Sunday, July 31, 2011

That Ain't No Promised Land: II

I wrote the previous post basically in response to a rather irritating edition of the Laura Ingraham show that I listened to (tape delayed) while I was on the road Friday night. I'm not much of an Ingraham fan but when in the car I listen to what I can listen to.

I listened to an hour long lament of the tea party's impracticality when it came to its unrealistic expectations. We only control one half of one third of the government...blah...blah...blah.

Ingraham was adamant about the GOP's need to fall in line in order to better our prospects in the next election cycle. Boehner is doing all that he can--we cannot stick out our necks too far and then become blamed for the fiasco that is the collapsing foundation of our economy. On and on. For all her fire, she sounded as if she had complete confidence in the Republican establishment to do the right thing once they get control.

I do not. Not even close. I do not trust Boehner and I do not trust Mitch McConnell, and I do not trust Eric Cantor, and I do not trust that blabbermouth John McCain (the GOP's last presidential candidate) or any of the other bluebloods that want me to be a good little party member.

But that doesn't mean that I'm not a bit practical too. I realize that the tea party cannot expect to have any impact on the political landscape if it forms its own party, and if they do such a thing, their foray will essentially hand the government to the fascists on a silver platter.

From a practical standpoint, the GOP to me is nothing other than a host animal on which I wish to affix my determined conservative proboscis. Just call me Roug of Borg.

John Boehner is not a conservative and never has been. He is a big time government statist who believes that government, when controlled by a benevolent puppeteer, can provide nearly all things.

This is antithesis to what I believe government is and should be. Boehner, et. al., must be assimilated.

While the tea party has to be proud on the impact it had in nudging the Grand Opportunist Party slightly toward the right, it has to recognize that the work has only just begun, and that as long as tea party supported candidates are still a "practical" part of a centrist led Boehner GOP, our accomplishments will be minimal. I have zero confidence in a Boehner led party ever getting us a smaller government--his actions over the years clearly indicate that that is not the foundation of his beliefs.

The next step of the tea party must be to expand its influence in the GOP and then to dethrone the entrenched bureaucrats that populate its leadership.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

That Ain't No Promised Land

In an effort to bridge the timeline between now and the next election, practical Republicans have said they'd love them some many hundreds of billions of dollars in added debt over the short term in order to budget an additional $7 trillion in debt over the next ten years.

This is the new face of fiscal and political practicality.

Now, even the impractical among us knew that the Boehner bill, as written, was as dead on arrival as the dermis underneath a Nancy Pelosi botoxic expression. We'll just have to wait and see what the mouldering Harry Reid can do to the bill before he sends it back to Boehner.

Wherever this leads, many of us in the tea party are being considered "impractical" or "hobbits" by the establishment GOP because we are not falling in line behind our christened party leaders in their Orwellian attempts to rein in spending.

But, from an equally practical standpoint, what evidence do we hobbits have from these GOP leaders that they have any intention of cutting overall spending when, according to the lexicon they employ, a $1 trillion cut in spending in reality is an $8 trillion increase in spending over ten years?

Let's go back a few years. It was a Republican president with great Republican support that gave us No Child Left Behind and the prescription drug benefit. TARP was a bipartisan fiscal calamity. Every one of these examples have the sticky fingerprints of John Boehner all over them.

When Boehner's support of these massive government expansions is juxtaposed with a bill that approves of an additional $8 trillion in spending over the next ten years, the practical among us hobbits begin to think that Boehner might be part of the problem and in no way capable of or interested in finding a solution.

So, ya, I'm not too happy with what the tea party has been able to accomplish so far, but I realize that we've only been a movement for the past three years, and I also realize that for the time being our little movement only occupies the caboose of a long established train.

My representative, Dan Benishek, was elected with support of the tea party, but he is not a member of the tea party caucus. He is one of the dutiful republicans that, in a thrust of practicality, got his ass in line behind John Boehner. I had two signs in my lawn that proclaimed my support of Benishek in the last election. They announced clearly that "Enough is enough." Now, as it turns out, perhaps they should have read "Enough might not quite be enough yet, but after getting my ass in line a time or two, enough really will be enough!"

But, while I'm a bit miffed at the moment, I'm not certain this is totally fair to Benishek. I'm certain he made what he thought was the best "practical" decision. I'm certain he believes that with one more election under our belts, with added Republican control over the Presidency (if they are able to gather it,) with added control over the Senate (again, if they are able to gather it,) and an expanded control of the House of Representatives, that real change can finally take place. I believe that he thinks that to see tea party people act impractically at this juncture would put additional Republican gains in the next election in greater doubt.

On all of these counts he might be exactly correct. The problem is, of course, that we hobbits know in our heart of hearts that the current GOP leadership is not to be trusted with the future of our children and grandchildren. We know the track record. We've seen them in action.

Establishment GOPers want me to have confidence in them for their vision of the future. They want me to believe that they will do the right thing. They want me to not only end my protests, but to buy in. But they cannot point to any history that would help me gain the confidence they demand. They were happy to gain back the House in large measure because of the tea party, but they were even happier to assume their positions in power while commanding the rest of us to "get our asses in line."

To a simple sort of hobbit, this seems suspiciously like business as usual.

We'll have to see how all of this works out, and while I don't necessarily support a primary challenge to Dan Benishek over this, I certainly support any effort that would oust John Boehner from his anointed leadership position.

We know the types of government programs that he supports. We know the types of deals he is willing to make. We've heard the condescension and we're wet with the drippings of his practicality.

Oh, he's a leader all right, but it ain't no promised land that he's leading to.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

This Screwed

This is what John Boehner's proposed dramatic cuts to the budget actually look like on paper.

How screwed are we again if this is the plan the good guys are proposing?

Bozo Economics

I've said it many times before and now it looks like I have to say it at least one more time.

Jobs are a necessary byproduct of a successful business but they are not the reason for a business or an industry to exist. Any company that exists in order to create jobs is either a company that will fail or a part of some public/private partnership existing on the marriage of an inefficient premise with some government entity willing to invest your tax dollars on that inefficiency.

Which brings me to this article on WUWT:

According to Rhone Resch, the last three years have seen the U.S. solar industry go from a start-up to a major industry that is creating well-paying jobs and growing the economy in all 50 states, employing 93,000 Americans in 2010, a number that is expected to grow between 25,000 to 50,000 this year (PDF). In the first quarter of 2011, the solar industry installed 252 megawatts of new solar electric capacity, a 66 percent growth from the same time frame in 2010.

Solar energy is creating more jobs per megawatt than any other energy source (PDF) with the capability, according to one study, of generating over 4 million jobs by 2030 with aggressive energy efficiency measures. There are now almost 3,000 megawatts of solar electric energy installed in the U.S., enough to power 600,000 homes.
And these jobs created are supposed to be a feature.

In a comment to the article ferd berple responds in an even more beautiful manner than his name might suggest is possible:
Imagine for one moment that it is 1908 and Henry Ford announces to the world that he has discovered a new car manufacturing process for the model T that creates more jobs per model T produced than any other technology available.

Wouldn’t that have meant the death of the model T? If Ford had required more jobs created to produce a model T than any other car, then how would Americans been able to afford the model T? Wasn’t the secret of Ford’s success to reduce the manpower required to build the model T and thereby reduce the cost so that everyone could afford to buy a Ford model T?

It seems that by taking the other route, by requiring the most workers per megawatt produced, that solar power is pricing itself out of the market. Why not simply hire people to turn hand cranks to produce energy. That would certainly create even more jobs than solar power per megawatt.
Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner!

How many times in the past ten years have we heard Jennifer Granholm or some other government yokel praise the new economy and the jobs of the future that it will create? These masterminds have spent the better part of this century trying to kill efficient energy production systems in order to have them replaced with ones that squash wealth and ultimately cost many more jobs than they could ever replace.

More jobs per megawatt is not a bug, its a feature! Everybody cheer!

Where did these bozos learn their economics?

My Opinion on the Boenher Plan

John Boehner could be a huge political winner here. So says a number of Republican operators and beltway journalists who are much more experienced in observing the political scales that measure such things than I am.

Dana Perino, Charles Krauthammer, John McCain, and Bill Kristol are among those siding with Boehner in his quest to increase the deficit over the next several years to the tune of many hundreds of billions of additional dollars.

Perhaps the passage of Boehner's plan would amount to a huge political victory. I'm not so certain it would be a huge victory for the country.

Boehner and company are willing to accept that the government would assume unfathomable amounts in new debt in exchange for symbolic cuts to future spending increases and the hope that their political adversaries will oblige them with more meaningful cuts on the morrow. (Sure, like that always works out.)

Boehner's plan is clearly less expensive than any plan that would be favored by President Obama, and it is clearly less damaging to the current US economy than any pined for by Harry Reid. However, Boehner's plan does not attack the debt in any meaningful way as it merely would slow the rate of growth of spending by our country's regulatory overlords rather than actually shrinking the debt.

You see, government accounting methods allow for tricks and verbal gymnastics the sort of which led to the collapse of Enron and Worldcom and the incarceration of those who encouraged the accounting. While these accounting tactics are not allowed in the private sector because of the fraud such methods perpetrate, their employment provides the desired obfuscatory cover for politicians who know the government will spend hundreds of billions more next year while making it sound like they will be spending hundreds of billions less.

If this is not the case, why would future increases in the debt ceiling ever be necessary? The way that government accounts for expenditures is a bit different than what we plebs do.

Lets suppose the government planned on spending $2 next year when this year it only spent $1. Along comes a government plan that suggests that rather than spending the additional $1, we should actually be cutting a dime from the budget. You and I look at this and we say, "Gee, we will only be spending 90 cents this year--those politicians are sure cutting back."

But all of that is before you discover that government is using Enron accounting practices. No, that dime taken from the budget is not based on this year's actual spending but instead is based on what government intended to spend next year. In effect, the dime in cuts amounts to an increase of 90 cents in spending above and beyond what was spent this year. Of course, we are not talking about mere dollars here, but trillions of them.

Sadly, this has become a game of blame dodging in which establishment Republicans have determined that it is preferable to be complicit in the possible financial collapse of this country than it is to be blamed for today's comparative crisis in miniature.

Sooner or later this country is going to have to take the hit and every day that it is delayed will make that hit more painful and costly. Ultimately, blame will be assigned indiscriminately regardless of who deserves it most.

It is better, I think, to demand more meaningful cuts today and establish a firm apparatus that guarantees actual cuts for tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

GOP Establisment Must Be Put Out To Pasture (Or a Glue Factory)

This is why the establishment wing of the GOP, a country club gaggle of blue bloods that stood idly by as our national debt reached $14 trillion and our country's unfunded liabilities ballooned to over $100 trillion, cannot be allowed to stay behind the reins of the party.

John McCain has few principles by which he governs other than a desire to have his side win. As far as he is concerned, his country can slide ever farther into massive debt and can inch ever closer to economic collapse as long as his side looks better to the masses than does his rival fraternity.

Enough is enough.

The tea party wants people like John McCain to retire their mouldering bones to the political sidelines so that younger and more vibrant thinkers can cut through the crap that his ill tempered dementia has helped create.

Seriously, how can any man who has been sitting in Congress as long as he has and has helped issue in the circumstances under which the country now resides, think that he has enough moral authority remaining to lecture the tea party about wanting to save the country?

To think I voted for this hemorrhoid for President is enough (though I did it only because I supported Gov. Palin) to make me want to puke.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Amy Winehouse

This is perhaps not the sort of thing you would expect to hear on The Rougblog, but your humble host really liked much of the music of Amy Winehouse, the musical prodigy being remembered today in London, some sixty years too soon.

She was soulful and bluesy and not wrapped up in producing the generic sort of sounds that are squeaked by literally thousands of performers the world over. She was different.

While I read with disturbing frequency about her ever more erratic behaviors no doubt spawned by needles, bottles, powders and smoke, I was never so cynical as to pick a date on which she would die as many others did.

Four times in rehab was not enough to turn her away from what turned out to be the inevitable.

She was special in a way that will be forever clouded and diluted by her end. The heralded heights of her musical career will forever be tempered by the depths of her demise--her memory marked with an ugly asterisk.

As Archbishop Cranmer states with such eloquence:

Some are born dead, some achieve death, and some have death thrust upon them. At whatever point it occurs, it is unavoidable, inevitable, inescapable.

Amy Winehouse was of those Marmite kind of artists: you either loved her or loathed her. She had recently cancelled a number of concerts in Serbia, Turkey and Greece so she could 'sort herself out'. Sadly, it appears that rehab was not enough. Her long battle against drink and drugs has brought her music to an end, and the world has lost another talent at a tragically young age. RIP.

Corporate Jets...Boo!

According to reports from people with more patience than I have, President Obama once again uttered the usage of "private jets" in his campaign budget speech last night. Private jets, you see, are an icon of corporate greed gone wild.

It is not, I suppose, that corporations who own such jets are evil from a generic standpoint, just that corporations that can afford to own such jets by definition do not pay enough in taxes. Here are some choice quotes from Mr. Obama about corporate jets in a recent speech:

“It would be hard for the Republicans to stand there and say that the tax break for corporate jets is sufficiently important that we’re not willing to come to the table and get a deal done.” President Obama
"You'll still be able to ride on your corporate jet. You're just going to have to pay a little more." President Obama
[wishing to close] "egregious loopholes that are benefiting corporate jet owners or oil companies at a time where they're making billions of dollars in profits." President Obama
We're getting the point...the jets themselves are not evil, but those brazen enough to own one (and those politicians who are doubly brazen for standing up for those who do own one) are choosing to toss the elderly to the dogs so that caviar and champagne can be savored at 30,000 feet.

This is not the first time that the evil rich have been singled out for their tastes toward the expensive--never mind that corporate jets are used primarily to transport high paid executives from city to city at the company's own cost to conduct the company's own business, rather than blathering Commanders In Chief who enjoy the same sort of globetrotting but instead are tucked comfortably inside the taxpayer provided cabin of Air Force One.

No, toward the end of George HW Bush's single term in office, he broke his lukewarm pledge of "no new taxes" by, among other things, targeting items of excessive value purchased by the rich. These luxury taxes targeted furs, jewelry, yachts, private planes and automobiles all priced above a certain threshold.

Less than two years later the luxury yacht industry estimated layoffs of about 25,000. That is, there were 25,000 fewer people making good money in the boat building industry (and paying no income taxes on that good money earned in the boat building industry) so that people purchasing boats built by the boat building industry and priced at more than $100,000, would kick in an extra 10% to the government to help cover the costs accrued by the government due to higher unemployment levels in the boat building industry.

While that lesson may not have been learned by our current President, those people who work within the corporate jet industry are definitely taking notice.
Gov. Sam Brownback led a news conference in Wichita on Wednesday criticizing Obama's remarks.

The governor said at least 30,000 people in Kansas are employed by the aviation industry, and more than 40 percent of general aviation aircraft around the world is built in Kansas. Wichita is home to manufacturing plants for Cessna, Hawker Beechcraft and Bombardier, along with roughly 200 parts suppliers who depend on them.
Obama seems to believe that taxing the bejeebus out of items that most people cannot afford is an attractive way to promote class warfare, it is not painless to those whose jobs are washed away in the wake of the punishment. You see, these punitive actions tend to spread out beyond their intended targets.

Higher taxes on certain items will change the purchasing behavior of consumers. They buy fewer of the items, find additional means to lower the tax burden, or seek out jurisdictions where the tax bite is not so punitive. One need look no farther than the actions of a very enlightened and progressive former democratic candidate for president to see that this is true.

The corporations that own corporate jets pay billions a year in taxes and provide millions of jobs to employees that also pay billions a year in taxes. The corporations that design and manufacture corporate jets pay millions a year in taxes and employe tens of thousands of people who also pay millions a year in taxes. The tens of thousands of employees of corporate jet manufactures spend millions of dollars a year in restaurants and hotels, in food and in apparel, in appliances and automobiles. Companies that provide hospitality services, household goods, and durable items in turn pay billions and employ millions. (Rumor has it that some of these companies also happen to own corporate jets.)

Are these not good things?

As Americans, we should celebrate the iconic corporate jet for the wealth creation and employment that it represents. We should celebrate a society that allows the most inventive and innovative among us to make millions of dollars while they provide the rest of us with gainful employment, a life more comfortable than that enjoyed by our parents, and the opportunity to slice out our own little part of the American dream.

The White House does not celebrate such icons but instead wants to change American society by vilifying and dismantling the apparatus that allows such wealth and private employment to exist.

It is said that those who do not know history are destined to repeat it. I think that Barack Obama and his progressive minions know their taxation history. They simply like what they have seen.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Rod Allen: RACIST!

Detroit Tigers' television commentator Rod Allen made a huge mistake the other night by suggesting that the seven Tigers on the field at that time might (gasp!) want some rice and beans during the after game meal.

Allen: "Lot of quality at-bats tonight by Tigers batters."

(Avila fouls off a pitch.)

Allen: "Tigers pretty much got a all-Latin squad out there tonight."

Impemba: "OrdoƱez, Cabrera, Martinez, Peralta, Guillen, Avila, Betemit. Jackson and Boesch don't qualify."

Allen: "They're gonna have to get some rice and beans for the postgame spread tonight."

Impemba: "[Nervous-sounding laugh]. Yes, they are. ... Two and two!"
Now, there is no hint that any of the mentioned players were offended by the suspected racist remarks of Allen, but in the absence of their echoing an injured protest, some white guy from Yahoo got offended for them.

Give me a break. There is already enough legitimate racism in this country that the empathetically benevolent among us need not create it out of thin air and then waste our time in drawing our attention to the creation.

Says the too offended David Brown:
It might have been tricky for him, [ed. Brown isn't suggesting that Allen, as a black man, is incapable of such a thing, is he?] but Allen could have referenced how the Detroit clubhouse — which includes respected stars such as Victor Martinez, Miguel Cabrera and Jose Valverde) — is a place where Latino players can feel comfortable. That's not always the case in the major leagues. Such a discussion could be valuable.

Short of that, if only Allen had tried to be funny, maybe something stereotypical he said theoretically could be defended. But Latinos eating only rice and beans? It wasn't funny the first billion times someone said it, so why keep it going? Allen comes off like he's mocking them, even though — giving him the benefit of the doubt — he probably didn't mean to.
No, it didn't sound to me like he was mocking them. For instance, from what I heard, Rod Allen didn't suggest that the players would only want to eat rice and beans as Brown asserts, but merely that they might want it included. But then again, I don't try to interpret every word uttered by anyone I hear through the filter of racism and cultural disrespect.

Perhaps Allen could have made it all easier for the rest of us by simply coming right out and uttering a colorful slur. After all, its getting pretty darn hard these days to tell the real racists from the poseurs.

But, I've got an even better idea, this one for David Brown.

Lighten up a little bit, take to the sidelines, and let the Latino players on the Tigers speak to Rod Allen if they are actually offended. Let them be the ones to draw Rod Allen aside and tell him that his words cut them to the quick, otherwise it just sounds like your lecturing of Allen is done because you feel that Latinos are somehow either incapable of speaking for themselves or are simply too dumb to know when they've been insulted. (See how two can play at this game.)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Journalist in the Headlights

A degree in print journalism or broadcast journalism is, to oversimplify, the successful completion of a line of study designed to perfect a certain type of communication. A journalism degree trains its recipients to confidently communicate effectively the information a journalist sees fit to disseminate.

Sadly, a person so degreed and steeped with nearly unequaled communication skills can know relatively nothing about economics or history or psychology or anything else.

Their degree, however, gives them the license, too many of them believe, to blather on condescendingly to other people who actually did study economics, history or psychology in college.


h/t Daily Pundit

Rule of Law Versus Democracy in Detroit

Jesse Jackson is back. This from MLive:

The Rev. Jesse Jackson is back in Michigan, and he's calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to join his fight against the state's recently-expanded emergency manager law.

'We have a profound economic crisis in the country and the state," Jackson said this morning on WJR-AM 760. "There's nothing about the economic crisis that should allow one to demolish democracy. The vote remains sacred even in a time of crisis."
In response to another commenter I posted this:
The United States is not a democracy and it never has been. It is a representative republic. There is a significant difference. What democracy basically boils down to is "majority rule." While this is great for those in the majority on specific issues, it doesn't do a lot of good for those who find themselves believing in something that the majority finds distasteful.

In truth, the founding fathers feared democracy. The ignorance of our political system displayed by people on here who sound otherwise intelligent is troubling to me. Don't they teach history or government in school any more?

Detroit is a cesspool today because it has operated for decades in a manner inconsistent with individual rights and the rule of law. It has been a center of corruption, graft, and the welfare state for so long that it has virtually crumbled other than what few crumbs it could pander from those who refused make it face the consequences of its own corrupt actions.

I don't feel sorry for Detroit. It made its own bed and for too long now it has been making the rest of us wake up next to it.
What is most interesting about Jackson's (and I presume the commenter's) thoughts is that while they endlessly pander for the money of others to help prop up historically corrupt municipalities, they simultaneously demand that those whose money they spend should butt the hell out.

It is the rule of law versus democracy. I'm shocked! Shocked, I tell you, that Jackson winds up, once again, on the wrong side of the equation.

Rising Medical Costs: A Case Study or, How the Grand Trifecta of Government Intrusion Into the Free Market Screws the Rest of Us

My family is once again growing. The soon to arrive boy or girl will be joining the family of my niece and her husband who only four years ago blessed us all with twin boys. I wrote about their miracle here.

Those births occurred with myriad complications and the final medical bill landed well within seven figures.

In America we have to admit a couple of things. First, we have to admit that our medical community is the most advanced and successful on earth. Second, we have to acknowledge that it is expensive.

One of the evil villains in the rising cost of medical care in this country is the pharmaceutical industry. Sure, doctors are also greedy, as are nurses, as are hospitals, as are those who test your gross blood, your disgusting stool, and your even more disgusting growths. And, let us not forget the greed of ambulance providers, insurance companies, and anyone else remotely involved in the providing of medical services. Yet, somehow, when we are in need of their services, we manage to grovel back to these too-rich (and competent) devils and pray that they save our lives and make the pain go away.

And, with every advancement, costs rise.

Too often absent from the accusations lofted at medical providers over the cost of our best-in-the-world care is our beloved government--the largest and most benevolent corporation on earth.

Which brings me back to my expectant niece. Because of the premature birth of her twins, she is at very high risk of premature delivery of this next child. Her doctor has dealt with this the same way that many doctors have routinely dealt with it for the past few decades--with the prescribing of a hormone called progesterone. The drug, delivered by injection once a week, is given to expectant mothers during at-risk pregnancies for up to the last 20 weeks of the pregnancy.

The cost per injection...about $20 for a total cost of approximately $400. Or at least it was.

Enter the US government in the form of the most benevolent FDA. New cost...$1,500 per shot, or about $30,000 for twenty injections.

How did this happen?

In its quest for a perfectly regulated society, the FDA determined that progesterone as it was produced for decades did not meet the standards that should be applied today. To wit the drug was manufactured by pharmacists and not under the heavily regulated umbrella of the federal government.

This could not stand.

Recently, the FDA granted a patent to the K-V Pharmaceutical Company for Makena, the new government approved form of progesterone.

K-V Pharmaceutical, having hurdled the quarter of a billion dollar cost of dealing with federal regulations for the delivery of the new drug, and then enjoying the virtual monopoly provided to it by the FDA for this product that a pharmacy could make in its back room for $10, the market cost for the brand new old medicine was increased overnight by 750%.

This is no problem for the evil rich, who most likely are insured and, if not, can afford the medicine regardless. It is no problem for the insured who will have it provided for them after coughing up a copay--the category that my niece falls into. It is no problem for the poor who, after levying the government, can have the note toted by Medicaid and the taxpayers. It is a problem for a growing number of families who are still employed by companies that can no longer afford to provide health care coverage for their employees.

Meanwhile, medical costs skyrocket, insurance rates skyrocket, consumer prices skyrocket for any product made by those who provide insurance to their employees, and America saunters one step closer to the cliff--all this while progressive thinkers scream for even greater regulation on everything from what we eat, drink, breathe, use, rent, buy, sell, or otherwise brush up against in even our most casual walks through life.

Do I hold K-V Pharmaceuticals harmless in this whole mess? No, but I recognize that they are acting in exactly the way that we would expect for a company to act that has just spent a fortune for the right to produce a product for which they have also been granted a government monopoly. Really, that is exactly what we should expect from companies that feast off the nectar of a benevolent government bathed in fascism; a government whose two main priorities are to guarantee safety in all aspects of our dangerous human existence, followed closely by an insurmountable desire to make certain no members of society act in a manner not blessed by the collective.

Lets multiply this by the millions of intrusions the government makes in the free market every day. Increase regulation. Restrict individual choice. Squash competition.

It is the grand trifecta of a well-engineered benevolent state. Freedom would be cool, that is, if it wasn't so darn dangerous.

Epilogue: Due to great consumer pressure, K-V Pharmaceuticals has made some price changes to its product and claims it is now priced only about 330% higher than it was just a few months ago. Thanks.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Unwilling To Learn

A balding former roommate (and occasional reader) of mine tells a story of his youth.

When he was about ten years old he had his bicycle stolen from him. In an effort to get his bicycle back from the thief, he gave the thief's friend $10 to retrieve it for him.

While waiting listlessly for a bicycle that never returned, his Father disgustedly pointed out that "You live and learn, Son. You live and learn."

Tom Coburn, Mitch McConnell and Saxby Champliss are today seriously contemplating spending another couple trillion on their third stolen bicycle in the past few years.

Some people refuse to learn regardless of how many times they've been snookered.

The Good Old (hot) Days

You know it is hot when my 91 year old Dad is sporting blue jean cutoffs with black socks that are, as you have most likely pictured by now, pulled up as high on his calves as the elastic properties of a fine cotton-Coolmax-polyester-nylon blend could possibly allow.

And, you know it is really hot when my Mom hasn't yet made him go inside and change into something a little less offensive to the eye.

So, here we sit wearing whatever we can to stay cool inside a high pressure dome that is being advertised as the strongest to cover the country's midsection since the mid-90s. It has to be global warming or, at the very least, some global climate change action.

Which all made me wonder what my Dad was wearing some 75 years ago when a pre-global warming climate produced a steamy 112 degrees in Mio.

That was way back in 1936 when on July 13 of that year the all time record high for Michigan was recorded some ten miles from the farm on which my Dad was raised. My Mom was perspiring only two miles from Mio on the family farm where she was raised.

What would Al Gore be saying this week if, instead of temperatures that will flirt with 100 degrees, we were facing the temperatures my parents suffered through back before any rural homes enjoyed central air and before farm families even enjoyed insulation in their walls?

Perhaps this will be a good week to buy carbon credits on the open market because this high pressure dome is going to stay in place for at least a couple more days. But personally I think it would be a better investment to pick up a pair of old jeans and scissors. Just don't tell Mom.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

We Could Use a Little Truth

Barack Obama has hinted that if the Congress cannot raise the debt ceiling that he could not guarantee that Social Security checks would be mailed out. We expect these sorts of scare tactics because they come right from the written works of Saul Alinsky, the Communist community organizer from whom Barack Obama learned most of his playbook.

But, any of us who have spent any time investigating this know it to be, as Joe Wilson might shout from the Capitol floor, a lie. There will continue to be money flowing into the treasury after a deadline. In fact, there will be more than enough money necessary to pay the interest on the debt, social security benefits, benefits to military personnel, Medicare, Medicaid and, with enough votes, they could still fund an all important study of AIDS transmission in Chinese prostitutes and maybe even build a library or two.

So, why doesn't Kay Baily Hutchinson say just that? Rather, the "establishment" GOP Senator from Texas says that social security checks can still be mailed out because it comes from another fund altogether.

On Fox News today with Shannon Bream:

[...]we shouldn't be having the President say he might not be able to send social security checks out, he can. He absolutely can. It's a different fund. They know that. So, I think it is a scare tactic."
Ms. Hutchinson, the only reason we are in this financial mess to begin with is because the other fund of which you speak does not exist. It has been used up. Spent. It is gone.

It would benefit Americans everywhere to know the truth about this financial mess. Covering up Obama's pessimism with your own brand of optimism is obfuscatory.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Speaking of an Overreaching Nanny State

Let's not leave the good people of Colorado out of it either.

The wonderful bureaucrats of the Rocky Mountain State are getting serious about turning themselves into the parents of every child in the state. They know what is best for the children and, in order to make sure that incompetent parents don't neglect to teach future citizens about tolerance and multiculturalism, they're writing regulations making it mandatory for all day care centers in the state to make available dolls that represent three different races.

It's bad enough that these red-tape artists have the gall to attempt such a foray into the private sector, but then they have the stone cold gall to spend months parading around the state wasting tax payer's money in order to implement "this [...] lengthy, thoughtful, deliberate process."

I wonder if an Irish, German, and French doll would suffice?

h/t Drudge

The Nanny State Is Coming For Your Vegetables

There are few things on Earth that tick me off more than self righteous bureaucrats using their authority to bully the people that pay their salaries.

It is bad enough that we have bureaucrats trying to tell us what we can eat, if we can invite other people to smoke on our own private property or if we might, pretty please, be able to add some salt to our food.

Now we have a benevolent overlord threatening a homeowner for growing vegetables on her own front lawn. Why? Apparently for no other reason than he doesn't want them to.

Michelle Obama can grow a whole garden on the White House green but Julie Bass, of Oak Park, Michigan should know a little bit better.

From My Fox Detroit:

"We thought it'd be really cool to do it so the neighbors could see. The kids love it. The kids from the neighborhood all come and help," she said.

Bass' cool garden has landed her in hot water with the City of Oak Park. Code enforcement gave her a warning, then a ticket and now she's been charged with a misdemeanor.

"I think it's sad that the City of Oak Park that's already strapped for cash is paying a lot of money to have a prosecutor bothering us," Bass told FOX 2's Alexis Wiley.

"That's not what we want to see in a front yard," said Oak Park City Planner Kevin Rulkowski.

Why? The city is pointing to a code that says a front yard has to have suitable, live, plant material. The big question is what's "suitable?"

We asked Bass whether she thinks she has suitable, live, plant material in her front yard.

"It's definitely live. It's definitely plant. It's definitely material. We think it's suitable," she said.

So, we asked Rulkowski why it's not suitable.

