Thursday, September 29, 2011

Voting & Driving in Saudi Arabia

Saudi King Abdullah has issued an edict allowing women in Saudi Arabia to vote for the first time. Meanwhile, a woman was sentenced to 10 lashes for driving a relative to the hospital.

Interestingly, it turns out there is no actual law against women driving in Saudi Arabia. But the Saudi courts sentence women for driving anyway.

This juxtaposition provides a clear example of cognitive dissonance. And it sets up others. Like this:

Friday, September 23, 2011

Best Debate Line

p>The best line to come out of the GOP presidential candidates' debate last night came near its end. And it came from one of the debate's "also rans" — former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson when he said
My next door neighbor's two dogs have produced more shovel-ready jobs than this current Administration.
Maybe it's too bad Johnson has almost no chance in the presidential race. He certainly makes the race more interesting.

Update: I have now heard the audio clip for myself, and have corrected the line as Gary Johnson gave it.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Media Got It Wrong

The stock market took a dive yesterday morning. The headlines said it was because of worries over the financial situation in Europe.


The stock market's movement Monday morning was just a reflection of the futures market's movement Sunday afternoon. And that market took a dive immediately after the White House let out the information that President Barack Obama would be calling for $1.5 trillion in tax incraeses. I saw the graph showing that movement Sunday evening.

To put it as charitably as possible, the media got it wrong! The alternative choice is that the media deliberately lied to us.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Obama's "Stimulus Junior"

President Barack Obama gave his speech and introduced his "jobs bill" ten days ago. Two things were said at that time about how the bill's expenditures would be paid for: (1) that the White House would release the revenue details in the next week, possibly at the same time as the bill itself, and (2) that the "supercommittee" formed under the debt ceiling bill would be tasked to find the money.

It appears he has actually done both.

At least one Congressman has read the text of the bill Obama sent to the Congress (but which has apparently not yet been introduced by anyone). He noted in an interview that a late section of the bill requires the debt ceiling "supercommittee" to increase its revenue/savings target by the cost of this bill. Elsewhere in the bill are the $467 billion in tax increases Obama has proposed to pay for the $447 billion estimated cost of his jobs/stimulus bill. (This, too.) Thus, the bill's cost is apparently "paid for" twice. Does the Administration intend more spending than it has acknowledged, and is using this opportunity to raise the extra money they want? Or is this a recognition that its proposal to pay for this bill with tax increases that have already been rejected — by Democrats and Republicans alike — is not serious?

There are other things wrong with this bill, too. Among these are:

  • Obama's bill creates at least two new federal bureaucracies, neither related (so far as I can determine) to job creation. This continues the Administration's pattern of using various bills and proposals to add to the bureaucracy and the national regulatory burden.
  • Most, if not all, of the spending proposals are repetitions and continuations of the same old tired things Obama had in his failed 2009 stimulus bill. They didn't work then, and they almost certainly won't work this time, either. That must be why Obama and his followers are calling this a jobs bill instead of a stimulus bill. The Obama people still want to pretend the stimulus worked, but they know the American people know that's bunk — which is why they won't use the stimulus term.
  • If spending on these proposals didn't help create jobs in 2009 and 2010, how are they going to create jobs now in 2011 at half the spending level?
  • Pretty much all the spending proposals are recycled from Obama's failed 2009 stimulus bill. So this is a "green" bill. The Administration pretends that "green" and recycling are good things, but I doubt that recycling failure is worthwhile.
  • Obama's bill raises taxes in a recession. Obama himself has said that's exactly the wrong thing to do. Obama and his people must know this. Therefore, either that statement or his current proposal is fraudulent and unserious.
  • Obama's bill raises taxes on the very people he's calling on to hire people. Increasing their costs is the surest way to insure they won't create any new jobs.
  • Obama's bill assumes, but apparently does not state, the expiration of the "Bush tax cuts" (required by the Democrats' previous intransigence). That expiration means a tax increase for everyone who pays taxes — as well as many who no longer do. That's a part of the tax increases Obama has been pushing for since before he became president. And that one alone — even without the additional tax increases Obama proposes — will be the largest tax increase in the history of the United States. Another massive job killer, again courtesy of Barack Obama.
Beyond all of this, there's something else we all should have noticed. Obama is proposing permanent taxes to pay for his extremely temporary stimulus. That is the bottom line. This is just another way — another attempt — for Obama to accomplish what he wants in raising taxes on "the rich". And as with Bill Clinton, it appears Obama's definition of "the rich" is "everyone with a job".

The original Obama stimulus was a total failure. His recycled "stimulus junior", if enacted, will be no better. At best.

Two final words on Obama's recycled "green" "stimulus junior":

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Never Forget!

“One of the lessons of 9-11 is that evil is real and so is courage.” That is part of what President George W Bush had to say yesterday — September 10, 2011 — at the dedication of the memorial to the heroes of Flight 93. He went on to say

At the moment America’s democracy was under attack, our citizens defied their captors by holding a vote. The choice they made would cost them their lives, and they knew it. Many passengers called their loved ones to say good-bye, then.

Many passengers called their loved ones to say goodbye then hung up to perform their final act. One said, “They’re getting ready to break into the cockpit. I have to go. I love you.” Another said, “It’s up to us. I think we can do it.”

In one of the most stirring accounts, Todd Beamer, a father of two with a pregnant wife with a home in New Jersey, asked the air operator to join him in reciting the Lord’s Prayer. Then he helped lead the charge with the words “Let’s roll.”

With their selfless act, the men and women who stormed the cockpit lived out the words, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” And with their brave decision, they launched the first counter offensive of the war on terror.

Three other flights had already been lost. The people on Flight 93 knew that, and refused to be the fourth. They took action. They counterattacked. They prevented the jihadists from accomplishing their mission.

Now it is ten years since their attack — the largest attack ever on the American homeland. Some may have forgotten, but I have not. We still have an implacable enemy, an army of jihadists striving to attack us by whatever means they can manage — by force of arms if they can, by deceit and deception otherwise.

Here's part of what we must remember: Our enemies are adherents of an all-consuming political ideology committed to world conquest. (A political ideology, like Communism or fascism, not a religion as people in the West understand the term.) We can't meet them on just one battlefield. We must oppose them everywhere they bring their lies — everywhere they attempt to subvert or attack us.

And we need to get ahead of the power curve and attack them where they are weakest, in logic and reality. Their entire ideology is based on deceit and deception. Their leadership understands that — and their adherents must be made to understand it, and to understand how thoroughly they have been duped. The alternative is exterminating them like Saladin and Richard the Lionhearted destroyed their predecessors in faith, the assassin and thug cults — both of which have now been reduced to being just words in our dictionaries instead of active Islamic sects.

Certainly, whether by force of arms or by force of intellect, every ideology like that of the jihadists — every ideology that preaches to its adherents that they much kill all who don't believe in their ideology the way they do — must be exterminated.

All this is part of what we must NEVER FORGET!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Plan That Isn't There

Once again — action was called for, and Obama gave a speech.

And it wasn't even that good a speech. It was full of attacks on straw men and caricatures. Some said it made a mockery of the debt deal that was only a couple of months old. Whether that was true or not, it certainly proposed something like $450 billion in new spending without proposing where the money would come from. (The White House said it would take them at least a couple more weeks to come up with that proposal.)

What's even worse is this: President Obama intoned “Pass this bill now!” at least 17 times in his speech, but there is no bill! (The White House promised they might have a proposal to Congress “maybe sometime next week” — which makes me think of former Speaker Nancy Pelosi's statement that “We have to pass the bill to find out what's in it.”)

I guess that's why even folks on the floor of the House during the speech (and everyone else who heard it) were incredulous about what Obama was saying (see the “Historic Hysterics” item, talking about Obama's “travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham of a speech to a joint session of Congress”). It seems nobody, including Barack Obama, thought this speech's proposals were really serious. Just another phony excuse for a phony set of proposals from a phony excuse for a president.

I'll be glad when we can get an adult into the Oval Office again.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Mayor Bloomberg Is Wrong, Or Worse

The tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attack is coming in a week. There are plans for a ten year memorial at Ground Zero in New York.

New York mayor Mike Bloomberg won't allow any clergy or first responders at the memorial. He won't allow them to participate. He says there "isn't room" for them.

There seems to be some interesting hypocrisy in play here. Mayor Bloomberg has been one of the big supporters of the project to convert one of the buildings close to Ground Zero into a mosque — a jihadist-supporting mosque, apparently, based on statements by the mosque's promoters. At the same time, his office is a big part of the reason the city has not allowed the rebuilding of the St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, which was damaged in the 9/11 attack. Whether one supports or opposes either project, the combination of these two positions is improper.

What the mayor's office has against the first responders — the police and fire departments — is not known. Could it be that the first casualty among the first responders was the fire department's chaplain, Father Mike Judge? Or maybe it's just the rather extreme New York version of political correctness.

As a direct result of Bloomberg's 9/11 memorial directives, Mrs Critter and I have decided there "isn't room" for his magazines (including Bloomberg BusinessWeek and Bloomberg Markets) and other publications from Mayor Bloomberg's companies in our home, and have cancelled our subscriptions. That may not make a dent in Bloomberg's reported $18 billion worth, but these days magazines are having a hard time attracting subscribers.

And we simply cannot support anyone who acts like Mayor Bloomberg.

UPDATE: It gets even worse. Now, apparently, Bloomberg is excluding many (at least) 9/11 victims' families from his "commemoration". These people are disgusting. At best.

Friday, September 2, 2011

No Depression, No Jobs

The Obama economy is the worst in 75 years. Here's just one example showing why, and what the impact is on those the regime ignores.

The latest figures say there was NO GROWTH in jobs in August — for the first time since World War II. And you KNOW the revision that comes next month will revise the jobs numbers down, not up. And that's with the regime "cooking the books" by removing from the labor force numbers those who have exhausted their unemployment insurance. Even without correcting for that — even using the data the way it would have been used when Obama took office — the calculated unemployment rate would be well over 11½%.

The policies of the Obama Administration have damaged the US economy. It's time to stop the regime.

The Right Idea

The right idea:

If “market failure” is an excuse for taking power away from markets, shouldn’t “government failure” be a reason to take power away from government?
We've certainly had lots of government failure lately.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Overlooked in Flyover Country

Living between the coastal regions, in “flyover country”, you get used to being dissed and overlooked. Doubly so if you live in my state. (It's surprising how many people in the US think New Mexico is a foreign country!) It's not a recent phenomenon, either — there's a reason Aldous Huxley placed the Savage Reservation of Brave New World (published in 1932) in New Mexico. Living here, we learn to expect it.

But then, once in a while something gets written that both captures and satirizes that view of New Mexico and the rest of flyover country. Today there's a new example of that in an article titled “Cry in the Wild Goes Unheeded” in the Albuquerque Journal.

At issue is a painting called “St. Francis in the Desert” and the exhibit featuring it at the gallery of the Frick Collection in New York.Giles Pennington, retired in the New Mexico town of Los Ojos, says he found in 1999 where Giovanni Bellini in around 1480 set this painting. His finding doesn't match what many of the traditional art “experts” say.

When he heard about the exhibit, he contacted the curator. He got a reply, and when he read it,

I realized what the curator was thinking: How could a retired guy from a mountainside overlooking a lake in northern New Mexico know more than we do about our painting?
I can't do Mr Pennington's piece justice. Just go read it.

Obama Jobs Plan, Again

President Barack Obama said in August that he would reveal his plan for creating jobs and putting Americans back to work — right after he finished his vacation with his elite friends on Martha's Vineyard.

If that sounds familiar, it should. That was Obama's promise in August of 2010 — just over a year ago. I suspect he will make the same promise in August of 2012.

When something needs to be done, Obama makes a speech.