Thursday, December 8, 2011

Required Rumbler Reading

Sharing some goodies from my never ending stack-o-stuff:

Barbarians on the Thames: The always eloquent Theodore Dalrymple dispenses with the silliness of attempts at liberal explanations (income inequality!) for the rioting in England this past summer...a lot of these lessons can be applied here.
Mid-summer stroll in olde London towne.

I am generally not a fan of 60 Minutes - but if you missed this episode, you missed a sad but critical piece of our problems in Washington:

A lot of that material came from this book:

I am working through it right now - have to keep the blood pressure meds up, so I'll get back to you.

Illinois: State of Embarrassment - Joel Kotkin's analysis of the underlying problem with Barack's the culture of Chicago politics.  This short piece lays it out in excruciating detail.  But hey, at least Blogo got sentenced!

The Dangers of Democracy: An excellent piece to hand to those who want to gush about the "Arab spring."  Bottom line - we got it way wrong in Iran 30 years ago...we almost certainly have it wrong in Egypt, Libya, Yemen....
Democracy for Mohammed and a few of his friends...

Enough to keep you busy...

Rumble on!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Dividing America

I am on the mailing list for an entertaining morning read from the investment advisors over at Penserra Securities called "The Marginal Prophet."  A couple of weeks ago, in his "From the Cheap Seats" section,  the author posited this:

While commenting on the veracity of the Occupy Anything movement, Robo asked the question, “When did our society become so polarized?”I can point to the exact moment; Monday; October 29th, 2007. Though I can’t remember what I had for lunch yesterday, that moment in time is still burned into my memory banks. I was five months into my second retirement, and I was Occupying “Flippers,” a local greasy spoon. The Dow Jones was a shade under 14,000, the value of my home had two commas in it, and I was about to wolf down a fiendishly delicious cheeseburger and fries. Life was not just good. It was very, very good. Just as I picked up my sloppy three-quarter pounder, I was interrupted by a unique ringtone from my iPhone; a barking dog. It was Robo. “Hey there, Little Brother, XYZ (the name of the company is withheld to protect the innocent) is trading at $19,” he gushed. “We can do this!” I gave my meal a brief pardon and replied, “That’s right, Little Brother (we call each other ‘little brother’- don’t ask). Let’s always remember this feeling, because it will never get better than this.”Little did I know how right I would be. In October 2007, a tea party was what old women threw to amuse themselves. People occupied jobs instead of parks. Debates between a black male presidential candidate and a white female presidential candidate seemed downright civil. So long as asset prices kept going up, tempers kept going down. American society was on a roll.Here’s a snapshot of where we are four years later. Republicans and Democrats can’t agree on where the sun sets. The Federal Reserve is out of bullets. Billionaires stare down millionaires in the NBA. Tea Party advocates go to work everyday ready to eviscerate unemployed college graduates who Occupy their way. People don’t work for paychecks: they intern for the opportunity to get a paycheck. Obama seems impotant, and shooting pepper spray seems the best way for people from campus police to Black Friday shoppers to communicate their differences.When did everybody get so mad? It's painful out there, for sure, and there are plenty of issues to be upset about. But when did compromise become a four-letter word? Sports experts like to say that winning covers a lit of ills. So too does a rising stock market. And a rising housing market. And a job market where asking your boss for a raise isn’t met a scowl and a pink slip. A rising tide may lift all boats, but a falling tide reveals what really lies underneath the water.C’mon America. We’re better than this.

I don't disagree that being civil is a whole lot easier when the Dow is rocketing through 14,000, Europe looks stable  and the Chinese are content with making cheap goods instead of hemispheric domination BUT, I do think there's more to incivility than a rising stock market.  I was not alone.  Another reader of the Marginal Prophet sent him this response, which he published the next day:

I think your date of October 27, 2007, pinpointing when our society became sopolarized, was the tipping point.  However, it took two decades to build to thatpoint, and I give equal, if not greater weight, to the following dates: (1) July 1, 1987, when Ted Kennedy took to the floor of the US Senate and trashedRobert Bork, who just minutes earlier was nominated for the Supreme Court by RonaldReagan.  Kennedy knew his tirade was BS, as did his fellow Democrats, but they stuckto that story and forever changed the "process" to nominate and approve SupremeCourt justices.  Facts and truth no longer matter to the process, just innuendo andsmears. (2) December 19, 1998, the day the U.S. House of Representatives impeached BillClinton.  Although Clinton was impeached on charges of perjury and obstruction ofjustice, it will be forever linked in the public mind that he was railroaded over aprivate encounter. (3) November 8, 2000, the day George W. Bush was elected president, and it wascontested by Al Gore. To me, the contested Florida recount in Bush/Gore marks the turning point for whenthe America I knew ended.  Before that election, the supporters of the losing sidealways threw their support behind the presidency (not necessarily the man), nomatter how nasty or brutish the campaign.  They may have preferred a differentoutcome, but there was still some respect for the office.  After Florida, theliberals/progressives never accepted Bush as "legitimate'" and set out to destroyhim personally, and did great damage to the office of the presidency in the process.The Republicans have returned the favor with Obama.

An interesting counterpoint and I don't disagree with the dates.  I would add that what happened to Robert Bork was repeated with Clarence Thomas and others.   We have reached the point in the selection process of Supreme Court nominees that it's best to put ups someone that is plain vanilla with no track record than to nominate a serious juris doctor.  Nevertheless, I submit there are dates even further back that began the journey to the hanging chads of Florida.  Allow me to posit a few:

1. May 4, 1970: The Kent State Shootings.  The Ohio National Guard fired 67 live rounds into a crowd of students killing four American citizens.  Sure, there had been rioting in the town, a lot of threats had been issued about burning down the ROTC building and the like - but you DON'T fire on your own citizens!  This galvanized the anti-Vietnam war movement and gave them moral superiority.  The backlash was taken out on American GI's returning from the war.  It was inexcusable, but I submit,  it was the beginning of our polarization.

2. December 13, 1974: North Vietnam resumed combat with South Vietnam ignoring the Paris Peace Accords.  President Gerald Ford asked the Democrat controlled Congress for funds to support the South Vietnamese and they refused.  This ultimately led to the fall of Saigon and the humiliating American exit from Southeast Asia. Democrats became linked forever to weak defense;  the military - an institution which reports to the civilian government - would never fully trust Washington again.

3. April 19, 1993: Attack on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas.  OK, David Koresh was a certifiably kooky and creepy religious nut with a lot of guns.  (This country was founded by religious nuts with guns.) But what gave Bill Clinton and Janet Reno the right to use tanks - TANKS! - against a bunch of American citizens...well, some 20 odd were Brits - but overall 76 people were incinerated.  For what? Because they thought Koresh was the new messiah?  By that logic, the Justice Department should have attacked the Democrat Convention in Denver when they nominated the current occupier of the White House.  This attack, along with other suspect incursions by an over-zealous DoJ like Ruby Ridge, led to a growing paranoia on the Right.  As soon as the White House changed hands, the paranoia shifted to the Left.  Regardless, if we can't feel that we can trust our government, we will come apart at the seams.

4. March 21, 2010: Passage of Obamacare.  This single act of partisanship - ramming an unpopular piece of legislation down the throats of the American people with barely a nominal majority is probably the most divisive act of the last thirty years and it will take many years to undo and overcome.  "We'll have to pass the bill to see what's in it." Will go down as the most irresponsible act of (non) governance in the history of the Republic.  Brute force has become the standard of governance.

If you have any suggested dates, pass them along for consideration!

Rumble on!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Required Rumbler Reading

Haven't done an R Cubed column in a bit, but over Thanksgiving I worked through my "Read it Later List" and thought I would share a few gems with you.

1. Should the Rich Be Condemned? I grow weary of Obama's constant class warfare and the idiocy it has spawned in the streets. But Walter Williams nails it in this piece. "Class warfare thrives on ignorance of the sources of income," Williams observes.  Sadly, ignorance begets tyranny.  I can't think of any demagogue from Huey Long to Adolf Hitler that hasn't used the meme that "someone else is getting theirs unfairly" that has improved the situation.  The usual outcome is pretty grim.

2. U.S. Job Market Looking More Like Europe's:  This Wall Street Journal piece takes a hard look at the results of Obanomics and what it has done to the core job numbers.  It is a sobering prediction that if we don't change the regulatory environment and get the American economy focused on growth instead of "fairness," we're all screwed.

3. Speaking of the rich...what if we took EVERYTHING they had?  Bill Whittle did a short video on this that is highly instructive - I shared this before, but it really is worth another look:

4. FATCA: A Ticking Time Bomb for the Economy:  Is that intro missing a "T" at the end?  I had not heard about this, but it actually stands for "Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act," bred from the FBAR. No, my military veteran friends not "F***** Up Beyond All Repair,"  FBAR is actually the "Foreign Bank Accounting Report.  FATCA gives IRS the authority to find out the bank balances of U.S. citizens living abroad and to require the institutions holding those funds to report the information. This is truly scary stuff and will result in a complete abandonment of US financial markets by foreign investors.

5. Thomas Jefferson's Free Market Economics: as a student of the history of Mr. Jefferson, I was well aware of his love for Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations."  This short piece pushed Jefferson squarely into the economic libertarian camp.  It might be a bit of an overstatement - just as when Jefferson said "the tree of liberty must from time to time be refreshed with the blood of patriots and tyrants."  He didn't really mean there needed to be regular violent was a calculated overstatement to drive home the point that liberty requires vigilance.  This is a good piece, nevertheless, worth the read!

That's enough for now...

Rumble on!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Jobs (and not the Steve kind)

Ramirez's sentiment over at Investor's Business Daily really nails it.  Liberals in Washington (and all over the fruited plain) are lambasting the same corporations that their allies in the OWS movement vilify for not creating jobs. The OWSers lament, through their wafts of body odor,  that it is the corporations that are ruining America.  You mean the oil companies that can't drill?  Or perhaps you mean the food and beverage companies that are being regulated out of existence?  Maybe you mean the tobacco companies that can no longer advertise?  Perhaps you are talking about the evil pharmaceutical companies that can't get FDA approval for the product they spent billions of research dollars on?  Wait, wait, you must be speaking of the horrifying financial services companies that can no longer lend thanks to the shackles of the Dodd-Frank Bill?

As we have discussed on these pages before, some regulation is necessary to maintain order in the system.  But once the government has gotten in the business of picking winners and losers in the free market, we are finished.  How about a Solyndra powered Chevy Volt with a battery that catches fire and burns all the shareholders' interests (except the ones that contributed to the Obama campaign)?

Leaves one pining for a little blues - how about Joe Cocker's "Unchain my Heart?"

Rumble on!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

How's That "Reset" Thingie Workin' For Ya?

Remember the famous Hillary "reset" button:

Of course the idiots didn't check their Russian-English dictionary wherein they would have learned that "peregruzka" actually means "overcharged."  But let's not get in the way of symbolism.  Back in those heady days when the oceans were going to recede and peace would be heralded throughout the world with vuvuzelas at the very image of our gifted young God  President...oh how the mighty have fallen.

Take a look at this Russian newscasters quite public opinion of Msr. Obama:

Man if the Russian media doesn't feel the love, you know you have fallen to a new low!

Just checking...

Yup - still resembling that famous Ross Perot line about giant sounds.

Rumble on!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Just In Time for Black Friday!

Don't go to the Mall!  You can get all you need for your loved ones at the "Gifts for Conservatives" e-store!  Get your special loved one that Ronald Reagan "Miss Me Yet?" T-Shirt.  How about Mark Levin's latest book on the evolution of modern America?  It's all here and we will be adding products daily!

Click on the image to go to the store.

Benetton Gets in Right

Are they sure this is photo-shopped?

Monday, November 7, 2011

From the Occu-Cootie Front

Meanwhile, the RAPES pile up.  Head and body LICE are popping up. Theft is rampant.  There have been at least two deaths reported from drug overdoses.  Millions of dollars in damages and police overtime costs are being borne by the communities where these idiots are camping out...and best of all, most still have no idea why they are there...

The Chicago Board of Trade dealers are at least doing something about it - they dumped McDonald's applications at Occupy Chicago.

Rumble on!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Our Pious Pompous Congressman Cooper

Oops!  Mr. Dudley Do-Right, Mr. "Blue-Dog Democrat," (but voted FOR Obamacare AND for Cap and  Trade AND for anything else Ms. Pelosi ran up when she were in power) done got caught.  Jim Cooper likes to present himself as a cerebral even-handed policy wonk.  He is none of the above.  He is just like the rest of the ruling class that enjoy the benefits of the good life in Washington.  In this instance, he has not been caught with his hand in the taxpayer cookie jar, but rather proving himself to be the beneficiary of the largess of folks interested in his vote.  According to the always reliable Tennessean (cough cough), Msr. Cooper was numero uno in the Congress for taking trips on someone else's nickel.  I don't resent anyone traveling to learn about a particular problem, show the flag et al.  I do resent boondoggles and blatant transfers of funds that can't count as "campaign contributions."  Let's take a look at one particular trip.

Mr. Cooper travelled to Barcelona, Spain, we are told - and mind you, the Tennessean has made it official policy to defend this gentleman, cost $18,487.  Now I have travelled to a lot of places in the world and stayed in some pretty superlative hotels...I couldn't figure out how to spend money like that.  But some exploration is warranted.  The trip was for Mr. Cooper to speak on "policy changes in the Muslim world."  Hmm, OK. he represents the 5th District of Tennessee - makes sense that he would be an expert on Muslim affairs...  Well, let's go to Barcelona!

First we have to fly there...

Looks like $2,500 ought to cover a round trip from here to Barcelona.

Let's assume we are going to stay there a week and we HAVE to stay in a 5-star hotel.  A quick search of Zagat's get's us this:

Nothing like the Gran Hotel La Florida overlooking the city.  They're quoting $216.27 a night, but I want the Congressional Special - let's assume $350 per day - for six nights, that would be $2100.  We are up to $4,600.  But of course we have to eat!

Let's assume we are going to eat at a 5-star restaurant for six suppers...a little investigation reveals this jewel:

This is "Alikimia," pretty hot spot.  If I total up the top prices for the "starters," "main courses" and "desserts," we get in Euros - 30+33+10 or 73Euros - throw in another 20 for drinks and tips and you get to 93 Euro.  That translates into about $115 per meal.  Heck, let's eat there for lunch too and we get six dinners and seven lunches: $1,495...we're now up to $6,095.

Jeez - let's thrown in some limos and breakfast above and beyond what the posh hotel offers...another $3,000.  I am only up to HALF of what he was paid.  Where did the money go?  I'll wait...

Friends, an awful lot of Congressmen go up to DC from humble to middle class backgrounds and yet, they return multi-millionaires.  This is just one teensy example of how corrupt the political class has become.  The useful idiots at Occupy Wall Street ought to understand that they are camping out in the wrong town.

Rumble on!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Semper Fi!

On November 10, the Marine Corps will celebrate their 236th Birthday.  Here's the video produced by the Commandant and the Master Sergeant of the Marine Corps:

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Mob Rule

What happened at the Occupy Atlanta gathering last week is worth a second look.  This takes about ten minutes, but to absorb, but it is worth it.  They were copying the "people's mike" technique developed at Zuccotti Park in New York...but didn't understand that the reason they do it in NYC is because of a sound ordinance.  These idiots just do it to happily sound like robots.

So John Lewis, icon of the civil rights movement, and somewhat mentally imbalanced Congressman, shows up to visit with his constituency...hilarity ensues:

If THAT is 99% of the country, I'm moving to Switzerland.

It is a shame they didn't let him speak - he could have regaled them with tales of how sharks in the Atlantic still follow the routes of the slave ships or how people were denied the right to vote because of their nationality.  Sometimes letting liberals speak is half the fun.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Stuff the Ice Chest - Republican Candidates

These guys at Bad Lip Reading are very clever:

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Nine Thoughts on 9-9-9

Herman Cain is getting a lot of traction on his 9-9-9 Plan as he should.  He is the only candidate that is actively tackling the invasive, abusive, corrupt and ineffective tax system that has metastasized upon the American people and her industry.  A 9% flat corporate tax, 9% income tax and 9% sales tax IS a bold are 9 thoughts to consider...good and bad:

1. YAY! No one knows - except those who profit in this system what is in the Federal Tax Code - there are over 75,000 pages of scribble in the code and even way back in 2005, it was estimated that 6 BILLION hours are spent by individuals, corporations and non-profits to make sure they comply.  This thing is SIMPLE.

2. BOO! States, such as Tennessee that have no personal state income tax would suffer, or would be forced to implement an income tax.  9% on top of the 9.5% we already pay in Nashville would be devastating.

3. YAY! Reducing corporate tax rates while eliminating the capital gains tax is a huge win for American competitiveness.

4. BOO! Introducing a national sales tax as a new piggy bank for Washington is pretty scary.  It may start out at 9%, but without some serious checks, it WILL go up.  Any time those junkies in DC need a revenue hit, they'll bump the sales tax.

5. YAY! This plan eliminates the death tax - no more double taxation!

6. BOO! The 9% sales tax and the 9% business tax are arguable the same thing and could result in a run-up in costs of goods sold.  Couple that with the exclusion of the 9% sales tax on raw goods for those that are U.S. in origen, and you are potentially threatening trade retaliation.

7. YAY! The plan is simple, streamlined and easy to understand.  It should dramatically reduce the cost of governance, enforcement and compliance...just feel the productivity surge!

8. BOO! The economic centerpiece of the Cain campaign focuses on the revenue side of the equation.  He has got to start talking about the spending and where he will cut.

9. YAY! A serious candidate has put forth a daring new plan for how we can improve our economy.  I don't like this plan as much as a flat or a fair tax, but I like the fact that someone is willing to take the heat and ignite the debate on this issue.  I also like the fact that it gets every American to put skin in the game.  For the 47% that pay no Federal taxes, that's a bummer...but then maybe you will be more conscious of the spending and become a conservative!

Rumble on!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Donkey Whisperer

The Democrats want this ad pulled - wonder why?

Tip o' the Hat: MGH

Monday, October 10, 2011

Islamofascism In the White House

Tarek Fatah names names:

Watch live streaming video from ideacity at

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Iranians are Coming, The Iranians are Coming!

There have been several references to the Iranian Navy's announcement that they will send a "fleet" off our shore to demonstrate their Naval prowess.  They even "leaked" the route the ships would take:

Let's see...if I were going to travel by sea from the Straits of Hormuz to the shores of America, that's pretty much the shortest route there...and as a former Navigator on a U.S. Navy destroyer, that's almost exactly the route we took one time.  We didn't end up in Cuba though and more on that anon.

Now before everyone hyperventilates about this, consider that a "fleet" is a corvette and a supply ship.  The corvette is the Alvand.  She is a Vosper class corvette, displacing about 1500 tons fully loaded...about 310 feet long.  To put that in perspective, your typical Arleigh Burke class destroyer, a centerpiece of the U.S. line of battle is 505' long and displaces 9000 tons.  This is what the Alvand looks like:
Alvand transiting Suez Canal
This is what her sister ship, the Sahand looked like after a brief encounter with the United States Navy in 1988:

This is when some Iranian gun boats went out and seized an oil drilling platform then fired on some U.S. warships that came to take a look.  All in all, I am reminded a little bit of the wonderful movie with Alan Arkin, "The Russians are Coming! The Russians are Coming!"

But there is more.  The second ship that will transit with the Alvand is the Krang:

She's not much to look at, but the issue is what will she be carrying.  As a warship, she is not subject to search when transiting the Suez.  We know from last year that this ship gave the Israelis some heart burn when she transited the Suez and headed for Syria.  Best bet is she's rigged to carry a lot more than fuel.

The map indicates that these ships will head to Cuba - no surprise there.  My guess is they will head to Venezuela too and stop by to see Achmadinijad's fellow tyrant, Chavez.  The concern I would have is that the Iranians know we have a porous southern border and they could use this transit as an opportunity to insert operatives and equipment that could wreak havoc at the appropriate time.  So this will be worth keeping an eye on.  But as for a Naval threat from our shore...I don't think so.

Rumble on!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs, RIP

For Your Consideration

A few things that have come across my desk need to be shared.

1. Obama by the Numbers - brilliant, fact based look at the Bamster and what he has wrought.

2. Cheer up: In my line of work, I spend a lot of time with entrepreneurs, bankers and finance types.  There is desperation out there right now, but also a sense that a new day will be dawning.  The feeling is if we can hold on till November, 2012, there will be a new day.  Victor Davis Hanson captures that feeling spot on:  "The Coming Post-Obama Renaissance."

3. Sinophobia Part Deaux:  I wrote about this yesterday - but here's another analysis on the new "China Syndrome:"  "Predictions of America's Demise are Greatly Exaggerated."

4.  What do they want??  You are going to have to promise me you will put the coffee cup down before clicking on the next link.  The silliness of the Occupy Wall Street crowd is finally spelled out in their "Manifesto:" Declaration of the Occupation of New York City.  It's all the usual Soros-fed communist clap-trap from "poisoning our food" to "torture" and "student loan enslavement." Quick private note to you OWS types:

Dear Maggot Infested Women's Studies Major, 
Instead of taking up sidewalk space with your stupid signs, iPhones and video cameras, how about picking up the phone and calling your parents to thank them for the fact that you were able to attend a college.  Instead of yelling at Wall Street types who are trying to create wealth so that you will actually have a job one day, how about heading to Washington and yelling at the real criminals - the Obama administration and the Democrats that got us in this mess.  You live in the freest, most wonderful country in the world and you want us to be like Cuba or the USSR in the 1970's?  You troglodytes are wasting the tax revenue of the city of New York with your insouciant childish behavior.  You fools really believe that in a communist state you would end up on top?  Hah!  You are what Lenin called  "useful idiots."  Grow up, go back to Mom's basement, get a shower and get a job. 

