Thursday, December 31, 2009

Dave Barry reviews 2009

Courtesy Robbie Cooper of UrbanGrounds:

Dave Barry gives his usual recap of the major news events of the year, punctuated with his usual wit.  The first sentence, as it should, nicely sets the stage for the rest of the column:

It was a year of Hope -- at first in the sense of ``I feel hopeful!'' and later in the sense of ``I hope this year ends soon!''

As Robbie did, I particularly enjoyed this excerpt from February's happenings:

Congress passes, without reading it, and without actually finishing writing it, a stimulus package totaling $787 billion. The money is immediately turned over to American taxpayers so they can use it to stimulate the economy.

No! What a crazy idea THAT would be! The money is to be doled out over the next decade or so by members of Congress on projects deemed vital by members of Congress, such as constructing buildings that will be named after members of Congress. This will stimulate the economy by creating millions of jobs, according to estimates provided by the Congressional Estimating Office's Magical Estimating 8-Ball.

Take some time to enjoy the whole thing.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Proof neither side has a monopoly on hate or compassion

How do you get a whole bunch of people on the left to show how much compassion they really have for other people?  Well, apparently the only thing that has to happen is for Rush Limbaugh to be admitted to a hospital with chest pains.

And then, the rejoicing on the left begins!

I really hate to link to this stuff, but you have to see some of this stuff for yourself if you need convincing.  Plus, I will not quote these comments unedited.

From (sigh...) Democratic Underground:

Maybe there is a God after all.
(the text of this message was deleted by the poster before I got a chance to quote it)

I'll say it...
That fat bastard deserves to drown in his own hatred.

Seriously folks. Please send sympathy cards to the hospital.
Never has it had to admit such a despicable load of **** onto its wards. Do the other patients get a reduced rate now?

From Twitter:

Bane117 Rush Limbaugh rushed to hospital w/ chest pains. Santa actually listened this year. (link)

netsharc Rush Limbaugh's been hospitalized, God, prove your existence by killing him please?  (link)

23jr Yessssssss!!!!!!!!!! Rush Limbaugh admitted to Honalulu hospital with chest pains.  (link)

Oh, I'm gonna stop there.  This whole thing is just too infuriating.  Stay classy, libs.

And to my readers:  just remember that when the media and the government cry out that the Republicans are spreading hate--and they will--you know that sadly, there appears to be enough hatred to go around.

Monday, December 28, 2009

I guess we won't be seeing Tori Amos at any Tea Parties anytime soon

Courtesy Contact Music through Fox Nation:

Add Tori Amos to the list of celebrities who think they're smarter than Sarah Palin without anything to justify that belief.  Says Ms. Amos, should Mrs. Palin choose to run for office again, then she will run against the former governor.  Quoth Ms. Amos:

If Palin runs again, I'm going to run on a Republican ticket. What I know about Middle Eastern policy could fit on a thumbnail, but I still know more than she does. You have to ask, how could a nation nearly vote in somebody who isn't qualified for the job?

Like I said, Ms. Amos offers no proof to her assertions, but given that Governor Palin has been to the Middle East at least twice and has made numerous statements about events ongoing there, and given that, to the best of my knowledge, Ms. Amos has no qualifications to talk about Middle East policy, it certainly appears to me that Tori Amos is yet another celebrity who is compelled to made statements she can't back up simply because she hates Sarah Palin.

Plus, her chances of winning on a Republican ticket are roughly the same as my chances of winning six gold medals in Vancouver.

An exercise in how NOT to make friends: Time Warner Cable Austin

Let's face it:  Time Warner Cable in Austin has not done a great job of keeping customers happy in recent times.  From the KXAN/LIN TV debacle to the continual removal of channels from non-converter-equipped homes (highlighted by what used to be called KLRU2), Time Warner has developed a habit of cutting services for those not willing to kowtow to Time Warner's demand to rent a converter box for the newly raised price of $7.99 a month.

