Friday, August 29, 2008

To Lansing

Off to Lansing today where I will refuse to meet with any political big wigs, even if I am begged on bended knee to stop by the office to give them my valued opinion.

I'm sick to death of all the pandering.

VP Stakes

There is still some debate this morning as to whom John McCain will select to carry the banner of the Republicans over the election cycle that will follow a McCain term(s) as President (if there is such a term.)

The three most often mentioned are Alaska Governor Palin, former Massachusetts Governor Romney, and Tim Pawlenty, Governor of Minnesota.

McCain is not an ideal Republican candidate, in fact, most Republicans that I know will only support McCain because he appears to be so much better than the Democrat alternative, a uber-liberal egoist with no experience, historical understanding, or reasoned initiatives other than an old socialist chestnut.

McCain can be accepted by many conservatives because they know that his political maverick leanings will be largely rebuffed by a bitter Democratic congress too angry to reach across the aisle to accept any maverick morsels. They also will have another election to worry about only four years from now, and they aren't about to jettison its chances of success by getting too chummy with McCain in the White House.

So, the big three nominee prospects for the Republican VP, it could be argued, are even more important to the long term survival of the once conservative party than is McCain himself. If McCain can be trusted to "do no harm" by conservatives, the next carrier of the banner might be someone that can do some good.

Of the three I think that Pawlenty makes the most political sense followed closely by Romney. Palin, though reasonably conservative, is unfortunate to be from the electoral tundra of Alaska making her choice, and the electoral vote harvest that might follow, less attractive.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

No Common Link to Terrorism

What do Mohammad Sidique Khan, Shehzad Tanweer, Germaine Lindsay (aka Abdullah Shaheed Jamal,) and Hasib Hussain have in common? Not a clue?

Okay, how about this one. What do Bilal Abdullah and Kafeel Ahmed have in common?

As it turns out, each of these young men were engaged in terrorist attacks in the UK in the past couple of years. The first four involved in the 7/7 bombings and the second two tried to ram their explosives laden vehicle into a crowded airport.

According to MI5 (the UK's equivalent to our Secret Service) in a recent report, there is no one linking factor among terrorists.

Research from the security service found it was impossible to draw up a typical profile of a "British Terrorist" contradicting the perception that all are traditional religious fanatics or Islamic fundamentalists.

The classified report on radicalisation concluded there was no single pathway to violent extremism and no easy way to identify those who would become involved in terrorism in Britain.

Researchers concluded terrorists "are a diverse collection of individuals, fitting no single demographic profile, nor do they all follow a typical pathway to violent extremism".
If they ever figure out a link, I'm sure they will get back to us.

h/t The Religion of Peace

Monica Conyers "is very passionate"

It is nice to know that, even with Kwame Kilpatrick tucked quietly in bed back at the Manoogian Mansion, someone from the Motor City is still capable of garnering national press attention while giving Denver's finest the opportunity to collect a little overtime.

Not to be outdone by the hundreds of protesters screaming their lungs out in pompous buffoonery at the site of the Democratic National Convention, our beloved Monica Conyers had a little spat with hotel staff that ended up with Denver police being dispatched to the Magnolia Hotel where, apparently, the Grand Queen of Obnoxious Irritability was dissatisfied with her room assignment.

“I don’t know if she was yelling a little bit or not,” Conyers’ spokeswoman, Denise Johnson said. “We know that the councilwoman is very passionate, and she’s not a pushover, that we can say. And when you’re in that kind of situation, that many people around, shuffled from one room to another, and someone comes up that’s out of the loop and says ‘You’re going to be out of here,’ I would imagine that you would be a little upset.”
Wouldn't it be nice if the state of Michigan and the city of Detroit were represented somewhere in the national spotlight without this sort of lunacy being the focal point?

Monica, we like it better when you are brawling in bars at home.

And, people of Detroit, please, when the next election takes place, try and vote someone into office that does not have an affective emotional disorder. While we all know that Monica Conyers is incapable of feeling any sort of embarrassment as a result of her childish behavior, I would hope that you are.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Brief Observation Outside the Grocery Store

I noted with interest a thin young man of about eighteen standing on the sidewalk outside of my local grocery store. This is a kid that grew up here, one year older than my son.

He stood there, doing nothing, as has been his wont since he reached adolescence, with a cigarette dangling out of the corner of his mouth.

There was no amount of anti-smoking propaganda that could dissuade this young punk from picking up a cigarette any more than any one of his teachers could ever persuade him to do anything with his homework, his ambition, his attitude or his life in general. He was a lost cause as far as school went. The teachers knew it, his fellow students knew it, and the taxpayers knew it.

You couldn't have driven motivation into this kid's skull if it was placed on the tip of a railroad spike.

It was the only goal of this undisciplined child to have fun in school while disrupting every classroom he ever entered. He did drop out for a semester a year ago, but he finished the year back inside the building, doing little other than laughing and making loud noises. From that standpoint, I suppose you could say that he met his goals of eduction, even if the state of Michigan would say the school had failed dismally in teaching him some basics that he had no interest in learning in the first place.

Of course, the best thing that could happen would be for this kid to decide he wanted to develop a skill other than blowing smoke rings and would buckle down and learn something. This is not likely to happen. Still, I hope he learns to work and can find a job somewhere that might allow him to lead a productive adult life. Besides, he's going to need money for smokes.

We enter another school year next week. It will be interesting to see if the kid is in the classroom making noise, or in town puffing his future away.

In the first case, the whole student body loses--having this punk in the school is bad news for anyone trying to teach or learn. In the second case, one of the school's ratings will drop under NCLB. What a great system we have in place.

Beware the Hot Dog Police

Have you ever been disgusted by what other people eat? Have you ever wondered how much a morbidly obese person has eaten all these years to become that way?

I suppose we all have, it is hard not to. However, there is a difference between those of us that frown at the self-destructive behaviors of others and those of us that feel compelled to take action by forcing others do what we feel is in their best health interests.

Enter Dr. Neal Barnard, a vegetarian, that wants to do what he can to prevent you from serving your child an occasional hot dog or slice of bologna.

h/t Moonbattery

That Voice

cross posted at Right Michigan

What's not to like about Barack Obama?

The guy can speak pretty very in front of a teleprompter, is intelligent, he's got an attractive wife, a couple of adorable daughters, he is motivated, has a great voice, a wide smile and, from what I understand, if he sticks his head out of a moving car's window it makes a noise like a mourning dove taking flight. (I had a childhood friend that could blow milk out his nose. While that would be cool in a chief executive, I suppose we can't have everything.)

We do like our Presidents to be a lot of things, and regardless of what any candidate is and what he has to offer, we always want more. This desire for "more" is warranted simply because the office of the President is one without boundaries and its occupier, by virtue of the job alone, is the most powerful human on this planet despite whatever Al Gore would want you to believe.

The man (or woman) that sits in the Oval Office should be someone special, and his outward projection should truly amount to more than a well-oiled veneer polished to a heavy sheen by armies of public relations people. That one person in 300 million that is chosen to lead our country through the next four years had better have something going for him other than just a catchy gimmick spoken with a deep voice. If he doesn't we might be in big trouble.

Me personally? I'm not holding my breath.

