Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Iran Calls Carla Bruni a Prostitute

The First Lady of France drew the ire of an Iranian newspaper for her stand against the regimes’ plan to stone a woman to death. The BBC reports there were also marches in several French cities in protest of the decision.

In case you’re unfamiliar with who (or whom) this blog is referring to, here’s a helpful reminder.

A report on www.inn.ir called Bruni "immoral" after a blistering attack on the wife of French President Nicolas Sarkozy by the hardline Kayhan newspaper on Saturday branded her a "prostitute."

Kayhan's description of Bruni "is confirmed when her massive immoral background is reviewed," said www.inn.ir, the website of government-run Iran group of news outlets.

Here is her massive immoral background. You be the judge.

And it’s not like the time she spent dating musicians like Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton was wasted.

We are all prostitutes now.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Monday Snort from the NYT: Why We Need A Second Stimulus

Now I remember why I dislike Mondays. Articles like this from a member of President Obama's Economic Wreckovery Advisor Board team, Berkley Economics Professor Laura Tyson. It's far too early to fisk, but hey, it's fun and it's educational.

There is too much worry about the size of government, and too little appreciation for how stimulus spending has helped stabilize the economy and how more of the right kind of government spending could boost job creation and economic growth.

That right there demonstrates a lack of knowledge of the basics of economics, unless you're steeped in the idea that government is the sole arbiter and controller of the economy, something that just isn't true. Perhaps we'd appreciate the stimulus a bit more if we didn't see record unemployment, a declining GDP (revised downward again last week from the already anemic second quarter numbers), a giant trade deficit and a nation drowning in unsustainable debt that's sucking all the oxygen from the recovery along with much needed capital.

The simple truth is this: Government spending doesn't create viable, long term employment and the $787B spent by the Stimulus bill is ample proof of that. A year later, our economic problems have yet to improve, indeed, by all the traditional measures, things have gotten much worse.

The good professor lacks another fact of economic reality: government is an economic leech, sucking the blood of the host economy. It is for this once-well-recognized reason that our Founders sought to wisely limit the power and scope of government. Government cannot produce one penny of revenue - it can only take from the private sector.

Never one to let facts get in the way of a false economic argument, she proceeds,

The conventional wisdom about the stimulus package is wrong: it has not failed. It is working as intended. Its spending increases and tax cuts have boosted demand and added about three million more jobs than the economy otherwise would have. Without it, the unemployment rate would be about 11.5 percent. Because about 36 percent of the money remains to be spent, more jobs will be created — about 500,000 by the end of the year.
Hmmm. Working as intended? Really? See the third paragraph above. Please don't make me cut and paste that here. The conventional wisdom is based on something you haven't heard of called "results".  It's how the rest of us evaluate our actions out here in the real world. We're funny like that. And while you're at it, please peer into your crystal ball and tell me what the next numbers are for Lotto.

But wait! There's more!

Federal aid to the states is especially important because they finance education. Although the jobs crisis is primarily a crisis of demand, it also reflects a mismatch between the education of the work force and the education required for jobs in today’s economy. Consider how the unemployment rate varies by education level: it’s more than 14 percent for those without a high school degree, under 10 percent for those with one, only about 5 percent for those with a college degree and even lower for those with advanced degrees. The supply of college graduates is not keeping pace with demand. Therefore, more investment in education could reduce both the cyclical unemployment rate, as more Americans stay in school, and the structural unemployment rate, as they graduate into the job market.
Oh, there's a crisis of demand, all right. Unemployed Americans are demanding jobs, the problem is with a Washington full of people who don't know how they're created. And your correlation between education and job security is grossly incorrect: many of the unemployed are college trained. However, in the generation that preceded this one, a college degree wasn't necessary for a good paying job in an interesting field of endeavor. I'm speaking of the manufacturing sector, something our government has sought to eliminate. Thanks.

An increase in government investment in roads, airports and other kinds of public infrastructure would be cost-effective, too, as measured by the number of jobs created per dollar of spending. And it would help reduce the road congestion, airport delays and freight bottlenecks that reduce productivity and make the United States a less attractive place to do business.
Do you "invest" in gasoline, or do you buy it because your vehicle won't run without it? Allow me to inform you: tax expenditures are not "investments". When the economy is performing as it should, there is more than enough tax money to pay for the required maintenance of public infrastructure. The money must be spent to keep the infrastructure in safe operating order. And here's the other thing: the US is a less attractive place to do business due to the increasing costs of compliance with federal regulations, rules and red tape, not road or airport congestion as you suggest. These days, massive pensions paid to unionized public workers is the biggest drain on local coffers. That's where our maintenance money is going.

The federal government should also create and capitalize a National Infrastructure Bank that would provide greater certainty about the level of infrastructure financing over several years, select projects based on rigorous cost-benefit analysis, invest in things like interstate high-speed rail that require coordination among states and attract private co-investors in projects like toll roads and airports that generate dedicated future revenue streams.

Um, no it shouldn't. We have no need for that. In fact, the best and most efficient answer to our economic woes would be for the government to stay out of the economy as much as possible, except to enforce current laws (I'm referring to the ones that actually make sense, which the recently passed Financial Regulatory bill doesn't do). There is also no need for an interstate high-speed rail system, nor is there even a need for an intrastate one such as the one planned in Florida. Please explain to me why we would want to spend billions on a transportation system that moves people more slowly than aircraft.

Again, if folks like this have the President's ear and are giving him economic advice, then we are well and truly screwed.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday Bits of Tid, Brian Epstein Memorial Edition

Hawaya, hawaya. Yet another Friday. Yet, kinda sad if you're a Beatles fan.

On this day in 1967, Brian Epstein, manager of the Beatles, died of an accidental drug overdose at his home in Sussex, England. He was 32 years old.

More recently, this blog mourns the passing of Ritchie Hayward, legendary drummer for legendary band Little Feat. Saw him live at a drum clinic some years ago. Awesome stuff.

But officer, it's not a musical instrument, it's a vuvuzela. Vatican requests there be no musical instruments at the Pope's appearances next month.

Food, glorious food...

Save time and effort. Get all of your daily calories at once in the new pizza-burger. You won't hear that annoying heartbeaty sound after you eat it, either.

Extreme bacon pancakes. Yum.

On a stick at your county fair: fried chocolate, fried caviar, and fried lemonade.

All this and more goes into this baby. Note to his parents: send him straight to the University of Alabama today. He'd make a great defensive lineman.

Man, shot in head, notices five years later. Alcohol may have been involved.

Isn't that what bachelorette parties are for? Bride arrested for DUI on wedding day.

Want ad: Loving Saudi Arabian couple seeks maid. The last one didn't work out too well, so we drove nails into her body. Must do windows.

And finally, maybe he thought it was a bondage-themed bar. Snake in electrical box causes NY hospital outage.

Have a great weekend, y'all.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Lest We Forget, Booms and Busts Are Perfectly Normal

Here is a fact that "progressives" haven't learned: There is no such thing as Utopia (unless you're a Todd Rundgren fan, that is).

Part and parcel of our continuing economic woes is the underlying premise that Utopia can be achieved here on Earth. No one should ever suffer, no one should want for the basic necessities of life. In fact, those trendy "progressives" are the only ones with pure hearts. They're trying so hard to make certain that mankind is elevated, specifically by their efforts, in their own special way - by using the raw force of legislative power to manipulate markets.

President Obama used a speech at a community college in New York to urge congressional action on three major domestic initiatives, saying passage of his education, health care and environmental initiatives are keys to ending "the cycles of boom and bust that have wreaked so much havoc" on the American economy.

In their mad rush to intervene to prevent bubbles and other inequities in the market, Democrats are actively encouraging what they say they're trying to prevent. You only need to examine the results of one program to see the predictable effect of temporary, artificial government stimulus - Cash for Clunkers.

