Monday, August 31, 2009


You know the principle of insurance I'm sure. You subscribe to a risk pool and your premiums are determined by the probability of you collecting on your policy. A large pool of low risk folks mean low premiums for good coverage.

I've been fortunate for all of my car-owning years to have been eligible for a great automobile insurance provider called USAA. They were a group of former military officers who banded together to offer car insurance that considered the realities of military service as we got reassigned around the world. The fact that we were young, fit and professionals made us a low risk pool for claims. We maintained our cars, drove with reasonable care and could ruin a career with a reckless accident, a bad driving record or a DUI. The result was excellent insurance at a rate that caused competing companies to simply abandon their sales pitch when they called to offer a quote. I told them I was with USAA and they simply said, "never mind."

Over time USAA expanded into home owners insurance, life insurance, mutual funds and now banking. They've done a good job across the board and made profits for both the shareholders and the membership.

Medicare is another illustration but with government interference. Large pool is established by government mandate. If you get paid wages, you get Medicare withheld. Difference is that paying into the program doesn't get you coverage until you are over 65. So, high risk population, but large contributing pool anyway. Even then you see the system in peril because of expanding bureaucracies, increased longevity, rising costs of high-tech care and the inevitable social engineering of politicians with a pot of money in view and an electorate to woo.

Which brings me to the trigger for today's item. Do you back up your hard drive? Ever? C'mon, be honest. OK, you did last Christmas didn't you? Could you replace all the stuff on your computer if it died? What if the house burned down? Could your business survive?

I've been computer toying for more than 20 years now. It was a fact of life that hard drives died about twice as often as computers and the beige box died every three years. We've gotten a lot better, but we've also got a lot more data. You may have never had a drive crash, but how would you cope if you did?

I heard Rush Limbaugh pitching Carbonite. Automated internet backup taking place in the background for less than $5 a month. Seems like cheap insurance.

I took a look on their site. Carbonite. The data is encrypted. You can let them handle the encryption key through a third party, so the Carbonite folks don't have access to your key and you don't need to worry about maintaining it yourself. If your business data needs your involvement in the encryption, than you can choose to handle the encryption key yourself--just be sure you can get at it when you need it.

There is a small download and it takes mere seconds to setup on your computer. The intial backup may take several days. It doesn't slow your machine down, it operates when you aren't taking up data bandwidth and you can watch the progress on the interface. After the initial backup is completed, your data is kept recent and current continually and without any effort on your part.

Revisions to files are all kept so you can back track if you need to recapture something after it has been replaced. A click on the status bar icon gets you an interface to search your backup drive if you need to recover something. Easy search and simple access seems to be handled.

I don't know how complex file recovery is after a hard drive failure. It is the same with my car insurance, I don't know how quickly I can be in a replacement vehicle if I total my current wheels. I hope I don't have to learn. I've researched reviews and user experience and the reports are good about recoveries, so I'm feeling secure about the system. It is now something I don't have to worry about and I get if for the price of a Sam Adams each month. That's insurance.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Biting the Hand

The famous caution from Mark Twain is to never get into a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel. If you are the Senator of a state with one huge city controlling the electorate and one major newspaper providing them editorial comment, it would pay to display some courtesy.

That is unless you are terminally stupid:

Throwing Down the Gauntlet

I sure don't know what Sen. Reid could have been thinking, but he is going to lose this battle.

The Reasons Why

I dropped out of the Roman Catholic church when I was a senior in high school. I was at St. Patrick's HS in Chicago and during our senior year we had a weekend retreat to a beautiful country estate owned by the Christian Brothers. It was a period dedicated to reflection on our lives, our faith and our future. We were told that we should try to be silent and engage in introspection about our morality and our behaviors. We were told that we would return from that weekend changed forever. I doubted that somewhat, but in fact it was the cementing of my position that a person could live a good and moral life without benefit of intercession by organized religion. Except for weddings and funerals, I never attended again.

Several years later, in the Air Force, I was in-processing at Randolph AFB near San Antonio. Part of the sequence was a briefing on chaplain programs and religious activities available on the base. A non-denominational overview was followed by individual interviews with a chaplain from the religion you had indicated on your preference card. Mine still said catholic.

The priest asked about my level of involvement. I told him I did not attend church and wasn't interested. He asked me why.

I asked him about eating meat on Friday. I had grown up with the prohibition and been told that a Big Mac on a Friday was a mortal sin and if I died without confessing, I would be condemned to hell for all eternity. Now, the prohibition was gone. "So, if I had died and gone to hell would I have been paroled or would it be simple bad luck?"

I mentioned the similar punishment for the mortal sin of not attending mass on Sunday. Now, I noted, it was possible to go to mass on Saturday and fill the square. What happened to all the souls in torment when that rule got changed?

He wisely gave up on me as a lost cause. Now, that I am getting older I am occasionally given to thoughts of religion much like W. C. Fields reading the bible on his death bed. When asked what he was doing, he replied, "looking for loopholes."

If I ever thought about returning to the Catholic church, this would most assuredly convince me not to:

That a Catholic church would be given over to such a production in honor of a man such as Sen. Kennedy is questionable. Certainly he deserved to be offered a funeral mass given the always available opportunity for redemption. But, should it have become a showcase for such a display?

The scripting of the children to unquestioningly embrace complex policies smacks of partisanship. The ritual of congregation chantings at the end of each prayer is embarrassing at the least and disgusting at the most.

What self-respecting priest or bishop would stand by for such religious effrontery?

"Lord, hear my prayer."

Extra Helping for the Weekend

In case you felt that Lyle Lovett's Church wasn't really a Saturday Rocker, here's an extra helping:

Saturday, August 29, 2009

No First Amendment On School Grounds

That's what the interpreter said, "schools have different rules and don't have any first amendment rights for citizens" attending political rallies which aren't school events in the first place. Not all citizens rights are restricted, only those that disagree with the Messiah's proposed policy and who would seek to express that sentiment to their elected representative!

Watch the death of American in a minute and a half:

Assembly? Expression? Representation? Equal protection under the law? Nope, none of that under the new regime.

That sign over there is OK, and those over there are just fine, but yours is disapproved...because it has a picture? Your picture is trespassing?

This is absurd, but I'll bet it becomes commonplace until Lexington and Concord and the reenactment of the Alamo...

Another Death and a Parallel Life

Iowahawk sadly reports another death and the striking parallels in a life lived serving his fellow man:

The Lion Of Leinenkugel is Gone

Sad, so sad.


I've got the TV on, but the sound off as the drama unfolds in Roxbury. The gathering is remarkable. It is a greater concentration of political movers, shakers, screw-ups and wannabes than even a joint session of Congress on State of the Union night. I'm trying to patch the succession together and ascertain who is the designated stay-at-home to insure survivability of the executive.

Right now I'm missing Pelosi. But I'm not sure if Harry Reid is there or Hillary or Bob Gates either. Regardless, there is a collection in one place and it was inevitable that my mind flashed back to some fictional works.

The first one that came to mind was "Cathedral" by Nelson Demille. Terrorists seize St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City and mayhem ensues. But, that is just city officials and society members.

Then I remembered Tom Clancy's "Executive Orders". A terrorist crashes a 747 into the US Capitol during the State of the Union address and it catapults Jack Ryan into the presidency.

I can't begin to contemplate the security planning that has gone into this event. I'm fairly certain that the plans were laid out well before this week. The traffic jam will be incredible.


My mother was inflexible. She would have things her way or devote all of her efforts to making my father miserable. That meant on Sunday, despite the fact that our church offered mass hourly from 6:00 AM until noon with two sessions (upstairs and downstairs) at 9:00.

The mandatory routine was that she slept, then we rose and had breakfast. Then we attended the 12:00 mass. The problem was that the nooner was "high" mass while all of the other iterations were "low" mass. For those unfamiliar with the Catholic liturgy of the period, that meant that you could breeze through the low version in about 18 minutes. The high one took at least 50 minutes and could run appreciably longer if the priest felt moved to give a sermon beyond the routine parish announcements. It also involved two passages of the collection plate and an extra fifteen minute addendum of "benediction."

