Monday, June 30, 2008

Ripped from the Headlines of Today's Google Start Page

There's a reason why we watch zero network programming...

The Bachelorette: Now that evasive front-runner Graham has been sent home, DeAnna takes her final three suitors — Jason, Jeremy, and Jesse — on a romantic getaway to Grand Bahama Island. After each one-on-one date, the Southern belle will extend an invitation to spend the night in her fantasy suite. Will the men accept? Judging from last week's preview, it looks like snowboarder Jesse might hold out. Will it hurt his chances with DeAnna? We'll find out at the — wait for it — ''most heart-wrenching'' rose ceremony yet. The remaining two will journey to Georgia next week to meet DeAnna's family.

Never mind the “slut” factor…"Uhhh, Jason, no Jesse... wait, umm, Joey - I mean Jeremy - after we shower-up, its off to meet the folks." what are these guys thinking? “Bro, if I play my cards right, I can totally be the 3rd guy with this chick so far this week. Sweet.”

Unhinged and Unashamed

Our conservative brethren are way too up in arms about General Wesley Clark’s appearance on Face the Nation yesterday where he suggested that McCain’s military experience and time on the Armed Services Committee did not prepare him for the job of President.

Check out video below where at the 0:20 mark, host Bob Schieffer asks Clark to explain his “untested and untried” remarks regarding McCain and at the 1:55 mark where Clark concedes that Obama doesn’t have any of the experience that he is accusing McCain of not having either – because Obama is like, you know, running on other stuff.

Embed isn't cooperating - please click here.

In fact, its pretty apparent to us that Clark is projecting all these experience and leadership qualities upon himself in a shameless pitch for the vice presidency.

However, its exchanges like this that for the briefest moments of time in the darkest recesses of our mind raise suspicion that General Clark is actually a double agent for McCain.

As we said, we think our red state brothers and sisters are looking at this whole thing completely wrong. Afterall, we couldn’t be so optimistic to hope or pure of heart to beseech the Good Lord that the Democrats continue this line of attack on McCain’s military record, could we?

Beijing '08 Olympics Update

(One in an occasional series provided during the run-up to the ’08 Summer Games in Beijing, China. Archived posts in this series can be accessed by entering “Olympics” in the blog search box above).

Softball is such an unpopular sport worldwide, the sport merely sold out out the 300,000 tickets for the 9-day tournament at the Beijing Games.

Currently, softball is scheduled to be dropped from the roster of events in the Olympic games; it will not be played in 2012. The fact that Team USA has won all 3 gold medals and is favored to win it again in August led us to opine there was some anti-American sentiment in the decision to axe softball. But selling-out the event is evidence that, similar to the rise in popularity of basketball worldwide in the wake of the Dream Teams’ dominant performance in the ’92 games, American excellence in softball is actually a boon to the sport.

Would they have sold-out the event even if the Americans weren’t that good? Possibly, but having America as top dog with photogenic athletes like Jennie Finch and Caitlin Lowe known to softball fans around the world, will never hurt the sport.

Fortunately, the IOC has an opportunity to put aside politics and grasp the reality of the situation and reinstate the sport for the 2016 Games with a vote coming up on the matter in October of 2009.

P.S. Absent from the Olympics, the International Softball Federation would be wise to sponsor a “World Championship”-style tourney immediately prior to the Games in 2012 should the IOC not see past their myopia when voting next October.

GOOGLE Search visitors, WELCOME! Please feel free to refresh the page at the top or hit "Olympics" on the blog search function at the top of the page to see what we've been thinking about regarding other Olympic news and happenings.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Failing to Recognize a Real Safety Concern

The U.S. and California State Supreme courts are not the only ones who have been busy of late. On the heels of a favorable ruling that ordered the city of San Diego to quit playing politics and to allow Blackwater Worldwide to operate one of their training facilities down in Otay Mesa, comes a decision from a federal judge who ordered Caltrans to repost an Adopt-a-Highway sign for The Minutemen, an anti-illegal immigration group, on I-5 near the border checkpoint at San Onofre.

Originally granted to the Minutemen, CalTrans reassigned the sign to State Route 52 out by Santee. It was obvious that CalTrans had caved to political pressure from various pro-illegal groups and gave some lame safety excuse over concern of possible confrontations between pro-illegal activists and…. people in orange vests collecting litter alongside the highway.

District Judge William Q. Hayes on Friday granted the preliminary injuction saying there was not enough evidence to support the safety concern. This is judge-speak for calling B.S. on Caltrans for their phony cause-for-removal. (And it is the editorial opinion of BwD that if there were or is to be any confrontation on a Highway where 80-85 mph is not out-of-norm, the guilty parties should be put away for 3-5 minimum with time-off for good behavior.)

Caltrans has 30 days to restore the sign and thus at least 30 days to decide how it is they will cave to pressure again with an appeal of the decision.

Full story here.

The U.N. Human Rights Council behaves in a very (understandably) mammalian fashion.

…. because nothing says “self-preservation” like a response to the specter of an Islamic fatwa.

The UN 'Human Rights Council' decided this week that it is forbidden to criticize Islam because "religious issues can be “very complex, very sensitive and very intense…This council is not prepared to discuss religious matters in depth, consequently we should not do it.” From now on, only religious scholars would be permitted to broach 'religious matters' before the Council.

Read more here.

H/T: Gateway Pundit

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Rivalry Sunday: NFL Style

We can’t take sole credit for the following. The concept of an NFL Rivalry Sunday has been around for a while and though folks like Peter King of have championed it we offer our own take in order for our support to be memorialized on the pages of BwD.

One of the reasons why the NFL is king and far, far ahead of both the NBA and MLB is their willingness to try-out new innovations, tweak the rules and generally be open to new ideas.

When baseball went to inter-league play some 10 years ago, one of the things it was able to take advantage of was some natural geographic rivalries like the Angels vs. the Dodgers or the San Francisco Giants vs. the Oakland Athletics and of course the Yankees vs. the Mets. This last culminated in what we thought was the best idea of the inter-league era: a doubleheader with one game at Shea Stadium in Queens in the afternoon followed by the nightcap at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx in the evening. Of course, it was such a great idea, baseball dropped it.

Anyway, we believe the NFL can take a page from MLB’s inter-league book and devote one Sunday to geographic inter-conference rivalries. We found what we thought was a good a fit for 11 matchups which leaves 10 teams wanting on Rivalry Weekend. These 10 teams will just have to suck it up and take one for the League.
Here’s our matchups:

  • Oakland Raiders v. San Francisco 49ers
  • NY Giants v. NY York Jets
  • Houston Texans v. Dallas Cowboys
  • Kansas City Chiefs v. St. Louis Rams
  • Washington Redskins v. Baltimore Ravens
  • Philadelphia Eagles v. Pittsburgh Steelers
  • San Diego Chargers v. Arizona Cardinals
  • Jacksonville Jaguars v. Atlanta Falcons
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers v. Miami Dolphins
  • Carolina Panthers v. Tennessee Titans
  • Cincinnati Bengals v. Cleveland Browns (This is the only in-conference match-up but it’s one that’s gotta be. Call it the Paul Brown Bowl)
And in a happy and unintended consequence, two of the left over teams are the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots. These two recently-minted rivals can be matched up each year as well, leaving only 8 teams out of the party for the near-future.

We urge NFL commish, Roger Goodell to make this happen. Now that the NFL has flexibility in the televised games later in the season, put the most attractive match-ups on your prime time games on Thursday, Sunday and Monday nights. It makes sense, it would be a lot of fun and it would create a huge amount of buzz upon which the NFL could capitalize.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Its Joey Harrington’s World. We’re all just renting space

Tired of all those “Best of” lists where enraged fans bum-rush the comment box complaining how it is their boy could’ve possibly been left off the list? Sink your teeth into this “Worst of NFL quarterbacks” list where the complaints, as you would imagine, are far more subdued.

The weighting system used by the author puts an emphasis on sustained sub-mediocrity rather than absolute hellish play as a rookie that comes off the bench and throws 4 picks may never see the light of day again. Its all about the body of work and not merely flash-in-the-pan horrificness.

Here are the 10 worst quarterbacks of all-time:

1. Joey Harrington
2. Rick Mirer
3. David Carr
4. Ryan Leaf
5. Frank Tripucka
6. Mike Taliaferro
7. Gary Huff
8. Kim McQuilken
9. Alex Smith
10. Kent Nix

Article here.

UPDATE #1: In the original post, the silver medal spot was unintentionally left out and that pains us because it is none other than that sideline hot-dog-munching flop of a Domer quarterback, Rick Mirer in the 2-hole. Thanks for the head's up, Mongo.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

San Diego? Believe It.

Our buddy Dave took home First Prize in the “Spice/Herb/Vegetable Beer” division on Sunday at the Del Mar Fair’s Home Brew competition. Dave’s offering, a Christmas-time beer “Mull It Over” bested some 40+ other entrants. The irony is that Dave doesn’t even like that particular beer and his entry of “MIO” was a not-too-clever way to simply unload it on some unsuspecting judges, so we will take some credit and pride(?) in telling Dave at our office Christmas party this past year to give himself some credit because we rather liked it. (btw, the other ribbons Dave is sporting were for some of the labels on beers he submitted in other categories).

We’ll try to dig up the article and link to it but a couple of months back when the Craft Brewers Association was meeting here in San Diego, ranked the 100 best beers on the planet and 19 were made right here in the San Diego area. Yeah, not too shabby.

So how did this come about? How did San Diego, home base to the Pacific Fleet and corrupt city politics become this hot bed of beer, craft beers and home-brewing?

We think there are 3 reasons and they are as follows in no particular order:

1. The weather and San Diego's own Coastal sensibility. San Diego is the most outdoor-living, active and sporting-minded of all the places in this country we have lived or visited. All that running around and one’s going to work-up a thirst. And what does one drink when one is thirsty and outside? Certainly not those watered-down macro-lagers…. Us Diegans have far more sophisticated palates. Despite our sleepy Navy town image, we represent West Coast sophistication quite well, though, in a completely unpretentious and down-to-Earth manner. We like beer…. Good beer.

2. Temecula Wine Country. Until very recently, Temecula Valley, just a little over an hour north of San Diego, was dominated by smaller, family-run wineries. The small-scale intimate feel of these wineries definitely feeds the Do-It-Yourself mentality of one who wants to make their own alcoholic beverage. And since wine doesn’t engender the same sort of fraternal and communal bonds (“Honey, I’m getting’ together with the boys for a few wines” has never been uttered for a reason), beer was the logical choice for those who want to produce, consume and most importantly, share their own alcoholic beverage.

3. The Bio-tech Industry. As San Diego has become a leader in bio-tech so has it become a leader in home brewing and the link is undeniable. Many of these same chem and bio geeks who work in the bio-tech industry by day are the same guys spending their evenings and weekends home brewing, tinkering with IBUs and pH levels. And our anecdotal evidence- gathering certainly suggests that San Diego home brewers tilt towards white, middle-aged, professionals more so than their younger, more under-employed counterparts from Portland and Seattle.

So there you have it. 3 ironclad reasons why San Diego is quickly becoming the U.S. capitol of home brewing. Of course, we could be completely wrong but we doubt it.

Obama's Two Americas

Earlier today, the Supreme Court struck down the Washington D.C. handgun ban that had been in place since 1976.

Here’s Obama’s response to the ruling:

“I have always believed that the Second Amendment protects the right of individuals to bear arms, but I also identify with the need for crime-ravaged communities to save their children from the violence that plagues our streets through common-sense, effective safety measures. The Supreme Court has now endorsed that view, and while it ruled that the D.C. gun ban went too far, Justice Scalia himself acknowledged that this right is not absolute and subject to reasonable regulations enacted by local communities to keep their streets safe. Today’s ruling, the first clear statement on this issue in 127 years, will provide much-needed guidance to local jurisdictions across the country.”

This would again, appear to contradict his stance on both hand-gun ownership and the death penalty.

Check out video here of interview back in February with ABC where he indicates that he supported the handgun ban.

So the 2nd amendment applies to Idaho but not D.C.? Would the 1st amendment also be similarly apportioned, Senator? The self-styled Constitutional professor’s pronouncements are becoming more and more incomprehensible.

Wait, it gets better: His O-ness, in an interview just today comes out and says the hand-gun ban “went beyond Constitutional limits”. Click here. It’s a Red Lasso video, were sorry but trust us… he did say it.

But its general election season now and so with every passing day and every passing Supreme Court decision we get another rightward tack to the center.

Exit question: Despite these seemingly significant policy shifts of Obama, do you feel any more comfortable that Obama would nominate judges in the mold of John Roberts and Samuel Alito or Ruth Bader Ginsberg and John Paul Stevens?

H/T: Hot Air and Powerline

UPDATE #1: Post at Kos acknowledges the Constitutional inevitability of hand gun ownership. "Sometimes in life (and in law), there are things that we might desire from a policy standpoint -- like certain forms of gun control, or restrictions on some election-related speech -- which are nevertheless forbidden by the Constitution."

HuffPo is having a little more difficult time with it, though.

"Instead, the Court fractured along an all-too-predictable 5-4 axis, with the five conservatives supporting the rights of gun owners and the four liberals (or, more accurately, "moderates") seemingly supporting the most extreme version of gun "control," which is outright prohibition."

Which, of course, explains why they are “moderates”.

Programming Alert

The Dow plummeted but the GDP has been revised upward… we can’t make heads nor tails of it so… screw it – we’re going rafting on the Lower Kern and in the process we’ll be test-driving one of these babies. In our absence, B-Daddy will be at the helm and though he has some 4th of July preparation commitments, he will be chiming-in when possible over the weekend. And so may we with some heat’n’serve posts or live ones from the Kernville brewery.

P.S. Is it just us, or does it seem the GDP estimates are always revised upwards if they are revised at all? We don't ever recall a downward revision.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

So, What's a Few Points Between Friends?

Gallup’s daily running poll has Obama and McCain neck and neck. L.A. Times/Rasmussen poll has Obama with a 12 point edge.

We don’t have enough information to draw any airtight conclusions, however, using the standards that are applied to the current state of journalism these days and knowing what we know about the players involved, we will conject that one of these polls is “projecting” just a tad, dontcha think?

Number 16 Like a Rock

Boldly going where no Congress has gone before in the previous 35 years Gallup has been asking the question, the 110th edition fared the worst yet with poll responders, only 12% of whom expressed any confidence in the body. Congress finished dead last among 16 institutions surveyed. The military finished first.

"In the latest update, Congress ranks just below HMOs, for whom 13% of Americans express "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence. Big business, the criminal justice system, organized labor, newspapers, television news, and the presidency all receive relatively low confidence ratings."

Rest of story with cool graphs we can't seem to publish right now, here.

UPDATE #1: As if to provide confirmation of their lowly status and to prove that no idea is bad enough to not be supported, Nancy Pelosi has indicated that she is in favor of reindoctrinating, err.... reintroducing the Fairness Doctrine to the broadcast airwaves.

Thank G*d, for small favors.

We’re grateful the Supremes saw their way to striking down the death penalty for child rapers because it was deemed “cruel and unusal”. How so? Well, so that the man in the video below arguing against Megan’s Law in the Massachusetts House won’t have to ruin the life of that 12 yr. old that may have got raped.

Warning: If you feel yourself vulnerable to going off on a violent machete’ spree, particularly in the halls of legislative bodies or court rooms at the slightest provocation, you may want to refrain from watching this video.

There is an element of violence to this man’s callous disregard for the alleged victim that is literally stomach-turning.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

It doesn't appear we are going to Farm our way out of this, either.

The sad reality of ethanol simply not being as energy efficient as gasoline is illustrated in video clip below on the reduced gas mileage that can be expected with 10% ethanol/gasoline blends.

Idiot towards end of video thinks its all good because its better for the environment. If you have to use more of the blend to get from point A to point B, how is that good for the environment? And how is it good for the environment when you are using more acreage to grow more food in which to burn to make up the difference? Not to mention the additional energy required to produce all that extra inefficient energy.... Head. hurts.

"That's not sexy."

Gasoline: the new alternative energy.

H/T: Hot Air

Smack of the Week

No one can run it quite like our friends from the Middle East. Here's Hamas Minister of Culture Atallah Abu Al-Subh on our Secretary of State:

"Condoleezza Rice Is a Black Scorpion with A Cobra's Head Who Has the Blood of Palestinian Children between Her Lips and on Her Fangs."

"The arrival of Condoleezza Rice is not a good sign. An even worse sign is the meeting between the Palestinian leadership and the Zionist entity, in the presence of that scorpion-cobra. Condoleezza Rice, you are not welcome."

Read more here from MEMRI... no, really.

P.S. We understand she is a lady and all, so she wouldn't do it but George Schulz would've kicked this dude's ass.

P.P.S. We're having difficulties loading pictures on blogger this evening and its really annoying.

Its like Re-Gifting; only not as warmly received.

Seems we always have time to bemoan the “environmental legacy” we will leave our children, grand-children and great grand-children but nary can we muster a raised eyebrow regarding the “financial legacy” we will be leaving them.

Why is this? Perhaps its because, ironically enough, its always easier for politicians in power (and we the voters who put them there) to talk and act in the abstract rather than the concrete.

We can use historical trends, population growth forecasting, federal retirement ages, current and projected federal spending and revenue forecasting to come up with a pretty decent idea of how much our federal debt will be as a function GDP but…. that’s just a bunch of numbers and graphs. Lets burn food to tackle global-warming, instead! Yeah, we have no earthly clue as to how much, if at all, that will effect global-warming (if the man-made effect exists at all) but it sure sounds like a hell of a lot of fun and its what those Hawkeye farmers want to hear every four years in January, anyway. Woo-hoo!

Anyway, Pete Peterson and Dave Walker will testify before the House Budget Committee today about America's deteriorating fiscal health. Click here, for the Peter G. Peterson Foundation’s State of the Union’s Finances. Cheery stuff.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Ah Poop! George Carlin died.

George Carlin passed away yesterday at the age of 71. We’ve been reading the obits and the tributes all day and all of them cite Carlin as a rebel, a maverick and a defender of free speech, especially with respect to his arrest and the Supreme Court case over his “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television” routine. Yep, the fight to be allowed to say dirty words in a public forum was important, we suppose, because it was a fight for free speech in a broader context that we see threatened today with various hate speech laws.

What we will remember George Carlin for most, though, is nailing…. absolutely nailing the differences between the idyllic, pastoral, timeless 19th century game of baseball and the military-industrial apocalyptic urgency of 20th century football (its telling that Grantland Rice’s “Four Horsemen” wasn’t about Ruth, Gehrig, Meusel and Lazzeri of the ’27 Yankees but rather the ’24 Notre Dame football team).

George Carlin. R.I.P.

The Seal Deal

In case you haven’t seen it, here is the Obama seal that made its public debut this past Friday at a gathering of Democratic governors in Chicago adjacent to the Presidential seal. In what has caused a bit of a dust-up for its presumptuousness, we actually think is a stroke of genius for the Obama campaign.

This seal and the controversy surrounding it, serves a two-fold purpose. First, the sheer banality and juvenile look and feel of this photo-shopped Presidential seal appeals directly to his most rabid supporters and serves their schoolyard crush on Obama. This seal is right in the short-bussers wheelhouse.

Secondly, it provides a pretty decent distraction amidst Obama’s recent flopping all over the deck on public campaign finance and FISA legislation. Couldn’t have timed it any better as even some Obama supporters are for the first time taking a serious look at what the man is saying. No, no, no… look back over here. Look at the pretty blue faux Presidential seal and repeat after me... change... change... change...

And as an added bonus, with the inevitable criticism, it sets himself up perfectly to play the role of victim, something he shamelessly and crassly projected on to himself a few days ago when he told supporters that a tactic the Republicans would use against him is to remind voters that he is black. Post-racial?

UPDATE #1: Bummer. Looks like they are going to discontinue usage of the logo.

This Vehicle Powered by Recycled Sanctimony

Spied this afternoon outside the Joan Kroc center. (click to enlarge)

UPDATE #1: Commentor 'Dawg passes along article here that suggests we were perhaps taking some chances with our safety with our nosy behaviour.

P.S. This artcle may have been sent to us previously via email or perhaps we saw it somewhere else on the interwebs, perhaps even in the Theocracy because it has a distinctly familiar feel. Let us know if were failing to give due credit and we will rectify the matter right quick.

Beijing '08 Olympics Update

(One in an occasional series provided during the run-up to the ’08 Summer Games in Beijing, China. Archived posts in this series can be accessed by entering “Olympics” in the blog search box above).

The U.S. Olympic basketball roster for Beijing ’08 was unveiled today and the lineup reflects the reality of international ball: spreading the floor, dribble drive penetration and perimeter jump-shooting. A reality is lost on commentors to story here.

Here’s the squad:

Carmelo Anthony (Denver)
Carlos Boozer (Utah)
Chris Bosh (Toronto)
Kobe Bryant (Lakers)
Dwight Howard (Orlando)
LeBron James (Cleveland)
Jason Kidd (Dallas)
Chris Paul (New Orleans)
Tayshaun Prince (Detroit)
Michael Redd (Milwaukee)
Dwyane Wade (Miami)
Deron Williams (Utah)

Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic is the only player on the squad that fits the classic definition of an NBA center. The two other “big men” Carlos Boozer and Chris Bosh can both step out to knock down the 17-footer.

Injured Chauncy Billups and Amare Stoudemire withdrew themselves from consideration last week. We believe Billups opting out freed-up the roster spot taken by J-Kidd, the oldest player on the team. Were he available, Stoudemire would’ve bumped either Prince or Bosh, though there is no guarantee as both those guy’s games would appear to be more valuable to team USA in international competition.

Here’s our starting 5:

PG – Chris Paul
SG – Kobe Bryant
SF – LeBron James
PF – Chris Bosh
C – Dwight Howard

'Melo and Wade will be coming off the bench in short order. 'Melo loves international competition as he has been the U.S.'s best scorer the last couple of international competitions.

This has been in the works for a while as the committee approach to selecting the team was scrapped and put into the hands of ex-Phoenix Suns GM, Jerry Colangelo who is for all intents and purposes the CEO of USA Basketball. Duke coach, Mike Krzyzewski will coach the team and most likely had quite a bit of input into the roster selection.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Week in Review

We lend the housing crisis some perspective.

Gay marriage: All about equality and respect for others.

We lend the Laker season some perspective.

More proof that this guy just ain’t ready for prime-time.

And our Radio KBwD feature.

Like a 2 x 4 Upside the Head

Go to KT’s place and wonder aloud how it is you missed out on that newspaper-writing gig or that as a social scientist. Whatever the reason, it wasn’t because you weren’t graced with enough intelligence or common sense. Those traits are not really pre-reqs for those professions, it would seem.

Linked article documents a socio-economic phenomena of Section 8 folks accepting vouchers to move out to the ‘burbs and oddly enough, crime follows!

The lengthy article cannot produce a single solitary male Section 8 subject in which to interview. Same article is replete with hand-wringing, chin-stroking and head-scratching over “lack of planning”, “lack of effective policing”, “lack of access to social services”, etc., etc.

The fact that “lack of fathers” is not even broached in even the most of oblique ways as a possible cause for this phenomena is stunning.

The ironic part of this whole thing is the article would have you believe that everyone is dancing around the inconvenient truth of “race” being the central theme of the study’s findings.

Fatherhood: the new third rail.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Devil Made Him Do It

The agent of change ummm… changed his mind on public financing. He had to, mind you, because of John McCain and those dastardly Republican 527s that will be doing all of McCain’s dirty work. He becomes the first Presidential candidate since the current finance laws were written back in the 70s to opt out.

This whole public financing thing is an odd concept to us, anyway. We don’t begrudge Obama for opting out… it would seem to us that private funding is a general reflection of your appeal to voters so we applaud Senator Obama for not using our money to finance his campaign.

Unfortunately, though, for the Messiah, he painted himself into a corner by stating on numerous occasions in the recent past what a big fan he was of public campaign financing and how he would stay in the system. Now that he has the opportunity to privately raise so much more jack than he could garner through public financing, the “system is broken” and, you know, those Republicans are mean nasty people.

But in another disappointment to his hard Left followers, Obama has indicated that he will vote for the FISA wiretapping bill that passed muster in the House earlier this week and which will come up for a vote in Senate next week. This is more of what we like to call “maturing” or “growing in office” as Obama, though he missed the vote, was public in his opposition to the a previous version of the bill that was not substantially different.

We figure this has to be disappointing to those gauzy-eyed supporters of his (if they are indeed paying any attention) that the man who will wash this country’s political system clean of its sins is subject to the same political calculus as any other pol. As David Brooks points out, though, Obama is damn-near the ultimate political animal… a split personality whose only real principle is ambition.

H/T: Hot Air

What... Nothing about sacrifice, community service or saving the planet?

Enlightened self-interest. A concept lost on and undermined through ignorance by commencement speakers across the fruited plain.

Arthur Laffer, he of The Curve, preaching the truth to Mercer University grads:

"Pursuing your dream of prospering will benefit everyone . . . When I graduated from Yale University, we had a serious commencement speaker not like the one you are stuck with today. The commencement speaker was President John F. Kennedy. And the point I'm making today is the same point he made all those years ago. He said, "No American is ever made better off by pulling a fellow American down, and all of us are made better off whenever any one of us is made better off." He concluded by using the analogy that "a rising tide raises all boats."

Never forget or be ashamed of the fact that pursuing your own self interest furthers everyone's interest. Without you, the poor would be poorer.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Radio KBwD is on the Air

We’re ashamed we haven’t got around to these guys before because, well…. they're our friends. Since we don’t know a whole lot of musicians, it is going out on a very sturdy limb indeed to say they are the most talented musicians we know. We’ve encouraged them to get serious (they don’t even have a band name… we suggested “Jews, Christians, Gypsies and other undesireables” but that doesn’t quite roll off the tongue like "Moby Grape") and make something of themselves but we also realize that Yiddish-inflected Beach-Country music is heavily niche-oriented.

Ladies and Gentleman from San Diego, California its… Izzy on Mandolin and Big Al on guitar performing the Gourds' “Donegal Beard”.


Wait…. Did Dick Ebersol just call himself an obese, underachieving ego-maniac?

NBC inked a deal with the Notre Dame to continue broadcasting their home games through the 2015 season.

NBC Sports Chairman Dick Ebersol and Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins announced an extension of the TV contract to broadcast Irish football games on NBC through 2015.

2015 will mark the 25th year for Notre Dame on NBC.

“We are thrilled to continue this landmark partnership with Notre Dame," Ebersol said during a conference call. “Notre Dame defines who we at NBC Sports are: from the Olympics, to the U.S. Golf Open to Notre Dame.”

And since were in the neighborhood, released their 2008 odds to win a BCS national championship.

The favorites:

USC 3/1
Florida 6/1
Georgia 6/1
Ohio State 6/1
Oklahoma 6/1
LSU 12/1
Missouri 14/1
Auburn 20/1

Other notables:

Texas 30/1
UCLA 35/1
Notre Dame 55/1
Nebraska 80/1
Arizona St. 80/1
Boise St. 100/1
…and of course, the ever-dangerous “Field” 25/1

H/T: Coaches Hot Seat

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Unheeded Lessons of History: South of the Border style

Mexico puts a price freeze on 150 pantry staples.

Guess what Mexico will soon be running low on?

Naivete' You Better Believe

“It's not that he thinks the court can protect the villagers now being killed and maimed and raped in Darfur; his investigation into war crimes there will take years. What he is convinced of is that the prospect of prosecuting war criminals in Darfur and elsewhere will deter others from committing horrific crimes.”

Argentinian, Luis Moreno-Ocampo is the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. He seems to be a decent, honorable and well-intended man but, ironically enough, it is because he is these things, it is unlikely that justice for Darfur will ever be served in court. Precisely because the genocidal criminals in the Sudanese government and international terrorists are the antithesis of decent, honorable and well-intended, is the reason why an international court is a dubious option for ridding the world of these people. Story here.

And unfortunately, we see now that Barack Obama favors this approach to fighting the War on Terror.

We all saw how well fighting terrorism as a law-enforcement matter worked back in the 90s. The civilian criminal prosecution of the World Trade Center bombers in ’93 did nothing to deter terrorists from carrying out their deadly missions on U.S. interests over the next 8 years (American embassies in Africa, Khobar Towers, USS Cole), culminating, of course with the 9-11 attacks here on U.S. soil.

Since that time when we have actually gone out, hunted down and killed terrorists, successful terrorist attacks on U.S. interests and American soil: Zero. This is not a coincidence, this is not a statistical anomaly. And to be honest, we don’t care if terrorist man-hunts are a deterrent or not… dead terrorist can’t terrorize. Period.

Yet with this stark evidence before him, Barack Obama wants to return this nation to fighting the terrorists via criminal prosecution .

Ralph Peters in story here, has some pretty basic national security/anti-terrorism questions that Obama’s adoring media haven’t quite got around to asking the Senator themselves. Among them:

* How would you manage the consequences of the military incursion into Pakistan you've threatened? Are you willing to go to war with Pakistan?
* What would be the specific results of a swift troop withdrawal from Iraq?
* Why would a judicial approach to defeating terrorists work this time when it failed to protect us in the past?
* Do you truly believe that self-admitted terrorists, when captured, deserve the full legal privileges of US citizens?

Obama, while at Columbia is said to have been averse to studying history. This is apparent as he has filed 9-11 and the events and the acts of folly that led up to that point under “Ancient Western Civilization.”

Just a little more equal than others, we suppose Pt. II

After the County of San Diego bent over backwards to accommodate the influx of people seeking gay marriages on Tuesday, they do not appear to be quite as flexible with their own employees who, for religious purposes, have refused to perform gay wedding ceremonies.

County Clerk, Greg Smith, reneged on his previous word when he told employees they would not have to perform these ceremonies if they objected on religious grounds. Turns out, the volume of people seeking gay marriage licenses trumped any one person’s religious beliefs as the clerks were told they would have to perform the ceremonies or seek reassignment within the office or elsewhere in the county.

No agenda or politics here…. Please move along.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

We Prefer to call it, "Maturing in Office"

"Congressional Democrats ripped presumptive Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) Wednesday for “flip-flopping," after McCain reversed course and called for the lifting of a ban on offshore oil drilling, which he once opposed."


Bush has apparently matured, as well.

And from the Department of Wouldn't be able to consumate a transaction in a House of Ill Repute with large bills extending from one's pockets, we bring you the House Democrats who've officially crossed the threshold of self-parody. If suing OPEC or raising taxes on Big Oil didn't grab ya, how about nationalizing the country's oil refineries to increase the supply and lower prices?

And please don't miss our earnest rethinking and heartfelt apology regarding John Murtha and company, here.

Long View and Short View

Just a little over a year ago, Kobe was on the radio demanding a trade from the Lakers while also bashing the Laker organization and players on a fan’s video camera phone, the footage of which found its way to the internet. The Lakers made no significant roster moves other than bringing back Derek Fisher which looked to be merely window dressing so going into this season it looked to be a continuation of high drama off the court and mediocrity on it like the 3 previous ones since the Shaq/Kobe crack-up.

