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Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Four Point Plan To Fix The Economy, Or I Hate The Rich Because They're So Friggin' Snotty All The Time

During his news conference yesterday, President Obama came up with a four-point plan to fix the economy:
  1. Tax billionaires
  2. Tax millionaires
  3. Tax people who own corporate jets
  4. Make congress do their homework two days early just like Sasha and Malia
I really can't argue with that logic and I am impressed with the fact that the President left no stone unturned in his fight for the American people. I'm not even going to attempt to find fault with the President's well thought out agenda.

However, there were two things I did find somewhat stupid and ominous, in that order.
  1. According to the President, he's been "right here, working on Afghanistan,  bin Laden and Greece." Really? Afghanistan is a complete mess; bin Laden has been dead for a while (and all the President really did was say "okay" and then watch it on TV); and what exactly the hell does he have to do regarding Greece? And if he is working on Greece, I might point out that it's not going well.
  2. The President said in reference to owners of corporate jets, "They can still ride their jets, they just have to pay more to do it." What this means is that in our President's mind he is the one who gives permission to owners of corporate jets to fly (not ride) in their corporate jets. If I have to explain to you why those words are either so poorly chosen as to be laughable or they are a clear window into the thought process of the President, there is no hope for you and you should go watch Rachel Maddow or something.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Made In China: A Bridge California Couldn't Afford To Build, Because It Went Broke Paying Unemployment Benefits

The next time that crappy thing you bought that was made in China breaks after a few uses, consider this:

The Bay-Bridge between San Francisco and Oakland is being replaced because officials have determined the span was not sufficiently quake resistant. It was sections of this bridge that collapsed in the 1989 Loma Prieta quake. The total cost of the replacement will be $7.2 billion, making the span one of the most expensive structures ever built. Nearly bankrupt California decided not to apply for Federal funds because of "Made in America" provisos, thereby allowing the California Department of Transportation to accept bids for cheaper steel from overseas. CA DOT's plan is to pay for the bridge using bonding and tolls.

The two American companies that are building the bridge in a joint venture contracted with a company in China to produce twenty-four steel modules that will be fabricated and shipped and then placed on the superstructure by American labor.

Tony Anziano, a program manager with CA DOT said “They’ve produced a pretty impressive bridge for us," after touring the manufacturing facility near Shanghai.

It's important to note that the following quote was not reported in the American media, I tagged it from the Sydney Morning Herald in Australia: ''I don't think the US fabrication industry could put a project like this together,'' the project director for the American Bridge/Fluor Enterprises joint venture, Brian Petersen, said. ''Most US companies don't have these types of warehouses, equipment or the cash flow. The Chinese load the ships and it's their ships that deliver to our piers.''

Pan Zhongwang, a 55-year-old steel polisher, is a typical Zhenhua worker. He arrives at 7 AM and leaves at 11 PM, often working seven days a week. He lives in a company dormitory and earns about $12.00 a day. ''It used to be $9.00 a day, now it's $12.00,'' he said last week, while polishing one of the decks for the new bridge. ''Everything is getting more expensive. They should raise our pay.''

California saved approximately $400 million on fabrication costs by outsourcing to China. According to a Los Angeles Times report on November 6, 2010, California was spending $40 million a day on unemployment insurance disbursements, which equals $14.6 trillion a year, or $400 million in ten days. Now I'm no genius, and I don't like government meddling in the private sector, but I'm thinking California could've developed their own internal bridge building conglomerate for, I don't know, $1 billion, and saved maybe $8 billion in unemployment disbursements.

So basically, America is not capable of producing the oil to power the vehicles we can't produce that drive over the bridges we can't build. Yet America is capable of taxing people beyond their abilities to pay to help pay benefits for people who can't find jobs.

All I can say, is you people better start considering who you vote for more wisely because we've obviously lost our way.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Is the Media More Condescending to Bachmann or Obama?

You can't deny that Obama pretty much gets a pass from the main-stream media, and you also can't deny that Michelle Bachmann is getting hammered pretty hard by the MSM.

I'll forego the insipid angle of Chris Wallace's potentially valid question of whether or not Bachmann is a "flake," but Matt Lauer's pressing of Bachmann as to whether she would "get angry" if the budget ceiling is raised was just as demeaning if not more subtle. The tone of his words left no doubt that he was questioning her ability to maintain a steady emotional course during times of disagreement. I don't hear that tone when the questions are directed at men.

And now the MSM is up-in-arms about Bachmann's supposed mixing up of actor John Wayne and serial killer John Wayne Gacy. John Wayne was born a few hundred miles from Waterloo, Iowa, but his parents did start their married life together in Waterloo before moving back to the Des Moines area because they missed their families. To understand small-town pride is to understand the connection people in Waterloo feel toward John Wayne. John Wayne Gacy was from Chicago but he did settle in Waterloo and it was in Waterloo that he committed his crimes. At the very least, did Bachmann make an unclear throw-away statement? Absolutely. Did she mix up John Wayne and John Wayne Gacy? Seriously, get a grip. If you are a person who actually thinks this you need to up your seriousness quotient.

In short, political women and African-American men on the Right in this country are treated savagely by the MSM and the Left, and there is no justification for it.

