Thursday, April 28, 2005

Haliburton and You

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Scalia asked about 'love life'

Ok. I want to give a shout out here to NYU law student Eric Berndt. Scalia was one of the dissenters in Lawrence V. Texas. Lawrence was having sex- sodomy- with another man in the privacy of his own apartment, a neighbor called complaining of a weapons disturbance( as described in the official ruling), the police responded to report, broke in, saw two men committing sodomy- which was against Texas law and arrested Lawrence( and his 'partner in crime' Garner). Lawrence believed that the law was unjust and took it to the supreme court.

The court ruled that the law was unconstitutional. Scalia disagreed- basically saying it was the business of the court if two MEN commit sodomy in their own home. So I applaud Eric Berndt for asking Scalia what sexual activities HE performs.

There are many sites that will tell you whether it was ethically right or good manners for the question to be asked. I however think that if Scalia wants to rule about OTHER'S people's sex life then he must be honest with his own.

And for the record, I would like to point out there is no ACTUAL record of Berndt's question because Scalia doesn't allow people to tape him.

Sunset Laws

I read this yesterday in the Rolling Stone and it FREAKED me out.

Basically the republicans want to make a committee to evaluate government agencies on a cost benefit analysis, then they'll get rid of the 'deadwood'.

Gee I wonder how much the FDA makes? And how fast they'd lose their funding if this was enacted.

The ATF could also lose much of it's funding as I'm sure that each one of their initials lobbyists would love LESS restrictions.

Likewise W. has already cut much of the budget for the EPA. Read here for some of the fun stuff W. has already done with SCIENCE. I was especially impressed on page 2 with the 9 month suppression of a report about Mercury poisoning because... well the poisoner was Haliburton.

The invisible hand doesn't work. We the little people need to be protected from BIG evil corporations.

Heck- the IRS which should be one of the best managed agencies( after the FBI and CIA), is one of the more understaffed. I've read on several occasions that they don't have the manpower to go after the BIG fish that owe them money... because those big fish are friends of the president. So the IRS does a 1/2 ass job and is more likely to go after people who owe the government a bit of money then really discuss with congress ways to close tax loopholes and do it's job of getting funds from people and corporations to help the rest of the US government run smoothly.

I don't trust the republicans with ANYTHING these days. Which means I'm against them forming a committee with people from Haliburton to decide what government agencies need to be cut.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

The big hole in Ma.

I've been meaning to whine... I mean blog about the big dig here for some time. To me the Big Dig might've started as a simple boondoggle by St. Tip( O'Neil) as a way for MA. to get a slice of government cheese but it's ended up as an unsafe black hole of money thanks to mismanagement and companies bilking the government out of billions. Yes not millions but billions.
Boiled down the idea sounds mid level difficult for the late 20th century. You take an out of date bridge and highway and put them UNDERground and underWATER- making tunnels where the bridge and highway was. It's cool because you can then expand the highway as you build- having more lanes... I would think as a lay person that that hardest thing was making sure that the highway was available for most of this- i.e. not closing anything. Though to be fair they decided to add to the difficulty by deciding to sink some above ground trains while they were at it- still I would say not the most difficult piece of construction. Tunnels had been done before and the scale wasn't impossible.

However it's recently rained gravel in the tunnels and the tunnels leak. Heck the fact that the government HAD to come out with a report to say the tunnel is safe, tells you what poor shape they are.

It also should be noted that when approved it was suppose to cost $2.6 billion and has ended up costing $14.6 billion. It was 'suppose' to be finished 7 years ago but since it's leaking- lord knows when it'll be over.

There are many things that bother me about this- starting with the fact that I don't drive so feel that money could be spent better. I mean think about how much affordable housing you could create with that money, how many homeless you could feed or even teachers you could hire with that much money.
Then there's Bechtel- by my readings and the amount of investigations they fleeced us... I mean how do you have a 561% cost over run and still end up with a sub standard product??? Worse to me is that the U.S. federal government is still giving work to Bechtel after this mismanagement. Bechtel seems to be as 'golden' as Haliburton... as they've been given contracts in Iraq- which they haven't lived up to , and are still getting government contracts.

I think this was a bad idea but good for the local economy when it started- Now as stated it's a black hole of money... yours and mine that could've been better spent- and instead a bunch of fat cats got fatter producing a sub standard item for the 'little people'
( I should mention that the governor here before Mitt got in trouble for using a STATE helicopter for her commute... instead of a car like the rest of us)