Tuesday, June 30, 2009

New Regular Stop

There's a new addition to the Regular Stops list and to save you the trouble of having to search it out, here's the link:

Men Are Not Potatoes

I dunno, maybe all the really cool blog names were already taken, but I spent some time there today and was impressed with the writing. It's well done.

We even dislike the same swishy, bearded, leftist, liberal, New York Times opinionators--is that multiply redundant?

Take a look.

I Didn't Realize

One of the first rules of blogging is to always "reach-around" and link to other folks. They will link to you in return and readership increases for all involved.

So, today I give you this piece about a magnificent book:

New Paltz Reviews Me

If that isn't the most self-serving piece I've ever put up, you can elect me President and call me Messiah.

Monday, June 29, 2009

From the Ministry of Propaganda

In yet another 1984 moment in which the language is turned inside out and upside down, we get this:

She Follows Precedent

That item is a veritable poster child for defining "spin"!

We've got Supreme Court nominee Sotomayor who is clearly an appointment based on ethnicity and gender rather than judicial qualification. She is under pressure for her well-documented history of stating that a "wise Latina" would make better decisions than a white male. She seems blissfully unaware that the law is the law and a judge of any persuasion is supposed to abide by that. She is a case study in identity politics.

The question cropping up now is how the Ricci decision will impact her confirmation hearings.

The mere overturning of a nominee's opinions as an appellate judge wouldn't usually be quite as significant as this one. The problem here is not merely that the Supreme Court found her reasoning in the Ricci opinion to be both superficial and incorrect--that would be problematic might not terminally so. The problem is that the case is exactly the issue under which she is already being scrutinized.

Bad judicial reasoning is worth noting. Racism and gender prejudice from the bench is disqualifying. Bad reasoning on a racism case in support of her own ethnic predispositions is well beyond justification to deny her appointment confirmation. She was the lead questioner when the case was brought on appeal. She was leading the unanimous concurrence that the case did not even merit serious consideration and the opinion of the lower court was thorough, penetrating and correct. The fact that it was also clearly a case of ex post facto adjustment to promotion criteria at the expense of a clearly better qualified group. Throwing out the result when the rules were followed and you didn't like the outcome cannot be justice except in the most warped interpretation.

New Haven CT wanted to provide unbiased promotion opportunity to all firefighters of all races. They hired an independent firm to create a promotion test. The test was administered properly and the results of qualified candidates was racially representative. The vacancies for promotion, however, would go to the best qualified candidates, not merely the fully qualified. Wouldn't you want the best qualified leading the firefighters that respond to your emergency?

But, that wasn't the desired outcome, so New Haven simply threw out the unpleasant result. That has got to be discrimination based on race in any logical person's interpretation. You would think even a "wise Latina" would be able to see that.

Even respected conservative talking heads are saying it doesn't matter. I'm saying it will be significant. We'll see, but I'm betting there will be more roiling of this appointment before it is done.

Substandard Health Care For All

The true believers can make things sound really logical and convincing. Who are you going to believe, them or your lying eyes? The nakedness of the emperor must eventually be disclosed, but will we all be outfitted similarly before we recognize it?

Try this compelling piece from that bastion of balanced reporting, the NYT via the Dallas Morning Worker:

This Won't Hurt a Bit

There's some priceless stuff in that. Read this quote of the Great One:

"If private insurers say that the marketplace provides the best quality health care, if they tell us that they're offering a good deal," he asked, "then why is it that the government, which they say can't run anything, suddenly is going to drive them out of business? That's not logical."

Sounds great until you consider that government, which really can't run anything very well, will be setting the prices, doling out the care and creating a regulatory web which will tie up even the insurance Gullivers quite tightly. It is imminently logical and inevitable.

Or read this about the savings to be realized when the government is in charge:

Indeed, the prospects for such savings are precisely what have the opponents of a public plan so terrified. Behind the boilerplate about big government, rationing and all that lies the real concern: fear that the public plan would succeed.

No, Mr. Krugman, I'm not afraid that a public health care plan will succeed. I lived my life in a public health care plan called military medicine. I've waited in clinics, dealt with incompetent medical technicians, gone decades without seeing the same doctor twice and lain in an intensive care ward pressing the call button for a couple of hours while listening to the night shift down the hall discuss whether Leno or Letterman had the better monologue. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I don't want a national healthcare system because there has never been any evidence that government could run any service industry better than a free market.

The Inconvenient Truth

The unwashed don't really care much about numbers or facts. Their political reality is simply redistribution of wealth. The basic concept is take from "them" and give to "me." With that imprint on your psyche, you need not confuse yourself with anything more complex.

The next big thing for the inexorable crushing of America is universal health care. I've already noted that the simplistic model of taking Medicare and extending it to everyone is ludicrous. Medicare works, sort of, because everyone who works pays into a fund which then provides healthcare funds for those folks over 65. Lots of people paying to insure a few.

If you extend the care to everyone, the funds don't cover it. That leaves two alternatives. More funds or less care. Nothing else is possible. Bleating about efficiency making it doable is fantasy. Top off your analysis of the situation with a probing question: Are people happy with Medicare coverage?

The answer there is usually not. Doctors increasingly are reluctant to accept Medicare patients. Why? Look at your next Explanation of Benefits statement. You get a medically recommended colonoscopy. The doctor bills $4500. Medicare pays the doctor $1800. You get billed another couple of hundred bucks. Doc is not happy, you are not happy and if you need another one within a couple of years, Medicare will not be happy.

To survive, most Medicare recipients pay for a supplemental health insurance plan. More payment, but coverage for the costs involved that aren't covered by your Medicare "insurance."

Now consider this:

No Free Lunch

That's what is on the table. Don't blow it off either. It is going to be a critical part of the healthcare proposal. You are going to be paying income tax on your employer provided healthcare benefits. Run some numbers on that and see how you like it.

What is your employer healthcare worth? Numbers vary obviously, but it isn't uncommon to see figures like $15,000-25,000 per year. If that gets taxed as part of your income, it will be on top of what you already list. In other words, that slug of "money" will be at the maximum rate which you pay. It will hit you in the 33% bracket, so your taxes will go up around $6,000 or $7,000 a year.

That should stimulate your economy!

But, remember, you'll have access to a lot less health care as the government sets costs and restricts access.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Religion of Peace

We are told repeatedly that Islam is a religion of peace. Moderate muslims are embedded throughout our society and they depend upon our acceptance of that precept. I'm not a religous man, but I respect other's right to interact with their deity however they choose. Except when it manifests in this:

Phone Conversation in Mumbai

That is what we are dealing with. And, unless we clearly understand that we will lose this war.

Big Kahuna Burger For Breakfast

A moment of memorable divine intervention:

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Simply Depressing

They didn't read it and you won't either. But, it might very well be the end of civilization as we know it. Hyperbole? Maybe, but take a look here:

Table of Contents of HR 2454

If that doesn't get your eyes crossed, click on some chapter headings and go to the "meat" of the bureaucratic nightmare.

This will take several hundred thousand new government functionaries to decipher what it really means. It will take several thousand new court cases to fight for interpretation. It will employ thousands of lawyers and lobbyists on both sides of the arguments. All of that is unproductive overhead which contributes not one damn thing to the good of society or your standard of living.

