Friday, November 28, 2008
*The Gormogons are not Hindu or Tamil nationalists and hence use the traditional English spellings of Bombay and Madras. We also say Saigon, Burma, and Rangoon. Don't like it? Choke on your own impotent fury.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, turned the tables on her international critics on Wednesday by accusing the US and other governments of making “cheap money” a central tool of their economic management, thus planting the seeds of a similar crisis in five years.
“Excessively cheap money in the US was a driver of today’s crisis,” she told the German parliament. “I am deeply concerned about whether we are now reinforcing this trend through measures being adopted in the US and elsewhere and whether we could find ourselves in five years facing the exact same crisis.”
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Ah, Thanksgiving. The time for gorging ourselves*, bantering with relatives, watching and maybe playing football, and shopping (unless one can avoid it). In preparation for the upcoming holiday (we need to bring the pumpkin pie) and the pending move-in to our house (which has been under renovation since May and we've been out with the in-laws since July), GorT and wife were doing various shopping outings over the last week. The discussion a few nights ago turned to the worse parking lots (in our area - a lovely north-western suburb of Washington, DC).
Number one on the list: Cabin John Mall in Potomac (Bethesda), MD. Quite possibly the worst parking lot I've ever been in. EVER. I think people (who aren't shielded in their Cavaliers, War Wagons or other Gormogon vehicles) automatically lose 50 IQ points upon turning into the lot. The aisles are narrow and some are one-way. The locals can be too lazy to actually look for an open spot, and instead park along the well-marked firelanes and hashed-off areas at the end of the aisles (making for easy turning radii). Sigh.
Number Two on the list: Any Costco parking lot. I'll offer up the one in Sterling, Virginia. Must....get....400 lbs...of.....paper....products.....oh, wait, there are other people driving near me, maybe I'd better pay attention.
Number Three on the list: Congressional Shopping Center in Rockville, MD. In general, the parking lot is laid out well and the aisles are well-spaced. However, there are obviously too many shiny objects in the windows of the merchants around the edge causing drivers to get distracted..."Hey, look, Whole Foods has canteloupe in big baskets out front"...screeeeech. If you can't tell by the map link for this, the whole area is a parking lot...including Rockville Pike, the main thoroughfare for this area. It's about 20 miles of 3-lane divided roads past numerous strip malls, fast food establishments and various other merchants plying their wares. It is a place to avoid unless needed, and that better be at 4 a.m. on a Tuesday in August to avoid the traffic. Of course, the local government's planning board has allowed massive growth on the road without any significant improvement to the road infrastructure.
Shop. Eat. But for God's sake, be careful and be sane in the parking lot.
* - a coworker exclaimed at our Thanksgiving lunch that this is why it's great to be an American - "I can gorge myself and it's normal".
Yeah, my dad had a 1982 Cav with its 1.8L GM 122 engine cranking out a massive eighty-two horses of sheer power. Which were, no lie, affected by whether or not you were running the a/c, which is always during the summers in 90°/90%-humidity D.C. Uphill on-ramp to the Beltway? Flip off the fan and shout TURBO! This engine was so bad that GM redesigned it the following year, cranking it up to 84 hp.
The Cav, however, was a pretty fun car for a high school student. It was small, so you could swing a 180° in the middle of a two-lane street to pursue a car full of girls late at night. And it was dead easy to parallel park after you'd practiced with Mom's Ford LTD Country Squire stāwag.* It had its downsides, though. Like floormats and upholstery that never really let go of the smell of one's brother's wine-cooler-induced vomitus.
We did pimp our ride, avant la lettre, with a couple switches labelled "Front Machine Gun" and "Rocket Launcher." Dad was cool like that. Although not as automatively shrewd as Ghettoputer Sr., who worked some ninjitsu on his Cav by having the engine chip swapped out for a Cadillac Cimmaron's, so it ran much smoother. (See the U.S.A. in your deliberately crippled Chevrolet!).
À propos ’Puter's original post, last night your Volgi was discussing Cavs by text messages with my cousin who drove a '91 Cav, a/k/a Ghost Rider, a/k/a Le Cavalier, sporting a massive 2.2L powerplant and, as he recalls GM describing them, "dual retractable beverage containment units." (Read: Pull-out cupholders.) In said conversation, I used the phrase "$30,000 Cav" that il Putero based today's post around, so y'all can see we're on the same page from way back.
So, in an ending unhappy for Detroit, between the Cav, early-model Ford Taurus which replaced it, and generally paying attention to cars in the 1980s, your Volgi was decisively imprinted with a massive bias against American cars†.
*Or as it's known in the Pat Collinstionary, a War Wagon. (How is that segment not on YouTube?)
† Though I always liked the LTD wagon. It had a V8 which gave it great pickup when empty, it drove like a car, and you could pack it full of your friends. Effing CAFE standards killed the stāwag, though, and gave us today's world where you could drive from Chicago to Seattle without ever passing anything that's not a truck.
Ah, Iowahawk, is there anyone quite like you and your yummy, delicious satire? 'Puter thinks not. And kudos on the gratuitous lefty blogosphere slam!
