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

Saturday, January 31, 2009

See You There

As a rule, I drink only beers the names of which begin with the letters B-U-D, but I'm prepared to make an exception in this case:
New Blacksburg brew now on tap
By Tonia Moxley, Roanoke Times

After years of anticipation and a few false starts, microbrewing has flooded Blacksburg and the New River Valley.

On New Years' Day, the Bull & Bones Brewhaus and Grill opened on Blacksburg's South Main Street. Next came word that neighbors had dropped a Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control appeal and Shooting Creek Farm Brewery in Floyd County would begin brewing its original recipe ales.

Now comes news that local restaurants are serving Blacksburger Pils, a new microbrew from brewmaster and Virginia Tech alum John Bryce and his Blacksburg Brewing Company.

Blacksburger Pils is "all-malt European style pilsner," Bryce wrote in a news release. The brew is now on tap at The Cellar, Souvlaki and Cabo Fish Taco, all in downtown Blacksburg. [link]
I can't see myself going up to Blacksburg just to drink, and I'm not big on being around a lot of noisy, unwashed, smelly Virginia Tech students, but if Blacksburger Pils ever makes its way down to Bland*, I'll provide a professional review.

Sounds interesting.

* A minor problem: It would have to be served at the Citgo. It's our only source of spirits in the county.

I Think I'd Be Suing Them Too

What is this (from today's Roanoke Times) all about?
According to King's lawsuit, on Sept. 13, 2006, she was summoned to a meeting with then-station manager Dave Bunnell in which a dozen other managers were present, as was Durham, who asked her to lift her shirt so he could examine insect bites on her stomach. Durham looked at the bites, touched her side and declared, "You have scabies," the lawsuit states.
I know I have limited management experience but it is my humble opinion that you're not allowed to do that.

The amount of the settlement wasn't divulged but if it didn't include a lot of zeroes, Ms. King's attorney should be sued for malpractice.

"A dozen managers present."

"...asked her to lift her shirt."

"You have scabies."

Good grief.

The Obama Effect

The Washington Post this morning expresses concern about the total lack of qualifications of a nominee to the office of President of the United States head the D.C. Public Service Commission:
Not Qualified

Last June, the mayor nominated Lori M. Lee to head the board that regulates electric, natural gas and telecommunications companies operating in the District. The nomination to a job that pays nearly $150,000 stalled in the D.C. Council because of concerns about Ms. Lee's qualifications. It's not that Ms. Lee is without accomplishment -- she's been an attorney with the Justice Department, working on immigration issues, for 11 years. Rather, as became embarrassingly apparent at her confirmation hearing, Ms. Lee has no professional experience or academic background in utility regulation or related fields. She has never managed a staff. She said she's never been to a meeting of the PSC. [link]

Barack Obama had no professional experience (in fact, little experience of any kind) and lacked any meaningful management experience - except for a small Senate staff - and the Washington Post enthusiastically supported his election to the highest office in the land.

Maybe this Lee woman isn't black. It's the only thing I can figure.

Have Him Go Stand In The Corner

This should keep the crazy old goat occupied and out of trouble:

Biden to Lead Task Force on Issues of the Middle Class

And he's been told that his mission is critical to our future too. So work hard and report back in four years. See ya.

Are Democrats Exempt From Paying Taxes?

At least until they get appointed to high office?

Daschle Owed Back Taxes That Exceeded $128,000

I think I'm going to be a Democrat. I want to be able to choose which tax laws I'm going to obey.

Checks & Balances

Does anyone find the language used in this New York Times editorial about how the executive branch of our government needs to obey the judicial branch of our government to be a tad askew?
The Next Step on Warming

[W]e were greatly encouraged by President Obama’s swift announcement that he is likely to approve California’s request to regulate greenhouse gases from vehicles — a request the Bush administration denied.

The logical next step would be for Mr. Obama to quickly address the Supreme Court’s 2007 decision ordering the Environmental Protection Agency to examine the effects of greenhouse gases and to regulate them if necessary. Mr. Bush dodged that one, too. [link] [my emphasis]
Ol' George, if he was anything, was the kind of person who saw most matters before him in black and white. That's why I was rather surprised that he deferred to the Supreme Court on issues that he had every right - in my humble opinion - to ignore.

This was one of them.

Where in the Constitution is the judiciary given the power to order the executive branch of government to do anything?

Andrew Jackson had a healthy attitude toward the checks and balances that are built into the Constitution. When Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall's court ruled in 1832 that a Georgia law was unconstitutional,* he famously said:

"John Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it."**

It was in the 60's, it seems to me, that the executive branch (as well as the legislative) - with the school desegregation issue and school busing - became subservient to the judicial. Federal courts around the country were ordering school systems to desegregate, appointing overseers to administer the process, providing detailed instruction on how the process was to be implemented, and appointing themselves monitors of the effort. The judiciary wrote the rules (overriding any efforts of legislators) and executed them. And the other two branches acquiesced.

That subservience continues to this day. The Supreme Court decided a few years ago that carbon dioxide was a pollutant (the judiciary is now assuming the role of science commissariat as well). And the executive branch of government is twisting itself in knots to comply with that decision.


There'll come a day when some executive stares these people down and tells the court: You made the decision; now enforce it.

It won't be Obama. Despite his rhetoric about "change," he ain't gonna rock that boat.

But someone someday is going to put those checks and balances back in place and instruct the members of the judiciary to read article III of the Constitution - and comply with the limitations enumerated therein.

And some day the legislative branch is going to advise the judicial that it is given the power to make law - not the handful of insulated, unelected officials who sit on the court.

Some day.

* A power that the judicial branch is given in the Constitution.
** There is some controversy as to whether he ever said it.

What's This?

Hmm. Could it be that the Republicans in the House of Representatives got their message through to the blockheads who feel the need to spend our grandchildren into oblivion?
Stimulus Plan Encounters Stiff Resistance in Senate
By David M. Herszenhorn, New York Times

Washington — Senate Republicans and even some Democrats are pressing for big changes to the $819 billion economic stimulus package the House passed this week, setting the stage for a bruising debate over tax cuts and spending that will test the Obama White House.

The demand for major changes comes amid mounting criticism from some economists that the bill does not focus tightly enough on government programs that will quickly create jobs or tax breaks that will spark spending by consumers and businesses. [link]
As it turns out, there are Democrats - like Kent Conrad of North Dakota - who have decided that there isn't enough spending in the massive pork bill. They're holding out to make it even worse.

All in all, with what we know at this point, Congress would do us a big favor and kill this awful, awful piece of legislation.

Congress won't, of course. So many special interests. So great an opportunity.

The Plain Truth

From the inbox:
This year, taxpayers will receive an Economic Stimulus Payment. This is a very exciting new program that I will explain using the Q and A format:

Q. What is an Economic Stimulus Payment?

A. It is money that the federal government will send to taxpayers.

Q. Where will the government get this money?

A. From taxpayers.

Q. So the government is giving me back my own money?

A. Only a smidgen.

Q. What is the purpose of this payment?

A. The plan is that you will use the money to purchase a high-definition TV set, thus stimulating the economy.

Q. But isn't that stimulating the economy of China?

A. Shut up.

Below is some helpful advice on how to best help the US economy by spending your stimulus check wisely:

If you spend that money at Wal-Mart, all the money will go to China.

If you spend it on gasoline it will go to the Arabs.

If you purchase a computer it will go to India.

If you purchase fruit and vegetables it will go to Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala (unless you buy organic).

If you buy a car it will go to Japan.

If you purchase useless crap it will go to Taiwan.

And none of it will help the American economy.

