Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Surf's Up

Never being one to resist an opportunity to criticize Barack Obama I note that he has just decreed that many previously classified government documents shall be open to public scrutiny ... even over any objection by our intelligence community. See: Classless Declassifying

Our ever alert administration in its war on "overseas contingency operations" (as exemplified by its surf's-up response to Al-Qaeda's recent attempt to take down a Detroit-bound airliner) has once again softened our country's defense posture (need I list here all their linguine-spined, knuckle-headed moves?). The question I have is (actually its a question my wife had this AM when we heard this news on "Morning Joe") -- Does this declassification by Obama also apply to the thousands of pages of text of our new health-care legislation?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ye Olde ...

My 50th college reunion is coming up and one of the ideas to entertain us crotchety old men is to publish a list of things that weren't around when we were pea-green freshmen -- personal computers, GPS systems, etc. I, on the other hand, believe that an equally entertaining compendium would be those things that were there then but now are missing. So, I have attempted to recall a number of them in hopes readers will follow suit. Basically, the game is to list things that were commonplace in the 1950's but are now not to be (or at least rare).
Here goes: dial phones, Blatz beer, crinolines, white-wall tires, canasta, Uncle Miltie, Ipana toothpaste, women's girdles, the Rhinegold girl, rabbit-ear antennas, statesmen politicians, the "Hit Parade", real silver U.S. coins, seamed stockings, portable typewriters, S&H green stamps, necker knobs on steering wheels, motor scooters, belt-in-the-back chinos, DUZ ("does everything"), 45/78 vinyl records, white-buck shoes, radio soap operas ("Portia Faces Life"), "Gunsmoke", Vitalis hair tonic

What do you reminisce about?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas ...


or the Holiday of your choice.
(Painting by Grandma Moses)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Snow-Bound

"Within our beds awhile we heard
The wind that round the gables roared,
With now and then a ruder shock,
Which made our very bedsteads rock.
We heard the loosened clapboards tost,
The board-nails snapping in the frost;
And on us through the unplastered wall,
Felt the light sifted snowflakes fall.
But sleep stole on, as sleep will do
When hearts are light and life is new;
Faint and more faint the murmurs grew,
Till in the summer-land of dreams
They softened to the sound of streams,
Low stir of leaves and dip of oars,
And lapsing waves on quiet shores."

John Greenleaf Whittier

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Pity Citi

Citigroup has just been granted a $18 billion tax break by the IRS (Treasury Dept.) in order that it might repay its TARP loan with a massively reduced tax liability. See Citi Tax Break. Now the fact that Tim Geithner is the Secretary of the Treasury (and an admitted personal tax cheat) and is a long-time protege of Robert Rubin who is attached at the waist with Citigroup (a former Chairman of the Board) and picked Geithner for his job has nothing to do with this Treasury travesty. Basically it appears to this blogger that our government is effectively giving Citigroup money so that it then can turn around and give it back while at the same time eliminating much of its TARP liability. This is absolute BS with a capital "B.S." When are we, as those wimps electing these political poltroons, going to rise up and say "NO"? Geithner should not only not enjoy his august status in Washington, but he should be the first prisoner in that high-security prison that our other corrupt Washington pols are buying in Illinois (co-incidence) to house the Gitmo prisoners.

What is even more gratingly hilarious is that the current Chairman of Citigroup, Richard Parsons, just stiffed Barack Obama (along with the heads of Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley) when they were supposed to meet with Obama in the Oval Office to discuss increasing loans to small businesses. And Geithner's allowing Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to become "banks" as opposed to investment banks is another of his mortal sins. As a result, both Morgan and Goldman can now borrow money from the New York Federal Reserve (which Geithner previously ran) at effectively no cost ... and then turn around and speculate in the Credit Default Swap and Interest Rate Swap markets with this ill-gotten pelf (as opposed to giving loans to businesses). I want to throw up.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Gate-Crashing-Gate

All the TV networks, cable shows, and the print media are currently obsessed with the White House gate crashing of the Salahis into Obama's first state dinner ... these "15-minute-of-famers" were on the Today Show this morning spinning their self-serving scenario. Other than the apparent lapse in Secret Service security surrounding the President, I find this another preposterous non-story story. Why does our country relish such cotton-candy events with such fascination when there are so many other under-reported and under-analyzed earth-changing events taking place? -- Iran's nuclear ambitions, Climate-gate, the Afghanistan surge, 10%+ unemployment, huge federal deficits, the growing mortgage crisis, Eric Holder's boners (terrorist's NYC trial, continued funding of ACORN, etc.), Charlie Rangel's malfeasance, and so on.

We Americans need very much to get our heads screw on properly and re-prioritize our need-to-know news interests.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

CRU Cut

"CRU" stands for Climate Research Unit at East Anglia University in England which has been the wellspring of much of the "research" done on global warming. Recently, its computers were hacked by party or parties unknown and 156 megabytes if embarrassing information (e-mails and computer programs among others) were posted on a Russian server. At first, there was much focus on the e-mails (see: UK Telegraph) which displayed a decidedly non-scientific approach to this subject ... exhibiting hubris, obfuscation, mendacity, and cold-heartedness. But soon thereafter, more damaging information came to light as people started sifting through the programmer's code comments (see: Climategate).

