Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Walmart Breaks with Business Community 
Supports mandatory health coverage for employees.

So states the triumphant lead written by a libtard at The Hill, who can't see what's really going on.

With Wal-Mart’s endorsement of a legal requirement that employers provide health benefits to their workers, the nation’s largest employer has broken from the business community.

The so-called employer mandate is adamantly opposed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business and virtually every major business trade association in Washington. But the backing of Wal-Mart, which employs about 2 million people, could give a big boost to President Obama and Congress’s effort to levy such a requirement on companies.

Moreover, Wal-Mart declared its support for the employer mandate in a joint letter to Obama with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the liberal Center for American Progress, which is run by John Podesta, a close associate of the White House.

“We are entering a critical time during which all of us who will be asked to pay for health care reform will have to make a choice on whether to support the legislation,” says the letter, signed by Wal-Mart President and CEO Mike Duke, SEIU President Andy Stern and Podesta.

He just doesn't see that by doing this, Walmart is sticking a shiv into the ribs of their small town, mom and pop competitors, already reeling in a down market, who simply cannot afford to provide health insurance to their employees. The cash just isn't there for it in these small businesses.

Walmart knows this, and knows that thousands and thousands of their competitors are teetering on the edge. A mandatory health insurance requirement will push them out of business... leaving them with a bigger market share, whether the economy recovers or not.

But Jefferey Young, reporter extraordinaire, doesn't see that he's being played like a violin, the poor little darling.

Splash out


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Monday, June 29, 2009

Supreme Court Bitchslaps Obama's Nominee 
No surprise. Really, the only suprise to me is that it was even close.

What's more, as PowerLine observes, when Sotomayor issued her ruling, she devoted only one paragraph to the merits of the case. Says Paul Mirengoff:

But this much is clear: the Court devoted 93 pages to a matter that Judge Sotomayor tried to dispose of in a summary order. Moreover, according to Ed Whelan, not a single Justice thought that Judge Sotomayor acted correctly in granting summary judgment for the City of New Haven.

In other words, Sotomayor didn't even put forth a minimal effort to understand the merits and build a case for her conclusions, based on precedent and law.

Congratulations, Mr. President. You've appointed a divisive racialist and racist who got her biggest case exactly wrong.

Good going.

Splash, out


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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Product Placement of the Year 
McDonald's, on CNN's front page story on the unrest in Honduras.

I'm lovin' it.

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Washington Post and a Wall of Silence 
I don't buy the whacky conspiracy theories being passed around by libtards mourning the WaPo's decision to let Dan Froomkin go. It's not like he's the only journo to get a pink slip this year.

But if your own ombudsman tries to get some insight into an editorial decision at the newspaper - only to be met with a wall of silence - then what is the use of having an ombudsman?

The editor-in-chief and publisher should put the word out: This ombudsman works for my readers, and therefore works for me. If you stonewall my ombudsman, you're stonewalling me, and I won't have it.

nstitutionally, The Post is now responding by circling the wagons -- ironic for a news organization that insists on transparency from those it covers. Its initial statement on June 18 from spokeswoman Kris Coratti lacked substance (“Editors and our research teams are constantly reviewing our online content to ensure we bring readers the most value...while balancing the need to make the most of our resources”).

I was off much of this week with a minor medical problem. But when I was able to start querying editors yesterday, a wall of silence was erected. Raju Narisetti, the managing editor who oversees the Web site, declined to go beyond last week’s PR statement. Online Opinions Editor Marisa Katz, after talking Thursday with the Washington CityPaper, said she had been instructed not to respond to additional queries. And Editorial Page Editor Fred Hiatt, who had previously responded to questions from me and other journalists (including the CityPaper on Thursday), today said he was unable to comment.

Readers should revolt until they have the publisher's attention.

Post Pulitzer-winning columnist Gene Weingarten, who expressed “respect” for Froomkin and regret that White House Watch was ending, said: “I don't know why Froomkin's column was dropped, but I can tell you that the diabolical conspiracy talk is nuts. Froomkin wasn’t dropped because he is too liberal; things just don’t work that way at the Post.”

Yeah, no shit. This is the same paper that syndicated Ted Rall for years.

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Obama recinds Weinie Roast Invitation to Iranian Diplomats. 
That'll show them.

The sad thing is, this appears to be the clearest and most concrete statement our government has yet made in support of pro-democracy reformers in Iran.

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Guitar blogging 
Before there was Stevie Ray, there was...


Johnny Winter, vintage 1971

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Countercolumn News Ticker 
Ahmadinejad Lynched in Central Square After Being "Outed" by Perez Hilton ...

Hamas Caught Plagiarizing Obama Speeches ...

White House Invites Gitmo Terrorists to White House Slumber Party ...

In Focus: Are Our Politicians' Wives Giving Enough Head?

Source: French Government Dismayed By American Ennuis ...

Rogue State Department Official Attempts "Dialogue" with Rabid Dog ...

Obama to trade Hawaii, Aleutians for Korean Disarmament Pact ...
"Peace In Our Time"

White House Accuses Victorious U.S. Soccer Team of "Arrogance"...

U.S. To Provide Troop Reinforcements to Taliban ...
President seeks to "level playing field"

Oscar Meyer Company to Name Weenie After President ...

Impacting ...


Fiddle Blogging 
Sean Keane.

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Obama still inviting Iranian diplomats to 4th of July Barbecues 
What a weenie.

WASHINGTON (AFP) — The United States said Monday its invitations were still standing for Iranian diplomats to attend July 4 celebrations at US embassies despite the crackdown on opposition supporters.
President Barack Obama's administration said earlier this month it would invite Iran to US embassy barbecues for the national holiday for the first time since the two nations severed relations following the 1979 Islamic revolution.
"There's no thought to rescinding the invitations to Iranian diplomats," State Department spokesman Ian Kelly told reporters.

I wonder: How many young women do Iranian goons need to shoot in order for Obama to reconsider the invitation?

How many women need to be clubbed over the head for Obama to reconsider the invitation?

How many soldiers in Iraq does Iran have to kill, through their proxies, for Obama to consider rescinding the invitation.

How many Iranian-manufactured explosively-formed projectiles have to go off in Iraq for Obama to consider rescinding the invitation?

How much American blood, specifically, does the current Iranian regime have to have on its hands, before Obama considers rescinding the invitation?

How many?

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Run Away!!! Run Away!!!! 
Obama the Lion has a new general in Afghanistan, and Obama the Lion's new general has announced tough new rules of engagement: Track down Taliban holing up in a house? Leave them alone.

Run away.

The top U.S. general in Afghanistan will soon formally order U.S. and NATO forces to break away from fights with militants hiding in Afghan houses so the battles do not kill civilians, a U.S. official said Monday.

