Saturday, May 30, 2009

Thoughts on Society

What do women want?

Hmmm... how about a flat stomach, hard thighs and a tight... but enough about me. The real answer is probably jewelry. Rosslyn Smith touches on a number of issues including modern feminism, some common historical fallacies, families, fatherhood, and divorce. Its a very good read - despite a few editorial errors.

"For much of our history the majority of parents considered the best interests of their children to be more important than their own romantic fulfillment. Much of the historic stigma about divorce or attempting to raise an illegitimate child on one's own revolved around what was in the best interest of the child. Promoting the welfare of the child often involved behavior now usually considered hypocritical..."

"In the 1960s the idea took hold that it was not necessary for parents to sacrifice to maintain a stable marriage for the sake of their children. It was said to be better if the parents were completely honest about their own needs instead of going through the motions to keep a marriage alive. The assumption was that if each parent was made happier by placing their own interests first, the happiness of the child would automatically follow. There are several problems with this idea. First, in the absence of obvious physical or mental abuse, children simply lack the empathy to pick up whether their parents are truly happy or not. What matters more to their development is that both parents are there.... Second, a unilateral divorce tended to increase the level of hostility between the parents well beyond that which existed when they were going threw [sic] the motions of keeping the marriage alive...."

Ah... 'happiness'. Like "excitement' and 'fulfillment', many people seem to have inflated expectations which let them down. Friends of mine recently were divorced after only one year. The man was completely surprised, the divorce happened in one month, it was amicable, and there was no compelling reason for it except that she was 'not happy enough.'

Life isn't about being happy, you take what joy you can and pay for it with perseverance and effort. Perhaps the reasons I as a more or less agnostic find traditional marriage and religious precepts and the philosophies of the Founding of our nation more compelling than modern progressive thought is that humans are imperfect and imperfectable. Judeo-Christian theology and the principles of the Founders accepted this as fact and derived a sometimes stern belief system from it. Whereas modern 'progressive' or leftist ideology has a Utopian aura that if only we made the right rules and thought the right thoughts, people could be changed.

Bursting the Higher Ed Bubble

We've had a tech bubble burst, now a real estate and credit bubble burst, will the next bubble to burst be 'Education'? While costs rise, the monetary value of a college degree is declining, in part because so many college degrees are out there, in part because colleges and universities are falling down on the job of actually educating students in favor of political radicalization.

The last paragraph sums up my thoughts:

"Maybe tough high school exit exams would serve the needs of employers who currently insist on a BA not for its own sake but as proof that a student was not too lazy or aimless to get one. Indeed, it could be that when the job market attaches less value to a piece of parchment, universities will at last lay aside their often ugly political preoccupations and rediscover their true mission: the pursuit of knowledge as a good in itself."

High school diplomas are almost worthless. Quality and academic rigor of public schools has declined in recent decades. European students are at least 2 years ahead of American students when they start college and I am convinced that an 18 year old with a high school diploma in 1960 knew more about Civics, US history, the Founding of our country, and how government worked than college graduates today.

Growing old in America

Another from American Thinker. I really should buy a subscription from them. Its rather long and quite poignant, difficult to summarize. I will let the intro speak for itself:

I was sitting near a fountain in Old Town and an older man approached the penny-filled catch pond with an expression so earnest I might in other circumstances have easily confused it with reverence. He closed his eyes and held a coin in his fingers like a rosary. His lips moved but I heard nothing. After what seemed like a very long moment, he tossed his coin into the water, slowly crossed the small brick plaza and sat near me.

I had been taught to never ask a person what he wished for. But he offered.

"Know what I wished for?"

"No. I guess most people wish for money."

"They overestimate the power of it. No. I wished for this."


"To sit and talk to a pretty girl."

"I think I stopped being a girl a long while ago," I said and we both smiled. We talked for almost an hour. I found out where he had been born (Pennsylvania), what he did for a living (machinist), what happened to his wife (died of lung cancer five years before), how many kids he had (three, all of them in Pittsburgh), and that I could call him Mr. Garry (name changed). He spoke mostly of his boredom and his isolation, especially in comparison to the busy life he led when he was married, working, and raising a family. "You know why I like this place? Tourists like to talk."

When I finally had to leave, he rose and shook my hand in both of his. I could feel the bones in his palms. "Thank you," he said, nodding his head as if tipping a hat, and walked back across the plaza.

I called my mom after reading this article.

"Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value of a joy you must have somebody to divide it with." - Mark Twain

Friday, May 29, 2009


Gravity can't be denied, niether can the markets. Economies run on markets and the law of markets is supply and demand. Governments and government officials have since the dawn of history tried to manipulate the market, often by fiat and fraud, but it doesn't work. Elected and appointed officials in a democratic republic like ours are no different. They think they can spend into affluence.... They can, but only by taking what belongs to others and enriching themselves and their friends.

