Tuesday, September 30, 2008




Check it out, Nancy.  You couldn’t keep your big, fat mouth shut and now the market (as predicted right here) has gained back most of its value.  I’m a little surprised it did it in a single day, but whatcha gonna do, right?  Who knows what tomorrow holds, but it’ll be a helluva lot harder to get a resuscitation order on a bill that doesn’t appear to be needed. 


How do you embolden the opposition that YOU created?  Why, have a market bounce, that’s how.  Now a bunch of people are looking at today’s gain that nearly erased yesterday’s loss and they’re saying “SEE?!?  WE WERE RIGHT!!  THAT’S THE WRONG PACKAGE AT THE WRONG PRICE TAG!!!”  That leaves YOU hoping for another huge drop so that you can get the bill passed.  Good for you, cheering for disaster again.  You people make me SICK!

The problem is that these gains are likely short term and though the basic, underlying fundamentals of the system are strong, there is a big, stinking, fetid, rotting hole right smack in the middle and if you listen closely you can hear the clock ticking toward a very large and uncomfortable contraction as the credit dries up and future expansion is based on cash and earnings alone.  That’s not a bad thing, mind you.  If we get back to a cash and real-earnings based economy rather than an expansion-on-credit economy growth will be solid, long lived, and wealth based.  The expansion and wealth generation will accrue to all segments of the population, not the credit-rich few who can leverage their contacts and assets into outsized returns.  Remember in the 60s and 70s when credit was expensive and hard to get?  Funny thing how history has a bad habit of acting like overly spicy food and coming back to haunt you…


The path forward without credit is narrow and very, very uncomfortable.  The outcome is good, but the path is bad.  You don’t want to go down that path alone.  Sure, you, Madame Big Mouth Partisan Aparatchick Speaker, have never had to break yourself of the credit-card habit and convert yourself to a cash economy, so you don’t understand what’s going to happen when you force the entire American economy to do the same.  Generally people choose that path on principal and rarely are happy when they’re forced down that path.  If people don’t choose it voluntarily, the path usually lies on the other side of a rubble strewn field known as “financial ruin”, but it leads to fundamentally sound prosperity—the kind of prosperity known in the 50s.  You know, wealth based on actual income and earnings and an honest day’s work—stuff you allege to give a shit about.  That kind of wealth and prosperity is slow, steady, cyclical, and generally predictable.  Add credit, though, and BOOM!!  Like gas on a campfire you have the expansions of the 80s and 90s with unprecedented growth…  until those chickens come home to roost.


You have a choice—keep the system lubricated, or welcome those chickens home.  But the short term consequence of those homeward bound chickens is very dire.  The long term benefits, though, are not so bad.  It’s a world most of us have never lived in, though.  It’ll be foreign at first, but we’ll get used to it. 


And you’ve got an even tougher sell to keep the system lubricated.  If only you’d kept your big, fat mouth shut and for once in your life actually ACTED like a leader, you sad, pathetic, little partisan woman.


Let me repeat myself from before…  “clap  clap  clap”.

clap clap clap

Well, Nancy.  You got your wish, I suppose.


No, I’m sure you didn’t PLAN for the Republicans to balk at your partisan rant against them.  And the few who were going to “go ahead and vote for the thing” because it was “good enough” quite possibly decided to change their mind at the last minute because you just couldn’t keep your mouth shut.  And you can have Barney Frank condemn them for “punishing the country” ‘till the cows come home.


But what it boils down to is a failure of YOUR leadership.


And you want us to put your guy in office and let you control the legislative and political atmosphere in this country?


But hey…  you got your wish.  Economic turmoil trumps keeping your big fat mouth shut and ACTING like a leader (because we all know good and damn well you can’t actually BE a leader) so, the argument goes, your guy will get some extra votes because Democrats (allegedly) fare better in struggling economies.  Gin up enough fear and you just might win this election.


Because, you know, fear sells…  fear we can believe in and all that.  That is, after all, how the Republicans won the last election and the mid-terms back in 2002, isn’t it?  A terrorist under every rock!!  Run for the hills!!!  It’s the same fear that scuttled immigration reform, which is a perfect lesson in the law of unintended consequences.


You have now scuttled a bill that might have been good enough, though it was certainly not perfect, and emboldened the very people you revile because in a couple of days, when the 777 point loss is mostly recouped and the fear has subsided to a loud drone in the background, the next bill will have MORE free market mechanisms and FEWER pure government oriented solutions.


Fear itself is, after all, the only thing we have to fear.  And time helps to alleviate fear.  ESPECIALLY if the market is able to adjust and accommodate the reality that YOUR congress is likely far too fucked up to do anything of substance on ANY issue.


Because you can’t keep your big, fat mouth shut.


clap  clap  clap


Good job.  I guess.


As an aside, word is that McCain was calling representatives and twisting arms trying to get them to vote for the bill so that the good wouldn’t be held hostage to the perfect.  Who were the representatives Obama was trying to sway toward the bill?  Oh?  None?  Really?  Oh, they’re accusing McCain of having a hand in scuttling the bill?  Some of those calls he made were actually to representatives he was trying to convince to vote AGAINST the bill?  Really?  How would that help McCain?  How would inflaming economic turmoil help the man running for President who is seen as weak on the economy?  How would economic turmoil help the Republican candidate when Democrats are viewed favorably when it comes to economic issues and Republicans are viewed unfavorably?  That makes a lot of sense.  A LOT of sense.  But I suppose when absolutely zero legislative and executive accomplishment makes you qualified to be President, anything makes sense.


Finally, to set a couple of things straight:

It’s NOT a $700 Billion bailout plan.  It’s a $250 Billion distressed debt purchase plan, with an additional $100b available to be used.  And should an additional distribution of $350b be needed, Congress has to authorize the distribution (or they can reject the distribution, I can’t remember, but the second distribution is not exactly certain).  Representatives who are “listening to their constituents” who call up and say “I DON’T WANT TO BAIL OUT FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS WITH A $700 BILLION HANDOUT” are akin to people calling up and saying “I don’t want to bail out financial institutions by sending kittens into space”.  The bill is neither a $700b handout nor does it require kittens to be sent into space.  LEADERSHIP is doing what’s right even if you constituents are mad as hell for a reason which has no bearing on reality (which is why linking Iraq to 9/11 as a justification for the attack was so…  very…  wrong).  It is YOUR job, as a representative, to inform your idiot voters of the contents of the bill and vote accordingly, not merely listen to the mob that is demanding that we not send another little kitten into outer space.

The bill allows for the government to buy distressed debt for pennies on the dollar (and gives the feds an equity stake in the companies that participate—a prospect that makes me a little uneasy).  The feds could then, presumably, refinance these notes into either conforming loans (Fannie or Freddie backed loans) or hold them until they become performing loans (that is, payment again are being made by either the current or future debtors), and then resell the conforming and/or performing loans back for, presumably, a profit.  Yes, yes, I know.  The government has NO CLUE how to turn a profit or keep a balanced budget, but the alternative is asking the financial institutions, who created this mess, to fix the mess.  The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result (GOT THAT NANCY!?!).  Taking the notes and putting them into a pool under management whose sole task is to refinance these notes is known as “doing something different than what got us in this mess”.  The alternative is insanity.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Yup.  I admit it.  I’m a believer.


I’m reluctant to close the book on this election season, but events of the past three days show a clear distinction between the two candidates and their ability to not only lead and make tough choices, but also judgment, experience, and a whole host of other issues.