For fun, let's look at some Obama gaffes that were all but ignored by the American MSM:
  • April, 2009: In response to a question asking what he learned from European leaders, Obama responded that it was "interesting to see that political interaction in Europe is not that different from the United States Senate. There's a lot of - I don't know what the term is in Austrian - wheeling and dealing." For you Obama supporters, Austrians speak German.
  • March, 2009: During a visit to Washington, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown presented Obama with a pen holder crafted from the timbers of the 19th century British warship HMS President. The desk in the Oval Office was crafted from wood from the warship's sister ship, HMS Resolute, so Brown's gift had meaning. Obama's gift to Brown? Twenty-five DVDs of American movies that were formatted for the American market and were therefore unplayable in the UK. For you Obama supporters, you have to admit the gift was tacky. The Obama's are a bit tacky, but they couldn't even figure out the difference between NTSC and PAL for a State gift?
  • He gave the Queen of England an iPod with his speeches on it. Apparently Obama thinks people from other countries are not as, shall we say, sophisticated and aware as he is.
  • Obama travelled to 57 states during the campaign. I know, I know, he was tired from all of the travelling.
  • During the '08 campaign Obama chastised FEMA after "10,000 people were killed" in tornadoes in Kansas. Surprisingly, I didn't hear about the actual 10,000 deaths or the fact that Obama got the number wrong.
Without making a judgement on the importance of either Obama's or Bachmann's gaffes I am willing to stick my neck out and say that at the end of the day, the MSM is actually more condescending to Obama than it is to Bachmann (or any other figure on the Right).
When you protect someone from themselves, as the MSM protects Obama from his inexperience and occasional intellectual lapses, you are treating them with condescension. A strong and capable person does not need protection from his or her supporters. A strong and capable person is able to stand on their own words and actions without the rationalization and protection of others. It is obvious that the MSM is not confident Obama can function without their protection.
Now the question is: why has the MSM chosen to be so condescending to Obama and so direct and unforgiving to Bachmann (or Palin for that matter)(or Herman Cain for that matter)(or Clarence Thomas for that matter)(or...well you get the idea)?

Monday, June 27, 2011

My Plan To Take Over The World, Part III

Last week I had to go to a bunch of seminars and meetings that were ultimately being held for my benefit and the benefit of the other attendees. I also attended a worship service that by definition was held for the benefit of the attendees.

What I saw during every single seminar was at least one fully grown adult human being thumbing away on their cell phone or iPad. In short, I saw bunches of people who couldn't be bothered with where they were, they were more interested in what was happening somewhere else. I even watched one middle-aged guy surf the Internet on his Smartphone during the worship service.

Now, people who are purposely disrespectful annoy me to no end, but that's just mostly because I am an idealist who wishes I lived in a world where people behaved themselves. Pragmatically speaking, I could care less if someone doesn't have the attention span or interest to actually pay attention to something.

What does bother me is how distracted I get watching these fools play with their mobile devices when they should be paying attention. Usually my inner-monologue sounds something like this:

Me: Look at that idiot texting and not paying attention.
Me: Pay attention.
Me: Can you believe this guy is on his iPad during a seminar? He's missing the whole thing!
Me: Pay attention! You're missing the whole thing paying attention to people not paying attention.
Me: This is unbelievable, I mean why even come here if you're not going to listen to what's going on?
Me (turning to my wife who actually pays attention): What did he just say? I wasn't listening.

So once I figure out how to block out the dopes on their mobile devices, I will have amazing powers of concentration and information retention, and I will then fully put into action my plan to take over the world.

I Saw It On Facebook, So It Must Be True

Last Wednesday I drove from New Jersey to Nashville to take my daughter to her freshman orientation at the college she'll be attending. Of course, now that I have the social life of a fifteen year-old girl, one of the first things I did after getting settled in at our hotel was check my Facebook account.

I was immediately met with the horrible news that a tornado had touched down in my hometown - a town that was now 871.6 miles away. Post after post replayed the horror that had visited my sleepy hamlet. My blood pressure spiked and the sense of impending doom made the Dan Dan Noodles I had just eaten turn sour. I'm usually a pretty pragmatic person and I don't often take to flights of neuroticism, but it was really a horrible feeling to be so far away from home right then.

Well, after contacting a few people, I found out that what the "tornado" really was was a pretty heavy thunderstorm and one of those funnel cloud things that drop down, but don't rotate or cause any damage. Someone with a video camera caught some footage and posted it for all to see, but once you saw the footage it really just looked like a thunderstorm. Score one for social media hysteria.

Social media is quickly becoming an outlet for people who desperately want to be at the forefront of some horrible tragedy or breaking news. They want to be the first person to post a picture, or video, or news story that goes viral and gets tons of unwarranted, or warranted, attention. We've become a nation of Yentes meddling in everyone's business so we can get someone to pay attention to us. This will ultimately be the demise of the instantaneous social media forum, but in the meantime, watch what tragedies you buy into.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Charity That Embraces Captialism and Self-Determination

Last week I was introduced to a charity that represents pretty much everything I believe in.

Kiva.org is the website for a non-profit organization that facilitates loans to people who otherwise would not have access to capital. Capital is the tool that improves lives, and capital in the hands of people who need it to better their station in life is the most powerful tool of all. As an unabashed libertarian free-market capitalist I can't think of a better non-profit to get behind and be passionate about.

Using partners and micro-finance institutions throughout the world, Kiva collects donations and disburses funds to people who are looking to use self-determination to improve their lives. The loans are repaid by the recipient, allowing the contributor to start the cycle again.

I was able to contribute to a $225 loan to a woman in Kenya who was looking to buy a bag of beans, some new chicks and chicken feed to help increase her income from her poultry business. No government official, bureaucrat or local thug came between us. She is free to purchase what she knows she needs and I am happy in the confidence that the money I loaned her will actually get used properly - and repaid so I can use that money again.

