September 28, 2009

Flotsam and Jetsam

I have been busy with several papers that are due this week so blogging time has been limited. Some quick thoughts on news of the day.

Iowa Hawkeyes kick ass. The thrashing of Penn State Saturday night has moved the Alma mater into 13th place. Go HAWKS!

Oakland Raiders. Sorry to say... You still suck!

Roman Polanski, The guys been holed up in God forsaken France for 30 years. Oh the humanity! On a serious note... Perhaps they can arrange adjoining cells with Charlie Manson and the pair can regale each other with stories of the good old days in the Hollywood Hills. Justice!

Commander in Chief Barack Hussein Obama mmm mmm mmm. I cringed when George Bush used to say the job was hard, but at least he tried. Obama has only talked with his theater commander once in the last three months and now can't decide if victory is even an option. Perhaps he can mull it over while he and the little lady jet off to Copenhagen to pitch the Olympics. Isn't there something in the UCMJ that covers dereliction of duty?

September 26, 2009

How true the saying is: we lose our hair
before our vices, and though senses slacken
the human passions are no less intense--
the bitter shadow of our heavy veil.


September 25, 2009

I was going to post this cute little video from Mrs Salmon but then I came across this creepy little piece from Vimeo.

Barack Obama's amazingly consistent smile from Eric Spiegelman on Vimeo.

It has been a while since we had to break out the Threat Level tag but in today's headlines there is a plethora of "overseas contingencies" that have come home to roost.

Man arrested in alleged attempt to bomb Dallas skyscraper

Illinois man charged in plot to bomb federal offices

U.S. terror suspects accused of targeting Marine base

Inoperative Cameras Hinder SEPTA 'Photo' Probe

Denver man charged in alleged terrorist bomb plot

September 24, 2009

"We're not interested in government fixes, we're interested in freedom," From Sarah Palin's Hong Kong speach.

Its all about me, me, me...
From Fox
In mythology, Narcissus was the guy who fell in love with his own

In 2009, he’s the president of the United States.

Instead of adoring his own image, Obama loves to hear himself talk – about himself. In just 41 speeches so far this year, not including this week's big speech at the United Nations, Obama has talked about himself nearly 1,200 times – 1,198 to be exact. (That breaks down to 1,121 “I”s and just 77 “me”s.) And that just includes 34 weekly addresses and his seven major speeches. Count the hundreds of other public speeches and he’d be off the charts.

September 23, 2009

Uncle O Wants YOU!

From the IowaHawk

"It's true -- U.S. government demand for art and art-like products has never been higher! Uncle Sam and the good folks at the National Endowment for the Arts are on the lookout for go-getting, obedient artists like you for a fast-paced career in state propaganda. With the quick and easy Federal Art Instruction Institute course, now you too can get a first class ticket on the federal art gravy train!"
Why Health Care Will Never Be Equal
From the New York Times

The push for universal coverage is based on the appealing premise that everyone should have access to the best health care possible whenever they need it. That soft-hearted aspiration, however, runs into the hardheaded reality that state-of-the-art health care is increasingly expensive. At some point, someone in the system has to say there are some things we will not pay for. The big question is, who? The government? Insurance companies? Or consumers themselves? And should the answer necessarily be the same for everyone?

Inequality in economic resources is a natural but not altogether attractive feature of a free society. As health care becomes an ever larger share of the economy, we will have no choice but to struggle with the questions of how far we should allow such inequality to extend and what restrictions on our liberty we should endure in the name of fairness.

September 21, 2009

From the North Country

Wine $18.95
Prime rib dinner $63500
Dining with Sarah Palin Priceless

Kite surfing on Turnigan Arm Courtesty the Anchorage Daily News

Alaskan Garden Gnomes
You Might be a Racist
An alert reader has directed my attention to this handy flowchart to determine if you might be a rasist.
Click to Enlarge
Thx Mr Tex

Iowa Poll: Iowans evenly divided on gay marriage ban
From the Des Moines Register.

I would question the accuracy of this poll as it uses general population instead of likely voters, plus its one of those topics where people are likely to be less than honest.