It screwed up the entire Sunday, so when I got old enough to drive, I told her I was going to the 9:00 mass, would hop in the car and go hang out at the candy shop for an hour. Last time I sat through a high or low mass was around 1959.

But, if I had this sort of service, I might have been eager to go:

Friday, August 28, 2009

An Unfolding Story

I've got a friend that I've known since he was in college. He has come a long way since then. He is now the US Attorney in New Mexico. That is the highest Dept. of Justice official in the state, the federal prosecutor and the voice of the people in federal court.

When the Messiah was elected, I knew that his position was political in nature and his law enforcement ideology was antithetical to the new administration. But, he had a very strong argument in favor of his retention. He had been chosen for his job by a panel of federal judges in the state, not by the usual route of political appointment. A compelling fact for his retention was that he was the lead investigator of Gov. Bill Richardson and relieving him would smack of a political hatchet job.

What I said then

And then a few weeks later, I wrote this:

It Looks Like Job Security

Well, the other shoe dropped yesterday with this piece:

Charges Squelched by DOJ

That looks like the issue is one of prosecutor forwarding his case and then Attorney General Holder telling him to sit down and shut up. Not good and not unexpected either.

But, there is more lurking here. This was the story today:

US Attorney Drops the Charges

This has got some intrigue attached to it. Did Mr. Fouratt have a case? Did he simply run out of time before the statute of limitations ran out? Was he being strong-armed by AG Holder? And, what about this comment in that article:

In a letter to the witnesses, Fouratt said his office would not pursue the charges, but he was not gracious in defeat. The prosecutor wrote that “pressure from the governor’s office resulted in the corruption of the procurement process” and said that the letter “should not be interpreted as exoneration of any party’s conduct in that matter.”

I can't wait until the next time I get to see him and explore what he can say about this situation. If ever there was an uncorruptible individual in a federal prosecutor's office, it is Mr. Fouratt. There is a story here and I hope I get to learn what it really is all about.

First Tweet Worth Reading

I don't understand Twitter. The idea of communicating in 140 character tidbits seems way too symptomatic of the superficiality of American youth and culture. But, then I got led to this:

Think of it this way: If they get to bring up Camelot, we get to bring up the lady in the lake.

It has the beauty and simplicity of Haiku.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Lunchtime in Texas

I'm thinking it's time for some lunch and a Sam Adams:

Syllogism, Faulty or Not

I'm sure you remember the classic example of faulty syllogism. A occurs before B, therefore A is causative of B. The rooster crows and the sun comes up, therefore the rooster was the cause of the sun rising. Absurd on its face, of course. It is alarm clocks that cause sun rises and car-washing that causes rain storms.

Yesterday I heard Obama apologist Juan Williams defend Eric Holder's proposal to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate and "bring to justice" those CIA operatives who operated under federal guidelines and in good faith during enhanced interrogations.

The comment of Mr. Williams revolved around acceptance of the fact in the CIA reports that recipients of these enhanced interrogations provided additional, actionable intelligence after the procedures. The faulty syllogism argument was applied. Yes, Juan recited, they gave up critical information after enhanced interrogation, but we can't be certain that was the reason! It might have been something else, like maybe the offer of a light lunch and some tea after the questioning.

Here is a detailed analysis of the EIT results and a very effective dismantling of the syllogism argument:

Waterboard Me Again and I'll Talk!

I've been through resistance training. All combat eligible aircrews get trained. You learn many techniques, but the one thing you are told which you already knew is that everyone breaks eventually. You will give up information at some point. You want to forestall that point. You hope that you can minimize what you disclose. You learn to negotiate with bits and pieces that you know aren't valuable. You are trained to be creative in story-telling. You learn to resist. And when you break, you learn that you start over again with the resistance as soon as you can.

We know conclusively that one area in which these top level terrorists are very well trained is resistance to interrogation. They are drilled in our techniques and study our laws and restrictions. The more they know about our limits, the better they can exploit them against us.

We are now in the process of writing a revised training manual for al-Qaeda operative resistance education. We are explaining in detail the extent of our effort to question them and the broad range of rights which we will extend to them. They will know us better than we know ourselves. I hope Holder and the Messiah feel good about that.

And, along the way, we listen to Juan Williams throwing away innuendo about our techniques like "pulling out fingernails" as though that was what was under discussion. Fox News issued an apology for that gratuitous lie, but Williams is still the illogical liberal on their otherwise instructive discussion panels.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Silk Purses and Sow Parts

It is morbidly fascinating to watch this day unfold. The vituperation heaped upon the late Sen. Ted Kennedy by the right side of the political spectrum and the glorification by the left side on the "Lion" of the senate and patron of all that welfare patrons would seek.

The right half isn't scorning him with lies or innuendo. His behavior over his years in public life was quite visible and for anyone whose name was not Kennedy and living in the shadow of Camelot, it would be political disgrace. But his name is Kennedy and the money, power and influence of the family rendered him immune. It is inevitable and even necessary that the younger generation who tend to swoon over this stuff be reminded of what he has done. It isn't a pretty picture.

The left half works with the traditional currency of the breed; emotions, identity politics, political largesse and the calling in of favors. Teddy was the scion of a dynasty built on entitlements--the entitlement of a wealthy and powerful family to simply take whatever political office they required at the time without concern for niceties like residence in a district or citizenship of a state. As Kennedys, a few calls could be made, some back-fill paperwork could be done, and voila, the position was theirs for the taking. And, the entitlements that are delivered to the needy of the electorate in return for political loyalty and votes. We give to you, we take from the rich (except from our own privileged group) and in return you reward us with fawning adoration.

The last contribution to the socialization of America from the former Oldsmobile submarine commander will be the sympathy vote for single-payer, nationalized healthcare. We've already got Pelosi and Boxer bleating about Teddy's legacy and what he would have wanted to be remembered for. And the former Grand Kleagle of the W. Virginia Klan, Sen. Robert Byrd, has not delayed for even a couple of hours in suggesting that the unwritten senate healthcare bill be named after Kennedy.

The news of the day is good and bad. The good news is the number of folks accurately recalling the evils of the man. The bad news is the deification by the other side and the attachment of the tear-jerking to the healthcare debate. It would take a heartless Dem to vote against ol Ted's legacy.

Increasingly I am convinced that we Americans are too ignorant, greedy and venal to be a democracy in any form. Where can we find an honest and benevolent dictator?

Tabloid Prayers Answered

In the lull in canonizations since the final whimpers of the thralls of ecstatic rapture during the Michael Jackson month-long funeral extravaganza and traveling road show, the tabloids and celebrity trash magazines have been forced to return to pictures of Britney and her children, rehashes of Brangolina spats and tattoos, and in-depth coverage of Lindsey Lohan's lips.

Now, with the passing of the Patron Saint of Submerged Automobiles, the American people have got an entertainment to fill the rest of the summer and that void from Labor Day til Halloween. We will get intense coverage of the greatness of this goat and paeans to the virtue that incredible wealth and a bully pulpit can bestow upon a family made wealthy on bootleg whisky and support of totalitarian dictatorships.

Here's the fair and balanced first iteration of the biography:

Warts and Weight With Wealth Wield Welfare Well

In case you might have forgotten some of the highlights, I'll offer you these:

He attended Harvard in 1951, playing on the freshman football team before he was caught cheating by having a friend take his Spanish language exam.

Made it all the way into his freshman year before having that little problem.

Kennedy was expelled and entered the Army, where he served in Paris during the Korean War. and after almost two years was re-admitted to Harvard for demonstrating good behavior.

Wow, what a lucky guy. Korean War going on and he gets posted to Paris! And, tough duty though it was, he managed to demonstrate "good behavior."

