Thursday, June 30, 2011

Democrats Admit It

How unsurprising is this little tidbit?

GOP Energized, Left Demoralized By Independence Day

Wonder why that is?

The Constitution

Ahhh, the wisdom of our elected representatives:

The occasion is a Senate hearing on illegal immigration. The people asked to stand are illegals who are in attendance to press for the DREAM Act. Senator Durbin, as a senior member of the majority party in that august body, is reading from a prepared script, not speaking extemporaneously.

Apparently no one in Senator Durbin's staff knows about that requirement in the Constitution for the President to be a "natural born citizen".

Maybe a rereading of the whole document would be helpful for him.

Biting the Hand

In a beautiful demonstration of how little the American liberal understands about business, revenue and the economy, the Governor of California has signed into law a piece of legislation that shows his undeniable kinship with the Messiah, Harry Reid, Dick Durbin, Chuck Shumer, Nancy Pelosi, et. al.

Tax on Affiliate Internet Sales to Guarantee Net Revenue Loss

We went through something like this in Texas last year. The issue was collection of sales tax on internet sales by Amazon that are handled by their massive fulfillment center within the state. The rationale has been that sales tax can be imposed on an internet sale when the retailer has a brick/mortar outlet in the state.

That makes sense if you are dealing with a store-front that sells product to customers who walk in the door and then also offers sales through internet orders. You have a mechanism in place for the accounting, incorporating, consolidating and submitting of the tax to the state and local governments. It is all quite clear with regard to what the local jurisdiction tax levies are.

When you take an entity that has no open retail door but only an internet portal, then it gets more complex. The "sale" takes place at the location of the host server in most estimations, not the point of boxing the product and shipping it which could be many states away.

In a fulfillment in Texas, the state claimed that the sales were occurring in the shipping center. If you tax the product in TX, what does the customer in Ohio or Wyoming owe to their state? Do you have an expectation of collection to both states? That clearly would be an unfair burden on the consumer and maybe even merit the Revolutionary War cry of  "taxation without representation."

Do you require the online retailer to maintain a data base and computations for all the millions of combinations of tax levy that comprise sales tax throughout the land? With changes occurring every election cycle, that would be an onerous task.

Can you possibly ignore the fact that this would hamper sales and cut revenues? Is it unclear that this would raise costs to purchasers and hence impact the economy?

What drove the point home in Texas was a simple threat by Amazon to close the fulfillment center and move the entire 1000 job workforce to another state. That was a relationship that California might want to review.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Price of Stupid

Occasionally we don't seem to know what is good for us. We are very often too stupid to break out of our ignorance and find a better way.

Many nations in the world have coin denominations that are a bit larger than the smallest of change. In Switzerland, for example, I remember the convenience of a one, two and five franc coin. They were all silver in color, but different in size and with a different imprint, of course. No one seemed to have much difficulty figuring it all out. The coins were durable, efficient, convenient and ubiquitous.

Once upon a time in America we had the silver dollar. I recall during my first visit to Las Vegas, half a century ago, that the casinos did not have a $1.00 chip. They used the real deal. I will admit, however, that walking away from a crap table with a hundred of them was a bit of a load. Fortunately it didn't happen that often.

Overnight, the cartwheels disappeared. A decade later the Susan B. Anthony dollar coin surfaced. It was slightly larger than a quarter and for those dimensionally challenged individuals, it had a raised polygonal edging to allow a tactile differentiation. That was inadequate for the terminally dumb. People eschewed the coins claiming inability to tell the difference.

Despite that, the logic of a dollar coin remained. The futility of trying to stuff a wrinkled silver certificate of George Washington into the obstinate mouth of a vending machine didn't seem to bother folks enough to make them accept the gold-colored Sacagawea dollar.

Now, we've got this:

Billion Bucks in Presidential Coins Lies Dormant

There simply is no good reason for not putting those coins into circulation. They might be used and that would be fine. They might be rat-holed by Grandmothers to save as a legacy for their grandchildren. That would be equally fine. If they were released at the same time as a discontinuation or drastic reduction in printing of the one dollar certificate, they would have to be accepted and maybe even the ignorant might come around to the convenience.

Or, we might find that money is increasingly not a requirement for commerce at all. We'd simply swipe our card, tap our iPhone, or wave our key-chain at the scanner and forget about making change at all.

Class Warfare Struggle

The class warfare struggle was the essential element of Marx. The world in his time and view was divided into just two categories; those who owned the means of production and those who worked for them. In that nineteenth century perspective, the relationship was intensely adversarial. Owners sought maximum profits for themselves to live luxuriously and they way to achieve that was through brutal repression of the laborers. The solution, of course, was for the laborers who grossly outnumbered the owners to rise up and seize the means of production for themselves. Then all would be paradise.

Sounds great in theory but numerous efforts at putting it into practice have demonstrated the failure of the concept.

The basic viewpoint was flawed in that sound business practice requires a productive worker rather than a hostile one. Success requires investment in the enterprise rather than plundering of the resource. Your profits depend on an efficient, well-trained, motivated and loyal work force.

Over time the development of modern business practice has effectively eradicated the bipolar class system. Drawing clear lines between bourgeoisie and proletariat today is impossible. Workers become managers. Companies are owned and managed by shareholders. Workers become shareholders through retirement, profit-sharing and other employee benefit programs. The model of "us" versus "them" exists only in the minds of the politicians today.

Here we see the Messiah bringing no solutions to the table but simply fanning the flames of the Marxist class warfare struggle:

Hedge Fund Managers and Corporate Jet Owners Must Pay!

I particularly like the ignorance of this statement:
"I don't think it's real radical" to ask corporate jet owners and millionaires to pay higher taxes, Obama said.
What makes that ignorant? A "corporate jet" is owned by a corporation. It is the property of the company which is owned by the stockholders. It is used by the directors, managers and senior staff of the enterprise to travel efficiently to places which may not be served directly by airlines and without the time-wasting scheduling and TSA groping which recreational travelers experience.

This clinker comes out of the mouth of a guy who grabs the nation's 747 for a dinner date with his wife.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Been There...

