Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Shorthand


David Brooks has an opinion piece in this morning's New York Times contrasting two types of columnists ... "engaged" versus "detached" ... read it first at: New York Times.  I hope I am not being too "engaged" when I shorthand his op-ed into one simple sentence: "A detached columnists (such as me) is preferable to an engaged columnist (such as Maureen Dowd)."

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Glitz



Tom Brokaw was right.  It’s time to “rethink” the White House Correspondents’ Dinner as he declined his invitation to attend this year. “What kind of image do we present to the rest of the country? Are we doing their business, or are we just a group of narcissists who are mostly interested in elevating our own profiles?” Read more at: Politico Story.

This sickening soiree has morphed into an unseemly display of glitz and egos (see: Deadline Story). It is a melding of Hollywood and the Washington Beltway elite … or at least those who consider themselves to be same. Here is a partial list of the Tinsel Town glitterati who attended last night’s over-the-top bacchanal: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Amy Poehler, Katy Perry, Michael J. Fox, Sharon Stone, Sofia Vergara, Olivia Wilde, Jason Sudeikis, Steven Spielberg, Matthew Perry, Barbara Streisand, Tony Goldwyn, Conan O’Brien, Daniel Day-Lewis, Tracy Morgan, Psy, Michelle Dockery, Megan Hilty, Josh Gad, George Lucas, Reese Witherspoon, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright, Tracey Pollen, Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Nicole Kidman, Jon Bon Jovi, Cortney Cox, Kate Walsh, Kathleen Turner, Dan Stevens, Harvey Weinstein, Fred Armisen, Ashley Judd, Kristin Chenoweth, and George Clooney. 

How many of these primping, pimping pismires are correspondents … or could even compose the text on the back of a cereal box?  Talk about your "cult of personality" ... the Soviets had nothing on us!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Pantywaist



President Obama is a pantywaist.  He has emphatically said that, if Bashar Assad were to use chemical weapons on his people, it would be a "game changer" and he would have crossed a “red line" (see: Economist Story).  Now, even his recently-appointed Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, has confessed that, “with some degree of varying confidence,” this has happened (see: NY Times Story).  And what does Obama do?  He equivocates.  "We must have irrefutable proof."  "We will ask the U.N. to validate this charge."  "We need more time."

Now I am not advocating that the U.S. send troops to Syria … neither do the vast majority of the American populace. But then again I don’t believe that we want a pissant President.  (There are a multitude of other options)If Obama was not going to do anything significant if Assad dumped sarin or chlorine gas on the people of Aleppo, then he should have kept his threatening words to himself … and not made an ass of himself once again on the world stage.  He has sent a strong message to the Iranian and other world leaders that “red lines” are in the eyes of the beholder … and they are nothing that a little Visine can’t cure.




Juxtaposition XLI

Marathon Bombers' Mother
Wicked Witch of the West








Thursday, April 25, 2013

Ulcers



I think it was David Sarnoff (among many) who once said, “I don’t get ulcers.  I give them.”  Even though ulcers are now recognized as being most often caused by a bacteria (see: WebMD) and are usually curable, it appears that many in our society are still exhibiting severe dyspepsia ... see: Americans Snapping.  Apart from listing most of the symptoms, manifestations, and palliatives for our society’s current stress levels, this posting offers an interesting insight: 
Make no mistake: This sort of stress on Americans is not only intentional on the part of Team Obama – it is strategic. Remember, these people are revolutionaries (that is, engaged in “bringing about a major or fundamental change,” …) and utterly committed to replacing one societal structure – America’s constitutional, limited-government, free-enterprise system – with another – a socialist, wealth-redistributionist system run by an all-powerful government. 
I myself have sometimes had this very thought when I realize what appears to be our current administration’s irrational and/or extra-Constitutional actions (giving ulcers).  I hope I need not list them here, but take a few moments to reflect on what has recently caused you to stop and scratch your cranium or churn your stomach.  Or try reading The Drudge Report for a few weeks and see if you can’t construct your own extensive list.  Unless you agree with the direction Obama is taking this country, you probably might also need some psychiatric drugs or “medical” marijuana. (Is this why such new state laws are often succeeding at the polls?)

What else might one do?  Rather than buying Maalox or vodka by the barrel-full, you could try my solution and start political ranting on your own Internet blog … it does help.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Miranda Rights

There is a lot of back-and-forth discussion as to whether Dzhokhar Tsamaev (the second Boston Marathon bomber) should be granted his Miranda Rights ("You have the right to remain silent ...  etc.").  This is too obvious an observation to ignore, but Dzhokhar has a gunshot wound to his throat and cannot talk ... therefore he will remain silent no matter what,  Baa-da-bing!

