Sunday, November 30, 2008
President Bush and his team have kept this country safe through seven years of onslaught. Perhaps PEBO should recall that his spirit totem president (Lincoln) suspended the writ of habeas corpus during a portion of the civil war, an act that today would likely result in the impeachment of a president. Years of investigations and show trials would create exactly the heightened political animosity that the Post believes the pardons would create. Additionally, relying on the judgment of the all-knowing and all-wise Obama to pardon the truly deserving ignores the lives ruined and personal expense accumulated by those who would be called upon to defend themselves against an aggravated Democratic Star Chamber.
I'm of a mixed mind on this subject, though. Reading that Canadian industry is slowing their oil shale extraction method because of the cheap price of crude reinforces for me the value of high prices in changing consumptive behavior. The only way we'll put these petro-thug terrorists out of business is to consume less and to find other ways to power our economy. I doubt whether the free market alone can deal adequately with a pricing and supply situation in which an entire world is dependent upon a diminishing single source of power.
As excited as I was about the possibilities associated with a rising Sarah Palin, Bobby Jindal doesn't appear to have a down-side. He's a man of the people without being a populist, and he's a plain spoken good old boy who can talk your pants off on policy. Definitely more my kind of candidate than Sarah Palin--but maybe a good team in 2012!
Saturday, November 29, 2008
He's a soft Republican; very laid back on social issues, but heavy on smart tax policy. She's another of a growing class of person that I find flocked to the Obama Campaign, and that is the person with so much money that everyday pocketbook issues don't really apply to them, whose understanding of political issues does not go deeper than their "feelings" about a candidate, and who voted for "change" though not aware what sort of change they were voting for. I addressed these two in an earlier posting, in which I recounted skewering her for not knowing how badly PEBO's tax policies were going to hurt their family.
Also present was a delightful couple who live near my friends back in civilization. They apparently met while working on Capitol Hill, both for serious Dems. They are both very political, and very liberal. Great family, three good kids, etc. She has transitioned into a personal training business (looks great, by the by) catering to the pampered Montgomery County set (country club, private schools, vacation homes, vote Democrat). He recently left 15 years of service on Senate staffs to take on a major lobbying role for a major investment house...working primarily on climate change issues. I really liked these folks...but I could not get over the stirring contradictions.
Here were two true believers....credentials as long as your arm in the great social justice war of the Democrat party....who send their kids to private school, who play tennis and golf at the local country club (probably $75K upfront to join), and who bleed Obama blue. The woman was classic...at one point she unknowingly made a point in conversation that she thought was a positive that I've always considered a negative. She held that "...it was nice to be in a position that there was enough money coming in that they could be really active and dedicated to a lot of liberal positions." Honestly, she thought this was a positive. Because I didn't want to get into a big political discussion with new friends, I kept my rhetorical pistol in my holster. But what about the people who don't have the money you have? What about the people for whom the added tax burden will actually BE a burden? Is that what liberalism is all about--you get yours and then you have the largess to worry about others?
The thing to be remembered here (and I don't think it is forgotten by savvy members of the Obama transition) is that it is GOOD that the Bush folks are closing these deals on the way out the door. This way, PEBO can claim that the cost of getting out of the deals is excessive in a time of fiscal crisis, and they can "blame" the increase in energy exploration on the Bush Administration. This one works perfectly for what appears to be a pretty pragmatic bunch in Chicago.
Friday, November 28, 2008
UPDATE: Goldwater's Ghost with some thoughts.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Best line in the story? The woman had to be identified by her husband. Classic.
Update: Great stuff here!
1. I am grateful for my life and my health
2. I am grateful for the blessings I enjoy as a citizen of the United States
3. I am grateful for those who toil every day to protect those blessings, be they in our armed forces, our intelligence community, police, fire, rescue, or civil service.
4. I am grateful for the health and lucidity of my mother and father, from whom all that I am or will be emanates.
5. I am grateful for the love and friendship of four brothers and a sister.
6. I am grateful that beautiful sweet Catherine invited me into her life, and that Hope and Hannah are learning to happily accept that fact.
7. I am grateful for 21 years of service to our country, and I am grateful that such service is over...for now.
8. I am grateful to a couple of inspiring men who saw in me some potential and asked me to join their team in private industry, and I am grateful for the opportunity to be compensated commensurate with my contribution and talent.
9. I am grateful for the time and energy to write this blog, and even more grateful that there are intelligent, insightful people who read it and comment about it.
