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Friday, April 30, 2010

Mindless Ones � Blog Archive � A hall of mirrors II: the Prismatic Age

the article we look at - Mindless Ones � Blog Archive � A hall of mirrors II: the Prismatic Age

I didn't read the first part but I like the notion of a period in comic book history being defined by the sheer fact of the study and inclusion of multiple versions and variations of a character all having the same validity in the overall canon.

The other notion being the use of pastiches.

There are so many Supermans out there.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Who enforces the right to Vacation? the European government!

See the article: Vacationing a human right, EU chief says

I believe there is something about this being in an EU constitution or a UN charter somewhere in one of my old National Reviews. I might find it later.

Suffice to say that if something is a right it is either a natural right that is found in natural law and spelled out in philosophic effect and codified into a state, local, or federal law for the purposes of simple protection so that is not impeded on for individuals' sake; or a right is a corollary of the options within an actual right and those corollaries can be restricted and exceptions made.

For example, the right of free speech as codified in the US Constitution really means that the federal government will not impede upon political speech and it actually will not protect an American from the consequences of saying the wrong thing to the wrong person at the wrong place as if you walk into a person's home, call his wife a whore and then get ejected from the man's home while venting blood out the nostrils.

I believe this sort of protection of rights is summarized as "negative rights". The government will do its best to not impede so that we may act within various avenues while being safe from particular consequences or restriction.

"Positive rights" are actions that we may be allowed to take and possibly encouraged to take. Proponents typically insist that if someone is incapable of taking those actions using his own capabilities than the government is obligated to assist.

Therefore if the European government insists that its people have a right to vacation then wealthier taxpayers will assist citizens for trips away from work and routine even when vacations are not apt descriptions of the trip, given the respective lifestyles.
Antonio Tajani, the European Union commissioner for enterprise and industry, proposed a strategy that could cost European taxpayers hundreds of millions of euros a year, The Times of London reports. "Travelling for tourism today is a right. The way we spend our holidays is a formidable indicator of our quality of life," Mr. Tajani told a group of ministers at The European Tourism Stakeholders Conference in Madrid on April 15.... "The commission is literally considering paying people to go on holiday," Mats Persson, of pro-reform think-tank Open Europe, told Britain's News of the World. "In this economic climate, it's astonishing that the EU wants to bribe people with cheap holidays."
Providence of stuff and services can be costly especially when it is not at all an investment.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Steele race and the 17-minute Obama answer

When asked about being over-taxed, the President issued a 17-minute reply to the woman that addressed everything except what she asked. Debra J. Saunders analyzes it.

Thunder Over Louisville is apparently where a friend of mine is working Saturday... but I still do not know where a crime analyst is working at a fireworks show!

Many people change speech patterns deliberately, sometimes as affectations, sometimes in order to seem like he or she fits in with those he or she is addressing. Is this "translation" or is this a sort of misrepresentation? President Obama's water-carriers claim that it cannot be phoniness.

Michael Steele played the race card? How can he claim to lead the Republicans? Well, he never did, but that's not quite the point.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

no blogging for the rest of the week

I am the Young Republican National Federation's Spring Meeting, the quarterly national meeting. We meet right across from the Southern Republican Leadership Conference so I will be there too.

Look for me.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Reconciliation bill

How the United States Senate defines it
reconciliation bill - A bill containing changes in law recommended pursuant to reconciliation instructions in a budget resolution. If the instructions pertain to only one committee in a chamber, that committee reports the reconciliation bill. If the instructions pertain to more than one committee, the Budget Committee reports an omnibus reconciliation bill, but it may not make substantive changes in the recommendations of the other committees.
Next we go to C-SPAN, part of the media. Here is one definition given by the media

C-SPAN Congressional Glossary

TermDefinitionUsed In
RECONCILIATION BILL

A RECONCILIATION BILL makes the changes in law required to meet pre-set spending and revenue levels.

The bill arises when a prior budget resolution passed by the House and Senate calls for it.

The budget committee packages the bills produced by all the other committees into one omnibus bill.

House & Senate
US Rep. Louise Slaughter, a scummy Democrat for what it is worth, issues as a matter of government standards, as standard, this definition for Reconciliation within the normal government context. It is a standard nonpartisan standing presentation.

