Thursday, December 31, 2009

Monty Python: Philosophers World Cup

Monday, December 28, 2009

More Ominous Thoughts

The fact that God loves us does not spare us from tribulation, especially when tribulation is due.

There is a difference between "Change you can believe in" and change that I would prefer.

Alas, it's time for a reckoning. The bills say "In God We Trust," but not even God will float a fiat currency forever.

While Time Magazine worships its golden calf (i.e. Bernake), we will reap the whirlwind.

And when it comes, who will stand to account for it?

Not those responsible for it. It will be you and me. All of this Wall Street v. Main Street nonsense has to go. It's us v. Pennsylvania Avenue.

Forboding Thoughts

The republic becomes an empire when power is centralized and the concerns of the people are subordinate to the whims of an emperor or oligarchical ruling class.

Look at all that has been done in the name of "national security."

Look at the supposed health care "reform."

Everywhere, it's the same thing. You and your rights become smaller and ever less significant a player.

How's your goose step, folks? Because you'll need it unless you awake from your slumber, discard your soma, see the slogans for the propaganda that they are, and the demagogues for the tyrants they are. It is time to act!

A peaceful revolution at the ballot boxes would be my ideal scenario. However, civil disobedience ala Thoreau (think "counter-friction") isn't beyond my inclinations.

I cannot envision a scenario when a violent revolt will result in anything good. It may come to that, simply because we cannot accomplish any other option and cannot stand to remain idle. If it does, however, then I bow my head in regret.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Two Things: Bernake and Terrorists

First, Ben Bernake wins Time Magazine's Person of the Year Award.

From the article:

Time claims,
He knew how the passive Fed of the 1930s helped create the calamity — through its stubborn refusal to expand the money supply and its tragic lack of imagination and experimentation.


And later,
He wishes Americans understood that he helped save the irresponsible giants of Wall Street only to protect ordinary folks on Main Street.


Basically, Time claims that Bernake's Fed made sure that the inevitable recession was much less worse than it could have been. They site the current unemployment rate of10% to be better than 25%, which suggests that if Bernake had done something different then the unemployment rate would be two and a half times worse.

Really, Time? This is a bold and ironic claim since Fed policy actually created the recession in the first place, and its current policies will ensure future hardships. Please note that history does not confirm Time's assessment, nor is Time's assessment even possible to confirm.

Don't believe me? Read some history on it by an author whose goal is not to support an oligarchical political economy. Bob Murphy's Politically Incorrect Guide to the Great Depression and the New Deal. Of course, you might first want to look at the same author's Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism.

If you wonder why Dr. Murphy's research verifies claims that are not taught in public schools and universities, consider the fact that Murphy's research verifies claims that suggest reducing the power of the organization in charge of dictating what gets taught at public schools and universities.

If you like it, consider reading other economists of the "Austrian School": Menger, Mises, Hayek, Rothbard, etc. Henry Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson is another very good start. If you don't want to pick it up from Amazon, then download it free in PDF form here.

Of course, Time hasn't always honored good men with this award. In 1938, they recognized Adolf Hitler as "Man of the Year." However, in fairness to Time, they did not honor Hitler by bestowing upon him the award. They simply recognized him as the most man with the most significant impact on world events,and they identify this impact as unsettling.

In light of this, perhaps Bernake deserves to be recognized as "Person of the Year," but not for the reasons cited by Time.

Second, a terrorist tried to ignite a fire on board a Delta plane en route to Detroit. However, he was foiled by passengers when he ignited his chemical concoction.

The man made it past the TSA inspectors even though he had contraband and the feds had been warned of this man's dangerous inclinations.

So, all of these new powers to the federal government to save us from terrorists, and its the guy in an adjacent seat who stops what could have been a devastating attack on Christmas.

Way to go, federal government! If it hadn't been for all of your powers, regulations, and copious funding...it would have turned out exactly the same way.

Friday, December 18, 2009

My Wee Ones

An Odyssey (not "The Odyssey," but an Odyssey Nonetheless)

On Tuesday morning, about 1 A.M., my two year old woke us up with a tapping on his door, as is his custom, though he does not usually rise until between 7:30 and 9 A.M.

I opened his door and found him in some kind of distress. I picked him up and patted his back, but I could not console him. I brought him into bed with me, where he proceeded to toss and turn so relentlessly that my wife elected to move onto the couch.

I couldn't get the little tyke to settle down, He kept thrashing about as if in extreme discomfort, so I pulled him to my chest and held him tight. Just as he seemed to be settling down, his head popped up, he said something unintelligible, and then abruptly vomited on my chest.

I'll spare you the gory details, but it should suffice to say that it wasn't a cute little spit-up. It had a great deal of mass and volume to it.

Oh, and it smelled of strawberries.

Rotten, putrid, stinking strawberries.

Although it was against my typical instincts, I tried to keep it coming on me in order to spare the sheets and bedspread. As there was a great deal of splashing and squirming, I was not successful in this endeavor.

I called for my wife, but even her relatively quick response was nowhere near quick enough. I handed Robbie over to her and sat up. I nearly tossed my own cookies when I felt chunks of partially digested food fall from my chest to my lap, but I held fast and managed to get undressed so as not to drip anything on the floor.

I rushed to the shower and washed both me and the boy. I changed my clothes and stripped the bed, all the while my wife held and rocked Robbie--who, as it turned out, wasn't done puking.

I agreed to call in sick for work if my wife would stay up with Robbie. This turned out to be a pretty good deal, since she was up with him until 5 A.M., and I was able to catch a few winks before the older kids had to be roused for school. Even better, Robbie seemed to be in good health the next morning. He took an awfully long nap to boot.

But this is not the happy ending that you might have suspected.

Fast forward to Wednesday night, around 9 P.M. My wife and I are settling down to watch Criminal Minds, a show that irritates me because it involves FBI agents who work almost exclusively outside of their jurisdiction. Also, they're just supposed to be profilers, but the show has them executing search warrants, arresting and interrogating suspects. But I digress.

Mark (age 6) had gone to bed complaining of a stomach ailment, but he seemed to be doing all right. I also felt a bit off, but not remarkably so. I figured that I was just tired. I had no idea of what was coming. As proof of this, I had just made arrangements with BAR to drop him off at the office in the morning. Still, asCriminal Mindsworked up to its climax, so did my queasiness. Unfortunately, Mark had the "puke bowl," so I was left to lunge for the kitchen sink.

What transpired was a lesson in the communicability of viruses. Whatever had stricken Robbie had stricken me. I spent the next hour in the bathroom with (shall we simply say) duel stomach maladies. About half-way through my ordeal, from my porcelain vantage I heard a sudden ruckus in Mark's room. What sounded at first like a cough degenerated into an all too familiar sound.

Showers again, and an uncomfortable sleep followed. Mark and I shared my bed, and we were both plagued by alternating sweats and chills. We spent most of Thursday in bed, and only this morning felt anything resembling normal.

So why haven't I posted in nearly a week? Now you know.

And knowing is half the battle.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Just The Facts

Word of advice: when you don't consume fermented beverages for six months and then have several at a company party, it goes to your head.

That said, I have no post today.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

The Onion Report: Most College Males Admit To Regularly Getting Stoked

Oh my goodness. I just laughed so loud that I woke my kids up.


Report: Most College Males Admit To Regularly Getting Stoked

WSJ Opinion on Climategate

The WSJ published this opinion on Climategate. Either I read it while driving down a bumpy road, or I really was just nodding that much.