I never did an eight day rafting trip, but I have fished on the Colorado River just below Glen Canyon Dam at Lee's Ferry. The water is everything she says it is and a lot colder than you can imagine.

Keeping Busy

The world is in turmoil. Regimes are tumbling. Citizens are rioting. Economic markets are collapsing. Developing nations are not developing. And your State Department is tackling the big issues:

Here's the whole story:

Sec. Clinton Addresses GLIFAA

It is good to know that the problems are getting the consideration they deserve.

Monday, June 27, 2011

For the Dissent...

The First Amendment can be scary when you really begin to examine it. We love to trot it out as an example of the incredible freedom which our forefathers acknowledged as our right. We have latitude to speak, to assemble, to publicize, to complain to our government and to worship without restriction in accordance with our own beliefs rather than those imposed by the state. What's not to like about that?

For most folks there is nothing to object to, at least until we get to something which they personally find in violation of their own standards. When you begin to say things, do things, portray things, protest things that are held sacrosanct by the majority it gets immeasurably more difficult to support the First Amendment. Ask about flag burning for example. Discuss the photographic work of Robert Maplethorpe. Try to find out where the threshold is on obscenity/pornography.

I usually go through a sequence in class on what should be prohibited as obscene. I'll start with something very common, such as the sight of a woman's naked breast. Not much problem. What about a totally naked woman? Two women? A man? A man and a woman? Man and two women? Two or more men? Usually they find a place they won't go when I get to two women, a man, a dwarf, a tiger and a large basket suspended by a chain over a pit of alligators. Everyone has a limit. The First Amendment does not.

A blow was struck for liberty by the Supreme Court today with a decision about video games. The simple act of writing that sentence gives me pause. What is the federal government doing legislating video games in the first place? Is that the limited government our Forefathers envisioned? Read for yourself:

Violent Viddies Vetted for Kiddies

Where does that decision fit on your threshold of what needs to be done by government to protect the children? Note here that whenever anyone says that government needs to act in some manner to protect the children, you should be digging through your kit bag for your dog-earred copy of the Constitution because your rights are about to be attacked.

I particularly found the dissent to be telling.

And an unlikely duo, conservative-leaning Clarence Thomas and liberal-leaning Stephen Breyer, agreed that the California video game ban should have been upheld, but for different reasons.
Breyer said the court's decision creates an insurmountable conflict in the First Amendment, especially considering that justices have upheld bans on the sale of pornography to children.
"What sense does it make to forbid selling to a 13-year-old boy a magazine with an image of a nude woman, while protecting the sale to that 13-year-old of an interactive video game in which he actively, but virtually, binds and gags the woman, then tortures and kills her?" Breyer said. "What kind of First Amendment would permit the government to protect children by restricting sales of that extremely violent video game only when the woman — bound, gagged, tortured and killed — is also topless."
And Thomas said the majority read something into the First Amendment that isn't there.
"The practices and beliefs of the founding generation establish that "the freedom of speech," as originally understood, does not include a right to speak to minors (or a right of minors to access speech) without going through the minors' parents or guardians," Thomas wrote.
What is telling there is the difference in outlook even while dissenting. The liberal Breyer sees nothing wrong with restricting freedom and imposing a governmental standard if it is done under the justification of protection of children. Government, in his view, is there to be our guide, parent and guardian.

Justice Thomas, however, cuts right to the crux. The parents or guardians are the gatekeepers of what a child could and should have access to. It is not the job of government to apply a uniform standard, nationwide to all minors (anyone under the age of 18) without regard to maturity or supervision. Parents have that responsibility.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Making No Sense...

...but playing to her base.

Michelle Bachman Simultaneously Oversteps a Constitution and Tramples State's Rights

I've expounded in the past on my views of government's role with regard to a social convention and religious ceremony. "Marriage" is a traditional ceremony to announce a family union essentially for purposes of procreation and stability for children. It has been the purview of ministers, rabbis and religious functionaries and is accompanied by rite and ritual. I've got no problem with it at all. I am married and was married in such a ceremony. I have not experienced the joys of procreation, so I guess the ceremony has proven not essential to the stability of what has now become a 38 year relationship.

Government intervenes with such bureaucratic additions as licensing and recording of the rite. In case you aren't religious, they offer a secular option of justice of the peace or court officer of similar powers who will say some words to prove you've done it. Then government goes on to institute an entire body of law with regard to benefits, inheritance, property rights and exchanges of information. That is where the conflict comes in. Contract law or religious convention? Marriage or sharing of rights through civil union?

Ms Bachman, however, seems to ignore the basic purpose of a governmental constitution with her proposal to define "marriage" through an amendment. Here are the three things a constitution is supposed to do:

  1. Define organization of government (terms, numbers, branches, etc.)
  2. Define operation of government (majorities, vetoes, checks/balances, etc.)
  3. Define the limited powers of the government.
You don't use Constitutional amendments to define terms of society nor to provide basic legislation. Ten amendments define our rights, three deal with eliminating the injustice of slavery, three establish suffrage for previously denied groups, several deal with executive selection, terms and conditions of succession. Broader reaches, such as prohibition, failed. 

Then we have this clambake:
Rep. Michele Bachmann on Sunday said that as president she would offer a federal constitutional amendment to list marriage as solely between a man and a woman. 
However, the Minnesota congresswoman said it's also up to the states to decide whether they permit same-sex marriage...
"The states have the right to pass the laws they want to," Bachmann told "Fox News Sunday," adding that such an issue should really be on the ballot so that voters can decide whether gay marriage should be the law of the land.
"Every time it's going on the ballot, the people have decided to keep the traditional definition," she said. "After all, the family is the fundamental unit of government."
If the states have a right to decide, then you don't enact a Constitutional amendment denying that right. You can't have it both ways.

When it comes to establishing rights or denial of rights for a minority class then you don't subject it to a majority vote. Our Constitution (back to step one, Michelle) provides safeguards against such tyranny of a majority over any minority whether ethnic, religious, gender or other.

And, a family is a fundamental unit of society, not government. The distinction is critical if we are ever to have an understanding of roles and responsibilities.

Of course, maybe Ms Bachman is telling us something about a job for a nanny-state?

