Saturday, February 28, 2009
Rocky Road Closed
And in Kalifornia, a strident voice of the American liberal elite can’t seem to get its message of global warming, dangerous guns, obligations to homeless, nuclear whale endangerment and socialist paradises out to the buying public:
Even The Elite Can't Read
In Chicago, the venerable Tribune is on the skids and the travails of the New York Times don’t need belaboring. Newspapers are an endangered species. The question that comes to mind is, why?
The easy answer and one which has been pointed at regularly is the incredible decline in credibility. All you need is a dozen or so examples of really outrageous journalistic malfeasance before no one is going to believe your cries of “wolf” any more. The fact that the major metro news-rags have become characterized as propaganda devices for the American left is certainly a significant factor. The unwillingness of the newspapers to acknowledge that there is a market for balanced reporting, even if it means that conservative free-market principles might have to be credited is an issue. It doesn’t take an intense market analysis to notice that when Fox News and the Murdoch empire jumped up with a semi-conservative, “fair and balanced” approach to TV news, they flourished and the more liberal network news outlets descended waist deep into the La Brea tar-pit. They have been followed down the well-worn game trail into the morass by MSNBC, CNN and the other bleating, liberal sycophants.
But, what of newspapers? It was a Norman Rockwell start to every day in America to wake, get the morning coffee perking, and then go out the front door to pick up the home-delivered newspaper. Maybe you would greet your neighbors as all along the block, people emerged to begin their routines with the latest events of the world as reported accurately by a trusted source. What happened?
Reporting gave way to editorializing and moralizing. Newsprint succumbed to 24 hour news channels. Acceptance of what is real died in favor of reinforcement of what I want to believe. I don’t need to see or read what challenges my thinking. I can find more than enough online and on cable to reassure me that my sound-bite superficial prejudice is perfectly correct—even when it is patently absurd. Harvard MBA Bush is stupid and divinity school drop-out Gore is an environmental genius…Yep, if that’s what I want to believe, I can be reinforced just by choosing my news. Who needs a newspaper?
And, what of journalism? I remember the rote rule for Journalism 101 on how to write a “lead” for a news story. It was simple. The first sentence must include the “W” questions—who, what, where, when. Put it all in the first sentence. No other choices. Then in subsequent paragraphs expand and explain. Fit it all in the first three column inches. Nothing important left off the starting page for a jump.
You don’t see it anymore. Pick up your local news-rag. The front page is definitely NOT news. It somehow ignores world events, wars, crimes and national catastrophes. It is almost surely some human interest story about a welfare mother, unwed with five children who hasn’t paid her mortgage in ten months, weighs 340 pounds and is losing her food stamps to a local thug who is preying on her when she goes to buy her lottery ticket each afternoon. Octo-mom, anyone?
So, we’ve got no news, no credibility, no market awareness, and a largely illiterate, unquestioning audience who is apathetic about the world. Forget about newspapers. They are now the last of the dinosaurs slowly declining in the swamp, turning slowly into methane and hardening into a gooey residue which might someday be used to heat our homes.
Friday, February 27, 2009
This was what happened when a similar young senator with a youthful message got elected in 1960. Things happened a bit slower during those days, but in short order after JFK took office we had rising Communist insurgency in Laos about to spill into Vietnam, a Cuban freedom fighter invasion of the home island, and then a Soviet installation of nuclear missiles just a few miles off our shores. Challenges that plunged us into a decade of war and brought us as close to nuclear holocaust as we've ever been.
In those days we had LeMay at Chief of Staff, McNamara at Defense, Bundy at National Security Advisor, Rusk at State and some very experienced folks in the White House who well remembered World War II. The brain trust didn't totally succeed, but they walked the fine line and avoided total failure.
Now we've got 45 days into this disaster. The Russians have finagled us out of forward basing for our airhead and tankers in Kyrgystan. The Iranians are flaunting their nuclear progress. Hamas is claiming victory out of defeat, in a manner reminiscent of the spinning of the Tet Offensive in 1968. And, we've got this coming up:
Pressure of the Job
I'll acknowledge great respect for the admiral who is clearly on a very hot seat. He's saying the right thing to let Kim Jung-Il know that we are ready and this is not going to work out well for him.
But, I've got to think that he is being quite naive if he truly believes he will get a decision out of the White House should this sort of response be required. It will be a split second window-of-opportunity to act. Is it likely that Obama will take the call and respond within a minute with "Do it!"
Thursday, February 26, 2009
This is government run amok. A willing President who seems largely oblivious to the concept of relating income to outgo is aiding and abetting a Congress which is well controlled by Caligula, Nero and Pelosi. They are eagerly feeding their constituency at the public trough without regard to any future consequences. The only certain outcome is their dependents will eagerly return them to office to continue the dismantling of the country's economic capability.
Take a look at some of yesterday's goodies:
Have They No Shame?
This is little more than a group of spoiled five year olds who have a magic pen that writes letters to Santa Claus which are always fulfilled. Simply write it down and you will most assuredly have it under your Christmas tree...but, wait. Why delay until Christmas? You've got it all now. Simply take it.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
One Month Review
What continues to amaze me is that no one is commenting aggressively on the pure dissonance of what he says versus what he does.
How can you, with a straight face, sign a $782 Billion stimulus pork bill on one day, address the American people on your "fiscal responsiblity summit" the next, and watch your Congress address another $450 billion dollar (with more than 900 earmarks) spending bill on the third day?
Are the American people really so far down the road to political illiteracy that they don't realize what is happening?
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
The terrorism discussion was always enlightening for students and became even more so after 9/11. There’s a distinction between revolution and terrorism. Most folks aren’t aware of it or haven’t considered that there might be a difference. It’s critical to understand what is happening in the world to recognize it.
