Monday, December 31, 2012

Los Angeles Without Smog

... looks like this.

We visited the Getty Museum last week after rain had washed away the smog. The views were as lovely outside of the museum as they were inside. I left the images fairly large, so they might be worth a click.

The Government Needs Lebensraum

If you saw this in a dystopian alternative history novel, you'd chalk the author up as some kind of survivalist, right-wing crackpot. Instead, it's in the New York Times.
AS the nation teeters at the edge of fiscal chaos, observers are reaching the conclusion that the American system of government is broken. But almost no one blames the culprit: our insistence on obedience to the Constitution, with all its archaic, idiosyncratic and downright evil provisions.
The rest details how the Constitution is restricting the growth and freedom of the government and how, if we only did away with it, fascism paradise could be ours.

A Reichstag fire wouldn't hurt, either.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Commenting Change

Commenters, I apologize for this, but I've had to turn the word verification back on in the comments. Blogger's spam catcher has broken down completely and the blog is now splattered with spam comments.

Sauce For Pandora's Petard Guillotine

How's that for mixing metaphors? There's four of them right there and that's just the title!
  1. What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.
  2. Pandora's Box - Once opened, it releases evil upon the world without hope for returning the evil to the box.
  3. Hoisted by your own petard means to be ruined by a trap of your own making.
  4. The guillotine was originally built to kill enemies of the French Revolution, but it ended up devouring many of the revolutionaries themselves.
Professor Jacobsen over at Legal Insurrection has a good summary of the latest front being opened in American political wars - revealing personal information about one's enemies on the web.

It started with the Lower Hudson Journal News publishing the names and addresses of registered gun owners in their area. Retaliation occurred when Journal News employee information was released on a blog and spread far and wide. Professor Jacobsen is now in possession of personal information of far greater detail about Gannett Newspaper Chairwoman Marjorie Magner. The good professor has declined to publish the information, but it's actually irrelevant whether he does or not. If he doesn't, someone else will.

As far as I can tell, the opening shot in the war, the publication of gun owner names and addresses, was done out of spite and hatred. It's hard to conceive of another motivation despite claims of journalistic interest. It's an act of intimidation and shaming and the reaction isn't going to be uniform across a broad population. While some will take it with varying degrees of grace, there will be others who, incensed, will look for ways to retaliate. The web gives them the ability to respond in kind.

So here we are, with a new set of weapons to use against anyone who disagrees with us. Publishing each others' names, addresses, credit reports, kids' schools, school transcripts, love letters and God knows what else all in the name of political power.

Such are the fruits of an ever-growing government.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Things We Do For Love

I'm out in the Catican, working on the MGB. Our Maximum Leader has decided to snooze on the sofa out there with me and not on the warm and comfy blanket-covered chair up in the master bedroom. So instead of listening to my Van Halen mix at proper volume while I work, I'm listening to a soft, layered-vocals station I made on Pandora.

Love for a sleeping cat trumps car repair tradition.

A New Year's Wish For The Tea Party

The big PC out in the Catican where my email lives is on the fritz, so I'm doing this from memory. I apologize to Mut if I've got the question a bit muddled.

On with the show.

Mut asked if we had any New Year's wishes or resolutions for the Tea Party. Here's mine.

Realize that everything is interconnected. Social mores, political freedom and fiscal sanity are all part of the same whole. As I (badly?) tried to suggest in a previous post, financial libertarians and social conservatives have common cause. I'd like to suggest that they are inseparable. I'd throw in the fiscal hawks as well. Here's how it works, at least in my mind.

In a democracy, traditional mores* are a bulwark against fascism. When morality breaks down and families atomize, the number of people in poverty with few mechanisms for success grows. Politicians have easy pickings convincing these people that their problems are someone else's fault and they deserve "entitlements" paid for by the "rich". Peronist fascism finds fertile ground with the breakdown of traditional morality.

Dittos for political freedom. As political freedom is lost and more power is granted to the State, those in power find less reason to put up with moral heresies. Don't like funding for abortion? Too bad. They have the money and the power and you'll shut up and do as your told. It may be benevolent and well-intentioned, but the temptation to wield the power to enforce a particular vision of society is always there and eventually, someone will give in to it.

