Thursday, July 31, 2008

Anointed By God

Try this chutzpah on for size:

Events Too Secret To Be Told

And get a warm fuzzy feeling on how it is being received here:

"I Yam What Yam

I’m telling you folks are starting to notice and they don’t like what they are noticing. Ermine-lined robes aren’t American in the slightest.

When examined with less emotion and more reason, it still comes out damning:

He'll Make You Work

This whole gig smacks of DeGaulle solemnly intoning that “I Am France!” He viewed himself as the embodiment of the nation. Not France’s leader but its very essence and reason for being. But, at least Le Grande Charles knew about power and war and what it takes to really build a nation.

These observations indicate that the anointed one skipped some cause and effect relationships in his cram course on German history:

Overlooking History a Bit

Every day in every way, I’m beginning to feel better and better about the outcome this fall. I’m beginning to believe that we can hope that America will wake up and see what a farce this is becoming.

A few more of these and we’ll have it nailed down for sure:

Nasty Old Rag...

This is Presidential judgment? This is national pride? This is going to appeal to NASCAR dads, our military, our veterans, the “Greatest Generation” vets, or even the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders? What country does this fool want to be the leader of? Is this a sop to Michelle’s angst about being unable to be proud of her country until her hubby got visited by an archangel?

It’s getting sweeter by the day.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Everyone is taking a guess, so why shouldn’t I? My opinion is probably as valid as anyone else’s who isn’t inside the privy council of the candidate. Who will be the VP choices?

OK, I don’t have a clue. What I have is some generalities to consider. Who they need on the ticket and who they dare not choose should be considered.

McCain needs youth. He is inarguably old and he has ridden the hard roads. There is a finite limit to the durability of any of us. McCain is getting close to his expiration date and might be considered by many to be well best his “best used by” date. Gotta find someone younger. But that can’t mean inexperienced.

John needs someone with a resume. It would be good to get business or economic credibility. McCain handles the foreign policy competence questions over Obama in a heartbeat. But he has already confessed to being shaky on economics. Someone with executive ability who has balanced budgets, met payrolls and can point to significant accomplishments would be great.

Obama needs age. He is a pup and no one can claim he has meaningful experience without their tongue firmly in their cheek. He could definitely use someone from outside legislature and he also would benefit from an individual with business and executive function experience. It is problematic for him that someone with those qualifications who also supports Barak’s profligate spending proposals and business-stifling taxation ideas will be, of necessity, someone bi-polar. Brings to memory the shock therapy disclosure of Tom Eagleton.

Obama also needs someone with serious global experience. A rock-star tour of hot spots in the Middle East and glitzy capitols of Europe as a presidential nominee is not at all equivalent to closed door hard-nosed negotiations for the good of the nation. If he thinks his whirlwind excursion of last week gave him any realistic insights or valid information, he is even more naïve than I have given him credit for being.

McCain is repeatedly being warned to pick a social conservative stalwart to bring the evangelicals back to the fold. That would be a mistake. Bringing a fundamentalist to the ticket will cost him moderates and independents who will then vote for Obama. Choosing a fiscal conservative with middle-class values will keep them and leave the evangelicals with no place else to go. Like the ball-park in the corn-field, they will come.

Obama has been told of the “dream ticket” and the feminists, who somehow can’t count votes, are affronted that Hillary lost. They want her and Obama would have to be suicidal to accede to their wishes. Machiavelli couldn’t have portrayed a more intrigue filled government than that unholy triumvirate of Barack, Bill and Hillary running the executive branch. Ain’t gonna happen.

No minorities to fill the Democrat’s plate. Look for an older white guy. But expect Obama to stumble badly in his choice. He won’t pull a Quayle clone out, but he will choose someone with way too much baggage or an equally sparse resume. No strengthening of the ticket anticipated. Best choice would be Bill Richardson who is Hispanic and has a breadth of experience seldom equaled. Won’t happen.

No minority for McCain either, but certainly could be a woman. That means no Bobby Jindahl. It would be impossible to point at Obama’s lack of experience with an equivalent paucity of achievement standing next to him on the dais. Mitt Romney scares folks with his Mormonism (which shouldn’t), and has a wealth of business and executive experience both in and out of government. Not him either. Mike Huckabee proved himself a loose cannon at the primary campaign’s waning days. Not him. A Hispanic would be great, but none jumps out of the bullpen.

I like Carly Fiorina, former HP CEO. A strong woman with a load of business sense and demonstrated leadership skills. Powerful and from outside of the Beltway, which is a huge asset. Don’t look to Sarah Palin. Alaska is currently under scandal scrutiny and she only brings three electoral college votes to the table. Most folks never heard of her. Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison is often mentioned, but unlikely. Texas has a load of votes but probably still goes red this election. She’s got her eyes on a mansion in Austin.

So, now you’ve got my take. It is as valuable as any of the ones you’ll get from the major media pundits.

Best guess? Someone you still haven’t heard of. McCain’s choice will help him. Obama’s choice will hurt.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Message in the Mirror

The story goes that Bill Clinton had a designated person on the campaign tour bus in 1992 whose job it was each morning to grease-pencil onto his bathroom mirror the message, “It’s the economy, Stupid!” The objective being to reinforce that his task each and every day was to hammer at the message and not get distracted. It seems time to find a similar functionary for the McCain “Straight Talk Express.”

It should be clear by now that Sen. Obama is a very empty suit. There are few things beyond his undeniable charisma to recommend him for the job. He’s got no experience. His programs are blatant socialism verging on total Marxism. The key to his success is appeal to the naïve and never-ending promises of a glut of benefits raining down upon the unworthy from the stuffed pockets of the productive. His “vision” is to subordinate the United States to a utopian globalism and has little grounding in political reality. If left to his own devices and unsupported by a slick script he tends to mumble-mouth and ramble incoherently attempting to rationalize his ever-shifting positions. He is so vacuous that even the main-stream media occasionally notice. Self-destruction is inevitable and McCain need not bother himself with that. Others will handle the quite easy task of pointing out the gaffes.

McCain needs to package a message. It needs to be simple, sensible, necessary and achievable. It needs to be positive and not personal. It needs to appeal to America’s inherent pride and belief in ourselves. It needs to correct the emotionalism that has driven policy over the last twenty-five years and replace it with reality. But it absolutely must be hammered home each time John McCain opens his mouth.

Surrogates need to do the teaching of America so that the great unwashed masses will be able to comprehend the basics. The team needs to correct the critical assumptions that have been drummed into several generations of America’s youth. They need to be taught the reality of supply-and-demand. They need to be taught that wages are set by the value of labor, not by government. They need to be taught the basic truth that there is no free lunch. Everything has costs. You can’t perform miracles of loaves and fishes. Bread cast upon the waters merely gets soggy. We get what we deserve, not what we desire. Teach them that.

Then Big John needs to make the simple points. There are plenty to choose from and they all can sell. In the process we simply avoid responding to Obama. He has promised to be about a change in politics. He has promised to be about raising the quality of debate. He has promised to stay out of the gutter. But, left to himself, he is the one who consistently plays the game by the old rules and McCain has been the one attempting to stay above the mud. John hasn’t been very successful so far at that tactic. That’s why he must withdraw totally from the tit-for-tat style. Simply ignore Obama. It will frustrate the hell out of him.

Then get a morning mirror message. How about, “It’s the oil, Stupid!” We didn’t go to Iraq because we wanted their oil, but we did make a major effort in the Middle East to stabilize global oil prices. There’s even a good case to be made that we got attacked on 9/11 because of our involvement in oil production with Arab nations for several decades. Democracy and progress in the region is essential to our future. We are invested in a petro-economy. Admit it.

“It’s the oil, Stupid!” Our economy is based on fossil fuels. It can co-exist with other sources and we should be exploiting them as we go forward. But, we need oil for our vehicles and our incredible span of industries that use petroleum sourced materials to produce pharmaceuticals, solvents, chemicals, paints, plastics and more. Oil won’t go away. So, focus on the very clear fact that the US has huge unexploited resources for oil. And we must get on with capturing them or our society will wither and die.

“It’s the oil, Stupid!” Food prices are rising. Transportation costs are rising. Labor costs are rising. And, we are shifting good feed grain out of meat production and the food chain to produce vehicle fuel that costs more and is less efficient. Stop the foolishness of ethanol mandates. Eat first and then worry about where the gasoline comes from.

“It’s the oil, Stupid!” If we’ve got reliable, domestic, independent oil sources then we’ve got jobs and a tax base. We get a robust economy in which people can pay their bills, own their homes, educate their children and build a future. We create new businesses and new jobs with a new generation of middle-class citizens. We have resources to explore, invent, innovate and produce so that issues of crime, poverty, healthcare and the environment get dealt with effectively and without deteriorating our quality of life. All is once again right with the world.

“It’s the oil, Stupid!”

Monday, July 28, 2008

Touching the Third Rail

Is it possible to speak objectively about anything that deals with race in America? Can a person say what is factually apparent, yet is in opposition to socially acceptable policies without suffering attacks by emotionally offended correctness police? I’m going to try.