Forty-one percent say they would vote for a ban, and 40 percent say they would vote to continue gay marriage.
The percentage of Iowans who say they strongly oppose gay marriage (35 percent) is nearly double the percentage who say they strongly favor it (18 percent).

Obama in a Nutshell
From The London Telegraph

It is lovely to feature in other people's dreams. The problem comes when they wake up. Barack Obama is an eloquent, brainy and likeable man with a fascinating biography. He is not George Bush. Those are great qualities. But they are not enough to lead America, let alone the world.

September 20, 2009

Sunday Service

Just Think!

Just think! some night the stars will gleam
Upon a cold, grey stone,
And trace a name with silver beam,
And lo! 'twill be your own.

That night is speeding on to greet
Your epitaphic rhyme.
Your life is but a little beat
Within the heart of Time.

A little gain, a little pain,
A laugh, lest you may moan;
A little blame, a little fame,
A star-gleam on a stone.

September 18, 2009

Democrats, Ignore Reality at Your Own Peril
From Rassmusen

Fifty-six percent (56%) of voters nationwide now oppose the health care reform proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats. That’s the highest level of opposition yet measured and includes 44% who are Strongly Opposed.
Just 43% now favor the proposal, including 24% who Strongly Favor it

Good News; Iowa's Democratic Delegation Unanimously Rejects Child Sex Slave Organization
75 Fellow Democrats Not So Much. Barney Frank Pleads the Fifth
Acorn Vote Results From the Washington Examiner

Obfuscations from the Presidents Speech
From Charles Krouthammer

When Republicans proposed requiring proof of citizenship, the Democrats twice voted that down in committee. Indeed, after Rep. Joe Wilson's "You lie!" shout-out, the Senate Finance Committee revisited the language of its bill to prevent illegal immigrants from getting any federal benefits. Why would the Finance Committee fix a nonexistent problem?
They also had to fix the non existent death panels. Somebodies lying here and ain't Joe Wilson.

A Tribute to Iowa's Norman Borlaugh
From IowaHawk

Unlike contemporary self-styled members of the environmental-scientific community -- many of whom seem to view the human race as malignancy -- Norman Borlaug was unapologetic in his view that science should be harnessed for the good of mankind.

For him, starvation was a pressing human problem to be eradicated, not the inevitable self-inflicted consequence of human folly; and he went about solving it in a systematic, methodical way. Not through armchair theorizing or manifestos, but through hard work and dirt-under-the-fingernails empiricism. He didn't seek utopia, just better crop yields.

I like to believe a good measure of that came from the flat black earth of Howard County. There's plenty of old jokes about the stereotypical boring Iowa farmer, who can only talk about rainfall and crops. If you'll permit me a little state pride, I
would only say thank God and Cresco for that. Because Norman Borlaugh was simply the greatest Iowa farmer who ever lived.

President Carter Red Lines the Hypocricy Meter.

September 17, 2009

Yesterday I caught a few minutes of a very uncomfortable Max Baucus rolling out the Obama-Baucus Bipartisan Health Insurance Reform Bill. You would have thought he got caught in a love triangle with Barney Frank the way he was spitting and sputtering. The cause of his distress is that he birthed a bill so ugly that no Republican in his Gang of Six would touch it with a very long stick. Some highlights from the Wall Street Journal.

The centerpiece of the Obama-Baucus plan is a decree that everyone purchase heavily regulated insurance policies or else pay a penalty. This government mandate would require huge subsidies as well as brute force to get anywhere near the goal of universal coverage. The inevitable result would be a vast increase in the government's share of U.S. health spending, forcing doctors, hospitals, insurance companies and other health providers to serve politics as well as or even over and above patients...

Everyone would be forced to buy these government-approved policies, whether or not they suit their needs or budget. Families would face tax penalties as high as $3,800 a year for not complying, singles $950. As one resident of Massachusetts where Mitt Romney imposed an individual mandate in 2006 put it in a Journal story yesterday, this is like taxing the homeless for not buying a mansion.

This was to be the centrist reform model that would bring democrats together and maybe get some republicans on board. We can stick a fork in this one as it only compounds the mistakes of the house version, will send public opinion lower (if that's possible) and will never make it to the floor for a vote.

