Saturday, May 31, 2008

Another Blast From The Past

In the 1960s, there was an act called the Left Banke. Credit for the short success of this group went to the keyboard player and songwriter Michael Brown. Their most recognizable hit during this time was a song most of us will remember. It's called Walk Away Renee:

In the early 70s, the Left Banke faded away from the spotlight and Michael Brown hooked up with a guy named Ian Lloyd. They formed another short-lived band called The Stories. They had one minimal album success, called Stories About Us. The album had some pretty good tunes on it, but the song most will remember was not the one they wanted to be known for. It had been a hit for the British group, Hot Chocolate and wasn't the direction they were looking to go. Here is their only smash hit from that LP, Brother Louie:

As I said, the album About Us had a collection of songs that I felt were much better suited for the times. One of them is a tune that better defined the sound they were looking for and had a certain Beatlesque style/influence. It's called Darling:

Finally, here is a tune that has been done by a lot of artists. The man introducing the song on the video gives the scoop on it. It's called Mammy Blue:


Friday, May 30, 2008

The Perils Of Egocentrism

Anyone that has ever been forced to endure a developmental psychology class fully understands that children are immersed in self-absorption and egocentrism. It's not unusual, it's a normal part of growing up. But when it doesn't fade out in early adulthood, there is a problem.

Victor Davis Hanson has a new essay that explores the repercussions of nearly an entire generation, whose members have not grown out of it. The evidence he uses for his claim is plentiful and very evident to all that have the ability to see past themselves and their selfish desires. if you are part of this generation (as I am), don't be insulted. He is only speaking the truth.

No matter what your age or generation, I'd give this one a very serious read and follow it with some true self-reflection. It is a very poignant piece.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

News In Brief (And The Usual Opinionated Commentary)

Klaus Wants Debate With Gore.

Czech President Vaclav Klaus said Tuesday he is ready to debate Al Gore about global warming, as he presented the English version of his latest book that argues environmentalism poses a threat to basic human freedoms. "I many times tried to talk to have a public exchange of views with him, and he's not too much willing to make such a conversation," Klaus said. "So I'm ready to do it."

They should offer this on pay-per-view, I'd buy it. He's been offering for months now.

Al? Ball's in your court.

Wexler: McClellan Must Face Judiciary Committee

Gas is $4.00 a gallon and this bozo is still in the Bush lied, people died mode. And McClellan? Can't wait to hear why he defended for so long (if this stuff was going on).

But more than anything, we can thank old Scotty for giving Congress one more excuse to spend barrels of cash, while wasting valuable time on doing nothing. These people already spend more time investigating, than legislating, so what's a few more million dollars shot down the tube?

John Bolton Escapes Citizen's Arrest

Security guards blocked the path of columnist and activist George Monbiot, who tried to make the arrest as Mr Bolton left the stage.

Is it just me? Or does his name look like Moonbat, in French?

Michigan And Florida Cannot Be Seated

A Democratic Party rules committee has the authority to seat some delegates from Michigan and Florida but not fully restore the two states as Hillary Rodham Clinton wants, according to party lawyers.

Democratic National Committee rules require that the two states lose at least half of their convention delegates for holding elections too early, the party's legal experts wrote in a 38-page memo.

Well of course they can't be counted. When it hurts the Dems' anointed, votes can be suppressed and not counted. It's in the rules, silly.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Not So Fast , Sen. Obama

Obama has claimed that he is free from lobbyist influence. Almost every speech has contained this kind of rhetoric, in some form or another. Interestingly enough, now that the Dems' race is all but over, Newsweek is telling a different story.

When Illinois utility Commonwealth Edison wanted state lawmakers to back a hefty rate hike two years ago, it took a creative lobbying approach, concocting a new outfit that seemed devoted to the public interest: Consumers Organized for Reliable Electricity, or CORE. CORE ran TV ads warning of a "California-style energy crisis" if the rate increase wasn't approved—but without disclosing the commercials were funded by Commonwealth Edison. The ad campaign provoked a brief uproar when its ties to the utility, which is owned by Exelon Corp., became known. "It's corporate money trying to hoodwink the public," the state's Democratic Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn said. What got scant notice then—but may soon get more scrutiny—is that CORE was the brainchild of ASK Public Strategies, a consulting firm whose senior partner is David Axelrod, now chief strategist for Barack Obama.

For someone that has denied being a typical politician, he sure has surrounded himself with some people that know how to play the game. I don't mind that Sen. Obama wants to win the race, for this is why he entered it. He has a right to give it a good effort.

But do not expect me, or others that have the capabilities of rational and analytical thinking, to buy into some crazy myth that Obama is a "different" kind of politician. Because, he isn't.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Ask LA

Time for another dig into the old mail bag. Here's one that may be of value and interest to all.

Dear LA,

I am a 60 year old man and I am beside myself. Let me explain.

I have spent years trying to educate Americans on the danger we all face with global warming. That is why I have loaned my influence to companies that can help us beat this terrible problem, big name corporations like GE. These companies stand ready and willing to produce things that can prevent the planet from scorching itself out of existence, causing ice caps to melt, coasts to flood, and turning what is now arable farmland into deserts.

I have tried to warn adults and children that if we want to have a clean and safe world to live in, we must do something now. We must buy things that these companies make, so this horrible scenario does not play out in the next 5-10 years. Sure, I know children have come home crying hysterically after being taught the realities of this crisis. But we have to be truthful to them. We cannot lie to them, or they would never forgive us.

I know, I know. All of this sounds great to you. But here is the crux of my problem.

It turns out that the latest data shows the planet is not warming at all, it is cooling. All continents have been experiencing lower temperatures and the ice cap is actually growing. With all I have invested in this, all that I have banked on and counted on, I am afraid I am now looking foolish and people will not want to believe anything I say.

How can I get people to believe in me again?

Sign me:

Al in Tennessee

Dear Al,

You've already lied your ass off so much, your nose must be as long as the back stretch at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. So, what's another lie or two?

Tell them this:

Since I have been advocating to all about the dangers of global warming, people have responded. They are car pooling more and buying more products from fine companies, like GE (which "makes good things for life"). They are planting trees and demanding that car manufacturers produce cars that get better gas mileage.

Because you (the people) have responded so favorably, we are now seeing the global temperatures decrease for the first time in decades. That is why the polar ice caps are miraculously reappearing.

Good work for now, but we must not stop here. We must continue the fight until there is snow in Florida in the winter and in Chicago, in the summer. This is the only way we can be victorious in our struggle to save the planet from extinction.

Best of luck, hope this helps.

