Monday, November 24, 2014


Even the Canucks are getting tired of mush-for-brains Obamaphiles

The Manitoba Herald :

The flood of American liberals sneaking across the border into Canada has intensified in the past week, sparking calls for increased patrols to stop the illegal immigration. The recent actions of the Tea Party and the fact Republicans won the Senate are prompting an exodus among left-leaning citizens who fear they'll soon be required to own a gun, hunt, pray, and to agree with Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin and Glenn Beck.

Canadian border farmers say it's not uncommon to see dozens of sociology professors, animal-rights activists and Unitarians crossing their fields at night. "I went out to milk the cows the other day, and there was a Hollywood producer huddled in the barn," said Southern Manitoba farmer Red Greenfield, whose acreage borders North Dakota. The producer was cold, exhausted and hungry. He asked me if I could spare a latte and some free-range chicken. When I said I didn't have any, he left before I even got a chance to show him my screenplay, eh?"

In an effort to stop the illegal aliens, Greenfield erected higher fences, but the liberals scaled them. He then installed loudspeakers that blared Jonathan Gruber tapes across the fields. "Not real effective," he said. "The liberals still got through and Gruber annoyed the cows so much that they wouldn't give any milk."

Officials are particularly concerned about smugglers who meet liberals near the Canadian border, pack them into Volvo station wagons and Suburu Outbacks, and drive them across the border where they are simply left to fend for themselves. "A lot of these people are not prepared for our rugged conditions," an Ontario border patrolman said. "I found one carload without a single bottle of imported drinking water. They did have a nice little Napa Valley cabernet, though." When liberals are caught, they're sent back across the border, often wailing loudly that they fear retribution from conservatives. Rumors have been circulating about plans being made to build re-education camps where liberals will be forced to drink domestic beer, watch NASCAR races and attend a Bill Cosby show.

In recent days, liberals have turned to ingenious ways of crossing the border. Some have been disguised as senior citizens taking a bus trip to buy cheap Canadian prescription drugs. After catching a half- dozen young vegans in powdered wig disguises, Canadian immigration authorities began stopping buses and quizzing the supposed senior-citizens about Perry Como and Rosemary Clooney to prove that they were alive in the '50s. "If they can't identify the accordion player on The Lawrence Welk Show, we become very suspicious about their age," an official said.

Canadian citizens have complained that the illegal immigrants are creating an organic-broccoli shortage and are renting all the Michael Moore movies. "I really feel sorry for American liberals, but the Canadian economy just can't support them," an Ottawa resident said. "How many art-history and political science majors does one country need?"

In an effort to ease tensions between the United States and Canada , Vice President Biden met with the Canadian ambassador and pledged that the administration would take steps to reassure liberals. A source close to President Obama said, "We're going to have some Paul McCartney and James Taylor concerts. Jane Fonda will be conducting exercise classes and advice on how to help Viet Nam POWS. Obamacare subsidies will be given to all returning liberals in an attempt to rebuild the Democrat voting base for 2016, when "Miss Indian Princess" Warren will be on the ballot. And we might even put some endangered species on postage stamps. The President is determined to reach out," he said.

Contributed by Rick Owen

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

"Stupidity of the American Voter" let Congress approve Obamacare

Did you see what I did there in the title of this rant? 

Those little marks around "Stupidity of the American Voter" indicate it is a direct quote.  A direct quote from one of Obama's minions.

He's right you know, the only thing that has soared faster that the Dow Jones Industrial Average over the past few years is the Stupidity of the American Voter. 

An architect of the federal healthcare law said last year that a "lack of transparency" and the "stupidity of the American voter" helped Congress approve ObamaCare.

In a clip unearthed Sunday, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor Jonathan Gruber appears on a panel and discusses how the reform earned enough votes to pass.

He suggested that many lawmakers and voters didn't know what was in the law or how its financing worked, and that this helped it win approval.

"Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage,” Gruber said. "And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical for the thing to pass."

Gruber made the comment while discussing how the law was "written in a tortured way" to avoid a bad score from the Congressional Budget Office. He suggested that voters would have rejected ObamaCare if the penalties for going without health insurance were interpreted as taxes, either by budget analysts or the public.

"If CBO scored the [individual] mandate as taxes, the bill dies," Gruber said.

"If you had a law that made it explicit that healthy people are going to pay in and sick people are going to get subsidies, it would not have passed," he added.

The clip is generating significant attention in conservative media. Gruber declined to comment in an email.

