Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Johah Goldberg on Joe the Puppeteer

I simply can't get enough Jonah Goldberg.  He is consistently the funniest, smartest guy writing on the right--ok, maybe he's tied with Mark Steyn.  He's got a piece this morning at National Review in which he compares Joe Thierrien, out of work puppeteer, with Joe Wurzelbacher--a.k.a. "Joe the Plumber".  It is a must read, especially for Goldberg's analysis of the wholesale abandonment of working-class whites by the Democratic establishment in favor of a coalition of the well-educated and largely lower class minorities.  Quoting Tom Edsall in the NYT, Goldberg writes:

“All pretense of trying to win a majority of the white working class has been effectively jettisoned in favor of cementing a center-left coalition made up . . . of voters who have gotten ahead on the basis of educational attainment — professors, artists, designers, editors, human resources managers, lawyers, librarians, social workers, teachers, and therapists — and a second, substantial constituency of lower-income voters who are disproportionately African American and Hispanic.”

The message here?  The Republican candidate for President MUST appeal to this group of working class whites.  The one doing so most effectively right now is Rick Santorum--and I would love to see Mitt Romney pick up the torch.  Working class whites have a streak of conservatism in them, and we can do better to swing them to our side. 

If you think that Republican prospects are better served targeting Hispanics with emotionally charged soliloquies about "law-abiding" illegals who have been here for 25 years, raising families and attending church etc--vote for Newt Gingrich.  If you feel our prospects are better served by getting the Reagan coalition back together...then Romney's your man.

More on Income Inequality

I've written quite a bit here about income inequality, specifically my holding that it measures nothing useful, only envy.  It is however, the "subject du jours" for the "Occupy" folks, and so it remains newsworthy.

In this editorial, Nick Schulz at AEI lays out three reasons why inequality has grown...and why they may be "inconvenient" to the "99%"  Worth a read. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

On Yesterday's Drubbing

Virginia Tech rolled into Charlottesville yesterday and beat us like a drum, 38-0.  There was nothing good about this day, nothing at all.  They manhandled us on the offensive line, their skilled position players made ours look like Ankle-biters, and our defensive backfield evidently phoned this one in from whatever Bowl Game they were thinking about.

Worst of all, there were--to my estimation--at least as many Tech fans in the stadium as there were UVA fans.  Now of course, Tech travels well--and opposing teams have the opportunity to buy a certain amount of set-aside tickets.  But the tech folks were interspersed throughout the crowd, pretty much everywhere but the student section.  To me, this means that there were a ton of UVA fans who didn't go--but more execrably--gave their tickets to Hokies.

And because my season tix are on the low end of the dollar scale, I just happen to be in the general vicinity of where the opposing team's seats are set aside.  I was thoroughly overwhelmed by Hokies.  It really was an unsatisfactory day from start to finish.

On the subject of tailgaters--you don't get to park your vehicle and then set up your ring of chairs in the space next to you.  You put your chairs astern of your bumper, and leave the spaces for others.  It was AMAZING how many douchebags (of both schools) were taking up spaces like this--on the biggest game of the year with the largest expected crowd.  UVA cops/officials were nowhere to be found.

Walter Russell Mead on The Energy Boom

Wanna read a devastating take-down of the New York Times to get your Sunday off to a great start?  Take a look at this piece, which WRM eviscerates the New York Times' coverage of the oil boom in the midwest.  One wonders whether NYT would be so moved were it solar panel manufacturers and windmill placers who were blotting the landscape.  A sample of this thoroughly entertaining piece:

This is what economic growth looks like.  It is sudden, disruptive, often inconvenient.  It messes with the status quo.  New stuff gets built and not all of it looks like the Cloisters.  All kinds of rough and hungry men flock to it; they sometimes misbehave.  They spit on the ground, say unpleasant things about women, and generally fail to meet the behavioral standards of the Upper West Side.
Decline is so much more decorous.  Prairie towns slowly wither on the vine; the young people quietly leave, the stores gradually empty and close.  Reporters from the Times write haunting and moving stories about the gentle, drifting sadness of it all. Novelists in creative writing programs can write delicate tales of rural decline; filmmakers can make understated little films about the lost hope and vanished promise of the American dream.

H/T:  Instapundit

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Politics of Hate

This is former NY Times "Chief Theater Critic" Frank Rich in the lobby of a Broadway playhouse with presumably a rising young star (especially if Frank has his way). I say former because the powers that be at "The Old Grey Lady" promoted Frank to the opinion pages some years back due to his many years of service to (and being serviced by) the New York intelligentsia.

Mr. Rich has a wonderful column (click on the header) relating his views on right-wing extremism which he feels (Frank always feels) was directly responsible for JFK's untimely death, and of course our current President's problems.

