Thursday, February 25, 2010
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
I'm not saying Joseph Stack was acting rationally through the whole ordeal. The full text of his manifesto shows a troubled soul incapable of taking responsibility for his actions and casting judgment on everyone else. But his last second maneuver, if it was that, clearly saved lives.
"I saw it written once that the definition of insanity is repeating the same process over and over and expecting the outcome to suddenly be different. I am finally ready to stop this insanity. Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let's try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well." [emphasis mine}
Sunday, February 21, 2010
It's also clear that Stack is no fan of free enterprise. He seems to despise anyone who made more money than him and/or received tax credits that he didn't qualify for, from organized religion to corporations. In fact, he finishes his manifesto with the following phrases:
"The communist creed: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need. The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed."
Facebook was right to shut this group down. Though there might be kernels of truth that many can relate to in Stack's ramblings, the overall philosophy seemed to be nothing more than "I am right. Everyone else is wrong." In other words, the delusions of a mad man.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
All is forgiven in America, where almost everyone gets a second chance. Even Mickey Rourke. And so Tiger Woods called a very controlled press conference on Friday to make a statement, apologizing to the American public for his indiscretions. My only question is: why are you apologizing to me?
It's not like he committed a crime, showed up drunk on the course, or gambled on the game. Tiger Woods cheated on his wife. He didn't cheat on me. As far as I'm concerned this is a private matter. Say your apology to her, not us. There's only one reason for giving a mea culpa speech to the general public. Tiger's ready to get back on the golf course, and most likely will play in The Masters.
Let's face it. The PGA needs Tiger. A Masters without Tiger is hard to fathom, sort of like a winter olympics without a gay figure skater or Obama without a teleprompter. So trot out the world's most famous golfer to rehab his image, pronto, so he can start swinging the clubs again. The faster the public forgives Tiger, the faster he can return to the game without fear of a negative reaction. After all, you don't want him teeing off while fans are teeing off on him.
Friday's press conference was strictly a business decision, and a wise one at that. Assuming it worked, the PGA can breathe a sigh of relief. Expect sponsors to follow suit. Once again, Woods will get the chance to display his unquestionable talent... ahem, golf talent... at Amen Corner, or at the latest in the British Open. Hopefully by then, he'll just be facing the gallery, not the gallows.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
I can see the smoke from my apartment and hear the sirens of emergency vehicles responding. Not sure of all the details yet. This is what News 8 Austin is reporting:
UPDATE: It was intentional. So much for my imagination. The apparent target? The Internal Revenue Service. This is an account of the plane's movement from an eyewitness in the building:
The pilot is reportedly 53-year-old software engineer Joseph Stack, killed in the collision. Apparently, he wrote a manifesto and had a domestic dispute with his wife last night, allegedly setting his house on fire before heading to the Georgetown airport, north of Austin, where he put his deadly plan into action by taking off in a leased Piper Cherokee at 9:40 am.“It wasn’t heading into the direction of the building but all of a sudden it took a right and headed straight into it,” said William Winnie. “It didn’t look like it was in distress. It wasn’t wavering at all."
The scene from the highway where the incident took place looks demoralizing, the guts of the building spilling out into the parking lot. It reminds one of Oklahoma City more than 9/11, not just because the alleged perpetrator is homegrown, but because the suburban building is longer and wider than it is tall, and thus still standing.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Two years from now, you'll wish it was still 2008, the last year of the Bush administration when unemployment was only 7%, at least according to a new report by Obama's economic advisers. That's right. The White House Council of Economic Advisers is predicting massive unemployment for years to come and an inability to correct the economy in a way that will create enough jobs to put most Americans back to work. As it turns out, 2008 was Obama's best year. Who knew?
"The numbers provided by the Council of Economic Advisers call into question not only the effectiveness of past programs but also those proposed to help stop the bleeding of jobs. Unemployment which could linger above 8% for another two years will continue to cripple consumer spending which in turn will make a full recovery as measured by GDP nearly impossible."
Monday, February 15, 2010
An even greater obstacle might be Obama's role as the "moderator" of the debate. You might as well hire game-fixer Tim Donaghy to officiate this year's NBA Finals. By playing referee, the president gets to come off as a reasonable centrist even though he has a huge political stake in the outcome and we know which side he favors. Pretending to vote present, as Obama did in the Illinois state senate a record 130 times, doesn't work when you've already revealed your support for the most radical version of single-payer healthcare and campaigned on the promise of a public option. Still, that's not going to stop him from trying.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
When Rush Limbaugh expressed his desire last year for Obama to fail, I admit I was taken aback. The rhetoric seemed harsh, a display of sour grapes after a brutal election year that had conservatives scrambling. But not anymore. Now I find myself waking up every day hoping Obama will fail. Why? Because after a year in office, the evidence is in. I've seen what he considers his successes and it's devastating.