Revolution occurs when a significant faction is unhappy with the existing governmental structure. It is critical to have significant numbers for your revolution. Without that critical mass, you are simply a rabble in the streets, largely ignored and ineffective. With the leadership, the organization, the weaponry in hand, you can rise up to overthrow the oppressive regime. Lacking any of those components you are doomed to failure. The seeds of the revolution are usually sown by the government itself.
Terrorism, on the other hand, doesn’t have the numbers necessary to attack the structures of governmental power. These are small groups of extremely disaffected people. They might have motivation, leadership and weapons, but they don’t have the critical mass to make them effective against the powers of society represented by the government. They must do something else.
The tactics of terrorism are to strike at random. Strike viciously and without remorse against any target of opportunity. No one is immune to the threat. You don’t have to be in government service, working for a government entity, a member of the military, occupying a governmental building. You can be a soccer mom driving the SUV to the mall after a game and be killed when an IED blows up in front of Chuck E. Cheese. There is no rhyme, reason or pattern to the violence. In short order you are terrified.
The public then demands that their government perform the most basic function of a government, provide security. That mission is neither cheap nor easy. To make you secure the government will inevitably become intrusive and oppressive. Failure to act exacerbates the terror and the demands. Action to secure the society results in oppression and a rising resistance to government. Ideally, in the terrorists view, the response to the terrorism creates sympathy for the terrorists. “If we just understand them, they will leave us alone.”
There are two alternatives. We seek security by acceding to their demands, or we begin to express dissatisfaction with our government and its ability to protect us. Either one is a victory for the terrorists.
We Will Be Visited Again
See the pattern in action there?
We will be hit again. It very probably might not be of the scale of 9/11. It could be a pattern of much smaller, more dispersed and more random attacks across the nation. Recognize where this leads and also that we simply aren’t ready for that.
Monday, February 23, 2009
If you've ever wondered what it's like in a close-in engagement, listen carefully to the intro to this song. It's the real thing. High-G environment, straining and fighting your own body to stay in the fight under conditions which the human being was never designed for. In amongst the sound-track you'll hear the growl of a Sidewinder, but that's not really what the song is about. It's about what every fighter pilot instinctively wants to default to...going in for guns.
The Messiah (AKA “The Wiz”) is going to offer us his budget on Tuesday night. The gist of the package has already leaked and, the kindest thing that can be said about it is, PTUI! He promises to “cut the deficit in half within four years.” I hope you aren’t impressed.
The deficit isn’t the debt. The deficit is the amount in a current year budget that spending exceeds revenue. As long as you are continuing to incur deficits you are increasing your debt.
Let’s put this proposal in context. Within 33 days of taking office he has virtually tripled the current year deficit. He’s now at levels that exceed the spending in World War II! At that time our very survival was imperiled. Today we’ve got a recession that still hasn’t reached the levels of 1982 or 1976 in terms of loss to GDP, inflation, unemployment or market collapse. The current year’s over-spending looks to fall within the range of $2.4 trillion, but we’ve got seven months left in the year and no end in sight.
The proposals he admits to so far reveal continuing hand-outs to the non-productive segments of our society in the next two years with deficits ranging at “only” about a trillion bucks a year. Finally by year four, he touts a “reduction” through his successful budget cuts to just over half-a-trillion. That is not a noteworthy achievement using any math format I can think of.
How will he achieve this “miracle”? He’s going to cut military spending, of course and save $190 billion a year. If you can’t find any way to make that amount into five times that amount without smoke and mirrors, we are in agreement. And he’s going to tax the “wealthy” a lot more.
Any reputable economist will be able to explain that increasing taxes on pseudo-wealthy folks will quickly drop them into the not-wealthy ranks. It will reduce their investments in business and stifle any entrepreneurship efforts. It will simultaneously eliminate any funds in private hands for investments in the market or savings. Hard to see how that either generates revenue increases or an economic recovery.
The only difference I can see between that Wizard, depicted above, and President Obama is that the short guy in Oz was really benevolent at heart and his solutions were economical and centered on individual growth and responsibility rather than government handouts.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Let the Voters Speak--Nah!
The original Constitution kept a significant distance from the populist notion of letting voters have much influence. The reasoning is pretty good. Voters tend to be emotional, easily swayed by rhetoric, ungrounded in priorities, unfamiliar with the functions of their government, and (as seen most recently) largely motivated by greed.
Unfortunately repeal of the 17th wouldn’t get us back to better government. The fact is that the state legislatures are no longer repositories of rational debate, intellectual discussion and knowledgeable dedicated public servants. They are the breeding ground of the pandering venality which characterizes Congress. That's where the congress-critters learn what it takes to appeal to the welfare-dependent electorate. It's where they learn how to load a stimulus bill without regard to budget reality.
Maybe better would be to revert to the pure essence of Art II, section 2 which describes the method of choosing the President. Conspicuous by its absence is any mention of a citizen casting a vote. The Electoral College chooses. They are appointed by the state legislatures. They are free to vote their conscience. But there is no general electorate involved. Take that Al Gore.
And, Jane honey, it wasn't a two minute lapse of sanity. It took you a twelve hour flight each way to get to Hanoi and you were there for a week making news. Your treasonous behavior undermined us for several years. And, unlike some others who spoke against the war such as Joan Baez, you never recanted, never regretted, never admitted your wrong-doing.
We will never forget and we will dog you until your dying day.
- We can't afford high tech
- There is no threat any more
- We need parity not superiority
- Saving mortages is more important than fighter pilots
I was surprised when I read it. It's in-depth and it's with a real guy, not some pointy-headed pseudo-expert who's never had his socks rolled down in a tactical jet engagment. Take a long look:
Aces Gone For Good?
