Friday, July 31, 2009

Cheezburger of the Day

Well of Course She's a Racist

... they all are.

Our Monastery of Miscellaneous Musings picked up on something I'd missed.
The woman who phoned-in the 911 call to report what she thought was someone breaking into a neighbor's home in Cambridge MA, is forced to hold a press conference to plead here case that, no… she is not a racist. No matter - she must be destroyed.
Meanwhile, the black cop that backed up Sgt. Crowley is an Uncle Tom.
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – A black sergeant who was at the home of Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. when he was arrested says he's been maligned as an "Uncle Tom" for supporting the actions of the white arresting officer.
Where will this all end? Why, with the gays of course. In the game of multiculturalism bridge, gay trumps black which trumps woman which trumps ...
a homosexual Duke University official who does AIDS research; who lives with his partner in a sexually liberated and eco-friendly housing community; who adopted two black boys; who allegedly drugged and sodomized one of the boys; who allegedly broadcast the sodomy online; and who reportedly offered the 5-year-old boy up to other gay abusers on the Internet.
What? You didn't hear about that? It didn't get as much play as the white, male Duke LaCrosse team's romp with the black call-girls? You didn't know that while the Lacrosse team was acquitted, this case has reams and reams of concrete evidence, but gets no airtime at all?

In our little multiculturalism Animal Farm, some victim groups are more equal than others.

Missing the Point on Health Care Reform

The government doesn't know how to do anything well, goes the conventional wisdom. Just look at the DMV and the Post Office and government housing and so on and so forth. Because the government is fundamentally incompetent, we shouldn't allow them to run health care.

What if all of that was wrong? What if the government was tremendously competent? Would that change the whole conversation? Would it be OK to hand health care over to them then?


The problem isn't whether or not they'd manage to get the cap off the child-proof bottles and hand us our blue pills, the problem is that we can't pay for them in the first place. We're $2T in the red this year. Even if government health care allowed the lame to walk and the blind to see, it would still be a bad idea. The problem isn't health care, it's the concept that we can create more entitlements when we can't pay for the ones we have. Until the concept of buying entitlements on credit changes, we'll keep facing new ones. It will be a government spending whack-a-mole game.

We managed to defeat health care and pre-K education, but prescription drug benefits and cash-for-clunkers got through.

What Would You Do with $550B?

This is a serious question. The interest payments on our national debt are about $550B. That means we are still paying for aircraft carriers built in the 1990s, education bureaucrats' salaries paid out in the 2000s and farm subsidies from who knows when. Since we refused to buy only what we had earned and instead bought on credit, we are now paying $550B on previous years' goodies.

What if we hadn't done that? What if we'd behaved like grown-ups? What would you do with $550B?

Personally, I'd recapitalize the Navy (our ships are old and growing more expensive to maintain all the time), I would increase NASA's budget by a factor of 10 (because spaceships are cool) and I would pay Dave Ramsey $1B to create a K-12 mandatory curriculum for all students in all schools to educate them about how to handle money.

I'd then give the rest back to the taxpayers under the assumption that if they earned it, they might have some idea how to spend it.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Cheezburger of the Day

A Moth for Tim

Last night we had a big visitor to the Chateau d'Theocracy. A moth with a 6" wingspan decided to camp out on our front porch. We got a few photos of the beautiful creature and I was hoping the Backyard Arthropodist could identify it.

Professor Krugman, Your 2PM Appointment with the Real World Is Here

Deliciously hilarious.

H/T: Our Court Jester.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I've Stopped Reading Mish

Mish Shedlock runs one of the most popular econoblogs out there. Unfortunately for him, "out there" also describes his blog. Day in, day out, Mish is a pessimist. He did a great job describing how the meltdown took place and his take on debt is spot on. He did a great job rounding up the bad news and discussing how it was going to affect things. He still does and that's the problem.

The news isn't all bad any more and the usefulness of a pessimist is declining. Bloomberg's splash page shows the mixed news and gives a much broader view of the world. There are still a few bombs going off, particularly in commercial real estate, but it looks like the bottom has been found in many parts of the economy and nothing is served through constant gloom.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

RAF Banter

Don't ask me why I thought of this, I just did. Enjoy!

Now This Is Just Cool

Check this out. It's frugal and fun!

Sgt. Crowley to Visit the White House, Rev. Wright Strangely not Invited

I blame them Jews.

Here's the story.
July 28 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama is bringing Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Cambridge, Massachusetts, police Sergeant James Crowley to the White House on July 30, an administration official said last night.
So a cop of unimpeachable character is going to meet with a president whose spiritual mentor is a racist, anti-semitic lunatic and a professor who is ignorant of English literature and a philistine who provides the intellectual top cover for race-baiters like Al Sharpton.

What? You didn't know this about the good Professor? Mark Steyn has the details.
I confess I've been wary of taking Henry Louis Gates at his word ever since, almost two decades back, the literary scholar compared the lyrics of the rap group 2 Live Crew to those of the Bard of Avon. "It's like Shakespeare's 'My love is like a red, red rose,'" he declared, authoritatively, to a court in Fort Lauderdale.

As it happens, "My luv's like a red, red rose" was written by Robbie Burns, a couple of centuries after Shakespeare. Oh, well. 16th century English playwright, 18th century Scottish poet: What's the diff? Evidently being within the same quarter-millennium and right general patch of the North-East Atlantic is close enough for a professor of English and Afro-American Studies appearing as an expert witness in a court case. Certainly no journalist reporting Gates' testimony was boorish enough to point out the misattribution.
It's a further tribute to the press that they haven't brought up the good reverend in the middle of this episode. Of course, had Sgt. Crowley, in a previous vocation, been a UPS driver who was invited in to David Duke's house for a cup of coffee after a delivery, that 10-minute conversation with David Duke about the Atlanta Falcons would be all over the news as proof positive that Sgt. Crowley had been just inches away from thrashing Professor Gates with his nightstick.

Oh well. It's such a pity we don't have a free press any more. Wouldn't it be lovely to see someone bring up this?

