Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Democrat New Direction Car

Here is the Presidential Car designed by the Hillary and Obama staffs based on the messages that they have been presenting for a "new direction".

Is Democrat Hypocrisy Possible?

The Yiddish term "chutzpah" comes to mind. This is a guy for whom the terms "hypocrite", "criminal", "butt boy", and "Big Fat Idiot" have seethed off his mouth with regularity in books, speeches, and public appearances. If there was ever a Democrat that was throwing stones constantly, Franken is it. He is pretty close to the left equivalent of Ann Coulter, although not nearly as good looking, and with a lot less wit in his insults.

So here are some quotes from the latest Strib article.

In total Franken said he under paid taxes by just over $4,000.

"Franni and I have paid state and federal taxes on every cent of our income," he said, referring to his wife. "Franni and I believe in paying state and federal taxes on all our income."

Franken said he would not release his income tax returns for those years. He said he has filed for an extension on his 2007 taxes.

Man, it is REALLY nice that they BELIEVE in paying taxes! Oddly, for the rest of us it is a LAW, but for a Democrat it is really much more than that!! Abortion is their main sacrament, but high taxes are something that is a key tenet of their "government as god" religion. It is more than just the tithe of worship at the government altar - while the creator of the universe is willing to sneak by with 10%, the Democrat god demands by law rates of 30, 40, 50% and over when state, federal, FICA, etc taxes are counted. While God has been willing to stick with his number for thousands of years, the Democrat god of government shows no sign of satiation. For the rest of us, not paying taxes is a CRIME, but I suppose since it is their church, Democrats get Grace there!

Oh, BTW, since Al has a "belief" in this area, he doesn't need to release the information on his taxes! Even HILLARY finally released her taxes ... that is how we know that her and Billy made $109 million since they left the White House. I guess Franken has just done such a good job with taxes since 2003, when we KNEW he wanted to run for the Senate that we really should want to trust him.

"I trusted this to a professional," Franken said of his accountant. Franken said he had hired someone to research his record -- typical for statewide candidates -- but that the researchers had not yet gotten to his financial records before the news broke.

Ah yes, the old "mistakes were made-by others". So Al's dodge is he hired an incompetent accountant AND an incompetent political investigator? Wow, good thing that a job as Senator doesn't involve any oversight or competence in hiring. Oops, it DOES involve that. I wonder if Al would consider this revelation to be disqualifying in a Republican? Do we really need to think about that very long?

While he was incorporated in three states -- New York, California and Minnesota -- Franken said that his company, Alan Franken Inc., was structured in such a way that it had no corporate income tax liability.

Instead, Franken said, he paid taxes through the individual income tax.

So let's be clear here - FIRST, he hired an accountant that knew how to INCORPORATE in a bunch of different states in such a way that the CORPORATION didn't owe taxes. He apparently knew that taxes were required from the states you earned the income in, but "mistakenly" thought you would "just pay those to your state of residence"? This doesn't sound fishy? Let's think of this for a second, I wonder if the Star Trib would be quite as credulous if Al was a REPUBLICAN!!

While the media doesn't like to talk about this much, corporations are great for allowing many people in a business to limit LIABILITY for poor personal financial habits of other investors in the group, and allow a business to outlive it's principles, they SUCK for taxes as a basic principle. When they have income (and they pretty much have to eventually if they are going to continue), it gets taxed TWICE! The sleight of hand to be incorporated, not have to pay taxes as a corporation, but somehow end up paying taxes as an individual is interesting twist.

It seems completely clear at this point that a Republican that was an INCUMBENT would never survive this one, and one that had never been elected would be DONE. Will the MSM be able to dig old Stuart Smalley out of this one? I guess we will just wait and see.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Master Bedroom Project

My poor wife has had to live with half of a 3x4' "pseudo walk in" closet since we moved into our current home. While our old house had none at all, the daily clothes decision for a woman in management is a difficult one that takes much more space than that. The "master" bedroom and both bathrooms next to it are still original mid '70s trim doors and fixtures and similarly small to to the closet. The change is under way.

The new plan involves an 18x24' addition that extends out over our deck that will allow a walk-in of 8x14' (much more "decision space"), improvements on both bathrooms including a steam shower for my sinuses, an air tub and a fireplace in the bedroom. Needless to say we are looking forward to completion, but in the process our son will come home from college and the 4 of us will have to live with one bath and a lot more restricted sleeping space. There are usually a few problems involved with improvement of any type.

I'll try to do some picture updates out here "weekly" during the project.

Small Smalley Tax Difficulty?

Al Franken Pays $70K in Back Taxes

Gee, seems like Franken not only doesn't pay workers comp, he also fails to pay taxes. One of the reasons that Democrats are so excited about raising taxes, even the ones that make millions of dollars, is simply because they don't pay them. Usually they have all sorts of complicated foundations and other schemes like the Kennedy's, Kerry's and such, but as good old Al shows us, there is simply "not paying them". That apparently works unless you are running for Senate and the evil Republicans look into it. I'm sure that Al thought good thoughts while not paying his own taxes, and his commitment to OTHERS paying through the nose never wavered!

Note, the media wasn't very curious about this, the Republicans had to dredge up the whole deal. Not much of that old Dan Rather "can do spirit even if we have to forge the documents" when it comes to Stuart Smalley in the MSM!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Ice Age?

I wasn't going to post anything on this at all, because I no more believe in the coming ice age than I do in Global Warming (GW) ... which means I don't DISbelieve in either one either, I'm an agnostic. I don't think we have nearly enough data to reach a conclusion given glaciation cycles that take order 10's of thousands of years. What is more, our understanding of star behavior is really jaded by our close proximity to a sample of precisely ONE.

In terms of "sensational" though, the idea of rapid expansion of the polar caps and most of the northern hemisphere under continental ice sheets ought to make it. No doubt food production would drop off precipitously as growing seasons became shorter and shorter and eventually were gone over much of our current major food growing areas. Do I believe that is likely? No, it is just what one might want to consider if they were to be close to as alarmist about another set of data than what the GW folks have had their undies in a bundle over for a long while.

Ice Age Data Article

Something a little closer to my own heart as we close to less than two weeks from the MN fishing opener. Note that the latest Mille Lacs had ice out was May 6th, which would be a week from tomorrow. It is still 100% ice covered. (lake cam here). Worse, we are making ice tonight, and the 10 day forcast for Garrison (NW corner of Mille Lacs) is all 50's by day and 30's by night until May 7th when they are supposed to hit a blistering 62. The all-time record is in danger

Here is some data from a couple of MN lakes, just to show the potential for getting the wrong impression from shorter term data. One MIGHT think that there was a BIG warm-up from '96 to 2000 ... and even do some other extrapolation and decide "it is obvious we are warming up". If one looked at over 100 years of data however, they would see that 1878 was WAY earlier (meaning warmer) and 1856 was not much cooler than '96, which would give the impression that at least on that data we had COOLED since the late 1800s. Of course 100 years of data in a data set of 10's of thousands for just ONE glacial cycle, with 10's and 100s of MILLIONS of years of data for multiple cycles is about as close to completely useless as one can get. It is "just data". Any sort of trend projected from it is just like reading the farmers almanac.

