Friday, May 30, 2008

MSM State Secret Mildly Exposed

Lifting the U.S. oil drilling ban seen doing little good - May. 30, 2008

Gee, if we are short of oil, maybe we ought to allow drilling? Weird idea huh? Naturally, only the idiot Republicans and evil oil executives would consider something like this-or building refineries for that matter. Thankfully, we have the clearer Democratic heads and the MSM making sure that we don't increase our oil production by 20% or more in a shortage market. Hey, some oil company might make more PROFITS, and we surely wouldn't want that. One has to read well down in the article to find the 20% improvement, and realize that DOESN'T include increased oil shale or coal to oil conversion-there are plenty of government agencies stopping those as well.


I guess it is good politics if you can pull it off. Oppose energy exploration, drilling, innovation (coal/oil shale), refineries, slap a bunch of regulations on for this that and the other thing to increase costs while lowering production and then "blame the oil companies and the Republicans". Works good if you own the MSM and the vast majority of the folks are bleating sheep.

BTW, the old "Demonize the Opposition and Big Business" was the FDR way to keep the country in depression for the 8 years of his first two terms until he was forced to work with business to build the war machine for WWII, without which, we would likely have been in a permanent depression with his policies.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

BO Choice: One Name on Ballot

Obama played hardball in first Chicago campaign - CNN.com

I guess it is "change" not "choice" that BO has been peddling, so it is likely unfair of me to think that he would be in favor of having multiple candidates in an election. If one is really going to get to "unity", then having a single candidate is a great way to accomplish that, as BO effectively did in his first election.

Over Race?

Commentary: Race and Politics: Why Americans can't 'get over it' - CNN.com

Apparently, in the face of race, competence, experience, positions, character and all else are meaningless. There is no way that the American people could just decide that a guy that has never held a significant leadership position ought not be instantly promoted to President--unless they have problems with their hearts.

Sen. Barack Obama, in running for the presidency of the United States,
is challenging DeTocqueville's bleak assessment of the human heart. It
remains unclear whether the Illinois senator is on a hopeless mission,
or whether the American people will decide to make history by breaking
with it.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

No Jack Kennedy

Power Line: Willliam Katz: Pay no attention to the facts

While one would hope that this is all obvious to the casual observer, I'm sure it is not. BO is no Jack Kennedy ... although McCain is just a little young to use that in a debate I suppose.

Arrogance and Ignorance

Power Line: Blindly Committed to Defeat

I've been struck on many occasions how arrogance and ignorance go together. There are none so sure than those who are completely wrong. I'm also struck by how often that Democrats manage to get exactly what they claim that they hate nearly right after they get power.

For 8 years they talked about Reagan being a "lightweight", "just lucky", "only about spin" and just in many ways "not engaged". Then they elected Slick Willie who fit all of those to a tee, but was SO out of touch that he was having sex at the office. One can't get much more disengaged in their work that that! The supposed "Reagan Naps" were pretty mild by comparison.

They believe W is the prototype for "arrogance and ignorance", but after reading BOs book and watching him in action, I think they haven't seen much yet. Bush has always been a guy that knows his limits and surrounds himself with help. BO seems to think that he knows everything while he blathers about 10K dead in Kansas from a tornado, visiting 57 states and his uncle liberating Auschwitz. He is sure he "knows it all", only it is pretty clear even while the press is pitching him softballs, that the first term Senator with no leadership experience is just like a first term Senator with no leadership experience that thinks that he knows everything.
A legend in his own mind
Blindly Committed to Defeat

John McCain invited Barack Obama to go with him on a trip to Iraq; Obama's spokesman, Bill Burton, responded dismissively:

"John McCain's proposal is nothing more than a political stunt, and we don't need any more 'Mission Accomplished' banners or walks through Baghdad markets to know that Iraq's leaders have not made the political progress that was the stated purpose of the surge. The American people don't want any more false promises of progress, they deserve a real debate about a war that has overstretched our military, and cost us thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars without making us safer."

Jim Geraghty notes that Obama has been to Iraq once, for two days in 2006. Geraghty makes the legitimate point that Obama seems to be willing to meet with just about anyone in the world except our generals in Iraq:

"And isn't Obama vulnerable to the argument that a man who's pledged to meet unconditionally, one-on-one, face-to-face with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad really ought to meet at least once one-on-one with Gen. David Petraeus?"

Fair enough, but what is most striking to me is the unattractiveness of Obama's reply to McCain. Burton sneeringly suggests that when McCain has gone to Iraq it was merely a "stunt," not a legitimate effort to understand conditions on the ground. And Burton displays the combination of arrogance and ignorance that is the trademark of the Obama campaign, declaring, as an article of faith and contrary to the facts, that the Iraqis are making no political progress. Burton's retort is a naked expression of the blind faith in defeat that has become one of the ugliest features of contemporary liberalism.

30 Years in a Week

A week from tomorrow I'll have achieved the milestone of 30 years employment at one company. I could retire in a week at age 51 for between 1/4 and 1/3 of my salary. I have no intention of retiring anytime soon, but that is a good feeling. Sitting out on the back deck looking at the new master bedroom suite being installed and enjoying a beautiful evening. There are a lot worse ways that life can go!

Things like 30 years have a way of making one think back, and the symetry of "the 8's" for me is interesting when I think about it. From '68, when I was 11 at this time of the year and turned 12 in the fall, I recall having a painted turtle that we called "snappy turtle" at the time they were talking about Robert Kennedy's assassination. I recall that a little, but one of my most favorite memories from childhood was that Christmas eve when we were over and my Aunt and Uncle's home where they had COLOR TV! ( I bought my first color TV the 2nd year of my now 30 year career, in '79). I was mesmerized as Apollo 8 circled the moon and read from the book of Genisis. For a science and areospace interested boy raised in a fundamentalist church, there was a lot of symbolism going on there. During my career, James Lovell, the pilot on that mission and the commander of the ill-fated but "successful failure" Apollo 13" came and talked at an inventors breakfast that I was invited to, which was a great memory of my work years. So 40 years ago is a solid memory.

30 years ago I graduated from the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire and started my career. Everything I owned at the time was moved down in my new Datsun 200SX. We had a gas crisis that summer as gas went about .50 a gallon for the first time in history, and people were complaining about high prices and how "it was always going to go up". Wow, times have really changed in 30 years! I started out at the princely sum of $15K a year which was a high salary that expanded rapidly as inflation took off like a rocket--the salary expanded, but the take-home really didn't as taxes were not indexed for inflation in those days and the biggest beneficiary of my raises was the Government. Even with all those tax dollars, Jimmy Carter felt strongly that a "great malaise" had settled over the nation and our best years were behind us.

By '88, morning in America had come and I was a new father. It was a very dry year, and it was the first time that I went fishing with the core of the current fishing trip gang. It was also an election year and Bush 41 would take the reins from by far the best President of my lifetime, Ronald Reagan. I will be very surprised if we have another President while I draw breath that even comes close. So '88 was a memorable year.

I don't think there was so much about '98 that stands out. We shipped Java, which I hope isn't the last big successful project of my career. We had already moved to our current home 3 years before. The thing that seems crazy is that 10 years ago doesn't even seem long - in fact, it is hard to believe that '98 is already 10 years back. I suspect that is a common sense for those of us advancing in years just a bit.

Guess that is enough reminiscing for one night. I may be prone to do a bit more of that with the upcoming anniversary.

Feeling Bad About Economy


This is a great little CNN example of "keeping the sheep on the right track". I wonder how many times in American history you COULDN'T go out and find a family that would tell you "things are bad"? They don't list their income, so we have no idea what they mean by "solidly middle class". The article contains a bunch of polls about "how bad things are" and claims it is the worst since the recession of '82 -- but that is only in POLLS, it states NOTHING about actual economic numbers. Not surprising, because those would show it isn't even a recession since the GDP hasn't dropped for even a single quarter yet.

So why would CNN have this as their headline story today? Are we in Iraq? Afghanistan? Was there NO negative news they could find from any of those places? I see that they DO have "Bush's EX press secretary is selling a book in which he says he THINKS he lied for the President". Zowie, nothing much more honorable than ex-employees making a buck selling books making claims that they know will be popular, THAT has never happened before!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Power Line on "Fall of Conservatism"

Power Line: They only look brain dead

The guys at PL are more critical of the piece than I was, but make some excellent points. The are more optimistic than I am at this point, I certainly hope they are right.

