Monday, February 28, 2011

The Scarlet E--Military Style

I have written before that the middle class of the United States increasingly wears a Scarlet "E" pinned to its chest, with "E" standing for "entitlements".  You can find those thoughts here, here.   I've also written about the rise of the view that "taking care of our troops" and being "pro-military" increasingly means lavishing more and more social benefits upon military members, their families and retirees (here, here, herehere)  This of course, in a nation drowning in the chop of its own debt.

Into this atmosphere comes the latest unspeakable injustice; it seems that the Congress, in an effort to reform what was already a far too generous  VA education benefit, has capped tuition that can be paid to veterans pursuing higher education, creating a situation in which such students qualify for ADDITIONAL money in 39 states, and students in 11 states will see a cut in their benefit.  Of course, those students seeing a decrease in their benefits have taken to the barricades in opposition to this crime against all that is good and proper.

I've seen a plethora of reports about this on Facebook, and on a very human level, I understand the financial shock of attending a VERY pricey university--mostly on Uncle Sugar's dime--and now having to pony up for some portion of the tuition.  I get that you budgeted on the basis of a certain costshare agreement with the federal government, and that this change is going to be very discomforting.  But read this article.  Are we supposed to muster righteous indignation over the plight of a young man who has attended Columbia for three years on this benefit who is going to have to come up with some of his own money to finish (whoops--he chose political science as a major--bad decision, champ!).  I'm just not there, folks.  We are in a genuine debt emergency here, and the Congress had NO business writing this blank check to begin with.  I fee bad for Mr. Boehm, but I figure he'll make it with some student loan debt and a Columbia degree.  Additionally, I've seen others protest the new funding who are picking up their third degree courtesy of Uncle Sugar--and so I am unable to show any empathy.

What we're seeing here is the micro view of the macro problem.  We're taking on water but no one wants to be the first to bail.  Groups parade about with signs that call for cutting government spending on one side and "Hands off My Medicare" on the other.  Cutting government spending is oh so popular, until people actually have to start thinking about what should be cut.  It seems the only thing that gets any real support for cutting is the foreign aid account, which always disappoints those who hear how pitifully small a pot it is. Many caught in this issue urge a "grandfather clause" that states those already in the program continue to receive at the level they previously were.  And so continues the buck pass to the next guy. 

I'm sorry friends, especially those of you still on active duty who are going to have to dig deeper for the cash to finish your degrees.  I think if you consider the big picture, and the percentage the government ultimately does pick up, you'll still see your own contribution as an investment.

Cross-Posted at Information Dissemination

Agenda for Tonight's Conservative Wahoo Live! Internet Radio Program

Tune in tonight at 8PM to The Conservative Wahoo Live!, our weekly digest of politics and social commentary.  Tonight's working agenda is below:

·         Wisconsin Burning (cont)
o   Update and discussion
·         Libya
o   Should we get involved?
·         Will the government shut down?  Should it?
·         Is Obama Beatable in 2012? 
·         Last US WWI Vet Dies
o   A truly tragic war
·         The Oscars, and does anyone really care?

CCall in at 347.637.2203

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Atlas Shrugged, Revisited

Like many Conservatives, my gateway drug into the ideas of conservatism (writ large) was the writing of Ayn Rand--first "The Fountainhead" and then "Atlas Shrugged".  I have read each multiple times and listened to each in unabridged versions.  I am more than halfway through another listening of "Atlas Shrugged" in preparation for the release of Part I of the movie version (April 15), and I have some thoughts to share that may spur conversation.

1.  First of all, this is far and away the most important book I have ever read.  The ideas contained in it are astoundingly important, even more so when you consider when the book was written and the early years of the author. After  nearly two years of the Obama Administration, I find the ideas even more important, more clear, more meaningful--and I'm not alone as continuing blockbuster sales of the book will attest.
2.  Additionally, there is at the heart of this book a truly great story, an entertaining premise that plays out across its sweeping expanse.  What if the most productive members of society simply decided to quit?  Rand frames an awfully good story here, and I find myself as entertained in this listening as I was twenty four years ago when I read it for the first time.
3.  Ideas and story aside though, I am increasingly coming to decide that Rand is simply not a good writer.  To paraphrase Emperor Joseph II's criticism ("too many notes, Mozart"), there are too many words in Rand's writing--especially in Atlas Shrugged.  There is some of her literary bloviation in "The Fountainhead", but it reaches new heights in this book.  I'm not even talking about Galt's sixty page oration toward the end, though that is forty-five pages too long.  I'm talking about 90% of the book that does NOT occur as dialogue between the main characters.  Rand spends agonizing time describing lit cigarettes, evening gowns, and the shape of people's mouths--and don't even get me started on her writing about sex.  Or maybe you should.  No one just HAS SEX in this book--it is always some kind of mystical union of gods intertwining in glorious, parallel attempts to reach some Olympian height of self satisfaction. Rand's use of stream of consciousness is overwrought and adds little to the flow of the novel--and it adds nothing to the sex scenes. The really, really good stuff (and almost all the political philosophy) is contained in dialogue.
4.  I realize that it is easier for Rand to draw clear distinctions by creating uber-heroes (Dagny, Francisco, Hank and of course, Galt) and laughable worms (Mouch, Jim Taggert, Boyle, etc).  The problem is that the book lacks characters that resemble--oh, I don't know--REAL people.  Eddie Willers is about the closest anyone comes to being something other than a Nietzschian overlord or a detestable snake.

