Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Gov. Bobby Jindal Is Right

“The politically correct crowd is tolerant of all viewpoints, except those they disagree with.”

“The left is going to have to get accustomed to the fact that it does not have a monopoly on free speech and is not the only group who is permitted to voice its opinion in the public square. The left may control Hollywood, but they don’t control the hearts and minds of a majority of Americans.”

    — Quotations provided in ‘Today is a good day for the freedoms of speech and religious liberty’

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Modern Christmas Parable

I heard Paul Harvey tell this story on the radio at Christmas time a few years ago. I liked it then, and it's only grown on me since. But my attempts to find a copy of the story were unsuccessful — until the middle of 2007, when I found a similar (but different) story. That enabled me to find the one I remembered, at last. It's still worth sharing. Again.

Paul Harvey: A Modern Parable
As read on the radio

Unable to trace its proper parentage, I have designated this as my Christmas story of "The Man and the Birds." You know the Christmas story, the God born a man in a manger, and all that escapes some moderns — mostly, I think, because they seek complex answers to their questions, and this one's so utterly simple. So for the cynics and the skeptics and the unconvinced, I submit a modern parable:

Now, the man to whom I'm going to introduce you was not a Scrooge; he was a kind, descent, mostly good man, generous to his family, upright in his dealings with other men. But he just didn't believe all that incarnation stuff which the churches proclaim at Christmastime. It just didn't make sense, and he was too honest to pretend otherwise. He just couldn't swallow the Jesus story about God coming to earth as a man.

"I'm truly sorry to distress you," he told his wife, "but I'm not going with you to church this Christmas Eve." He said he'd feel like a hypocrite, that he'd much rather just stay at home, but that he would wait up for them. And so he stayed, and they went to the midnight service.

Shortly after the family drove away in the car, snow began to fall. He went to the window to watch the flurries getting heavier and heavier, and then went back to his fireside chair and began to read his newspaper. Minutes later he was startled by a thudding sound, then another, and then another, sort of a thump or a thud. At first he thought someone must be throwing snowballs against his living room window; but when he went to the front door to investigate, he found a flock of birds huddled miserably in the snow. They'd been caught in the storm, and in a desperate search for shelter had tried to fly through his large landscape window.

Well, he couldn't let the poor creatures lie there and freeze, so he remembered the barn where his children stabled their pony. That would provide a warm shelter, if he could direct the birds to it.

Quickly he put on a coat, galoshes, tramped through the deepening snow to the barn. He opened the doors wide and turned on a light, but the birds did not come in. He figured food would entice them in, so he hurried back to the house, fetched breadcrumbs, sprinkled them on the snow, making a trail to the yellow-lighted, wide-opened doorway of the stable. But to his dismay the birds ignored the breadcrumbs and continued to flop around helplessly in the snow. He tried catching them; he tried shooing them into the barn by walking around them waving his arms. Instead, they scattered in every direction, except into the warm, lighted barn.

And then he realized that they were afraid of him. To them, he reasoned, I am a strange and terrifying creature. If only I could think of some way to let them know that they can trust me, that I'm not trying to hurt them, but to help them. But how? Because any move he made tended to frighten them, confuse them. They just would not follow; they would not be led or shooed, because they feared him.

If only I could be a bird, he thought to himself, and mingle with them and speak their language! Then I could tell them not to be afraid. Then I could show them the way to the safe, warm . . . to the safe warm barn . . . but I would have to be one of them, so they could see and hear and understand. At that moment, the church bells began to ring. The sound reached his ears above the sound of the wind, and he stood there listening to the bells pealing the glad tidings of Christmas. . . . And he sank to his knees in the snow.

Wishing you all a blessed and peaceful Christmas! Image thanks to ZIP

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Resolving the Deficit Problems

Warren Buffet, in an interview with CNBC, offers one of the best quotes about the debt ceiling:

"I could end the deficit in 5 minutes," he told CNBC. "You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election."
Beyond that, here are his thoughts for the Congressional Reform Act of 2013:
  1. No Tenure / No Pension. A Congressman/woman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they're out of office.
  2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security. All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.
  3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.
  4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.
  5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.
  6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.
  7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen/women are void effective 12/1/13. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen/women. Congress made all these contracts for themselves.
Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.

Looks to me like this would work. Its only drawback is that the chances of passage by our current Congresscritters are somewhere south of zero. The only way this will happen is if it is forced on them.

In the Shutdown, Obama Targets Catholics

Received by e-mail, and posted in a slightly edited version:

If he can do it to Catholics, will the Protestants be next? Catholic priests in military face arrest for celebrating Mass.

This is a verified news report. This is to my mind the most outrageous thing the Obama Administration has done yet during the shutdown. It even surpasses what Obama did to our WWII vets, and that was outrageous.

I hope everyone understands what this means. Obama is saying Catholic religious services are "non-essential". So much in fact that Obama is willing to jail priests even if they offer Mass "voluntarily" — for free, as part of their duties as Catholis priests imposed at their ordination. Everyone should also understand that this was done only to the Catholics but not to the Protestants or the Jews or the Muslims or any of the other religious groups.

If you need a Catholic sacrament - nonessential and disallowed. Communion - nonessential and disallowed. Confession - nonessential and disallowed. Baptism - nonessential and disallowed. Confirmation - nonessential and disallowed. Marriage - nonessential and disallowed. Extreme unction (last rights) - nonessential and disallowed. Catholics - nonessential and disallowed.

I wish every Catholic who voted for Obama could see this. This is an outright attack on the Catholic faith, plain and simple.

Even if Obama is forced to take this order back, we must never forget that he actually did it and wanted to do it. This affront to Catholics is beyond the pale. It’s a crystal clear religious freedom violation and as far as I am concerned, this by itself is an impeachable offense. It ought not go unpunished and it better never be forgotten.

I saw this during the shutdown. Even though it's now late, it's still worth posting.


Just a little review of this fall's reality.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Just For Spite

Because of the government shutdown (of 17% of the government), the National Park Service has closed all national parks and monuments.

A lot of that is understandable. It takes a lot of park rangers to keep Yellowstone and Sequoia operating. But what's their excuse for blocking public highways to keep people from seeing things from miles away, and for ordering privately owned businesses closed, and for throwing people out of their own privately owned homes? And why are they using more personnel to close the World War II Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, the Vietnam War Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Jefferson Memorial than to keep them open?
With all this, and the testimony of those taking the orders, it appears the orders came from the very top, from
It's just for spite — just because he's angry everyone wouldn't just give him everything he wants. And some of the elements of this spitefest combine both the spite and the narcissistic self-centeredness of our Dear Leader.
Because of all this, most of the country feels this way:
And why is that? It's because of a very simple truth.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Obama — Just Plain Mean

President Thin-Skin (Barack Obama) is now looking just plain mean. The whole concept of a government shutdown — or a partial government shutdown (of 17% of the government, like this one — is saving money. But Obama is spending extra money in attempts to close off open air monuments, like the World War II and Korean War memorials, the Lincoln Memorial, the Iwo Jima Memorial, the Vietnam War Memorial, and Mount Rushmore. He even has his people trying to block off public highways to prevent people from being able to see these monuments from afar. And now it's reported that he explicitly wants to make life as difficult as possible for the public, apparently because he things the Republicans will be blamed for his actions.

None of these were closed during previous government shutdowns. Nor were the military academies' sports teams threatened with game forfeitures in previous shutdowns, but Obama tried to do that this time until he was blocked by his Defense Secretary who allowed the games to proceed.

It's even worse than that. Now Catholic chaplains have been threatened with arrest if they minister to military personnel now that such ministry is more necessary. At this point it's not clear if that applies to military chaplains as well as contract priests (because there aren't enough active duty Catholic chaplains to serve the Catholics in the military). And, of course, that's despite the fact that the military furloughs shouldn't have happened in the first place.

And that's not the worst of it. Obama has endangered the nation's security by furloughing 70% of our intelligence analysts, while pulling people off furlough to close the open air memorials (like the World War II and Korean War and Lincoln memorials). And he's had people thrown out of their own homes that are on leased federal land.

He's even shut down the military commissaries (a non-appropriatged funds activity unaffected by appropriations & continuing resolutions) while keeping his golf courses open. But at least Camp David is fully staffed, so President Obama can have all his creature comforts.