The economist, who helped design a Massachusetts law that inspired ObamaCare, said he wished "we could make it all transparent, but I'd rather have this law than not."

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Bring Back the Draft - In Congress

Here is something I have been proposing for decades.

The only drawback would be a flood of draft dodgers heading to the great white north.

Selecting legislators by lottery was good enough for the ancient Athenians. Why not good enough for Congress?

If you’re looking for an unrepresentative group of Americans, the House of Representatives isn’t a bad place to start. Its members are disproportionately old and white. More than 80 percent of them are men. They spend around four hours per day on the phone, asking people for money. Unlike most other telemarketers, they have a median net worth of almost $900,000. More than a third of them hold law degrees.

Last Tuesday, not much changed. Once again, the American people went to the polls and elected a group of people who, in aggregate, only vaguely resemble the American people.

The problem isn’t new. A representative assembly, John Adams wrote in 1776, “should be in miniature an exact portrait of the people at large.” (By “people,” of course, he meant “white men”). But by the 1780s, when Anti-Federalists challenged the young Constitution, a big part of their concern was that “representation as provided for in the Constitution would be skewed in favor of the most prosperous and prominent classes,” writes the political scholar Bernard Manin.

Good observation, Anti-Federalists. And here we are.

If we want a more representative Congress, there’s a relatively simple solution. It sounds strange, but it has a long history, and, just as a thought experiment, it can tell us a lot about certain tensions inherent in representative government. It’s called sortition.

Here’s how sortition works: for any given election, you take the names of every eligible citizen, and you put those names in a very, very big hat. (Note: you don’t have to use a hat, and there are many variations on this method). Then you draw a certain number of names out of the pool. Those are your legislators. It’s democracy by lottery.
For the House of Representatives, for example, we could pull 435 names out of a giant lottery of all American citizens 25 and older, and, voilĂ : legislators!

For the House of Representatives, for example, we could pull 435 names out of a giant lottery of all American citizens 25 and older, and, voilĂ : legislators!

You may feel that this is an incredibly stupid idea, but keep two things in mind. First, sortition was the main system for choosing political officials in ancient Athens. As you’ll recall from civics class, Athens was the template, muse, and foundational bedrock for the American Republic. And, second, we already use sortition to select an important deliberative body, the trial jury. Those jury summonses that you get in the mail? Blame the Athenians.

The Athenians considered sortition to be an especially democratic way of choosing certain decision-makers. They took their political lotteries so seriously that they used a special machine, called a kleroterion, to make the process harder to corrupt.

Today, there are people who talk about using sortition more widely in our society. They aren’t just populist rabble-rousers. They include a Dublin academic, a left-leaning Yale professor often cited as a possible Supreme Court nominee, and an online activist who has given a talk to the Texas Constitutional Militia. They don’t necessarily think that we should pick Congress from a giant hat. But they suggest that, when we talk about democracy, we should at least talk about lotteries, too.

Sortition rests on two rather unique properties of random sampling. The first of these—which I’ve written about more extensively elsewhere—is that chance is essentially incorruptible, at least until someone rigs your lottery machine. No matter how much money the Koch brothers or Tom Steyer spend, they cannot convince a lottery to choose one person over another. What could be more impartial than chance?

And, second, as your random sample gets larger, you tend to get closer and closer to a sample that mirrors, in almost every respect, the qualities of the entire population. More than any other system, random sampling gives you “an exact portrait of the people at large.” It’s the Law of Large Numbers. (This doesn’t work, of course, for small samples, and you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who wants to elect a president by lot).

Sure, you could end up with a Congress that consists solely of libertarian veterinarians, or elderly communists, or whatever. But the probability is vanishingly small that you’d end up with anything other than a Congress that, in aggregate, is a kind of America-in-miniature.

If you think of representative democracy as a way to elevate the best citizens into positions of power, then random sampling won’t seem appealing. (Our current electoral system might not feel appealing, either). But if you think of representative democracy as a way to give all citizens equal access to power, or as a way to channel the ineffable will of the people, then it’s hard to find a more efficient system than a lottery.

As it stands, our system chooses very weird people—specifically, the kind of people who think that being in Congress sounds fun. “It is impossible by elections to choose normal people,” argues Yoram Gat, an Israeli software engineer with a PhD in statistics. Gat is one of the founders of Equality-by-lot, a popular sortition blog. “Normal people are kind of anonymous,” Gat told The Daily Beast. “In a large society, there is just no way, no theoretical way, to choose, to elect, normal people.”

