In the last three months of 2008, that’s right- three months, Americans bought enough guns to outfit the Chinese and Indian armies, combined.
This is going to make gun restrictions a lot more politically hazardous for the new administration.
from Snowflakes in Hell by Sebastian
Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.
Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.
Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn’t changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can’t marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.
Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed; the sanctity of Brittany Spears’ 55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.
Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn’t be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren’t full yet, and the world needs more children.
Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.
Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That’s why we have only one religion in America.
Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That’s why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise children.
Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven’t adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans.
Thanks - Blame it on the voices - I'm always stealing their stuff...
It was a stunning ending to an Indian Ocean odyssey that began when 53-year-old freighter Capt. Richard Phillips was taken hostage Wednesday by pirates who tried to hijack the U.S.-flagged Maersk Alabama. The Vermont native was held on a tiny lifeboat that began drifting precariously toward Somalia's anarchic, gun-plagued shores.
The operation, personally approved by President Barack Obama, quashed fears the saga could drag on for months and marked a victory for the U.S., which for days seemed powerless to resolve the crisis despite massing helicopter-equipped warships at the scene.
Three things about this particular C63 AMG. First, it's a rolling testbed for RENNtech, an established tuner of all things Mercedes, and has the prototype machined airbox to prove it. The second thing to know is power output's been pegged at over 580 HP, more than 100 HP over the stock AMG. There's a thick layer of expelled rubber on the rear fender to prove it. The third thing? It's still a Mercedes, and it has the luxury to prove it.
Driving in Miami isn't about going fast, especially given the well-known congestion, rather, it's about looking stylish. Gleaming Bentley, Aston and Ferrari chrome is blindingly everywhere. They're almost as plentiful as police officers with their laser guns and unmarked Nissan Altima Coupes. So how do you avoid running into a squad car and landing in prison?
This C63 was sporting a rear-view mirror embedded with the readout from the radar/laser detectors, which gave direction and type of surveillance while looking like a stock compass readout. It's the original OEM mirror and all of the built-in features, such as day/night auto and garage openers, are fully functional. How did they do this?
I spoke with Raymond Allen of Technicar, the company that designed the system. "It's stealth-mounted in the car so no one knows it is in the rearview mirror. Many cars have it so the compass will readout into the rearview mirror, so it looks like an OEM device but it gives you a stealth readout that no one knows its there."
It works flawlessly. Speeding up an on-ramp, I hear the familiar chrip of the detector and quickly glance up at the mirror to see there's a car shooting us with laser from the rear at close range. We're going faster than the posted 45 MPH speed limit but no one gives chase. This is probably because the officer is getting an error message on the laser unit.
The other trick piece on this car is the laser jammer. More authorities are switching over to laser because it's more precise and, of course, no one wants to put a radiation stick in their crotch all day, so having a laser jammer is a big lifesaver if you have a lead foot.
When the cop shoots you with their gun it's typically sending out a few short beams of light and waiting to get them back in order to process the information and determine a speed. As soon as the sensors in the C63 sense the signal it automatically sends back the wrong data. For instance, if the laser gun sends five short beams of light at a car coming towards the officer, the car may send back three beams made to look is if the car is moving in the other direciton, thus causing an error.
After battling the traffic, and the cops, I drive the car out to a more secluded part of Miami. As opposed to the danger represented by driving quickly on crowded streets, the greatest threat we face is O.J. Simpson, who owns a house not too far from where we go to stretch the car's legs out.
Even without long stretches of open road it's clear this stealthy silver Benz can sprint. With the resonator delete, maybe stealthy isn't exactly the right word. There's a serious growl. And maybe the RENNtech logo splayed across the windshield and slicks on the back are a bit of a giveaway to the observant. But one moment you're at a stop sign and the next you're going 80 MPH. The company hasn't done official 0-60 testing yet, but with 465 Lb-Ft of torque, we imagine that figure is largely dependent on what kind of tires the car is wearing. Fitted with these slicks, getting the power down isn't too difficult.
The rest is easy, too. It was surprising how effortless it was to throw the car around as we rocketed through the neighborhood and across on-ramps. The stiffer suspension, strut tower brace and lower stance contribute to a solid feel without sacrificing much in the way of comfort over the road... assuming you're willing to go over bumps at an angle. Traction control works, thankfully, keeping the C63 off of the grass when the wheels spin faster than the gears in the driver's brain, as I learned first hand. Given the performance on tap, it's surprising that this tuner version can retain most of the stock C-Class's civility.
As this car is a mule, I'm not ready to pass judgment on the fit-and-finish. It looks good at a distance and, up close, any shortcomings are sort of endearing and show signs of serious use. RENNtech achieves a lot of gains through clever tuning of the car's ECU, which doesn't mean much until you see the rubber caked on the inside of the wheel well or hear it take off. Computer programmers FTW!
Back in traffic, the car melts back into the Mercedes mold, the incessant beeping of the mirror being the only obvious giveaway. There's no need to sacrifice anything if you want to play Hyde by day and Jekyll by night. That's not completely true. You'll need to fork over an as-of-yet determined chunk of change.