We've got some well-trained, highly motivated drivers out there. They still need the best equipment we can give them because there is no glory in dying for a nation that can't support you.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Friday, February 20, 2009
Of Course Rhode Island Likes It
The idea of a "miles driven" tax on vehicles is foolish on its face, so it may be that LaHood's position in the cabinet is acceptable to him because of advanced dementia. How a Republican of any stripe could propose such legislation is beyond me. But notice how quickly the administration which he is serving slapped him unceremoniously down. If he has learned his lesson, he won't speak again without approval from the Master and his minions.
Notice if you will, how the proposal itself is the sort of thing that could only come out of grid-locked east coast metro states. It reminds me of the 55 MPH national speed limit the Beltway crowd, which obviously never transitted west Texas, passed in the '70s. Certainly it is telling that the governor of Rhode Island would favor it. You can't log any significant miles in RI without running out of state in about half an hour. Where I live, there's no place you can reasonably go to work or to a supermarket in under 50 miles. I think I'd pay more than my fair share.
But more frightening than any of this stupidity is this part:
The mileage system would require all cars and trucks be equipped with global satellite positioning technology, a transponder, a clock and other equipment to record how many miles a vehicle was driven, whether it was driven on highways or secondary roads, and even whether it was driven during peak traffic periods or off-peak hours.
So, how many years of tax under this system would it take to fund the equipment necessary to implement it?
And, how many ways can this sort of government monitoring of your every vehicle movement be called instrusive? Constitutional violations here? Anyone? Bueller?
Sure, it isn’t of the scale of a $787 billion “stimulus” nor even a $750 billion TARP, nor a puny $90 billion rescue of people who don’t pay their mortgage. This is small potatoes. I’m talking about the non-event of February 17th. You didn’t even notice when it did or didn’t happen, did you?
We Didn't Really Mean It
In a world of cable and satellite television, there are still people with analog TVs. Remember the little clicker dial numbered from two through thirteen? It comes with a “My Favorite Martian” sort of headgear thingie that sits on the top. After you select one of the four available channels on the clicker dial, you then twist and turn, extend and bend and maybe wrap some aluminum foil on the tips to try to get a picture. They haven’t made this sort of TV in more than 25 years!
Four years ago, Congress set a deadline of Feb 17, 2009 for people to prepare themselves for cessation of analog broadcasting and conversion to digital. It doesn’t require a new TV. It gets you a better, more reliable viewing experience. It simply requires a “converter” that sets on top of the TV. You can still play with your rabbit ears if you wish. The converter costs about $40 and the government will give you a coupon for that amount to get your box. You’ve got four years to do it. You’ve got four years of public service notices on your analog TV telling you to do that.
Guess what? The people didn’t do it. The minimal percentage of folks who fall into the technologically benighted category of non-converters didn’t do it. The government coupons went out. All of the rescue money was expended. Fifty percent of the coupons never got redeemed! The government can’t figure out that if the money wasn’t spent on redemption, that they could issue more coupons. The morons now should suffer consequences. They should lose their TV picture until they can get off their welfare-fed butts and go the corner store to redeem their coupon.
Not in this country! No, indeed. No one will ever suffer consequences for their inaction, ignorance or failures. The congress has extended the deadline, the broadcasters will be required to continue to waste funds double-band broadcasting. And, would you be willing to bet the slugs won’t be ready in June either?
Thursday, February 19, 2009
CNBC Visits the Chicago Board of Trade
The fired up commentator is off the reservation for CNBC, but the remarkable aspect is the spontaneous and very sincere reaction of the traders on the floor. These are knowledgeable guys from Obama's own backyard.
Could this be an early crack in the Messiah's facade of perfection? Are real people beginning to notice and recognize this farce?
One can only hope.
Did an adult chimp go on a rampage and nearly kill his owner until a police response was forced to kill him? Yep. Did the President's partners-in-Congressional-crime enact a nearly trillion dollar "stimulus" bill that is nothing more than blatant government handouts to supportive constituencies last week? Could the imagery of shooting the chimp before he "stimulates again" be anything other than Constitutionally protected free speech in a free press? Is there no reasonable element of satire and/or irony in the cartoon?
Take a look here and follow some of the links for views of the cartoon, the outrage and the various editorial reactions:
For Bush It Was Different
What we are seeing here is yet another step in the direction of national censorship. It doesn't take an Uri Geller to have the mental acuity to recall the caricatures that were common to the extent of being default depictions of former President George W. Bush. That was giggle fodder for the left-wing and the mainstream media. No problem with the most insulting graphics.
But, this is different. This is racist. How is depicting this President (if that was the intent of the cartoon--which it wasn't!) any more racist or outrageous than doing precisely the same thing with more direct linkage to the man in the previous administration?
The difference, of course, is that this egotistical blowhard is demanding to be immune from any form of criticism and lampooning. Look downstream just a little ways and you can see federal laws being promulgated to penalize any complaints, intentional or inadvertent insults, or criticism of the administration.
Why, I ask myself, am I continually flashing back on the Third Reich, the Fuerher and the Gestapo? Next thing you know we will be bombing the NY Post and assassinating editorial cartoonists in the street--just like those Sharia loving jihadis do when the Prophet is depicted in drawings.
Do you doubt me? Try this on for size from Oklahoma City, not San Francisco:
We'll Walk Through Your House
Yeah, the Fourth Amendment is on the block too!
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Notice the little deletion of the adjective, “new”? Notice the verb is now a compound verb that offers an arguably easier accomplishment—create, which is tough and preserve, which is unmeasurable. It is easy to see a newly created job. That’s one that didn’t exist before. But, how is one to know if the job they have is the regular old job they always had or one of the special category of “stimulus-preserved” jobs?