(Sorry for the all the posts today ... but I couldn't resist this one.)

Voodoo Economics


If the long-established rules of accounting are a hindrance to your political ends … just change the rules.  Apparently economists around the world have decided that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) statistics have been understating the size of countries’s economic output … so it is time to redefine expenses (such as Research and Development, “artistic originals,” and unfunded pension liabilities) as revenue!  Wow … what backward logic has brought about this voodoo twisting of accounting rules?  What’s next … depreciation and good-will write-offs will also be classified as economic output?  To view what is behind this financial insanity see: Financial Times Site (you might need to go through the Drudge Report to this Financial Times Site to view it … otherwise you may need to subscribe for viewing). 

Now, one has to concede that there is one element of rationality to this irrationality … in that this change will cause the restatement of national GDP figures going back to 1929.  However, what do you want to bet that many countries will neglect to use these restatements when reporting their next year-on-year change?  And so … suddenly what were once reliable government statistics will now be suspect.  The Obama administration has already pulled this trick with unemployment data (see: Fishy) … so what do you think will happen with this new GDP revision?  Perhaps the U.S. government will sacrifice a goat first to make things all OK?

Vertigo



A view from the tallest building in the world (in Dubai, UAE) ... found on the "reddit" site.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Kidney Stew


Over three years ago I wrote a blog about the possibility of reconstructing human organs in the laboratory using adult stem cells (see: Francis N. Stein)  This science, by its very nature is progressing very slowly … but it is progressing.  Research doctors have recently bio-engineered, totally from scratch, a rat kidney, transplanted it into its host rat, and seen it function correctly (see: Science News Article).  Please, please read this previous link to see and understand the details of what is being called regenerative medicine … the creation of replacement body parts in the lab which will duplicate a person’s own organs.  This is revolutionary in that this will mean that there will be no auto-immune rejection complications.  And, at some future time, for the seriously ill, there will be no longer a need to go on a waiting list for donor organs.

To me this is and will be one of the most exciting and dramatic scientific developments in this century and will revolutionize medical care.  I may not be around to see this sea change occur … but I am convinced that my grandchildren will.

Afterward: for more information on this exciting new medical area see: Scientific American Article

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Canary Time?



The second Boston Marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, has been captured alive and we all hope he sings like a canary. (I say “we all” excepting maybe Michael Moore and Noam Chomsky.) There is a whole lot more to this story that needs to be uncovered and perhaps a little "water up his nose" can help Dzhokhar remember the details ... and prevent the next such attack?. 

While reading about Dzhokhar life (see: Boston Globe Story) I am struck with a certain sadness in that an immigrant to this country can receive so much yet turn around and bite (off) the hand that feeds him. And, equally disheartening, he was given so much with really so little to offer. In days past, immigrants have come here with high hopes and ideals and, as a consequence, have quickly assimilated ... and given their all to help build our great nation.  I think that this truth may be slipping away ... possibly due to the laxness of our immigration system?.

Dzhokhar's brother, Tamerian Tsamaev, apparently had more drive and promise (see: Breitbart Story) ... yet was sidetracked in a sinister direction by a sinister devotion. And I don't feel any more comfortable with the myriad other Tsamaev relatives who are and have been in our country ... even that uncle who denounced these two monster brothers.  He seemed, to me, to be grandstanding and disingenuous.  While the father, back in Russia, threatens ... if Dzhokhar is killed "all hell will break loose."  Might this still hold if he is eventually executed?  

And this Tsamaev extended family is once more indicative of a broken immigration system.  They all were granted political asylum to enter into the United States ... yet the father can return to Russia with impunity?  What an outragous sham!

We have all been impressed with the professionalism and competence of all our law enforcement agencies. However well they responded to this atrocity, I am still struck by the political overtones that prevailed here … particularly the unexplained delays.  Was the release of those key photos of the suspects held back until after President Obama spoke at the memorial service here in Boston?  If so, then that poor MIT policeman probably paid for this Presidential posturing with his life.  

