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It looks like the House is going to vote soon on H.R. 3282 - Abolishment of Obsolete Agencies and Federal Sunset Act of 2005, which sounds like a good idea to me, even if it doesn't go as far as the Sunset Amendment I've been advocating for years. (This bill may or may not be the same as the Sunset Commission I mentioned last year.)

In general, federal agencies will be abolished as so:


(a) Schedule for Review- Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Federal Agency Sunset Commission established under section 3 (in this Act referred to as the `Commission') shall submit to Congress a schedule for review by the Commission, at least once every 12 years (or less, if determined appropriate by Congress), of the abolishment or reorganization of each agency.

(b) Review of Agencies Performing Related Functions- In determining the schedule for review of agencies under subsection (a), the Commission shall provide that agencies that perform similar or related functions be reviewed concurrently to promote efficiency and consolidation.

(c) Abolishment of Agencies-

(1) IN GENERAL- Each agency shall--

(A) be reviewed according to the schedule created pursuant to this section; and

(B) be abolished not later than one year after the date that the Commission completes its review of the agency pursuant to such schedule, unless the agency is reauthorized by the Congress.

(2) EXTENSION- The deadline for abolishing an agency may be extended for an additional two years after the date described in paragraph (1)(B) if the Congress enacts legislation extending such deadline by a vote of a super majority of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

In case you missed it on Drudge, Conan will take over The Tonight Show in 2009 (link perishable). Conan is one of the funniest people I know of, and I only wish he could move into the new slot sooner rather than later. This looks like a smart move for NBC, considering Conan's popularity with the existing under-30 demographic -- which will be under-35 in 2009, and an even bigger chunk of the key 18-49 cohort.

LINKAGE 2: Following up the post directly below, I'm adding a couple of new sites to my blogroll at the left. As I said, my general policy is that I'll link back to anyone who links to me, and I'm particularly happy to link to other small-ish sites.

Especially when they say nice things about me! Aimless, for instance, asks where all the intelligent men like me are in real life. I can only speak for myself, and very often I don't know where I am. But I know where you're going... to the blogroll!

Jane, the Social Reject tossed me a link as well, despite her 37 years of rage and venom. If she's only 37 years old, then that's her whole life! Maybe my link will cheer her up. She says she doesn't like conservatives, fundies, and pro-lifers, but she linked to me anyway... wait a second, she really really hates morons, so maybe she hasn't read much of my site yet.

BIZARRO WORLD: The liberal left is getting increasingly frustrated by their diminishing power, but they blame it on the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy rather than consider the possibility that their ideas are simply losing traction with the American citizenry. As their screeches become more deafening, sometimes it can be rather difficult to understand what they're thinking. So let's go for a ride to the Land of Make-Believe, a.k.a., the "Take Back America" seminar.

Jeff Faux, distinguished fellow at the liberal Economic Policy Institute, lashed out at the culture of talk radio during a panel discussion entitled "Shrubbed: The Radical Project of George Bush."

"I turn on the radio, and I hear these talk shows with right wing drunks calling in, and I ask myself, where are our drunks?" Faux said.

I found one!
Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women, charged that "Rupert Murdoch [and his] cronies" are "stifling our messages and keep our messages from being heard, and when we get them out, they are drowned in a sea of lies."
Maybe she's forgotten about ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNN, and all the liberal media outlets. Oh, that no one watches, right. Maybe they're being stifled by stupidity and pompousity.
Maude Hurd, president of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), said liberals have been "bushwhacked" by the president.

"George W. Bush has pushed so many right wing proposals through Congress that many progressives have begun to despair," Hurd explained. "Bush's endless demands for tax cuts for millionaires are so willfully blind that he reminds me of a substance abuser," Hurd added.

Well, you can't cut taxes for people who don't pay taxes. Nice pun, by the way, but even a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in a while.
[Callahan] told the audience that she once asked former Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall how it felt to be able to pass environmental regulations during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations without much opposition.

"I asked: 'What was it like when you were running the Interior Department, and you all created the Endangered Species Act, you protected amazing lands, you did these new and insightful and far-reaching things to protect our natural environment?" According to Callahan, Udall answered: "Basically, if you could think it up, you could do it."

Now that's a great method for governing, bureaucrats who can do anything they can think up. Swell.