Again--I said this is the most IMPORTANT book I've ever read.  It's not the best WRITTEN book.  That said, if you haven't read it, I should think it is assigned reading for the next six weeks as we get ready for the movie.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sudden Rise in Farmers Converting Farms to Dairy

In addition to the sale of dairy products, main economic advantage is meeting the demand for hosting fraternal organizations' annual conventions.

I miss Mayberry.

"Historic First for a Male"

THIS!!! [pant-pant-pant] JUST IN FROM THE [huff-huff-huff] HUFFINGTON POST:

[drum roll please]

"In a historic appointment, the White House has just announced that Jeremy Bernard will be the first male ever to serve as White House Social Secretary."

O..........M..........G!!!!!!!!!!!!! AYSM??????

So I guess my first question, after pausing to catch my breath over the news of this apparent breakage of the White House glass ceiling, was:

"So what guy would seek to be the White House Social Secretary?"

I tried to think of all the men I know, in all their different trades and professions and I came up short for anyone who might courageously pioneer to blaze this path for men everywhere who dared to dream the heretofore impossible dream of one day becoming White House Social Secretary.

Bracing myself for yet another shock to my cardio-pulmonary system, I read the next sentence:

"Jeremy, also the first open member of the LGBT community to have that high honor, will return from Paris where he was serving as Senior Advisor to the Ambassador."


Hello? Earth to Mudge. What were you thinking?

Brown Reveals Abuse, DSCC Sees Opportunity

Senator Scott Brown has recently penned his memoirs (so has Justin Bieber, which I guess is fair since they have an equal number of accomplishments). In Brown's case, he's chosen to reveal the fact that he was sexually molested at the age of ten by a camp counselor.

But that is not the icky part of this story. The icky part is the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, with the help of some Bay State newspapers, has opted to use this info to go after Brown. They claim that it's a political stunt and hypocritical of him. Hypocritical because last year he endorsed a state candidate that was perceived as indifferent to sexual assault. One paper is appalled that he'd smear the name of a respected Christian summer camp, and won't reveal the attacker's name so they can go after him and restore their reputation.

Shame on the Massachusetts papers. But bigger shame on the DSCC. I'm not certain why Brown chose to reveal these secrets, but some things need to be left alone.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Big Fat Friday Free For All

Share people, share! What has got your goat?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Pork Pie, Schmork Pie...

While technically speaking, it may not be a pork pie, I leave the call to you dear readers...

Don't Hate....

...just because you don't have a new, spring Pork-Pie. 

Obama and DOMA

The President (through his Attorney General) has decided that the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act is "unconstitutional", and therefore, the Administration will no longer advocate for the law.  When I read about this today, several thoughts came to mind.
Not to be considered CW support of riding without helmets!

1.  I continue to be against government sanctioned gay marriage--just as I am against government sanctioned straight marriage. Marriage should be a religious and social covenant, not an artifice for streamlining property rights or granting favored tax status.
2.  This Washington Post editorial gets it right--the President's decision NOT to enforce/advocate a duly considered and affirmed piece of legislation sets a dangerous precedent for the future. 
3.  I am reminded of the furor from the left when George Bush would--in his famous "signing" statements--suggest that certain parts of legislation he was signing appeared unconstitutional, and that he would not execute them.  This was of course, decried on the left as dictatorial power wielded by a megalomaniac.  There appear to be no such charges from the left arising from Mr. Obama's similar declaration. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Democrats Refuse to Cut ANYTHING

There's now a movement afoot in San Francisco to ban infant circumcisions. If it passes, a doctor performing one will be fined $1000.