The 'Stimulus' will not work, its not even supposed to stimulate anything but the bank accounts of the left. Spending, debt, taxation and currency manipulation will merely lead to disaster. US bonds are in trouble because those who buy bonds are not stupid, and they will not put up with manipulation for long, nor will they regard unsound currency as a wise investment.

Bond Vigilantes

For the first time since another Democrat occupied the White House, investors from Beijing to Zurich are challenging a president’s attempts to revive the economy with record deficit spending. Fifteen years after forcing Bill Clinton to abandon his own stimulus plans, the so-called bond vigilantes are punishing Barack Obama for quadrupling the budget shortfall to $1.85 trillion. By driving up yields on U.S. debt, they are also threatening to derail Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s efforts to cut borrowing costs for businesses and consumers.

The 1.4-percentage-point rise in 10-year Treasury yields this year pushed interest rates on 30-year fixed mortgages to above 5 percent for the first time since before Bernanke announced on March 18 that the central bank would start printing money to buy financial assets.
Treasuries have lost 5.1 percent in their worst annual start since Merrill Lynch & Co. began its Treasury Master Index in 1977.

“The bond-market vigilantes are up in arms over the outlook for the federal deficit,” said
Edward Yardeni, who coined the term in 1984 to describe investors who protest monetary or fiscal policies they consider inflationary by selling bonds. He now heads Yardeni Research Inc. in Great Neck, New York. “Ten trillion dollars over the next 10 years is just an indication that Washington is really out of control and that there is no fiscal discipline whatsoever.”

Washington is taking us for a ride with our own money, and the only one's to benefit will be them.

"We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle." - Winston Churchill

Green Jobs

'Green jobs' are nonsense. The only way to create a "green job' is to tax or regulate other people and coerce their creation, by definition they are economically unviable and ultimately destructive. When ideologues tell you that 'green jobs' will help, its just a trick to make you compliant while they steal your money and give it to their friends. If 'green jobs' were viable, they would be created without gov't intervention.

This is not hypothetical, but undeniable, as Spain has learned to its cost:

The central finding of the study is that -- treating the data optimistically -- for every renewable-energy job that the government finances, "Spain's experience . reveals with high confidence, by two different methods, that the U.S. should expect a loss of at least 2.2 jobs on average, or about 9 jobs lost for every 4 created."

Despite expensive and extensive green-job policies, a surprisingly low number of jobs were created. And about two-thirds of those "green" jobs were just to set up the energy source, in construction, fabrication, installation, marketing and administration. Only 10 percent of the green jobs created were permanent jobs actually operating and maintaining the renewable sources of energy.

"Renewable energy" is a laugh. The most environmentally sound source of energy is nuclear power.

Hillary: Baited and Switched

During the campaign even before the nominations were settled, many people, particularly Europeans, said they thought Hillary should let Obama win in exchange for being appointed to SecState. At the time I pooh-poohed the idea, pointing out that the European parlimentary system is radically different than the US Federal system. In the various European nations a Cabinet post has real power and ministers ALSO have seats in Parliment. Ministers set policy and craft government priorities. Whereas in the US, a Cabinet secretary is the employee of the President and subject to his policy goals, and can be fired at will.

I was wrong, Hillary did accept the position of SecState, and had to resign her Senate seat, much to my surprise. The appointment strongly reminded me that in the Liberal mind, the State Department is 'The Chic'. (Pun intended) It seems that the State department is seen as sophisticated and important all out of proportion to its actual power and influence. This has been going on since FDR, at least. Foggy Bottom often tries to pursue its own agenda in oppostion to official Presidential policy, and its professionals see elected leaders as temporary inconveniences which will go away in time. The Secretary of State is a rock star to many on the left, whereas to the right the SecState is important but subordinate - a part of the team.

I wondered if Obama was trying to eliminate her as a threat to his re-election, while my political buddy Brian pointed out that SecState was a power base with many employees to do her bidding...

Dick Morris has chimed in on this very subject:

It may appear odd to describe a secretary of State as marginalized, but Obama has surrounded Hillary with his people and carved up her jurisdiction geographically. Former Sen. George Mitchell (D-Maine) is in charge of Arab-Israeli relations. Dennis Ross has Iran. Former U.N. Ambassador Dick Holbrooke has Pakistan and Afghanistan. And Hillary has to share her foreign policy role on the National Security Council (NSC) with Vice President Biden, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, CIA chief Leon Panetta, and NSC staffer Samantha Powers (who once called Hillary a “monster”)

Ah, so Obama has divided SecState power and put strong egos in charge of fiefs who will fight for their personal preferences. I'd call that Machiavellian, but that elevates the description. I think the proper word is manipulative.