Your friend,


Thoughts On The 2008 Indianapolis 500

Soon, it will be time for the 2008 running of the "greatest spectacle in racing". Which means it's time for the annual PYY Indy 500 report.

Every year at this time, there is a streaming influx of racing fans to the Indianapolis area. Blimps fly around town. There isn't a hotel room to be found anywhere within a 100-mile radius, restaurants are packed, and traffic is heavy.

Walking down the street in the downtown area, you might just run into a celebrity or two with a ball cap or sunglasses. Some try real hard not to be recognized, except when they are hobnobbing around the Conrad Hilton or the Hyatt, looking for attention.

Merchants are making money and local tax revenues are up. Those that visit Indy, will help us pay for the nice new stadium that most of us (who live here) pay everyday. Restaurant and hotel taxes (that are paid in Indianapolis and surrounding counties) fund the new Lucas Oil Stadium and Conseco Fieldhouse. (I call it the Colts and Pacers tax.) For that, we say thanks and come again.

If you listen closely enough to the people around you while out mingling about the town, you might hear several languages during the course of the day. It is the largest single one-day sporting event, in the entire world. This is why it only stands to reason, why so many people come from everywhere to be a part of this event. Today, it draws close to 270,000 annually. But that's only a fraction of what it once was. Years ago when the infield was open, it attracted nearly half a million.

This year, it is the first 500 since the reunification of open wheel racing. Tony George has finally won the lengthy battle of sanctioning bodies, between his Indy Racing League and the remnants of CART (Champ Car). And it's about time. CART (without the 500 as it's signature race) has been in trouble for years, but has resisted all of George's previous efforts to facilitate a reunion. But humans, being the stubborn life-forms they are, allowed pride and envy to keep them apart.

CART wanted to drive the train after the old guard at the speedway had died off and left the operation to Tony, who is grandson of the late Anton "Tony" Hulman Jr. - the man who made it such a huge sporting attraction. They saw their chance to push back against some changes the young new chief executive has made, but found out quickly that he had nerves of steel that could not be bent. They took their ball and went home, leaving Tony no choice but to build his own league.

The competition was fierce, CART even tried to siphon off some audience on the same day as the 500. But after awhile, it became apparent that they rebels were not going to be able to overtake the long-term tradition and romance of the most famous race in the world. It wasn't long before the big names that departed as a result of the spat, were forced to kiss the ring of Pope Anton II and repent for their errant ways.

Roger Penske, one of the challengers to the Hulman dynasty, was chiefest of all sinners and one of the first to come back to the flock. Others were soon to follow. So much so that at the end, many of the names in the Champ series were anything but household. No name recognition, no drawing power. This formula will only draw nothing.

This year (again), three women will be starting the race, with one of them having a realistic chance of winning it. Everyone knows Danica Patrick. She has the car, the team, the skills, and the tradition and experience of the Andretti family behind her . She has every much of a chance as Helio and pole-sitter, Scott Dixon. Helio is another contender, along with Marco Andretti and Tony Kanaan.

Good ol' lucky LA has chosen to participate in his yearly pool at work. He took two picks and drew rookies that probably have little chance of winning. Both have come over from Champ. I suppose they have some minute chance, as do all 33 drivers. But both must adjust to running on an oval at higher speeds, much higher than they are used to driving. This isn't likely, in anyone's first year at this track.

All-in-all, it looks to be a good day for racing. The weather looks to be perfect, the field is set. The drivers are all psyched. All team preparations are complete. The only thing left now is the race itself, and the hope that all 33 drivers finish safely.

Friday, May 23, 2008

A PYY Memorial Day Message

Well, it doesn’t seem quite possible. Memorial Day 2008 is here, but we‘d never know it because of the cool weather.

First and foremost, I’d like to say to everyone that graces the pages of this blog to be safe. If you drive don’t drink and if you drink, don’t drive.

Those that either work hard now or have worked hard in their working years, certainly deserve to take a break and enjoy the weekend, but no one needs to become a useless statistic. I also urge everyone to take a few moments at a time and a way of their choosing ,to at least give some thought of what this special day is about.

We tend to think of the entire weekend as Memorial Day and we fill it with cookouts, parades, the Indy 500, and other forms of celebrations and recreational activity. And those things are nice. But I don’t ever want to lose sight of the fact of what is important in all of this. One thing has always been impressed upon me as long I have been a breathing human, capable of some reasonable level of cognitive functioning : The reason we have this freedom is because someone in the course of time in our nation’s history, paid the ultimate price for it.

Whether a war was wise or not never really matters much, especially during in the course of this conversation. What does matter is everyone that lost their lives while in service to this country may be forgotten on an individual level. Their names and faces are plenty. Many are forgotten.

If you have been lucky enough to never have lost anyone in an armed conflict, be thankful. Take a good look at your son, father, brother, sister, mother or daughter. Look at a cousin, uncle, or aunt. These whom you love and hold dear to you are people just like those that died in battle.

In addition to the heroes that are forever etched into the roll of the fallen, there remains a number that are still with us today. And yet, sadly, many of these people are the friends that survived and watched their comrades in arms meet their demises. Not only did the friends and families lose, these men and women lost too. They lost some of the dearest friends many of them will ever have.

One of my favorite veterans in the world is my good friend, Mustang. At Social Sense, he has one of the finer tributes to all of the great service members that ever served this country well, carried out their duties with honor, and were no doubt some of the bravest people that ever graced the earth.

Happy Memorial Day to all. And to all of the veterans that remain with us to this day, a hearty thank you to all of you.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Rising Food Prices Got You? Maybe It's Time To Rethink Ethanol

Don't mind me. I am just going to say, "I told you so", one more time.

A year ago, I first called attention to what a bad idea promoting ethanol as a panacea to the current energy crisis. In fact, I didn't even like it as a supplemental solution. Even as late as two months ago, I posted a caution on this. (Read: Here and Here, for both accounts.)

Why would I have made such a bold prediction at a time when the bandwagon was full of support? Because I applied a simple economic theory to the equation and couldn't come up with anything, but negative outcomes. That theory is nothing more than, the law of supply and demand.

I am not wanting to gloat or anything, in fact I wish I had been wrong. But recently, we have seen some of the outcomes I predicted would come to pass. Take a look at this recent article from the Indy Star.

Hoosiers are caught between concerns about rising fuel costs on the one hand and rising food costs on the other.

After years of generally favorable feelings toward ethanol as a "green" alternative to foreign oil, consumers are asking whether the corn-based gasoline additive is driving up food costs.

And some in Congress are now calling for an end to federal ethanol subsidies, which sounds like fighting words to many Hoosiers.

