Swine flu? Let’s call it bacon lung!

baconI like the name “swine flu.”

Why? Some think that pork meat harbors the flu. Sorry, doesn’t work that way.

But I like this misperception. If people stop buying pork, that means a glut of bacon, which means lower bacon prices, which means MORE BACON FOR AREN! Bacon breakfast, bacon sandwiches, bacon ice cream, bacon, bacon, bacon!

Heck, let’s rename the flu. Call it “bacon lung.”

Mmm, bacon.

This year’s lent fast

I didn’t want to repeat the problems with last year’s Lent fast, where I was enmeshed with legalism and others felt like they needed to accommodate me.

I made it simple: no snacks. I eat at meals and that’s it.

I allowed myself exceptions only to avoid creating a burden on others. Because of that, I did break the fast four times.

But the good thing is nobody realized I did a fast until it was over. Not even my wife. That’s a good Lent fast.

Maybe next year I’ll devise a better fast that needs no exceptions?

9 reasons to stop Dallas’s convention center hotel

Dallas' convention center hotelDallas’s proposed city-owned convention center hotel is 9 mistakes wrapped in one package:

  1. Fiscally stupid. The convention center loses $3 million a year. The hotel costs half a billion dollars. That’s 166 years of convention center losses! So you say I should consider return on investment, but…
  2. Success not assured. The convention industry’s future is uncertain. In addition to broad economic pressure, telepresence technology is rapidly maturing, and the green movement frowns upon travel.
  3. It’s a distraction. City resources used developing and monitoring the hotel come from other city functions.
  4. Can hurt taxpayers. Even though revenue bonds finance the hotel, they are still backed by Dallas taxpayers. If the hotel can’t pay the bonds, taxpayers will!
  5. Can hurt credit rating. If taxpayers must pay the bonds, that effectively increases Dallas’s indebtedness, hurting credit ratings. Credit ratings affect how much Dallas can borrow. Since Dallas puts almost any improvement on the “bond credit card,” good credit ratings are critical.
  6. If it was so assured, a private company would have done it already. We have many wealthy developers with access to vast amounts of capital. They would have already done such an assured project.
  7. It’s socialism. The city has no business competing in a well-functioning, established private market.
  8. Ugly as hell. Looks like those ’50s-style “office buildings of the future”:

    Looks like some of those old, goofy office buildings.
  9. Harlan Crow is not evil. Yes, Harlan Crow is financing virtually all the anti-hotel effort. But he’s done a lot of good for Dallas. And he’s right.

Please join me in voting YES on Dallas Proposition 1. Stop the hotel. It’s 9 mistakes wrapped in one package.

Why Texas Republicans are seen as nut jobs

Yosemite Sam
Yosemite Sam, a Texas Republican nut job?

In Despite state mythology, Texas lacks right to secede (Dallas Morning News,  April 18, 2009), political consultant Bill Miller intimated that Republicans are nut jobs.

Bill, a partner in HillCo Partners LLC and supporter of discredited former House Speaker Tom Craddick, said the following in response to Governor Rick Perry’s moral support of secessionist nuts:

Clearly, he’s playing their song. And he was tone-perfect actually, for that group.

[When it comes to the GOP base] there’s no downside for him [using the secession argument]. He can ride that horse all day long.

Um, Bill, most Republicans aren’t insane. The vast majority of us laugh (or cry?) at this secession talk.

It’s unfortunate that this kind of view gets any press. But maybe it’s accurate when the party platform has provisions that would:

  • Criminalize use of oral contraceptives.
  • Eliminate use of Presidential executive orders.
  • Allow religious organizations to break current 501(c)(3) restrictions on political activism.
  • Allow party bosses to effectively disqualify candidates because of their adherence to certain platform issues.
  • Punish certain forms of free speech.
  • Require teaching of religious viewpoints in science classes.
  • Enforce values of certain religious sects on all Texans.
  • Ban termination of unnatural life support measures (e.g., feeding tubes on brain dead patients who cannot possibly recover).
  • Withdraw from the United Nations.
  • Etc.

To be clear: I am a Republican. I am a Christian (and an unusual one since I attend church!). But as long as extremist views like these are in our platform, how can we be taken seriously?

I support the calls for a new generation of Republicans, ones who see beyond the last generation’s radicalism. If we don’t, we’ll get the failure we deserve.