2/22/2009

Winners in Life's Lottery

Dick Gephardt was famous for calling the rich the "winners in life's lottery".

He was of course implying that all those that were rich were simply undeserving trust-fund leeches, and that of course is unfair to the other 95% of America. Never mind that most of these 'winners' worked hard to get where they were...that gets in the way of the memé...


Interestingly though, we now have a new class of folks who are more deserving of the label "winners in life's lottery." I refer of course to those 9 million mortgage defaulters who will be the beneficiaries of President Obama's Mortgage plan.

Lets see.....get a mortgage you can't afford, get nailed by a nasty financial downturn, and get bailed out and keep your home. Wow! I can't think of anyone else who might be worthy of being called "winners in life's lottery". Talk about something that is
is unfair to the other 95% of America....

Markets Know Best

They say that the financial markets price in the future they see coming down the pike, based on current indicators.

So one might ask, why exactly are the markets continuing to sell off? What do they see coming? In short...the death of free enterprise.

Investors Business Daily has a pretty good write up on what has the markets spooked.
Is It Any Wonder The Market Continues To Sink?

Today, as the market continues to sell off and we plumb 12-year lows, we wish we had a different explanation. But it still looks, as we said four months ago, "like the U.S., which built the mightiest, most prosperous economy the world has ever known, is about to turn its back on the free-enterprise system that made it all possible."
Here is a quick summary of their main points on what is driving the market down:
- Mainstream Media being OK with the arrival of Socialism
- Talk of nationalization of major banks
- Stimulus bill with lots of pork (but no Earmarks though, so I am told) and no meaningful tax cuts
- $75 billion bailout for only 9 million , and nothing for honest hardworking homeowners who pay their mortgages
- Needed energy solutions taken off the table
- A Congressional majority more willing to payback it's special interest buddies who gave them millions in campaign cash
- That aforementioned
Congressional majority acting like the rulers in a one-party state
- The emergence of trade protectionism, and the stagnation of free-trade
- Business leaders treated as criminals
- Talking down of the economy instead of words of hope. "Yes We Can" has become "Maybe We Can..."
- Lack of commitment to a strong defense

As IBD says...."All this in barely a month's time." Can't wait to see what is coming in month #2.....wait, I think the market is already telling us....and it ain't a pretty story.

2/17/2009

Shallow Thoughts

The great national resource, Reason.tv, gives us a great little video titled:

"ARE YOU THE CHANGE YOU'VE BEEN WAITING FOR? (AND IF SO, AREN'T YOU AT LEAST A LITTLE DISAPPOINTED?)"

I think it really needs to be called "Shallow Thoughts from the confused-but-well-meaning-left who couldn't think their way out of a cardboard box without inspiration (or should that be affirmation) from the great O"

Take a look:


That's our future folks....just wait til they discover that they won't be able to afford lattes *and* do volunteer work (you know...the kind of work that doesn't *pay*) because their future has been mortgaged to pay for "stimulus"...

2/16/2009

Manna from Candyland

Not that it is a big surprise, but there was some project out there where kids wrote letters to the new President, expressing to him their desires for him to accomplish during his administration.

Most were the insipid repetitions of liberal quick-fixes, which the kids probably picked up from their teachers.
(Surprise, it was co-sponsored by the NEA!) However one young man has apparently actually been watching the news, and decided to break the mold. Young Aaron Van Blerkom wants President Obama to "Please Make it rain candy!"



It seems that Aaron has been following the goings-on in Congress, because as soon as the new "Stimulus" bill is signed, that is exactly what will happen.

Well....maybe not for Aaron, but certainly for all those Democratic special interests and activist groups. But good on him for trying! I think he certainly has K Street in his future.....

Oregon's Bad News Day

Geez...consumers in Oregon are having a bad news day today...

First suckers collectors get fleeced, and then soon they won't be able to drown their sorrows without paying through the nose...

Personally, I would have to drink a whole lot of the second product in order to be buying the first....

2/14/2009

Calvin Coolidge – 2012

Some food for thought this weekend....

We think that the government and our elected officials are taking us in the wrong direction. However theirs are not new ideas. As evidenced by the quotes below those ideas have been foisted upon us before (many times), but we have survived....

I think Calvin Coolidge could make quite a bit of headway in 2012 with his line of thinking...

“Don’t hurry to legislate. Give administration a chance to catch up with legislation.” - 1914

“Money will not purchase liberty or good government.” - 1916

“No matter what anyone may say about making the rich and corporations pay the taxes, in the end they come out of the people who toil.” - 1924

“I want the people of America to be able to work less for the government and more for themselves. I want them to have the rewards of their industry. This is the chief meaning of freedom.” - 1924

“The wise and correct course to follow in taxation and in all other economic legislation is not to destroy those who have already secured success, but to create conditions under which everyone will have a better chance to become successful.” - Inaugural Address, 1925

“Whenever some people find that abuse needs correction in their neighborhood, instead of applying a remedy themselves, they seek to have a tribunal sent on from Washington to discharge their duties for them, regardless of the fact that in accepting such supervision they are bartering away their freedom.” - 1928

“We demand entire freedom of action and then expect the government in some miraculous way to save us from the consequences of our own acts….self-government means self-reliance.” - 1930

2/13/2009

Brothers at War

"Two Brother Went To Fight...One Went To Find Out Why"

After a spate of the to-be-expected left wing Hollywood tripe about the war in Iraq, we are finally starting to see some quality treatments of soldiers and their actual life (and death) in war.

First was HBO's 'Taking Chance', set to premiere next weekend. (Of course lets not forget Outside the Wire either...)

Now we have 'Brothers at War'

video

"With a desire to know his brothers better, and see the war in Iraq first hand, Jake Rademacher journeys to Mosul, Iraq to embed in his brother's unit."

From all appearances this appears to be a true personal journey of a film with no agenda. I hate to have to caveat this with 'appears, but as I alluded to above, Hollywood has me jaded on the subject. I have great hopes, since it gets a good review from Hooah Wife, and her West Point hubbie.

Go see it, and make up your own mind....

Stimulus Interuptus

So, having seen that the 3 RINOs in the Senate have voted to burden my son with a lifetime of public debt, I decided to download the Bill's text and look at it..you know...to appease my masochistic tendencies.

Thus I went to the House Appropriations website, downloaded both PDFs. However when attempting to open the first, Acrobat Reader gave me this error:



Nice! even my computer, a non-sentient object (even though it is a Mac) knows that this "Stimulus" is well and truly a Charlie Foxtrot.....

Then I went to Nancy Pelosi's website, and tried to download the first file and got this:



The Bill could not be found...I wish!

I'll bet the links will work just fine after the voting is over and done with.....

2/12/2009

'53 Hudson Jet

Check out this cool car...the '53 Hudson Jet.



Hopefully it wasn't prone to water damage like the '09 model....



But hey...that probably nothing that $800 billion couldn't fix....

2/10/2009

Census Subterfuge?

OK, I am not much of a conspiracy theorist myself, but I have this theory running through my head that I cannot shake....

Was Judd Gregg selected for Commerce simply as a covering action to allow the Obama Administration to move administration of the 2010 Census into the White House, and then hand it over to friends like ACORN?

Food for thought:

- Feb 3: Judd Gregg introduced as nominee for Commerce Secretary
- Feb 3/4: Black & Latino groups "express concern" over his ability to conduct "a thorough and fair counting of all Americans" and "most accurate possible count of the nation’s population"
- Feb 5: Obama Administration moves administration of the 2010 Census out of Commerce, and into the White House.
- Feb?: President Obama signs a "Stimulus" bill which will most likely include $4.2 billion for a "Community Development Fund" to conduct "neighborhood stabilization activities", and $1 billion for the 2010 Census

Now what I ask you is the best way to start off a 'neighborhood stabilization'? Why by determining a baseline, of course. And what better way to accomplish that than with the 2010 Census!

Flush with $4.2 billion, groups like ACORN could do that with no problem, right? Just hire the millions of unemployed (since the stimulus will not have created other new jobs for them) and conduct the Census.


Removing tongue from cheek, I find the sequence of events above awfully convenient. There is no real logical reason for a Democratic President to hold onto a Republican nominee in the face of stiff opposition from his base...unless he had something to gain from it.

Either the Obama administration's vetting of Gregg failed to notice (a real possibility, as already demonstrated) the fact that he tried to eliminate the Commerce Department, and has been a target of Dem constituencies concerning the conduct of the last Census...or they knew all about these weaknesses (a greater possibility due to Dem opposition research) and worked in concert with those aforementioned constituencies to manufacture a "concern" that would give them the political cover to move the Census to the White House to be run by god-knows-who....