10. I am grateful for a handful of close friends whose esteem and affection mean the world to me.
11. I am grateful for a political process that resulted in the election of a fine man as our next president, and I am grateful for a Constitution that will protect and encourage my opposition to him where appropriate.
12. I am grateful for the service of George Bush, a man who has worked tirelessly to protect this country from another major terrorist attack.
13. I am grateful to a loving God for having given me so much, and I am grateful to that God for being so patient with me.
There is oh so much to be thankful for, but for now, I'll just ask you...what are you thankful for?
But we just don't know right now, so I'll just be quiet until we have some better information.
UPDATE: for good in-stream coverage, out this site.
As time went on and I read more and more of the sort of zany cult following that attended to Ayn Rand in her life (not to mention an interesting personal life), I tended to keep my admiration of the woman a little more in the background. I re-read The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged in the Summer of 2007 and concluded that my original enthusiasm for objectivism remained strong.
Here are two interviews Mike Wallace did with Ayn Rand in 1959, each is about ten minutes long (Part I and Part II). I'd never heard her voice before, but the heavy Russian accent is a little jarring (sorta like Boris' girl on the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons). The constantly shifting little eyes are also disquieting, but the words are powerful.
Check out also the early TV special effects and Mike Wallace just lighting one up right in the middle of the interview. Classic.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
What do I think of it? I think it is great for the country, great for the military, and great for the new President. Robert Gates is a fine American and a talented SecDef. He has put the Rumsfeld years behind us and he's run the Pentagon with a deft hand.
I continue to be impressed with the adults that PEBO is picking for his team.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
The view from Gigs office is stunning; he overlooks Bryant(?) Park and has a great view of the skyline.
I could work in NYC....at one point, I thought I would. Don't think anyone's hiring these days though....
So I've put an ad on Craigslist for a bartender for the event. I just went through 121 separate answers, and I instantly deleted every single one submitted by a male, or anyone whose name even remotely sounded male. Terrible, huh? That's how I roll.
This is a wonderful opportunity, combining a couple of my favorite things. I definitely enjoy talking about politics and geo-strategy, I thoroughly enjoy New York, and I definitely have an interest in the financial world.
I stayed the night at Gigs' house in Connecticut, and when I met him this morning in his home office, he informed me that two of his friends in London had been sacked. More and more folks who do what he does are finding themselves on the short end of the stick.
This will pass, but the system is likely to have changed. Hopefully for the better.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Can we get over this crap PLEASE! The country hired an African-American as President. Can we assume that all African-American appointments to lesser posts are no longer noteworthy? Please?
Sunday, November 23, 2008
I received a private email the other day asking the following:
It finally hit me as to why I was against its passage. My reasoning is that it is quite “un-American”. How’s that? Well, as you are well aware, the
Well, in the state of CA, we just had a vote in which 52% voted to “enslave” the other 48%. Yes, this is an example of the mob rule of a direct democracy. It is quite “un-American”!
This is a very good question on a number of levels, and so I'll take it on in little bite sized chunks. Bottom line up front: what the people of
1. Let's start with my view of gay marriage in general. As I've said in the past, I'm not in favor of straight marriage, so my opposition to gay marriage is entirely consistent. What do I mean by this? I mean state sanction of marriage. I think marriage is a wonderful social/cultural/religious institution and it ought to be just that. Take the state out of it and I'd be all for both gay and straight marriage. Leave existing contract law to cover the relationship between the parties and we have our winner. Now that that is out of the way, on to the specifics of this issue.
- This view of what a republic is and mine are different. My view of a republic is one in which people vote for other people who then represent their interests--rather than in straight out democracy in which people vote directly for themselves. Being a republic is in no way an impediment to a majority enslaving a minority.
- The Bill of Rights is definitely an impediment to the majority voting a majority out of its rights, rights thought to be so essential to liberty as to require codification in the Constitution. As such, it is often seen as the chief enforcer of the “no enslavement” stuff within our system of government.
- There is a really romantic notion afoot that our system is designed to protect the rights of the minority. This is true, but only to a point. Let us never forget that our Constitution has provisions for its alteration. A determined majority could remove any and all rights from a minority. It would just be very, very difficult to do so.
