People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

We Probably Have No Alternative

I'm inclined to agree with the Roanoke Times's (and more particularly the Wall Street Journal's) cautionary support of the government bailout that is inevitably going to work its way out of Congress. Experts who are vastly more knowledgeable on the subject than me (and who are not running for office and who therefore can be trusted) tell us that we have no alternative. I listened to Steve Forbes on the radio yesterday and he sounded alarmed by that which is taking place on Wall Street, and when he's shaken, it's time for all of us to get a little nervous.

Back to the Times, the editorialists there call upon Congress to act:
Clear thinking about complex issues is never easy to come by in Washington, D.C., especially just weeks before an election. But having made a convincing case that crisis is upon the nation, members of Congress need to buckle down, put partisan interests aside and develop a course of action that people can accept.
I agree.

The only objections I have to that which the boys at the Times write are these:

1) Is the following necessarily true?

"The 228 representatives who voted against the bailout either didn't believe the warnings or cared more about their political future than the nation's economic future. The latter should be ashamed."

I'd like to think there was a third option in play - many members truly believe a government bailout is, in the long run, only going to prolong the agony (much as the New Deal prolonged the Great Depression). Then there is the socialism argument. Then there's simply the uncertainty of it all. Will the bailout work? Even the experts tell us they can provide no assurances.

Which brings us to number (2):

The stock market dropped 777 points yesterday. As a result, investors lost the equivalent of $1.1 trillion. In one day. Is an infusion of a mere $700 billion from the federal government over time going to stop the bleeding? Nobody knows. Nobody ... knows.

Still, we need to rely on the experts at times like these. That's why I read the Wall Street Journal cover to cover these days. These guys are the best at laying out the problems and offering up solutions of anyone I have access to. And the WSJ editorial page says this is our last best shot at avoiding collapse.

If the WSJ says so, I tend to believe it.

This Is Probably True

Unfortunate, but true:

Analysis: House vote against bailout wounds McCain

It's unfortunate particularly because of the approach that his opponent has taken to providing leadership in time of crisis. The one Obama quote that will go into the history books should the financial sector implosion bring ruin to this nation:

"And I told Speaker Pelosi and Majority leader Harry Reid to call me if they need me."

I'm trying to picture General George S. Patton ...

This Is Encouraging

Stock markets around the globe were expected to react the way the NYSE did yesterday. But something interesting happened. Take a look at how trading on Britain's exchange (FTSE) fared today:

After an initial plunge, the market came storming back and ended about where it began in the morning. As the New York Times reports today, the same occurred - more or less - on the Japanese, French, and to a lesser extent, Hong Kong exchanges.


- - -

Pay no attention to what's being reported this morning in the Washington Post. I don't know where they're getting their numbers.

Chart courtesy of the New York Times and Reuters.

Quote of the Day

Expect to read more of this kind of criticism as time - and the financial crisis - drag on. From this morning's New York Times:
The candidates to replace Mr. Bush, Senator John McCain and Senator Barack Obama, were far from Washington, bit actors at best in helping to resolve a crisis that one of them will inherit.
Both men are now leaders of their parties. And both are currently members of that legislative body that is struggling to come to grips with a crisis that is unlike any we have ever witnessed before. And both are "far from Washington," working on improving their own lots in life.

This is not the way leaders act.

Where It All Began

This, believe it or not, appeared in the New York Times, way back in 1999:

Fannie Mae, the nation's biggest underwriter of home mortgages, has been under increasing pressure from the Clinton Administration to expand mortgage loans among low and moderate income people and felt pressure from stock holders to maintain its phenomenal growth in profits.

In addition, banks, thrift institutions and mortgage companies have been pressing Fannie Mae to help them make more loans to so-called subprime borrowers. These borrowers whose incomes, credit ratings and savings are not good enough to qualify for conventional loans, can only get loans from finance companies that charge much higher interest rates -- anywhere from three to four percentage points higher than conventional loans.

And could this prediction of the outcome be any more spot-on ...

In moving, even tentatively, into this new area of lending, Fannie Mae is taking on significantly more risk, which may not pose any difficulties during flush economic times. But the government-subsidized corporation may run into trouble in an economic downturn, prompting a government rescue similar to that of the savings and loan industry in the 1980's.

''From the perspective of many people, including me, this is another thrift industry growing up around us,'' said Peter Wallison a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. ''If they fail, the government will have to step up and bail them out the way it stepped up and bailed out the thrift industry.''

And fail they did.

Experts saw it coming but a host of politicians in Washington chose not to care. Mortgages being offered to low-income Americans (meaning minority ...) was the important thing.

And the rest is now history.

Naming Names

From a congressional hearing in 2004, a host of Democrats are on record as having declared there to be no problem with Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac whatsoever, with the same record revealing them voicing their opposition to reforming a system that Republicans at the same hearing say was broken and was leading to impending doom.

The leading Democrat at that committee hearing?

Barney Frank of Massachusetts.

Watch as each of them - in high dudgeon - expresses confidence in the design of the Titanic, even as it is taking on water:

The American people are - in overwhelming numbers - opposed to the Wall Street bailout because the same people who fought to preserve the system that has potentially brought ruin to the United States of America are now in charge of "fixing" it. The same people - Congress - who are now held in the lowest regard since public opinion polling began.

Perhaps these clowns will regain the confidence of the American people when those most responsible for this debacle - Barney Frank, Clay, Meeks, Waters, et al. - are run out of Washington on a rail. Not until then though. Not until.

The Truth About Yesterday's House Vote

Much will be made about how Republicans defeated that bailout bill that the leaders of both parties and the president had put before them yesterday. But here's the truth. Take a look at how Democrats voted on the measure that some have deemed creeping socialism:

Pelosi and her gang have a whole lot more selling to do - within her own party - before she can declare victory on this one. And for her and her pals in the press to quickly assign blame to the Republicans in the House is just a tad bit of a fib.

For the stunning details, go here.

And where is the (ostensible) leader of the Democratic Party as all this is going on? During the most troubling crisis this nation has been through in my lifetime? Out on permanent campaign.

Meanwhile, the train hurtles out of control down the track ...

Monday, September 29, 2008

Fascinating Stuff

It's strange how the mind tells the eyes what to see - and not see.

Click on the little triangle and pay close attention ...


An Intriguing Story

Have you been following this mystery as it unfolds?
Public pursues clues in Mountain Lake mystery
Associated Press

Pembroke, Va. (AP) -- Giles County investigators are getting lots of help as they try to track down whose bones were discovered in the dried-up lake bed at Mountain Lake resort.

With intriguing clues like an old class ring, shoes and an engraved belt buckle, numerous amateur sleuths have showed up to help solve the mystery.

Investigators believe the person might have died as long ago as 1920. Coins found near the remains dated from 1907 to 1920, and a class ring was marked '04. In addition, a Virginia Tech student found a brass pocket watch nearby that Gautier said was from the 1800s. (link)
Not mentioned in the article, but brought up in a segment on one of the local TV stations, is the fact that investigators have also uncovered tattered remnants of a pin-stripe suit near where the bones and personal effects were found. Hmm.

A mystery that cries out for answers. Who found himself at the bottom of Mountain Lake and why? His restless spirit will roam the earth until ...

Consider Me Underwhelmed

This headline does not build confidence:

Oversight Added to $700B Bill; Vote Expected to Come Today

What, we'll add another SEC to the one that has been in place for no other purpose than to OVERSEE the financial sector? What, a super-double SEC?

Gimme a break.

