Archive for August, 2008

Aug 21 2008

Best! Congress! Ever!

Okay, so, the Wall Street Journal reported that “[i]n two decades of record keeping, no sitting Congress has passed fewer public laws at this point in the session — 294 so far — than this one.”

To which I can only say, “Excelsior!”

When did it become a benchmark of productivity or success for a legislative body to pile on more laws and regulations? This would be like measuring your doctor’s success by counting the number of times he performed surgery on you. Or your mechanic’s success by the number of times he repaired your car. Except in this case we can’t just pack up and find ourselves another Congress. Well, technically, we could, but that would require actually voting, and tossing out incumbents, which we do less frequently than did the Politburo (in the Senate, at least).

We’re not particularly good at enforcing what we’ve got already, so the idea that shoveling more words into the United States Statutes is going to help anything get better is at best, um, “counterintuitive”:”Well, that didn’t work at all — so let’s do it some more!”

Also, there’s a bit of a problem with actually provoking Congress into action — it’s kind of like poking a large, sleeping predator with a cattle prod, hoping that it will rouse itself and shamble into a better spot. Instead what seems to happen is that it wakes up, notices that people “want action!” and in response does something so screamingly random, irrational and counterproductive that we end up wishing that it had just stayed the hell asleep and out of our lives.

The only drawback to this Congress’s laudable inaction is that it’s failing to pass legislation that would repeal its previously-passed bad legislation. Hello! High oil prices! Lots of oil off our shore! Can’t get to it because you’ve prohibited offshore drilling! Throw us a bone, here, Congresscritters!

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Aug 14 2008

Olympics News Flash: Chinese Gymnasts Are 16, Just Starving

Despite substantial suggestions that some of China’s female Olympic gymnasts are younger than the required 16 years of age, Chinese apparatchi – uh – spokespeople insist that previous Chinese state-controlled news reports that showed them as being younger were erroneous.

According to the Associated Press:

Just nine months before the Beijing Olympics, the Chinese government’s news agency, Xinhua, reported that gymnast He Kexin was 13, which would have made her ineligible to be on the team that won a gold medal this week…. In its report Nov. 3, Xinhua identified He as one of “10 big new stars” who made a splash at China’s Cities Games. It gave her age as 13 and reported that she beat Yang Yilin on the uneven bars at those games.

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Aug 05 2008

When All You’ve Got Is 7,000 Howitzers, Everything Starts Looking Like Fluffy Clouds That Must Be Killed

So were our good friends the Chinese Communists satisfied with stealing our gambling profits? Can they rest, now that they’ve attempted to co-opt the world’s venality?

Of course not! Instead, they’ve moved on to actions based on their idiosyncratic mistranslation of a popular Western song, as they set to work in their Army-ant-like way humming “Who’ll Kill The Rain?”

According to this article from USA Today, the Chinese are embarked on an ambitious weather-control experiment:

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