Now, you may say this is claptrap, revisionist history that would make Oliver Stone blush. Perhaps but I say Frank Rich is a national treasure and if he's good enough for the salons of Upper East Side Manhattan, he's good enough for me.

*As a sidebar, Frank loves the new Hugh Jackman musical: "Sexy, sexy, sexy, oh and did I mention sexy! Great fun, old school entertainment. Hugh Jackman has a beautiful talent and is willing to share." Yeah, you wish Frank, you wish!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Health Care Is Expensive Because We Don't Know How Much It Costs

There are lots of things wrong with America's health care system(s).  The one on which I concentrate in this post is the pernicious impact of "employer-based" health care provision.  That is to say, the system under which most of us receive our health care.  A relic of WWII wage controls, health care through one's job developed as a "fringe benefit" not subject to the impact of wartime restraint.  In order to attract scarce labor, companies began to add health care...and the rest is history.

The problem with this system--at least in how it has metastasized--is that we have arrived a a point in which the average Joe has no sense of the real costs of health care.  Instead, he is confronted with a poor proxy, and that is the monthly insurance premium he pays--which for some reason, he feels is too high.  He feels this way because month after month, hundreds of dollars come out of his paycheck to subsidize everyone else's health care, while he and his family are only modest consumers.  Well, some may say, that is the nature of "insurance"--but from where I sit, it is an insurance like no other.

When I pay a monthly car insurance premium, I do not expect to receive routine auto care.  I do not expect gasoline.  I do not expect new tires on a regular basis.  Each of these services is priced separately and a transaction is the result of my having chosen among several providers.  Insurance kicks in on the high end--when my car is stolen, when I have had an accident--when a tree falls on it. 

Of course health care and car insurance are not the same; but that again, is a choice of our society.  Instead, we lump our payment into "premiums" set as the result of a negotiation between our employer and (usually) one insurance company, who has already negotiated a series of rates with "providers".  We--the ultimate consumer--are insulated by at least two other rounds of transactions from the TRUE cost of our health care, the result of which is, we are not consumers.  We are recipients.  We don't make choices, we receive care.  We don't negotiate for the value, we take what we are given. 

I came across this article this morning on Instapundit, telling the story of a startup that seeks to expose the true costs of medical care.  Why do I find this interesting?  Because I advocate for a largescale overhaul of the way we deliver health care in this country.  No my socialist friends...not single-payer.  I'm talking about a system in which consumers wield the power of their purse, choose among providers and spend their own money on routine health care while negotiating directly with insurance companies to deal with the costs of other than routine matters. 

We must break the employer provided health care chain, one that insulates consumers from cost and limits their choice--not to mention, holds down their wages and decreases tax revenue.  Less freedom and more government is not the answer.  The answer is empowered individuals. 

Libya: Be Careful What You Ask For

A leaked version of a report to be made by the UN Secretary General to the Security Council outlines systematic rape, torture and illegal detentions by the recently victorious (with the aid of the West) Libyan rebel forces.  The Arab Spring is in bloom, and its bounty may prove bloody.  We must continue to follow the law--that is, the Law of Unintended Consequences--as we consider what is going on in the Arab/Persian world.  All revolutions are not honorable and worthy, sometimes worse governments take over, and our interests must be at stake when we act. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Republican Debate

I'm sorry I didn't get to this yesterday, but I wanted to talk a little about the Republican debate on Thursday night.  Co-sponsored by Heritage, AEI and CNN, it was billed as a "national security" debate.  Here are a few quick thoughts:

1.  Wolf Blitzer is a pro.  He did a nice job keeping things moving and giving them opportunities to respond to each other, without letting it become a schoolyard brawl.  Downside to his professionalism and fairness was that we heard far too much from single-digit candidates.

2.  That said....two of the single digit candidates (Bachman, Santorum) did surprisingly well.  Bachman's insistent counters to Newt's immigration plan were the opening moves on an onslaught you've seen the past two days.  Santorum was good on identifying what we are fighting (radical Islam, not terror). 

3.  My man--Mitt--did fine.  Didn't hurt himself, was good on Afghanistan (v. Huntsman) and on immigration.  Wolf's great job of being "fair" to all kept us from hearing as much from Mitt (and Newt) as I would have liked.  If this turns into a two-man race (Mitt and Newt), it will be interesting.

4. Newt--clearly a great debater, Newt is very comfortable in those environments.  His defenestration of Ron Paul was just fun to watch.  His stance on immigration sounds nice and may play to those who wish to see the revitalization of the Republican Party through an outreach to Hispanics...but it opens him up to some serious attacks from the others.  His narrative ("why would we throw out someone who has been here 25 years, paid taxes, has kids and grand-kids here, goes to church) pulls at the heart strings, but where would the line be drawn?  What about 20 years?  What about 30, but don't attend church?  I think the others will make hay with this one.

