Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Quote of the Day

Since you probably won't hear this in the Main Stream Media, I thought I would share it with you here.  New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie, was commenting on President Obama's reticence to get involved in the Congressional Super Committee's (failed) deliberations to reduce our government's deficit.  This was because Obama thought that this process was doomed from the beginning.  Christie said to The Barry, "What the hell are we paying you for?"  See: Politico's Take

By the bye, CBS News does have some weasel-words on this Christie broadside, but suggests that he might also be directing his comments toward the Super Committee.  See what I mean here: CBS's Take

Monday, November 28, 2011

Frankly dear ...

There is joy in Mudville ... Barney Frank is retiring from Congress next year.  There are few politicians who have done more to damage their country than this bloated poltroon.  Good riddance!  (Perhaps I am being too kind to him?)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Updated Aphorisms

Early to bed, early to rise … lets you watch Morning Joe

No news … means that Matt Drudge is out of business

Hope springs Obama into office

Beauty is only a skin-tuck deep

Actions speak louder than spin

Beware of Greeks bearing bonds

If you lie down with Occupiers, you wake up with fleas

Friday, November 25, 2011

Godzilla vs. Rodan

I'm not a Godzilla aficionado but I do know that these movies represented the struggles between titans.  My picking Rodan (out of 20 or more Godzilla foes) as this giant Japanese lizard's combatant is because it is the only one I remember.  Nevertheless, I have chosen this metaphor to represent the battle of ideologies that is currently taking place here in the United States ... a battle between the Tea Party and the Occupiers.  If I may, I think the Tea Party represents populous opposition to big government sprawl whereas the Occupiers resent the growing disparity between fat-cat CEOs/universities and their employees/students.  Unfortunately, many Occupiers have extrapolated these resentments into a unthinking condemnation of capitalism.

To me, the Tea Party is opposing the bigger danger, a government that insinuates itself into every alcove of our lives ... destroying institutions and democratic traditions that have worked so well during the last 235 years.  This over-reaching government strategy clearly is working under the current Obama administration. Our economy has ground to a virtual halt, I think, in opposition to a hostile government that feels it can pick economic winners and losers ... and our credit rating continues to slip as we pile up gigantic sovereign debt.

The Occupiers, beneath the gusto of youthful exuberance and monstrous irresponsibility, do still have a few points to make.  Yes, the executives  of many of our companies have stepped over the line of economic self-interest (read "greed" if you wish) to the point where they are clogging their company's arteries with plutocratic plaque.  And this is because much of their firm's ownership is now in the hands of mutual funds, hedge funds and exchange traded funds.  These financial entities are so short-term profit oriented that they care not if executive salaries spiral out of hand.  I have addressed this dislocation in the past in a blog titled Turd on the Table

Also colleges have become burdened with administrative bloat and therefore pass these costs on to their students with spiraling tuitions which then translates into student loans that are crushing their graduates.  I contend that this inflation is as much due to the heavy hand of government intrusion into the economics of education as it is to generic growth (see: "Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble").  This problem too can be solved without a national revolution as advocated by the Occupiers.  In fact I suspect that, if the Tea Party has its way and our federal government is reined in, this problem will disappear within a generation.

So who will win this B-movie struggle?  Let us hope that it is, like it always was on the big screen, Godzilla (the Tea Party).  But I also hope that Rodan's (the Occupier's) rising out of that mountain egg also teaches some key lessons ... even in its defeat.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Parade Rest

With my grandchildren romping about me this morn, I turned on the TV to see the preparations for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Suddenly I was transported back in time 35 years or so to when I used to take my children to vintage versions of this same procession.  We were living in Stuyvesant Town on the lower east side of Manhattan and, after breakfast, we would bundle our children up and I would walk them over to Broadway in the low twenties to get a front row spot for watching this extravaganza.

The parade always consisted of many marching bands, floats, and huge helium balloons held down by phalanxes of Macy employees dressed to match the theme of their balloon.  The balloons I remember most were Underdog, the Sesame Street characters, and Rocky and Bullwinkle.  Usually there were also lots of clowns and unicyclists handing out candy and trinkets to the children.  It was all right out of Miracle on Thirty-Fourth Street ... but without Margaret O'Brien.

And I remember that it was almost always bitingly cold ... so getting the kids to stay for the finale was generally a bit dicey.  But we usually did and when Santa Claus went by waving and Ho Ho Ho-ing we knew that we could then trudge back home and thaw out.  Entering our apartment, we were greeted with the wondrous smells of pumpkin pies cooling and the Thanksgiving  turkey cooking in the oven.  I would then generally have a cup of hot coffee and settle in to TV-watch some college football with Christmas music wafting out of the stereo.  What bliss it was!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Tebow Bows

Tim Tebow, the charismatic quarterback for the Denver Broncos, constantly and visibly thanks Jesus for his successes on the football field (see: Plummer Complains).  Now, there is a growing backlash among his team mates and some media personalities (in particular, Jim Braude and Margery Eagan here in Boston) for this religious "ostentation."  I do remember that one of Christ's teachings in the New Testament was that his followers should not wear their religion on their sleeves ... so there is some rationale for this Tebow dissing.  However, let's be frank, Tebow's critics would not think of criticizing Hasidic Jews for their sideburn curls (payos) or fur hats (kolpiks), or Rastas for their dreadlocks, or yarmulke-wearing Jews, or Sikhs for their turbans, or even Muslims for the public prostrations to Mecca.

So my advice to Jim and Marjery and other Tebow critics ... until you are ready to be consistent in your protestations ... chill out.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Giving Thanks

This Thursday's trenchermen (trencherpersons?) would never sit still at our Thanksgiving table for me to enumerate all the things I am thankful for at this difficult time in our history ... so I will burden you, poor reader, with my list:

- a populous awakening in this country to many of the things that seem seriously awry ... as demonstrated by the Tea Party and, yes, even in their perversity, by the Occupiers

- all my beautiful grandchildren ... and the hope that I have for their bright and healthy futures (much of which I will probably never witness)

- all my children and their spouses who have produced these wonderful grandchildren and who are so carefully molding their lives within a creative and moral  template

- my wife, Jeanette, who has been such a great mother, grandmother, and life partner.  She has tirelessly toiled to create for me a wonderful home and make me a better person than I otherwise would have been

- the legacy that previous generations of Americans have left to us (in particular those who have given their lives) so that we can experience our national uniqueness and the best standard of living in history

- those (very) few politicians who had put their country ahead of their personal interests ... Ronald Reagan and Harry Truman, in particular, come to mind

- a leftover turkey sandwich bulging with stuffing, cranberry sauce, and lots of Hellmann's mayonnaise

Monday, November 21, 2011

Super Duper ...

Pooper Scooper
The Congressional supercommittee is coming up empty in its attempt to reduce this nation's deficit by $1.2 trillion over the next ten years.  See: Coming up Empty.  The 12 "bipartisan" members of this committee have come to predictable loggerheads over tax increases versus entitlement reform.  Expectations were low for this political artifice that had been created when the debt ceiling was raised this past summer.  This committee, however they did it, has managed to disappoint even this expectational nadir.  Our nation's $15 trillion debt has come about to cover a growing cradle-to-grave government that has being constructed by administrations of both parties over the last decade.  Apparently this suicide pact will continue for at least another year.

Now the blame game starts in earnest ... with the hope that such bicameral besmirching will affect the results of next year's elections.  Who knows if this mud-slinging will work ... but what I do know is that Washington, DC statesmanship is clearly dead and this augers poorly for the future of our "lazy" United States of America.  Perhaps the Occupiers will fix things?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Norman Rockwell Had It Right

For now, the Brookline, Massachusetts Town Meeting has kept the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance in the classroom.  But 76 chuckleheads in this meeting voted to ban this patriotic statement from sullying the lips of their children ... and 9 wimped out ... afraid to take a stand lest they be ostracized by their Marxist neighbors in this uber-liberal Boston suburb.  See: Small Win.  What is it that compels such lamebrains to campaign against such a simple oath?  One strained rationale put forward is that the children of non-citizens may be forced to pledge loyalty to a foreign country.  Such children (if and where they exist) can simply opt out of this recitation.  But my guess is that these tykes may be even more fervent in their love of their adopted country.  It is those 76 disaffected nihilists in Brookline who have inculcated their children with their spittle-sprayed hatred of this country ... and want to insure that their skulls-full-of-tofu keep their toes to the party line. 

It was not to happen this year. but eventually these poltroons will win ... and Norman Rockwell's vision of what patriotism means will be banished from one community after another in Massachusetts ... and then possibly in other states ... all in the name of respecting the diversity of ideas.  Can we instead call this the entropy of  devotion?  Then this country will no longer be a melting pot ... but, to use an appropriate metaphor ... it will be instead a fruitcake.  How sad it is!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Leaning Right

I was surprised to see that both lefties, Chris Matthews and Katrina Vanden Heuvel, this morning on Morning Joe appeared to be moving away from supporting President Obama and towards backing Mitt Romney in the next Presidential sweepstakes. (Mika Brzezinski is still a solid rump-swab for The Barry.)  And these are not the only paleo-turncoats I've noticed among Democrats.  Increasingly, Obama's support appears to be slipping within his previously-solid base.  This is surprising, even shocking, to me ... and the question is why?

