Saturday, June 04, 2011

The best comment on the Anthony Weiner scandalette is from Jonah Goldberg in his emailed Goldberg File:
He didn't merely leave pictures digitally lying around -- pictures he took! -- of his mini-me. He has admitted that there are a sufficient number of such pictures "out there in the world" that he couldn't possibly be sure this isn't one of them. Even better, he took several days to say all of this, and in a manner that only invited media scrutiny the way shouting "I think my forelock is broken" in gazelle attracts hyenas.

The MSM is billing this as a "Civil War" on the right.

Sarah Palin says government mandates are to be avoided at all levels,
Commenting on Romney’s problem in the 2012 presidential campaign with the Romneycare health care reform he sponsored in 2005 as governor of Massachusetts, Palin said mandates at all levels of government are to be avoided.

"However, even on a state level and even a local level, mandates coming from a governing body, it's tough for a lot of us independent Americans to accept, because we have great faith in the private sectors and our own families ... and our own businessmen and women making decisions for ourselves. Not any level of government telling us what to do."
So does she oppose requiring people to shovel their own sidewalks? State laws requiring drivers to have insurance? Compulsory education? I don't think she's that extreme. State and local governments had and still have police powers under the Constitution, which are recognized and reserved to them by the Bill of Rights. Intrusions by the federal government should be declared unconstitutional, and if the President, Congress and SCOTUS won't do it, we need to rid ourselves of them and replace them with people who will.

Ed Driscoll: Chicago’s Ruling Class and tulip mania.

One of the few TV shows I seldom miss is River Monsters.Jeremy Wade a British biologist and avid sport fisherman tracks down tales of freshwater monsters ranging from the tiny but frightening Candiru of the Amazon to bull sharks which can live in either salt or fresh water. His shows aren't for the easily rattled. Some of these could give one nightmares, for example the Goliath Tiger Fish of the Congo with teeth that make a shark's look modest in comparison. The shows are educational, as when he jumped into a pool full of piranha to demonstrate that they are not the aggressive swarm feeders they have been portrayed to be. But the kinds and sizes of freshwater fish around the world is really astonishing. The goonch, for example, lives in a Himalayan tributary of the Ganges and is said to have devoured people and buffalo. He caught one over 160 lbs. This season's catches include a spotted stingray with a fatal sting and poisonous skin, the longfin eel of New Zealand which has poisonous blood and hunts in packs, killing livestock and allegedly humans, the primitive but dangerous sawfish, electric eels in Brazil and the giant salamander in Japan, said to have killed many children by pulling them under and eating them as at its leisure. It has a mouth capable of devouring itself, being the widest part of its body.

The first link above shows Wade with a 250 lb. grouper, that looks like it could swallow him. That will probably be a some future show.

The only thing that I don't like is that he always throws them back even when they could feed a village. I think if I'd caught some of these fish, I'd have killed them to protect others, or if edible, given them to local natives for food. Others I'd toss back because they're becoming quite rare in the wild.

Friday, June 03, 2011

What are the Dems thinking?
In the recent budget talks, Democrats have whined about Republicans not agreeing to raise taxes as part of a budget deal. But the Republicans have put up plans, serious plans, to cut spending, debt and deficits. What have the Democrats produced? Nothing.

President Obama issued a do-nothing, status-quo plan in February that even members of his own party took as a joke. It was voted down last week 97-0 in the Senate.
Why are they sitting on their hands? They're obviously holding out for higher taxes, either by the GOP giving in or by the expiration of the "Bush Tax Cuts."
In other words, their ideology is more important to them than reality and common sense. Usually, it's the safe seats who lead this sit-down strike. So the thing to do is unelect all those in unsafe seats, and put fear in the hearts of the old guard who think that logrolling and pork barrel spending is how you "serve the people." "Serving the People" should not be a cook book.

Why Obama isn't speaking enough?House Democrats are griping that he's not being forceful enough in using the Bully Pulpit and ceding too much to Republicans, a charge that I don't understand.
The president has heard the complaint before. Democrats have accused Obama repeatedly of ceding too much ground to the GOP, especially on health care and the extension of the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy. But attendees said the critique appeared to rub him the wrong way on Thursday.

"He was a little testy with the Waxman question. Essentially, Mr. Waxman was urging him to fight more," one legislator said. "The president reminded folks that he's the president sitting in that chair and he knows how to negotiate."

Obama also told the assembled Democrats not to count on more fiery rhetoric from the Oval Office.

"He said, 'There's a difference between me and a member of Congress,'" another lawmaker said, paraphrasing the president as saying: "When I say something the markets react, all of society reacts, other countries react. I've got to be careful with what I say. I can't just say it for brinkmanship. I've got to say it in a way so that I get what I want said, but I don't upset markets and so on."
Does that mean he could be even more reckless and tone deaf? I guess so.

The perils of listening to oldies radio.

Tonight I heard "Jackie Blue" by the Ozark Mountain Daredevils. I have a couple of their albums on vinyl but they're packed away in the basement. I keep thinking I should set things up to convert them to CD, but I'm too anemic to go do it. Anyway, I found that their albums have been put up on Amazon for download as MP3 files. I also discovered that my favorite singer in the group is named Larry Lee and that he put out a solo album in 1982. I listened to samples and was ready to order the CD at $30 bucks (Japanese import) but it's out of stock so I ordered it on vinyl, used. I shouldn't stay up past 11:00.

Mitt Romney officially announced his candidacy today. He gave a good speech, but his interview on Sean Hannity's program was better. He has taken the Romneycare issue head on. It requires an explanation because it has been distorted by the Dems, the media and conservative critics of Obamacare. By doing so he has made it clear that the nation's health care is a matter for the states, not the Federal Government, and further, that the problem that lead to the Massachusetts law, namely free-riders (people who could have purchased health insurance, but didn't) gaming the system with the knowledge that if they show up, hospitals and doctors have to treat them, will still be with us. Romney made it clear that he will do all he can to repeal Obamacare because it's unsound constitutionally and packed with taxes and regulation that will hurt the recovery and the economy going forward.

Hugh Hewitt provides a more detailed argument distinguishing the two plans and explaining federalism and the fact that the states possess police powers that the Feds do not.

Romney's problem is that stuff like that makes peoples' eyes glaze over, which makes the issue easy to demagogue, but all GOP candidates will have to answer this issue if they support Rep. Ryan's budget. It's not a matter of destroying Medicare. It's a way of replacing it with something that has a chance of providing the elderly with a safety net in the future. In essence, it's a proposal for returning us all to responsibility for our own support and expenses. That should really be the broader goal for reforming all entitlements. Caring for the indigent is a moral responsibility for society, but not for government bureaucracies. It should be done through individual acts of service and voluntary contributions rather than by coercive measures like taxing an redistributing. The latter benefits both the giver and the recipient and helps put the poor on the path to self-sufficiency. The former makes them dependents of the state and gives them a legal claim on the taxes paid by others, hence the name "entitlements." None of us is entitled to anything. The air, earth and water and the miracle of plant and animal life that provides food for us, are all gifts from God for which we should be grateful and not as personal entitlements. In essence, we are all beggars before God and have no right to withhold his blessing from the needy. Our lives are stewardships and should be so considered.

Medicare is broke and will be gutted by Obamacare. That is the main point that the right must get through to everybody. Obama takes $500 billion out of medicare and then claims to put it back twice, which can't be good for my generation. It's not a matter of the right wishing to take away Medicare from the elderly. That's already going to happen even under Obamacare. It's a matter of reforming the system so that there will still be a program out there in the future. The Dems seem to be counting on getting to the point where it just won't work anymore and then raising taxes as an emergency. Don't let them.

Ryan's approach is a matter of revising the program in a way to keep it functioning. Romney would turn it over to the states to manage as they see fit, but I'd like to know more details. I'm sure those will come forth in the next year. I would prefer it to be dropped slowly, but as people are not perfect, I doubt that will happen, Hippocratic oath and all.

I support Romney because I think he, of all the choices has the training and experience to solve our dilemma not merely by cutting spending, but by selecting the cutting in order to improve efficiency and eliminate waste, and also by changing policies in a way that will help our economy recover and become productive and dynamic once again. We have priced ourselves out of world markets with our welfare state mentality and lost our competitive edge as our schools fail in their primary mission and turn to indoctrination in socialism and environmentalism.

Our society will be judged by how we treat the poor, but in the end, it's more of an individual judgment than a collective one. We will be blessed with prosperity or have God's blessings withdrawn to the extent we choose to live morally. Babylon, the world's materialism and greed, selfishness, and luxuries will fall and be destroyed, and the system of world trade will collapse to the great chagrin of those who profit by it. Those who put their trust in it will be left to mourn and weep when it fails.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Quelle Surprise!

Sexism in France?!Who'd have suspected?

Another good reason to develop our own energy resources: we're propping up creeps like Mr. Mbasogo. I won't take the human rights activist crowed seriously so long as they also oppose oil and gas production in the U.S. Mbasogo could probably sell its oil elsewhere, but that's no reason for the U.S. to do business with him.

Monday, May 30, 2011


When the NYTimes editorial says the economic "numbers are grim," Obama and team must wonder if the only cheerleaders they have are at MSNBC. Maybe passing that huge "stimulus" on top of TARP and following it up with Obamacare, written practically in secret and sprung on us all, calling for a bureaucracy and regulations that would take the rest of his first term to be clarified wasn't such a good idea, but how many Democrats will admit that? Only the ones who are retiring or considering switching parties. The conventional wisdom among the media is that conservative all march in lockstep, but nobody enforces party line voting like the Dems.

Now they've lost their hammerlock on Congress, there's no way they can pass another stimulus package or raise taxes without major defections from the GOP. Such things have happened, because most Republicans other than George W. Bush really do worry about deficits. The tea parties have put the scare into them. The Dems are in denial about the tea partiers, and only the next election cycle will convince them. I just hope the hard line social conservatives don't alienate the independents and swing voters we need to turn us back from disaster.

The horror!

The New York Times editorial board:
Chief Justice John Roberts is one vote short of moving the Supreme Court to a position so conservative on states’ rights that it would be to the right of the Tea Party’s idea of limited government. That chilling possibility was evident in the court’s recent ruling in the case of Virginia v. Stewart.
Chilling, eh?

Paul Krugman contemplating the high rates of unemployment in the U.S. and Europe, writes:
This is a continuing tragedy, and in a rational world bringing an end to this tragedy would be our top economic priority.

Yet a strange thing has happened to policy discussion: on both sides of the Atlantic, a consensus has emerged among movers and shakers that nothing can or should be done about jobs.
I'm not sure who is contributing to this "consensus," but it's not my impression that conservatives are part of it. I've seen occasional links to articles claiming that "the jobs aren't coming back," but if we believe or accept that, we're accepting that America's lead in the world is over with. So what's to be done?

One thing would be to do away with or limit the subsidies governments give to those who don't work. That sounds harsh, but if people can get by without a job, they won't get serious about looking for one.

Another thing would be to put limits on entitlements, by increasing the retirement age, making benefits like Social Security and Medicare means tested, and removing the present cap on payroll taxes, at least for workers, so that the highest paid also pay in the same share of their pay as the lowest. Eliminate the requirement that hospitals and doctors must treat patients who aren't insured or aren't in this country legally. Do away with the minimum wage. Sound harsh? Well, life in general is harsh. That is the meaning of the story of Adam and Eve who were told that after being cast out of the garden of Eden, "in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." Stop shielding the unemployed from the need to work. Lastly, the power of labor unions must be broken by withdrawing the legal advantages current federal law gives them to impose work rules, and making "right to work" national law. Certainly the attempts to give them "card check" during organizing votes should be denied emphatically. And, of course, cut spending, balance the budget by reducing the size of government, pay down the national debt and reduce taxes, especially payroll taxes. I don't expect that we'll do any of those things, but unless we do some of them, we can kiss our position as the world's leading economy goodbye.

Of course, Krugman would oppose all of these. He blames the high unemployment on high levels of personal debt, not exactly an obvious connection, and proposes a W.P.A. type program, laws interfering with mortgage contracts, and "try to get inflation back up to the 4 percent rate that prevailed during Ronald Reagan’s second term, which would help to reduce the real burden of debt." Nary a mention of policies designed to reduce the uncertainty of businesses about the future burdens of federal taxes and regulations, or reducing the burdens government imposes on businesses and job creation, but that's no big surprise.

