Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Delayed Consequences

Today in Texas is election day...again. Our primary election was supposed to occur last March. The required redistricting in a state with a "history of voter discrimination" according to the 1965 Voting Rights Act meant that the Department of Justice (1984 New-Speak increasingly in play there,) gets to be the grand panjandrum over what's allowed.

Districts must be drawn to recognize ethnicity and provide enhanced opportunity for minorities to elect a minority candidate to represent them. Don't mumble about "content of character" stuff here. This is "color of his skin" core.

You can't have a primary if you don't have districts to run in. That meant the primary got pushed to late April and finally into mid-May, effectively neutering TX regarding leverage for the presidential primary but also forcing much longer campaigns, extended staffing requirements and consuming huge contributions. But, it didn't end there.

To gain the party nomination in Texas a candidate must get a majority vote, not a plurality. So, we've got run-offs today for every race without a majority in May.

The big decision today is the Republican nominee for US Senate. In a statewide general election in November there is very low probability of a Democrat taking the seat. Today's election is pretty much the end game.

I've commented before on the Cruz/Dewhurst race. Ted Cruz is a former solicitor general for Texas as well as Deputy Attorney General in the US Department of Justice. David Dewhurst is the current Lt. Governor of Texas. In the first round, Dewhurst was the leader and clearly going to be the favorite in a run-off. Cruz barely edged former Dallas mayor, Tom Leppert, to get the second spot in a run-off.

It was Dewhurst's race to lose. He had the money, he had the organization, he had the name recognition and he had a reasonable record to run on. That seemed too easy, so Dewhurst abandoned the Reagan 11th Commandment and went down-n-dirty on his opponent. The attack ads have become incessant and somehow seem to ignore the fact that the level of political awareness of a delayed primary run-off election voter will make the slander obvious. The great unwashed of a general election can embrace the sound-bite. The involved partisan is going to be a bit harder to bamboozle.

For the last two weeks my land line telephone has been a constant irritation. The dinner hour is punctuated by robo-calls. They come in clusters of three and four. During the rest of the day they are sprinkled intermittently just to ask that ol' Kojak question, "Who loves ya, baby?" Yesterday I got a robo-call that started with "Can you please hold a minute for an important message?" You called me to ask to put you on hold?

By bed-time this evening we will know if Dewhurst or Cruz wins the nomination. It may be November or even the next election cycle to determine what the long-term consequences of this pattern will be.

Leading into the vote-counting we have seen the polling data show Cruz coming from behind with dismal prospects in Mid-May to a point yesterday which showed Cruz roughly ten points ahead in a poll of registered voters who indicate that they intend to vote.

If Cruz wins, would others get the idea that a slash and burn campaign is counter-productive? Might there be a eureka moment in which a candidate would discover that their own experience, education, proposals and character must be the core. Could someone decide that slathering lies and innuendo across the landscape isn't adequate?

Is there a point in the near future where there is a back-lash against robo-calls? I'd like to talk to Dick Cheney or Sarah Palin or Rick Perry on behalf of a candidate. But that would be live, one-on-one. I don't get a tingle up my leg from having dinner interrupted for a recorded message. The robo-calls are a waste of candidate time and money. No one is listening.

Robo-calls that push-poll are worse. Polling in "questions" such as "Did you know that candidate XYZ was a convicted pedophile who shot Santa Clause, killed the Easter Bunny, and will cancel your unemployment checks if elected?" doesn't work.

Possible consequences:

  1. Less mud-slinging? 
  2. More positive position promotion?
  3. Abandonment of robo-calls?
  4. Negative backlash on push-polling? 
  5. More TV/radio/print media advertizing?
  6. ....Cancellation of POTS land-line phone services and more rapid migration to a total wireless communication environment. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

Bits Of Boredom Strung Together

I tried. Really, I did try. It only comes every four years and it deserves a reception. All day long yesterday I would hit the Guide button and scan through the four, five or six Dish channels offering some flavor of Olympic sport. They didn't catch me all day long.

What is "Beach Volleyball" really about? It used to be about a bunch of friends on an outing in the summer, drinking too much beer, oblivious to sun-block, and filling a guilt square regarding totally hedonistic behavior. Playing a little bit of jungle rules volleyball burned up some calories so you could get to your fourth or fifth burger and seventeenth or eighteenth beer.

Now apparently it is about ogling two tall, slender, scantily clad Amazons who probably aren't all that into old pharts like me. The activity does not scream ancient Greek event. It was more voyeur meets The House of Lesbos.

Other events offered included the globally ubiquitous soccer which is a lot of skinny guys running around in pre-determined patterns for a couple of hours. Occasionally they fall down, scream in pain and point out a miscreant who nudged them inappropriately. Couldn't get to soccer. Not at all.

There was some water polo, but its really hard to get a flow of a game when it is viewed in 22 second bites between four-minute commercial interludes.

Swimming, of course, was available along with other water-based activities which have recently been invented, I guess. What's with synchronized diving? And what's the ritual about jumping into a huge diving pool for thirty seconds and then rushing to a communal hot-tub/cess-pool to apparently concentrate hormonal excretions from the thrill of perfect synchronicity.

I caught a Formula 1 race which is uber-techno cars defying physics. Then a bit of Indy car, which is retro-tech attempting to palm themselves off as F-1 because they are open wheel. Then a NASCAR train wreck and eventually a Rangers game. Didn't feel a bit peckish about having missed all of that Olympian strife.

Last event of the night was women's gymnastics and for lack of motivation to move, I watched for about twenty minutes. This was the "big" story:

Reigning Champ Doesn't Fit For Finals

Maybe it is a function of old age, but I really didn't pay that much attention to the balance derring-do. What I hooked into was the body language of the contenders. Ms Jordyn Wieber really was a classic. Of course, maybe that could be anticipated when you read her name. What happened to Jordan Weber? Inadequately choreographed apparently.

The girls are part of a "team" you may notice. Therefore they cheer each other up and console each other when down. I don't think I've ever seen quite that level of superficial "air kiss" before. Then the pathetic squeak of "Go, Kyla" which you know Ms Jordyn didn't really mean but would be sentenced to 200 extra push-ups for failing to at least mouth the words.

Amazing, we're only three days into this Olympiad and although I won't say I'm sated because that would imply an initial hunger, I will put forth that my visits to NBC and subsidiaries might be pretty rare these next weeks.

Deja Vu All Over Again

You may have slept through it, but there was a financing debacle a year or two ago that brought the economy to its knees. There are a lot of explanations for what the causes were, but the one we don't want to use is "greedy mortgage lenders."

Businesses that loan money are in it to succeed, not to prop up social causes. If I have investors in my mortgage company then I will be able to take the money under my stewardship and finance home buying. I loan the money to Joe Bagadonutz for his house. He pays me back over time with an addition called interest. To succeed, my interest rate has to be competitive with other sources of financing.

To be sure that I will get that stream of payments there are routine requirements for the borrower to meet. My check on those items is referred to as exercise of "due diligence."

No rocket science here, folks. Before I slip you a Benjamin to get you through the weekend, I'll consider your previous pay-back history. I'll also want to know how you expect to get the money to pay me next week; do you have a source of regular income.

Seems simple enough to me. But then enter the glowing face of Barney Frank and the Community Reinvestment Act.

It starts with one of those standard assertions about the "rights" of every American...you know the song very well, I'm sure. Every American has a right to healthcare. Every American has a right to home ownership. Every American has a right to a college education, a Corvette and a two week spring break in Aruba. Of course those aren't "rights" at all. They are hand-outs. They are supposed to be the product of grasping opportunity and then working hard. You don't have a right to those things. You have a right to seek them through your own dedication and responsibility.

CRA, however, started with your "right" to home ownership. Then it linked denial of mortgage applications to discrimination. Due diligence was not to be allowed. The home-seeker didn't need to have a good credit rating. No flaws in the pay-back record could deny someone their "right". The home buyer didn't need employment history or income stream. As Scarlet said, "I'll worry about that tomorrow."

Those buyers are now identified as the "sub-prime" market. A mortgage lender with common sense would see those loans as very risky and subject to default. He would be out the money and forced to seek foreclosure, which that very same government would vilify.

The solution of a creative marketplace was creation of bundled sub-prime loans into risk-sharing pools. Take one bad loan that fails and you lose everything. Take a thousand bad loans and you may be able to keep the financial ship afloat when 30% of them fail. If an investor only holds 5% of the bad-loan pool and 30% fail then you don't get too big a hickey. Finish the souffle with a big gob of government guarantees, known as the Gold-Dust Twins, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Risk is controlled. We know have a silk purse plus a pair of brocaded slippers emerge from a sow's ear.

That's it in a nut-shell. Sure there are niggling little details, but the bottom line is that loaning money to people with bad credit histories and unreliable income is a short-cut to failure.

Here's the deja vu part:

GM Targeting the Sub-Prime Market

The government jumps in and effectively nationalizes a pair of the  major car-builders. The debt is restructured, the union becomes a major bond-holder, the private market investors take a bath and the Messiah walks on water through the flooded streets of Detroit.

There you are with your bad credit, your minimum wage occasionally show up job, and a luke-warm reception from all of those other car dealers. The Bamster wants to put you in a Volt. You really don't like the Volt because even with some chrome twenties and 20-series profile rubber it still won't get you any street cred. But you're in the dealership, you aren't getting hassled about your ability to pay, and that 3/4 GMC pick-em-up looks cool. Or maybe that rumble-bug Camero with the Belch-Fire Eight and 500 ponies under the hood?

Keep doing the same thing expecting a different result...the definition of insanity.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Opening Ceremony

It caught me by surprise. I didn't think the whole extravaganza thing would crank up so quickly. No ponderous speechifying to dull the senses properly before overload.

So, after a bit of dinner, I turn on the telly and get an underground sweatshop pumping chimneys into a Dickensian sky as bloated and top-hatted industrialists gloat at their rape of the environment and oppression of the proletariat. The imagery momentarily takes precedence over the message.

Then it's Bond, James Bond, fetching Her Majesty to the whirley-pearley for a leap into the stadium. Queen Liz looks a bit bedazed by the whole thing.

Then a commercial break, which based on the whole premise of the opening People's Congress for Welfare Statism, seems incongruous. When we return there are hundreds of white coated folks pushing hospital beds into the stadium as Lauer and Vieira coo about there being real doctors and nurses pushing those beds, not hired fantasia characters. And describing the great pride of the British people in their state-run healthcare system.

I'm sorry folks. That's where I called it quits. There was a great and classic Bond movie running: You Only Live Twice, which was absolutely boffo for cheap special effects and totally incorrect sexist comments throughout.

By time Bond was in the raft with his fawning teelok and Blofeld's island was self-destructing, the Olympics had gotten to the march-on. As Bob Costas droned about Macedonia entering among the alphabetical "F" group as "Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia", I remembered there was a Rangers game on.

Got there in time to see Yu Darvish serve up a biscuit and let the White Sox get the upper hand.

At this point I've got very little interest in catching much more of the Olympics. If it is going to be a propaganda extravaganza then I'm going to be hitting up Netflix quite a bit for the next couple of weeks.

Saturday Morning Rocker

Might have to pull up the whole thing today and crank it up:

Friday, July 27, 2012

Doggone It, We Are Special

I'm not about to jump on the Condi for Veep band-wagon, but she definitely has a handle on foreign policy and the correct interpretation that leadership is something exercised from the front of the force, not the back.

America IS Exceptional and Expected to Lead

That's the way it works, Senator Franken:

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Apartment Hunting

Now For Something Completely Different

Colorado Has Some Laws

Here is a great summary and discussion of Colorado's gun law situation. Notice that the legislation is largely post-Columbine so it demonstrates the reaction to that tragedy.

Laws In Place Didn't Stop It--Why Should Another Layer Be Different?

I recall very well the 1992 election in Colorado Springs when John Wesley Anderson was elected sheriff. He had promised a county policy of "shall issue" concealed carry permits. He followed through and more than 6000 Colorado Springs citizens got permits in the first 90 days. No bloodbath followed. Nobody even noticed except for an occasional moaning hoplophobe in the corner.

We're seeing the politics play out again. The usual suspects come out and start bleating their inaccuracies and screaming about "we've got to save the children..."

Bloomberg Seeks Police Strike

Memo to Mayor Bloomberg: It wasn't cops that died. No cops were around to protect the sheep. The theater was one of your recommended gun-free zones. But, most importantly, a lot of cops around the nation strongly support gun ownership and citizen involvement. 

Obama Vilifies Dem AK-47s

Apparently the Bamster hasn't been briefed that no AK-47s were involved in the Aurora shootings. He also doesn't seem to be up to speed on muzzle velocity, range, energy and ballistic performance of modern ammunition. But that doesn't make much difference because as Rahm Emanuel so eloquently reminded us, "never let a crisis go to waste."

Would somebody buy Bloomberg, Bamster and Big Boss a subscription to Guns & Ammo so that they can be slightly less clueless with regard to firearms?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Words Have Meaning

"Semi-automatic" seems to be the word du jour with regard to misunderstanding. The concept is so simple, but the pols and talking heads seem unable to comprehend it.

Try this: one trigger squeeze results in one round going down range. Pull the trigger and you get a shot off.

But that doesn't suit the agenda, does it? You can't disarm a people when you apply that definition.

How about these firearms:

  1. Pistol, i.e. semi-automatic weapon. Every cop in the land carries one. Most citizens who buy a hand-gun will choose one. They come in a variety of calibers from puny to significant and with magazines (not clips!) that carry anywhere from five to twenty rounds. 
  2. Revolver. One trigger squeeze results in a round going down range and a chamber positioned to do it again, hence "semi-automatic". 
  3. Shotgun: multiple flavors but other than single-shot versions, all can be described as delivering one shot per trigger actuation. 
  4. Hunting rifle (whatever that might mean today). Other than single-shot and bolt-action, they all turn out to be semi-automatic. 
  5. AR-platform rifles. All semi-automatic. Come in a huge range of calibers, barrel lengths, sighting formats, accessories, and magazine capacities. Used for everything from squirrels and prairie dogs to elk, moose and bear. They aren't "military" anymore. They are modern, efficient, quality and in demand. 
We've been down the "assault weapon" highway before. The result wasn't reduction in availability, it was a huge prod for development of new and more efficient systems. Prices went up because of demand, but the end game was that sportsmen, 2nd Amendment supporters, target shooters and collectors got more guns. The "high capacity magazine" ban didn't do diddly for supply, only for price. 

Then, while Dianne Feinstein rants about 100 round "clips" and military assault weapons notice the attack scenario in Aurora. 

Enter theater in full body armor. Deploy incendiary grenades (not gun first). In confusion commence firing with shotgun, not "assault weapon". Then when the AR is brought into play, the uselessness of the 100 round magazine becomes apparent. It jams. (If anything, Feinstein should seek elimination of smaller mags and demand only 100 round versions!)

Please, humor me this morning. Dig out a copy of the Constitution and read the 2nd Amendment. Read it to someone you love. Find the words "hunting" or "handgun" or "self defense" in the short sentence. 

Don't pontificate about "militarization" because that is precisely what the amendment deals with. It recognizes that the Revolution was fought by citizens against an oppressive government with their personal firearms. 

Don't tell me that can't happen again. It happened in the Balkans in WW II. It happened with the Resistance in France. It happened when the Viet Cong resisted the most powerful military in the world with a peasant army. It happened when the mujaheddin resisted the Russians in Afghanistan. It's going on again in several places around the world. 

When you hear some fool blustering about not taking your hunting rifle away, explain the concept to him. Use small words so he/she can understand.  

When Every Man's A Criminal...

The old cliche is that oppressive governments will create a web of laws and regulations such that any citizen at any time can be ensnared. This situation compels citizens to comply with arbitrary government lest they find themselves bankrupted by defense expenses. Here is a classic example:

At An Appraised Value of $0.00 Your Tax Will Be...

It irks the hell out of the IRS that they can't get something out of this. The possession was originally waivered. Therefore, legal. No foul.

Then the egregious inheritance tax holiday for ten years that was part of the Bush tax reforms placed the clearly valuable collection beyond the reach of the redistributionists.

That got validated by Christie's appraisal of an unsalable item as zero.

But the IRS still wants to suck some blood. So, they assess it at $15 million. That doesn't do a thing for the dead eagle. It simply says we see a big pot of previously earned money and must get a share.

The topper in governmental logic is when the item can't be sold, is appraised at no value, they can't leverage $15 M, so they reappraise at $65 million.

It is Alice in Wonderland.

The eagle has been long dead. The species is no longer endangered. The somewhat questionable goal of the protective legislation is irrelevant. It's simply about taking the money from someone who earned it and paid taxes on it previously.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Fine Dining

Well, not actually. No reviews of Michelin *** restaurants today. It's been a while since La Tour d'Argent, Lasserre, Lameloise, Paul Bocuse and Les Freres Troisgrois. This is more local and more recent, but the similarities are worth the metaphor.

The establishment is convenient. It's new and modern, fully staffed with professionals and carrying a line-up of the latest to provide full service. It makes one truly appreciate the remarkable system we've built in America to insure that our hungers are satisfied quickly. There's no waiting for a table and there's no difficulty getting a reservation as there might be in other countries with a less effective and less free-enterprise system.

The clientele is diverse. Older and younger, male and female, well-to-do and obviously lower economic class all arrive at the reservation time and are promptly seated for their experience.

Service is custom. Your particular needs tailor your diet and the executive chef continually evaluates how your situation changes. He's not called the executive chef though, he's your oncologist. He's armed with a battery of scans and diagnostics with alphabetical acronyms that describe the various technologies. He knows where your hunger pangs originate and what might be causing that. He is the ultimate in molecular gastronomy and puts El Bulli to shame. He prescribes the menu.

On arrival you might be greeted with a formal ritual, a quick blood letting to determine the balance of your various chemicals, but with that formality aside you are escorted down the hall to the "dining room" where your particular experience awaits.

The decor is eclectic, possibly drawn from the reclining dining postures of the Romans or Arabs. Individual booths align the walls of the room with a recliner, a small visitor chair, a wall-mounted flat screen TV and a modernistic tree-like sculpture with four branches next to the recliner.

Everyone is welcomed with a bit of liquid refreshment, a quart of saline solution to keep you refreshed. The line is plugged into your sub-cutaneous central port so there's no need to find a spot for a fresh IV each visit. The clear plastic bag hangs from the first branch of the tree. As you look to the right and left from your booth you see the trees of the other diners progressing through their repast. The trees are festooned with bags of various sizes and in varying degrees of fullness.

Next comes the amuse bouche, a little taste of what is to come provided to all participants. It's a six-ounce serving of an anti-nausea preparation. The reason for the various connections on the clear tubing attached to your port are now becoming apparent. The second bag hits the tree branch.

Nearby the sous-chef, AKA pharmacist, is blending the components of your particular meal. The essentials are added to more saline prep and the clear bags labeled for your table. The meal commences.

On my menu we start with Taxotere. It will take an hour or so to drip into my veins. Bag three on the tree.

Second course comes shortly thereafter. Dining at this establishment isn't quick. The wait staff, Donna and Sandy are prompt, courteous, friendly and very efficient. This one is called Fluorouracil or more commonly 5-FU. I ponder for a moment that magnitude of getting five FUs all in an expletive bundle, but dismiss it as a coincidence.

We start with a syringe full as a special jolt. Wait for about a half-hour to see if anything unusual occurs, then meet the infusion pump. It's a plastic unit about the size of a box of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. The top half has an LED display of dose, remaining supply and condition of operation. The bottom half is a clear reservoir with yet another bag of liquid from the sous-chef. Complete the decor with a zippered fanny pack to carry the gadget around my waist. Plug into the central port tubing and I'm clear to enjoy a two day intermezzo.