Barack Obama has exhibited few ideas that should make anyone think that even his most wildly thought out master plans are anything more original than the retread covering Joe Biden's head. In fact, Joe Biden is the perfect example of what change means to the candidate that is making "change" his battle cry.

Given the opportunity to make any one of a number of great choices for his running mate, Obama's voice eloquently announced the selection of a six term Washington insider with a poor track record, a super-human ego, and a regrettable propensity to misremember facts. Why Joe Biden is exactly the kind of man that Barack Obama feels should help him carry the torch of change is anyone's guess. Change, from what and to what, Joe Biden has no clue, he's just happy to have an actual working microphone shoved into his face once in a while so he doesn't have to keep practicing in front of the mirror. He also thinks it's cool to own a comb for something other than a pretend reporter's equipment.

Nor was Obama's political career founded on a newly revamped sort of political attitude, but rather the insider sort of closed-door back scratching that has ruled the windy city political landscape for decades. When Obama moved to Chicago, he knew exactly who to attach himself to, and he did it quickly. He did it socially, he did it professionally, he did it politically. Nothing new here to see.

It is hard to find much by way of change in the manner in which he has managed to turn his political success into personal wealth. His close friendship with an indicted speculator has a familiar ring to it, and forgive me for being cynical, but how surprised should we be that he was able to steer earmarks toward his wife's employer? When exactly did she get that huge promotion and salary increase?

While Obama's list of accomplishments is thin, his nation saving initiatives read like a laundry list of socialist boondoggles, the disastrous results of which can be studied in any one of scores of different countries that have tried their hands at the same change decades ago. There is nothing remarkable about his health care plan, his retirement plan, his education plan, his plan on housing, or his plans on welfare reform. Each and every initiative that Barack Obama promotes with his reasoned and eloquent voice also promotes larger bureaucracies that will learn to cleverly survive on the money of taxpayers like a swollen tick survives while latched onto an animal's hide. Oh, guess who that unfortunate animal is.

Obama's soothing voice calls for a change in America that he proposes to reach by stepping backwards through a door that is best left closed. If you want to see the glories of socialized medicine, look to the UK where bed-ridden elderly patients literally starve to death in government run wards. If you want to see the glories of socialist welfare policies, look to Scandinavia where public coffers have run dry in order to support an increasingly lethargic population content to live off the state while voting for itself larger and larger benefit packages. (It's good work if you can get it.) If you want to see the glories of a modern housing, look to France where the last extended heat wave caused the deaths of over 10,000 people who ended up being baked into the afterlife in hot, air conditionless housing. If you want to witness the glories of a socialist economy, again look to France where thousands of Muslim youths regularly take to the streets torching cars, burning store fronts and creating havoc because, they say, they have too few opportunities.

I have no doubt that Obama is a great guy and his intent is to do the right thing. I'm also certain that he has skills that would translate into success in any number of areas in both the public and private sector. (Audio books, anyone?)

But as a presidential candidate Barack Obama offers no ideas more interesting than the most generic variety of socialism. He describes the same old canards in a way that makes them sound fresh and breathtakingly packed with common sense. That is his skill. He wants a better America, he just doesn't have the faintest clue how to make one.

Call it change if you want to, and insist that it is our only hope for the future, but you would be better off looking into the rear view mirror where the results are clearly visible.

It ain't change, and there is no hope for its success, but gosh, that voice...

Monday, August 25, 2008

Even Vacations Must End

I'm finally back from a very long weekend that, in blogging terms, has already lasted a solid week.

I will be kicking off my return to inane commentary with my weekly article on Right Michigan this Wednesday. I will be cross posting that here as well. Until then, enjoy my absence.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Earthen Gods

cross posted at Right Michigan

No one knows for sure how many people were sacrificed to the Earthen Gods of Mesoamerica.

In 1487, just a few years before savage Europeans were to begin their genocidal assault on the New World, the Aztecs themselves claimed to have sacrificed 80,400 victims over the course of only one four day festival. The claims of that celebration, in honor of the re-consecration of the Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlan, were spread far and wide on the tongues of the Aztecs who bathed in the glorification of blood and sacrifice. A more likely number, one not inflated by the ego of conspicuous sacrifice, a mere 2,000 to 10,000, were probably killed during the festivities, each one ceremoniously butchered on one of several specialized tables located at the top of the temple from where the body could be easily flung aside to carom down the bloody steps of the pyramid.

Estimates of the annual carnage are widely disputed, though Victor Davis Hanson has speculated that 20,000 is a plausible number while others have guessed that as many as one quarter of a million people were sacrificed annually. The author Fernando de Alva Cortés Ixtlilxochitl has estimated that one in five children met his or her fate through ritualistic sacrifice, be it by knife or fire.

Sacrifice was not the burden of the captured soldier, slave or servant alone. According to legend, the King Cóxcox had his own daughter sacrificed and skinned at the founding of the city-state capital, Tenochtitlan, on the ruins of which Mexico City stands today. His example of selflessness helped serve as a model for generations.

The Gods of night (Tezcatlipoca,) sun (Huitzilopochtli,) rain (Tláloc,) and fire (Huehueteotl) were not easy to appease, and each, according to custom, demanded sufficient ceremony in death.

Huitzilopochtli would require his victims to:

[...] be placed on a sacrificial stone.[19] Then the priest would cut through the abdomen with an obsidian or flint blade.[20] The heart would be torn out still beating and held towards the sky in honor to the Sun-God [...]
Not to be spared the fear of pain and death, child sacrifices to Tláloc were only sufficient if the children wept on their way to final passage, their tears to be repaid by nourishing rains falling from temperamental skies onto a fragile Earth.

To the Aztecs, all life sprung from these protectorate Gods of Earth. Food, rain, sun, health and every other particle of good or distress was bestowed upon the Aztecs through Godly blessing or wrath. Life literally sprung from the Earth at the command of the Gods--the Earth was the ultimate source of life; penance and tribute were worthy and reasonable.

Humanity has an ugly ancient history, the Aztec chapter being but one of many. We would like to think that, at least in the Americas of today, that this sort of unconscionable loss of life is as deeply buried as most of the Aztec's cultural reminders.

Liking a thought does not make it true.

Today's Earth is worshiped to the same depth and breadth that the Earthen Gods were worshiped those few centuries ago just south of our border. Though the celebration of the death ritual may have changed, there is still a candid acceptance of what is necessary for the survival of our planet and its life giving essence, and that necessity, though absent of ceremony, demands the death of millions.

It is easy to point to Rachel Carson's writing of Silent Spring in 1962 as the gambit of the environmentalist movement. In her work, Carson, though falling short of demanding that DDT be totally banned, created a largely unfounded world wide hysteria over charges that the pesticide was harmful to human health, the environment, and birds. Shortly thereafter, DDT was banned in many countries. Malaria, dengue fever and typhus exploded.
With the help of DDT, the global malaria death rate--which had been 1,740 deaths per million in 1930--dropped more than 70 percent, to 480 per million in 1950.

Since Uganda stopped using DDT, however, malaria has ravaged the country. Government officials have decided to rebuff environmental activists and once again use it to combat malaria.