Finally, there is fiscal sanity. The Fed isn't printing $1T+ per year and handing it over to President Obama to spend in support of married, $80K-earning families. Without growing centralized authority and reduced political freedom, there'd be fewer expensive, government solutions proposed and enacted. The fiscal crisis has been fed by the breakdown in traditional morality and the loss of political freedom.

If the Tea Party stands for personal freedom and financial responsibility, I'd suggest that it firmly support all three things - traditional morality, political freedom and fiscal sanity. None of them will succeed on their own.

Bonus wish: That we can bring the social justice crowd along for the ride. Fiscal collapse and family breakdown are not conducive to any definition of social justice. Certainly there's common ground here, no?

* - Just to be sure we have a common frame of reference, when I refer to traditional mores, I'm using Catholic moral teachings as my frame of reference. Your mileage may vary.

Friday, December 28, 2012

It's A Spam-a-Palooza!

Good friend of the Catican, WC Varones, pointed out that the 'Post has been getting whacked with spam comments lately and after doing just a tiny bit of digging we discovered it's a regular spamazoic infestation! While we pull out the stopper and let the spam circle the drain, here's two of my favorites from the latest set:
Here a tip: Don wear a flowy sundress on a windy day, or you be making a fool out of yourself by desperately clutching it to your body so nobody sees the laundry day granny panties lurking underneath
Thanks for the tip, but we hamsters rarely wear flowy sundresses. Here's another spam:
ωii u göг mannen lol=)
Well, ωii u göг mannen to you, too! And I'm sure we'll find that funny as well, just as soon as we figure out what it meant.

And The Vet's Prescription Is ...

I took our Maximum Leader to the vet this morning for her geriatric checkup. Just as she's been trying to tell us, she's lost some weight and needs moar noms. Other than that, she's just fine.

Gushifud is on the way.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Fiscal Libertarians And Social Conservatives Are Perfectly Matched

First, three data points for you.

Data Point 1: The Washington Times has this bit about the ongoing destruction of the traditional family. It's worth reading the whole thing, but this statistic in particular is important.
Married couples with children have an average income of $80,000, compared with $24,000 for single mothers.
Data Point 2: ABC had a 20/20 segment on polyamory wherein they look at it in an open-minded fashion. (H/T: Ann Althouse)

Data Point 3: The conversation on Ann's blog post with comments like this:

Your support for the gay activist agenda, I've concluded after reading your comments on porn, is that you believe that gay marriage will persuade gay men to engage in the "nice" sex that you endorse.

You're full of (expletive) on that one.

Traditions exist for reasons that are hard to visualize or explain, because they developed over centuries out of day to day human experience.

You've really over-intellectualized yourself into a stupor on the gay marriage stuff.

Here are the orgiasts, declaring that they will play "nice," just as you asked. They've checkmated you.
Shouting Thomas is shouted down in many of the following comments by the same-sex marriage crowd. All of the cliched logical traps are sprung about finely differentiating between gays, straights, people who can have kids, people who can't, statistical differences between married gays and traditional families, etc. It's all so very well-reasoned.

It's also the same nonsense debate we've had for the last 40-50 years.

Connecting the dots

You can't have a smaller government while the underclass grows. Americans won't stand for that. You can't elect flinty-eyed, hard-hearted, totally practical people to major offices. Give it up. If you want a smaller government and lower taxes, you're going to need more people earning $80K and fewer people earning $24K. ABC News is fighting you tooth and nail on that one, even if they're too indoctrinated in progressive, open-minded conventional wisdom to get it.

The 20/20 piece relies entirely on interviewing couples who are two or more standard deviations off the mean for their behavior. It's a conversation held entirely within the white, highly-educated, upper-class, progressive bubble. The entire piece is an act of non-judgmentalist fantasy. Polyamory leads to the total destruction of society through the breakdown of family relationships. There are no two ways about it. Imagine holding those interviews in Compton or East St. Louis or any of the cities on the single parent hit parade where polyamory is the norm.

People aren't rational, they're rationalizing. Sex is fun and everyone wants more fun. Like Shouting Thomas suggested, it's easy to over-intellectualize what's going on here. With libertine "intellectuals" like those on the 20/20 staff leading the way, we give credence to the concept that everyone can do their own thing and there need be no rules, no standards, no expectations. When it's tried outside the Harvard faculty lounge, the results have been disastrous.