Now, for my daily dose of paranoia. How long was this deformed creation on the lab table being stitched together? What was the gestation period and who were the mid-wives? This isn't something Waxman and Markey cobbled together over single malts and La Gloria Cubanas last weekend. Who is behind this? Who gains? Who loses? Why?


You may have to conduct your own search at Thomas.gov to get the text of H.R. 2454. It's worth the effort.

And, if you're waiting for your share of the tax cut that 95% of Americans will get, notice this from the CBO estimate of cost of the bill:

CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimate that over the 2010-2019 period
enacting this legislation would:
 Increase federal revenues by about $846 billion; and
 Increase direct spending by about $821 billion.
In total, those changes would reduce budget deficits (or increase future surpluses) by
about $24 billion over the 2010-2019 period.

That's right, bubbie, it increases federal revenue by $846 BILLION--that's called additional taxes.

And, although it takes an additonal $846B out of your pocket, they will spend $821B to run the program but that doesn't mean you didn't get taxed. But the tax part is only the tip of the iceberg of what this thing will cost each of us in terms of daily living.

Mr. Ahmadinejad, Tear Down This Wall

The rest of the world hates us...that was the mantra. They don't love us any more. We must be kinder and gentler and then they will stop blowing up our embassies and flying our airplanes into buildings. That never worked in the past. It doesn't work with our own children. We need them to respect us and know that if they do what is right we will reward them with our love and support. They then will love us in return. Kindness and gentleness are seconary to discipline and results.

He would be tested shortly after taking office we were told. The question was who would respond properly to the 3:00 AM phone call. We were assured that challenges were not that likely, that he would surround himself with the best qualified minds, that he was decisive, intellectually superior and capable of finessing the worst situations into much better results than the bumbling cowboy and Machiavellian puppet-master that he would replace.

How's that working out?

Here's a pleasant indictment:

Waiting to See How it Plays Out

Apparently one must test the water, do some polling, hedge one's bets, count the votes and wait for the winning horse to nose across the finish line before standing up to do what is right. There is no room for principle here. No moral certitude. No good guy/bad guy fable being acted out. We hem, haw, pontificate and bloviate. Then when the fait is most assuredly accompli he can say with confidence that he did the right thing.

The Six Writes a Letter

The House passed it. They didn't read it, but they passed it. They sure as hell didn't understand it, but they passed it. They have no idea what it is going to cause, but they passed it. They don't seem to care about the people or the nation, but they passed it.

A Warrior is upset and he sent a letter to his Senators. They won't read it and if they do, they won't understand it. But you should read it and you should send it forward or draft your own with similar sentiments and get it on the way to your senators. Mine, Cornyn and Hutchison are on record as opposed, but I'm still going to let them know so they can tell their peers that we are about done with this...

It Isn't What We Sent You There to Do

If the Senate doesn't stop this, we're in for some very hard times.

Saturday Morning Soft Rocker

A bit out of character for Ten Years After, but soothing for a Saturday Morning that might have seen too much exuberance the night before:

Friday, June 26, 2009

Iffy for Summer, Positive for Century

It is appropriate today as our benighted Congress is about to vote on a 1200 page bill that grows faster than any human could possibly read it. The bill is the environmental cap-and-trade proposal which the House nitwits are demanding lest we all shrivel into rendered bacon before the end of the next twenty years. We're burning up and we simply must turn out the lights and walk to work...oh, wait, there won't be any work to walk to as the new taxes put everybody out of business.

They are about to stick a dozen forks into any incipient economic recovery to save us, but it is appropriate that this shows up in the Dallas Morning Fishwrapper:

Hot This Week, Means Cool & Damp This Summer

What??? The meteorologists, global division, are peering into their crystal balls, I mean computer models, and predicting that the heat of this week and the heat in the Pacific Ocean are laying the groundwork for a classic El Nino pattern. That's where a warm southern Pacific lures the jet-stream southward drawing the boundary between tropical air and arctic cold lower for the summer months. It means not hotter, but cooler and wetter patterns for the US. Oh yeah, and a lot fewer hurricanes as well.

But they must act in Congress. And they must do it today before anyone reads the bloody bill or gets to think about it too long...or heaven forbid, gets to raise public outcry about what they are going to do to us. Read this sympathetic bleat from the Chicago Butt-wiper:

Too Big, Too Soon

Whoa, even the true-believers of the Tribune are saying this is a rush job with more unintended consequences than anyone can anticipate.

Now go back to the Dallas piece and notice the hedging language in the summer predictions. The weather-guessers say that their models are as good as they can make, but they don't account for all the variables. That's for the next 90 days. How can Pelosi and Pals trust divinity school drop-out and Nobel laureate, Algore for the next 90 years forecast?

I'm clinically depressed, but it's going to get worse.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Undeniable Talent

Ignore the weirdness and appreciate the talent that he was:

Why I Hate Tools

My father wasn't very handy around the house. The sum total of his tools was a shoe box kept in the closet which had one flat-blade screwdriver with wooden handle (cracked), one pair of slip-joint pliers with slip nut badly warped so they wouldn't hold in the wide position, one ball-peen hammer (rusty) and a small tin of bent nails and stripped screws. There was some black electricians tape to provide field expedient repair to whatever was further damaged by application of the tools.

Consequently I never got much role-modeling in tool usage. When I found myself a married home-owner, I was thrust into situations in which I was required to perform simple manly tasks or face an empty checkbook at month's end. I soon discovered that college education and military aviation training does not prepare you to fix a leaky faucet, install a ceiling light dimmer, or build a dog house. I never had the right tools although eventually I did acquire a few more than my father had. My lesson learned was that I would always cause more damage and more expense than if I had called a professional in the first place.

Things got ever more complicated. Once there were only inches to deal with in wrenches and sockets. Now we've got metric to confuse things. Eddie's first law of wrenchs and sockets is that whatever you've got is slightly too large or too small for the nut to be turned. The first corollary to Eddie's first law is that a Channel Lock pliers is not a reasonable alternative. The second corollary is that the rounded off bolt can be replaced for three cents, but it only comes in packages of two hundred for fifteen bucks.

My father never taught me about Phillips head screws but that wasn't so complicated. Then we got hex head and Torex and others to deal with. Nut drivers and Allen wrenches were needed along with universal joints, extensions, various size drivers and rachets along with an array of special purpose, known only to the guy at the hardware store, use once in a lifetime gadgets. I never had the right one regardless of the job.

Today, my aversion added one more item. It was a simple task. I had a Trijicon ACOG (Advance Combat Optical Gunsight--which is tactical-speak for a stubby 4x riflescope) to attach to my new M4 carbine (which is tactical speak for an AR-15 with a collapsible stock.)

How tough could it be? The ACOG is designed specifically for that rifle. It is designed to attach with one simple screw to the carry handle. Just one screw. The carry handle is held on the rifle with two simple finger-tightened screws. It comes off so you have easy access to the handle. Slide the sight into the groove it is designed for. Fit the screw into the hole already in the handle and tighten with the supplied proper-sized Allen wrench. How could I screw that up?

The scope fits, the holes line up, after a bit of fumbling the screw gets aligned with the pre-tapped threads in the scope and it finger tightens. Now, pick up Allen wrench and find that it is cunningly designed to be just one-half inch too long to fit into the space between the screw and the base of the handle.