Data from MN DNR:
Mille Lacs - Avg April 24, Earliest April 2, 2000, Latest May 6,1996 (42 years of data)
Minnetonka - Avg April 11, Earliest March 11, 1878, latest May 8, 1856 (129 years of data)

There are NOT enough facts to make a decision here, but we know that the best data we have says that the planet has a N hemisphere ice age bias in this land mass configuration. "On average", most of the US is under a sheet of ice, as is Europe for the last 40 million years or so. We are actually IN an "ice age" because there are polar caps. Supposedly the previous case with ice caps was 430-460 years ago, so there was something like 400 million years of "global warming" prior to our current "ice age". This may indicate that it is possible for the planet to warm and cool on it's own, but you can draw your own conclusions about human intervention 400 or even 40 million years ago. Suffice to say we have no tracking data on Mille Lacs from those times, and I have no idea what the fishing regulations were even a mere 40 million years ago.

Range Time SP100 First Outing

It hit 50 yesterday so I went out to the range mostly to test out the new Ruger SP100 pistol. The pics above are of my personally customized little 35 year old Ruger 10/22 however. I mounted a Nikon 2-7x scope that I was thinking of using for deer last fall on it and a custom folding pistol grip stock from Midway. I spent a little time dialing it in and then did a 25 yard fairly rapid fire at the bulls eye with 25 rounds in a magazine. Not a lot of center left, really fun little gun. Sort of a "mini assault rifle".

I don't have any targets that impressive with the SP100, but I throughly enjoyed putting 150 rounds of mixed .38, .38+P and .357 Mag through it. I feel as confident as the .9mm XD right out of the box with it, and I'm having the same "low side of target" shooting problem with the SP100 as I do with the XD, so it seems certain that we are talking "operator error". I'm anticipating the shot. Both .38 and +P are a joy to shoot with the heft of the gun and the grip size, and while .357 isn't a "joy", it certainly can be done without much pain, although I suspect that it will be more of a novelty unless I decide to pack it along on a hike in black bear / mountain lion country. It seems like .38+p is one heck of a solid self defense round.

No buyers remorse whatsoever, one simply MUST have at least one revolver, and .357 mag with all the versatility of rounds available seems the obvious choice. Having shot the GP100 with a 6" barrel vs my 2" barrel, it is clear that for accuracy on targets the 6" is a big advantage, but the ability to easily carry concealed with the SP100 seems worth the trade-off to me. Great little gun.

OH ... Bama, Musically

Pretty creative and fun to watch. Since it seems that a lot of the "creative class" has a liberal bent, the vast majority of weeknight comedy shtick, music and other "popular arts" tend to be far over to the left, increasing that view that to be "smart and hip" is to be liberal.

The vast majority is still there, but the web lets the "2nd string" get involved as well.

MSM Does It's Job with McCain

I've often said that if the MSM treated Democrats the same as Republicans, they would be doing a great job. McCain has supported campaign finance measures that I believe are completely wrong headed in the first place and at least ought to be unconstitutional. Of course, the press loved McCain and Feingold being "bi-partisan" on Campaign Finance Reform (CFR).

While it is impossible for a Democrat to by a hypocrite in the MSMs eyes though, the same is not true of a Republican. The NYT goes out of their way to point out McCain actions that are against the "spirit" of reforms that he supported. Should he be held to a higher standard after getting the accolades of supporting CFR? Sure--how about Al Gore on the environment, Bill Clinton on sexual harrassment, and virtually every wealthy Democrat in office relative to taxation? Most DEFINITELY!! As it is, McCain will pay the price for his relatively minor hypocracy, while BO and Hillary will blather about all sorts of "taxing the rich" while they hold and add to their millions and avoid those taxes via clever loopholes, and the MSM and it's millions of sheep won't even be the least bit cognizant of the double standard.

CNN Political Ticker: All politics, all the time - Blogs from

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Financial Franken Questions

Hey, the Strib is at least CARRYING some of the information.

He is a quote from his campaign manager that I love:

"Al spent the week doing an economy tour of the state," Barr said,
adding "We're not hearing about this except from the Republican Party.

Golly, the MSM doesn't seem willing to go out and do any digging on a Democrat Senate candidate, that is certainly something unique! Obama attended an anti-American anti-white church for 20 years and nobody in the MSM thought that was a news story during his Senate race - If Hillary hadn't brought it up it STILL wouldn't be news. It is only for Republicans they are willing to really go the extra mile and forge documents to try to defeat them.

Apparently a lot of the reason that Al is in favor of high taxes and a lot of business regulation is because even though he makes a lot of money and is a small businessman, he just doesn't bother to pay the taxes or follow the regulations. Why should he? He knows he is a nice guy, and those taxes and regulations are there to keep the evil Republicans in line, not to bother a great guy like Al!

April Flurries, Warming Worries?

We are suffering a cold weekend here in MN. There was snow in the air here in SE MN, but not the sticking stuff. The combination of a lot of wind and temps in the lower 40s felt plenty cold though.

The Powerline link above is a good one, but I think it also shows the general futility of trying to offset the MSM/sheep connection. Most people simply want to have the POPULAR VIEW. Yes, they may feel some "cognitive dissonance" while they see the snow fall in April, but they will see no news articles on how this might mean that GW isn't as certain as sometimes reported. When we have our next good warm spell, reporting of GW will be back. We have gone two years with no hurricanes hitting the US when it was predicted that GW would cause MANY more and each would be more severe. BUT, there was no reporting that those predictions not being true in the last couple years to cast any doubt on the predictions.

I find it tiresome to listen to discussion of GW or to engage in it myself. My personal belief is that temps in decades or even multiple decades can flucuate up or down and not mean anything that we can understand. BUT, I'm not a climatologist (and neither is Al Gore). The fact that GW is such a big story and political issue for the left, and the degree to which the MSM can get the sheep to follow is really the main story in my view.

I believe the longer term climate record supports my "it fluctuates" view.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Bitterly Clinging

Slightly in honor of BO (but mostly in honor of the $100 off a $500 purchase to Cabella's credit card holders), I journeyed to Cabella's this evening and purchased a new Ruger SP 101 .357 Mag, stainless 5 shot revolver with a 2" barrel. I have a fairly wide hand, so a lot of the smaller pistols don't fit my hand, and I can't "bitterly cling" as securely as I would like. This little number lets me get a good hold so that BO will have to work some to pry my cold dead fingers off the 2nd amendment. Hopefully I'll be reporting on how it shoots this weekend.

While I'm at my reporting, I picked up a folding composite stock for my 35+ year old Ruger 10/22 that has 1000s of rounds fired through it, and at least in my youth, not always the BEST of care. I pulled the Nikon 2-7X scope off a slug gun, picked up a few 30-round mags, and wala, a pretty cool little plinking gun. My wife has already laughed at it, but a few folks have walked over at the range to indicate appreciation and questions of "what is that"?

The guy that sold the pistol to me at Cabella's was a 2-tour to Iraq Marine. He didn't seem all that bitter about the Iraq war, but I'm sure he was just hiding it well! BO, Hillary and the whole MSM can't possibly be wrong that it is a hopeless waste of lives based on lies -- because we know that they would CERTAINLY be taking the views of ex-Marines that served as a very high indicator of the truth. Right? I mean, to even question Kerry the war hero of Vietnam in '04 was the HEIGHT of "unpatriotic", so we know that a guy that has been back less than a year (as opposed to 30+) would have pretty good recollections of anything "seared into his brain".