Now, having been painted into a corner, the CRU critters have decided to make public the data that was used to arrive at their world-wrenching conclusions about man-made global warming. They should also come clean on any and all of the processes they used to arrive at their results along with the statistical details of their regression models (goodness of fit measures, etc.). We should then see if their results are reproducible by acolytes and skeptics alike. I personally think that there are a lot more things that make the world's temperature go up and down ... many, I believe, much more consequential than CO2. The fact that "man-made" CO2 has become the political focus of the "climate-change" worrywarts is, I believe, another "Madness of Crowds" canard. Man, as it turns out, has a very small effect on CO2 levels ... see this rather old but revealing reference: Man's Effect)

These revelations have hopefully brought about a hiatus ... one that should cause us all to step away from the groupthink that now prevails and which has carried the world's political lemmings to dangerous economic conclusions ... until such time as we know better scientific truths (if in our lifetimes).

Saturday, November 14, 2009

O-bow-ma


I'm oh so very sorry about Hiroshima ...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Deficit Hawk

What is $400 billion between friends? Recently, in this blog, I reported that the federal deficit for fiscal 2009 was $1.4 trillion. Well, I was wrong. Bernie Madoff has nothing on the U.S. Treasury Department when it comes to financial shenanigans. It turns out that our country's real deficit is closer to $1.8 trillion ... see The Real Deal. This was because our Government is treating bail-out funds as though they are not money down a rat hole ... kinda like the way Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, et alii dealt with all their "investments" in Credit Default Swaps. This is not just irresponsible, I think it may well be criminal. If Geithner can't figure out his personal income taxes, how can we expect him to keep our federal finances straight? I predict that Obama, on his up-coming visit to China, might have to bob and weave through this deficit legerdemain over his King Pao chicken.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

O-bomb-a

- Unemployment at 10.2%
- 2009 deficit at $1.88 trillion
- $820+ billion of stimulus down a rat hole
- Dithering on Afghanistan military policy
- Profligate government spending
- Ultra-liberal White House inner circle (czars)
- Increasing domestic terrorism
- Multitude of proposed higher taxes
- Deteriorating Iraqi situation
- Russia/Iran nuclear kiss-up ... producing nada
- Guantanamo terrorist prisoner fiasco
- Independent uncovering of ACORN's festering corruption
- Inept response to vast Midwest flooding and power outages
- Trillions of dollars of pork to financial institutions
- Screwing Poland and the Czech Republic on missile defense
- World speaking tours to poor-mouth the U.S.
- Tepid support of Iranian election protesters
- Attempted government takeover of healthcare
- Nationalization of 2/3rds of the U.S. auto industry
- Total lack of promised administrative transparency
- Amateurish delays in delivering H1/N1 flu vaccine
- Support of a constitutionally-deposed Honduran despot
- White House usurping control of the 2010 census
- Attacks on the non-liberal media (Fox News, Rush Limbaugh)
- Cambridge police "acted stupidly" comment

All in just ten months. Did I miss any?

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Hobson's Choice


He's alive (and not talking)! Now to find out what's what (accomplices, foreign contacts, future plans, etc.), should it be water-boarding or a polite and giggly interview on David Letterman?

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Red Roof Inn

In the nine months since Barack Obama has been our President there have obviously been quite a number of visitors to the White House. Recently, the list of said guests has been released and it contains some interesting tidbits. The Drudge Report mentioned George Clooney, George Soros and Oprah. See: Visitor Records.

I however found a few even more interesting names (number of visits is in parens after the name.) They are Angela Davis (2), Bill Ayers (2), Jesse Jackson (6), Michael Moore (8), Al Sharpton (2), George Soros (4), and Jeremiah Wright (1). (The actor, Will Smith, was there an astounding 33 times. Is there a movie in the offing?) Nor does this list contain many other names ... excluded because of security or first-family privacy purposes. And it is not clear (perhaps purposely so) what all these visits involved or whom was met. However, in every case the leaving time was 11:59 PM which suggests to me that these were overnight stays. I'm sure more on this will come out over the ensuing days in the NY Times and Boston Globe.

Perhaps we should change the name of the White House to the Red Roof Inn?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Flu Fleecers

Walgreens and CVS are selling seasonal flu shots for around $30 a pop ... and this program has proved so popular that both store chains are running out of flu vaccine (and their stock prices are moving up). See: Flu Vaccine Shortage. The purpose of my comments here is to chastise Walgreens and CVS for their sleight-of-hand in offering this program during the public panic about the H1N1 flu outbreak. These drugstores do not make it abundantly clear that these flu shots do not protect recipients against the "swine flu". I conjecture that the vast majority of the public sheep who are getting these seasonal flu shots do not realize that they are not protected against the H1N1 virus and that the vaccine against this strain of the flu virus will not be available to the general public for at least one month.

Also many of these ovines could get this very same seasonal flu shot at their workplaces, HMOs, local community clinics. or fraternal organizations for free. I welcome readers to watch these drug store's ads on TV or read their road signs and find an explicit caveat emptor that these flu shots do not protect against the swine flu. These stores may reveal this fact to those Babbitts in line to be vaccinated ... but, by then, it may to be too late. The Walgreen and CVS Judas goats have already lead these sheep into spending their $30 for something that they think they are getting ... but are not.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Nobly Nobel

In the proud tradition of Jimmy Carter, Mohamed El-Baradei, Al Gore, Kofi Annan, and Yasser Arafat. For more names and irrationales see: Powerline's Take

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Horns of a Dilemma

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has just scored the latest Baucus Senate health-care bill and said that it would be revenue neutral -- producing a $81 billion return to the Treasury over a ten year period. This has been a requirement that Obama has imposed on any health-care reform plan ... otherwise he would not sign the bill. However, the CBO also included in its calculations a $404 billion cut to Medicare benefits over this same period (see: Medicare Cuts) -- something else that Obama has vowed to oppose in a well-publicized AARP meeting (see: Obama Vows No Cuts).

