Saturday, December 27, 2008
When will the United States come to reality?
Strangely enough, that will occur when Obama becomes president. It's been easy for the Democrats to be global warming alarmists during the Bush administration. The Democrats could just stand back and toss accusations. Now they're in charge, and if they call a tune, they're the ones to pay the piper.
The first thing the Democrats will notice is that global warming has ended naturally. There's no way anyone can claim that mankind has caused the current cooling.
Next the Democrats will notice that the United States can't afford economy-destroying and wasted expenditures on a phantom problem, when so many real ones are challenging for a share of very limited resources.
As pointed out in the Daily Telegraph article I linked above, the final dose of reality that will strike through our leaders' thick skulls is that we won't be able to satisfy our (and the world's) energy needs through expensive and unreliable alternative energy technologies. Wind, solar, biofuel, and wave are, and will continue to be, expensive and inadequate energy sources. Nice playtoys, but nuclear, coal, oil, and gas will have to continue to carry the world's energy demands.
The only alternative is to deny further development of economies classified as undeveloped and developing, and the peoples of these nations are not going to sit back and have their futures denied by wide-eyed environmentalists living lives of luxury in the developed nations.
They'll revolt rather than have their lives nailed on a cross of carbon reduction.
One man, one Easter, is enough for all times.
Friday, December 26, 2008
They let me pass as a humanitarian gesture. "I know you would do the same for me," a woman shouted. I forged ahead to Safeways, and found it packed with shoppers refueling for their next sorties. I thought the good citizens of Walnut Creek would shop until they dropped, but they have been forged in the heartland of world-class shoppers. There was no quit in them - no stopping, no dropping, just quality endurance shopping.
Mr. Recession never had a chance.
Recessions should be made of sterner stuff.
At least ones that invade northern California.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
The carbon offsets are even an improvement over purchased indulgences and Pet Rocks. Unlike an indulgence, purchased to take away a sin you don’t want anyone to know about, that you also promise not to repeat, the carbon offset can be proudly displayed. Rather than hiding your sin, you want the whole world to know how environmentally sensitive you are. Another improvement over purchasing indulgences, you really don’t have to stop flying – you just keep flying, and keep buying.
And the Pet Rock? After the first chuckle, most people realized what a dumb waste of money they were. The joke got old fast. Carbon offsets, on the other hand, are a constant reminder to others that you are “holier than thou.”
All you have to do is pay your money and play the farcical game that what you are doing “makes a difference.” Forget that the developing nations of the world are going to keep pouring out CO2 at ever increasing rates as they progress. Ignore the fact that man-produced CO2 is a tiny component, a fraction of one percent, of the natural greenhouse gases in the atmosphere (water vapor is over 95 percent). Be oblivious that ice core records cited by Al Gore in “An Inconvenient Truth” actually showed temperature increases preceded, not followed, increased atmospheric CO2.
Most of all, be clueless that carbon offsets, unlike Pet Rocks, are a monumental scam because there are no effective mechanisms to measure and audit their promises.
However, in this time of economic travail, let it not be said that I tried to discourage the efforts of sincere individuals to pump some of their excess cash into the economy. Pet rocks, indulgences, and carbon offsets are proof that some fools have too much money.
And that a fool and his/her/its money are soon parted.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
But it was long ago”
(from “Against the wind” [Bob Seger])
That’s right, forty years ago John Kerry and his Swift Boat spent Christmas Eve in Cambodia, listening to President Nixon telling the world there were no Americans in Cambodia. As the stealthy Swift Boat cruised up the Mekong, almost as ghostly silent as a diesel locomotive pulling the incline at Donner Pass, its crew apparently was regaled by the South Vietnamese drunkenly signing carols and exchanging Christmas presents, and occasionally firing a few shots in their direction.
On the floor of the Senate in 1986, Kerry made the following the centerpiece of a carefully prepared 20-minute oration against aid to the Nicaraguan contras:
"I remember Christmas of 1968 sitting on a gunboat in Cambodia. I remember what it was like to be shot at by Vietnamese and Khmer Rouge and Cambodians, and have the president of the United States telling the American people that I was not there; the troops were not in Cambodia. I have that memory which is seared -- seared -- in me."
Writing for the Boston Herald in October 1979, Mr. Kerry said this:
"I remember spending Christmas Eve of 1968 five miles across the Cambodian border being shot at by our South Vietnamese allies who were drunk and celebrating Christmas. The absurdity of almost being killed by our own allies in a country in which President Nixon claimed there were no American troops was very real."
It warms my heart thinking of the ecumenism of the predominantly non-Christian South Vietnamese so whole heartedly celebrating Christmas.
Although I was never there, after reading Kerry’s reminiscences it feels like I was. Such clarity, such detail, such historical significance!
I can hear John Kerry now, caroling back to the South Vietnamese:
“Christmas in Cambodia
With all the Swift Boaters I roam”
(adapted from “Christmas in Killarney)
Monday, December 22, 2008
Willie Brown, former legendary Speaker of the California Assembly and far less legendary former Mayor of San Francisco, got a telephone call from Governor Blagojevich. They chatted about Willie's assertion in his San Francisco article last week that Patrick Fitzgerald's case against the governor was very weak because it was just loose talk, and no deal was made.
According to Willie, this is the gist of their chat (click on this for the link to Willie's World):
I can't go into details, but my impression is that the whole mess started because the governor had been considering appointing a political rival, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, to the Senate so she wouldn't be able to run against him when he went up for re-election in 2010.
Apparently, Obama's people weren't happy about the idea of Madigan coming to Washington, and there were some pretty heated conversations between Blagojevich and Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, which I understand will burn your ears off.
Let us reconstruct what this may mean. Blogojevich told Willie Brown that he had conversations (that means more than one) with Rahm Emanuel. Apparently the conversations were very heated, meaning a lot of disagreement should be on Fitzpatrick' tapes.
Meanwhile, We have George Stephanopoulos in George's Bottom Line reporting (in an exclusive!):
Sources tell me that the Obama team's review of contacts with Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich will show that Rahm Emanuel had only one phone conversation with Blagojevich.
When will we get to the bottom of this?
Is Willie right? Are George's sources telling him the truth, or Clintonesquely parsing it? Will Fitzgerald's tapes declare the winner, or will we be left wondering for all time?
I'm betting that Willie's version is closer to the truth, that there were many contacts, because Blagojevich called him and volunteered the information, one cynical politician to another. I think George was being spun by Obama/Emanuel operatives with the goal of arguing about which contacts between Blagojevich and Emanuel count as Senate nomination contacts.
Regardless of George's bottom line, I think the bottom line on this will end the same as always: "it's not the crime, it's the cover up."
When will they ever learn?
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Now George is helping to give cover to Obama by trying to minimize the significance of Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, playing Senatorial nomination footsie with Blagojevich. His "exclusive,"Obama's Blago Report: Only One Rahm Call to Governor," is an attempt to minimize Emanuel's involvement in the Blagojevich fiasco by reporting Emanuel only made one call to Blagojevich about the nomination. All the other calls he made must have been to Blogojevich's asssistant(s), or were to Blogojevich but not "about the Senate appointment."
You see, it all depends on what the definition of "call" is.
Bill Clinton would applaud.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
They reminded me a lot of Democrat supporters.
My oldest son's in-laws are all Cowboys fans. They're wonderful people, but they've never lived in Texas, let alone Dallas. My oldest son - actually my three sons and I - have been life-long 49ers fans, although since I was born in 1942 and the 49ers weren't created until 1946, I really become a 49ers fan when we bought our first TV in 1954 and I first saw them play.
Although we lived 140 miles north of San Francisco, everyone in the area was a 49ers fan.
The 49ers are considered to have had the greatest team of all time. It's just that it's impossible to determine whether the 1984 or the 1989 49ers was that greatest team. Certainly the 49ers success from 1981 through 1998, including 16 straight seasons when they won 10 or more games, was one of if not the longest period of sustained excellence in professional sports history.
Along the way the 49ers featured some of the greatest players of all time at key positions - Joe Montana at quarterback, Jerry Rice at wide receiver, and Ronny Lott at whatever defensive back position he was playing.
Tonight I enjoyed watching the Baltimore Ravens take the Cowboys apart in the last game to be played in the Cowboy's old stadium. As a special sweetner, Terrell Owens had an undistinguished game, and will soon probably destroy what little remains of Cowboy team spirit. To Owens, there is one big "I" in team.
The cowboys deserve TO, and they deserved tonight. May they long remember it.
UPDATE: Apparently the Cowboys are not as dumb as Jerry Jones acts. They let TO go, and now he is the Buffalo Bills' problem.
A lack of an energy policy is prominently mentioned, as if President Bush and Republicans tried to block developing viable energy sources. No matter what is said or written, alternative energy like solar, wind, wave, and biofuels are expensive and unreliable, and if developed rationally, would not even keep up with increasing demand for energy, let alone replace dependence of fossil fuels (and don't forget nuclear, like the Liberals have).
Now I would like to apply the author's rationale to linking those causes with what is now cheap gas. How does he explain oil falling over $100 a barrel using the causes he gives for its price rising?
My position has been that oil has been in demand because world economies were booming, and now that the financial crisis has taken the bloom off the boom, oil prices reflect lessening demand.
So did President Bush cause the financial crisis?
Apparently The New York Times in its Sunday issue is going to say "yes."
I guess the corralary to that would be, if President Bush caused the financial crisis, did he also cause the prosperity buddle that carried the rest of the world along for over seven years of his presidency?
When did doing right become doing wrong?
Or are there other forces at play?
I doubt any Liberals will want to give President Bush credit for all the good economic times that overcame huge obstacles like 9/11, islamic terrorism that struck Spain, the UK, Bali, India, and so many other parts of the world (but somehow not the United States) following 9/11, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
You have to be very choosy when you're playing the blame game.
Actually, this isn't hard to do.
The first thing The Times will do is ignore anything done by Democrats, such as promoting easy qualifying for mortgages to encourage the poor to buy "affordable" housing. Then they will have to overlook the shenanigans Democrat executives like Franklin Delano Raines and Robert Rubin pulled in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to enable the practice of making bad loans continue and grow.
A "must-overlook" for the Times definitely has to be the role Barney Frank and the Congressional Black Caucus (go to : Barney Frank Accompanied by the Congressional Black Caucus Choir) played in blocking Republican reforms in 2004 through 2006.
After 2006 the Times must ignore that Democrats were in charge of both the House of Representatives and the Senate. That's an easy one, since a Zogby poll found that over half of Obama's supporters thought the Republicans were still in charge.
"What" you may ask, "is the significance of the Democrats running Congress? Doesn't the president do everything?"
I'm glad you asked, because I'm sure the Times won't.
No, the president does not do everything. Congress has committees, such as the Senate Banking Committee, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, and the House Financial Services Committee, among many others.
The House Financial Services Committee, for example, is chaired by Barney Frank, Democrat, Massachusetts. According to Mr. Frank:
Let's see. His Committee oversees all components of the nation's housing and financial services including banking, insurance, real estate, public and assisted housing, and securities.
The Committee oversees all components of the nation’s housing and financial services sectors including banking, insurance, real estate, public and assisted housing, and securities. The Committee continually reviews the laws and programs relating to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Federal Reserve Bank, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and International development and finance agencies such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The Committee also ensures enforcement of housing and consumer protection laws such as the U.S. Housing Act, the Truth In Lending Act, the Housing and Community Development Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, the Community Reinvestment Act, and financial privacy laws
I wonder if anyone at The Times knows this?
We'll find out tomorrow, but I sincerely doubt it.
The Times reporters were probably in the part of the Zogby poll that thought the Republicans were still running everything.
UPDATE: As I anticipated, The New York Times article was written as if Congress and the Democrats never existed. No mention was made of Barney Frank and the Congressional Black Caucus, or of Franklin Delano Raines, Democrat CEO of Fannie Mae, who was found responsible for cooking its books, and given a "hand pat" fine.
The fact that Democrats were in charge of Congress since 2006 is still apparently unknown by most Democrat supporters, including The Times reporters.
UPDATE NO. 2: Damn, I'm good! I nailed The Times article before any of it was even released. As this Fox News release shows, The Times depended on overlooking many things, including reporting they did during the Clinton administration, to enable them to place the blame on President Bush.
The Times knew a lot before they decided to forget.
Friday, December 19, 2008
However, George was too dumb to know how stupid Biden's remark was, and so it got out of Joe's communications Black Hole.
I dropped the following comment on George's website, but since it was about the 1,000th comment, I decided to blog it so at least a few people get a chance to read it.
The same bunch that dug this hole are now going to dig us out of it? In California Democrats propose raising taxes to save us. Of course, that's the ticket to prosperity - taxing ourselves to get there, and having the government pick the winners of the economy lottery. I'm sure we'll get brilliant choices, like brain-dead proposals for hydrogen-fueled cars (it takes more power from conventional fuels to produce than burning the hydrogen produces), and ethanol and other bio-fuels that raise food prices while causing land to be cleared, releasing CO2 into the atmosphere that will take 93 years of reductions to reclaim. How about solar arrays and wind farms in pristine desert areas? Tell Robert Redford that while he's protesting oil drilling in Utah, there's thousands of times more acres in other pristine areas that will be desecrated to produce unreliable and expensive power. Joe Biden's stupid remarks are just one of many illustrations of why Congress' approval ratings are much lower than President Bush's. And we're stuck with these clowns after President Bush is gone.