Really, sortition strikes at the tension at the heart of elective representative democracy. Legislators are supposed to represent us. At some level, this means that they’re supposed to be like us. But the very process of election tends to favor unusual, extraordinary people—what Bernard Manin calls “the principle of distinction.” So we end up with professional politicians, type-A go-getters, and electoral dynasties. When they campaign, these contenders try to seem as normal as possible, and as extraordinary as possible, all at the same time. It’s an awkward balancing act. They often just sound like robots.

What would have happened, last Tuesday, if we had allowed sortition to determine the make up the 114th House of Representatives? The group would be almost evenly split between men and women, for one thing. It would be less wealthy, less educated, and less white than the gang that will show up in Washington in January. Its members would not be beholden to any special interest groups, at all, for their selection. For better or for worse, only a few of them would be lawyers. A whole lot more of them would be under the age of 40.

There are problems, here, of course—particularly regarding accountability—and it seems unlikely that we’ll be choosing Congress by lottery anytime soon. Still, there are other places where, like trial juries, sortition make sense. Two Canadian provinces have experimented with using random citizen panels to set election regulations. And randomly selected panels are well suited to political questions that we might otherwise addresses through a big referendum. (Referenda tend to be expensive, rife with misinformation, and favorable to extreme positions).

But the real value of sortition, maybe, is to remind us that our democracy is an ongoing balancing act between finding a Congress that represents the best among us, and a Congress that’s representative of, well, us.

Is It Time to Take a Chance on Random Representatives?

Selecting legislators by lottery was good enough for the ancient Athenians. Why not good enough for Congress?

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Badger Lake in the News: Schwan's Monkeying Around with Toxic Cemicals

How about this guy!  You would think that a fellow whose family has been in the business of preparing and peddling food for the better part of a century would not risk his reputation in such a callous manner.

Yup - you got that right.  His recently passed Mom and Dad were the same Schwans that deliver goodies to your door.

Bruce Schwan, the perpetrator, recently inherited a bunch o' money as an heir to the Schwan Home Delivery empire and has been trying to act like a big fish in a small pond.  I guess he found out it is NOT his pond.

It'll take his cut from about a million ice cream scoops to make up that $8100.00 penalty.

I wonder what goes into their ice cream besides Monkeys?

For your reading convenience, the newspaper article is reprinted here:

Badger Lake property owner fined $8,100 for illegal herbicide use 
Becky Kramer The Spokesman-Review

November 7, 2014

A neighbor’s quick action helped state officials nab a Badger Lake property owner for illegal application of aquatic herbicides at the lake south of Cheney.

The neighbor noticed a strong chemical smell coming from Bruce Schwan’s dock area on the morning of April 7 and saw an empty, 10-pound box of Aquacide in Schwan’s trash can, which had been set out for garbage pickup.

The neighbor notified state officials, which resulted in a same-day investigation by the Washington Department of Agriculture. Undissolved pellets of the herbicide were found near Schwan’s dock, officials said.

Schwan recently paid an $8,100 fine over the incident, according to the state Department of Ecology, which levied the penalty.

“It would have cost him about $1,100 to do this correctly,” said Mike Hepp, a compliance specialist for the department’s water quality unit.

Property owners can apply for a permit to have a licensed applicator apply aquatic herbicides. Following the proper process ensures that the herbicide is applied in a safe and effective manner, Hepp said.

Aquacide targets broad-leaf aquatic plants, and the herbicide should have been applied during the growing season, he said.

Through the permitting process, other Badger Lake property owners who draw drinking water from the lake would have been notified. The permit also restricts herbicide application before June 1 to protect spawning fish.

A phone message left at Schwan’s Kennewick residence Thursday was not returned. But in a July 2011 interview, he told The Spokesman-Review that the weeds tangled around his boat motor when he approached the dock and the thick vegetation made swimming unpleasant.

Schwan, who has owned a place at Badger Lake since 1995, was quoted in a story about controversy surrounding the proposed use of herbicides at the 224-acre lake, which was historically known for its trout fishing.

Schwan applied for a herbicide permit to control the weeds in 2011, but several neighbors appealed, according to Hepp. The licensed applicator who was going to apply the herbicide withdrew the permit.

Department officials levied the fine because Schwan knew a permit was required, but flouted the rules.

“By getting an immediate call from a neighbor, we were able to document what was happening,” Hepp said.

The Aquacide, which was purchased by mail, had Schwan’s name and address on the package.