Living in Indiana, I certainly don't want to jeopardize the health, well-being, and economic success of those that grow corn. But I cannot feel sorry for those that did not think this thing through, before getting things stirred up. Now we have rising food prices in all aspects of the industry. Not all of it is due to subsidizing production of corn for use as fuel, but some of it is. And while much can be attributed to higher costs of gasoline in the transportation sector, it cannot be overlooked that ethanol has contributed more than its share.

Once again, thank the environmentalists that will not let us drill and steered the bus into another wall, by promoting junk science. Then, thank the corn lobby for jumping on the same bandwagon usually occupied by academics and leftist moonbats that have no other goal, but promoting the failure of market capitalism.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Arrogance Of Appeasement

One does not need to focus purely on Europe's woes during the 20th Century to see how appeasement in the face of threatened aggression, often fails. All we need to do is go back throughout the entire written history of the world and we will find examples of how civilizations and cultures clashed; and how certain ones used spoken threatening rhetoric, to bully and intimidate others.

Despite the fact that many in the past have unsuccessfully tried to appease their richer and more powerful adversaries, there have been many times when the more powerful ones imposed their wills on the weaker, anyway. Today, we have Iran threatening Israel. And today, we have a certain sector of the world population that firmly believe talking to the bully will prevent the bully from making good on their threats. Barack Obama believes it. He wants to sit down with the Iranian government and engage them in a conversation.

If Barack Obama were to be elected, what would he offer to Iran? What would be the objective of his talks? What realistic goal could be achieved by having a dialogue with an entity that has forced the conversation, with threats? We have seen this scenario before, and this modern version of past events isn't looking to be any different.

I can understand how many Europeans that still remember the wasteland made of their continent as a result of war, want to avoid it at all costs. I do not agree with it, but I understand it.

Despite this, let me pose even more pointed question for thought and consideration. What makes this generation so smug and so arrogant to think that this situation and these times we live in are so very different, from any other situation like this in history?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A PYY Message To Obama

Sen. Barack Obama To All Critics:

"Lay Off My Wife"

Sunsett to Barack:

Hello. Earth calling. Your wife has made a conscious decision to campaign for you in an open arena, free of charge, and without reservation. You made a conscious decision to allow her to do so. Because of this, whatever she says becomes fair game for assessment, analysis, debate, and criticism. If you don't want her words to be criticized, do not put her out there.

(Radio Silence)


Out Here.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Dr. Doudou Coming to America

That's right. You read it right.

Dr. Doudou Diene of Senegal is coming and the NY Sun has details:

As an African American politician is set to assume for the first time in the country’s history the leadership of a major political party, a Geneva-based United Nations human rights investigator plans to come here next week to investigate whether racism plays a role in the presidential campaign, according to a statement released yesterday.

The special rapporteur on “contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance,” Doudou Diène of Senegal, will arrive in America Monday for a two-week tour that will take him to Washington, New York, Chicago, Omaha, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Miami, and San Juan, Puerto Rico, according to the statement.

Mr. Diene “is scheduled to hold meetings with representatives of the government, both at national and local levels, and with members of the legislative and judiciary branches,” the statement said. He will also hobnob with “non-governmental organizations, community members, representatives of political parties, academics, and other organizations and individuals working in the field of racism and discrimination.”

Outstanding. Brilliant, even. I wonder how many committee meetings it took to come with this gem of a plan.

This means that people like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, left-wing professors that teach African studies, and maybe if we are lucky, Louis Farrakhan will get to weigh in on the terrible racism problem that we have, right here in the evil imperialist America. How objective will they be in their assessments?

But this is not the half of it.

This also means that the UN (an organization that seems to be powerless to stop the killings in Darfur) is going to be looking at attitudes, stereotypes, and dreaming up some skewed and predetermined finding which will no doubt paint the American electorate as racist, if they do not elect Barack Obama.

This is an organization that seats Sudan on the commission and turns a blind eye to Sudanese Arabs killing Sudanese Blacks. In addition, countries like China, Zimbabwe, Russia, Saudi Arabia are on seated. Past members include Algeria, Syria, Libya, and Vietnam.

Just wait and see.

If Obama is not elected, there will be cries of racism from one end of the earth, to the other. If he is elected, every time someone tries to argue against the Obama Administration's stances, proposals, and policies, there will be cries of racism from every entity mentioned heretofore in this post (and then some).

There is no winning this.

Smear Politics

Mustang at Social Sense has the scoop.

All I can say (beyond what I said in the comment section of his post) is, who would have thought a US Senator representing the state of Iowa would have the audacity to make such a foolish and asinine statement? Normally, one would expect this out of Howard Dean and the other useless idiots that have hijacked the Democratic party. You can see why I am so critical of elitists, they are not grounded in reality.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

PYY Sunday Reader

Here are a few articles that may be worth a look, when you get a moment:

Tsar Putin's Move Toward Fascism?

This one is from the Daily Mail. Comparisons and contrasts are found in this article about Putin's reign as President of Russia and his future role of Prime Minister. A bit lengthy and well-written, this one definitely contains some things to consider.

Jean Sarkozy, A President's Son Is Active.

With France being anything but a monolithic society, I am not sure all French will agree with the contents of this London Times piece. This article describes Nicolas Sarkozy's politically active son and the ambitions he may or may not have.

The China Challenge

Despite the recent tragedy that has killed many people in the heart of China, this WSJ article raises some cause for concern. My heart certainly goes out to the individuals that have suffered great loss, but like the author of this piece, I too am very skeptical of the Chinese government.
(HT: Amerloque)

VDH's Latest Essay

This one deals with a war of words over the war in Iraq. In any conflict or endeavor of any kind, there are bound to be unintended consequences. Unfortunately, we live in a finger pointing and blame placing world that must assign full responsibility to honest mistakes made by fallible human beings. Someone must take the fall for negative outcomes and in the process, some defensive blame projections do occur. This article Mr. Hanson outlines his views on the mistakes made in the Iraq War and why we are being confronted with the excuses well-before the final outcome is known.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Another Blast From The Past

It's a bit later than I like it. But nevertheless, here it is. The theme this weekend is concerts I saw while I was still in high school. Tickets were generally $3.50, $4.50, and $5.50 when the seats were reserved, from $5-$7 for festival seating.