The Daily Show Clip: Obama Sends 30,000 More Soldiers to Afghanistan

I found this clip at Free Advice, but since I don't think that any of my regular readers (other than BAR) ever read Bob's blog, I figured I'd re-post it here.

Jon Stewart on Obama's decision to send 30,000 more soldiers to Afghanistan. Didn't he just win the Nobel PEACE prize? Who says that you can't have your cake and eat it too?

Watch the whole thing.

Seriously.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
30,000
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Pro-Capitalism Article on MSN Money

I can't believe it. I actually found a decent article on MSN Money.

The best way for government to create jobs? Get out of the way. It's also dirt cheap. Actually, it would reduce the cost of government, thereby easing budget problems.

So why isn't it even going to be discussed at Obama's "Jobs Summit"?

I think that you know the answer to that. Anything that results in less power for the federal government is pretty much off the table. And judging by so many of the comments posted below the article, too many people are either grossly misinformed, utterly ignorant, or flat out evil--and Socialism consists of all three. Orwell demonstrates as much in Animal Farm.

Jews Defend Muslims (in Switzerland)

The Swiss recently voted to ban the construction of minarets (tower-esque spires) typical to mosques.

Jewish groups have stepped up to defend Muslims
against what is clearly a form of religious and cultural discrimination. (As if the Jews have some kind of special knowledge about what happens when Europeans vent their fears and frustrations out on a distinctive religious minority).

Of course I found it ironic that Al Jazeera had the gall to ask that we
Imagine the furor that would certainly ensue should a country with an overwhelmingly Muslim population be asked to vote on whether its small Christian community should be allowed to build their churches according to a particular design or method, or whether they would rather do without the church bells sounding from time to time.

Yes, because predominantly Muslim countries are so renowned for their tolerance of other religions. And you're right, Al Jazeera. Muslim countries don't vote on that kind of thing because Muslim countries don't tend to vote. Way to point out that tyrannies would never have such a flawed electoral process. Fight the absurd with the absurd.

Of course, it's also interesting that we have Jews defending Muslim rights as long as those Muslims do not live in the Jewish state of Israel. Muslims in Switzerland have rights. Muslims in Gaza--now that's a different story.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Climate Science, Irony, and the Root of All Evil

If you are not up to date on the row over unethical tactics and dishonest reporting of facts amongst the world's leading climate scientists, then you really won't get the context of this post. At Free Advice, Bob Murphy has done a splendid job of distilling the issue, so I suggest going there and checking out the "Climategate" posts of the last few weeks. You should, in fact, check Free Advice on a daily basis.

These climate scientists who blackmail editors, blacklist rivals, and fudge data must know now how the geocentrists felt in Galileo's wake.

The state was able to exert political pressure and force Galileo to retract his findings, for Galileo--by affirming Copernicus's proof of heliocentrism--had contradicted scientific and religious orthodoxy.

In exchange for his life, Galileo simply denied his "heretical" assertions--as if getting Galileo to take it back was the same as proving him wrong.

If the geocentrists had been so right in their view, shouldn't they have been able simply to contradict Galileo?

Of course they couldn't contradict him with anything resembling evidence, so they threatened him.

So the story goes. Now its the scientists who have the state's ear, and they're behaving as the Church did half a millenium ago.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

By the way, Christopher Hitchens asserts that "Religion poisons everything." I've been picking my way through his book God Is Not Great, and--while I'm not yet ready to make anything resembling a critique--I can say that Hitchens's examples prove not that religion poisons everything, but that the coercive powers of a supposedly legitimate state poison everything. Religion is often used as an excuse--or as a cover, as Hitchens describes Milsovic's grab for territory in the 1990's--but that doesn't mean that religion is the issue.

The same is true in Ireland, Lebanon, Israel, etc. It's the existence and involvement of the state that corrupts and leads to widespread suffering.

It's actually quite obvious, when you look at it. It links all forms of tyranny: from your run-of-the-mill theocratic dictatorship (e.g. the Taliban) to an atheistic dictatorship (e.g. Communism).

Remove their ability to inflict violence, and the Taliban becomes an oddity not unlike the Amish. Take away a communist's access to coercive powers, and he becomes a disgruntled academic or something slightly worse.

The state is the most violent organization on the planet. Only it enables men to be cruel and tyrannical on a noteworthy scale.

Back to Galileo. If the Church hadn't had the state to act as its goon, then the worst that it could have done was excommunicate Galileo. While this might have emotionally devastated Galileo, it would not have harmed him physically.

But now it's the climate scientists who have the state's ear, and what they're trying to do in Copenhagen and elsewhere should alarm you. Once the Church of Climate Change has real political power behind it, you'll see what I mean.

Then again, you can just read some history. It's all happened before.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Rated "M"

Mark (age 6) has a theory about game ratings. My new game, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, is rated "M" for "Mature."

Mark thinks that it must also mean rated "M" for "Man" because "There's lots of killing, and you've got to be a man to enjoy that kind of stuff."

Hmm. I'm thinking that I won't share this with his mother.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving

Let's cut to the meat of it. The Pilgrims did not host the first Thanksgiving in order to thank Squanto and his Wampanoag crew for helping them get through a hard season. The Pilgrims gave thanks to no one but God. They would not have given credit to a bunch of godless heathens. Even Squanto they called merely an instrument of God's will.

I would be remiss if I did not note that the two most important men in establishing Thanksgiving as a national holiday are Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt.

Politically, Lincoln needed people to think past the cold-blooded killing of anyone who would not submit to Federal power.

Similarly, Roosevelt needed people--in the midst of the Great Depression--to dwell on and be thankful for what little they had. However, he in no way at all intended them to consider what they were losing as his New Deal went into effect.

In this day and age, I am led to believe that I should be thankful for having anything at all, for the federal government stands poised to usurp all that it does not abolish.

Question: Was Brutas more Washington or Oswald?

I think that you know that answer to that, so what are the implications?

Thanks

The day after Thanksgiving is the day when millions flock to the stores in order to buy what they don't have because they aren't thankful enough for what they already do have.

That said, I'm going for a new TV because I am positively not thankful for the one that I have. Is it better than nothing? Sure it is. Just like having a dollar is better than having no dollar; but what are you going to get for a dollar once the Burger King is closed?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Lost City: The Film and the Truth about Che

I recently watched The Lost City, an Andy Garcia film about family ties set against the backdrop of the communist revolution in Cuba.

There's plenty of nostalgia--even the title echoes Margaret Mitchell's portrayal of an idealized South being "Gone With the Wind"). However, as it tells its beautifully filmed story, The Lost City does not gloss over the abuses of Batista's government. It shows Batista's regime for what it was.

However, the film refuses to use Batista's tyranny as a justification for Castro's despotism. In many ways--and I am hardly the first to observe this--The Lost City is a breath of fresh air. Finally a film depicts Castro and his "revolutionaries" for what they were: goons.

Ernesto "Che" Guevera finally gets his. Under Garcia's direction, "Che" is portrayed as the arrogant, bloodthirsty, and overall loathsome piece of Marxist-Leninist filth that, for some odd reason, has resonated so romantically to college students (and professors) throughout the country.

In a nutshell, the dashing and daring "Che" can be summed up in his final moments: As Bolivian forces prepared to execute the captured agitator, he--he who had lined up so many to be shot--begged, "Don't shoot – I'm Che! I'm worth more to you alive than dead!"

Nathan Hale he wasn't.

I've never believe in the "Che" that Hollywood and Berkley have portrayed, mostly because I have good reason to doubt the source. However, I've read a few things. "Che" like all Marxist revolutionaries, was a thug. He wasn't even a successful thug as, say, Stalin. Che's success has come as a martyr for a cause that most of his fans only vaguely (if even that much) understand.