3. So now, let’s talk about some of the specifics of the
- Is defining marriage as between a man and a woman “enslavement” of a minority? No, not by a long shot. We have laws on the books that prohibit teens from drinking, we have laws on the books that allow businesses to charge different prices to seniors. Whole classes of people are impacted by these laws, yet they are not enslavement. It is especially important to remember that
’s domestic partnership laws extend all the goodness of marriage to domestic partners without the term “marriage”. California
- Let’s review what happened here. The California Legislature, exercising that power of representative democracy that was their due, passed a statute defining marriage as between a man and a woman. In a case brought to them that caused judicial review of the law, the California State Supreme Court struck down the law as being inconsistent with the Constitution of the State of
, and hence unconstitutional. Exercising provisions for altering the Constitution of the State of California (contained within and explicitly stated there) the people of the State of California voted to amend their Constitution in a manner in which a state regulatory function (that is, the granting of marriage licenses) was determined to be applicable only to unions of a man and a woman (incidentally, who also must be of the age of consent). California
I would have voted for Prop 8, largely because I think the State Supreme Court overstepped its bounds. If the people of
But there was NOTHING un-American about what went on there. In our system, the will of a determined majority is unlikely to be stymied.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
As I read the story, I wrestled with my own longstanding desire to live--for some period of time--as an American expat. I've never really thought hard about where it would be--but I've always thought it would be warm and near the ocean. One of the biggest advantages to putting in 21 with the USN is that I have the freedom to walk away from everything--and I mean everything--and go rent an apartment on some boulevard, rue, plaza, piazze, or strasse--if the spirit moved me.
I have this very romantic sense of what life would be like in such a place. I'd live simply, spend most of my time writing and drinking espresso, and smoke a lot of cigars. I'd eat pretty well, as I would likely want to pick a place where my greenbacks went pretty far. I'd probably not own a car, but I would own a bike. I'd do my very best to learn the local language, and I'd take on a very Hemmingway-esque approach to life. I'd probably start drinking again, and I'd do it well.
Now of course, I could also live the expat life with the Kitten, though it would be a very different life (say goodbye to the cigars, for instance). It would be a good less Bohemian, but also a good less lonely. I'd probably not write as much, but I would have more fun.
Maybe that's where I'm headed someday---work a few years, get the Kitten's kittens off to school, then head to Malaysia or Mozambique and try our luck.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
1. Maritime Piracy is a land-based problem at its heart. That is, the pirates are paid by folks operating on land, they take orders from folks operating on land and they are tied to land-based logistics. These guys aren't like the pirates of old, who'd find an island and stash their treasure; in fact, the pirates today have little interest in gaining wealth from the cargo. The money in piracy goes to the guys ashore who shake-down the shipping companies. The pirates don't see much of that, but what they do see is quite a bit more than they would make from lawful activities.
2. As a land-based problem, modern piracy exists where legitimate government does not. Off the horn of Africa, Somalia is the culprit. In Southeast Asia, parts of Malaysia and the Philippines are the culprits. Where legitimate government does not exercise authority, maritime banditry is allowed to flourish.
3. The single biggest problem in more aggressively tackling piracy, whether on our own or in concert with others is what to do with the pirates. Once you've taken them down and have them in custody, they are yours to keep Mr Ship Captain--as maritime nations are not stepping up to take responsibility for their turnover and trial.
Ok--so far I've made two broad points...the first is that to tackle piracy, we need to kill its roots ashore. Secondly, in the short term we need to figure out what to do with the pirates.
But there's more.....
4. Piracy is simply not that big of an issue....yet. I covered a piracy story on the blog once before, and I think there were something like 65 piracy events off the Horn of Africa last year--but there were nearly 22000 large ship voyages though those waters (numbers aren't exact, but they are close). This is not an epidemic. Shippers have to a large extent priced in this risk, and the ransoms paid are a chip-shot compared to the profits they pull in. But as we've seen in the financial crisis, facts are not always persuasive. If the markets begin to feel that that the flow of goods is threatened, it will begin to do zany things that no one will like.
5. This issue is a test case for modern cooperative maritime relationships. While Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Yemen and Djibouti don't have big navies or coast guards, Germany, UK, Italy, Russia and the Saudis do. In fact, these nations and others are chomping at the bit to take this threat on, largely because it is exactly the kind of mission that their navies are good at. The US can do this all by itself--but shouldn't. It would require us to take our eye off of Iran (as our warships that would interdict pirates are the same one who would conduct land attack, anti-submarine warfare and anti-ship missile defense against Iran) a job ONLY we can really do. The problem with putting together an effective coalition revolves around two issues, with the first being what to do with the pirates (as we've discussed). The second involves an effective UN mandate, something most militaries in the world need in order to have a Friday afternoon parade.