So Obama is now on the horns of a dilemma. Does he, with the help of the main stream media, ignore these draconian Medicare cuts hoping that AARP and the U.S. public will not focus on this fiscal slight-of-hand (in my Google search I could find only one news article that even mentioned these Medicare cuts -- the Wall Street Journal)? Or does he refuse to sign the Baucus bill and keep his promise to America's seniors? And, even more interestingly, does AARP campaign against the Baucus bill, pointing out how its membership will bear much of the burden of health-insuring an additional 21 million non-elderly Americans? I think I know how this story will progress ... how about you?

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Rush to Judgment

I am frequently derided for listening to Rush Limbaugh ... often by my blog readers. Even my wife makes me switch stations on the car radio if Rush is on. However, looking past Rush's ego and bombast, almost every day I get a novel insight from his talk-show commentary. For instance today he opened his show by pointing out how the government (including Obama) is now saying that Al-Qaeda has been substantially weakened even to the point where they are no longer a factor in Afghanistan ... see: Obama disses Al-Qaeda.

Rush, in an ah-ha moment, perceptively pointed out that, as little as nine months ago, the main-stream-media, Congressional Democrats, Eleanor Clift, and Obama were continuously and vociferously pointing out that the U.S. invasion of Iraq, our Enhanced Interrogation Techniques (aka, torture) and our Guantanamo prison were the best recruiting tools that Al-Qaeda has ever had ... thousands upon thousands of Islamic youth were flocking to sign up for their amorous date with those seventy-two virgins. Excuse me, you can't have it both ways my little-furry-friends-who-follow-each-other-into-the-North-sea. Either the Bush administration was right in fighting Islamic terrorism the way it did ... or Obama is talking up his sleeve when he says Al-Qaeda is on life support (perhaps to grease the way for his capitulation in Afghanistan?)

Friday, September 25, 2009

President Pantywaist

President Obama is acquiring a new nickname (as indicated) and, to me, this is not inappropriate. This morning he, with his typical cool, measured terms, spoke in Pittsburgh at the G20 meeting indicating that Iran has been building a secret second nuclear enrichment facility in direct violation on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Agreement. His requested action item was that Iran needs to allow the UN's IAEA to inspect this facility in the near future. However he did not threaten additional near-term sanctions against Iran ... as did France's Sarkozy in more bellicose comments that followed Obama's. The informative moment in this revelation is that the U.S. has known for almost two years about the construction of this facility and, I'm sure Obama has also been informed of this for at least nine months.

Wow! Even with knowledge of this duplicity, Obama has still cozied up to Iran by his willingness to meet with them without preconditions ... and to wait days before he condemned, in the mildest terms, Iran's national election farce and its subsequent brutal crushing of the Iranian public demonstrations over the results. And he has canceled our stationing of anti-missile defenses in Eastern Europe much to Iran's glee. Obama's clearly new Downey-soft approach to international relations has, so far, produced little national benefit ... other than blown kisses to Obama from a raft of European appeasers. To me, Obama needs to cowboy up and start pursuing with more vigor the U.S.'s national interests ... even if this risks his rock-star image abroad.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Swinging Gates

I have held Robert Gates to be one of President Obama's better Secretarial appointments. He was a Bush holdover who had done yeoman service under our previous President. He had overseen the successful Surge Strategy in Iraq and he seemed to be a straight shooter when it came to his congressional testimony over the Defense Department's budget appropriations. He often suggested the scrapping of wasteful defense systems that were nothing more than Congressional pork. But over the last week my approbation for Gates is rapidly turning to aversion.

Firstly, Gates shaded the facts surrounding Obama's decision to cut the legs out from under Poland and the Czech Republic over our commitment to install a missile defense shield on their territory. Gates's biggest fib was that Iran did not have a credible long-range missile capability. He conveniently overlooked the fact that Iran sent a satellite into space this past winter ... see Iran Space Shot. If Iran can boost a satellite into space, it can surely send an equivalent payload anywhere in the world.

Secondly, Gates is now rationalizing Obama's decision not to decide on whether to send more troops to Afghanistan. If General McChrystal says he needs 40,000 more troops, Obama should either supply them or shut down the Afghan mission altogether. Obama's excuse for shushing McChrystal is that he wants to re-think his Afghan strategy (which he claimed he had decided last March). Obama's vacillating on this strategy in Afghanistan, after nine months in office, is, to me, unforgivable. We have service people losing their lives in this country with the potential that these sacrifices might well be in vain.

Step up Mr. Gates ... and encourage your boss to do his job one.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Maxi Shield


NOT!
The U.S. has once again dissed our friends to cuddle up to our antagonists. See: no missile defense. Eastern Europe (in particular Poland and the Czech Republic) have been left hanging out to dry by President Obama so he can appear to "change" the dynamics of the re-emerging cool war. He is canceling what was our former guarantee of an antimissile shield for these oft-trodden-upon countries ... so much for the word of an erstwhile great nation.
"New Europe," as Chaney dubbed them, is once again being kicked to the curb and is even more at the mercy of Putin's Russia and its retaliatory squeezing of natural gas and oil supplies. The old Warsaw Pact bloc has put its head on the block for us only to have it chopped off. They surely will be diminished even more now that they have been cut loose by our great appeaser in the "hope" of some will-o-the-wisp future help from the Big Bad Bear in taming Iran. This is head-hanging shameful on our part and, I predict, will not bring any of the expected benefit. But then again the American public did vote last year for "hope" and "change."

Friday, September 04, 2009

Bad Sports


Being that we now seem to be moving toward remaking the foundations of our society, I have another radical idea -- let's eliminate all professional sports. One has to admit that, in the United States, professional sports waste a lot of our spare time, use up much of our discretionary finances and sap our emotional reserves. These sports promote too many muscle-bound doofuses into positions of idolatry, encourage stupid superstitions and corrosive gambling, and fill the airways with meaningless sophistry and statistics from ex-jocks and jock sniffers. Plus, what were our erstwhile worthwhile amateur sports are rapidly transmogrifying themselves into big-money businesses. College coaches are now making multi-millions and more athletes are moving directly from high school into the professional ranks.
Therefore, I can see no real social benefit from our obsessions with these meaningless distractions ... perhaps other than they are oodles of fun and give men a reason to shirk their weekend chores.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

California Is Burning

It seems that every year now we have ruinous wildfires in California causing hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars of property damage, untold firefighting expense from a state that can ill afford it, and often the tragic loss of human life. Why is this? Because there seems to be little if any effective anticipatory actions on the part of state and local governments. I have got to believe that this state has the knowledge, technology and the wherewithal to, during the off-seasons, cut back all the tinderbox underbrush in residential areas, establish early-warning fire-alarm stations, pre-stage fire retardant and water reservoirs, plant fire-resistant plants, pre-cut critical fire-breaks, and develop building/zoning codes that would ameliorate possible property losses and human suffering. If any of these actions are being done now, they are clearly not enough.

All this work could be done with a little government gumption ... and by utilizing out-of-work able-bodied men and women (many already on the public dole), making use of all the off-season fire-fighters, even conscripting many of California's street-gang members and convicts (much like Ho Chi Min conscripted the prostitutes in Hanoi to become public-health nurses.) I realize that this would be all too logical for this feel-good, manana-loving society ... but then again, it would be more practical and a lot cheaper than what the Governator has had to put up with each fall.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Satan with Wings

I recently spent the day listening to talk radio and the gushings of many anonymous callers extolling Ted Kennedy's virtues ("He pinned the Purple Heart on me." "He saved my ill daughters life.", "He regularly goes to church." etc.) I was actually quite taken aback by the degree of adoration shown to Edward Moore Kennedy on his passing. But, this being Massachusetts, I was not shocked. After all he was returned to the Senate seven times by the voters here. However, to balance these kudos, there are many negatives that will hound Ted Kennedy well past his interment -- he "borked" Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas; he championed the legalizing of millions of illegal immigrants in 1965; he was a bosom buddy to the despots, Hugo Chavez and Daniel Ortega; he abetted the drowning of a young lady and then lied about his actions; he sullied his Senate position with his boozing and his womanizing; he kept slicing the salami aiming toward socialized medicine, etc., etc. Despite all these failings, many in the Bay State still went aflutter as his shadow passed. He was affectionately known as the "lion of the Senate" but, as Rush Limbaugh recently said, yes, and "we were his prey."

So was he an angel or its doppelganger -- a seraph with horns or Satan with wings? Each of us will come down one one side or another of this question. But, I for one, can't bring myself to genuflect.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Wee Weed Up

Fast-growing small marijuana plants? Kindergarten slang for being upset? Wild growth of dandelions? Pissing up a rope? A room full of bed wetters? Exactly what did Barack Obama mean when he used this unfamiliar street vernacular (or, rather, scatological term), "wee weed up" see Barack Obama speaks? Didn't Jack Paar lose his job in 1960 by using the tame English bathroom term "WC' (water closet). Now, we have a President who can obliquely refer to our urinating without any repercussion. Oh, well ... if, during his campaign, he can slyly give the one-finger salute to Hillary Clinton and to John McCain without a public ripple, I guess he can insult his current opposition by questioning their bladder control.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Turnabout Is Fair Play




Obama lied,



Granny died.



Protester's sign at Obama's Portsmouth, NH town meeting on revamping health care.

Robert Frost Favored Global Warming

"Fire and Ice" by Robert Frost

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if I had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Happy Birthday


Happy Birthday dear Barry.
Happy Birthday to you.
Happy Birthday fearless leader.
Happy Birthday to you.
(kiss, kiss, kiss)
It's not Obama's 44th. It's his 48th.
Or is it? Maybe we need to see his birth certificate?

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Big Brother ...

Be afraid. Be very afraid. The following is from the official White House website:

"There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can't keep track of all of them here at the White House, we're asking you for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to flag@whitehouse.gov."

If this doesn't send a chill up your spine, you are not alive.

Cash for Clunkers

One obvious effect of the government getting involved in free enterprise is run-away price inflation. Over the last twenty years the three areas of our economy that have experienced the greatest price increases have been higher education, real estate, and medicine -- all three areas where the government has insinuated itself to "help" things out.

In higher education, easy-to-get student loans, government scholarships, and faculty research grants have fattened to coffers of colleges and universities while at the same time caused tuitions and fees to skyrocket. The (previous) rapid increase in home prices can be directly attributed to the $500,000 family exclusion of capital gains tax on primary residence sales and the government's coercion of banks to finance mortgages to sub-prime borrowers. And, in health care, the tax-deductibility of company-paid health insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, and government-guaranteed health care to all Americans has also caused this sector of our economy to experience escalating costs far beyond the Consumer Price Index.

Now the government is pumping the new car sales market with its $4,500 "cash-for-clunkers" program. After quickly running through the first one billion of our grandchildren's money to pay for this feel-good program, Congress is ready to ante up another $2,0o0,000,000. And I predict that this will not be the end of such give-aways. Surely, our Washington solons will try to buy their way back into to office next year by continuing to pour money into this program. With what results? I safely predict that, before too long, automobile companies and dealers will increase the prices of their cars to sop up every last cent of this government largess ... creating yet another sector of our economy with out-of-control price inflation. Enough!! Let's all go back and read "Atlas Shrugged."

Monday, August 03, 2009

Revered to Reviled

Are talk radio and cable TV causing our nation to spin, once again, out of control? Have we forever lost all sense of decorum? With such mania do we effectively give the rest of the world the go-ahead to disrespect us ... at the same time they look to us to solve their problems? What is it in our national psyche that causes us to demonize our Presidents shortly after they take office? I, myself, am surely just as guilty as these image makers. And yet I am not too contrite about it. I have been annealed in the oven of "take-no-prisoners" politics. Yet, still I feel a tiny bit guilty for being so partisan.

Or are such images legitimate political commentary for which a cure isn't necessary?

Friday, July 31, 2009

Talk About Racial Profiling


Come on Dog Days


With all this cool weather and rain I am looking forward to the dog days of summer ... and my lawn burning out.

A Global-Warming Denier

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pride and Prejudice


To exhibit prejudice one must "pre-judge" situations or people. Prejudice is not the forming of some generalizations after observing "n" people or situations. One can and does naturally form stereotypes in ones mind through our life experiences. This is often characterized by the unthinking as prejudice. But what is true prejudice is when one applies such a stereotype in the n+1st case. This is what is unfair and biased.
Now suppose that you have seen many rowdy English soccer fans on TV and conclude that English soccer fans tend to be hooligans, even dangerous. Then suppose next you meet an English soccer fan on a London bus. Can you assume that this individual should be avoided at all cost? Unless there is other damming evidence, I would clearly say "no" as this is exhibiting prejudice.

Now, last night President Obama made two unfortunate observations about the Cambridge police officer (Sgt. Crowley) who arrested Professor Henry Louis Gates in the contra temps at the Professor's home last week. Obama first said, "without knowing all the facts," that this police officer "acted stupidly". This may or may not have been the case. Certainly, he could have been a tad more diplomatic. But then Obama went on to say that there is a long history of blacks and Latinos being profiled by the police in this country ... implying that Sgt. Crowley was also profiling Professor Gates because he is black. I do believe that profiling probably does exist in this country to whatever degree (probably diminishing).

But President Obama's comment was clearly prejudicial because he applied what may have been his valid generalization to this n+1st case "without knowing all the facts." This is not the kind of nuanced behavior one expects to see in our President.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Health-care Rx


I'm beginning to believe (no, I know) that Congress and this administration are a bunch of doofuses ... witness their (independent of their political party) feeble and/or self-serving attempts to solve our health-care costs problem. First, I have an issue with the premise that our medical costs are "spiraling out of control." Fifteen years ago national heath-care costs represented 14% of GNP and today they are just over 17% of GNP. Wow!! Let's destroy our economy and our way of life for a three percentage point growth in health care costs over fifteen years.

But, OK, I will concede that we can't let this trend continue forever and therefore the major thrust of "health-care reform" should be cost containment and (hopefully) rollback ... not expanded standard health-care insurance coverage (which, by the fact that it inserts a government middleman into the existing process, is sure to be more expensive.)

There seems to me a number of obvious solutions for containing or reducing the cost of health care in this country:

1) Eliminate emergency room (E.R.) health care -- indigent outpatient clinics need to be opened in hospitals with appointments required, a minimum payment requirement (say $20?), and reasonable Medicare/Medicaid reimbursements. (This is the way it was 50 years ago.) Non-emergency medical treatment should not be permitted in E.R.s.

2) Tort reform -- today many doctors pay hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in medical malpractice insurance. This money must be made up in patient fees and, often, in dubious other practices (non-required tests) which compromise the integrity of many medical practitioners. We also need to eliminate lawyers' advertising on TV (which once was the case prior to the tsunami of litigious medical bonanzas, such as John Edwards reveled in)

3) Pooled major-medical insurance -- there should be made available a centralized comprehensive major-medical insurance provider separated from standard medical insurance. It can be private (preferred) or public, but should be so large as to spread the risk of medical catastrophes over virtually the entire population of this country. It would be available for individuals to purchase, but HMOs and other health insurance companies could re-insure through this entity (at a cheaper cost) the major-medical portion of their existing coverage.

4) Huge pooled drug purchasing at cheaper prices -- separated from normal medical insurance. Can be done privately (preferred) or publicly (like the current Medicare/Medicaid drug offerings). HMOs and other health insurance companies could take advantage of this consortium to reduce the drug purchasing costs of their health coverage. We should also eliminate all prescribed-drug ads on television (like it used to be). This would help reduce the cost of drug marketing to the pharmaceutical companies which might help offset the gross margin pressure forced by the cheaper prices engendered by this pooled purchasing.

5) No elective medical procedures should be paid for by health insurance companies. The cost of such things a liposuction, breast augmentation, etc. should be entirely borne by the recipient. This would cut back on many of these self-indulgent medical costs.

6) More program options for standard (non-major) medical insurance coverage. Families of two person (such as retired couples) should not be forced into a "family" category with young married couples with higher premiums than are justified.

7) Cutoffs for the tax-deductibility of gold-plated medical insurance premiums -- companies (and government entities such as Congress) should not provide (and pay for) employees tax-deductible health insurance whose premiums exceed a maximum level (say $20,000 per year per family). Those plans exceeding that level would incur a tax liability to the recipient

8) Eliminate from Medicaid and Medicare coverage the following groups -- prisoners (2.3 million), illegal immigrants (12 million), Americans living abroad (6.6 million), and millionaires (40,000).
9) All non-major-medical doctor or hospital visits and prescription drugs that are covered by standard medical insurance should have a co-pay of at least 5% of the cost to the provider. This would encourage better economic decision-making (such as switching to generic drugs and eschewing non-required tests) on the part of insured recipients.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

R.I.P.


Of the two famous brothers, Frank McCourt, the kindly teacher, patient mentor and compelling storyteller, and Malachy McCourt, the irascible blaggard, gold smuggler and unrepentant Communist, it was Frank who had to run out of oxygen first. Such is the pathos and fickleness of the Irish experience.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Sotomayor Snippet


Yesterday, on a local talk show, a sincere-sounding woman called in with some first-hand experiences with Judge Sonia Sotomayor. I realize that her comments are anecdotal, but, to me, they struck home given what we already know about the judge.
It seems that this caller was, at one time, a federal prosecutor and had to argue a case in front of Judge Sotomayor. She was warned ahead of time by her compatriots that this judge was not easy on government prosecutors (usually favoring the plaintiff). Quite to the contrary, this prosecutor (with a Hispanic if not Puerto-Rican-sounding surname) was treated quite deferentially by Judge Sotomayor and prevailed in most of her points.
At the end of the day, in an unusual move, Judge Sotomayor called this lawyer to her bench and asked her quietly if she were Puerto Rican. This woman responded that no, this was her married name as her husband was Puerto Rican. After this exchange, Judge Sotomayor's demeanor changed 180 degrees and, in all future arguments in front of her, this prosecutor received the treatment she was originally expecting.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Ayatollah is a Neocon?

Zbigniew Brzezinski was on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” for about the twentieth time since his daughter Mika took over as co-host (with Joe Scarborough). As always, he opined mainly about world geopolitics concentrating on, or course, Iran. During this pedantic pontificating he labeled the Ayatollah (or, as Obama calls him, "Supreme Leader") and his henchmen as “Iranian neocons” … not just once but numerous times. This sly semantics of the left unfortunately went unchallenged by the former Republican Representative from Florida, Joe Scarborough, and, more understandingly, the rest of this show’s mostly left-leaning talking heads (including Boston's erstwhile plagiarist, Mike Barnicle). Now, if the MSNBCers can get away with this linguistic slight-of-hand once, they will surely try to drum this notion into the heads of the few thousand viewers that they draw to their other left-wing propaganda podia-ists – Chris Mathews, Rachel Maddow, and Keith Olbermann. I also predict that we will eventually see this smear hung on the neocons by network television, CNN, and most of the print media. Now, here are the things that an alert Joe Scarborough should have said the first time Zbigniew uttered this insidious affront:

- our neocons did not impose a religious agenda on the U.S.
- our neocons did not brutally repress political speech or civilian assembly
- our neocons were freely elected … not governing as a result of a political coup
- our neocons had no private army (such as Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and the Quds)
- our neocons did not censor the media nor exile foreign correspondents
- our neocons did not sponsor worldwide terrorist activity
- our neocons did not threaten to annihilate Israel (or even the Axis of Evil)
- as far as I know, our neocons did not murder their political enemies

Finally, one should always remember that Zbigniew Brzezinski was our National Security Advisor under Jimmy Carter … when we made such a dog’s breakfast out of our relations with Iran. He just might still have a hidden-agenda reason to deflect criticism from his own historic failings.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

See No Evil

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has killed a domestic spy satellite program that would have been used ”to provided federal, state and local officials with extensive access to spy-satellite imagery — but no eavesdropping capabilities— to assist with emergency response and other domestic-security needs, such as identifying where ports or border areas are vulnerable to terrorism.” See: No Eyes in the Sky To me, this is one more indication that the Obama administration does not have our nation’s security as its top-of-mind issue. Add this to the list of other administration backtracks that reduce our nation’s ability to combat radical-Islamic terrorism:

- the announced year-end closing of Gitmo,
- the release of top-secret terrorist interrogation memos,
- the relocating al-Qaeda Uighur terrorists to Bermuda and Palau,
- the reading of Miranda-rights to terrorists captured on the battlefields of Afghanistan,
- and Obama’s ho-hum attitude to a terrorist’s killing of an Army recruiter in Little Rock.