I really urge those of you who believe in free-markets, limited government and self-determination for everyone to check this organization out and get involved if you can.

Some facts:
  • $223,000,000 disbursed through 296,334 loans
  • 98.79% repay rate
  • 595,284 lenders in 213 countries lending to people in 59 countries
  • 133 field partners (micro-finance institutions)
  • 450 volunteers world-wide
Charity is not a government function because government almost always fails to provide help to those in need. When government gets involved in charity, politics come first whether you want to believe that or not. People lending much needed capital to other people who want to determine their own trajectories in life is the best way to improve life for all of us.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Save The Planet - Even While You're On Vacation!

Over the years I've been fortunate to be able to travel, which means I've spent a lot of time in hotels. But enough about me...

Recently I actually paid attention to the little signs I've seen in every hotel room I've been in for the past fifteen years...
Save the Planet!
Everyday millions of gallons of water are wasted washing towels that have only been used once...
blah blah blah the world will end probably next week because you are a bad person wasting water and precious resources drying yourself off with a clean towel.

The problem with this is water does not get permanently contaminated with Tide or some other detergent when it goes down the drain. Water gets recycled either naturally or through man-made treatment facilities, and besides that, detergent degrades and does not attach itself to water at the molecular level.

What re-using your towel in a hotel actually does is save the hotel company money, and that's fine, I get it, I'm a Capitalist so corporate savings are a good thing. Corporate dishonesty is not.

Corporate dishonesty that preys on the goodwill of naive people by using the guilt trip that we are destroying the planet with our personal hygiene is not only not a good thing, it's kind of evil in a manipulative sort of way.

At home, we re-use our towels, mostly because we are frugal and are trying to save the amount of time spent doing laundry - neither have anything to do with saving the planet. When I am on the road I will not re-use my towels because I don't like being lied to and, well, it's a nice break from routine.

Sorry to all you Green-types out there who are outraged at my hatred for my home planet...you're being duped and you really need to sharpen your critical thinking skills.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

On The Road Again

In Nashville, TN through Saturday, so posting will be light.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

New Jersey: Leading the Nation in Something Other Than Mafia Cliches and Snooki Memorabilia

The New Jersey legislature will vote today on a landmark bill that will roll back health and pension benefits for its public employees as well as raise the retirement age. The bill is expected to be passed by both houses and signed into law by Governor Christie. For those of you who are lucky and don't live in New Jersey, here's some background:
  • We pay the highest property and income taxes in the country
  • NJ has approximately $86,000,000,000 in unfunded public employee pension obligations
Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver, and Senate President Steven Sweeney, both Democrats, have bucked their party to side with common-sense and fiscal responsibility in supporting the bill.

Here's what Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Cryan (D-Union), had to say about Oliver's and Sweeney's attempt to rescue New Jersey's taxpayers from drowning in the debt run up by its former leaders and labor unions:
"For those of us who haven’t sold out our party, we decline to accept. And for those of us who work for a living, we decline to agree. The Speaker doesn’t have the majority of her own caucus, and as the majority leader, I say she shouldn’t put it up. And as for the rest of us, we all want health care. We all believe in a better life for us and our children. And how terrible it is that the Democratic Party today chose to take a different path."
It is my opinion that when he said "better life for us and our children," he didn't mean you and your children specifically, because you and your children are going broke paying for them and their children, unless you are in the CWA or other public employee union, then of course he was talking about you and your children, but he was obviously not concerned about me and my children.

After speaking, Cryan quickly replaced his Binky and seemed to calm down a bit. Cryan also made no mention of the people in the state who foot the bill for his constituents (by "constituent" I mean the people in the labor unions who donate to his campaign accounts and receive ridiculous benefit packages in return). He did remove his Binky long enough to lament the fact that some Democrats joined the Republican Party who, in his words are "essentially running the Statehouse in the state of New Jersey." Cryan did not mention that it was Democrats who ran the Statehouse in the state of New Jersey when $86,000,000,000 in unfunded public employee pensions were amassed.

Yesterday Speaker Oliver met with union leaders and "activists" to explain her position. She was met with shouts from the audience of "Tax the rich!" and "Millionaires Tax!" once again proving that class warfare is alive and well among the rank and file public sector employees of our fair state.

I applaud Assemblywoman Oliver and Senator Sweeney and the Democrats who bucked their party's line and sided with the taxpayers of New Jersey.

In other related news, police were forced to use bomb sniffing dogs yesterday after the Communications Workers of America staged a sit-in and protest in our Statehouse.

Story compiled in part from Asbury Park Press and NJ News Media reports.

Friday, June 17, 2011

CWA District 1 VP Likens Governor Christie to Hitler, Vows Only World War III Will Get Rid of Him

Another example of the new civility so deeply supported by the Left:

Communications Workers of America District 1 vice-president Christopher M. Shelton welcomed labor demonstrators to a gathering outside the statehouse in New Jersey yesterday by saying "Welcome to Nazi Germany." His speech continued:
"We have Adolf Christie and his two generals [Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver both Democrats] trying to turn New Jersey into Nazi Germany. It's going to take World War III to get rid of Adolf Christie. Not only is Christie a Nazi, but so are his two generals. Any politician who stands up against collective bargaining is not a Democrat, they're Nazis."
He did later apologize for his remarks, but he is an adult, and he wields sizeable power, so we actually have a right to expect people like Mr. Shelton to have concern for the damage their words cause before saying them. It is also not lost on me that his words about WW III are really tantamount to a threat of violence on the part of his union.