The War Goes On

If only those who can't see beyond their noses would finally grasp the fact that the war on terror was never simply about Iraq. A photo on the front page of the Washington Post's on-line edition this morning should be, for them, a call to put their glasses on:

This, oh blind ones, is a global scourge.

We killed tens of thousands of bad guys in Iraq. And thousands more in faraway places we've never heard of. Thousands more will die - in Afghanistan, in India, in Pakistan, in London, and, yes, in Iraq, before this war finally comes to an end.

Photo courtesy of Reuters

The Crisis At Its Core

Investor's Business Daily on the financial system meltdown:

Barack Obama has repeatedly blasted "Bush-McCain" economic policies as the cause, as if the two were joined at the hip.

Funny, because over the past 8 years, those who tried to fix Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — the trigger for today's widespread global financial meltdown — were stymied repeatedly by congressional Democrats.

This wasn't an accident. Though some key Republicans deserve blame as well, it was a concerted Democratic effort that made reform of Fannie and Freddie impossible.

The reason for this is simple: Fannie and Freddie became massive providers both of reliable votes among grateful low-income homeowners, and of massive giving to the Democratic Party by grateful investment bankers, both at the two government-sponsored enterprises and on Wall Street.

The result: A huge taxpayer rescue that at last estimate is approaching $700 billion but may go even higher.

Here's the worst part. There will be no fundamental change. A check in the amount of $700,000,000,000 is about to be handed over to those Democrats on Wall Street, and it'll be business as usual.

Sure, there'll be lots of new "regulations" and an army of new bureaucrats tasked with the responsibility of "oversight," but when it comes to the cause of the collapse of Wall Street and the mortgage industry, nothing will change. Nothing.

- - -

Here's how you can judge. If Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are killed off, then Congress has truly changed the way business is conducted on Wall Street. If not, we have nothing but smoke and mirrors.

These Guys Can't Be Serious

This ought to bring a chuckle this morning. The New York Times editorial page is calling upon the people of California to uphold the decision of four (four!) liberal judges on the state's supreme court that overturned the ages-old same-sex marriage ban there. (The Shock!)

Why? Because an amendment that is coming up for a vote in November that would (effectively) reinstate the ban would defy and weaken the Constitution!
Preserving California’s Constitution

California voters will have a chance in November to protect the rights of gay men and women, and to preserve the state’s Constitution. They should vote against Proposition 8, which seeks to amend that Constitution to prevent people of the same sex from marrying.

The measure would overturn a firmly grounded State Supreme Court decision that said everyone has a basic right “to establish a legally recognized family with the person of one’s choice.” (link)
Is that priceless? The Constitution - ratified in 1879 - that contained no such recognized provision for lo these 129 years - is now at risk of being defiled by the voters because a protection that was created only months ago - by four California residents - is at risk of being overturned. A year ago the Times editorialists would have been arguing just the opposite - Change the Constitution!

Are these guys precious or what?

Always a Winning Strategy

It was Ronald Reagan who said, in response to someone's question regarding solid union opposition to his 1980 election, that he accepted the fact that organized labor was for his opponent; he simply wanted the union rank-and-file. And he got, in overwhelming numbers, the everyday union laborer's vote. Along with a crushing victory over his feckless - but union supported - opponent.

We turn to 2008:
Union Leaders Confronted by Resistance to Obama
By Steven Greenhouse, the New York Times

In battleground states like this one, union voters could be vital to the outcome of the election, and the labor movement has mounted a huge push on behalf of Mr. Obama ...

But many union members have a history of basing their votes on noneconomic issues, giving Mr. McCain and his running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, a shot at winning their support. Mr. Pyne, who knocks on doors wearing a Steelworkers for Obama T-shirt, witnessed that firsthand while visiting Scott Siegel, a union plumber, and his wife, Amy.

“We basically vote pro-life,” said Ms. Siegel, a mother of five. “As a ‘little person,’ I don’t feel that any of these candidates have our best interests in mind. So if there’s a specific thing that sways our vote, it would be abortion.” (link)

God. Guns. The Gift of life. Union members are no different than the rest of us on these critical cultural issues. Add taxes and defense and you've got a solid voting base. Union leadership will someday figure that out.

Until then, watch the bizarre story unfold in which a few (fabulously wealthy) union bosses speak for ... nobody other than the Democratic Party.

And Your Interest Rates Will Go Up

See how this works?

Democrats seek Wall Street tax in bailout plan

And when Wall Street sees its taxes go up, interest rates on the loans you procure are guaranteed to go up too.

You didn't think some guy named "Wall Street" was going to pay for the cleanup of this mess, did you?

Where Does It End?

Mortgage foreclosures ... insurance companies ... Wall Street ... and now:

US Congress passes 25 billion loan guarantees to automakers

Keep them presses going, boys. Keep printin' that money. Keep printin' that money.

Where does it end? Nobody knows. But it's a good bet that the 2 trillion dollar hedge fund empire gets the next wad of taxpayer cash.

Keep printin' that money, boys ...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

That's Cold, Man

Odd. I don't remember reading about this in the mainstream press:
Family Told Obama NOT To Wear Soldier Son's Bracelet... Where is Media?
By Warner Todd Huston, Newsbusters

Barack Obama played the "me too" game during the Friday debates on September 26 after Senator John McCain mentioned that he was wearing a bracelet with the name of Cpl. Matthew Stanley, a resident of New Hampshire and a soldier that lost his life in Iraq in 2006. Obama said that he too had a bracelet. After fumbling and straining to remember the name, he revealed that his had the name of Sergeant Ryan David Jopek of Merrill, Wisconsin.

Shockingly, however, Madison resident Brian Jopek, the father of Ryan Jopek, the young soldier who tragically lost his life to a roadside bomb in 2006, recently said on a Wisconsin Public Radio show that his family had asked Barack Obama to stop wearing the bracelet with his son's name on it. Yet Obama continues to do so despite the wishes of the family. (link)
Abusing our honored dead to score political points. It doesn't get much lower than that.

Hat tip to Carl at Spark It Up!!!

Hey, Fool

We here in Southwest Virginia suffer from a host of maladies. The implosion of the manufacturing sector being at the top of the list. But it's those maladies that are self-induced that piss me off. Starting with the oxycontin and meth epidemics. To the scourge of broken families. To the general lack of interest in the quality of education of our youth. To an annoying acceptance of - resignation toward - our woefully inept political leadership in this region.

Most irritating of all? You people ever heard of the concept of ... GARBAGE CAN?
Volunteers Clean 5½ Tons Of Trash From Beaver Creek
By Amy Hunter, Reporter, Bristol Herald Courier

Nearly 200 people joined forces early Saturday and heaved 5½ tons of trash from the creek that runs through downtown Bristol.

“My best find was an old sleeping bag,” said Tom Hanlon, who came to the 9th annual Beaver Creek Cleanup at 9 a.m. Saturday with a group from Rivers Way Outdoor Center. “For me, it was a very satisfying moment – ’cause it was a big hunk of junk.”

Groups from various Bristol clubs and schools participated in the annual event put on by Keep Bristol Beautiful, said Genette Patton, who helped organize it. And despite the rain, Patton said this year’s turnout was even better than the year before.

“It’s been wonderful – in spite of the rain,” she said ... (link)
Wonderful? 5½ tons of refuse picked up along a short stretch of Beaver Creek? Picking up after those who were thoughtless enough and uncaring enough about their community to toss garbage into the local stream?

Wonderful ain't the word that pops into my mind, babe.*

A social psychologist will be able to relate the trashing of Southwest Virginia with the trashing of Southwest Virginians' personal lives. Whatever. I'm not of that profession.

