Saturday, January 30, 2010

Who Dat Say Dey Own "Who Dat"?

I'm sorry, but this is too stupid to be an issue. I saw it yesterday in the Fishwrapper. It seems the NFL is uprightously protecting their potential earnings which an intrepid T-shirt merchant was jeopardizing. The entrepreneur in question was selling souvenir shirts with the phrase, "Who Dat" on the front.

Wow, who dat thinks dats a copyrighted name or slogan? Apparently the NFL seeks injunction against the T-shirt peddler claiming that they own the innocuous phrase which is regularly chanted in the Superdome when the Saints (formerly 'Aints) are playing.

Now, we've got rebuttal from the senator from LA:

We Own Who Dat Says Vitter

New Orleans "owns" the two-word phrase says the law-maker.

Well, riddle me this.

The chant started in the '80s. From the establishment of the team in 1967 until then there was no connection to the phrase. But that doesn't mean it didn't exist.

I went to USAF pilot training in 1964 at Williams AFB in Arizona. The student pilots were assigned to a Student Squadron, the 3526th Sturon. The squadron also included the instructors for all academics and for officer training. The squadron patch was a white shield with a standing Sylvester the Cat, nemesis of Tweety Bird. Sylvester was zipping into a tiger suit and had a flying helmet under his arm. Of course, the primary trainer was the T-37 Tweety Bird.


Distinction was made between students and instructors in the squadron by different patches. The instructor patch had "Who Dat" on the patch with one word on each side of Sylvester's shoulders. Student patches did not have the phrase. The image and slogan were used with permission of Looney Tunes.

When I returned to the base after my F-105 time, I instructed in flight as well as in academics and was assigned to the 3526th once again. And, as an instructor in the squadron, I had the squadron call-sign with a two-digit number. My call-sign for flying was "Who Dat two-four."



So, as the possessor of a firmly established prior claim from well before any claim by the NFL or city of New Orleans or state of Lousiana, I wish it clearly understood that "Who Dat" is now at least partially my property and all rights and privileges relating to usage for profit will require my consent and approval. Since the 3526th Student Squadron and Williams AFB are no longer in existance, there is no claim available there. If other former instructors from that organization and possessing a legacy original Who Dat patch wish to share in the royalties of this claim, they are welcome to do so.

Not Quite State of the Art

This was the breaking news from Russia this week:



Throwing terms like "5th Generation" around with a first flight by a prototype is reckless. What can we tell from the video about the aircraft? Very little other than it was a fairly typical first sortie of a developmental system. The planform looks remarkably like an F-22, so it would be reasonable to credit it with a fairly low RCS (radar cross-section) but we should note that the prototype F-22 first flight took place in 1990 and there has been a long and tortuous road to the current capability of the aircraft which the T-50 is clearly intended to challenge.

Remarkable Event Says Putin

A gear-down flight of a new airplane can certainly be characterized as "remarkable" but it doesn't really say much about capability as a weapon system.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov told the cabinet more work had to be done on the engine and the armaments system.


What that means is that the prototype is flying with temporary engines taken from the Su-30, not a supercruise capable, low IR signature engine suitable for a stealthy 5th-Gen fighter. The installation on this prototype look distinctly unstealthy both from radar and IR perspectives. If fully vectorable as in the Su-30, they would also flash huge returns to opponent sensors as they move.

It also means that the true core of capability of a state-of-the-art stealthy air-dominance platform has not yet been developed. A modern weapon is more than an agile airframe. Low emission sensors, data fusion with supporting platforms, situational awareness presentations and beyond-visual-range independently targetable weapons are not yet fitted to the aircraft.

The predictions of large scale sales to client states and operational capability by 2015 lead me to believe that this is a very impressive aerodynamic platform, much like the Su-30 video we looked at last week, but which will fall far short of the operational capability of the F-22 in air superiority roles and the F-35 in ground attack.

One should never minimize a potential adversary's capabilities, but one should also be cautious about accepting completely the advertising campaigns of a marketing agency, particularly one which has a track record of high volume, low quality production.

We'll see on this one.

Ninth & Tenth Amendments

It is impossible to read the history of our nation's founding without realizing that the framers of our Constitution were very reluctant to relinquish unlimited authority to the new federal government. The first attempt at a national government, a confederation, proved too limited to be functional. They realized that format wouldn't work if we were indeed to function as a unified nation. But they also wished to draw clear limits on what the federal level could do.

A constitution does three basic things. It describes the organization of the government; bicameral legislature, judiciary system with subordinate courts to be determined, a singular executive. It describes the operation of the government; checks and balances, legislative sequence, hierarchy of laws. And, maybe most critically, it describes the function which the government is to perform; the powers of the government.

To get the document ratified it was soon realized that simply listing what the government CAN do was inadequate. They needed to also offer details on what the government CANNOT do--the Bill of Rights. Language like, "Congress shall make no law..." and "shall not be infringed..." is clear limitation on the federal government and when coupled with "equal protection under the law..." it extends generally to the states as well.

The Ninth and Tenth Amendments are important even if they are regularly ignored. The Ninth says that just because a right is not listed in the document as protected, it still exists and the people retain it. The Tenth says that anything which isn't spelled out as within the authority of the federal government or prohibited to the states is kept by the states.

That's the essence of delegated and reserverd power. The states delegate limited power to the federal level. The powers of the federal government are enumerated, i.e. spelled out. There is provision for some implied powers but with the 9th and 10th operative, those implications should be viewed as limited.

What then do we make of this:

Feds to Fix College Football

NO! A thousand times NO!

I don't like the BCS system one bit. But, it is well beyond any interpretation of the authority of the Constitution for the federal government to stick their meddling fingers into this pie.

Saturday Morning Classic Rocker



That's guitar magic!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Investigative Journalism

This will take a few minutes for you to read, but then you will have a considerable issue to consider:

Atlas Shrugs Seeks Link Between Nazis and "Arabists"

That looks like the product of considerable research. The details of the layout and plan of Auschwitz are horrendous enough without adding the consideration of the possibility of this additional linkage.

Certainly the Grand Mufti existed and certainly he went underground in WW II. The animosity which the Arab world today expresses against the state of Israel and the Jewish people certainly would mesh with a revelation that the Mufti was linked to the Nazi atrocity.

There is more than enough historic anti-semitism in central Europe to have nurtured the Nazi fanatacism without the Arabist influence, but it also doesn't rule it out.

I Forgot For an Hour

In a blistering review of Chris Matthews' recent shwantz-stomping:



Hat Tip to Instapundit for posting that.

Using His Mulligan

Among gentlemen you should only claim one Mulligan per round, but we might want to make an exception for the Bamster whose caddies seem to be choosing the wrong club for him with incessant regularity. Here's today's Mulligan:

Maybe There's a Better Place

How many ways could they have seen that coming?

Of course it should have been obvious to predict what a freak show attempting to conduct a trial of these miscreants in NYC would have been. It would have been pretty easy to crunch a few numbers on security costs before precipitously making such an absurd pronouncement. Congestion, media, demonstrations, riots, terrorist threats, nut-case wannabes seeking fifteen minutes of fame, etc. would be impossible to ignore.

Could Holder maybe have done a little ringie-dingie of the Mayor to ask how he felt about that? Might they have run it past the vocal senior senator and the place-holding newbie from the state to get their input?

The defendents are incarcerated very securely in the facility at Guantanamo. What would it cost to conduct the trial there rather than in downtown Manhattan? Peanuts in comparison.

So, what will be the fall-back? There are a lot of courthouses throughout the heartland that aren't dying for this opportunity. There are a lot of communities that don't want or need this carnival in their back yard. There are a lot of folks who don't want a bulls-eye painted on their town.

This was a decision driven by misguided ideology and a reckless disregard for security of the nation. It shouldn't have been made in the first place.

Now we shall see what the fall-back position is going to be and there can be little doubt that it isn't going to get any better soon.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Jonah Goldberg on the State of the Union

Apparently the Bamster didn't hit a home run, throw a touchdown pass, slap a goal from in front of the crease or hit a three-pointer at the buzzer in the view of New York Post opinionator Goldberg.

