Sunday, June 27, 2010

The "Peter Principle" President

When I see Obama, I see a man utterly bored by his job. He ran on a flimsy resume, propped himself up with grandiose rhetoric, and has now found himself incapable of actually doing the job. He’s not burned out; he’s an embodiment of “the Peter Principle” – a man promoted to his own level of incompetence.

He began as a “community organizer”; associating with vapid Left-Wing radicals, mobilizing against the status-quo, whatever the current status-was at the time. Eventually, he parlayed this dubious "experience", with the help of underhanded Chicago-style politics, into a seat in the U.S Senate.

In fact, he may have risen “to his own level incompetence: in the Senate; once in the Senate, he, after only two tears, missed as much as 90% of the floor votes:
As Byron York has recently written:
He won in 2004, but the Senate proved unsatisfying, too. By mid-2006, Majority Leader Harry Reid "sensed his frustration and impatience, had heard rumblings that Obama was already angling to head back home and take a shot at the Illinois governorship," write Mark Halperin and John Heilemann in the new book Game Change. Reid knew "Obama simply wasn't cut out to be a Senate lifer."

According to the book, the majority leader invited Obama to his office for a talk. "You're not going to go anyplace here," Reid told Obama. "I know that you don't like it, doing what you're doing." Reid suggested Obama run for president. Obama had been a senator for all of 18 months at the time. Soon after, he was off and running.

What drove Obama was not just ambition, although he is certainly ambitious. As he became frustrated in each job, Obama concluded that the problem was not having the power to do the things he wanted to do. So he sought a more powerful position.
Well, we all know how that turned out, in true “Peter Principle” fashion, Reid suggested that Obama, who was bored with being Senator after 18 months, and was “not going to go anyplace here”, suggested that he run for president.

Now, 18 months into his term as president, Obama seems dissatisfied, and that dissatisfaction is translating into a “Zoning Out”, as Mark Steyn puts in in a recent column:
What do Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal and BP have in common? Aside from the fact that they’re both Democratic Party supporters.

Or they were. Gen. McChrystal is a liberal who voted for President Obama and banned Fox News from his headquarters TV. That may at least partly explain how he became the first U.S. general to be lost in combat while giving an interview to Rolling Stone. They’ll be studying that one in war colleges around the world for decades. The managers of BP were unable to vote for Mr. Obama, being, as we now know, the most sinister, duplicitous bunch of shifty Brits to pitch up offshore since the War of 1812. But, in their “Beyond Petroleum” marketing and beyond, they signed on to every modish nostrum of the eco-left. Their recently retired chairman, Lord John Browne, was one of the most prominent promoters of “cap-and-trade.” BP was the Democrats’ favorite oil company. It was to Mr. Obama what TotalFinaElf was to Saddam Hussein.

But what do Gen. McChrystal’s and BP’s defenestrations tell us about the president of the United States? Mr. Obama is a thin-skinned man and, according to Britain’s Daily Telegraph, White House aides indicated that what angered the president most about the Rolling Stone piece was “a McChrystal aide saying that McChrystal had thought that Obama was not engaged when they first met last year.” If finding Mr. Obama “not engaged” is now a firing offense, who among us is safe?

Only the other day, Sen. George LeMieux of Florida attempted to rouse the president to jump-start America’s overpaid, overmanned and oversleeping federal bureaucracy and get it to do something about the oil debacle. There are 2,000 oil skimmers in the United States; weeks after the spill, only 20 of them are off the coast of Florida. Seventeen friendly nations with great expertise in the field have offered their own skimmers; the Dutch volunteered their “superskimmers.” Mr. Obama turned them all down. Raising the problem, Mr. LeMieux found the president unengaged and uninformed. “He doesn’t seem to know the situation about foreign skimmers and domestic skimmers,” the senator reported.

He doesn’t seem to know, and he doesn’t seem to care that he doesn’t know, and he doesn’t seem to care that he doesn’t care. “It can seem that at the heart of Barack Obama’s foreign policy is no heart at all,” Richard Cohen wrote in The Washington Post last week. “For instance, it’s not clear that Obama is appalled by China’s appalling human rights record. He seems hardly stirred about continued repression in Russia. … The president seems to stand foursquare for nothing much.
What is notable about all of these observations is their Obama-centric nature. It was never about what Obama could do for the country in these various positions, rather it was about what would give Obama a sense of fulfillment.

As a U.S. Senator, you can pretty much get away with being absent most of the time, once you tire of the position; as POTUS, you simply do not have that option.

In less than two years, he’s become like a person stuck in a mind-numbing 9-5 job, he watches the clock and seizes upon every opportunity to play golf, go on vacation and generally just get away from the office and its responsibilities. This is a horrible trait in a POTUS; the Presidency is a vocation, not another step on the career ladder.

I have no doubt that the burnout factor for presidents is high, but I don’t think what we’re seeing is burnout. What I believe we are seeing is man dangerously out of his level who has found that the old adage “be careful what you wish for” is actually true.

Looking forward to the next 2 1/2 years with this man at the helm is a pretty disturbing prospect. His lack of experience and leadership skills are on display to the entire world, even after 18 months in office, and many world leaders are publically saying as much.

As Byron York put it:
What Obama wanted was political power, and that is what sent him to Harvard Law School. "He was constantly thinking about his path to significance and power," another organizer, Mike Kruglik, told me. "He said, 'I need to go there [Harvard] to find out more about power. How do powerful people think? What kind of networks do they have? How do they connect to each other?'"
During his first 18 months, he has had that power; at least as much as a president can have in a constitutional democracy. If fact, he has had more than most, given the fact that during his first 18 months in office, he has benefitted from a highly malleable House and Senate who have given him, and continue to give him pretty much what he has wanted on a silver platter.

There is a distinct possibility that, in just 5 months, the power that he now, has will be greatly diminished by a surge of Republicans into the Congress and Senate.

If, in fact, he has been disillusioned by the limitations of his power now, what will be his mindset should have to deal with a legislature dominated by the opposition?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Atlas Officially Shrugs

It would appear that U.S. Treasury Secretary has sent the world a message that we are relinquishing the role of economic leadership in the world:
US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has told the BBC that the world "cannot depend as much on the US as it did in the past".

He said that other major economies would have to grow more for the global economy to prosper.

He also played down any differences in policy between the US and Europe regarding deficit reduction.

Mr Geithner was speaking in Washington ahead of G8 and G20 meetings this weekend in Toronto.
The sad truth of the matter is that we are, and have been for some time, drowning in a sea of red ink, and the current administration has exacerbated this situation more than any administration in our history. The tragic part is that they show no indication of stopping any time soon and continue to throw staggering amounts of at the problem, seemingly unaware that their actions make the situation worse by the day.

The ever-increasing amounts of government (tax payer) dollars flooding the economy in lieu of, and effectively stiffing, real private sector expansion, combined with a serious contraction in the number of tax payers (due to high unemployment rates) to find these boondoggles, creates, and nurtures, a catastrophic environment that the Obama administration refuses to see.

Alas, Geithner may well be signalling that this White House will continue on its ill-fated course. If that is the case, the world will have to find a new economic champion, for the American Atlas is crumbling under the weight of the impossible burden that has been thrust upon him.

Friday, June 25, 2010

I've Got a Bad Feeling About This.....

And I'm not just talking about the picture.
Barney Frank (trying to hold up his pants) and Christopher Dodd emerge after an all nighter.
House, Senate leaders finalize details of sweeping financial overhaul

Key House and Senate lawmakers approved far-reaching new financial rules early Friday after weeks of division, delay and frantic last-minute dealmaking. The dawn compromise set up a potential vote in both houses of Congress next week that could send the landmark legislation to President Obama by July 4.

The final and most arduous compromise began to fall into place just after midnight. Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) agreed to scale back a controversial provision that would have forced the nation's biggest banks to spin off their lucrative derivatives-dealing businesses.

The panel also reached accord on the "Volcker rule," named after former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker. That measure would bar banks from trading with their own money, a practice known as proprietary trading.

Lawmakers pulled an all-nighter, wrapping up their work at 5:39 a.m. -- more than 20 messy, mind-numbing hours after they began Thursday morning.
I must stipulate that I'm no financial expert and I have no projections to offer as to how this legislation will effect the financial structure of the country. I do know that it contains a lot of govenment oversight and control.

That said, when Democrats stay up all night drafting legislation called a "sweeping financial overhaul", I become worried. And when I read:
Despite myriad changes in recent days, Democrats appear poised to deliver a final bill that largely reflects the administration's original blueprint unveiled almost precisely a year ago. ("almost precisely"??)
I become very worried, but when I read:
"We've put in the hands of the president a very powerful set of tools for him to reassert American leadership in the world," Frank said.
I begin to wonder just what the hell it is they are trying to foist upon us.

Remember when Nancy Pelosi said of the Health Care overhaul; "We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it"? Well, here's Christopher Dodd on the 2,000 page financial overhaul crafted last night:
"It's a great moment. I'm proud to have been here," said a teary-eyed Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.), who as chairman of the Senate Banking Committee led the effort in the Senate. "No one will know until this is actually in place how it works. But we believe we've done something that has been needed for a long time. It took a crisis to bring us to the point where we could actually get this job done."
This is becoming a disturbing theme with Democrats; we really don't know how it's going to work until it's in place, but it's something that we've needed for a long time. What could go wrong?

Yeah, I've got a real bad feeling about this.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

BP Spill: It Makes One wonder Who Is Really At Fault....

BP Relied on Faulty U.S. Data

BP PLC and other big oil companies based their plans for responding to a big oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico on U.S. government projections that gave very low odds of oil hitting shore, even in the case of a spill much larger than the current one.

The government models, which oil companies are required to use but have not been updated since 2004, assumed that most of the oil would rapidly evaporate or get broken up by waves or weather. In the weeks since the Deepwater Horizon caught fire and sank, real life has proven these models, prepared by the Interior Department's Mineral Management Service, wrong.

Oil has hit 171 miles of shoreline in southern Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and northern Florida. Further, government models don't address how oil released a mile below the surface would behave—despite years of concern among government scientists and oil companies about deep-water spills.
This isn't about administrations or particular presidents; it's about government's long list of failures in the area of control. If BP was required to employ faulty government models in their response, should we not cast the eye of blame on those who formulated the models?

As Reagan said "government isn't the answer to our problems; government is the problem"

Monday, June 21, 2010

I'm Surprised This Would Even Be in Dispute!

It's hard to tell parody from reality these days.
High Court: Americans Can’t Help Terrorists

Over the objections of three justices, the Supreme Court has upheld a federal law prohibiting American citizens from providing "material support or resources" to foreign terror groups. The 6-3 majority opinion from Chief Justice John Roberts is a victory for the government’s efforts to fight terrorist organizations.

"It is not difficult to conclude, as Congress did, that the taint of [a terrorist's] violent activities is so great that working in coordination with them or at their command legitimizes and furthers their terrorist means,” Roberts wrote. “Moreover, material support meant to promote peaceable, lawful conduct can be diverted to advance terrorism in multiple ways."
So who, you ask, would take an opposing view to this?
Justice Stephen Breyer took the unusual step of reading his dissent from the bench, something that is rarely done and often only when a justice feels particularly strong about the outcome of the decision. Breyer said he could not agree with the Court’s conclusion that “the Constitution permits the Government to prosecute the plaintiffs criminally for engaging in coordinated teaching and advocacy furthering the designated organizations' lawful political objectives." Breyer was joined in dissent by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor.
Alas, this is not parody; it's all too real.

And Now, Something Stunning....And Very Cool!

Revealed: The stunning green glow of the Southern Lights photographed by astronauts from ABOVE

Like a green ribbon snaking its way out into space this stunning image shows the famous Southern Lights from a rather unusual angle - above

Taken by astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS), this picture shows the aurora australis against the backdrop of Earth's horizon.

These ever-shifting displays are most visible near the North (aurora borealis) and South (aurora australis) Poles.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Second Place is Simply Unacceptable!

I think it's time to refuse to buy Chinese goods and shun companies that outsource their manufacturing to China:
US Manufacturing Crown Slips
The US remained the world’s biggest manufacturing nation by output last year, but is poised to relinquish this slot in 2011 to China – thus ending a 110-year run as the number one country in factory production.The figures are revealed in a league table being published on Monday by IHS Global Insight, a US-based economics consultancy

Last year, the US created 19.9 per cent of world manufacturing output, compared with 18.6 per cent for China, with the US staying ahead despite a steep fall in factory production due to the global recession.

That the US is still top comes as a surprise, since in 2008 – before the slump of the past two years took hold –IHS predicted it would lose pole position in 2009.

However, a relatively resilient US performance kept China in second place, says IHS, which predicts that faster growth in China will deny the US the top spot next year.
This is emblematic of this country's slide toward mediocrity and it should be a clarion call to renew American exceptionalism.

We're Buying Russian Choppers for Afghanistan? Bad Plan!

U.S. military criticized for purchase of Russian copters for Afghan air corps

The U.S. government is snapping up Russian-made helicopters to form the core of Afghanistan's fledgling air force, a strategy that is drawing flak from members of Congress who want to force the Afghans to fly American choppers instead.

In a turnabout from the Cold War, when the CIA gave Stinger missiles to Afghan rebels to shoot down Soviet helicopters, the Pentagon has spent $648 million to buy or refurbish 31 Russian Mi-17 transport helicopters for the Afghan National Army Air Corps. The Defense Department is seeking to buy 10 more of the Mi-17s next year, and had planned to buy dozens more over the next decade.

The spectacle of using U.S. taxpayer dollars to buy Russian military products is proving a difficult sell in Congress. Some legislators say that the Pentagon never considered alternatives to the Mi-17, an aircraft it purchased for use in Iraq and Pakistan, and that a lack of competition has enabled Russian defense contractors to gouge on prices.

"The Mi-17 program either has uncoordinated oversight or simply none at all," said Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.), who along with Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) has pushed the Pentagon to reconsider its purchase plans. "The results have led to massive waste, cost overruns, schedule delays, safety concerns and major delivery problems."

U.S. and Afghan military officials who favor the Mi-17, which was designed for use in Afghanistan, acknowledge that it might seem odd for the Pentagon to invest in Russian military products. But they said that changing helicopter models would throw a wrench into the effort to train Afghan pilots, none of whom can fly U.S.-built choppers.

"If people come and fly in Afghanistan with the Mi-17, they will understand why that aircraft is so important to the future for Afghanistan," said Brig. Gen. Michael R. Boera, the U.S. Air Force general in charge of rebuilding the Afghan air corps. "We've got to get beyond the fact that it's Russian. . . . It works well in Afghanistan."

U.S. military officials have estimated that the Afghan air force won't be able to operate independently until 2016, five years after President Obama has said he intends to start withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan. But Boera said that date could slip by at least two years if Congress forces the Afghans to fly U.S. choppers . "Is that what we really want to do?" he asked.

The U.S. military has been trying to resurrect the decimated Afghan National Army Air Corps since 2005, when it consisted of a few dozen furloughed pilots and a handful of decrepit Mi-17s.

Because Afghan airmen had historically trained on Russian choppers, the Pentagon decided to make the Mi-17s the backbone of Afghanistan's fleet. The Soviet Union specifically designed the Mi-17 for use in Afghanistan. U.S. officials say it is well-suited for navigating the altitudes of the Hindu Kush mountains, as well as Afghanistan's desert terrain.
While there is a certain amount of logic regarding the suitability of the Russian equipment, I also think that we have to consider that Afghans will be wholly dependant upon the Russians for parts and maintainace of these aircraft for years, if not decades to come. This is an uacceptable situation - economically, and geopolitically. If the Pentagon is purchasing aircraft for the Afghans, I would prefer that it do so from American companies thus keeping our defense dollars at home and keeping Americans working. We certainly shouldn't be spilling American blood in Afghanistan, while enriching Russian companies in the process.

While the "Cold War" may be over, we should consider Russia a lukewarm "ally", at best. They're already engaged in a form of economic warfare with the U.S., and we should well understand that our goals and their's are vastly different.

Success in Afghanistan is is in serious doubt, and President Karzai is anything but a reliable partner in the process. In the meantime, President Obama has, just today, reaffirmed his pledge to begin our withdraw from Afghanistan in July, 2011.

If we fail in Afghanistan, and failure is a distinct possibility, given the above, do we really want an Afghan Air Force equipped with Russian made and maintained choppers that were purchased with American tax dollars?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

How's The Socialist Revolution Working Out in Venezuela, Hugo?

Not so well, it would appear. In one of largest oil producing countries on the planet, citizens in Hugo Chavez's Venezuela can't even feed themselves:
Hugo Chavez Spearheads Raids as Food Prices Skyrocket

Mountains of rotting food found at a government warehouse, soaring prices and soldiers raiding wholesalers accused of hoarding: Food supply is the latest battle in President Hugo Chavez's socialist revolution.

Venezuelan army soldiers swept through the working class, pro-Chavez neighborhood of Catia in Caracas last week, seizing 120 tons of rice along with coffee and powdered milk that officials said was to be sold above regulated prices.

"The battle for food is a matter of national security," said a red-shirted official from the Food Ministry, resting his arm on a pallet laden with bags of coffee.

It is also the latest issue to divide the Latin American country where Chavez has nationalized a wide swathe of the economy, he says to reverse years of exploitation of the poor.

Chavez supporters are grateful for a network of cheap state-run supermarkets and they say the raids will slow massive inflation.

Critics accuse him of steering the country toward a communist dictatorship and say he is destroying the private sector.

They point to 80,000 tons of rotting food found in warehouses belonging to the government as evidence the state is a poor and corrupt administrator.

Jose Guzman, an assistant manager at a store raided in Catia, watched with resignation as government agents pored over the company's accounts and computers after the food ministry official and the television cameras left.

"The government is pushing this type of establishment toward bankruptcy," said Guzman, who linked the raid to the rotten food scandal. "Somehow they have to replace all the food that was lost, and this is the most expeditious way."
Every revolution that has promised a "Socialist Paradise" has quickly produced a special circle of Hell for its citizens; Socialism is simply not part of the normal human psyche and those citizens who embrace it are either tools of the State or parasites.

Chavez, and his country, are doomed to a particularly bloody counter-revolution as a result of this folly.

British Chutzpah

Geez, does this guy get up every morning and say "how can I annoy Americans today", or is he just a PR challenged imbecile?
BP Chief at UK Yacht Race as Oil Spews in Gulf of Mexico
BP chief executive Tony Hayward, often criticized for being tone-deaf to U.S. concerns about the worst oil spill in history, took time off Saturday to attend a glitzy yacht race off England's Isle of Wight.

Spokeswoman Sheila Williams said Hayward took a break from overseeing BP efforts to stem the undersea gusher in Gulf of Mexico to watch his boat "Bob" participate in the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race.

The one-day yacht race is one of the world's largest, attracting hundreds of boats and thousands of sailors.

In a statement, BP described Hayward's break as "a rare moment of private time" and said that "no matter where he is, he is always in touch with what is happening within BP" and can direct recovery operations if required.

That is likely to be a hard sell in the slick-hit Gulf states struggling to deal with the up to 120 million gallons of oil that have escaped since April 20 from a blown-out undersea well operated by Hayward's company.
As the Brits would say; "Bad form, Tony, very bad form"

Musings on the BP Oil Spill; Two Months Hence

First, I'll stipulate that the oil spill, itself, cannot be fairly be laid at President Obama's doorstep; this was clearly a disaster not of his making. The decrepit, inept bureaucracies that oversee off-shore drilling far predate this administration, and several before it. However, this incident, once again, underscores government's poor management record in any number of areas, and throughout this crisis it has continued to perform below expectations.

That said, a key part of any president's job is crisis management, and the exhibition of strong leadership during a given crisis. At the moment that rig exploded experts knew the magnitude of the disaster that faced the Gulf, yet the President seemed oddly disengaged; as though he assumed that it would just fix itself. As days, then weeks passed, it became increasingly evident that BP, and Transocean, who built and maintained the rig, were clueless as to how to solve the problem. The United States has vast technological resources and expertise at its disposal, and the President has the authority to tap these resources in emergency situations. This was clearly an emergency.

The fact is that the governors of the Gulf states have been far more proactive during this crisis than has The White House, but, again, have been met with resistance from the Federal Government:
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has spent the past week and half fighting to get working barges to begin vacuuming crude oil out of his state's oil-soaked waters. By Thursday morning, against the governor's wishes, those barges still were sitting idle, even as more oil flowed toward the Louisiana shore.

"It's the most frustrating thing," the Republican governor told ABC News while visiting Buras, La. "Literally, [Wednesday] morning we found out that they were halting all of these barges."

Sixteen barges sat stationary Thursday, although they had been sucking up thousands of gallons of BP's oil as recently as Tuesday. Workers in hazmat suits and gas masks pumped the oil out of the Louisiana waters and into steel tanks. It was a homegrown idea that seemed to be effective at collecting the thick gunk.

So why stop now?

"The Coast Guard came and shut them down," Jindal said. "You got men on the barges in the oil, and they have been told by the Coast Guard, 'Cease and desist. Stop sucking up that oil.'"

A Coast Guard representative told ABC News that it shares the same goal as the governor.

"We are all in this together. The enemy is the oil," said Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Dan Lauer.

But the Coast Guard ordered the stoppage because of reasons that Jindal found frustrating. The Coast Guard needed to confirm that there were fire extinguishers and life vests on board, and then it had trouble contacting the people who built the barges.

The governor said he didn't have the authority to overrule the Coast Guard's decision, though he said he tried to reach the White House to raise his concerns.

"They promised us they were going to get it done as quickly as possible," he said. But "every time you talk to someone different at the Coast Guard, you get a different answer."

Sadly, this just happened this week.

Our government's response has been the typical inter-agency squabbling, bureaucratic paralysis, compounded by a profound lack of leadership from the top. Two months ago, the challange was containment, now we are looking at clean-up, which is vastly more difficult and expensive.

Yes, a pipe spewing oil a mile underwater is no small task; it's an enormous one. It's also not an insoluable problem, and I simply cannot believe that, given the proper leadership, various experts could have been assembled to devise a workable plan.

To date, no plan is evident.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Say It Ain't So, Joe!

Sorry, but executive power to "shut down" the Internet sounds suspiciously like executive power to suspend the First Ammendment. The First Ammendment in the 21st Century IS the Internet and giving the "off switch" to ANY President smells very bad:
The federal government would have “absolute power” to shut down the Internet under the terms of a new US Senate bill being pushed by Joe Lieberman, legislation which would hand President Obama a figurative “kill switch” to seize control of the world wide web in response to a Homeland Security directive.

Lieberman has been pushing for government regulation of the Internet for years under the guise of cybersecurity, but this new bill goes even further in handing emergency powers over to the feds which could be used to silence free speech under the pretext of a national emergency.

“The legislation says that companies such as broadband providers, search engines or software firms that the US Government selects “shall immediately comply with any emergency measure or action developed” by the Department of Homeland Security. Anyone failing to comply would be fined,” reports ZDNet’s Declan McCullagh.

The 197-page bill (PDF) is entitled Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act, or PCNAA.

Technology lobbying group TechAmerica warned that the legislation created “the potential for absolute power,” while the Center for Democracy and Technology worried that the bill’s emergency powers “include authority to shut down or limit internet traffic on private systems.”

The bill has the vehement support of Senator Jay Rockefeller, who last year asked during a congressional hearing, “Would it had been better if we’d have never invented the Internet?” while fearmongering about cyber-terrorists preparing attacks.

The largest Internet-based corporations are seemingly happy with the bill, primarily because it contains language that will give them immunity from civil lawsuits and also reimburse them for any costs incurred if the Internet is shut down for a period of time.

“If there’s an “incident related to a cyber vulnerability” after the President has declared an emergency and the affected company has followed federal standards, plaintiffs’ lawyers cannot collect damages for economic harm. And if the harm is caused by an emergency order from the Feds, not only does the possibility of damages virtually disappear, but the US Treasury will even pick up the private company’s tab,” writes McCullagh.

The Internet has become the prime medium of free speech; allowing a ANY president the ability close this spigot is unthinkable.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Chris Cristie: I Like The Way This Guy Thinks!

This is the new Governor of NJ. While he's talking specifically about the teacher's union, what he's saying is applicable to unions, in general.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Definitive Guide to Tatoo Locations

Heh, found this on the web. It's funny, but true.

Tatoos, once the territory of sailors, longshoremen, and common thugs have now gone mainstream and are quite fashionable. Back in the 70s when I was in the Navy, a lot of guys got the "Zig-Zag Man" tatooed on their forearm. I often wonder how many of them, on the golf course with clients think "hmmm, not the best decision I've ever made". Me? I never got one and have never regretted that decision.

I did get my ear pierced, but if I ever tire of it, the little hole will grow back. Tatoos? They're forever. Have you ever seen an old guy with a tatoo he got when he was in the service that, over the decades, turned into an indistinguishable blob that looks like a bad birthmark? That's you in 30-40 years; think about it.

The White House's Oily "If" Defense

The oil from the BP spill is not only washing up on the shores of the Gulf coast, it's also making its way to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. While he seems, after nearly two months now, President Obama and his team are still clueless as to how to cutail the befoulment of our coast, he most certainly has developed a plan for his own protection.

President Obama has been in office for 18 months now, more than 1/3 of his elected term. Even with all his overblown rhetoric about "the buck stops here"; when the buck arrives, he seems reluctant to accept it and grasps for a way to blame it on the Republicans:
President Barack Obama said Friday that some members of Congress are being hypocritical when it comes to blaming the White House for its handling of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

In an interview with POLITICO, the president said: “I think it’s fair to say, if six months ago, before this spill had happened, I had gone up to Congress and I had said we need to crack down a lot harder on oil companies and we need to spend more money on technology to respond in case of a catastrophic spill, there are folks up there, who will not be named, who would have said this is classic, big-government overregulation and wasteful spending.”
The president also implied that anti-big government types such as tea party activists were being hypocritical on the issue.

“Some of the same folks who have been hollering and saying ‘do something’ are the same folks who, just two or three months ago, were suggesting that government needs to stop doing so much,” Obama said. “Some of the same people who are saying the president needs to show leadership and solve this problem are some of the same folks who, just a few months ago, were saying this guy is trying to engineer a takeover of our society through the federal government that is going to restrict our freedoms.”

The fact is that IF he had proposed money for technology to repond to a catastrphic spill, or tighter oversight with regard to the safety of offshore drilling on U.S. Government property (which is where this rig is, or was, located), it would have been well within the purview of the Government to do so. The fact is that he DIDN'T; it was never on his radar and it's disingenuous for him to retoactively blame his political opponants for a reaction that he feels they would have had toward a proposal that was never made.

BP, as is the case with all large corporations, has a lobbying team and a Political Action Committee. Over the past 20 years, who has been the largest recipient of their political donations? Was it George W. Bush? Dick Cheney? Was it even one of those "evil-in-the-back-pocket-of-big-oil-Republicans"? Actually, no; it was Barack Obama:
While the BP oil geyser pumps millions of gallons of petroleum into the Gulf of Mexico, President Barack Obama and members of Congress may have to answer for the millions in campaign contributions they’ve taken from the oil and gas giant over the years.

BP and its employees have given more than $3.5 million to federal candidates over the past 20 years, with the largest chunk of their money going to Obama, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Donations come from a mix of employees and the company’s political action committees — $2.89 million flowed to campaigns from BP-related PACs and about $638,000 came from individuals.

On top of that, the oil giant has spent millions each year on lobbying — including $15.9 million last year alone — as it has tried to influence energy policy.

During his time in the Senate and while running for president, Obama received a total of $77,051 from the oil giant and is the top recipient of BP PAC and individual money over the past 20 years, according to financial disclosure records.

So, as Obama searches for an "ass to kick", perhaps that ass is as close as the nearest mirror....

Friday, June 11, 2010

An Interesting Policy Juxtaposition on a Nuclear Iran

The Saudis seem to be clearly concerned about a nuclear-armed Iran, even to the point of allowing the IAF airspace for a strike:
Saudi Arabia gives Israel clear skies to attack Iranian nuclear sites

Saudi Arabia has conducted tests to stand down its air defences to enable Israeli jets to make a bombing raid on Iran’s nuclear facilities, The Times can reveal.

In the week that the UN Security Council imposed a new round of sanctions on Tehran, defence sources in the Gulf say that Riyadh has agreed to allow Israel to use a narrow corridor of its airspace in the north of the country to shorten the distance for a bombing run on Iran. To ensure the Israeli bombers pass unmolested, Riyadh has carried out tests to make certain its own jets are not scrambled and missile defence systems not activated. Once the Israelis are through, the kingdom’s air defences will return to full alert.

“The Saudis have given their permission for the Israelis to pass over and they will look the other way,” said a US defence source in the area. “They have already done tests to make sure their own jets aren’t scrambled and no one gets shot down. This has all been done with the agreement of the [US] State Department.”

On the other hand, our own administration seems reluctant to even enforce sanctions:

White House works to ease Iran proposal in Congress

The Obama administration fears tough U.S. sanctions against companies doing business in Iran would anger foreign allies.

Reporting from Washington — The Obama administration, which labored for months to impose tough new United Nations sanctions against Iran, now is pushing in the opposite direction against Congress as it crafts U.S. sanctions that the White House fears may go too far.

Administration officials have begun negotiations with congressional leaders, who are working on versions of House and Senate bills that would punish companies that sell refined petroleum products to Iran or help the country's oil industry.

Unlike the U.N. measures, congressional action would pertain only to U.S. policies and agencies and would not be binding on other countries. Other countries and groups of nations also are considering adopting measures to augment the U.N. action.

While I have no illusions of noble intentions on the part of the Saudis, I have even fewer regarding our own administration. If the president cannot take a firm stand against a nuclear-armed Islamic terrorist state, against what will he take a firm stand?

Sanctions are a mild response to a threat as the one represented by Iran, and the president cannot even muster the fortitude to do even that. The vaccuum of leadership becomes more evident by the day and continues to erode our standing on the world stage.

Keeping it Classy?

While I'm certainly no prig, and have been known to use salty language in select company, I also think there is a boundary of propriety between public statements or interview answers and being mistakenly being caught off guard. This clearly crossed that boundary. While it's not necessarily abject profanity, it erodes the dignity that should be part of the presidency and rings paricularly hollow given the profound lack of meaningful action taken by the president during this crisis.

"Ass kicking" won't solve the problem; leadership, and a credible course of action will. This well has been gushing oil for going on two months, and the administration still seems to be in a quandry as to what course to take - this is simply unacceptable.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Taxman

We can laugh now, but we'll all pay pay later. I say take your laughs when you can get them.

A pretty nice piece of work; kudos to the creator.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

"The Boys of Pointe Du Hoc"

Let us remember that on this day, 66 years ago, one of the most breathtaking displays of courage in history took place as Allied forces began to lift the veil of darkness that had descended upon Europe. I can think of no better commemoration of this day than Ronald Reagan's Normandy speech in 1984.

These men saved our world, and their deed should be forever remembered.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Where Is The Outrage?

Helen Thomas has long been a fixture in the White House Press Corps; the reason for which has never been quite clear to me. She's less a journalist than a hateful Leftist attack dog who seems to always get a pass on her outrageous statements, simply due to her longevity.

As the Left becomes more antisemitic by the day, Helen gives voice to what is really on their collective mind: