Sunday, February 28, 2010

Thrift Blamed

Remember growing up with adages like, "A penny saved is a penny earned" and "Waste not, want not." Apparently that way lies madness in the brave new world.

Over the last fifty years there has been a momentum in Europe for a federalist contintent modeled surprisingly on the assembly of thirteen independent American colonies into a structure like the reviled United States. It started with a European Coal and Steel Community, an organization to build the industries in the decade after the mass destruction of WW II. Then there was the European Common Market, a dropping of customs duties and restrictive tariffs in favor of improved commerce across the continent. That morphed into the European Union which was sort of like a regional United Nations but with less effectiveness than even that bunch of nationalistic misfits.

The crowning achievement was the adoption of the universal currency. Living in Europe you soon realized that you lost money every time you crossed a border. Currency exchange meant you paid more for a format than you could sell it back for and you were always left with a pocket full of effectively unusable money after a trip. A single currency seemed a boon to the populace.

There's no free lunch and no silver lining to a common currency. It is a huge loss of national sovereignty and a drastic reduction of a nation's ability to manage its own economy. When you've got a national monetary standard you are motivated to be cautious with the value of that resource. When your money is buoyed up by the prudent nations you easily slip into bad habits.

That's why Greece is in a state of economic collapse and apparently Portugal and Spain are already on the slide into the same pit.

Don't Change Your Behavior, Get the Others to Be Equally Profligate

The run-away spending and easy credit that fueled the collapse of Greece isn't the problem you see. It's those Germans who value their money, take care of their resources and live within their means. Europe needs Germans to start burning 100 Euro notes for fuel so that they can be in the same boat.

Can we see a similar situation in the US? Haven't we been told repeatedly that we need to distribute "stimulus" money and not use it to pay off our debts or bolster our savings. We need to spend, spend, spend. And then all will be well with the world.

Kool-Aid Party

So, the Speaker of the House is throwing a party. "I want you all to come down to the beach where I will talk to you and then we'll all have a big glass of this wonderful grape Kool-Aid. After which you will then lay down and take a really long nap until you bloat in the sun and flies establish residence in your mouth."

What Part of Representation Doesn't She Understand?

She wants them to get behind the jobs bill which isn't a jobs bill at all but a hand-out to special interests of money we don't have. It has become the way of doing business even though the people have finally realized that government doesn't actually have a big pot of money to dole out. It's our money and we can eliminate the middle man by keeping it in the first place.

She wants them to get a healthcare bill. This is a great quote:

Pelosi told CNN that "in a matter of days" Democrats will have specific legislative language on health care to show to the public and to wavering lawmakers. She predicted voters will warm up to the bill once they understand its details.

"When we have a bill," she said, "you can bake the pie, you can sell the pie. But you have to have a pie to sell"

Excuse me? What is that 2700 page pile of paper they've been hauling around? Isn't that the pie which so many of the recalcitrant Congress-critters have gotten their localized slices of already? They've had a pie and it is over-baked and sour. No one wants to taste it let alone subsist off of it.

This is an election year. The people are wising up. The word is on the street and can be heard everywhere. If they fail to listen it means they aren't representing us and they will be sent home. Ms Pelosi needs to pay attention and read the tea leaves.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Been There, Done Lots of That

If you are still harboring an assortment of tiki glasses from regular visits to Trader Vic's or similar you may skip the rest of this. If you believe that schnappes is a sweet flavored sort of 40 proof candy that college kids "shoot" on binges then you've never been to the real land of schnappes and are excused from further participation. If you ask your waitress for a "martini menu" when you sit down at dinner in a fine restaurant, you've got no dog in the remainder of this hunt.

If, however, you know the difference between reposado and anejo tequilas; that single-malt scotch comes in a wide range of styles and flavors; that bourbon isn't rye; that whiskey isn't whisky; that vodka shouldn't have fruit flavoring; and that cognac and armagnac come from two different places, neither of which is California then you might consider this:

Manly Cocktails Or Maybe Not

There are some issues there. The Rusty Nail is an after-dinner drink. Don't order one when you walk into Joe's Bar and Grill or you'll get your ass kicked. Blended Scotch and Drambuie is fine and the drink is both strong and palatable. I was brought up in the fighter pilot culture where it was called a MiG-15 rather than a Rusty Nail.

A Bloody Mary is certainly a manly drink, but only if it is consummed prior to noon and for the purpose of assuaging a blinding headache resulting from over-doing it the previous night with either a tequila tasting extravaganza or an Afterburner competition. It must have horseradish and it must be decidedly brownish in tone because of plenty of Worcestershire. Fresh lime juice is mandatory.

Negronis are fine fare. Anytime you want, feel good about yourself with a Negroni. Don't downgrade to an Americano. The mere fact that Negronis were invented in Europe and that an option to go without the strong spirits in the drink is called American tells you all you need to know.

Now, let's get to fire. Lighting booze on fire is a fine tradition, but mixing with water and pouring back and forth until the fire goes out is effete theater and not a manly endeavor. Fire to be macho requires that it be atop your glass when you raise it to your mouth and that it remain in the glass after it is drained. That, my friends is an Afterburner. Failure to keep the flame in the glass requires another attempt.

Fill a shotglass with cognac. Light with a match. You may have to heat the surface for several seconds to get it ignited. Raise glass to your mouth and resist the impulse to blow it out. Open wide and in a confident and positive movement pour the flaming booze in. Close mouth, put glass down, examine for vestigial blue flame in glass. Do not hesitate. Do not miss your mouth. Do not let the glass heat up by delaying.

General rules for manly drinking. Manly drinks are either clear or amber. Anything green, red, yellow, blue or pink is not manly. Manly drinks may be garnished but only with one item and it should not be large or sweet. Manly drinks may be on the rocks or straight up, but never order with specifications such as "shaken not stirred." Sorry, James, it simply isn't manly. Manly drinks should have no more than three ingredients and the main one should be at least eighty proof.

Only in California

Recite to yourself the First Amendment. Do it slowly and with concentration. Feel free to look it up if you are no longer familiar with the exact words.

Then read this and be astounded at the sort of twits we are electing to government in this country who will respond to "feel good" proposals from naive adolescents:

We'll All Be Nice Week

I'd like to see folks expand their vocabulary and reduce dependence on a few all-purpose words, but it is a process of education not legislation.

Meanwhile talk like a pirate.

Saturday Morning Disco Flashback

True confession time. I actually had an ivory three piece suit which my wife says made me look like a young Col. Sanders. I never wore it with an open color shirt nor did I ever learn to do the hustle.

If You Didn't Watch Anything

I watched a lot of it. I read the papers afterward. I've seen hundreds of video clips on several TV networks, not the least of which was Fox. I've got Drudge as one of my half-dozen permanent browser tabs for a home page. So, that's why this item stands out:

TIME Magazine Correspondent Palms Off Lies

Only if none of the first paragraph I've written were true could I swallow that. It is absurd.

I mean, Drudge's takeaway from the summit is that the President talked a lot--actually, the President, the Congressional Democrats and Republicans each spoke an equal amount

If you divide the time by thirds you could say that, but Drudge reported that the time favored Dems by more than a two-to-one margin.

Reading between the lines, you can conclude that the Republicans had nothing very interesting, or clever, to say (and were never able to get the President's goat). And that the President was his usual, unflappable, well-informed self.

Reading that between the lines would take suspension of disbelief to a new level. The Bamster's tacky retort to John McCain about the campaign being over, the childish response regarding time split "because I'm the President", the puerile chastizing of Eric Cantor about bringing the Senate bill to the table as a prop, all indicate that the Messiah's thin skin was clearly breached.

Ignoring the wealth of detail which the Republicans introduced as "nothing very interesting" is simply denying what occurred.

To get these things, however, the Republicans would have had to say yes at some point. As in, YES, I'll vote for the bill if you throw in malpractice and pay for it with the money you get from limiting deductability. That is what happens in a negotiation. That is what is supposed to happen in a democracy.

Klein really doesn't get it. To abdicate responsiblilty and take the 2700 page bill as written with the addition of a tax on corporate healthcare benefits to support tort reform would be outrageous. Accepting a crap sandwich for lunch becaue they agree to add ketchup isn't healthy.

When the mainstream media can convolute what happened with a straight face in this manner it is apparent that they are confident that no one reading their drivel has the intellectual capacity to peel a banana.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Memo For Tyler Grady

Just in case he might try again for the fourth consecutive year in 2011, here's some tips for Tyler Grady.

  1. You don't have to be anorexic to rock
  2. The song doesn't start with five iterations of "gonna mess your mind..."

That's how it's done, son.

The Essential Differences

How often have you heard that there is no difference between the two parties? It's Tweedledum and Tweedledee, two sides to the same coin.

Here in two and a half short minutes you can clearly see the fundamental ideological difference between the parties spelled out in language that possibly even the Bamster could have understood had he every shut up and listened yesterday. The dismissal of the statement and shifting of topic at the end indicates he didn't hear and didn't care.

The concept of free enterprise and individual responsibility taking care of problems is the core.

And, as a bonus, in that short interlude you also get a refresher on the original concept of federalism that the Framers gave us. The states can be trusted to do things and in many instances they are the better choice for the activity.

The clip should be mandatory viewing at least once a day for everyone in Congress and all American high school students.

She Needs Constant Watching

Even the liberals of San Francisco must cringe when they watch their US Representative speak. She garbles and convolutes until the obvious inconsistencies pile on top of each other into a mountain of confusion.

Here's a small clip of what I mean:

Entrepreneurship Means Free Enterprise Not Government

Scary isn't it? She apparently has long ago forgotten the meaning of an extra zero in a large number. She doesn't understand that risk and entrepreneurship does not flourish in a heavily regulated government controlled environment. She is lost in a time continuum in which "life of the bill," which is essentially 'til death us do part, is not "almost immediately."

I watched the whole statement yesterday and could not believe that they let her go out by herself without a keeper.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Minute by Minute

Stephen Green at Pajamas Media says it perfectly in his live-blog of the day's event:

This Is Exactly As It Played Out

Similar thoughts had run through my mind, but I couldn't say them so clearly.

The word of the day?


Video From Healthcare Summit

More from this morning at the bipartisan meeting:

Health Summit Half-Time

I'm biased. You all know that. So, my impressions are going to be reflective of that.

There's going to be no change out of this. The presiding officer has been caught by Sen. McConnell after the first 90 minutes with the hard fact that Republicans have had the floor for 24 minutes and Democrats have been speaking for 56. A bit clumsy that.

The Democrats from Congress are almost embarrassing in the superficiality of their emotional appeals. Between recounts of an individual in Hicksville Nevada whose wife had breast cancer and his insurance was running out and rambling accounts of someone else somewhere who was choosing between paying his deductibles and buying groceries, it was tear-jerking but anecdotal and irrelevant to policy solutions.

The President is no better. I just watched Jon Kyl present a fact-filled five minute explanation of the cost impact of the bill and get a response from the Bamster that took fifteen minutes and roamed from his post-college auto clunker insurance that didn't cover him to the generality laced scenario of someone with poor coverage in Nevada sharing worse coverage in New York because the healthy people are the only ones who get covered. He never addressed the facts nor did he seem capable of doing so.

But, he always gets the last word and he dominates the microphone.

The whole show should foster the deepest revulsion among the electorate. But I know that most folks aren't watching and the mainstream media are going to paint it as a tour de force for the white-hatted redistributionists. The sound-bites will be something to behold.

Spitzer Was A Good Guy

They drummed Eliot Spitzer out of office because of hanky-panky with a very exclusive purveyor of exotic entertainments. It was deemed unseemly for the Governor of New York to be cavorting with someone in that occupation and the improbability of him paying for it on his own dime seemed to conjure up visions of purloining state funds for the satyr's dance. Bye-bye Gov!

The replacement was perfect for a state like New York that has given us David Dinkums, gun-free New York City, Mario Cuomo and son enterprises, Chuck Shumer, Hillary Clinton and more. He was black and blind and on the inside of the Democratic Party. What's not to like?

Then about six weeks ago the Democratic Party house-organ, the New York Times, began bleating about resignation, impeachment and scandal in the governor's house. Apparently he had proven to be so marginally competent that he had lost support. The campaign of accusation, implication and innuendo foundered when the governor said he wasn't going anywhere. He stood and demanded that the NYT get factual or shut up.

Well, today they got factual:

Too-Tall Aide, State Police and a Governor's Phone Call

When the right-hand man of the governor gets into clothes ripping, phone breaking and physical assault of women, you've got to notice. When she complains and the state police start making house calls to suggest she shut up, you've got to notice. When the day before her restraining order hearing she gets a call from the governor himself and suddenly withdraws her complaint, you've got to notice.

More and more I begin to appreciate how badly broken our system and our society has become.

Just In Case

Today there's another show under the Washington Big Top. We'll have the usual suspects clog the traffic with a convoy of black Suburbans down Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capital to Blair House then grand entrances and plenty of photo ops to show how they are doing the "will of the people." It's Healthcare Summit Day.

If the will of the people is throwing more of their money at government bureaucrats while surrendering high quality healthcare for a welfare clinic model, then we shall be properly served. But the Bamster appears to be hedging his bet just a tad in anticipation of getting bitch-slapped by the Republican minority leadership.

If I Don't Get It All, I'll Take a Foot in the Door

The stuff he won't touch is the stuff which would make a difference. Tort reform that would reduce the practice of preventive medicine would be effective in lowering costs. Simple, one shot to help with the problem. Nothing will be a panacea for total cure but tort reform would be a giant step. Imagine not having to watch all those mesothelioma lawyer ads on TV! "If you suffered injury or death, please call Joe Bagdonutz to represent you."

Throw in a removal of restrictions on selling healthcare insurance across state lines and you magically get free-market competition which drives prices to actual costs of doing business and keeps profit margins reasonable without being excessive. How logical is that?

But, we get this from the Prince of Darkness:

It would do that by requiring insurance companies to allow people up to 26 years old to stay on their parents' health plans, and by modestly expanding two federal-state health programs, Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program, one person said.

Nothing spells progressive policy like programs of dependency. A 26-year old should be self-sufficient with a stable job, his/her own home and probably a family. They should be five years out of college or nine years out of high school and on a career path. But The Man seeks to keep them in the welfare mindset. If they never learn to do for themselves because mommy and daddy do it, then conversion to government dependency is an easy step.

Medicaid and CHIP are two warts on the butt of Medicare that simultaneously suck the funds out of the seniors program and saddle the states with a huge budget burden. Expanding it to more people raises cost and once again encourages a perspective that government will give them all things. It isn't a good goal.

The President's always-on-message press spokesman, Robert Gibbs, offered this misreading of the public mood and spinning of the possible outcomes:

Gibbs argued that it would be wrong to infer from the Massachusetts election that the public does not want any health care reform. Rather, he said, the American people want to see cooperation and action on Capitol Hill.

"I don't think the American people want us to walk away, because they do know this -- if we don't do anything, their premiums will go up," he said. "If we do nothing, health care spending will skyrocket. That's what we have to prevent."

Yes, the Massachusetts slap-down was not a refusal to embrace healthcare as most people clearly said it was. And, failure for government to act and raise spending (hence taxes) by a trillion or two will cause premiums to go up! Excuse me, Gibbsie, put if I have to pay a lot more in taxes, my premiums have most assuredly gone up. Is that so difficult to comprehend?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Shoe's Other Foot

Is it only hypocrisy when the other side does it?

Only Numbers

It gets tougher and tougher to ignore the mood of the electorate. Here's the latest on how the people are feeling about their legislature:

Record-Setting 10% Love Their Congress

That sort of a poll would lead a prudent person to believe that more than simply Tea Party conservatives and gun-loving Rednecks are noticing.

It would also be a very clear indictment of the leadership which the majority party has put in place in the two chambers.

If they had taken a vote of the 7th Cavalry after the Little Big Horn, my guess is that they wouldn't have re-elected George Armstrong Custer.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sauce For Your Goose

Did you hear the one about the provincial Premier in Canada, land of the potential model for US healthcare reform, that came to the US when he needed some surgery? Here's the whole story:

My Heart, My Health, My Life, Poor You

See, that's the way it works. The state provides healthcare for the people as regulated by the government. It is the "best" at least when it come to you peons. Now if that means the cheapest way into the heart is by ripping through your ribs and sternum the way they used to do it thirty years ago, then so be it. But, if the tall dog in the province needs a little tune-up, they do it where the diagnostics are up-to-date and modern.

