Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Either way, I think a lot of folks have had enough of this cold snap. A high of 10 feels totally different from a high of 30 in Denver.
Can we get our global warming on yet?
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Reading Col. Barfoot's bio gave me chills and to think someone would tell this man he can't fly the Stars and Stripes in the county he nearly died protecting multiple times is outrageous!!!
I know people will try and defend the weasels in the HOA. There is no HOA regulation about flagpoles or flags, btw, simply a committee that finds our nation's flag "unsightly."
It's coming to the point where there is always a reason to attack people who still believe in this country. Always a reason why we can't fly the Flag because it offends someone or is "unsightly." Always a reason we can't have the traditional displays of our Judeo-Christian heritage like a nativity scene.
America is most certainly under attack and it's not a handful of cave dwellers this time.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Well they are staring to show their cards with the latest proposal by Senator Olympia Snowe (RINO-Maine).
"Snowe favors a trigger proposal, where a public option would go into effect if the private health insurance market falters. The trigger has been soundly rejected by some liberals in Congress."
The measure for failure ("falter?!?") will be far from what we expect; if someone, somewhere, can't afford health insurance or can't get "reasonable" coverage, they will find a way to pull this trigger. And of course, don't forget that they are imposing new regulations on the insurance companies that will dramatically increase costs and make the private system more likely to "falter."
The strategy here also deserves some analysis. This is being proposed by Snowe, a liberal Republican, who has been easy to manipulate throughout the health care debate. They need to sell this as a bipartisan compromise and that is why it's coming from the "R" side of the aisle. The only thing Conservatives will get is a little more time for the private system before the government takes complete control of this sector of the economy and our lives.
Monday, November 30, 2009
I think Huckabee's political career is over. Lesser things have certainly ruined greater men.
I can't get my brain around why anyone (liberal or conservative) would release a man like this back into society. Everyone seemed to understand the risk, except the Governor.
And, if that's not bad enough, Huckabee is quoted as saying...
"...it will be the result of a series of failures in the criminal justice system in both Arkansas and Washington State..."
Really? No accountability for what you did while in office, huh? It's not a "system" that runs in a vacuum. It is a system composed of men and women who make choices. Folks who are trusted to make good choices.
In this case Huckabee didn't just sit back and let the system do it's job, he proactively intervened to effect a different outcome. Had he done nothing, Clemmons would still be in an Arkansas jail cell where he belongs.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
According to the Republican Way and Means Committee, at the end of September 2009, the country has lost 2.7M jobs year-to-date. Obama expects 3.4M jobs to be created by year-end. That's a difference of ~6.2M jobs!!!
The stimulus has failed. It failed for the exact reason that non-partisan economists said it would fail; the money stayed in the public economy instead of being spent in the private economy. The public economy (government) creates debt. The private economy creates growth, jobs, industry. Stimulating the public economy wasn't going to create jobs but rather put more burden on the Americans who still have jobs.
Sooner or later the media will have to report this failure and Obama will have to respond. The best thing Washington can do is reduce spending and cut taxes. Of course doing so would be an admission that Regan-era free market economics are far superior to tax-and-spend socialism.
Couple of thoughts...
1. When you sleep with dogs... These bailout firms should have known better! Hopefully the government will soon get out of private enterprise, but if it doesn't, some of these firms would have been better off failing. Failure would have allowed bankruptcy protection/restructuring and at worst would have left market share in the free market rather than under government control.
2. We can't expect recovery when the best talent can't be compensated. Do you work for free? Neither do I and the best execs expect a paycheck as well. You can disagree with the amount of compensation all day long. If companies can't pay, they can't attract the talent necessary to recover. This is especially important given that most Wall Street firms, and some big banks, still have bad assets on their sheets. Should interest rates rise, or the mark-to-market rules changes, we'll see fall '08 all over again.
3. The market knows the free market can't recover with this level of government intervention and the Dow demonstrates this. As soon as news of the exec comp limits was released the market went from around +50 to close at -92.12 in about 45 minutes!!!
Thursday, October 15, 2009
We seem dead-set on spending "other peoples'" money while leadership lies about the costs of social programs, bailouts, and the effects of turning the IRS into a force for social change. The deficit is huge and getting bigger. Unemployment is increasing. Iran is build nuclear weapons. Afghanistan is out of control and Pakistan may fall to "militants" any day.
The worst part of this is thinking about what it would take to get the nation back on track because it's then that I realize it likely won't happen. The real sacrifice (not the Obama brand [i.e. someone else's sacrifice]) it will take to restore the country is immense. The individual strength it will take to hold fast to the Bill of Rights and ideals in the face of Democratic populism (the "me, me, me" entitlement block) is seldom seen in everyday life.
I don't think we have what it takes. I could still be convinced otherwise, but I fear the Republic is doomed.
And then I stumble upon this op-ed (via Rossputin.com) written by Wendy Button a former speechwriter for "John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Barack Obama, and Mayor Tom Menino of Boston as well as other national and international leaders..." This is definitely worth a read if you can stomach the "growths in my uterus" bit.
