Tuesday, October 29, 2013

It's pretty clear what this is all about

Now that millions of Americans are finding out, contrary to what the President continually insisted, that you cannot keep your healthcare plan and that they indeed knew that you wouldn't be able to keep it, a convenient new meme has emerged to cover Team O's collective ass: the health care plan you were shoved into is better than the one you had so just deal with it..

That's right: an overwhelming majority of Americans that were satisfied with their current coverage were just flat out wrong and they needed an obtrusive mandatory federal program to tell them that.

Allow Charles Krauthammer to retort (please click here for video):

It’s precisely why historically centrally-planned economies don’t work. The Soviets had a plan for this much steel and this much concrete and it had no response to what was out there in the market and they overproduced. So, they had a lot of production numbers and they had an economy that was unworkable. Here these people are deciding if you’re a single male in your 60s, you don’t need the maternal care, you don’t — you’ve never smoked dope, you don’t need the substance abuse stuff. You want a catastrophic plan which is very rational, but Jay Carney is saying, you know, ‘you’re too stupid to understand what you want.’ Once you eliminate the market response, which is a lot of people decide I know what I want better than the bureaucrat and they’re eliminating this. That’s the essence of what’s happening and that’s why it’s not going to work.

At the end of the day the core ideology that informs collectivists like the President and which drives them to legislation like ObamaCare is this: You're too ignorant to handle your own matters, so they'll do it for you.

Monday, October 28, 2013

We don't do big things very well, anymore, do we?


The glitches that have plagued rolling disaster that is the launching of ObamaCare and specifically that of the online exchanges through which an individual can purchase health insurance has resulted in a meme over the past couple of weeks within conservative and libertarian circles: this isn't so much about a website and it isn't so much about another entitlement program we cannot afford rather the failure of the online exchanges and which should scare the beejeezus out of statists everywhere is that this becomes an existential question of the sustainability and effectiveness of big government progressivism.

Here's Glenn Reynolds aka Instapundit breaking it down in his latest column from USA Today:

As it's gotten bigger, the federal government appears to have gotten less competent. Apollo was a success on its own terms, but the big government policies that followed -- the War On Poverty, the War On Drugs, the War On Cancer -- have all been pretty much failures, sometimes disastrous ones.

Even Obama himself is evidence of this problem. His 2012 presidential campaign was famous for its mastery of technology, building up an electronic campaign infrastructure in just a few months that helped him win the election. But, of course, it wasn't a government operation. Obama without the government - a technological success. Obama within the government - a technological embarrassment. The difference between success and failure here, as even Obama-haters will have to admit, wasn't Obama. It's more likely that a political campaign has clear goals, and lots of freedom to improvise, while a federal program is much more encumbered by law and bureaucracy.

Whatever the cause, it remains indisputable that the federal government isn't very good at delivering on big projects. The obvious response is to not trust the federal government with big projects on which it can't deliver. Instead, they should be left to those who can.

Let's bumper sticker this, shall we: We used to put men on the moon, now we can't even build a website.

And we've noted a change of tune from our liberal friends with respect to ObamaCare in that they've gone all rule-of-law on us claiming its wrong, just plain wrong, to not be onboard with what is the law of the land.

Phooey, we say. Why should we be onboard with a counterproductive law that represents only a further incursion into our private affairs and which is proving already to be doomed to failure?

Here's George Will on "Fox News Sunday" responding to Juan Williams' lament that some folks were spiking the ball in response to the healthcare law's completely bungled rollout:

“Oh, it will end,” Will said. “Because in fact what they’re trying to do is micromanage one-sixth of the American economy. What we have learned throughout the 20th century is in fact the micromanagement, central planning of complex societies doesn’t work.”

“I want to assure brother Williams that there is no schadenfreude because I’m not even pretending to be sorrowful,” Will continued. “Of course I want Obamacare to fail, because if it doesn’t fail, it will just further entangle American society with a government that is not up to this. For 100 years, Juan, the narratives of progressives from Woodrow Wilson on, is that progress will come if and only if we concentrate more and more power in Washington, more and more Washington power in the executive branch and more executive power in the hands of experts — disinterested experts such as those who designed HealthCare.gov.”

Brother Williams...? Dude.

But Will is exactly right. From the moment this thing became law, in case after case and example after example, it became apparent that the Affordable Care Act was proving to be neither about affordability nor care... only control from and by centralized authority in Washington D.C.

And back to our friends and our alleged incivility in not getting onboard with this legislative sham. We're old enough to remember a war in the Middle East that was entered into just over 10 years ago with bi-partisan congressional support but which was still railed against by a quite vocal and vehement opposition. Yes, dear readers, we're old enough to remember when dissent was patriotic and remaining ungovernable with respect to debacles like ObamaCare is precisely what we will continue to do.


Video clip of the day

On October 26th, folks from across the political spectrum gathered in Washington D.C. for an anti-NSA demonstration "Stop Watching Us" to protest the domestic spying program of that federal agency.

Reason.com was on the scene and this is what they saw:

(video approx. 3-1/2 minutes long)

Some observations:

Can't get any more prominent than ol' Mr. Bobblehead that makes his first appearance at 0:17 but are mocking caricatures of our Presidents once again protected under the 1st amendment? Yeah, yeah, it was always protected but the shrieking howls of indignation we've heard in the past from some more thin-skinned quarters tended to give us pause.

Since right to privacy is an existential one, the "I have nothing to hide" argument is pretty lame. It simply doesn't matter whether you do or you don't. It's your privacy. Besides, that determination for what you may/may not feel is worthy of hiding is not really in your hands, now is it.