THE BUDGET RECONCILIATION PROCESS

"The 1981 reconciliation bill, which encompassed legislative language from thirteen different committees in response to savings instructions mandated by the Senate, produced a legislative result that would have been impossible to achieve if each committee had reported an individual bill on subject matter solely within its own jurisdiction. By using a procedure that permitted packaging of the savings, Congress was able to consider President Reagan’s economic program as a whole, resistant to the type of special interest pressures that would have scuttled the savings if they had been proposed in piecemeal fashion."
- Senator Howard H. Baker, Jr., then Senate Majority Leader (Winter, 1983)

Created in a budget resolution in 1974 as part of the congressional budget process, the reconciliation process is utilized when Congress issues directives to legislate policy changes in mandatory spending (entitlements) or revenue programs (tax laws) to achieve the goals in spending and revenue contemplated by the budget resolution. First used in1980 this process was used at the end of a fiscal year to enact legislation to fine tune revenue and spending levels through legislation that could not be filibustered in the Senate. The policy changes brought about by this part of the budget process have served as constraints on the levels of mandatory spending and federal tax revenues which also has served since 1981 as a vehicle for deficit reduction. The reconciliation process is an optional procedure and not a required action by Congress every fiscal year as is passage of the concurrent budget resolution. However, during the eighteen year period from 1980 to 1998 thirteen reconciliation measures have been enacted into law and numerous others have been considered by Congress. Occasionally, reconciliation legislation has included certain such enforcement mechanisms as extensions of the discretionary spending limits and PAYGO requirements or even reforms to the budget process. Whether for tax reduction, tax increases, deficit reduction, mandatory spending increases or decreases or adjustments in the public debt limit, this process has been used to focus many agents on one goal.


After that continues the process of it all.

Fox News has a "your guide to the game" for the Reconciliation process. This places it in a historical context. What is interesting is that apparently Senator Harry Reid, his Democrat Senators and the US House legislators did not hit any of the hurdles or complications forecasted by this guide. The forecast is logical however, given that "Only ONE reconciliation bill has ever made it through this process CLEAN, that is, with no changes: the 2001 Bush tax cut package." This follows that "If history is any guide, this bill will hit a trap, get changed, and then will immediately be sent back to the House... Indeed, former Senate Parliamentarian Bob Dove called reconciliation “a game,” and the winner is the side who knows the most about the rules." This is a historical background for this practice, missing from what I've seen so far.

The entire process was created by the Budget Act of 1974; revisions and additions were made over the years; there are additional restrictions created by this fiscal year’s Budget Resolution Democrats created. The resolution opened the possibility of using reconciliation on both health care and the student loan overhaul.

Reconciliation was originally intended for politically difficult deficit reduction measures – i.e., spending cuts &/or tax hikes. Short-handed, people refer to reconciliation measures as having to deal with dollars.

Reconciliation has been used 22 times since it was created, a majority of that time by Republicans.

All of this is reason for the very difficult rules process, outlined more below, so as to curb abuse of the process. Most specifically, the Byrd rule, named for the senator, was created in 1985 to try to keep senators from cramming a bunch of policy by that has no budgetary impact. The Byrd rule, quite simply, says the substance of any provisions in a reconciliation bill must be substantially weighted to THE BUDGET, and not to POLICY.
None of these emphases are mine so all are made by Trish Turner. The point is that the actual intent of this action in general, when it is altogether legal and proper that is, is that reconciliation is for budgets and nothing else! It is also important that if this was "clean" it would be only the second time since the Bush 43 tax cuts and if it came out clean without getting bounced around with much trouble it meant back room deals, not stuff written out in the open, on C-SPAN, as the President has promised us in 2008. On March 25th, the Senate's reconciliation bill was passed and sent back to the House, as recorded by the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.
[JURIST] The US Senate [official website] voted 56 to 43 [roll call] to pass a modified version of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 [HR 4872 materials] Thursday, after certain language in the original bill was altered to fix parliamentary problems highlighted by Republicans. The bill will now be sent back to the US House of Representatives [official website] for a final vote on the new language. Democratic leaders stated that the alterations, which involved student-lending legislation attached to health care bill, were minimal and should easily pass through the lower chamber. All Senate Republicans and three Democrats voted against the bill, but it still passed because budget reconciliation bills [Senate backgrounder] require only a simple majority, rather than the standard 60-member super-majority, to advance. The House vote is slated for Thursday evening.