Looks to me like these images are appropriate.

Obama on Negotiating With Republicans

President Barack Obama says he will be happy to negotiate with the House Republicans, but "not with a gun held to the country's head."

Of course, before the shutdown (of 17% of the government), President Obama said — repeatedly — that he would not negotiate.

So President Obama's statement is clearly false. This makes it look like President Obama will say anything he thinks he can get people to believe, regardless of whether it's true.

And, in other words, what Obama is saying is "Give me everything I want, and then I'll negotiate." But what will there be to negotiate about after the Republicans give Obama everything he wants?

Monday, September 30, 2013

Delay Obamacare

Obamacare, the horribly mis-named Affordable Care Act, is not ready for prime time. Its failures have been showing up in the news for months and months. Even President Barack Obama has admitted it's not ready to function — by his actions though not his words. He has made this admission by unilaterally delaying a whole series of Obamacare provisions, something the language of the law does not allow him to do. Just as examples:

  • He has delayed the employer mandate by a year, apparently both because the Health & Human Services (HHS) Department isn't ready to make it work and to delay its impact on jobs until after the 2014 elections.
  • He has delayed for a year the income verification necessary to confirm eligibility for subsidies. This opens the door to massive fraud, as large as that which has plagued Medicare and Medicaid for so long.
  • He has delayed for at least a year implementation of even the most basic data security in the insurance exchanges, because HHS can't get the security software written and tested in time. This means everyone who gives information to the exchanges will have an extremely high risk of identity theft. (And that's not counting the fact that many of the "navigators" hired to help people get through the process have not completed their background checks, and some of those whose background checks have been completed were revealed to be convicted felons.)
  • He has delayed for a year the law's caps on out-of-pocket expenses, so an awful lot of people are going to find their health care a lot more expensive than they expect.
What Obama's really saying is that it's right and appropriate to delay virtually every provision of Obamacare — so long as the Republicans don't suggest it. But what the Republicans are asking is that this vast new entitlement be held to at least the most basis requirements of due diligence, or to be prudently delayed until it can meet even these most basic standards. It's telling that Barack Obama and the Democrats can't even accept that.

Obamacare is not ready to run. It should be delayed until it's at least close.

Nancy Pelosi famously said "We have to pass the bill to find out what's in it." Now we're finding out "what's in it", and only hyperpartisans like it.The senator who helped write the bill says it's a "train wreck". The unions helped get Obamacare passed, then asked for and got waivers so they don't have to live under it, and now want it scrapped because of how much it's going to cost them. Congressmen and senators — and their high-paid staffs — also complain they can't afford Obamacare insurance. If they can't afford it at their salaries, how can they expect ordinary folks like most of the middle class to be able to? Now, to add insult to injury, Obama has decided to pay most of the insurance cost for the Congress and their staffs. My objections include
    1. This is a flagrant violation of equal protection.
    2. These people foisted Obamacare on us, and should be made to live
         under it themselves.
If Obamacare is good enough for us, then it's good enough for our public servants (and the unions). (In fact, that's almost exactly what Congressman Huelskamp said on MSNBC.) Other Obama fundraisers and supporters have also gotten waivers. Even big Obamacare cheerleader AARP has asked for, and received, a waiver. Since the big Obama supporters (and, accidentally, a few others) are getting waivers and won't have to put up with Obama's signature legislation, Obamacare is looking more and more like it's simply a punishment being enacted against those of us who are not sufficiently supportive of our Dear Leader.

Obamacare has already cost us a lot in money and jobs. It has been damaging our economy since the day it was signed. Now it appears Obamacare may actually increase the number of people without health insurance, when the whole rationale for its passage was to give them insurance. And what do we get from Obama's minions?

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Things That Aren't So

President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have been talking a lot about how the Republicans — especially those in the House of Representatives — wnat to shut down the government because, they say, the Republicans oppose all government. They claim the Republicans are insisting the Senate meet their demands or the government will be shut down. And their compatriots in the mainstream media parrot these claims.

But there's a problem with these claims. Part of it is that it's Barack Obama and Harry Reid who have said they won't negotiate at all, not the Republicans. Their idea of a deal is their opponents accede to their demands. Yes, Harry Reid is demanding that House Republicans take orders from him, or the government will be shut down. The Republicans have offered various different proposals.

So, in reality, who's being intransigent? Who is, in reality, trying to produce a government shutdown?

President Obama and Senator Reid say they want to preserve Obamacare unchanged. Indeed,

Mr. Obama also refuses to bend on any part of ObamaCare — except when he unilaterally announces bending in his own political interest. He decided on his own, and contrary to the plain text of the law, to delay for a year the business mandate to provide insurance for employees. He also unilaterally delayed verifying the income of Americans seeking subsidies. He did this to pile more people into the ObamaCare exchanges, lest they fail, and to limit the harm to job creation before 2014.

Yet now he'd rather see the government shut down than accept the ObamaCare compromises that House Republicans have put in their latest government funding bill. He refuses to delay the law for a year though his own actions reveal it is not ready for prime time. And he won't even accept repeal of the medical-device tax that 79 Senators, including 33 Democrats, are on record as supporting. The tax is already hurting innovation and sending jobs overseas.

That's not even counting Obama's unilateral delay in the law's caps on patient out-of-pocket expenses (contrary to the provisions of the law), the waiver from Obamacare's provisions he gave to Congress and its staffers (violating Constitutional equal protection provisions), and all the waivers he and his head of the Health & Human Services Department have given to all his union friends. Perhaps Obama and Reid think unionists and Congressmen (and their staffs) are "more equal than others."

Yet these folks keep saying Obamacare will be good for everyone and good for the country. But

if Obamacare is so great, why don’t Congress and President Obama have to enroll in it? If it’s good enough for the rest of the country, Huelskamp said, “it should be good enough for the President of the United States.”
Sounds like more regime dishonesty to me. And yet another violation of Constitutional equal protection.

Obama and Reid want to blame the Republicans, but

it takes two to tangle, and Mr. Obama is as much to blame for the partisan pileup as Mr. Cruz. This is a President who is eager to negotiate with dubiously elected Iranian mullahs but can't abide compromise with duly elected leaders of Congress. He refuses to negotiate at all over an increase in the federal debt limit, claiming this has never happened. Like so much that Mr. Obama says, he knows this is false. His own staff suggested the spending sequester during the 2011 debt debate, and Democratic Congresses have used the debt limit to extract concessions from Republican Presidents. [emphasis added]
And then there's this, continuing on the theme of things the Obama people are saying that simply aren't true:

Once again tonight I heard Secretary of State John Kerry claiming on 60 Minutes that Iraq under Saddam Hussein didn't have chemical weapons — that the intelligence that he did was wrong — despite the fact that even John Kerry and others in the Obama regime have acknowledged that Saddam Hussein used those (nonexistent) weapons against Iran and against Iraq's own people in 1987-8.

Are Barack Obama, John Kerry, and their regime friends really that stupid — or do they think we are?

Headline: Harry Reid Forced Obama To Scrap Meeting With GOP Leaders On Averting Government Shutdown…
Story:When the president considered sitting down with the four congressional leaders in the White House ahead of the deadline to avert a government shutdown, Reid privately urged Obama to call off the meeting, according to several people familiar with the situation. Reid believed that it would amount to nothing more than a photo-op that would give the false impression that a serious negotiation was occurring, even warning he wouldn’t attend such a session. Obama scrapped it. [emphasis added]
Result: Barack Obama and Harry Reid confirm again they are not willing to negotiate. They do not want an agreement. They want a shutdown. Their concept is "Let's compromise — do it my way!" They're just two little dictators.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Obamacare is the Law  
Just Accept It

President Barack Obama says the horribly misnamed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (more generally knows as Obamacare) is the law of the land and everyone — especially the law's opponents — should "just accept it."

That made me think of this, which is exactly as logical.

Obama partisan Senat Majority Leader Harry Reid goes further. He apparently believes there has never been a bad law, and no bad law has ever had to be overturned. (Or, at least, that's what he says.) To paraphrase Reid only very slightly,

This cartoon doesn't say it but, thanks to the Democrats, lynching was also supported by the law until the 1960s.

Are these people really that dumb? Or do they think we are?

It seems to me this kind of "argument" is disingenuous, and is intended by these individuals only to intimidate and deceive.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Short Takes

There's an interesting observation in an item about President Obama and health insurance:

But if Obama is capable of getting people insurance just by giving speeches, why didn't he do that four years ago rather than let Harry Pelosi and Nancy Reid impose their monstrous new law on the country?
There's also something about New York state getting funding from the Energy Research and Development Administration (or Authority):
New York governor Andrew Cuomo is launching a $140 million ad campaign to lure businesses to the Empire State. The campaign, “New York State Open for Business,” is being funded with money drawn from federal disaster aid received in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and from the Power Authority and Energy Research and Development Authority, according to the New York Times.
The only trouble is, ERDA went out of existence decades ago when the Department of Energy was created.

We also learn that being gay is NOT genetic — because Jason Collins, the NBA basketball player who has come out as gay has an identical twin brother (with identically the same genes), and that identical twin brother is NOT gay.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

History & Moderate Muslims

John Hawkins has written a piece identifying 7 Things Every Moderate Muslim Should Believe. He notes that the actions of Muslims around the world — including "crazed riots over damaged Qurans, terrorists who've murdered people in the name of Allah and violent threats over Muhammad cartoons" — have caused unfair suspicion to fall on all the "good and decent Muslims".

In that article, Hawkins says the following:

But, let's also stop ignoring the obvious fact that the Islamic faith has a large, radical and violent contingent that the world's other great religions don't have. Oh, but what about the Crusades? Well it's true that the Crusades were bloody, violent and directly connected to the Christian faith. However, the last crusade ended more than 700 years ago. That same sort of fanaticism has largely died out in Christianity while it's still alive and kicking in Islam.
That statement is good as far as it goes, but it ignores a lot. What should be noted about the Crusades is this: The Crusades were a response to Islam's invasions — not just of the Holy Land and major parts of Asia and Africa, but also of Europe where Muslim armies conquered Spain and reached as far as Vienna before being stopped. Retaking Jeerusalem may have been the symbol, but stopping the conquest and halting the invasion was the key goal. And it should be noted that it took a long time for the Christians to begin to respond to the Muslim invasion.

Their Fair Share

President Barack Obama is fond of saying he just wants the rich to pay their fair share of taxes, and that the rich can afford to pay "a little more".

Unfortunately for his argument, the reality is this:

Our individual tax code is, as it should be, progressive, but perhaps the pendulum has swung too far in this direction. The top 10% of taxpayers pay around 70% of federal income taxes, while the bottom half of all taxpayers pay just 2%.
It seems to me that each taxpayer in the top 10% is paying his fair share plus the fair shares of several other people.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Your Turn

I saw a really good cartoon last week, from Sack.

There's just one problem with the cartoon — The Republicans already had (and took) their turn. They already gave President Barack Obama a big tax increase. And that was just a few weeks ago! Guess that wasn't enough for Obama. (It never is or will be.)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

AP Drops "Illegal Immigrants"

There are no more illegal immigrants in the stories of the Associated Press. Instead, there are "Immigrants living in the state illegally", "people who can't prove citizenship", and "people living in the state without documentation". At least, those are some of the circumlocutions showing up in an article in Oregon.

Why? Because the AP has banned the use of the term "illegal immigrant". They object to the part that says "illegal". They say illegal "should describe only an action" in violation of the law. Like crossing into this country illegally.

James Taranto, on the other hand, notes that the people in question are, in fact, here illegally. He objects to the "immigrant" part of the term, noting that it's not clear all these folks intend to "take up permanent residence", a key part of the definition of the term "immigrant".

I would go a bit further. I note the Pew poll, according to which a large fraction of the people here illegally — perhaps the majority — really do not intend or want to be come permanent residents or U.S. citizens. These individuals are here illegally. And they are aliens — not U.S. citizens — as U.S. citizens would be in Mexico or India or Europe or wherever else outside our own country. Thus, the proper term for them is "illegal aliens". Even "illegal immigrants" is an obfuscation and a concession to political correctness. And Senator Chuck Schumer's (D-NY) insistence that they are "undocumented citizens" is a complete abomination.

Of course, none of this deals with the reason the Obama Administration is favoring amnesty and open borders. They clearly agree with Jay Leno that the people in question are really "undocumented Democrats".

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Then Who Could Save Us?

Some cartoons speak larger truths — like this one.

The really good news is this: Good Friday is followed by Easter Sunday.Happy Easter!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Doctors' Views of Obamacare

Dr Mark Moyad was introducing another doctor at a medical conference, but he had a few words first about doctors' true feelings about Obamacare. This introduction (which can be seen here) is transcribed below. I suspect you'll all appreciate this, whatever your views.

I've talked to allergists, and the allergists voted to scratch it, but the dermatologists advised not to make any rash moves.

The gastroenterologists had sort of a gut feeling about it, but the neurologists thought the Administration had a lot of nerve.

The obstetricians felt they were all laboring under a misconception.

Ophthalmologists considered the idea short-sighted.

Pathologists yelled "over my dead body", while the pediatricians said "oh, grow up".

The psychiatrists thought the whole idea was madness, while the radiologists could see right through it.

Surgeons decided to wash their hands of the whole thing.

The internists thought it was a bitter pill to swallow, and the plastic surgeons said "this puts a whole new face on the matter."

The podiatrists thought it was a step forward, but the urologists were pissed off at the whole idea.

The anesthesiologists thought the idea was a gas, and the cardiologists didn't have the heart to say "no".

Finally, in the end, the proctologists won out, leaving the entire decision up to the asses in Washington.

Yes, I laughed at this. A lot.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Hygiene vs. Health

Mrs Critter had a dental appointment, and I was in the lobby while she saw the dentist. There, I saw a magazine I'd never run across before — Living Without, described as "The magazine for people with allergies and food sensitivities." It was the August/September 2012 issue, and it had a really interesting article in it (on pages 44-47) called Fishing for a Cure which talked about an alternative treatment for a group of autoimmune disorders. These disorders include — depending on who you talk to — multiple sclerosis, asthma, autism, eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), inflammatory bowel disorder, Crohn's disease, multiple food allergies, and other disorders.

The striking thing to me was not the specific alternative treatment (the Helminth treatment which is, in some cases, the only available treatment — a treatment that is not available in the United Statees). It was what the article said about how our modern lifestyle may have affected this class of disorders. The article notes that

The biome depletion theory says that, as a result of better hygiene — afforded by post-industrial advances, such as toilets and water treatment facilities — people in developed countries are no longer exposed to, and therefore no longer harbor, some of the microscopic bacteria with which humans have historically had a symbiotic relationship. As a result, people in developed countries are missing some of the key microbes that keep the immune system in balance.
We — I — had previously thought about the fact that there seemed to be a lot fewer folks with this kind of disorder in the past. I had attributed this to three things — (1) the lesser awareness of a youngster, (2) the likelihood that medical advances have allowed those with these disorders to live full lives who would have died of them rather young in previous generations, and (3) the fact that exposure to some of these things probably innoculated us against some of their effects (sort of like a smallpox vaccination).

It now appears, however, that there is another factor involved — that some of the things we now protect ourselves from were actually helpful to, and maybe even necessary for, our health and well-being. That is, the better hygiene we are all so proud of may have deprived our children of many of the symbiotic bacteria that have kept us healthier in the past, as well as removing the harmful bacteria that made us sick in the past.

In other words, we may have done some of this to ourselves by being so sterile. Which suggests my sons are healthier because they spent so much time playing in the back yard dirt when they were young.

It looks like we actually need some of the "pathogens" we have dealt with for many generations. That also means that, in a very real sense, dirt is our friend.

Friday, March 1, 2013

He's Sure We're Gullible

President Barack Obama evidently thinks the American public is stupid, or at least very gullible. President Obama gives us a whole laundry list of bad things he says will happen if the sequester he proposed is allowed to take effect. But, as Mona Charen notes,

Even if these “draconian cuts” are implemented, the federal government will spend more this year than it did last year.
That's just another way of saying these "draconian cuts" aren't even cuts — they're just minor reductions in the rate of growth of government spending.

And then there's this:

In 2007, the government was 40 percent smaller than it is today. Were poor people sleeping under bridges? Were the elderly starving? Were planes grounded? Was food unsafe to eat?
I think I agree with this assessment:
The president’s doom-saying is so absurd that a mature country would hoot him off the stage. As it is, the housebroken media credulously report his obviously partisan scare-mongering as fact.

Mark Steyn makes a similar point in saying

Can you pierce the mists of time and go back all the way to the year 2007? Back then, federal spending was 40 percent lower than it is today. In a mere half-decade, has all that 40 percent gravy become so indispensable to the general welfare that not even a teensy-weensy sliver of it can be cut?
It may very well be that, as a number of observers have suggested, President Obama is really worried the sequester brings none of his dire predictions to pass. Then what would he scare us with?

The Sequester & etc.

The sequester is a huge problem — at least according to President Obama. But it's just another manufactured crisis. It's like this:

And the root cause of this problem is this:

This, too:

Heaven help us all!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Thoughts on the Sequester

I find it really interesting! The Obama White House came up with the idea of sequestration — reportedly by Tresury Secretary Designate Jack Lew and with the explicit approval of President Barack Obama. But now that it looks like his idea will go into effect, President Obama is attacking it as the worst idea ever. Fascinating!

Let's look a little more closely at President Obama's idea. A couple of key things stand out.

  1. The first is IT IS NOT A CUT! — it's just a small reduction in the projected increase in the budget. Even with the sequestration, federal spending this year will still be higher than last year — just by not as much as automatically projected.
  2. The second is that the sequestration amounts to just a SMALL PERCENTAGE CUT in the PROJECTED INCREASE in federal spending. IT IS NOT AN ACTUAL CUT IN SPENDING.
In other words, it really looks like the White House hype doesn't match the reality.

And then there are the issues of how the sequester's "cuts" are laid out. This, too, is in a couple of parts.

  1. As the Obama White House designed it, 50% of the cuts are taken from defense — which is less than 20% of the federal budget. That's a much bigger cut, in relative terms, than the cut to the rest of the budget. And ...
  2. The sequester does not specify where those cuts are to be taken. That specification is entirely up to the Executive Branch — the officials of the Obama Administration.
In other words, when President Obama tells us about all the terrible things that will result from the sequester, every single one of those things ie entirely up to him. He will choose where the cuts will be taken. If national parks are closed, it's because Obama chose to close them. If FBI agents are furloughed, it's because Obama chose to furlough them. If teachers are laid off, it's because Obama chose to lay them off. No one else has the authority to make those choices — only President Barack Obama.

So the one person doing all the fear-mongering — for his own purposes — is the one person responsible for whatever damage will be done.

This is what we need to keep in mind throughout the coming weeks and months. And to us all I say buena suerte.

UPDATE: Here's another view of the sequester's impact.

Monday, February 11, 2013

How Not to Use a Chainsaw

Seems to me this guy might be about to become a candidate for the Darwin Award.

UPDATE: One friend e-mailed to note the title of the post is exactly right — the guy's not using any safety glasses or hearing protection!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Fire Harry Reid

There's an article out with some observations that are right on point. It says this early on.

In Mr. Reid's Washington, the House works its will, the Senate does crossword puzzles. Its committees do not produce bills, its senators do not debate or amend, the body does not vote. The House, to accomplish anything, is forced to engage in backroom wrangling with the White House, the results of which are presented to the nation as a fait accompli. The Senate claims total deniability.
Why has Harry Reid done this and behaved this way? That's something I had tried hard to understand. The only thing I had was that this was what he did, whether I could understand why or not. This article has observations that look really right. In part, it says this.
He [Reid] does not want a debate on gun control, as it would force Democratic senators to choose between President Obama and their own pro-Second Amendment constituents. The majority leader would not offer a bill during the fiscal-cliff negotiations because many Democrats disagreed with their president's proposed tax hikes. He has not produced a budget because to do so would expose the party's real spending ambitions [and/or expose the Democrats' divisions on this subject, too], which would create political problems back home for his members.

Mr. Reid knows there is a brilliant added bonus to making sure the Senate is inactive: It keeps all the attention on Republicans.

In other words, it's all political deception designed to protect Democrats' power by deceiving the American people.

It's sad that "our representatives" have sunk to this level. Harry Reid must be dumped or bypassed. He cannot be allowed to continue damaging the Congressional system.

Free the Senate. Let the Senate actually begin to do its job. Let the Senate debate.

Go read the whole thing.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Harvey's Advice

I read this, and it sounds like good advice to me.

No matter how bad it gets, never listen to the naysayers. Someone has survived it, someone who had it that bad before you. If the doctors say your odds of making it through five months - let alone five years - are one in a hundred, don't look at what the ninety-nine did, because that didn't work and it isn't for you. Find the one who made it through and imitate him.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Obama & the Fiscal Cliff

The Congress and President Barack Obama went right up to the edge of the "fiscal cliff". Efforts to find at least a temporary solution went so badly that everyone involved dumped Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and brought in Vice President Joe Biden to provide the Democrat side with at least a little rationality.

Why was that? It was because of President Obama's insistence on a fiscal cliff deal that increased taxes without any attached spending cuts. In other words,

Yes, President Obama said he (eventually) wanted a "balanced" approach — just not all at the same time. He wanted the tax increases now, and the spending cuts later. In other words, President Obama is today's version of Wimpy.

The trouble is that this gambit has been run on the Republicans before. It's always the promise of spending cuts later for tax increases now. The tax increases have always come quickly, but the promised spending cuts never materialize. So we see that that President Obama's "balanced approach" really looks like this:

Seems to me it's been just a giant scam on all of us. And it hasn't fixed anything about the deficit problem — in fact, it's added to it.

Friday, January 11, 2013

I'm Paying Your Share, Too!

This is a letter to the editor, printed in the Albuquerque Journal on January 8

I received a nice letter from the Social Security Administration last month, informing me that my Medicare Part B premium would be the standard $104.90, plus an income-related monthly adjustment of $230.80, for a total of $335.70. That figures out to $11.03 per day. I get no better coverage, of course, just pay more than three times as much as most people pay.

So "means testing" is here. I could cover all utility costs or eat for less per day. But, hey, the good news is I must be rich. I thought I was middle class.

Anyway, I am not complaining, because I know if I do, my coverage will likely be cut, too. How do I feel about all this? Oh, I'm happy to pay my share and the shares of at least two others.

What, you don't believe that? Yeah, I know. You think I'm a greedy old skinflint who doesn't want to pay is "fair" share. But if you work in a restaurant or retail business, don't expect to see me as often.

The "rich" are already paying more than their fair share — which is not good enough for the rich liberals who what to take even more from those a rung below them, so they can give it to others who (they hope) won't notice the loss of their rights and prosperity.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

What Has Already Been Done To US

Legal Insurrection had a posting on appropriate responses to actions of some of the agenda journalists. One of the commenters on that post, Subotai Bahadur, made a broader point, beginning with an assessment of our current historical position. He writes

Professor, we are literally in the end stage of pretending that politics as normal mean something. The Constitutional order has been de facto overturned, while retaining the external trappings of the old order. The government is at open war on the Bill of Rights. Congress has lost the power of the purse and no longer represents anything but their own vested interests. The rule of law is gone. Who you are and who you are connected to decides if you will be prosecuted for any crime. No connections = no mercy and frequently no due process. If connected to the regime, you are immune. Our courts have withdrawn from the fray or have been subverted. In any major issue, it seems that the courts rule that there is no one who has standing to oppose the will of the State; so the State wins. And if a matter does get before the courts, the courts rule based on politics, not law. The Supreme Court is no longer a barrier defending the Constitutions. When Chief Justice Roberts suddenly reversed his entire life’s work to rule that the Federal government could violate the Constitution so long as it did it in the guise of a tax; it was obvious that he has been gotten to and is now merely a tool of the regime.
Well said, sir. The comment struck me — and others (Doug Ross, for example), too — as an important short summary. It's worth reading the whole of this comment, as well as a number of others on this thread.

Beyond that, what I would note is this: A lot of things no longer work the way we were taught in civics class. And that statement itself is a measure of how much things have changed.

Happy New Year!