Friday, April 04, 2008

You say Goodbye, and I say Hello

I have finally decided to de-link All Things Conservative from my blogroll.
It was nearly three years ago that I welcomed ATC to the San Antonio blogging community. It almost immediately became more popular than my meager blogging effort and attracted a bevy of regular readers. But a couple of months ago its proprietor Bill Crawford inexplicably walked away from the site and for many weeks after it just sat there like a bloated corpse collecting comment spam like flies.
Then, a week ago or so, it was gone. Wiped out. Deleted. Three years worth of labor down the memory hole, only to be replaced with what can only be described as a sick joke of a website - a nameless, barren, non-descript site that looks less than half-finished and claims to be devoted to debunking global warming theories, but in truth, if you scroll down, is just a template for random advertisements. Pathetic.
It’s hard to understand why someone would devote three years of their life building up a blog like that only to turn around one day and delete the whole thing. I had contributed a few guest posts at the site over the years and had been one of the regular commenters, contributing to countless lengthy debates on a myriad of topics.
All gone. Just like Bill who just vanished without a word. Poof!
So it goes in the World Wide Web sometimes.

On the other hand, I’d like to formally welcome a new blog to the San Antonio blogging community called maximum volume. The anonymous author is a good friend of mine who I will say is very well connected and should have a lot of insightful things to say on many topics. Hopefully, with a little positive feedback we can encourage him to post more often on his new blog. So check him out.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Wasteful spending in context

Here is a fine example of why I think groups like Citizens Against Government Waste are a joke.
The CAGW has just released its annual “Pork Report” in which it breathlessly reports that "Congress stuffed 11,610 projects" worth $17.2 billion into a dozen spending bills.”
The fact that they had to comb through more than 11,000 projects and they only come up with $17.2 billion is telling. We spend more than that in less than two months in Iraq. These people aren’t fighting waste! They are finding some left over pocket change under the sofa cushions. Big deal!!

The GAO report should put those people to shame. The GAO did not question the need for any of the 95 weapons systems it looked at. It did not question the bloated costs of any of these programs. All it did was look at cost overruns — money above and beyond the initial pricetags which you know are already inflated — and here is what they found:

The Government Accountability Office found that 95 major systems have exceeded their original budgets by a total of $295 billion, bringing their total cost to $1.6 trillion, and are delivered almost two years late on average.

$295 billion!!! Compared to $17.2 billion for 11,610 programs most of which are probably easily defensible as needed or necessary spending. The $295 billion is not for any programs. Zero!! We don’t get squat for this money. It is simply cost overruns. Bad management. Incompetence. The hallmark of the Bush administration, and Republican policy in general. At least with the $17.2 billion in so-called pork barrell projects we will get a lot of roads and bridges and museums and so forth.

And the $295 billion pales in comparison to the estimated costs of the Iraq debacle, now coming close to $5 trillion.

Next week, the Iraq war enters its sixth year. As casualties mount (about 4,000 American soldiers killed since the start of the war in March 2003), so do the bills.
"The cost is going up every month," says Linda Bilmes, an expert at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. She estimates the short-term, "running cost" has reached $12.5 billion a month. That's up from $4.4 billion a month in 2003. Add in long-term factors, such as the care of veterans and interest on federal debt incurred as a result of the war, and the cost piles up to $25 billion a month nowadays.
Last September in a phone interview, Ms. Bilmes estimated the war's total price tag as easily exceeding $2 trillion. In a book published last month, she and Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize-winning economist from Columbia University, New York, estimated the total long-run cost at $3 trillion in 2007 valued dollars. If you add in Afghanistan and various costs to the economy, the sum reaches $4.95 trillion.

From now on, whenever I hear any Republican complain about paying taxes my standard response will be, “Yeah, paying for Bush’s war is a pain, isn’t it?”
Because, after all, that is what every last one of our tax dollars is going to go towards for the rest of our natural lives.

One more MB video

The first one is my nephew. The second is my son. My other brother-in-law, Alan, took this video.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Mutton Busting II

My brother-in-law Mark took this video of my son riding the sheep at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

And here is my nephew just moments earlier...