Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday Bits of Tid - Royal Wedding Edition

So, I hear someone's getting married today. Whoever they are, I wish them the best.

Phoebe Snow passed away this week. You'll remember her for the hit Poetry Man and her work with Paul Simon. That's her singing backup on 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover. She'll get to see her daughter again...

One of the benefits of blogging is that I get to discover all kinds of cool things on this Interwebs thingy. Some of them are just plain silly but some are also informative. Since I found a few of the latter today, I wanted to post them for your perusal.

The first thing my economics professor told the class was this joke. "All of the worlds' economists, if laid end to end, wouldn't reach a conclusion." As I age, I don't think he was kidding, especially when we've been the subject of so much economic experimentation lately that has been so wrong. Obama's Stimulus plan has been a dismal failure by every metric. It's done the opposite of what we were told it would do, and now we're left holding the empty money bag.

Thanks you, Mr. President.

Here's something you maybe should have watched before you signed that bill. Check out this rap video of Keynes and Hayek, Round Two.

Part One is here.

More geeky goodness can be found in this video that explains what dark matter is. As best I can figure, it fills in all the space between an atom's nucleus and the electrons in orbit, something that, for the longest time, was thought to be empty space or a even a vacuum. As yet, we don't have a way to measure this stuff, but give us time.

You might have to readjust your browsers' scale to get this video to show correctly. It's kinda tall.

Dark Matters from PHD Comics on Vimeo.

Superman is renouncing his US citizenship. He was an illegal alien anyway, so, meh.

Via Instapundit, the Politics of Star Trek.

Woman seeks man from Easter encounter. On the off chance that one of you guys might know him, here's your opportunity to play Cupid.

From the You Can't Make This Stuff Up, Animal Division comes this story of a man dressed up as a cow who stole 26 gallons of milk, with a picture of the perp.

Also, a New Jersey town regulates chicken sex.

Why did the alligator cross the road?

Remember Monday's post? Here's more sticky note activism, this time at the grocery store. I suspect we'll start seeing a bit more of this as our economy continues to deteriorate. Somebody's gotta do it.
*Updated* No sooner did I finish this post than I found these instructions on how to construct your own slogan, along with a Sticky Note Rebellion Facebook page. Damn, y'all are working me like a rented mule.

And lastly, here's this week's official video, for all the obvious reasons...

Have a good weekend, y'all. And say a prayer for all my cousins in Alabama who were affected by the tornados. They'll need all the Help they can get. If you can help, please do so.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Poets, Priests, and Politicians, Part II – Those Word Thingys

I like to observe things. Life, people, pretty women (especially BackwardsGirl), squirrels, lizards, hot cars, motorcycles, and bright, shiny objects. I have to stay away from those last ones, though, they’re really pretty.

Really, really, pretty.

Oh, I left out politics and the practitioners of that dark art. There is a wide chasm between reality and what goes on inside the head of the typical politician. The more leftward they lean, the greater the chasm.

Of particular note is the way they use language to disguise their intentions. New York Senator Chuck Schumer showed us how this works when he inadvertently instructed his party cohorts to describe any attempts by Republicans to cut the budget as “extreme.” Inadvertently, since he didn’t think anyone else was listening besides his party-mates.

“I always use the word extreme,” Schumer told Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Barbara Boxer of California, Benjamin Cardin and Thomas R. Carper of Delaware, according to New York Times reporter Jennifer Steinhauer, who was on the call without Schumer knowing it. “That is what the caucus instructed me to use this week.”

It’s too bad they didn’t instruct him to just tell the truth, or to get to work cutting this bloated beast of a deficit down to a manageable size so our grandkids can have a future. He seems to follow marching orders well; he just doesn’t take them from the people he’s supposed to, namely his constituents.

But I digress.

That example was pretty blatant, but it proves that there are some folks in Washington who are willing to twist and distort the English language so they can increase their power and control over us. That’s standard operating procedure and it’s done on a regular basis by those on the left.

That twisting and distortion can also be rather subtle. In fact, it works better when it’s done that way.

I had a conversation a few years back with a friend when I noted that machinists weren’t held in very high regard by the general public anymore. I said it was because the public never heard the word “machinist” without also hearing the words “union” and “strike.” Since that phrase came out of me without thinking about it, a little light bulb went on.

That’s how it’s done.

It doesn’t need to be an outright lie to be effective. A grand lie works as well as a small one. There are subtle variations that can be just as effective.

So, why am I telling you this? You may already know how it’s done. You may also not know. If so, then just consider this an affirmation. If not, or if you know someone who seems susceptible to suggestion, you can help them by pointing this out.

You see, there’s a propensity for us humans to automatically accept any information as true. This binary acceptance of anything is also our undoing. Skepticism is a very healthy thing to have in your mental toolkit these days, especially when it comes to politics. That old adage, “Don’t believe anything you read and only half of what you hear” is a good yardstick. That might be backwards, but hey, it’s what I do.

Still, one must develop an ability to decode any statement coming from a politician. Plain language isn’t their strong point, and many statements can mean something entirely different than at first blush.

Take this for example. I’ve linked to it before, but it’s good and bears repeating: Health Care Words to Use and Avoid.

Use the term “quality, affordable health care” instead of “universal health care.”

Say "giving people control or peace of mind” instead of “public health care for all.”

Here’s my favorite: use “guaranteed” instead of “required.”

Or, “bovine-based, organic growth enhancer” instead of “bullshit.”

But also be on the lookout for those descriptors used together such as “extreme right-wing.” After a while, you could drop the word “extreme” and just use the word “right-wing” and the word “extreme” becomes implied. Repetition is the key. It works. Many times, too well. How many lefties have you talked to who could repeat, verbatim, certain talking points, but when countered with facts, fall apart into a blithering heap of name-calling and invectives?

There’s a verbal war going on out there.

Forewarned is forearmed.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

2012 Will Be the Most Racist Election Ever, or Something *Updated*

President Obama began his reelection campaign recently. I know this because his supporters are busy labeling (libeling?) anyone and everyone who has the audacity to question anything about him or his policies as a racist.

Puleeze. I mean really, that’s the best you guys can do? Call those of us on the right racists? Do you really think that, given the dire straits our country is in, that’s gonna fly anymore?

It never ceases to amaze me how the left in this country can so mischaracterize an issue. Somehow, inside their little minds, everything can be reduced to one simple thing that has nothing at all to do with reality.

In a way, we’ve been set up for this. We were sold the idea that the election of the first African-American president would, once and for all, prove that America wasn’t a racist nation. What that wound up doing instead was to give the left a cudgel with which to beat their political opponents with, namely us.

If you oppose our skyrocketing debt, you’re somehow a racist. Oppose ObamaCare? You’re a racist. Think Cash for Clunkers was a bad idea? Oh yeah, you’re a racist. Want to secure our border with Mexico? Guess what you are? Neener, neener, neener.

It’s all so simple for the left. It’s also complete and utter bullshit and everyone knows it.

Granted, we once had a problem with racism in America. I grew up in Alabama during the George Wallace era. I've seen racism up close and personal, which means I’ve seen the attitudes and actions that accompany that particular mindset. I’ve talked to racists and heard their arguments. And I’ve come to the inescapable conclusion that they are among the most stupid, ignorant, and un-Christian people I’ve ever seen. They are rightly shunned by anyone with any sense of true Biblical brotherhood. Thankfully, there aren’t many of them around anymore thanks to the societal pressure brought against them. If you have somehow managed to hang onto those beliefs, you don’t have very many friends. And rightly so.

So I find it puzzling to hear the supposedly well-educated pundits of the left frame any opposition to President Obama as racist. Instead, they're the ones who sound like racists. All manner of false accusations are leveled at the right in general and at the Tea Party in particular, from hurling racial epithets at black members of Congress to charges that Tea Partiers brought guns to rallies.

Seriously, that’s the best you can do? Even after your claims have been proven to be false, you still persist in lying? Do you really think that the rest of the country believes you when you accuse us of racism? Do you really not think we know better?

Furthermore, do you really think we’re that stupid? You must.

In case Mr. Smiley hasn’t noticed, we are trying to have a debate about the issues, but folks like him are preventing that from happening by grabbing the first open microphone they can find to yell, “RACIST!”

Here’s another example of someone who can’t seem to discuss an issue without injecting the false narrative of racism into it. Ladies and gentlemen, Ed Schultz.