This formulation may be better for a conservative return to power, but I'm worried that the cost of another Carter will be far higher in lives and treasure this time around:

Packer assumes, without any supporting analysis, that he’s got the future right.
Packer is quite taken with the following formula: Goldwater was to
Reagan as McGovern is to Obama. But Reagan won two landslide victories
and completed a two-term presidency of which most Americans approved.
Obama has accomplished none of these things. Thus, the appropriate
formula might just as easiy turn out to be: Carter was to McGovern as
Obama is to Carter.





Slick on the MSM


Bill Clinton: 'Cover up' hiding Hillary Clinton's chances - CNN.com

It has been gratifying this election cycle to see the Clinton's suddenly realize that the MSM is biased. What a startling revelation that must be for them. They even thought it was RIGHT biased as in "vast right wing conspiracy" as presented on the Today Show by Hillary.

I found the following to be especially touching and probably true. How hard is it for Democrats to see that the MSM wants BO at this point? Imagine if the MSM REGULARLY filtered the news against a set of views that you held.

"If you notice, there hasn't been a lot of publicity on these polls
I just told you about," he said. "It is the first time you've heard it?
Why do you think that is? Why do you think? Don't you think if the
polls were the reverse and he was winning the Electoral College against
Senator McCain and Hillary was losing it, it would be blasted on every television station?"


He added, "You would know it wouldn't you? It wouldn't be a little
secret. And there is another Electoral College poll that I saw
yesterday had her over 300 electoral votes. ... She will win the
general election if you nominate her. They're just trying to make sure
you don't."

Monday, May 26, 2008

Are We Safer?

Power Line: Are We Safer?

It is an article of faith among Democrats and the MSM that the Bush Administration has made us "less secure". We regularly hear how "foolish" Iraq is and how it is a HUGE "recruitment vehicle for terrorists".

Will there ever be a requirement for some empirical measurement of that supposed fact? Wouldn't the truth of that require an actual terrorist attack? The article shows a nice little list of terrorist attacks on US citizens around the world prior to our taking action in Iraq (back to the '80s). There is a strange "lucky symetry" with the number of attacks in the five years since we went into Iraq. They have dropped to ZERO.

The article gives some ideas as to "why that may be", but they leave out an obvious one. We have been told THOUSANDS of times by the MSM that "Saddam had no connection with international terrorism and there was NO WAY he was a threat to the US". That has been told to us so many times that if there is ANY truth to the idea that "repetition makes even the most outlandish of claims believeable", people HAVE to believe that negative to have been proven.

Anyone with a basic understanding of induction understands that 1000's of examples CAN'T prove a negative. The "Black Swan" book that I'm reading now calls induction the "turkey problem". To the Thanksgiving turkey, it would seem completely reasonable to "induce" that each and every day a benevolent member of the human race arrives with food, and I will always be well cared for. A few days in front of Thanksgiving some year, the birds induction is proved horribly wrong right at the point at which his sample size of "looks good so far" seemed "certain".

Our MSM has convinced most Americans of two negatives. 1). Saddam had no WMD and 2). He had no connection with international terrorism that could be a threat to the US. To think otherwise is to be a fool. It is a definition of "fool" that has a lot more to do with being a sheep than it does with any connection with the rules of logic that have been understood back to the Greeks.

At this point, what evidence would it take to prove that we were safer in 2000 than we are now? Since 9-11 happened in 8 months after Bush took office, and the attack on the Cole took place in October of 2000, I'd think that for the Democrats and MSM to be correct, we have to have at least two terrorist attacks of greater significance before 9-11-2009. We constantly hear the assertion that we are less safe. Don't we need to have some specifics on how we might be able to test that lack of safety, and also evaluate the probable BO administration on how much safer we then become in the future? What is the use of making constant claims of us being "less safe" unless you are going to stand up to some proof of that being the case?

As you know, I'm a huge believer in the assessments of Democrats and the MSM, so I guess I'll expect two or more very serious terrorist attacks between now and 9-11-2009 since our safety has been lowered so much over the brilliant security record of Slick Willie. I can also trust that after those attacks, BO will lead our nation to tremendous increased safety and a giant leap forward in world stature. Potentially we can look for a return to the halcyon days of the Carter Administration?

Mistreatment of the Military, Memorial Day

Millionaires in the Making Millionaires in the Making: The Shifrins «

When I looked at the link title, I was thinking "Generals". A couple of Captain's, 3rd level of officer up the ranks. O-3. I look at this as GREAT, and not that surprising when one thinks of it. We naturally only hear about the buck private that overspends, loses money gambling and maybe has a drug or alchohol habit to boot, and then "how the country has failed them".

Have to give CNN credit, a little snippet of good news! Wow, the world could be so much more upbeat with just a smidgen more of this. They must be getting revved up for the "good times of BO" that are just around the corner.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Technopoly

I found this little book by Neil Postman hugely thought provoking and important on many fronts, even though I work in the heart of "technopoly". Unlike many skeptics with a bit of luddite orientation, Postman is way less arrogant. He freely admits that he has no real solution to the problem, although my view is that he bypasses the obvious solution and focuses on a less desirable solution as an atheist.

The subtitle is "The Surrender of Culture to Technology" and opens with a story from Plato's Phaedrus about Thamus, a great Egyptian king. Thamus entertained the god Theuth, who was the inventor of many things; numbers, calculation, geometry, astronomy and writing. Thamus finds each of the inventions lacking, and has this to say of writing:

"Theuth , my paragon of inventors, the discoverer of an art is not the best judge of the good or harm which accrue to those who practice it. So it is in this; you who are the father of writing , have out of the fondness for your offspring attributed to it quite the opposite of its real function. Those who acquire it will cease to excercise their memory and become forgetful; they will rely on writing to bring things to their rememberence by externeal signs instead of by their own internal resources. What you have discovered is a receipt for recollection, not for memory. And as for wisdom, your pupoils will have the reputation for it without the reality: they will receive a quantity of information without proper instruction, and in consequence be thought very knowledgeable when they are for the most part quite ignorant. And because they are filled with the conceit of wisdom instead of real wisdom they will be a burden to society".

Thamus is wrong in missing the fact that writing DOES provide value. Where is very right however is in realizing that no technology has only a single side. When one picks up a technology, both you and the world are changed, and it seems that it is typically an irrevocable change.

"A new technology does not add or subtract something. It changes everything. In the year 1500, fifty years after the printing press was invented, we did not have old Europe plus the printing press. We had a different Europe."
All technology contains an "ideology". In the case of the printing press, that ideology was mainly "power to the people", which many in modern society tend to agree with, BUT it was a major factor in huge changes (the reformation, rise of a better educated common man, democracy, etc)

One of his least favorite technologies is the technology of the IQ score. It has created the idea that something that we can't even define adequately at all (human intelligence) can be expressed by a simple integer that is explanatory of a host of things. He argues convincingly (as have others) that the idea is pure fantasy. Mooses are all in agreement on this priniciple, since we tend to not do well on IQ tests and would much rather they were invalid.

Postman argues that in the 19th century we had a "technocracy":

"The citizens of a technocracy knew that science and technology did not provide philosophies by which to live, and they clang to the philosophies of their fathers".

(He did not specify if their clinging was "bitter" ;-) ) He argues that the Sopes Monkey Trial was the point at which we shifted to "technopoly":

"Technopoly eliminates alternatives to itself in precisely the way Aldous Huxley outlined in Brave New World. It does not make them illegal. It does not make them immoral. It does not make them unpopular. It makes them invisible and therefore irrelevant. And it does so by redefining what we mean by religion, by art, by family, by politics, by history, by truth, by privacy, by intelligence, so that our definitions fit its new requirements. Technopoly, in other words, is totalitarian technocracy."
It is at this point that I largely part company with his conclusions. He seems to have made the "guns kill people" error here. There is MORE than "technology" going on here, for "something" HAS made prayer in schools, teaching of creation in schools already illegal, and that "something" may be well on it's way to attempting to make religion itself illegal. I'd name that "something" liberal facism, but whatever it is, it isn't "technology". While there are aspects of truth in Postmans attempts to paint technology as the "bogeyman", primarily, "technology is a tool". As he has obviously made his peace with writing, like all tools, it can be used to write great books like his (and I DO think this is a worthy and useful book), or skinhead pamphlets. The choice isn't implicit in the technology, only the option.

He makes a good argument that in a technopoly, the "information immune system is inoperable. Technology is a form of culutural AIDs, which I use as an acronym for Anti-Information Deficiency Syndrome". We used to have a lot of "gatekeepers". He does a good job of talking about how curriculum in schooling is still a valid gatekeeper and how the "rules of evidence" that declare broad swaths of information "inadmissible" are the only way that the institution of our courts can operate. "...in a Technopoly there can be no transcendent sense of purpose or meaning, no cultural coherence. Information is dangerous when it has no place to go, when there is no theory to which it applies, no pattern in which it fits, when there is no higher purpose that it serves."