Niger Innis, spokesman for the U.S. branch of the Congress of Racial Equality, said, "Environmentalists always claim to be stakeholders. But every day that they succeed in delaying the use of DDT and other insecticides, another 3,000 to 5,000 people die from malaria. Those victims and the half billion who get this disease every year, who lie in bed shaking with convulsions, who can't work or go to school, who end up with permanent brain damage from malaria--they are the real stakeholders. It's their views that count."
Well, that depends on who you ask, for those championing environmentalism today pay little attention to the anonymous millions that die silently outside of camera range because of their advocacy. They still worship Earthen Gods, humankind a reasonable sacrifice, their faith killing millions of innocent people every year over the simple misfortune of having been born off the beaten dirt paths of a third world country.

DDT is but one example of a pervasive elitist attitude that devalues distant human life in the cause of environmentalism.
Dr. Charles Wurster, one of the major opponents of DDT, is reported to have said,

"People are the cause of all the problems. We have too many of them. We need to get rid of some of them, and this (referring to malaria deaths) is as good a way as any."
Today's hysteria over global warming and climate change, if alarmists are allowed to pursue their restrictive tactics, will claim millions of lives as its wealth choking mandates and regulations drive more and more people into poverty, ill health, and starvation.

As Al Gore and Arnold Schwarzenegger travel back and forth between mansions, work, and conferences on private jets fueled, apparently, only on carbon credits, much of the rest of the world is starving--their diets shaved of calories so that my Buick can burn food instead of gasoline in its fuel tank.

And, while Al and Arnold no doubt adopt a less calloused stance than some others in the environmental movement of today, there are countless proponents within the movement that strongly advocate zero population growth and population reduction--by whatever means.
The Seguin Gazette quotes [Dr. Eric R.] Pianka saying, “Every one of you who gets to survive has to bury nine.”

“[Disease] will control the scourge of humanity,” Pianka said in his March 3 speech. “We're looking forward to a huge collapse.” He said, “We've grown fat, apathetic and miserable,” and described the world as a “fat, human biomass.”
Of course, the environmental movement today is diverse and filled with many people who advocate environmental issues on Saturday, quickly followed by outspoken advocacy for the homeless, or battered women, or children in foster care on Sunday. Most environmentalists are not evil people and they do not celebrate human suffering.

However, most environmentalists engage, ignorant or not, in activities that are not consequence free, as most people of sub-Sahara Africa could easily attest. In the same tone of voice that environmentalists use to admonish the rest of us for daring to reproduce and survive on gasoline, it is our duty to admonish the environmentalists who ignorantly take part in the sacrificing of millions of people around the world to Earthen Gods.

Dying silently in some remote hut in Uganda doesn't have nearly the shock value that a corpse has while tumbling down the side of a stone pyramid.

Shouldn't it?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Vacation Week

I am taking the week off from blogging.

I will be posting an article here on Wednesday morning and cross-posting it at Right Michigan.

I am cutting wood this week (the paramedics are on stand by,) preparing for my fantasy football draft this upcoming weekend, watching the Olympics, and will be out of town on Friday and Sunday.

You will be thrilled to know I intend on getting back into the blogging saddle on Monday, August 25. In the meantime, check out the blog roll.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The People's Cube

I was catching up on some reading tonight and spent some time on the American Thinker's excellent website. Michael Geer has written a great article there that dissects and otherwise analyzes much of the propaganda that is The Obama message.

From there I wormed my way over to another site I'd never been to before, The People's Cube.

On that site are some of the best right wing graphics ever including this.

I didn't peruse the site completely so if there is a lot of swearing, I'm sorry Mom.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Preparing for a Michigan Winter

It is that time of year again.

Breaking my back cutting firewood for the upcoming winter.

While I spend many hours every year cutting wood, I have never mastered the skill properly. For instance, in today's woodland task, I managed to get my chainsaw pinched in a tree creating a half hour delay--long enough for me to travel to where I could borrow a second saw, and use that one to free the first one.

This is probably more humbling to someone that thinks they are worth a crap with a chainsaw to begin with. Me? Tough to be humbled when the standards are so low to begin with.

Anyway, since this time of year makes it almost impossible to keep up with posting anyway, I just thought I would repost something I wrote a few years ago about gathering firewood.

First posted in September of 2005 and unfortunately not edited since then either.

Preparing for a Michigan Winter

The title “woodsman” has been applied to me many times. I have been told by more than one scholarly person that I have “bar and chain oil in my blood.” I didn’t want to argue with them but it was my blood that had seeped into the bar and chain oil.

You see, I burn wood for heat in my home. It is an old farmhouse and does not have an alternative heat back up. Wood heat is very common in northern Michigan, so much so that on still, frosty mornings, the smell of wood smoke wafts faintly in the air. One of the benefits of wood heat, as it was explained to me before I bought the home, was the tremendous cost savings. A lot of people spent what they considered a fortune on alternate means of heat. Another benefit, I was told, was the gratification a person gets by harvesting his own fuel. I suppose now that people feel different levels of gratification for many different tasks.

I understand the hunting and gathering instinct that drives males. Being a male, I feel gratified after every late-night stumble into the kitchen lands me a Pop Tart. This hunting and gathering is in a man’s genes. But, my gratification gained by gathering wood that first winter was tempered by a sense of loss and discomfort. As an example, I felt very warm and comfortable and self-sufficient when I warmed myself in front of the vent, however, after I’d burnt the dining room chairs I felt the inconvenience of having to sit on the kitchen floor to eat. I was constantly debating the cost/benefit ratio as the winter embraced my home within its arms of bitter cold.

The ciphering I did after that first year of burning wood revealed to me that I spent about $14 on firewood that and most of that was for matches. So the fuel was cheap. At least it was cheap before replacement costs were calculated because it cost me over $22,000 to replace all my furniture, the furniture where I work, my cupboards and hardwood flooring. I know the church pew may have been taking it a bit too far, but it was the front one in the center section and nobody sits there anyway, and I couldn’t see a church trying to get their money back (Mennonites can be tough negotiators though.). I was wise enough to only burn the siding off the back of my house, thereby leaving the front portion of my home as stately as ever. I was somewhat steamed at the insurance company that refused to reimburse me for the siding that had burned—despite the fact that my policy clearly indicates that I am covered against fire loss. The case is on appeal.

But, that was last year, and with that first winter behind me I was much wiser as I once again laid out plans to harvest wood enough to last the next winter. But, I was not going to make the same mistakes a second time. When the snow melted in April, I went into the basement and grabbed my hatchet and headed outside in search of “real wood.” I walked just a short distance into my yard and noticed an enormous oak. I looked up at this majestic, stately tree that had without complaint offered shade and shelter to those that lived in the old farmhouse for many years. I felt huge admiration for the tree. This may have been a tree that served as venue to historic events. Perhaps a treaty was signed beneath its stalwart branches. Possibly this tree had shaded the horses of soldiers in one of the many wars that were fought on Michigan soil. I pondered this tree as having the branches over which vigilantes may have thrown their noosed ropes while meting out their swift, if not just, punishments. Finally, I thought of this tree and the fact that numerous children, scores, perhaps more, had climbed its branches, swung from it, played around it, and after reaching adulthood, without a doubt thought of it as an important piece of their childhood memories. But, since I grew up elsewhere, I pulled out my hatchet and started whacking away.