“This is what the Republican Party stands for, though: racism. I think Donald Trump is a racist.”

Ed, help me out here.

There’s a Constitutional requirement that the president be a natural-born citizen. While I’m not a “birther,” I’m among the many folk who wonder why Barack Obama hasn’t put this issue to rest by producing the documents to prove he was born in Hawaii. Didn’t John McCain have to produce his birth certificate, too?

Obama could, if he chose to, command the podium and show his birth certificate to the country and settle this once and for all. The fact that he hasn’t done so makes me and many others just a bit curious. After all, John McCain had a cloud of controversy over his birth in Panama. Ultimately, his birth certificate was posted online for all to see. It appeared that he was Panamanian by birth, but he still came clean.

So, Ed, how does The Donald’s request to see those documents make him a racist? I wouldn’t mind seeing them myself. Does that also make me a racist?

What is the connection between racism and the law? Didn’t we fix that back in the Sixties when we outlawed discrimination based on skin color?

How does wanting to secure our border with Mexico make anyone a racist? I coulda swore we had a whole slew of laws to regulate the people who entered our country. We even have a whole department full of people in Washington for that reason, if I recall correctly. We just might want to know who enters our country, if they’re a tourist or not, and whether or not they’re in good health, just like the rest of the world does. We might also want to know if anyone who comes here might be a criminal or a terrorist. Oops, sorry, Janet Napolitano, I meant a "man-caused disaster waiting to happen."

But from the news reports I’ve seen, it doesn’t look like those laws are being enforced well, if at all. So, if you want our country’s immigration laws upheld, that makes you a racist, too?

I don’t get the connection. It’s like saying I’m a racist for not wanting to be robbed or beaten up.

Maybe it’s just me. I’m kinda dumb about some things, but I still can’t find anything about the issues like the debt that has anything to do with race. Inflation, high gas prices, our trade deficit, high unemployment, three wars at once, any criticism or opposition to them makes you a racist according to the left. The Tea Party was borne out of a very real concern about excessive taxation. They even took their name from a Revolutionary tax revolt that happened well before the War Between the States.

That’s racist? You sure could have fooled me.

But you won’t.

I, along with the rest of my fellow citizens, won’t let you.

*Update. No sooner had I posted this than Ace informs us that President Obama has released his long form birth certificate. We have ESPN, Ace and I.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Big Brother is Watching Me

While searching around this morning for a subject for today’s post, something interesting happened.

I got my picture taken by Google. Not by a satellite, but by one of its Street View cars.

And this was before I put on my makeup. I take no responsibility for any trauma that may occur as a result. Women, small children, and pets are equally at risk. You’ve been warned.

Coincidentally, (or maybe not, the powers of Google appear to be unlimited) I was going to write about all the news that has surfaced in the past weeks concerning the information that many electronic products are gathering, in many instances without the knowledge or approval of users. There is a lot of it, both the news and the information being gathered.

It started with this article about Michigan police and their very illegal searches of cell phones without probable cause or a warrant at traffic stops. That right there was enough for a whole post.

I wasn’t alone in noting that these searches were illegal, violating as they do our Constitutional 4th Amendment against illegal search and seizure. Some law professor named Glenn Reynolds agrees. A random traffic stop is insufficient cause to start pawing through your car’s glove box without a warrant, it’s even less cause to look at anything else, including your phone. It should go without saying that you should never consent to a search of yourself or your possessions for any reason. The fact that you think you have nothing to hide doesn’t prevent an overzealous prosecutor from finding something (anything) to justify his or her salary.

But that little obstacle doesn’t dissuade a few ill-informed and uneducated police officers from violating your rights, as that article shows. Random searches are fishing expeditions and are expressly forbidden unless and until there is a good reason for it, such as the investigation of a crime. I’m all for giving police the proper tools to do their job to keep us safe, but random searches aren’t the way to do it. The method of proper evidence gathering is clearly laid out in our Constitution, along with the proper reason for it; so citizens can be secure from an overreaching government that thinks it has the right to know everything it wants to know about you and your goings-on.

The next thing I ran across was the revelation that many Apple products contain the wherewithal to gather all kinds of information on you. They say they must have it. Granted, some of that information has legitimate uses, for instance, supplying you with driving directions. That’s a great thing for consumers, but I have to ask why any information should be retained and sent to any third party after the use for that information is no longer is needed by the user. The verbal parry and thrust over this issue is getting interesting, as Apple’s Steve Jobs says those reports are “false.”

Hmm, really, Steve? Those allegations just sprang forth all on their own? You say one thing, your very own company says something completely different. Which is it?

I’m not comforted by that. Nor am I relived that Google’s Android operating system does the same thing.

Which brings up another question. Why can’t I control the information gathered about me? Since the information that is being amassed is About Me, shouldn’t I have some control over it? Shouldn’t I, as the subject of all this curiosity about my patterns and behavior, be the one who controls it? What if I happen to think that what I do, where I go and what I search for online is my business and no one else’s?

Whose life is this, anyway?

The icing on the digital cake came in this article in the WSJ Online, The Really Smart Phone. You will be amazed at the amount of effort that some people are expending to find out all kinds of things about you. Imagine someone who’s not your mother being able to predict with a certainty of 93.6% where you will be at any given moment. Imagine someone who’s not your doctor or pharmacist knowing whether you are sick or well. That you’re talking to someone about politics. How about being able to accurately predict movements of the stock market six days ahead of time with an 87.6% rate of accuracy?

Do you feel secure yet?

Information, like fire, has many uses. It can be used for good things or not-so-good things. It’s not the information itself, it’s how it’s used and who has access to it. As you may have already guessed, the potential for abuse is rather great. A little too great for my liking.

Already, there are too many in the legal community who are of the opinion that we have no right to privacy, and as a result, all manner of things can be done in regards to gathering information about you without your knowledge or consent.

Isn’t it about time we put this issue to rest and recognize that we do have a right to privacy?

And that it is legally sacred like the rest of our rights and shall not be abridged?

Oh, and I smiled at the Google camera car. Hi, Mom.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Your EPA is Causing High Gas Prices

It’s a sad fact of life that many politicians can’t understand the very simple concept of cause and effect. It’s playing out before their eyes, and yet they can’t see it.

But for the rest of us who populate the World Outside the Beltway, the concept is as plain as day. Well, almost. I’ll explain that one later*.

If there is any place to observe cause and effect in action, it’s in the area of economics. Shirley, you’re familiar with the phrase “supply and demand” and how it relates to prices: if demand is great and supply isn’t, then prices are high. Conversely, if demand is low and supply is great, then prices are low.

It should be a standard that’s taught first in any basic economics class. The relationship between supply and demand is well established and is a simple fact of economic life.

Except, of course, to that subspecies of humanity called Homo Regularis, commonly known as the modern politician.

Anymore, when addressing these people (as opposed to my readers, who are the most intelligent and well-informed people anywhere), I feel the need to use small words and type verrrrry slooowly, so they can understand the simple principles that the rest of us take for granted.

Take, for instance, this article from Fox EPA Rules force Shell to Abandon Oil Drilling Plans.

Now, when you and I read that headline, we think that gas prices will go up even more, mostly because they will. That headline may as well say, “Obama Administration Seeks Higher Gas Prices for Americans” because that’s pretty close to the truth, if not dead-on accurate.

We know that if we aren’t drilling, then the supply of oil will be less, resulting in high prices at the gas pump. It’s not rocket surgery.

So, if we know this simple fact of life, why don’t our politicians also know it? After all, weren’t they also raised and educated right here in the good ol’ US of A? Popular wisdom is popular because it needn’t be taught in a classroom; it comes out in casual conversation as just one of those things that everybody knows.

There’s only one other reason for their seeming ignorance of supply and demand: they are doing this knowing full well what the result will be.

I was willing to give President Obama the benefit of the doubt for a while. I, along with anyone else who had the slightest bit of curiosity about the man who would be our President, knew that he had never run a business nor even ventured much outside of the ivy-ed walls of academia except to organize some communities in that bastion of political verisimilitude, Chicago. So, I was willing to wait for a while he used his political training wheels to tool around the Oval Office.

But after two and a half years of having access to the awe and wonder that is the greatest information-gathering organization of all time in the Federal Government, it’s time to start questioning his intentions.

It appears, through his words and his actions, that he’s doing this on purpose.

Mr. Boy, you might ask, whatever would give you that idea?