Take a look at this front page item from the Dallas Morning News and see what you think:


Is there a moral good to come from the policy described there? Is it reasonable, proper, or necessary; but most important, is it Constitutional? Is it in consonance with the equal protection under the law guaranteed by the 14th Amendment? Would this qualify as affirmative action?

The Dallas Housing Authority has taxpayer funds to disburse to provide rental assistance for Dallas citizens. That seems a reasonable activity for a municipal government, if the citizens want such a policy. Who pays the taxes? Everyone who lives or shops in Dallas pays.

What does it take to get the money? You must be African-American. That’s right. There is a race qualification, not a need qualification. Not a family size qualification. Not a hardship qualification. Not residence in a redevelopment area qualifier. Nope. The critical factor to get on the list is that you must be black. Whites, Hispanics and Asians need not apply. It is an exclusive program.

That doesn’t sound too egalitarian to me. But, as they say in the Billy May commercials, “Wait. There’s more!”

It must be used for rent in a predominantly white neighborhood.

That takes it quickly beyond simple racism in the preference. It takes it beyond the easing of poverty by helping homeless or inadequately housed people find affordable shelter. This now becomes very blatant social engineering. Why should housing assistance be restricted to only a particular kind of neighborhood? Isn’t a clean, adequate, accessible apartment in any neighborhood good enough to deal with the housing issue?

Want to test the Constitutionality? How about simply the logic of the program? Let’s make a list only for assisting Hispanics and then only if spent in a Korean neighborhood. Or, maybe only for Vietnamese who must move to an African-American neighborhood. How about only for evangelical Christians to use, but only if they move into a Jewish neighborhood?

Does any of that seem reasonable? How then does this program pass Constitutional muster? I’d like to know.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Light From the Darkness

Hard to miss the buzz over The Dark Knight. Everywhere you look there’s Batman promos, reruns of the earlier movies, hype for the Joker as an Academy Award performance, tie-in lunch boxes and T-shirts, and review after review of the film. It is an unquestioned success. Gosh, the last time a dead guy was such a shoo-in for an Oscar was last year when Al Gore won.

I’ve not yet gotten around to seeing the movie. Like most films, I’ll wait for the DVD release rather than endure the Hajj to a big city theater and the ring-tones of all the oblivions who forgot to turn their cell off. Maybe by that time I’ll have sprung for a Blu-Ray player. Yet, I feel by now that I’ve got the concept of the story down pat. This go-around takes darkness to a new level. This might be a good thing if you like allegory.

I’ve always been fascinated by allegorical tales. A metaphor for life, carried out in detail and rich with nuance makes for great reading, viewing, listening and contemplating. I like the metaphors even more if they are about principles and values that I hold dear. Maybe that’s why I never got blown away by the parables of the Good Book. They were too simplistic, too literal, and arguably too liberal. I’m more into revenge than “other cheek” solutions.

But, take a look at this fine piece and I defy you not to see what he’s saying:

Meaning Many Missed

Certainly the supporting observations validate the allegory that is drawn. One doesn’t have to dig very deeply to compare the successes of the super-hero films and the abject failures of the anti-American drivel that Hollywood has been spitting out. One can spit on their customers only so often before the customers stop begging for your products.

Americans are still a moral people and we still know the very basic difference between good and evil. We understand what it takes to protect our families. If we stop to think the issues through, we quickly conclude that what must be done is often not pleasant, but it is a deadly necessity. We are deluged with simpering apologists who tell us what we are, but they are wrong. We are not the evil in the world, but the good. We are not the weak in the world, but the strong. We are not globalists, but Americans. And in surprisingly large numbers we are essentially conservative and patriotic.

Even if it takes a comic book story to point it out.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Déjà vu All Over Again

The cliché is that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. The poster child for that definition has got to be Sen. John Warner of Virginia. It’s almost too easy to point out that marrying Elizabeth Taylor would probably fit the insanity definition. She clearly wasn’t marriage stability material and becoming number seven in her husband Rolodex wouldn’t be the goal of any rational individual. She wasn’t even much of a hottie by that time.

Now we’ve got semi-senile old John seriously proposing a return to the national 55-MPH speed limit. If he were a Democrat, I could understand the proclivity for repeating failures, but Warner identifies himself as a Republican. That is supposed to mean less government and more individual responsibility. Why then this:

To Die in West Texas

If the idea hadn’t been tried and proven such a dismal failure it might be excused as some sort of brain-storming suggestion on which we reserve judgment until all ideas are mustered and then we throw it out in the first cut. But we’ve been slowly down that road before. And we never got there.

The old pol says he occasionally kicks it up to 65, but I’ll be he scares himself in the process. I’ve got a proposal for him in return. Come to Dallas, Senator. Then we’ll put you in an economical little car and let you head off to El Paso at a governed 55 MPH. This is a good time of year for it. We’re nice and hot now. We’ll scrape your mind-numbed body out of that car somewhere between Pecos and Van Horn. You’ll be crazy as a loon and dehydrated to a prune by then. You won’t live long enough to complete the whole trip. This ain’t Virginia or the Beltway. We’ve still got spaces that aren’t grid-locked.

Listen, idiot, the free market determines how people drive. Gas costs money. I know that slower means more fuel economy and faster means less. I know what is safe in my car for my capabilities. I know what my time is worth—remember that other cliché about time equaling money? If my time investment exceeds my gas investment, I might choose to shift my priority. But, I’ll choose. Not the Gestapo.

The national speed limit doesn’t save gas. It costs money. It breeds disrespect for the law, not just speed laws, but all laws.

Somebody slip Warner a note and tell him it’s time to hang it up and go home. He’s lost his mind…again.

Friday, July 25, 2008

When Hard Data Intervenes

Rip Van Winkle, I’ve got some news for you. While you were sleeping the former Vice-President of the United States won an Academy Award. That’s right; he starred in a delightful black comedy that enthralled movie-goers around the world. Really. It’s the truth. The acting was incredible and the graphics had to be seen. It was the PowerPoint to end all board meeting PowerPoint aspirations for all time. Everybody had to see it and the laughs were non-stop except when you were crying with fear. Or nodding off out of boredom.

I know. I was stunned as well and I was awake at the time. But, there’s more! He also won the Nobel Peace Prize in the same year. Could you believe it? Yep, and it was awarded for something that didn’t have squat to do with world peace. That’s what I call breaking new ground. No Camp David accords came out of his efforts. No international agreements, no redrawn borders, no fiercely negotiated treaties. Just a big helping of guilt and fear for America. Plus, of course, a spurt in Prius sales. He really created the Twenty-First Century equivalent of the Hari Krishna movement with loads of suitably scruffy college students demanding that everything be green and profitable corporations be outlawed. They hold hands and sway in unison while monotonously intoning, “oil is bad, oil is bad, oil is bad.” The alternative mantra is, “we’re all gonna die,” hummed softly to the tune of “Fixin’ to Die Rag.”

See the whole business is about impending death to all of us. Seriously, we’ve got a future like a frog in a pot of cold water that’s been put on the stove to boil. Just a couple of years of profligate soft living and we’re all doomed. Unless we see the light. And then turn if off.

Crisis Crisis Crisis

If you can dream the impossible dream, those windmills will no longer be dragons, Mr. Quixote. But, no nukes. Remember that.

But, what if someone gathered facts and told them to the public? Could all of the hype be supported? Are we really doomed? Take a look at this detailed rebuttal to the idiocy:

Inconvenient Facts

Why is it that reason and data which irrefutably discredits the hysteria are so studiously ignored?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Passing Gas

The Air Force needs new tankers. That is undebatable. The majority of the fleet is more than 40 years old. The handful of newer KC-10s isn't adequate for the entire task. That means new jets.

Unfortunately a corrupt AF procurement official entered a cozy arrangement with Boeing a couple of years ago and almost before she got comfortable in her corner office in company headquarters, the deal blew up. John McCain was instrumental in disclosing the crimes.

A new, competitive request for proposals was put forth and this time, a consortium of Northrop/Grumman and European producer EADS won the contract. Predictably Boeing squealed. Now the congress-critters who don't know which end of the jets pass the hot air out are demanding a rebid.

Those who don't quite understand that big airplanes are built from multi-source components think that having EADS in the mix is anti-American and dangerous. It's nothing of the sort. The Northrop jet will be assembled in the USA with an American boom, American engines, and American avionics by American workers paying American taxes. Boeing squeals on.

Don't believe me. Take a look at what retired Gen. Chuck Horner has to say about it:

From A Guy Who Got the T-Shirt

Chuck is no Perfumed Prince of the Pentagon. He's a shit-hot Fighter Pilot who's been downtown and seen the elephant. He was a participant in the first SAM raid of the North Vietnam campaign in an F-105. He spent his career flying the fast jets and leading from the front. He's got no nest to feather here, but he's got a dog in the hunt--he knows what the AF needs and he knows politics isn't good for achieving that.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Be Heartless

Should we have guns in every home or should we take them away, lock them up, disable them and make them inaccessible because children can find them, and play with them, and shoot each other? Could you be so heartless and lacking in compassion to really want the burden of knowing that your opposition to common sense laws that disarm you resulted in death or injury to a child? We simply must take action for the children’s sake.