All I know is this: Laws should be passed allowing for the police to shoot on sight anybody who blows his nose and tosses the booger-laced kleenex into Beaver Creek. Think we won't get people to better discipline themselves? (Well, those who survive the education process anyway).

Maybe then those same lowlifes will learn to get their kids to school on time. And maybe they'll quit smoking crap - and injecting crap - snorting crap - that impedes their ability to be human beings. Maybe they'll see that their children are properly fed and clothed. And maybe they'll start asking their congressman why he's been taking our money for two decades and has nothing to show for it? And maybe they'll start their own small businesses. And maybe there'll be a brighter future ...

* Sorry. I got carried away. She's doing the Lord's work.

Dan Doesn't Get It

I had my fingers poised over the keyboard, all ready to pound out a weblog post that would be in agreement with Dan Radmacher, editorial page editor of the Roanoke Times.

But, alas ...

There is a part of his opinion piece in this morning's fish-wrap (See "The state of the media") that I do agree with - newspapers are dying, and that is not a good thing. He writes, "... [T]he press is a fundamental institution and the public should have grave concerns over the gutting of that institution currently taking place." That's a fact. And I worry (in a very small way) about it.

Worse yet, I - the guy with all the answers - have no solution to the problem to offer up. Dan tells us that readership of America's newspapers remains strong; it's the profitability issue that's killing print news organizations around the country. And that's true.

Here's the dilemma - one I've mentioned before: How do you build a future around a business model that calls for your giving your (expensive) product away for free? If there was a scheme that allowed for papers to be sold on the street corner for 25¢ (it has always been the tonnage of advertising revenue that makes or breaks a paper, not that paltry 25¢), then how do you make that work in an internet environment? Does anyone look at the ads on the Times website? No.

So papers are laying off employees right and left and selling their assets to large chains, etc. in response to a problem that - to this point in time - has no clear solution.

Dan's fear, I'm sure, is that when all our newspapers are gone, we'll have to rely on Katie Couric for our information. A fear we share, believe me.

- - -

Of course, Dan couldn't leave well enough alone. He had to take his otherwise thought-provoking op/ed piece and veer off into a rant about the lies being told by McCain and Palin. Why? And do I need to share with him the list of lies told by Barack Obama and that nitwit he has for a running mate?

I roll my eyes every time I read a Charleston Gazette (Dan's former employer) editorial - pick the subject - and the goofball who wrote it can invariably be counted on to include mention of that "unnecessary" war in Iraq. Same with Dan and his growing delusions relating to what the rest of us call politics.

Did these guys not go to editorial writing school? A reminder to those who have strayed from the editorial reservation: Pick a subject and stick to it.

There will be plenty of time to write about Iraq. Same with McCain's "lies." And the good thing about the internet, with typeset now measured in tetrabytes, they've got all the available space in the world to devote to their silly notions.

Discipline, Dan, discipline.

No. No Bias Here.

Well, let's see what's going on in the world this morning, at least as seen through the eyes of the snakes at the Washington Post. Today's headlines:

McCain Ready for A Change Of Subject

For McCain, Days of Chaos, Improvisation and Drama

For Obama, Dialogue Drove Week's Work

Palin's Stand on Mining Initiative Leaves Many Feeling Burned

Obama, Biden Turn Attention To Outer Suburbs in Virginia

And I haven't even turned to the OPINION page yet.

Fair and balanced? You decide.

Gov't To Throw Money At Problem

Nothing has been resolved:

Breakthrough Reached in Negotiations on Bailout

Just tell me how much I make my check out for.

Does anyone think there has been fundamental change to the system that gave us this mess?

This New York Times photo ought to be a clear signal that money is changing hands and cronies have been rewarded, but there will be no change of course. None.

More government ... more problems ... more taxes ... more government ... more problems ...

Paul Newman Dies

I didn't even know he was ill:

Hollywood legend Paul Newman dead at 83

Great actor. Too bad his legacy will be clouded by his left-wing politics. Perhaps history will be kind to him and quickly forget that part of his otherwise exemplary life.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

And They Call Bush a Fascist

What is Obama afraid of?
Signs of liberty

Not all countries guarantee their citizens the right to virtually unbridled freedom of speech. The United States does. Would someone please tell the campaign of Sen. Barack Obama? And the dozing guardians of liberty at the University of Mary Washington?

Mr. Obama, the Democratic nominee for president, is scheduled to speak at a rally at the university today. The public is invited to this forum, on property it, the public, owns. However, signs and banners will not be allowed, according to the organizers and compliant campus officials. Suddenly, UMW is a First Amendment-Free, or at least a First Amendment-Crippled, Zone, subject to the self-serving preferences of politicos. Why does an Obama rally--or a McCain rally or a Nader rally--justify taking a little off the top of Americans' most fundamental rights? (link)
Kinda makes you want to jump in your car and head on over to Fredericksburg to attend the rally, doesn't it? I wonder how many signs I can carry?

Sensitive little wiener, isn't he?

Hat tip to Jim Patrick.

- - -

That story seems to go along well with this one, unfortunately:

Breaking: Gov. Matt Blunt Releases Statement Condemning Barack Obama's Missouri Goon Squads

From the Missouri governor:
“Barack Obama needs to grow up. Leftist blogs and others in the press constantly say false things about me and my family. Usually, we ignore false and scurrilous accusations because the purveyors have no credibility. When necessary, we refute them. Enlisting Missouri law enforcement to intimidate people and kill free debate is reminiscent of the Sedition Acts - not a free society.”
I fear for my country.

- - -

Oh, and that ain't all. There's also the intimidation effort ongoing in Pennsylvania and Ohio to suppress free speech:

Obama Campaign Threatens Legal Action Over NRA Ads

Note a pattern here?

Odd, all those media types who bemoaned the potential ramifications of Bush/Cheney's spying efforts ("They might read my email!!!!) completely ignore Obama's ACTUAL efforts to crush civil liberties in this country. Are they idiots or are they not really all that interested in their rights being quashed?

It Must Be Frustrating For Liberals ...

... who so want this election to be about race (is there any other reason they support Obama?) but can't find a Republican who has stepped into that debate with them?

It's rather instructive that all the charges of racism and expressions of outrage thereto came about during the Democratic primary campaign months ago. Remember Bill Clinton in South Carolina? Racist bastard! Or not.

And what about that poll of Democrats that revealed the fact that a third of them are influenced by Obama's skin color? Democrats.

But no matter.

These days it's a matter of liberals turning over rock after rock and finding - finally! - a person who knows a person who knows ...

I was reminded of that curious phenomenon when reading this letter to the editor of the Roanoke Times.

How many Democrats - if polled - would tell us that John McCain is, without doubt, fomenting racial hatred in this election season? Half? Two-thirds?

And yet the only candidate to ever bring up the subject of race is ... Barack Obama. Strange.

But they'll continue to believe the lie. No matter what.

Stranger still.

Kiss Your Life Savings Goodbye

The Washington Post is the bearer of the bad news:
"Democratic congressional leaders and the Bush administration are close to agreement on a bailout plan with reasonable provisions for accountability and protection of taxpayers' interests ..."
"Accountability and protection of taxpayers' interests ..." Now there's a hoot.

Does anyone truly believe "taxpayers' interests" are on the minds of those in that room full of Democrats who caused this crisis in the first place and who are now calling on the American taxpayer to shell out $700,000,000,000 to bail out their campaign contributors?