5. History lesson: Here are a few images of our future if OWS type folks have their way:

Prisoners in Soviet Labor Camp

Killing fields of Cambodia under Khmer Rouge
Raw sewage flowing into Anyang River, China 2008
6. Why we'll be OK:

Tip of the hat to Don Surber
Rumble on!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


There's a great article over at New Geography titled "Are We Headed for China's Fat Years."  In it, the author, Joel Kotkin discusses the chilling novel "The Fat Years," that raises the spectre of a Chinese "1984" arising out of the ashes of a Euro-American collapse.  Kotkin sketches the plot line of the book which is scheduled for publication in the US the first of next year, and concludes that the fears are an unwarranted case of sinophobia.  We have scribed about this in these pages for some time and my thinking on the subject is largely driven by the demography of China which Kotkin touches upon:

  • Ethnic splits between the Han Chinese and the polyglot of cultures that make up the balance of the country.
  • A demographic nightmare in an aging population coupled with (courtesy of social engineering and abortion) a highly disproportionate number of young men to young women - one of the central problems in the Arab world.
  • An enormous income disparity between the coasts and the interior.
Put all that together with a centralized control government and you get a grim future, not one that includes running the world.  China, in my opinion, will have one of two ways out...neither one of them pretty.  Option one is a collapse into a neutron star Maoist state of horrific control.  Option two some form of outward aggression to keep the populace busy and, more importantly, loyal.  

The option they are not going to take anytime soon, but which would truly save them in the long run, would be freedom.  Imagine the brain power that could be unleashed if a truly free-market economy were to emerge in China.  I would not just be afraid of such a future - I'd be willing to learn Chinese to become a part of it!  Sadly, I don't foresee that happening.  But that is about the only way the Chinese will overtake the United States.  A word of caution though - the policies of this administration continue to undermine our economy and reduce our competitiveness.  That might be the path down which China overtakes us; but it will only be if we allow our freedom to continue to be usurped.

Rumble on!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday Feed Bag

This has been one of those weeks that you get to Friday and you really wish it were Saturday already.  Between Obambarrasment at the United Nations to the GOP "debate," from the Solyndra scandal that would have brought impeachment charges to a Republican president to yet another Congressional CR to keep the government moving it's been exhausting.  All this going on with the back drop of Europe crumbling and the stock market cratering...oh, and did I mention that a satellite might fall out of the sky?

But don't worry - if the satellite does fall and do damage to you, you can rely on America's lawyers to help!  Ever wonder how a case gets to the Supreme Court? Take a look:

I've just about finished my stack of articles relating to the tenth year anniversary of 9/11.  I know I mentioned one in last week's Feed Bag, allow me to present two more to you.  The first is from il miglior fabro, Victor Davis Hanson: The Ripples of 9/11.  His wrap up paragraph is like a good Scotch, just swirl it around and sniff:

The common denominator in these ten years? American life under its hypercritical, volatile, and mercurial democracy proves resilient; the Islamic terrorists and their authoritarian sponsors who would destroy it do not. And even after a decade of acrimony, partisan rancor, and stasis, Americans continue to be horrified—and angry—over those who were murdered on September 11. We’ve done our best for ten years to ensure that it cannot happen again.

Makes you feel a teensy bit better in this madcap time, doesn't it?  

OK, stop that feeling right now and read this piece: The Fruits of the Philosophy of Self-Abnegation.  The central theme of this piece we have discussed often on these pages:
Intellectually, we have refused to face the fact that we are at war and should act to end it quickly. Morally, we have denied all principles except one: moral goodness means self-sacrifice. Psychologically, we lack confidence in our efficacy, and have murdered our self-esteem by leaping into the quicksand of sacrifice. Politically, we are at perpetual war, because to win decisively would be an act of self-interest—and that is the one action we dare not take.

Finally, to round out your weekend reading, you really should put this in your "stack of stuff:" "Nathan Glazer's Warning."  As a real estate practitioner, I see a lot of effort to practice sociology by site planning.  Mr. Glazer warned us a long time ago where the road of best intentions heads.

Have a great weekend...don't forget your aluminum foil hats to protect yourself from the satellite!

Rumble on!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Dear World, We're Sorry

As a child of America's Diplomatic Corps, seeing stuff like this sends me through the roof:

Who wants Obama to be re-elected?
This is the "Open Government Conference" at the UN yesterday.  How is it that every other pol there knows to keep their hands down.  That is the Mongolian Prime Minister behind Alfred E. Neuman's hand.  The complete lack of situational awareness on this man's part is truly frightening.  How is it that someone who is sooooo goshdarned smart can't grasp the basics?

Just add this to the long and glorious string of diplomatic gaffes this dolt has committed, from bowing to every foreign leader in the world to giving iPods full of his own speeches to the Queen of England.  Please November, 2012, come quickly.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Obama of York

So, Obama proposes $1.5 trillion in new taxes - certainly reminds me of this great skit from the old days of SNL:

Just what the economy needs right now - a little more blood letting!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday Feed Bag

I've been busy these past few weeks, but have been keeping up with my reading and via Twitter, trying to keep you abreast of important events too - please hit the "follow" button over there to keep yourself up to speed.  Anyhow, after a two week absence, here is the latest edition of the "Friday Feed Bag:"

Like many of you I spent part of this past Sunday reflecting on where we have come in a decade since the Twin Towers fell.  I was actually flying back Sunday morning and was in the terminal at BWI at 8:46 when they requested a moment of silence in honor of the victims of 9/11.  I was sipping a cup of coffee, waiting for my flight and reading an excellent piece over at the City Journal titled "The Vanished Skyline."

On my last trip to New York, I was impressed by the progress on the new WTC Tower, and the developer, Larry Silverstein, deserves enormous credit for his patience.  But we need to be honest and realize what was lost and cannot be replaced.  I remember being on the roof of Tower 1 in 1984 and feeling how the building actually swayed in the wind.  This graceful and powerful building symbolized and her sister symbolized American presence, stability and power.  On a recent documentary about the building of the new WTC tower, I heard the architect describe how the reflective surfaces of the building would make the building appear to look like the original towers when approached from different angles.  Neat?  You bet...but it's an optical illusion.  I pray that our country hasn't become an optical illusion for what it once was.

The always insightful Joel Kotkin has a masterful analysis of the Obama administration titled "The Crisis of the Gentry Presidency." For all the accusations made at the Republicans for being slaves of the well-heeled, they are chumps compared to the circles that Obama swims in.  The emerging scandal behind the Solyndra funding is Exhibit A for Kotkin's theory.

Hat tip American Thinker
I had Rush on in the background a bit ago and the discussion about Obama's narcissism reminded me to go back and dig up this article I had saved in my "Read it Later" file: "Barack Obama's Emotional State  of Mind."  Here's a pull from the column:

As Mr. Obama is increasingly overwhelmed by events, as he and his presidency shrink before our eyes, his worst tendencies are being exacerbated, his narcissism further exposed, his anger at an unaccommodating world more pronounced. A man of supreme self-regard is watching things crumble before his eyes. He is obviously not well equipped to process any of this. It is enough for one to feel, if only for a moment, some pity for Mr. Obama.
Gagging through, err watching Obama's speech to the joint session of the House and Senate last week to announce his latest fantasy about job creation, I reached the conclusion that he has reached Jimmy Carter status - no one listens or cares, they just want him to go away.  Stephen Moore over at the Wall Street Journal chronicles the promises and the lack of delivery in a fine piece this morning: "The Obama Promise Then and Now."

Hey, speaking of Solyndra and the abuse of taxpayers, take a look at this outrage:

The rest of us are just trying to move along, but it ain't easy.  Remember the old "Misery Index" from the Jimmuh Carter days?  It's baaack!  Investor's Business Daily has a succinct piece this morning: "Living Miserably."Here's the graphic if you aren't miserable enough already:

OK, no fair for me to leave you for the weekend in a foul mood - be of good cheer:

Have a great weekend!
Rumble on!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Still NOT Shovel Ready

Chinese high-speed rail crash site.
Where oh where did the money go?  As Investor's Business Daily points out today in a piece titled "5 Myths Behind Obama's Infrastructure," we were supposed to spend $809 Billion in 2009 on "infrastructure projects..."  that was going to save the economy.  It was going to create "400,000 jobs."  Instead, the number of workers in that sector fell dramatically.  Now the figure is $50 Billion more that Obama wants to add and for what?  To build high-speed rail so we can be more like China?  As the image at the right illustrates, top down mandates of construction projects don't turn out so well.

Yes, the Eisenhower Interstate system was an incredible investment - but remember - it was primarily done for military purposes.  During World War II, Eisenhower had accompanied a military convoy and seen how long it had taken to move from A to B.  The interstate system ties in with the Strategic Road Network to facilitate the movement of forces internally in the United States. The airstrip every 5-mile myth is just that...but it is still considered important for moving men and materiel in time of crisis.

We will probably never know if Obama was a good student or not - those grades are deep in the vault - but what we do know is that he is not very bright about creating jobs and encouraging growth.  As damned near every American knows now, the Federal Government cannot create a job without funding it by taking the money from someone else - or worse, borrowing or printing the money.  

Do we have infrastructure needs in the United States?  You bet we do - take a look at the ASCE Infrastructure Report Card where a minimum of $2.2 Trillion is estimated to bring our infrastructure up to par.  The Urban Land Institute's Annual Report on Infrastructure is another scary read.  But remember, the authors of both of these reports have an incentive to encourage the spending.  As an old business partner of mine used to remind me:  "Always remember how people are compensated."  Not saying their intentions are bad, nor that the reports are not sobering, but the problems are better solved at the local level and that's where the problems of regulation and interference by such interest groups as the environmentalists, for example, become insurmountable.

One of the bridges, that Obama talked about in his taxpayer funded campaign stop speech at NC State yesterday is the Bonner Bridge in the Outer Banks - guess who is holding that improvement up?  The environazis.  Read all about it here.  Even if you gave full Federal funding for these projects, they will either get held up in the Courts or take years to plan, design, issue the RFP's, receive the RFP responses, impose Federal wage rate and quota regulations, pull permits, conduct environmental impact studies, traffic count studies etc. etc.  The cost of the project will double in that time period, so it still won't get done.

The best way for these projects to get done is to have demand bubble up from below.  The light rail projects along the Front Range in Denver are a great example.  When the plans were originally presented for a $3 billion system, the citizens of the metro-Denver area rejected them outright.  It took several years of explaining the benefits of the system and a measured "let's test it as we go" approach before the voters approved the tax increases necessary to fund the system.  The closer to the dirt that you can get the funding and the impetus, the more successful the project will be.  Just don't tell the President that.  

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Orwellian Spoofed!

Yes, our tyrannical regime's dear leader has resumed the paranoid "fink on your neighbor" behavior - at least we conservatives still have a sense of humor!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Keynesian Twilight Zone

I watched BHO's speech last week and kept thinking of the movie "Groundhog Day."  This is a better and more frightening analogy:

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Friday Feed Bag

I have to admit that having amateurs like Obama in power does provide a target rich material for the p.j. journolista corps (that's pronounced "core," Mr. President).  We are heading into the Labor Day Weekend  (am I the only one that resents that notion??) without a HURRICANE!!!! Sympatico to my friends in Virginia and parts north that are still without power, but as a veteran of a number of Gulf Coast hurricanes, Irene did not impress me much.  In advance of the long weekend though, I wish all of you safe travels.

First topic - The childish dust-up with Speaker Boehner over a joint session of Congress presentation.  Is the White House that nervous about Rick Perry getting in the race that they wanted to upstage the six-month long planned Republican debate?  I commend Speaker Boehner's gentlemanly, professional response summed up thusly: "nice can do it on the 8th."  But this really is a case of the incredible shrinking presidency.  We are witnessing a political supernova collapse into a black hole of nothingness (and puleeze, leftards, do not scream "racist" at me - it's what it is actually called.)  Here' some visual verification:

Oh, by the way, this political campaign stop, speech has nothing to do with a "laser like focus on jobs."  It is meant to do two things:  1) Put the little boy president into a big setting to try to re-establish his importance AND 2) re-package plans that don't work, call them "bi-partisan" and attempt to pin his economic failure on an intransigent congress.

Speaking of the economy - a couple of terrific articles came across the Rumbledesk this week.  First up, where would you turn for economic advice?  Well in these dark times with hope crushed out of the American economy like a spent husk of coconut drying in the West Texas sun, you might cry out to God.  Well, how about the Vatican?  Dan Mitchell recommends just that in a great piece: "Let's Send Obama to the Vatican For An Economics Lesson." Quoting from the pull quote of the Vatican spokesman:
Further forms of taxation would not be synonymous with solidarity but only with greater public spending and, perhaps, a higher debt and more widespread poverty. High taxes penalize saving, generate distrust in the ability to stimulate recovery, hit families and prevent the formation of new ones, as well as creating uncertainty and precariousness in employment. In short, they lay the foundations for another phase of unsustainable development.
Amen, padre!  And, if like your humble Rumbler, you feel like you are waking up on the economic version of the set of "Groundhog Day," you are not alone.  The boys over at Investor's Business Daily sum it up well: "The Endless Economic Recovery."  Herewith another graphic:

Makes one long for a good dose of voodoo and trickle-down economics don't it?  Someone ought to sneak into the White House Situation Room and Carville-esque hang a big sign that reads "It's the policies stupid!"  But that assumes anyone over there can read.  If you can handle the truth...

An excellent perspective piece from Shelby Steele over at the Wall Street Journal this morning: "Obama and the Burden of Exceptionalism."  The notion that the 2012 election will be a battle for the very soul of America is summed up by this:
America seems to be facing a pivotal moment: Do we move ahead by advancing or by receding—by reaffirming the values that made us exceptional or by letting go of those values, so that a creeping mediocrity begins to spare us the burdens of greatness?

Obama has led the country on the path to mediocrity attempting to turn us away from our own exceptionalism out of some deep-set guilt or hatred.  The rise of the Tea Party is proof positive that in the words of Monty Python, "I'm not dead yet."  Obama and the mind-numbed press want to play the role of head whacking mortician on them with labels and lies:

As for me, and apparently Mr. Steele, I trust the American people:
As a president, Barack Obama has been a force for mediocrity. He has banked more on the hopeless interventions of government than on the exceptionalism of the people. His greatest weakness as a president is a limp confidence in his countrymen. He is afraid to ask difficult things of them.

Say, speaking of American decline and "leading from behind," how's that Arab Spring working out for you?  The "rebels" are  busily hunting the syphlitic goat-loving Khaddafi through the desert now and "bully!" that he's gone, but do we really have any idea what we are getting in exchange?  The good folks over at Stratfor aren't so sure:  "Libya: A Premature Victory Celebration."  What's next, Syria?  I'm all in favor of toppling tyrants and power to the people, but I am hugely worried that we are going to see the long shadow of a brutal Medieval religion being cast over the whole area for a long time to come.  Until Islam is reformed, it is fundamentally incompatible with democratic rule

With that dear friends, I will sign off.

Rumble on!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"Irresponsible and Unpatriotic"

Love this Obama campaign riff from 2008 - adding $4 Trillion in debt over eight years is "irresponsible and unpatriotic."  So adding $4 Trillion in two years is spot on?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Catching Up

Been off taking Rumblebairn back to college in the job production factory of Texas, I've kept up with the Twitter thing, so feel free to sign aboard with @RSRumbler.  It's a little more convenient to post stuff from the road with the Tweets, though I am still learning my way around.  Herewith a little romp through recent correspondence and observations:

Let's whet your palate for some good conservothrills with a quickie video to get your blood pressure up to cruising altitude:

Fun language facts - you probably already know that a "murder of crows" is not a new punk-rock group nor a heinous crime - it is the English language showing off fun collective nouns.  Some others include a "sleuth of bears" and a "parliament of owls."  But, my favorite pointed out in a recent e-mail I received would be the collective noun for a group of guessed it: a "congress."

Also from the e-mail pile - there's this jewel:

Here is an enlightening analogy from the blog “Things That Make You Go Hmmmmm.”  Here’s the bit:

If the US government was a family, they would be making $58,000 a year; they spend $75,000 a year and are $327,000 in credit card debt. They are currently proposing BIG spending cuts to reduce their spending to $72,000 a year. These are the actual proportions of the federal budget and debt reduces to a level that we can understand.
Kind of puts the debt debate in a rather different perspective.

Hat tip RL.

My folks always taught me that a real measure of character was how a person treated other people, especially the "little people."  No, not folks that are vertically challenged, but those serve in roles whose shoulders we stand upon.  Folks like our military, the girl at the check out counter, the young man waiting your table...or the secret service - check this out:

Hat tip MGH.

While we're letting Wild Bill chat - here's his take on Muslims and dogs:

Tie this piece in with the first video above and you have a scary picture emerging:  "The End of the Growth Consensus."  The only way out of this morass is to get the economy growing - you don't grow an economy by taxing the productive and giving it to the non-productive.

OK, conference call coming in - got to run.

Rumble on!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday Feed Bag

Been a crazy week here in Rumblerville and blogging has not been at the front of the line.  It happens.  That doesn't mean that I haven't been paying attention.  Today's Feed Bag has a broad selection for your weekend reading on the key issues - I hope to hole up in the next few days to share some deeper thoughts on some of these, but until then, here's some good stuff:

SUBJECT: The shrinking presidency.  Some time ago I posted this picture - take a moment and let it sink in:

There's some little bitty guy behind the Resolute Desk...this is a theme that we've been on since the junior Senator from Illinois was running for the Democrat nomination in 2007...there's no "there there."  Several good pieces pick up on that theme:

"A President In Over His Head Should Resign."

"The Left's Summer of Discontent"

"It's Now Obama's Economy"

And it appears that the rest of the folks are catching on:

SUBJECT: London Riots.  This is what liberalism begets and I am not alone in the fear that it this type of behavior is coming across the pond to us.  It does us no good when we have "leadership" that constantly urges class divisions - excoriating the productive for not giving their "fair share."  We are seeing outbreaks in expected places like Philadelphia and unexpected places like the Wisconsin State Fair.  Who is doing this and why?

Two excellent pieces on the subject:

"British Degeneracy on Parade."

"Apres le Deluge, What Next?"

SUBJECT: Market Crash.  What do you get when you combine a hard left President with ideological rigor, several pieces of legislation that vastly expand government oversight intrusion into every aspect of your life, a Congress that refuses to accept that an agenda that favors growth and reduces dependence is the only way to save the economy?  Well, you get this:

Of course we got downgraded!  We deserved it!  Are we more credit worthy than France, which has a AAA rating?  Sure, but the numbers are so damned huge and scary, it would be irresponsible to not send a signal to the world that the US of frickin' A needs to get their house in order.  What does President Downgrade do?  Go out and make a speech about how "millionaires and billionaires" need to pay their fair share.  You know what else you inherited from Mr. Bush, Mr. Obama?? A AAA Credit Rating!

Some other thoughts on this vein:

"500 Billion New Reasons To Invalidate Obamacare"

"Obama and Bernanke: A Double-Whammy Disaster"

Just so I don't leave you suicidal, let's look at the upside.  I tend to be of good cheer in the belief that this is the high-watermark of liberalism.  I am not alone:

"Best Opportunity for America in 50 Years."

OK, I have to go mow the yard.  Have a great weekend!

Rumble on!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Al Sharpton Meet Mr. Peter Principle

Fame and notoriety rarely equal common sense or intelligence.  Al Sharpton is one of the more glaring examples.  When not yelling through his bullhorn inane accusations and dangerous race bating blasts, Al went and got himself a TV show!  That's right...Tawana Brawley and all that mess - who cares?  After all this is MSNBC - a network that had  has (what's that? He's gone?  Didn't notice.) Keith Olberman as their star of journalistic integrity now has Al Sharpton.  But, look at the fun you can have when you rely on a teleprompter:

It's doubly delicious now that we know the Republicans held on in Wisconsin, despite the $14 million that the unions spent in a recall election. The $14MM is what Heritage is reporting the Unions spent - but you know, actually, they are doing a service:  they hire union protesters for this type of work thereby reducing the unemployment rate.

Here in Twangtown, the going rate for a union protester is $10 an hour - well below what unions demand for similar work:  Music City Center Protesters.  It does beg the question - how much are protesters around the world being paid?  President Downgrade can insist that we maintain our lead in that one category at least!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Friday Feed Bag (Video Edition)

Wanted to circulate a few great videos today - kick back and take a view:

Every day American wisdom - I'm sure Kerry and the Veep would want this man labelled a "terrorist:"

The always insightful Bill Whittle:

If you never saw the "Honey Badger" bit, this might not be as funny...all I can say is we'd better all be ready to become honey badgers...

A quickie lesson in economics:

Here's the chart he refers to:

It's about envy, not fairness.

Wait - is this real?  It's an excellent idea!

Have a great weekend...
Rumble on!