And even two months into the season, if we were to be told that the Lakers would be playing in the NBA Finals absent Andrew Bynum who had asserted himself as a front-line NBA center from the beginning of the season, we would’ve been forced to ask what calamity had befallen the cities of San Antonio, Salt Lake City and Phoenix… and New Orleans… and Oakland… and Denver…

Of course, it was the trade that brought Pau Gasol to the Lakers from the Grizzlies that changed the complexion of the entire season and also changed expectations. No longer was this a team that may hang on to a 7 or 8 seed but one that was expected to challenge for the Western Conference title and possibly the NBA championship.

That they did indeed make it to the Finals is cause for celebration and optimism for the future (trusting a full recovery by Bynum), but the manner in which they did “challenge” for the title is equally as troubling. Yes, having Bynum back will help the “physicality” of the Lakers and allow Gasol to move back to his natural power forward position but often times physicality and allowing yourself to get pushed around as the Lakers did all series and in disastrous fashion last night is not a mere physical thing but a matter of heart.

We suppose that we could chalk a lot of it up to inexperience and immaturity but the Laker young guns responded well in the Western Conference playoff rounds against two of the most punishing and grinding teams in the NBA in Utah and San Antonio. On the exponentially grander stage of the NBA Finals, though, it was obvious the Lakers weren’t ready and got beat not only by a better team but a team that understood the mental toughness that would be required to win the title.

As we said, we’re optimistic but also wary. There is an adage in sports, particularly applicable to the NBA and NFL that you have to lose before you can win. If the degree by which you lose or the manner in which you lose can be informative, the Lakers have themselves an entire off-season’s worth of excellent reading material. We’ll just call it the Lakers’ Beach Books series. And the book we hope they pay closest attention to would be: “The NBA Finals: Knowing What the Hell to Do When You Get There” by Magic Johnson, foreword by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Props Department: We got to hand it to ESPN analyst, Jon Barry, who shortly after acquiring Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett last summer predicted a championship for the Celtics. Further, after the Lakers struggled to win Game 5, Barry sensed the Lakers were in “big trouble” and predicted a “blow-out” loss for Game 6.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


The Left’s hopes and desires for an Iraq My Lai, received a mortal blow just a few hours ago as the charges against Lt. Colonel Jeffrey Chessani for failing to properly investigate the deaths of 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha in November of 2005 were dismissed. Chessani is the highest-ranking officer to face criminal charges in the Haditha incident.

The Prosecution has until Friday to refile the charges as the judge dismissed them without prejudice. Story here.

"A total of eight Marines were initially charged in 2006 over the case but prosecutors have struggled to make the allegations stick.

So far seven of the accused have either been acquitted or had charges withdrawn before court martial.

Chessani's acquittal on Tuesday leaves just one defendant -- Staff Sergeant Frank Wuterich -- facing prosecution. Wuterich's trial has been scheduled for later this year."

We’re not holding our breath for any reaction from Congressman Murtha. We’ll have something more on the Murtha later that we think you all will enjoy.

UPDATE #1:After reviewing this post, we realized that our contention that some people here in the states have been less-than-supportive of our troops and the military, in general, has been somewhat misguided. The fact that we alluded, without any hard evidence, that some of our elected leaders were invested in the defeat of this country’s forces in Iraq and elsewhere was reckless and yes…. divisive. As surely as some of these same leaders have seen the error of their ways and will be coming forward to apologize, we offer to these same people our own humblest apology.

Just a little more equal than others, we suppose.

"County Clerk Greg Smith plans to open his office doors at the County Administration Center along San Diego Bay at 7 a.m. – an hour earlier than normal – to accommodate the influx."

"Alameda, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sonoma and Yolo counties stayed open late yesterday to perform weddings after the court ruling went into effect at 5 p.m."

"The clerk's office plans to bulk up staffing and extend hours to accommodate as many as a dozen couples at a time throughout the day."

As we’ve stated before, we’re opposed to the new definition of marriage but not vehemently so…. we’re not going to take to the streets to protest and we’re still torn as to whether or not we will sign a petition for a constitutional amendment to define marriage as that between a man and a woman.

But finding out that the language of “bride” and “groom” has been scrubbed from the new marriage license to pave the way for the infinitely more descriptive, definitive and charming “Party A” and “Party B” has us a little perplexed. We thought this was about equality and not about advancing an agenda. We were assured by the California State Supreme Court that this was about a “right” to form a family union and not an imposition of one’s values on the values and traditions of heterosexual couples. Denying hetero couples the “right” to be able to call themselves “bride” and “groom” seems to fly in the face of this whole thing, does it not?

To our knowledge, breeders can’t request the old form. If we are wrong, please let us know but as it stands, we’re now more inclined to sign that petition because, quite frankly, the claims of how this wasn’t agenda-driven and was merely striking a blow for civil rights, rings a little hollow right now.

Monday, June 16, 2008

McCain may have had something to do with Lindbergh's baby.

Foxfier reminds us that it’s a fine line between “curmudgeon” and “jerk”. Fortunately, Gore Vidal, absolutely nukes any confusion you might have between the two concepts as he vaults headlong over both into “joy-less, self-absorbed, bitter little conspiracy whore” in what may be the worst interview ever given.

If it's Good enough for Grandma Pt. II

We’re fairly confident that this dude won’t be invited to guest-preach at the Trinity medicine show anytime soon.

Manning is completely insane… and we mean that in the most complimentary of ways.

H/T: 'Dawg

Monday, Monday.... Can't take that Day

We don’t golf and we only follow the sport in a very casual fashion but we are not afraid to admit we got sucked into the drama of the U.S. Open here in San Diego on both Saturday and Sunday. But after trying to work our way around firewalls on the internet at work to monitor the playoff round today between Tiger Woods and Rocco Mediate, we became convinced the NBA and the PGA share notes on scheduling.

After Tiger sank his putt on the 18th yesterday to put him even with Mediate, we thought, “Awesome…! Sudden death, right here – right now”, only to hear the announcers say, “See ya tomorrow, folks.” Tomorrow…?

We rarely watch golf, let alone actually turn on the T.V. for the express purpose of watching golf and the one time where we totally bought into what the PGA was selling and allowed ourselves to get caught up in the emotion of Tiger’s comeback, they drop us in our tracks bringing all that momentum to a grinding halt.

Monday morning? Whatever. Got a job, man. And please, spare us the “This is the U.S. Open…its unique… its the only Major that plays 18 holes the next day for a playoff.” Adapt. Adjust. The PGA needed to capitalize on the momentum that the Open had going on Sunday afternoon. And if you want to continue the purist angle by maintaining the 18-hole playoff, fine… get it on right afterwards – there was still plenty of daylight left.

There is nothing wrong with tweaking your product to bring in the casual fan. A sudden-death playoff or even playing off 2 or 3 holes is not on the same level of dorky gimmickry like putting a hot tub in your ballpark or holding sausage races… uh, nevermind – those are kind of cool… we just don’t understand what was to be gained by waiting until the next day to play an entire extra round of golf.

It's this willingness to tweak things to draw-in the casual fan that is one of the big reasons why the NFL has swallowed whole the American sports scene. Golf, looking through their purist glasses, is pretty pleased with itself and thinks they hit a home run this weekend – we think they legged-out a triple. It was exciting but they didn't score.

How's Your Glass?

"Housing prices in Southern California continued their record-setting decline in May, falling 27% from year-ago levels, as lenders continued to depress median prices by dumping foreclosed homes in rising numbers, according to DataQuick Information Systems. Housing prices have now rolled back to early 2004 levels, DataQuick reports" (italics ours)


"Buoyed by a 27% drop in housing prices from a year ago and reflecting a buyer’s market, potential first-time buyers and investors are hopeful that this decline is further evidence of prices falling back in line with historical trends."

Story here.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Week in Review

Politics does indeed make for some strange bedfellows..... in our twisted way of thinking, at least.

