Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Link of the day

B-Daddy in writing about Medicare and fraud presented this from Aghaegbuna Odelugo who was testifying before Congress about Medicare fraud but wandered off course and started riffing on Medicare reimbursement rates:

I would like to finally talk about what I perceive to be the most significant flaw in Medicare: the rates of reimbursement. I do not know who decides, or how the decision is made, but the rate of reimbursement for certain pieces of durable medical equipment is beyond exorbitant. An example is the case of the knee braces. These items are available on the market to a DME provider for less than $100.00. Medicare, however, reimburse, if I remember correctly, approximately 1,000% of this cost. Back braces that cost approximately $100.00 are reimbursed at a rate of almost 900%. Wheelchairs that cost less than $1,000.00 are reimbursed at almost 500% of cost. For anyone engaging in fraud, these numbers are too good to be true.

Not fraud, not even a bug, but a feature!

Medicare is popular and expensive. No wonder, right? Expensive for obvious reasons as illustrated above but popular also because of a lack of cost transparency. It's not as if you are paying out of pocket for those mark-ups... not expensive for you so what's to worry about?

And that's pretty much it: "paying into a system" soon slips the clutches of reality as increased layers of bureaucracy and rules and regulations shield just what are the real costs of healthcare. And when those rules and regs are at the whim of the pols, there is no end to the amount of candy that will be tossed around.

Here's B-Daddy to wrap things up:

Ultimately, I understand that the U.S. has a robust social safety net. But I think we have gone overboard. We aren't a country that promises cradle to grave support, like socialist Europe.

There might not be an explicit promise but there appears to be an increasing implicit acceptance by the public that there is indeed a promise of cradle to grave support. How else do you explain the across-the-board bad polling numbers when it comes to any mention of entitlement reform?

Until there is "skin in the game", until there is true cost transparency as to realizing what health care goods and services actually cost and until we remove the layers between the health care providers and consumers, we will never succeed in bending the cost curve downward.

Yet one more reason why we need more rich people

More bad news for the Chevy Volt:

The sales figures for the Chevy Volt are down, raising red flags throughout the auto industry—especially during a time were Volt production has been ramped up.

A new study by CNW marketing, a private research firm that focuses its research on consumer motivations and decisions in automotive purchases, has been released showing that the potential buyers that GM is counting on are rapidly losing interest in the Volt. In March, 21% of Early Adapters said they were “very likely” to consider buying a Volt, while 38.1% said they were “likely” to do the same. Those numbers slipped to 14.6% saying “very likely” in July and 31.1% “likely.” Among EV Enthusiasts, reports the CNW study, the number of those likely or very likely to consider Volt fell from a combined 71% to 51% during the same four month timetable.

And those figures represent that of the true believers, gang - only 3% of mainstream car-buyers, i.e., us, you and pretty much everyone else you know, would consider buying a Volt.

The article tries to spin some positive out of this dismal news (it's an eco-blog) but is reduced to coming up with things like the following:

Chevy officials defend the Volt’s high price tag by pointing to the complexity of the dual gas electric hybrid drivetrain. The Volt is capable of traveling 35 miles on battery power alone.

Nothing like trying to justify the price of your car by touting just how damn complex it is. And for all that complexity... only 35 miles?

Here's the deal: At 47-48,000 large (up front - that tax credit doesn't get back to you until later) buying you a serious case of "range anxiety", the Volt is reminding us more and more of this:

$4,000 for that thing and all it did was make phone calls.

Look, maybe they'll get it figured out. Maybe they'll figure out the lithium ion/China thing. Maybe they'll figure out a safe and cheap way of disposing of the batteries. Maybe they'll get the cost of the battery down. Maybe they'll figure out how to mass generate electricity without using coal, gas or oil which is the dirty yet not-so-little secret EV enthusiasts have difficulty acknowledging (hey, wouldn't it be awesome if we could generate electricity from electricity?) Maybe. But the fact remains, they just aren't there yet.

Chevy just better hope there is a recurring supply of rich, smug liberals that are willing to subsidize the technology because they are nowhere near being competitive in the open market.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A few more thoughts on the battle for the soul of the tea party or something (Redux)

Dawn Wildman, one of the lionesses of the SoCal tea party movement passed along this to us. It would appear that a group of rich and influential RINOs within the California Republican Party (CRP) are moving to either abandon or significantly weaken "divisive" conservative postions on a few key social issues such as gay marriage, abortion and illegal immigration in order to "focus on fiscal issues".

Now, we weren't aware that "tabling" or "back-burnering" social issues until we make some key gains in the fiscal arena meant chucking them all out with the baby and bath water. Strange, we know.

Not only is this a complete sell-out (if they were to do this and they were truly serious about fiscal issues, why wouldn't they make life easier for themselves and just up and join the Libertarian party?) this is also a ploy to drive a wedge into the tea party, many of whose members don't give a hoot about the issues mentioned above or perhaps have quite different stances on these issues as would a social conservative.

We're re-running something we posted back in December of last year in the wake of the mid-term ass-kicking when the whole social issues dust-up within the tea party first reared up. We hope it transmitted the conviction that beating government control and influence back into the box has its own positive effects on social issues.

Our first thoughts on "the debate" can be found here.

We think it's important to remember that the tea party did not form over social issues. Rick Santelli was not ranting about abortion on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on February of '09 (we say this as strong pro-life types) which proved to be the flashpoint for the tea party movement.

Leslie at Temple of Mut has a great roundup of news and views (particularly from the SLOBS - San Diego Local Order of Bloggers) in her post So a Catholic Democrat, debauched libertarian, and Randian objectivist go to a gay bar… which is a brilliant title for conveying the big tent spirit of the tea party (and don't forget about the sage brush conservative Protestant and the recovering libertarian men's group leader that came stumbling in later).

No, the tea party is not abandoning social issues, per se, because it never was really about social issues in the first place. But the beauty of this is that by pursuing and achieving tea party objectives of fiscal discipline and checking the growth and influence of government, it will result in positive ends on many social fronts.

Part of the problem with picking up the mantle for any particular social cause is that the tea party is simply not structured to do so. We've got pro-life partiers, we've got pro-choice partiers... we've got pro-gay marriage partiers as well as anti-same sex marriage partners and, well, you get the point. There is simply no governing consensus that can be brokered on many of these issues, so why bother.

There's even debate over the issue of immigration and whether or not that qualifies as a social issue and thus whether or not immigration should be a plank, as it were, in the tea party platform. It's really a moot point. If the tea party is focused on demanding that the federal government be accountable to the Constitution and accountable in enforcing the laws that are on the books, then the tea party is a defacto anti-Amnesty/anti-illegal immigration/pro-legal immigration entity. Problem solved... without ever having fired a shot. (And we're sorry.... the naivete' of the Cato Institute, whom we otherwise greatly admire, is going to have to take a back seat on this one)

We believe that restraining the reach and influence of government has just, moral and righteous outcomes of its own. Hell, the act of restraining government as an existential state of being is just, moral and righteous in its own right.

Simply put, if the government no longer has the ability to subsidize or give cover to bad and/or anti-social behavior then individuals will make the rational decisions to alter their bad behavior. Think nurseries at high schools. Gee, isn't that compassionate? Isn't that forward-thinking and progressive? Sure is. But you are removing disincentives for getting pregnant in the first place.