Can you defend pornography? Should we have books in our library where children could stumble upon Michelangelo’s David standing there with his winkie exposed for all to see? Would you want your child reading a book about homosexuals? Do you want your daughter to get information on abortion? Want your adolescent son to get on a library computer and look up porn on the internet? We have an obligation to make our libraries safe for the children, don’t we? If I leave my third grader there after school I want to know that they wouldn’t find something I wouldn’t want them to see.

Have you heard that rap music and those vile lyrics? Do you want children exposed to that sort of racist slang and misogynistic attitudes? There clearly needs to be restrictions on what is published and recorded and videoed because children can gain access to it. We’ve got to protect them, don’t we?

Well, now we’ve got this taken to extremes:

Do It For the Children

Frankly, I don’t think so. I simply refuse to live in a world that is safe for children. Got that? I want my guns. I want them loaded and accessible. I’ll exercise my adult responsibilities and train children how to properly handle guns. I’ll monitor them so they don’t have hours to explore and get into danger from them. I’ll take away the novelty and mystique and teach them respect for weapons. That’s what I’m willing to do for the children.

I’ll defend to the death the total unrestricted access to information and the arts in our libraries. I abhor the mere thought of a library filled with only that information which is safe for a third grader. I’ll support children’s sections, but won’t lock things out of the adult collection. I’ll set up dedicated children’s access computers in their area. I’ll demand that children not be left unsupervised by parents using the library as a daycare center That’s what I’ll do for the kids.

I’ll teach kids respect for women and each other. I’ll try to instill values and good judgment so that crude songs and trash magazines and crap movies aren’t attractive to them. I’ll guide them through their childhood, but I won’t advocate censorship of any kind.

And I definitely won’t link Presidential politics and voting to protection of the children. It is about protection of our nation, our culture and our future. It’s not about the children. Get over it Michelle.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

In Case You Wondered

New York Times doesn't want you to read this:

Only News That Fits, We Print

It Makes No Cents

Many readers might be too young to remember those days, but once upon a time you could get a soft drink out of a vending machine for a nickel or a dime. You could play five songs for a quarter in a juke box. You could wash and dry four loads of clothes for a buck’s worth of change. And we didn’t have credit cards in our wallets. If you pulled out a dollar bill or a five spot, you were buying a full bag of groceries. Life was simpler then.

But, Cokes went to a quarter and then fifty cents. We still could stuff a couple of coins in the slot and quench our thirst, but it cost a bit more. The news-paper box in the corner took a quarter for the daily edition, but you had to plan ahead before you went out to get the Sunday edition. It was the budget version of a spaghetti western, “A Fistful of Quarters” and next year, “For a Few Quarters More.”

Living in Europe and traveling a lot in my job I was always faced with currency problems. Italy this week, Greece and Turkey the next. Last week it was Denmark and Belgium. I lived in Germany and Spain, but dealt in dollars when on base. Eventually I had a cigar box in my lower left desk drawer filled with envelopes of left-over coins and bills from around the continent. Converting to dollars in my head, particularly after a hard night of being entertained by some NATO allies was a futile exercise. Eventually you simply give up and put all of the local currency on the table and let the waiter take what he needs. You are never sure whether you got a bargain or not when you buy anything. Just consider all that funny money as “fafoofniks” and shove it across the bar.

The Europeans have pretty much solved the problem. They’ve unified their currency and without much objection everyone is on the same standard. No more exchange issues and interestingly, no One Euro denomination bill. Why can’t we get that smart? Check out all of the other countries that have figured it out.

Maybe This Time?

When I first visited Las Vegas they didn’t have a one dollar chip. They had real silver dollars. They were big and heavy and impractical to carry in any quantity, but they felt good in your hand and people saved them for their grand-children. Then one day, they got pulled off the tables and within a couple of months they were all out of circulation.

Now it takes six or seven quarters to buy that Coke. Ever seen a cigarette vending machine? Round up six or seven bucks worth of quarters to buy a pack. Admittedly most folks don’t, but that’s what it takes. Hit up one of those mega-dispenser machines for sandwiches, candy-bars and other goodies and you’ll be stuffing limp paper into a slot that spits it back a dozen times before you get anything. When will we have Viagra for currency?

Why then are we too stupid to accept the dollar coin? Susan B. Anthony came and went with people griping that it looked too much like a quarter. Sacajawea added gold color and octagon relief carving so idiots could distinguish by sight and feel. Still no luck with adaptation. Now we’ve got multiple issue president dollar coins and a good economic reason for converting. Will this be the time?

I doubt it. The idea of kicking out a new president coin every couple of months makes the whole business into a collector thing rather than real money. Pick one guy and make a gazillion coins with his head on them. Jefferson did OK on quarters and Lincoln isn’t going anywhere on the penny. How about the Millard Fillmore dollar? I’d be happy to spend Teddy Roosevelts every day.

Then, recognize that the only way the fools are going to figure out how to deal with the buck coin is to force them. Take away the dollar bill. Period, end of an era. No more printed paper dollar bill. Get over it. It’s gone. Here’s a fistful of Teddys.

Not gonna happen. But maybe some day.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Dante’s Seventh Level

I’ve watched the news and seen the soccer moms and high-school football dads come out of the stands to attack referees. I’ve seen the Little League World Series on television and marveled at what this program has become. When fifth graders are showing off their Tommy Johns surgery scars, you’ve got to admit that we’ve arrived.

I’ve roamed the mall and watched the surly moppets rampage through the food court eager to grow into teen-agers who can prowl shops freely spending their afternoons scuffing down the aisles, sneering at the customers and flashing gang-signs they’ve seen their heroes use in the latest iteration of Grand Theft Auto. My God, you’ve got to question a society that has fostered a block-buster, mega-million generating video game modeled on felony criminal activity.

We’ve got tattoos, body piercings (some in places I always thought were quite sensitive), and hair dyed in colors not found in nature. Clothing ranges from the barely there to the blatantly offensive. I’ve watched T-shirts come by that say things I wouldn’t even consider uttering in the darkest reaches of an Olangapo brothel. But then I’m distracted by the fourteen year-old nymphette with the Harley Davidson tattoo across her lumbar region just above her two-inch rise painted on hip-huggers. I’m marveling at the surgeon or the hormones that developed her so quickly and consider what my less-evil-than-I’d-thought teen years would have been like had this been available.

That is when it occurred to me. There should be a place in hell for the evil genius who invented Little League Baseball. It should be right next to the Pop Warner Football guy. They can be standing on the shoulders in the molten lake over the guys who created the first Atari game and the tailor who cut down the first cheer-leader costume to fit a four-year old. They don’t rank down there with Hitler and Stalin and Attila, but they don’t deserve much better.

You see, they are the ones that stole our innocence. They organized that which should rightly be left to the children to figure out for themselves.

I grew up in Chicago, in the city. It was a nice neighborhood with a couple of mid-sized apartment buildings and a lot of single family homes. We had a small park in the neighborhood that had a football field, a grassy area nearby for whatever you wanted to do, a field house for community activities, a tennis court/basketball court, and a playground with swings, teeter-totter, and a sand-box. Total size of the park? Maybe four acres, tops.

We all walked to school. Some of us went to the Catholic school, most to the Chicago public elementary school (grades K-8) and one or two went to the Lutheran school. When school was out, we came home to change clothes and roll out onto the streets. Somebody brought a ball, a bat or something else appropriate for play. Summer meant softball. In Chicago that was 16-inch softball played without gloves, so not much equipment was required. Fall was football. Spring meant a bit of basketball, but that wasn’t very popular in my neighborhood. In winter the football field was flooded by the park and we went ice-skating which might mean a hockey stick and puck showed up.

There was no organization. No uniforms. No leagues. No referees. No parents. It could have been Hobbesian, survival of the fittest, a jungle. Actually it was more Aristotle and Socrates writ small with maybe a bit of Leonardo da Vinci thrown in.

The equipment showed up with some kids. We decided what we wanted to do. It was a democratic process. It depended upon the season, the available equipment and the number of us there. We learned to bargain, accept the outcome, and live with results. We always had fun.

If softball, there would never be full teams, so we created games. We might choose sides into two teams of however many and then declare right field an automatic out because there was no fielder. “Pitcher’s hands out” was common with no first-baseman. No need for balls and strikes, there was no fun unless the ball was in play. If too few for teams, we played “peggy-move-up” in which there were two batting player in and the rest of the field would rotate each time there was an out. Make out, you go to center field, then left, then shortstop, then second base, then pitcher, then you get to bat again. Total seven players required. Close plays? Decision by consensus and get back to playing.

Football meant a ball, but no pads usually. Might be touch, two-hand touch, or tackle. Might allow blocking but no rushing the passer. Might not be more than trying to kick field goals. Basketball usually meant shooting “horse” or three-on-three half-court.

We learned to organize, negotiate, plan, play and occupy ourselves while at the same time associating with our neighbors and having a lot of fun. I never heard or saw anyone whine to an adult that “there’s nothing to do.” I never heard or saw anyone sit waiting for a parent to chauffeur them to a formal athletic practice, ballet class, tai-kwan-do lesson, or uniform fitting.