We need to keep that money here in America. You can keep the money in America by spending it at yard sales, going to a baseball game, or spend it on prostitutes, beer (domestic ONLY), or tattoos, since those are the only businesses still in the US.
* Author unknown.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Another One Bites The Dust

Don't expect the Fred Whitaker Company to help pay for that middle class health care/welfare program your United States Senators passed yesterday (see below). The company is folding:
Textile dyeing company is closing
By Sarah Bruyn Jones, Roanoke Times

Fred Whitaker Co. will shut its doors on March 31, laying off all of its 136 employees.

Executives of the Roanoke industrial textile dye company made the announcement Wednesday, telling employees that the business was no longer viable.

"We've struggled really hard the last two years with losing money and trying to recover," said Becky Reynolds, director of human resources. "Everybody is looking for a cheaper source. We've had such a decline in orders that we just hit that point."

The fierce local, national and international competition facing the textile industry coupled with the recession ultimately led to dwindling orders and the decision to close, Reynolds said. [link]
Another 136 people go onto the government unemployment line. Expect Webb and Warner to shed the expected tears. And to continue their efforts to worsen the problem.

May God have mercy.

Lies, Damn Lies and ...

... Washington Post editorials.

Here's how a blindly liberal newspaper explains the need to "close" that mythical "gun show loophole" (in "Guns in Virginia"):
The Virginia Senate has an unprecedented opportunity today to begin to reverse the state's abysmal record on gun regulation.

Licensed gun dealers in Virginia are required to conduct background checks on buyers, including those to whom they sell at gun shows. Yet, according to the Virginia State Police, up to 35 percent of vendors at the scores of gun shows throughout the state are unlicensed and thus are under no obligation to perform the checks.
Are they naive, stupid, or just plain wicked? You decide.

FACT: Vendors who sell guns at gun shows ARE required to be licensed and ARE required to go through the background check process when selling their wares.

FACT: As the Richmond Times-Dispatch pointed out recently, that "35% of vendors" who don't submit background check information to the authorities involves people and businesses who don't sell guns. A quote is instructive:

"Gun-control advocates often muddy the issue by referring to “unlicensed dealers” at gun shows, of which there are indeed many. They sell holsters, flashlights, hunting knives, T-shirts, books, gun safes — even jewelry. But an unlicensed dealer who sold guns as a business would invite felony charges under federal law."

This alone should shame these snakes.

FACT: The only gun transactions that take place at gun shows in which there are no background checks conducted involve the transfer of one or more weapons from one private citizen - not a vendor - to another.

Anyone who's ever actually been to a gun show will tell you - it is common for individuals to bring their firearms to a gun show and try to sell them on the side. It's true that there is no background check involved. But it's also true that those individuals could market their guns through the local newspaper, or at a flea market, or through a yard sale. No background check is required there either. Yet.

FACT: As the Times-Dispatch points out:
Individuals selling guns from their own private collection do not have to fill out background check forms. (And if they did, they'd simply turn to newspaper advertising or their front yard.)

FACT: The goons at the Washington Post know all this and yet they continue to foist their lies on a gullible reading public. They know no shame.

FACT: We will continue to demand and defend our Constitutional rights in spite of the efforts of elitists to deny us. To subjugate us.

Want my guns? Quit this silly "gun show loophole" idiocy and come and get 'em, big boy.

Hear. Hear.

Charles Krauthammer is on a tear this morning. A snippet from "Outreach, Yes. Apology, No.":

"My job," says Obama, "is to communicate to the American people that the Muslim world is filled with extraordinary people who simply want to live their lives and see their children live better lives." That's his job? Do the American people think otherwise? Does he think he is bravely breaking new ground? George Bush, Condoleezza Rice and countless other leaders offered myriad expressions of that same universalist sentiment.

Every president has the right to portray himself as ushering in a new era of this or that. Obama wants to pursue new ties with Muslim nations, drawing on his own identity and associations. Good. But when his self-inflation as redeemer of U.S.-Muslim relations leads him to suggest that pre-Obama America was disrespectful or insensitive or uncaring of Muslims, he is engaging not just in fiction but in gratuitous disparagement of the country he is now privileged to lead.

We're going back to the days when our foreign policy consisted of little more than Clinton extending apologies to terrorist countries after their henchmen slaughtered American men, women, and children in cold blood.

Swell. Just swell.

A Troubling Horizon

Remember who it is that has been buying up all that U.S. debt in recent years. When they - the Chinese, Japanese, and Saudis - lose faith in their investments, well, we ain't seen problems like we'll see problems.

As one might imagine, that faith is being shaken by our new president and his gang of suicide merchants in Congress:
Global Worries Over U.S. Stimulus Spending
By Nelson D. Schwartz, The New York Times

Davos, Switzerland — Even as Congress looks for ways to expand President Obama’s $819 billion stimulus package, the rest of the world is wondering how Washington will pay for it all.

Few people attending the World Economic Forum question the need to kick-start America’s economy, the world’s largest, with a package that could reach $1 trillion over two years. [jf: because they don't care]. But the long-term fallout from increased borrowing by the United Stated government, and its potential to drive up inflation and interest rates around the world, seems to getting more attention here than in Washington.

While the dollar’s status as refuge in a time of turmoil should prevent that kind of sell-off for now, a number of financial specialists warned that if fundamental factors like the lack of American savings and bloated budget deficits did not change, the dollar could eventually fall sharply. [link]
And if that isn't enough to scare your socks off, there's the fact that Obama's stimulus plan - if adopted - will accelerate our doom:

“Even before Obama walked through the White House door, there were plans for $1 trillion of new debt,” said Niall Ferguson, a Harvard historian who has studied borrowing and its impact on national power. He now estimates that some $2.2 trillion in new government debt will be issued this year, assuming the stimulus plan is approved.

“You either crowd out other borrowers or you print money,” Mr. Ferguson added. “There is no way you can have $2.2 trillion in borrowing without influencing interest rates or inflation in the long-term.”

Mr. Ferguson was particularly struck by the new borrowing because the roots of the current crisis lay in an excess of American debt at all levels, from homeowners to Wall Street banks.

“This is a crisis of excessive debt, which reached 355 percent of American gross domestic product,” he said. “It cannot be solved with more debt.”
Foreign investors bailing on us. Our economy worsening because of massive federal debt and the inevitable tax increases that will be required to offset (some of) it.

May God help us.

A Sinking Ship

As the American people learn the details of Obama's monstrous "stimulus" plan ...

... their euphoria for the man becomes aversion to the plan:
Public Support for Economic Recovery Plan Slips to 42%
Rasmussen Reports

Public support for the economic recovery plan crafted by President Obama and congressional Democrats has slipped a bit over the past week.

Forty-two percent (42%) of the nation’s likely voters now support the president’s plan, roughly one-third of which is tax cuts with the rest new government spending. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 39% are opposed to it and 19% are undecided. Liberal voters overwhelmingly support the plan while conservatives are strongly opposed. [link]
That's 42% and falling. As the details continue to come out, expect that percentage to dwindle a whole lot further.

Congress Marches Toward Oblivion ...

... spending money we don't have on people who can easily pay their own way.

Remember that health care program that George Bush vetoed because it extended benefits (at your expense) to middle class and upper middle class families? It passed the Senate yesterday. On the day after the House passed that stimulus plan that spends a mountain of cash as well.

Cash we don't have:
Senators Approve Health Bill for Children
By Robert Pear, New York Times

Washington — The Senate passed a bill on Thursday to provide health insurance to more than four million uninsured children, as a newly empowered Democratic majority brushed aside Republican objections.

The vote was 66 to 32, with nine Republicans joining Democrats to support the bill.