I had taken about 400 chops when I noticed that I wasn’t making a lot of headway. I had cut through the thick bark and had reached the wood itself, but with progress being that slow, it was going to take me forever to get that tree down. I wasn’t discouraged—in fact, quite the contrary. I simply had to put on my thinking cap and figure my way through it. Most inventions and innovations are the result of the type of deep thinking I was going to have to do. After much thought I discerned the basic problem with my tack was that the hatchet I was using wasn’t large enough to handle the job. What I needed were the proper tools.

With new found enthusiasm I headed to the grocery store to pick up the rest of the stuff that I needed. After circling the store several times I bought some pop tarts and decided that a hardware store would be more apt to carry the types of supplies I was seeking. In the hardware I purchased a hammer, a hacksaw, a chisel, a file, paint thinner, tin snips, a used bicycle (the store owner apparently giving me a good bargain because it only had one wheel) a roll of electrical tape, kneepads, and a pair of plastic flip/flops in a size eight. Excited about my ideas, and not wanting to waste any time while the creative juices flowed, I purchased items for plan one and plan two in this one fell swoop. It has been said that Thomas Edison would get so involved in his research and inventions that he would work around the clock completely oblivious to the passage of time. It has, similarly, been said about me that I would involve myself so completely in wasting time around the clock that anything I ever stumbled upon would remain unawares to people throughout the passage of all time. Having myself compared to Edison in such glowing terms is truly gratifying. Like Edison, I knew that once I became engrossed in my project it might be hours before I even thought about a need to eat, sleep or scratch and adjust, and I knew that having to go back to the store a second time would be crime to science and humanity.

At home again I was ready to get going. I took the snips and clipped off all of the spokes of the defective bicycle right at the axle. I then took my hatchet and busted the wheel rim all to pieces and cut off the tire so that I could get the pesky things off of the frame. I then stood the bicycle by leaning it against a tree. I took the hacksaw and cut the bike in twain, removing the front part of the frame just behind where the handle bar shaft meets the front struts. With the electrical tape I affixed the flip/flops to the pedals. I then took the file and filed the sprocket down to razor points. I was now ready to go. I took the bicycle and laid it on its side, took my shoes off and placed my feet inside the flip/flops and, lying on my side, I began peddling for all I was worth (about $1.94), and the sharpened sprocket tore into the wood. After about three and a half hours I could see that I was progressing more slowly than I had anticipated. A tree’s age can be measured by counting the rings in the wood from its outer wood to its core. At this point I was able to determine the oak’s age as greater than one.

I moved onto plan two shortly thereafter. I took the paint thinner and splashed it around the trunk of the tree about one foot from the ground. The three gallons I purchased seemed not enough to finish the job so I siphoned about 10 gallons off gas out of my neighbor’s truck and poured it on as well. Then I lit that baby up. It is remarkable how quickly a volunteer fire department can respond to a shrieking neighbor. The silly thing is, that the hullabaloo raised by him was totally unwarranted for, as far as I know, the neighbor had only modest possessions in the shed that burned down as a result of the explosion and fireball that followed the nearly successful plan two. Apparently my neighbor’s anger waned as after a while firefighters had to restrain him from approaching me to check on my condition. I indicated to him that the fire damaged neither my home nor me. I gave him a big grin and a thumb’s up. A tear entered my eye as with renewed vigor he attempted to break free of the firefighters to come see how I was doing.

After all the excitement had come to an end, I gathered up all the stuff I’d purchased from the hardware and took it back, 100% dissatisfied with the performance of the products and seeking a refund. Shortly thereafter I left the hardware wearing what was left of the defective cycle around my neck.

Since I was no longer allowed back in the hardware, I traveled 10 miles to another town to buy a chain saw. I also purchased all the tools and accessories that would typically accompany a chain saw and its master into timber country. Back at home I was ready to get started. I gassed and oiled the machine and pulled it several times before it fired to life. I carefully trudged outside with the running chainsaw in hand. I could tell by the quick work the saw made of the trim that surrounds my front door that this saw was the answer to my wood gathering needs.

I approached the smoking oak and stood before it with my saw, revving it up, readying it emotionally for the felling. I had witnessed my father cutting down trees several times. Never did he drop one on a house or car or person. I had watched him carefully enough that I felt there would be no problem in mirroring his success. The first thing that must be done is to take a pie shaped wafer from the tree. This wafer, when removed properly, will assure that the tree falls in the intended direction. I began working on the wafer. My father made his by cutting into the tree perhaps half way. I was certain that this was a mistake, as the tree would fall more quickly if you extended the cuts well over half way into the tree. I was about 90% through the tree with the bottom cut when I saw the error I had made. The tree’s weight shifted downward and began pinching the chainsaw making it impossible to cut through. The saw stalled and I kicked the tree.

After bandaging my foot, I limped back to the tree to investigate how I could best free the saw. The chain appeared to be pinched the entire length of the bar. I began by pulling on the thing. Then I pushed. I securely grabbed the saw by its handle, laid on my back and walked my feet up to the height of the saw and pulled straight back with my arms, legs, and back. After a visit to the chiropractor I stood and studied the fix I was in. Eureka! What I needed to do was pull the top of the tree toward the opposite side where I began my cut. That would relieve the pressure on the blade and I could slip it out. On second thought I decided that would never work.

I grabbed the hatchet and beat the bar until it was torn loose from the rest of the saw. After trying to return the saw to the store where I bought it, and failing, I had to travel to Alpena where, (hopefully) no one would have called ahead and warned of my approach. When I reached Alpena I tried to communicate with the store manager through a badly swollen and split upper lip, and a lower lip that more closely resembled a squished strawberry. It took the store’s idiot manager more than five minutes to finally understand that I was looking for a chainsaw refund.

After the store’s assistant manager was finally able to remove the store’s manager from atop of me, my nose now flattened, I traveled to Wal-Mart, to buy another chain saw and then headed back home. I did finally manage to get the tree down after another two hours of cutting here and there. Window replacement would only be a few hundred dollars so I was reasonably happy. Some of the smaller branches had actually broken off while crashing through the glass during the tree’s ill-fated descent and ended up inside my home on the bedroom floor. That was wood that literally gathered itself.

Having finally been able to harvest my first tree’s worth of wood, I struck off into the forest to find some more potential fuel providers. A little over the hill behind my house, I stumbled upon a tree that had been felled by a recent windstorm. This tree would be a snap to get cut up. I found it lying there on the ground—just inviting me to fillet it into burning length wood. (Fillet, that’s French, I think.) I got the first eight or ten pieces cut up until I reached a difficult part. I had to step either on a mound of moss or an unsteady piece of wood I’d already cut in order to set myself at the proper angle to cut the next piece of wood. My father would have chosen the moss but then my father would have been too conservative to even try the paint thinner thing too. I stepped on the wood and, the chainsaw howling, lowered the saw into the meat of the tree. Just about the time I’d gotten one quarter of the way through, the piece of wood I was standing on rolled away from me creating a terrible groin pull as well as a severe crotch tear in my $8.99 jeans. I could hear the rip all the way up my leg. Fortunately the jeans tore only half that far. I’d torn worse muscles than groins before so, after wrapping my belt around my leg for a tourniquet, (that may also be French) I proceeded on.