And one last sniping comment … why must those update briefings be fronted by our politicians.  After all, it was law enforcement which had all the salient facts.  Our governor and mayor … and all those lesser political hacks standing in the background were, to me, just so much window dressing.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Feel-Good Laws



Today the Senate is considering a series of proposals to deal with guns, ammunition and the purchasing of same.  The only new constraint that seems to have a chance of passage is the expansion of background checks for the purchase of guns … particularly over the Internet ... see: Washington Post Story

This legislation is obviously in response to the slaughter of 20 children and six adults in Newtown, Connecticut over four months ago by Adam Lanza, an emotionally disturbed teenage loner.  One sponsor of these new restrictions, Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, has even admitted that these new constraints would not have stopped the Newtown massacre.  And, it is possible that this new legislation might also infringe on some Constitutional rights of Americans … see: Policy Mic Story. (And if you want to see what I think are the real issues coming out of Newtown killings are, please reference: Assault Weapons).

So why pass such laws?  It seems to me that it all has to do with our politicians trying to strike poses that demonstrate their heart-felt concerns … however rushed and inconclusive.  I think the appropriate term for such legislation might be “feel-good laws.”  They end up treating the symptoms and not the disease.  To me, the road to despotism is paved with thousands upon thousands of such feel-good laws.  My reasoning is, after these laws are passed (and, too often, not enforced), lawmakers strut around as though they have fixed things  … at least in the eyes of the voters … and push the real problem(s) to a back burner … until the next time such a heinous act occurs.  

To me, this all seems so vacuous, futile ... and dangerous.

Afterward: The expanded-background-check legislation failed yesterday in the Senate to the indignant consternation of President Obama and the Morning Joe cast.  Although this specific restriction might have had some merit, what is not generally being discussed is that it was an amendment to the larger gun law that included many more controversial items (assault weapon ban, large ammunition clips ban, etc.).  It would seem to me that, even had the expanded-background-check amendment passed muster, the omnibus bill never had a chance. Thus, this specific issue, in my mind, is moot ... and all the heated rhetoric surrounding yesterday's Senate rejection vote is phony and a public-relations stunt ... designed for political purpose ... and not to save "one child's life."  Perhaps this specific constraint can be introduced and passed as a stand-alone law?  Wouldn't that be special ...

Sitting on Our Hands



The United States current presence in Afghanistan is a farce.  For at least the last year, our soldiers there have essentially been hunkered down … not exposing themselves to dangerous situations … and getting killed in the process.  And we will be doing the same for maybe the next nineteen months … running out the clock until President Obama’s even-accelerated time table for withdrawal has expired … see: NDTV Article.

The reason that virtually all the American soldiers killings there have been by “insiders” (supposedly trusted Afghans who have turned into deadly assassins … so called “green on blue” attacks) is that this administration has changed the rules of engagement in Afghanistan to the point where offensive measures are almost impossible … see American Thinker Commentary.  This is a purely domestic political decision … trying to appear resolute in our commitment to the “good war” … while, in fact, wimping-out.

If President Obama is half the sports nut he tries to present himself as, he would know that sitting on a lead is the quickest way to lose a game.  And we are losing the game in Afghanistan.  As soon as he had decided to present an ultra-passive posture there (voting "present"?), he should have begun the process of withdrawal … and left the Taliban to kill their fellow countrymen and not Americans.

Let's stop sitting on our hands.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Big Bang Theories



The heinous and gruesome Patriot's Day bombings at the finish line of the Boston Marathon are still being sorted out.  The best reporting that I can find to date is here:  NY Times Article But there are a number of comments and theories that are reflecting on what clearly appears to be a terrorist(s) act:

- President Barack Obama, who has not yet indicated that this was an act of terror, said, that “any responsible individuals, any responsible groups, will feel the full weight of justice.” … virtually the same pledge he gave shortly after the Benghazi terrorist attacks in which four Americans were killed … over six empty months ago.  Please reference: ABC News Story.

- Attorney General Eric Holder may think that these attacks were an act of “sports-related violence” just as he is thought to have caused the labeling of the Fort Hood shootings (in which 13 Americans were slaughtered and 30 injured by a Muslim shouting “Allahu Akbar”) “an act of workplace violence”  Please reference: Main Justice Story.

- Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, I think, might have called these deadly explosions another “failure of human understanding” like he did the World Trade Center attacks on 9/11.  Please reference: Boston Globe Story.

- Obama's "neighbor," Bill Ayers  has been reliably reported to be in the Chicago area still, and, although he enjoys a good bombing now and then, could not be connected to this incident. Please reference: NY Times Story.