US President Barack Obama signed the original bill into law on Tuesday after it was passed by the House [JURIST reports] by a vote of 219 - 212. He has since signed an executive order [text; JURIST report] continuing a prohibition on the use of federal funds for abortion [JURIST news archive] except in cases of rape or incest or where a woman's life would be endangered, as part of a compromise with conservative Democrats.
So then we go forward to the modern reconciliation bill in question presented by Louise Slaughter on the US House of Representatives Rules Committee web site. I present

H.R. 4872 - Reconciliation Act of 2010

Meeting Time: 4:00pm Thursday 3/25

Text of the Senate Amendments to H.R. 4872

H. Rept. 111-458: Rule and Committee Report

I do not have the US Senate bill on hand. The Pittsburgh School of Law notes the US Senate vote as excerpted. Less than seven hours or so after the US Senate passed their bill,
The House voted 220-207 [roll call] to approve the bill.
The President signed the reconciliation bill into law on March 30th. The time-line is only significant because it was insisted that the lack of this law was killing people, with new deaths in the tens or hundred by the day.

Timothy Zahn and redheads

Here is a recap of a four-hour writers' workshop with John Vornholt and Timothy Zahn. It was attended by a woman named "Kelly", with her livejournal nickname "Gabri-Jade". I am feeling a little voyeuristic when I note that her supposed photo taken with Mr. Zahn is absent from the page.
And he very kindly posed for a picture with me as well. He was so incredibly nice and approachable and encouraging, which was awesome. I had an absolutely fantastic time. It was way better than if he'd been at C4. :D
A comment:
Oh my gosh, that is the greatest thing EVER.

I love his quote about the one original plot and the Russians brooding about it for 800 pages. *snickers* That's the greatest quote ever.

And he looks pretty much as I'd pictured him! I see why they based Talon Karrde's image on him. (And you look so pretty!)
I was curious what Mr. Zahn looked like as I could not recall and I did not care to google for it.
That's what I thought too, about the experience, the quote, and basing Talon's image on him. It was all totally awesome. :D

Aw, thanks! I usually hate the way I look in pictures, but these weren't too bad. :p
I also probably have a mild thing for redheads... I cannot say why.

As it is the workshop recap is quite informative, especially in regards to how the Star Wars Expanded Universe novel department dispatched with one of his greatest contributions to the Star Wards property, a character named Mara Jade.

Mr. Zahn is best known as the man who reintroduced Star Wars books to the market with his Thrawn Trilogy.

John Vornholt is known to me only as the man who wrote the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine novel Antimatter, which is a good book yet does not quite fit into the canon for a few reasons concerning the primary macguffin.

humans literally seeing time

That is to say that certain synesthesiac human beings can see within the mind's eye an accurate method of measuring time.
The “normal” form of the condition called synesthesia is weird enough: For people with this condition, sensory information gets mixed in the brain causing them to see sounds, taste colors, or perceive numbers as having particular hues.

But psychologist David Brang is studying a bunch of people with an even odder form of synesthesia: These people can literally “see time.”

Brang’s subjects have time-space synesthesia; because they have extra neural connections between certain regions of the brain, the patients experience time as a spatial construct.

This is quite awesome. I am not certain if this is a sort of illness, disability, or hallucination but my belief is that is a sort of special ability. The curious thing is that all the Comments (at least when I read the article) are all people who are all manifestations of this phenomena. I am skeptical of that; I think some are either fakers or just imaginative.

See: augmented reality on Discover blog

Earth Hour and North Korea

In response to the idea that many people should turn off all electric lights at one particular hour (during NCAA tournament no less) Don Boudreaux at Camp Hayek reminds us that North Korea is forced by law to turn off all lights.

Leftists can threaten rightists too

Earlier I wrote about the conceit that leftists, prominent Democrats, and statists were being threatened by Conservatives and the conceit included the idea that this was typical of the relationship, and one-sided. I confess that I administrate a Facebook group dedicated to the truth that Left-wing people are not necessarily kind and innocent and peace-loving as much as there is a claim to the contrary. It has been my experience that left-wing people can be violent and destructive. I was witness to the assault of a pregnant woman and have received threats myself; they have also vandalized my friends' property.

Eric Odom accounts the death threat against him by leftists.

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