So you'll understand if I am not surprised by Time Warner's latest staring match, this time with KTBC/Fox.  I don't need to write much about this, as pretty much everyone else has already covered it, from the Statesman to Jim McNabb (who writes much better media-related stuff than I do) to the Austin Business Journal.  Both sides have websites up denigrating the other party.  Fox's website is full of testimonials from people promising to dump Time Warner if they drop Fox, and Time Warner's site proudly states that a vast majority of their 500,000 unique visitors told them to "get tough" with Fox.  (The site does not state whether all 500,000 visitors voted.  I sure didn't.  Mrs. Snowed asked me to click "roll over", and the site's response was "are you sure?"  Nice push-polling, Time Warner.)

(I will point out, and you can see here for confirmation, that I did correctly predict the exact date that the KXAN issue would resolve.  I am not currently making predictions regarding the Fox issue.  I also don't know the winning lotto numbers or whatever else you might want to know; otherwise, I wouldn't be begging people to hit the tip jar.  It's right there on the right of this page, you know...)

So with the potential loss of the Fox stations hanging over their heads, what does Time Warner propose to do next?  Well, first of all, they raised their prices again (my basic went up from 16.95 (my information last year saying 19.95 was erroneous) to 19.99, and I've already mentioned the converter price going up a dollar a month as well), and on top of that, they are back to their old games of moving channels to digital only (see note below).  On the chopping block for those without converters* this time are:  ABC Family, CMT, Oxygen, Style, and TruTV.  No date is given for the changeover.

Yes, I know Time Warner Cable is a business, and I further know that transmitting channels only via their digital package is much more economical for them.  That doesn't mean I have to like how basic/standard cable customers are treated by TWC.  As I've said before, about the only thing keeping me with them is WGN America.  If WGN ever gets pulled, I may finally dump Time Warner, as I've only been threatening for over a year.

But before I forget, there is a silver lining:  Time Warner has heard your agonizing, and to show you their appreciation, do they have a deal for you!  (Warning:  NSFW/language.)

*The page linked says customers can also use a "CableCARD-equipped Unidirectional Digital Cable Product", which, as far as I know, for most people, means absolutely nothing.  Is your set so equipped?  Neither is mine.**

**Of course, non of my sets are even HD-ready.  Have I mentioned I have a tip jar?

Edit: The Time Warner PDF page linked above is updated every so often, and so the channels listed are no longer shown at that link.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Christmas wish for President Obama

Just so you know, I don't want anything bad to happen to people with whom I disagree politically.  I don't want some of their policies to come to fruition, but that's different.  And so, in this holiday season, I hope for our president that he has a blessed Christmas for himself and his family.

And I hope he can get his elf back.

And if you would like to spread the Christmas cheer for others, please visit the Salvation Army and donate.

Donate here!

An open letter to Chris Matthews: Give it up already!

Dear Chris Matthews:

You are obviously getting desperate for something, be it attention, validation, I don't know.  When you aren't experiencing leg tingles, pining after President Obama, or openly musing about the death of a political opponent (in your mind, as he probably couldn't care less), you apparently have some sort of fixation regarding Sarah Palin.  I truly don't understand why seeing her gets you so wee-wee'd up.

But seeing her certainly does have that effect on you, to the point that you are grasping for straws in an attempt (usually futile) to make her look bad.  But, really, critiquing her signature?  Get a grip, sir.  I know you have a remarkable propensity for insulting or generally looking down on conservatives--see, for example, this video in which you badmouth Bobby Jindal before he has even spoken a word:

So maybe I shouldn't be surprised that you are saying things about Sarah Palin such as "She doesn’t write the book, and then she scribbles some indecipherable sign on the book as a signature."  Again, read the story at this link.   While it goes into much more detail, I invite you and anyone else to compare the following two signatures and tell me your thoughts:


Maybe it's just me, but one of those signatures does indeed look like an indecipherable sign.  It isn't Sarah Palin's.

Mr. Matthews, have you considered that perhaps looking for any excuse, no matter how flimsy, to go after conservatives has made you appear to be, well, incredibly petty?  Or are you so bitter that this is the only enjoyment you still get out of life?  Either way, I pray that you find peace this holiday season, along with some good old human kindness.