As you may remember, this program was intended to reduce the number of aging vehicles on America's roads, the theory being that older cars polluted more that newer ones. Washington gave those who participated in the program a $4500 credit towards the purchase of a new car.

It's right about here that the wheels of this well-intentioned law begin to fall off.

Traditionally, we don't allow a valuable asset like a vehicle to be destroyed. Used cars can be sold to someone else, thus continuing the service life of said asset. Failing that, the household teenager receives it. Used cars are usually less expensive to buy, maintain, and insure.

Did the C4C program recognize the normal transition of a vehicle through its life? No. The vehicles were destroyed. That makes about as much sense as trading a horse to someone only to watch the new owner shoot it.

Not only is that stupid, it's also wasteful in the extreme.

Welcome to ObamaLand where nothing makes sense and logic is illogical.

The big question is, did the program achieve the desired results? Well, yes, if the desired results were to needlessly destroy perfectly good vehicles and to temporarily distort the market.

Here's a chart, courtesy of Glenn Reynolds and Coyote Blog showing the blip in the market.

At the arrow, we can see a sharp increase in sales, followed by a sharp decrease in sales. This blip is a common trait seen in every other temporary stimulus plan such as housing.

And that's the problem with government stimulus programs of any type: their effects are only temporary and any improvement is short-lived.

While it may sound nice and give elected representatives something to brag about to the constituency back home, overall, nothing has changed, and in the case of our sour economy, things are getting worse. The Obama administration is attempting to fix a long-term problem with short-term, temporary thinking.

What is needed is a long-term solution. Nowhere is this more painfully apparent than the terribly destructive Community Redevelopment Act.

This act was the brainchild of the Carter administration, and like most other governmental programs, was well-intentioned, but not well thought-out. It's implementation is the root cause of the housing meltdown that reared its' ugly head just in time to drastically alter the 2008 Presidential election in favor of the untried and inexperienced Barack Obama.

Cloaked in the innocent wish to have more Americans achieve the American Dream of home ownership, this act forced banks to make loans that they never would have made to people who couldn't afford a home in the first place. A short history is here.

The questions to ask are, "Why did the government force banks to lend to less qualified applicants? Why didn't the government focus instead on encouraging a sound and diverse economy where more people could make more money in order to more readily afford a home?"

I'm still waiting for an answer.

While I'm waiting, here's a nice little picture I happened upon while doing my exhaustive research on this subject (which consists of five minutes spent on Bing). It's an image of the attendees for the signing of the Motor Voter Bill by then-President Bill Clinton in 1993.

Third and fourth from the right.

There are two people in the background that you may have heard of: Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

What the Ninth Circuit Court Doesn't Know

Did you know...

Government agents can sneak onto your property in the middle of the night, put a GPS device on the bottom of your car and keep track of everywhere you go. This doesn't violate your Fourth Amendment rights, because you do not have any reasonable expectation of privacy in your own driveway - and no reasonable expectation that the government isn't tracking your movements.
Neither did I. While I wasn't a stellar student during Civics class, I don't remember the government having this power.

Do you?

Was I misinformed in that aforementioned civics class? Granted, we didn't spend a lot of time on criminal law, but we did cover the Constitution. Or at least, what used to be the Constitution.

Oh, and where did I find this article that sounds like the drug-fueled rantings of some crazed conspiracy theorist?

I thought you'd never ask.

How about Time Magazine via Yahoo?

I don't know about you, but there's something that's just not right with this story.

This case began in 2007, when Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents decided to monitor Juan Pineda-Moreno, an Oregon resident who they suspected was growing marijuana. They snuck onto his property in the middle of the night and found his Jeep in his driveway, a few feet from his trailer home. Then they attached a GPS tracking device to the vehicle's underside.
While it's great that the DEA agents were hot on the trail of a suspected drug dealer, they forgot one teensy, tiny little detail: what they did, all without a warrant, was blatantly illegal and unconstitutional. These agents should be in a jail cell.

What is clear to you and me somehow escapes the fine legal minds of the Ninth Circuit bench. If the agents had a reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing, they were required by the Constitution to obtain a search warrant from a judge. If they failed to do that, then any and all actions that followed would not be allowed as evidence in court and would open up the agents to prosecution for violating someone's civil rights.

Or, at least that's the way it used to be.

Without a good foundation in Constitutional law (not Constitutional case law, as has been taught for generations), we can expect more of these types of clear abuses. If you've read our Constitution, you may have noticed the absence of obscure legal language. It was written so as to be readily understood by anyone.

All laws should be clear and unambiguous.


And it is, for the most part. But what has happened in the years since is a travesty. You need look no further than the recent Health Care bill to see what is wrong with our country's legal system today. Thousands of pages of this:

‘(ii) AGGREGATION- In the case of persons treated as 1 employer under subparagraph (C)(i), only 1 reduction under subclause (I) or (II) shall be allowed with respect to such persons and such reduction shall be allocated among such persons ratably on the basis of the number of full-time employees employed by each such person.’.
Does that look like anything related to the plain language in the Constitution? How are we supposed to abide by a law that is nearly incomprehensible?

Moreover, how are judges to interpret a law that's purposefully vague and open to a wide latitude of interpretation? If those who are charged with enacting our laws don't even bother to read them, how is anyone able to be a good citizen, uphold our end of the bargain and live by those laws?

But the larger problem that we face is now presented by rogue judges who merely think they know the law. If these judges were at all versed in the principles of the Constitution, this decision would never have been reached at all. It's painfully clear that something needs to be done in this case. While I'm not sure that judges are subject to recall, our own Supreme Court must surely have something to say in  this most egregious abuse of civil rights and can inform them of the error of their ways.

From the article -

The court went on to make a second terrible decision about privacy: that once a GPS device has been planted, the government is free to use it to track people without getting a warrant. There is a major battle under way in the federal and state courts over this issue, and the stakes are high. After all, if government agents can track people with secretly planted GPS devices virtually anytime they want, without having to go to a court for a warrant, we are one step closer to a classic police state - with technology taking on the role of the KGB or the East German Stasi.

As for the "reasonable expectation of privacy", I'd think that most people would disagree with the court on this issue also. We have a reasonable expectation of privacy so long as we have not knowingly violated any law, regardless of where we are. However, our courts are increasingly ruling that we have fewer and fewer expectations of privacy, primarily because they can't find a section of the Constitution that clearly outlines the legal framework of privacy.

This is why it's becoming increasingly important to appoint judges with a firm understanding of our Constitution and what it plainly states. Some kind of competency test should be considered to make sure that judges know what everyone else knows.

If we can read and understand the Constitution, why can't the Ninth Circuit Court?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Economics 103, Courtesy of Amity Shlaes

With the skewing of the economy in favor of an interventionist administration, we're on the brink of forgetting that we once had a free market that was independent of Washington. We once had a free market that was the primary source of income for a majority of Americans, and could be again with the right people in charge.

Naturally, the wrong people seek to make you forget that fact. In their mad quest for ever more power, these people want you to forget all about your old, outdated free market thingy. That's soooo "Twentieth Century", they'll say. Here's a bright shiny new thing called "governmental command and control" that will make sure nobody ever suffers from the natural variations in market forces that we used to plan for. As long as you belong to a union or other "friendly" group, that is. See, you can even have your own automobile manufacturing company!

If you manage to think of yourself as an independent American, you're SOL.

When you're up to your ass in alligators, it's kinda hard to remember that you were originally sent to the store for a loaf of bread. Some things take precedence over others.

That's why I'm glad to allow Amity Shlaes to present today's lesson in economics. Her article in Bloomberg.com entitled "Obama Misreads Message of "Live Free of Die" outlines the tale of two states, New Hampshire and Maine, separated by not by miles, but by light years when it comes to their experiments with government and taxation.