Afterward:  To see some pictures of possible bombers see: Infowars Link

Why is Gold in the Toilet?

The price of gold has dropped today $93, as I write this, to $1409 per ounce ... down from $1803 last August ... and an all-time high of $1920 in September of 2011.  That is almost a 27% decline and is causing a lot of consternation among the gold bugs and panic among those schlemiels who bought gold after listening to those high-pressure ads on television.  Now the question is, why has this "guaranteed investment" gone sour,  I can offer four reasons:

1) The price of gold has been anticipating the return of rampant inflation as a result of the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank and other central banks around the world printing new money as fast as they can get the paper delivered to their mints.  Like any speculative market, the price of gold was discounting the future and, when the "future" doesn't occur on schedule, things can get messy.  Ben Bernanke's interest rate manipulations and a continued weak U.S. economy/employment picture has kept a lid on inflation  ... which has pushed back the date of the big payoff for U.S. gold bugs.

2) Since there are significant carrying cost to owning gold (storage fees, margin interest cost, no dividends, and steep selling discounts), an unloading of same was almost destined due to the drawn-out timing of the expected "rally." (The price of gold in Japan, based on the recent and dramatic quantitative easing of the yen, is hitting new highs.  This maybe is another gold market bubble in the forming.)

3) Because of the austerity measures being imposed on some European Monetary Union members, there is considerable pressure on these central banks to sell gold reserves to meet their debt obligations.  Apparently last Friday, Cyprus was the first country to crack under the strain and either is or will be selling off significant amounts (tons) of gold.  Are Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, and Ireland to follow?

4) Independent of these three fundamental factors, clearly technical factors are now ruling the roost.  If speculators, such as hedge funds, see the price of gold plummeting, they head for the exits, elbows akimbo.  Small private investors often get crushed in the stampede.

So, dear readers ... gold now is in the toilet ... and may stay there until there are real signs of inflation rearing its ugly head again.  When might this occur?  I am not that good at predicting things.  But, I can safely say that, when it does occur, it will probably be lightning fast.

Afterward: as of 10:30 on 4/15/13 gold is selling for $1342 per ounce.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Crossing the Rubio-con



I listened to Senator Marco Rubio on Fox News Sunday today pitching the new immigration bill that is being brought forward by the “Gang of Eight” in the Senate.  And what he was saying sounds reasonable (see: Fox News Story) except for three glaring problems:

1) Marco Rubio has previously stated that, in order to get the American people to buy into this bill, there needs to be extensive Senate hearings over the summer … vetting all the provisions therein.  The Senate has to date scheduled only one such hearing.  This is an obvious travesty and a dissing of the American people. Marco Rubio needs to live up to his previous commitments on this matter (see: Mr. Pushy).
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2) Most of the provisions of this bill rely on the Obama (and later) administrations to enforce its terms.  We have had a twenty-five year history of non- and lax enforcement of existing immigration statutes.  Why should anyone believe that this pattern is going to change with a more rigorous set of requirements, fines, taxes, and penalties?  Janet Napolitano has proven herself to be utterly untrustworthy in such matters.  I don’t expect things to change with a new law.

 3) As I have previously stated I also don’t feel that many “illegal immigrants” will come forward to sign up for this program (again see: Mr. Pushy).  Any of them with criminal backgrounds, suspect work records, or other documentation problems will just stay in the shadows.  Why give the feds any visibility into your existence when you can continue to take advantage of the status quo under which many of them are thriving?

Please, can our Congress be realistic and deal effectively with such obvious and serious concerns? Else we will find that the illegal immigration problem will continue to fester and spiral out of control.  And … please Marco Rubio … cross back over that northern Italian river ... and fix these three problems first.

Afterward: Valid points critical of the foreshortened hearings on the Gang of Eight's immigration bill ... see: Powerline Blog

Puff the Magic Dragon


The New York Times clearly believes it can perform miracles.  This week, in it's Sunday Magazine section, it has featured "The private life of a former power couple," Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin.  If you have not just eaten a meal, you might skim this bit of puffery here: NY Times Puff Piece. And, as you would see, if you could stomach the entire article, it does spend some time to summarize Weinergate (Anthony Weiner's 2011 sexcapades on social media) but also talks at great length about Huma's and Anthony's sympathetic courting and married life ... their child together ... and their close relationships to Hillary and Bill Clinton.