From viewers of The Lost City:

I was happy to finally see a movie about the Cuban revolution that highlighted another side of the story. The only reason I did not give this a 5 star rating is because I would have like to have seen the non-Castro revolutionary side featured more and of course given more substance than what was shown in the movie. I was happy to see that the Che was NOT idolized in this movie. It was about time he was shown for what he truly became years after the "idealistic" Che portrayed in Motorcycle Diaries. If you are of Cuban heritage, even if you are a first generation American (like me), you will feel this movie.


My family and I were still in Cuba when Castro rolled in to Havana and Batista fled the country. We were not part of the upper class, but we watched in dismay how the revolutionaries acted towards anyone who owned even a house. My brother was arrested for protesting the militia's tactics and was thrown in jail for 3 years without a trial; my father was threatened not to reopen his small store; my mother was kicked out of our home when the government found out my sister and I had left the country. Other members of our family suddenly found their home invaded by strangers moving in - simply because they had a 3-bedroom home and the revolution deemed it "too imperialistic" to have such vast space for one family only. Andy Garcia deserves more than an Oscar for directing such a powerful movie. Perhaps to those who did not go through the revolution, the movie may come across as too "sentimental". To those of us who lived it, it was a painful and sad reminder of a moment in time that changed our lives, and a country, forever.


and

Politically, its about time someone gave an accurate portrayal of what happened in Havana and Andy did just that. Yes, the movie received negative reviews from the media. Had the film glorified the revolution and idolized the Che, perhaps the reviews would have been positive. In any event, it was refreshing to see the truth. Many families were torn apart as in the movie. The scene where the revolutionary brother evicts the uncle is real. My own father went to his office one morning to find soldiers at the door telling him that the spring water company that he built and nurtured was no longer his. He was not allowed to even take his personal belongings. This happened to most of the Cuban middle class. Many scenes evoked childhood memories for me. I gave it a 5 not only for the beautiful rendition of the Havana I remember. It deserves it for telling a truth seldom heard of the Havana so many of us exiles love and cherish.


So go ahead and give The Lost City a shot. It's not the greatest film ever made, but it gives a good enough crash course in what happens when socialists control arsenals.


Oh, and screw Ernesto "Che" Guevera.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Get Your Hands Out of My Pockets

If you have the right to your property, then the government has no right to tax you.

To prove this, consider that, if the government does indeed have the right to tax you, your property "rights" would consist merely of what property the state allows you to keep, calling it "yours" until it wants more of it, under which circumstances it is theirs.

Under the above scenario, all property essentially belongs to the state. If you are loyal and work hard enough for the state, it will reward you with the privilege of property consignment.

Clearly this is absurd. You have the right to the fruits of your labor just as assuredly as you have the liberty to labor as you see fit. The government indeed has the power to tax you, but that is not the same as saying that it has the right to do so.

If you do not consider your property to be merely held in trust for when the state wants it, then you must agree that the government has no right to tax you.

Might makes right in only the nastiest of societies.

Funny Video

Monday, November 23, 2009

Man Made Morals (and other exercises in alliteration)

If morals are man-made, then they are merely preferences, not morals at all. While this assertion excites some, the truth is that this distinction carries with it consequences.

We're not just talking about sexual morality. We're talking about everything from the nasty extremes (e.g. murder and rape) through the mild "no big deals" (e.g. white lies and line cutting).

You cannot reasonably expect my preferences to match yours, and if you try to impose them upon me, then you are a tyrant who must resort to violence in order to achieve your ends. Without morality in the traditionally accepted and defined sense, there is no such thing as right or wrong, good or evil.

If you won't have morality as objective and trans-ego, then you cannot have morality at all. As T.S. Eliot observed, "If you will not have God you should pay your respects to Hitler or Stalin."

Just a Few Thoughts on the Climate Row Before I'm Off to Work

Last week, I found this on Bob Murphy's site, Free Advice. It wasn't the only or even original source for this issue, but it was where I started.

Then this.


In a nutshell, we're starting to glipse how baldly (and badly) these people lie and cheat their way into politics via so-called objective science.

This article says that scientists have "debunked" the theory of climate data manipulation, but they haven't debunked anything. They've denied it, sure, but that's not the same as debunking.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Can This Post Be More Rhetorical?

Why do so many people argue with nothing more than rhetorical questions? Can they not devise an actual argument themselves? Do they think that it's smug and clever sounding to phrase things interrogatively? Is it because they want take control of the debate by forcing you to answer (and often affirm) their questions?


On another note, there are those who simply deny or contradict everything that you posit, and they do so without offering adequate (if any) support/reason.




Heck, while you're at it, watch this one for fun.

Obama's Home Teleprompter Malfunctions During Family Dinner

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Opa Ist Gestorben

I thought that the old man would get a kick out of it if I wrote this post in German, so here's my best shot.

Verzeihen Sie mir, wenn meine Worte peinlich sind. Mein Deutsch ist nicht sehr gut.

Ich habe viel zu tun gehabt, aber ist nicht alles wie immer. Dieser Beitrag ist für Emil Sendek, meine Frau Großvater, der sich heute Morgen gestorben.

Wir sind sehr traurig, aber wir hoffe, dass er gut Tarife. Er war ein guter Mensch. Freundlich. Ein alter Herr, der Welt erster Ordnung.

In Wahrheit ist es genau so hart zu entblößen mein Herz in dieser fremden Sprache als in meiner eigenen Sprache. Das Herz hat Gefühle, die nicht ausgesprochen werden oder zum Ausdruck gebracht. Ich denke an meine eigene kürzlich verstorbenen Großeltern und kennen den Schmerz fühlte mich von meiner Frau, aber ich bin machtlos.

Und jetzt habe ich ganz sicher geschlachtet des Alten Sprache, obwohl er sicher wäre, zu lächeln und zu lachen mich jetzt.

Opa, grüßen Sie mein vater von mir--wenn man solche Dinge nicht im Himmel. Wir lieben dich, und wir sehen uns wieder: Gott lebt überm Sternenzelt. Wir werden für Sie hier nachschauen. Wir kümmern uns um Oma und Sasha. Mach dir keine Sorgen. Sie sind mit Gott, und keiner von uns werden Sie das Vergnügen gönnen.

Abschied, guter Mensch.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Bleacher Report on Brett Farve Hype and Suicides

It took me entirely too long to get this.

A Musing

In my heart and in my intellect, I know that a violent rebellion--however justified it may one day be--would be bad, very bad.

However, there are times when I close my eyes and think how great it would feel to stand up to the fascists and tear down the socialists.

I feel it now. It's a primal sensation: terrible and fearful but somehow wonderful all at once. It is the force of razings and poetry.

I must have drank too much coffee.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Two Mark Videos

In this first video--captured by cell phone, so I apologize for the resolution--you see Mark's big run in today's game.



The second video is less impressive, but more amusing. Mark wants to play ice hockey, so we have him in skating lessons. This past Thursday was a "Free Skate," so he and all of the students were able just to skate around. I was reading a Harry Turtledove novel, but I looked up at one point to see how Mark was doing. I thought that he was convulsing or something, but then I realized that he was dancing. To add to my horror, he was dancing to a High School Musical Song.

After the "Free Skate," I asked him why he was dancing. He said, "Duh, it's an awesome song!"

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Obama Blacklists FoxNews

Note to President Obama: When friendly--darn near worshipping--networks like CBS turn on you, then you know that you've crossed into dark, dark waters.

Still, the Obama administration's attempt to exclude FoxNews from interviews and such is not anywhere near the worst Presidential assault on the media.

In the late 1790s, Alexander Hamilton's Federalist Party drafted the Sedition Act, and John Adams signed it into law. The Sedition Act gave the executive powers to prosecute anyone who dared to "write, print, utter, or publish" criticisms of the President (Adams was a Federalist) or Congress (controlled by Federalists). The law allowed for punishments of fines up to $2000 and two years imprisonment.

The Federalists intended the Sedition Act to silence the growing opposition of Thomas Jefferson's opposition party. Instead, it made a lot of people take a long, hard look at the Federalists. Jefferson's party accused Federalists of being tyrannical and monarchical in disposition. The Sedition Act all but proved this.

During the Civil War, the Lincoln Administration had many critical newspapers shut down, presses destroyed, and and newspapermen imprisoned. Of course, that's nothing compared to what he did to those who would decline consent to his government.

No abuse of power that Obama has thus far committed is without precedent. It is kind of funny that while the administration has been ignoring the Constitution right and left, it's not until it crossed the freedom of the press that the big media outlets (excepting FoxNews, of course) cried foul.

Thank You. Thank You Very Much

I recently shaved my beard and mustache in order to accommodate my Halloween costume.

I have a white, flare-bottomed jumpsuit with a sequins eagle on the chest.

The back of my neck is shrouded by the jumpsuit's high collar and three red scarves.

My face is enveloped by two massive sideburns.

I am Elvis.

A photograph will be available as soon as my buddy, Scott, emails it to me.


Side note:
When I mentioned that I hated shaving the beard, a friend of mine who is into psychoanalysis said that beards symbolize insecurity, as if the bearded man is hiding from something.

I replied that psychoanalysis of a beard's symbolic value is mere deflection, as if the psychoanalyzer is deflecting from the fact that he is a douche bag.

Odd Netflix Recommendation Rationale

My Netflix account recently made the following recommendation.


A Charlie Brown Christmas

Because you enjoyed:
The Twilight Zone: Vol. 16
• Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
• Mary Poppins


Dude, you like the Twilight Zone? Then you gotta see A Charlie Brown Christmas!

By the way, I just checked Amazon for a product description of The Twilight Zone Vol. 16:
Product Description
Episodes: "And When the Sky Was Opened" (Ep. 11, December 11, 1959) - Col. Clegg Forbes (Rod Taylor) and two fellow astronauts have returned from their first space flight. They soon discover that no one remembers them--as if they never existed. "In His Image" (Ep. 103, January 3, 1963, 50 min.) - Alan Talbot doesn't understand why his hometown seems so unfamiliar; why is he driven to kill and what are those strange noises in his head? He's about to get some answers when he comes face to face with his double. "The Last Night of a Jockey" (Ep. 125, October 25, 1963) - Mickey Rooney is Grady, a former jockey, banned from horse racing and down on his luck. When he gets one wish, he grows to over eight-feet tall--which, he'll find out, can be too big.

Friday, October 23, 2009

American Czars

Why aren't more people bothered by the number of so-called "Czars" in the executive branch? There's a "Pay Czar," for God's sake.

"Czar" from the Russian "Tsar" from the Roman "Caesar." A word that is incompatible with constitutional government. It goes to show how worthless our Constitution has become--"An old bitch gone in the teeth." to borrow from Ezra Pound's imagery in "Hugh Selwyn Mauberly."

American Czars? Pay Czars? The federal government gets to decide how much people should be paid? Will this decision supposedly be based upon job performance? If so, then the salaries of most federal employees--including and especially congress and the president--should be slashed.

Still think that the "crazies" who stockpile weapons for the ultimate defense of their liberties are simply nutjobs? Maybe they have no chance against the might of the federal government, but that doesn't mean that they're wrong about the nature of this leviathan. Do you not see the terrible direction that these trends are taking us?

I know what needs to be done with all of the Caesar nonsense.

And you?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cheese Shop Sketch

Still in the midst of a terrible football season--we're 0-3. Trifles here and there will have to suffice for the time being.

Per the request of someone too lazy to go to Youtube and enter "Cheese Shop."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Google Chuck Norris

Funny little trick that you might know.

Go to Google.

Enter "Location of Chuck Norris"

Click on "I'm Feeling Lucky"

Then check out the funny Chuck Norris jokes at this site.

My favorite: Chuck Norris counted to infinity...twice.

Arggggg!

The wife and I were just settled down to watch yesterday's episode of House, only to find that 3/4 of the episode was preempted by the damn baseball game. Since the DVR can't understand anything but time slots, we missed most of the episode.

First of all, we don't even live in NY or LA.

Second of all, it's baseball.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Onion--Obama to Enter Diplomatic Talks With Raging Wildfire


Obama To Enter Diplomatic Talks With Raging Wildfire

You Gotta Take It If You're Gonna Dish It

The Iranian government says that the United States and British governments share responsibility for a deadly terrorist attack on Iranian interests.

The United States and British governments deny the Iranian government's claim, and have linked the Iranian government to deadly terrorist attacks on United States and British interests.

I'll bet that both accusations are correct, for governments take to terror and destruction the way that one inappropriate thing takes to something very inappropriate in an inappropriate (and far less vague) comparison.

Seriously, Iran is pissed that the US might have helped its enemies?

Iran?

Seriously?

Is this the same Iran who helps enemies of the US?

Mr. Pot, meet Mr. Kettle.

Why yes, Mr. Pot, Mr. Kettle is black.

What's your point?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Murdock Posts Something Worthwhile (for once)

"Howling Mad" Murdock posts this video of a politician who sounds like he knows what he's talking about. I don't know much about Rep. Rogers, but I like what he says in the clip.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Last Week's SNL on Obama

I just watched last week's episode of SNL. The opening sketch was Obama defending against accusations that he's making the U.S. a country that more and more resembles Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia.

Obama--played by Fred Armisen--defends himself by arguing that he's done nothing of the sort because he's literally done nothing.

Less than one week after the writers of SNL observed and commented on Obama's lack of accomplishments, Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize.



I have also done nothing of great importance. Where's my prize?

Friday, October 09, 2009

You Gotta Be Kidding Me

As he wages two wars, and prepares to send more soldiers overseas, Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize?

I thought maybe that it was a story from The Onion. Of course, I thought the same thing when Al Gore won the same prize for promoting fear.

Nope. It's legit.

What's not legit anymore? The Nobel Peace Prize.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

My Excuse

You'll have to forgive the sparse posting of late and for the next few weeks. I coach football through the first part of November, and I'm usually pretty tired by the time I get home.

I know what you're wondering, so let me just up and say it.

No. We're not any good this season. We suck, to be perfectly honest.

Yesterday was our bye week.

We still lost.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Disaster Averted. Alas

Cities should seek to avoid empty spending, high traffic, and increased risk to public safety.

Not Chicago.

The Olympics would have meant all of the above to Chicago, but the Windy City laments that the economic misfortune that the Olympics would have been will instead be Rio's problem.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The CIA Squirms and Balks at the Concepts of Justice and Accountability

Several CIA directors have asked Obama to cease investigations into interrogation tactics (i.e. torture) during the Bush administration.

The argument really boils down to this: if the CIA has to worry about being investigated for its actions, the burden will weigh heavily and make the agency's work that much more difficult.