6. No one should confuse this current issue with a lack of capability, resolve, or the desire of maritime nations to cooperate. This is a logistics issue. Get the UN to give a clear set of guidelines (I know, I know) including dispositional authority with respect to captured pirates, and there would be little left of the East African pirate story.
What should the US do?
7. Leave the actual anti-piracy (afloat) mission largely to others. We may need a ship or two as catalysts for action, but this is a bite sized job for bite-sized navies.
8. In conjunction with our friends in the USMC, we should begin to aggressively target the shorebased logistics and command/control of these operations. This sort of activity is very well-suited to what our Navy/Marine Corps team can do.
What is keeping us from doing this?
9. An effective UN mandate
10. The fact that our naval infantry (otherwise known as the Marines) is largely tied up in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Does anyone remember the dark, early days of the Reagan Presidency? Does anyone remember double digit inflation? Double digit unemployment? Double digit interest rates? ALL AT THE SAME TIME? Where are we now? Unemployment at half what it was at its height then. Interest rates are still low. Inflation is under control.
Yes--our stock market has lost value and our financial system is under siege. But great minds on both sides of the aisle (and all over the world) are on the job working to figure this out. I remain bullish on America and her future.
One more thing. I am who I am today because of that earlier period of economic turmoil. Those dark economic times just happened to be when I was in high school. As I looked around at the lay of the land---a father working hard to keep his business afloat while putting two older children through college (and two more to go after me)--I realized that I had a responsibility to pitch in. I went from being certain I'd attend some oppressive little liberal arts school at top dollar (Haverford, Swarthmore) en route medical school, to having Uncle Sam pick up the tab at a state university in exchange for a four year indenture. That four year indenture turned into 21 years of joy, and I am all the better for it. I know I sound like some old fogey hearkening back to the Depression as if it were a good thing for America...I'm hardly saying that. I'm saying there is opportunity in adversity. We all need to keep looking for it.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Besides, I'd LOVE for anyone in Congress to "open" his or her office up, so that the advice he or she receives from staff is just as open as that they would seek from the President. Are you aware that all those "save your email" requirements levied on the office of the President do not apply to the Congress?
I don't know where to begin with this one. Is it the obvious "girl-power" relationship at work with the author of the story? Is it the stupidity of wasting this much space on the firing of someone who has little to worry about in terms of life from here on out?
This used to be America's greatest newspaper.
Now go back and re-read it. Where were the stinging rebukes to the pro-choice movement? Where was the full-throated defense of traditional marriage?
They weren't there....yet you nodded approvingly anyway. The winning Republican combination for the future is economic conservatism and social libertarianism.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Ok, where do I begin. Let's start with a criticism of the whole concept of having a "second" virtual life. Is this a statement on the emptiness of the first? I'm not sure--I don't want to jump on that bandwagon too fast, as I am a member of Facebook which sorta kinda resembles a virtual world---except that people there are actually depicting themselves.
I find myself thinking that while Second Life may not be for me, I can see why a lot of other people might enjoy it. What I can't see is crossing that bright line from fantasy to reality. In the story cited above, the woman came upon her man (I mean, she found him) engaged in an online sexual act with another woman; not him really, and not a woman really, but two computer generated avatars depicting these two humans as they want to be depicted. No harm no foul, right? I mean, if fantasizing about having sex with someone else were all that was needed to cause divorce.....And who says the prostitute was even a woman? Perhaps it was some fat, pasty Brit named Cyril who lives with his mother and writes adverts for a gardening magazine.
But no....this real life relationship (born apparently, online) will now end because of virtual infidelity. This is all really very silly--but it is where our society is going.
Frequent contributor Dan offered the following via email in lieu of FFAF...
Friday, November 14, 2008
The comparison of economically conservative social liberals to "Jackelopes" is an apt one. I have heard people describe themselves as this, but usually when the string is pulled, they are either A) not fiscally conservative at all or B) not necessarily social liberals, but more properly considered, they are social libertarians. This forms the basis of my deviation from Goldberg's analysis.
Economic conservatism and social liberalism forms what nuclear physicists call an "unstable isotope". A being cannot remain long in this state. Either one comes to realize their liberalism is unaffordable, or they chuck the economic conservatism in favor of being just plain liberal. Economic conservatism and social libertarianism IS however, a very stable isotope, and this is where the party ought to be aiming.