Oh, nothing, gentle reader, except this clip that I never get tired of running.

*Explanation time – Here’s a Marist poll that shows that Americans really don’t understand the concept of supply and demand all that well, or at least the Americans whom Marist polls. 34% think that the evil oil companies are to blame for the price of a globally traded commodity. This ignores the simple fact that everyone in the world pays more when the price of oil goes up.

Either they’ve been misinformed or they haven’t been taught about supply and demand. That second one wouldn’t surprise me at all. Actually, the first one wouldn’t surprise me either. Maybe it’s a witch’s brew of both.

Did anyone else notice something about that Fox article, namely who they quoted?
...Eric Grafe, Earthjustice’s lead attorney on the case. Earthjustice was joined by Center for Biological Diversity and the Alaska Wilderness League in challenging the air permits.
Hmm, that’s funny. Three radical, left-wing environmental groups determining whether or not we can drill for our own oil? I coulda swore that’s why I voted, so my elected representative could make that kind of decision, doing what's best for the country, like they're suppose to…

Oh well. I guess that’s the way things work up there in Washington. I’m just a simple fellow with a computer. And a printer. And did I mention I need to get some gas today?

And did I also mention that I just might leave one of these taped to the pump? (h/t  Instapundit)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday Bits of Tid - Good Friday Edtion

Howdy hi there, ya'll. It's Good Friday, or if you don't lean that way, it's also Earth Day.

It's Friday either way.

This is for all the Earth Day'ers: Iowahawk's 2001 Earth Week Cruise-In. Participants get to cruise down the virtual Internet boulevard by sending pics and descriptions of their favorite rides. The more fuel and horsepower consumed and created, the better. Planes, boats, and trains along with rare cars, bikes, and scooters are all on display for the discriminating gear-head.

This video from the link grabbed my attention, because it shows an engine block being machined from a solid billet of aluminum on a computer controlled milling machine. If you ever wondered what went on in a machine shop, this is the crux of the biscuit.

While we're on the subject, all kinds of things can be machined, like your face made from chocolate.

Remember when students would give the teacher an apple? How times have changed. This student gave the teacher some of her mom's weed. I guess the apple would be for later...

Those Brits go all out for their royal weddings, don't they? This British brewery has created a special beer for the occasion, with the finest malt, barley, and aphrodisiacs.

While we're on that subject, here's a fellow who lost 22 pounds on an all-beer diet. Beer, it's not just for breakfast anymore.

From the "Duh" file. A lawsuit that seeks to stop McDonald's from selling Happy Meals must be dismissed because parents can always prohibit their children from eating them. The lawsuit claims McDonald's unfairly uses toys to lure children into its restaurants. What's next? Toys R Us?

And finally, Hitler critiques Rebecca Black's Friday.

Enjoy the weekend, y'all.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

What Easter Means to Me

President Obama made this bizarre comment at the Easter prayer breakfast the other day, “…during this season we are reminded that there's something about the Resurrection, something about the Resurrection of our savior, Jesus Christ, that puts everything else in perspective.”

Spoken like a true believer.

My regular readers, all five of you, know that I’m a Christian. While I don’t harp upon that fact, it’s the foundation of my political beliefs. I call myself a Christian. Whether or not The Big Guy agrees, well, I’ll just do my best and hope that He does. As Ann Barnhardt said,  "I reckon He looks at me and just shakes His head."
My spiritual journey started around the age of ten. Mom never attended church, which was rather unusual in Alabama, being as it’s the buckle of the Bible Belt. One of my classmates invited me to his church. During Sunday school, we were assigned passages to read for the next week’s discussion. A curious thing happened: I started to notice that what I gleaned from our reading assignments was not the same thing that our teacher spoke about in class. Every week, I’d dutifully read the verses, and without fail, our teacher would discuss the same verse, but in a totally different way than I interpreted it.

Not only did this happen in Sunday school, when we attended regular service and the preacher gave his sermon, the same thing happened. He’d speak about a particular verse and get something else entirely from it than I did.

Being the stubborn little bastard that I was, I figured out that organized religion was not where I was going to find the answers about God that I was looking for. I thanked my friend for taking me to church, and set about on a personal quest to try to understand this religion thingy.

There seemed to be something inside of me that pointed me in my own direction.

Whatever it is, I’m glad it’s there.

It can get lonely traveling by yourself. My great-grandfather was one of five brothers who were all preachers. As a result, many of their progeny, my cousins, were also called to preach. It didn’t take too many family reunions before I was considered the black sheep of the gathering. I drank, I smoked, and I played music in bars, hardly their vision of a fine, upright Christian.

At one reunion, one of my preacher cousins engaged me in a conversation. He attempted to show me the error of my ways. I didn’t begrudge his effort; he sincerely was trying to help me. It wasn’t as if I’d ever had any run-ins with the law or was in any kind of trouble. He just wanted me to “join the crowd.” I politely declined.

I never heard from him again.

By that time, I’d met far too many hypocrites. People who loudly and proudly proclaimed their Christianity, attended church every Sunday, and were the meanest, most spiteful and despicable people who would gladly stab you in the back at the first opportunity. I was not going to associate with them or be identified with them in any way. Hence my silence.

After many years of searching, reading, and much trial and error, I’m at a point where I can speak with a bit of authority. As you know, I’ve called out some prominent “religious” figures in America today as false Christians: Jesse Jackson, Father Pfleger, Al Sharpton, Jeremiah Wright, the idiots at Westbrook Baptist Church (the military funeral protesters), none of them are true Christians. They are more like anti-Christians, the wolves in sheep’s clothing we were warned about. As such, they give the public the wrong impression of Christianity, like it hasn’t had an image problem since its very beginning.

This is a great disservice to the rest of us who are also searching for God. The uninitiated look at them and dismiss the whole religion outright instead of rejecting someone who deserves to be rejected. If there is anything I can do with this forum to point out blatant hypocrisy and dishonesty, I’ll do it, especially if someone claims to be religious.

And don't get me started on Islam, the polar opposite of Christianity.

But I digress.

Easter, to me, is the most sacred of Christian holidays. In a scant three days, all of Christianity is displayed on a grand stage. Persecution, betrayal, hypocrisy, forgiveness, love, death and mourning, followed by the Miracle of Christ’s Resurrection construct the Passion Play in a condensation of One Life.

Of particular note is the victory of eternal spiritual life over earthly death. Jesus’ reappearance to his friends in spiritual form is the lesson of Easter: this life isn’t all there is to life. What is hidden from you is hidden for a purpose. You’re supposed to question this life and all its shallowness, and listen to that little something inside of you that tells you there is something missing here, and then find out what that something is. You’re meant to discover the joy of the truth that sets you free.

That “something” is a spiritual union with your Creator. This takes the form of an inner knowing, an intuition (it’s not just for women anymore), whatever it is that tells you when something isn’t quite right. Kind of like a Vulcan mind meld, if you’ll pardon the analogy.

Mental stillness helps a lot. Learn how to meditate, to calm your mind and gain a measure of self-control. Cling to what you know is right within your heart.

Rediscover this ancient saying, “Your thoughts are not your own.” That’s not you doing the thinking. If it was, then you could change your thoughts.

Understand that sin isn’t a specific act, it’s the state of being spiritually separated from God. It’s how you were born. Observe what happens in a garden: seeds grow to maturity. In the Garden of Eden, your intellect grows to maturity in preparation for the Eternal Life you are meant to live.

Jesus left us with only two instructions: to love God and seek him within ourselves, and also to love your fellow man. Use the Golden Rule whenever and wherever you can. And if you manage to screw it up and become angry with someone, let your conscience be your guide so that the next time, you’ll succeed. Forgive and you will be forgiven.

It really is that simple. Just believe.

So this Easter, be glad. Open your heart and mind to the possibility of eternal life in a spiritual form. Your soul cannot die. It’s the part of you that animates your body. Your mind can be part of God, and receive Instruction from Him on how to live a better and more fulfilling life while you’re here. It’s the Light that guides you along the path of this life.

It's not unpossible that we're in the End Times. I know that's been said before, but how many things that you see in the news today cause you to think, "I've never seen that before." Armageddon, the final battle between good and evil, just might be televised. It could very well be time to make a decision as if your life depended on it.

If you’ve found what you seek in a traditional church, I applaud you. I, however, just couldn’t find it there. Wherever and however you find it, seek it with all that is within you. Ultimately, it’s between you and God anyway.