U.S. Cracks Down on Companies That Hire Illegal Workers Somebody should tell the DNC Chair.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Something about Memorial Day you may not know.

Obama appoints a czar specifically to hunt down stupid regulations that we've already paid well-paid bureaucrats to create, such as treating spilt milk as hazardous waste, like an oil spill.

Why don't I feel more in awe?

The DNC chairperson, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz accuses Republicans of wanting to make it a crime to be an undocumented, i.e. illegal, immigrant, or alien. How much more out of touch can you get? In their minds, Democrats have already repealed the immigration laws, just by refusing to recognize them. Simple. Maybe the rest of us should do the same to them, just by voting as if they weren't on the ballot.

I decided to check whether illegal immigration is really a crime. According to FAIR Immigration and Nationality Act Section 237 (a)(1)(B) states: "Any alien [i.e. "immigrant"] who is present in the United States in violation of this Act or any other law of the United States is deportable." So is being deportable the same as a crime? Well, you're subject to arrest and detention for it, and if found guilty of violating the act, you get deported, which is not what we do to most criminals, but is still quite a tough legal penalty affecting one's personal freedom, which is what prison is, being kicked out of society.


That's the name of a National Geographic Channel program about the "massive floods in Australia and Pakistan, deadly mudslides in Brazil, an epic drought and wildfires in Russsia. (Will be repeated three hours later) And that doesn't include the earthquake and tzunami in Japan, or the flooding along the Mississippi and other rivers, Hurricane Katrina only 6 years ago, or the Icelandic volcano eruptions. Coming up on the National Geographic Channel a special on the tornadoes Southeastern U.S., the wildfires in Texas.

And the NOAA website adds this update:
On May 24, 2011, deadly tornadoes claimed 18 additional lives in Oklahoma (10), Kansas (2), and Arkansas (6) [and]
On Sunday, May 22, 2011, an EF-5 tornado hit the city of Joplin, Mo., leaving an estimated 132 people dead and 750 others injured, with 156 unaccounted for in Joplin.

The Joplin tornado is the deadliest since modern recordkeeping began in 1950 and is ranked 8th among the deadliest tornadoes in U.S. history.
It's natural disaster night on the National Geographic Channel, which means it will also fear-monger the heck out of Global Warming, so be warned. AGW may or may not be real, but whether it results in a new ice age or rising of the sea level, climate change is pretty much standard procedure on earth, and I don't think there's much we can do but help each other and return to God. It's heartbreaking to see the poor people fighting floods and searching through the rubble of their homes, but we can and should help wherever we can instead of wasting our resources on bid government projects that eat up them up before they can reach those in need.

It's a time for serious thinking and good deeds, help those who've lost much, and remember these signs of the nearing return of the Savior:
87 For not many days hence and the earth shall tremble and reel to and fro as a drunken man; and the sun shall hide his face, and shall refuse to give light; and the moon shall be bathed in blood; and the stars shall become exceedingly angry, and shall cast themselves down as a fig that falleth from off a fig tree.

88 And after your testimony cometh wrath and indignation upon the people.

89 For after your testimony cometh the testimony of earthquakes, that shall cause groanings in the midst of her, and men shall fall upon the ground and shall not be able to stand.

90 And also cometh the testimony of the voice of thunderings, and the voice of lightnings, and the voice of tempests, and the voice of the waves of the sea heaving themselves beyond their bounds.

91 And all things shall be in commotion; and surely, men’s hearts shall fail them; for fear shall come upon all people.

Pop singer Adele fresh off her No. 1 hit, "Rolling in the Deep," shows none of the stiff upper lip we associate with Brits:
“I’m mortified to have to pay 50 per cent! [While] I use the NHS, I can’t use public transport any more. Trains are always late, most state schools are ––––, and I’ve gotta give you, like, four million quid – are you having a laugh? When I got my tax bill in from [her album] 19, I was ready to go and buy a gun and randomly open fire.”
None of that noblesse oblige stuff for her. James Delingpole is delighted, explaining:
[T]he one perversion that remains absolutely verboten is the kind of conservatism expressed by Adele. Rock stars, after all, are traditionally supposed to be champions of the underdog. Their fans may permit them the odd stately home or private jet, but what they absolutely won’t forgive is any sign that they’ve abandoned their socialist principles. That would be “selling out”.