First and foremost, if I were to tell my boss that I’m going to spend the next two years interviewing for another job, but if he needs me or thinks I may be helpful here at the office, to feel free to give me a call, then I rightfully shouldn’t have either this job or the one I’m campaigning for.

Second, for a candidate to effectively say that he’d rather lose the election than take a pass on a piece of significant legislation that will have a far ranging impact for years and years to come is a pretty honorable thing to do.

Third, to effectively toss the keys to Mother Pelosi and Father Reid rather than step forward and have some say in the laws you’re going to have the obligation to enforce as the executive speaks VOLUMES as to how you will likely lead should you win the election.  And those volumes speak doom to anyone who is anxious about our nation being run by the representative from San Francisco.


Look, I’m not saying McCain’s move is not a political stunt.  Anything done during the election season is a political stunt—from an inauguration speech in front of 70,000 adoring cultists fans to foreign speeches in front of the Brandenburg Gate downtown Berlin to following through on your pledge to use public financing rather than follow the lead of your opponent when he backed out of his pledge to do the same or even cancelling a debate to appear on Capitol Hill and act like you’re working on legislation that has largely been wrapped up by the time you get there.  It all smacks of political grandstanding because that’s what it is.

The difference is that this particular political stunt also has gravitas behind it, because the stunt man has gravitas behind him.  In the context of the fake Presidential seals and the huge crowds and the “we are the ones we have been waiting for” declarations and the messianic declarations that “now is the time when the earth will begin to heal and the waters will begin to recede”, making the declaration that YOU are going to solve this legislative problem and put the debates on hold smacks of political grandstanding.  But in the context of “I’d rather lose an election rather than a war”, or the immediate and repeated offers to have a series of town hall meetings starting before the conventions were even held and the long track record of ACTUAL legislative achievement, staking out the position that you might be able to lend that experience, maybe call in some favors, maybe talk to some senators on both sides of the aisle that you’ve gotten to know over the last few decades of service and help craft a good bill actually sounds more like responsibly carrying out the duties that you were elected to carry out in the first place. 


Maybe the negotiations will be largely complete when McCain gets to work on the Hill.  Maybe it’ll all be wrapped up.  But at least he thinks he might be of use…  rather than giving a tacit admission that you don’t have any real legislative accomplishments to your name during your short career and probably wouldn’t be able to add anything to the discussion while more experienced legislators work on the problem.  I mean, maybe you’d be able to go out and pick up lunch for them, but otherwise you’d just be in the way.


What it comes down to is that they are still Senators, elected to represent their states and presumably protect the rights and interests of the voters who put them in office in the first place.  There ARE more important things than your own personal ambitions to run for President.  Putting the country first and reaching across the aisle and working in a non-partisan way to GET THINGS DONE are not supposed to be slogans, but actual things you do.  If past behaviors can be indicators of future behaviors, then we are reminded again and again that the junior senator has simply never done anything of legislative significance in his short and storied (2 autobiographical stories, actually) career.


It’s a little disappointing, really.  I wanted to believe.  I really did.  I even gave him my vote in the primaries because I figured there might be something…  anything…  that was the basis for the hype.

Alas, not at all a bang…  merely a whisper.  An empty suit, blowing in the wind.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A little more on anonymity

MSNBC says it turns nice people nasty.


I disagree.  I think it only brings the nasty out of people who otherwise repress the terrorist within.

I stick by what I’ve said before, it’s a haven for cowards who are what they are, they’re just too cowardly to allow their true nature to be associated with their true identity…  or they’re too stupid to make up a fake name.  There it is, stupid or cowardly.


If you want to be a filthy, racist, pig, then embrace what you either are or want to be and don’t hide behind an anonymous hood.

A simple proposition

Here’s the question posed the other day:


If the power company offered you $180 a month to disconnect from the power grid for 1 year, would you do it?


I’ve spent the past 12 days camping out at the Casa Suburbia without power and I’ve said it before, I’m not miserable in the least.  It certainly takes some getting used to, but once you settle into that pattern, it’s really not so bad.  Of course, it’s not July, it’s not 1000000 degrees outside, and I have no serious medical conditions (or jovial ones, for that matter).


Normally, we use about 1500kWh per month—somewhat north of the national average of about 900kWh.  In the summer it’s more, in the winter it’s less, but that’s probably a safe estimate for total consumption.  Electricity in Texas is also somewhere north of the national average of 12 or 13 cents per kWh, and if I do some rudimentary math the bill runs, on average, about $150 or so.


Needless to say, if the power company were to pay me an ADDITIONAL $180 on top of the savings from unplugging entirely, that’s almost a no-brainer.  Would you put $4000 in your pocket to cut off your electric utility?  Hell yea, I would. 


Here’s why.


Without electricity you quickly learn to use less—in fact, you quickly learn to use none.  There are certain things you’ll eventually want to plug in, and that need can be accomplished with a small scale acquisition of a generator.  Those are loud and require gasoline.  That’s NOT a long term solution.


Ok, so you have to figure out A/C, refrigeration, and washing machine (clothes lines work remarkably well for dryers).  Add a computer in there and maybe even a television and, for some, an alarm system for the house.  Those are baseline necessities plus a few luxuries on top.  You can basically spend a year figuring out how to minimize that consumption so that you can actually power your house with a series of solar and wind solutions effectively eliminating the need for the grid anyway.  Then, when your year is complete and you’ve banked a cool $180 for a year (less some expenses for changing over to the new power convention) you have reduced your carbon footprint, reliance on central power, and passed on some more affordable, sustainable, and socially healthy lifestyles to your children (and quite likely some neighbors, as well).


So, then the more significant follow up question is this:  if the power company doesn’t offer you a dime other than the money you save from flipping the switch off, would you still do it?


What if every time you turned on a light you thought “I have 5 hours of power available to run that light”.  Would that change your consumption pattern?


What if every time you fell asleep while watching TV you considered the drain on your home’s central power storage system and that 1 hour nap cost you a load of laundry, or the power to cook dinner on the stove, or the next cycle of your compressor for your A/C or refrigerator?  Would that make a difference?


I think it might.


Mind you, I’m not an advocate of scarcity of electric power, but I am an advocate of conservation.  Unfortunately, an abundance of affordable electricity runs exactly counter to the desire and need for conservation and reduction on the reliance of central power.  Just like “cheap gas” and “fuel conservation” don’t exactly go hand in hand. 

I don’t know if a cap-and-trade system on utilities and companies alone would do the trick.  The average household may have to be included in any kind of market like that.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Experiment--The Palin Effect

Ok, let’s not be under any illusions—Sarah Palin is attractive.  Some would even say she’s hot.


It is what it is.


That’s not to discount the fact that she is smart, articulate, the governor of Alaska, was elected mayor of Wasilia, has policy and regulatory experience, stands firm on principles, and blah blah blah…  The political atmosphere in Alaska, I suspect, is a little more freewheeling that what you’d have in the federal government, or even Texas, for that matter, and I think she’ll either shake things up for a while—to the extent she interacts with the legislative branch—or be completely ineffective should McCain be elected.  Either way, the effect on the Hill will be very temporary.


Again, it is what it is.


But the former, less so than the latter, brings up an interesting notion that I’m going to now call the Palin effect, which is, put simply:  Dudes are stupid and will do ANYTHING a pretty girl asks them to do, within reason.


As examples, I submit just about every season of Survivor and Big Brother.  Who gets kicked off first (generally)?  Dudes and ugly people.  Who are left at the end?  2 chicks in bikinis, all 4 of their boobs, and a couple of idiot guys who are both trying to maneuver so that the other gets kicked off and he can be left alone with 2 chicks, 4 boobs, and absolutely no chance at getting laid.

I also submit strippers, who will get naked and generally will not have sex with you, all so that you can give them money to “help pay for college”.  Yea, right.  Additionally, the more they won’t have sex with you, the more money you give them.  Very clever, guys.

Exhibit 3 is Hooters Waitresses.  They won’t even get naked, but they’ll tell you that you’re cute, clever, and totally the most interesting person they know just so that you will give them money in exchange for food and no sex.

Finally, I submit to the court of public opinion that hot blonde school teacher who repeatedly got with the high school football player.  She got a slap on the wrist while the gnarly teacher who got with that high school dude and got knocked up—twice—had the freaking book thrown at her—and her kid taken away.  And then there’s the parade of guys who don’t even get with the chicks who pose as little kids who get completely run through with the swords of justice and pubic opinion.  The hot one says “I’m sorry, and besides I’m the victim here” the others get tossed under the jail.


To test the experiment, I encourage any hot chicks to come over to my house and…  just kidding.

To test the experiment, I believe I’m going to attempt to get two guys to kiss by simply asking them to do it (expected response:  no), and then telling them that my hot “girlfriend” (actually, lab assistant for this particular experiment) gets totally turned on by watching guys kiss to see if the response changes from “no” to “yes”.  No reward or expectation of real gratification, only the knowledge that they’d be turning on some random, anonymous hottie—who won’t be having sex with either of them.


My bet is that the response changes from “no” to “yes” more often than not.  Because guys are stupid and will do just about anything a hot chick asks them to do.


I’m considering hosting a debate watching party.


For both candidates.


I think that would be especially fun.


My schedule is open for the Vice Presidential debate (pointless activity, in my opinion) and the second Presidential debate.  If I can get my house relatively back in order from the storm, maybe having both sides watching the debate would be an interesting insight into what sort of President we’ll be electing.


After all, if the President is supposed to be representative of the people electing him, wouldn’t it be useful to see the people electing one or the other and how they compose themselves, etc.?


I think that would be a very enlightening exercise.

Monday, September 22, 2008

As promised, my FEMA rant

This may be an odd way to start a rant about FEMA, but I honestly don’t have any problem with my interactions with FEMA.


In fact, despite the fact that a hurricane has blown through my city, my roof sprang a leak, I had flood waters creep into my house, and I still have no electricity, I’ve had zero interactions with FEMA.


And I’m genuinely cool with that.  I don’t NEED FEMA assistance, and FEMA should be there for people who do need FEMA assistance.


But there’s the catch…  FEMA is out there trying to help in the wake of the hurricane…  somewhere…  if you’re lucky enough to know where to go and find them.


Sure, you can go online (if you have electricity) or call them (if you have phones) or even go to the PODs (if you know where they are).  And all of this is available via radio (if you know what stations to listen to) and TV (again, if you have electricity and/or cable).  But in the wake of a disaster, when you’re cleaning debris out of your yard, off your house, out of your living room, and generally trying to figure out “what the hell do I do next”, the ideal situation is not sitting in front of a radio for 20 or 30 minutes, waiting for a phone number, then calling the phone number 50 times hoping to get through to a recording that directs you to the web site, then waiting in front of the radio for another 20 minutes to find out where a drop sight is, then waiting for an hour and a half at the drop site to be told they’re out of supplies, then waiting in line another hour and a half for gas because you’re almost out of gas from waiting in line for supplies, then having to do it all over again the next day.


Part of being prepared for a hurricane is having the supplies you need before the storm hits.  That includes batteries, propane, a full tank of gas, canned food (and a can opener that doesn’t require electricity, duh), and extra water.  It also includes relief supplies and drop points and supply points for those relief supplies as well as workers who will restore services to the affected community. 


I was prepared because that’s the responsible thing to do. 

FEMA was not.


How can I say FEMA was not?  Because before the storm hit not a single person in the city of Houston knew where a Point of Distribution would be in the entire city.  Supplies were stationed nearby, but not the right supplies, nor were adequate delivery options identified and that information passed on.  It took 2 full days before ice was delivered to the city, even longer before generators were made available.  Guess how long it takes cold food to go bad without ice.

It’s not exactly complicated.  FEMA can use every federal, state, and local resource to respond to these very slow moving storms in order to be prepared for a storm, rather than reacting to when and where it hits.  High Schools can be designated as food drops.  Elementary schools can be designated as gas drops.  Middle schools for ice and water.  Every stadium can be a staging area for supplies.  Every post office is an information point—who to call, where to call, why to call, what they need, what FEMA will actually be able to help with.  Having just a few central locations may be helpful for planning logistics, but it’s a nightmare for people waiting in interminably long lines for basic provisions.  Yes, they should be prepared, and the excruciatingly long wait lines for help are good incentives to buy some freaking batteries, but sometimes during hurricanes things go wrong.  All of the well stocked pantries are worthless if a house’s roof gets ripped off and the whole block is flooded.

Once power is up and running, shut down the gas supplies and get the little kids back in school.  When water services are restored, shut down the water supplies and send the ice bags to the high schools.  Better still, once water is up and running, divert water and food supply services to hospitals, police, and fire stations or other PREDESIGNATED relief sites such as universities.  But the important thing would be to have several dispersed across the city, not a few in a few central locations.  The more sites there are, the shorter the lines and the better the service can be.

There is absolutely NO reason why these plans can’t be laid and distributed BEFORE THE STORM HITS.  Sitting on wet carpet the day after a hurricane is not the ideal place to learn about disaster recovery information.  That information should be on every news cast and in every newspaper for at least 7 days before a storm is supposed to hit.  That’s part of preparation—have your supplies, and know your recovery plan.  If FEMA wants to be a part of the recovery plan, they need to do a better job of preparing—just like the rest of us.

Solution to the generator problem

I found a solution to the problem with the neighbor’s generator.


Rather than causing a big stink and asking her to turn the awful thing off because it was keeping me up all freaking night, I went out and bought $1.50 worth of shooting-range ear plugs.


Those babies are good for 31 decibels and effectively block almost all of the noise coming into the bedroom from those generators so that they now sound like low hums from a very, very long distance off.  Almost like a window unit humming away in the other room.  Also, one of the cats proved that sudden, loud noises IN the house are not completely muffled, so if someone decides to break into the shotgun—er, security device—will still be able to be armed and active.  Extra bonus, if the security device must be discharged inside the house, I won’t go completely deaf.  My hunch remains that the chambering of a shotgun shell would be enough of an alert to any would-be home invader that a security device is active on the premises. 

Still not miserable

I’m mostly over Biden’s moronic comments.  It’s a new week and I’m sure he’ll offer us up a new nugget of stupid any day now.


I (obviously) didn’t watch the 60 Minutes interviews over the weekend (still no power, thank you), but I think a fair question to ask the junior senator would be “Senator Obama, we know Senator McCain supported the 1999 act that repealed the Glass-Steagall act that allowed for the deregulation which has led us down the road to this massive bailout proposal.  What was your vote on that bill?”

For my part, I’m not sure it was a bad idea (good idea, poorly executed?  Where have we heard that before?), but clearly the market mechanisms got ahead of the market wisdom over the last several years.


It was the same principle that brought down the new dot-com tech firms in the late 1990s—and oddly enough it was the same principles that make the market work.  If you have no earnings, you have no true (book) value.  Eventually perceived (market) value will catch up to true (book) value and if you’ve leveraged your firm (financed on debt) based on perceived (market) value then you will be bankrupt.  Or, in layman’s terms, if you owe more than you own, you’re on the road to lots of trouble.  The problem, recently, has been a serious overvaluation of what financial houses own—specifically certain debt holdings.  The debt holdings ceased to perform, the perceived value started to drop, the value of the companies began to drop as well, and soon they owed more than they owned and couldn’t pay the piper.


There’s a helluva lot more going on, like the seizing up of cash and credit markets, which are all part and parcel of the same problem.  In financial terms, it’s a big, hairy, mess (BHM).  Of course, without the repeal of the Glass-Steagall act, the investment giants would have never had any hand in mortgage lending and possibly none of this would have happened—but mortgage rates never would have been 5%, either and homeownership rates never would have shot through the roof like they did—nor would foreclosure rates.  “You take the good/you take the bad/you take them both/and there you have/the facts of life…”


Maybe there’s a comfy middle-ground of responsible financial practices that the powers that be can figure out…  hmmm…  Maybe someone with experience in office, contacts and relationships with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle on capitol hill, and the judgment based on that knowledge from the historical perspective of seeing not just the issues facing us today but also the events leading up to the issues facing us today could possibly steer the ship toward that comfy middle ground…  hmmm…  If only someone like that were running for President today…  Hhhmmm…


Still to come, a fun little rant about your friend and mine…  FEMA!!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Just to be fair

Here’s the full quote, just to be fair, from Good Morning America:


KATE SNOW, ABC NEWS: Anybody making over $250,000...


SNOW: ... is going to pay more.

BIDEN: You got it. It's time to be patriotic, Kate, time to jump in, time to be part of the deal, time to help get America out of the rut.

He also said "We want to take money and put it back in the pocket of middle-class people."


See?  You can’t make this shit up.  Well…  I suppose you can, but it’s not nearly as stunning as when they say it themselves.  You know, because the best way to spark the economic engine is to “take money” from people.  I think I’ll go be patriotic and rob some rich people on my way home and send the money to the government.  Because taking money from people is patriotic.



Yes, still annoyed

You know, here’s the problem, I suppose…


If you want to show your patriotism and wave the flag, it’s your choice.

If you want to show your patriotism and join the military, it’s your choice.

If you want to run for office to represent your neighborhood, district, state, or nation to show your patriotism, then it’s your choice.

If you want to march in a protest against egregious government practices to show your patriotism (I love my country, but hate my government), it’s your choice.

If you want to publish incendiary pamphlets and distribute it among municipalities arguing against the government overreaching its authority, it’s YOUR CHOICE.

Any number of patriotic things can be done, under the protections of the freedoms enshrined in our founding documents (as amended), are your choice to do—or not do.


But to suggest that paying more taxes is the patriotic thing to do…  when you HAVE NO CHOICE TO DO IT…  that’s just absurd.  Absolutely absurd.  Unless, of course, your intent is to abolish taxes all together so that “true patriots” can send in extra money as they so choose.  Surely all of the leftists who would prefer to redistribute wealth from those making more than $250,000 to those who do not would be perfectly happy to send in more money than they actually owe because, after all, that would be the patriotic thing to do.  You could even have a “patriotism index” for fools patriots who think the government can redistribute their money better than they can so that the more they send to the government, the more patriotism marks they earn and thus can earn special favor with their benefactors in the politbureau government.


Of course, you can also exercise your right to vote on November 4, because it’s the patriotic thing to do.


Sure, I’m steamed right now because Biden has once again said something stupid that very well might betray the true desire to raise taxes across the board.  Though I’m still holding out hope that this is just another episode of Biden failing to exercise proper restraint in the face of his overwhelming desire to place his foot in his mouth.


I just wish Obama had come out and said something refuting such an absurd and idiotic statement.

Still pretty steamed

You know, at one point I considered joining the military.  I considered it because on one level it’s a very patriotic thing to do—join the military and offer to fight for my country.  On another level, that patriotic act is rewarded with tuition grants and loans, VA benefits in housing, medical care and insurance, and various tax breaks, deductions, and credits.  And on yet another level there’s a process of personal discovery and strengthening that comes from the refining fire that is boot camp, deployment, and potentially combat that teaches you not only self reliance but reliance on your band of brothers to pull you through some dark, trying moments.  If one fails, potentially all fail.  Though you must perform alone, your success is never yours alone.  Even Marines, who are true “armies of one”, do not stand alone—engage one Marine, engage the whole corps.


But now I know that rather than joining the military I could just send some more money to the government.  I suppose I can expect in return breaks from tuition grants and loans, benefits in housing, medical care, and insurance, and various other tax breaks, deductions, and credits to be provided for that patriotic duty of writing a big, fat check and throwing it into the furnace of government consumption, but most of those breaks are tied to income.  So, sure, I could be “patriotic” and send in extra money—because I’m sure Joe Biden has NEVER taken a deduction or tax credit in his whole life because if paying MORE in taxes is patriotic, then doing what you can to reduce your tax burden is the exact opposite of patriotic—or I could be “patriotic” and work to actually defend the freedoms most people take for granted.  Like the freedom to say the stupidest things EVER, and the freedom of the press to (not) report on those completely stupid things.


Or I could just pay higher taxes.


Please, please, please help me be more patriotic, Senator Joe.  Please, please, please raise my taxes.  After all, we are clearly fools who must be separated from our money.  Thank you, thank you, thank you…  I may have done something completely irresponsible like invest in my family’s future with MY MONEY!!  Thank you SO MUCH for offering to take it from me so that I can be patriotic!  I guess I can go out and burn my flag and piss on a veteran’s grave, because I just wrote a check to the US Treasury.  HOORAY!!

A few quick things

1.The financial crisis must be a big deal…  Congress is going to work on a weekend!!


2.”Internet Hobos” are the cutest little things.  Go to a mall, or Starbucks, and you’ll see gaggles of people huddled around power outlets or power strips with their blackberries and computers and phones charging them up, sending their little text messages, and checking their mail and stuff.  Aren’t they so cute?  They’re not talking, they’re not being social in any way, but they’re sitting 2 feet from fellow hobos and sending messages to complete strangers across the universe.  They’re the cutest little things EVER!


3. Joe Biden is a complete idiot.  The more I think about him saying paying higher taxes is the patriotic thing to do the more pissed off I get.  So, should only the rich be patriotic?  It betrays a deeper conviction that the government should take my money and give it away because I can’t be trusted to do responsible and socially appropriate things with my money.  On days like today I hope Obama and Biden are kept far, far away from the white house.


4. I was listening to Dennis Miller last night (the best thing on the radio, as near as I can tell) and a caller asked the question:  “A lot has been said about what happens if McCain is elected and he dies in office with regards to Palin’s experience.  Shouldn’t the question be asked ‘what happens if Obama is elected and Biden dies in office?’  Who will run the country for HIM?”  I think that’s a perfectly fair question.


Still no power.  Still not miserable.

My horrid neighbor, however, runs her damn generator ALL FREAKING NIGHT LONG!!!  Sounds like a damn lawn mower outside my bedroom window.  Some people are clearly just awful people.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Here’s what Obama says he’ll do about taxes:

Provide Middle Class Americans Tax Relief

Obama and Biden will cut income taxes by $1,000 for working families to offset the payroll tax they pay.

