Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Admit it... you knew it was coming

It was almost like waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Recall last spring when General Motors CEO, Ed Whitacre, was on national television flat-out lying to the American public regarding paying off their TARP loan when in reality they were simply using another TARP line of credit to do so?

Now, if you were looking for a reason to not buy from Chrysler as well, you just may have found it.

American taxpayers have already spent more than $13 billion bailing out Chrysler. The Obama administration already forgave more than $4 billion of that debt when the company filed for bankruptcy in 2009. Taxpayers are never getting that money back. But how is Chrysler now paying off the rest of the $7.6 billion they owe the Treasury Department?

The Obama administration’s bailout agreement with Fiat gave the Italian car company a “Incremental Call Option” that allows it to buy up to 16% of Chrysler stock at a reduced price. But in order to exercise the option, Fiat had to first pay back at least $3.5 billion of its loan to the Treasury Department. But Fiat was having trouble getting private banks to lend it the money. Enter Obama Energy Secretary Steven Chu who has signaled that he will approve a fuel-efficient vehicle loan to Chrysler for … wait for it … $3.5 billion.

Technically speaking, the DOE loan program is for specific, qualifying re-tooling projects but when your re-election campaign efforts will rest, in large part, on the health of the two domestic auto-makers to which you are wed, why bog down that $3.5 billion in bureaucratic red tape.

So, to recap, the Obama Energy Department is loaning a foreign car company $3.5 billion so that it can pay the Treasury Department $7.6 billion even though American taxpayers spent $13 billion to save an American car company that is currently only worth $5 billion.

Kind of tough to cram onto a campaign button but you leave out enough of the details, it just might fit.

Lessons Learned?

The news from Sunday:

Face to face with the legions of homeless and the bereaved, President Barack Obama on Sunday toured the apocalyptic landscape left by Missouri's killer tornado, consoled the community and committed the government to helping rebuild shattered lives.

"We're not going to stop `til Joplin's back on its feet," Obama vowed. A memorial service where Obama spoke punctuated a day of remembrance one week after the disaster, as authorities pressed on with the task of identifying the victims and volunteers combed through wreckage of neighborhoods where nothing was left whole.

What is happening in Joplin, Missouri right now and indeed for many places in the Mississippi River Valley and the South reminded us of our own experiences in disaster relief and those of others close to us and how, hopefully, lessons learned from previous experiences may be applied to these current situations.

The following was pulled from a post of a couple of years back as it related to the Harris and Witch Creek wild fires that roared through the San Diego back country in the fall of 2007:

We liberated from the comments section of our post yesterday, these thoughts from the voice of reason in BwD Nation and a man who has extensive experience in community organizing and disaster relief (being a husband and father of five will do that). Pops wrote the following:

Our experience with the Red Cross bureaucracy would probably not be much different from dealing with the government bureaucracy. About ten years ago, our church wanted to offer our church gym as an emergency shelter location. The gym would have been perfect; the large gym floor for cots, adjacent rest rooms with showers and a large kitchen. We had a meeting with the Red Cross and got the official word on Separation of Church and State and other bureaucratic regs. Our thoughts were “We are a church and these people would be guests on our property. We don’t take the cross down.” Obviously, the gym did not become a shelter.

Our Katrina experience was no better. We have group called Friends Disaster Service. We have an equipment trailer and a crew of folks ready to go, many being experienced construction types. We tried to work with the Red Cross to no avail. The concept of working with a semi-independent organized unit was outside their bureaucratic thinking and something that they would not consider. We would have to volunteer as individuals assigned by them. If one of our group lived across the line in LA county, he would be assigned to an LA unit. Our own equipment trailer was also alien to their thinking. Several people from our church but not in the FDS group took the Red Cross training but were never called.

Our solution was to find a town that was hard hit but far enough from coast that heavy equipment was not needed. We contacted the pastor there and asked what was needed. He said to come with all the chain saws that we could find. The FDS group was there quickly and spent about 5 days clearing fallen trees. We made a least 6 more trips on subsequent aid projects and formed a strong bond with Wiggins MS with no bureaucratic assistance. When the tornado hit Greenberg KS, we didn’t bother connecting to the Red Cross or FEMA, we just went. Dad.
(Emphasis, ours)

The intent of this is not to slam the good intentions of the Red Cross or even any of the good work that they or any other large charity/relief organization does, governmental or otherwise.

It is to point out that sometimes (many times?), relief efforts are best stood up independently and organically outside the normally recognized boundaries of Big Relief.

Recall our friends, San Diego private citizens Angelo and Diane, waking up on a morning when the October ’07 San Diego wild fires were ablaze and deciding that they could make a difference. They drove to a Target shopping center near the fires and set up what is now the international symbol for domestic disaster relief coordination, the camping canopy, and began doing business.

That canopy became a node for the acceptance and dispersal of relief aid and, as importantly, a node for collection and dissemination of information… who needed what and where.

It was to the point that even the Red Cross, Salvation Army, KFC and Subway were dropping stuff off at Angelo and Diane’s canopy. And it seemed that the majority of the volunteers helping Angelo and Diane did not even know them before that day.

And I’ll defer to Mongo but we’ve noticed a drop in graffiti in our ‘hood once we decided the San Diego graffiti abatement hotline was neither and we just started cleaning-up the graffiti on our own as quickly as humanly possible once it showed up.

Small, independent, quick acting/reacting seems to be the way to go in our not-so-humble opinion.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people whose lives have been radically altered by the freakish weather that has hit the middle and south of our country this spring.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day 2011

Here's hoping that everyone has a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day with family and friends as this nation honors the men and women of our armed forces both past and present.

Sunday, May 29, 2011


A round-up of articles, news items, columns and blog posts that caught our eye this past week.

B-Daddy has some thoughts on a potential Palin presidential run in 2012.

I am always torn by her, she is so unapologetic for my so many of my core values that I can't help but smile when she zings the media, the left and Obama. But she doesn't inspire my confidence, in the same way that Obama didn't inspire confidence in the 2008 elections.

As much as our side disliked John McCain, I respected him for this, he could wade into a hostile town hall meeting, take tough questions, and provide answers without losing his cool. Neither Obama nor Palin seem able to do so. Obama still can't after two years on the job, and I frankly don't think he is very intelligent.

While we largely agree with this assessment, we're not looking forward to a Palin run for a very different reason: the level of savagery and unhinged hatred that would be unleashed upon her would be unprecendented and detract from real issues that need to be addressed by this country as we decide who the next President will be. We would worry for her safety and that of her family's.

Just this past week, on his radio show, MSNBC personality, Ed Schultz called Laura Ingraham a "slut", twice, in case anyone misunderstood him the first time around. Ingraham is a second-tier conservative radio host. Expect more of the same new civility we've all been told we need to be practicing to be directed at Palin but on an order of magnitude or two larger should she decide to run. The mere thought of what we will read and see over the next 18 months should this come to pass is already making us sick to our stomach.

And Leslie at Temple of Mut has some thoughts on Palin Derangement Syndrome in the media, here.

Michael Ramirez... best in the biz.

Honduras is back in the news a bit as legally-deposed former President Manuel Zelaya who had been in exile has been allowed to return to Honduras and thus will return Honduras to everyone's good graces. Left Coast Rebel has the goods, here.

Our previous rants on Honduras can be found here.

