Thursday, January 31, 2008

Democratic Debates Redux

Once again I happened to catch the Democratic debates. They're just so much fun to watch! (note, I know these aren't exact quotes, but they're reasonably accurate)
It took a Clinton to clean up after the last Bush - Clinton
'Scuse me? It was Clinton that let Saddam ignore UN resolutions, ignore no-fly zones, and hamstring weapons inspections to the point that it was actually plausible that he could have WMD. Not to mention essentially ignoring the first WTC bombing, the USS Cole, and a number of other terrorism incidents. Awesome cleanup job, let's definitely do that again!
We should not maintain bases in Iraq.
(... several sentences... )
We need to maintain a strike force in Iraq. - Obama
So what are the soldiers going to do, float in the air? Maybe we can base them off of zeppelins! Brilliant. In any event, we have bases almost everywhere else in the world, and few other areas are as strategically important as the middle east. Why wouldn't we want bases there? If cost is an issue, close the ones in Germany and let the Europeans can handle themselves.

Bush should have finished what he started, before leaving office. - Clinton
So a president shouldn't start anything that won't be done before the end of their term? Nothing that would take longer than 4 years at most? That's just asinine.
Read between the lines -- she wants Bush to get this over with now, because if she does get elected it becomes her war to lose. If she pulls out when it's on a path to winning, then it's on her. If she doesn't pull out, the Democratic base will be pissed. If she stays in and it ends up going reasonably well, then Bush has to get some of the credit. She needs Bush to get out before she gets in because otherwise she's in a no-win political situation.

It was priceless watching Hillary basically make the case for the Iraq war while trying not to admit that Bush wasn't insane. Not to mention an impressive lesson on doubletalk.

Sadly, I still haven't caught a Republican debate. I imagine they're just as amusing.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

White Knight

The snow scupture "Bucéfalo" from the Breckenridge Snow Sculpture Competition.

As near as I can tell Bucefalo is a transalation of Bucephalus, which was Alexander the Great's horse. Although the likeness is imperfect, as Bucephalus was allegedly a black horse. Regardless, after so many hours spent looking at Staunton chess sets I can't see anything other than a knight. Either way, it's a beautiful snow sculpture.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Freezing Cold

A closeup of the snow sculpture "Swan Song" at the 2008 Breckenridge Snow Sculpture Championships.

I have to admit I don't really "get" this sculpture. The artists' statement says:
The old Shaman beats his drum and calls forth the swan spirit in a last ditch effort to feed his people. This hunt must go well or all will perish. As he dances the bird spirits form from the smoke of his ceremonial fire. Rising and swirling around him, returning to wisps of smoke disappearing above his head.

OK guys, if you say so. It's pretty cool though.

It's amazing what those 4-person teams can do with a block of snow and some saws. They spend up to 65 hours building the sculptures, and it definitely shows.

I'll be posting a few more photos from the contest, but in the meantime check out some more on Nick's blog or the contest winner's list.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Root River in the Snow

A view of the Root River in Greendale. This spot is in a parkway less than a mile from where I grew up. 15 or 20 years ago I used to bike past this spot nearly every day during summer. It looks a little different during the summer.

Call it what it is

I usually try to stay out of politics, but some of the rhetoric about the economic stimulus/tax rebate package just drives me up the wall. The Saturday Wall Street Journal reported:

[Congressional Democrats] also discussed denying rebates to taxpayers who earn more than $85000 and offering them to those who don't pay income tax at all.

Just to be clear, they're talking about literally mailing checks to people that don't pay any income tax at all. That's not a rebate. It's taking money from people that do pay taxes and giving it to people that don't. The kindest term I can think of for that is income redistribution, but really it's just plain theft.

I understand that people with less money are more likely to turn around and spend the "rebate" than people with more money, which would provide a greater economic stimulus. Heck, it may even be a good idea in the grand scheme of things. But don't try to bullshit me by calling that a "rebate." It's not.

PS, if you're still thinking that robbing from "the rich" sounds like a good idea, you may wish to peruse these statistics. Short version -- the "over $85000" set is more than 10% of the population, and already pays over 70% of the income tax. Seems like they're being robbed plenty enough already, if you ask me.

PPS, I'm watching the Democratic debate, which is covering the same topic. All of them want to give "rebates" to people that don't actually pay income tax. Obama also wanted to limit the rebates to those who make under $75000.

OK, I gotta stop watching debates while on Blogger, but every time one of them says something about "the rich getting richer", go reread the last three bullets of this.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Nose In The Air

Last month we went to a workshop held at home in the mountains near Evergreen. We were early, so we went looking for snapshots to pass the time. The homeowner had an outdoor cat that would climb on your lap at every chance, and a stereotypical hyper-energetic little yappy dog that was always underfoot.

But he also had an old, tired hunting dog with gray creeping into his fur. That old dog just ambled from nap to nap, with an occasional stop for a belly rub. This seemed to be one of his favorite spots, flopped down on the edge of the deck with his nose sticking out into the air twelve feet above the ground.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

PPD 104

Another photo from the Wehr Nature Center. This is on the waterfall at the edge of Mallard Lake. I'm rather pleased that this came out at all sharp, as it was shot handheld at 1/20s while crouched down on a slanted, snow covered rock. Actually, I'm rather pleased that I didn't end up taking a swim.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

PPD 102 - Winter

A walk surrounded by wintry whiteness in the (not very) wild woods. With alliteration.

See, Nicki, it's a winter photo. ARE YOU HAPPY NOW?! :)