The order would be one of the strongest measures taken by a U.S. commander to protect Afghan civilians in battle.

What kind of fellatist journo takes a look at what's essentially an order to surrender the towns to the enemy and considers that a "strong" anything?

McChrystal will issue orders within days saying troops may attack insurgents hiding in Afghan houses if the U.S. or NATO forces are in imminent danger and must return fire, said U.S. military spokesman Rear Adm. Greg Smith.

"But if there is a compound they're taking fire from and they can remove themselves from the area safely, without any undue danger to the forces, then that's the option they should take," Smith said. "Because in these compounds we know there are often civilians kept captive by the Taliban."

Nice. So the civilians have no incentive to fight off Taliban themselves. And the Taliban get a million free safehouses around the country out of the deal.

If we lose Afghanistan, this is the moment you can point to.

McChrystal's predecessor, Gen. David McKiernan, issued rules last fall that told commanders to set conditions "to minimize the need to resort to deadly force."

But McChrystal's orders will be more precise and have stronger language ordering forces to break off from battles, Smith said.

Run away!!!! Run away!!!!!!

The Obama military. Tough. Strong.

UPDATE: MCQ at Blackfive has the same reaction I do, and asks: "I mean, you tell me, where, if possible, would you initiate all of your contact from now on if you're the Taliban?"

UPDATE II: In the comments to the above, commenter Marcus, who apparently blogs here, writes:

General McChrystal is playing a very smart game of counterinsurgency. He understands the Afghan culture--particularly the ethical code of "Pashtunwali." Two of the major tenets of Pashtunwali are "Melmastia" and "Nanewati" which loosely translates into "hospitality" and "protection." The Afghan people--and the ethnic Pashtun in particular--will provide shelter and protection in their own homes for whoever asks for it. That includes the Taliban... and our people too.

Destroying houses and villages with Taliban in them because the locals won't turn them over is a quick way to turn the population against us. The center of gravity in this war--and any counterinsurgency for that matter--is the popular support of the people. In this case it is the Pashtun peoples, as the insurgency has not caught fire amongst the Tajiks, Hazara, Uzbeks or other ethic groups within the country.

Unlike in Iraq we enjoyed a tremendous wave of popularity amongst the Afghan people after we invaded. The Afghans hated (and still hate) the Taliban, and therefore welcomed us in with open arms. This has all changed within the last two years and our popularity with the people there has plummetted. Since we cannot hope to win if the people hate us, we have to get them on our side. And what the people there want more than anything right now is security--so McChrystal's metric of success may very well be spot on.

We can run around killing insurgents all day long but that will definitely not win the war for us. It didn't work in Iraq and it's not working in Afghanistan either. If we focus on killing bad guys while alienating the Afghan people we will eventually lose. Then we'll sit around like the Vietnam generation and bitch about how we won all the battles but lost the war. They lost because they didn't understand COIN. We've figured it out--it sure as hell took long enough--and now hopefully it's not too late to apply what we've learned.

If you look at the new FM 3-24 (Counterinsurgency), or more importantly read Bernard Fall, Sir Robert Thompson, Roger Trinquier or even Mao you'll see that protecting the populace and getting them to support you is critical.

McChrystal is applying COIN doctrine while tailoring it to the Afghan culture. He's also looking at it from a operational and strategic perspective... not tactical. And that's good, since that's what the man gets paid for.

Will we lose more people on the ground because of this adjustment to the ROE? Maybe. But I would argue its better to lose a few more men and women and win the war, rather than be casualty-adverse and lose it.

Now that may sound like a cold thing to say from a "Chairborne Monday Morning Quarterback," and it would be. So full disclosure--I will personally be over there humping the hills and working with the ANA in a few months time--and I still think McChrystal's policy is the smart play. I'm willing to put my own ass on the line, perfectly comfortable with this new ROE. It's up to guys like myself to figure out the tactical problems framed within the confines of guidance nested within the operational and strategic framework. And I'm cool with that.

Like Denzel Washington said in the movie Training Day... "This shit is chess, it ain't checkers!"

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The Deal 
Cedarford, a racist, bigoted, Jew-hating jerk who comments on Althouse, nails the recent escape of a NYT reporter from Taliban captivity:

Oh, to have been a fly on the wall during the NYTimes hostage negotiation for their reporter.

"Look, we gave you info on the Afghan Predator program, America tapping into SPRINT to find Islamoid financiers. We regularly give page 1 to any "wedding party atrocity" you alledge. We helped kill hundreds of American soldiers by working hard to inflame Muslims with endless stories of Abu Ghraib, GITMO torture, Haditha, Koran desecration..Details on jammer devices the military was trying against IEDs. Endless advocacy of terrorist's precious rights and civil liberties."

"Frankly, you Taliban and Al Qaeda owe us! Release our guy!"

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A-dime-per-can tax increase on soda? 
Remember when Obama said this?

" if your family earns less than $250,000 a year, you will not see your taxes increased a single dime. I repeat: not one single dime."

If Obama doesn't pledge to veto this, then we know what his word is good for, don't we?

WASHINGTON (AP) - Early work on the ambitious health care overhaul the Obama administration is seeking has exposed the kinds of in-house fights that typify just how hard it will be to get meaningful legislation this year. Case in point: A proposal to help bankroll universal health coverage with a dime-a-can increase in the price of soft drinks.

Who's behind this? Democrats, of course. Looking out for working families, and all that.

Other possible screwings:

- Increasing the price of soda and other sugary drinks by 10 cents a can.
- Applying a potential 2 percent income tax increase to single taxpayers earning more than $200,000 a year and households earning more than $250,000.
- A new employer payroll tax could target 3 percent of employers' health care expenditures.
- Taxing employer-provided health insurance benefits above certain levels - a less likely option but one that still is in the running..

If they add a 3% payroll tax on health insurance, smaller employers will drop their coverage by the thousands. These fools don't understand how group plans and other ancillary benefit packages are sold to small businesses. The agent goes in and shows them how paying compensation in benefits can cost little or nothing once you net in FICA and Medicaid payroll taxes. That's a huge part of the sell, and a huge part of why small business owners provide these benefits.

If Congress destroys that, then employers will simply drop coverage.

Which is, of course, what these cretins want, because that will only increase demand for universal care.

The liberal assault on private enterprise, small business and the middle class continues apace.

Splash, out


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Sunday, June 21, 2009

NYT Idiocy on national health care 
The New York Times editorial board didn't see fit to write an editorial on Iran today. But they did weigh in on Obama's effort to destroy the American health care system as we know it.

As the debate on health care reform unfolds, no issue has caused such partisan rancor — and spawned such misleading rhetoric — as whether to create a new public insurance plan to compete with private plans.

The nation already has several huge public plans, including Medicare for the elderly (once reviled by conservatives, it is now only short of the flag in its popularity) and Medicaid for the poor.

Great. How is that Medicare balance sheet looking these days, morons? Wait. Don't answer that.

Now the issue is whether to establish a new public plan to encourage more competition among health insurers

Garbage. Why do these idiots swallow this crap? If the government gets involved in this marketplace, a number of insurance carriers, and thousands of agents, will simply pull out of the market altogether. The result will be fewer options. Not more. Less competition (except with tax-subsidized public plans on less than a level playing field, in which the true cost of coverage is masked.)

Most Democrats and some Republicans have already accepted the need to create one or more health insurance exchanges where individuals without group coverage and possibly small businesses could buy insurance policies.

These morons are too dumb for words. People without group coverage purchase health insurance every single day. I hold an individual plan myself - even though I have access to a similar plan through my employer. My risk pool is better than theirs, so I stay with my own plan. Small businesses purchase health care plans every single day.

An exchange would give the government (federal or state) a lot more power over insurers that choose to participate in order to tap a vast new market of previously uninsured people.

There you have it. These trotskyite bastards just let the mask slip. They think giving the government more power over private entities is a GOOD thing.

They are also blindingly ignorant. State regulation of insurance companies is a long tradition in this country - and a good one. The state insurance commissioners do a much better job of financial regulation, with closer accountability, than the SEC and their grubbing FINRA handmaidens.

It would determine the range of benefits that all participating plans would have to offer.

So much for offering more competition and more choices, huh?

But it gets worse than that. When government gets involved in dictating what benefits to offer, they start mandating coverage for uninsurable risks. The result is that insurance policies gradually cease to be vehicles of risk transfer, as they should be, and become nothing more than hyper-expensive, glorified discount plans.

It would presumably require those plans to accept all applicants, regardless of “pre-existing conditions.”

Unless you make health coverage MANDATORY, for all Americans, like auto insurance, and enforce it with jail time, this is totally unworkable. It becomes a factory for adverse selection. I don't even think the imbeciles at the New York Times know what adverse selection is, or why it's important. I'd love to quiz them.

There is no serious consideration in Congress of a single-payer governmental program that would enroll virtually everyone.

Who are they kidding. That's the dream. Government money always drives out private money: If the government plan is made universally available at very low cost, that is precisely what will happen, as people flee their private plans to suckle on the government tit with a giant sucking sound. It's been tried on a small scale in Hawai'i already. With disastrous results.

Nor is there any talk of extending the veterans health care system, a stellar example of “socialized medicine,” to the general public.

The Times is talking out of its ass here. The VA system can't handle its own case load. Non-service-related injuries are way down the totem pole. Vets who rely on the VA system alone don't get the benefit of competition. And scroll down for an example of just how 'stellar' the quality of care and administration of VA health care is. Just a few days ago, CBS News ran a story on how 40 different VA Medical Centers were under investigation for tainted colonoscopy procedures, putting thousands of veterans at risk for Hepatitis, HIV, and other illnesses.. My God, they are calling the VA a "stellar example of socialized medicine" on the very same day they're running this story.

There is just no end to the level of arrogance and ignorance in the NY Times editorial offices.

A public plan would have lower administrative expenses than private plans, no need to generate big profits, and stronger bargaining power to obtain discounts from providers. That should enable it to charge lower premiums than many private plans.

Dreamy. Why not fucking socialize EVERYTHING, libtards?

But I don't buy for a moment that a public plan would have lower administrative expenses than private plans. The DB plans on public sector workers alone would blow that argument out of the water. Further, much of the administrative expense in running a health insurance company comes out of HIPAA compliance. That's right... it costs millions each year just to keep up with the government's own ideas! So the government comes up with requirements, forcing the health insurance companies to spend money to comply. Then they get blamed for high administrative expenses. But government will still have the same compliance issues. If they don't, then there is no privacy in government plans.

It would also provide an alternative for individuals who either can’t get adequate insurance from private insurers

This is truly the crux of the matter. What are we to do with people who are uninsurable? But every state already has measures in place to provide an insurer of last resort. We have already addressed portability issues with HIPAA - so just because you lose your job doesn't mean you have to lose your health insurance. Yes, you do have to pay the premium, including the portion formerly paid by your employer. This is health care - the fervent, childlike wishes of libtards not withstanding - isn't free.

Further, any young and healthy worker who declines health insurance, gets sick or hurt, then blames the system for not providing him or her a health insurance plan they didn't want to support when they were healthy, doesn't deserve a health insurance plan. Let them bankrupt themselves first, then go on to Medicaid. You make health coverage MANDATORY, and enforce it, and you won't have a problem with this.

The prospect of competing with a government plan terrifies the private insurers. But in our judgment, if that many Americans were to decide that such a plan is a better deal for them and their families, that would be a good thing.

That's because you are a bunch of commie rat bastards with no understanding of where money comes from or how wealth is generated.

Innovative private plans that already deliver better services at lower costs would survive. Inefficient private plans would wither

Again, I ask the libtards at the New York Times with the 10th-grade understanding of economics: If that's the case, why not socialize everything?

I have an idea. Let's put a government-owned city newspaper in New York City. Let's see how the argument changes.

LIGHTER VERSIONS Other proposals are circulating that would level the playing field with private plans. They would require the public plan to hold the same reserves as private plans and sustain itself from premium income without drawing on the federal treasury.

Wonderful. Who would put up the "reserves," dipshit? Or do we just waive around some magic faerie dust?

STATE-BASED PLANS A bipartisan group, led by three former Senate leaders — Republicans Bob Dole and Howard Baker and Democrat Tom Daschle — has proposed leaving it to states to create public plans if they wish. The federal government would be able to step in after five years if a state has failed to establish an exchange with affordable insurance options. That looks like a formula for delay and inaction.

Why? Because libtards HATE the states. Their instinct is to centralize everything, all the time, and send power as far away from the people as they can. They can't get away with sending it to the UN yet, so they'll settle for Washington. Just for fun, next time you're hanging out with a libtard, ask them this question: "What does the 10th Amendment mean to you?" Press them on it. Hang on to it like a bulldog on a bone. Don't let the bastard change the subject. Progressivism is a bankrupt ideology. Force them to confront it. "Why do you think the founding fathers included the 10th amendment in the Bill of Rights?"

COOPERATIVES Propelled by a belief that no public plan could survive a Republican filibuster, Senator Kent Conrad, Democrat of North Dakota, has proposed instead setting up private nonprofit cooperatives — run for the benefit of their members rather than stockholders — to compete with profit making insurance plans.

The presumed advantage of this approach is that cooperatives might be able to charge lower premiums because they would not have to earn large profits. Their performance, too, would be a yardstick against which to measure whether profit making plans are charging fair premiums.

Oh, wow. Geez. Mutually-owned insurance companies. What a concept! Genius!

TIGHT REGULATION Right from the start of the debate, some experts have suggested that much tighter regulation of the new insurance exchange could achieve many of the goals of a public plan.

Great idea. Because if there's anything that attracts new competitors to the marketplace, fosters innovation, and lowers administrative costs, it's tight regulation.

Regulators could insist that insurers not exclude people with pre-existing conditions or charge them higher premiums.

Yes. Because that will help control costs. We can also evoke, by legislative edict, entities called the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny, too, to make children happy. I swear to God, this article looks like it was written by idealistic 10th graders - not by hard-bitten, realist journalists. But liberalism, deep down, is fundamentally childishness.

And the near-universal coverage in Massachusetts was achieved without a public plan option.

That was achieved by making health coverage mandatory, geniuses. A detail that seems to have escaped you.

Splash, out


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Rogue Cancer Unit at VA hospital botches 92 of 116 cancer treatments 
... And covers it up.

Had the government responded more aggressively, it might have uncovered a rogue cancer unit at the hospital, one that operated with virtually no outside scrutiny and botched 92 of 116 cancer treatments over a span of more than six years — and then kept quiet about it, according to interviews with investigators, government officials and public records.

The team continued implants for a year even though the equipment that measured whether patients received the proper radiation dose was broken. The radiation safety committee at the Veterans Affairs hospital knew of this problem but took no action, records show.


The 92 implant errors resulted from a systemwide failure in which none of the safeguards that were supposed to protect veterans from poor medical care worked, an examination by The New York Times has found.

Peer review, a staple of every good hospital, in which colleagues examine one another’s work, did not exist in the unit. The V.A.’s radiation safety program; the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which regulates the use of all nuclear materials; and the Joint Commission, a group that accredited the hospital, all failed to intervene; either their inspections had been limited or they had not acted decisively upon finding problems.

Over all, the implant program lacked a “safety culture,” the nuclear commission found. Dr. Kao and other members of his team, the commission said, were not properly supervised or trained in what constitutes a substandard implant and the need to report it. Dr. Kao declined to comment for this article.

Quick! Let's put government employees in charge of everyone's medical care, right away!

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Neda. Shot by Iranian goons. Tehran, June 20th, 2009.

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Friday, June 19, 2009

Compare and Contrast: 
John F. Kennedy: "Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.
This much we pledge—and more."

Ronald Reagan: "Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

Barack Obama:"“It’s not productive, given the history of the US-Iranian relationship, to be seen as meddling,”

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Hillary breaks elbow 
Oh no's!!!!

She was probably dodging sniper fire again. Damn snipers.

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Monday, June 15, 2009

That Was Then, This is Now 
When a liberal criticizes the Bush administration, 'dissent is the highest form of patriotism.'

When a conservative criticizes the Obama administration, the CIA chief calls it "dangerous politics."

Splash, out


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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Credibility and Happy Days 
From the wonderful Cynthia Yockey:

I did not watch the TV sitcom Happy Days very often, but one of the shows made a lasting impression on me. It encapsulates why all of us who are outraged at David Letterman’s vile rape jokes about 14-year-old Willow Palin and his unfunny, degrading remarks about her mother, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, must get this bully fired from his show on CBS.

As you may know, Happy Days was about the high school days of an all-American, clean-cut boy, Richie Cunningham, his family and clean-cut friends, and his family’s tenant, the motorcycle-riding, womanizing, leather-jacketed drop-out known as The Fonz, or Fonzi.

Well, in one show some bullies have been harassing Richie, so The Fonz meets him at the soda shop to teach him his technique for intimidating other tough guys out of beating him up. The Fonz demonstrates his technique by looking his opponents in the eye, getting angry and red in the face, and then furiously tearing off his jacket and throwing it down on the ground in order to prepare for the fight. At that point, his opponents look frightened and hurry away.

So, just as Richie is confronting his own tormentors and angrily taking off his letterman’s jacket, he and Fonzi note that the tormentors are unimpressed and stand their ground. Fonzi is startled by a flash of realization and pulls Richie aside and says, “I just remembered! For this to work, you must have once hit someone.”

Well, getting David Letterman fired is our version of scaring off future bullies by having once hit someone.

I agree.

I'm not one to want to destroy a career over a one-off joke. But I'm getting awfully tired of the libtards getting away with murder, and this idea that prominent libtards get into their heads that there is no accountability or consequence for their vilest public statements.

Letterman will be ok. He can go to cable TV, like Larry Shandling, or something. He's made his money. He'll be fine. And the Late Night show will be much, much better with almost anyone else in there. Letterman was never that funny to me.

Take him down.

Funny, because the other day on Althouse's blog, I commented that if I were Willow's dad, I would have publicly challenged Letterman to a duel. Then again, I'm old-fashioned that way.

It would have been hilarious watching Letterman weasel out of that one.

Splash, out


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Is the recession causing more abortions? 
"If it is, that's not neccessarily a bad thing."

At the same time, opting not to have a child you can't afford to raise can be a realistic and responsible-if painful-choice, one often based on taking good care of the kids you already have.

Why would it be a "painful" choice?

Oh, no reason. No reason at all.

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

I'll Shoah YOU the life of the mind!!! 
A D.C. area cashier at the Holocaust Museum has had yet another depressing day.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Stache on Conservative Foreign Policy Principles 
Here's John Bolton on the subject:

Conservative foreign and national-security policies do not need remaking, rebranding or remessaging. They need not be escorted by prefixes or adjectives, nor do they need "moderating."

Conservative foreign policy is unabashedly pro-American, unashamed of American exceptionalism, unwilling to bend its knee to international organizations, and unapologetic about the need for the fullest range of dominant military capabilities. Its diplomacy is neither unilateralist nor multilateralist, but chooses its strategies, tactics, means and methods based on a hard-headed assessment of U.S. national interests, not on theologies about process. Most especially, conservatives understand that allies are different from adversaries, and that each should be treated accordingly.

Though I speak with a big stick, with the tongues of neocons and classical liberals, and have not strength, I sound as a hand-wringing loon or a screeching hippie. And though I have the gift of gab, and understand women, and ragheads, and though I have all faith in the power of words and soft rhetoric, so that I could move mountains, and have not strength, it avails me nothing. And though we transfer aid to the poor, and food to the starving, and though we give our soldiers' lives to be sacrificed for the liberty of others, and have nonot strength, it avails us nothing.