Then Little League and Pop Warner showed up. Kid games got gentrified and parents got involved. Kids learned dependence rather than the independence of childhood. Parents demonstrated rage and swearing along with the superiority of intense competition over fun. An enlightened suburbia introduced self-esteem and with no victor, kids lost motivation.

Add some self-stimulation with video games and the opportunity to immerse daily in a cesspool of counter-culture to get the current state of affairs. Stir well with helicopter parents to get a fetid mixture.

Next time you drive buy a park stop for a few seconds and look around. Are there any paths in the grass looking like a make-shift, paced off baseball diamond? Do you see any groups of kids in random clothes throwing a ball around in some semblance of a professional sport but without a grandstand, uniforms or a referee? Is there anyone out there at all?

You bet those Little League guys belong in the Seventh Level. They stole childhood development from several generations of our society and made the term synonymous with psycho-babble educational specialists selling top dollar school programs and uniforms for pre-pubescent cheer leaders.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Ten Years OK for Me; No Way for You

It’s a talking point, so you’ve heard it several hundred times already. If Congress lifts the restrictions on off-shore drilling, ANWR drilling, and shale oil exploitation, we won’t get any economic impact for ten years. Occasionally some blivet didn’t study the script and inserts a random number instead of ten, but the message remains the same. We don’t need to use our own vast resources because we won’t receive immediate gratification. We must eat the candy in the check-out line rather than wait till we get home otherwise it won’t taste any good.

Yet last week, we watched the President announce that he was lifting any executive branch restrictions on exploration. The result is difficult to judge because complex markets don’t move in isolation from other factors. But, we did see the price of oil per barrel drop nearly twenty dollars in the next four days. Attention to Congress: that is called speculation! It is a futures market in action. A mere statement of modified intent results in a price impact. One can only imagine what would happen if Congress should respond to the preference of a majority of the American people and lift drilling restrictions. Actual drill movement might spark similar futures impact.

Congress, despite their nine percent and falling approval ratings, seem adamant that we simply can’t expect any improvement before ten or twelve or fifteen or twenty-two years therefore we don’t need to do a thing. We need to rein in speculators. Those were the guys who responded within hours to the President’s announcement. If you recognize this reaction as both against free enterprise business and opposed to profit by non-government entities, you may move to the head of the class.

Now I’ve got this reaction to the profoundity of Academy Award Winner, Nobel Prize recipient and former Vice-President of President Vice when he announces that with just ten years of effort we can convert all of our electrical generation needs to non-fossil-fuel resources. Al Gore’s green-speak calls it “renewable resources and carbon-constrained fuels.” The New York Times fawning editorialist translates that as wind, solar and geo-thermal power generation. Conspicuously absent from the mix is nuclear. See, it only takes ten years and then life will be perfect and the planet will be saved. Read all about how cool this stuff is:

Ten Years to Convert

Prices will start down as the technology, which is not very mature for this stuff right now, evolves and the projects come on line and we are weaned from coal, oil and natural gas generation. How would that be different from the ten years we wait for drilling to return a profit? I guess the difference is that one problem is my ten years and the other is your ten years. Right, Mr. Gore?

Unexplained on the road to this utopia is whether Ted Kennedy’s imminent demise will lift Massachusetts’ objection to windmill farms in their back yard. I’ve got to believe that the rest of the Cape Cod crowd will still be against it.

And, how does the fact that in ten years India and China and most of emerging Asia will be industrializing day and night using those nasty old non-renewable and carbon-unconstrained fuels for their power. They will be toiling away building modern factories, producing product to sell to us, buying up our resources and technology and generally watching us green ourselves into oblivion.

As always there is a deep thread of emotionalism in any of these left-wing visionaries views of the world as it should be. Try this:

Gore “described carbon-based fuel as the thread running through the global climate crisis, America’s economic woes and its most serious national security threats. He then asked: ‘What if we could use fuels that are not expensive, don’t cause pollution and are abundantly available right here at home?’”

The answer to your question, if I can assume it wasn’t rhetorical, is that your requirements are nicely handled by nuclear energy. It isn’t expensive. It doesn’t spew pollutants into the air or water. We’ve learned to handle it quite safely. And it is abundantly available right here at home. Oh, my answer doesn’t count?

Just to get you really depressed with the situation, try this final quote:

According to Margot Brandenburg, an official with the (Rockefeller) (F)oundation, nearly half of 18- to 29-year-olds ‘feel that America’s best days are in the past.’”

Can you remember when 18- to 29-year olds were going to be the problem solvers of the future, just waiting for their chance to take the reins? What was the difference? It might simply be that the role models that they had in those days were folks who knew that success came from hard work and not a government handout. They knew that to get minerals out of the ground you had to dig a hole. They understood that to build a house you needed to cut down a tree. To start a business you needed to invest your money, not someone else’s and put your labor into it. And, the world wasn’t perfect today and it wouldn’t be perfect tomorrow, but it could be yours if you earned it.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Taking No Risk and Being Right

Let’s say you are a bit of a leftist politically and your local constituency is more concerned with welfare issues and the government dole than with grand international relations questions. The nation is attacked and a vote comes up on whether to respond aggressively or turn the other cheek. You look around the chamber and note that the predominant majority is going to kick some butt in response to the attack. It becomes easy then to swim against the tide and vote against military response. You retain your credentials and you also run no risk of being blamed for unresponsiveness. If the operation is like most military interventions and doesn’t go as smoothly as everyone hoped you can then point at your futile resistance and tout your wisdom at the moment. On Monday morning you remind everyone you would have run out the clock and not thrown the long ball which might have lost the game.

But, there is a huge difference in now pointing to that action as some sort of judgment call which qualifies you to be the actual quarter-back that suits up next season. Your pacifist credential really doesn’t mean squat to the coach who is going to evaluate your potential in practice this August and September. Whether you get to play or not will be heavily dependent upon how you read the defenses and actually execute decisions in the scrimmage. So, it is going to get a lot sweatier when President-in-waiting Obama finally gets off of his sophisticated senatorial butt and actually goes to apply his well polished boots to the ground of Iraq and Afghanistan. Actually viewing the game plan and the playbook rather than pontificating at the water-cooler in the office is going to take a lot more judgment than Barack has so far had the opportunity to demonstrate.

Future is Risky, Past is Easy

Frankly, I’m not at all confident that he’s got the chops to play first string. There simply is no “there” there. We might see the reprise of the feisty old lady in the burger commercial demanding to know, “where’s the beef?”

But, the Wall Street Journal is pretty uppity today and they take another hard shot with this:

And Another Shot

The repositioning of the candidate is pretty apparent and it doesn’t really convince anyone that he is as principled as he says he is. One or two policy adjustments is easily defensible as becoming more informed about the options or recognizing changes in the situation. Running willy-nilly back and forth across the policy spectrum in response to the current audience is another thing entirely.

The WSJ’s somewhat flamboyant title, “What Would Obama Die For” is however, worthy of consideration. The opinion piece deals with political death. What really should be the framework of the scenario is does he hold any values that he would really face death to defend. Most of the heroes I’ve known never blatantly suggested that they would lay down their lives for their country or their comrades. They simply did it when the need arose. That’s courage, conviction and heroism by its very definition rather than posturing and braggadocio. I wonder if there is anything that Mr. Obama values that highly beyond his own ambition.

Somehow I don’t see the man as first out of the trench.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Après Moi, les Deluge

The ability of a professional to gather the body of evidence, place it in historic perspective and then delicately apply the surgeon’s scalpel to the dissection is something that must be acknowledged and appreciated. Here is an example of it.

Krauthammer Skewers

I can’t add to it. I simply stand in awe.

Take Your Court Decision and Shove It!

So, Heller v DC should have driven a stake through the vampire’s heart in our nation’s capitol. But those cunning criminal-abetting bureaucrats in one of the most crime-riddled cities in the nation are still going to make it as insanely difficult as possible for law-abiding citizens.

Two weeks ago the Supremes said that Washington’s law denying handgun ownership was in conflict with the clear mandate of the Second Amendment. The right to “keep and bear” was an individual right and the associated ability to defend ones home and family in America was inviolate. But, today the government of the district showed their level of disrespect for the court with the sluggish commencement of registration.

We Don' Need No Steenkin' Badges

The first applicant, Mr. Heller of the court case, was turned away because he didn’t bring his illegal gun with him. The next applicant had to have his gun turned over to the police thug at the door. Now, take a gander at what they require:

Bring the gun in. Turn it over to them. By the way, nothing but wheel-guns allowed—you know the ones that shoot once per trigger pull, not those nasty semi-automatics that shoot once per trigger pull. Those modern semi-autos are still verboten in DC. Get finger-printed. Get the gun inspected. Get the gun fired for ballistic finger-printing; a dubious concept at best when expanded to a database rather than one-on-one matching. Wait a couple of weeks for a FBI background check. (I guess that allows the bureaucrat to inform his homies that your gun is out of the house this month.) Then pay a big fee—per gun, of course and renewable, of course.

This seems to be in contravention of the existing National Agency Check that the owner already must have complied with to buy the gun in the first place. And violates the portion of that law which demands that government not compile databases of gun owners.