Social libertarianism basically says that the same government we seek to limit in the spheres of the economy and the market ought be limited in the social also. While morally repellent, abortion is a choice made by many women--and a social libertarian would say the government ought to stay out of it. A social libertarian does not surrender the right to criticize the conduct of another, and they do not surrender their right to be morally repulsed by the actions of another. A social libertarian sees the need for helmets on children bicycling, sees the need for seat belt use, and sees the need for car seats for children--they simply cringe at the thought of the government FORCING these behaviors on people. A social libertarian might not buy lottery tickets, but the thought that lotteries should be abolished because they entrap predominately poor people strikes them as loony. A point of clarification here...social libertarians are not strict libertarians. In the case of the lottery, a libertarian might say the government has no right or role in sponsoring lotteries. The social libertarian sees them as features of modern life and holds no real objection to them. A social libertarian would suggest that it probably is not a bad thing that the US government sought ways to make home loans more widely available to promote ownership--but they would also think that the government swooping in to save people from themselves is also wrong.
Let me know if you think I'm onto something here.
Just once...just once I tell ya, I'd like to see one of these guys say to the self-important preeners attempting to belittle them, the following:
"Yes, I make a lot of money. No--to say it is a lot of money is probably an understatement. I make a whole lot of money. I make a lot of money because the decisions I make in the open market create wealth for those who trust me with their investments. When they win, I win. I don't do this for free, so yes, I even win a little when they lose. I do so, however, within the laws of this nation as properly understood, laws that are created and modified within this room and others like it in this city. I do so under the watchful eye of regulators that this body chooses to create--or not create. I pay taxes under a system of rates that is controlled by this body. Everything I do is legal and above board. If you wish to tax me at a higher rate, it is your job to do so. If you wish to tax capital at the rate of regular income, this is your decision. I would tend to disagree, as I believe that such a scheme has shown in the past its negative impact on investment and growth. But my disagreement is not relevant here. This is your place, where your opinions hold sway, where your decisions ultimately find purchase. But if it is your desire to haul me up here for some kind of public humiliation ceremony fueled by class warfare and envy, you will do so next time only under the pain of a subpoena. Quite frankly, I am tired of being a part of this elaborate show in which you strike a moral pose by questioning publicly my success in entirely legal conduct. The irony of this body striking a moral pose on ANYTHING is not lost on me, and I hope some of your more insightful observers. Moral conduct for me is to go to work every single day and make as much money as I possibly can; this means that those who trust me with their money are going to make as much money as they can. It is really a simple arrangement, a moral one."
Yep. That's what I'd like to see. Maybe some hedge fund will hire me.....
Thursday, November 13, 2008
My mentor in this new world is Mudge, a friend of some 18 years standing. Mudge and I both retired from the Navy within months of each other, and we both live on the Eastern Shore (he's really remote, way down in the little sliver of the ES that belongs to the Old Dominion). We'll be joined on our hunt by two other wonderful fellows--all of us connected by our friendship with Mudge.
I haven't looked forward to a weekend this much for a long, long time. Mudge is hoping i get up there a bit early so that we can shoot a little skeet....I think his good judgment is serving him well here, as we are trying to avoid any Wyoming Dick C incidents.
I'll bring a camera and post photos here, as long as the other guys don't mind. Any tips from regular hunters would be much appreciated.
This view is primarily about how we (Conservatives) blew it....so there aren't a lot of positive policy recommendations. That said, policy recommendations can be discerned from his work. He's advocating a fiscally responsible culture of life, one in which immigrants are not automatically suspect and one in which we recognize that for good or bad, the country just is not going to give up on abortion.
His defense of Wall Street is logical and straightforward and his evisceration of modern farming is spot on.
Or it could be that the new President is taking his time, looking to pick the right people for the right jobs.
The press will not give him much more time....
It absolutely drives me nuts when this story is reported as a "man" being pregnant. This is a chemically altered woman who retains (obviously) all the appropriate equipment for carrying babies to term.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Now, the Obama Campaign was not famous for its humility, but this one really gets me. What do they think the CIA, NSA, and the US Special Operations Command have been doing for the past seven years? Is hope and change going to get him?
I wish them luck, but a little humility on this one would be appreciated.
That said, this train is leaving the station. The President-elect and a good bit of the Congress are in favor of plowing ahead with fetal research, so some kind of compromise must be had if foes of stem-cell research are to not be completely marginalized. His proposal to allow couples to "donate" their reproductively produced embryos (as opposed to embryos produced in order to be destroyed) to scientific research strikes me as a common-sense approach.
His equating this donation to organ donation however, strikes me as indefensible. We should not forget what is going on here...the destruction of nascent life for research ends. Dumbing it down morally to a decision to donate your eyes when dead is simply a way to make us feel better.
No amount of conservation is going to solve the energy problem. No one source of energy is going to solve the energy problem. The energy problem will not be solved without some trade-offs.
The final paragraph of this article is also one of my pet peeves...the almost reflexive impulse that reporters have in attempting to undercut the efficacy of energy solutions by pointing to how long it will take to bring that reserve to market. So what? The existence of the field in and of itself has an impact on the market.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
My favorite description of Don Conroy from the eulogy:
"He did not know what moderation was or where you'd go to look for it. Donald Conroy is the only person I have ever known whose self-esteem was absolutely unassailable. There was not one thing about himself that my father did not like, nor was there one thing about himself that he would change. He simply adored the man he was and walked with perfect confidence through every encounter in his life. Dad wished everyone could be just like him."
I've always wanted to be that guy.
Thanks to NRO
Now I am a Veteran--but no call. Not upset about it; I talk to him virtually every day anyway.
But I did have a co-worker stop by my office today and thank me for my service. It was much appreciated.
The following is the text of President George W. Bush's 2008 Veterans Day Proclamation:
On Veterans Day, we pay tribute to the service and sacrifice of the men and women who in defense of our freedom have bravely worn the uniform of the United States.
From the fields and forests of war-torn Europe to the jungles of Southeast Asia, from the deserts of Iraq to the mountains of Afghanistan, brave patriots have protected our Nation's ideals, rescued millions from tyranny, and helped spread freedom around the globe. America's veterans answered the call when asked to protect our Nation from some of the most brutal and ruthless tyrants, terrorists, and militaries the world has ever known. They stood tall in the face of grave danger and enabled our Nation to become the greatest force for freedom in human history. Members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard have answered a high calling to serve and have helped secure America at every turn.
Our country is forever indebted to our veterans for their quiet courage and exemplary service. We also remember and honor those who laid down their lives in freedom's defense. These brave men and women made the ultimate sacrifice for our benefit. On Veterans Day, we remember these heroes for their valor, their loyalty, and their dedication. Their selfless sacrifices continue to inspire us today as we work to advance peace and extend freedom around the world.
With respect for and in recognition of the contributions our service members have made to the cause of peace and freedom around the world, the Congress has provided (5 U.S.C. 6103(a)) that November 11 of each year shall be set aside as a legal public holiday to honor America's veterans.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim November 11, 2008, as Veterans Day and urge all Americans to observe November 9 through November 15, 2008, as National Veterans Awareness Week. I encourage all Americans to recognize the bravery and sacrifice of our veterans through ceremonies and prayers. I call upon Federal, State, and local officials to display the flag of the United States and to support and participate in patriotic activities in their communities. I invite civic and fraternal organizations, places of worship, schools, businesses, unions, and the media to support this national observance with commemorative expressions and programs.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.
GEORGE W. BUSH
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Here's a little free advice for the new President, on the off-chance that one or two of his advisers read this blog. Health care, education, the environment, global warming, cap and trade...all were nice things to talk about on the trail and they were good things to talk about to build your electoral base. But you were hired to fix the economy. I am likely to agree with little you decide to do, but you should not dilute your mandate chasing after a bunch of policy goals that don't have an immediate, stimulative impact on the economy. Get some wins under your belt, build some momentum, and then go tilt at the other windmills.
Keep in mind readers....I don't think we should do ANY more to stimulate the economy. I think we should let the system settle out and see what is working. I know however, that the Obama Team will want to DO THINGS..I'm simply saying only do THESE things.
"Dear Fellow Business Owner:
As a business owner who employs 30 people, I have resigned myself to the fact that Barack Obama's presidency will cause my taxes and fees to increase a BIG way.
To compensate for these increases, I figure that our customers will have to see an increase in my fees of about 8%. I will also have to lay off six of my employees. This really bothered me as I believe we are family here and didn't know how to choose who will have to go. So, this is what I did. I strolled thru the parking lot and found eight Obama bumper stickers on my employees' cars. I have decided these folks will be the first to be laid off.
I can't think of more fair way to approach this problem. If you have a better idea, let me know.
I am sending this letter to all business owners that I know.
These installed systems contain freon or halon or some other heavier than air inert gas, and when activated (either manually or automatically by fire sensors) dump into the space and displace oxygen. Death is by asphyxiation. A horrible way to go.
Mariners all over the world will pause and think of these people today. I hope you will too.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Let's remember...these agencies were started to help create a mortgage market that would enable more people to buy homes, presumably more people at the middle and lower economic slices of our economy. It is hard to understand why these quasi-federal agencies would involve themselves in any transaction above say, $300,000. Move out of that range, and their are plenty of pigs ready to suckle.
Apparently, the latest irritant in Russia's eye is our land-based missile defense system, with interceptors planned for Poland and a radar system for the Czech Republic. Mr. Medvedev announced earlier this week that Russia would station short range ballistic missiles on the Russian border with Poland, presumably in a strategy to overwhelm any realistic ballistic missile defense. "New Europe"--that is, nations formerly under the Soviet boot--appear comfortable with missile defenses, less comfortable with Mr. Putin, and much more likely to see the US as a force for stability and power. "Old Europe" appears to see no threat from Russia and wishes only to receive a continuous flow of oil and gas from the resource rich kleptocracy.
President-elect Obama will have to walk a judicious line here. No fan of missile defense (though I believe he always qualified it as "unproven missile defense" leaving open the possibility of support for proven systems), Mr. Obama runs the risk of alienating a whole new group of European nations for whom he has to do little or no work to repair the US reputation. Leaders in Poland and the Czech Republic spent a lot of political capital to support the US, and walking away from these systems would send a terrible signal to these allies.
Friday, November 7, 2008
We had a particularly good day on the day after the election, one in which 242 folks visited the site, 144 of whom had never visited before.
Would love it if all of you took some time to click onto the ads; you see, the more you click, the more money I get! After 4.5 months, I've accumulated $22.93 in my google account which works out to about $.04 per post. Not that I'm doing this for the money...but clicking doesn't cost you anything and it sure does help me!
"Following Tuesday's craptacular performance by the GOP, two factions within conservatism are poised to slug it out over the soul of the movement - on one side, moderates armed with polling data indicating an alarming shift in demographics toward the democrat party with potentially long-term and irrevocable results; who feel that the only way to survive is to adapt and modernize - and the other, the hardliners, who feel conservative principles have been diluted by eight years of executive mismanagement, and believe salvation will come through heel digging and adherence to core tenets.
Any thoughts as to the eventual outcome?"
"One of my liberal friends pointed out the need for tax increases to pay the costs of the Bush "family crusade". Funny, they just don't realize that it's Obama's idea to raise our taxes not to fight a war, but to "spread the wealth around" that many oppose.
But I would like to propose an idea that would allow Obama supporters to start contributing their share this year, before he raises taxes or allows the Bush tax cuts to expire.
Most of your liberal friends, especially those with household incomes over $90,000/year (top 20% of earners, also known as "the rich") probably itemize their deductions when they do their taxes each year rather than taking the standard deduction. Writing off their $30k mortgage interest and the $12k property taxes on the McMansion makes a lot more sense economically than taking the standard deduction of $10,900. Bottom line, by itemizing they are avoiding paying taxes on a huge chunk of money.
So in order to be "patriotic", President-elect Obama should call on his supporters to figure out their taxes this year both ways; itemizing and using the standard deduction. The choice that provides the government with the most money is the one they should select."
Thursday, November 6, 2008
State--Anne-Marie Slaughter--Dean at Princeton IR school; smart, really smart.
Defense--Richard Danzig. A pro...one of the best.
AG--Eric Holder. Over-rated.
Treasury--Lawrence Summers. A genius, but he can't keep his mouth shut.
Commerce--Tim Kaine. Early support of BHO, delivered VA for Jim Webb and BHO.
National Security Advisor--Jim Steinberg. Deputy NSA under Clinton...another Pro.
Many of you know how I feel about gay marriage; I am against it. But I am also against straight marriage. I have a straightforward libertarian position here, which states that government has little interest in regulating marriage. Marriage should be a religious and cultural issue, and contract law should cover the interests of the state. Take marriage out of the legal code and I don't care if you marry your toaster.
Of interest in California was the heavy black turnout (in support of Barack Obama)--which went 70-30 for the amendment. Talk about the law of unintended consequences!