Jazz Shaw has a nice piece here at Hot Air on the participation litmus tests for broad civil libertarian demonstrations such as this. It boggles our mind that some folks (and you know who they are) refuse to join up because others in this more-or-less one-off movement don't measure up ideologically. We're not really sure if there is an issue of greater importance to a free Republic than the abuse and potential abuse of power by the central/federal government. We suppose, then, that we will have to be enlightened.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

And now, a few words from Walter Russell Mead


All that 99%/Occupy railing against Wall Street was so tres' adorbs was it not? The big moneyed interests of the financial sector were thieving the blue model of generous public services and lavish public employee benefit and retirement packages is what we were told, correct?

Well, Walter Russell Mead is here to remind us of just how wed the faux-populist blue model is to Wall Street:

The cycle of dependence on Wall Street usually follows a pattern. Public employee union leaders demand generous benefits as the price of their political support; politicians promise things like higher future pay and early retirement. Wary of public backlash, however, these officials don’t advocate cutting services or raising taxes to cover the shiny new pay packages they have established. The discrepancy between benefits promised and funds available becomes unbridgeable. Desperate to keep from falling too far behind, pension funds turn to the risky side of Wall Street, which gets rich off the panic. All too often, the Wall Street solution to blue model imperatives leaves taxpayers and pensioners stranded.

Fingers have been pointed at both sides. A piece in Rolling Stone last month argued that slimy “Gordon Gekko wanna-be[s]” have basically been stealing money in the dead of night from honest, hard-working pensioners. A piece from AEI this week shot back that pension funds are forced to approach Wall Street hat in hand by the self-serving politicians who make unaffordable promises in the first place.

Yes, those responsible for public pensions dug themselves into this hole, but the more interesting story concerns the confluence of interests between blue politicians, union leaders, and Wall Street. It’s unsurprising that few Democrats are willing to acknowledge this; the alliance doesn’t inspire confidence in the blue model’s sustainability or in the political base that supports it.

"The Occupy movement: brought to you by Wall Steet" has a nice ring to it, dontcha think?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Sarah sez


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

Unless you've been living under a rock you're probable aware that the ObamaCare online exchanges by which you purchase health insurance are experience some, er... glitches. And by glitches, we mean there are signs coming from the administration that maybe a delay of the individual mandate may not be such a bad idea after all. That which Ted Cruz could not accomplish may be done so through government bureaucratic incompetence.

Not before, though, Team O allows for a "tech surge", the best and brightest, you know, the best and brightest who should've been on the job from the get-go to get a crack at fixing all that is wrong with the exchanges.

tech, schmeck... is how we read Palin's reaction to this:

"Just fix it, so we can go forward," she added. "Fix the technology, and let's not get too bogged down in what happens if they're not able to fix it."

You can see the video of her remarks, here...

... and lo and behold that's not Sarah Palin, rather Sarah sez favorite that glittering jewel of colossal ignorance, House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi.

Well, Nancy, hate to break it too you but getting bogged down is exactly what's happening now because the damn exchanges don't work. The exchanges are the portals for the entire damn thing so if there' no fix it, there's effectively no ObamaCare.

Bonus points for her idiocy in claiming to know something about the tech business because she lives in California. It's like she can see Silicon Valley from her backyard.

Double bonus points for prattling on about how freedom means not being "chained to a policy." Got it, Nancy, because nothing says freedom like being required by law to sign up for a federal government program.

We scarcely believe we've heard nearly a minute and half of anything so vapid, insipid and ass-backwards.

The woman, if nothing else, is a credit to her profession so she's got that going for her.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Your mid-week martini-worthy photo image



A combination of capturing New York City in this mid-70s montage and a great song has always made this one of our favorite movie opening credits.

Ladies and gentlemen, from the Sidney Lumet classic "Dog Day Afternoon", it's Elton John performing "Amoreena"


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Your California high-speed choo-choo update


Out in the California's Central Valley where the first leg of California's high-speed rail system will be built, ground hasn't yet been broken but engineers be engineering and even this seemingly unobtrusive activity of civil engineers in shirt-sleaves and white hardhats walking around with clipboards is already grating on the locals.

Truth be told, you'd probably be pretty chapped also once you learned your business would be leveled or that you would be losing farmland as sacrifices to the public works gods of Sacramento and Washington D.C.

From ABC News:

Five years ago, California voters overwhelmingly approved the idea of bringing a bullet train to themost populous U.S. state. It would be America's first high-speed rail system, sold to the public as a way to improve access to good-paying jobs, cut pollution from smog-filled roadways and reduce time wasted sitting in traffic while providing an alternative to high fuel prices.

Now, engineering work has finally begun on the first 30-mile (48-kilometer) segment of track here in Fresno, a city of a half-million people with soaring unemployment and a withering downtown core littered with abandoned factories and shuttered stores.

Rail is meant to help Fresno, with construction jobs now and improved access to economic opportunity once the project is finished. But the region that could benefit most from the project is also where opposition to it has grown most fierce.

cI just wish it would go away, this high-speed rail. I just wish it would go away," says Gary Lanfranco, whose restaurant in downtown Fresno is slated to be demolished to make way for rerouted traffic.

Such sentiments can be heard throughout the Central Valley, where roads are dotted with signs such as: "HERE COMES HIGH SPEED RAIL There goes the farm." Growers complain of misplaced priorities, and residents wonder if their tax money is being squandered.

Aaron Fukuda, a civil engineer whose house in the dairy town of Hanford lies directly in one of the possible train routes, says: "People are worn out, tired, frustrated."

The article goes on to make a false comparison between the bullet train's advertised 2 hr. and 40 minute travel time from L.A. to San Francisco and the 6 hours that it would take to do it by car. For years, we have been saying that California already has form of "high-speed rail" and it's called commuter flights which will do the L.A.-SanFran trip in about 45 minutes.