One of the most significant sections of the child health bill would allow states to use federal money to cover children and pregnant women who are legal immigrants. Under existing law, legal immigrants are generally barred from Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program for five years after they enter the United States. [link]
So how did that friend of the working schmuck (the schmuck who'll have to scrape together the money to pay for this) James Webb and his partner in crime, Mark Warner vote? Need you ask?

Barack Obama (and John McCain) promised the American people free shit during the campaign. The American people voted in favor. So who am I to argue that a person living in Southwest Virginia making $42,000 a year paying for health coverage of a family in New Jersey with an annual income of $82,000 a year is madness?

Oh, and it won't just be Ernie the Canoe Livery Man paying for it. It'll be Volvo. And the Roanoke Times. And Goodyear. And Corning.

So I'll not make the argument. You wanted this. Prepare to reap the rewards.

Say It, Brutha


The article appears to be intended to bash Rush, but to me, it makes him out to be the hero in the fight for the soul of the Republican Party. Here's the lede to "House GOP member to Rush: Back off":
Rush Limbaugh may command a large following, but his caustic comments Monday about the GOP’s congressional leadership have at least one Republican House member defending his colleagues and offering an unusually candid critique of the talk radio powerhouse and his fellow commentators.

“I think that our leadership, Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, are taking the right approach,” [Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga] said. “I mean, it’s easy if you’re Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh or even sometimes Newt Gingrich to stand back and throw bricks. You don’t have to try to do what’s best for your people and your party. You know you’re just on these talk shows and you’re living well and plus you stir up a bit of controversy and gin the base and that sort of that thing. But when it comes to true leadership, not that these people couldn’t be or wouldn’t be good leaders, they’re not in that position of John Boehner or Mitch McConnell."
But it's Rush's response to this jab that wins the day:
Asked to respond to Gingrey, Limbaugh, in an email to Politico, wrote: “I'm sure he is doing his best but it does not appear to be good enough. He may not have noticed that the number of Republican colleagues he has in the House has dwindled. And they will dwindle more if he and his friends don't show more leadership and effectiveness in battling the most left-wing agenda in modern history. And they won't continue to lose because of me, but because of their relationship with the grassroots, which is hurting. Conservatives want leadership from those who claim to represent them. And we'll know it when we see it.”
As Rush has pointed out before, he's not the one who led the Party to its current state of collapse. After all, he fought tooth and nail to keep John McCain from being nominated - and lost. Only to see the man he opposed get crushed in November. Beyond the "moderate" McCain though, it was Rush who, over the years, fought against the profligate spending of his fellow Republicans that ultimately demoralized and muted the base of the Party, and sent swing voters flocking to the Democrats.

And now, with the Democrat Congress poised to spend this country into oblivion, Rush pleads for someone from the opposition party - his Party - to stand up and oppose that which will do grievous harm.

I agree with Rush. As much as I admire Mitch McConnell, his near-silence over the last few weeks has been a great disappointment. This Gingrey character prefers a leader who is politic (i.e., marked by artful prudence, expedience, and shrewdness). And Congress, it can be argued, is the place for politics. But there comes a time when one's convictions, one's principles, should bring a leader of the opposition to say, "We're not going to take this lying down. We're not going to watch our country being destroyed."

The Republican Party has "gone along" with the Democrats when it came to spending initiatives ever since George W. Bush came to office. Anyone remember "No Child Left Behind"? The education bill that Ted Kennedy and President Bush put together? The House sponsor? John Boehner. It was all downhill from there.

Rush has found himself on the outside looking in for all these eight years. While trying his best to remain a loyal Republican, he's watched as his party has turned itself into the Democrat-lite party. And he's watched as it lost its majorities in 2006. He watched, as well, as it became a shell of its former self in 2008.

There are those who argue - including our new president - that the GOP would be foolish to listen to Rush Limbaugh. The reality of it is that the leadership thereof quit listening to him long ago. The results speak for themselves.

You go, Rush. You still speak for many, many of us. Perhaps someday we'll once again have a two-party system in this country.

- - -

Maybe the current leadership needs to move out of the way and allow new blood to take charge.

On Presidential Hypocrisy

Andrew Stuttaford:
'Climate change' moralists are always talking about the need to take responsibility/set an example in the face of the imminent planetary apocalypse. Imagine my surprise, therefore, when I read this:

"Washington — The capital flew into a bit of a tizzy when, on his first full day in the White House, President Obama was photographed in the Oval Office without his suit jacket. There was, however, a logical explanation: Mr. Obama, who hates the cold, had cranked up the thermostat. 'He’s from Hawaii, O.K.?' said Mr. Obama’s senior adviser, David Axelrod, who occupies the small but strategically located office next door to his boss. 'He likes it warm. You could grow orchids in there.'"

Thermostat down, coat on, Mr. President: the planet's in peril (or so you tell us).
So what's hypocritical about that?

Mark Hemingway reminds us of an Obama quote from the recent campaign:

"We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times . . . and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK."

"We" meaning "everyone but me" apparently.



Nancy Pelosi explaining how hundreds of millions of dollars in our tax money being spent on sexually transmitted disease prevention will stimulate the economy:

"There is a, uh, uh, uh, I'm a big believer in prevention and we have a, uh, there is a part of the bill on the House side of it that is about prevention. It's about, uh, it being less expensive to the states to do these prevention measures."

Feel stimulated?

As Obama Prepares To Combat Global Warming ...

... the Earth cools.

The founder of the cable TV "Weather Channel", John Coleman, provides us with this:
The Amazing Story Behind the Global Warming Scam

The key players are now all in place in Washington and in state governments across America to officially label carbon dioxide as a pollutant and enact laws that tax we citizens for our carbon footprints. Only two details stand in the way, the faltering economic times and a dramatic turn toward a colder climate. The last two bitter winters have lead to a rise in public awareness that CO2 is not a pollutant and is not a significant greenhouse gas that is triggering runaway global warming.

Al Gore ... said the science behind global warming is settled and there will be no more debate, From 1992 until today, he and his cohorts have refused to debate global warming and when ask about we skeptics they simply insult us and call us names.

So today we have the acceptance of carbon dioxide as the culprit of global warming. It is concluded that when we burn fossil fuels we are leaving a dastardly carbon footprint which we must pay Al Gore or the environmentalists to offset. Our governments on all levels are considering taxing the use of fossil fuels. The Federal Environmental Protection Agency is on the verge of naming CO2 as a pollutant and strictly regulating its use to protect our climate. The new President and the US congress are on board. Many state governments are moving on the same course.

We are already suffering from this CO2 silliness in many ways. Our energy policy has been strictly hobbled by no drilling and no new refineries for decades. We pay for the shortage this has created every time we buy gas. On top of that the whole thing about corn based ethanol costs us millions of tax dollars in subsidies. That also has driven up food prices. And, all of this is a long way from over.

And, I am totally convinced there is no scientific basis for any of it.

Global Warming. It is the hoax. It is bad science. It is a hijacking of public policy. It is no joke. It is the greatest scam in history. [link]
The greatest scam in planetary history. And it's a long way from having run its course.

That All May Have The Chance ...

... to be president.

This clip is getting a lot of buzz:

Powerful stuff.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

This Ain't Good

There'll be those - lots of those - who will cheer the implications to be drawn from this story in the Roanoke Times:
Wages frozen, days cut at Times
By Jenny Kincaid Boone

The Roanoke Times announced Monday a companywide [sic] wage freeze and a five-day furlough to curb expenses in the midst of a recession and revenue declines that are wounding newspapers nationwide.

The furlough, which will require full-time and some part-time employees to take off five days without pay, will begin in February. The unpaid days will fall one Monday a month through June. Those days are Feb. 16, March 16, April 13, May 11 and June 15.

