Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Very Modest Proposal 

Since President Obama is famously reliant (if not utterly dependent) on teleprompters during almost any kind of public speaking engagement, I propose that henceforth he should be given the title "Teleprompter Reader In Chief." The obvious abbreviation of the title would be, "TRIC."

This has the added feature of people being able to say, whenever Mr. Obama successfully pulls off some future policy coup (or gaffe), "We've been TRICed again."

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Monday, April 27, 2009

California Special Election May 19 

The geniuses in Sacramento have mandated a special election for May 19, 2009 to vote on a package of propositions that supposedly will help the state government balance its budget in the near term and place restrictions on spending and create a "rainy day fund" in the out years, as well as juggle money between accounts for education, children's services and mental health services. The final proposition, 1F, prevents pay raises for legislators and statewide government officers in years when the state is running a deficit.

After careful consideration, I'm going to vote NO on everything except 1F.

This may create more havoc in Sacramento, or it may not, (IMHO things can't get much worse). I don't care. I don't trust the state government, especially the legislature, where something like 80 percent of the seats are "safe" due to gerrymandering. Every time in the past the voters have approved a trade off of higher taxes for supposed caps or restrictions on spending, the true genius of the politicians has surfaced and the taxes go up, but strangely enough the caps and restrictions turn out to be ineffectual for one reason or another. Moreover, when the increased taxes are sold as temporary, they turn out to be permanent. The one effort to rein in the tax-and-spenders that was successful was Prop. 13 back in 1978. I am not going to vote for any measure that raises taxes in any form unless and until the state government first bites the bullet and both cuts spending in a meaningful way and removes many mandates on local governments and school districts as to how money must be spent.

By "cut spending" I don't mean the typical politician's definition of a "cut" being not raising spending as much as originally proposed; I mean "cut" defined as "spending less in absolute dollars than you're spending now."

We will not see any progress in Sacramento unless and until the gerrymandering of legislative districts is done away with and most, if not all, of the districts become competitive between the parties.

If it takes a state constitutional convention to achieve this, so be it. But I'm not holding my breath.

It seems that our society is speeding like a freight train toward something that looks like the society described in Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged", which was written in 1957 and seems to be enjoying a revival (#38 on Amazon's Best Seller list at this writing). If that's where we're headed, God help us, because I don't see any brave industrialists who are "going John Galt." What I do see is Tim Geithner as the real-life Wesley Mouch.

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Captain Phillips Free! 

Captain Richard Phillips of the MV Maersk Alabama, who has been held hostage by Somali pirates for 6 days has been freed in what has been described by US Navy sources as a "brief fire fight" according to Fox News Channel. I can't wait for the full story of how it was done.

Bravo Zulu USS Bainbridge!!

According to reports, Capt. Phillips jumped overboard from the lifeboat where he was being held, and Navy personnel were able to capitalize on the situation. Three of the four pirate captors were killed and the other was wounded. USS Bainbridge captured the surviving pirate and apparently they are holding him pending a decision about how to proceed. FNC reporters are speculating that the pirate may be brought to the US for trial in federal court.

A wonderful Easter gift to all Americans, and especially Capt. Phillips' family.

I predict that some "human rights organization" will complain within hours that the Navy's action was "disproportional" and "violated the human rights" of the pirates.

Happy Easter to all.

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Saturday, April 11, 2009

It Was A Bow 

I'm moved to comment on this story because it seemingly won't go away.

He bowed. No matter how you spin it, Obama bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia, and it wasn't even in Saudi Arabia that he did it. The real issue is, what does it signify?

From what I've read, I understand that it is a long-time tradition, if not policy, that American presidents do not bow to any monarch, going back to the founding of the Nation. Our revolution, after all, was about replacing a monarchy with a republican form of government, and in theory no monarch has any greater status than any other individual, hence no bowing.

I also understand that some presidents have broken that tradition on rare occasions.

So what's with Obama's bow? People say the man is brilliant, and presumably is smart enough to hire a good chief of protocol to tell him how to act in situations like the one in point. So, either the Big O (apologies to Oscar Robertson, former NBA star) didn't hire a chief of protocol, or hired an inept one, or hired a good one and didn't listen to him/her. In any case, ignorance is no excuse, particularly for such a brilliant man. I am therefore persuaded that Obama knew exactly what he was doing, and did it with a purpose. After all, he's brilliant.

Why, then, would Obama do such a thing, especially if, being brilliant, he must have known that it would give rise to a kerfuffle of, dare I say it, regal proportions? I think he must have been sending a message to the world that in his administration, America is abdicating the superpower position that it has earned over the last century or so by expending its blood and treasure in defense of Europe, first against the Nazis and then against the Soviets, and in defense of Asia, and the Pacific nations, first against the Japanese, then those same nations including Japan against the Soviets and the PRC and its proxies.

Apparently that message is being picked up, not only by the usual suspects (e.g., Iran, North Korea) but also by the piss-ant pirates of Somalia and others. I'm not the only one who's noticed, either. See this scathing piece in the UK's Telegraph.

The MSM is still reporting that Obama personally has good positive poll numbers, although the numbers relating to his policies has been steadily declining since inauguration. The American public is willing to cut the guy a lot of slack, but if his policies result in what I think they will, they'll be hanging him in effigy and, well, marching with pitchforks and torches. I wouldn't be surprised to see the first "impeach Obama" bumper stickers by Thanksgiving.

UPDATE 20090411:1252PDT-- It looks like Beldar sees things a bit differently from me, although he gets to pretty much the same place.

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