There's a story of an exhausted tenor at La Scala who, facing repeated cries of "Encore," responded that he couldn't go on. A man rose in the audience to say, "You'll keep singing until you get it right."


He says it much better than I could. In fact, I'll confess that after twenty minutes of teleprompter tag, I turned the thing off and went to bed.

Einstein's Definition of Insanity...

...doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

Thirty-Love

Left, right, left, right..
Left, right, left, right..
Left, right, left, right..

C'mon look straight forward for a second...

Left, right, left, right..
Left, right, left, right..
Left, right, left, right..

Please, just complete one sentence looking ahead...

Left, right, left, right..
Left, right, left, right..
Left, right, left, right..

Can't you remember the end of the line long enough to look the American people in the eye...

Left, right, left, right..
Left, right, left, right..
Left, right, left, right..

The camera with the red light on, that's where we are, straight in front of you...

Left, right, left, right..
Left, right, left, right..
Left, right, left, right..

It's like watching a bloody tennis match...

Left, right, left, right..
Left, right, left, right..
Left, right, left, right..

Nah, at least in a tennis match there's an occasional lob to break the monotony...

Left, right, left, right..
Left, right, left, right..
Left, right, left, right..

What's he talking about, I can't concentrate with the left, right...

Left, right, left, right..
Left, right, left, right..
Left, right, left, right..

It's more like ping-pong, faster back and forth...

Left, right, left, right..
Left, right, left, right..
Left, right, left, right..

Doesn't matter really, it's got nothing to do with reality...

Left, right, left, right..
Left, right, left, right..
Left, right, left, right..

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Surprisingly, No Surprises

"One Trick Pony" will be performing again tonight. It's the evolution of a seemingly innocuous line which the Founders put in the Constitution: "the President shall from time to time report to the Congress on the state of the union." Seems simple enough. Drop by and tell us how you are making do with what we've asked you to administer.

Washington and Adams would drop in and speak. Jefferson wasn't a fan of public oratory, so he sent letters. It was sort of the CEO meeting with the Board of Directors.

Over time, radio made it possible for the nation to hear the report. That marked a shift because gradually it became apparent that while the President might be delivering his remarks to a joint session of Congress, he was really able to talk directly to the American people. Franklin Roosevelt was master of the genre.

With TV, the evolution continued and it became not only an opportunity to speak to the nation but a theatrical production with costumes and staging, entrances and exits, choreography and emotionalism. Tonight the show must go on.

Same Song, Same Chorus, Same Lame Tune

Remarkably the Bamster thinks his problems are about communicating with us.

"In this political environment, what I haven't always been successful at doing is breaking through the noise and speaking directly to the American people,"


Are you kidding me? With more than 150 formal speeches and more than 440 interviews in the last year he still thinks he isn't speaking directly to the people? Give me a break!

We need him to shut up, go in the office, fire some sycophantic incompetents, listen to some heartland citizens and actually start attempting to learn how the business of business operates. We don't need more speaking directly to us, Daddy. We've heard you and we don't want what you are selling.

He will push for health care reform, regulation of Wall Street, energy and immigration reform, and a global fight against terrorists.


We don't want healthcare reform that you are selling! We can't stand more regulation and penalizing of our financial system. We certainly don't like your road to energy policy. We haven't seen squat about immigration from you other than legalization of hordes of aliens to allow them to vote for welfare. And, your "fight" against terrorists is demonstrated to be inept and ill-advised.

"The president will highlight his commitment to education reform in the State of the Union tomorrow night including his plan to improve outcomes for students at every point along the educational pipeline,"


There is nothing in the enumerated powers of the federal government listed in our Constitution regarding education. Education has traditionally been a local responsibility in America. School boards, district funding, policy choices come from the community. Didn't Hillary, herself, say something about it taking a "village" and not a national government to raise a child?

"Improve outcomes" sounds suspiciously like affirmative action alternatives to objective grading standards to insure mandatory "progress" toward bureaucratic goals. How about teaching basics, testing competence, and failing those who don't measure up? It worked for the Greatest Generation, why not now?

the president plans to use the address to renew his focus on jobs, calling for swift action on lagging bills providing tax cuts for job creation


At the risk of sounding repetitious let me say again loudly: governments don't create jobs. Successful businesses create jobs. Entrepreneurs making profits create jobs. A business environment which offers security and dependable future stability creates jobs. Threats of regulation, mandates, taxes, and bureaucratic oversight don't create jobs. Stand aside, Mr. President, and let our free market capitalist system work to create jobs. Apply a Hippocratic Oath principle on the economy, "First, do no harm."

We're going to hear a lot about him tonight. There's going to be a lot of denial. There will be a deluge of promises of largesse. There will be a heaping pile of class warfare and punishment of the successful. There will be no surprises, however.

Carly Simon's Love Identified

Remember this song? When it was a huge hit there was a lot of buzz that it was autobiographical. She was talking to her love who had disappointed her. Many thought it was Mick Jagger. Some said it was James Taylor. We've never been sure:



But, now possibly we know:

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Clear Miss by McCain

I read Robert Stacy McCain's blog almost every day. He's got some insights into stuff and he offers a gateway to a lot of good follow-on sites. But today, I simply don't get his problem. He's got the beak about David Brooks doing an editorial for the NYT on populism.

I had to see what was so outrageous. Seriously, the NYT offers a lot of humor these days as well as fodder for serious ridicule. They sure didn't in this piece:

The Populist Addiction

I can find very little to disagree with in that. The current embrace of populism by the "progressives" nee liberals, thinly veiled in a veneer of class warfare and success envy is exactly the failure that Brooks is talking about.

Frankly if I hear one more appeal to "Main Street" to rise up against "Wall Street" I think I'll barf. The very essence of our free market capitalist system is of participation in investment through a vibrant middle class. Main Street is part and parcel of Wall Street.

Motivation For A Marriage

This is a relationship that would have to avoid conflicts before going to work:

I've Got To Get My Classroom Updated

Consistency is the Hobgoblin of Small Minds

I like the fact that the Bamster shows consistency. He says what he believes in and he is consistently on message:



Well, at least until it becomes inconvenient to do what you said you would be doing:

President To Propose Across-the-Board Spending Freeze

But, when is a spending freeze not a spending freeze?

It is also unlikely to affect the approximately $900 billion health-care bill, which has been on life-support since the Massachusetts vote. In an interview with ABC News on Monday, Obama vowed to press ahead with health care and other first-year agenda items, even it means jeopardizing his reelection chances in 2012.


So, we're going to freeze spending except on things that he wants that the American people are vocally repudiating?

And if the legislature doesn't legislate the way he dictates he is going to issue diktats to restrict what the legislature can do?

The Senate is scheduled to vote Tuesday on a plan to create a budget commission, though supporters say they lack the 60 votes needed for adoption. Obama has told lawmakers that if the measure fails, he will issue an executive order creating such a task force with broad power to change the tax code and spending on entitlement programs.


An executive order to change the tax code and spending on entitlement programs? Excuse me, there's that pesky ol' Constitution popping up again. Can anyone say, "high crimes and misdemeanors"?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Listen to the People

An essential attribute of a successful democracy is responsiveness to the people. The government should be aware of what the people are seeking rather than operating in reverse and attempting to tell the people what they should want.

Here's the latest Pew poll on the priorities of the American people:

And In Dead Last We Find---Global Warming



Yes, once again "it's the economy, stupid!" Health insurance comes in at a dismal 12th after security and military issues. Cap and trade to deal with the coming tropical period seems to be off the table if the Bamster can hear the people above his own incessant bleating.

Back Channel Correspondence on SU-30

For those who enjoyed the airshow performed by the SU-30 in yesterday's video that might have in retrospect then questioned whether the US can compete with such gymnastics, this came across my desk. The author of the note wrote it in response to questions from some folks who saw the video. He is retired Gen. Al Slay, former commander of Air Force Systems Command:

Fw: Russian Jet Video.Awsome.......

