Monday, June 30, 2008
For this presidential election we have maintained neutrality, and to provide uninterrupted service, we have voluntarily deleted two posts that were less than complimentary of Obama, and still will not endorse John McCain. If that is not enough, I will restore those two posts, add many more, and cast my lot with the Republican. Although I am not afraid of exposing myself to danger, I also believe in avoiding unnecessary risk, and choose to fight my battles on terrain of my own choosing.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
In his latest New Yorker entry “Preparing the Battlefield” [in Iran] Seymour Hersh seems to be competing for a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for the greatest numbers of anonymous sources in one article. The first sentence alone presents a trifecta of the unnamed: “Late last year, Congress agreed to a request from President Bush to fund a major escalation of covert operations against Iran, according to current and former military, intelligence, and congressional sources.”
They are never identified.
UPDATE: Looks like I have been altogether too lenient with Hersh. Michael Ledeen of PajamasMedia cuts him NO SLACK in an article that starts with these words: "Once again Seymour Hersh wastes our time with an essay that would have been more suitable for a psychiatrist’s couch, accompanied by the question, 'Doctor, why do I keep making up these things?'”...
"Peter Beinart, one of the more thoughtful men of the left, has a sterling piece in Time Magazine that I’m surprised hasn’t gotten a little more play among blogs.
"It’s a piece about patriotism – how liberals and conservatives view the word and the concept and how patriotism is playing out in the presidential race. Beinart suffuses his piece with an obvious love of country which makes the words ring all the more real and true."
Check it out.
Here are the first four paragraphs of the article:
A lot of people probably can't understand why someone would voluntarily give up American citizenship -- but if someone wanted to do that, they'd now incur financial penalties for it.
Congress just passed a new law that will stop your capital -- or at least a good portion of it -- at the border, should you decide not to be a U.S. citizen anymore. Is it, perhaps, in preparation for the possibility that Americans might rebel at the debt and taxes incurred by their government by leaving for lower-tax locales?
You probably didn't notice this little provision inserted into the Heroes Act of 2008, passed by Congress on June 17. The headlines in the press release about the law were about the increased benefits for veterans and families of deceased military.
But Richard Kohan of Price WaterhouseCoopers drew my attention to one section of the act, which states that anyone voluntarily giving up his or her citizenship will be taxed on all of his assets as if he or she had sold them -- paying capital gains on assets that have increased in value, even though they have not been sold.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
This year's term was: Political Correctness
The winner wrote:
'Political Correctness' is a doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.
I wrote the following response:
Political correctness (n.) - A collection of arbitrary, shifting, and whimsical prejudices used to impose conformity and undermine freedom. It often pretends to protect the rights of women and minorities, but ends up taking away almost everyone else's rights. Discredited in its native land (U.S.S.R.), it migrated to the United States and found a hospitable home on college campuses and in newsrooms throughout the land.
Friday, June 27, 2008
"This immoral self expression goes beyond free speech," said [David R.] Dicks in a statement released Thursday. "It rises to the crime of indecent exposure/disorderly persons."
It's a style that irks many -- a few cities nationwide have banned the rear-revealing pants -- but the order also raises serious questions about how it would be enforced, if it disproportionately targets young black men and if ultra-low riders should be considered Constitutionally protected.
Here's the beginning of one of the latest entries to "Stuff White People Like":
Being a truly advanced white person means being able to speak with authority about pretty much any field of conversation- especially politics. In order for white people to streamline the process of knowing everything, all human beings can be neatly filed into one of two categories: People I Agree With, and People Who are Just Like Adolf Hitler.
Reader Mark S. provides the following explanation:
I love this blog. Of course, by white he means liberals. Stuff liberals love, but the point is that liberalism is a mostly white mental disorder afflicting almost exclusively nations with a large Caucasian population.
Keep up the good work.
Yogurt. That’s another thing Liberals love. Do an article on that.
UPDATE: There's another parody blog called "Stuff Educated Black People Like."
Just because the election is Obama's to lose and he's become the first African American candidate to come this close to winning the presidency doesn't mean we can dismiss McCain yet. The Arizona senator has the following points in his favor:
1. He is definitely not George Bush the third.
2. This is not the first time polls have been used as propaganda tools rather than an accurate reflection of public opinion. I believe the two major-party candidates are only a few percentage points apart (around 5%).
3. Since the approval rating for Congress is even lower than the President's, neither candidate can claim any superiority in that department.