  • Provide a Tax Cut for Working Families: Obama and Biden will restore fairness to the tax code and provide 150 million workers the tax relief they need. Obama and Biden will create a new "Making Work Pay" tax credit of up to $500 per person, or $1,000 per working family. The "Making Work Pay" tax credit will completely eliminate income taxes for 10 million Americans.
  • Eliminate Income Taxes for Seniors Making Less than $50,000: Barack Obama will eliminate all income taxation of seniors making less than $50,000 per year. This proposal will eliminate income taxes for 7 million seniors and provide these seniors with an average savings of $1,400 each year. Under the Obama-Biden plan, 27 million American seniors will also not need to file an income tax return.
  • Simplify Tax Filings for Middle Class Americans: Obama and Biden will dramatically simplify tax filings so that millions of Americans will be able to do their taxes in less than five minutes. Obama and Biden will ensure that the IRS uses the information it already gets from banks and employers to give taxpayers the option of pre-filled tax forms to verify, sign and return. Experts estimate that the Obama-Biden proposal will save Americans up to 200 million total hours of work and aggravation and up to $2 billion in tax preparer fees.

McCain says the following:

·         Keep Tax Rates Low: Entrepreneurs are at the heart of American innovation, growth and prosperity. Entrepreneurs create the ultimate job security - a new, better opportunity if your current job goes away. Entrepreneurs should not be taxed into submission. John McCain will keep the top tax rate at 35 percent, maintain the 15 percent rates on dividends and capital gains, and phase-out the Alternative Minimum Tax. Small businesses are the heart of job growth; raising taxes on them hurts every worker.


·         Cut The Corporate Tax Rate From 35 To 25 Percent: A lower corporate tax rate is essential to keeping good jobs in the United States. America was once a low-tax business environment, but as our trade partners lowered their rates, America failed to keep pace. We now have the second highest corporate tax rate in the world, making America a less attractive place for companies to do business. American workers deserve the chance to make fine products here and sell them around the globe.


My understanding of what Obama means by “restoring fairness” is that he’ll keep the tax cuts in place that are already there except for the 2 highest tax brackets that were initiated under the current administration and add the tax credit noted above.  TECHNICALLY it’s a tax cut, just like reducing an increase from 5% to 3% is TECHNICALLY cutting spending, while in actuality it’s a tax increase on the rich (over $250,000) and a credit to everyone else—not a tax cut.  Effectively, “restoring fairness” means raising the taxes on everyone making $250,000 or more, and then giving a check for $500 to everyone else.  That’s fair?  Sounds like redistribution of wealth to me.  I’d rather offer incentives for companies to ensure their employees participate in the wealth that companies generate in the same way the executive teams of companies participate in that wealth generation.  And thanks, but no thanks, about the pre-filled tax forms.  I don’t trust the government to fill out my own paperwork for me.  That’s a “service” I’m happy to not utilize.


Meanwhile, McCain wants to keep personal income taxes where they are, except for the corporate tax rate.  I have mixed feelings about the corporate tax rate in conjunction with the dividends rates, because dividends are paid by corporations after taxes, so effectively dividends are taxed once at the corporate level, then once at the individual level, so as a stock holder/owner of a company and recipient of dividends, every dollar you receive is taxed at 35%(corporate level) + 15% (individual level) = 50% total tax.  I’m not sure I like that idea.  I’m also not sure I like the idea of a flatter tax structure as it now stands since the first dollar earned is generally spent on necessities and the last dollar earned is spent on luxuries.  It simply doesn’t feel fair that someone making $25,000 should pay the out more of their disposable income than someone making $250,000 in taxes.  If both households spend the same amount on necessities (say, $20,000), then 67% of the disposable income for the first household is spent on taxes ($3358.75/$5000 = 67.18%) and only 30% for the second household is spent on taxes ($68,568.25/230,000 = 29.81%).  That’s an unfair tax burden.  You know what levels out that playing field?  Dropping the second bracket down to 7% (from 15%) and raising the fourth bracket to 57.75% (from 33%).  Then both households pay out about 39% of disposable income in income tax (without deductions and credits). 


But neither candidate is suggesting that.


What got me thinking about this was Biden’s foot-in-mouth exercise of suggesting that paying higher income taxes was the patriotic thing to do, or we’ll get tax cuts and rebates to go buy toasters.  I find that to be totally asinine.  If the bleeding hearts want to pay more in taxes, they can always send in extra money and/or forgo taking any deductions and/or credits.  I don’t think that’s happening.  In fact, if memory serves there were more than a few “pay extra” funds set up by states for people who thought their tax burden was too low to send in extra money—none ever received a penny.

Tax credits can be terminated.  A restructuring of the tax rates is needed to bring REAL fairness—not merely income redistribution—back to the tax code.  And when politicians who write these codes finally start considering disposable income as taxable income, then, finally, there may be some sense added back into the mix.

I'm not miserable

Ike blew through on September 12 and we’re going on day 6 without power.  Water was running (and clean) after a day.  We sustained no serious structural damage (there is a roof leak, which may be a serious financial issue/insurance claim) and we had some water trickle into the house during the storm that followed the hurricane, but it wasn’t wide spread, catastrophic flooding.  All in all, my neighborhood fared very, very well.  I know there are others that didn’t fare nearly as well and there are houses that sustained damage that made their houses unlivable—at least for a spell.  And there are also plenty of places that NEED to have their utilities turned back on—apartments, hospitals, hotels, businesses, etc.  Some of those places are made possible only because they have electricity.


Meanwhile, despite the fact that everyone tells me I should be miserable without power, and every fiber of my body says I should be miserable without power, I’m thoroughly enjoying not having electricity.  I’ve eaten steak 3 times in 6 days.  I’ve had eggs, chicken, sausages, hamburgers, and even lost 4 pounds since the storm.  The really good food in the freezer is about depleted and I’ll soon be able to forgo the ice-capades all together.  I’ve spent time with my family and neighbors, talking, working, playing games, sharing stories and lies.  All in all, it’s been a rather enjoyable 6 days—even without power.  The last 2 nights our bedtime entertainment for the baby has been “Shadow Puppet Theater”.  I make a bunch of shapes on the wall in the light of a flashlight, and my son calls them all ducks.  It’s great fun.


Water is a big deal.  We needed water in a big way, just to get clean and cool off during the hot days of the weekend.  But power?


I’m not miserable without power.  Not miserable at all.


I appreciate the work the electrician guys are doing.  Seriously, those guys are working hard and doing an awesome job.  Most of the city is supposed to have power again by the middle of next week, which is cool.  But if we don’t have power any time soon (and the Laundromat does) then I may still not be miserable.


We’ve got what’s important, and that’s what really matters.  Maybe I’ll go ahead and throw that breaker switch to keep the good times rolling.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Triathlon postponed

Due to inclement weather, my Triathlon has been postponed—indefinitely.

I currently have no power, but I have water and ice, so we can live without power for the foreseeable future.  I’m not at all worried about that.

I am worried about getting the little one back into pre-school.  If he doesn’t get back to school, the missus doesn’t get back to school, then we have problems.


All in all, though, with the beautiful weather we’re having lately, we can go on like this for a considerable amount of time.  We’re not missing the TV (I’m missing the internet at home a little bit), we’re not missing the lights, we’re not missing cooking in the kitchen—we had grill-top spaghetti last night.


Galveston, on the other hand, got boned.  Hard.  That little island has 3 entry points and all of them looked completely trashed.  So even if they had utilities, there would be no way to get to the island.  And before they can get utilities, they have to clear out the garbage from the entry points.  And before they get trucks rumbling up and down the roads, they have to cut—and fix—the gas lines lest there be a giant boom coming from the end of I-45.  That’s a rough situation.  Luckily for them, there’s room here in Houston.  Our door is open and they’re welcome as long as they need to stay—just as old New Orleans residents who are new Houston residents.


I’m expecting to have power back at the casita either today or tomorrow, based on the progress that has been made in other neighborhoods.  Gas, on the other hand, is going to be the ongoing concern.  Until regular supplies of “regular” are made available, there’s going to be big trouble in little neighborhood.


Friday, September 12, 2008

A couple of quick things...

We’ve initiated a “Family News Brownout” in order to preserve sanity.

A couple of quick observations:

First, the sign language chick for the City of Houston and surrounding counties is pretty hot.  I don’t have the slightest idea what she’s saying, cause I’m not deaf, but the way she says it is pretty fun to look at.  Oddly enough, if I was deaf I wouldn’t know what ANYONE was saying because I don’t know sign language, either.  Might as well be blind, too.


Second, poetry must be completely lost on the deaf.  What rhymes with “slap your hand on your elbow and wiggle your fingers”?  Or, “put your thumbs together and make a circle?”  Nothing rhymes with that.  Nothing at all.  Poetry for the deaf must be a lot more like performance art and actual literature.  I might enjoy seeing that.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The contagious freak out

It’s amazing how contagious the “Hurricane Freak Out” is.

This storm is a Cat-2, might be a Cat-4 by the time it makes landfall, but just barely.  On the coast, get the F out of Dodge, but elsewhere?  Not so much a problem.  At its worst, assuming it makes landfall as Cat-4, this thing will be a strong Cat-3, which is a big, scary deal, for sure, but it’s not THAT big of a deal.


We’re talking howling wind, creaking houses, dangerous projectiles, busted windows, roof damage, gnarly, bad stuff to be sure.  But it’s not going to scrape the landscape clean by any stretch of the imagination.  Put away your toys, lock your doors, hunker down.  You’ll be fine.  It’ll be scary, but you’ll be fine.  People who’ve done this before know what I’m talking about.


Now, the closer you get to the coast, however, the bigger and scarier and gnarlier this thing becomes.  A Cat-4 is nothing to sneeze at.  But once you get about 50 to 100 miles inland, you’re going to less in the “OH MY GOD!!” realm and more in the “holy crap” range.


Nonetheless, the longer this wall to wall Ike coverage wears on (we’re what, 48 hours from landfall still and already there’s been 4 days of coverage?) the tenser the atmosphere becomes and the more pinched the facial expressions become and the contagion begins to work its way through.  Come Friday afternoon the highways are going to be jammed full of people from the “holy crap” zones (and even “meh” zones) because they just spent a day watching the “OH MY GOD!!” zones clearing out, caught the contagion, and proceeded to freak out.


It’ll be ok.



It’ll be scary, sure.  But it’ll be ok.


Deep breath…  ok, pour some rum…  then some punch…  now sit back and sip slowly…  there…  feel better?  No?  Have another.  It’ll be ok.

My humps, my humps, my lovely lady lumps

Yup, that’s an actual lyric from an actual silly, insipid song.


Or, at least, that’s what I thought when it first came out.


You see, the only reason to listen to that song, I thought, was for the video.  Fergie is hot.  Yea, a little skanky, but sometimes that’s a little hot (so sue me, I’m a guy).  Haven’t listened to the song in over a year, though, mostly because the video dropped off the radar in favor of some other trashy skankiness.


Flash forward to earlier this week…  There are a few Black Eyed Peas songs that I dig and decided to grab for my Ipod.  While in I-Tunes I remember my humps, then think to myself “isn’t that a song?”, so I go and find Fergie’s “My Humps” (and she does have some lovely lady lumps).  I listen to the song sans video and guess what, it’s actually a funny little silly song.  Sure, it’s still silly and insipid, but it weaves a cute little story and has a fun little beat.  After all, all she wants to do dance and move her humps, her humps, her humps, her lovely lady lumps.  Plus, Fergie isn’t just hot, she’s got a helluva voice. 


I still don’t think she’s much of a song writer (even a blind squirrel blah blah), but there are plenty of folks who can write songs.  All she needs to do is sing them.  And she doesn’t even need to do that well as long as she’s hot.


So, there you go.  That’s my guilty pleasure of the day.  I dig Fergie’s humps.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

You've got to be kidding me!

Seriously, they’re feigning outrage over the “pig in lipstick” comment?



What’s worse, the press is running with it?


What a joke.


Meanwhile, you have to hand it to McCain.  Since the convention, Joe Biden’s name has hardly been mentioned, which means it’s no longer “Obama/Biden”, but just “Obama”.  Also, all the oxygen feeding the fire that was Obama’s celebrity has now been sucked right out of the room and is feeding Palin’s celebrity, now that the press is trying its hardest to dig up something—ANYTHING—on Palin, and failing.  Add to that the cheering, fawning crowds around Palin have become as much the story as anything else.

But even more importantly, the VICE PRESIDENTIAL nominee, Sarah Palin, is being compared to the PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE, Barack Obama.

That’s a very important thing…  if you’re running for President, you don’t want to be compared to your opponent’s Vice President.  If “Vice President” and “Barack Obama” become linked, it’s going to be awfully hard to drop the “Vice” from the imagery and picture him as Presidential material.


You got to give it to him…  a masterful stroke of political genius.  And now all he has to do is mostly keep his mouth shut.

Monday, September 08, 2008

A surprise to some, I'm sure

First off, the Triathlon had to be postponed for several and various reasons I don’t care to get into right now.  It will happen, and it will happen soon, lest I fall out of “ready” shape.  More later.


Meanwhile, over the weekend, rather than doing the homework that I should have been doing I spent some time reading the campaign policies for the Senior and Junior Senators.  I didn’t read all of it, only the part on energy and the environment (and a little regarding taxes, because they intersect a bit), because I figure those are the most important topics that will be coming in the next 4 years or so.  Yes, the wars we’re fighting are important, but in Iraq it seems the die is already cast and the timeline for return has largely been set thanks to the fantastic success of the surge (which we all know was supported by one Senator and not the other) and change of strategy and leadership on that front; and in Afghanistan success will be largely dependent on success in Iraq.


First off, with regards to the taxes, one of my personal concerns is that the engines of prosperity (i.e., corporations) are not necessarily accruing the benefits of prosperity to everyone involved with said prosperity.  Which is to say, earnings and capital are increasingly being retained by a few while the legions of employees who drive those engines are increasingly being left behind, unless a tremendous amount of effort is expended in order to leap from one, normal, track to another, faster, track.  And even if through prudence, patience, and a little luck, the average member of the legions who drive that prosperity manages to store up a comfortable nest egg, that entire egg and nest can be wiped clean by a short series of catastrophic events.  A multimillionaire can afford a catastrophic loss of income for several months due to an injury or illness costing a few hundred thousand, but a multi-thousandaire cannot afford a similar catastrophe.  Someone can be well on their way to a comfortable retirement, and then some freak illness can wipe them completely out.


Nobody should be forced to live in poverty because of a heart condition.


That said, though I’m generally opposed to increased taxes, I’m not necessarily opposed to a tax structure that invites corporations to share the wealth a little bit (even though I aspire to be one of those who must share the wealth).  Because of that, if taxes were the only issue on the table I might be leaning a bit toward the Junior Senator.  Although, John McCain’s idea of making the tax cuts permanent has about as much a chance of actually happening as the likelihood of me growing a tail and wings while Nancy and Harry have their hands on the tiller in Congress.  So when it comes to taxes, it’s pretty much a wash because most of the Bush tax cuts are likely going to expire whether Obama wins or not.


So, though it may come as a surprise to some, I actually SUPPORT Obama’s tax plan (as long as Nancy and Harry don’t get ahold of it).


But taxes are not the only issue.  Energy and the Environment are big issues on my ledger board, too.  Probably bigger issues since these policies actually have a shot at happening.  Both plans are largely the same (cap and trade, credits for green/sustainable energy, etc) but there are a couple of significant differences.  Obama wants to impose a “windfall profits tax” and redistribute some of that money back to us to offset higher energy costs.


That’s pretty much a non-starter for me.  There are few more ignorant things that I’ve ever even heard suggested.  Idiotic, populist clap is all that is.  And with a friendly Congress, there’s just about no way this isn’t going to happen.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of getting a check for $1000, and I’m not going to send it back if it comes, but as long as my 401(k) holds any oil company stock (and any mutual fund that holds large-cap stocks does, likely, own oil company stocks) I’m perfectly fine with the government not sidling its big fat ass up to the buffet to gobble up future exploration funds.  I’d much rather policies be in place to reduce our reliance on oil, thus bringing down both the price and significance of that price in the broader economic picture.


I do like the idea of some kind of cap and trade plan, which is proposed by both Senators.  McCain’s is modeled on the successful acid-rain cap and trade program from the 80s that has reduced the release of acid-rain causing elements into the atmosphere to the point where we hardly ever hear about acid rain anymore at all (I can’t remember the last time I’ve heard a story about it, and the Houston Ship Channel is within smelling distance when the wind is just right).  That’s not to say it’s not still an issue, just that it’s not as big an issue as it used to be.  And that’s partly because remediation efforts were put in place to help scrub the emissions from big refineries and power plants to not only “cap and trade” acid rain emissions, but also reduce them so that the “cap and trade” program would become, eventually, obsolete.  Because, after all, the goal should be to eliminate the emissions, not profit from them.


Nonetheless, I like the idea of a carbon cap and trade system, as long as it’s combined with some kind of carbon remediation program so that the whole system would eventually become obsolete in a carbon neutral economy.  To that end, only John McCain’s plan appears to present such a thing by including nuclear power as a potential replacement to gas, oil, and coal fired power plants.  Obama supports continued investment into developing clean coal technologies and pumping $15b into green/sustainable energy development, but that $15b comes from proceeds generated by the cap and trade system, which means the idea is to have a perpetual cap and trade system rather than a declining market.


The ideal would be to eventually become carbon neutral, thus having no need for capping or trading anything, and consequently no ongoing proceeds to fuel development.


Both candidates support electric cars.  Both candidates support renewable energy sources.  McCain supports domestic drilling, which I hope will one day be as obsolete as whale hunting (yes, even in Texas I don’t have a problem with oil being a secondary energy source), but I also realize there will always be a place for petroleum products and why not source the stuff here rather than anywhere else?  But only McCain supports more nuclear facilities NOW.  Obama prefers to solve the problem of securing nuclear waste first and then, eventually, at some point, maybe tackling the issue of the need for a greater supply of electricity to power all those electric cars on the roads.


The economics of the thing makes sense.  While we HAVE to buy electricity every month, the power companies HAVE to produce it, but they don’t HAVE to produce it cheaper than it costs to buy the inputs, so they don’t HAVE to build newer, more efficient, cleaner power plants.  Gas or oil goes up 300% in 6 months?  They don’t care, they just increase their price 325%.  But if they’re told that any new carbon power plant or carbon emission will be more and more expensive, but they can build newer, cleaner, more efficient nuclear power plants, (and, by the way, a cap in the allowable increase in rates might be a good thing to throw in as well to prevent the power companies from just tossing the expense on to us) then the financial incentive is there to change the method of production and delivery.


Electricity shouldn’t be a luxury.  For the most part, it’s still ridiculously cheap for just about everyone.  But if the idea is to decrease the carbon footprint of the overall economy without simultaneously replacing power currently being generated AND putting in an infrastructure to EXPAND power generation in the future, then you’re taking a step backwards into untenable territory.  You can’t just scrub the air by planting trees, you have to also DECREASE the amount of shit you’re flushing into the atmosphere.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Post script

Just to open the window on what happened yesterday…


A few days ago some waste of flesh who lives in his grandmother’s basement and has no real life decided to be an arrogant prick and share with us how miserable a person he actually is.  I believe his first few cowardly anonymous posts (and my rhetorical pointing and laughing at his idiocy) are still around from a few days ago.


A couple of days ago he came back with his thinly veiled racism and, once again I called him out for being a coward and, at the very least, a repugnant race baiter or worse, a flat out racist pig.  But certainly a miserable coward.


That precipitated a demonstration of just how much free time he had.


I came home to the flaming list of 70 or so comments (some idiotic, some vile, some threatening, some vulgar, all pointless).  The list was still growing and the sad little demonstration even made me chuckle a little bet, yet it only took me 3 minutes to open my dashboard, flip the moderation switch, require SOME kind of ID for making posts so that little cowardly wastes of flesh can’t hide behind their anonymity, delete the post (and flaming list of comments), repost the content, and close up shop.


Done and done.


Game, set, match.


It took him 20 or 30 minutes to be a pathetic waste of time…  it took me 3 minutes to undo it.


One of his taunts:  you’re going to regret this.


No, no I’m not.  “Anonymous”, you are a waste of time and  you are gone.  I can “check all” and reject your comments or just ignore them and let them languish in a digital purgatory, easy peasy, 2 seconds.  Meanwhile, he’ll be attempting his little trolly flame tactics for some time to come until his grandmother makes him start paying rent and he has to go off and get gainful employment and my traffic goes up, the profile gets higher, and my sorry little corner of net-estate suddenly becomes a marketable commodity on the back of his trolly little tactics and the twos and twos of his trolly little friends. 


His time consumed, my time untouched, and the traffic numbers suddenly look like I might be able to sell adspace (though not likely worth the effort, I’m not fooling myself).  Game.  Set.  Match.  I winner laughing all the way to the bank.  You loser living in grandmother’s basement.


Meanwhile, he’ll still hide behind his veil of anonymity and not offer himself up to reciprocity…  though I’m far, far more classy than to do such a thing or waste my own time on such a pathetic, small, cowardly little waste of time.

The morning after

Ok, so the protests AT the speech were a little classless.  I suppose that is to be expected from the likes of the rank and file dems because, you know, it’s the republicans where are hateful and mean.


Beyond that, it seems that Obama’s speech actually had more policy proposals than McCain’s.  The only specific policy proposal that seems to stick was doubling the child credit from $3500 to $7000.  Everything else was sort of vague:  keep taxes low, cut where he can, provide for school choice, and such.  Then again, the several policy proposals from Obama were equally vague, but they seemed grander and more sweeping and interconnected.  I’m going to go back and read both of the Obama/McCain speeches and compare and contrast just as I’ll do with the Palin/Biden speeches.  I think it’ll be interesting to see what shakes out.


I also thought Obama’s video tribute/commercial congratulating John McCain on his nomination was very classy.  Oh…  Wait…  That was John McCain congratulating Obama’s nomination and backing off for a night.  Obama sat down for an interview on Fox.  On the evening John McCain was giving his acceptance speech to the RNC.

Classy.  Real classy.


As a presentation note, the RNC seemed a little more disorganized than the DNC.  As for showmanship, give it to The One and his troops.  As for substance…  the jury is still out.  There’s still that steady, ominous drumbeat in the background of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid just waiting to get the “right” guy in office so that they can throw open the legislative floodgates.  It’s not so much a question of “who’s capable of doing the job” but “who’s capable of being a check on Congress”.  The President has enough people around him to ensure the job gets done.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Very interesting...

I don't remember there being disruptive protests at Invesco Field...
Oh yea, that's right.  There weren't any.

Interesting how the party that wants to help us apparently has no problem attempting to silence those who dare disagree with them.
Whether it's disrespectful, disruptive protests during a party caucus and national speech, or whether it's flaming chat rooms or blog comments, or whether it's simply shouting down and rejecting logic during what would otherwise be a civil discourse, the modus operandi is to silence the opposition rather than simply be correct.  Interesting, indeed.

"Training" update

This is the last week before my “Because I Can Tri”. I haven’t checked to see if the pool is open—a bit of an administrative oversight on my part, I admit it. But because of the back, shoulder, and stomach issues over the last week or so I wasn’t entirely certain that I’d even be attempting the thing.

I think I’ll go ahead and, like Nike, just do it, baby.

Why not? The worst that can happen is that I fail completely. The most likely outcome is that I’ll put all three disciplines together and finish somewhere in the 1hr to 1:15 range, about :30 beyond where I was really hoping to wind it up.
However, Jon was gracious enough to shoot me an update on the Try Andy’s Tri, and I just might take a stab at that slightly longer triathlon. We’ll see. There’s a lot of school between here and October.

Speaking of school…
Last night was a late night at school, so I missed the speeches.
I’d like to see Biden again just before Palin’s so as to get some kind of compare/contrast going. Plus, I missed a good chunk of Biden’s speech last week, so it would be a nice refresher. I think I’ll do the same with the Obama/McCain speeches.

Meanwhile, I’m going to have to have a temporary news blackout. I’ve already heard a couple of sound bites before opting for a CD over the radio. I may check the candidates’ websites—there are a couple of those “connect the dots” energy policy questions that have been lurking around the back of my mind—but other than that no news today is good news, today.

And finally, an administrative point:
“Anonymous” is the calling card of a coward. To lob very thinly veiled racial taunts and no small amount of innuendo behind the cloak of anonymity is not only cowardly, but also repugnant. It’s reminiscent of those men in white hoods who were unwilling to show their face while they were spreading their particular brand of terrorism across the countryside. While it is generally my habit to call out small minded, knee jerk fools like you and leave your idiocy up for all to see, point at, and mock, I’m not so sure I’ll be taking the time to suffer your particular brand if idiocy. I don’t blame fish for being wet, and I can’t blame cowards for being cowardly or fools for being foolish, but if you want to mischaracterize me with your thinly veiled innuendo, you can do so on your own time and on your own net-estate. I don’t think blogger gives me the option to totally block anonymous comments, but it does give me the option to moderate anonymous comments and/or dump comments in the trash… and I don’t want to moderate comments. That’s a level of engagement that I just don’t care for.

Be a coward all you want, but at least be creative enough to make up an alias.

Game, set, match...


I win. You lose. No regrets.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Eating their cake, and having it, too

Ok, so since Obama can’t match up to McCain, he’s decided to run against Palin for President?

Or, more accurately, since the media can’t convince us that Obama is “The One” versus McCain, they’ve decided to pit him against Palin?


It just doesn’t logically follow that Obama can say, out of one side of his mouth against Hillary Clinton that it’s not the length of service that matters, but what you DO with that service that’s significant, but out of the other side of his mouth, against McCain Palin say that it’s the length that matters, not what she’s done during her stint in office.


Wow.  The vehemence with which they’re going after her…  unbelievable.  I’m just…  stunned.  Every time I think I might be convinced crap like this surfaces that just reveals the duplicitous nature of these monsters.

“She’s just a small town mayor who became a small town governor”.  Wow, sorry, everybody who came from a small town…  you’re “just” a small town bumpkin who doesn’t deserve any real responsibility.  Just leave it to the smart people who handle big boy stuff.

There’s plenty more.  And the more I hear people questioning her ability because she’s “just” a small state governor the more offended I get.

Dianne Sawyer asking “is she ready to be President?”  No, I didn’t add emphasis on “ready”.  Dianne stressed it herself.  “But is she ready?”  Don’t make me puke.  Have they adequately answered that question about the guy ACTUALLY running for President?  Is he ready?  Is he capable?  Maybe she doesn’t have the insider connections that Obama has.  Maybe she doesn’t owe or own favors from senators on capital hill.  Maybe because she’s a REAL outsider and change agent?  You can’t argue out of one side of your mouth that you’re an outsider and change agent, then out of the other side of your mouth denigrate your opponent’s number 2 pick as being less qualified than you because you have more connections in Washington.  That just doesn’t fly.

And so what if your more qualified to be president than your opponent’s Vice President pick?  That just means you’re more qualified to be your opponent’s Vice President, not President.


Just plain pathetic.


Yes, Obama and his friends in the media are going a long, long way toward convincing me of who the best candidate REALLY is.

Ok, I was a little unfair

Alright, I admit it.  I was unfair yesterday when I said LA residents who were staying away were being pussies.  The N. Guard was still keeping everyone out because they didn’t have basic services (insert joke here).  Things just don’t work there the way things work here…  you know…  where things actually work and as people are cleaning up crews are actually working to restore services.  People around these parts are expected to show up for their jobs and actually do work.

I was unfair.  I was wrong.  How silly of me to expect people to work.


Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Gov Palin

I find it very, very curious that the media is falling all over itself asking questions like “with nearly XX% of Vice Presidents managing to become President either through resignation, assassination, or subsequent election, is Governor Palin READY to be President?”


Shouldn’t the question be “with nearly 50% of all major party Presidential nominees managing to become President by way of elections, is Senator McCain/Obama READY to be President?”  After all, they have a much, much higher chance of becoming President…  nearly 50% as it now stands…  while her chances are rather miniscule right now.

Rather than focusing the question on the VP, maybe the question should be whether or not the ACTUAL candidate is just an empty suit.

A few quick things

First off, I am completely wrecked.  Last week I had a shoulder issue that knocked me off my swimming, a hip/back issue that knocked me off running, and a stomach issue that knocked me off…  um… food entirely.  I’m tired, I’ve dropped 4lbs at least (and not in a healthy way), and I’ve never been so happy to see solid poo in my life.


Second, it’s stopped raining, let the evacuees go home.  And unless people are actively holding you down, leave the effin shelter and go home!!!  It was barely a cat-2 when it hit!!  QUIT BEING PUSSIES!!


Finally, I’m pretty curious about what this Alaska governor brings to the table as a VP.  She seems to be one tough cookie.  That wily old coot may be smarter than anyone gave him credit for.

Meanwhile, where are all the polls?  We were served daily and weekly tracking polls before the DNC, but not a single poll since the start.  What’s up with that?


Triathlon may be on hold for a week while I put my physical pieces together and wrap my arms around the first few tons of homework for the semester.