(Via @ChiBarb per this tweet)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Sarah kills 'em with kindness (Part 1 of some large number)

Note:  I realize I'm about the 4378th person to post this in the last twelve hours, but I feel a compulsion to post it anyway for the benefit of those people who only read my blog (hi, Dad).

Sarah Palin's unannounced appearance on last night's Tonight Show to give William Shatner a little bit of payback for his readings of her writing was one of the funniest things I have seen in a while (though a lot of Conan's monologue last night had me rolling as well).

The best comment with regard to this video came from Allahpundit:

Somewhere Chris Matthews is watching this and thinking, in all seriousness, “She can read.”

Friday, December 11, 2009

Why the Travis County Healthcare District couldn't care less what you think

I think I have the Travis County Healthcare District (now called Central Health by some) figured out, or at least their decision to continue to use property taxes to fund abortions regardless of the number of people opposed to using their money to fund a procedure that they find morally repugnant.

A lot of residents are not happy about this; according to KVUE,

One woman produced a stack of over 10 thousand petitions from Travis County residents who were opposed to using taxpayer money to fund abortions -- she reminded the board managers that's twice the number of people who voted for the healthcare district in the first place.

Of course, the unelected board didn't care what people thought, and so they voted unanimously to continue to fund abortions despite the rumblings that they may be in for a legal fight.

But I think I know why this board doesn't care what individual people, in whatever numbers, think about it.

Let's start by looking at the FY2010 budget for the district, or Central Health, or whatever they want to be called.  (Maybe they figure that a nondescript name such as "Central Health" will make people forget they're being taxed to pay for it.)  The total operating budget for the upcoming year is $98,027,945, based on a plan to reduce property taxes to $0.0674 per $100 of property value (which, I'm guessing, will still result in a tax increase due to continually rising appraisals).  The budget set aside for the three abortion providers' contracts is $450,000, or 0.459% of the total budget.

Now let's consider a typical Travis County home.  Per this site, the median home price in Travis County earlier this year was $218,000, so we'll give our typical home that value.  We'll also assume it has a homestead exemption because, well, mine does.  Therefore the taxes for FY2010 that will go toward the healthcare district will be:

$218,000 x 80% (due to the exemption) x ($0.0674 / $100) = $117.55

And thus the amount of money that our typical Travis County homeowner will be putting toward funding abortions is 0.459% of $117.55, or a whopping $0.54.

So, at 54 cents per opinion, even having 10,000 people opposed to abortion doesn't matter to the board.  10,000 votes might matter, but since this board isn't elected, it's moot in this case.  Such is life in deep blue Travis County.

p.s.  Mrs. Snowed would like to be refunded her 54 cents now, thank you very much.

p.p.s.  Though the board doesn't have to answer for this, three Austin City Council members (Randi Shade, Laura Morrison, and Sheryl Cole) may, based on this tweet from Laura Morrison:

(You can get to the Twitpic here.) 

Update 8/11/11:  Trumped by state law, Central Health has reversed this decision.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Palin opines on climate; libs' heads explode

It doesn't take much to set some Palin-haters off, apparently.  All Sarah Palin has to do is to write an op-ed ("Copenhagen's political science", published 9 Dec 2009) for one of those newspapers she allegedly doesn't read (right, haters?) pointing out that valid questions have been raised about whether the cause of global warming is primarily anthropogenic.  (This, of course, refers to the ongoing "Climategate" scandal.)

Governor Palin pulls no punches in stating the almost certain results of this Copenhagen conference:

The agenda-driven policies being pushed in Copenhagen won't change the weather, but they would change our economy for the worse.

She continues, later in the column, on this theme (the links were in the WaPo column webpage, and apparently they copy right over):

President Obama's proposal calls for serious cuts in our own long-term carbon emissions. Meeting such targets would require Congress to pass its cap-and-tax plans, which will result in job losses and higher energy costs (as Obama admitted during the campaign).