4. The public is not ready to swallow the ultra left-wing agenda of Obama, and in a time of economic uncertainty, I doubt that a promise to raise taxes will sell very well. But I may be wrong - Democrats have sold snake oil by the trainload before.
McCain reminds me of the guerrilla fighter, patiently hiding in the tall grass until the opportune moment to strike arrives. But I think he will have to launch an all-out offensive after the Republican convention (not later than Labor Day).
Thursday, June 26, 2008
It appears that most existing gun legislation will be unaffected by this 5-4 ruling, but the court declared the District of Columbia's 32-year-old ban on handguns unconstitutional. It was one of the most restrictive gun-grabbing laws on the planet, and made our nation's capital a paradise for criminals.
A Free Republic article reports that Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago, who maintains a 24-hour armed police security detail around his home whether he's there or not, is hoppin' mad over the Supreme Court decision.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
You Can't Soak the Rich
By DAVID RANSON
May 20, 2008; Page A23
Kurt Hauser is a San Francisco investment economist who, 15 years ago, published fresh and eye-opening data about the federal tax system. His findings imply that there are draconian constraints on the ability of tax-rate increases to generate fresh revenues. I think his discovery deserves to be called Hauser's Law, because it is as central to the economics of taxation as Boyle's Law is to the physics of gases. Yet economists and policy makers are barely aware of it.
Like science, economics advances as verifiable patterns are recognized and codified. But economics is in a far earlier stage of evolution than physics. Unfortunately, it is often poisoned by political wishful thinking, just as medieval science was poisoned by religious doctrine. Taxation is an important example.
The interactions among the myriad participants in a tax system are as impossible to unravel as are those of the molecules in a gas, and the effects of tax policies are speculative and highly contentious. Will increasing tax rates on the rich increase revenues, as Barack Obama hopes, or hold back the economy, as John McCain fears? Or both?
Mr. Hauser uncovered the means to answer these questions definitively.
On this page in 1993, he stated that "No matter what the tax rates have been, in postwar America tax revenues have remained at about 19.5% of GDP." What a pity that his discovery has not been more widely disseminated....
What makes Hauser's Law work? For supply-siders there is no mystery. As Mr. Hauser said: "Raising taxes encourages taxpayers to shift, hide and underreport income. . . . Higher taxes reduce the incentives to work, produce, invest and save, thereby dampening overall economic activity and job creation."
Putting it a different way, capital migrates away from regimes in which it is treated harshly, and toward regimes in which it is free to be invested profitably and safely. In this regard, the capital controlled by our richest citizens is especially tax-intolerant.
The economics of taxation will be moribund until economists accept and explain Hauser's Law. For progress to be made, they will have to face up to it, reconcile it with other facts, and incorporate it within the body of accepted knowledge. And if this requires overturning existing doctrine, then so be it.
I wrote the following remarks to a friend who sent me this article: "Thank you for this most informative article about "Hauser's Law." Money is like a great river that flows around the world at not less than one revolution per day, sometimes faster, nourishing whatever it touches. But certain policies can affect that flow. If you have a command economy like North Korea, the channel will flow around your entire country, leaving it high and dry. If war breaks out (as during the civil war in Lebanon), money can flee at an awesome rate, and the country that used to be the "Switzerland of the Middle East" suddenly became poor and struggling. If taxes are too high, tax evasion becomes an art form (as in Italy), and much of that river of money plunges into underground channels. The underground economy of this country may already be larger than the total GDP of entire nations, and it will be expected to grow if the Democrats have their way and raise our taxes again. Rich Democrats who push for higher taxes don't expect it to apply to them - that's why they have lawyers, legislators, and accountants on their payroll to create and exploit loopholes."
Times of London:
San Francisco is to hold a vote on whether to rename one of its largest sewage treatment facilities after George W. Bush, in what supporters describe as “a fitting monument to the President’s work”.
More than 8,500 signatures have already been gathered in support of the plan — 1,300 more than the minimum required to get the proposal on the November ballot. The scheme was devised by an official-sounding group called the Presidential Memorial Commission of San Francisco.
In North Carolina, if you were issued a license plate with the letters "WTF" in them, you can turn them in for a free replacement. This abbreviation has been used in text messages and e-mails numerous times, and may be offensive to some.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Sunday, June 22, 2008
If you stifle emotions instead of manage them you’ll shut down your passion, and with it, your strength and power.
You know you're intellectualizing when...
Many people respond intellectually to situations where an emotional response would be more appropriate. (The opposite is also true, of course.) I'd like your help with my latest list: You know you're intellectualizing when...