And dig this:

Political and financial compromises led officials to scale back plans that now mean trains will be forced to slow down and share tracks in major cities, leading critics to question whether it will truly be the 220-mph (355-kph) "high-speed rail" voters were promised.

If by "compromise" they mean they compromised the original content of the project, then yes, they compromised the hell out of it. With cost estimates coming as high as $120 billion, Governor Moonbeam's boys took hatchets to the project to get it to the more palatable $68 billion (original estimates when this turkey was put on the ballot back in 2008 was in the $32-40 billion range). Of course, that $68 B gets you only the tracks. No powering infrastructure. No gates. No actual choo-choos.

And it is imperative that they blow through $2.2 billion by 2015 or they lose out on $3.2 billion of federal money. We think they've got it in them. It's the government we're talking about after all.

And as we referenced earlier there is a very human emotional toll that high-speed choo-choos is exacting that sounds like very much like the L.A.'s Metropolitan Water District Owen's Valley land grab nearly 100 years ago:

n the Central Valley, there is intense distrust of the authority, which has started buying up property, land and businesses, some of which have been in families for generations.

At the dimly lit Cosmopolitan Cafe, office workers line up alongside farmers and paramedics to order sandwiches as waitresses expeditiously call out order numbers. Four decades' worth of memorabilia and yellowing newspaper restaurant reviews line the faux-wood walls in the space that Lanfranco has owned for most of his life.

Lanfranco says the sum he was offered to buy the property does not come close to replacing the space he owns, debt-free. The adjacent parking lot — a rare commodity — is packed with pickup trucks and cars each day at lunchtime. Lanfranco declined to say how much he was offered, and the offers are not public record.

"It's not like it's just a restaurant that I've owned for a couple of years and now I can just go replace it. It's something that I've put the last 45 years of my life into," the 66-year-old says.

His is just one of hundreds of properties the state needs to buy for the rail project or seize through eminent domain if they cannot reach a deal. Many owners are resentful after years of what they say have been confusing messages and misleading information.

All this to secure the legacy of an old washed-up governor. Heckuva job, California!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Why are "The Feds" in the rock'n'roll business...?

...we've heard their stuff and it blows.

Consider this our contribution to Reason.com's Nanny of the Month feature:

Young Pacific Northwestern Asian-American lads being denied the ability to trademark their band name.

From the Daily Caller:

A six-member, Portland, Ore. band composed entirely of Asian-Americans has been fighting the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) for over four years in an effort to trademark the band’s name — “The Slants.”

When the band first applied for the trademark in 2009, the PTO refused on the grounds that the name was offensive to Asians, citing two crowd-sourced reference sites — Wikipedia and the ever-colorful Urban Dictionary — in the denial.

The PTO cites some ancient "lewd and lascivious" legislation as grounds for denial but when you also cite Urban Dictionary, you've pretty much lost us.

Exit question(s) for our legal beagles out there: In this context what's in a trademark? And given this, is there anything preventing "The Slants" from just slapping that name on their bass drum, their van and performing gigs under that name?

If this music video is any indication, then, no.

Consider ourselves troopers in Slants Army!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Risk mitigation 101... or not


Being in the federal acquisition business, one of the things we worry about during the design of whatever U.S. Navy platform we happen to be working on is technological obsolescence. On its surface, it sounds pretty straight forward but in addition to that particular technology getting by-passed by newer technology there are the collateral concerns of whether, say, that particular technology will be supportable in way of upgrades, tech support, repair parts, regulatory restrictions, etc.

When choosing an oily water separator for your ship which has to purify, by law, engine room oily waste up to 15 ppm (parts per million), do you go with the model that does indeed do that or do you plunk down the additional money for the model that purifies waste oil to 5 ppm? That regulation is coming but you just don't know when. So, you balance the risk of buying the cheaper model that complies with current regulations and work towards getting grand-fathered vs. taking the plunge on the more expensive model knowing that the more restrictive regulation is inevitable and that the infrastructure support for the entire industry is moving in that direction anyway.

Team O, when putting together the online exchanges for the new healthcare law, bypassed all that heavy-lifting and appeared to say, "chuck it" when they employed technology for these exchanges that was already 10 years old.

From USA Today:

The federal health care exchange was built using 10-year-old technology that may require constant fixes and updates for the next six months and the eventual overhaul of the entire system, technology experts told USA TODAY.

The site could be perfect, but if the systems from which it draws data are not up to speed, it doesn't matter, said John Engates, chief technology officer at Rackspace, a cloud computer service provider.

"It is a core problem in the sense of it's fundamental to this thing actually working, but it's not necessarily a problem that the people who wrote HealthCare.gov can get to," Engates said. "Even if they had a perfect system, it still won't work."

Recent changes have made the exchanges easier to use, but they still require clearing the computer's cache several times, stopping a pop-up blocker, talking to people via Web chat who suggest waiting until the server is not busy, opening links in new windows and clicking on every available possibility on a page in the hopes of not receiving an error message. With those changes, it took one hour to navigate the HealthCare.gov enrollment process Wednesday.

We're not quite sure what Engates meant in that paragraph above but as, admittedly, not the most tech-savvy folks, we will take a shot anyway.

There appears to be a next generation of smart phone that comes out every 6 months or so, currently. With the exponential growth of this technology, how in god's name are you going to find the people and the fixes for technology that is... 10 freaking years old?

One of the most basic functions of federal acquisition ignored entirely. This should all be completely inconceivable but... here we are.

And in other entirely related news:

Radio show host Roger Hedgecock has put out a challenge to his listenership to call in if they have a) successfully enrolled in ObamaCare and b) wound up with lower monthly premiums because of it. It seemed like really slim pickings until one lady, who along with her husband are self-employed, called in a few days ago with her success story.

