Saturday, December 11, 2010

He couldn't get a deal with Democrats so he went to the Republicans

Steve Pearlstein:
Like it or hate it, one thing you can say about the tax deal that President Obama struck with Republicans is that it sure beats the one hammered out by Democratic leaders in Congress. That's because Democratic leaders never actually produced one that had a chance of being enacted.

So it should be no surprise that when the new Congress takes office next month, the lineup of Democratic leaders in both chambers will be pretty much the same. Why shake things up when everything is going so well?
As inept as Obama has been, the Democrats in Congress haven't been far behind.

Here's a clue.

Counting on government bailouts=bad business model. And handing out bailouts to businesses=bad government policy. If you want to "invest," use your own money!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Polifacts checked Bernie Sanders' assertion that "the top 1 percent of all income earners in the United States made 23.5 percent of all income, more than the entire bottom 50 percent," and declared it true.

The key words here are "earners" and "made." If you earn something, you deserve it. If you make something, you create wealth that wasn't there before. Yes, it's just semantics, but it underscores a truth and a question. Did they really "earn" that much of all income? Did they make that much? And does the government have any greater right to that income than that 1 percent? The tax code is such a quagmire that it's almost impossible to say how much any group really pays in taxes. But according to the tax tables, their income tax rate is already higher than nearly everybody else's too, and soon, their estate tax rates will be, too.
Why should the government take more of it and transfer it to people like me?

So this would make Clinton the Czar of Csars?

Obama enlists Clinton to argue for his tax compromise. After introducing Clinton, Obama himself left the room. Maybe he had a pressing tee-time. No, it was a Christmas party:
But after Mr. Clinton began taking questions, the current president excused himself, saying that his wife, Michelle, expected Mr. Obama’s presence at one of the many holiday parties that presidents host during the month of December. [my italics]

I didn't really think much about it when I saw it. It kind of made sense, considering how unpersuasive Obama, the current president, has been on this issue, but this description of Obama's performance this week:
And finally, to add to the surreal quality of it all, Obama seems to have turned the presidency back over to Bill Clinton, at least temporarily. Drew, blogging at Ace, thinks that this is a sign that Obama is not up to the job, but I’m beginning to wonder. There’s much more going on here than meets the eye, and it’s worth remembering, as both Krauthammer and Don Quixote did, that Obama made his way up through the street theater of Leftism.

The Perils of Pornography and pretty much all casual sex.
"He said he began to have doubts about the business after contracting chlamydia, gonorrhea and herpes in his first month of work, but was convinced to keep working."

Burts claimed, "I wasn't stupid or oblivious, I knew what was out there. But it's not something you think about when they fill your head" with lucrative offers and promises that the work is safe. Lured into the porn world with the promise that he looked like money, Burts concluded his greed was unwise: "Making $10,000 or $15,000 for porn isn't worth your life."
Not to mention the soul-deadening effect it has on its purveyors, performer and consumers.

The protection given to porn in the name of civil rights and to sodomy by a false analogy to race and the dubious right to privacy, harm our society severely. The costs aren't obvious, and they're never mentioned by libertarians, but sooner or later they take their toll, not just in material expense but in the way they lead to other self-destructive behaviors like drug (including alcohol) abuse, promiscuity, gambling, divorce, abortion, domestic abuse and more widely acknowledged crimes, as well as the costs of supporting those who have ruined their own lives and those of others.

I just looked up this scripture, which is in the Book of Jeremiah: "And they said, There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart." To me, that is the very definition of modern progressives and most libertarians. Even if they themselves don't participate in evil, their defending it and enabling it is harmful.

As I keep harping, our independence is more important than our freedom. Satan plays on our love of freedom to lead us to Hell, but if we place our dependence solely on God and obedience to the principles he has revealed, we're safe and have maximum freedom, which comes from choosing rightly so as not to lose our ability to choose freely.

I think it's still a little early to start fretting over the new Congress before it ever gets sworn in. I keep hearing that this tax bill is another huge stimulus, but that's only true if you think the Republicans could have gotten spending cuts equivalent to the amount taxes would have increased if the Bush tax cuts had expired. Right now, they don't have that kind of clout. Senator DeMint wants to make them permanent, as do I, but considering that Obama and the majority in the Senate will remain for another two years, that's not a choice we have right now.

We're all concerned about the propensity of Republicans to go squishy, but I think the leadership has gotten the message that they're all on probation and the people want spending cut, preferably by repealing Obamacare. It's not easy to override vetoes. The primary job next year is to restrain the Democrats and keep pushing for spending cuts. But it certainly seems like they got a break when Obama agreed to extend the tax cuts. That alone gives them more incentive to keep pushing for less spending.

One part of that is going to be reforming Social Security and Medicare. That will be the real test of how serious the tea party is.

The Navy's Latest Tool for Blowing Things Up Faster Than They Can Blow You Up.

It's a rail gun. Extremely cool. I wonder if it could put things into orbit. Probably not if they can't handle extreme acceleration.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

I just downloaded Get Lucky the latest CD from Mark Knopler. (It came out in September 2009. Why doesn't anybody tell me these things?!) As usual it has one or two real lively cuts and the rest are more contemplative, poetic. This album, like Sailing to Philadelphia is full of references to his Scots and Northeastern England upbringing, and full of haunting reminiscences set to his smooth guitar stylings, although several sounds distinctly American, like The Car Was The One. The first track Border Reiver is definitely Celtic even if it's about a train with an Albion locomotive, (Sure as the sunrise, that's what they say about the Albion.)

I guess it has something to do with the fact that he and I were born a year and a half apart, so I'm always just the age to appreciate his latest work. Besides, I've always loved Celtic music and this album sounds very Celtic. It's certainly a treat.

A little Dish program guide humor

Looking down the listing of programs I noticed this odd juxtaposition:
"The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" (Hallmark Channel)
"I Shouldn't Be Alive" (Animal Planet)

Further up, "Two Weeks In Hell" (The Military Channel)

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah, everybody!

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations. More than 96% of U.S. Chamber members are small businesses with 100 employees or fewer.
So why does Politico think this is such big news a full month after the election?
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is under fire from some local chambers over its hard-hitting $75 million ad campaign to elect a Republican House, with dozens of groups distancing themselves from the effort and a handful even quitting the national group in protest.
Wow, dozens and a handful!

Poison pill or just poison?

Harry Reid's trying to add a rider legalizing online poker to the tax bill. I think this may be "making friends with mammon" a little too far. He seems to be serving two masters.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

As someone commented, "and something blue." I think it's going a little overboard, but, hey, mozel tov!