So many potential jokes, so little time.

GG is 43!

Hey everyone, wish Goldwater's Ghost a Happy Birthday.  Best little brother a guy could have (unless of course, you're one of my older brothers). 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

If a Man Had Done This...

Little tale here of a brand new bride whose new husband couldn't locate his passport in time to embark on their honeymoon. This posed little problem for the new Missus: she went alone. Her logical approach to this was that she didn't misplace HER passport.

And she had a glorious time! She lounged on her king-size bed, took gondola rides, and drank wine with beautiful men. She discovered what it was like to be married...she could get used to the idea...without him to interfere, she could truly be her most romantic. Additionally, she maintains that after the stress of a wedding, every bride should be alone. She felt sorry for anyone who had a groom to contend with on her honeymoon.

Can you imagine a man going on his honeymoon alone, talking about what a great time it was, and expressing joy that he didn't have to bother with his wife?

A New Approach to Illegal Immigration

Frustrated with the lack of progress on the illegal immigration front, a state representative in Texas has introduced a novel plan: any law enforcement agency that has an illegal in custody should take the offender to the office of a U.S. Representative or Senator and leave them there.

No word on what they're supposed to do with them once they get there, and the representative admits that this is mostly a cry for help for more border security. Still, the Texas legislature intends to get serious about illegal immigration this year and this could be among the measures considered.

It's dumb. But if the idea somehow catches on, I guess it'll give Jesse Jackson something to do once his work is finished in Wisconsin.

Monday, February 21, 2011

There Was A Big Race Yesterday...

...or so I am told.

Governor Walker Speaks

I'd not heard Governor Walker (R-WI) defend himself before watching this, and after watching it, I find him to be an able standard bearer for these issues.  We'll spend a good bit of the radio program on this subject tonight, so I'd recommend watching this clip for prep.(H/T  Tigerhawk)

Agenda for Tonight's Conservative Wahoo Live! Internet Radio Program

Here's the working agenda for tonight: Listen here on your computer, call in  at 347.637.2203 to join in the fun.

·         Wisconsin Burning
o   Press bias
o   Racial makeup of crowds
o   Fake doctor note
o   Use of violent/Nazi imagery
o   Sick outs:  “for the children”?
·         Democracy Abroad
o   Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Bahrain, Iran
·         Hi Speed Rail Debate
·         Mitch Daniels and the Truce on Social Issues
·         Reporter Sexually Assaulted in Egypt
o   Doesn’t fit the narrative

Sunday, February 20, 2011


I know I'm late to the game, but I watched "Red" last night on DirecTV "on demand".  What an awesome movie.  The cast is unbeatable, Bruce Willis is at the top of his game, Mary-Louise Parker is simply fetching, and my, does Hellen Mirren keep it real. Malkovich is as always, highly entertaining.

I heartily recommend it. 

A Post on, Like, The Decline of Our Spoken Language

Courtesy of The Browser, and wonderful little post from a former speechwriter on the rise of imprecision in spoken English.  Frequent readers are aware of my disdain for several of the artifices mentioned here, including "like" and the ridiculous rising intonation that accompanies virtually all teenage girlspeak and much of liberal maleness.

Radio Show Bleg

Don't forget folks, CW Live has moved to Monday nights at 8PM.  Us the comment section of this post to suggest topics.

A blog for the ladies

Chicks on the Right.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Blog for Urbane Conservative Gentlemen

The Urbane Conservative Gentleman.

Thank God--Jesse Jackson Has Made It To Wisconsin

Finally, some racial diversity.

Obama and Egypt

Clearly there's a whole lot more to play out in the Egypt story, and clearly the Obama Administration was caught flat-footed by the entire uprising.  That said, I've been largely satisfied with their handling of things, once they found their way, and I've also been largely impressed with the adults of the Republican Party who've coalesced around the theme of "he did about as well as can be expected."  Brit intellect Niall Ferguson's recently been out and about putting the screws to Mr. Obama over his handling of the situation, and I watched a bit of it via  YouTube the other night.  I came away from it with a tad less respect for Mr. Ferguson's intellect (which to that point had been high, very high).  This morning, I espied this piece from The Atlantic and found it pretty close to the way I felt about Mr. Ferguson's opinions. 

Tigerhawk Talks Race, Crowds and WI

Protesters of Undetermined Race
Why come to think of it, those crowds DO look overwhelmingly white, don't they?  Funny, the Tea Party crowds were sliced and diced racially by the Bought and Paid For Media, but they haven't been able to bring themselves to draw such a fine distinction here.  Tigerhawk has. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

E.J. Dionne and Ezra Klein--No Crisis in WI, Just Union Busting

This is amazing to me--to read these two chuckleheads you'd think that a state has to be in ridiculously dire straits (NY, CA) to take action

Jesus and His Disciples Sit Down to the Last Supper

Whoops--that's not them.  It's the Hepcat in Chief with all the way-cool Silicon Valley kids!

Big Fat Friday Free For All

Ok folks, let it rip!  What's on your mind this Spring-like Friday?
Not CW and certainly not Hammer

Thursday, February 17, 2011

There's Even a Democratic Governor Cutting Budgets

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is also making some courageous decisions on his state's budgets

Governor Awesome in DC

Tigerhawk calls Chris Christie "Governor Awesome" (maybe we should call Governor Walker "Governor Wonderful"). 

Governor Awesome was in DC recently--man knows how to bring it. 


Wisconsin Governor Not Willing to Let Christie Have All the Fun!

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker--in office all of about, oh, a month, is rapidly rising in the esteem of the conservative establishment.  Check out the coverage of what's going in in Wisconsin on Drudge--pretty interesting stuff.

Walker is going after public sector unions in a big way.  You remember, the folks who hold local schools and government hostage to their civil right not to pay for any of their healthcare or pensions--those people.

Walker is showing a lot of political courage here, and Democrats in Wisconsin are on the wrong side of the times on this one.  Folks across the nation are fed up with their own healthcare costs and are in no mood to listen to whiners with defined benefit pensions.

And of course, it's only the right who uses over the top political imagery. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Citi's Just Not That Into You

I don't doubt this guy's (or gal's) math cred, but his grammar and business writing skills could use a little polishing. A rejected Citi Summer Analyst applicant responds to the indignity:

From: [redacted]
Sent: Monday, February 14, 2011 11:55am
To: [redacted at Citi]
Subject: Re: Citi Sales, Trading & Quantitative Analysis Summer Analyst Program

Hi [redacted]:

Thank you so much for replying to my email!!!

Ah, what a pity I missed one of the most prestigious bank in the world, and what a pity citi-group missed a mathematics genius like me, the smartest student ever in the engineering department, the one who beaten math majors in the most difficult competition in the world like idiots, and the one who astutely points out the mars existing in the Gaussian Copula and made proper corrections on it!! [Redacted]'s stupidity can surely not appreciate my conspicuously superior intellectuality. Woe to the fatuous decision, yet I humbly accpet!

Best of luck with citi-bank, and I sincerely hope the trading can still flourish with those incompetent workers, with those preposterous foreclosures and ludicrous CDO's, with those avaricious vampires drying the blood of tens of thousands of poor languishing in loans and poverty! Woe!

Woe indeed. How could Citi have missed the smartest student evah in the engineering department? Just ask his mother!

As my son approaches his teenage years, and prepares to confront the ultimate mystery of the cosmos - women - I hope to impart the following advice that has eluded so many well-intentioned fellows (including his father). That is, never, EVER pour your heart out in writing. If you need to say it - say it - in as few words as possible. You can always deny it later or claim you were misinterpreted. The "oh yeah, you didn't dump me, I dumped you!" letter is just bad form. And besides, it can now be reproduced in a blog so the world can see what a blathering idiot you are.

Happy Birthday Big Brother

Today's the birthday of Big Brother Jim, first of James A's line and older brother to five fortunate siblings.  You know those bracelets with the letters "WWJD" (would would Jesus do?) on them?  Well, for me, it would mean "What Would Jim Do?".  Devoted husband and father, techno-geek to the nth degree, Ham Radio Operator (need I say more) and wonderful friend, Jim turns 52 today.  

Sorry for the blogging disappearance--rough week.  Back with a vengeance Thursday....

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Story of Jake the Snake

Ran across this courtesy of The Browser, a pretty good site for interesting reading.  It is the story of Jake Plummer's disappearance from the NFL at nearly the top of his game, to live in the Idaho woods and promote the sport of handball.

I was never a big Jake the Snake fan in the NFL, but I do respect a guy who walks away on his own terms.  