Here's Paul Ryan speaking back in 2009 at the Hudson Institute:

A “libertarian” who wants limited government should embrace the means to his freedom: thriving mediating institutions that create the moral preconditions for economic markets and choice. A “social issues” conservative with a zeal for righteousness should insist on a free market economy to supply the material needs for families, schools, and churches that inspire moral and spiritual life. In a nutshell, the notion of separating the social from the economic issues is a false choice. They stem from the same root.

A little tinny but he makes the point. Beating government back into the box of the Constitution has positive results for everybody under this gloriously big tent.

While others may be dismayed that there is this dissent or divisiveness within the tea party (or overjoyed depending on one's viewpoint), we think it's an entirely positive development because these internal debates force dialog and theoretical exercises which will help shape and, in turn, strengthen the movement as we go forward.

With that in mind, please go on over to fellow SLOB W.C. Varones and Shane Atwell's blog (whom we had some disagreement and which was a catalyst for this blog post. Thanks, Shane!), for their takes on this matter.

An existential state of being? Relax. Crack open a cold one and this guy will explain it all to you.

Your high-speed choo-choo update

We've chronicled some whopper boondoggles on these pages but for its concentrated scale and sheer audacity, this one is worthy of being ranked right towards the top.

Who's up for $1 billion/mile rail line in San Fran that doesn't even hook up with the BART line and isn't near being fully funded yet?

This near two-mile railroad to nowhere will cost $1.6 billion and we all know the costs of these types of projects never... repeat, never go down, only up.

They're funded to the tune of $700 million, currently and the city thinks they can scratch together $500 million from other sources but that still leaves them almost another $500 million short.

Not to worry. This is Pelosi country. They'll get the cashe under some such gimmickry like infrastructure stimulus. Take it to the bank.

Programming Alert

Well, well, well... looky there. Our 4,000 post and we have nothing really profound to say. Through this work week, posting will be spotty and inconsistent which is not really breaking any new ground except that we have an excuse in that we will be out on sea trials.

4,000th post: a call to mediocrity!




Monday, August 29, 2011

A few thoughts on Irene

That was it...? after all that?

We'll admit to hitting our saturation point, "Irene fatigue" if you will, by Thursday of last week.

So, why was this perhaps the most hyped natural disaster ever? It was a perfect storm of instances that when added all up could not help but be the most talked about, covered, analyzed and dissected natural happenstance in history.

Before we look at the hows and whys, here's our blog buddy Harrsion on all the hype:

Every news station had wall-to-wall hurricane coverage even as Internet reports were saying Irene was barely a hurricane. Fox News even had “Hurricane Irene” listed on DirecTV all weekend for its schedule. How many ways could Shepard Smith warn people? One reporter at Washington’s Fox affiliate WTTG (where Maury Povich, Connie Chung, and Steve Doocy got their starts) was drenched in green foam/sewage to make things look dramatic.

I hope he got his shots beforehand.

The weather reports kept emphasizing it was a “Category 1 storm” as if that was the most dangerous kind. The weaker the storm got the louder “Category 1″ was yelled.

With NYC’s total shutdown of the subway and airports I was expecting Morgan Freeman to reprise his role as President of the United State in Deep Impact and tell us we were all going to die so we could have a little morality play.

OK, back to the hows and whys:

1. It's August. Always the slowest news month on the calendar. It's the "almost" month. School's almost here. Football's almost here. Congress is almost back in session. Nothing really happening at the moment but you gotta fill up that dead air time.

2. It was potentially going to wipe out New York City and lord knows how much New Yorkers love to talk about themselves and their importance to the rest of us. With all the major news networks (except CNN) based in New York, the narcissism simply couldn't be helped.

3. After what happened 6 years ago, no one... repeat, no one was going to be left holding the Katrina bag.

4. Ergo, every pol and official was going to make sure they did everything they could to order people around and they made damn sure everybody saw and heard them ordering people around.

Here's George Will putting a nice, neat bow on things Sunday.

Glad Les Paul isn't around to see any of this

So, what do you do when your gun-running operation down to Mexico has proved to be a smashing success (meddlesome inquiries from a Congressional committee, aside)? You start harassing an iconic guitar manufacturer here, stateside, that's what.

Federal agents swooped in on Gibson Guitar Wednesday, raiding factories and offices in Memphis and Nashville, seizing several pallets of wood, electronic files and guitars. The Feds are keeping mum, but in a statement yesterday Gibson's chairman and CEO, Henry Juszkiewicz, defended his company's manufacturing policies, accusing the Justice Department of bullying the company. "The wood the government seized Wednesday is from a Forest Stewardship Council certified supplier," he said, suggesting the Feds are using the aggressive enforcement of overly broad laws to make the company cry uncle.

It isn't the first time that agents of the Fish and Wildlife Service have come knocking at the storied maker of such iconic instruments as the Les Paul electric guitar, the J-160E acoustic-electric John Lennon played, and essential jazz-boxes such as Charlie Christian's ES-150. In 2009 the Feds seized several guitars and pallets of wood from a Gibson factory, and both sides have been wrangling over the goods in a case with the delightful name "United States of America v. Ebony Wood in Various Forms."

The question in the first raid seemed to be whether Gibson had been buying illegally harvested hardwoods from protected forests, such as the Madagascar ebony that makes for such lovely fretboards. And if Gibson did knowingly import illegally harvested ebony from Madagascar, that wouldn't be a negligible offense. Peter Lowry, ebony and rosewood expert at the Missouri Botanical Garden, calls the Madagascar wood trade the "equivalent of Africa's blood diamonds." But with the new raid, the government seems to be questioning whether some wood sourced from India met every regulatory jot and tittle.

It doesn't appear that the wood from India that Gibson is using is even illegal, just wood that is subject to a vague law that even India isn't all that concerned with enforcing.

We're pressed for time but it isn't just Gibson that needs to be worried but also musicians that travel abroad with Gibson-manufactured guitars that may be subject to fines and prosecution if they cannot produce the proper paperwork verifying the pedigree of the wood in their guitar(s).

Again, selective enforcement of the law is no way to run a Republic.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Your decline of Western civilization update

If you read nothing else today...

J. Christian Adams ties together the mob violence in England with what has been happening here in America over the summer.

We also now know the Mob has visited America in recent days and years.

Consider the Wisconsin State Fair last week. The 911 tapes reveal a nightmare. “We’re outside the Wisconsin State Fair and there’s a white guy being beaten up by about 100 black people,” the panicked caller cries. “They’re jumping on our cars. . . . My mom just got attacked by a black mob.” Multiple eyewitnesses describe white fairgoers being pulled from cars and beaten by the Mob, all black. The evidence establishes a strong presumption that race was a motivating factor in the attacks. This is America?

Like in England, the law is also failing the victims in Wisconsin. “My wife comes home with a fricking black eye, and you guys ain’t doin’ (expletive) about it?” another 911 caller complains. “You need to get the (expletive) riot squad over there and haul them off to jail.”

We know that something similar happened in the town of California, Pennsylvania this year. We know that Darnell Harding, a linebacker for the local college football team, and Toni Whiteleather, a defensive back, were charged with attacking Michael Chambers. Chambers was an innocent bystander who had the misfortune of running into the two athletes just before Harding, the linebacker, said he was going to “hit the first white person he saw.”

