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!