Monday, December 20, 2010

Getting Old

As I approach my 55th Winter Solstice, I find that I am liking winter less and less.  In fact, I find myself dreaming of warm Summer afternoons in a baseball park, talking with friends, and waiting for the crack of a bat to direct our attention to a long fly out.
And I don't even like baseball.
Damn, where is Global Warming when you need it?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Disturbance In The Force

Watching NBC"s Meet The Press,  I see VP Joe Biden in his own unique way claim that the Democrat's electoral losses last month are because the American people want Republicans to work with Democrats.   WTF?? What is the color of the sky in Biden's world?  That kind of rejection of Republican obstructionism could result in their total control of both houses if they keep refusing  to cooperate. That'll teach them.
But Biden's self delusion is not his alone.  If you read Michael Barone's piece about the impact of the bad choices made by Reid and Pelosi, it explains better than Biden's wrong assertion what happened.Those who persist in their failed delusions will become as relevant as the blow up dinosaurs at my grandson's birthday party.  Amusing for a moment, and quickly forgotten.
This kind of delusion cannot exist in a vacuum.  I think the reason it has lasted as long as it has is that they don't see where the power really lies.  If you think that our Senators and Representatives are our "leaders," you are confused as to what the heck is going on.  Basically, you are confronted with the notion that the peasants are revolting in spite of all the wonderful things that you wanted to do..
Let me posit another view that they are not grasping - Those in Congress have the wherewithal to realize they are in deep shit.  Especially Republicans. who used to represent Utah as Senator or the hand picked choices of the so called elites in Deleware who lost to a witch.  Not to mention the choices in Nevada and Kentucky.  The folks sitting in office can see the picture that the partisans can't.  The true power is no longer on K Street, or J Street, or any of the usual places.  If you are going to be up for election in 2012, you have to consider that if you are a Democrat you are already in deep trouble.  And if you are a Republican, you had better pay attention to the Tea Party issues or you could be primaried successfully.
Lobbyists have less power in the present Congress than angry letter writers from back home.  In the past, a  politician could make enough off of campaign donations from special interests (like Big Pharma, BP, Labor Unions) to offset the disjointed anger of the electorate.They used the money to barrage the uncaring and uninformed with advertisements to overwhelm their opposition to the politician.  Plus the politician could bring home enough in earmarks to tout what a wonderful job they are doing.
No longer.
The rules have changed, and if politicians can't figure it out, they will quickly discover they are expendable.  Just consult with Congressmen Oberstar and Obey for an example.  And all of this is taking place with a disorganized and disjointed group of Tea Partiers who are only going to get stronger at the current rate.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The End of Sen. Tester's Run

Byron York has a piece about how our junior Senator has managed to alienate the very people who got him elected.  Markos Moulitas of the Daily Kos has just declared Tester an a-hole and is not going to support Tester for re-election.  So if you take the Daily Kos crew out of the picture, who does Tester have left as a base?
The problem that Tester has is that he was elected under a false assumption that Montana was becoming more Democratic in politics.  That is the result of entirely too much drinking, and Bush fatigue.  By 2012, we will have all sobered up, and be asking George who? and what does he have to do with this guy who claims to be a Montanan?
Karl Rove used to work under the theory that you get out your base and you win, since most people don't care.  That is way out of date now, as there are Tea Partys and an aroused Independent bloc who reject the Democrat excesses of the last two years.  Tester doesn't even have a base, and the Independents are associating him with Obama and Pelosi no matter what he does. 
He should have stayed with the ones who brought him.  The rest of us don't care.

Solving DUI Problems

Gregg at ECW has a piece about the defense of an accused drunk driver that he was able to rescue from the jaws of pre-trial conviction and return his client to normal citizen status.  DUI is the new crie de couer for the obsessively over controlling of our society.  In one way, it is way too easy.  Mothers Against Drunk Driving doesn't have a version on the other side.  No one is going to advocate for drunk driving but in our search for witches to burn (otherwise known as drivers) in our new crusade, we also catch up people who are innocent and force them to prove that innocence.  Usually we do this by binding them up and throwing them in a pond.  Because water is pure, if they are guilty the water will reject them, and if they are innocent they drown.  Okay, maybe it is slightly more technical, but that is only if you believe the government.
So, here are my solutions to reducing the drunk driving rates in Montana.  First, we lead the country in DUIs per mile traveled.  Let's take the third Saturday of every month and require everyone to drive to a police station where a breath test will be administered and if you are clean, you then have to drive 500 miles that day.  This has the advantage of increasing the numerator so that we won't be leading the country any longer.
Next, I propose that we cut DUIs in half by giving all the cops in the state Saturday off.  No cops means no arrests.  Ordinary citizens would be instructed not to drive on Saturday night because we surrendered the streets to drunks. But, just like in the '70s when we quit picking up hitchhikers because they all seemed to be serial killers, and people quit hitchhiking because the only people who picked them up were serial killers, eventually with only drunk drivers on the road on Saturday night they will only kill each other.  Win-win, and no costs for incarceration or treatment.
Lastly, you need to understand that drinking and driving is not necessarily such a bad thing.  For instance, Montana has found that one out of three highway fatalities has alcohol involved.  Not necessarily under the influence, as for example the driver who is texting, runs a red light and kills a driver of another car who had two drinks.  If you think about it, this means that you are twice as likely to die if you and the other driver are both stone cold sober, than if one of you has a drink.  Therefore, in the same spirit of you should always bring a bomb on board any plane you fly, because what are the chances that there are two bombs, we should all have a drink or two and go for a drive.
This solution to a vexing problem is offered gratis as a public service.

Friday, December 17, 2010

With Apologies to Pogie

Earlier, Pogie had accused me of Limbaugh economics, if I remember right.  Of course, since I work, I don't get to listen to Limbaugh, but the accusation is always thrown around as an attempt to preemptively discredit someone by guilty through association even if there is not association.  And while I am sure that Pogie is smarter than me, I just had to marvel at this fun exchange:

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Chickens Coming Home to Roost

I had written a piece about my objections to earmarks earlier, in response to Tester and Baucus' support of them. Now we have the ultimate earmark: $48 Billion to
funnel money into the inner cities to give money to the poor and thereby produce a much larger consumer class to buy the goods and services produced in this country.
Why try any of those anti-poverty programs that have been around for 45 years? They apparently take too long. Sure there aren't any specifics on how to do all this, but it's an earmark people. We do it all the time. Although why it took this long before some enterprising politician figured out the power of earmarks is the question of the day.
While we're at it, let's use the power of earmarks to eliminate Iran's nuclear capability for all time. Jon could get in on this and pump up his foreign relations cred points.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Budgetary Kabuki

Color me confused at the moment. After the House Democrats freaked out about allowing the top tax bracket to remain as it is, rather than jumping the tax on the so called wealthy, Democrats in the Senate decided that millionaires need unemployment insurance. The measure to eliminate millionaire benefits was brought as a small token to pay for the continuation of the tax cuts and the extension of unemployment benefits. And it was small, very small, saving an estimated $100 million over the next ten years. Was it purely theater, absolutely. But it is fun to see Democrats now standing up for millionaires.
Also note that Jon Tester voted with the Republicans against the measure. I am beginning to think that Jon needs to get a name change. After all, for the next two years he is going to be called "endangered Democrat" Tester. But after 2012 he can go back to just plain Jon.
Or "the former Senator."

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Lies and Lying Liars

I had posted about the absolute hatred the Left has for the so called "rich,"  and asked the question
Why is it that the extension of the middle class tax cuts is supposed to be stimulative, but they claim research shows that tax cuts for the wealthy is not? Is the money of the rich marked differently than that of the middle class? Does the size of the cut matter if you have enough to go to McDonalds one more night a month than before, versus somebody who buys a car and all the workers that helped manufacture the care?
to which Pogie offered
I think the only reason you haven't seen an answer about why tax cuts have more stimulative value for the middle class is because you haven't looked. Try Google. I hear it provides information with just some typing and a few clicks.

I also wonder how the Right can maintain that the Bush tax cuts stimulated the economy, given the evidence of the past 8 years. What did they do exactly?