** "She wore a raspberry beret. The kind you find at a secondhand store. Where White House interns buy their "presidential spinach dip" stained dresses." -- actual first draft of Prince's Raspberry Beret
Popular Mechanics joins Volgi and 'Puter in their complete and utter loathing of the Cavalier. Actually, PM just says that the Cadillac Cimarron, essentially a repackaged Chevy Cavalier, is one of the 10 cars that has irreparably damaged the GM brand.
Unfortunately, PM left off the Cavalier itself, an unforgivable sin.
It might behoove the Democrats (and many liberals in general) should read the Constitution. Today, we'll focus on Article 1, Section 6:
No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been increased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.
So what does that mean, one might ask? Well, in the past Congress has lowered the pay for positions where a Senator or Representative is moving into an post such as the Secretary of State. This, to some, takes care of the emoluments (wordly wise word of the day). However, this still doesn't get around the first part which is pretty clear. It will be interesting to see how this plays out as it happened under President Richard Nixon who had nominated William Saxby (R) for the AG post. Ten democrats in Congress voted against the appointment based on these rules. In fact, Sen. Byrd, said, "we should not delude the American people into thinking a way can be found around the constitutional obstacle." Will there be consistency here? or will the democrats now adopt the "Saxby fix".
But you know what? Who cares? Personally, I would think less of the Obamas if they sent their kids to bad schools out of some ideological principle. Parents’ first obligation is to do right by their own kids.And Ghettoputer.
The main reason politicians adopt a policy of malign neglect: teachers unions, arguably the single worst mainstream institution in our country today. No group has a stronger or better-organized stranglehold on a political party than they do. No group is more committed to putting ideological blather and self-interest before the public good.Read the whole thing.
’Puter, that picture is a Biblical allusion, not one of your What's in Mr. Slave? series.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Well besides the lovely car pictured on the right (that's an AMC Gremlin), here is a huge reason not to provide bailouts to the auto industry:
Again, while there was a need for unions many years ago, I think we've moved beyond the need for the current implementation of such. We have the UAW pulling this crap, the Teacher's Union with the filthy rich leader earning a ridiculous salary from public funds while not improving our education system (it would be another story if the US Education system was second to none...or at least improving). When will the outcry begin? Maybe we all need to drink some of this and take them on! (They have one of the funniest radio ads I've heard in a long time)
Thousands of laid-off auto workers get paid $31 an hour to sit around and do nothing all year under a controversial program that could continue even if American taxpayers bail out the American auto industry.
The program, called "Jobs Banks," has been around for 24 years. Some of the employees at jobs banks choose to do community service, but others do crossword puzzles and watch TV all day -- or just stare at a wall. If you're a laid-off auto worker, it's what comes with your pink slip, thanks to a deal struck in 1984 between the United Auto Workers and the Big Three carmakers.
Treating Proposition 8 as a mere amendment would set a precedent that could allow the rights of any minority group to be diminished by a small majority. The measure passed 52 percent to 48 percent.
So, according to the genii at the NYT, any election decided by a "small majority" of four percent can be overturned by the courts if "any minority group" is unhappy with the outcome. President Elect Obama just won the 2008 presidential election with by a 52% to 46% margin (about 5% with rounding considered). Is it OK for the United States Supreme Court to overturn the will of the majority of voters in the United States if an electoral minority, say white men, voted for the McCain/Palin ticket?
'Puter accepts the NYT's logic and calls on the NYT staff to publish an editorial tomorrow calling on the United States Supreme Court to undo the 2008 presidential election and install a conservative Republican of the Court's choosing as president.
For a real discussion of the issues at play regarding Proposition 8, please see Bill McGurn in today's Wall Street Journal.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Via With Leather. Where else?
When Grieving Dad says the deceased "took pride in his appearance, using hair gels and deodorants, which he often sprayed all over his clothes," 'Puter wonders what this lad smelled like before the overly-generous application of stank-masking agents.
Maybe if Tommy Two Teeth applied the deodorant to his pits instead of to his clothes, he'd still be alive.
'Puter bets this kid was a huffer, and Dad never realized it until it was too late.
** Old Spice is the official really cheap cologne product of The Gormogons and drunk mall Santa Clauses everywhere. It reminds us of those halcyon bath house days in San Francisco in the late 1970s. And Uncle Benny.
Two out of three Gormogons (Volgi and 'Puter) had the exceptional privilege of driving that world-beating GM product, the Chevy Cavalier. Volgi's was a 1982 and 'Puter's was a 1983. In addition to being as stylish as a colostomy bag, the quality control was apparently done by drunken monkeys. Another Cavalier selling point? In order to generate enough power to merge onto the Beltway, you had to turn off the air conditioner.
The third Gormogon drove the Pontiac Safari sta-wag, another fine, fine GM product. Ask GorT about Dremmel tool safety.
So, to the younger (relatively) Greens, 'Puter says too danged bad. Your company made and makes horrible products and was hamstrung by a greedy, stupid union, of which one of your own, Mike Green, is a local president. And by the time you started, it was apparent that GM was headed to a well deserved reckoning.