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

NYT Beats Up Hillary

This little NYT editorial is a great opportunity to see how the left thinks and how narrow their view really is. Some points:
  • "inconclusive"? Do they believe in votes anymore? A 10% margin is "inconclusive"? I assume there is only one answer that they will call "conclusive"-Obama wins, but can they state their bias any more blatantly?
  • Hillary is the candidate that they endorsed!! THEY picked her, not "Karl Rove". She is the Senator from NEW YORK, which they endorsed for that position as well. She and Bill used far worse tactics against Republicans for 8+ years, and the NYT stood and applauded!!
  • "Right from Karl Rove's playbook". Is Rove actually Lucifer? Let's see, did John Kerry ever talk about "Osama Bin Ladin is still at large"? Have we really arrived at the point that NOBODY, not even another Democrat can point out FACTS if they don't cast the MSMs current favorite in the best possible light?
  • "after 7 years of George Bush's failed with us or against us presidency". Ok, we know the position of the NYT, but that is old news. To them, every Republican President is a failure--before they even take the oath. We may or may not be in a recession--Clinton's presidency ended in a recession, was he a failure? He also had a stock market crash in March of 2K, so I guess his presidency was a BIG failure. In fact, 9-11 happened 8 months after he left office and he failed to nab Bin Ladin--oh, but he was a Democrat, so I guess he had a "successful presidency" ... at least if you are the NYT.
  • So the NYT and rest of the MSM believes that whomever their "anointed one" is deserves nothing but "positive dialog on the issues"? Meanwhile, questions of 30 year old guard records, DWIs, spelling of words, "a smirk", "leaks", etc, etc are all completely legitimate to be used against a Republican? No double standards there!!
  • I would assume that about 50% of the Dems and hopefully even more can see the blatant bias of the media now. Maybe even some of the BO supporters can be a LITTLE open minded since it is "good old Hillary" that is being beaten up now -- one of their own WONDERFUL Clintons! The very flower of humanity--why if it wasn't for how much MORE lovely BO is, and how much more he has promised their greedy little hearts, they would be in a swoon over how great SHE was!!!

The Low Road to Victory (New York Times)

Published: April 23, 2008

The Pennsylvania campaign, which produced yet another inconclusive result on Tuesday, was even meaner, morre vacuous, more desperate, and more filled with pandering than the mean, vacuous, desperate, pander-filled contests that preceded it.

Voters are getting tired of it; it is demeaning the political process; and it does not work. It is past time for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to acknowledge that the negativity, for which she is mostly responsible, does nothing but harm to her, her opponent, her party and the 2008 election.

If nothing else, self interest should push her in that direction. Mrs. Clinton did not get the big win in Pennsylvania that she needed to challenge the calculus of the Democratic race. It is true that Senator Barack Obama outspent her 2-to-1. But Mrs. Clinton and her advisers should mainly blame themselves, because, as the political operatives say, they went heavily negative and ended up squandering a good part of what was once a 20-point lead.

On the eve of this crucial primary, Mrs. Clinton became the first Democratic candidate to wave the bloody shirt of 9/11. A Clinton television ad — torn right from Karl Rove’s playbook — evoked the 1929 stock market crash, Pearl Harbor, the Cuban missile crisis, the cold war and the 9/11 attacks, complete with video of Osama bin Laden. “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen,” the narrator intoned.

If that was supposed to bolster Mrs. Clinton’s argument that she is the better prepared to be president in a dangerous world, she sent the opposite message on Tuesday morning by declaring in an interview on ABC News that if Iran attacked Israel while she were president: “We would be able to totally obliterate them.”

By staying on the attack and not engaging Mr. Obama on the substance of issues like terrorism, the economy and how to organize an orderly exit from Iraq, Mrs. Clinton does more than just turn off voters who don’t like negative campaigning. She undercuts the rationale for her candidacy that led this page and others to support her: that she is more qualified, right now, to be president than Mr. Obama.

Mr. Obama is not blameless when it comes to the negative and vapid nature of this campaign. He is increasingly rising to Mrs. Clinton’s bait, undercutting his own claims that he is offering a higher more inclusive form of politics. When she criticized his comments about “bitter” voters, Mr. Obama mocked her as an Annie Oakley wannabe. All that does is remind Americans who are on the fence about his relative youth and inexperience.

No matter what the high-priced political operatives (from both camps) may think, it is not a disadvantage that Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton share many of the same essential values and sensible policy prescriptions. It is their strength, and they are doing their best to make voters forget it. And if they think that only Democrats are paying attention to this spectacle, they’re wrong.

After seven years of George W. Bush’s failed with-us-or-against-us presidency, all American voters deserve to hear a nuanced debate — right now and through the general campaign — about how each candidate will combat terrorism, protect civil liberties, address the housing crisis and end the war in Iraq.

It is getting to be time for the superdelegates to do what the Democrats had in mind when they created superdelegates: settle a bloody race that cannot be won at the ballot box. Mrs. Clinton once had a big lead among the party elders, but has been steadily losing it, in large part because of her negative campaign. If she is ever to have a hope of persuading these most loyal of Democrats to come back to her side, let alone win over the larger body of voters, she has to call off the dogs.

Hilly Wins! (MSM Mourns)

But the NYT Isn't very happy about it. Golly, the "hometown paper" of the "Jr Senator from NY" that endorsed her candidacy for President and in a state where she won the primary handily is worried about how "negative" her campaign has been.

"The Pennsylvania campaign, which produced yet another inconclusive result on Tuesday, was even meaner, more vacuous, more desperate, and more filled with pandering than the mean, vacuous, desperate, pander-filled contests that preceded it," the board writes.
So I thought Hillary WON the Pennsylvania primary by a double digit margin? The NYT considers that "inconclusive"? I've never seen the NYT concerned about the Clinton's, some other Democrat or the paper itself saying anything "negative" about any Republican, even if it had WAY less factual or informational content than Hilly's pillow fight with poor defenseless BO.

She is just a nasty mean girl I guess and if she doesn't stop beating up on poor BO the Times is going to have to continue to throw hissy fits! I would imagine that his "ryhemsake" Osama will be much "kinder and gentler" that bad girl Hilly.

One would have thought that the Dems had the election on a silver platter, but I keep forgetting that the Democrats and the MSM really ARE liberals-things like dealing with reality, taking responsibility, getting something done or (horror of horrors) "making a DECISION!!!" are against their very nature.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Jimmuh Diplomacy

Power Line: Nice Going, Jimmuh

PL has a nice title. Ah yes, the rabbit killer. As President he thought the Soviets could be trusted and made nice with them, so they invaded Afghanistan and he punished the US farmers and atheletes with grain embargo and the olympic boycott. Planner of The Jimmy Carter Desert Classic", the perfect Democrat military operation where only Americans died and nothing at all was accomplished. As the vaunted ex-President he "negotiated" a "deal" with the N Koreans where we gave them a bunch of stuff and they promised to not build nukes -- which of course they didn't honor.

The lefties generally love Jimmuh, he is their kind of guy. Complains a lot, incompetent, probably pretty "book smart" but extremely sure he is way better than reality says he is. Like a true lefty, he is unfazed by the lack of success or even damage that his actions cause, he is SURE that "his heart is in the right place".

2 Timothy 2
5 Treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.

He is pro-abortion and pro gay "marriage" ... so the "form of godliness" is weak these days. 