"If you look at the definition of what suitable is in Webster's dictionary, it will say common. So, if you look around and you look in any other community, what's common to a front yard is a nice, grass yard with beautiful trees and bushes and flowers," he said.

But when you look at front yards that are unsightly and overgrown, is Bass' vegetable garden really worth the city's time and money?
Surely Julie Bass must have a crappy looking garden. I mean, how else could it bind the city planner's thong underwear into such a tight little knot that it would so thoroughly encroach on Kevin Rulkowski's already too retentive anal cavity?


If George Washington was alive today he would beat Kevin Rulkowski's ass.

h/t The Agitator via Drudge

A Post That Repeatedly Bangs Its Head Against The Wall

We don't have the money. Our children don't have the money. Our grandchildren, if the fruits of our legacy remain a constant, will not have the money either.

And yet, despite the fact that everyone on the face of the planet knows that we don't have the money, Michigan's junior Senator, Debbie Stabenow, will be introducing fascist legislation designed to circumvent the energy free market by plowing another $2 billion into one of our government's most favored initiatives, advanced battery research.

That $2 billion will have to be either borrowed from the Chinese or pulled out of a secret vault Timothy Geitner keeps securely hidden inside his own large intestine. Did I mention that we don't have the money?

Debbie Stabenow is not an expert on much of anything other than identifying air turbulence as global warming. Yet, because of her cozy relationship with union boneheads in Michigan, she has been afforded multiple opportunities in office to push for additional graft that will benefit her most loyal voting subjects in the run up to future elections.

Environmentalists and jug head union members holding hands with socialist public officials have literally driven Michigan's signature industry out of state and out of commission. In its place these same dipsticks are pushing for "future alternative industries" that can only survive if kept on the perpetual life support pried from the wallets of future taxpayers by politicians like Stabenow.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

The Kwame Doctrine

Full disclosure: I have neither read the book nor do I ever intend to read it. In fact, I vow at this moment in time to never engage in any activity that might put one red cent in the hands of the poster child for municipal corruption, Kwame Kilpatrick.

But, what's not to like about the book? Here I thought J.K. Rowling had an imagination.

Really, the reasoning printed on its enlightened pages puts blame squarely on those who cause sordid political downfalls--not on those such as Kwame who admit guilt of betrayal, of scandal, and of cover-up, but on those who uncover the crimes.

If his guilt had been successfully enshrouded he might still be mayor.

This is not the doctrine of someone who has hit bottom or understands his mistakes. This is the doctrine of a narcissist who believes that actions are justified by virtue of his own desires.

Cronyism, corruption, cover-up, misuse of public funds, conspiracy, etc., are all merely tools to be used in the administrations of elected officials to better one's pocketbook or political influence. And if the whole thing unravels we can blame the police.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Chomsky Denounces Chavez

...because leftists are reasonable in their expectations that all the narcissistic political tyrants they endorse should know exactly when they have reached the appropriate level of absolute power.

Or something.

Rationing the Necessities

Remember Elaine Benes begging for a square of toilet paper during an episode of Seinfeld?

Her situation is being repeated on Coney Island these days, only it isn't Jerry's date in the next stall from whom she must beg some two-ply.

From the New York Post.

The city is so hard up for cash that it's rationing toilet paper in women's public restrooms -- to the point where bathroom attendants are doling out a few measly squares per patron -- along the world-famous Coney Island boardwalk.

The Post witnessed stone-faced Parks Department employees leave toilet-paper dispensers empty last week and instead force astonished female beachgoers to form "ration lines" in the bathrooms.

Regina Ballone, 25, of Brooklyn visited a boardwalk bathroom at West 16th Street Wednesday and was "grossed out" at the thought of someone else handling her toilet paper.

"Never in my life have I experienced anything like this," she said. "I walked toward a stall, and a bathroom attendant stopped me by shouting, 'Hey, mami! There's no toilet paper here,' and she whipped out a big roll for me to grab some."
That socialist paradise that is New York is coming face to face with the realities of an economy that makes war against job providers--well, that is all private sector job providers because the government can apparently still afford pay people to hand out a square here and a square there when it cannot afford to stock up the wall dispensers.


h/t Publius Forum

Hating on Old Dudes that Once Founded a Country

In the last few years, what many people believe of the Founding Fathers has gone from a group of wise men whose vision helped to found the greatest nation in the history of the planet, to a group of deeply flawed men with vision too narrow to even contemplate the circumstances that would surround the lives of needy Americans in the years following the country's founding.

Protein Wisdom (and Dr. Larry Arn) have something to say about that.