One would think that the difficulty surrounding a crotch tear the size of Connecticut would be its tendency to fill up with sawdust creating a terrible discomfort. Well, it was uncomfortable as most of the sawdust ended up in my shoe. Boy I hated that. I soon learned, however, that the sawdust problem was minor when compared to the abject pain associated with driving a sharply pointed stick right through the hole in my jeans, into my scrotum, and pinning my right testicle to my left butt cheek. I left the woods an inch at a time by dragging myself through the brush and onto the lawn, trying carefully not to jar the stick too much. All in all, my first wood cutting adventure hadn’t gone too badly. That night I ordered a fuel oil burner on line while standing in front of the computer. Of course, I will install that myself.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Saudi Money

Terrorism is a bad thing, but woe be it for the US to try to cut it out at the roots like you would poison ivy growing in the yard. No, that wouldn't be particularly fair--there are feelings involved.

The only right and fair thing to do with terrorist poison ivy would be to allow it to slowly stretch out its thin fingers, let it receive water, allow it sun, cut around it, protect it, allow it to flower and fruit, give it the grace it needs to spread by seed and adventitious root, and only at that point, when it has reached its most noxious yet inevitable cycle and is festering in our own sickened hide, try to kill it.

This is the tactic that some portions of our government seem to have adopted.
We are proud and unafraid as a whole to face terrorism when it kills thousands of us. We are unafraid to send our military into harm's way. We stand stoic at ceremonies where the brave are lowered into the ground. But many in our administration and judiciary stand meekly by when toothy preemptive action might raise the objection of Islamophobia or be seen as unaccepting of "the other." Not only do they not want to offend in the face of multi-culturalism, but they also don't want to anger those on whom our economy is dependent. That toothy action means stopping the flow of Saudi money into our country, and also stopping the flow of the west's money to Saudi Arabia.

U.S. court exonerates Saudis from lawsuit filed by relatives of 9/11 victims.

Read the whole article and make certain to read Hugh Fitzgerald's whole argument in the comments of which this is only a part.

No matter how often people talk about the "need" not to offend Saudi Arabia, such talk is wrong. It misses the point and all kinds of point. Saudi Arabia is hopelessly dependent on us, and on the outside world, for its wage-slaves, for its protection (of the regime especially), for access to education and medical care. It is we, or rather, it is those in the capitals of the West, who as individuals -- those who leave "public service" (ex-diplomats, ex-Congressmen, ex-intelligence agents) as well as journalists and professors, who can benefit from showing the "right attitude" toward Saudi Arabia, who have convinced themselves, and too many of those in power, that "we just can't alienate Saudi Arabia" because we "need their oil." It just isn't true. It shows a misunderstanding of the oil market, and of Saudi dependence, and it has allowed individuals who may benefit from being rewarded directly or indirectly by the Saudis to to confuse their own private well-being with teh well-being of the United States.
We have a winner!

Obesity as Big a Threat To UK as Terrorism

Public health expert Professor David Hunter has discovered the biggest threat to British society: obesity.

Professor Hunter, of Durham University, said that since the 1970s governments have done little more than 'tinkered round the edges' of the emerging health crisis.

'They have been talking about it for four decades but that never seems to be enough,' he said.

'The Government was quick to move for things like ID cards or 42-day detention without trial - now it needs to show similar leadership in public health.

'The threat to our future health is just as significant as the current security threat.'
Perhaps the NHS should initiate 42-day detentions for fast food restaurants that voluntarily serve portly diners. People who brazenly eat too much wheat bread after 6:00 pm? Throw the book at them.

Sound silly?
The cost to the NHS of treating obesity - already £1billion a year - will also soar.

A spokesman for the Department of Health said: 'We are tackling obesity through awareness campaigns and action in schools.'

Every primary school pupil in one of the country's most deprived cities could be offered free school meals regardless of need to tackle childhood obesity.

Officials and health chiefs in Liverpool want to become the first authority in Britain to ban packed lunches and provide compulsory healthy meals to 26,000 youngsters, aged between four and 11.
A recently released survey revealed that NHS was incapable in 2007 of even feeding the patients it had already assumed care for in hospitals. Now wise government advisers are proposing that the benevolent state, already having acknowledged its ineptitude in the hospital wards, take over the mandatory feeding of children "healthy meals" in school.

The British have lost their brains. Why doesn't the NHS do something about that?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Parents Murder Child, Sue City

How far can the legal system move into the realm of the absurd before a judge somewhere calls an end to the bullshit and starts placing the burden of misguided lawsuits squarely on the backs of parasitic attorneys that shovel this manure into the courtrooms?

We might have reached a new low in Philadelphia where the parents of a child that they neglected to death, have sued the city for allowing them to do so.

After allegedly starving their disabled daughter to death, the parents of Danieal Kelly turned around and sued the city for failing to protect the girl from them.

Andrea and Daniel Kelly, with the help of some greedy attorneys, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city, state and outside social service contractors who were charged with supervising Danieal while she was under her mother's care.

The suit was filed a day after the couple was charged in the death of Danieal, 14, who weighed just 42 pounds when her bedsore-ridden and maggot-infested corpse was found in a squalid West Philadelphia rowhouse, where she lived with her mother and siblings.

h/t to Moonbattery

Obama's Latest Adviser

I cannot say that I'm surprised or disappointed. I need to face the facts, there is very little that The Obama can do any longer that would be goofy enough to surprise me, and it is also pretty tough to be disappointed in someone when you set the bar so low for them. I have Obama's bar set somewhere about mid-ankle.

Well, here we go again.

From Ben Shapiro at with a hat tip to QandO:

A man, they say, can be judged by his friends. If that's the case, then Barack Obama can surely be judged by George Clooney. The UK Daily Mail reported this week that the "Ocean's Eleven" actor regularly speaks with and text messages the presumptive Democratic nominee, advising him on everything from fashion to foreign policy. "George has been giving him advice on things such as presentation, public speaking and body language and he also emails him constantly about policy, especially the Middle East," stated a Democratic Party insider. "George is pushing him to be more 'balanced' on issues such as U.S. relations with Israel. George is pro-Palestinian. And he is also urging Barack to withdraw unconditionally from Iraq if he wins."
I'm not saying that Clooney could not ever attain a certain expertise by kicking around the planet and deeply studying issues. I'm skeptical, however, that he is the best that The Obama has to lean on in times of either international political or fashion crises.

By the way, Syriana was a stinker, unless movies of international terrorism and suspense are actually supposed to be boring. In which case, it was a huge success.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Big Oil and Lonely Grandmas

cross posted at Right Michigan

Today's gasoline prices have helped to politically merge a lot of people that in previous and less complicated times would never have stepped foot under the same political tent, regardless of how large and all inclusive that tent might have been. With people sacrificing vacations, sporting events, and trips to Grandma's house, it is easy to see why this particular issue has served to create a large, common-interest bloc.

A June Rasmussen survey showed that a full 67 per cent of voters believe that new offshore drilling should be allowed in areas where it is currently restricted while only 18 per cent disagreed. (Incidentally that same 18 per cent said they hate puppies and that Grandma's house smells funny anyway.)