Maybe the basic question to understand this is: can government actually “create” a job? Where do jobs really come from? Flashback in history and take a look at FDR’s creativity in the job market. You’ll find a couple of programs called Works Progress Administration and Civilian Conservation Corps. Did you create a job, if you pick up some unemployed folks at the courthouse square and haul them out to the woods to cut a trail through to a meadow and put up a couple of picnic benches and an outhouse? Did the work produce something for the GDP? Can you find a product at the end of the labor other than that the time was filled and you sort of “earned” your government stipend?
The way jobs get created is a free enterprise business owner has a successful product; something the consumer wants or needs that is priced right, makes a profit for the business and satisfies the customer. If the demand for the product is high, the business owner will need to produce more of it, and will hire more workers. Those are created jobs. The business will need more raw materials which will create demand in other companies to supply those input items. That will create more jobs. These jobs didn’t exist, but now they will. They create profit and company growth. They fuel the worker’s demands on the market for product they can buy with their wages. The economy spirals upward.
Is that what the trillion dollar stimulus is going to do? It is impossible to pick the thing up and not find useless expenditures for political gain on every page. It is pork of the purest form, veritable loin chops cut fat for the benefit of the congress-critters who will point to it in the next election. It is payback for favorites and purchase of votes.
Will pouring money into “shovel-ready” projects—that’s a euphemism for stuff that wasn’t high enough priority to get funded in a needs-based free-market economy—actually create real jobs? Will those jobs actually be new jobs or will they go to existing construction companies who have the skilled work force and experience to accomplish them? Are these in the “preserved” category? Do these projects contribute to the GDP at any time in the foreseeable future?
How will the brokerage employee, the computer programmer, and the auto assembly technician react when pointed to these work-boots and bull-dozer jobs which they have no experience to assume nor desire to take? Nope, no thanks.
Jobs get created in a growing economy by private enterprise which is designed to make a profit. Add an overlay of restrictive government regulations, directives for environmental “green” goal-setting regardless of market, and some good old-fashioned political pandering by politicians and you don’t get creationism in the job market. You get a Five-Year Plan for a centrally planned economy—which history has amply demonstrated will always fail.
Anyone who has run a business, managed a project or faced a payroll day can explain that to you. Government simply cannot “create” a job. Wishing and hoping will not make it so.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
I'm not sure what to believe about this:
Looks Like a Setup
The missing key ingredient for me to make a definitive decision on the issue is knowing exactly what the assignment was. I lean toward total academic freedom. What is said in class, stays in class and provides the raw material for thinking about a topic. You might find some of my proposals reminiscent of Jonathan Swift's "Modest Proposal."
The student apparently is one of the born again, saved by Jesus evangelical Christians. That's fine. It is his right. The professor apparently is a classroom dictator. I identify with that and like the concept. I control the discussions in my classroom as well.
If the assignment was truly "open-ended" as it says in the news blurb, then he got what he asked for, random topics which might not conform to his learning objectives yet still are acceptable. If the assignment was more specific, then I would have to say that the student came loaded with the intention of creating an issue. He apparently had no trouble getting the ACLU, Focus on the Family and the Alliance Defense Fund all lined up to cry foul in short order. Pretty powerful lineup for a community college incident. That's entrapment.
My underlying opinion is that free speech is always the preferred option, even when the speech doesn't fit my own thinking. But my classroom is not a free speech zone. The student pays to enter and learn what I have to offer him. I get paid to provide that. No one compels the student to take my class. They are not under duress and they can quit anytime up until the thirteenth week of a fourteen week semester. The classroom is most assuredly not their personal stump for prosyletizing.
I'm with the prof on this one.
Monday, February 16, 2009
But it is beginning to look like The Messiah simply can’t overcome his total lack of executive experience. Take a gander at this proposal:
Campaign Continues--Administration Lags
We’ve got a decision that rather than maybe just oversee the recovery efforts of the Big Three automakers to insure they aren’t squandering tax dollars we’re going to set up a committee. At first it was going to be a “czar”—that sort of super-mensch of government which announces by dictatorial fiat how things should be. But, on further consideration that would be a bad idea. It would be too easy to point the fickle finger of failure at one individual and then the clueless dolt who appointed him, AKA The Messiah. Nope, what we are going to do is use the last refuge of the left for solving problems through government intervention. We are going to appoint a committee!
Remember the old joke about a camel? That’s a horse designed by committee.
The astonishing part is that just like the Presidency itself, we appear poised to give control over a very technical and complex industry to a group of political animals who have absolutely no background in the auto industry. They are not engineers or MBAs. They aren’t sales or marketing professionals. In fact the great probability is that like the Prez himself none of them will have ever managed a business of any kind. Apply the concept to your next scheduled airline flight. Six charcoal suited, well-coifed, legislators head to the cockpit—none of them having ever driven an airplane before. Or, maybe your next doctor visit. Walk in and explain your symptoms to government commissioners on health, Daschle, Reid, Biden and Feinstein. Take two aspirin and call them next election day.
But, what is the President doing in the executive mansion? He’s campaigning. He’s never actually been any sort of manager or executive so he falls back on doing what he has proven he does best. He hops in the jet and travels around the country making campaign speeches. Are we noticing yet?
Remember when Bill Clinton kept AF One on the tarmac for an hour while he got his haircut in LA? At least he had made the California visit for a reasonable presidential purpose. Compare that to Saturday’s Valentine date for the Messiah. “Hey, Michelle baby. Wanna grab the jet and go out to dinner? A couple hours each way and we chow down at our old favorite in Chi-town.” No government business involved!