If it's a Sunday, must mean it's time for Shane Atwell's weekly regulation watch blog post.

The biggest news this week is that the TSA and Department of Justice managed the bully the Texas legislature into withdrawing its bill to make groping genitalia without probable cause illegal. In related news Rand Paul managed to single handedly delay the extension of the 'Patriot' Act and its surveillance without court orders to the last minute but not past expiration. Does this mean Rand Paul has bigger balls than the entire Texas legislature?

Note that there are dozens of stories of how Obama is going to reduce regulation and streamline agencies. Frankly I think its a big lie and I won't link to those stories here until something good actually comes of it. So far their main accomplishment seems to have been figuring out that spilled milk is not the same as an oil spill.
What a great resource. Thanks, Shane!

There he goes again...

Of all the prospective GOP candidates out there, we are inclined to make the most excuses for or rationalize the most for Mitt Romney. He exudes a CEO-like competence in spades over most of the field and.... that hair, man, that hair.

Anyway, here's Mitt on the subject of ethanol subsidies this past week in Des Moines, Iowa:
It was an odd setting for a policy pronouncement, but on the sidewalk outside the Historical Building here, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney embraced ethanol subsidies. It came just days after and blocks from where his rival for the Republican presidential nomination, Tim Pawlenty, said the subsidies should be phased out.

“I support the subsidy of ethanol,” he told an Iowa voter. “I believe ethanol is an important part of our energy solution for this country.” Iowa leads the nation in the production of corn, a main source of ethanol.

We already showered earlier this morning so we'll save some water by keeping our mouth shut and not even attempting to defend this stupiditiy.


The United States is running out of a rare gas that is crucial for detecting smuggled nuclear-weapons materials because one arm of the Energy Department was selling the gas six times as fast as another arm could accumulate it, and the two sides failed to communicate for years, according to a new congressional audit.

The gas, helium-3, is a byproduct of the nuclear-weapons program, but as the number of nuclear weapons has declined, so has the supply of the gas. Yet, as the supply was shrinking, the government was investing more than $200 million to develop detection technology that required helium-3.

As a result, government scientists and contractors are racing to find or develop a new detection technology.

And finally, more incoherency on illegal immigration. Here's DNC chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz not making a whole lot of sense:

I think the president was clearly articulating that his position — the Democrats position — is that we need comprehensive immigration reform. We have 12 million undocumented immigrants in this country that are part of the backbone of our economy. And that is not only a reality but a necessity. And that it would be harmful if — the Republican solution that I’ve seen in the last three years is that we should just pack them all up and ship them back to their own countries, and that in fact it should be a crime and we should arrest them all. I mean that was the legislation that Jim Sensenbrenner advanced a couple of years ago.

Never mind that the establishment wings of both parties are in bed with one another on this subject, it's telling the lack of any middle ground that can be negotiated over when the other side simply refuses to acknowledge the fact that illegal immigrants are breaking the law and indeed committing a crime.

That's all gang. We'll be back in tomorrow.

A mystery solved?

We may have finally figured out the answer to a question that has been vexing us for years now?: After being thoroughly disproven and discredited time after time and in case after case, what exactly has been the draw of statism/collectivism?

Alas, we think we may have found it?

Over in the UK this past week, we see how the President uses the zombifying powers of extolling the virtues of the nanny state to put some of his audience into a stupor as the gentleman on the left at :45 will attest.

So, is that it? Does droning on and on about how your fate and well-being is somehow not fully your responsibility a cause for a drool-inducing and passive obedience to the state? If so, beware then, citizens, of the language of collectivism even from the mouths of semi-skilled orators as we have seen demonstrated here.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

More whistling

Yesterday, we noted how ecstatic the liberal punditry was with the Democratic special election victory in NY-26 as they saw it as a rebuking of Paul Ryan's Medicare plan. Whistling past the graveyard as it were because these progressives, these alleged agents of change, are in reality, champions of the staus quo.

For a perfect illustration of this new do-nothingness check out this exchange between former Clinton adviser, Simon Rosenberg and radio host Ben Ferguson.

And that's a wrap...

Not only is no plan advanced by Rosenberg, there is simply no debate to be had either and Rosenberg is reduced to the petulant equivalent of taking his ball and going home. Another flee-bagger, if you will.

Memo to the political class: You don't like Ryan's plan? Fine. Put forth a plan of your own and quit demagoguing an issue that's well past high time in being addressed.

Photo images of the day

Link here to the Daily mail has more incredible images of the devastation wrought by the tornado that wripped through Joplin, MO, last week.


Apocalyptic fury...

On a more encouraging note:

Brian Wing was home in Houston on Monday morning, watching footage from this tornado-shredded town, when he saw something that shocked him — the reporter for the Weather Channel teared up.

"He sees this stuff a lot," Wing recalled reasoning, "and when he broke down, I knew it was a big deal."

The next day, Wing arrived in Joplin just ahead of a new storm system. He took refuge in the basement of a Red Cross shelter when tornado sirens sounded, and slept in his rental van, windows rolled down so any additional alerts would wake him. Then he rose at dawn and joined an army of volunteers who have made startling progress at getting this battered city back on its feet.

The L.A. Times has the details on the outpouring of support from people all over this country for the people of Joplin, here.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Radio KBwD is on the air

Happy Friday, everybody!

No back story or heavy intro, so let's get to it, shall we?

Just a prime cut off one of the greatest albums of all-time: the Beach Boys performing "Hang On To Your Ego" from Pet Sounds.

Local flavor: the Boys are at the San Diego Zoo for the album cover shot.

Bonus round option: Many people only know this song from the 1993 cover version done by Frank Black (formerly of The Pixies). If you click and listen, you'll understand why we didn't want to embarrass Frank with a covers edition competition.

Wait, what?

One in an series that takes a look at some rather incredulous and/or ridiculous goings-ons in our world of late.

We all understand that Greece is a bit of a hot mess right now as they are being crushed under the weight of the unfunded obligations of their statist utopia. Perhaps what might best illustrate how it is that they got there would be to be informed of some of the reforms that are being undertaken currently there in Greece.

The Finance Ministry has made public a list of 136 professions that will be liberalized from July 2 as part of the economic reforms Greece has been encouraged to make by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

The reform means that those seeking to enter these professions can do so freely, without restrictions on the number of people in the sector or limits on where they can set up their businesses.

The professions in the list published on Monday range from taxi drivers to beauticians but do not include some of the key so-called closed professions.
(italics, ours)

Wait, what?

You mean to tell us that someone, somewhere and somehow was telling Greek citizens that they couldn't enter the construction market, that they couldn't open a retail business or that they couldn't become an engineer?

Rioting in the streets, however, appears to be an open shop gig.

Well, this all would explain a few things about the Greek death spiral. KT has more on the subject, here.

Joe Klein: pretty damn stoked over indebting future generations

We freely admit that we didn't pay a whole lot of attention to the special election up in NY-26 where Democrat Kathy Hochul won in a solidly Republican district and which was alleged to be a referendum on Paul Ryan's Medicare reform plan. (For why that may not have been so, check out Left Coast Rebel's assessment, here)

With the apparent national implications of this race, of course, it has to be picked apart nine ways to Sunday by the punditry.

To wit, liberal pundit Joe Klein was yukkin' it up with that hack Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC a couple of nights ago and having a little fun with the never-to-be-mentioned-in-polite-company "S" word. Click here for the exchange.