Then, in what may be the epitome of stupidity, keep it at home, locked, empty, disassembled except in case of emergency when it can then be unfurled. The definition of emergency always has included “unexpected” in my book. So, you hear the break-in, you get up, go to the safe, unlock the box, assemble the gun, find the ammo, load and then respond. That’s probably faster than waiting for a police response, but not faster than the goblin coming down the hall and killing you while you fumble under duress.

Don’t forget, this is an amnesty period. The unrecognized truth here is that these folks had the guns all along, but they are the law-abiding ones. Think this is complying with Heller? Think this is what the Framers meant with the Second Amendment? Think this is keeping guns off the street and crime down? Wanna buy a neat bridge?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Hoping For the Wrong Things

This little tidbit was published a bit over two months ago. The questions posed by George Will still resonate and the responses still haven’t surfaced.

Cutting Through the Emotional Appeal

Mr. Will manages to pinpoint the emotional appeal of the Obama pronouncements and very carefully skewer them with his questions. The tragedy of American politics today is that we have allowed our educational system to inculcate the concepts of socialism and government dependence through several generations. The principles that would have been immediately decried as bordering on Marxist in the ‘40s and ‘50s now go unchallenged by a slavering mass of the electorate which seeks only to see their grubby hands filled with someone else’s profits.

Can we really appreciate an Ivy-League educated woman who encourages the youth of our nation to become social workers rather than financially successful and independent builders of our economy? There’s nothing wrong with social workers, we need them. But we have a much greater need for investment and productivity in our industry. The bottom line is that when business is successful, the economy booms, jobs are created, government revenues are high and the total need for social workers to nurture the unfortunates of our society is reduced.

Is it possible that a candidate for President who is also Harvard educated and who purports to have taught Constitutional law would blithely assert that he would seek Supreme Court justices who would rule with empathy and feeling rather than according to the law? And, other than the astute Mr. Will we don’t find probing interviewers expressing wide-eyed disbelief at the absurdity of such a proposal. We’ve actually got a populace that thinks that would be a good thing.

Did Sen. Obama honestly suggest that we would be benefitted by pharmaceutical companies “giving up their profits?” What motivation would he substitute for research, investment, hard-work and marketing of effective remedies? Yet, the unwashed nod their heads in bumbling agreement at the concept that profit is evil.

There is a lot more in Mr. Will’s pithy piece, but it is written in formal English of the sort that so few American voters still bother to read. Why apply logic when you’ve got audacity of hope?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Fighting the Wrong War

His stumbling run to the center leaves the Democratic presidential candidate increasingly playing the fool and forced to explain his positional anxieties. His comments on gun control which first embraced the Washington DC disarmament of citizens and his votes condemning home owners who successfully defended themselves in Illinois when he was in that legislature now have to fit into his new embrace of the Second Amendment while still weasel-wording gun control rhetoric into the mix. It’s embarrassing.

The Inartful Consistency of Barack

His unbridled pacifism and enthusiastic embrace of the possibility of defeat for our nation in Iraq doesn’t seem to play well against John McCain’s clear record of military service and his very consistent support of the war effort. When McCain courageously bucked the tide of withdrawal advocacy by vigorous support of the surge effort of the last year, Obama repeatedly vowed to end the war immediately upon taking office and bring the troops home in defeat.

The surge is showing great results and Sen. Obama now needs to find a position that balances a constituency of cowards against some sort of demand for American foreign policy that defeats terrorism and global jihad. Not an easy act even for the most adroit contortionist of the language.

The Fear of Victory, The Agony of Repeat

So, by preying upon the geographic and historic ignorance of the American electorate, Barack now grabs the concept of Iraq being the wrong war and Afghanistan the right one. Yes, that’s the ticket. Pull our forces out of Iraq and their launch-pad for response to Iranian adventurism, and throw them into the mountains of stone-age Afghanistan.

Can somebody get the Senator a map? Show him, please where Iraq and the other place are. Get an overlay which shows the oil deposits. Fire up a few Excel graphs that show production of oil from the region as well as the trade routes and economic assets of the neighboring emirates. Be sure to highlight the loyal, stable, powerful ally of ours, Israel. Point out the location of NATO allies as well. Run some video highlights in the presentation of Ahmadinejad speeches, nuclear ambitions, and military blustering. Add some excerpts from Gen. Petraeus’ briefing to Congress on the successes of the surge.

Now, show him Afghanistan. Pop up some PowerPoints of their domestic product—remind him that their major export is illegal, even in Washington DC. No opium for the folks in the ‘Hood. Try a food-for-thought question, like what would happen if we never went to Afghanistan again? Finally get some news footage of the Soviet Union effort at a full-blown pacification of the country back in the late ‘70s and ‘80s. Run it side-by-side with our Vietnam experience on the ground in an unconventional war.

When it’s all over, maybe the fool will have a clue about the relevance of the two places. That’s just in case God decides to screw us over this November and Obama becomes our President.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Death to Talking Points

Here’s a modest proposal. Bear in mind that this is a first cut, so there will have to be some fleshing out of the concept, but the basics are good. Let’s summarily execute any of the congress-critters, national party spokespersons or major network political pundits who use a recognizable “talking point” repeatedly in a discussion. It will be like the old vaudeville “hook”—when the act gets bad enough, we get out the hook. It needs to be some sort of Monty Python-esque block of concrete dropping on them or Dr. Evil sort of trap door under their conference table chair that dumps them into the shark tank.

The brouhaha over high gasoline prices brought this to the surface today as I watched one more in the parade of Congress-stooges spouting:

“If we started in ANWR today, we wouldn’t see a drop of oil for ten years…”
“Oil companies have plenty of leases to drill on, why do they want more…”
“We’ve got to wean ourselves off of foreign oil…”
“We need to end speculation which is driving prices up…”
“Off-shore drilling is too risky…”
“We’ve got to care for the environment…”
“The obscene profits of the oil companies…”

These are all repeated verbatim by too many people to be a random coincidence. That identifies them as scripted “talking points.” Once recognized, justice is served instantaneously. The hammer comes down, the guillotine drops, the trap door opens, the shot rings out, the electric circuit to the chair is closed, the idiot is excised from the body politic.

Or, if we only had an intelligent media, the interviewer might ask, in order of the above:

“But if we never start, when will we have more oil?”
“Have you considered drilling in your back yard for oil? None there? Maybe that’s the same as those leases? Remember why Willy Sutton robbed banks?”
“If you’ve got unexploited oil assets in off-shore, ANWR and shale, but won’t use them how do you wean from foreign oil?”
“Speculators buy futures. If you create a future domestic supply, speculators buy-up of foreign oil becomes worth less. But, doesn’t speculation smooth market swings for every other commodity?”
“What about the newly released stats that only 1% of oil leakage in the oceans comes from off-shore rigs and more than 68% from natural seepage?”
“How does ending civilization care for an environment we aren’t around to enjoy?”
“Why does government think that free-enterprise profit is obscene? And how will taxing that ‘windfall’ reduce costs to the consumer, particularly if you drive business into non-profitability?”

The devastation of publicly humiliating the talking point parrot by illustrating the ridiculousness of the mantra might be almost as good as summary execution, but I don’t think it will be as satisfying or entertaining.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Buried in the Text

It is so easy amid the glare of the floodlights and the emotion of the rally to miss the chilling themes that carry through the narrative. We could look back at history and see the omens. It takes no oracle to interpret the runes or read the tea leaves. Quite often people inadvertently say exactly what they mean. All we have to do is listen.

Can We Call Them SS?

Did you catch that part at the end? Or were you enthralled by the swelling pride that we have such a man who would motivate the youth of America to get beyond themselves and do something for their country? Where is Santayana to point us back and help us interpret?

Do you know the essential difference between the extreme ideology of the left—the pure Marxist; and the extreme ideology of the right—the National Socialist Hitler? Many view the spectrum of political ideology as not being linear but circular. We find ourselves on the bottom of the circle and swaying pendulum style to the leftish or rightish side of the arc. The extremes bend back together on the far side of the circle with their total governmental interference in life, the totalitarian perspective. The difference is that Marx saw the state existing and then withering away in serving the people. Hitler, on the other hand saw the people slavishly devoted to serving the state. They both envisioned their utopia as fully controlling all aspects of life.

The circle metaphor allows us to see the most liberal or leftist Senator of the current government reaching to create the state which then demands total service of the people. We know already that Sen. Obama seeks to minimize and eventually eliminate “inequality of income.” The goal, of course, is to eliminate poverty and sickness and hunger and homelessness. It gets paid for by taxing the successful folks who will be eager to do good. Rephrased that common good becomes confiscation by the government—notice how that leftist extreme suddenly became rightist?

The chiller of the Tribune story is that quote at the end:

"We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded." as the military.

How else are we to compel compliance if we don’t have a Gestapo? And, since we have good reason to suspect that our patriotic American military might be reluctant to execute such compulsion demands, we would need a force to counter-balance them. Hitler had his brown-shirts and black-shirts. Balance of the terror is essential.

We only needed to wade through the convoluted fantasies of Mein Kampf to see what Adolph had in mind for the future. We could have gleaned the plans and maybe foreseen the sort of folks who would serve in that administration. We could have known that anti-Semitism might really take a nasty turn after Krystalnacht. But how different is the team of associates that pops-up around Obama? Might we draw a parallel to Jeremiah Wright’s clear racism? Or how about Bill Ayers terrorist concepts of political action? Any comparisons visible there that minimize our need for a crystal ball to see our future?