This, as one might expect, has caused all sorts of people to crawl out of the woodwork to either defend Mother Earth or slam Sarah Palin, or both.  I'll list a couple of the usual suspects.

For example,, which I truly don't want to link but will anyway, has published a column adopting both prongs of this attack.  Its premise appears to be "the science is settled, and so say people who just might be in a darn good position to benefit in a cap-and-trade-based world economy, though we won't say that, and besides, she's an idiot, so shut up."  With that premise in mind, the columnist (Ravi Somaiya--yeah, I've never heard of him in a discussion of leading climate experts either), presents what is marketed as a total fisking but takes several things out of context, ignores the "Obama admitted' quote entirely, and presents the opinions of other columnists as unquestionable fact.  I'd fisk it back, but time is short.  Maybe later.  Instead, I'll just point out that the column is unreadable as a whole due to the tone of superiority present throughout.  One can almost picture the columnist's nose in the air as he types.

And, of course, Al Gore, whose mansion uses more energy in a month than you probably do in a year, has to defend, well, mostly his own reputation.  In an interview with bastion of objectivity MSNBC, he said, "the deniers are persisting in an era of unreality. The entire North Polar ice cap is disappearing before our eyes ... what do they think is happening?"  This seems to be leaning more toward the insulting Sarah Palin and all those poor misguided souls who agree with her, as the science in his statement is, well, pretty much nonexistent.  When you start your argument with an emotional appeal, you don't exactly have a great foundation.  Add to that the fact Al Gore has returned to his I'm-smarter-than-you tone of voice that worked so well for him during the first presidential debate of 2000, and you have a completely unwatchable interview.  Luckily, it was on MSNBC, and therefore most people missed it.

Now, of course, there are some people who would hate Sarah Palin if she were to discover a cure for cancer, simply because she doesn't fit their mold of a woman to emulate.  However, to use one's hatred for her to discount her point is ridiculous.  For starters, just take a look at some of these brilliant comments at the WaPo column, which have not been edited in any way by me:

mrbwood wrote:
To read from palins mindless followers that she is right on about this point is disgusting. WAPO should be ashamed of it self. go out of business already
12/9/2009 11:01:49 AM

ryan_heart wrote:
Heck, in Alaska, we shot them wild glaciers from helicopters.
12/9/2009 2:25:26 PM

stinejc1 wrote:
Wow, why would anyone let this bimbo post in a legitimate paper? This crap belongs in the Washington Times.
12/9/2009 2:22:15 PM

petersd wrote:
The Washington Post needs to re-examine its editorial policy. Climate change deniers ought not not recognized as legitimate participants in newspaper-born political debates. Their views are marginal at best and dangerous at worst, and the Post ought not give them a forum from which to propagate their delusions.
12/9/2009 1:42:00 PM

I especially like that last one.  Why should we have a debate?  Just shut up.

The only problem with that chilling approach to discussion is that the science is certainly not settled.  For example, see this data-heavy piece that shows how much temperature data has been manipulated to support the AGW theory (hat tip:  Ed Morrissey/HotAir, Conservatives 4 Palin).

So, does Sarah Palin have a valid summation to her column when she says, "The president should boycott Copenhagen"?

You betcha.

And no amount of ad hominem attacks against her will change that.

Edit 12/09:  Sarah Palin has responded to Al Gore in a Facebook note.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Sarah Palin charms in Washington, D.C.

Apparently we need a few more Gridiron Club dinner speeches from Sarah Palin to help some more Washington power-players to see her as something other than the stereotype perpetuated by people on both sides of the aisle.  Governor Palin, in keeping with the traditions of the annual dinner, was self-deprecating in most of her remarks, with a few gentle jabs at others, including her audience ("It is good to be here and in front of this audience of leading journalists and intellectuals. Or, as I call it, a death panel.")

