Saturday, January 31, 2009
Angela Suleman said her daughter always had trouble conceiving and underwent in vitro fertilization treatments because her fallopian tubes are "plugged up."
Six kids at age 33 and she, "had trouble conceiving"? Look, I'm not a psychiatrist, but I'm guessing the girl has serious "issues".
The Bicycle: The trainer just isn't the same as being on the road. I gauge Spring by two criteria: First, pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training in mid-February and second, whatever day I can first get out on the road without getting frostbite. Both clear signs that spring is near.
The VRWC: If the "new" stimulus package from the House is any indication, hang on to your wallet. Now, I'm in agreement that the TARP package needs to be overhauled. No problem. I think I like the "Bad Bank" idea as well, but the jury is still out. This concerns me, though:
"And we will insist on unprecedented transparency, rigorous oversight and clear accountability so taxpayers know how their money is being spent and whether it is achieving results."
There is nothing in the first 10 days of this Administration that indicates this statement is true. The Geithner and Daischel episodes indicate that ethics and transparency aren't as important as political expediency. I'm willing to give the benefit...for now. But don't tell me....show me.
Friday, January 30, 2009
My gosh, they’re absolutely brilliant, these bureaucrats! My question is, if we’ll never be able to figure out the cause-and-effect, then how did we ever claim in the first place that this plan was the answer??!!!! If I pulled something like that on my job, I’d be fired in a minute, yet we’re talking about billions and billions of dollars of OUR MONEY. And just NOW they’re realizing that they need to do a better job of accounting for how the money is spent? And we need to hire more government workers to accomplish this oversight? I have stronger words than I’m able to put down here for the people who are supposed to be protecting our interests. People ought to be outraged. I know I sure am!
Said better than I could.
This week, more than 200 notable economists -- including three Nobel laureates -- signed an open letter in The New York Times challenging Barack Obama's false suggestion that all economists agree a bailout is needed. It was entitled "With all due respect Mr. President, that is not true."
Yes, $400 million for STD prevention will save your job. A $34 million remodeling of the Department of Commerce, $150 million for honeybee insurance, and the hundreds of billions in new government growth, you are led to believe, will create economic growth faster than a similar-sized business or payroll tax cut.
Is anyone paying attention?
Markets had logged some gains earlier in the week, buoyed by an upbeat earnings outlook from British lender Barclays and a $819 billion stimulus package in the U.S. moving closer to reality, but were jolted back to reality by a new slew of bad economic and corporate news.
Isn't it reasonable, then to believe that the markets would have been up on a good stimulus package? How will the Administration spin this? I don't suppose they have to, since the media did it for them.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Did everyone drink the Kool-Aid on this, too?
Edit 1944: if this were a good package, don't you think the market would have been up?
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
The MSM is already trying to spin this as Republican obstructionism. It's not. This will not work and will be the death of many of us. Trust me.
Monday, January 26, 2009
The more I see of the "stimulus" package, the more I believe it is nothing more than a pork-laden transfer of wealth that will do nothing to get the economy moving.
Will The Chosen One notice?
Sunday, January 25, 2009
The Bicycle: In the dead of winter, it's hard to think about the nice warm summer months ahead without making oneself crazy. But it may be as little as 8 weeks to that first ride. Time to make sure my trusty steed is clean and ready.
The VRWC: Here is some really exceptional stuff.
Speak to me, O Muse, of this resourceful man who strides so boldly upon the golden shrine of Potomac, Between Ionic plywood columns, to the kleig light altar. Fair Obamacles, favored of the gods, ascends to Olympus Amidst lusty tributes and the strumming lyres of Media;Their mounted skyboxes echo with the singing of his name While Olbermos and Mattheus in their greasy togas wrassle For first honor of basking in their hero's reflected glory. Who is this man, so bronzed in countenance,So skilled of TelePrompter, clean and articulate whose ears like a stately urn's protrude? So now, daughter of Zeus, tell us his story. And just the Cliff Notes if you don't mind, We don't have all day.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
- Doubling renewable energy - It really depends on what kind of renewable energy. I've chronicled much about the downside of renewables, but it has a place. If this is windmills and solar panels...ok. I can live with it. If this is fuels made from the food supply, it's worse than a bad idea. Ethanol from corn, for example is no better than a break-even proposition. That is, it takes at least as much energy to produce as it provides. Many critics are not that generous. It also burns less efficiently than gasoline, resulting in more emissions per mile. Last, it reduces the corn surplus so less is available to feed the hungry.