I wonder how much more dismantling is still to occur to the anti-terrorism battlements that were erected by the Bush administration. And this bothers me … it bothers me quite a bit.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Boondoggle Glitch

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has been quarantined in China after being exposed to the swine flu. See: Asian Boondoggle. Why do mayors and their entourages (too often including wives) indulge themselves in these obviously fake economic missions? (Boston’s mayor ,“Mumbles” Menino, has also had his share of expense-paid vacations, see Menino Italy Trip and Menino S.A. Trip ). Mayor Nagin will be out of office within the year. See: Last Days. Therefore, I suspect, any possible benefit that he can squeeze from his current boondoggle will be quickly dissipated once he is gone.

Perhaps, if the main-stream media were doing their jobs, they would grill these pols upon their return from such expensive “economic missions” to ascertain exactly what had been accomplished ... and then do follow-up stories.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Dr. Spock


Many of my dewy eyed friends, raised on Dr. Spock’s permissive, non-judgmental teachings, believe that Barack Obama has the magic formula for world peace (as demonstrated in his Cairo speech – all nations are created equal, kind words will conquer all, and nuclear weapons, especially in the hands of the U.S. are a menace.) This passivity contrasts with Ronald Reagan’s active message of “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” This difference is especially telling when one compares Obama governing style with his rhetoric. He said in Cairo (and pledged on the campaign trail) that governments should be transparent, yet the opaqueness and reach of what his regime is actually doing is stunning. He also said there that “any world order that elevates one nation over another will fail”. This is the ultimate in non-judgmental pap … and a very dangerous notion that mirrors his (and many other liberal's) knee-jerk, hate-America-first attitude. To have thought that we were no better than Germany during World War II would have eliminated any incentive for us to stop this totalitarian menace. And to think that the United States is today on an equal moral footing with North Korea is nothing more than bubble-headed sophism.

For a man, with such rhetorical gifts, to have such anti-American and deep-seated Spockian ideals is truly dangerous … particularly when he lives in the White House.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Don’t Do as I Do ...

Barack Obama was recently interviewed by the BBC in which he said, "The danger I think is when the United States or any country thinks that we can simply impose [our] values on another country with a different history and a different culture," I, for one, think this statement is exquisitely ironic considering the fact that Obama feels no compunction about imposing his far left-leaning values, born of a different culture and history, on his own nation. See: Pravda

Friday, May 15, 2009

My Hero, Jimmy Carter


Jimmy Carter has pretty much headed my manure list for quite a few years ... but this week he went a long way toward redeeming himself. He testified in front of John Kerry's Energy Committee. After a bit of typical self-engrandizement and boring side trips, he said a few things that caused me to sit up and smile:

1) He was and is in favor of the nuclear waste storage facility at Yucca Mountain
2) He is very much in favor of nuclear power plants as the chief hope in solving our future energy needs
3) When he commanded a nuclear submarine, they had to replace their nuclear fuel every few years. Now the nuclear carrier George H.W. Bush can go its entire life without replenishing its nuclear fuel. This advancement in nuclear technology bodes very well for the efficiency of any future nuclear power plants [which we may yet have the good sense to build -- my add].

I Googled for these remarks and found this article in the Washington Post by Dana Milbank. Take a gander and see if you can find this info anywhere cited ... as another example of main-stream media bias: MSM Bias

I also was visiting Los Alamos, NM this PM and discovered the following facts:
- If you live within 5 miles of a coal powered power plant, you will receive about 0.3 rems of radiation exposure per year (out of a total average exposure of about 200 rems per year)
- If you live within 5 miles of a nuclear powered power plant, you will receive only about 0.1 rems of radiation exposure per year!
- The greatest contributor of radiation exposure to the average person is medical and dental x-rays ... followed by radon gas.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

It’s Easy Being Green

Kermit the frog was wrong. It’s easy (and profitable) being green. Witness the $75,000 fee that Tom Friedman of the NY Times pulled down for spouting the Gore text recently in San Francisco. See: Green Fee. Even Al Gore himself has turned being green into greenbacks … his speaking fees of $150,000 per sermon … his half of the $1.5 million Nobel Prize … his movie and book royalties. See: The Money Spigot. Surprisingly, the money-grubbing Clintons have had to take backstage to Gore’s post-administration greenmail juggernaut. Gore even has effortlessly transitioned from profiting from his investment in big oil (Occidental Petroleum) to his insider dealings with the greenies. See: Gore’s Investment Portfolio

But this is just a start. There are enormous monies to be made messaging the egos of eco-friendly plutocrats who want to hide their profligate energy-consumption ways behind the purchase of carbon credits. See: Carbon Credit Scams. And climate researchers have learned that, in order to get project funding, it is more sensible to hype some new calamity that is to befall the world unless we stop spewing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. See: Science Funding. And to top this all off, governments are also desirous of fleecing this same golden sheep by imposing a cap and trade policy … basically an enormous tax on corporate and individual activities that used to be freely practiced.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Union Suit


It is perfectly natural that this country’s unions would expect favors from Barack Obama and other Democrat politicians. After all, these same unions donated over $100 million last year to get these same people elected (see: Union Donations). But the actual quid pro quo seems to me to be getting a little rich, viz:

1) In bankruptcy, Chrysler Corp. debt holders (hedge funds, etc.) have been offered by the Obama administration approximately 33 cents on the dollar of the money owed to them … whereas the United Auto Workers are to receive 100 cents on the dollar for what Chrysler owes them (see: UAW Windfall). The consequence of this government cram down (see: Cram Down) is that the UAW will end up owning about 55% of the resultant Chrysler company.

