltrating the Southwest border due to a belief that "illegal entry is more advantageous than legal entry for operational security reasons."

What can be done to fix this problem?

Border Security: Apprehensions of "Other Than Mexican"Aliens

Friday, September 16, 2005

Researcher dispels Myth of Dioxins and Plastic Water Bottles

Here is something to think about as you are updating your 72 hour kits.

"First, people should be more concerned about the quality of the water they are drinking rather than the container it’s coming from. Many people do not feel comfortable drinking tap water, so they buy bottled water instead. The truth is that city water is much more highly regulated and monitored for quality. Bottled water is not. It can legally contain many things we would not tolerate in municipal drinking water."

Point being there are risks associated with drinking bottled water that don't exist for tap water. I have nine gallons of distilled water packed away for my little family. What factors should I take into account when storing this stuff (i.e. keep out of direct sunlight, keep cool, etc...)?

Myth of Dioxins and Plastic Water Bottles.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Celebrity maps

Back in April, CNET reported on a poll done of Americans in which 72% favored censorship of personal information about celebrities. I took that as a challenge to obtain as much information about celebrities as my readers could provide. I received zero response. I did stumble upon this tool today. It lists celebrity addresses and maps them on GoogleMaps.

Celebrity Maps

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

CRS Speaks to Katrina Response: Bloggers blame Bush

Democracy for Utah and The Raw Story are both reporting that President Bush has been blamed by an Congressional Research Service for his response to Katrina. This is patently false.

My comment to Democracy for Utah reads:

"If you read the report in it's entirety, available from CRS(pdf), you would see that President Bush is also absolved from blame in his response.

"...In response to the Governor's requests, it appears that the President did take the steps necessary to trigger the availability of Stafford Act emergency assistance and disaster assistance, by declaring first a state of emergency, and later a major disaster, and authorizing specific Stafford Act assistance to be made available to the State of Louisiana to respond to the effects of the Hurricane..."

Nowhere in the letter does any blame get assigned to anyone. "

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Tax Foundation - Tax Reform and Revenue Neutrality: President's Panel Should Avoid the Redistribution of 1986

The Tax Foundation has weighed in on the idea of committing to a revenue neutral Tax reform.

"A good revenue-neutral tax reform plan would involve no deliberate redistribution between the corporate and individual income tax systems. The tax code should raise sufficient revenue to fund government programs, not act as a tool for social engineering or political patronage. Thus, the goal of tax reform is to make the tax code more simple, fair, and economically efficient by eliminating special tax breaks and applying the lowest possible tax rate on the widest possible tax base—in other words “plucking the goose as to obtain the largest possible amount of feathers with the smallest amount of hissing" as Jean Baptiste Colbert wrote some 250 years ago."

Governor Huntsman has elicited no willingness to consider anything but a revenue neutral reform. Why will he not consider a break when there are clear excesses? Despite this I do think that the Task force is going about 'plucking the goose' all wrong.

The Tax Foundation - Tax Reform and Revenue Neutrality: President's Panel Should Avoid the Redistribution of 1986

Roberts Repeatedly Dodges Roe V. Wade

It seems that Specter isn't much of an apparition.

Did the Senators think that the man that has argued more than any other in front of the Supreme Court would buckle under pressure when faced with the likes of Specter and Kennedy?

Washington Post:Roberts Repeatedly Dodges Roe V. Wade

Friday, September 02, 2005

Citizens Against Government Waste: CAGW Issues "No Pork" Challenge to Congress on Hurricane Relief

What an interesting idea. Create a bill for Emergency relief without any extraneous and unrelated projects included (i.e. pork barrell, swine bucket, etc) .

CAGW:Challenge to Congress