5.  Ron Paul--this guy scares me, and I can sum up in two words why:  Ross Perot. Perot handed the Presidency to Bill Clinton in 92, and he could ensure Mr. Obama's re-election next year.

6.  TSA--I think there is a lot of ground to be gained for all the candidates by demonizing this ridiculous organization and its wasteful, inefficient approach to airport security.

Thanksgiving 2011

Happy Thanksgiving to you, my friends.  The Kitten's hosting the big meal here this year in our nearly renovated house, she's got the table set in festive style, the turkey is brining as I write, and all indications are it will be a great day.

I'm thankful this year for many things, but to the list of old standards I'll add my gratitude for the opportunity to fall in love again this year---with a little black lab puppy named Baloo.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Live Blogging the Debate

Sorry for the late notice folks, but let us liveblog tonight's debate using the Conservative Wahoo Chat box on the right side of the blog page.

Fun starts at 8PM.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Cup o'Joe TO GO, Please!!!

Got a very thoughtful personal note from Jill Biden the other day inviting me to sign the Vice President's (shhh, it's a surprise) birthday card. Never one to turn down a personal invite such as this, I offered my heartfelt wishes for his birthday and the coming year:
"Happy Birthday Mr. Vice President! I know this job is a tough one and at your age, you shouldn't have to work this hard. So I'm going to do my level best to see that you and your boss don't have to do this job one more day past the next inauguration. Don't thank me, I'm doing it for our country. All the best, Mudge"
Well, in no time at all, Jill wrote back with a very kind offer:

"Thanks for signing the birthday card.
Now, the Vice President would like to offer you a cup of Joe. Literally.
[Ed: "Ewww!]
Celebrate his birthday by getting the official "Cup of Joe" mug with a donation of $20 or more."
I just figured those of you who are not quite so intimate with the First and Second families might want to get in on this deal too. I'm sure they wouldn't mind you taking advantage of a $2.00 mug at 10x the price.

Consider it good practice for if they win another term.

■Three men decided to split the cost of a hotel room. The hotel manager gave them a price of $30.

■The men split the bill evenly, each paying $10, and went to their room. However, the hotel manager realized that it was a Wednesday night, which meant the hotel had a special: rooms were only $25. He had overcharged them $5.

■He called the bellboy, gave him five one-dollar bills and told him to return it to the men.

■When the bellboy explained the situation to the men, they were so pleased at the honesty of the establishment that they promptly tipped the bellboy $2 of the $5 he had returned and each kept $1 for himself.

■So each of the three men ended up paying $9 (their original $10, minus $1 back) totaling $27, plus $2 for the bellboy which makes $29.

■So where is the missing dollar?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Lefties Wistful For Days Gone By

I've got some lefty friends who have got themselves all bound up over "inequality" of income, and how different things are economically than say, the 1950's.  Here's a great response to that historically inaccurate--or at least hypocritical--approach.  Read the whole thing--but here's my favorite part:

Even if you grant the premise that government should redistribute wealth to equalize incomes, the 1950s are odd years for the left to champion. “Social injustice remained pervasive,” Krugman cautions. Um, yeah. That’s the point: There is more to equality than pay schedules and tax rates. There is, for example, the composition of the workforce. Harriet did not take a second mortgage to finance her craft moisturizer boutique while Ozzie went to his UAW office. Harriet stayed at home. So did millions of women in the 1950s, thereby restricting the supply of labor and raising Ozzie’s wages.

You cannot have the economy of the 1950s without the society of the 1950s. Ozzie and Harriet were married. They could pool resources in ways today’s single parents and twentysomethings cannot. They did not have to worry about an influx of day laborers from Latin America or a flood of cheap goods from China. They lived in a society a portion of which systematically oppressed a minority race. Their government focused almost the sum total of its resources on defense and Social Security. There was no Medicare or Medicaid or war on poverty. It was the age of the “organization man,” the “lonely crowd,” of alienation and monopoly and “conformity.” All of these factors​—​not just high levels of unionization and a punishing top marginal tax rate​—​went into making 1950s America a “middle-class society.” Is this a tradeoff Americans would be willing to make?

Bunch of Capitalist Tools Speak Out Against OWS

Friday, November 18, 2011

Big Fat Friday Free For All

Once again folks, we've reached the point in the week where it is OK to whine.  So what'll it be?  Your Supercommittee falling down on the job?  Waiting for the 1000 point plunge in the market we'll see in the next three weeks?  What's got you down?

Have You Contributed to Romney for President Yet?

Well, it looks like it is Newt's turn to be the media's flavor of the month. This should be fun.  Click the link on the right and let's get ready for Iowa!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Hey Kids, We Have a Visitor!