Get Fracked

I've commented about fracking before. The enviro-wailing that accompanies any exploitation of hydrocarbon based energy in the US is incessant. But, what are the facts?

This may be the clearest and most comprehensive refutation of the bleating that has been compiled for public consumption;

Fracking Myths Rebutted Soundly

Don't you just hate it when facts get in the way?

"No" Means No

Yes and no are clear terms, but it may be helpful to have a pre-existing agreement what with the abundance of litigation potholes that might be encountered:

The Depths of Logic

This morning we have yet another example of the vapidity of the local major metropolitan newspaper. Steve Blow (I couldn't make up his name and I won't make cutesy comments about it,) writes an alternating commentary column in the Metro section with two other folks. His stuff shows up two or three times a week.

Sunday was his day and the first line of his column caught me. The concept of our third term governor being President seems to cause apprehension for Mr. Blow. Since I'm on record as a fan of a Perry candidacy I thought I had better read it to find out what the cause of this reaction was. Maybe I would be enlightened and modify my thinking.

Would I learn why no state income tax and a low state tax burden is a bad thing for Texas and wouldn't work for the nation? Might I find out what was wrong with unemployment for the state being two percentage points behind the national rate? Maybe the stats on Texas job creation in the last three years being greater than all of the rest of the nation combined were not correct? Was it not a good thing that Texas was ranked number one in business environment of the fifty states? Possibly the attractiveness which makes Texas the fastest growing state in terms of population shows that the states hemorrhaging jobs to us were the better place to live?

Read Steve's item here and evaluate the logic and rationale of the esteemed journalist:

Perry Worse Than Heebie-Jeebies. Will Cause the Willies!

It seems that Mr. Blow is blown away by the hope and change and stop global warming/save the nuclear whales rhetoric that delivers nothing but more debt and governmental dependence. If that is the best they can muster, then we must be in a pretty good position. But then that sort of argument has shown tremendous resonance in the past, hasn't it?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

He's Not Afraid of Race

Want to be frightened this morning? Here's the Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department. You may wish to note that Chicago is both the home of the most restrictive gun laws in the nation and one of the highest crime rates in the inner city.

Federal Gun Laws are Racist!

Listen to the emotional, illogical rantings of a true believer who is more than eager to deny the Constitution of the United States. Watch the video to note early in the Supe's rant  the reference to "Father Phleger." You may recall him as the kook priest who was in the same mode as Jeremiah Wright.

Then catch the non-sequitur about Sarah Palin. McCarthy asks why, when he was copping in New Jersey, she was on television hunting Caribou in Alaska and not at the crime scene with him. Let me count the ways! She lived in Alaska. It was a filmed TV show. She didn't have a responsibility in New Jersey. The gang shootings in New Jersey were despite disarmament of the populace. Being there was his job. Being in Alaska some weeks earlier making a TV show was her job.

But, I digress from the core stupidity of the presentation.

The right of black people to have the means of defending themselves was enunciated in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution after the Civil War. The Fourteenth declared that all born or naturalized in the US were citizens and the effect was, as described by Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas in Heller v. DC, to provide all African-Americans with the protections of the Second Amendment. Rather than an example of some sort of racism, the Constitution grants blacks as well as other citizens the right to protect themselves.

McCarthy confesses at the start of his rant that his police can't stop crime. Why is it then deemed logical that disarming the potential victims is going to be racist?

But it sure is emotional, isn't it?

And, why is the Supt. of CPD speaking on this sort of a topic to an audience in a Catholic church? Oh, that's right, it's Father Phleger's church.

Saturday Morning Rocker

Even Canadians can rock a bit:

Friday, June 24, 2011

Couldn't Have Said It Better

I'm pretty well convinced myself, but in American politics predictions of outcomes sixteen months in advance are nearly impossible. I know what could happen and I think I could explain why it should happen. But I'm also realist enough to give you a dozen reasons why it won't happen. Not the least of which is the Republican Party's self-destructive proclivity for demanding absolute perfection from any Presidential candidate. And, that usually means among any five Republicans in a room there will be five acceptable (only marginally) candidates and the other four will be total anathema.

But, here is a pretty good summary of why it should happen:

Five Reasons Why the Guv Should Govern the US

No one can manage a state of 23 millions folks that is growing the fastest in the nation both economically and in population without offending a lot of people. It is going to be hard to get past the ignorant cliche that we shouldn't have another President from Texas. But if you look at the five reasons it will be hard to deny the possibility.

A Telling Exchange

Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner inadvertently confesses here:

Before Congress He Admits Purpose is Big Government

If you haven't got time to read the whole pathetic recount, here is the essential exchange:
Geithner’s explanation of the administration's small-business tax plan came in an exchange with first-term Rep. Renee Ellmers (R.-N.C.). Ellmers, a nurse, decided to run for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010 after she became active in the grass-roots opposition to President Barack Obama’s proposed health-care reform plan in 2009.
“Overwhelmingly, the businesses back home and across the country continue to tell us that regulation, lack of access to capital, taxation, fear of taxation, and just the overwhelming uncertainties that our businesses face is keeping them from hiring,” Ellmers told Geithner. “They just simply cannot.”
Failure to understand that regulation, taxation, and uncertainty stifle free enterprise is the core of the problem. Geithner seems to fit right in in that regard:
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told the House Small Business Committee on Wednesday that the Obama administration believes taxes on small business must increase so the administration does not have to “shrink the overall size of government programs.”
The whole point is that shrinking the overall size of government is the solution, not the undesired outcome.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Seattle Recruiting Site Attack Plot

Guns and grenades planned for a Seattle WA complex of military recruiting facilities:

Two Plotters Apprehended

Yep, no reason to be stereotyping there.

I've Got Your Outrage Right Here

Want to contribute to debt reduction?

How About Food Stamps?

I wonder if Michelle reads the Journal?