I think I would call that abuse of power as well as a significant carbon footprint. So far, however, the abuse has been excused as simply a romantic interlude.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
So now we've got the camel's snuffling snout under the side of the tent. Pay particular attention to HR-45 in this:
So It Begins--with a 45
The rumor is already making the rounds that this egregious assault on the Second Amendment got folded into the mis-named "stimulus bill". I couldn't find it in a quick search of the bill text.
One can only wonder what makes language like "shall not be infringed" so difficult to understand.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
I'm talking about "Octo-mom".
Take a look here at just one part of the story:
It's Not Welfare in Her View
She has never had a child by natural insemination! She is unmarried (although that doesn't seem strange at all considering what a kook she is.) She has six at home under the age of seven. Three of them are handicapped in some form. She has no job and subsists on $490/month. In other words she is mired in poverty of her own creation.
Now, I've never discussed the costs of a reproductive services clinic for in-vitro fertilization, but would I be off-base to harbor a belief that it isn't cheap?
I would think it only reasonable that a legitimate agency would do some screening before offering assistance to any would-be parents. They would be expected to determine the motivation of the prospective parents, the ability for them to raise a child, the history of family stability, the home environment, etc. Then for a reasonable fee, they would provide services.
What happened here? She walks in and says she wants a baby. She's got six and no huband or adequate income! She should be counseled and sent on her way, if for no other reason than she can't afford the procedures.
But this doctor (!) says, "Great. Let's get you a baby! How many would you like?"
She says, "let's go for the record, doc. How many do you think will fit without splitting me open like rotten watermelon?"
He says, "Well, some bimbo had seven last year, so let's try eight. If it doesn't kill you, we'll be famous!" He is clearly certifiably insane as well.
She wasn't raped. She wasn't a victim of incest. This was totally voluntary, but totally stupid.
Now she's got fourteen and a book contract and more than fifteen minutes of Warholian fame. And, she doesn't think it's welfare.
The doctor should lose his license and then be sentenced to an extended stay in Folsom for professional malfeasance. The woman should be committed to a mental institution. Now that they are born, there is no reasonable solution over what to do with these fourteen, already ruined lives.
I'm done. But, wait! This breaking news:
Apparently No Regrets
Friday, February 13, 2009
His wife comes up with a suggestion: "Honey, why not start a TV network to show the prejudiced Americans what we are really like? You know, moderate, fun-loving religious people."
He goes for it and before you know it, he is spreading peace and good fellowship amongst the Infidels.
That is until this unfortunate incident:
Setting Back the Business
Do you suppose this will adversely impact advertizing revenues for the next quarter?
Somehow turning the federal government over to someone who has promised to hand out riches as though he owned the money tree seemed a good idea to a majority of the nation. It didn't matter that the Messiah's resume showed no qualifications relative to the complexity of the leadership requirement.
That's why this is so illustrative:
Example of Excellent Judgment
Even a basic corporal who has been responsible for organizing a squad has learned what Obama hadn't up until this point. Whether this learning will continue with fewer missteps is doubtful to me. There's no reason to be optimistic.
The Judd Gregg appointment was a political act of the basest sort. Gregg was merely to be a poster-boy for the otherwise lacking bipartisanship which the Messiah keeps promising. Throw a Republican senator into the cabinet to show you are manning your organization based on what is good for the nation, not lock-step ideological litmus tests.
But part of creating a leadership team, as every experienced leader knows, is having a loyalty and mutual respect for each other. You choose someone to work with you because you value their talents. You pick carefully and then you support them until they give you reason to do otherwise. Your men trust you and work hard for you in return for your honesty and support in their tasks.
Now, if you pick someone for a job and the choice is very clearly a political statement you need to be cautious that you give that individual the same respect for their skills as anyone else would receive.
Obama had no idea about that kind of team-building. He picked Judd Gregg and then before even his confirmation hearing was started, he diminished the authority and responsiblity of his agency in a blatant power grab. He clearly demonstrated to Sen. Gregg that he was nothing but window dressing and anything important would be snatched from his hands before he could start work.
Sen. Gregg has at least recognized the situation and done the right thing. I don't see how any other choice would have been possible for him.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Then comes release day, and within minutes the horror stories begin flowing. Within days the new software is revealed as blotted, buggy, unready for prime time. Same stuff, different audience, different conclusion. It happened with 95, 98, ME, XP and now to unprecedented levels with Vista. Let’s note that the not-unbiased Apple folks have not been hesitant to pile on and maybe even misrepresent a little bit.
I bought a new machine when I needed one. I unhesitatingly went with Vista and Office ’07. I had a single driver issue which was the fault of the third-party equipment which failed to properly link to the Vista software. Once I found it, that product worked well also.
Here’s the story that was discussed by the newsgroup:
We Are French--We don' need no steenkin updates
I frankly (no pun intended) don’t see how you can blame MS for advising the French that an update was required and then not having the customer take such a simple action. Stupid is as stupid does and the Frogs found a crème de merde in their box of chocolates.
But as the discussion progressed what became clear was that folks express strongly held opinions on Vista without being a user. Or, we find some of this in play:
From the latest edition of PC World magazine, a reader writes:
“I heard of a woman who stated that she didn’t know she had to have antivirus software; another user claimed not to know that you had to download updates for antivirus or for Windows. Microsoft finds a way to help them with warning bubbles in Vista—and now everyone is annoyed and they want the warnings off again.
…But what Microsoft needs to do is create Windows 7 Smart and Windows 7 Stupid, so that people who actually know how to use Windows have their version and dumb people have the other one.”