Oh My--Catfight in the Theater Community

Here's a wonderful article about a little dust-up I heard about on the interwebs a few weeks ago, which has now been picked up by the MSM.  It seems the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts Rocco Landesman (was there ever someone named Rocco who wasn't a worthwhile figure?) had the temerity to suggest that the principles of supply and demand apply equally to the world of theater performance as it does in other markets.  Responding to a question about declining attendance figures, Landesman offered ""There are too many theaters," he said.  "Look," he explained. "You can either increase demand or decrease supply. Demand is not going to increase. So it is time to think about decreasing supply."Adding insult to injury as the theater community took to its collective sedan chairs, was this little gem, "There are 5.7 million arts workers in this country and 2 million artists. Do we need three administrators for every artist?"  The theater world is in an uproar.

Wonderful stuff.  Putting aside for a moment the inanity of the government sponsoring theater anyway, that the man responsible for doling out federal largess  thinks this way is definitely a step in the right direction.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Atlas Shrugged Trailer

I sure hope they don't screw this up.  I haven't been this excited for a movie since The Lord of the Rings.  Special bonus?  It comes out on Tax Day, 2011. 

Mitch the Knife at CPAC

I haven't watched the video of this speech, but the text (as printed here in NRO) is phenomenal.  Daniels is a bit soft on social issues for many social conservatives (who vote in primaries), but his fiscal discipline is second to none.  He's succeeded in the private sector, he's succeeded in the federal government and he's succeeded as a state executive.  I'd say he's the real deal. Besides, as one can plainly see, he's not wasting a lot of molecular energy supporting a bunch of excess height.

Friday, February 11, 2011

My Appearance Before Congress

I spent the early afternoon today appearing before the House Armed Services Committee Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces.  Details of the event are here

I didn't say much about this in advance for fear it might get canceled.  Even worse, I was afraid it would go on, but being Friday afternoon and all, I figured the Members might boogie back to their districts.  But there were votes scheduled, and the event was well-attended.

I told the Members that it was an honor to be there, but even more, it was a thrill to be asked to exercise the privilege of citizenship at such a high level.  And it was.

The Pentagon Song

Making its way around the Defense blogosphere and clogging all inboxes at the "Five Sided Wind Tunnel".  Interestingly enough, I've always liked working there. 

Big Fat Friday Free For All

Ok, give it your best shot.  What's on your mind this BFFFFA?  Wishing you were at CPAC?  Or in a Cairo square?  Share, people. Share.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Why "Intellectuals" Are Not Conservatives - The Atlantic

One of a few explanations:
Intellectuals feel they are the most valuable people, the ones with the highest merit, and that society should reward people in accordance with their value and merit. But a capitalist society does not satisfy the principle of distribution "to each according to his merit or value." Apart from the gifts, inheritances, and gambling winnings that occur in a free society, the market distributes to those who satisfy the perceived market-expressed demands of others, and how much it so distributes depends on how much is demanded and how great the alternative supply is. Unsuccessful businessmen and workers do not have the same animus against the capitalist system as do the wordsmith intellectuals. Only the sense of unrecognized superiority, of entitlement betrayed, produces that animus.

We Barely Had a Chance to Cringe

We haven't had a good sex scandal in a while. So (former) Rep Christopher Lee (R-NY) - one of those abundant Northeast Republicans - decided to fix that, by lookin' for some love on Craigslist.

It's barely worth commenting on the complete idiocy of a married father doing this...or the fact that Republicans desperately need to stay away from such scandals...or wondering why the lesson is so difficult to learn, that when someone embarks on such foolhardy behavior they will ALWAYS be discovered.

However-and this is NOT to be construed as a defense of the former Congressman-unlike the torturous press conferences Mark Sanford put us through, or the embarrassing tales that spilled out of Eric Massa's mouth every day for a week or two, this story broke around lunchtime yesterday. By dinner, he'd resigned. Either there's more to the story that he was trying to contain, or the House leadership put the hammer down (I hope it was the latter).

And today, barely a mention of the guy. Don't know if he was an effective Congressman, but he knew how to handle an embarrassing sex scandal. If he stays in Washington, he may have a future in consulting on such matters...

Jon Kyl to Retire

The senior senator from Arizona announced today he'll retire at the end of term. Mildly surprising news from the number two guy in the GOP leadership, but Republicans should be able to hang on to the seat (until there's a movement to get Gabby Giffords to run-just wait). I'm hoping Rep Jeff Flake (below) runs. For no apparent reason.

Rumsfeld Criticized on the Right

Republican defense policy expert Kori Schake is out with a withering criticism of Don Rumsfeld's tenure as SECDEF.  Clearly, she's not a fan....

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Old Dominion is in Play in 2012

Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) is not going to run in 2012.  This is great news for Republicans.
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