Union members and Democrats in the state of New Jersey should be outraged, unless of course they agree with Mr. Shelton's inflammatory words and are comfortable with his representation.

I would also suggest Mr. Shelton read a little history so he might begin to understand exactly what Nazi Germany was all about before he bandies his ignorance about so flagrantly again.

It is time for people to reject the selfishness and destructive rhetoric of Big Labor and the damage their leaders are causing political discourse and financial stability in this country.

This post was compiled using information from the Associated Press and the Asbury Park Press.

TWIR: Current Events Edition

Another busy week. Before we get started on The Week In Review, I would first like to thank all of the new readers I've picked up over the past two weeks. I've had 1,000 hits in 6 days, and for a little unknown blog that is just amazing.

I would also like to send a message to the graduating class of 2011: Don't ever fall into the trap of thinking you have learned enough - about anything. You haven't, so enjoy the experience of becoming an expert at whatever it is you want to be an expert at.

This week's TWIR is brought to you by Eric Boehlert from Media Matters, one of the biggest Leftist hate mongers in the country.
  1. Lots of news about gay marriage this week. As a Libertarian, I am opposed to any law that restricts the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness of any person who is not intent on restricting my life, liberty and pursuit of happiness with their actions, so I am opposed to any law restricting the co-habitation of adults in any way. However, I am also opposed to any group forcing a redefinition of tradition on me to suit their political agendas. If a church wants to perform a marriage ceremony for a homosexual couple, that is not my business to stop them. If a couple is bound together by love for each other, that is also not my business. By definition the government can't perform a marriage because that is a church matter, and state governments need to stop social engineering by forcing traditions to be abandoned against the will of those who revere the tradition in question. At the same time, no government should deny the recognition of a chosen partner or spouse of any individual. States need to make sure that pensions, health benefits and spousal access are left to the decision of the individual regardless of sex. 
  2. Illinois and Massachusetts are also attempting to trim back public employee CBA agreements on pensions and benefits, yet I haven't seen one person's panties bunched up about those states like we all saw with Wisconsin. The differences I see are Illinois and Massachusetts are run by Democrats, after that I am at a loss.
  3. Anthony Weiner resigned yesterday to shouts of "Bye bye perv!" Lots of people are saying "hey man, that's his personal life and not my business." These are generally the same people who feel government should be central to our lives, and therefore logically, involved in our personal lives. Sorry kids, you can't have it both ways. We need to raise our personal and political standards.
  4. There are protests in Saudi Arabia this week about giving women the right to drive cars. You do realize that we have practically shut down the crude oil business in this country and we buy our crude from a country that treats its women like chattel? I'm just looking for a little consistency of thought here, that's all. Women, even those in a country 8,000 miles away are more important to me than going Green.
  5. Mitt Romney told a bunch of unemployed people that he is also "unemployed." Many TV news people are offended by this. In context what Romney said was harmless, but since Obama laughed about all the money he spent on shovel- ready projects that "weren't as shovel- ready as we thought," the MSM needs something to whine about to take the heat off of their guy.
Have a nice weekend.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Vancouver Filled With Sore Losers - Perfect Illustration of Libertarianism's Biggest Hurdle

The Vancouver Canucks lost Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals to the Boston Bruins last night. This gave the Bruins their first Stanley Cup since 1972 and Vancouver it's first sports-related riot since 1994, when the Canucks lost to the Rangers. If Canada takes to the streets to unleash their seething rage about losing a hockey game, imagine what would happen if something bad happened up there.

This sort of behavior is a problem for a lot of people, not the least of which are Libertarians. You see, Libertarians depend on people knowing how to behave even when their hockey team comes in second. We like government to be small and unobtrusive with few laws and restrictions, and for that we depend on the rest of society being able to drown their sorrows over a frickin' hockey game in a pint of beer, not by tearing up downtown. So when morons take to the streets to destroy other people's property we are reminded once again that true Libertarianism is a long way off. And all you Anarchists out there can just stop - it ain't gonna happen, at least until hockey is banned in Canada.

Now, to be fair, Canada is pretty much a Socialist country which means people are coddled and kept safe from harm by the government. However, even the Liberals amongst us know that when you are shielded from the horrors of life, either by mom or the government, the horrors of life hurt even more when they present themselves to you - as they will whether your mom wants them to or not. So, people who are treated like children will likely respond like children when their hockey team loses. But I disagree with myself on this point because at the end of the day, if your hockey team loses and you burn up a car because you are sad, it's not your mom's fault, or the government's fault.

In short, I would like to thank Canada for setting the idea of Western society progressing toward a Libertarian future where people can reach their potentials in a free and unrestricted fashion back into the FDR age.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Update On A Bahraini Revolutionary: How Did You Spend Your Day?

A few months back I interviewed Zanaib Al-Khawja, a young mother and nurse from Bahrain. Her husband, father, brother-in-law and uncle were arrested for their roles in the anti-government protests in April and they are still being detained.

This morning she joined two other young women in an attempt to deliver a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon via the local UN Development Program (UNDP) office in Manama, Bahrain. The two other women were Sawsan Jawad, who I have no biographical information on, and Asma Darwish. Asma is a 20-year-old student at the Polytechnic University in Manama. She is also the sister of a 23-year-old professional photographer who was arrested May 22 and who has not been seen since. Police broke into Asma's family's home in the middle of the night, terrorized the family and ransacked their belongings while arresting her brother. Zanaib was on a hunger strike a few months ago until her health deteriorated dangerously. Asma had been on a hunger strike for the twelve days previous to today.