To further differentiate it from the lowly C63 AMG it's based on, a body kit is in the works. Nice as it might look with wider fenders, we think we prefer it the way it is, more sleeper than silly. As a work-in-progress this vehicle is still within the realm of gearheads, not the polished world of dentists who wanted to buy a toy with their dirty plaque money.
I think this guy nailed it!
There are about 40 million people over 50 in the work force; pay them $1 million a piece severance with stipulations:
1) They leave their jobs. Forty million job openings - Unemployment fixed.
2) They buy NEW American cars. Forty million cars ordered - Auto Industry fixed.
3) They either buy a house or pay off their mortgage- Housing Crisis fixed.
All this and it’s still cheaper than the “bailout”.
via Bits and Pieces
We recently acquired a minivan. Half of my readers just mentally snorted at the wretched direction my life has taken. You pity me.
The other half of you have actually been inside a modern minivan. You know that a minivan is the mullet of automobiles, and by that I mean it is all business in the front, and a party in the back. It's a little slice of heaven on wheels. I love my minivan. Yeah, I said it.
We were forced to consider minivans because our Toyota Highlander had an annoying noise that wouldn't go away. It sounded roughly like "Mom, there isn't enough leg room! Make someone else sit in the back next time!" We tried turning up the volume on the radio to drown it out, but that was only partly successful. So we started looking at minivans.
After extensive shopping we narrowed our minivan choices to either a Honda or a Toyota. The Honda had an edge in back seat comfort, mileage, and console layout. But the Toyota salesman assured us that after a few years of use the Honda would rattle apart and spontaneously dissemble itself in our garage. He said we would one day come out to the garage and find nothing but a pile of parts, each one trying to crawl away from the others. The Toyota, by way of contrast, was built tight, our salesman explained. It would survive a nuclear attack without the tires getting out of alignment. This was all suspiciously difficult to verify, given that it involved the future. And Google was silent on this issue. So we went with the comfy back seats. It seemed the quieter option.
Our minivan is packed with so many features that it changes the entire driving paradigm. In the old model you had a driver and several passengers. Now you have a pilot and a full-time manager of tech support in the front, with several disgruntled users in the back. From the moment the humans enter the minivan, the manager of tech support gets busy. My wife, who I call Spock during family drives, is responsible for the navigation unit, synching the BlackBerry to the speaker system, adjusting the XM satellite stations, loading the DVD, instructing occupants about how to move seats, locking and unlocking doors, and so on. Her job is never done because the users never stop submitting change orders.
As pilot, I try to tune out everything but the sultry and sometimes scolding voice of the navigation unit. If I allow myself to get invested in the tangle of tech support and political issues bubbling over in the rest of the vehicle I will lose concentration and drive into a ravine. Although I'd be lying if I said it isn't a tempting option after the fifteenth change order gets submitted, just before I fire up the rear bumper video camera, and the distance sonar, and start backing out of the garage.
The XM satellite radio is a wonderful invention. It has an endless variety of music. But for reasons I haven't yet discerned, all we ever hear is Daughtry and Lady Gaga. I would be fine with this arrangement if Daughtry didn't sound like two mules dragging a barn door over crushed stones. I need to talk to Spock about that, but she is always buried in work orders.
My point is that minivans are wonderful. If you like Daughtry.
from Dilbert.com Blog
Sitting 1400-feet above the green, Par 3 is touted as the world's most extreme golf hole. It even "requires a helicopter to reach the tee and a ball takes nearly 30 seconds to drop to the green below." Video after the break.
Playing all 19 holes runs about 2,000 South African rand, or about $220 in American bills, but for that you get the helicopter ride, plus a bunch of souvenir swag and a DVD of your shot.
I watched this one over and over and over ! ! ! !
With California's supreme court considering exactly the same thing for pretty much exactly the same reasons this is good news.
DES MOINES, Iowa – The Iowa Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling Friday finding that the state's same-sex marriage ban violates the constitutional rights of gay and lesbian couples, making Iowa the third state where gay marriage is legal.
In its decision, the court upheld a 2007 district court judge's ruling that the law violates the state constitution. It strikes the language from Iowa code limiting marriage to only between a man a woman.
"The court reaffirmed that a statute inconsistent with the Iowa constitution must be declared void even though it may be supported by strong and deep-seated traditional beliefs and popular opinion," said a summary of the ruling issued by the court.
This is the kind of story which makes us pine for the old days of the neighborhood parts store with clerks who knew by heart the part number for valve seals from a GM 235 inline six and had a set in a shelf in the back. Here, our hero, James, regales us with a tale of inconceivably bad service; A 45 minute period on hold where he decided to get in the car, drive down to the store, and figure out what the hell was going on that made it so difficult for them to quote him a price for his seals. This is his story:
So I got an event coming up at the local track...should be a fairly fun event and I want to take the truck out. Well....a few weeks ago, due to my own stupidity, I blew my hub seals on my rear end...and due to me catching the fucking flu...and other shit...I never got around to fixing them. So this is the week OF and I need the damn seals, right?