That’s why you’re here.

To all of you, have a Joyous and Happy Easter.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Latest Laugher from the Make-Believe Media – Why You Should Love $5 Gas

I suppose it was inevitable. Someone somewhere in an office at MSN told a “reporter” to write a puff piece about the high price of gasoline, “Make it sound as credible as possible. Try to make people think it isn’t as bad as it really is. If you have to stretch a few facts, go ahead. But have it in by tomorrow afternoon.”

And this is the result.

“Why you should love $5 gas. Stop grousing about the numbers on the pump. All of this could be good for you and good for America” by Lynn Mucken.

When I saw this yesterday in the sidebar over at Ace of Spades HQ, I read it. Then I reread it. And just for good measure, I rereread it. I still can’t find anything that approaches reality in it, nor can I find a good reason to fall in love with something that reduces my standard of living for no good reason.

There is a goodly part of me that tends to dismiss this outright. I first thought this was a satire, but the author seems to be quite serious. But occasionally, it’s fun to see just how much bullshit can be packed into an article in an attempt to spin something from a negative into a positive.

This one was all kinds of fun.

Ten talking points. Ten separate parcels of bovine excrement. Zero sense. Anyone with two functioning neurons to rub together can dissemble this in the time it takes to read it. In fact, you can do it on the fly as you’re reading.

Put on your hip waders, boys and girls…

1. Fewer people will die on the road.

Ok, that sounds plausible. The author then goes on to contradict herself by pointing out that the reduction in highway death statistics for 2008 were mostly due to decreased speeds. Hmm, I haven’t heard of any states that lowered their speed limit. The author then notes that more people will die on motorcycles. So, what’s that advantage again?

2. Demand for high-mileage cars may grow.
The author then shows a correlation between high gas prices and sales of more fuel-efficient vehicles. Sounds kinda like President Obama condescendingly chastising an audience questioner at his town hall meeting two weeks ago, “You need to buy a hybrid van for your ten kids.” Good advice, except that no one makes them. Also note the word “may.” And with a higher percentage of your income going towards increased gas prices, won’t you have less money to buy that new car with?

Oh, here’s a good one.

3. Shorter security lines. Airlines fares are extremely fuel-price reactive. Soon, hardly anyone will be able to afford to fly willy-nilly around the country or globe. You will breeze through the maze of airport checkpoints.
Hmm, if hardly anyone will be able to afford to fly willy-nilly, how can they breeze through airport security? Won’t they, like, not be flying at all?

4. Less pollution.
Sorry darlin’, but any figures you cite from the EPA are automatically filed in my mental circular filing cabinet. They lost any credibility they had long ago, right around the time they became infested with people who think people are the most horrible thing to happen to Earth since, well, forever.

5. Less congestion. Ever notice how well rush-hour freeway traffic flows on the minor holidays when most of the rest of us are working?
No, I had never noticed that there is less traffic on the roads when there are fewer folks driving.

6. High prices lead to lower prices. Mackubin Thomas Owens, a professor of national security affairs at the Naval War College and editor of Orbis, the journal of the Foreign Policy Research Institute, theorizes that if gas prices rise enough, the government will open up areas now closed to oil production, and oil companies will be able to invest in more-expensive methods of extracting oil. Soon we will be drowning in the stuff, and prices will drop again.
Pretzel logic: it’s not just the name of a Steely Dan album. We already have inexpensive methods of oil production, we’re just not allowed to use them anywhere, thanks to our very own government and president.

And pray tell, when will this miracle occur? $6 a gallon? $7? $10? $15?

7. More exercise. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development estimates that by 2020, three out of four Americans will be categorized as overweight or obese. So, it can't hurt to walk the three blocks to the grocery or bike to school or work.
Ok, maybe the walk three blocks to the grocery store is doable. Walking back with an armful of groceries might present a bit of a problem. The closest grocery store to my house is two miles away.

It’s right about here in the article that the BS gets piled just a trifle higher…

8. End of wars.
Wars can be fought inexpensively? Who knew?

9. Local businesses may profit. If you can't afford to drive out to the Wal-Mart or The Home Depot, you may be buying instead at the local supermarket or neighborhood hardware store. In addition, as the cost of transporting, say, grapes from Chile, goes out of sight, you may turn to regional farmers for your produce.
Remember the grocery store that’s two miles from my house? Guess what? It’s a Wal-Mart!

And now for the money shot.

10. It's all about democracy. If we let up on the gas pedal, we'll starve those oil-rich despots out of existence. Oh, we import as much from Canada as from Saudi Arabia and Venezuela combined.
Umm, we’re a republic. A democratic republic. But I’m going to assume that this author has a recent degree from a liberal college where American history isn’t taught well, if at all. And we have the means and the resources to starve all those evil, oil-rich despots out of business today. We just need to clean house in Washington and get rid of the likes of Obama, Reid, Pelosi, Frank, Durbin, Boxer, Waxman, Sunstein, all the Jacksons, Wasserman-Shultz, Nelson, the entire EPA, and the rest who, for whatever reason, are preventing us from harvesting our own vast natural resources.

Notable by its absence is any awareness of the devastation that rising gas prices are having on the recovery and the economy in general. Seniors on fixed incomes, the poor, and the sub-employed will all suffer. Grocery prices will continue to skyrocket, as will the price of any item that is transported by land, sea, or air.

The best summation of this article was in the comment section:

“There has to be a pharmaceutical explanation behind this article. There just has to be.”

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

“Hidden Tax” Forces Companies to Hire Fewer Americans

All right, everybody sing together, in C, a one and a two…

One of these things is caused by the other,

Both of these things just don’t belong.

(Apologies to Big Bird)

There are two seemingly unrelated stories on the economy today. One points out that large, multinational companies are hiring fewer Americans while hiring more foreign workers. The other highlights the staggering costs of regulatory compliance for American companies: nearly $2Trillion dollars.

I used the Sesame Street song for the benefit of the Obama administration, given the overall intellectual weight of their arguments when it comes to our economy.

To me, the fact that one of these is the result of the other is glaringly clear. So clear in fact, that I’m having a rough time trying to explain it. I could just as easily type “Well, DUH” and finish my post right there.

But since Washington is overrun with the likes of Nancy Pelosi, who is firmly convinced that the 111th Congress was doing good things by passing more legislation than any other congress in history, I feel the overwhelming need to explain this to them in small words and short sentences.

She was very, very proud of her accomplishments, as she herself says, “We’re very, very proud of the work that was done by this Congress,” the California Democrat said. “We came here to do a job and we got much of it done.”

Yeppers, if that job was to drag America down under the weight of new and costly laws. If that’s what you intended to do, Nan, then you have every right to feel proud. The rest of us, not so much.

Nancy, you don’t seem to understand how this works. If you realize that every new law that Congress passes reduces our freedom, then, in order to maintain and protect our freedom, you should be reluctant to pass laws. You plainly don’t realize that simple truth. We are free unless and until a law is passed that specifically prohibits a certain action. That’s the foundation that our Founders based our government upon; one simple principle that was once considered popular knowledge for anyone entering politics.

It was standard operating procedure in Washington for a while. Those in power used it sparingly and with great caution. They understood that a small and weak domestic government was essential for the freedom of the people. They operated from the premise that they would not interfere with the daily lives of Americans who were perfectly capable of carrying on their affairs in a mature manner, particularly when it came to business.

But something happened along the way, and this simple, unsaid principle was discarded by unprincipled people who wanted to become career politicians. As surely as a moth is drawn to a flame, American politics gradually started to attract the power-hungry. Such is the attraction, as Plato noted, "Those who seek power are not worthy of that power."

Why? "Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws."

So, in the act of seeking power comes the recognition of the lack of moral and intellectual principles of the power-seeker. Hence the need to be very cautious in choosing our “leaders.”

But I digress.

The previous Congress pursued their agenda with great zeal. There was a 19% increase in proposed rules between 2009 and 2010. And while “only” 217 bills were passed, those laws mushroom into thousands of new rules and regulations that have the power of law. In many instances, these regulations force changes upon the procedures that businesses use daily, costing money to comply with them. If you’re in business, I’m not telling you anything that you don’t already know.

So it should come as no surprise that increased rules and regulations stifle businesses and the creation of wealth. We have entered regulatory lands that our predecessors once feared to tread, and we are paying the price. If we continue down this path of increasing federal intervention, then our new normal will indeed be one of high unemployment, increasing debt, and a national malaise that can only be remedied by a thorough cleansing of the left-wing incumbents in Washington who think their sole purpose in life is to create more government.

We’ve reached the tipping point: as our government grows in size, complexity, cost and intrusiveness, our economy suffers as a direct result.

Today’s post was brought to you by the letter “S.”

As in “screwed.”

Monday, April 18, 2011

US Drowning in a Sea of Debt by Design

As the budget battle in Washington takes shape, one thing is becoming painfully clear. It’s a question that has been lurking in the corners of everyone’s mind. And now, faced with the simple, stark choice of increasing or decreasing the size of the federal government, it can no longer be avoided.

This binary argument seems to be too simple for many career politicians to comprehend. The answer is either a “yes” or a “no.” One answer will lead to our destruction; the other will start to turn us toward prosperity once again.

After two years of Obama and his hard-left enablers in the Congress, our economy is in shambles. More money has been spent by them than by any Congress or president in our nations’ history, using the excuse that massive amounts of tax money was needed to pull us out of the most severe recession any of us have ever seen. TARP, the Stimulus, Cash for Clunkers and the takeovers of the healthcare, student loan and banking industries have resulted in a sea of red ink.

The world’s financial sharks are circling, smelling our nations’ life-blood in the water, waiting for our ship of state to sink so they can feast upon our remains.

Oh, and a happy Monday to you all.

This is a problem of our own making. Can there be any doubt that we’ve chosen people to represent our interests in Washington with all the thought that goes into the purchase of a pack of chewing gum? Big Spending Progressives with no real understanding of free market economics have ruled the waves. They have repeatedly violated all the know laws of economics and have brought us to this sad point in our history. One expensive and intrusive government program after another has effectively done what no foreign fighting force could ever hope to accomplish.

They have brought us to our knees.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I’ll repeat a few of the numbers. Regular readers will already know these things, as I try to keep you all informed of the things you won’t hear on the evening news reports. You need to tell your friends and keep reminding them that things don’t have to be this way. We could have pulled out of this recession long ago: it’s the lack of leadership we have in Washington that is directly to blame for our continuing troubles.

We could have low gasoline prices, but President Obama is actively preventing us from exploring our rich natural resources. He would rather help Brazil drill for oil with $2B of our tax dollars.

We could have lower prices at the grocery store, but the Fed is pumping dollars into the economy recklessly in an attempt to inflate our way out of  debt.

Food prices are rising in part because of the misguided emphasis on unproven energy ideas that are subsidizing corn for use in our gas tanks instead of oil, resulting in higher feed grain prices for meat along with every other food that uses corn in any form.

Jobs are being displaced as the costs of doing business rise because of increasing rules and regulations imposed upon small companies. Add to this the overt hostility to “big business” and “the rich” that is contained in every speech that Obama gives. His demagoguery of the Ryan budget plan was full of it.

Class warfare is being used against us to divide and conquer. Those of us who are old enough to remember when we all wanted to be rich, because we could be, now stare in disbelief at a president who openly criticizes the creation of wealth and the demonizes wealth-creators as an enemy, while Al Qaeda and muslim extremism is not. I cannot fathom the enthusiasm of anyone who has been without work for years cheering his of speech.

High unemployment, the reporting of which is skewed by the numbers of unemployed who have dropped off the state’s rolls, record numbers of Americans in poverty and on food stamps, an anemic GDP projection of 1.5% all spell economic doom for which there are solutions, but this administration will not embrace.

What this administration does embrace is immature blaming and finger pointing. While actively preventing a recovery, they seek to lay blame on the dread George Bush for getting us into the mess that they cannot seem to get out of. Sorry Barry, after two years, you own this economy, and somebody needs to tell you, You’re Doing It Wrong.

So, we’re back to The Question. Since Americans are a forgiving nation, we have waited patiently to see whether Washington and this administration would do all the things it promised when it was elected in 2008. As things deteriorated, we waited some more, thinking that eventually Democrats would wake up to the facts that the rest of us know and start turning the economy around by opening up our domestic oil fields for production and loosening the reins on the business community to release the flow of private sector activity that will lift us out of this Obama Depression.

We wondered whether it was incompetence on their part, or naivety. They’ve had two years to accomplish their goals, and it seems as if they are doing what they planned.

We wondered if the continued harm they are inflicting upon our economy was deliberate. After Obama’s speech last week blasting Ryan’s budget plan, there can be no further doubt.

This is being done to us on purpose.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday Bits of Tid - Tax Day Edition

Today is the day we all look forward to with breathless anticipation. If you're a tax preparer or work for the Infernal Revenue Service, that is. The rest of us, not so much. Really, we have until Monday to file, so we can anticipate all through the weekend.

Oh joy.

Stereo geeks such as myself are mourning the passing of Sidney Harman this week at the tender age of 92. He founded Harman-Kardon and JBL that helped establish America as a player in the burgeoning field of high-end music reproduction in the 1950's. He was also the fellow who purchased Newsweek for $1 in 2010 in a bid to revive what was once a respected name in journalism here. Now, all of the formerly respected traditional outlets combined aren't worth one dollar.

Curiously, there seems to be quite a few people who don't think we pay enough in taxes. All those folks want us to pay more. They can now put their own money where their mouths are at this site, STFUand There's a link to the IRS site where said people can send a "gift" to the government any time they please. And yes, STFU stands for what you think it stands for.

Duude, like, man, don't you feel, like all guilty and stuff, man? Indoor pot growing is killing the planet, man.

A doomsday group announces their date for the end of the world from the deck of a cruise ship to Bermuda. This couple will be dining at the Captain's table after dodging six natural disasters on their honeymoon.

Backwards or upside-down, it's all the same.

Now this is a great commercial. (h/t to the Morons over at Ace's place.)

Ace Ventura's girlfriend.

I think maybe Sidney Harman would've liked this guy.

And finally, this little guy discovers his second most dangerous body part.

Have a good'un y'all. And to Ima, you're welcome.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Pre-Friday Stuff

I have a full day of appointments, starting with the doctor, so I'll give you a list of links with which to entertain yourselves. I'll be back tomorrow.

Here's my best imitation of Instapundit.

Fido is clean, so that means I didn't waste any time listening to Obama's campaign budget speech yesterday. The Wall Street Journal was less than impressed.

The economy continues to degrade. That's one helluva laser-like focus on jobs you got there, Mr. President.

Old Slow Joe Biden, doing what he does best during Obama's speech yesterday.

This is a joke, right? Bolivia wants the UN to give Mother Earth the same rights as a human being. As I think about animal rights, they/she can have them as soon as they/she can sign their/her name to a contract. If that doesn't happen, then this is just another way for lawyers to expand their market.

Time Mag: What if there's no Hell? John Lennon lives!

Speaking of Hell, here's the closest thing on Earth - If Progressives ran the world. You mean they don't already? Sure coulda fooled me.

And since I haven't had any pulchritude here lately, Karina Smirnoff will be on the cover, and inside Playboy.

Any woman named after vodka can't be all bad.

As always, feel free to poke around in the archives while I get poked on at the doctors' office.

Adios, mon frers.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Change You Can Believe In – Actual Inflation is Near 10%

If you’ve been to the grocery store or the gas station lately, you may have noticed something. This “something” is a rapid rise in prices. It’s also something Washington struggles mightily to deny.
So, what are you going to believe? The government or your lying eyes? *rimshot!*

It almost seems like someone (or a group of someones) doesn’t want to tell you the truth about the economy. However, some truths cannot be hidden, lied about, or massaged. Money is like that.

You will doubtless recall how our unemployment rate was expressed in the Days Before Obama. There are several measurements that the government uses to track that figure, with the most popular being the U-3 statistic. (Click here for the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s page, scroll down to the chart on page 2.) But today’s long-term unemployed are skewing that number. If you’ve been out of work and can no longer qualify for unemployment compensation, you aren’t counted as being unemployed.

While that figure is still in use, the Obama administration fabricated a metric, “jobs saved or created.” If you’ve never heard of that phrase before, you’re not alone. No one else had either. It’s essentially meaningless since there is no accurate way to measure whether or not a job has been “saved.” Maybe it suddenly got religion.

The methods used to calculate inflation have changed over the years. The method used in the ’70’s isn’t the same method in use today. Even the BLS says so.

“Some have argued that if the CPI were computed using the methods in place in the late 1970s, the index would now be growing at a rates as high as 11 or 12 percent per year.” (This was written in 2008.)
Well, it just so happens that someone has figured today’s inflation using those methods in place in the late ‘70’s. You’ll never guess what they found. Never in a million years.

Inflation is nearing 10%. And that number is just for February.

I don’t need to tell you that.

But someone needs to tell Washington. We know that prices are rising much faster than what we’re being told. We also know why. It’s in the interests of any administration that the public not be told the truth about the terrible economy. An inflation rate of 10% usually means disaster for whoever has his feet on the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office.

Almost as surprising as this number is, what’s even more surprising is where this nugget of information is found.

Now I don’t for a second think this will make it to the evening news on any of the alphabet stations of the Make Believe Media, but folks will eventually find this out. And it’s not like it’s actual news. We’ve known it for a while now, but it’s always nice to see a bit of validation.

This is particularly noteworthy since President Obama is set to give us a speech on the budget. Our deficit is the highest in history and is in large part responsible for the sagging economy. Government spending is clearly out of control, taken to unprecedentedly new and unsustainable levels by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid during the last two years of their Reign of Terror in Congress.

As usual, I’ll be washing Fido, my imaginary pooch, instead of listening to that speech.

He stinks almost as much as our economy.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

How a Little Hardship Can be Good for Us

I had the opportunity to have a conversation with a couple of good friends over the weekend. One of my buds had just bought a “new” car. I put the “new” in parentheses because it was 20 years old and had just over 100K miles on it. Even then, it was in better shape than the van he’s had ever since I’ve known him. That one had over 300K miles on it and was starting to give him just a bit of mechanical trouble.

As we were doing what guys do, namely looking over his new ride, opening the hood and the doors, noting this and that and swapping advice on how to keep a vehicle operating for a long time, the conversation turned to the economy. Not surprisingly, we all started noting the deteriorating conditions and the various things we were all doing just to get by. The proud owner of said new vehicle had lost his formerly good-paying job which he’d had for years and had lost his house as a result. They were familiar with my plight too: a lifetime spent absorbing everything I could inside the manufacturing arena only to be tossed aside as we abandoned our lead and were “guided” towards a service economy.

While our collective situations were not nearly as secure as they were a few years ago, we had all managed to make the necessary adjustments to our new normal of greatly reduced income. Despite our current financial woes, we all still had our typical sunny outlook.

Alcohol had nothing to do with it, I swear.

It was on my drive back home that I started to note something. We Americans really are different. We have an inborn resiliency. How much of this can be attributed to the natural state of humanity and how much is due to our society is up for debate. It’s the classic nature versus nurture question that we’ve debated ever since we could talk and reason amongst ourselves.

We have access to relatives who are able to remember what it was like when there were similar downturns in the economy. Mom had me later in her life; she grew up during the Great Depression. So I got to hear her horror stories about people living hand-to-mouth for years at a time. I also learned how to make do with less. Mom was resourceful when she wanted to be, especially in the kitchen. The only bad part that I saw was her tendency to place too high a value on money, a psychological scar that she embraced, sometimes irrationally. She tended to carry on as if we were still in a depression, when she could have enjoyed the fruits of her labor.

Since I seem to be on the lookout for any silver lining in a cloud, I’ve come to the conclusion that this recession, the worst in modern times, has the potential to be quite good for all of us. We’ve been forced to do more with much less. We’ve started to ask questions, particularly of our elected officials, notably why they aren’t doing more to get our economy back on the road again.

We’ve circled the wagons, to borrow a phrase. We’ve been forced by circumstances beyond our control to rediscover things within ourselves, things we’d forgotten because life was almost too good. Family and friends have become more important. Virtually everyone is in the same boat to varying degrees, and we have collectively and instinctively drawn our loved ones closer. Financial transactions now go through family members when possible, since banks won’t lend money to someone without a decent job. Bartering has taken the place of the greenback in some situations. Our social circle has expanded to include others in similar fashion. Charity on a personal level has increased dramatically. We’re helping each other more than ever.

Collectively, we’re coming together during these difficult times, as we are wont to do. It’s in our nature. We also have the great fortune of living in a country that has created a very high standard of living. Even the poor among us have a car, a computer, and a cell phone. Such are the fruits of capitalism.

Even in the worst of times, we are truly lucky to be Americans. And there’s nothing like hard times to make us even more aware of that.

But in the meantime, we’re going to be busy making lemonade out of the lemons we've been given.

It’s what we do.

Monday, April 11, 2011

GOP wins this Budget Battle, Sort of

A national crisis has been averted. Last Friday’s down-to-the-wire agreement by Obama, Reid, and Boehner kept the Federal government open. Thankfully, our troops got paid, The Washington Monument stayed open and all the non-essential workers stayed on the job. Grandmothers were spared untold horrors, as were countless puppies and kittens.

And the spending spree in Washington continued unabated.

While the argument over spending had been simmering for a few weeks as Republicans did what the Democrat-controlled 111th Congress refused to do, (as was their Constitutional duty) namely to submit an operating budget for fiscal year 2011. The pot had begun to boil over, fueled mostly by the typical doomsday rhetoric from the progressives on the far-left side of the political aisle who think that the world cannot rotate without money from Washington.

And the amount of cuts to programs was miniscule compared to the amount of money this administration spends. With a record-high peacetime deficit in the trillions, and Washington spending more than $50B in one week, this budget that cuts only $38B for a short time is like bailing out a dingy with a thimble while under a waterfall. It just isn’t enough.

But, we’ll take our victories where we can find them. I found one tiny ray of real hope in all this: we started to change the mindset in Washington from ever-increasing levels of spending to one of actually considering cuts in funding, something this Boy never thought he’d see.

The usual suspects on the left attempted to lay blame (once again) on the dread Tea Party as though this was a replay of the last showdown back in the mid-nineties where the GOP was the party that wanted to kill Granny. And children. And puppies. And kittens.

The nation knows better. Had the government been shut down, the blame would have fallen directly upon the dainty shoulders of Reid and Obama. They knew it. Nothing else explains the President’s rush to take credit for the “biggest cuts in history.” Never mind that he had pledged to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term, and sat by idly as the Pelosi and Reid-led Congress created the most extreme debt our country has ever seen.

Yeah, Chuck Schumer, what was extreme was the unprecedented run-up of debt that you helped create, not Republican efforts to trim it. And when, exactly, did wanting to reduce the nation’s historic and potentially devastating deficits become extreme?

We’re waiting, Chuckles.

Dems can make all the excuses they want for adding more to America’s debt than all the previous administrations before it combined. The Stimulus has not only failed, it has failed in spectacular fashion. We are now much worse off than had we been if nothing had been done. The $787B that was spent did nothing to lift our economy from the worst recession in recent memory; I maintain that it did the exact opposite, on purpose.

But, we had to try it your way. We had to see what didn’t work before we, as a nation, suddenly realized what we already knew. There is no way to spend our way out of a recession, as Slow Joe Biden proclaimed. His Gump-like solution sounded like the perfect antidote to our ailing economy to everyone except those of us who could count. Maybe, we thought at the time, there was some sort of magical formula, known only to those inside the Beltway, which would prove to be the solution to the negative effects of a large and overweening government presence in the free market: even more government intervention.

After the massive failure of this administrations’ misguided economic policies, American’s eyes no longer glaze over at the mention of deficit numbers. As this battle has proceeded, the public is hearing more accurate facts and figures concerning the budget, and it doesn’t like what it has been hearing. Or seeing. Too many of us know too many of us who have been unemployed for years, or have lost their home or business, or had to move in with relatives as a result of this, the Obama Depression.

So, we can claim a small but not insignificant victory, one that is tactical instead of strategic: it’s time to reduce the size and scope of the Federal government and the negative impact that it has on our economy.

Last Friday’s compromise that actually cut spending was only the first step in changing the national dialogue from one of how much we spend to the more sensible notion of cutting real spending.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Friday Bits of Tid - Video Day

On this day in 1743, nothing happened.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

It would be nice if nothing happened, especially after this week. Sheesh, what a week. Another earthquake in Japan, like they haven't had enough already, the judicial election in Wisconsin, the federal budget meltdown with our military caught in the middle and not getting paid, and now Obama's biweekly vacay.

Oh well, let's let the rest of the world do whatever it is they want to do. I'll just open a nice Breakfast Beer. I'll put it in this beer holster for my walkabout. Everything is better with beer. And bacon.

Duude, like if you, like, eat one of these pot candy bars, like, won't you get the munchies and, like, man, want to eat another pot candy bar? You'll be, like, really, really busy eating all day, won't you, man?

This is not good news: Mankind is nearing the end of the Age of Speed. Coulda fooled me, it seems as if everything is happening faster and faster. Oh, that's just for machines? Nevermind.

Bacon cologne. Need more be said?

What do Carlisle Cullen, Scrooge McDuck, Jay Gatsby, and Jed Clampett all have in common? They're on the Forbes Fictional 15. Consipuous by his absence from this years list is Uncle Sam. Go figure.

And now for the crux of the biscuit, today's videos. There are a few I've posted just because you need to see them if you haven't already. It'll be good for you, trust me. A couple are just standard Friday fare, a way to welcome the weekend.

Here'e a one that's good for you. It's the kind of Congressional hearing we should be having more of.

Here's another pair, because all the goodness just won't fit in one YouTube video.

Ladies and gentlemen, Ann Barnhardt, Cultural Heroine.

An interview with this amazing woman is here. A devout Catholic, she says, " I reckon He looks at me and just shakes His head." He Might, but we don't. We need more like you.

Here's a trailer for the first movie for us Tea Partiers, Atlas Shrugged, Pt. 1.

As of this writing, Atlas Shrugged hasn't been picked up by a major distributor yet, so you'll have to call your favorite theater and ask them to run it. Haven't heard about plans for the DVD yet.

This is just way cool.

And finally, the official video of this blog (for this week, anyway).

Ya'll come back now, y'hear? Also, if you could hit the tip jar, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Obama’s Clueless Energy Policy on Parade

In a speech yesterday at a town hall meeting at Gamesa Technology Corp., a Spanish-owned company that makes wind turbines, President Obama mocked one questioner in the crowd complaining about the high price of gasoline.

“Let them eat cake!”

OK, that was Marie Antoinette, but the sentiment was the same. An out-of-touch, narcissistic leader, well insulated from the masses, makes a condescending remark to the honest concern of an average American about high gas prices. Out loud. "You may want to think about a trade-in."

Clueless Incompetence, thy name is Obama.

Or, is that what it really is?

As you should know (as a regular reader of this blog), candidate Obama very simply and succinctly laid out his energy agenda thusly:

Is there any doubt that he’s pursing that strategy with vim and vigor? The saddest part (heh, I almost typed “the sadist part”) is that we don’t need to be held hostage by high energy prices. But in the town hall meeting yesterday, he tried to sell his energy policy as one that will help America by becoming “energy independent.”

Now, that’s not a bad idea, in and of itself. Other countries are striving to do that very thing, realizing that it’s in their national interest. There’s only one thing wrong with the approach that Obama wants: it defies the laws of physics and economics.

Obama wants to make a major shift in the nations’ energy production into “green energy.” Ask Spain how many private sector jobs are lost for every one “green energy” job. The answer is 2.5. Aside from the problem I just outlined, he blissfully ignores another fact or two: we already have in place a large and efficient infrastructure for the distribution of the best form of portable energy currently known to man, oil.

Physically, oil is the most energy-dense substance on Earth. It can be made into many things. Ironically, it’s the primary component in helping to achieve higher mileage in cars due to its light weight, replacing heavier metal parts. As I’ve pointed out before, you probably had some of it rubbed on your bottom as a child. It’s not the evil substance that it’s made out to be by the rabid enviroNazis. It’s such a vital component of everyday life that to reduce its use would be a serious economic blow, and a stupid one at that. We’re not “addicted to oil” like some helpless junkie. We use it precisely because it is useful in a staggering variety of ways. That isn’t addiction, it’s common sense.

But that doesn’t stop Obama from peddling his mistaken beliefs on an increasingly unwilling nation. His actions and policies are the main reason we now have to pay twice the amount for a gallon of gas than we did on the day of his coronation. Illegal drilling moratoriums while helping a foreign competitor (and Soros investment partner Petrobas) are directly responsible for the unnecessarily high prices we now pay, high prices that can only stifle the very fragile economic recovery that we’re told is happening.

Evidence is coming to light that this is bad policy, but you knew that already. Every time the price goes up at the pump, you receive a cut in pay. If you’re poor, a minority, or a senior living on a fixed income, the increased costs of energy are an even larger burden. Nancy Pelosi railed against President Bush when the cost of gas was over $3.00 dollars a gallon. Don’t you find her silence as prices exceed $4.00 just a bit odd? It seems that high gas prices under a Republican president are outrageous, but just hunky-dory under a Democrat president.

It’s funny how that works.

Obama seems to think that alternative fuels are the answer. As we’re slowly finding out, making fuel from food sources isn’t all that good. The regulatory rush to mandate the use of biofuels has some very bad results, as this article points out. Skyrocketing food prices and deadly food shortages are just two of the results. But, of course, you already knew that, too.

There is a sensible solution to our energy problems, the very same problems that were brought about by the childish belief in the Global Warming Monster. It doesn’t exist, it never did exist and it never will exist. Mankind is incapable of inflicting any form of long-term damage to the Earth. But it provided a handy excuse for political radicals to use to weaken America from within. Repetition of this lie has cost us trillions in wasted time, jobs, and capital.

It’s time to put that belief in the Global Warming Monster back under the bed where it belongs. Or back in the closet.

And to tell the truth to the children in charge of our national energy policy.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Republicans Winning the Battle of the Bulging Budget

There are two fights currently being waged in Washington over the budget. Both of them are due to the 111th Congress led by Pelosi and Reid and their irresponsible and ruinous tactic of creating massive debt on a level unseen in American history in an attempt to gain political power. Aided by President Obama and his similarly misguided efforts to violate all the known laws of economics, we have now reached an impasse that threatens to shut down the Federal government.

The first fight is one over the continuing resolutions made necessary by the previous Congress’ refusal to do their duty by passing a budget for this fiscal year. The second battle will be over the new Congress’ budget as proposed by Paul Ryan. You’ll be hearing a great deal about the budget, so it’s important to keep these two undissimilar issues separated.

Befitting this blog, I’ll start with Ryan’s budget proposal first. This is the 2012 Federal budget that he outlined in a Wall Street Journal article here. In it, he plans real live cuts to the budget, not cuts in the rate of increases. Democrats have already begun to howl that these cuts will starve senior citizens and children, result in the closure of police, fire departments and libraries, cause dandruff, and make all animals be born naked. As scripted, Nancy Pelosi has already started her tired attacks on the mean old Republicans, stating most of those things here. Come on, Nancy, at least try to come up with something more original.

But most of the news in the next few days will be about the latest in a series of continuing resolutions, again made necessary by Pelosi and Reid’s failure to submit a budget for this fiscal year. Their failure was a calculated effort to try to paint the incoming Republican-led Congress as brutal brutes, catering to the whims of eeeeevil corporations and the source of all things bad in America, “the rich.” They did this (or, rather, didn’t do it) when they started seeing polls last fall accurately predicting their losses in November. So, Pelosi and Reid decided to give their remaining progressive partners some ammo for the next election cycle: no budget.

Never mind that America has witnessed the many failed efforts to spend us out of a depression with Porkulus, Cash 4 Clunkers, a takeover of Wall Street and the health care industry, student loans, all resulting in a financial disaster of Biblical proportions. Mysteriously, even the $800,000 spent to teach Africans to wash their genitals didn’t lift us out of the Obama Depression. Funny, that.

All the smoke and mirrors in the world can’t disguise the failure of this administration’s fiscal irresponsibility. Obama himself bravely committed to a freeze after increasing federal hiring to historically high levels. He wants to keep that spending at unsustainably high levels for a reason, and you won’t like the reason why.

Even during his presidential campaign, Obama was committed to causing as much economic damage to the country as he could once in office. Remember his intention to cause everyone’s utility bills to “necessarily skyrocket” under his plan for a Cap-and-Trade environmental bill? That this single statement didn’t automatically disqualify him for further consideration is a mystery that remains unsolved, save for the fact that the Make Believe Media ignored it. That should have been a gigantic red flag for every voter in the country. Klaxon alarms should have sounded inside the heads of every sentient American that if we elected a dyed-in-the-wool Marxist, the first thing he would do is bring us to our knees by destroying our economy. It's the Cloward-Piven, divide-and-conquer America strategy on steroids.

Ask yourself what Obama would be doing differently if he were deliberately planning America’s destruction. Everything he’s done so far has harmed the nation in undreamed of ways: he is anti-business in a capitalist country whose business is business. He has embraced only certain companies like General Electric who stand to gain from his perverted brand of crony capitalism and who also control a major arm of the Progressive Pravda Media. He supports public sector unions who are draining state treasuries in order to keep the Democrat Party funded with taxpayer dollars confiscated from member’s checks against their will.

Obama even has the audacity to tell Congressional Republicans to “act like grown-ups” in the battle over the continuing resolution.

Well, Mr. President, they are acting like adults.

Adults know when to say “no.” Adults realize they can’t spend more than they take in every month. Adults are capable of basic math like addition and subtraction. Adults don’t play childish games with something as serious as the crushing debt you’ve helped create that has failed to get our economy out of the ditch. Adults don’t blame others for their own failures.

Adults also understand free-market capitalism in a way that you obviously don’t.

Let me make this perfectly clear – any shutdown of the federal government will be purely the fault of Obama and Reid. Should either one of them fail to pass a continuing resolution that starts to whittle away at the size and scope of the federal government, they will be the ones directly responsible for starving seniors and children.

This isn’t the Nineties. Obama doesn’t enjoy the advantages that Clinton had, namely high public approval ratings and a sound economy. He will be unable to pin this on the Republicans, as the Democrats hope to do.

America is awake. Games and fiscal parlor tricks won’t cut it anymore. We will not tolerate any obstruction by Democrats. There will be no compromise and no excuses for cutting the government down to size.

Mr. President and Harry Reid, get it done and do it right.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Let the Games Begin – Obama Launches His 2012 Reelection Campaign

(h/t Ace of Spades HQ)

This video can barely contain all the enthusiasm. Confidence virtually drips from the monitor. Can you feel the Hope, or maybe that’s the Change, it’s hard to tell.

The script is telling, coming almost exclusively from women,

“The last couple of elections have been almost turning point campaigns.”

“Kinda nervous about it.”

“I think it needs to reflect the changes we’ve seen in the last two and a half years.”

“I can’t not be involved. There’s just too much too much that’s fundamentally important right now that’s going on.”

“I don’t agree with Obama on everything, but I respect him and I trust him.”

Well, Ed from North Carolina, right there’s your mistake…

The rest of those well-rehearsed lines contain about as much intelligence as one can expect from an Obama supporter: There’s no “there” there. Vapid, rambling, bordering on incoherent, all in all, it’s the perfect Obama campaign ad.

Three years ago, all this worked on an unsuspecting country. After eight years of continuous Bush-bashing by the MBM (Make Believe Media), we’d been softened up to the point where Bill the Dead Cat could’ve won the election.

We got his cousin instead.

While the DNC and Obama think they can get by this time with more gauzy platitudes and indistinct goals, the rest of us know better. We have a bit more data with which to measure this administration.

Here’s a short list:

Avg. retail price/gallon gas in U.S.

01-09 $1.83

Today $3.104


Crude oil, European Brent (barrel)

01-09 $43.48

Today $99.02


Crude oil, West TX Inter. (barrel)

01-09 $38.74

Today $91.38


Gold: London (per troy oz.)

01-09 $853.25

Today $1,369.50


Corn, No.2 yellow, Central IL

01-09 $3.56

Today $6.33


Soybeans, No. 1 yellow, IL

01-09 $9.66

Today $13.75


Sugar, cane, raw, world, lb.

01-09 $13.37

Today $35.39


Unemployment rate, non-farm, overall

01-09 7.6%

Today 9.4%


Unemployment rate, blacks

01-09 12.6%

Today 15.8%


Number of unemployed

01-09 11,616,000

Today 14,485,000


Number of fed. employees, ex. military (curr = 12/10 prelim)

01-09 2,779,000

Today 2,840,000


Real median household income (2008 v 2009)

01-09 $50,112

Today $49,777


Number of food stamp recipients (curr = 10/10)

01-09 31,983,716

Today 43,200,878


Number of unemployment benefit recipients (curr = 12/10)

01-09 7,526,598

Today 9,193,838


Number of long-term unemployed

01-09 2,600,000

Today 6,400,000


People in poverty in U.S. (2008 v 2009)

2008 39,800,000

2009 43,600,000

+9.5% in one year!

U.S. rank in Economic Freedom World Rankings

01-09 5

Today 9

National debt, in trillions

01-09 $10.627

Today $14.052


In light of two years of Obama, this ad is much better:

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Burn a Koran, Find an Anti-Constitutionalist

In case you haven’t yet heard, a Florida pastor finally followed through with his plan to burn a Koran last week. Had this event happened, say, twenty years ago, I doubt it would’ve made the evening news. But since we cannot escape the relentless 24/7 news cycle and the fact that everyone with electricity can tune in to our news broadcasts, events are pretty much reported instantly around the world.
Thanks to this worldwide dissemination of “news” (I put that in quotes because so much of what passes for news these days is opinion, not raw information), pastor Terry Jones’ action led to riots and murders in Afghanistan, among other reactions.

I’m not here to condone his action in burning a book. Would I have done it? No, I have better things to do, like wash Fido, my imaginary dog. I’m also not an attention-whore. I would, however, like to point out that he merely exercised his Constitutional First Amendment right to express himself, and in so doing, he pointed out several things.

1. He is well within his rights to burn a Koran.

2. Barbarians half a world away didn’t like it.

3. Said barbarians felt the need to demonstrate their displeasure by killing a few innocent people.

4. One of our own generals highlighted that it placed our fighting forces in greater danger, as if somehow they were safe to begin with.

5. Last but not least, he managed to discover anti-Constitutionalists within the halls of Congress.

In a most graceless, unChristian way, Pastor Jones did the nation a favor by pointing out hypocrisy and double standards, both abroad and, sadly, here at home.

Several bloggers noted them also this weekend. Ace posed this question to the Moron Horde, Should Terry Jones Have Burned That Koran? Be sure and click on over to read the comments.

Dr. Sanity had a great post that probed the question further with her post, The Last Roundup. Also a good read, enjoy.

Terry Jones managed to raise our awareness of the difference in cultures, poking even more holes in the misguided theory of multiculturalism, whereby all cultures are even, except for Western culture, as a result of the codified insanity of postmodern “thought.”

Christians have had to endure the desecration of religious icons for years without complaint. Piss Christ, a sculpture of Mary made out of elephant dung, and many other alleged works of “art” have insulted the sensibilities of Christians. Noticeably absent from these displays is any violent protests or murders of innocents on the part of the offended. Naturally, this doesn’t make the news.

Even more insanity is shown by those who blame Jones’ action for the deaths of others instead of those who actually did the killing. It’s almost as if those murderous Afghans were mind-numbed robots, or something. There's also this little unreported item,

Tonight, the governor of Balkh province (of which Mazar-i-Sharif is the capital) is telling the international media that the men who sacked the UN compound were Taliban infiltrators. That’s rubbish. Local clerics drove around the city with megaphones yesterday, calling residents to protest the actions of a small group of attention-seeking, bigoted Americans. Then, during today’s protest, someone announced that not just one, but hundreds of Korans had been burned in America. A throng of enraged men rushed the gates of the UN compound, determined to draw blood. Had the attackers been gunmen, they would likely have been killed before they could breach the compound.

What struck me was the eagerness of Harry Reid and Lindsey Graham to condemn Jones. His actions were not reprehensible by any means: what he did was perfectly legal. What is reprehensible is the outright refusal of some of our elected officials to recognize that Jones is protected by our Constitution. The fact that they would consider any form of Congressional action, be it an official condemnation, as Graham suggests, or holding hearings, as Reid suggests, should strike each and every American as the affront to our nation that it is. It should also cause us to wonder if these two lawyers know anything about American law and the founding principles upon which it rests.

Even worse is the idea that we’ve somehow managed to elect people into high office who took a sacred oath to protect and defend our Constitution, and are failing to do so.

What we should have heard out of these two on the Sunday talk shows is a full-throated defense of American law and a sound rejection of any efforts to condemn Jones. The fact that we didn’t is far more offensive than a barbecued book.