Thursday, March 31, 2011

You are now entering the Republic of Utah



Check out the matter-of-fact opening paragraph of this LA Times Op-ed piece on illegal immigration reform and how business concerns can shape it:

Conservative Utah has bucked the national GOP trend of embracing hard-line — and arguably inhumane — laws meant to make states inhospitable to illegal immigrants. Two weeks ago, Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert signed into law a bill that will grant work permits, and a path to legal residence, to undocumented immigrants and their immediate families.

If that sounds suspiciously like a state making its own immigration laws, a responsibility heretofore reserved exclusively for the federal government, you would be correct.

One of the bills signed into law grants two-year work permits to illegal immigrants who reside in Utah provided they do not have a criminal record.

A second piece of legislation establishes an adopt-an-illegal program whereby a person can sponsor up to two people or an entire family.

So what is the response of the Justice Department and that miserable hack that runs it to this blatant usurping of the federal government's authority? They have issued a vague statement saying they are "monitoring" the situation.

Now, if you are keeping score at home, we have Arizona which enacts a law enforcing federal immigration laws. The result: They are immediately sued by the Justice Department. And in Utah, they start establishing their own legal residency and immigration requirements over and above federal law. The result: "monitoring".




For years now, we've been saying that it was not possible to negotiate in good faith towards any sort of illegal immigration reform because the other side was not serious about enforcing the border. With a state deciding to make up immigration laws on their own and, so far, getting away with it, the other side isn't even serious about enforcing federal law let alone the border. Add yet another example that only further cements our conviction.

The George W. Bush Middle East interventionist open thread




Just consider this a public service to our friends on the liberal-Left to provide a forum for which to anonymously vent.

Headline of the day

Courtesy Jim Treacher at the Daily Caller:

The schism in the Coffee Party is so bad, they split up into two different booths at Denny’s


Our previous thoughts on this curious faux-roots political organization, here.

When it formed about this time last year, the Democrats had control of the Oval Office and both the Senate and the House and with the resulting progressive agenda being advanced through the corridors of power, we just could never figure out what this crew was supposed to be all about.

Oh, that's right... civility. They were going to bring civil discourse to the public arena.



We are writing to you because it is our belief that much can be learned from the experience of the Interim Board, and the dynamics on the Board which we believe seriously impeded our process. We would like to identify some issues which, from our point of view, have become problems within the Coffee Party, and which, if not corrected, will hinder its success,” wrote ousted board members Bahiya Cabral-Johnson, Teri Torres-Hart and Sabina Virgo in an open letter.

Painting a general picture of organizational chaos, they pointed to a lack of civility in the organization, a lack of democracy and a lack of consultation
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Bummer, dudes.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

MAXED OUT: BEERPLOSION!!!!



Got those mid-week blues? Not to worry - Max is here to get you out of that funk and looking forward to the weekend.




Hello, hello again my beer buds and babes, let’s talk shop shall we? If I were to ask you what the two fastest growing and most profitable industries in the United States are would you ever guess craft beer was one of them? Of course you would, you’re so smart! That’s right, its craft beer and electronics (smart phones, TVs, IPads, etc. etc.) and as far as I’m concerned beer is quickly becoming the new wine, and I looooooove it… kinda. More like a love-hate relationship.

So I’m sitting at Toronado San Diego, drinking a Stone Double Dry-Hopped IPA at 2 o’clock on a Tuesday and this place is pretty freakin’ busy. It got me thinkin’ about the new Beer-Explosion or BEERPLOSION that I’ve noticed throughout San Diego and certain cities throughout the good ole U.S. of A. I know it didn’t happen overnight but it sure seems like it happened pretty damn quickly, doesn’t it? I mean, 10 years ago there were maybe 3 or 4 “beer bars” in San Diego; now there are dozens, as well as a new brewery popping up like zits on a 13 year old boy. Am I wrong?

Here’s why I love it: More great beers are available than ever before. With the influx of breweries brings with it several new beers to try seemingly every other day! Iron Fist out of Vista, CA is a brand new brewery with SEVERAL great beers to check out, like their Imperial Oatmeal Stout the Velvet Glove, or their Gauntlet Triple Dry-Hopped Imperial IPA Gauntlet. Oh, and their head brewer just happens to be 21! Unreal!

It also means that pretty much anywhere you go around the city you’re bound to find a good beer bar. Even if you are at some random seedy dive-bar you’re bound to have at least a Stone IPA or Racer 5 available on draft. I’ve been talking with one of the Stone reps in San Diego who tells me that every day he has at least a few new bars calling him for one of his beers, more so than ever before which means great things for the craft beer industry.

Here’s why I hate it: Everybody knows everything about beer! Or at least they think they do. In case you’ve forgotten I’m a bartender at a pretty cool little beer bar called Hoffer’s. At least once a week I have some snot-nosed 21 year old kid that sits at my bar and refutes just about everything that I tell a customer about a beer.

Me to a customer: “Yeah with the Speedway Stout you’re gonna get a strong chocolate/coffee flavor with a nice toasted malt note.”

Zit-face: “Actually they use ______ malts, so you should be getting a more vanilla undertone than chocolate.”

Me to Zit face: “Oh really? That’s funny, I’ve been serving this beer for almost two years and that is what NO ONE has said about this beer. How old are you? How long have you been drinking craft beer?”

Zit face: “I’m 22 but I’ve been drinking craft beer since I was 20, and I’ve been home-brewing for over a year.”

Me: “*&*&*^#*@^*^*^#@*(#$&!!!!!!”
I really couldn’t be happier that the skinny-jeaners and the dock workers can finally agree on something and that thing happens to be one of my favorite things on this planet, but with that there is always bound to be those know-it-alls that think, just because they read it somewhere or heard it second-hand somewhere that what they say is gospel. Don’t be that guy, kids. Don’t be that guy that sits at the bar and tells people what beer they should have. I don’t even do that and I DO know it all.

I feel much better know. I needed to get that off of my chest, thanks guys. Seriously though, thanks as always for checkin’ out this week’s edition of MAXED OUT, and as always I really do appreciate any comments or suggestions at maxamilliondollars@gmail.com, on Facebook, or in the comment section below.

Oh, almost forgot...Last week Big Brother Brian asked my opinion of Stone’s collaboration with Green Flash and Pizza Port Carlsbad, Highway 78, a big boozy Scotch Ale. I think it’s one of the best collaborations that Stone has had in awhile. Big, boozy, sweet, but very well balanced and not too over the top… ok maybe a little over the top, but it is a Stone beer. Would you expect anything less? Please feel free to submit questions and if you have an idea for next week’s topic I’d love to hear them. So HIT ME UP, kids.

Until next time my beer loving brethren, have a beer for me.




(ed. note: We would like to add Spice of Life to the list of Iron Fist's beers. The first time we had it, we said to ourselves, "Doggone... wish we had some sushi to go along with this darn fine beer". Also, we can't emphasize enough the double-edged sword that Max touches on regarding San Diego as a major league beer town. We see the pretension and snobbery in some un-named quarters of the scene here in town. Let's not do that. Let's not go all Napa Valley and recognize that beer is the most egalitarian of beverages and should be enjoyed by everybody in the spirit of fellowship, friendship and brotherly love.)