WOMYN: Via various sources I see that Women's Action Coalition is planning a "performance protest" during which

One by one, over 250 women will condemn the Bush Administration for destroying our basic American freedoms. Each charge will be answered by a scream of rage and resistance, fury and frustration.
Gosh, a bunch of whiny, screaming, emotional women -- play to sterotypes more, please. Will there be a special segment where female comedians make jokes about menstruation and how hard it is to find a boyfriend? Why not have a cry-a-thon or a mass ovulation or something?

Whatever. I have no doubt that Ashcroft's boot will strike quickly to crush this intolerable dissent and get these girls back to work making babies and doing laundry.

MIDNIGHT MOVIE: Anyone who's in Los Angeles should make plans to come watch Rosemary's Baby tonight at midnight at the Nuart on Santa Monica Blvd.

Sure, it's directed by Child Rapist Roman Polanski, but it was made before he started raping children -- at least as far as can be proven.

Anyway, email me if you're coming. I have no idea how many (if any) of my readers are from Los Angeles.

AJAR: I haven't written a lot of fiction recently, but I had a silly little idea on the way home tonight. It's called Ajar, and it's up over at The Forge (if the permalink doesn't work). Do people really get divorced because their spouse leaves the window open?

WHERE'S WALDO?: The search in Iraq for weapons of mass destruction continues, but it appears that many former Saddam scientists still aren't talking.

"Their questions are the same as yours," [one of Saddam Hussein's chief chemical warriors, Iraqi Brig. Gen. Alaa Saeed] said. " 'Do you know of any documents or inventory of chemical agents? Any stockpiles? Any production programs? Any filled munitions? Do you have any idea where these weapons are?' I am ready to give them all the information I have. But the answer is always the same: 'No, no, no.'

"I tell them there are no hidden chemical or biological weapons," he said. "Maybe there is some other group, like the SSO [Hussein's ruthless Special Security Organization] or the Mukhabarat [the Gestapo-like intelligence agency], who have done it. I don't know. That is not my responsibility."

A U.S. intelligence official in Washington said Tuesday that senior Iraqis in custody have provided little useful information.

Strange stuff. They can't really believe that Saddam is still around, can they? It's hard to imagine that all the higher-ups are still toeing the party line. Maybe they're afraid of prosecution for war crimes, but it seems like one or two could be offered immunity for some decent information.

If there are WMD in Iraq, then someone knows where they are. Unfortunately, those who know are probably among the ex-Baathist Sunni Arabs who are currently still fighting against the coalition forces. If the captured scientists have any reason to fear, it's because of these armed remnants who may still be able to reach their family members in Iraq.

(Link to the LA Times article via Rough & Tumble.)

DRUG LEGALIZATION 2: Danny O'Brien over at Blog O' DOB agrees with my concerns with the prospect of drug legalization.

Understand that while there are moral arguments both for and against legalizing various drugs, I don't think the government should be involved in any way in moral positioning. The only values that government should advocate are morally neutral: interfere with my life as little as possible, and protect me from the interference of others.

ALWAYS SAVE YOUR WORK: I mentioned this post about the Nanog gene and radical life extention over at Setting the World to Rights before, and I wanted to put the link up again because the comments are rather interesting.

One commenter says that once we can create backups of ourselves death will not be permanent, but this is intuitively fallacious. Creating copies or backups of oneself clearly would not obviate death. Another commenter pointed out that a copy would be no different than an identical twin, and wold not really be you, even though they might be just like you.

Even if the copies are fungible to other people, you yourself would still be dead. Same goes for transporters in Star Trek.

Addtionally, I don't expect that we will never be able to back-up a human.

DIABLOG: Mark Aveyard and I had a chat last night about movies (and other stuff) and it's up at his site, The Diablogger. I love the concept, and it was fun to be the first diablog he's done in a while.

At least he kept my dating success rate out of it.

HALF EMPTY: I try not to bore you all with too many personal musings, but tonight my glass is definitely half empty rather than half full. Just wanted to share.

PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST: Peace between Israel and the Palestinians doesn't seem likely as long as:

The conviction that no way can be found for Israel and the Palestinians to coexist is strongest in Morocco (90 percent), followed by Jordan (85 percent), the Palestinian Authority (80 percent), Kuwait (72 percent), Lebanon (65 percent), Indonesia (58 percent) and Pakistan (57 percent).
The numbers come from this International Herald Tribune article. It goes on to say,
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who chairs the Pew project, called these results "very disheartening, and very dangerous, frankly."

"I hope that this is temporary and that, if there are some improvements in the situation because of the peace process, it will change," she said. "There is no way Israel is going to disappear. We will just have to find some way to mitigate those feelings."