Cheezburger of the Day

Monday, July 27, 2009


Here's another captchadef.

harifib (n): A really big lie.

Should Robert Byrd Have Been Hospitalized?

... or should he have been given some pain pills and sent home? Dig this story.
Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), the oldest and longest serving member of the Senate, remains hospitalized with a staph infection nearly three weeks after being admitted to the hospital.
Sentator Byrd is 91. He is clearly past his sell-by date. According to Obama, maybe the elderly shouldn't be receiving the same care as the younger members of society. Three weeks in the hospital is no joke. I'll bet that cost tens of thousands of dollars, if not well into the hundreds of thousands. All of that cash was spent while 83 bazillion Americans go without health care*.

So in all seriousness, if we're going to triage people based on future life expectancy and allocate scarce medical care resources following this triage, should Senator Byrd have been hospitalized?

I agree with him on almost nothing, but he's earned his health care coverage and he ought to be able to use it.

* - Hey, if the Health Care fanatics can make up numbers, so can I.

Draw the Pentagram! Summon the ... Flower?!?

Pentagrams are supposedly a symbol you draw on the floor as a basis for summoning evil beings. At least that's what it said in the fantasy novels that I read in my ill-spent youth. As I looked at this flower photo from my patio, that was the first thing that sprang into my mind.

Maybe you could use it to summon bees or butterflies or some kind of pollen-bearing being. I'm not quite sure it would be much use in bringing forth any demonic spirit. Thank goodness for that. With all the stuff we still need to put away, such creatures would only get in the way.

Morning Cat

On Saturday I took our Maximum Leader out of the Catican* and we hung out on the back porch. It was a lovely sunrise and I got some good shots of her and some of the patio flowers.

* - Since I'm clearly going to be using the term "Catican" a lot in the future, I think I need to come up with an official seal / creast / coat of arms for the Catican and a post describing just what it is.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Can We Please Put an End to Mitt Romney's Political Career Now?

... after all, he actually enacted a health care reform in Massachussetts that is a prototype for ObamaCare.
The efforts in Massachusetts mandating that its citizens have health insurance show that simply expanding the availability of insurance does not contain costs. If anything the evidence from its brief existence suggests the opposite. Over the past year, the state has had to raise taxes and fees to keep the new program afloat, and government and industry officials believe the program will not survive over the next five to ten years if major actions are not taken to slow the state's health care spending.
Business genius Romney enacted the health care and then bailed out, leaving the state with a live hand grenade that has since blown up. His claims during the Republican primaries have all been proven to be absolute nonsense just like Mr. Red Pill / Blue Pill Obama's are.

I read somewhere that a recent head-to-head matchup for 2012 of Romney vs. Obama had them tied, but that's understandable. I suspect that a matchup between firing squad and lethal injection would end up the same way.

Barack Hussein Romney

Piling on to Thomas Friedman

... fortunately, there's plenty of room for all of us at the Friedman estate. Dig Chateau de Enviroweenie Friedman:

If he allowed four homeless families to move in, he could kill two liberal birds with one stone.

You see, small carbon footprints and a modest lifestyle are for us, not for him. Mark Steyn had an outstanding version of this.
Well, obviously, being a renowned expert, Thomas Friedman, like Al Gore and the Prince of Wales, needs a supersized carbon footprint. But you don't - you can get by beating your laundry on the rocks down by the river with the native women all day long.
In all seriousness, I'm more in agreement with Thomas Friedman. I want to spout envirobromides so I can be invited to all the chic, trendy parties while living it up in a house so big that I have to use my cell phone to contact the other members of the family.

Besides, without a house like this, where would I park the H3 that I would buy?

The Ultimate Dave Ramsey Conversation

... is this one.

H/T: Paul Kedrosky.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

On Tonight's Menu: Coq Au Vin

I'm trying this recipe tonight. I'll update this with some cooking photos and a review.

Killing Innovation with Lean Six Sigma

Within the workforce at my organization, we have a subpopulation of folks doing basic research. They work in all kinds of technical fields including physics, biology, chemistry and math. They are considered a crucial part of the organization. To support their research, we have a technical library filled with books and periodicals of all kinds. We've been in existence for many decades and some of the technical journals in our collection date back to the turn of the 20th Century.

For a bookworm, it's a lovely thing.

As the Age of the Interweb Tubes dawned, our research population was able to find a larger and larger percentage of their answers on the Internet and needed the library less and less. Having said that, because the content on the Internet is typically very shallow and it is difficult to read, say, partial differential equations textbooks on a computer screen, the technical library's necessity to our researchers did not diminish.

That's important enough to repeat and emphasize. Just because you need less of something, does not mean you can do without it. A Prius needs less gas than a normal car, but without any gas at all it's just an expensive storage shed on wheels.

And so the walk-in customer population of the library shrank while the library's size stayed the same. Like it or not, books occupy physical space and the size of a library cannot be reduced without getting rid of books. Because we pay space charges for every building, the cost of operating the library remained constant despite the reduced walk-in traffic.

Enter Lean Six Sigma (LSS). For those of you who don't understand LSS you can check out my long history of rants that explain it in hideous, graphic detail.

Several LSS events* were held to determine the future of the library. It was decided that we needed to reduce the size of the library by about 60%. That meant getting rid of lots and lots of books and obliterating all reading areas within the building. The place now looks and feels like a 99 Cent Store.

Our new technical library.

Now that the decisions have been made and irreversible actions have been taken, our research community is completely enraged. Meanwhile, the effort is being considered yet another LSS success story.

And how much did we save?

About the cost of one full-time LSS black belt.

We used LSS to maim our technical library and insulted, disabled and demoralized one of our most important groups all so we could pay the LSS goon. Unreal.

* - An LSS event holds the same promise as a nuclear event. The best course of action should you encounter one is to flee or if that is not possible, hide in a shelter. Following the event, I highly recommend War Crimes Trials against the people who precipitated it in the first place.

I Need Some Help

I'm looking for the keys to my truck. Does anyone know where I left them? Leave your suggestions in the comments.