I can't decide whether the people who write this crap are simply naive or are on the take as well.

What Trillion Dollar Deficit?

That cliff gets ever closer:
Two Bills Aim for the Skies
By Marc Kaufman, Washington Post Staff Writer

As it prepares to adjourn, Congress is close to passing and sending to President Bush two bills aimed at keeping American astronauts flying to the international space station during a five-year gap when NASA will have no manned spacecraft of its own capable of reaching the $100 billion orbiting laboratory.

The Senate, meanwhile, has added language to the NASA Reauthorization Act that would prohibit NASA from taking any steps to make it impossible to resurrect the space shuttle fleet after 2010, when it is scheduled to be grounded.

The White House has been firm in saying it wants no space shuttle flights after 2010, when the space station should be largely finished. But members of Congress concerned about being unable to reach the space station without Russian help, as well as Florida representatives concerned about the loss of jobs in the space shuttle program, sought to overrule that decision. Senate staffers said that House leaders had agreed to a similar provision and are expected to pass it this weekend. (link)

The space shuttle program. Now nothing more than a jobs program. Here forever.

May God have mercy on us.

Looks Like I Didn't Miss Anything

Some genius decided that the presidential debate last night should start at 9 pm (eastern time). Fine by me. But don't wake me when it's over.

I turned to the newspapers this morning (along with a few blogs) to get reactions from those who did watch (and who haven't normal lives) and found pretty much ... nothing.

Those who support McCain think he won; those who think Obama is their man think he did swell. A good example.

From the real-time accounts it seems as if it was one big snooze.

I declare, therefore, that I was the winner. I got a great night's sleep.

You Know The Problem Will Worsen ...

... when those who caused it are leading the group assigned to fix it:
Rep. Barney Frank Dives Right In On the Bailout
By Libby Copeland, Washington Post Staff Writer

You wanna know what Barney Frank thinks? Oh, Barney Frank will tell you what he thinks.

In addition to negotiating with Republicans and the White House and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Frank, who is chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, has been all over the airwaves this week.

Frank vacillates between interrupting and patiently discussing the finer points of the nation's economic troubles -- the auto industry's credit crisis, the ripple effect of subprime mortgages. His sense of urgency is palpable: This bailout and the 1998 Clinton impeachment trial are the two most important political efforts he's been intimately involved in, he says, in nearly 28 years in the House. Years of Republican deregulation got the nation into this mess, he says, and it's time to fix things. (link)
I find it appalling that the media are willing to turn to Barney Frank for advice on how to solve the problem he created. It would be like turning to Thomas Andrews for advice on how to build unsinkable ships.

And that now-refuted notion - one that Barney Frank and his ilk will cling to to his dying day - that deregulation caused the subprime/financial markets crisis is shameful beyond words. Not that reporters will ever grasp it. After all, if reporters had brains, they'd have real jobs.

For an accurate lesson on the causes of this meltdown - and Barney Frank is one of the causes - see below.

The Root Cause Of The Crisis

Have you been itching to join the debate about the ongoing financial sector implosion but were bewildered by the arcane nature of the subject matter and just never were able to get your arms around the pertinent issues? Here in a marvelous slide show (with some kick-ass music) is all the detail you'll need to be able to now understand what - and who - created this catastrophic mess.

In summary:
"Poor people did not cause this ..."

"Free markets did not cause this ..."

"Deregulation did not cause this ..."

"A bad regulation caused this ..."

"... that made main street banks become predatory lenders to fulfill a government mandate to offer souped-up, shell-game "affordable mortgages ..."

"Self-interested lawyers caused this ..."

"Greed and stupidity on Wall Street caused this ..."

"... and Obama got his wish ..."

"... lots of "affordable mortgages" ...

"... that people could not really afford ..."

"Bad social engineering caused this, creating the environment and the wrong incentives that set up low-income families to fail ..."

"To have their dreams torn away by reality, while getting Wall Street to finance it all IS NOT HOPE. IT IS NOT CHANGE. IT IS CRUEL."

Friday, September 26, 2008

SW Virginia Is Stunned

If the Obama campaign thought it could make inroads in solidly Republican Southwest Virginia, it can kiss that thought goodbye, what with vice presidential candidate Joe Biden's boneheaded remark in Ohio about his team actually being opposed to clean-coal-fired power plants, just after telling us here that they were pro-clean-coal.

Someone should tell the UMWA leadership that they've hitched their wagon to the wrong horse. First the latest on the reaction of the people of Southwest Virginia to Obama/Biden's subterfuge:
Southwest Virginia Voters Concerned About Biden’s Contradictory Remarks
By Nate Morabito, Reporter, WJHL

A video posted on You Tube of Democratic Vice Presidential Candidate Joe Biden telling an activist he opposes clean coal has people in Southwest Virginia scratching their heads. At a rally in Castlewood, Virginia over the weekend, Biden told his hosts, the United Mine Workers of America, that he supports clean coal in the United States. There he touted a plan that calls for the investment of billions of dollars in clean coal technology. However, days before, he told an activist in Ohio something different.

“No coal plants here in America,” Biden said. “Build them, if they’re going to build them, over there (China). Make them clean because they’re killing you.”

Patty Howard works in Lebanon, Virginia. The self-confessed Obama backer was taken aback by Biden’s comments.

“It kind of made me mad,” Howard said. “They don’t need to tell us one thing one day and tell us another the next day. They need to keep their tails straight.”

Howard says that is especially important when the candidates are talking about coal production in America.

“Coal is our main source around here of living and it’s our income,” Howard said. “If it wasn’t for coal miners, we wouldn’t make much here.”(link)

A feeling shared by many in the coalfield counties of Southwest Virginia.

So how has the United Mine Workers responded? As if they're blind, deaf, and dumb:
United Mine Workers of America Communications Director Phil Smith says Biden’s off-the-cuff remark doesn’t warrant concern. In fact, he says Obama and Biden’s commitment to clean coal is not in doubt. [my emphasis]
That is beyond laughable. It reaches the realm of pitiable. What part of "no coal plants here in America" doesn't warrant concern?

Hat tip to Carl at Spark It Up!!!

While The Gov't Works To End Global Warming ...

... (and flush $700,000,000,000 of our hard-earned income down the Wall Street bailout toilet) ...

... the Earth is on the precipice, with "enormous consequences" in store:
The Day The Earth Cooled
Investor's Business Daily editorial

...[S]cientists involved in NASA's Ulysses project reported that the intensity of the sun's solar wind was at its lowest point since the beginning of the space age — one more indication that the sun, the biggest source of energy affecting the Earth, is getting quiet.

The weaker solar wind appears to be due to changes in the sun's magnetic field, but the cause is unknown. Sunspots, which normally fluctuate in 11-year cycles, are at a virtual standstill. In August, the sun created no visible spots. The last time that happened: June 1913.

The consequences for Earth are enormous. The lack of increased activity could signal the start of what is known as a Maunder Minimum, an event that occurs every couple of centuries and can last as long as a century. It leads to extended periods of severe cooling such as what happened during the Little Ice Age.

It may already be happening. The four major agencies tracking Earth's temperature, including NASA's Goddard Institute, report that the Earth cooled 0.7 degree Celsius in 2007, the fastest decline in the age of instrumentation, putting us back to where the Earth was in 1930. (link) [my emphasis]
While hard data confirm the fact that the Earth is rapidly cooling (as opposed to those infernal computer models that have proven to be wildly unreliable), with, potentially, dire consequences crashing down upon us, both presidential candidates, along with the entire political class in Washington, along with the entire political class on Planet Earth, work to end global warming.