Former porn queen Marina Ann Hantis (dba Sasha Grey) recently made an appearance at a public school in Compton, California in a non-dramatic role. According to officials from the Compton Unified School District, Ms. Hantis took part in a reading program for 1st. graders at Emerson Elementary School.

After complaints from some parents ("They couldn't find a fireman or a police officer?" asked parent Dudley Wheaton. "They had to get a porn star?") embarrassed school officials expressed dismay as the visit had been arraigned by a local "talent scout" of some repute.

However, some parents were reportedly delighted with the choice citing Ms. Hantis' many awards and accolades including "Best Three Way Sex Scene" and "Best Group Scene" at the 2007 AVN Adult Movie Awards (although she did lose "Best New Starlet" to Naomi of "Britney Rears 3" fame that same year).

Liberal Millionaires Want to Pay More Taxes; Unable to Identify What Is Stopping Them

A group of lefty self-proclaimed millionaires trooped to Capitol Hill yesterday to tell their elected representatives that they wished to pay more taxes.  It is not immediately apparent why they were unable to avail themselves of the already established method of doing so, nor did it appear that the fawning sycophants covering the event thought to ask them.  I would LOVE to review the tax returns of this bunch, to see how many of them availed themselves of the various deductions and credits for which they were eligible.  Perhaps before they agitate to raise everyone else's taxes, they should consider methods to maximize their own rate.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Immaculate Overreaction

Aspects of the Penn State debacle are starting to get ridiculous. The latest: former Steeler and Nittany Lion great Franco Harris, he of Immaculate Reception fame and a spokesman for a Pittsburgh-area casino & racetrack, has now lost his job because of his outspoken support for Joe Paterno.

Harris was critical of the Penn State Board of Trustees for firing JoePa, feeling they lacked courage in not standing by him. In other words, he was supporting his long-time coach.

This is NOT a defense of any of the utterly indefensible players in the Penn State drama. But stop and consider something: Sandusky just may be found not guilty. Before you guffaw, look at OJ...or Casey Anthony. Then what?

An Unlikely Romney Cheerleader

Ann Coulter declares it high time to rally around Romney. You read that correctly. Ann Coulter.

In her typically bitchy style, she brutally takes down Newt and makes the argument that for the first time in a long while, we'll have an articulate Republican, that it's time to give up on the ideological purity and that we need to give up finding Reagan this time around.

She's right, but it's worth reading the whole piece.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Hammer's Review of Books

Some tyrants are born, some are made, and some are made worse by our reaction to them. Buchanan makes a good case that Hitler was not necessarily a candidate for biggest bastard in the history of the cosmos prior to Britain and France's engagement. The book takes you through both World Wars focusing primarily on the diplomatic missteps, manipulations and lies that led the West into the bloodiest, most costly conflict in history. And if you had any preconceptions about Winston Churchill being the greatest Brit since Richard the Lionheart, you're in for a surprise.

Recommendation: Read it, you might learn something.

This is sort of a throwaway book I picked up from the bargain bin. The author David Hagberg, relates a Soviet Naval officer's account of a mutiny aboard a Cold War era destroyer. In my opinion the book isn't written very well, this being the author's first foray into non-fiction, but the story does offer some insights into Soviet military organization, inter-service rivalries and the same cover-your-ass mindset we've all seen in our military.

Recommendation: Eh? If your stuck in an airport have at it.

This is a must read! It's a play by play of the financial crisis we are still living with today...and it names names. The authors follow the evidence like a good prosecutor and are brutal in their analysis. The facts in this book illustrate, in a real way rather than just theory, how dangerous it is to put politics before economics.

Recommendation: Read it or shut your yap.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Tiger Beat Meets Sergeant Stryker

Former teen heartthrob*, former boy band member and one-time Mouseketeer Justin Timberlake did a good thing this weekend when he attended the Marine Corps Ball, sticking to a promise he made last summer when he was invited to accompany a young Marine to the annual event.

Timberlake wrote movingly in his blog about the experience, how he was humbled by the event, how proud he was to be there, and how it changed his life to be among his heroes.

Good for him.

*Never quite understood what made him a heartthrob, but I guess it's only me considering who he's been involved with.

Congressional Insider Trading

Big news this morning about yesterday's 60 minutes report on Congressional insider trading.  I didn't see the story, but UVA Professor Larry Sabato Tweeted an interesting idea--you get elected to Congress, you put your assets in a blind trust.  Sounds ok to me. In fact, sounds downright logical.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Crazy Wins Over Stupid & Evil

As you may know, Republicans are either crazy, stupid or evil. And of course there are subsets of the above categories. For example, advocating freedom is a subset of stupid. Identifying with the Tea Party is a subset of stupid and evil. Being deeply religious is a subset of all three. See how it works?

I have to say I disagree with Sally. I don't deny that Michelle Bachmann is an "idiot", being of course a subset of stupid. But I take issue with her assertion that it is the reason for her downfall. Crazy is the clear winner here and even a cursory analysis of Bachmann's media coverage would lead one to this conclusion. So, can we all agree she is crazy, not stupid.

I'm sorry Sally but I felt compelled to point this out.

Michele Bachmann Is an Idiot

After a strong initial showing and surprise victory at August's Iowa Straw Poll, Michele Bachmann has been sinking like a stone and is taken seriously by virtually no one.

That isn't stopping her from making a fool of herself. Last night the GOP candidates met for (another!) debate in South Carolina moderated by CBS. She's taken a totally legitimate email from the CBS team and is screaming liberal media bias. The email (inadvertently sent to the Bachmann team) essentially said she won't be getting many questions as her poll numbers are low and they hope to spend more time on other candidates.

Not getting questions at a debate (a Republican debate, mind you) is hardly media bias, Michele. It's merely a reflection of your standing in the polls-and that standing is not exactly helped by your whining.

UVA 31 Dook 21

Yes indeed, ladies and gentlemen, the Wahoos put another one in the win column yesterday, defeating the Blue Devils after three straight losses.  The prospect of an entire college career losing to Duke must have proved too much for the Seniors....

So the Hoo's are now 7-3, with Florida State and Virginia  Tech remaining.  I'd dearly like to win both of those games, would be incredibly satisfied with one victory (preferably over the Chokies, if needs be), but would--in the end--settle for playing both of them tough.

We'll see how things go. 

Romney and Conservatives

I had a long conversation yesterday with one of the smartest guys I know.  He's a committed conservative, and he's just not that into Mitt Romney.  The purpose of our call was for each of us to proselytize the other to his view (me, get him onboard with Mitt.  Him, get me offboard with Mitt).  Neither of us succeeded.  But the quality of the conversation and the thinking behind the two viewpoints led me to a "theory of the case"; that is, a sort of "Grand Unifying Theory" as to why I am where I am and why so many other conservatives are where they are.

First though, I will assert to you that I am more ideologically conservative than  the candidate I am supporting, though as I continue to read and watch Romney espouse his views, I find that he's more conservative than I thought six months ago. 

The very basic question here is how to fix America.  Both I and my interlocutor believe the country is in bad shape and that there is a lot of work to do to make it better.  Neither of us believe that the present administration can get it done, and both of us believe that the ideology of the present administration is at least partly responsible for the acceleration of our woes the past two years.  Both of us believe that the country (and the populace) has moved slowly but steadily leftward over the past 80 years, with only halting steps back to the middle here and there to arrest the drift (see R. Reagan).  Both of us believe that this drift must be reversed, and that it will ultimately serve as the catalyst for America's irreversible decline if not checked--and soon.  Where he and I differ is on how to make this happen--and this, I suggest, is at the heart of much of the Romney lukewarmity I see.

My friend believes we are already past the point of no return, that the other side is irredeemably corrupt and that no amount of compromise is going to fix things.  In fact, he argues that compromise is what put us in the pickle we're in, that we have compromised first principles granted us by the Founders, and that the only way to make things right is to hold steady to principles and elect a no-nonsense conservative as President.  He suggests that without such an adherence to principle, we'll lose not only the Presidency, but our lead in the House and any chance of taking the Senate.  His view of Romney is that he is insufficiently conservative and certainly insufficiently differentiated from the neo-socialism of the current administration.  These flaws suggest that he will be incapable of exerting the leadership necessary to move the country forward, that he'll deliver more of the same, making deals that maybe slow the "Road to Serfdom", but which do not ultimately create a U-turn in that road. He believes that Romney's steady but unspectacular numbers in the primaries are a reflection of the views of party faithful that we need a clean sweep, that we need to take on liberal neo-socialism head on, that we simply can't trust liberals and that compromise must end.  Put simply, a Romney Administration might slow the decline, but it will not turn it around.

I on the other hand, believe that a retreat to ideological purity will hand the liberals the victory they have been steadily moving toward, as no matter how skippy-jiffy I and my friend might consider conservative ideas to be, they simply aren't broadly adhered to enough in THIS VOTING population to serve as anything of a rallying point.  Let's face it gang--we are in the pickle we're in because many of these programs we all know to be cancers....are really, really popular with some elements of the voting population.  Voters are far too conflicted to be counted on in any way to come running to the conservative cause because we've got a great conservative candidate who can spell-bind you with his rhetoric--a la Newt--or inspire you with the simplicity of his solutions to hard problems--a la Herman.  Witness the COUNTLESS signs at Tea Party rallies two years ago saying "Hands of My Medicare".  Oh yes, we all cheered on granny as she poked Obamacare's threats to the program, some of us without ever really considering just how inconsistent with conservative principles Medicare is (while wildly popular with those who receive it). 

I believe the nomination of an ideological conservative at this point will lead to continuing gridlock and the certainty of our nation's continuing diminishment.  Not because what such a candidate would assert isn't right, or isn't what I believe--but because we can't sell it--at least not yet--to the George Bush voters who abandoned the Party for Barack Obama in 2008.  I see this as a math problem, and while we are all in love with conservative ideas and principles--a majority of Americans WILL NOT APPLY THAT LABEL to themselves.  We MUST target the muddled middle, voters who aren't ideological and who aren't political--but who recognize on some meaningful level that things are not right, that Barack Obama's path has made it worse--but--and this is a huge but--are NOT prepared to hear the inescapable truth that THEY are the problem.  That their cozy acceptance of easy mortgages backed by Uncle Sugar, student loans PROVIDED by Uncle Sugar, "save me from being underwater" restructuring deals pushed by Uncle Sugar and a whole host of other entitlements are what PUT US IN THIS POSITION, and that the only way out of this mess is to dramatically cut back on government spending.  At the heart of an ideologically conservative approach to these voters is the proposition that we have to "educate" them, that we have to convince them of the error of their ways and their own selfishness.  As wonderful as this notion is, and as fun a job as it would be--I simply cannot accept it as an electoral strategy.  I don't think you get elected President in this country by telling voters how screwed up they are.  I realize that this is a parody of an honorable approach--but it is EXACTLY how it will be portrayed by opponents. 

I support Mitt Romney for a lot of reasons--but mainly because I believe him to be a man of action animated by principle.  I support Mitt Romney because I believe that any notion that we are going to get ourselves out of this mess by creating some kind of modern day political Plymouth Colony is absurd, that any solution to where we are headed will necessarily involve some level of compromise.  The policies we seek to impact are simply TOO POPULAR for frontal assault, that the victory will be won,  one policy alteration at a time tilting the scale back in the direction of personal responsibility, limited government and free markets.

My friend and I agree completely on what the problem is, and that Mr. Obama isn't going to solve it.  I think his approach enshrines our diminishment by abandoning the playing field, and he believes my approach enshrines our diminishment by colluding with the forces that caused it.  I suspect that somewhere in between is a solution--and maybe the primary process is that solution.

Maybe the fact that conservative standard-bearers are grabbing headlines and making runs at Mitt will make him a better, more conservative candidate.  Maybe the fire nipping at his toes from Gingrich, Perry, Paul, Bachman et al will drive him to policy decisions more in line with the views of their supporters.  Maybe, in the end, Romney will be viewed as conservative enough to get the job done, and after a hard-fought primary season, the party will coalesce and he'll have the coalition he needs on our side to unseat the President.  This is my hope.  I don't think the process works with any other candidate.  I know I'll get some detractors on this one, and I accept your views.  I just think they are wrong.  But let's have some primaries, let's continue to let the process play out, and in the end, I'm damn sure I'll vote for the guy or gal with the (R) next to their name in November 2012. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

George Will's Romney Contempt Suddenly Makes Sense

A lot of conservatives are having trouble getting behind Mitt Romney, which of course is their prerogative. One of America's leading conservative voices, George Will, is among them. He took to his column in the Washington Post a few weeks ago to completely trash Romney, calling him the Republican's Michael Dukakis, and positing the question -has conservativism come so far to settle for this? Also his prerogative. Except...

Turns out Mrs. George Will is an advisor to the Perry campaign. Previously, she worked on the Bachmann campaign. And in June, she offered her services to the Romney campaign and met with campaign officials in Boston. No job offer was ever made to her.

Wonder how that column would have read had she been hired by the Romney team. And she was hired by the Perry team to prep him for debates. Based on his debate performances, I think it's safe to say the Romney-ites made the right call.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Carolina Faithful Giddy With Anticipation

University of North Carolina basketball fans around the country have created a near carnival atmosphere in anticipation of tonight's hoops action against the Michigan State Spartans on the flightdeck of the USS Carl Vinson. Celebrations have been particularly exuberant in UNC fan strongholds like Archer's Lodge, NC, Maryland's Eastern Shore and Teheran where a large percentage of Tar Heel grads reside.
In other Carolina news, unnamed sources on the UNC campus refuse to confirm persistent rumors that Joe Paterno has been offered head football coaching duties in the troubled and corrupt gridiron program.

Because it is Just Plain Wicked Cool

Hoops tonight, on the deck of an aircraft carrier

Have You Contributed to Romney for President Yet?

Every little bit helps, people!

Big Fat Friday Free For All

Well folks--here we are again--it' day is it?

Oops!  It is FRIDAY--your day to bitch and kvetch. 

Rick Perry Does Damage Control

Even if you didn't watch, you've surely seen the Rick Perry epic, cringe-worthy moment at the debate the other night that has gone viral and couldn't help but make you pity the man, no matter what your feelings toward him. He's gone into overdrive in attempt to laugh off the flub, appearing on every show that would take him yesterday. It won't likely help him, but he may have another career as a stand-up comedian. He delivered the top ten list on Letterman last night with impeccable comedic timing and he was a hoot. (#2 was the best):

10. Actually there were three reasons I messed up last night. One was the nerves. Two was the headache and three um … uh … oops.
9. I don’t know what you’re talking about, I think things went well.
8. Hey I was up late last night watching “Dancing with the Stars.”
7. I thought the debate was tonight.
6. Hey listen you try concentrating when Mitt Romney’s smiling at you. That is one handsome dude.
5. Uh, El Nino?
4. I had a five hour energy drink six hours before the debate.
3. You know I really hoped it would get me on my favorite talk show, but instead I ended up here.
2. I wanted to help take the heat off my buddy Herman Cain.
1. I just learned Justin Bieber is my father.

Nothing will change in the race...but he's handled the gaffe admirably.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

What the *#@^!

Joe Paterno started coaching at Penn State in 1950 as an assistant and became head coach in 1966. During his tenure he built arguably the finest program in college athletics. He ran a clean operation, his recruits were the best (his linebackers were legend...and legion), and they graduated. As far as I know there have been no significant scandals, until now.

What in the hell happened? How could a guy like this participate in a cover-up of something like this? I am stunned, saddened and disturbed.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Amateur Hour Continues at the White House

A hot mic picked up a conversation between Nicolas Sarkozy and our President at the G-20 Summit last week, and it put neither leader in a flattering light. In the conversation, Mr. Sarkozy revealed that he 'could not stand' Benjamin Netanyahu and that he thinks Bibi is 'a liar.' O's contribution to the exchange? 'You're fed up with him, but I have to deal with him every day!' (You may not have heard about this, as journalists present at the event were requested to sign an agreement to keep mum on the embarrassing comments. Why? I don't know.)

This was a private conversation accidentally being picked up by a hot mic, so one could empathize to a degree. But seriously: 'I have to deal with him every day' ? Poor O.

Bibi could kick the ass of these two without breaking a sweat. And for unfathomable reasons, this President continues to have the support of the Jewish community. Why is that?


Joe Frazier died of cancer yesterday. I liked Joe Frazier. I liked his character. He was born to South Carolina sharecroppers in a time when opportunities for guys like him were, how shall I say, extremely limited. But he had talent and perseverance, and he worked his way to the top.

As a highschool kid I well remember the first Ali/Frazier fight at the Garden in '71. I recall the press hounding Frazier, the way people like Bryant Gumbel portrayed him as a shuffling, jive-ass house negro while Ali was glorified as authentically "black", an anti-establishment "take it to the man" heroic demigod. To this day I am sickened by the way Joe Frazier was treated... by his own people.

Smokin' Joe was a good champion, and he refused to be bitter. But in my opinion, it is not too late for those people who unjustly and maliciously slandered and vilified this humble, penitent, God fearing man, to come forward with a simple apology for the pain they inflicted.

R.I.P Joe Frazier.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

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Occupy The Lunatic Asylum

This morning's Washington Post treats us to a fresh helping of silliness in the form of an editorial from Alec MacGillis, reliable lefty WaPost reporter and Senior Editor at The New Republic.  In it, MacGillis suggests a few additional targets at which the Zuccati Park crowd could aim their smelly, self-indulgent siege guns, including Bill Clinton (for lowering the capital gains tax rate), Harvard (as a cut-out for high tuition bills and student loan debt), Wal-Mart (for being non-union), Towers-Watson (executive pay consultants, presumably for doing their job), Tyson's Corner (a place in Northern Virginia where there are a lot of government contractors) and The Supreme Court (for not putting a grand Progressive stop to it all and allowing corporations to be people).

Underpinning MacGillis' rant are the totemic liberal chants of "income inequality and economic justice".  Just read:

No doubt, the Occupy Wall Street protesters were right to target the financial industry first. Soaring Wall Street pay has been a key force behind America’s income disparities over the past three decades, and banks have yet to be held accountable for the destruction they wrought in recent years. 

Besides, if you’re really serious about addressing income inequality and economic injustice in America, there are other institutions and figures worth challenging. 

It is also difficult to overlook that countries with stronger unions, such as Canada and Germany, show a far more equitable distribution of income across the working population.

But nowhere in the article does MacGillis take the time to explain to us exactly why inequality of income (which has existed in this country since, oh, well--forever), is bad. You won't find it in MacGillis' article, and you won't find it in the narratives of progressives and you won't find it in the blather rising from the Occupy Wall Street crowd.  That's because income inequality measures nothing but envy, pure and simple.   It is a measure convenient to wave about when one seeks to redistribute income, yet it does not in any meaningful way convey anything tangible about an economy.

Put another way--what impact does income inequality have on society?  What is the evidence that there are pernicious impacts?  Or is it simply that the rich get richer faster than the poor get richer (which is, sorry to say, what has happened).  

Now--what is it that contributes to income inequality?  Are these contributors worthy of study and discussion? Yes, I believe so.  The tax code is worth talking about--most of you know I don't support taxing income and capital gains at different rate.  Have unions in this country so artificially inflated wage rates that manufacturing has largely left our shores in search of more affordable labor?  Has the home mortgage deduction contributed to a less mobile labor force, stuck in dog mortgages and unable to bargain its labor more effectively to potential bidders?  All of these things are in and of themselves worthy of discussion.  That they round up to "income inequality" leads these Dunderheads to then say, "well, we need to stop that"--and the best way they know how is redistributing wealth, rather than looking individually at what causes inequality (it is after all, a condition, not a cause) and seeking to devise policies that actually do something other than palliate envy.

Friday, November 4, 2011


The US economy had a positive October, at least according to new labor statistics. Unemployment dropped sharply from 9.1% to 9.0% after adding 80k new "situations" (as the Brits say). Of course this is impossible statistically unless they're playing with the numbers and gee, nobody thinks that unless, you know, they actually have brains in their head. Also, there's not much talk about under-employment or discouraged workers or McJobs (a favorite criticism of the last administration), but who wants to nitpick?

I was curious about what may be the American economy's "new normal" and crunched the unemployment numbers for the top five EU economies from 1999 through 2007. After all, if we're all socialists now, who knows how to run a Euro-Socialist economy better than the Euro-Socialists? So, while the US averaged 5.0% in this time period, the average jobless rate in a "booming" Europe was 8.58%. What, eight and a half percent? That's eerily similar to our present, and incredibly persistent unemployment figure.

The point is, these kinds of numbers are normal for mixed economies in the best of times. Why would anyone emulate failure? If Obama & Co. gave a damned about unemployment they would embrace capitalism. As Ayn Rand said:

If concern with poverty and human suffering were the collectivists’ motive, they would have become champions of capitalism long ago; they would have discovered that it is the only political system capable of producing abundance. But they evaded the evidence as long as they could. When the issue became overwhelmingly clear to the whole world, the collectivists were faced with a choice: either turn to the right, in the name of humanity—or to the left, in the name of dictatorial power. They turned to the left—the New Left.

Instead of their old promises that collectivism would create universal abundance and their denunciations of capitalism for creating poverty, they are now denouncing capitalism for creating abundance. Instead of promising comfort and security for everyone, they are now denouncing people for being comfortable and secure.

Big Fat Friday Free For All

Here it is again, folks. The opportunity you've all been waiting for! Unburden yourselves! Let your freak flag fly! Oh, and dont forget to contribute to Romney for President using the link on the right.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Occupy Tickbite Enters 160th. Year

My hometown of Tickbite is becoming uninhabitable. This "Occupy" crowd is growing more aggressive, more demanding and more obnoxious. Furthermore, the stench coming from these "Occupy" areas is becoming unbearable. I don't know about you, but watching someone consume potted meat and moon pies and square nabs and PBR day after day is getting old. It's time to do something about these people, and I mean RIGHT NOW!


12.8 million dollars ($12,800,000.00) in bonuses have been approved for 10 executives at Freddie and Fannie. As you probably know, these are quasi-private mortgage companies that are insured by the full faith and credit of the United States Government (talk about moral hazard). After the mortgage debacle of 2008 (actually 2008-present) they were taken over by Sam so as to get things back on a paying basis (right!). I don't know, call me crazy but when the taxpayer gets nailed for 150 billion dollars (so far) in bailouts due to an absurd business model, felonious bookkeeping and criminal chief executives like Jim Johnson and Franklin Raines, well I'm thinking bonuses are not appropriate at this exact moment in time. Alas the White House Press Secretary Jay Carney informs us that President Obama disagrees.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

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It seems the Greek Prime Minister has called for a referendum on the EU bailout, and Brussels is not happy. George Papandreou (I think all Greeks are named George Papandreou aren't they?) said this is democracy in action and has nothing to do with him being a gutless politician seeking to cover his hummus eating ass. The Germans and the French bent over backwards to make this second bailout happen with a write-down of 50%, and now the Greek unions will have the final say? Oh what a web we weave.

Normally I could care less but in this age of globalization this could be the spark that crashes Europe. I've always thought the EU was a ridiculous, bureaucratic, world government pipe-dream but I would like to see an orderly annulment rather than a messy divorce. A Eurozone meltdown could have some nasty ramifications in this indebted, mismanaged political environment we find ourselves in today. It might be a good time to sell that Siemens and Telefunkel.
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