"The Forgotten Man"

By William Graham Sumner (1916)

The type and formula of most schemes of philanthropy or humanitarianism is this: A and B put their heads together to decide what C shall be made to do for D. The radical vice of all these schemes, from a sociological point of view, is that C is not allowed a voice in the matter, and his position, character, and interests, as well as the ultimate effects on society through C's interests, are entirely overlooked. I call C the Forgotten Man.

For once let us look him up and consider his case, for the characteristic of all social doctors is, that they fix their minds on some man or group of men whose case appeals to the sympathies and the imagination, and they plan remedies addressed to the particular trouble; they do not understand that all the parts of society hold together, and that forces which are set in action act and react throughout the whole organism, until an equilibrium is produced by a re-adjustment of all interests and rights. They therefore ignore entirely the source from which they must draw all the energy which they employ in their remedies, and they ignore all the effects on other members of society than the ones they have in view.

They are always under the dominion of the superstition of government, and, forgetting that a government produces nothing at all, they leave out of sight the first fact to be remembered in all social discussion - that the State cannot get a cent for any man without taking it from some other man, and this latter must be a man who has produced and saved it. This latter is the Forgotten Man....

September 16, 2009

Wordsmith Richard Cohen: Identifies DC Affliction, Congressional Sclerosis
From the Washington Post
But he (Charlie Rangel) suffers from the degenerative disease called Congressional Sclerosis. Its symptom is the belief that the rules, especially the petty ones, no longer apply to you. This happens over time. It comes with seniority and a sense of victimization that combine to produce the onset of entitlement for goodies to which, in the course of things, you are not entitled. All this is abetted by the righteous belief that everyone else is making money and taking private planes and dipping their tootsies in the balmy Caribbean on a given February Friday -- and so why can't you? You have the power and the staff -- just look at all those people! -- and flunkies who will hold the elevator for you, pick you up at Reagan National Airport and on the other end at La Guardia -- and you ought to have some commensurate luxuries.

The list of Democrats afflicted with this malady is long and distinguished and there are only two cures, jail or "throw the bums out". I vote for the former.

September 15, 2009

Flotsam and Jetsam

Morals Test

This test only has one question, but it's a very important one. By giving an honest answer, you will discover where you stand morally. The test features an unlikely, completely fictional situation in which you will have to make a decision. Remember that your answer needs to be honest, yet spontaneous. Please scroll down slowly and give due consideration to each line.

THE SITUATION: There is chaos all around you caused by a hurricane with severe flooding. This is a flood of biblical proportions. You are a photojournalist working for a major newspaper, and you're caught in the middle of this epic disaster. The situation is nearly hopeless. You're trying to shoot career-making photos. There are houses and people swirling around you, some disappearing under the water. Nature is unleashing all of its destructive fury.

THE TEST: Suddenly you see a man and a woman in the water. They are fighting for their lives, trying not to be taken down with the debris. You move closer. Somehow they look familiar. You suddenly realize who they are. It's Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi!! At the same time you notice that the raging waters are about to take them under forever. You can save their lives or you can shoot a dramatic Pulitzer Prize winning photo, documenting the deaths of two of the world's most powerful people.

THE QUESTION: Here's the question, and please give an honest answer...

Would you select high contrast color film, or would you go with the classic simplicity of black and white?

Thx Steve

September 14, 2009

Obama: Asshole, Progressive, or Merely a Radical

Let’s face it assholes are ubiquitous and few of us are immune from occasional bouts of this malady. This may come as a surprise but even I have been called one from time to time. In his now infamous video, formerly unknown radical Van Jones made it clear that while republicans are assholes "Barrack Obama is definitely not an asshole." Roll Tape. Van Jones may be right.

After a long raucous month of meeting with their constituents our representatives returned to Washington with the message that healthcare reform and its associated costs is unacceptable in its present form. Last Wednesday in a speech before congress President Obama made it clear that he didn’t really care what those crowds thought or what their concerns are, he is going to create a public health care system in the United States and you all need to sit down and shut up.