Ms. Button learned something about her failed ideology; it creates consequences. Those individual consequences were unknown to her while she was promoting health care "reform" (i.e. socialism). She drank the collectivist Kool Aid and didn't understand there was a personal price she would pay for creating "social and economic justice." Now that the bill has come due, Ms. Button is singing a different tune--I wonder if her former employers are listening?
This is where I find my silver lining; consequence. When the individual consequences are fully known, individuals tend to make relatively good decisions. Had Americans known Social Security would be broke within 80 years and the Federal government would use the "fund" as a piggy bank for all sorts of budget misappropriations, the New Deal may have never happened in the first place.
Collective consequences are easier to stomach. We can always fix problem x with person y's money. Where y can be the "rich" or future generations of Americans. But it's the individual consequences that sting!
What it may take to get all Americans (including former liberals) to see the danger of socialism is individual consequences. And despite all of Obama's empty promises, the everyday, working class American will be the most impacted by these policies.
If consequences will be the start of a movement to restore this country to its Constitution, then I welcome them.
In the meantime, I'll be at the bar.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
The fundamentals necessary for recovery are still lacking. Unemployment is increasing with no growth in GDP. So what's propping up the DOW?
One would think that fear would tank the markets rather than create a ~1,000 point rally, right? It's not fear in the equities market, but rather fear of inflation.
Gold prices are probably the best forward looking predictor of inflation we have. Government data (CPI) won't come out for at least a year after inflation starts hitting while gold prices are driven by the market and reported by the exchanges in real-time.
Look at the same chart as above compared to GLD (a gold ETF tracking just under 1/10 spot price)...
The fact that GLD and the DJIA are correlated during this "rally" shows it's no stock rally at all but rather a flight from USD based securities and reserves into equities. What's worse, than a misreported rally, is that because the fundamentals are lacking, the market is poised for another fear induced sell-off. Investors will think "oh no, not this AGAIN!" at the first sign of bad news and we could quickly enter another sell-off cycle.
Also, consider that the Fed has kept rates between 0% and 0.25% for almost a year now. If we do start to see inflation the Fed may raise rates to kept it in check creating a new wave of bankruptcies as credit is constricted and interest payments increase--this could also crash the DJIA.
[No, I'm not telling anyone to buy gold or GLD! This is not that kind of blog.]
I'm hopeful the economy can recover but we have a long way to go. What's disappointing about the recent upbeat economic news (which I believe is more political than economical) is that we haven't addressed the underlying issues of this recession.
Historically, recessions can be a good time to re-tool, re-educate, and re-direct capital towards new business opportunities and growth. Recessions have a way of purging old business models that have failed and encourage new successful ones to take their place. I don't see any of this happening and all of Washington's promises on job creation (green jobs) have failed.
Friday, October 2, 2009
Americans are in shock over this (primarily European) rejection. We thought the world loved us for electing Barack Obama. Were we wrong?
Long before the name Barack Obama was dropped Europe frequently reminded us that we consumed too much. Enjoyed too much individual freedom. We were told we were too wealthy and needed to transfer that wealth to various global government agencies for crisis x or problem y. Americans instead continued living the lifestyles we wanted, continued growing our economy, and used charity (choice rather than tax) to address world needs. This further angered the Europeans and put leadership at great risk; how does one justify sky high taxes in Europe while the Yanks enjoy lower taxes, better lives, and end up doing more good for the world? Impossible!
The world never wanted a competent, strong, moral President to run the United States. They wanted someone who believed as they do and could be manipulated into subjecting the US to the same kind of group-think that has destroyed Europe. They found that in Barack Obama. Yes, they love America for being stupid enough to elect a socialist, but that love isn't going to translate into progress or achievement.
Many conservatives are giddy today, happy with the news that Obama has been shown the door. I believe the 2016 Olympic games would have been good for Chicago and America and losing that opportunity isn't something to be celebrating given our economic situation.
The silver lining is that Americans get to see what European love is really worth. And that should be celebrated!
Monday, September 14, 2009
Friday, September 11, 2009
If it's any consolation the founding fathers were a little rowdy themselves. They were probably impolite to their tyrannical government as well. Shame on Wilson for questioning the emperor even after he called more than half the country liars himself!
When the wheels fall off, and they are working that way, the American people will need alternatives to the current leadership. They won't remember the GOP that sat on it's hand, staying silent and obedient. They won't remember the aisle crossers who participated in the incremental destruction of the Republic. They will remember the men and women of courage who stood up.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
1. Obama plans to make exclusion of pre-existing conditions illegal along with lifetime benefit limits. This will exponentially increase the cost of coverage for private payers. Initially, insurance companies will compensate by increasing premiums and deductibles. But at some point, companies and individuals will no longer be able to afford coverage and will be forced into the public option. Or the public option will actually provide superior coverage with the private system heavily regulated and burdened--remember the government runs the public option to compete with the private system and makes the rules that regulate the private system.
2. Every American will be required to have health insurance under force of law. This is remarkable and I was speechless when I heard it. Sure, the idea has been floated around and implemented in Massachusetts, but now the President believes every American has to be licensed just for being?!? If this isn't bold-fact fascism I don't know what is and it certainly isn't American.
3. Illegal immigrants will be excluded from the system but there is no mechanism by which this can happen. Mandatory treatment laws will still be in effect and the nation's ERs and urgent care facilities will be open to whoever needs treatment. This is a huge problem for the status quo and our inability to address will destroy whatever utopian solution Democrats can dream up to guarantee votes.