"It was a victory for socialism," TIME's Joe Klein said of last night's election result in NY-26. A Democrat won a special election to fill a vacancy in the U.S. House from a very conservative district in New York.

"For the last two years, Republicans have been lambasting Barack Obama who is right in the middle of the political spectrum, a mild liberal, as being a wild-eyed socialist. Well, there ain't anything that he has proposed that is purely socialistic as our Medicare program; a single payer program run by the government. And the folks love it," Klein also said.
Yes, the folks love it and it's going broke, Joe.

Yeah, ol' Joe was being facetious perhaps but it's good to know that both he and O'Donnell were so tickled over a victory for the status quo, a victory for doing absolutely nothing about the state of our unsustainable obligations and entitlement programs be it Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid or state employee union pension and benefit programs. Klein and O'Donnell: definetely not math majors.

Both parties have been whistling past the graveyard for years now with respect to this looming and monumental problem and yet when someone like President Bush merely offers up privatizing a max of 10% of one's Social Security account, much of the public and the whole of the political class went absolutely bonkers - for purely political reasons, for the most part, but bonkers none the less which resulted in a silencing of any further debate on the matter.

Call it scare tactics, call it fringe politics that are exploiting people's fears... call it what you want but it's well past high time to start having these adult conversations about our entitlements while the establishment in both parties continue their whistling.

You know, it's funny: "reform" has such a positive political connotation on about everthing (immigration, Wall St., campaign finance, (re-)districting... you name it) except when it comes to "entitlement". That has to change - the math demands it.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

MAXED OUT: the End of the World brewery tour

Interested in how to run a brewery tour? Then avoid making the following mistakes. We kid, we kid! Remember: you were forewarned - Max dishes the gory details on last Saturday's brewery tour. Maximus..?

What’s the good word my fans of fermentation? Welcome back to the Max Show and thanks for joining. As many of you know, this past Saturday I put together a brewery tour and today I’m here to tell ya all about it. Imma just gonna jump right in. Boom!

I’m so glad we all survived Armageddon but I honestly wouldn’t have known if the Rapture had come as I was passed out cold at 6 o’clock this past Saturday evening. Sos, every three months I put together a brewery tour in which a large group of us jump on a stretch limo bus and explore the different San Diego Breweries and, of course, get completely obliterated. This was our third attempt and, if I do say so myself, our finest showing. We started at my humble little beer bar, Hoffer’s, at 10 o’clock in the A.M. (I know, completely ridiculous) with a pizza party, beers and forty friends and strangers alike. We then piled onto the largest limo bus that San Diego had to offer, complete with our own personal bano and two stripper poles. And of course everyone came bearing gifts in the form of BEER!

We left Hoffer’s around 11:15 and headed north to Port/Lost Abbey, about a 45 minute drive away in San Marcos, which was just enough time for everyone to crush a couple more beers before noon. Hey, it was 5 o’clock somewhere!
Lost Abbey is the sister company of Port Brewing and they have a beer called Judgment Day, which is a 10.5% ABV Belgian Quad and quite tasty. So in honor of the Rapture they threw a “Judgment Day Party” complete with beer specials, free shwag, raffles throughout the day and an Armageddon costume contest. The only problem was that we showed up as the doors opened, so the festivities hadn’t really started yet. Everyone was still enjoying themselves to the plethora of beers that were on tap, and in checking out the enormous brewery (my personal favorite in San Diego.) But as the fearless leader I decided to make a last minute change of plans and add another brewery stop to our list. Onward and upward to BALLAST POINT!

Maxed Out and Beers with Demo have a good friend that recently got a job as a beertendress at Ballast Point’s primary brewing facility up in Scripps Ranch and she had asked that we make a stop by the bar on our tour.
Being the obliging, upstanding gents we are, we threw them in the mix. This brewery is not the biggest or best brewery on the planet but I have it on good authority that they are soon expanding into a much larger establishment. And they really do have some damn fine beer. Most people enjoyed a beverage or two (as of course, yours truly did) and some just hung out on the lawn out front so they didn’t get tooooooo wasted. Good call kids! I did a little of both as I felt it my duty to glad-hand a bit. But all-in-all, I felt it was a good decision to change it up a little and check out another San Diego brewery. Thanks Ballast, you guys rock! Where shall we go next? Did you say Alesmith? Ok, we can do that.

Alesmith is a short jaunt from Ballast Point and was on our original itinerary. They are also my personal favorite San Diego brewery (a discussion for another time.) So we unload 40 drunk bastards for the third time and rock the ‘Ale’ out of ‘Alesmith.’
That’s right, they are now only known as ‘Smith Brewing Co.’ This brewing facility is my second favorite to Port/Lost Abbey as the staff is friendly, the drinks are divine, and the place is just big enough to handle the masses that ascend? every Saturday afternoon.
We went there on the last tour but I felt as though it would be a nice addition for the virgins to the tour. Horney Devil was on tap and I am exactly that, so I indulged in several of the tasty libations for the hour that we were there. And at 11% ABV, let’s just say that I was feeling good when we were done with this joint. Where to next? Let’s try a change of pace, shall we?

This is the first time that I had added a beer bar to the list and what better place to go than the place with the best tap line-up in San Diego? Toronado is located in the heart of North Park, on Lincoln and 30th street and for the most part, features California brews. This is where the tour becomes a little foggy. I was so anxious and fearlessly leading that I only had one slice of pizza, which turned out to be a bit of a mistake. I did have a couple of Alpine’s Pure Hoppiness, which at 8.5% ABV might have just been a bit too much. Wudareyagunnado? So after a half hour or so half of the brewery tour contestants piled on the bus and headed back to Hoffer’s while the rest of us stayed and continued pounding beers. This was at about 4 o’clock in the P.M. and I had been drinking since 10. Nap time!

All in all I think most people had a GREAT time. You are all invited to the next tour which will be held on August 6th. Breweries to be visited have yet to be decided, and a sign up date has also yet to be decided but stay tuned on Beers with Demo and Maxed Out. I will give you all a heads up for sure. And if you do want to join, any suggestions or recommendations for the breweries that you’d like to visit would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for reading, thanks for joining in - comments below, on Facebook, or at maxamilliondollars@gmail.com. Next week I will be addressing some of the comments that you all have posted, and ya never know, I might just jump into the forth beer on my top ten favorite beers of all time!

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

(ed. note: Stripper poles, beers and pizza at 10 in the morning - we don't know what dude is talking about.... Our top 3 San Diego breweries: 1) Pizza Port 2) Alpine Brewery 3) Alesmith... We would like to nominate Iron Fist Brewery up in Vista for as a stop on the next brewery tour)

Urban Dictionary term of the day

Back Door Braggart

n. A person who states a problem that they have with the express intention of letting everyone know how awesome they think they are.

Sarah: Lets go check out the new mall!

Lisa: Oh I hate clothes shopping anymore. Since I've been working out I can never find anything that fits because my waist is too tiny and my tits are too big. Life is so unfair!

Sarah: You're such a back door braggart, Lisa. Go screw yourself.

Telling what must be told and other inconvenient truths

Doggone it! We weren't going to do it. We swear it! It was just too gotcha but after a smarmy little column by Markos Moulitas popped up yesterday, we could no longer contain ourselves.