Process matters




Congressman Justin Amash (R-MI) on Hope and Change:

“It is astonishing that the administration seems to think a U.N. resolution is required but a declaration from Congress is not required to initiate offensive military strikes. No U.N. resolution and no press release from the Arab League can replace Congress’s authorization,” said Amash. “Major players in the administration used to be forceful and articulate defenders of the Constitution’s constraints on executive war powers. Now that they’re pulling the trigger, they seem to have had a radical change of heart.”
(italics, ours)

Again, to be perfectly clear, we're not reflexively opposed to what we're doing over there it's just that we're not exactly sure what it is that we're doing over there. Lobbing cruise missiles and helping to enforce a no-fly zone seems to be a pretty no fuss-no muss way of doing things but we're not exactly sure that is going to be what it takes to dislodge a crazy-like-a-fox dictator like Gadaffi.

Also, with respect to what the congressman said, the whole process has been a display in double standards, hypocrisy and amateurism that, in reality, is entirely befitting a back-bencher with zero executive experience.

Where o where is the outrage all ye fair-minded libs?


As is stands, the chance for mission creep remains high, as if it is the world's and the U.N.'s opinion of us that we are governed by, it would be poor form to leave the Libyan rebels hanging given our current half-ass kinetic military action policy.

The Liberator Today has some thoughts on Libya, process and War Powers, here.

Panic on the streets of Delaware

For those of you who know us well, you know we love our hoops and the fact that we virtually grew up playing hoops in our driveway up at the family homestead up the road in Placentia, CA. Having said that, you would know then that this ordeal, if played out at our residence, would have a less-than-savory outcome and would make the couple in this video look like the very model of calmness and comportment.

On to over-active local governments and 60 year-old zoning laws.






When we think of what it takes here in San Diego to simply get graffiti removed from buildings and walls in our neighborhood, it makes this even more maddening.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mark Steyn and math



But first, a related slice-of-life in England article for context:

MIDDLESBROUGH, England — It is by far the largest employer in town, accounting for one out of every two jobs. Its workers are teachers, doctors, museum curators and social workers whose salaries range from £21,000 to £210,000 a year.

The employer is the government, and the responsibility of its 17,000 employees here has been to work the levers of Britain’s expansive welfare state. Now, for the first time in a generation, this public colossus is shrinking — threatened by rising levels of government debt and the political bent of the Conservative Party government — and many of the jobs are being cut.

Throughout Britain, austerity will result in many thousands of lost public jobs, compounding the blow from reduced entitlements. But the cuts will be most keenly felt across the iron and steel belt of this country’s depressed northeast, in places like Middlesbrough, which in many ways is a British version of Detroit.



And now, Mark Steyn trying to clue in a person to the obvious:

Still, on balance I prefer the class-war thugs trashing the joint, who at least have the courage of their convictions. The “nice” people bussed in from the shires struck me as some of the most stupid people I’ve ever met anywhere on the planet. One elderly lady from Yorkshire told me she was there because her grandson’s university fees were likely to go up. I was in a cranky mood because I hadn’t had my coffee. “You can protest all you like,” I said. “But this country’s broke, so all you’re doing is postponing its reacquaintanceship with reality, and ensuring that your grandson and his contemporaries are going to be stuck with the tab because you guys spent their future.” I pointed out that in her part of the world – northern England – as in Wales and Northern Ireland, the state accounts for three-quarters of the economy. And it’s still not enough for the likes of her and her pals.

All the rioting in the world is not going to make budget deficits and unsustainable entitlement obligations disappear. The math will prevail in the end.

Smack of the day

Pakistani actress, Veena Malik, appears on Pakistani TV and defends herself against a mullah who claims she brought dishonor upon herself, Pakistan and the Muslim religion by appearing on an Indian reality TV show.

Now, appearing on a reality show brings with it a certain dishonor of its own but you can imagine that is not the type of dishonor the mullah is talking about.

Things start smoothly enough but at 2:30 you can almost see whiffs of steam coming from Malik's ears as a result of this mullah's harangue and at 3:00 when she gets her chance to respond, you are treated to some epic smack. The mullah tries to walk it back a little but by this time, it's too late.

Enjoy...





H/T: National Review Online

National Interests here and abroad

How many of you caught the President's speech on our distraction du jour, Libya, last night? We didn't but we read the text of the speech which can be found here.

To be totally fair to the Commander-in-Chief, we aren't reflexively opposed to what we're doing there, it's just that we're not really quite sure what it is that we're doing there. And the mixed signals we have been getting from the White House, the Pentagon and the State Department, respectively, over the past week and a half has made it clear that our leadership does not really know why it is we're there.

Now, as for the justification laid out by the President last night, we are told that it is in out best "national interest" to aid the Libyan people so that they can overthrow Gadaffi. Whether or not overthrowing a brutal dictator is in our "national interest" is debateable but one thing we do know for sure is that the border we share with Mexico is definetely in our best national interest and recent developments there have caused this current rash of cynicism with our referencing the "distraction" of Libya.



Meanwhile, back at the ranch...




When they said the drug wars were going violent because of U.S.- purchased guns making their way into Mexico, they weren't kidding.



A couple weeks back, we reported out on a scheme carried out jointly by the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security to allow guns sold here in the States to cross the border into Mexico so that we could better identify what drug cartels they were going to. If you are asking yourself, "What could possibly go wrong?", you aren't alone.

It seems more border patrol agents are now speaking out:

South of El Paso, Texas, on Mexico's side of the border, lies Juarez - the most dangerous city in the world. CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reports ATF Special Agent Rene Jaquez has been stationed there for the past year, trying to keep U.S. guns from being trafficked into Mexico.

"That's what we do as an agency," Jaquez said. "ATF's primary mission is to make sure that we curtail gun trafficking."

That's why Jaquez tells CBS News he was so alarmed to hear his own agency may have done the opposite: encouraged U.S. gun dealers to sell to suspected traffickers for Mexico's drug cartels. Apparently, ATF hoped that letting weapons "walk" onto the street - to see where they'd end up - would help them take down a cartel.

Jaquez is so opposed to the strategy, he's speaking out. "You don't let guns walk. I've never let a gun walk."

Yet ATF agents told us they were ordered to let thousands of weapons walk. Two of them, assault rifles, were later found at the murder scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in Arizona last December. Another gunrunning suspect under ATF surveillance was linked to the shooting of Customs Agent Jaime Zapata. And sources say many more "walked" weapons turned up at Mexican crime scenes.

(quick note: we deservedly hammer the main stream press for bias and/or negligence in reporting but in this case, props must be given to CBS News and Sharyl Attkisson for breaking this and staying on top of it.)


No word if any of this has brought us closer to bringing down any Mexican drug cartels but we do have a couple of dead border agents to show for it.

At what point does one sense that the adults are not in charge? There is a level of unseriousness about this whole affair that is at once frightening and sickening. Not to worry - here is that miserable hack that runs the Justice Department:

Justice Department head Eric Holder said the inspector general is investigating. "The aim of the ATF is to try to stop the flow of guns. I think they do a good job in that regard. Questions have been raised by ATF agents about the way in which some of these operations have been conducted. I think those questions have to be taken seriously, and on that basis, I've asked the inspector general to look at it."

They're looking at it.


Thank god for a stagnant economy, natural disasters in the western Pacific and civil unrest in the Mideast because the U.S. government purposely supplying weapons to Mexican drug cartels, on a slow news day, just might make the front page.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sarah sez




One in a series that takes a look at some of the zany and madcap things said by Sarah Palin.

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As you probably figured out pretty quickly, that is not Sarah Palin but rather Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) addressing a Planned Parenthood rally last week.

Here's the transcript of what he said in the video:

… The Republicans in Congress claim they’re concerned about the budget balance, but it’s a disguise! It’s not true! It’s a lie! That’s not what they want. They want — they want other people not to be able to have their own opinions. They don’t deserve the freedoms that are in the Constitution! But we’ll give it to them anyway.

For those of you that have been paying attention to the vocabulary and M.O. of statist-authoritarians over the years, what Lautenberg said should really come as no surprise.

When you start fashioning "rights" like housing, jobs and health care out of thin air, you naturally will start conflating those "rights" with real rights like freedom of speech, assembly and religion. And in the bizarro world of the statist-authoritarian, those real rights as guaranteed by the Constitution, as with the made-up "rights", become only cheap political tools to be leveraged in favor of your friends and against your enemies.

In Lautenberg's world, the "right" to health care can be granted or waived just as easily as free speech depending upon his mood at the moment. Hence, his graciousness in "giving" us the rights already guaranteed by the Constitution.

As it is, then, it's not really about rights, Constitutionally-borne or otherwise and it sure as hell isn't about jobs or housing, rather it's all about political power, who wields it and who will benefit or suffer harm from it.

Our sincere thanks to this tool for shedding further light into the mind and philosophical under-pinnings of the statist-authoritarian.


H/T: Hot Air

Follower blog post of the day

Spreadin' the love...


The Liberator Today has updated its Freedom Coalition Agenda. There should be something there for everyone, agree or disagree.

Some free speech, perhaps?:

Champion Freedom of Speech. We oppose campaign finance reform that protects incumbents and vested interests. Ultimately, these laws abridge free speech. There are so many examples of small groups harassed by monied opponents when they seek to organize to protect their rights. In Colorado, some neighbors who didn't want to be annexed by another city held some bakes sales to raise money for signs and ended being fined thousands of dollars.

As we found ourselves stating to one of the idealistic young lads this past weekend who was railing against all the money that is spent in the political game, "You will never limit the amount of money in politics until you limit the amount of power politics wields by corresponding degrees."

Check out the rest, here.

Programming Alert

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OK. Our first live post since we returned from a long weekend get-away to Joshua Tree National Park with family and friends. Please allow us to get our sea legs back as the Tree is, thankfully, an information-age black hole and other than being able to dial in some of the NCAA tournament games on the radio (VCU?!) we have no idea what is going on in the world.

We'll be back later today with, hopefully, something pertinent and/or topical.







Some of the kinfolk screwing around at the Hall of Horrors at Joshua Tree.



* Not Joshua Tree, rather a water tank that once served a now-defunct set of Southern Pacific tracks in the Anza-Borrego Desert in a picture we took earlier this month. Those are the Laguna Mountains in the background.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

For your Sunday viewing pleasure

We may be dating ourselves a bit but though we've been informed that movies such as Anchorman and Hangover are the new comedy classics, we'll stick with Mel Brooks circa 1975 - 1983 and...



It's a Mad, Mad, Mad World






And The Great Race




Natalie Woods.... Yikes!

Do you wanna get away for a while?




The White House is offering an internship program at the OMB for a well qualified graduate. The role will be titled Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget. The administration has put forward a candidate for this position and you can see her testifying in front of congress here:

This.... this does not go well.


W.C. Varones has more, here.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Baddest dude on the planet?

Prove us wrong...

Now, I'm sure you're wondering what the f#@k is more intense than commandeering a wet suit, face-punching a tsunami and dragging your wife of two decades out of the flooded wreckage of your home, but, no s*&t, it gets even better. You see, Hideaki's mother also lived in Ishinomaki, and she was still unaccounted for. I think you all know where this is going.




Check out the rest of the story, here.

(Language warning)

Process vs. Results




Ross Douthat of the NY Times thinks he's got the neo-neo-con strategy figured out:

The ultimate hope of liberal warfare is to fight as virtuously as possible, and with the minimum of risk. But war and moralism are uneasy bedfellows, and “low risk” conflicts often turn out to be anything but. By committing America to the perils of yet another military intervention, Barack Obama has staked an awful lot on the hope that our Libyan adventure will prove an exception to this rule.

Just a reminder...

... everything the dude says comes with an expiration date.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Radio KBwD is on the air




Whenever we think of Joshua Tree, where we're at right now, we can't help but think of long-haired, hippie Country and Western music as the national park was a favorite of Gram Parsons and which this sentiment is heightened by the legend surrounding his remains and the Cap Rock formation out there.



Ladies and Gentelmen, from Los Angeles, California, it's the Beachwood Sparks performing, "Desert Skies".
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Some more of that "new civility" we've been hearing about

(Language warning)



Someone not a big fan of conservative guerilla activist James O'Keefe.





Also...


...you stay classy, Bill Maher...


Inside job?

So why don't state employee pensions and entitlements pose a problem to state budgets?

Let's just say that in many cases there might be conflicts of interest and where state employees responsible for cooking the books... crunching the numbers are assuming totally unrealistic rates of return as explained by Veronique De Rugy in the video below.






And a little bit closer to home here in California:

Actuaries got another rebuff this week when the labor-friendly CalPERS board voted to leave its earnings forecast unchanged, much like a CalSTRS board action in December that did not lower its forecast as far as actuaries recommended.

A lower earnings forecast raises pension costs for state and local governments struggling with budget cuts during a deep recession. But another rate increase also might fuel the drive for pension reforms that increase worker costs and cut their benefits.

"I was afraid we were going to throw gasoline on the fire in the public pension debate," Neal Johnson of the Service Employees International Union told a CalPERS committee after a key vote.

Whew. Dodged a bullet. Nothing like a dose of reality to harsh your mellow, eh, champ?

The fix is in but it doesn't matter because math is winning and this Johnson clown just doesn't want to admit it.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Here's some more of that leadership we've been hearing about




Via: Hot Air



Punt (v):
1. To execute a punt.
2. Informal: To cease doing something; give up.

Let's punt on this and try something else.



Of course, to cease doing something or to give up would suggest one actually attempted something in the first place.


The White House will not prominently inject itself into congressional negotiations on Social Security reform until after key legislators in both the House and Senate unveil their plans to reduce projected long-term deficits, according to administration officials.

That won't please Republican leaders on Capitol Hill, who have attacked Obama for remaining silent in this debate. And these 64 Senate Republicans and Democrats won't be too happy either. But it's part of a broader political and policy strategy the administration is employing to keep Obama's powder dry while Republicans struggle to reduce deficits without increasing revenues in any meaningful way.

The White House's reticence has been characterized by some as a symptom of a rift between Obama's economic and political advisers. Some, like Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, do in fact believe that a bipartisan deal on Social Security would result in real economic benefits, while others argue that Obama shouldn't embrace any plan that substantially cuts benefits at all.

And from later in the article, some cover:

"...In his book, The Pro-Growth Progressive, Gene Sperling, who recently replaced Larry Summers as chief economic policy adviser, wrote, "There is no historical precedent for addressing a major entitlement challenge -- whether to Social Security or Medicare -- well in advance of a crisis."


Allow us to retort (from August 2010):

Social Security's trustees this month finally released their long-delayed report on the system's finances. According to the trustees, who include President Barack Obama's secretaries of Labor and Treasury, Social Security is actually running a cash-flow deficit today, spending more money on benefits than it takes in through taxes. Most of that deficit has been caused by the recent economic downturn and, hopefully, will be only temporary.

But regardless of how the economy performs in the next few years, the trustees warn that by 2015, just five years from now, Social Security will again start to run deficits – and this time they will be permanent. That's a year sooner than predicted in last year's report.

The report goes on to say that the Social Security trust fund will be completely exhausted by 2037 and the amount the system has promised beyond what it can actually pay currently totals $18.7 trillion.

Nope. Doesn't sound much like we are approaching a crisis. Not at all.


But if you think we're being overly harsh or a bit too critical let's check in to hear what real leadership sounds like with respect to Social Security reform.
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Hedge, dodge and spin it is, then.

Unreal headline of the day

U.N. Human Rights Council Takes Aim at New Target: United States


Alternate headline: "When You Lose Russia, Cuba and Iran"


Fantasy: to be the UN ambassador for one day and for that day to be also blessed with super-human powers so that the UN building in lower Manhattan would be leveled by the sheer fury and rage of our overturning-the-money-changers'-tables-in-the-temple righteous indignation.

Programming alert

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We'll be out at Joshua Tree for the weekend for one of our nephew's 21st birthday which means no more black-clad federales swooping down upon our campsite to issue general house-keeping citations among other things.

As it is then, you can expect light and scattered blogging for the rest of the weekend.

Ciao.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

MAXED OUT: Sweet 16... errr, Elite 8!




(Maximus is definetely in the seasonal spirit of things for this Wednesday's installment. Remember, to catch up with previous installments, simply enter "MAXED OUT" in the word search box provided above left)



Alright my beer-o-philes, we’re down to the sweet sixteen in the NCAA basketball tourney and in honor of the Aztecs first two tournament wins in school history I’m here to give you a little history lesson of my own. So here goes a little 101 on my Elite 8 beer styles and the beers that make them what they are. Two notes: Yes I know the Aztecs are only in the Sweet 16, but I’m feeling cocky, and if my boy Dean-o forces us to a bar where they play “We Will Rock You” while there’s still 2 minutes left in double OT then I think I’m safe. And secondly, the beers that I am listing are not necessarily the BEST of these categories, but the best examples of the style in which they are categorized. And aaaaaaawaaaaaay we go.

Hefeweizen: Light, crisp, and refreshing, with notes of banana and coriander. Typically lower in ABV, somewhere around 4.5-5%, and low on the IBUs, typically hovering around 30. This is the only beer that I would recommend serving with fruit, especially if it is a true German style hefe, so squeeze a lemon in the beer but DO NOT put the lemon inside as the rind will add too much acid to the beer. Franziskaner Hefeweizen is a perfect example of a true German style hefe as it shines with bright banana flavors. I would recommend pairing a traditional hefe with some sort of poultry or white fish dish, perhaps sushi or a chicken caesar salad. And a side note: Hefe means with yeast! I know, wicked smart.

Tripel: A spicy, crisp, and delightful Belgian style ale that tends to stay between 7-9% ABV with still mild IBUs. A common misconception is that the difference between a Belgian “simple”, dubel, tripel, and quad is how many times the beer is fermented, the amount of hops, or something else super-crazy like the amount of monks that have to be involved in the brewing process. It is simply just the amount of malt that is in each beer. A tripel doesn’t necessarily have three times the malts as a simple, but usually somewhere in that neighborhood. Delirium Tremmens is a PERFECT representation of this style, with its beautiful golden color, and the nice sharp bite that the spices provide. I would recommend going with a nice pork dish with this style, maybe even a pork shoulder with a mild molĂ© sauce. Damn it, I should have eaten before I started writing this post!

Stout: The tall dark and handsome of the beer world is the concoction that is called a stout, I mean a porter, I mean a stout. Originally there was the stout, then the porter which was originally the lower ABV little brother to the tall dark and handsome. These days the lines are so blurred between the two that there is no real telling what is a stout and what is a porter. Speedway Stout is perhaps one of the best out there, and is a HUGE 12.6 percenter with strong notes of coffee and chocolate as you will find in many stouts and porters out there. These days they are aging stouts in bourbon barrels, mixing them with blueberries, chipotle peppers, espresso, or vanilla beans. So if you come across any of these crazy concoctions I implore you to give ‘em a try. Eat with BBQ…. Trust me. Or, drop a scoop of your favorite ice cream into the pint and make yourself a little beer float. Once again, trust me.

Lambic: There are three major categories of beers in this world…. Lager/Pilsner, Ales, and Wild beers. A lambic is in that third category, as they use spontaneous fermentation to produce them. Don’t worry, I’ll explain. So one of the most important things that you need to do when brewing is sanitize the HELL out of your equipment, but with wild ales you basically just give your tanks a little rinse and start another batch, thus allowing for bacteria to continue to grow which is why they are called wild beers! Confused? Ya, me too. Lambics tend to be a little fruity and/or a little sour. Framboise is probably the most popular type of lambic (it’s raspberry,) but there are many, many different types, fruits, and flavors. Drink with dessert, or in my case, for dessert!

California Common: Also known as Steam Beer, the California Common is an American original lager style beer. It typically has strong malt characteristics and has a stronger roasted flavor to it than your typical lagers. It is also more amber in color than a standard American lager. CCs are usually lower in the ABV category, hovering right around the 5% mark and the IBUs are often on the lower end as well. The easy choice for this category is Anchor Steam, the San Francisco original. And if I was you I’d go for a nice big rack of ribs, a mound of mashed potatoes, and some green beans to pair with this bad boy.

Saison: This style of beer is Belgian in origin and is one style of Farmhouse Ales, as they were brewed in small farming villages back in the day. They used to be brewed in the winter for consumption in the summer, so they are light both in color and in taste, with notes of coriander and banana, similar to a Hefe but you take out some of the banana and replace it with spice, thus adding alcohol…. Hooray Saison! Ommegang out of Cooperstown, NY makes a damn fine Saison called Hennepin, which is 7.7% and just a fantastic representation of what this style is. Pair this bad boy with some spicy chicken Pad-Thai and you’ll be in heaven.

Bock: One of the older styles of beer, the Bock beer goes back to medieval Germany which is no surprise if you’ve ever had one. Dark and brooding with toasted malts this Germanic delight is basically a stronger, more robust lager with a lingering finish, typically around 6-7% ABV. Doppelbocks or double-bocks are also fantastic beers and tend to have a raisiny, pruney flavor to them and are much higher in alcohol content. Shiner Bock is the standard American Bock beer, brewed in good ole’ Shiner, TX. These beers would partner well with a nice dark chocolate. Just sayin’.

Scotch Ale: This Scottish surprise also known as a “Wee Heavy” is the last on our list, and one of my favorites with its copper to medium brown color and its malty, boozy delicious aroma. They tend to be a little higher in alcohol content, coming in at around 7-9% ABV, sometimes even higher. They can be pretty bitter and are not usually for the faint hearted. Kilt Lifter is a fine example of a Scotch Style Ale from Moylans, one of my favorite breweries just outside of San Francisco and I would love nothing more than to be drinking one of those along-side breakfast for dinner, with eggs, toast, and BACON! Once again, why the heck didn’t I eat before writing this?



While these may not be my “Elite 8” styles of beer, I wanted to drop some knowledge on y’all and throw some bracket busters in there for your own personal gain. Hope you enjoyed this week’s edition of Maxed Out and as always feel free to hit me up on Facebook, at maxamilliondollars@gmail.com, or in the comment section below. Oh, and GO AZTECS!

Until next time my beer loving brethren, have a beer for me.




(ed. note: Just recently we had Firestone Walker's Parabola at an unveiling event which is one of those crazy stouts Max talks about in the stout section and which we were quiet taken with though it seemed most others thought otherwise. We mention this because, also as Max suggests, we could think of nothing else while drinking that beaut than dropping a couple of scoops of vanilla ice cream into our tulip glass.)

Fleabagger update

First, Wisconsin and now Indiana.

The Indiana Democrats say life on the lam hasn't been enjoyable. There is one washing machine at the hotel and there are lines to use it. It has rained for almost a month, keeping them indoors except for an occasional walk past strip malls and chain stores. Three have developed sinus infections. After an initial wave of support and visits across state lines from union members and supporters, they have been largely isolated. "We're busy but we're bored," said Democratic Rep. Linda Lawson.

Hmmm... kind of sounds like our senior year spring break in New Jersey.

But how exactly does this help the Democrats' branding image? A profile in courage it is not and besides, math wins, math always wins.

B-Daddy has more of the goods, here.

Joe Biden: American orator




...meanwhile, at a fundraiser in Philadelphia, Vice President Biden waxes analogous:

In setting up his comparison, the vice president explained to the audience that before the Violence Against Women Act that he championed was passed into law, “there was this attitude in our society of blaming the victim," according to a press pool account of the event.



“When a woman got raped, blame her because she was wearing a skirt too short, she looked the wrong way or she wasn't home in time to make the dinner,” Biden said.

“We've gotten by that,” he said. “But it's amazing how these Republicans, the right wing of this party – whose philosophy threw us into this God-awful hole we’re in, gave us the tremendous deficit we’ve inherited – that they’re now using, now attempting to use, the very economic condition they have created to blame the victim – whether it’s organized labor or ordinary middle-class working men and women. It's bizarre. It's bizarre.”

First, we love the title of the article from The Hill from which this came: "At campaign event Biden mentions rape in criticizing Republicans". It's just like mentioning steroids in criticizing Barry Bonds or mentioning Kenya when talking about President Obama. Ya know... just throwin' it out there. No harm, no foul, right?

Of course, we've come to expect this sort of foot-in-the-mouth idiocy from "Choo-choo" but what we would like to know is where is the outrage from women's groups for such a crass trivialization of such a horrible crime?

Further proof that the "feminist movement" has been politicized to the point that all gaffe-meisters are created equal and some just a little more equal than others.

Chip Franklin, just yesterday, reminded us to pray for the health of the President not just because it is the decent and honorable thing to do but because it comes with the added benefit of hopefully ensuring this buffoon will never get into the Oval Office.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

=


*



So, what's it going to be today?


The White House suggested Tuesday the mission in Libya is one of regime change, despite emphatic statements from President Obama and military brass that the goal is not to remove Moammar Gadhafi from power.

According to a White House readout of a Monday night call between Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the two leaders "underscored their shared commitment to the goal of helping provide the Libyan people an opportunity to transform their country, by installing a democratic system that respects the people’s will."

The term "installing" suggests the goal of regime change.

The White House was emphatic Tuesday in insisting there was no change to the U.S. military mission.



* We tried to do an image search for "President Obama" but the likeness of the previous President was all that kept popping up. True story.

Follower blog post of the day

Checkin' out what's going on with our followers around the interwebs.



Scott has a geo-political/foreign policy blog, Blue Contrarian, so with things really heating up over in Libya, can't wait to see what he has cookin'.

Or not...

So how to resolve it? Well, at a minimum, Pakistan will have to stop stoking separatist sentiment among India’s restive Muslim population. For its part, India must undertake to respect the integrity of the Pakistani state and end its policy of interference in the tribal areas. Beyond this, a mix of security guarantees, non-aggression pacts, and some resolution of Kashmir will obviously have to feature in any settlement, but ultimately, and quite apart from the development challenge, Pakistan must simply be persuaded to abandon its futile attempt to gain strategic parity with India and to accept its natural place in the emerging regional order. The challenge is as simple, and complicated, as that.


[Pakistan standing apart from forming a regional consensus]This has to end. Pakistan has indulged this fantasy for too long. Encouraged by both China and the West during the Cold War to aim for strategic balance with India, primed by deadly infusions of military aid, Pakistan has striven for a relationship with India that is, in reality, beyond it. And it is time it was bought to this realisation by its patrons in Washington and Beijing. Islamabad prides itself on its ability to sustain the conflict, fancying itself as something of a practitioner of the art of realpolitik. It needs to understand that aiming for strategic parity with India is not realpolitik, it is fantasy politics and the only antidote to it is a heavy dose of realism. Without it, without some semblance of a comprehensive regional strategy, without mechanisms to moderate the security competition between India and Pakistan, without a resolution of Kashmir, at most we are busy constructing a temporary peace in Afghanistan.

Read more on Scott's thoughts on the matter of peace in the Af-Pak theater and India, here.

Casey speaks

For background on the video below, please go here.




"Look for the good days, keep your chin up and school ain't gonna last forever."


Thank goodness for that.

H/T: Hot Air

Monday, March 21, 2011

More on Libya and fun with pre-Presidential quotes (UPDATED)

(please scroll down for update)


What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Rove to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income — to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone through the worst month since the Great Depression.

That’s what I’m opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics.
- Barack Obama, 2002
(italics, ours)

And speaking of distractions, it would appear that the effort to insure the uninsured that have pre-existing conditions, which was one of the main selling points of ObamaCare is failing in spectacular fashion. More on this later, perhaps.

We'll get it out of our system soon enough as we're all for growing in office and as well as for our military succeeding in spectacular fashion so consider these swipes more intended for his zombified supporters circa 2008 who bought into HopenChange hook, line and sinker and now a little after 2 weeks from Obama formally instituting indefinite detentions for our guests down at Club Gitmo, they get this little cherry on top.

With the bombing of Libya, HopenChange has made like Zed getting brutalized in that basement and morphing into something hideously resembling W 2.0. It's over - stick a fork in it.

Da horrah!







And remember these smug, glassy-eyed dolts?



Wonder if they still like apples?


UPDATE #1: See if you detect a running theme here.

From WaPo:

But administration officials and military leaders came under a barrage of questions — raised by members of Congress, outside experts and reporters — about the parameters of U.S. participation and the operation’s goals, especially if Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi does not capitulate.

“There have been lots of options which have been discussed, but I think it’s very uncertain how this ends,” Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, acknowledged on CBS’s “Face the Nation.’’

Mullen, who appeared on five television talk shows, was pressed repeatedly to define the mission and its objectives. “I think circumstances will drive where this goes in the future,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.’’

Could it end with Gaddafi remaining in power? “That’s certainly, potentially, one outcome,” Mullen said on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” using language he repeated in other interviews. “I wouldn’t go so far as to say we’re not going to have airplanes over Libya in three or four days.”
(italics, ours)

H/T: KT


And this from The Hill:

American and European forces expanded their assault in Libya on Sunday, with airstrikes damaging the compound of Col. Moammar Gadhafi, as questions mounted about the scope and duration of U.S. involvement there.

The assault on Gadhafi's headquarters raised more questions about the coalition’s mission in Libya and left the administration trying to strike a difficult balance: Officials insisted the goal of the military campaign, called Operation Odyssey Dawn, was not to remove Gadhafi, despite repeated demands by the U.S. and its allies for him to go.

U.S. Vice Adm. Bill Gortney, director of the military's Joint Staff, stressed Sunday that the coalition is acting only to enforce the no-fly zone, under a mandate of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, and that Gadhafi is “not on any targeting list.”

“We are not going after Gadhafi,” Gortney said.

And later in the same article:

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Sunday pressured President Obama to better explain the United States' objectives in Libya before proceeding with further military action.

He said the U.S. has a “moral obligation” to back those seeking “freedom from oppression and self-government for their people." And he called it "unacceptable and outrageous" for Gadhafi to use violence against his own people.

“The president is the commander in chief, but the administration has a responsibility to define for the American people, the Congress and our troops what the mission in Libya is, better explain what America's role is in achieving that mission, and make clear how it will be accomplished," Boehner said in a statement.

He's in Rio, dude.

So, as far as we can tell, the strategy here is to stand outside the 3-point arc and lob cruise missiles and hope good stuff happens on the ground inside of Libya.

Strictly on the basis of committing U.S. resources to this "adventure", we're not horribly opposed to this plan of action but it doesn't sound like there is any clear way ahead or clearly-defined objectives.

One almost gets the feeling of a hen-pecked Commander-in-Chief who will do the absolute minimum to get those two nags, Hillary Clinton and Samantha Power, off his back and to quit bitching at him to do something.

Not necessarily what we would call a recipe for success.

Sarah sez





One in a series that takes a look at some of the zany and madcap things said by Sarah Palin.



So, I'm in favour of "all-of-the-above" approach to energy security. But "all-of-the-above" means including "conventional" resources! That means, the kind we actually use to reliably fuel our economy. That means crude oil, for example. And our natural gas, our coal, nuclear power.

Unfortunately, some have stymied resource development - like responsible domestic oil drilling. As a result, hundreds of thousands of well-paying jobs won't be created in the U.S. until we change course; it means Americans get hit with huge gas prices at the pump unless we change course; it means we're continuing to transfer hundreds of billions of U.S. dollars to foreign regimes to purchase energy from them - regimes that don't have our best interests at heart.

And I'm not just talking about gasoline here. Remember that 'petroleum products' are all around you! Look at your everyday surroundings - the foodstuffs; the agriculture products grown with fertilizer; the plastics all around you; medical supplies; the transportation of all these products. It's not just gas that increases as the price of crude increases: Everything is affected. Basic commodities.

So as government locks up land & we lose good jobs in the 'Conventional Resource' arena, you may hear that "green jobs" will be the saviour! But look around the world & try telling that to the thousands of English & Scottish workers who've lost jobs as a result of government investments in "green energy" projects. A recent UK study shows that for every "green job" created, nearly four jobs were lost elsewhere in the economy due to lack of affordable energy! Same story in Spain - investment in "green jobs" brought massive debt, skyrocketing energy costs & 20% unemployment.

This push for 'green' at the expense of 'conventional, reliable' sources is not a credible energy policy or economic policy. It's "Social Engineering" by Central Government Planners. And it leads to nothing but more debt & more job loss. And taxpayers will be stuck subsidizing the failure and paying more for energy.


Usually, our Sarah sez segments are a goof as we feature quotes from true bona fide nitwits like Nancy Pelosi and Joey "Choo-choo" Biden but we're sure that you, dear readers, caught on pretty quickly that there was a coherency and sensibility to what was being said and therefore it could not have possibly been said by one of the usual suspects.

Alas, read more of Sarah Palin's speech in India over the weekend, here.

Warning: High irony content ahead

Commie, union and Truther (it is noted that the three are not mutually exclusive of one another) protesters in Portland on Saturday at an anti-war protest marking the 8th anniversary of the start of war with Iraq.



Major bummer it must've been when they found out the bombs started dropping later in the day over in Libya. Like, dude.

And if you're like us, you're probably amazed at the war-making power wielded by Sarah Palin. We never knew.

Video of the "militant" peace protest can be found over at Gateway Pundit.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Follower blog post of the day

Our opportunity to show some gratitude and show off the blog work of one of our followers.


Leslie at Temple of Mut has a few words on rising fuel prices (which have far-reaching effects on just about everything else we use/purchase in our daily lives), seemingly bogus poll results circulating around California showing that Californians are open to tax increases in order to shore up the state's budget deficit and the potentiality of bar keeps mixing iodide in their beer to get out ahead of Japan's radioactive cloud heading our way.

We asked Sarah, the beer director at The Neighborhood if there was indeed any naturally ocurring iodide in beer. She gave a skeptical look and informed us that it was highly doubtful. Perhaps, but who are we to take any chances?

The rest of Leslie's thoughts, here.

Radio KBwD is on the air: the Sunday edition




We're shamelessly swiping this from B-Daddy who posted it a week ago. It's an outstanding song and listening to it caused memories to come flooding back to us as we spent many a Sunday afternoon down in Tijuana soaking up that entire culture down there.

They razed the bull ring downtown where this video takes place about two years ago in order to make way for commercial interests as bullfighting's popularity continues to wane particularly in Tijuana.

They still hold corridas at the bull ring out at La Playa but the two-laned highway from the coast back into town is a death trap and overall, the logistics for whole afternoon have made going to anymore bullfights prohibitive.

We realize we probably have not made any friends with this admission (not something you ever want to bring up on a first date. Not a wild stretch, huh?) but it's all apparently a thing of the past.

Ladies and Gentlemen, from Los Angeles, California, it's Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass performing, "Lonely Bull".





From Wiki:

Alpert set up a small recording studio in his garage and had been overdubbing a tune called "Twinkle Star", written by Sol Lake, who would eventually write many of the Brass' original tunes. During a visit to Tijuana, Mexico, Alpert happened to hear a mariachi band while attending a bullfight. Following the experience, Alpert recalled that he was "inspired to find a way to musically express what [he] felt while watching the wild responses of the crowd, and hearing the brass musicians introducing each new event with rousing fanfare."[6] Alpert adapted the trumpet style to the tune, mixed in crowd cheers and other noises for ambiance, and renamed the song "The Lonely Bull".

Quote(s) of the day and Libya open thread

“The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”
— Sen. Barack Obama, Dec. 20, 2007


TRIPOLI, Libya — American and European forces began a broad campaign of strikes against the government of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi on Saturday, unleashing warplanes and missiles in a military intervention on a scale not seen in the Arab world since the Iraq war.

The mission to impose a United Nations-sanctioned no-fly zone and keep Colonel Qaddafi from using air power against beleaguered rebel forces was portrayed by Pentagon and NATO officials as under French and British leadership.

But the Pentagon said that American forces were mounting an initial campaign to knock out Libya’s air defense systems, firing volley after volley of Tomahawk missiles from nearby ships against missile, radar and communications centers around Tripoli, the capital, and the western cities of Misurata and Surt.



Andrew Sullivan laments:

It's just brutal to have supported Obama's foreign policy for so long, only to see it morph into a multilateral version of McCain's so swiftly. The whiplash is jarring.
(italics, ours)

Except that what Sullivan really meant was... a continuation of Bush's
... but there was no way in hell Sullivan was going to commit that to print.



And for those of you scoring at home, it is precisely 8 years ago to the day that Bush "declared war" on Iraq and we began our bombing campaign of the same country.


From Don Surber:

I have all along wished for Barack Obama’s success because I knew the only way for him to be a successful president would be to adopt the policies of President Bush.

So this silliness about civilian trials for combatants and for closing Gitmo or pulling out of Iraq — all this manure that lefties wallow in — has been cast aside.

Of course.

Obama wants a second term.

We will not re-elect a pussyfooter.

So we have the president joining the allies in Libyan adventure. He did not find the time to break from his Spring Break in Rio to come home and explain to the American people why he is putting our soldiers in harm’s way.