Sixteen trillion dollars later, we're all doing our own thing on the edge of a volcano that is about to erupt. More people earning $24K and fewer people earning $80K has been the result and it's a recipe for fiscal disaster.

As you hope and wish and work for a smaller government, rewatch that 20/20 piece and try to work out how you're going to get it with morals like that.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Sunset

What a beautiful way to end the day celebrating His birth. I left it large, so it's worth a click.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Very Small Christmas Present For Each Of You

... is this sunset photo I took yesterday while exercising the Catican Guards at the Fiesta Island dog park. I left it particularly large, so it might be worth a click.

I'm with G K Chesterton as far as Christmas goes. There is but one turning point in all of history at that was the birth of Christ - God made flesh walking amongst us, giving himself for our sins. Now that's a Christmas present.

From our Maximum Leader and the entire staff here within the Catican Compound, have a very merry and blessed Christmas. Your visits and comments have been our presents all throughout the year.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Smoked Ribs

Yesterday we made ribs out in our Oklahoma Joe's smoker. We brined them first in sugar and salt water and them applied a homemade rub whose exact ingredients I no longer recall. It was in a jar in our spice cabinet labeled "Dry Rub" so we figured it would work. We used KC Masterpiece for a mopping sauce and, following this recipe for the timing, wrapped them in foil for the last half hour of their 4 1/2 hour smoking time. We used Henry Bain Sauce for dipping at the table, the recipe taken from Terry Thompson's Eating Southern Style. Where KC Masterpiece is a sweet sauce, the Henry Bain mixture is a very vinegar-y one.

The results were full of deliciousness!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Have A Cool Yule!

... and the best way to get it started is with a little Satchmo!

Here in the Catican Compound, we're having a relaxed Christmas. Two of our boys are in college, so instead of everyone giving each other gifts this year, my wife and I just filled stockings for us all. Had we done a gift exchange, the lads would have had to finish finals and then rush out shopping.

There aren't a lot of things any of us want or need and the low stress that comes with no shopping is probably the best gift of all. You can see the payoff in the total family harmony we've had this week.

Just A Quick Thought On QE4

So to revisit something from a while back, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has begun QE4 where he will buy $45B of Federal debt every month until inflation is higher and unemployment is lower.

Isn't he forgetting something?

While his purchases have an indirect effect on unemployment and more direct effect on inflation, they have a direct, dominant effect on government funding.

The Federal government will borrow more than $1T this year, at least half of which will be loaned to them by the Fed through QE4 and other programs. If unemployment were to fall to 6.4% and inflation to rise to, say, 3%, the Fed would be facing a real quandary. The minute they stop buying government debt, the government will have to find a new buyer for $500B of bonds.

Good luck with that.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

It's The Game We've All Been Waiting For!

On ESPN 5 right now, it's the Arnold Klingfelter Pest Control Bowl featuring East Neephus State vs. Southwest Wyoming School of Welding. Yay!

Well, it might be something like that. I'll admit, after this many bowl games, I've pretty well lost track of what's going on.

Another Reason I Love English Premier League Soccer

I'm downstairs in the Command Center* of the Catican Compound, wearing my Jonas Gutierrez jersey, drinking coffee from my Newcastle United mug, awaiting the start of what will be one of the most important games of the year for the Magpies. Today, #15 Newcastle plays #19 QPR. Two teams having terrible years are going at it and for me, it's as exciting as a playoff game.

There are 20 teams in the EPL. At the end of the season, the bottom three are "relegated" to the league below and the top 3 teams from that league are "promoted" to the EPL. If the NFL did this, the Cleveland Browns would have been sent to the NCAA a long time ago and Alabama would be playing in the NFL. Relegation makes almost all games interesting. You rarely get teams laying down and playing dead because their seasons don't mean anything. Today's match between Newcastle and QPR has big implications.

Last year was a great one for Newcastle. They finished high enough to qualify for one of the European tournaments and the extra wear of those games combined with a rash of injuries has wrecked what was already a very thin team. This year it's a fight for survival and I'm passionately rooting for players I hoped I'd never see take the field.

Philadelphia Eagles fans should be so lucky.

Update: Newcastle won on a goal by Shola Ameobi in the 81st minute. Hurrah!

Howay the lads!
* - Well, it's the family room, really, but it's where the TV is, so if you look at it the right way it's kind of like those video screen-infested command centers in Hollywood action films.

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Fiscal Cliff - Meh

I'm not sure what just happened. As I understand it, the House Republicans decided not to offer President Obama a bill he had promised to veto which would have done practically nothing to avert our upcoming fiscal catastrophe. Of the major problems facing the nation,
  1. Fiscal collapse from massive debts and deficits,
  2. Economic sclerosis from metastasizing, omnipresent regulations and
  3. Social stratification from the growth of secular, libertine religious values
the fiscal cliff deal would have changed none of them. If it's not tackling any of our top three problems, I don't see why the event is such a big deal.

I guess the issue is that if the political class can't come together on even a modest approach to nibble at problem #1, they're never going to be able to do anything serious about any of them. Having occasionally peeked between the fingers I held up in front of my eyes during the election campaign, I still don't see why this is a surprise or a big deal. The party that won the White House and Senate doesn't even admit that these three things are problems. In fact, they pursuing all three with vigor. How a vote in the House was going to change that, I'm sure I don't know.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Do We Ever Grow Up?

Last night, I stayed up way later than I should have for no reason other than childish petulance, not wanting to go to bed. I was out in the Catican reading comment threads on the Newcastle United Blog. I knew I needed to go to bed to get up for work the next day, but instead, I sat their reading and stamping my little feet in a tantrum, saying, "I won't go to bed! I won't I won't I won't!"

Sigh. I should know better by now.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

This Works For So Many Occasions

One of my all-time favorite movie quotes. I use it at home and at work all the time.

Tea Party Racism Is Obvious

Dig who the Tea Party extremists supported to replace Jim DeMint as the senator from South Carolina.

Sickening. Just listen to those "personal resposibility" codewords come pouring out of this guy's mouth. You never stop, do you? You teabagging redneck racists make me ill.

(In all seriousness, can I just say that I'm in love with this guy?)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Pacific Sunset

I shot this one yesterday with my Galaxy S3. Not the optimal camera, just the best*.

* - Your best camera, I've been informed, is the one you have with you.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The President's Speech Last Night

... made me want to go out and buy a gun.

I'm not a particularly strong second amendment supporter and assault rifles or whatever you want to call them make me squeamish. But when President Obama described how teachers hunkered down in their classrooms, completely unarmed, waiting for the cops to show up while a heavily armed lunatic roamed the halls, my first thought was, "Forget waiting for the cops. I want to be able to defend myself."

In the past when I read folks like W C Varones advocate for concealed carry and talk about how armed citizens could stop a shooting like the one in Connecticut, I've always partially scoffed at the idea, picturing the school or mall turning into a shooting gallery where barely-trained goofs with guns tried to out-macho each other, killing as many innocents as they did perpetrators. After last night's speech I wasn't worried about that. Helplessly waiting for the police seems like suicide.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Suicide Bomber For Moloch

After every mass killing like the one in Connecticut, there's an agitated conversation about guns. Personally, I'm not sure which way I fall because I just can't get over the feeling that to some extent, guns aren't the issue. I would agree that in a military sense, modern weaponry has put the advantage firmly on the side of the killers. Large magazines and easy firing makes higher kill totals possible. Still, that seems to be avoiding the problem.

In Connecticut as in many others, the shooter turned the last bullet on himself. Had we previously banned automatic weapons, he could have gone in with a backpack full of loaded revolvers and shot, say, 12 instead of 20+. He then would have shot himself long before anyone had a chance to react. Tactically, it's like trying to stop the suicide bombers in Iraq. They had various technologies and sometimes killed a lot of people, sometimes just a few, but they were almost impossible to stop because they could strike where we were defenseless and were willing to die in the process. They are the ultimate guided weapon.

Why are they happening at all? It's not something that has happened throughout the country's history. The LA Times has a historical summary with this graphic.

Mass killings over time, 1985 to present.
It's immediately clear that they're far more common now than they were 20-50 years ago. I don't know much about guns, but I can't imagine there was some technological advancement in the last 20 years that led to the huge increase in mass killings.

Moloch was a pagan god in the Old Testament whose worshipers sacrificed children to him. When I hear of these events, I can't help but think that it's a religious statement of some kind, even if it's not explicit. That's probably just my particular hobby horse, no more or less valid than the political ones, but there you have it.

Why the increases in sacrifices to Moloch?
Something happened to American society over the last 50 years, something dark and evil. Whether its huge increases in the prison population, the Holocaust-level killing of the unborn*, the destruction of the traditional family in so much of society or the slaughter of innocents in frenzied bloodbaths like Connecticut, something has clearly happened.

To my mind, these are the fruits of substituting the State for God and delusions about secular rationality for faith and religion, but I could be wrong. In any case, that timeline above needs to be explained in some way.

* - In 2007, there were more than 1.2 million abortions. At that annual rate, a shooting of 20 children represents a little less than 9 minutes worth of abortions. In other words, even during a mass shooting, abortionists kill at a faster rate.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Pacific Beach After The Rain

I've always loved this view, particularly when the air is crisp and clear after a rain storm. I left the image large, so it might be worth a click.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Stocks And Inflation

Zedrohedge has a fantastic post today quoting a UBS study discussing whether or not equities (stocks) are a good hedge against inflation. It's particularly timely as the Fed just launched QE4 yesterday, announcing their plan to buy $500B of Treasuries, continuing to monetize the debt. I highly recommend reading the whole thing including the comments. Many of the comments are excellent and I plan to excerpt the ones I liked the best later. In the meantime, here's the payoff chart for me.

The UBS analyst thinks that equities are a good hedge in the 2-6% inflation range, with many conditions. Read the whole post to get the full description.
The problem I have with all of this analysis is that historical data, particularly American data, is no longer particularly relevant. This is not America any more, not in any financial, fiscal or legal sense. This is much closer to Peronist Argentina and it's impossible to predict what will come next out of Washington. I would bet on unpredictable spasms of government intervention rather than on some kind of continuation of American economic models. That makes financial planning and prediction very difficult.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Trillion Slips Of Paper On The Wall, A Trillion Slips Of Paper ...

... take one down, pass it around, there's still a trillion there.

That's because the Fed will endlessly create monies for everyone! Yay!
WASHINGTON—The Federal Reserve refashioned its bond-buying programs on Wednesday, extending its far-reaching effort to revitalize the jobs market and boost the economic recovery into 2013...

The central bank's policy committee, in its final meeting of the year, said Wednesday it would "initially" begin buying $45 billion of long-term Treasury bonds each month.
$45B of Treasuries plus the $40B of mortgage-backed securities is $85B per month which works out to a little over one trillion dollars a year.

Just because printing wads of money and handing it to the government has never worked anywhere at any time is no reason to think that the Fed is acting in blind panic and the ignorant fascists in the White House are totally clueless.

Nope, it's all good.

The War On Women Continues Apace

There's lots of chatter across the blogosphere these days about marijuana as some states have legalized it. Since smoking weed makes men lazy and stupid, does that make it part of the War on Women™?

He's still available, ladies! And what a catch!

Qui Est John Galt?

Har har har!
Gerard Depardieu has become the latest rich Frenchman to flee his country and the stinging wealth taxes levied by Francois Hollande, the Socialist President of France.

The film star has bought a property in Nechin, a Belgian village near the border with France, which has become a colony for French exiles fleeing President Hollande's tax rate of 75 per cent on all earnings over €1 million.
Speaking on Monday, Pierre Moscovici, the French finance minister said, "It's why we hates them, my precious. Hates the tricksy riches!"*

Elsewhere, the attitude towards successful people was a bit warmer.
At the La Ferme du Chateau restaurant, where Mr Depardieu was sighted, a young female customer told Le Soir that there was "excitement" in the village at the prospect of him moving there.

"We want them to come to us when they feel like it," she said.
In other news, recent experiments by behavioral biologists suggest that living creatures will attempt to flee uncomfortable or painful environments and move towards food and safety. In socialist France, Obama's White House and Jerry Brown's state capitol offices in Sacramento, they are awaiting confirmation of these controversial findings.

* - This is a loose translation. My French isn't very good.

Monday, December 10, 2012

California Hits The Skids (Even More)

A bunch of conservative blogs are breathlessly reporting that despite the glorious victories of the people of California over the greedy rich in the last election, the state's tax revenues are down significantly in November. I clicked around the blogosphere and found lots of crowing about the Laffer Curve, but the real data (PDF) from state controller John Chiang told a bit of different story.

Tax revenues are down from projections in the state budget, but in some cases, they are up from last year. To me, the numbers and Mr. Chiang's analysis give mixed support to the anti-tax case*, but what absolutely leaps out at you is the total incompetence of the people who crafted the budget. While taxes may be down a bit, spending is out of control.

A chart of variance from budget. Taxes are a bit lower than expected, but spending is much higher.
Here's what Mr. Chiang has to say about the spending side.
Expenditures are 4.9% above estimates contained in the Budget, with assistance to local governments driving the overage.
My interpretation: Assistance to local governments = lifelines to stave off municipal bankruptcies. That was as predictable as the sun rising this morning. How could you possibly lowball an estimate of that when you've already had 4 major bankruptcies?

Here's another tidbit in John's report. These days, Christmas shopping has little effect on government revenues.

While January sales tax receipts are better than average, the holiday returns are a less impressive specter than Marley’s ghost. Blame it on the state’s reliance on the personal income tax or changes to a service economy, but revenues derived from retail sales in 2012 are not as important as they were in the 1940s. For example:
  • The sales tax accounts for about one-fifth of the General Fund. (Contrast this with the situation for Christmases Past: Two generations ago, the sales tax was the dominant revenue source.) So, even if there were a pronounced spike in the sales tax returns in January, its effect is swamped by what is happening with other taxes, especially the personal income tax.

It's still interesting to watch Christmas sales figures, but if you're hoping that smashing Christmas numbers will bail out the state, think again.

Finally, if you dive into the report, one of the things you notice is how revenues are higher this year than last, but they are well short of expectations in the budget. Accusations of Peronist fascism aside, the inability to create a realistic budget is a mark of incompetence. For a state in fiscal crisis, to badly overestimate tax revenues and understate spending, it's absolutely criminal.

And we just voted for lots more of it.

* - Mind you, I think raising taxes will end up disastrously for the state, but it doesn't seem to have really hit home yet. Give it time. It's only a month or so since the voters chose Justicialism and bankruptcy.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Partial Shade

Somebody Needs To Go To Jail Over This

For those of you who don't normally follow English Premier League (EPL) soccer, two teams that regularly fight it out of the championship are Manchester United and Manchester City. Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham may be up at the top of the standings depending on the particular year, but ManU and City are the two heavyweights.

EPL teams play each other twice a year. That means there are two times each season when you can catch the ultimate matchup of ManU v. City. This weekend was one of those games. doesn't show all EPL games live. Some games, often the big ones, are available on demand the next day. Since I don't live in England, I can watch these games on delay as if they were live, not knowing the outcome. The ManU v. City game was played this morning, but will be available starting at 9PM tonight here in San Diego (midnight Eastern Time).

Topic shift.

I don't know if you've encountered them, but as I surf the web these days, I'm getting more and more ads directed right at me. Clearly, the sites are reading my cookies and browser history and are rotating in ads that match what I look at. I get lots of ads for Adobe Creative Suite and Moss Motors British car parts.

Today, I was clicking around a financial site when one of those little scroll-up boxes slithered into view in the lower right-hand corner of my screen. "Things You Need To Know" was the title. I glanced at it. It had a teeny thumbnail from a soccer game and the caption, "Manchester United stuns rivals Manchester City on last second free kick!"


I wish I'd clicked on it so I could remember for all time who did this and add them into my rotation of regular diatribes, the swine.

The pigs who did this should be Gulag-bound.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Garbage Wars - The Shape Of Things To Come

Greece, according to Standard & Poors, is now in selective default. That is, it's bankrupt. Like any good statist country where the government is responsible for almost everything and politics rules over all, government budget cuts are leading to lots of protests. Citizens are fighting with each other like starving dogs over an ever-shrinking government food dish. Dig this.
The most striking example of this absurdity is the situation at the Aristotle University in Thessaloniki, where garbage has been piling up all over the campus for the past 10 weeks. Only Aristophanes could have come up with such a great metaphor for Greek exceptionalism. A labor dispute between workers and the company with the contract for cleaning the university resulted in workers taking over the administration building, garbage piling up out of control, volunteers who tried to clean up being attacked by students supporting the strikers (and the dumping on campus of whatever garbage had been collected), the principal first being with the strikers then calling in police, police raiding the university, clearing the administration building, the workers returning and blocking entrance to the building, and so on.
This is what it looks like.