- I don't see how upgrading schools either helps children learn or stimulates the economy. Same with tripling the number of college fellowships in science. No stimulus there either.
- At what cost do we "save" $6 billion by making federal buildings energy efficient. And again, how does that stimulate the economy?
The broad plan puts heavy emphasis on infrastructure that crumbled as state budgets contracted. Governors have lobbied Obama to help them patch holes in their budgets, drained by sinking tax revenues and increased need for public assistance like Medicaid and children's health insurance. Obama's plan would increase the federal portion of those programs so no state would have to cut any of the 20 million children whose eligibility is now at risk.
State budgets are crumbling not because of the current economic downturn, but rather, as we've seen in Wisconsin outrageous spending decisions by state governments. Bloated bureaucracy, high wages and ridiculous pensions and benefits are killing state governments. Not to mention Leftist programs like BadgerCare and SCHIP.
The only jobs this will create are more government jobs that will result in a more bloated federal and state government. Let's do the right thing and cut tax rates as put forward by Representatives Boehner and Cantor. The only thing that fixes this mess in short order is putting money back in the hands of those who will spend, save and invest.
Friday, January 23, 2009
How about a five-year time-out on war -- unless, of course, there is a genuine threat to the nation? How is a direct attack on U.S. soil and the threat of more not a genuine threat?
George seems to think that school lunch and faith-based programs, including Christian and Jewish will work in Afghanistan. Under the watchful eye of the United Nations. I'm wondering if he's been following what is happening to Christians and Jews in Islamic society? I'm also wondering if he's been following stories of UN Peacekeepers and their inability to stop atrocities in Africa.
A total cost of $3 Trillion for Iraq? Chump change compared to Obama's Big Government Stimulus and Pork Program.
George, your spots haven't changed. You're still idealistic and wrong. There is a place for all the things you see. It isn't now.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
I've been saying for years that the air, water and soil are cleaner now than it was when I was a kid. Places like Chicago, Cleveland Gary, Pittsburg, Baltimore were choked with air pollution you could see. Even sunny days were dark. Lake Erie was given up for dead and the Cuyahoga River routinely caught on fire. Love Canal and Times Beach were in the headlines.
I guess I'm just confused.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
I've said it before: Greedy homeowners, greedy mortgage lenders and greedy real estate brokers with a complicit government. It's like giving whiskey and the car keys to a teen-ager. It's been this way for almost 40 years and now the chickens are home to roost.
For the record, I don't know anyone who isn't a layoff or unexpected medical bill from going under. That's pretty much how we live. How many people have 3 months living expenses? I had it in '02, it didn't matter, it was 6 months between jobs back then.
Hang on to your socks. It's gonna get worse. A lot. Plan on 10 years of "stimulus" and huge government. This has the potential to lead to hyperinflation and massive federal debt.
But I've rambled off-topic.
This depends on how you view "failure". The purpose of the Federal government has always been national defense and regulation of interstate commerce. "Saving" the economy has never been a condition.
And better off if AlGore had been elected in 2000? That's insane. AlQaida would still be training in Afghanistan and branching out across Europe, Africa, South Asia and the Middle East. Saddam would still be systematically murdering his own people and would likely have some sort of WMD and the necessary delivery vehicle. Our economy would have been in shambles long ago with Gore's Global Warming Regulatory agenda.
Shows at least 50% of the population is stupid. BTW, they hated Lincoln, too.
Most people have no clue where there energy comes from or what it takes to make it and get it to them. People look at a complex mechanism in very simplistic terms. Just looking at Gasoline:
- Oil has to be found. The cost of exploration is huge. It involves many man-hours of labor and expensive equipment. Maybe you find it, maybe you don't.
- Once found, it has to be recovered. Recovering the oil involves, again, many man-hours of labor and really expensive equipment.
- Oil is shipped to a refinery. Usually on a really big ship, costing hundreds of millions of dollars or through a pipeline costing hundreds of millions of dollars.