After several false starts, she successfully enrolled into a health insurance plan and is now paying in the neighborhood of $150/month when previously she was paying upwards of $1100/month. Wow. That's quite a reduction, no? The woman then revealed she was getting subsidized to the tune of $1250/month. Dude. So, what this really breaks down to is that without the subsidy, she would be paying $1400/month in premiums or $300 more than she was paying previous to signing up for ObamaCare.

But, hey, a deal's a deal, right? Her out of pocket expenses on a monthly basis did indeed plunge $950/month thanks to the U.S. taxpayer. When you hear all that "scaremongering" about ObamaCare being the biggest middle class tax hike in history, this is why and that example is precisely how this represents not healthcare reform but a massive income redistribution scheme.

* That would be Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, owner of this entire mess.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Some thoughts on this... "shutdown" and... outhouses?

A good friend posted the following on FaceBook regarding the shutdown and its effect on our National Parks:

My hope is that all those who have professed love for the parks and monuments -- and outrage over their closing these past 16 days -- will think long and hard before voting for people that end up constantly slashing the NPS budget to the bone. My fear is that there was a lot of feigned outrage over them for political reasons, however. Too bad, because our parks are in dire need.

We commented:

(M), I know this probably isn't the forum for it - we can discuss later - but my travels to our National Parks have not indicated any sort of underfunding. They are clean, well-maintained and properly staffed. This is just my anecdotal observations, your mileage may differ.

"M's" reply:

Big maintenance backlog.

In addition, there's all sorts of things that are cattywampus out beyond the pavement in any given park -- from invasive species of plants endangering delicate ecosystems that need to be yanked, Burmese Pythons being loosed and reproducing by the thousands in the Everglades that are tearing through native fauna populations, to the cutting of ranger programs.

Old buildings needing to be replaced, maintained, updated. That's just starters. 90% of all pavement on park roads in the system are in fair to poor shape per NPS "Critical Maintenance Backlog", plus 28 publicly accessible bridges are structurally deficient. NPS fleet vehicles are older than dirt. 6,700 miles of trail out of 18,600 are in "poor" or "seriously deficient" condition. Not to mention things like cleaning up after the dipsh*ts and their J-Tree tag-athon.

There's a lot more to these places than the 2-5 days we customarily get can expose us to.

And where we responded in kind:

(M), show me a federal service, department or bureau that doesn't consider itself to be underfunded and I will show you the Easter bunny. It's simply in the nature of bureaucracy to always cry poor mouth. As an employee of the DOD/DON, I know this to be fact. So, with a finite "pie", it becomes a matter of priorities. Back in 09, a $800 billion stimulus package was made law. The big selling point of it was that it would be put to use on the very roads, trails and bridges of which you speak. If the tremendous backlog of work iis as dire as you claim, then the powers that be apparently did not deem it worthy of consideration. $800B is a lot of money, after all. So having said that, and respecting your devotion to our Parks, I will certainly heed your advise with respect to lever-pulling for folks who would treat so shabbily those same Parks.

Our point was demonstrated in a article we posted 3 years ago after we visited Canyonlands NP (Utah) for the first time. Here it is:


... and where we heap effusive praise upon the government... in a manner of speaking...

Heavy thunder showers across central and southern Utah and the four corners region, including a couple of tornado touchdowns in northern Arizona, is threatening our road trip but there is some collateral benefit to this inclement weather which we will share later.

One of the things promised by Porkulus was that they would spend between $2 and $4 billion on infrastructure upgrades in our National Park system of which we were assured was in dire need (this was in addition to radio spots begging for donations to the NPS for the same reason). Being frequent visitors to various sites of this nation's best idea, we were skeptical as the eye test simply did not warrant this outlay. Sure, an upgrade here and there, but upwards of $4 billion worth?

After giving it some thought, we felt that perhaps the easiest and most accurate way to assess the infrastructural health of an individual national park would be to grade what is probably the most representative feature of the efficiency and aesthetics of any publicly-held land and that would be...

.... the block house.

After a random sampling of 4 outhouses inside Canyonlands National Park, let's look at the scores.

Lighting: With plenty of windows for natural lighting, even with the stormy/overcast conditions: Good

Cleanliness: Probably the most important factor: Excellent

Quantity/Availability: Adequate

Provisioning: Eight rolls of TP good enough for you?: Again, Excellent.

And bonus points for each one being outfitted with an anti-bacterial (scented!) gel dispenser.

And let's all bear in mind that Canyonlands NP, located where it is in southeastern Utah is, by definition, remote.

In all seriousness, if the overall condition of the park infrastructure (visitor center, road conditions, camp site maintenance, condition of hiking trails, etc.) of Canyonlands NP is to be taken as an example, then our skepticism is only confirmed.

And if the National Park Service is truly operating under budget, then they should be held up as an example of a federal agency that is doing a masterful job with limited resources.

Overall, the Park Service does an outstanding job with balancing the desires of the public with respect to access on one hand and on the other, not turning our park system into a paved, four-lane, amusement park.

A Bravo-Zulu to the policy-makers and men and women in uniform of the U.S. National Park Service.

All during this alleged shutdown, the federal government was up on the throttle at 87% full power. The closing of memorials and National Parks and the cancelling of air shows was all bulls**t. Totally unnecessary. The administration was determined to exact as much pain out of that 13% as possible and to make life as miserable as possible for people like our friend and those of us who do indeed love our park system.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Who won? Rest assured, it sure as hell wasn't you

I've got news for you all, friends. There are no longer Democrats and Republicans but you have probably realized that for a while. There is an establishment political class in Washington D.C. and then there's the rest of us saps out here in the hustings.

They merely continued the status quo with this deal to temporarily raise the debt ceiling and covered their own rear ends with it because apparently not many people want to clue into the reality that being 17T in the hole ain't such a hot idea. It would appear that the majority of Americans are cool with generational rape where we spend money we don't have and are completely fine with sticking our children and our children's children with the price tag of our own spending folly and now, yet another entitlement program we can't afford.

Frankly, we're glad we have people there like Ted Cruz and Rand Paul who will stand up to the establishment within their own party and be willing to take on President Dronestrike when he thinks he can simply brush aside the 4th amendment and no one bats an eye because we just all assume he's ultimately benevolent and wise enough to be trusted regarding who he can wack without any due process or oversight.

Simple life lessons such as personal responsibility and only purchasing things you can afford... stuff that you learned growing up if you had parent(s) that were worth a damn, are viewed as "extremist" positions by the political class of Washington D.C. So be it.

So, bravo, status quo. You won again. Kicking the can down the road until February when we can do this all over again.


Monday, October 14, 2013

What we saw yesterday

The end of that Pats-Saints game yesterday… it was like watching a James Bond movie. Who didn’t think the Saints had wrapped things up when, with a 4 point lead, they played extremely conservative on their final possession going 3 and out and after punting to the Pats, left Tom Brady and company but 1:15, no timeouts and 70 yards to drive for the win?

Big mistake. Should’ve left him with only 1:05 and maybe 75 yards as Brady connected with wide out Kenbrell Thompkins with 5 seconds left for the stunning 30-27 victory.

What were the Saints thinking? Well, they were thinking they had won if the pre-mature celebrations on the sideline were any indication. They had a chance to put Brady and the Pats away but they left them totally unnecessary daylight. They could’ve snuffed out that team with one shot to the base of the skull but they opted instead for sharks with lasers.

You know our whine: not down with the unbalanced schedule where, depending upon the week, there will be 9-10 morning games and merely 2-4 afternoon games (West Coast times). Well, we think we’ve figured it out. If the NFL can continue delivering on that one nationally-televised feature matchup in the afternoon like they’ve done the past two weeks with Broncos-Cowboys last week and Saints-Patriots yesterday, we’ll dial back on the complaining. Commissioner Goodell, you magnificent bastard, we read your book!

Don’t blame Chip Kelly or more precisely Chip Kelly’s offense for their uneven start at 3-3. They have the #1 rushing offense in the league and the #4 offense overall and are second only to the Denver Broncos in yards/play (6.7 vs. 6.6). As you would expect this conversation to be turning, they are near the bottom of the NFL (30 out of 32) in total team defense. Nick Foles, filling in for an injured Michael Vick, had 3 touchdowns while LeSean McCoy had 116 yards rushing and continues to lead the league in rushing while the Eagles handled the Buccaneers yesterday 31-20.

Memo to the Detroit Lions: keep Reggie Bush heavily involved in the offense both rushing and receiving and good things will happen. In games Reggie has played, they are 3-2. In the 3 wins, Bush has averaged 166 yards/game from scrimmage rushing and receiving combined and in the 2 losses that figure plummets to 69. And not surprisingly, the Lion offense has averaged 35 points/game in those 3 victories against 15 in the losses. A small sample size to be sure but the delta between his production in wins and losses is too great to dismiss. Lions dispatched the Browns 31-17 yesterday.

Texans fans booing an injured Matt Schaub (ankle) as he was being assisted off the field was deplorable. And just to make sure those jerks didn’t forget about Schaub, Texan back-up QB, T.J. Yeats came in and promptly threw a pick-six. Screw you, Texan fans. Oh, and you got rolled by the Rams, 38-13. Screw you.

The Redskins RG III looked about as active and dynamic as we’ve seen him this year throwing for 246 yards and rushing 9 times for 77 yards. Unfortunately, the Cowboys Dwayne Harris decided to go nuts in the return game last night returning a punt 86 yards for a touch and setting up another short TD drive for the ‘Boys with a 90 yard kick return in a 31-16 victory for Dallas. Besides Skins fans, do you know who hates Dwayne Harris? Tony Romo fantasy owners, that’s who. Sorry, Corey O.

This may be the golden age of the quarterback but we were witness to some absolutely atrocious decision-making as well from the league’s glamour spot. Matt Cassell, Chad Henne, Brandon Weeden and Tyrelle Pryor… we’re looking at you.

To riff off our boy Max, mild props to the Jacksonville Jaguars and their 35-19 loss to the Denver Broncos. The NFL is relentless and unforgiving. It’s a brutal league that features some of the biggest and fastest human beings on the face of the planet. There are no such things as moral victories in this league. Having said all that, good on the Jaguars who came in as the biggest betting underdogs (26-1/2 points) in league history and decided that they weren’t just going to roll over on the home turf of arguably the league’s best team. Hearing how the Broncos were basically going to name their score against the worst team in the league looked like it just might have struck that pride chord in the minds of men who violently throw their bodies around for 4, 6, 8..? years in order to make a living. They came in and competed and made things interesting for a hot minute in the 3rd quarter which is something we never thought we would say about a 16 point loss in the NFL. So, thank you Jaguars for not sucking to a degree we all thought you probably would.

OK, gang, that’s it for today.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Video clip and photo image of the day

Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius claims she has seen no evidence of people's premiums sky-rocketing or people's working hours being cut because of the negative consequences of the Affordable Care Act, aka ObamaCare.

She might want to talk to these folks in Allentown, Pennsylvania:

We weren't there but we've read in history books of ordinary Americans burning these cards they had on them rather than submitting to a bulls**t federal government program.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

And where a talk show host returns to that tired old saw of the NFL and income redistribution

Here's Bill Maher explaining why football is superior to baseball and is generally the most excellent thing ever because of socialism or something.

(please advance to the 1:55 mark to get pass the creepy-ass misogynist's potty mouth but where you will still get to hear a gay slur.)