In early 2008, Norfolk-based Landmark Communications announced that it planned to market for sale its holdings, including The Roanoke Times. But the process halted in October, after potential buyers failed to obtain credit and falling advertising volume caused values to decline. [link]
I'll derive no pleasure from the fact that the Roanoke Times is soon to be no more.

Sure, like so many others here in Southwest Virginia, I am critical of the left-wing idiocy that appears daily in the editorial section of the paper. In fact, I'm quite offended on a regular basis by the efforts of the editorial page editor and his gang of liberals to drive this country further into the ground. And many of us wished the owner of the paper hadn't promoted an abortion cheerleader to be its publisher.

Both, alas, are excellent reasons for me to never advertise there.

But there is this: The Times, for its size, is a good paper (the above notwithstanding), with top notch reporters, and a nice, professional on-line layout. And it informs.

Most of all, the Roanoke Times is one of Southwest Virginia's largest employers (currently payrolling 390 full-time employees. This area doesn't need additional multitudes joining the ranks of the unemployed. That line is long enough already.

So here's hoping the Times can figure out the magic necessary to keep its doors open.

Here's hoping folks there find that magic soon.

Real soon.

Kaine's Tax Increase On Poor Axed

As well it should have been:
Cigarette tax increase snuffed out in House subcommittee
By Michael Sluss, Roanoke Times

Richmond -- A House of Delegates subcommittee on Wednesday rejected a cigarette tax increase proposed by Gov. Tim Kaine, delivering a blow to a major piece of the administration's plan to balance the state budget and minimize cuts to the Medicaid program.

By a vote of 8-2, a House Finance subcommittee voted to kill legislation (House Bill 2389) that would double the state's cigarette tax to 60 cents per pack and dedicate the revenue to a health care fund that supports the Medicaid program. [link]
Good riddance.

Let it be noted that opposition to Kaine's tax increase included Democrats. See the vote breakdown here.

Coalfield Progress Asks You To Make an Exception

Don’t drive drunk on Super Bowl Sunday

* Link requires a paid subscription.

Surprise. Surprise.

Breaking news!
American Union Ranks Grow After 'Bottoming Out'
By Peter Whoriskey, Washington Post Staff Writer

The percentage of American workers belonging to a union jumped in 2008, the first statistically significant increase in the 25 years that the figure has been reported, reversing a long decline in union membership.

In 2008, union members represented 12.4 percent of employed workers, up from 12.1 percent a year earlier, according to a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics issued yesterday. [link]

Well, not really. The only remarkable aspect to this story is the fact that it took eleven paragraphs for the Washington Post to reveal the obvious:

"Roughly 275,000 of the union-member surge -- about two-thirds [of] last year's gain -- came from the public sector, according to the new federal statistics. Union gains in the private sector, by contrast, were meager."

Government has grown. Stop the presses.

'Nuff Said

Regarding the "stimulus" bill that passed the House yesterday with no Republican support, Matt Drudge says it all. To Barack Obama, who now stakes his presidency on its success at pulling the country out of its tailspin:
You wrote a massive check that our grandchildren will have to someday pay. If you fail, you'll go down in history as having contributed directly to the worst fiscal calamity in American history.

And the media won't get you out of this one.

Quote of the Day

Mark Steyn:

"The way things are going it won't be necessary to nuke the Bay Area."

In The End ...

... it turns out that Obama didn't have to include tax cuts in his stimulus debt bill to entice Republicans to vote for it after all:

House OKs Stimulus Without Any Votes From Republicans

He could simply have left it the wasteful pork bill that it originally was.

I don't think he'll be looking for that bi-partisanship going forward.


The day after that massive waste of a "stimulus" bill passed a Democrat House of Representatives, we are shocked by the New York Times to learn this:

Stimulus Components Vary in Speed and Efficiency

Cutting edge, fellas. Timely.

The rest of us knew this a week ago. That's why America turned against the bill so quickly.

Where you been?

You Can't Make This Stuff Up

"I'm going to give up on booze. Just as soon as I finish off this bottle of Wild Turkey."

And speaking of those now responsible for America's fiscal well-being:
OMB director calms Blue Dogs
By Patrick O'Connor, Politico

President Barack Obama's budget director has reached out to a trio of House committee chairmen, reminding them to remain fiscally disciplined — after they spend $825 billion to bolster the flailing economy, that is.

Peter Orszag, director of the Office of Management and Budget, sent a note to Appropriations Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.), Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) and Ways and Means Chairman Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.) warning them some fiscal belt-tightening will come very soon.

"We need to recognize that this recovery and reinvestment plan is an extraordinary response to an extraordinary crisis," Orszag wrote. "It should not be seen as an opportunity to abandon fiscal discipline." [link]
"It should not be seen as an opportunity to abandon fiscal discipline." This on the same day that the majority Democrats in the House of Representatives voted to abandon all semblance of fiscal discipline.

May God have mercy.

No Sex Since 1955

A crusty old US Marine Sergeant Major found himself at a gala event hosted by a local liberal arts college.

There was no shortage of extremely young idealistic ladies in attendance, one
of whom approached the Sergeant Major for conversation.

"Excuse me, Sergeant Major, but you seem to be a very serious man. Is some
thing bothering you?"

, ma'am. just serious by nature."

The young lady looked at his awards and decorations and said, "It looks like you have seen a lot of action."

"Yes, ma'am, a lot of action."

The young lady, tiring of trying to start up a conversation, said, "You know
, you should lighten up a little.

Relax and enjoy yourself."

The Sergeant Major just stared at her in his serious manner.

Finally the young lady said, "You know, I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but when is the last time you had sex?"

"1955, ma'am."

"Well, there you are. No wonder you're so serious. You really need to chill out! I mean, no sex since 1955!

She took his hand and led him to a private room where she proceeded to "relax"
him several times.

Afterwards, panting for breath, she leaned against his bare chest and said, "Wow, you sure didn't forget much since 1955."

The Sergeant Major said in his serious voice, after glancing at his watch,
"I hope not, ma'am. It's only 2130 now."

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

On Closing The Gun Show Loophole ...

... the Richmond Times-Dispatch comes out swinging:
Gun show sales not big source of problems

Recently, the state Crime Commission deadlocked over whether to recommend closing the so-called gun-show loophole. The issue has become a perennial at the General Assembly, which is considering the matter once again this year. Once again, legislators should vote no.

Licensed firearms dealers — those who buy and sell guns as a business — are required to conduct background checks on prospective buyers.

The “loophole” in question refers to the fact that individuals selling guns from their own private collection do not have to — either within gun-show venues, or in the parking lot, or in their own homes.

Gun-control advocates often muddy the issue by referring to “unlicensed dealers” at gun shows, of which there are indeed many. They sell holsters, flashlights, hunting knives, T-shirts, books, gun safes — even jewelry. But an unlicensed dealer who sold guns as a business would invite felony charges under federal law.

Gun-control advocates also suggest, albeit with scant evidence, that gun shows supply a significant share of the weapons used in crime.

Federal data indicate otherwise. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics report, “Firearm Use by Offenders,” only about 1 percent of guns used in crimes come from gun shows.

Another study, by the FBI concerning attacks on law-enforcement officials, found that 97 percent of the offenders had procured their weapons through illegal means.

Private sales among the hunters and target-shooting enthusiasts who frequent gun shows are simply not a significant source of weapons used in crimes. Gun shows, then, are not the real issue — except to those who recoil viscerally at the sight of large numbers of firearms in one place.