Compiled from Tweets by Zanaib and Asma, the following is a re-cap of how they spent their day today:

They arrived at the UNDP office shortly after it opened this morning and announced their desire to get their letter delivered to the UN Secretary General. You can read the letter at this link: Letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

They were greeted by a UN representative who told them the UN was working on the situation in Bahrain "publicly and privately" and that he would take their letter. Zanaib replied "We will stay to see what the UN can do for the Bahraini people." To which the still unnamed UN rep replied, "You cannot stay. If you do you will make problems for yourselves, for us and maybe even for your families." This was understandably taken as an implied threat. He then told them he would make them leave forcibly if necessary.

After the women sat down the UN rep left. Within a few minutes Mohammed Ahmed from the UNDP came to talk to them. "Your voices have been heard. There is no reason to stay here. You are putting us in a very difficult position. We may have to call the police if you do not leave. You do realize that next people will say you came here with guns and took over the building." Whether he was sincerely concerned they would be falsely accused or he was warning them of a false accusation to come was not clear. Ahmed did come across as concerned for their welfare and he did offer them food and drinks. He left them alone when they indicated they were not intending to leave.

After some time elapsed (as far as I can tell it was less than an hour) Ahmed returned and told them, "You are welcome to stay here and we can escort you for your safety when you leave." Zanaib informed Ahmed that the women were intending on staying past the time the building closed at 3:00 PM. They were then given papers to sign stating that they would be staying past the closing time, ostensibly for their safety, but the women surmised their signatures would give the police justification to arrest them - they refused to sign. Infuriated, Ahmed left them alone.

An hour or so later, three buses carrying riot police, five female police officers and ten other police vehicles arrived at the UNDP. They were then brought to a local police station where they were held and interrogated (individually) for seven hours. During this time the police confirmed to them that personnel from the UNDP had called to have them removed. The police refused to tell them whether they would be set free or detained.

Several hours later, after getting the women to promise they would not leave the country they were told they would be released. At this point the women continued to sit in their chairs, telling the officers to do "what they needed to do," the officers then indicated it was time for them to go, whether of their own accord or not.

They were then physically removed by five officers each and placed on a bus. For approximately one hour there was no word from them. Their destination or whereabouts were unknown. The last messages received were one from Zanaib who said there were photographers and videographers capturing the scene as they were put on the bus. The other was from Asma who announced to Zanaib that she would be ending her hunger strike at that time.

A full fourteen hours after first arriving at UNDP offices in Manama the three women were released unharmed. Their bravery in the face of a ruthless regime should be a model for all of us.

Stop Whining - Look At Some Facts

Obama is destroying the economy. George W. Bush destroyed the economy. Republicans will ruin the country. Democrats ruined the country. "A wealthy American predicts that failure of the US economy in 2011." "Buy gold now to protect your family."

Sometimes numbers work better than words so all I'm going to do today is post some statistics so you can draw your own conclusions:

Year - Unemployment Rate - Inflation Rate                               
1977 - 7.7%                         5.15%           President Carter
1978 - 7.1%                         6.50%
1979 - 6.1%                         7.62%
1980 - 5.8%                         11.22%                                       
1981 - 7.1%                         13.58%         President Reagan
1982 - 7.6%                         10.35%
1983 - 9.7%                         6.16%
1984 - 9.6%                         3.22%
1985 - 7.5%                         4.30%
1986 - 7.2%                         3.55%
1987 - 7.0%                         3.66%
1988 - 6.2%                         4.08%                                         
1989 - 5.5%                         4.83%            President Bush
1990 - 5.3%                         5.39%
1991 - 5.6%                         4.25%
1992 - 6.8%                         3.03%                                        
1993 - 7.5%                         2.96%            President Clinton
1994 - 6.9%                         2.61%
1995 - 6.1%                         2.81%
1996 - 5.6%                         2.93%
1997 - 5.4%                         2.34%
1998 - 4.9%                         1.55%
1999 - 4.5%                         2.19%
2000 - 3.97%                       3.38%                                        
2001 - 4.76%                       2.83%             President Bush
2002 - 5.78%                       1.59%
2003 - 5.99%                       2.27%
2004 - 5.53%                       2.68%
2005 - 5.08%                       3.39%
2006 - 4.63%                       3.24%
2007 - 4.6%                         2.85%
2008 - 5.76%                       3.85%                                        
2009 - 9.26%                       -0.34% (deflation)
2010 - 9.64%                       1.64%

  • There were only four years where unemployment was over 9.0% - '83 & '84 under President Reagan and '09 & '10 under President Obama
Things are bad, but they're sort of about average for bad times. Do we need to get some adults in charge who can fix the unprecedented problems facing us of debt and entitlement expenditures? Absolutely. Do we need to move to Canada because America's best days are behind us? Nope.

We just all need to start thinking and stop reacting to every little bit of political propaganda that gets thrown our way. Things are cyclical and self-correcting (in either direction) and no amount of government manipulation is going to fix that.

Data compiled from various US government websites and the following: inflationdata.com , miseryindex.us , research.stlouisfed.org

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I Actually Feel Some Confidence Creeping Back In

I watched the GOP debate on CNN last night. After months of being told by the main-stream media that there were no viable candidates to run against Obama I figured I would see for myself.

The main-stream media (MSM) couldn't be more wrong. There were five solid candidates at the debate last night who could easily unseat Obama.