Strength suffers long, and is mostly kind. It envies not, and vaunts not itself, which is what that whole Teddy Roosevelt thing was about. It is not puffed up. It does not behave unseemly, but does keep an accounting of wrongs. It seeks not its own, but aquires targets. It rejoiceth not in iniquity, but shit happens. It can kill all things, break all things, destroy all things, blast all things.

Strength never fails. But where there are diplomats, they may fail. Whether there be tongues, they shall cease, and where there shall be weakies, they shall vanish away in a pink mist. There are known knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns. But when that which is strong shall come, that which is weak will vanish away.

When I was a libtard, I understood as a libtard. But now I am a man, and it is time to put away liberal things. '

For we saw through the optics, darkly. But now we are within small-arms range. And now abide peace, hope and strength, these three. But the greatest of these is strength.

I think I fudged the ending a little.

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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

ACLU Seeks to tear down VFW War Memorial Cross 
The Thomas More Law Center files a Friend of the Court Brief opposing the ACLU.

At issue is a small cross originally erected on Sunrise Rock in 1934 by the Veterans of Foreign Wars in memory of the dead of all wars. The cross is located in California’s Mojave Desert, in a remote area where the only visible signs of human activity are off-road vehicles and trail hikers. The ACLU succeeded in its anti-cross agenda by obtaining a ruling in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals holding that the cross violated the so-called separation of church and state. However, the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case, Ken Salazar v. Frank Buono.

I swear - the ACLU isn't staffed by liberals so much as sociopaths.

Splash, out


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Monday, June 08, 2009

How dare you, Mr. Yglesias? 
How dare you, in your wildest wet dreams of moral equivocation, even remotely compare the Bush Administration with the monstrous crimes of the North Korean government and their brutal gulag system?
As in the Soviet Union during the high tide of the Gulag, it appears that the forced labor camps are important to the regime not just as a mechanism of repression, but as part of the economic model and the internal incentives of the bureaucracy. Spencer Ackerman also links to the State Department’s human rights report on the DPRK:

[P]rolonged periods of exposure to the elements; humiliations such as public nakedness; confinement for up to several weeks in small ‘punishment cells’ in which prisoners were unable to stand upright or lie down; being forced to kneel or sit immobilized for long periods; being hung by the wrists; being forced to stand up and sit down to the point of collapse.

Needless to say, it’s easy to recognize this sort of barbarism as the torture that it is when you read about it being done by North Korea (it appears that the Bush administration and the DPRK were both modeling themselves on the Chinese Communist tactics from the Korean War). And it is being done, and on a massive scale.

Everything's a point-scoring game to you, isn't it?

You honestly can't discern a significant difference in kind and degree between the two?

Have you no decency, sir?

At long last, have you no decency?

Splash, out


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Ua mau ke kea o ka aina i ka pono 
Alright... I'm checking my email in the Wilton Manors, FL Starbucks, they're playing Hawai'ian music, and I'm homesick as hell.

Aloha nui loa,


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Canada Passes 'Buy Canadian' Resolution 
Canada makes things?

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Apparently, women who teach child yoga classes for a living are having a hard time making ends meet.

Surely the end times are upon us.

When Feuer started teaching yoga four and a half years ago, when she was 38, it seemed like the perfect entree to a life of free agency. Feuer spent most of her 30s working for her husband’s goth record label doing publicity and promotion. When they divorced in 2005, she wanted a job that gave her some of the same independence that he had. “I’d watched my husband go into business for himself, and I felt like I could do it, too,” she said.

Yoga gave her the same pure, elated feeling as dance, which she had done professionally in her 20s. She spent $4,000 on a 200-hour yoga training course — paid for with a home-equity loan — and then more to specialize in prenatal, mommy-baby and kids classes. Many of her prenatal students came back to thank her after giving birth. She could pick up classes from a half-dozen studios, gyms and schools, and she could arrange her schedule around the needs of her son, Sasha, who is almost 7. Since Feuer did not work full time for any employer, no one gave her health insurance or other benefits. But she earned between $35 and $65 a class, and students paid more for private sessions.

This part's just precious:

Feuer’s ex-husband pays one-third of her rent, and she had been counting on the money from the after-school classes to pay her share for July and August. “I don’t know how I will make it through the summer,” she said in an e-mail message. The bottom of the note read, “Sent from my iPhone.” The call of semidesperation via a high-tech status symbol is an emblem of the gap between the past and the present for many of urban America’s self-employed.

Wow. Looks like a reject from the Overwriters' Anonymous meeting. George Will, Call your office!

Freelancers still have the trappings of middle-class entrepreneurship. But the downturn is eating away at their livelihoods and the identity they thought they chose when they decided to work for themselves.

Most businesses fail. She is fortunate, in that she only has a few grand in capital investment in the business. I talked to several retail business owners this week who aren't sure how they'll make it through the summer, and each of them are sitting on inventory worth upwards of six figures.

Some, I think, will pull through, with a little luck, assuming their loans don't get called in a hurry. Others need to be put out of their misery before they destroy their owners' lives even more.

Speaking as a former freelance writer, I can relate, and I love folks who do this kind of independent work. But they aren't really entrepreneurs - which is why so few freelance writers can write articles that real entrepreneurs - the kind who understand capital investment, intrinsic value, leverage, asset protection, insurance, liability and exit plans can understand.

Oh, geez... of course! The writer is Emily Bazelon! A well-known liberal! No wonder she doesn't understand!

A freelance writer has a lot of freedom. But with just a few exceptions, they have jobs, not businesses. Your occupation pays you only so long as you work in it. Once you quit, you have nothing to show for it but a thick portfolio that no no one will pay you for. No exit value, no useable book to sell, no residual income, no way for a successor to pick up where you left off.

They create jobs, not businessess. So these are freelance workers, not really independent business owners. THey have some of the BENEFITS of owning one's own business - the freedom to control one's hours and working environment. And potentially they may gain some tax advantages (but at lower income levels, those aren't REALLY worth that much). But for all their efforts and freedoms, they aren't really creating anything of lasting value for themselves.

Every freelance writer, graphic designer, programmer, or artist should read a book called the E-Myth.

Chris Jagers notices the same confusion I did.

The instability of freelancing isn’t new. Lawrence Katz, a Harvard economist, points out that the share of workers who have standard full-time jobs with benefits has been shrinking since the 1980s. But in the past, temporary and on-call workers — everyone from data-entry employees to construction workers — were hit hardest by downturns.

Well, yes. As a freelance commercial writer with a strong financial industry specialty, I billed out significantly higher on an hourly basis or per-word basis than I did on staff. Why do you think people hire staff writers??? When work slows down, I was way more expensive than a staff writer, so I didn't get the call. Them's the breaks. And all the freedom I had to work at Starbucks or from a lawn chair at the beach (and yes, I did both!) comes with a trade-off.

You can always tell a libtard because their underlying assumption is that tradeoffs like this don't exist in a real economy - and so when the tradeoffs actually DO rear their ugly head, they get smacked in the face by the surprise, and then they write articles for the New York Times magazine describing the tradeoffs that are immediately and intuitively obvious to all right-thinking individuals from the very beginning, thinking they have some magnificent insight.

Meanwhile, everyone who's ever even THOUGHT seriously about making a payroll skips right past their drivel.

Meanwhile, unemployment insurance is still largely structured as it was when the system was instituted during the Depression. “Unemployment insurance was designed in 1935 to give temporary support to the classic male laid-off worker,” Katz says. “It’s not set up for the circumstances we see today, with a lot of people freelancing.”

Good God, Katz! Why on earth would it be? You COULDN'T set up such a system if you tried. The adverse selection would be off the charts! These independent contractors are SOLELY responsible for their own employment and their own business development. If it were possible to construct some kind of unemployment insurance for these people, the New York Freelancer's Union has the economy of scale to do it. Let them try. Jeebus. Will someone whack these libtards with a clue bat already!?

At the Freelancers Union, Sara Horowitz is pushing for a new kind of unemployment protection fund that would cover the self-employed by helping them put away money that they could draw on in times of need.

Brilliant. Let's make a name for it. I suggest we call it "savings."

You know, I have a theory - that any conservative needs to have 30 IQ points on a liberal in order to land an equivalent job. Take Megan McArdle, for instance. Megan's not perfect, and I've seen her screw up in print. But she's easily got 20 or 30 IQ points on 90 percent of the other blogger/journalists who write in her space - and has a much stronger background. But she's not a reflexive liberal. If she had the same views she has now, but wrote with the same sloppiness as the liberals there (and everywhere else)[*cough cough* SULLIVAN!!! *cough cough*], she would have been given her walking papers.

I see the same thing with journalism all over the place... Conservatives have to play major league level ball to get the same bylines and gigs as intellectually-slovenly liberals who have next to no experience outside of college.

If this 31 year old kid now responsible for GM were a conservative, he'd be grunting it out proofreading documents for a law firm in DC and fetching coffee for the partners. But he's a liberal, so he gets whisked up to the stratosphere.

But back to our regularly scheduled train wreck:

In April, Lisa Feuer sent me another message from her iPhone: “I’m at the food-stamp office now, waiting.” For months, she had been putting off this trip. Feuer’s grandparents were Jews who immigrated to the United States from Vienna in 1939. She grew up in a small town in Illinois, where her parents taught public school. She has an undergraduate degree, having majored in sociology as well as Russian and Eastern European studies, and a master’s in multimedia arts.

I think I'm beginning to see the problem!

Venkatesh is picking up this kind of unexpected neediness in his research. He has four welfare caseworkers around the city who keep track of the clients who come in to ask about public assistance. “I wanted to understand whether ‘nontraditional’ welfare clients started to file paperwork,” Venkatesh wrote in an e-mail message. “Nontraditional means white, for Manhattan.” In 2005, the caseworkers reported that 5 percent of those who came to their offices were white. This year, the percentage has jumped to 26 percent.

Now THAT is a fine statistic, and some fine reporting by Miss Bazelon! More like this, please! You'll make any editor proud.

Bottom line, though ... If you're on food stamps, and you live in New York, and you have a baby girl, and you're on track to make 15,000 this year, and last year, you only made 30% more than that... how on earth did you think you could afford an iPhone?

Ah. All your friends had one. It's part of the the independent contractors/creative workers' uniform.

Maybe I should send this woman a copy of the E-Myth, and a copy of The Millionaire Next Door. Or send them to Emily Bazelon.

I wonder if she'd read them?

I wonder if she's ready to understand them?

Splash, out


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Saturday, June 06, 2009

fiddle blogging 
Niamh Ni Charra... showin' us how 6/8 time is done, before going into a couple of reels.

Notice that jig time isn't straight... it's thoroughly syncopated. She syncopates a bit more than most players, to give the tune a bit of a Scottish feel.

Lots of players play an evenly-divided three notes to the beat on these jigs. Down-da-da Down da da. Classically-trained players are the worst offenders. (Hint: Gigue = Jig, dumbasses! It's a DANCE!)

It's not Down-da-da, dumbass, unless you're playing chuck berry licks too fast. Even Chuck didn't do that. It's Down-ta-dah Down-ta-dah.


Splash, out


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Thursday, June 04, 2009

RIP David Carradine 
You died like a man.

Doing what you loved: Naked in a Bankok luxury hotel suite.

Well played, sir!

Splash, out


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Mozilo and Countrywide: I called it!!!! 
I get bragging rights: I called it precisely.

Here's what I wrote more than a year and a half ago:

The problem isn't that Mozilo cashed out a lot of stock options. That's entirely legitimate, and no one is alleging that he failed to disclose his trading in accordance with company policy and the law.

This is the most widely predicted and predictable bubble in a generation. Mozilo would be a fool not to have lightened up (though he still should have maintained a significant long position out of principle. My issue is that as far as I can tell, he has no long position.)

The real problem is that even as Mozilo was quietly unloading his own shares, Countrywide was loading up the company with debt to buy by back millions of shares at prices management obviously thought were inflated (around 40 bucks).

Actually, that buyback program was initiated almost exactly at the same time that Mozilo began selling.

Oh, and you also read it here on Countercolumn.

I am not long Countrywide, except via Weitz Value.

It's tempting. It trades at 5x official earnings (I mentally adjust that to more like 8 to 9 times "real world" earnings, and trades at 20 to 30 percent off book value. It is less than 10% into subprimes. It is about 40% into adjustables, but those adjustables are spread across the United States, and not concentrated in California (in contrast to someone like Wells, which is a western franchise, and even Washington Mutual, which is overexposed to California, which surprised me to learn.)

Countrywide also recently executed a large buyback of shares around the 40 dollar mark last year. Shares are now trading at around 18.

It's very tempting - with a nice dividend in the meantime to pay me for waiting for a recovery.

But I look at their CEO, and he is selling shares as fast as his options vest. He doesn't seem to be retaining any of them personally, and therefore I distrust him as an owner-manager.

I know. Please. Try not to gush.

What's more, it is this seeming mismatch between the CEO's own trading actions and the COMPANY BUYBACK ITSELF that will expose Mozilo and the directors to legal liability. The buyback is a key option, because it's the buyback, not the insider sales, that arguably represent a violation of fiduciary duty to shareholders.

Here's the headline today:

SEC charges ex-Countrywide CEO Mozilo with fraud and insider trading

From the story:

Mr. Mozilo set up four executive stock sales plans for himself in the last three months of 2006, all the while aware of the company’s fate and that of its loan portfolio, the SEC charged.

Between November of that year and August 2007, he exercised more than 5.1 million stock options, raking in about $140 million, bailing himself out while Countrywide and its investors crashed and burned, according to the charges.

Aside from the fraud charges, the SEC also wants the three men to pay up their ill-gotten gains, plus financial penalties, and for the trio to be barred from becoming officers or directors at publicly held companies.

Richard H. Moore, former state treasurer of North Carolina, wrote a letter in 2007 to then-SEC chairman Christopher Cox, asking him to investigate stock sales that Mr. Mozilo had made.

Ben Graham, you magnificent bastard, I read your book!!!

Splash, out


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Top Djimmi Cooks ... 
Top Djimmi swings ...

When one nation pursues a nuclear weapon, the risk of nuclear attack rises for all nations.

Great! Let's recognize Iran's right to nuclear technology right away! Other Presidents would force a rival nation to all but sell their soul at the bargaining table for us simply to look the other way. The One, however, in his wisdom, has given that concession away for nothing.

And when innocents in Bosnia and Darfur are slaughtered, that is a stain on our collective conscience.

The innocents in Darfur are being slaughtered by Muslims. But don't mention that.

In Ankara, I made clear that America is not – and never will be – at war with Islam.

Never? Suppose Islam were at war with us?

We will, however, relentlessly confront violent extremists who pose a grave threat to our security.

Yes. By calling off the War on Terror and advocating immediate surrender in Iraq on the campaign trail. By directing law enforcement agencies to go hands-off radical Muslims here at home. And finally, by advocating the release of Gitmo inmates in the United States and ensuring the rest of them get lawyers.

I am aware that some question or justify the events of 9/11.

Good. Let's elevate them to our level by refusing to make a case why they're wrong.

That's why we're partnering with a coalition of forty-six countries. And despite the costs involved, America's commitment will not weaken. Indeed, none of us should tolerate these extremists. They have killed in many countries. They have killed people of different faiths – more than any other, they have killed Muslims. Their actions are irreconcilable with the rights of human beings, the progress of nations, and with Islam. The Holy Koran teaches that whoever kills an innocent, it is as if he has killed all mankind; and whoever saves a person, it is as if he has saved all mankind. The enduring faith of over a billion people is so much bigger than the narrow hatred of a few. Islam is not part of the problem in combating violent extremism – it is an important part of promoting peace.

Finally he gets something right.

Unlike Afghanistan, Iraq was a war of choice that provoked strong differences in my country and around the world.

And his stupidity in airing that out, and dissing the previous administration, as his his usual classless wont, is also a stupidity of choice. I wonder what Iraq's Gold Star mothers would think of that statement?

Although I believe that the Iraqi people are ultimately better off without the tyranny of Saddam Hussein, I also believe that events in Iraq have reminded America of the need to use diplomacy and build international consensus to resolve our problems whenever possible.

Ummm... the Iraq war came after 12 years worth of diplomacy, Mr. President. And was fought by a pretty good sized coalition itself. Further, Mr. President, since you yourself brought up the term 'consensus,' let me remind you that in 2003, there was no doubt about what the international consensus was: Saddam was in violation of the UNSC resolutions, was a state sponsor of terror, and out of compliance with the terms of the cease fire.

Clinton bombed them for a reason.

have made it clear to the Iraqi people that we pursue no bases, and no claim on their territory or resources. Iraq's sovereignty is its own. That is why I ordered the removal of our combat brigades by next August.

"Relentless pursuit!!!"

I have unequivocally prohibited the use of torture by the United States

Good. So did your predecessor. Except you reserved the right to use it in the future. Just like your predecessor. Color me unimpressed.

I have ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed by early next year.


America's strong bonds with Israel are well known. This bond is unbreakable. It is based upon cultural and historical ties, and the recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied.
Around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries, and anti-Semitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust. Tomorrow, I will visit Buchenwald, which was part of a network of camps where Jews were enslaved, tortured, shot and gassed to death by the Third Reich. Six million Jews were killed – more than the entire Jewish population of Israel today. Denying that fact is baseless, ignorant, and hateful.

Good. More like this, please.

For decades, there has been a stalemate: two peoples with legitimate aspirations, each with a painful history that makes compromise elusive. It is easy to point fingers – for Palestinians to point to the displacement brought by Israel's founding.

News flash: Their displacement was not brought about by Israel's founding.

Palestinians must abandon violence. Resistance through violence and killing is wrong and does not succeed. For centuries, black people in America suffered the lash of the whip as slaves and the humiliation of segregation. But it was not violence that won full and equal rights. It was a peaceful and determined insistence upon the ideals at the center of America's founding. This same story can be told by people from South Africa to South Asia; from Eastern Europe to Indonesia. It's a story with a simple truth: that violence is a dead end.

Spirit of 76!

Holy crap, Mr. President! Slavery was eradicated by the American Civil War, and 600,000 dead! Where on earth do you get this nonsense?

At the same time, Israelis must acknowledge that just as Israel's right to exist cannot be denied, neither can Palestine's. The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop.

That is a huge rhetorical concession to make. What did the US get at the negotiating table in exchange for us sticking a shiv in Israel's ribs?

I'm waiting.

This history is well known. Rather than remain trapped in the past, I have made it clear to Iran's leaders and people that my country is prepared to move forward.

Move foreward? With Ahmadinejad?!?!?

In what universe does that make a lick of sense?

The only thing that will move forward is Iran's nuclear program and missile capabilities.

There will be many issues to discuss between our two countries, and we are willing to move forward without preconditions on the basis of mutual respect.

Without preconditions!?!?!?!

Even Hillary isn't that stupid.

I understand those who protest that some countries have weapons that others do not. No single nation should pick and choose which nations hold nuclear weapons. That is why I strongly reaffirmed America's commitment to seek a world in which no nations hold nuclear weapons.

Good idea. Now that the genie is out of the bottle, let's give a decisive strategic advantage to liars, terrorists and outlaw states.

Stupid fucking hippies.

I know there has been controversy about the promotion of democracy in recent years

Controversy? Promoting democracy is controversial? What kind of nihilist cesspool do you normally associate with, Mr. President? Wait. Don't answer that.

"Bear any burden," indeed.

hat does not lessen my commitment, however, to governments that reflect the will of the people. Each nation gives life to this principle in its own way, grounded in the traditions of its own people.