He mimics only Bush’s policies — and not Bush’s class, honor or humility.


O.K., that's all the piling on for now as we have no doubt that our military, the finest on the planet, will carry forth and successfully fulfill their objectives (whatever those are) with a minimum of losses and a minimum of collateral damage to the Libyan populace.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Video clip of the day

Punt (n): 1. To execute a punt.
2. Informal To cease doing something; give up:

Let's punt on this and try something else.






Harry Reid: not into math.

Quote of the day




For as much bitching and complaining we do around here from time to time, it's important to remember...

“Whatever else has happened to you, wake up happy every morning that you are in the United States of America,” said Stein, an actor, lawyer and celebrity commentator on political and economic issues.

“We are still the light of the world,” he said. “We are an amazing magnet for hardworking, energetic people. You don’t see too many people leaving Encinitas to drive taxis in Cairo or Bangladesh.”

Priorities

Priorities...

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal and U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney today called on the presidents of the NCAA and CBS to televise Thursday’s University of Connecticut men’s basketball game on CBS rather than on cable network TNT, as currently planned.

The NCAA tournament game between the Huskies and Bucknell University is set to start at 7:20 p.m. TNT is available to cable and satellite subscribers. Broadcasting the game on TNT would mean that at least 150,000 households in Connecticut would not be able to see the game, Courtney said.

In the letter to NCAA President Mark Emmert and CBS President and CEO Les Moonves, Blumenthal, D-Conn., said, “I believe the public interest would be better served by enabling fans in Connecticut to view Thursday night’s game, instead of limiting its accessibility to just those households that have cable or satellite service.


Priorities...
While the Department of Education continues its crackdown on mean-spirited taunting on Facebook, some members of Congress are joining the fight in Washington’s War on Bullying with a new bill aimed directly at kids who target students with disabilities.

Rep. Jackie Speier, California Democrat, will introduce a bill that would require schools to report incidents of bullying against children diagnosed with conditions like Down syndrome and Aspergers to the federal government. It would also mandate that any federal dollars that promote anti-bullying programs focus partially on that group.

“There is [currently] no requirement that as part of the anti-bullying curriculum, that there be made specific reference to children with special needs. That’s particularly dumb,” Speier said during a briefing on school bullying on Capitol Hill Wednesday. “What I want to do is create an environment where there is zero tolerance. I think that starts first with education and awareness. Then, when behavior is egregious, then people have to be called out on that.”

Speier’s initiative is part of a larger, national campaign to get the federal government, local officials and school districts to discourage incidents of name calling and taunting on school campuses and online.



Priorities...
The viral video sensation showing a bullying incident at an Australian school has brought the issue of bullying back into the spotlight. Here in the United States, the Obama administration has made school bullying a federal issue. Last week, President Barack Obama addressed an anti-bullying conference with First Lady Michelle Obama at his side. The administration's anti-bullying campaign has been ongoing since the beginning of Mr. Obama's term. The Department of Justice announced in December 2010 its intention to hold liable school districts that fail to protect students that are bullied.

DOJ’s website states:

The Civil Rights Division and the entire Justice Department are committed to ending bullying and harassment in schools, and the video highlights the Department’s authority to enforce federal laws that protect students from discrimination and harassment at school because of their race, national origin, disability, religion, and sex, including harassment based on nonconformity with gender stereotypes.



Priorities...

Now he's just showing off:




It's no secret that President Barack Obama is a big fan of Maya Moore, so it's no wonder that he's picked Connecticut to win the women's NCAA championship.

The president revealed another edition of "Barack-etology" at the White House, and for the second year in a row predicts UConn -- the defending national champion -- to win it all. From the Elite Eight on, Obama has UConn defeating Duke, rival Tennessee and Baylor for the title.



Though as one wag helpfully noted, perhaps we should feel fortunate that the sharpest minds in America as illustrated above are not devoting their apparent skillful acumen to what you think are the pressing issues of the day, because if you think it's bad now...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Radio KBwD is on the air




We can't believe we've never featured these guys before, because...

... who isn't a fan of American kitsch, slightly dirty martinis and Western-themed tone poems?

Ladies and Gentlemen, from Nashville, Tennessee, it's Los Straightjackets, performing, "Lonely Apache".
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Link-worthy item of the day


From yesterday's paper:

Not just one played the race card. Or, rather, the reverse race card.

In the attempt to give their Division I football program extra appeal to Fiaalii “Junior” Togiaso, a senior lineman at La Jolla Country Day School, recruiters looked at the obvious and began rattling off numbers. Specifically, they noted how many Samoans they already had on their college teams, including a plethora of Polynesians at the University of Utah.

“Coach,” Togiaso asked point-blank, “how many of them are civil engineering majors?”

Silence. Blank stare.


Read more of Junior's inspirational story here.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Winning

*



Alternate headline: "It's the math, stupid"




Much has been made of the situation in Wisconsin with respect to who was winning, who won, did Scott Walker win the battle but lose the war, etc., etc. It's all a moot point because do you know who, or more precisely, what is winning? Math. Math is winning.

Here's KT on the matter of math and unsustainable liabilities:

Assume for a second that Wisconsin Governor Walker is the worst politician in the history of Man. Assume that he's incapable of making his point with the voters. It doesn't matter. Eventually, he will be replaced by a competent politician and the math will still be there. The Democrats can at best only find a temporary escape from defeat because the force of the argument is numerical, not ideological.

And now, Peggy Noonan on math and unsustainable liabilities:

One estimate of New Jersey's bill for health and pension benefits for state workers over the next 30 years is an astounding $100 billion—money the state literally does not have and cannot get. The very force of the math has the heartening effect of squeezing ideology right out of the story. It doesn't matter if you're a liberal or a conservative, it's all about the numbers, and numbers are sobering things.


And check out this doo-doo that got dropped in California's increasingly cloudy punch bowl a couple of days ago:

California taxpayers just took a huge punch in the nose from the same actuaries who provided the cover for state politicians to spike public employee retirement benefits. The latest shocker comes from California State Controller John Chiang, who just unveiled a new actuarial report
that shows California faces another unfunded debt of $59.9 billion to pay for retiree health and dental benefits over the next 30 years.

Controller Chiang highlighted that the unfunded liability grew during the 2010 fiscal year by $8.1 billion; an amount equal to almost 25 percent of this year’s entire California kindergarten through high school education budget.

Actuaries have aided and abetted the explosion in under-funding of pension and healthcare liabilities for public employee pension plans over the last 10 years. With most public employee pension plans fully funded in 2000, a preposterous actuary study gave assurances that the technology stock market bubble of the 1990s would continue its high returns and never burst.


Unfortunately, both California and the nation have chief executives who don't do math or refuse to acknowledge math.

Back in November, California desired a state government dominated by Democrats. Fair enough. A Democrat (Jerry Brown) as governor and the assembly and state senate firmly in control of the Democrats. Too bad they seem completely unwilling to do some pretty basic math and thus lack the testicular fortitude to confront their cash cows in the public employee unions.

Our President has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to be the post-partisan president he campaigned on but has not come close to fulfilling by working with a Republican-controlled Congress on entitlement reform but he too doesn't want to do Math 101 and has instead cravenly abdicated any leadership role in the budget process.

Democrat, Republican, conservative, independant or liberal. It doesn't matter. At some point, someone has to do the math.

Smart, courageous leaders do math. All the others don't.




* Shameless yet somewhat relevant visual grab

Programming Alert




Pretty much the biggest day ever with respect to San Diego's college sports scene as San Diego St. seeks their first win in the NCAA basketball tournament ever against Northern Colorado this afternoon.

The photo image represents the working sheet of the bull/brain-storming session on determining where the crew was going to be taking in the game and, uh, defying the convention of the "wisdom of the crowd", it was determined that JT's would be the best place to watch the game.

And by the way... calling in sick on a day like this is for losers. Man up and tell the boss you're taking a vacation day.

We should be back later today.

Semantics?

We're not sure we have used the actual term "government take over of health care" here in these pages preferring the more loosy-goosy "government-managed healthcare" but we've been lectured never the less by ObamaCare supporter that ObamaCare represented nothing resembling a "government take over of health care."

Someone, then, forgot to get the memo to John Conyers (D-MI) who said that while we're not there yet and things could get a little bumpy along the way (like, you know, health insurance providers dumping specific coverage plans) we're on our way to a single-payer system with ObamaCare.





“Well it’s a platform. I don’t think they flow smoothly but without that, if we didn’t have this then health care, universal health care would be an even more difficult legislative objective,”

Listening to Conyers, one could not be blamed for thinking that as more and more insurers get out of the health care market rather than have to comply with Obamacare mandates, the eventuality of the public option becomes more of a reality and the perverse incentives built into ObamaCare are then not a bug but rather a feature.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

MAXED OUT: Beer and Ball




It's Wednesday so... buckle-up!



It’s my favorite time of the year, March Madness, and I wanted this week’s hop-topic to revolve around sports and beer. Some time ago my good friend Dean and I were talking about the difference between Baseball and Football; in particular the difference between their fans’ political predilections. It got me to thinking about this week’s topic in a different light. If I were a sport, what beer would I be and what should you be drinking at each of these events? So I’ve decided to combine my two favorite things, yes, sports and beer, into one conversation.

Criteria: The beer must represent the sport in flavor, popularity, and charisma. IBUs will stand as an (albeit, not precise) benchmark for the points a game tends toward. ABV (Alcohol by volume) will serve as a catalyst for said sport’s fan following. And to qualify, these are my thoughts on how AMERICANS view these sports, with worldwide consideration. Any questions? Good, then let’s get started.


NFL – STOUT/PORTER

A dark, brooding game, big and strong with a serious smack to the head much like a stout, in color and flavor. Guinness is one of the most/the most popular beers in the world (neck and neck with both Stella and Budweiser) and like the best team in football history, the Pittsburgh Steelers, is boring and over-consumed. The IBUs are typically in the 30s-50s which may be a little bit high for a football game but this isn’t an exact science here, people! And the ABV tends to be up there, with Guinness on the short end of the total, much like our friends Therapists (Steelers), and the higher end being somewhere around 12%, richer and more fulfilling, like (gulp) The Chargers.

What you SHOULD drink while watching these games: At home I’d say go for something like Green Flash’s 30th Street Pale Ale, nice and big in hops, lighter in the ABV (6%,), perfect for a BBQ or just drinking with some buddies. Maybe even a Racer 5 from Bear Republic (7%) if you want to kick it up a notch. At the game, screw it and just get a Bud Light or a Coors Light. Who cares, you’re at a freakin’ football game and half of your beer is going to spill out anyway. Might as well save a few pennies because chances are you’ve been tailgating for three hours prior to the game and are probably already hammered.


MLB – Belgian Tripel

Baseball is a game of numbers, stats, and is America’s past time. It’s bright and colorful, slow and skillful. While the IBUs tend to be a little higher in Tripels (somewhere typically in the 40s – 70s) and thus, once again, is not an exact science. The ABV tends to be slightly lower than the stouts, as is America’s overall interest in the game. Delerium Tremmens is a perfect example of baseball as it is the most niche of beer consumers that regard this beer as one of the best beers in the world year in and year out. While I don’t necessarily have a direct correlation for the Yankees to a Belgian Tripel, the San Francisco Giants are perfect in comparison to the Delerium; beautiful, refreshing, interesting, fun to watch (unless you’re a Giants fan because their games are always so close) and the best in the world. Come on, give me this one! I’ve never been able to say that before.

What you SHOULD drink at a game? At home, do it; just have a nice Belgian Tripel or Quad. There are 162 games in a season so nobody is throwing a BBQ for every game. Just hang out, kick off the shoes, throw the recliner back and enjoy the game with a tasty brew or two. Maybe even check out my first two in my top ten beers, either the Hitachino XH or the Oro de Calabaza. At the game you should go for whatever craft beer your city provides. If you’re in San Diego check out a Stone beverage, in San Francisco an Anchor Steam, Colorado perhaps a New Belgium or Great Divide if they have it and if you find yourself in Chicago go for a Bell’s. I’ve been to hundreds of baseball games and the only time I’ve ever spilt a drink was during a walk-off homerun and when Barry Bonds hit his 756th jack. Yes, I am rubbing it in, folks.


NBA – Double IPA

Flashy, showy, in your face, braggadocios… you get the idea. I thank God every day for giving us IIPA’s and every basketball player seems to thank Him every time he slam-dunks. For the first time the IBUs match with the score as IIPAs tend to be the hoppiest bastards on the market, much like the ridiculous scoring of the National Basketball Association. ABV doesn’t quite match up with the popularity of this sport as IIPAs tend to be higher than Belgian Tripels. Pliny the Elder = The Celtics and Bear Republic’s Apex = The Lake Show. Guess which team I’m a fan of.

What beer you SHOULD drink while watching…? Who cares? If you’re at home watching the game, unless it’s the playoffs, pour yourself a nice tequila and do some laundry. Come back and poor a Belgian Strong Ale or a Speedway Stout with five minutes on the game clock (20 minutes in real time) and see if something special happens. If it is the playoffs, WHAT ARE YOU DOING AT HOME?!?! Go to a bar and have some fun (a direct shot at a good friend of mine).


Soccer – Hefeweisen

Nice, smooth, easy drinking, not so in your face, yet oh so delicious on a nice summer day (or any day for that matter.) They tend to be tough to master but when you do it is so so nice. Check out Franziskaner or Paulaner for the best Germany has to offer, which just so happens to be the motherland of the Hef. Americans don’t appreciate soccer any more than craft brew geeks appreciate a good Hef. Loooooow on the IBUs, as soccer is low on the score board and low on the ABV like the American appreciation of a good ole’ fashioned match of the original game of football. While Hefeweisens' popularity in the U.S. may be very low, just like soccer, across the globe a good Hef is something to be cherished.

What you SHOULD drink? I typically watch soccer games at bars and usually enjoy a nice IPA. Gets ya where you’re going without being too overbearing. Ballast Points Sculpin IPA is my preference while watching an important match but if you’re watching with true soccer fans at an Irish/English pub, good luck getting anything other than Bud or Guinness. And I wish I could tell you what to drink at the game, but I’ve never been to a really good EPL (English Premier League) game. Sorry.


NHL – Seriously? You wanted me to do one for the NHL? Go drink a Molson and call it a day.

As always my friends and foes, any comments or suggestions for next week’s topic would be appreciated in the comment section below, on Facebook, or at maxamilliondollars@gmail.com.

Until next week, have a beer for me.



(ed. note: Re: Max spilling his beer when Bonds went yard for his 756th. There is no truth to the rumor that it was actually Bond's massive dome that bumped Max's beer cup in the stands while Bonds was rounding third.)