Monday, November 09, 2009

Observation

I have noticed the socialists have a new favorite trick, when we tell them socialism isn't authorized under the consitution, they claim we have already scrapped the constitution when we accepted the Air Force/Social Security/subsidized housing/public schools/police, so, really, we're already too far along to get technical, because OF COURSE nobody wants to scrap the Air Force/Social Security/subsidized housing/public schools/police!!!

I always tell them, if you think those things justify socialism in America, then ditch them too. And they sputter and call me nuts.

They have forgotten or rather, disbelieve, that millions of Americans still with us were born into American communities without any of those things. Those trinkets have been promoted as useful but our county existed and thrived without them.

One problem with teaching American history to children is that adults later find it childlike.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

House Passes Pelosicare

2 votes more than they needed for a bare minority.

This is war on the Constitution and on the upward mobility of the American worker. The Congress now declares the federal government has the power to dictate the consumption of for-profit goods by citizens. Regardless of income. And if they don't buy as much as Congress thinks good, the citizen owes a tax penalty.

5th, 4th, 8th and 9th Amendment violations all throughout. And after Kelo and McConnell v FEC, I won't wait for the Supreme Court to rescue us. I will not pay up.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

We Have Met the Enemy, and It is Us

I am restrained only by my promise never to trust 60 Minutes to tell the truth. Yet I haven't heard McChrystal come out and denounce their editing.

The notion that the United States Army can only operate in countries we have invaded, with the consent of the governed, is so ridiculous I cannot believe it was suggested.

If after eight years, the Afghan people will fight for the Taliban, they are the enemy. The Taliban, is the enemy. Anybody cooperating economically with the Taliban, is the enemy. If Karzai's regime protects them, they are the enemy.

If we cannot and will not fight to win, then we are fighting for terms. And if we come to such a pass through our own stupidity and weakness, we will be routed.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

No Death Panels??

The Obama administration's pay czar Kenneth Feinberg says he can "claw back" exec compensation
Reuters

Monday, August 17th 2009, 8:28 AM

Kenneth Feinberg, the Obama administration's pay czar, said on Sunday he has broad and "binding" authority over executive compensation, including the ability to "claw back" money already paid, and he is weighing how and whether to use that power.

Feinberg told Reuters that Citigroup Inc included the contract of energy trader Andrew Hall in submissions due Friday by seven major companies still locked in the federal government's TARP Program.

Feinberg said he hasn't looked at Hall's contract, which reports have said could pay him as much as $100 million this year.

"Whether I have jurisdiction to decide his compensation or not, we will take a look and decide over the next few weeks," Feinberg said after speaking at a public forum in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, part of a newsmaker series hosted by the Martha's Vineyard Times newspaper.

Feinberg has been consulting with seven companies that have yet to pay back money they borrowed from the government, including Citi, American International Group Inc, Bank of America Corp, Chrysler Financial, Chrysler Group LLC, General Motors Co and GMAC Inc.

Those companies faced a deadline of Friday of submitted proposals to Feinberg for their top 25 employees.

Feinberg said on Sunday that decisions he makes will be "binding," but the law limits his power over contracts signed before February 11, 2009.

He also said he has the authority to use a "clawback" provision to go after compensation for executives from any company that received money from the U.S. Treasury's Troubled Asset Relief Progr.am (TARP).

"I have the discretion, conferred upon by Congress, to attempt to recover compensation that has already been paid to executives not only in these companies, but in any company that received federal assistance," Feinberg said during his remarks.

Asked by Reuters if he could use that ability to target a firm like Goldman Sachs Group Inc, which paid back $10 billion in bailout money, Feinberg said: "Anything is possible under the law."

"I can claw back, but we haven't focused on that at all," he said.

Feinberg said he has been advising the seven firms under his jurisdiction on a daily basis, characterizing the meetings as "very amicable."

"There have been some tough disagreements, but everyone is trying to get to an end place in compensation that makes sense in a post-TARP world," Feinberg said.

Citigroup, in particular, has concerns about pay restrictions causing its top employees to leave, Feinberg said.

"Citibank says if you don't pay us x or y, the going rate for our senior officials, they will leave," Feinberg said. "They will go to Goldman Sachs. They will go to JPMorgan Chase & Co. Worse, they'll go to UBS or the Royal Bank of Scotland, or foreign banks."

Feinberg said the law requires him to take market forces into account, but also to consider performance and past deals between a company and an employee.

"The statute provides these guideposts, but the statute ultimately says I have discretion to decide what it is that these people should make and that my determination will be final," Feinberg said.

"The officials can't run to the Secretary of Treasury. The officials can't run to the court house or a local court. My decision is final on those individuals," Feinberg added.

Feinberg told Reuters he hasn't spoken with President Obama about his role as the administration's watchdog on pay, although he has been in touch with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.



This is how Congress does business: it delegates to bureaucrats who won't answer to Congress, or report to the President, just a Secretary.

If their health care commission has the same attitude towards its authority as Mr. Feinberg, you will see your treatment curtailed by a bureacrat and you will also be told you have nowhere to run.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Thoughts on Hon. Joe Wilson

If Congress can be summoned to the foot of the President at his whim,
because he would like some legislation done at a time he thinks important,
and be lied to willy-nilly as he talks over their shoulder to the camera,
repeating a position taken over months,
and the embarrassment in that is somebody calls him a liar

I'm embarrassed by Congress.

And once more the Republican party let's it be known it never meant to dig in and confront the President. So I guess if you look for a party to do that, it aint the GOP.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Supporting "the War"

I read some blurbs today from Reuters and AFP that Adm. Mike Mullen is concerned that the war in Afghanistan isn't going so well, and now 50% of Americans by one poll say it wasn't worth fighting for.

It was this Admiral Mullen who testified in front of Congress that "the war in Afghanistan will not have a military solution". This is the guy who supports limited rules of engagement to preclude bombarding too close to houses. We read about that, and we read that the US government is reaching out to the "moderate elements" in the Taliban.

If we're not fighting to wipe out the Taliban, but get them to accept a political subjugation and a cease-fire with the national government, then we're asking for something unprecedented in our history. In VietNam and Korea the goal at least was to make the bad guys leave, not stick around and lose elections.

If that's "the war in Afghanistan", I don't feel like supporting it either. I thought we were looking to win.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

David Frum, You're a Bum

"Contra Rush Limbaugh, history’s actual fascists were not primarily known for their anti-smoking policies or generous social welfare programs. Fascism celebrated violence, anti-rationalism and hysterical devotion to an authoritarian leader. To date, the Obama administration has fallen rather short in these departments. Perhaps uncomfortably aware of the shortcoming, the hardliners have developed — okay, invented really — their own mythology about Obama “brownshirts.” (The popular conservative website RedState.org literally uses the term.) The complaint rests on a single case — that of conservative activist Kenneth Gladney, who got into a scuffle at a townhall in St. Louis, Missouri. The altercation was captured on video and you can watch it on YouTube. What you’ll see is a man, already on the ground, and another man stepping back in order to avoid tripping over him. The man on the ground is Gladney. Gladney walked away from the confrontation and later went to hospital, where he was treated for light injuries and released the same day. Whatever happened and whoever started it, this happily bloodless encounter bears not even the most glancing resemblance to the brutality that made Hitler’s brownshirts notorious. And yet, look up Gladney’s name online and he’s suddenly a poignant martyr.