An AP article posted at MSNBC summarizes it:

In their letter, the former directors warned that the investigations could discourage CIA officers from doing the kind of aggressive intelligence work needed to counter terrorism and may inhibit foreign governments from working with the United State


What we have here is a serial killer requesting that detectives not search for hair and fibers, fingerprints, or other kind of DNA left behind at the crime scene. Can you imagine what would happen if they found something incriminating? It would put the serial killer in an awkward position and make stalking and killing his next victim that more difficult. Potential accomplices will shy away, and potential victims who would have otherwise died and been dumped in the woods will continue to live out their lives in relative peace.

No wonder the CIA is upset.

The Beatles Rooftop Concert in Three Parts

It wasn't until I started playing The Beatles: Rock Band that I realized that the rooftop concert would be a great post.

By the way, The Beatles: Rock Band is, in a word, wonderful. While it plays pretty much just like Rock Band and Guitar Hero, it is visually stunning. As much a work of art as a game, it delivers everything that you'd expect and even more.

Oh, and it's The Beatles, for crying out loud!





Sunday, September 13, 2009

U.S. Government "Gives" Rights

The article calls them "new rights." By "new" I suppose they mean within the last thousand years, since they seem to me to be ingrained in the U.S. Constitution (1787 A.D.) and Magna Carta (1215 A.D.). More ancient precedents probably exist, but I don't see the need in looking for them.

Only in the entire scope of human existence, would these rights qualify as "new" (or at least "newer").

Let's take a look at these revolutionary "new" rights. They include
  1. The right to challenge indefinite detention without conviction for any crime.
  2. The right to call witnesses on one's behalf.

Also, the article's title uses the verb "give" as in "U.S. gives rights." This is a grave error, though its implications are not always clear to the ignorant.

Governments don't give rights. They choose whether to respect or violate rights. You're born with your rights. As Jefferson said, they are "endowed by their Creator."

It is an improvement for the government to begin respecting some rights. However, this improvement is lessened if we believe that the government is the source of these rights--and that's the suggestion by the verb "give."


P.S. I'm not saying that I have much (if any) sympathy for those guilty of terrorism. However, justice requires that we follow due process before distributing punishments.

Choosing when, where, and to whom justice applies means that, eventually, justice will apply never, nowhere, and to no one.

Obama: Tariffs Part of Free Trade Commitment?

Obama wants to slap a 35% tariff on tires imported from China. Critics accuse him of stooping to protectionism, but--in an L.A. Times article--an official explains:
"The president is very committed to open and free trade. . . Part of that is being committed to enforcing trade laws and trade agreements."
Um, how about no? This is the same as saying "The president is very committed to peace and prosperity, part of that is being committed to waging war and levying taxes."

One other thing: Will it help Americans?--And I mean Americans in general, and not whichever few are represented by the lobbyists who obviously have the president's ear on this (apparently the United Steelworkers union put it forth)?

Will I be better off paying more for tires?

Will you be better off paying more for tires?

The extra money that we will now spend on tires will be money that could have been allocated towards other resources, be they needs or wants.

If this passes, then we all just got a bit poorer. I didn't realize that was the change that he promised.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Esquire

Esquire publishes this article on the costs of the drug war. It calls for the end of the drug war as a "radical solution" to the costs in both lives and dollars. How radical is it, really? The end of alcohol prohibition wasn't "radical"--it was good sense.

Communists Love Environmentalism

By the way: no one should be surprised that Van Jones--an avowed marxist and recently resigned adviser to Obama--held an environmentalist post in the administration. Environmentalism has been a boon to communists, for it offers them a pretext for seizing control of industry. The average American simply won't buy into dialectical materialism, but their wholesale ignorance of science and economics leaves them vulnerable to the left's ecological scare tactics.

When you support these eco-communists, you think that you're saving the world. Instead, you're playing right into their hands.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Van Jones Resigns: One Down, The Rest of The Administration to Go

Van Jones has resigned his post in the Obama administration. He was simply too openly a marxist for Obama's agenda to remain under the weak radar of public awareness.

The White House Press Secretary stated that Obama did not endorse Jones's "past controversial statements," but note that nothing is said of Obama not endorsing Jones's sentiments.

Am I reading too much into that? Perhaps I am, but then this question must be answered: Why did Obama appoint the man in the first place if he did not approve of Jones's sentiments?

The NYT piece quotes Howard Dean on Jones's resignation:
This guy’s a Yale-educated lawyer. . . He’s a best-selling author about his specialty. I think he was brought down, and I think it’s too bad. Washington’s a tough place that way, and I think it’s a loss for the country.

Having an avowed militant marxist resign from his executive post is a loss for the country? This should tell you where to stand (or at least be suspicious) on any issue that Dean endorses.

Dean further defended Jones's having signed a petition that accused the Bush Administration of being complicit in the 9-11 attacks:

Look, all of us campaigning for office have had people throw clipboards in front of our face and ask us to sign. And he learned the hard way you ought not to do that.
How surprising that someone who spouts out marxist rhetoric might not really think about what he's endorsing!

Real Change (for the better) Has to Start Somewhere

If you agree with me that this government is out of control in its foreign and domestic policies, especially--but not exclusively--in its willingness to spend, spend, spend; then I urge you to do one of two things in the next election.

Suggestion 1: Vote Libertarian. Currently, there's not much (if any) chance for a Libertarian candidate to win an election, but don't think that the ruling parties won't notice and begin to make accommodations if they see an increase in Libertarian support.

Suggestion 2: Don't vote. If you can't bring yourself to support the Libertarian cause (i.e. reduced/constitutional government; maximum civil liberties), at least don't carry on as part of the current system. Voting Republican won't change things for the better: just look at the Republicans' record when they had power. Voting Democrat won't change things for the better either: Just take a look around.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Stimulus Is Working Says Biden; Things Must Be Great Because They Could Be Worse

Biden and all of Obama's other henchmen keep insisting that the stimulus package is working according to plan.

All that they offer in evidence, it seems, is their support, or (through their media outlets) reports like this from CNNMoney celebrating fewer net job losses. Or BusinessWeek noting that nonfarm employment "fell below expectations." So they're essentially saying that things suck, but they sucked more last summer--and this just has to be because of the stimulus package.

Politicians also add that recovery will be slow.

This stinks because well-documented (though largely ignored) evidence suggests that the stimulus package and other federal actions will actually slow down recovery (read this). However, people have been primed to focus not on the slowness but on the recovery. This way the elected felons up on Capitol Hill can have enjoyed the largest heist in American history and enjoy the gratitude of the dimwits who know no better.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The Onion News Reports on Neil Armstrong and Conspiracy Theorists

http://www.theonion.com/content/news/conspiracy_theorist_convinces_neil

Obama Does Not Bring Change

An old French saying exists among historians especially: "Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose."

Translated, it means "The more things change, the more they stay the same."

How odd is it that so many people refer to Obama and the democratic takeover of Congress as change, indeed.

The most significant trend in American politics since the Civil War has been the increase in federal power at the expense of the states and the people. Very rarely has a president and his party actually met the standard required to suggest real change. Thomas Jefferson's Republican Revolution of 1800 is an obvious example.

However, ever since Lincoln established federal domination of the states, "change" has been a code for politicians who want the same thing but a hell of a lot more of it. Just look at a couple examples of what "changes" Obama has in store for us.

The health care system is over-regulated, one of the chief causes of high health-care prices. The health care system is already quasi-socialistic because of programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.

Obama's "change" is a hell of a lot more regulation and socialism.

Federal spending is a huge problem. Our federal government is literally spending our way into economic oblivion. Obama's "change" is a hell of a lot more federal spending.

Already the federal government too often violates the Constitution. Obama's change is to violate the Constitution a hell of a lot more.

Imagine a husband and a wife who are having extreme marital difficulties. The wife is upset that the husband drinks and sleeps around. The husband says that he drinks and sleeps around because the wife spends all of her time nit-picking every thing that he does and has the libido of a ninety year-old nun.

You might recommend divorce, but let's say that the couple really would like to re-connect but just don't know how to start doing it. You might then recommend a marriage counselor.

Whatever you do, for God's sake, don't recommend that they consult with Obama.

Obama's advice to the husband: switch from beer to vodka, and--instead of sleeping around with other women--sleep around with other men too.

Obama's advice to the wife: You need to point out every little thing (however minuscule) about your husband and his actions that you don't like, and you need to make it clear that you will not be welcoming in bed until he addresses every little thing.


Ladies and gentlemen, don't be fooled. The Emperor is naked. More of the same is not change. More of something that's bad is worse.

Hail to the Thief!: Obama's Plans Amount to Armed Robbery

An article at the Wall Street Journal is headlined "Democrats Target High Earners to Help Fund Health Plan."

I wonder how much of this is a Marxist attempt to redistribute wealth from the bourgeoisie to the proletariat, and how much of this is politicians pandering to the masses: "Vote for me, and I'll get you stuff with other people's money!"

It's sick is what it is. No one has the right to another person's property, and this proposal amounts to little more than legally sanctioned plunder.

Obama is a bandit not in the likes of Robin Hood (who stole not from the rich but from the Lords who had unjustly taxed the peasantry). Obama is a bandit in the likes of Jesse James: no matter how beastly his actions, he will be loved by the simple folk.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Obama the Partisan

Obama is always talking about and extolling the virtues of bipartisanship, and yet, to him, bipartisanship is merely the other side either going along with his wishes or shutting up and getting out of the way.

He's a hypocrite of the first order. And yet he is so worshiped by so many.

There's room at the top, they are telling you still.
But first you must learn how to smile as you kill
If you want to be like the folks on the hill.
--
John Lennon's "Working Class Hero"

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Cheney Defends Torture

According to the Los Angeles Times, former VP Cheney takes offense at recent inquiries into whether the CIA might have broken anti-torture laws.
The Times quotes the former VP:
I just think it's an outrageous political act that will do great damage long-term to our capacity to be able to have people take on difficult jobs, make difficult decisions, without having to worry about what the next administration is going to say.
However, the issue isn't if Obama's motives are political. They may well be (and probably are). The issue is did the CIA torture prisoners? In Cheney's lexicon, torture is just one of those "difficult decisions," and in his own words he wants the CIA to be able to do it freely "without having to worry about what the next administration is going to say" (i.e. without having to worry about consequences).

If Cheney can somehow prevent the looking into this issue, he and his cohorts can see to the complete suppression of all incriminating evidence. It makes me think of 1984:
And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed—if all records told the same tale—then the lie passed into history and became truth. 'Who controls the past' ran the Party slogan, 'controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.'
What Cheney doesn't like is that he doesn't control the present right now, and that's what he's pretty much all about: control, power.

Contrary to what he thinks, officials should have to worry about the consequences of their actions. It's when there is no worry at all that they become the most bestial. Which, I suppose, is exactly how Cheney wants it to be--so long as he's pulling the strings.



Note: If you read the whole Times article, you'll see near the end that Cheney says that he's OK with it if the interrogations were indeed illegal acts of torture.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Tribute (of sorts) to Elmo

Yes, it's been too long since I've posted. Frankly, I've been a bit tired since my return from Seattle. Nonetheless, I have something for you--for you specifically if you are or have ever been a parent whose child/children went through the dreaded "Elmo phase."

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Grandma C. Rest in Peace

My grandmother died a few hours ago, shortly after I purchased a ticket to fly out to see her one last time. At least I won't have to see her in critical condition, but I will never see her again.

Food has tasted a bit bland since I heard the news. My wife says that it's grief. Who knew how bland grief tasted?

I would have pegged it for bitter.

She was a kind woman who spent the last several years battling several medical conditions. I hope her soul fares well, and I will miss her dearly.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Giving the House to the Bank

I'm rather tired of people who say that they are "giving the house to the bank" instead of just admitting that their home is in foreclosure.

They shouldn't phrase it in such a way to make it sound any less than the bank is seizing your house because they have failed to make payments on their mortgages. They're not "giving" the house away. It's being taken away.

I'm not degrading anyone because they've fallen on hard times. I'm just annoyed with this sweet little phrasing that makes it sound like it's a choice and no big deal. It is a big deal.

I'm also tired of the state complaining that it is losing revenues right and left. These past few months, I've seen dozens of street construction projects that were not necessary. When money is tight, you're supposed to watch your spending. Instead, I just watch the state spending, and spending, and spending. Hearing the state complain about revenues is like hearing a compulsive gambler complain about having to give his house to the bank.

I'm also irked by the notion uttered by politicians like Sen. Arlen Spector that those in vocal opposition to the government's health-care plan are not representative of the people. Yes, their are millions of Americans who do not have health care insurance, but this does not mean that they are not able to receive health care. Furthermore, these millions of uninsured Americans do not make up the majority of Americans, so perhaps it is politicians like Sen. Spector who are not representative of the people.

And now I tire.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Obama: Government Run Health-Care Will Suck (paraphrase)

At Free Advice, Bob links to this video showing Obama poorly defend his health care plan. To the argument that the so-called "public option" would threaten the solvency of private insurance companies, Obama says that insurance companies have nothing to worry about by comparing how the post office is always in trouble but private companies like FedEx and UPS thrive.

In other words, private companies shouldn't fear government competition because government competition sucks.

True, very true; however, government coercion remains to be feared, and this government is more coercive than ever before.

Opposition to Government-Run Health Care Heats Up

Claire McCaskill, a U.S. Senator from Missouri, faced an angry crowd recently as she stumped for government-managed health care.
McCaskill admonished the rowdy crowd, saying "I don't understand this rudeness. I honestly don't get it." (source: msnbc)
I'm certain that Lords Greenville, Townshend, North, and King George III uttered similar sentiments when the colonists protested the various acts of parliament that were designed to fleece the Americans in the decade prior to the American War for Independence.
Both loyal supporters of English authority and well-established colonial protest leaders underestimated the self-activating capacity of ordinary colonists. By the end of 1765 … people in the streets had astounded, dismayed, and frightened their social superiors. (Gary Nash, 59)
It is rather astounding when politicians react disbelievingly towards increased-tax opposition.

Also astounding was the vandalism on representative David Scott's office sign.

I'm not quite certain what message the perpetrators intended, for I'm not able to see the connection between this debate and the infamous Nazi symbol. Perhaps it was made by educated (albeit foolish) well-wishers (before the Nazis adopted the swastika, it symbolized good luck). Then again, I'll bet that the perpetrators are indeed supporters of Scott and the government's health care plan, their aim being to portray their opposition as members of a fringe hate-group--as if only ignorant thugs could possibly disapprove of the government's plans.

If the swastika is indeed the work of a defiant opposition, then I am rather upset because it does nothing to help those of us who oppose the government reasonably. But of course, anyone who thinks that the swastika is a great symbol is too much of an idiot to know any better.

Friday, August 07, 2009

My Birthday Tomorrow

When my wife asks me what I want for my birthday, I usually announce something too expensive as my primary wish. That way, my second choice looks way more attractive and plausible.

P.S. Breathe a word of this to my wife, and you're toast.

P.P.S. Yeah, I'm talking to you.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Obama and Historic Approval Ratings

There is much talk of how Obama's approval numbers have been declining some, that while he is still liked as a person, many are becoming less and less content with his policies. Now we have all these Obama people jumping around, desperate to explain all of this, as if lower (that's lower, not low) approval ratings now will destroy his historical legacy.

Before Obama's supporters give themselves ulcers, they should pay attention to American history, enought to see that the most disliked--and most destructive--president in history is still considered one of the best.

Abraham Lincoln was so disliked (both as a man and for his policies) that eleven states seceded from the Union and sacrificed an entire generation of their young men (and a great many of their older men as well) in hopes of being independent of the man and his policies.

Rest assured, Obamanites, history can still look fondly upon your man, even if he gets lower approval ratings and even if he wrecks the hell out of the country (look out, Atlanta).

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

A Learned Man Came to See Me Once--By Stephen Crane

This poem feels so current...
A learned man came to me once.
He said, "I know the way, -- come."
And I was overjoyed at this.
Together we hastened.
Soon, too soon, were we
Where my eyes were useless,
And I knew not the ways of my feet.
I clung to the hand of my friend;
But at last he cried, "I am lost."
--Stephen Crane
Was Crane foreseeing America's waltz into Obamanomics?

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

You Owe No Taxes

I just read that (terrible) actor Nicholas Cage "owes" the federal government 6.5 million in unpaid taxes and penalties.

However,"owe" is the wrong verb.

Since the federal government does not solicit your consent for its "services," you are under no moral obligation to pay it anything. Your legal obligation to pay has the moral equivalent to your obligation to pay a mugger.

The fact that we are taxed by elected representatives does not change the fact that I have not consented to be taxed. Imagine that some guy just up and mowed your lawn (badly) and presented you with a $1000 bill. You'd be outraged. You'd point out what a crappy job he did, how ridiculously expensive is his fee, and on top of everything that you never gave the guy permission. He cannot justify his bill by saying, "Well, I asked your neighbors, and they said it was OK."

If you don't pay taxes, then the government will bring upon you much harm. That means that you had better pay your taxes, but it doesn't mean that you owe them.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Obama Already Is Taxing the Middle Class

The New York Times reports that Obama plans to stick to his pledge not to increase the middle class's tax burden.

Sorry folks, have you looked at our government's policies? All this spending, money from nothing. What do you think are the consequences?

Inflation, an "invisible" form of taxation.

As our dollar weakens, we become poorer. The result is much the same as if the government simply took more dollars in taxes.

Every dollar spent by the government has to come from taxpayers. If it's not taxed directly or borrowed (e.g. bonds), then it hits us as inflation.

Obama's reckless spending policies make him potentially one of the worst presidents in regards to easing the middle class's burden.

But Obama will blame everything on eight years of Bush, and most of his supporters will buy it and cry, "Four legs good; two legs better!"

"Meet the new boss / Same as the old boss."
--The Who, "Won't Get Fooled Again"

Saturday, August 01, 2009

No Stimulus?

On Friday, a local newspaper published with the headline "No Stimulus for Cops," and it was about how puzzled local leaders are that they didn't get any federal money for police.

What in the hell does that mean? We should be "stimulating" the police industry? We already have a massive (and massively expensive) program installed to "stimulate" the police industry.

It's called the drug war. It keeps crime high in cities so that citizens demand police.

Spending money on more police will not "stimulate" anything,

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

See My (Crocodile) Tears for Brett Favre

According to this article, Brett Favre has turned down the chance to come out of retirement (again) and play for the Minnesota Vikings. He is quoted as referring to this decision as the hardest one he's ever made.

That's quite a string of hardest decisions: to retire from the Packers, to play for the Jets, to retire from the Jets...

I don't feel bad for him. I used it all up here and here when I was so moved by his first decision to retire.

Word of advice to the Vikings: Read my previous post. Don't gamble on Vick!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Michael Vick--Why No One Should Sign Him

Michael Vick may be heading to an NFL team near you.

The issue isn't if the NFL can prevent him from taking the field. Ever filled out a resume? Why do you think that companies ask if you've ever been convicted of a felony? Now in this case, the company in question (the NFL) isn't afraid of being ripped off by a crook. However, it is within their rights to exclude a convicted felon from their organization.

The question is should Vick be allowed to play in the NFL. To this, I say yes. Why not? Is it because he helped finance and run an illegal organization that killed scores of dogs?

Seriously?

Give me a break. He killed dogs--fighting dogs, not miniature poodles. I don't approve, but that's beside the point. He didn't harm or kill a person. He didn't steel anything. He just did something unsavory.

Next question, should any NFL team gamble on Vick by adding him to their roster? To this, I say no, and my answer has nothing to do with what he did to dogs. Instead, it has everything to do with the fact that Michael Vick is the crappiest, most overrated quarterback in the last several decades.

He's fast, sure, but he's also an erratic passer and not much of a leader. A quarterback can be great if he's not fast, but he cannot be great if he cannot pass accurately or lead his team well.

In fact, a quarterback cannot even be good if he cannot pass accurately or lead his team well.

Actually, a quarterback cannot even be mediocre if he cannot pass accurately or lead his team well,

If a quarterback cannot pass accurately or lead his team well, then he can only be a crappy quarterback.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Michael Vick.




*This post is dedicated to my father-in-law.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Robbie Pees (in the toilet)!

Robbie used the toilet to pee last night. It was his first time.

Dare I anticipate that the end of diapers is just over the horizon?

Dare I eat a peach.

No, peaches have too much fructose.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Extended Unemployment

The county in which I reside has just passed a resolution asking congress for more money to pay unemployment welfare (call it what it is; it's not a benefit, it's welfare, and what you "pay into it" when you're working is a tax--it's not a savings account for when/if you become unemployed).

If you extend unemployment welfare, you'll end up with people unemployed for an extended period of time.

I'm not being heartless here, so dispense with that argument. Paying people to be idle is not virtuous. It's time to stop waiting for the right job and time to take any job. If there are no jobs in this area, then people in need of jobs ought to consider moving elsewhere.

Mark: The "Natural"

This is as much a blooper reel as a "highlight" reel.

C'mon, Aristos, it's his first season!


Yeah, but--

C'mon, Aristos, he's only six!

True, yet--

C'mon, Aristos, he's your son.

Yes. Yes he is. (sigh)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Tom Waits: Warm Beer, Cold Women

I've been a bit off lately, so I haven't been able to think of anything useful to post.

I caught this on my iPod during my drive home from work, and I thought that you just might find in it what I do.

My wife hates him, but I think that Tom Waits is a genius.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Can Anyone Spare $23 Trillion?

I just read at Bloomberg.com that taxpayers will be on the hook for close to $23 trillion for all this bailout/stimulus spending.

Our government is so far out of its constitutional limits that it's time to abolish one or the other.

Secession anyone?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Murdock Takes a Leap of Faith


My good buddy, Howling Mad Murdock, went skydiving today. He just sent me a picture of a certificate stating that he "has successfully jumped from a perfectly good airplane." By the looks of the photograph, there's a bit more to this story...

Aristos: "Were you nervous?"
Murdock: "No, it's not like it was my first time."
Aristos: "You've been skydiving before?"
Murdock: "Oh, you meant the skydiving..."

I just called him and left a message saying that I am unimpressed. How does one unsuccessfully jump? I mean, am I supposed to marvel that my friend knows how to jump? In skydiving, it's not the successful jumping or even the successful landing that matters. What goes up must come down. What matters is the safe landing.

Howling Mad Murdock occasionally updates his blog Mindless Ramblings of a Howling Mad Mind, so there's a decent chance that he'll post about it before the year ends.

Hyperinflation Hits Cigarettes in New Hampshire

A recent article tells an interesting story. Remember the "Bank error in your favor" card in Monopoly? Here's the extreme reverse.

A man in New Hampshire bought a pack of cigarettes. Now we all know that cigarette prices have risen at quite a clip over the past decade, but this guy was pretty surprised when he checked his checking account balance and discovered that he had been charged over $23 quadrillion ($23,148,855,308,184,500).

What I found amusing was that it took over two hours for him to resolve the dispute with his bank and have his $15 overdraft fee repealed.

In classic fashion, the bank referred all reports' questions to Visa, and Visa referred all queries to the bank.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Biden Cops Out on the Economy

This article from the Washington Post, has Vice-President Biden answering critics of President Obama's economic plan, especially the effectiveness of the stimulus package in creating jobs.

Biden tells people that all one needs to do is to look around and see people working. To him, that's evidence that the stimulus package was helpful and necessary.

Is the vice president suggesting that when you look around and see people at work that those people owe their jobs to Obama and the stimulus package? That's what it sounds like. How does he prove this? Did no one have any jobs before the stimulus package?

And how about one of Biden's economic advisers saying, "The point of these programs on the jobs front is to cushion the blow."

So how exactly do we measure the extent of this "cushion"?
So how generally do we measure the extent of this "cushion"?
Is it even possible to measure the extent of this "cushion"?

All Biden and Obama have to do is say, "You think things are tough now, but--if it hadn't been for our ecnomic policies--things would be much worse."

Such a statement is impossible to verify or disprove. It's called a cop-out.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Government Debt.

Didn't Obama promise to make the government more fiscally responsible? And yet this article from Bloomberg.com says that the budget deficit has surpassed one trillion dollars (+$1,000,000,000,000) in the first nine months of the fiscal year. Last month's deficit was a record, and "The June deficit compares with a surplus of $33.5 billion in the same month a year earlier."

And
"For the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30, the Office of Management and Budget forecasts the deficit to reach a record $1.841 trillion, more than four times the previous fiscal year’s $459 billion shortfall."

This is relevant because "Total public debt outstanding exceeds $11.5 trillion, according to the Treasury’s July 9 statement on the government’s cash balance."

Did you get that? Whose debt? Public debt. Your debt. My debt. Were this government a man in business, it would be in jail alongside Bernie Madoff.

No, I take that back. This government needs a maximum security prison, and it more than deserves to lose a confrontation in the showers.

"A man in debt is so far a slave."
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

Those Who Can't Do Sometimes Really Do Teach

A young friend of mine is taking an on-line course in macroeconomics at the local community college. He recently sent me a note quoting one of his midterm exam topics with a request for my thoughts on it.

The topic was

11. The presence of market failures implies that:
A. money is not an effective tool for exchange in a market system.
B. there is an active role for government, even in a market system.
C. individuals and firms should strive to be self-sufficient rather than specialize.
D. command systems are superior to market systems in the allocation of resources.

My friend's dilemma was knowing the distinction between the correct answer--as in what his professor wanted him to select--and the correct answer--as in the truthful one. That the truthful answer was not even an option made this dilemma all the more annoying.

The professor, of course, wanted answer B: "The presence of market failures implies that there is an active role for government, even in a market system."

While my friend knew that he could simply select B and claim the point on the exam, he boldly decided to protest on principle.

He sent the professor an email saying
I don't believe any of these choices are correct. If the intended answer is B, which I think it is, I believe that would be a matter of opinion and not fact. First, "market failures" may not simply be attributed to the market itself and even so, this would not imply [necessarily] that the solution would be the government taking an active role. I just found the question to be misleading and the answer selections to all be false. If I was misled could you please offer some clarification.
The professors replied "CALL ME ASAP" (yes, in all caps).

In their telephone conversation, the professor explained how fiscal policy can correct market failures, and when my friend took him to task on this, noting that there are alternate approaches to the issue.

One thing that he could have mentioned (and I don't know if he did do so) is that the only time that a change in fiscal policy can correct a market failure is when when bad fiscal policy in the first place disrupted the economy and caused the market failure, and the new fiscal policy is a good or at least better one.

What people call "market failures" are really "market adjustments," whereby the market retools itself to operate under new conditions. Through the Federal Reserve System, the government attempts to boost the economy with its monetary policies, but in doing so creates the "boom" that leads to the "bust" in the "boom-bust" cycle. Then the government blames the bust on the market and says that it (the government) needs more regulatory power over the market in order to protect the people from market failure.

Since most people don't understand how markets work and how fiscal policies disrupt the market and force it to readjust to new conditions, they accept the government's/politicians' line. The politicians who tote the line do so either because

  1. They are ignorant of how markets function and naively hope that their well-intended policies will make things better.
  2. They are ignorant of how markets function but arrogantly assume that they know better for producers and consumers than producers and consumers themselves.
  3. They are informed of how markets function but can use "market failures" as opportunities to enhance their own power and prestige.
Unfortunately, all of these choices suck. However, unlike the topic on my friend's midterm, these are all correct answers.

After several minutes of debate, my friend's professor fell back to "Well, yes, it depends what school of thought you are from" (obviously not the school of thought that warns against ending a sentence with a preposition).

With this statement, my friend knew that he had drawn blood, for it forced the professor to accept that it was possible that all choices on the topic could be wrong (depending, of course, upon your school of thought--e.g. Keynesian or Austrian).

However, instead of conceding the point, the professor came out with "OK, so you get marked down one point if you get this wrong, big deal."--to which I am near to exploding with rage.

Hell yes it is a big damn deal. It may only be one point on an exam, but the issue here is that this guy is forcing students to select incorrect answers if they wish for a good grade. If a professor at a medical school taught that bloodletting was the best option for curing influenza, and then required students to answer accordingly on exams (or risk losing points and earning lower grades), then this guy would be tarred and feathered by the media, the courts, and the medical school.

If my friend's professor wanted to phrase the topic fairly, he would have said, "According to the Keynesian school of thought..."

However, doing so would have suggest that there are alternate schools of thought. Inquiring students might then look into those schools of thought and agree with them. Not wishing for this, the professor worded the topic as he did, and for that he is dishonest. Even if the professor believes that government intervention will protect markets from failing (and I'll wager that he does believe this), this doesn't get him off the hook--it merely makes him a dishonest fool. He's so unequipped to refute his opposition that he pretends as if his opposition doesn't exist.

My friend was more polite than I would have been. When the professor gave his "It's only one point" excuse, my friend only said, "I know what answer you want me to choose I just think the question gives students the wrong idea."

The professor said, "OK is that all?"

"Yes," I said.

"Then have a nice day."

What an a-hole.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Congress and Health Care Benefits

Whenever Congress raises the tax on tobacco, it justifies the raise--in part--because more expensive tobacco will mean fewer people using tobacco.

Now the debate is over Congress taxing health care benefits. What is it that Congress wants, fewer people having health care benefits?

Some people might actually say yes, that there is a faction that wishes for fewer people to have adequate and affordable health care coverage--the reason being that this same faction can thus justify sweeping in with its national health care plan to help solve a "crisis" that it created and gradually enhanced.

I'm sick and tired of Congress thinking that my pockets are a perfectly natural place for its hands. I want its hands out of my pockets, and I think that we would be wise to get a little archaic on them for their thievery--a constitutional amendment that limits their taxation and spending abilities. How do you stop a malicious and incorrigible pickpocket? Cut off his hands.

Bill of Rights