For the love of God.

Two Wrongs Don't Make a Right

Expect to hear a lot of this from Washington politicians in coming months. "Yeah, I've secured wasteful millions in earmarks for my district but they're nothing compared to that Wall Street bailout":
New Billions in Earmarks Approach Enactment
By Robert Pear, The New York Times

Washington — As Congress tried to cobble together a plan to spend huge sums on a financial bailout, lawmakers also moved Thursday toward final approval of an omnibus spending bill with more than 2,300 pet projects, including a $2 million study of animal hibernation.

Many lawmakers had promised to go on a diet, but their appetite for the pet projects, known as earmarks, has returned as Congress finishes its work for the year and Election Day looms less than six weeks away.

Representative John P. Murtha, Democrat of Pennsylvania, was the apparent winner in the House, with 30 items totaling $111 million, including $24.5 million for the National Drug Intelligence Center in Johnstown, his hometown.

Mr. Murtha told reporters that earmarks were just a tiny fraction of “what the administration wants to bail out those rich guys in New York.”

Other lawmakers said the earmarks were a way of tossing a few bones to Main Street, before the Treasury pours hundreds of billions of dollars onto Wall Street. (link)
Millions here. Hundreds of billions there. And soon ... we have a government and market collapse.

This is all tied together, folks. These people are undisciplined, unscrupulous scoundrels.

Washington is the problem, not the solution. These people need to be stopped if we are going to survive.

How To Go Out Of Business

This grocery store owner in Manhattan (naturally) is trying to make a point to his customers. He's about to find out that his customers will have a point of their own to make in response:
Upscale NYC Market Charges 'Energy Surcharge'
By Carolyn Costello, CBS 2 HD News

New York (CBS) ― The cost of everything seems to be going up lately, making tough times even tougher. Now a supermarket on the Upper East Side is passing an energy surcharge onto customers.

And as CBS 2 HD quickly found out, many shoppers are outraged.

At "Eli's Manhattan" customers are warned with big signs at the checkout counter.

A 1.8 percent surcharge -- for rising energy and fuel costs -- will be added to their grocery bill.

[T]he owner said he wanted to cause controversy with the 1.8 percent surcharge. Instead of burying the cost in the price of groceries, he's pointing it out to get customers thinking and talking.

"To call the public's attention to how much fuel is being used in the food business," owner Eli Zabar said. "In this case, I am making the increase completely transparent to the customer." (link)
So how are Mr. Zabar's customers reacting to his effort? He'd just better hope his is the only grocery in Manhattan:
"I'm really angry about that," one person said. "I won't come back."

"They're a giant rip-off," added another.

"I think it's outrageous," came another reaction. "The prices here are already high, so it doesn't seem fair."
And from Business 101 class:
It's a bad business move according to workplace guru Stephen Viscusi, author of "Bulletproof Your Job."

"It's really not necessary to be charging people extra right now and to be pointing it out to customers," Viscusi said. "At some point consumers feel plain ripped off."
To say the least.

Who does Zabar think he is? The United States government?

Who's To Blame?

If this financial debacle on Wall Street is going to cost me - and every other taxpayer in America - $2,000 to fix, then, by God, I want someone's head on a platter for allowing this to happen.

And I want to start with those most responsible - Washington Democrats Schumer and Frank:

This whole thing is an outrage. Especially when we find out that former Treasury secretaries and former Fed chairmen and even John McCain warned of an impending train wreck and nothing was done to stop the Fannie May/Freddie Mac crash.

These people need to be punished.

- - -

The Roanoke Times this morning, in what can only be considered bad timing and bad luck, with a complete lack of understanding of history, goes after McCain for not having done anything about the problem up until now, and labels his temporary suspension of his campaign as showing that he's "out of touch." The video clip above blows that effort to excuse Obama's feckless behavior all to hell. YouTube provides the proof that McCain tried to bring about reform, but was prevented from doing so by Democrats.

Make Him Squeal

Here's something I didn't know. One of those Marines that Congressman John Murtha defamed during the Haditha mediafest a few years ago is a Murtha constituent!
Exonerated Marine to sue Rep. Murtha

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Painful Truth About The Media

Imagine, if there were no weblogs to spread the truth about Barack Obama's past, how distorted and one-sided his biography would be today. The press is in the tank for this guy like no other candidate at any point in our history. And the bias is being noticed:
Media covering for Obama
By Tony Blankley, writing in the Washington Times

The mainstream media have gone over the line and are now straight out propagandists for the Obama campaign. While they have been liberal and blinkered in their worldview for decades, in 2007-08 for the first time, the major media are consciously covering for one candidate for president and consciously knifing the other. This is no longer journalism — it is simply propaganda. (The American left-wing version of the Volkischer Beobachter* cannot be far behind.) And as a result, we are less than seven weeks away from possibly electing a president who has not been thoroughly and even half way honestly presented to the country by our watchdogs — the press. (link)
Propagandists indeed. And, in moments of weakness, they admit it. Perhaps that's why journalists are today viewed by the public more unfavorably than politicians. No small feat. And it will get worse before it gets better.

* Der Stürmer would have been a better example.

Democrats Are Liars?

Who knew?

This startling revelation smacks the doorknobs at the Bristol Herald Courier upside the head this morning:
Which Is It, Biden?

Sen. Joe Biden, who visited Castlewood, Va., on Saturday for the United Mine Workers’ annual Fish Fry, was quick to remind supporters of his ties and friendship to coal.

Yet three days earlier, Biden told an environmental activist in Maumee, Ohio, “No coal plants here in America.”

U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Va., played an integral role in luring Obama here twice for stump speeches and reiterated on Saturday that “Sen. Obama’s a friend of coal.”

Imagine our surprise, then, when we got wind of a video that shows Biden reversing the Democratic ticket’s position on energy.

“We’re not supporting clean coal,” Biden says. “Guess what. China’s building two every week. Two dirty coal plants. And it’s polluting the United States. It’s causing people to die. … No coal plants here in America. Build them, if they’re going to build them over there [China], make ’em clean because they’re killing you.”

Perhaps Biden had a change of heart 72 hours later when he visited coal country. Or maybe he’s in the habit of telling various audiences what they want to hear. (link)

Maybe he did. And maybe he is. And maybe Ben & Jerry's will start using human breast milk in its ice cream. But I wouldn't take it to the bank (assuming the bank is still there).

But there's a more obvious explanation. Biden is a damn Democrat.

End of discussion.

We All Prepare In Different Ways

The Roanoke Times this morning provides a useful suggestion regarding the tsunami of presidential campaign ads that is coming our way:
Prepare for an onslaught of ads

The good news about Virginia's unusual status as a battleground state is that the commonwealth will get plenty of notice from the candidates.

The bad news is that Virginia is getting another kind of attention: Both campaigns and independent special interest groups are flooding Virginia's airways with 30-second ads, most consisting of simplifications, distortions or outright lies about the opposing side.

Virginia voters should brace themselves for the onslaught to continue over the next month and a half -- and they should make sure not to accept any ad by any candidate at face value.

Voters have a responsibility to try to wash away the mud and attempt to dig up the actual facts. There are several good places to do that.

FactCheck.org is a nonpartisan*, nonprofit operation run by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.

So if you find an ad compelling and think it may help you make up your mind, do yourself -- and the nation -- a favor. Before you push the button on the voting machine, make sure you've checked the facts first. (link)
A good suggestion.

I have a better one. No, two. First, read this weblog and skip the inane ads all together. You'll learn all you need to know about the presidential contest from me, an unbiased source. Second, do what I do. On my satellite television dial, I'm tuned right now to channel 801. "Hits from the 1940's." All music, no video, 24 hours a day. Uninterrupted by commercials. It keeps one's sanity intact.

* Actually, Factcheck.org is under fire these days for getting its facts wrong, and for clearly being anti-gun and pro-Obama. More on that here.

Things I Don't Ever Want To Know

When I was in undergraduate school (a while back) and Paula and I were on a limited budget, we sought out a butcher shop down the street from our apartment, where we were able to buy "hamburger" at three pounds for a dollar. A great price, even then, and we gained a valuable lesson on all the neat things one can do with hamburger.

Funny thing was, I always had my suspicions about that "hamburger." When we fried it up, it turned a bright red. An odd red. A mysterious and intriguing red. Dog? Cat? Goat? Rat? I don't know to this day. But here's the thing: It tasted good. So I left well enough alone and enjoyed my 3 lbs.-for-a-dollar ... hamburger.

I was reminded of that story when I saw a photo in this morning's Roanoke Times that shows mouse turds that were found by health inspectors during a routine inspection on what looks like pancakes at the Roanoke City Market Building the other day.


Did we need to know that? Will pancakes ever taste the same? Had we all been eating mouse turds at the Market for lunch?

Were we the worse for it?

I remember that hamburger having a delicate flavor all its own, never replicated anywhere since. Who knows, maybe those mouse turd vendors at the Roanoke City Market Building were on to something.

Fighting Mad

It's good to see someone in the McCain campaign has fire in his belly. The following is the sort of take-no-prisoners assault that one expects to find coming from a partisan blogger, not from a stodgy, intractable, unwieldy presidential campaign. I like it:
A Partisan Paper of Record
John McCain.com

Today the New York Times launched its latest attack on this campaign in its capacity as an Obama advocacy organization. Let us be clear about what this story alleges: The New York Times charges that McCain-Palin 2008 campaign manager Rick Davis was paid by Freddie Mac until last month, contrary to previous reporting, as well as statements by this campaign and by Mr. Davis himself.

In fact, the allegation is demonstrably false. As has been previously reported, Mr. Davis separated from his consulting firm, Davis Manafort, in 2006. As has been previously reported, Mr. Davis has seen no income from Davis Manafort since 2006. Zero. Mr. Davis has received no salary or compensation since 2006. Mr. Davis has received no profit or partner distributions from that firm on any basis -- weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, semi-annual or annual -- since 2006. Again, zero. Neither has Mr. Davis received any equity in the firm based on profits derived since his financial separation from Davis Manafort in 2006.

Further, and missing from the Times' reporting, Mr. Davis has never -- never -- been a lobbyist for either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Mr. Davis has not served as a registered lobbyist since 2005.

Though these facts are a matter of public record, the New York Times, in what can only be explained as a willful disregard of the truth, failed to research this story or present any semblance of a fairminded treatment of the facts closely at hand. (link)

It appears that the Times, in an effort to paint McCain in a negative light again (is that the job of a "news" organization?), uses some really old information to make it seem that Rick Davis was on the take while working for McCain's presidential campaign. That's not the case.

A careful reading of the Times article, in fact, makes no such claims - directly. But there is an implicit message being crafted, starting with the article's headline: "Loan Titans Paid McCain Adviser Nearly $2 Million."

To be fair, the Times should have entitled the piece "Loan Titans Indirectly Paid Lobbyist Who Gave Up Lobbying And Was Later To Become a McCain Adviser Nearly $2 Million Several Years Ago."

But fairness has never been the NY Times's strong suit.

She's Just Not Fitting The Media's Template

While Democratic vice presidential contender Joe Biden produces a gaffe a day, the mainstream press is ignoring him and is instead obsessively seeking out - and "reporting" on - every misstep, whether real or conjured, that Sarah Palin might be making. (See a good example in this Washington Post article this morning that caught her "stumbling" in response to a question posed by Katie Couric. Stop the presses.).

Meanwhile, the boobs miss the real story, as the editorialists at Investor's Business Daily feel the need to point out:
Snarky Media Hide Palin Policy News

The press spent so much time sniping at Sarah Palin for her visits with global leaders that in the end it babbled about itself. What it missed was news on John McCain's foreign policy. Who are the real rubes?

Obama has never set foot in Latin America. He has yet to sit down with any Latin American leader in person, though he's made the offer to Venezuela's Chavez and Cuba's Castro brothers.

His running mate, Joe Biden, reaps hay for his foreign policy experience but has only managed to set foot in two Latin American countries during his 35 years on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Obama has yet to negotiate with a foreign government. Palin did so with Canada, our top energy supplier and largest trading partner, to create a 1,700-mile natural gas pipeline.

Palin's meetings with foreign heads of state in New York this week sent a stark message to the world's tyrants: If she and John McCain are elected to the highest office in the land, America will stand by the embattled nations it calls friends.

[Yet] outlets from AP to Newsday to even Fox News busied themselves hollering about access. They made themselves the story. Then they conjectured that these were "tutorials" and "burnishings of resumes" instead of messages to the world.

Obsessed with pink sofas and Alaska-shaped earrings, and on lookout for a mispronounced word, they complained that they got only a briefing, not a seat at the table. In the end, their braying only underlined their lack of interest in foreign affairs.

The self-absorbed media missed the real story about McCain and Palin's foreign intentions that the rest of the world is watching and reporting on. Who, again, are the real rubes? (link)

Journalists. Is it any wonder that they garner no respect?

The Power Of Mother Nature

Some great photos, along with a corresponding map, appear in this morning's New York Times that show the devastation that a series of hurricanes over time can wreak upon a barrier island in the Gulf.

I'm impressed enough to want to pack up and leave the mountains next time one comes up the coast.

Such fury. Such might. Such destruction.

This Should Surprise Nobody

Why does Nobel winner Al Gore come to mind?
Green idealists fail to make grade, says study
By David Adam, environment correspondent, The Guardian

People who believe they have the greenest lifestyles can be seen as some of the main culprits behind global warming, says a team of researchers, who claim that many ideas about sustainable living are a myth.

According to the researchers, people who regularly recycle rubbish and save energy at home are also the most likely to take frequent long-haul flights abroad. The carbon emissions from such flights can swamp the green savings made at home, the researchers claim.

Stewart Barr, of Exeter University, who led the research, said: "Green living is largely something of a myth. There is this middle class environmentalism where being green is part of the desired image. But another part of the desired image is to fly off skiing twice a year. And the carbon savings they make by not driving their kids to school will be obliterated by the pollution from their flights."

Some people even said they deserved such flights as a reward for their green efforts, he added. (link)
I may consume more than most, but at least I'm not a hypocrite about it. And my lifestyle is not put on display for the entire world to ridicule.

So where is Crazy Al these days?

Oh, yeah, doing what he does best. He's telling others to do what he won't do himself. But now he's telling them to violate the law and get arrested.

And Just In The Nick Of Time Too

Just before she had absolutely no one attending her "concerts" ...

Singer Bette Midler has told Sky News she is quitting touring - to help save the planet.

I thought she had retired long ago. Who knew.

What a Wonderful Video

"The strength of our nation is not only in its military, or economic power, but in our commitment to moral values, for the good of the world.

"Life, Faith, and Family.

"This election day, everything you hold scared will need your vote."

