Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Put Up or Shut Up 

They won't lose a damned dime.....

JunkScience.com - simply the best place to get scientific data to refute Man-Made Global Warming crap - has offered up a chance for the Al Gore lemmings to earn a couple of bucks: The Ultimate Global Warming Challenge.
$100,000 will be awarded to the first person to prove, in a scientific manner, that humans are causing harmful global warming.

This should be a piece of cake for the lemmings. They have some 2,500 of the best minds in the world from the IPCC that signed their names to the UN global warming report. It touted itself as,
the most complete and quantitative assessment of how human activities are affecting the radiative energy balance in the atmosphere
Sounds like they have this Man-Made Global Warming thing licked. And now they can put a couple of bucks in their pockets to boot! Ain't America grand?!

HT to Conservative-Insurgent

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Monday Grind 

Quick thoughts to start the week....

Gonzo Gone. Very surprised that the AG resigned. The damage is done, I'd keep him on as a whipping-boy if I were Bush. Help deflect other criticisms about the administration.

Michael Vick. Wow, he almost had me. His apology seemed genuine until he threw in the bit about "finding God". Seemed too contrived. Like when Lindsey or Brittany or Mel are emerging from or going to rehab. "I found the Lord and now I'm on the path to righteousness." We'll see.

Tumbling Prices. Geez, since the Federal Reserve has been tracking home prices, the nationwide, median price has never dropped. Until now. I have a brother that lives in the Sacramento Valley, and they are just getting battered..... and new homes are still being built. Hmmm. I'm trying to squirrel cash away right now, to pick up some property(ies) when the market starts swinging the other way (lat 2008, early 2009). And save the "vulture" crap. As long as you personally don't participate in a person losing their home through immoral/illegal means, picking it up at below market prices when a crash happens is totally on the up-and-up.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Civil Rights Irrelevancy 

The NAACP isn't advancing anything but victim-hood...

I was shaking my head yesterday when the NAACP held a press conference in defense of Michael Vick. Instead of taking Vick's admission of guilt as an opportunity to speak to young black men about how NOT to live your life, they turned it into another persecution of a black man by white society.
"At this point, you're not looking at guilt or innocence," White said, referring to the possible harsher sentence Vick could have received had he taken his case to trial and been found guilty. "You're thinking, 'What I better do is cut my losses and take a plea.' But if he saw this as the best thing to do at this point for his future, then I think he made the correct choice."
What utter bullshit. They're estimating this will cost him upwards of $100 million in lifetime earnings. Michael Vick has money growing out of his ass. If he were innocent, he'd be fighting this like, well, a crazed pit bull.

The nation's most prominent civil rights organization takes up his cause, not because his rights are being violated, but simply because he's black and entertaining to watch.
"We further ask the NFL, Falcons, and the sponsors not to permanently ban Mr. Vick from his ability to bring hours of enjoyment to fans all over this country."
What happened to all of that, "content of his character" stuff?

As I'm driving home after work last night, I'm listening to a talk show hosted by a black guy named Brian Copeland. I really like this guy. His politics in general are too liberal for my liking, but he defends his positions well. Most importantly, he's not a black apologist. He calls 'em like he sees 'em.

He was voicing his disgust with the NAACP in general, and the Michael Vick issue in particular. He asked his listeners to call in and voice their opinions as well. Was he off-base here?

A woman, probably in her 50's or 60's called in. Very well spoken, no gangsta dis 'n dat. Quite eloquent.

An an utter idiot.

She said that, while she thinks killing dogs was bad, she believed Vick was being persecuted by white society as pay-back for OJ Simpson getting off the hook. Furthermore, perhaps we should look the other way because of the residual effects slavery has had upon black society.

I sat there in my car with my mouth agape. Brian went nuclear.

He reamed her again and again about stopping with the victim bullshit, and stay on topic. Vick has admitted he broke the law. Slavery, which ended over 140 years ago has nothing whatsoever to do with this. His color is irrelevant. He broke the law and should be punished.

She kept coming back with this, "residual effects of slavery" crap. It was astounding to witness. She was dead serious. Amazingly, he received a number of calls with similar perspectives.

How can you have this kind of mindset? Is this similar to radical Islam that teaches its kids that Jews and Americans are all devils and must be exterminated at all costs? Does the typical American black family instill in its children the belief that they are being held down because of slavery? Whitey is evil and working to keep you under his whip?

If true, it would explain a lot.

The opportunity to succeed seems to have been grasped by every ethnic group that has come to America. Italians, Germans, Dutch, Irish, Poles. More recently, Vietnamese, Filipinos, Cubans and most other Hispanics.

Everyone except American-born blacks.

If this perpetuation of believing you are hopelessly oppressed is indeed what is happening in Black American families, the house-cleaning they need to do to bring themselves up to decent economic standards will be a big job indeed.

This isn't about civil rights. This is about taking responsibility for your actions and your life. A concept apparently lost on many black Americans.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007


An act that changed my life...

While I was on my vacation, I had a lot of time to navel-gaze while soaking catfish bait. I was thinking a lot about where I am in life, what I want to do and other such introspective thoughts.

It was a lot of day dreaming!

On my first day back to work, I had a regularly scheduled management seminar in the afternoon. One of the topics was about positive thinking, putting a positive spin on things, blah, blah, blah (you can tell it sunk in!). They had us do one exercise where we had to tell about a personal or professional instance where you were told by the world that you had no chance of success - failure was imminent - yet you were able to overcome the long odds.

I told my little story, but it got me thinking about single events that strongly affected my current place in life - good or bad. I realized that I truly have a single event that is largely responsible for my life as it is today.

In 1972, my family moved from one part of northern California to another. We moved during the summer - right between 7th and 8th grade - just before Pop Warner football practice was to start. I had played - for the first time - the previous year. I had done alright the past season, playing sporadically, but wasn't really that enthused about it.

My dad signed me and my two younger brothers up for the local team. We were all close in age, all born only 18 months apart. Physically, we're very different. I'm big and beefy, middle brother is of average size, and my youngest brother is a PNMF - a Pencil Necked Mother Fucker. Skinny as a rail. The kind of guy that can eat a whole chicken, a quart of ice cream and a pound of chocolate, and lose 5 pounds.

With his football helmet on, he looked like an upside down exclamation point, even with the shoulder pads.

Anyways, he was a scrappy little shit. Tough as hell from the ass-kickings he had received from his two older brothers for the past 10 years or so. Well, that toughness was paying off.

He was on the junior team. While my senior team practiced at the same time, we were at different ends of the field. For a week or so, we'd keep hearing all of these ooooooh's and aaaahhhh's after big hits. One of my coaches finally went down there to see what all the commotion was about.

It was my little brother tearing people up. Having never played before, he was just a natural at defensive back. He was leveling kids left and right.

Now me, I had really just been going through the motions. I'd go to practice, do my drills, but nothing impressive. I had the size, muscle and the athleticism, but not the desire.

That was about to change.

My coach comes up to me after watching my little brother kicking some serious ass, and says to the effect, "Damn, he's tearing it up. Maybe we should bring him up to seniors, and you can take his place on juniors."

It was devastating. There could not have been a more hurtful thing said. Your little brother whoops ass, and you're a big pussy. That's all I heard.

Long story short, I changed my attitude. There was no way that PNMF was going to show me up. I started destroying people. By the start of the season, I was starting both ways, and was on every special team. I never came off the field.

It carried through to high school where I finished my senior year as a first-team all-league defensive end. I got some state and national awards as well. Here's where the story gets cool.

When my senior season was over, I started getting calls from colleges to play ball. Both Stanford and Cal called, but both wanted me to go first to a JC first, with no promise of a scholarship. San Francisco State called as well. State was a Division III program, but the price was right (geez, I think tuition, books, dorm, food script - everything was $500 a semester). So off to State I went.

We were in our summer practices and, having just moved to SF, I had no job or money. One of our coaches was the older brother of a guy I played with in high school. He lent me $50. He soon realized that I was never going to be able to pay him back.

At nights, he worked in the data processing center for Wells Fargo Bank in downtown SF. He got me an interview, and I got the job. I went on to spend 12 years at Wells, moving up the management ranks. That part-time job in 1977 has turned into a 30 year banking career!

As a bonus, my wife-to-be also worked nights at Wells. We met, fell in love, raised two fine young men and have been married for the past 21 years.

An embarrassing moment in my early teens results in a career, a wife and a family. A life. If I hadn't been humiliated, I would never have excelled at football. If I hadn't excelled at football, I would not have gone to State and borrowed the $50 from my coach. If I hadn't borrowed the money, he would not have gotten me the interview at Wells. If I had not been at Wells, I certainly would not have met my wife, and most likely would not have ended up with a 30 year banking career.

I think more importantly, it taught me to do the best I was able to do. It feels better to win than to come in second. Don't settle if you don't have to.

I've got another story for another time about a single event that could have dramatically changed my life, and the lives of my entire family had things occurred only slightly differently. A few seconds and a few feet. It is one of my most shameful moments...



Monday, August 20, 2007

Back In The Real World 

Back from a few days of floating around the Sacramento delta in a houseboat. Very relaxing, but I have a new appreciation for my own bed.

Had a lot of time to think.


Thursday, August 09, 2007

Universal Disaster 

It's not the government's job to wipe your ass. Well, it shouldn't be...
Nobody is talking about a free-market approach in health care. The spectrum today is between fascism and Communism."
--John Graham
I've written a number of times about the government creeping into our lives. Most recently, I discussed here how socialized medicine - as proposed by both sides of the political aisle - will be the economic ruin of our country.

The proponents of socialized medicine are applying a full-court press. The disingenuous bastard political commentator Chris Matthews - the target of the above mentioned post - was back at work yesterday, interviewing the union worker that was allowed to ask the Democrat presidential contenders what they were going to do about fixing the health care crisis.

In case you're unaware, this guy worked his whole life for some company. He got hurt and had to retire. The company then filed for bankruptcy, and his pension was cut by a third. Now, he can't afford his health care insurance.

You know what? It sucks to be him right now. I don't know how to say that more delicately. If I were in his place, I'd be crushed.

Perhaps, though, he should not have placed his entire future with a single entity - all of his eggs in one basket, so to speak. If he had not become a victim of the Nanny State, he might have had the foresight to spread or mitigate his risk. Saving some money outside of his pension just in case things didn't work out as planned might have been one such option. A little self-reliance might be nice.

But the first impulse is to show up on Nanny's door with arm outstretched and palm facing the sky. It's become The American Way.

But what's the answer? We have generation after generation that has been trained to expect the government to cure their ills. We have hordes of Baby Boomers (of which I'm a part) getting ready to join the Social Security/Medicare class in massive numbers.

Arnold Kling has written a piece in TCS Daily that would take us in the right direction.

The main proponents of "universal coverage" want to throw more money at the current health care system, which strikes me as unwise. I believe that the "universal coverage" mantra is dysfunctional for the same reason that "more money for public schools" is a dysfunctional mantra for education. When your current approach is digging you into a hole, the sensible thing to do is not to dig faster. It is to stop digging.
Why is this such a difficult concept for people to grasp? We're throwing money down a rat hole. We KNOW we're doing it, yet we want to fix the problem by throwing more money down the same hole.

If a business were to do this, it would be called, "bankruptcy". When government does this, it's called, "compassion".

As Kling notes, we need to make fundamental changes to how we view government interaction into our lives.
I assume that people would be better off with real insurance, rather than insulation. Real insurance would mean low premiums, high deductibles, and rare claims. Insulation means high premiums, low deductibles, and frequent claims.
Of course, any program administered by the government is going to be of the "insulation" sort. Price is no object, the recipient has little or no out-of-pocket expenses, thus it is used (abused?) frequently. Pick any government program of your choice and see if this model and resulting outcome don't fit.

These programs start off as, "the many, paying for the few". That doesn't last, though. The "many" see no benefit in providing for themselves AND someone else. They become one of the recipients. This has turned our give-aways into, "the few, paying for the many".

This is unsustainable.

We have to make changes - now - for whom we provide social services.

We have to make changes in how health care and all social services are paid for. Taxes versus personal choice/responsibility. Insurance versus insulation.

A great idea Kling discusses is changing the licensing requirements for health care providers. Do I really need a full-blown MD to jiggle my nuts and ask me to cough? A while back, I wrote about some old guy in Florida that was making dentures for a few hundred dollars instead of a few thousand. Why should a maker of prosthetics such as dentures need to be licensed? The decision of the government to require this license increased the cost of this service ten-fold. That's our tax dollars at work.

In politics, the victim status of the uninsured is overstated. Meanwhile, the health policy debate is ignoring some important victims:

--The future victims of the financial unsoundness of Medicare

--the victims of the licensing cartel, which lowers productivity and raises costs

--the victims of the wasteful medical expenditures promoted by consumer insulation from cost, which in turn is promoted by incentives embedded in the tax system

Economists see these victims. Politically, they are invisible. That is why free-market health care reforms are so difficult to sell.

We will get universal/socialized health care. We will run out of money to pay for anything other than "entitlements" and interest on the national debt.

We will have violent, bloody revolt when the pump runs dry.

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Why We're Working Stiffs 

And these guys will be millionaires...

Gotta love American ingenuity.

Michael Vick is popped for dog fighting. PETA and, quite honestly, most of America is disgusted by these dog fighting rings. Yeah, but what ya gonna do?

You'll buy the Michael Vick Dog Chew Toy, that's what you'll do!
Is it different you ask? You bet it is! The Vick Dog Chew Toy is made of state of the art "dog" material. The Vick Toy Doll is so strong and flexible, it will challenge every breed. Especially The Pit Bull.
Then, they get plain mean...
Unlike Vick, our manufacturer is so sure of its durability they guarantee it against the most playful dog destruction. It Bends. It Bounces. It Flies. It Floats. And best of all, it lasts through the whole season and more!
They are already back-ordered. It will be interesting to see how long it takes Vick and the NFL to jump all over these guys with law suits.

Probably faster than a pit bull on a poodle......



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