The biggest culprit in this economic downturn...? (The royal) You might want to look in the mirror.

American "free speech" vs. Euro "free speech." Who ya got?

B-Daddy believes letting the Bush tax cuts to expire may literally be a matter of life and death.

Senator McCain has got a few Big Ideas of his own for government spending.

And our Radio KBwD feature of the week.

This man is simply delighted you’re paying $4.40/gallon at the pump.

Eschewing any flowery window dressing to distract us, Thomas Friedman of the NYT can barely contain his glee over what we are currently paying at the pump, so much so that he believes that regardless of what happens to the price of oil in the future, the state should act in way of taxes to keep a permanent “price floor” of $4/gallon.

You see, its all about tough love. When the price of oil is relatively cheap, we act in an amoral fashion and buy gas-guzzling SUVs but when the price of oil shoots up, we behave in a much more ethical and moral fashion and purchase Priuses (just like Friedman!). But since that wacky free market can’t be trusted to keep us in lock-step with Friedman’s world-vision goodness, we’ll simply employ the government to keep us in a perpetual state of automaton-like righteousness.

Its baffling to us that Friedman appears to be completely oblivious to the pervasive negative effect on the economy that high fuel prices have. Its as if Friedman thinks his Prius is going to transport vegetables to market and cattle to the slaughterhouse. Or that the law of gravity will be repealed to allow water we use to drink and clean to flow up and over mountain ranges absent pumping stations. Friedman also believes Santa’s elves will chop down trees by hand and that his sled which is underemployed 364 days of the year will transport the resulting lumber to construction sites for homes we require because we are still needlessly breeding and thus crushing the planet under the weight of our humanity.

The fact that Obama and many in Congress share this naked condescension towards their constituents only bolsters our contention that despite all the “activity” on the Hill regarding our current energy crisis there is a palpable air of unseriousness in all their scratching, clutching, caterwauling and rutting.

UPDATE #1: Big Oil is making such obscene profits from selling gas that Exxon is selling off the 2,200 retails gas stations it owns here in the states. All that jack was piling up in stacks at Exxon headquarters and was becoming a fire hazard... they simply couldn't spend it fast enough on their executives pensions so the only sensible thing to do was to kill that golden goose. Safety first!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Pluck of the Irish

The Irish are many things… stupid, they are not. After shrugging off previous EU attempts to “harmonize” the Celtic Tiger’s lower tax rates and shelters to get more in line with higher rates elsewhere in Europe, Irish voters on Friday, shot down the dense and pain-stakingly negotiated Lisbon Treaty which, in theory, would’ve consolidated EU power and streamlined its bureaucracy. (A unanimous vote of all 27 member nations was needed for passage).

“For all its benefits, many people in Ireland and in Europe feel that the union is remote, undemocratic and ever more inclined to strip its smaller members of the right to make their own laws and decide their own futures.”

And for all the talk of a “unified Europe” and “post-history” world harmony, its always appeared that the EU honchos in Brussels have never fairly squared these concepts with nationalism and national pride. We know... such ugly concepts...

“Europe as an idea does not provoke passionate support among ordinary citizens,” Denis MacShane, a Labor member of the British Parliament and a former British minister for Europe, said in an interview. “They see a bossy Brussels, and when they have the chance of a referendum in France, the Netherlands or Ireland to give their government and Europe a kick, they put the boot in,” he added, referring to earlier defeats of similar agreements in similar referendums.”

Good on ya, Sons of Erin!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Death and Taxes

"In this world, nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes," wrote Benjamin Franklin in 1789.

B-Daddy here. You may have missed the news that American life expectancy hit a new record high of 78.1 years as of 2006. This continues an inexorable upward trend that has remained unabated since the Bush tax cuts were enacted. No connection, you say? Au contraire, mes amis; in the article it points out that coronary disease, influenza and pneumonia rates of death all dropped. I submit that by leading healthier lifestyles with the increased income available to them, Americans are living longer. So I daresay we let those tax cuts expire at our peril, literally.

Radio KBwD is on the Air

This band is a repeat from one of our first KBwD features. Another discovered-by-accident find (or, if “by chance”… aren’t they all?). Their mix of C&W, mariachi and Ennio Morricone feeds our Border/Spaghetti Western jones. This clip was taken from right here in town at Canes down in South Mission Beach and it is a more scaled-back and subdued version of one of favorite songs from these guys.

Ladies and Gentleman, from Tucson, Arizona…. please welcome, Calexico performing “The Ride, Pt. II”

Not yet Ready for Prime Time Pt. II

"One, Two, Three... CAN-CUN'"

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Just like You... only more so.

Awesome. We’re going to fight the war on terror in civilian courts. The Supremes have decided to confer U.S. Constitutional rights on the “unlawful combatants” currently detained at Gitmo.

"The Supreme Court has finally brought an end to one of our nation's most egregious injustices," said CCR Executive Director Vincent Warren. Yep. This has been right up there with slavery, denying woman and blacks the franchise and Japanese internment during WWII.

Tell ya what… let’s just scrap this whole thing. Close down, Gitmo? Sure. Let’s let them all go… let’m all go but before we do, roll’m all in pig fat before sending them off to their country of origin where they can sort it out. No fuss, no muss - get'm out of our hair. Deal?

Still crazy, after all these years.

You know, it broke our heart when we discovered later in life (later than it should’ve) that many of those terrific Hollywood Squares come-backers were set-up. No matter – we still love(d) the show. We found the embed below while rummaging around for something else. As expected, Paul Lynn in the center square is prominently featured.

An exchange that is not included but should’ve been:

Peter Marshall: “Paul, do you smoke in bed?”

Lynn: (leering back at Marshall) “I don’t know, I’ve never looked.”


(mild NSFWoH subject matter and double entendre'... but you knew that already)

Exceptional Speech

All free speech isn’t created equally or interpreted equally everywhere as the show trials of Canadian human rights commissions of Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant have proven. But is our free speech better than Canadian and European free speech? Some here think we need to revisit the concept that was deemed important enough to be drafted No. 1 overall when it came time for our nation’s founders to make their selections of really, really important rights.

But why does it seem that on the whole a more restrictive interpretation of free speech, and thus a more liberal interpretation of hate speech, occurs in countries that appear to have the most difficulties with restive immigrant minority groups. Is there a causal relationship? We think there may be.

The fact that the Canadian Human Rights Commission has a near 100% conviction rate is proof-positive of giving an air of legitimacy to quite anything that an aggrieved plaintiff may bring before it as “hate speech”. If you as the aggrieved are almost always guaranteed satisfaction from this particular court system every time you cry foul, then the hate speech bar is lowered to the point where being offended or feeling your group has been incited against with respect to nearly anything written or said is indeed, culturally and legally, justifiable.

The whole system both legally and culturally in Canada and much of Europe thus invites grievances, promotes isolation and discourages assimilation.

Let’s contrast that with the United States where Muslims don’t riot or burn American flags, where there are no fatwas declared against writers and filmmakers are not murdered while walking down the street and the hate speech bar is set much, much higher.

Precisely because the bar is set higher, the legitimization of hate speech is much more infrequent. Rather than officially recognize alleged hate speech in courts of law, the rantings of say, a Jeremiah Wright or the suggestions by Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson that the acceptance of homosexuality in this country was, in part, responsible for 9-11, it is instead held up for public scorn, ridicule and mocking…. as it should. The question of legitimacy is taken off the table and in fact, it is viewed not as court-defined “hate speech” but rather, “illegitimate speech.” In other words, speech that is outside the legitimate circle of polite and civil discourse.

We will not take you to court, we will, however, make fun of you and then simply ignore you.

A perfect case-in-point for this is the Iranian mad-bomber, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, who came to New York last year to make a number of speeches and appearances. We understood the calls for banning and/or boycotting his speeches but we generally came down on the side of letting the man speak knowing that the true Mahmoud would reveal himself and sho’nuff, the raving lunatic, homophobe and anti-semite we knew him to be did not disappoint.