His reputation as a reformer gave his supporters hope.
What did Obama reform in Chicago and Illinois?
In a very related story, thanks to the Chicago Tribune the Governor Blagojevich scandal may haunt Obama's administration for months, even years. For reasons probably too sordid to be admitted, the Chicago Tribune forced Federal investigator Patrick Fitzgerald to arrest Blagojevich and his assistant just as the investigation was getting to the critical part.
Personally, I think the Tribune caused Fitzgerald to commit "premature indict-ication" in order to prevent his investigators from nailing Senate Candidate No. 5, Jesse Jackson, Jr., with his hands in the Senatorial nomination cookie jar.
The Tribune has been doing its part to protect Democrats, as Chicago and Illinois once more demonstrate why they are both ranked at the top of corruption ratings. The Tribune withheld the Blagojevich story before the election to protect Obama from being associated with the cesspool of corruption in which his political career was founded and nurtured.
Once their mission of getting Obama elected succeeded, the Tribune then undertook a damage limitation mission to prevent other Illinois and Chicago politicians from being pulled down along with Blagojevish. The Tribune's big mistake was that they ended the investigation before Fitzpatrick had much of a case against Blagojevich. Since Blagojevich only talked about a deal, but didn't make one, I have a feeling that this will go on and on since Blagojevich knows the case against him is very weak.
Why resign now?
Hopefully Fitzpatrick will be able to pull some evidence and testimony out of the tantalizing tidbits he collected on the tapes, and eventually nail Blagojevich.
However, I think that Willie Brown, former Speaker of the California State Assembly and Mayor of San Francisco, and a poster boy for cynical insider politics, was right in his December 14 San Francisco Chronicle Willie's World column (Illinois scandal from politician's view) when he noted that if all you got is "just a couple of guys sitting around and talking ... this case could go up in smoke."
At least the smoke will be in Obama's eyes for a long time.
Besides the fact that they're ruled by despots?
Not long ago, when oil was selling at over $140 a barrel, these three oil-producers were the "cocks of the walk."
"We're in charge now," their leaders chorused.
Now that oil has fallen over $100 a barrel, what song are they singing?
"Among emerging markets, Russia has been one of the hardest hit by the global financial crisis and plunging oil prices, the mainstay of the Russian economy. These factors have put the national currency under intense strain and triggered massive stock market losses and capital outflows from the country."
Hugo Chavez in Venezuela was trumpeting the triumph of socialism over capitalism, but the grim reality of socialism is that it only looks good when you have a lot of oil, oil is selling at over $148 per barrel, and the price is rising.
When the price goes under $70 a barrel, Venezuela and Iran have problems. When it goes under $40 per barrel, Venezuela and Iran are economic basket cases.
Russia is a bit better off because Russia actually developed industries and built up reserves during the past fat eight years.
Guess who didn't?
This year, and particularly right now in the United States, we are getting proof up to our hub caps, and beyond. After a year of unseasonably cold weather worldwide, with many record new low temperatures set, the American midwest followed by the northeast are being battered by heavy snow and cold.
The cheery forecast for Christmas? "It looks as if this parade of storm systems will continue through much of the holiday week."
Not to take any wind from the sails of global warming alarmists, but have you noticed how it is much more diffucult to cope with cold than with warm?
Only a thousand years ago, during the Medieval Warm Period, there was a long period when people thrived with average temperatures up to seven degrees F. higher than today.
Just over two hundred years ago, during our Revolutionary War, the world was a lot colder, and right now we're in the long cycle of warming that always comes after a cold period.
And we're on just about to start the next, inevitable, cold period.
When it happens, and it in all certainty will, mankind will wish that they could cause global warming.
And then mankind will adapt, just as the earth has adapted through all the hundreds, even the thousands, probably the millions of periods of natural climate change.
In a universe where change is the only constant, why should climate be different?
Thursday, December 18, 2008
I'm a taxpayer, and I get mugged in DC every April 15.
And I'm a Californian, so I get mugged every April 15 in Sacramento too.
And once in December, and again in April when property taxes must be paid.
California is a strange state in many ways, but one of the strangest is that since Proposition 13 passed many years ago, a new property owner will pay ten or more times in property taxes what his neighbor pays on an identical property he's owned a long time.
Something about equal rights or equality under the law gets missed in all this.
However, as I seeth about what I have to pay, I chuckle at the liberals desperate for tax revenues to spend. The dirty little secret under Prop 13 is that the law applies to businesses as well as individuals. Businesses hold on to properties for very long periods of time, the property becomes extremely valuable, but the businesses only pay property taxes on the tiny prices they paid many years ago (which can only be increased a maximum of two percent per year).
Returning now to my main point, now the California Democrat legislatures have figured a way to raise taxes by billions of dollars and not call it a tax increase. Calling a tax increase a fees increase allows them, they think, to pass the increase without following the law established by Proposition 13 that all California tax increases require a two-thirds vote for passage.
It's amazing that they have found this loophole in the law after about three decades of compliance with Proposition 13. They're either very slow, or suddenly very creative.
Can you be both?
Or it's magical, like the magician pulling a rabbit out of an empty hat.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
After about half a minute of silent walking: “We visited Carol on Maui in January, and then we went to Peleliu for a week. Remember when we were leaving and you asked who won the Super Bowl, and a woman said the New England Patriots? Two days later you learned it was the Giants.”
“That’s right. New York. New England. Very confusing. Then what?”
“We went to Istanbul for a week, then over a week in Budapest for your four teeth implants. It’s a shame that one fell out a month later. On the way back we stopped in New York for ‘Wicked,’ ‘Phantom,’ ‘Chicago,’ Sunday services at the Abyssinian Baptist Church of Harlem, and a day in the American Museum.”
“The Baptist church choir, ’Phantom’ and ‘Chicago’ were great. It’s a pity ‘Wicked’ wasn’t. I hope that implant can be fixed without a third trip to Budapest. Anything else?”
“Well, in early July went to Temecula for your oldest son Bruce’s and Lisa’s marriage.”
“Of course I remember,” I said, realizing I’d forgotten until Alice reminded me. I congratulated myself that at least I remembered that we went to Guatemala City, Antigua, and the Mayan ruins at Tikal for two weeks in early September. While in Antigua, we hiked several miles up and down an active volcano, periodically in driving rain, with a group of a dozen Israeli students, all much younger than our children. Guatemalan cowboys followed us for most of the hike up. “Taxi?” they kept asking us, waiting for us to wear out and rent their horses. We didn’t, and we kept up with the youngsters.
“Anything else happen?” I asked.
“Well, you know, the President thing,” Alice replied.
“Of course, how could I forget?” Actually, I hadn’t. With all the hours we put in, there’s no way I would forget that Alice is now her Book Club president, and that I’m the president of Gualala Rotary.
2009 will be a bit quieter. We plan a driving tour to Yellowstone and Mount Rushmore in May. Then in November, when I should be writing our Christmas letter and mailing the cards on time, we’ll be in India for three weeks. Needless to say, I’ll be in the usual last minute panic to get our cards out, the same as always.
It’s a family tradition.
Alice, Michael, and Buddy
Monday, December 15, 2008
Madoff’s mistake was in being a financier instead of a politician. Ponzi schemes are not illegal when done by a government. As proud as Madoff is of his $50 billion fraud, think of how proud the Democrats are of Social Security’s and Medicare’s $60 trillion unfunded hole. Just as Madoff took money from new investors to pay “earnings” to earlier investors, Social Security takes from current workers to pay retired ones. Unfortunately for Madoff, the financial meltdown caused some of his investors to try to cash out, forcing Madoff to admit their money was all gone. Fortunately for politicians, they can keep taking from current workers and paying retirees until they have to pay out more than they take in (estimated to start in 2018). Then politicians can pretend to pay out of the Social Security “Trust Fund” – actually the money will come from the General Fund income taxes - plus raise payroll taxes on workers because the Social Security recipients and the soon-to-be recipients will have enough political clout to get whatever they want.
Democrats are always very generous with their blame of Republicans.
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
This old saying isn't true anymore. Dogs are so well groomed and protected from fleas and ticks, that if you lay down with them they'll probably get something from you.
Which brings us to Obama and the many years he spent swimming through the Chicago political cesspool. Maybe he will come out smelling like a rose, but I think he will need a very powerful deodorant. If Obama was a Republican, guilt by association would already have his political career on life support. Fortunately for Obama, Democrats expect Democrats to be corrupt- they don't trust them if they're not.