Watch this historic video:

Armed With Their Shovels

They pass in review armed with their shovels, a remarkable parallel to Obama’s call for a newly expanded AmericCorps.

We’ll have to wait another month or so to see how similar the events at Invesco Field in Denver turn out to be. The production number that will be staged and broadcast to the enthralled crowds should make Lili Rifenstahl pale by comparison. No pun intended.

Arianna Goebbels Has the News

Sunday, July 13, 2008

So Phil Gramm Isn’t Wrong?

We looked at the WSJ interview with PhD in economics, former US Senator, and campaign co-chair for John McCain, Texan Phil Gramm last week here. He made sense to me with his comments about free-market capitalism and strangling socialist legislation. No one is eager to hear such straight talk, but it still remains straight.

Now, the sensible iteration of Dr. Phil gets his pee-pee whacked for going off-reservation with more honesty. He notes that despite the wailing and gnashing of dentures that we aren’t yet in a recession. The high cost of gasoline, the not surprising come-uppance of the misfit mortgage market, and the easily anticipated consequences of taking food grain away from food production and using it for more expensive motor fuel still don’t add up to the definition of recession. Growth is undeniably miniscule, but it isn’t negative and nowhere near the contraction of the Carter years. Yet the people and their Messiah demand that we wail about the state of the economy.

Here’s the original story. See if you can find anything there that doesn’t make sense or ring true:

No Offense From Truth

Yet, Sen. Obama stands before his adoring disciples and in a retro moment announces that he is the one who can “feel their pain.” Who is this upstart with more education on economics and exponentially more Senate experience than Barack himself, who dares to imply that this is much hype? Certainly the individual who just lost his job in Detroit (anecdotal evidence alert!!!) is certainly legitimately wailing and not simply whining. How dare Gramm suggest that facts get in the way of feelings. And, let’s throw in a little pop-culture cross-reference to TV pseudo-psych Dr. Phil.

How Dare He!

And, rather than capitalizing on the moment with some straight talk of his own, John McCain crab-walks across the stage distancing himself from a staunch supporter and someone who could contribute immensely to his conservative cred in coming months. Too bad.

But, explain this to me. If people are choosing between eating and meds and buying gasoline for their cars because they are so short of funds in the crashing economy, why are they able to line up by the thousands for the release of the iPhone 3G?

If you are devastated financially by the “recession” how can you have sufficient discretionary income to be plopping $300 or $400 down for the latest iPhone? Certainly these folks aren’t buying their first cell-phone. And, the extra things that the iPhone does aren’t in the class of business necessities such as supplied by a Blackberry. The whole raison d’être of the gadget is to saturate your already over-stimulated brain with music downloads and TV clips and movie trailers all at your commanding fingertips through a truly innovative touch-screen interface. In other words, they’ve got the loose change to piddle away on unnecessary toys. Some recession.

Spoiled Brats

There might be poetic justice here. The gods are laughing as the idjits buy the toy, can’t get it activated and simultaneously lose connection with their old phone. Old one gets cut off but new one isn’t turned on. I wonder if they can locally upload their MP3 to avoid acute withdrawal symptoms?

Maybe during this interval of non-mind-numbing peace they will be able to concentrate on the clear message of Dr. Phil Gramm and ponder the reality of numbers versus the hysteria of hype.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Who Dares Speak the Truth?

There is danger in our world of political correctness. It raised its head only slightly last week in the Dallas County Commissioner’s meeting when one of the elected worthies to the Commissioner’s Court noted an abjectly failing bureaucratic program of the county that was “consuming paper-work like a black hole.” Of course, anyone who has watched an episode of Star Trek would know what Kirk and Picard know, that a black hole is an astronomical phenomenon of a dark star so dense that its gravity does not even let light escape. But, apparently another of the commissioners found the term to be ethnically offensive. He’s also miffed that Angel Food Cake is white and Devil’s Food Cake is black, or at least dark brown.

The Man Takes Offense

Top it off with the Judge of the Commissioner’s Court (that’s the chairman of the county commission in non-Texan), who supports his brother and chastises the choice of language of the unrepentant space-man. It would be laughable if not so pathetically ignorant. Yet, in our quest to on the one hand always be inoffensive, while on the other support a demographic which is always offended, we emasculate our language and perpetuate our stupidity.

But, there is a much darker side to this issue. One that speaks not of racism or prejudice but of disaster on a global scale. This isn’t about petty offense but rather about our power of observation and willingness to actually express in words what we see occurring. Consider this piece:

Would That It Were Not So

It certainly courts condemnation. It says what is blatant and yet has a redolence of racism. It isn’t racist in the slightest. It is merely a willingness to say this is what is going on. It is true. It is depressing and tragic. Possibly the courage to stand and say it might be indicative of a willingness to recognize a problem and not ignore it. But where the solutions might lie totally escapes me. Meanwhile an entire continent festers without hope anywhere on the horizon.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Who is Dumber?

A lot has gone wrong with Great Britain since the death of Churchill and the collapse of the empire. The sun now sets on British soil and the possibility looms of it not rising again. Between welfare statism and rampant political correctism there seems to be not much left of the old starch.

Try this on for size:

Dumb and Dumber

The question would be who is more guilty of manifestation of abject ignorance here? Certainly the limp-wristed panty-waists of the United Nations are serious contenders. The belief that the unsocialized savages that are three-year-olds can be taught to respect the conceptual rights of other cultures is a fantasy of the highest order that puts UNICEF into contention for that championship.

But coming up quickly is the UK bunch with their program of “Rights Respecting Schools” to inculcate these dubious values in the little beasties. The quaint indoctrination practice of creating posters that become mottos, slogans and blindly accepted truisms is truly and appropriately (considering the venue) Orwellian. I simply love the right of Beanstalk Jack’s nemesis giant to be bad! And, of course, his right to have a castle. I wonder if his right gets constrained when they recall that his home, by definition already is. These are basics that we can all embrace. I suspect that the UN new-worlders didn’t have that in mind, but if you unleash a stupid program to be administered by people stupid enough to think it is a good idea, you’re going to run a serious risk of the train running down uncharted tracks.

It would be illustrative to the diplomats of the UN to spend a couple of days locked up with a herd of those three-year-olds. They might quickly realize the fundamental truth that most of the world is uncivilized and very close to the same survivalist selfishness of those tiny monsters. The concept of “rights” extending beyond the inalienable trio expressed by Jefferson and Locke is an idealistic wet-dream. We only have those rights we earn, we demand and that we will defend. Rights aren’t bestowed, they are earned. Only then are they valued and appreciated. The three-year-olds know that.

Apparently the UN folks and the British educators haven’t realized it yet or else somewhere along the way they forgot it.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Hollow Victory Thankfully

Gotta hand it to that “dumb” President we’ve got. He just pulled a fast one on the G-8 bunch. He gave them a big bag of nothing and got exactly what he needed in return. Not much better outcome than that.

Slow and Steady?

Did you get that big concession? We agree to cut our carbon emissions by fifty percent by 2050! That’s not global emissions, but our human contribution—a drop in the emission bucket on a global scale. The exhalation of the world’s greenery, the belching of our volcanoes and a myriad of other totally uncontrollable sources greatly outweigh our puny putt-putts. But, we promise that 42 years from now it will be halved. Frankly half of us won’t be alive then! This is, of course, the genius of the agreement. Who are the tree-huggers going to blame when the due date shows up?

It is a perfect sop in order to get an acknowledgement of an important fact. The elephant in the room—in fact the pair of promiscuously breeding elephants—is China and India. They aren’t players on this carbon footprint stage, despite that fact that they grossly outnumber the rest of us and they studiously ignore all efforts to preserve or maintain the environment. We in the insignificant US number a tad over 300 million folks. The two Asian giants tally nearly three billion! And, they are increasing their numbers exponentially! Emerging middle-class society in those nations means demand for cars, technology, products of every stripe will rise rapidly. The justification they use for ignoring environmentalist demands is that they don’t want to hamper their emergence from the Dark Ages into modern society. Frankly, I don’t blame them.

The tough part to swallow, however, is the demand that we curb our use, stifle our industry and disrupt our life-style to battle the questionable concept of “global climate change,” (remember it isn’t “warming” anymore…) while they don’t do a thing in Asia. We are urinating in the slip-stream if we hope to make an impact against those numbers.

So, the coup of the meeting was that George W. gave up that pie-in-the-sky carbon footprint cut for the future and in return got a pledge that we will tighten the screws on China and India to cooperate or we won’t be bound by any restrictions.

Bravo, Mr. President, bravo!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

False Pretenses

We’ve heard it again and again. President Bush went to war on trumped-up threats of Saddam’s WMD. Look at the results, none was ever found. It didn’t exist. Bush lied, Americans died. Certainly as an emotional slogan it has had traction.

Embracing it requires quite a few suspensions, however.

You would have to ignore the intelligence estimates of not only the US, but the Brits, French, Chinese, Russians and a lot of others. They might have been inaccurate, but they certainly were unanimous enough to lead to reasonable conclusions.

You would have to ignore the fact that WMD is more than nuclear weapons. It is also chemical and biological. While nukes are hard to hide, chemical weapons tend to be binary; individually benign compounds which only become deadly when combined. And biological threats are incredibly small in the quantity required to be devastating in effect.

You would have to ignore that Saddam had a vigorous nuclear program as far back as the ‘80s when Israel preemptively destroyed his reactor at Osirak.

What was That?

You would also need to ignore Saddam’s well documented possession and use of chemical agents in his own domestic war against the Kurds and in the protracted Iraq/Iran conflict. Seems doubtful that a 20 year quest for increased WMDs would be abandoned by any self-respecting megalomaniac.

You would have to ignore the litany of causes beyond WMD that were annunciated in the justification speeches before the UN leading up to the war. It wasn’t simply WMD; it was a range of issues. The issues were compelling enough for a 15-0 vote of the Security Council.

You would have to ignore the discovery of binary artillery shells in ammo dumps after the war.

And, this week you would have to ignore this:

Under-reported Yellowcake Moved

Yep, a mere 550 metric tons of yellowcake that we finally moved out of Iraq. Wonder what Saddam was planning with that? Maybe radium dial wristwatch production on a large scale? Watch out Timex.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Revisionist Politics

It is bread and butter of presidential politics, the practice of appealing to your party ideological base when seeking the nomination, then the never-imperceptible rush back to moderation for the summer run-up to the general election. Our system of selecting a president makes it mandatory.

To get the nomination you’ve got to become the darling of your hard-core party activists. They are the ones who always vote in the primaries and the ones who always contribute to the campaign coffers. Gotta have the bucks and gotta have the primary votes. So, for Dems it means promising handouts to everyone, socking it to the wealthy (whoever they are,) and supporting the troops while demanding loss of the wars (whichever war is currently ongoing.) For Reps, it means Constitutional amendments prohibiting abortion, flag-burning and gay unions while actively supporting school vouchers, gun rights, return of Christian prayer to schools and censorship of the Internet. Throw in some stereotypical advocacy on illegal immigration cures to complete a package.

This whole charade ignores the incontrovertible fact that winning in November takes not only your partisan base, but the majority of those pesky, ill-disciplined moderates, AKA independents. These are the realists who recognize that any policy needs compromise and consensus before it has a prayer of being adopted. They generally know what is important and what can be safely ignored in a laissez-faire, live-and-let-live modern world. Both ends of the political spectrum revile them.

Now we see this sort of highlighting of the flip-flop parade:

Call It Evolution

Notice anything about that list of McCain and Obama “flips”? Take another look. Did you recognize that McCain is busy “flip-flopping” by diligently repairing the mis-perceptions of his voting record and his positions? He’s attempting to undo the stereo-typing of his past by talk-show hosts who found him insufficiently conservative and Democratic opponents who have enjoyed excellent returns on their campaign to paint him as Bush/Cheney redux.

Slithering into the mix is John Kerry, dutifully singing from last month’s DNC talking points and still not getting it that the Swift Boat campaign was about his very well documented treasonous behavior—something we can’t find in the McCain dossier no matter how hard we scrape. The blatant hypocrisy of trying to retrench the Kerry position (unlikely as it was) from four years ago into today’s distrust might be too much even for modern America to ignore.

A Change We Can't Believe In

Conversely, Obama isn’t fighting to correct misperceptions fostered by an enemy. His policy “refinements” are a battle against his clearly stated positions. He isn’t fixing something Al Franken said on Air America or slurs from the right side of the aisle. He is bringing forth new and opposing positions on his own issue statements. It’s Dr. Jekyl time.

What I Meant But Didn't Say But Should Have

Throughout this whole business there is one critical thing to keep in mind. It flies in the face of what has been drilled into us, but it is worthy of consideration. There is nothing wrong with changing your position on an issue when either the conditions of the issue change or you learn more about it.

A man who will not change his mind when faced with a compelling argument is a fool not worthy of elevation to the leadership of a Cub Scout pack let alone the Presidency of the United States. A man, however, who changes his mind to fit his audience, leaves us with a strong suspicion that there is no principle or conviction operative within that shell.

Monday, July 07, 2008

No Country for Honest Men

It was a landmark election in ’94. Just two years after Bill Clinton unseated an incumbent President the Republicans captured both houses of the Congress in what many referred to as a landslide. Drawing on the current lexicon, one could say it was a crying out by the country for change. The young and idealistic new Congressional class showed up with a mandate from the moral majority to clean up the morass which Washington venality had created in the halls of government.

A new, dynamic leadership in the House created a sweeping agenda for change and set it against a running clock of 100 days to accomplish it. They got it done and sent a package of legislation to the Senate with the dramatic title of “The Contract With America.” It was an impressive achievement and signaled a new direction for the country. It could have been referred to as “change we can believe in.” But then something happened. The inertia that the Founding Fathers built into the bicameral legislature with the long-tenured Senate slowly unraveled the momentum of the House bills. Of the ten major acts in the Contract, none of them ever got out of the Senate and into law.

Despite that demoralizing failure, the Republicans managed to retain control of both ends of the Capitol building until two years ago when they were unceremoniously unseated. The new government promised change as well. But, they didn’t have the enthusiasm of that class of ’94 and they didn’t have a powerful reform agenda. What they had, as we have seen for the last two years is a commitment to a form of politics which can best be summed up as “not Bush.” There’s been no action on any of the problems facing the nation. There was a popular dictum in the military that could be shouted from the center of the rotunda, but wouldn’t be taken seriously: “Lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way.” They have been committed to “None of the above.”

What happened to the Republicans in the last fourteen years? Today, the approval rating for the Congress hovers around 12% and they seem to be taking great pride in the achievement. Despite the obvious failings, the predictions are that in November the Democrats will increase their margin of control in both houses, possibly even reaching a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. Where did the Republicans go wrong and why can’t they capitalize on the current dissatisfaction of the electorate?

The idealists of ’94 simply got co-opted. We sent Mr. Smith to Washington and he decided to get rich and get laid. And, he discovered he liked it.

Rather than continue to put forth an agenda of reform and minimalist government, it became easier to stick their noses deep into the trough. In the process they began to believe that they were some sort of royalty, above the common man and not subject to the same behavioral limits that an ethical society expects. The list of names that have been shamed is long and embarrassing. Mark Foley, Larry Craig, David Vitter, Randy Cunningham, Tom DeLay and more were accused, indicted and disgraced. You don’t need to be convicted to be irreparably tarnished. When the supposed “good guys” are stained as darkly as the villains in the scene the voters become disaffected and begin to search for the man on a white horse, a Bolivar to come to rescue them.

What will it take for Republicans to recapture their mojo? A good start would be an honest appraisal of their behavior. Then possibly a few quiet nights at home reading the speeches of Ronald Reagan. A review of Adam Smith on economics and de Tocqueville on America’s political greatness couldn’t hurt either. A commitment to act as though their every movement were being observed by their mother might add some accountability. Throw in some selfless attempts at achieving real solutions to problems rather than pandering to get votes through dispensing of bread and circuses.

My bet is that maybe the people would notice.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Save Me From Government

I eat. I confess I eat. Probably more than I should. No, make that definitely more than I should. So it is reasonable that I’m concerned with the quality of my food. I was pretty sure years ago that my travels around the world had built up a substantial collection of anti-bodies that made me resistant to most common digestive upsets. Hell, I drank the water out of the tap in Thailand, Turkey, Syria, Morocco and even the Ritz Hotel in Paris. I like to walk on the wild side. But, I recognize the value of a watchdog over the quality of my food.

What happens, though, when the watchdog bites the neighbors, the mailman and the UPS guy? Do I simply look at his pleading eyes and accept his, “My bad,” whimper? Or do I seek some sort of accountability? Bites cause damage. They can cause irreparable repair. Someone is usually liable. There’s got to be recourse. Generally true, but not when the watchdog is the federal government.

Remember Alar? That was the suspected carcinogen that was being sprayed on our apples. The feds discovered the threat. They defended us aggressively. They drove apple orchards out of business and then admitted sheepishly that they were wrong. Sorry!

Now we’ve got this:

Sorry 'Bout That!

Once again apparently the cries of wolf were erroneous. No wolfs involved here. It was pussy-cats. The people got sick. They ate salsa. It must have been tomatoes. Yeah, that’s the ticket…the tomatoes. Attention America: Stop Eating Tomatoes!

Then the lab rats went to work. Gotta isolate the source. Protect America. Refine the threat. New announcement, the evil tomatoes come from here, here and there, but not this place, that one or the other. Frantic mothers are looking for squirreled away shipping boxes to determine the tomato source. Salads are going begging and tacos are showing up very dry.

Never mind, it isn’t the source, it’s the type of tomatoes. All of you farmers with crops rotting in warehouses and on vines, we apologize for the inconvenience. It’s really round, red tomatoes and not those with vines on them or Romas or hot-house varieties. So, look for vine stems and those flavorless, expensive ones and you’ll be OK. The government extends its apology to those truck farmers planning on taking produce to market this month. Hamburgers are drier and the salads continue to be colorless. And the estimate of cost to the tomato industry is set at $495,000,000. That ain’t salsa!

Put another way, there have been just over 900 cases of salmonella reported since mid-April. That would average out to 10 per day in a nation of more than 300 million people. Scary epidemic, heh? And with a cost of half-a-billion in lost revenue to the produce industry and no valid linkage found, that means about half-a-million dollars per case of unrelated salmonella! It raises government damage to an entirely new level.

Now, look at that article. It isn’t tomatoes at all! It’s the jalapenos! Maybe. Or, maybe cilantro. Or possibly serranos, not jalapenos. Tell Henny-Penny, Turkey-Lurkey, Ducky-Lucky and the others. But, your crack government protectionists also concede that the source seems to be locally prepared salsa, not commercial products. But, they aren’t sure. Might as well just brand as many industries as we can. After all, it’s for the public good.

And, regular as clockwork, Colorado super-liberal congress-critter, Diana Degette seeks more government intervention and spending of more money to provide us more protection. I’ll bet there are a lot of farmers and produce wholesalers who would rather see some damage payments flow their way rather than more regulations to screw up another product they depend upon for their livelihood.

What will it take for us to learn what Ronald Reagan tried to tell us, “government isn’t the solution, it’s the problem”?

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Fourth of July Fallout

Want to know what’s wrong with America? Read this typical lib-chick who’s got a regular gig in the Metro section of the Dallas Morning Fishwrap. She writes the usual human-interest drivel and occasionally even makes a bit of sense from a sheltered, white-chick-in-the-suburbs point of view. But, on the Fourth she demonstrated such typical modern American thinking that I felt an overwhelming urge to save her column for floor lining in my new puppy’s kennel. Then I figured it would be unjust to subject the impressionable pup to such a load of self-serving crap.

She Doesn't Get It

She’s so weary of people talking about patriotism and love of country. That’s so old school, isn’t it? She wonders why it is so important to so many folks. She apparently didn’t notice that we’ve recently seen a very prominent minister in a very affluent black church in Chicago make headlines with his pronouncements on “God damn America” and his beliefs that his government is responsible for introducing AIDS as a mechanism of genocide in our country. And the congregation applauded! It doesn’t have to be linked to a presidential candidate to make it worthy of our attention. It is symptomatic of a problem in the country. No patriotism on display there.

Ms Floyd apparently wasn’t surprised or stunned that a wealthy, prominent, African-American, Ivy League educated, female attorney announced in a speech that only when people voted for her husband could she, for the first time in her adult life, be proud of her country. No connection to the presidency needed here. It is appalling on its own. I wonder if Ms Floyd identifies with that pronouncement.

Maybe Ms Floyd doesn’t read her own liberal news-rag and hasn’t become aware that more than half of our United States Congress has been very embarrassed by our nation’s efforts to rid the world of terrorists, establish a nascent democracy in the Middle East, and open free markets for trade around the world. How modern of them. They don’t take much pride in their country, apparently, either. And how well it fits Jacquielynn’s world view.

And, she overlooks that we’ve got a long history of defending other people’s freedoms at great cost to ourselves and when we’ve been victorious we haven’t slipped into conquest and empire. She doesn’t like those patriotic flags on display and those aging vets with their American Legion and VFW hats and she is probably really upset by those tacky rows of white crosses that always seem to be pictured on days like the Fourth, and Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day. Those jingoistic displays of pride when standing for the national anthem, particularly if it isn’t convoluted by some alternative choice or scat inspired howling at the end, are really pathetic aren’t they, Jacquie?

No, her concern is that we stop flogging our pride in our nation. That isn’t important anymore. She wants us to get to work solving “problems” for her. And, to her that means more government largesse. She wants hand-outs, welfare, guarantees and bail-outs. Oh yeah, and bring the troops home, because she cares about them. Maybe a full Christmas stocking would once again instill a bit of pride in her country.

I’d like to sit her down to discuss views on patriotism with some of the former POWs. No need to bring presidential elections into the mix. Or, maybe some combat veterans—guys who’ve been downtown and seen the elephant. They could offer her some insights into love of country. Or maybe these guys:

Like a Nickel on the Grass

But, she probably will never get it. Until some Taliban thug rapes her on the streets of Plano for not wearing her hajib.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Required Reading

Before the hot dogs and beer, before the ball game and swimming, before the fireworks, take some time to ponder the event that spawned the celebration:

When in the course of human events

It won't take long to reread it. It's almost therapeutic.

And then meditate for several minutes on the pledge of the last line:

"We mutually pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."

Being All Things to All People

When all the public wants is “change” and something they can believe in, it becomes amazingly easy to offer goodies to every audience. It simply takes a bit of rhetorical skill, an application of nuanced phrasing and a deeply seated ambition to be President of the United States. Principle is not part of the recipe. When you know that you are smarter than they are you are unfettered in the ability to shape the daily message to whatever is necessary at the moment. You hold it self-evident that your charm will carry the day.

That’s why Sen. Obama is having such an easy time following the established political dictum that one runs to the center after gaining the nomination from the party extremists. But there are signs that the slick façade may have some cracks that a sharp instrument might pry into. It remains only to be seen if the discoveries then disillusion the voters.

One certainly can’t deny that the editorial staff of the Wall Street Journal is one such sharp instrument. Here’s a look that they’ve taken at the latest Obama triangulations and it isn’t very complimentary. Taking one’s own pithy political pronouncements and turning them back on you is a job that the WSJ tackles quite effectively here:

Flexibility the Key to Indecision

Possibly one of the most damning of statistics we’re starting to uncover about the Messiah of the Left is the recent count of how many days he had served in the US Senate, the major league of American politics, before declaring his candidacy for the most difficult, dangerous and sensitive job in the world. The number is pitifully small, just 143. I'm hard pressed to declare that "a lot of experience".

Start to take note of the number of times that we get retrospectives of Sen. Obama’s voting position on critical Senate votes. If it shocks you that he is more notable for voting “present” or abstaining than establishing a position that can later be pointed to as evidence of his ideology than welcome to the growing crowd. Don’t fall for the argument that his abstentions were on votes that weren’t going to be close without him. The core of the issue is that his non-commitment gives him total flexibility to now be essentially untouchable on major issues.

Except, of course, for the possible accusations of cowardice in the performance of his elected duties.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Make My Day

I usually like Fox News in the morning. They aren’t “fair and balanced” except in comparison to the rest of the mainstream media, but it is usually something that doesn’t gag me over my Cheerios. But, there was milk and bananas splashed on the counter this morning when they brought in a lib-lawyer and a talking head to debate the grand jury’s no-bill of Pasadena TX resident Joe Horn.

The outcry when the events took place was pretty much standard fare in politically correct country. Joe was an older, portly, white guy. The other side was a pair of dark-skinned individuals, much younger and in decidedly more muscular condition. Joe shot them both. With a shotgun. At night. Outside his home. On his front lawn. While on the phone with the local police department’s 9-1-1 dispatcher. He told the dispatcher what he was doing, as he was doing it.

The grand jury concluded after hearing testimony from both sides that Joe acted within the law. The usual suspects asserted racist motivation and a violation of the victim’s civil rights. Here’s what Fox News had on the story:

Sympathy for the Devil

The talking heads on the viddie this morning were livid. Check out the inflammatory comments from the liberal law guru. These poor immigrants who probably just came to this country to make a better life for themselves, etc. etc.

Select Video "You're Dead"

Ahh, but here’s a little more background on the perps. They are seen breaking into the neighbor’s home. That’s when Joe calls the police. They are seen and Joe tells the dispatcher that they are coming back out through the window with his neighbor’s property. Joe is still online with the cops, but no sirens arriving on scene. Just Joe and a couple of illegal immigrants making a living. It might be that Joe is next stop on their shopping list.

Both are illegals. Both have outstanding warrants. One had been arrested and convicted for cocaine trafficking. Then, in those mean old days when we still had immigration laws, he was deported back to Columbia. The lure of opportunity in America was apparently too great for him.

Protect the Innocent--Shoot the Guilty

And the whining on Fox suggests that Joe should have simply waited in his house to be the next victim or ignored defense of his neighbor’s property and it all could have been avoided. How about if the goblins had stayed in their native land? How about if they had gotten a job rather than breaking into homes? How about if they had abided by laws rather than exploiting American society? They could have avoided Joe with just a little bit of ethical behavior.

Poor Joe. Good decision from the grand jury. Lesson learned, hopefully, by the goblins.

In late breaking news we get more details on the shootings that Fox News probably won't follow up on:

More Details

Now the “fiancée” of one of the thugs is ranting about a civil suit. Her baby’s civil rights to breaking & entering, burglary and drug trafficking got violated. And professional minority, Quanell X is demanding a new grand jury and details on the racial composition of the no-bill panel.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Crop the Tail

Some dogs have their tails clipped or "docked" as a routine practice for their breed. And sometimes tails have been accused of wagging their dogs.

If the Scots don't figure out whether a tail needs docking pretty soon, there won't be much hope regarding their future wagging freedom:

Puppy Declared Ritually Unclean

These perpetually griping rag-heads need to get over it. Assimilate or get out!