How long will Hillary subject herself to this discipline? Likely as long as Obama is popular. Should his ratings fade, she might move away from the president and could even consider a primary contest against him in 2012. But while he is on top of his game, she’ll stay loyal.

But she is shrinking by the day. Once Obama’s equal — and before that his superior — she now looks tiny compared to the president. She doesn’t look like a president in waiting; she’s more like a senior staff member hoping to rise in the bureaucracy. No longer at the head of a movement or the symbol of rising women all over the world, she has faded into the State Department woodwork. She is much less visible than her predecessors Henry Kissinger, George Schultz, James Baker, Madeleine Albright or Condi Rice. She is even less in the public eye than was Al Haig during his one-year tenure. One has to go back to the likes of Warren Christopher or William Rogers to find a secretary of State as far down the totem poll. This diminished status has got to grate on her and on him. But they are trapped in Obama’s web and cannot easily escape.

Ouch. It will be interesting to see how this all shakes out. The long and the short of this is that the Secretary of State serves at the whim of the President and Obama is now Hillary's boss.


I finally got some down time here in Washington D.C. to update you guys! My daughter is interning here this summer and I am getting her settled. Yesterday we got a tour of the Fox News studios by Brian Wilson, a fellow Texan. We also met Jim Angle, another fellow Texan. It was so much fun. It's amazing how elaborate the backgrounds look on TV, but in reality they look like painted pictures. Thank goodness for computer graphics, right? The development of Fox News really is an amazing story. It's the little train that could, that became the biggest locomotive in the business.

I'll download the pictures when I get back.

I also did a segment for Smart Girl Politics on PJTV! You can watch it here.

I haven't time to watch the news (and I'm getting a bit shaky from withdrawals...;-) But I was glad to see Pres. Bush finally defending himself while staying gracious, as always.

I'll check back when I can. I don't know what happened to BigDog.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I'm Off To Washington D.C.!

I'll be gone tomorrow through Sunday. I may be able to blog and I may not, but BigDog will once again be filling in for me as well.

"The Case Against Sotomayor"

This is making the rounds from TNR. This is exactly what we expected from Pres. Obama.

The most consistent concern was that Sotomayor, although an able lawyer, was "not that smart and kind of a bully on the bench," as one former Second Circuit clerk for another judge put it. "She has an inflated opinion of herself, and is domineering during oral arguments, but her questions aren't penetrating and don't get to the heart of the issue."

Ouch. Read the whole thing

More on Sotomayor here.

My Take: To be honest, ever since the Clarence Thomas hearings I have been disgusted with the entire process of the Supreme Court hearings. The Democrats made it into personal despicable smearing. They couldn't find any good personal stuff to smear Alito and Roberts. They were stuck there. I just hope we don't follow suit. I don't want it to be like that. If she has made decisions that question whether she should be on the court, then fine, let that be vetted. But please, no personal junk. Please. Let Thomas be the last one to have endure such a terrible process.

No one Obama is going to nominate will please us. We know that. I just feel that if a nominee is qualified (and I'm not saying she is, we do need to look at her decisions and her past in politics and career), then we need to let a President have who he wants.

Unfortunately, whether we like or not or think it's fair, it won't look good for Republicans to be bashing a Hispanic. Yes, I know the same rule didn't apply to Albert Gonzales. We all know the same rules don't apply to conservatives. We should be used to that by now.

A fair and honest assessment is what we need. Not drama, not bashing. Let the Democrats do that. Let's be above it.

Why can't we all get along?

From The Washington Times:

Two of the peace-loving republics formerly known as the Axis of Evil threw a frightful scare into anyone paying attention Monday, with North Korea exploding a nuclear bomb as powerful as the one that destroyed Hiroshima and Iran telling Barack Obama to get lost (and take his teleprompter with him).

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said he wouldn't accept an invitation to freeze work on his own nuclear weapon and he's not interested in talking to Mr. Obama or anyone else about it. But not to worry. The United Nations Security Council postponed its afternoon tea to hold an "emergency session" to consider options for dealing with developments in Korea. The world is considerably less worried about Iran, since Mr. Ahmadinejad appears to be mostly interested in only killing Jews.

I'm afraid mockery is probably necessary at this point.

Read the whole thing, right up to Obama's coming "second Grand Groveling, Apology and Repentance Tour."

It's too bad that most Americans are paying no attention to these thing.

Monday, May 25, 2009