Surprisingly enough, this band was my first concert ever. It was a small venue, not a bad seat in the house, unless you got stuck on the sides. I saw them twice once before this song was released, and after. Here is Black Oak Arkansas with Jim Dandy To The Rescue:

The second show I spent my hard earned wages (from working at a Dairy Queen Brazier after school, weekends, and a couple of summers) to see was The Edgar Winter Group, with Rick Derringer on guitar. Here is one of their most obscure songs, and buried deep in the immensely successful "They Only Come Out At Night" LP (Free Ride, Frankenstein, et al). It is also one of the best songs ever written. Here is Autumn:

If you never got to see Humble Pie, you missed one hell of a show. I wasn't the same for awhile afterwards, by standards for a performance got raised significantly after seeing them headline a show that opened with two bands called Spooky Tooth and Montrose, the latter featured a little known singer at the time, known now as Sammy Hagar. Here is a tune taped at a reunion for the Steve Marriot Tribute a few years back (Peter Frampton even came back). It's called I Don't Need No Doctor:

I didn't get to see Grand Funk Railroad until I was a senior, by that time they were a huge commercial success that had abandoned some of the bluesy roots that helped them pack stadiums. They were doing this before they scored a song hit on Top 40 radio. But before they got out of that style, they did manage to churn this song out. A great blend of rock and funk, here is Rock And Roll Soul:


Friday, May 16, 2008

The VP Sweepstakes

Many of the Dems are wanting an Obama-Clinton ticket. A lot of people feel that by losing a significant amount of Clinton supporters will result in another November election loss.

Bob Beckel is one of those people. His entreaty is a bit subtle in some ways. But make no mistake, it's what he wants and what many other traditional Dems want.

Others don't want it and are openly against it. They appear to be be thinking and hoping for Edwards, and there's even a t-shirt being offered as a means of displaying this wish.

As for McCain, there many that I think he could pick, many that would compliment him. He needs a younger conservative to help reattract the base.

One of the many possibilities has been hinted on Human Events. Although he has his detractors in the state of Indiana, he has reduced taxes, cut spending, and successfully eradicated a huge deficit that was left to him by 16 years of Democratic rule. You can read the article to see what this man has accomplished in four short years.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Edwards Endorses Obama

In a move that was anything but surprising, John Edwards has made his endorsement of Barack Obama official. From a campaign standpoint the move was brilliant, doing it right at the time the networks evening newscasts were live. Publicity for no charge was only one benefit of the timing. The real advantage here was taking Hillary's big West Virginia win out of the newscasts.

From the article:

The endorsement came a day after Clinton defeated Obama by more than 2-to-1 in the West Virginia primary. The loss highlighted Obama's challenge in winning over the "Hillary Democrats" - white, working-class voters who also supported Edwards in significant numbers before he exited the race in late January.

So, let's see if we can understand this. The implication is that having Edwards on board will help Obama with a coveted demographic which he is having some major trouble connecting with, the working class voters.

I ask you, how many working class voters can identify with $200 haircuts? How about his home? Or better yet, which steel worker will say that his $1.25 million income, helps him feel their pain as taxes and prices go up?

Two Americas? You bet. There are the people like John Edwards, then there are the others.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Nineteen Year-Old Elected Mayor Of Muskogee, Oklahoma

From the Muskogee Phoenix comes this article:

Voters catapulted John Tyler Hammons into the mayoral seat on the Muskogee nine-member City Council.

Hammons, who will be sworn in Tuesday, beat Hershel McBride in the mayoral race by a nearly 40 percent margin. Hammons racked up 3,703 votes, or 69.62 percent, to McBride’s 1,616, or 30.38 percent.

I have never been there. But Muskogee is a city with a population of around 38,000. Although it's no chic metropolitan area, it isn't some one-horse town found at the intersection of two county roads either.

Personally, you wouldn't catch me running for precinct committeeman, much less mayor or council member no matter what the size of the town or city. But the people of Muskogee have entrusted a teenager with the operation of their city. I say, "good luck". And to quote my good friend Mustang, "be careful what you ask for, you may just get your wish."

The message is sent, the easy part is getting elected. But after the election's over, one must be prepared to govern.

News In Brief (And The Usual Opinionated Commentary)

Obama Supporters Pour Salt On The Wounds

One only has to visit a Pro-Obama blog or listen to a Pro-Obama snert that probably hasn't worked a day in his/her life, to see how they are treating Hillary Clinton. Now I, myself, am no real fan of Hillary (mainly because I disagree with her ideology). But many that do agree with many of her stances on the issues are treating her horribly. I cannot say I am surprised, most of these people are fans of Howard Dean - who is one of the most hate-filled and ugly politicians I have ever seen.

Froma Harrop elaborates further in her essay, in the link.

Problems With Obama's Hired Hands (Again)

Yesterday, we covered the resignation of Rob Malley for a certain indiscretion that was about to be outed, by an article in the London Times. Jake Tapper has a rundown of the lousy help that seems to be attracted to his campaign.

Moore Making Sequel To Fahrenheit 9/11

Oh boy! Can't wait to ignore this upcoming piece of garbage just like I have the others.

From the article:

All in all, Moore has made three of the top five grossing documentaries of all time. "Fahrenheit" is the highest grossing docu ever domestically, earning $119.1 million. It grossed another $100 million at the international box office.

Here are the Top 100 movies of all-time, adjusted for inflation. No Fahrenheit 9/11 there.

Here are the Top 300, not adjusted for inflation. You will note that F 9/11 comes in at a staggering #290 and probably wouldn't even be anywhere near that high, if the figures were adjusted for inflation.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Obama Advisor Met With Hamas

From The Chicago Sun-Times comes this report:

Rob Malley, a Middle East policy adviser to likely Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama, resigned after news surfaced that he had been meeting with Hamas -- something Obama pledged he himself would never do.

Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said Saturday Malley called the Obama campaign on Friday to sever ties with the candidate after learning the Times of London was publishing a story about his contacts with the terrorist group.

Interesting enough on its own, but with Obama's public criticism of Carter's meeting with Hamas, it becomes another fine example of hypocrisy, political posturing, and a great source of mistrust. Even more interesting is the fact, Malley kept right on advising until he knew he was going to be fronted out.

Right now, some Dems are becoming increasingly worried that the only ones that will be voting for Obama in November will be elitists and blacks. Paul Begala understands this. But in the meantime, super-delegates are running toward Obama like kids to an ice cream truck.

Again, this the the man that wants to change the way things are done in Washington. Yet, it's easy to see that his campaign, his tactics, his thinking, his integrity, are all very Washington. This is the man that wants to unite the nation. Yet, his voting record is one the most liberal in the Senate.

With anti-Washingtonians like this, who needs Washington? With uniters like this, who needs dividers?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Chavez Insults Merkel

From the Reuters news agency comes this report:

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Sunday almost told German Chancellor Angela Merkel to go to hell, but stopped short of insulting the woman leader on Mother's Day.

Instead he called her a political descendant of Adolf Hitler and German fascism.