Why is the Times doing this?  It appears to this reader that this article's author, Jonathan Van Meter, is shoveling as many words as he can on top of what was and is a very sordid Anthony Weiner story ... all in the hope that he might effectively bury it.  And why bury it?  It's all politics and money.  Weiner has a $4.3 million war chest with which to run this year for Mayor of New York City.  And, if he enters this race, the taxpayers will supplement this considerable amount with another $1.5 million of matching funds.  (You need to be patient ... these salient facts are not revealed until almost the end of this article.)  With $5.8 million, I believe some good political operatives (of which the Clinton's have a surfeit) could get David Berkowitz (that 1970's serial killer, "Son of Sam") elected to replace Mayor Bloomberg.

So, does the New York Times "live by the sea ... and frolic ... in a land called Honah Lee?"  We shall see. We shall see.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Smoke


Why has China not smacked down North Korea's half-pint despot, Kim Jong-un, for his dangerous game of nuclear brinkmanship? Clearly China has much to lose from this saber-rattling in that both South Korea and Japan might now be tempted to develop nuclear capabilities of their own. And it is still possible that an actual nuclear Holocaust might be triggered.

Is it that China is allowing this insanity to happen in order to smoke-out the United State's defense capabilities vis-a-vis such a nuclear threat?  Might China want such knowledge so that they could develop counter-counter measures for the time when it might be China that was posing an equivalent threat?  Clearly the United States has taken preventative measures such as deploying sea-platformed radars (see: CNN Story) and anti-ballistic capabilities (see: The Aviationist Story) to the region. This is providing valuable information to China about the speed and extent of our deterrents.  Might China also be testing our neophyte Secretaries of State and Defense to see how effectively they respond to such a crisis (see: AP Story)?

To China, all this smoked-out intelligence might more than offset the downside risks mentioned in the first paragraph above.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Echoes

Echo Rocket

Most adults of a certain age remember John Kerry’s treasonous utterances in front of Congress after he had returned from his “heroic” six-month mission to Vietnam.  But what has also recently turned up are the ironically idiotic comments he made as a relatively new Senator when President Reagan proposed an anti-missile Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI … also derided as “Star Wars”) in 1986.  Here is the reference: CNS News Story.  But I would like to extract therefrom a few of his choicer words in light of how North Korea is now rattling its nuclear-armed-missile sword … and how we are in the process of deploying our (what is still an underdeveloped) anti-missile defense system:
What we must do is deny this program [SDI] the funds that would enable this cancer on our nation's defense to grow any further,’”
[SDI is] a dream based on an illusion.”
 “We must also recognize that we could never test a Star Wars system under realistic conditions until the moment of an all-out nuclear attack,”
“If Star Wars didn't work perfectly the very first time [the result] would be the destruction of our society.”
 “This is the time we must say 'no' to the president's [SDI] dream, a dream based on illusion, but one which could have real and terrible consequences,”
To bad these echoes of Kerry’s true character did not come up when he was being questioned prior to his recent confirmation as Secretary of State in that august chums’club called the Senate.  One would hope that, had this happened, Kerry would have at least blushed.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Rose-Colored Glasses



Yesterday President Obama released his budget … over two months late, but who’s counting?  The Senate and the House have already passed their budgets.  And, in typical Obama fashion, he is “leading from behind” or, maybe better phrased, “leading from his behind.”  Much of the left-leaning media is so impressed with the mere fact that he has done this rare feat … that they have given this document the benefit of the doubt on most of its lame assumptions. But this financial flight of fancy still grows our nation’s debt into the stratosphere … by almost $9 trillion over ten years (see: Breitbart Story).  And, in his patented “I don’t give a spit.” fashion, Obama even said that this budget doesn’t contain “a lot of smoke and mirrors” (see: Another Breitbart Story). Not a lot of smoke and mirrors?!? Wow!  Does anyone believe that it should contain any smoke and mirrors?

Senator Patty Murray was the architect of the Democrat's Senate budget which was seriously flawed by unrealistic GNP growth rate assumptions (see: Pattycake).  And Obama is following suit by also looking at the United States’ economic outlook through rose-colored glasses.  Even Politico points this flaw out in the following passage from its news blog: 
The faster the economy grows, the more taxes will be collected. At the same time, unemployment and low-income spending will decline. So good growth is a key to a better budget outlook. This administration projected growth of 3 percent in 2013, 3.6 percent in 2014 and more than 4 percent in 2015. Reality paints a different picture. Growth in 2012 was 2.2 percent and 2013 looks on track for another disappointing 2 percent. The gap between forecast and reality will not, however, stop another round of rosy assumptions.
To read more of this, see: Politico Story.  But, since the President’s budget was, apparently, not a serious policy document … but was, like most things he does, purely political, such Pollyanna-ish pronouncements were only meant for the Peanut Gallery (apparently the majority of U.S. voters) anyway.