On Sunday night, Tim Pawlenty released another of his oddball videos, reminding people yet again that he was running for president.

Such periodic reminders aren’t a bad idea, since it only takes 10 minutes for the average person to forget he exists. But at least give him props — he’s actually attempting to be the Bob Dole of 2012 in a year in which nearly all serious Republicans have decided they have better things to do than lose to President Obama.

So rather than a high-caliber presidential field, the Republicans have put together a cavalcade of clowns.
(italics, ours)

In case you're interested, that sound you hear is Markos patting himself on the back for working a similar-sounding alliteration into the title of his column.

Hey, we're not terribly jazzed about the GOP field either but for cryin' out loud, look who the eventual GOP candidate will be running against.

Hey, Markos... you like apples?

How do you like these apples?

Yeah, that's the smartest kid in the room signing into the Westminster Abbey guest book.

Hey, if it were within the first two weeks of January and the President signed it "January 2010", no biggie, right? We've all been there but 2008?

So, now add to his style and substance of governance, his public gaffe-tasticness that is also downright Bushian.

Seriously, what is dear Markos and those of his political temperament so giddy about as this is the rather meet the new boss, same as the old boss record they will be forced to defend?

Closing Keeping open Gitmo.

Ending Formalizing the indefinite detention of suspected terrorists.

Ending Maintaining military tribunals.

Not letting unemployment get above 8 10.5 percent with a $800 billion stimulus package.

An entirely incoherent energy policy where we won't drill here but we will be happy to invest billions to drill elsewhere (see: Brazil).

Discontinuing Continuing other Bush-era policies like rendition, Project Gunrunner and TARP.

Ending Throwing into warp drive the politicization of the Justice Department under the leadership of the biggest hack in the administration.

Engineering a bankruptcy cramdown of domestic auto companies that will most likely cost the U.S. tax-payers tens of billions of dollars.

Engaging in an act of war against a country that posed no threat whatsoever to the U.S. with without the consent of Congress.

Swift Painfully slow response to national disasters.

Signing legislation that was engineered in the most secretive, corrupt, lobbyist-intensive and graft-inducive manner possible and which will, for
the first time ever, force U.S. citizens to purchase a service from a private entity.

Ending Maintaining the practice of signing statements.

Signing off on predator drone strikes for the ostensible purpose of assassinating a foreign head of state.

/out of breath

4 more years, Markos? Have at it.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Ticking off all the right people?

It's his second Wait, What? moment of the week. First, he says no to ethanol subsidies in Iowa and then in Florida... well, given what he threw down in the Hawkeye state, you can probably guess the rest.

CORAL GABLES — A day after telling Iowans their beloved ethanol subsidies will have to go, Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty used a stop in senior-heavy Florida to call for reining in Social Security and Medicare benefits for future retirees.

The former Minnesota governor, who launched his campaign Monday, talked about entitlement reform during a 30-minute Facebook town hall and in a question-and-answer session with reporters at the Biltmore hotel.

It's part of a tough-medicine tour, designed to highlight Pawlenty's willingness to tell "hard truths." He's also planning to visit Washington to call for less-generous pay and benefits for public sector employees and to New York to call for an end to Wall Street bailouts.

"We won't have Medicare or Medicaid or Social Security as we know it in the future if we don't make changes and adjustments now that can preserve these important programs," Pawlenty told the Facebook audience.

For his part, Pawlenty likes but stopped short of endorsing Paul Ryan's Medicare plan as he will be rolling out his own plan, shortly.

We're heartened that Pawlenty is making these kind of statements especially in the territories he is doing so. The timing of them, being the first significant policy statements by any of the prospective GOP field, helps to shape and drive the debate. Energy subsidies and entitlement reform are important topics that we can ill-afford to leave unaddressed. Let's see then how the others will respond to Pawlenty's opening salvos.

It's still way early and heeding our own advice of not shacking-up with anyone just yet, T-Paw, however, gets first crack at a second date with us.

Link of the day

John over at Truth Before Dishonor is back up and running after some time off. Check out the new look over at his place - we think you will enjoy it.

Hey, looks like our friend Foxie from Head Noises has been doing some guest blogging for him as well.

Video clip of the day

Bibi-mania continues here at BwD. The highlights from his speech before a joint session of Congress yesterday morning are below.

We love this guy's style: Both arms resting on the podium to where he's almost slumped over at times, a conversational, matter-of-fact tone rather than a proclamatory or a speechifying one. We liked how Foxfier described it:

The Israeli PM's voice doesn't fit the "professional politician" photos I keep seeing of him-- he sounds more like a retired Navy chief, lots of yelling in his history, and for goodness' sake don't think he's less than smart because of it.

The money quote as far as we're concerned:
"We have to ask the question... why has peace not been achieved? Because so far, the Palestinians have been unwilling to accept a Palestinian state as long as it meant accepting a Jewish state alongside it".

And that's a wrap, folks. We can all talk settlements, right of return, and pre-1967 borders until we're blue in the face. It's all window dressing as this conflict is existential in it's very nature.

Netanyahu was on Hannity last night for a 3 segment interview and though it may have been merely good politics, he did appear to have a deep reverance and respect for this country and its institutions that help preserve democracy. (His recollection of walking around The Mall and reciting the famous quotes that adorn the monuments there and how the spirit of equality of mankind before the law and before the eyes of God and how that was relevant to his ancient Jewish faith was especially moving).

And with respect to the bond between America and Israel and its shared democratic values of freedom and liberty, he said this (somewhat paraphrasing):

The radical Muslim does not hate America because of us (Isreal), they hate us because of America.

The President may be wishing he chose a different time to make that Europe trip while leaving Bibi here unsupervised.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The sadly obligatory Peter Fonda has absolutely lost it post

So what's a former counter-culture icon to do when he wakes up to find much of the liberal orthodoxy for which he raged has gone establishment? Make not-so-veiled death threats against the President, that's what.

Lars von Trier, who was banned from Cannes for praising Hitler, was not the only one making unsavoury comments at the film festival.

Peter Fonda, the star of Easy Rider, suggested to Mandrake that he was encouraging his grandchildren to shoot President Barack Obama.

“I’m training my grandchildren to use long-range rifles,” said the actor, 71. “For what purpose? Well, I’m not going to say the words 'Barack Obama’, but …”

He added, enigmatically: “It’s more of a thought process than an actuality, but we are heading for a major conflict between the haves and the have nots. I came here many years ago with a biker movie and we stopped a war. Now, it’s about starting the world.

“I prefer to not to use the words, 'let’s stop something’. I prefer to say, 'let’s start something, let’s start the world’.
(italics, ours)

To paraphrase Jeff Foxorthy, he came there many years ago with a movie that red necks thought had a happy ending.

Pete... easy, dude. In a sense, your side won so why the anger?

Maybe it's the fact that in "winning", the counter-culture isn't so "counter" anymore and when your brand revolved around rebelling, what's so fun about that? You kinda felt it was coming, though, didn't you, when Nike started using The Beatles' "Revolution" to shill their sneakers back in the mid-late 80s.

Hippies once were the counterculture. Liberals were the nonconformist rebels, boldly wearing unwashed anarchy on tattered sleeve. They loudly and proudly raged against the establishment machine.

Today, they are the establishment machine.

All of our ruling-class institutions - academia, courts, government, media and entertainment industries - are teeming with closed-minded, hard-left ideologues who seek to “fundamentally transform America.”

But they already have transformed America, so what are they transforming against but themselves and their own ideology?

Still, liberals - or “progressives,” as they prefer to be called - persist in laboring under an embarrassing misconception: They honestly believe they remain the nonconformists. It’s precious.

In fact, today’s liberals are nothing of the sort. They compliantly conform - like little windup, patchouli-daubed lemmings - to a carnival-prize caricature of what they imagine nonconformity to look like. You know, the usual stuff: neo-Marxism, environmentalist activism, sexual relativism, big-government nanny statism, an actions-without-consequences rendering of reproductive rights, and other such populist nonsense. Simply put, today’s progressive nonconformist conforms.

This reminds us of the lunacy of that one union activist that was caught on tape a few months back advocating for the disruption of the capitalist system and "nuking" Wall Street with the hope of loosening Wall St.'s grip on power. Hilarious. Union power, particularly that of the public employee unions absolutely depends on the maintenance of the status quo. Those unions and their friends sitting at the levers of power in the government are the power structure. Those protests in Wisconsin back in March were protests for conformity, for the status quo.

We suppose, then that some people are just sore winners.

Sorry, Pete... not feelin' ya. Oh, and please stop with this talk about the President. That's not being a rebel, that's just being stupid. You're pissed off? Fine, but let's take care of business at the ballot box, shall we?

P.S. One of the hugest ironies of all-time in pop culture remains the punk rock scene. All that rebelling, all that raging, all that non-conformity and alleged individualism and for the most part the politics they embraced was command and control, collectivist, income-redistributing Socialism.

Where pop culture phenomenas go to die

How do you know when this whole flash mob thing has jumped the shark? When Code Pink employs a bizarre Israel-bashing one of their own to protest the kickoff of the AIPAC conference last week in Washington D.C., that's how.

Apartheid? Racist?

Given Code Pink's context those are interesting terms given 20% of Israeli citizens are Arab and who also enjoy the full benefits of citizenship as well as being eligible to sit in the Knesset, Israel's parliament.

We are unaware of any Arab state where Jews are represented in this number and are afforded the same benefits of citizenship.

Addendum #1 (via Left Coast Rebel): Speaking of Code Pink, they decided to drop into Bibi's address to Congress earlier today and exercise their 1st amendment rights. And here's Bibi dropping the hammer, making a great point about democracies and getting the assembled eating out of his hand all in the span of 15 seconds.

Just reminds us of how far we've lowered the bar for great public speaking over the past few years.

A return to hopeless idealism?

At first, we we dreaded it and then we began to embrace it: A developing condition that was the result of being so vehemently opposed to the policies and politics of the sitting President that we were considering going squishy on some previously-thought-to-be-ironclad litmus tests regarding GOP candidates.

So, this is what pragmatism feels like!

Such was the case with ethanol subsidies and though ethanol is perhaps the worst energy idea of all-time, its Iowa caucus-bound sway appeared to prevent any in the current GOP field from speaking out against them.

Until now...

In announcing his candidacy for President in Iowa yesterday, Tim Pawlenty, also declared for the phasing out of energy subsidies including that of ethanol.

Click here to hear that portion of the speech where he also calls out the thuggish antics of the NLRB who are attempting to block Boeing from opening a plant in South Carolina which happens to be a right-to-work state.

"The truth about federal energy subsidies, including federal subsidies for ethanol, is that they have to be phased out,"

We're far from throwing our hat in the ring for anybody but it is encouraging to hear a mid-westerner address the third rail of Republican primary politics in Iowa of all places.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Ray Lewis afraid that the NFL lockout will cause a nation-wide crime spree or something

This definetely qualified as a Wait, What? moment when we heard Baltimore Ravens middle linebacker, Ray Lewis, being interviewed on ESPN yesterday morning while we were poring over the Sunday paper and knocking back some coffee.

And here we thought that football was the cause of violence in society. We're so confused.

What we’re going through right now, we’re affecting way more than us,” he said. “Too many people live through us. People live through us. Walk in the streets the way I walk in the streets.”

And according to Lewis, one of the major results of lockout would be an increase of evil, which he says will come in the form of more crime.

“Do this research if we don’t have a season — watch how much evil, which we call crime — watch how much crime picks up if you take away our game.”

We can run the stats right now considering football, including pre-season, regular season and the playoffs, is played on 25 weekends a year leaving 27 football-less weekends where we are all apparently increasing the evil. We don't think we'd be out of line by suggesting that perhaps Ray thinks a little bit too much of himself and his stock in trade.

But you know what? Screw it - why take any chances? We're huge NFL fans and we want to see football come September so let's jump on Lewis' bandwagon, get football back and increase the peace!

Hell, if the Super Bowl Sunday/domestic violence crock gained some conventional wisdom legs a few years back, then why can't this?

Addendum #1: And in other totally NFL-centric news today, Pittsburgh Steeler owner and current U.S. ambassador to Ireland, Dan Rooney, had a pint of Guinness with some visiting U.S. diginitaries.

Quote of the day

So, who said the following?:

"It will be the policy of the United States to promote reform across the region, and to support transitions to democracy."

This guy?

Or, this guy?

Check out Charles Krauthammer's take on President Obama's at-times, very Bushian Middle East speech he made last week, here.

As an addendum, here is Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, wrapping up his visit with the President also from last week.

"We share your hope and your vision for the spread of democracy in the Middle East."

(Pre-1967 boundaries) "...were not the boundaries of peace, they were the boundaries of repeated wars because the attacks on Israel were so attractive from them."

"The Israeli government cannot negotiate with a Palestinian government that is backed by Hamas."

On the precariousness of the "peace process": "History will not give the Jewish people another chance".

Exit question: Given the fact that much of Israel's opposites are informed by a belief and ideology that wants to wipe Israel clean off the map and will not rest until that is accomplished (pre-1967 borders... like, whatever), how galling must it be for Israel to feel compelled to participate in the Kabuki theater that is this so-called peace process?

H/T: Truth Before Dishonor

Indiana State Supreme Court 4th amendment ruling follow-up

Original post can be found here.

Quick and brutal summation provided by Chief Justice Steven David:

"We believe ... a right to resist an unlawful police entry into a home is against public policy and is incompatible with modern Fourth Amendment jurisprudence," David said. "We also find that allowing resistance unnecessarily escalates the level of violence and therefore the risk of injuries to all parties involved without preventing the arrest."

The Indiana State Attorney General will seek clarification from the Court:

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller on Friday joined the chorus of Hoosiers protesting a controversial Fourth Amendment ruling recently decided by the Indiana Supreme Court.

Zoeller released a statement saying he will support a rehearing of the case due to concerns that the court ruled too broadly when it found citizens have no right under common law to reasonably resist police who unlawfully enter their homes.

The apparent absence of any narrow application in the ruling is what truly bothered us.
Critics of the decision say the court – in a 3-2 ruling – tossed out hundreds of years of common law when it could have focused more narrowly, noting police in the case had probable cause to investigate a domestic abuse allegation and the wife inferred her permission for them to enter the home.

More Zoeller:
“While there is no right to commit battery against police, I believe the individual has the right to shut the door, stand his ground and communicate with police without engaging in an altercation. In balancing the perils of domestic violence with respect for law enforcement, I will continue to advise our police clients to respect people’s Fourth Amendment rights.”

