Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day

Is there really a need for Earth Day? Is the coming environmental Armageddon really underexposed?

Here's another wonderful David Harsanyi article, targeted at today's odious "holiday":
Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency bravely moved forward by finding that things such as smokestacks and breathing, or things related to greenhouse gases, endanger public health and welfare. And because the EPA can regulate CO2, it can have a say in nearly everything we do, with little regard for silly distractions, such as economic trade-offs.

We're not talking about your cars or soon-to-be-extinct trucks; we're talking about your scooters and toasters, your dryers and pets (do you really need two dogs? Come to think of it, do you really need two children?), your coffeehouses and Subaru dealerships and organic-produce collectives.

It's not going to be easy. Climate change is the cause of—and caused by—everything. Reputable news pieces regularly allege, without any evidence, that climate change is the culprit in hundreds of dreadful events. From the decline of outdoor youth hockey to the scourge of teenage drinking to the massacre in Darfur, you guessed it; global warming is often the boogeyman.
My favorite passage:
What's worse than the EPA grabbing power over CO2? Well, leading Luddite and congressman Henry Waxman is worse. His proposal sets carbon reduction goals of 20 percent by 2020, 42 percent by 2030 and 83 percent by 2050 and, with cap and trade, effectively nationalizes energy.

This incremental destruction of prosperity is probably going to have to be modified as soon as citizens get a taste of reality. But how could any reasonable or responsible legislator suggest an 83 percent cut in emissions without any practical or wide-scale alternative to replace it or any plan to pay for it all?

When people are on a crusade, I guess, logic rarely plays a part. And when Waxman and friends hold climate change hearings this week, it will feature more than 50 witnesses, the majority, no doubt, prepared to spin some exceedingly (non) chilling tale to the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Energy and Environment Subcommittee.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Netflix Analyzer

Are you getting the most out of your Netflix? (HT: Tyler)

The result of my analysis:
  • You've rented 53 DVDs over 6 months from October 28, 2008 to April 10, 2009.
  • Your plan costs $14.99/month so you've paid $89.94 total.
  • Your average price per rental was approximately $1.70 each.
  • Average rental costs elsewhere are $3.75 each (not including late fees).
  • You've saved approximately $108.81 over that time period or $18.14 per month.

Here's some more about your renting habits...

  • You kept each rental for around 8 days on average.
  • The longest you kept a single DVD was 33 days.
  • You rented about 9 DVDs each month.
  • You're renting at or better than the estimated limit for your plan of DVDs each month.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

"A Great Day for Equality"

The Vermont Legislature on Tuesday overrode Gov. Jim Douglas’s veto of a bill allowing gay couples to marry, mustering exactly enough votes to preserve the measure.

The step makes Vermont the first state to allow same-sex marriage through legislative action instead of a court ruling.

The outcome in the House of Representatives, 100 to 49, was not clear until the final moments of a long roll call, when Rep. Jeff Young, a Democrat who voted against the bill last week, reversed his position. After the final tally, cheers erupted in both legislative chambers of the State House and in the hallways outside, and several lawmakers on both sides of the debate looked stunned.

“It’s a great day for equality,” said Margaret Cheney, a democrat and state representative from Norwich, Vt. “People saw this as an equality issue, and we’re proud that Vermont has led the way without a court order to provide equal benefits.”

Friday, April 3, 2009

Iowan Wisdom: "Live the American Dream"

Via NYT:

“We are firmly convinced the exclusion of gay and lesbian people from the institution of civil marriage does not substantially further any important governmental objective,” Justice Mark S. Cady wrote for the seven-member court, adding later, “We have a constitutional duty to ensure equal protection of the law.”

“I think there’s been a perception that it couldn’t happen here,” David Twombley, 67, said, moments after he learned that he and his partner could marry. The couple was among six Iowa couples to start the legal fight four years ago that culminated in Friday’s decision.

“But yes, it happened, right here in Iowa,” Mr. Twombley said. “There’s something about that, about it happening in the heartland, that has got to accelerate this process for the whole country.”
“Go get married!” Dennis W. Johnson, a lawyer from Des Moines who had helped represent the gay and lesbian couples in the case, told the gathering at the hotel. “Live happily ever after,” Mr. Johnson called out, adding, “Live the American dream.”

The Midwest Succumbs

Well done, Iowa Supreme Court:
Iowa became the first state in the Midwest to approve same-sex marriage on Friday, after the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously decided that a 1998 law limiting marriage to a man and a woman was unconstitutional.

The decision was the culmination of a four-year legal battle that began in the lower courts. The Supreme Court said same-sex marriages could begin in Iowa in as soon as 21 days.
Still not a reason to move to Iowa, but a good sign nonetheless.