Thanks for the Russian jet video, which is very impressive. Quite obviously, however, the writer of the comments doesn't know much about fighters and is also unaware that the F-22 can far outdo the Russian fighter in any performance area. The F-22 can maneuver at zero airspeed (which the SU-30 cannot do -- all the SU-30 can do is the "cobra maneuver", which the F-22 can also do easily); the F-22 can also out turn the SU-30 under any conditions, out accelerate the SU-30 under any conditions, outrun the SU-30 in mil power, and on top of all that the F-22 has much better air to air armament than the SU-30, and still more on top of that, the F-22 is stealthy, while the SU-30 has the radar signature of a large barn door. Add to those facts the additional fact that the radar, infrared and other "situational awareness" sensors aboard the F-22 are much, much better than those in the SU-30, and even the greatest advocate for the SU-30 would conclude that the SU-30 would be a sitting duck and a dead duck in any engagement that it may be unfortunate enough to encounter with the F-22.

Short recap: The SU-30 is a great airshow machine; but, regarding the statement that the SU-30 is "the best fighter in the world", it definitely ain't!! Not by a country mile!!!

Having said that, the SU-30 has better aerodynamic characteristics than our current first line fighter, the F-15, which is why the AF wants more F-22s. A force of F-15s going up against a comparable force of SU-30s would probably come out on top -- but only because of better pilot training, better tactics and better missiles -- not because it could match the SU-30 in a turning "dog fight" which our tactics dating back several decades have told us to avoid. Our F-15 and F-16 air-to-air tactics are now (and have been for many years) to approach an enemy force of fighters at high mach, fire BVR missiles, blow through the enemy force and only reluctantly get into a "fur ball" (the modern term for "dog fight"). Our short range missile (the Sidewinder) is a better killer than its Russian counterpart since it has much better off-boresight capability,

F-22 tactics, as demonstrated in many exercise engagements are much the same as described above. Those tactics, which still work well, plus the stealthiness, speed, incredible radar performance and the best air-to-air missiles in the world have made the F-22 a 100 to one winner in all exercise engagements to date. That statement is a documented fact. Also, if the F-22 did get into a turning engagement with the SU-30, there is no doubt in my mind as to which fighter would win -- the F-22 by very long odds.

Best regards,

Al

Cliff Notes Version of Wednesday's Speech

We'll get a ninety minute dose of class warfare, repression, collectivization and redistribution on Wednesday night, but if you don't have the time or the stomach to sit through the whole thing, here's the preview version:

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Too Many Notes

This simply makes my head hurt:



I can only imagine the man-hours required to keep those nozzles, canards, flaperons, rudder-vators, etc. in functioning condition. Hopefully the computers are triple redundant.

Makes you wonder why they couldn't maintain the oxygen system well enough that the pilot could breath without letting his mask hang down to his chin.

The demo is an aerodynamic wonder. Tactically, all of that flapping and swirling hot-air is a recipe for a big bulls-eye on your cockpit from a stealthy system operating with multi-source data fusion.

Meet Your Neighbor, Ellie

Have you heard about Ellie? She's new in your community and she's an activist of sorts. At least that's the way it looks from reading the Letters to the Editor section of your local fish-wrapper.

It really doesn't seem to matter where you live. Ellie's your neighbor now. She's become so ubiquitous that people noticed.

Here's the best round-up and most information on the situation that I've seen compiled:

Would They Stoop So Low?

Why does Herman Goebbels keep popping into my mind so often?

She's sort of got a Facebook page too:

Ellie Light

I think I've seen her around somewhere.

Separation of Powers?

We all grew up with the principles of Madison espoused in our Constitution firmly inculcated in our mushy little minds. One of the most significant aspects of that document is the distinction which is the foundation of a presidential republic in contrast to a parliamentary form of democracy.

Few of the people languishing in front of the TVs today could tell you what that difference is. The governments of places like Great Britain, France, Germany, Israel, Japan, et. al. are parliamentary which means they have a fusion of powers in their organization. The Prime Minister is the chief executive and simultaneously the presiding officer of the legislature. The cabinet offices which administer the policies are sitting members of the legislature as well as members of the majority party. The judiciary is usually chosen from within one of the chambers of the legislature. The branches are intermingled and as a result the policy decisions are the clear responsibility of the majority party in power. When the majority party loses confidence of the electorate, there can be a vote indicating that loss and a call for elections without delay for a term to end.

Our presidential system is built on the principle of separation of powers rather than fusion. We have checks and balances to insure no branch can become predominant and beyond the control of the electorate.

Failure to keep those separations clearly before us is contributing to the downfall of the republic as we watch. Check it yourself. Ask your friends and co-workers who should be dealing with our policy questions. The answer you will inevitably receive is that it is the responsibility of the President. He should be directing Congress to do this, that, or the other.

That is not what the Founders gave us.

Check this:

A Panel Proposed Post-Elections

Please tell me you were outraged by the audacity of such a concept. Sure, at first glance it looks like a necessary action, doesn't it? The deficit is on steroids and the debt limits which Congress has established are only sufficient for another month or two after each increase. Bankruptcy on this path is increasingly inevitable. Let's reign in Congress...or not.

Be outraged by the timing. Look people! I'm your President doing something about the deficit with my panel. But, we'll only get to work after the November election so that my loyal minions will be able to continue doling out pork to their districts and their constituent voters until we get past this hump and are firmly entrenched for another two years. If it were worth doing, it would be worth doing immediately.

Be outraged by the assumption of power. The "power of the purse" has long been the major check of the legislature on the unbridled power of the executive. The voters hold the switch on keeping their representatives and insuring they control the reach of an overly aggressive President. Letting the executive tell the legislature what the limits of their spending will be is over-reaching. This proposal is unconstitutional as a breach of separation of powers.

Be outraged by the hypocrisy of the lie. There has been nothing visible in the last year of actions by this administration which indicates in any manner an interest in limiting spending. He has indicated on several occasions an awareness of the deficit, although he usually links that immediately with labeling as a legacy of the previous administration. Yet in his proposals he has suggested nothing by increased spending, increased redistribution of wealth, increased regulation of the formerly free market, and increased disregard for the impact of his proposals on economic recovery.

Put one short item on your "to-do" list this week. Dig out a copy of the Constitution and give it a quick skim. It's just a few thousand words and you can skip some of the parts about how many representatives the original thirteen states would receive or how pirates would be dealt with. Read the essentials and refresh your memory.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Perfect Example

Can you quantify what is wrong with a liberal? Think about it. Try to capture the essence of a liberal in one or two sentences without resorting to insult, name-calling, hyperbole or exaggeration. No sound-bites, please.

Here's a source document:

Not The One We Waited For

Isn't that pretty clear?

House Democrats need to be told to pass the Senate bill


What? Who should be doing this telling? Aren't those representatives in the House elected by the people of their districts to represent them? Who beyond the electorate has the authority to tell them what to pass? The Messiah?

"I would advise that we try to move quickly to coalesce around those elements of the package that people agree on."

In short, “Run away, run away”!


What? Isn't the very essence of our republic the idea of consensus of the majority forged through compromise? Isn't that (at last!) the realization of the Bamster? In Krugman's view that is a flaw in der Fuerher. Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.

I’m pretty close to giving up on Mr. Obama, who seems determined to confirm every doubt I and others ever had about whether he was ready to fight for what his supporters believed in.


When his supporters that believe in the healthcare seizure are outnumbered by the 59% of Americans who don't want this package, why should they prevail?

Can we all pitch in and get Mr. Krugman a copy of the Constitution where he can brush up on what powers the President has? Clearly this man who gets well compensated (dare I say obscenely?) for his opinions by the New York Times doesn't understand democracy.

And, that's what defines a liberal. Someone who knows better than you and will exercise any opportunity to impose his preferences upon you without regard to the rule of law.