All I can come up with is that, even though such people would prefer to have the U.S. become a Socialist (or even a Communist) country, they, nevertheless, still want to have a country.

Afterward: See Further Proof 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tattoo Taboo

The National Basketball Association's season is close to being cancelled ... see NBA Hiatus?  If all these NBA players end up on picket lines ... what are tattoo parlors around the country going to do for business?

(I realize that this entry is a little snarky, but I couldn't help myself.)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Crony Capitalism Redux

Halliburton* ... That's a name that, to most Liberals, typifies crony capitalism.  Dick Cheney was its CEO from 1995 to 2000 and the working assumption was that he directed unsolicited government business to it so that his stock would go up and he would unfairly prosper.  This may or may not be true, but what is true is that Halliburton is a large company that, because of its expertise, has received many federal contracts under both Republican and Democrat administrations.  It would be difficult to unravel whether there was any undue favoritism sent its way when Cheney was Vice President under George W. Bush ... but, so far, there has not been any creditable exposé.

However, the story under The Barry's watch is quite different.  I have previously written about crony capitalism instances here (see: Crony Capitalism.)  Now, below are four more examples of what government largess (crony capitalism) is directed to companies connected to our current administration:

- Siga Technologies, Inc, a Service Employees International Union (SEIU) connected company, has received a $443 million no-bid contract from the Obama administration for an experimental smallpox drug (see: Seedy Details).  Smallpox was eradicated worldwide in 1978.

- Fisker Automotive, a Finnish electric-car company connected with former Vice President, Al Gore, has received a $529 million loan guarantee from this administration's Energy Department to create zero jobs in the United States (see: Annoying Details). 

- Silver Spring Network, another administration butt-buddy, has had its connected utility companies recently given $560 million in grants ... again by the Energy Department (see: More Money to Friends).

- SolarReserve, a Nancy Pelosi-connected green-energy company, has been given a $737 million loan guarantee, once again by the Energy Department (see: Princess Nancy's Silk Purse).

And for even more, see John Stossel's comments on the Obama-friendly window company, Serious Materials (see: Stossel Spills the Beans).  And I'm reasonably sure that some more of this sewage will turn up before next year's election.

* Halliburton is not an oil company.  It is a project management and oil-well service company ...  it provides many services to oil companies (like putting out oil-well fires) and to many other entities ... such as the federal government.  Its biggest competitor is the French conglomerate, Schlumberger.

Afterward:  I was just listening to Senator Dan Coats on CSPAN about a $730 million Energy Dept. conditional loan to Severstal, a subsidiary of a Russian company, OAO, to produce high-strength steel for autos.  The problem, according to Sen. Coats, is that most of the rationales used by the Energy Dept. to justify this loan are fallacious.  I urge you to read the story on this loan at The Indiana Economic Digest.  The only thing missing from this analysis is ... exactly who is the administration's crony in this transaction.  But, given the looseness of the facts asserted by the Energy Dept., I'm reasonably sure that there is one.  Stay tuned.

Also $1.6 billion from the DOE to BrightSource Energy (a Robert F. Kennedy Jr. company) ... see: Another Biggie and $564 million of DOE money into a variety of biorefineiries including $25 million to Amyris ... see: DOE Honeypot  (major source: Throw Them All Out)

Long afterthought: Here is another link to a listing of Green Energy pork: Michelle Malkin

And: Another One Bites the Dust

Sunday, November 13, 2011

6 Questions …

For Liberals:

1) For what reason(s) do you oppose a balanced budget admendment to the Constitution?

2) What, beyond expressing economic malaise, is there to recommend the Occupiers?

3) Has Obamacare reduced your cost of medical care as promised?

4) Do you favor giving more billions to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?

5) Why should Israel go back to its 1948 borders and give up Jeruslem?

6) Are you better off today than you were in 2008?

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Candy Cain

What is my take on Herman Cain?  I'm really still up in the air.  I thought he was quite forthright in his press conference yesterday.  Whereas I was turned off by the fact that Gloria Allred's upcoming vacation in Bali (Sharon Bialek) had to read her own press-conference sleazy accusations of sexual misfeasance against Cain.  I don't want to get caught in the weeds of this possible scandal ... nor do I want to gnash my teeth over the double standard that seems to permeate such stories.  But I do want to complement Herman Cain, guilty or not, on his aplomb in the face of a possible career-ending press-lynching (to use a shibboleth).  His body language was confident.  He read very little of his apparently-prepared statement.  His voice didn't quaver.  He didn't use his wife as a prop.  And he easily answered all the questions poised.

I'm not endorsing Herman Cain for President here, but I do hope that he makes it through this media gauntlet without too many bruises.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Why I'll Vote for Mitt ...

The RedState blog has a current entry that castigates Mitt Romney as presaging the end to the Conservative movement after he loses to The Barry next year (see: Red State Blog.)  Mitt Romney seems to have legions of detractors within the Republican party: Rush Limbaugh, Erick Erickson (of the RedState blog), Howie Carr, Michael Graham, etc.  There even is a movement called  "Anyone But Mitt".  Most of this distaste arises from serious doubts about his Conservative credentials.  He was for abortions before he was against them; he ushered Romneycare into Massachusetts as a precursor to Obamacare;  etc.  However valid these doubts are, there is one reason, I'll vote for Romney -- he has the best chance of fixing this country's economic malaise.  And I believe that he will assemble around him the kind of people who understand how our economic engine is assembled and what it takes to bring about its overhaul. All else is, for the nonce, unimportant.

Yes, there will be fusillades of opposition TV ads attacking Romney next year (assuming he gets the nomination) about his vacillating on these issues, his Wall Street ties, and many Latter-Day-Saints innuendos.  After all, how will The Barry spend his billion dollar political war chest?  (A friend in the know has even suggested that Romney may have trouble buying TV spots leading up to the election ... since Obama, with all his campaign funds, will have reserved all the premium TV-spot buys.)  But, I have not, nor will I give up on Romney as I think, if he is elected, he will do what it takes to fix things ... like he did with the 2002 Winter Olympics.  Interestingly, David Brooks likes him too for President (see: David Brooks Endorsement) ... perhaps it's, once again, the crease in his pants?  And I also kind of doubt that there will be a Romney bimbo eruption eleven months hence.

By the bye, has anyone noticed the juxtaposition possibilities between Mitt Romney and Stephen Colbert?  Put a pair of rimless glasses on Romney and he could host the Colber(t) Repor(t).

Monday, November 07, 2011

What did he say?!?

Mark Shields was doing his regular end-of-show commentary gig on the PBS News Hour with Jim Lehrer last Friday ... along with David Brooks.  They were opining on the Herman Cain sexual assault innuendo scandal ... and comparing it with Bill Clinton's similar travails before the 1994 elections.  Mark Shields then actually said that, back then, Clinton "was smart enough to lie" about his peccadilloes with Monika Lewinsky.  David Brooks did not blanch.  Jim Lehrer, in disbelief, did not ask for Shields to repeat himself.  This was all on a nationally televised, presumably well-respected, news program (partially paid for by U.S. taxpayers.)

I guess this vignette, as much as anything, typifies the degree of moral degeneration to which this country has sunk.  What comes next ... Caligula?

Sunday, November 06, 2011

The Grimacing Reaper

Upon the death of my friend, Sambo.

Death hangs onto my shoulder,
Like a younger sibling.
He has been with me forever.
I cannot shake him,
Although, so far, he has let me be.
He has scythed many family and friends,
But why has he not harvested me?
Perhaps he has a sense of humor …

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Occam's Razor

The tenet of Occam's Razor states that the simplest solution is always the best solution.  We are now mired in a world full of financial complexity that threatens to bring us all down.  As an example, please read and try to understand what happened to MF Global that caused it to go belly-up recently, see  Corzine's Monumental Flub and Another Take.  So, what is the simplest solution?  I believe we need to return to the basic accounting rules that have been established over the millennia where an asset really is an asset and a credit really is a credit. 

For a number of years the MBA geniuses in the financial community have been standing these accounting rules on their heads with a lot of hugger mugger that conceals and distorts the financial well-being of institutions.  Jon Corzine, when he was at Goldman Sachs, himself helped Enron turn liabilities into assets and consequently bring down this erstwhile staid firm. And even our own Federal Reserve Bank is now playing in this sullied sand box, see: Finger on the Scale.

How did this happen?  I blame the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), the big accounting firms, and the accounting community in general ... who have earned their Street creds by dreaming up new ways of subverting our tried and true accounting principles.  And they have created financial instruments of greater and greater complexity (see the MF Global reference above) whereby even their creators don't fully understand all the possible consequences of a rapidly changing environment.

We need to return to accounting basics and strip out all the FASB rules that permit these financial shenanigans by creating reporting exceptions to reporting exceptions to reporting exceptions ... and permit multitudinous off-balance sheet transactions and fiscal slight-of-hand.  And Congress needs to pass stringent laws that disallow any financial instrument to be created and traded for which Joe Biden cannot comprehend and explain in one sentence.