Screw Job #6


Oh the horror!  the White House is furloughing an Assistant Chef as a very public sacrificial response to the government spending sequester that went into effect at the beginning of last month.  And this is the man who cooks the President's dinner a few times a week no less ... and oversees Michelle Obama's vegetable garden ... see: Huffington Post Piece.  Our puerile leadership would be hard pressed to grandstand with any greater insincerity on this issue. Besides, as I have previously stated, being furloughed does not save the government one nickel, since this salary would be accrued to be paid later. But, of course, this same draconian sequestration did not put one crimp in the extravagant Memphis Soul Music Festival held at the White House two nights ago ... see: The Blaze Piece.  (Yet the White House is still closed to the public.)

One other sequestration morsel to chew on ... the White House still employs six full-time flower arrangers!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Not Not No



Of late I have been plagued by a gnawing feeling of angst … and trying to decipher what is at its source. To allay this feeling, I wanted to find what is in disarray in our public space.  Clearly there are excesses everywhere one looks -- huge sovereign debt, not just in the United States but worldwide; rampant drug use; a socially-transmitted disease pandemic (see: Were Number One); a galloping moral permissiveness (mostly centered in the media, Hollywood and Washington); governmental dysfunction at almost every level; parcels of pissant people impinging upon our freedoms; the accelerating crumbling of our time-honored social structures … enough … I’m sure you can easily extend this list.

After some sleeplessness I think I may have a clue as to what is the wellspring of my anxiety … we are rapidly losing our ability to say “no.”  Saying “no” has become a big no-no.  The Republicans are being tarred in the media with the pejorative “The Party of No.”  We are told that everything new should be unthinkingly embraced. Permissiveness is how to be hip.  Saying “yes” (to anything) is what is expected ... and makes one instantly brilliant and popular.

How should we respond if someone, who can’t afford it, applies for a home mortgage?  What do we say to our tween girls who want a personal cache of “morning after” pills?  Should Jon Corzine get away Scott free after his firm “loses” billions of his clients’ money?  Can we allow our government unfettered access to our personal records?  Should we look away when politicians abuse their positions of power … or waste billions of taxpayer dollars?  Mr. Paul Krugman, is it OK to run trillion dollar federal government deficits year after year?  Was Hillary Clinton right, in her Benghazi testimony, when she shouted, "What difference does it make?"  Mr. Ben Bernanke, is it permitted for the Federal Reserve to have printed more than four trillion dollars of new money?

Recognizing this contemporary societal flaw has set me free.  I can now view the world through puce-colored glasses … without being self-conscious.  I can now shake my head from side to side with unfettered abandon.  So the next time I am accused of being a sour-puss and a nay-sayer, I intend to secretly smile to myself.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Head in the Clouds



William Bigelow, writing for the Breitbart news blog. has pretty much dissected John Kerry’s recent “head in the clouds” comments about the Israel-Palestine conflict.  In essence Kerry, while visiting Turkey,  nonsensically said that fixing this festering decades-long Middle East conflict is a precursor to solving the growing world-wide Islamic extremism issue. Read Bigelow’s reasoning here in this Breitbart Posting.  

In his typical pontificating manner, our Secretary of State has re-iterated what is essentially the Obama administration’s implicit policy toward Israel (despite his protestations to the contrary when Obama recently visited there.)  This policy (as demonstrated by the President’s actions and not his words) is, “Israel is the roadblock to peace there and will need to relent and retreat if a “two-state solution” is ever to occur between Israel and the Palestine Authority.”

Kerry is extending this naive and simplistic solution outward to what is the very complicated and grave problem … that of Islam’s reawakened quest for a world-wide caliphate.  Unfortunately, this is the kind of simplistic thinking in which our State Department all too often dabbles.  But then, what can we expect from a man who has repeatedly condemned his own country on the world stage.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Maggie


Margaret Thatcher, the Iron Lady of Great Britain, died today from a stroke at the age of 87.  I hope she doesn't need any further introduction since her great deeds have been all over the media today.  But I would like to relate one vignette that I heard about her this morning.  It seems that, toward the end of her tenure as the British Prime Minister, she and her Cabinet Ministers were a bit at odds.  (They eventually turned against her and brought her down.) Anyway they were all having dinner together one night at a London restaurant and the waiter asked Mrs. Thatcher what she wanted.  She replied, "I'll have steak."  The waiter then asked, "What about the vegetables?"  With that, she waved the back of her hand toward the other Cabinet diners and said, "They'll have steak too."