4. If the plan turns out to add to our deficit, other spending cuts will be required elsewhere in the budget. This is an obvious false promise and I don't even think liberals believe this one.
Overall, I'm pleased with the President's speech. He made commitments and promises that are now on the record.
Although I don't like the idea of having to carry a card with me proving I'm insured, I'll take some solace in the fact that the alternative lifestyle groups (non-workers), who heavily support radical left causes, will be impacted more than I. This aspect of the plan might actually employer-sponsered plans (attached to full-time jobs) more attractive, at first!
I also like that the promised free lunch is getting harder and harder to find in all of this. Many folks thought this would be free. It won't be. It's guaranteed to cost all of us more with less coverage and services.
In ten years there will be a "Health Care Then and Now" analysis and Obama's speech will mark the turning point.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
On Thursday of this week I got a survey card from RTD asking me how often I used RTD buses or light rail. The survey offered some from free ride coupons which I may be able to use which was nice of them. I completed the survey and put the card in the mail.
On Saturday, two days later, guess what I found in the mailbox? The same survey card! It had my name and address on one side and RTD's on the other with the "No postage necessary..." postage.
I'm also assuming that either side of this card has a 50/50 chance of being read by the Post Office scanner for delivery.
We know the population of Denver, Aurora, and Boulder alone was 2,998,878 in 2007. The RTD service area is actually much larger, but I'm having a hard time finding the stats. We can assume a 10% survey sample rate (conservative as I've done nothing to my knowledge to end up on RTD's list and I was selected).
The postage on a postcard is $0.28, assuming RTD didn't get any kind of discount.
As most folks in the Denver Metro know, RTD is heavily subsidized by taxpayer money and has never been self-sustainable. So how much taxpayer money did RTD just waste?
(2,998,878 * .10) * .28 * .50 = $41,984.29
And if the sample size was 25%?
(2,998,878 * .25) * .28 * .50 = $104,960.73
Not a lot by today's standards, but I find it interesting that even the simple exercise of collecting data from local residents on what is essentially a government service creates waste.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
I forgot one, well sort of. I said...
"4. The public/private partnership between the mainstream media and leftists must be formalized. Times are turbulent and your movement cannot afford to have a journalist report the reality of what you are doing. Media must be controlled and the information given to the American people must be consistent with Washington is saying. "
I neglected to mention, specifically, that the internet should be either heavily censored or completely shut down. My bad, sorry Democrats. But it looks like you've covered this one pretty well without my help.
The power of the internet cannot be questioned. Would we even known about the Iranian elections or opposition without it?
Obama owns big media (sans Fox). Now he wants to own the little media (internet). And one has to ask, "why?" The answer frightens me and I'll end on that note.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
I was watching the evening news on KMGH 7 last night and one of the featured stories was about the Colorado Democratic Headquarters being vandalized. Channel 7 showed the mug shot of Maurice Schwenkler (the suspect) and then interviewed the state Democratic Chairwoman, Pat Waak, who blamed the vandalism on health care "reform" opponents.
Turns out Schwenkler has a history of working for Democrat affiliated organizations. Oops.
Thank God the Denver Police Department caught this Democrat operative in the act! If not, the Dems would have a bona fide "hate crime" that would be used to silence debate on health care.
Democrats have been trying hard to label socialized health care opponents as Nazis, Brownshirts, hateful, and anything else that will stick. They have even gone so far to say this isn't about health care at all and is merely "white backlash" to a black man in power (i.e. if you oppose socialized health care you are a racist). This requires one to divorce all reason and sanity from the debate but connects well with the entitlement groups demanding free health care. Not to mention that the opposition consists of taxpaying, law-abiding citizens and retirees--not a bunch of hooligans.
The Dems are falling apart and you can't fault them for this strategy, it has worked well for them in the past. Get on the right side of PC group-think and there's nothing you can't sell to the American people. The challenge with health care is that they are trying to sell a known failed policy and ideology, and therefore, have to make it about anything other than the issue. You don't have to affirmatively prove socialized health care will work if you can eliminate the opposition.
The other option is to respond to the opposition with honesty and integrity. Create a dialogue and respect the fact that socialized medicine is at odds with American values and our Constitution. Of course, that would be out of character for modern Democrats.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Denial of care will essentially be the same thing. Think about that for a minute. A government bureaucracy doesn't need to affirmatively kill anyone, they merely need to withhold life saving care/treatment.
Take this opinion piece written by an Atlanta area ophthalmologist for example. This doctor reaches into his own pocket to pay for antibiotic drugs that save children's sight while Medicaid denies the authorized and necessary treatment. In many cases, these children would go blind if it weren't for this doctor.
So why would government do this? Simple--they have no choice otherwise. A national heath care plan/system won't just incentivize cost reductions, it will demand reductions in order to continue operating.
When this happens under Obamacare, Americans will die.
Congress and the President are no longer affecting change, they are playing God. In the past "change" meant higher taxes, greater deficits, and reduced freedom--Americans "sucked it up" and we continued on with our lives. The death of loved ones will elevate the struggle for freedom in America to an entirely different level.