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Hand-Wringing Rolls On

"Swift Boating" has apparently now been extended from "a release of potentially negative facts about a Democrat by someone on the right" to "any release of damaging information about a Democrat (or potentially the new level only applies to BO)". Naturally the official MSM view is that anything negative about a Democrat that they like is by definition either false, unimportant or both. For Slick Willie, charges of rape were both unimportant and obviously false with no investigation required at all. For Bush, 30 year old charges about his Gaurd record that turned out to be false were worthy of hour long prime-time specials.

Good to see the major MSM outlets like Newsweek hot on making sure that BO only has a GOOD side!

Can Obama Repel 'Swift Boat'-Style Attacks? | Newsweek Periscope |

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Consider a Conservative BO

Quoted from Powerline, nothing much to add other than this is EXACTLY the seeds of true fascism. The suppression of any questioning of "the supreme leader". We get some hints in BOs answers how much he dislikes having his omnicience questioned--why should a mere media person have any right whatsoever to question "his supreme excellency BO"?
Consider this thought experiment: Assume that a conservative candidate for the GOP nomination spent two decades at a church whose senior pastor was a white supremacist who uttered ugly racial (as well as anti-American) epithets from the pulpit. Assume, too, that this minister wasn’t just the candidate’s pastor but also a close friend, the man who married the candidate and his wife, baptized his two daughters, and inspired the title of his best-selling book.

In addition, assume that this GOP candidate, in preparing for his entry into politics, attended an early organizing meeting at the home of a man who, years before, was involved in blowing up multiple abortion clinics and today was unrepentant, stating his wish that he had bombed even more clinics. And let’s say that the GOP candidate’s press spokesman described the relationship between the two men as “friendly.”

Do you think that if those moderating a debate asked the GOP candidate about these relationships for the first time, after 22 previous debates had been held, that other journalists would become apoplectic at the moderators for merely asking about the relationships? Not only would there be a near-universal consensus that those questions should be asked; there would be a moral urgency in pressing for answers. We would, I predict, be seeing an unprecedented media “feeding frenzy.”

The truth is that a close relationship with a white supremacist pastor and a friendly relationship with an abortion clinic bomber would, by themselves, torpedo a conservative candidate running for president. There is an enormous double standard at play here, one rooted in the fawning regard many journalists have for Barack Obama. They have a deep, even emotional, investment in his candidacy. And, as we are seeing, they will turn on anyone, even their colleagues, who dare raise appropriate and searching questions–the kind journalists are supposed to ask. The reaction to Stephanopoulos and Gibson is a revealing and depressing glimpse into the state of modern journalism.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Democrats Pledge "No New Taxes"

No Whining About the Media - Campaign Stops - 2008 Elections - Opinion - New York Times Blog

This is by David Brooks, the long time token "conservative" on the NYT editorial board. I happened to hear the part of the debate on the "no new taxes", and I was somewhat surprised, but I completely disagree with David. The only reason Bush Senior's "No New Taxes" pledge hurt him is because he is a REPUBLICAN. The idea that Brooks thinks for a SECOND that either Clinton or BO are going to stand by their pledges to not "raise taxes of any kind" on INDIVIDUALS making less than $250K a year is complete hocum and everyone ought to know it. It is "rhetoric to get elected".

Part of the reason one has to try to parse the "nuance" of what Democrats say is because "nuance" is AT BEST all one is going to get. There is no question that their statements on taxes are bold faced lies - only by trying to "read through the entrails" of things like their books, web-sites and off the cuff remarks on things like "bitterness" and race can one hope to get a glimpse behind the packaged creation that the MSM and Democrats provide as a candidate. I think his estimate of "$40 billion" on taxing "the rich" is quite high, those are the people that have the MOST freedom to move income around (including off shore), forgoing income and leaving investments in other assets, etc. They aren't the sitting ducks that people like us tax slaves are.

It gives one pause to realize that the NYT's CONSERVATIVE is lamenting that "It’s impossible to fund a health care plan, let alone anything else, with that kind of money." Brooks thinks that tax increases are going to be the way to increase revenue - apparently at the NYT, even the "conservatives" are fixed economy sized liberals. If the economy is $1000 and taxes are 10% you get $100 in tax. If it a static economy, raising taxes 1% gives an extra $10. However if the economy is growing at 5% a year, NO NEW TAXES will give you a $1050 total economy next year with tax revenue of $105, $1,102.5 the following year with taxes of $110.25, or a .25 premium for NOT raising taxes, AND, the economic growth picture just gets better and better.

Fortunately for the tax cutter and UNfortunately for the tax increaser, the economy is FAR from static. Time and time again raising taxes either slows or stops growth, and raising taxes in the face of a slowing economy is an excellent way to induce, prolong and deepen recessions. As Reagan proved, when the upper income people stop working, the whole train slows rapidly--the lead actor fails to take that extra picture this year because "it isn't worth it", and all the supporting actors, the studio, the stage hands, the wardrobe people, etc are out of job and the economy slows. By millions and billions of "little" decisions like that across the economy, the earning potential of all is removed.

This problem is as old as "The Goose that Laid the Golden Egg". There are no limits on the appetite for gold, especially OTHERS gold, and the true "greedy" are those that think that their lives benifit by sucking more funds away from those who earn them. In the end, they "kill the goose", and it is those with the greatest need that suffer the worst. The rational and the productive slow their work output, take extra training, move their dollars to areas where the government is not penalizing their productivity and the overall tax revenues and the economy slow.

We have WAY better data on how this operates than Global Warming, and human beings are FAR more in control of the economy than the environment (the economy is human created). The left just refuses to accept how economics works, so they persist in taking steps that "kill the goose". Like moths to the fire, they just can't seem to get it through their heads that they MUST have the most productive people working at very close to peak efficiency if they want to keep growth going. There is no difference between their plans and putting "ankle weights" (or maybe both wrist and ankle weights) on the best atheletes in baseball, basketball, football, etc and then see how entertaining the game is.

The lefties are always braying about "diversity", but the REAL diversity that matters is diversity of talent, intelligence, drive, personality, innovation, risk taking, have different thoughts, different spiritual and emotional responses. Skin color, gender, sexual preferences and all the other "lefty diversity" are quite boring in comparison. The constant attempts to gain "equality of result", or "more civility" are really just attempts to REMOVE the true myriad of diversities that make human life and spirit wonderful gifts from the infinite.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Agreeing With BO

I got to hear a little bit of the Democrat debate at noon today re-broadcast on NPR. A couple of things struck me. First of all, it must be great to be questioned by a guy that was the communications director in your husbands administration, which George Stephanapolis was. It is pretty funny that Tim Russert on NBC served as counselor in New York Governor Cuomo in 83-84 and was chief of staff to Democratic Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan from 1977 to 1982. Chris Matthews over on CNBC worked on Senator Edmund Muskie's staff, as a speechwriter for Jimmuh, (including much of the "Malaise" speech). He then worked six years as a top aide to long-time Speaker of the House, Tip O'Neil.

Can anyone name any similar connections for Republican's in the MSM? Oh, but of course none of these folks have any bias, they just "dropped it" when they moved in the revolving door from the Democrats to the media. It sounds like a lot of BO supporters think that George S was too tough on old BO, and are blaming it on his connection with the Clinton's in the past. WOW, liberals believing that there is some potential that the folks doing the news are normal biased humans. Will wonders never cease. Naturally, this will not apply to cases like Mathews and Russert, because that would e "small minded consistency".

That brings me to this and my agreement with BO, he responded to a Stephanopolis question on his relationship with Bill Ayers of the Weathermen who said on 9-11-2001: ''I don't regret setting bombs, I feel we didn't do enough.''
George, but this is an example of what I'm talking about ["the kind of manufactured issue that our politics has become obsessed with and, once again, distracts us from what should be my job when I'm commander in chief"].

This is a guy who lives in my neighborhood, who's a professor of English in Chicago, who I know and who I have not received some official endorsement from. He's not somebody who I exchange ideas from on a regular basis.

And the notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago when I was 8 years old, somehow reflects on me and my values, doesn't make much sense, George.

The fact is, is that I'm also friendly with Tom Coburn, one of the most conservative Republicans in the United States Senate, who during his campaign once said that it might be appropriate to apply the death penalty to those who carried out abortions.

Do I need to apologize for Mr. Coburn's statements? Because I certainly don't agree with those either.

So this kind of game, in which anybody who I know, regardless of how flimsy the relationship is, is somehow -- somehow their ideas could be attributed to me -- I think the American people are smarter than that. They're not going to suggest somehow that that is reflective of my views, because it obviously isn't.

Why you know at least in principle, he is absolutely right! Republican's should NEVER have to explain why they don't agree with David Duke even though he ran as a Republican once, since not only DON'T they agree with him, hardly any of them have ANY association with him at ALL. But often, they are linked with him anyway, and the MSM constantly brings him up and many of them have been forced to repudiate his views anyway. We all know that it isn't very good to have to issue a "denial" (eg. "I don't beat my wife" ... most people will assume there must be SOME reason you had to issue the denial). However, the fact that sitting DEMOCRAT US Senator Bob Byrd was a recruiter in the KKK is pretty much a state secret.

How about Bob Jones University? If a Republican appears there does it mean that they agree with everything that Bob Jones has ever done? Well, golly, BO went to a racist church for TWENTY YEARS and dedicated his book to a Pastor that said "God Damn America" after 9-11 -- it is COMPLETELY "unfair" for us to indicate that choice of church or dedication of his book has ANYTHING to do with his views! Any double standard there?

Speaking of 9-11, why did the MSM make such a big deal our of comments of the like of Falwell and Robertson of 9-11 being "judgment for sin" and then do all they could to point out any relationship they could of "the religious right" to Bush and other Republicans? In CA the LA paper made a big deal out of Schwarzenegger's FATHER being a Nazi sympathizer as he ran for Gov. Might it be in his blood? Now there is a good one--how frequently do we hear of Bush or other Republicans being compared with "Hitler" or "Nazis" when they have done nothing at all to indicate they have any sympathy with any Nazi view.

The fact is that "guilt by association", often made up out of TOTALLY complete cloth used against Republicans by Democrats and the MSM is a DAILY way of life!

One has to laugh a bit at the "similarity" between a Weatherman bomber, now a tenured professor who on 9-11 says that the Weathermen "didn't do enough bombing" and a Republican in the house who no doubt considers Abortion murder -- and we in fact live in a country where the law says that the penalty for murder can be death. The fact that the BO brain sees folks bombing buildings and sitting Republican Senators as "equivalent" might be just a little chilling to the few folks that are still firing any logical brain circuits on the BO "mystique".

BO (and most of te MSM) is also pretty ticked that folks "parse his words". Golly, I bet Tent Lott finds that to be pretty special, he lost his leadership slot because of off-hand comments at a birthday party. I think EVERYONE understands there was no racist intent there at all, it was merely a great opportunity for the MSM and the Democrats to play political "gotcha", extract a pound of flesh from a specific Republican, and help tar the whole party with their false racist association. When the game is played against Republicans, the Democrats and MSM find it to be "proper politics".

Obama himself is CONSTANTLY saying "McCain wants to be in Iraq for 100 years", which is completely NOT what McCain said. He is also CONSTANTLY claiming that "McCain thinks the Bush economy is fine", only because McCain is willing to point out a few odd facts like personal income growth, consecutive quarters of growth, amount of growth, etc have been BETTER under Bush than they were under Clinton. Oddly, the Democrats took over both houses of congress a year ago promising "change", and we seem to have it - there looks like there may be a recession now.

So Obama has an excellent point. If we WERE to operate for ALL the way he thinks we ought to operate for HIM, then this might indeed be a more civil country. As it is, it is pretty obvious that his view is that we ought to treat HIM specially, and allow both him and the MSM to CONSTANTLY behave in a pattern that is MUCH WORSE in their treatment of Republicans than he has experienced. Just a little wiff of what a BO America might smell like!

Democrats and Al Qaeda Agree Again

Al Qaeda declares 'failure and defeat' for U.S. troops in Iraq -

One sometimes wonders if there really is any difference between "Osama Obama" and "Osama Bin Ladin". Both seem to agree on the "failure in Iraq" view. Oh, I guess Obama would see Bin Ladin as somewhat "bitter and clinging to his guns" ... I suppose that is primarily because he is "living in a rural area".

Actually, Harry Reid and a lot of the Democrats have been well out ahead of Bin Ladin on this one, declaring defeat early and often relative to the troops in Iraq. That is not to say they don't "support" them--it is just that the Democrat version of "support" has a lot of "nuance", which to the less well educated means the same thing as "we think America is going to lose".

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

First Campfire 2008

It at least basically hit 70 here Wednesday April 16th and the wind died down in the evening. My wife's folks were up to see our son in the musical "Oklahoma" at school, and I talked at least my wife and her Dad into sitting around the firepit with the propane heater on high for our first firepit outing of the year.

I noticed on the news it was the longest span between 70 degree days here in MN since '98, which matches up with my view of "10 years of mild winters". One point plotted does not make a trend, so maybe we really are warming up and this is just a "cold" (I'd say "normal") winter that will not be quickly repeated. I have nothing invested in global warming one way or another, sure, I'd like to see it be bunk, and I'd THINK that nearly everyone would.

I would have thought that everyone would like to see the Surge in Iraq be successful and the USSR be defeated as well and I was wrong on those, so I suspect that there are a whole bunch of folks that will re-write history if it turns out that the spell of warm winters was a climate cycle based on sunspots, ocean currents or something that we just don't understand rather than human activity. One thing I AM sure of is that we won't be hearing Al Gore and the MSM EVER saying "we were wrong".

Saturday, April 12, 2008

BO Leaks the Truth

"But the truth is, is that, our challenge is to get people persuaded that we can make progress when there's not evidence of that in their daily lives. You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. So it's not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

Guys like BO need to always tell us "but the truth is", and then continually lie when their lips start moving, since their actual views are completely out of step with 70-80% of the American public. It isn't that HillBilly really believes anything different, but the Clinton campaign is furiously trying to get some play out of this. We will see how effective MSM blockage of the real smell of BO is.

I happen to have grown up on a very small dairy farm and went to school in a town of 2K people. My wife grew up on a crop farm and went to school in an equally small town. Unlike Michelle Obama, and most likely BO, we have always been proud of our country, and the vast majority of folks that live in those towns would still do a far better job of speaking for the values of America than BO and his poor ashamed wife.

Might they justifiably be unhappy about a candidate who runs on no substance whatsoever, has a wife that isn't even proud of the country he wants to be president of, and whom maligns the very people who know way more about character and values than BO ever will? Sure, but it doesn't have much to do with him being black. Yes, there are folks that are taken in by the MSM and elites like the BOs in even small town America, but in general, those folks are a lot closer to "clinging to" the American values of hard work, character, personal responsibility, and yes, even faith in God than Ivy League lawyers like the BOs.

Are they unhappy that they have lost jobs? Sure, but mostly because the MSM and the Democrats have convinced them that you can still have union wages and work rules, not have to get the education to compete and that "some corporate CEO" was "taking their jobs". Those same Democrats were running the tax, regulation, union support, and "it isn't your fault" rhetoric that was TAKING their jobs. Nobody likes losing jobs, and they like it less when they are told it is part of some "vast global right-wing conspiracy", rather than simply the need to compete successfully in a global market, which all those "clinging" folks are more than capable of doing if they were told what the playing field really was, rather than just being filled with a bunch of useless class warfare rhetoric.

BO needs to get his story straight. In his book, he talks of the disaster of "the '70s and '80s", blithly running the Reagan ec0nomic boom in with the Carter economic swoon, but giving Willy credit for "good times". The numbers and ranking are so easy to see that anyone that can't figure Reagan as the best economy and Slick and Bush so close to each other that one could nod either way if we didn't consider 9-11 and the stock market crash of 2K that moved to recession. We can bet that whatever happens BAD in the economy this year will be charged to Bush, and this year isn't over, so we can't say for sure.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Separation of Christ and State

Wednesday: Wall of silence broken at state's Muslim public school

Here in MN a nice lefty blue state, the separation of "Church and State" is an important principal (in theory). The issue is ALWAYS Christ, not "religion". Muslims may have 10 times the restrictive rules on women, gays, casual sex, alcohol, drugs, etc and all the other fruits of the liberal spirit as Christians do, but the left STRONGLY prefers them to Christians. Katherine Kersten is the token conservative that the Red Star has hired to give people the false impression that the paper is something other than a liberal tract, so don't think that the leftys are turning here. They really don't care about "separation of muslims and state", in fact state funding of our own MN Madras is just peachy with them.

Why? I'd argue that my perennial claim that for liberals, consistency isn't an issue is flawed. They ARE consistently anti-American and anti-Christian. Post 9-11, Muslims have turned out to be a two-for! The left can show it's disdain for all things American by cozying up to the very folks that murdered 3K of their fellow citizens and at the same time thumb their noses at the supposed "Christian Nation". One might look at typical lefty beliefs and think that they would take a dim view of folks that go death penalty on anything from dissing Mohammed, gays, adultery, or a whole bunch of other stuff. A woman that is not in full Muslim garb is "open season" for rape, and the guys get off "free", just not their fault since she was "tempting". However, Muslims are BOTH anti-Christian and anti-American! Talk about your lefty win, win! They simply can't resist being smitten with that pair of very strong commitments, so they are willing to even have state funding of a religious school for them.

I've been perplexed the last couple days to try to figure out what had happened to the leftys on China. Back when China killing millions of their own people and supporting the genocidal Viet Cong as they killed both their countrymen and US soliders, Mao and his "Little Red Book" were complete darlings of the left. They were waving their flags and trying to dress like their "comrades". Back when the good old USSR that killed 40-60 million of it's own people was invading Afghanistan the leftys didn't even support their own Jimmuh Carter in his boycott of the games, let alone support any US efforts to help repel the Soviets. Commies have always been the kind of folks that your average blue state lefty finds worthy of admiration, no matter what their body count may be. They put Che Guevera on their T-shirts, and he was as blood thirsty a killer as one can find.

There seem to be very few theories around now as to why suddenly commies taking over countries and maybe killing a few folks is something that needs to be protested. What has happened:

  • My main guess is that China just has gotten too friendly with the US and too prosperous. The left loves abject poverty and virulent anti-Americanism in their friends, and China no longer measures up. Being Anti-American is the big key -- one can even have a little money as long as your hatred of America credentials are strong, but start playing nice with the US and liberals no longer feel the love.
  • One assertion is that the Dali Lama has enough Hollywood types in his spell that they have been able to lead the rest of the blue sheep to bleat against the evil China and the Olympics being held there.
  • Since Bush is planning to go, it must be inherently bad to a lefty. At their level of logic, if Bush wants to do it, it HAS to be bad. I'm almost wondering if he ought not take a shot at a massive tax increase, immediate pullout of the troops from Iraq and Federally funded gay marriages before he leaves office here just to be certain that liberals would always be for tax cuts, a stable Iraq and marriage being between a man and a woman.

Bumper Ballistics

I saw the following bumper sticker on a lefty vehicle along with a stack of the standard "Impeach Bush", "Wellstone", yada yada:

"Yellow Ribbons are not Bulletproof"

My first thought was; "Neither are Bumper Stickers", followed shortly by the more general thought that the entire concept of "bulletproof" really shows a lack of ballistic imagination. I'd argue that very few civilian constructs, even likely including armored trucks are really "bulletproof" against a .50 BMG in armor piercing. Something available to civilians. Once one moves into military rounds, a 155mm howitzer is likely to pretty much dispose of any "proofing" attempts by sticker applicators.

Naturally, a couple more seconds produced the probably correct meaning of the sticker; "Hey you right wing idiots with your yellow ribbons on your cars, those ribbons aren't going to protect any troops, so %$^&*^ you!" Ah yes, liberal "civility". It is rather nice to see the leftys at least feigning concern for the troops this time rather than always just calling them war criminals, baby killers and spitting on them. While the treatment of Abu Girab and some of the other coverage has shown the general hatred of the military lying just slightly below the surface, it is nice to see them at least realize that open acknowledgment of disrespect for US soldiers doesn't play that well.

I'm always amazed at the lefty propensity for bumper stickers. It is just something that never appeals to me that much - maybe a candidate one during the core months of the election, but those seem purposeful. There are occasional counter examples from the right, but it has to be almost 80% left, 20% right in the bumper sticker world. I guess from the POV of a lefty, having a bumper sticker on your vehicle that says "HATE is not a family value" is a way to show how nice you are and how much respect you have for folks with different views than you.

Muir Woods on CNN

After having just been out to to Muir Woods, it was interesting to see this out on the web. I found Muir Woods to be a great little place, but my recollection is that the Redwoods up around "The Avenue of the Giants" further north was that they were even more impressive and that we will want to return there.

Muir Woods celebrates a century of conservation -

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The Clinton's Millions

After a long wait, HillBilly finally released their tax returns. The poor "Vast Right Wing Conspiracy" beset Clinton family has been forced to scrape by making only $109 million in the 7 years since the end of "The Great Stain" Presidency. They seem much more charitable than the Goreacle, having given $10 million away (I'm not sure to whom-the society for willing big haired young women maybe?). For those that don't recall, in '98, Gore gave $353 to chairity on an income of nearly $200K. Not that anyone in the MSM cares, he was in favor of having a lot of other folks pay a lot of taxes and killing the unborn, so he was OK by them--but I digress.

Slick and the First Enabler also paid $33 million in taxes (Willie's used underwear deductions must have gone down some), which still sounds like a pretty good rate for $109 million two income couple. So they had to scrape by on only $66 mil -- with use of government planes and a ton of other provided percs for ex-presidents and senators of course.

I note that there isn't a lot of howling from the MSM on this one. A lot of this money came from corporations paying $255K for an hour speech. I'm certainly hoping that he spoke on topics that he has expertise in -- how to get sex at work, get caught, but still keep your job, how to bomb other countries (twice) at critical points of personal scandal, but not have any significant questioning of it, etc. The MSM seems to question the motives of Bush constantly, yet back when Slick was launching attacks after coming off vacation and saying "I have to go and do something Presidential", it was the height of being "Un-American" to wonder if there could be a relation to his scandals. One just absolutely couldn't question the motives of his royal slickness without the media having a good howl.

How things have changed--I'm sure that it must all be due to the sterling character and brilliance of the Dope from Hope, and that is why he is worth $250K an hour. No thought of cashing in on "influence" from the Dem side, they only have "the best interests of the people" in mind while they rake in THEIR $109 million. Think of the idiot CEOs that make $10-$20 million a year for leading companies, producing products and making profits for shareholders. They get yelled at constantly for "gouging" and there is constant talk of regulating their salaries, yet Bubba rakes in $250K per hour and it is "no problemo".

They hate a cat fit when Reagan left office and went to Japan and made some speeches. Newt was investigated, castigated, and forced to pay money on "ethics charges" for his book deal, but Hilly rakes it in while in office without a peep from the MSM. I really don't mind that they make the money. If Republicans were treated even a TINY bit the same by the MSM on the subject, it would be just fine.

Clintons Release Tax Returns | The Trail |

Lieberman Lives

One of the ways to completely disappear from the MSM is to be a "Maverick Democrat". The disappearance of such a person is so complete in the MSM that I don't think I've ever even heard the term applied to a Democrat that actually breaks ranks with the party. The place that I've heard it applied is for a Democrat that is so far to the LEFT (like Wellstone or Kucinich) that the term comes out. Actually though, Joe Lieberman is still alive, and thanks to the still not silenced Conservative blogsphere, one can actually read what he has to say.

Very worth reading, I thought his best line was exactly the Democrat and MSM position on Iraq.
"What I'm about to say, with respect to my colleagues who have consistently opposed our presence in Iraq, as I hear the questions and the statements today, it seems to me that there's a kind of hear no progress in Iraq, see no progress in Iraq, and most of all, speak of no progress in Iraq."
It doesn't get a lot more clear than that. Forget the security of the country, forget the sacrifice of our troops and most of all, forget the Iraqi people-all that counts is failure in Iraq to be blamed on Bush at any cost.

Since we are on the subject, consider the idea of "Maverick Republican"? A Republican that sides with the Democrats--Olympia Snow, Lincoln Chafee, Arlen Specter ... and even sometimes John McCain. Certainly common to see them called out as "mavericks", "courageous", "principled", etc, AND what is important, they are CALLED OUT in the MSM when they do the bidding of the Democrats. McCain was a DARLING as long as he was taking positions against the Republican leadership and Bush. He is of course less good now as he is due to be the Republican standard bearer, and they are loathed in the MSM.

Watch how much coverage Lieberman's stand on Iraq (and Lieberman in general) gets, and then think back to McCain when he took positions against the Republican leadership.
Lieberman is a non-entity today, yet his party is in power and he was the VP candidate in 2000. Think of how Lieberman's views would be covered if he were a Republican standing strong against the leadership of his party, and then try to imagine that the MSM is unbiased.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Glenn Beck: The $53 trillion asteroid

Glenn Beck: The $53 trillion asteroid -

This article is well worth the read, as are a number of books on the subject - "The Coming Generational Storm", written in 2004 is one that I found to be very solid on the subject. I suspect that few are going to listen, so "what happens will happen" in the future. Some of my thoughts on why this is so:

  • It is a bi-partisan problem at this point. FDR put us on the path of the government funded pot of gold at the end of the retirement rainbow. His intent of course was that nearly nobody would ever collect, and he envisioned an ever increasing workforce. Both assumptions are now radically wrong, so we have a radically big problem, but it has been the "third rail" for a long time. Both parties have bought into the madness.
  • Everyone loves rights and entitlements, nobody likes waiting, working, responsibility. There is an endless supply of people who want someone else to solve their problems, and are willing to vote accordingly. On an individual basis is there is no cost to vote irrationally.
  • People who have more have more options as well (at least perceived) - more talent, more intelligence, more health, more money, more wisdom, etc. than the people that have less. Christ was right when he said that "to those that have, more will be given, and to those that don't, even that will be taken". It is easy for God to understand how the universe works--if you are certain that you have little, and no options and the only chance you have for success is for things to be given, you will lose what you have (since clearly, you are not even aware you have it). If you are certain that you are blessed with a lot (maybe even more than you deserve), you will see the blessings continue to flow. So the general population is voting to lose what they have. Those that have more will be better off, but the whole will lose a lot.
  • The idea of "retirement" is generally bad for healthy people. Not surprising that government would be encouraging it and going broke while doing it. Sort of like the free cigarettes given to the soldiers in WWII. Big win for government and tobacco companies. Not so big a win for the soldiers.
  • Government has been using FICA as a giant extra tax and spending all the money-which is always what was intended. FDR just wanted to increase the government take and buy votes. He did it the old fashined way ... he created the worlds larges ponzi scheme, now the $53 trillion bad debt is coming our way.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Letter to a Christian Nation

In the subject book, Sam Harris, writer of the "The End of Faith" is still all worked up about those pesky Christians-they are a national and world emergency. His basic premises remain the same - Christians and all believers of any stripe are dangerous fools, atheists are wonderful, loving, geniuses. (in general, Sam is probably quite superior to the general lot if you really get down to detail).

He continues to speak a bit of truth about Islam: "With few exceptions, the only public figures who have the courage to speak honestly about the threat that Islam now poses to European society seem to be fascists. This does not bode well for the future of civilization". He seems to have Islam pegged pretty well for what it is, he is at best a thousand years late with his understanding of Christianity. In his materialist mind, all non-scientifically proveable ideas are equivalently useless, so holocaust denying suicidal terrorists in planes are really no different from Mother Theresa. "Mother Teresa is a perfect example of the way in which a good person, moved to help others, can have her moral intuitions deranged by religious faith".

He goes on to quote Christopher Hitchens:

" Mother Theresa was not a friend of the poor. She was a friend of poverty. She said that suffering was a gift from God. She spent her life opposing the only known cure for poverty, which is the empowerment of women and the emancipation of them from a livestock version of compulsory reproduction".
There we see the flower of the superior "innate morality" that comes to the surface once the shackles of religion are thrown off. So abortion is the only known cure for poverty? Certainly an atheist with no ultimate standards can come up with something better than just killing the unborn? Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and so many before have led the way. To the atheist, there is NO "gift" ... of any sort. Only meaningless randomness. What would the reason be to stop the killing at only the UNborn? None.

"Atheism is not a philosophy; it is no even a view of the world; it is simply an admission of the obvious. ... Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make in the presence of unjustified religious beliefs."
No new arguments are presented- Since Harris is made of material and lives in a material system, he has chosen to ignore any prospect for the non-material (or even the as yet undiscovered material) This leaves him with no consciousness, love, beauty, kindness or countless other abstractions. If one can't produce a scientific proof to justify it, it simply doesn't exist to the faithless.