We're not economists nor statisticians but were not quite sure that making your case for "sharing the wealth" can be made pointing to a model that consists of a mere 32 entities. The NFL operates in a highly controlled environment where all 32 franchises are engaged in the exact same business. To compare the NFL to a complex, diverse and varied economy consisting of hundreds of millions of people is to compare apples to oranges.

Besides, how else would you split revenue from a national television contract except equally among all 32 teams? Baseball is completely different in that the majority of the TV revenue generated is on a regional basis as teams are allowed to go out and cut their own deals. Again apples and orange.

Likening the NFL's revenue sharing model to socialism is similar to comparing Saudi Arabia to socialism. Sure the Saudi citizens receive generous social services and straight cash payments but it's all because of one thing: raping Mother Gaia similar to how the NFL has cleverly manipulated and exploited a gullible public. Yep. Socialism did not make the NFL the monster that it is today - it was shrewd marketing, promoting the "brand" and exploiting a blood-thirsty American public on the violence of professional football. Oh, that and NFL owners extorting this national passion for football in the form of getting the public to pay for their team's personal revenue deluge: publicly-financed stadiums. That's not spreading the wealth, that's being a robber-baron through the ballot box.

Fact: virtually all revenue generated at and by the stadium belongs solely to the ownership group of that team. We're talking parking, concessions, food and beverage and of course ticket sales, personal seat licenses and the biggie, the luxury box fees. The owners get to keep all that jack. They don't have to share any of that.

You know what else is more important to the NFL's success than this silly notion of revenue sharing? Anti-trust exemption. That's right. There's no competition for the NFL now is there? There's no Sports Clips to Super Cuts in the retail chain hair-cutting business. The NFL can pretty much run their business operation any damn way they see fit without fear of reprisal, recrimination or... competition. They have cornered the market on professional football and everyone is completely OK with this dominant monopoly. Again, we'd obviously be more willing to split up a fraction of all that jack we were rolling in if we knew the fix was in. Do you think Bill Maher would be willing to pool and split equally his salary with 31 other comedians or talk show hosts? We'd certainly be willing to pool our salary with that of Bill Maher. Think he'd be down for that? No, he probably wouldn't.

"The frozen tundra of Lambeau Field"* is not socialism. It's an iconic phrase in the American lexicon because former commissioner Pete Rozelle had the foresight to put Ed Sabol and his fledgling Jersey-based film production outfit (NFL Films) at the tip of the league's marketing spear. If you are over the age 40, a big reason why you love the NFL is precisely because NFL Films made the game and its players seem larger than life. If you love football, you drift off to sleep at night picturing close-up shots of tight spirals in slow-motion spinning through an Autumn Sunday afternoon or breath vapor coming from players on the bench on a frigid December game day, images provided courtesy NFL Films. This is not socialism. This is shrewd marketing that has established and promoted an image with such a broad swath of the American public, it is now firmly entrenched as Culture in America. This is infinitely more important than how the NFL splits up its T.V. revenue.

Maher would have you believe that this wealth redistribution model has led to a veritable free-for-all every-body-has-a-shot-at-the-Super Bowl scenario in the NFL. The facts tell a different story. Over the past dozen years or so, the AFC play-off picture has been dominated by four teams: the Baltimore Ravens, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts. And do you know why those teams have been consistently good to great over the years? Hint: it's not because of how the NFL splits its television revenue. It's because those 4 franchises have had stable leadership at the top that has made sound personnel decisions plus good to great play at the quarterback position. That's the formula for success in today's NFL: smart management and a franchise quarterback. (The NFC is a bit more of a mixed bag but the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants have mirrored their AFC counterparts as how to operate your NFL franchise.

For all this talk of parity, franchises like Jacksonville, Cleveland and Buffalo don't have an ice cube's chance in hell of making it to the Super Bowl. It isn't a revenue thing - it's a management thing. (Cleveland has a real opportunity to make it to the playoffs this year. Perhaps not coincidentally, they had a complete front office overhaul in the off-season with a change in ownership which merely re-enforces the point we made above about having a management team that knows what the hell they are doing).

To wit, you just can't throw money at free agency and expect your football team to click. Baseball is different. You can get away with cobbling together a roster of All-Stars and expect to win. The Philadelphia Eagles and their "dream team" experiment of last year is proof of football being an entirely different animal from baseball. As baseball is an ensemble of individual performances, chemistry and teamwork are decidedly more important to football than they are to baseball.

One of our favorite quotes of all time came from the former and recently deceased Baltimore Oriole manager, Earl Weaver, when he was asked about team chemistry. Weaver waived off the notion with, "Team chemistry? Team chemistry is a 3-run homer".

Back in June, Don Mattingly, the L.A. Dodger manager was in danger of losing his job. Enter Yasiel Puig who has become the most physically explosive player in the game and Hanley Ramirez coming off the DL and say hello to an ensuing 50-8 record and a play-off berth. Don Mattingly is still no coaching genius. Yasiel Puig's seeming aloofness can, in our mind, be simply chalked up to the fact that his English is extremely poor. That's right: perhaps the Dodgers' best player cannot even talk to a majority of his teammates. How's that for chemistry? And let's not forget the fact that last year's massive mid-season trade between the Dodgers and the Red Sox was beneficial to both teams.

Take in that paragraph above and give us a comparable scenario in the NFL. You can't. To try to compare baseball and football in terms of how money is spent and player personnel decisions proves you know nothing about either baseball or football.

Is the revenue sharing of the T.V. contracts an element of the NFL's parity and overall success. Sure. It's an element. Just that but it is in no way close to being as important as Maher wants to make it and who is using the NFL to try to make an over-arching point about income re-distribution in America and failing miserably while doing it.

Stick to making gross, sexist cracks about conservative women, Maher. It suits you better.

Side note: the screed about keeping kids out of crappy schools was rich. Conservatives and libertarians have been at the forefront of school reform: charter schools, school choice, some... any degree of teacher accountability - a laundry list of ideas to break from the obviously failed status quo. These reform efforts have been opposed at every turn by an unholy alliance of teacher unions and big city Democratic pols.

* Yes, we are aware John Fecenda never uttered these actual words which makes the marketing genius of the NFL that much more impressive.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Video clip of the day


How do you know your country's fourth estate is pretty much made of shamelessly boot-licking hacks? When the entity asking the toughest questions regarding the President's signature piece of legislation is Comedy Central. That's how.

Here's Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Jon Stewart's show chatting about ObamaCare.

(video approx. 11 minutes long)

Stewart jumps in immediately and presses Sebelius on why certain businesses will be exempted for one year while individuals will not. Sebelius never answers the question.

Part of her deflection is her contention, which Stewart unfortunately buys into, that ObamaCare created "a marketplace" by which individuals could purchase health insurance. This is patently false. There was nothing before the advent of ObamaCare that was preventing individuals from shopping different individual plans to purchase. Nothing.

And has been demonstrated over and over, the federally-approved individual plans of ObamaCare are decidedly more expensive than comparable plans prior to enactment of the law. Some marketplace, huh?

In the end, Stewart pulls the rug out from under us, as his criticism of ObamaCare is they did not go far enough... yeah, his solid lefty roots exposed as he shills for a single-payer system.


Monday, October 7, 2013

What we learned this weekend


One college football observation to start off with…

The Tennessee Volunteers keep finding new and interesting ways to blow 4th quarter leads, though, Saturday’s choke job against Georgia was of the pretty standard just-let-the-other-team-drive-down-the-field-and-score variety.

We were wrong about the New York Giants. Cannot believe just how horrible this team is right now. They lost by 15 to a bad Eagles team playing with it’s back-up quarterback for more than half the game.

The Chargers, in one game, went from “teases” to “not a good team”. You cannot lose to the Raiders by 10 points and expect people to take you seriously.

We were wrong about Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts. We thought the emotion of #ChuckStrong and seven 4th quarter come-from-behind victories last year was a bit of an aberration and that things would level off in 2013. Numbers and statistics aside, Andrew Luck is playing about as well as any QB in the league right now and the Colts have now handled the two most physical teams in the league in the Niners and the Seahawks.

So, Chip Kelly wanted Michael Vick to run more on Sunday. Michael Vick ran. Michael Vick pulled a hammy. Coach Kelly, this is Michael Vick and that’s what you learned this weekend.

Can’t get a bead on the Niners. Yes, they beat up the Texans on Sunday night but the Texans are an absolute mess right now as Matt Schaub is suddenly afraid of his own shadow. Colin Kaepernick merely managed the game last night. He had 14 yards rushing and take away the 74 yard pass, catch and run he had to Vernon Davis, he amassed 39 yards passing otherwise. He’s definitely not the dynamic presence he was as recently as the first game of the season.

That Bronco-Cowboy game yesterday afternoon was as entertaining a regular season game as we can remember. And Tony Romo will always be Tony Romo.

If the League insists on front-loading the Sunday schedule so that there are only 2 or 3 games in the afternoon, we do take comfort in the fact that at least one of those games that are televised have been really good games. Niners-Packers (Week 1), Chargers-Cowboys (Week 4) and yesterday’s Broncos-‘Boys immediately come to mind.


Why are you so surprised?

Why are you so surprised that this administration would barricade open air memorials and monuments in our nation's capital?

Why are you surprised that they would shut down Amber Alert while keeping FLOTUS' Let's Move site up and running?

Except we were wrong. That wasn't Candidate Obama. That was President Obama and this is what we wrote about it at the time in 2009:

Veterans Affair Secretary Eric Shinseki confirmed Tuesday that the Obama administration is considering a controversial plan to make veterans pay for treatment of service-related injuries with private insurers.

But the proposal would be “dead on arrival” if it’s sent to Congress, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington, said.

Dead on arrival….
Nice touch, Senator.

We don’ t even know where to be begin with this one. It’s like a sick Onion piece.

Let’s get this straight: Obama, a man who wants everyone else to pay for everyone else’s health care, exempts members of the armed forces who have sustained injuries in service to our country and expects them to do that whole free market thing with their own money. That’ll do wonders for recruiting.

The one element of society where we’d be glad to give a little more (and we do) is going to be denied that sacred trust that exists between they and their country if this plan goes through.

Of course, it won’t go through and that’s part of the problem. Murray’s right –this abomination doesn’t have a prayer – so why even float it? What could the administration be thinking? Are they too tired or just plain incompetent? Or maybe just too busy ginning up their next attack on Rush Limbaugh to realize this one slipped through the cracks?

That we have an Administration that is this blatantly callous to the men and women in our armed forces is one thing. That they are this totally oblivious to their own callousness is entirely another.

And then this a few days later:

We first reported on this Friday and now it looks more and more like a concrete goal rather than a trial balloon.

The leader of the nation's largest veterans organization says he is "deeply disappointed and concerned" after a meeting with President Obama today to discuss a proposal to force private insurance companies to pay for the treatment of military veterans who have suffered service-connected disabilities and injuries.

We try our best not to blog while angry so we will try to keep this post short and is why we slept on it before writing anything about it.

Socialized medicine is a bad idea. It’s a bad idea that has terrible consequences but wishing to see socialized medicine enacted does not demonstrate a character flaw or personal callousness.

This, though, is entirely different. Wishing to carry out something like this reveals a mentality and springs from a culture that is completely out of touch with what 90% of Americans think and feel, especially with respect to the men and woman of our armed forces.

Attending the church of a racist loon and rubbing elbows with a terrorist was certainly the bellwether to what we are seeing today played out before our very eyes in the Oval Office.

Today is St. Patty’s day but we do not feel like partying. God and DNA have blessed us with an absolute distaste for alcohol if we are ever in an angry, depressed, pissed-off or despondent mood – kind of like we are right now.

We’ve got some other posts in the can right now but we’re not sure we’ll post them today – just not feeling it.

We welcome comments to advise us whether or not we are taking this too seriously or somehow out of context.

Of course, the worst idea ever never went anywhere but it was too late - the damage had been done.

Revealed was just some of the sick mentality possessed by this administration. That these people actually floated the idea that wounded soldiers and Marines were going to have to pay out of pocket for injuries sustained on the battlefield tells you all you need to know of what the Obama administration thinks of your damn precious national memorials.

Please, people, just get over yourselves.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Video clip of the day

Reason.com presents their Nanny of the Month:

(video approx. 2 minutes long)

Beers with Demo's Politics for Dummies 101: If the rationale for your law is "it's for the kids/children", there is a high probability your law sucks.

Our favorite moral scold KT might view the breakdown of basic family structure as just an excuse for the government to exert more control over our lives. A society free of government control over personal matters necessarily requires self-policing and parenting of children who don't behave like idiots.

It's apparent we are incapable of these basic societal functions, so of course, the state will step in to give us a hand and we will be totally cool with that.

Totally related: that model of freedom and liberty, China, employs 2 million people to monitor its citizens internet usage.


Friday, October 4, 2013

Radio KBwD is on the air (the covers edition)

Happy Oktoberfest, everybody!

Let's get to it, shall we?

First up is the Grateful Dead from 1972 performing "I Know You Rider":

Followed by bluegrass legends The Seldom Scene back in 1979.

This one's for you 'Dawg!


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Having some fun on Facebook

A friend of ours posted on FaceBook this image with a link to an Esquire piece titled, “The Reign of Morons is Here”

We totally misconstrued the point of the post thinking it was in reference to Republican leadership’s tacit approval of the President’s U.S. citizen drone assassination and domestic spying programs as that does indeed appear to have bi-partisan support. Besides, naming a situation in time a “reign” when the object of your scorn has neither control of the Senate nor the Oval Office is just a really stupid title for an article.

As it turns out, the article was about the government shutdown slowdown which still makes the title of the article non-sensical.

So, in the course of being set straight as to the ostensible purpose of the article in the comments section of the FB post, we received this comment from another friend of ours:

It seems to me that a better tactic would have been for the Republicans to have let the ACA go into effect and let our country fall apart as they claim will happen. But that won't happen will it? Instead the extreme right shuts our government down hurting thousands of hard working people. Shameful. The ACA was voted for and signed off on by two houses of Congress, signed by the President, litigated and deemed constitutional by the Supreme Court. Then there was an election that Obama won handily. The right can't then go back and hold our country hostage like terrorists- is this how we're going to continue governing? Guess the right wants to guarantee never taking the White House back.

Maybe its our lack of small motor skills or FB’s inability to grasp the concept of paragraph breaks so rather than respond in that medium, we decided to liberate the whole thing, as you are witnessing, to the Beers with Demo blog.

Our response:

Hi ( ), You find no irony in that you bemoan your perceived sorry state of governance while casually throwing around the terms “hostage” and “terrorists”? I find that state of mind fascinating and hope to achieve it some day.

Now to your specific non-ad hominem points:

You are suggesting the House Continuing Resolution that passed late last Saturday night somehow defunded or struck down the ACA. This is false. The House funded all government operations and merely delayed the implementation of the individual mandate by one year. If “delayed by one year” sounds familiar, it should because that’s what the President has done for a select few. So, what the House did for all Americans, the President has already done for the politically-connected i.e., Big Business, some labor groups and, of course, Congress.

What the House did through the legislative process, the President did illegally through executive fiat. An entirely reasonable CR which funded all government operations while delaying for a year a law no one seems too stoked on at the moment was dismissed out of hand by Senate Democrats and the President. By their inaction, they own this slowdown.

I hate to be the one to break this news, but nowhere in the Constitution does it give the President the power to decide to whom laws apply and when they apply. It simply does not exist. The House, however, has the lead in financial matters and has the authority to decide which parts of the government to fund. This is not terrorism, this is the Constitution.

As for opposing what is the law of the land, I don’t think I need to go down the laundry list of odious laws that used to be on the books that passed legal muster and which were still railed against by a principled opposition and eventually overturned… some of which we actually fought a war over. Believe that?
Minority party opposition to crappy policy/legislation is not anarchy. It’s not terrorism. It’s practicing Constitutional republicanism.

In a Constitutional republic passing legislation should not be and is not meant to be easy. ObamaCare with it’s myriad of bribes, kickbacks, backroom deals, midnight Christmas Eve votes and which, at the end of the day, is really just one big payoff to the health insurance lobby which I thought we all hated, appears to be proof of that.

To wrap things up, I find no end to the irony that a political set of people that just 40-50 years ago stood in opposition to laws of the land, that used to wear t-shirts that said "Keep Your Laws Off My Body", are now full-fledged shills for personally intrusive mandatory government programs.

Hope and Change, baby…. Hope and Change!

That's all for today, folks.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Photo image of the day

Today is October 1st and you all know what day that is, right? It's the first day Americans can sign up for the (not so) new federal healthcare law.

There used to be a group of people in this country that wore t-shirts like the one above. They were called liberals. Nowadays the people that call themselves liberals are merely shills for further government intrusion into your personal matters.

They'll tell you they love freedom and liberty but it's love on their terms as they may have a personal affinity for those concepts, they sure as hell don't trust you to them. Never forget that. You won't as ObamaCare will, for as long as it is around, be a reminder of this.