Friday, March 27, 2009

Only 50 pages left

until I finish the Alexander Hamilton tome. Awesome book, I'll summarize when I'm done. Suffice it to say that Hamilton was a ridiculous force in our country's founding.

Looking forward to the Washington book next, waiting patiently on my bookshelf.

Fredo


Numbing the pain of the Democratic majority since 2007.

SHK


Hammering the Democratic Majority since 2007

GWOT Overseas Contingency Operation Goals

One of the major criticisms leveled by Obama during his campaign was that Bush had "no clear goals" in Iraq. It is essential, he said, to have clear, quantifiable goals.

Now, I am a HUGE believer in the Powell doctrine. If you are going to enter a conflict, do so with overwhelming force and make sure you have a clearly defined goal. So I would certainly agree the portion of Obama's statement where he says it is critical to have a clear set of goals.

To that end, here are the goals for Afghanistan he rolled out today: "So I want the American people to understand that we have a clear and focused goal: to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaida in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and to prevent their return to either country in the future," the president said.

"That is the goal that must be achieved," Obama added. "That is a cause that could not be more just. And to the terrorists who oppose us, my message is the same: we will defeat you."


Hmmmmmm.. "...disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaida..." This sounds familiar, where have I heard it before? Oh, that's right, it's the EXACT SAME set of goals put forth by Bush in Iraq that were roundly mocked and rejected by Democrats. From Bush's 2005 "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq": The Security Track involves carrying out a campaign to defeat the terrorists and neutralize the insurgency...Clear areas of enemy control by remaining on the offensive, killing and capturing enemy fighters and denying them safe-haven; Hold areas freed from enemy influence by ensuring that they remain under the control of the Iraqi government with an adequate Iraqi security force presence;...advance the rule of law, and nurture civil society.

The hypocrisy of Obama, who mocked this very language, to now advance it as his own "policy of change" is absurd.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Best. Resignation. Ever.

Posted by a very senior AIG exec to new CEO Liddy on op-ed pages of NYT today. It's worth noting that he will be donating his entire bonus (or whatever is left of it after Congress is done with their abusive, hypocritical and indefensible targeted tax) to charity.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Are you kidding me?

Well, this may do what 15 seasons in a row without winning a bowl game couldn't do to me: turn me off from Notre Dame. How the F can they justify inviting Obama to be their commencement speaker? It's not even that I disagree with his policies; it's the ludicrousness of a Catholic university inviting such a pro-abortion, pro-embryonic-stem-cell politician to such a visible event and conferring an honorary degree.

The Catholic church doesn't have to worry about outsiders trying to take it down with inside jobs like this.

Good news on US Autos

Couldn't let this one from the WSJ go by the boards, not with SingleWing out there...

The good news is that six of those [US] brands -- Buick, Mercury, Lincoln, Cadillac, Ford and Chrysler -- finished above the industry average for problems per 100 vehicles in J.D. Power & Associates' 2009 Vehicle Dependability Study, which was released last week. Buick tied with Jaguar for No. 1 overall, just ahead of Lexus and Toyota.

FWIW, the bad news was that Toyota's brands still placed more cars in each sub-group of the industry.

Still, an impressive showing for the domestics, one that you get the feeling would leave most East Coasters shaking their heads in disbelief.

Are you depressed?

Check out Scott Johnson's explanation of his own malaise over at PowerLine.

Here's part of his opening:

I feel utterly powerless to do anything about the fellow in the Oval Office who combines infantile leftism and adolescent grandiosity in roughly equal measures. It seems to me that every day he is responsible for assaults on the freedom and well being of the American people. I can't keep up and I can't stand to pay attention.

His aim seems to be to reduce us to government dependents. His inattention to rehabilitation of the financial system in lieu of vastly expanding the size and scope of the government is a dead giveaway, as is his lack of concern over the vast destruction of wealth his policies are working (and will continue to work).