Despite the serious nature of what he said, we mocked and ridiculed the guy, essentially turning Ahmedinejad into a late-night punch line effectively neutering and delegitimizing his message.

A Canadian, himself recognizes this exceptionalism. Jason Gratl a lawyer for the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association:

“Canadians do not have a cast-iron stomach for offensive speech,” Mr. Gratl said in a telephone interview. “We don’t subscribe to a marketplace of ideas. Americans as a whole are more tough-minded and more prepared for verbal combat.”

And Mr. Steyn: “Western governments are becoming increasingly comfortable with the regulation of opinion. The First Amendment really does distinguish the U.S., not just from Canada but from the rest of the Western world.”

This exceptionalism is worth preserving. We’ve seen how free speech interpretation works elsewhere and the results are less than American.

Embrace the hatred of hate speech laws.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Not to be Outdone...

In more too-little-too-late rear-guard action, Senate GOPers blocked passage of the Senate’s alternative energy bill on Tuesday. Article here. An earlier version of the bill was passed by the House 3 weeks ago (our thoughts here). We say alternative energy because the House’s idea to get more oil to the pump was granting this country the ability to sue OPEC if it thought they were getting out of line.

The Senate’s equally logical Big Idea would be to tax what they believe are “unreasonable” profits of the Big 5 U.S. oil companies and then…then... take all that money….. and… burn it… ? Honestly, what the hell else would you do with all that paper – at least it might keep some people warm this winter when fuel prices will make June ’08 look like the good ol’ days.

But this one’s different, they cry…..

"The bill's supporters argued that their proposal was different from the windfall profits taxes of the early 1980s that thwarted domestic production and led to a rise in imports. The oil companies could avoid the tax by using their "windfall" to push alternative energy programs or refinery expansions, they said."

Why do we expect and why do we ask oil companies to be something they are not? Businesses make a big deal of core competencies… those things your company does most effectively to bring the highest rate of return on its investment. Having never set foot inside Exxon’s or Shell’s offices, we’re willing to bet that historically speaking, Big Oil’s core competencies have been exploring for oil, drilling for that crude oil, recovering and transporting that crude oil to refineries, refining it and then transporting it to market. Just a WAG….

But now we want them to be similarly competent in wind and solar power, batteries, geothermal technology, growing corn, growing sugar, biofuels, ethanol, hydrogen extraction, etc., etc. How does this make sense?

By now, its apparent Congress really isn’t serious about formulating any sensible energy plan and as we have stated previously, the absolute best we can hope for these days is that they don’t make a horrible situation any worse.

RCP Congressional approval rating: 18.7%

Actions of the Government have caused fear and panic among its citizens Pt. II

In public education’s never-ending quest to drive kids into private schools and home schooling, the Rock Hill, SC school officials struck a blow for lunacy and inanity when a weekend sweep of high school commencement ceremonies netted 7 arrests of scofflaws in the audience who had the temerity to cheer friends and family members when their names were announced to receive their diplomas. This after having been warned by Rock Hill school officials to refrain from cheering until after the ceremony. Story here.

Just when David Stern thought it was safe to go back in the water.

In the midst of the dream matchup that will put the cherry on top of what has been one of the most successful NBA seasons in years, the Association once again has to deal with the specter of Tim Donaghy and game-fixing. (Our thoughts on the Donaghy scandal when it broke, here and here).

Former NBA ref, Tim Donaghy, who was convicted of betting on NBA games, alleges that other NBA referees manipulated games to better serve the NBA’s broader economic interests.

There is no other sport or league where the referees and the refereeing is more a prevalent topic than the NBA, in fact, its not even close. Refs will blow calls in the NFL and umpires may be criticized for an inconsistent strike zone or misjudging a foul pole home run but, invariably, these botches never carry the taint of conspiracy or “fix”. Indeed, the storyline in this very championship series has been the refereeing and specifically Game 2 where Boston enjoyed a 4 to 1 advantage over L.A. in going to the charity stripe.

And if you are a floundering Tim Donaghy, awaiting sentencing, what else is there to do but trot out one of the crown jewels of the conspiracy theorists: Game 6 of the 2002 Western Conference Finals where the Lakers prevailed over the Sacramento Kings on their way to a seven game series victory?

For their part, David Stern and the Association have dismissed these charges as the predictable actions of an untrustworthy and disgraced man who is willing to throw anything against the wall and anybody under the bus if it will possibly lessen his time in the can. Then again, David Stern is the same person who told us all the mechanisms to monitor and detect untoward behavior by their referees were in place and working just fine when the Donaghy scandal broke last summer… so why didn’t they catch Donaghy?

We’re always wary in taking to much from commenter reaction but the overwhelming majority from story here seems to be of the “Tell us something we don’t know” variety and therein lies the rub. The NBA and its refs could be completely 100% pure-as-the-driven-snow clean in all this but perception is reality and the perception among many, even some self-professed Laker fans, was that the Game 6 back in ’02 was rigged and that there was definitely something amiss in Game 2 of this series.

Too bad for David Stern because this season has been a lot of fun. He had a relatively incident free season for his players on and off the court, a rise in T.V. ratings and despite a horribly boring and mundane set of playoff series, he’s got the Association’s two flagship franchises back on top again and playing for the NBA championship. This conspiracy business, though, is a large factor in setting the NBA back as a second-class citizen to the NFL and it’s a problem Stern is stuck with and is a problem that will probably always dog the NBA thus keeping them in their current status in pro and college football’s rearview mirror.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Hip to be Square

A record-high 55% of all Americans say their financial situation is worse than it was a year ago. This is the first time in Gallup’s 32 year history of answering this question that a majority of Americans gave this negative assessment.

Stagnating wages, high fuel costs, mortgage crisis, weak dollar and rising unemployment may make Americans feel their own micro-economic situation is gloomy but how much of this pessimistic self-assessment is of their own doing?

Article here looks at the debt-culture in America and points to 3 specific anti-thrift institutions as providing the mechanics for the massive personal debt this country has accumulated: credit cards, pay-day lenders and lotteries.

“Between 1989 and 2001, credit card debt almost tripled, from $238 billion to $692 billion. By fall of 2007, the amount of revolving consumer credit had reached $937.5 billion, a 7 percent increase over the previous year.”

“Unlike fast food, however, fast cash isn’t cheap. It typically costs the borrower the equivalent of an annual percentage rate (APR) of 300–400 percent. Payday loans contain another financially unhealthy feature, as well: They are structured so that it is hard for the borrower to repay the loan in full. Instead, many consumers end up with little choice but to pay special fees to “roll over” the original loan into the next payday, a practice that can lead to chronic dependency on expensive credit.”

And how about this for painting a picture of government-sanctioned predatory fantasy pedaling?

But aside from the actual “how-to” there also needs to be a reason why. Political humorist and satirist, P.J. O’Rourke recounts growing up poor in Ohio with an abusive and alcoholic step-father. Despite a financial situation that always had them on the brink of losing their home, Mrs. O’Rourke insisted that the children keep the front lawn trimmed and tidy, the drive-way and porch swept and the house clean and uncluttered so that a general sense of order and respectability pervaded the household. Why? Shame. Shame that kept the neighbors from knowing they were poor. Shame that if the neighbors did know they were poor, then there be at least a pride that would not allow the family to appear as if they had descended into squalor.

This appears to be very much missing in today’s culture where running up personal debt on credit cards and on loans for various toys and the house you’re going to “flip” almost seems a right of passage. And when you finally get pinched…. No biggie… bankruptcy, baby – everybody’s doing it.

And the government does nothing to dissuade this reckless and cavalier behavior by spending hundreds of billions of the couple pictured above's dollars to excuse the same of people who had no business owning a house in the first place.

Regulation iwo of capping interest rates that credit cards and lenders can charge may help but what it all really boils down to is a fundamental change in the culture and mindset of the American consumer and like Depression-era kids knocking back a slug of Castor oil, that shot of restraint and terpitude for today's big spenders does not appear to be on the near horizon.