I Guess This Guy Was A Racist, Too

Dig this.
A black police officer who was at Henry Louis Gates Jr.'s home when the black Harvard scholar was arrested says he fully supports how his white fellow officer handled the situation.

Sgt. Leon Lashley says Gates was probably tired and surprised when Sgt. James Crowley demanded identification from him as officers investigated a report of a burglary. Lashley says Gates' reaction to Crowley was "a little bit stranger than it should have been."

Asked if Gates should have been arrested, Lashley said supported Crowley "100 percent."
I think this fellow needs to attend Professor Gates' lectures on racism because he's not seeing racist hobgoblins behind every tree, shrub and lamp post as he should be. They're out there, you know. In fact, there's one right behind you now! Quick, look! Oooh - he got away. But he was there, just the same. With some multicultural sensitivity training, you'll soon be seeing them, too.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Police Report

... on Professor Gates just screams out JACKPOT! for the good professor. Well done, sir! Your undying celebrity status is assured. Talk about siezing an opportunity!

Shaking ... with Excitement

Professor Henry Louis Gates of Harvard has hit the jackpot. He has won the lotto. He's got the world in his hands, he is set for life. His freakout with the police officers will be relived in his classroom, where he teaches all about racial injustice, for the rest of his career.
He was booked for disorderly conduct after “exhibiting loud and tumultuous behavior,” according to a police report. Gates accused the investigating officer of being a racist and told him he had "no idea who he was messing with,'' the report said.

Gates told the officer that he was being targeted because "I'm a black man in America.''
Could there have been anything more harmlessly delicious than this for him? The cops who arrested him were of mixed races and the white one who did the deed teaches anti-racial profiling classes to the police force and was hired by a black man who has vouched for his utter lack of racism.

And yet Professor Gates, tenured Harvard Professor, has been made into a national symbol of America's inability to let go of slavery, another switch to flog us with for having thought, well, anything at all.

It's wonderful.

The best line in the article linked above was this one.
Counter, who had called Gates from the Nobel Institute in Sweden, where Counter is on sabbatical, said that Gates was “shaken” and “horrified” by his arrest.
I'll bet he was shaking. It was the sort of shaking you do after you scratch off the last winning number on a Lotto ticket.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Brother, Can You Spare $236B?

... because that's the size of the Treasury auction next week. John Jansen has the details.

$236B?!? Are you kidding me? Where are you going to get a quarter of a trillion dollars in one week to buy this debt? Any bets on higher interest rates out there?

Why Do People Go On Honeymoons?

... so they don't spend their first week together as a married couple doing things like installing washing machines.

My new wife and I decided to forgo our honeymoon and move her and her sons into our new house instead. We will be renting out her existing house and we have a tenant lined up that wants to move in on August 1. One of the things we moved from her house to mine were her washer and dryer. I'm relatively handy. Hooking up a washing machine and dryer is no big deal. Last night I got the dryer going - no problem. I hooked up the washer - no problem.

Then I turned on the water faucets connected to the washer. Water sprayed everywhere because the darned things are so corroded and old. Dang! What with working all day and still a ton of things to unpack, we decided to call a plumber in the morning to get the faucets replaced.

Then it was time to move her email account with Time Warner under my name. Over an hour later with tech support, it still wasn't done. It turned out that my email account was still associated with an old address from years ago and every time I had moved, Time Warner had just linked my new address to the old one. By now, the thing was so hopelessly complicated in their system that they couldn't do something simple like adding the email address.

And so on and so forth. Romantic honeymoon - ur doin it wrong!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Cheezburger of the Day

This one is our own Maximum Leader laying on what used to be the Interweb Tube shelf in the garage Catican. It is now her shelf.

You Can't Always Get What You Want

... but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you can't always get what you need, either.

Thinking more about the California budget agreement, whatever they agreed to in the details, they still haven't grasped the reality of the situation just as the Federal Government hasn't figured it out with the health care reform bill.

You can't have what you can't pay for. Right now, neither California nor the US Government can pay for what they have. California is solving its problems by blowing up city and county budgets.
It also calls for the state to siphon $2 billion of local property taxes meant for cities and cities, $1 billion of gasoline tax revenue meant for local governments and another $1 billion earmarked for redevelopment agencies. Some of that borrowed money would be repaid with interest. Local governments could sell bonds backed by the promise of repayments.
They don't like that.
“If, in fact, that is what’s adopted by the Legislature, depending on the actual language of the legislation, we would challenge both those of those premises in court,” said Paul McIntosh, executive director of the California State Association of Counties, in an interview today.
The California deal also assumes the good times are coming back and soon.
Schools will be repaid $11 billion once the state’s economy turns around ... Some of that borrowed money (borrowed from local governments, above) would be repaid with interest.
More fantasy economics are included.
The agreement also shifts $1.5 billion between accounts to save money and moves the last payday for state workers in the current fiscal year into the next.
This is an exact mirror of the health care debate. We want health care for all and so we will have it. Anyone who stands in the way of it is greedy or heartless or both. 47 million people are uninsured, according to the proponents.

Too bad. It happens sometimes that you can't afford what you want or need. This fiscal crisis, a balance-sheet problem (read: debt), comes from behaving like children and demanding that we get what we want when we want it. It won't be solved until we grow up and decide to pay for what we get.

It is entirely possible that there is no tax rate that will provide the funds necessary to solve both of these problems. As California has discovered, high taxes and onerous regulations are driving businesses (read: tax revenue sources) out of the state. More taxes will drive out more people and businesses.

You can't have something because you want it.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Doctor! His chakras are fading!

Hilarious stuff here.

California Budget Deal is Struck; Everyone Gets the Shaft

... everyone but the well-connected, of course. Dig this.
The agreement calls for cutting spending by $15 billion, including $6 billion from schools, $3 billion from colleges and $1.2 billion from prisons. Schools will be repaid $11 billion once the state’s economy turns around. It also raises $4 billion by in part accelerating personal and corporate income tax withholdings and increasing income tax withholding schedules by 10 percent.

It also calls for the state to divert more than $2 billion of tax receipts meant for local governments, redevelopment agencies and transportation districts. That money would be repaid with interest. Local governments could sell bonds backed by the promise of repayments. The agreement also shifts $1.5 billion between accounts to save money and moves the last payday for state workers in the current fiscal year into the next.
Where to start? Well, first, the schools lose $6B, but get $11B back later. That looks like a $5B profit to me. Yay! More money for schools! There is no upper limit, you know.

Q: How much should we spend on education? A: More!

With the state holding back their payments, local governments will now pay their bills with debt. That's the state throwing the live hand grenade to the cities and counties and saying, "Here, you take it!" There's plenty more shenannigans with the taxes, too. Accelerating rates? Man, if that isn't borrowing from tomorrow to pay for today, I don't know what is.

Above all, the whole thing assumes that the golden days will return. These are all temporary measures. If they don't work, things will be even worse later. You know who this reminds me of? Wimpy from the old Popeye cartoons.

I'd gladly pay you Tuesday for a state handout today!

Cheezburger of the Day

This one hits home for us ...

Monday, July 20, 2009

I Don't Get It

I was just driving around, running some errands, listening to people talk about health care reform. On the one hand, we need to be able to insure people with pre-existing conditions. On the other hand, we need to being costs down.

So the goal is to insure the most expensive customers while lowering costs.


There's no Biblical Support for Gay Marriage

I'm sorry, there just isn't. While listening to the readings at our wedding last week, I was struck by the repeated, explicit mentions of man and woman with regards to marriage. Here's Matthew 19:3-6.
3 Some Pharisees approached him, and to put him to the test they said, 'Is it against the Law for a man to divorce his wife on any pretext whatever?'
4 He answered, 'Have you not read that the Creator from the beginning made them male and female
5 and that he said: This is why a man leaves his father and mother and becomes attached to his wife, and the two become one flesh?
6 They are no longer two, therefore, but one flesh. So then, what God has united, human beings must not divide.'
There were many more just like that. It wasn't that the Creator made them man and life partner, man and goat, man and vague quadruped or man and a whole bunch of guys from that really cool float from the Gay Pride Parade, it was "male and female" explicitly.

I can understand if you want to support gay marriage because you don't want to discriminate, but don't talk like there's any kind of biblical support for it. It isn't there no matter how much you wish it were.

Our President tries to sneak it in under the Sermon on the Mount, but marriage isn't discussed there while it is discussed in no uncertain terms elsewhere.
"I don't think it [a same-sex union] should be called marriage, but I think that it is a legal right that they should have that is recognized by the state," said Obama. "If people find that controversial then I would just refer them to the Sermon on the Mount, which I think is, in my mind, for my faith, more central than an obscure passage in Romans." St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans condemns homosexual acts as unnatural and sinful.
Some time during Barack's coversation with Jesus Christ, where he and Jesus work out which of them is which, he might want to ask whether or not St. Paul's writings were just some obscure scribblings, too.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

How to Tell if You've Married the Right Woman

You decide on a wedding date while she's at home and you're in Hawaii with your daughter's soccer team. She and her friends organize a perfectly wonderful wedding in a week. Your contribution to the affair is a phone call or two and getting your pants hemmed. While she's running thither and yon dealing with flowers, music, readings, cakes, restaurants, etc. you're going to luaus, swimming at the beach, snorkeling in the coral and to soccer games with your daughter*.

During the whole affair and afterwards as well, there is not one word of reproach.

* - Quite on my own, I felt about this big (holds thumb and index finger a few millimeters apart) that she did all the work. She wasn't bothered by it at all. It just was.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Only in DC

... would this make sense.
“And folks look, AARP knows and the people with me here today know, the president knows, and I know, that the status quo is simply not acceptable,” Biden said at the event on Thursday in Alexandria, Va. “It’s totally unacceptable. And it’s completely unsustainable. Even if we wanted to keep it the way we have it now. It can’t do it financially.”

“We’re going to go bankrupt as a nation,” Biden said.

“Now, people when I say that look at me and say, ‘What are you talking about, Joe? You’re telling me we have to go spend money to keep from going bankrupt?’” Biden said. “The answer is yes, that's what I’m telling you.”
Emphasis mine.

It's a good thing Biden and Obama are so smart. I'd hate to think what might be happening if some dingbat like Sarah Palin was in office. Her kind just doesn't understand High Finance like the academics and polticians. Shoot, she probably thinks that running up massive deficits is a bad thing to do.

Room with a View

While we didn't go on a honeymoon, we did spend a night at a really nice hotel in San Diego. We got a room with a great view. I took a bunch of shots that I'm going to stitch together into a panorama, but until then, here's a good example of our 180 degree view of Mission Bay and the Pacific Ocean.

Monitoring her Subjects

Instead of going on a honeymoon, we decided to spend the days after the wedding moving in together. The honeymoon will come later.

Our Maximum Leader has established her (rightful) authority over Bodie the Wonder Dog and things are now relatively peaceful. Her favorite spots in the house are the ones where she can look down on her subjects and monitor their behavior. This spot at the top of the stairs, looking down on the living room, is one of her favorites.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Moving is Fun

...when it means you can live together in one house as a family.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Blogging Will Be Light Today

... because I'm otherwise occupied doing something or other involving a church, the woman I love and a bunch of our friends. Instead, I'll leave you with this little ditty which will have something to do with dancing tonight.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Killing the Goose

This is surreal.
WASHINGTON, July 15 (Reuters) - A group of Democrats on the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday called for health insurers to pay fees worth up to $100 billion over a decade to help pay for the overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system.
So the health insurers will be used to pay for the government system that will compete with them, finally destroying them? After which the new health care system will be paid for by ... who?

Are these people completely insane?

Somebody Fleeced T. Boone Pickens

Dig this.
Plans for the world's largest wind farm in the Texas Panhandle have been scrapped, energy baron T. Boone Pickens said Tuesday, and he's looking for a home for 687 giant wind turbines.

Pickens has already ordered the turbines, which can stand 400 feet tall — taller than most 30-story buildings.
What a rube. The dude got taken to the cleaners by some slick-talking green power salesman. Now he's finding out that it was all nonsense.
In Texas, the problem lies in getting power from the proposed site in the Panhandle to a distribution system, Pickens said in an interview with The Associated Press in New York. He'd hoped to build his own transmission lines but he said there were technical problems.
Whoops! Would could have seen that coming?

Next up, hundreds of square miles of solar panels in the desert!

Keeping hundreds of thousands of solar panels operating in this environment will be inexpensive and easy. It's all part of the green economy!

Can They Pay Our Video Rental Fees, Too?

... and our dry cleaning bills and our car repair bills and our credit card fees and ...
House Democrats announced a plan yesterday that would force the richest 2 million U.S. taxpayers to shoulder much of the cost of an expansion of the nation's health-care system, by imposing a surtax of as much as 5.4 percent on income above $350,000 a year.
As California has discovered, this works until it doesn't. When you punish the productive enough, they either quit producing or they leave. After that, you're left with printing Confederate money to cover your bills.

Here, a successful plumbing contractor is punished by his congressman.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Are California's IOUs Legal?

That's the question asked over at the Ouside the Beltway blog. There's interesting constitutional argument made that they are not, but there are examples given in the comments that say they are. In any case, as the issuance of them goes on and as they are now being traded in the financial markets, it's leading me to ask this: Why fix the budget problem if you can pay off in IOUs indefinitely?

After a while, as the blog post linked above suggests, don't these become a unique currency?

Cheezburger of the Day

How To Tell If You're Marrying The Wrong Person

...your bride enters to this music:

Monday, July 13, 2009

Oahu Sunset

Click on the image for a larger, better version.

A Socialist Pope?

The title is borrowed from my dear friend, the fellow who runs the blog, Kelly the Little Black Dog. He makes a terrific point, one that is rarely discussed on right wing talk radio.
Will Republican Catholics show any self-consistency and rail against the Pope for his recent socialist manifesto?
… Benedict sketches a radically different world economy, in which access to food and water is a universal right, wealthy nations share with poorer ones and profit is not the ultimate goal of commerce. He advocates the creation of a “world political authority” to manage the economy.
I've thought about this every time the Church comes out and makes a pronouncement about economics. Back in the day, I dismissed them as being out of their element and just prattling on about areas where they were ignorant. Kelly's post made me think deeper and work to reconcile my faith with my politics. I haven't done so completely, but thanks to him, I'm working on it. Here's where my thinking has led.

Our highest calling is to love God and love one another. That's pretty clear, as it is expressly stated by Christ in the bible. That's it, that's the end, that's the whole enchilada (matzo cracker? - hey, Christ was a Jew, you know). Grabbing every last penny one can does not lead one to meet this requirement.

Memo to Joe Biden and Barack Obama - you're not even close, guys. You might want to donate a little more to charity. In fact, you might want to start by donating something other than everyone else's money. Stealing is still a sin, you know. Dittos for liberals in general, who donate less than conservatives. Nice talk, guys, but how about a little more action*?

I would also suggest that the Church's economic decrees are perfectly self-consistent. They are a call for us to be responsible for one another and ecnomics is just one such way. You can't preach against the abortion mills slaughtering people faster than the Nazi death camps, but not preach against the Mexican oligarchy starving the rural Indians through exploitation. You can't preach against the libertine lifestyle that leads to massive prison populations and untold misery, but not preach against the chemical companies that pollute the environment for the public while their CEOs live far away from the mess. It's all part of the same theme.

Socialism is motivated by a desire to care for one another equally. It's kind of hard to read the bible and come away with justifications for $41M bonuses for the CEO of HP.

That's about as far as my thinking takes me right now. I might explore this further on the blog. In the meantime, for my libertarian compatriots who love Ayn Rand, allow me to suggest a good way to go John Galt on a perverted society that grinds babies into fertilizer so they can go back out and slake their lusts upon one another yet again.

* - Now would not be a good time to sneer at the Christian Right. They're giving, you're not. Get over yourselves.

My Belated Tribute to Michael Jackson


H/T: Scipio.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Let's Cut Taxes!

My right wing readers probably get angry when I post stuff like this, but here's a great bit from Bloomberg's Kevin Hassett.
It takes years and years to make a mess as terrible as the California debacle, but the recipe is simple. All that you need is two political parties that are always willing to offer easy government solutions for every need of the voters, but never willing to make the tough decisions necessary to finance the government largess that results. Voters will occasionally change their allegiance from one party to the other, but the bacchanal will continue regardless of the names on the office doors.

California has engaged in an orgy of spending, but, compared with our federal government, its legislators should feel chaste. The California deficit this year is now north of $26 billion. The U.S. federal deficit will be, according to the latest numbers, almost 70 times larger.
We need to pay for what we get and that means either reducing what we get or paying more. Tax cuts are always the rage with the Republicans even when the deficit is being paid with these.

Health care for the poor and tax cuts for the rich!

All God's children need to start paying more and pay until the deficit is gone and the debt is being paid off. We'll all feel lots and lots of pain, but it's the only way the growth of the government will stop. It's also the right thing to do. Skipping out on the tab and leaving it for our kids is fundamentally immoral.

I Will Not Be Blogging Today's Game

Hey, we came here to enjoy the island, not win soccer games, right?

Today's game is turning out to be just brutal.

Enough said.

Cowardice is Contagious

... you can catch it from your allies. Dig this.
A series of attacks in Afghanistan that left four U.S. Marines and eight British soldiers dead in recent days has stoked growing concern among U.S. and allied forces over a spike in battlefield deaths as thousands of new American troops pour into the country.
That's 12 killed. Not 1200 or 120, but 12 and it's got certain governments wondering why they should stick around.
The mounting losses have contributed to the growing criticism of the war in some NATO countries. It has been a divisive issue in Britain, Canada, Germany and France, all of which have all lost soldiers in recent months.
This is what led to 9/11. When we ran away from Somalia, Osama bin Laden concluded that we had no stomach for a fight. He was wrong while George W. Bush was in office, but now ...

This generation of Americans didn't run away.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

On Peggy Noonan and Sarah Palin

So it appears that the Feline Theocracy's Holy Ambassador to the Mainstream Media, Peggy Noonan, wrote a condescending, critical piece of Sarah Palin recently. From my Twitter feeds, I guess she dismissed Governor Palin as someone out of her depth when it came to national politics.

How is that a bad thing?

Sarah and her family are actual working Americans. Unlike President Obama who was marinated in airheaded academia or George W. Bush who grew up in wealth and prestige, the Palins are just like us. Again, why is that a bad thing? Where have the vapid intellectuals and the inside-the-Beltway folks led us? What indication is there that they know anything at all? I would be far more confident in our future with a fishing company owner in the White House than a community organizer.

Can you live without food? No. Sarah Palin and her family were doing something useful. Can you live without a community organizer? Yes. Barack Obama was a parasite. But somehow we're supposed to think that she was the one who was unqualified and he was the type we wanted?

Is there some level of management above which experience in the real world doesn't count any more? Why do we want a shrewd businessman running the company we work for, but a useless dork like Joe Biden as our senator? Would you want Joe Biden running your local Home Depot? He's government leadership quality material and Sarah Palin isn't?

Please. We need more Sarah Palins and less professional politicians.

Update: Over at sisu, there's a great piece on Governor Palin.
Meanwhile, stuck in their anti-Palin Pauline-Kael bubbles, national political reporters continue to miss the point.
Update 2: Victor Davis Hanson knocks it out of the park.
I saw more stupid people in graduate school and three decades in academia than I ever did who ran 100 acres without going broke — and more of the latter whom I’d trust not to bankrupt the country and let down our defenses than of the former.

Hawaii Tournament Game 3 Final

2-0 bad guys, but it was an exciting, well-played game. We finally gelled and had some great shots on goal that just barely missed. The girls played with energy and enthusiasm. Tomorrow's final game should be great.

Hawaii Tournament Game 3 Halftime

It's 1-0 bad guys. We started slow and disorganized but in the last ten minutes of the half we began to play with spirit and cohesiveness. The girls are learning each other bit by bit. Those last ten minutes have been the most exciting soccer in the tournament so far.

In Lolcat City

We saw this street in Hawaii and couldn't help taking a photo of the sign.

Cheezburger of the Day

Friday, July 10, 2009

Hawaii Tournament Game 2 Final

4-0 bad guys. The less said about this game, the better. There's always tomorrow!

Hawaii Soccer Tournament Game 2, Halftime

We're down 2-0 to a team we could beat. It's obvious we haven't played together. When the other team threatens, there's a lot of hesitation on our side with the girls wondering who should do what.

My daughter played midfield yesterday, but today they've got her playing defense today, her preferred position and she's making the most of it. I'd say she's playing her way into the position. That's way cool.

Hopefully we can score in the second half. One of our Hawaiian players had a breakaway shot in the first half, but missed.


Here's another captchadef.

guesisi (n): Someone who is afraid to guess anything. If pressed to do so, they may begin to cry or look for a place to hide.

How Cats Became (Somewhat) Domesticated

The Puppy Blender linked to this terrific piece by Nicholas Wade defending cats from some recent attacks on their nature and behavior. Amidst that fine article was this interesting bit.

All the other species, in the authors’ view, were bred by people for their desired qualities. Cats, being without utility, were not. Instead, they domesticated themselves and chose their own mates without human interference.

It all came about, the researchers concede, because of wild cats’ powers of observation. They had the wits to notice that the first human settlements were full of uncleared garbage strewn about by their slovenly inhabitants and so were overrun with rats, mice and sparrows.

The cats decided to move into this inviting new ecological niche, even though the price of admission was to develop a disdainful tolerance of people.
What a great analysis! When you look at the way our cats behave with us, you can see that same principle at work every day. Rudyard Kipling put it more poetically and had that very same theory pegged about a hundred years earlier. Here's a tidbit from Just So Stories about how the cat came to live with people. In the story, the dog has just surrendered his freedom to the woman in exchange for a regular feeding of bones.
Out in the Wild Woods all the wild animals wondered what had happened to Wild Dog, and at last Wild Horse stamped with his foot and said, 'I will go and see and say why Wild Dog has not returned. Cat, come with me.'

'Nenni!' said the Cat. 'I am the Cat who walks by himself, and all places are alike to me. I will not come.' But all the same he followed Wild Horse softly, very softly, and hid himself where he could hear everything.
In the end, the cat does everything on his own terms. Read the whole thing at the link. It's well worth it.

Hawaiian Boneyard

Out by the Waipio Soccer Complex where we're playing our games, there's a bay where the Navy is storing some of its mothballed ships. Here's one of several amphibs anchored there. I left the original photo fairly large. I think the clouds give it some drama. It might be worth a click to see the bigger version.

A modern-day Flying Dutchman?

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Hawaii Soccer Tournament Game 1 Final

2-0 bad guys. We got tired in the second half and they shot well. We're playing with a hybrid team, too. Only 7 of our girls made it to Hawaii and we're borrowing six locals. They played well, but it's not a team that knows itself at all.

Tomorrow is game two. Win or lose, it's a great tournament for us to play.

Hawaii Soccer Tournament Game 1, Halftime

It's nil to nil. Wow, what a game! Total excitement!

Err, I guess. What can you expect? It's soccer, fer cryin' out loud.

The other team lost their goalie to a leg injury. Ouch! Both teams had chances to score, but the defense always came up big. They've got a girl who looks like she drove the team bus to the game. 12 years old and just huge.

My daughter is playing a good game. They have her at left midfield. She's got mediocre ball skills, but she's a total pest when the other team has the ball. She's like and angry wasp around her opponent when they have the ball.

Next update at game's end.

Providing Interweb Tubes - Ur Doin It Rong!

So this morning I go down to the common area in my hotel, which is the only place where you can get their "free wireless Internet" only to find out that this time my schleptop can't acquire and IP address from the thing. 20 minutes and a reboot later, I give up and go back to my room, 8 floors up.

Free wireless Internet? Bah!

Cheezburger of the Day

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


Dig this.

Jungle Waterfalls

Here's a peek of Manoa Falls from the trail as you make your way to the base of it.

I never get tired of waterfalls.

Futbol Update for Dean

Our first game is on Thursday. Scores and details then. Thanks for asking!

Fern Buds

We took a hike to Manoa Falls yesterday and I got some good photos. My favorite was this macro shot of fern buds just about to unfurl. I think it's worth a click to see the full-sized version.

Cheezburger of the Day

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


For someone who does so much scurrying, I'm terrible at keeping up with our captchadefs. Meanwhile, our readers keep leaving good ones in the comments. Here's the one that made me LOL from our Holy Scribe.

aquatort (n): a legal action in civil court involving water, as in "The dispute over water rights led to an aquatort in district court."

As our Maximum Leader is my witness, I promise to try and do better in the future and bring more captchadefs to the blog.

Serious Blogging

... can be found at both the Secular Apostate and our Monastery of Miscellaneous Musings. Both are blogging up a storm. I had a serious, venomous debt snark written, but decided not to post it. Instead, we're in the holiday mood, bringing cash* to financially hurting Hawaii. Their local paper had a front page article yesterday about how badly the tourism trade is doing. I really feel for them. They're good people doing their best with the raw materials they have - a beautiful location and terrific weather.

I'm also blegging here for some prayers for our Holy Scribe who is under the weather. Stop by and leave him some kind words if you can.

* - Yes, that means cash, not plastic debt. No credit cards were harmed (or used) in the making of this vacation.

Waikiki Sunset

Aloha! Our hotel in Hawaii has Interweb Tubes. Yay! Unfortunately, it only has them on the 6th floor and I'm on the 14th. I have to schlep my shcleptop down to the common area on the 6th floor to blog.

Oh well.

The trip has been everything I've hoped for so far. The girls are having fun and the place is gorgeous as always. I snapped this shot with my Blackberry as we left the restaurant last night.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Heading to Hawaii

... for a soccer tournament for my daughter. She's so excited, she could practically fly there herself.

This is a big deal for us. It was an expensive trip, but one that is very well worth it. I was determined to have her go with her team to reward her for her hard work and to encourage her to stick with the sport. She's just starting to get good at it and the payoffs are showing up all over her life. There's nothing like making a strong connection between hard work, success and fun to motivate hard work in other areas.

Unlike our trip to Santa Clara last week, I'll be travelling with a heavy footprint this time. That means the big laptop, the Nikon artillery piece camera and even a secondary camera - a little point and shoot one. We're packing our own snorkeling gear as well as her soccer stuff. We'll be there for a week and I have no intention of roughing it either in our activities or in blogging. My laptop has Photoshop and Premiere, so I can do multimedia editing albeit a bit slowly because of the small processor.

I hope your week will be as fun and rewarding as mine. More posts to follow once we land and get settled.


Sunday, July 05, 2009

One More Thought on the WaPo Pay-to-Play Deal

It was illegal. Totally, completely, from start to finish, illegal. Government officials cannot do things that bring a profit to a private business without a contract that has gone through proper bidding and award procedures.

One of the most frightening things from the past twelve months in the financial world where banks and car companies have been absorbed by the government and the total capitulation of the MSM to the Obama Administration is that there are no more rules. This is just one example of many.

Scurrying Around the Theocracy

... I came across this.

Here's a teaser from it.
If you stood still, you could hear them munching, munching, while their droppings rained down, patter-patter-patter.
Hmmm. Now that I look at things I note that this blog is not actually from the Theocracy, but it should be. I need to deal with that. In any case, go check it out.


We Need to Repeal Prop 13!

Out here in California, we have a revenue problem. Our taxes are too low and so the state doesn't get enough money. That's why there's a deficit. Don't believe me? Dig this reply to a San Diego Union-Tribune blog post:
Company that I do consultant work informed me Friday that they are pulling out of California and moving to Franklin Tennessee. That is 43 more decent tax paying jobs going to another State who is welcoming them with open arms. They will be telling their employees on 8/1/09 and all will be offered their jobs in TN, they expect only a 1/2 dozen will accept. The owner told me that it is impossible anymore to conduct business in California. Workman's comp is insane. The cost for Workman Comp forklift operator in CA is 20 times more pricey than TN and none of the red tape ... they have to go through
Hey, wait a minute! Now that I read that again, maybe they're not arguing in favor of more taxes. Hmm. I think I need to read it a few more times.

While I do, you might want to ponder this question: Who is John Galt?

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Happy 4th of July!

All of us here at The Scratching Post would like to wish you and yours a very happy, blessed and safe 4th of July, particularly those who have served in our armed forces.

And to one of those especially.

Happy 4th of July, Dad. Thanks for working to keep us safe and free.

Bodie the Wonder Dog Receives Theocratic Instruction

Our Maximum Leader has been instructing Bodie the Wonder Dog on just how to behave in and around the Catican.

Like this.

Well, Now We Know What Sarah Palin's Problem Was

She didn't recite Urdu poetry and cook keema and daal.

Here's the per capita income scoreboard for those who missed it on ESPN last night.

USA: $47,000
Pakistan: $2,600

Oooh, and it was so close! I'm sure it was our fault and all. We must have stolen prosperity from them through something we did in 1948 or so. It can't be that the nation that eats chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes has anything to teach the keemavores.

There's so much we can learn from Pakistan. Particularly the part about the strongman style of government.

The Last Normal Human Being Leaves Politics

Sarah Palin resigned. We're left with the careerists and their coterie of sycophants in the media and entertainment. Of the four major candidates, McCain, Palin, Obama, Biden, I believed that Sarah Palin was easily the most presidential and best qualified among them. Her counterpart, Joe Biden has been as much of a clown as we thought he'd be and his boss, Barack Obama is an academic's dream. He's also a total catastrophe as a president.

Shocking, that. After all, he had the one quality that made him totally invulnerable in 2008. He was black. He still is, you know. He had positively nothing else to offer, but I'm sure we could find a wise Latina and a certain reverend to agree, that was enough.

John McCain would have been a decent president, but like the others and unlike Palin, he knew nothing at all about how Americans work and live. That's the big missing ingredient now that Sarah Palin is gone. There's no one left in the field on either side that knows America.

Good for you, Letterman. Hurrah for you MSNBC. Mission accomplished, lefty trolls and the MSM. It will be fine for those of us whose kids go to private schools and who live the Dave Ramsey lifestyle. We'll still thrive and prosper.

You can mow our lawns.

Friday, July 03, 2009

We Need Another Stimulus!

... so says that econogenius, Paul Krugman. His work is so bad, so obviously stupid that quoting and snarking is usually too easy to be any real fun. Today's brain bolus from him has a slight, brief exception.
O.K., Thursday’s jobs report settles it. We’re going to need a bigger stimulus ...

Wait — there’s more bad news: the fiscal crisis of the states. Unlike the federal government, states are required to run balanced budgets. And faced with a sharp drop in revenue, most states are preparing savage budget cuts, many of them at the expense of the most vulnerable.
I would bet that if the states cut out all programs and benefits that didn't exist in, say, 1985, and funded the remainder in the amount had they only kept up with inflation, they'd all be sitting on mountains of cash.

Of course, such a plan would no doubt lead us right back to the living hell that was 1985.

Who can forget the scenes like this one, so common in 1985?

Mussolini Was A Newspaper Man, You Know

Dig how the Washington Post was selling access to Obama Administration officials.

“Bring your organization’s CEO or executive director literally to the table,” one of his (Charles Pelton, the Post executive who came up with the idea) fliers advised.
“Interact with key Obama Administration and Congressional leaders . . . Spirited? Yes. Confrontational? No. The relaxed setting in the home of Katharine Weymouth assures it.”
The cost? $25,000 to “sponsor” one event (Maximum of two sponsors per “intimate and exclusive” event). Or get a bulk deal on all eleven: only $250,000 for the lot.
The WaPo is being raked over the coals for this, but I think that's misguided. Consider this question: How was it possible that they could offer up the Obama Administration officals in the first place? Or how about this equation:

CEO gives $$$ to the WaPo => the WaPo gives ??? to the Obama Administration.

We all know what was in it for the CEO and for the WaPo. What was in it for Obama's crew?

Il Duce got his start as a member of the press.

Sven And Ingrid's Money Is In Their Mattress

... as it should be!

Those crazy Swedes are at it again, showing us uptight, reactionary capitalists how it's done. Dig this great post from Mish.
There has been a lot of ludicrous recommendations recently to combat deflation by making deposit rates negative. I did not think any central bank would be dumb enough to try it. I thought wrong.

Today, Riksbank, Sweden's central bank cut the deposit rate to -0.25% effectively charging savers interest on deposited money.
You heard it right - depositing money in the bank will now cost you in Sweden. You're not supposed to be frugal and save money, you see. You're supposed to borrow and spend and then borrow some more! Savers will be punished!

Many of my lefty friends have pointed to Sweden as an example of doing things right. Lots of social programs, libertine laws and now this - a culture of unrestrained spending that Barney Frank could be proud of.

Mish's conclusion says it all.
We should all be rooting for the demise of Sweden lest Bernanke or some other Central Bank clowns try the same thing. The risk is that Sweden does not immediately suffer for this stupidity and that Bernanke tries to do the same thing.

One thing is certain. This is eventually going to blow sky high. Let's hope it does before Bernanke gets the same brilliant idea.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

A California IOU

... looks something like this.

Well I think it looks like this. All I know is that you can print mounds and mounds of them and not worry about having to actually back it up with anything of value.

A New Rule Regarding Socks

Starting today, everyone in my family will wear the same color, shape and size of socks. Further, these socks will be fully reversible so that there will be no such thing as an inside-out sock from now on. This will be done to accelerate the matching and folding of laundry.

I'm sure the Lean Six Sigma experts out there will agree that this is an exceptionally good rule.

Update: You know I'm kidding here, right?

My Daughter's Soccer Team Is Driving Me Mad

I swear, every day I must get 5-10 emails from our spastic soccer team. Each one contradicts a previous email about schedule, tournaments, fund raisers, uniform sizes and travel plans for our upcoming Hawaii tournament. They build up in my inbox and then when I go through them, I can't make heads or tails out of them. I've got to take charge of this problem and get these dingledorks onto the web. A simple Google calendar and very basic web site would fix this.

Their existing website is waaaaaaay out of date, too.


Wednesday, July 01, 2009

IOUs in California - the Start of Something Good

The California Legislature can't figure out what to do when the money runs out.

With a day to go until a cash crisis would force the state to stop paying its bills, lawmakers and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger worked into the night Tuesday but failed to reach a budget agreement.
The state comptroller knows what to do, however.
Chiang, who acts as the state's banker, has scheduled a meeting for Thursday morning of a state board that will determine what interest rate the state will pay on the $3 billion a month in IOUs it will begin issuing to contractors and some of California's neediest citizens, including the elderly, the disabled and the poor.
So do the banks.
So far, no banks have formally committed to honoring the IOUs, said Chiang's spokeswoman, Hallye Jordan.
Is this a good thing? When the government's promises of cradle-to-grave security for all turn out to be fantasies, doesn't that lead to more self-reliance? Isn't that a good thing?

As an aside, note that this is not a failure of the legislative process so much as it is progressive social spending having a head-on collision with reality. You don't get something because you want it or even need it. You get something because you (or someone else) earned it. No earnings means no monies!

Sarah Palin is Dumb

Just keep repeating that to yourself over and over and over again while you go and read this.

Angry Babies

... get angry for a reason. Like this one. Click on the image to find out more!

Where's Annette?

... that's Annette Funicello, of course!

Forget Waldo, find Annette! Or a close approximation.

I took some crowd shots while walking along the Boardwalk in Santa Cruz last weekend. They looked like they came right out of an old beach movie.