Friday, September 30, 2011

There Must Have Been a Sale on Ugly Belts

A Little Shopping "In-Cognito" with an AP Photog...
Michelle 'just a regular gal' Obama popped into a Target this week to do some shopping.

And brought a photographer from the AP with her.

It has to get old not being able to be anonymous. But despite the Post's contention here that Mrs. O is always eager to get out of the bubble, I suspect the White House's motivation behind the shopping trip was an attempt to portray her as an average American.

Ensuring a photographer captured the experience? COME ON.

Eugene Robinson is a Fool

The Washington Post's Eugene Robinson today takes a break from writing about the racist elements of the Tea Party to bring us the breaking news that Chris Christie is fat, and that his weight is a legitimate campaign issue should he jump into the race.

Robinson pushes back immediately at the suggestion that it just might not be any of his business, because he informs us that the moment Christie stepped into the public arena, it became an issue for all of us. Kind of like Obama's smoking habit. (I remember all those columns in the Post discussing that in 2008, don't you?)

The column delves into the cost and danger of obesity, which is legit I suppose, but I doubt he'd be writing about the obesity 'epidemic' if buzz about Christie wasn't getting louder each day.

Oh-here's a picture of Obama's Surgeon General. Appointed in November of 2009. Eugene must have been busy since that time, because I would think that the introduction of this woman would be a great opportunity to start a national dialogue about obesity.

Panera Bread: A Cafe with a Conscience

The CEO of Panera Bread, being a good liberal and all around sweet guy, decided to conduct a social experiment at three of his stores. He thought it would be fun if customers paid what they will. For example, if a wealthy housewife decided her Frontega Chicken panini was worth a C-note, then by Jove put the money in the jar. If a college student felt like paying two bits for his hot, cheesy and delicious Asiago Bagel and La Lapa coffee from the Central Valley of Costa Rica, well so be it.

It was a brilliant idea but somehow it just didn't work out. It seems the homeless, indigent and insane decided Panera Bread was just the place for their next soirĂ©e! Come one come all and you'll love the price...and they did. The Portland location ended up hiring a “community outreach associate” which is to an upscale cafe what a big hairy bouncer is to a tittie bar. The CEO (obviously devastated by the experience) said “There’s a palpable sense of people in pain attracted to our store” and many have a "sense of entitlement". Really? Who could have foreseen this?

Alas it seems humane nature and those pesky laws of economics will not bow to the altruistic and generous ethos of our more progressive corporate citizens.

Thursday With Mitt

I attended a fundraiser in Bethesda last night put on by the Romney Campaign. I would estimate the crowd at 250,and my, were they a good looking bunch. My hats are off to some of my older Republican brothers who seem--despite being older and relatively unattractive--quite capable of squiring about young and attractive wives. Who says there's no profit in ideological purity? Good energy in the room--Mitt is polished, friendly, and pretty much the real deal Boy Scout he comes off as. He's upbeat--which I consider critical--and he has even learned to be a little funny on the stump. He took three questions from the audience, one of which was mine--about coming defense cuts. He knocked it out of the park. I was supporting Romney because I thought he was most likely to beat President Obama. I now support him because I want him to win.

Big Fat Friday Free For All

Yes friends, once again we find ouselves at the end of a week, full of the stuff of life about which to complain. What's on your mind? Better out than in!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Conservative Plan to Soak The Rich

Mark Thiessen has a smart column in today's Washington Post, in which he lays out how St. Paul of Ryan would end subsidies and initiate means testing for wealthy beneficiaries of taxpayer largess.  I gotta be honest with you--there isn't an idea in this column I don't support.  Not a one.  The Kitten and I have been having a lot of discussions lately in which she accuses me of being soft on my Conservatism (this, from a closet lefty) because I support means testing, and because I support programs that would peg retired healthcare premiums to one's retirement pay--so a retired three star would pay more than a retired staff sergeant. 

She gets on me about this.  Her point is that presumably the healthcare is the same--so why should "richer" people pay more for it? This is a good question and it caused me to do a lot of thinking on the subject.  Additionally, means testing Social Security and Medicare benefits strikes her as horrific, adding to the horror is her perception of my inconsistency.

So here goes.