The pump is beginning to send plaintive little beeps indicating it is almost empty as I return two days later to the fine dining establishment. The meal resumes. The pump is disconnected and the welcoming saline drip and anti-nausea bag are delivered. When the small bag is empty, I get the third course. This one is called Cisplatin. It takes about two hours to infuse and then without a proper desert or apres-meal brandy, I'm sent on my way with a reminder to keep taking my anti-nausea pills as the true effect of the repast may not be realized for several more days.

Once you've begun to dine at this establishment they set up a regular reservation for you every two weeks for a similar meal.

Saturday Morning Rocker

And a happy birthday to a grand guitarist who has given us a lot of incredible music:

Friday, July 20, 2012

Always Walking It Back

Here's one woman's interpretation. You saw it yourself. You've seen it in context. It flows and there isn't much mistake available in interpreting what he said:

You Didn't Build It

There's nothing particularly American about roads and bridges and an educational system. That couldn't have  been the distinctive advantage that he refers to. He's discounted the entrepreneurial spirit and he certainly eschews the profit motive which he has called obscene too many times to recount.

But, he walks it back and accuses everyone who can see and hear and read of taking out of context.

It's Bogus

Wouldn't it be refreshing to have him say something meaningful in public and then not to have a week of reshaping, denial, walk-back and explanations? Can't he consistently say what he means, mean what he says and then follow through? Is there really so little "there" there?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

No Wonder He's Leading in the Polls

Older African-Americans and  Hispanics Hardest Hit

So that should convince them to continue to vote in lock-step. He's really doing it for their interests.

At Least We Can Depend on Growth in Joblessness

If you like being unemployed, stand by for company. Vote to keep the policy growing.

Rust-belt Factory Activity Reduces Again

Aren't those his key states?

Better Use That Corn For Ethanol

He's even going to lose the food-buyer vote.

Bi-Lingual International Agreement to Increase Food Stamp Dependency

When your debt is growing by leaps and bounds, go visit a neighboring country and promote food give-aways. That deals with the motivation for illegal immigration pretty effectively too.

Am I living in a dream?


For the benefit of Rip Van Winkle, who just awakened, all others may skip and go to text:

There are so many questions I'd like to ask him and then, without benefit of teleprompter, watch him stumble, grapple, sneeze and obfuscate. The whole premise of his populist class-envy statement is ludicrous.

If we accept that you didn't build your business on your own because you live in a great society (small letter), had a better idea, worked harder or were a bit smarter, then we must conclude that anybody who isn't successful in America is a lazy wart on the butt of society. Why are successful people successful? Would he say that it is because HE, the government determines who should succeed and rewards their loyalty with vast stimulus checks of redistributive wealth? Solyndra, Fisker, et. al.?

Or if we look at that network of roads, bridges and transportation arteries should we conclude they are one-way? Do they exist simply to aid the entrepreneur? Isn't there a consumer seeking goods and services at the other end? Doesn't that lead to the conclusion that we build society for the benefit of all who choose to be members, not a select few which government largess allows to succeed.

And the gratuitous mention of DARPA's first generation high-level think-tank computer network which provided the genetic DNA of the Internet absolutely defies credibility.

Without Bill Gates and MS-DOS would much have happened? Investors building a network of routers and servers to distribute information played a free-enterprise part. Steve Jobs introducing a graphical user interface that took the mystery out of arcane C:\.. commands. Programmers that built increasingly feature loaded word processors, spreadsheets, databases and then apps to put them at Joe Bagadonutz fingertips all to create a new business model that allowed profitability while still keeping user costs low to non-existent.

That's called smart, hard-working, entrepreneurship and business in a free-enterprise society. It's something the privileged, affirmative-action, amoral, hypocritical mud-rakers like you, Mr. President, don't understand and never will.

My Home

Maybe you wonder where this little one-horse college is that I've been teaching government at for the years since I relocated to Texas. It's just a little town at the intersection of US-82 and I-35, not far from the Red River and Oklahoma stateline.

It got noticed yesterday:

Most Patriotic Small Town in America

That's Rand McNally making the call, folks, not some backdoor blogger.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Ultimate Disclosure

Remember when you started in construction? Remember learning the trade and then finding out about what the other guys on the job did? Remember deciding you could succeed on your own? Remember building a team of guys you had worked with and that were dependable? Remember scraping together those first bucks for a spec house that you sold for a profit that allowed you to build another one?

That was thirty years of hard work and effort ago. Now you've got an established home-building company. You employ sixty-five tradesmen and you build and sell about fifty homes a year. You're successful.

But guess what? You didn't build that? It wasn't your effort, sacrifice, hard work, and dream. It was government that let you do it.

The Bamster has said a lot of stupid things in the last four years, but this one is the clear winner.

Nothing more clearly demonstrates his view that everything in society is owned by the collective. Anything which you think is yours is only temporary and only through the grace of his benevolence.

Sorry, folks, but that is bullshit.

Monday, July 16, 2012

My Home Town

Once, but that was long ago in a galaxy far, far away:

Now you don't stop too long on a street corner, even if you are the ward committeman and granted a bit of slack. You don't expect to live past twenty-one. Everyone's got a gun, even though Chicago has some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation. It is only the law-abiding who don't have a gun, and they don't go to that part of the city.

Street By Street

It was bad when I grew up there. I used to joke that if you left the IIT campus where I was getting my college education across Wabash Avenue to the east or 35th Street to the south, you had a half-life measured in minutes during the day and seconds at night.

Uniform Rule

NEVER allow anyone to wear a beret without a minimum of two weeks of intensive instruction. NEVER!

Laws Not Needed

Someone gets a great idea for a law. It's loaded with emotional appeal. It might even allow employment of my favorite advertising kicker, "We've got to do it for the children!" You know the tearful entreaties about, "if we save just one life, it will be worth it."

How did Prohibition work out? Well, that might have been an aberration. War on Drugs anyone? OK, bad example. Well, maybe campaign finance reform as something less emotional. Didn't work either? Well, then surely the assault weapons ban drove a stake in the heart of all those evil black guns with funny barrels and sights and collapsible stocks. Ooops, more of them than ever in more calibers by more manufacturers with more accessories now available.

OK, at least we can save those force-fed French geese can't we? Who wouldn't get behind a foie gras ban if we could save just one fat, feathered friend from flopping around over-stuffed with corn?

Presidio Social Club Foie Gras Feast

It seems that the good intentions of the San Francisco elite run a bit counter to their actual eating habits. I particularly like the "free" for selected customers gambit. "Psst, Joe sent me and said you had sumpin' special.  Here's a twenty for your trouble."

Sunday, July 15, 2012

How Did You Register In The First Place?

It is a fundamental that it is almost impossible to prove a negative. The burden on the state, although only the nine states subject to the DOJ oversight of the Voting Rights Act, is to prove that the voter ID requirements are NOT established to discriminate against a class of people.

Listen to this discussion and honestly ask if the arguments make sense:

But, maybe the real question when you listen to the whining about poor people simply not having the time to get a photo ID during the months between elections is:

How did you register to vote in the first place?


A few weeks ago I mentioned the dragged out race for the Republican Senate seat vacated by Kay Bailey Hutchison. I ended by noting that we were fortunate to have a choice in which neither outcome would be bad for Texas or America. I've changed my mind. This is what did it, but not for the reason you might think:

The catch is that the radio ad is a pile of mud which has no basis in fact. It screws together a load of innuendo and plain misstatement to try to discredit Cruz. Unfortunately folks are noting it and some are simply repelled by that type of campaign.

Moisture On My Boot But It Ain't Raining

Desperation And Politics We Don't Need

Dewhurst was the leader and arguably could have walked through the run-off without breaking a sweat. Instead he has gone to the back of the corral and started shoveling what he found there. It's politics worse than as usual and it demeans the office he seeks.

I'll vote for Cruz. Hell if it turns out that Dewhurst is the nominee, I might even have to consider the alternative...well, maybe just not voting that line.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Like White On Rice?

Romney is quintessentially white. He squeaks of whiteness. He's Mormon, he's preppie even at middle-age, he's father of many and clearly not hip-hop. Yet, you've got to give him props for showing up at the NAACP doings last week and standing tall on what needs to be done, particularly with regard to the stake of the African-American community on jobs, education, and their American potential. The Bamster sent his sock-puppets, Holder and Biden to do the Baptist minister schtick while he went courting other niche demographics. Romney spoke truth to black power and the socks went all cliche. Some folks even noticed.

Then within hours we had the breaking news of a possible cataclysmic shuffle in the VP sweeps on the Romney side. Out of nowhere we get Drudge announcing Condi Rice as the top dog. Within less than a news-day we've got coverage on Limbaugh, the WSJ, the whole line-up of Fox talking heads and even CNN.

Pros and Cons of Condi

I'm not a Condoleeza Rice fan. I respect her intellect, experience and capabilities, but we simply disagree on more than we mesh totally. She's a bit too East Coast, one-world, realpolitik for my taste. She's a negotiator rather than a warrior. That's fine, but not always effective.

But, what about the CNN analysis?

I'll agree that the two-fer aspect is compelling. It is also a recipe for disaster. It is totally dependent upon the simplification that Black Americans will vote for a Black candidate regardless of ideology. That doesn't stand up to observation. They won't vote for a conservative Black at the expense of an uber-liberal that appeals to their welfare foundations. They wouldn't go for Herman Cain, they have always been luke-warm for Colin Powell, and they aren't about to grab the Oreo Rice.

The gender argument is equally shaky. Women who choose a candidate on gender will still stick with the liberal. Women who vote on issues, ideology and fundamental free-market principles will vote on that rather than gender.

No significant impact on the positive side for the Condi two-fer.

Rice has the chops to handle the job. She most assuredly could slice and dice Biden in an intellectual debate. She would be room-temp foie gras in a bombastic TV smack-down debate. The latter is more likely.

The Bush administration linkage has pretty much run its course. How many years can the Bamster continue to blame Bush and still have credibility? No, that doesn't sway either way.

Which comes down to the core in the CNN piece; the abortion issue. Is it as important as Tony Perkins would want us to believe? For some voters, certainly. But is it the most compelling issue of this election? If a Presidential candidate asserts he is pro-life and his running mate is not hard-over on choice facing a wildly pro-choice, abortion-on-demand, duo where will the uber-conservative voter go?

The spin is the factor to watch here.

Would Condi be a great VP? I suppose she would. Does she have the credentials? Absolutely. Does she have the fire in the belly? Not a bit of it.

I would love to see her in Sec State again. I'd be happy with her at UN Ambassador giving the US resignation from the organization speech. There are a half-dozen cabinet seats she would grace.

But not VP now. CNN's analysis of cons carrying the day is right, but for the wrong reasons.

Saturday Blues

Friday, July 13, 2012

Chumming the Water For Votes

What makes the Obama base unhappy? Well, clearly it would be not getting the gummint check on time. Or maybe it would be pesky requirements that recipients actually do something for a stipend. You know, like WORK!

Waiver of Onerous Work Requirements By Executive Order

Seriously? The Clinton era reform of "welfare as we know it" slashed away with the mighty Bamster's pen. The rationale? Gotta love this bureaucratese:
the department said the states may seek a waiver from the work component of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program, in order to "test alternative and innovative strategies, policies and procedures that are designed to improve employment outcomes for needy families." 
We certainly can look forward to "alternative and innovative strategies" to improve employment outcomes if we take away the linkage between labor and compensation. Yeah, that should do it.

Putting On A Happy Face

The Freeh Report yesterday was the darkest disaster it would be possible to paint for Penn State. Take the Sandusky disgrace and then link it to every senior decision maker at the university for the last twenty years. Include Joe Pa, the President of the University, the Board of Trustees and even the janitors worried about their jobs over their morality to get the scope.

I didn't catch the presser for the Freeh report release, but did get the PSU dog and pony about an hour later.  Ken Frazier was just a touch too light for the situation. He offered formulaic regrets and a vow to do better going forward. His spot was a low C for grading.

Then came the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Karen Peetz, who sounded like a cheer-leader for a new fund-raising alumni campaign. She had all the marketing phrases and smiley sloganeering that might have been appropriate for an endowment report gathering.

Rodney Erickson didn't do much better than Peetz. Here's the whole sorry show:

I looked at SWMBO and we both agreed that this should be an absolute kiss-of-death for Penn State. This isn't about football, but if you were an athlete seeking a top level school for a promising career and a scholarship, would you jump at the chance to be linked with PSU? For that matter, would you even want to appear on the same field with PSU as an opponent?

If you were a parent and were seeking a top-level school for your college-aged offspring, would you consider the sort of ethical foundation they might get at PSU? Even with a clean-sweep, how long will it take before the stench is off the campus?

If you were a successful alumnus of PSU would you sit down at your mahogany desk and scribble off a massive check to the athletic or endowment fund? Might you not consider redecorating your office and possibly replacing that beautifully framed Penn State parchment with an Andy Warhol print of a Campbell's soup can?

Bad things can happen in big operations. But the all-pervasive acceptance of the most degrading behavior for the sake of preservation of the football program is simply too disgusting. Wind will blow through the dusty halls of Penn State for a decade at least. I would suggest shuttering, repainting, renaming and burning the archives.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Unintended Comedy

This is almost too funny. Watch and listen as Andrea Mitchell struggles for exactly the correct weasel words to avoid saying that the Bamster's ads have been revealed as filled with lies. Then chuckle along as she avoids the obvious and hangs her haggard hat on the innuendo of Bain Capital acting as a private equity firm during years after Romney was no longer with the company.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

I'm Not The Only One

Apparently some of the disappointments I encounter are not restricted to small Texoma local colleges. They are common enough to be spot-lighted in the Wall Street Journal.

The Language of the Less Educated in Higher Education

I've experienced quite a few of those.

The Beauty of The Game

There wasn't much for a Texas Rangers fan to enjoy last night during the All-Star Game. The supposedly premiere pitcher of the American League started and before the first inning was over there was a five-zip hole to climb out of. The Rangers brought a contingent of eight All-Stars to the game and other than closer Joe Nathan's eight pitch, three-up/three-down inning, the production was grim.

But there was a beautiful and classic moment in the game and maybe you missed it. The two parties involved didn't. They knew exactly what had happened.

Forty-year-old Chipper Jones was making the last stop at a summer classic in his incredible baseball career. He has been a joy to watch and a class act for the entire time. It was the sixth inning and Jones was brought in to pinch-hit for the National League.

It was a dribbling grounder just to the left of Ranger second baseman, Ian Kinsler. A routine play to grab and throw out the old-timer lumbering to first base.

That's when Kinsler showed class. He missed it.

The game was well out of reach. It made no difference. It was a simple play and he missed it. He didn't make it look intentional, but somehow the ball bounced just a foot off the end of his out-stretched glove and into right field. Jones cruised into first base with a hit on his final appearance in an All-Star Game.

He knew what Kinsler had done. He grinned from ear-to-ear. Kinsler knew that Jones knew and all of the baseball fans knew that they had witnessed a beautiful act in a grand game.

I guess that's why I like baseball.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Still More On Doctors...

What ever happened to that monolithic voice of American medical practitioners, the AMA? Well, if you recall the debates over whatever was going on in those closed door Democratic caucus meetings regarding Obamacare you may have noticed that the AMA no longer represents doctors in America. Most doctors no longer choose to subsidize that socialized medicine advocacy group.

Yesterday I pointed out that in Texas the number of doctors willing to accept new Medicaid patients has dropped from 67% to only 31% in the last twelve years. Today we've got this little tidbit:

83% of Doctors Have Considered Leaving the Profession

Particularly interesting is this statement from the group:
“Doctors clearly understand what Washington does not — that a piece of paper that says you are ‘covered’ by insurance or ‘enrolled’ in Medicare or Medicaid does not translate to actual medical care when doctors can’t afford to see patients at the lowball payments, and patients have to jump through government and insurance company bureaucratic hoops,”
Gosh, you mean even if I've got the Magic Obamacare Decoder Ring, I won't find a doctor who can speak the code?

Paying Their Fair Share


Just when you think they couldn't make it up:

UN Arms Control Membership Joke

Yeah, we need to sign up for a big helping of that.

Obama In Wonderland

The "reverse-speak" of the President was something I noted very early in his administration. At first it seemed strange, but very quickly it became obvious. Listen to what he says. Whatever he says you can be certain that his policy will be the opposite. Whatever he claims, you can verify that the outcome was the reverse. When he says yes, he means no. When he says stop, he means go. When he says he favors, he really opposes. When he says save, he means spend. When he says tax cut...

The Supreme Court pretty well caught him with his pin-striped trousers down. Most conservatives haven't been over-joyed by the Roberts opinion, but the highest court in the land has taken the subterfuge out of the "Affordable" Health Care Act. You really can't make something out of nothing. You must apply money; vast amounts of money, to get uninsured folks covered by healthcare. Government gets money one way: taxes.

So, we got a confirmation two weeks ago that "I've provided a tax cut for 95% of Americans" really means a $1,700,000,000,000.00 tax increase. The majority of that falls on those making less than $125k per year.

This week we've got this grand egalitarian move:

"I'll Cut Taxes on Those Making Less Than $250k"

It is important to first parse a bit of language. The Bamster isn't cutting a single tax. What he is doing is NOT raising taxes on his chosen electorate. The extension of a tax rate structure which has been in place for twelve years is not a tax cut. It is a maintenance of status quo. Such a consistency in tax burden is generally viewed as an essential in any business making future growth and hiring decisions.

What the Messiah is doing is RAISING taxes on everyone who makes more than $250k/year. That's got a level of resonance for those who envy the successful. The emotional response is, "Sure, go ahead, they can afford it."

Now the language gets tricky. While the slack-jawed sycophants arrayed before him stand in awe of his benevolence, he segues into the linkage that by not raising taxes on those fortunate $250k earners there will be a vast growth in jobs to catapult us out of the recession.

I won't coach you now. I'll simply ask you to consider for a moment. Let's say you are a professional; maybe an engineer, an attorney, an upper tier manager, or even a business owner making that "less than $250k" income.

How many people do you employ?

How much do you pay them?

How confident are you that you could hire and retain one more worker based on keeping the current tax burden for just one more year with no guarantees after that?

How much will Obamacare cost you for that worker?

The prosecution rests. This is so bad that even Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer aren't happy with it.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Refusing to Support Bad Policy

There are a few places left in this country in which citizens and their local government can look at a program and say, "this simply isn't a good deal." Of course the sheeple of the grand progressive movement in the highly educated, over-taxed, largely bankrupt and eagerly dependent states to the north will look upon us as buffoons and fools to be ridiculed. We, however, are right.

Texas Refuses to Expand Medicaid

Why would someone say that putting more people on the Medicaid roll isn't a wonderful thing? It might be the very clear fact that it is impossible to provide more and better care to more people at less cost. Even without the new Obamacare additions, a review of Medicaid in practice shows some interesting trends.

Simply because the federal bureaucracy says you are covered under Medicaid doesn't actually mean you can get healthcare services. If the grand panjandrum of patient benevolence says your bill is paid in peanuts, you'll need to find a doctor who can subsist on peanuts.