I love the line, "I can't keep up and I can't stand to pay attention." It was just this feeling I was going for here.

Drunken Gorillas!

These primates know the right thing to do in our current economic climate.
Monday, March 23, 2009

NCR MadLib!

The NCR offered this MadLib on the press-ignited condom kerfuffle over the Holy Father's comments in Africa, which, ICYMI, were about the moral and biological danger behind distributing condoms as a means to combat AIDS.

As they point out, while the Pope's critics are misguided, "It’s wrong to make fun of people. But it’s good to make fun of stupid ideas."

I'd highly recommend trying the MadLib for yourself. Here's what I came up with when I filled in the blanks:

Tom Hoopes’s Condom Logic Mad Lib


1. “Oh no,” said the government official. “Our country has a terrible problem. People are dying because they keep

drinking litres of Scotch whenever they watch TV
_____________________________________________________!”
[lethally dangerous activity]

Ideas: playing with guns, playing with matches, playing the “choking” game, playing circus knife-thrower, playing on the Interstate, climbing over the rail at the Grand Canyon, swimming in rip-tides, putting bags over their heads, locking themselves in old refrigerators, trying to get high off of industrial chemicals, seeing if they can fly off a tall building if they really really believe they can; having extramarital sex.

2. “I know what we can do,” said the Catholic. “Let’s tell them to stop.”

“Whoa!” said the government official. “That would be funny if it weren’t so dangerous. People won’t stop. The only way to save them is to distribute

free packets of "Chaser"
___________________________________________!”
[protective device]

Ideas: bullet-proof vests, fireproof gear, oxygen tanks, astronaut suits, suits of armor, parachutes, scuba gear, pearl-diving “hold your breath” training manuals, antidotes for poisons, jet packs; condoms.


3. “But that would give a false sense that the activity is okay.” says the Catholic, “If you remove the taboo, you will get more dangerous behavior — and more instances where people forget to wear the protective device or it fails.”

“Your insistence on your religious dogma is killing people,” replies the government official. “Taboos only cause repression and make problems worse. Just look at the abject failure of the taboos that tried to get people to stop

downing whiskey shots for "the road," b/c they're scared of having to stay dry for the 15 minute car ride home!

[Ideas: drinking and driving, smoking inside (or smoking at all), putting lit candles on Christmas trees, swimming in dangerous rivers near cities, keeping guns in places kids could find them, driving around stopped school buses, leaving chemicals in reach of babies.]

4. “Well, actually, that’s a point for me,” says the Catholic. “That effort worked. The taboo took. We should do that with [extramarital sex] the Scotch problem, which is bad for people emotionally, morally and in terms of [STDs] nausea and vomiting.”

“No, wait!” says the government official. “What I listed was a safety issue. Taboos on personal interaction, moral issues and personal entertainment are more to the point, and those don’t work. Just look at the taboo on

"drinking tumblers of martini in the workplace... um ...."

[Ideas: racial slurs, terms of disparagement for homosexuals, terms that demean the handicapped, dog fights, cockfights, jokes about disadvantaged peoples, bloodsports, street racing.]

5. “But that’s just my point,” says the Catholic. “Those taboos worked, too, for the most part. And research shows that where you make [extramarital sex taboo, STDs including AIDS, decline. When you promote condoms, the research shows that AIDS gets worse] drinking full bottles of scotch alone on your coach taboo, the cost of detox, raging DV incidents, and unwarranted informercial purchases also decline.”