Afterward: Mark Steyn has a tribute to the Maggie HERE.  It is really worth a read.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Mr. Pushy



Senator Chuck Schumer is playing the bully … stating that he hopes that the “Gang of Eight” immigration bill would be ready by the end of this week and quickly come to a vote (see: Breitbart Story).  However, Senator Marco Rubio’s schedule is quite a bit slower.  He thinks that hearings on what is being proposed should come first … with considerable public debate … with a Senate vote to occur sometime in the fall (see: Powerline Story).  Quite a difference!

I think Schumer has concluded that he has rolled the two liberal Republicans of the gang, Batman, Senator John McCain, and Robin, Senator Lindsey Graham … and that Rubio will have to follow the lead of this Daring Duo.  “Not so fast Batman!" ... if Marco Rubio has any hope of Presidential aspirations in 2016 he must stick by his guns now and cause the more conservative Senate Republicans to insist on substantive Senate hearings and a full public review process.  If however he can’t pull this off and is pushed to the sidelines by Schumer, he, I'm sorry to say, will be toast. 

If, on the other hand, Senator Rubio can engage the American public in this process and air all the thorny issues thoroughly, then it will be President Obama who will be backed into a corner with his veto threat.  Senator Rubio … please look on this as your San Juan hill … so to speak.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Testy Taster



A while back I wrote a blog entry about how President Obama couldn’t eat a lobster roll at a Republican lunch because he didn’t have his “taster” with him (see: Taster).  Since then I’ve got to thinking about what a strange and interesting job this would be. Imagine an employment where you are only considered useful when you keel over from strychnine poisoning? How about your year-end review? … “You didn’t find any poison … you will need to try harder next year.”  How is such a job recruited … by an ad on Craig’s List … or in the Pyongyang Daily?  Or perhaps it's that Secret Service schlub who was caught with the hooker down in Columbia … is he being forced into this duty?

How can a “taster” be identified … by a chef’s hat or perhaps carrying a big spoon?  What kind of benefits does it offer … particularly death benefits?  Why can’t this taster be some kind of scientist who performs a quick series of chemical tests on the meal in question?  Why must he/she actually swallow stuff?  This must be a pretty testy person who has to taste the President’s food.  Yes, he/she get to savor some pretty fancy vituals … until it’s over.  Then you can’t even write a tell-all best-seller book and retire.  Talk about your demeaning occupations … this has to be below flipping burgers … or even being our Secretary of State.

This whole thing smacks of a royal court … which our Presidency is resembling more and more.  Where are the jesters, the acrobats, the motley fool?  Oh, yes, we have Joe Biden ...

Friday, April 05, 2013

Tooting Our Horns



A liberal friend of mine, Bill Miller, has, surprisingly, been a global-warming denier for years (as have I).  But now that evidence is mounting to support what has been his unpopular position, he is (rightfully) tooting his horn ... as am I.  He, in the last week, has sent me three references supporting his position … the more important of which was from The Economist (see: This Economist Link).  But, to me, the more scientific arguments and data were contained in this Friends of Science piece (see: This Friends of Science Link)

For those of you who are still convinced that carbon dioxide will be the bane of man’s existence here on Earth … even after reading these two references, I can only offer that you should go back and peruse Thomas Malthus’s or Paul Ehrlich’s predictions of doom and gloom.  Yes, at some point one of these Chicken Little's is going to be right, but it appears that Al Gore has whiffed on his hysterical CO2 predictions … and will take his place in history beside these other two charlatans.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Doorstop Stupid



Here we go again!  

OK … What does it take to teach big-government Democrats to stop messing with the private sector.  Didn’t the Barney Frank/Chris Dodd malfeasance that brought on the sub-prime mortgage debacle in 2008 teach us anything?  Apparently not … for the Obama administration is, inexplicably, trodding this same primrose path once again … urging banks to expand their mortgage lending to more people with questionable credit histories (see: Washington Post Story).

Perhaps this is part of a grand strategy on their part to keep our economy continually off balance?  Or maybe, they are just doorstop stupid?  That's it ... that has to be it!