"Ms. Chancellor, you can go to ...," he said, pausing for effect and eliciting giggles from the audience, a group of military officers, cabinet ministers and government officials. "Because she's a woman I won't say anything else."

She must be doing something right. But she isn't quite there yet. He said she was a DESCENDANT of Hitler. To be a true top level hero that goes against everything communism stands for, you must be called Hitler. Or Satan.

Maybe next time she can work her way up to Mrs. Satan or Mrs. Hitler, as a bridge towards the ultimate goal.

Good luck Angela, we are all pulling for you.

Quake Hits China. Thousands Feared Dead

Like the tornadoes that have been cutting swaths throughout the lower half of the nation, earthquakes like the one that just hit China are getting some added coverage, of late. Seismic activity is an ever-changing dynamic force occurring all over the planet, at any given time. Like tornadoes, quakes give little warning to those that do not have a seismograph in their office or home.

Whenever the plates of the earth shift in one area, it causes pressure in another area (often on the other side of the plate that experienced the initial activity), and sooner or later the pressure must be relieved. Earlier this year on April 14, an area off of the coast of Oregon experienced a rare series of activity, with four quakes that ranged 3.8 - 4.8 in magnitude. Four days later in Southern Illinois, four quakes occurred. The first was a 5.2, with an later aftershock of 4.6 (and other lesser ones).

After a few recent temblors in Indonesia and Taiwan, it has been reported that the quake today in China has registered 7.8, with early reports of thousands feared dead.

As for the tornadoes, I suppose the "First Mutual International Church Of Global Warming" cult will exploit this event as they are wont to do. But I submit to all of you read this, look at the history of tornadoes and you will see that this is nothing new. The Tri-State Tornado of 1925 was one of the deadliest and most devastating since records have been kept and there were very low amounts of carbon emissions back then. So don't be swayed by catastrophes, as though they were some new things in life. They are not. They cause much grief and destruction, they always have.

Quick Change Artist Obama; Looking Good On Paper

From day one of Barack Obama's campaign, it has been emphasized by him and his supporters that this upcoming election is about "change". He has repeatedly made statements of how he wants to change the tone of politics and way things get done in Washington. He has blasted the lobbyists and the influence they have in our government. He has decried the negative tones used by politicians. Overall, his populist message has resonated with some people very deeply and many believe him to be the man to get these things done.

To be blatantly honest, all of this looks good on paper and sounds good in favorable ten-second sound bites - which the media has afforded him plentifully during the course of this campaign. But, when things that are critical of him are brought to light, it's understandable why he and his supporters gets so touchy.

And he does get touchy.

Early on, Obama and many of his supporters have made numerous comments signaling he will be a very thin-skinned candidate, during the course of the next several months. They wage a proxy negative campaign toward anyone who stands in the way of an Obama juggernaut.

Despite the stated desire of changing Washington, it has become very likely that his campaign may not be as much of a change as Team O would have us believe. In fact, we have already seen the effectiveness of accusing the Clintons (Bill in particular). They have castigated and abandoned them without a second thought, for making what they perceived to be offensive and racist comments.

But this is just the beginning.

As things turn more toward the general election, we can certainly expect more of this kind of approach and have already seen some clear indications, this will not be the "above the belt" campaign that the Obama campaign says it wants. And as times roll nearer to November, the main question that will surface will be of who will decide, what is (and isn't) fair game for discussion and debate?

We have already seen the responses of the Obama campaign on questions of his judgment, prior to announcing his bid for the presidency. Some of them have been sharp, others have been subtle. But whichever, there have been responses that aren't above the usual fray, with some every bit as negative as the ones they complain about. Team O thinks nothing about raising the age issue with McCain, with Hillary it's the long term ties to the Washington he wants to change. But when it comes time to answer his critics, it's a different ball game as he whines about the negativity that inherently comes with this animal also known as politics.

We have already had much coverage of his connections to former Weatherman William Ayers and his well-known pastor, Jeremiah Wright. But early on, Obama was confronted with his ties to Tony Rezko, a Chicago businessman and real estate developer currently on trial for wire fraud, bribery, money laundering, and attempted extortion.

On paper, it doesn't look like Obama was actively involved in any of the dirty deeds Rezko is accused of. But knowing he has been an influence peddler in Chicago politics and has ties going back to the late Chicago Mayor Harold Washington, former Illinois Governor George Ryan (who was convicted of the illegal sale of government licenses, contracts and leases by state employees during his prior service as Secretary of State), and current Governor Rod R. Blagojevich (whose wife is a former business partner of Rezko) - it certainly begs a poignant question or two.

When asked about the connections with Ayers by George Stephanopoulos in a recent debate, he avoided the question entirely and successfully pulled a bait and switch back to how the question was an example of the very negativity he wants to change. As we analyze this reaction we must ask ourselves, how is this so different from the way things are done in Washington now? Historically in Washington, politicians have avoided responsibility for their own deeds, and shady ties. With Obama's display of avoidance, how and why should we expect anything different in an Obama White House press conference?

Look, words matter and associations matter. Not to assign guilt, but to evaluate his judgment. And not only does it reflect judgment, it allows us that have the ability to see past the facades. It allows us to make a fair, calculated determination of who the candidate really is behind the insulating wall of secrecy, his campaign has built to protect him from criticism.

Who he has associated himself with in the recent past (as well as now) and who supports him with their monetary donations and ideological agreements, is an important tool for the electorate to use in deciding who to support. When he is the preferred candidate of Jeremiah Wright, Louis Farrakhan, and even Hamas, it has to be taken into consideration. It has to be looked at very closely. To allow him a clear path to the presidency on brilliant oratory with no hard questions in between would be allowing the same set of circumstances to exist, which allowed Hitler to gain control of Germany.

Don't be fooled. Barack Obama has industries, certain companies, and individual people that he will owe favors to, if he wins in November. It's impossible to raise the kind of money he has, without some kind of support from some special interests. Change, like beauty, is all in the eyes of the beholder. And from where I sit, Sen. Obama and his camp are consummate BS Artists that hope we fall for the illusion created for him, on paper.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Another Blast From The Past

Cha Cha Cha.

This weekend we have some tunes that have some various musical styles that all have one commonality, a Latin flavor.

One of my favorite Latin artists always had a classy, jazzy flair to his music. Here is Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass with his famous hit, A Taste Of Honey:

A perfect mix of rock and pop, with a Latin edge, is evident in this next song. Here is Ricky Martin with his smash hit, Livin La Vida Loca:

A very danceable tune blasted from night clubs everywhere is this Lou Bega hit, Mambo No. 5:

One of the all time masters of rock and blues with strong Latin influences is Santana. He has had many hits over the years, but here is the song he will always be best known for, Black Magic Woman:


Another Blame America Moment (Courtesy Of Paul Richter and The LA Times)

For days now, the Myanmar government was silent on whether it would even accept aid in the aftermath of the recent deadly cyclone that many believe caused the deaths of over 100,000 people. And when they did accept aid, the military government immediately seized the first shipments. The reason they did this was initially unclear, until this morning's news hit cyberspace.