He doesn't say "why" there can be no transcendent purpose. Certainly there are many million Christians in the US (which he believes is the only Technopoly so far) that would disagree with him that there CAN be no transcendence. My fundamental split is that I disagree with him on that point. The choice of transcendence MUST be a human choice. It can be inhibited by technology (constant diversion for example), but I see the choice as clearly remaining.

"..cultures must have narratives and will find them where they will, even if they lead to catastrophe. The alternative is to live without meaning, the ultimate negation of life itself. It is also to the point to say that each narrative is given its form and its emotional tecture through a clusxter of symbols that cal for respect and allegiance, even devotion."

At this point he touches on religion and rejects it as a way out and then touches on Allan Boom's "Great Books", espoused in "The Closing of the American Mind" and rejects that as well. His solution is based on Jacob Bronowski's "The Ascent of Man", which I haven't read, but can't quite imagine if thousands of years of religion and culture are not sufficient to the task at hand, how one book is going to be. I'll have to put it on my list.

Very much a highly regarded book. Well written and well reasoned. Oh yes, I almost forgot. He really hates polling and goes through many problems with it, but the one I'll likely remember. Two priests wrote to the Pope asking for guidance on smoking and prayer. One phrased the question "Is it permissible to smoke while praying?" to which the reply was that it was not because prayer ought take ones full attention. The other phrased the question: "Is it permissible to pray while smoking?" Which received the answer that it was, because we are to pray without ceasing. Any further questions as to why polling is an inherently ridiculous technology?

Wines Of (cheap) Distinction

One of the side aspects of our firepit has become the chance for my wife and I to sit down and have a bottle of wine as we discuss whatever is happening with kids, the world, church, our plans, and way too often, work. "Sometime" I'm going to get a MUCH better ordered wine list than this, but having a bottle of wine that we really enjoyed last night led me to the idea that a blog post that I linked and updated from time to time was "a way":


  • Smoking Loon Merlot, 2005, Firepit 5-25, purchased at RCLS Auction. Very low tannin, smooth. Looks like it only got an 81 from Wine Spectator, 2003 got 85, 2004 84, so they may be worth looking for. Looks like it can be had for <$10 a bottle.
  • Little Penguin Cabernet Savignon, 2005, 2006. The Spector gave the '05 an 88 and the '06 an 85. We haven't had a bottle we didn't like, but we may need to do more research to see if we can find some '05 around. This can be had for < $6 a bottle.
  • Apothic Red ... we call it "Apathetic" ;-) $7 a bottle, blend, we love it. 

A Little Luck

I got a Gander Mountain "Scratch Off" offer in the mail that said you needed to go into the store to have it scratched off to be valid, and only after you scratched it off would you know how much you would save. Sort of a cute little idea to get folks into the store, but it let you believe that not very many would have the "30% off maximum" since they used their little device to lure you into the store.

I have no idea what % they did of 30%, but I was lucky and have been looking to get a gun safe for quite a while, so I'm now the proud owner of a "Franklin Series 35 cubic foot" that is rated for an hour at 1200. It is going in a corner of the basement, so I'm thinking that should be more than sufficient, "just in case". I'm also planning on running a LAN cable into it and putting my main backup disk server in there so that family pictures, iTunes and digital records will be pretty secure.

The piano moves are contacted, so hopefully it will be moving from the store into the house next week and I will likely throw some pictures out here somewhere.

Gouging on Oil?

Power Line: Oil Executives Try to Educate Senate Democrats, But Democrats Appear Hopeless

The one little tidbit in this excellent coverage that is especially apt is the following:

Another theme of the day's testimony was that, if anyone is "gouging"
consumers through the high price of gasoline, it is federal and state
governments, not American oil companies. On the average, 15% percent of
the cost of gasoline at the pump goes for taxes, while only 4%
represents oil company profits. These figures were repeated several
times, but, strangely, not a single Democratic Senator proposed
relieving consumers' anxieties about gas prices by reducing taxes.

How Democrats look at the world is pretty amazing. Profits = Bad, Taxes = Good. We hear endlessly about the size of oil company profits and are constantly told how "they are the problem". The MSM virtually NEVER reports that simple number that taxes average 15% of the cost of fuel, and the profits are only 4%. Even more strange, the idea that a "tax moratorium" is a stupid idea is claimed to be foolish (I guess because BO doesn't like it), where we CONSTANTLY hear that oil company profits are "way too high". How can that be? 15% off would be completely worthless to consumers, but 4% off would be a huge help?

The fact is that Democrats don't like business, executives, and especially not the oil industry. They have been working to restrict them for 50+ years, and it is pretty obvious they have been very successful. Our oil industry is anemic by world standards ... accounting for single digit percentages of reserves and refining capacity. Largely due to government decisions that we have made to restrict exploration, drilling and refineries, we have arrived where Europe arrived decades ago as likely going to always be a high cost oil market. Congratulations Democrats and MSM! You have successfully put the US in a hole that hurts the lowest income people the worst and is likely to be a drag on the economy for decades to come.

Will US Business and Technology find some innovative way to dig us out? Hydrogen, better electric cars, fusion, solar, coal gassification, or some way that I have no clue about? I sure hope so. No doubt BO will do all he can do to make that less likely by restricting capital flows through higher taxes, but the innovation momentum kicked off by Reagan won't wind down immediately (well, unless BO takes even worse actions than I expect to stop it). I like to think there is always hope. Investors, innovators and producers always fight against long odds, it is just that at some points they get a lot longer.


Friday, May 23, 2008

Kennedy Cancer

The deification of Teddy from the press has arrived. Like a lot of things, if that cut both ways for Democrats and Republicans it would actually be fine with me. When Reagan got Alzheimer's we had to have a lot of time spent in the press basically saying "that explains a lot of what he did in office", and an awful lot of the farther left press saying essentially "he deserved it".

There is an odd connection in the Reagan / Kennedy comparison, because Kennedy essentially traded his very real shot at the Presidency for a night out with a young secretary that ended in her death. If Chappaquiddick doesn't happen, then I wonder if Carter to Reagan ever happens? We will never know, but given the Kennedy mystique, I think anything short of the death of the young lady under suspicious circumstances, and Teddy makes it to President. Teddy made his choice and this history happened. It is heartwarming to hear the press talk about him "surviving a car accident"--in fact, so well that by his official story he could swim to the mainland and call the authorities in the AM.

I'm a Christian, so I certainly hope I don't get what I deserve, and I hope Teddy doesn't either. We all die; cancer, Alzheimer's, accidents, heart attack-the list is long and nothing all that fun to dwell on. We all die of something--we don't get to pick, no matter our power attained in life, we find that some things are beyond our control. Some level of "remembering the good times" is to be expected from the MSM, but the press certainly didn't avoid "the rough spots" for Reagan at the time of the Alzheimer's announcement. Iran Contra, deficits, etc. I'm not saying that they should have ignored the rough spots. Reagan was flesh and blood, just like Kennedy, but I don't recall Reagan ever saying anything like this, as Kennedy did on Robert Bork:
"The President, should not be able to reach out from the muck of Irangate, reach into the muck of Watergate, and impose his reactionary vision on the Supreme Court.

Robert Bork's America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the government, and the doors of the federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens."

Aside from the well known boozing, womanizing and death of Mary Jo Kopechne, Kennedy has always played hard-ball politics. AT LEAST as hardball as anyone on the right. Again, I don't have a problem with that, it is just a fact. He managed to have Robert Bork defeated, he worked very hard to have Clarence Thomas defeated with every technique he could come up with, reasonable and over the top. He played very hard, and his hardness has often been returned in kind. That fact ought to be included in the stories along with his kindness. I assume he has been kind, at the very least to those he liked, and no doubt, in some cases to others. It is also clear from the record that this man is not one that has failed to "give punches".

So far I haven't heard any nut job from the right talk about "he deserves a painful death" as MANY from the left have for Reagan, Bush, Cheney and others. I suppose someone will do that, since there are certainly right-wing nut jobs as well as left wing ones, but I hope they are very few and far between. We all get to face the grim reaper in one form or another, the long lists of folks from the left that like to heap painful death wishes on Republicans is something that I find reflects especially badly on those of that stripe. Disease and death happen and only the most ultimate of fascists try to make them ideological issues (as in the left with AIDS/Reagan).