His good behavior took a bad turn at the wooden bridge, however:

But Kennedy's own aspirations for the White House were dashed in 1969 when his car plunged off a bridge on Chappaquiddick on Martha's Vineyard, killing Robert Kennedy campaign aide Mary Jo Kopechne. Kennedy swam to safety and only alerted authorities to the accident hours later.

As Kopechne's body was pulled from the dark sedan, the senator told investigators he panicked.

What was the cause of the panic, do you suppose? Worry about Mary Jo? Concern for his car insurance rates? Damage to his Allen-Edmonds wing-tips from the swim? Fear he wouldn't get a tow truck at that time of night?

Clearly a demonstration of potential for leadership in a stressful situation.

And, the poor baby made some other bad choices as well:

Like his first wife, Joan, Kennedy also struggled with alcohol, and through much of the 1980s was viewed as a playboy with a bottle. That image culminated with the arrest of his nephew, William Kennedy Smith, who was later acquitted on charges of raping a woman he met at a bar while out with his uncle.

Got that? He "struggled" with alcohol. The struggle was so intense he was often seen to be staggering under the weight of his inner conflict and slurring his words as the devil grabbed his tongue. He was barely able to meet the responsibilities as a role model for his nephew and teaching him how to deal with reluctant women.

Those are just some tidbits to keep in mind as we watch the ascension of the newest saint into the heavens where he will sit at the right hand of Abraham, Martin and John awaiting the glorious day when the Messiah will join them.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Nailing It

Regular stop, "Pundit & Pundette" nail it with this double-edged sharp sword:

Cheap Commercials and Trashy Outfits

Remember Ronald Reagan who said he felt such awe and respect for the Oval Office that he never went into it without wearing a suit and he always kept the jacket on?

We're losing so much each day now that it is frightening and sad.

Our Predecessors in Afghanistan

Kipling captured the very heart of the British Army and the subtleties of the Raj in his writing. Connery and Caine have the British NCO characterized to a fair-thee-well. And, the movie is simply magnificent:

One, two. "Hats Off!"

And, of course, it always helps to structure a good contract in proper legalese.

Making Himself Perfectly Clear

When the clip runs over six minutes, you aren't taking anything out of context. What you are doing is trying to decipher what the hell he means. It is increasingly difficult to nail the slithery beast down. Pay attention here:

At various times in that you will hear him say, "we should look forward not back" but then he says that those who formulated the guidelines might be investigated. He tells us we face an unscrupulous, unconstrained and dangerous enemy, but we've got to play patty-cake with them because we are "good guys."

He reassures the CIA, that "I've got your back..." but one can only wonder what he will be doing behind there.

He mentions the Congress investigating possibly, but before the sentence is completed it morphs into an independent individual--which means the imperial presidency handles it, not the legislative or judicial branch.

Among the dangerous folks who fill our liberal pantheon, one that I've always been somewhat ambivalent about has been Leon Panetta. I know what his politics are, but I've heard him make sense on some issues. I've come to believe he is an intelligent individual and might even be respected for at least following his principles--even if they disagree with mine.

That's why I can see this as a very likely true report:

"If I Can't Trust You, I Quit!"

I sure wouldn't want to try to run the CIA effectively while getting undermined and back-stabbed with each passing day. When the excrement hits the air circulating device, as it inevitably will, the Director will be in the hot seat. Mr. Panetta can make a very effective statement if he walks away from the Messiah's "team."

Monday, August 24, 2009


If there is any good reason for this, I can't come up with it:

Accused of Protecting Us From Terrorists

I posted the guidelines for application of "enhanced interrogation techniques" a couple of months ago. When it comes to torture such as POWs in Hanoi experienced, there was no way anyone could call those little pressure applications anything like torture. When applied against the standards of SAVAK, they were at the level of giving the prisoner a really mean look and no dessert with dinner. When placed in the context of gaining time-sensitive critical intelligence from a fresh detainee, I'm surprised that they were as effective as they were. It was a long stretch from Jack Bauer style.

The individuals being interrogated were terrorists, not Geneva Convention protected military combatants. They weren't citizens. They weren't in uniform. They weren't abiding by international law or accepted rules of warfare. They were very bad characters with information that could save lives if they disclosed it.

The interrogators were acting with clear guidance and a legal interpretation of what was permissible to do their job from the very same office that Eric Holder now occupies.

OK, we've got a new administration in place. They can and have changed policies. The new policies are different than the old. But the threat to America still remains and we still may need to have a competent, effective, professional CIA which will get the info we require to minimize our risks. They have to be confident that they can do their job without the threat of a future witch-hunt hanging over them.

What does Holder intend to accomplish? Will America be better off? Will we be safer? Will terrorists decide we are really good guys who shouldn't be harmed? Will the CIA be more effective? Will we have better intelligence? What is Holder's motivation? Who benefits from this? What will be the bottom line?


Who Do You Believe?

Yesterday's Fox New Sunday with Chris Wallace was enlightening and very illustrative with regard to the state of our democracy. The big topic was the VA "Choices" manual. First he had Sen. Arlen Specter to demonstrate his tightrope walking ability. He's got to be cautious you see, because he's a Democrat now and must appear supportive of his President. But, he's trying to be strong on veteran issues at the same time.

Apparently the worst question you can ask a Congress-critter these days is, "will you make the public option mandatory for yourself and other members and leave your gold-plated, ultra-cushy, extra-expensive, guaranteed for your miserable lifetime Congressional special healthcare plan?" They have crafted a suitably weaselly answer: "Just as all citizens will be able to keep their current plans if they prefer, so also will I get that choice..."

Crawling Across the Desk

After Specter's obfuscations, the highlight of the show was an appearance by disabled woman combat veteran, Ass't Secretary of Veteran's Affairs Duckworth. Wallace asked her about the death counseling manual pointedly and repeatedly. She said it wasn't re-instated by the Messiah, actually it was removed from usage. Wallace had dates of Bush administration directives to remove it and Obama directives to resume usage and "update" the death book. Her view, despite the evidence was exactly opposite what was shown.

Wallace showed her a screen capture from the 14th of this month with the manual on the VA web-site. She said it was from 2007, despite the clear visuals.

Wallace showed her two verbatim quotes from the 15 page manual directing VA counselers to use the specific booklet, "Your Life, Your Choices". She said that wasn't what the policy was but that VA staff could recommend any book or materials--this despite the evidence of their own policy manual.

In the most remarkable demonstration of denial I have ever witnessed, Duckworth persisted in her lies regarding what Wallace was clearly proving repeatedly. It was an Orwellian New-Speak performance in which we were to be indoctrinated that black was indeed white and death was indeed life.

These people are disgusting and we are going to have to figure that out before they can do too much damage to the Republic.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Too Much of a Good Thing?

Like many of you, I think I could eat bacon three meals a day and subsist quite comfortably until the cholestorol overload killed me. There aren't many things better than a properly made BLT, and what food isn't enhanced with a sprinkling of bacon bits. (No Bako~s please!)

But this may be a bridge too far:

Gimme a BLT with an olive.

Duty Calls

More than twenty five years ago former Colorado Gov. Dick Lamm stepped into a mess when he wrote a piece for Time magazine discussing a touchy subject; when should senior, ailing citizens make a responsible decision to walk out onto the ice floe and spend the night waiting for the wolves.

I met Dick Lamm and talked a bit to him, one-on-one. We didn't talk about the "duty to die" comment that got him into hot water, but the things we did have a chance to briefly discuss showed him to be a reasonable, intelligent and thoughtful man. He simply got sound-bited into being a heartless monster.

His thesis was a rational and objective discussion of end-of-life decision making. He acknowledged that medical technology, even then, allowed machines to pump pseudo-life through our protoplasm for a very long time and at very great expense. His rhetorical question was simply: should we do that just because we can? He was suggesting that we recognize our mortality, nothing more or less than that. At some point it would be wise, if not emotionally satisfying, to accept that we should shuffle off this mortal coil. He was arguing against the long held precept of not going quietly into that good night.