Referring to a “gun-show loophole” muddies the issue by implying, falsely, that individuals can sell or buy guns freely and without background checks only at gun shows. In fact, they can do so many places. [link] [my emphasis]
So why all the fuss? People can buy and sell guns (nearly) anywhere anytime. Why are gun shows singled out?

On a related topic, why would seemingly sane people see the carnage unfold at Virginia Tech in April, 2007 and relate what happened to gun shows?

The only explanations I can come up with are that some citizens are mindless idiots, easily led down a path, while others have nefarious motives that go well beyond the silly argument relating to the "gun show loophole." They see it as one small step toward an outright ban.

In any case, they all need to stop. If they think their efforts are going to - in any way - reduce crime - they are sadly mistaken and/or delusional.

On This We Agree

The editorialists at the Roanoke Times denounce the Democrat stimulus bill working its way through Congress, for good reasons:
Stimulus and too much more

It's almost as if members of Congress want to go home early. How else to explain the bloated economic stimulus bill they are negotiating? Rather than remaining narrowly focused on recession busting, lawmakers are inserting seemingly everything they need or want to do this session.

The economy needs help; there is no question about that. Democrats who control Congress and the White House are working on a plan to deliver $825 billion worth of assistance. They approach it with little discipline, though. Lard, misplaced priorities, unrelated programs and ineffective spending quickly infected their bill.

If this bill really is must-pass legislation, then Congress should treat it as such. Stay focused and include only what is necessary. Do not veer into areas that have nothing to do with economic stimulus. [link]
I agree.

Studies have shown, by the way, that government spending in and of itself does nothing to stimulate the economy, so the gurus in Washington ought to (but they won't) give up on that silly notion. It is, after all, a matter of "robbing Peter to pay Paul."

No, there is only one way to quickly stimulate the economy.

Slash corporate taxes. Allow companies to invest. Let them hire. They'll do the rest.

Didn't George W. Bush just take us down the path of government "stimulus" just months ago? What again were the results?

Suppose Boucher Will Take Credit?

We read the other day a piece by one of Congressman Rick Boucher's minions that there are 5,000 new jobs here in Southwest Virginia - "here because Boucher brought them." (An interesting number in that when Boucher last ran for reelection against someone, in 2006, he claimed that he had created 20,000 new jobs).

Well, tell me this - If he can claim that he brought us 5,000 (or 20,000) new jobs, can he also take credit for this?
Volvo to lay off at least 650 workers
By Duncan Adams and Jeff Sturgeon, The Roanoke Times

Randy Collins, a truck assembly worker at Volvo Trucks North America, said the mood in the factory near Dublin was grim Tuesday after word came down that 650 workers will be laid off.

"They knew that it was coming. The number was a shock," Collins said.

The declining economy also hit home at two other New River Valley manufacturing operations.

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. announced it will close its Radford plant on Friday, costing 18 workers their jobs.

And Corning Inc., a New York corporation with a plant in Christiansburg, announced it will lay off 13 percent of its work force, or 3,500 employees, by the end of the year. It is unclear how many, if any, of those layoffs will be from the Montgomery County facility. [link]
One can argue - and some of you will - that the current economic climate is the cause. But Volvo, at one time, employed 3,500 workers in Dublin. It will, if these layoffs occur as announced, be down to 600. And it's not hit bottom yet.

I contend that this trend - there are only 11,000 manufacturing jobs remaining in all of Southwest Virginia - is a direct result of the efforts of Democrats to "create jobs." With your tax money.

And with corporate tax money.

In attempting to entice bribe companies to relocate or expand here, politicians have to seize from existing employers exorbitant amounts of wealth. Having been seized, they skim a portion for themselves - and for their army of Washington bureaucrats - and then hand a wad of cash to their favored client.

It is no accident that companies have been leaving Southwest Virginia in droves over the years that Rick Boucher has been in office. The costs of doing business here have become too great.

So he claims he has created ... a whole lot of new jobs. It's time someone put pencil to paper and estimated the number of jobs at Mack Truck, Ethan Allen, Celanese Acetate, Johnson & Johnson, Lear Corp., Dan River, Tultex, Spring Ford Industries, National Textiles, Buster Brown, Natalie Knitting Mills, American of Martinsville, Virginia Glove, Virginia House Furniture, Lea Industries, ArvinMeritor, Alcoa Wheels, Rowe Furniture, VF Knitwear, Vaughan Furniture, Webb Furniture, Burlington Industries, Renfro, Hooker Furniture, Bristol Compressors, Stanley Furniture, Dana Corporation, Thomasville Furniture, Sara Lee Branded Apparel, Bassett Furniture Industries, and Pulaski Furniture...

... and now at Volvo, Goodyear, and Corning ...

... that Congressman Rick Boucher has pissed away.

Want to "create" jobs, Rick? Ease the burden. Reduce taxes. Allow the companies that remain here to thrive. They'll do the rest.

A Sow's Ear

On the stimulus bill, a few brave Republicans step forward and tell it like it is. Mike Pence of Indiana:
"The Democrat bill won't stimulate anything but more government and more debt," Representative Mike Pence of Indiana, chairman of the Republican conference, said Tuesday. "The slow and wasteful spending in the House Democrat bill is a disservice to millions of Americans who want to see this Congress take immediate action to get this economy moving again."
In fact, this bill may have more pork in it than all other bills ever written by Congress in its 209 year history - COMBINED.

The American people deserve to know this.

Quote of the Day

"Big government is where once successful nations go to die."

Quote of the Day II

Peter Kirsanow:

"So . . . we're going to have a tax cheat in charge of the IRS, a man instrumental in the pardoning of terrorists as top terrorism watchdog, and a woman whose husband gets tens of millions from foreign governments in charge of implementing foreign policy.
Press reaction: Move along . . . nothing to see here."

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Washington Feeds Itself

We recently learned - and were awed by the fact - that the three most affluent counties in the United States are not around San Francisco or on Long Island. They're up in the Washington D.C. suburbs. Government, and those who feed off of government, are doing okay for themselves, it appears.

So this should surprise no one:
Stimulus Bill Sends Thrill Through Region
Local Officials Drawing Up Wish Lists
By Daniel de Vise and John Wagner, Washington Post Staff Writers

As Congress prepares legislation to pump more than $800 billion into the economy, governments in the Washington region are lining up for their share: dollars that could mobilize stalled projects to mend water mains, repave roads and rebuild schools, as well as plug other budgetary holes.

"There are many, many projects that are ready to go as soon as we know the criteria and how much money we're getting," said Gordon Hickey, a spokesman for Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D).

The stimulus plan is viewed in the two states and the District as something of a bailout. [link]
"Something of a bailout." No shit.

So the government is going do for the states of Virginia and Maryland that which the two states have - since the beginning of time - been expected to do for themselves. And most of the manna from heaven will go to a small handful of counties ... where, I wonder.

What did you expect? The tens of thousands of people who now make up that ever expanding government bureaucracy have to deal with the potholes and the lousy schools and the power outages and the inadequate police protection and the housing shortage for illegals and ...

More importantly, they have access to wads of cash to fix all that.

So they take it. And fix it.

Loudoun and Fairfax are the two most affluent counties in the nation. Any wonder?

- - -

A related thought. Here's something to consider, from the same Washington Post:
"The nation's employers, including some of its largest and most sturdy, announced plans yesterday to slash more than 55,000 jobs, a staggering one-day toll that highlighted how quickly layoffs are accelerating and how widely misery is spreading throughout the labor market."
How many of those 55,000 layoffs involve government employees who live in Loudoun and Fairfax Counties?


In the nation's capital, Life Is Goooood.