In the face of failed Keynesian economic theory, this short treatise fits right in with the national discussion that we should be having now. After years of a declining economy under a "progressively" controlled Congress, this shouldn't be a long conversation.

After all, there are only a few economic rules that need to be understood. Rule #1 is that the free market is capable of producing all the things that modern life entails all by itself. Free people love to innovate and create new products. It's a way of channeling energy into a productive occupation that also just happens to elevate others in the process. It's a win-win scenario for freedom.

But there are people for whom the freedom of others is anathema. They just can't stand the sight of someone living without their supervision. Necessary to this warped mindset is a large ego. The desire to control others is as old as mankind itself and is the prime mover of discontent and the major cause of strife around the world today. Notice, if you will, that the most self-absorbed among us seek out political office. Now, that there is either a classic Catch-22 or a good Groucho Marx joke: if you want the job, you're automatically disqualified because you'd just misuse your power.

And *waggles a cigar menacingly* we've seen the abuse of power lately.

But again, I digress.

Kindly click on the link above to read a short history of taxation and fiscal growth seen through two very different sets of political eyes. I won't give away the ending, but the results speak for themselves.

Just as it will eventually with the nation.

Oh, and today is election day in many states. Do your civic duty even if it is just a primary.

You'll get warmed up for November.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Now Can We Call Keynesian Economics Failed? OK, How About Now?

We watched. We waited. We watched and waited some more.

We heard explanations, theories and grand assumptions.

We watched others offer up alternatives, then we watched and waited again.

Still nothing.

Our economy is faltering, straining under the weight of rosy predictions and mysterious economic language used by those who embrace Keynesian economic theory. Nearly every traditional metric of growth has remained stagnant or is showing a decline. Even the newly created metric of "jobs created or saved" isn't doing so well these days, which may account for the fact that it's hardly mentioned.

So, when are we going to declare Keynesianism a failure?

Let's hop in the Wayback Machine and recall our elementary science classes, particularly the definition of the "Scientific Method":

The principles and empirical processes of discovery and demonstration considered characteristic of or necessary for scientific investigation, generally involving the observation of phenomena, the formulation of a hypothesis concerning the phenomena, experimentation to demonstrate the truth or falseness of the hypothesis, and a conclusion that validates or modifies the hypothesis.

1. Observation

2. Formation of a hypothesis.

3. Experimentation

4. Conclusion - is the theory valid or not?

We've had enough time for all these things to occur, so let's take a look at the results, shall we? We'll begin our timeline with the Democrat takeover of Congress in January of 2007. We'll even use a chart.

I use this chart because there are some misguided people out there who still think our fiscal problems are a result of the Iraq war (ie: Bush's fault) like James Carville, Joseph Stiglitz, and Christopher Hayes. As we can see, even with war funding added the Iraq war didn't cause our problems.

What we can see from the chart is the dramatic rise in deficit spending after the Democrats retook Congress. Coincidence? Perhaps not.

The bulk of the argument for Keynesian theory is the "multiplier effect", where government spending results in a multiplication of the money spent.

Let's take a look at how this works. In order to sell his Stimulus plan, President Obama cites this factor.
The administration's talking about spending almost a trillion dollars. It's hoping that'll generate $1.6 trillion throughout the economy.
If this worked, shouldn't we be seeing the result in the form of improved economic numbers? In increased tax revenue? In reduced unemployment figures? If this theory were valid, wouldn't we know by now? Here's the question I always ask: "Does this work when I balance my checkbook?"

With each new report, we receive more indications to the contrary. Unemployment numbers rise "unexpectedly" to near record highs. Tax revenue is down along with business activity. Consumer confidence is nearing record lows.

It would appear that after nearly two years of experimentation and observation, we can reach a conclusion: Keynesianism is a failure. Massive spending by Washington hasn't worked and the numbers prove it. But finding someone to accurately report this fact is proving difficult. In fact, back when the economy was roaring along, two nearly identical economic reports were treated very differently by the press.

So, now what do we do?

Howsabout we get back to basics.

Let's start with a pencil...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday Bits of Tid, Pro Football Birthday Edition

And a big, ol' hound dog howdy to ya.

On this day in 1920, seven men, including legendary all-around athlete and football star Jim Thorpe, meet to organize a professional football league at the Jordan and Hupmobile Auto Showroom in Canton, Ohio. The meeting led to the creation of the American Professional Football Conference (APFC), the forerunner to the hugely successful National Football League. courtesy of History.com.

Note to self: find out what a Hupmobile is.

So, when you hear the term "a muscular conservative response", think of this GOP candidate who can hold a stein full of beer at arm's length for five minutes .

Your Paul the psychic octopus update. He is one busy cephalopod.

But wait a minute, it's hot here too. A Russian political scientist has claimed the United States may be using climate-change weapons to alter the temperatures and crop yields of Russia and other Central Asian countries.

Comfortably numb Canadian guard bears.

There is no fun in Islam. And no Hippocratic oath, either.

If you're old enough, you may remember the image of the grizzled old newsroom veteran with a bottle of booze in his desk drawer. Some things never change.

First they came for the caddies, but because I used a cart, I did nothing.

Dear Santa, I've been a really good boy this year and this is what I want for Christmas. That and a pony.

Alcohol may have been involved. Man drives 11 miles without wheel.

"Do you know why I pulled you over?" "No officer, would it have anything to do with the cat marinating in my trunk?"

If it was this cat, I would understand.

Y'all come back now.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

America is Offended, Isn't That Enough to Stop the Ground Zero Mosque?

We've witnessed a curious trend in recent years. Some would say it's unprecedented. I know that term gets thrown about with great abandon these days, but still, this seems to be something new.

I'm speaking of the trend of attacking displays of American institutions by being "offended".

Michael Newdow comes to mind first. Recall that it was he who found the grounds for a lawsuit against money. Specifically, money that said "In God We Trust" on it. Which is all of it.

He claimed that his daughter was offended by the phrase. (She wasn't, by the way.)

Several students wearing various T shirts sporting the American flag were ordered home to change clothes in California because it might offend Hispanic students. In California.

And if you've ever wondered why there aren't any more Nativity scenes outside during Christmastime, you can thank the minority who are offended by the message of peace, harmony, and love for your fellow man.

Somehow, the nebulous concept of "being offended" has been turned into a legal tool to remove formerly innocent displays of national pride and Christian belief from our lives.

Someone can do me a big favor: please point out to me when this Offense Law was passed and who the sponsors of this bill were.

I somehow managed to miss that and would really like to become better informed.

It works every time it's used against traditional displays of patriotism or Christianity, so it must be a really big law. Thousands and thousands of pages, covering things that nobody's ever heard of before.

Because of this law, a cross in the desert must be covered up, lest it offend someone.

Because of this law, a police officer stopped a group of kids from singing Christmas carols lest the songs offend someone.

Because of this law, crosses memorializing fallen State Troopers in Utah are under attack.

There are many more instances, but you get the point. Just being offended is grounds for the elimination of many displays of American life

Well, now the entire country is offended by the Ground Zero mosque. 70% of the country in fact.

So why is this mosque still being considered?

We're offended, so they should stop, right? That's how it works, doesn't it? Someone is offended and the offenders have to cease and desist. Isn't that what the Offense Law says?


Never mind the overall legality of the mosque. Last time I checked, the other things that were banned or prohibited were perfectly legal, but the Offense Law took precedence.

Why doesn't it apply in this case?

And if not, why not?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Investigate Me, Please, Madame Speaker

Do you oppose the Ground Zero mosque? If so, then the Speaker of the House wants to investigate you.

Maybe she's just been in Washington too long. She apparently thinks the average knuckle-dragging American is incapable of forming an independent opinion, that he or she must be paid in order to take a side on an issue.