"Clearly, it is time we learned to meet our emotional needs without embracing the preposterous. We must find ways to invoke the power of ritual and to mark those transitions in every human life that demand profundity-birth, marriage, death-without lying to ourselves about the nature of reality. Only then will the practice of raising our children to believe that they are Christian, Muslim or Jewish be widely recognized as the ludicrous obscenity that it is."

But Sam, what theorem would create "profundity"? Aren't even those emotions just provably electro-chemical chimera? Why waste the time on new rituals? Why even mark individual birth and death? Marriage? Isn't that PURELY some old religious relic that has nothing to do with the "natural order"? Doesn't every bit of science that we have point to "natural man" living in a state where the "fittest" would acquire as many women as they desired? Isn't that "naturally best"? I'd expect a solid atheist to be making those "reasonable noises" before even giving any sort of a nod to someone creating something like "profound transitions"? Profound how? By some "random selection" or potentially by the "selection of the fittest idea"? Hmmm ... but what would signify fittest? Might?

"The fundamental problem with religion is that it is built, to a remarkable degree, upon lies.". If we remove the "lies" and insert "incomplete information", we pretty much have human existence. Naturally, Sam is very impressed by what our modern sciences can do, and they are certainly very convenient. Jets, electricity, computers, modern medicine -- all are very nice. One is left with that nasty little fact though, "if we are so smart, how come we die"? Sam is convinced that "maturity" means that it is just "accepted", but one doesn't need to be much of an armchair psychologist to know that denial and repression are a lot easier for the human psyche than the supposed "mature acceptance" that Sam thinks is going to be so easy with the right "profound rituals". If those "profound rituals" are going to show up, one would have thought a brilliant atheist would have just rolled those puppies out by now.

"Everyone who has eyes to see that if the God of Abraham exists, He is an utter psychopath-and the God of nature is too. If you can't see these things just by looking, you have simply closed your eles to the realities of the world".
Sam likes to complain that "Christians" write him nasty notes or say bad things about him. I can see where that would be painful for him, he obviously holds them in high regard. It reminds me a lot of many on the left who deplore the "loss of civility" in our society with the advent of things like talk radio and Fox news. Sam's basic solution seems quite the same -- if the opposition can be completely and utterly destroyed, then we can all be "civil". Why would one really stop so short of nirvana as to only wipe out "poverty" by killing the unborn?

Certainly guys like Sam can make the world "safe" through "rational means". Once one gets by the foolishness of "ultimate authority", the kind of "pragmatic group morals" that "make sense" can give us a world that is OBJECTIVELY better! There may have been "flaws" in the versions of some of the previous geniouses that faced "reality as it is" such as Satin, Hitler, etc ... but, there will always be new opportunities. Guys like Sam are ready and waiting to lead the way!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Monterey and San Francisco

Yesterday we launched fairly early from the Hearst Castle up the very beautiful but a little challenging to drive highway 1 past Big Sur and on into Monterey. It was a gray rainy day, but we decided to go out whale watching anyway. We saw 3 humpbacks at relatively close range, but they seemed to be a bit cagey and the lightly loaded whale watch boat didn't seem to be very interested in ranging any farther to find any other subjects. Oh well, I can understand them not wanting to burn too much fuel on a 100' boat with only 10 folks or so at $35 a head.

We drove on into our hotel that is right off Fisherman's Warf in San Francisco and went out for dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe -- loud with expensive glasses with drinks, but kind of fun and the food was fine. On the way home we stopped by some street painters doing pictures of the golden gate with spray paint. They were fun to watch and did them very fast with a lot of loud music to listen to, we ended up with two of them at $10 each. Not great art, but a fun memory.

Today we slept in a bit and toured San Francisco via cable car, bus and lots of shoe leather. Keenan wanted to see the Haight Ashbury area since so much of the rock history came out of there, so we went up there, Golden Gate park, and then walked most of the way across the bridge. Three large container ships went under the bridge during the time that we were out there, so that was fun to watch.

We picked up dinner on the pier - bread bowl clam chowder, shrimp cocktail and a crab sandwich, and then brought our sore feet back to the hotel.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

La Brea Tar Pits, San Simeon

Sunday we got a little later start and went down to Uncle Bill's Pancakes in Manhattan Beach. The buckwheat blueberry cakes that I had were excellent, as were the buttermilks and the fried potatoes, but the omelet wasn't up to our high CA standards. The homes along the beach were very nice, I suspect that they are priced in the millions, but they didn't all LOOK that way, and it was really fun to imagine settling down to one of those for a few weeks in the cold part of the year. Maybe no quite warm enough for some in the family though!

We had hopes of doing the Getty Museum but discovered it was closed on Monday. We ended up going over and standing in line for only about an hour at 2:30 to get a Pink's Hot Dog!
We saw them on the hotel TV the first night in and thought we had to try them out--they were right, it is almost always well over an hour wait. We stopped in on Saturday, and waited for about 45 min before we realized how slow the line was going and that it was going to interfere with too much to wait then. They are good hot dogs, not that expensive by Hollywood standards, but in no way "worth the wait", although it is clear that the wait is part of the experience!
We saw the La Brea tar pits, which I've been impressed with ever since I was a small kid reading the encyclopedias. They make much the same point that I've heard a few times that most of the large mammals-ground sloths, north American Mastadon and Mammoth, north American Lion, Sabre Tooth "tiger"( cat) etc, all went extinct in a short period around 10-11K years ago. Caused by man? Climate change? Something else? Nobody seems to have the answers, and compared with a lot of geologic / paleontology mysteries, not that ancient. Interesting place, right in the middle of the city now.

Keenan was a bit under the weather with some sniffles, so he retired to the hotel and Marla and I headed down to the beach to watch the sunset, downtown Santa Monica for a little shopping, and then to Lares Mexican Restaurant for dinner. It was very highly rated, nice place, valet parking, but the food was only "very good"--would rather eat at a couple places around home.

We launched at 8:30 with Keenan feeling better. Stopped and had breakfast at Paradise Cove in Malibu. Great view of the water and excellent food. Hit the road and booked it north up Hwy 1 to the Hearst Castle. Lots of beautiful strawberrys being picked out of huge fields along the roads. Amazing farming in California.

The Hearst Castle was more that I expected it to be. 5 miles away from the ocean and 1,600' up, it sits atop a hill where the Hearst's had a hunting camp when WR was a child. His mother took him to Europe for a year and 1/2 when he was 10 and he was impressed with the great homes, cathedrals and ruins. He wanted it all brought together, and he enjoyed "projects". He hired a brilliant woman Architect, Julia Morgan and they created together without an overall plan ... a number of false starts and do-over's including three rebuilds of the amazing Neptune Pool.

The thought I had in walking through it was that today's rich lack imagination. Hearst was the first leading Newspaper man with an empire that ran from coast to coast, centered on his San Francisco Chronical. He was a congressman three times as a Democrat, and considered himself a progressive/populist Democrat. I suppose today, Rupert Murdoch might be somewhat of an equivalent, but I don't see him building the modern equivalent of the Hearst Castle. Maybe that time is past, or the wealthy are simply too busy to spend time and money in the construction of great projects.

It is interesting for one in their 51st year to note that he didn't get started until he was 56 in 1919, and worked on it continuously until his health would no longer allow it in 1947.