“Well the research is wrong, then,” says the government official. “And so is the Pope. In fact, I’m going to start sending tax money to the Society for Safe

Scotch Consumption!”
[repeat No. 1 with initial capital letters]

Ideas: Playing With Guns, Playing With Matches, “Choking” Gaming, Playing Circus Knife-Thrower, Playing On The Interstate, Climbing Over The Rail At The Grand Canyon, Swimming In Rip-Tides, Putting Bags Over Our Heads, Locking Ourselves In Old Refrigerators, Trying To Get High Off Of Industrial Chemicals, Seeing If We Can Fly Off A Tall Building If We Really Really Believe They Can; Extramarital Sex.
Sunday, March 22, 2009

NR's "Best Conservative Movies"

As I was discussing last night with Beasty, DarkC, and Slidy McHump, here is the list of National Review's Top 25 Conservative Movies from their February 23, 2009 issue:

25: Gran Torino (2008)
24: Team America: World Police (2004)
23: United 93 (2006)
22: Brazil (1985)
21: Heartbreak Ridge (1986)
20: Gattica (1997)
19: We Were Soldiers (2002)
18: The Edge (1997)
17: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe (2005)
16: Master and Commander (2003)
15: Red Dawn (1984)
14: A Simple Plan (1998)
13: Braveheart (1995)
12: The Dark Knight (2008)
11: The Lord of the Rings (2001-03)
10: Ghostbusters (1984)
9: Blast from the Past (1999)
8: Juno (2007)
7: The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
6: Groundhog Day (1993)
5: 300 (2007)
4: Forrest Gump (1994)
3: Metropolitan (1990)
2: The Incredibles (2004)
1: The Lives of Others (2007)

If you're wondering about their number one pick, Buckley apparently loved the movie. Here's what John Miller wrote about it (similar blurbs appeared after each film in the list

"I think that this is the best movie I ever saw," said William F. Buckley Jr. upon leaving the theater (according to his column on the film). The tale, set in East Germany in 1984, is one part romantic drama, one part political thriller. It chronicles life under a totalitarian regime as the Stasi secretly monitors the activities of a playwright who is suspected of harboring doubts about Communism. Critics showered the movie with praise, and it won an Oscar for best foreign-language film (it's in German). More Buckley: "The tension mounts to heart-stopping pitch and I felt the impulse to rush out into the street and drag passerby in to watch the story unfold."

There were also a list of films that received an "honorable mention":

Air Force One, Amazing Grace, An American Carol, Barcelona, Bella, Cinderella Man, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Hamburger Hill, The Hanoi Hilton, The Hunt for Red October, The Island, Knocked Up, The Last Days of Disco, The Lost City, Miracle, The Patriot, Rocky Balboa, Serenity, Stand and Deliver, Tears of the Sun, Thank You for Smoking, Three Kings, Tin Men, The Truman Show, Witness

FWIW, I highly recommend picking up your NRO subscription at NationalReview.com if you haven't done so already.
Saturday, March 21, 2009

Right on

Gary Sinise calls it like it is. Excellent op-ed piece.
Thursday, March 19, 2009

Sad Day

I have not been so disappointed in this country in a long time. The fact that no one on either side of the aisle had the sack to stand up for what is right - honoring existing contracts - sets a horrible precedent.

$165 M in bonuses, while appalling, is a pittance. What about a discussion about how the 150 BILLION in bailout money to AIG has been spent? Focusing on the bonuses, besides being an irrelevant amount of money, has really set this country back for contract law.

Coach K

I know Fredo will appreciate this:

"Somebody said that we're not in President Obama's Final Four, and as much as I respect what he's doing, really, the economy is something that he should focus on, probably more than the brackets," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said from the Blue Devils' first-round site in Greensboro, N.C.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009

It just keeps getting worse

I'm really getting pissed off now. This interview transcript with Barney Frank is putting me over the edge. Every time he is asked a direct question that exposes his hypocrisy on the AIG issue, his counter is "You say you're hearing me, but you're not." No, Barney, the interviewer IS HEARING YOU, and specifically hearing you put up the lamest attempt ever to dodge responsibility. Be a man, take ownership of bills YOU VOTED FOR that grandfather in AIG bonuses, and put forth a plan to move forward.