Fewer and Fewer Willing to Work for Less and Less

Maybe they don't teach those simple economic truths at Harvard and Columbia, but in the harsh realities of the marketplace they exist.
Only 31 percent of Texas doctors said they were accepting new patients who rely on Medicaid, the health insurance program for the poor and disabled, in the survey provided to The Associated Press on Sunday. In 2010, the last time the survey was taken, 42 percent of doctors accepted new Medicaid patients. In 2000, that number was 67 percent.
Doctors are professionals. They don't generally devote a life to medicine because it is an easy route to wealth. They want to improve life for people, but in the process they also don't seek indentured servitude or poverty. If they can't get compensated at a rate to offset their operating costs, there is no motivation to perform. When you see a decline from 67% acceptance in 2000 to only 31% today, that is a clear message. And Obamacare's new influx hasn't even started yet.

Sunday, July 08, 2012


Can you really do that with a guitar?

Just One Little Correction

I'm not going to go into a critique of the May-December marriage. No, that's their business. They make their choices and live their lives the way they think is best. I will admit that I didn't send a card or check their bridal registry.

Frank Weds In Massachusetts

The images that the news item brought to mind should be erased as quickly as possible. The only thing that really sticks out (no pun intended) was this very honest journalistic correction:
(This story corrected the 8th paragraph to delete reference to Elizabeth Warren)
I wonder why she didn't want it noted that she was in attendance? Do you suppose it's a tribal thing?

Clueless in New York

Drone pilots, like all other military aviation types, must train. They train in the United States, logically enough. They learn to operate their equipment first in terms of basic functions such as take-off, navigation and landing. Then they learn to operate the various sensors and systems which allow the drones to be effective as military weapons.

That should make sense even to some liberal twit who has never worn a uniform or had their tender pink body exposed to either hostile fire or desert sand fleas. But, we get this astonished report:

Drones Track Vehicles on Desert Roads

The vehicle is driving along the road. The drone tracks it. The operator gets practice and training. The vehicle is undisturbed and not endangered. Seems like a win-win, unless you work for the NYT.

Then obviously what is desired is that we spend a lot of bucks to buy a fleet of target vehicles, hire a bunch of drivers and then probably operate the fleet in a designated range training area.

Maybe it's just that I'm getting old. I could spend several days recounting stories to that reporter about targeting, tracking, simulated dive bombing and simply blowing the dust off of trucks, trains, cars, boats and shepherds around the world. No animals were harmed in the making of those fighter pilots.

Is This Problematic?

It's an executive order. You know one of those Presidential edicts which establish authority without being hindered by legislation. There are a lot of them. Some are simply business as usual. Some are extensions of existing policy. Some are quite clearly fulfillment of the legislative direction established by Congress and authorized for the executive branch to handle.

Communication in Emergency

Reads pretty much like boiler-plate to me. That is until you get to this power:
Sec5.6. The Federal Communications Commission performs such functions as are required by law, including: (a) with respect to all entities licensed or regulated by the Federal Communications Commission: the extension, discontinuance, or reduction of common carrier facilities or services; the control of common carrier rates, charges, practices, and classifications; the construction, authorization, activation, deactivation, or closing of radio stations, services, and facilities; the assignment of radio frequencies to Federal Communications Commission licensees; the investigation of violations of pertinent law; and the assessment of communications service provider emergency needs and resources 
Should I worry?

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Follow The Money

I always wind up back at the concept of limited government. It was core to the discussions in Independence Hall in Philadelphia when the Founding Fathers were debating the format and powers of our new national government. There were certain functions that a national government needed to do and while they were important, they also were limited in range. The obvious included defending the nation from attack, coining a standardized currency, operating a postal system and adjudicating disputes which bridged state boundaries.

Now we find the oppressive hand of the federal government everywhere. For fifteen years now I have asked my government classes to name any aspect of society which the federal government is not involved in. To date I haven't found one.

Here is a great example:

Transportation Bill Harbors Micro-Business Poison Pill

What does that little business have to do with transportation? Really a tough linkage to find.

No, I'm not about to encourage cigarette smoking. Never did it myself although I find it amazing that I avoided it considering that I grew up in the time when absolutely everyone smoked from Bogey and Bacall to  mom, dad and all of my peers. I'm amazed today that people still fall into the addiction with all that is known about it. Treated like a pariah, taxed at a ludicrous level, creating a pathetic dependence, saturating the individual in a noxious stench and topping it all off with a miserable death. Yet, they still do it. None of my business though.

What's going on with roll-your-own shops? Who do they hurt? Follow the money.

Government purportedly discourages smoking, yet they subsidize tobacco growing. They levy huge "sin" taxes to stifle the practice, comfortable in the knowledge that an addiction can't be corrected with a few bucks worth of penalty. Most importantly, the controllers of the subsidies, the legislation, the taxation, the distribution, are all in the funding thrall of the major cigarette producers.

ROY shops are a canary in the coal-mine. They side-step a tax, offer a possibly less-toxic and more tailored product for the user, and do so at half the cost of the big boys. That is a free enterprise option that cannot be allowed to stand. If people were to see the advantages of such a lower-cost option for their addiction it would really jostle some well-established apple-carts.

Saturday Morning Rocker

Going Waaaayyyyy back and driving the Baptists crazy:

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Some Parrot Stuff

Democratic Party Lobbying Firm Helps DOJ

Just show a valid picture ID if you want to vote in Texas. What's so tough about that?

Well, if you really aren't who you say you are or you really aren't a qualified voter, then the current administration really would like that requirement to go away.

Caught in the Cookie Jar

Possibly the funniest line in what really is an unfunny situation is this one:
"(A) Hispanic registered voter is at least 45.6 percent, and potentially 120.0 percent, more likely than a non-Hispanic registered voter to lack (state-issued) identification," the head of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, Tom Perez, told Texas officials in a letter in March. "Even assuming the data most favorable to the state, Hispanics disproportionately lack either a driver's license or a personal identification card issued by (the state), and that disparity is statistically significant."
How can you be more than 100% more likely to not have a valid ID? You either have one or you don't.

Strange Politics

One could search a very long time and still not find a race to compare with the convolutions of the Texas senatorial contest this year. Start out with the three term incumbent, Kay Bailey Hutchison. She aggressively sought the governor's seat against incumbent Rick Perry. She argued unsuccessfully that Perry's eleven years as governor made him a "career" politician, while her 18 years in Washington made her more in touch with the people of Texas. In the process she attacked an incumbent governor of her own party who was virtually unbeatable and jeopardized her own position in a Senate hanging on every Republican vote.

She promised repeatedly to resign during her gubernatorial campaign, but never quite got around to it. Had she done so, it would have demonstrated her sincere commitment to the governor's race and simultaneously gotten an interim appointment to the Senate who would then face election with the mantle of incumbency. But, ol Kay couldn't quite follow-through.

Now we get to the actual election. She has finally resigned at the end of her term, so the field is open. The seat is pretty well guaranteed to a Republican, but first the candidate would have to win the primary. Enter the convolutions of Obama-Nation.

You see, this is an election following a census. That means redistricting which is handled by state legislatures. Seems pretty clear-cut until we stumble over the Civil Rights Movement of the '60s. Then the cause of furthering racial equality was abetted by a questionable practice if viewed under the 14th Amendment "equal protection" clause. Nine states with a "history of discrimination" require "pre-clearance" by the Department of Justice before their districts can be established. Forty-one states don't need a "Simon Says" redistricting approval. Only nine--Texas is one of them.

The Lone Star State gained four representative seats in the census. Maybe this red-state, pro-business, gun-loving, Bible-thumping stuff has some attraction. People seem to like it better than the welfare states.

Unfortunately the DOJ didn't like the districting proposals. That meant the March primary election had to be delayed until voters could actually know what districts they were living in. The primaries were slipped to April, then again to May 29th. Campaigns were stretched to try to maintain some level of interest. Dollars were drained and eventually as the nation's presidential primaries made the major candidate decision we reached a point where not many voters still cared.

In the case of our Senatorial nominations, the May primary was inconclusive without any of the five Republicans gaining a majority. The top two are in a run-off now which will be conducted on July 31st, a full five months after the original primary date.

Here's where we stand:

Dewhurst v Cruz a Toss-Up?

From my perspective, the whole mess still leaves us in a pretty good position. It would be virtually impossible for the Democratic candidate to win in November and the two Republicans are both experienced, capable and conservative. For the long term, I think we would be better served by Cruz. But if Dewhurst gets the primary nod, I can live with it easily.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Free Market vs Government

Want an example of how a free market system works better than a government? Want to see how people who want to work, don't want a hand-out, have a proven record of reliability, and don't need political kick-backs to unions deal with an issue:

Vets, Guardsmen, Reservists Gain Good Jobs

Hey, Bamster, take a look.

I Don't Always Drink Hemlock...

But when I do:

Stay ignorant, my friends.

What We Remember

Scratch the surface of the average American with regard to our fundamental documents and you quickly descend into a morass of confusion. Throw in a quote of note and they can't really tell you which of the core documents it came from. Imply to them that the Constitution describes a limited government designed to be subservient to the states from which that national entity derives power and you will get scoffs and eye-rolling. Use words like delegated and reserved with an occasional enumerated for good measure and they walk away knowing they have encountered a total buffoon who knows nothing about reality.

Delve into rights and liberty and the discussion, if it has survived the initial stages, goes downhill rapidly. The list of rights is quickly revealed as a perspective of entitlements. It isn't about opportunities it is about outcomes. It isn't about responsibility, it is about dependency. Dependency, a strange convolution of what we celebrate today...our independence.

Freedom Must Still Ring

We celebrate today the anniversary of a people standing up and saying to their colonial masters, enough! The Declaration of Independence is a masterful piece of writing. It is a manifesto stating a clear belief in the relationship between a people and a government obligated to serve the best interests of those people. It is a statement that man is endowed with rights, they are not bestowed by a benevolent government. Government has no "rights" to dole out. We are born with rights. They are fundamental and whether stated by John Locke or paraphrased by Thomas Jefferson, they are very basic. The trilogy seems brief but when you probe it becomes very inclusive. Life, liberty and pursuit of property were the words of Locke. Jefferson's shift to "happiness" doesn't really change a thing. My success in attaining the means to live my life and support my family brings me great happiness.

Notice that the right is not to property or happiness. It is the right to pursue that goal. If I fail to attain it, that isn't the government's concern. It is mine alone. I was given the right to pursue the objective.

The Declaration explained to the King the grievances which led to the need for such a manifesto. It laid an unassailable foundation of reason then illustrated where George had violated the social contract. It justified our independence.

The Declaration of Independence is not the law of the land. That is the Constitution. It is a statement of principles stated with remarkable precision and incredibly concise. Understanding what it says seems simple, but if we look around us at America today we must wonder when we abandoned the beliefs.

Remember today what was done in 1776. Reflect on what the pledge of life, fortune and sacred honor meant to those men. Spend a moment to quietly reflect upon that flag. Then enjoy your ball game, your barbecue, your family and maybe your fireworks. But remember why we celebrate.


Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Just In Case

Why should always keep your tympani in the trunk and your bassoon in your purse:

Monday, July 02, 2012

Taking Control Away

The Internet has opened the world. Now apparently, it is demonstrating how it can just as easily take that world away.

Google Guts Guns, Ammo, Accessories From Shopping

That is a politically correct reach that extends way too far. Products that are legal and offered under all existing laws and conditions of sale should not be denied users of the Internet. Couching the policy in terms of "to better serve you" and societal goals is just so much posturing. A mailed fist on a jack-booted thug, even with the pinky raised while holding the tea cup, is still a mailed fist.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

What The Free Lunch Costs

Remember the tax cuts for 95% of Americans? Forget that 50% of Americans already don't pay federal income tax and a third of those don't pay payroll taxes either. This is about the heart of the middle class, those folks down there in mid-level suburbia with two cars, three bedrooms and 2.23 children per household:

Obamacare is Really Going to Cost You

And no less an authority than the Supreme Court of the United States told you this was a TAX.

The spin continues. You see it is all about that "fair share" business. Forty percent of the federal tax burden on one percent of the people isn't nearly enough yet:

Democrats Urged to Go On Offense

Don'cha jus' LUV de Emperor's new rags?


Few Americans understand our federal system anymore. They don't really make distinctions between the roles of the national government, the state governments and the local government. The result is a default and mistaken tendency to blame the federal administration for things that go wrong.

We see it continually during the Presidential campaign rhetoric. How often have you heard the President describing how important his stimulus is for keeping teachers and first-responders on the job? Does it ring a tiny bell for you that the feds don't employ teachers, local school districts do. Do you remember that police and fire-fighters are city workers, not federal bureaucrats?

It is going to be interesting to see how this plays out:

Crippling Storms Plunge Capitol Into Darkness and Heat

Storms can happen at any time. They occur without regard to administration. Response to storms, however, distinguish effective and ineffective leaders. George Bush took a hit for Katrina response, but it was Mayor Ray Nagin and LA Gov Blanco that botched the reaction. The descent into lawlessness is what made the aftermath noteworthy.

Washington DC is a very mixed city. It is a beautiful center of monuments, government buildings, grand hotels and great restaurants. It also is a concentrated slum of ghetto dwellings and festering criminality which has been poorly administered for decades.

If Washington comes apart in the darkness, the fall-out in the election is going to be significant. How is Carney going to spin this for the Bamster? What will Axelrod and Plouffe have to say on the topic. Where will the Messiah be dining tonight?