As in London, the law has failed Chambers. Prosecutors dropped the state hate crimes charges in June after they failed to subpoena the victim to give evidence for a preliminary hearing. The Obama administration has also failed Chambers, as we shall see.

The law has failed Marty Marshall and his Akron, Ohio, family. On the Fourth of July in 2009, he was watching fireworks in his front yard with his wife and children. A mob of 30 to 50 black teenagers went onto his property and beat up Marshall, his wife, his children and two adult male friends. “This is our world. This is a black world,” they taunted the injured victims. Marshall spent five nights hospitalized in critical care.

Of course there are federal hate crimes laws designed for these violent racially motivated attacks, right? But a law is only as good as the people enforcing it. The Justice Department under Eric Holder has little interest in bringing hate crimes charges to protect white victims. The corrupt dismissal of the New Black Panther voter intimidation case, which I brought, made that plain.

The criminal section of the civil rights division has the responsibility to prosecute racially motivated violence. But Mark Kappelhoff, the chief of the criminal section of the civil rights division, is unlikely to act if the victims are white. He was angry that the DOJ enforced the law on behalf of white victims in the voting rights case of United States v. Ike Brown. According to the sworn testimony of former voting section chief Christopher Coates, Kappelhoff complained equal enforcement of the law to protect whites was causing problems with “its relations with civil rights groups.” He placed greater importance on political relations with civil rights groups than ending discrimination against white voters.

Selective application of hate crime laws are just one of the many, many things we hate about hate crime laws.

The longer they are on the books, the more the evidence mounts that whatever good intentions they started with, it's all too apparent they now are being used, not for justice, but rather to curry favor with favored political classes.

Adams finishes with this:

Whatever has fractured, whatever has failed, we need to discover and right it. Law, informed by a reverence for human dignity, has lifted our nation, our civilization, out of the darkness of history. The mayhem and violence we are witnessing provides a glimpse of an uncivilized age beyond our memory, before law ruled.

Perhaps the civilized will outnumber the uncivilized. Or, perhaps the burning and looting provides instead a preview of our future.

Sir Winston Churchill understood this. “Civilization will not last,” he said at the University of Bristol in 1938, “freedom will not survive, peace will not be kept, unless a very large majority of mankind unite together to defend them and show themselves possessed of a constabulary power before which barbaric and atavistic forces will stand in awe.”

That we have a President that contemptuously expelled this great man’s bust from the Oval Office only increases our task.

Getting ready for some football (UPDATED)

(scroll down for update)

It's become a cottage industry across the blogosphere to bang on ESPN for their pretentiousness and over-inflated sense of self-worth (and we are just as guilty as the next blog for doing so) but they wouldn't be where they are if they consistently made bad programming decisions.

To wit, ESPN is showing high school football games all weekend. What a great idea.* The progression and symmetry is near-perfect. High school football this weekend will give way to college football Labor day weekend which will then give way to the NFL getting underway on 9-11 weekend. Whose not down for that?

Anyway, as if you needed any help, here is a hi-lite tape of Marshall Faulk while he was at San Diego St. which we stumbled across a week or so ago and we were waiting for a relevant opportunity to share it. Since it's too far past his Hall of Fame induction ceremony earlier this month, this would appear to be as good a time as any.

Faulk is probably our favorite back of all-time with LaDanian Tomlinson running a close second (yes, we were blessed to see both with our own eyes here is San Diego). And that's also the 1-2 combination of running backs we've seen that have maximized the full arsenal of their god-given running back abilities. Running, receiving and running after the catch, ball security and blocking... no one did it better than those two.

* We say this as medically diagnosed football addicts.

(UPDATE #1): As if on cue....

pretentiousness and over-inflated sense of self-worth...

Did we mention blatantly hypocritical?

So between ESPN Golf anaylyst Paul Azinger and ESPN's Kenny Mayne, who do you think got disciplined for the following tweets?:

Don't think too hard.

If you said Kenny Mayne, you live in some sort of fantasy world.

ESPN is coming down on Paul Azinger for mocking President Barack Obama on Twitter. The golf analyst tweeted Thursday the Commander-in-chief plays more golf than he does — and that Azinger has created more jobs this month than Obama has.

On Friday ESPN ‘reminded” Azinger his venture into political punditry violates the company’s updated social network policy for on-air talent and reporters.

“Paul’s tweet was not consistent with our social media policy, and he has been reminded that political commentary is best left to those in that field,” spokesman Andy Hall told Game On! in a statement.

ESPN’s Hall would not comment on whether Azinger, who won the 1993 PGA Championship, will be fired, suspended or punished in some way. “We handle that internally,” he said.

Going public with a violent fantasy about another person is apparently A-OK with the world-wide leader, however.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Here's some more of that "new civility" we've been hearing about

So, it's not really about the kids, after all... Shocking.

Protesters crowded the street outside Messmer Preparatory School in Milwaukee's Riverwest neighborhood as Governor Walker visited the school Friday to read to children.

The protests came just hours after someone vandalized the school ahead of the Governor's visit.

"Some of these folks super glued our front doors at the prep school," said Br. Bob Smith, OFM, the president of Messmer Catholic Schools, about the school on the corner of North Fratney and East Burleigh Streets.

He told Newsradio 620 WTMJ that a woman was walking in front of the school Thursday, asking people to protest.

According to Br. Smith, one protester said " 'Get ready for a riot,' because they were going to disrupt the visit."

Br. Smith said that, in his opinion, the Republican governor's visit to read to students there on Friday was not about political overtones connected to protests that have been happening all year in the state regarding the rollback of collective bargaining rights for many public workers.

"People ought to start acting like adults," said Br. Smith.

"You've got little kids who have no clue what you're even talking about, and you make something political when it isn't, that's just flat-out wrong."

Fat chance, Brother Bob, because living in the petulant state of pre-adolescent leftist whinery means never having to grow up.

Dig this video of what went down at Messmer a couple of days ago from the Maciver Institute:

Make no mistake, this is about school choice. It is about the Governor. And as I said to a lady yesterday, "Look, this is a democracy. There was an election that the state voted. The Governor won. It's over. There will be another election - vote again. But stop acting like children. Because, think of the example you've set for all of the kids who are watching this not just here but all over this state."

Brother Bob insults the good nature and behavior of his school's kids by in any way shape or form likening them to the goons outside the school but the point is noted.

It is also noted the ethic make-up of the students there at the school which of course means that not only are the protesters a bunch of counter-productive hypocrites when it comes to education, they are evidentally racists as well.

Barack H. Obama and a very important campaign message

It's been said that President Obama, lacking one back in the first go of it, will have to run on his record this time around.

That being said, he will also be running against his own campaign ads.

$9 trillion of debt? Ah, the good ol' days.

And can you believe all that uncivil "unpatriotic" rhetoric? How 2008.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Radio KBwD is on the air

Our favorite guitar player of all-time as opposed to the greatest (Jimi). How can that be? We'll explain sometime.

So as not wanting to start a Youtube commenter-like holy war with respect to lengendary axe-men, let's get right to it.

Ladies and Gentlemen, from Dallas, Texas, it's Stevie Ray Vaughan (and Double Trouble) performing perhaps the greatest non-lyrical blues/jazz ballad you will ever hear, "Lenny".

(and judging from the style of dress of the folks in the audience, we'll peg this circa 1984)

P.S. The cleaned-up studio version can be heard, here.