H/T: New York Times' David Brooks

Actions of the Government have caused fear and panic among its citizens.

"The recurring violations of liberties [in Algeria] have lately reached an intolerable level. The most recent of these is the witchcraft trial that took place on the stage of the courthouse in Tiaret. The victim, a 37-year-old woman, is in danger of being sentenced to three years' imprisonment for the crime of Christianity."

This is typical of the persecution of Christians in Africa. Actually, this woman is getting off easy as Christians and animists are just hunted down and slaughtered elsewhere on the Continent, particularly the Sudan. Full story here.


Apropos of Nothing

(Seen today while delivering community newsletter. Click on photo to enlarge)

Fishing for a new bicycle….?

…or just heart-felt sentiment expressed towards the most important female in this child’s life?

Hey, the two aren’t mutually exclusive.

In Sacramento, also?

Our friends in Sacramento never rest in exploring for new, creative and suspect ways to generate revenue. Because the state legislature needs a 2/3rds majority to raise taxes and because of the heat they would take for doing so, a favored mechanism for Democrats in Sacramento to get their hands into your pocketbook is the State Board of Equalization. (it speaks volumes that the entity charged with overseeing the taxation infrastructure in this state would have included in its title “equalization”).

The state charges a sales tax on “personal property which may be seen, weighed, measured, felt, or touched, or which is in any other manner perceptible to the senses.” This has always been understood to mean goods not services and because of this, some on the Board, at the request of the Assembly, have been working overtime to stretch, twist, and expand this definition.

The state Assembly has been trying for a while to get taxes on music downloads such as those from iTunes and other ecommerce trade. This is above and beyond the “use tax” that Californians are required to declare on their state tax forms for the purchase and sale of tangible goods. (Incidentally, the Board is pushing to deputize 325 new tax detectives to make sure you are paying this tax.)

But now the Board has been encouraged to move beyond the internet and begin taxing services as well. Assembly tax chairman, Charles Calderon , D-Montebello, has encouraged the Board to think big, you know, really get outside the box by saying it has, “as much of a responsibility (as state lawmakers) in terms of enforcing our laws and bringing in the revenue that the state needs.” Yee-hah!!!! (We're puzzled and amused that Calderon thinks the state Assembly is a law enforcement agency. Got Freud?).

So in Calderon’s world, haircuts, landscaping, car washes and the sale of tickets to sporting events will all be subject to a 5% sales tax.

Fortunately, between the Republicans and one rogue Democrat on the Board, Betty Yee, who oppose this plan, the chances for redefining of the tax code are doubtful, for now. But as with the ungodly Freddy Krueger-like persistence of Congress in attempting to sneak Amnesty provisions into the nooks and crannies of agriculture and supplemental war funding bills, you just can’t sleep on these people.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Doing the Jobs the Feds won't.

Not to be outdone by the L.A. Times, the New York Times gets in on the sympathy-mongering with respect to illegal immigrant deportations. The NYT’s angle on this story, though, is legislation being passed at the state level that gives law enforcement folks at the state and local levels greater latitude in enforcing immigration laws while the Feds drag their feet or simply refuse to enforce these laws.

Ever since we started this blog, we’ve been banging on illegal immigration pretty hard so we don’t want to sound entirely unsympathetic to the families and particularly the children who had no say in this, especially with regard to the actions of their parents. Any time, you allow an illegal socio-economic phenomenon to grow and develop unchecked, any attempts to slow, alter or even stop its progress will indeed appear reactionary and even draconian.

We get it – we understand it, that is why the charges of “racism” and “nativism” never bother us. It bothers us far more that a government for the people (it’s citizens) and by the people (again, it’s citizens) that has been at least tacitly complicit in this phenomena seems more concerned with the welfare of those who aren’t supposed to be here than with those who are.

It appears, though, that some levels of government have received the message. Congress may still be a little slow on the uptake (and who is that 1 person in 5 who actually thinks they’re doing a good job?) but they’ll get the message, eventually. They’ll get it like a 2x4 upside the head.

Dude, it's only a Honda.

Our entry this month for "You park like an a#$-&*%#"

(click on image to enlarge)

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Another Abject Failure of Government

The L.A. Times unleashes its sympathy-mongering in documenting the plight of children here in the States whose illegal immigrant parents have been deported by immigration authorities. Story here. We place the blame for this squarely on the shoulders of the Mexican government for their callous insensitivity in not providing workshops and awareness training to would-be illegal immigrants before they break into this county that this plight may befall them.

We’re being facetious? Not at all. For a country that is 100% complicit in the illegal immigrant business from which they receive anywhere from $10-20 billion a year, free and clear, that is pumped into their economy from remittances here in the States, some “education” as to what may happen to they and their children once they drop anchor (baby) here in the U.S. would appear to be the smallest service they could provide to their own citizens.

Howard Jarvis and Barack Obama.... together at last?

A belated Happy Birthday to one of the most significant pieces of legislation in California’s history. Proposition 13, which capped property tax rate increases and which saved countless families their homes turned 30 on Friday.

And knowing that Prop. 13 is a rallying cry for liberals who cite its enactment as ground zero for all the ills that we now currently face in this state is just icing on the cake.

The fear-mongering that attached itself to this ballot initiative included the possibility of scrapping summer school. And conincidentally, summer school was being pondered for the first time for a certain 5th grader whose idyllic 13 week golden summers had never been intruded upon by the mental gulag of summer school. This was our tipping point to becoming politically active. We canvassed our school mates out on the playgrounds of Golden Ave. Elementary educating them to the mutual parent-child benefits of this Proposition.

We will also note that Prop. 13 was, up until just very recently, one of three great grass-roots, populist rebellions of the past 30 years in this country and which also happened to originate out of conservative activism (not quite the acronym we all thought, eh?). Throw-in the sacking of California Governor Gray Davis and the great Rube Goldberg Amnesty Bill smackdown last summer as the other two crown jewels in the pantheon of angry white maledom. Heh.

As we alluded, though… up until very recently….? Possibly a fourth:

“But what I thought of when the friend sent the flash was something another friend told me months ago. It was the night Mr. Obama won Alabama. My friend was watching on TV, in his suburban den. His 10-year-old daughter walked in, looked, saw "Obama Wins" and "Alabama." She said, "Daddy, we saw a documentary on Martin Luther King Day in school." She said, "That's where they used the hoses." Suddenly my friend saw it new. That's the place they used the water hoses on the civil rights marchers crossing the bridge. And now look. The black man thanking Alabama for his victory.”

Political differences aside, it would be intellectually disingenuous to ignore what an amazing and monumental event in this nation’s history is the nomination of a black man to run for President of the United States some 40 years on a year that has come to symbolize both the height and nadir of the civil rights movement.

OK, but grassroots…? This may be a little bit of a stretch considering the press has been in the tank for Obama from Day One, but also from Day One there has been vast anecdotal and empirical evidence that Obama’s “ground game” was vastly superior to that of Clinton Inc.’s. To achieve that one needs a motivated and passionate backing of supporters at the deck-plate level.

Never mind that the passion and motivation was fueled by the “change” meme that is still vague as to the actual mechanics in which to achieve “change”, the man’s charisma, eloquence and effective placement of his campaign meme effected a groundswell of support among those who were not keen on the idea of 32 straight years of either a Bush or a Clinton working in the White House in some capacity. Beyond any specific criticisms Obama may have leveled at Bush, McCain or Hillary Clinton, this specter was at the core of “change”

Obama and his campaign beat a Corporation containing some of the most seasoned and effective campaign strategists of this generation. We’re sorry, this doesn’t happen just because the press adores you.

The rest of Peggy Noonan’s article from which the above quote was pulled is here. Noonan is laudatory of the Democrats’ selection of Obama whose Presidency (and McCain’s), she believes, may be a disaster but is wholly convinced that a Clinton Presidency most certainly would be a disaster.

Let us know if you think we've completely lost our bearings on this.