Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Friday, September 30, 2005
St. Louis Post-Dispatch Favors Tax Cuts for the Rich
Well, not the working rich, who barely cross the thresholds with their moderately expensive houses and luxury cars that take them to the office every day. No, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch favors tax cuts and give aways, as usual, for the idle rich who have hundreds of millions of dollars for buying sports teams or developing properites and lavishing giveaways, commissions, and dinners on poor working journalists.

For example, how else can you explain this mention in a story about a group looking to buying the St. Louis Blues:
    It is possible the exclusive negotiating window could be extended past one month, and it's also possible the deal could fall through altogether. Checketts could be using the window to feel out the city about its amusement tax.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch insitutionally has harped on the city of St. Louis for not providing an exemption to the St. Louis Blues hockey club, by which of course they mean the well-funded corporations and partnerships and legal fictions that control the beloved on-ice team. The other publicly-subsidized sports teams in the area, or at least the ones the Post-Dispatch thinks are glamourous enough, have exemptions to the tax.

Note what the St. Louis Post-Dispatch does not:
  • It does not favor abolishing the tax

  • It does not favor giving tax breaks to mere citizens who pay income taxes, sales taxes, and other innumerable fees for the privilege of living in a city where the only paper is a government-licking pup and whose government is a corporation-licking toy dog that makes up for its lack of infrastructure with sports and entertainment venues funded publicly.
So it's obvious what the Post-Dispatch does favor. Tax exemptions and government giveaways to its friends. The Post-Dispatch is a corporation, after all, and its unwritten mission statement certainly identifies its goal to coddle other power brokers and corporate monstrosities.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005
How Much Bias Can You Fit Into a Headline?
Brown Shifts Blame for Katrina Response
  1. Something went wrong with Federal Katrina response.

  2. Katrina response merits blame.

  3. Brown deserves the blame.

  4. Brown is trying to blame someone else for the blame which is rightfully his.
I would think "Brown Testifies Before Congress" would be a more neutral headline, but then again, I don't think neutral headline or unbiased journalism are redundancies.

Feel free to spot your own!

Who's Afraid of Kelo Backlash++
Lindenwood wants city to use eminent domain
    Lindenwood University officials want the city to use the controversial power of eminent domain to force out a heating and air conditioning business to make way for a new fine and performing arts center.

    Lindenwood President Dennis Spellmann asked city officials Tuesday night to consider using such authority to allow a redevelopment corporation, headed by Spellmann and two other university officials, to purchase a 4-acre site along West Clay Street near the northwest corner of West Clay and First Capitol Drive. The private university has already acquired about 20 acres for the project.

    The 138,000-square-foot, $32 million complex would feature a 1,375-seat auditorium for live performances as well as classrooms, rehearsal studios and office space. University officials hope to begin construction before the end of the year.
Local universities seem to have some sort of phallic competition regarding these venuews; UMSL has opened one which continues to struggle with low attendance and debt, but the president of Lindenwood wants the city of St. Charles to steal some land to give his university land to build another. Well, not the university, per se, but a redevelopment corporation run by him and a couple of other officials.

But he's been pushed to the end of the rope:
    Spellmann said he's avoided using eminent domain to acquire property in the past but thinks the university has exhausted its options in this case.
Spellman's damn benevolent to avoid using his power of stealing private property, but he's almost exhausted all options.

But Spellman fails to, purposefully I would suspect, to take the remaining legitimate option available to the university: Build his boondoggle somewhere else. Or don't bother. Two options Spellman doesn't include in his list of options for confiscating someone else's land for his own ends.

That's a Misleading Headline
Leader of New Orleans Police Resigns
    Police Superintendent Eddie Compass resigned Tuesday after four turbulent weeks in which the police force was wracked by desertions and disorganization in Hurricane Katrina's aftermath.
I'll grant Police Superintendent, but leader? I think not.

Fortunately, the Audio Cassettes Were OK
Rita causes record damage to oil rigs

Boosting Male Attendance at Universities
Professor Reynolds overlooks the obvious when he comments on the disparity between males and females in universities:
    I like to walk around campus on nice days, and sometimes I take pictures. When I post them on my blog, people always comment on the number of women in them. But, in fact, that's a pretty accurate reflection of what college campuses look like these days. (Fellow photoblogging professor Ann Althouse has noticed the same thing.)
Reynolds quotes an article from USA Today which posits 138 women for every 100 men in college. Reynold speculates about the causes and possible solutions to the disparity, but he overlooks the "Jan and Dean" solution.

Universities can move more towards an equitable distribution of genders by promoting:

1.38 Girls for Every Boy

That would certainly increase male enrollment.

Book Report: The Columnist by Jeffrey Frank (2001)
I bought this book from the 80% off book store last autumn and found that it had migrated to the second rank of my to-read bookshelves, which means I buy too many books over the course of the year.

This book might have been written too early; it serves as the fictional memoir that tracks the rise of a William Safire/George Will syndicated newspaper columnist from his humble beginnings at a college newspaper in the late 1950s to the stagnation of his career and life in the 1980s. As it was written before the rise of the blogosphere, one can only speculate about how it would have played out if all the cool bloggers had read it.

I enjoyed the book, although not without qualification. Brandon Sladder is an oblivious user of people, obnoxious and socially climbing. He crosses women, he backstabs his employees, he alienates his "friends" and describes them in his memoir as too busy to confab with him. But we can laugh at his obliviousness and wonder if perhaps he does know but is putting a good face on it.

But as the book turns the final corner into the finish line, we discover that both of his wives have cheated on Sladder, who's a clod but cloddishness doesn't excuse adultery except to certain elements from amoral cosmpolitan areas. The final sex scandal, tacked on, seems too much, and the downfall of Brandon Sladder seems abrupt. Of course, given the voice of the book, it would have to be abrupt and inexplicable, but it shouldn't actually seem that way to readers of the novel.

And although Brandon Sladder, at the end, almost achieves self-awareness, he does not, and Jeffrey Frank does not yield any sort of redemption. So at the end, Brandon Sladder is as self-absorbed and oblivious as at the beginning of the book. Ultimately, that strips the book of its humor, as all along we weren't laughing with a character recounting his past flaws, but laughing at a lesser person. The end completely changes the tenor of all that came before it and ultimately made the book completely disappoint me.

Monday, September 26, 2005
Hopefully, the Gods of Irony Are Sleeping
A European Space Agency mission, named Don Quijote, might practice deflecting asteroids.

Geez, does anyone else think that the result of the mission might be akin to a break in billiards, where a bunch of things go flying off in all directions, making previously not dangerous Near Earth Objects into killers?

I mean, they did name it Don Quijote, for crying out loud. Also, they have an aging population which weighs upon their economies that cries out for a radical solution.

Sunday, September 25, 2005
Generation X Moves to China Grove
Holiday Inn Unrolls Gen X Welcome Mat:
    "It has lots of glass and is very open. We’re collaborating with a feng shui expert," Snyder said. "Gen X is very into looking toward the east."
Cancel our reservations for the Hilton, honey, its layout will anger ancient Chinese spirits and besides, you know how the temprapedic mattresses malign my chakras.

I'd weep for my generation if I weren't a part of it and close enough to know Snyder's kookier than we are.

Because Taxes Are A Slush Fund
State set to roll out tire-cleanup fee:
    Lack of money temporarily let the air out of Missouri's program to find and clean up tire piles.

    But that should change soon. For the first time since January 2004, retailers will collect a 50-cent fee on each new tire sold in the state, starting Oct. 1. The money will support the Missouri Department of Natural Resources' waste-tire cleanup and enforcement program.

    Missouri lawmakers renewed the program this year when they passed a larger hazardous waste bill. Senate Bill 225 also created a 50-cent fee on the sale of car and truck batteries, to address broader hazardous waste efforts. That fee, which also goes into effect Oct. 1, covers batteries containing lead and sulfuric acid that are six volts or more.
Will they cut our taxes by an equal amount? Will they quit collecting the fee after they've cleaned up all old tires in the state?

How naive do they think we are?

They don't care so long as we continue to have spare change in our pockets and we continue to hand it over.

Early Sign of Libertarianism, Sci-Fi Geekdom, or Both
Son of a gun, you know, all this time Mr. Mister wasn't advising us to carry a laser down the road that we must travel.

QA Wins One
Battling Google, Microsoft Changes How It Builds Software:
    Jim Allchin, a senior Microsoft Corp. executive, walked into Bill Gates's office here one day in July last year to deliver a bombshell about the next generation of Microsoft Windows.

    "It's not going to work," Mr. Allchin says he told the Microsoft chairman. The new version, code-named Longhorn, was so complex its writers would never be able to make it run properly.

    The news got even worse: Longhorn was irredeemable because Microsoft engineers were building it just as they had always built software. Throughout its history, Microsoft had let thousands of programmers each produce their own piece of computer code, then stitched it together into one sprawling program. Now, Mr. Allchin argued, the jig was up. Microsoft needed to start over.

    Mr. Gates resisted at first, pushing for Mr. Allchin's group to take more time until everything worked. Over the next few months, Mr. Allchin and his deputies would also face protests from programmers who complained he was trying to impose bureaucracy and rob Microsoft of its creativity.
Forget the bug jail; I want a bug dungeon, somewhere deep and dank to send naughty developers.

BS Detector Alarum Klaxons
What's wrong with this story:Road-rage bullet hits tip of a raised finger:
    About 12:40 a.m., the 25-year-old man was waiting at 500 South for the light to change so he could get on the freeway, said South Salt Lake Police Capt. Chris Snyder.

    As he waited, a woman in what turned out to be a stolen car pulled up next to him.

    The two made eye contact, but there was something about the contact that made the man uncomfortable, Snyder said. The light turned green and the two cars entered the freeway.

    On the onramp, the man told police, the woman began to drive aggressively and sped up to pass the man. In doing so, she hit some traffic cones that gradually closed some of the southbound lanes, Snyder said.

    Somewhere between 2100 South and 3300 South, the woman rolled down the window of her car and yelled at the man.

    So he made an obscene hand gesture.

    That's when she apparently fired four shots at the driver's side of the man's car. One of the bullets hit the tip of the man's middle finger on his right hand, severing it. His index finger also was injured, but not as seriously.

    That bullet lodged in the man's windshield.

    The man tried to follow the woman, Snyder said, but lost her and so he went to seek medical help. He called for help near 6900 South and was taken to Cottonwood Hospital where he was treated and released.
So this woman whom the victim has never seen before yells obscenities at him, follows him, and shoots at him four times with a .357, managing only to hit the tip of his finger, after which he immediately pursues the crazy woman who just shot him until he loses her?

Why do I suspect any actual investigation will uncover more to this story?

Road rage? I think not.

Local Government Pleased To Lose More Of Its Employment Base
Owen at Boots and Sabers covers the story of a yeast manufacturing plant's closing in Milwaukee's formerly industrial Menomonie Valley. The closure will cause the loss of 80 jobs, but the headline of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel focuses its headline on a by product of manufacturing: Aromatic era may be wafting away for good.

Yes, industry does tend toward the unsightly and to the unscently, but it tends to employ people at more than minimum or service level wages, union or not. But the powers that are commissioned (often not elected) see the loss of industry as an unfettered win:
    Red Star’s possible closing is sad, but it opens up another potential redevelopment site, said Laura Bray, executive director of Menomonee Valley Partners Inc., a non-profit group that leads redevelopment efforts in the valley.
Another development site for entertainment venues, like an expanded Indian casino and a Harley Davidson museum. These entertainment-style things, often called the signs of a big-league city by people who want more of them, don't pay as well as manufacturing jobs and don't build the community infrastructure and draw families to live in cities; instead, they draw infrequent visitors from the suburbs, divert tourist dollars from other venues within the city, and give the ultra-urban types--who want to think of their cities as big-league more than merely "home."

(Submitted to the Outside the Beltway Sunday Drive.)

To say Noggle, one first must be able to say the "Nah."