Friday, December 24, 2010

Pilot Exposes TSA Farce

For his trouble, he is being treated like a common criminal; he is being treated as though he is the threat!

Yes, crews are restricted from revealing details about security precautions, but one must consider that what this man is doing is not in the interest of weakening security, its in the interest of strengthening it. As more comes out about this case, I have no doubt that it will be learned that this pilot complained about this directly to the TSA, and was met with deaf ears. One must ask "would it be better if he had remained silent?" From my perspective, he has done precisely what he should have done; a pilot's first priority is the safety of his/her passengers. This man has exposed himself, and his career, to considerable risk in fulfilling his primary duty.

Having spent over 6 years in the airline industry, I know that everything this courageous man is saying is true. While TSA is fondling grandma and children, there are massive holes in the security fence left open.

Pilots and Flight Attendants go through rigorous background checks, yet are still subject to humiliating and time consuming searches every time they report for work. Conversely, ground crews and vehicles are routinely allowed on the ramp without even a cursory amount of inspection.

The next time you are on an aircraft, look out the window onto the tarmac and contemplate who those guys are and what they brought to work that day with only the swipe of a security card. While your thinking about that, realize that they have unrestricted access to every part of the aircraft you have boarded. Have a nice flight!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Drudge Retrospective

The Drudge Report reminds us that everything old is new again. Well, we can only hope that the new Republican blood that's been infused in Congress will force on the President those actions that he has eschewed in the past.

This sort of thing is getting tiresome:

TODAY: Obama pledges 'singular focus' on economy...

ONE YEAR AGO: 'Obama to focus hard on economy'...

TWO YEARS AGO: Obama to put 'renewed focus' on economy...

So, how's all of that "focus" working out for you, America?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

From the Annals of Wikileaks: The Brits and the Muslims

There's a very interesting piece in Britain's Daily Mail regarding the growing Muslim issue in Great Britain. Some of the revelations are troubling; our friends across the pond are in cultural crisis. While the UK's muslim population currently comprises only 3 or 4 percent, it is not only growing, but it's growing more violent:
Around a third of young British Muslims favour killing in the name of Islam, according to a survey revealed by the WikiLeaks' publication of U.S. diplomatic cables.

A survey of 600 Muslim students at 30 universities throughout Britain found that 32 per cent of Muslim respondents believed killing in the name of religion is justified.

A U.S. diplomatic cable from January 2009 quoted a poll by the Centre for Social Cohesion as saying 54 per cent wanted a Muslim party to represent their world view in Parliament and 40 per cent want Muslims in the UK to be under Sharia law.
So, tell me again that "militant Islam" comprises only a very small part of "the faith"; these are more than substantial percentages and clearly represent a dangerous enemy already within the confines of the West.

Since the U.S. and Britain share this common enemy, one would hope that the governments would cooperate to find a common solution, after all, we will soon be facing this problem in this country. On the contrary, it's pretty clear that the Obama administration has already written off the Brits and are now focused upon the new Muslim overlords:
A further U.S. cable, dated February 5 2009, said reaching out to Britain's Muslim community there was a 'top priority' for U.S. embassy staff.

It stated: 'Although people of Muslim faith make up only 3 to 4 per cent of the UK's population, outreach to this key audience is vital to U.S. foreign policy interests in the UK and beyond... This is a top mission priority.'

The February cable outlined a plan encompassing 'engagement and community capacity-building' to counter the possible growth of 'violent extremism' in the UK.
Furthermore, it clearly outlines the deplorable work ethic of the Mohammadens and partially explains why Britain is in such bad economic shape:
The outreach plan for British Muslims was published a month after a cable that revealed that while the community had grown to more than 2 million, unemployment rates were higher among Muslim men and women than in any other religion.

Muslims were also found to have the highest disability rates - with 24 per cent of men and 21 per cent of women claiming a disability - while the cable also cited statistics claiming Muslims were also the most likely group to be unavailable for work or not actively seeking employment due to illness, their studies or family commitments.

It was revealed last week that a U.S. cable from 2006 had suggested the British Government had made 'little progress' in engaging Muslims and combating homegrown extremism.
Yeah, as though these beasts are even capable of being "engaged", geez.

And again, the Brits are written off and the administration has clearly decided to "engage" the Muslims directly. What could go wrong?:
And the latest cable revelations of U.S. ambassadorial plan to empower Muslim communities to 'mobilize against extremism' and 'build community resilience' confirms the White House's lack of faith in the British Government's ability to engage with the UK's Islamic population.
That's just great; we choose to "engage" a shiftless bunch of barbarians who are our sworn enemy while undermining our closest ally. Just another day in the Obama administration.

(Read the entire Daily Mail piece here)

Director of National......."Intelligence"?

Gawd, what have we wrought with this group? The Director of National Intelligence knows nothing of the London terror arrests?

U.S. Director of National Intelligence on London terror arrests: Er, what terror arrests?

If you thought the gaffes in Diane Sawyer’s interview with our counterterror brain trust couldn’t get worse than “364 days a year,” skip ahead to 3:35 and brace yourself. It’s so bizarre that I’m actually searching for ways to rationalize it. Napolitano claimed yesterday that there was no evidence thus far to think the plot was aimed at the U.S., so … maybe they figured Clapper didn’t need to be briefed on it? That can’t be right, though. There were fully a dozen men arrested and, after all, British-based plots have targeted America before, so surely the DNI would be apprised. In fact, let’s approach the question this way: Why would the DNI ever not need to be briefed on a major unfolding plot? Napolitano and Brennan apparently knew the details; even if Clapper was in a meeting when the news broke, wouldn’t you pull him out of it or at least him fill him in on the details on the way to being interviewed by a major network news anchor? Sawyer herself is clearly amazed by his ignorance or else she wouldn’t have devoted valuable airtime to highlighting it.

Just to observe these three together underscores the utter cluelessness of Obama appointees. “The Three Stooges” come to mind, but at least they were funny, and fictional. These three are all too real.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Attorney General's Blunt Warning on Terror Attacks

Attorney General Eric Holder has an urgent message for Americans: While he is confident that the United States will continue to thwart attacks, "the terrorists only have to be successful once."

And while it is not certain we will be hit, the American people, he told ABC News, "have to be prepared for potentially bad news."

"What I am trying to do in this interview is to make people aware of the fact that the threat is real, the threat is different, the threat is constant," he said.

In a rare and wide-ranging interview, the attorney general disclosed chilling, new details about the evolving threat of homegrown terror, and touched on topics ranging from Wikileaks to the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

What was uppermost on his mind, however, is the alarming rise in the number of Americans who are more than willing to attack and kill their fellow citizens.

"It is one of the things that keeps me up at night," Holder said. "You didn't worry about this even two years ago -- about individuals, about Americans, to the extent that we now do. And -- that is of -- of great concern."

"The threat has changed from simply worrying about foreigners coming here, to worrying about people in the United States, American citizens -- raised here, born here, and who for whatever reason, have decided that they are going to become radicalized and take up arms against the nation in which they were born," he said.

In the last 24 months, Holder said, 126 people have been indicted on terrorist-related charges, Fifty of those people are American citizens.