This is a losing issue for stalwart puppy haters, and it will remain a losing issue as long as they are left on the opposite side of the river from a vast majority of people that would love to be able to eat another piece of Grandma's homemade pie. The interesting thing to look at here is not that progressives have gotten this issue so spectacularly wrong, (lets face it, we are getting used to that,) but rather the predictable strategies that progressives have cobbled together in an attempt to reasonably explain how they, once again, have happened to end up on the wrong side of the river in the first place.

Essentially there are two general strategies. The first is the one recently taken by The Obama himself, who has, after discovering his ill-advised location, backtracked from his previously crystal clear position of no new offshore drilling to one that would include limited offshore drilling--all the while declaring that this equally crystal clear brand new position is exactly the same as the opposite one that he used to have, and still does.

It is the second tactic, however, the one employed by Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Bart Stupak that I address here. It is the age-old and failsafe, find a scapegoat tactic, or perhaps the more aptly named "gougers!" tactic.

Big Oil has done a lot of things to victimize Americans, say preening class-envy socialists, by mostly profiting at obscene levels, or gouging. Make no mistake, envy can be a very effective motivator, and socialists have perfected its usage as a manipulatory tool.

Of course, this gouger argument doesn't pass the scratch test. In fact, Big Oil's industry ranks number 60 in terms of profit margin (8.7%) trailing such despicable industries as long distance carriers (26.4%) shipping (17.2%) wineries and distillers (14.7%) and the very exciting textile/footwear industry (9.7%.)

There is no doubt that big oil companies make large net profits, but this is the result of the huge sales volume, not huge profit margins. Corporate profit margins have to be maintained at a certain level for the company to remain a worthy investment option for financial institutions, fund managers and individuals.

Every person that has money invested in a pension fund or a mutual fund is most likely an "owner" of Big Oil. These investor funds have placed much of their money in major oil companies because they have proven to be, through the years, a steady if not spectacular investment vehicle. If and when profit margins dip to the point where Big Oil represents something less attractive, investors will leave to higher flying stocks such as Seagram's and K-Swiss. Big oil companies have to have the profit margins that they do to remain a good value to investors--and that is most of us.

While it is true that a large majority of Americans have now lined up with the pro-exploration and drilling crowd, they have done so primarily because of the way high oil prices have affected their own pocketbook and not because of any epiphany involving basic economics. The "Big Oil is evil" argument has not been overly effective for progressives, but any time you can play the class envy card, it will not be a total failure either. The Rasmussen survey also helps to bear this out.

An important finding of the Rasmussen survey is that a large majority of respondents (61%) agreed that oil companies should invest some of their profits into finding alternative energy resources.

Big Oil spends billions and billions of dollars on research every year, and some of it is actually spent on alternative energy research and development. If this money had not been spent thusly it would have effectively traveled to the bottom line and become profits, the same way that cutting other expenses would. To oversimplify things a bit, if a business spends profits in the course of regular business, it was never a profit to begin with, but an expense. Why do survey respondents, or pandering bureaucrats for that matter, feel a need to dictate where the bottom line should fall on what is a slightly above average business niche in terms of profitability?

It is interesting that oil companies are being expected to range outside of their core businesses to develop alternative energy. An oil company specializes in the production of oil and refining it, transporting it, and selling it. It does not typically create wind farms, develop solar energy or raise sugar cane, nor should it be expected to do these things any more than Coca Cola should with its whopping 21 per cent profit margin.

Big Oil is not run by idiots, and its executives are charting a course that they believe will lead their companies not only to short-term quarterly profits and greater shareholder value, but also will help to navigate their companies profitably through an uncertain future where oil is more scarce or gone completely. Who should we trust to do this? Experts in business and engineering or a handful of career politicians pontificating in front of other nodding career politicians waiting their own turn to pontificate?

Big Oil has been vilified by pandering socialist bureaucrats for decades, essentially for exploring for oil, drilling it, transporting it, refining it, and then selling it as gasoline for less than what retailers charge per gallon for bottled water. In the mean time, Big Oil has provided millions of good paying jobs, helped fuel the world's largest and most diverse economy, generated enormous wealth for pensioners and investors, and has done all this both more efficiently and cleanly than what was even thought possible only a few years ago.

Barack, Harry, Nancy and Bart are, as Nancy puts it, trying to save the planet with their energy policy. This policy is one that aggressively embraces an American future of reduced prosperity, heightened world poverty and starvation, worsening American national security, and depressed lonely Grandmas with too much pie on their hands.

What's not to like?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Obama Demands Russia Spank Itself (Almost)

On a tip from LGF, the astoundingly naive and ignorant Barack Obama has opined that the UN Security Council should pass a resolution that demands an immediate end to the violence in Georgia.

Forgetting, apparently, that Russia has veto power over any Security Council resolutions.

After passing the resolution, Russia is supposed to send itself directly to its room without dinner.

VP John Engler?

On a tip from Powerline and Townhall, Clark Judge, a former speech writer for Ronald Reagan mentions John Engler as a potential VP candidate on the Republican ticket.

Certainly enough to drive the teacher's unions bat dung crazy, Engler as a VP would have obvious pluses. And, at least he isn't that whiney turncoat Lindsay Graham or Joe Lieberman who, despite a proper stance on Iraq, falls way short of conservative on every other issue.

I'm not saying there are not be better candidates out there, but Engler would certainly provide the ticket some balance away from McCain's scatter shot conservatism and would pull states such as Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania farther into play.


Monday, August 11, 2008


Anyone that has been paying attention at all to world events other than the Olympics knows as much about this conflict as I do. I'm afraid though, that most people are only paying attention to the Olympics.

Some of the best commentary on the conflict that I have found is at the Brussel's Journal.

Things are not going to end well for Georgia. In effect, they are being herded back into a defensive and politically vulnerable position with Russian tanks and missiles serving as border collies. Whether any ostensible autonomy will be left for the Georgian's to enjoy will be decided by the KGB's Vladimir Putin. What is well known is that Russia is reasserting its regional might--that it should occur in the area that birthed the murderer Josef Stalin might be more than symbolic.

Georgia will soon discover, if they haven't figured it out already, that the bodyguards they hired are primarily interested in the tactics of negotiation and bluster, and in defense of the west, Georgia got suckered into this fight at a time that the west was either otherwise engaged (US and NATO) or taking estrogen (EU.) This is Georgia's fight, and it is Georgia's alone.

Meanwhile, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland and Ukraine are paying attention and will be planning accordingly. I hope Ted Kennedy enjoyed that peace dividend while we had it.

More at PowerLine and QandO.

Friday, August 08, 2008

A Post That Announces...

that I won't be posting today much.

I have, however, taken the time to add some great links to my blog roll.

I've added The American Princess, The Strata-Sphere, Carpe Diem, Jack McHugh's Blog, Q and O, and Ice Cap.

The American Princess is one of those great all-encompassing blogs. She is based out of Michigan which adds some local context.

The Strata-Sphere tends to touch on a lot of different topics, but where I have come to appreciate AJ Strata is in his analysis of foreign affairs, particularly in regards to the Middle East. He is right much more often than he is wrong.

Carpe Diem is written by Mark Parry of U-M Flint. Raw economics and common sense.

Jack McHugh's Blog is another dash of economic sanity in a world that seems to run on pure emotion. Jack is on staff at The Mackinac Center. Lots of people hate him.

Q and O talks general politics but goes much more in depth than what a lot of other blogs do. Really, if everyone read Q and O every day people wouldn't be so stupid and confused.

Ice Cap is a gem of a website that focuses on the hysteria of global warming. I'm sure deep down they are hoping the world is destroyed.

Enjoy the new sites.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Kwame Kilpatrick Goes to Jail

Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is learning the hard way that laws and court rulings actually do apply, even to him. Judge Ronald Giles sent the gangsta' administrator to jail this morning for violating provisions of his bond that denied him travel out of the state without prior approval of the court. Kilpatrick, apparently a lawyer with no remedial training in geography, violated the terms by traveling to Windsor (the last time I checked out of city, state and country) for city business.

Prosecutors learned of the infraction through the media.

Said Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Robert Moran,

"The defendant left the state of Michigan, left the country, without prior notice to the court. All you have to have him do is call me...he has my cell phone, he can call me anytime...we would never say the mayor of Detroit cannot travel for an emergency matter.

That is a flagrant violation of this court's order. At the very least we are going to ask the court to cut off all travel to the defendant...for business or personal, because he violated the very generous terms that this court has set up.

It's not serious to him that he's a criminal defendant."
Unless Kilpatrick posts the entire $75,000 bond himself or has the decision ordering him to jail overruled, Kwame will be spending the night at a location with no plush curtains or table dancers. At least none with shaved legs.

h/t Michelle Malkin

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Black Gold, Alaskan Tea

I received a response from Rep. Bart Stupak to an e-mail I sent him regarding the exploration and drilling of oil inside the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. While I have not always been encouraged by Mr. Stupak's responses (he has been adamantly and consistently opposed to drilling there,) he has always responded to my inquiries in a timely manner and has never once called me a friggen idiot, at least not in print.

Perhaps he just doesn't know me well enough.

In any case, for those of you who have not been paying attention to current events due to all of those riveting Beverly Hillbillies reruns, ANWR is in the eye of a political hurricane. These millions of acres of virtually untouched land, though quiet in appearance and nearly devoid of all human touch, are at the very heart of a swirling energy/environmental maelstrom. Unbeknown to the bears, shrews and caribou that travel both atop and beneath its surface, tranquil ANWR could prove to be the key battleground in America's quest to become independent of foreign oil--a war not to be fought with artillery and bullets, but rather with bluster, injunctions, lawsuits, and protests.

What is ANWR, and why is such a remote piece of land so important to both sides of this issue?

As with most things Alaskan, ANWR is quite large, measuring over 29,000 square miles. (Michigan's UP is approximately 16,400 square miles.) Located entirely above the Arctic Circle, ANWR reached its current size in four different phases, beginning with its establishment in 1960, and growing in each of three subsequent land additions that took place in 1980, 1983 and 1988.

ANWR is no monolith, neither in geography nor in designation, rather it is a huge sector of land that ranges from mountains to coastal plane and harboring six distinct ecosystems. Contained within ANWR are three different management areas, the 9.16 million acres designated as refuge, the 8 million acres designated as wilderness, and the remaining 1.5 million acres set aside for “oil and gas exploration.” This area is identified as area 1002 "after the section of the Congressional bill, the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA), that expanded ANWR in 1980."

The 1002 Area is not where those stunning pictures of mountains or boreal forest were taken, for the 1002 Area has no mountains, hills or trees--it is flat and barren. In fact, for nine months of the calendar year the area is completely covered with snow and ice while temperatures often reach fifty degrees below zero. The area sees no sun for three months of the year.

When summer does come to the 1002 Area, it will last for approximately six weeks. The permafrost soil will become covered in grasses, moss and small shrubs. Here, during the fleeting summer weeks, the unique boggy area will be home to many migratory birds, caribou and bears. These animals are often a focal point for environmentalists that want to preserve the area from disruption to their natural habitats.

It is within this northern most area located along the coastal plane, the 1002 Area, in which all drilling will be contained. However, as disingenuous as it would be to assert that the whole of ANWR will be subjected to drilling, it is also disingenuous to say that all of area 1002 would be impacted. In fact, Congress has designated that the total development footprint in Area 1002 cannot exceed 2,000 acres.

Two thousand acres. Less than four square miles.

In fact, traveling at a gas-saving 55 miles per hour (on properly inflated tires) along any straight highway in Michigan, it would take less than two minutes to pass through a parcel of land roughly the size of that portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge that Congress has said could be disrupted for future oil development--this in a land mass roughly 75 per cent larger then the Upper Peninsula.

If this is the case, why are Rep. Stupak and his Democrat cohorts (and John McCain) so insistent on denying drilling in ANWR?

Well, Representative Stupak had only this to say about ANWR.

Democrats are also working to speed the development of 22.8 million acres of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska to oil and gas drilling. Instead of focusing on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), which would take 10-20 years to develop, Democrats have proposed legislation to speed drilling in the National Petroleum Reserve, which has an estimated 10.6 billion barrels of oil and where oil companies have already done some limited development.
Mr. Stupak went on to address off shore leasing and drilling, Big Oil, unused leases, energy conservation and alternate forms of energy including nuclear. (Yippee!) In essence his argument, as it relates to ANWR is "Why drill there when you can drill over here?"

The sad fact is that the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska is already available for leasing, already locked up in legal battles with the environmentalist community, and contains oil that is both more expensive to produce and logistically more difficult to transport than oil would be from ANWR. The bill supported by the Democrats and Stupak would have had zero effect on opening up additional lands to drilling and, if drilling were ever to be significantly engaged in both NPR-A and ANWR, it is the NPR-A that would be most impacted by oil industry development.

If this is the case, and it certainly is, why would any dedicated environmentalist suggest such an avenue, unless, of course, we were simply witnessing a cloaking of true motives.

The entire orchestrated response by Democrats to suggested drilling for more domestic oil is designed to refocus the attention of voters away from ANWR and offshore drilling onto areas where environmentalists have largely succeeded in slamming the door on future development, into areas where it simply doesn't make economic sense to recover the oil at this time, and into areas where there is less likely to be any oil at all. Big Oil, Stupak's sworn enemy, already knows the current situation in these areas, but it is the voting public, those entrusted to elect next year's batch of Big-Oil battlers, that our current batch feels the need to hoodwink.

Democrats and environmentalists alike want gasoline to sell for a much higher price than it currently sells for because this is the most effective way to significantly alter consumption of fossil fuels in the short term while also forcing industry to fast track alternative energy sciences.

It is a risky strategy, particularly when motorists already feel they are paying through the nose for gasoline in an economy that is stuttering in part because of the impact high energy costs have had on countless industries. Bart Stupak and friends know full well the potential risks and rewards to their political gambit, and they certainly do not want to get caught in the line of fire when Jed picks up his rifle and takes aim.

And, if all other arguments fail, how will the fragile caribou herd ever adjust to the temporary disruption of their irreplaceable habitat?

Oh. Never mind.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Here is the John McCain We Know And Love

By the way, John, thanks for that poke in the eye.

"Only McCain has taken on big tobacco, drug companies, fought corruption in both parties. He'll reform Wall Street, battle big oil, make America prosper again."
Presumably by regulating, taxing and vilifying successful American businesses that bring new life-saving drugs to market, heat our homes, create wealth, and employ millions of people.

No wonder we hate 'em all.

Voting is Not Our First Duty

Our first duty as citizens is not to vote. Our first duty as citizens is to become informed enough to cast an enlightened vote.

Prior to hitting the precinct this morning at 7:15, I was exposed to two political advertisements, one from Moveon, and the other from John McCain. Needless to say, these two ads were lofted from different perspectives.

Each of these ads might be considered politically effective, though it is pretty obvious that each ad was designed to strike at the emotions rather than the intellect. One ad was filled with untruths and the other with bold innuendo.

Emotional voting is not going to further the success of this great republic. Tune out the ads. Do some research.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Too Fat To Die

, by lethal injection that is.

A convicted rapist/murderer from Ohio is protesting his scheduled execution because, not only is he is too fat, making it difficult for executioners to find a vein in his chubby, over-nourished arm, but also a medication he takes for migraine headaches might make one of the lethal injection drugs less effective, exposing him to undue pain.

I am not in favor of torture, though if anyone ever deserved it, it is this sort of heartless bastard. I would much prefer the state be able to lodge a painless bullet or two in this murderer's puffy skull in lieu of the potential pain of injection.

If pain is the only issue, I'm sure the lawyers will understand.

Obama in Lansing: Big Oil Bad, Big Auto Kinda Cute

I simply don't get it.

Sorry, I'm dumb that way.

While Barack Obama his aimed the cross hairs right at the chest of Big Oil, he seems to have found a cute but sorely abused lost dog in the form of Big Auto. The difference, I suppose, is that Big Oil is profitable despite the government's attempt to run it into the ground, while Big Auto has had its body poked and prodded by a triad of culprits including its own mismanagement (among its major sins is having not responded adequately to the well aimed impact of government regulations,) government coddled labor unions, and ever tightening government regulations designed to force a retooling of the fleet.

As it turns out, that is one of the things that makes Big Auto so danged cute. It has hundreds of thousands of union laborers in tow. And if there is one thing that cannot be tolerated, it is a heavily left-tilted voting constituency that has been tossed out of work so that Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama can save the planet, well, at least not without retraining.

Ronald Reagan had this to say about the government:

"Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it."
It is safe to say that Big Oil is still moving while Big Auto has been stopped cold.

Obama told 1,000 screaming fans, “We’re going to get them back on track."

So, lets dig a little deeper into the wallet boys and girls--this dog is going to need fixing, shots and $4 billion worth of salve.

What Is Big Oil's Fair Share?

Barack Obama is toting around a swollen knapsack bursting at the seams from all the hyperbole and nuance he's managed to stuff inside. Oh, it has plenty of promised goodies falling out of the right side flap, and the left flap is absolutely topped off with wisdom (and a couple of tire pressure gauges,) but somewhere, spilled amongst the crumbs of uneaten crackers and the dust of pencil graphite, is an intrinsic fact that seems to have escaped from some undefined inner pocket--Big Oil and its customers are already paying a lot of taxes. And, they (we) are paying huge.

From economics professor Mark J. Perry at CARPE DIEM.

MP: In other words, Exxon Mobil paid (or at least collected) $32.361 billion in taxes in the second quarter, which works out to $4,114 in taxes per second. Another way to look at it - Exxon paid (or collected) almost $3 in taxes ($32.361 billion) for every $1 in profits ($11.68 billion), see chart above.
h/t Moonbattery

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Union Pulls A Labor Day Switcheroo

Imagine, if you will, a distinguished group of war veterans deciding one day that rather than celebrate Memorial Day or Veteran's Day, they are going to celebrate Mohammed's arrival into Medina.

Or maybe this, an esteemed group of civil rights advocates decides that Martin Luther King's Birthday will not be celebrated for a while so that it can be substituted with a holiday that commemorates Mohammed's first major military victory.

Sound silly?

Wait until you read what the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union has agreed to do with its new contract with Tyson Foods in Tennessee.

I don't think even Ron Gettelfinger is this dumb. Then again, maybe he just hasn't thought of it yet.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Too Expensive to Feed in the UK, and Too Expensive to Cure in the US

I read a comment somewhere a few weeks ago that I tucked into my rather small head. If my head was larger I could have perhaps even remembered where I read it.

I'm going to take a stab and say it was in the comments of a post on Protein Wisdom.

The gist of it is that in a socialist health care system, every person needing treatment is a drag on the structure and a net negative. In a private health care system, every person needing treatment as a paying customer that helps to buoy the structure and is a net positive. The comment ended with the question...under which system do you suppose you would receive the better care?

I was reminded of this comment by an article I just read in the Daily Mail with an assist to Moonbattery.

At least 30,000 patients were left starving on NHS wards last year, despite ministers’ pledges to make proper nutrition in hospitals a priority.

Last year, Health Minister Ivan Lewis admitted that some patients were given a single scoop of mash as a meal.

Others were ‘tortured’ with trays of food placed just beyond their reach while nurses said they were too busy to help them eat.
elderly patient

And now, official figures show that between 2005 and 2007, there was an 88 per cent rise in reported cases of poor nutrition leading to a serious deterioration in a patient’s health.

Last year, NHS whistleblowers reported 29,138 such errors to the National Patient Safety Agency – up from 15,473 in 2005.
This on the heels of a Townhall opinion piece by Cal Thomas titled, The Price is (Not) Right.
Randy Stroup is a 53-year-old Oregon man who has prostate cancer, but no insurance to cover his medical treatment. The state pays for treatment in some cases, but it has denied help to Stroup. State officials have determined that chemotherapy would be too expensive and so they have offered him an alternative: death.

Oregon's physician-assisted suicide law allows taxpayers to pay for someone to kill Stroup, because it's cheaper than trying to heal him. How twisted is this?
And this is the sort of "change" that Barack Obama and other left leaning politicians want to hoist on to the backs of every American.

For the purely capitalist, sell your Humana stock and hold out for an IPO from the Hemlock Society.

Religion of Peace: July Report on Violence

I used to do a monthly summary of statistics complied by The Religion of Peace. I took several months off from blogging last year and when I recommenced blogging I, for whatever reason, did not restart the monthly summaries.

Well, here we go again.

July 2008 was a tremendous success for Muslim terrorists that cherish the goals of death and dismemberment. Self-professed followers of the Religion of Peace committed no fewer than 176 separate attacks in their glorification of Allah and Mohammad, all in pursuit of jihad or family honor. The final tally was 902 dead and 1,801 injured--the vast majority of whom were Muslim.

Hey, no one said the jihad was painless!

The attacks occurred in 19 different countries including Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, China, India, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Pakistan, the Palestinian Authority, the Philippines, Russia (Chechnya and Ingushetia,) Somalia, Sudan, Thailand, Turkey, the United States, and Yemen.

At least 17 of the attacks caused ten or more deaths with three murdering more than 50 people. These three took place in Afghanistan (65,) India (53,) and Somalia (53.)