Ok, Top Djimmi. Explain to me precisely how the government of North Korea gives life to the principle that governments reflect the will of the people. Because I'm not sure you're clear on the concept.

Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance. We see it in the history of Andalusia and Cordoba during the Inquisition. I saw it firsthand as a child in Indonesia, where devout Christians worshiped freely in an overwhelmingly Muslim country.

Behold: Muslim tolerance: Indonesian style.

I've seen smarter speeches at high school graduation ceremonies.

I swear, Democrats have an incredibly childlike faith in the power of parallel construction.

Splash, out


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Did the Obama Administration ixnay investigations on radical black Muslims? 
STRATFOR has it, apparently from multiple sources predating the Little Rock shooting, that it did.

Several weeks ago, STRATFOR heard from sources that the FBI and other law enforcement organizations had been ordered to “back off” of counterterrorism investigations into the activities of Black Muslim converts. At this point, it is unclear to us if that guidance was given by the White House or the Department of Justice, or if it was promulgated by the agencies themselves, anticipating the wishes of President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder.

Now a Little Rock soldier is dead.

Even though lone wolves operate alone, they are still constrained by the terrorist attack cycle, and because they are working alone, they have to conduct each step of the cycle by themselves. This means that they are vulnerable to detection at several different junctures as they plan their attacks, the most critical of which is the surveillance stage of the operation. Muhammad did not just select that recruiting center at random and attack on the spot. He had cased it prior to the attack just as he had been taught in the militant training camps he attended in Yemen. Law enforcement officials have reported that Muhammad may also have researched potential government and Jewish targets in Little Rock, Philadelphia, Atlanta, New York, Louisville and Memphis.

Had the FBI opened a full-field investigation on Muhammad, and had it conducted surveillance on him, it would have been able to watch him participate in preoperational activities such as conducting surveillance of potential targets and obtaining weapons.

Mission. Accomplished.

Splash, out


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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Illinois Federalists. 
I hate Illinois Federalists.

Illinois has not abolished self-defense and has not expressed a preference for long guns over handguns. But the municipalities can, and do, stress another of the themes in the debate over incorporation of the Bill of Rights: That the Constitution establishes a federal republic where local differences are to be cherished as elements of liberty rather than extirpated in order to produce a single, nationally applicable rule.

Damn your inalienable, God-given, natural right to life and liberty. We got teh federalism to uphold! (That's the Chicago Way.)

Federalism is an older and more deeply rooted tradition than is a right to carry any particular kind of weapon.

Ok... anyone who can write that crap with a straight face has spent entirely too long in law school.

Not only that, but they have their heads up their asses and don't know history.

Splash, out


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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

A nickel on the dollar 
Gas prices seem to be forecasting a recovery - and so long as the Persian Gulf remains as stable as it usually is (HA!), I see seasonally-adjusted increases in energy prices as good news, rather than bad, for the exact same reason I viewed the abrupt decline in gas prices a negative sign last summer, rather than a good sign.

But lookie here: Institutional buyers of consumer debt are not pricing in a recovery. Far from it - they're pricing in a further collapse in the economy!

An executive from a fund that buys "distressed assets" held a luncheon audience spellbound Monday as he talked about what his firm thinks assets such as consumer debt are really worth.

The holders of delinquent credit card debt are valuing the paper at about 14 cents to 15 cents on the dollar on their books, and they are willing to sell the debt for 2 cents to 5 cents on the dollar, Timothy Clark, a senior partner at CarVal Investors, Minneapolis, said at an insurance industry conference organized by Standard & Poor’s, New York.

If the bears are wrong, the bulls will make a mint, buying consumer debt at a nickel on the buck.

Because the U.S. population is aging, Americans need to increase their savings rate to about 8%, from 1.8%, over the next decade simply to fund their retirement. That alone could cut U.S. consumer spending about $800 billion per year, Clark said.

Yes, and it's about the only thing supporting bond prices right now! With the mint printing money like it's going out of style and Congress slopping out spendulus without regard to our children's ability to shoulder this debt burden, and with Geithner's lip-service to "a strong dollar" turning our Treasury Secretary into a laughing stock in China, the only thing left to support bond prices is going to be rapid inflation, coupled with a massive increase in the savings rate.

I fell in to the same trap too, some years ago: I was among those who resented the tendency of libtards to use America's relatively low savings rate compared to Europe's to bash America with. I argued that unlike Europeans, who could fall back on a cushy safety net on the government dime in their golden years, Americans had to be more entrepreneurial with their capital. I argued that Americans were FAR more likely to hold equities in 401(k)s than Europeans, and more likely to own home equity, which could be converted into retirement income later. (I did not consider cash value life insurance at the time, but only because I was a rank noob. I should have.)

I see now that we had substantially underpriced the risk in the equity and real estate markets, of course.

But holy crap... consumer debt at less than a nickel on the dollar!!!! Geez!

Splash, out


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Monday, June 01, 2009

The Killing of Tiller 
A few quick thoughts about the killing of Tiller, the Kansas abortionist.

--Tiller himself was a childhood friend and neighbor to a professional acquaintance of mine. To draw things into perspective, this acquaintance of mine writes that, whatever anyone thinks about the man's profession, he was always a nice guy, and was a good father to his children.

--The shooting is an attack on and an affront to the rule of law.

--The libtards - drooling imbeciles to a man - are trying to frame the shooting as an act of terrorism. No. Any useful definition of the term terrorism requires the targeting of innocents in order to bring about a change in behavior. If Tiller's shooter were a terrorist, he would have targeted Tiller's family, friends, neighbors, people walking by the clinic, or whatever. Terrorism would have targeted anybody EXCEPT Tiller.

The fact that the killer targeted Tiller himself, and ONLY Tiller makes him not a terrorist, but an assassin.

-- The libtards are also framing the shooting as hypocritical. Again, they're wrong. If any individual who was not a strict Quaker-style pacifist were absolutely convinced that Tiller was a serial murderer of children, then NOT taking action to stop him would be a hypocritical act.

-- The libtards are also trying to hang the shooting on Bill O'Reilly. Yes, these bobble-headed ignoramuses who had nothing to say when Airhead America talk show host Randi Rhodes made reference to assassinating President Bush, who had nothing to say when Airhead America talk show host Matt Malloy referred to Vice President Dick Cheney as "A destroyer," "an eater of human flesh," when artist Richard Serra magazine portrayed an American President as a cannibal eating the head off of a child, all of a sudden these hypocritical bastards are fainting at O'Reilly's overheated rhetoric, when O'Reilly did nothing but accurately state what this cretin did for a living and said what he thought of it, without sugarcoating it.

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