This is possibly the single short and coherent indictment of our society you will encounter this year, maybe even this decade. Read the short news item and take two minutes (preferably with the volume at personal listening levels if at work or with children nearby):

Bieber Bashed at Big Apple Blow-Out

What did you see? Here are things I noticed:

  1. Bieber's got a fragrance? Bieber?
  2. Three thousand New Yorkers have nothing better to do than block the streets waiting for a glimpse.
  3. Some teens have a luxury apartment and a video camera. 
  4. Twitter, YouTube, personal video and sensationalism are out of control. 
  5. Somebody thinks attacking a celebrity, even Bieber, is the route to fame. 
  6. Luxury apartments do not indicate quality education in NYC. 
  7. Teenagers cannot communicate without sprinkling expletives every three words. 
  8. "Somebody's gonna die..." is not a good thing. 
Everybody you see or hear in that piece will be a voter. 

Symbolism Over Substance

The sky is still falling, Chicken Little. The Messiah is working magic to save us from the impact on our pointy little heads. The big announcement is this massive rescue intervention:

Bamster Pulls 30 Million BBL From Strategic Reserves

Wow! Thirty MILLION barrels! That should relieve pressure at the pumps for Americans, impact the costs of transporting goods to market, lower over-all energy costs and stimulate the economy. Way to go, Barack!

But wait a sec. How much is thirty million barrels relative to what we use?

Government Petroleum Stats

No need to wade through all that. Just read the top number of total US consumption expressed in thousands of barrels per day average over the year. That number is 19,148. Add the zeros and that is twenty million barrels a day.

So, the Messiah has rescued us with a day and a half worth of energy!

What a guy! And he hasn't polluted our beaches or made little children glow in the dark.

Ask Your Doctor

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Long Overdue

Active and retired military pay and benefits are always an issue of concern. The "guarantees" which we learned about when we raised our right hands and "repeat after me" are ephemeral and can be withdrawn in the blink of a congress-critter's eye. As fewer and fewer ever spent any time at the point of our increasingly rusty spear it becomes easier to discount the importance of keeping those promises.

Here's a list of some tweaks to the system which just came out of committee. One of them is surprising in that it is so long overdue. It is a reduction which I can whole-heartedly endorse:

This is the one:
Changes the rules for hos­tile fire and immi­nent dan­ger pay, pro­rat­ing the $225 pay­ments accord­ing to the num­ber of days spent in a qual­i­fy­ing area rather than be paid on a monthly basis. (Cur­rently HF/ID pay is paid-in-full regard­less of the num­ber of days spent in the qual­i­fy­ing area.)
It was a running joke during the Southeast Asia unpleasantness about the combat pay and combat tax exclusion monthly migrations. Folks living in sunny California and flying trash-haulers from Travis AFB would plan their schedules for flights to perfectly hit Saigon or simply overfly South Vietnam at the end of the month. If they timed it just right they could bag two months of supplemental pay and tax benefit for the single trip.

At Korat AB in Thailand the support troops didn't get combat pay because they weren't subject to hostile fire like the aircrews. That little oversight was creatively remedied for the non-rated officers, however, with a monthly trip on the base support C-47 to one of the bases in Vietnam. A couple hour flight, a lunch at the Officer's Club and a flight back got them combat pay. The hard working enlisted folks that busted their humps on the flight line making the mission work didn't get that benefit.

That abuse didn't look so attractive anymore when late in 1966 the airplane crashed on landing at Danang killing all aboard. Even something as mundane as a day-trip had danger in those days.

I don't begrudge any warrior combat pay. It can't pay enough for the hardships endured and the danger. I do applaud that it has finally been recognized that the system has been abused.

UPDATE: Proving that I don't have perfect recall and that I can acknowledge correction, my email this morning offered this detail about the accident:
The date was 26 Nov 66 and it happened during take-off at Tan Son Nhut not landing at DaNang.  Here's the intro to the crash that I wrote in my database:

A C-47D belonging to the 388 TFW crashed in a rice paddy and burst into flames near Saigon, South Vietnam, killing all 25 people aboard including one civilian.  The aircraft, 44-76574, crashed due to a problem with the left engine after taking off from Tan Son Nhut Airport heading home to Korat, RTAFB, Thailand. 

Repackaging the Message II

They are at least consistent in their flexibility with regard to what really was said and what happened. It reminds me of the old recording from the Vietnam years of the interview of a fighter pilot with a public information officer next to him to translate, "What the Captain Means..."

(Laughter) (Applause)*

Actually it was more believable as laughter.

Another Final Solution

The true believer knows no limits in the extremes of proposals regardless of the insignificance of himself in the grand scheme of things:

We get a shaping of terms here to propose concepts which might otherwise be viewed as overly sensitive and ludicrously ineffectual.

We need to "empower" women and girls with birth control information so that they have fewer babies and smaller families and then our population contracts and we use less fossil fuels and exhale infrequently and carbon dioxide doesn't feed the plants but there are so few of us that we won't need much food and before you know it the global climate changing in whichever direction it is going is reversed and we begin to get colder or warmer or whatever.

Now, who is going to explain this to the Chinese, Indians and African nations?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


The foreign policy of appeasement embraced so enthusiastically by the Obama administration hasn't really shown us very much in terms of results. It is so embarrassingly reminiscent of Neville Chamberlain that even some Democrats are beginning to notice.

The mantra of the media and the left, however, has become the assertion that the Republicans are very good at complaining but they don't offer any solutions. That, of course, is demonstrably absurd. The right has proposed many solutions but for some reason they don't get much media coverage. Ignoring messages means that apparently there was never a message at all.

What then should the Republicans learn with regard to foreign policy. Bret Stephens offers a pretty good outline of a direction for the future:

Become Credible Globally...Again!

That piece outlines the package pretty clearly, doesn't it?

Peeing In The Pool

Confess now, did you ever as a little kid just let it go when you were swimming? Am I the only one? I know I did it more than once in Lake Michigan. Somehow the city of Chicago seems to have survived it.

So, what then to make of this?

Drain, Scrub, Refill

Is there no one with common sense in Portland? The random dead cat, old tire, crow crapping, etc. are all just fine, but seven ounces of recently processed Bud Light is going to upset the citizenry?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Comparative Clips

Without further comment:

Definition of "Unnatural Act"

I'm sorry, but this is evil.

Repackaging the Message

I participate in an email listserv group with a bunch of politically incorrect retired military aviators. As you might imagine the traffic can get a bit rough at times. We've got only one rule for the group: "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. And f*** you if you can't take a joke."

The idea of saying what you mean and standing behind it when the consequences fall out is a good one. I posted a couple of days ago about the Messiah announcing that it wasn't as "cool to be an Obama supporter" today as it was in 2008. I've got no disagreement with that. The real surprise there is that he, himself, noticed!

But apparently that isn't what he meant even thought that is what he said. As with all things Obama, we have to have it re-spun and reinterpreted to insure that we have it all possible ways. Take a look here and be sure to watch the video:

Axelrod Gets the Tingle Up His Leg Still

And, just so you know what we are talking about regarding cool we've got this picture. Does this look presidential? Aren't you proud to be an American under this sort of dignity?

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Regular visitors here know that I have never been able to offer the Dallas Morning News as a model of journalism. It is a biased, left-wing, propaganda rag that routinely runs pathetic sob stories of the 28-year-old single mother of five, all of whom have different last names who can't make ends meet on her welfare checks and drug rehabilitation course tuition on the front page. Real news seems to escape their focus.

I read it because I teach a course in state/local government at the local one-horse college and storm-door repair academy. It is my only reasonable source on what is happening in the DFW metro governments and the state legislature in Austin.

But, if you want to experience an intense bit of the DMN flavor, gag your way through this piece:

The Most EeeeeVviLLLLLlll Creation of Man

Can you see where that piece is going? Would this twit get a C in Journalism 101 at a real school?

Another One Gone

It Ain't Over...

...'til it's over. At least that is the philosophical perspective of that great New York sage, Yogi Berra.

And so we now find that when you seek attention for yourself it is possible that you may get considerably more than you initially hoped for.

One Third of Income In Questionable Deduction

If your campaign staff has an office in Manhattan, you can't deduct on your personal income tax for use of your home. In fact, you can't deduct campaign expenses from your personal income at all.

I begin to flash back...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The True Believers Don't Anymore

A President knows that if he goes before certain audiences that it will be a tough crowd. It goes with the territory and the really good Presidents know that the prestige of the office and the recognition of the difficulty which the job entails will temper hostile reaction. The opposition might disagree, but they give courteous response to our chief executive.

It is only when the President is a really bad one, not a really good one, that the atmosphere turns cloudy. Then the prudent President minimizes the exposure. He avoids going where he isn't wanted. He limits his time and keeps his speech neutral, short and filled with motherhood, apple pie and commonly shared culture.

This, however, is a case where the President in full-blown campaign mode well before even the opposition has worked up a lather is being greeted with derision by his base:

So Bad, Even They Have Noticed

C'mon, what sort of speech writer loads a line like this on the teleprompter?
“It’s not as cool to be an Obama supporter as it was in 2008, with the posters and all that stuff,” Mr. Obama told Democrats at an exclusive fundraiser in Miami on Monday. “But the values that motivated me haven’t changed, and I hope they haven’t changed for you, either.”
Really? "...all that stuff"?  The core here is that coolness in voting for a black candidate has morphed into realization that all the cool in the world won't lead a nation. The "values that motivated" are now abundantly clear and they aren't the values which Americans hold dear. It isn't that anybody's values have changed. It is that values are now driving the debate, not coolness.

For Those Less Fortunate

Across the transom this morning:
Washington , DC May 26, 2011 

The US Senate is set to pass sweeping legislation that will provide new benefits for many Americans: The Americans With No Abilities Act (AWNAA). 

President Obama said he will sign it as soon as it hits his desk.

The AWNAA is being hailed as a major legislative goal by advocates of the millions of Americans who lack any real skills or ambition.

"Roughly 50 percent of Americans do not possess the competence and drive necessary to carve out a meaningful role for themselves in society," said California Senator Barbara Boxer. "We can no longer stand by and allow People of Inability to be ridiculed and passed over. With this legislation, employers will no longer be able to grant special favors to a small group of workers, simply because they have some idea of what they are doing. We are legalizing another protected class of Americans."

In a Capitol Hill press conference, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) pointed to the success of the U.S. Postal Service, which has a long-standing policy of providing opportunity without regard to performance. Approximately 74 percent of postal employees lack any job skills, making this agency the single largest U.S. employer of Persons of Inability.

Private-sector industries with good records of non-discrimination against the Inept include retail sales (72%), the airline industry (68%), and home improvement 'warehouse' stores (65%). At the state government level, the Department of Motor Vehicles also has an excellent record of employing Persons of Inability (a whopping 83%).

Under The Americans With No Abilities Act, more than 25 million 'middle man' positions will be created, with important-sounding titles but little real responsibility, thus providing an illusory sense of purpose and performance.

Mandatory non-performance-based raises and promotions will be given so as to guarantee upward mobility for even the most inept employees. The legislation provides substantial tax breaks to corporations that promote a significant number of Persons of Inability into middle-management positions, and gives a tax credit to small and medium-sized businesses that agree to hire one clueless worker for every two talented hires.

Finally, the AWNAA contains tough new measures to make it more difficult to discriminate against the Non-abled, banning, for example, discriminatory interview questions such as, 'Do you have any skills or experience that relate to this job?'

"As a Non-abled person, I can't be expected to keep up with people who have something going for them," said Ken Cox, who lost his position as a lug-nut twister at the GM plant in Flint , Michigan due to his inability to remember 'righty tightey, lefty loosey.' "This new law should be real good for people like me," Cox added. With the passage of this bill, Cox and millions of other untalented citizens will finally see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Said Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL): "As a Senator with no abilities, I believe the same privileges that elected officials enjoy ought to be extended to every American with no abilities. It is our duty as lawmakers to provide each and every American citizen, regardless of his or her inadequacy, with some sort of space to take up in this great nation and a good salary for doing so."
In the interest of full disclosure I note that the item originated in the June 24, 1998 edition of The Onion. It has been updated to include more current names. The original  piece was illustrated with a photo of a jubilant President Bill Clinton signing it into law.

Still has a nice currency to it though!

Saturday Morning Country Rocker

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Tried a new place last night. Mixed marks but still very pleasant.

A bit of a walk from the plaza, but on a nice evening worth the stroll. Ristra is located on a small side street in a restored old house. The exterior doesn't prepare you for the comfortable interior. But, despite the inviting decor, we opted for al fresco dining on the patio. 

A truly great martini, then a cholesterol overload of foie gras with a raspberry polenta bed and a blackberry couli. The contrast of the berries with the luscious buttery foie gras was incredible. The main course, however, didn't deliver. An almond crusted Alaskan halibut with black olive polena was over-cooked and dry. The flavors were fine, but the dryness detracted considerably. Wine was an excellent Sancerre. Service was impeccable and Ristra might be worth another try but with a different menu choice. 

Challenging My Belief

I thought the spontaneous rioting, burning of cars, breaking of storefront windows and looting in either celebration or disappointment at the outcome of a sporting event was a purely American depravity.

Not so.

Vancouver Canada Acts American

Maybe martial law and "shoot to kill" orders are appropriate.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Coyote Cafe

Mark Miller made his bones with the Coyote Cafe at the original location in Santa Fe. He brought appreciation of New Mexican cooking to the rest of the nation who thought of "Mexican" cuisine as a Tex-Mex platter of gloppy enchiladas, beans and rice with a cover of chopped lettuce and tomatoes and a splash of inane salsa.

He taught a lot of us about chiles and what the various types could bring to the table. Like wine, the variations are incredible. But, like so many good things, the moment passed and Miller's flair faded.
About a year and a half ago, executive chef Eric Destefano took over and the Coyote is back. Eric has been a well respected fixture in Santa Fe for quite a while with the venerable Geronimo on Canyon Road. That remains a classic fine dining establishment. But Coyote lets some of the stuffiness out and offers flexibility for a more adventurous crowd.

Last night started with a "Surf and Turf" appetizer of yellowfin tuna tartare and prime beef carpaccio. Fantastic. I had a foie gras and seared tuna on polenta first course. Equally magical.

Then an elk tenderloin and a braised short rib main. Both  were well done, well plated and simply excellent.

Wine was a Sutcliffe Vineyards Syrah from, of all places, Cortez CO. Better after being open for an hour at the end of the meal, but surpising considering the source. Good stuff!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Roughing It

Things are rough in New Mexico, but I'm trying to cope with it in exchange for the opportunity to be away from the grind:

Monday, June 13, 2011

Santa Fe

Do I know the road to Santa Fe? You betcha! Feet up time in the old town tonight.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Ninja Glock

Chuck Shumer's worst nightmare, the Ninja Glock. The compact carry pouch belies the incredible capability of the weapon within. Pay no attention that the tac light/laser keeps falling off:

Life In Fly-Over Country

All too often we travel through life unaware of our surroundings and unappreciative. I had a trail near my home in Colorado that went along a green belt on a slope above the housing. The view to the east rolled out for miles on the "amber waves of grain" populated with deer, antelope and the southern tip of the area called the Black Forest. To the southwest the vista was the magnificent snow-cap of Pikes Peak and the Rampart Range. I would often stop and gaze in awe at the glory of the land. On one walk my wife asked me if I thought my mother would have enjoyed living there and that view. In honesty, I had to reply that my mother was one of those who walked looking at the sidewalk below her feet and never raising her eyes to take in the grandeur of life. It was unfortunate in the extreme.

This morning I had a brief errand to run and in the process drove some of the two-lane county roads in my area of Texas. The sky was blue with scattered puffs of cloud, the temperature was still in the low 70's and the rolling hills were a beautiful panorama of shades of green. The trees dotted the landscape and the white fences of the various ranches and horse-breeding operations that characterize this chunk of Texas offered a pastoral scene that was immensely calming. A few pick-up trucks were on the road and in front of the scattering of houses folks were mowing lawns or washing cars. A freight train trundled by enroute to the DFW metroplex without really disturbing the mood.

I stopped at a gas station and a pick-up with trailer was filling up. A Prius wouldn't haul that horse trailer, but it might be handy to have the buttermilk stallion that was in the rear in case the battery went dead. A friend of the driver pulled up and stopped his truck to say "hello" and talk about horses. The few cars on the road were freshly scrubbed families, the old-fashioned kind with a mother, father and children, enroute to church. In a few of the fields a lone pump-jack still throbbed recalling the days when this was a bustling oil field area. Only a few wells still produce and not surprisingly there is little evidence that much oil exploitation ever occurred here. So much for environmental damage.

I was only out for about 45 minutes, but when I got home I felt relaxed and once again glad to be an American.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Daily Mail

It seems like the Daily Mail in the UK can get more detail and background on our US stories than our multi-mega-million dollar media. Or maybe they just went to a real journalism school:

Weiner's Girls Around the World

The more that comes out the more amazing it becomes. Apparently election to Congress for someone with no apparent credentials elevates them to a state of super-hero in their own minds and the minds of adolescent sexually-fixated young women.

Flip Flop

This morning the headlines were about House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi, staunchly supporting the Weiner Wagger from New York. The principal justification was that it is up to the voters of his district to determine how they liked being represented by an immature, consummate liar with a penis fascination. Polling showed that 56% of the constituents thought he was just fine.

But, that was before the peccadilloes extended to sexting teen-aged girls in neighboring Delaware. That apparently was crossing a bridge a bit too far.

Nancy Says Go! 

That's really too bad. I was just getting used to the idea of having this self-centered little twit causing the electorate of the nation to notice how incredibly incompetent the US Congress has become.

The Absolute Truth

This piece is hard to deny. The only part I might disagree with is the suit. But I still can if I need maybe for my funeral:

Ten Great Things About Old Men

As Popeye often said, "I yam what I yam!"

Could Not Have Said It Better

I've often bewailed the sad state of dialogue in the nation and the total detachment from our culture of the students I face at the local Community College and Farrier Trade School where I talk to the walls.

This piece says it better and in greater detail than I ever could. Take a few minutes to ponder what he writes and what it all means for our future:

"So I'm Like Whoa! That Is So WOW!"

Now consider what you have read the next time you have a political conversation with someone. Notice any of those things?


Mark Steyn is in fine form with this pithy piece:

All Bumps No Road

Mark has a way with words:
 That bump in the road is just a quarter-pounder with cheese that fell off the counter on the drive-thru lane to recovery. Like every other blessing, we owe the Big MacConomy to the wisdom of Good King Barack. 
That is some imagery for you. Or this on the Stockton DOE SWAT raid:
The Department of Education issues search warrants? Who knew? The Brokest Nation in History is the only country in the developed world whose education secretary has his own Delta Force. 
Isn't it customary when you are behind in loan payments that you get a letter or a phone call or even a visit from a collection agency. And don't those things usually come to the residence of the individual that owes the money rather than other family and ex-family members?

And just so you feel comfortable and a bit titillated on your next trip out of Weinerville International Airport:
A 24-year-old woman has been awarded compensation of $2,350 after TSA agents exposed her breasts to all and sundry at the Corpus Christi Airport security line and provided Weineresque play-by-play commentary. “We regret that the passenger had an unpleasant experience,” said a TSA spokesgroper, also very Weinerly. But hey, those are a couple of cute bumps on the road, lady!  
Ahh, yes, the Land of the Once-Free and the Home of the Less Brave soldiers on under the leadership and oratory of our Great Leader.

Saturday Morning Rocker

A bit of a head-banger with some great old smokin' iron:

Friday, June 10, 2011

A Matter of Degree

Sarah Palin was governor of Alaska. She was the Republican candidate for vice-President. She is a Fox News contributor. She is a conservative voice. Therefore, we get this sort of outrage:

Emails by the Hundredweight

Have we ever seen such a reaching for something, anything, the smallest thing, that might be leveraged into discredit?

Maybe we've got some Facebook or Tweet photos of bulging negligees sent to twelve year old boys. But then 51% of the voters in a certain district in Queens NY think that might qualify someone for public service as their representative.

This fits into the dual categories of double-standard and national embarrassment.

Intellectual Honesty

We over-simplify everything. That is because as a nation we are under-educated and over-indoctrinated. We eagerly embrace short phrases that we are told totally define complex subjects. We find a Republican we don't completely agree with and rather than examine his/her argument, we simply stamp RINO on their forehead and dismiss them. We find a Democrat who is actively seeking a consensus to deal with a serious issue and we throw them out without further consideration because of their party affiliation. We don't debate, we simply shout slogans at each other coupled with cutesy derogatory nicknames.

Take a minute or two to give a slow, contemplative reading to this:

Dalai Lama Shakes Them Up

See how that works? He uses a value-laden term to illustrate a point about socio-political concepts and we are aghast that somehow he has simply been masquerading for lo these many years as some sort of pacifist, peace-maker seeking capitalist democracy.

That's way too simple. It isn't far reaching for him to have meetings and conversations with Mao. It isn't outrageous to examine his nation's future in terms of a class-conscious society, an economic system that may not meet their needs, a post-colonial conundrum of poorly understood options.

While Lenin was a brutal party activist, aka community organizer, Marx was a philosophical economist. His writings aren't monographs or a pamphlet. His societal view was representative of problems of the late 19th century and the Industrial Revolution. His observations about how classes interact are worthy of examination, if only for the lessons to be learned with regard to how they were employed.

The Dalai Lama has spoken the truth and we should be cautious about classification based on that single name.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Pondering the Perry Possibility

You'll get reaction when you mention Rick Perry. That's the way political argument goes in America these day. There isn't much nuance or even fact required. All you need to do is dump a sound-bite or a factoid on the table and the argument is considered ended.

From the left you'll get:

  1. He actually suggested secession
  2. He wants to fill Texas with toll roads
  3. He sought a land grab of billions of acres for the Trans-Texas Corridor
  4. He's fleecing the taxpayers for a $9000/month house while the burned out governor's mansion is rebuilt
From the right you'll get:
  1. He wanted to vaccinate my daughter against HPV and tell her sex was OK now
  2. He caters to lobbyists and special interests
  3. His hair is too neat
But, those can all be dismantled with a knowledge of what the actual events were and why things happened. So far, there is no shock therapy in the background; no incriminating tidy-whitey pics on Twitter; no bulging bankbook corruption scandal. He comes off as a pretty competent chief executive of a mega-state that has beaten the rest of the nation soundly for the last twelve years. Not a bad resume. 

That's why the Wall St. Journal spends some time with this:

The very worst that could happen is that he would restore Texan pride in the event Ron Paul's candidacy begins to get attention.

UPDATE: This little tidbit adds some interesting fuel to the fire:

Gingrich Campaign Staff Exits--Including Some Notables

That's right. Down at the end of the piece we find a linkage of those departures to the percolating Perry prognostications. 

Bamster Meets Bongo

You won't see this in the US media I think. At least it isn't in any of the feeds I watch regularly.

Billionaire Bongo Plunders His Nation

Do you suppose the Messiah is going to ask him for tips on how to run a country?

Texas Style

Yes, the news is full of tragedy, outrage and evil. But there are still good things happening in life and people doing good and caring things for other people. We find it all too easy to vilify large corporations, massive profit-making enterprises, and professional sports franchises. They are in business. They entertain us. We are eager to pay for their product. There is nothing wrong with paying Alex Rodriguez $125 million for playing shortstop. We want things like that to happen and there is no reason to piously or enviously seek redistribution of his wealth. He will spend it and it will enter the economy and that's the proper route for redistribution.

But occasionally good things happen. Maybe they happen more often at lower levels, but here's one that happened at the top level with a league championship team reaching out:

Paralyzed Baseball Player Drafted By Rangers

It was the 33rd round of the draft and by that point the exercise becomes largely meaningless in terms of value for the team. Except, that is, when it comes to doing something that makes us all feel good.

And, think of the feeling of that young man who harbors hope for his future and the steel will to survive, recover and play baseball once again.

I'm proud to be a Texan and as a North Texas resident, proud to be a Rangers fan.

Economics 101

There are some pretty simple truths about economics. If you loan money to someone, you expect to benefit from the transaction through some interest added to the repayment. If you borrow money, you know you are going to have to pay the lender a bit of interest to make it worth his while. That's not rocket science.

So, we've to $14.5 trillion in debt and we are desperately seeking Vito "Big Pastrami" Genovese for a payday loan of another couple trillion. Here's a realistic analysis:

Fed Stops Buying, Interest May Rise to Attract Mob Money

There is a lot of meat in that piece. Of course we will have to pay interest. When we are so deep in debt, we are hovering at the point where Moody's, S&P and other raters are downgrading our credit rating. That means more interest. In the US, the Fed has pegged funds rate a 0% for quite a while now. That is underwritten by somebody, aka YOU, before anybody transfers any money to anyone.

We've had the Treasury "buying" US debt which is sort of like you loaning yourself money from your left pocket to your right to buy drugs when you don't have any money in either pocket. Now, if the Treasury stops buying, and the Fed keeps issuing, and nobody wants US bonds because wise investors can see a future collapse, what comes next?

Is it any wonder that now more than 60% of Americans are unhappy with the Messiah's handling of the economy? The other 40% can't add or subtract but generally vote Democratic.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Gestapo In the Night

The Constitution was written on the concept of federalism. It is supposed to limit the power of the federal government and preserve the authority of the states to act in areas which are decidedly local in nature. One of the very clear issues the Framers dealt with was the question of policing. Security in society is a governmental responsibility. Security from external threats is the realm of the federal government. Security of our cities, our homes, our families, our neighborhoods is a local responsibility. There are lines drawn between military and police power because we should properly fear a national government invading our homes in the night.

The tramping of jackboots in the stairwell, the shouts, the slamming of doors in the night is so reminiscent of Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia that this should really give us pause:

Department of Education SWAT Raid (This link has been taken down, but see UPDATE)

Can this be possible in America? The Department of Education in a quest for repayment of a student loan has a SWAT team that breaks down doors, has search warrants, rousts citizens and children from their beds and then refuses to explain the justification when queried?

Who will scream out at this?

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin offers more on this disturbing story:

DOE Office of Inspector General, aka MKVD

Gag Me!

View this with proper skepticism. There is no easy way to quickly verify whether this is true or not, so do not take it to the bank as stone tablets brought down from the mountain. But, it seems to conform to what we know:

Facebook Transcript Between Weiner and Weinie

The website looks like a bit of a mashup between TMZ and People Magazine with a right wing focus. Still, that doesn't make it inaccurate.

Watch the True Believers

They are coming out of the woodwork. They are either recruits of the party mechanism or a collection of the most brain-washed individuals in the nation. Watch and listen to them in the next few days. I saw a sampling on the evening news last night and I even read a rapid response letter to the editor in the Dallas Paper this morning. They are in lock-step in their idiocy.

The message?

You've heard it before. "I'm not concerned about his personal life, as long as he is doing right in his official duties." "This is not relevant to his performance as a US Representative." "I support him and think what he does in his personal life is his business."

So, apparently these people believe that someone who will orchestrate a well-planned media campaign of lies, distortions and indignation to cover up their lack of mature judgment and their admitted stupidity, will be honest and straightforward when speaking to them about public policy issues.

Amazing, isn't it?

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

The Money Tree

A persistent and foolish belief in America is that if the federal government funds something there is no cost involved and the money is like the twenty-dollar bill in the Christmas card from your old maiden aunt Matilda. I've even heard people express a misguided relief when a federal aid program replaces a state or local funding requirement. Do people really believe this?

The fundamental, irrefutable truth is that no government has a dime. None. They do not produce a product or make a profit, hence the only money which they can disburse is the money they receive from us, the taxpayers. It doesn't matter if it is federal, state or local government. To pay for any government spending there must first be a contribution from the citizens. You can pull aunt Matilda's money out of your front pocket, your back pocket, your shirt pocket or the elastic of your left sock. It's still aunt Matilda's money and without the Christmas card you don't have a dime.

So, how about this promotion of the General Welfare:

Firefighter Grants Promote the Fine Feats of Firemen

The fire station is a municipal fixture. The firemen and women, aka firepersons, work for your city or town. They might, in a rural area work for a county or a fire protection district. They might even be participants in a community volunteer firefighters program. They aren't federal and hence should not be dependent upon federal funds. As Cato so properly points out, why send the money to Washington to be counted, weighed, balanced and redistributed when it can be promptly, efficiently and without interference be spent right here in town?

But, it is impossible to ignore the conundrum of the once-conservative Congress-critter. Who is willing to stand up in the public view and say that they voted against sending some money from Washington to those brave men and women who guard our lives and property?

We're simply too stupid to know that it is our money in the first place.

What Next?

Hypothetical situation:

The local high school has a very successful math/science teacher. You don't always agree with him, but he gets results and a lot of the community likes him. He's in his mid-40s and recently got married to a very nice woman who has been prominent in the community.

Now, he's in a bit of a bind. He's been making phone calls, exchanging emails and sexting women half his age. The local paper is filled with the story and the rather disturbing photos of a middle-aged man who is obviously somewhat disturbed.

He's met with the school board and confesses that:

  1. He's stupid
  2. He's got very poor judgment
  3. He's done this for years
  4. He lies, easily, with premeditation, with script and with indignation
  5. He hasn't violated any school policies or his employment contract
Should he keep his job?

You know the answer. But is Congress a less-responsible position than high-school math teacher? Let's consider. 

Can Weiner get re-elected? Are the citizens of his Brooklyn/Queens district willing to vote for someone who is stupid, lacking judgment and a consummate liar? 

Can the Democrats tolerate this scandal which will persist for days if not weeks particularly when the regular contrast is made to Republican Chris Lee who resigned before most of America was aware of his Craigslist indiscretions. 

Pelosi seeks an ethics investigation. My suspicion is that she believes a closed-door confab will sweep this under the table. What really will happen is that it will drag it out until election day. That's not productive for the Dems. 

What she needs to do is oust him now. Demand his resignation and get an interim election immediately so that you can demonstrate some residual level of morality and establish an incumbent for the next election who becomes essentially unbeatable in our political system. Waiting for November 2012 and allowing this to fester for the entire period is a poor choice, but somehow I think it may take more than a few days for Nancy the Knife to realize it.