But then again I could just be paranoid....

Defining Success in Malaise-ese

So President Obama tells us that the "stimulus" bill “will save or create up to 4 million jobs”.

Now if that isn't shooting low, I am not sure what is. (Heck, even Bush created 4.8 million jobs, the left acknowledges this.) Shouldn't the goal of any economic bill be to 'save' the 136 million jobs that still exist in this country? And then perhaps create several million more?

In reality that Presidential speech line is a cop out, not to mention nonsensical. If for reason we stayed stuck at the employment numbers we have right now, Obama would be able to claim success, as 4 million people hadn't lost their jobs.

Since that is the case, he might as well go hole hog and say that his plan "will save or create up to 136 million jobs". That way he can have all his bases covered....

But if he had any real confidence, or political
chutzpah, he should say "this bill will re-employ those 3 million people who have lost their jobs, and create X million more..." However since he know he can't back that up, I assume we will see him stick with his save/create cop out....

2/09/2009

Stimulus for Selective Memory??

I am wondering if there is a stimulus for the President's selective memory.....

From his press conference tonight:
"It started on Wall St, and moved to Main St..."

Hmmmm..he seems to have forgotten the part where this a lot of this mess precipitated by meddling by the high-minded residents of the western end of "E Capitol St"

2/08/2009

Obama Directive 10-289 - Point 1



Our modern day Wesley Mouch announces his first point from Directive 10-289:

"In the name of the general welfare, to protect the people's security, to achieve full equality and total stability, it is decreed for the duration of the national emergency that--

"Point One. All workers, wage earners and employees of any kind whatsoever shall henceforth be Union Workers if they work on a Federally-funded construction projects....


The Action Afghans Need

Afghanistan is in crisis.

We need action that's swift, bold and wise enough for us to climb out of this crisis. No time for delay. In fact delay is inexcusable and irresponsible!

Ooops...sorry, those were the President's invectives about his bloated "stimulus" bill....

Unfortunately, the strategy for victory in Afghanistan is imbued with no such sense of urgency from the new Administration. And this is despite the fact that we are being told this is the toughest war in the last 50 years.
"President Obama's national security team gave a dire assessment Sunday of the war in Afghanistan..." [WaPo]
Of course this is no different than anything that has been said over the last year, but I guess it needs to be said if only to tag the last administration with guilt.

However it is the language that the Dems use that one can infer the "dire" nature of the task.
Holbrooke Says Afghan War ‘Tougher Than Iraq’
The war in Afghanistan will be “much tougher than Iraq,” President Obama’s special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan said at a security conference here on Sunday.
Interestingly, less than 2 years ago, Holbrooke also said this:
“Let me start by making a statement that I never thought I would make: the situation in Iraq today is worse than it ever was in Vietnam..."
So...through my special powers of analysis I can draw the conclusion that Afghanistan is worse than Iraq, which was worse than Vietnam...which would make it the worst situation in the last 50 years. (Grenada of course brings up a close fourth.)

And I am OK with that analysis. It is indeed a tough, intractable military problem beset by outside influences much like the other two. Of those two, one got better because we took action, and one got worse because we hog-tied ourselves.

This leads to the question, what will Obama do? Action or inaction? So far the signs are not encouraging:
Obama puts brake on Afghan surge
PRESIDENT Barack Obama has demanded that American defence chiefs review their strategy in Afghanistan before going ahead with a troop surge.

There is concern among senior Democrats that the military is preparing to send up to 30,000 extra troops without a coherent plan or exit strategy.

The Pentagon was set to announce the deployment of 17,000 extra soldiers and marines last week but Robert Gates, the defence secretary, postponed the decision after questions from Obama.
Great, we are back in the "Exit Strategy" era of foreign policy...

Thus I must ask... If the current economic situation is the worst in the last 50-60 years, and we must brook no delay in the passage of the "stimulus", then is it wise that we delay the DoD's planned solution for the worst military dilemma in the last half century? Should we not have the same sense of urgency?

Maybe it would go quicker if we included even more troops to teach the Afghans about STDs, establish the National Endowment for the Afghan Arts, handout digital-TV coupons, and provide hybrid vehicles for the Afghan government.

That might just do the trick....

2/07/2009

100K!

Thanks mostly to the passage of time, and generous donations of links from Glenn Reynolds, I have crossed the 100,000 visit threshold! Yay! I think... Hey, it is a lot to me.

Congrats to that anonymous reader from Libby, Montana. You were the 100kth visit to this humble blog.

Video Stimuli

Feeling a weight of dread in these dark hours, before our political betters impose upon our children and grand-children unending seas of debt?

Well, sit up straight, and watch this inspring video of free-thinker and a small-minded blowhard.



Thanks to Jack Dunphy, guest posting over at Paterico's, for this great find. I am off to youtube to find more similar inspiration.

Over the past two weeks, I have re-read Animal Farm, and am working my way through the second half of Atlas Shrugged. I think my next re-read will be Friedman's Free to Choose...

2/05/2009

King Julian on the Stimulus

I was watching our newly arrived copy of Madagascar 2 (Amazon Prime rocks!), and I saw a wonderful re-enactment of President Obama's op-ed. How, you ask, is that possible? Well, first lets go to today's lecture from the anointed one (i.e. op-ed from the President):
"What Americans expect from Washington is action that matches the urgency they feel in their daily lives -- action that's swift, bold and wise enough for us to climb out of this crisis."
Unfortunately for the President, if we are to believe the latest polls Americans have yet to see "action that matches the urgency they feel in their daily lives".

The President goes on to list all the liberal paeans about how the "Stimulus" will save life as we know it, prefacing each with "Now is the time to..." He then begins his conclusion with "These are the actions Americans expect us to take without delay."

So how does this relate to a cute animated film?

Well towards the end of the film, King Julian (a prancing, preening lemur with delusions of his own grandeur) proposes to thirsty animals at a dried up water hole that they should sacrifice someone into the nearby volcano to appease the 'gods' and get water. (Good video here) This approach reminds me of what President Obama proposes in his op-ed, as he asks us to sacrifice our money to appease the liberal gods and magically get back to prosperity. The best part comes after the animals agree to the plan, and King Julian says, "Hurry up...before we all come to our senses!"



Indeed. In fact that seems to perfectly complement President Obama's statements:

What Americans expect from Washington is action that matches the urgency they feel in their daily lives -- action that's swift, bold and wise enough for us to climb out of this crisis. These are the actions Americans expect us to take without delay. So let's hurry up before we all come to our senses!

2/04/2009

First They Came For the Executives...

Today Obama struck a blow for America's self esteem, and punished work that results in failure:
"President Barack Obama took on bailed-out Wall Street firms on Wednesday, setting a $500,000 annual cap on pay for top executives at companies receiving taxpayer funds and tapping popular anger over financial sector excesses."
Now, of all the ideas that have rolled out in the last 2 weeks, this is certainly not the most objectionable. But are there limits to this idea?
"This is America, we don't disparage wealth. ... What gets people upset, and rightfully so, is executives being rewarded for failure. Especially when those rewards are subsidized by U.S. taxpayers," he said.
If this is the road that Obama wants to go down, the real question needs to be...how far is he prepared to go??

Will he be prepared to call for a limit on the salaries of professional athletes? Much of their exorbitant paychecks are due to ticket sales. Tickets to seats in many stadiums around the country that are subsidized by taxpayer funding. If they had to play in stadiums actually affordable to their team's owner's wallets, there would be no glut of money to pay them millions. New, shiny, tax-payer funded stadia/arena permit the owners to shower manna upon these athletes. And by definition, most of these players are failures, but still accept millions without shame. Thus I would expect Obama to call on the NFL, NBA and MLB to cap their salaries...or else they could feel some pain...Janet Reno style!

Better yet, and perhaps more relevant to this whole bailout/stimulus, will Obama call for a cap on salaries of actors/actresses/executives who get paid millions by studios who take advantage of a possible Stimulus tax breaks for movie project flops? If Hollywood is to benefit directly from the 'stimulating' generosity of future generations, should it not be treated like the executives of bailout slurping companies?? It would be painful to see our favorite starlets wandering around the Cannes and Sundance festivals asking...
"Who is John Galt?"

Of course I will not hold my breath. What I am really waiting for is the arrival of the Equalization of Opportunity Act, soon to emerge from inner sanctum of the Speaker of the House...

(Hat Tip: Instapundit)