Monday, August 31, 2009

Because I Can

Recursive Failure

... or is it recursive success?

Over at Paul Kedrosky's blog, he's got a post that elicited this portion of a comment about the dangers of raising taxes:
"It's just rich people trying to spend more of their discretionary on another boat, or an Aspen ski trip. Get over it. We need that money for useful investments you can't be bothered to make: health care, education, the environment"
It dawned on me that the commenter is sowing the seeds of his own failure. The problem with building better schools and infrastructure is that some people will make use of them to improve themselves and then they might get rich! Either this is recursive failure or recursive success.

On the one hand, the commenter despises the rich. More people buying boats and taking ski trips? How disgusting! Perhaps steps can be taken to improve education and infrastructure, but prevent people from getting rich. Maybe we could do it with a Special Master of Compensation.

On the other hand, this could be recursive success. The new rich people provide the commenter with both targets of hate and vast amounts of tax money. Outstanding!

Hmm. Which is it?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Pricing = Rationing

Ezra Klein in the WaPo gets it half-right.
"Look at Canada," says Charles Krauthammer. "Look at Britain. They got hooked; now they ration. So will we."

So do we. This is not an arguable proposition. It is not a difference of opinion, or a conversation about semantics. We ration. We ration without discussion, remorse or concern. We ration health care the way we ration other goods: We make it too expensive for everyone to afford.
Bingo! Absolutely right. State-of-the-art health care is a luxury good. It's limited and right now you get what you can pay for, paying for it by someone, somewhere earning it. It's just like everything else we buy. By Ezra's logic, everything you pay for is rationed.

Clearly, this is just another illustration of why we need Yacht Reform now!

Quote of the Day

From the Raiders' broadcast team during yesterday's 45-7 thrashing by the Saints. About Drew Brees carving up the Raiders: "I don't think they can complete this many passes in a practice, just throwing against the air!" Look for it about 2:05 into the highlights over at NFL.com.

Cheezburger of the Day

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Let all the Angels in Heaven Rejoice!

... my wife's car now fits in the garage!


Just a little more work and we'll have room for the MGB.

ADHD Dog

Bodie the Wonder Dog eats everything and rushes about all day looking for a playmate. I've taken to calling him ADHD Dog.

Why Teach if no one Wants to Learn?

Hot Air linked to this Time Magazine article from 20+ years ago discussing black poverty in America. There's a lot more to it, but I'm fast-forwarding to the solutions part. In essence, the theme is that blacks in the ghetto lack positive role models because everyone with gumption has fled.
In a recent paper, Anderson laments the growing cleavage between what he calls "old heads and young boys." Old heads were the traditional neighborhood mentors of ghetto youth. Their message, Anderson writes, "was about manners and the value of hard work, involving how to get a job, how to keep a job, how to dress for a job interview, how to deal with a prospective employer." But with work scarce and cocaine permeating the ghetto, young blacks now tend to dismiss old heads as old fogies preaching a message as irrelevant as antidrug lectures ...

Twenty years of failed programs, from community development to public housing, point to a depressing conclusion: little will be done to make the ghetto an acceptable place to live and raise children. This by no means suggests abandoning those trapped in the inner city. Rather, the emphasis of both government and private philanthropy must be on helping the black underclass escape the social isolation of these inner-city wastelands.
Emphasis mine. My recent mockeries of people crying "racism" at every turn is based on this: you can't teach someone who resists learning. So long as you focus on racism, you create that resistance by setting up a ready-made excuse for failure and a suspicion of success.

For an individual, the content of the accusations is meaningless. Success is based on hard work, a willingness to learn and a pleasant demeanor. It doesn't matter if you're an oppressed minority or a member of the capitalist oppressors. The keys to success are universal. Marinating in accusations of racism undermines the motivations for the first two and obliterates the third. The endless focus on racism is dooming whole generations to poverty and failure.

The solution in the Time magazine article linked above missed one, crucial part to helping out the underclass, be they black, white, brown or whatever. Their solution doesn't require the underclass to have a passion to escape their poverty. Without that, without the willingness to learn from others who have escaped, they're screwed.

Setting up my Manspace

Yesterday I finally mounted my workbench top on my cabinet bases. It's a small workbench, only 6' long, but it's the first one I've had in years. I love it. I've been saving glass jars from tomato sauces and the like and can now begin to sort my screws and nails within them. I used to use plastic bins that I bought at the store, but I found that glass jars work much better and, best of all, they're free and totally eco-friendly. We recycle our glass, but why spend the energy melting down the jars when you can recycle them yourself without the melting part?

I've still got boxes of stuff scattered throughout the garage that I need to put away. There's plenty of artwork and oddly-shaped things that will have to find a home somewhere, perhaps not at our house. I'm hoping that by the end of the weekend, I can call for my MGB to come home and receive its engine and transmission that are waiting here for it.

In the meantime, our Maximum Leader is watching over the process.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Blackout!

We're experiencing a power outage where we live. It looks to be pretty widespread. I'm having to blog by candlelight, just as my ancestors did. Now I know how the pioneers must have felt, blogging by wireless Internet device as they made their way across the prairies in their hybrid covered wagons.

How Far Will You Go to Visit a Favorite Business?

My daughter's bike needed repair. In the past, I've gone to Bicycle Warehouse in Pacific Beach. I've always liked them - their service is cheerful, quick and of excellent quality. I moved recently, so Bicycle Warehouse is now a bit of a drive. There are lots of bike repair shops between here and there and the work I needed done wasn't significant.

I still went to Bicycle Warehouse. They fixed the bike immediately and the fix was so simple that they did it for free.

What businesses do you go out of your way to visit?

Disco Eventually Died, Too

... probably from sheer boredom induced by relentless overexposure. Every time you heard a disco song, you could count "1..2..3..4 and 1..2..3..4.." to the beat. Sort of like the current beat in the media. "1..2..3..4 racism! 1..2..3..4 racism! 1..2..3..4 ..."
ATLANTA -- The campaign for mayor of this city, which has long promoted its racial tolerance, veered into controversy Thursday with the release of a memo urging black voters to unite around an African-American candidate and block the election of a white mayor.

A local group known as the Black Leadership Forum called for African-Americans to consolidate their support around Lisa Borders, president of the Atlanta City Council and one of several African-American candidates, according to a memo circulated on the Web and to local media.
OK, everybody! Put on your Danskins and puff out your hair! Unbutton your shirts down to your navels, guys! It's time to boogie!


Accusations of racism - they're like Disco, only you can't dance to them.

Is Obama Deliberately Trying to Torpedo the Economy?

As I've thought about my post yesterday wherein I showed that a family of four will have an additional $70,000 of debt over the next three years courtesy of the Federal government, it got me thinking and somewhat afraid.

Our family is doing pretty well. We can pay off loans and are trying to knock out our mortgage ahead of time. Having said that, there's no way on Earth I can take on an additional $70,000 over the next three years, particularly when the years beyond that will be equally bad. If I can't do it, how can anyone expect the average family, making about $40-50K to do it? We're getting buried, all of us.

Is it deliberate? Victor Davis Hanson thinks so.
I think the key was not so much the spending excess or new entitlements. The point instead was the consequence of the resulting deficits, which will require radically new taxation for generations. If on April 15 the federal and state governments, local entities, the Social Security system, and the new health-care programs can claim 70 percent of the income of the top 5 percent of taxpayers, then that is considered a public good — every bit as valuable as funding new programs, and one worth risking insolvency.

Individual compensation is now seen as arbitrary and, by extension, inherently unfair. A high income is now rationalized as having less to do with market-driven needs, acquired skills, a higher level of education, innate intelligence, inheritance, hard work, or accepting risk.
In essence, Obama is deliberately setting up a crisis where the only possible solution will be to tax successful people into submission. In previous posts, I've argued that Obama's goals are not to increase jobs or improve the economy, but to save the planet and redistribute wealth. In my mind, there's no way adding $70,000 of debt to every American family is anything but a deliberate effort to kill capitalism and hence, the American economy.

In the end, we will all be equal. Equally poor.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Your Cash for Clunkers Dollars at Work

Here's a '94 Caprice wagon being sacrificed at the altar of ecoidiocy. The last few seconds make watching the whole video worthwhile.

A Little More About Mimi Hall

Yesterday I snarked about Mimi Hall of the USA Today, claiming she was unclear on the concept when she wrote about how the deficits will hinder President Obama's political goals. When I wrote it, I knew I was being unfair to her and that she was just one of tens of millions of people who have the same detached view of the debt.

If you read the editorials, mostly on the left, but also sometimes on the right, it seems as though people think that the government debt is not their problem. It's spoken of in the abstract about this kind of bond or that amount of borrowing and the numbers are incomprehensibly cosmic - they don't translate down into individual human terms easily. Allow me to try to do so.

A trillion dollar deficit means that each of us just borrowed another $3,000. Ths year's $1.6T deficit will mean that we all just borrowed $4800. A family of four just borrowed $19,200. It's our debt, money that the government borrowed in our name. There's no plan at all to pay it off. Next year, according to the Administration, that family of four will borrow another $18,000. The year after that it will probably be close to $15,000. In three years, a family of four will be an additional $70,000 in debt with no plan to pay it off.

When Mimi and the others write about the deficit and talk about this or that politician's hopes being dashed they're dealing with abstract, second- or third-order effects in their lives. Even if Barack Obama was my best friend in the whole, wide world, I'd be totally enraged that the dingbat put me $70,000 farther into debt. I wouldn't care too much about his political hopes and dreams.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

It's Hot

... so we're not doing much of anything today.

People Unclear on the Concept, Hall of Fame Edition

Mimi Hall, writing in the USA Today, is unclear on the concept.
WASHINGTON — The federal budget deficit will hit a record $1.6 trillion this year, a figure that could threaten President Obama's agenda, complicate 2010 congressional campaigns and set up big political battles over government spending.
Here's our response, in the form of an open letter.
Dear Mimi,

You owe that money. President Obama is spending your money and your children's money. I'm glad you're worried about his political prospects. While you continue to do so, please get out your checkbook and begin writing checks to pay off the debt.

Sincerely,
K T Cat and Jacob the Syrian Hamster

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Dolphins Are So Cute!

They're playful and lovable and smart and kind and gentle ...

So the other evening we were watching some Shark Week wannabe program on PBS (what a waste of borrowed Chinese money!) where they were cataloging all these predators off the coast of South Africa, but when it came to the dolphins, it was all sweetness and light. They talked about this mammoth annual sardine run where zillions of the little guys swim up the eastern coast of South Africa. All along the way they get devoured by everything in sight - sharks, seagulls, whales and ... dolphins.

How come the dolphins are never portrayed as the mass-murderers of the sea? The poor sardines are just trying to swim up north and the dolphins are herding them into big balls and inhaling them as fast as they can. What a bunch of jerks.

Dolphins - engines of death.

Why the Interweb Tubes Exist

Could You Spend Just $75 per Month on Groceries?

For my birthday this year, my lovely bride bought me Dave Ramsey's My Total Money Makeover subscription. Yes, I'm a money geek. The subscription gets you his radio show podcasts, access to forums on his site and so forth. There's an interesting thread going on in the frugal living forum where folks who are trying to pay down their debts have challenged each other to live on $75 in groceries for a month. The discussion in the forum has established that this is $75 per person.

Could you do that? It amounts to $2.50 a day. As I've thought about it, I'm struggling to see how I could get anywhere close to that. I would think that proteins, fruits and vegetables would wipe that budget out in no time.

I'd also suggest that consuming large amounts of legumes is unfit for polite company, so that eliminates a steady diet of beans as a protein source.

Oatmeal for breakfast would be cheap. Tuna sandwiches for lunch would be cheap. What does that leave for dinner? Cook a monster pot roast early in the week and carve that up over time?

Hmmm.

Odds and Ends

Just some random thoughts for the morning.

  • Humans are uniquely capable of compassion towards other species. You never see a cat rescue a lizard from another cat. As intelligent as they are, you never see a dolphin rescue a sea urchin from an otter.

  • The best kind of home improvement project is one where you have to buy a tool you didn't already own in order to complete it. My recent exercise in hanging staghorn ferns required me to buy a bolt cutter. Yay! Now I have a bolt cutter!

  • You can give a cat access to the outside, but you cannot make her exercise. Our Maximum Leader has a cat door into the side and back yards and frequently has the Catican's main door open to the front yard. She still prefers to snooze inside.

  • Housecats don't understand about coyotes. Our Maximum Leader really wants to be in the front yard at night, the one place she's not allowed to go for her own safety. I can't seem to explain it to her.
There. Any random thoughts from you?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Another Reason to Support Obamacare

Because the government is more efficient and quicker to get things done than private coporations.

Seven months into (Obama's) presidency, fewer than half of his top appointees are in place advancing his agenda. Of more than 500 senior policymaking positions requiring Senate confirmation, just 43 percent have been filled ... He is trying to fix the financial markets but does not have an assistant treasury secretary for financial markets. He is spending more money on transportation than anyone since Dwight D. Eisenhower but does not have his own inspector general watching how the dollars are used. He is fighting two wars but does not have an Army secretary ...

Mrs. Clinton expressed the exasperation of many in the administration last month when she was asked by A.I.D. employees why they did not have a chief. “The clearance and vetting process is a nightmare,” she told them. “And it takes far longer than any of us would want to see. It is frustrating beyond words.”

The process of assembling a new administration has frustrated presidents for years, a point brought home when George W. Bush received the now-famous memorandum titled “Bin Ladin Determined to Strike U.S.” eight years ago this month but still did not have most of his national security team in place when planes smashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Oh yes, and lest we forget the best reason of all, government is less expensive as you can see from this graphic.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Finding Studs Behind Stucco

I'm trying to do this today. I've read many different ideas. I'll share the results here once I'm done.

Update: I'm trying to mount some staghorn ferns on our walls. The ferns are already mounted on plywood. I've come up with a way around the wall mounting idea - hanging them by chain from the eaves at the base of the walls. It would work, but now I need bolt cutters to cut through the chain. Argh!

Cheezburger of the Day

Financing the Debt with an Option ARM

Over at John Jansen's outstanding Across the Curve blog, in the comments of his closing post for August 21, was this comment from Chicken.
If you go back to FY 1998, 35% of US DEBT was long term debt(LT). Today that percentage is down to 24%, a 1% per year LT abandonment rate.
Followed by this one by Wallie.
Keen observation Chicken. The US is increasingly financing itself with an Option ARM.
I spent a little time looking for the graphs, but didn't come up with them. Having said that, it looks about right after watching this year's Treasury auctions. Lots and lots of short-term Treasuries have been sold this year that will adjust when they mature in a few years. It's practically guaranteed that they will adjust upwards as interest rates rise. That means these mountains of debt will cost us more in interest every year even if we don't keep adding to them, which of course we will given the out-of-control spending in DC.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Cheezburger of the Day

I Miss the Good Old Days

As long-time readers of this blog know, I'm a bit of a fuddy-duddy. Being prudicious involves a love of the past when people exercised self-restraint both morally and financially. Having said that, I'm beginning to wonder if I should support Obamacare after all. I find myself longing for the days when state-of-the-art medical care wasn't a luxury item and was available to all. If only it could be that way again!

I mean, such times did exist, didn't they? We're not trying to do something silly like Yacht Reform, are we?

A Four-legged Flood

Living with Bodie the Wonder Dog is like living with a four-legged flood. He puts everything he can find into his mouth - socks, shoes, wood scraps, rocks, dirt, flowers, pens, pencils, broken glass, bits of pottery - absolutely everything. Consequently we have to keep everything of value well above his reach. It looks like we're preparing for a hurricane or a breach of local levees. Our countertops are covered with things off the floor and the tops of dressers have mounds of dirty clothes since he can reach into most hampers.

Last night, I was hanging up some curtains downstairs while Bodie was scampering about, devouring something or other. I was absent-mindedly throwing the cardboard curtain rod containers into what seemed to be a trash can on the floor. My wife said, "Don't put that in there. That's not a trashcan, that's Bodie's toy bin." I replied, "You're making a rather fine point there, don't you think?"

Bodie the Wonder Flood.

I Apologize

I'd like to apologize for this post where I put up this graphic.


I was wrong and I misled you all. For this I am deeply sorry.

It turns out that the red lines should be much, much longer. To the tune of two trillion dollars.

I hope there is some way I can make it up to you.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Come Join in the Zombie Confab!

Or Missionary to the Frozen, Northern Wastelands has a post just ripe for conversation. Head on over and add your $0.02!

Plumeria

I love plumeria. I love the smell, the profusion of flowers and the buttery-soft feel of their petals. I liked this shot of one of ours; I think it caught that softness quite well. It might be worth clicking on the image for the larger version.

Rev. Wright Was a Wonderful Man

... at least until "them Jews" got to him.


H/T: Hot Air.

Ants in my Coffee

I've got black, Argentine ants running about in my kitchen this morning. Some of them were cruising around on my coffee maker. It's a good bet that one or two fell into the grounds and were boiled to death as my coffee brewed.

Since they're black ants and I drink my coffee black, they should improve the taste, right?

Better than creamer!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

China Increases Its Stake in Petrobras

... through the US government. Dig this.
The U.S. Export-Import Bank tells us it has issued a "preliminary commitment" letter to Petrobras in the amount of $2 billion and has discussed with Brazil the possibility of increasing that amount. Ex-Im Bank says it has not decided whether the money will come in the form of a direct loan or loan guarantees. Either way, this corporate foreign aid may strike some readers as odd, given that the U.S. Treasury seems desperate for cash and Petrobras is one of the largest corporations in the Americas.
Since the US Export-Import Bank doesn't have any more money than the US Government has, in effect China is lending this money to Petrobras. We borrow from China and lend to Petrobras. Petrobras, who is developing some of the largest offshore oil fields in the world, is a great investment.

You're welcome, China.

A New Plan for Health Care - Let's Get Joe Klein to Pay for It!

So today there were two contrasting editorials on the health care debate highlighted over at Real Clear Politics. In the first one, Joe Klein of Time magazine claims that the Republicans are nihilists and dumps on them because they don't have a plan to reform health care or at least they don't have a plan to cover everyone. Here's a tidbit.
There is no Republican health-care alternative in 2009 ... This is a difficult situation for the President. Cynicism about government is always easy, even if it now seems apparent that it was government action — by both Obama and, yes, George W. Bush — that prevented a reprise of the Great Depression. I watched Obama as he traveled the Rocky Mountain West, holding health-care forums, trying to lance the boil by eliciting questions from the irrational minority that had pulverized the public forums held by lesser pols.
That irrational minority seems to include the Congressional Budget Office whose math work has shown that Health Care Reform is going to cost more. A lot more. Trying to cover 47,000,000 people with health insurance is going to be expensive. Meanwhile, the irrational people know that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are all going bankrupt. Joe doesn't deal with this, he just rails against the nihilist Republicans that refuse to come up with a plan to do the impossible - cover everyone without spending a ton of cash.

Meanwhile, Dan Henninger makes an outstanding point in his editorial today. Barack Obama is trying not just to sell the impossible - covering everyone with no increase in the deficit, but he's trying to do it while California and New York are showing that the government can't do it all. In fact, it can't do what it's already signed up to do with any amount of competence.
In California and New York, the two most economically important and famous of the 50 states, the legislatures have been revealed as incompetent to manage the public's money. The budget crises in California and New York aren't just a normal turn in the fiscal cycle. Those governments have finally hit the wall.

Oblivious to manifest failure, the liberal-progressive idea keeps itself afloat on intellectual water wings-insisting that most people still believe that if government commits itself to accomplishing a public good, it will more or less succeed despite the difficulties and inefficiencies of these great projects. Needed good gets done.
And therein lies the rub.

With American socialism in its death throes in New York and California, one party is trying to push it further on and another is opting out. Pushing further down a failed road, which is what President Obama wants to do, is not progressive, it's stupid. Progressive is going backwards, going away from the concepts that are clearly bankrupting the nation. It's not nihilism to offer no counter proposal, it's realism.

Of course, I may be ignoring the easy solution to all of this. We could just get Joe Klein to pay for it all. That's not a nihilist attitude, is it?

Joe's wallet. Let's empty it in the interest of universal coverage.

Why Does a President Even Need a Press Secretary?

Go take a look at this exchange between Robert Gibbs and some White House reporters and ask yourself, "How does this guy make my government better?" All I can see is that he's a quote machine for the MSM and something to keep a bunch of journalists off the streets. The guy doesn't say anything interesting at all and spends all of his time answering "gotcha" questions.

They can't pay someone enough to do that job.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

College is Overrated - Buy a Chevy Volt Instead

Eric Peters, writing at the American Spectator, has a terrific dissection of the price of the new, all-electric, Chevy Volt. It costs about the same as a college education - $40,000.

So here's your choice - go green and flaunt your ecocredentials or buy a used jalopy for $2000 and send one of your kids to a junior college for two years and a state, 4-year college for the last two. Save the Earth or get your kid a degree in mechanical engineering.

Me, I'm picking Gaia over my kid.

Enough Beating Up John Edwards Already

Apparently John Edwards has another love child. Or is being forced to admit to the first one. Or something like that. I have to admit I haven't followed all the breathless gossip about the guy. I click past the stories that keep popping up on the news sites.

John Edwards, whatever his personal failings may be, is famous for his assertion that there are two Americas, one rich and one poor. I agree with him. He brought one of our greatest problems as a nation into the spotlight, but it's all being lost now in the mindless pursuit of how much sex he had with who. It's all so uninteresting. His career is finished while the problem he pointed out lives on for tens of millions.

The only reason I can think of for the fascination with his personal life and that of others like John Ensign is that the press is simply too stupid and too unsophisticated to be able to discuss the substance of his assertions in an entertaining fashion.

The guy did us a favor, but we didn't recognize it.

Monday, August 17, 2009

On Hospitals, Doctors and Quick Bucks

Our genius president, who is much, much smarter than Moose Barbie Sarah Palin, keeps suggesting that doctors are trying to make quick bucks by removing your body parts instead of going for preventative medicine. Our Monks of Miscellaneous Musings continue the analysis of it here.
Recall the situation in Oregon where a lady suffering from cancer was denied expensive medication by the Oregon health board (“death panel” by omission rather than commission), who was it that stepped in and provided the meds for free? That’s right, the evil pharmaceutical company. Why? Beyond any sense of altruism that may have guided the decision, they had skin in the game. They had a (gasp), profit-motive.

Where the government had no incentive to keep this woman alive (indeed, in order to control costs, they had every incentive for this woman to be permanently taken off the rolls), Big Pharma has every incentive for people to stay alive in order to continue to buy their products. So, greed is good

Big Pharma: Keeping people alive so that they can live to pay another day.
And that is the crux of the matter. If doctors were travelling creatures, roaming from town to town, making quick bucks as they performed surgeries, then the president's hypothesis would hold. But doctors aren't like that. They require an enormous infrastructure to exist. They sit atop a pyramid of capital investment and labor in the form of buildings, equipment, skilled and unskilled assistants, hi-technology devices, elaborate pharmaceutical research and so on. They're about as fixed in place as any professional out there. The thought that they would risk their entire infrastructure or that their hospitals would allow them to chop off limbs and risk monster lawsuits so they could make a few thousand dollars is idiocy.

"Well, the hospital lost $35,576,000 in the lawsuit to the patient, but we did score $12,000 on the amputation fees!"

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Beware the Rise of the Angry Whitezzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Well, now we know why Joe the Plumber was so well-publicized.
Implicit in the celebration of Joe the Plumber, whether intentional or not, was also a racial contrast with the African-American Democratic candidate
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Vengeance is Mine

Someone drank the last Diet Coke in the fridge. This is a crime without comparison. My vengeance shall be spoken of for years.

Update: My wife just called to tell me that she had accidentally hidden the last Diet Coke while rearranging the fridge. It has been found. My white-hot rage is subsiding underneath a cataract of fizzy, cold, brown goodness. Paroxysms of wild anger and unspeakable violence have been avoided.

The citizens of Tierrasanta may rest easy. For now.

Catican Update

Our experiment with the Catican has had limited success. To review, the Catican is the area in the garage (all of it right now until we finish unpacking) where our Maximum Leader lives most of the time. There is a cat door into the side and backyards that are cat-safe, i.e. free of coyotes. Our Maximum Leader is allowed in the house when people are home. We limit her time in there because my new wife is allergic to her.

Our Maximum Leader has grown quite fat. It turns out she doesn't like the side yard or the backyard because of our dog, Bodie, and the neighbor's dog. She likes eating and sleeping in the garage. The house has been a bit of a bust, too. The couch where she would hang out was Bodie-accessible and therefore unpleasant. Her presence on the couch also caused my wife to sneeze. With enough noodling, however, almost any problem can be solved.

First, our coyote problem is confined to nighttime. Our Maximum Leader isn't much of a wanderer any more as she's turning 10 this year, so letting her out into the front yard in the day time works well. To solve the indoor problem, we got her a nice cat tree from Petco (on sale - about 40% off!) that is just the right height to avoid the dog and allow her followers to pet her and tell her how wonderful she is. Which they all do.

Finally, we moved her off of Science Diet Lite and onto Prescription Diet r/d. It's designed for chubby kitties who might be getting diabetes. She doesn't have any of the symptoms, but it's a good precaution. Fortunately, she likes it. I don't have a cat scale here, but I'd love to watch her weight drop. I might see if I can find one on eBay for cheap.

In any case, here she is, overflowing out of the top perch in her new cat tree, waiting for everyone to come and pet her.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A Short Training Film from your Local Medical School

... as envisioned by Barack "doctors want to cut off your limbs so they can get big paydays" Obama.


Dr. Hrothgar will see you now.

Friday, August 14, 2009

PorchCat

... surveys the world from the porch*.


* - Technically, it's more of an abandoned flowerbed than a porch, but AbandonedFlowerbedCat didn't seem to roll off the tongue as well.

Hooray for Latinos!

... well, these Latinos in particular.

There Already Are Death Boards

Sarah Palin has raised quite a stir with her Facebook articles attacking Obamacare. Quite correctly, she has pointed out that controlling costs will have to be done through rationing care which will lead to government agencies determining who will get the care they need to survive and who will not. Because health care is a scarce resource and we don't have the money to provide top-line care for everyone, it can't go any other way.

Because health care is a scarce resource and we don't have the money to provide top-line care for everyone, this is already happening. The current Death Boards live in your wallet. It's called money. When you run out of it, the care stops. There are lots of exceptions, but for the most part, you get the care you have earned. Earned is the operative word here.

If you choose to study electrical engineering and land a job with HP, you have earned health care under our current system. If you choose to smoke dope in high school and end up as the night manager of the local No-Tell Motel with tattoos all over your body and a Home Depot Sampler Set of fasteners piercing your face, you have not earned health care. The Death Board, to a great extent, is controlled by your actions. Obamacare does away with that.

In keeping with the theme of his administration, earning things is dismissed as irrelevant. What you earn will be given to the government who will allocate the goods and services as it sees fit. Of course there will be Death Boards. How could there not be? If the entire argument for Obamacare is that 47,000,000 are not being covered right now, it's idiotic to claim that we will be able to cover all 47,000,000 with state-of-the-art health care on demand. The same number of people will suffer from a lack of medicine as do now, only the determination of who suffers will be made by the government.

That's what happens with scarce goods. Not everyone can have them. That's because they're, you know, scarce. Like yachts.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Cheezburger of the Day

More Political Polarization to Come

Shannon Love has a great post today about the decomparmentalization of health care being proposed by President Obama. Here's a relevant bit to my previous post discussing how growth in government leads to a growth in political strife.
With Obamacare, (health care compartmentalization into Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance) will change. The walls of the financial compartments will crumble. All medical spending for everyone will come out of one big financial pot. Suddenly, health-care spending will become zero-sum. Spending more on the elderly or the poor will automatically mean spending less on middle-class families and vice versa. Middle-class families won’t be able to accommodate increased spending on the elderly by trimming other parts of the family budget. Even if middle-class people pay more taxes into the entire system, politicians will always have to balance spending those increased taxes on the elderly and poor against the needs of middle-class families.

With Obamacare, medical spending will be like baking one pie for three siblings. If one sibling gets a bigger piece that automatically means the other two siblings get smaller pieces. The one-pie system has a built-in automatic source of conflict.
Maybe I'm looking at this all wrong. Maybe this is a chance to bring together various factions of the country into a single group. Imagine what would happen if the poor and the middle class ganged up on the elderly. More harmony for all!

Well, err, more harmony for 2/3 of us ...

Choose Your Own Apocalypse!

Paul Kedrosky links to a Slate page where you can choose your own apocalypse. It's apocalyptastic! Here's what I ended up with on my first quick and sloppy try:

You are a humanitarian internationalist. You're convinced mankind will terminate America—but at least we won't off ourselves in the process. You'll know you're right when: Everyone on Earth pledges allegiance to a world government; the feds default on the national debt.


It's loads of fun. Go try it out and let us know how you think the world is going to end. Remember, though: we can avoid these doomsday scenarios if we can make yachts affordable for all.

Yacht Reform Now!

Yachts are lovely things. They promote family bonding and allow Americans to educate themselves by seeing new parts of the world. Too many Americans are without yachts. In fact, right now, only the rich can afford yachts.

I propose we immediately enact yacht reform. My proposed American Yachting Freedom Act of 2009, weighing in at 1,421 pages, will give all Americans yachts at no extra cost to the taxpayer by eliminating the inefficiencies in yacht procurement. By reducing the amount of money we pay yacht makers, who are gouging the public unmercifully in a coordinated attack despite the fact that there are lots of them and they compete with each other, we will be able to afford yachts for all.

Please consider joining our campaign by linking to this post and adding your own demands for yacht reform!

The fierce, moral urgency of yachts.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Arkansas Kills off the Payday Lenders

I saw this via the Dave Ramsey Show's Twitter feed.
LITTLE ROCK — Opponents of payday lending in Arkansas announced Tuesday that the last such business charging high interest for short-term loans has left the state.

The demise of the payday lending industry comes eight months after the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled that a 1999 law that authorized the practice violated the state constitution, and 16 months after Attorney General Dustin McDaniel issued cease-and-desist letters to payday outlets, accusing them of violating Arkansas’ usury limit set by the constitution.

In March, 2008, there were 237 payday lending operations in the state.
Payday lenders prey upon the financially backwards members of society, lending them money against future paychecks and charging hundreds of percent interest. I was in one recently, just trying to see if I could use a copier for something I needed quickly and I saw that the posted interest rates on their loans were around 230%. There was a couple in there, clearly not the most alert people in the world, getting money. It made me sick.

Today, Arkansas. Tomorrow, hopefully, the rest of the US!

A Little More on Dr. Warren Hern

This is an addendum to my post describing Dr. Warren Hern, abortionist.

So just what do you do on the day you come to the conclusion that Man is a cancer on the planet? Do you grab the phone and call your friends and family to tell them? Just how does that conversation go? And isn't the act of grabbing the phone, a human invention made possible by the work of millions of people, in itself a contradictory act?

It's kind of like the multiculturalist who comes to the conclusion that all civlizations and nations are equal. At the moment of epiphany, which European / American invention do they use to communicate this to others?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The US Navy Should Fight Global Warming

... because if the sea rises, all our ships could sink. Think about it, if the sea rises to the point where it goes over the top of the ship, that ship is sunk.

Scary stuff. Don't believe me? Check out what happened to these ships when the sea rose on them.

Doctor Warren Hern, Savior of the Planet

I was reading Scipio's blog yesterday wherein he introduced me to the wonderful Dr. Warren Hern. Dr. Hern punctures baby's skulls for a living. Well, to be fair, he does more than that. He also purees babies, sprays dissolving fluids on them, cuts them into bits like a chicken carcass and performs all kinds of other skillful acts of abortion. Lest you think he's just in it for the money, you need to understand that he's protecting the Earth.

Dr. Hern sees man as a cancer on the planet, making him, by inference, the antibody.
(The Esquire article linked above references) one of his many scientific publications, which have titles like Shipibo Polygyny and Patrilocality or Urban Malignancy: Similarity in the Fractal Dimensions of Urban Morphology and Malignant Neoplasms. This one argues that man is a "malignant ecotumor" laying waste the planet.
Dr. Hern is a mass of contradictions - so many, in fact, that one could easily generate a whole series of blog posts about them. I might revisit this in the future, but let's just cut to the chase and knock off the biggest one first.

Dr. Hern is unhappy that he's receiving death threats. Oh sure, he's not actually been killed and the number of abortionist murders in the last 10 years in the entire country would qualify as a very quiet night in the ganglands of Chicago, but he's upset that he's been threatened. I don't get it at all.

Dr. Hern, as near as I can tell, is an atheist. This means that his life has no intrinsic meaning. If Man is a cancer on the Earth, then killing anyone is a good thing, whether that be a baby or Dr. Hern or you or me. In fact, one could argue that Dr. Hern is actually hurting the planet and keeping us from really going after the ecotumor that is human civilization.

After all, one of the babies he's aborting could be the next Chairman Mao.

Scoreboard: Mao - 40,000,000 dead, Dr. Hern - 10,000 dead. Dr. Hern, you need to step up your game.

Cheezburger of the Day

An End to Partisanship

... is impossible when you politicize everything by sucking it into the government. Dig this video from ABC News wherein a devoted father whose son has cerebral palsy screams at Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) until the police have to escort him out of the room.

The screaming and arguing is exactly what you'd expect when you move decisions out from the world of earning what you get and into the world of government distribution of goods and services.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Cheezburger of the Day

Political Violence Is the Shape of Things to Come

P J O'Rourke has a famous quote - "Politics is the business of getting power and privilege without possessing merit." The way you get such power is to convince others to vote for your cause. You don't sell them anything in any real sense, you argue with them until they finally agree with you. In a shoe store, the salesman does his best to find what you want so you will buy it. If there were a political store, the salesman would argue with you until you bought the one thing they offered.

As the government grows in size, a natural consequence will be more arguments. The government now controls the mortgage industry, most of the auto industry and is attempting to devour the medical industry. Shoe stores are going away to be replaced by political stores. The end result will be more things like this, described in greater detail over at our Monastery of Miscellaneous Musings:


In the absence of government intervention, such an altercation would be totally pointless. The SEIU members would have had no reason to beat up Kenneth Gladney. This happens when the government runs the shoe store because arguments are the sales tools. In a private shoe store, value is the sales tool.

Violence, arguments and societal polarization are all natural outgrowths of government expansion.

How About a Tea Party Protest at an Auto Dealership?

So I was driving around San Diego yesterday when I went past a Chrysler dealership that had two signs of the times. The first was a big banner informing you that the president wanted you to buy a new car. The second was a swarm of lawn signs advertising their participation in the Cash for Clunkers scam. I'll try to go back today and get some photos, but I don't know if I'll have the time. In any case, this got me angry and made me think: Why not have a Tea Party protest at an auto dealership?

As I drove by, all I could think of was how we were all running up yet more debt to hand cash to the people who were walking around the lot, turning in perfectly usable cars for destruction. I don't like that idea at all and the only thing I could think of to stop it would be to protest.

I would bet that the news media would cover such a thing. The dealership would completely freak out and would do anything to get you to leave. It would be a total circus.

It might even bring out the Nazi rent-a-mobs. You know, people like this:


To see more such people, check out this link.

H/T: Secular Apostate.

The Greatest Cash for Clunkers Story of All Time

... can be found here. Fantastic. Absolutely fantastic.

Next up: A nationalized health care plan concocted by the same kind of out-of-touch, ivory tower, academic dingbats. Yay!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

On Motivating 12-year-old Girls

My daughter is 12. She plays on a club soccer team and could be a good player if she worked at it. In all the years I've tried things with her, soccer is the one thing where she's shown both aptitude and interest. Her success in soccer is important to me because it would show her the connection between work, success and pleasure that can be analogized to school. Right now, she's a below-average club player. She doesn't embarass herself, but she's not a starter.

My son played baseball when he was her age. He was an all-star pitcher and second baseman. He led the league in steals one year and was my closer for two seasons. He was an outstanding hitter, too. He wanted to be good and worked hard at it. He would ask me all the time to go hit ground balls to him at the park. I never had to push him to do it.

I've discovered that motivating boys and girls is totally different. (Those of you who majored in Feminist Studies might want to go somewhere else right now. Like here maybe.) I've tried a bunch of things with my daughter and none of them have worked. For example, I offered her $1 for every kick she could do while juggling the soccer ball with her foot. She's practiced at it and has improved, but the day I set for her to show me and get the payoff came and went and she never asked to show me. It wasn't a big deal. Dittos for other things I've tried.

What is a big deal are friends. While she didn't bother to show me the juggling to get the cash, she never forgets her dates with her friends. Sleepovers are especially big. She had one last night and for the week prior, it was a constant conversation topic in the car. While my son would talk to me about Tony Gwynn while we drove, my daughter talks to me about her social schedule.

There is no comparison in terms of motivations. Money, video games, TV time, trips to the beach - those are miniscule in comparison to time spent with friends. It took me a year to figure this out. Now I just have to figure out how to use it...

Cheezburger of the Day

Further Fanning the Mac-PC Laptop Flames

Thanks to everyone who's been participating in the comments of the posts about my son's new Macbook. Allow me to throw yet more gasoline on the fire.

First off, speed comparisons between any MacOS and Vista are irrelevant. I don't use Vista. I use XP. I think Vista is a dog and avoided it with no consequences other than saving money. Second, my own laptops are many years old and couldn't have run Vista anyway, but still manage to do just fine with my application of choice, Adobe Creative Suite. Adobe Creative Suite is more sophisticated than I can ever use, a fact which blows away the "Macs have better applications" argument instantly. If I can't use what I have now, what am I going to do with more?

By the way, I don't use MS Outlook for email. I hate Outlook. I use Eudora. I have for years. My version of Eudora is probably 8 years out of date. That just goes to show you what a waste of time all of the upgrades to email applications have been.

I just compared prices on the Dell I would have bought and Macbook I would have bought. It's $1100 for the Dell (500 GB HD, XP as the OS, 4 GB RAM ...) and $2300 for the Macbook Pro with a 500GB HD. Paying $2300 for a computer in 2009 is insane unless you're talking a monster gaming machine. There's just no excuse for it. To compare the prices further, assuming I was a 17-year-old boy, I would suggest this:

I can either have a Macbook Pro or I can buy a Dell and a fixer VW Microbus.

Seriously, that's the choice. My son is a surfer and really wants a Microbus. For the cost of the Macbook, he could have a killer laptop and a Microbus. If he chose to buy used parts for the thing, he could repair the Microbus for the cost of all the doodads he'd be buying at the Mac Store because the price differential doesn't stop with the laptop.

Finally, the killer argument. What does a 17-year-old chick want more - a tanned, cut surfer in a Microbus he fixed himself or a guy with a Macbook?

Game over. :-)

Luckily for him, the chicks will get both because he bought the VW Microbus equivalent of a laptop - the low end Macbook.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Laptop Purchase Update

$1100 later, we have the lowest end Macbook with a 13" screen.

Great Quote on the Health Care Debate

Dig this one from Ramesh Ponnuru:
(The president asserts that) the system is an unsustainable disaster, but you can keep your piece of it if you want. And the Democrats wonder why selling health-care reform to the public has been so hard?
Hilaaaaarious!

Shopping for a Laptop

... for my son. I've told him I will pay for a mid-range Dell and if he wants something else, he has to make up the difference. For $900, you can get a very nice Dell laptop. 17" screen, good processor and hard drive and all the bells and whistles. When the upgrade to Windows 7 is released, you'll have a good OS as well.

He wants a Mac.

The key feature he's looking for is Garage Band which comes free with the Mac laptop. He looked at the prices and doesn't want to pay a big premium. He is going to pitch in $100 and get the low end MacBook. I took a look at the specs and the thing is just dreadful. First, it's got a 13" screen. That alone dooms it for me. I've taken to using big, dual monitors on my desktop machines and I really dislike using just a single screen on my laptops. Moving to a tank slit view of the world with a 13" screen is unthinkable. I can't imagine trying to do video or image editing on the thing.

Garage Band, at least as far as I've researched it, is like Pokemon. You can buy the starter kit, but the good things are in the expansion packs. $99 later you have new background vocals, $99 more and you have more drum loops, $99 more and you have ...

The Mac is a total rip-off from what I can see. Garage Band is not unique in any way - there are several PC programs that do the same thing and can even share files with it. The best of them costs under $50.

As soon as Win7 is out, all of my PCs are going to leave XP and Vista and move to Win7. Networking and sharing files will be simpler. I'm not sure what his Macbook is going to do with the network. Dittos for the printer we have on the network.

I've decided to let him go with what he wants and have him deal with the consequences. I'm going to make him shop for laptops at Best Buy before we go to the Mac store and blow his cash. At least he'll be making an educated decision.

I was never a Mac fanboy and I've always thought the things were way overrated. I've watched the professional video editor at work crash his Mac repeatedly editing movies, so I don't get this "Mac is more stable" argument. Now that I'm doing a side-by-side comparison, I really don't get it at all. It just looks like a money pit for hipsters.

In the Catican

I'm just sitting here in the Catican, paying bills, with our Maximum Leader helping me do the math. The lighting in here is just some flourescents on the ceiling and I chose to suppress the flash. The result was a lot more stark than I had expected. Her eyes are wide because the light isn't as great as the camera suggests, but overall I think the photo came out pretty well.

Enjoy.

Friday, August 07, 2009

A Frightening Disconnect

I'm sure by now you've seen the videos of raucus Tea Party protests at town-hall meetings and heard the Democrats response to them - they're inauthentic, they're rent-a-mobs, they're Nazis. Since our buddies over at our Monastery of Miscellaneous Musings are among the Tea Partiers, we know better. They've been inside the protests and the know who's coming to them and how they've been organized. Our Ambassador to the Mainstream Media, Peggy Noonan, has a great column on the disconnect between reality and the Democratic Party's view of the protestors today. Here's a tidbit.
What has been most unsettling is not the congressmen’s surprise but a hard new tone that emerged this week. The leftosphere and the liberal commentariat charged that the town hall meetings weren’t authentic, the crowds were ginned up by insurance companies, lobbyists and the Republican National Committee. But you can’t get people to leave their homes and go to a meeting with a congressman (of all people) unless they are engaged to the point of passion.
That's the characterization and here's the reality.
What the town-hall meetings represent is a feeling of rebellion, an uprising against change they do not believe in. And the Democratic response has been stunningly crude and aggressive. It has been to attack. Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the United States House of Representatives, accused the people at the meetings of “carrying swastikas and symbols like that.” (Apparently one protester held a hand-lettered sign with a “no” slash over a swastika.) But they are not Nazis, they’re Americans. Some of them looked like they’d actually spent some time fighting Nazis.
Ironically, one of the left's leading intellectuals, Paul "I've got a Nobel Prize and you don't, you meaningless little droid" Krugman has what might be the ultimate response to the Tea Party protests in his column today. Calling people Nazis in America is one thing. Calling someone a Nazi in Germany is much more serious. Krugman crosses the Rubicon and does the equivalent American act. He calls the Tea Party protestors racists.
But they’re probably reacting less to what Mr. Obama is doing, or even to what they’ve heard about what he’s doing, than to who he is.

That is, the driving force behind the town hall mobs is probably the same cultural and racial anxiety that’s behind the “birther” movement ...

Does this sound familiar? It should: it’s a strategy that has played a central role in American politics ever since Richard Nixon realized that he could advance Republican fortunes by appealing to the racial fears of working-class whites.
Until I had read Peggy's column, I hadn't seen the bigger picture. That is, the passion of the protestors is not just being ignored, it's being attributed to evil intent and evil motivations. A line is being crossed by the government health care supporters, one that is sure to escalate the rage. You can call me a Nazi all day long and it doesn't bother me. I think it's funny and I can respond by talking in a fake German accent, goose-stepping around the room, doing the fascist salute with a toothbrush held under my nose and shouting lines from WW II movies. I find it hilarious. If you call me a racist, it's another thing altogether. It makes me very, very angry.

I don't get any sense at all from the elected officials and political operatives pushing this bill that they realize what they're doing or who they're dealing with and that is a bit frightening. Imagine how this AARP meeting would have gone had the snotty young chick hadn't just dismissed the old geezers and walked away, but instead called them racists.


Gasoline, meet lit match.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

A Potemkin Village for all of Us

Potemkin Villages, which may or may not have actually existed in real life, are described as follows on Wikipedia.
Potemkin villages were purportedly fake settlements erected at the direction of Russian minister Grigory Potyomkin to fool Empress Catherine II during her visit to Crimea in 1787. According to this story, Potyomkin, who led the Crimean military campaign, had hollow facades of villages constructed along the desolate banks of the Dnieper River in order to impress the monarch and her travel party with the value of her new conquests, thus enhancing his standing in the empress' eyes.
Allow me to suggest that we may be living in a Potemkin America.

Almost every time a politician speaks, you hear them wax rhapsodic about "hard working American families" and how they need this or that benefit from the government lest they devolve into cannibalizing their children for lack of food / health care / education benefits / cash for their clunkers.

What if the "hard-working American family" struggling to survive is a mythical construct? Here is the evidence that it does not, in fact, exist. Watch the soft-core porn on prime-time TV. Watch the medium-core porn on cable TV. Look at the revenue growth in hard-core porn on the Internet. Check out the rancid profiles of children on MySpace. Look at the growth of single-parent families in the last 50 years. Look at the growth of our prison population over that same period of time and how that population comes from single-parent families.

What if the "hard-working American family struggling to make ends meet" is instead just American households suffering the natural consequences of the societal decay that has come from embracing a libertine moral code? Isn't the expected result of the porn all around you an increase in single-parent families? Isn't the expected result of increased single-parent families massive prison populations and household poverty?

If that's the case, then the entire logical foundation for all of our policy debates is total nonsense. To make the analysis more personal, if your teenage child was engrossed in porn, using drugs and otherwise focused on sating his bodily desires, would you respond by buying him a new car? Would you respond by increasing his teacher's pay? Would you respond by increasing his allowance?

If your little darling did all of those things, but you rewarded him as if he was a hard-working American struggling to make ends meet, what end result would you expect?

Did this come from hard-working American families struggling to make ends meet?

Sleep

... is the enemy of all bloggers and must be fought on a daily basis. I've been sleeping well the past few weeks and it's wreaking havoc on my blog.

Curse you, sleep!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Our Founding Fathers Would Be Proud

Interest Rates Creeping Upwards

I don't know if anyone's been watching, but interest rates have been steadily creeping upwards. I'll try and find a chart later today, I'm running very late this morning because I slept in. In any case, interest rates are rising despite the fact that there is still no real increase in business or consumer lending.

Why is that? Dig this.
(Today) the Treasury will reveal the details of the 3 year ,10 year and 30 year auctions which are on the docket for next week. The package should total in the vicinity of $ 75 billion which would be the largest package of those three issues since the dawn of time.
The government is sucking up massive amounts of money.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Does Anyone Else See This As Fundamentally Evil?

Dig this tidbit about the cash for clunkers program.

What Mr. Mueller discovered is that sodium silicate is the designated agent of death for cars surrendered under the federal cash-for-clunkers program. To receive government reimbursement, auto dealers who offer rebates on new cars in exchange for so-called clunkers must agree to "kill" the old models, using a method the government outlines in great detail in its 136-page manual for dealers: Drain the engine of oil and replace it with two quarts of a sodium-silicate solution.

"The heat of the operating engine then dehydrates the solution leaving solid sodium silicate distributed throughout the engine's oiled surfaces and moving parts," says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration publication. "These solids quickly abrade the bearings causing the engine to seize while damaging the moving parts of the engine and coating all of the oil passages."
This is insane. It's not green, it doesn't help the poor and the stimulus it provides is temporary at best. It just seems fundamentally evil to me. Consider these facts:

  • Building a new car consumes resources of all kinds. Buying a used one is the ultimate in recycling.
  • New cars are typically financed, loading consumers with more debt at a time when debt is a bigger millstone than usual. If you have savings and no debt, you can weather a layoff better than if you have no savings and a car loan.
  • Finally, as B-Daddy commented on this post, this doesn't increase demand for new cars, it just sucks up future demand and leaves us with a decrease later on.
In the comments on this WSJ article, there are more great points. Here are a few of them.
So tell me how much did it costs the taxpayers to have these government employed pea brains to come up with this stupidity.
I am seeing pictures of cars that are in better shape than a lot of cars parked in the community college parking lot.
----------
Hummmmm. Pay two to four times the value for an item, and then destroy it. Or take an item MORE valuable than you pay for it ... and destroy it.

Thank you, Government. You've applied your principles on foreign aid, education, and health care to our garages...
------------
Every December, the newspaper has a few stories of local people's struggles and needs. A Christmas wish. There is always a person in need of a car.

This clunkers program is such a waste.
If this is a good idea, then why not firebomb the urban centers of the Midwest to help the building and real estate industries recover?


The Obama economic recovery team springs into action, bringing 800,000 pounds of stimulus to Dayton, OH! Take that, recession!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Cheezburger of the Day

The Second Amendment

I saw this on twitpic and loved it.

Video Clips from this Weekend's Talk Shows

Both Republicans and Democrats hit the talk show circuit this weekend providing their views on how the government could stimulate the economy, provide you with health care, give you more unemployment benefits and save the planet from global warming. It looked something like this.


Since everything they promise works so well and costs so little, it's no wonder we keep asking for more, more, MORE!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Another Bug for Tim

After his triumphant identification of this Black Witch Moth, I'm hoping our favorite amateur entymologist can ID this creature we saw today at a consignment store. What do you say, Tim?

Triangle

I was playing around with my Nikon D60 artillery piece last weekend and took some macro shots of flowers on our patio. I like the geometry and colors of this one in particular. I uploaded a larger than normal original, so clicking on the image is worth it. I hope.

Enjoy!

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Help Out a Feline Theocratician

... with a few clicks and some brief typing. Go here for the details.

Captchadef

Here's another captchadef.

untice (v): To drive someone away from something they might otherwise want. "Men found Karen's burlap dress and exterior latex makeup unticing."

Environmentalism as a Religion

I suggest it is one. Here's a short synopsis.

I preach traditional, Catholic morality on this blog. I know that in the grand scheme of things, my adherence to Catholicism is mostly irrelevant. That is, I may succeed in remaining faithful to my wife or chaste before marriage, but I know that for every one of me, there are tens or hundreds of college guys in the bars in Pacific Beach trying (and succeeding!) to get laid.

I do not practice chastity because it's going to change the world, but because my religion tells me not to do so would be a sin.

Similarly, cap and trade is irrelevant. India and China, nations with populations many times our size, have told us to bugger off when it comes to CO2 emissions. In the time it takes us to reduce ours by 20%, they will have increased theirs by much, much more. I'm sure Indonesia won't be far behind. As those three population giants progress, our reductions in CO2 will be washed away, yet American environmentalists cling to the belief that we need to reduce our CO2 emissions.

I suggest that this is analogous to my own efforts at chastity. America is being commanded to reduce its CO2 levels not because it will actually make a difference, but instead because it is a sin against the religion of environmentalism.

Meanwhile, we have Chateau Gore. He's the analog of the televangelist who preaches about donating to the poor while living in a mansion.

What If We're All Alone Out Here?

What if there are no other civilizations in the Universe? The Puppy Blender pointed us to a cool summary article about researchers who used the Fermi Paradox to suggest that there are no more than 10 advanced civilizations in our galaxy.
The Fermi paradox focuses on the existence of advanced civilizations elsewhere in the galaxy. If these civilizations are out there--and many analyses suggest the galaxy should be teeming with life--why haven't we seen evidence of them?
Only 10? All of a sudden I feel a little lonely and depressed. It's time for some cuddling with our Maximum Leader to cheer me up.

The cure for galactic ennui.

There Should Be an Official Cash for Clunkers Blog

... because it would solve problems like this.
Some dealers were told July 30 that the reimbursements would end at midnight. Mickey Anderson, president of Performance Automotive Group in Omaha, Nebraska, said Toyota advised him to suspend sales with “clunker” rebates after the manufacturer was notified by NHTSA that the program was halted.

“We were open until 3 a.m. last night delivering cars because customers were alarmed by the deadline and fearing they were going to be too late,” Tamara Darvish, who owns 18 automobile dealerships in the Washington area, said in a telephone interview yesterday.
This isn't a complicated program. You send in a voucher, they send you a check. The details can't be that messy, even for a government program. A simple blog would have cleared all of this up for both dealers and consumers.

Having said that, I'm totally against this. First, it's a fake stimulus. All you're doing is robbing future demand for current demand. All the cars you sell today because of a $4500 check are cars you would have sold in a couple of months anyway, but won't sell now.

Secondly, it's a good bet that most of the customers are financing their new cars. The last thing an economy going through a balance sheet recession needs is more people with more debt.

Finally, they are destroying the clunkers. Those are cars that poor families could afford to buy with cash and could still give years of service. Instead, a bunch of usable, inexpensive cars are being taken off the market permanently.

My clunkers are staying here with me, thank you very much. B-Daddy has more on this story.