My response to Pogie was perhaps unfair, in that I argued that he was relying on Democrat talking points, and that I wouldn't do that. So, lo and behold, we have Reason's Hit and Run by Nick Gillespie showing that the Bush tax cuts (although it was really the Bush tax rate cuts) actually provided more revenue to the treasury.
Well, how can that be, we have been told for the last ten years that only the "rich benefited from the tax cuts. Lie! If you look at the tables provided by Nick, you see that
In 2000, for instance, the top 1 percent of income earners paid 37.42 percent of all income taxes collected. In 2008, they paid 38.02 percent. That's down a bit from the peak of 2007 and reflects the recession hitting. The bottom 50 percent of filers saw their share of the income tax burden fall from 3.91 percent to 2.7 percent. Two groups in the upper half of the income distribution made out, it seems: Folks coming in between between 10 percent and 25 percent of income and those between 25 percent and 50 percent. Each saw their share of total tax collected decline a bit (like the share of taxes paid, this reflects the recession).
Now, the Left at this point will usually say that this is due to the accumulation of wealth by the top earners. Okay, so what? It is not a zero sum game. Everyone can get rich, and some can get richer than others. But that is not the same argument as the rich don't help the economy.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Recovery is Coming, The Recovery is Coming!!!

The only good thing about the Great Recession is that there has been a significant reduction in all of those junk mail credit card applications.  Apparently, that is about to end. 
It makes sense since companies have been hoarding cash in anticipation of a more favorable business climate once the Democrats were finally restrained.  With a Republican House, which is where all the spending bills originate, the hopes being that Republicans will stick to their promises about deficit reduction.  The Republicans should take note, because if they don't, the blood bath from last election will look like a burbling fountain in comparison.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Hatred is an Ugly Thing

House Democrats are throwing a hissy fit over the extension of the Bush tax cuts that they had excoriated for so long as only benefiting the wealthy.  But their rhetoric is running smack dab into reality with the coming expiration.  When that happens, the middle class is going to be creamed in a way that they will understand what the real effect is of those tax cuts.
But the Looney Left would rather see the rates rise on the Middle Class than to extend them to the so called "wealthy,"  Think about that for a minute.  The Democrats would deny an extension of unemployment benefits to people out of work in order to punish their nemesis "the rich."  Hatred of this sort is honestly refreshing, in that they are no longer even pretending to be on the side of the "little guy,"  Nope, this is all about social engineering..
But I do have one question that I just have not seen answered, and I really wish someone could explain it to me.  Why is it that the extension of the middle class tax cuts is supposed to be stimulative, but they claim research shows that tax cuts for the wealthy is not?  Is the money of the rich marked differently than that of the middle class?  Does the size of the cut matter if you have enough to go to McDonalds one more night a month than before, versus somebody who buys a car and all the workers that helped manufacture the care?
The absolute dishonesty of the Democrats is only matched by the Republicans who think that the agreement with the President is a good deal.  What in the world do wind subsidies or money for ethanol or Nascar have to do with tax cuts?  The fact that they couldn't keep those out show the Republicans are either not serious, or they are easily rolled.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Letter to the Editor

I sent this off to the Missoulian, and figured I might as well post it here as well since blogging has been slow.

The guest columns of Sen. Tester and Sen. Baucus explaining why earmarks are good have clarified what the problem is.  The problem is us.  We are the enablers of a dysfunctional set of elected officials.
Like any addict, they are quick and quite clever in validating their source of addiction while at the same time blaming the enabler for allowing the addict to keep using.   “If only you loved me more, I would quit using alcohol/meth/heroin/earmarks.  It’s all your fault that I haven’t been able to give them up.”  And don’t we love our addicts when they are happily using?  Isn’t it easier to deal with them when they are high, than when they are scrambling around trying to find a fix?
But eventually the money runs out, having been consumed by the addiction.  And boy has the money ran out in regards to earmarks.  The two Senators argue that if they don’t allocate the money via an earmark, some faceless bureaucrat will allocate the money inappropriately (might go to New York City or somewhere in California rather than here).  Well here is a novel thought – Don’t allocate money that is not specifically in the whole bill.  That is, if it isn’t important enough for the whole Senate to consider the allocation, then it isn’t important enough to be spent.  The net result will be less appropriations, and yes, less skate parks, or improved parking lots, but that isn’t such a bad thing when we are basically a hair’s breadth away from bankruptcy.