Saturday, February 28, 2009

That about sums up things

Still, the irony of spending big to publicize the country's frugal ways was troubling for Commissioner Bill Dwyer, board chairman, who nonetheless joined in the unanimous approval of the amount Wednesday.

"We got our hand out (for more money) on one hand, and we're spending money with the other," Dwyer said. "That's a dilemma that we face."

It would appear that any real dilemma is past tense.

H/T: Bevvie

Some whine with your tea?

But through all of it, some of us persevered. We made the hard economic choices. We fought off eviction by keeping Linda Mustaine juiced up with mai tais at Applebee's happy hour. We sheltered our dirtbike assets in Kyle's shed, under a tarp, to stave off the repo men. We spent countless hours applying for the credit cards that would see us through. We made the wise economic decision to stop paying our stupid mortgages -- because we calculated that when the rainy day came, Washington would come to its senses and clear up the tab.

I wish I could take credit for it, but it took the collective effort of hundreds of thousands of us in the subprime community, working with the financial industry and public sector officials. Unfortunately, there is another group out there who is working to kill important financial bailout reforms just as they are sparking a renaissance in the American housing market. I'm speaking, of course, of the so-called "Tea Party" tax protesters.

More here from Iowahawk.

What.... us worry?

KT, sees and displays the upside to our pitiable hand-wringing over the the health of the President, here.

Friday, February 27, 2009

"Freedom" is in the eye of the beholder

Having said that, I'm a proud American and infinitely aware that if I were a Cuban citizen and were to write an article such as this about the Cuban leadership, I could be jailed. Furthermore, I'm proud that the system set up by our founding fathers, while not exactly intact today, was never dependent on just one great leader per epoch. These things remain in question for the romantic heroes of Cuba and Venezuela. I consider mentioning this, and perhaps should have, but I've got something else on my mind.

So concludes the money paragraph towards the end of an article in The Nation from Sean Penn from this past November. An article for which we wasted 20 minutes of our life which we will never get back as after 4 days of kissing Hugo Chavez’s and Raul Castro’s asses he finally gets around to asking really the only question that matters with respect to free vs. authoritarian/totalitarian societies but doesn’t because …. he has something else on his mind?

Then again, what would one expect from a man who has fashioned himself as a spokesperson for gay rights but is either ignorant of history or willfully dismissive as it doesn’t quite fit the narrative of his current mission?

Here's the history Penn ignores, courtesy of journalist James Kirchick: “Not long after the Cuban revolution, Fidel Castro ordered the internment of gay people in prison labor camps, where they were murdered or worked to death for their 'counterrevolutionary tendencies.' Over the gate of one of these camps were the words 'Work Will Make Men Out of You,' an eerie homage to the welcome sign at Auschwitz instructing Jews on their way to the gas chambers that 'Work Will Make You Free.' ...

“Raul Castro was notorious for ordering the summary execution of ... people whose only crime was their homosexuality.”

We suppose that for people like Sean Penn, “freedom” is just a matter of context.

We suppose that's one way to close the funding gap

For a dead woman, Laura Todd is awfully articulate.

“I don’t think people realize how difficult it is to be dead when you’re not,” said Todd, who is very much alive and kicking in Nashville, Tenn., even though the federal government has said otherwise for many years.

Todd’s struggle started eight years ago with a typo in government records. The government has reassured her numerous times that it has cleared up the confusion, but the problems keep coming.

An audit of the Social Security database, which many entities both inside and out of the government rely upon for documenting deaths, has revealed the the Social Security Administration “kills” about 35 people a day. 35 people a day who will spend years trying to “resurrect” themselves in order to get their tax refunds, register their vehicles and regain access to their own bank accounts and finances.

Now, imagine the SSA were a private health insurer and the absolutely huge amounts of deservedly bad PR they would receive from the press and regulatory reaming they would receive from the Feds.

Makes us downright giddy with anticipation for when the Feds will be in charge of our health care.

Sir, got some good news and some bad news, bad news first. That growth we’ve detected is malignant and you will require immediate treatment. The good news is treatment is totally unnecessary as our records show you died just 20 minutes ago.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Looking at the man in an entirely new light

Then Jimmy Carter took pity on our wretched souls. In 1978 he signed Senate Amendment 3534, a portion of which gave each household permission to produce up to 200 gallons of tax-exempt beer each year

His boycotting of the '80 Olympics was looking pretty lonely - it's now got some company.

More good reading in preparation for exercising our 21st amendment rights this weekend, here.

Joey, don't lose that number

Hey, it’s cool. We’ve lost a few numbers in our time, also, including

San Diego: the city that almost gets it right

Four city employees were awarded $34,300 in damages after a jury found that they were sexually harassed after being ordered to participate in an event where they were exposed to sexually charged conduct, simulated sex acts and lewd comments for which they suffered stress-related problems such as headaches and anxiety.

$34,000…? That’s it? Is that some kind of joke?

The four city employees happen to be San Diego city (male) firemen and the event in question happened to be the 2007 Gay Pride parade.


Oh, exactly. Don’t get your panties in a wad. They weren’t even touched.

Some thoughts on the original trial, here.

"Uh, sorry about that whole 'nationalize' thing"

Sen. Chris Dodd is apologizing today for his comments Friday suggesting that it might be necessary to nationalize some banks for a short time.

The Connecticut Democrat, who chairs the Senate Banking Committee, told reporters in Washington that he was surprised by the market’s reaction.

If Chris “Onions” Dodd does not possess the common decency to at the least, step down from the chairmanship of the Senate Banking Committee, would it not be too much to ask then that one of the stalwarts of “the most ethical Congress in history” keep his freaking mouth shut?

Just asking.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Somewhere Abbie Hoffman is weeping (UPDATED)

And speaking of protests….

If this clip is any indication, they just don’t make protesters like they used to. A group of students had holed-up in an NYU cafeteria with a list of demands such as greater budget transparency, amnesty for themselves and scholarships for Palestinian students when after 3 days, NYU authorities got fed-up and bum-rushed the proceedings. The video below picks up shortly before this happens.

The clip is over 9 minutes – stick with it – you won’t be disappointed. The unintentional comedy factor is as high as anything you will ever see. And the NYU authorities and security seem to have stumbled upon the perfect solution for handling these types of situations: boredom. Nothing seems to sap the life out of an ADD-addled sit-in like having to confront passive-aggressive behavior from the authorities.

And the poor kid holding the camera and narrating the whole sad and unraveling affair… he apparently grew up in a management seminar echo chamber. By the time his nine-plus minutes of fame are up, he has dropped enough buzz words to fill-out six or seven bullshit bingo cards. Focus on Consensus???... Who wants to be facilitator?

(UPDATE #1):

NEW YORK - Major stock indexes posted broad gains on heavy trading early Tuesday on news that a rogue group of student protesters from New York University had taken over the White House and barricaded themselves in the Oval Office. The Dow posted a 1100 point (17%) gain in the first hour of trading, wiping out nearly all of its loss since January 20 and almost 35% of losses since November 4.

"Finally, we're seeing encouraging signs of sanity in Washington," said UBS market analyst Jane Cohen.


"In his long list of policy demands, acting President Lozano never mentioned the stimulus package, TARP, or auto industry bailouts," said USB's Cohen. "There has been widespread optimism that he will remain too stoned to remember it."

The mood on Wall Street remained upbeat through noon trading, but Baird analyst Peter McCarthy cautioned investors against undue optimism, pointing to troubling signs of a possible Obama administration return.

More here from the ‘Hawk

A sandwich in every glass

and speaking of beer...

Americans may be cutting back their expenses to weather the turbulent economy, but they’re still drinking their craft beer.

As most other business segments contend with negative growth, craft beer makers - small, independent and traditional brewers that produce less than 2 million barrels per year - are enjoying slowed but still-strong sales increases and outperforming the beer industry as a whole.

While craft brewers have seen slowdowns in the volume of their beer consumed at restaurants and bars, business has picked up at the packies as more people spend their free time at home to save money.

This past summer, we wrote about the rising popularity of the classic fizzy yellow beers of days gone by like Schlitz and Pabst so we guess this proves that beer, whether it’s the crappy stuff or the good stuff, is a pretty inelastic commodity in both good times and bad.

Look Ma...

… our first protest!

We can’t believe it… it’s finally here. Our chance to, for once and for all, cast off the shackles of Gen-X indifference and apathy and to step into the light to receive the long sought-after approval of our Boomer older brethren.

It’s on – this Saturday on the Embarcadero just north of the Star of India – our chance to express our displeasure with the Generational Theft Act of 2009. Details here.

Protesting porkulus in the morning and beer tasting in the afternoon… we can’t think of a more American way to spend this Saturday than to exercise our 1st and 21st amendment rights, respectively.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What was that you were saying?

We’re tired of all this stimulus and bailout talk….

We just want to post pictures of clouds and stuff….


Strange weather here lately. Unseasonable humidity over the weekend and the first part of the week has made it feel not unlike the late August/early September monsoon season and which has generated some bizarre cloud patterns.

Was probably about 20 minutes too late for this sunset on Sunday evening.

One of these countries is not like the others...

KT provides a nice comparison of what 3 countries are doing to combat the global credit crunch and economic downturn. One is investing in a proven commodity that people around the world and within their own country will need for the foreseeable future and which will be the primary driver for their expanding economy. The second country is looking to that aforementioned country as a source of capital in order to expand the production of that commodity and the third country…. well, the third country is going to make it easier and quicker for bachelor and bachelorette parties to part with their money in Las Vegas.

Though not specifically mentioned in the bill, the bill does provide $8 billion for unspecified high-speed and intercity passenger rail projects, more than three times as much as allocated in earlier versions of the legislation.

In a town that loves to connect the dots, the funding increase raised suspicions that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who played a key role in writing the bill, pushed for it in order to promote home-state interests, namely the Anaheim-to-Las Vegas project.

A Reid spokesman said the money was not being earmarked for any specific project but would be available on a competitive basis. "This was a major priority for President Obama, and Sen. Reid as a conferee supported it," said Jon Summers.

(italics ours)

So, if there are allegedly no earmarks in porkulus, care to venture just what exactly “competitive” infers given the context?

Funny thing is, we’ve heard for years about this high-speed rail line between Southern California and Las Vegas. A lot of talk and no action. Why? Well, the project’s boosters themselves provide the answer: speed. The mag-lev train will breeze along at 300 mph and make the trip between Anaheim and Las Vegas in 86 minutes. Wow. That’s fast but still not as fast as a 45 minute plane ride from John Wayne to Vegas.

Vegas has managed to explode in growth despite the absence of any high-speed rail between itself and SoCal. Simply put: No demand.

(And somewhere “Pops” is saying, “Anaheim, Azusa, Ran-cho Cuc-a-monga”. H/T: Spike Jones)

Upon closer inspection...

The Governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal has taken some time to actually look at the stimulus package and discovered that, surprise… there are strings attached to the federal funds being thrown at the states. Specifically, Jindal will reject $100 million dollars in unemployment benefits as acceptance of that money will require a permanent change to the state’s unemployment laws that will cost Louisiana businesses money in the long term.

Operational pause: A Republican governor… from Louisiana… of Indian descent… speaking with a slight southern drawl. Doggone it, we love this country.

Jindal sits at one end of the spectrum of GOP governors struggling with the lure of not-so-free money from the Feds while our very own Arnold Schwarzenegger is firmly planted in the Hell Yeah! wing of the Republican Party. Proving that any nod toward fiscal restraint with the recently-passed state budget was pure B.S., Arnie is already pushing for universal health care for all Californians even though it would require new taxes… not the new taxes that just got approved but, you know, newer new taxes. From the National Governors Association meetings this weekend:

“Even though it is against your principles or philosophy,” Schwarzenegger said, he believes officeholders should “do what the people want you to do rather than getting stuck in your ideology.”
There’s that word again. The talking points have gone out and so it is that opposing porkulus is clinging stubbornly to an ideology. Never mind the fact that Republicans have abandoning this ideology to thank for the electoral wilderness in which they now wander, it’s as if Schwarzenegger and the rest do not believe that saddling future generations with mountains of debt, serving at the mercy of Chinese creditors and enabling the massive expansion of the federal government bears any pragmatic significance... or consequences.

And Charlie Crist of Florida continues to kiss goodbye any chances he has at a larger GOP stage:

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist also appeared on “Meet the Press” and immediately rejected Jindal's approach.

“There is a national leader; his name is President Obama,” said Crist, who campaigned with Obama for the stimulus package in his state. “I think we do need to be bipartisan. We need to be, in fact, nonpartisan.”

Crist duly notes that the Republican governors that supported porkulus were from states that voted for Obama and those Republican governors that have been critical of it (Jindal, Palin, Sanford-South Carolina, Perry-Texas) are from states that voted for McCain. We’ll leave it to the readers to decide if there is any insight to be divined from the socio-political culture and voting tendencies of these respective states.

Monday, February 23, 2009


Consider this porkulus' Festivus for the Rest of Us.

H/T: Redistributing Knowledge via Hedgecock.

P.S. We'll try to update this later as there is more here than meets the eye

(UPDATE #1): Even more hastily assembled than the stimulus bill if that is possible, a demonstration in that hot bed of conservative activism was put together last Monday up in Seattle on the eve of the President signing the bill into law. Blogger, Liberty Belle and the proprietor of Redistributing Knowledge, linked above, was responsible for this exercise of 1st amendment rights. KIRO-TV covers the protest here. Dig the lefty throwing out the Nazi salute in protest to the protest. Because objecting to the nationalization of private enterprise is now proof of being a Nazi?

Liberty Belle was on Hedgecock’s show this afternoon talking about the event and her motivation. She teaches at a private non-profit school for the disadvantaged that is supported only by private donations and the proceeds of a thrift shop up there in Seattle. She remarked with some frustration how some of the people she works with were excited to be getting an extra $20 or $30 a month through porkulus when, in reality, real freedom and personal economic expansion comes, in part, through basic reading and writing skills.

We love the subtitle of her blog: Because knowledge is the only commodity that needs redistributing. Stop by her place and show some BwD love when you get a chance. She’s out there making it happen.


ESPN has been planning for a little over a year now, to move a team out to Los Angeles, and have them do the late night Sports Center from a fabulous new facility. Well, that facility is just about complete, and today ESPN announced who was leaving the beautiful state of Connecticut and heading to La La Land.

This is a good news/bad news thing. ESPN will be shipping out solid and creative SportsCenter anchors Neil Everett and Stan Verrett. Unfortunately, we here in Pacific Time Zone will also be saddled with the unbearable Stuart Scott.

Read more here from Awful Announcing.

When going that extra mile just won't do

In the end, immigration activists never made it to the site of yesterday's planned demonstration, a plaza dubbed Friendship Park that sits on a bluff overlooking the ocean at Border Field State Park.

For the first time, Border Patrol agents formally sealed off access on the U.S. side to the plaza, for years a popular meeting place on the U.S.-Mexico border for families to visit through the fence.

“This is a treasured piece of the San Diego landscape where people meet for peaceful reasons,” said John Fanestil, executive director of the Foundation for Change, a nonprofit social-justice group involved in immigration issues. “The fencing will change that landscape.”

We have a suggestion... a novel idea, really, for Fanestil, activists and anyone else who wants to visit with their Mexican friends and family: go to Mexico.

For reals. Go to Mexico. It’s right next door to us, it’s free and you can hang out there for as long as your hosts see fit.

Besides the grandstanding opportunity this affords immigration activists, we fail to see how the closing of that "treasured piece of San Diego landscape" represents an issue of substance.

P.S. We read this article in yesterday's San Diego Union-Tribune. When we went to retrieve it electronically this morning, the U-T's own website search function could not retrieve it. We found it by doing a Google search. We don't know precisely why newspapers are going under by the number they are but this latest experience speaks to a general structural or systemic incompetence with, at least, this one particular newspaper.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

We're ready for your closeup, Mr. Del Toro

With the Oscars this evening we’re wondering if any of the assembled will provide us with any blog fodder. shares our fascination with Hollywood’s fascination with Che.

Dig this:

If embed no worky, click here.

And the band heard in the backround? It's The Clap, of course, performing "Che Guevara T-shirt wearer"

Peddling Fear 101

Whether you’re a newspaper trying to sell copies or a Presidential administration trying to sell porkulus, there are a few simple guidelines to be observed and one in particular that we saw played out over the course of 24 hours this past week.

Bad news like the report that came out that median home prices for the county had fallen below $300,000 for the first time in seven years should be placed right next to an article on Obama’s proposed bailout of individual homeowners and should also be festooned with splashy multi-color graphics like the one below and which was seen on the front page of Thursday’s San Diego U-T.

However, news that the housing affordability index is approaching the 50% mark for the first time in years in 15 years and that existing home sales in Southern California have increased 52% from last year should be shuttled off to below-the-fold of the Business section as is what happened on Friday.

The news on housing affordability and increase in home sales is encouraging and is demonstrable of what should be happening in an inflated housing market that is trying to find the bottom without any outside intervention. The increase in home sales is a positive sign that perhaps the housing market is close to finding that bottom and is evidence that the free market is wringing the poison and bad actors our of the system… all of which should be left alone so the whole process can run its course.

Unfortunately, no one wants to hear that when leveraging the “worst economy since the Great Depression.”

Good read here from the WSJ on the President’s fear mongering and his convenient looseness with data.

Mr. Obama's analogies to the Great Depression are not only historically inaccurate, they're also dangerous. Repeated warnings from the White House about a coming economic apocalypse aren't likely to raise consumer and investor expectations for the future. In fact, they have contributed to the continuing decline in consumer confidence that is restraining a spending pickup. Beyond that, fearmongering can trigger a political stampede to embrace a "recovery" package that delivers a lot less than it promises. A more cool-headed assessment of the economy's woes might produce better policies.

And the winner is....?


Pete Farndon of The Pretenders is sampling Steve Miller's first hit song "Living in the U.S.A." in Friday's installment of Radio KBwD and which is the answer to the trivia question.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

No word yet from the Homecoming King

FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) — George Mason University senior Ryan Allen dresses in drag and doesn't mind being called a queen — homecoming queen, to be exact. Allen, who is gay and performs in drag at nightclubs in the region, said he entered the homecoming contest as a joke, competing as Reann Ballslee, his drag queen persona.

But he considers the victory one of his happiest moments and proof that the suburban Washington, D.C., school famous for its run to the Final Four a few years back celebrates its diverse student body.

Slumdog's Millions

Since the early 1990s, India has cut its poverty rate in half. About 300 million Indians—equivalent to the population of the entire United States—escaped the hunger and deprivation of extreme poverty thanks to pro-market reforms that increased economic activity.

Yet here in America we're turning away from market reform. Says Dalmia, "It's just this great conundrum that at the same time that deregulation and markets have produced such dramatic results in India, they are falling into suspicion in America." Dalmia's prescription for India is at odds with what politicians have chosen to "stimulate" the United States. "What India needs to do is continue apace with its liberalization effort, but expand it to include the poor. Release them from the shackles of government corruption and government bureaucracy."

Read more and watch video here from

The new "C"-word

As carbon-based beings ourselves, could we be outlawed? B-Daddy nails a prediction he made during the campaign season and looks forward to more hijinks and hilarity in the court of law, here.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Radio KBwD is on the Air

You know the band but you may not know the song. When we first saw them back in junior high (on the telly – no live shows for us yet), we thought the lead singer was going to be our future punk rock girl friend in high school. Unfortunately, drug problems within the band cut short this quartet's shelf life and we never did get to date the lead singer.

Ladies and Gentleman, straight out of Akron, Ohio by way of London it’s Chrissie Hynde and the original line-up of The Pretenders on the set of Friday’s (this is the episode where Andy Kaufman who was hosting the show kinda loses it) performing "Louie Louie"…. not that "Louie-Louie".

A hearty atta boy to whom ever can guess the name of the song bassist Pete Farndon is riffing on at the beginning of the song.

Green Follies

At Christmas the letters would contain a photo, which we ritually magnetted up on the fridge to chronicle his growth. We reciprocated with our family pictures. I sometimes wondered if he wondered about us like we wondered about him. I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I didn't really notice when we didn't receive his annual Christmas letter last year. Yesterday we received a letter from his caseworker explaining why: Bakouma died in December of malaria. He was 14 years old.

More here from Iowahawk.

A bailout from the bailouts?

President Barack Obama unveiled a $75 billion foreclosure prevention program yesterday aimed at arresting one of the root causes of the nation's economic spiral by helping as many as 9 million homeowners obtain more affordable mortgage terms.

Due to an onset of bailout fatigue our vision is blurred, our breath short and we’re a wee wobbly in the knees, but…. Must. Remain. Strong.

The splash down paragraph above represents the disconnect between most rational people and those currently pulling the strings: the root cause has nothing to do with affordable mortgage terms. The root cause has everything to do, though, with very affordable mortgage terms. How affordable? So affordable that the terms became offers that no G#d-fearing, red-blooded American could refuse.

And dig this…

A central part of the program would loosen lending standards at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to allow millions of homeowners to qualify for refinanced loans and take advantage of the opportunity to refinance at a time of historically low mortgage rates. Currently, many homeowners do not qualify for refinancing because the level of equity in their homes has not reached 20 percent.

Since this is a news article and not something to be taken as journalism with any degree of introspection or sense of irony, we’ll simply ask the question: Wasn’t loosening lending standards the same exact #%6@-ing thing that got us into this G!%$#&mn mess in the first place?

But the icing on the cake is John Courson, president, CEO and all-around sage of probity and common sense asking just what you would expect a man in his position to ask. Take it away, John:

But in the hardest-hit parts of the country where prices remain in a free fall, including California and Arizona, that may not be enough. “Why cap it at 105 percent (debt to market value ratio)? Why not refinance based on whatever it is?” asked John Courson, president and chief executive of the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Why not indeed, John, because if the multiplier effect of any of these bailouts or stimuli packages is anything above 1.0 which is far lower than the figure we’ve seen bandied about by the Administration, then why stop at $75 billion? Why stop at $787 billion? Why not just start cranking up the printing presses and let the good times roll?

What's that, you say? We are? Oh, never mind then.

Humble shipbuilding homeowners that do not own a credit card but are wondering just what the hell happened to all that crap our parents taught us.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Courage: your definition may vary

"Mark our words: There's not going to be any more taxes from this body"

So says California Assembly GOP leader Mike Villnes after the state Senate pulled an all-nighter to pass the budget and which was sent to the Assembly this morning for rapid passage and which contained horse-trading provisions as an open-ballot primary referendum and dropping a 12 cent/gallon hike of the gasoline tax.

And if you believe what Villnes says, we’ve got some beach front property in Yuma we’d like you to take a look at.

This “budget” includes $12.5 billion in tax increases which includes raising personal income taxes, already the highest in the nation and a 1 cent on the dollar raising of the state sales tax also the highest in the nation. Vehicle registration fees will also double under this budget and the irony of these same outrageous fees paid under former Governor Gray Davis that was used as one of the rallying points to recall him and which paved the way for the current governor was not lost on us.

And we’re supposed to be mollified by $14.8 billion in spending cuts much of which aren’t real cuts just cuts to the automatic budget increases for that particular budget line item.

Well, it was a game effort by the G.O.P., but as we like to say about our fair city here in the extreme southwest corner of the nation… San Diego: the city that almost gets it right.

Republican legislators had a golden opportunity to end business as usual in Sacramento and they failed. With a chance to upset the apple cart, cheese-off a bunch of people and stand athwart the back-asswards nature of how this state is managed, they caved.

And for his part, Governor Scharzenegger called the legislator’s work “courageous”, proving that Sacramento and those inhabiting it are foreign to the planet the rest of us live on as we attempt to reconcile how it is that sticking the tax payers with an additional $12.5 billion in taxes and $14.8 billion in smoke’n’mirrors budget cuts is some how “courageous”.

What's this "we" business, white man?

Attorney General, Eric Holder, gives a speech at the Justice Department honoring Black History Month and about the 1:00 minute mark dutifully informs us that we are in many ways a “nation of cowards” when it comes to dealing with race.

Full disclosure: We were only able to slog through the first 6 minutes of the clip due to unbearable self-flaggelating whining put upon us by Holder.

We do wonder however, if Holder feels this cowardice was somehow displayed this past November when an American Presidential candidate who looks and talks like most of America was rejected in favor of a candidate who does not look and talk like most of America?

We may be too harsh in this assessment but we can’t help but feel Holder used the term “cowardice” as substitute for perhaps a stronger invective.

P.S. The title is in reference to the response we would get from "Pops" while in our youth if a collective call to action was made that was not entirely to his liking.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

More good news

We often, in San Diego, think of pension scandals as being associated with the city. But, as longtime readers know, I think the county's pension enhancements and subsequent scramble is the most under-appreciated fiscal atrocity to have occurred in the last decade in local government.

The San Diego County’s pension fund has lost $2.5 Billion in this latest market downturn but it could have been largely avoided had not the county board of supervisors decided to increase their own and their workers’ pension benefits by 50 percent back in '02.

At the time, the spin was that this increase in benefits would retain and recruit quality employees but the moment this benefits increase became law, what do you think happened? Yep, experienced county workers flooded the county with retirement notices leaving the county on the hook to start paying out those increased bennies immediately as well as being saddled with the additional burden of paying salaries to new hires. Nice job, Supes.

In other news today, the state of California, currently in debt to the tune of $42 Billion remains locked in a stalemate in Sacramento as the Democrats in alliance with Republican governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, are attempting to pass a budget that includes just what any taxpayer living out the reality of a recession wants to hear, $14.4 billion in tax increases.

The fact that the state of California, the 7th largest economy in the world and which possesses an abundance of resources both natural and human finds itself in this mess remains baffling and is testament to the prevailing notion among many living here that simply refusing to accept another $14.4 Billion in taxes in a state that already has the highest income, sales and gas taxes in the nation is somehow “selfish” or “short-sighted”.

What more does one need to know about politics in California that even the President, who has been criticized in these very pages for his Neo-New Deal crypto-Socialist economic policies, has enough God-given common sense to throw a middle class tax cut into porkulus just to soothe the savage Jarvis in us.

More here from the L.A. Times and the lone Republican Senator who holds the keys to this whole deal and his rather odd demands in exchange for his vote including the sacking of th GOP Senate leader for his complicity with the Governor in this travesty... in the story, not one of his demands.

H/T: Special thanks to Mongo who turned us on to Voice of San Diego, (story link at top of page) which at first read would seem to be a very nice alternative to the San Diego Union-Tribune and which appears to be committed to focusing on San Diego politics and finances. Oh, we've also rolled it on our "From the Source" section in the right hand margin.

We were cool with Keith Jackson and Bad Company

Thank goodness we’re not the only ones that can’t stand the new “What’s G?” television ads which are fashioned to rebrand the Gatorade image into something younger, edgier and more urban. We imagine this is the sports drink equivalent of promoting a fried-chicken empire out of the ante-bellum South and into the 21st century. “What’s K?”

Hey, look it’s John Carlos and Tommie Smith… ‘cause nothing says counter-culture co-opting like reproducing your iconic image for a sports drink commercial. ("Pops" would be pleased to find out these two gentleman who chose to make a political statement on the world stage at the '68 Olympics have not only been fully mainstreamed but are celebrated as elder statesmen of American culture. We're not sure what got his goat more, that or Hank Iba's handling of the men's basketball team in the '72 Olympics. "Damn Russians shouldn't have even been that close")

And the slasher movie hip-hop dance troupe? Thanks, no.

We’re glad G has finally revealed itself, though, as we couldn’t understand why we could no longer find our favorite flavor, the bug-juice grape awesomeness of Gatorade Fierce… which is now Gatorade Bring It. Can ya feel it?

More here on the matter from

And a Gatorade commercial more our speed

That 100th Day can't come soon enough

What accounts for this debacle? You could start with a lack of presidential leadership. Who would have thought the missing player in the first month of the administration would be Barack Obama? He let his signature economic legislation, the stimulus, be shaped by congressional Democrats. He let internal disputes over the difficult question of how to save the banking system result in a disastrous non-announcement of a non-plan by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner last week. Before that, he let Geithner become Treasury secretary after cheating on his income taxes, and waived his own ethics rules to appoint a lobbyist as deputy secretary of defense--undercutting his promises to clean up Washington. He allowed Rahm Emanuel to politicize the Census Bureau, losing as a result his commerce secretary-designee, Judd Gregg, an ornament of his professed hope for bipartisanship.

The passage of the stimulus package, labeled as “Obama’s big victory” (like it wasn’t going to be passed?) has overshadowed a myriad of missteps that have been chronicled, in part, in these pages.

KT provides a nice wrap-up, here, about early Administration decisions sure to bite us in the ass down the road.

Dig the part about Chris “Onions” Dodd inserting language into porkulus which would restrict executive pay retroactively…. a feature not part of the advertised plan and which was done without White House knowledge.

Quote of the Day

“Why should a waitress in Indiana making $12/hour send her money to Washington to subsidize someone with a pay package equal to $75/hour?”

With the calm, cool and collected voices of their hosts, we’re thinking is like the NPR of conservo-libertarian economics. Golly, dontcha wish these folks got some more air time on the public air waves?

(If video embed is not working, please click on link above. Grazie.)

H/T: Carpe Diem

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Hey, do you know what would be better than one stimulus bill?

Aboard Air Force One en route here, presidential spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters the White House was open-minded about another similar effort. But he stressed that there are no plans currently in the works for one.

Then, why mention it?

The President signed into law the stimulus bill in Denver today returning to the location where he first made public mention of this monstrosity.

In his remarks, he makes note that the plan is without earmarks, as if that solves everything – as if that automatically grants merit to porkulus. But who needs earmarks or set-asides when everybody will be awash in federal taxpayer largesse because nothing says job creation and economic stimulus like $81 billion for “protecting the vulnerable”.

And now that the bill has actually been passed though the legislative sausage grinder and signed into law, consider yourself privileged enough to be able to read it here at

Commenter Picture Caption Contest

... courtesy Awful Announcing.

"I'll take "Things Joey Porter Wishes He Could Go Back in Time and Prevent" for $800, Alex."- BF

"No Tiki, even with dreds you're still a (dork)"- David

A preview of coming attractions?

Hey, remember us asking of the whereabouts of that $286 Billion highway bill that was signed into law just 3-1/2 years ago? Well, we think we found it or at least bits and pieces of it.

Design and engineering companies helping to build the nation's highways ran up millions of dollars in inappropriate charges at the expense of taxpayers, including bills for parties, luxury car leases and hefty paychecks for executives, according to auditors.

The bills were described by the firms as overhead costs but should not have been allowed, according to a Feb. 5 report by auditors in the Department of Transportation's inspector general's office.

The report serves as a cautionary tale as the federal government is preparing to quickly disburse billions in stimulus grants to states for highway projects.

And what we’re some these “unallowable expenses”?

$355,767 to pay personal income taxes of executives.
$301,667 to lease 45 automobiles, including Mercedes, BMW and other luxury cars.
$247,685 for dinners, tickets to sporting events and holiday parties.
$60,000 paid to a consultant with only a verbal agreement.
$35,352 charged by two firms for “image-enhancing items such as golf shirts.”

But we’re just getting caught up in red herrings and little porky amendments, here, aren’t we?

In other news last week…

Billions of dollars are headed to California from the federal stimulus bill, but state officials won't say how they plan to spend the money.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's office refused a request from The Associated Press under the California Public Records Act to list in detail the projects the administration says will benefit. Yesterday, the administration told some state agencies and departments to refuse to comment on where the money would go.

The stimulus bill is expected to shower California with $26 billion of federal funding and the state either does not have a clue where and how the money will be spent or is flat-out refusing to say where and how it will be spent or a combination of both.

Now,what could possibly go wrong in a scenario like this?

Standing on principle never used to be this difficult

Israel's leading female tennis player, Shahar Peer, was refused a visa for entry into the United Arab Emirates yesterday, as politics threatened the future of one of the world's richest tennis tournaments.

The UAE does not have diplomatic relations with Israel and tournament organisers believe the decision to refuse entry to Peer was a reaction to the recent conflict in Gaza.

So, what say ye, WTA?

Pending further deliberations, the tournament could yet be cancelled, or scrapped in future, as the WTA last night insisted that a prerequisite for tournaments played under its rules was that players had free and equal access to all events. The WTA chief executive, Larry Scott, said he was "deeply disappointed" by the UAE decision to deny Peer a visa.

Recall back in the 80s, former E Street Band-er, Steven Van Zandt, formed Artist United Against Apartheid to protest the racial segregation policies of the South African government and in the process recorded an album Sun City which was in reference to the high rollers resort located in a reservation-like bantustan within South Africa.

While 80s musicians wanted to convince everybody that they were truly digging deep by “not gonna play Sun City”, the sporting world and the UAE represents a bit thornier a challenge.

The UAE hosts and sponsors some of most lucrative events on tennis, golf and horse racing schedule so it remains to be seen if petrol-dollars will trump WTA bylaws…and principle.

And since you asked, here is the title-track of the aforementioned protest album. Ladies and gentlemen, Little Stevie, Bruce, Miles, Bono, Ringo, Pat Benatar, the other guy from Hall and Oates, Clarence Clemons, Grand Master Flash, Lou Reed, Run DMC, Motley Crue… Motley Crue? and a cast of thousands tying up traffic in L.A. and New York.

P.S. If memory serves correctly, Frank Sinatra received a ration of grief for not getting onboard with his younger counterparts as he continued to play Sun City. We believe his response was something along the lines of, “damn hippies”.

Monday, February 16, 2009

So, Africa.... what's up with that?

The editorial board at The Onion opines on just what needs to be done about Africa.

Headline of the Day

Obama opts to go without a 'car czar'
Task force will oversee auto recovery

The Obama administration has dropped the idea of appointing a “car czar” to oversee the revamping of General Motors and Chrysler and will instead put the task in the hands of a presidential panel, a senior administration official said last night.

Because completely decimating an entire industry is far too important a job to be left to just one person.

Bill Press might want to talk to this guy (UPDATED)

For all the talk about how the Fairness Doctrine won’t be re-indoctrinated, there sure are a lot of people talking about how nice the Fairness Doctrine would be.

Talk show host Bill Press thinks the abundance of right-wing talk shows across the dial is because of some grand conspiracy.

Why? Station owners complain they can't get good ratings or make any money with progressive talk, but that's nonsense. In Minnesota, independent owner Janet Robert has operated KTNF (950 AM) profitably for five years. In Madison, Wis., WXXM, 92.1 FM, just scored its highest ratings ever. And KPOJ in Portland, Ore., soared with progressive talk from No. 23 in market ratings to No. 1.


For years, the Fairness Doctrine prevented such abuse by requiring licensed stations to carry a mix of opinion. However, under pressure from conservatives, President Ronald Reagan's Federal Communications Commission canceled the Fairness Doctrine in 1987, insisting that in a free market, stations would automatically offer a balance in programming.
That experiment has failed. There is no free market in talk radio today, only an exclusive, tightly held, conservative media conspiracy. The few holders of broadcast licenses have made it clear they will not, on their own, serve the general public. Maybe it's time to bring back the Fairness Doctrine -- and bring competition back to talk radio in Washington and elsewhere.

Two things: A) Successful liberal talk radio in Madison and Portland? No way. B) One reason why conservative talk radio would appear to be far more popular than liberal talk radio is in the example provided by Press, himself. How is the radio-listening public to believe one has any credibility whatsoever when that person hosts a show on something called OBAMA 1260 AM in Washington D.C.? Well, they don’t. Hence, the shuttering the station’s liberal talk format mere weeks after getting started.

To date, this represents the first tanking of an Obama-branded product. It would indeed take a bunch of liberals to screw up something associated with the most recognizable and popular person on the planet, currently.

Even President Clinton chimes in:
"Well, you either ought to have the Fairness Doctrine or we ought to have more balance on the other side," Clinton said, "because essentially there's always been a lot of big money to support the right wing talk shows and let face it, you know, Rush Limbaugh is fairly entertaining even when he is saying things that I think are ridiculous...."

Mr. President, please define “big money”. Like George Soros “big” or just ad revenue “big”… derived from people who choose of their own free will to listen to Rush and Roger Hedgecock rather than Bill Press and Randi Rhodes.

(UPDATE #1): Well, well, well. Look who was on Fox News getting shredded by Megyn Kelly in a Fairness Doctrine discussion. Press’s argument revolves entirely around the concept of “public interest” as in, radio stations are not serving the public interest if they only broadcast from one side of the aisle, which of course means the conservative side in Press’s world-view. Kelly responds that the public is obviously not interested.
(Embed no worky. Please link here)

Also, the Obama administration is getting less and less definitive with respect to re-imposing the Doctrine after strongly worded campaign speech stating they had no interest in doing so. Link here to watch Presidential advisor, David Axelrod, defer a pretty simple question regarding the re-imposition of the Doctrine to the President and the FCC.

Finally, were curious if deep down inside the ratings-driven subconcious of some conservative talk show hosts, they are not secretly hoping for a reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine. Afterall, nothing makes for better radio than an aggrieved host.

Walk of Shame

We’re not picky as to where we park in a grocery store or strip mall parking lot. If we wind up with a spot out in the nether regions of the asphalt Serengeti because we refuse to stalk other patrons returning to their cars then that’s fine by us.

Imagine though our horror at having to haul this packaging all the way back to our hoopdie and suffering the sidelong glances and sneering of the townies along the way.

Alas, a happy ending....

Sunday, February 15, 2009

On stimulus, very large numbers and blatant double-standards.

PALO ALTO, CA - An international mathematics research team announced today that they had discovered a new integer that surpasses any previously known value "by a totally mindblowing shitload." Project director Yujin Xiao of Stanford University said the theoretical number, dubbed a "stimulus," could lead to breakthroughs in fields as diverse as astrophysics, quantum mechanics, and Chicago asphalt contracting.

More here from Iowahawk

How galling is it that Chuckie Rangel, pictured here with Nancy Pelosi and 3 other dudes we don’t recognize, who can’t see his way clear to paying his fair share of taxes is front and center at this stimuloid photo op? Apparently, not very. Say nice things about an old man on his birthday and you’re drummed-out of your Senate leadership post. Fail to pay taxes or accept sweet heart home loan deals and you suddenly attain some sort of absolute moral authority on Capitol Hill and bizarrely enough, aquire the role of “reformer” in attempts to legislate our way out of this mess.

And here’s Rahmbo on a tactical mistake in campaigning for the stimulus bill:

Mr. Emanuel owned up to one mistake: message. What he called the outside game slipped away from the White House last week, when the president and others stressed bipartisanship rather than job creation as they moved toward passing the measure. White House officials allowed an insatiable desire in Washington for bipartisanship to cloud the economic message a point coming clear in a study being conducted on what went wrong and what went right with the package, he said.

That’s what went wrong?

It was actually a shrewd move by the President, in our opinion. We don't think the passage of the bill was ever really in doubt so why not extend an olive branch, even if it was entirely symbolic and not backed by anything of substance, to smear the Republicans as "obstructionists" at a later date which is exactly what happened.

And given what all went down the past week or so, we wonder if this bill is the President’s or Pelosi’s?

Finally, B-Daddy is absolutely stoked about porkulus and shares his thoughts as to why, here.

Where have you gone, Terence Stansbury?

For those of you pursuing more amorous ends on Valentine’s Day evening, we present the NBA’s dunk competition from last night as a public service. It’s events like this that make one ever more appreciative of YouTube as the dunk contest, once fresh and innovative some 20 years ago, is best viewed as a 7-minute highlight clip and even that may be stretching it. Now, how’s that for a build-up?

And as a added bonus, here are the highlights from the ’88 competition when, with apologies to Dwight Howard, some of the game’s best players actually participated.

Yeah, 'Nique was robbed.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The sadly obligatory coaching makes coach feel good about himself post

As readers of this blog have recognized, this is not a personal blog. Its not personal because any paltry readership that is scared up would be bored to tears and wasted-away with any recounting or relating of my procrastinating nature, my fear of committment and destructive personal habits not to mention my constant brushes with the law, struggles with substance abuse, conquering of 2 or 3 life-threatening diseases and my time in the French Foreign Legion. From time to time, though, I will throw out a personal experience.

I coached 7/8th grade hoops up in North County this year. Technically, I assisted a former co-worker but often times I was the one with the whistle as the head coach would be on travel or at the games of his daughter’s soccer team of which he was also the coach.

Anyway, after getting our butts kicked by 15 points in the very first game of the season, we didn’t lose again as we played our best game of the season on Friday night in the championship game, winning by 22. That steady growth from seeing your guys run around without a clue in the beginning of the season to “seeing the light go on” by the end of the season to where they are running some semblance of the very offense you taught in practice ("hey, that looks strangely familiar – where have I seen that before?") and calling out and switching on picks on defense is one of the most gratifying things you can experience as a coach.

Well, almost the most gratifying.

Quick side note: About half the kids’ parents are first-generation immigrants of Asian descent and I was getting a kick out of being able to witness, first hand, their efforts to figure out just how it is you “thank” the coach at the end of the season. I’ve been showered with gift cards to Starbuck’s and Chili’s in the past but one of the parents, “Richard”, decided to solicit cash from the parents on a team schedule email thread and I was thinking that this would be converted into some form of gift card, as well.

After Friday’s game, Richard presented Coach “Jay” and I with an envelope and inside was a card which contained…. straight cash, homie! Sweet. I felt like a kid again getting hooked up with some green backs from my grandmother for my birthday.

Anyway, each of the kids or the kids’ parents wrote a quick little “thanks, coach” blurb on the card. One of the little thank yous caught me completely off guard because of the source. “Eric” was definetely on the bottom half of our roster when it came to talent and I think I heard him say a grand total of 5 words the entire season. Though not the most physically gifted player on the team, no one listened and executed better in practices and games what was being taught in those practices. Eric made gradual improvement through the season to where, though quite honestly he was still a bit of a liability on offense, he was playing very good on-ball and team defense (and that’s all Coach Dean really cares about).

Eric’s parents wrote the following: “Dear Coach, Thank you so much for a great season! You really brought out Eric’s love for basketball!”

Two things: A) You never know. You have absolutely no idea what sort of impact either for better or worse you have on those around you particularly in that sort of dynamic. And B) If I could bottle the feeling I had after reading that and which I had for the rest of the evening, I’d be a very rich man. Basketball is quite simply the greatest game ever invented. There is not even an argument to be made for any other sport, so to think I played some part in stoking a kid's fire for the game was humbling, indeed.

The season ended too soon. We were playing well but there is always improvements to be made. We still never really ran the against-a-zone offense all that well. I wonder if the kids would want to get together to work on it… you know, have practices? Gosh, so much to learn – so much to work on. Yeah, I’ll start making some phone calls and…..

We now return you to your regularly collegial and fraternal 2nd person-plural programming.

P.S. A secret weapon? I will never know for sure but I have to think that having as all our team’s primary ball-handlers, left-handers, had to give our opposition fits. Even as a lefty myself, I always hated guarding other lefties.

These two gentlemen would totally approve

If they ever did a Up in Smoke remake or sequel, we have a scene suggestion:

Police at a Mexican seaport say they have found a pickup truck with body panels and a bumper made from fiberglass — and cocaine.

Officials in the port of Manzanillo dismantled parts of a 1990 pickup truck inside the container and found that its rear bumper and some of its body panels appeared to be made from pressed cocaine base coated in fiberglass.

For Guidance Purposes Only

As president, Barack Obama will restore the American people's trust in their government by making government more open and transparent. Obama will work to reform congressional rules to require all legislative sessions, including committee mark-ups and conference committees, to be conducted in public. By making these practices public, the American people will be able to hold their leaders accountable for wasteful spending and lawmakers won't be able to slip favors for lobbyists into bills at the last minute.

In the glorious tradition of ex-XFLer, Rod Smart, we're wondering if an Administration name-change to, "We Won", is in order?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Wham-bam, no thank you, ma’am! (UPDATED)

Rep. John Culberson, TX claims the "stimulus" bill must be urgently voted on today -- because Speaker Nancy Pelosi is leaving at 6:00 PM for an 8 day trip to Europe!

It's nice to see we've got our priorites straight on this one.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) predicted on Thursday that none of his Senate colleagues would "have the chance" to read the entire final version of the $790-billion stimulus bill before the bill comes up for a final vote in Congress.

In actuality, we know enough about this bill already. Its doubtful we're going to find a baby in this porkulus king cake to make us change our mind, however, it's all about keeping an open mind so we'd like some more time to review the final product in full, Madam Speaker.

The bill now clocks in at 999 pages and was just made fully available late last night.

(UPDATE #1):
Handing the new administration a big win, House Democrats passed President Barack Obama's $787 billion plan to resuscitate the economy on Friday despite a wall of Republican opposition. The bill was approved 246-183 and sent to the Senate, where a vote was scheduled late Friday afternoon.

Yes, it’s all about the scoreboard but when 7 members of your own party cross over to vote against it and you were unable to peel off one Republican, the descriptive “enjoyed broad bi-partisan support” will have to take a powder.

And here’s House Minority Leader John Boehner explaining to America just how it is most legislation in this country gets passed.

We’re with ya Mr. Boehner but we’re wondering where this sort of indignation over spending was some 3,4, 5 years ago when, you know, “conservatives” controlled both the House, Senate and the White House? The Republicans had their chance and they blew it and now we are all going to pay the price for the fiscal restraint non-compliance of the Bush years..

Programming Alert

We’re back from a highly successful sea trial aboard the USNS CARL BRASHEAR and are attempting to regroup and get caught up with everything and everybody. We hope to have some more posts up later today so please be patient while we get our land legs back.

This little feller was a long way from home and not enjoying the ship’s demo of its counter measure wash-down system.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Here comes another load

A little while back we wrote about the irony of Hollywood rushing to make movies that chronicled the lives of people caught up in one form of totalitarianism but shying away from detailing the same regarding another form of totalitarianism. Well, we are here to confess that we were a tad off base.

While the theaters are seemingly awash in movies depicting the horrors of the Nazis and of the Holocaust, its seems our boy Che is also getting the star treatment.
Just a few years after “The Motorcycle Diaries” young Che’s coming-of-age buddy flick, we get into the meat of Che’s political career in “Che” starring Benecio del Toro… except we really don’t because, dammit, nearly 4-1/2 hours isn’t enough time to get into everything.

The actor who portrayed Che in the movie, Benecio del Toro proves himself to be yet another useful idiot when he grew agitated and walked out on an interview when asked to address some of the inconvenient truths regarding Che, huffing:
"We can't cover it all," Mr. del Toro said. "You can make your own movie. You know? You can make your own movie. And let's see. Do the research."

The research has been done, Mr. del Toro. Among the many books that have been written about Cuba’s gulags is one the linked article mentions and is Against All Hope written by a man, Armando Valladares, who spent years in the Cuban prison system and which is also a book we happened to have read… well, almost. We only made it through about 2/3rds of the 400+ pages as we simply became numb to the repetive nature of Valladares’ imprisonments and the torture and abuse he experienced while in prison.

No Depression, our leftist Americana music monthly went under and to fulfill the terms of our subscription we’ve been getting this Spin magazine-like rag called Paste. Paste, also provides cover by copping the totally lame not-enough-time-in-the-day excuse. Here’s the opening paragraph from the magazine’s review of Che’:

It is simply audacious to make a four-hour plus film about the guerilla struggles of Argentine revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara without ever really speaking of Guevara’s life as a doctor, his eye-opening motorcycle trips across South America, his family, his relationship with Fidel Castro or his work in the Cuban government.

But you’re hip to the fact that “his work in the Cuban government” is just a nice and polite way of saying, “Castro’s strong man”, “architect of Cuba’s concentration camps” and of course, “murderer”.

We continue to marvel at the depths of foolishness and folly educated Westerners attain when observing and commenting on the most dangerous political ideology this planet has ever seen.

It’s like some sort of mental disorder.

On Fairness.

Our favorite pro-Western lesbian libertina weighs in on the Fairness Doctrine.

The best hosts combine a welcoming master of ceremonies manner with a vaudevillian brashness. Liberal imitators haven't made a dent on talk radio because they think it's all about politics, when it isn't. Top hosts are life questers and individualists who explore a wide range of thought and emotion and who skillfully work the mike like jazz vocalists. Talk radio is a major genre of popular culture that deserves the protection accorded to other branches of the performing and fine arts. Liberals, who go all hushed and pious at Hays Code censorship in classic Hollywood, should lay off the lynch-mob mentality. Keep the feds out of radio!

More from Camille Paglia, here.

A preview of coming attractions...?

Health-care resources are not unlimited in any country, even rich ones like Canada and the U.S., and must be rationed either by price or time. When individuals bear no direct responsibility for paying for their care, as in Canada, that care is rationed by waiting.

Canadians often wait months or even years for necessary care. For some, the status quo has become so dire that they have turned to the courts for recourse. Several cases currently before provincial courts provide studies in what Americans could expect from government-run health insurance.