The solution, apparently, is to find a four hundred dollar grinding wheel somewhere and a heat resistant tool to hold the five cent Allen wrench which will get hot while grinding off a chunk of the end to clear the gap. Or, maybe drill an access hole through the bottom of the carry handle to give straight access to the mounting screw. Or, take it to a pro.

One screw and a supplied tool. How tough could it be? I hate tools.

The Latest out of Kim

Normally not my thing, but this is to the point:

Hat tip to Chicago Ray.

Dear Santa:

Here's what I want for Christmas:

It's like Barbie Dolls for men.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Day 12 Report

Hat-tip to Atlas Shrugged for offering this penetrating piece:

News and Video from the Revolution

Would Americans be able to show such courage in a similar situation?

And speaking of courage:

Mullahs For Reform

The political lesson to be learned is that even in a theocratic and fundamentalist society like Iran, political opinion is not always monolithic.

What We Might Learn From Them

We like to ascribe nicknames to policies. It makes it easier for us to capture what is going on and in the process, like a good doctor or lawyer, to confound the booboisie.

If you recall during the Nixon administration (you younger readers probably missed that period,) Henry Kissinger went on a back-and-forth travel binge to China that came to be called "Shuttle diplomacy." That morphed into China opening their hearts and minds by sending their world class table tennis teams for exhibitions around the globe that became "Ping-Pong diplomacy."

Last night on Fox News, one of the supposed powerhouses of political opinion, Juan Williams was out to lunch on the new terminology for the Messiah's out-reach, "Hot Dog diplomacy."

Poor Juan likened it to a mis-guided right-wing conspiracy to tar the Obama administration with a wild and jingoistic approach like George Bush's derided "cowboy diplomacy." It was no such conspiracy.

What the new term refers to is the Bamster's welcoming offer to Iranian diplomats (is that an oxymoron?) around the world to come to festivities at our embassies celebrating America's Independence Day. We do that traditionally with fireworks, flags and picnics featuring that All-American culinary delight, the hot-dog. Juan, who probably has lived his life inside the Beltway or the Bronx might be forgiven for being unfamiliar with the term. He probably knows the tube-steak as a frankfurter or a coney.

Y'All Come See Us, Ya Hear! Bring Sweets for Dessert

The dissonance of the event is that the US would welcome the representatives of the brutal repression ongoing in Iran to celebrate our revolution and independence. It's sort of like Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin and Mao all dropping in to the White House for Thanksgiving dinner.

Maybe the President wants to have the mullah's minions visit to gain some pointers on techniques in case he faces future opposition from his American sheeple.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Mightier Than...?

The pen is mightier than the sword...

Well, yes, the power of the written word has long been recognized as able to overcome the oppressive force of autocrats. The writings of folks like Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, Paine, Burke, and others have been instrumental in bringing governments to their knees.

But, automatic weapons are mightier than the printing presses.

Modern weaponry has varied in success rates against a motivated populace. We've seen it supplement a movement and bring a mighty Soviet Union to their knees. And, in the same year we've seen modern weaponry brutally quash a citizen uprising in Tianamen Square. There's a question of level of commitment in the equation. How ruthless and powerful does the regime wish to be?

We've seen repeated examples in the second half of the twentieth century. In Hungary in 1956 we saw the Soviets crush dissidents without remorse and without the free world speaking out. The Czech "Velvet Revolution" of 1989 got a warmer response and built on the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The question now is whether the Internet and tech savvy youth are mightier than regressive mullahs.

Iran is a political product of the western world clash with Persian culture and ascendent Islam. It is a nation which spawned Darius and the Persian Empire. It boasts a proud history and a people who have led the world in their art and culture. In the twentieth century they were on the verge of leading the Middle East into modernity and at the same time demonstrating an alternative to the surrounding nations to Dark Ages theocracy.

The effort was bungled. Pahlavi plated his world in gold, rewarded his sycophants and alienated his heritage. Carter couldn't establish coherent policy and waffled on support for the regime. The result was the return of the mullahs and a vigorous retreat into the foggy world of Shiite Islamic fundamentalism.

The problem is that young people don't want to wear burquas and miss out on all that they see available in a modern world. They know that there is an alternative to living that way. They see it on YouTube and Facebook.

Now they are speaking out. They are letting the world know what they are doing. They seek help and they are willing to take to the streets and die for their future. Britain has stood up, France has stood up, other nations have gone on record. The Messiah has waited and watched and polled and then unequivocally equivocated.

Let us hope that we don't get a tweet from Teheran that paraphrases this shortwave radio transmission from Budapest in 1956:

“This is Hungary calling, this is Hungary calling: the last remaining station calls to United Nations. Early this morning Soviet troops launched a general attack on Hungary. We are requesting you to send us immediate aid in the form of parachute troops over the trans-Danubian provinces. For the sake of God and freedom -- help Hungary!”

Can no one in the White House muster the fortitude to go on record in this matter?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Frankly, Scarlett...

It doesn't take much to be famous in America these days. In fact, all you have to do is perniciously appeal to the lowest intellects in the nation and your future will be assured.

This is a guy who built a blogging reputation by posting papparazi fotos of Britney, Lindsey, Paris and similar airheads getting in and out of taxis without their underwear. He got so good at that he was invited to be a judge at Donald Trump's Miss USA pageant. How ludicrous is that? Hiring an avowed homosexual to judge female beauty!

He parlayed that into greater fame by asking a gay oriented question of Miss California which she answered respectfully and honestly. That has become a cardinal sin in America. The proper response is to abandon your personal principles and give the scripted politically correct answer. The result was a perceived affront to the fool and stripping of Carrie Prejean's title after a couple of weeks of publicity. Actually, the outcome was probably more beneficial to Ms Prejean's career than simply being Miss USA for a year.

Now the boob needs a jolt of publicity himself. So, he gets punched out by a bodyguard.

Why? Because You're Stupid!

Here's some lessons for Mr. Hilton:

  1. Don't be stupid around a celebrity's bodyguard
  2. If you are gay yourself, try not to use gay slurs as an effective insult
  3. If you are a professional writer (ostensibly) try not to use phrases like "so he's like..." and "I'm like...."
  4. If you want to get a police response dial 911, don't post on Twitter
  5. If you are injured and need an ambulance dial 911, stop tweeting
  6. If you are going to be an ass in a club go with someone more butch than Lady Gaga

I hope he gets a bill from the Toronto PD for the bother. I hope he really did get punched out--stupidity should have a price. I hope that he fades from the public view and soon.


This one ought to make Frank Lautenberg think twice!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Creating Linkages

Washington DC, Chicago and New York City are known for:
  1. Draconian gun laws
  2. Incredible murder and violent crime rates.

So, if you are one of the true believers there and you want things to get better, you will certainly demand much more of the policy which hasn't worked. You certainly wouldn't look at the 39 states that have so far enacted "shall issue" concealed carry permits.

What you need to do is create a panic and a fear. You've got to build a straw-man, like "the Bolsheviks burned the Reichstag." Or, maybe "the Great Satan rigged the election."

Take a look at this hatchet job:

They Are All Loonies if They Don't Like the Bamster

Would it be disingenuous to suggest that the Left has at least as many loons as the extreme right?

But, if you want to get really frightened, consider the ramifications of this appeal:

On the Enemy List?

Think about that for a second. In the LAST FIVE YEARS, that means about 200 per year out of several 100s of thousands. They were on "the terrorist watch list" but not convicted felons, under court orders, drug abusers, alcoholics, psychiatric patients, dishonorably discharged or sex offenders. They were simply on a government list and upon examination, nine out of ten were approved for purchase!