And this statement at the end is a f**king outrage. One of the things we're going to demand is the names of these people. They should not be allowed to hide behind anonymity. We will insist on knowing who they are and publishing those names. ARE YOU SERIOUS? Your solution to this situation is that you are going to publish the names of individuals? To what end? So that angry mobs can confront them in their homes, violently attacking them and their families? Does he not realize that given current public anger over this issue this is the inevitable outcome?

I thought I could make it to 2012, I really did. But with asinine statements and policies like these I'm not sure I can.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Someone's a Funny Guy

Not me, of course--I just find this stuff...

What the F?

I'm a pretty conservative guy. I like smaller government, lower taxes and less spending. That said, I'm generally ok with the idea that if you accept bailout money (i.e., my tax dollars), the government can put restrictions on you. If you were too stupid to run your business properly, and as a result now need a handout from me, well then I should have a say in how you run your business going forward.

However, what absolutely REEKS to me is the concept that they are now going to try to get bonuses back at AIG. I completely agree that it's hard to fathom how ANY responsible company could create a bonus system that at year end would evaluate derivatives traders who nearly sunk the company as worthy of a bonus. But a CONTRACT IS A CONTRACT. To have the government step in ex post facto and break a binding agreement sets a horrible precedent with dangerous consequences.

What's even more troubling is Dodd's recent suggestion. Later, Dodd told CNN he is considering an unusual approach to get the bonus money back. "One idea we're kind of thinking about is a tax provision," the Connecticut Democrat said. "We have a right to tax. You could write a tax provision that's narrowly crafted only to the people receiving bonuses. That's a way maybe to deal with it."

Are you serious? That to me seems to be a horrific abuse of government. This is the same Chris Dodd, by the way, who was NUMBER 1 in contributions from Fannie, and who also received a suspect and highly favorable mortgage from Countrywide (one of the worst sub-prime lenders in this whole scandal) that saved him $75 G due to his insider influence. What a crock.

All I can say is 2010 can't come fast enough for me, and I surely hope that we pick up enough seats in Congress to be more effective at blocking all those moronic ideas. And then Mitt in 2012 to end this socialist expansion.
Sunday, March 08, 2009

Diplomatic Offensive, Part Deux

It seems we're looking to reach out with a new conciliatory tone all over the world. Here's Hillary and her staff of geniuses (See below) "setting a new tone" with the Kremlin:

Russian media has been poking fun at US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton after she gave her Russian counterpart a "reset" button with an ironic misspelling.

Clinton's gift to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at their meeting in Geneva on Friday evening was meant to underscore the Obama administration's readiness to "to press the reset button" in ties with Moscow.

But instead of the Russian word for "reset" (perezagruzka) it featured a slightly different word meaning "overload" or "overcharged" (peregruzka).

Daily newspaper Kommersant put a prominent picture of the fake red button on its front page and declared: "Sergei Lavrov and Hillary Clinton pushed the wrong button."


So much for the "diplomatic offense" Obama has been promising:

From Mark Steyn, at the National Review:

British prime minister Gordon Brown thought long and hard about what gift to bring on his visit to the White House last week. Barack Obama is the first African-American president, so the prime minister gave him an ornamental desk-pen holder hewn from the timbers of one of the Royal Navy’s anti-slaving ships of the 19th century, HMS Gannet. Even more appropriate, in 1909 the Gannet was renamed HMS President.

The president’s guest also presented him with the framed commission for HMS Resolute, the lost British ship retrieved from the Arctic and returned by America to London, and whose timbers were used for a thank-you gift Queen Victoria sent to Rutherford Hayes: the handsome desk that now sits in the Oval Office.

And, just to round things out, as a little stocking stuffer, Gordon Brown gave President Obama a first edition of Sir Martin Gilbert’s seven-volume biography of Winston Churchill.

In return, America’s head of state gave the prime minister 25 DVDs of “classic American movies.”