In Ontario, Lindsay McCreith was suffering from headaches and seizures yet faced a four and a half month wait for an MRI scan in January of 2006. Deciding that the wait was untenable, Mr. McCreith did what a lot of Canadians do: He went south, and paid for an MRI scan across the border in Buffalo. The MRI revealed a malignant brain tumor.

More here from the WSJ.

H/T: Carpe Diem

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Ed Balls isn't messin' around

Peddling fear overseas.

Ed Balls, the Children's and Schools Secretary, said the downturn was likely to be the most serious for 100 years, and his comments appeared to raise the prospect of a return to the Far Right politics of the 1930s and the rise of Facism.

His warning, in a speech to activists at the weekend, came after a trade union baron warned that far right parties were trying to hijack the campaign for "British jobs for British workers".

We’ll grant Mr. Balls some latitude with respect to political definitions as “protectionism” has not been the exclusive domain of right-wing politics over here and certainly not that of the supply-siding of recent right-wing ilk but more importantly his statements are illustative of the political leverage that is/will be sought in this current recession.

Stay tuned.

Get to know some of your new ruling junta

Chuck Schumer on some of the finer points of the stimulus bill (don’t worry – clip is short):

Whether or not the American people care about tiny porky amendments in their $1 Trillion stimulus gumbo is somewhat of an unknown and is not germane to Chucky’s words as what struck us about that quote is that Chucky is projecting… he’s projecting himself onto the American electorate.

Simply substitute “I” for “The American people” to get the true flavor of what Chucky is inferring.

Chucky don’t care what you think and the nature of this bill and how it was hammered-out in closed door sessions by only a few select people to where even Blue Dog Democrats were howling, speaks volumes about it’s ultimate intent: political payoff and investment in future votes via radical expansion of the federal government.

Programming Alert

We will be out of pocket and out at sea for the next couple of days taking a test spin on one of the resources of O’s war machine.

So, from here on out, if the posts have a dated feel to them it’s because they are. And by dated, we also mean “repeat offenders”. We may recycle some posts we did over the Holidays as the down time people spent with friends and family did not bring the usual traffic to the site… at least that’s what we keep telling ourselves. So if the god-awfulness of a particular post seems reminiscent, be assured, said god-awfulness may not be all that original.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Wanted: warm, caring and nuturing environment in which to call home

Headline from yesterday's U-T: Judges seek major inmate reduction

A special panel of federal judges tentatively ruled yesterday that California will have to reduce its prison population by tens of thousands of inmates to relieve overcrowding over the next several years.

Now, what could possibly go wrong with that?

On the bright side, there will be some real estate freed-up down in Cuba, shortly, to help ease this umm.. manning crunch and just think of all the money that our cash-strapped state will be able to save by not having to feed, clothe and house tens of thousands of inmates.

The internet at 40

This Philco-Ford Corp. documentary made back in the late 60s/early 70s sees into the future…. and sees Wifey running up the credit card on a microfiche reader (kids, ask your parents) and work-a-Daddy wearily submitting to his existence as the household’s chief bill-payer.

Pretty high on the unintentional comedy scale.


Back to the Future

Last Friday, the President defended his stimulus package by saying that this country could not return to the same tired argument and worn ideas of the past 8 years.

Of course, that got us to thinking: To what, precisely, was President Obama referring:

Was it possibly the $400 Billion prescription drug plan of a few years ago? Was it, the $268 Billion Highway Bill that was to upgrade our transportation infrastructure and which was signed into law a mere 3-1/2 years ago? Or was it, maybe, the $300 Billion housing bailout bill that was passed just this past summer?

Maybe the President was talking about the $700 Billion TARP legislation half of which we’ve blown through already to little or no avail and the 2nd half of which we are entrusting to a two-time tax cheat to administer? (Confused? That would be Timothy Geithner, the Secretary of Treasury)

Or maybe it’s the fact that people like Chris Dodd and Charlie Rangel who have scant respect for ethics and respect for the law and who from their respective chairmanships will be the gloried “reformers” who will re-write the laws to save us from ourselves and which will prevent us from falling into this sort of mess ever again.

It is indeed time for some fresh thinking and innovative solutions as our collective way ahead. We stand ready to hear what the President has to offer.

Not in our job description but hey, what the heck.

We never thought we’d be in the anti-piracy business but now we are indirectly linked to the latest anti-piracy tactics undertaken by the U.S. Navy as the ships we are currently building have been called into this service.

The USNS LEWIS AND CLARK (T-AKE 1), ostensibly a general purpose and replenishment-at-sea cargo ship, is currently serving as a sea-going base of operations for the Navy’s anti-piracy efforts in the waters off of Somalia.

Once the pirates are located by the ship-based Navy helo crews, they will be detained aboard the ship in a make-shift brig down in one of the cargo holds until which time they can be turned over to Kenya for prosecution.

Video below from NBC has the story.

Any of those pirates start acting up, we're sure the Cargo Mate will not have a problem accommodating them in the Freeze/Chill hold.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Just not the TiVo types

We will be out of pocket because we will be out at sea on Trials so we will miss Wednesday evening’s game of #3 North Carolina vs. #6 Duke. Shame. This rivalry, the best in college basketball, has some juice again as both teams are simultaneously back on their game.

So in lieu of seeing the game, we will take some solace in this video of UNC’s Danny Green getting ummm… acquainted with Duke point guard, Greg Paulus who has appeared to make this “posterizing” thing an unsavory habit as detailed here by Awful Announcing.

Exit question: For you Duke haters out there of whom we count ourselves among, does Duke get some slack because their coach, Mike Krzyzewski, brought home the gold as the head coach of the U.S. men’s basketball team in the Olympics? We think it does.

Paraphrase of the Day

… that we hope was taken completely out of context.

Panetta said, however, he believes the greatest weapon the United States has against terrorists is its moral authority and commitment to the rule of law.

Outstanding. Finally, someone who truly understands the value system of a terrorist. Thank goodness for a man like Panetta who has been able to worm into the mind of the bad guy to see what makes him tick.

The terrorists will most certainly stand down once our blazing moral authority that sits like a beacon on a hill casts its rays of awesomeness across the globe.

But to Panetta’s and the Obama administration’s credit, they will not prosecute CIA officers who participated in harsh interrogations that critics say crossed the line into torture.

Additionally, and what will surely be another blow to the nutroots crowd, the Obama administration will continue to hand foreign detainees over to their country of origin for questioning on the condition they not be tortured. This has long been U.S. policy but some former prisoners subjected to this process known as “extraordinary rendition” during the Bush administration claim they were tortured just the same.

We’ve no doubt the Obama administration will be able to extract the same iron-clad guarantees from these countries-of-origin that did the Bush administration and we look forward to another Hollywood movie chronicling the same.

While the nutroots will be disappointed with these decisions, in the case of renditions, Obama painted himself into a corner with his decision to close Gitmo. The detainees will have to go somewhere…. transferring the detainees here stateside is highly unpopular and putting a bullet in their respective heads would be seen as somewhat un-American so… what options are left?

We do take a small amount of encouragement from seeing that moving from the campaign trail to the actuality of the Oval Office has seemed to lend some clarity to the task at hand when it comes to this nation’s security.