Myanmar's military regime distributed international aid Saturday but plastered the boxes with the names of top generals in an apparent effort to turn the relief effort for last week's devastating cyclone into a propaganda exercise.

Not surprising in the least, this is a good chance for the otherwise worthless junta's leadership to look like it has some minimal value. But if that doesn't take the cake, this next little tidbit from the LA Times will.

As Myanmar's aid crisis deepens, the Bush administration is facing criticism that its denunciations of the military regime may have contributed to its resistance to allowing foreign aid workers to enter the storm-ravaged country.

After Tropical Cyclone Nargis pounded Myanmar, First Lady Laura Bush and administration officials condemned the government Monday as illegitimate, blasted its human rights record, and charged that it had failed to give its residents adequate warning of the storm's approach.

Germany's Chancellor has been critical and even wanted the UN to force the Myanmar government to accept aid, as did the French Foreign Minister. But ironically, no mention of this in the LAT article.

So, if the Myanmar leaders were displeased with the criticism from the US Government to the point they were willing to reject badly needed aid in a deep crisis, why did they turn their noses up at help from the rest of the world? Why were other nations becoming frustrated with their insolence, not the object of Mr. Richter's extrapolation?

Why do organizations like the LAT (like many other newspapers that are in deep financial trouble) want to paint the US in the worst possible light? I suspect they will soon be missing their days of taking potshots at the Bush Administration, very soon. They have to strike while the iron is still hot because if Obama gets elected in November, the US will once again, do no wrong.

Friday, May 09, 2008

The Future Of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton

From ABC News comes this piece.

Is Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., staying in the race to get the vice presidential slot?

George thinks so.

I happen to disagree with him.

I think Hillary is positioning herself to become Senate Majority Leader. Harry Reid is ineffective and some key powerful Dems want him out. Add to this to the fact that Hillary will not want to play second fiddle to a greenhorn upstart and you can see why I think it's so unlikely.

In her mind, she knows that Obama will have a hard time winning without her. As she has said, she will openly work for his election, but only if she gets the support for Majority Leader.

If Obama wins, great. She will have a powerful position unanswerable to him. If he loses, then she will have a powerful position for specific purpose of being a thorn in McCain's side. She could then spend her time serving in this capacity, building a campaign for 2012.

Either way, she wins. That's why I would be highly surprised, if she were to take the VP slot. She wouldn't want to risk losing. I think it would be a gamble for one reason or another, but it's only because one first is enough. Americans may not be ready to elect the first black and the first woman, on the same ticket.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Who Do You Trust?

Here is a little report card on the polling organizations from Survey USA. It shows the average median error of polling organizations that conducted polls, within seven days of a presidential primary election. The lower the number, the more accurate the polling organization has been.

I do not particularly like the market being flooded with polls prior to elections, because I think they can persuade some voters from voting. If their candidate is way behind in a pre-election poll, they may just think their vote will not count and blow it off altogether. If the poll is skewed, if enough people see it and do this, it effects the election.

But, no one cares what I think. So, poll they do. At least this gives us an idea which polls are more likely to have the more accurate information.

Check it out, when you get a chance.


For what it's worth, here is Survey USA's average mean error report.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Ex-Gitmo Detainee Identified In Terror Attack

A former Gitmo detainee has been identified as a terrorist who not only killed himself in an intentional act in Mosul last week, he took some innocent bystanders with him.

Interestingly enough, one could survey those that have been critical of the operational objectives of this facility and still hear the litany of complaints from them. No doubt the words "torture" and "human rights" will come up during the course of the conversation, as well as phrases like "the US needs to take the high moral ground".

While we all love to feel good about showing goodwill towards all men, I advise all who still have the ability to see clearly, to strongly consider the effect of releasing the ones that remain. What if we let them go and one of them carries out a major attack? What if that attack kills hundreds or thousands?

Think about it.

Indiana, North Carolina: What The Numbers Tell Us

A big win for Obama in North Carolina and a squeaker in Indiana for Clinton gives us some information to evaluate.

In Indiana, you can see the breakdown by county here.

In this map we can see Obama won Lake County. This is the suburban area adjacent to Chicago. Here you will find a huge black population and some elitists in the southern part of the county that are partial to Obama because of the Chicago media.

Marion County (Indianapolis) went for Obama. This county has a large black and significant elitist population.

Boone County, which is rural in the north but elitist in the south, went for Obama. Obama's support was centered in the suburbs of Indy, where the elitists reign in the Democratic party. Hamilton County, another suburban county of Indy, went for Obama. More elitists carried him through. Both of these counties are usually GOP strongholds and will likely go red in the general election.

Three counties have huge universities. Tippecanoe (Purdue), St, Joseph (Notre Dame), and Monroe (IU) all went for Obama.

Obama was also successful in Allen County, which includes Ft Wayne. This is the only county that is a true hodge podge of demographics that includes students, blue collar workers, blacks, and elitists.

Terre Haute, Evansville, Kokomo, Anderson, Muncie, and Marion are depressed industrial cities that have lost many manufacturing jobs over the years. Of the two, TH and Muncie have ISU and Ball State, but it was not enough for Obama to carry. These areas, along with the Louisville and Cincinnati suburbs, went for Clinton.

Out of 92 counties, Obama won 9 and was still in the race at the end. He won Illinois neighboring states Iowa, Wisconsin, and Missouri, but was not able to pull out Indiana and looks to fail in Kentucky. Indiana has a larger elitist population than many in other parts of the country may realize and by all rights, he should have carried this one.

Over the past decade, North Carolina has experienced a large influx of northeasterners due to the booming banking industry in Charlotte and the tech industry in the Raleigh-Durham area. Factor this in with the large university populations and a proportionately high black electorate, you can figure this one out.

Bottom line here is, the Reagan Democrats will likely not support Obama. He cannot win in November without them. Add to this the fact that Both of these states usually go Republican and Obama has not carried one large industrial state, you will then see why this campaign stands a good chance of faltering in the general election.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Lake County Holds Up Indiana Primary Results

At 10:40 PM EDT, 85% of the precincts in the state of Indiana have reported. Cinton has won 52% of the vote, Obama 48%. But there's one little problem. Lake County (Gary, Hammond, East Chicago etc.) has not reported anything. Nothing. Not a vote.

Officials are saying that a lot of last minute of absentee ballots came in and they were being counted. This is not a good sign at this point. Trying to come with the votes you need to propel Obama into the win column isn't easy at this late hour, after the polls have been closed for almost three hours now.

Hillary is giving a victory speech anyway. But this could get ugly if Obama pulls this out on these votes that have yet to be released.

UPDATE (11:30 PM):

88% of the precincts reporting. The percentage gap is the same. But Obama has picked up a few votes.

The interesting thing is this from the Gary Mayor.

As the fate of a nailbiter Indiana primary -- and possibly the course of the Democratic race -- hung on his city, Gary Mayor Rudy Clay said just now that it might take a while yet to finish counting the vote in Lake County, which includes Gary, and said tonight his city had turned out so overwhelmingly for Barack Obama that it might just be enough to close the gap with Hillary Rodham Clinton.

"Let me tell you, when all the votes are counted, when Gary comes in, I think you're looking at something for the world to see," Clay, an Obama supporter, said in a telephone interview from Obama's Gary headquarters. "I don't know what the numbers are yet, but Gary has absolutely produced in large numbers for Obama here."

Well golly gee, I thought they were COUNTING the votes. This implies that the totals are NOT known. But the Mayor is sounding like he knows the outcome of the vote.

Update (11:45)

91% of the precincts have reported. The gap is now 51% to 49%. Gary appears to be delivering big for Obama.

Those last minute absentee ballots sure are coming in handy. My guess is they should have been counted yesterday and any further submitted absentees should have not been accepted. But if you search the court house well, I am sure there's no telling what you may find lying around at this late hour.

Update (5-7-08, 12:00 AM):

No change. Reports at a standstill. Going To bed.

Update (5-7-08 5:50AM)

Hillary's numbers held up. It goes to show that it will be harder for Democrats in Lake County to steal elections in the future, due to the new Indiana voter ID law. But those pesky absentee ballots will always be a source of hanky panky.

Final tally: Hillary 51% - Obama 49%. Not the blowout she had hoped for. The writing is on the wall. Her ability to raise money is now severely crippled.

Playing The Global Warming Card

In usual predictable fashion, Al Gore and the "First Mutual Church of Global Warming" cult is claiming the cyclone in Myanmar was the result of global warming.

Using tragedy to advance an agenda has been a strategy for many global warming activists, and it was just a matter of time before someone found a way to tie the recent Myanmar cyclone to global warming.

Former Vice President Al Gore in an interview on NPR’s May 6 “Fresh Air” broadcast did just that. He was interviewed by “Fresh Air” host Terry Gross about the release of his book, “The Assault on Reason,” in paperback.

“And as we’re talking today, Terry, the death count in Myanmar from the cyclone that hit there yesterday has been rising from 15,000 to way on up there to much higher numbers now being speculated,” Gore said. “And last year a catastrophic storm from last fall hit Bangladesh. The year before, the strongest cyclone in more than 50 years hit China – and we’re seeing consequences that scientists have long predicted might be associated with continued global warming.”

It's kind of funny when you take the time to think about it, because more and more of the experts are starting to re-think their positions they signed onto earlier, based on data acquired this past winter. (HT for the article: Amerloque)

A notable story of recent months should have been the evidence pouring in from all sides to cast doubts on the idea that the world is inexorably heating up. The proponents of man-made global warming have become so rattled by how the forecasts of their computer models are being contradicted by the data that some are rushing to modify the thesis.

First step: Modify the thesis. Check.

So a German study, published by Nature last week, claimed that, while the world is definitely warming, it may cool down until 2015 "while natural variations in climate cancel out the increases caused by man-made greenhouse gas emissions".

Second step: Tap dance. Check.

While we still think the earth is warming, it could cool down before it really gets warm. Brilliant job at raising subjective data. But here's what cannot be disputed

In 2004 scientists from the University of Bangor made headlines with the prediction that Snowdon might lose its snowcap altogether by 2020. In 2007 a Welsh MP, Lembit Opik, was saying "it is shocking to think that in just 14 years snow on this mountain could be nothing but a distant memory".

Last November, viewing photographs of a snowless Snowdon at an exhibition in Cardiff, the Welsh environment minister, Jane Davidson, said "we must act now to reduce the greenhouse gases that cause climate change".

Yet virtually no coverage has been given to the abnormally deep spring snow which prevented the completion of a new building on Snowdon's summit for more than a month, and nearly made it miss the deadline for £4.2 million of EU funding. (Brussels eventually extended the deadline to next autumn.)

Progressive Man:

Ah, but you poor soul, LA. You are so misguided in your assumptions. That's in Europe. We have to take into account the entire earth.


Okay Progressive Man, you asked for it.

Two weeks ago, as North America emerged from its coldest and snowiest winter for decades, the US National Climate Data Center, run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a statement that snow cover in January on the Eurasian land mass had been the most extensive ever recorded, and that in the US March had been only the 63rd warmest since records began in 1895.


Tracking satellite data for the tropical troposphere, it showed March temperatures plunging to one of their lowest points in 30 years.

Is not Myanmar in the tropics? How about Asia?

Snow cover over North America and much of Siberia, Mongolia and China is greater than at any time since 1966.

China is surviving its most brutal winter in a century. Temperatures in the normally balmy south were so low for so long that some middle-sized cities went days and even weeks without electricity because once power lines had toppled it was too cold or too icy to repair them.

How about South America?

South America this year experienced one of its coldest winters in decades. In Buenos Aires, snow fell for the first time since the year 1918. Dozens of homeless people died from exposure. In Peru, 200 people died from the cold and thousands more became infected with respiratory diseases. Crops failed, livestock perished, and the Peruvian government declared a state of emergency.

Africa? Australia? New Zealand?

Unexpected bitter cold swept the entire Southern Hemisphere in 2007. Johannesburg, South Africa, had the first significant snowfall in 26 years. Australia experienced the coldest June ever. In northeastern Australia, the city of Townsville underwent the longest period of continuously cold weather since 1941. In New Zealand, the weather turned so cold that vineyards were endangered.

I don't know about you all, but if all Rev. Al can muster up is a cyclone (against the backdrop some solid evidence that directly contradicts this doctrine), he has a long way to go to make the sale. If this had been a Contract Bridge game, he'd be set. His card was not a trump card, by any means.

Windfall Taxes On The Oil Companies' Profits: The Real Story

Both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are proposing a tax on the oil companies' profits. Clinton wants to suspend federal taxes on gasoline for the summer to give some relief to the consumer, while imposing the windfall tax on profits for the producers. Obama just wants to tax the oil companies, with no federal relief at all.

To see why either of these two approaches are not good ideas, let's have a a basic review from high school economics:

1. Price is what the company charges the consumer. Cost + Mark-Up = Price.

2. Cost is the expense incurred in the making, marketing, and transportation of the product. This includes any taxes levied on the company.

3. Profit is the price minus the cost.

If we can understand this simple principle, we can plainly see that raising the taxes on any company only results in the costs of their products going up. To make up for that rise in cost, the company will raise the price to the consumer. If the price in feed for livestock goes up, the result is higher prices for beef, pork, or chicken at the grocery store. If the price of gas goes up, transportation costs go up to get the meat to the grocery store. This also results in a higher price to the consumer. So it only stands to reason that if the government decides to tax meat, the same thing happens.

This is true of ANY product.

If Hillary suspends the federal tax on gas for the summer, the price goes down. But if she slaps a windfall tax on the oil companies, the price goes back up. Net gain for the consumer is nothing. And when the federal tax is added back in at the end of the summer, the price goes back up even more. If Obama simply taxes the oil companies and doesn't suspend the federal tax, the price just goes up with no relief for the consumer.

The moral of the story: No company is going to absorb a higher cost of doing business without passing it on to the consumer. The tax that Hillary and Obama want to implement to punish the oil companies for making their profit, will ultimately punish the consumer.

What are your questions on this topic?

Monday, May 05, 2008

The Recession Fallacy

For several months now, the plummeting housing market and higher fuel costs have both played a major role in causing the US economy to hit a bit of a snag. This isn't surprising, in any economy there are ups, there are downs. Big-ticket items and necessary expenses in the transportation department can definitely leave a mark.

But this particular period of sluggishness just happens to come at a time, when there is an election looming on the horizon. So when voting and economic downturns both share the same newscasts, it is easy to throw out the term recession and even easier for those not in tune with reality, to buy into these fallacies put forth by those that want us to believe that only they can stop this entire scenario from getting worse.

Here in 2008, we have had many people buying and overbuying into the notion that the US is currently in the midst of it's worst economy ever. Some even go as far as to suggest that we have reached that same low level of consumer confidence as we experienced in the days of the Great Depression. In a cavalier manner, they project this with such utter misguided conviction that they adopt it as fact, without as much as a blink of an eye.

Who can forget the recent article published by the Independent, from the UK? One usually has to attend a Hillary Clinton campaign speech to see such a textbook example of an embellishment (SEE: Sniper Fire). Who can forget the annual negative speculative predictions of those that want it to be so? In 2004 (the last presidential election year), there was a prediction of a recession. John Kerry used jobs as a cornerstone of his campaign. Predictions of a recession also occurred in 2005, 2006, and 2007, well after that election.

It's certainly true that a person who has recently lost his/her job (and struggling to keep the bills paid) will likely feel as though we are in a recession, just as a small business owner or sales manager of a large company (watching sales fall off) will see it this way also. The same can be said of stock brokers who have been watching the downward trend of the Dow-Jones numbers, on a daily basis. But are we really in the midst of a recession?

If we seek to use the historically accepted definition of a recession, the answer is no. This definition can be found in Wikipedia as: A decline in a country's real gross domestic product (GDP), or negative real economic growth, for two or more successive quarters of a year. The key to understanding this is not hard to understand. Two or more successive quarters of negative growth are needed as critical criteria. An election year or an unpopular GOP president is not required to qualify.

In the first quarter of 2008, the economy grew 0.6%. In the same quarter one year ago, it was 0.5% and in the 4th quarter of last year, it was 0.6%. (Ref: Here) As anyone with a basic knowledge of math can see, we do not meet the specific criteria for recession.

Another criteria many will use as an indicator of recession is the unemployment rate. In April, the jobless rate fell to 5%, from 5.1%. If we were in an active recession we would expect unemployment rates to climb, but such is not the case here either.

Here are some unemployment rates from the recession of 73-75, due to the oil embargo:


(Source: Here)

From the same source comes the unemployment rates of the 82-83 recession:


The average unemployment rate under Clinton was 5.2, likewise the average rate under Carter was 6.5.

Understand that 0.6% growth or 5% unemployment does not in any way indicate economic health. The figures are nothing to gloat about, as they have looked better. These numbers are indicative of stagnation and growth cannot occur under that kind of dynamic. But when you hear the media and the politicians fronting out the word recession haphazardly and recklessly, hopefully you are smart enough to look at the entire picture well enough, to put it into proper perspective.

But the biggest fallacy in all of this is, thinking that a damned politician can do anything about it. Voting for someone based on them saying they will focus their economic policies on Main Street instead of Wall Street, is foolish. Anyone believes that a President or any other elected official has that much power over a market, knows little to nothing about a free market system. And if they did have that much control, it would not be a free market.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Commencement Speeches We Need To Hear

Those who have read this blog for any period of time, know that every year at this time, I publish a link to Neal Boortz's famous commencement speech that no one will ever hear. If you haven't read it, you can read it here.

Graduation time is now upon us, a whole new crop of grads are about to face the real world. And although the Boortz speech is not new, it is still applicable to today's graduation ceremonies.

But this year, we have a newer and more up-to-date commencement speech, that we all need to hear.

From the LAT comes a new speech written by PJ O'Rourke that needs to be delivered, but in all likelihood won't. If you found the Boortz speech to be accurate and enlightening, you'll love this one too. Give it a read.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Another Blast From The Past

Neil Diamond was one of the premier song-writers to come out of the 60s. His songs have been passed down through the rock and roll generations, because he was just that good. He had some hits of his own. But others have used his lyrics, put them with the musical style of the time, and actually did them some justice.

Let me tell you, this man could write some songs. And in my humble opinion, this first one is the greatest Neil Diamond song ever. It's mellow, it's pensive, and it's performed by him. Here is Solitary Man:

The next clip is more or less, a twofer. The video goes well with peyote, but these songs are blended very well in this live version and are two classics, all Neil Diamond fans know quite well. Here are Soolaimon and Brother Love's Travelin' Salvation Show:

Next up is a tune that was written by Neil. But it was made popular by the band known as Deep Purple. Take a listen to the 1968 remake of Kentucky Woman:

The next song contains a twist of irony. Neil wrote it for a group of actors, originally hired to "play" a band on TV. From that show, the Monkees made this tune a #1 hit in 1966. Neil only got it to #51, in 1971. But it came back in 2001, when Smash Mouth got it up to #25. Here is their version, you may remember it from the Shrek soundtrack. It's called I'm A Believer:

It wasn't one of his better known songs, but it's uplifting and it is another one of my favorites. Here is Neil singing, A Beautiful Noise: