Wednesday, October 31, 2012

He Looks Taller When He Stands On A Pile Of Money

Here's an interesting tidbit about our favorite Peronist demagogue, Robert Reich, from Mark Perry's blog:
Robert Reich’s speaking fee is $37,500 to $100,000 according to the website below, and he therefore is able to net huge personal profits for his 30-minute talks.
Not bad for an anti-free-market fellow like Bobby.

"Guess how much you're going to pay me...Nope, higher...Nope, higher...No, higher still!"

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

OK, I Finally Watched The Obama Children Singing Ad

I know I'm behind the times, but I have to admit, I had no idea it was so ... so ... what's the right phrase here? Limbic? Appealing to the lizard portion of our brains, the children cry out, "DANGER! DANGER! Mitt Romney and the Koch brothers will eat you!"

Was this created by paranoid schizophrenics? It sure looks like it.

A Federal Register overflowing with regulations, government spending at all time highs and the kids are telling us we're all screwed unless we keep going for more, more, more government control. It's counter-intellectual. Or is that anti-intellectual? Or maybe just utterly bankrupt?

Words fail me.

Parting question: Was there a Peron Youth movement? What color shirts did they wear?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Obamacare, Nibble 3

It's been a while since I've chewed through some government paperwork to discover just what the regulations are like, but this one was worth the wait. Here's a delicious tidbit.
Under the look-back/stability period safe harbor method, an employer would determine each employee’s full-time status by looking back at a defined period of not less than three but not more than 12 consecutive calendar months, as chosen by the employer (the measurement period), to determine whether during the measurement period the employee averaged at least 30 hours of service per week. If the employee were determined to be a full-time employee during the measurement period, then the employee would be treated as a full-time employee during a subsequent “stability period,” regardless of the employee’s number of hours of service during the stability period, so long as he or she remained an employee. For an employee determined to be a full-time employee during the measurement period, the stability period would be a period of at least six consecutive calendar months that follows the measurement period and is no shorter in duration than the measurement period. If the employee were determined not to be a full-time employee during the measurement period, the employer would be permitted to treat the employee as not a full-time employee during a stability period that followed the measurement period, but the stability period could not exceed the measurement period.

Check out the whole thing in all its glory.

Cheezburger of the Day

Personalizing Peronism

So I finally engaged one of my Robert Reich-loving friends on Facebook. But rather than discuss the editorial Reich wrote with its macroeconomic Peronist twaddle, I asked a simple, personal question.
So let's assume that Reich is correct and you've got the thing nailed down. The super-rich are controlling the country. They aren't controlling it so tightly that they're aware of what you, personally, are doing. Your life isn't under the view of Government Satellites and their Beams. So, seriously, go double your income. However you can do it. Change your career, go back to school, take multiple jobs, work a hundred hours a week, whatever. Not to pay taxes, but to learn how. Then double it again and double it again. Find the spot at which you cross over from good to evil, from honest earner to dishonest money-stealer. There must be one, right? Where is it?
We'll see what kind of discussion this engenders, but I think it's an important one to have. There are people behind the statistics, both on the rich side and the poor side. What are they like? What are they doing?

I have friends who are bank executives and ones that are partners in law firms. They don't seem evil to me. They volunteer their time to worthy causes, they donate lots of money and they seem to work in an ethical fashion. Are they wicked and greedy? Do they work for the wicked and greedy? Are they doing it unwittingly? Are they too ignorant to notice what Robert Reich understands completely?

Who is this? Do you work for him? Would you know if you did?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Catholics and the Democrats

Dean threw me this link on Twitter a few days ago. I just now got to looking at it. as you watch it, dig the audience reactions and note that this woman is not just some yahoo off the street, she's a Democratic donor. The music in the video is a distraction, but I think it's a political ad where someone decided to throw in mood sounds. JZ Knight's ranting to a willing audience would have been chilling enough without it.

The video is so horrible that it doesn't even need the comparison of how this would be treated if it were a Republican.


Hey, If You're Going To Go, Go All The Way

Do you want to end the Rethuglicans' War on Womyn or not? Do you want to stand with your sisters in solidarity against the right wing Christian theocrats or are you just a poser? Are you willing to take a stand on the most important issue affecting our country - birth control - or is your support for el presidente, err, the president, all just for show?

Get with the pogrom. Umm, program. Whatever. Anyway, stop sitting on the fence. Get in the fight once and for all and proudly display this new Obama logo on your see-through camis, Prius' bumper stickers, latte mugs and neck tattoos.

Lady parts. It's all about the lady parts.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Little Story About Regulations

Up at the mountain compound where we go for our religious retreats, the managers of the facility have built a new kitchen. It's absolutely gorgeous. The old kitchen, a run-down dump, still remains up there.

One of the foundational principles of our movement is service to others. It's very important that the men and women who are there for their first retreat are served all weekend by those of us who have done it before. It's Christianity in action. For example, we never hire cooks, we do the cooking ourselves.

When your group goes up to use the place, you can either bring your own cooks, or hire cooks employed by the organization that owns the facility  If you hire the cooks, they can use the new kitchen. If you bring your own, you have to use the old one.

Why?

Well, the new kitchen has been inspected and certified by state regulators. The cooking staff for hire has been trained by the state to cook properly to maintain the certification. If we amateur slobs* went up there and cooked food, we might unwittingly make changes to the condition of the kitchen which a spot inspection would find, losing the place's state accreditation. Instead, we use the old kitchen.

So in order to genuflect to the state like the worthless vassals we are, we maintain two kitchens. The new, state-certified one is just for show and the old, crummy one is the one we still use.
King George III. It's like he never left.
* - When I worked the kitchen, I worked alongside amateur slobs who had run their own restaurants.

Friday, October 26, 2012

CNO Facepalm

Jonah Goldberg, writing at the NRO Online, has a great piece on Obama's sneering quip about aircraft carriers and submarines. Here's Obama's quote:
“But I think Governor Romney maybe hasn’t spent enough time looking at how our military works,” the president said. “You — you mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets because the nature of our military’s changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.”
If Admiral Greenert, the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), was watching, he must have done a facepalm that practically broke his neck. In nearly four years as President, Obama hasn't learned a thing about the Navy. All those tours and briefings went in one ear and out the other.

For one thing, as Jonah points out, our ships don't exactly use the latest technology.
There’s another problem. What innovation does he have in mind? Many of our warplanes and nearly all of our major naval vessels are much older than the pilots and sailors flying and sailing them. It’s great to talk up the benefits of innovation, but that argument starts to sputter when you realize we are often relying on the innovation of older generations.
Here's a list of our carriers and their commissioning dates, taken from the US Navy website.

USS Enterprise (CVN 65) 25 Nov 1961
USS Nimitz (CVN 68) 3 May 1975
USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) 18 Oct 1977
USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) 13 Mar 1982
USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) 25 Oct 1986
USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) 11 Nov 1989
USS George Washington (CVN 73) 4 July 1992
USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) 9 Dec 1995
USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) 25 July 1998
USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) 12 July 2003

The Eisenhower, for example, dates back to this ad.


Not quite the point the President was trying to make.

More importantly, Obama, after years of briefings by his military, has failed to ingest a crucial concept about the Navy. Carriers and amphibious assault ships don't go anywhere alone. They need escorts and support ships if they're going to survive. That's why the Navy has been telling Obama they need 300+ ships. Far from successfully mocking Romney, Obama's response showed a total ignorance of basic facts about the Navy.

The Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group. Notice all the ships that aren't aircraft carriers.
Admiral Greenert must have heard that snarky quip and begun beating his head against his desk in total frustration.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

I Think I'm Going To Throw Up


H/T: Dean, who adds this bit: "They're just ****ing weird people.  That's all there is to it."

Indeed they are, Dean. Indeed they are.

Baratarian Spider

Jean Lafitte called his pirate crews that came from the delta swamps of Louisiana, "Baratarians," so I suppose this handsome creature is one as well. I'm still working through the identification process. In the meantime, enjoy.


Update: Got it! It's a Yellow Garden Spider, Argiope aurantia!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Debt Was Not An Infection

A while back, I blogged my amazement about the debt-as-an-infection meme that permeated Euro Debt Crisis articles. The conventional wisdom at the time said if they could just contain the Greek debt crisis, the whole thing would blow over. The worst case would be if Spain started going under. If Greece could be saved, then Spain would escape.

Spain didn't escape. Spain was never going to escape. Spain owed more, spent more and regulated more than they could afford.

The Spanish economy is in recession.
Spain’s economy contracted for a fifth quarter, adding pressure on Premier Mariano Rajoy to seek more European aid even as the euro area’s fourth-largest economy met a bill-sales target.

Gross domestic product fell 0.4 percent in the three months through September from the previous quarter, matching the contraction of the second quarter, the Bank of Spain said in an estimate in its monthly bulletin released in Madrid today.
Spanish debt, both national and local, is becoming poisonous.
The region of Madrid’s pulled bond sale Tuesday looks bad — very bad — but in the end it probably doesn’t matter.

Madrid cancelled the deal after failing to garner as much investor demand as it wanted, even though it was planning to pay a chunky interest rate of about 7.8% for a bond maturing in 2020. In a yield-starved world, that’s an enticing number.

But the timing of the deal was poor, analysts said. The night before, Moody’s Investors Service downgraded five Spanish regions. While it stood pat on Madrid, keeping its credit rating one notch above junk status, for nervy investors the damage was done.

Then came newspaper reports that Spain’s 2012 budget deficit could end the year as high as 7.4%, above the official target of 6.3%. Again, never mind the fact that the government alluded to these higher figures some two weeks earlier. The numbers in print still looked poor, leaving investors even more skeptical and less inclined to give Madrid the benefit of the doubt.
Despite all of the contraction, debt problems and unemployment, the government still refuses to relinquish control of the economy.
Despite reiterated pledges by the government to cut down on red tape, Spain remains one of the most difficult countries in the world in which to set up a business, according to the World Bank’s Doing Business 2013 report, which was released late Monday.

Spain is ranked 136th out of the 185 countries included in the World Bank’s survey on the ease of doing business, three places lower than last year. On average it takes 10 separate administrative procedures and 28 days to establish a company in Spain, at a cost equivalent to 4.7 percent of the average annual per capita income.
I guess they need to descend a bit more into the Pit of Despair before they are ready for Dr. Milton's prescriptions.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Wall Street Is Filled With Ingrates

The DOW is down today because the greedy corporate fatcats aren't making enough money.
NEW YORK—Weak earnings reports from blue-chip manufacturing companies helped drive stocks sharply lower.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slumped 187 points, or 1.4%, to 13161 in early trading on Tuesday. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index shed 20 points, or 1.4%, to 1414, while the Nasdaq Composite Index declined 35 points, or 1.2%, to 2981.
Don't you just hate them? Obama has done everything he can to help - screaming at them, blaming them, taxing them, regulating them, redistributing their wealth, loading them up with hopelessly monstrous Federal debt obligations - and what do they do? They damage his re-election chances by losing value.

There's no justice in the world. None at all.

Swamp Lizard

We saw this little fellow at the Jean Lafitte Preserve last week.

Monday, October 22, 2012

San Diego Rally For Religious Freedom

On Saturday, I went down to Balboa Park in the rain to attend the Rally for Religious Freedom. It was standing room only and I had a chance to meet some pretty interesting folk. Perhaps more on that later, but for now, two things. First, I shot some video (lessons learned in a future post) that I edited into what you see below.

Second, any little, internecine prejudices I had against other Christian groups has been washed away by this movement. Mormons were here, Bikers for Jesus were here, Lutherans, Episcopalians, Baptists, Wesleyans* and everyone in between came out to this rally. We stood together as people of faith against an increasingly hostile and authoritarian government seeking to enforce moral orthodoxy upon us. Despite differences in dogma and rite, we are all one people in Christ.

Please send this along to any people of faith you might know.


* - There was a Wesleyan preacher who spoke first who I deeply regret not capturing on video. He talked about how the Wesleyans were a major part of the Underground Railroad helping slaves escape the South and how their pastors were told over and over again to stick to teaching about Jesus and not talk about politics from the pulpit. Tyrannies are ever the same.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Message To Our Boys

Sons, we are paying for you to go to college right now so that you can provide for a family, have a fulfilling life and a rewarding career. If I find you, in the middle of the semester, 2,200+ miles away from school, in front of a Sak 'N Save, giving a speech to 10 people, I will come to your schools and kick you from one end of the campus to the other.
Sandra Fluke, the woman* at the center of a media firestorm earlier this year after Rush Limbaugh called her a “slut,” spoke Saturday in front of about 10 people at the Sak ‘N Save in north Reno.
Boys, don't even think about doing this. I'm not kidding.
 The image comes from Right Wing Fringe. I hope Aggie95 doesn't mind.

* - Georgetown law student woman. As in prestigious Georgetown University, 2,200 miles away from the Sak 'N Save. As in Georgetown that costs about $40,000 a year in tuition. As in Georgetown that is difficult to get into and easy to flunk out of.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Wife's Gone So We're Having An Orgy

... an orgy of British cooking!

On the menu are Chiddingly Hotpot, Steak and Kidney Pudding, Cock-a-leekie Soup and Shepherd's Pie*. Add to that plenty of Newcastle and London Pride beers and we'll be ready for a second orgy - English Premier League football all day on Saturday.

It's time for the Tyne-Wear Derby! Howay the lads!

* - We can't eat it all in one weekend, so we're planning on freezing plenty of it to have for lunches in the upcoming weeks. Yum!

Don't Fight The Fed?

"Don't fight the Fed" is an investment maxim meaning that it's probably a bad idea to be selling stocks when a central bank is pumping money into the economy. Is it true? Well, over the last two years, we've seen the Fed and ECB print money like madmen, monetizing government debt at huge levels. in the US, the Fed's money printing represents a huge percentage of overall government receipts, itself worthy of a blog post.

In this environment, you'd expect to see the markets shooting skyward, or at least making a nice, long bull run. Here's what's really happened.

France's CAC40 over the last 2 years.

Spain's IBEX 35 over the last 2 years.

America's S&P 500 over the last 2 years.
It turns out that you can't fight the Fed until you can. I think if you looked at these charts with only the basic knowledge that the respective central banks are flooding the market with money, you'd conclude that something is fundamentally wrong in Europe. You'd also conclude that things are working more or less as expected in the US.

More basically, this shows that even advanced, first-world nations can eventually spend and regulate themselves into ruin. Europe has so crippled themselves with government interventions in the marketplace that they no longer respond properly to the most basic of stimuli - money dropped from helicopters. Again, just using this information, you'd have to conclude that there is something foundationally wrong with Europe.

Sadly, we're not seeing much indication that the Europeans have noticed this. Instead, they're marching the protesting for yet more government spending and intervention.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Link of the Day

Dig this photo from North Korea in Der Spiegel. A car powered by ... wood? That makes no sense at all to me. You'd have to remove the internal combustion engine and substitute a steam engine in its place, right?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Cheezburger of the Day

$16,000

If I were advising Mitt Romney for tonight's debate, I'd recommend using one number and its integer multiples over and over tonight. The number is 16,000 and it's the extra dollars of debt that every man, woman and child owes after four years of Obama as president. It's also a good estimate of the additional debt each will face after four more.

"We the people" works both ways. It means you can vote for your leaders, but it also means that you are responsible for paying the bills they run up. A government of the people, for the people and by the people has debts payable only by those same people.

So you owe $16,000 more than you did four years ago. Four more years will add another $16,000. A family of four owes $64,000 more, going to $128,000 if he is re-elected. It's not a rhetorical question to ask, "Where are you going to get that kind of money?" It's not a theoretical debt, it's a real one and you really owe it. As John Kerry and Diane Feinstein* have shown, the rich aren't going to be your sugar daddies. You better start figuring out how you're going to cover your share of the tab.

Or maybe you should start thinking about cutting spending.
* - John moved his yacht out of Massachusetts and Diane has millions in offshore accounts, both to avoid paying taxes.

Monday, October 15, 2012

If Anger Begets More Anger

... then harmony must beget more harmony, right?

Anger is a recurring sin for me. I don't mean violent rages, I mean frustration with others who don't understand that I'm always right. Their refusal to do what I want the way I want drives me batty. It's so clear that I've got all the answers*, why can't they see that?

A few years back, my kids had a talk with me. They told me how much they didn't like my anger. They wanted to do well in school and become happy, successful people, but my anger made it much more difficult for them. I vowed to them that I would do my best to control myself. And so a little project in deferred anger started.

I decided that I could always get angry at them later. I might be seething inside, but I did my best not to show it. Under normal anger conditions, I could hold a conversation, but under Code Red Fury Alert, I'd simply avoid the topic that was eating at me until I'd had a few days to cool down. After all, in the grand scheme of things, does it really make a difference if you go off on someone now or three days from now?

Through the grace of God and the faith of my wife, I've discovered that the things that used to make me blow my top have a tendency to resolve themselves or appear in a different light after a while. This opened up a different approach to the world as harmony begat more harmony. Over time, I found myself getting angry less and less.

While I was working through this, I don't think my kids knew I would still be boiling inside sometimes when they failed to live up to my completely reasonable expectations of perfection. Instead, they relaxed around me. We'd always been a close family, but now you could feel an edge being worn off our relationships. After about three years of this, I've never felt closer or more in love with my family. When other parents talk about how difficult their teenage daughter is, I say a little prayer of thanksgiving for the deep love my daughter and I share.

I still get angry at her when she can't figure out something simple like Fermat's Last Theorem or where she left the book she was reading, but I don't feel the urge to act on it like I used to. I confess that I've not worked on eliminating the anger itself, I've just learned to postpone it and found that anger is time-soluble. My wife still has to put up with me ranting about the kids when they're not around as I vow to really make them stand up and take notice this time, but I think we both know that it's not going to result in yelling or unhappiness, it's just a safety valve releasing steam. I'm sure I can find a way to stop the internal anger if I try and might make a series of blog posts about that evolution.

I've wandered off topic a bit and need to wake my daughter and as she's not a morning person, make her breakfast and lunch**. Let me finish this meandering post with this:

By postponing my angry outbursts, I discovered the anger dissolved over time into something more constructive. I was able to pull out the nugget of wisdom I was trying to impart and give it to the kids in a positive, constructive way. That led to harmony which led them to be more open to teaching which led to less anger which led to better soccer play.

Or something like that. ;-)

Oh shut up already and show us the standard blog post picture!
* - Is this personality feature common bloggers?

** - Yes, I know she's old enough to be expected to do it herself, but it's not her strong suit and the day goes so much smoother when I do this.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Where Did All The Counterculture People Go?

Writing in the Weekly Standard, Andrew Ferguson has a must-read piece about 90days90reasons.com, a website created to allow counterculture artists and musicians to post reasons to re-elect Barack Obama. After appropriately girding my loins* for what I might find, I popped over to 90days and tried one of them out. In an essay entitled Because The Republican Party Is Pre-Galilean, Ishmael Reed gets out of the starting blocks with this:
We have to re-elect President Obama because the country can’t be turned over to people who are anti-Science, anti-Intellectual, and who deny facts and evidence.
The remainder of the essay reads like the rantings of someone who has been locked in a Progressive Re-education Camp for a decade or two. Which he may well have been, considering how utterly saturated the art community is with progressives. So thank you and good night. That's the limit of how far I'm willing to go into the swamp. There's not enough loin-girding in the world to warrant further study. Enter that site at your own risk.

Andrew was far braver and plumbed the depths of the bog, coming up with this summary:
For the counterestablishmentarians, “program” and “funding” are words with talismanic power. President Obama will “fund programs” or “not cut programs” that will rescue the environment or curb domestic violence or teach civility or help the disabled or train the jobless. The proper program can do everything but play canasta. And it can be advocated without wondering how it might work or whether it would work or what other programs would not be funded so it could be.
And that struck me as particularly sad. The progressive, counterculture movement has been reduced to a group of children begging not to be forced to move out of the house no matter how old they get. Whatever the problem is, they want a government solution. A program, a committee, a plan, something. They want to be left alone to satiate their bodily desires while some Cross-Competency Product Team with a Charter, Program Plan, Budget and Milestones and Objectives takes care of everything larger than singing songs, smoking weed and getting laid.

Here you go. Here's what the current Vanguard of the Proletariat is fighting for. Here's why they march, sing songs, write 90 Reasons and chant slogans.

It's pathetic. The progressive counterculture has regressed back into infancy where they don't need to know how or if things work. They just want the icky, adult things to be taken care of by the government while they go explore their bodies.

In case you were wondering how it all ends when the progressives win, take a look at Greece and Spain.

* - Ungirded loins are a risk I'm not willing to take!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Link of the Day

Dog shaming. It's all about dog shaming.

A Balanced Look At The Markets

Between the smaller Catican Guard being high on something and wiggling like a lunatic and our Maximum Leader coming down with Cat Snack Fever twice in the middle of the night, I'm groggy and not much for deep thought today. Instead, I offer this video which I thought was a very balanced look at where the markets are heading. The fellow likes the US, if just for it's fundamental strengths, but is certain of some kind of Euro breakup. That's the conclusion I've come to as well - the US under Obama is being suffocated with debt and regulations, but it's still better off than any of the other major economies.

Enjoy!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Do You Have Free Will?

I thought this was excellent. Enjoy!

Another Bubble Debate

Last night, I was a temporary bachelor, my wife off doing various Catholic things, so I engaged in full-on Internet debauchery. I didn't watch the debate, but I kept Tweetdeck open on one monitor while I caught up on last weekend's English Premier League action via Foxsoccer.tv on the main monitor. It turned out to be a good choice.

The Twitter stream gave me a decent blow-by-blow recap of the debate action without having to sit through it. Meanwhile, I watched a polished Tottenham win one game and a dreadful QPR lose another. When the debate was over, I spent a little time watching a couple of highlight videos from the debate and my viewing choices looked even better.

Peggy Noonan (a member of the Feline Theocracy) and Michael Barone can give you expert analysis, but here's my unpolished take: it was another bubble moment for the Democrats. The way Biden smirked and laughed and carried on simply screamed that he thought Paul Ryan, and by extension, all conservatives, were utterly unworthy of respect. He oozed contempt with his antics in the same way Obama oozed contempt with his inability to look Romney in the eye. As Michael Barone said,
Joe Biden appealed to Democratic partisans, firing them up by attacking and, even more often, smirking at Paul Ryan’s arguments. But smirks only work when your audience starts off agreeing with you. That would be the case with strong Democratic partisans, but it’s not at all that clear that it appeals to Independents, or to those who are undecided or moveable. He was trying to dismiss Ryan’s arguments as ridiculous, in line with Democratic talking points that no rational person could possibly agree with him, but I think that only works with people who are already convinced.
Clearly, Biden's over-the-top condescension was practiced and planned. It was too consistent to have been spontaneous.

Why in the world would you choose a strategy that assumes almost everyone agrees with you unless you lived in an ideological bubble?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

If You Dig Long Enough, You'll Reach New Zealand

Christine Lagarde, the head of the IMF, is arguing that Spain and several other insolvent EU countries be given more time to get their acts together.
TOKYO—International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde said Greece should be given an extra two years to meet its budget targets, publicly wading into euro-zone officials' politically sensitive bailout discussions...

Instead of front-loading the Greek bailout with budget cuts and structural changes, she said "it is sometimes better, given the circumstances...to have a bit more time."

"This is what we advocated for Portugal, it's what we advocated for Spain, and it's what we're advocating for Greece, where I have said repeatedly that an additional two years was necessary for the country to actually face the fiscal consolidation program that is considered," Ms. Lagarde said.
You see, Spain and the other countries have aging populations, crippling regulatory burdens on business and a population addicted to unsustainable social spending. The best thing to do in cases like this is give them more time to ... to ... to keep digging?

Meanwhile, Standard and Poor's has downgraded Spanish debt to near junk status.
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services cut its rating on Spain and maintained a negative outlook, citing the mounting pressures from the country's economic recession.

The ratings company warned Wednesday that Spain's credit-worthiness might continue to deteriorate as Madrid struggles to close a yawning budget gap...

S&P's downgrade to triple-B-minus from triple-B-plus puts its rating on an equal footing with where Moody's Investors Service rates Spain, just one notch above speculative-grade, or "junk," status.
More time will allow Spain to reach triple-Z status, the Zombie Economy level. Of course, the folks in Catalonia aren't too hip to this whole bankruptcy tune.
Three out of every four Catalans are in favor of holding a poll to decide on independence for Spain’s richest region, according to a survey published Wednesday by the Catalan government’s Center for Opinion Studies...

Pro-independence sentiment has risen in Catalonia in recent months on the back of the economic crisis. According to the survey, 74.1 percent of Catalans want a referendum on independence. Nearly all voters for the region’s main pro-independence parties are in favor — including 83.4 percent of supporters of regional premier Artur Mas’s CiU nationalist bloc, 92 percent of ERC Catalan Republican Left voters and 96.1 percent of leftist-green ICV voters — the survey revealed.
So to review, Spain has an aging population, near-junk bonds, huge unemployment, massive social spending obligations and its wealthiest region wants to secede. The best option here is to give them more time to see what they can do.

I think they can reach Wellington if they really try.
We can do it if we all pull together!

Morley Safer, Guardian Of The Truth

So the old 60 Minutes hack Morley Safer doesn't like citizen-journalists. Not even a little bit.
In fact, he's downright "appalled" by the whole idea of Internet journalism and seems to wish it would all just go away. We need to leave the "reporting" to him and his professional class of "real" journalists, Safer sonorously declared...

Safer, a Canadian, admitted that he "sounds like a Neanderthal" with his hatred of citizen journalism -- which, he said, he'd trust as much as he'd trust "a citizen surgeon" -- nonetheless he rejects the idea that mere citizens can be a legitimate source of news reporting.
I think the worst part for Morley is that stories like this are sneaking past the 60 Minutes Guardians and are making it into the public eye.

Wormtongue. Err, no, that's not right. Morley Safer. Yeah, that's it. Morley Safer.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Huh?

I'm blogging from DFW, so forgive the poor style. In an article today, Andrew Sullivan is hyperventilating about Obama self destructing in the debate. Amidst his panting is this:

"Romney is now the centrist candidate, even as he is running to head up the most radical party in the modern era"

I've seen this "radical" and "extreme" nonsense elsewhere. Does anyone know what it's all about?

Monday, October 08, 2012

Who Dat Say Dey Gonna Beat Dem Saints?

So we flew out here from San Diego to root for the Saints against the Chargers.

Why, yes, we are crazy. Why do you ask?

I'd never been to the Superdome before and we might not get back, so we got great seats. Second level, 30 yard line, right behind the Saints bench. The game didn't disappoint. The Saints won and Drew Brees set the all-time record for consecutive games with a passing touchdown. After his fourth touchdown which put the Saints ahead late in the 4th quarter, the place was absolutely rocking with all the fans shouting, "WHO DAT! WHO DAT! WHO DAT SAY DEY GONNA BEAT DEM SAINTS!"

It was one of the best experiences of our lives.

Afterwards, we hit the clubs on Bourbon Street and came across this blues cover band. They were good, the drinks flowed and we stayed until 1:30. Laissez les bons temps rouler, indeed.

His Chargers lost, but that guy was having a good time.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Hummingbird Moth On Plumeria

This little creature was caught up in one of our skylights and we had to wait for it to exhaust itself before we could catch and release it back into the wild. The poor thing was so tired that it relaxed in my hand and let me perch it on one of our plumeria. I figured the flower might give it some much-needed nutrition, but it also provided a wonderful backdrop for some macro photos.

I left these large and I think they're worth a click. Enjoy!


Saturday, October 06, 2012

I Wonder What The Mood In The White House Is Now

The President and First Lady on stage directly after the debate, looking, shall we say, nonplussed.

The latest cover of The New Yorker magazine, a reliably leftist periodical.
If previous interactions with progressives online is anything to go by, I'd bet the White House is filled with angry name-calling, ad hominem attacks on invisible straw men and petulant sneering.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Boneyard

We're in New Orleans for a long weekend vacation. Driving back from visiting some plantations, we came across this boneyard of old cranes. I'll bet that last time they were parked, the owner expected to use them again. Now, not so much.

I left the image large, so it's clickable if you like derelict things as much as I do. Enjoy!

Youth Group Sunset

I took this one from the parking lot of our church as I dropped my daughter off for Youth Group. I used my Galaxy S3. I also took one with my Canon Powershot SD750 that didn't come out nearly as nice.

Enjoy!

God is great. All the time.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Wasn't Last Night What You'd Expect

... from someone who lives in an ideological bunker? It was as if President Obama had never heard Romney's debate points ever before in his life.

The bubble protects you, but it weakens you as well.

A Little Bit On The Obama Racism Video

So a 2007 video of Obama spouting racist blather has been released onto the net. You can catch the details here. A single thread of logic jumped out at me from what he was saying in his speech. Here it is:

  1. The Federal government is racist and hates blacks. (Obama)
  2. The Federal bureaucracy has almost no turnover. Most everyone who worked at, say, FEMA, in 2007 are still working there today. (Fact)
  3. We need to give the Federal government lots and lots more power and authority. (Obama)
I'm not sure if it's possible to make less sense.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

A Little More About That Crosswalk In Front Of Auschwitz

Update: I see the error in my analysis below. People aren't rational, they're rationalizing. I'll bet none of my pro-life friends pushing this thing worked out the math.


Commenters Tim and SA gently chided me for thinking CA Proposition 34 was a total waste of time and of no value at all to the pro-life movement. Doing a little bit is better than doing nothing at all was the sentiment expressed. Allow me to disagree.

Say you were rabidly pro-life and you wanted to do something to save innocent lives. Without knowing the cause, you discover that in the last 10 years, 4 people have died from one kind of activity while 2,100,000 have died from another. In the last five years, the score has been 1,050,000 to zero. Each death is the result of an individual decision, one that you might be able to change if you tried really, really hard.

There is simply no way on Earth that a rational person would choose to attack the 4 deaths in 10 years problem when that required a massive, statewide effort costing thousands of dollars and requiring hundreds of people to get involved*. It's obviously ludicrous on its face. Clearly, the same effort put into something like Birthline would result in many more innocent lives saved. This is not pro-life, it's pro-waste-of-time.

I wonder if that was the intent all along.

After they deal with capital punishment, they can work on protecting the innocent from robot unicorn attacks.

* - I haven't done the research, so I'm lowballing my estimates.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Lobbying For A Crosswalk In Front Of Auschwitz

A friend on Facebook is a big supporter of California's Proposition 34 which would ban capital punishment. She's a devout Catholic and a big time lefty. She's pushing it on FB as a way of saving innocent lives.

In CA in the last 10 years, there have been 4 executions. At the same time, there have been about 2,100,000 abortions (some work is required to create the statistical table at that site).

If you're seriously pro-life, supporting Prop 34 is like lobbying for a crosswalk in front of Auschwitz so no one gets accidentally run over by Eichmann's staff car.

Here we see Eichmann's driver waiting for a signal from the crossing guards. Innocent lives have been saved!
Elsewhere: Left Coast Rebel has a terrific breakdown on the CA propositions.

We Were Told There Would Be No Math