Is that just a bit hypocritical? Sort of like the current machinations of the US Congress?


I lived an ROE nightmare. We fought a war with a loose-leaf binder holding Rules of Engagment that changed almost daily and was filled with constantly changing map coordinates of prohibited targets and allowable free-fire zones. You could fight and kill MiGs in the air, but you couldn't attack the airfields. You could engage them until they went into the 20 mile ring around Hanoi or ten miles around Haiphong or within twenty miles of the Chinese border. You had to visually identify them even when you were equipped with weapons that could shoot beyond visual range.

SAMs sites could be built with impunity and only attacked after completion and when they fired upon you. Gun emplacments could be attacked unless they were on dikes or near certain buildings. Targets that looked very lucrative were passed by on the way to insignificant ones because the President and his SecDef were only gradually increasing pressure on the enemy. We lost a lot of guys doing that.

It's at least that bad today:

You Have the Right to an Attorney

The enemy doesn't wear a uniform or carry a Geneva Convention card. He strikes at random and often remotely without concern for who might be in the area at the time. Death and destruction rather than military efficiency are his motives. He cares not whom he kills because any death is viewed as proper for his cause. He abides by no rules of armed conflict.

He knows our rules as well as we do. He knows our humanitarianism and the ragged line we must walk as we try to gain the confidence of the civilized people of an uncivilized region. He has no compunction regarding the use of unarmed women and children as shield for his activities.

He is winning because we are reluctant to fight a war and would rather play to the press. Young men will be frustrated and die because of this.

Arrival of the Exorcist?

Maybe here is a hero to drive the devils out:

Probe Demanded by Inhofe

I particularly am intrigued by how this might play out:

Senator Inhofe also called for former Vice President Al Gore to be called back to the Senate to testify.

“In [Gore's] science fiction movie, every assertion has been rebutted,” Inhofe said. He believes Vice President Gore should defend himself and his movie before Congress.

Can they withdraw an Academy Award and a Nobel Prize for fraud?

Oak Stakes, Silver Bullets, Mirrors and Holy Water Needed

As we shiver and sneeze waiting for the next snow-storm to blanket places that don't usually get much snow, the vampires of the global climate change movement continue to return. How can we hope to slow this movement into the 18th century?

What we need apparently is another government agency and another web site to tell us the latest in offical doctrine on the evils of carbon and continued energy consumption to transport our goods and light our homes. Let us get some consumption taxes in place lest anyone become successful in the future.

Shared Nobel Laureate Takes Control of Climate Propaganda Office

Why do I continue to return to the belief that taxing our emissions and hobbling our industrial growth is not the recipe for job creation or economic recovery? Why is it that no one seems to appreciate the small impact that unilateral crippling of our society in the US will have on the world's temperature? What makes it so difficult to stand back and begin to honestly appraise the data after we've removed the filters which have made it so corrupted and suspect in the recent past?

How's this for standard talking point blather:

According to Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, the office will "help tackle head-on the challenges of mitigating and adapting to climate change. In the process, we'll discover new technologies, build new businesses and create new jobs."

Yes indeed my ignorant rubes, we'll adapt to climate change apparently meaning we'll do without air conditioning or running water. And, in the process, we'll stop aging, cure teen-aged acne, put a chicken in every pot and add a four hundred pound non-disposable battery to the trunk of every car.

Mr. Karl is up to his elbows in the scandal according to co-researchers:

But Roger Pielke Sr., a climatologist affiliated with the University of Colorado who has crossed horns with Karl in the past, says his appointment was a mistake. He accused Karl of suppressing data he submitted for the IPCC's most recent report on climate change and having a very narrow view of its causes. ...

One of the key areas of dispute, he said, was in describing "recent regional trends in surface and tropospheric temperatures," and the impact of land use on temperatures. It is the interpretation of this data on which the intellectual basis of the idea of global warming hangs.

In an interview, Pielke reiterated that Karl "has actively opposed views different from his own." And on his Web site last week, he said Karl's appointment "assures that policy makers will continue to receive an inappropriately narrow view of our actual knowledge with respect to climate science."

He said the people who run the agencies in charge of climate monitoring are too narrowly focused, and he worries that the creation of the new office "would give the same small group of people the chance to speak on the issue and exclude others" whose views might diverge from theirs.

Apparently the administration has appointed a true believer to direct the propaganda arm and he will brook no disagreement with his view of decided science.

Can anyone drive a stake through the heart of these vampires? Are there any silver bullets to deal with these zombies? What will it take to slow the slide?

You Might Have Missed It

If you went to bed after ice dancing last night, you might have missed this biathlon action.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Not Taking NO For An Answer

The man simply cannot hear. That must be it. He is supposed to be quite intelligent so that means if he could hear, he would understand.

More For Everyone For Free

Well, yes, the CBO does admit that getting healthcare for 31 million more people will cost a paltry trillion dollars but it will be "offset"! Apparently "offset" is some kind of magical technique that allows you to pay for everything and not have it cost you a cent. In the real world that means you want to get something and will require someone else to pay for it. In government, that means new taxes and lots of them.

House Minority Leader Reacts

It would be hard to disagree when you find the Messiah sticking with stuff like this:

Medicare hospital insurance and the Supplemental Medical Insurance Trust Fund will increase respectively by increasing the rate for "high-income households" -- $200,000 for singles and $250,000 for married couples filing jointly -- and by taxing unearned income like dividends, interest, annuities, rents and royalties.

Only in a Wonderland world would someone try to keep a straight face while describing "dividends, interest, annuities, rents and royalties" as unearned income. I get some royalty checks. They aren't huge but believe me they were earned with a lot of hard work. Investing to gain dividends and interest requires work to earn the money to invest. Hardly unearned. Rents are paid for property that someone owns, which means they earned it.

Any other interpretation is a facade for socialism and confiscation of wealth.

Obama is also hoping to allow the government to deny or roll back egregious insurance premium increases that infuriate consumers.

In Bamster World, the customer can be infuriated whenever they wish to pay less for a product than the provider wants. There apparently is no relationship to what the costs are for the provider or what margin of profit is required to stay in business or what efforts must be made to compete in a free market. No, in his Harvard perspective, prices are governed simply by what feels good. Business is there simply to meet needs and not offend government or masses without regard to whether they can succeed.

The bright side to this is at the end of a tunnel over the ensuing months until the November election. If the fool on the hill and his slavering minions in the legislature continue to be hard of hearing, they are going to drive a huge defeat for that bunch. If only we can survive through the experience.

Roller Derby Meets Full Contact Stock Car Figure 8

What ever became of the Olympics? Remember those global athletic gatherings that brought amateurs together to compete in feats of strength, speed, endurance and agility? Apparently it has been overcome by marketing and mayhem.

If you were to watch television this past week you would have seen the lion's share of coverage devoted to entertainment rather than athletic competition. The slide has been going on for a couple of decades, but it appears to have culminated in Vancouver.

Ice dancing isn't athletics, is it? There is a skill and agility competition for two people on skates already. It is called "pairs." When you skip the complex jumps and spins in favor of exotic costumes, half-naked women looking like rejects from "Dancing With the Pigs" and mandatory music rather than background accompaniment for athletics, you've got Ice Capades or Disney on Ice entertainment. Fascinating, but not Olympics is it? And is it just me or does American champ Meryl Davis look like a Na'avi with a Micheal Jackson retone job?

Bobsled has always been a favorite for me but the need for an expensive custom venue and a $100,000 vehicle has always raised it a bit above what aspiring Olympians might work on at the local park. Now we've got the world's fastest track and the accidents are piling up in all of the sliding sports.

Is It Sport or Is It NASCAR

Kick off the Olympic games with a luge death and you can only imagine how that bumps up viewership for luge, skeleton (catchy name that,) and bobsled.