To the older Greens, it's all your kids' fault. And the fact that your retiree health care benefits make each car that rolls of the lines today noncompetitive in price and quality with non-union Japanese models. But other than that, you're in the clear.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Having said all this, are these people really the government that the election based on change was targeting? Already democrats and liberals are scratching their heads. I'll pick on Mr. Holder in particular. I'll leave aside the fact that he led the pardons for the FALN terrorists and Mark Rich and, instead, focus on his previous positions on terrorists:
In January, 2002, Holder appeared on CNN with Paula Zahn to discuss the divergence of opinion among, on the one hand, Donald Rumsfeld, who insisted that Guantanamo detainees were not entitled to "prisoner of war" status under the Geneva Conventions, and on the other, Colin Powell, who was arguing that they were. At least back then, Holder seemed to side with Rumsfeld:
HOLDER: One of the things we clearly want to do with these prisoners is to have an ability to interrogate them and find out what their future plans might be, where other cells are located; under the Geneva Convention that you are really limited in the amount of information that you can elicit from people.
It seems to me that given the way in which they have conducted themselves, however, that they are not, in fact, people entitled to the protection of the Geneva Convention. They are not prisoners of war. If, for instance, Mohammed Atta had survived the attack on the World Trade Center, would we now be calling him a prisoner of war? I think not. Should Zacarias Moussaoui be called a prisoner of war? Again, I think not.
Holder went on to say that Powell's concerns that detainees be treated in a humane fashion were legitimate because doing so would be important in how our own captured troops were treated, but nonetheless reiterated that "War on Terror" detainees are not entitled to Geneva protections:
I think the way to resolve it is, in fact, the way Secretary Powell has proposed, which is to say these are not people who are prisoners of war as that has been defined, but who are entitled to, in our own interests, entitled to be treated in a very humane way and almost consistent with all of the dictates of the Geneva Convention.
Several days before that January, 2002, appearance, Holder -- also on CNN -- seemed somewhat receptive to the idea of indefinite detentions of non-U.S.-citizens, though there was no discussion of whether they would be entitled to procedures to contest their guilt:
President-elect Obama isn't even in office and some from his own party are questioning his decisions. Facing this, the economic crisis and several difficult international hot spots (as detailed before), he's going to have a really difficult time.
BLITZER: As opposed to John Walker, these are not U.S. citizens. There may be a few British citizens there, but what happens to these guys? Are they just going to stay at Guantanamo Bay forever?
HOLDER: Interesting question. It seems to me you can think of these people as combatants and we are in the middle of a war, and it seems to me that you could probably say, looking at precedent, that you are going to detain these people until war is over, if that is ultimately what we wanted to do.
I think you have a basis for saying that. We had the Vietnam War, we had World War II, people were captured during the course of that war were not repatriated until the conclusion of the conflict. So, it's possible they could be there for an extended period of time.
|Twas brillig, and the slithy toves|
|Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;|
|All mimsy were the borogoves,|
|And the mome raths outgrabe.|
Quoth ’Puter’s inamorata, Michelle Rhee, chancellor of D.C. public schools.
Terrific article on her in the WSJ here.
Friday, November 21, 2008
At Sidwell, the Obama girls will be following in the footsteps of Chelsea Clinton.... President Richard Nixon's daughter Tricia went to Sidwell. Vice President Al Gore's son, Albert Gore III, graduated from there. Three granddaughters of Vice President-elect Joe Biden currently attend the school: Maisy, 8; Finnegan, 10; and Naomi, 14.No-change you can believe in!
That's T-Bone in the middle. He's a flamer.
And how is this going to look if President Elect Obama's presidency is reminiscent of the Carter Administration?
Oh, and the pandering P.C. morons on the school board should be ashamed. And the electorate should vote each and every one of them out of office at the next available opportunity.
First, morons egged on a teenager to kill himself as they watched via a webcam. Sadly, the teen succeeded.
Second, a woman, her assistant and the woman's daughter set up a false internet identity as a teenaged boy in order to deceive a enemy of the daughter. It appears the woman continued the deception for malicious purposes even though she knew the teenager was potentially suicidal. The teenaged girl killed herself.
Last, the general example. Kids all over this great country of ours are taking nude pictures of themselves and sending them to friends/potential dates/others. It seems these kids have no concept that nothing digitized and released is ever private. Morons.
Takeaway? We may be the most interconnected society we have ever been through our rapidly advancing technology. Paradoxically, we are also the most distant from our basic humanity we have been. We are now as a culture able to abuse people horribly because we need not be present to deal with the consequences of our malice. Likewise, because technology distances us from the effects of our acts, we are losing our ability to accurately assess the outcome of our technology-enabled actions (e.g., I'm posting compromising pictures of myself at a keg party on my Facebook page. No potential employer will ever see them.).
Technologically enabled behaviors have outpaced our collective ability to adapt our societal norms to them. We clearly need to catch up.
Ethan Gutmann's cover story on the Chinese organ-harvesting complex will give you nightmares.
No one lacerates the French like the French. Great piece on Saakashvili's visit to Paris.
Former Colleague of a Gormogon Reuben Johnson reports that the Russian military remains a degraded shambles. Good to know. Still, compared to their neighbors?
And for GOP inside-baseball, Friend of the Gormogons Steve Hayes reports on the Republican Governors' Conference and their surprising optimism and fondness for Larry Craig bathroom humor. Also, watch them dodge Steve's pointed questions.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
The other statistic that emerged from a study of active killers is that they almost exclusively seek out "gun free" zones for their attacks.Not that this shocks anyone who's paid attention to the literature.
