Friday, February 20, 2009

Mr. and Mrs. America, why are your faces so red?

And why is steam shooting out of your ears? Could it be that you don't agree with The Enlightened One, He Who Brings Light? Could it be that you don't want to beggar yourselves, your children and their children to pay the mortgages of people who foolishly spent every dollar they could borrow, and now expect you to bail them out?



Make no mistake, Rick Santelli is just saying on a national network what millions of people are saying in offices, restaurants, drug stores and barber shops. 52% of the people who voted in the last Presidential election voted for bread and circuses, and the other 48% (plus those fools who did bother themselves to vote) are going to get stuck with the bill.

Given my readers, I'm probably preaching to the choir. But choir, we're facing what may become one of the biggest crises ever to face our country. Team Obama, riddled with inexperience, poor judgment and, dare I say it...corruption, are going to throw every bit of money they can at their constituents and their big party donors. They are going to attempt to be sure that no matter how much hell we raise, that they have bought themselves and their successors into permanent power in Washington.

We, Rick Santelli's "Silent Majority" (Ack--remember when Nixon's people used that term?), are going to have to ensure it doesn't happen.

It may be possible that we are seeing the beginning of something that Thomas Jefferson said was a good idea every now and then. After what I've seein the last few days, all I can say at this point is

Bring it.

Oh look honey, more Change!

(Via the Drudge Report)

For our own good, for the good of the environment, for the children, and because they think they can do it, Team O wants to tax your driving by the mile. Supposedly it will "replace" the gas tax.

According to Secretary of Transportation Dimbulb, "everyone agrees" that the current system is broken and needs fixing. I suspect that he would also say that we need to drive more efficient cars so we can stop the mythical man-made global warming "crisis". So we're going to remove half of the reason for driving a more efficient vehicle--how much it costs you in fuel taxes. (The other half is the actual fuel costs--and just wait until they decide to meddle with that.) Brilliant, Sherlock. Sheer f-ing genius. Remind me to nominate you for the Nobel Prize in Stupid.

Froggy, I don't think they're going to be satisfied in just turning up the heat--I think they won't be happy until the house is on fire.

(Edit, 2/20/09 16:17: It would seem that there is some internal dissension over this proposal amongst the members of Team O. As well-oiled as the campaign machine was, it seems that the actual Presidency isn't.)

OK, idiots, this is not how you're going to boost the Republican Party

The Dark and Creepy Wing of the Republican Party weighs in with this lunacy:

Republican politicians on Thursday called for a sweeping new federal law that would require all Internet providers and operators of millions of Wi-Fi access points, even hotels, local coffee shops, and home users, to keep records about users for two years to aid police investigations.

Do not make me come to DC and Stooge Slap you.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I guess our new AG doesn't get that "freedom of association" thing

Eric Holder, the nation's first black attorney general, said Wednesday the United States was "a nation of cowards" on matters of race, with most Americans avoiding candid discussions of racial issues.

In a speech to Justice Department employees marking Black History Month, Holder said the workplace is largely integrated but Americans still self-segregate on the weekends and in their private lives.

He wants an "honest discussion of racial matters"? Why is it that I suspect his concept of this discussion would be...radically...different than mine?

Mr. Holder, I associate with whom I please when I'm on my time. I don't give a rat's ass if you're black, white or green with purple polka dots. I don't associate (or not associate) based on skin color, sex or anything else. I associate with others based on shared beliefs, interests and experiences.

I do, however, discriminate if you're an idiot. Mr. Holder, trust me when I tell you that I won't be associating with you. You miss out by not sharing any of my beliefs, interests or experiences, plus you're an idiot.

Now...is that "frank" enough for you?

Allow me to offer a simple solution to the banking problem

(Vai the Drudge Report)

Lindsey Graham, the Republican senator for South Carolina, says that many of his colleagues, including John McCain, the defeated presidential candidate, agree with his view that nationalisation of some banks should be “on the table”.

Mr Graham says that people across the US accept his argument that it is untenable to keep throwing good money after bad into institutions such as Citigroup and Bank of America, which now have a lower net value than the amount of public funds they have received.