Here in the US, we've got the same cauldron brewing, but ours is larded up with racial poisons not available to the monocultural Greeks. Dig this.

Given the Democrats' and MSM's fixation on race, just what is the garbage strike (or equivalent fight for declining funds) going to look like when it comes here?

"Our people in an overwhelming way supported the re-election of this president."

To quote one of the sing-song bystanders in that video, "Mmm-hmm!"

Remember, you can't have an us without a them.

Down For The Count?

Fellow SLOB DDE posted recently that the Euro-area was now in a recession. The WSJ is reporting that Germany's central bank is predicting that even mighty Germany will experience a recession next year.

Give their massive debt loads and hopelessly regulated industries, will they come back up without massive upheaval? It's going to be awful hard to stave off default in the big countries with falling tax revenues. If you think about the mechanisms for recovery, there aren't many left open to them. Robert Reich's fascist fantasies aside, there aren't going to be massive stimulus programs from bankrupt governments. The ECB has already cut rates to practically nothing and has been printing money like crazy.

The only thing left is a total rethinking of the business-government relationship and an increase in economic freedom. After watching the Spaniards and Greeks freak out over such things earlier this year, I can't see that happening without plenty of rioting.

Of course, they could do nothing at all and let things continue as is.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Thanks, Zig

Zig Ziglar died a few days ago. Zig made a big difference in my life, my sales, my goals and my parenting. His books and audio recordings are well worth the time and money.

See you at the top, Zig.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Mexifornia In One Graph

Well, two graphs, but the top one is the one that jumped out at me. The red is the inflow of foreign immigrants, the green is the in- or outflow of Americans.


In Fascist Societies, Politics Is All That Matters

As the government grows and sucks up more power and money, work outside of the government means less and less. Within the government, political heft is what drives things. Outside of the government, it's performance and production. With the re-election of Barack Obama, it's no surprise to be reading things like these.

Stacy McCain blogs about politics as religion.
Politics is NOT my number one priority in life. For the Left, it seems like it may be. There seem to be Statists who view politics as life itself. A lady in the audience mentioned a rich Obama family (around Richmond, maybe) that put up four Obama operatives for a full year leading up to the election. Think of Democrats as political Jehova’s Witnesses.
An oyster farmer in the San Francisco area is losing his lease on Federal land. Dig the machinations. The wilderness fanatics within the National Parks are shutting down the farm, so the owner is working with elected officials to keep it open. It's all political. The key sentence is highlighted by me.
"This isn't about an oyster company, for us," said Neal Desai, the associate director of the National Parks Conservation Association. "This is about taking care of our national parks for future generations and honoring a decades-old agreement to protect our heritage and create a marine wilderness. Letting the lease expire, removing all the motorboats and removing all the non-native oysters is good for the environment."
Powerful supporters

Lunny's request for an extension had powerful supporters, including Feinstein, Marin County Supervisor Steve Kinsey and former Peninsula Rep. Pete McCloskey, who put up a major fight to keep the operation going.
In Pennsylvania, low-wage and even mid-wage workers are chumps.

It's all about government management of the population. Working and living outside the government doesn't pay as well as living and working inside of it? That's a feature, not a bug.

As Dean points out, Mussolini is cool again. To quote Il Duce, "Everything within the State, nothing outside the State."

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Income Inequality

... can be seen in Pennsylvania's prison population charts.

Since 1980, the prison population has grown by a factor of 5

No matter how many prisons they build, they are always full
Prison populations give you a gross measure of the lowest levels of society. It's not just the number of people in prison, it's what it says about their neighborhoods, their jobs, their families and everything surrounding them.

The prison population has gone up irregardless of economic boom or bust. The cohort at the bottom of the ladder, where failure lives and breathes, has been growing. Implied in that is the group right above the prison populations, the part of society where people make bad decisions and screw up their lives, but don't manage to go to prison, has been growing apace. Something in society over the last 30 years has been breeding bad behavior.

The next time you read some economist droning on about income inequality think about these charts and what they might mean.

Saturday, December 01, 2012


Cotoneaster berries. I left the image quite large, so it's worth a click to see it full-sized.