When You Dance With The Devil

Now that Citigroup is tied at the hip to the federal government, what with President Bush having handed tens of billions of our tax dollars to America's largest (remaining) financial services company, making Citi beholden to Washington like never before, this should have been anticipated:
Obama & Congress Blast Citi Over Jet
By Jennifer Gould Keil and Chuck Bennett, The New York Post

High-flying Citigroup executives, trying desperately to hang on to their new, $50 million luxury jet, took heavy flak yesterday from the White House and Congress after The Post revealed how the beleaguerred bank is blowing taxpayers' rescue funds.

The Financial behemoth, being kept afloat by $45 billion in public life support, should not be spending its precious greenbacks on frivolous luxuries, said President Obama's spokesman, Robert Gibbs. [link]

Should Citigroup have made that purchase under the circumstances? In a more sane time, I'd say it's none of my - or your - business. The people who made the decision are obligated to the stockholders, not to me. But now it is our business, isn't it? Part of that jet was paid for by ... YOU AND ME.

Good grief.

From all indications, Citigroup had no alternative other than to take that pile of federal cash if it was going to survive. But that largesse came at a price. A price measured in federal meddling. Meddling that is now well-deserved.

This is all so tragic.

So Where Is It?

When I saw this New York Times headline, I thought the accompanying article was going to be about something entirely different:

The Epidemic That Wasn’t

It turns out to be about cocaine addiction.

I thought it was going to finally put a nail in the coffin of something entirely different - the chicken flu pandemic scare. I guess they're not giving up on that one yet.

Let's take a trip down memory lane. The same New York Times, two years ago:
“We have to be prepared for a Category 5 pandemic,” said Dr. Martin Cetron, director of global migration and quarantine for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in releasing the guidelines. “It’s not easy. The only thing that’s harder is facing the consequences. That will be intolerable.

“No one’s arguing that by closing all the schools, you’re going to prevent the spread,” Dr. Markel added. “But if you can cut cases by 10 or 20 or 30 percent and it’s your family that’s spared, that’s a big deal.

The guidelines did not suggest using the military to enforce quarantines, as President Bush said he might do when he first mentioned avian flu in 2005.

Dr. Levi said that using the National Guard to set up temporary clinics or move pharmaceutical supplies might make sense.
Call out the military! Set up clinics! We're all going to die!

Or not.

So how many Americans died in the chicken flu pandemic of 2006-2007 (the one that I had great fun in ridiculing at the time)?



So you know, I saw a billboard alongside the highway last week warning people to prepare for ... you guessed it.

For the love of God.

No Worries. We'll Do Another Bailout.

What is the definition of madness? The government forcing emissions mandates down Detroit's throat, restrictions that force America's Big Three auto makers to focus less on profitable automobiles and more on those little boxcars that nobody wants to buy and that GM, Ford, and Chrysler lose money on, forcing the auto makers to now be headed toward bankruptcy (the deal between Chrysler and Fiat notwithstanding), forcing the government to provide massive amounts of bailout money to them to keep them afloat so that the government can issue even more strict mandates, forcing the Big Three to lose even more money and forcing the taxpayers to provide ever bigger bailouts.


Exhibit A:
Detroit Calls Emissions Proposals Too Strict
By Nick Bunkley, The New York Times

Detroit — Automakers said Monday that they were working toward President Obama’s goal of reducing fuel consumption, but rapid imposition of stricter emissions standards could force them to drastically cut production of larger, more profitable vehicles, adding to their financial duress.

Mr. Obama ordered the government on Monday to reconsider whether California and other states could regulate vehicle emissions to help control greenhouse gas emissions, a reversal of a position taken by the Bush administration.

The announcement came as General Motors and Chrysler are borrowing billions of dollars from the government to avoid bankruptcy, and as Toyota prepares to report its first operating loss in 70 years. Shortly after the president spoke, General Motors said it would cut 2,000 jobs at plants in Michigan and Ohio because of slow sales. [link]
Madness. Absolute madness.

God To Al:


There is a phenomenon that has developed over recent years that has been termed "The Gore Effect." According to the Urban Dictionary:

"The phenomenon that leads to unseasonably cold temperatures, driving rain, hail, or snow whenever Al Gore visits an area to discuss global warming. Hence, the Gore Effect."

For proof:
Gore Hearing On Warming Put On Ice
The Drudge Report

Al Gore is scheduled before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday morning to once again testify on the 'urgent need' to combat global warming.

But Mother Nature seems ready to freeze the proceedings.

A 'Winter Storm Watch' has been posted for the nation's capitol and there is a potential for significant snow... sleet... or ice accumulations.

A spokesman for Sen. John Kerry, who chairs the committee, was not immediately available to comment on contingency plans. [link]
Can these people be any more clueless?

Anyway, Al Gore's coming to town to talk about global warming. Put logs on the fire. Shutter the windows. Prepare for the worst.

Monday, January 26, 2009

O, Caroline

Yes, she's a liberal Democrat. And yes, she's a Kennedy. Which means there have been moments over the last couple of weeks when the schadenfreude got the best of me and I enjoyed her self-destruction. But all in all, I wish Caroline hadn't subjected herself to the humiliation that has come down upon her.

On this, I agree with Charles Krauthammer, who is thankful (sorta) that Kirsten Gillibrand was picked over Caroline Kennedy for that Senate seat:
The most important thing about her is not upstate or downstate, guns or no guns. It's the fact that she is not a Kennedy.

My only regret is that Caroline diminished herself unnecessarily and was actually humiliated in a way that was unfortunate. She is not an unworthy person, and it was all self-inflicted.

But, on the other hand, I am happy to see at least one instance of the reversal of a trend into dynastic succession, which we have a lot of in this country.
I'm glad to see her crushed. It pained me to see her being crushed.

Say What?

One reads the Galax Gazette headline and is inspired:

Fancy Gap a tourism hot spot

Unfortunately the headline was attached to a less-than-inspiring article. The details about that "hot spot":

"Bringing new businesses to fill up empty buildings would be ..."

"... getting new tenants for Michelle's Gift Gallery — recently closed due to retirement — Fancy Gap Trading Post, the defunct antique store and ..."

"He pointed to photos of empty buildings on U.S. 52."

"'I don't think this is the kind of picture that we want to portray to the governors and the rest of the people that will be, you know, helping to celebrate the parkway.'"

"It's weaknesses stem from the lack of water and sewer infrastructure and lack of variety in its restaurant and retail offerings ..."

If Fancy Gap were the "tourism hot spot" that someone at the Gazette thinks it is, would it have all those vacated tourist attractions and abandoned buildings?

Methinks this is another one of those pieces of propaganda that focuses more on what might someday be than on what folks in Fancy Gap are actually dealing with today.

And on what one day was, back when U.S. 52 was the primary means of getting from Indianapolis to Charlotte a long time ago.

Anyway, planners in Carroll County are asking for investment in the area. Nothing wrong with that.

Just keep it real, fellas.

I Don't Get It

I think Chris OBrion, the Roanoke Times's resident political cartoonist is a talented individual. But today's offering is completely mystifying. Does it mean he's gone on vacation? Does that mean he couldn't have drawn an extra one last week before he left that could have been used this week?

Or does it mean he's simply run out of ideas? "Sorry, I've declared intermission until further notice."

Leave of absence? If so, shouldn't he have been a bit more direct with the notification?

What's he up to?

Why He's the Roanoke Times's Best

I'll bet, if the publisher of the Roanoke Times ever divulged the company's innermost secrets, that columnist Tom Angleberger gets more fan mail than all the other columnists, reporters, and editorial writers combined. Why?

Because he writes interesting stuff.

He makes even the most mundane stuff interesting.

Take for example his latest effort. He writes on the subject of grammar. and it's* proper usage/application. And he gets deluged with responses.