Add to this the current environment that has Washington elites enjoying their own health plans, the steak and lobster jetset lifestyle (see Obama's vacation rental), and spending like drunken sailors and you have a major problem. In short, the people will suffer, while the Oligarchy in Washington parties on without pause. No American will be able to defend this government in good conscious; Democrat, Republican, Independent, the labels won't matter anymore.
When I think about this it makes perfect sense that Americans are starting to openly carry guns to protests. Make no mistake about it, this is an overt and unquestionable threat.
With that in mind, I have some advice for those in Washington looking to support health care "reform"...
1. Create a new super loyal police force capable of defending you and your families. The Capital Police will not be enough. Take care not to call this new police force by any new unfamiliar name--that will arouse suspicion. Hitler had his SS, Stalin had his "Secret Police." Don't make these same mistakes. Simply call it the Secret Service and create a special division.
To win the loyalty of your new security force, in spite of what you are doing to the country, you will need to buy them off. Salaries won't be enough. You will need to promise to completely take care of them and their loved ones no matter what happens. Having people of like ideological convictions will help, they will be believe in what they are doing and will be more loyal.
Good luck recruiting these folks from former US military as these folks are not on your side. Maybe the UN can help?
2. Find a safe place to be in the event you need to leave the country. Could be a weekend, could be the rest of your life. Find out what the political amnesty requirements are in other countries that share your view of "social and economic" justice.
Have some money deposited in a bank in one of those countries, just in case.
3. Repeal the 2nd Amendment or restrict gun rights to the point of completely disarming the American public. Doesn't matter what it takes and it will be difficult since the Supreme Court has stricken down unreasonable restraints on 2nd Amendment rights.
Opposing the Voter ID Act was brilliant! With ACORN, La Raza, and other "community" groups you have a good chance at controlling (subverting) the democratic process. You stand no chance of controlling an angry militia.
4. The public/private partnership between the mainstream media and leftists must be formalized. Times are turbulent and your movement cannot afford to have a journalist report the reality of what you are doing. Media must be controlled and the information given to the American people must be consistent with Washington is saying.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
There is some debate as to if this entire quote can be attributed to Jefferson or not but it got me thinking...
If being "homeless" means not owning real property, how many Americans are homeless?
There are lots of folks who consider themselves "homeowners" but until they have the title in hand they are nothing more than renters. They have rented the bank's money (or the taxpayer's money in most cases) and pay interest--we call this a mortgage. If they fail to pay that rent to their landlord they are evicted.
Add to that most folks have little or no equity in their homes (combination of market conditions and financing) and all you have is a series of rent checks with no prospect of real ownership.
I fall into this bucket as well. And after living fairly conservatively over the years and saving for a sizable down payment, I estimate I have a 25-30% interest in my home. The bank owns the rest and if I slip up the bank owns 100%!
The illusion of "ownership" is maintained to keep Americans in their homes paying rent to banks and paying taxes on the market value of their homes--the value most will never realize unless our values change.
The manipulation of the dollar, combined with mass consumerism has put Americans in a corner. Families are stretching just to get by while banks continue to reap rewards backed by the Federal Reserve which can spend the people's money as it chooses.
The current institutional Fed rate is between 0% and 0.25%. According to bankrate.com, the current average mortgage rate is 5.49%, the current average CD rate is 1.35%, and the current average credit card rate is 11.20%.
So thinking back to Thomas Jefferson's quote, I wonder when this financial crises finally hits bottom, how many Americans will "wake up" homeless?
Friday, August 7, 2009
Why can't we have an open discussion on how the current private payer health "system" became "broken" in the first place? Might those same issues break the new socialist system?
Why does health care "reform" have to happen in September 2009? Why can't the public see a final version of a bill?
Why are the unions organizing against everyday folks in town halls and in some cases pushing out citizens who are there to ask questions?
Why is the AARP unable to stay in the same room with it's members to discuss its support of health care "reform?"
Why is the White House asking good citizens to forward e-mail communications critical of health care "reform?"
Why do health care "reform" supporters show up with professionally printed signs while those opposing "reform" and accused of "astroturfing" have hand-made signs? Who paid for those printed signs?
If you're not on the fence you either know the answers, or have a list of carefully crafted talking points that attempt to address the above questions (without actually answering them, of course).
The fact that these questions along with a lot of conflict at town halls demonstrates the Democrats do not have the absolute moral authority they believe they possess. But the far more frightening is the prospect that our government, which refuses to listen to the people, is failing.
Friday, July 31, 2009
Consumption is evil (global warming, geo-political, etc...). SUVs allow people to consumer more fuel while offering no benefit to society.
Sure SUVs are great for big families, hauling large items, and getting around in a Colorado winter. But are those things really worth the impact to the environment? Of course not. This is another case where individual freedoms put the collective at a disadvantage.
Think of all the money saved on gas that could be put to better use in the public sector! Like the "Cash for Clunkers" program (nevermind that the program allowed consumers to buy SUVs that get as little as 18MPG).
So if SUVs pose such a risk to the environment, and prohibit social and economic justice through consumption of fuel rather than centralization of household wealth, why are they legal?
"If they can't administer a program like this, I'd be a little concerned about my health insurance," car salesman Rob Bojaryn said.
Now one could argue that the program was underfunded to start with, which leads me to ask "how could the government not know it was underfunded?" It comes down to not understanding the x factor. x being demand in this case.
Project that kind of mismanagement to health care and you have chaos. Consider the fact that there are many x's in health care and you have a complete disaster.
Once you get beyond on the morality plays, you begin to see just how unsustainable government controlled heath care will be.
Monday, July 27, 2009
This weekend, while getting my weekly groceries, I was behind a lady with a cart full of cat food and litter in the checkout line. While waiting she left the line momentarily to get more cat food (current selection wasn't enough?). And that got me thinking...
Why is pet ownership legal?
The world would be such a better place without pets which provide little or no value to society.
The cost of owning a pet can be over $1,000 the first year and $500 a year thereafter. That's $8,000 should a pet live 15 years! This is a conservative estimate. If a pet needs specialized surgery or care the costs could skyrocket. Most pet owners replace pets once they die and could end up spending $24,000 (in 2008 dollars) throughout their adult lifetime!!!
That money could be better spent providing social and economic justice (education, health care, food stamps/welfare) to the disadvantaged. Pet owners would never miss it as they've grown used to the recurring expenses.
If we believe the current Democrat talking points too many Americans lack access to "affordable" health care. How many is "too many?" Still up for debate but any system that doesn't cover 100% of the people 100% of the time is politically inadequate.
Veterinary providers could be re-tooled and retrained to provide care and services for humans. This would create more capacity in the health care system thus lowering costs. The government run health care system of tomorrow won't allow legal claims for liability or malpractice anyway so the government risks no additional exposure.
A few Veterinarians would be still be necessary to provide services for zoos, but the vast majority could practice on humans with a little bit of training.
How big of a carbon footprint does the pet food industry have? Don't know/don't care. But if it's more than nothing, it's too much. We can eliminate the environmental impact completely by eliminating pets altogether.
Mass transit will create a draw from the sparse suburbs to the dense urban areas around the country (after we outlaw private transport). This will put people in close living situations in which a barking dog or a cat house could be a problem.
Urban environments lack dog areas and dog waste would be a problem. Dogs have also been known to occasionally attack humans which, in a city, puts more people at risk.
We can further incentivize urban living by guaranteeing a person won't be listening to his neighbor's dog bark for eight hours while he's at work or getting bitten while talking a walk around the neighborhood.
All governments have pounds and animal control units. These could be scaled back or completely eliminated in some cases. That would free up funds for social programs or education. Tax cut? No, that money could be put to good use somewhere in the gov's budget to expand the size and control of said government--which we all know is a good thing and will serve a lot of people in only good ways.
All of this outlines a case, in the interest of the "greater good," to completely outlaw pet ownership. So why is it legal?
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
The conflict isn't unique to Colorado; anyone supporting Cap and Trade is supporting a reduction in economic growth which will cost Americans jobs and prosperity. Dem Governors are going to have to dance on the not so fine line between doing what's right for their state and the Democrat climate agenda.
This is precisely why I remarked earlier that Cap and Trade may end up being good for the free market. Leadership will be in a position to either support a far left (unsustainable) ideology or the free market which puts food on the table and a roof overhead. Politicians like Ritter, no matter how hard they squirm will own their decisions and the people will vote accordingly.
The interesting piece, that will likely never be reported, is what the Obama Admin is offering these Governors for their support.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
This story touches on an interesting subject though. We are quickly developing military tech to the point that wars of the future may be fought by self-aware (sentient) robots with the ability to replace the "boots on the ground." At some level, they will also have to make the same decisions as soldiers/Marines in the battle area.
I believe the use of these machines against humans would be unethical.
Our current technology requires a human to pull a trigger in order to end the life of an enemy. Even the new generation of UAVs still require a remote human operator. This means a human must determine if his actions are within the rules of warfare. Soldiers, no matter what they claim at a war crimes trial, never blindly follow orders. Robots do. War isn't perfect today and removing the inherit checks and balances of the chain of command is certain to make it less perfect tomorrow.
This quickly evolving technology could also someday place a lot of power in the hands of a select few. Soldiers are part of a collective, but are also individuals from society that share our values and ideas--they weren't built in a factory. Violating Posse Comitatus would be a problem for most soldiers. Not so for robots who will lack the ability to check the orders they have been issued against an ethical code. Combine this power with the trend towards totalitarian big government and you have a recipe for disaster.
I fully support the idea of using technology to save US lives on the battlefield, but it should never replace the role of the warrior.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
About a month ago I got an announcement from MSN that hotmail would no longer support POP3 which I was using to access hotmail via Outlook 2003--which enables me to to get important e-mails off the hotmail server and into my local personal folders so I can hang onto messages and organize them.
Instead of just being told I was S.O.L., Microsoft created the Outlook Connector which is free to download and use. I've been using it now for about three weeks and find it far superior to POP3. E-mails download faster and Outlook doesn't freeze up like it did with POP3.
Moral of the story: Instead of aggravating existing users, MS found a superior solution and made it available free of charge.
MS has gotten a lot of criticism throughout years, some of it justified, but it's important to point out the good as well.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
I did my annual oil change in May and didn't have any problems until late June so I'm really confused as to what could have caused it. The bike is a 1995 (A9) with just under 7k miles.