In most states, concealed handguns are prohibited at schools and on college campuses even for those with permits.
Many malls and workplaces also place signs at their entrances prohibiting firearms on the premises.
Now tacticians believe the signs themselves may be an invitation to the active killers.
Forty-eight states (all except Illinois and Wisconsin) allow the carrying of concealed handguns by law-abiding citizens (with varying degrees of regulation). Bloodbaths have not ensued. So: liberalize concealed-carry in precisely those places where you don't want mass murders: schools, churches, malls, courthouses, etc.
Really? For true? Okay, Dr. 'Puter's here to help out. If the patient can't stop throwing up, they probably have this "mysterious condition."
OK, 'Puter feels a little bad for making fun of what, apparently, is a serious medical condition.
Read and enjoy.
'Puter nearly wet himself he was laughing so hard.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Does this sound familiar?
A managed bankruptcy may be the only path to the fundamental restructuring the industry needs. It would permit the companies to shed excess labor, pension and real estate costs. The federal government should provide guarantees for post-bankruptcy financing and assure car buyers that their warranties are not at risk.
Hmmm. A prepackaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy with government negotiated DIP financing, with a massive restructuring of labor and real estate costs. When's 'Puter getting his New York Times op-ed? He's a far better writer than Maureen Dowd.
P.E. Obama should let Mr. Romney run his administration's interaction with the auto industry. It would truly be reaching across the aisle and it would give P.E. Obama a scapegoat if the project fails. Mr. Romney has the added attraction of actually being correct on the issue.
Plus, Mr. Romney is dreamy. And has opposable thumbs, as shown above.
This is the kind of innovation that will improve America and the world. Hopefully, the government and special interests groups won't get in the way.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Heck, if Congress really wants to be help, require $25 billion of the $700 billion finance sector bailout be bid out to a bank (JPMorganChase springs to mind) to provide mandatory DIP financing to any of the Big Three who file bankruptcy. The winning bank will then provide DIP financing on market terms, without Congressional interference. This way, the Big Three can prepackage their Chapter 11s, knowing that they have financing, and knowing the market terms their creditor will enforce (like shedding jobs, cramming down debt, renegotiating contracts and spinning off excess capacity). Congress can say they've done something by providing needed funding, without too much interference in the free market (i.e., dictating non-market terms like CAFE standards). A bank makes money if the Big Three succeed in restructuring. And hopefully more people keep their jobs than otherwise would have.
There. 'Puter's solved it all for GM. Now file already and get it over with.
Interestingly, the fired "ballerina" has levied a complaint in the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal. This tribunal is cousin to the same genii who have attempted to run Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant out of Canadia for daring to exercise their God-given right to free speech.
'Puter bets Canadia is more protective of old strippers than free speech.
How come the first thing the Democrats have on their agenda is sending another $25 billion to the Big Three automakers?
One of the largest problems plaguing the Big Three is outdated labor laws that have hamstrung the automakers' ability to modernize and streamline operations and adapt to changing market conditions. These were passed during FDR's Democrat administration. The National Labor Relations Act was a New Deal program intended to level the playing field between labor and management, an arguably worthy goal at the time. However, the NLRA has not been adjusted to account for the modern business environment, and this has resulted in an unfair advantage for labor in contract negotiations. See, e.g., here.
So, naturally, rather than fix one of the underlying causes of the Big Three's failure (the imbalance in the NLRA), the Democrats in Congress ignore it and recommend pumping more money into a failing business, knowing full well the outcome before they do so, solely to placate their contributors. And why? Because the unions are the Democrats' bag men, holding up their members through closed shop rules mandating union membership (and therefore dues), and funneling millions of dollars in contributions to Democrat candidates and causes, almost exclusively.
The unions are demanding the Democrats subsidize a failed business in order to maintain their unrealistic, outdated wage and benefit structure. This is nothing more than a transfer of wealth from successful businesses and taxpayers to Democrat cronies.
This is not change. Real change would be standing up to the unions and to management and changing the NLRA to reflect more closely modern business realities. The Big Three would at least then have a fighting chance to survive, and maybe even preserve some of their jobs. This would be real change for the workers.
What's 'Puter's proof that unions have contributed to the downfall of the once mighty Big Three? It's not the non-union shops (Honda, Toyota, et. al) with their hands out. Just Detroit.
Mr. Kirsanow illustrates the extant inequities and the equities forthcoming under the EFCA by analogy to the 2008 Presidential Election, had it been run under labor law. Invaluable.
Reports of the ISI's aiding the Taliban are nothing newUh, yeah, considering they were the Taliban's primary foreign backers since before the Russians left.
Monday, November 17, 2008
'Puter asks this question seriously. "Profession" is defined as "a calling requiring specialized knowledge and often long and intensive academic preparation." Based on this definition alone, 'Puter would concede teaching elementary and secondary education is a profession. However, 'Puter thinks the definition leaves out one very important element: the ability of the client to fire at any time for any reason, or no reason at all, the professional.
When 'Puter thinks of professionals, several jobs spring to mind immediately. Among them are: doctor, lawyer, accountant, engineer and architect. Each of these jobs is characterized by high barriers to entry, just as teaching is. That is, a state licensing body requires years of study at accredited institutions of learning, along with a rigorous examination and licensing process, before one can hold one's self out as a member of that profession. However, where teaching and the aforementioned professions diverge is at the other end of the transaction: termination.
No other profession has the termination barrier that teaching has. In fact, teaching has entrenched its state-supported perpetual right to employment where, to be fired, you have to be "caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy," assuming you are a heterosexual man or lesbian. Reverse the quote if you are a woman. Or homosexual male.
Teachers have a union to protect them from their poor performance. In New York, tenure guarantees teachers a job for life, as the procedure to fire a teacher can take years and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and school districts would rather continue to pay a teacher than go through the termination expenses. Clients, be they parents or school districts, are unable to effectively incentivize individual teachers because of union contract seniority driven pay scales. And, in New York, pension benefits are literally constitutionally protected.
Other professions have none of this back-end protection. You as a patient can switch doctors whenever you want. Further, you can fire your lawyer if she botches your house closing. You can fire an architect if you don't like her renderings. If your software engineer freezes your payroll system because of poor coding, you can show her the door. And you can do it at any time, for any reason whatsoever or for no reason at all. This ability of the consumer of a professional's services to end an unsatisfactory relationship immediately keeps good professionals sharp and weeds out the incompetent.
Teachers meet the minimalist definition of professional as their job requires advanced knowledge and specialized training. But, as teachers are insulated from the natural and immediate consequences of their failures (if any), they are not truly professionals.
Unfortunately for Mr. Jimenez, he was selling his house, and his neighbor's dip-wad 28 year old "single mother of two" daughter wanted to buy it from him. Even more unfortunately for Mr. Jimenez, he let Ms. Griffin, the aforementioned dip-wad move in prior to closing. Then Ms. Griffin couldn't get financing and refused to move out.
Not only did Ms. Griffin refuse to move out of a house she did not own, she called "the FBI, the Roswell Police Department, local media, the state attorney general's office and the governor's office, among others" to rat out Mr. Jimenez for being an illegal, a fact she was happy to ignore when she thought she was buying his house. Then Ms. Griffin went down to Mr. Jimenez' job and got him fired. Oh, and then ICE showed up and arrested Mr. Jimenez.
Now Mr. Jimenez is looking at deportation and Ms. Griffin is living in her mother's basement.
Can't we just deport them both?
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
I hope you'll cease and desist amicusably. I know you're a devisee of all sorts of ways to get around things, but seriously, just quitclaim.
Also, I'm working on that model airplane you gave me. You said the best glue for usufruct along a straight limine was Testators?
P.S. Thanks for asking, the Replevin® has really cleared up that case of stirpes I had.
P.P.S. Sorry to hear about your kid accidentally kicking you in the crotch. Are you completely intestate?
'Puter's two favorite legal words? "Nugatory" and "fungible." Use them in sentences whenever you can to show how educated you are.
For example: "Man, I love me that Three Musketeers candy bar. It's full of nugatory yumminess."
And: "Athletes' foot is a fungible infection characterized by one's feet catching on fire. At least that's what the Tinactin commercials taught me."
Now you're as smart as your wife's jerk-monkey lawyer who took half your money, your Star Wars action figure collection and the good futon. Jerk.
A market correction is defined as more than a 10% loss in a short time period. We've seen over 10% carved off index value in seven trading days, despite yesterday's 514.04 point climb.
'Puter's not seen any reportage on this. Nothing to see here. Move along. The market's uncertainty is caused by Chimpy BusHitler, not by fear of P.E. Obama's redistributionist tendencies.
With communism discredited, more and more nations harness their fortunes to the global free-market. China, Southeast Asia, India, Eastern Europe and Latin America all compete to attract the developed world's investment capital, and tariff barriers fall. In the United States Republican and Democratic administrations both embrace unfettered globalization over the objections of organized labor. But as new technology and ideas drive profound economic change, unforeseen events unfold.* - this is a reference to Scott Adam's Dilbert cartoon about a fictional airline program that was published shortly after I stopped working on a FAA contract.
I'm not unsympathetic to a lot of his arguments, but some of them—like abortion and immigration—are as ideological as their opposites if not more so. For example, his "leave abortion alone" argument is a brief for regarding Roe v. Wade as settled law—which makes the Constitution as written meaningless. Libertarians and conservatives alike should agree that getting rid of Roe should be a priority for any meaningful jurisprudence, and then they can disagree over whether to fight for abortion restrictions in the state or national legislative battles to follow. But Roe must go in the name of law, not just abortion.
Similarly, on immigration, P.J. wants his lawn mowed by a Mexican? Why? So he doesn't have to pay the kid down the street in Bethesda a couple bucks more? Give me a break. Whatever the merits of open or closed borders, the idea of importing a serf class to make menial labor cheaper is morally abhorrent and anything but libertarian or conservative. Your Volgi lives in the Upper Midwest and all the cleaning ladies, yard guys (and girls), house painters, and even most of the roofers are all native-born Americans doing jobs that, in theory, they "won't do."
Kathy Shaidle rips him a new one here and here.
The answer to P.J.'s question, why has the Right got a salad bowl full of dryer lint for 18 years of work, is simple. All we've done is politics. And important as that is, it takes place in a wider culture which is dominated by left-wing assumptions. From the academy, to the media, to The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Leno, Letterman, et al., being conservative is being dumb, backwards, censorious, and narrow-minded, if not flatly evil. Ergo, we've constantly got an uphill battle, and over time the field shifts to the left as long as the Democrats don't go all Carter and discredit themselves. Young adults come out of high schools taught mostly by liberals (and yes, union stooges, 'Puter) and universities taught mostly by leftists, and there's no surprise that they are enthusiastic about utopian schemes until the world teaches them otherwise. And many never learn, especially given the left's carrots (neverending feelings of moral and intellectual superiority!) and sticks (leave and you're a bigot! Vote against Prop 8 and get blacklisted!).
So, alas for P.J., the way to regain ground is more combat in the realm of culture, not less. Cede abortion, gay marriage, and immigration to the left, and next they'll be euthanizing the retarded, legalizing polygamy and polyandry, and ceding American sovereignty to foreign governments. And you'll still be a retrograde bigot for opposing them. And libertarians will always tell conservatives to let them go, because that UN-run system will allow the free flow of labor, more Ukrainian brides and Chinese husbands, and a higher national mean IQ! All unqualified goods!
Everybody on the right: Grab the freakin' reins. Obama's going to be a tough opponent—probably more so than Clinton was given his greater charisma, the reluctance of many to criticize a black president, and his inherent cautiousness—but this election was not a catastrophic loss (though if the Democrats get 60 senators, it's bad). The libertarian-conservative alliance will likely have more not less to agree upon, given the Democrats' statist inclinations. Keep your powder dry, and knock off the circular firing squad.
PICTURE: Another great American who decided his comrades in arms were on the wrong side.
* "Why have you forsaken us?" If my guess at Aramaic grammar is correct.
† My fellow Gormogons will testify to my live readings of his works decades ago.
‡ As in the old British joke about the new MP who, fired with enthusiasm, says, looking across the House of Commons, "It's great to look your enemies in the eye." The old-timer next to him puts a hand on his new colleague's shoulder and says, "My boy, those are not your enemies. Those are your opponents. Your enemies are on this side."
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Heck, even 'Puter can't blame the unions for this. Big Labor in large measure bought and paid for P.E. Obama's election victory; it's natural for Big Labor to assume they'll get a big payoff on their investment. Starting with the evil Employee Free Choice Act.
P.E. Obama probably expects to have to kickback to Big Labor, what with his background in the Chicago Machine.
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
Back on topic, an Upstate O.P. independent/assisted living an nursing home is advertising using the following text: "It's like giving your parents a chauffeur. And a chef. And lots of new friends." Really?
How about, "It's just like college, only with wrinkly co-eds!"?
Or, "Tell the grandkids Grammy and Pop Pop went to live on the farm, where they can run and play all day with other O.P."?
Whatever makes you feel better about warehousing Mom and Dad as they await their impending demise.
* That's 'Puter's parents posing for a vacation shot above. You can see where 'Puter gets his lovable personality.
That said, Quinn Martin should have done a WWI show. It would have been awesome.
The Great War!
A Quinn Martin Production!
David Soul! Efraim Zimbalist Jr.! Julie Hagerty! Louis Jourdan! And Ernest Borgnine!
TRENCHFOOT IN MOUTH—OVER THE TOP... GIRLS?!—THE VON RICHTENBURG OBJECTIVE—BRATWURST WITH A SIDE OF MUSTARD... GAS—SOMME KIND OF WONDERFUL—A YARN OF THE MARNE—CHIP & PASSCHENDAELE—HE'S ON A KAISER ROLL
As is, oft times, a “movie.” But all right-thinking people should hope this one gets made.
For those who don't get the title.
In two different places, two very different sources make critiques of New York similar to 'Puter's. Megan McArdle of The Atlantic here, and The Wall Street Journal here. Interestingly, each of these critiques is equally applicable to General Motors.
GM and New York are being done in by greedy/stupid/ineffective senior management (legislators) beholden to an even greedier union (unions) at the expense of the shareholders (taxpayers). As a result, both entities are on the verge of failure. And, taxpayers are being asked to bail both GM and New York out. This is unacceptable.
The solution for New York is clear, but political will is lacking. Cut spending deeply preserving only essential services, markedly lower all taxes, overturn outmoded and anti-competitive laws and regulations, layoff/computerize significant numbers of state workers and put public sector unions in their place. If these steps are not implemented in short order, New York will fail.
General Motors' solution is equally clear. File bankruptcy and reorganize in a prepackaged Chapter 11 filing, with the federal government providing DIP financing at a market rate of interest, secured by all assets of GM. Wipe out all existing shareholders and management, restructure the union contracts (even better, decertify the union altogether), shed duplicative/nonperforming brands and rewrite all dealer contracts on more equitable terms. If GM can't make a go of it then, permit it to fail or be sold off to the highest bidders.
Laying people off is a horrible solution, but it is the least bad of all available avenues. That said, anyone who went into General Motors within the last 25 or so years went in with his eyes wide open, knowing full well that the American automobile manufacturing model was doomed to failure. It was apparent in the mid-1980s (and even before -- see, e.g., Chrysler bailout); it just took this long for the walking corpse to realize it was dead.
And if P.E. Obama delivers on his promised economic plan (higher taxes, more unions, more regulation, redistribution), the rest of the United States can look forward to joining New York and General Motors in the crapper. Recycling failed policies is not the hope and change 'Puter's been waiting for.
As Fr. R.J. Neuhaus notes, "What most Catholics don’t know, and what would likely astonish them, is that CHD very explicitly does not fund Catholic institutions and apostolates that work with the poor." Also, Fr. Neuhaus notes that the CHD dropped the "Catholic" from its name a long time ago as a result. Read the whole thing for the typically idiotic 1960s background of the [ex-C]CHD. (Search for "Which brings me" for the beginning of the discussion of CHD if the other episcopal politics bore you.)
Kill it, your Eminences. Good riddance.
Friend of the Gormogons Claire Berlinski† has written an excellent, very entertaining article on the Ergenekon case, in which Turkish prosecutors claim to have uncovered an massive, incredibly baroque, murderous conspiracy attempting to strike at and destabilize the Republic. As Claire notes, such an allegation would be laughable in most places—but Turkish politics is so oddball and crazy there may be some (or no!) elements of truth in here.
Plus, Turks love conspiracies—or at least talking about them. There is a long-held view in Turkey that the military and/or government harbors a nefarious assassination-minded conspiracy known as "the Deep State," which is designed to retain power for the state by killing its critics and opponents, democratic and otherwise. Many Turks have characterized the Ergenekon case as unveiling of the Deep State—whereas others, in an awesome stroke of meta-conspiracism, argue (of course) that it's a put-up job by the real Deep State. If the Deep State exists, its most effective camouflage is the net of lunatic theories that have sprung up around it. (It's obviously generating those theories to hide itself! Fnord!)
Lest you think that conspiracy-mindedness is a fringe phenomenon in Turkey, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has expressed credence in some form of the theory in on a number of occasions. Which, others will tell you, is because he's heading (or is a tool of) a slow-motion Islamist coup d'état conspiracy.
Sound nuts? I assure you, I have not scratched the surface of crazy in Turkish politics. Check out Claire's article, y'all.
*Nerd shout-out to GorT, who's the only Gormogon ever to have read The Lord of the Rings, I believe.
†That's she at right. Rrrrowr, I know. Claire has just put out a terrific little (underpublicized) book called There Is No Alternative: Why Margaret Thatcher Matters. Treat yourself to it, you won't be disappointed.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
- Robert Gates is trying to reassure Ukraine and the Baltic states that we're with them in the wake of Medvedev's missiles-to-Kaliningrad saber rattling (and possibly the election of Barack Obama who has looked less than resolute in opposing Russian revanchism).
- The Russians are expanding their military presence in Central Asia, whose countries' militaries are so weak as to effectively be demilitarized relative to Russia or China. The CIS CSTO is the ostensibly multilateral security organization for the region, but, like the CIS itself, it's really mostly a framework for keeping Russian influence in its neighbors. Read the whole thing for a judicious assessment for what the increased presence might—and might not—mean. Money quote: "Bekmukhammad says that so far no one has seen the clear threats Moscow has been warning about."
- The strongest of the Stans' militaries belongs to Uzbekistan, the only "'Stan" lacking a border with Russia or China, and thus one inclined to be more independent-minded. They've withdrawn from another Russian-figleaf organization and are trying to cadge investment from the West. Your Volgi isn't enthused about getting in bed with the likes of Islam Karimov, a nasty dictator, though to his credit one who hasn't done much to destabilize his neighbors, all of whom have sizable Uzbek populations. You wouldn't want to live under his government (though by the standards of Central Asian history, it's relatively mild despotism), but arm's-length, indirect assistance is probably worth trying in order to keep Central Asia's plentiful energy supplies from falling under Russian control (especially given Russia's history of throwing around "we'll cut you off" to bludgeon its neighbors into falling into line).
—Конфуции, Вселенский Волги Древнего и Дворянского Ордена Гормогонов
That's Vinni-Pukh, the Russian Winnie-the-Pooh whom your Volgi loves unreservedly and who punks the Disney Pooh utterly.
Let's first look at Iran and Iraq. Obama has proposed a total withdrawal from Iraq, leaving behind no U.S. military presence. This opens the door for, at a minimum, Iranian influence through willing Iraqis. This clearly has fallout for the Sunnis, Kurds, Jordanians, Turks and the Saudis. Some of those are a far reach, but any increase in Iranian power in that region will concern each one. We should not forget the Israelis as well, whom the Iranian president has said he wants to "wipe off the face of the earth." Can a President Obama truly ignore all these international interests for a sole campaign promise to withdrawal all U.S. troops in Iraq? Maybe through his promised direct diplomatic efforts with Iran, he can promise them something too that they'll buy into. We, Gormogons remain doubtful that he wields any meaningful bartering chip for this.
President-Elect Obama already faces an international issue over the U.S. missile defense policy for eastern Europe - particularly with Poland in the face of a more aggresive Russia. As mentioned before, Germany won't weigh in on this debate for many reasons detailed here. Will the British, French, Italians, etc. step up to stand with the U.S. in the face of Russia? Maybe we should ask the question, "Where does President-Elect Obama stand on Russia?" To date, no journalist has really asked him. In fact, more foreign policy questions sadly were asked and answered by Sarah Palin. In recent history, the Europeans have shown little support to international conflicts - little or no troops, timid participation in NATO (as mentioned before, this is quickly dimishing into an ineffective organization), or financial solutions.
Ad maiorem Dei gloriam
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Behold! 'Puter gives you Mr. Ouch, who bears a shocking resemblance to his fellow warning decal BFF, Mr. Yuck, except for the green part.
"I am a giant blob of electricity! I will shock you with my inexplicably sharp appendage of power! You will recoil in pain and horror, with mouth agape! I will shock you, burn you or cause you death! Fear me, puny human!"
If 'Puter were still a kid (and not the clearly responsible functioning adult he is), Mr. Ouch would make him want to pry off the top of the transformer box to see the electric monster that lives inside.
'Puter smells millions in t-shirt sales to America's hipster youths.
Ms. Rhee inheirited a corrupt and failed public school system. Ms. Rhee, with admirable assistance from D.C Mayor Fenty, have tried to untangle the mess years of purposeful neglect and outright theft, alongside societal degradation, have created.
Ms. Rhee visited a classroom, and did not like the job the teacher was doing. Fred Hiatt of WaPo tells the story this way:
A principal recently was defending a teacher whom D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee had observed in the classroom and found wanting.[*]
This is emblematic of the entrenched mindset of failure in the D.C. Public Schools. 'Puter would have fired this principal on the spot, either for lying about the teacher's competence, or being stupid enough to tell the Chancellor she doens't really care about her charges.
"Would you put your grandchild in that class?" Rhee asked the principal.
"If that's the standard, we don't have any effective teachers in my school," the principal replied.
Recalling that comment a few days later, Rhee is still steaming. "I said, 'That is the standard,' " Rhee says, and you think: Whew, glad I'm not that principal.
On a further note, Ms. Rhee is headed for a showdown with the teachers' union in her current contract negotiations. This is the same teachers' union that routinely diverted dues to $150,000 Neiman Marcus shopping sprees and expensive Caribbean vacations, along with other obvious education-related expenditures. Ms. Rhee has offered generous raises for all, and extraordinary raises for some who accept merit pay based on student score improvement. No teacher could be forced to participate in the program. The union, at the insistence of it national, refuses to even put the issue to a vote.
Maybe P.E. Obama can do some good for the children his children left behind in the D.C. Public Schools. He could insist that the union at least put the contract to a vote. It's for the the children, after all. And the D.C Public Schools could certainly use some hope and change.
* 'Puter likes Mr. Hiatt's biblical get, if it was intentional. 'Puter believes that this phraseology is a direct reference to Daniel 5:27: "Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting."
'Puter thinks the press should rub P.E. Obama's nose in his hypocrisy. It is fair to note that P.E. Obama's actions belie his rhetoric. Unions, among his greatest contributors, have made the schools ineffective and dangerous. P.E. Obama doesn't care about the consequences of his support for a failed system, so long as the campaign contributions keep coming.
Rather than condemning his daughters to the educational Hell his party has created, supported and perpetuated for D.C. Residents, P.E. Obama, like most of Congress, buys his daughters' freedom and ignores the suffering of those who remain.
If you've got money, you get school choice. If you're poor, you get the shaft. So much for hope and change.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Where tyrants' hold is tightened,
Where strong devour the weak,
Where innocents are frightened,
The righteous fear to speak,
There let Your church awaking
Attack the powers of sin
And, all their ramparts breaking,
With You the victory win.
Interestingly, the text of the hymn was originally written in Chinese by Timothy T'infang Lew in 1931. No one does tyranny like the Chinese. Would that all Catholic prelates be reminded that actual tyranny still exists, and should be fought.
The Gormogons dig unapologetic anti-tyranny hymns.
'Puter humbly submits the following text for P.E. Obama's approval, to be used as our new National Anthem:
Obama, rule our land!
We exist to serve
His righteous commands!
Not content merely to keep us safe by destroying our enemies overseas, the Marines are now keeping us safe at home.
God bless the Marines.
'Puter notes that the gay community is outraged that an electoral majority is imposing its will on a minority, and limiting what the gay community believes is its right to marry whomever they please.
'Puter awaits this very liberal constituency's outrage at 'Puter's complaint that an electoral majority of people who contribute little if any revenue to the government vote to enrich themselves through government redistribution of 'Puter and the rest of this taxpaying minority's money.
Didn't think so.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Saturday, November 8, 2008
1. "Career politicians" have ruined the system. It no longer is a civic duty that these people are being elected to do, but a job that they are trying to keep. We've covered this before, so I'll leave it there.
2. The current slate of "leaders" aren't really good leaders. I mean this on all sides of the political spectrum.
So in reference to the latter, I came across this article which does a good job of breaking down the issue and really hits home for me. The author outlines the following reasons why a candidate isn't the right person:
- If you flinch every time your leader speaks, he's the wrong guy.
- If Congress, staffer, policy analyst, etc. is the best job this guy could have ever gotten, he's the wrong guy.
- If he's lived in DC more than a decade, he's probably the wrong guy.
- If he sounds like the people on TV and not the people in Church, temple, work, or the Rotary, he's the wrong guy.
- If he uses hackneyed phrases like 'traditional family values' and 'tax and spend liberal' instead of normal English, he's the wrong guy.
- If you wouldn't hire him to run your own business, or recommend him to the owner of the company that you work for, then he's the wrong guy.