Also, in another show of arrogance that would have made Caesar blush the White House claimed that Obama was not aware that a million of his constituents were coming to town to visit on Saturday. I can picture the President giving the crowd his patented cheek scratch with his middle finger when Marine One passed over the crowd as he jetted off to friendlier territory. Arrogance and Disrespect are always joined at the hip.

There is no better definition of asshole than a person in power who acts in total disregard of your interests just because they think they can. I’m sure we can all recall someone who lorded over us whose entire leadership philosophy was based on this model. From this perspective Barrack Obama appears to be the epitome of asshole-ism. Van Jones however doesn't see this as an Obama trait and he obviously has an abundance of asshole identification experience as he identified not only Republicans but himself as one. Perhaps then the proper, what Jones terms, “technical political science term” should be Progressive.

Historian Elliot Gorn* writes: “The early years of the 20th century were marked by great political ferment, but Progressivism, the dominant political trend at the time was more reformist than radical. Progressives tended to be middle class, native born Americans, from Protestant backgrounds who tinkered with the system in order to save it.” You may recall Hillary Clinton making the claim during the campaign that she was a throwback to the early 20th century progressive movement. Few people grasped that she was trying to differentiate her brand of reform from what she recognized as the radicalism of her opponent.

Progressives traditionally didn’t believe that you should restructure society to make as the name implies, progress. Conserving American values and institutions was important. This is why progressivism appealed to both Democrats and Republicans of the day. Few remember that Theodore Roosevelt ran as a progressive in 1912.

Out of this turmoil there was also a proliferation of radicalism that produced populists, socialists, syndicalists, and anarchists.* It is this same latent far left radicalism that spawned Barrack Obama. His flaws go deeper than just being a progressive or an asshole.

To Be Continued….

*Mother Jones: The most dangerous woman in America. By Elliot J. Gorn (2001)

September 13, 2009

Sunday Service


Say! You've struck a heap of trouble --
Bust in business, lost your wife;
No one cares a cent about you,
You don't care a cent for life;
Hard luck has of hope bereft you,
Health is failing, wish you'd die --
Why, you've still the sunshine left you
And the big, blue sky.

Sky so blue it makes you wonder
If it's heaven shining through;
Earth so smiling 'way out yonder,
Sun so bright it dazzles you;
Birds a-singing, flowers a-flinging
All their fragrance on the breeze;
Dancing shadows, green, still meadows --
Don't you mope, you've still got these.

These, and none can take them from you;
These, and none can weigh their worth.
What! you're tired and broke and beaten? --
Why, you're rich -- you've got the earth!
Yes, if you're a tramp in tatters,
While the blue sky bends above
You've got nearly all that matters --

You've got God, and God is love.

September 12, 2009

Too Cute to Pass Up

More Deconstruction: An Obama Speech in 13 Easy Steps
From NRO

September 11, 2009

September 10, 2009

Deconstructing the Obama Healthcare Speech
From Powerline

One striking aspect of the speech was that Obama kept talking about the "plan" that he "announced" tonight--but there is no plan; not in writing, anyway... he made a point of saying that details remain to be filled in, referred to work still going on in committee, and said that "his plan" is open to alternatives to the public option. This vagueness gives him a sort of deniability: what he was describing was more his concept of the qualities health care legislation should have, rather than a specific bill.

Deconstructing Barrack Hussein Obama
From Victor Davis Hanson

What we are now seeing with Obama’s coterie is a sort of Billy Carterism—after a while what seems at first outlandish gradually becomes repugnant. Half of the country is now furious at Obama because they are starting to see that Ayers, Khalidi, Meeks, Pfleger, and Wright were representational, rather than aberrational; that is, the associates that for 30 years were the natural friends and role models of Obama proved hard to shake and appear buffoonish 24/7. And stranger still, Obama himself seems surprised that they keep reappearing, as if one so easily can throw under the bus decades of choices, attitudes, and second natures.

Attention Iowans: Bill Usurps States "Right to Work" Legislation
From The Wall Street Journal
The Senate version opens the door to implement forced unionization schemes pursued by former Govs. Rod Blagojevich of Illinois in 2005 and Gray Davis of California in 1999. Both men repaid tremendous political debts to Andy Stern and his Service Employees International Union (SEIU) by reclassifying state-reimbursed in-home health-care (and child-care) contractors as state employees—and forcing them to pay union dues.

September 09, 2009

Jack London: The Iron Heel

The rhetoric of the new President and those he has surrounded himself with such as the recently publicized Van Jones really hasn’t changed much in the last 100 years. It could have been ripped from the pages of The Iron Heel written by Jack London in 1907.

The beginning of the 20th century was a turbulent time in the United States. Industrialization and immigration combined to create social and economic tensions causing some to question the foundation of the nation’s democratic system. Writers like Upton Sinclair likened the capitalistic system to a jungle and socialism was just one response that gained prominence during this era. London, an ardent socialist, who is generally remembered for his series of North Country adventure stories such as Call of the Wild and White Fang, also authored this dystopian novel that preceded similar classics such as Orwell’s 1984 or Huxley’s Brave new World.

London frames this story as a diary found in an oak tree some 600 years after the first socialist revolution between 1912 and 1932. The story is written from the perspective of the wife of socialist radical Earnest Everhard. Everhard is depicted as a tough, strong, man who raised himself up from poverty to become a self educated writer, “social philosopher", and revolutionist.

His wife sees him as “a superman, a blond beast as Nietzsche described.” Everhard is essentially a characterization of Jack London himself and through this character London is able to express his socialist views, while his character works to overthrow the system.

Everhard was asked to speak to a gathering of local capitalists and here we gain insight into what he saw as the problem with the system. Everhard described how he had risen through the various social classes, meeting the socialists along the way, and what he encountered when he reached the upper class was hypocrisy and selfishness.

In a long diatribe he went on to list the inequalities between the capitalists and the workers and how the politicians and the courts were merely pawns of the “oligarchy”. In a scene reminiscent of Socrates’ speech to the Senate in “The Apology” Everhard attacked the basis of the capitalist system when he writes, “I found nothing but stupidity, except for business. I found none clean, noble, and alive though I found many who were alive-with rottenness.”

The speech of course did not sit well with his audience, but his attacks did not stop at merely describing the ills of the capitalists. He went one step further when he writes; “We will be content with nothing less than all you possess…We are going to take your government, your palaces, and all your purpled ease away from you.”

The crowd became incensed with this threat until one man stood up, silenced the crowd and responded, “When you reach out your vaunted strong hands for our palaces and purple ease… We will grind you revolutionists under our heel…” Like Socrates’ experience, it is one thing to be a gadfly on the ass of the great beast but when threatened the beast may decide to strike back.

For a time there was a low intensity fight between the two groups until Everhard and 49 other socialists were elected to the US Congress in 1912. It was at this point that the “oligarchy” struck back. We learn in the footnotes of this book, written by the future historians, that there was a the rise of a fascist state by 1932 and that it took another hundred years before the revolution was ultimately successful and a socialist utopia realized.

London made a number of accurate predictions in this work but by and large the revolution has not turned out as he predicted. Despite 100 years and ample examples of the failures of the socialist system however there are still those that are echoing the sentiments of Earnest Everhard.

September 08, 2009

Heaven Help Us.

“I want at least two years with President Obama and a solidly Democratic Senate so that we can get the federal government back in the housing business.”

Barney Frank

The Right to Everything
From Dr Zero

Advocates of the Democrats’ socialized medicine program often speak of the “right” to health care, or more specifically the right to affordable health care or health insurance. This notion of rights bestowed by government is one of the basic tenets of modern liberalism, which is the mirror image of classical liberalism. It is a foundation that should be attacked by the defenders of liberty at every opportunity, because if one concedes this principle, the remaining logic of “soft” tyranny becomes inexorable. This is an argument that conservatives must never grow weary of having, because there will never come a day when it’s unnecessary to make it.

How American Health Care Killed My Father
From the Atlantic
If Obama had been half as forthcoming explaining the problems with healthcare and then presented a cogent solution as this writer has done perhaps we could have avoided the healthcare bruhaha. As we all know by now it isn't about fixing healthcare.