Balance Is Everything

Very early in every course I teach I try to make the point that complex issues do not have simple solutions. Stated that way it seems so obvious, yet if we look around us we see otherwise intelligent people continually expecting that with the stroke of a legislative pen a problem will be magically corrected and all will be right with the world.

End slavery and we will have an egalitarian society. Didn't quite happen yet, did it? Amend the Constitution to prohibit abortion. Think that would do it? Provide free healthcare to all for less cost and with greater efficiency? Un-bloody-likely! How about ending dependence on foreign oil without tapping our national resources and shifting to wind and solar power for our economy within the next twenty-five years? Gimme a break!

Hit the block of white marble in just the right place and all unnecessary chunks will fall off to give us Michaelangelo's David.

That's why this brief piece in the WSJ is fascinating:

Himalayan Glaciers Will Persist

While the item quite clearly points out the fallacies in the "science" which attempted to attribute receding glaciers to anthropogenic global warming, it still is able to acknowledge that since records have been kept there has been erosion. The important aspect is that the writer avoids the Chicken Little hysteria which tends to characterize most debate these days.

Taken in greater context, those few paragraphs admit that global climatology is complex, that we've only taken a chronological snapshot of trends in a century, that over the very long run there have been huge shifts in climate patterns, and that stifling a growing nation's economy by collapsing to pseudo-scientific snake-oil salesmen is bad policy.

Which brings us to the lesson which the Messiah might want to consider for the coming year.

Recall four years ago when an effort called McCain-Kennedy was proposed. It was comprehensive immigration reform which contained border policy, fence-building, fine-paying, language requirements, alien registration, country of origin repatriation, re-entry, work visas and an incredible bureaucracy. There was something for everyone to object to.

Now flashback on the last year with comprehensive healthcare reform. Eventually we wound up with 2600 pages of carve-outs and set-asides dealing with every aspect of our lives and setting up a situation which attempted to offer everyone something to support. There was something also for everyone to object to.

The key word is COMPREHENSIVE. We are too fractious a nation to be able to deal with sweeping comprehensive solutions. In 1776 we were revolutionary. In 2010 we are evolutionary.

Evolutionary is doable. Revolutionary is destructive.

If there truly is a demand to reform our healthcare system, then let us fix a wheel bearing this month. Let's change the transmission fluid at the end of summer. Let's install new shock absorbers in the fall. Maybe after Christmas a tune-up and new battery.

That's a more approachable path than jacking up the rear-view mirror and installing a new car around it.

Saturday Morning Rocker

If you asked someone what they did for a living and they told you they played cello in a rock and roll band, would you believe them?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Knee Jerk Correctness


By now you must have encountered Trijicon-gate. That's the pseudo-embarrassment, equalitarian outrage and high dudgeon generated by the discovery that the ACOG (Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight) used by our military and produced by Trijicon has a small number engraved on each one that identifies (hold the children's ears here) a Bible verse! Yes, my friends, while Maj. Hasan can freely shout Allahu Akbar in a crowded theater while killing his fellow soldiers, our combat troops may not be encouraged by some etched numbers on their riflescope.

Trijicon Caves to Pressure

What is interesting to me is what the Bible verses are.

"JN8:12," a reference to John 8:12: "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, 'I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life,"'


Or, alternatively,

2COR4:6, a reference to part of the second letter of Paul to the Corinthians: "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ,"


Certainly uplifting themes with which to go into battle, but more importantly they could be viewed as a touting of the very potential for which Trijicon sights are properly valued! They are a self-contained, no batteries required, ILLUMINATED reticle telescopic sight. They automatically collect sunlight through a fiber-optic tube to charge a light source which detects ambient light. When the environment is too dim for the user to readily discern the standard scope post and cross-hairs, the aimpoint is illuminated. No action required on the part of the trooper as they move from bright sunlight to dim interior knowing they will always have "light to shine out of darkness."

I'd feel very good about understanding that number on my scope was the proud message from its maker that I would have the "light of life" with me in my peril.

But, our bureaucratic generalship doesn't want to risk offending our enemies before we shot them.

I suppose next week the guys will probably have to stop dipping bullets in the bacon grease before missions.

Double Dose of Weird

Supposedly recorded Wednesday night of Harry Reid after the Massachusetts election results came in:

And the Beat Goes On!!!

The essential freedom of our First Amendment is that of citizens to think, act and speak on their individual behalf without imposition of government to constrain their political voice. No, it isn't about which god you choose or which newspaper you read or how much porn you can access or who you can chill with at the corner. It's about expressing your wishes to the representative republic which will govern on our behalf.

Read that again carefully. I didn't say "govern us," I said govern on our behalf.

The bleating of the masses for things like "campaign reform" and "term limitation" have always chilled my soul because they are requests to have choice and voice taken from us. The propagandizing that somehow distinguishes my vote and my labor on behalf of a candidate as being worthy while the contribution of my hard-earned wealth to support a cause or individual as being corrupting is wrong.

Having been a candidate, I know how hard it is to get the necessary minimum in funds to mount a campaign. It takes supporters who believe in your message and are confident that you would serve them well. To suggest that when they offer their aid to the effort that they are buying your vote is always a consideration, but to assume without evidence it is the case is prejudicial. To attempt to set a limit on how successful a candidate can be in campaign fund-raising might seem noble but it denies the essence of the First Amendment.

Do I present myself as a blank sheet of paper so that you can purchase me through your contributions and then write your message on my performance? Or do you meet me, listen to me, evaluate me and measure me for the job then throw your money in the fund because I have earned your confidence? It is inevitably and obviously the latter.

That's why McCain-Feingold was such an affront to political freedom of speech. It looked well intentioned, but can you really stop people from speaking, advertising, expressing themselves on candidates and issues before elections? Is it preferable for already ignorant voters to remain totally benighted rather than hear a message?

The Supreme Court has moved in the right direction today:

Slap-Down to Campaign Finance Crippling

Your first reaction might be that I'm wrong on this but if you consider it for a while you will realize that the only way a representative government can function is if the people have the freedom to support the candidates and issues of their choosing.

Bargain Day

Rush to Amazon.com right now and take advantage of this special, once-in-a-lifetime, Sham-Wow Vince style offer:

Now Get All Three for $32

Yes, my teeming hordes of fans, Amazon has seen fit to bundle the collected works of your humble servant (and a couple of able associates on the recent effort) into a package deal. You could also click the prominently displayed "Fighter Pilot" cover in the right sidebar and take advantage of the package deal just as easily.

But, in the interest of full disclosure I will let you know that they are bundling the new release with paperback versions of When Thunder Rolled and Palace Cobra.

The discount price on Fighter Pilot which will release on April 13 is a bargain that you should take advantage of.

The Missed Essential

In the wake of Tuesday's grand election result in MA, Dallas syndicated talk-show host and weekly editorialist in the Fish Wrap, Mark Davis notes cogently:

There are now officially two kinds of Democrats: those who get it and those who don’t.


Further down on the same page is a screed by Froma Harrop, not one of my favorite opiners, who clearly demonstrates which kind of Democrat she is:

It was the worst state to test public feelings about reform, says Froma Harrop
The miracle in Massachusetts was made possible through a bigger miracle four years ago. That’s when the commonwealth became the first and so far only state to guarantee near-universal coverage. The Republican winner of the Senate seat long held by Ted Kennedy, Scott Brown, voted for the legislation as a state senator. In vowing to be the key 41st vote against the Democrats’ health care reforms, Brown carefully added that Massachusetts voters should not worry about their own health care security: They already have it through the state program.

Thus, Massachusetts was the worst state in which to test the wider public’s feelings about national health care reform. Polls showed people in Massachusetts, as elsewhere, unhappy with the legislation in Washington. But those numbers include many who thought the reforms too weak or were simply disgusted by the legislative sausage-making. Whether these proposals were better than nothing is a meaningless question to people who already have something.

Their damp enthusiasm for Washington’s reforms belies the popularity of the state reforms enacted in 2006. “It’s not perfect,” a Brown supporter told a reporter, “but why should we have to pay again when we have health care?” Not perfect is an understatement. Unlike the legislation in Congress, the Massachusetts plan made virtually no effort to contain spiraling health care costs. That makes the plan, which Brown still supports, far less conservative than the national version he opposes.

Even though their reforms are superior, Democrats in Washington could have done better still by not trying to please everyone (including Republicans, who were just playing with them). But despite their control of the White House and majorities in Congress, Democrats seemed capable only of reacting to critics, of cringing with fear under even the most ludicrous attacks.

If you don’t have the courage of your convictions, it doesn’t matter whether your party has 59 or 60 or 65 seats in the Senate. Under President George W. Bush, Republicans got whatever they wanted with 50 senators.


Do you see what she doesn't get?

She doesn't get the very essence of our FEDERAL system! The fact that Massachusetts approached their problem and dealt with it in balance with their own state priorities is critical here. That is what the founding fathers designed for us!

She doesn't get that paying for what you receive is decidedly conservative while redistributing property through a system of convoluted taxes, penalties, subsidies, kickbacks, pay-offs, favoritist deals and corruption is what the people object to and will not tolerate.

She doesn't get that quality healthcare costs money and "containing" costs at a level significant enough to provide a free lunch to those presently uninsured will not result in quality care but in inferior and rationed treatments. MA seems to have been wise and prudent in removing that component of the issue from their consideration.

She doesn't get exactly how George W. Bush was able to do that thing with only 50 senators and the Bamster seems confounded by a super-majority of his minions.

Clearly she doesn't get it when she blindly asserts, "even though their reforms are superior..." She's one of those who still doesn't get it.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Awesome Outcome, But...

Dutifully watched the blather of American Idol auditions last night, killing the time after poll closing so that I would be able to see some meaningful results in an hour. They were all I could have wished for.

At 8:00PM CST, I switched to Fox and they had it already at 55% with Brown ahead by seven points. That's significant. As I watched over the next hour, the precincts reporting numbers moved up rapidly through 66, 73, 85 and then 95% with Brown holding at seven until the last half hour when it dropped to just 5% points, but still a virtual landslide in deep blue Massachusetts.

Always one to seek the view from the enemy camp, about half way through I switched to CNN. NOTHING! Larry King was regaling his six remaining viewers with some blithering idiot talking about Haiti's earthquake relief. No mention of the election at all. Probably more significant there was no crawl across the bottom of the screen with results. You could watch CNN and not be aware that there had just been a seismic shift in the American political landscape.

But, wait as they say in the Ginzu commericals, there's more. I tried the decrepit major networks. I didn't expect suspension of prime time entertainment reality shows, but was astounded to see no evidence of a crawl or coverage in the margins on any of the three networks.

Did you ever wonder how they think we can be controlled? Did Joseph Goebbels counsel Hitler? If you control the media, you control dissemination of information. If you control what people know, you control what they will do.

Apparently, however, that still isn't a completed work in America. Apparently the people know what is happening and are standing up to say they have had enough. Apparently with the announcement by Sen. Webb (D-VA) this morning of a motion to delay further votes on the healthcare bill until Brown is seated, there is fear rising among liberal incumbents that this could be writing upon their wall.

This looks like a bright new day in American. Who would have believed it a year ago?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

MA Race Is At the Post

All eyes are on Massachusetts today as a referendum on Obama and the heavy-handed Democratic congress. There is no other way to interpret it. This isn't a microcosm event about two personalities competing in a small state. This is macro-politics on an unprecedented scale. It's David and Goliath in a hostile venue for the good guy. Fingers are crossed, deities are petitioned, genies with three wishes are sought and the networks are going to be saturating us with hyperbole, predictions, premature conclusions and nonsense.

This may be the most telling chart I've seen:

The Brown-Coakley Race Over Time

Some things to note there beyond simply the right hand column of preference outcomes include the sources of the polls. A few are clearly identified with (R) and (D) so you could expect a bit of bias and spin. Some are very well respected with a track record of remarkable accuracy such as Rasmussen.

But for me the most telling data is the date column of the polls. Note that last September the Democrat was ahead by 30 points. The last two days the Republican is showing 9 and 10 points ahead. That is a forty point swing in 120 days.

That swing isn't caused by a scandal over a candidate. No indictments have been revealed. No affairs of the heart have been disclosed. No airport men's room indiscretions have been revealed. What has happened?

Might it be the rough-shod trampling of political process in which the people have been ignored, the minority party has been shut out and the anti-capitalist agenda of the left has been imposed?

It could be.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Memories

How would you go about creating a Broadway musical about a chess tournament and still keep it interesting and entertaining? Well, how about filling the principle production number with sexual innuendoes and double entendres like this:



What are they talking about? Well most of it can be found on Patpong Road. It has changed a lot since I was there but while the architecture and layout may have developed, the product and market target are still the same. Apparently now it is a walking arcade but during my visits it was a pair of streets, Patpong I and Patpong II. Whatever you might seek could be found there, but watch out for the Katoi. What you see, regardless of how delicate and beautiful, might not be what you get.



If you conclude that fighting a war from a base about 150 miles north of Bangkok was considerably more interesting than the current combat in a sandbox, you are probably correct.

Yet, if your pursuit of fleshly pleasures didn't ruin your daylight hours, there was much to fascinate in the core of the city. The wats, the stupas, the various large and small Buddhas, the palace, the canals and tiny shops all had a charm and reflected a culture very different than ours:



Yeah, lots of memories in this.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Observations

First half of the Sunday funnies is over and here's what I've noted:

  1. The more important the game the better Bret Favre (and Drew Brees and Peyton Manning) are likely to play.
  2. The more important the game the worse Tony Romo will play and Wade Phillips will coach.
  3. Next week in New Orleans might be the true championship of the NFL rather than simply the NFC.
  4. Unless Fox Sports figures out how to do an audio mix and control the level of background stadium and crowd noise, they are wasting their money on commentators like Joe Buck and Troy Aikman.

A Simple Question

Take a look here and follow some of the credible links in the item:

Coakley's Friends Get Muddy

The old fighter pilot joke was:

Never wrestle with pigs. You can't win, you both get dirty, and the pig loves it.


One has got to ask the simple question, why would anyone descend into this morass any more? How will be ever get good candidates seeking to perform honorable public service when this is what it has devolved into?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Crud Rules

There was mention of Crud in the earlier post about Fighter Pilots. The game is played in stag bars around the world by USAF and other respected military aviation organizations. In my opinion it is a terrible waste of an otherwise perfectly servicable pool table, but as long as there is imbibing of adult beverages involved I'm not averse to supporting the activity.

For those who might be curious and outside of the fraternity the game might be confusing. There are detailed and commonly accepted rules. Everyone should be aware of them and one of the best places to find them posted is a stag bar men's room over the urinals. For those without access to such sophisticated facilities, here is a source:

F-16.net Rules of Crud

I would like to note however that the last rule usually found in any posting of Crud rules is missing at that page. Those who have heard about the last rule but never violated it are aware that the final rule always displayed for players in a crud location is:

Any player caught reading these rules will be assessed a "life"


Can't have lawyers in a Crud game, can we?

Coakley Knows Her Fans

Name-dropping is an irrelevance and a core component of political posturing. Appeals to the most irrelevant relationships are supposedly important to voters who, as I've noted before here, are dumber than stumps.

The rivalry between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox has escalated during the last decade as the two teams seemingly are always in contention for the American League pennant. Gather several million mouth-breathing fans of the once great national pastime and build rivalry to reap big bucks. It works well for NYC and Beantown.

So in some sort of desperation we've got this:



One must ask how much denial is this woman in? She's obligated to mention the Yankee/Bosox rivalry to gain some sort of credibility. Then she suggests that Rudy Guiliani might be a supporter. Remember he's a Republican. And finally rips it with the assertion that Curt Schilling is a Yankees fan.

Ooops!

Saturday Morning Rocker

Doing it Texas style:

Friday, January 15, 2010

Background On Martha Coakley, Prosecutor

If I read this on a wild-eyed Huffington Post style blog, I'd be incredulous. The problem is that this is the Wall Street Journal. It is very difficult for me to doubt the veracity of the reporting there.

This story of the current candidate for US Senate in Massachusetts defies belief:

The Knife That Doesn't Cut, The Justice Not Done, The Verdict Overturned

How does someone like that continue to merit any vestige of the public trust? How totally corrupt and inept is the entire system today in that which was the birthplace of our revolution?

Disaster Looms In Massachusetts

Polls released this morning startle by indicating that Scott Brown, the underdog Republican has now pulled ahead of anointed Kennedy successor, Martha Coakley by 4 percentage points in the race for the People's Senate Seat in Massachusetts (aka the Kennedy Seat). That's outside the three point margin of error and astonishingly a 35 percentage point shift in the last two weeks!

Coakley has done no favors for herself with a lackluster effort fueled by assurances that it was in the bag. She's got an abrasive persona with a droning, aggressive courtroom style of speaking that simply doesn't endear her to voters. Her gaffe on declaring Afghanistan free of Taliban and/or al Qaeda was noticed even by the mainstream media. She's come out strongly against the people in her contining vow to support the current healthcare reform debacle and simply isn't making any progress in retaining the independent and moderate voters she needs to win.

The effort to get the Messiah to step in as deus ex machina has collapsed as memories of New Jersey and Virginia's recent elections coupled with the disappointment of the Olympic selection intervention and the non-success at Copenhagen for a frozen out global warming treaty remain fresh. His magic is gone.

So, they unleash the other left-wing headliners like this articulate spokesperson on the issues:

Not a Putz-Head But a Tea-Bagger This Time

With friends like Chuckie, who needs enemies?

I Didn't Write This, But I Could Have

FU WTFO: Joe, out of pilot training you did well enough to fly any aircraft you wanted, why fighters?

JOE: I decided to become a fighter pilot so I could be one of the elite men who had been selected to fly sleek, sexy, supersonic aircraft in dazzling aerial combat, as well as put on cool air shows and pose for photographs. Only the best pilots in the world get to be fighter pilots. The rest fly slow, heavy, ugly aircraft like A6s used to haul rubber dog shit out of places like Hong Kong, or worse, Detroit.

FU WTFO: Joe, rumor has it you wear a flight suit everyday and have not seen your blues since pilot training graduation, can you explain why?

JOE: Yes, typically, fighter pilots wear flight suits designed to be fireproof and protect them in case of an emergency. In actuality, however, the uniforms are made of a special type of cloth which repels beer stains. You can tell the really "shit hot" fighter pilots by the zipper on the beer repelling uniform. The lower it is, the more skilled the aviator. These "flight suits" also allow a fighter pilot to be able to get dressed and undressed in under ten seconds flat, and also perform various skills such as "ball-walking," a maneuver that might otherwise be impossible or painful in a normal uniform.

FU WTFO: Joe, we understand you consider yourself a bit of an authority on fighter pilot history. Can you tell us where the first fighter pilot came from?

JOE: Sure that’s an easy one. In 1069, Lord Carolus Magnus, having just been defeated by Cossacks in The Battle of the Third Punic War, called his military councilors to discuss new military strategies and doctrine. After thirty hours of heated deliberation and enthusiastic discussion, the council started to get sidetracked talking about strippers and other topics which had no place in a professional military context. Fearing that letting this go on any longer would have the council completely out of control, the Lord's senior executive officer, Baron Manfred Richthofen, summoned the butler who delivered four and twenty flagons of beer. An hour later, the council (who were Irish) was back on topic, with all members inebriated, singing songs, shouting, passing out at the table, and there was much grab-ass, and it was good, and they liked it, and there was much rejoicing. As the clock struck midnight, Baron Richthofen, himself subjected to the intoxicating beer, thought it a good idea to strap-on a cape and leap from the tower of the castle into a snow bank. They found him the next day, still intoxicated, lying in a ditch, uniform stained with his own vomit, and thus the fighter pilot was born. In honor of this momentous occasion, he commissioned the sacred beverage of all fighter pilots: Jeremiah Weed. The game of CRUD was also invented on this night.

FU WTFO: What about contributions fighter pilots have made to modern warfare?

JOE: It’s sad that our contributions to modern warfare are not taught in the public school systems or during PME. Fighter pilots have been a part of every major conflict since the day the Baron invented our breed. As far as modern warfare, fighter pilots have made notable appearances in World Wars 1, 2, and 4. After the Vietnam War (actually it was after WWII, but why quibble over details?), the United States Air Force was created in 1947, and consists entirely of fighter pilots. In 1948, Chuck Yeager, the first American fighter pilot, became the first man to fly faster than the speed of light.

FU WTFO: Thanks for your time today Joe and telling us what being a fighter pilot means to you. We understand you are a bit of a trivia buff, would you mind closing with some facts that most of our readers would be unaware of concerning fighter pilots?

JOE: I thought you’d never ask. Here’s my top ten list of facts about fighter pilots:

Fact 1: The secret ingredient in Red Bull is sweat from a fighter pilots ass crack, which explains the drinks peculiar taste, and its ability to "give you wings."

Fact 2: 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.

Fact 3: How do you tell if a fighter pilot is in the room? Just wait a minute.He'll tell you! Hint--He's the dude wearing dark sunglasses and a large watch.

Fact 4: Fighter pilots do not high-five.

Fact 5: Fighter pilots do not carry briefcases.

Fact 6: Fighter pilots subsist on a diet consisting entirely of coffee, cigars, chewing tobacco, beer, and whiskey.

Fact 7: Fighter pilots each have their own "Verizon network" consisting entirely of Bikini clad beer girls with loose morals. Can you beer me now? Good.

Fact 8: Fighter pilots usually are given testosterone-ridden call signs like "Jockstrap" or "Whiplash." However, those who try to name themselves are invariably a SNAP and given the call sign "Manbitch."

Fact 9: The Thunderbirds and Blue Angels are NOT fighter pilots. They are movie stars. They are usually re-admitted to the role of the fighter pilot when they move on to their next assignments.

Fact 10: Fighter pilots have a secret hand gesture and handshake. They will never tell you what they are, and you will never see them do them in public (unless you are a hot, slightly drunk, 25-year old nymphomaniac stripper attending the O-Club on a Friday night.) I suppose SOME helo pilots fit the same mold! Nah! suppose not.


(Hat tip to Fighter Pilot University for this morning's entertainment.)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

New Math?

Can no one do math anymore? Read this piece and try to add up the numbers:

Taking TARP Back From Those Who Didn't Take It!

Discounting the distasteful Mussolini oratorical pose, you've got to really appreciate the appeals to the ignorant masses. This class-envy thing works like a charm in dumbed-down Amerika.

Obama described bank bonuses as "obscene" and said the new tax would cover a projected $117 billion shortfall in the government's financial crisis bailout fund.

"My determination to achieve this goal is only heightened when I see reports of massive profits and obscene bonuses at the very firms who owe their continued existence to the American people who have not been made whole, and who continue to face real hardship in this recession," Obama said.


Questions to ask yourself:

What is obscene about a business making a profit?
What is obscene about a company paying bonuses according to contract to top performers?
Why does success in a company get punished because someone else faces hardship?
Must I wait for everyone to catch up before I can move ahead?

The tax, which officials are calling a "financial crisis responsibility fee," would apply only to financial companies with assets of more than $50 billion. Those firms -- estimated to amount to about 50 institutions -- would have to pay the fee even though many did not accept any taxpayer assistance and most others already paid back the government lent to them.


Whoops! Is that a disconnect? The fee (aka tax) is to recoup a shortfall in the government's financial asset bailout fund, but it will be levied on many firms WHO DID NOT ACCEPT ANY TAXPAYER ASSISTANCE and most others have already paid back the loans. So does that mitigate the obscenity of profits and bonuses because government "propped them up" while Americans are still "hurting"?

The administration expects that 60 percent of the revenue would come from the 10 largest firms. As proposed, the fee would go into effect June 30, 2010, and last at least 10 years.


Now, here's the math part. Remember the first quote? Bamster wants to recoup $170 billion (with a B). So, let's try to figure out how many obscene bonuses that will take. Ten firms will pay 60%, so round numbers make that $102 billion of the nut. How many million dollar bonus recipients does each firm have? You think maybe 20 millionaire bonus babies each? That's $200 million dollars working on 102,000 million of debt! Am I the only one who can do those numbers?

But, wait! If you curtail the profits and therefore the bonuses, how long do those top 10 financial firms keep making money to keep your revenue flowing? It just doesn't work.

Yet if there is a question of fairness, how does this fit in:

Insurance conglomerate American International Group, the largest beneficiary with nearly $70 billion in bailouts, would have to pay the tax. But General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC, whose $66 billion in government loans are not expected to be fully repaid, would not be subject to a tax.


So, if you are a financial company, too big to fail and depended upon to manage flow of capital to businesses to stimulate the economy, you get the dirty end. If you are a marginally incompetent auto maker who could easily be replaced by the efficient management of Ford, Nissan, Toyota, Honda, Kia, Hyundai, BMW, Mercedes, et. al. you get a free pass. Ohh, could it be that bank employees aren't union and GM/Chrysler are?

This never seems to be getting any better.

Changing Perpectives

Once upon a time, a column written by a Stanford professor of economics would cause my eyes to roll up in my head and my head to snap backwards. This one, however, reads more like it was written by a blogger:

Pick Your Goal Then Change Your Data to Fit

It is almost impossible to be literate and aware in today's political arena and not have noticed the illogical numbers, the disconnect from data and the absurdity of promising much more service from much less contribution except for all of those penalties, fines and new taxes that the ruling class touts. They lie and they get caught at it but then they tell another package of lies and apparently we don't really care too much about it all.

But, what struck me was the last paragraph in the piece:

Squandering their credibility with these numbers games will only make it more difficult for our elected leaders to enlist support for difficult decisions from a public increasingly inclined to disbelieve them


For a government of, by and for the people to function there must be a modicum of trust in the representation. The old cliche about "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me," is operative here. Fool me continually and when the day comes that it is essential that you be able to fool me for my own good, you will fail.

In my American Government course we talk about the various roles of the President of the United States. The obvious ones are there such as chief executive, head of state, commander-in-chief, leader of his party, etc. But the one that is increasingly unlikely to make the cut in the future is Moral Leader of the Nation. What has happened?

Remember your early elementary school education and learning about George Washington inability to lie about the cherry tree episode? Remember "Honest" Abe Lincoln? Remember FDR's fireside chats to reassure the nation of our special position in the world and our resilience in the fact of adversity? For that matter, do you remember Ronald Reagan's "shining city on the hill"? We might not have agreed with his politics all of the time, but we always believed in the President's moral authority.

Then we saw "Tricky Dickie" Nixon painted as a scheming villain. We looked at Bill Clinton's waggling finger and assertion that "I did not have sex with that woman, Miss Lewinsky." We had changed significantly in those instances.

The media had coarsened. They once focussed on policy questions and international relationships. They might have had political bias but the mainstream media was not populated with tabloid muck-rakers and yellow journalists. Of course they would know when a political figure had feet of clay. They would be aware of dalliances and indiscretions, family spats and brother-in-laws that drank too much, but they wouldn't revel in their disclosures for the political advantage of their personal ideologies. All too obviously that is no longer the case.

We've heard about George W. Bush dodging the draft despite serving for six years as an Air National Guard military pilot flying single-seat, single engine jets. We heard of his stupidity despite his Harvard MBA. Conversely we saw Al Gore praised for his four month sinecure as a private in the Army working as a clerk typist. That was "military service" to be lauded. His washout from divinity school was apparently a more rigorous academic preparation for leadership.

Now we've got the Messiah and the hidden college record. We've got great scandals of governors, senators, congress-critters employing "wide stances" in airport toilets, flying for a weekend in Argentina with a mistress, and inevitably the payoffs and kickbacks either for personal gain or buying votes. Nothing is off limits and I'm ambivalent about whether it should be or not. I don't know if I need or want to know all of the sordid details.

The point of it all is that when we will need leadership to make a tough decision we will no longer have anyone we can trust. When we need to bring the nation together in a crisis we won't be able to discern whom to believe. When we choose our new leaders we won't be able to make informed voting decisions.

We've lost a lot.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Praise From Early Readers

Advanced review copies went out to a long list of major media this week. "Fighter Pilot" is humming along right on schedule for release on April 13th and comments from the earliest readers are piling up, like this one:

“My only personal contact with Gen. Olds was as a new cadet at the Air Force Academy shortly before his assignment changed. I recall that we regarded him as a legend but didn’t understand why…I do now. As a young F-4 fighter pilot, I knew that I wanted to be a Robin Olds type fighter pilot but I didn’t know what that was…I do now. Having held a number of leadership positions, I’ve wanted to lead like then Colonel Olds lead a combat wing but didn’t know how…I do now. The book is much more than a legend’s memoirs; it’s a lesson on how to be a man’s man…in the best sense!” --Tom Henricks, former NASA astronaut and President, AVIATION WEEK

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Unbiased Idiocy

The campaign debate is a hallowed tradition in American politics. Once it went on for extensive statements and meaningful dialog such as the Lincoln-Douglas debates. Today it is an opportunity for leftist propagandists to play "Gotcha" in shaping the questions to provide no response that wins for a candidate.

Right now a special election is looming in Massachusetts. It provides an excellent example of what is wrong with the American republic today.



The odds of Brown overturning Coakley in the sort of state that keeps returning Ted Kennedy and John Kerry to the Senate are pretty much against him. Yet, the polls show the gap has narrowed considerably and the dissatisfaction with a Congress and administration running rough-shod over the people is reaching levels that make it within the realm of possibilty.

Gergen's suggestion that blocking the current travesty proposed on healthcare in the Congress would somehow equate to denying people medical care for fifteen years is ludicrous. The problem is that most Americans are too stupid to notice the failure of logic in the proposition.

The declaration that one of the two Senate seats for the state is "the Kennedy seat" is simply outrageous.

Mismanaging Recovery

What if you bought a car. You borrowed the money because you were a little bit short that week. Maybe you didn't even need the money but the dealer told you he would only let you have the car if you borrowed the money even though you had the cash. You paid the loan back quickly so as not to be in debt or under the threat of the financer telling you how you could use your car. You were free and clear.

Now the money loaner is telling you that some neighbors are angry that you've succeeded and are once again putting money in your pocket. They are upset that you aren't under the control of the banker but actually able to make your own decisions. They want a fee imposed upon you for having taken the loan in the first place and now being successful. You obligation doesn't end when it is fulfilled by repayment. Does that sound like a deal for you?

Bank Fees to be Imposed for Success

The White House hopes the fee will soothe the public's anger at financial firms. Most big banks that received public funds have repaid the government, but the industry is seen by many as having survived thanks to taxpayer support, and is now enjoying a profit rebound as the economy struggles.


Who cares about the "public's anger"? What's wrong with profit? What business is it of the White House? Are those authorities of assuaging anger, controlling profit and stifling growth among the enumerated powers of our Constitution?

One option under consideration involves placing a fee on a bank's liabilities, a number that theoretically represents the amount of risk a bank takes on, according to officials familiar with the matter. That approach would also have the effect of tamping down banks' risky behavior, another administration goal. Another option would be to target bank profits, these people said.


So, if I read that correctly, it tells me that the government intends to charge you a fee for money you owe to someone else? Can anyone explain how that enhances economic recovery? Does targeting profits motivate success? Is this communism?

The fee would likely be designed to avoid hitting certain segments of the financial industry, such as community banks, many of which are still struggling. The administration is trying to structure the fee so that it can't be passed along to bank customers already struggling in the weak economy, but officials concede that's hard to do. In other areas, such as overdraft fees and credit cards, banks already are passing costs of new legislation on to their customers.


As a "community organizer" I am certain that the Bamster must know what the definition of a "community bank" is but I don't. It sounds to me like some sort of neighborhood cooperative or union-owned credit union. Do you suppose?

Do they really believe that somehow imposing a fee on a struggling industry is conducive to good business and economic recovery? Do they really think that this time the fee won't flow downhill to the consumer? It always does. There is no other way. If costs don't go up then the company fails. But you would have to be someone other than Barney Frank to understand that economic truism.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Moral Revisionist Certitude

Oliver Stone has made what Nancy Pelosi would refer to as "obscene profits" if Stone were in a product delivering business such as providing health care or home mortgages to people with actual ability to repay them. Nan probably won't bother commenting upon Ollie's latest project, the reinterpretation and rehabilitation of the most evil men in modern history.

You see Stone is going to do a series for the History Channel, that translational service for the illiterate American couch potatoes, which will serve to explain to us the full context of life which good people like Hitler and Stalin lived. They weren't bad, they were simply misunderstood by we stupid proles.

Stone has demonstrated his skill previously in his critically acclaimed docu-smears of Nixon and "W" so we should have a good idea what to expect. Yet, not all of the media is sipping the same Kool-Aid on this effort:

The Brits Were Closer to the Action

I would suspect that there are enough Brits who are old enough to recall the tales their parents and grand-parents told about the Blitz and the sacrifices of two World Wars that crap like Stone produces would not be as readily accepted as it is by the mouth-breathers of America.

Why Fighter Pilots Are Loved

Yes, we are universally appreciated by all who encounter us. They love our boyish rambunctious nature, our endearing self-confidence, our pervasive arrogance, and of course our incomprehensible double-entendre-laced banter.



And, of course, now we know what Dr. House was doing before he went to medical school and became the drug-addled curmudgeon who is the bane of all who cross his path of genius.

Denying the Process

Another semester starts next week and I'll face a collection of young adults who haven't quite mastered the skills of adulthood so they seek to prolong their high-school days by attending the one-horse community college in their town. Some will be ambitious, some will be disadvantaged, some will be lazy and some will be hopelessly over their heads. Thirty will start the average course and a dozen will finish the semester with a passing grade.

This semester I'll once again have a course section of almost all dual-credit seniors bussed in from the local high schools. These tend to be more involved and more likely to aspire to a four-year college and an actual education. The effort in that class room is a bit more rewarding than the period before them which is the required state and local government course for completion of an associates degree in the state of Texas.

Both classes will get my standard introductory lecture on the definition of politics. I give it for two reasons. First, it is acknowledgement that I was half-way through my graduate degree in political science before I really came to grips with what "politics" is. We use the term freely but we seldom understand it. Second, it is to hopefully get students to focus on how a college course in American government or state/local government differs from a primary school civics class or even a high school government class.

Politics is about process. Yes, we'll get to how many seats in the legislature and how many terms can a President serve and how many justices on the Supreme Court. But, we'll also spend most of our time discussing how a republic functions in response to the will of the people governed; those that in Hobbesian terms provide the "consent" which empowers that government.

This year it may be appropriate to add Peggy Noonan's column from Saturday's WSJ to the required reading list. She clearly points out not only process but also how the current administration is ignoring and denying process in their governance:

Snatching Defeat Inexorably From Victory

Of particular insightfulness in that piece is her description of the occasional need for a President to act without regard to the public clamor and exercise true leadership. That sort of transendance is what marks the historically great leaders from the mundane. When the administration is tone deaf to the will of the electorate and continually denies them, the political capital is quickly expended and the response at the polls will affirm it.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Much Ado About...

Buzz about a new book is important to sales. The incredible polarization of political life in America today leads to an increasing demand for tell-all insider screeds about who said what, when, where and what does it really matter. The hot topic this week is a muck-raker titled, Game Change.

Among the inane disclosures is a statement by Sen. majority leader, Harry Reid. You've probably read it by now. The predictable outrage by the mindless over this bit of trivia leads us to this sort of comparison:

Calling a Spade a Spade

Noting someone's race is not racist. Noting someone's chameleon-like ability to blend into their surroundings as a political asset isn't particularly damning. Using a respectful, if dated, nomenclature for race identification isn't a slur. Reid isn't the sharpest knife in most drawers. He is a power-wielding true-believer in big government and when he uses a word like "Negro" it is a reflection of his age and the lexicon of his formative years. Nothing more.

Finding a problem with the reaction of the mainstream media in this episode is idiocy. Making a comparision to the idiocy of Trent Lott's factual but misguided statements is still idiocy. This is much ado about absolutely nothing. It was nothing in the Lott instance and it is less than nothing in the Reid episode.

The book is on my definite Don't Read List.

Been There, Done That

This is as real as it gets. You'll easily recognize a lot of familiar characters and the reality of the pecking order for getting your gas is a daily fact of life.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

The Mistaken Act of Kindness

It was a cold, snowy day on the north Texas range when a cowboy, hat slung low to shield his face from the biting wind, rode along a snow-dusted trail. His horse shied and a dozen yards ahead he saw a snake lying in the trail. It wasn't moving.

He dismounted and went forward to check on the snake. He could see the reptile's sides moving slowly as it struggled for breath. He leaned forward and the snake spoke to him, "I'm soooo cold. I can't move. I think I'm dying. Will you help me? Will you warm me up?"

The cowboy had never encountered a talking snake before and he was a kind-hearted soul. He reached forward and picked up the snake. He saw the rattles, crusted with ice and felt the stiffness of the snakes long body as it tried to straighten outself against the cold. Sympathetically he tucked the snake into his duster where the warmth of his body was trapped. He remounted and continued on his way. He thought it would be exciting in the bunkhouse when he introduced his talking snake to the other hands.

About fifteen minutes passed and the snake warmed up. It turned against his chest and bit him just above his heart. As he fell to the ground he looked into the eyes of the talking snake who said, "well, you knew I was a snake when you picked me up."

The Snake Speaks to the Union

There is justice in this. The unions embraced the Messiah. They gave their time, their money and their votes. Their belief was that they would benefit from the relationship. Now they see that the snake has always been a snake. Once he's been warmed he'll bite whomever he is within range of.

The Price of Admission Paid in Advance

Warrior Class gives us an incredible story with a happy ending:

With Full Military Honors

One reaches a point in their life inevitably when mortality becomes all too real. At that point one can only wonder what the final disposition might be. Many of us have bought the ticket to a place of honor and respect but we will be dependent upon others to present that ticket on our behalf. Delbert E. Hahn found someone to do that for him.

Belated Birthday Memory

I shouldn't have over-looked the event. Like so many significant moments in my life I remember exactly where I was when I saw the news that he had died...at the entrance to the Air University Library reaching for the door handle at Maxwell AFB in the summer of '77.

Coercion? Of Course!

The "closing of Gitmo," the buying of an empty prison in his home state, the immediate Mirandizing of the singing Christmas Jockey Short Jihadist, the change of venue of Khalid Sheik Mohammed and friends to New York City are just a few of the incredibly naive mis-steps of the Panderer-in-Chief with regard to securing this nation from terrorists.

Do you think this situation is going to work out well when the trial and justice show arrives in New York? Here's a glimpse into the future:

He Was Coerced. The Evidence is Flawed.

The guy was captured on a bloody battlefield. At that moment he is an illegal enemy combatant, not a prisoner of war and not a criminal in the United States. He has actionable intelligence and people will be dying in the very near future if that information is not harvested. Do you think he might have been placed under some duress? You bet your buns he was.

That is inevitable. To extend that and say that future statements cannot be proven to be "untainted" by the earlier coercion is ludicrous liberal claptrap. This is not going to end well. It is going to become an accelerating exercise in which continually increasing handicaps will be placed in the path of prosecutors. Eventually these wild-eyed savages will be freed and standing in the ticket line at an airline counter near you.