The likely choice of Rahm Emanuael as White House Chief of Staff is an interesting one, and I have mixed thoughts about it. Emanuel is a hard charging, personally dynamic guy with a penchant for the politics of intimidation. You need a disciplined guy to run the White House, and Emanuel could be an inspired choice. He is also not close with Nancy Pelosi, something that lends hope to Conservatives fearing greater influence from the Speaker.
But Emanuel is also considered quite a harsh taskmaster. There are a lot of big egos in DC, and those big egos come attached to the big names President-elect Obama will want to have on his WH Staff and in his Cabinet. These kinds of folks (Lawrence Summers, Robert Rubin, Laura Tyson, etc) won't take Emanuel's crap. If he has matured since his bad boy days with the Clintons, he'll work out fine. If he hasn't, just wait for the fun leaks to come screaming out of the White House.
1. Grows government--by definition, I don't like that.
2. Takes something that has had a long-term record of accomplishment--investing for retirement in the market--and replaces largely because of the present volatility. It is what I call "opportunistic socialism".
3. Opportunity cost--when the market is doing well, my 5% won't be working for me.
George Miller and Jim McDermott are card carrying members of the Wing-nut Caucus of the Democratic Party, but this is the kind of stuff that they are talking about on Ways and Means.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
To believe that last night's victory was anything but a ringing mandate is to ignore reality. President-elect Obama has earned the right to govern as he has indicated. Debates about whether this is a center-left or center-right country are interesting but irrelevant; it is a country in which the policies of President-elect Obama have priority over everything else, and it is as it should be. Elections matter, and this one will have great consequence.
I may disappoint some of my more committed Conservative readers when I say with all sincerity that I am open to having my mind changed. I would surrender my qualifications as a sentient being were I to reflexively oppose everything President Obama proposes, simply because I opposed his election. His ideas have prevailed, so it is time now to see if they will work. If taxing the investment class at a higher rate makes this country more productive, I will say so. If the federal government taking on even more of the share of the nation's medical system turns out to be effective and efficient, I will say so. If sitting down with the leaders of Iran, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, et al increases our position of power in the world, I will say so. If tuition tax credits actually make college educations more affordable, I will say so. If the appointment of judges who see the Constitution as a "living document" results in a freer and fairer America, I will say so. If the removal of our troops from Iraq in 16 months or less leaves Iraq more stable than it is now, I will say so. If the price of calm in the restive Middle East is a diminished commitment to Israel, I will say so.
I am prepared to have my mind changed, and I ardently hope that it will be. I am energized by the election of this man, energized to question beliefs I've held deeply for years and energized to defend them if necessary. I am energized also by the symbolism of his election and the chapter that it clearly closes. The merchants of victimhood must find other employment, and those who would lay this victory at the feet of our nation's African-American community must account for the fact that Obama out-earned both Kerry and Gore in white votes. The playing field is level, let there be no mistake about that.
I will be called upon by this Administration to part with more of my income than I do now, and I will do so without rancor. My fellow citizens gathered yesterday and determined that I and others like me should sacrifice so that the nation as a whole will prosper. I will not overplay the degree of my sacrifice; we are talking dollars here, not blood. But there is an element of the experimental in this whole proposition, and I am willing to participate.
I am hopeful, and I am enthusiastic. I look for great things from President Obama, because like any incoming Captain under whom I served in the Navy, he does not have to earn my trust and confidence. It is his to lose.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
The Dem--Kratovil--is an Eastern Shore Boy. The Repub...Andy Harris....isn't. That's about all it takes on the Eastern shore.
Let's live blog the election tonight, right here on the site. I'll check in around 7PM Eastern and stay until it is decided....or until I decide to go to bed.
Well, it looks to me like once again, the predictive power of markets in action. The market saw all this coming and priced it in. A 1/3 drop in the Dow was Wall Street's way of telling the rest of us trouble was coming (and of course, it was Wall Street's way to tell us THEY had been caught with their hands in the cookie jar).
But I think if you watch closely, you'll begin to see the market begin to predict the rise out of this. Remember....you need two consecutive quarters of negative growth to call a recession; therefore, you're six months into one before the economists will call it one. Works about the same in reverse...the recession will have been over for months before the economists will call it. The market will reach that decision much earlier.
Colonel Ripley's exploits at Dong Ha earned him the Navy Cross (#2 behind the Medal of Honor). One wonders what more he could have done that day that would have merited the MOH.
I went to college with Ripley's son Steve. To you Steve, and your family, your Dad was the best of the best. Semper Fi.