- The oil has to be refined. In a refinery costing hundreds of millions of dollars, with many man-hours of labor.
- The refined product, in this case gasoline, has to be shipped either by tanker truck or pipeline or both until it eventually gets to your corner gas station.
$2 a gallon is sounding more like a bargain all the time.
I get why Lance Armstrong, as a cancer survivor would want health care reform from The Chosen One. But this is a "Be careful what you wish for". The more you get from the government, the more they own you.
When he was elected in 2000, the Democrats described Bush as "just stupid". When 9/11 came around and he showed leadership, he had to be destroyed, regardless of cost. Bush never stood up to it, but at least he stayed the course in the war on terror.
History will judge it all.
The economy would recover whether the government implemented massive spending or not. I agree with the article that all this does is increase the size and power of the Federal (and maybe even the State) bureaucracy.
The world economy is driven by (mostly U.S.) consumption. Putting money back in the pockets of consumers is the best way to right the ship. Kennedy, Reagan and G.W. Bush proved it works.
Is it possible that there is something more sinister going on here? It's no secret that Democrats "hate" corporations and rampant consumerism. They love government programs and spending - it expands their power base (it can be argued all politicians do). Is it possible that the Democrats want to change the economy to some post-consumer-driven, federal-spending-based socialist-type economy?
Maybe they aren't wrong. Maybe they don't want to.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
The Bicycle: I'm on the trainer regularly now and have lost most of the holiday weight. I'm "jonesin'" to get out on the road.
The VRWC: This says more about the effects of tax policy than it does about corporations.
I'm not saying corporations should pay no taxes, but in the end those taxes get passed along to the consumer in the form of higher prices. To keep prices low (and competitive) in a world market, it is necessary to cut costs. This is just one way.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Let's think about this a little. Where do electric cars get their electricity? From a power plant, most of which are fired by some sort of fossil fuel (and until nuclear becomes much bigger than it is, that ain't gonna change, as I have chronicled elsewhere in these pages). The Laws of Thermodynamics indicate that adding another part to the cycle increases inefficiencies. consequently, using electricity from a 35% efficient power plant through power lines with huge losses to a battery that is inherently inefficient doesn't reduce (alleged) GHG emissions.
Hybrids are ok, I suppose. I helped build one in college (I designed part of the drivetrain). But a diesel-powered VW Jetta gets 50 mpg. I don't think there are any hybrids currently getting that kind of mileage. And the Jetta performance is superior at a lower price. Why would I pay the premium for a hybrid?
In the end, AGW will be shown to be a hoax and the only reason to buy electric or hybrid will be economic. Right now, it isn't.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Obama isn't willing to take the risk of calling for an investigation himself, but he will not stop this one. If it succeeds, it will be the end of the Republic.
Monday, January 12, 2009
It will be interesting to see in either case.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
It easy to make claims like, "I'll close Gitmo within 100 days" on the campaign trail. Tougher when you know all the facts. As I've said before, I think The Chosen One had his National Security briefings and came out with a little different view.
Further, no President in his right mind is going to have his predecesssor prosecuted. Or anyone on the predecessors' staff. That's suicidal. Just sets him up for prosecution by his sucessor.
I've been struggling with why, with all measures of the environment vastly improved since I was a child, with a booming economy (until recently), relative world peace (that is, we aren't in WWIII, nor are we at risk of mass nuclear annihilation), why is there so much hysteria over many of these thing? This article may help explain.
Baby Boomers (i.e., Yuppies) are the most pampered and spoiled generation since Rome, I suppose. We have accomplished exactly nothing. We have contributed exactly nothing. We have no "real" challenges and any that we have (like the current economy) will be quickly forgotten in our frenzy of selfishness and gluttony.
Hence the hysteria over everything from peanuts to global warming. Baby Boomers are looking for a legacy. Looking for something that actually makes the world better. In our mass hysteria, we actually believe we are accomplishing something.
What a pitiful legacy.
Friday, January 9, 2009
I've noticed there is always a connection between those who served. Regardless of the branch or era, that bond exists between. The closer the service, the closer the bond, but it exists in all of us. For better or worse, we share common experiences and common beliefs. Some with stories to tell, others with stories they'd rather not tell.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
The Bicycle: I put the Univega up on the trainer and promptly fell off. I was sober.
The VRWC: Must be good tax cuts. I mean, if the likes of John Kerry don't like it, it must be good, right?
Some of the criticism, I agree with. $10-$15 a paycheck isn't going to help. Drop the 25% rate to 15% and the top rate to around 30% (although I'd rather see all income tax rates around 15%) and see how fast the economy turns around.
The Democrat alternatives are even worse. Government make-work will increase deficits and expand government. Just bad all around.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
I mean, seriously people. Israel just wants to be left alone. Hamas and Hezbolla keep provoking them. Eventually, Israel MUST respond. But nobody seemed to care about attacks coming from The West Bank or Gaza.
What am I missing here?
Saturday, January 3, 2009
Without real tax cuts for everyone, the stimulus package cannot work. Fundamentally, the US economy runs on people spending and investing, not on government make-work. Now, it can be argued that the make-work programs will put cash in consumers' pockets and maybe it will, but what about the rest of us who aren't involved in those projects?
I foresee a withdrawal from Iraq, but Obama will be advised by the Pentagon on how to do it without sacrificing security in Iraq. It will happen the way it would have happened regardless of who is President. Nancy won't like it. BTW, Pelosi will become irrelevant before the 2010 election. She won't like that, either.
Reregulation of the financials won't prevent people from being stupid with their money. There will be negative unintended consequences from this. There always are.
Healthcare reform is good. Government-run or controlled healthcare is the only thing worse than what we have. Healthcare from the same caring, compassionate people who brought you the IRS. You think you get poor response from your insurance company? What kind of response do you get at the DMV?
If it were worthwhile to drill where already allowed, energy companies would do it without government encouragement. I want to see the development of "alternative energy" so we can expose their folly.
Maintaining the status quo of abortion on demand with no restrictions will not play well with the majority of Americans. If the populace were aware that they are thwwarted at every turn on this, they would never have elected the Democrats. It is the Democrats number 1 issue for reasons I don't understand.
Bypassing the secret ballot for Union elections is Unamerican. People should have a choice without the potential for strongarming. Having worked in multiple Unionized facilities, I can tell you that many Unions will do just that.
Pay discrimination legislation is just another paycheck for lawyers. It is IMPOSSIBLE to prove pay discrimination. Period.
There are enough factions on the Democrat side, that some of this may be a non-starter. See here.
Republicans should strongly oppose bad policy and have a message of their own. Democrats continued to lose until this year because they didn't have one. The Obama is articulating a message. It's a populist message in the manner of William Jennings Bryan. He's an empty suit promising everything to everyone. Conservatives must counter it or become irrelevant.
Friday, January 2, 2009
It is interesting to note that a pro-AGW column would include a statement that indicates we've only been accurately measuring temperature since about 1850 (for the math-deficient, that's only about 160 years...out of how many billion?). Further, much of the Earth wasn't monitored at all until the 1960's when satellite data became available.
Further, much of the information in the WSJ article is debunked here and here.
The "unusual weather" claim is nearly impossible to prove oine way or the other, but I'm inclined to believe we are closer to a norm. As far as melting ice, the Antarctic cap is expanding and the Arctic cap is freezing faster than it has in the past, with greater extent. Also, I've seen no reference to precipitation or lack thereof in the formation or receding of glaciers. Seems like there should be some reference.
Hey, I'm just sayin' here. You have access to the same information. Make a call. Is there AGW or not? If there is, does it deserve the draconian measures about to be taken? And why are we being lied to?
I still go back to the silliness that we have any power over climate at all. It doesn't pass the "smell test". Of course, I've reiterated any number of other arguments in this blog. Feel free to browse.
Thursday, January 1, 2009
The Chosen One can't fix this. Carter couldn't, Reagan couldn't, GHW Bush couldn't, Clinton couldn't (he was preoccupied anyway), GW Bush couldn't. Israel gave up "land-for-peace" and got neither. This will not end because the only end can be the destruction of Israel.
Edit 0706: Why would this work? Hamas wants the end of Israel and Judaism in general. Extermination. They said so. They have no intention of stopping. A 48 hour cease-fire just allows Hamas to regroup.
The column just shows Israeli journalists are as vapid as American.