For two days we had the dramatic flying of ski-jumpers. There used to be a 70 and 90 meter hill but apparently the concepts need dumbing down for the mouth-breathing audience of Rio Lindo. Now it is the "normal" hill and the "large" hill. The large hill is bigger than normal I understand. Seeing men leap off the slide and fly through a six second descent of more than 200 feet then land without breaking every bone in their body is entertainment.

Hockey went pro a couple of years ago just as basketball did in the summer games. No one wants to watch amateur athletes compete when you can have professional thugs from the major teams on the ice. The thrill of the miracle on ice will never be repeated.

Extreme skiing has been in the games for two cycles now. Half-pipe and free-style events are entertainment not athletics. When Shaun White builds a half-million dollar facility to train then I've got to think that it is more about TV than sports.

Last night it was yet another example of entertainment over athletics when "ski cross" debuted. I couldn't help but think of tractor pulls and monster truck shows in the local rodeo ring when I saw the man made track and watched the four-somes play roller derby jammers down the hill.

Is there some merger between the Olympic Committee and WWE in the offing?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Great Flydini

Magic doesn't come easy. It takes years of training to master some illusions:

Poor Draft Choice

The next presidential election is quickly becoming one that is the Republican Party's to lose. Dissatisfaction with the administration coupled with the tone-deaf operation of the Democratic majority in the legislature is bringing a return to tradtional conservative principles reflected in the Tea Party movement. There is a strong feeling of toss the incumbents rising across the country.

The Tea Party is not a political party and not likely to become one. There are too many structural obstacles in place for them to emerge as a ballot entry other than as write-ins. But, the return to the awareness of traditional conservatism as dominant rather than social conservative agenda issues is fueling not only Republicans but moderates and unaffiliated voters as well.

The ideas of low taxes, minimal government, strong defense, and robust free-market opportunities are attractive for a population tired of increasing debt, the rising welfare culture and oppressive government regulation. It's time.

That's why the straw poll at the CPAC gathering this week is a bit disturbing:

Young Voting Cohort Grabs at Strange Standard-Bearer

Ron Paul is controversial at best and certifiably strange at worst. He performed dismally during the primary season leading up to the 2008 elections. He isn't a dynamic leadership figure and his ideology is a mix of strict libertarianism and international isolationism. Those concepts have a perverse attractiveness to people who are simply tired of the current situation and don't really go into too much depth about what needs to be done to govern America in the 21st century. He epitomizes the "anti" concept of voting.

The slate of potential candidates being weighed in the poll is sparse and there isn't much to guide a choice beyond personalities and fleeting glimpses. Mitt Romney fits the traditional mold of long time pol who is first in line for his turn at the nomination. That old-style method of Republican choice is reminiscent of the system that gave us McCain, Dole, Bush 41, Nixon, etc. Something different needs to happen this cycle.

Palin, Pawlenty and Pence are new on the scene and beyond being young, attractive and a current focus of horse-race handicappers there isn't much to base a choice on policy-wise.

Top that off with the passing comment in that news item that 54% of the participants were in the 18-25 age cohort and I've got to say that the poll outcome doesn't rise to the barest bottom rung of the significance ladder.

Lack of Assimilation

The opportunity to gain a higher education at an American university has long been a cherished one. To gain the benefits of our society with the possibility of succeeding and living a good life should be appreciated. To listen and learn from others who have more experience, more education and a different perspective is the purpose of the university experience.

Yet, there is an increasingly visible element in western societies in Europe and the United States which is not interested in doing that. They don't appear to seek assimilation in our culture but rather to convert our culture into one of their choosing. In the process they adopt the tactics and techniques of the terrorist and thug.

This occured about ten days ago at the University of California--Irvine:

Saturday, February 20, 2010

From Another Wonderland

I've never been much of a Tim Burton fan. I can take him or leave him. The talent is obvious but the genre of Grinches and Halloween hauntings in darkest cartoonery isn't my cup of tea. But, speaking of tea parties, this week-end we've got psychedelic meets psychopathic with the relase of Alice in Wonderland.

Kids probably don't read Lewis Carroll's delightful story anymore. They don't read anything these days except text messages and Tweets. Maybe after being technologically awed by this story of pills, madness, elixirs and beheadings, they will be enticed to seek out Alice's Adventure in Wonderland on their ebook reader.

The reviews are in and they somehow reflect the unfamiliarity of the entire generation with the history. Yesterday I saw a blogger breathlessly expounding on the truth that during the period that the book was written there really were mad hatters. Hatters, lacking OSHA to protect them, were commonly driven mad by exposure to the mercury which they used to cure fur into felt for hats.

Here's some comment on the flick:

Wonderland is Like Weird, Ya Know?

It is weird. Ostensibly it was a "nonsense tale" created to entertain Alice and two friends on a road trip in old England. At that level it is fantasy of a high level and entertaining in its own right.

But, many critics have been successful at overlaying a rich political commentary on the book. Certainly there was a monarchy under Queen Victoria who was recognizably a bit weird when viewed from some angles. And there is the mad hatter business.

You could start at that jumping off point and begin to associate other characters in the book with real-life actors in the political scene. The Cheshire Cat would be a Victorian counterpart to our own Bamster; a hollow entity, mouthing platitudes and without substance easily disappearing into nothing but a huge grin.

Eric Holder might have said this:

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less."

Nancy Pelosi has been know to utter profundities such as these:

"I quite agree with you," said the Duchess; "and the moral of that is--'Be what you would seem to be'--or if you'd like it put more simply--'Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise.'"
"I think I should understand that better," Alice said very politely, "`if I had it written down: but I can't quite follow it as you say it."
"That's nothing to what I could say if I chose," the Duchess replied, in a pleased tone.
"Pray don't trouble yourself to say it any longer than that," said Alice.

And hardly a press conference goes by that we don't get some of this from Robert Gibbs playing the Dodo:

Forward, backward, inward, outward, come and join the chase! Nothing could be drier than a jolly caucus-race. Backward, forward, outward, inward, bottom to the top, never a beginning there can never be a stop to skipping, hopping, tripping, fancy free and gay, I started it tomorrow and will finish yesterday. Round and round and round we go, and dance for evermore, once we were behind but now we find we are be-forward, backward, inward, outward, come and join the chase! Nothing could be drier than a jolly caucus-race. For backward...

It would have taken a fertile imagination for Lewis Carroll to come up with such a rich fantasy on his own. But if he looked at the political scene, it would merely have been the more mundane task of ordering the characters into a meaningful sequence and then letting them speak their minds.

Saturday Morning Swing

A plan for the evening:

Friday, February 19, 2010

Still Not Getting It

The Bamster is the President of the United States. He is the Head of State and the singular figurehead of the American government. If an alien saucer landed outside of Roswell and a little green man said, "Take me to your leader," we'd shuttle him to the Oval Office.

In that role there is a need for protocol, sophistication, and that nebulous old concept, "class". A novelist under the nom-de-plume of Trevanian wrote a couple of books in the late '70s; The Eiger Sanction, The Loo Sanction, and one set in Asia titled Shibumi. The concept of shibumi was one of understated elegance and class. Grace under pressure.

Shibumi doesn't respond in kind. Shibumi never descends to name-calling or blame-laying. Shibumi knows what is appropriate in the situation. Shibumi doesn't elbow ahead in line or inconvenience an entire city so that an individual can go out to dinner and a play. Shibumi doesn't give the Queen of England an iPod or return a statue of a beloved statesman such as Churchill.

Here's a picture that demonstrates what shibumi isn't. You'll have to go to the link because it is a restricted picture and I can't post it here. But click through and see what I mean:

Bye-Bye Lama. Chavez and Ahmedindjad Only Get the Front Door

Is the President intentionally an embarrassment? Isn't there a protocol staff left among all of those czars? What was he thinking?

Circumstantial Evidence

What do we know and what don't we know? There remain a lot of holes and if someone has read any Presidential biographies you know that holes like that are not the norm for successful politicians at this level.

Is some of this circumstantial and inference? Of course. Is there fact in the mix? Absolutely. Does it make a case? We'll have to wait and see:

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Why Don't I Feel More Secure

She's been in the job for a while now. She's brought us some great policy trial ballons like no blankets or pillows in airliners. No peeing during the last hour of flight. No reading of books either. Well maybe just a little bit because even the lapdog media thought those were ill-advised, ineffective and ridiculous. At least it shows she's trying.

But, she assured us that the system worked on the BVD Bomber episode until she thought it through and realized it didn't. At least we know she is thinking about it either before or after she speaks.

Yesterday it was announced that selected participants with no shoes, no belts, a lap-top in a separate tray drifting down the conveyor to a waiting thief and a briefcase full of important documents following close behind will be asked to have our hands swabbed for explosive residue detection.

This Will Wash Off in a Week or Two

Now, I've got ask what happens in this scenario. You are legally transporting a firearm in your secured checked baggage. It is properly in a locked hard case and separate from the ammunition. It has been declared and you have dutifully opened it, demonstrated that it is unloaded and replaced it in the locked case and your baggage which is now tagged and sealed. You've just be handling a used firearm with powder residue inevitably still present despite conscientious cleaning. Yep, you're going to be positive when swabbed.

Today we've got this:

It Must Have Got Lost or Maybe My Dog Ate It

They "lost" 200 guns in a year? Handguns, shotguns and rifles? These are security experts who are licensed to carry loaded weapons throughout our society? What's with these buffoons? Consider that most citizens upon finding a gun in a bowling alley, restroom, snack-bar or curbside would turn it in to the slack-jawed guy in the cheap sportcoat and polyester tie standing near by. He looks like a Fed so it must be his. That means probably a lot more than the 200 were mislaid or overlooked but the "security" officer got rescued.

If you really want something to ponder, however, consider this:

Although the number of guns lost is only a small fraction of Homeland Security's 190,000 firearms, any lost weapon "is a very serious matter,"

How many? They are nearly half the size of the current US Army active duty component. Do they really need that many armed goons? And, if they do, is Janet Napolitano the general who should be in command?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Have You Got a Plan?

I often spend some time with a class talking about having a plan for bad things. Usually it comes when there's been one of those Virginia Tech or Fort Hood or University of Alabama news events. You know the ones I mean, the psycho-killer in a gun-free zone comes calling. So, read this for content:

I Thought None of Us Would Come Out Alive

The conference room is crowded for twelve people. That means everyone is close enough to reach out and touch. Shooter uncloaks and starts work. What happens?

Everyone cowers until shooter's gun jams. (Memo to self, before commencing jihad remember to clean and lube weapons.)

Brave Joe Ng, associate professor cowers in fear waiting for shooter to remember to "Tap, Rack, Shoot" and resume. A woman stands up and attacks the shooter. Nice work there, Joe.

The woman faces the shooter who points and fires but gun continues to malfunction. Woman then pushes shooter out of the room, apparently with the help of other academics, except for cowardly Joe Ng. They barricade the door and wait for shooter to deal with the delay and return to business.

Have a plan. Look for exits. Know lines of sight from windows and doorways. Size up your potential weapons, even if you are compliant with the ridiculous gun-free zone rules. What is near to hand that is pointed, heavy or swingable? Get your mind-set on every day when you face the world. You should know before the need that you will not be a victim today or tomorrow or ever.

Passively waiting to be dispatched is not my idea of how I'm going out.

I Wanna Drive It

C'mon, admit it. If you've ever been to a hockey game you know you were fascinated by the Zamboni. There isn't a kid in America who hasn't had the dream of driving one. They're cool!

But, I couldn't make this up even in my most cynical moments:

Emergency Zamboni to Rescue Enviro-Whackos at Vangoober Olympics

Wouldn't you?

Just So You Know

h/t to Jaded Heaven for showing me this today.

Don't Mess With Texas

Yes, we're in the midst of a bruising primary race for Governor in Texas. We've got conservative incumbent Rick Perry who is viewed as either too conservative or not rightist enough depending upon the perspective of the observer, going at it against Washington long-termer, Kay Hutchison who apparently doesn't like being in the minority in Washington as much as the alternative. Throw in accused "truther" Debra Medina and you get the possibility of self-destruction of a couple of secure Republican incumbents along with loads of fodder for the opposition in the general election.

This morning we get an example of the Texas attitude which might be a campaign ploy by Perry but assuredly is a common sense plea as well against an over-reaching federal bureaucracy:

Your Data Is Suspect, So Don't Destroy Our Economy

In the aftermath of the Climategate melt-down with multiple discreditings of the motives and methodology of the warming crowd, it seems like a reasonable issue to raise. Recall a few years ago the screams of the enviro-whackos about the "hole in the ozone layer" which was deteriorating the shield which protects us from the sun's UV rays and makes this a livable planet. Ozone apparently is an essential component of our life-sustaining environment.

But moderation in all things is appropriate. The real issue is carbon dioxide and the seemingly arbitrary establishment of CO2 as a pollutant. Cap-and-trade was the goal and it seems to be dead in the chilly water at this point. But that doesn't mean the Bamster's minions aren't still going to chase after the destruction of our economy through re-design of our energy structure.

We've got an economy in recession and the way out is growth. Stifling that economy with ill-advised, poorly justified, and technologically unfeasible regulations is not something to be supported. A challenge by Texas of the EPA mandates is both politically popular for Perry as well as environmentally and economically good policy.

Watch to see how this plays out.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

She's Not Like Us

Apparently Richard Cohen of the Washington Post has a difficult time ignoring that which he emphatically states he finds insignificant. Isn't there a modicum of hypocrisy in that? If Sarah Palin is so vacuous, venal and insignificant, why does he spend so much time vilifying and demeaning her?

She's Nothing Now and Never Was

Somehow it all comes back to the idea that if you don't have an Ivy League accent, live in a metro brownstone, eschew private cars for taxis and sip lattes while discussing Camus and Sartre with your pinky raised, then you can't be intellectually grounded. Saying "you betcha!" will significantly outweigh any executive office credentials you might possess.

I'm not sure Sarah is the coming of the anti-Obama or even a prophet of the reformation of the republic. I do know, however, that she speaks a language that the folks in fly-over country can understand and it seems they are sympathetic to her observations.

If she is so meaningless in the political balance, why do they devote so much time to her?

Fighter Pilot Coming Soon

“Fighter Pilot: Memoirs of Legendary Ace Robin Olds” by Robin Olds with Christina Olds and Ed Rasimus; St. Martin’s Press, New York NY, April 13, 2010. 384 pages.

Robin held the title for longer than most of us and will always personify what it means to be a Fighter Pilot. Most of us knew him from our reunions. Some served with him in the Wolf Pack. Some were close friends. Some served under his leadership, some benefitted from his support on staffs and in flying assignments. But did any of us really know Robin? Fortunately he was a prolific writer and he left us memories of his remarkable life in boxes, notebooks, desk drawers and tales told to friends and family over a lifetime. Fighter Pilot tells the story from Robin’s early experiences in a military home surrounded by the founders of modern aviations through his time at West Point and his flying training to his remarkable wartime experiences. The modern military pilot will be dumbstruck by the disorganization of a nation at war then dazzled by the air battles in Europe starting a few weeks before D-Day through the end. Stories of victories and losses, combat and friendships, bombings and the blitz will show readers aspects of the war they probably weren’t aware of.

Becoming a double ace and rising from new lieutenant wingman to squadron commander major in nine months of war would be enough for most lifetimes, but Robin had just begun. A quick assignment to purgatory as assistant football coach at West Point was a momentary bump on the way to the new jet squadron and the first jet demo team in P-80s. A whirlwind romance with a movie star, transition through F-86s, an exchange tour to become the first US exchange officer to command an RAF squadron, then through Landstuhl, the building of the Wheelus gunnery complex and the bowels of the Pentagon with a famous wife and two daughters; it’s all in this remarkable story which often reads like Tom Clancy fiction.

Robin’s writing formed the foundation, but the title calls it memoirs—plural not singular. Christina offers insights into the family and interviews with those who knew him well fill out the narrative which seamlessly weaves it all into a first-person story that is often beyond belief. We are all flawed at some level and Robin was no exception yet every life is a balance and few would disagree that the life of the Fighter Pilot related here is heavily weighted on the side of greatness. It’s a rip-roaring roller-coaster of a book available now on for pre-order.

The Plot Thickens

Evan Bayh announces his retirement from the US Senate. The shocking statement sends ripples through the Democratic Party. The inconvenient truth is that to get on the primary ballot to run for the now-vacant Senate seat, a candidate must collect 4500 signatures by midnight tonight. That's a scant twenty-four hours from the surprise announcement.

Few were ready to challenge Bayh for his seat but now the door is open. The problem is hitting the ground running. Petition signatures for a ballot slot can be very difficult. Getting people to sign isn't that tough. Meeting the bureacratic hurdles might be. The forms are specified in detail. The qualifications of petition carriers are often restrictive. The signatures must be registered voters in the party. The sheets must usually be notarized. Typically more than half of submitted signatures will be disallowed. Sometimes entire sheets will be thrown out for an incorrect date or similarly insignificant flaw. Nine congressional districts must be gathered with a minimum of 500 signatures from each. Tough job in 24 hours.

Only one Democrat has indicated she will give it a shot. That's Tamyra d'Ippolito. Now, we've got an evolving drama in which it is beginning to look like some collusion by the White House has taken place. Would you believe that the fingerprints of Rahm Emmanuel are on this?

d'Ippolito Scrambles But Hill Is Ready!

Isn't that amazing. He's currently out of the country, but it seems that he's gotten a lot of signatures just in case. What a great planner!

Baron Hill Might Be Ready

The spin in these articles is that Hill is a "blue dog". But, why then would the Bamster want to elevate one of the party mavericks that have been balking his programs to the US Senate? How would he keep him in line? Is it a quid pro quo; you get a Senate seat in return for staying in lock-step?

And what kind of a guy is Hill?

Monday, February 15, 2010

And the Beat Goes On

Apparently the wiser of the rodents are beginning to sense the ship settling at the stern and are deciding that running down the rat lines before the decks are awash is the better choice. I think we are only seeing the beginning of this trend:

Surprise Announcement for Indiana

It begins to look like there may be hope for restoration of the republic. Dim, I'll agree, but at least a glimmer.

I Must Have Lost It

So, if I understand the situation here we need to change the economy, turn out the lights, stop using cars, tax our exhalations and revert to medieval methodologies for the good of the planet. If we don't do that we will all boil away in a few years. And we must do this why?

Oh, there's "consensus" among reputable scientists about the crisis? Al Gore has read the research, or at least someone told him about it.

Could we review the bidding to this point? Maybe have a look at the data to see how the predictions of disaster were made?

OOoopsie. I Can't Seem to Find It Anymore.

Are you kidding me? He's advocating changing the world and he lost the data?

Simply Flaming

I've got no issues about fur. Man has used animals for food, shelter, apparel and more since the Stone Age. I eat meat, wear leather shoes, have a couple of leather jackets, have leather upholstery in my car and I nap in a leather recliner on most afternoons when I'm not busy. I don't have any fur, but if I recall correctly there were hairs all over the surface of that leather before it became furniture.

I've got no issues with gays. What they do has no impact on my life. I can honestly say at my increasingly past-ripe old age that I've never been approached by a gay person sexually. I could almost feel over-looked if I'd bothered to notice earlier in my life. I don't care if someone is gay. Most gay folks are below the radar and those who are flamboyant are so ludicrous that they pose no threats.

I've got no particular issues with figure skaters. The girls are sometimes cute and the prat-falls are sometimes stunning but the sport or entertainment is a take-it-or-leave-it situation for me. Frankly, Scarlett...

But, I do have a revulsion for folks who thrive on hey-look-at-me publicity. That's what this clearly is:

I Just Don't Feel Good About Myself Here

I mean really! This little puny poof-meister is all quakey because someone sent him a nasty-gram about his fuzzy-wuzzy outfit. He just doesn't feel safe in the Olympic village and simply doesn't want to impose a work load on those big handsome security people so he will find shelter elsewhere and commute to and from his event apparently under a well-worn army blanket.

Maybe he should notice that he is in Canada. If he checks out the natives who were so prominently featured in the opening ceremonies he would see that fur is not that big an issue locally.

It's way too much a manufactured hype event by a publicist.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Global Jihad Continues

Last year it was Paris and other cities in France. We've seen it as well in England. Now we've got this in Italy:

A Crying Need for Immigration Reforms

Even the most egalitarian one-worlders must stop for a moment and ask themselves, is assimilation possible or likely? Can we continue to ignore the free flow of people of a significantly dissonant culture across our borders? Do they honestly wish to abide by a rule of law in a civilized world? Can co-existance be possible?

The evidence at first glance seems to say no.

Skill & Cunning Beats Young & Aggressive

During the days instructing new instructor pilots at Fighter Lead-In Training in New Mexico, the young guys would enter the new class fresh out of four or five years in their first operational fighter assignment. They'd been driving Vipers and Ego-jets, pulling 9Gs and powering their way out of trouble with engines that pushed more than their jet weighed.

We were teaching them to instruct the next generation in the nuances of air-to-air. We didn't have a greater-than-one-to-one thrust jet. We didn't have sustained nine G available. What we had was a lightweight airplane with good speed and visibility plus the knowledge of three dimensions and "God's G" to help us around corners. No all-aspect shots either. Strictly guns and tail-aspect heaters.

Occasionally we would get a motivational sortie for instructors only and then we would get a couple of jets and go out and size each other up. The young guys always felt they'd been denied a good fight if they got paired up with a fat old guy like me or Larry Pope or John Miller or Stubby Ritter.

Strangely enough though, the film came back with a different story. How did those old guys manage? Maybe there was some of this:

Guilty Behind a Reasonable Doubt

I'm a safe driver. Once I was a faster driver and a bit more aggressive. Now I'm at that cusp between competent traveler and semi-senile dawdler. I don't rush or press and generally am immune to road rage. I will bitch about those who tail-gate, fail to signal turns, balk traffic in the left hand lane, and run red-lights.

That's why I was surprised yesterday when I got an apparent Valentine from the Plano Police Department. I nearly threw it in the trash because it had a discount postage stamp on it, only 38 cents rather than 44. It looked like it might be some sort of solicitation. It wasn't. It was a citation.

I got a ticket. I immediately denied it. I don't go to the Dallas metroplex that often. It couldn't be me. I'd check the details. Date, December 10. Was I in town then? Maybe. License was distinctive; my Silver Star plates which Texas graciously gives me each year for free. Who was impersonating me? Corner of Legacy Drive and N. Dallas Parkway. I could see myself there. The offense? Running a red light!

Naahh. No way. But, wait. There is a clear and distinct color picture of the rear deck of my car with my license plate. It's me! But, I must have stopped. The brake lights are clearly illuminated. I can't be running a red light.

The fine print says that more pictures and a video are available online. Ain't technology wonderful? Let's see what I did.

There's the intersection and the traffic light. Here I come into the frame from the bottom. I'm entering the right turn lane and slowing with my turn-signal on. Good driving, Ed. The light changes to yellow. The nose of my car dips slightly indicating my gesture at a stop. The light goes red, I turn the corner, three seconds later the first cars crossing the intersection follow me.

It was safe. It was prudent. It was slow. No one was endangered or intimidated.

But, the light was red. I didn't come to a complete stop. There was only a totally unemotional technological gadget to witness the crime so no judgment could be applied.

I've got to say it was a cheap shot. But, I've also got to admit that I'm guilty as charged.

No Laughing Matter

The delivery is irreverent, but the logic is irrefutable:

h/t to Chicago Ray for that one.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Another Interesting Angle

We've got the Harvard educated professor of biology at the University of Alabama-Huntsville who apparently was a bit disgruntled about a denial of tenure so she came to a faculty meeting and discussed it intensely. She killed three of her colleagues and wounded three others with a handgun. Incredibly the school's standard gun-free policy of denial of concealed carry on campus for licensed law-abiding citizens didn't stop her. Who could have anticipated that?

Now we've got this tidbit:

Twenty Years Ago an Incident

That's remarkable. Most people, even Harvard graduates, can go through their entire life without shooting anyone. This woman seems to have a proclivity for a more proactive approach in times of conflict.

I particularly like this aspect of the story:

Amy Bishop shot her brother in the chest in 1986, Braintree police Chief Paul Frazier said at a news conference. She fired at least three shots, hitting her brother once and hitting her bedroom wall, before police took her into custody at gunpoint, he said.

