Quote

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

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

I Find Anti-Gun Nuts To Be An Odd Bunch

I'm reminded of all the howling, teeth-gnashing, and tales of woe that came from the lefties in this country who saw an ominous portent in the fact that Bill Clinton's "assault weapons" ban was expiring in 2004.  The world was coming to an end, they foretold.

And then it didn't.

Think that stopped 'em though?

You don't know paranoid leftists all that well, do you?

They still see the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse approaching.

If only we had gun trigger locks to stave off certain disaster ...

That's the mindset.

Figure them out; I can't.

Take the Roanoke Times's resident nut, Dan Casey, for example.  He's one of those strange fellows who see the sky soon to be falling if we ease gun restrictions.  Even as gun restriction after gun restriction around this country has been eased and ... nothing has happened.

Because the sky hasn't fallen - DARN! - he must resort to Plan B.

He takes potshots at the 120 million Americans who own guns by highlighting the rare instance of a gun owner gone bad.  And he thinks, by doing so, that he's made some kind of argument in favor of controlling those 120,000,000 law-abiding Americans.

You decide how effective that strategy is.

His name comes up again today because he's found another reason for believing the sky is soon to be falling.  Texas legislators - Texas?  yes, Texas - are "considering" the legalization - gulp! - of guns on college campuses.

My God!

See "Texas lawmakers should have their heads examined" and chuckle.

His argument(s)?

You're not going to believe it.  It boils down to this:

● Those who slaughter innocent human beings on college campuses are irrational.  And you're not going to stop them.  So don't try.

 ● Accidents happen.

A good reason to ban cars, since far more accidents occur with automobiles (even carbon monoxide deaths are far more prevalent than accidental death by gun).

● "According [to] the Center for Science in the Public Interest [a gang of leftist nuts in their own right], 44 percent of college students engage in binge drinking. If they lack the judgment, wisdom and maturity to handle alcohol, how is adding guns going to help?"  Students might do bad things if they've been drinking and have possession of handguns.

Guns in the hands of drunks kill.  Which is a great argument to ban ... cars ... on campus.  They "kill" a whole lot more students than guns do.

I'll be waiting for that whine about out-of-control Priuses to start up on his (second-rate) blog any day now.

So you know, I can hold my breath for a long, long time.

Short On Cash?

Had to fill up the Chevy's gas tank yesterday and now find yourself needing to take out a second mortgage?

Well, if it's any consolation, gas prices in this country will soon be joined by electricity prices.  If Obama gets his way.  Welcome to our new world, courtesy of the environmental extremists in the White House.

Shikha Damia:
To cut [greenhouse gases], Obama's budget aims to hike Department of Energy spending by 12 percent from 2010 levels. He proposes $8 billion more for various clean-energy programs—on top of the $30 billion "invested" via the 2009 stimulus. Even that's only the tip of the iceberg.

Despite his talk of promoting nuclear power, the president's budget cuts support for it by 0.6 percent from 2010 levels. The big winners are—surprise!—solar (88 percent rise), biomass and biorefinery (57 percent), geothermal (136 percent) and wind (61 percent).

Pumping money into pie-in-the sky energy projects has been a perennial presidential project since Jimmy Carter. But Obama has a new wrinkle: The White House believes that past pushes for alternative fuels failed (despite subsidies) because they did nothing to ensure a market for the new products. So Obama has decreed that he wants 80 percent of America's energy to come from clean sources by 2035.

That won't happen automatically, so the Center for American Progress (the Obama White House's unofficial think tank) argues for a federal "35 by 35" standard—mandating that 35 percent of America's energy come from renewables by 2035. This means the feds would force all utilities to generate more than a third of their electricity from renewables—a guarantee of far higher prices. [link] [emphasis mine]
What?  You think windmills won't amount to squat in coming years?  Not necessarily so.  If our government throws trillions at them, we could see a substantial increase in windmill output.  And guess who he plans on having pay those trillions.

YOU.

So, unless sanity returns to Washington, we could very well see 35% of our energy production coming out of "clean" this and that.

The downside?  Nobody will be able to use it.  Because the house and car had to be sold to pay the utility company.

This is called governing from the abstract.  Which, as it so happens, coincides with environmentalists' life experiences.  Including, as we all now know, Obama's.  They don't live in the real world.  Theirs is the world of make-believe.  One where greenhouse gases are eliminated from our atmosphere (good luck with that) and we all live happily ever after.

In abject poverty.

In unheated homes.

In squalor.

How do I get off this train?

What Say You Now?

Bush was evil.

How evil?

One word defined the man:

Gitmo.

Said the Financial Times in 2008:
The Bush administration’s obstinate attempts to build an alternative justice system, placing foreign terrorist suspects beyond the reach of the rule of law, is not just a moral outrage. It is a legal failure and a spectacular political own-goal.
The New York Times, November 13, 2009:
On Friday, Attorney General Holder announced that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-described mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, and four others accused in the plot will be tried in a fashion that will not further erode American justice or shame Americans. It promises to finally provide justice for the victims of 9/11.

Mr. Holder said those prisoners would be prosecuted in federal court in Manhattan. It was an enormous victory for the rule of law, a major milestone in Mr. Obama’s efforts to close the detention camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and an important departure from Mr. Bush’s disregard for American courts and their proven ability to competently handle high-profile terror cases. If he and Vice President Dick Cheney had shown more faith in the laws and the Constitution, the alleged mass murderers would have faced justice much earlier.
Then, of course, there was Barack Obama, when he was Candidate Barack Obama:

"Why don't we close Guantanamo and restore the right of habeas corpus, because that's how we lead, not with the might of our military, but the power of our ideals and the power of our values. It's time to show the world we're not a country that ships prisoners in the dead of night to be tortured in far off countries. We're not a country that runs prisons which locks people away without ever telling them why they're there or what they're charged with. We're not a country which preaches compassion to others while we allow bodies to float down the streets of major American cities. That's not who we are."
And today?
Obama to resume military trials for detainees at Guantánamo Bay
By Sam Youngman and Jordy Yager, The Hill

President Obama on Monday ordered that military commission trials be resumed at Guantánamo Bay.

The decision will be a disappointment for liberals already upset with Obama’s political compromises. That faction received a second blow Monday when Defense Secretary Robert Gates told The Associated Press that troops could remain in Afghanistan beyond the 2014 date previously embraced by the Obama administration.

The White House said Obama “remains committed” to closing the Guantánamo camp, but the president’s decision to direct Gates to rescind his suspension of new charges by military commissions signals it is unlikely prisoners will be successfully transferred anytime soon. [link]
My, oh, my. 

As Goes Wall Street, So Goes Your Retirement

I once had included in my company benefit package what's called a "defined benefit" account.  Or pension.

That's no more.  I now have available to me a "defined contribution" account - a 401K - that the company agrees to pay a specific "matching" amount into.  Rather than just being a piggy bank, like a pension might be, it's an investment account.

And we all know how the investment markets have been doing over the last four years.

Can you say roller coaster?

That, in part, is what has the public employee unions around the country in a lather.  The members thereof look at the stock market and say we don't want to take on risk.  We want to keep our piggy bank.

Well, good luck on holding onto it.

Ronald Brownstein:
One big reason public employees are under siege in Wisconsin and other states is because they now enjoy more secure retirement benefits than most private-sector workers. The question is whether the right way to close that gap is by reducing security for government employees or increasing it for everyone else.

For private-sector workers, retirement security is unmistakably eroding. The change is rooted in the shift from "defined benefit" pensions, under which employers guarantee their workers a fixed payment after retirement, to "defined contribution" pensions, such as 401(k) plans, under which employers commit only to contributing a fixed amount that employees must invest on their own.

In 1985, about four in five workers at medium- and large-sized private firms received a defined-benefit pension, according to federal statistics. Today, less than one-third are covered under such plans. Instead, most workers at large and medium private companies who receive pension benefits at all obtain them in the form of defined contributions.

This replacement of traditional pensions with 401(k)-type plans amounts to a massive shift of risk from employers to individuals. Under defined-benefit programs, employers bear the primary financial risk: They are obligated to provide the benefits regardless of how their investments perform. Under defined-contribution programs, workers invest their own money and suffer if the markets tank, as anyone with a 401(k) discovered in the 2008 meltdown.

But one group of workers has largely avoided this shifting of risk: public employees. Defined-benefit plans still cover fully 87 percent of public employees (compared with the one-third of private-sector workers at larger companies). In fact, the share of public-sector workers with traditional pensions now substantially exceeds the two-thirds of private-sector workers at bigger companies with access to either a defined-benefit or defined-contribution plan.

That advantage creates understandable resentment among workers who have lost such certainty. "The taxpayer who is hurting does not have a defined-benefit pension and is saying, 'Why should my taxes go up so this other group can have this very generous retirement?' " says John Rother, executive vice president of policy at AARP, the giant seniors' lobby. [link
Who could blame the unions for wanting to avoid risk?

Those who pay their paychecks and have had to assume that same risk, that's who.  And the situation isn't setting well with anyone.

As for me?  All I can say is thank God for Fidelity Investments.

Be Careful. Your Political Views May Cost You.

Somebody tell me this isn't true.  Please.

Why The National Debt Matters

When it comes to government spending, it will soon consume the entire budget.

Take note:

"The Treasury’s largest single expenditure in the first four days of March, according to the Daily Treasury Statement, was paying off maturing debt."

And you thought the Defense budget was way too high.  At least the argument can be made that Defense dollars go toward employing people and keeping us safe.  Payments to cover IOUs go only into the black hole.

We owe ourselves a mountain mountain range of money. We have to account for that debt.  We issue notes to cover notes.  An accelerating number of notes.

It gets worse by the day.

The United States of America is out of control.

But whatever.  What say we talk about gay marriage some more ...

Something Good Comes Out of Wisconsin Protest

What, you didn't know that a teachers' union in Wisconsin demanded that the state provide insurance coverage of Viagra for its members?

That's because you watch mainstream TV news.  As it turns out, Michael Moore injecting his fat ass into the controversy surrounding budget cuts isn't the only news there.

Yes, a teachers' union was demanding Viagra.

But now it's not.

Ah, "the issues" that concern organized labor most:
Milwaukee teachers drop Viagra suit
Associated Press

The Milwaukee teachers union has dropped a lawsuit seeking to get its taxpayer-funded Viagra back.

The union sued in July 2010 to force the school board to again include the erectile dysfunction drug and similar pills in its health insurance plans.

The union has argued the board's policy of excluding such drugs from the plans discriminates against male employees; the board has countered the 2005 move was meant to save money. [link]
There's a joke in here somewhere.  But because it involves teachers, I should leave it alone.  As should they.