Evidently, the White House gift shop was all out of “MY GOVERNMENT DELEGATION WENT TO WASHINGTON AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS LOUSY T-SHIRT” T-shirts. Still, the “classic American movies” set is a pretty good substitute, and it can set you back as much as $38.99 at Wal-Mart...
Thursday, March 05, 2009

I know this probably comes as a shock to Newsday,

and most of the MSM, but the first question that crosses my mind (and probably most Catholics) when we learn that there is a new Archbishop of New York, is not, "what is his record on sexual abuse and pedophilia?"

I don't want to minimize the suffering endured by those who were victimized, but there are other issues that are just as pertinent, and probably more so, to the average parishoner. Issues that require a new leader to help chart a course for his flock.

For instance, how will we, as a community, help our Catholic schools to persevere when the economic downturn and loss of vowed religious is impacting them so severely? How will we continue to make the lifeblood of the community, the sacraments, available even as the number of priests continues to shrink? How should we, as followers of Christ and his Church, try to teach our children the value of faithfulness and tradition, when they are growing up in a culture that glorifies consumerism, hedonism, and self-interest? How will we, as a community, seek to bring about more vocations? More communal interdependence and caring? How should we work together to oppose those who wish to continue treating unborn children as chattel, or marriage as a mere civil contract?

These are the issues that I care about. I know many Catholics who feel the same way. I get the feeling that Newsday's obsession with using the words "Sexual Abuse" in almost any headline that also contains "Church" has more to do with their own editorial agenda than it does a simple presentation of the facts. Otherwise, these other questions confronting the Catholic community would be getting equal coverage as well.

My apologies

Sorry for the lack of blogging, but I'm just too depressed with our nation's state of affairs right now. I can't even believe how quickly we are galloping down the path towards socialism, dependency, and irrelevancy. The blatant self-interest controlling the actions of our nation's leaders is bad enough, but the panicked acquience of my fellow citizens, who seem in a rush to forfeit economic liberties for the "protection" of Obama's porkulus bailout (how's that working out?), is almost impossible to stomach.

Almost every day I think about commenting on the state of our nation's politics, but after about two sentences, I'd rather just do my work.

I've got a weal wed wagon!

Tax deduction limitations: legit or gimmick?

Part of Obama's budget proposal that is meeting huge resistance, including from Dems, is the plan to cap the amount that earners in the top two brackets can deduct to 28%. This would, for example, limit the tax benefit of charitable donations from the wealthiest in our country who give the most.

This proposal from Obama is, on the face of it, so stupid and absurd that I have to wonder if it is a legitimate point of contention between Obama and Congress, or a gimmick? That is, did he throw a few items like that into the budget that he knew were absurd and never really wanted, such that he could then "concede" to take them out and appear like he is a true compromiser and willing to be bipartisan? Or does he really want them included? As hypocrisy grows between what he pledged on the campaign trail (e.g., no earmarks and line-by-line budget analysis) vs. reality (spending bill with thousands of earmarks he is unwilling to veto), I'm skeptical. I think he will concede to remove this limitation, but it was nothing more than a gimmick all along.
Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Clamors rising

When you're a liberal and Maureen Dowd takes you to task, you know you're having problems. From today's NYT:

In one of his disturbing spells of passivity, President Obama decided not to fight Congress and live up to his own no-earmark pledge from the campaign.

He’s been lecturing us on the need to prune away frills while the economy fizzles. He was slated to make a speech on “wasteful spending” on Wednesday.
...
Team Obama sounds hollow, chanting that “the status quo is not acceptable,” even while conceding that the president is accepting the status quo by signing a budget festooned with pork.
Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Rosetta Stone rocks!

Apparently they can even translate droid:



R2-D2 rules! Even though I am thoroughly convinced we will soon face a robot apocalypse (or zombie invasion--or both!), I fully trust R2. Maybe it's 'cause he's a "droid" and not a robot, but he is one awesome little metal dude!
Sunday, March 01, 2009

PSA

This public service announcement is just an important reminder that it's so good once it hits your lips.

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Always sniffing for the truth

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