Can we get a grip here? It is possible to express opposition to a president’s policies without preposterous name-calling — without diminishing and disparaging the unique experiences of those who did actually suffer from actual persecution by actual Nazis. After all, you know who else trafficked in hysterical exaggeration? That’s right: Hitler!"

http://www.newmajority.com/can-we-get-a-grip/comment-page-2#comment-60232

Here's the video. I think we can tell a lot more than that:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5Q3p6jClQM

You know what's more despicable than saying "Hey, I see similarities between our hostile ogliarchic unconstitutional Administration and Hitler"?

Watching a guy getting beat up and saying "What beating?"

David Frum has such a stake in seizing "conservatism" from the conservatives, he can't allow the public to be more repulsed by Obama & Co. than by Limbaugh. Even if that means ignoring Democrat crimes.

Why, why is it that "moderate" Republicans are so sleazy?

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Dumbest Man in America

Prince Fielder

A Day After Fielder Tries to Storm a Clubhouse, Cool Heads Prevail
By BILLY WITZ
Published: August 5, 2009
LOS ANGELES — Prince Fielder gazed intently into the bathroom mirror in the visiting clubhouse, studied his freshly cut hair for a moment and then gave his approval with a smile.

Although Fielder seemed content with the cut Wednesday afternoon, the Brewers’ slugger was not so pleased with the man who had left a mark on him the night before.

After the final out of the Brewers’ 17-4 loss to the Dodgers on Tuesday, Fielder charged through the hallway that joins the visiting and home clubhouses in an effort to confront Dodgers reliever Guillermo Mota, who had hit Fielder with a fastball in the thigh with two out in the ninth inning.

Fielder was stopped from entering the clubhouse by a security guard, who soon had reinforcements from other officers and some of Fielder’s teammates. They led Fielder back through fans who waited for players’ autographs and into the Brewers’ clubhouse.

The Brewers felt Mota’s pitch was in retaliation for Brewers reliever Chris Smith’s nicking the Dodgers’ best hitter, Manny Ramirez, with an inside fastball in the seventh inning. Another Milwaukee reliever, R. J. Swindle, hit Juan Pierre in the eighth.

What Fielder intended to do if he had breached the home clubhouse apparently will be left to the imagination. He deflected questions Tuesday night, and on Wednesday, the Brewers’ director of media relations, Mike Vassallo, stood sentry in front of Fielder’s stall and informed reporters that Fielder would not be answering questions about the incident.

It was not the only extra security detail. The Dodgers called in several guards three hours earlier than usual, so they had eight deployed around the clubhouse by 2:30 p.m., when many players began to arrive.

Ramirez was out of the lineup Wednesday in the last regular-season game between Los Angeles and Milwaukee, which also happened to be Manny Ramirez Poster Night. Manager Joe Torre said the lineup change was not related to the previous night’s incident. When Brewers Manager Ken Macha was informed that Ramirez would begin the night on the bench, he channeled his inner Captain Renault. “Shocking,” he said.

Macha said he was on the phone for an hour with Major League Baseball officials, who will be determining whether to fine Mota, who was ejected, or Fielder for their actions.

Macha was the rare man in uniform who was interested in discussing the matter Wednesday. Several players in each clubhouse declined to talk, and others gave bland answers. Torre, who often patiently answers any question — including those in the wake of Ramirez’s drug suspension — was not in the mood, either.

“I’m a little surprised and disappointed that this is taking all the attention,” Torre said to about 30 members of the news media who gathered in the dugout before the game. “I’m not going to waste a lot of time trying to discuss and viewpoint this and viewpoint that.”

By hitting Fielder, Mota at least seemed to be answering questions about the resolve of Dodgers pitchers to protect their hitters. In last year’s National League Championship Series, Phillies pitcher Brett Myers threw a fastball under the chin of Ramirez, and Dodgers pitcher Chad Billingsley did not retaliate.

But Torre said such a link between then and Tuesday was a reach. “You’re trying to connect the dots with a very long line,” he said.

As it turned out, Fielder was the center of attention again Wednesday in Milwaukee’s 4-1 win. Each time he came to the plate, the crowd of 50,276 booed vigorously. Fielder was 0 for 5, but he did chug down the line to beat a relay throw, thwarting a double play and allowing the Brewers to tie the score, 1-1. He also caught the Dodgers by surprise, stealing second with a thunderous head-first slide.

“I expected it,” said Fielder of the fans’ booing. “Their team is the Dodgers.”

The Brewers talked about Tuesday’s incident in a pre-game meeting. But save for Ramirez’s pinch-hit appearance in the seventh inning — he grounded out with two runners aboard — there was not much other drama. Mota, who threw 38 pitches Tuesday, did not pitch.

It was also a less eventful evening for William Gomez, who has stood guard outside the Dodgers clubhouse for seven years, but had never encountered a player like Fielder.

It is common for opponents to head past him after games on their way to use the weight-lifting equipment and batting cages that are past the Dodgers’ clubhouse.

Gomez said he heard Fielder arguing with his teammate Ryan Braun. “I thought something’s up,” Gomez said. “I told him, ‘I can’t let you in, sir.’ ”

Gomez was more successful at keeping the 270-pound Fielder at bay than any of his teammates who tried.

“Try?” asked Braun. “It was like a raging bull.”

Rare as it may be for a player to go into an opposing clubhouse to challenge another player, it is not uncommon for Mota. In 2002 and 2003, during his first stint with the Dodgers, he upset Mets catcher Mike Piazza by hitting him with pitches in spring training games. After the first incident, Piazza wrapped both hands around Mota’s neck between innings. The next year, Piazza at first charged Mota on the mound and later went into the Dodgers’ clubhouse after the game, but Mota had already left.

“Why do people get so mad?” Mota said Wednesday. “It’s baseball. We have to pitch inside, whether it’s Piazza, Braun or Fielder. We have to pitch inside.”

Mota said he was particularly surprised by Fielder’s reaction.

Fielder lay on the ground after being hit with a look of disbelief, wondering why Mota — his teammate last year — would have hit him. It was a look of bemusement, rather than anger.

“I was thinking he was a good friend,” said Mota, who was lifting weights when Fielder made his run toward the clubhouse. Mota said he found out about Fielder’s charge when he returned from his postgame workout.

A few minutes earlier, as Mota returned to his stall, he could not betray his feelings. The clubhouse television was tuned to ESPN, and Steve Phillips, the former Mets general manager who had criticized Mota for hitting Piazza, now seemed to be siding with him. Phillips said that if Fielder had a problem with Mota, he should have settled it on the field.

“Exactly,” Mota shouted, pointing at the television and perhaps another confrontation down the road.


You have to be on something serious to start a fight at Dodger Stadium...

Monday, August 03, 2009

The Futility of Organized Diplomacy

From Powerline:

David Ignatius argues that, rather than pursuing talks with the Iranian regime, the U.S. should let it stew in its own juice for now. He analogizes the regime to a "neighborhood troublemaker" who has driven his car into a ditch. The best response, Ignatius argues, is to let him remain there for a while with his wheels spinning.

So far, so good. But Ignatius is determined that we should appease someone. So, with Iran sidelined as a candidate, he argues that we should respond by appeasing its allies: Syria, Hamas, and even Hezbollah. He argues that, given Iran's current problems, its friends may want to hedge their bets by becoming more friendly with us. But unless we're prepared to fund the terrorist activities of Hamas and Hezbollah, as Tehran does, Iran clearly remains their one good bet.

Understandably, then, Ignatius glosses over the question of what it would take for the U.S. to befriend these bloody terrorist entities. However, he does urge, inevitably, that the U.S. take advantage of Iran's predicament by striving to create a Palestinian state. Is there any development in the region that commenators like Ignatius cannot spin into an argument for coercing Israel into agreeing to a state for its sworn enemies?

The notion that the U.S. can shake things up in the Middle East by appeasing bloodthirsty terrorists has long passed for bold, strategic thinking -- and indeed realism --in the salons and op-ed pages of Washington, D.C. The frightening thing is that we cannot be confident that it does not pass for such in the Obama administration.


Long ago, George Shultz was confronted with the fact that Reagan had gone longer than any President without a summit deal with the Soviet Union. His response was "So what. No deal is better than a bad deal."

The career diplomatic bloc in D.C. seems adamant that sort of thinking does not take root. They prefer "movement", dealmaking, to no deal. If American interests prohibit that approach, it's time to rethink American interests.

The notion that we can appease and enable terrorists like Hamas, Hezbollah and the Taliban without injury to the United States has already failed, and this failure will be demonstrated again. It's a good question whether any majority party in Washington will be allowed to do anything about it for some time.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Happy Fourth of July!

Enjoying air conditioning and burgers with the parents... perhaps seeing school friends afterwards. And relaxing...

Friday, July 03, 2009

I had Nothing to Say

at least nothing really original or developed, in response to our President's failed policy with Iran, or failed policy with Honduras, the crippling energy tax, Jacko's death and deification, Perez Hilton getting what he had coming to him...

But now that I have a preowned classic laptop, I have a much better way to say it!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Senator Leahy: Sotomayor = Marshall

Meanwhile, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., the Judiciary Committee chairman, told civil rights leaders and law students that Sotomayor's confirmation was a certainty.
"You better believe we're going to get her confirmed — take that one to the bank," Leahy said during a speech at the University of the District of Columbia law school.
He compared Sotomayor's nomination to that of Thurgood Marshall, the first black to sit on the court, saying they both faced adversity. He noted that Republicans questioned Marshall at his confirmation hearings about whether he would discriminate against white people — much as they have challenged Sotomayor for saying that she hoped that a "wise Latina" would usually reach a better conclusion than a white male without similar experiences.


And Thurgood Marshall went on to do exactly that.

Q: In terms of making sure you don't exclude African Americans. Would you say it's on a historical basis that they must be included now because they had been excluded previously?
A: I guess that's one of the arguments. But the other one is that the whole comparison is faulted because there's been this discrimination for all of these years and therefore people are in a position that they wouldn't have been in if it were not for that way that passed. So the only way to get rid of the weighted past is to weigh the future. Not as much, but considerably.
Q: But what about colleagues who say that violates the whites' rights?
A: I guess it does
, but I don't think the Constitution was meant to use anything that was unlawfully gained and their right is unlawfully gained. For example, your grandfather had a job that a Negro couldn't get. Your father got a job that a Negro couldn't get, therefore you have a better education than the children of those people. So somebody's got to pay for that.
Q: If I say that to a white man he says I didn't own any slaves. I didn't discriminate against anybody.
A: Did he go apply for a job and say he wasn't white? Did he accept the job knowing that Negroes had been excluded? But his father did. That's how he got the money. He got the money from his father to get educated.
Q: But he says let's call it all equal now and I'm qualified but you Negroes aren't qualified.
A: I absolutely agree with that as of 1896, Plessey v. Ferguson [the precedent setting Supreme Court decision legalizing segregated seating on trains]. I agree with him as of that time. If it had been done then I would be with you now. Well if the Plessey v. Ferguson says everybody is equal and the Constitution is color blind and they went through with that, I would say that as of now you have to face up like everybody else and that's not about the race.
Q: A 100 years later?
A: Why of course.
Q: So I say to you how much longer does white America have to make recompense?
A: I don't have the slightest idea. I don't know. I know all that's happened in the past.


The notion that "two wrongs don't make a right" apparently didn't mean much to Justice Marshall. Or that his logic might be a little bit stale four or five generations from slavery, but the country would lack any democratic method to correct his moral failure to uphold the Constitution.

My maternal grandfather was an Air Force sergeant and my paternal grandfather was a Mexican butcher. I'm not sure which of them cheated the black man out of their lofty position; probably both. My father drew the loot in his own person, and went through college. Then I inherited his ill-gotten gains by going to Catholic school so poor, Mom sewed our uniform shirts herself. I suppose I further cheated the other America by borrowing my way through community college, then the University of California, then flunking out of a graduate program in medieval history, and then paying my way through paralegal "night" school--airquotes, I went to work my shift after "night" school let out.

Yeah. Of course.

Thing is though, I wasn't asked if I was white enough or even if I could pay my own way...I couldn't, most of it. I was just called on to prove I could hack it, and I delivered that proof out of my own self. I developed myself to the point I could prove it.

And ANY other human of whatever color who can show and prove, put themselves on top. They made themselves. That's the only way you can deliver reliably, you have it in you, because you trained yourself to do it.

I KNOW Thurgood Marshall is wrong, and if Sotomayor thinks that way, she's wrong too, and a brake on the development of America into something better than a bigger Yugoslavia. And a bigot.

We Californios know why this liberal bastion tossed affirmative action--because it MUST lead to nonwhites demanding their "fair share" from other nonwhites. There is literally no future in "weighing" the future to "atone" for the past. It won't resemble the past, for one thing.

Anybody who thinks we can build a Great Society by "weighing" competing bigotries ought to be deported to Bosnia, and see how it fails.

Leahy also defended the belief that a judge should take into account the real-world impact of his or her decisions, saying the failures of the court's "conservative activists," including Chief Justice John Roberts, to do so recently resulted in the gutting of key anti-discrimination and civil rights laws.


Perhaps Mr. Leahy oughta assuage the groaning yoke of oppression by moving to a democratic republic, and running for the national legislature, and working to secure a majority for his own party in all chambers and the executive, and thus--one day--enabling him to draft the laws as he sees fit.

Oh hey, that's right... he already does have that power...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

It's Good to Have Allies

LONDON: A planned US missile shield may not strengthen Europe's security and could hurt NATO's interests if deployed in the face of Russian opposition, British members of parliament said yesterday. The United States says the anti-missile system is designed to prevent potential attacks from countries such as Iran, but the plan has outraged Moscow which sees it as a threat.

Russia has urged Washington to drop its plan to put 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar station in the Czech Republic. Both former Soviet satellites are now NATO members. Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, made up of legislators from the main political parties, voiced reservations about the US plan in a report on weapons proliferation. "We are not convinced that, as they are currently envisaged and under current circumstances, the United States' planned ballistic missile defense (BMD) deploy
ments in the Czech Republic and Poland represent a net gain for European security," it said.

We conclude that if the deployments are carried out in the face of opposition from Russia, this could be highly detrimental to NATO's overall security interests," the report said. It did not elaborate but Moscow has threatened to respond to the shield by placing short-range Iskander missiles in the Kaliningrad enclave, between NATO members Poland and Lithuania. If a ballistic missile defense system in Europe were to be developed at all, it should be as a joint system between the United States, NATO and Russia, the committee said.

The British government's early agreement to allow two Royal Air Force (RAF) bases in Britain to be used as part of the US missile defense system was "regrettable, given that the United States' development of its system involved its abrogation of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty," the committee said. The United States withdrew from the treaty in 2002. (From the Kuwait Times)


I'd respond but it seems the Brits feel there's no such thing as a unilateral treaty? I'd better get permission from Moscow to discuss US-UK relations. After all, if the Special Relationship persists in the face of Russian opposition, that might not be a net gain for European security...

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Sontomayor Is Not a Racist. She Just Says Racist Things.

Today the NYT quoted her as saying "You can't have a racially neutral policy that affects minorities negatively, unless you have an overriding business reason".

Yeah, I remember that in the XIV Amendment.

I can't rent to people based on the math, if it turns out later that not enough blacks got apartments? After the fact?

I'm glad to support racially neutral policies that benefit minorities over majorities, such as college entrance exams. Asian Americans do disproportionately better on those. That OF COURSE is "racist" because they OWE my race slots proportionate to our standing in the last census...right? Or are you saying "wait, what race are you again" because some races are more in need of proportional representation than others...

Or maybe we just celebrate a racially neutral policy and be glad we can even propose racially neutral policy...unlike, well, anywhere else on earth really...

Now having said that, of course we don't want to call her a racist. That is, as Newt said on TV, sweating through his grin, "too direct and strong". And Direct Strength is the last thing the GOP wants to look like (calling the GOP "aimless and weak" may be, well, too direct and strong). So everybody toss Newt's tweet down the Memory Hole. He didn't say it! And don't imagine she is a racist...just that she says things that are open to interpretation...if you conceded Newt and his ilk a right to interpret...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

This Can't Happen!

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka – The Tamil Tiger rebels admitted defeat in their 25-year-old war with the Sri Lankan government Sunday, offering to lay down their guns as government forces swept across their last strongholds in the northeast.

The government rejected the last-ditch call for a cease-fire, saying the thousands of civilians trapped in the war zone all have escaped to safety and there was no longer any reason to stop the battle. The military said the remaining guerrillas were still fighting.

With a war that has killed well over 70,000 people nearing its end, Sri Lankans poured into the streets in spontaneous celebration. President Mahinda Rajapaksa scheduled a nationally televised news conference for Tuesday morning at Parliament, where he was expected to tell the nation the war was over.

The fate of the Tamil Tigers' top commanders remained unclear, including the whereabouts of the reclusive rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran.

A senior military official said troops found the bodies of several rebel fighters who had committed suicide Sunday when troops surrounded them. The bodies were suspected of being Prabhakaran and his deputies, but the military was still trying to confirm their identities, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

The rebels, who once controlled a wide swath of the north, have been routed by government forces in recent months. On Sunday, Tamil Tiger suicide bombers targeted troops clearing out the last pockets of rebel resistance in the war zone and troops killed at least 70 rebels trying to flee by boat, the military said.

On Sunday afternoon, the tattered and nearly defeated rebel group offered to lay down its arms, saying it was acting to protect the wounded in the war zone.

"This battle has reached its bitter end," rebel official Selvarasa Pathmanathan said in a statement. "It is our people who are dying now from bombs, shells, illness and hunger. We cannot permit any more harm to befall them. We remain with one last choice — to remove the last weak excuse of the enemy for killing our people. We have decided to silence our guns."

Pathmanathan said the bodies of thousands of dead and wounded civilians lay on the battlefield.

Media Minister Anura Yapa dismissed the appeal, saying government forces had rescued all the civilians.

"We are looking after those people. We want to free this country from the terrorist LTTE," he said, referring to the group by its formal name, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

Military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said the rebels had not laid down their weapons. "Fighting is still going on in small pockets," he said.

With most journalists and aid workers barred from the war zone, it was not possible to verify the accounts of either side.

Troops on Sunday killed at least 70 rebels trying to escape the 0.4-square mile (one-square kilometer) patch of land that government troops have surrounded, the military said.

Thousands of Sri Lankans danced, set off celebratory fireworks and beat on drums in celebration Sunday after Rajapaksa made an initial declaration of victory.

"We are celebrating a victory against terrorism," said Sujeewa Anthonis, a 32-year-old street hawker.

As the fighting raged on in recent days, concerns mounted for the fate of the tens of thousands of civilians trapped in the war zone amid heavy shelling and intense fighting.

But 63,000 civilians fled the area over the past 72 hours, clearing the way for the government to finish off the rebels, Nanayakkara said Sunday.

"We're relieved to hear that all civilians have come out of the combat zone," U.N. spokesman Gordon Weiss said. More than 250,000 civilians have fled the fighting in recent months.

Rights groups have accused the rebels of holding the civilians as human shields, which the rebels have denied.

The U.N. says 7,000 civilians were killed and 16,700 wounded from Jan. 20 through May 7. Health officials say more than 1,000 have been killed since then in heavy shelling that rights groups and foreign governments have blamed on Sri Lankan forces. The government denied shelling the area.

The war zone was wracked by chaos Sunday, as troops sought to mop up the final pockets of resistance, Nanayakkara said. At least one suicide bomber attacked troops in the morning, the latest in a wave of rebel attacks on the advancing forces in recent days, he said. He declined to say what damage the attack caused.

Rajapaksa raced home from a visit to Jordan after declaring victory in the war. Upon his arrival early Sunday, ministers and well-wishers cheered as he descended from his plane and Buddhist, Catholic, Hindu and Muslim clerics blessed him.

Many of those celebrating in the streets said the war had badly damaged the country for three decades.

"This victory will ensure a better future for the coming generations," said Prasanna Jayawardena, 38, who was lighting firecrackers in the streets of Colombo.

The rebels, who once controlled a de facto state across much of the north, have been fighting since 1983 for a separate state for minority Tamils after decades of marginalization by the Sinhalese majority. Responsible for hundreds of suicide attacks — including the 1991 assassination of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi — the Tamil Tigers have been branded terrorists by the U.S., EU and India and shunned internationally.

The rebels also controlled a conventional army, with artillery units, a significant navy and even a tiny air force.

After repeated stalemates on the battlefield, the military broke through the rebel lines last year and forced the insurgents into a broad retreat, capturing their administrative capital at Kilinochchi in January and vowing to retake control over the rest of the country.

The rebels have insisted that if defeated in conventional battle, they will return to their guerrilla roots.


We have been instructed that this isn't possible. Our own Pentagon has renounced this outcome in Afghanistan, where a military solution to insurgency is considered impossible.

Except we know it ain't so!

Bravo to the Singhalese, who now can enjoy their victory and freedom from terror.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Why Pelosi Lies

Democrats have tried to pretend there can be no debate that Bush ordered torture. It's just torture, obviously torture, and that's why the neocons wanted it. And everybody who pretends they didn't believe it was wrong at first glance is a liar and an acessory to torture. The Army. The FBI. The Bush justice dept. All clearly evil, as opposed to Democrats...like Nancy Pelosi.

Now if Nancy Pelosi were a bloodthirsty Machiavellian, she'd have started killing people long ago. Since she hasn't, it seems safe to conclude she didn't approve of torture, as torture.

And that's the sticking point. If Nancy Pelosi knows what's going on, and doesn't cry "murder", then maybe she'd have to admit that its possible John Yoo or Donald Rumsfeld had the same impression?

Hence her lies.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

I'm on Facebook!

More time wastage!

I also got a new cool toy, an AIGO e5808 mp3 player. It bummed me out. It's the size of my thumb, plays mp3s, records voice memos, and works as a PDA. It cost $19 in China. Why can't we do that here? I can't get a voice-recorder blackberry for under $500.

I'm on Facebook!

More time wastage!

I also got a new cool toy, an AIGO e5808 mp3 player. It bummed me out. It's the size of my thumb, plays mp3s, records voice memos, and works as a PDA. It cost $19 in China. Why can't we do that here? I can't get a voice-recorder blackberry for under $500.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

NYT Thinks Socialism Is Nifty

From the story:
Because Chrysler was already the most marginal of what were once called the Big Three — this will be its third corporate reincarnation in a decade — Mr. Obama could afford to take a hard line. But when dealing with a company as politically sensitive and as large as G.M., the administration will have a far harder time separating the economic decisions from the political challenges.

In Chrysler’s case, a handful of the company’s 46 lenders presented the biggest roadblock. Mr. Obama could portray them as obstructionists who put their demands for repayment ahead of preserving the company.

But General Motors’ creditors number in the tens of thousands and include pension funds that bought the company’s unsecured bonds. G.M. bondholders have no claim on its plants or inventory, but they will probably attract more sympathy than Chrysler’s Wall Street lenders did.


Cheerful burble from the political side. Despite Obama's squawking, he's merely the President of the United States; a bankruptcy judge will still put a secured creditor ahead of unsecured creditors in the repayment line. THAT is why they could hold out. Whatever politics decrees, they can obey their fiduciary duty to their investors, and seek the best terms in federal court.

For now.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

ABC Strikes Again!

In another blow for freedom, ABC News has published the names and photographs of veterans it claims assisted the CIA in what the President blandly declares to be "torture".

I think ABC just doesn't believe in Al Qaeda anymore.

And even if these guys aren't blown up by independent extremists, they can look forward to prosecution overseas. Maybe an Eichmann style "arrest".

Oddly enough, ABC still keeps its own affairs confidential...

One of Arlen Specter's pet projects is a "shield law" for journalists. So the scum that outed these government contractors is going to get fiercer protection from harassment, prosecution and murder than loyal Americans...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Perez Hilton Is An Idiot

I know that's kind of redundant talking about a man with a blowdried mohawk and neon spandex, but still.

Hilton, who also appeared on the "Today" show Tuesday, said his question was relevant and that Prejean should have "left her politics and her religion out because Miss USA represents all Americans."


Right. Because "representing all Americans" means disrespecting some of them.

Hilton should do himself a favor and just go away for a while. First he called Prejean a bitch. Then he apologized. Then he dropped the C-bomb on her. Then, in response to her grandma's comments, he said he prayed for her. He wasn't asked if he calls her a bitch or cunt in his prayers.

Now he's Mr. Good Citizen. Articulating your views on the issues can alienate more important people, so stfu.

Forcing somebody to lie to disguise their religious view is a sort of repression, ain't it? Please remember this when we're told that the gay agenda doesn't harm anybody.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Can You Hang a Pirate?

The FBI declared the Maersk Alabama a "crime scene" a day before this guy was taken.

Was he advised he was a suspect?

Was he read his Miranda rights?

Did we abide by the Vienna treaty and seek out the consul of Somalia?

I mean, since the Bill of Rights follows the flag, this is our fight too...it's not as if Bush were still President...we got laws...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Another Trump O'Doom

I was able to sit in on the first session of Michael Medved's and Michael Gallagher's Townhall tour.

They had a lot of fun, and it was a wholly new experience to be surrounded by a couple hundred Conservatives in California. They remain upbeat and optimistic.

I'm not joining the party.

Fed’s Flood May Leave Democracy Needing Bailout: Kevin Hassett

Commentary by Kevin Hassett

April 13 (Bloomberg) -- The wise men of Washington keep finding more core beliefs that we have to give up. First it was free markets. Now it’s democracy.

The financial rescue may be the least popular big-ticket government program in history. If the U.S. Treasury decides it needs more money to keep the bailout going, it is anybody’s guess whether Congress would provide it.

As a result, Treasury and the Federal Reserve have been running what feels to this lifelong student of fiscal policy like a scam.

Many economists believe that helping financial institutions turn their less liquid assets into hard cash is a key step toward returning them to good footing. The best way to achieve that in a democracy would be for Congress to appropriate the funds to acquire the assets and for Treasury to borrow the money that it needs.

But Congress is unwilling to appropriate enough money, so Treasury and the Fed have cooked up a work-around: the Fed buys the assets instead. Since the Fed exists outside of the normal budget process, no permission from elected officials is required.

Here’s a sketch of how it works. Many financial institutions have reserve accounts with the Fed. If one of them shows up with an asset it wants to ditch, the Fed takes it and ratchets up the balance in the reserve account. This means that the Fed is effectively summoning cash out of thin air to purchase the assets.

In isolation, such a move might be inconsequential. But the scale of this end-around is enormous. The Fed’s balance sheet is closing in on $2 trillion and stands ready to skyrocket above that. Last month, for example, the Fed committed to buy more than $1 trillion in mortgage-backed securities.

Printing Cash

This means that the Fed is printing cash at a rate that, while not threatening historic records set in Weimar Germany, promises to create substantial inflationary pressures once the economy revives.

Therein lies the problem. At some point, when the economy begins to pick up again, the Fed will have to withdraw some of those reserves from the system before they ignite an inflation bonfire.

Traditionally, the Fed might withdraw reserves by selling some of the Treasuries it owns. But the scale of the money creation is so grand this time that the Fed might not be able to sell enough Treasuries to meaningfully affect inflation without running up against the debt limit that Congress sets when it gives Treasury the authority to borrow money.

The Fed could, in principle, sell some of the assets it has been buying -- but if these assets were liquid, the Fed wouldn’t have been buying them in the first place. Which means it may be extremely difficult to get the cash out of the economy before it is too late.

‘Fed Bills’

The Fed has cooked up a solution, though. Vice Chairman Donald Kohn, told an audience at the College of Wooster in Ohio that a possible solution would be for the Fed to issue its own securities, which might be called “Fed bills.” Kohn argued that a key attraction of these bills is that they wouldn’t be subject to the debt ceiling set by Congress.

In other words, the Fed wants to have unbounded authority to borrow money and buy assets without the inconvenience of having to explain itself on Capitol Hill.

The actions that have been taken already may indeed necessitate granting the Fed that authority. The cash is out the door, and at some point, the Fed will have to rake it back in. Congress may have to choose between giving the Fed the authority it wants, or having the mother of all inflation episodes.

Crowd Out Spending

Should the Fed’s balance sheet climbs to $6 trillion, then its losses might be enormous and threaten to crowd out spending on defense, education and health care. And it would do so without Congress ever voting on the increase in the debt ceiling that would have been required if Treasury were performing the rescue.

If the Fed receives the authority to issue debt whenever it wants to, then future bureaucrats can, in principle, play whatever financial games they want. The powerlessness of voters will be codified into law.

We can’t let that happen.

It might be that voters are too stupid to understand that government officials should get as much bailout money as they desire. The financial rescue might have been precisely what the doctor ordered.

But the public might be right as well. Our founders didn’t construct a democracy because voters are always right. Rather, they viewed democracy as better than the alternatives.

While fully legal, the steps that have been taken by Treasury and the Fed have clearly been designed to insulate those institutions from the will of Americans’ elected representatives. In that regard, the damage from these actions probably exceeds the benefits. If we accept the view that we can be democratic in some areas but not others, then democracy will wither and die.

(Kevin Hassett, director of economic-policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, is a Bloomberg News columnist. He was an adviser to Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona in the 2008 presidential election. The opinions expressed are his own.)

To contact the writer of this column: Kevin Hassett at khassett@bloomberg.net

Story


Anybody who knows how Speer brought about German rearmament in the mid-1930s knows how practicable this can be. It is also wholly undemocratic, because there can be no legislative review nor repudiation of administrative currency without completely destroying the currency. Not just sparking a recession, but destroying faith in the issuing government and its currency.

The key fact of our times is that voters, given the power to choose, choose free money every time. And the idea we'll ever pay it back is merely ideology. Every cent of federal debt can be renounced by renouncing the issuing government. It's what we did in 1797 when the dollar wasn't worth a continental. It's taken 212 years to ignore the lesson learnt, but we've done it. There's bipartisan consensus that borrowing recklessly is NECESSARY, and I just don't believe we're going to elect successive governments and suffer repayment.

My focus is more towards preparing for the Revolution than conserving the present.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Obama Allows Navy to Win

This marks the second time I felt like I owe Obama an apology. I don't apologize for thinking a Democrat President is going to let a bunch of pirates bowl over the US Navy under their noses, because in 35 years I've seen a couple. I owe Obama an apology for not really believing he'd let the Navy do the job it's been doing for 200 years.

Oh, the first occasion was joining the criticism of Obama for giving the Queen an iPod. She gave him an autographed photo of herself, which is a diamond mine below an iPod as a gift. An iPod at least shows some human touch and he's to be congratulated for showing more class than the Queen of England.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Hope

I don't know why I read TIME or any article out of it. It is either inane fluff or inane agitprop.

I'm not sure where to place an article snarking Obama for going to Iraq yesterday. Iraq belongs to BUSH, you see. Obama has to keep his distance.

Something I'll remember when I'm lectured about disloyalty to MY president.

Hope is a virtue and despair is sinful renunciation of the love of God. The love of God for each of is truly personal, however. We tend to forget that, even in the United States, the land of individual rights. We've come to endorse "the greatest good for the greatest number" and the idea of self is officially frowned upon. But in fact our salvation is individual.

I am reminded of that, this Holy Week because I pray daily for hope and faith and charity and then calculate my country is rotting. Our system isn't promised anything. Our system doesn't have to work, and the real power of the Sacred is transcending our improvised, temporary politics. And hope is confidence in our ability to succeed in remaining loyal to the Sacred.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

You Miss a Month

And where do you start to pick up?

Obama federalizes everything moving, puts a hard Left crew into Washington, swings a wrecking ball at 20 years of foriegn policy coalitions and humiliates us to our opponents, raises taxes and scraps the promised cuts...

I'm still adjusting, after six months, to being fully employed and learning how to commute 80 miles a day to a home without internet. The use of the Blackberry to blog, will have to do for a while to come.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Whirlwind

Appearing on a popular Turkish television chat show, Hadi Gel Bizimle (Come and Join Us), Clinton tackled a few diplomatic questions but the main focus was on her personal life, such as when she "last" fell in love.

"It was so long ago, with my husband," she told the studio audience, adding that she first met former President Bill Clinton in the spring of 1971 when they were at law school.

"We have been talking to each other and enjoying our life together ever since," she said.

http://www.reuters.com/article/vcCandid … nnel=1045


BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Hillary Clinton raised eyebrows on her first visit to Europe as secretary of state when she mispronounced her EU counterparts' names and claimed U.S. democracy was older than Europe's.

Clinton has set herself a grueling pace on visits to Egypt, Israel and Brussels soon after touring the Far East, attending dozens of meetings and giving speech after speech, with little time worked into her schedule for sleep.

Tiredness appeared to show Friday when she answered questions in front of 500 young Europeans at the European Parliament, where she was the highest-ranking U.S. visitor since the late U.S. President Ronald Reagan in 1985.

A veteran politician, Clinton compared the complex European political environment to that of the two-party U.S. system, before adding:

"I have never understood multiparty democracy.

"It is hard enough with two parties to come to any resolution, and I say this very respectfully, because I feel the same way about our own democracy, which has been around a lot longer than European democracy."

The remark provoked much headshaking in the parliament of a bloc that likes to trace back its democratic tradition thousands of years to the days of classical Greece.

One working lunch later with EU leaders, Clinton raised more eyebrows when she referred to EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, who stood beside her, as "High Representative Solano."

She also dubbed European Commission External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner as "Benito."

Still, Clinton has been well received in Brussels, where the Obama administration has been viewed as a breath of fresh air after the unpopular leadership of George W. Bush. His secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, often drew protests on her travels.

Fellow foreign ministers stood and applauded Clinton's presentation at a meeting with NATO counterparts Thursday and extra space had to be set aside for a spillover audience of 800 at the European Parliament.

Parliament President Hans-Gert Poettering was effusive in his praise, saying that with the new administration, the United States and Europe once again "share the same values."

"What you said mostly could have been said by a European," he told Clinton after she fielded questions ranging from climate change to energy security and aid to Africa and one on gay rights from a participant wearing an "I love Hillary" t-shirt.

http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNew … 06?sp=true



GENEVA—After promising to “push the reset button” on relations with Moscow, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton planned to present Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov with a light-hearted gift at their talks here Friday night to symbolize the Obama administration’s desire for a new beginning in the relationship.

It didn’t quite work out as she planned.

She handed him a palm-sized box wrapped with a bow. Lavrov opened it and pulled out the gift—a red plastic button on a black base with a Russian word “peregruzka” printed on top.

“We worked hard to get the right Russian word. Do you think we got it?” Clinton said as reporters, allowed in to observe the first few minutes of the meeting, watched.

“You got it wrong,” Lavrov said, to Clinton’s clear surprise. Instead of "reset," he said the word on the box meant “overcharge.”

Clinton and Lavrov guffawed. “We won’t let you do that to us,” she said.

Despite the shoddy translation work on the U.S. side, Clinton and Lavrov emerged from their meeting a few hours later saying they had accomplished their initial goal—reducing the frostiness in U.S.-Russia relations that had taken hold by the end of the Bush administration.

At a joint press conference afterward Clinton and Lavrov called each other by their first names and said they had conducted wide-ranging discussions on Iran, missile defense, Afghanistan, and nuclear arms reduction. They agreed to intensify preparations for opening a new round of nuclear arms negotiations to replace the one that expires at the end of this year.

They each emphasized that major disagreements and disputes remain on matters such as U.S. support for Georgia, the former Soviet republic invaded by Moscow last year, and on an announced sale by Moscow of advanced air defense missiles to Iran. The improvement in tone was unmistakable compared to the icy encounters that Lavrov used to hold with Clinton’s predecessor.

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0309/19719.html


BEIJING, China (CNN) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton broached the issue of human rights with Chinese leaders on Saturday, but emphasized that the global financial slump and other international crises were more pressing and immediate priorities.


U.S. Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton meets Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao in Beijing.

The United States will continue to press China on issues such as Tibet, Taiwan and human rights, she told reporters accompanying her.

"Successive administrations and Chinese governments have been poised back and forth on these issues, and we have to continue to press them. But our pressing on those issues can't interfere with the global economic crisis, the global climate change crisis, and the security crisis," she told reporters in Seoul, South Korea.

Clinton made China the last and most crucial stopover in her Asia trip, signaling the new administration's first attempts to lay a foundation toward a China policy. It is Clinton's first trip to China as secretary of state. Watch Clinton talk to CNN about Asian tour »

She met with Chinese President Hu Jintao on Saturday and discussed the framework for further high-level and mid-level discussions.

"It is essential that the United States and China have a positive, cooperative relationship," Clinton told a group of reporters.

Earlier Saturday, Clinton met with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in Beijing, where they discussed what they regard as the new defining Sino-U.S. strategic goals: the world economic crisis, regional security and the environment.
http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/02/21/clinton.china.asia/


I cannot recall a more craven, pathetic, thoughtless foriegn policy from the United States in my lifetime. Since Hillary may just be expertly articulating what her boss tells her to say, perhaps that doesn't make her a bad Secretary of State. Her boss may just be a very bad President.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

HT to Drudgereport.com

Below is the text of the statement issued on Monday on the U.S. banking system by the U.S. Treasury, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Office of Thrift Supervision and the Federal Reserve:

''A strong, resilient financial system is necessary to facilitate a broad and sustainable economic recovery. The U.S. government stands firmly behind the banking system during this period of financial strain to ensure it will be able to perform its key function of providing credit to households and businesses. The government will ensure that banks have the capital and liquidity they need to provide the credit necessary to restore economic growth. Moreover, we reiterate our determination to preserve the viability of systemically important financial institutions so that they are able to meet their commitments.

''We announced on February 10, 2009, a Capital Assistance Program to ensure that our banking institutions are appropriately capitalized, with high-quality capital. Under this program, which will be initiated on February 25, the capital needs of the major U.S. banking institutions will be evaluated under a more challenging economic environment.

Should that assessment indicate that an additional capital buffer is warranted, institutions will have an opportunity to turn first to private sources of capital. Otherwise, the temporary capital buffer will be made available from the government. This additional capital does not imply a new capital standard and it is not expected to be maintained on an ongoing basis. Instead, it is available to provide a cushion against larger than expected future losses, should they occur due to a more severe economic environment, and to support lending to creditworthy borrowers. Any government capital will be in the form of mandatory convertible preferred shares, which would be converted into common equity shares only as needed over time to keep banks in a well-capitalized position and can be retired under improved financial conditions before the conversion becomes mandatory. Previous capital injections under the Troubled Asset Relief Program will also be eligible to be exchanged for the mandatory convertible preferred shares.

The conversion feature will enable institutions to maintain or enhance the quality of their capital.

''Currently, the major U.S. banking institutions have capital in excess of the amounts required to be considered well capitalized. This program is designed to ensure that these major banking institutions have sufficient capital to perform their critical role in our financial system on an ongoing basis and can support economic recovery, even under an economic environment that is more challenging than is currently anticipated. The customers and the providers of capital and funding can be assured that as a result of this program participating banks will be able to move forward to provide the credit necessary for the stabilization and recovery of the U.S. economy. Because our economy functions better when financial insti tutions are well managed in the private sector, the strong presumption of the Capital Assistance Program is that banks should remain in private hands.''

Copyright 2009 Reuters.
Story.


An amazing lie.

Everybody knows most major banks have bundled mortgages and derivatives they paid hundreds of billions of dollars to acquire. They can't even identify most of the loans. They weren't audited before they bought them and they haven't since. These banks haven't been forced to. Now, since nobody knows really how bad these loans are, or what kind of losses will be faced, nobody wants to buy them.

The value of an asset nobody will buy, is zero. Regardless of what you paid for it, it's zero.

Unlike tracts of open land, which were at the heart of the Savings and Loan crisis, bad mortgages and insurance against losses from bad mortgages are never going to be worth much again. We now know they're a timebomb; sooner or later, a housing slowdown will arrive, and the holders of such assets will get burnt. Because these assets are losers, they cannot form the basis of a profitable government buyout plan.

Everything that has been done by government since September has been a desperate attempt by the banks to avoid having to report they are basically insolvent. In this fraud, our government has been fully complicit.

We have a golden chance to compartmentalize the failure to the for-profit financials. Instead, by proposing nationalization, Washington is going to export the pain to every household that buy food and fuel with dollars. Because the dollar itself is at stake here.

"The viability of systemically important financial institutions so that they are able to meet their commitments" is not at issue. These institutions are not capable. It would be better for the system if they failed, and we were left to start over with credit unions and foriegn lenders. There's too much opportunity for responsible lenders to have credit vanish from America. And there's no excuse for creating inflation just to protect the top 1% from their own failure.

Make no mistake. These guys are going down. It's just a question of taking the rest of us down with them.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Remember This Day

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Inflation at the wholesale level surged unexpectedly in January, reflecting sharply higher prices for gasoline and other energy products.

The Labor Department said Thursday that wholesale prices increased by 0.8 percent last month, the biggest gain since last July and well above the 0.2 percent increase that economists had expected.

The acceleration was led by a 3.7 percent surge in energy prices with gasoline prices jumping by 15 percent, the biggest gain in 14 months.

Even outside the volatile food and energy sectors, wholesale prices showed a bigger-than-expected increase, rising by 0.4 percent. Economists had expected a slight 0.1 percent rise in so-called core inflation.

Food prices were well-behaved last month, falling for a second straight month. The 0.4 percent decline in January reflected lower costs for beef and dairy products which offset gains in the price of vegetables and chicken products.

In addition to the big jump in gasoline costs, prices for home heating oil were up by 5.4 percent and liquefied petroleum gas, which is often used to heat homes in rural areas, surged by 20.2 percent, the biggest jump in more than six years.

Outside of food and energy, there were increases for pharmaceuticals, light trucks and passenger cars and civilian aircraft.

Despite the big jump in wholesale prices in January, economists do not believe inflation is on the verge of becoming a problem, given the country's deep recession.

That downturn, which began in December 2007, has been keeping a lid on inflation pressures, which has given the Federal Reserve the room to slash a key interest rate to nearly zero without having to worry about kindling inflation.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told an audience at the National Press Club on Wednesday that he saw little risk that the Fed's efforts to fight the recession and a severe financial crisis would trigger inflation presusres.

He said that once the economy begins to rebound and financial markets stabilize, the Fed will be able to quickly reverse the actions it has taken before inflation becomes a problem.

Story


Bernanke is going to eat this quote.

Yes, the Fed may be able to raise interest rates by 2%. That will not stave off inflation.

Supposedly, according to Nobel Laureate economist and political hack Paul Krugman et al., inflation is not even POSSIBLE at this point. It's just a Republican talking point! We gotta worry about DEFLATION!!!!

This was not supposedly possible. But here it is, already.

These guys do not know what they are doing, their stupid attempt to shore up the fatcats at the expense of the dollar is dooming the dollar.

And I just heard our Legislature passed a fat tax hike in the midst of a recession. Way to go, morons.

Remember this day. This a day the Left went on record. They will push you to forget it. They will argue they had no idea at the time of the consequences. That will be a lie. Remember this day.

Friday, January 30, 2009

We Need Less Parental Involvement in Education

To the grade grubbers go the spoils. And the grade grubbers in this case are rabble-rousing parents in Virginia's Fairfax County. Residents of the high-powered Washington suburb have been battling the school district's tough grading practices; chief among their complaints is that a score of 93% gets recorded as a lowly B+. After forming an official protest group called Fairgrade last year and goading the school board into voting on whether to ease the standards, parents marshaled 10,000 signatures online and on Jan. 22 gathered nearly 500 supporters to help plead their case. After two hours of debate, the school board passed a resolution, a move critics consider a defeat in the war on grade inflation.

At most schools in the U.S., a score of 90 earns you an A, but in Fairfax County, getting the goods demands a full 94. Merely passing is tougher too, requiring a 64 rather than a 60. Nor do students get much help clearing those high bars if they take tougher courses. Compared with how many districts weight GPAs for Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate courses, Fairfax County's half-point boost is peanuts. The result, protesters say, is that Fairfax kids are at a disadvantage on multiple fronts: snagging good-driver insurance discounts (which often factor in a student's GPA), earning NCAA eligibility, winning merit scholarships and — oh yeah — getting into good colleges.



Link


I'd rather hire a schmuck that could only manage a C average than some jerk who got politically active over his "right" to have a B read as an A.

But something tells me these brats are bound for government jobs.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Reign of Mouch

"Nobody professed to understand the question of the frozen railroad bonds; perhaps, because everybody understood it too well. At first, there had been signs of panic among the bondholders and of a dangerous indignation among the public. Then, Wesley Mouch had issued another directive, which ruled that people could get their bonds 'defrozen' upon plea of 'essential need': the government would purchase the bonds, if it found the proof of the need satisfactory. There were three questions that no one answered or asked: 'what constituted proof?' 'What constituted need?' 'Essential-- to whom?'"--Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

I first read that passage 11 years ago. I never thought I'd see it become US policy for two administrations.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Gran Turino

A good flick...but you should ignore the Dirty-Harry ad campaign. This is the guy who gave us "Misty".

Sunday, January 04, 2009

The Loyal Opposition, in Principle

From the Washington Post:
McConnell said he could support the $500 tax credit that Obama has proposed for working individuals. "This is the sort of thing we could have bipartisan agreement on," said McConnell. "Republicans, by and large, think tax relief is a great way to get money to people immediately."

He proposed further tax cuts, such as lowering the 25 percent individual tax rate to 15 percent. And McConnell identified stimulus flashpoints that are likely to galvanize Republicans in the weeks ahead.

The GOP leader derided Obama's goal of creating 600,000 new government jobs as part of the 3 million workforce expansion that he wants the stimulus to help achieve. "That's about the size of the post office workforce," McConnell said. "Is that a good idea?"

He challenged another proposal to provide grants to hard-hit states. Such aid should come in the form of loans, McConnell said, as "it will make them spend it more wisely."

And McConnell downplayed prospects for extending unemployment benefits to part-time workers while providing health care coverage for unemployed people -- costly efforts that have met stiff resistance in past debates.

"Those are very big, systemic changes," McConnell said. "Do we in the name of stimulus want to make long-term, systemic changes that will affect spending every single year? I think that's at least worth considering, having hearings about, having bipartisan discussions."

But McConnell also predicted the bill could pass overwhelmingly if the current conciliatory mood holds, giving Obama a crucial first win. "If they pursue a fair process, in the Senate at least, where fairness is typically the rule, and give both sides an opportunity to have input . . . he's likely to get significant support."

This has been going on for a week, the Republican push to get a foot in the door on the Second Bailout.

It sounds more like they want a share of the pork, rather than killing the bill.

This panic is recurrent; we'll be here again, and preventing the market from forming new more effective combinations won't promote progress.

Maybe somebody will form a party around sense?