“You should not get caught up on a word [nationalisation],” he told the Financial Times in an interview. “I would argue that we cannot be ideologically a little bit pregnant. It doesn’t matter what you call it, but we can’t keep on funding these zombie banks [without gaining public control]. That’s what the Japanese did.”

This is easy. Sen. Graham needs to start thinking link a conservative, not the New Republican Party (otherwise knowns as RINOs). Once he accomplishes this (admittedly not simple) task, the answer is obvious: We don't need to nationalize the banks. We don't need to use the "Japanese model" (or the Swedish model) either--we simply need to allow the banks, along with all other business that can't make it in the free market, to...wait for it...

FAIL!

Yes, we need to allow the evil marketplace to do its dirty work, painful as it will be to many. In the end (perhaps a decade or three), the smart folks will pick up all the pieces and put together a new structure, all the old excesses will be washed from the books, and we can get back to business.

Of course, John Maynard Keynes being all the thing right now, that isn't going to be allowed to happen. We're going to go from bad government policy to bad government policy, searching for a quick fix to a problem that has taken decades to create. It will get worse and worse, until something truly ugly happens and the Keynesians run out of things to try. Then the evil marketplace will do it's work anyway.

We'll have just pissed away a lot of time and money trying to stop it from happening. No big problem, right? So what if we saddled future generations with a debt they never asked for and dragged the entire world economy through the mud. Hey, we're all globalists here! We all need to march in lockstep to the edge of the cliff. As long as we act together in a coordinated fashion, it'll be OK. We're smarter than we were the last time this happened. Uh, why are we falling?

Idiots, one and all.


Someone check my math

The Big O plans on helping out 9,000,000 mortgage holders stay out of foreclosure, to the tune of $75,000,000,000. (That's 9 million mortgage holders and $75 billion dollars, as it appears in the article.)

I've ran this simple calculation twice on two different calculators and had someone else run it as well and we all agree on the number. Assuming you live in some bizarre alternate plane of reality and there is no government overhead in this program (yeah right), then this works out to $8,333.33 per family assisted. It's been a long time since I had to do math with numbers that big (The Freehold's budget has considerably fewer zeros attached to it), but I think I got the math right.

I've got to wonder just how this is supposed to work. By the time most people get to foreclosure, they're considerably further than $8,333.33 in the hole, and the mortgage is only a part of what they owe. Even if it was 10 times that amount, the numbers show that most of these people will still lose the house--it just happens later.

This looks to me like yet another government sponsored FAIL in its embryonic stage. That's what you get when you elect a bunch of socialist amateurs to run the country.

(And what about those of us who didn't buy more house than we could afford, made a down payment, make our payments on time and don't cause anyone any problems? Well, unless you pass a litmus test, you're screwed in the New Socialist Unreal World. Maybe we need to lose our jobs and stop paying our mortgages so we can get bailed out, too.)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Not so stimulating

To great fanfare, the Big O signed the Oh So Stimulating Package into law. On Wall Street, capitalists of all persuasions failed to be enthused.

You have to wonder just what the Wall Streeters know that the Big O doesn't. Could it be that they have figured out that the Democrats in Congress have set him up as a patsy when their looting of the public purse comes home to roost? Could it be that they believe that the man is the most famous ever example of the Peter Principle?

Or could it be that they have figured out that most of Washington is whizzing into the wind, and they don't want to get any on themselves?

What? No "Car Czar"?

President Barack Obama has decided to form a government task force for restructuring the struggling U.S. auto industry instead of naming a "car czar" with sweeping powers, a senior administration official said.


Yeah, I guess the "czar" title doesn't go with the overall socialist theme of the new administration.

Remember when the Black Helicopter crowd was worried about Bush 41 and "The New World Order"? Our current Prez kinda makes you nostalgic for those days--at least they were only closet socialists, not active ones.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Survivors

(This is proof that I'm so desperate to avoid talking about the Obama Follies or the Economic End of Days that I'll even review a 30 year old TV series.)

Survivors is a mid-70s BBC TV series, set in the aftermath of a worldwide plague. The plague, apparently the result of an overly enthusiastic and careless Scientist of Asian Extraction, seems to be a particularly virulent sort of bubonic/pneumonic plague. Released in a lab accident, the infected Scientist of Asian Extraction apparently covers up his little faux pas and then road trips it to to Moscow, spreading good cheer along the way. From there, it follows the airline routes and spread over the entire globe. Hilarity Ensues.

The scenario and sensibilities are very 70s. At that time, things weren't going so well in the world, either politically or economically. The rise of liberalism and the attendant errors by those newly elevated to power caused great upset in the world balance of power and equally serious economic problems. People of the time were concerned that it was The End Of The World As We Know It (TEOTWAWKI, as it came to be known in survivalist/preparedness circles), and much time, effort and fear were devoted by some folks to being sure that if there were survivors, they would be among them. As a teenager during those years, I suppose they have predisposed me toward being the way that I am on many subjects.

(It's interesting, if disturbing, to note the similarities of those years to our current situation.)

The plague was worse than decimating to the human population. One of the main characters estimates that, based on the pre-plague population and his own post-plague observations, perhaps as many as 1 in 5000 survived. Doing the math, that comes out to a 99.98% mortality ratio. To put in in terms that might mean more to us, that would mean that the post-plague population of a 350,000,000 United States would be 70,000 people. In New York City, the number of survivors would number some 1,655. In a small town of 25,000, they would number 5. Humanity is reduced to a very thin veneer on the land.

This is before the post-plague die-off. Surviving small children, those who are younger than say 10, would likely be nearly totally gone. Babies would die unattended, and younger kids would fall to any number of causes, ranging from other survivors to misadventure, hunger and illness. Older folks, dependent on modern medicine, would also face a situations that many if not most could not deal with. (Know how to dispense your own blood pressure meds from a modern pharmacy?) Some, unable to deal with the situation at hand, would kill themselves; others would die in accidents; still others would contract illnesses that would kill them without medical assistance.

Then we have those who survive that are just not nice people, and who would prey on other survivors. The plague will not be selective in who it takes and who it leaves. In proportion to the population there are likely to be as many criminals as there are now. They will likely be less restrained than they are currently.

I'd estimate that perhaps half, give or take, of the remaining population would die within 6 months after an event of this magnitude. In the series, it appears to run about 1/3, rising to 1/2 after 18 months or so.

However, it isn't the mechanics of the plague that make the show interesting. It's the issues that the survivors have to deal with that make the show worth watching. First, of course, are food, shelter and protection. Even with a drastically reduced population, scavenging doesn't work for long. Much food is spoils when the power fails, and more is wasted by the scavengers themselves in their carelessness. Much is hoarded by groups that quickly form and specialize in stripping every store within their area so that they can live as comfortably as possible. Protection is made difficult by a lack of firearms and ammunition (it is the UK, after all).

Towns and cities rapidly become off limits due to disease and another plague, one of rats. Well fed on the bodies of the dead, the rat population explodes. As their food source is consumed, they become increasing dangerous to the unwary human.

Later on, the survivors deal with the complications of life without modern medicine, the dangers of individuals and groups that are out for power in the transformed world, religion, transportation and attempting to save as much technology as possible. Much is made of the necessity of relearning the old ways of doing things, especially when all you have to teach you are books. Raising food, making soap, tending to and butchering livestock and preserving food are all skills that have to be relearned, and quickly.

However, I think the thing that makes the show is the story of the day-to-day difficulties of groups of strangers, possessing various skills (useful or not), who have been thrown together at random and are trying to deal with the enormity of the situation while trying to build a civilization that can provide a basis not only for their own lives, but for the continuation of the human race.

Nah, no pressure at all.

The Survivors series has been revived and modernized by the BBC. I don't know if the revival is as good as the original, as I haven't seen it. Neither it nor the original series are available in the US, although it is available by alternative distribution methods (cough, cough, BitTorrent, cough).

The original is well worth the time to watch, even for those who don't have the preparedness bent. The premise has held up well, and the show was forward-thinking enough that the issues it raises are as important to the discussion now as they were then. It's unfortunate that the discussion is also as timely now as it was then.