When it started, I noticed the bike was leaving about a half dollar sized drop on the ground. I've got it down to about a dime now. Seems to start after the motor warms up and starts dripping after being parked (motor off).
Things I have tried...
- Rubber oil filter o-rings (three of them from two different shops)
- New oil filter
- Emptying some oil to middle on window
- New oil filter cap
- New oil filter cap screws
Next step is to cut one of the rubber o-rings down and mash it in there with another full o-ring to create some additional pressure on the seal. Gasket maker is out of the question! Other than that, it's off to Vickery's service department.
Nothing more annoying that not being able to ride with an otherwise perfectly good bike sitting in the garage!
Saturday, July 4, 2009
I can understand not wanting to post personal info and not wanting your entire day to revolve around checking in with friends, posting updates, managing photos, etc... When you consider that a lot of people have accounts with different sites, this can become overwhelming. And if you're social person, why not actually get out and actually see your friends? For this reason I have limited myself to one account and check it rather infrequently--usually while at work waiting for processes/queries to return.
No matter how cool you say you are, here are two reasons you are most certainly using social networking sites...
Bands/artists aren't just using social networking to promote themselves but are offering access to themselves in ways never before possible. Some will write blogs and open them up for comment (i.e. interaction). Some will post updates on tours and new releases.
But the biggest advantage of having your fav artists as friends is the streaming audio player.
Just heard of a new band you want to check out? Yeah, you can sample on Amazon or iTunes. But the band's MySpace player will give you an entire track v. 15-20 seconds. You can see which tracks in the player are the most popular by play count.
Sometimes artists will post new tracks for streaming before they are even released!
If you love music you are on MySpace so stop denying it already!
Now let me clarify, when I say "cyberstalking" I don't mean anything nefarious or illegal. I'm talking about those little checks we all do on people from our past.
Want to see what your high school sweetheart looks like 12 years later? One profile pic and you know.
Got a crazy girlfriend from months ago? Want to see if she's moved on (i.e. will stop calling you after having three too-many at 1:30AM)?
A quick check of her MySpace/Facebook page and you'll know. Yes, some people make their profiles, or certain pages private. But it's more information than you had 30 seconds ago and it cost you nothing. Nada. Zilch.
No uncomfortable silences on the phone. No mixed signals when you make contact. No paid background checks to see if she really has moved to Fayetteville Arkansas and lives in a trailer.
Twitter may be able to give you even more information: real-time locations/plans/etc... Have some mutual friends with said nutcase? Want to know if she's going to the house party you're planning on going to? Twitter can be a life saver.
So keep lying all you you want to. I know you're on social networking sites and you know you're on social networking sites.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
"Cap and Trade" is indeed a direct and overt threat to the Free Market which houses, feeds, clothes, and shelters more Americans than government could ever hope to do.
The EPA has estimated Cap and Trade will cost the average household between $80-110 a year in excess energy costs. There is however no way to estimate what it will cost the country in terms of jobs (payrolls) and growth.
In a recession, efforts should be made to grow the economy, encourage investing, and reducing costs. Cap and Trade will create artificial restraints on the economy/GDP by increasing costs. This is something even the proponents will not argue and I fear is ultimately their goal.
Other policies have been silent killers like the CRA, Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid whose effects aren't felt for some time after implementation leaving plenty of room for politicking and finger pointing.
Cap and Trade will hurt the economy immediately and will force Americans who subscribe to populist politics to come to terms with consequences on their paychecks, standard of living, and the opportunities their children will have.
All of this should spark a conversation about what we are willing to give up in the name of populist politics and that may end up renewing respect for the Free Market.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Otherwise, why would the Obama Administration go around Ahmadinejad and the standard diplomatic channels directly to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei via the Swiss Embassy?
Sounds like the Obama knows Ahmadinejad is barrier to progress on the nuclear talks and wants him out of the way or at least on a leash. Admitting this would highlight the fact that sometimes words alone don't work afterall.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Last year's total renewal costs (fees + ownership taxes) came to $26. This year it will be $51--double.
I can afford this increase and certainly have bigger things to complain about when it comes to taxes and big gov, but let's take a moment and think this one through...
My motorcycle is the third vehicle in my household. I ride it to save gas and started riding last year after the summer gas price spike. I ride nearly everyday unless it's raining hailstones. And yes, I also enjoy it!
I didn't consider riding for the environment but rather I saw the impact of high gas prices on our economy and knew several folks who were struggling (one that owns a business). I also agree that we need to decrease our dependence on foreign oil, the proceeds for which ends up supporting governments at odd with certain western values like NOT executing people who are gay, NOT imprisoning girls for going to school, and NOT stoning women who are the victim of sexual assault. I can afford gas for my car but recognize that I can make an impact by riding and have a little fun while doing it.
But it just so happens that two-wheeled transport, being the most efficient method of transporting a human being, is also better for the environment than a car/truck/SUV. Most bikes get better mileage than hybrids and that should make any environmentalist happy. In addition, bikes put less wear and tear on our roads and help ease traffic congestion--something local government should support.
