Monday, February 28, 2011

Number Five With a Bullet

Hitting the charts this week and sure to be a number one single in a couple  of days:

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Way It Works

I'm sure you've seen it before, but it remains a classic:

He Knows Ugly

Fashion designers are expected to be a bit eccentric. That makes them "edgy" and avant-garde. But this guy takes it to a whole new level:

People in Glass Houses...

I honestly can't imagine why someone would seek out the latest from the mind of this misfit for their spring couture.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Where's Jefferson

The line is classic, "Millions for defense but not one cent for tribute!" It would be good for the Messiah and his national security stumblers to review the history as we watch the north coast of Africa melt down and half of the east coast of Africa become a modern Spanish Main.
Frigate Philadelphia, Tripoli Harbor, 1804
For those a bit shaky on their history here's the rundown:

"to the shores of Tripoli..."

We might be revisiting the halls of Montezuma as well if Mexico continues to deteriorate.

Saturday Morning Rocker

Hat tip to Billy Beck for reminding me about this one:

Friday, February 25, 2011

Separation of Powers

We've got a Constitution that provides three branches of government, each with distinct powers. For each power that a branch exercises there is a restraint available to the other two branches to protect the overall structure.

The legislature enacts laws. That is their job. Given those laws, the executive administers the programs and enforces the laws. If the executive wants a law or policy, he asks the legislature to enact such laws. If he is dissatisfied with a policy, he can seek for the legislature to modify, repeal or supplement those policies. The judiciary protects the rights of the people and defends those not in the majority from political abuse through the legislative and executive branch. The judiciary has the sole power to declare an act of Congress or an executive policy not in consonance with the Constitution. As a check to this power, the legislature can than rewrite a law or otherwise bring it in compliance. The executive can redraw regulations in conformity to the judgment of the courts.

This week, however, the Bamster declared a law which has been in effect for fifteen years to be unconstitutional and indefensible. This was done independently of the courts or the legislature.

Gingrich Speaks Strongly on Abuses

OK, we know that Newt Gingrich is a potential presidential contender for 2012. So, he's got an interest in highlighting the behavior of the incumbent. I think he has said something which needs saying though. Unfortunately most Americans are unaware of the roles of the three branches. They've been trained to believe that individuals interpret law for themselves rather than living under an objective rule-of-law.

Most importantly, few on either side of the issue will be able to detach the law's subject itself from the outrage of the President's action. It doesn't matter a whit what the law itself is dealing with, the issue is an executive usurpation of power and making his own rules to suit his agenda.

Leaving Them Speechless

The toadies at MSNBC made a mistake when they invited this Harvard scholar to speak. He effectively dismantles them and they sit slack-jawed waiting for him to say, "But..." and then praise the Messiah for the masterful way he rode it out without getting splashed on.

I suspect Niall Ferguson won't be invited back soon and isn't on  the short list for the next Motown concert at the White House.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Everybody Loves Santana

Remember This

We all know how these things play out after the propaganda mill cranks up to high RPM. So, please read this WSJ item and maybe bookmark it or print out a hardcopy for after the Internet is shutdown in the coming emergency:

We've Got the WMD Numbers

Got that? Yellowcake, chemical agents, precursor chemicals, etc. Plenty of details to be denied in future months but this isn't a wild-eyed wingnut blog site that is publishing the story. It's the bastion of serious reporting in America. Possibly the last one we have left.

Scheduling Conflict

Yesterday's vacuous announcement on the Libya situation showed once again how adrift the President is on foreign policy. People are dying each hour in Libya and a despot whose time is long past is bringing his military forces to bear against his own people, much like Sadaam Hussein and his gassing of Kurds in the former Iraq.

Hillary will be off to Geneva next week! That should take care of things.

But, there are important things to do today and our fearless leader is on top of it:

Celebration of Motown at White House

I mean it isn't like there is anything else going on which might pre-empt his time.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I'm So Relieved

Remember those campaign ads during the primaries that Hillary was running in which the phone rang at three in the morning and the question was whom you trusted to be able to respond to that emergency crisis competently.

Libya is in shambles. Any facade of sanity that Qaddafi supposedly had has been ripped aside and the madman is ordering his military to use absurdly outrageous force against his own people. It brought to mind that great quote at the beginning of Gladiator when the second-in-command says to Maximus, "A people ought to know when they've been conquered." Here it should be that a dictator ought to know when his days are expired.

On the global oil markets the price of a barrel of crude has soared to $100 today. Gas prices have already responded with a spike back into the mid-$3 range and over $4 in the tax-happy blue states like California. That is a direct impact on the American people and the struggling economy.

Who answered the White House phone at 3:00 AM this week?

Teen-ager Says His Daddy Might Comment Later

The Middle East is in flames and the press secretary notes that the president has a "scheduling conflict"! Is this like a quick run to Madison to bolster the flagging spirits of the union workers? Is he campaigning in eastern Illinois to the delinquent Indiana legislators? Maybe he's got one of those fly-off dinner dates in Chicago or NYC with the bride.

The clown show is getting old and decidedly dangerous.

No Excuse

A doctor and Wisconsin legislator speaks out:

Voter's Choice

Who says we are too stupid for democracy? Well, to be absolutely honest, I do quite often.

The best satire is always right on the ragged edge of what is possible:

Nation Elects First Openly Drunk Senator

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Playing Dominoes

First it was Wisconsin. We've been watching it for a week and about an hour ago I gagged as I watched FoxNews interview the president of the Milwaukee WI teacher's union studiously avoid the very simply question about whether or not "doctors" providing fake excuses and then teachers lying to administrators about their whereabouts for the past week. He couldn't get himself to say it was unethical and illegal or even simply poor judgment.

The talking points told him to whine about democracy and process and having a voice and the will of the people and the teacher's concerns for the chillun's education. He missed all the parts about elections and legislative majorities and constitutional process and debate on the issues. He missed the essentials that parents and non-union teachers and school boards have plenty of motivation to take care of educating the children without a union. It was pathetic.

Then Gov. Kasich in Ohio saw the rising swell of union professional pickets similarly unwilling to deal with the outcome of a free election and a shifting majority in the state.

Now we've got yet another bunch that don't quite get the idea that the will of the people is expressed in the majority outcome of elections and that legislation is the means of expressing that will.

Indiana Democrats Seek Political Asylum in the Land of Obama (formerly Lincoln)

A refresher course in free market economics might be in order. Possibly a review of the way these things work in red states which don't seem to have a problem functioning very competitively and effectively without public service unions...or for that matter manufacturing, trades and corporate operations unions.

Then maybe some simple math with take-home exercises in which you determine what constitutes a majority and how election votes are counted.

Dominoes are falling in blue states and there seems a good chance that some union toes are going to be impacted by the collapsing tile structure.

The Proper Role of Government

For your consideration without further comment:

Cutting Legislation in the Bay Area

Moyels for freedom, arise!

Attention in the Cemetery

It's get out the vote day in Chicago and I wonder whether my mother will be voting. Yes, she passed away ten years ago and is buried in St. Adelbert's Cemetery on the northside, but that's one of the most reliable voting blocks in the ward.

It Takes a Majority to Win

Let there be no doubt about it. This will be a classic exercise in Chicago democracy. It can be nothing else. Filling the Daley legacy and assuming the reins of the regime is a done deal, of course. The only question is whether the carpetbagger from Pennsylvania Ave. is going to sweep the 50%+1 today or he is going to be discreet and pick one of the three other contenders to be the run-off sacrificial lamb. Appearances are important. It has to look real.

I wonder if anyone applied to the United Nations to send Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton as impartial observers of the process.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Texas Style

In Texas the state legislature convenes for 140 calendar days every odd-numbered year. The biennial session is currently in Austin and with massive Republican majorities in both chambers,  a bill which passed the Senate but died in the House two years ago is certain to pass this time around:

Campus Concealed Carry Coming

What amazes me, is the dialog from people who seem to be totally oblivious to the evidence on this issue.
"Things do look bleak," said Colin Goddard, assistant director of federal legislation for the Brady Campaign Against Gun Violence, who was in Austin recently to lobby against the bills.
Goddard was a student at Virginia Tech when he was shot four times in his French class. Student Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people, including 10 in Goddard's classroom, before shooting himself. Goddard dismisses the idea that another student with a gun could have stopped the killer.
"People tell me that if they would have been there, they would have shot that guy. That offends me," Goddard said. "People want to be the hero, I understand that. They play video games and they think they understand the reality. It's nothing like that."
A few short years ago, Colin was the pop up in a shooting gallery and got hit four times while 32 of his classmates died. That appears to be his qualification for his job with Brady.

He blissfully ignores the fact that the shooter was undeterred by laws prohibiting carry on campus. He is willing to ignore the history in the 39 states with extensive concealed carry right now. He won't confess that shootings on campus have occurred with increasing regularity over the last 25 years. He doesn't notice that the supposedly extensive campus police and security force was not able to mitigate the shootings he experienced even slightly.

He is totally focussed on the misguided idea that a person has no right to fight for their own life but should wait patiently curled under their desk for the grim reaper to appear by their side. He won't acknowledge the possibility that undisclosed guns in a classroom might have deterred the shooter let alone the very high probability that defensive reaction could have ended the massacre.

I learned long ago as I face my classrooms in Colorado, where we did not have a campus policy prohibiting licensed concealed carry, that there are some very weird students in today's world. I am not enhanced in my safety by being disarmed in their presence. On the contrary, I recognized the threat and prepared myself accordingly.

Today the campus where I teach does have a gun-free policy. I still recognize the threat and prepare myself accordingly.

Enactment of the proposed legislation will be a good thing. But, for me very little will change.

"Anytime Baby"!

It was the "Line of Death" and Qaddafi drew it across the Gulf of Sidra. Cross it and his indomitable forces would kick some serious butt. Don't ever lay down that kind of a challenge to a carrier full of Tomcat pilots on cruise in the Med. The result was "Splash two MiGs" and an entire industry creating T-shirts for carrier crews with the motto, "Anytime, Baby!"

The reports are this morning that Mohammar Qaddafi has fled the country, apparently taking his entire wardrobe of impressive medal-bedecked uniforms with him.

And, there has been a crossing of the Line of Death again:

Malta is Very Nice This Time of Year

A bully in the schoolyard is pretty much the same around the world when you stand up to him.

Who Defended The Romans?

I got my USAF commission through AFROTC. It gave me a direct route to pilot training, a job immediately after graduation, a start to my planned career, and a small stipend (a long way from a scholarship) to help me through school. For many who can't get an appointment to one of the service academies, it is a route to the service which they want to give for their country. For some like me, who got an appointment to USAFA on the second try, it was still a good alternative and I took advantage of it.

We hear that academia has gone far left in America, particularly on the east and west coast where the prestigious top-tier universities prevail. The evidence has been around for decades now about animosity toward the military in general and ROTC in particular. The touchstone of justification for the position has evolved to the question of discrimination based on sexual orientation. The reasoning being that the military doesn't allow openly gay members, therefore the military is inherently evil and must be thwarted. The ROTC is a route for those who select it to serve in the military. Although no one is compelled to choose ROTC, the mere presence of such ideas among our superior students would corrupt them behind belief. Their ideas might not survive.

Columbia Jeers Wounded Warrior

Who defends these children of privilege who lack the courage to defend themselves? Are they so isolated intellectually that they do not recognize that there are threats to our national security? Are they so naive as to believe that a nice campfire, a round of s'Mores and a rousing chorus of Kumbaya will solve the world's problems?

Are they expecting to outsource the fighting and be able to remain recumbent in their togas sucking on grapes and fine wine?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Interesting Parallel

Here's an interesting look at the emerging capability of the F-35:

The comparisons are going to seem outrageous to some, but when you check the graphs, the specs and the commentary of Dr. Kopp, a well-respected military aviation analyst in Australia, you begin to see that he's got something here:

Maybe It Shouldn't Be Lightning II But 'Chief II

When you consider the reach of the technology that is being integrated in the F-35 in comparison to the state-of-the-art in the late 1950s when the venerable F-105 was developed you begin to agree with the parallel.

I had occasion over the years to correspond with Dr. Kopp many times. In fact, we became friends back when he was just plain old, Carlo. He's a good guy and knows his craft.

Liberal Unintended Consequences

Last night I watched a video shot yesterday at Madison WI in which they had "doctors" with clipboards handing out "sick" vouchers to teachers and public service union workers who were at the rally instead of at work. Fox News had a producer ask for one from a street doctor and went through the interview. The essential question was, "what days do you need it for."

There was no discussion of symptoms, illness, recovery, medical evidence, possible treatment. The producer asked the doctor if she needed more. The reply was, "if you want, but I don't need it."

Then the doctor signs the form, dates it, and enters her medical license number. Now the employee is good to go and protected from adverse reaction by the public which they are hired to serve.

Questions of the "first do no harm" dictum aside, what is wrong with this?

Liberals being the litigious loons that they are, I foresee a situation in which they realize that a doctor has certified they are ill, yet has taken no palliative action. They can easily mine a rich field of malpractice claims as they prove failure to identify conditions that were seriously harmful, life-threatening, or socially embarrassing.

Let's say Suzy Pedant is driving home from the rally in her Toyota Prius when she has a traffic accident. Since she has a paper in her pocket signed by a doctor that she was too sick to go to work, yet nothing was prescribed and she was not cautioned against driving in her perilous condition. Sounds like that doctor is seriously culpable.

OTOH, why not simply harvest those license numbers then conduct a state medical board examination of those doctors for currency, qualification, ethical standards and medical competence?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Remembering PATCO

A couple of readers have noted in comments their very close linkage to the PATCO strike. I feel compelled to offer my perspective.

I was at Holloman AFB outside Alamogordo NM flying the AT-38 at the time. There were four Talon squadrons and a sister wing of three F-15 Eagle squadrons at the base. The -38s were engaged in Fighter Lead-In Training for brand new pilot training graduates enroute to their first "real" fighter assignment. We taught tactical formations, offensive and defensive air-to-air, ground-attack bomb/rocket/strafe, and low-level navigation. My squadron also did the training for newly assigned instructors and basic orientation for students going to Forward Air Controller assignments that needed to know what it looked like from the fighter point-of-view. The Talons alone were flying 160 sorties a day.

PATCO walked off the job and we suspended operations. But, the calendar doesn't stand still and we had graduation dates to meet. We held some meetings to discuss options. The language of the USAF basic flying regulation was very specific, "flights will be conducted under Instrument Flight Rules to the maximum extent practicable."

IFR flying meant dependence on FAA controllers for departure and return from our training areas. No air traffic controllers, no IFR. But, IFR had no longer become "practicable."

Once in our airspace blocks we maintained our own separation. It was only a problem going to and from the areas. The answer was obvious. Fly under Visual Flight Rules. Look out the front window!

We were grounded for about a day and a half before the Fighter Pilots convinced the Hq princes that it was safe and operationally a common practice. We had a military tower and a military approach control which were still on the job, but as long as the sun was shining in New Mexico we didn't need no steenkin' PATCO.

Later I would listen quietly while FAA folks would expound on the importance of their guidance in telling those stupid pilots where to go. Then I would nod and simply remind myself that the only reason they could do that was because we let them...and we could stop anytime we wanted.

Saturday Morning Rocker

Actually it wasn't as much fun as it looked.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Save Your Pennies

If you really want to, you can do it now:

Lemme see, how much would I owe for 1500 hours at $12,500 per hour? Hah! They paid me!

Yeah, But...

When is a law not a law? Apparently when the Bamster wants it to be.

We've had four court decisions in response to state attorney general suits which challenge the constitutionality of the Obamacare provision requiring citizens to purchase insurance. Two dismissed on technical grounds and two upheld the state challenges and declared the provision unconstitutional.

Of the two that ruled on the question, the first addressed only the legality of the mandate itself. The second and more recent ruling reviewed the entire law and noting the lack of a severability clause concluded that the entire bloody act was beyond the authority of the Congress. The entire package is unconstitutional.

Now, I stumbled over this when I read it in the morning Fishwrapper, but apparently others have noted the incongruity as well:

Yer Honor, Please Tell Them to Comply With The Undone Law

How do you do that? What part of null and void am I missing? So, is this like slavery being unconstitutional, but I don't have to abide by that?

So let it be written, so let it be done because the Messiah directs it.

Wisdom Never Grows Old

Here's a great quote found over at American Thinker:
If the authority to which he is subject resides in the body corporate, the college, or university, of which he himself is a member, and in which the greater part of the other members are, like himself, persons who either are, or ought to be, teachers; they are likely to make a common cause, to be all very indulgent to one another, and every man to consent that his neighbor may neglect his duty, provided he himself is allowed to neglect his own.
It was written by the father of supply/demand, the envisioner of the "Invisible Hand" of the free market, Adam Smith in 1776!

Read the commentary here: 

Long ago in the USAF flying business a wise leader once told me to always track my instructor time and my operational time. He noted that when your instructor time exceeds your actual doing time significantly you are no longer teaching anyone anything. 

Words to consider. 

Re-imaging and Reality

The most recent re-branding of the Messiah after previous make-overs as Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln has been to conservative icon, Ronald Reagan.

Despite all evidence to the contrary, he refers to himself as "The Gipper" and regularly likens his administration and policies to those of the President who cut taxes, restored our economy after Carter and ended the Cold War. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

Remember this?

Now the governor and legislature of Wisconsin are struggling to deal with their massive budget shortfall and keep the state solvent. They were elected to do that and the job requires tough choices. In this case a major portion of the state's expenses comes from government employees compensation. The alternatives may not be limited to what is presented as either an increased contribution to retirement and healthcare costs or layoff of more than 6000 workers. There may be other choices, but it is clear that dealing with a union that represents government servants is not a viable consideration.

What Part of Federalism Don' t You Understand?

I've asked the questions before, but it is important to dissect the rhetoric once again. Government is the people. Public services are the role of government. There can be, by definition, no adversarial relationship such as might have been extant in early 20th century industrial society. It isn't workers fighting abuse against greedy plutocrats oppressing them for maximum profits. Government doesn't make a profit. They have no bottom line. There is no motivation to oppress.

Government is constrained by free market labor forces to offer a competitive compensation package. They pay what the market requires.

Is a union essential to public education? Absolutely not. There are more states running school systems without union rule than with collective bargaining. Is it essential to police and fire protection? Hardly!

The singular reason for public employees' unions is political. The unions demand dues from the workers in return for their extortion of the public's treasure then use those dues to support sympathetic pols who they will perpetuate in office through their parasitic relationship.

And no more obvious parasite is existing symbiotically with the unions than our own Messiah.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

And Now You Know the Rest of the Story

Found something unusual while pheasant hunting? Baxter explains how it got there:

Defining Success

Is this guy's bumbling and searching for words simply a ruse to mask his devious convolutions of the language?

RealClearPolitics - Video - WH's Jay Carney: Stimulus "Goals Have Been Met"

Gallup today is reporting that unemployment is now officially over 10%. When the stimulus was delivered the rate was just over 8% and that was going to be corrected by "creating" millions of jobs...and with nearly $800 billion being spent you could create some truly remarkable stipends. You could create 80,000 millionaires just by sending them a check!

Understanding the Need and the Freedoms

One of my favorite class discussions is usually arises during the American Government block on our Bill of Rights and the flexibility of the seemingly immutable language, "Congress shall make no law..."

Inevitably when I ask for examples of laws which have infringed and sacrificed our rights, someone will offer the Patriot Act and the total destruction of American society. I will usually respond to this apprentice of the American Civil Liberties Union with the simple question, "How have you been impacted since 2001 by the USA Patriot Act?"

They will offer up a blather of propaganda explaining about their privacy being invaded by monitoring phones, intercepting emails, tracking their library checkouts (despite never having been in a library or bookstore in years) and their home invasions. Has any of that impacted them? Well, no. But it might.

Have they ever looked at their cellphone bills listing every call during the last month? The date, time, number called and duration are all documented. Do they know that government subpoenas of that information were rebuffed successfully in court? Do they know that libraries generally do not retain records of checkouts after materials are returned? Do they know that libraries have never been subpoenaed for that data? Have they ever heard of a FISA warrant? Did they think that wireless communication was otherwise secure?

In other words the Patriot Act has proven generally effective and largely undamaging to our privacy.

That's why I like this:

Time to Extend the Protections

We live in dangerous times. Technology is both our friend and our enemy. We should understand that every tool has good uses and bad ones. We need to be sure that when we use our tools we actually know what they are doing and not what the opponents of the tool would have us believe.

How De Do Dat?


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Representative of the People

Counties are administrative arms of the state. They are defined by the state constitution and offer an interface with the local citizens for conducting state business such as registering births, deaths, vehicle license, property deeds, etc. They localize certain state functions such as property assessment, state/local tax collection, legal document service, many state court actions and they  are responsible for conduct of elections.

Dallas County overlays the city of Dallas. Every county in Texas has a Commissioner's Court comprised of four commissioners elected by equal population precincts and a County Judge who is the presiding officer of the commission. John Wiley Price has been a county commissioner for several terms now. He is a very visible and very vocal presence and he is nothing if not flamboyant and controversial.

Shortly after convening following last fall's election, Price orchestrated a surprise resignation of the County Elections Administrator. There had been no evidence of dissatisfaction with his performance or dereliction in his duties leading up to the dismissal.

So, here we have the Commissioner's Court meeting to discuss the situation:

One Way Street on Racism

Some points to ponder. Don't citizens have a right to communicate with their elected officials in public meetings? Is an elected official within bounds when telling constituents to "shut up" and "go to hell"?

Would it be surprising for a defense attorney to attempt to incite someone under suspicion as adversarial to their client? Wouldn't a senior elected official understand that?
My history and record will reflect that I am one whose tolerance is limited or non-existent when it comes to racial slurs. The comments were bad enough, but to have them hurled by a member of the Tea Party, known for their racial insensitivity, was more than I plan to absorb.
Excuse me commissioner, but aren't you the guy who just told the citizens to shut up because they are white? Aren't white citizens entitled to some level of immunity from racial slurs as well?

And how does a Tea Party supporter get broad-brushed as "known for their racial insensitivity"?

The Second City...errr, Make That Third or Fourth

If the Democratic model of governmental largesse, circuses for all and economic redistribution is so great, why are people fleeing from paradise? Wouldn't every outsider be scrambling to get in?

Chicagoans Escaping the Asylum

Maybe Dick Daley II knew the right time to bag his chips and steal quietly away to retirement in his counting house.

Fewer working folks, more on the dole, greater corruption and less wealth to be redistributed does not bode well for the formerly Second City

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Read Between the Lines

With the budget on the table the front page argument is about which party is cutting spending more and whose ox is going to be gored. There are only two sides to a ledger sheet. You list revenue on one side and expenditures on the other. In the political arena the poison side is the revenue page. You don't tell people you are going to raise their taxes.

The GOP has taken the position that looks to the result of JFK, Reagan and George W. Bush's tax cuts. The prediction of Arthur Laffer that in the current prevailing situation in the US a reduction in tax rates will actually result in an increase in tax revenue has been confirmed. When people keep their own money, they spend, invest, grow their business and hire new workers. The unfortunate corollary is that each time that has been done, the panderers have bellied up to that trough and over-eaten. They then feel smug in pointing out that in each of those tax cut instances the deficit has grown and the debt climbed.

The Democrats lean toward the fairness argument. Since many more people are low income earners the votes lie on that side of the political spectrum. You can raise taxes and still be re-elected if you sell the idea of wealthy and successful people being able to do much more just to be fair and feel good about themselves. Raising federal taxes on the wealthy and business owners while handing out additional largesse to the 47% of Americans who already pay zero federal income tax is a vote winner. Some of the wealthy even publicly embrace the concept, although usually they are well sheltered and diversified.

So, the debate will rage about who is cutting what and how that will impact the economic future of the nation. But take a look at this analytical perspective:

Finding the Money For More Spending

Gotta love the creativity in that. Stand before the nation and tout your savings of a trillion dollars over a decade while at the same time raising taxes by $1.5 trillion.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Clueless in DC

Want some insight into what is wrong with America? Look no further than our nation's capitol.

No to Wal-Mart

The 'Hood needs investment. A huge retail mega-store seeks to build in the neighborhood. So, what do you get? Gratitude? Hardly.

First in an egregious example of not doing the homework, Mya Harris has doubts about what the store will be stocked with. A quick Google search of Wal-Mart and their marketing model would show this non-capitalist, welfare-state dependent how the system works. Massive acquisition of affordable products, management through a centralized computer network and distributed through a just-in-time delivery system that allows only what sells to be replenished and all stock to be up front and not warehoused. It isn't magic, but more importantly, it doesn't allow for discriminatory stocking of special stores with their own line of crap. All Wal-Mart stores are equal opportunity providers of crap. One size crap fits all whether you are brown, black, white or pinto.

Second, what kind of rationale says don't build a huge retail outlet in my neighborhood for my shopping convenience because I am too stupid to know that I'm supposed to pay for merchandise and not simply take it. Who denies everyone a store because the presence of the store would lure you to break the law and thereby generate a criminal record?

It isn't the store that makes the criminal, Dumbo. It's the criminal that chooses to be a criminal.

Maybe we should simply scorch the earth and start over.

A Modest Proposal

The budget battle starts in simulated earnest this week. Ignoring the fact that last year's Congress totally avoided a budget the propaganda war starting today is about those nasty Republicans seeking to steal Grandma's blanket and sentence your children to ignorance and slavery for their entire lives. Or we can go with the Messiah's creative fiscal policy of changing "simulus" to "investment" and freezing spending at newly elevated levels without anyone having to feel a bit of pinch then peppering it all with tax increases masking as something else.

I haven't been elected. I won't get to be part of the floor debate. I'm just Joe Bagadonutz, sitting in fly-over country waiting for Godot. But, what does this make you consider:

The Budget Rolls Off the Presses
Consider that this is a draft of the President's spending plan. Each trio of volumes you see there is one copy. It is filled with line after line of dollar amounts. It is an anal-retentive accountant's playground and a politicians speech prop. No one will actually dog-ear those pages. Congressional staffers will be tasked to pore through it for illustrative points for their particular agenda.

Now, recognize that modern printing is done digitally. The source documents are digitized into editable files which are globally formatted, spell-checked and even spreadsheet number crunched before printing. Trees died, oil was consumed for ink, more trees were chopped for shipping pallets, workers were employed to move the bulk and it will all be discarded within a week or two as the budget evolves.

Let's start the budget cuts with the obvious. Skip the Gutenburg and go with the Gates. Put it on a flashdrive. Burn it to a CD-ROM. Gmail it as a mega-attachment. Hell, you could even put it on an iPod with the Congressman's favorite music playing in the background.

It would be portable, searchable, editable, exchangeable, cut/paste-able, and update-able. It might actually be used.

And it would save a chunk of noise-level change in the budget.

A Lesson In Spin

We should be very familiar with the concept of "message shaping" or spin. We are immersed in it. Sometime it is for the benefit of a particular party or politician. That is self-serving of course, but it might also be instructive regarding aspects of the debate which might not have been readily apparent.

I commented previously on CPAC's carnival of conservative self-styled ideology shapers. I don't think the whole exercise has any meaning whatsoever. Just like the Iowa caucus, conducted in a small mid-western, lily-white, fundamentalist, agricultural state without a major metropolitan area over 220,000 people. The state is totally unrepresentative of the American electorate and disproportionally influential on the outcome of Presidential primaries. Yet, both events are important in our convoluted selection process.

Here's how to make something out of next to nothing in terms of interpretation:

Winners May Lose, Losers May Win

You see some success stories downplayed and demeaned. You see some marginal performances puffed up and exaggerated. You see little depth to the judgments beyond a quick summary of reactions from various pundits who go unnamed.

I agree with some of it and push a bit of it to arm's length. Which is which?


  1. Ron Paul is out of the mainstream except with the CPAC fringe.
  2. Mitt Romney is strong going in because of name recognition and established base.
  3. Rick Perry is no fool and can toss red meat with the best of them. 
  4. Mitch Daniels is a relative unknown with great appeal. 
  5. Michelle Bachman is a second tier rock-star who shows well only in the absence of Palin. 
  6. Chris Christie is a sensible conservative who unfortunately is fat. 
  7. Orin Hatch is yesterday's news. He's this go-around's iteration of McCain or Dole. 
  1. Rick Santorum shouldn't be ignored.
  2. John Bolton should have been mentioned, not as Presidential but as a policy genius with vast experience. 
  3. Ignoring the fundamental difference between Tea Party activists and social conservatives is a disservice to both. It was fiscal and traditional small-government that won this election, not abortion, marriage and prayer in schools. 
  4. Failure to note the basic demographics of CPAC in the evaluation of the outcomes. 
The coming year will be interesting to say the least. 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

XXX Explicit XXX

Consider yourself warned, but here's the hands down favorite for the Grammy Awards winner.

America...What a country!

Endarkenment proceeds with accelerated pace.

Now For Some Comic Relief

Behind the Egypt headlines this week has been the annual Conservative Political Action Conference and its showcase of the right's stable of presidential hopefuls. Running against an incumbent President is a daunting task and we don't have to have the memory of an elephant to recall the shakeout of the 2008 campaign season. The front runners quickly morphed into drop-outs and also-rans with an occasional never-was thrown in for good measure.

When it was over the mantle had gone, as it always seems to with the GOP, to the good ol' boy who had waited his turn patiently. Then the pack turned on the nominee and declared him inadequately conservative and without redeeming social graces. I still remember those who steadfastly declared that an Obama victory would teach the RNC a lesson. How's that working out for ya?

The Republicans have some talent in the minor leagues and the only hope is that there can be support for a new generation candidate with experience, charisma, fresh ideas and no skeletons in the closet.

The speakers at CPAC through the week said the right things. They threw some meat to the hungry lions and they presented an image of confidence in the future coupled with a faith in American exceptionalism. There are several that would make strong contenders.

But, CPAC chose to end the week with a meaningless straw poll which showed little awareness for electability and relative ignorance on the part of what should be a knowledgeable audience:

And The Winner Is...

I lean toward libertarian, but don't abandon the role of America as a world power. I like minimalist government but I also recognize that we have institutionalized some functions and can't easily abandon them. I also am enough of a realist to know that you can't do a single thing with regard to policy until you get elected. If you can't get a majority of Electoral College votes you can't be President.

Ron Paul is not going to be elected. He is not going to be the candidate. Neither is Mitt Romney.

CPAC would be better served by not conducting such futile and self-destructive exercises in the future. They are not only irrelevant, they are detrimental.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Lost in Translation

Egypt has had a revolution. The king is dead, long live the king. The once-elected, now autocratic, leader has been deposed as a result of a popular uprising. It is a classic example of John Locke's axiom that the power to govern comes from the consent of the people and when all other means have been exhausted for corrections to the system, that consent can be withdrawn.

But, has anyone explained to you what is really going on? Do you have any feeling for what the future holds in Egypt and in the region?

How do these modern revolutions play out? We saw the Soviet Union topple as the total failure of Communism as an economic system was recognized. The result was transition to a democracy of sorts and greatly reduced tensions between east and west. The Cold War was over. Is the result perfect? Of course not. Is it an improvement? Arguably yes.

The various governments of Eastern Europe had their revolutions. The Czechs, Hungarians, Poles, East Germans, the Baltic States and more removed their dictators, embraced free markets and redrew the map of Europe. Better? I think so.

But, Iran had a revolution. A Shah sympathetic to the modern world was ousted and a theocracy established which is inimical to our interests and to the fundamental right to existence of the State of Israel. Not a better outcome at all.

The demonstrators in Egypt have been portrayed as populist forces seeking freedom and democracy. Certainly those are fine objectives, but do I believe them? Do people in a nation which has marginal literacy rates, rampant unemployment, incredible poverty and only a basic technology foundation really throw a government out for such intangibles as "freedom" and "democracy"? Oh boy, I'm starving and unemployed and dirty, but I can vote for somebody in a thousand dollar suit.

The military has taken over the role of transitional government. That singular adjective, transitional, can be jerked out of the sentence in a second. Will the military guide and then relinquish power as secular political parties are established? Is there such patriotism in Egypt?

The Muslim world has been incredibly active in establishing theocratic Islamic states. That might be fine for expansion of the faith, but doesn't bode well for progress, stability or a global peace. Will the real motivation of the revolution be disclosed as a Muslim take-over?

Or, do we have the default ideology at work here? Is this about masses seeking increased government handouts? Is this a demand for bread and circuses where government fills the role of Santa Claus, doling out food, housing, medical care, employment, retirement, education and indoctrination? Is this a socialist revolution?

None of this has been addressed to my satisfaction in the mass media. Is it about democracy and freedom? I sincerely doubt it.

Pending Disaster

I am prepared to be massively disappointed. This doesn't help:

Saturday Morning Mellow

Friday, February 11, 2011

Desperate in DC

What makes a powerful nation powerful in matters of foreign relations is a clear and consistent voice. The leadership must know what they want and they must know the leverage available to them to attain their goals. A key component of this is knowledgeable intelligence operations. The ability to collect data and then to interpret and make judgments based on what you have deduced is critical. Part of the package is classic gathering through overt and covert operations. Read the papers, listen to the radio, talk to the man on the streets. Monitor by satellite, infiltrate political movements, understand the history. Organize a competent diplomatic presence on the scene. Then take what you know and integrate it into policy.

The last eighteen days in Egypt have indicated that the administration is capable of none of that. Gather the speeches of the Messiah with regard to Mubarek over the past ten days. Stay, go, extend, transition, we're behind you, we're behind the people, listen to the Army, have an election, or maybe not. The apparent desire to jump ahead of events to create the image of being influential has on several occasions demonstrated how out of touch he is.

Then the parading of the intelligence community's leadership before the nation to demonstrate their total inconsistency and incompetence is the final straw. Panetta of CIA says Mubark will step down, then he doesn't. Clapper touts the Muslim Brotherhood as secular, democratic and anti-al-Qaeda. Mueller of FBI says just the opposite.

This would be seriously laughable if it weren't so critical to world peace and stability. It's Monty Python playing out in real life.

You could make the case that intelligence is much more art than science. That has occasionally been true. But, if you make that case for Obama's handling of Egypt, how can you go back to the leftist bleat that George W. Bush lied or was incompetent in his justification for initiating war in Iraq? If you wish to accept that Bush was a bumbler, then where does that inevitably dump responsibility for this fiasco?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Judgment and Lack Thereof

Long ago in a galaxy far, far away I was filled with the idealism of middle age and bored with semi-retirement. I became a political activist and led a neighborhood group opposing a second set of 230 Kv electrical power distribution towers down the easement through our neighborhood. The long range plan envisioned a third set of towers for the route making it the most concentrated network of high-rise power poles in the state of Colorado. We fought and we won. The line and all future distribution lines within the City of Colorado Springs went underground.

The involvement got me into partisan politics and led to a foolish run for the state legislature. The retiring incumbent was a retired AF F-4 driver and a good friend who supported me. The opposition was a religious right party favorite with a cute wife, three little girls and a background as a boiler room telemarketer. He had been the representative district chairman for three years and had a firm grasp on the precinct chairs and the leverage to control the party caucus which would select the nominee.

The entire campaign was a disappointment to me. I had good support and raised a reasonable campaign fund from business leaders but got undermined by some moles in my campaign staff and some mis-characterizations that got distributed without time to remedy before voting. Not being a member of the evangelical community and not being able to simplify my positions on complex issues left me as too "liberal" for the delegates who would be casting the deciding votes. I hadn't learned that voters can only comprehend one word answers.

He got the nomination after touting his "experience", my lack of background in management or leadership roles (!) and his strong family values. He went to Denver where he adopted leather suspenders, tailored double-breasted suits and a second generation cell-phone. He was a natural. He rose to leadership positions and by his second term got chosen as Speaker of the House. He was on the fast track to state senate and very probably US Representative.

Then he showed up on the front page of the Denver Post. He'd been arrested the night before for breaking and entering and domestic abuse. He had been caught prying off the window screen and invading the house of a female lobbyist. She had been his mistress, but had thrown him out the night before. He had left his wife and three little girls and quite literally "gotten in bed with a lobbyist."

The reason for the invasion? He was seeking to retrieve his cell phone charger! Yep, a ten buck Radio Shack gadget could have kept him in good graces. The lobbyist chased him down Colfax avenue at 2:00 AM with a screwdriver. That's when he was arrested.

There seems to be something about public office that attracts folks with marginal or zero judgment. Like this:

Fun, Witty and Won't Disappoint

Seriously! If you are smart enough to serve as a representative of more than 800,000 citizens can't you figure out that posting such drivel is going to come to light pretty quickly? Is this self-destructive compulsion? I've been to Washington and there are certainly enough secretaries, lobbyists, clerks, bureaucrats and groupies that seek to shack up with a Congress-critter that you don't need to be posting buff body pictures on Craigslist.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Technology Meets Guilt & Tradition

I never quite got the concept when I was growing up and being indoctrinated in the Catholic Church. If God were all-forgiving and God was everywhere, why did I have to work my way through that little memo book of sins to compile a list of transgressions to recite to the sympathetic guy behind the grill work and the curtain? Where does the middle-man fit in?

Of course, if we go back to the Medici we can see a role for the Church in politics that would certainly benefit from knowing which prince was boffing which duke's daughter or which baroness had slipped a bit of arsenic into which lady-in-waiting's aperitif. Get some background to leverage, get a bit of guilt to make the royals amenable to suggestion and then dangle some eternal damnation over the whole festering pot.

But as a fifth grader wondering about the blooming bumps on Mary Ann Ronzetti's chest, I was a bit embarrassed by having to share with Father Frank. Raging hormones seemed to all relate to mortal sins and there wasn't much worth doing on the venial transgression list.

Now we've got this:

Yes, There's an App For That

So, if we can go that far, is it possible to compile a list from the app and then simply submit it by text message, or if you haven't sinned too much by Tweeting it? Can we log in and get credit for six Our Father's, six Hail Mary's and a good Act of Contrition?

And, for those considering my acquisition of an iPhone discussed a couple of days ago; no I'm not downloading the  app.

CCW Explained

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Misleading You

Last week I got a couple of surprises in the mail. You see I'm thinking about income taxes as I do every year for the first four months until I've wrestled with TurboTax and tried to avoid pulling a Geithner or Rangel.

I watched the debate at the end of last year about the Bamster's non-cutting tax cuts which were only a reprieve from a massive raise in taxes. I sort of welcomed the one year holiday from some Social Security deductions. I wiped my fevered brow when I figured that while I wouldn't be much better off, at least I wouldn't be much worse.

Then last week I got my annual Air Force retirement adjustment for the coming year. I knew there was no cost-of-living raise. I understand that when cost of living doesn't go up there is no adjustment. That's acceptable. I actually thought that with taxes constant and Social Security reduced temporarily that I would get a little bit more cash each month. That's why I was shocked to see a $50 per month increase in taxes withheld.

Two days later SWMBO received her annual adjustment for her Colorado teacher's retirement. That one had a $60 per month increase. Between the two our taxes go up more than $1300 for the year. Her teacher's salary took another $80/month hit. What I know so far is about $2500 more taxes, but that's still not the total from all sources of income.

In other words, all sources of revenue that have reported so far for my household are showing an increase of taxes withheld in the new year. NO TAX CUTS.

So, what is this telling me?

Income Taxes Lower Under Bamster Than Dubya!

Did you read that carefully? Did you see what they've done?

Total tax revenue collected is down, not tax rates paid by individuals or companies. Fewer people are working and paying. More people are exempted. Rates haven't changed and new levies have made taxes actually higher for anyone successful. The total bucket of cash extorted is lighter but the amount that contributors are chucking into that bucket isn't lower for the chuckers.

Do you think that Joe Sixpack will understand that? Do think this might be an attempt to get the great unwashed to think something other than the truth? Is it possible that our media is once again in the employ of the Messiah to shape his message?

That couldn't happen, could it?


I hate it when I'm wrong. You've probably guessed that I'm a bit opinionated. Well, maybe more than just a bit.

Long ago when I first met a personal computer it was after a few days on the job at Northrop Aircraft Division. The halls full of engineering geeks in plaid double-knit sport coats with striped ties that ended a half-mile above their belts all used IBM machines. They found nothing at all confusing about colon-double back-slash-"c"-blah-blah-blah as a means of communicating with their machine.

Waiting for my security clearance to come through so that I could actually participate in my job, I rooted around in the salvage area for a computer to learn on. I found an Apple III. I know. You've heard of a million Apple II versions, but never a III. You may have even heard of Lisa. I cobbled a setup and set to becoming computer literate.

A few weeks later my fighter pilot boss acquired a couple of brand new MacIntosh boxes. Color screen, mouse control and graphic interface were all right up my alley. Since the other geeks looked down their collective noses at a common man system, I got one of the Macs. I loved it and while I never reached the emotional attachment of the Mac Disciples, I expressed disdain for PCs.

Then came Windows 3.1 and when I got around to buying my first PC it was an IBM clone not a Mac. Over the years I've looked at Apple's locked system, high prices and restrictive policies and simply gone farther and farther to the Dark Side.

When iPhone locked up with AT&T which simply doesn't have any sort of coverage in N. Texas, I scoffed at the folks who raved about their wunder-fones. Yep, there's probably an app for scoffing.

Then I got a Blackberry Storm and after a week of initially being impressed soon became disillusioned with the cludgy implementation of a touchscreen. Getting something done was painful rather than a help.

New car offered an iPod hookup for music and prodded me to rip my collection of CDs and at Christmas get an iPod. That got me into the library of apps and the Apple iteration of touchscreens. I was dazzled at the difference.

This week brought iPhone to Verizon and I was eligible to upgrade. Got my iPhone 4 yesterday and despite that slowness of iTunes which apparently is Steve Jobs last jab at PC  users for not seeing the light, I love the phone. The touchscreen is done right. The software anticipates what I want and need. The incredible range of apps is still being explored. But finally, I can see comfortable web browsing, travel searches, nav help, data entry, voice command, syncing of libraries and maybe even, heaven forbid, texting.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Super Bowl Observations

I wanted the Pack to win. I'm from the NFC Central Division and I grew up deep in the Bears/Packers rivalry. My first wife's family all came from Door County Wisconsin! If it couldn't be the Bears, it had to be the Packers. Besides, I don't like thugs or sexual predators, particularly if they are 6'5" and 280 pounds and millionaires. So, the Steelers weren't even close for me.

I hate blow-outs and the game was not a blow-out although until the last minute of the first half it looked as though it might be. I do like well-executed teams that look like championship caliber and that wasn't apparent. I also like to wonder just a bit what the next play is going to be. With the Pack, I didn't need to worry. It would be a pass. No running game showed up.

What kind of person spends $300 to stand in a freezing rain outside a stadium for five hours, buying $10 beers and watching a Jumbotron? Is it the thrill of the four hour traffic jam afterward that gets you out of your comfortable home or a friendly sports bar? Maybe waiting in line for a Porta-Potti?

Why do we keep contracting vacuous air-head rock stars to sing the Star Spangled Banner? We know that they will butcher the melody and yesterday, Christina Aguilera butchered the words as well.

Although I'm not particularly a fan of hip-hop music, I am fascinated by the high tech pop of the Black-Eyed Peas. They get me tapping my feet in spite of myself. The choreography, staging, energy and enthusiasm of the half-time show was incredible. But, couldn't they get the light stage to work after all that rehearsal? When you spell out LOVE and the entire right side of the V is blacked out, you are going to have people notice.

Can't Usher get a pair of bloomers that don't look like a baggy union-suit that MC Hammer wore under his harem pants twenty-five years ago?

Could Slash have maybe given us some new licks?

Is there no one in advertising anymore with a sense of humor that revolves around more than bodily discharges and groin kicks? The ads sucked--except for the Budweiser cowboy breaking out in song.

From the "Do As I Say..." Family

You see they know what is best for us. They will tell us what to drive, what to drink, what to eat. They will control the vertical and the horizontal...ooops. Am I about to enter the Twilight Zone?

Tasty Super Bowl Buffet For Elite

C'mon, I admit that a Super Bowl party is a cause for culinary excess. We tend to make too much about the significance of meaningless things and overlook the critical essentials.

But it is funny that the First Family that seeks to expand the power of the federal government into the lunches for our children and the options in our restaurants would be so unbalanced in what was undeniably going to be a publicized affair.

Couldn't they have offered a small salad and a tofu burger on whole wheat diet bread with a Lite Soy milk option?

High Flight--FAA Supplement

Unabashedly purloined from Brigid's Home on the Range comments:

Flight crews must insure that all surly bonds have been slipped entirely before aircraft taxi or flight is attempted. 

During periods of severe sky dancing, the FASTEN SEATBELT sign must remain illuminated. 

Sunward climbs must not exceed the maximum permitted aircraft ceiling. 

Passenger aircraft are prohibited from joining the tumbling mirth. 

Pilots flying through sun-split clouds must comply with all applicable visual and instrument flight rules. 

These hundred things must be listed on a Federal Aviation Administration flight plan and approved prior to execution. 

Wheeling, soaring, and swinging will not be accomplished simultaneously except by pilots in the flight simulator or in their own aircraft on their own time. 

Be advised that sunlit silence will occur only when a major engine malfunction has occurred. 

"Hov'ring there" will constitute a highly reliable signal that a flight emergency is imminent. 

Forecasts of shouting winds are available from the local Flight Service Station. Encounters with unexpected shouting winds should be reported by pilots. 

Be forewarned that pilot craft-flinging is a leading cause of passenger airsickness. 

Should any crew member or passenger experience delirium while in the burning blue, submit an irregularity report upon flight termination. 

Windswept heights will be topped by a minimum of 1,000 feet to prevent massive airsickness-bag use. 

Aircraft engine ingestion of, or impact with, larks or eagles should be reported to the FAA and the appropriate aircraft maintenance facility. 

Air Traffic Control (ATC) must issue all special clearances for treading the high untrespassed sanctity of space. 

FAA regulations state that no one may sacrifice aircraft cabin pressure to open aircraft windows or doors while in flight.

Sunday, February 06, 2011


Dead at 58:

Older Rockers

It ain't no kid's game:

Oppression of the Oppressing Class

Yes, there's danger on the killing room floor and the nasty capitalist owners force the workers to endure the hardships or they dismiss them. Long hours, low wages under miserable conditions and no respite against the power over their lives, families and futures. That's why unions arose. That was the turn of the LAST century.

Since then we've had the emergence of a huge middle class that bridges the gap between bourgeoisie and proletarian. Workers are valued and compensated for their experience and skill. They receive benefits and have an interest in the success of the enterprise. They share in profits and are encouraged to invest in their company. They rise to supervisory and managerial positions. It isn't a two class, us-vs-them society anymore. Sorry Mr. Marx but that is just too nineteenth century.

So who are all these unions we hear about? Some are the last gasp of a dying auto industry. Some are the bane of rust belt factories. Some are simply political mechanisms to milk the public coffers. Unionized government is an oxymoron. Workers don't need protection from an employer who is their own chosen government.

But, if you mass a couple of hundred thousand folks in a huge and unproductive bureaucracy it seems only natural that there would be an outcry from the groping Gestapo for greater power.

TSA Seeks To Unionize Their Abuse Power

OK, what are they going to get?

For starters, TSA screeners would be prohibited from striking, just like other federal employees. The TSA says they would also be barred from "engaging in work slowdowns of any kind." 

Under Pistole's plan, the unions would not be able to negotiate on security policies, pay, job qualifications or disciplinary standards, according to the TSA.
If you believe that, I've got a magnificent bridge over the East River that's I'd like to sell you for a very reasonable down payment.

If you can't strike, can't engage in slowdowns, can't negotiate policy, pay, qualifications or discipline then what exactly do you want a union for?
"This decision and the upcoming representation election at TSA will give these officers a voice in their workplace and a chance at a better future," NTEU President Colleen Kelley said in a statement, adding that the traveling public will be better served by a more professional workforce
Oh, I see! "A voice...chance at a better future..." Yeah, I've got a life-sized portrait of that. I especially look forward to being "better served by a more professional workforce." Oh, yeah!

Saturday, February 05, 2011

See That Huge Stimulus Bump?

Gallup Daily: U.S. Employment

Each result is based on a 30-day rolling average; not seasonally adjusted

Gallup's U.S. employment measures report the percentage of U.S. adults in the workforce, ages 18 and older, who are underemployed and unemployed, without seasonal adjustment. "Underemployed" respondents are employed part time, but want to work full time, or they are unemployed. "Unemployed" respondents are those within the underemployed group who are not employed, even for one hour a week, but are available and looking for work. Results for each 30-day rolling average are based on telephone interviews with approximately 30,000 adults. Because results are not seasonally adjusted, they are not directly comparable to numbers reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which are based on workers 16 and older. Margin of error is ± 0.7 percentage points.