Saturday, January 16, 2010

Rites of Passage

In any boy's life, there are rites that mark the passage of time from birth to adulthood. My grandson, Griffin, will be one year old in two weeks. His hair looked a bit scruffy, so he had his first hair cut (high and tight like his dad and his grandpa).

As you would expect from a future US Naval officer, he selected the Blue Angels barber chair. It makes perfect sense to me.  Wings of GOLD, baby!

Now THAT is a haircut! And he's ready to pickle off cluster bombs and strafe the enemy.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Obama - In Decline

Now President Obama's approval rating, according to CBS, has dropped to 46% and his disapproval rating is the highest ever recorded by Gallup at the beginning of an (elected) president's second year.

A year ago, he was leader of a liberal ascendancy that would last 40 years (James Carville). A year ago, conservatism was dead (Sam Tanenhaus).

Now the race to fill Ted Kennedy's Senate seat in bluest of blue Massachusetts is surprisingly close, with a virtually unknown state senator bursting on the scene by turning the election into a mini-referendum on Obama and his agenda, most particularly health care reform.

A year ago, Obama was the most charismatic politician on earth. Today the thrill is gone, the doubts growing — even among erstwhile believers.

Liberals try to attribute Obama's political decline to matters of style. He's too cool, detached, uninvolved. He's not tough, angry or aggressive enough with opponents. He's contracted out too much of his agenda to Congress.

These stylistic and tactical complaints may be true, but they miss the major point: The reason for today's vast discontent, presaged by spontaneous national Tea Party opposition, is not that Obama is too cool or compliant but that he's too left.

It's not about style; it's about substance. About which Obama has been admirably candid. This out-of-nowhere, least-known of presidents dropped the veil most dramatically in the single most important political event of 2009, his Feb. 24 first address to Congress.

With remarkable political honesty and courage, Obama unveiled the most radical (in American terms) ideological agenda since the New Deal: the fundamental restructuring of three pillars of American society — health care, education and energy.

Then began the descent — when, more amazingly still, Obama devoted himself to turning these statist visions into legislative reality. First energy, with cap-and-trade, an unprecedented federal intrusion into American industry and commerce. It got through the House, with its Democratic majority and Supreme Soviet-style rules. But it will never get out of the Senate.

Then, the keystone: a health care revolution in which the federal government will regulate in crushing detail one-sixth of the U.S. economy.

By essentially abolishing medical underwriting (actuarially based risk assessment) and replacing it with government fiat, ObamaCare turns the health insurance companies into utilities, their every significant move dictated by government regulators.

The public option was a sideshow. As many on the right have long been arguing, and as the more astute on the left (such as the New Yorker's James Surowiecki) understand, ObamaCare is government health care by proxy, single-payer through a facade of
nominally "private" insurers.

Friday, January 8, 2010


Thoughts on Pachebel's Cannon in D.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Home Security?

I've been thinking of installing a security system in the house. Representatives from different companies have come out over the past month and pitched their wares and services. Most of them charge far more than they're worth. 

A friend of mine who lives in the Southern United States told me that there is a far simpler way to do it. He suggested that I put a pair of my used work boots (scuffed up) next to the door and that I roll up an edition of Guns & Ammo and put it in one of the boots.

For good effect, he further suggested that I get some really big dog food bowls and put them near the boots/magazine. On the door, I'm to put a note that reads, "Hey Bubba, Big Jim, Duke and Slim.  I went for more ammunition. Back in an hour.  Don't mess with the pit bulls -- they attacked the mailman this morning and messed him up real bad.  I don't think Killer took part in it but it was hard to tell from all the blood.  Anyway, I locked all four of 'em in the house.Better wait outside. 'Cooter' 

He suggested I misspell some words on the note -- and promised that it works better than a "warning sign" that the place is protected by an alarm.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Thoughts on Nation Building

A blogger I respect suggested that the US needed to become involved in nation building in places like Yemen and Somalia. While I understand the sentiment that those countries have people not that different from us who will embrace our concept of nation building - that sentiment is wrong.

Inside every Somali there is NOT an American screaming to get out. In both Somalia and Yemen, male children are often used in human cock-fights where the children, pitted against each other are the subject of wagers. Sometimes a wounded, partially blinded or maimed child has a weapon advantage over a healthy child. I suggest that another viewing of the feature film "Blackhawk Down" is in order. The international community's failure at nation building in these places that are no more than open sewers has been well documented.

Establishing the Rule of Law (as generally understood outside Islam) in places such as Mogadishu is futile unless you sterilize the place and start from scratch. It's also true in hell holes such as Darfur. In places such as those, the strong-man version of Islam holds sway and Darwinian selection is the rule when evaluating who will life and who will die. Our track record, as with those of other civilized nations (including Islamic Countries) is universally dismal.

Nobody will care for my solution: Reciprocity.

If the inhabitants of an African nation outside the law (Somalia comes to mind) engages in piracy on the high seas or some other contemptible act, we respond by destroying a piece of Somali infrastructure. True, there is not all that much worth the price of a bomb. But that sort of conduct is understood in the barbaric nations - where OUR success requires a pagan (practical) ethos. Nothing else seems to work.
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