So what Governor Ritter is doing, in my case, is punishing me for doing exactly what he and his party have asked me to do; cut back, conserve, make a positive impact. I wrote the Gov to tell him just that in the most polite way possible without getting political--we'll see if I get a response.
In the meantime, I'm confident the Governor is getting pounded by people asking why this increase applies to their old Honda Civic to the same degree it applies to a new $80k Land Rover.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Some good analysis here.
The bottom line is that taking a side requires a commitment and the current Administration has done everything it can to not take sides in international affairs particularly when it comes to Muslim nations. Taking sides against America while touring the world is another matter...
While Obama might not want to say it, this is a huge opportunity to help topple Ahmadinejad and put the nuclear issue to rest. Of course we would have to "meddle" to make it happen and yes other Muslim/Mid East nations would not be happy. But then again, are they happy now with the sabre rattling and nuclear ambitions?
There are those who say we have to respect the Iranian democratic process and I say "why?" Even if that process isn't broken as many Iranians claim, why do we need to respect a government that has pledged itself to our destruction? A government that continually destabilizes the region and funds terrorism against Israel?
We can afford to be self-interested here and we should be, but that would require having a President with the stones to take a side.
I had heard through a co-worker years ago that Zicam did this although I've never been interested in using it. A search, at that time, revealed lots of anecdotal evidence on the internet confirming exactly that.
It's nice the FDA only took 10 years to protect consumers...
"The FDA says about 130 consumers have reported a loss of smell after using Zicam products since 1999."
Thankfully only 130 people are impacted, but this is precisely why we do not want the government in charge of health care. This is drug that whose risks never outweighed the reward yet stayed on the market for 10 years while a government agency (FDA) failed to protect consumers.
Monday, June 15, 2009
Quote from the Bush years? Nope, just yesterday.
Glad those Euros love us now!
And then there's this speculation...
"'I wonder what promises have been given to the Bermudians, potentially about going a bit soft on the tax haven status or something else as a quid pro quo.'"
Did Obama and Bermudian Premier Ewart Brown trade security for a little "looking the other way" on taxes?
Monday, June 8, 2009
Otherwise, I wouldn't care. And back when I didn't care, I didn't remember Laura, Hillary, Barbara, or Nancy giving any stink eyes like this.
What's worse is that the First Lady only had to sit there for an hour or so and it was off to shopping. If you can't play nice for an hour, stay home!
Monday, June 1, 2009
You cannot take wealth out the economy and expect private enterprises to stay in business.
Prime example, Michael Moore, who responds to this news with more "rainbows and unicorns" will save us rhetoric. His "message" is worth a read to jump into the mind of socialist and see how quickly they dismiss the natural consequences of their ideology.
1. Yes, we are indeed at war. The war between capitalism (which created this nation and made it great) and socialism (which seeks to destroy wealth, jobs, opportunity, and personal freedom).
Comparing cars to "weapons of mass destruction" isn't even worth a discussion. Every type of manufacturing (even "green tech") will have a impact on the planet. Every breath we take has an impact; is Michael Moore willing to end his life to save the planet?
2 - 4. The alternatives aren't ready for the market and no amount of government subsidies/taxes will make them self-sustainable. In order to be self-sustainable (i.e. employ a private work force) consumers must be willing to buy the product/service.
So I get to take a bullet train from Denver to Dallas in five hours--that's awesome! Just point me to the rental counter when I get there!
Our nation, infrastructure, and our lifestyle isn't suited to a radical compulsory shift to public only transportation. I've written about this before. It's also drenched in hypocrisy because we know our elitists will never give up their SUVs and private planes (why are SUVs still legal anyway?). And this is coming from a man who likely couldn't walk a city block without taking a break?!?
5. Yes I can see Farmer Joe loading his crop onto a bus! That'll be efficient all right.
6. The thrust to hybrid cars may be a huge environmental mistake. There are currently 250M cars on the road in America. Imagine if all those cars became junk overnight. The smartest thing to do is refit them with hybrid tech, but that would limit jobs.
And while forcing Americans to buy hybrids would certainly employ workers, those workers would still need consumers to buy those vehicles to make payroll. See a trend?
The hybrid market is tapped out. All the trendy eco-geeks who were willing to pay the hybrid premium have already done so. There are probably a handful of consumers in the margin waiting for their vehicles to need to be replaced, but the idea you are going to 250M gas only vehicles off the road is laughable.
7. Wind power doesn't work in the market and requires huge subsidies. Read much?
Everything else listed requires a consumer. Where are the consumers? If GM can't find people to buy cars how are we going to convince, I mean compel, people to buy wind turbines and solar panels?!?
And once you put the power companies/authorities out of business, how will the gov bail them out?
8. Why try and incentivize, it's time to start punishing!
The Dems control the White House and Congress. I ask again; why are SUVs legal? Why is private air travel legal?
If we really want to change, then let's change already!!!
9. Yes, that's just what the economy needs, more taxes. And here, Moore gets honest. This should have been his #1 but he chose wisely to bury it as #9.
Instead of recognizing how we got here Moore would rather utilize this opportunity to further limit freedom and control individuals.
The gas spikes of 2005 and 2008 had a horrible impact on the economy, but at least that money stayed in the private economy rather than being squandered by government.
Allow me to finish Moore's list with #10...
