Friday, February 29, 2008

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Definition of a "Patriot"

In yet another show of their deep understanding of economics, Senators Durbin, Obama and Brown provided us with the Patriot Employers Act. The irony of the bill lies in the definition section. Check it out.

Gates to Turks: End Iraq incursion soon

In response to this article "Gates to Turks: End Iraq incursion soon", I have only one thing to say:

TMF to Gates: End Iraq incursions soon

In the article, Secretary Gates stated, "It's very important that the Turks make this operation as short as possible and then leave." Secretary Gates went on to say, "They (Turks) have to be mindful of Iraqi sovereignty. I measure quick in terms of days, a week or two, something like that, not months." After reading the article, I am reminded of a young man running for President who once stated that, "I don't think our troops ought to be used for what's called nation building. " What happened?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Religion..or lack thereof

So I have been thinking about the next topic that I want to rant about, and there are a few things stirring around, but I decided what I wanted to write about while I was preparing my evening meal and drinking a beer. It's not about politics, or anything that I'm going to need to check facts and figures before I write which is why I chose this topic. This is just what I think, and what my warped mind has settled on over my vast experiences of 32 years. The topic is religion, or at least organized religion. It's a touchy topic to some people, people are sensitive to this, sometimes too sensitive. I'm from the deep South, the Bible Belt, and most of the people that I know from that area tow the party line of being a good Christian. Many will talk the talk of the Good Book, but I think actions are far more important than words. What you do is a far greater metric of character than what you say. Talk is cheap.
If the belief in God (whatever denomination) helps get you through the day, then that's ok with me, I don't care. You can believe whatever you want, whatever incarnation of a deity that gets you off is just great if it gives you a clear conscience and helps you sleep at night. Of course all things in moderation, right? As long as you don't fly planes into buildings, strap bombs to your chest, conduct ethnic cleansing wholesale, or serve your faithful (gullible, stupid) followers the red Kool-Aid in the name of that deity, it does not really bother me. But at the same time don't wave your Bibles at me, don't give me "that look" when I say no I do not go to church, and don't ask me if I'm an atheist when I don't give the exact answers that you would give when you ask about my lack of church going behavior. It's none of your Goddamn business. (Recently had this experience when someone from a local church knocked on my door, disturbing what had been a perfectly good Saturday, they also left a flyer with me in case I changed my mind. It went directly to the garbage can).
I've often wondered why the allure of leaving a perfectly good bed on a Sunday morning. What I've come to decide is, at the core of it, there is a natural fear of death. The belief in a God and an afterlife helps to qualm those fears. After all, most everyone fears the unknown, most everyone fears death, and there is no greater unknown than death. Call it a perceived nest egg, or a cushion that prevents a person from having to think about it. It makes life more convenient if you don't have to think about death. Also it's a form of collectivism, groupings of like minded people reinforce each other. A pack mentality, the end result of which can sometimes be a wolf in sheep's clothing.
I'm not an atheist. I don't call myself a Christian either, I think that gives certain connotations that I probably could never live up to. I think that there is a God because all of this had to come from something. I don't totally rule out the possibilities of the Big Bang or Darwinian evolution. Maybe a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away there was a sudden poof and everything that is suddenly was. But there had to be a catalyst to that sudden poof. Something from nothing just doesn't happen, at least not in the natural world. Evolution or creation...well that's a debate that for some reason has to be one or the other. Creationists ignore the scientific evidence, the fossils that plainly show the development of homo sapien from cro magnon, the link between lizards and birds ( it), and various other examples. We also see evidence of evolution today in science with bacterial resistance to antibiotics. And creationists point at Genesis 1:1. Highly scientific. So why does it have to be one or the other? What if it is actually a combination of both, which I think is the case. Of course, this does not resolve every aspect of this issue. Since things don't just come from nothing, there is still the case of if there is a God, where did God come from?
While writing this I've been watching the debate between Hillary and Obama. As the debate comes to a close, as is this writing, I can only think one thing..God help us all!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Hawk versus pragmatist
By Clive Crook

Hillary Clinton’s campaign is not over, but the US presidential election in November seems ever more likely to be between Barack Obama and John McCain. It would be a fascinating struggle and a quite different one from the nomination contests seen up to now. The issue of personality, which dominated the Democratic race from the start, would not disappear – nor should it – but it would subside and leave space for an overdue debate about policy. This shift may test Mr Obama, if he is indeed the nominee, more than he and other Democrats expect.


I guess what drew me to this article was the need for an "overdue debate about policy." I would love to hear the two parties debate the future of the United States unburdened by Iraq, fiscal recklessness of unabated GOP spending, "straight talk" about entitlements and our undying need to bring democracy to the masses.

I applauded Dr. Paul in his last debate appearance when he broke up the Mcain/Romney lovers spat with a cogent point. Dr. Paul stated that it is time to truly debate foreign policy. I have been watching and waiting for a candidate to truly describe set out the costs and benefits of US policy. We have flip-flopped back and forth between Republican/Democrat administrations for years without ever reversing course.

I wish to remind our elected officials of words that have long been forgotten – “The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible.” I give credit to those who read all of this speech.

Amendment 21

Fuzzy Math or Nader's Veep?

Sunday, February 24, 2008

This just in. It has been one year since...

Yes there was no way we could get let a year go by without celebrating the anniversary of the escape of Kentwood, Louisiana's village idiot. Ahhh the daily Britney has been satisfied, now let's ship this trash idiot into the Gulf of Mexico. I'll tie the cinder blocks to her feet, you hold her.

Speaker Pelosi

I took a quick look at a moment ago after reading why me's post. The largest donor to Speaker Pelosi's war chest is Amgen. Amgen is a biotechnology company situated out in California. Based on a quick review of their profitablity stats, I found that their profit margin was 21.43% last year. As for the evil XOM, their profit margin was only 10.89%. I love when politicians kick the easy target. Any thing closer to home, would have been bad for her pocketbook.

Benefits of Trade

"Ten years after NAFTA passed, Senator Clinton said it was good for America," Obama said. "Well, I don't think NAFTA has been good for America — and I never have."

Some facts for Senator Obama:

Jobs: U.S. employment rose from 112.2 million in December 1993 to 137.2 million in December 2006, an increase of 25 million jobs, or 22 percent. The average unemployment rate was 5.1 percent in the period 1994-2006, compared to 7.1 percent during the period 1981-1993.

U.S. manufacturing output rose by 63 percent between 1993 and 2006, exceeding the 37 percent increase achieved between 1980 and 1993.

Compensation: Growth in real compensation for manufacturing workers improved dramatically. Average real compensation grew at an average annual rate of 1.6 percent from 1993 to 2006, compared to just 0.9 percent annually between 1980 and 1993.


FACT -- The United States will face job losses as a result of trade.

In my opinion, the United States Government should continue to focus on growth rather than the populist message of "I will bring back your job". The return of the manufacturing industry lost as a result of globalization will not benefit the United States. Senator Obama should listen to his donors, i.e. Goldman Sachs, UBS, Google, and promote the ability of the United States to provide a well educated workforce capable of providing (high paying) service oriented jobs to the world.

Finally, how could Senator Obama "consistently oppose" NAFTA? I would love to hear your thoughts.

The Pant Suit Mentality

After reading the latest email that I have received from Citizens Against Government Waste, I decided that I had the topic for my first rant on our newly created blog. The email was about a certain Speakerette of the House who would not be caught dead in anything but a pant suit, of course it's not the more famous pant suited one who is currently getting white washed by Barack Obama (hey that was kinda ironic, huh?). No this pant suited wonder is none other than the scary preacher guy from Poltergeist 2, uh I mean Nancy Pelosi, although looking at this picture the resemblance is striking. Anyway, it seems that she has put her pant suit powers to work and is going to get even with the evil oil companies by imposing 18 billion (with a B!) dollars in taxes on them in order to subsidize the development of alternative energy technology. So, tax the oil companies and use the money to develop the technology that will replace them?? First off why does this require government subsidies? Is it the governments responsibility to develop new technologies? It seems like the free market usually does a pretty good job of that on its own. We just witnessed HDs fall to Bluray and the government was not required. The market decided, which ultimately means that we (the consumer) decided. So let the auto makers battle each other to develop the car that runs 100 mpg, not government bureacrats who drive around in SUV's and go to speaking engagements in their private jets. Oh wait they purchase carbon offsets, yeah I forgot. But really, who does this "windfall profit" tax hurt, the oil companies or the loyal consumers? Gasoline is a relatively inelastic commodity. When the price of gas goes up we can reduce our consumption, but we can't eliminate it entirely, at least most of us can't. On August 15, 2007 Mary Peters the Secretary of Transportation said that she thinks Americans would be shocked to learn that only ~ 60% of federal taxes went into highway and bridge construction. What about the other 40% you may ask? Well it goes into "many, many other areas". Minnesota has a 20 cpg gas tax (not including the federal tax), plus a 2 cpg "cleanup fee" at wholesale which fluctuates. Sooo.. how about those bridges in Minnesota?
Many people are unaware of the oil companies involvement in the pensions and retirement funds (41% of energy stocks) of many Americans as well as in mutual funds (30%). Raising costs can lower the performance of these stocks. And what about the jobs that are created by the oil companies?
Not that I want to practice the politics of piling on here, but there is also the effect on food prices, when you start diverting corn from the rumen of cows, and the gizzard of chickens into the gas tanks of vehicles in Iowa there is going to be an effect, dare I say "blowback"? Simple supply and demand. Econ 101. Also, it seems that the manufacturing of biofuels releases more CO2 than gasoline does. Hey Al, get that Nobel out of your ass, and dust off your little slideshow, you need to make a few edits.
I'm all for reducing our dependence on Saudi Arabia, although they are our ally(??!!), but we should go about it the right way, I bet even the oil companies could develop better technologies, and do it far cheaper than Shepherd Pelosi and her flock. But that goes against the pant suit mentality.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

End the Nonsense

"There have been two victims of the 45-year embargo on Cuba, and neither are the Cuban government," says William Redpath, national chairman of the Libertarian Party. "American agriculture and trade industries have been throttled by the United States' sanctions on Cuba by restricting their ability to trade freely. The loss of trade with Cuba in turn harms the Cuban people, who would enjoy higher-income salaries through trade with American corporations and through increased American tourism. Instead of the Cuban government suffering from U.S.-Cuba foreign policy, it has been American enterprise and the Cuban society."

Top 10 U.S. Poultry Meat Markets
Source: USDA, Foreign Agriculture Service

Recent indictments of US lawmakers

I picked this article up on an AP feed:

Members of Congress who have been charged with crimes since 2000:

• Feb. 22, 2008: Rep. Rick Renzi, R-Ariz., indicted on charges of extortion, wire fraud, money laundering and other crimes in an Arizona land swap that authorities say helped him collect hundreds of thousands of dollars in payoffs.

• June 11, 2007: Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, arrested in a bathroom sex sting at the Minneapolis airport. He pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct. He is now asking a state appeals court to let him withdraw his guilty plea.

• June 4, 2007: Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., indicted on federal charges of racketeering, soliciting bribes and money laundering in a long-running bribery investigation into business deals he tried to broker in Africa.

• Jan. 19, 2007: Former Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for trading political favors for gifts and campaign donations from lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

• March 3, 2006: Former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, R-Calif., sentenced to eight years and four months in prison. He collected $2.4 million in homes, yachts, antique furnishings and other bribes in a corruption scheme.

• Oct. 3, 2005: Former Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, charged with felony money laundering and conspiracy in connection with Republican fundraising efforts in 2002. One charge has been dropped and two others are being argued before a state appeals court.

• Aug. 29, 2003: Rep. William Janklow, R-S.D., charged with felony second-degree manslaughter and three misdemeanors after his car struck and killed a motorcyclist. He was convicted of vehicular homicide and sentenced to 100 days in prison.

• May 4, 2001: Rep. James Traficant, D-Ohio, indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of tax evasion, bribery, racketeering, conspiracy and obstruction of justice. He was sentenced to eight years in prison after being convicted of racketeering and accepting bribes.

Friday, February 22, 2008

CAGW Names Rep. John Murtha Porker of the Year

Thank you Mr. Murtha.

The blatant disregard of our elected officials is appalling. What is worse, in my opinion, is the complacency of the populace on this issue. Some will argue that taxes are good if they promote to common good. My disagreement with that statement shall be left for another post. For now, I just wish to point out that our taxes are continually wasted on absurd "pet projects" like Mr. Murtha's $23 million National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) in Johnstown, PA. Of course, if some of you are in the know, Johnstown, PA is a major transhipment point of Afghani poppy. Therefore, his wish to control us is warranted.

In closing, I have learned of the upcoming departure of the Comptroller General David Walker. I was saddened to hear the news this weekend. Mr. Walker has continually promoted the need for fiduciary responsibility among our elected officials. There have been few that have heeded his call for discipline. In his absence, I urge you to support Senator Coburn's Federal Financial Management Subcommittee.