Well, it's not temporary -- these aren't new numbers and there's no reason to expect that they're transient. Albright seems to think that the "peace process" might change the Palestinians' minds, but how can there be such a process if 8 in 10 Palestinians think there's no way to coexist with Israel? Who would embark on any sort of process that they believe is futile?

As Albright said, there's no way that Israel is going to disappear. There's also apparently no way that the Palestinians are going to give up their desire to eradicate Israel. That's a stalemate that can only be resolved when one side loses, and the sole accomplishment of the "peace process" so far has been to ensure that neither side can be defeated. The Palestinians can't realistically threaten Israel's military, and Israel can't bring its full power to bear against the Palestinians due to the political pressure of the "peace process".

Until and unless one side has its will to fight broken by defeat, there won't be peace in the region. When two parties have mutually exclusive goals, the only way there can be peace is if one of them is defeated. The externally imposed "peace process" is just prolonging the agony leading up to the inevitable hot war and raising the stakes for both sides. Neither can back down and they can't both win, so it's just a matter of time.

(Thanks to Opinion Journal for the pointer to the article.)

GOLD: Just go read Lileks. He's got the dirtiest joke that's ever been on TV, and it's from the Tomacco episode of the Simpsons... one of my favorite. No, I won't just blockquote it here, go read it for yourself. Go go go.

As if you need me to tell you to go read him.

LINKAGE: Donald Sensing has posted some small blogs that have been linking to him, and I'm among them. Thanks Don!

A FUNNY THING HAPPENED TO ME ON THE WAY HOME...: While I was driving home from work just now I saw a guy on the street driving my old car! I sold my white '91 Ford Escort almost exactly three years ago, and I was quite taken aback to see it again, same license plate and everything. Naturally, I decided to follow the guy home. Turns out he lives one block away from me.

CALIFORNIA POLITICAL THEORY: As summarized by Al Rantel: If it moves, regulate it; if it keeps moving, tax it; if it stops moving, subsidize it.

NANOG: SettingTheWorldToRights has a post up about the newly-named Nanog gene, and goes in pretty much the same direction with it that I did. They seem to be in favor of using stem cells from babies killed for reasearch, whereas I am not, and they take our human form as accidental, but that's par for the course.

They focus mostly on the prospect of radical life extension, but I think that the elimination of degenerative disease will come more quickly.

YOU TAX DOLLARS AT WORK: Donald Sensing explains why paying taxes is a legal obligation, but not a moral duty. All the better for having read it right after depositing my federal tax refund check.

HEY BIG SPENDER: I like Bush a lot, and I think he's going a great job as president... for the most part. Whether through pure skill or through skill mixed with luck and timing he and his team have handled the Iraq/UN situation brilliantly -- not only achieving our immediate goals of fighting terror and oppression against a visible enemy, but also managing to throw some light into the dark recesses of international diplomacy where our "allies" have lay hidden, plotting against us for years.

Of course, his dad performed decently in the foreign policy realm as well. Bush II has managed to pass some nice tax cuts (in contrast to Bush I, who raised taxes despite his famous "read my lips" promise), but I'm still not completely satisfied. Andrew Sullivan points to a Peter Beinart article that criticizes many of the president's policies, and although I don't agree with most of the criticisms (such as "the Bush administration seems to believe that, as the most powerful country on earth, the United States should both dictate the rules of the international system and exempt itself from them" -- I entirely agree with the Bush administration), in one area Beinart is dead on: Bush needs to review agricultural subsidies.

Let me briefly explain what a subsidy is. Take cotton: for every pound of cotton grown in the US, the government pays the grower 72 cents. Without this money (or some amount), it would not be profitable to grow cotton in the US, and the industry would move out of the country. It costs one-third as much to grow cotton in Africa, for instance. If the subsidy was removed American jobs would be lost (from the cotton industry), but there would be a net economic gain because the cost of cotton products would go down (when the cost of the subsidy is factored in). Subsidies are bad for our economy. Not only that, but this subsidy is also bad for Africa, because African growers can't compete in the cotton market with our growers, who can sell the cotton at a lower price, due to the subsidy.

What's the benefit? In theory, we as a nation don't want to be wholly dependent on foreigners for essential goods, such as cotton, oil, food, steel, and the like. So it makes sense from a national security standpoint to subsidize some industries so that they don't disappear entirely. However, agricultural subsidies are often more pork than anything else, and at the very least the entire process should be reviewed and zero-based anew every year to prevent corruption; they've continued to grow under Bush, however, as they have under all past presidents.

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