I believe in the graduated income tax (uh oh, here comes Hammer).  I believe it is fairer to ask people who make more money to shoulder more of the burdens of government--proportionally as well as in real terms.  In theory--the graduated system works well.  Now, we've screwed the system up in a way that creates a huge (47%) class of wage earners who pay no income tax, and that's wrong.  But the concept of a graduated tax sits well with me.  Do I think the rich should pay MORE now?  No--of course not--we should cut spending, and ensure everyone pays SOMETHING in income taxes.  But the system is already pointed in what I consider to be a fair direction.

Military retirement healthcare?  Not so much.  The system is bankrupting DoD (along with other personnel costs).  There's nothing "graduated" about it.  A 3 star retiring this year with 35 years of service will take in over $13K a month in pension in his first month of retirement, while an "E-6" retiring this year with 20 years of service will take in $1700 a month in his first month of retirement.  For BOTH, the healthcare premium for their families under "Tricare Prime" is a little under $500 a year (or $42 a month)--which turns out to be .3% of monthly income for the three star but 2.5% of the E-6's monthly retired pay.  Where is the fairness here? If it were graduated (and proportional) the three star would pay $342 a month--certainly do-able on $13K a month. 

As for means testing Social Security and Medicare, the Kitten can't believe I support it.  She thinks it is cosmically unfair to means test it--but again--the system is bankrupting, and social security represents an already skewed transfer of wealth from the young and productive to the old and unproductive.  Sorry folks, that's indisputable.  Where older folks have the means, they should have their benefits strung out over a longer period of time, in essence, reducing their checks.  In a system in which more and more people are taking more out of the system than they put in (longevity), we need a way to extend the program's life to pay for what essentially is old-age welfare for those who live longer than what they paid in will support. 

Hard choices here folks, and if we all don't start rowing in the same direction soon, the whole system will crash.  

Mudge is an Undesirable Dinner Date

The Obama campaign recently devised a plan to raise money, by raffling off Dinner with Barack. Our very own Mudge entered the raffle and I don't know about you, but I thought to myself 'Game over. No way can Obama find a better date.'

Alas, he didn't make the cut. The Obama campaign is now casting a wider net for a prospective dinner partner. To add insult to injury, raffle tickets are now going for 3 bucks vice the original 5 bucks.

A grave injustice has been done, folks.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Michael Moore Helps Us With What is Patriotic

Wow--if I didn't know better, I'd think I was reading from something in Atlas Shrugged...but no, this is Michael Moore, telling us that waiting longer for medical procedures is patriotic.  Be afraid, America.  Be very afraid.

Florida Straw Poll

Good for Herman Cain...bad for Rick Perry.  What about Mitt, you may ask?  He basically sat it out, just like he sat out the Iowa Straw Poll.   Straw Polls are great places for someone in the pack who must throw all their resources at the event just to keep going.  Cain's organization did that, and did it well.  Romney's keeping his powder dry for the primary season.

Rick Perry's in trouble, folks.  That's why Christie is making noise again.....

A Miserable Performance

I arose at 0415 yesterday to drive to Charlottesville to meet with the other members of the 25th Reunion Giving Committee for planning/discussions.  Got home after the game last night at 2330--sorry for no blogging in between.

What did happen in between was ridiculous.  Virginia's football team lost to the University of Southern Misssissippi, 30-24.  We were pretty much outplayed, out-athleted, and out-coached from wire to wire.  A couple of real concerns manifested themselves:

1.  Tackling.  Like most UVA teams, this one tackles poorly.  I wish I knew why that is, but it is a perennial problem there.

2.  Defensive backfield.  We have a freshman starting at cornerback, and he's been targeted successfully by our last two opponents.  They picked him apart yesterday. If he's the best we have, than he needs help.  If someone is sitting on the bench who doesn't give up the big play like he does, that guy ought to be on the field.

3.  Big plays.  We gave up 3rd and longs with startling regularity--including a back-breaking 3rd and 24 when the score was 27-24 in the fourth quarter.

4.  Special teams.  Two huge gaffes yesterday.  USM pulled off a ballsy fake punt deep in their own side of the field--not a single guy on our team paid any real attention.  Additionally, when we scored a touchdown/2pt conversion deep in the 4th--momentum was on our side--you could feel it.  At kickoff?  Our kicker kicked it out of bounds, giving USM great field position.  You've got a field 50 yards wide to kick into--why OOB?

5.  Offensive line.  Really poor blocking for the run game.

Bottom line?  We're better than last year, but we're not good. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Post-Debate Thoughts

Here are mine (sorry, too long for the comments in the other post-debate post):

Romney: Still strong. Not weakened at all through these debates; to the contrary, appears to be getting stronger. Has a polished answer for everything, and was even spontaneously funny at times. Odds are by now he should have had an awkward moment at these debates, but he is holding strong.

Perry: Appears to just have a cursory knowledge of many issues. And simply not a good debater. (If he gets smarter on the issues, does/will his debating skill matter?) Was handed a golden opportunity to slam Mitt and completely screwed it up-I was almost embarrassed for him. Took a lot of shots on immigration yet held firm. He may be wrong on this issue, but one thing to keep in mind is this guy understands the Latino vote better than any of the other candidates, and that will matter in 2012.

Bachmann: If possible, made herself look even more foolish than normal. 'Barack Obama has worse poll numbers than any other President in history.' ? 'I believe you should keep every dollar you earn.' ? Seems terrified that we'll forget she raised 23 foster kids-invokes it at every debate. I've really grown weary of her. I wonder if she'll last to Iowa.

Santorum: Pretty strong. Good on Afghanistan and the greatness of America. Let his intolerance show on a question from a gay soldier. (An aside to Mr. Santorum-next time you get a question from a serviceman, start the answer with a thank you for their service.) Making an issue of DADT at this point is a total loser, it's a law with as much likelihood of being overturned as Roe v. Wade. Way too socially conservative, but strong on everything else.

Cain: Fantastic. Should have chosen a Georgia Senate run for his first political office. Crowd loved him too. Hope there's a home for him in a Republican administration.

Huntsman: Still a total non-factor. Wore an ugly tie. Most remarkable thing about him was the shot of his wife, who is quite pretty and wore a dress showing off a massive rack. Gave Romney a gift when he said 'as an alternative to Obamacare, I would let the states experiment with what works for them to come up with solutions.' It went unacknowledged by everyone, though it would have been a great follow up by one of the moderators.

Gary Johnson: Goofy. But earned his right to be on that stage with the joke 'my neighbor's two dogs have created more shovel-ready jobs than the President.'

Newt: Strong and clever, as always. Seems to enjoy being contrary, sometimes to his detriment. A good audience question was 'who on this stage would you choose as your VP?' and he dismissed is as a 'Hollywood' question, which was a bit of a slam to the questioner. He doesn't have to always be a grumpy old man, but he comes across that way at times.

Ron Paul: Was Ron Paul. He fortunately got no foreign policy questions.

Perry is bound to lose some altitude from the shaky debate performances, and better spend the next few weeks doing nothing but prepping for the next debate. It's not too late for him, but a few more performances like this and it will be.

I think the next debate is October 11.

The Republicans Debate Again

This one snuck up on me, so I didn't get to advertise live-blogging.  Instead, I sat and Tweeted my thoughts to those who might wish to read them.

Here's a fairly good rundown on the debate from Politico.

Perry just isn't debating as well as I thought he would.  I found his answers on immigration ridiculous, somehow attempting to equate failure to provide taxpayer subsidies to illegal aliens with abandoning people.  His foreign policy answer sounded like he swallowed a briefing book and threw it up.

Mitt was solid, but didn't handle the "Race to the Top" thing very well.

Newt--a gem.

Santorum--whiny, but effecitve

Johnson--a waste

Huntsman--interesting, but plastic.

Cain--a gem too.

Bachman--pretty good answer on religious freedom, at least from history perspective.

Big Fat Friday Free For Alll

What?  Friday again?  Well then, you know what to do!  Bitch, bitch, bitch!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Narcissism on Display

A group photo at the UN. Look at the poor dude on his right. It's not all about you, Barack.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

David Brooks Really Wants to Believe

Poor David Brooks. The self-described 'Obama sap' really wanted to believe. He wanted to believe he was a different kind of politician, one who could move beyond the 'stale ideological debates.' He wanted to believe he was going to 'break out of the conventional categories.' He still foolishly believes the President wants to do something about the country's structural problems. To this day, he believes in the governing style Obama talked about in 2008.

Alas, the light has dawned on Mr. Brooks. His column today captures well his angst.

I'm trying hard-and failing mightily-to feel his pain.

Is It Time to Cut the Cord with UNC?

For years now UNC athletics has been a cesspool of corruption. From the points shaving scandals of the '60 which led to the demise of the prestigious and beloved "Dixie Classic", to Mack Brown's "academic exceptions" to Butch Davis' professional mercenaries, Carolina has consistently displayed a willingness to flaunt the moral, ethical and legal rules, protocols and conventions, all the while using their network of venal politicians and media flunkies to point an accusatory finger at other institutions. UNC's hypocrisy and vindictiveness knows no bounds.

But this time there is no Bill Friday, NCSU '41, (a man of impeccable intelligence, integrity and accomplishment) to save them. This time there will be no knight in shining armor. This time they are naked before the world.

With the recent expansion of the ACC, my feeling is we don't need Carolina anymore. I say expel them from the league. One rotten apple will spoil the barrel and a rogue university running roughshod over other conference schools that actually have standards, honor and decency, is completely unacceptable.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Romney and Perry

Today's WaPost has an article on the contrasts between Governors Perry and Romney.  I realize that some might see this as the liberal media dickering, trying to drive wedges into the Republican Party, yada yada yada.  The truth is, the WaPost has it right--if the race comes down to these two men, it will feature two vastly different biographies, two vastly different personalities, and two vastly different approaches to life.  And I couldn't ask for more--this kind of differentiation is what primaries are all about.  The Republican Party will be better off for having had a gloves off primary, and whichever candidate wins will be much more seasoned when the time comes to take on President Obama.

Fred called it a head (Romney) vs. heart (Perry) thing.  Not a bad way to think about it.  Whatever the outcome, we will have a strong candidate.  Let the games begin.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Republicans and Defense

Over at the other blog, I've written something on Republicans and Defense if you care to take a look. 

Dysfunction in the Obama White House

Ron Suskind--who wrote one of the more important books on the Bush Administration response to 9-11--has a new book out in which he examines the sausage-making in the Obama White House. The story isn't pretty, but I wouldn't go too far with it.

Firstly, I find there to be delicious irony in the complaints of senior women that they were left out of the mix.  How's that diversity thing workin' out for you, Barack?  Nothing like biting the hand that feeds you, ladies.

Secondly though, pretty much every Administration has these kinds of issues.  Let's face it--the folks drawn to White House and Cabinet service aren't a bunch of wilting flowers.  They are strong, ego-driven folks, many of whom sit in their offices convinced of their intellectual superiority to the man that hired them, and just as convinced that his success is dependent upon their brilliance. 

Is anyone surprised Larry Summers is popping off?  I think the guy is brilliant, and I think he's mostly right--but a team player?  Not so much. 

No--Mr. Obama isn't any better or any poorly served by his staffing choices than were Bush I/II, Reagan or Clinton.  He's simply poorly served by his own policy choices. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

An Ongoing Interview

The Kitten, Kittens and I are interviewing this youngster an eye to keeping him.  His name (for the time being) is Baloo.

Mudge--he's got a brother and two sisters left.....

My vote is in.  Baloo stays.

UVA vs. UNC, "The South's Oldest Rivalry".

It's that time of year again folks, that's right, it's time for the 2011 edition of "The South's Oldest Rivalry". The University of Virginia Cavaliers and the University of North Carolina Tar Heels at Kenan Memorial Stadium in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. These two football powers lock asses Saturday for the 116th. time in this storied competition. And even though the game ranks very high on the average college football fan's "whogivesashit-o-meter" it retains a huge following among the gentrified elite of both respective states. Of course the game itself will probably blow, but hey, it's not about the game, it's about the Chardonnay and cucumber sandwiches.

Big Fat Friday Free For All

Once again folks, it's time to kvetch!  What's got you worked up?  A little pissed that the world's worst President thinks you'd be a good one?  Wondering why no one thinks your jobs program will create any jobs?  Share with us, friends....share!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

This Should Give Romney a Big Boost

Jimmy Carter would be pleased with Mitt Romney as the Republican nominee.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Just When You Thought They Couldn't get Any Lamer...

Obama for America has now launched 'Attack Watch.' Similar to the crybaby 'Fight the Smears' campaign in 2008, this is how they're pushing back on any criticism of their guy.

So if you see or hear of anyone casting aspersions on the President, better let them know.

Check it out here. Interestingly, the bulk of the info on it is...attacks on other people.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Post-Debate Thoughts

Started to offer my opinion in the comments and it got too long. So here are mine:

-Newt: Still a treasure at these events. Hope he stays in the race a while just for that reason.
-Santorum: Must have referenced his '94 Senate race half a dozen times. Doesn't seem to recognize the futility of his campaign. Has some good thoughts, but he needs to quit.
-Ron Paul: Insane. Seriously.
-Perry: I don't think he did as poorly as some of the analysts are saying. He needs more polish and needs to provide more thoughtful answers to complex questions, but he was better than the last debate. He looks good--like watching John Wayne. I think he deserves credit for acknowledging the Gardasil issue was a mistake. He also deserves credit for standing by his Texas Dream Act, whether or not we agree with it. Crowd did NOT like his stance on it, but he was firm on his support. Gardasil, and the corollary issue of the campaign contribution related to it, is going to be a problem for him.
-Bachmann: Got some good shots in on Perry. Has gone too far in post-debate news segments, so wiped away any gain she made. Still hopeless. Needs a voice coach.
-Huntsman: Weird. Dumb Nirvana joke. Dumb comment to Perry calling him treasonous (and he's the reasonable guy on stage, right?) I don't get this guy at all. LOOOOOZZZZEEERR.
-Romney: Good, as always. Talks too fast, needs to slow down his answers.
-Cain: I love his voice. Needs to explain his 9/9/9 plan that he's constantly bringing up. He's easy to love-too bad he's going nowhere fast.
-Wolf Blitzer: Lame. 'How will you attract Latino voters?' Seriously, Wolf? I'm really disappointed that none of them, especially Newt, didn't offer up 'the same way I'd attract any voter, I'm not into the whole division thing Wolf.'
-The crowd. Awful. When a question surfaced 'should someone who refuses health insurance and gets sick just be left to die' people actually shouted 'yeah!'

Ron Paul, Santorum and Bachmann did a great job ganging up on Perry. Romney had to be loving it. What's remarkable to me is Romney was ahead for so long and no one touched him. Perry's been out in front for a few weeks and the knives are out already.

It's going to be a head/heart decision. If the GOP primary voters vote with their heart, Perry is going to win. If they vote with their head, Romney is the guy.

I hope they vote with their head.

Ponnuru on Social Security, Perry, Romney

National Review's Ramesh Ponnuru has a solid column up on the kerfuffle in the Republican primary campaign around Governor Perry's views on Social Security.

As I've said before--Perry is right.  Social Security is a lie.  Perhaps it wasn't always so, but it is today.  The question though isn't whether he's right about the lie, but whether he can be elected President SAYING it is.  I think not, as does Ponnuru.

Romney knows Perry is right, but he also has a better sense of what can win the White House.  One must frame the debate in language that re-assures those who are currently receiving benefits, while giving hope to those who know they are throwing good money after bad at the point of the government's bayonet.

I'm politically intrigued by the courage Perry is showing in the language he uses--he'll certainly set this question up for deeper discussion.  I am not however, intrigued by his judgment.  Rather, I am dubious.

Debate Thoughts: Post Here

Sorry gang--I did not watch the debate last night--though I know I should have.

Please feel free to post comments here with your thoughts about what went on.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Shame on YOU, Paul Krugman

From a Krugman blog post this morning--entitled "The Years of Shame":

"What happened after 9/11 — and I think even people on the right know this, whether they admit it or not — was deeply shameful. Te atrocity should have been a unifying event, but instead it became a wedge issue. Fake heroes like Bernie Kerik, Rudy Giuliani, and, yes, George W. Bush raced to cash in on the horror. And then the attack was used to justify an unrelated war the neocons wanted to fight, for all the wrong reasons."

That's right folks--George W. Bush "cashed in" on the horror. 

How this man continues to be thought of as a serious thinker escapes me. 

Ten Years

Ten years ago this minute, the Kitten was a happily married woman, two young kids were well loved by their Dad and 19 pigs were preparing to end it all. Most of us will today remember a day we are told to "never forget". For my girls though, this is a day well worth forgetting. There are no ribbons here, no great stirrings of patriotism. Only sadness, emptiness, and the sense of having been handed a cosmically raw deal. We are sitting out the the great ceremonies. Sweet Catherine and I will drive up to the Jersey side and watch the lights turn on from a distance. Such a tragedy.

Friday, September 9, 2011

End of Week Political Musings

As I whiningly informed you last weekend, things have been busy for me lately, and the blogging has suffered as a result.  I decided at the least minute to live-blog the debate Wednesday night, which turned out to be a great deal of fun--I only wish I'd let people know earlier that we'd be doing it.  I desperately wanted to write about it, but the 0515 departure Thursday morning and the sleep needed to make it happen took precedence.  Last night, I was driving home while the President was speaking and so only am able to get a full understanding of what he said this morning.

So in an effort to rectify my laziness, sloth, and self-pity, I offer the following end of week summary.

The Republican Presidential debate Wednesday night was far more interesting than I thought it would be, and even at this early stage, it revved up my interest in the race.  Some random, spurious thoughts:

1.  Michele Bachman is done.  Finished. Finito.  Put a fork in her.  Governor Perry occupies the her ground, and he does so with more to offer.

2.  Newt Gingrich did a great job the other night of proving he'd make a phenomenal history professor.  Whoops--that's what he is.  He's smart, he's got a thousand ideas, he's an incredibly interesting man and I bet you he's a hoot at cocktail parties.  But President?  Meh.

3.  Herman Cain--very impressive.  I like the 9-9-9 plan in theory--would love to know what it means in practice--as in, how would CBO score it.  For simplicity's sake--a huge step forward.

4.  John Huntsman is a very, very interesting candidate FROM A STRATEGIC VIEW.  That is, he's staking out the anti-Perry anti-Romney position--and doing it wonderfully.  What does that mean?  Well, he was clearly a more successful governor than Romney--from the standpoint of jobs and healthcare reform.  And he did it while being more generally considered a conservative.  And....he governed as conservatively as Perry does, just not with the offputting (to some) Texas swagger.  So--if you want someone with private sector experience, international experience, successful government executive experience AND who is a conservative--well then, you're left with Huntsman. 

5.  Rick Santorum.  Not sure why he's in the race. 

6.  Ron Paul says something really, really interesting every time I hear him speak.  Usually, I find myself thinking "damn, he's right on that."  And then I realize it was sandwiched in and among ten really zany things, and I remember again why Libertarians simply can't govern.

7.  Rick Perry is either the most courageous politician of our time, whose performance the other night was the beginning of a new era of American politics and the future of  the "social contract", or we have witnessed the beginning of the end of his candidacy.  Let's face it folks--he's right.  Social Security is both a Ponzi Scheme and a "monstrous lie".  The question though, is whether one can say those things and still be elected President.  I believe the answer is no--though I am somewhat ashamed to admit it.  Would that we were a society selfless enough to realize that Social Security (and Medicare) are destroying the fiscal health of this country, and that to right this ship we will have to dramatically reform both.  But we are not that country.  Forget about what the Democrats will do with the footage of Perry's words on Social Security the other night--if he's still around for a two man race with Romney, we'll see them in Romney ads.  The plain truth of the matter is that Romney knows the system is as broken as Perry does--but he's smart enough to know that the way you do something about it is to get yourself elected President FIRST.  Also--while Perry toes a very popular Republican line on the science of climate change--he was woefully unprepared to speak to it the other night.  What started out as a great night for Perry sank fast at the halfway point.  Oh--one more thing.  If he bucked the field and taken the 10 spending for every 1 revenue dollars deal--THAT would have been the story the next day.  That none of them have done so continues to amaze me.

8.  Mitt Romney did what he had to do--he is a reasonable, smart guy with good ideas who came across as steady and electable.  He's not flashy, he's not over the top--but I ask you--which of those folks would you have manage your retirement funds for you....?

The President's Speech

The President felt it necessary to convene the Congress in special session to kick-off his Presidential campaign last night, and along the way, he asked for another $447B in spending to add to the $1T he's spent already in his pursuit of losing 1.7M jobs.  Wrapping his speech in the standard, annoying rhapsody of a Sunday preacher, Mr. Obama had the temerity to suggest that what is needed to jumpstart our economy is more of the same--more government spending of private money--that which has underlain his approach these past 32 feckless months.  Obviously trying to whip up his base for the coming Presidential election, the President assured us that all of the things he was suggesting be done were at one time supported by a number of Republicans.  True in some cases--but their support for such things occurred along the road to perdition...and to ignore the incompetence of the past 32 months by handing the President even more money saved by the people of China would be legislative malpractice. 

Additionally, the "Super Committee", which already had a ridiculously hard job (perhaps impossible), is handed the responsibility to deal with even MORE DEBT, as the President's policies rely on fairy magic to conclude that they are "paid for".

Barack Obama continues to become more beatable with each passing day.  I look forward to a rough and tumble Republican primary season, as that process will toughen up whomever it is that takes the office away from Mr. Obama.  November 2012 can't come quickly enough to suit me.

Big Fat Friday Free For All!

Here we are again, folks, the end of another week.  Have you spent a trillion dollars, only to get nothing for it but higher unemployment, higher debt, and lower poll numbers?  Paid into any "Ponzi Schemes"?  What's on your minds, folks.  Unburden.  Share.  Kvetch. 


The President's address before Congress last evening was so over the top, so blatantly jingoistic, so uncharacteristic of our Marlboro voiced Commander in Chief, I felt I was watching either Mussolini addressing the Chamber of Fasci or Bluto Blutarsky's "When the German's bombed Pearl Harbor" speech.

But I will give him this, I think Mr. Obama has gotten a bum rap, he's no more a socialist than I am. To be precise, he is a fascist in the classic sense of the term. He believes in the "public/private partnership" which translates into control but not ownership of the means of production. He believes in the cradle to grave welfare state with correspondingly high taxes. He believes in grand schemes for projects that enhance the power of the State. He advocates freedom in form, but not in function; hence, his massive increase in regulatory control, market manipulations and intrusions.

Our esteemed leader has a tough row to hoe. Squeezing money out of this Congress, even with none too subtle threats, will not be easy. But he has changed the conversation, at least for a while. The onus is now on the House of Representatives. Boehner should give him his "public works" money, but just about nothing else. At least we'll get some roads repaired and bridges built (hello Autobahn).

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Live Blogging the Debate

Join me on the chat function on the right side of the blog to liveblog the debate tonight.

David Brooks on Green Jobs

David Brooks' column in the NYT over the weekend continues the profusion of work that shows just how ineffective the Obama Administration's lavishing of stimulus (and other dollars) on the "green" technology has been in creating jobs.  Brooks is careful to make a useful distinction here between what he (and I) believe are laudable policy goals that can be goosed by public investment, and the folly of relying on government to create jobs.  We have a long and storied history in this country of public investment in private R&D, and now is the time actually to double down on such investments.  But we're talking basic science and engineering here, not government subsidization of sales force and marketing jobs for technologies so immature as to beg the question as to just what is being marketed?

Monday, September 5, 2011

A New Definition of Racism

Not pro-diversity enough? Must be racist!

Separated at Birth?

A Moment of Your Time Please, While I Bitch?

I have a love/hate relationship with this blog.  The concept that the least of my thoughts can be instantly captured and cataloged on the interwebs for potentially thousands of people to read (but mostly, about a hundred) and comment upon is a thrill.  I feel that in my small way, I and the others who blog here are contributing to an advancement of conservative ideas and policies.

Then again, this blog is a colossal pain in the ass.  The only way to drive up readership is to post constantly and then push those posts through other sources (Twitter, Facebook, etc).  A blog is a harsh mistress, laying claim to time without thought to the consequences.  I tend to have free time to blog early in the morning--that is, early in the morning on the days in which I'm not traveling in to DC for work.  Those days have become fewer and fewer, as the dual influences of a declining defense budget and my desire to grow my business have pressurized my time.  Where I previously drove over to the Western Shore twice a week, I'm now doing so four or five times a week.  When I'm away from my desk/working with clients all day, I get nothing done administratively, so time after dinner is turned invariably into admin time--emails, proposals, contracts, etc.  What gets squeezed?  Family.  Actual thought work.  Blogging. 

Add to this, my continuing desire to be connected with UVA, my friends there, and football Saturdays.  Yes friends, this one is a choice--and it is one that drives a good deal of the pressure around here in the Fall.  I made it clear to the Kitten when we were courting that the UVA football Saturdays weren't negotiable, and she easily agreed, swept up in the emotion of early enamor and unaware of the time sump they would come to represent.  You see, Charlottesville is a 4 hour trip from Easton no matter how you slice it.  Often, I drive there via Richmond (or for the William and Mary game, to Northern Virginia) to pick up a buddy to go to the game with.  We try to get to the game three hours before kickoff for the traditional pre-game meal at the Virginian, then to the tailgate.  Throw in a 3.5 hour game (minimum) and the travel, pre-game, and game time adds up in the somewhere north of 14 hour zone (getting out of Charlottesville after a game is never a quick kill).  Unless the game is early in the day, it generally means an overnight--in C'ville, NoVa or Richmond. 

Now,throw in hunting season.  I'm no Daniel Boone, but I have come to really enjoy a day with some good old boys, a few guns and some dogs.  Birds, deer, whatever.  Doesn't matter.   But--when I'm hunting, there's no blogging, there's no family time, there's no chores doing.  More pressurizing the vessel.....

Which brings me back to time. I return home to the house from Charlottesville still very much in upheaval as we enter month 14 of our 7 month renovation.  There is a lot to do here, and shuffling off to UVA for 24hours has done me no good around the house.  So to ensure continuing tranquility, I put it in high gear--chore wise--and wind up the day without so much as looking at the blog.  But of course--Monday would be a holiday!  Yes!  I can rise early--whilst the Kitten/Kittens and Cats are still a-slumber, and fly to the ManCave where I can spend 2-3 hours in blessed solitude--me and my computer--there to populate the blog with good cheer, reasonable analysis and clear thinking.

But it was not to be.  I awoke early, the light just beginning to appear.  I stole from the bed, careful not to wake any occupant, human or feline.  I tip-toed out of the room to make the first cup of coffee of the day, there to propel me to blogging greatness.  The coffee machine was down.  The power was out.  What a buzz killer, but not fatal.  I have a cell-card I can stick in my laptop and use the internet through Verizon Wireless.  First though--to Dunkin Donuts for the sustaining coffee.  Along the way, I remembered that there were few spots in the house where I had cell coverage good enough for data--one of which is Catherine's splendid new--nearly complete--office.  I drove home, placed my coffee on her shiny new desk, placed my laptop atop its gleaming expanse and connected to the internet. I wheeled her new chair from the kitchen into the office--there to be the first productive human to actually USE the office.  But.....oh no.....what's that?  Is that one of the painters pulling up into my driveway?  Juan--have you no respect for Labor Day?  Where are you going.  "Hi Mr. McGrath.  Reggie said that I should work in the office today."  What?  The only quiet, internet accessible place on this ENTIRE FARM and I'm to be displaced by a man working on a Federal Holiday?  I quietly packed up my things and left, a sour, angry man with the nagging thought of his blog in the back of his mind, the blog he has been paying less attention to, the blog whose ignoral (likely not a word) is sure to summon emails from friends and family signaling their displeasure. 

Then--the power comes on.  Thank goodness.  I can salvage something of my morning by heading out to the ManCave for a few hours.  "Is the internet working in the house?" I am asked.  Hmmm.....(run Bryan, run!).  Why, no it isn't.  I'll just power down a few times, that ought to re-establish.  Uh, no.  It doesn't.  (Home is cable internet, ManCave is DSL).  "Is that something we should call about?".  In my head?  I'm thinking "hell, I've got DSL in the ManCave--I'm OUTTA here."  In the kitchen, it was "yes, let me do that".  And so then another thirty minutes with the cable purveyor figuring out that there is an area-wide outage.  I explain this, and then head to the ManCave, somewhat beaten, four hours after waking and without a single word having been typed.

But--I'm here now.  I'm grooving in the ManCave on a lightning quick 2.56 Mbps DSL line, the kittens have headed off to play and the Kitten has agreed with my assessment that what I need is a few hours in front of the computer to cure me of my entirely sour disposition.  The woman is a saint--I am not easy to live with on a good day, and that she is able to take me when I'm riled up is a credit to her. 

I just hope there is something interesting about which to blog.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

UVA 40 William and Mary 3

Coach London getting into it.
Yes I know, William and Mary is in the FCS league (not the FBS league).  But two years ago, they came to Charlottesville and whupped us good.  This year, they came in as the #3 team in the FCS league.  The stage was set for an upset, as Virginia came in as a young and untested team, with a new quarterback and a second-year coach.

No matter.  Virginia controlled this game from both sides of the line of scrimmage throughout.  They were dominating, they were bigger, they were faster, and they executed better.  You expect all of this from and FBS team, especially one playing an FCS team.  Problem is, we didn't always get it in the Al Groh era.  I think we're getting it now, and I have a feeling UVA is on the way up. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Big Fat Friday Free For All

What's on you minds, folks?  A little pissed that your big speech had to be moved a day?  Hoping your team doesn't lose its opener to a cross-state neighbor?  Lamenting the end of summer?  Well, pull up a chair and share!  Now's your chance to bitch, bitch, bitch!
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