10. Seize the paychecks of all Americans and give them vouchers for anything the elites in government think they require. Housing, clothing, health care, fuel, everything. Make sure all Americans get an equal amount of what they require (social and economic justice).
Limit the damage done to the environment by limiting what Americans can do in their own lives. No more evil Walmart. No more vacations. No more private transportation.
Of course, Hollywood and Washington will keep their SUVs, sports cars, private planes and the steak and lobster lifestyle to which they've become accustomed.
When Americans fight back and refuse to go to work to continue to produce under these conditions, write laws compelling them to work. Every American will report to his designated work location each and everyday. Children will be institutionalized as early as possible, not for education (re-education), but for free "child care."
What does #10 have to do with GM's bankruptcy? Nothing. But then again neither do #1-9.
Monday, May 25, 2009
While America remembers those we have lost in the past and while Obama makes a pretty speech at Arlington National Cemetery, America's enemies are preparing to create new conflicts certain to cost us more lives and loved ones.
North Korea and Iran continue to escalate and threaten. They will get little more than a nasty letter from the Obama Administration and perhaps the UN will call a special Security Council meeting that results in the typical deadlock. The tragedy is not the politics or bureaucracy, but rather the lives that could be saved by dealing with these thugs today, rather than tomorrow.
But we having bigger priorities, like global warming. Nuclear weapons tests aren't bad for the environment, are they?
So today I try hard to focus and remember. But while America honors the memories of our fallen heroes, we can't seem to honor the memory of what they fought for and we fail to learn from their ultimate sacrifice.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Replace "working" with blackmail and "savings" with denied treatment and you'll see where I'm going.
Why is the private system important if it is to be partially or completely replaced by a universal one?
Because there is one huge obstacle on the road to socialized medicine; the paying system still works (for payers).
People who work and pay for plans still get affordable world-class care when they need it and have a choice on how they get and from whom. A universal system is a foregone conclusion for those who seek a health care entitlement or simply don't think they should have to pay, but for the majority of Americans, we would be paying more and getting less.
That reality presents a huge political challenge for Obama. Turning on a switch that increases costs while decreasing care would guarantee a single term Presidency.
The Administration's plan here isn't to make health care cheaper for Americans, but rather to lean on the private payer system until it breaks. When payers see failure in the private system, they will join the entitlement seeking masses and support a new universal system.
In short, the successful socialist creates a reality where the only salvation is socialism. Before the opportunity must come the crisis.
What can we expect from an arbitrary cutback in health care? We know that our private health care system is a business and just like any other is profit oriented. Providers will do anything they can to avoid taking losses and pass them on to consumers. Expect lower wages to current health care professionals, lower staffing levels = less capacity, and/or reduction in care/services while the system continues to cope with the government created inefficiencies; Medicare/Medicaid, urgent care for the uninsured, etc...
This will eventually have a dramatic effect on the quality of care payers receive leaving Americans to wonder if a universal system wouldn't be better. Will we be smart enough to see how the crisis has been created?
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Making certain no one can challenge you after making such an error is equally arrogant.
We heard the Left use the word "arrogant" often to describe President Bush. Strangely, we haven't heard that word used to describe President Obama for making the same stupid decision as President Bush did with the financial bailout.
Bush/Paulson/Bernanke, gave the Obama administration a shining example of what doesn't work (bank bailouts). Obama and his team didn't learn. Maybe they need some picture books or cartoons? I could understand if we were talking 1929 here, but it was just last fall--2008.
In addition, the market is off ~500 points after details of the current bailout were released demonstrating that the market doesn't like the bailout--this is critical. Obama is probably too arrogant to care about the stock market, but if stocks keep falling companies will be unable to capitalize. Assets will fall in value. Banks will become insolvent requiring even more government intervention. See a trend?
The TARP program was rewritten to inject capital rather via preferred stock issues as opposed to taking the bad assets off the private sector's books as originally intended. We, the taxpayers, are all captive shareholders watching Wall St. bleed.
The worst part is that we are unable to challenge the bad decisions that spend the vital capital we need to get out of this mess and rebuild because no one can call Obama arrogant.
Monday, February 9, 2009
McCain is a noble man. He loves his country. And you can't say a bad thing about the man as a person.
But when I heard him say the words "I think this can only be described as generational theft..." in reference to the current stimulus bill being debated, I nearly went nuts. I agree 100% with McCain on this one, no question about it, but it's the flip-flop that kills me.
It was John McCain's decision to take a break from his campaign last year to support the first stimulus that paved the way for the current bill. It was bipartisanship at it's finest! He sat there at the table, holding hands with Obama and Pelosi, and created the bailout precedent that we all knew would become a slippery slope, the total cost of which is now estimated at $9.7T.
The $780B last year wasn't "generational theft," but the $819M being considered now is? Exactly how does that work Senator? Did he start reading Malkin? Had he done that in September 2008 he might be President today!!!
Not only did he help get that stimulus bill in 2008 passed, but his position on the bailout prevented the GOP from running against it. And now that so much money has been spent, how can Republicans stand up and fight now?
If Republicans have to go along with it, there is no high road, and the American people aren't offered any alternatives once this stimulus fails, just like the last one.
If this is generational theft then John McCain is one of the thieves.