Yes, grammar. Because he makes it interesting.

Others, ahem, could take a few lessons from this guy.

* A little joke, Tom.

- - -

At the other end of the spectrum, the nitwits who write for the Charleston Gazette. Here's a snippet of today's offering (see Potpourri):

"Last week marked the 200th anniversary of Edgar Allan Poe's birth. Delegate Danny Wells, D-Kanawha, who has a camp at Poe, Nicholas County, says the little mountain hamlet was named for the macabre poet-author."

Adjective: macabre mə-ˈkäb; -ˈkä-brə, -bər; -ˈkäbrə
1. Shockingly repellent; inspiring horror

So one of America's most celebrated authors was shockingly repellent? Edgar Allen Poe inspired horror?

Or did they mean to write that he was the master of the macabre?

Poe was repellent. Good God.

The Bottom Line On That 'Stimulus' Bill

The Wall Street Journal:
The stimulus bill is ... a time machine in the sense that it's based on an old, and largely discredited, economic theory. As Harvard economist Robert Barro pointed out on these pages last Thursday, the "stimulus" claim is based on something called the Keynesian "multiplier," which is that each $1 of spending the government "injects" into the economy yields 1.5 times that in greater output. There's little evidence to support this theory, but you have to admire its beauty because it assumes the government can create wealth out of thin air. If it were true, the government should spend $10 trillion and we'd all live in paradise.

The problem is that the money for this spending boom has to come from somewhere, which means it is removed from the private sector as higher taxes or borrowing.
So we (or our grandchildren) pay the government to pay us back. After skimming a sizable portion for itself. Or, as things are shaping up, we're paying the government to pay close friends of government officials. Or we are paying the government to simply promote leftist lunacy.

What's become clear: As the Congressional Budget Office has reported, it's certain that we aren't paying the government to stimulate the economy.

What it boils down to is this: We are paying the Democrats in Washington a breathtaking amount so that they can do what Democrats do. No further analysis needed.

- - -

Oh, and John Kerry says: Quit asking time-consuming, inconvenient questions.

We Already Have That

It's called the 101st Airborne.

Why reinvent the wheel?

The New York Times thinks Barack Obama's attempt at doing just that - at great taxpayer expense - is a sweet idea:
The Moment for National Service

President Obama used his Inaugural Address to summon the nation to “a new era of responsibility” and personal engagement to solve the nation’s problems.

Now is the moment for the new president and Congress to harness the sense of idealism and unity evident amid the huge crowds that massed in the nation’s capital by greatly expanding the opportunities for sustained and productive national and community service.

Its prompt approval would create tens of thousands of meaningful new positions for people ready to work hard for the public good, making tangible the “spirit of service” Mr. Obama spoke of in his Inaugural Address. [link]
To normal people, protecting our country against foreign aggression is considered "productive national and community service." But to the cloistered editorialists at the Times, it can only be considered redeeming if it involves young people doing chores for people who ought to be able to do for themselves. Like painting their homes. Cleaning up the garbage in the backyard. Wiping their butts.

At taxpayer expense.

Want to serve your community in a productive way and actually accomplish something?

Corrupt & Democrat

How did that Frank Sinatra song go? The words go together like "horse" and "carriage"?

Speaker of Massachusetts House Resigns Over Friendship

Corrupt and Democrat.
Like prison and inmate.

"This I tell you, brutha. You can't have one without the utha."

This Cannot Stand

Peter Schiff, writing in the Wall Street Journal, on the fact that so much U.S. debt is owned by foreign governments, and on the fact that it can't continue:
Currently, U.S. citizens comprise less than 5% of world population, but account for more than 25% of global GDP. Given our debts and weakening economy, this disproportionate advantage should narrow. Yet the U.S. is asking much poorer foreign nations to maintain the status quo, and incredibly, they are complying. At least for now.

If any other country were to face these conditions, unpalatable measures such as severe government austerity or currency devaluation would be the only options. But with our currency's reserve status, we have much more attractive alternatives. We are planning to spend as much as we like, for as long as we like, and we will let the rest of the world pick up the tab.

[O]ne would hope that Mr. Obama can see that, just like all other bubbles in world history, the U.S. debt bubble will end badly.
One would hope. But the Treasury is printing money like never before. And Obama's plan - unless there's an epiphany - is to drop a mountain of new debt on foreign creditors with the expectation that they'll be eager to buy it.

Let's hope. It's his only plan.

And They Say Sarah Palin Is Stupid

Nancy Pelosi trying to explain to ABC's George Stephanopoulos why the government should be spending our $1,000,000,000,000 in income on that "stimulus" bill:

STEPHANOPOULOS: We also heard from Congressman Boehner coming out of the meeting today that again a lot of that spending doesn't even meet the same test you just talked about right now. Hundreds of millions of dollars to expand family planning services. How is that stimulus?

PELOSI: Well, the family planning services reduce cost. They reduce cost. The states are in terrible fiscal budget crises now and part of what we do for children's health, education and some of those elements are to help the states meet their financial needs. One of those - one of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception, will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So no apologies for that?

PELOSI: No apologies. No. we have to deal with the consequences of the downturn in our economy.

Say what? Does that even begin to make sense?

This woman shouldn't be running a kindergarten class and she's in charge of appropriating trillions of dollars over the next several years?

Good God.

- - -


Drudge is just as bewildered by her idiocy:

A laughingstock. Just what we need.

- - -

Her performance is even more pathetic when seen:

Can you say B-I-M-B-O?

Quote of the Day

From Glenn Reynolds:

"WELL, THAT IS A CHANGE: Biden: I have to think about everything I say."


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Why I Oppose Boucher

A Congressman Rick Boucher supporter, writing in the Bristol Herald Courier, pretty much sums up the reason I oppose him with every fiber of my being:

"I don’t know how any representative could be more responsive to the needs of the people he represents than to directly create jobs for them."

Right. And the miserably impoverished Soviet people were much appreciative of every job that was created for them by their benevolent central planner.

A Window Into Our World

There's some deep meaning to this, but darned if I know what it is. From "The Oprah Syndrome: Bloated, Depressed -- As O Goes, So Goes The Nation":

In one of her top-rated shows this season, Oprah Winfrey used her Jan. 5 episode to publicly confess, in a gauzy, soft-palette setting, her mortification and shame at hitting 200 (maybe more?) pounds.

"I am embarrassed," she said. "All the money and all the fame and all the attention and the glamorous life and the success doesn't mean one thing if you can't control your own being." Twenty-two years on, Oprah Winfrey - America's most prominent secular spiritual leader, who has stated that her life's work is to help all Americans "live your best life" and has deployed an army of self-help gurus to that effect - continues to publicly grapple with her weight and, it seems, her despair.

Why can't America's self-help queen help herself?

Because she's a flaming liberal? Isn't that what liberals are famous for? Doing unto others that which they can't - or won't - do unto themselves? (see the piece about environmentalists below).

Oprah is fat and miserable. Her show dwells each day (I'm told) on helping others with their self-esteem issues. And her show is watched - and she is adored - by millions of fat, miserable, help-seeking women in America.

That's kinda like wanting an habitual reckless driver behind the wheel of that US Airways plane that went down in the Hudson River the other day, isn't it?

But that seems to be the America we live in. One big confessional. One yearning for ... role models?

And we wonder why this country is so messed up.

Birds Of a Feather ...

... stick together.

The famously inarticulate and incoherent Maureen Dowd, columnist for the New York Times, is upset that New York Governor David Paterson didn't pick the now-famously inarticulate and incoherent Caroline Kennedy to be Hillary's replacement in the Senate.

It somehow seems fitting.

Then I'll Be Lucid For a Long, Long Time

There was a time when I'd hit about eight cups of coffee in the morning that my brain would start popping out of my skull and my heart would be pounding harder than a jackhammer.

It took some time but I finally came to the realization: This ain't bright.

So now I limit myself to three. Or four. A day.

So what do I read this morning? I have another reason for drinking the nectar of the caffeine gods besides it going down so well while blogging. It keeps me clear-headed.

A study says so:
Coffee Linked to Lower Dementia Risk
By Nicholas Bakalar, The New York Times

Drinking coffee may do more than just keep you awake. A new study suggests an intriguing potential link to mental health later in life, as well.

A team of Swedish and Danish researchers tracked coffee consumption in a group of 1,409 middle-age men and women for an average of 21 years. During that time, 61 participants developed dementia, 48 with Alzheimer’s disease.

After controlling for numerous socioeconomic and health factors, including high cholesterol and high blood pressure, the scientists found that the subjects who had reported drinking three to five cups of coffee daily were 65 percent less likely to have developed dementia, compared with those who drank two cups or less. [link]
There you have it. Excessive consumption of coffee makes you smarter.


Anyway, here's to Maxwell House. Thanks for the memories. Er, to be precise, thanks for allowing me the ability to have memories.

Looks like I could use that second cup. 5:03am. Right on time.

A Must Read

The Wall Street Journal ran a fabulous editorial yesterday on the never-ending saga we call the Cape Wind project. That's the wind farm that a developer is trying to construct off the coast of Nantucket. The one that is going to produce all that environmentally friendly energy that Democrats prattle on about. The one that the local Democrat environmentalists oppose with all their considerable might. Including the Kennedys and the Kerrys.

It don't get better than this: "Blowhards."

But the editorial makes a larger point, one about "alternative energies" in general. They're not viable. By a long shot:
Bill Delahunt, the windy Cape Democrat, also denounced the action as "a $2 billion project that depends on significant taxpayer subsidies while potentially doubling power costs for the region."

Good to see the Congressman now recognizes the limitations of green tech, such as its tendency to boost consumer electricity prices -- but his makeover as taxpayer champion is a bit belated. Green energy has been on the subsidy take for years, including in 2005 when Mr. Delahunt was calling for "an Apollo project for alternative energy sources, for hybrid engines, for biodiesel, for wind and solar and everything else." The reality is that all such projects are only commercially viable because of political patronage.

Tufts economist Gilbert Metcalf ran the numbers and found that the effective tax rate for wind is minus-163.8%. In other words, every dollar a wind firm spends is subsidized to the tune of 64 cents from the government. The Energy Information Administration estimates that wind receives $23.37 in government benefits per megawatt hour -- compared to, say, 44 cents for coal. Despite these taxpayer crutches, wind only provides a little under 1% of U.S. net electric generation.

President Obama seems determined to unload even more subsidies on green developers as he seeks to boost renewables to 10% of the U.S. electricity mix by the end of his first term and 25% by 2025; their share today is about 9% (5.8% of which is hydropower).
President Obama is known as a dreamer. On this subject, keep dreamin', pal.

Quote of the Day

From the Wall Street Journal editorial, "Blowhards":
Environmentalists love the idea of milking Mother Nature for power, but they hate the hardware needed to make it work: huge windmills, acres of solar panels, high-voltage transmission lines to connect them to the places where people live. Of course, they still totally, absolutely, wholeheartedly support green energy -- as long as it gets built where someone else goes yachting.
Sound familiar to you environmentalists up in grossly liberal northern Virginia who are fighting the construction of those high-voltage electric lines that will allow you to continue to consume more power than the rest of us here in Virginia combined?

Environmentalism. The ultimate ego trip.

Virginia Blogger Calls It Quits

One of the most widely read blogs in the country - Extreme Mortman - has called it quits and is moving on to bigger and better things.

A sad ending. And an exciting beginning.

Make us proud, Howard.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Rest Of The Story

This reads so much like a press release, I had to check out the source. A letter to the editor in this morning's Bristol Herald Courier:
Hanson Mistaken; Boucher An Advocate
By Kay Saul, Abingdon

John Hanson of Bristol obviously doesn’t know much about Rick Boucher if he thinks that our congressman is not a good representative for our region.

Rick works tirelessly to grow the economy of our region and he is particularly active in promoting the growth of tourist visitation to Southwest Virginia. I have often heard Rick talk about how our beautiful mountains, rivers and rich culture attract visitors to our region and how we can take steps to accelerate that growth.

Rick is reflecting the views of Southwest Virginians who want more jobs and more varied employment opportunities. That is by far the leading concern in our region, and Rick’s work is making a big difference.

A recent economic impact study showed ... [blah blah blah][link]
A letter from a sympathetic constituent? Yes.

Is there more to the story? I think so.

This comes from another Bristol Herald Courier article from a week ago:, a piece dealing with area residents who were making plans on going to the Obama inaugural, including one Kay Saul:

Abingdon resident Kay Saul is staying with Susie Burgess – a woman she has never met, a friend of a co-worker who lives in a Maryland suburb north of Baltimore.

Saul, a longtime Democratic activist and state party delegate, has been a secretary at the Washington County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office for 24 years. A colleague put her in touch with Burgess, and Saturday, she planned to take off for her third inaugural experience.

Saul first encountered Obama two years ago at a Richmond fundraiser when he was still an obscure, if appealing, face in the U.S. Senate. She recalls being struck by his “charisma and intellect,” and when he stumped at Virginia High School in June, Saul recalls commenting to Boucher, “Rick, he’s going to be president.”

“I’m excited about the history of it,” she said in a recent interview, and the Obama paraphernalia she laid out on a table seemed to bolster her point: Obama buttons; a baseball cap with his campaign insignia; a watch with the president-elect’s likeness on the face; and an Obama doll that credibly reproduces the real Obama’s voice with his catchphrase, “Yes we can!”

Saul has planned for the occasion. She has picked out her inaugural outfit: wool coat, two to three pairs of socks, earmuffs and a scarf.

She has mapped out an itinerary: tour Baltimore on Saturday; take in entertainment on the National Mall on Sunday; attend Boucher’s constituent reception Monday; and make it to the swearing-in Tuesday. Then she’ll turn around and make a mad dash for Abingdon to be at work Wednesday. [my emphasis]

Does this make her opinions less valid? No. Worth publishing? Absolutely.

Do this political insider's ties to our congressman (" “Rick, he’s going to be ...”) distract? Give her letter about "Rick's" virtues a different spin?

I think so.

The Herald Courier didn't deem this important. I do. A good reason to read this weblog after finishing the local "news" papers.

Let Me Translate

Kirsten Gillibrand, New York's senator-appointee who will replace Hillary Clinton, is, in a few ways, a conservative. She's a firm supporter of gun rights and she opposes those egregious earmarks that Congress is infamous for (though her opposition will be of little consequence when she moves from the House). And she apparently voted against the original stimulus bill that proved to be a monumental waste of taxpayer dollars.

So how does that go over with the blindly liberal New York Times? As you might imagine:
Adventures in New York Politics

As she moves from representing a conservative upstate district into Hillary Rodham Clinton’s office, Ms. Gillibrand needs to move beyond some narrower views suited to her old constituents and embrace her role as a senator of a powerful, diverse and complicated state.

Ms. Gillibrand certainly seems to have the capacity to make that large political leap. She comes from ...[link]
Ms. Gillibrand needs to give up her neanderthal Upstate New York views and adopt Manhattan views, where a "diverse" constituency made up exclusively of rich, liberal white males and females (the diverse part) expect her to kowtow like every other politician in her state.
Ya gotta love the chutzpah.