So, there we have the solution. And, I believe it is a good one. Seems like Joe Biden or Nancy Pelosi ought to be taking this ball and running with it. I think the concept has a great appeal for their core constituency.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Let’s take a perverse view of this. Be objective and unemotional. Ask some questions. Is baseball going to clean itself up? There’s only one answer to that…as long as there are millions to be made by superhuman performances, there will be no clean up. Do you believe that Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth or Mickey Mantle were Snow White? Do you really care about whether Behemoth Bonds home run record is tarnished by dope? Worried about the sanctity of records? Get over it. Add an asterisk.
Why do you go to the ballpark? You go for an afternoon in the sunshine, drinking beer and sucking up disgusting hot dogs and nachos. If you are a purist you get some peanuts in the shell. If you are a tot, you get some cotton candy. While you are there, you are entertained by some people performing remarkable athletic feats. If they couldn’t do that, would you still pay thirty bucks for the seat?
If you are still young and athletic yourself, you might watch the moves and attempt that sort of thing in your next office softball game. If you are old and decrepit like me, you tell the guy next to you that you used to be able to do things like that. Then you play the dollar bill game to see who goes for the next beer.
Start by admitting that professional sports are just that. They are major industry entertainment and should not be confused with meaningful athletic competition. You go to be entertained and see something you might not normally experience (excepting a $6 beer, of course.) Let’s forget about trying to eliminate performance enhancing drugs from professional athletics. You can’t.
Don’t convince yourself that major league baseball is some sort of inter-urban competition in which Tampa’s prowess is validated against St. Louis. It isn’t that at all. It is big business. Notice that all of baseball has a “farm system” in which promising players are trained, experienced and culled to rise to the top in their sport. Of course there is one exception. The New York Yankees consider the entire major league structure as their farm system. They simply buy anyone they see as talented and add them to the billion dollar stable. You might even consider money as Steinbrenner’s personal sort of steroid. But, it ain’t about simple athletic competition. It is about putting on an entertainment experience.
You simply can’t stop chemical enhancement in that kind of environment. They will always find a way. We will be impressed by what they do on the field. If their testicles shrivel to the size of split peas and their penis performs like that of an eighty year old man who ran out of Cialis, that is their choice. Madonna doesn’t seem to care—she appears to consider it a challenge.
Keep it out of college games. Keep it out of high schools. Keep it out of the Olympics (fat chance!), but let’s just ignore it in American professional sports. We want to see remarkable. If modern science can produce remarkable, why don’t we let it?
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
It is only those millions, shrinking in numbers everyday, who still pay taxes and don't expect to live on the dole, who care. We are the "chattering class" and it irritates the hell out of him.
A Pivotal Moment
There is very little doubt that the Messiah is not strongly committed either to support of Israel nor to taking the sort of positive, clear action which will control Iran. He simply won't do anything.
Israel faces a real and escalating threat to their very existence. Netanyahu and Livni are both committed to survival. If you live there it would be hard to be anything else. With an electoral mandate, you could reasonably anticipate that the IDF is going to have to do something about the mad-man in Teheran. It might be neat and surgical or it might be big and rough. But something will follow from the election and Obama would do well to start getting some serious briefings on his options. Hillary, are you listening?
Monday, February 09, 2009
What’s the manipulation? You might think back to last October/November. Then the outgoing Bush administration aggressively shepherded a bailout package for the banking and mortgage industry which was designed to correct the temporary drying up of credit. No credit was available because defaulted mortgages shorted cash flow to the lenders. No credit meant no floats for business to manage inventory, no investments in new construction, no durable goods purchases and no housing starts. Restore availability of credit and you get recovery.
The package is called TARP. It’s generically estimated at $750B, but actually came through at around $900 billion. Most of the funds fell to the Sec. of the Treasury to manage. Now, here’s the manipulation part.
If the money flowed into the system, the credit would begin to recover. Notice, however that the Democrats couldn’t allow that to happen. If the economy recovered, even a little bit, how could they justify a huge give-away of taxpayer dollars? So, rather than authorize the whole amount for infusion into the economy, they’ve held back half. Even now, they still hesitate to authorize release. It ruins their strategy.
Now, if you are a lender and you are promised a huge cash infusion you get ready to roll. But, if the actual funds are only half what was promised then you are going to be cautious and reluctant to open your credit accounts to borrowers. That allows the Reid/Pelosi folks to tell us it didn’t work. The sky is still falling.
Remember FDR’s famous quote from his first inaugural: “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Now contrast that to the Messiah’s wailing from the mountaintop that if we don’t give away our future to the salivating throngs we are doomed to catastrophe. That’s leadership, new style.
The current “stimulus” bill ought to be the thing to fear. The encouragement is to spend. That’s the road to recovery. We are going to be given money and we should squander it. We’ll all be little federal governments, spending what we haven’t earned for no long term benefit. We all like to spend. I know I do. But, for long term economic stability, I know that I should save. I should invest. I should plan. I should build.
There is very little meaningful in that regard in this huge pork-laden behemoth of a give-away. The fact is that it will pass. There’s no stopping it. But, if we could…and if we released the last of the TARP money…and if we waited six months…we would see recovery because we have fundamental economic strength.
Unfortunately we are being manipulated. And it is being done purely to fuel the hysteria about economic catastrophe. “Free the TARP millions….!”
Sunday, February 08, 2009
Another Step on the Road to Enslavement
If no one wants to hear your message in a free and competitive market, then apparently the Democrat solution is to make the market unfree and non-competitive. I wonder how Goebbels would handle this?
Saturday, February 07, 2009
That's why I was a bit surprised when he announced that he might run to replace Bill Richardson as governor of New Mexico. But, now this has resurfaced:
Kilmer in July 2005 Esquire Magazine
In case you don't want to read through the whole thing and ooze over his ranch and love of bison, just focus on this pithy little section:
Kilmer: Oh, sure. It's not like I believed that I shot somebody, but I absolutely know what it feels like to pull the trigger and take someone's life.