From CatholicVote.com:

Powerful stuff.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

It's No Longer Just a Local Story

With this ad, the McCain campaign slices and dices Joe Biden - and Obama - for their two-faced stance on coal-fired power plants, a hot-button issue if there ever was one in the coalfields of Southwest Virginia. In order for this to make sense, you need to know that Mr. Biden, when he made a brief stop over in Castlewood, made it known - for the first time to anyone's knowledge, including his immediate family - that he's a coal miner.

With that ...

How embarrassed these two must be.

Defining Leadership Down

I listened to Barack Obama's press conference this afternoon. Three sentences from his statement to the media in which he declined to suspend his campaign as John McCain had done earlier in the day, in order to focus on the worsening financial crisis, tell me all I'll ever need to know about Obama's leadership capabilities:

1) He called this period in history "a time of great uncertainty in America."

2) "People's jobs, people's savings, the economic security of millions of Americans will be put at risk."

So how does he intend to step up and lead the debate - and formulate a solution to the problems before us - solutions that will likely determine whether America slides into deep recession or not?

3) "And I told Speaker Pelosi and Majority leader Harry Reid to call me if they need me."

Call me if they need me?!

Leadership? Please. This joker doesn't know the meaning of the word.

What Are We Doing?

That bailout is going to cost us a brain-exploding $700,000,000,000? Guess again. There's the evolving fine print. This comes to us from this morning's Washington Times:
The massive federal scheme ($700 billion and apparently growing) to have taxpayers buy up bad mortgages that is currently being cobbled together by the Bush administration and a bipartisan coalition on Capitol Hill is a terrible idea. It constitutes a large transfer of wealth from the American taxpayer in an effort to revive failed private-sector businesses that should be permitted to fail - something that is essential if a free-market capitalist system is to survive and prosper in the future.

If anything, the $700 billion figure currently being quoted by the press significantly understates what this legislative monstrosity is going to cost taxpayers. Patrice Hill of The Washington Times reported that over the weekend, Mr. Paulson's Treasury Department dramatically expanded the bailout plan to include buying car loans, student loans, credit-card debt and other "troubled" assets held by banks. The changes - which were included in draft language opening the bailout program to foreign banks with extensive loan operations in this country - have the potential to add tens of billions of dollars to the cost of the bailout program. In his Monday counterproposal, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd included such consumer loans in addition to mortgages. [emphasis mine]
I highlighted Senator Dodd's name because he - along with Democratic Congressman Barney Frank of Massachusetts - caused this colossal mess in the first place. Now he (and Frank) are working to make the problem even worse.

Here's what I know at this point: (1) Let those banks that failed to protect their stakeholders' assets properly FAIL. (2) Kill off Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. And (3) get Dodd and Frank out of the process and into a 4X8 cell.

Think Before You Act

If the United States of America were still working with the gold standard, I wouldn't worry. But at some point, the good reputation of our government - which is all that's backing our paper currency these day - is going to disintegrate. Nothing will make that a reality more readily than this:

Deficit could top $1 trillion

We're going to be printing a whole lot more money next year to bail out the financial sector ... and cover the ever-growing cost of all those government entitlements ... and to pay for Obama's promised health care program ... and ...

May God have mercy on us.

Piling On

Looks like we'll be saddled with this baggage too:
Va. coffers could need $2.9 billion
By Michael Sluss, The Roanoke Times

Richmond -- Gov. Tim Kaine's administration said Tuesday that Virginia could face a budget shortfall as great as $2.9 billion over the next 21 months, a scenario much worse than many lawmakers expected just a month ago.

The latest revenue projections were delivered in a report prepared for Tuesday's closed-door meeting of the Governor's Advisory Council on Revenue Estimates -- a panel of finance officials, senior legislators and business executives. The report, prepared by the Department of Taxation, projected a revenue shortfall ranging from $2 billion to $2.9 billion, depending on economic activity. (link)
Local governments are complaining of shortfalls in tax revenue as well. Where does it end?

Hillary Knows Obama

She says she supports him now, but just a few short months ago, boy did Hillary peg this guy for the conniving snake oil salesman that he is:

Nobody is going to top that.

The People Will Not Be Ignored

We said we'd accept nothing less than Drill Here, Drill Now!

And they listened. And obey:
Democrats to let offshore drilling ban expire
By Andrew Taylor, Associated Press Writer

Washington - Democrats have decided to allow a quarter-century ban on drilling for oil off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts to expire next week, conceding defeat in an months-long battle with the White House and Republicans set off by $4 a gallon gasoline prices this summer.

Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey, D-Wis., told reporters Tuesday that a provision continuing the moratorium will be dropped this year from a stopgap spending bill to keep the government running after Congress recesses for the election.

Republicans have made lifting the ban a key campaign issue after gasoline prices spiked this summer and public opinion turned in favor of more drilling. (link)
You guys rock!

I wonder if Mark Warner is still working on that "comprehensive energy package" that includes a whole host of mind-numbingly muzzy projects that won't affect the availability of energy within the lifetimes of our childrens' children.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

So Much For Biden's Visit To Castlewood

What exactly was Joe Biden sent to the coalfields of Southwest Virginia for again? To lie to the UMW members at that fish fry? That has to be the only plausible answer, what with the latest from Mr. Coal Miner:
Biden: 'No coal plants here in America'
By Ben Smith, Politico

Some great rope line video from Joe Biden's recent Ohio swing, where he was asked by an anti-pollution campaigner about clean coal -- a controversial approach in Democratic circles for which Obama has voiced support, particularly during the Kentucky primary.

Biden's apparent answer: He supports clean coal for China, but not for the United States.

"No coal plants here in America," he said. "Build them, if they're going to build them, over there. Make them clean."

"We’re not supporting clean coal," he said of himself and Obama. They do, on paper, support clean coal. (link and video here)
"No coal plants here in America." How do you boys in the UMWA feel about the Democrat ticket now?

- - -

Headline at Hot Air: "On clean coal, Biden takes bold stand against, um, Obama’s position"


You folks living over in Tazewell, does this pass your smell test?
Tourism growth — Tazewell sees big increase in spending
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

Despite crippling gas prices and a troubled national economy, Tazewell County is continuing to experience welcomed tourism growth.

The county’s Office of Economic Development and Tourism announced Tuesday that in 2007, tourism generated $42,124,170 in visitor spending, supported 560 jobs and generated $600,030 in taxes to support the local community. These figures represent an 8.3 percent increase over 2006 and point to the importance of tourism to the local economy, according to county economic development and tourism coordinator Margie Douglass.

The annual economic impact of tourism report was compiled by the Travel Industry of America for the Virginia Tourism Corporation. (link) [my emphasis]
I've just two words in response. Absolute. Bullshit.

- - -

* For some useful insight into the flimflam that goes by the name of the Virginia Tourism Corporation, go here. And here.

Another Reason We Love Her

Palin, McCain Disagree on Causes of Global Warming


I received an email the other day that claimed that the new $1 coin in circulation has the "In God we Trust" motto removed for the first time in modern history. It came, as I recall, with a number of exclamation marks - !!!!. My immediate reaction was to get my dander up and go to the weblog to ask: Did we vote on this?

But I did the right thing before making a fool of myself. I checked out the story. Here are a couple of shots of the new coin. Look closely:

To be honest, as many times as I've handled the new coin, I've never looked at its edge. And, though I've never looked for that motto either, I was prepared to be outraged just the same. I am a red-blooded American male, after all.

Here's the dilemma: I hate carrying dollar coins, so I don't know if "In God We Trust" is there or not, and I'm unable to verify the above. Anyone have one on him?

