Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Saturday, September 01, 2007
Good Book Hunting: September 1, 2007
No book sales this weekend, but what do you know? One of the garage sales proclaiming that it had books had some books. And some videos. And some records. So for $16.25, I got:

Garage Sale books
Click for full size

  • The Pride of Chanur by C.J. Cherryh. I read this book in college after discovering it was the source of Leslie Fish's song "The Pride of Chanur", it's about a cat race who have a naked man hide out on their ship after being captured by a trading partner. Heather has since heard the song, but has not read the book. Now she can, after I reread it.

  • 2010: Odyssey Two and 2061: Odyssey Three by Arthur C. Clarke. I saw the movies out of order; I saw 2010 several times while it was in heavy Showtime rotation and I was a poor young man confined to a trailer in rural Missouri. I saw 2001 a couple of years ago when Heather got it on Netflix. Now, with only the last two books, I can finally figure out what the monoliths meant. I hope it's not screwed up like Rama was.

  • After Worlds Collide by Philip Wylie and Edwin Balmer. I read the first book, When Worlds Collide, in middle school or high school.

  • Songmaster by Orson Scott Card. Because he's supposed to be good or something.

  • Slapstick by Kurt Vonnegut. Now that he's dead, I see a lot of his old hardbacks for sale. Perhaps with the master dead, the spell is broken? I haven't yet read one, so I wouldn't know.

  • All of the Star Trek movies on videocassette except Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

  • Clue on videocassette.

  • To Our Children's Children's Children and On the Threshold of a Dream by the Moody Blues on vinyl.

  • Softly, As I Leave You by Frank Sinatra on vinyl.

  • Chariots of Fire on vinyl.
I thought it was going to be a greater deal, as I'd heard the little old lady running the sale that videocassettes were fifty cents, which meant I could not pass up the almost complete set of Star Trek films; when I got to the checkout, though, she charged me a buck each. I am a weak man; I cannot quibble over $4.50 to a sweet old lady who was probably selling off stuff her grandchildren played with and read, ungrateful grandchildren who never call or visit and leave her to eke out a living selling junk to afford the tomato sauce she can cut with water and call soup for dinner every night. So I bucked up and paid the nine bucks for the lot. Come to think of it, she must have charged me a dollar a piece for the albums, too, instead of the fifty cents they were marked. I'm an easy mark, apparently.

Still, one does what one can to keep the library growing to keep up.

Fool, Money Reunited
Waukesha man loses pants, but not his shirt:
    The worst part wasn't that Mark Stahnke woke up Monday morning in the patio chair of some neighbor he didn't know.

    Or that his pants were missing.

    The worst part was the contents of his missing pants: a cashier's check for $41,093, which he meant to give to his son, and several hundred dollars in cash that he had gotten from the bank.

    Stahnke still doesn't know what happened between the time he left a bar Sunday night and the time he woke up in some stranger's backyard Monday morning, but thanks to an honest citizen who found the missing pants and returned all the contents to the local authorities, Stahnke retrieved his valuables Friday from the Waukesha Police Department.

    He got the pants back, too.

Consumers Union Targets Texters, 12 Year Olds With New Magazine
A magazine with an emoticon in its very name?


That's not synergy between the print world and the online world. That's juvenile. I mean, seriously; when you get a communique in e-mail with emoticons in it, isn't your first response to junk it?

Friday, August 31, 2007
Book Report: Be Happy! selected by Ann Danner (1972)
This book collects a bunch of quotations and a couple of poems about happiness. Eh. But the best part is the photos ca. 1972 of people in various states of happiness and 1970s dress. I highlighted some of them when I bought the book, but let me share a few others. They always bring a smile to my face, announcing happiness. Or perhaps it's merely a smirk identifying wry superiority; maybe that's the best I've got.

She's feeding the ducks marijuana!

Ah, feeding marijuana to the ducks. Obviously, this is some weird LSD trip; I'd rather have seen an image from about two minutes further into the trip, where the ducks' bills turn into little aligator snouts with six inch teeth and the hippie girl flees screaming from them, only to jump from a bridge into the dark safety of the water below.

I'm not giving you the flower, lady!

"I'm not giving you the flower, lady; I'm trying to sell these weeds I stole out of Mrs. Busby's garden so I can afford to buy a shirt or a bottle of Mogen David."

I've had nightmares like this.

I've had nightmares like this. I am a small child, falling, falling. Instead of hitting the ground, a strange man in a leather vest appears out of nowhere to catch me. It's my father, and this is the genetical line which I perpetrate through my very existence! AHHHHHHHH!

The discosaurs are coming!

No, that's not a fifty yard line or something that would make sense; instead, it's the gutter of the book because an image this astonishing needs to be spread across two pages.

The prophet ran from the mountains and crossed the fields to warn the villagers that the discosaurs were coming. The villiagers thought he was mad. Only four years later, unheeding of the warning, the villiagers bought velvet suits and silk shirts with the top half of the buttons missing.

How the West was almost lost

This is how the West was almost lost. I'd pay extra for a DVD that features these people in a deleted scene which depicts Clint Eastwood on his walking horse coming into the scene, getting told he was harshing their mellow, man, and shooting the man in the leg and freeing the Indian woman to go back to her tribe.

I think I paid a dollar for this book. I mean, the text is meh (which is about what one expects for a book that collects inspirational junk for review; it's a hardcover Ideals magazine without the topical relevance). But the pictures are awesome.

Books mentioned in this review:

Thursday, August 30, 2007
Book Report: Poems of Friendship edited by Gail Harvey (1990)
I read another book in this series, Poems of Flowers, earlier this month. Like that book, I enjoyed the accessibility of these poems. One could read them aloud and follow the images and the syntax and the stanzas to the ultimate point of the poet (unlike some poetry).

This book collects a similar cast of poems about friendship, including work by Wordsworth, Coleridge, Longfellow, and a suspicious number of "author unknown" (read: modern poems not in public domain but for which we didn't want to pay).

The quality of imagery and profundity is uneven, but the cadences and sound of the poems are not; you can sit down or stand and read these aloud and not stumble over the way the words fit together or bluster through enjambment that only seemed to indicate the maximum number of characters that would have fit on one line.

So the book was middlebrow and almost fun. Worth a buck.

Books mentioned in this review:

Poems of Friendship

Book Report: Ariel by Sylvia Plath (1965)
Somewhere in the 20th century, the academics killed poetry. Sylvia Plath served as one of the weapons, although it's not clear she intentionally participated.

That is, poetry used to be accessible to the masses. Good poetry was accessible and profound. You could read a poem and get its point, enjoy its language if applicable, and reflect upon its meaning. Sometimes, if a poem was good, people could memorize them to recite for pleasure. No fooling. I've done it myself. Bad poetry that was accessible and not profound sort of went in one ear and out the other, but many had cadence (iambic pentameter, forced if needed be) and rhymes (forced, if needed be) that sounded good aloud and end-stopped and everything. Good poems, though, that had both that accessibility and brought profundity--a deeper meaning that resonated--along with provocative and evocative imagery, those poems lasted and brought pleasure for hundreds of years of readers.

But somewhere along the line, academics grabbed a hold of poetry and said, "We'll tell you what's good poetry." Perhaps the markets were already drying up for middlebrow poetry consumers. But the academics started liking and promoting poems that were inaccessible and profound, which became the new Good. If they couldn't be profound, they could still be inaccessible. The more inaccessible, the more academics with time on their hands, whole days of life unbroken by actual life except for the accursed office hours where they had to face impertinent and unteachable students of the bourgeoisie, could determine the beauty and meaning of the chaotic clapping of syllables and characters.

Sylivia Plath is slightly better than that, but not much. She's slightly better with imagery than Rod McKuen, but tied for last with him (and much of the Poet race) in cadence and earsound. Her jumpcut imagery, though, really doesn't serve to keep the reader in the moment of the poem and obscures her meaning. Except for the default men suck and I want to die which we can infer from her continued relevance to modern academics and her eventual success in the latter.

This book represented the second book of Plath's poetry I've read; the first was Colossus, which I read in college for no apparent reason (that is, not because it was a class assignment, but instead because I liked to read poetry). So I recognize the relevance and can sometimes get something from a couple lines of her poems, but never a complete poem.

I think I have The Bell Jar still on my to-read shelves. Fortunately, I have plenty on them to keep me occupied for the next decade until I work myself into it.

Books mentioned in this review:

Book Report: All Summer Long by Bob Greene (1993)
At worst, this book is nothing more than a set of Bob Greene's columnesque riffs surrounded by a narrative gimmick and some wish fulfillment (43 year old network correspondent finds true love, sex with 25 year old grad student). As the book begins, that's about the best I hoped for.

The book follows three friends from high school who, after their 25th high school reunion, take the summer off to relive some of their youth. They travel randomly, whimsically across the country. Ben, the network correspondent, lives alone after his divorce and dotes on his 8 year old daughter from a distance. Ronnie married into money and ended up chairman of a large public company by accident. Michael stayed in their small Ohio suburban town and taught school. Their adult life roles cause some friction for them, as do situations they find along the way. But friendship wins out for some reason.

The story moves along with incidents and asides that don't add to a larger movement and don't resolve anything. Ronnie's father goes into the hospital; Michael meets his first high school love and seems in danger of sacrificing his happy home life to it; and Ben finds out his ex-wife is going to remarry. Then they move on to somewhere else. Ronnie picks up a woman who's not his wife and she travels with them a bit. They sleep in the Elvis Suite in Las Vegas. Then they come toward the end of the summer and encounter some life-changing events.

I suppose I wanted to see this book as something more than the "at worst." Perhaps it played to my proclivity toward Bob Greene's work (see review for He Was A Midwestern Boy On His Own from earlier this month). Perhaps it played to my proclivity to undertaking life-altering lifestyle changes in the summer (or in the spring, as it were). But I enjoyed the book slightly more than I thought I would, and the book was maybe slightly better than the worst case.

But it's not a good book, and Greene has been wise to stick to nonfiction since.

So it's worth it if you like Greene's work; you can find a used copy easily at a garage sale or book fair. Take my word for it; I've bought more than one first edition for a buck or two each.

Books mentioned in this review:

Obeying Tax Laws Not Fair, Say Tax Money Spenders
In Wisconsin, the state is going after Wal-Mart for using legal techniques to lower its tax obligations: Wal-Mart owes back taxes, state says: Paying rent to itself cuts millions off retailer's tax bill:
    Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has avoided millions of dollars in state taxes by paying rent on 87 Wisconsin properties in a way that the state Department of Revenue calls an "abuse and distortion of income."

    As a result, state tax auditors say, Wal-Mart owes more than $17.7 million in back corporate income taxes, interest and penalties for 1998, 1999 and 2000. More could be due for later years.
The cause for this? The state is imposing its own standard:
    Revenue Department lawyer Mark Zimmer argues that the world's largest retailer is not paying its fair share of taxes that support public schools, local police and fire departments and the highways it uses to transport what it sells in Wisconsin. [Emphasis added]
Essentially, Wal-Mart is setting up its own entity to own the land that it uses for its stores; Corporate Wal-Mart gets to deduct the rent from its gross income so that its taxable income subject to taxation is less. Then, Landlord Wal-Mart pays Corporate Wal-Mart the profits as dividends, which are taxed less than the same amount as straight income would have been taxed.

Two distinct companies with different ownership wouldn't draw the ire of the tax seekers; that it is, and it's Wal-Mart, makes it look like easy pickings for the state of Wisconsin.

Hopefully, Wal-Mart and its REIT will prevail. A fie upon "creative" unelected officials who think their position gives them license to determine when "legal" isn't "fair" and to use the people's resources to extract more resources from the people.

Perhaps It Just Wasn't A Good Idea
Municipal Wi-Fi - wherein the city pays to have wireless infrastructure installed because the hipsters love it and because city coffers are overflowing and all existing infrastructure is shining and schools are accredited, amen.

But there's trouble in hipsta paradise in:
  • Houston: EarthLink pays $5 million to delay Houston Wi-Fi buildout:

      A day after EarthLink said it would lay off nearly half its workforce, the company has agreed to pay the city of Houston a $5 million penalty fee for missing its first deadline in building the city's municipal Wi-Fi network.

    First of many happy returns, I bet.

  • San Francisco: S.F. citywide Wi-Fi plan fizzles as provider backs off:

      Mayor Gavin Newsom's high-profile effort to blanket San Francisco with a free wireless Internet network died Wednesday when provider EarthLink backed out of a proposed contract with the city.

      The contract, which was three years in the making, had run into snags with the Board of Supervisors, but ultimately it was undone when Atlanta-based EarthLink announced Tuesday that it no longer believed providing citywide Wi-Fi was economically viable for the company.

    Not economically viable? Dammit, the city will do it anyway!

  • St. Louis: Light poles create delay in rollout of city's Wi-Fi network:

      Still waiting for citywide Wi-Fi in St. Louis?

      It might be awhile.

      Technical delays continue to dog AT&T's plans to blanket downtown, and eventually the whole city, with a wireless Internet network. Mostly, the problems stem from an unexpected obstacle: the humble city streetlight.

    Hey, where did all those light-up lollipops come from all of a sudden? They weren't there yesterday!

Behind schedule, over budget, and ill-conceived: the headlong rush to municipal wi-fi whose useful shelf life will probably be less than the time taken to roll it out proves that public/private projects built around the "Wouldn't It Be Cool" imperative (see also light rail) combine the worst of both spheres. The only thing they do efficiently is to continue to spend taxpayer money at an ever-increasing rate.

Security of Online Storage and Online Software, Part II
I went on a little rant here about trusting a company and its online business plan as a mechanism for storing your data. As a follow up, we have these two stories:
  • Don't Trust the Servers: The danger of putting your data at the mercy of a company's servers was made apparent when Microsoft's own WGA servers crashed over the weekend.

      The Windows Genuine Advantage plan became a genuine disadvantage over the weekend when the server that verified users went down and began to disable operating systems around the world. At least, it disabled the operating systems of computers that checked into the home base to affirm their legitimacy.

      The WGA server outage hit on Friday evening and was finally repaired on Saturday. It was down for 19 long hours.

  • The Content in Google Apps Belongs to Google:

      An alert reader, SentryWatch, commented per my last blog that the Terms of Service posted on the Google Docs and Spreadsheets site assigns content rights of anything saved on Doc and Spreadsheets to Google. It's almost too incredible to believe, so here’s the wording from the mighty Google maw itself:

      "... you grant Google a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to reproduce, adapt, modify, publish and distribute such Content on Google services for the purpose of displaying, distributing and promoting Google services...."

Although to be fair to Google, kids these days are to young to remember when a similar clause appeared in the Microsoft Office EULA and caused a similar reaction, albeit one not magnified by the ease with which people discuss it on the Internet.

But both stories do highlight the dangers in trusting things in the Internet cloud with core data or core functionality. And it highlights how the "good enough" standard of quality, when multiplied hundreds of times in the number of core users, will leave a large number of users affected by "minor glitches" that will render their services useless to them. Hopefully, before they're too invested in the online software/data storage vendor.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Government Could Learn Something From Major League Sports
Since governments are spending so much money building/financing venues for sports teams, shouldn't they at least learn a lesson from the experience? Apparently, the risks of a long-term, high-dollar contract elude our elected "leaders":
    A month after the deadly Minneapolis bridge collapse, Missouri lawmakers are poised to approve a massive bridge repair project that could serve as a national roadmap for renovating aging infrastructure.

    Missouri plans to quadruple the pace of its bridge repairs by awarding a single, 30-year contract to fix and maintain 802 of its worst bridges.

    The sheer scope and duration of the project is so unusual that Missouri lawmakers are meeting in a special session to waive conventional contractor requirements. The House passed the plan overwhelmingly. The Senate is expected to give its final approval this week.
The key to good service is to guarantee a lot of money for a really long time.

So Much Snark From One Story
City leaders pitch local control of Arch grounds:
    Mayor Francis Slay and former Sen. John Danforth, hoping to revamp the city's riverfront, want to convince the public and the federal government there is only one way to do it: obtain part of the Arch grounds.

    Taking land from the National Park Service would be rare, if not unprecedented. It would require not only an act of Congress, but also broad political and public support.
Because Mayor Francis Slay and the "city" of St. Louis cannot give away land that it does not own to a land developer whose no-risk loan the "city" has co-signed.

Maybe I am being too hard on Mayor Francis Slay and the "city" of St. Louis; perhaps they want that land to solve its Lucas Park problem; after all, if the homeless are sleeping under the Arch, they're only bothering tourists, not voters. Think of it as a sort of non-monetary tax upon visitors to the city; I know municipalities like to stick it to the middle class transients.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007
From Bad Government to Worse
Ill. governor sues House speaker:
    The arguments over a state budget are escalating again, with Governor Rod Blagojevich suing the speaker of the Illinois House.

    Blagojevich is angry that Speaker Michael Madigan has defied his proclamations requiring the Legislature to meet in special session.
Illinois. Is there anything there worth emulating?

The Security of Online Storage
Ever since the first Internet boom, people have been excited about the prospect of storing your photos or other files online using things like I-drive. Me, I've never understood why you would trust that third party to keep your stuff safe and available. Never mind that I-drive collapsed in the first boom. The recent decision by Google to end its video thing, including terminating some people's rights to videos they "bought," combined with a Yahoo! decision to close one of its photo sharing sites,where your photos will be lost unless you act promptly, reinforce my notion. I mean, Google and Yahoo! are the big guys in the space. If they're so eager to jettison your data (more likely your access to your data), what of the little guys and companies that come along with the service offering?

Oh, yeah, like I-drive.

Never mind. I am going to continue backing up to 3.5 disks and hoarding old 3.5 disk drives.

ComputerWorld Magazine: Government Should Force Telecommunications Providers to Lose Money
In the article ISPs to rural America: Live with dial-up, writer Robert Mitchell apparently wants the government to force businesses to lose money so that BOBOs who move to rural areas can have fast Internet access. The problem:
    Kim Rossey is one of them. Soon after moving to Gilsum, N.H. (population 811), Rossey learned that he couldn't get broadband to support his Web programming business, TooCoolWebs. DSL wasn't available, and the local cable service provider wasn't interested in extending the cabling for its broadband service the three-tenths of a mile required to reach Rossey's house — even if he paid the full $7,000 cost.
Funny, the solution is:
    Rural areas need broadband. But deregulation has freed carriers from any real obligation to offer it. The market will never provide universal broadband access without regulation or subsidies, but the U.S. lacks both a coherent policy and the political will to address the issue. Even as the telephony infrastructure itself is absorbed into the Internet, some policy-makers still fail to view broadband as the new critical infrastructure.
The U.S. (government) should compel telecommunication providers to lose money on this install. Or perhaps the government should compel taxpayers to run fiber up to rural homes. Who knows? All that's important is that the policy is coherent, not that it's economically viable.

Next up: Compelling Chinese places to deliver to Web design businesses in the sticks. Because third world countries, particularly China, have plans in place to get Chinese food to rural areas.

Monday, August 27, 2007
Good Book Hunting: August 27, 2007
The annual book sale at the YMCA in Carondolet provides many people with the opportunity to expand their libraries at low cost. Most hardbacks are $1, but many are $.50, and the selection proves just a little short of overwhelming. We didn't get a chance to make it down there this weekend, but fortunately for us, it ran longer than the weekend. Like when we went to the J, today was the last day before the discounts; tomorrow is half price day, and Wednesday is box day, where everything you can fit in a box is a flat rate. Given how I approached this book fair, it's again a good thing I didn't get any less reason to reject books.

Heather spent most of her time in the media room, again, whereas I spent most of my time in the uncooled gymnasium storing the fiction with side trips to the tents holding the nonfiction and the second floor multipurpose room holding the rare books and the humor books. Here's what we got for a total of $42.05.

Books we bought at the Carondolet Y
Click for full size

I got:
  • Clash of the Titans and The Black Hole by Alan Dean Foster and Rambo: First Blood Part II by David Morrell because I have a thing for movie tie-in paperbacks.

  • The Secret Ways by Alistair MacLean; a paperback, but a book that I'd never heard of.

  • The Executioner: Panic in Philly by Don Pendleton. I've been trying out some of these pulp paperbacks this year but this will be my first in The Executioner series.

  • Ranting Again by Dennis Miller. I like his rants; the fellow has an ear for speech rhythm and an eye for allusion.

  • The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy because I don't have it, and I thought this might be an early edition. Further review indicates it's an early Book Club Edition.

  • Deathtrap by Ira Levin. I saw the film in high school and guessed the plot very early in the film. Let's hope I can make it through the book without envisioning Michael Caine and Christopher Reeve kissing.

  • Just Wait Till You Have Children Of Your Own by Erma Bombeck and Bill Keane. Now that I have a child of my own, apparently this appealed to me. The humor section was rife with Erma Bombeck. It's been since elementary school that I have read her; I'll have to see if she holds up into the 21st century and my adulthood. No, seriously, my mother was a fan, so I read some of her books The Grass Is Always Greener Over The Sceptic Tank and If Life Is A Bowl Of Cherries, What Am I Doing In The Pits? when I was a young man.

  • Kilroy Was Here, a collection of World War II humor with an introduction by Charles Kuralt.

  • Escape by Ethel Vance. Published in September 1939, it tells the story of an actress tried and condemned for treason in Germany who must escape. Published in September 1939. By the time it was out, it was out of date.

  • The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck. I've already read this book, but it was a handsome copy with a dustjacket. Book club edition, but still.

  • The Inhuman Condition by Clive Barker; apparently a collection of his horror short stories. It's been over 10 years since I read the first of his Books of Blood, so I think I'm ready for another set.

  • The Conquest of Mexico by W. H. Prescott. Don't tell Heather, but in addition to Classics Club editions, I might start collecting these Book League of America volumes.

  • Supership Noël Mostert. Somehow, a novel set on a supertanker just sort of sounded cool.

  • False Witness by Dorothy Uhnak. Her mysteries seem fairly prevalent at book fairs; perhaps I'll enjoy this book and will have access to a new author (to me), cheap.

  • Man O'War by William Shatner. Because when James T. Kirk writes a book, I have to buy it. Used.

  • The Handyman by Penelope Mortimer. Although it's supposed to be some sort of story about an older widow putting her life together and rebuilding her life after she moves to an old home in a small town, with a title like The Handyman, decapitation has to come into play sometime. I mean, dude's got access to power tools, all I am sayin'.

  • Three Novels by Damon Knight. Because I need some science fiction in my diet.

  • Black Star Rising by Frederik Pohl. Man Plus washed the Starburst taste out of my memory, so I'll give this author another shot.

  • The Saxon Chronicle by Jane Ellen Swan. It's purportedly a narrative history, but I bought it because it has the Vantage Press imprint. I don't know that I've ever seen one before. Vantage Press is a vanity press; Ms. Swan paid to have this book published. That's worth it in curiosity value alone.

  • The Lion and the Throne by Catherine Drinker Bowen. A biography of Sir Edward Coke, the Attorney General of Britain under Queen Elizabeth. This is a fourth printing, which must mean that this book was somewhat popular ca. 1957. This book virtually guarantees I'll be smarter than or at worst tie with any fifth grader if asked "Who was Attorney General of Britain under Queen Elizabeth I?"

  • Jem by Frederik Pohl. See Black Star Rising above.

  • Lori by Robert Bloch. I haven't read any book length Bloch; all I've read has been in the Cthulhu mythos short stories. Perhaps this will lead me to seek books out.

  • The Antagonists by Ernest K. Gann. The huge Swedish startlingly-literate machinist next door when I started college challenged me to read more important work than the paperback police procedurals I bought by the bucketload in late high school and the summer before college (as I previously mentioned); he recommended Gann's Fate Is The Hunter. I only remember the vague outline of that book, but I bought this book to read more Gann. Why not?
So that's, what, another 23 books? You can see that's why my collection of unread books now looks like this:
My to-read shelves ca August 27, 2007
Click for full size

I'm going to need another bigger house.

Fortunately, book fair season is winding down.

All That's Missing Is An Apple Logo On Something
The Hipster Olympics:

(Link seen on Instapundit.)

Sunday, August 26, 2007
Is There A Lesson Government Can Learn From This?
A front page article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch outlines how faith-based organizations delivered more aid to Katrina-ravaged regions than FEMA:
    The scope and scale of the devastation brought by Katrina, which crashed ashore Aug. 29, 2005, underscored the crucial role religious groups play in emergency response and recovery.

    The National Council of Churches estimates that church-sponsored volunteers have produced $600 billion worth of labor for the Gulf Coast. In contrast, the total amount of federal funds spent on Katrina aid as of March was $53 billion.
Lower-overhead operations driven by their own desire to help fellow man rather than their desire to keep their jobs/budget will tend to be more efficient than the government? Hah!

    "There were so many things we learned," said John Kim Cook, director of the Department of Homeland Security's Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. "The framework for responding to a disaster is being revised to be more inclusive of faith-based organizations to make sure (the partnership) is improved upon and enhanced for the future."
The government needs to keep its budget and its jobs and to manage the partnership it has with church groups better.

The lessons government teaches itself never include lessening its reach or trimming its tentacles, ainna?

Crap, Sylvester Brown and I Agree
Recently, a couple left a child in a car in the summer heat here in St. Louis and the child died. Because the woman was a pediatrician and the father a researcher at Washington University, I told my beautiful wife and my child's wonderful mother that, they probably wouldn't face charges because they were doctors. Had they been less, they would be going to jail for child something-or-other, the charges society dishes out when it's shocked and appalled how the lower classes treat their kids.

Sylvester Brown of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch expresses the same sentiments.

I think our prosecutors like to come down like a hammer on crimes of negligence without tempering their "justice" (enforcement of laws) with a little mercy because it's easier to up conviction rates on "crimes" that shock society/juries/defense attorneys into seeking plea deals. And it's not so tedious or dangerous for law enforcement to shackle these poor souls than to go out and get people who intentionally harm one another because those who intend harm tend to be better armed and more dangerous.

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