Pointy-headed law school type who agrees with the ruling:
The Supreme Court’s decision means that we can’t allow people to take the law into their own hands,” professor Craig Bradley said. “The law should not allow people to assault police whenever they claim that they ‘thought’ the entry was illegal.”

He went on to say that “if the defendant thought the police officer’s entry into his home was illegal, he has plenty of opportunities to raise that issue through the court system. The risk of harm to both the police and the defendant is too great to allow people to take matters into their own hands.”
(italics, ours)

Fortunately for the rest of us, that's not what the 4th amendment is all about. Perhaps the cops did have reasonable cause to enter the house to prevent a case of domestic violence but the ruling does not address that. Consistent with our times, the ruling is content with voiding the spirit of the 4th amendment and letting the aggrieved have their day in court.

One gets the sense that the ruling views the 4th amendment as somewhat anachronistic in that the threat of brutish red coats violating the sovereignty of our property is long past and that any apparent violations can be addressed in the refined civility of the court room. There may no longer be any red coats but we don't see how that is justification for relaxing our guard against tyranny via the unwarranted search and seizure of our property by the government or anyone else for that matter.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


A round-up of news items, articles, columns and blog posts that caught our eye this past week.

School districts to Obama administration: Your new school lunch program nutritional mandates are killing us.

“The Department of Agriculture’s proposed regulation for school meals estimates $6.8 billion over five years in additional cost resulting from the proposed rules with less than $1.6 billion in additional school lunch reimbursements -- leaving over a $5 billion shortfall for state and local food services officials to attempt to cover.” – Sally Spero, Food Planning Supervisor, San Diego Unified School District, San Diego, CA
Unfunded mandates are always for someone else to worry about, though, right?

Also, from Spero who was testifying in front of The Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education:

“Nothing is achieved when money is spent on food that children won’t even be able to consume and nothing is more disheartening to a school food service professional than to see perfectly good and perfectly untouched food thrown into the trash.”

Translation: Bobby Flay isn't at the grill so these new rules produce food that tastes like garbage. We covered this real-world phenomena, here.

Again, we don't know what the federal government is doing meddling in the school meal business but more importantly, we don't know what schools are doing in the meal business, either.

Lessons learned and growing pains and... a local celeb!

The other main drawback in 2010 was that Tea Party neophytes often chose candidates whose track records or background made them unelectable.

Possibly the prime example of that was Christine O'Donnell, who beat a moderate candidate in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate seat in Delaware, but whose campaign foundered in part over embarrassing revelations of dabbling in witchcraft. Some establishment Republicans claim poor Tea Party choices cost them the Senate.

"Let's face it, we had people who were solidly unqualified for dog catcher, let alone the office they were running for," said SoCal Tax Revolt Coalition's Wildman.

"The other thing we are learning now is what happens when naive people get into high office," she added of some of the freshmen the Tea Party helped elect.

"So we are learning how to vet candidates properly."

While being a complete outsider was seen as a plus last year, Tea Party groups are now looking for conservative candidates with a track record and name recognition.
In our righteous ardor, this was, admittedly, a realization to which we were slow to come around.

Atta way, Dawn!

Here's B-Daddy riffing on our fascination with Socialism = perpetual adolescence post from this past week.

The key to the leftist mindset is that they cannot imagine adult to adult relationships, hence the "perpetual adolescence" and immaturity in both political tactics and rhetoric. Libertarians and most Conservatives imagine the world in terms of adult relationships, so we can't understand their mind set. Voluntary transactions require a level of maturity beyond adolescence where life is dominated by the welfare from one's parents and frankly from the school system. Fortunately, in America the rewards that accrue to transcending this childish world view provide incentive so that a minority of Americans are leftists.
Do yourself a favor and check out the whole post, here.

Bummer. Looks like Indiana Governor, Mitch Daniels is out.

Again, from The Liberator Today:

The country is the worse off for not having a candidate in the race who has both the guts to discuss the issue of entitlements sensibly AND the proven executive experience dealing with a state budget.

2012 won't be 2010. The public will want proven experience, having been burned by hopey-changey empty-suited rhetoric. Where is that experience going to come from?

Looking on the bright side of things, looks like we'll be let off the hook with respect to our ethanol support litmus test. Unfortunately, the balance of the prospective GOP primary field may force us to adopt some, er, flexibility in this regard. Hey, who ever said we were purists?

Line of the week: On the administration's efforts to find any, any reason for us to stay in Libya

So the Obama legal team is now trying to come up with a plausible theory for why continued participation by the United States does not violate the law (War Powers Act).
(setting the bar high, apparently)

To which AP responds:

First the economy, then Bin Laden, now the WPA: Say what you will about The One, but when he wants something dead, he knows how to get the job done.

We've noted previously that whether its Somali pirates, Middle East dictators or international terrorists (be they foreign or native-born), the Commander-in-Chief never seems more engaged and focused as when he is in the process of wacking people.

OK, that's it for now. By the time this posts, we will have returned from a hike in San Diego's great big ol' backyard and possibly a visit to Alpine Brewery, so updates to this post may or may not be forthcoming.

Video clip of the day

This is what Reason.TV's cameras picked up at an LA teachers' union rally on May 13 urging for an extension of temporary tax increases that Governor Brown is seeking to put on the ballot in a special election in June. Referendum rules in the state dictate that 2/3rds of both houses are needed to put measures on the ballot and in both cases, 2 Republicans will need to be flipped in order to make this happen.

Some observations:

1. Is it part of the permitting process that labor/union rallies must provide crappy folk music? And that at least 1 in 10 participants be burned-out, pony-tailed, ex-hippie types.

2. Union boss A.J. Duffy is a punk. We covered some of his antics in the past.

3. (2:29) Tax families based upon how many children they have in the school system. A user's fee, really. Color us intrigued.

4. (3:02) As we have said many times before and despite pleas of ignorance from the Che'-adorned woman, one does not have to scratch too far beneath the surface at these types of rallies to get at the core principles of income redistribution and classic Marxist class warfare.

5. May 13 was a Friday. A school day. Priorities.

Oh, and that $2.5 billion more in revenue than projected in order to close the $15.4 billion deficit didn't make the sell job of the tax extensions any easier.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Lib on lib violence: an investigation

Awwww... Liberal media outlets won't run cartoons of liberal, repulsive and totally unfunny Ted Rall. Apparently, however, this isn't the first time this has happened to poor Ted.

In the late 1990s my cartoons ran in Time, Fortune and Bloomberg Personal magazines and over 100 daily and alternative weekly newspapers. I was a staff writer for two major magazines.

Then Bush came in. And 9/11 happened.

The media gorged on an orgy of psychotic right-wing rhetoric. Flags everywhere. Torture suddenly OK. In a nation where mainstream political discourse was redefined between Dick Cheney on the right and libertarian Bill Maher on the not-as-right, there wasn’t any room in the paper for a left-of-center cartoonist. My business was savaged. Income plunged.

Surge in patriotism = income plunge. Telling.

So what's Ted's latest bitch? Everyone thinks he's too hard on their guy, Obama.

What's weird is that these cultish attitudes come from editors and publishers whose politics line up neatly with mine. They oppose the bailouts. They want us out of Afghanistan and Iraq. They disapprove of Obama's new war against Libya. They want Obama to renounce torture and Guantánamo.