Sorry, Nancy. Just because that's the way it works at Foggy Bottom doesn't mean that's the way it works out here in the real world.

There is no question there is a concerted effort to make this a political issue by some. And I join those who have called for looking into how is this opposition to the mosque being funded.

And if you can decipher this next statement, you're better than me.

How is this being ginned up that here we are talking about Treasure Island, something we've been working on for decades, something of great interest to our community as we go forward to an election about the future of our country and two of the first three questions are about a zoning issue in New York City.

Any takers? I can't fathom what she's referring to, can you? Yet this type of "thinking" is what inhabits the mind of one of the most powerful people in Washington.

Update. Michelle Malkin 'splains the shipwreck at Treasure Island.

Do you oppose the Ground Zero mosque? Norah O'Donnell thinks you are just like the animals who crashed two airplanes into those buildings. And former White House communications director and noted Mao worshipper Anita Dunn thinks likewise.

And to add insult to injury, it seems as though the speed at which the Moslem victory mosque is being approved is unique. It just so happens there's a Greek Othodox church that was destroyed on 9-11 which has yet to receive the go-ahead to rebuild. Funny, that.

Given the time we've had to sort through all this, it's clear to see where the line of demarcation between opposing camps is drawn. If you've learned anything at all about the Moslem faith, you know that its' central goal is world domination, with every single person on Earth subject to it, either by conversion or death (although I fail to see how a dead infidel will be affected). You also know that the first thing Islamists do on land they conquer is to erect a mosque. It's a flag of victory.

And don't think that the few moderates who inhabit Islam don't know it.

I present to you Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, M.D., president and founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD). Courtesy of Pajamas Media.

“The reality is that many of us have never said their rights should be infringed in any way but rather that we pray that a light will finally go on in their heads which tells them that ‘this ostentatious $100 million Islamic center should be built elsewhere and not in a place that casts a shadow upon the graves of thousands of Americans’ — still an open raw wound for most Americans,” Dr. Jasser explains.
Thank you, Dr. Jasser, who by the way, is a former US Navy lieutenant commander. I'm sure we'll be seeing you in one of Speaker Pelosi's inquisition panels.

Dr. Jasser isn't alone in his condemnation of this victory mosque. The head of Al-Jazeera TV, Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed, has this to say:

"I do not think that the majority of Muslims want to build a monument or a place of worship that tomorrow may become a source of pride for the terrorists and their Muslim followers, nor do they want a mosque that will become a shrine for the haters of Islam."
Finally, also courtesy of Pajamas Media comes this video. Please watch it all.

Another Update. Another must-watch video from Keep America Safe.com.

I certainly hope that Madam Pelosi has a venue large enough to investigate 70% of the country.

We'll be nice and let Harry Reid go first.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Jesse Jackson Gets It Oh So Wrong, Again

Professional racist Jesse Jackson spews his particular brand of ignorance in an article in the Chicago Sun-Times today entitled Back off Obama and solve some problems. Yes, kiddies, the same guy who just a scant few years ago wanted to cut off Obama's manly parts has now seen the light and urges us to leave Obama alone.

Let the fisking begin...that's me in the bold.

American politics isn't beanbag. It is rough, bare-knuckled and often dirty. In today's 24/7 media environment, attack ads are remembered, and the truth has a hard time catching up with a lie. We now have entire TV networks that are essentially ideological propaganda outlets. Do you mean MSNBC and CNN? With Republicans consolidated as the party of white sanctuary, Um, Jessie, your racism is showing again anchored in the South and your redneckism, too and Democrats championing diversity and inclusion, like Nancy Pelosi calling Tea Partiers Nazis? or Harry Reid wondering how Hispanics can be Republicans? the politics of race is accentuated. but not in a positive way Jesse, not by a long shot, and you're one of the main reasons for that.

But given all that, have we ever witnessed anything like the unrelenting assault on Barack Obama? Why yes, yes we have, during the last administration, I believe. I also remember some saying that Hurricane Katrina was all his fault. A hurricane? Really?

Senior senators embarrass themselves by endorsing the big lie of "death panels" in the health care bill. Did you somehow miss the controversy surrounding the FDA's intention to drop its' approval of the anti-cancer drug Avastin because of price concerns? While that's not a panel per se, the outcome is the same for cancer patients: a death sentence.

Judicial and governmental nominees blocked for months by senatorial "holds" grounded on nothing but wanting to obstruct the operation of the government. Two words: Van Jones. There are some folks in Washington who don't think that openly communist, anti-Americans like him belong anywhere near the White House, much less inside it with the President's ear.

This comes as the country faces its worst economic downturn since the Great Depression (begun under Obama's predecessor), two wars (started by Obama's predecessor) and the calamitous malfunctioning of key industries -- finance, housing, health care, energy and more. Um, Jesse, this economic downturn was brought about largely by our own government via the Community Redevelopment Act. Healthcare was fine and only needed a minor tune-up, but the overwhelming majority of Americans wanted the free market work its wonders, not create a massively expensive government program. And those two wars you mention weren't started by us. Remember 9-11? We were the ones who were attacked. And we, in turn, brought down the two regimes who were harboring our enemies. Iran should, by all accounts, be next on the list.

Wow, this is fun. But Jesse's not quite done, which means I'm not either.

But the venom ignores the areas of agreement by simply peddling lies. Obama is assailed for running up deficits, but the great bulk of the deficits -- as any honest analyst knows -- were inherited, the results of the recession, and the funded wars and tax cuts of the Bush years. Really, Jesse? The deficit during the last year of the Bush administration was around $160B. Now, two years later, the deficit is over $1T. Jesse, just so you know, Congress is controlled by Democrats and has been since 2007. They control the purse strings. And in fact, the single act that has done most to reduce projected long-term deficits -- by more than $1.3 trillion over the next 20 years -- is health care reform. Ironically, Republicans are moving to repeal exactly those parts of the bill that would most hold down costs. Do drink some more of that Kool-Aid, Jesse. There is no way that a brand new, shiny expensive government program can possibly bring down the cost of anything. In fact, that one piece of legislation is the main reason that the business community is in a holding pattern, waiting, as Madame Pelosi puts it, to find out what's in it and how much it will cost.

People have the right to say what they wish, particularly in political speech. But having the right does not make it right. Opposition to the president's policies should be combined with respect for his office. Political tactics ought to be informed by the reality that we all want this country to succeed. Democratic House leader Tip O'Neill and Ronald Reagan were diametrically opposed, but managed to find ways to work -- and to share a drink -- together. Dr. King always taught us to appeal to the better angels of our opponents, even those unleashing dogs and armed with billy clubs. It is a lesson we should not forget.
Our opposition to the President's policies are based on the concept that America is a free country with a limited government. Obama's policies are diametrically opposed to that concept. Obama views America as the world's problem, not a shining beacon of freedom. We all do want the country to succeed, Jesse, it's our President that seems to think otherwise. He has proven his disdain for the country and its people countless times, with the most recent example of his hostility being the support of the Ground Zero mosque which is opposed by some 70% of the country. Respect is commanded, not demanded. Our President acts and speaks as though he greatly dislikes this country.

This is something new for the rest of us.

New and greatly unsettling.

Monday, August 16, 2010

No Need to Change the 14th Amendment, It Already Prohibits Anchor Babies

I ran across an interesting article in yesterday's local puppy training device newspaper. It was interesting for two reasons: it discussed the issue of the 14th Amendment and it has vanished from the Interwebs. I cannot locate the article anywhere, and when I say anywhere, I mean anywhere. Not on Google or Bing or Dogpile or the syndication site or the local newspapers' site.

It's gone. So you'll just have to take my word for what I'm about to write, unless you have a link to this article: Many on right eager to amend anew by Kathleen Hennessey of the Tribune's Washington bureau. If you do, please leave me the link in the comments.

This article begins with the idea of a few GOP Congressmen to alter the 14th Amendment to prohibit "anchor babies". Stanford Law School Dean Larry Kramer chimes in,

The intellectual positions are not new. What's new is there's a nascent political movement willing to take these up contrary to settled law. But one of the great things about constitutional law is nothing is ever settled.

Um, Dean Kramer, that's not a feature, it's a bug. Perhaps you haven't noticed your own contradiction. You say the law is settled, but in your next sentence, you say that it's not.

That's the problem. This legal instability is causing a great deal of weariness within America. We hear about the seemingly endless cycles of appeals and wonder when the judicial branch of our government is ever going to settle down and say that something is either illegal or it isn't and there is no in between. We'd really like to see some settled law for once. We do know, by the way, that endless appeals benefit lawyers, since they bill by the hour. The more hours they bill, the more money they make. So we're left to wonder if lawyers are actually interested in a law being settled, since that would tend to reduce their bottom line.

Let's take a look at what the 14th Amendment actually says:

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.

That seems simple enough. It's written in plain enough language that the average person can understand it. All persons born or naturalized in the US are citizens.

But there is a qualifier in that sentence, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof. That qualifier makes it clear that our Founders never intended for just anyone to become a citizen and took into account certain situations, such as diplomats from other countries who may give birth while here on official business.

Certainly, if this qualifier was not included, then "anchor babies" would most certainly be legal. But the provision is there and it's there for a reason, specifically to prevent the problem that we now have with illegal immigrants coming here to give birth to American citizens.

Folks, this is clearly illegal. The Supreme Court that gave us this skewed decision is in gross violation of the Constitution. And this kind of misreading of the Constitution is the reason that there is a movement to return to the Original Intent of the Founders, because when we read its plain language, we can see that this problem was already accounted for and wisely prohibited. After all, if a country is to control immigrants, they must necessarily be routed through an immigration authority to determine if they are eligible for citizenship. This is just common sense.

But there are forces who mean to gain a political advantage by allowing illegal immigrants into the country with the intent of granting them amnesty, hopefully in exchange for their voting allegiance, those forces being the Democrat Party. This notion is contrary to the overwhelming majority of Americans who wish to see all of our immigration laws enforced and our borders secured.

We don't need any kind of revision to our Constitution. We merely need a Supreme Court that can read the original words of the Founders and adhere to them with unfailing will.

Many of our problems would not be problems if this were the case.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday Bits of Tid, Friday the 13th Edition

Good ol' Friday. I guess we should be glad that it's not Friday the 26th. Wouldn't that day be twice as bad as today, mathematically speaking? And don't get me started about Friday the 39th...

It's not from David Letterman, but here are the Top 10 reasons the Obama administration is in meltdown mode.

It's somehow not the same without the pictures. The Kama Sutra is being made into an audio book.

Guard(en) snake.

File this under "It could be worse". Doctors remove pea from man's lung. At least he wasn't eating watermelon...

It's not my job. Read the contract.

Silly me, I thought you cooked them first.

Mmmmm, fried butter and other fair foods.

"Oh Grandfather, do tell us about the summer you spent in South Australia harvesting kangaroo droppings again. That story never gets old."

There is no fun in Islam.

And finally,

shamelessly stolen from courtesy of Gateway Pundit and Daily Caller.

Have a good weekend, y'all.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

PC Must Die at the Ground Zero Mosque

As the melting pot of the world, we Americans are known for being tolerant. We welcome immigrants who wish to share the American Dream with us. We openly embrace anyone who wants to become an American, who wants to learn our language, our values, and our culture.

But, like all things in life, there must be limits. No one can argue that water isn't good for you, but you can drink too much of it, so much so that you can kill yourself. The lesson here is that common sense should prevail, and consequently, water should be ingested with care.

I know that sounds kinda dumb, but there's a point I'd like to make.

We have enemies. They come in various shapes and sizes with various backgrounds and ideologies, but they share one goal: they want the destruction of our way of life. They look upon us as evil and deserving of any foul fate that should befall us. They look upon themselves as the final arbiter and decider of all that is good, freedom be damned.

Like these people after 9-11.

Or these fine folks...

In case you missed it, the guys in the second video were in New York.

The fact that they weren't attacked but instead allowed to voice their opinion is testament to our national tolerance. I don't care for their rant, but they're free people exercising their rights.

I just wish they truly loved the country as much as the rest of us do. Which brings up an interesting question. If America is so bad in their eyes, why do they give their obvious approval to the country by living here? I mean, it's quite clear that the guys don't like America, they proved that by desecrating our flag, but since they live here, are they really that serious? Shouldn't their conviction that America is evil compel them to live elsewhere?

'Jus sayin'.

Anyway, since most Americans are Christians, we don't spend much time studying Islam or its tenets, as Christianity is more than enough to learn by itself. Especially if you're from Alabama, where we can be somewhat slow on the uptake, IYKWIM. But there are a few things you should know about Islam: it is customary for Muslims to erect a mosque on conquered land. It's just their little way of sending a friendly greeting to the defeated infidels, just marking their territory. Here are a few other things you should know about Islam that is widely known everywhere but here.

How does this fit in with political correctness? In Islam, we have an enemy that is cunning, patient, and adept at using our own way of life against us. Remember the planes that brought down the Twin Towers were American, commandeered by Muslims after murdering the crews.

In the fight over whether to allow the Islamic victory mosque at Ground Zero, Islam is couching their insistence on American values, specifically our tolerance of other cultures. This is a fight that goes straight to the heart of America.

How tolerant are we supposed to be of those who openly want our destruction?

At what point do we say, "We've had enough."?

That point should be at Ground Zero. We have a right as Americans to say "no" to a mosque that is correctly seen as an affront to our values, that looks like a victory mosque towering over conquered land. Naturally, anyone who opposes this mosque is automatically called a bigot, or racist, or some other false label. Once again, America is the bad guy for not wanting as simple an expression of religious freedom as a mosque to be built. How intolerant!

Well, it's about time we started to become intolerant of those who don't like us and wish us ill. If you think America is that bad, then by all means, please relocate yourself to another country more suitable to your delicate sensibilities. Do you want Sharia law? That's OK. We don't want it here. We like our democratic republic just fine the way it is, warts and all. Kindly remove yourself from our company if you find our way of life so disagreeable.

We are correct and well within our rights to say no to the Ground Zero mosque. Don't like it?

Tough. It's a big wide world out there. And don't let the door hit you on your way out.

I'm sorry, was that intolerant?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The National Manufacturing Strategy Act - A Step in the Right Direction?

My regular readers (all three of you) are aware that I was once a machinist. At least I think I told you. If I didn't, I guess I'll tell you now.

I was once a machinist, and a Certified one at that. During high school.

After I graduated, I found work at a local tool and die shop making tools and dies. They had an apprenticeship program that I attended for four years. Then I was a certified Tool and Die Maker.

A few years later, I got a job as a Quality Control Inspector. Soon, I was a Certified QC Inspector.

Does anyone see a trend emerging?

I went from that job to another in manufacturing where I learned how to program and set up computer controlled machine tools. Another skill for the old resume: CNC Programmer and Setup.

I then moved into a job as a computer draftsman drawing computerized machine shop blueprints. That's another skill set: Computer Draftsman.

The logical extension of that was the next position as a Mechanical Designer. One more resume bullet point.

Then it was on to Shop Foreman and eventually to Manufacturing Manager.

So I've done quite a lot in manufacturing. More than most people. Along the way, I found an old saying that fit me perfectly. "Find a job you love and you'll never work another day in your life." Being the gearhead I was, I'd finally found a job that was engaging and allowed me to work with my hands and my mind. For, you see, there's a lot to know to be a really good machinist. Things like geometry and trigonometry. Laws of Physics. Metallurgy. How to make metal parts harder or softer.

In short, being a machinist isn't just something you can turn off. The industry is made for those with inquiring minds. I'd like to challenge our current manufacturing czar, Ron Bloom, to a Jeopardy game where all of the categories are subsets of manufacturing. He'd be crying like a little girl when I was through winning.

But I digress.

Watching the jobs I loved disappear to some faraway land hurt. Not only should I now be making some serious money, I would also have the chance to pass along some of my knowledge to a new generation, just as I was able to learn from my industrial mentors.

How could this happen? How could a nation that once valued "Rosie the Riveter" ever turn its back on an entire sector of the economy that contributed so much to our nation and the world? How could we ignore the obvious benefits to our standard of living by not promoting manufacturing? Too many things just didn't make sense. And we've suffered greatly as a result of, wait for it, uninformed politicians.

Today, that has the potential to change. We're not so far removed from the time when we were the worlds' Maker of Things, and some in Congress are starting to finally realize that we should be doing that again.

In a rare display of bipartisanship, the House recently passed the National Manufacturing Strategy Act of 2010. This bill, while not directly addressing what needs to be done to encourage American manufacturing, sets up the framework for the President and Congress to start examining policies and how they effect the industry.

HR 4692 has the potential to actually benefit the country. You don't know how much it surprises me to type that sentence during this administration.

Naturally, it also has the potential to be filled with nonsense and to be skewed in favor of the unions, or some type of fantastical "green initiative". If that is the case, then just consider the $30M price tag of this bill as another waste of your tax dollars.

This will be what I'll be looking for from any committee:

1. Reducing the regulatory burden on business. This is rather sweeping, but should be the foundation of any recommendations. The last twenty years have seen more and more costly regulations imposed on businesses, so much so that we're reaching the saturation point: we can't keep on regulating the private sector to death. More recently, we have the Health Care Bill and the new Financial Regulations Bill and others coming from this Congress. Since no one in Congress actually read these bills before they voted on them, even the members of Congress don't know the provisions nor how they will negatively impact businesses. These bills set up countless new regulatory agencies and edicts that will cost jobs.

2. Environmental regulations need to be scaled back dramatically. Of course, we all know what would follow: the wailing and gnashing of teeth and the rending of (union made) garments by the radical environmentalist groups who now control our agenda despite not being elected to any office. These people have somehow convinced themselves and many gullible others that we should be living in some pre-industrial paradise with none of the modern day conveniences like air conditioning.

Naturally, if the Cap-and-Trade goes through, that one piece of legislation will make this whole exercise irrelevant. We won't be able to afford the energy we need to manufacture anything. Which brings me to a third point.

3. We need inexpensive energy.  Manufacturing is energy intensive. Large machine tools require a great deal of electricity. This should give us the incentive to develop local sources of energy that include oil, natural gas, and nuclear power and reduce or eliminate our dependence of foreign sources of energy. Needless to say, it's already in our national interest to do this, but weak-willed politicians have actively prevented us from achieving this goal.

4. We need a national right-to-work law. There is no rational reason to be forced to join a union in order to work.

We have now a national, unified interest in reviving our manufacturing sector. We can diversify our job market through the many other indirect jobs that are also required like painters, welders, truck drivers and others.

I hope that common sense will prevail in this effort.

We could use the jobs.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

It's Time to End Class Warfare

Divide and conquer. It's an age-old strategy, but it works.

Originally, it came from a battlefield maneuver that divides a large group of fighters into smaller groups who are more easily defeated. It also works quite well when it comes to politics.

Let's say you wanted to destroy a country like the US. You can't do it from the outside, because the US has the world's best armed forces. So that idea is off the table.

No, prudence dictates that it be done from within. You would need to find some institution like Congress that the people hold in high regard and infiltrate it, fill it with fellow operatives and the weak-willed who won't question your arrogance and who will politely go along with whatever you propose, regardless of how inane or contradictory to American values it is because they don't wish to appear to be confrontational. Think of the term "useful idiots" and you'll have the right idea.

Understand that this won't be done overnight, lest the people start thinking that something might be wrong. You don't want to arouse any suspicions or draw attention to yourself, at least not yet. Not until the time and conditions are just right. But you'll keep up your pressure against your enemy (America) and find new ways to express it. You won't stop.

So your battle will become one of the mind. Through your words, you'll plant the seeds of doubt and confusion. You'll say one thing in order to get into office, and your actions, once you get there, will be the opposite of your rhetoric. This will make your constituents question themselves, not you.

So far, so good.

As part of your campaign to turn the country from one of a unified population into smaller groups who are more easily defeated (or converted to your point of view), you'll start to foster unrest. This will be done through one of mankind's most powerfully destructive emotions: envy.

Instead of promoting the idea that anyone in America can make their mark on the world through hard work and determination, you'll take the opposing point of view that Americans can't possibly make it on their own. You'd just be realistic, that's all. You'd only be admitting what is plain old common wisdom, as though everyone already knew it, but was hiding it in some secret recess of their mind. You'd just be bringing in out into the open. Of course, your definition of "the wealthy" is far lower that that of the average guy on the street, dollar-wise. They think multi-millionaire but your threshold will be far lower, around $250K per year. That's a big difference, but you won't say that out loud.

You'd tell the nation that it's not fair that there are rich and poor. You'd tell everyone that those who gained their fortune did so by exploiting others. You won't say how, that part you'll imply as though it's something so repulsive that you can't discuss it in polite company, but you'll leave no doubt about it.

There's just something about all those rich people that isn't right...

You'll say that you just want to make things right again. You'll just want equality. Why, everyone wants a fair shot in life. That's the American way. It's always how we've done things. Look, even our founders were wealthy land owners, so it's encoded into our national DNA.

Then you'll say it's unfair that there are so many rich people and in order to make life fair, you'll want them to pay their "fair share" of taxes. After all, they have plenty, so they won't be harmed at all. They'll never feel a thing if their taxes go way up. After all, they're rich.

You'll conveniently leave out some details about the rich, because you'll need to paint them as heartless and cruel. In fact, the worse you can make them appear, the better for you and your real goals. Your goals are to control others, in every way you can. Since you're in government, you'll use the best tools at your disposal: government itself. You'll create more and more government agencies with so many regulations that the average citizen can't possibly read them all, never mind understand or comply with them.

You'll leave out details, like the people you want to tax so heavily also happen to own the majority of the country's small businesses and are responsible for the lion's share of job creation. You also won't mention the fact that since there are already so many governmental rules and regulations, it's becoming increasingly expensive to hire someone new. You'll criticize common sense alternative opposition to your plans by calling the critics simplistic or out-of-touch or some other nonsense. But, you'll make it sound plausible, because you're just that good.

And the biggest detail you'll omit is the fact that you are quite wealthy yourself.

Monday, August 9, 2010

If Obama is Listening to Krugman on the Economy, It's No Wonder We're in Trouble

It's Monday, and time for more economic idocy from alleged economist Paul Krugman. In his latest NY Times online column, he really hits one out of the park.

If anyone in Washington is reading any of his columns and acting on them, can there be any wonder that we're in the mess we're in? Sky-high unemployment, record-low comsumer confidence and the wreckage of countless American futures litter the landscape. The answers are obvious, at least they are to anyone outside the Beltway. Our country has been taken over by progressive college professors whose understanding of the world beyond the ivy walls of academia is, um, lacking.

Yeah, that's it, lacking. I'm being extremely nice this morning, don't you think?

Krugman's latest foray into fantasyland would have you believe that the cutbacks in once-essential services are the fault of knuckle-dragging bitter-clingers who just hate government. In noting a few of the more extreme things being cut by cash-strapped local governments, he cites roads not being paved and dark streetlights as a symptom of anti-government zealots who relish the thought of cutting programs.

They're pure evil.

The lights are going out all over America — literally.
...local governments are breaking up roads they can no longer afford to maintain, and returning them to gravel.

Teachers are being laid off; programs are being canceled...

We’re told that we have no choice, that basic government functions — essential services that have been provided for generations — are no longer affordable. And it’s true that state and local governments, hit hard by the recession, are cash-strapped. But they wouldn’t be quite as cash-strapped if their politicians were willing to consider at least some tax increases.
So, if we can just somehow manage the grit to hike taxes even higher, then we can turn all of those streetlights back on again? It's just that simple?

Oh, then by all means, let's increase taxes. That's a great idea! Why has no one thought of that before now?

Um, I have a question for you, Mr. K. Whatever happened to the private sector? You know, that area of the world outside your window. The one that you and lots of your friends in Washington seem to dismiss? The sector that the Obama administration looks down upon as evil? The part of the economy that protects those mythical doctors who amputate legs so they get more money?

That part?

You know, it wasn't all that long ago that we had politicians who understood that the private sector was the engine of the country. These dinosaurs knew that the private sector had to remain healthy for government to receive their tax income.

You almost act like you get it, almost. But statements like this make us all wonder just what, if anything, you really understand about our economy, especially when you say things like this;

When we save a schoolteacher’s job, that unambiguously aids employment; when we give millionaires more money instead, there’s a good chance that most of that money will just sit idle.
Just sit idle? Um, no. See, that's where you've got it all wrong again, Paul. Instead of engaging in class warfare that doesn't solve any problems but merely serves to pit one American against another for no good reason other than for someone like you to gain political power, you fail to realize just how our economy really works.

You see, wealth is generated, not taken from someone else, as you seem to mistakenly believe. Our free market system doesn't exploit people like you think it does. It's not a zero-sum game where one worker gives up his money to make an evil rich person even more evilly rich. Both make money. Ane when both make money, both pay taxes, which goes into our local governments who maintain the roads and the streetlights and the schools and the teachers. If it truly were a zero-sum game, our economy would never grow. It would remain at some level, never to increase, because the money one person made would be subtracted from someone else.

But you just don't seem to get that part, do you, Mr. Krugman. You insist that it's all the fault of the dastardly right wing.

How did we get to this point? It’s the logical consequence of three decades of antigovernment rhetoric, rhetoric that has convinced many voters that a dollar collected in taxes is always a dollar wasted, that the public sector can’t do anything right.

Hmmm, so if you're against wasting our tax dollars on something that we really don't need to know, like the effects of cocaine on monkeys for example, then you're also against streetlights? So it's all our fault for wanting our tax dollars to be spent logically? You don't think that the money we spent on coked-up stimulus monkeys could have maybe been spent instead on, oh I don't know, teachers salaries? Or would you prefer that we pay $1.5 million dollars to our elected officials for a part time job?

So, um, yeah Paul, you keep on believing what you just wrote there.

I'll get my economic information elsewhere.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Friday Bits of Tid, Dog Days Edition

I guess the early part of the news week was slow because yesterday's news was one piece of bad news followed immediately by another. Obama may be trying to Cloward-Piven us to death, some softball player got in the Supreme Court, Eric Holder announced that activist groups will start getting government settlement money, even more Americans are out of work and on food stamps.

Oh well. At least it's Friday. All is not lost.

The sun is still shining. Outside, it's really a beautiful day, at least it is here. Sure is hot, but it's supposed to be that way in the middle of summer. All the better to make sun tea with.

It's all in your outlook. That's the part of life that you get to control.

Other parts of life, not so much.

You could always drown your sorrows at the nearest vending machine.

And if you want those sorrows good and dead, drown them in the world's strongest beer (so far this week).

After all, drinking beer is good for you.

Along with some bacon-flavored caviar.

This is why grey swimsuits don't sell in Florida.

Poor thing. A Russian woman wants to be an artist, but can't seem to find any paint brushes.

Seven million mosquitoes dead. And the silence from PETA is deafening.

Heh. "Big Sky Marketing Director Dax Schieffer says the resort tried to find an environmentally friendly paintball. But it turned out that the one selected contains a vegetable oil that can attract grizzly and black bears that commonly roam the region." Gaia can be a bitch sometimes.

And finally, here's Tennessee's answer to Alvin Green. Um, what was the question?

Y'all have a good weekend, y'all.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Is It Time to Become Truly Serious About Government?

"Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?"

"NO! And if you don't stop that, I'm going to pull over and put you in the trunk!"

We on the right are like little kids on a long trip, waiting for the upcoming midterm elections in November. We can't wait to get there, as evidenced by Missouri's landslide vote against Obamacare on Tuesday. All of the momentum is on our side as most polls show, even James Carville's own organization.

We just can't wait. I plan to be among the first in line at my voting precinct. I may bring doughnuts, who knows.

And when we get there, the fun will just begin. We (meaning us conservatives) have a genuine opportunity to retake our country away from the radical leftist progressives that currently infest Washington. But, after we do, then the very unfun will begin; reforming the institutions that have been distorted by leftists for the better part of two generations.

Where to begin? If I may offer some suggestions...

Equality in Congress. Reform should begin by eliminating the elitism in Washington. Are you aware that Congress exempts itself from its own legislation? None of the laws it makes applies to them.

This must end. Permanently.

Their perks, such as a vastly different healthcare insurance plan, should be no more than the average American is capable of obtaining. Restoring humility to high public office should be a high priority.

Any legislation must be written directly by the members of Congress and no one else. Are you aware that there are unelected special interest groups writing massive bills? The failed Stimulus Bill is a prime example. As Glenn Beck has pointed out, this bill was authored by members of the Apollo Alliance. This leftist group is funded in part by the anti-American George Soros.

Maybe it's just me, but I can't figure out how it's Constitutional for anyone else to write any law.

And speaking of the Constitution, how about a little test?

Each and every candidate needs to take and pass a simple quiz (no more that 20 questions) about basic Constitutional concepts. This test could drawn up by the Supreme Court and reviewed for accuracy. If you don't know the basics of the American political process, you shouldn't run for office. If you think like Pete Stark does, that Washington can do pretty much anything it pleases, then you have some serious problems with elementary comprehension. Which would disqualify you from public office.

We Americans, knuckle-draggers that we are, still hold this document to be the supreme law of the land. It's time we made sure our elected officials felt the same way. I'm just sayin'...

If a law is outdated and not enforced, repeal it. This applies to states, too. Is it illegal to whip a donkey left-handed in the town square after 2:00 o'clock on the third Sunday of the month? If it is, then someone clearly is not doing their job.

Write laws in plain English. If you cross the Godfather with a lawyer, you get an offer you can't understand.

Laws should be easily understood. They should also be based on easily understood principles of what is right and wrong. Notice that most of our laws are based on the Ten Commandments. Those commandments are pretty clear - Thou shalt not kill. Not much room for vagueness there, huh? Laws shouldn't be so poorly written that we must always seek out a legal oracle to divine their true meaning. Yet this is our current state of legal affairs. If we are to govern ourselves, we should do so in clearest way possible. The nearly unfathomable legalistic jargon currently used just leads to confusion. As any judge will tell you, ignorance of the law is no excuse, but what if the law doesn't make any sense to begin with, and the average person who is expected to abide by the law doesn't know what is required of him? Then what?

It doesn't have to be this way. We have not only the right, but the duty to reform Congress to make it more responsive to the needs of our rapidly changing modern society. Notice I said that it's Congress that needs reform, not the Constitution. There is a difference.

The way we begin is to find and encourage average Americans to run for office - our friends and neighbors. People we know. Whom we can call when a problem arises.

We need to get serious about our government again. We can no longer trust professional politicians with the country. We need the retro thinking that formed us. We need to return to our roots, namely that of a country owned and operated by people who look upon their fellow countrymen as just that; fellow countrymen, not as ignorants.

We all share in the bounty that our Founders wisely gave us after much hardship on their part. Many lost their lives, their families and their fortunes in order to forge this country.

Let not their sacrifices be lost. Not to scoundrels.

Not to anyone.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Happy Birthday, Barry. We got you a little something...

...it's not much. And it's from only one state.

We understand that you and Michelle and the kids are really used to the trappings of power by now. We see all the big, fancy parties you have every month. We see that your dog Bo gets his own plane rides. You've been to a lot of places and met a lot of people. And most of those people whom you've met you've also bowed to. You seem like such a nice fellow.

We really hope you're not too disappointed with our gift. It's just a smackdown. Really, that's all we could afford.

Hope you like it.

After all, you've given us so much in your short time in office. A really bad economy, a Vice-President who doesn't seem to know where he is much of the time, a radical leftist Supreme Court justice who calls herself a "wise Latina", another SCOTUS nominee who doesn't understand the Constitution, an openly communist "green czar", a guy in charge of taxes that didn't pay his taxes, a communications director who just loves her some Mao, an Attorney General who thinks it's just fine for two Black Panthers to shake their nightsticks at voters and who also thinks that one of our biggest enemies in the War on Terror deserves the same rights as a citizen.

Maybe these were just oversights on your part. After all, being President takes a lot of your time. We know. It's also really stressful. So we really don't blame you for going golfing as much as you do. We need you to be ready and rested, especially should something really bad happen, like, say, a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. You'll need your energy so you can hold your boot on an oil company's neck. It's a tough job, but you can do it.

Oh, and before I forget, you and your buddies in Congress have been really busy, too. You guys have been passing one really big bill after another one. There was TARP, then the takeovers of General Motors and Chrysler where a whole bunch of local dealerships got closed for no reason, then Cash for Clunkers that destroyed perfectly good cars so no one else could use them. Then you passed the Stimulus Bill that you said would hold down the unemployment rate to less that 8%. Um, that one didn't work out too well, did it, Barry. Last time we checked, the unemployment rate was almost 10% and businesses aren't hiring. Lots of my friends have lost their jobs and some have lost their houses. Oh well, you can't win them all.

About your buds in Congress, that last big bill, the Health Care Bill, remember, the one that we didn't want you guys to pass because it was really expensive and created a whole new big government program that really didn't solve the problem of Americans who didn't have health care? That one? Well, yeah, this present has something to do with that. Actually, it has a lot to do with that. In fact. this little present is kinda like a little note. We just had to tell you what we think about passing a great big bill when we asked you not to.

It's called Proposition C. One of the 57 states voted on it yesterday. Maybe you were out on the golf course and haven't heard about it yet. But a lot of people in a state called Missouri voted for it, about three-quarters of them. And what they said was "no." Really, Barry, we really don't like you guys up in Washington deciding something as important as our relationship with our doctors, and this vote was sent as a message.

See, we like things pretty much as they are. We realize that our health care system needs a little bit of tweaking to make it run a bit better. In fact, we had some ideas of our own for improving it, like getting rid of frivolous lawsuits and opening up competition between states, kinda like we have for car insurance. We would have preferred it if you had listened to us and let the free market work like it's supposed to. But, since you're a lawyer, we pretty much expected you to take care of your other lawyer friends, after all, so many of your friends are lawyers and we know you want people to like you, even if they are lawyers.

But you went ahead and passed this great big bill anyway. You didn't think that we'd mind, since we elected you guys to go up to Washington and stand in for us 'cause we're pretty busy with our daily lives. I guess you thought you had one of those "mandate" thingys so that you get to do what you and  the people who give you campaign money want you to do, instead of what we want you to do.

Umm, not really. In fact, if you don't start listening to us, you're going to start getting more presents from us, whether it's your birthday or not. We're nice like that.

So, here's our present to you on your birthday, Barry.

Be sure to show it to Harry and Nancy.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Economics 102

The Bush tax cuts are scheduled to expire at years' end. The economy is in dire straights. If you were to ask the average American what should be done, chances are you'd hear the admonition not to raise taxes during a recession/depression. That's just common sense.

So, what are we hearing from this administration concerning tax cuts? It's, um, uh, well, let's just say it's not common sense. Not by a long shot. What we're getting, instead of concrete action that will help our economy regain some steam, is the rhetoric of class warfare.

That's right. All we're getting is words. Just words. And false ones at that.

At the risk of flagellating a deceased equine, I must restate the painfully obvious: economics is no more complicated than balancing a checkbook. Anyone who tells you anything else has either been grossly misinformed or is lying to you on purpose. In a normal world, this knowledge wouldn't even need to be discussed. But this is politics, where reality takes a back seat to power.

As everyone outside of Washington already knows, taxes reduce economic activity. The higher the tax rate, the less activity there is. A fee is any tax paid to any government for any reason, it's just named differently. A fishing license is also a tax. Ditto your vehicle registration. Some of these taxes are right out in the open for you to see while others are hidden, but you pay them anyway.

For example, let's say there's a new tax in a recently passed piece of legislation, like the new healthcare bill, but it's not a consumer tax, it's paid by businesses. Let's say it's a 5% tax. A business has to pay that tax, but it reduces the amount of money that the business will make. Now, let's also assume that the business only makes a 4% total profit. This means that the business will now lose money at the rate of 1%. Since no business can operate at a loss, they must offset the new 5% tax by passing that cost along to the end consumer.

You end up paying the tax anyway. The cost of the product must rise to cover the increased cost to the business, in this case, figure on at least a 6% increase to include the cost of keeping track of the company's compliance with the new tax law. This might even be a bit more than 6% depending on the size of the company.

So, the politicians who levied this tax get to boast that it's not a tax on the middle class, and it's true, but only in a strict technical sense, you are being taxed indirectly. The politicians can claim it's the business who's the bad guy, when it's really the politician who is at fault.

Now let's say, instead of a tax, the EPA wants to require businesses to adopt a new way of disposing of shredded documents. This new regulation requires the use of some new piece of equipment in order to dispose of the documents. This piece of equipment is expensive and also requires much more electricity to operate. The business must now pass along the cost of the new equipment and the increased utility bill to the end consumer.

It doesn't take long to see that an activist government intent upon poking its nose into every facet of life with rules and regulation in addition to taxes has the potential to become very expensive. In the case of the Obama administration, we can argue that the saturation point has been reached. Our economy can no longer afford the demands that a regulation-happy government imposes on it. Something must yield, and so far, it's been the private sector. Many formerly silent business leaders and groups are starting to voice their concern over the stifling policies of this administration.

With his poll numbers heading downward at a rapid pace, President Obama seems intent upon not reversing course and implementing proven solutions to our economic woes, but doubling down on his misguided attacks on the private sector. The same goes for Congress, who should be questioning the results of their policies, but are also engaged in creating even more bills to force upon an unwilling populace, with even more disastrous effects. Even they admit that 10% unemployment is the new normal. It certainly will be as long as they remain in power, taxing and regulating our economy to death. After four years of Democrat control of Congress and eighteen months of a Democrat in the White House, any more cries of "It's all Bush's fault!" will fall on increasingly deaf ears.

There's a gage I use in determining who I'll vote for in any election, and I change it as the situation warrants. Previously, it was a belief in "climate change" and those who were gullible enough to believe in a blatant hoax. Now it's class warfare. Any time I hear the term "tax cuts for the rich", I'll know that the utterer of that phrase is seeking to divide our country in order to gain power for themselves. Such a politician is unfit for office and does not possess the mental attitude of a public servant.

You, armed with nothing more that your checkbook and common sense, already know more about economics than all the so-called experts in Washington.

O/T - Journolist Update! For your derision, here's another list of the Journolistas, courtesy of the Free Republic. Do not forget their active role in the downfall of our nation.