The shooting of the brother, Seth Bishop, was logged as an accident, but detailed records of the shooting have disappeared, he said.

Excuse me? Accidental shootings are characterized by ONE shot. Three shots is not an accident.

Why do I expect more shoes to drop on this?

Bureaucratic Doubletalk

The Olympic fiasco has started. I watched about ninety minutes of opening ceremony last night and then was simply overwhelmed by the political correctness of the whole mess. The events are in Canada. They are in the province of BRITISH Columbia. They are right next door to Victoria BC which was named after you-know-who. They are 2000 miles from Quebec and those nut-jobs of Montreal.

So, riddle me this: why were all announcements made in French first and then English?

The Olympics are an international event, of course. And multi-language announcement is common. But the event is taking place in an English speaking region. And, while French is a perfectly acceptable second language, did anyone notice that there were more participants from Asian nations than France? Why no Japanese or Chinese? Why no Russian or eastern European? Why no African languages? And why not announce in the host nation language first?

Then there was the colorful head-nod to the native tribes of the Pacific Northwest. OK, I get it. You need some local color and culture. OK. That will pass.

The march-in looked pathetic. Country after country entered with their contingent of one, two or four athletes surrounded by a bloated coterie of coaches, masseures, equipment handlers, agents and clothing marketers. OK, I understand that snow sports aren't high on the African nations agendas, but where is the standard?

Yesterday was marred by a death on the luge track during practice. The fastest track in the history of the sport might have proven too fast. But here's the lightning fast response of the management:

Not The Track's Fault. Double Up and Prove It.

That is a lot like saying that the long fall didn't kill the jumper. It was the sudden stop.

Olympic officials decided late Friday night against any major changes in the track or any delays in competition and even doubled up on the schedule in the wake of the horrifying accident that claimed the life of a 21-year-old luger from the republic of Georgia.

They said they would raise the wall where the slider flew off the track and make an unspecified "change in the ice profile" -- but only as a preventative measure "to avoid that such an extremely exceptional accident could occur again."

That sort of doubletalk could qualify for a position as Robert Gibb's replacement in the White House pressroom.

If the track conditions and design were not causative, then why would they want to raise the wall and "change the ice profile"?

Sorry, but that is CYA in the first degree.

Then there was more:

Hold Your Torch, The Pillar is Late

In a typical nod to inclusiveness and the modern principles of "no losers in any game", they couldn't pick a single lighter for the cauldron but chose to have a committee honored in the role. Would have been weak but acceptable until the fourth hoist for a lighter failed to materialize on cue. OOoops!

And the eco-freaks outside the venue helped to add that last soupcon of political theater with a bit of trash tossing and traffic blocking to attempt to delay the torch relay.

They wouldn't have pulled that crap in Beijing or Moscow you can bet!

Saturday Morning Soft Rocker

Not a fan of his politics, but I do enjoy his music:

Friday, February 12, 2010

Tap Dancing Exit Stage Left

Glen Beck demonstrates how to do a follow-up when you suddenly seem to have turned over a rock with crawlies under it:

I'd heard about it, but had to actually get the first hand audio. The answer to the first question would have been too easy for a viable candidate.

Will Even the Whackos Notice?

There is a certain level of blindness to the obvious required to be certifed as a full-fledged whacko. You must be deeply committed to your movement and oblivious to facts, logic, common sense or meaningful dialogue. It really helps in your certification if you carry an aura of intellectual superiority. You are so bloody smart that you are no longer constrained by reality.

Universities in America are almost universally recognized as being in that category and the Ivy League schools are the most clear examples. Of the Ivy League, it would be hard to top Harvard as being so smart they can even open the door to the White House for you without any other visible qualifications.

Read this:

Act Locally, Think Globally

That should handle the situation. Simply mandate that the top of the food chain eschew protein and revert to grazing on the quadrangle lawn. Those notorious vegan methane emissions in faculty meetings should speed up the debate considerably. Tax cars and eliminate parking. That should do wonders for local businesses and with the huge reduction in traffic both vehicular and customers, the closed businesses won't be polluting as much. And, of course, the impact of a 100,000 people taking these draconian measures should easily offset the other 6 billion or so who are living a more human existance.

"This emergency is created by the growth of local greenhouse gas emissions despite the urgent warnings of climate scientists that substantial reductions are needed in order to reduce the risk of disastrous changes to our climate," the Climate Congress reported in proposals issued on Jan. 23. "This proposal is made in the belief that an effective local response is, if anything, made more urgent by so far inadequate global agreements and federal policies for emissions reductions. It is made in the belief that our City should lead by example."

That seems a bit egotistical to me. First they assert the emergency is caused by their local greenhouse gas emissions. Hard to think that Cambridge is having a global impact. Then they believe that the otherwise inadequate global efforts and federal policies will pale in comparison to their response. Wow!

And, they are properly redistributionist. No nasty capitalism or even municipal efficiency in their taxes.

To best reduce emissions in the near-term, Green suggested a revenue-neutral carbon tax, meaning that little -- if any -- of the funds raised would be retained by municipal government. The vast majority under such a plan would be returned to the public.

So, they are going to tax the hell out of you then give you the money back? Don't believe it for an instant. They are going to tax the hell out of anyone who fails to march in lockstep with their utopian fantasy and they are going to give that money to the oppressed granola munchers who don't contribute to the economy or society beyond their climate friendly sloth.

Unusual Day in Texas

When I moved from Colorado to Texas, I left my snow shovel behind. For my first four years in this beautiful little town, I didn't miss it a bit. Today might be a bit different.

And, I've got a Siberian Husky who thinks he's back in the Vaterland.

What We Have Here... a failure to communicate:

Remember the dignity, clarity and effective articulation of the late Tony Snow?

Here we've got a situation in which a pooch was clearly screwed. The tall dogs in the administration have already testified that DOD, CIA, FBI, Homeland Security, and Counter-Terrorism were NOT in the decision loop on Mirandizing the BVD Bomber. The embarrassing fact of just fifty minutes of interrogation makes it obvious that professional terrorist intelligence operatives didn't have time to get from the front door to the interrogation room, let alone gather "actionable intelligence" and make a determination that all available info was gleaned.

The admission last week that after five weeks of delay, the terrorist had resumed discussions makes the point of a screw-up clearly.

Why is it so impossible for the administration to simply say, we fumbled the ball, but we've done X, Y and Z so that we won't make the same mistakes again?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Result of A New Dialogue

The refreshing change in relationships with those nations of the world which hated us because of George W. Bush's nationalistic arrogance is on display today in Teheran. The President's foreign policy initiatives of apology and obeisance are bearing fascinating fruit:

Modern Art on Display in the Muslim World

You Gonna Believe Me or Your Lyin' Eyes?

It begs the question of how stupid does he think we are:

Fierce Advocate of the Free Market

This might be the ultimate proof of my theory that whatever he says is exactly the opposite of what he means.

The Future of Our Military

I didn't write this and I don't know where it came from, but it is pretty accurate. Nelson at Trafalgar:

Nelson: "Order the signal, Hardy."

Hardy: "Aye, aye sir."

Nelson: "Hold on, this isn't what I dictated to Flags. What's the meaning of this ?"

Hardy: "Sorry sir ?"

Nelson (reading aloud): " England expects every person to do his or her duty, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religious persuasion or disability.' - What gobbledegook is this for God's sake ?"

Hardy: "Admiralty policy, I'm afraid, sir. We're an equal opportunities employer now. We had the devil's own job getting ' England ' past the censors, lest it be considered racist."

Nelson: "Gadzooks, Hardy. Hand me my pipe and tobacco."

Hardy: "Sorry sir. All naval vessels have now been designated smoke-free working environments."

Nelson: "In that case, break open the rum ration. Let us splice the mainbrace to steel the men before battle."

Hardy: "The rum ration has been abolished, Admiral. Its part of the Government's policy on binge drinking."

Nelson: "Good heavens, Hardy. I suppose we'd better get on with it ........... full speed ahead."

Hardy: "I think you'll find that there's a 4 knot speed limit in this stretch of water."

Nelson: "Damn it man ! We are on the eve of the greatest sea battle in history. We must advance with all dispatch. Report from the crow's nest please."

Hardy: "That won't be possible, sir."

Nelson: "What ?"

Hardy: "Health and Safety have closed the crow's nest, sir. No harness; and they said that rope ladders don't meet regulations. They won't let anyone up there until a proper scaffolding can be erected."

Nelson: "Then get me the ship's carpenter without delay, Hardy."

Hardy: "He's busy knocking up a wheelchair access to the foredeck Admiral."

Nelson: "Wheelchair access ? I've never heard anything so absurd."

Hardy: "Health and safety again, sir. We have to provide a barrier-free environment for the differently abled."

Nelson: "Differently abled ? I've only one arm and one eye and I refuse even to hear mention of the word. I didn't rise to the rank of admiral by playing the disability card."

Hardy: "Actually, sir, you did. The Royal Navy is under represented in the areas of visual impairment and limb deficiency."

Nelson: "Whatever next ? Give me full sail. The salt spray beckons."

Hardy: "A couple of problems there too, sir. Health and safety won't let the crew up the rigging without hard hats. And they don't want anyone breathing in too much salt - haven't you seen the adverts ?"

Nelson: "I've never heard such infamy. Break out the cannon and tell the men to stand by to engage the enemy."

Hardy: "The men are a bit worried about shooting at anyone, Admiral."

Nelson: "What ? This is mutiny !"

Hardy: "It's not that, sir. It's just that they're afraid of being charged with murder if they actually kill anyone. There's a couple of legal-aid lawyers on board, watching everyone like hawks."

Nelson: "Then how are we to sink the Frenchies and the Spanish ?"

Hardy: "Actually, sir, we're not."

Nelson: "We're not ?"

Hardy: "No, sir. The French and the Spanish are our European partners now. According to the Common Fisheries Policy, we shouldn't even be in this stretch of water. We could get hit with a claim for compensation."

Nelson: "But you must hate a Frenchman as you hate the devil."

Hardy: "I wouldn't let the ship's diversity co-ordinator hear you saying that sir. You'll be up on disciplinary report."

Nelson: "You must consider every man an enemy, who speaks ill of your King."

Hardy: "Not any more, sir. We must be inclusive in this multicultural age. Now put on your Kevlar vest; it's the rules. It could save your life"

Nelson: "Don't tell me - health and safety. Whatever happened to rum, sodomy and the lash ?"

Hardy: As I explained, sir, rum is off the menu ! And there's a ban on corporal punishment."

Nelson: "What about sodomy ?"

Hardy: "I believe that is now legal, sir."

Nelson: "In that case............................... kiss me, Hardy

Remember the Constitution?

How does one qualify to become a "political analyst" for CNN? I've really got to question the credentialing when I read items like this:

Time to "Go Gangsta"

Here's a guy who supposedly is going to offer enlightenment to the masses yet he doesn't seem to understand the US Constitution or the requirement for a government in our republic to be responsive to political process. No wonder we are so screwed up.

The checks and balances of our Constitution are finely tuned and they have worked well for 223 years. The executive's ability to shape the courts and the administration is not unlimited. It is constrained by the need to gain Senate confirmation for appointees. The wisdom of senior legislators originally appointed to their seats by the legislatures of the states (until the 17th Amendment was ratified in 1913) may not be what it once was but it still is a relevant input and a conduit for the voice of the people to control a run-away executive.

Certainly there is a work-around in the recess appointment process, but it isn't a free hand to rule by fiat and with disregard for the political costs. A recess appointment might be in order during those rare instances in which a critical administration position is vacant and the opportunity to build consensus for the candidate is lacking. That's the purpose of recess appointment.

Simply because you didn't get your way is not justification for "going gangsta." When you didn't get your way because you can't even maintain your own party discipline then you've really got a situation in which you will pay a high price for thumbing your nose at the Senate and the American people.

An intermediate level functionary in the National Labor Relations Board is not the time to go to the mattresses.

You would think a CNN political analyst would understand how that works. But, he's frustrated that the victory of the proletariat over the bourgeousie is being delayed.


The threat, or promise if you wish to sweet-talk it, was that Israel and the West were going to get a bitch-slap in commemoration of the 1979 revolution on Feb 11. That has to sound ominous to almost anyone except possibly the US State Department in the Bamster administration.

So, here's the punch:

We Can Do It, I Said We Can

This is a lot like a four year old arguing with his six year old brother. The national leader stands before a crowd which isn't all on his side and announces that we can enrich to better than 20%. Yes, we can even enrich to more than 80% if we want to, but I don't want to. I could if I wanted to, but right now I don't want to...but I could.

And the uniformly sized flags are waved and the neatly printed posters are waved and the crowd dutifully chants, "Death to...whoever we want death to today."

There are more than a few protesters in the crowd seeking an end to the theocracy and the clownish regime. But, Mahmoud seems to be thinking, "let them eat cake."

There ought to be someone whispering in his ear, "Remember, thou art mortal. Remember..."

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Baba O'Reilly Anderson

You betcha...

Speaking the Obvious

Research can often lead one into dangerous politically incorrect territory. Taking objective measurements and reporting conclusions reached as a result of that data might put you in a position of offending a protected constituency. I'm not talking about global warming here. Take a look at this:

Stupid Is As Stupid Dies

It may be possible to say that in England, but it certainly would be a cause for moral indignation in the US. Is there a valid syllogism there? There is always a caution in epidemiological studies that simply because A is common where B exists that A is causative.

The Brits seem to conclude that lower intelligence folks tend to have a greater risk of heart disease and death. Does being less astute lead to higher probability of heart attacks?

Take your own unscientific survey of what you can readily observe. Low IQ folks tend to smoke, drink, do drugs, eat unhealthy foods, neglect healthcare, work menial and stressful jobs, etc. etc. Do those behaviors lead to heart attacks?

But, can you say that lower mental acuity is a causative factor without being accosted by the PC police? Apparently you can in Great Britain.

Definition of Irony

Unclear on the term? Try this:

Senate Hearing Cancelled Until It Warms Up

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

The Earth Moving

A key anchor of my American Government course is an emphasis on the core ideology of America's political environment. Once students can identify the elements of the ideologies in competition, they can begin to understand the concepts of parties, interest groups, process and policy.

They come to the course familiar with the terms liberal and conservative but generally don't know what the principle perspectives of the ideologies entail. Ask them what are the essentials of liberalism or conservatism and they will offer a litany of issues such as abortion, gun control, welfare, healthcare, taxes or immigration. The positions, however, aren't the core beliefs.

If they can detach from policy they can begin to see the elements:

Liberals believe:
  • Government solutions to social problems
  • High taxes with a redistribution of wealth at the core
  • Social spending over defense
  • Labor over management
  • Judicial activism over strict construction

Conservatives believe:

  • Individual responsibility over government intervention
  • Low taxes allowing for investment and opportunity
  • Defense over welfare expenditure
  • Entrepreneurship and free market
  • Original intent over convolution of the Constitution

Where it has gotten difficult is when the question of traditional or fiscal conservativism conflicts with social conservative position. The conflict is one of whether a "conservative" wants government to mandate morally appropriate behavior. If you are traditionally conservative you would want government to stay out of your life. If you are socially conservative you want to force people to do the right thing according to your beliefs. That's an oxymoron.

So, I found this piece interesting:

Seeing the Emerging Coalition

When Ronald Reagan won the presidency he did so by bringing a coalition together of tradtional and social conservatives. That group found common interests that gave them justification for supporting the Republican Party. The coalition has crumbled over the ensuing years. The demands of the "Religious Right" have become a litmus test of candidates and in the process qualified people have been prevented from serving because they were not "pure" enough for the social conservative wing of the party. Along the way the moral authority to fill the image of such ideology has been tarnished by a series of scandals.

Now, the Tea Party movement enters. There isn't a political party there but a protest movement. It is clearly anti-Democrat, but not so obviously pro-Republican. As described in the American Thinker piece, the movement is certainly aligned with traditional conservative ideology. The question is whether it will be acceptable or even tolerable to the Religious Right.

The Tea Party folks are going to be influential and probably decisive in the next two elections. Will that lead to an improved government that is more responsive to the realities of our nation or will it lead to a series of poor electoral choices chasing after unrealistic emotionally based policies?