As a philosophical discussion, it is worthwhile, but as public policy it is intolerable.

Now we've been having the "death panel" debate. The argument has elevated beyond an individual decision to a counseling period with a government official. It has included consideration of qualities of extended life and amazingly enough, cost/benefit analysis of expenditure on a medical procedure based on age of the patient.

It would be hard to argue that the "death panel" is anything but inevitable under a single-payer, government-run healthcare system. It will happen.

What is damning this week is the disclosure that the VA has been implementing a very similar program for several years now. That evil old President Bush suspended the use of the counseling manual several years ago, but apparently the Messiah's search for empirical evidence to support the counseling practice caused him to re-instate it.

Now Sen. Arlen Spector, enfeebled politically by his liberalism and party switching, is seeking redemption by demanding investigation of the VA policy:

What Are They Doing to Our Wounded Warriors?

I listened on talk radio on Friday to a sampling of the scenario questions from the counseling pamphlet. They were chilling. If someone were facing many of those possiblities, it could be argued that the booklet would be conducive to clinical depression.

But, this is really scary:

She said it was one of many options for injured veterans, calling it "simply a tool."

"This ultimately is about the ... health care for veterans," Duckworth said.

Though Duckworth said the document has not been fully vetted, an official directive from July tells VA health practitioners to refer veterans to the document. Duckworth questioned whether that directive had been authorized at the highest levels.

That is disabled veteran Tammy Duckworth. She is the Asst. Secretary for Veteran's Affairs. Her sole qualification for the job is that she is a disabled woman combat veteran. No medical experience. No executive experience. No hospital administration or counseling experience.

And when she questions "whether that directive has been authorized at the highest levels" you wonder if she has understood that her office is "at the highest levels."

Will someone tell her who she is?

The Content of His Character

When things go badly, why is it never the fault of the individual politician? Admit it. Anyone has the potential to be a failure. The simple fact that being a successful politician has no relationship to being a competent administrator is somehow never recognized.

Think about it. What gets a candidate elected? They need personality. A bright smile, a firm handshake, some industrious supporters and the ability to convince some financial backers that it would be beneficial to them if they helped you get into office. You don't have to be able to actually drive the train!

Why then are we surprised when we find the wheels coming off? When it is pointed out that the individual is lacking in expertise, or to say it more succinctly they are incompetent, we get passive voice and scapegoating. Have you never noticed the preference for "mistakes were made" over the more accurate, "I screwed up"?

Then, of course, there is the vast right-wing media conspiracy. It is always a great fall-back position. Never mind that there isn't a shred of believability in the concept that the mainstream media is conservative. We've seen way too much evidence to the contrary. And, of course, you can always throw in the accusations of racism.

Try this on for size:

The Party Begs Him to Step Aside

Really now. Even a blind man could see the failures and deterioration of the state's financial situation since he took office. No pun intended.

Paterson insisted in the interview that he has made tough decisions to deal with the state's ballooning budget deficits while at the same time helping those most in need.

He noted that the state, despite its fiscal crisis, has not had to write IOUs or had its bond ratings drastically reduced, like California, and is not in as bad straits as Pennsylvania, Michigan or Massachusetts.

Note to Gov. Patterson: If the budget deficit is growing and the taxes in your state are among the highest in the nation, it might be time to suspend "helping those most in need." That policy is called income redistribution in progressive circles and Marxism in retro-conservative thinking.

Comparing your performance to CA, PA, MI or MA is like Government Motors comparing their efficiency to Yugo.

But, when in doubt, it must be because you are black.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Taking One For the Team

Poor Gibbsy. He's got to rephrase everything the Bamster says when he ventures off-prompter. This week's lead faux pas was the description of American political process in the late summer when Congress-critters return to their districts and get feedback from the electorate as "everyone gets wee-wee'ed up."

I'll confess that I've not always traveled in the most refined circles. I've been in cowboy bars, Asian whore houses and Chicago's neighborhood taverns, but I've never before encountered that phrasing. I've been in the field with the Army and in combat with several fighter squadrons and no one expressed themselves that way. I've even visited a Turkish prison and didn't here the guards or prisoners utter those or similar words. It's the first time I've heard it and it is from a Harvard attorney and US President. It must be special.

So, here's the sweeping up job of Gibbs:

What the President Means...

I like the willingness of Gibbsy to throw himself on the grenade with this:

"It's a phrase I use," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said today, hesitating at his press briefing to offer a physical demonstration of the phraseology.

Yeah, the Bamster picked it up and adopted it as his own after being so impressed with the clarity of Gibbs' rhetoric each day.

But, nowhere in that explanation does anyone address why people fighting for their medical security and quality of healthcare aren't worth listening to. We're "wee-wee'ed up" when we want to make our own choices and slow up his socialization of America.

Classless Society

America used to take great pride in pointing out that we were a "classless society"--one in which there were no distinctions made based on our status of birth. We could be mobile, rising or sinking as our merit earned. Now, the simple phrase denotes that we are increasingly a society without any class.

The ubiquitous "gimme" cap, worn from morning til night and not removed for meals, indoors or national anthems is one symbol. The drooping pants exposing the three day old boxer shorts, but mercifully slowing down the thug when fleeing police is still another. The once cute, but now obscene slogan-bearing T-shirts. The pre-pubescent whore getups of the fourth grade girls in schools...

And, who would have ever imagined Jackie Kennedy, Mamie Eisenhower, Nancy Reagan, or Laura Bush going out in public in a foreign land to represent the United States in this get-up:

Can we get someone at the White House to take them aside and offer some guidance?

If We've Lost Cronkite, We've Lost America

That subject title was supposedly Lyndon Johnson's comment when news-sniveler-in-Chief Walter Cronkite mis-characterized the 1968 Tet offensive as an NVN victory and US defeat.

So, what do you suppose the Bamster is thinking about such stalwart news toads as Georgie "Senior Policy Advisor to the President" Stephanopolous reporting:

The People Are Losing Faith

Could this mean that even the ignorati are beginning to notice that the Messiah has no executive experience? Are they realizing that all he does is campaign. Have they discerned that virtually everything he says is made up and unrelated to the truth? Did they notice this week's result of a policy of international engagement and national self-abasement has given us a Scottish smack-down and Libyan celebration of the brutal murder of 189 American citizens?

Remember when the US as a nation used to command international respect? Great excuse for a party:

Saturday Morning Rocker

I love brass backing a rocker. And, Annie Lennox boasts an incredible set of pipes. Mariah, eat your heart out.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

No Rockin' In My Youth

When I was in college in Chicago I used to hang out at a local pizza joint with a dozen other guys. We'd fall in about seven in the evening and drink Pepsi or coffee, maybe go over to the old pool hall above the bowling alley that looked a lot like the place where Fast Eddie got his clock cleaned by Minnesota Fats. We played nothing but straight pool. No eight- or nine-ball ever.

Occasionally we'd pick up a couple of bucks for a delivery. One night a buddy got even more from a lonely housewife who provided more than the usual tip. Mostly it was just hanging out. Come midnight or two in the morning and we'd go home.

There was a juke box and it had the current rock stuff--that was the year the Beatles came to the US. We didn't like rock, but the teen aged girls did, so we'd play the box sometime. Mostly we were into jazz. The son-in-law of the owner was chief pizza flipper for most nights, and he had a collection of more than 3000 jazz LPs. He knew them all.

Once or twice a year on a weekend night, we'd get the urge to catch some live sounds and that meant a trip to the South Side where there were a couple of jazz clubs. It wasn't the safest venue for a bunch of white boys even in those days, but we tried to be polite and not get our butts kicked. 47th and Drexel Boulevard was a tough neighborhood.

One trip was to catch a guy named Roland Kirk. He was black, of course, and blind. His gimmick was that he played three saxophones; the usual tenor or alto and two weird ones called a manzello and a stritch. He played three at one time. Not sequentially, but all at once. And, he made music that was heavily influenced by Charlie Parker and John Coltrane.

He played other instruments as well. He usually had a flute stuffed in the bell of his tenor as he played. He also did a remarkable number on a "nose flute"--which I'm assuming was an even more personal instrument than a saxophone mouthpiece.

Kirk was always full of surprises but his music was real and not gimmicky. Best part of our night was that we also got to see his drummer in those days, a guy named Elvin Jones. Jones was the busiest man on a drum kit that I've ever seen. He seemed to be working on a different tune, but underlying all of his activities, he was still in charge of the beat and laying it down within his patterns.

Elvin Jones split from Kirk a bit later, and as he got older he got a bit more mellow. Still a great one though.

Night in Tunisia is still one of my favorites. Enjoy.

None of Their Business

Remember when the sobriquet for America was "Land of the Free"? It had a nice ring to it. Try to keep it in mind. There isn't going to be much left if things keep going down this road.

Healthcare "reform" has morphed into "health insurance reform" because Americans have started noticing what the Messiah's plan involves. We don't want it. He's facing policy meltdown and he's watching his polling numbers erode by the minute. So, he's got to do what he does best--create a villain for class warfare. You recall those, don't you? They are anybody who is successful. They are anybody who makes more than you do. They are the dastardly 1% that carry the load for the nation by paying as much into federal taxes as the lower 95% of us. They are the ones I want to join!

Take a look at this latest move:

Give Us Your Records and We Will Decide. Resistance is Futile!

Henry Waxman (D-CA) is "investigating compensation and business practices." That translates to an implicit threat to all of us. It says quite clearly that if you attempt to function in your enlightened political self-interest, such as by protecting your business and opposing the Messiah's healtcare proposals, the federal government will litigate and investigate you into oblivion. It's Hoover's FBI wet dream and IRS audit threats on steroids.

Get this:

The request included records relating to compensation of highly paid employees, documents relating to companies' premium income and claims payments, and information on expenses stemming from any event held outside company facilities in the past 2 1/2 years.

A company in a free country should be able to pay their best employees whatever they want, constrained only by the reasonable control of common sense, stockholder oversight and the bottom line. If they pay too much, they can't compete.

An insurance company's premium and claims performance in a free country are reined in by competition with other companies. They have to keep sound underwriting principles in mind and hold premiums at a level which appeals to customers while paying at a rate that keeps policy-holders satisfied.

And, in a free country a company can hold a company picnic, Christmas pary, executive retreat or promotional reward vacation program outside company facilities any time they wish.

That's in a free country however. Mr. Waxman and cohorts apparently don't believe in those basic freedoms any more. I still do.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Yet Another Example

This isn't rocket science folks. We've watched Amtrak, the US Postal Service, Medicare, Social Security, etc demonstrate how effeciently government can operate a service.

They want to take over health care. They are going to reduce costs by doing it more efficiently. Patients won't experience delays or rationed care. Doctors will get paid MORE. That's the promise.

So, how's that working for car dealers on a much smaller scale?

You'll Get Your Money--Eventually

I would be laughing if I weren't so frightened.

Machiavellian Intrigues Afoot

This is going to get interesting. You've got to know that there was some ego sublimation in the negotiations that got Hilllary to support the Messiah, if only by not actively obstructing him, during the last days of the run-up to the general election. Obama clearly had no reason to like her. She had no reason not to feel bitter about the loss of that old Clinton mojo.

The VP slot was never going to be in play for her. He couldn't afford to have Hill's husband as the third member of the menage a trois in the White House. She had already played pretty strongly in the presidential backup role for eight years. What could be offered? The two prizes seem to have been Secretary of State--no way she could have handled Defense--or a Supreme Court nomination. One was a bird in the hand, the other remained perched in some future bush. She got State.

Now, read this:

Who Wants to Talk to Hillary? Anybody? Bueller?

I know I could never be a diplomat. I tend to say what I believe and mean what I say. A top level diplomat needs to be, well...diplomatic. What to make then of this:

In a bizarre name-calling exchange last month during Clinton's trip to Asia, she compared the North Koreans to "unruly children" demanding attention, and Pyongyang's foreign ministry retaliated by calling her a "funny lady" who sometimes "looks like a primary schoolgirl and sometimes a pensioner going shopping." The ministry was quoted as calling her remarks "vulgar" and saying "she is by no means intelligent." The State Department returned fire with another tapestry of put-downs.

And, of course last week's set to about the questioning student who really meant "what did President Obama think" about a topic, not President Clinton. That was undiplomatic for sure.

So, what is going to happen on this front. She's a street brawler. He's a Chicago capo. The turf war is going to be bloody. The nation meanwhile remains adrift with sparks in the tinder.

Shamelessness Continues

So, the best way to assuage fears that Obamacare is bad healthcare policy is to bring out your supporting doctors like this one at the Barney Frank meeting:

Didn't Play one on TV Either

C'mon, really. What gives these people the right?

Shame on You MSNBC!

Can this be anything but intentional:

By now you've seen coverage of the AR-toting attendee in Phoenix at the Messiah's event. Did you gag at the MSNBC discussion of the racist overtones of the gun-carrying citizens and how displeased they are in their narrow red-neck minds about a black President?

Can you seriously believe that MSNBC and these three "journalists" didn't know that the carbine-carrying citizen was an African American?

This is simply disgraceful.

Viral Power

So, you've got a billion dollar company and you have to know that your industry is viewed with a lot of hostility by our customers. You simply haven't made any sort of effort to keep up with service when your product is undeniably service.

You run late, you cancel flights, you strand people, you lose or damage luggage, and your "customer service representatives" are largely unresponsive. What would it take for a company that size to have forestalled this viral wave which is spreading their bad name around the country.

What to do when you have talent and a bad experience:

That's right, you spread the word about what they did to you. People notice. And, if once is good, twice is better:

Another big hat tip to Billy Beck for that lead.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

It Isn't Altruistic

I've never had the slightest inclination to sign up for AARP. They send me propaganda almost monthly. They tout all of the advantages I would get from membership, like discounted motel rooms. I frankly prefer places that offer a veteran's discount or NRA rake-off. I don't need their discount.

When you watch the group, you find out pretty quickly why AARP attracts their base. They are advocates of social welfare. They are an interest group that demands government take from the successful and dole out to the old folks. That is attractive to a lot of elderly, particularly those on fixed income who scrimp to get by. It's still redistribution of wealth and socialism, however.

Now, their true colors are exposed. They are big Obamacare supporters. And, they are paying a price.

We Aren't Concerned. We Don't Need Them.

The group is shedding members like an elm tree in autumn dumps its leaves. But, they clearly state that they don't care what those former members want. They, like all liberals, know what is best for you.

What's with that?

Stop and think about AARP for a minute. What are they most known for? It isn't motel discounts, is it? It is for supplemental insurance to fill the inadequacies of Medicare!

What is Obamacare about? It is about reducing federal expenditures for Medicare--hence more folks needing a healthcare supplemental policy. It is about stretching the leaky Medicare umbrella over 40 million more folks who will now be potential AARP insurance clients.

By jumping big on the Obama bandwagon, AARP is securing their place at the table when the socialization bill finally gets into law. They will be primed to be the largest supplemental insurance provider in the nation.

It is pretty clear why they don't worry about those fleeing members. It's all about the Benjamins, not the grandmas and grandpas.

Pointless Research

I'm continually amazed at the sort of things supposedly intelligent, educated researchers will delve into and quantify in an earth-shaking report.

They do stuff like research to find out that men like beer and gravitate toward hot women with incredible pectoral development who respond to their advances. Who would have known?

Now, we've got this:

Twitter Me This, He Said Pointlessly

Wow, would you have ever guessed? Forty percent of "tweets" are pointless babble!

I think I'll apply for a government grant to study whether that percentage holds up as well in texting. If that works out for me, I'll then conduct an in-depth study to determine who the hell all those soccer moms are cell-phoning while on the way to daycare with a van full of toddlers at 7:30 in the morning. It must be important, but why so many of them?

Monday, August 17, 2009

A Bad Pitch

Some parts of the bad salespitch are obvious. When no one has ever seen a competent government run program, free of kickbacks, payoffs and favoritism, it would seem a poor policy to pitch your proposal of national healthcare by suggesting it would be an improvement. That doesn't make much sense.

The Post Office is costing more in both postage and subsidies each year, while seriously contemplating massive reductions in service. Amtrak only provides a token practical service along the Boston/New York/Washington corridor while the rest of the nation is without passenger rail transit. Social Security offers much less than if a worker had put the same money in an investment account and is postulated to disappear in a generation without massive changes. Medicare doesn't do badly, but still is in dire financial straits, is usually less than satisfactory coverage and inevitably requires a supplemental free-market insurance plan.

So, let's get another big helping of government for our healthcare needs. Really?

Let me give you an example of the bad sales pitch from the Grand Junction event. The Messiah touted the discontination of Medicare Advantage plans as an improvement and a savings.

Are you familiar with Medicare replacement programs called Medicare Advantage?

My mother-in-law was 87 when her husband died. She had good healthcare coverage with the supplemental program that his retirement plan provided. She saw specialists, had the bills paid, and when her husband fell ill the plan covered nearly a quarter of a million dollars in medical bills. It was good coverage.

A government program (someone quiet those sirens and warning horns going off...)called COBRA provided for her to be continued in his health plan for three years. She would pay premiums of nearly $400 a month to get the benefit of that program. No drug coverage though, no eye exams, no dental either. And co-payments.

We worried when the three years were approaching the end. How does one seek a supplemental health insurance plan on a 90 year old woman with a history of heart attack, cancer and a routine menu of geriatric ailments? What could it cost?

Enter Medicare Advantage. I went searching for Medicare supplements prepared for disaster. I found a veritable cornucopia of competing (that's a great word!) plans from private insurers. Some were supplements but the best coverage was labeled Medicare Advantage. Lots of companies offered them.

They give you healthcare insurance and then get compensated for part of their expenses by Medicare. No Medicare claims for the doctor--he/she goes directly to the insurance provider. There is generally no co-payment. Doctors apparently get paid better than Medicare because we never found a specialist or practitioner reluctant to accept it. Virtually everything was covered--eyes, dental, prescriptions, etc. The plan was great not because it brought government in, but because it fenced government out. It interceded between patient, doctor and insurance to deal with Medicare bureaucrats.

Best part of all, it cost that 90 year old frail lady, $120 a month--and it was the gold-plated premier edition. Some plans were as low as $30 or $40 a month. When she passed away last spring after a blessedly short illness, virtually every expense was covered.

The Messiah promised to do away with Medicare Advantage plans. That will save us money he promised.

Oh boy, I can hardly wait.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Some interesting numbers found at Dr. Sanity:

1. U.K.’s heart-attack fatality rate is almost 20% higher than America’s

2. Angioplasties in Britain are only 21.3% as common as they are here

3. NICE ruled against the use of two drugs, Lapatinib and Sutent, that prolong the life of those with certain forms of breast and stomach cancer

4. Breast cancer in America has a 25% mortality rate; in Britain it’s almost double at 46%

5. Prostate cancer kills 19% of American and 57% of Brits

6. in 2006, a U.K-based board decreed that elderly patients with macular degeneration had to wait until they went blind in one eye before they could get a costly new drug to save the other eye. It took three years to get that outrageous decree reversed.

7. NICE will cut annual steroid injections for severe back pain from 60,000 to 3,000. Result? “It will mean more people on opiates, which are addictive and kill 2,000 a year. It will mean more people having spinal surgery, which is incredibly risky and has a 50% failure rate.”

8. Nearly 1.8 million people are waiting for a hospital admission or outpatient treatment

9. U.S. = 34 CT scanners per million; Britain = 8

10. U.S. = 27 MRI machines per million; Britain = 6

11. Brits wait twice as long to see a specialist than Americans

12. In U.S., recommended age for colon-cancer screening for men begins at 50. NHS starts at age 75.

13. Avastin, a drug for advanced colon cancer, is prescribed more often in the U.S. than in the U.K., by some estimates as much as 10 times more.

14. In U.K., 20% of potentially curable lung-cancer patients became incurable on the waiting list.

Memo to Messiah

In re: Grand Junction Campaign Stop

From: "Thunder", AKA "Fast Eddie", AKA "concerned management"

Just a few notes I jotted down from watching your staged event yesterday in GJ Colorado.

1.) Don't call it a "town meeting"--the drooling faces of mindless fools arrayed as backdrop aren't random citizens. They are props. They don't represent America and they don't represent Colorado, except for maybe Boulder.

2.) A debate isn't what you had, regardless of you calling it that at least a dozen times. FYI, a debate involves two sides discussing a subject--that means give and take. Particularly it means rebuttal and questioning of your position after you state it.

3.) Admit that you don't answer questions. You merely create the illusion of response. Someone asks a question--like that surprisingly market-driven student from UC Boulder--and then you regurgitate your memorized talking points which don't relate to what was asked. You are non-responsive, so stop the facade.

4.) Review your script. It is absurd. You start a spiel and before you finish the second sentence you have demolished your first premise.

5.) Recognize that there is NO SUCH THING AS A FREE LUNCH. You may shorten that in future correspondence to TNSTAAFL. You must pay for what you are going to give out. Tell that to your customers. The government has nothing to dispense except what you first take from the citizens.

6.) Stop blaming the previous administration. They are gone. You are in charge. You have quadrupled the deficit you found in place when you took the position.

7.) Stand back and examine your continued references to Medicare. You can't say it is going broke within ten years and then expect us to believe that providing coverage under a similar model to everyone will fare better.

8.) Drop the "Death Panel" issue unless you really want to explain what would be talked about by "end-of-life" counselors.

9.) Desist with the Fedex/UPS example of surviving private companies while USPS founders. It ranks with the Medicare failure as a very poor example. I don't want healthcare at Post Office quality.

10.) Consider using America's dismantled passenger rail service instead of the Post Office if you must use a government program example. Amtrak is certainly a model that fits your imagery. But, it sucks too.

11.) Finally, go back to Washington and function as the chief executive. You won the Presidency. You don't need to campaign. You don't need to sell. You need to run the country--even if you've never run any other enterprise in your life.

12.) Look into maybe a correspondence course on business management. They can send you study materials in plain brown envelopes so no one will notice what you get. Learn about profit/loss, accounting, cost/benefit analysis, and maybe even some leadership skills.

Now, get back to work. We're watching you and so far we are disappointed in your job performance. I've got to tell you we may need to replace you and some of your co-workers soon if things don't change.

Da Boss

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Saturday Rocker Part II

Some simply incredible footage here from the developmental period. Watch the sequence in a full-blown "departure" (that's swept-wing talk for a spin)--I did that one time through sheer airplane abuse and when I stopped abusing, it resumed flying.

Also catch the basket-jab and you will understand why boom-receptacle refueling is a whole lot easier than probe-and-drogue.

How Low Can You Go?

What does it take to get these people to tell the truth?

I'm Not A Doctor, But I Did Stay in a Holiday Inn Express Last Night

Once again Billy Beck gives me a lead to the good stuff.

Bigotry Defined and Racism Reviled

A well conceived and presented piece at American Thinker this morning on the "teachable moment" of the Gates/Crowley affair.

When It Is and When It Isn't

One can only wonder if any Americans really understood Dr. King when he said he sought a color blind America that wouldn't judge on the color of a man's skin. If that is what he truly meant, and I've little reason to doubt his clear language, then we've got a whole bunch of folks ignoring the concept.

Saturday Morning Rocker

A little bit of a head-banger for your weekend:

Friday, August 14, 2009


Much has changed since these days of my childhood. I remember being awed by the downtown's skyscrapers and the classic edifices along the water front that anchored the 1933 World's Fair.

It is a lot different today and I'm not sure it is for the better:

Remember Sarah?

In case you haven't been watching, Sarah Palin has not returned to "Kuche und Kinder" since resigning as Alaska's governor. She has been quite active, albeit unnoticed by a lot of the mainstream media, in speaking and posting thoughtful items at various networking and blogging sites. She is cutting deep.

With the healthcare debacle on the August recess forefront, she's been delivering death blows to the death panels by simply uncovering the words that the Messiah's minions have spoken or written. Here's a recent result of her efforts:

There's No Such Thing in the Bill, That's Why They are Taking it Out

It certainly follows that if someone is an adherent of an economic system like socialism/central planning which has failed everywhere it has been implemented, that they might not be the sharpest knife in the drawer. In Chicago politics, however, it hasn't always been brains that controlled the organization. Brawn has sufficed quite adequately. Rhodes scholars don't become union goons.

So, we find Dr. Emmanuel--brother of White House consigliere, Rahm--piously pronouncing that the idea of "end-of-life" counseling and panels of bureaucrats weighing the cost effectiveness of treating your conditions versus how long you can continue to pay taxes into their system was never part of their plan. Never!

That's why, in response to increasing public awareness, the Senate decided to remove it from their bill--although it was never there in the first place, they've now taken it out.

Nothing to see here, Citizen. Move along now.

Keep it up, Sarah. This is why you scared them so much!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Omigod! The Cost Curve

Statistics are wonderful things, provided they measure something relevant to the discussion. I try to illustrate that to my classes, particularly in State & Local Government where we regularly encounter comparisons of expenditures on some problem by state. The text book dumps out a ranking by state of spending on public education showing Texas at a considerable disadvantage. Usually we rank down around 45th in per capita spending on K-12.

I ask the students to discuss whether that sort of rating is relevant. Typically they bleat something about large versus small size or population skewing the numbers. I patiently explain to these college students what "per capita" means. They may or may not get it.

But, the issue is really whether amount spent equates with quality of learning. Can you compare California, or New York, or Massachusetts to the wide-open spaces of Texas? Does cost of living skew what you need to spend on staff, facilities, infrastructure, etc.? Can Brownsville TX be compared dollar-for-dollar with Washington DC, San Francisco CA or Detroit MI? Brownsville couldn't spend as much eduating their kids if they paid each teacher four times as much as they do now. And, the kids probably will never be able to be as mis-educated or under-taught as they are in DC or Chicago.

The principles of examining relevance of statistics are very important in the health care debate. Have you been stunned by the oft repeated factoid that more than 80% of healthcare costs are expended in the last year of life? Wow!...So What?

For most of your adult life you don't need to see a doctor. If you do, the costs are minimal. You only wind up requiring major hospitalization, surgeries, high-tech diagnostics, exotic therapies, and the most advanced medical interventions when you are at end-game. Nothing we do will ever change that immutable fact.

So, when they say they will front load expenditures to reduce that last year of life burden, it won't be because regular check-ups are saving a hell of a lot. It will be through cutting end care. When you do that, people will die more effeciently (at lower cost). That, however, won't change the proportion of dollars spent in last year of life. It will simply mean that last year of life, with all of its financial burden will occur earlier.

Examine numbers carefully. If they stun or amaze you don't run screaming to the government to "do something." The fact is that the stunning numbers may be totally irrelevant. And what the government will want to do isn't what you would choose for yourself willingly.

The Day the Music Died

A guitar is a magical instrument in many hands. Here is one in the hands of the genius who invented it. At age 83, he was still a master.

Les Paul passed away today and will be kicking it in a whole new venue. Should be a long running gig.

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

So, is there a stupidity epidemic in the United States? Is everyone suffering terminal dumbing down? Let's look at this new viddie:

Let's start with the dumbo with the commando rig on his lower thigh. I've lived in several states which in the past had legal "open carry" rules. When I saw a guy in a small mountain town in Arizona with a six gun on his hip, I kind of felt real cowboy about the scene. It was cool, in a weird sort of way. It was also a bit immature and sort of inflammatory, but it was perfectly legal.

Today, doing that sort of thing is simply feeding the hopolophobic frenzy of the illiterati. It is stupid.

But, in New Hampshire as the local police commissar explained to the bleating news stooge, it is perfectly legal to carry openly and display your stupidity. It befits the state motto: "Live Free or Die"!

The stupidity isn't one sided though. Note the two dueling banjo reporters doing the horrified scene. "Apparently the gun is registered"! Duh, would someone tell him that in most states in this country guns aren't required to be "registered." It is our Constitutional right to keep and bear them.

Would someone tell the bleating bimbo that just because she is damp in her panties we don't call the storm troopers to "Get him out of there." At least not yet.

And if firearms make them all nervous when they see them, would someone mention that for every dolt they see like that, they have already walked past literally thousands of their fellow citizens in this country passing them with concealed carry training and their personal defensive weapons. Society around them is armed and polite--they just don't notice.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Ironic Isn't It?

I simply gag each time he goes off prompter. It is sequential train wrecks unrolling before my eyes. It is like America's Worst Videos being done live. It is one of those reality cops shows with the car chase that you know won't end well. It would be fun if it weren't so tragic.

So, the Messiah wants to run healthcare. He will beat up on those nasty insurance companies and with a wave of his hand overturn the principles of risk underwriting. He will eliminate the realities of free market profits and regulate everything for everyone who doesn't already have it under penalty of severe fines and/or prison. That will make everyone love him.

With 83% of Americans currently happy with their healthcare situation it is tough to stir the emergency mode. People asked him about the private option after government insurance is established. We want to keep what we've got.

He reassured them about the ability of private insurance to compete with government by citing Fedex and UPS as successful while the US Postal Service is a disaster!

I rolled on the floor with this! He cites the abject failure of a government run enterprise to support his wanting to bring healthcare into the same bureacratic bungling cycle!

He could have mentioned Amtrak as well...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Past and Future

Listen to the story of the song...yet another prophetic piece:

Hat tip to Billy Beck for keying this memory today. Take minute or two to read how it impacts his memory and fears as well.

Equalizaton of Opportunity Act

The bill is the Equalization of Opportunity Act--the concept is that some exceptionally successful private companies do so at the expense of less creative and well managed elements of their industry. It seeks to provide sharing of proprietary technologies to enable those weaker companies the opportunity to succeed. It enhances fairness throughout America.

During a town hall meeting one of the citizens queried why some companies were apparently fleeing the East and West coasts for the environment in one of our Western states. The questioner wanted to know why.

Why are they all running to Colorado? What have they got there that we haven't got? I don't see it. It's a backward, primitive, unenlightened place. They don't even have a modern government. It's the worst government in any state. The laziest. It does nothing--outside of keeping law courts and a police department. It doesn't do anything for the people. It doesn't help anybody. I don't see why all our best companies want to run there.

Does that resonate? Does that reflect the attitude of America? Do you see the fallacy?

And, do you realize the scenario of fiction?

It was written in 1957. It was fiction then, but it is very relevant today. It is from Ayn Rand's masterpiece, Atlas Shrugged. Get a copy and read it today. You probably read it in the '60s. Maybe you picked it up, noted the size, and opted for the Cliff Notes version. Read it. Read it all. It is the most important book you will read in several lifetimes.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Closing the Loopholes

The townhall meetings are a clear indictment of the controllers of our government. They keep claiming that these are fake demos, unlike their own familiar stuff, yet the videos on the news are pretty convincing to most viewers.

The Messiah claims it is simply disinformation from people to whom he has not been perfectly clear. Yet, the words on paper are considerably different than the words pouring out of His mouth as McQ points out:

Why It Isn't Selling

Now, consider how another famous government program works. Take a look at the US Postal Service. The costs keep going up, the service keeps going down and the free market keeps opting out. That's what they can't allow with the healthcare remake.