2) Obama is strongly committed to eliminating the secret ballot in voting for union shops. This is called the Employee Free Choice Act (or "Card Check") but would result in exactly the opposite since employees would be consequently coerced into voting for the union (see: Employee Coercion)

3) The current Democrat administration is in the process of rolling back union disclosure requirements that have helped to quell union corruption (see: Stopping Union Disclosure)

4) The recently-passed $787 billion Stimulus Bill (the one no one read before they voted for it) has a provision that any construction project of $25 million or more MUST go to an union shop (see: Stimulus Bill Stipulation)

And, I'm sure, many more goodies.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

ANGST!

Perhaps it is because of a need to fill the 24/7 news cycles of cable television but it seems to me that there is a growing number of stressful situations that are gripping the news reporting in this country. What once might have been a column on page B22 of the NY Times is now the hysterical lead on many internet blogs and cable TV talking-heads shows.

For instance, to mention but a few:
- Swine flu (or H1N1) -- In a normal year about 35,000 people die in this country from the flu. So far one person has died here from the Mexican swine influenza “pandemic” and yet our citizens are in a media-induced panic. Go figure.
- War in Afghanistan/Pakistan – Barack Obama has made this war a centerpiece of his '“Overseas Contingency Operation” (no longer “War on Terror”). So far we are not getting the daily casualty reports and dovish hysteria like we once did in Iraq under Bush. But I predict that, within 6-12 months, this conflict will be just as media assaulted.
- Somali pirates – This nuisance, it seems, could be wiped out with a few Predator drone strikes, but frustratingly lingers in the cable news cycle like a bad case of teenage acne.
- Banking crisis -- Since last October, this has been a headline grabber with the latest worry being the “stress test” which all banks recently passed (maybe not?).
- Unemployment – the media’s focus on the unemployment rate started under the Bush administration, but now the Labor Department's breathless monthly update has become a reason for the stock market to swoon.
- Nuclear proliferation in Iran/North Korea – The media is more than happy to go partners with Amadinajab and Kim Jong Il to keep their audiences in a perpetual state of angst over when and where these tin-hat dictators are going to drop the big one on the civilized world.
- Torture – the only thing more tortured than a water-boarded terrorist is the hypocritical rhetoric fanned by the American fourth estate.
- Disappearing U.S. auto industry – daily hand-wringing is the recipe for this naturally occurring bit of financial capitalism.
- Global warming – ‘nuf said.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Svengali


Al Gore is and has been playing a very high-stakes game … and so far has been winning (an Oscar, Nobel prize. etc.). His clarion calls for the reduction of man-made carbon emissions to stop the march of global warming, sea-level rising, and species extinctions has captured the imagination and slavish following of scientists, politicians and other na├»ve children worldwide. He, along with Barak Obama and Nancy Pelosi, have called for the elimination of all fossil fuels as the basis for our country’s energy production … to be replaced by wind, solar and other “renewables” … but, strangely, not nuclear. (One might even say that these three alarmists are quite quixotic by both literally and figuratively tilting at windmills.)

But, I am not here to argue the pros and cons of global warming but rather present some questions about Al Gore’s future emotional stability. Popular opinion in favor of man-made global warming has begun to wane in the light of increasing scientific skepticism and a willingness to question the Gore and UN dogma (see Climate Debate ). This has shifted our former Vice President and inventor of the internet into high gear. He has recently come back to his congressional playpen to pontificate some more on his emotional environmental crusade (see Gore Testifies and Alone). Now, as Al Gore sees his audience slipping away, he seems to be getting more and more frenetic (“The Earth has a fever!”) And, what will Gore do if and when his preachings about our ecological demise are finally and fully debunked? One might hope for his mental health that, like Malthus’s crackpot ideas about world over-population, this day of his reckoning does not happen until he has left this Earth … to its own self-regulating devices. At which point his place in history, IMHO, will become a very sad footnote.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day


Let's all celebrate ... like sending a recycled paper e-mail message to Al Gore.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

No Sulphur Smell Now


An enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Coast Guard

Al Sharpton has done it once again. He has called the Somali pirates a “voluntary Coast Guard”. See: Al Sharpton’s fantasy. Now, as if making up multiple media lies about Towanda Brawley, castigating the Duke University soccer team with racial invective, and standing by in 1995 while a Harlem crowd was urged to “Burn down the Jew store” which killed seven of its employees … was not enough. Now Al baby is yanking another warped fantasy out of his twisted mind. Why this man has one second of time on any cable news program is indicative of the degree to which TV producers will sell their souls for ratings.

Or are the Somali buccaneers “ecological warriors” as quoted in the Huffington Post (read further in the above hyperlink.) I guess they must just be trying to mitigate global warming? And we killed three of them for heaven's sake!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Chicken Hawk?

Since Barack Obama has never served in the U.S. armed services and since our current President also courageously gave the direct order on Saturday morning allowing the U.S. Navy to use deadly force if Captain Phillips (being held by the Somali pirates) was in imminent danger and since professional Navy Seal snipers shot dead three of these pirates on Sunday morning and since the Somali pirate organization has sworn future revenge on U.S. nationals for this action … can we now call President Obama a “chicken hawk” … like we did to so many non-veteran higher-ups in the previous administration who dared stir up the Islamic terrorist wasp nest? (Just to keep things balanced.)