First a few observations:
  • The MSM is letting its outrage show that President Obama was taken to task last night by all of the debate participants. Chuck Todd on NBC looked absolutely pissed off this morning. It was really quite funny to watch him try to keep his anger in check.
  • A guy who identified himself as a "mainstream Republican" asked a question last night. I was hoping there weren't any of his type left. Let me just say to any other "mainstream Republicans" out there: pretty much the mess we are in right now is as much your fault as it is the Democrats'. If you identify yourself as such, you should be as embarrassed as if you identified yourself as a Democrat.
  • John King needs to do something about all of the noises he makes while people are answering questions. Not only was he distracting as hell, he completely came off as not in control of his debate.
  • I loved King's attempts to make the participants look foolish, and the participant's ability to make King look like a neophyte and partisan crony.
  • The "this-or-that" questions (i.e. mild or spicy, Coke or Pepsi) should be left just for Democrats to answer. I want my candidates to be serious, not pop-idols like Obama or Clinton.
Now let's review the candidates in order of how they finished:
  1. Newt Gingrich: Absolutely kicked ass with every answer. The man is an intellectual and political giant. He won the evening hands down. Now we just have to see how his personal life and discipline deficits come into play.
  2. Michelle Bachmann: Got tripped up a few times, particularly on social issues, but she was a very close second to Newt. She was serious, well-informed and the antidote to Sarah Palin. I'm very close to endorsing her.
  3. Mitt Romney: He did better than I thought he would and he definitely was comfortable in the role of top dog. I just worry that there is enough substance behind the sheen.
  4. Herman Cain: Good Gawd I love this guy and I really, really want him to do well. He's a little too rough in some of his answers, and once again the Muslim-in-the-Cabinet thing tripped him up badly. Herman Cain is the type of guy we need in the White House, he just might not be political enough to win the job.
  5. Tim Pawlenty: Lost it for me when he backed off the ObamneyCare bit. That was the smartest thing he ever said, and he crumbled in front of the guy he was aiming at. Not a good sign.
  6. Ron Paul: He didn't show very well last night. He was a bit all over the map and he seemed unprepared. I think he failed getting the bulk of his mission statement across to the audience, which to me is a giant shame: Policy-wise, Paul is the closest to my way of thinking.
  7. Rick Santorum: He just comes across as angry and intellectually light. Sort of Obama for the Right. He just doesn't matter to me after last night.
Let's get on with it because the debate has made me feel confident we are going to send a candidate to the plate who can hit the ball. An Obama without the concern of getting re-elected will make the Obama who was concerned about getting re-elected look like Ronald Reagan. He needs to go and I think we're preparing to make the case and get the job done.

Monday, June 13, 2011

America's Current Civil War

There is very little common ground left in our society. In fact, I can't honestly say we have one society anymore. We are now several different sub-societies all vying for supremacy, and until we all begin to bridge the divides, America will continue to weaken until it eventually fades away.

We have Left versus Right. Black versus White. Red Sate versus Blue State. Hispanic versus White. Gay versus Straight. Labor Union versus non-union. Government employee versus taxpayer. Muslim versus Jew. Religious Right against Secular Left. You versus me. The list goes on and on.

While the beginnings of our main political differences can be traced back to the Federalist Papers and the French Revolution (which was a failure by the way so stop worshipping it), our current state of finger pointing and division can be traced back to August 1988. That's when Rush Limbaugh took to the national airwaves. As a matter of disclosure, I agree with pretty much everything Limbaugh says, even some of the outrageous stuff, but - and this is the point - he is an entertainer first and a political pundit second. Ditto for Sean Hannity and everyone else of their ilk. They are not the problem, the outlying fringes of both the Left and the Right who take them too seriously are the problem.

The words of Rachel Maddow, Keith Olbermann, NBC and ABC News, the pundits on Fox News and the aforementioned radio pundits are now accepted as political gospel. The "new" media has enjoined the corrupted "mainstream" media, and pretty much now everyone is full of crap - including their audience.

Remember, the main point of view of this blog is that everything is basically our fault - well, mostly your fault because I vote correctly but that's another matter - so if the media in this country is causing unnecessary turmoil I'm not going to blame it on them, I'm going to blame it on their audience.

We're at war with ourselves because we have been seduced by hate-mongers and rabble-rousers. We need to let our guns cool a bit so we can find some common ground with each other - quickly.

It's okay to disagree with or even dislike the president, or a presidential candidate, or even a television personality. What's not okay is acting like insufferable ex-wives and shutting off our listening abilities as soon as we are confronted with an opinion that differs from ours. We who are passionate about liberty and freedom need to take the lead and debate with intellect, not emotion.

It doesn't matter who the leaders are if the the population can't ever agree on anything.