Once upon a time the USPS was the only game in town. I remember as a boy the long lines at Christmas as folks waited in line to mail packages. They could only be wrapped in plain brown paper and tied with twine. White paper couldn't suffice and tape was verboten. You couldn't simply take a cardboard box and seal it with some tape then scribble an address on it. You also had to buy "insurance" or they would lose it enroute or crush it to a pulp.

A company with some brown trucks changed all of that. Now you don't wait in line, you don't worry about insurance, you grab some tape and any box, and you can follow the progress of your package across the country online. Success in free enterprise.

Another company saw a market for overnight document delivery. They charged a bit more than a stamp, but you could drop it off before 6 PM and get it hand delivered anywhere in the nation by 10 AM the next day. Pretty cool concept and they pulled it off.

Both UPS and Fedex are great success stories and the Postal Service is a disaster.

That is precisely why the legislation on healthcare reform simply must outlaw any free enterprise solution or market choices. It seems perfectly clear to me.

Saturday Morning Rocker

Try not to think of California raisins:

Friday, August 07, 2009

Healthcare Homerun

Iowahawk does a great job of spreading the word on what to look for at your town hall healthcare meeting:

Running Dog Lackeys in Your Town

Watch for the hobnailed Sperry Topsiders...

Democracy in Action

So, get yourself a dozen union goons tipping the scales at 250 pounds plus and simply silence the voices:

In Denver speaker Pelosi calls it "the democratic process"--somehow ignoring the fact that people are upset, angry and not supporting the Messiah's agenda:

Talk to the hand!

When they disagree with you simply spin them as rioting kooks. The MSNBC approach to this is so obviously biased and in the tank for the Messiah that it makes one want to throw bricks at the screen.

See, it should be clear. If you don't want a government bureaucrat prescribing your demise when you really need a doctor, then you aren't entitled to express that opinion in modern America. Yeah, we've got to "reform" and stamp out free enterprise profit-making. Ptui!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

President Rethinks His Agenda

This on the news this afternoon:

Obama Drastically Scales Back Goals For America After Visiting Denny's

The Will to Win

This is August 6th.

On this day in 1945, President Harry S Truman acted decisively to win the war against Japan and in the process to save hundreds of thousands of lives of both Allies and Japanese.

The application of decisive force without hesitation has since been second-guessed by hand-wringing anti-nuclear activists, but no revisionist history can ever deny that the action ended the war conclusively.

Hand salute to Paul Tibbets and the crew of Enola Gay.

On Display at Udvar-Hazy

Wheels Coming Off

It is pretty tough to turn on the news this week and not get some viddie of a townhall meeting degenerating into a shoutdown by citizens expressing their opinion of the health care debacle. This is clearly why the Messiah didn't want the congress-critters to go home for recess where the voice of the people might be heard.

The efforts to control this meltdown are very old school. Some are so outrageous that even the morlocks and eloi of the country are becoming aware. Try this on for size:

Forward All Disagreements to the White House Gestapo Office

Isn't that special? Swap an email about your healthcare opinions and get reported to the thought police. Isn't that a particularly American way of doing business? Big Brother, however, is still dependent upon you ratting out your neighbors. They will have to get on the ball and get more monitoring equipment installed in our homes next year.

Meanwhile, the seniors who are expressing outrage are characterized as some sort of unwashed partisan shills who don't represent the 80+% of Americans who are happy with their healthcare. That's right, you are just a party mouthpiece and not really a citizen.

I wonder how they never got upset by the Code Pink loons who used to disrupt Republican meetings.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Saratoga to Steamboat

Rode 125 miles from Saratoga WY to Steamboat Springs CO. It was a ride from 1880 to 2009. The quiet, frontier atmosphere of Saratoga's tiny main street exchanged for the bustle of modern luxury on the ski mountain. All of the way the beauty is incredible. One can look in almost any direction and see antelope. It would take twilight to bring the deer out.

One cannot help but be dazzled by the vastness that is America. My perverse side longed for a magic genie to take the regal Obama family by some mysterious warp of the space continuum and dump them on the open prairie two lane road in an environmentally approved eco-car with a 40 mile battery range and asking them to survive for two weeks.

He could keep his Blackberry--no bars there. He could take his government stimulus check--no place to cash it. He could take his 220 volt recharge extension cord--no place to plug it in. He couldn't take a gun, because private citizens don't need them in his world.

I'm betting he'd be good for about four days. That is unless the wolves, a grizzly, or a half dozen of the ranchers get to him first.

Nah, it won't happen. But I can dream.

Tonight it is a magnificent king sized bed, a Jacuzzi tub big enough for five, a glass of wine with a mountain view in a beautiful suite at the Steamboat Grand. Life is very, very good today.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Calling a Spade a Spade

Increasingly we are hearing about the capo de tutti capi enforcing the rule of the Don with threats and intimidation. It is a way of doing business where I come from, but it seems to be getting some blowback in the big game:

You Can't Pull That Here, Rahm

I like that sort of gumption. Let's hope we see a lot more of it in the coming months. This is supposed to be a democratic republic, not a corrupt crime family or old-style political machine.

You Want a Dead Horse in Your Bed

The control of the press is important to any dictatorial government. Goebbels worked that to near perfection for Hitler. Baghdad Bob wasn't quite so convincing for Sadaam, but he tried. Now we've got Rahm Emmanuel greasing the skids for the Messiah to keep the news media, "All Obama, All the Time."

The networks got in bed early on. They sold their souls and now Mephistopheles comes several days a week to demand some tribute. Failure to kowtow is surely going to risk nationalization.

Continuing the Dialogue With America

Mark Steyn crunches the numbers that the bleating network moguls are griping about. The simple fact that Presidents pre-empt prime time only when they have something newsworthy to say is escaping His Highness. He just demands adulation at regular intervals to feed his narcissistic ego.

The grabbing of an hour whenever the spirit moves him costs the networks a lot of money. They lose advertising of course, but they also break continuity in their programming schedule. Most relevant, however, is that they undeniably are losing audience when he shows up.

The compelling urge to watch and see if there is a train wreck like calling the Cambridge cops stupid isn't enough to overcome the gag reflex at watching his head sway from left prompter to right prompter as he tells more lies.

Hubris in Action

"Who ya gonna believe, me or your lyin' eyes?"

So, we've got a video of the Messiah talking about creating a government run single-payer health insurance mandate and describing his view that it will take a decade and a little bit to strangle all the private insurance companies out of existance.

That seems a smoking gun for most Americans who couldn't read or interpret written words. But, never underestimate the willingness to stand up with a straight face and tell you that isn't what you saw:

It Was a Blogger's Mash-up and Not What it Looks Like

Well, let's give Him the benefit of the doubt. Let's just consider what we've seen so far in the thousand plus page proposed bill.

It clearly establishes a government run health care plan for those who otherwise don't have insurance. It also quite clearly mandates that employers provide health care for their employees. It further fines employers who won't offer insurance. And it pays premiums for those who won't pay themselves. Either you qualify for a handout or you will be fined as well for failing to subscribe.

Government health care won't require co-pays or sharing as does private insurance, so folks will leave their current plans and migrate to government insurance. That will reduce the risk pool size for the private plans and make them unviable as a business.

So, you can believe the White House talking head/spin-meister or you can simply read the proposals and listen to the devious pronouncements of the Messiah. Your conclusions should be easy to reach.

Monday, August 03, 2009

The Trout Leap in Main Street

Three days being lazy here:

Cool breeze, bright sunshine, friendly folks and cold beer.

The North Platte River winds through town. The hot springs soak the aches from my bones and I don't smell like sulfur when I get out. Food is acceptable if maybe not in line for a Michelin star. Life is good.

The Big Country

It's been this sort of an experience this week: