Archive for March 3rd, 2009

Saving money that they were never going to spend?

If this is accurate, it’s scary:

Critics Question Obama’s ‘Fuzzy Math’ on War Funding Estimates

President Obama has presented Congress with some questionable accounting for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, analysts and Republican lawmakers say, as they begin to pore over his $3.6 trillion budget for the next fiscal year.

Critics say the administration at once has both grossly over-estimated the amount of money it will save by winding down the war in Iraq and under-estimated the actual price of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars in the years ahead.

“This budget is a lesson in fuzzy math,” House Republican Leader John Boehner said in a statement to Monday.

The budget includes a “placeholder” estimate of just $50 billion per year for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan starting in 2011. By comparison, the total war cost for fiscal 2009 is expected to hit $142 billion.

At the same time, Obama’s budget team projects saving $1.5 trillion over 10 years by scaling back the wars. But this estimate assumes the price tag for the wars would exceed $100 billion almost every year through 2019, despite pre-existing commitments to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of 2011.

Boehner said the move creates “phantom savings for money they never intended to spend in the first place.”

The estimate basically assumes the Department of Defense would shell out military spending at current rates. War costs hit a high in fiscal 2008, at $188 billion. But Obama’s budget assumes the government would still be dishing out $183.5 billion in 2019 if his administration didn’t step in to rein in spending.

“It’s like a family trying to claim savings of $10,000 by assuming a family vacation and not taking it,” said Brian Riedl, a senior federal budget analyst with the conservative Heritage Foundation.

Riedl said the estimate is unrealistic and allows Obama to claim massive cuts to spending that was never going to take place anyway.


Using these and others estimates, the White House claimed last week it was acting to head off a whopping $9 trillion deficit 10 years from now.

I wonder if it could work in reverse for me? I haven’t spent the lottery winnings that I haven’t received yet, therefore my bank balance should be a few million dollars.

Dang, didn’t work…I suppose I’d be jailed for fraud if it did.


March 3rd, 2009 at 07:41pm

The Global Warming Spiders of Scotland

Some journalist at The Scotsman must have been having a bad day when they wrote this contradictory nonsense:

Scientists in Britain have identified new eight-legged spider species that could soon invade Scotland. Experts say the creatures are moving northwards due to climate change. The dark-colored spider comes from the Canary Islands and Madeira and has been brought into the country in boxes of imported bananas.

Experts now believe these spiders will soon be crawling across Scotland. They have also expressed concerns about another spider specie[s] named, the “false black widow”. This one rushes towards people who come along its path. It is not really clear whether these mass spider movements are generated by climate. This is because other media in Scotland say they are moving northwards to decongest their populations in the South of the country.

An eight-legged spider? In other words it’s not one of the daddy long legs from my house.

The spiders are migrating:
1. because of climate change
2. in boxes of imported bananas from the Canary Islands (how did they know the climate would be better at in Scotland?)
3. in order to decongest southern Scotland

Perhaps the journalist had been out in the sun for too long…


March 3rd, 2009 at 04:51pm

Wanted: A Confuser

Are you looking for a new job?
Do you enjoy complicating things?
Do people often struggle or fail to comprehend your decisions?
Do you often struggle or fail to comprehend your decisions?
Do you believe that the quickest way from point A to point B is via points C through F, L through Q and Y via H?
When you follow a map, do you still end up in the wrong place?

If you answered yes to all of these questions, then ACTION want you to become a valuable member of their network planning team. In reality, the word “planning” gives the wrong impression…what ACTION want is somebody who revels in chaos and can make their network even harder to comprehend than it currently is.

Being able to write gibberish which can be fed to the Minister for Territory and Municipal Services which will then be used to fill articles in The Chronicle will be considered advantageous.

Questions regarding this position should be directed to contact officer Tim Swift on (02) 6207 8000 as per the ACT Government Jobs page. Applications should be sent to addressing the above criteria and including the application cover sheet available from

What brought on this extraordinary outburst I hear you ask? Quite simple really. I caught the 25 from Woden to Cooleman Court, got off at the first stop on McInnes Street and walked the rest of the way. I beat the bus to Cooleman Court by seven minutes.

Add to this the odd belief that people don’t want to travel before 8am on Sundays, and the even weirder belief that Erindale, via a lengthy detour through Wanniassa, is a major town centre on weekends…a belief which adds a lot of time to the run between Woden and Tuggeranong, and I think you start to catch my drift.


March 3rd, 2009 at 01:58pm

Drink Coffee

I have a handful of far-left blogs on my regular reading list, mainly for the amusement value, and partially so that I can get a better understanding of views that I probably don’t share, and the reasons behind them…on rare occasions I learn a thing or two from them.

Today isn’t one of those days. Today is a bipartisan day of amusement courtesy of Qed

Drink Coffee

Ah, well that would explain how I manage to continuously find new problematic situations for myself!


March 3rd, 2009 at 01:43pm

I didn’t see that coming

Even I, a person who doesn’t believe that Fox News is anywhere near as biased as people claim, was shocked to see them citing Crikey in a story this morning:

Surprise Asteroid Makes Near-Miss of Earth

A small asteroid buzzed by Earth Monday, though only real astronomy geeks in the Pacific would have noticed.

The rock, estimated to be no more than 200 feet wide, zoomed past our planet at an altitude of 40,000 miles at 1:44 p.m. universal time — or 8:44 EST.

Dubbed 2009 DD45, it was discovered only on Friday by Australian astronomers.

Forty thousand miles may sound like a lot, but it’s only about one-seventh of the way to the moon, and less than twice as far out as many telecommunications satellites.

Had 2009 DD45 hit the Earth, it would have exploded on or near the surface with the force of a large nuclear blast — not very reassuring when you consider humanity had only about three days’ notice.

According to the Australian news Web site Crikey, the asteroid is likely to be drawn in by Earth’s gravity, meaning it may return for many more near misses in the future.

(emphasis added to final sentence by Samuel)

At that altitude one can only hope that space junk doesn’t collide with the asteroid and send it plummeting to Earth. Needless to say, that would be bad.


March 3rd, 2009 at 10:38am

S. Epatha Merkerson

I was watching Terminator 2 last night and noticed something which I haven’t noticed before, and I’m amazed that it took me this long to notice it.

The character Tarissa Dyson was played by S. Epatha Merkerson, who I know much better as Law & Order‘s Lieutenant Anita Van Buren.

S. Epatha Merkerson as Lieutenant Anita Van Buren
Image credit: NBC Television

I suppose the thing that really threw me off until now is that in Terminator 2 the character Tarissa Dyson spends almost her entire time looking absolutely terrified, whereas Lt. Van Buren is a generally authoritative figure who usually looks to be in control. She also used her voice quite differently in T2, using almost none of her trademark deeper voice which she uses to such great effect in Law & Order, and she was also about as skinny as me in T2.

She is a great actress, I’m just surprised that it took me this long to connect the dots.

On that note I should probably mention that I’m enjoying the current series of Law & Order, which recently started screening on Channel Ten and has been screening for a while on NBC, a lot more than the last couple of seasons, and I think the writing has improved significantly. Lt. Van Buren has a much-needed stronger presence in the investigations, the two detectives work very well as characters which is probably helped by the on-screen chemistry between the actors Anthony Anderson and Jeremy Sisto.

Jack McCoy’s (Sam Waterson) promotion to District Attorney and his love-hate working relationship with the clever but stubborn Executive Assistant District Attorney Michael Cutter (Linus Roache) adds a strength and complexity to the District Attorney’s office which seemed to be lacking for a while. I dare say that Alana De La Garza was well cast as Assistant District Attorney Connie Rubirosa, quite possibly the character which prevents the DA’s office from falling in a heap.

I also note that Law & Order: UK debuted on ITV last week. I watched it with some interest, although I nearly switched off after about ten minutes due to the cardboard acting of the two Detective Sergeants which severely detracted from the show. Thankfully they got better, and the rest of the actors hit the mark in a rather complex and intriguing storyline. I hold out some hope for this series, it was a good start overall and will hopefully get better as time goes by.


March 3rd, 2009 at 06:38am


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