You know you're intellectualizing when someone writes you a love poem and you point out a misplaced comma.
You know you're intellectualizing when you explain why the rainbow is so colorful and forget to admire its beauty.
You know you're intellectualizing when you tell a woman in childbirth "your labor pains are interesting sensations worthy of all your attention."
You know you're intellectualizing when someone tells you they lost their house and you give advice without ever acknowledging their loss.
Your turn. Please head to the blog and post your "You know you're intellectualizing when..." contributions. (We'll explore: "you know you're dramatizing when..." next week.)
UPDATE Here's what I suggested:
You know you’re intellectualizing when someone comes to you in the depths of despair and your tell him to “snap out of it!” [NOTE: My work with people suffering from depression and bipolar disorder has taught me this reaction is so common that it's a cliche.]
Comment by Charles Sakai, Japanese Cowboy — June 20, 2008 @ 7:58 am
The latest installment of "News of the Weird" reports the following ironic news item:
The prominent Texas personal injury attorney Brian Loncar, whose ubiquitous TV ads offer motorists a "strong arm" if they've been hurt by another driver's negligence, landed in critical condition after a Dallas accident caused, said police, when Loncar's 2008 Bentley failed to yield to an emergency vehicle and was struck by the speeding fire engine. [Dallas Morning News, 5-16-08]
NOTE: In Colorado, another one-man litigation machine, Frank Azar, also bills himself as the "Strong Arm" in numerous television commercials. He has been the subject of many complaints by clients who claimed that only a small percentage of the cases he or his assistants took on ever saw the inside of a courtroom.
Friday, June 20, 2008
"Sufferers spend unhealthy amounts of time playing online games, viewing pornography or emailing.
"They suffer four symptoms: They forget to eat and sleep; they need more advanced technology or more hours online as they develop 'resistance' to the pleasure given by their current system; if they are deprived of their computer, they experience genuine withdrawal symptoms; And in common with other addictions, the victims also begin to have more arguments, to suffer fatigue, to get lower marks in tests and to feel isolated from society."
Does this describe any of you?
UPDATE: The original URL for this article is http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/2152972/Internet-addiction-is-a-'clinical-disorder'.html
Check out some of the reader comments. Some of them are listed below - there are many more following the article.
Posted by Matthew on June 24, 2008 10:55 AM
Kimberly, cancel your internet.
Posted by Kimberly on June 23, 2008 12:55 PM
All I know is I can't get my daughter to anything when she's on the internet... "in a minute..." turns into 7 or 8 hours sometimes. And if I try to limit the time, she grows horns and actually makes me fear for my safety a little bit... Putting ANYTHING in front of your responsibility to the point of negative responses qualifies as an addiction at some level. Those of you who said "everything in moderation" are exactly right. An hour or so a day? No biggie. 7 or 8 hours and heaps of laundry that never get done and a filthy room and no job (because I'm looking on-line) and shirked responsibilities - there's a problem. Hey, if I drink a beer or two every day - no problem. But, if I indulge in a case of beer every day and scream at anyone who tries to take it away from me - I might be an addict...
Posted by Joseph on June 21, 2008 12:51 PM
As a consulting psychiatrist may I acknowledge that sometimes our colleagues embarrass us with their stupidity. A very provocative psychiatrist some years ago wrote an article published in a famous British journal titled "Bad Habits are Not Diseases". Maybe that renowned journal should republish the article, just substituting the term "internet" for the previous "bad habit". But we also must admit that you achieve much more publicity by drawing attention to yourself even if you say something ridiculous - and drawing attention is usually the real game that is being played.
Posted by Kim on June 22, 2008 12:39 PM
Horse hockey!! The internet is the last bastion of freedom of the press and true information. The global elite and military/industrial/pharmaceutical complex don't want an educated populace. The old soviet union used psychiatry to label dissidents with a "mental disorder" as an excuse to send them to the gulags. Enough already!
Posted by Jeff on June 22, 2008 11:42 AM
My online shrink said said there was no such thing as internet addiction! He says our 5 hours daily sessions are completely normal.
Posted by Susan Woods on June 22, 2008 09:41 AM
Who benefits by adding another label to serve for another product? Why do they want us to take their pills again?
I'd rather vaporize my cannabis and research the Internet, than drink beer & watch tv.
Sorry establishment, I'm still not still not convinced! lol
This ominous report in from Newsmax.com; here are the first 5 paragraphs:
Israeli Warplanes Practice for Raid on Iran Nukes
Friday, June 20, 2008 12:42 PM
WASHINGTON -- A large Israeli military exercise this month may have been aimed at showing Jerusalem's abilities to attack Iranian nuclear facilities.
In a substantial show of force, Israel sent warplanes and other aircraft on a major exercise in the Eastern Mediterranean early this month, Pentagon officials said Friday.
Israel's military refused to confirm or deny that the maneuvers were practice for a strike in Iran.
Russia's foreign minister Friday warned against the use of force on Iran, saying there is no proof it is trying to build nuclear weapons with a program that Tehran says is for generating power. [I'm inclined to disbelieve him, as long as Russia is making money assisting Iran with its nuclear research program.]
U.S. officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the sensitive matter for the record....
EDITORIAL NOTE: The attack may not take place today or tomorrow, but the Israelis don't believe in taking any unnecessary chances. Israel and the USA have been pleading with Iran over and over again to give up their nuclear program, but the mullahs seem intent on building nukes and developing delivery systems for them.
Just when you thought your blood-pressure medication was working, Newsmax.com ran this article about how the high priest of global warming, former Vice President Al Gore, tried to reduce his energy consumption - by raising it 10%!
“A man’s commitment to his beliefs is best measured by what he does behind the closed doors of his own home,” said Drew Johnson, President of the Tennessee Center for Policy Research. “Al Gore is a hypocrite and a fraud when it comes to his commitment to the environment, judging by his home energy consumption.”
In the past year, Gore’s home burned through 213,210 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity, enough to power 232 average American households for a month.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
UPDATE: A commenter on the Little Green Footballs blog quotes A. A. Milne to illustrates how Pooh foreign policy works out in practice:
"Christopher Robin, you must shoot the balloon with your gun. Have you got your gun?"
"Of course I have," you said. "But if I do that, it will spoil the balloon," you said. "But if you don't" said Pooh, "I shall have to let go, and that would spoil me."
When he put it like this, you saw how it was, and you aimed very carefully at the balloon, and fired.
"Ow!" said Pooh.
"Did I miss?" you asked.
"You didn't exactly miss," said Pooh, "but you missed the balloon."
--from Winnie The Pooh and Some Bees
"Messrs. Obama and McCain both reveal a disturbing animus toward free markets and success. It is uncalled for and self-defeating for presidential candidates to demonize American companies. It is understandable that Mr. Obama, the most liberal member of the Senate, would endorse reckless policies that are the DNA of the party he leads. But Mr. McCain, a self-described Reagan Republican, should know better."
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
The daytime talk radio shows report that Lt. Col. Chessani is now free to receive an honorable discharge and retire from the Marine Corps. But during the months he was preoccupied with defending his honor, the enemy had reason to rejoice, as he was as helpless as a combat veteran whose vehicle had been bombed, and who was waiting for his retirement in a military hospital.
Back to the Future
The New York Times reports that an adviser to John McCain accused Barack Obama of having a "Sept. 10 mindset." Obama responded by . . . exhibiting a Sept. 10 mindset:
The latest battle began when McCain's advisers held a conference call to attack Obama for comments he made in an interview with ABC News in which he said that he believed that "we can track terrorists, we can crack down on threats against the United States, but we can do so within the constraints of our Constitution," and noted that the United States was able to arrest, try and jail the culprits in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
"And, you know, let's take the example of Guantanamo," Obama said in the interview. "What we know is that, in previous terrorist attacks--for example, the first attack against the World Trade Center--we were able to arrest those responsible, put them on trial."
The Obama antiterror strategy is to wait until terrorists kill American civilians, then arrest them and put them on trial. Of course, when we tried that in the 1990s, the eventual result was another attack on the World Trade Center. This one was far more successful, destroying the complex and multiplying the death toll nearly 500-fold.
Oh, and the men who carried out the attack were never arrested and put on trial, because it was a suicide attack. Another failure of the Bush administration!
Monday, June 16, 2008
Of all the rocks upon which we build our lives, we are reminded today that family is the most important. And we are called to recognize and honor how critical every father is to that foundation. They are teachers and coaches. They are mentors and role models. They are examples of success and the men who constantly push us toward it.
But if we are honest with ourselves, we’ll admit that what too many fathers also are is missing — missing from too many lives and too many homes. They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men. And the foundations of our families are weaker because of it.
You and I know how true this is in the African-American community. We know that more than half of all black children live in single-parent households, a number that has doubled — doubled — since we were children. We know the statistics — that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and 20 times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems, or run away from home or become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it.
UPDATE: Barack Obama's Web site proudly announced that former Vice President Al Gore has given his endorsement to the Democratic front-runner.
Friday, June 13, 2008
NBC's Tom Brokaw was tasked with delivering the heartbreaking news on air Friday. "I think I can invoke personal privilege to say that this news division will not be the same without his strong clear voice. He'll be missed as he was loved greatly," Brokaw said.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Final Planning Meeting for 497th Reunion Picnic, 28 June 2008
On Saturday, 14 June, we will have a planning meeting at the Village Inn Restaurant, 3902 Palmer Park Blvd. (NE corner of Palmer Park andAcademy), beginning at 2:30 p.m.
We are still committed to having our reunion picnic at the USAFAcademy Picnic Ground, Pavilion 3, NE of Falcon Stadium, beginning at 10:00 a.m., Saturday, 28 June, 2008. Airmen stationed at the 497thRTG in Wiesbaden, or any other recce tech organization anywhere in the world, and Soldiers, Marines, etc. in affiliated units are welcome.
Items of business to be discussed at the meeting include: up-front contributions, publicity, potluck food contributions, and contacting people most likely to be interested in the event. We are also compiling a guest list to leave with the Security Police at thegate. If you're not active duty or retired, this should expedite your admittance into the base.
Contact information: Charles M. Sakai,
USA, Ret., 1985-88, 1990-92
2043 Southgate Rd., #84
Colorado Springs, CO 80906
e-mail: hammerz at hotmail-dot-com
UPDATE: For the latest report on the planning committee, see Mike Weatherford's blog, Old Patriot's Pen .
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Meanwhile, Democratic representative and former presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich has filed a resolution calling for the impeachment of President Bush. It is not expected to go very far, as the Bush Administration is nearly over, the move has not been blessed by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and many members of Congress, including Kucinich, are preoccupied with re-election campaigns.
Monday, June 9, 2008
"Critics such as Matthew Yglesias seem unaware that jihadists will not rest until the caliphate is reestablished on the Iberian Peninsula because they feel compelled to reconquer any country or territory that has at one time been under the domain of Islam. Spain is the most important of these lands because it was the largest Christian territory conquered in Europe and it represented the summit of Islamic civilization. The loss of Al-Andalus was therefore the most important loss ever suffered by the Ummah (the community of Muslims). Thus, freeing Spain from an illegal and illegitimate occupation by infidels would prove that all other Islamist goals can be achieved."
A burglar made the mistake of trying to steal a lawn mower in the UK owned by George Watson, whose English mastiff, Cromwell, weighs 22 stone (308 pounds). The intruder lost his shirt, but mercifully we are spared the sight of his pants after he encountered the dog. For the full story, see:
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Some of the most popular bloggers in Colorado, such as Stephen Green of VodkaPundit, Zombyboy of ResurrectionSong, and Darren Copeland, showed up, along with much smaller operators such as myself. I was delighted to learn that one of the visitors, Doug Sundseth, was the son of an Air Force major I knew and respected while stationed in Germany! I did the photo coverage of his father's retirement ceremony, but wasn't able to take even one picture with my Panasonic Lumix digital camera because the bar was so dark. The object Doug was wearing which attracted my attention was a custom campaign button that read:
Too bad there weren't any extras for me to take home, and if I went to the Republican headquarters here in Colorado Springs, they would either laugh at me or be offended by such an advertising concept.
While looking for a parking space in downtown Denver, I was concerned about a possible radiator leak, but after my car had several hours to cool off, I was able to return home in safety, but will continue to monitor the cooling system to see if anything else goes wrong with it.
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
UPDATE: A Townhall.com article described how Hillary's speech was anything but a concession. Either she will throw in the towel eventually, or she will remain a thorn in Obama's side as late as the Democratic convention in August.
Across the street from their assigned housing, about 200 yards away, are some of the Army infantry's main firing ranges, and day and night, several days each week, barrages from rifles and machine guns echo around Strickland's building. The noise makes the wounded cringe, startle in their formations, and stay awake and on edge, according to several soldiers interviewed at the barracks last month. The gunfire recently sent one soldier to the emergency room with an anxiety attack, they said.
"You hear a lot of shots, it puts you in a defensive mode," said Strickland, who spent a year with an infantry platoon in Baghdad and has since received a diagnosis of PTSD from the military. He now takes medicine for anxiety and insomnia. "My heart starts racing and I get all excited and irritable," he said, adding that the adrenaline surge "puts me back in that mind frame that I am actually there."