Real Change, Real Hope, and Real Audacity
Several months ago, I was ready to give up on blogging politics. It seemed futile because, particularly here in the blogosphere, most people have already got their minds made up, and aren't interested in hearing any new facts because it might confuse them. The only critter on God's earth more stubborn than an NRA member defending the second amendment is a liberal Democrat defending his or her ignorance. There's simply no point in talking about it with them because they aren't interested in anything beyond their democratic dogma. If the facts don't fit, they junk the facts. There's no arguing with willful ignorance.
And I don't need to write this stuff for other conservatives. They already know it, just like I do, just like anybody with an open mind and a reverence for facts rather than feelings does. We know the truth; we live in the real world, not some fantasy where everybody will get everything they need because it's their right.
Conservatives know that the simple truth is that the world does not owe us a living. The lie at the heart of modern liberalism is that just by being born, we have a right to food, clothing, housing, medical care, an education, and God knows what else they've added to that list in the last ten minutes. None of these things are rights because if they were, then every animal born on the planet would have these rights as well. They don't. They have to fight to survive in a eat or be eaten struggle for existence that makes our deepest poverty look like luxury.
I've come to realize a second truth; the truth is an impotent weapon against the barrage of lies and propaganda force fed to US citizens on a daily basis. The battle for American culture has already been waged and lost. Liberals hold the education system in an iron grip. They control most of the media as well, and their working on getting a stranglehold on the flow of information.
They will succeed. They'll kill every outlet that doesn't lean their way, from talk radio to the internets, to insure that their message is the only one heard. The irony is that they will do so in the name of diversity. The tragedy is that the people of the United States will believe them, because they've been conditioned to.
Think about it. Just last night, a President who has spent more money in a month than President Bush spent on the entire Iraq war lectured us on fiscal restraint.
Were there any boos or cries of outrage? Nope. As long as Joe Public gets his $12 a paycheck and gets to vent about those damned corporations screwing the taxpayer, President Obama will find smooth sailing for his legislative plans.
I believe those plans will devastate everything that I find admirable and wonderful about America. Our freedom to succeed by our own efforts will be undermined. Our ability to do as we think best will be removed. Our ability to excel will be denied. Our ability to innovate and create will be choked off. Our ability to profit from our own ingenuity and hard work will be taken away. All of these precious things will disappear in the service of ensuring an equal outcome for all regardless of effort, talent, or inspiration.
The Democrats and our President have worked hard and long and effectively to demonize anyone who has succeeded. All I hear about is how those who have succeeded need to pay their fair share, an odd thing to hear since by any realistic measure, they are already paying more than their share. But the new standard of fair doesn't rest on anything real, just some nebulous concept of affordability. "They can afford it, so they should pay it," as if their money isn't their own. Nothing crushes innovation faster than realizing that the benefits of your sweat and inspiration will be given to some clod who never advanced past running a fryer at a fast food joint simply because you can afford to pay for his flat screen TV and he can't.
Again, that battle is lost.
But there really is hope. Not for the United States of America; that dream is over. All that's left is for the zombie to realize it's dead and fall down. But the people who made America what it was are still here. They've been beaten down, frustrated, reviled, and hated, but they are still here. In the military, where they learn that service to something greater than yourself is the most noble thing a man can do; in business, where they learned that perseverance, innovation, and ingenuity are still rewarded, and that doing something well is its own reward; in churches, where they learned to love God and their neighbor, and that right and wrong are not arbitrarily assigned based on fashion, but on moral absolutes given by God and proven over the centuries; in small towns, where they learned that self reliance and interdependence are two sides of the same coin. In all of these places and more, where they know that nobody owes you a living, but that we can all use a hand up from time to time, the American way still survives.
As this decadent and corrupt society crumbles down around us, wreaking terrible carnage as it goes, some of us will remain standing. Some of us will be here to rebuild. Some of us will have learned from the lessons of the past, and we will build a new nation from the ashes. That's hope based on the real world, not denial. That's change based on history, not some advertising campaign.
The audacity? Including myself in that group! But I'm an optimist, and I'm hoping I'll squeak by.
From a practical standpoint, that means there's going to be some changes around here.
There are things that I love in this world. My God, my family, my friends, science, math, books, music, gadgets, guns, and gizmos, and natural philosophy. These are the things I'll be focusing on from now on. I'm sure that the cares of the world will have an impact from time to time, but I'm going to be in the world, not of it. This world has nothing for me, so I will fix my attention where it is most profitable and least contentious.
And that means a name change as well. Shots Across the Bow echoed the concept of a warning shot. It was designed to tell people that here is where I stand, you may go this far and no farther. Unfortunately it was about as effective as a sandcastle trying to hold back the tide. It doesn't fit the new direction, so I'm looking for suggestions for a new title.
I expect to have the new site up in a week or two, (my wife/web designer is going to kill me for springing this on her) and this one will remain up indefinitely because I think (hope) I wrote some good things over the last several years.
Anyway, I hope you're looking forward to the changes. I know I am.
Name That Scam
Some owners see this as a good deal, and they pay for the insurance. A few others don't.
And wouldn't you know it. Bad things start happening to the guys who didn't buy the insurance. Everything starts to go south on them. Businesses run on a thin margin, and before too long, those owners that refused to buy insurance are about to go out of business.
The salesman come back into the neighborhood, offering their insurance again. The business owners, now afraid of what might happen, purchase the insurance, only now, the cost goes up. You see, it's a dangerous neighborhood now; all kinds of bad things are happening, so the premiums are higher. Everybody pays more, but because they are afraid of what will happen if they don't pay up, they pay.
The premiums increase until the business owners can barely squeak by, pressed to the limit by the costs of the insurance policy. But they are still in business, so they eke by.
The insurance salesmen? They get fat. And as long as everybody stays paid up, they don't have to do anything.
I hear this scam is very popular in Chicago.
A Question of Substance or the Lack Thereof
How to Spend $800 Billion and Have Nothing to Show for It
"Watch me make $800 Billion Dollars disappear right before your eyes!"
"And now for my next magical trick, I'll do it again!"
What amazes me is that even while the Democrats were ramming their $800 billion dollar pork bill through Congress, they were holding hearings in Washington trying to figure out what happened to the first $350 billion of the TARP money that nobody seems able to account for.
It's just gone.
Did that hold up the Democrats from issuing the second half of the money?
If you think that, you don't know Democrats very well. They just blamed it on the Republicans and issued the next half of the TARP money.
Has anybody seen it? Are housing starts up? Is unemployment down? Has the Dow's plunge stopped? No? Well then, what do we do next?
In typical liberal fashion, if throwing money at the problem doesn't seem to work at first, the only conceivable explanation is that we didn't throw enough money at it, so let's spend another $800 billion dollars and see where that gets us.
$1.5 trillion dollars just in these two "stimulus packages." That's not counting the auto bailout, or the mortgage bailout, or the $450 billion dollars in pork that's about to get rammed through Congress, earmarks and all.
$1,500,000,000,000. I don't know about you, but that many zeros scares the crap out of me. For perspective, that's enough money to give every man, woman, and child living in America right now just over $4000. Taken another way, every man woman and child in America now owes $4000 to the government, and you don't want to know what interest rate they're gonna charge.
Now there are a lot of people who are eager to get their hands on that money and spend it on their own pet projects. Just remember that the Federal government not only has strings attached to the money, but a great big hook embedded as well. States will spend that money exactly how the Federal government wants them to spend it.
But for grins, let's pretend that we can spend the stimulus money how we want, almost as if we were citizens of a free state. What should we do?
The first thing to think about is that this money is a one time thing, a windfall. It's not going to be repeated in the future, mainly because by the time TARP III rolls around, the dollar won't be worth a nickel. But for right now, we'll ignore the effects of inflation. After all, that's what the federal government is doing.
But like I was saying, this money is a one shot deal. It won't be renewed in the future, and that limits the ways we can use it right off the bat. That means we can't use it to increase ongoing spending, like for civil service jobs. We can't hire more police, more fireman, or more teachers because once the money runs out, we'll just have to lay them off again. Given that simple truth, how many experienced quality people are going to take a job they know leads to nowhere? We won't get the highly experienced, highly motivated people we need in those jobs; we'll get the folks that have no other options. We'll have a dubious short term benefit followed by a long term deficit.
That's not an effective way to spend money, nor is it an effective economic stimulus. Each dollar spent on a salary returns only one dollar or less in economic spending. There's no leveraging of the investment.
On the other hand, let's look at infrastructure spending. Say we renovate a school, or build a new school in an under-served area. Now we're getting some leverage for our money. Not only are we hiring people to work immediately, but we will have some tangible results for our investment, and assuming, after all we are still operating in the federal fantasyland, that the economy isn't crushed with debt, we will need the schools even after the stimulus money is gone.
Of course, that begs the question of how we will pay for upkeep and staffing, but hey, that's our kids' problem, right?
So, if civil service jobs is a bad answer, and public works isn't much better, (Just for fun, find out how many stadiums the Soviets built. Then find out how many are actually used. Then find out why the Soviet Union no longer exists. Public works in action, folks.) exactly how do we stimulate the economy? If there's one thing that America has demonstrated over 200 years, it's that if government stays out of the way, small businesses will create prosperity. Small businesses create more high paying jobs for less investment than government could ever hope to achieve, and they do it without government control or help, relying on the sweat and ingenuity of the American citizen, and his drive to make a better life for himself and his family.
If you want to see an economy stimulated, and a recession crushed, take that $800 billion and put most of it into small business loans. Yeah, keep back a couple hundred million for safety nets, but put that money into the hands of people who have shown time and time again that they can multiply it. For every nine businesses that fail in the first year, there will be one that hires 20 people and expands. For every dollar invested in small business, the economy will see $5 or more in expansion.
Ahh, but that's in the real world, where they expect results. We're living in a fantasy, where they just just print money and hand it out and the only thing they expect from you is to do what they say.
And vote for them.
And it was all George W. Bush's fault.
Do you remember that?
But now the Democrats are in charge and they have the solution to all of those problems. The military is short on equipment, material and manpower, the success of the mission is at risk, so what are they going to do?
Cut the military budget by 10%.
If that's how you view supporting the troops, I'd just as soon you go back to spitting on them. It's more honest and fewer of them will die due to your so-called support.
No matter how many times he tells you he inherited the deficit, remember, he was a member of the US Senate for four years, and he had the opportunity to vote no on every spending bill that came up over that time period.
He didn't inherit the deficit; he voted for it.
And you voted for him.
I’m a Coward!
This AP article is amazing on so many levels, but here's my favorite bit:
People need to feel comfortable saying the wrong things.
That little gem is from Hilary Shelton,VP of the NAACP.
Ms. Shelton seems to have forgotten that saying the wrong thing has cost people their jobs, their careers, their savings, and occasionally their freedom. Hate speech laws and political correctness did more to kill off honest dialog in this country than any supposed cowardice. And who was it pushing for those laws and rules every step of the way?
Can you spell NAACP?
A Puzzling Development
He couldn't allow Congress to take the time to read the thing because it was too important, but it wasn't important enough for him to take 5 minutes to sign before taking off for a long weekend in Chicago.
Defending the Indefensible: Chris Peck of the Commercial Appeal Speaks.
My response to Mr. Peck, modified a bit from the email I sent him, follows.
Your argument fails to hold water. As you said, the information in your database is already available for the asking from the TN Department of Safety. The "people's right to know" was already being served by the government. What have you added?
First, you say that "our posted list of permit holders for concealed weapons has less information about individuals than the phone book, your voter registration form or the credit card you use to buy dinner at a restaurant." This statement is simply garbage because the phone book doesn't tell anybody if I have a HCP. Neither does my credit card. The hard fact that you want to gloss over is that you've already taken a selection criteria, HCP holders, and provided personally identifying information about them. Additionally, with the information you provide, I can get an address, phone number and a map to the front door with a single mouse click.
Second, your defense failed to note that you removed addresses and birth dates only after you were deluged in complaints. The initial versions of the database showed both addresses and birth dates, not only marking us as targets, but making identity theft a real possibility. Your removal of that information also reveals something even more telling. That information is part of the public record as well. Anybody who wants it can get it from the Department of Safety, so why remove it from your web database?
In order to explain that, you'll have to explain why you created the database in the first place, and it obviously has nothing to do with "the people's right to know" public data.
Third, if publishing identifying information about private citizens does not subject them to increased risk, then I challenge you to post the name, address, and birth date of every employee of the Commercial Appeal in a searchable database on your website.
Show me just how harmless the data you posted really is. See if your employees find it harmless. Best have some lawyers standing by though, because it could get ugly.
The bottom line is this. Your paper created that database to make it easy for anybody to find out who has a HCP. The reason for that has nothing to do with the people's right to know and everything to do with identifying HCP holders. The question you have yet to answer is why you felt it was important for your paper to make it easier to find this information.
Are you trading our security for more clicks for ad revenue? Or is there something else you're not saying? Now there's an answer the public really does have a right to know.
A Confederacy of Dunces: Mr. and Mrs. Neal Discuss Submarines.
How can two nuclear subs collide and the operators not know it for days?
Submitted by bizgrrl on Mon, 2009/02/16 - 5:12pm.
According to the Wall Street Journal, "Earlier in February, the French Navy had said that the 450-foot Le Triomphant had shortened its patrol after 70 days at sea because its nose had been damaged by a collision with an unidentified object, possibly a drifting container. It was only after sending inquiries to other navies that France realized Le Triomphant had actually rammed into a British craft, the HMS Vanguard."
Comedy of Errors? Confederacy of Dunces?
Mr. Neal replied:
And the ocean is such a large place.
Before I get into my response, I want to point out the arrogance and condescension of the post and the reply. Here are two people who to my knowledge have never been aboard a submarine, and apparently have little to no idea how one operates, yet they are ready to ascribe the cause of this incident to stupidity on the part of the French and British crews.
In my lifelong quest to point out ignorance and correct it with knowledge, I left a reply. I reproduce it here for your reading pleasure.
Well, let's just take a closer look before we start calling people stupid.
First, there are no headlights or windshields on a submarine. You can't look out the window to see what's around you. You rely on charts and very precise calculations of speed and heading to determine your position.
Obviously, to most folks anyway, things that move, like say, submarines, are impossible to chart.
The pilot of the sub can confirm those calculation using active sonar, where you send out a ping, a high frequency sound that creates an echo. The return time and characteristics of that echo tell you if you're close to anything and if anything else around you is moving. The drawback is that the ping tells anybody in the area exactly where you are as well. This is a major no-no for ballistic missile subs, whose job is to quietly disappear in the water. Passive sonar on the other hand is the practice of using very sensitive microphones to pick up noise transmitted through the water. The drawback is that it only works to detect objects that make noise.
Again, ballistic missile subs are designed not to make noise.
Second, judging from the fact that there was only minor damage to the sonar dome, which is a very fragile structure, the contact between the subs was a very light graze. The article states that both subs were moving very slowly, which would also tend to minimize the impact. Additionally, because the subs are designed to be quiet, it wouldn't surprise me a bit to learn that the surface of both subs was coated in some sort of echo reducing material, analogous to the radar damping materials used on Stealth aircraft, which very likely would also act to cushion the impact. The slow speed, angle of impact, light damage, and possible echo reducing coatings all work together to explain why the Le Triomphant classified the collision as one with an unknown container, rather than another sub.
As for the "ocean is a large place" comment, again, let's take a closer look at the facts. We have two submarines with similar construction and similar performance characteristics, carrying similar payloads with similar capabilities, and since they were allies, probably covering similar targets.
How surprising is it really that their patrol routes were similar? It's true that the ocean is large, but both of these subs would be interested in only a small part of it.
And the WSJ article is wrong. This is not the first instance of two nuclear subs colliding. There have been several U.S. Soviet sub collisions in the last 40 years or so, some involving diesel boats, and some involving two nukes. This may have been the first case of two ballistic missile subs colliding, but attack subs and ballistic subs have had many collisions.
Your post and comment provide a perfect example of why many if not most civilians are incompetent to discuss military matters. You simply don't know enough to have an informed opinion. Yet in the arrogance of complete ignorance, you ascribe the cause of this incident to the stupidity of both the French and the British submarine service.
A retraction is certainly in order, but I won't hold my breath waiting for it.
The ignorance of Mr. and Mrs. Neal is outweighed only by their arrogance. But then again, we knew that already.
Game Over. Please Insert 312,000,000 Quarters for a New Game.
And does it bother anybody else that our Congress just voted on a $787 billion, 1000+ page bill that not one Congress critter has had a chance to read? Or that Obama, who campaigned on a promise to post all bills for at least five days before voting has now broken that promise on what will be the single largest spending bill in history? At least, until the next recovery bill.
In three years, when inflation hits 18% or so, and interest rates are running at 6%, remember that this bailout package, just like the $700 billion TARP package, was a Democrat bill that passed through a Democrat controlled Congress. Remember, in the House, 246 Democrats voted for the bailout while 176 Republicans and 7 Democrats voted against it. In the Senate, 58 Democrats and 3 Republicans voted for it while 38 Republicans voted against it.
Let Me Show You How It’s Done
Pres. Obama: First of all, when I hear that from folks who presided over a doubling of the national debt, then, you know, I just want them to not engage in some revisionist history. I inherited the deficit that we have right now and the economic crisis that we have right now.
Real Reporter: President Obama, you were a United States Senator for the last four years. You had the opportunity to vote on each spending bill that created the deficit, including the $700 billion TARP bill. With the single exception of funding our combat troops, you voted for every spending bill over those four years. How can you claim you "inherited" a deficit that you voted repeatedly to create?
Pres. Obama: Awkward silence, interrupted by random "Umms" and "Wells," followed by an abrupt termination of the press conference.
There. That wasn't so difficult, was it?
Public Records: Let the Sun Shine!
The Memphis Commercial Appeal decided to publish a database with the names of everyone who has a TN Handgun Carry Permit. No particular reason, just listing public records.
For your enjoyment, using WhitePages.addresses.com, here's the managing staff of the Memphis Commercial Appeal:
|Joseph Pepe||president and publisher||3195 Wetherby Cv S||Germantown, TN 38139|
|Steve Tomb||VP of Operations||1846 Wildcreek Cv||Collierville, TN 38017|
|Chris Peck||editor||21 Belleair Dr||Memphis, TN 38104|
|Otis Sanford||editor/opinion & editorials||3396 Park Ave||Memphis, TN 38111|
|Eric Janssen||VP of Digital Media||8996 Stratfield Cv||Germantown, TN 38139|
|Scott Sines||managing editor||2136 Wentworth Ln||Germantown, TN 38139|
|Daniel Moehle||VP/Chief Financial Officer||3172 Devonshire Way||Germantown, TN 38139|
|Karl Wurzbach||VP of Sales and Marketing||3098 Bentwood Run Dr||Collierville, TN 38017|
|Robert Jiranek||VP of New Business Development||175 Waring Rd||Memphis, TN 38117|
|Bob Pinarski||Advertising director||3961 Herons Landing Ln||Arlington, TN 38002|
|Denise Holman||Manager of Classified Advertising||720 Litty Ct 103||Memphis, TN 38103|
|Paul Jewell||Marketing director||1439 Vance Ave||Memphis, TN 38104|
No particular reason, just posting public records.
I can add phone numbers to this list if requested.
Disclaimer: The information above comes from a web search and the accuracy of the returned information has not been verified through other means. This list is provided without any guarantees of accuracy, and is provided solely as an expression of the First Amendment. It has been generated solely from public records.
The Press Conference
- Now he's going to create or save 4 million jobs. But we cut money from the bill! And we're going to make/save more jobs! Let's cut another hundred billion and create/save another million jobs!
That kind of change I can believe!
- What's up with him looking off camera when he calls the next reporter? Is he getting cued who to call on next? What the heck's up with that?
- He says he's been civil, then immediately blames Republicans for the deficit and the recession.
- No earmarks? Right. You don't have to earmark funds on a bill that has pork barrel spending as its sole purpose.
- Electronic medical records. A great idea for private practice, but as a federal mandate and federally managed and maintained? Pop quiz: How many headlines have there been recently about federal databases being hacked, releasing private information to the world?
- So, how do you like your scripted news? I could almost handle choreographed debates, where the candidates saw the questions ahead of time, but this is flat out ridiculous! Can you imagine the Washington Press Corps reaction if a Republican administration told them that they had to submit questions in advance, and then the President would decide which ones he was going to answer?
Apparently the media is a watchdog for the Republicans and a lapdog for the Democrats.
- It's the banks fault for taking risks with shaky assets. Talk about your revisionist history! Did he forget that the "shaky assets" were acquired by banks under a federal mandate?
- "I didn't come in here ginned up to spend $800 billion dollars." Actually, according to his campaign website, that's exactly what he wanted to do.
- That bumping sound you're hearing is the sound of Biden going under the bus. "I don't know what Biden was talking about"
- A-ROD? Really? The Washington Post has really hit rock bottom on this one. We're talking about a bill that can change America as we know it forever, and the Washington Post wants to talk baseball. I've heard of journalists lobbing softballs, but I never thought to see it literally?
- Helen Thomas asks a review question on Middle Eastern nukes. He failed to answer it. She tried for a follow up but was silenced.
I am appalled at what just happened. This was an orchestrated media event, one I never thought to see outside of nations with State controlled media, like the old Soviet Union. At one time, the press prided itself on its role as the fourth estate, outside of politicians, the clergy, and the people, but watching them all. Now they've sold themselves to the politicians, and pretty cheaply, I might add. For the privilege of sitting quietly in a room with President Obama, and maybe even getting to ask him a question on live TV, they've abandoned all pretenses of what used to be called journalistic integrity. Rather than digging for the truth, they are helping to bury it in spin, misinformation, and outright lies in order to advance a political agenda they believe in.
Did you ever think you'd see the Washington Press Corps looking like a bunch of Stepford wives gazing adoringly through robotic eyes at their lord and master? As for the reporter from the Washington Post, if he is still employed tomorrow, then the post has lost all credibility. Yes, right now the question on everybody's mind is baseball and steroids.
What a hack.
You know what the worst part of this is? Most folks in the national media probably saw nothing wrong with tonight's performance. They're too ignorant of their profession to be ashamed at how they've prostituted it.
Overstimulation: Bait and Switch in Washington DC
When it's a stimulus bill!
When are earmarks not earmarks?
When they're part of a stimulus package!
See, when Obama campaigned on a promise of change, nobody realized that only the names would be changed, presumably to protect the corrupt.
The CBO says that the short term benefit of the stimulus package will be outweighed by the long term burden of debt it imposes. They predict that within 6 years, the economy will be smaller than it would be if Congress did nothing at all. Think about that for a second. The bill that is about to erupt from the bowels of our government will make things worse in the long run.
But President Obama will go on television tonight and say that we must pass it now, or things will get worse. So who do we trust, non-partisan government economists whose job it is to make these forecasts, or a guy who campaigned in 57 states, who is championing a bill constructed by a woman who thinks 500 million Americans will lose their jobs if it doesn't pass?
For the liberals in my audience, there are only 300 million Americans, including children and illegals.
Apparently, some top liberals have difficulty dealing with numbers. Maybe that's why so many of Obama's appointees have tax issues.
This is a bad bill. It's bad politics and it's bad fiscal policy. It will result in rampant inflation, a flood of dollars on the international market, and a global inflationary nightmare as the dollar gets dumped as a reserve currency. But it will pass, because President Obama wants it to pass. It will be a sign that despite a shaky start, he is in control of the ship of state, and that's important when you're President.
So just remember two things while you're listening to the President tell you all the wonderful jobs that this bill is going to create. First, $300k per job is pretty darned expensive. Second, when you eat the government cheese, there's usually a hook or two embedded in it. Just ask the CEO's whose companies were forced to take bailout money.
What strings will we find attached to this monstrosity?