In Our Own Little Ways, We're All Freaks
The People of Walmart

Obama in the Classroom Update
As always I asked my daughter what she did in school today. "Did you see the President on TV today?" I asked. "No" she replied, but "There was Barack Obama's picture next to the office and it was as big as you."

Granted this is from the perspective of a first grader but a life size replica of the One at the school entrance? Interesting.
Too cute to pass up.
We returned yesterday from a four day camp out in the beautiful Iowa countryside. There is not much in the way of wilderness in these parts but Iowa is blessed with a park system that trys to recreate small patches of it. For the first time Arwen got to swim in a creek, the same one that I used to bike off to on those hot August days of my youth.

This trip was just a close to home getaway before we stow the camper for the winter and even though we were only a few minutes from the house there is something nice about being away from the normal noise and distractions available at home. Instead our attention is centered on keeping children from dying of boredom or starvation. I recommend it for everyone.

September 02, 2009

Obama in the Classroom

I personally think that the President has better things to do than spend a day indoctrinating grade schoolers but in reality I don't think he will be any more effective with the education pillar of Obamaism than he has been with health care, energy, and deficit reduction. (I know there was a 5th pillar but I don't recall what it is at the moment, maybe a trip to Mecca or something. No that's his other 5 pillars ;) In fact as the link shows the administration has already downgraded some of its goals.

I emailed my daughters principal today to find out if her first grade class would be participating. His response was "what day and what channel?" Sounds like someone didn't get the incoming message from the Big Giant Head.

If you are concerned though I suggest dropping your local principal a line and ask if they would be so kind to notify you if they plan to participate. If they get enough inquiries they may have second thoughts and if they fail to notify you then you have cause to jump up and down on their desk. Figuratively of course.

A Couple More Icon Items

Eulogizing the "Lion of Leinenkugel": An Icon in Allegory
From the IowaHawk

Crash and Burn
Icon Whitney Houston looses voice... then blames Oprah
From New York Daily News

Nothing else to see here folks. Move along now...

September 01, 2009

We have been without phone/internet service since last Friday but we seem to be back in buisness now.

Thinking about Icons

Updated: When I rushed this post through production this morning it really hadn't had time to adequetely perculate.

It is apparently a tough time for being an Icon. The media has announced several times the past few months that this Icon or that Icon has passed on to where ever it is Icons go after a long Iconic life.

I think Farrah was the first to go followed shortly by Micheal. Now Teddy. If I was one to see a conspiracy under every rock I might say something fishy is afoot here, someone is offing our Icons. In MJs case that may turn out to be true but I digress.

The fact that we call these people by their first name would indicate that they somehow touched our life but I for one couldn't generate much remorse for the loss of these beloved Icons. I was beginning to think I must be a tad on the un-empathetic side. Or maybe I'm just not Iconish enough to recognize an Icon when I see one. So today I set out to rectify my moral deficiency.

Webster tells me that an Icon is a conventional religious image typically painted on a small wooden panel and used in the devotions of Eastern Christians. No, none of our Icons fit that profile. Or: an object of uncritical devotion : Idol. Now I may be getting somewhere.

1 : a representation or symbol of an object of worship; broadly : a false god
2 a : a likeness of something or b: obsolete : Pretenter, Imposter (Hmmm)
3 : a form or appearance visible but without substance (Interesting)
4 : an object of extreme devotion
5 : a false conception : Fallacy (Bingo)

What a relief! Its not that I am the old cold hearted bastard I thought I was, I'm just not into Idol worship. That said I think we can characterize our modern day Idols as those that gained a degree of fame and notoriety in their chosen fields, but their longevity in the public consciousness is the result of the caricatures they became not necessarily the success they achieved. None of them used their talents or notoriety to move on to bigger or better endeavours.

Obviously in most cases these are severely flawed or damaged human beings whose lives in total call out more for pity than for adoration. For those in the Icon anointing business I would suggest that Icons really need to be on a higher plane than the rest of us mere mortals. That is a tall order. Otherwise save the iconography for the One that deserves it.