* I've wondered why we need a dollar coin at all. I'm told they come in handy for vending companies. When you put a five in the coke machine, change is made with that $1 coin. I'd like to think there's a better reason.

** Click on image to enlarge.

From His Lips ...

... to your voting booth:
Powell's No-Brainer*
Investor's Business Daily editorial

Islamic terrorists have attacked a hotel and a U.S. embassy in the span of two weeks. Russia is invading American allies and sending warships to our hemisphere. What would Obama do? Gut the military.

In a 132-word videotaped pledge (still viewable on YouTube), Obama agreed to hollow out the military by slashing conventional and nuclear weapons. The scope of his planned defense cuts, combined with his angry tone, is breathtaking. He sounds as if the military is the enemy, not the bad guys it's fighting. Here's a transcript:

"I'm the only major candidate who opposed this war from the beginning; and as president, I will end it.

"Second, I will cut tens of billions of dollars in wasteful spending. I will cut investments in unproven missile defense systems. I will not weaponize space. I will slow our development of future combat systems.

"I will institute an independent defense priorities board to ensure that the Quadrennial (Defense) Review is not used to justify unnecessary defense spending.

"Third, I will set a goal for a world without nuclear weapons. To seek that goal, I will not develop nuclear weapons; I will seek a global ban on the production of fissile material; and I will negotiate with Russia to take our ICBMs off hair-trigger alert, and to achieve deep cuts in our nuclear arsenal."

Our ICBMs have been off "hair-trigger" alert for decades. But his threat to unilaterally hollow out our nuclear forces is chilling. (link)

Chilling indeed.

And, to quote his running mate, boneheaded.

We should all fear for our country.

* The title refers to a quote from former Secretary of State Colin Powell: "Ret. Gen. Colin Powell, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says he's not going to vote for Obama 'just because you're black.' The critical issue, he recently averred, 'is who is going to keep us safe.'"

Whose Side Is He On?

Much has been made - or attempted to be made - of McCain TV ads in recent weeks. Why? For allegedly being egregiously divisive, over the top, and chock full of lies about Barack Obama. Mr. Wonderful's running mate has a problem with TV spots as well. But, oddly, not with McCain's:
Joe Cringes At Barack Ad
New York Post Wire Services

He's Joe Biden and he did NOT approve this ad.

The Democratic veep candidate told CBS's Katie Couric last night he thought a campaign ad that stingingly mocked John McCain for being a computer bonehead was "terrible."

"I didn't know we did it and if I had anything to do with it, we would have never done it," Biden said. (link)

Biden's reason for being so opposed to this particular ad isn't given (why?), but one can surmise that it has to do with the fact that McCain is unable to use a computer in large part because he can't type on a keyboard because of permanent injuries he received at the hands of his torturers during his North Vietnamese captivity. A pretty darn good reason to be opposed, if there ever was one.

I wonder if Biden will call upon Obama to apologize.

We Need A Lawyer

I'm sure this dude (allegedly) broke the law. I'm just having difficulty understanding what federal law he broke. It seems clear, though, he's (allegedly) in heap big trouble:
Feds Raid Tenn. Apt. Of Sarah's 'Net' Hacker
By Cathy Burke, New York Post

FBI agents swooped down on the party pad of a 20-year-old University of Tennessee economics student - and son of a Democratic lawmaker - who allegedly hacked into the personal e-mail account of Republican veep nominee Sarah Palin.

Agents took names, and then hustled everyone outside while they took pictures, according to WBIR-TV. (link)
I think this kid should be given a fair trial and then be hanged. I'm just not sure why.

* Just kidding about that hanging part. A $25 fine will suffice.

Margaret Sanger Is Pleased

The founder of Planned Parenthood would find this news heartwarming. If she had a heart. If she weren't currently burning in hell:
Study Finds Major Shift in Abortion Demographics
By Rob Stein, Washington Post Staff Writer

The face of women who have abortions has shifted significantly in the past 30 years, with relatively fewer white childless teenagers and more mothers of color in their 20s and 30s opting to terminate their pregnancies, according to a report being released today.

In the first comprehensive analysis since 1974 of demographic characteristics of women who have abortions, researchers found that the overall drop in the abortion rate has been marked by a dramatic shift, declining more among white women and teenagers than among black and Hispanic and older women. (link)
This, whether out of design or not, is exactly why Sanger created Planned Parenthood, though she once cautioned that "We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members." She openly advocated in favor of "a race of thoroughbreds" and, from her work and that of others of her ilk, the "science" of eugenics was born. That "race of thoroughbreds? Upper-class whites of European ancestry only. "Immigrants," poor whites, and blacks? Well, Adolf Hitler knew how to deal with them. The practice of eugenics was born.

Now the slaughterhouses are full of black and Hispanic women each day. Sanger smiles.

- - -

* There should be some serious discussion in this country about Sanger's infamous - or what should be infamous - "Negro Project." It is evil incarnate.

Monday, September 22, 2008

On November 4 Defend Freedom

My NRA takes no prisoners:

"No politician is going to take away my Constitutional rights."

Maybe The Bobbsy Twins Should Visit More Often

How many times have Obama and his coal miner running mate visited the commonwealth of Virginia in recent weeks? Six? seven? If they keep up that kind of pace, based upon the latest poll results McCain might end up winning the Old Dominion going away:
McCain Ahead Again in Virginia, 50% to 48%
Rasmussen Reports

John McCain has regained his modest lead in Virginia, where he now bests Barack Obama 50% to 48% in the latest Fox News/Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of voters in the state.

A week ago, the race was tied at 48% apiece. (link)
They came. They did their dog & pony. We remain unimpressed.

I'm half-inclined to invite them back.

They Allowed Themselves to Be Fooled

The politicians - and their left-wing reactionary friends - convinced the populace that the elimination of firearms - handguns, most rifles and shotguns - would eliminate crime. Now the defenseless populace is up in arms - so to speak. The criminals in their midst have turned to other deadly weapons and are running roughshod over them, slaughtering innocent men, women, and children with impunity:
London knife crime protest as another victim dies
By Kevin Dowling, Times of London

Thousands of Londoners alarmed by the city's rising toll of knife crime marched through the capital today, hours after a man in his 20s was stabbed to death outside a sports club in the city.

The People’s March was the brainchild of two south London women sickened by the rising tide of deaths they read in the news. (link)
Need we even try to guess what the next series of laws will concern?

Guess I'd better Start Limbering Up ...

The future is here and, may God have mercy.

I need to start doing calisthenics if I'm going to be forced to slide - fall? - slither? - behind the wheel of one of these sardine cans.

A local story:
Gas-sipping “Fortwo” Turns Heads
By Debra McCown, Bristol Herald Courier

Abingdon, Va. – Dorte Lowman thinks her car is special; she spent more than a decade waiting for it to come across the ocean.

“We were hoping it would be eventually imported into the states, and finally it arrived,” Lowman said of her smart fortwo, a tiny, gas-sipping two-seater that just became available in the United States in January.

Parked next to a Dodge pickup truck outside Super Dollar, the car only takes up half the parking space and is about the length and height of the truck’s bed.

Lowman said her brother, who lives in Germany, has had one for 10 years, and because it gets more than 40 miles a gallon, it’s worth its weight in gold in a country where gas costs $8 per gallon. (link)
She's waited more than a decade for that thing? She could have gone down to the Wal-Mart in Bristol and picked one up - in tricycle form - in just minutes.

Okay. They say this little "vehicle" is the way of the future. And I'm going to try to get used to it. But when winter comes, and I'm wearing a heavy coat, I have my doubts that ...