Obama is the one they ought to be blackballing. He has been a terrible disappointment to the American left. He has forsaken liberals at every turn. Yet they continue to stand by him. Which means that, in effect, they are not liberals at all. They are militant Democrats. They are Obamabots.
(italics, ours)

Neatly! Isn't that neat?

And to think that they were all in this together. What a bummer.

We're not sure about "militant Democrats" - we prefer the term "abject hypocrits". But, no matter, perhaps as David Harsanyi suggests, everyone just caught on to the fact that Rall's work sucks.

I have no doubt mainstream outlets have a higher standard when it comes to critical cartoons aimed at Obama. Lefty magazine editors, no doubt, also have some reservations about publishing critical pieces about Obama. (Though even a cursory look at those websites undermines Rall’s claims. Opening the Nation site while writing this post, and I the top story is “Obama’s Speech: Nice, But No Cigar.”) Who knows? Maybe some liberals believe a person who says Obama “has forsaken liberals at every turn” is a bit bonkers. That would make them sane, not anti-Rallian.

Or perhaps, and this is just a theory, once Rall’s work was denied all its excruciatingly obvious and uninteresting Bushhate, editors suddenly realized how untalented, cruel and silly his work had become. That is a far more comforting thought. And far more likely.

Highly plausible but we still lean towards the "abject hypocrits" rationale. Whaddya all think?

The Apocalyptic open thread

As you may or may not be aware, today, May 21st, marks the end of the world. So, this is it: Anything you need to get off your chest, bucket list items, confessions, rants, screeds and all other manner of proclamations are welcome in the comment section.

Should that not be the case, we'll have some pre-scheduled heat'n'serve posts for the remainder of the day as we will be on the Hoffer's brewery tour and we can't think of a better way to go!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Radio KBwD is on the air

We're going in a slightly different direction this week but it's one we think you will enjoy.

Years back, we were in Portland doing a dry docking job at Cascade Marine. We were having dinner at the bar of a restaurant by the Rose Garden one evening when we heard this song and wanted to hear more of the same.

Ladies and Gentlemen, from New York City, it's Winger performing "Cant Get Enuf."


Well, then... how about "Droge CX9" from the Vampyros Lesbos soundtrack, instead?


Video clip of the day

"Giving back to society" is a swell little notion but an entirely loaded one in our opinion for if you "give back", what exactly did you "take" in the first place?

Excellent video below that explores the morality of profits and conversely the immorality of subsidies that is exemplified (but not called out, specifically) in the rigged, crony capitalism of the Big Green sector of our nation's economy.

"We deal as equals by mutual consent to mutual advantage and I am proud of every penny that I have earned in this manner." - Hank Rearden, Atlas Shrugged

"When people enter into a voluntary transaction, they all expect to benefit but an involuntary transaction benefits some at the expense of others."

"Profits earned honestly in the market place are moral. They arise from morality and they reinforce morality. The search for profit through voluntary exchange teaches people to be civil."

It's not "giving back", it's simply being civil and generous with the profits one has made from an honest and beneficial-to-society business enterprise.

H/T: Hot Air

Follower blog post of the day

Boy, have we ever fallen off the beam in this little endeavor. No time like the present, however, to get right back on.

Two-time tax cheat and Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner made a speech and did some Q and A afterwards at the Harvard University Shorenstein (Joan) Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy a few days ago and in doing so made some very, very telling remarks.

Sir Charles over at Doo Doo Economics has the goods, here.

We weren't able to sit through the entire thing but there were two general themes that elevated themselves, particularly during the Q and A, and one was that Geithner and his people were infinitelely smarter than the rest of us and that we should be glad they are in charge.

The other was that we should just get used to anemic growth and a sluggish economy - it's the new norm. We got the feeling that Geithner almost welcomed this continual state of economic crisis as it would afford an opportunity, as Rahm Emanuel put it, to do things that would not otherwise have been able to be implemented during a time of a healthy and robust economy. We could be wrong but we're probably not - go check it out for yourself.

Very civil bunch there at Harvard for a guy that deserves to run out of town on a rail.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Not content to leave bad enough alone

Somewhat aged but still relevant...

Last week we reported out on falling housing prices and how that may not be such terrible news as it very possibly meant that the expiration of the Keynesian gimmickry as applied by the administration to the housing market was letting housing prices find their historical market value (see graph at link provided above).

We warned, however, that this most recent spate of "bad news" would be a cue for Team O to spring into action as the only solution to failed statist policies is more statism. As if, on cue:

Obama said his administration was looking at ways to extend programs to help people struggling with mortgage payments on houses that had lost much of their value.

"We're going to continue to work with Congress to see if we can propose more legislation to encourage longer loan modifications," he said. "We are trying to expand the loan modification program to reach more people."

We get it. We really do. We understand the urge to do something about a bad situation and it goes doubly so when you feel you and your team are the smartest kids in the room but believe it or not, sometimes, and the housing market right now certainly qualifies as one those times, it's best to do nothing and let the market unwind by itself to get all the poisons and bad actors out of the system.

As it is, however, any actions taken by the feds will merely prolong the zombified state of the market forestalling any true recovery.

Will we ever learn?

MAXED OUT: Karl who?

It's a Thursday afternoon... you're getting ready for the weekend... you may be getting a tad thirsty... you've come to the right place... Maximus, the floor is yours.

What’s the good word my beer guzzling brothers and sisters? We’re back in action and I’m feeling feisty! You know what that means; I’m 'bout to put someone on blast and this week Karl Stauss has the dubious honor of being just that brewery. Unfortunately (or fortunately for some of you), this post won’t be very long as I don’t really have much to say about Karl Stauss’ 22nd Anniversary and 8th Annual Beach to Brewery event that was held at their primary brewing facility. But regardless, let’s do this!

So one of the perks of working at a bar is that you often get hook-ups to the local events held in the city that you tend bar in. Sometimes it’s awesome and you have the time of your life. Other times, as is the case with this event, they just suck. So Karl Strauss hosts their annual Anniversary party called ‘Beach to Brewery’ (the reason they call it this escapes me, seeing as though the event is held in the industrial section of Pacific Beach just west of the I-5 and you can’t even smell the ocean from there) in what is basically a big parking lot with live music and exclusively Karl Strauss beers. They tend to coordinate the amount of beers that they tap with the anniversary that they are celebrating. This was their 22nd Anniversary, so of course they tapped twenty-two beers. ALL KARL STRAUSS! Had I mentioned that?

So a quick history lesson, or at least what I have heard about what Karl Strauss was, and what they are today and why. The Karl Strauss was a former big-wig at Pabst (I know, amazing credentials) and was asked to help open up a brew pub in San Diego in 1988. They really did help to bring craft beer to San Diego, and for that, we thank you. But their beers never really got over the hump of mediocrity. When Papa Strauss passed, new brewers were put in his place and over the past several years they have been playing catch up to the exploding San Diego craft beer scene. A hit here, but usually a miss there, Karl is still trying to keep the image of a “craft brewery” but unfortunately tends to miss the mark for the most part. Ok, history lesson done, let’s get to the event.

So I score three tickets to this shindig and take a couple of my beer-nerd buddies. Hold up, I’m getting ahead of myself. Last year, I got the hook-up with two tickets. The weather was perfect, girls were in bikinis, and they had some of the best beers that they’ve ever created on tap. Not to mention some really good local music and have I mentioned girls in bikinis? This year the weather was crap, no girls in bikinis, and twenty-two of the most mediocre beers on the planet were tapped! HOORAY! As with most beer events, you get a certain amount of “free beers” which are shown on a chincy little plastic bracelet. This year, FIVE! Are you freakin’ kidding me? I get FIVE little samples? Way to go all out there, Karl.

So last year Karl Strauss’ 21st Anniversary Ale was a delicious beer made with Old Vine Zinfandel grapes. Yum! This year, it was a rather boring Imperial Stout with Vanilla. Meh! Last year they also had, perhaps the best beer that the Karl Strauss Brewery has ever concocted, the Belgian Stranger. Nice Belgian flavor, a little bit of a bite from the hops, and fairly strong if memory serves correct, coming in at around 9% ABV. They had also just introduced The Conquistador, a nice pruney, raiseny Dopplebock. For some reason, Karl decided to discontinue the Belgian Stranger but kept the Conquistador around. WHY WOULD YOU DISCONTINUE THE BEST THING THAT YOU’VE EVER CREATED?!?!?!?!?!?!?! Ok, I’m now stepping off of my soap box.

I’d tell you the beers that I tried but I honestly I don’t remember. They were all so mediocre that as soon as I tried them I forgot them. Highlight of the day were the bands. Only problem was that they were so “underground” that I don’t know their names. Rad. So all-in-all it was a great time! Did I mention no bikinis? DAMN YOU WEATHER GODS!

Like I said, I’m cutting this one short because there really wasn’t much to talk about. I was looking forward to Karl Strauss coming out with a surprise beer or two like they did last year, but to no avail. Sorry kiddos. But thanks for joining as always, and you know where to hit me up. Below, email, facebook, blah blah blah. OH! I almost forgot. This weekend Beers with Demo and Maxed Out are joining forces in a 45 person brewery tour! We will be hitting up Alesmith and Port/Lost Abbey! Bus leaves at 11 am from Hoffer’s in downtown La Mesa and there are just a few tickets left. If you want to jump onboard you have to let me know ASAP! Email me at maxamilliondollars@gmail.com

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

(ed. note: The wine barrel-aged 21st anniversary ale Max references was indeed phenomenal. It tasted so wonderful it was thought to be highly sessionable the first time we had it. Unbeknownst, however, that beer checked in around 10% ABV. Hello, Yellow Cab!

Karl Strauss, the man and his brewery, despite their past and present mediocrity, really do deserve a lot of credit for establishing a beachhead here in San Diego (along with Pizza Port) from which the 2nd generation ground troops of the San Diego craft beer movement (Stone, Alesmith, Alpine) could advance on new territory and set the stage for truly blowing things up here over the past decade.)

Video clip of the day

Alternate headline: "Hey, Nick... where's the leather jacket?"

Nick Gillespie sits down with Kevin Williamson of National Review Online to define and discuss Socialism.

Gillespie: "What's the continuing romance with Socialism?"

Williamson: "I think it's a form of perpetual adolescence."

Given the irrationality of teenagers, how else do you explain it? And much like an adolescent or even to be informed by the mindset of an adolescent, your heart doesn't even really need to be into it if it means there's a chance at getting laid.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Project Gunrunner or Fast and Furious? Take your pick

When we first reported out on Project Gunrunner, the Justice Department/ATF's scheme to let guns sold in American gun shops to walk back across the border and into the hands of Mexican drug cartels so we could better identify who the bad guys were, we could scarcely believe it and it prompted this reaction...

We.... we don't even know what to make of this.

Seriously. Someone please talk us down off this ledge.

... such was the level of our incredulousness.

Well, hang on because it gets better worse, much worse. The following is an article from NBC News from September of 2010 reporting on documents obtained from the Justice Department which detail how it is that the ATF was going to be cracking down on corrupt American gun dealers and going after high-value drug world figures.

U.S. law enforcement officials have devised an aggressive and potentially controversial new strategy to crack down on the illegal gun trade to Mexico by targeting cartel networks inside this country and "corrupt" U.S. firearms dealers, according to internal Justice Department documents obtained by NBC News.

The documents also state that the drug traffickers appear to have expanded efforts to acquire firepower in the U.S. by tapping well-developed supply networks beyond the Southwest border region in order to acquire high-powered assault rifles as well as components for improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

The new strategy was prepared in recent weeks by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF)’s Office of Field Operations, in the wake of stinging criticism of current ATF efforts to stem the flow of weapons to the cartels by the Justice Department’s inspector general.

Labeled “law enforcement sensitive,” it calls for ATF agents to put more emphasis on monitoring the activities of U.S. guns stores and other federally licensed firearms dealers who may be assisting or turning a blind eye to gun purchases by drug cartel operatives. The report describes such “corrupt” U.S. firearms dealers as “high value targets” -- a phrase that could rile gun rights groups and their supporters in Congress who charge ATF is already too aggressive in regulating the firearms industry.

The principal thrust of the revised strategy directs that ATF agents focus on taking down the operations of high-level gun traffickers working for specific Mexican cartels rather than simply trying to arrest low-level “straw buyers,” as they have often done in the past. It also calls on agents to use more sophisticated investigative methods, such as analyzing financial and telephone records, routinely used in terrorism and organized crime cases, and to work more closely with other federal agencies such as the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The new strategy document, entitled “Project Gunrunner; A Cartel Focused Strategy,” appears designed in part to address criticisms of enforcement efforts contained in a recently circulated draft report by the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General. That report reviewed the efforts of Gunrunner, an ATF initiative that involves dispatching teams of agents known as Gunrunner Impact Teams (or GRITs) to cities near the border that are believed to be primary sources of weapons for the cartels.
(bold, italics... it's all ours)

And later in the article:

The new strategy document lays out the dimensions of the problem in stark terms. While shying away from specific figures -- which have been the source of fierce debate -- it concludes that “a significant percentage” of all the weapons seized from the Mexican cartels are originating in the U.S.

/picking jaw up off of ground

So, what are we to believe? That this Project Gunrunner which was alleged to be cracking down on the flow of guns across the border was simply a cover for the exact opposite... for the ATF to actually facilitate the flow of guns across the border from U.S. gun shops via straw buyers? The evidence available to us suggests it is so.

When questioned a couple of weeks back by Congressman Issa (R-CA) that miserable hack that runs the Justice Department claimed he knew nothing of Project Gunrunner or was it Fast and Furious as it was known internally?

As Project Gunrunner (the cover story) was public knowledge as per the NBC News article, we suppose the miserable hack could claim plausible deniability to having no knowledge of Fast and Furious (the real story).

This is simply astounding - no other word for it. The Justice Department releases (leaks?) documents detailing the standing up of a false operation to crack down on the flow of arms across the border (amid all the finger-wagging and tsk-tsking regarding the southward flow of U.S.-purchased guns and ammo fueling the violence along the border. Remember that? We do.) all as a feint to actually allow the flow of guns and ammo across the border.

What are we missing? We hope to god there's a reasonable explanation for all this because as it stands now, Holder and the Justice Department are either extremely duplicitous or flat-out incompetent. Either way, the miserable hack needs to go.

Again, someone please talk us down off this ledge.