Archive for May, 2011


canvas grocery bags – enviromentalism and not thinking things through

I saw a canvas grocery bag sitting unused at someone’s desk at work, and it made me realize I haven’t seen them in use at grocery stores in some time. It also got me thinking that it really captured the whole “feelings before thinking” that drives popular environmentalism.

When those bags first hit, they were the equivalent of wearing an “I drive a Prius” t-shirt, and then it was discovered that disposable bags were actually healthier. And this is where feeling vs. thinking comes in – this development shouldn’t have been a surprise at all. Just thinking through the whole grocery shopping process would have led to the conclusion that a cloth bag exposed repeatedly to unwashed fruits and vegetables along with various containers that often leak couldn’t help but turn into a petri dish.


Under my plan …

Our dear leader, during the 2008 campaign:

Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.

Looks like this is one Obama promise that doesn’t come with an expiration date:
Report Finds Obama Policies to Blame for High Energy Prices


Mark Steyn on those that deign to govern us

Mr. Steyn is truly remarkable in his ability to make the end of western civilization such entertaining reading.


A Thought Experiment

The other day on my drive home listening to what I was hoping would be politics-free sports radio, the hosts were discussing how football, baseball, and basketball fans would react if one of the players on their favorite teams made a public announcement that he was gay. The hosts opined that “especially in red state Texas”, fans would not tolerate it, although in “progressive” Austin, it wouldn’t be a problem.

Based on “red staters” I know, that’s a specious conclusion. Whenever I run into this kind of thing, I like to swap things, and imagine what would happen to a team’s support from PC progressives if a team star openly said something like “Sarah Palin’s facebook posts make for more sound domestic and foreign policy than anything I’ve seen from the Obama Whitehouse.”

We already see how this plays out in entertainment, where even on sites like Big Hollywood, contributors still sometimes use pseudonyms to protect their employability. We’ll also see what happens to David Mamet now that he’s “been mugged by reality.”


Hello, wordpress!

Based on what’s going on with blogger, especially for Ann Althouse, I’ve decided to migrate from blogspot to wordpress.  I’ll also try to do a better job updating the site.



Winning the Future

Yes, really.  That’s the slogan President Obama rolled out at the state of the union address.  Maybe I’m a little sensitive, but for just about anybody who’s worked with computers or email in the last 15 years, the acronym WTF has a different meaning.  Surely the most media/tech/youth-savvy president in history would have a team that thinks this kind of thing through?

It also reminded me of President Ford’s doomed “Whip Inflation Now” (WIN) slogan.  Even as a kid, that just seemed to give off a “why even try” vibe, and this one seems even more so.

However, it does lend itself handily to haiku-ization (it’s left as an exercise for the reader to use the words or letters necessary to make the syllables fit):

W. T. F.?

WTF – really?

Really.  W. T. F..


NPR math

NPR’s primary justification for continuing to receive government funding is that without it, smaller member stations would be forced to close.  This got me to thinking about whether NPR could actually tighten its belt and find some other source for the $400,000,000 (whoa – got that number from this article from the Washington Examiner – $400,000,000 is what goes to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting – NPR gets only a small part of that from CPB – per wikipedia (which is within the ballpark of NPR’s own 2009 consolidated financial statement) let’s revise that number using wikipedia’s 10% estimate to 10% of 164,000,000, which is …) $16,400,000 that they currently get from you and me.

Can the shortfall can be made up by salary management in house?  Given that NPR is a public institution, surely no one is working there to become rich.  From that starting point, let’s make the statement that no NPR employee’s household income should exceed President Obama’s “millionaire” tier of $250,000.  If an NPR employee’s spouse is making more than that in some less savory means than public service at NPR, the household should not be penalized, but that employee should donate his or her entire salary back to the NPR coffers.  Likewise, if both members of an employee’s household work for NPR, the total salary for the household will not exceed $250,000.

With that rule as a starting point, let’s examine some salaries (from NPR’s 2009 990 return) and see if we can save those small member stations!

employee 2008 compensation reported on IRS 990-J amount eligible for replacing lost gov’t funding assuming $250,000 base salary assuming $47,999 base salary
Kevin Klose $1,220,618 $970,618 $1,172,619
Andrea Sporkin $216,729 $0 $168,730
Kenneth Stern $1,223,717 $973,717 $1,175,718
Maria Thomas $113,579 $0 $65,580
Annie Davis $262,918 $12,918 $214,919
Dana Davis-Rehm $252,316 $2,316 $204,317
James Elder $242,786 $0 $194,787
Dennis Haarsager $328,525 $78,525 $280,526
Robert Holstein $217,092 $0 $169,093
Kathleen Jackson $215,624 $0 $167,625
Margaret Low-Smith $223,773 $0 $175,774
Joyce MacDonald $183,241 $0 $135,242
Mitchell Praver $379,712 $129,712 $331,713
Micheal Riksen $231,588 $0 $183,589
Joyce Slocum $173,770 $0 $125,771
Michael Starling $203,278 $0 $155,279
Ellen Weiss $255,873 $5,873 $207,874
Steven Inskeep $356,499 $106,499 $308,500
Renee Montagne $405,140 $155,140 $357,141
Michele Norris $312,976 $62,976 $264,977
Robert Siegel $358,653 $108,653 $310,654
Scott Simon $364,465 $114,465 $316,466
total $7,742,872 $2,721,412 $6,686,894

Interesting – not there yet, but if these noble souls decide to limit their salaries to the current U.S. average ($49,777 for all households, as best I can tell from, we’re now only looking for $9,713,106.

I can’t find data on what NPR pays guest talent, but maybe someone can point me in that direction. Given the altruistic mission of NPR, I think we should be able to direct all of the money currently paid to guest performers to the shortfall, as the goodwill a performer would receive for appearing on NPR should more than offset any lack of remuneration.

After that, we can look at what they spent on operations outside the U.S. – given NPR’s predictability in reporting on foreign affairs, it seems that that is money better spent elsewhere as well.  That bucket contains another $6,179,703.

If we assume that guest performer outlays are similar to salaries paid, take only half of the outside operations budget, and take the more generous salary give-back, we’re looking at a total of $7,742,872 + $3,089,851.50 +$6,686,894, or $17,519,617.50!  And we’re there with some left over.

Fly, NPR!  Be free!

May 2011
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