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.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Epic Sex

In line at Albertsons yesterday, I saw Cosmo had this headline. I think it has something to do with Beowulf, but the truth of the matter is that I always find Cosmo a bit confusing.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Is Censorship Really A Bad Thing?

Living things respond to conditioning. What happens to a society conditioned on a popular culture filled with things like this?

It used to be that you couldn't show a murder in a movie unless the murderer was apprehended and punished. That was a long, long time ago. Now our murderers are heroes and played by top notch stars.

CHICAGO—Violence over the weekend resulted in Chicago's 400th homicide this year -- that's up 25 percent from the same time last year.  
On Sunday, Jose Escobar, 25, was shot and killed after a fight near a fast food stand at 35th and Morgan in Chicago's Bridgeport neighborhood. His friend was left paralyzed. Escobar's family says he was a gang member, but was trying to change his life.  
“In Chicago, the epidemic of violence is spreading all over the place,” said Ceasefire Illinois director, Tio Hardiman.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

If I Ran Through Compton, Wearing A Klan Outfit, Would You Feel Sorry For Me When I Got Shot?

Would you?

Der Spiegel has the standard article and photo essay today of crying grandmas from Gaza and, for me, it was the last straw. One of the grandmas has this caption:
The mother of Zaki Qadada, who was killed in an Israeli air strike, weeps during an interviw with SPIEGEL in Gaza City on Nov. 21. "We hope that God will take revenge on these people," she said.
Seriously? How about if you hope that God grants you a tiny portion of a brain instead? Maybe having your national leaders in Hamas swear to commit genocide against a militarily superior nation, founded after their people survived the Holocaust wasn't the best idea in the world. Did you think that was going to end well?

What's the disconnect here? I just finished listening to Judaism and one of the primary themes is how the Holocaust redefined what it meant to be Jewish. Survival trumps all differences. After living next to a Jewish state for a few decades, shouldn't you be able to figure that out? If they've got the Bomb, do you think they're going to let you overwhelm them and exterminate them, assuming you can somehow manage to get past their top-notch army?

If it comes to a real, live war of extermination, do you think they're still going to be using smart bombs and targeting leaders, or are they just going to kill every last one of you with indiscriminate, superior firepower?

Even assuming there was some amount of moral justice in their cause, is screaming genocidal threats at the Israelis and launching rockets on them endlessly anything other than stupid?

For crying out loud, this was perfectly predictable. How much sympathy can you work up for people who continually bring this on themselves?

Monday, November 26, 2012

I Can't Believe That He Believes

Right now, I'm listening to Paul Johnson's Intellectuals. It's a glorious polemic of anecdotes, character analyses and flat-out ad hominem attacks on a variety of wacky braniacs including Marx, Sartre and Chomsky. I haven't gotten to Chomsky yet, but both Sartre and Marx reminded me of Robert Reich.

In the last Reich piece that I read, he scribbled this nonsense:
Europe offers the same lesson in reverse: Their deficits are ballooning because their austerity policies have caused their economies to sink.

The best way to generate jobs and growth is for the government to spend more, not less.
That bugged me at the time because it was so transparently false. Spain and Greece are undergoing austerity because no one will lend to them and interest rates have shot up. It's not like they had a choice. They had a choice five years ago and chose to do what Robert suggested. The result has been riots and financial chaos.

He certainly must see that, right? So what's the angle here?

Marx and Sartre wrote gibberish. Marx never bothered to actually meet the proles and his partner, Engels, doctored the facts to help Marx continue spouting trash. Sartre was a self-promoting egoist, blathering about "action" while he himself did whatever got him money and attention. It wasn't about the truth or developing a better understanding of the world, it was all about them.

So that's where I am with Robert Reich. His work is so transparently deceitful that the only thing I can think is that he doesn't actually believe it himself. He just loves to get his speaking fees and to appear on talk shows. He loves it when his books make the best seller lists. He loves it when he is quoted. I grant that he could be a little deeper than that. Like Marx and Sartre who talked themselves into believing at least some of their own idiocy, the little man might really be a Peronist fascist at heart.

If that's the case, is he really an economist after all, or is he a particularly data-driven propaganda minister?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Cheezburger of the Day

Is Aristocracy / Peasantry The Nature Of Things?

In the middle ages, noblemen rode around on horses, eating good food. Peasants rolled in the mud*.

Here, a noblewoman rides along with a full silver service and fresh Turbot Eugenie in her saddlebags.
There was this really huge gap between the rich and the poor. It happened because the noblemen oppressed the peasants with the help of the Catholic Church, which heated their massive cathedrals by burning heretics - mostly scientists.

This is the world to which the Rethuglican Theocons long to return. It's a world where the rich oppress and exploit the poor.

In modern California, progressives hold sway. They now control every aspect of the government and can implement everything they've ever dreamed up, whether that's putting an end to the tides or making sure kids eat enough organic endives.

In California, there is this really huge gap between the rich and the poor. It's happened because the super-rich coastal elite oppressed the peasants with the help of the government and Planned Parenthood, one striving to eliminate self-reliance, the other trying to make responsibility-free orgasms a universal right.

This is the world which the Demoncrat Communists long to spread to the four corners of the globe. It's a world where the intellectual elite oppress and exploit the poor.

His Mac has a wood-grain finish. He doesn't know what wood grain is.
So after about 1500 years, the West has come full circle. We've gone from the Theocon paradise where the underclass is trampled by the nobility to a progressive paradise where the underclass is trampled by government social programs.

Doesn't that make you think this is the way things were meant to be?

* - Well, that's what they teach in my daughter's public high school history classes. To be honest, there's not much time to get into it as they have 3 months of diversity studies to get through.

Friday, November 23, 2012

A Written History Would Probably Make A Difference

Clicking around the Wampanoag site yesterday, I came across the history of their tribe, which starts with the standard Indian self-pity party.
1616 Traders from Europe bring yellow fever to Wampanoag territory. The geographical area affected was all of the 69 tribes of the Wampanoag Nation from present day Provincetown, MA to Narragansett Bay; the boundary of the Wampanoag and Narragansett Nations. Fully two thirds of the entire Wampanoag Nation (estimated at 45,000) die.
The truth of the matter is that their history didn't start in 1616, it's just that they have no idea what happened before then because they couldn't write. As I pondered that, I wondered how big of a difference that made in their perception of their interactions with the Europeans. For all they knew, they'd spent the last several hundred years engaged in sporadic, vicious, genocidal warfare with neighboring tribes. Given the inter-tribal conflicts the settlers found all across the land, that's a really good bet. Maybe not the genocidal part, but who knows? They may have survived a plague like the Black Death that swept Europe, but you don't know that, either.

In Europe, written history goes back 2000 years or more. Because of that, it's pretty hard to get worked up about the Siege of Constantinople when you consider what happened to Carthage and the Sack of Rome, just to pick three brutal events off the top of my head. Because the written history shows how each group was a pack of scurvy knaves in turn, there's no mantle of innocence to drape about anyone's shoulders as they whine about this event or that.

For all anyone knows, this was the fifth such forced migration in 2000 years, the first four happening long before the Europeans arrived.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Getting In Touch With My Inner Wampanoag For Thanksgiving

The Wampanpoags were the Indians that shared noms with the Pilgrims on that very first Thanksgiving. You can find their website here and a screen cap below.

They've melded the Old Ways with the New Ways pretty nicely.
On the occasion of Thanksgiving, and in concert with the Wampanoags on that website, here are some of the things I'm thankful for:

  • Web servers
  • HTML
  • Digital cameras
  • Photoshop
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Siding for houses
  • Asphalt shingles
  • Cars
  • Machine-woven cloth
  • Machine-washable garments
  • Smartly-tailored suits
  • Casinos
  • Baseball caps
  • Hoodies
  • Foldable nylon / aluminum chairs with coverings
  • Chain link fences
  • Home Depot / Lowe's garden department where they sell flowering shrubs
On this day, I thank God for old traditions and new technologies, whether they came from "my people" or yours.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

How Very French

A friend turned me on to a different video in this series, but as it was tied to Halloween, this seemed more appropriate to post now.

It's worth noting that, in contrast to Henri in the video, here in the Catican Compound, relations between all parties have never been more cordial. Our Maximum Leader can be grumpy sometimes because of her arthritic knee, but she has grown affectionate* with everyone, even attempting to touch noses with the smaller of the two Catican Guards. Being a wiggly nincompoop, our little dog didn't understand the gesture and ran off, afraid of receiving another full-claw swatting.

* - Well, affectionate in her own way. She's never been a lap cat and takes petting only when the time is right. Her way of showing affection is to simply be with you. She likes to be in the same room as the rest of us, with everyone relaxed and laying around quietly. Movement is an anathema to her and our family times work best while watching TV.

Slouching Towards Single Payer

Over at Ricochet, Pejman Yousefzadeh notes how a New York community college is cutting hours for teachers to get them under the 30 hour limit wherein the college would have to meet Obamacare health insurance requirements.
Community College Of Allegheny County will cut the hours some instructors to avoid paying for their health insurance coverage under new Affordable Care Act rules.

CCAC President Alex Johnson announced in an email to employees last week that the school would cut course loads and hours for some 200 adjunct faculty members and 200 additional employees.

The Affordable Care Act — nicknamed Obamacare — classifies employees who work 30 hours or more per week as full-time, and CCAC would be required under the new law to provide employer-assisted health insurance to those employees.
This isn't a bug, but a feature. As more people get cut below 30 hours, more will find themselves on a government health care plan. That plan, subsidized by the taxpayers, will grow and displace commercial insurers. Good luck competing with that.

Patria Socialista!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Cheezburger of the Day

Benito Mussolini, Tim Geithner And Robert Reich

Il Duce was the father of fascism. He defined it in his lovely little book, Fascism. You can find it at that link. Benito's intellectual heirs, the Democrats, are bringing Mussolini-style fascism to fruition here in the US. Don't believe me? Well, here's Benny on fascism.
The keystone of the Fascist doctrine is its conception of the State, of its essence, its functions, and its aims. For Fascism the State is absolute, individuals and groups relative. Individuals and groups are admissible in so far as they come within the State. Instead of directing the game and guiding the material and moral progress of the community, the liberal State restricts its activities to recording results. The Fascist State is wide awake and has a will of its own. For this reason it can be described as " ethical ".

At the first quinquennial assembly of the regime, in 1929, I said “The Fascist State is not a night watchman, solicitous only of the personal safety of the citizens; not is it organized exclusively for the purpose of guarantying a certain degree of material prosperity and relatively peaceful conditions of life, a board of directors would do as much. Neither is it exclusively political, divorced from practical realities and holding itself aloof from the multifarious activities of the citizens and the nation. The State, as conceived and realized by Fascism, is a spiritual and ethical entity for securing the political, juridical, and economic organization of the nation, an organization which in its origin and growth is a manifestation of the spirit. The State guarantees the internal and external safety of the country, but it also safeguards and transmits the spirit of the people, elaborated down the ages in its language, its customs, its faith.
Here's Tim Geithner telling us we shouldn't have any restrictions at all on how much the government can borrow. Here's Robert Reich letting us know that government spending needs to grow, grow, grow!

Remove the militarism from Mussolini and replace it with "social justice" as Juan Peron did in Argentina and you end up with the State defined through economic activity. Instead of impressing young men into an army and invading other nations, you spend, tax and regulate without limit. Both Geithner and Reich advocate just that. Endless expansion of government powers with everything else secondary to the growth of the State. In fact, in Reich's essay, I'm not sure anything other than the State is even mentioned.

And the spiritual part? That one is easy.

I am the State thy god and thou shalt have no other gods before me.

To Infinity And Even Farther Beyond!

Our favorite little fascist intellectual, Robert Reich has penned lovely piece on why we should stop worrying about the deficit and simply spend our way to propserity. Here's a few tidbits.
Europe offers the same lesson in reverse: Their deficits are ballooning because their austerity policies have caused their economies to sink.

The best way to generate jobs and growth is for the government to spend more, not less. And for taxes to stay low -- or become even lower -- on the middle class.
And where should we spend it? I don't want to keep seeing the same hands, class!
In fact, if there was ever a time for America to borrow more in order to put our people back to work repairing our crumbling infrastructure and rebuilding our schools, it's now.
Here's the best part of all.
Public investments that spur future job-growth and productivity shouldn't even be included in measures of government spending to begin with. They're justifiable as long as the return on those investments -- a more educated and productive workforce, and a more efficient infrastructure, both generating more and better goods and services with fewer scarce resources -- is higher than the cost of those investments.
Fantastic! We should spend whatever we want with no concern about where the money comes from and for Holy Infrastructure, we shouldn't even count it among the money spent!

Patria Socialista!

Meanwhile, in totally and I mean TOTALLY unrelated news, France's credit rating has been cut.

Monday, November 19, 2012


... otherwise known as War of the Robots.

Yesterday afternoon, we went out to our local multiplex and took in the new Bond move, Skyfall. It's received great reviews and has been hailed as the best Bond movie ever.

I was willing to walk out before the end.

No one enjoys themselves in this movie except the villain. Everyone else is grim and emotionless. The movie starts with Judi Dench's* M character backseat driving Bond and a fellow agent during a dramatic chase and fight sequence. Bond is little more than an appendage, and a pretty small one at that as we learn throughout the movie how M has watched this or that agent die or rot in prison.

There are plenty of opportunities for the characters to let their guards down and let us get to know them, but they never do. Instead of being human, they are simply more efficient models of ourselves, running, fighting and mating with greater speed and determination than we normal humans. At no time do they display any passion.

The lack of passion made me think of Huxley's Brave New World where the rebellious characters long for a time when their bodily hungers weren't sated immediately and they felt some longing for something, anything to make them feel more alive**. As I watched Skyfall, I couldn't help thinking that was the problem with not just the movie, but the whole production crew.

Like the normal people in Brave New World, they can't comprehend anything other than sating bodily pleasures. Real passion, real longing for something or someone is alien to them because it comes from self-denial. Hollywood is the land of do-what-feels-good and the result is emotionally barren rubbish like Skyfall.

At 0:11, you can see Judi Dench, thousands of miles away, directing things by phone, telling agents when to shoot. The result is disastrous. Symbolic of our modern political system, perhaps?

There's a secondary recurring theme throughout the movie of older people who still have what it takes being shoved off the scene by young whippersnappers. It's supposed to make you sympathize with Dench and Daniel Craig, but as they are both nothing more than robotic killing, calculating and mating machines, you don't. Instead, I found myself thinking back to Sean Connery and Roger Moore who looked like they were having fun throughout their movies. In Skyfall, no one has any fun at all.

* - Love Judi Dench. Hate her as M. I know it was done for shock value - a woman controlling Bond! - but the shock has more than worn off as women are taking traditionally male roles throughout society while men take seats on couches in front of porn and video games.

** - Here's the chapter. Search on passion to find the dialog. Context: Bernard is a rebel who wants to experience life, not live it through endless sated desires. He wants to love Lenina, not simply mate with her. She's no rebel and can't see what he's on about.

Update: One of my favorite YouTube creators, Father Robert Barron, liked the movie.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


So one of my relentlessly political lefty friends on Facebook posted something about the demise of Hostess. Apparently, the CEO (or was it the departing CEO?) took a pay raise while the company was going through bankruptcy and ended up with $2.5M. That's chicken scratch compared to the company's real problems.

Hostess, IBCIQ on the market, was delisted a while back so the financials are a bit old, but here they are going up to 2008. The place was grossing $2.5B a year, so the CEO was bringing in 0.1% of gross. I dunno, that doesn't seem like a death blow to me and I'm sure the guy had other opportunities. It seems stupid to expect someone to go through the trauma of trying to work a turnaround for free.

That's not quite the point of this post, but it's illustrative. My friend and his lefty buddies couldn't read a financial statement if you held guns to their heads, but they all think they should be able to get the government to force corporations to do what they want. There's lots more of that kind of thug thinking at AMERICAblog, the source of the guy's rage.

Screencap from AMERICAblog. Race and envy, 24/7.

It's all pretty much the same kind of thing and a good read if you want to get a line on the intellectual foundations of such thought. As Jeff Burton said in a comment on this blog, "This is not an exercise in math or accounting. It's the satisfaction of envy." They're not even trying to understand things, they're just drunk on power - the power to elect goon squads of politicians who will go out and punish the people they hate.

Something for a future blog post: There's a serious risk deliberately cultivating racial tribalism in a time of an impending, massive fiscal crisis. When the checks start to bounce or the prices are being raised on a weekly / daily basis, people will fall back to the way they've been taught to think. If you've culturally carved up the country on the basis of skin color, don't expect a financial collapse to bring people together in racial harmony. See also: Yugoslavia, breakup of.