According to Don Surber, who covered this a full 2½ days before I did*, the remarks are off the record, so of course a full transcript can now be found via the LA Times at this link.   Her remarks are worth a read; however, some of the comments left at the blog are not worth your time at all.  The blog entry, though (written by Andrew Malcolm), is quite complementary of her showing at the dinner, as can be seen thus:

And she appeared to succeed...[i]t was a refreshingly different look at Palin, who's more often quoted as a media scold and harsh critic of what's-his-name in the White House.

(Hat tip:  Dr. Melissa Clouthier)

* I need some sort of announcer for my site:  "Yes, it's Snowed In, where you can get yesterday's news...tomorrow!"

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Travelgate, this isn't

In case it isn't obvious at this point, there are some people who are looking for any excuse, no matter how flimsy, to talk down Sarah Palin and her wildly successful book (one million sold as of today!).  Case in point: the most recent so-called controversy is that Sarah Palin doesn't ride in a bus everywhere she goes, and, horror of horrors, she even stays in hotels.

I could go on about how silly a non-story this is, but someone eminently more qualified to comment on this, namely, Sarah Palin herself, already has done so:

It’s really comical at this point! Despite all of the important events happening in the world today – the president’s speech tonight on the strategy in Afghanistan, the Senate debate over health care reform, the disturbing details of the “Climategate” scandal, the continuing challenges facing the world economy – the media is concerned about my travel and lodging arrangements on my book tour?! Does this sound familiar? It should. The media showed the same out-of-proportion obsession with my personal arrangements, clothes, and hairstyles last year instead of focusing on the crucial issues involving the election.

So what is this news “story”? That I fly on an airplane to complete some of the stops on my book tour when it’s impractical or physically impossible to reach the next event on time by bus. Some news outlets are behaving as if my travel was a secret that they didn’t know about – despite the fact that I’ve tweeted about my flights and at least one local newspaper reported on the arrival of my flight into Rochester, NY. What’s even funnier is that these same media outlets think it’s shocking that we stay in hotels. I guess they expected us to pitch a tent alongside the road. We love the great outdoors, but such an arrangement is hardly practical for a book tour. Using common sense, it was determined that traveling by plane between some stops would save time and energy and allow me to go to more events. Economically speaking for HarperCollins, it’s more efficient to travel by charter, and I am very grateful to the publisher for providing my family and me with this incredible opportunity to shake hands with as many Americans as possible on this book tour.

If you’re scratching your head wondering why my flight and hotel logistics warrant news coverage, join the club. They can, of course, report on whatever they like, but in my opinion CBS loses whatever professional integrity it still has when it links in its report to a website devoted to the bizarre conspiracy theory that I’m not the real mother of my son Trig.

I’m truly humbled by the response to my book tour by everyday Americans, and if traveling by plane means that I can meet more of these wonderful people, I’ll travel by plane (or bus or train or canoe or dog sled or whatever it takes). Please enjoy the photos below!

- Sarah Palin

Gotta go to the link to get the photos.

Of course, some people are never going to take Governor Palin's word for it.  Luckily, there are others to put this lame attempt at a smear on the governor in its proper context, like Josh Painter:

Obamas' Date Night via Air Force One - $56,518.00 per hour (paid for by taxpayers)*

Palin Book Tour leg via Gulfstream jet - $ 4,000.00 per hour (paid for by publisher)

Observing media deny that it is biased - PRICELESS (Media's demise paid for by media)

* Does not include price of second C-17, three C-21A Lear jets, five Helicopters, the Presidential Motorcade, 44 Marines and more than 20 Secret Service personnel on each C-17. Price of NYPD and NY Port Authority overtime pay also not included.

If nothing else, the endurance of this really-not-very-controversial not-controversial-at-all story of Sarah Palin's travels illustrates the obsession some in the media, as well as more than a few bloggers, have with her.  I mean, really, given the tenacity with which such outlets as Entertainment Tonight pursue anything that puts her in a bad light and the way that some people seemingly have personal vendettas against her (you know, people such as "CelticDiva", Andrew Halcro, the recently exposed Jesse Griffin, and, of course, Andrew Sullivan), I would say that the level of obsession has now officially reached "crazy stalker ex-girlfriend" level.