"I think that what is most alarming to me is the totality of what we see, the attorney general said. "Whether it is an attempt to bomb the New York City subway system, an attempt to bring down an airplane over Detroit, an attempt to set off a bomb in Times Square ... I think that gives us a sense of the breadth of the challenges that we face, and the kinds of things that our enemy is trying to do."

Holder says many of these converts to al Qaeda have something in common: a link to radical cleric Anwar Al Awlaki, an American citizen himself.

(Read the whole piece)
The fact is that there does seem to be an uptick in thwarted terror plots over the last two years. Clearly the FBI is doing their job, but one has to wonder why the AG has chosen to make people aware that we "have to be prepared for potentially bad news". Why is the threat "different" than it has been in the past, and what is behind Holder's rather jarring statement?

That he's pointing out radical Islam as the problem, rather than "Right-Wing Fanatics", makes me think that something may be imminent.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What a Guy!

In a display of selflessness and touching sacrifice for his country, the President has decided to remain in Washington, foregoing his holiday Hawaiian vacation as long as his procrastinating, inanely quacking lame-duck Congress continues to waddle.

My heart bleeds.
President Barack Obama will remain in Washington for as long as Congress stays in session, and that likely means later than the scheduled start of his Christmas break, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday.

Saturday is supposed to be the start of the Senate's Christmas recess and the day Obama and the first family head for Hawaii.

However, Gibbs told reporters that a Saturday departure appears unlikely.

"I think the Senate is going to be in longer than this week," he said, adding that Obama will stay in Washington for "as long as the Congress is here."

Would You Let a Fired Employee Write Your 2011 Business Plan?

That's precisely what we are doing. The 111th Congress has failed to even pass a budget for the upcoming year and now, after a substantial number of them have been fired as a result of the November elections, they are rushing through a budget at the 11th hour, just 19 days before the end of their term. This congress has made a habit of this; the massive Health Care overhaul, their "centerpiece" (which a federal judge has ruled "unconstitutional"), was jammed through in the dead of night before members even had a chance to read it. Speaker Pelosi's response? “But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy."

Indeed. Well, we found out what is in it (and are still looking), and the more the American people see, the less they line it:
Coinciding with a federal judge’s ruling invalidating a key element of the health care reform law, an ABC News/Washington Post poll finds support for the landmark legislation at a new low – but division on what to do about it.

The law’s never been popular, with support peaking at just 48 percent in November 2009. Today it’s slipped to 43 percent, numerically its lowest in ABC/Post polling. (It was about the same, 44 percent, a year ago.) Fifty-two percent are opposed, and that 9-point gap in favor of opposition is its largest on record since the latest debate over health care reform began in earnest in summer 2009.

More also continue to “strongly” oppose the law than to strongly support it, 37 percent to 22 percent.
Yes, and this legislation was their crowning glory! The people have not only thoroughly rejected this legislation, we, during the November elections, thoroughly rejected this congress. This may well end up to be the worst congress in history; it has been inept and has arrogantly flouted the people's will. Their imperiousness has not only been noticed, it has earned them the distinction of being the most unpopular congress in the history of polling:
PRINCETON, NJ -- Americans' assessment of Congress has hit a new low, with 13% saying they approve of the way Congress is handling its job. The 83% disapproval rating is also the worst Gallup has measured in more than 30 years of tracking congressional job performance.

The prior low approval rating for Congress was 14% in July 2008 when the United States was dealing with record-high gas prices and the economy was in recession.
Now, with just 19 days until their term is relegated to the annals of bad history, they are attempting to jam through a fat laden, sickeningly "sweetened" $1.1 Trillion spending bill as their parting shot. This is tantamount to a fired employee emptying the office supply closet, stealing all the furniture, leaving you with an irrevocable budget for the following year, and driving away in the company car!

This bill is unacceptable. There should be a stopgap spending bill to ensure the government's basic funding through January and the new congress should pass a austere spending bill that is commensurate with the cuts that are so sorely needed.

After having participated in tripling the deficit in the last two years, the President has begun to talk about "deficit reduction" like Lindsay Lohan talking about quitting cocaine. Put the bill on his desk and let's see if the President's resolve is any stronger than Lohan's.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What "Recovery"?

I can't speak for anyone else, but whenever I hear about the "economic recovery", my immediate response is "Huh?". It's a phantom, a semantically well crafted message to make us all feel like that elusive light at the end of the tunnel is not an oncoming train.

Nationally, unemployment is at least 10% and the longer this alleged "recovery" lasts, the more it seems to rise. The stock market seems to be holding it's own, perhaps due to the increased productivity of a shrunken work force, or perhaps business is adapting to a new reality - that being that a "permanent" work force may no longer be the most cost-effective strategy:

A 'Recovery' Like No Other

This is the first entirely "temporary help service" job recovery. Our current "recovery" might be in its seventeenth month, but the few new private sector jobs have come from companies temporarily hiring staff on a contract basis. What were once jobs reserved for people hired to cover seasonal demand or permanent employees on sick leave have become the standard employment for many workers. Companies simply don’t want the risk of hiring workers that they might soon have to get rid of.

Since the recovery started in June 2009, the total number of private sector jobs has increased by 203,000. But these weren't "regular," permanent jobs. Indeed, permanent private sector jobs fell by 257,000.

"Temporary help service" jobs is what made up the difference, as they increased by 460,000. For all sectors of the economy, including government jobs, the drop in the number of permanent jobs during the recovery was even worse -- a drop of 561,000.

The trend has recently been getting worse. During five of the last six months, the total number of permanent jobs fell. The new unemployment numbers released on Friday weren't as bad as other recent numbers. There were 39,000 more jobs during November. However, with 39,500 coming from temporary jobs, there would have been essentially no new permanent jobs.

When the Bureau of Labor Statistics started collecting data on these temporary jobs in 1990, such jobs were much less common than today. Only about half as many people held temporary jobs two decades ago. Since then, the current recovery is record-setting in terms of adding temporary jobs. We can compare the three recessions since 1990. While the current recovery has seen the share of jobs held by temporary workers increase by 26 percent, the recession that ended in March 1991 saw a 10 percent increase in share held by temporary workers and the recession that ended in November 2001 had no increase (see the diagram here).

The explanation behind temporary job creation is pretty simple: uncertainty. Companies don’t want to make longer-term commitments if they don’t know what the next couple of years will look like. New regulations are being imposed on companies, be it health care, finance, the environment, and the other areas. And the exact form and extent of these regulations still have to be determined by regulators. Many small companies don't even know what tax rates they will face after the beginning of the year. Neither the president nor the Democratically controlled congress attempted to prevent income tax rates from rising for even the middle class until just a few weeks before they were expected to rise.

President Obama's stimulus and regulations have created much of today's unemployment by moving around trillions of dollars in the economy and moving around the jobs that are associated with that money. People haven't instantly moved from one job to another.

A 9.8 percent unemployment rate that is higher than when the recovery began and 6.3 million people who have been unemployed for more than 6 months are both bad enough. But Obama hasn't just created a lot of unemployment and a stagnant economy, he has also changed the types of jobs that people are getting.

The key word in the above piece is confidence. Economies are based on confidence - employers must have confidence that economic conditions warrant expansion and the hiring of permanent employees. On the other side, employees must have confidence that they will have income in the future that will warrant their investment in homes, automobiles, and all of the goods and services that make our economy grow and prosper.

With high unemployment and an increasing number of jobs being classified as "temporary", I simply do not sense any confidence in the near future, on any one's part. Therein lies the problem.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Snow, Alas

No, not Minneapolis (thank God), but a lovely layer of global warming rests on the back yard this evening. December is a bit early for snow around here, but we've had a dusting on the ground for more than a week.

I guess that's to be expected, with the planet in the throes of the dangerous warming trend.

At any rate, it's lovely to behold.  Then again, I'll not be going out in it.  Not if I can help it.

Muslim Democrat Wants To Create "Christmas Crisis"

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), a Quran carrying Muslim, wants to create a "Christmas Crisis" to force the GOP's hand. Herein, he also lovingly speaks about "income distribution" as though it were a government purview.

It's funny how "Christmas" has become a practically unspeakable word, unless, of course, it's used as a tool to forward a duplicitous agenda.

Every now and then, these people slip up and tell the ugly truth about their intentions.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Can ANY Government Agency Do Their Job?

You would think that, after 9/11, keeping track of aircraft would be a top priority at the FAA. You would think that ensuring that the planes in the air are actually the planes that they purport to be. You would think that riding close herd on the registration and ownership of aircraft would be central to our security efforts.

Well, you would be wrong on all counts:
FAA loses track of 119,000 aircraft

NEW YORK – The Federal Aviation Administration is missing key information on who owns one-third of the 357,000 private and commercial aircraft in the U.S. — a gap the agency fears could be exploited by terrorists and drug traffickers.

The records are in such disarray that the FAA says it is worried that criminals could buy planes without the government's knowledge, or use the registration numbers of other aircraft to evade new computer systems designed to track suspicious flights. It has ordered all aircraft owners to re-register their planes in an effort to clean up its files.

About 119,000 of the aircraft on the U.S. registry have "questionable registration" because of missing forms, invalid addresses, unreported sales or other paperwork problems, according to the FAA. In many cases, the FAA cannot say who owns a plane or even whether it is still flying or has been junked.

Already there have been cases of drug traffickers using phony U.S. registration numbers, as well as instances of mistaken identity in which police raided the wrong plane because of faulty record-keeping.

Next year, the FAA will begin canceling the registration certificates of all 357,000 aircraft and require owners to register anew, a move that is causing grumbling among airlines, banks and leasing companies. Notices went out to the first batch of aircraft owners last month.
Yeah, let's have a big "do over" and maybe, just maybe, we can get it right the next time. One really has to wonder how long this problem has existed; I'm sure it didn't happen overnight. This inability to perform the most basic of functions is incompetence on a breathtaking scale.

This isn't just a bureaucratic SNAFU, It's a screw-up that can get people killed.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

It's Time For The "Noble Red Man" To Get With The Program

"New Indian Tribes" in 2010? Really?

On Wednesday night the House voted, 212 to 206, to pass a giant spending bill that would keep parts of the government running for the next several months. But it turns out the measure, passed with no Republican votes, does more than that. A little-noticed provision inside the bill, pushed hard by Democrats, could also lead to a massive expansion in the number of casinos run by Indian tribes.

The measure would give the Secretary of the Interior the authority to quickly, and without approval from anyone else, take lands into trust for new tribes. What that means is this: A group of people with some native American background petitions the Secretary for recognition as an Indian tribe. That is approved. The new tribe owns a parcel of land and offers the land to the Interior Department for the purpose of the U.S. government taking title to the property -- taking it into trust -- and then allowing the tribe to use the land for its own purposes. That way, the new tribe doesn't have to pay taxes on the land and is also protected from legal actions against them. Then the new tribe, enjoying those benefits of federal land ownership and not having to answer to any state or local authorities, opens a casino.
Yeah, well, it’s past time Indians got with the program. It’s really a shame that we stole their land and messed up their stone-age-hunter-gatherer gig, but they’ve long-since milked their unfortunate loop-hole dry. “Indian reservation” is a pretty weird anachronism in 2010 and it's time to move on.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

More Muslim Mayhem

The old "phoney-bomb-built-by-an-FBI-sting-operation" has snagged yet another would-be terrorist and foiled another bombing plot.
Authorities Make Arrest in Alleged Plot to Blow Up Military Recruitment Center

A man was arrested Wednesday for plotting to blow up a military recruitment center in the Baltimore area, authorities said.

Antonio Martinez, a Muslim convert who called himself Muhammed Hussain, was arrested and is expected to appear later Wednesday in federal court, Fox News confirms.

Martinez, a U.S. citizen, was caught in a sting operation as he tried to detonate a phony bomb at an Armed Forces recruiting station in Catonsville, just outside Baltimore, officials said.
Fortunately, the FBI was on this guy like an Imam on a goat from the word go, but this highlights the danger that we're facing from domestic terrorism at the hands of Islam. This is becoming an all too regular occurrence and we're far past the time when we need to scrutinize the mosques that are producing these people.

As is often said, they only have to get it right once; we have to get it right every time. Liberals like to talk about "root causes"; the root cause of this madness is right before our eyes.

Surreal Happenings in Afghanistan

More than 500 suspected Taliban fighters detained by U.S. forces have been released from custody at the urging of Afghan government officials, angering both American troops and some Afghans who oppose the policy on the grounds that many of those released return to the battlefield to kill NATO soldiers and Afghan civilians.

And those numbers understate the problem, military officials say. They do not include suspected Taliban fighters held in small combat outposts or other forward operating bases throughout the region who are released before they ever become part of the official detainee population.

An Afghan official who spoke on condition of anonymity said that President Hamid Karzai's government has personally sought the release of as many as 700 suspected Taliban fighters since July, including some mid-level leaders. "Corruption is not just based on the amount of money that is wasted but wasted lives when Taliban return only to kill more NATO forces and civilians," said the official, who opposes what he considers corruption in the Karzai administration.

U.S. Air Force Maj. Karen Davis, a spokeswoman in Kabul, told The Washington Examiner "nearly 500 detainees held in the [detention facility in Parwan] have been released outright or transferred to the [Afghan government] for disposition under Afghan law" so far this year.
What the hell to they think this is, fishing?

I've been a big supporter of the Iraq war as well as the war in Afghanistan, but this is unacceptable to the point that it defies description. As has been stated on this blog, Karzai is corrupt and cares more for his own enrichment than the fate of his country. That we should be bowing to his wishes regarding Taliban fighters is sheer madness.

This is a bloody war, not a paintball game! Risking lives to capture these beasts, only to release them so that they can fight again, turns war into a deadly farce.

Time and time again, the Taliban has proven their intentions and if Karzai thinks they will ever be part of a "coalition", he's tragically mistaken. Fueling his misbegotten belief with American blood should not be an option; the Taliban, simply put, should no longer be allowed to exist in any form.

Taliban fighters should be permanently neutralized with overwhelming force whenever the opportunity presents itself, and Taliban leaders should be executed. The single, best way to win any war is to eliminate the enemy's will to fight; if they love death more than life then they should be obliged accordingly. If any are left, they may reconsider their position on the matter.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Reflections on Pearl Harbor Plus 69 Years

On this Pearl Harbor day, I’ve paused to reflect on how far this nation has descended. Upon listening to FDR’s declaration of war, I noticed an eloquence of speech that would be unintelligible by many people of today. I noticed that he, even as the father of liberalism, spoke as an unapologetic American. Yes, his reticence in taking action against the documented Holocaust being waged by the Nazis was unforgivable. Even though he was excruciatingly late in stepping up to the plate, at least he did so.

I also reflect on the evaporation of our national character. My parents, both who were WWII veterans, never failed to remember Dec 7; we went to mass every time that date rolled around, whether it was on a Sunday or not. Now, just nine years after 9/11, it’s vanishing from our national memory. My parents never could find it in themselves to completely forgive either the Germans or the Japanese for the hell they unleashed upon the world, or the substantial parts of their youth that was lost as a result. They willingly sacrificed for their country, but they always remembered who it was that made that sacrifice necessary.

Thank God for those men and women who willingly sacrifice today, but then, there was an entire country behind them. That’s not so much the case today. Even after 3,000 civilians were lost on 9/11 and thousands more troops lost on the field of combat, many at home dare not speak the enemy’s name.

Our national soul seems to be dying off as rapidly as the WWII generation who saved that soul and passed it on to their children. Many believe that enemies of civilization are relics of a bygone era, and they couldn’t be more wrong.

69 years ago, we picked ourselves off the mat and, in just four years, defeated Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan, decisively, and against all odds. Today, we, as a nation, are still meandering, afraid to name our enemy who becomes more powerful as we become weaker.

Without the will to fight and defend what is ours, the legacy and the sacrifice of the WWII generation is lost forever. To lose it now would be the ultimate insult to those brave men and women of yesterday, and today.

Friday, December 03, 2010

So, Do You Want the Bad News First, or the Bad News?

Here's both:
U.S. Added 39,000 Jobs in November, Unemployment Rose to 9.8%

Employers added fewer jobs than forecast in November and the unemployment rate unexpectedly increased, vindicating the Federal Reserve’s decision to pump more money into the economy to spur growth.

Payrolls increased 39,000, less than the most pessimistic projection of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News, after a revised 172,000 increase the prior month, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The jobless rate rose to 9.8 percent, the highest since April, while hours worked and earnings stagnated.

More jobs are needed to sustain the holiday-season gains in consumer spending, the biggest part of the economy, into the new year. Payrolls aren’t growing fast enough to lower the jobless rate, one reason why Fed policy makers announced a new round of monetary stimulus.

“There is some uncertainty about the outlook,” John Herrmann, a senior fixed-income strategist at State Street Global Markets LLC in Boston, said before the report. Still, “as the recovery gains more traction and business managers become confident about hiring, we think that will ultimately lead to greater job retention.”

Private payrolls that exclude government agencies also gained less than forecast, rising by 50,000 in November. Economists projected a 160,000 gain, the survey showed.

The unemployment rate was forecast to hold at 9.6 percent, according to the median prediction of 83 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. Estimates ranged from 9.4 percent to 9.7 percent.

Manufacturers cut jobs for a fourth straight month, payrolls dropped at construction companies and government employment declined.

Economists’ Forecasts

Overall payrolls were forecast to climb by 150,000, according to the survey median, with estimates ranging from 75,000 to 200,000. The October figure was revised up from an initially reported gain of 151,000.

Manufacturing payrolls dropped by 13,000 in November, the most in three months. Economists had projected an increase of 5,000.

Employment at service-providers increased 54,000. The number of temporary workers rose 39,500. Construction companies subtracted 5,000 workers and retailers let go 28,100 workers.

Average hourly earnings were $22.75 in November from $22.74 in the prior month, today’s report showed.

Government payrolls decreased by 11,000. State and local governments reduced employment by 13,000, while the federal government added 2,000 jobs.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Presidency Is Not Too Big, The President Is Too Small

In keeping with the fact that the company that publishes Newsweek was so deeply in debt that it was recently sold for $1, (and it's content consistently indicates that may well have been an overpayment) it continues to plumb the depths of the unseemly "Obama love" that likely contributed to its financial predicament in the first place:

Enough with the "Obama/god/messiah" analogies already, they've long since become insipid and annoying in the extreme!

Aside from the fact that Obama is pictured as the Hindu deity Shiva ("Destroyer of Worlds"), it postulates the old saw that "the modern presidency" may be too big.  As for his comparison with Shiva, I'll leave that to those more familiar with Hindu religion and/or mythology than I.

The last time I recall hearing this theory was during the last truly dreadful presidency; that of President Carter.  Abjuring the Shakespearean  adage ""The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves...", Newsweek, instead, revives the rickety theory that the office, itself, is at fault.

In fact, the presidency has grown over the the last two centuries.  Some would argue that its growth has been outside its constitutional prescription, but that is a topic for another conversation, as is the out-sized growth of the government itself.  Yes, the presidency has grown, but so as the apparatus of the presidency itself.  We have an increasing number of "cabinet" officials whose job it is to manage the various departments of government and report directly to the president.  These offices are designed as a "corporate structure" in which the president chooses "department heads (with Senate confirmation) to oversee the running of the various departments, each of which have a web of structure unto themselves.

The number of these cabinet offices have steadily increased over the last century, keeping pace with the (alas) staggering growth of the federal government, thus enabling presidents to delegate mundane, daily operations to (hopefully) competent individuals.

The president serves as a CEO who comes to office with a specific vision as to what he/she wants the government to do or be and installs people to turn this vision into reality.  As these various cabinet officials are chosen by, and report to the president, he/she is directly responsible for their actions.

The presidency is not a job for the ordinary person; it is a job for the extraordinary person.  In the end, it's all about perspective.  The overwhelming number of people who have held this office have proven themselves to be the extraordinary people required by the office, even during the most dire of times.  On the other hand, some people who have found themselves unequal to the task have either withdrawn or their deficiencies have been duly noted, and acted upon by the electorate.

It's not that the office is too big; some who occupy it are just too small.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

This Is Unacceptable

For more than nine years, airline passengers have faced increasing inconvenience and indignities at the hands of airport security, and now it has come to this.  

Security is one thing, searches like this are quite another.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Uh, How About Thinking For Yourself?

Obama led House Democrats right into the political "Little Big Horn" of November 2010, and they barely held control of the Senate. So now, to whom are Senate Democrats looking for guidance? Yeah, Obama.
Dems Frustrated With White House Over Tax Cuts

Senate Democrats remain divided on how to move forward on extension of the 2001 and 2003 Bush-era tax cuts, and some are pointing the finger of blame at the White House, frustrated at what they see is a lack of guidance or ambiguous guidance coming from the president and his top aides.From a post-election news conference to a "60 Minutes" interview to comments from senior White House adviser David Axelrod, Democrats are scratching their heads trying to figure out what the leader of their party really wants them to do.

"The players on the field want a game plan," said one senior Democratic congressional aide who requested anonymity to be candid about caucus sentiment. "There's an increasing frustration from members that there is not a plan...There is just tremendous frustration. I mean, where are they?"

The aide noted that Senate Democrats, meeting behind closed doors Wednesday and most likely Thursday, intend to discuss the tax cuts, but there is one notable absence.

"Where is the White House? There's no one here talking to us today or tomorrow," the aide fumed, noting that former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel would have been here. "Geithner says it's quote quite likely that we'll get this done. That sounds nice, I could say that, too, but what do they want done?"
Perhaps the best choice would be to listen to "The People" a habit that seems to have been lost among Democrats of late. Yes, Obama is the "Leader of the Party", but he's not an emperor, and if he is, he has no clothes.

The only option is to follow their "political gut"; at least for those who have not already sacrificed this organ on the altar of Obama.

Let’s Talk About Privatizing Social Security

From its inception, Social Security has been nothing more than a pyramid scheme that does no more than transfer funds from one generation to the next. It does not create wealth or encourage savings or responsibility; it places retired people on nothing more than another mismanaged government program. At least 12.4% of the wages of every American is being funneled into the massive government bureaucracy that sinks deeper by the day.

This program doesn’t give people “security” at all; it puts all of us on welfare.

Imagine if that money were actually yours, and was being invested in a personal IRA, of sorts. Contrary to what those who wish to keep Social Security as a government program say, financial markets have risen steadily over the long-term. Yes, there are peaks and valleys but when these markets are measured in decades; they are a remarkably safe and profitable repository.

I’ve done some rudimentary calculations on a spreadsheet concerning what could be achieved if the money that is currently being shoveled into the system were actually invested as an IRA and benefitted from compounding.

First, Social Security takes 12.4% of your earnings (6.2% from you and 6.2% from your employer). Let’s raise that to 13% (6.5% from you and 6.5% from your employer). This represents a modest 0.3% increase that, I believe, would be well worth it.

Now, let’s start with a 21 year-old individual, beginning his working career at a somewhat low-paying job that pays $25,000 per year, with 6.5% of that going to his/her account and his her/her employer contributing the other 6.5%, for a total of 13% per year.

To make this conservative, suppose this individual stayed at this low-paying job and received an average 1% increase per year (beginning at $25,000 and ending up 45 years later at $38,733). I think that one would agree that this is close to a worst case scenario for most.

Suppose this money were invested in an account that netted an average 6% per year (for the purposes of simple spreadsheet analysis, I added each year’s amount to the cumulative amount and multiplied it by “1.06”). Actually, this is a fairly conservative expectation for long-term investments.

At the end of 45 years of work, this individual has $840,566 on which to retire.

Then suppose that this individual, at 65, proceeds to retire. He/she is restricted to a payment of 80% of their last year’s income (in the case of this individual, they made $38,733, so their first year’s retirement income would be $30,986). That said, each year this individual would receive a 3.5% increase in their annual retirement income to accommodate for inflation. The balance in the account, of course, continues to grow at a rate of 6% per year, after the payment is made.

This individual lives a long life and dies at the ripe old age of 100. That year, he/she has an annual retirement income of $99,803 (it’s been going up 3.5% per year), he/she has been paid a total of $2,065,984 over the course of their 35 years of retirement, and bequeaths $140,833 (the balance of the account) to a designated survivor.

Yes, I made a lot of assumptions and these calculations were done on a spreadsheet. In addition, it does not consider how disability would be handled or any of the other various functions of Social Security. One must also consider how we transition from the current “transfer payment” system we currently have to one that actually creates wealth and financial security.

All of that said, this is designed to begin the conversation, and it’s a conversation that’s desperately needed.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What The Hell Happened?

As a Boomer, life was great in the 80s and 90s, now I look back on it as if it were a dream, wondering “how did it all go so badly, so quickly?”. Alas, the 90′s were a mirage. Everyone (including myself) was trading stocks online finding that you could actually make some money with little effort. Business was good, jobs were plentiful and promotions and raises happened like clockwork.  It seemed that it would never end, but we didn’t know that we were building on sand; not only as individuals, but businesses as well. All it would eventually take was a tremor to bring it all down.

On 9/11, the tremor came. The ripples that went through the economy revealed the shallow, and speculative nature of our “bubble economy” and those ripples became waves that toppled the castles of sand that we thought was a stable economy. The upshot for me was that a 30 year career was ended by downsizing in 2004 and, at 50, I had to compete with much younger people who had not yet built a “lifestyle” based upon the “arc of continued success”. The arc, unfortunately, was an assumption based upon what proved to be a flawed vision of the American Dream.

Yeah, I made it for a few years, starting over in a new industry and using what I had left of my youthful ambition, combined with a bit of wisdom and experience. Nothing turned out as planned but, in the end, due to having saved some and resisted the urge to overly indebt myself, I’ll likely be OK.  Some of us, however, will not.  Shattered dreams litter the landscape as testament to misplaced trust in those willingly and maliciously betrayed it.

I curse those politicians, of both parties, and latter-day robber barons who chose expediency and unrealistic growth projections, funded by debt, over long-term solidity. Their American dream has been realized by way of exorbitant salaries paid for trashing the companies that paid them, while many of ours lat asunder. I curse the boards of directors who paid these scallywags, and the politicians that put the good of their own careers ahead of that of the American people and the American economic system. There’s a lot of cursing to go around, and it goes back for more than a half a century.

America's mistake has been in thinking only about the present as though the future “will just take care of itself”. We’ve kicked so many cans down the road, for so long, that those cans are now confronting us as past-due bills owed by generations not yet born.

A perfect example is Social Security. 60-70 years ago we knew that, eventually, the big chunk of humanity called the Baby Boomers would eventually retire. We went to school and there was a building boom of new schools and, thereafter, we impacted American society with every stage of our lives, just by the sheer numbers of us.  Would not retirement and the need for adequate Social Security have been a reasonable assumption?

Decades ago, plans should have been made, but no, the big chunk of money that was being reaped from our paychecks was being squandered on other things. It was like taking what you have in your 401K and buying a Corvette at 35, then wondering where your retirement went when you're 65. That thinking, coupled with absolutely ignoring the fact that Boomers were a time bomb, with the full knowledge of when it was going to explode, is political malpractice of the first order.

Systemically, at the political and corporate level, short-term thinking may well be the most significant reason for our current problems. Politically, it’s all about getting elected, and in the private sector, it’s all about having a better year than the last.

The solution? Well, one would like to think that staring into the abyss would teach us a valuable lesson, but I’m not convinced. Once the “crisis” has been averted, people tend to just fall back into their old habits rather than thinking about the systemic failures that created the crisis in the first place. 9/11 is a perfect example of that.

Some real suffering in the present as a result of the political and corporate failures of the past may well do the trick. Experience is a strern, taskmaster of a teacher, but she’s effective. After the Depression, there were a lot of lessons learned, by some, on a personal level. Politically, however, it saddled us with a burgeoning welfare mentality that has grown into the unmanageable beast we have today. Alas, FDR saw it as an opportunity that does not come often and he seized upon it. If we continue down the road that we are currently traveling, that same malevolent “opportunity” may well avail itself again, and I can only hope that it can be used to make real changes and not repeat the same mistakes.

We need only look to places like Allentown, PA, Detroit and Lansing, MI, to see the ruins of a once great industrial power laid to waste by incompetence and greed at the corporate level, and short-sightedness and expediency at the political level.

Internationally, the once great leader is no more than a follower, being lectured by nations who, just 70 years ago, we decimated in war, then rebuilt into prosperous nations. The irony is that their lectures are sound and their message is correct, but it's falling on deaf ears.

WE, and our insatiable thirst for “easy money” has done what no nation has been able to do in our history; it has reduced us to our knees. Many, such as myself, were raised by parents who weathered the Great Depression as well as World War II. They told us there was “no free lunch” They told us that the quest for “easy money” was a fool’s errand. But we didn’t listen, we just didn’t listen.

We’re listening now.  Or are we?

Monday, November 08, 2010

About Peat

I'm from Louisville, KY. As such, I had never given peat much thought; that is until my wife and I had occsion to visit Ireland, where peat is really an important part of life.

This is a true story about my education in, uh, peat.

As I said, m wife and I were in Ireland. We rented a car and toured the island for about 10 days. We’d pass through the countryside where they still have the little country houses with thatched roofs and a short wall around the perimeter. I noticed these black blocks that I simply could not identify, nor could my wife.

Well, we went on some sort of tour of a castle, and I took the occasion to ask the guide about the curious black blocks that seemed to be everywhere.

Incredulously, he said “it’s peat”.

“Peat?” I said. “What’s peat?

“It’s peat!” He exclaimed. “My God, man, don’t ye know what peat is?!"

“No, I’m afraid I don’t” I replied, “could you explain? Where does it come from?”

Becoming more exasperated by the moment, he said “It’s PEAT, it comes from the PEAT BOG where it’s cut out o' the ground!!!”

Then I asked “So, what, exactly do you do with this peat?”

At this point, he seemed to be gasping for air, and replied “YE BURN IT IN THE FIREPLACE! HOW COULD YE POSSIBLY NOT KNOW THAT! WHAT DO YOU BURN IN THE FIREPLACE IN AMERICA?!?!”

I replied “We burn logs, you know, firewood”.


“Thank you very much” I replied, “Yes, that clears it up nicely”

Hats Off to Weston, MO!

Sometimes people stand up when the authorities cannot, and this is one of those cases. The exerable Fred Phelps and his hateful drones of Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, KS are nothing less than a dangerous and disgusting side effect of First Ammendment rights.

There are ways around the allowance of these lowlifes from excercising "their rights" and it would appear that Weston, MO has found the perfect way.

May this practice spread!

Residents of Missouri Town Block Protesters From Picketing Soldier's Funeral

Members of a small Missouri town banded together Saturday to block a controversial pastor and members of his Westboro Baptist Church from protesting the funeral of a fallen U.S. soldier, reports.

Hundreds of residents in Weston, Mo. -- as well as people as far away as California and Australia -- rallied in support of Sgt. First Class C.J. Sadell, who died from injuries suffered during a surprise attack in Afghanistan.

The residents sought to block Fred Phelps, leader of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., and his followers from picketing Sadell’s funeral, according to the station.

Phelps' church has been the subject of intense criticism for holding more than 44,000 pickets at funerals and other events – including the services of fallen service members.

Citing their First Amendment right to protest, Phelps' followers say they use funerals as an “available public platform” to “deliver the message that there is a consequence for sin.” Phelps is openly opposed to homosexuality and all government policies they he says supports homosexuals.

"We got everybody here early so we could take up all the parking spots," Rebecca Rooney of Weston, Mo., told "We did that so Mr. Phelps wouldn't have a contingency that was really close."

"I'm glad they left, but I'm sad they came," she said.

Sadell, who leaves behind a wife and two sons, was stationed in the Arif Kala region of Afghanistan when his unit was ambushed on Oct. 5. Five soldiers were killed in the attack and Sadell was badly injured.

The 34-year-old died from his injuries on Oct. 24.

Thursday, November 04, 2010


Unemployment in San Francisco is something like 10%, and California is, as a whole, quickly going broke. Not only did California exhume Jerry Brown for another stint as Governor, one of their largest cities has chosen to busy themselves by pinpointing dangerous social ills.

Those damnable Happy Meals simply must go!
San Francisco bans Happy Meals

Enemy of The State
San Francisco's board of supervisors has voted, by a veto-proof margin, to ban most of McDonald's Happy Meals as they are now served in the restaurants.

The measure will make San Francisco the first major city in the country to forbid restaurants from offering a free toy with meals that contain more than set levels of calories, sugar and fat.

The ordinance would also require restaurants to provide fruits and vegetables with all meals for children that come with toys.

"We're part of a movement that is moving forward an agenda of food justice," said Supervisor Eric Mar, who sponsored the measure. "From San Francisco to New York City, the epidemic of childhood obesity in this country is making our kids sick, particularly kids from low income neighborhoods, at an alarming rate. It's a survival issue and a day-to-day issue."

I must say that I have no idea of what "food justice" actually is, but then again, I'm neither a San Franciscan nor a Californian. I am, however, pretty sure that "Happy Meals" are not one of those pressing issues of our time.

Normal people don't live on "Happy Meals", or at least they shouldn't. It's a little treat for the kiddies. As for the "childhood obesity" problem, particularly in low "income neighborhoods", if one is feeding their kids "Happy Meals" on a regular basis, they have more disposable income for fast food that most Americans.

There are a lot of foods out there that are "bad for us". How about that frozen, sugar-laden, congealed fat treat known as Ice Cream? Well, I don't see them banning that any time soon, even though kids absolutely love the stuff.

Liberals are wont to call Conservatives "authoritarian", yet it seems like every time a government brings out the "banning stick", it's a Liberal government. The people who just delight in using laws to enforce their vision of how you should live, are liberals.

Californians, and San Franciscans, can do what they like. They're the ones that have chosen to elect a board of supervisors that feels an obligation to protect you, and your children, from "Happy Meals" under penalty of law.

Just understand who really means to control your life, who have so little respect for you that they will make your decisions for you. It's not Conservatives, my friends.

Is This Trip Really Necessary?

I'm all for taking every necessary step in protecting the President of the United States, but isn't there a point where the steps become so ridiculous that one must examine if it's really worth it?

New Delhi: The White House will, of course, stay in Washington but the heart of the famous building will move to India when President Barack Obama lands in Mumbai on Saturday.

Communications set-up, nuclear button, a fleet of limousines and majority of the White House staff will be in India accompanying the President on this three-day visit that will cover Mumbai and Delhi.

He will also be protected by a fleet of 34 warships, including an aircraft carrier, which will patrol the sea lanes off the Mumbai coast during his two-day stay there beginning Saturday. The measure has been taken as Mumbai attack in 2008 took place from the sea.

Arrangements have been put in place for emergency evacuation, if needed

Obama is expected to fly by a helicopter -- Marine One -- from the city airport to the Indian Navy's helibase INS Shikra at Colaba in south Mumbai.

From there, he will drive down in Lincoln Continental -- the Presidential limousine -- to the nearby the Taj Hotel.
Two jets, armed with advanced communication and security systems, and a fleet of over 40 cars will be part of Obamas convoy.
Around 800 rooms have been booked for the President and his entourage in Taj Hotel and Hyatt.
The President's "entourage" will consist of some 3,000 people, and the trip is expected to cost $200 million per day. I strongly suspect that the 34 warships are not included in this price tag. Do the math.

So, what does the United States hope to gain from this trip? Well, Reuters says "Obama India's visit may be more style than substance":
NEW DELHI (Reuters) - A weakened U.S. President Barack Obama visits India this week to counter perceptions he has relegated the Asian power behind rivals China and Pakistan, but he may struggle to seal deals to help usher in billions of dollars of business.

Economic ties are booming but Obama's visit from Saturday to Monday may fail to live up to President Bill Clinton's 2000 trip that helped break the diplomatic ice, or President George W. Bush's visit in 2006 when a civil nuclear deal was hailed as a landmark in ties.

Obama's drubbing in the mid-term elections may also tie his political hands when it comes to bold policy moves on India as growing worries emerge that outsourcing in cities such as IT hub Bangalore is worsening mass unemployment in the United States.

It was a sign of the times that Obama told the Press Trust of India that India should open up its markets to U.S. companies, a stance that may dominate a 10-day trip of Asia aimed at boosting U.S. exports and jobs, crucial for his presidency's fate.

"Obama is going to be too preoccupied domestically, and you won't see a more aggressive foreign policy going forward," said Amitabh Mattoo, professor of international politics at Jawaharlal Nehru University.

"On his upcoming trip, I think that the best India can hope for is a consolidation of the relationship established under President Bush."
So,"ties are booming" and "outsourcing in cities such as IT hub Bangalore is worsening mass unemployment in the United States", and the trip is "aimed at boosting U.S. exports and jobs".

The average Indian exists on less than $2 per day which is exactly why U.S. companies are outsourcing jobs there. So, again, what is the upside to us? I still don't see it. Again from the Reuters piece:
A bilateral trade boom has seen total flows treble to $36.5 billion in goods in the decade to 2009-10, but the United States slipped from number one to three in India's trade partners. India lags China, the United States' third-biggest trading partner.

Washington faces a host of hurdles, including Indian worries that signing defense pacts -- which are necessary for the U.S. arms sales to go through -- may land New Delhi in a wider entanglement with the U.S. military.

The civil nuclear deal with the United States was signed to great fanfare, but it struggled through parliament and now the accord has sparked criticism that U.S. companies in the sector will be discouraged to invest due to high liabilities.

Obama has already played down ending a ban on U.S. exports of dual-use technology, telling the Press Trust of India it was "very difficult and complicated" to meet Indian expectations.

Obama may offer some support for India's place for a permanent seat on the U.N Security Council, but he will likely step short of a full endorsement.

"It will be the opportunity to consolidate all that we have built in the past decade," Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao was quoted as saying in the Indian Express. "We are not in a stage in our relationship for dramatic breakthroughs and big-bang."

For its part, India will be wary of perceptions it is putting its eggs into one U.S. basket despite Obama's personal ties with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Any sign of India's sovereignty being undermined can rally political opposition against Singh.

Singh leads a coalition of fickle regional allies and his Congress Party has had its roots in statist and non-alignment policies since independence in 1947, policy vestiges that still remain among some of its most powerful politicians.
After being thoroughly repudiated by the American people, President Obama heads to India, hat in hand, in an effort to restart the American economy with the assistance of an impoverished country which is clearly unwilling to give that assistance. Furthermore, even if they were, American companies are reluctant to invest, due to the unfavorable climate. A climate that is highly unlikely to change.

The sad part is that the India portion of the trip comprises only two days of a 10 day excursion of Asia. The rest of the trip will be spent in basket case hell holes that make India look like Japan.

Maybe, just maybe, President Obama's time (and our money) would be better spent in developing a coherent strategy, with the Republicans, for getting the American economic house in order. In two months, a reshaped Congress will be seated and there's every indication that they intend to hit the ground running; in the interim, the American people expect, and deserve, that those two months be spent planning for that eventuality.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

About Last Night

Some very valuable lessons were learned last night and I have no doubt that they are being taken to heart on a number of fronts.

The Tea Party succeeded by, for the most part, finding the pulse of America. They realized that they can give voice to many people who felt they had none, and have a major influence on elections.

The GOP, whether they want to admit it or not, are well aware of the influence of the Tea Party and are realizing that they are a double-edged sword that must be handled carefully. Politicians are, at their roots, politicians, and this morning they are examining what worked and what didn't. What they are finding is that there is a new "interest group", the People, and their voice is the Tea Party - this is a marvelous tool that can be used to bring them back to their core principles, or discarded, and used against them. I would see the former as being the choice of the pragmatic as it is the shortest distance between two points. Trust politicians to choose the easiest course.

The Democrats are wondering why their "50 year majority" evaporated in only 24 months, and they can look no farther than the White House. Those who are left will try to push Obama to the center in an effort to salvage what's left of their careers, yet they will find it a hard sell; Obama's no triangulator, he's a hard left ideologue. Even if he moved to the center, it would be seen as acquiescence to the Republicans, and the Republicans win the philosophical battle and, in the process, Obama loses his base - the far left. If he doesn't, he tends to lose the majority of the American people.

While all of this is being played out, the Republicans will be grooming their bench, which has become quite deep, for the battles that loom ahead. The Democrats, in contrast, are beginning to look a bit frayed and long in the tooth. The talk of Hillary as some sort of savior of the party underscores the desperation that they must be feeling right now.

My oh my, how fortunes can change in only two years. We must, however, be ever mindful that they can change back in an equally short period of time.

Monday, November 01, 2010

So, Where Do We Go From Here?

Assuming that tomorrow will bring the tsunami that is being predicted, it's not too soon to talk about what we will do with our new majority.

I think that Republicans need to focus on what we will do, rather than what we won’t do. It completely neutraizes the “party of NO” meme and people tend to react far better to positive messages than negative ones.

We also need to be of good cheer while highlighting the defficiances of the left, what comes to mind is Reagan’s “there he goes again!” retort, that came across as good spirited and friendly debate while reminding people that the Dems are offering nothing but warmed-over “same old crap”.

Reagan is a perfect model that we need to emulate. We needn’t mobilize against Obama personally, but ideologically; relentlessly reviewing the past two years with indesputable facts and figures, while always offering doable alternatives.

Put them, and particularly Obama on the defensive, again, with good humor, armed with the truth, and allow Obama’s legendary petulance to show through for all to see.

People are tired of the dirt, the lies, and the broken promises. They are looking for a light at the end of the tunnel, they long to be inspired…hell, I long to be inspired.

The reason that Reagan is still popular to this day is that, regardless of his treatment by the media, he inspired people and even his political foes found it very difficult to dislike him. In the end, politics has a huge personal element. Reagan found a way to circumvent the media and and appeal to each American with charm, as well as logic.

Reagan is gone, but he has left us a roadmap of how it is done.

"I Have a Dream" As Well

No major change is made without a certain amount of pain and suffering, and God knows we have all had our share, not only at the hands of Obama, but at the hands of those who would maintain blacks as the perennial underclass. Blacks have been at the forefront of the pain and suffering and I would think, at some point, they would be tired of it.

The growing black middle and upper class must feel particularly embarrassed to be portrayed as a race always in need of assistance, unable to think for themselves, and the focus of the race industry headed up by the Jesse Jacksons and Al Sharptons of the world.

Over the years, we have seen blacks rise to the top in the corporate world, we have seen black congressmen, senators, SecStates and now a black president, yet blacks are still condescended to. Black children who choose better, and attempt to walk in the footsteps of these numerous role models, and attempt to raise themselves up are accused of “acting white”, and black on black crime continues unabated. None of this is the fault of whites trying to “keep them down”, it’s the fault of the liberal race industry who are in dire need of an eternal underclass as a constituency.

At some point, blacks will come to the conclusion that they have been duped for generations, at some point they will determine that “the fault lies not in our stars, but in ourselves.”

Perhaps the election of Obama, while painful and destructive for us all, may bring about that seminal moment. Two years ago he was revered as a god, and two years hence, people are in worse shape than they were before. Their beloved Democrats, led by a black man, have had free rein for two years and the “Hope” and “Change” has become despair and more of the same. Their lives have not been magically transformed, and their savior has been revealed as a charlatan.

Maybe, just maybe, blacks will come to see that salvation does not come from “benevolent” Democrats but rather, it comes from in one’s self. Perhaps blacks will finally cast off the chains of “black leaders” and come to realize that King was correct when he asserted that what matters is ‘not the color of one’s skin, but the content of one’s character’.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

From Higgins ("The Scottie Dog of War"), the infidel's wife, and myself, please have a happy and safe Halloween, All Hallows Eve, Samhain, or All Saints Eve.

Alas, summer has reached its end, but may the chill of fall and winter cripple the current regime and place our country on the road back to the prosperity that is our legacy, as Americans. 

Higgins; the Weeks family's formidable "Scottie Dog of War"

48 Hours

In 48 hours, our nation will decide whether to continue on the road of radical, hard left progressivism or, at the very least, to stem the tide and give voice to those who feel that there is a better way.

President Obama will have you believe that Republicans are ultimately responsible for our current economic troubles, but unemployment has risen and the annual deficit as increased more than three-fold in the nearly two years of the Obama administration. President Obama will have you believe that congressional Republicans are guilty of "obstructionism" and that is the reason for our troubles. The fact is that Democrats have controlled both houses of congress for four years, and the presidency for the last two. President Obama has had the luxury of getting virtually everything he has wanted in that Congress has rubber-stamped his every whim. The fact that he has done all of this without Republican support has been of no hindrance whatsoever.

The "obstructionism" of which the president speaks was no more than a attempt by the minority party to slow the juggernaut but, alas, it was not slowed; it has continues apace.

As Democrats, and President Obama, have had free rein over the government, America's situation and prospects have become increasingly worse. The president announced the "recovery summer" of 2010 yet now, on October 31, we are no better off than we were in the spring, and in many ways we are in far worse shape. They ignored the will of the people in jamming through a massive healthcare overhaul without a single Republican vote. These same Democrats who passed this bill are now running away from it as they realize that it will not only dramatically increase our costs, but it will dramatically decrease the quality of our care.

The reign of Democrat control must end, and it must end now. We have the opportunity to slow, and eventually reverse, the destructive effects we have reaped as a result of leftist, one-party rule. We can ensure that the next two years will be better than the last.

Our situation is dire, but not irreparable. We must, however, begin now. We may not get another chance.

Friday, October 22, 2010

You Just Can't Make This Stuff Up

Harry Reid takes credit for saving the world from an economic depression. Yes, that's right, not just the country, but the entire world.

I had no idea he was such a reservoir of power and intellect. Perhaps world peace will ensue as hosannas of thanksgiving are emitted from every corner of the globe.

Henceforth he shall be known as Harry The Deliverer.

Like I said, you just can't make this stuff up.

Union Facism Running Amok

Well, this seems quite the red letter day for unions.

In this instance, a union employee was fired for wearing a Bush sweatshirt and hat. No, this had nothing to do with politics (at least on the part of the fired worker) since it was a sweatshirt and hat from the U.S.S. George H.W. Bush, an aircraft carrier on which his son is currently serving. This fact was pointed out to the union that fired him, yet he was fired anyway!

Ironically (or perhaps not) the man who was fired was setting up for President Obama's visit to Los Angeles.

I wonder if there is a union you can join to protect yourself from Unions.

The story:
Obama’s visit to Los Angeles today has stirred controversy even before he arrived.

A stage worker setting up the stage was fired for refusing to remove his hat and turn his sweatshirt inside out and the reason? The shirt hat and shirt both had the name “Bush” printed on them but not just any Bush but, that of George H.W. Bush.

The IATSE (Local 33) union fired the worker even after he explained the shirt to his bosses. The shirt didn’t explicitly support George H.W Bush but that of the aircraft carrier named after the former President and the aircraft carrier his son has served on for the past many years and is currently deployed. The union worker was interviewed on KTLA Channel 5 locally in Los Angeles.

The stage hand was identified as Duane Hammond and a distraught Hammet can be seen during his interview very distraught as his support for his son and his service becoming the center piece to his firing.

The video:

Unions and Government: It's NOT YOUR MONEY!

Wow. If there has ever been a case of a bizarre financial infestation of parasites draining the very life from the American body politic, this must be it.
Public Employees Union Spends Huge to Save Dems

Government Union Thug Wants Your Money
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees is now the biggest outside spender of the 2010 elections, thanks to an 11th-hour effort to boost Democrats that has vaulted the public-sector union ahead of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the AFL-CIO and a flock of new Republican groups in campaign spending.

The 1.6 million-member AFSCME is spending a total of $87.5 million on the elections after tapping into a $16 million emergency account to help fortify the Democrats' hold on Congress. Last week, AFSCME dug deeper, taking out a $2 million loan to fund its push. The group is spending money on television advertisements, phone calls, campaign mailings and other political efforts, helped by a Supreme Court decision that loosened restrictions on campaign spending.

"We're the big dog," said Larry Scanlon, the head of AFSCME's political operations. "But we don't like to brag."
"Big Dog", indeed. Hubris comes easy to those spending other people's money.

So, we have a public employees union, spending their members' money, made from public taxation, in order to elect more Democrats, so they (Democrats) can spend more of the American people's money (presumably) on behalf of public sector employees.

First, most state and local governments are even in worse financial shape than the federal government, if that's possible. They're literally broke, with some facing default. How are these state and local governments dealing with these shortfalls? Among other measures, they're attempting to curb spending on their largest expenditure; employees (that would be AFSCME members).

Secondly, most of the legislators (those who control the spending) of those state and local governments are Democrats, who the AFSCME is spending $87.5 million to assist on local, state and federal levels. AFSCME seems to be succeeding in not only screwing its own members, but more importantly, the American people.

I would submit that the very existence of AFSCME gives government employees unhealthy influence over their employers - The People.

The idea of public sector employee unions is distasteful to me. After all, these people are public servants, are they not? Governments are not (or should not be) autonomous entities; they are duly elected representatives of The People. All of the money to operate government ultimately comes from The People. The idea of these public sector unions using employee dues to affect the political constitutions of the governments (The People) for which they work seems a form of dangerous political incest, since the money originates not from free enterprise, but from taxation of The People, at large.

If one worked for a private corporation, one would not have a say in how that corporation's money is spent unless one was on the board of directors or was a direct owner of the enterprise. Why should public sector employees be any different? It could certainly be argued that, in a private corporation, employees can belong to unions and those unions can utilize union money (alas) for political purposes. The difference is that in the corporate example, the money is ultimately the result of private enterprise, not public taxation.

The political inbreeding that unions and Democrats have fostered in this country is odious, and particularly so in the case of AFSCME. Union meddling in the affairs of private enterprise is one thing, public employee unions meddling in the affairs of The People is quite another.

If you think I'm off base, just ask France how that public employee union is working out for them.