You understand how it feels to shoot someone as much as a person who has actually committed a murder?
I understand it more. It's an actor's job. A guy who's lived through the horror of Vietnam has not spent his life preparing his mind for it. He's some punk. Most guys were borderline criminal or poor, and that's why they got sent to Vietnam. It was all the poor, wretched kids who got beat up by their dads, guys who didn't get on the football team, couldn't finagle a scholarship. They didn't have the emotional equipment to handle that experience. But this is what an actor trains to do. I can more effectively represent that kid in Vietnam than a guy who was there.
Did you get that? Because he is an actor he knows what killing a man in combat is like? Did you get that characterization of the several million Americans who cycled through the Vietnam War? Do you think the hundreds of thousands of vets in NM aren't going to notice this?
Put a fork in him. He's done.
With two months to go until this year’s day of reckoning, it might do well to consider what this is telling us. Think about it honestly, not through a partisan lens.
You pay taxes. Unless you are in the fortunate demographic of the poverty stricken, you find yourself each year with an increasingly complex return. You take all of the documentation of your personal life down to H & R Block, or your accountant and bare your soul on his desk. A total stranger now knows your deepest financial secrets. Or, you buy a tax-prep software package and work your way laboriously through the “interview” until you finally get the generally bad news. You then go back and rework trying to minimize the damage. In the end, you give up and click “send” followed by a check in the mail and crossed fingers for the rest of the year.
You want to do what is right, but you don’t want to be stupid. You want to pay what you rightly owe, but not a penny more. You pick up the phone and call the IRS to check on a deduction. The bureaucrat says no. You hang up and weep. On a whim, you call back and ask the same question again to another agent. He says, of course that’s good. You take his answer.
Would you want your returns scrutinized the way these political figures are having done? Of course not. Are you confident that your return could withstand any scrutiny at all? I doubt it.
The fact is that our tax system has gotten so convoluted and so riddled with loop-holes, exceptions, reversals and confusion that all of us are inadvertently criminals without intent.
Take no joy in the discrediting of Obama’s appointees. It could happen to any one of us. Consider rather that there is a lesson to be learned. There is something deeply flawed about a system of law that effects every single citizen which is so confusing that anybody could be a violator without knowing it. When the annual requirement has gotten so convoluted that the only thing we hope for each year is that we aren’t among the slightly less than 10% that get audited. We know we are probably wrong. We did the best we could. But that’s not good enough.
Will someone notice this lesson from all of this?
Friday, February 06, 2009
The subsequent correspondence regarding my comments about the “tone-down” of the airfield and the lack of realistic positioning of things like Thud Ridge, the Red River or any villages on the ground was subordinated to his comments regarding the whole bag of things we had going on at the time. I begin to think about what was going on in the cockpit, besides the praying, sweating and whimpering at the time.
The weather was never as good as the simulator graphics. I might have seen that sort of no-haze, no clouds, severe clear day once or twice in my two tours. But it was decidedly rare. Then there was the issue of multi-sensory inputs. Visual, auditory, proprioceptive; all in overload at the same time.
The heartbeat went up at the first sighting of the Red River inbound. Then it was 20-30 minutes of non-stop multi-tasking. Fly formation, keep track of three other airplanes, scan the area for threat. Check your radar, look at the gauges, monitor your airplane and think about the target tactics. Listen to the radio and try to sort out who is who among all the chatter. Let the voices draw a three-dimensional picture for you of who is where and doing what. Hear and filter the threat calls. Get the time flow. Predict the next thirty seconds, minute, two minutes. Check your RHAW (Radar Warning Receiver) or identify the various audio tones to get a threat picture. Watch your fuel gauge, set your weapon switches, wait for the tank jettison call. Navigate. Maybe sneak a glance at your map or a target photo. Fly formation. All the while you are moving at 600 knots at 3000 feet above the ground, jinking back and forth always at a minimum of 3 or 4 Gs. Hear the SAM calls, find the missile in flight, analyze the threat. Save your ass, if necessary. Get back into formation.
In the target area. Follow the briefing. Fly the delivery, see the target, meet your dive bomb parameters. Watch the guns. Recover from the dive, find your leader, jink to screw the gunners. It goes on for the whole inbound and outbound period until you are back out across the Red and climbing to relative safety. Only MiGs will threaten for the next 200 miles.
We didn’t think much of it. We did it because we could. We knew that few people knew what we did and they couldn’t do it even if they wanted to. It wasn’t remarkable to us. It was what we did.
Then Beck pointed out that it was “pretty heavy stuff.” And, when I thought about it, I tend to find myself agreeing. Which brought me full circle to today’s combat ops and the moving scenario painted in the inimitable style of Snooze and Trip of Dos Gringos:
I had a chance to meet Snooze at the last River Rats doings. We shot our watches, talked about folks we both knew and then the following night, which was the formal dinner, we met again. I was wearing my miniatures, as is appropriate with formal wear for military officers, and his first comment when I approached was, “got enough medals?”
The issue wasn’t really that I possessed an inordinate amount, but rather that from the perspective of the current world, that sort of thing can no longer happen. The nature of the war, with high tech weapons and our ability to target, deliver and survive with minimal exposure means that opportunity for remarkable personal feats is gone. What was once remarkable is now done effortlessly.
Which isn’t a bad thing in my view.
Thursday, February 05, 2009
Read This Slowly, Then Consider the Implications
Of course, the folks who elected the Messiah will embrace this. It will even be considered bold and courageous by the middle class of small families and home-owners. It is hard to question it. Now consider some questions:
If you work for a profit-motivated company and they establish guidelines for a bonus, and you then meet those guidelines even when the financial world is collapsing all around you, should the government come in and “ex post facto” either penalize or vilify your success?
Did you notice that there is no linkage to the “fat cat CEOs” getting the millions in compensation and the specific companies receiving TARP money?
If your company received TARP money and you fall under the pay cap, handsome though it might be, could you quit? Or will the government indenture you?
If you quit, how likely is it that the company could hire a competent CEO to jump into the sinking boat and take command knowing that the potential reward for success is limited compared to your potential earnings in another endeavor; and the penalty for failure is a destroyed career with little opportunity to return to succeed in the future?
If the government can cap the pay of a CEO of a private corporation under a Board of Directors and shareholders who is to say what the government established “appropriate” compensation and bonuses might be in the future? What “dumbing down” did for education, this will do for highly motivated, competent executives.
If this can be applied to companies receiving TARP funds, why couldn’t or shouldn’t it be extended to companies receiving government contracts?
Where can we find the Presidential authority to establish such rule for compensation in Article II of the Constitution? In other words, is this Constitutional in the current court?
WHAT ARE THE APPROPRIATE LIMITS ON GOVERNMENT IN A FREE MARKET CAPITALIST SOCIETY?
Or, is it true that we are no longer such an entity?
Wednesday, February 04, 2009
First, will the Republicans recognize what went wrong and will they respond to correct those errors? My gut reaction is no. They will micro-analyze and fail to stand back and see the big picture. They will scrutinize the campaign, the “failure” to nominate a “true” conservative, and the ineffectiveness in making any of their accusations or attacks stick. They won’t stand back and evaluate the macro level. They will fail to notice their own pandering, venality and inability to express consistent principles. Hence they will not change. It is too late.
Second, even if they did take my advice, they would fail. They have lost the big battle, the one for the minds of the electorate. The problem is that they lost it thirty years ago. They lost it when the products of the misguided Vietnam draft policies that offered exemptions from service to those who took degrees and careers in public education began to filter into the schools of America. They lost it when the plethora of American local newspapers began to consolidate under the control of a small handful of mega-info companies who could control the content. They lost it when the National Education Association became a powerful lobby with appealing emotional pleas for inclusion and broadening and ethnic-studies and student-centered learning rather than emphasis on fundamental skills for self-sufficiency.
What the Republicans failed to recognize in their micro view of the political scene is that you must first clear and till the fields before you can plant the seeds. If you don’t prep the soil, your product can’t grow. Simply playing Johnny Appleseed and sowing seeds along your path won’t get you a harvestable crop. It takes an educational equivalent of Archer-Daniels-Midland to reap the big harvest. It doesn’t happen overnight, it takes generations. As Mao poignantly said, “the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.”
We’ve long heard the accusations that education at all levels is skewed to the left. The universities across the country have become bastions of anti-American, socialist-focused, ethno-apologist, political action pseudo-intellectuals. Remember Ward Churchill in U Colorado? How about Bill Ayers and Bernadette Dohrn in Chicago? The examples from the Ivy League would fill books. All of this huge industry is creating the next generation of “citizens of the world” with the proper Kumbaya attitude to make us all feel warm and fuzzy. Hold hands now and feel the power.
It didn’t happen overnight. Only the conspiracy theorists might have foreseen the pervasive dependency culture we’ve created. It extends even into people who superficially profess to be conservative. Look around you. Talk to people and ask them questions. Who did 9/11? Who is the guilty party in Gaza? Why does oil cost fluctuate? What, really, is the minimum wage about? Or, simply ask the most basic and telling question of them all:
“WHAT IS THE PROPER ROLE OF GOVERNMENT IN AMERICA?”
Everyone wants government to fix the problems. Government should make it right. Government should bail us out. Government should provide us healthcare. Government should keep corporate CEOs from making “too much” money. Government should give us low oil prices. Government should cure cancer. Government should solve (newest terminology) the “Climate Crisis.”
That has never been what the phrase, “promote the general welfare” meant.
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
So far we've had Geitner, then Daschle and now this addition to the list:
Time For Confessions
A perverse mind might suggest appointing Gore, Rangel, Pelosi, Reid and a few others to cabinet posts. Might clean a lot of government up in a quick purge.
The Democrats seem very willing to tax high income EARNERS and redistribute to unfortunate welfare queens and princes, but when they reach high income levels through no apparent productive effort on their own, they somehow find themselves immune from the taxes.
Reread "Animal Farm" for a discussion of levels of equality in a socialist system.
Police Say School Shooter Had Troubled Past, History Of School Shootings
If you didn't see the identifying "network" crawl, you'd believe you just saw the footage on MSNBC. After his release, based on police error in his apprehension, he will be appearing on Oprah, the View, and Larry King Live.
Don't miss it.
Monday, February 02, 2009
Notice his mention that "we held an election about change..." and note that the video was from May of '07--seems a bit presumtuous at the time.
But notice the audience, the enthusiasm, the sincerity and the very clear statement of his positions on this issue. Rahm Emmanuel doesn't like handguns, or apparently, the people who own them.
At first glance the concept sounds great: no handguns for folks on the no-fly list. But, are we sure that list is ONLY terrorists? What about SUSPECTED terrorists? Didn't we just see Mr. Emmanuel's party make a huge issue about the folks in Gitmo being innocent until due process is complete?
Then notice the inept contrast between the NRA and suspected terrorist: "if we have to make a choice between the NRA and suspected terrorists, I know which side we will come down on." I know what he meant, but that's not what he said. Or, maybe he did say what he meant.
Then, how many tales have we seen of very innocent citizens being erroneously on the list? And, what protection do we have from draconian action like declaring all NRA members to be "suspected terrorists"? How about just folks who have filled out purchase papers for a handgun in the last fifteen years? You know, that would be those heartland folks who cling to their guns and religion...
By their words ye shall know them.