So I call up AutoZone:
"Thank you for calling AutoZone, how can I help you?""Yeah, I'm looking for axle seals of a ford 9" rear end...""Oooh. umm...hold on a second...." and he puts me on hold.
....15 minutes later...someone ELSE picks up...
"...umm thank you for calling AutoZone, who are you holding for?""I'm holding for someone to help me find some axle seals...""Oh.. ummm. Huh.. hold on a second." and HE puts me on hold.
...10 minutes in, I'm getting pissed and I decide that this is a battle of wills. Them waiting for me to hang up....me waiting for them to get tired of the phone beeping and to pick up.
...10 MORE minutes....and I can feel my will about to give in completely to anger. FUCK THIS! While STILL on hold, I jump in my daily driver and drive my ass up to the AutoZone I'm on hold with!
I get there about 10 minutes later...and there's 4 fuckers working...and like two people shopping...and one of them hits me up instantly:
"Welcome to AutoZone, how can I help you?"...as I walk behind their counter to look for their phone...
"Yeah....do you have someone on hold right now?""Uh excuse me?"...I point at the blinking, beeping phone..."DO...YOU...HAVE...SOMEONE...ON...HOLD...RIGHT...NOW!?""Uhh...I guess so.""You guess so?? Let me help you. You DO have someone on hold...ME! I've been on hold for 45 fucking minutes! What in the HELL is THAT all about?? Can you give me one good reason why you've had me on hold for almost a fucking hour??""Well...uhh..I mean....uhhh...I was waiting for him (he points) to pick up..""He DID pick up...and put me right the fuck back on hold!"
"Uuhh..err....ahh...ummm...""Don't give me any bullshit about how busy you are...there's no one fucking in here! If my fucking question was simply too difficult for you, TELL me.""Well...what do you need sir?""What I needed was axle seals...but what I need NOW is to talk to YOUR fucking manager.""Yes sir."...and scampers off to get El Jefe....Manager: "Yes sir, what seems to be the problem?"
...I tell him, "....and I'm STILL on hold!" That's right...I still haven't hung up...
He looks at the phone....picks it up...and says, "Uhh Autzone, may I help you?"I yell into MY phone, "IT'S ME FUCKER!!!" He jumps and hangs up."I'm hoping that isn't your policy here! That if you CAN'T answer the question, just put the person on hold until they hang up?""Uh no sir!""Well lets see if y'all CAN help me...now that I'm here."He goes over to the computer...
I tell him, "I need axle seals for a 31 spline ford 9" rear end.""What's it out of?""Hell...i don't know? Almost any 70s ford truck I'm sure.""Well I need to know what it's out of.""I do not know...""Well what's it in now?""That's not gonna help you.""Sure it is""No...it won't. There's no way to search for the rear end?""No...so what's it in?""A 2001 CHEVY SILVERADO ok?? Does THAT help???""No.""See?"
He connected me with someone at another AutoZone that actually WAS helpful...and I went over there to get the parts...
I work for a HUGEMUNGOUS software company and have been part of a couple mergers and layoffs, so I agree with Mark.
Fixing Executive Compensation
I have a simple question. Why are profitable companies laying off people ? I can see if a company’s survival is at stake. If payroll can’t be met. If debt can’t be paid. Then layoffs are a necessary evil. Even if companies have created cash flow deficits through their own mistakes, that’s the nature of business. Mistakes are made. What I have a problem with is that discussion of executive pay never includes whether or not the executive has been good enough to pre empt or prevent layoffs.
Executives are not stupid. Usually. They recognize that killing off employees can juice a stock price. Even in this market. Which in turn can juice the value of their options and compensation. At the companies I run, we have cut raises, put a freeze on hiring, done what we need to do, but we have done all we can to avoid layoffs. Why ? Because its the right thing to do. Its the patriotic thing to do. I’m selfish enough and arrogant enough to think that maybe if I pay attention to the big picture that I can impact the big picture.
As a shareholder, where possible, I would prefer that the companies I own shares in do the same thing.
I own stock in some firms whose backs are up against the wall because of debt. Unfortunately, they don’t have a choice but to cut jobs in order to save jobs. I understand this reality. It’s unfortunate, but a fact of life. I also own stock in firms that are profitable. Put a freeze on hiring. Put a freeze on all raises to employees of all levels, including yours. You don’t have to try to squeeze every nickel to the bottom line. I realize these are extrodinary times. I’m happy to accept a P/E ratio that is 20pct or 50pct higher (lower earnings vs the current price) . I want you to manage for the long term benefit of the company rather than manage to the stock price.
As the discussion on executive pay continues, my message is simple. Give credit to those executives who bust their asses to avoid layoffs except in cases where its an absolute necessity. Pay ‘em a premium vs those who cut jobs in profitable companies.
Capitalism isn’t about having the biggest bottom line for the current quarter. Capitalism is about individuals busting their asses to maximize value for shareholders. Sometimes you have to look at the bigger picture in order to reap the biggest returns. Not all rewards are short term.
from blog maverick by markcuban
The guy reminds me of my brother Franky
Thanks Longrooffan ! ! ! !