One of the VERY common things that the press loves to do is to try to arouse people's emotions against Republicans. "If it was HIS son or daughter killed in Iraq, THEN how much would he support the war"? Somehow one never reads in the MSM how the parents of Mary Jo Kopechne might feel about a sitting US Senator that left their daughter in a car under water, where all the evidence we have says that she died over hours, breathing her last in an air bubble while that US Senator tried to come up with the right lie to keep his career alive. The feelings of of her parents are forfeit by the MSM for what they see as the greater cause of liberalism. It is also basically top secret that John McCain's son is in Iraq -- and he supports the war.

The other common emotion is "how would they feel if THEY didn't have health insurance, maybe they wouldn't be so greedy and vote against national health insurance THEN!". Guess what, in England there would be no treatment for Kennedy under their plan. It would be hospice time. Will the MSM be looking into that very much? If Kennedy was forced to live under the health system that he supports, he would not be treated. Emotions might be quite different--and maybe even more removed from the picture since people might realize that National Health is just a "trade off", not some huge "sure win for all".

How do I feel about Kennedy now that I know he is dying? It doesn't make much of a difference to me, since I know I am dying and I knew he was dying as well all along-- neither one of us knows when. This information likely increases my chances of outliving him, but there are no guarantees. I wish him peace with God, as much remaining time as can have reasonable quality for him and as pain free a death as possible. Finding out that we liked the same Scotch wouldn't even make me agree with him politically, a reminder that we are both going to die is even less likely to so so.




Success! (So Far)

This is from Taranto, "Best of the Web" at WSJ and is right in line with what I have been noticing. From the sounds of this, apparently even the NYT agrees that Iraq being "out of the news" means that there is solid progress there again. Could there EVER be a time when the MSM and the Democrats would say something like; "We were premature when we said that Iraq had descended into civil war and the situation was not recoverable. It IS being recovered and we applaud the success of the US and Iraqi troops and will do what we can to help it continue".

Is that possible? Nope, I don't think it is. The Democrats and the MSM have declared Iraq "the worst decision ever", "a lost cause", "civil war", "a tradegdy", "a waste", just too many times to be willing to acknowledge success there. It is a matter of ideology, not reality.

Mission Accomplished?
Yesterday New York Post columnist Ralph Peters issued a dare to the New York Times:

Do we still have troops in Iraq? Is there still a conflict over there?
If you rely on the so-called mainstream media, you may have difficulty answering those questions these days. As Iraqi and Coalition forces pile up one success after another, Iraq has magically vanished from the headlines.
Want a real "inconvenient truth?" Progress in Iraq is powerful and accelerating.
But that fact isn't helpful to elite media commissars and cadres determined to decide the presidential race over our heads. How dare our troops win? Even worse, Iraqi troops are winning. Daily.
You won't see that above the fold in The New York Times.

Today, the Times took him up on the dare:

Iraqi forces rolled unopposed through the huge Shiite enclave of Sadr City on Tuesday, a dramatic turnaround from the bitter fighting that has plagued the Baghdad neighborhood for two months, and a qualified success for Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki.
As it did in the southern city of Basra last month, the Iraqi government advanced its goal of establishing sovereignty and curtailing the powers of the militias.
This was a hopeful accomplishment, but one that came with caveats: In both cities, the militias eventually melted away in the face of Iraqi troops backed by American firepower. Thus nobody can say just where the militias might re-emerge or when Iraqi and American forces might need to fight them again.

The Times put the caveat right in the headline--"Operation in Sadr City Is an Iraqi Success, So Far"--and we do not seem to remember the paper being so careful to hedge its bets when reporting on setbacks for America's side. Still, it's nice to see our colleague at the Post get results.

Are We Still in Iraq?


Power Line: Success that probably only the Democrats can reverse

I just did a quick scan of the headlines today, not one mention of anything from Iraq. Last month there was a brief flurry of news as the Iraqi army ran some operations in Basra and Sadir City flared causing some loss of American life. Naturally, the media and the Democrats indicated that "defeat is proven yet again, it will only get worse". Nancy Pelosi was over there recently, but since even HER reports were upbeat, they have received virtually no coverage. (she must have missed the news from Harry Reid that Iraq was a "lost cause".) For all practical purposes, Iraq is out of the news. I wonder what that means? Do you think things are going well, or badly? Which would play more to the Democrat hands, and thus be more likely to reported?

We are talking about a party here that having a lot of trouble picking one from a field of two. Their strongest suit is always pointing out everything in the world that they find to be "hopeless", "unfair", "a lost cause", etc. Their weakest suit is always actually getting anything productive done on any front.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Imagine


Michelle Malkin: Obamanation, NRO

I was looking for another post by Michelle on BO gaffes and ran into this. Apparently from over a year ago. I always love Democrats who claim that the lives of soldiers that died in the service of their country were "wasted". On one hand, I do admire their honesty, because that is what most of them believe. I think John Lennon had the liberal view pretty close with "Imagine":

Imagine there's no Heaven

It's easy if you try

No hell below us

Above us only sky

Imagine all the people

Living for today


Imagine there's no countries

It isn't hard to do

Nothing to kill or die for

And no religion too

Imagine all the people

Living life in peace


You may say that I'm a dreamer

But I'm not the only one

I hope someday you'll join us

And the world will be as one


Imagine no possessions

I wonder if you can

No need for greed or hunger

A brotherhood of man

Imagine all the people

Sharing all the world


You may say that I'm a dreamer

But I'm not the only one

I hope someday you'll join us

And the world will live as one

It fits in so many ways. Here we have a guy that was worth at least 100's of millions of dollars with homes around the world singing about "no possessions". Beyond that, someone who thought that if there were "no countries" there would be nothing to "kill or die for" gets killed by someone basically just because he was famous. There would seem to be a message in there somewhere and it is doubtful that John understood it.

No God, No Country, No Possessions. Just the self lost in a meaningless cosmos. Given that, what would "wasted" be? Dying for something other than personal pleasure?

Here are the words of Marine Cpl. Jeffrey B. Starr, who died in a 2005
firefight in Ramadi:
“Obviously if you are reading this then I have
died in Iraq . . . I don’t regret going, everybody dies but few get to
do it for something as important as freedom. It may seem confusing why
we are in Iraq, it’s not to me. I’m here helping these people, so that
they can live the way we live. Not have to worry about tyrants or
vicious dictators. To do what they want with their lives. To me that is
why I died. Others have died for my freedom, now this is my mark.”

John Lennon, BO, or 90%+ of Democrats can have nothing but contempt for such words and when they are honest believe that Jeffrey Starr "wasted his life".

Imagine

Climate Conditions Above Normal Hurricane Season


NOAA predicts above-normal '08 hurricane season - CNN.com

Early in the article we read; "The approaching 2008 Atlantic hurricane season is likely to be above
normal, with up to 16 named storms and up to five major hurricanes, the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday, citing
climate conditions."

If you read to the bottom of this article you see " The predictions came after calmer-than-normal seasons of 2006 and 2007." and " The 2007 season was the weakest in five years, ...".

I know in 2006 the predications were for a very active season. I don't recall last years prediction headlines. Supposedly, Science either has to make correct predictions, or the basic assumptions have to be questioned - in this case that climate change is causing more hurricanes.

Come November we will see how correct they were this time.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Inequality Has Two Sides?


Shattering the Conventional Wisdom on Growing Inequality - Freakonomics - Opinion - New York Times Blog

Levitt is considered one of the smartest young enconomists, his book "Freakonomics" was interesting in that it was willing to be "politically incorrect" on the abortion issue, among other things.

His core assertion here is so simple that it would be common sense if we didn't live in a world of extreme bias where the MSM keeps the sheep only looking left. "Inequality that matters" is defined by BOTH the income and what you do with it. (Duh). Unsurprisingly, WalMart and other discount outlets continue to drop prices on a lot of the stuff that low income folks buy, but at the higher end of the market, there isn't as much competition for lower prices, so while the rich make a lot more, they also end up paying a lot more.

While the INCOME side of the gap seems most interesting-since it is simple and looks bigger. Most people aren't really greedy misers just looking at how much money they can get there hands on, most want to DO SOMETHING with that money, and when that is part of the equation, any realistic gap analysis has to take the SPENDING side into consideration.

This quote from the article sums it up pretty well:

When people talk about inequality, they tend to focus exclusively on the income part of the equation. According to all our measures, the gap in income between the rich and the poor has been growing. What Broda and Romalis quite convincingly demonstrate, however, is that the prices of goods that poor people tend to consume have fallen sharply relative to the prices of goods that rich people consume. Consequently, when you measure the true buying power of the rich and the poor, inequality grew only one-third as fast as economists previously thought it did — or maybe didn’t grow at all.

Why did the prices of the things poor people buy fall relative to the stuff rich people buy? Lefties aren’t going to like the answers one bit: globalization and Wal-Mart!




The Messiah Makes Mistakes?


Michelle Malkin on Barack Obama on National Review Online

I have no problem with BO making mistakes. He is a human just like the rest of us and no doubt he has some glaring weaknesses, since he seems to have excellent communication skills in both speaking and writing. It appears that numbers may be a large problem for him. A year ago he confidently talked about "Ten thousand killed in a tornado in Kansas". Most people that have a standard grasp of numbers would immediately sense that was a VERY wrong number, especially when the real number as TWELVE. BO didn't. As I said then, that doesn't really mean anything, it just means he is human and since he is a Democrat, we all just go on without him being called stupid because of it.

There are a number of gaffes where he seems to not really have a solid grasp on how many states are in the US. The one Michelle quotes is pretty cute, I'm sure he FEELS that he has covered 57 states with 1 to go.
Earlier this month in Oregon, he redrew the map of the United States: “Over the last 15 months, we’ve traveled to every corner of the United States. I’ve now been in 57 states? I think one left to go.”
Again, the primary problem here is that media bias prevents us from getting the full benefit of the humor of having a young guy with no leadership experience and a wife that is obviously pretty bitter about a lot of stuff run for President. There is no reason that it can't be even a bigger hoot than W mangling his prose with regularity. The Presidency is a job that no human being ever has or ever will handle with anything like perfection. The media loves to make a joke of Republican Presidents and if they get any chance they make them into a strange comedy of evil and incompetence that would seem to be metaphysically impossible in the real world.

Their love of Democrats drive them to work very hard to push all flaws and controversy aside as "unimportant", "politically motivated", etc. Sometimes, like with a Carter, the feet of clay just get so obvious that they can no longer keep up the fiction, but sometimes, with someone like Clinton they are able to "stand by their man" no matter how clear it becomes that even the clay is more like regular old dirt.

It is going to take a lot for BO to lose the MSM, and I suspect that "Bush Blame Syndrome" will hold him in good stead for one term no matter how bad things go. Republicans always have one weakness, we still love the country no matter how bad the odds against her may look, maybe especially when it looks dark. My prayer at this point is that BO will be about 100x as lucky as Reagan was, from the way he looks so far, he will need that and more.




Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Newsweek's Decline


America’s Decline Is Largely Self-Inflicted | Newsweek Voices - Michael Hirsh | Newsweek.com

I'm always heartened to read such a cold and level headed assessment of the Bush Presidency. One can tell that News Speak is a bastion of lack of bias and realistic appraisals of world affairs. Oh, the heaven that Bush was handed in 2001 -- a nation 10 months out of a major stock market crash, already in recession, so on top of the terrorist problem that the USS Cole had just been attacked and we were less than 8 months away from 9-11. Talk about a country in GREAT SHAPE!!!

I think the following shows how realistic this guy is about the position of the US (or any country in the world):

What an exercise in the judicious use of our great power that would have been, and what a trophy to place on the shelf after Germany and Japan following World War II! America would have been widely admired.
He is talking about "fixing Afghanistan" as the "use of our great power". I wonder how Germany and Japan feel about being "trophies on the shelf"? No "imperialist pretensions" on the left are there? The guy looks like he HAD to be alive in the 80's, maybe he was just on drugs or something. I read a WHOLE bunch of books that seemed to indicate that at least our Japanese "trophy" was very far from inert and was supposed to be eating our lunch.

I'd have no problem with the DNC printing this, it sounds exactly like the kind of propaganda that they BETTER believe if they think that you can hand the keys to the worlds only Superpower to a freshman Senator with no executive experience and have success. But a magazine that people are supposed to buy as "objective"? Wow.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Unacceptable Wife?


ABC News: Spare My Wife, Please: Can Chivalry Exist on the Campaign Trail?

Gee, BO thinks it is "unacceptable" for his wife to be brought into the campaign. I'll give ABC credit, they point out in the article that Democrats are already targeting Cindy McCain in a number of ways. Heck, during the campaign of 2004 Kitty Kelley came out with a book asserting that Laura Bush was a big drug user, potentially even a dealer during college. She got coverage on the Today Show and other MSM outlets. Oh, and the MSM and the Democrats ALWAYS kept Nancy Reagan out of it! Never heard stories on dresses, White House china, astrology, potential affairs with Frank Sinatra, etc, etc. Those Democrats are always big on "practice what they preach". I'd argue that Laura, Nancy, and at least so far Cindy McCain have kept themselves FAR more out of the media spotlight than old "I'm not proud" Mrs BO. No matter, if you have an "R" next to your name, you ARE "fair game" no matter what.

So what does BO mean by: ""If they think that they're going to try to make Michelle an issue in
this campaign, they should be careful because that I find unacceptable," ?? Does he mean that he will "negotiate" then? Would there be "conditions" to THOSE talks, or is it just "sit down and talk anytime"? I have no doubt that would be a real threat, since I'm convinced he could talk anyone to death.

It reminds me of the Billy C finger wag. Potentially old Billy and BO can work on their statements without the Secret Service guys around? It seems to me that it is much more "manly" to give your big "unacceptable" talk and bluster when you don't have top notch guys with guns arrayed around you and trained to give their lives for you. Those agents would even give their lives protecting a woman that isn't even proud of the country that they serve. What a world.

Hopefully Hamas, Iran and Al Qaeda will be a lot more impressed with BOs "unacceptable" than I find it to be.


Buffalo Theory of Drinking

It doesn't get much clearer than this! ;-)

The Buffalo Theory

In one episode of 'Cheers', Cliff is seated at the bar describing the Buffalo Theory to his buddy, Norm. I don't think I've ever heard the concept explained any better than this:

'Well you see, Norm, it's like this . . . A herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo. And when the herd is hunted, it is the lowest and weakest ones at the back that are killed first. This natural selection is good for the herd as a whole, because the general speed and health of the whole group keeps improving by the regular killing of the weakest members. In much the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as the slowest brain cells. Now, as we know, excessive intake of alcohol kills brain cells. But naturally, it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first. In this way, regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker brain cells, making the brain a faster and more efficient machine. And that, Norm, is why you always feel smarter after a few beers.'

The Fall of Conservatism


The Political Scene: The Fall of Conservatism: Reporting & Essays: The New Yorker

I thought this New Yorker Article was well on the longish side, but had some points worth looking at. The following is something that I think bears comment:

In its final year, the Bush Administration is seen by many conservatives (along with seventy per cent of Americans) to be a failure. Among true believers, there are two explanations of why this happened and what it portends. One is the purist version: Bush expanded the size of government and created huge deficits; allowed Republicans in Congress to fatten lobbyists and stuff budgets full of earmarks; tried to foist democracy on a Muslim country; failed to secure the border; and thus won the justified wrath of the American people. This account—shared by Pat Buchanan, the columnist George F. Will, and many Republicans in Congress—has the appeal of asking relatively little of conservatives. They need only to repent of their sins, rid themselves of the neoconservatives who had agitated for the Iraq invasion, and return to first principles. Buchanan said, “The conservatives need to, in Maoist terms, go back to Yenan.”

The second version—call it reformist—is more painful, because it’s based on the recognition that, though Bush’s fatal incompetence and Rove’s shortsighted tactics hastened the conservative movement’s demise, they didn’t cause it. In this view, conservatism has a more serious problem than self-betrayal: a doctrinaire failure to adapt to new circumstances, new problems. Instead of heading back to Yenan to regroup, conservatives will have to spend some years or even decades wandering across a bleak political landscape of losing campaigns and rebranding efforts and earnest policy retreats, much as liberals did after 1968, before they can hope to re√ęstablish dominance.

My fundamental analysis is that "Conservatives became too purist". The Buchanans and Wills just think that things will be OK if the Republicans "get back to the basics". The problems I see with that are:

  1. Republicans never successfully REALLY sold smaller government. They sold the IDEA, but when they actually cut the RATE OF GROWTH in programs, they paid dearly for it and Clinton took the credit for the resulting budget surplus. This hurt them in MANY ways. Politically, it was expensive and simply ended up handing a feather to Clinton, and internally, it made Republicans feel that cutting spending wasn't worth it.
  2. Tax cutting has pretty much OVER run it's course. The fact that people below say $50K pay so little tax today is dangerous. Much as a tithe to the church isn't about helping God, it is about helping YOU (because you see that this is a universe of plenty and gratitude for that is critical to your well being), paying some taxes on your income isn't only about "government revenue", it is about all Americans feeling that they are "paying their fair share". When folks decide that "taxes are for people that make more money than me to pay", we have a big problem, and I think we have it.
  3. Republicans QUICKLY forgot how painful it is to be in the wilderness. They only controlled all three branches from 2002-2006, 4 short years out of the last 50+. When handed the keys to actual governance without the excuse of "the other party", the coalition promptly decided "this better be perfect or we are going to pout". Without a recession, with only the smallest of military difficulty relative to history (see WWII, Vietnam, Korea, etc), and a natural "disaster" that hardly even qualifies as such (try <2k>
This quote is unfortunately exactly where I think we are at. The remaining issue now is "how long will Republicans be in the wilderness"? Unfortunately, I have to HOPE that it will be a long time, because I think it is going to take a national disaster of something greater than the late 1970s but hopefully not as bad as the depression.
Sam Tanenhaus summed up the 2008 race with a simple formula: Goldwater was to Reagan as McGovern is to Obama. From the ruins of Goldwater’s landslide defeat in 1964, conservatives began the march that brought them fully to power sixteen years later. If Obama wins in November, it will have taken liberals thirty-six years.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

BO Anti-Bombast


Obama blasts Bush, McCain over 'attacks' - CNN.com

"I don't take what Bush says personally, but I was offended by what is
a continuation of strategy from this White House, now mimicked by Sen.
McCain, that replaces strategy and analysis and smart policy with
bombast, exaggerations and fear-mongering," Obama said.

How many times have we heard that "The policies of the Bush Administration have made us less safe"? If that phrase has any meaning, doesn't it HAVE to be "fear-mongering"? In the fall of 2000 the Cole was attacked by suicide bombers with 17 sailors killed. Hopefully we remember that on Sept 11, 2001 the US was attacked and 3,000 were killed. Since BO, the MSM, and the Democrats say we are "less safe", they are either just saying nothing, or saying that we will have greater and/or more attacks than we had in 2000 and 2001.

Slick Willie was President in 2000 and had been for nearly the full 8 years. We KNOW that the MSM and Democrats would assign the failure for THAT attack to him, right? It is pretty hard to imagine what sort of action Bush took between taking office in January 2001 and September that caused that attack. In fact, we KNOW that the perpetrators were in the US PRIOR to him taking office, so we know that the policies that established the level of risk were the Slicksters.

Now I'm sure that no matter how risky the situation is now, a brilliant tactician like BO, using the best in "strategy, analysis and smart policy", will insure that nothing similar to the 9-11 breach happens. I mean talk about precise, direct talk -- BO is going to give us not only "hope and change", but "strategy, analysis and smart policy". How in the world can anyone argue that he doesn't have any specific plans when he is making specific suggestions like that.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Meaning and Democrats


Power Line: If the shoe fits. . .

The Power Line post covers the details. Bush says appeasement doesn't work -- it didn't work with Nazi Fascists and it won't work with Islamic Fascists now. Obama gets his undies in a bundle because he realizes that he resembles that remark. The MSM rushes to the BO defense to beat on poor &lt; 25% approval Bush some more. When the sitting President talks about foreign policy (and is a Republican), that is "politicizing it" -- when BO, Hillary, the MSM, or anyone else talks about it, especially with a good Bush bash thrown in, that is "non-divisive good politics". Simple.

So if we are in greater danger now than ever before due to Bush, why isn't that "politics of fear"? Since the Democrats have made that assertion over and over again, if we are NOT attacked prior to 9-11-2009 will that mean that they are wrong?

In another post today, BO says "The U.S. needs a foreign policy that “looks at the root causes of
problems and dangers.” Obama compared Hezbollah to Hamas. Both need to
be compelled to understand that “they’re going down a blind alley with
violence that weakens their legitimate claims.”

"compelled"? Certainly he means "persuaded", but that would sound like what it is-weak and appeasing, so he says something incoherent. BO is raising incoherency to a new art form, and the MSM and the sheep are loving it every step of the way. The problem is always that reality is a lot more coherent than imagination. One can state a lot of things, but eventually the people that live off fantasy end up facing some piece of reality--which for a good long while will just mean more "blame someone else", but eventually, reality wins.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Why Is Diesel Higher?

I heard this question one too many times, so I thought I'd do 10 seconds of looking on the net for a more detailed answer than what I was sure I'd find. "Supply/Demand and a bunch of Government messing things up -- same as always!".

Here is the US Energy Information Administration site answer:

Question: Why are diesel fuel prices higher than gasoline prices?

Historically, the average price of on-highway diesel fuel was usually lower than or close to the price of regular gasoline. In some cold winters demand for distillate heating oil pushed diesel fuel prices higher. Since September 2004, diesel prices have been higher than regular gasoline prices almost continuously for several reasons:

High worldwide demand for diesel fuel and other distillate fuel oils, especially in Europe, China, India and the United States, and a tight global refining capacity available to meet demand.
The transition to lower-sulfur diesel fuels in the United States is affecting diesel fuel production and distribution costs.
The Federal excise tax on on-highway diesel fuel is 6 cents per gallon higher (at 24.4 cents/gallon) than the tax on gasoline.

So, the more detailed answer is:
  1. Supply USED to be higher than demand for diesel relative to gas, so especially in countries where fuel prices were artificially high due to government intervention (Europe), or refining capacity was limited or simplistic (India, China), more vehicles were purchased that burned diesel. More vehicles means more demand, so the demand for diesel went up and now the situation is reversed. Sadly, for those folks that invested in diesel engines, the engines are a lot more expensive, so that demand tends to be INELASTIC ( a technical economic term that is basically "sticky". Cigarette demand is the classic "inelastic demand" -- people tend to keep buying even when you raise the price). When you have inelastic demand, producers can make more profit--at the risk of getting more competition, but see other factors.
  2. The US has regulations pushing us to low sulfur diesel which will be even MORE expensive! While we are in the process of switching, there tend to be spot shortages that drive the price up even more.
  3. We are short on refining capacity - mainly due to pollution controls and government making threats of what regulations "might be". Sometimes the media talks about "80% capacity", but that is very much a red herring. Most plants can't even run at 100% in any case (do you run your car wide open? If you did, how efficient do you think that would be?), and among the things limiting the capacity are regulations on pollution, hours of operation, etc.
  4. We tax diesel more -- a built in 5% "premium" for diesel thanks to uncle means that everyone down the line from refiner to pump tends to go for their own "premium" -- more like .x%, but there are more of them than there are of the big fed, so it adds up.
Why isn't this of interest to a newspaper? It seems very easy to look up and a lot of people seem interested? Here is why:
  1. Pollution controls are supposed to be FREE -- these facts give the lie to that, papers don't like to report that kind of information. It might make people question the costs of a bunch of regulations that the Democrats and the MSM want.
  2. The MSM believes that government intervention is "beneficial AND free (or at least "cheap/worth it"). That is what the MSM believes, but what we see in the real world is the government intervention tends to be costly and harmful. The MSM likes to report what they believe, not what is, so there isn't much reason to report this. That would be like doing a bunch of reports on a late spring, record COLD temps, less hurricanes than expected, etc. They don't talk about that in the MSM, just hot temps.
  3. Supply and Demand are working -- and that isn't a view that the MSM really likes either. When Europe jacked the prices on gas, the people started to use more diesel, which in turn has jacked the demand on diesel. Much better to let folks assume it is some Oil Company Conspiracy, failure of the Bush administration, or just about anything else than what it actually is.
This is a pretty classic case of what the MSM likes. "Ignorance for the sheep is bliss". It would be EASY to report these facts and it would even be INTERESTING, but of course smart sheep aren't the kind that are likely to follow the MSM and vote for Obama! Better keep that wool over their eyes!

Friday, May 09, 2008

What's So Amazing About Grace?

I read the subject book by Phillip Yancy for the book club at our church. It opens with a shocking little story about a drug addicted prostitute in Chicago that had been renting out her 2 year old daughter for sex in order to make enough money to cover her drug habit. When asked if she had ever thought of going to church for help, she replied: "Church! Why would I ever go there? I was already feeling terrible about myself. They'd just make me feel worse".

The book is on the "scandal of Grace"-how Christ came for what we see as the "really sinful", and that the message is that WE are the "really sinful". Christ came for the prostitute renting her daughter and for the men paying for her. Hitler and even Bush, and the difference between us and the worst sinner we can imagine isn't significant compared with the gulf between us and God.

Yancey was raised a fundamentalist in a racist white church. He seems to feel much worse about the racism than gays, prostitutes, adulterers, murderers or most anything else -- somewhat in conflict with his own message. The point that he makes about the fundamentalists is nearly identical to my background. "Spiritual" was how well one followed all the various rules of the church against drinking, smoking, dancing, movies, TV, rock music, evolution, etc. How "spiritual", or "likely to REALLY be saved" depended on how well you did relative to the rules.

In the Baptist Church, the prodigal son was "unsaved" -- his "return" was really "his birth", but in the Lutheran Church, the prodigal is a Christian gone astray--he was already a "real son", but he messed up bigtime. The "ungrace churches"--often called "fundamentalists" for some odd reason, make much more of the "conversion" and a lot less of the "journey" toward heaven. Since they are primarily "once saved, always saved", there isn't a lot of reason for the real presence of Christ in communion. You get forgiven once, and at least for the "big sins", that ought to be it. Yancey seems to be on the journey to figuring out that we need a lot more grace as humans than a one-time conversion.

When we DON'T get that, what we get are "fake conversions". Lots of smiles, handshakes and warmness at church, but in the recesses of the heart and the lives away from church, the "rules" at all levels of detail and spirit are being broken because just like the Scribes and Pharisees, "the rules" or "the law" has become supreme, and Christ came because it wasn't possible for humans to keep the law.

I'm not sure if  Yancy ever really figures out where he ends up on a lot of issues though -- maybe just confused. On balance, it is a worthy Christian read, but at times there seems to be more "wondering" than "insight". There are certainly times where reflection vs insight is a worthy answer.

Money In Politics?

Powerline has a nice little post here on Democrats working to stack the 527 deck (things like MoveOn.org) so that they ONLY have 527s that agree with them. As always, they are very strong in supporting the right to agree with them-it is only if you have some other view that you find yourself breaking some law.

What I find really interesting though is that this year Republicans are BEHIND in fund raising by a HUGE amount (like 3 to 1 or worse if one counts all the congressional races and the 527s). I'm SURE I'm wrong, but in other years when Republicans were out raising Democrats, I could SWEAR that there were a number of articles on the "scourge of big money in politics", how "big money drowns out the voice of the people", how "all that money corrupts the process and the politicians". Guess not - I'm SURE that the unbiased MSM would have the same view if Democrats were the ones with all the money, right? I mean to not believe that, one would have to believe that the MSM just cares about electing Democrats and they only used the money issue when it was going against Democrats and now that the worm has turned, they are all for it.


Power Line: The Democrats Can Dish It Out...

MSM Confidential: Tony Rezko

Imagine a front-runner for a party nomination for the WH that had a close associate currently in a criminal trial for corruption. Sound like something an "unbiased MSM that wanted to sell papers" would cover? Well, certainly not when that candidate is BO and the buddy is Tony Rezko. The following links and quotes are from the bastion of conservatism, the Chicago Sun-Times

8 things you need to know about Obama, Rezko :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: The Watchdogs

7. A few months after Obama became a U.S. senator, he and Rezko's wife, Rita, bought adjacent pieces of property from a doctor in Chicago's Kenwood neighborhood -- a deal that has dogged Obama the last two years. 
The doctor sold the mansion to Obama for $1.65 million --$300,000 below the asking price. Rezko's wife paid full price --$625,000 -- for the adjacent vacant lot. The deals closed in June 2005. Six months later, Obama paid Rezko's wife $104,500 for a strip of her land, so he could have a bigger yard. At the time, it had been widely reported that Tony Rezko was under federal investigation. Questioned later about the timing of the Rezko deal, Obama called it "boneheaded" because people might think the Rezkos had done him a favor. 
8. Eight months later -- in October 2006 -- Rezko was indicted on charges he solicited kickbacks from companies seeking state pension business under his friend Gov. Blagojevich. Federal prosecutors maintain that $10,000 from the alleged kickback scheme was donated to Obama's run for the U.S. Senate. Obama has given the money to charity


Link to current info on the Rezko trial.
Uh, "people MIGHT think the Rezkos had done him a favor"? Folks think this guy ought to be PRESIDENT? !! Dan Quayle not knowing how to spell "potato" was an issue for a Republican. For a Democrat, getting a $300K bargain on a house and a couple hundred K on some land might "look like a favor"!

This kind of thing has precedent of course. Hillary Clinton made $100K in cattle futures in one day of trading "legally", and only evil Republicans would pay any attention. OTOH, Cheney having a legitimate job and Bush having a baseball team have been investigated over and over and insinuations have been made right and left that "even though they can't find anything, there MUST be SOMETHING wrong SOMEWHERE".

Just how many times have we heard "Cheney / Halliburton" as if there was something evil about being employed? I'm sure that every lefty reading this finds the Hillary story to be "useless old news" -- but when CBS came out with the 30+ year old info on Bush's National Guard service, they were licking their chops with no concerns of "old news". Being a lefty means you never even consider consistency!

The MSM believes that "doing right", which primarily involves having a "D" next to your name, ought to be rewarded -- money, land, power, sexual favors, trips, star treatment. As long as you are willing to support the agenda of no personal responsibility, no morals and "equality of outcome" (meaning, get "the rich" to pay for everything), you get the goodies. If you believe in individual responsibility, hard work, and allowing people to experience the fruits of their decisions / actions, then you deserve to be destroyed by any means possible -- even if the charges have to be entirely made up.

I'm sure that the MSM will be all over whatever Republicans bring up the Rezko connection, but I bet the Democrats won't even have to bring up the Keating Scandal -- the MSM will do it for them. The only thing that MIGHT save him is that the other 4 Senators were Democrats, and the investigation showed McCain to have the same level of guilt as John Glenn. The power of the inconsistency of the left never ceases to amaze me -- though it is often the innuendo that is stronger than any facts, and they are experts at that.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

BO's Gospel of Bitterness


Power Line: Michelle Obama's gospel of bitterness

What one picks up very quickly from BOs book, and here from his wife is that the attachment to Rev Wright and the comments on the "Bitterly Clinging" are part of his basic makeup. The BOs feel that the world is vastly unfair in many ways, and no doubt a lot of it is a "vast conspiracy". This isn't unique to them-Hillary notably felt that there was a "vast RIGHT WING conspiracy" and mentioned it on the today show. Lefties of every stripe have their own favorite whipping boys- corporations, big business, CEOs, the military industrial complex, the religious right, angry white men, the "God, Guns and Gays" idiots--they always have someone to blame, never themselves.

Why is it again that the Democrats set up the rules that they did for their primary's and are having so much trouble? I've actually heard them blame the Republicans, but that seems like REALLY stretching.

To have bias and thoughts of false conspiracy is as human as breathing. Democrats and liberals celebrate humanity and material existence as supreme, so trying to look into their own boogie men seems unreasonable. At least major parts of the Republican party celebrate transcendence, with many celebrating real Christian transcendence with an actual God, not just some "ultimate socialist". That form of Christianity demands that the log in our own eye be dealt with before the mote in the others eye. Is that hard/impossible for humans? Certainly, but to believe in the specific transcendence of Christianity is to believe in the divine help of a holy spirit to assist in that admittedly tough task.

When one starts out with God as creator, then we are forced to admit that we have no idea of the justice of the world. We didn't create it, and it isn't in our hands. While there almost certainly are some conspiracies from time to time, those of us that have worked in larger organizations and groups of people realize that it is tough enough to keep a secret of something that people are legally obligated to keep a secret on due to personnel, medical, or legal restrictions. It simply becomes too easy to tell a wife, a trusted friend, or someone that "you are sure it won't matter to". Before long, the secret is common knowledge. There are no conspiracies that matter. Organized crime may come close, but I think we have all heard about that, so it isn't VERY secret.

So why be bitter? Well, as the article says, America today is a place where "outrage is honored". Approaching issues in a way that would seem juvenile for a teeenager is now "honored" for ministers, candidates and candidates wives. In fact, the curl of the lip or the wag of the finger is considered perfectly acceptible-you are outraged, that is valid, no reason at all that you should need to produce any further facts.

How different George and Laura Bush are from that style. The level of pounding that they have taken from all sides is amazing, and there is absolutely no evidence that either of them did a single thing for motives other than a belief that it was the right policy to be followed for the country. What a contrast to the Clinton's that grasped at power and targeted everyone that pointed out any of their flaws for any personal accusation that could be found or made up. I don't think I've seen an angry word from either of them, and while the "claim" was made that Valerie Plame was "targeted", it finally came out that Richard Armitage was actually the one that "outed her" inadvertantly.

The Bushes, continue to soldier on doing the best job they can and turning the other cheek. If someone without bias was to look at the accomplishments of the administration -- 1 quarter of negative growth following the worst attack on US soil ever, longest number of continuous economic expansion in US history, largest increase in personal income since the 60's, Taliban defeated and elected government in Afghanistan, Saddam defeated and elected government in Iraq ... it might look pretty good compared to the accomplishment of Clinton "first Presidential semen identified on employee dress".

If GW's approval numbers go any lower, I may have to put him in the slot of my #1 President over Reagan. Anyone the MSM hates as much as they hate him is someone that I have to give a lot of credit to.

Monday, May 05, 2008

House Progress, Rafters Up

We moved out of the old bedroom over the weekend and today the contractors made tracks on the addition. The rafters are all up, some new pictures are in the gallery. It was also a nice day here today, easily breaking 70, so it was fun to walk out in what is still a bit TOO open of a bedroom.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

70% Think Things Are Bad


Poll: 70 percent in U.S. say things are going badly - CNN.com

Last night I heard on NPR that "some economists say this may be a mild recession". That is pretty interesting in a week in which we discovered that the economy GREW by .6 in the last quarter and that unemployment DROPPED with a loss of only 20K jobs rather than the predicted 80-100K.

I also watched the movie of "The Fountainhead" by Ayn Rand last night, where Gail Wynand states that "The masses will believe whatever I tell them". NPR and the polls show that Ayn was right on that front. One of the reasons that "Bush is a bad President" is because this is his SECOND recession! The problem is, that if we used numbers and facts as a measure, CLINTON handed Bush a recession as he took office and Bush presided over a hugely difficult RECOVERY that included 9-11 and ONE QUARTER of drop in GDP - which, if we believed numbers, wouldn't be a recession at all.

We haven't had ANY quarters of decline in GDP yet this time, so by the numbers, this "recession" isn't a recession. BUT, thanks to "the masses believing whatever the MSM tells them", 70% say "things are bad". Most people are drawn to being in agreement with the majority, and the idea that one needs to think critically and use your own mind is a dangerous idea to those that seek collective power. It is also the founding idea of this country and what has historically made us special and great. The individual freedom that makes us special is NEVER "free" however. It requires a significant number of people to stand up for principles that are NOT going to be popular with "the masses".


Friday, May 02, 2008

Say it Isn't So


More signs the world isn't ending - May. 2, 2008

Wow, available on CNN by just linking off the main page. UNBELEIVEABLY, the econonomy isn't as bad as the MSM and the Democrats have been saying!!! As the title says, the world actually doesn't seem to be ending. Even with what we have been told over and over again is just a horrible President and record high oil prices, we seem to be narrowly avoiding a recession (even though the MSM and the Democrats have told us over and over we are IN one). This is INCREDIBLE? I wonder if that means that there might be other things that the MSM is wrong about? Nah, can't be, those folks are just too intelligent to make more than one mistake every century or so.

Since we are on AMAZING revelations from the MSM, I'm still confused as to how it was obvious that Bush went into Iraq for oil, but the prices have just kept going up? Was it sort of like the WMD, eveyone thought that Iraq had oil but it turned out that they really didn't? I mean, I know he led us in there "all on lies" for SOME reason - and I thought at one time I had it straight that he was "lying about WMD to get oil". Since I always believe the MSM, I've been waiting for all that cheap oil that we were going to be getting out of Iraq since that was the real reason we went in there.

I'm generally a red state kind of guy, so not very bright, I'm sure they will be explaining it to me soon.


Nasty Right Wing Bloggers


CNN Political Ticker: All politics, all the time Blog Archive - Blogger targets Al Franken in Minnesota Senate race « - Blogs from CNN.com

If Al Franken has some problems following laws and paying taxes, what does the MSM think is the interesting part of the story? Well, how and why in the world would anyone be out there even be looking into Dear Al's life at all? Isn't he a Democrat?

Those nasty Right Wing Bloggers-who are they, and why do they do the evil they do? Of course there is no such phenomenon on the left. Right? On The Daily KOS, todays top blog item is

CNN Raises the Traitor Bar; Rush Limbaugh Longs For Riots; Popular GOP Surrogate Suggests Murder

Oh, but I'm sure those are 100% factual with no left wing bias that would rival anything on the right, that is why the MSM doesn't find bloggers like the KOS, Huffington Post and a host of others to be anything that needs to be "outed"--even though they are well financed by George Soros and other wealthy lefties, that is COMPLETELY different from what happens on the right!

Cynicism aside, isn't it amazing how fast folks on the left are into "sticking to the issues" when it is an Obama, Franken, Clinton, or other Democrat that has a tax, minister, poor wording, woman, or other problem. How different it is when it is Bush National Guard record, Cheney working for Halliburton, something said by someone that contributed to Bush, or a host of other things. In the MSM / Democrat mind of course, when it applies to a Republican it IS a "real issue". The natural assumption is that any Republican MUST either be very foolish or have poor character, since anyone of average intelligence that cared for people at all would CERTAINLY be a Democrat. From the "MSM, University, Hollywood, Music (except maybe Country), Popular Culture" view, that is "just the way it is".

Once one sees the world like the vast majority of folks in media, entertainment and education, it is VERY important to make use of whatever can be used to "educate/help" the "foolish and misguided people" that don't follow the popular culture view of "the way things are".

They are really just doing their best to help a foolish and nasty soul like myself or this other evil blogger. It is really sad that nature just didn't give Mooses a few extra brain cells!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Finally California Pictures

Ok, I'm a bit behind schedule, but I've finally organized a set of shots from our trip to California the first week of April.

Recession ?

The following is a quote from Wikipedia on the 2000-2003 recession:

The U.S. economy shrank in three non-consecutive quarters in the early 2000s (the third quarter of 2000, the first quarter of 2001, and the third quarter of 2001). According to the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), which is the private, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization charged with determining economic recessions, the U.S. economy was in recession from March 2001 to November 2001, a period of eight months. However, economic conditions did not satisfy the common shorthand definition of recession, which is "a fall of a country's real gross domestic product in two or more successive quarters," and has led to some confusion about the procedure for determining the starting and ending dates of a recession.

It is important to point out that this group is NON-PARTISAN, because the historical definition of a recession is a 2 Quarter fall in GDP. We HAD that definition in the 4Q of 2000 and the first quarter of 2001, with Bush taking office during 1Q 2001. It must have been important for SOMEONE (non-partisan though I'm sure they were) to change the historic definition, so the "recession" started AFTER Bush took office and lasted during months of growth and REMAINED a "recession" even though there was only a single quarter of retraction in GDP, and that as after 9-11. Funny how non-partisan some folks are.

Anyone that listens to the MSM KNOWS that we are in a recession now, only the complete fool Bush won't admit the obvious. So, how do they report the fact that they are wrong and Bush right?

Like This: "Sluggish Growth Disappoints White House" There is a little baiting of the WH spokesperson to see if they can get Bush to "gloat" over the fact that the economy is not in recession, and thus point out how proud they are of the power of the MSM as everyone would disagree with him. In this case, most people "believe" that we either are in, or are sliding into a recession.

Nobody should be happy about .6% growth, but it is better than nothing and better than actually being in a recession. When it was the close of the Clinton presidency and we were living though the stock market crash of 2K and slipping to what became a REAL recession at the 4Q of the last year of Billy C's term that continued into 1Q of Bush's term, it was hard tell from looking at the MSM that there was anything wrong. Now it is hard to look at the MSM and tell that there is anything right. Oh, I forgot, just like "NBER", the MSM is UNBIASED!

Pay No Attention to Any Cooling

or that man behind the curtain either (Wizard of Oz)

Bloomberg.com: Worldwide - Ocean Cooling to Briefly Halt Global Warming, Researchers Say

While the MSM is quick to point out at any signs of warm temps -- record highs, warm spells, hurricane's, etc that only complete fool could see those and not realize the planet is warming, this requires slightly more sophistication. Paying attention to what you experience is important when it agrees with the "proper world view", but when your experience and the "proper world view" don't align, then it is obviously your experience that should be ignored.

The Leibniz study, co-written by Noel Keenlyside, a research
scientist at the institute, will be published in the May 1 issue
of the journal Nature.

``If we don't experience warming over the next 10 years, it doesn't mean that greenhouse-gas warming is not with us,'' Keenlyside said in an interview. ``There can be natural fluctuations that may mask climate change in the short term.''

So there you have it. When it is warmer, that is caused by humans, when it is cooler, it is a "natural fluctuation". The bottom line is that no matter how cold it may be, that is no reason to believe that warming isn't a problem! You just have to "run the model longer". Simple.