Friday, June 10, 2011

TWIR: I Have An Agenda Edition

The Week In Review is brought to you by Dunkin' Donuts Frozen Hot Chocolate. I'll be getting back to my TWIR roots by just riffing in a stream of conscious manner.
  1. Fifty-six percent of Anthony Weiner's constituents (parts of Queens and Brooklyn) don't feel he should resign. What this means is that 56% of the people in Weiner's congressional district don't mind being represented by an admitted liar (forget the other moral judgements). He is an admitted lair who is universally disliked and disrespected by his peers, which renders him somewhat politcally impotent. This my friends is a perfect example of why your government is so dysfunctional. Extrapolating through the skills I learned in my statistics course in college (I got an A), I conclude that our crappy government is the fault of 56% of the population of this country.
  2. Newt Gingrich's top campaign advisers quit yesterday. People who run campaigns for a living need to win so they can continue to be employed. These folks must have a gut feeling Newt can't win. That's as complicated as the story gets. Newt is the perfect example of a brilliant mind that cannot wrap himself up in the personal discipline required to lead.
  3. I'm beginning to think that the economic problems facing the country are far beyond President Obama's intellectual pay grade (please see Disclaimer at Bottom of Post). He pretty much doesn't do a good job at a lot of things, but his inability to get his head around how the economy works boggles my mind.
  4. Polls are out this morning that have President Obama beating Governor Christie 50% to 34% if the election were held today. What this really means is that the people who do these polls are getting nervous about Christie so they feel it's time to chop him down a bit.
  5. I should be elected Supreme Fella for just one year because I could fix the economy in that period of time. We could resume our path to national greatness by doing the following:
Simplify the tax code (a flat 15% tax or true consumption tax would be best), scale down the authority of the EPA and other regulatory agencies by stripping them of their ability to make law without consent and place a moratorium on all new laws for 5 years (Seriously, do you honestly believe we don't have enough laws?)
Have a nice weekend. By the way, how cool would it be if the Mavericks beat the Heat in Game 6?

Disclaimer at Bottom of Post: Although I am criticising President Obama, I have lots of political figures I admire who are of African descent. I know this smacks of the old line "I am not racist, I have lots of Black friends" but you have forced me into this stupid line of  thinking because of your flawed logic that if I disagree with our President I must therefore be a racist. For the record, I disagree with President Obama's political philosophies and his obvious lack of talent for leading, that it comes from his Caucasian half or his African half is not of consequence to me.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Official Weiner Supporter Quiz

I am amazed at the amount of people coming to Anthony Weiner's defense. The excuses for this guy run the gamut:
  1. His handlers gave him bad advice
  2. He didn't actually have sex with anyone
  3. He was embarrassed and he's only human
  4. It's his personal life and none of our business
I have some questions for you defenders out there:
  1. Do you condone Weiner's behavior, his lying about it, and his blaming other people for it?
  2. If your spouse of significant other did what Weiner did, would you be okay with it?
  3. Are you okay with your government leaders being admitted liars?
  4. Does Anthony Weiner meet the standard you have set for yourself in your own life?
Now we'll take a little test:

Answer 'yes' or 'no' to each of the above questions. Give yourself 1 point for each 'yes' answer and 0 points for each 'no' answer.

If you scored 4 points: I am extremely concerned for my future and my family's future with people like you living in the same country as me.

If you scored 3 points: You put politics ahead of integrity and you are pretty much part of the problem.

If you scored 2 points: You need to really take a deep look at the life you are living and the things you have convinced yourself are acceptable.

If you scored 1 point: Don't be so smug. You still answered 'yes' to one question and that just means you have a small thread of personal integrity left.

If you scored 0 points: Normally I'd say you should be proud of yourself for answering every question correctly, but seriously, this wasn't that hard of a quiz to pass - if you have and values or integrity that is.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Public Service Announcement - Threat Level Midnight

I'm going to take a break today from attempting to solve the world's problems and I'm going to share a very important message with the people of America.

It's going to be hot out today. Tommorow too.

Back before the days of 24 hour media broadcasting 90 minutes of news, it would get hot and people would bitch and then it would rain or something and people would get over themselves.

Now, it's a crisis. At least according to all of the weather people and their cute little colorful maps.

So, in an attempt to help my readers get through this two day spell of hot weather I am going to steal some of the advice the weather-bimbos (male or female, doesn't matter) shouted to me this morning. Plus, I am going to add a few tips of my own. You can use your superior judgement skills to figure out which is which.
  1. Drink plenty of water.
  2. Sit near a fan.
  3. Check on old people.
  4. Stay in an air-conditioned room.
  5. Buy an ice cube tray that is suppository shaped to facilitate inserting ice cubes in your own personal cooling zone.
  6. Turn off the television to conserve energy and get away from nattering weather bimbos.
  7. Use deoderant.
  8. Realize it is pretty much summer time and it gets hot in summer.
  9. Understand that Global Warming did not cause it to be hot like this. Solar Warming did.
  10. Go jump in a lake. Or, if possible, take a long walk off a short pier.
Stay cool my friends, and remember, it was only like two months ago that we were all bitching about the cold weather.

You're welcome.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Feeling Sorry for Representative Weiner

You might feel sorry for him but you shouldn't. I don't feel sorry for him one bit.

"But Jack! He humbled himself in front of all the world to show how sorry he was!" No, he made the choice to publicly humiliate himself in an attempt to save his seat in Congress. It's obvious to me that his power is more important to him than his self-respect.

He lied with the skill of a socio-path in order to hide the fact that he texts images of himself indiscriminately to people he thinks are young women. Who cares whether or not he used a government computer? He compromised himself by disregarding his family, his supporters and the country by cyber-sexing with anonymous people - people whose ages and political or criminal affiliations he did not know. If you think an apology will suddenly give this man the judgment and moral character he so obviously lacks, then you should do us all a favor and stop voting immediately.

He attacked others to cover his weakness and embarrassment with little or no concern for their well-being, as he abused his position to attack those who were speaking the truth and asking legitimate questions about his behavior. For this alone the man is not worthy to hold any office.

A grown man crying because he has been cornered into confessing his unusual private life does not impress me. Further still, a man who has been entrusted with representing people who behaves this way - and I mean the wanton way in which he satisfied his fetish for exhibitionism and his pathological lying to cover it all up - doesn't represent me as an American citizen. I feel sorry for you if you think he represents you, I mean seriously, try to develop some personal standards.

Representative Weiner - your apology is not accepted, I don't feel bad for you, and I personally think you got what you had coming. Your arrogance and meanness have been a stain on New York politics for too long, and now your inability to use your brain instead of your libido have added you to the long list of morons who abuse the power they have been given. I understand your next step is rehab for your sex addiction followed by your pronouncements that you will work to become a softer, gentler, better man, but I think it's time as a country we all step up and demand more from our leaders.

Do the right thing and resign.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

TWIR: Potpourri Edition

I will break from tradition and not post five interesting things (to me anyway) about the week that has just passed. Instead, I'm going to ask just one question I really think needs to be asked.
  1. If you support a leader simply because of his race without any concern or thought about that leader's competence, are you more interested in racial bias or good government?
Have a nice week.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

You're a Racist. I'm a Racist. Everyone is Racist.

The day after Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, a guy I used to work with came into my office with his cellphone out. Barely able to contain his glee he thrust his phone toward me and told me to take a look. The picture on his phone was in "celebration" of Obama's election and it showed Aunt Jemima as the Statue of Liberty. I was honestly offended and I told him not to bother me with things like that. He thought I was an ass and we had didn't get on well after that.

A day or so later I got a multi-media text on my phone with a similar picture.

A few days ago a cartoon began circulating on Facebook of a Warner Brothers cartoon from either the late 30s or early 40s with a horrendous caricature of an African-American hunting Bugs Bunny. The title of the Facebook post was "Obama in the Early Days."

When people who oppose Obama for his policies resort to this level of stupidity, it kills credibility for all of us.

I don't blame people who support Obama and his policies for using the stupidity of those who use jokes like the ones I pointed out earlier against people who oppose Obama. It hurts the entire population, it hurts the opposition, it hurts the President, and it particularly hurts members of the African-American community when this kind of stupidity exists in the hearts of people.

Racism is everywhere, and it is not the domain of any single race. You're a racist, I'm a racist, the most spiritual amongst us are racist, the most evil among us are racist. If you deny that, and claim you are not racist, you are lying to yourself.

The task at hand is to understand the racism that is bred into all of us and reject it whenever it rears its ugly head. Like anything else we do to improve our selves, being honestly aware of what is around us and within us is the first step.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Thanks For Pointing That Out, I Guess You're Excused

People are stopping me on the street and interrupting my meals. They all have one question, "What the hell are you talking about? You can't be the victim of racism - you're white! And anyway, those stories you told weren't about racism, so get yourself together and stop rocking the boat."

Oh yeah, watch this.

I coached girls fastpitch softball for five years among the twenty or so years I was a volunteer coach. This was a miserable experience, filled with occasionally wonderful kids, and incredibly horrible adults. I could do two weeks on the adults alone, and if I run out of things to write about I just may.

Anyway, back to walking the fine line of talking about race in 2011.

The last game I ever coached I was called a racist twice. This was on a team of sixteen- and seventeen-year old girls. Without going into detail in order to protect identities, I decided to sit a player who showed up late for a tournament without any notice. This was after a long string of warnings about lack of preparation and dedication. Unfortunately, the player I sat was the only black player on the team. Since I was interested in teaching life lessons and winning softball games, I did not walk on eggshells regarding race. I was not interested in race. I was interested in heart. Man, I hate when I am naive like that. The parents of this young lady proceeded to raise a stink like Fresh Meadows in summer, calling me every horrible name they could think of. Of course, each name was preceded with claims that I was a racist and that I had been unfair to their daughter because of her race all season. In reality I was a pretty strict coach, I was fair but I was there to coach, not be Prom King. This kid could actually have been a great player if she had been interested in working, but that's another story.

Later in the same game, a tight game for the championship of the tournament, I noticed a player of mine texting someone while she was in the field of play. In the dugout after the inning, she missed her at-bat because she was texting. As coaches are known to do, I called her out on this. Unfortunately, this player was the only Hispanic on the team. After I called her out she threw a tantrum, used extreme profanity and left. Her mother, a fiery Latina in her own right, stormed into the dugout and screamed at me how racist I was because I pointed out what her daughter was doing and not what anyone else was doing. I mentioned to mom that everyone else on the team was trying to win the game so they didn't need a reprimand. A few months later I found out the father of this kid is a detective with the Essex County Sheriff's Office. If that doesn't give you pause for thought, nothing will.

We lost the game, and that was the last time I ever coached any rotten, unappreciative kid ever. In fact, it was even the last time I coached the kids who made coaching worthwhile. They're all your problem now.

What's my point? My point is racism is not the domain of whitey. In addition, my point is I am afraid we've instilled a permanent state of anger and failure into generations of kids as we've bent over backwards to make up for the stupidity of generations gone before. Why bother working when you can claim the person in charge is racist if you fail? The problem with this is all it does is perpetuate racial tension and ignorance. I think you're a racist, so you avoid interacting with people like me so you won't be called racist, so people like me think you are racist because there is no interaction. All of us suffer. It's actually quite simple.

Obviously I am taking two tiny incidents in a long coaching career to make my point, so please don't write to me and point that out.

There are stupid people in all races, and you can't have a thriving society when people judge not what a person does, but what the color of their skin is. We'd better start viewing race as a two-way street or our society will cease to function. Better yet, when are we all going to get to the point that we see ballplayers or coaches, or any other segment of society without noticing what race they are first?

That until there are no longer first class and second class citizens of any nation
Until the colour of a man's skin is of no more significance than the colour of his eyes
Me say war - Bob Marley War