Oddly enough, it's where Obama and the Democrats think they've succeeded that they've failed the most. The budgets they have passed have been dreadful, increasing discretionary spending by 84% in just over a year. They've quadrupled the deficit. Their stimulus bill stole money from the private sector to shore up union and government jobs that are a drain on state budgets. It also failed to create new jobs, as 4 million Americans (and counting) found themselves out of work during the president's first 12 months in office.
Now, in order to deal with the never-ending, unsustainable debt, tax increases are being discussed. This is the worst time to hit Americans with a decrease in take home pay, when consumers are already reluctant to spend and higher interest rates are on the horizon.
Passing Obama's government takeover of health care will only make things worse. It's a massive entitlement program that will increase deficits, raise taxes, and make health care more expensive. Ultimately, health insurance rates will go up, not down, based on massive government regulation.
This isn't theory. This is fact based on analysis of current state's insurance rates, which I wrote about here. Guess which state had the most expensive rates? Massachusetts - the only current state with government run health care.
Obama and Democrats consider their inability to pass this monstrosity a failure of the administration. Given the failure of their successful legislation, I'd say that's actually a success. Same goes for the EPA regulating carbon as a "pollutant" and the decision to try KSM and other enemy combatants with full constitutional rights in a civilian criminal trial. These are all first year successes for Obama, his policies have prevailed, but they are highly unpopular and damaging the future of this country. In fact, they are so bad that he must spend countless hours convincing an unconvinced public that he is smarter than all of us. Damn the results.
When you have to campaign as hard as this president does to seduce people into believing his passed legislation is "working", the truth becomes evident. If Obama's successes are such failures, we should all hope he has less of them. Rush was right. The president might have graded his first year in office a B+, but we'd all be better off next year if he gave himself an F.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Thursday, February 4, 2010
I'm watching the Dow fall under 10,000 for the first time in a few months. No angst. No surprise. I'm told this has something to do with problems facing the European Union. Maybe. But as long as this president continues with his economic policies, it will not be the last time we plunge below 10,000. Or even 9,000. We are on the precipice of a disaster that shows we learned nothing from the Great Depression, which by the way, was overseen by the same type of progressive Democrats who are now running things in Washington.
Increase the size of government. Waste money. Raise taxes. That's become the Democrat's modus of operandi. It may not have a noticeable impact during good times when consumer confidence is up and unemployment is below 6% (as it was during the Clinton years), but it certainly doesn't promote private sector growth. After all, the Clinton years ended in a recession that the Bush tax cuts were fortunately able to correct.
So now that Obama and the Democrats have increased spending across the board, including an 84% increase in discretionary spending, two omnibus bills with trillions in deficit spending, the disastrous cash for clunkers, and a trillion dollar failed stimulus that hasn't stimulated anything but government, they want to play the role of fiscal chicken hawks and work to reduce the deficits they just created by passing pay-go amendments and raising taxes.
This is a really, really bad idea. After all, a tax increase is the same thing as a salary cut, a reduction in the discretionary income for the average working family. And a reduction in discretionary income is the worst thing that could happen when consumers aren't spending. Now they have even less money to meet their financial obligations, to spend on their families and at small businesses in their communities.
Besides, deficits aren't the problem. Spending is the problem. Federal spending goes up every year regardless of who is in charge. Granted it goes up a lot more under Democrats (the last year Republicans controlled Congress the budget deficit was a manageable $160 billion vs. Pelosi and Obama's 2011 budget deficit of $1.4 trillion) and especially when huge entitlement programs are passed (which progressives always favor). Deficits aren't the cancer killing the patient, they are a symptom of the cancer - too much government spending. So why just treat the symptom?
Democrats want us to focus on deficits instead of spending, because they like big government. And so long as spending can be paid for with tax increases (it can't according to the Laffer Curve, but that's a whole different issue), why stop spending? They never met a tax increase they didn't like, so of course they are for pay-go amendments. It makes tax cuts next to impossible, grows government, and gives them more power. But by focusing on deficits instead of spending, we are neglecting the root of the evil - the loss of private sector wealth and free enterprise. In the meantime, businesses are getting crushed, finding it harder to succeed faced with new taxes and unnecessary regulation. And voila, we have recreated the exact type of policies that led to the Great Depression.
This will be Obama's legacy, and while the president talks a lot about favoring small business and entrepreneurs, his policies do nothing to encourage confidence. He has created an atmosphere that frowns on letting businesses and banks do what they do best - make a profit. Then he chastises them for not hiring. This is a lot like claiming to love sports cars, so long as they don't run on gas or oil. Then chastising them when they don't go fast.
Take it from me. I just closed a furniture store after trying to hang on for 14 months of decreasing sales. I could no longer afford the 50% loss in revenue and customer traffic. And for every month of Obama speeches and policies, it only got worse. Government is growing at the expense of the private sector. It always does. Sadly, progressives only applaud this. And that's what I hear: Democrats applauding the closing of my store and the end of my means of income.