What do we know about this terrorist watch list? How big is it?

How About a Million and Growing!

Are those million people a threat? Have you read about similar names, grandmothers, infants, and ministers being denied access to an airline flight because they turn up on the list? Did you read that just last year 33,000 folks were removed from the list upon investigation?

What would protect us from showing up on that growing list on any given day?

Remember two months ago when DHS Secretary Napolitano opined that veterans were the sort of folks who were a threat because of their military experience?

That Smell...

Unless you have no soul, you can search back in your memories and make a list of events that resonate because of the smells involved. Just like sounds or sights or textures, there are those certain recollections that are triggered by smells.

You've probably got one of a crisp winter day, coming in from the snow to a house redolent with the aromas of a turkey dinner being prepared. Or maybe there was that visit to grandma's house with the first whiff on entry of fresh baked cookies. There was a spot when you turned the corner off a special highway and got the first breeze off the lake or ocean. That special girl's perfume might be in the list as well.

I remember the first Monday morning in pilot training when I stepped out the BOQ door and got the breeze laden with JP-4 fumes off the flightline as a 100 T-37s and T-38s were springing to life for the first sorties of the day. I still love that smell. I would know blindfolded where I was if you put me in an airplane and opened the cabin door in Thailand. I still hate that one. It's about the smells.

And then there is the smell of victory:

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Why Debate Issues?

Have you noticed that we don't debate policy choices anymore? We long ago gave that up. It is simply too difficult to gather data and organize a rational argument. It is much easier to simply trash and discredit your opponent. If you can do it with a group of proxies so that no blood splashes on you in the process, so much the better.

Try this on:

Meriting the Messiah's Wrath

Hat-tip to New Paltz Journal for that enlightenment.

I'd Have Taken a Lot Better Care of Myself

I've long been a fan of Ernest Hemingway. I like a lot of his work, the terse prose, the tense emotions, the depth of characters sketched concisely in precise words some of which are nicely left unsaid. That's what made him a great writer.

But what I really embrace was a discovery in his work about a perspective on life. Maybe it was a rereading of "Death in the Afternoon"--a non-fiction work that explains to the world what the bullfight is really all about. Those were the days when the picadors rode horses without protective padding and routinely while six bulls died in a corrida, ten or more horses dropped as well from gorings. Yet, there was something going on there which Hemingway explains clearly.

How could a fighter pilot not indentify with a chapter about "The Art of Killing Well"?

The essence of Hemingway is that a man cannot experience life to the fullest without coming face to face with his own mortality. If you don't risk your very existance your life is a mere time filler without true joy. Papa writes of wars and rebels, of bull-fighters and boxers, of hunters and lone fisherman far out at sea. These are men who challenge life. They take risks and revel in the process.

So, what do we make of the emerging nanny-state?

Fish, Feet and Female Anatomy

I really don't want government dealing with outlawing pubic hair removal. Ditto for toenail maintenance. There has to be a limit and I think those are places clearly beyond any rational limit.

I know that a ladder needs to be leaned against something and that shouldn't be an electrical wire. I know that coffee should be hot when it is served. I know that I should look over my shoulder before backing up and that "objects in mirror are closer than they appear." I instinctively know all of the things that federal warning labels remind me of...and if I don't know, I will soon learn for myself. I don't need to be told. I want some risk.

Saturday Morning Rocker

If you ever wondered about the long term effects of drug usage and wild living are, compare these young folks with the Stones today:

Friday, June 19, 2009

Dealing With What Matters

There are problems in this world and we have been conditioned to believe that government is going to save us from them. Only by massive government intervention can we get smart enough to know that a high interest rate on a credit card will cost us dearly. Only if the government tells us will we decipher that to buy a house we've got to make enough money to pay the mortgage. Only our government can assure us that a nuclear-armed Iran and N. Korea won't really intend to harm us.

Yes, we need more government to protect us! Read this and feel good:

Drugs for Breakfast!

Did you understand that? Eating foods that claim to be good for you is something to be avoided unless the FDA protects us from the language on the box. That pesky old free market has made Cheerios the most popular cereal in the nation. They taste good too! If they are made from oats, there is a lot of clinical evidence that oats in the diet reduce cholesterol. Cheerios don't require cooking like oatmeal either.

But, we are going to be protected. Read the bleating quotes from the libs applauding the action. Yes, it is a good thing that the FDA is now getting serious!

The question I'm asking is will the doctor's visit to get a Cheerios prescription be covered by Obama-care?

Or, does this mean that the stimulus is working so well in Battle Creek MI, that it won't hurt the local economy to incur massive legal costs to fight this stupidity?

Or, maybe it simply means that General Mills didn't offer the proper financial support to the Bamster and his minions.

I'm headed to the mean side of town now to check if my candy man has got a supply of those toasty little "O"s to feed my craving. I've got a Cheerios Jones!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

William Wallace Knew Freedom

Freedom isn't free. It takes fighting and occasionally dying, but Patton's basic dictum about making the other poor dumb bastard do that part comes to mind.

Political commentary is a precious freedom guaranteed to us by the First Amendment. The Founding Fathers made such stuff the subject of the First because it was the most critical.

New Jersey isn't known as the most pristine example of democratic purity. On the contrary it is a contender for world corruption championship, hoping some day to challenge the undisputed Champion, Chicago/Cook County/Illinois.

So, we've got this little bit of freedom:

A Whole News-zine Dedicated to One Dirty Pol

Maybe you like John Corzine and maybe you don't. I don't have a dog in that hunt. But what I find outrageous is a "cease and desist" order being sought by the New York Times for copyright infringement over their "world famous Gothic font"! I guess they claim proprietary rights not over their editorial content but the way that it is displayed. I wonder if their column width is copy protected as well. I'd certainly be careful about inadvertently linking them here.

That's right, the NYT--the world's self-proclaimed greatest newspaper--is concerned that this web site is going to somehow damage their credibility, such as it still is. They want their font protected! Are you kidding me? I wonder if I've got a lawsuit for someone using my New Times Roman?

What they don't get is that by doing something so petty, foolish, patently political, the NYT has brought the Corzine Times into the mainstream. Folks who could have gone the rest of their life without being aware, will now visit the site in droves. Success comes from strange corners.

This Bugs Me

I wonder if my backyard bug zapper could deal with some of this?

Making More Sense

I gravitate toward the message that reads like this:

Government Does Not Create Wealth

I would have to temper that a bit, because it is quite obvious that when you take control of the printing presses and start distributing trillions of dollars there are a lot of people going to pick up a lot of kickbacks, favor-payments and slippage. They will do so, not because of their expertise or their talent but because of their political connections and leverage. Yet the basic principle remains--a free market letting people spend their own money rather than having the government do it will result in wealth creation and a vigorous economy.

Here is more from a man with a lot of experience in the hot seat:

Addressing the Issues, Not Attacking the Man

I think it is about time for him to speak candidly about what is going on. As for the advantages of offense versus defense in foreign policy, I'm frankly frightened by this headline today:

Stay Off The Beach at Waikiki

I wonder if the Bamster and Mabelle are still planning that tropical get-away? Could Kim log a two-fer?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Yeah, But...

I've got a friend who emails IN BIG BOLD FACE 18 POINT TYPE once or twice a week the latest news about the Obama ineligibility rumor. This guy is taking it to court, that blog has found a smoking gun, that group wants an accounting, etc. etc.

I had really come to the conclusion that it's all sort of the black helicopter, New World Order, 9/11 Truthers, holocaust deniers sort of fringe group. If you read the releases in a vacuum you believe it is critically important. If you take it in the context of a broader world view, then you ignore it.

Sure, many of us would like the Messiah to be revealed as the sort of fraud and charlatan we know he is at core, but we also recognize that it isn't going to happen very soon. It's going to be a long, slow, painful and incredibly damaging process.

Now here's something on the topic:

A Majority of Americans Want to Know

Apparently it isn't just a narrow fringe, it is now an awareness of a lot of folks. Would it be so difficult to qualm the fears? Would it be a national security disaster for the Bamster to prove his natural citizenship? Could his undergraduate grades be worse than Al Gore's? Did he really renounce what citizenship he had from wherever to qualify for an Indonesian education? Did he ever write anything publishable when he was editor of the Harvard Law Review? Who is he really?

Inquiring minds apparently don't want to know very badly. Nothing is going to come of it. But, a President Biden would be a real laugh-a-minute sort of experience, wouldn't it?

Nobody's Buying

The Paris Air Show is going on this week. It used to be a magnificent gathering of commericial, military and corporate aviation. The airline industry would attend to shop for their new equippage. Nations with defense needs would attend to scope out what they might be able to afford and get as much intel as possible about what their enemies might be purchasing.

There would be static displays, but what everyone came for was the aerial demonstrations. The Brits would send the Red Arrows, the Italian Frecce Tricolori would be there and in the really good old days the US might send the Thunderbirds or Blue Angels. The high point every year it seemed was the Soviet military demos which almost always involved an impromptu illustration of how good their ejection seats were when the pilot got over-enthusiastic. Lots of crunches went on.

This year, the worst possible confluence of events has occurred. Start with a global economic crisis and then lead into the air show week with a mysterious loss of an Airbus from the French national airline. Not good for business.

The US isn't selling Raptors and the F-35 is not yet ready for prime-time demos. That means the field is open for the other national efforts to sell their wares. The problem is that for the knowledgable tactical types, the demos don't sell the product anymore.

The Typhoon is the best they can offer and it shows the type of demo they've been doing for years. Lots of sturm und drang, but little tactical utility. High angle-of-attack gymnastics make the crowd go ahhh, but the fighter pilots simply chuckle softly about how stupid anyone would have to be to hover in a cloud of your own hot exhaust while your opponent slices and dices you with IR missiles and cannon fire.

Ask a tactical aviator how a Typhoon engagement against a Raptor would work out and he will simply tell you that the Typhoon driver isn't going to die all tensed up. He'll simply blink out of existence before he is even aware that the Raptor is a threat.

Gotta love all of those canards and flapping control surfaces. Look at all that reflective sheet metal and those nice hot tailpipes. Ahhhh, to be young again and at war in a Raptor!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Call for Josef Goebbels on the White Courtesy Phone

Did you notice that the main-stream media is in the Bamster's pocket? Ease up, that was a bit of sarcasm. If you're still above ground and not deteriorating rapidly to room temperature, you're aware that Chris Matthews tingle down his leg has puddled on the floor of MSNBC's studio and Wolf Blitzer's undying adulation has permeated CNN. So this shouldn't be a real surprise:

Yes, now coming to you live from the White House!

We know that getting Americans to buy in to giving up their family doctor, their treatment options and their hope for cures when something ails them will be tough. I'm not eager to adopt the third world clinic model and witch doctor incantations for my illnesses. I will fight to my last breath.

That's why it is so important to sell the program. We now have a major network, moving lock, stock and rusty barrel into the White House to do the bidding of the Messiah on this critical issue.

And, no there is not a reason we should have any sort of opposition to the nationalization able to voice their objections. Why would we want Americans to have a choice on this critical matter? They would probably simply demand quality over appeal to the great unwashed masses. Pandering doesn't necessarily trump prescriptions for most of us, but why should we be given any arguments against the program?

Why is this major shift in our healthcare system so critical that it simply must be rammed through this summer without debate or examination? Did ABC accept TARP money and give up journalistic balance in return?

It reminds me of the car dealer's incessant question, "what would it take to have you take this little beauty home with you today?" It might take an examination of that pool of oil under the transmission...

Monday, June 15, 2009

Are You Buying?

P.T. Barnum said it, "there's one born every minute." He wasn't talking genius here. People still must respond to the widow of the Nigerian bank mogul who died and she needs help getting a billion or two out of the country. They keep clicking on the links in the email. The cliche about buying bridges and waterfront property hasn't fallen into disuse. So, we can be pretty certain that some of the sheeple will be embracing the Bamster's health-care proposal.

Can anyone over the age of twelve really believe that the Messiah wants simply an alternative to private plans? That's what he says. He's going to establish some sort of Medicare-Young to help out those folks who can't get health insurance from their employer (they don't work usually) or on their own (they haven't got enough money after wine, crack and ciggies) or through their spouse employer (they don't do monogamy or traditional family either.) For those who are doing just fine, you'll still have your private options. Sure you will.

Here's an explanation of what this is about:

Competing With the Government

The inevitable conclusion is that private business cannot pay taxes to their competitor and succeed. You can't advertise or spend money on your business infrastructure if your competitor simply doesn't worry about such niceties. You can't pay providers if your competitor controls the reimbursement schedules which you must comply with. When your price is undercut, your customers will go to the government program until you wither away. Then the nation will have rationed care, controlled by a bureaucrat and paid for at rates totally unrelated to factors like costs or efficacy. MRI, PET, CT and similar will drop from our common medical lexicon. Surgery will be for the fortunate few and new technology pharmaceuticals will evaporate in the dusty research labs.

You're going to love it, that is if you buy into it.

Bumbling in Bermuda

C'mon now. We shouldn't be surprised that the Bamster has little or no background in foreign policy. We had ample opportunity to review his 125 word resume and four line curricula vitae before election. He's the guy who thought somebody speaks "Austrian" and went campaigning in all 57 states. No, we shouldn't find it clumsy and stumbling with him at the helm.

But we've got the Hillary in charge over at State. She's the smartest woman in the world and she could have learned about diplomacy by osmosis over her eight years in the Big House on Pennsy. What's her excuse?

Forget to Mention Their New Guests and Potential Citizens

It's a Security Issue!

What a coup. We found a place to offload some of those nice guys from Gitmo. Nancy Pelosi didn't want them relocated to the Castro district, so we found a compliant leader in Bermuda. Now they're basking in seaside breezes, gamboling in the warm surf and sipping Mai-Tais by the pool in Bermuda.

There's a problem. We forgot to mention it to the Brits. They've got a vested interest in Bermuda, you may recall. When you put this sort of scorpion in the pocket of the British Empire, you might understand that they would have concern over being stung.

But, the gang that couldn't shoot straight overlooked making that phone call in advance.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Comments on Cookbooks Past

Entertaining in the fifties was creative, to say the least. The wise home-maker drew heavily on recipes from the weekly TV drama, Kraft Theater. Those concoctions always included a dollop of Kraft Apricot Preserves and then sprinkling a handful of Kraft Miniature Marshmallows on the top--then pop into a pre-heated 350 degree oven for ten minutes...mmmmmm, good!

Take a look at these photos and tongue-in-cheek comments about some food fotos from the fifties. What to serve that next gathering will be no problem:

Finger Food That Won't Have You Licking Them

Now, don't you want to host a gathering at your place very soon?

Sunday With the Classics

Rethinking the Numbers

The situation has apparently deteriorated so rapidly that even a staunch example of the mainstream media, the Washington Post has noticed:

The Debts Are Unsustainable

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out. He can't keep saying it is the previous administration's fault when he is the one who has masterminded five times the amount of give-away spending in his five short months in office.

The latest convolution to come from the Messiah is the "efficiency" which will save ten percent of the required trillion dollars for universal health care. He is going to cut payments from Medicare/Medicaid for services already rendered to the hospitals and healthcare providers. That should really improve conditions!

And take a moment to consider this solution from the Bamster:

"If the drugmakers pay their fair share, we can cut government spending on prescription drugs."

Only someone who has never been in any sort of free enterprise would be able to say with a straight face that there is something called a "fair share" which someone selling a product should pay rather than the customer!

Can you imagine going into Best Buy to get a 50" LCD for the family room, and when the price is quoted, demanding that they pitch in their fair share for your purchase?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Right But Wrong

I can see it at my little Podunk Community College outpost of educational malaise. No, I don't sit in on other profs classes--there are only two other folks teaching government (AKA political science)on my campus and one is the former chairman of the county Democratic Party, so I know where he is coming from. He's writing a book--on the village cemetary and its residents.

I get it from the students. I see what they've been taught from high school where they didn't like their course in government and usually note that it was taught by the coach. I get it in my online courses where I get an array of students from other colleges and universities, not only in Texas, but around the country. The liberal perspective is pervasive. Government solves all problems, wealth should be equitably distributed, and profit is to be avoided in business because it is unfair.

My job isn't to indoctrinate the mushy little minds into my way of thinking. I really work at staying objective and trying to offer both sides of a rational argument in the hope that inevitably they will draw the correct conclusions regarding the role of government and the political process in America. It is an uphill battle.

Here's a guy with a lot more heft in political science pedagogy than I could ever hope to bring to the table:

Could We Simply Teach It?

He is correct that the proper action would be to offer course material on conservatism to balance the well-established load of leftism which is offered. He is sincerely objective in stating that he disavows any desire for an affirmative action program to hire ideological conservatives to fill the void. He simply says create and teach courses that explore the conservative movement, theory, leadership and thinking in American government. Inevitably that would mean hiring some conservatives, but that would be a subsidiary result and not a program requirement.

Unfortunately he is also wrong. What he suggests is based on a fantasy of an objective intellectualism which could entertain teaching such material without succombing to the left's predilection to discredit, demean and ridicule conservatives and their ideology. It couldn't happen in today's academia.

Serious Business in Congress

This just in:

Congressman Demands To Know Who Left Fish Sandwich To Rot On House Floor

Saturday Morning Parrrot-Fest

If you've traveled the world and walked the back streets of some of the wild places, you can identify with this:

I didn't catch the last plane out of Saigon--we were winning both times I left!

Friday, June 12, 2009

I Coulda Been Somebody!

This is an opportunity that didn't exist when I was still active duty. I coulda been somebody--a demo pilot!

At least as good as the Thunder Maidens!

Enumerated Power?

The acronym is YGBSM--freely translated it says, "You've Gotta Be Spoofin' Me". Well, not exactly, but I try to keep it upscale here. You get the picture.

Ever wonder how far government will reach? Try this new "Civil Right" legislation:

Who Does the Research?

They must stay up nights thinking this stuff up!

False Equivalence

He is arguably one of the most penetrating intellects of our time, sort of a Bill Buckley without that looking-down-the-nose sort of East Coast intellectual snobbery. He's dealt with physical adversity, but his energy and active participation in the national debate renders him essential. Charles Krauthammer must be read.

Read this magnificent observation of the Bamster's ability to identify with those with whom we have previously disagreed:

One Holocaust Equals One Jihab Restriction

The ludicrous concept that he can ingratiate himself with the thugs and terrorists of the world by accepting their "shortcomings" and denigrating America to make our minor problems equivalent is noteworthy.

Michelle was finally proud of her country when they demonstrated that they were so ignorant and greedy that they couldn't see through his inanities and would vote for him. The Bamster, however, is apparently not at all proud of America and has taken extensive steps to travel the world explaining to all and sundry how evil we are.

It makes me long for a patriot to step forward and clearly and eloquently profess the greatness of our nation and our culture. Where's Ronald Reagan when his country needs him?

Thursday, June 11, 2009


At first glance at the headline, you might say justice was done. A teenager makes a mistake and shouldn't have to pay with prison...or should he?

Read this, and be outraged:

A Pattern That Will Repeat

This guy robs someone with the support of a couple of his thug friends. Then returns to rape the young girl in front of her brother. He was caught the following night doing another strong-arm robbery. His two thug friends are on the hook for their own sexual assaults.

This kid is a sociopath and probation is not the solution. He was cleared by a juvenile court judge to be tried as an adult. He should be sentenced as an adult.

Loaves, Fishes and Aspirin

He'd spent the day teaching the multitude. That's what rabbis do in the Jewish tradition, they teach how to live. He had, like many of us when we get on the roll of our own rhetoric, forgotten the time. One of his associates tapped him on the shoulder and reminded him that the crowd had not eaten and they were hungry. He asked his helpers to gather what food there was in the crowd so that they could share with all.

The collection was meager, to say the least. Two loaves and a couple of fishes. He directed that they distribute this and miraculously the baskets for distribution never seemed to run out. The multitude was fed and there were left-overs. It was easy for Him, you see, because he was God and could do stuff like that.

The guy in the fancy house on Pennsylvania Avenue has a similar situation. He's created it with his teaching us how we should live in his world. Unlike his predecessor, he doesn't preach sacrifice from all but rather sacrifice of a select few for the benefit of an unworthy many. It isn't voluntary, and hence meritorious, sacrifice either. It's confiscation of the property of the few. It's his religion.

He proposes distributing health care for all of the people. They are hungry for health care and we must distribute what we have to be shared by all. It is eerily similar to that earlier event.

We simply take what we've got, Medicare and apply the principles to everyone. Medicare works so well (arguably) for those over sixty-five, that it can do the same for all of us. Does it matter that Medicare stumbles onward because everyone who works pays Medicare wages and only a small proportion gets benefits. Lots of payers, few beneficiaries. Lots of loaves and fishes, few diners.

Now, if we have everyone covered, we'll need more loaves and fishes, won't we? We can't provide the same care to five times as many people with only the same input of sustenance. Where do we get the extra chow?

That's the miraculous part!

We are going to "streamline" healthcare. We're going to make it "more efficient." We're going to "manage" it. And that way we will generate the trillion dollars a year it will take to fund it.

If that language translates to anything other than "we are going to cut your access to healthcare drastically" then you aren't paying attention. It means rationing, clinics, limited specialists, low compensation for medical professionals and no surgery/MRI/oncology/dental when we need it.

You simply cannot provide modern medical technology to five times as many people for significantly less money than you are now spending providing ludicrously partial payment for service to the over-65 folks today. Lots more people without an influx of fresh loaves and fishes will not allow for the same level of repast for the whole gathering.

There's only been one man in history that could have pulled off that feat. He was crucified a long time ago. Bamster, you aren't Him.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

An Illustration of the Situation

The convolution of language used by the administration on the relationship between the government intervention and jobs is magnificent.

I have long contended that government cannot "create" a job. That is something that free enterprise business does. They "create" a product or a service that causes a demand and in response the entrepreneur hires people to fill a need that did not previously exist. Government cannot do that. I'm joined in this belief by no less than Milton Friedman who said, "government creates jobs by hiring people to dig holes we don't need and then hiring more to fill them up."

To promise to "create or save" jobs is the truly artful construction. That involves adding in the intangible of somehow intervening to preclude a job being lost. How can anyone measure if a job not lost was somehow saved? And if it were saved, how can they be certain it was related to any action of the government?

But, if you want to know how this is working out, here's a creative little viddie to help you get a picture of the situation:

Only in the socialist mind can the growth of government, the proliferation of welfare dependency and the increasing mis-management of businesses possibly lead to reversal of the unemployment spiral. The quickest way to "create or save" jobs? It's easy! Simply cease government action. Adjourn Congress and unplug the phones to the Federal bureaucracy.

Ain't gonna happen.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The Inevitable Outcome

The American people have a tendency to clamor for someone (meaning government) to "do something" to save them from any level of unpleasantness, let alone an inconvenience. It has been bred into them since Dr. Spock counseled not to give an unruly child a swat to the behind but rather to cajole them with praise and a cookie to modify their behavior. The strategy is good, but not always effective.

So, when the Bamster took office, we had seen an incessant media hype of a recession deepening, despite the fact that technically the definition of a recession--two consecutive quarters of negative growth--had not been met. The slavering masses demanded he "do something" and he was prepared, nay, even eager to do it. He seized power with enthusiasim and given the keys to the printing press began distributing largesse in previously inconceivable amounts.

Even when financial institutions didn't want or need the funds, they were strong-armed into taking them, thus rendering them subject to government regulation and oversight--a euphemism for control, management and dictatorial unrelated to sound business practices. When the US auto-makers didn't promise to make a million econo-boxes powered by rice wine and solar panels, he nationalized them and doled out their assets to his favorite union.

When the government controls large segments of the market, they can exercise their leverage of prices, labor costs, raw materials access and restrictive taxation on competition to hamper the private business competitors. Where does it all lead?

The Harsh Realities of the Eventual

That analysis tracks exactly with what I've been thinking. There is not much time left for American entrepreneurism and capitalism to whimper and the days of flourishing are over. We will never see another Carnegie or Penrose or Rockefeller. There will be no more Microsofts or Googles or Amazons. There will be Government Motors and the North Iowa Corn Growers National Combine and the Federal Fuel Dispensing System.

It's a future of Ladas and Mao suits along with gray stone monolithic People's Apartment buildings down the street from the Government Store.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Road Trip Weekend

Took a little road trip this last weekend and got it reinforced. Sure, everything west of Dallas sticks, bites or stings you, but it sure is beautiful in the process. Things are green this time of year and the wild flowers that Lady Bird Johnson had strewn along our highways are in full and glorious bloom. Stop for gas or a cold drink and the folks are friendly and courteous. It takes two minutes to get through a doorway because both parties are standing back to allow the other person to pass through. That doesn't happen in New Yawk or Hell-Aye or Shy Caw Gah.

I wasn't born here, but I'm sure glad I came back. I've got three pairs of boots now and two "Sunday" hats. I drink Shiner rather than Sam Adams most of the time and I'm trying to blend in. Still won't get a pick-up though!

Restoring Dialogue

Remember the campaign? There was that hope and change atmosphere in which they promised to abandon the strong words, uncompromising attitude and militaristic stance of the reviled Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld triumvirate. We were going to see a return to diplomacy. An openness to discussion any time, any place with the dictators, despots and nut-jobs of the world. There would be no pre-conditions, just a warm embrace and a willingness to compromise. Then all would be right with the world and everyone would love us again.

Now this:

Here's What Kim Thinks About Asian Detente

The response to Hillary Clinton's naive statement that putting a couple of American journalists on trial was a good thing is to throw the book at the two naive young women. My bet is that they will be home within 18 months, but only after a lot of American groveling, a huge ransom payment and an undermining of security for Japan and South Korea.

First it was increased nuclear production and blatant disregard for the six-power negotiations on energy production in Korea. Then it was a nuclear test blast simultaneous with an intense demonstration of the state of Korea's delivery vehicle capability. Now it is this diplomatic bitch slapping for the Bamster.

May I suggest we immediately implement a plan to reopen a new and improved embassy in Teheran and staff it with a couple of hundred top level hostages...oops, I mean diplomats for the convenience of Ahmedinajahd?

Someone had better cowboy up pretty soon or this is going to get nasty.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Fighter pilots are better and cooler than you!

I went into considerable detail in "When Thunder Rolled" and "Palace Cobra" to explain exactly what a fighter pilot is, and often what he isn't. Despite my best efforts, some folks never seem to get it, no matter how it is explained to them. The only thing they believe these days is what they find from a reliable online source, like a wiki.

So, for those who still need the details, here is a complete summary of exactly what you are dealing with when you encounter a fighter pilot:

What a Fighter Pilot Is

Study that and learn it, there will be a test later.

Use this to help you identify if someone is truly a fighter pilot or merely a pretender:

Fighter pilots are highly skilled and take pride in their ability to consume massive quantities of alcohol, and can speak in complete sentences consisting entirely of swear words.

And this:

Fighter pilots usually are given testosterone-ridden callsigns like "Jockstrap" or "Whiplash." However, those who try to name themselves are invariably given the callsign "Manbitch."

Remember, you heard it all from "Thunder".

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Saturday Morning Sort-of Jazz

"To cook": verb. To take raw ingredients and create a tasty, satisfying, maybe even artistic sustenance for the body and soul. Gerund form, "cooking."

This is how its done:

Friday, June 05, 2009


By the time you rise from your bed on Saturday, the 65th anniversary of this moment will have passed in Europe. It is hard to conceive of such courage.

One can only wonder about the current state of the nation.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

New Kid in Town

You depend on it. The name itself has become a verb. When you've got a question, you Google it and voila, there's all the information you ever wanted and more. Sometimes so much more that you're overwhelmed.

Maybe you use another search engine occasionally, such as Yahoo or the rapidly fading, Ask.com. But I'll bet you still default back to Google for the regular go-to guy. But, did you ever think that there really isn't much pizazz or sparkle to Google? I mean the web page is a big white sheet with a search word entry field. Most folks don't even go there any more, like Yogi Berra's restaurant that got too popular. They simply have a search entry box on their web home page.

Could be we're missing something and Microsoft wants to convince us that we are. They've rolled out Bing about three days ago and in the coming weeks you'll get deluged with the buzz on Bing.

I've got low resistance to new gadgetry online, so after I read an item in the Wall Street Journal (actual paper version!), I had to look. I've been doing a lot of that lately. I did the Facebook thing about three weeks ago and am about to dump it as a waste of time. I cranked up Wolfram|Alpha and as someone who is inveterately non-technical and number-adverse, I found it not much use for my typical searching. I've studiously avoided Twitter, since I can't make a sentence in less than 140 characters.

What's my verdict on Bing? First impression is that I love it! The results pages morph on almost every search. Some will give you viddie clips and images, all results give you an immediate peekaboo when you mouse over to avoid having to go to non-responsive site options. Big hits will give you a pop-up sub-menu of categories for more detailed results. The more I played the more I discovered. Depth of results for my first half-dozen searches was very parallel to what I get from Google.

The default home page for Bing changes the background picture daily and embedded within the photo you'll find hot spots with info about the scene and links to more information such as how to get there. That's an illustration of what you will find on many photos.

There are dedicated areas that help you focus on specifics such as images, videos, travel arrangements or shopping comparisons. Want to book a flight or a hotel? You might start opting for Bing rather than Expedia. Wanna see last night's episode of your favorite program? Try the video area and you might start dodging YouTube.

Mapping is built in as well. Start zooming in on the USA and you can quickly get to the city block that you live on and a choice of map or aerial view. Want some perspective? Go to the birds-eye shot rather than the pure top-down approach.

Will you miss some of the returns that you might have gotten in Google? Maybe, but I didn't see too much drop-out in my brief fling. Read some reviews and you'll quickly get the usual MS-bashing undertone as the big players hedge against favoring Bing over Google or Yahoo. Can't offend the tall dogs when you've got the company that everyone loves to hate in your focus--even if Bing looks very good.

It's a web-site, not an application. No downloads or special installs required. Simply go to bing.com and take a look. I'll be fiddling with it for a while and may find a new best friend. I'll let you know.

No Wonder!

We get the government we deserve, and if you need to ask how good that is then I direct you to this example of Senatorial "due diligence."

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Doing the Double Talk

The Messiah gives an extensive interview to the BBC and in the process offers insight into the convolutions of his masterful mind. Read some of what he said and watch the viddie:

Do as I Don't, Say as I Didn't

Take a moment to consider these pearls:

"Although I don't want to put artificial timetables on that process, we do want to make sure that, by the end of this year, we've actually seen a serious process move forward".

That's on Iran's nuclear aspirations. So, the end of this year is seven months away. Is that an "artificial" timetable or a "real" one. None of that imitation tinsel for him!

"The danger, I think, is when the United States, or any country, thinks that we can simply impose these values on another country with a different history and a different culture,"

That's on going to Saudi Arabia and not recognizing the egregious humans rights violations of that country. Somehow he fails to note that historically we have never IMPOSED our values, but always been proud to create the environment in which people's aspirations for the universal values of democracy and freedom can be realized.

(T)he president said he wanted to "open a dialogue" between the West and the Muslim world to overcome what he said were "misapprehensions" on both sides.

Yeah, it's simply a "misapprehension" that Islamic jihadis hijacked airplanes and flew them into the Pentagon and WTC. It must have been the lack of dialogue that drove a boat up to the side of the USS Cole and put a truck in the lobby of the US forces barracks at Khobar Towers. Dating back to the Iranian seizure of our embassy in Teheran it was just a failure to communicate.

It is difficult not to laugh when the first half of nearly every sentence is the opposite of the second half and yet he seems to believe he is uttering profoundly statesmanlike statements.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Better Left Unsaid

There is a certain sadness about aging. There comes a point where the mental acuity inevitably deteriorates. It doesn't have to be Alzheimer's or dementia, it can be nothing more than unfamiliarity with changing situations or an over-estimation of the relevance of experiences more than fifty years ago to the current situation.

It is even sadder when the individual is someone with the reputation of being an insightful politician and commentor on the political environment who commands a voice in prestigious publications such as the Wall Street Journal.

Read this from George McGovern, former B-24 pilot of WW II, former US Senator and statesman, and former presidential candidate of the Democratic Party:

Advice Not to Take Seriously

The world has changed since Sen. McGovern's brave service and his studious application of the GI Bill educational benefit. There was a huge tax base and after World War II expenditure, there was a vast excess of government funding available as well as a pent-up demand for individuals with advanced degrees. Today there is neither the funding nor the demand for the output of the universities. Jobs don't equate with graduates any more.

After WW II tax rates could be slashed and still provide opportunity for infrastructure and societal development. Today the ratio of worker to drone is shifted in favor of the honey-suckers rather than the pollen-gatherers. There is little to gain in terms of "peace dividend" from a withdrawal of our defense forces from the war against the jihadists and the proportion of federal spending on the military is miniscule in relation to the government hand-out and bail-out programs.

The Senator is correct that the terrorists don't have battleships (we don't either)and tanks or artillery or even uniformed forces. But, he seems blissfully unaware that N. Korea does, as does Iran and Venezuela and who knows who else. Pakistan and India are serious players and all of those listed are either firmly or in the immediate future members of the nuclear club. None of them like us very much.

He further doesn't get the need to block terrorists, even those with lowly box-cutters, from ever again unleashing attacks like 9/11 while at the same time protecting the freedoms of American citizens. It is a difficult path when the weapons of mass destruction, such as chemical and biological agents are small and easily infiltrated. I don't think ACORN is the agency to handle that security question.

Finally, his dream of American pre-eminence in a modern fast rail system seems a longing for the days of Taggart Transcontinental and a wilful disregard for the extant technology of France, Germany, Spain, Japan and a number of other nations who have left us far behind in rapid rail and bullet trains.

He means well, but his decline is sad to observe.

Writing Up a Storm

I've got a pretty good idea how long it takes to write a book. Of course, if you've got a huge reputation in books that leads to a huge advance (which is incredibly motivating) followed by a huge publisher effort to streamline the production cycle and then a great marketing campaign to net you the big bucks.

So, as we see ourselves less than five months into this most remarkable of administrations, it is already time for the legacy to be written. Why wait until after he leaves office to evaluate the efficacy of policy, the wisdom of decisions, the professionalism of leadership? Make a buck now while it is still worth something!

Take a minute to read this extensive piece on the soon-to-be-released must-read of the late summer:

The Controversy and Anticipation Builds

I hope you noted the "post date" on that pithy piece. It is just 16 days into the future! Do you smell the strong scent of a publicist pacing out the fanning of fever pitch? Hard to believe the New Republic is in collusion, but what do I know?

Woodward gained fame (notoriety) for his late-night liaisons with "Deep Throat" which led to the unseating of Richard Nixon, the abortive presidency of Gerald Ford and then those halcyon days of leftist leaning that were Jimmy Carter. He's not known to be sympathetic to the conservative side of the aisle, but he is recognized as a powerful voice and an individual with an eye for a story.

Is the Obama White House stiffing him? It wouldn't surprise me after the recount of how he responded to George W. Bush's openness. The Obama folks like to be in total control of the message--even when it is indistinct or in conflict with the actions.

What impresses me the most is the pre-emptive spin established by George Stephanopolous:

Stephanopoulos explains Woodward's reporting style: "He flashes a glimpse of what he knows, shaded in a largely negative light, with the hint of more to come, setting up a series of prisoner's dilemmas in which each prospective source faces a choice: Do you cooperate and elaborate in return (you hope) for learning more and earning a better portrayal--for your boss and yourself? Or do you call his bluff by walking away in the hope that your reticence will make the final product less authoritative and therefore less damaging? If no one talks, there is no book. But someone--then everyone--always talks."

That sets up a situation in which the post-mortem spin will allow for discounting the negatives as dupes for Woodward's guile. It's a win-win situation, particularly for Woodward.