Inclement Weather


When I was younger, I was understandably much more liberal than I am now … I was starry-eyed and naive.  But I am still a little too old to have been a war-protesting, free-loving, acid-dropping, draft-resisting, Woodstock-attending, tie-dye-wearing, radicalized hippy … like many of our influential politicians and popular entertainers of today.  Take Robert Redford for instance … he apparently is trying to recapture his youth in a bottle by making a soon-to-be-celebrated ultra-left movie called The Company You Keep … see: Michelle Malkin Post. This movie lionizes a fictionalized terrorist killer from the Weather Underground, the organization of President Obama’s "neighbor," Bill Ayers.  

Ayers founded this gang of anarchist thugs in the 1960’s ... bombed the Capitol and the Pentagon … got away scott free … and now is polluting the young minds of this country with his radical ideas … see:  Powerline Blog.  To see a scrubbed biography of Bill Ayers please reference: Biography.com.  During his 2008 campaign, Obama used this dismissive “neighbor” term ... with his typical disarming aplomb ... to describe Ayers.  But this Fletcher's Castoria blog post, hopefully, will help you see through this audacious mendacity.

I can think of few Americans more repugnant to me than Bill Ayers and his wife, Bernardine Dohrn (… possibly Jane Fonda).  But a while back I found the following reference which, to me, explains a lot about Barack Obama’s well-shrouded youth and how he had been mentored through his formative years and put on a path to the White House … and how this was all connected to that “neighbor” and person he “barely knew,” Bill Ayers … see: WND Story .  

If you have read this reference and believe that it has a ring of truth, then I suggest you peruse a more strongly worded synopsis of the Obama-Ayers connection … see: "Before It's News" Story.  Even if only half of these references are true, then it is clear how Barack Obama is not as his adoring media friends have characterized him.  In fact, a gigantic political fraud would have been perpetuated on the American public.  I really wish I could live another twenty years ... so that I might read the more reflective and documented histories of the apparent sham we are currently experiencing.  But alas, this is not to be.

Perhaps Barack Obama’s book (ghost-written by Bill Ayers?) that helped him win the White House should have been titled, The Audacity of Audacity?

Afterward:  Here is an interesting piece on Kathy Boudin, another of the original Weather Underground and convicted felon ... whose son Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn raised while she was in prison ... see: Breitbart Piece

Monday, April 01, 2013

Inside Information



Did you ever wonder why go-getters go into government?  It generally isn’t to “serve the public” as they often profess.  Plain and simple, it is to get wealthy.  And the way that they get wealthy is most often with inside information.  Yes, yes I know that private-sector people go to jail or pay big fines for trading in tidbits of data that the rest of us don’t have access to (see: Bloomberg Story ), but just look at the number of millionaires who are in Congress ... many of whom were relative paupers before they went to Washington.  As a perfect example of such unfair leverage, just recently the President of Cyprus transferred millions of Euros out of his country right before the banks were shut down and depositors lost large chunks of their savings … see: Intellihub Story

Remember John F. Kennedy buying a lifetime’s worth of Cuban cigars just before he imposed an embargo on that country?  This vignette is chuckled about now but it is representative of the type of advantage insiders in government have.  It was just last summer that Congress passed a revised law that forbade its membership from trading on privileged information that they picked up during their closed-door sessions … see: CNN Story.  However, the ACLU and this country’s judiciary seems to be rolling back even this sensible law … see: Jurist Story .

When I was a callow youth I was a investment analyst on Wall Street and, thus, I have seen from the inside what being in the catbird seat can do for one’s bank account.  I had to live under very strict guidelines vis-à-vis insider trading, yet learned that there was quite a bit of slew still in these restrictions.  I also quickly learned to ignore whispered tips that I often received ... for they often were given to benefit the tipster and not myself.  But what I did learn was to pay attention to was that flash of fear that crossed the eyes of a CEO when I asked about his company’s outlook … or the overcrowded parking lot of a company which was expecting a current boom to continue indefinitely.  Insider information very often is an elusive concept.

I still remember one of my fellow analysts asking if another analyst thought that XYZ company was a good buy.  The reply he got was, “Well if Arnie Mankowitz’s (our economist) GNP forecast is correct …”  To which he got this terse reply, “Forget Arnie Mankowitz’s forecast, this is real money!”

Afterward: See how the insider trading law has been eviscerated here: Breitbart Story