They play their little games, we'll play ours

You figure it had to be coming at some point, right?

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals regularly goes to extremes to get attention, but the animal-rights group's latest tactic is making even more waves than usual. The organization has announced plans to launch a porn site,, to draw attention to its causes. Is this a bold, effective move or a "cynical and exploitative" tactic?

This will help PETA get noticed: "We really want to grab people's attention, get them talking and to question the status quo and ultimately take action," says Lindsay Rajt, a PETA spokeswoman, as quoted by The Huffington Post. Amidst the 24-hour news cycle, sometimes the best way to get people's attention is with something provocative. If pornography is what it takes to raise awareness about veganism and get people to stop killing and eating animals, so be it.
"PETA plans a porn site"

Allow us to retort...

... with some porn of our own.

H/T: Riviera Club

Instavision, capitalism and morality

Glenn Reynolds sits down with John Allison, former CEO of BB&T, to discuss the causes of the financial crisis, what it is we are doing completely wrong to recover from it and the moral nature of capitalism.

Understanding what happened in the financial crisis is complex and people are looking for simple solutions; they're looking for solutions like "greed" which is not the cause of the financial crisis. In fact the Federal Reserve is the primary cause of the financial crisis - they printed too much money which resulted in a bubble which is really a massive mis-investment and it ended up in the residential real estate market because of government housing policy: affordable housing, sub-prime lending that was primarily financed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

In fact, history (shows) that what we've done with government policy always fails. If you look at trying to correct corrections by spending money you don't have to do things that don't need to be done, which is what a stimulus program really is, and try to finance that spending by printing money, it always fails.

So, why do we keep doing it?

Unfortunately, Keynes theory which is the basis of the current actions has got a lot of academic credibility even though it's failed and that's because it gives Congress and the government lots of power; interestingly enough it gives academics lots of power. The answer is the government need not do anything... It's really just a huge power lust for politicians and academics.

There's almost an inverse relationship that you describe between the where the government is most involved, you have the worst consequences (financial sector) and where it's least involved, like (in) technology, you have the best outcomes.

If the Federal Reserve can manipulate the quantity and value of money it makes it very hard to make business decisions.

Capitalism as a "moral" system.

Capitalism is the only moral system, because it's the only system that is consistent with man's fundamental nature as an independent thinking being. And in order to think for yourself and be productive, you have to be free. And capitalism is the only system that allows people to be free to think and innovate and all human progress is based on creativity.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

If you watch nothing else today...


... please make it this.

Jon Tumlinson, a Navy SEAL from Iowa died aboard the Chinook that was shot down by the Taliban over Wardak Province a few weeks ago. Below is his story and that of his loyal dog.

Rest in peace.

H/T: Hot Air

MAXED OUT: Gueuze Fond Tradition

Brother Maximus, getting back on track and countin' it down...

Welcome back to the Thunderdome my sultans of swig, I’m back after a week off for my birthday. Yes, it was an entire week of research for this here blog. You’re welcome. Oh, and you can send any birthday
presents to Hoffer’s Cigar Bar: 8282 La Mesa Blvd. La Mesa, CA
91942. Kthanks!

And I’m back with a vengeance. Today I’m breaking back into my top
10 beers of all time, and this one is a doozy! St. Louis Gueze Fond
, which is brewed by a Belgian brewery that I’m not even
going to attempt to spell. Not worth your time, nor mine. Let’s get
right into what a gueuze is, and why THIS is my fave, shall we?

So what is a Gueze? Do you remember back when I told y’all that
there are basically three different types of beer? Do you remember
what they were? Lagers/pilsners, ales, and lambics/wilds. I knew you
guys would remember. Like I always say, you’re so smart. Well how
they make a gueze is they combine 2 lambics, one a little older and a little wiser, and the young upstart. They blend these 2 beasts together,
typically age it for a couple 2-3 years and bam! Gueuze!/b>

Now gueuzes fall into a category that we in the beer industry call
sour ales or sour beers… or just plain old sours. The reason for this
is because THEY ARE FREAKIN’ SOUR!!!! I do not recommend that any of
you newbies start out just yet with sour ales. It has taken me a while
to get here, although I do think that it’s a little easier to jump
into sours when you are a hop head like myself (meaning I love me a
good IPA.) So why this gueuze? Aaahchlow me to exchplain.

It comes in a rather pricy cork and wired bottle at about 18 ounces.
You can smell the sour notes as soon as the first drop spills from the
glass, it’s faint orange color dancing in the sun. It gives off very
little head and evens out with a very faint pinkish orange color.
Very light. The nose has a very strong sour, lemon, faint apple,
acidic-like vinegar, and a little dash of HELL YES! Now the taste?
Holy crap in my pants!!! Hits ya in that mouth like ya just shoved an
entire bag of sour patch kids in your face. With every sip there’s a
jowl bustin’ good time to be had. A lot of the same flavors come
through in the flavor as they do in the nose. Tart lemon, apple, nice
and acidic but doesn’t give you acid reflux like some sours can. Or
at least it didn’t the last time I tried it. Oh, and I forgot to tell
you the best/worst thing about sours in general. They take a long
time to drink so you don’t tend to get drunk very fast. You can slow
sip a sour for hours. And the Fond Tradition is only 5% ABV!

Now this will be a first for me: I do not recommend this beer! I
mean, if you like sour beers then I totally recommend this beer.
Howeva! Comma! If you have never tried a sour this is just not the
beer for you. If you are interested in trying and entry level sour, a
lighter sour, if you will, Duchesse De Bourgogne is a great starter.
A little on the sweet side, but a good starter. If you want to jump
into a straight sour beer that’s a little lighter but not sweet (which
is what I tend to like) the Cuvee Rene is a great, light option.

So ya, there ya go! The Gueuze Fond Tradition, the next notch on my
belt of best beers I’ve consumed. As always, thanks for putting up
with my ramblings and you know where to comment.

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

(ed. note: Sours are definetely hit or miss with us and certainly a beer for which one has to be in the "mood")

Video clip of the day

On Sunday evening, National Geographic will be airing a one hour special about President Bush's memories of 9-11.

Here's a tease clip:

One of the things that absolutely chapped our hide and which was emblematic of Bush Derangement Syndrome was the snarkful criticisms leveled at Bush as he sat there in that classroom with that 10,000 ft. stare after being informed by Andy Card that the second World Trade Center tower had been hit.

Like, what was he supposed to do? After being informed that the country was under attack, maybe a little soft-shoe in front of the tykes, perhaps some Shakespeare? Or maybe given the go-it-alone cowboy personae we had not yet seen, he could've demanded that half the class form a defensive perimeter while arming the other half with the command to storm the cafeteria in the hopes of nabbing the perp.

Seriously. While his Secret Service detail was most certainly securing the perimeter and Air Force One was being fired up, there's no doubt that what went missing in Bush's recounting of Card's "brief" was for Bush to keep his ass planted right there in that seat until which time he could make an orderly departure.

Aaarrgh... Ten years on this stuff still ticks us off.

Anyway, we'll be watching.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Your mid-week martini-worthy photo image



Jerry Leiber (on the left), one half of the epic and prolific song-writing duo, Leiber and (Mike) Stoller, who wrote countless hits for countless performers, most notably Elvis, passed away a couple of days ago in Los Angeles due to cardio-pulmonary failure. He was 78.

It's gotta be, right?

Peggy Lee performing her Leiber and Stoller-penned Grammy winner in 1969, "Is That All There Is?".

R.I.P. Jerry Leiber

P.S. A couple of weeks back, we were in a conversation with some young'uns who expressed a small degree of disdain over the fact that many pop artists today employ their own in-house song-writers. We chuckled to ourselves wondering if we should date ourselves by mentioning people like Carole King, Neil Diamond, James Taylor, Leiber and Stoller, and Holland, Dozier and Holland and the work they did for a generation of pop and rock performers in the 50s and 60s at places like the Brill Building and Motown. We figured we'd let them figure it out.

The best thing you will read in the NY Times...

... perhaps ever.

Entrance question: What do we want our National Parks to be? A window to the Wild or theme parks?

A rash of accidental deaths at Yosemite National Park this summer has sparked that debate. Left Coast Rebel turned us on to this article by Timothy Egan. He writes:

So, the conundrum: More than ever, an urban nation plagued by obesity, sloth and a surfeit of digital entertainment should encourage people to experience the wild — but does that mean nature has to be tame and lawyer-vetted?

My experience, purely anecdotal, is that the more rangers try to bring the nanny state to public lands, the more careless, and dependent, people become. There will always be steep cliffs, deep water, and ornery and unpredictable animals in that messy part of the national habitat not crossed by climate-controlled malls and processed-food emporiums. If people expect a grizzly bear to be benign, or think a glacier is just another variant of a theme park slide, it’s not the fault of the government when something goes fatally wrong.

Egan nails it. There's a reason the great outdoors are outdoors... and we find shelter, food and comfort within four walls and under a roof: Mother Nature's a bitch.

This is Angels Landing at Zion National Park. We've been to Zion 4 times in our lifetime, 3 as adults and we have yet to bring ourselves to climb out to the promontory.

How it is that this trail on public land remains open is a mystery to us but guess what? We revel in the fact that though there is no way in hell we're hanging our ass out over a couple thousand feet of nothingness, challenges and risks like this exist in our National Parks. This is a good thing.

We're pressed for time so we may be back with some follow-up thoughts. Pax.

Photo image of the day

With respect to the earthquake that rocked the mid-Atlantic seaboard yesterday, we understand the skittish-ness that accompanied the tremor what with the 10 year anniversary of 9-11 approaching and their general unfamiliarity with earthquakes in general. Even still, us Southern Californians couldn't help but be somewhat bemused by the general freak-out that ensued.

Having said that, we scoured the interwebs to see what sort of pictures we could dredge up that depicted the devastation that the earthquake visited upon that region and the following is what we found:

... please brace yourself. It ain't pretty...

And tweets too...

Krugman says it wasn't big enough.

As all of DC leaves work at the same time, the United States experiences a brief economic recovery.

H/T: Instapundit

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sarah sez

One in a series that takes a look at some of the zany and madcap things said by the former governor of Alaska.

It would appear that Ms. Palin is a big fan of those top-down pragmatists over in China. Those top-down pragmatists that have a very interesting concept of being "pro-choice". Here's Palin over in China just yesterday:

What we ended up doing is setting up a system whereby we did cut by $1.2 trillion upfront, the deficit over the next 10 years. And we set up a group of senators that have to come up with another $1.2 to $1.7 trillion in savings or automatically there will be cuts that go into effect in January to get those savings. So the savings will be accomplished. But as I was talking to some of your leaders, you share a similar concern here in China. You have no safety net. Your policy has been one which I fully understand -- I’m not second-guessing -- of one child per family. The result being that you’re in a position where one wage earner will be taking care of four retired people. Not sustainable.

So hopefully we can act in a way on a problem that's much less severe than yours, and maybe we can learn together from how we can do that.
(emphasis, ours)

Of course, that wasn't Palin but rather our very own Vice President, Joey "Choo-choo" Biden.

It speaks volumes of the statist mindset that they're idea of entitlement reform isn't to make any needed structural changes to the entitlement program itself but rather ensuring a sustainable worker:pensioner ratio (Biden even got that one wrong. How is limiting the number of future workers paying into the system in any way sustainable?) through forced abortions.

An eight-months pregnant woman was dragged from her home and forced to have an abortion because she had broken China’s one-child-per-family law.

Twelve government officials entered Xiao Aiying’s house where they hit and kicked her in the stomach, before taking her kicking and screaming to hospital.

There, the 36-year-old was restrained as doctors injected her with a drug to kill the unborn baby.

Her husband Luo Yanquan, a construction worker, yesterday described the moment officials burst into his family home.

‘They held her hands behind her back and pushed her head against the wall and kicked her in the stomach,’ he said. ‘I don’t know if they were trying to give her a miscarriage.

‘Our ten-year-old daughter has been excited about having a little brother or sister but I don’t know how I can explain to her what has happened.’

He recalled how a month before the child was due to be born officials told the couple they weren’t allowed to have another baby because they already have a daughter.

His wife (pictured), who was filmed in hospital with large bruises on her arms and her dead child still inside her, said: ‘I have had this baby, feeling it moving around and around my belly. Can you imagine how I feel now.’

Her harrowing experience in Siming, near the city of Xiamen, south-west China, on October 10, comes a month after the government in Beijing said there would be no relaxation in strict family planning laws.

Forced abortions just a tad unsavory for your delicate sensibilities? How about, then, a pre-emptive strike via forced sterilizations?

Authorities in southern China must not violate human rights in carrying out their reported plans to sterilize thousands of people this month in a drive to meet family planning targets, Amnesty International said on Thursday.

According to Chinese media reports, officials in Puning City, Guangdong Province aim to sterilize 9,559 people, some against their will, by 26 April.

The authorities started the campaign to sterilize people who already have at least one child on 7 April.

Four days later, the authorities said they had already met 50 per cent of their target. A local doctor told the media his team was scheduled to work from 8am until 4am the following day.

"Forced sterilizations carried out by officials amount to torture and the haste of the procedures raises questions about their safety and possible health impacts," said Roseann Rife, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Deputy Director.

Question for Amnesty International: Is there a way in which to perform sterilizations that is not a violation of one's human rights?

And here's what we wrote last fall with respect to the Chi-comms and their biggest cheerleader in the American press (linked above):

Are we somehow implying that Thomas Friedman, with his odd obsession regarding China's economic planning, condones this? Certainly not. However, when your column, time after time, extols, on the whole, the virtues of this command-and-control authoritarian state, you're going to have to answer for certain things.

You may say that it is only with respect to China's economic direction does Friedman's affection lie. China's One Child Policy was put into place, in large part, because of economics and the fact that China was worried that families (and the country, for that matter) could not afford more than one child per couple.

Crappy economic policy spills over and creates brutal, thuggish and murderous human policy.

What better example is there of the importance to rein in the influence and power of government? If the government can direct economic activity, what gives you the reason to think that they will not see that as justification for directing other parts of society. Please see: ObamaCare.

Sorry, Tom. When it comes to being a Chi-comm apologist, if you're in for a dime, you're in for a dollar.

Perhaps, some day soon, we will find ourselves in a position where China is not buying so much of our debt and we will better be in another position where we won't feel so compelled to ass-kiss them and their morally bankrupt system of governance.

It's staggering to imagine just what an epically colossal buffoon is Joe Biden.

Your unauthorized Libyan military kinesiology update (UPDATED)

(please scroll down for update)

We're all neo-cons now, brother!

So, it looks like Gaddafi is out. Good news, right? Sure is, but of course the $64,000 question is who/what is going to replace he and his regime.

(ed. note: One of the great things regarding blogging about our military adventureism in Libya is that you could spell the dude's name any ol' damn way you wanted and no one would question it. Awesome, right?)

At the end of the day, however, we're wondering precisely what U.N. sanctions Libya was in violation of and what direct threat they posed to our country.

And perhaps most importantly, we're left wondering by what authority the Commander-in-Chief was waging war because it sure as hell didn't come through the usual channels, i.e., Congress. Now, we know that there was quite a bit going on here stateside but that Congress could not muster anything but the feeblest of protest and demand for accountability is not encouraging for the Republic.

But you know what? Screw it. Let's party.

Who's up for a little Bushian, neo-con bellicosity and triumphalism? Formerly anti-war liberals, that's who.

Check out the gloat-fest over at Left Coast Rebel, here. The irony of celebrating domestic unilateralism as the method of ridding an overseas strongman will not be lost on you.

And if these Congressional-free, newly-minted adherents to neo-conservatism are being consistent, they will be in full-throat for the bombs to begin dropping on Damasacus right quick, now - so let's hear it!

(UDATE #1):

From the L.A. Times: White House touts Libya strategy

Wait. There was a strategy?

After taking months of heat from both political parties for its decision to assist in a NATO-led mission in Libya, the Obama administration was not only pleased with the results but also eager to tout the strategy, crediting it with weakening Moammar Kadafi’s forces over time while giving rebel forces time to regroup.

And the administration offered a response to criticism that Obama’s plan lacked an endgame in Libya: “Six months is not a long time to bring down a 42-year dictatorship,” said Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security advisor for strategic communications, in a telephone interview.

“Over time, all the pressure on Kadafi built up because we were destroying his forces on the ground while denying him ability to replenish them, so he was getting steadily weaker and at the same time the opposition was getting better organized,” Rhodes said.

Sorry, pal, 6 months is a long time when the Commander-in-Chief said this conflict would last days not weeks. But let's not talk past each other here as what is really at issue is that the President embarked upon this overseas adventure without approval from Congress while hiding behind a 60, then 90-day grace period in the War Powers Act. And when we raced right past those deadlines, the White House had the temerity to tell us that everything was on the up and up because NATO was not engaged in any actual, you know, "hostilities".

And then came all the intermittent non-sense regarding just what was our M.O. or "strategy": "Protecting civilians", then "Going after military installations, then "taking out infrastructure" before returning to "protecting civilians". Change from day to day depending upon the circumstance and the convenience when what it was all along but the administration knew was a political loser: "regime change".

When your predecessor actually sought and was granted authorization for "regime change" while you didn't even bother to ask, it just might remind people of what it was they thought they despised that administration for and who needs the potential of that boomeranging back and knocking your adminstration upside the head.

That's right: The Obama adminstration out-W'ed W.

So, the muddle described above and which for brevity's sake we will refer to from here on out as "leading from behind" is now this country's "strategy" for removing the bad actors in the Middle East. Good to know. A far cry from the Powell Doctrine we suppose so how about neo-con lite and doing just the minimum to make sure no one at home and certainly no one in a compliant media is making too much of a fuss over.

Mr. Obama is proving imperial presidencies aren't really all that difficult to pull off if you're committed to your craft and no one is paying any attention.

Video clip of the day

Donna Matias of the University of San Diego does pro bono legal work to help low and medium-income entrepreneurships navigate their way through the mazes of the local and city licensing, permitting and regulatory regimes.

It's really frustrating to work with a client who's really passionate about their business, who needs to support a family but is faced with all of these obstacles, the business permits, the licensing, the taxes, the employment compliance and all of that. It's very frustrating for me to see and to know what they have ahead of them because starting a business is something they are very passionate about.

One of the best ways for the state of California to get back on track financially, I think, is to allow businesses to operate and operate without all the compliance and regulatory burdens they have been suffering under.

Basically, the state needs to lower taxes and decrease the regulations.

You think Sacramento has any desire whatsoever to pursue any of these initiatives offered by Matias?

And speaking of regulatory bureaucracies, every year, we wonder why it is we are scratching out that $130 check to the state DMV. Now, one may argue that renewal of your vehicle registration is tied into smog compliance every two years. That logic is debateable but for the sake of argument, so be it. But what about the off year? For what purpose are we "renewing" our registration and why does it cost $130 to do it... every year? Propping up a state bureaucracy is not going to cut it as a reason.

Monday, August 22, 2011


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

So, unemployment here in San Diego county is at 10.5%. Sounds like a terrific time to go on strike, right? Well, that's precisely what the grocery workers here are considering just as they did 8 years ago.

Here's B-Daddy with his thoughts on the matter:

I personally crossed the picket line and was interviewed on local TV about why I did so. The answer was simple, we needed groceries for a party and didn't feel excessive sympathy for the worker's position. At the time, Walmart was starting to move into the grocery business and the big grocery chains needed to contain costs in order to compete. I think the problem for the grocery store workers is that it doesn't appear that high levels of education or training are necessary to perform their work. As a result, they will constantly be under competitive pressure. This is not meant as disparagement, I am on friendly terms with many unionized grocery workers and they treat me very well. They work in a field where economists would say there are low barriers to entry into that workforce, unlike health care, for instance. Ultimately, the price I pay for my groceries is a good part of the consideration of where I decide to shop. Regardless of their helpfulness, prices that are too high will send me elsewhere.

I sincerely hope the strike ends soon, but I don't see how the workers are in any better position to win concessions than they were eight years ago. Further, I wonder how they will explain to their unemployed neighbors that they went on strike because their health care costs went up. Isn't that true for almost everyone?

Shane Atwell's totally excellent Regulation Watch round-up, here.

Here's some more of that "new civility" we keep hearing about:

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) came out swinging against Republicans in Congress on Saturday as she addressed the unemployed during a forum in Inglewood.

The event occurred a day after new statistics were released showing that California's jobless rate last month went up to 12%, from 11.8%. California now has the second-highest rate of unemployment in the nation, trailing only Nevada at 12.9%, and its jobless rate is well above the U.S. average of 9.1%.

Waters vowed to push Congress to focus on creating more jobs. "I'm not afraid of anybody," said Waters. "This is a tough game. You can't be intimidated. You can't be frightened. And as far as I'm concerned, the 'tea party' can go straight to hell."

More than 1,000 people attended "Kitchen Table Summit," which was designed to give the jobless an opportunity to vent to elected officials and share their struggles about finding a job.

KABC-TV quoted speakers talking about living without medical insurance and surviving paycheck to paycheck.

"Thank God I am healthy because a medical illness would bankrupt me," said Regina Davis of Inglewood.

Congresswomen Laura Richardson and Karen Bass also attended. Several people urged the representatives to push for a national jobs program.

(italics, ours)

There you have it: the template has been set. The Democrats are going to demand of the President yet another worthless "stimulus" plan, one that this President of such shallow economic intellect will reflexively grant.

And wasn't ObamaCare supposed to ease the medical cost burden? That doesn't seem to be the case now, does it?

Here's Eric Cantor (R-MD) in today's Washington Post:

In fact, the Obama administration’s anti-business, hyper-regulatory, pro-tax agenda has fueled economic uncertainty and sent the message from the administration that “we want to make it harder to create jobs.” There is no other conclusion for policies such as the new Environmental Protection Agency regulations, including the “Transport Rule,” which could eliminate thousands of jobs, or the ozone regulation that would cost upward of $1 trillion and millions of jobs in the construction industry over the next decade. The administration’s new maximum achievable control technology standards for cement are expected to affect nearly 100 cement plants, setting over-the-top requirements resulting in increased costs and possibly thousands of jobs being offshored. There is the president’s silence as the National Labor Relations Board seeks to prevent Boeing from opening a plant in South Carolina that would create thousands of jobs. Such behavior, coupled with the president’s insistence on raising the top tax rate paid by individuals and small businesses, has resulted in a lag in growth that has added to the debt crisis, contributing to our nation’s credit downgrade.

It should be noted that so thorough and comprehensive is Obama's war on jobs, Boeing wasn't relocating a plant from heavily-unionized Washington state, they were merely opening a completely new one in right-to-work South Carolina.

A pretty rough week, last week, for the President optics-wise. You had the two, million dollar-a-piece Canadian-built buses for the Midwest jobs tour that didn't include any jobs plan before zooming off to the toney confines of Martha's Vineyard for vacation. Here is another optic, though, we felt completely lacking.

Because nothing says economic prosperity and dynanism like speaking in front of stacks upon stacks of empty pallets. Barren, idle, empty pallets.

Oh, dear lord, say it ain't so...

Favre to the Colts?

Steyn smack:

Rick Perry, governor of Texas, has only been in the presidential race for 20 minutes, but he’s already delivered one of the best lines in the campaign:

“I’ll work every day to try to make Washington, D.C., as inconsequential in your life as I can.”

This will be grand news to Schylar Capo, eleven years old, of Virginia, who made the mistake of rescuing a woodpecker from the jaws of a cat and nursing him back to health for a couple of days, and for her pains, was visited by a federal Fish & Wildlife gauleiter (with accompanying state troopers) who charged her with illegal transportation of a protected species and issued her a $535 fine. If the federal child-abuser has that much time on his hands, he should have charged the cat, who was illegally transporting the protected species from his gullet to his intestine.

So eleven-year-old Schylar and other middle-schoolers targeted by the micro-regulatory superstate might well appreciate Governor Perry’s pledge. But you never know, it might just catch on with the broader population, too.

Oh, and here's even more of that "new civility" we've been hearing so much of lately:

The Monroe County Sheriff's Department is working to solve a case of vandalism that turned life-threatening.

John King was shot in the arm last week when he surprised a man trying to slash the tires on the truck at his Lambertville home.The word "scab" was also scrawled on the side.

King says he became suspicious when he saw an outside security light outside go on.

When he stepped out of his front door, the man fired one shot and ran off.

King is the owner of the largest non-union electrical contracting company in the area.

Is 'The Help' Hollywood's latest liberal civil rights fantasy?

I can only imagine the emotional roller coaster Viola Davis must have experienced when her agent called to say she'd been offered a juicy part in “The Help,” DreamWorks' adaptation of Kathryn Stockett's bestselling novel. Even though parts for African American women are extremely few and far between, she would be costarring in the movie, enjoying more time on screen than she'd ever had in a major studio film.

Of course, there was an uncomfortable reality: She would be playing a part that many African Americans see as a cobwebby stereotype — Aibileen, a maid in 1960s Mississippi who cleans house for and raises the children of white segregationists, tots who beam at her and exclaim, “You're my real mama, Aibi!”

If civil rights activists want a big, fat target, perhaps they should set their sights on the ranks of Hollywood execs.

OK, that's it for now. May possibly be back later this evening but definiteley tomorrow.

Smog, traffic, crime and graffiti and all that they have to show for it is their crappy newspaper

One in a series that takes a look at what's going on with the L.A. Times.

The President will not be unveiling his much-anticipated jobs plan until September but in the meantime, the Pulitzer prize-winning Los Angeles Times has weighed in on what they think will resuscitating our backsliding economy.

Here was a tease link on Times' web page last week:

Steve Lopez: Villaraigosa talks financial sense; now it's Brown's turn

Hmmm... Color us intrigued. Perhaps what Lopez was going to talk about was the mayor's willingness to put public employee benefits and pensions on the the table as a way to restore some fiscal order to the city and have that serve as the roadmap for similar action at the state level.

That hope, however, was short-lived... this is the L.A. Times we're talking about. So, what was the financial sense-talking that Lopez was referring to? Here goes:

He told me weeks ago that he was going to do it, and he did. L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said Tuesday in a Sacramento speech that it’s time to test the voltage in some so-called third-rail issues, including Proposition 13.

He did not, however, go as far as he might have –- precisely because it’s a third-rail issue, particularly for homeowners. So instead he took the split-roll approach, arguing that commercial property owners who got the same tax protections from the landmark 1978 proposition as private homeowners need to pony up now.

Eh. So, let's get this straight: businesses and jobs are leaving this state for the more friendly environs of states like Utah, Arizona and Texas because of the onerous tax and regulatory burdens imposed by the state and Lopez wants to increase the cost of doing business here in California? Unreal.

Alright, let's see what the other genius on the Times' Op-ed staff, Michael Hiltzik, thinks needs to happen to revive economy. He's calling for "bold" initiatives. Cool. Bold. Kind of like thinking outside the box, perhaps? Bold, as in doing something that hasn't been tried before. Like not doing the same old things that have proven to be abject failures. That sort of bold?


1. Fix housing...

Yet as I've written before, the administration's homeowner rescue efforts have been pathetic. As part of the $700-billion banking bailout of 2008, about $50 billion was supposed to be devoted to mortgage relief, including nearly $30 billion to the mortgage modification program known as HAMP. Of that sum, only about $2 billion had been spent as of June 30, according to the bailout program's inspector general. The government made sure that bailout money got to the banks, even some that didn't want it. But homeowners have gotten barely a taste.

That remaining HAMP money is part of an unspent balance of $53 billion in the bailout program that may still be available for disbursement, according to the inspector general, depending on how it's used. Obama may not need a further congressional vote to use it. His first order of business should be to dramatically restructure HAMP, say by taking the initiative for mortgage modifications away from the banks, which have done almost nothing but gum up the process. And then put that money to use.

2. Build! The $30-billion infrastructure bank, which resembles a bipartisan idea that has been kicking around Congress for too long (the co-sponsors are Sens. John Kerry [D-Mass.] and Kay Bailey Hutchison [R-Tex.]) is a start, but only a start. If the public-private partnerships Kerry and Hutchison foresee would really create a gain of more than $600 billion over 10 years for every $10 billion spent from the public till, as they suggest, why take a cheeseparing approach?

A $100-billion fund would create $6 trillion in value, and given the sorry state of the U.S. infrastructure, that would only scratch the surface of what's needed as an investment in future economic growth. Let's see Obama put a truly ambitious program on the table, and let's hear the Republicans in Congress explain why we don't need the work.

There you have it, ladies and gentlemen... Bold: More Keynesian gimmickry that has forestalled a true housing recovery by keeping bad risk mortages afloat. Bold: More Porkulus like the the $800 billion stimulus plan that was signed into law two and half years ago and which promised to keep unemployment under 8% and which, of course, did nothing of the sort except to prop up faltering state budgets and which also delayed serious discussion about what to do about those faltering budgets until only recently in states such as Wisconsin and New Jersey.

After reading those two pieces above, it begs the question regarding just what alternate universe the Times Op-ed board resides. There is simply a complete detachment from the facts-on-the-ground and a complete unwillingness to acknowledge failed policies.

Some newspaper, huh?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

OK, it isn't just about the economy, stupid

Weren't we all told that self-preservation is life's most basic human instinct? The quickened heart beat, the short breaths, the sweaty palms...

Mike McDaniel of Confederate Yankeee breaks it all down as such:

It all comes down to this: Is there an inalienable right to self-defense? If there is, each man has indisputable, inestimable value, value that he may rightly preserve even if the life of another man is forfeit. A man may kill another in lawful self-defense even if the policy preferences of the state would prefer his death. If a right to self-defense actually exists, it is in a very real sense the highest law of the land and all lesser laws must pay it deference. It fundamentally defines the social contract, the nature of the relationship between man and the state.

But if there is no such inalienable right, the entire nature of the social contract is changed. Each man’s worth is measured solely by his utility to the state, and as such the value of his life rides a roller coaster not unlike the stock market: dependent not only upon the preferences of the party in power but upon the whims of its political leaders and the permanent bureaucratic class. The proof of this analysis surrounds us.


In the recent riots in Britain, we see America not far into the future if the progressive worldview is much further advanced. Contemporary England is a nation that spends a great deal of time and energy ostensibly caring for “the people,” yet cares not a whit for the life of any individual, particularly when that life is threatened or taken by a member of a favored political class or victim group, criminals included. This attitude and practice is a foundation of socialism.

At an earlier stage of glorious socialist evolution, we find the family of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, murdered by cartel gunmen wielding rifles walked across the border in the gunwalker scandal. As reported by Fox News, the family of Terry requested crime victim status in the case of Jamie Avila, charged with purchasing the guns that reportedly killed Terry. Victims with such an obvious and compelling connection to a criminal case are routinely granted this status by prosecutors, but not in a government fundamentally changing itself into a socialist state.

Please read the entire article at the link. This is important stuff.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Why doesn't this lady have her own show?

Laura Ingraham subbing for O'Reilly... any further commentary would be superfluous.

OK. We lied. Rangel is either exceedingly ballsy or just plain stupid to think he was going to sneak his snakeoil past Ingraham. We think, however, his sexist comment to Ingraham proves he's just plain clueless.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Radio KBwD is on the air

We've featured these guys before (we think) as one of the seminal alternative rock bands of the 80s as they, along with The Untouchables fused ska, funk, rock and punk together and which helped influence other Southern California-area bands like The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Sublime.

We saw these guys live back in the mid-80s on the campus of Cal-State Fullerton and it was one of the most bizarre and amazingly energetic shows we've ever witnessed.

Ladies and Gentlemen, from Los Angeles, California, it's Fishbone performing "Party at Ground Zero".

Video of clip of the day

From Sparta to SEAL Team 6...

Glenn Reynolds sits down with author Steven Pressfield to talk about his new book, The Warrior Ethos:

I do see life as a sort of a conflict... and I think the metaphor of war stories and stories of conflict keep resonating through whatever I do.

I have a little bit of a dark view of contemporary America society and where were going with our various institutions that are supposedly taking care of business but the one institution that is doing great, I think, is the military. And that's where I see people with the most spirit, the most passion and even the most vision.

In order to bring some "institutional balance" back to American society as well as getting back to the citizen-soldier concept vs. the current professional soldier concept, Pressfield is in favor of bringing back the draft or something similar. We're not too sure about that.

People whose opinions we greatly respect, believe as Pressfield does, that perhaps society would be greatly improved if its citizenry was infused with that warrior ethos via a mandatory two-year hitch in the military.

We're of the mind that if we're depending on the military to teach us how to be better citizens, then perhaps we have greater structural problems than we realize.

Feel free to discuss in the comment section.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Smack of the day

Congressman Allen West (R-FL) was asked by the Council on American-Islamic Relations to cut ties with "anti-Muslim" activists Pamela Gellar and Brigitte Gabriel.

His response seemed to confound at least one liberal blog site:

Allen Wes't strange, one-word response for being called out for ties to Islamophobes

Here is West's "strange, one-word response":

" NUTS! "

Allen West is surrounded on all sides. He's got 'em right where he wants 'em.

Some thoughts on email

A couple of personal email quirks: we don't pass along or forward emails in the hopes of good luck or worse, avoiding bad luck. And we don't normally pay attention to or even bother responding to emails regarding one's religion, heritage or politics. Huh?

C'mon... you know the type we're talking about. Here's an excerpt of one you may have seen:

From Dreams From My Father: "I ceased to advertise my mother's race at the age of 12 or 13, when I began to suspect that by doing so I was ingratiating myself to whites." From Dreams From My Father : "I found a solace in nursing a pervasive sense of grievance and animosity against my mother's race." From Dreams From My Father: "There was something about her that made me wary, a little too sure of herself, maybe and white." From Dreams From My Father: "It remained necessary to prove which side you were on, to show your loyalty to the black masses, to strike out and name names." From Dreams From My Father: "I never emulate white men and brown men whose fates didn't speak to my own. It was into my father's image, the black man, son of Africa, that I'd packed all the attributes I sought in myself: the attributes of Martin and Malcolm, DuBois and Mandela." And FINALLY ........... and most scary: From Audacity of Hope:"I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in
an ugly direction."
[Is THAT sufficiently CLEAR?]

We were asked for our thoughts on the matter. As we said, we normally don't "share" but in this instance, for whatever reason, we felt compelled to give our two cents on this subject:

Yeah, (we've) got some thoughts: This is completely retarded. There is absolutely no context to any of these pull-quotes. When did he say all this? Are they his current thoughts/feelings or are they of his "angry young black man stage?" Hmmm... don't know? Terrific.

This is pretty much "birther"-type stuff and that horse left the barn the day he was elected. Perhaps, we would've liked the legacy media to dig a little deeper into these alleged transgressions a tad earlier but guess what? They didn't. Freaking deal with it.

Is Obama a closet Muslim? Don't know and frankly don't really care. Here's what we do know: we have a 9.2% unemployment rate. We are sliding back into a recession because this ass-clown, Muslim or not, is an economic illiterate. He's a gangster that will take over private companies at the drop of a hat and force American citizens to purchase health insurance whether they need it or not and whether they like it or not. He is currently employing U.S. military assets in completely unauthorized warfare against a foreign power that poses no military threat to this country. Yes, he's Bush on HGH. There is also the distinct possibility that his political appointees have actively engaged in a gun-running program that have killed one U.S. Border Patrol agent and a documented thousands of Mexican officials and citizens. (We) could go on about broken promises to his left like not shutting down Gitmo but (we) don't really care about the left, his religion or what he said about his mama back in the day because what matters is that he is a current-day walking-talking disaster that is perhaps the most unqualified and incompetent yet most power-hungry President in our lifetime. That is what you should be forwarding to your friends.

Which, of course, brings us to Governor Perry and his comments about Ben Bernanke: shut the hell up.

Wrapping up these two seemingly unrelated concepts, there is an adage in politics that says when a man is content to hang himself.. stay the hell out of the way!

Thanks for letting us share.