Saturday, December 6, 2008

Don Boudreaux on Government Expertise

Much has been written in the last few months about the need for increased regulation. The idea is that Congress should immediately employ more regulatory hobbits, trolls, and munchkins to produce more hurdles for the opponents of their donors.
We need some oversight, dang it. If people want to get rich betting on the probability of dubious mortgages getting paid, we need to support them.

Don Boudreaux, economics professor at George Mason University, and half of the incredible Cafe Hayek blog, asks the following related question:

He asks: What the hell are you people thinking?

He asks, If you wouldn't entrust your 401(k) to a senator, why support political investments in the auto industry?

Editor, Baltimore Sun
Dear Editor:
You opine that Detroit automakers "need to explain in detail to Congress how they intend to eliminate thousands of uneconomical dealerships, swiftly bring their labor costs closer to what Toyota pays its workers in this country, and quickly produce more energy-efficient cars that Americans will want to buy" ("
Selling American cars," Dec. 4).

No. These companies deserve investment funds only if they're able to make cars that will sell AND can demonstrate this ability to private investors. Congress is manned by people who specialize in winning popularity contests called "elections." These are not people expert in judging business models, or at pondering the pros and cons of different retail-distribution methods, or equipped to accurately discern the nuances of consumer demands for automobiles, or even – judging from their track record – aware of the most elementary principles of finance and economics.

If, say, you're looking for someone to manage your 401(k), would you entrust that job to Sen. Mikulski or Rep. Hoyer? Of course not, for that's not what they do. So why entrust them and other politicians with the job of investing on a vastly larger scale?

Donald J. Boudreaux

All of which, of course, is common sense. Some of the people grilling the Big 3 CEO's know more about Eritraean Contraceptive Methods than the do about the economics of the auto industry. But let's take it to a more basic level.
We've been through recessions in the past, and came out of them ok.
Lot's of people got wiped out in the dotcom bubble, but we didn't have rioting in the streets.

I occasionally get wiped out at the blackjack table, and walk away wishing for increased government oversight of blackjack dealers. I, too, have felt the pain of totally undeserved gambling losses due to lack of oversight. There should be laws preventing dealers from pulling a 5 out of nowhere to play on top of their 16.

Speaking of which, do you remember people using the phrase "play the stock market", with the implication that one could lose everything that had been put into play? Much like losing a game of Blackjack, Monopoly, or (ahem) Risk? "Playing The Stock Market" has gone out of favor. We now want a risk-free way to put our money to work so we won't have to work to earn more money.

We are supposedly clamoring for regulation that will produce only winners and no losers. "Money for nothing, and your chicks for free," in the words of Dire Straits.

So which Congressperson or Senator has the gumption to understand the implications of every regulatory pebble thrown into the workings of the Free Market? My vote would go to Ron Paul or Arizona's Jeff Flake.

Are there any others who see increased economic regulation as anything but protecting donors from risk and change?

Let's go even more basic.... At this point, can you honestly say that you would trust, say, Senator Robert Byrd to properly order the Happy Meals for Miss MacGillicuddy's Kindergarten?

Friday, December 5, 2008

Mission Accomplished - a 15 Year High In Unemployment

The Unemployment Rate has hit a 15 year high, along with the new high in the minimum wage.

Thanks Be Unto God for yet another increase in the minimum wage, coming to us next year. That should help employers hire more people, right? Especially the young, inexperienced minorities that this legislation is designed to help.

Hit the minimum wage tab below for additional rants on this subject.

Exodus 23:2

Exodus 23:2 linkage here.

This one's also from The Grouchy Old Cripple in Atlanta. You can hit this link an see a GREAT video of an eleven-year old girl field stripping what looks like an AR-15 rifle and re-assembling it in less than a minute.

Either that appeals to you, or it doesn't. The Grouchy Old Cripple. Often imitated, never duplicated.

Who Was The President?

Here's a history test put out by Mental Floss magazine. (Thanks to The Grouchy Old Cripple in Atlanta for posting.) It's called Who Was President?

I got 10 out of 13.

Anyone outside of the U.S. who gets a better score than that needs to keep it to himself.

Please, please, please....Take The Day Off

No. Please don't.
Don't do this.

"Help" from government is what got us into the credit mess.
Please, please, please don't let Uncle Sam help that particular state any more.
For the last 75 years, it's been a mess of corporate welfare and traditional welfare.
Now, they're on the brink of turning things around.

You guys need to go help Michigan some more.
Or better yet, stay home.

The Death Clock

Here's a link to The Death Clock, an online mechanism that tells you when you're probably going to die. It's based on age, attitude, whether or not you smoke, height, and weight. If you need help calculating your Body Mass Index, click here. The number will appear inside the heart on the drawing.

Y'all have fun without me. If you look at Item #9 on my previous post, I might not outlive General Motors.
Regular commenters, please let me know when you're going to join me at Greenwood Cemetery.

Nine Questions About The Big 3 Bailout

A few questions about the Big 3 bailout....

1) After being thoroughly chastised for arriving in D.C. in private jets for their first Subsidy Session, the Detroit CEO's appear to have learned the value of The Meaningless Symbolic Gesture. I think they all pulled into Washington in hybrids this time, simply because cars that run on BS, rhetoric, and moonbeams haven't been invented yet and were unavailable.
Anyway, question #1 is.... since corporate jets are, by almost any standard, nothing but an ego boost, are the Big 3 automakers going to sell the jets? Should there be a string attached requiring them to get rid of them, if the jets were a dealbreaker in the previous episode of Dancing For Dollars?

2) How many American automakers have already gone out of business? Is there something special about these three?

3) Companies based overseas who have opened auto plants in the Southeast appear to be doing ok. When is the last time someone got drunk enough to open a major automobile factory in Detroit?

4) Are all industries in need of a bailout based in "Blue" states? Just curious. Wondering if there's a correlation between worldview and business practices.

5) The United Auto Workers gave the Obama campaign 80 million dollars. I'm sure there were no strings attached. Obama has resigned from the Senate so he won't have to vote on this. The only sane way to bail out the Big 3 (without requiring another bailout in 20 minutes) will be to rip up the current Union contracts. Do you think some people are going to be, um, pissed?

6) A lot of people are pointing to the success of the previous Chrysler bailout , the one engineered by Lee Iacocca. Did that do any good, or did it just postpone misery?

7) I have a four year old F-150. I've taken good care of it. But I've already had to put $1,800 into it, and another $2,000 is probably on the way.
Every time I go to a dealer (the backbones of our small towns, the economic linchpins of our communities, blah blah blah) the repair quote is higher than the price charged by a smaller shop.
The other two vehicles in my Earth-Warming Fleet are imports, or should I say, their parent companies are Japanese. These cars haven't needed any major repairs in the last 5 years.
And when these vehicles do go into the shop, I don't go into cardiac arrest.
(I grew up on a Chevy-oriented farm. Switched to Fords about 10 years ago. I recently decided that I'm not going to buy another American made vehicle. Ever.)
I realize that this isn't a representative sample, but what's up with that?

8) If your organization is in trouble, and people start saying you are "too big to be allowed to fail", hasn't your size become a liability instead of an asset? Isn't the market already telling you that you're too big to pay attention to everything you're doing, and you need to trim some fat?

9) If the bailout goes through Congress and Obama signs it, does anyone want to place any wagers on how long before one of the Big 3 goes bankrupt or needs yet another bailout? I'm putting the over/under at July 1, 2011.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

More Mail From The Obama Campaign

During the electoral unpleasantness of last November (exactly one month ago!) I was on the email list of all the major Mommy and Daddy party candidates.

Obama is still running for office. From today's email inbox:

Dear Whited Sepulchre --

They call me dear....I donated $12.50 to help him defeat She Whose Name Is Not Spoken early in the primaries. Now he's made her Secretary of State. I want a refund.

(There is a conspiracy theory amongst those who choose to believe that Obama hasn't gone stark raving mad .... Obama had to get Hillary out of the Senate so she wouldn't screw up health care, since he wants to screw that up himself. The only way to keep her from sucking all the air out of the room was to offer her a high profile cabinet position, then wait on the inevitable Clinton circus to erupt so he can ask her to resign.

Or it could be that Obama has gone stark raving mad. Can you seriously imagine her diving into the current mess between India and Pakistan?)

Exactly one month ago, you made history by giving all Americans a real opportunity for change.
Now it's time to start preparing and working for change in our communities.

On December 13th and 14th, supporters are coming together in every part of the country to reflect on what we've accomplished and plan the future of this movement. Your ideas and feedback will be collected and used to guide this movement in the months and years ahead. Join your friends and neighbors -- sign up to host or attend a Change is Coming house meeting near you.

I think I'm gonna scrape the Bob Barr sticker off the F-150 and attend one of these. Or maybe I'll just lease a Volvo for that weekend, then go to a Change Is Coming House and LiveBlog it.

Since the election, the challenges we face -- and our responsibility to take action -- have only gotten more urgent.

"our responsibility to take action"....are those the scariest words you've read today?

You can connect with fellow supporters, make progress on the issues you care about, and help shape the future of your community and our country.
Learn what you can do now to support President-elect Obama's agenda for change and continue to make a difference in your community.

Take the first important step by hosting or attending a Change is Coming house meeting. Sign up right now:

Or maybe we could convert the Tarrant County Libertarian Meetup into a Change Is Coming event. That would be memorable.

To get our country back on track, it will take all of us working together.
Barack and Joe have a clear agenda and an unprecedented opportunity for change. But they can't do it alone.

Awwww....let's let Barack and Joe try to do it alone. And if they need help after three years and eleven months, lets hire them a couple of temps.

Will you join us at a house meeting and help plan the next steps for this movement?

The result of these "Change Is Coming" house meetings will be dumpsters full of mail headed toward Congress from earnest, organized grievance collectors. They're going to emphasize Barack and Joe's moral responsibility to take action. All your friends and neighbors are going to be gathered 'round the dining room table, passing around a big drippy cauldron of the poisoned Kool-Aid.

May God have mercy on us all.


David Plouffe

Campaign Manager
Obama for America

KoolAid parody poster came from here.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Redneck Smoke Alarm

A Beginner's Guide To Freedom

Do you ever wish that there was a blog like mine, but written by someone who could get straight to the point?
Do you ever wish you could read a serious libertarian site that covers the issues without erupting into name-calling, goofy pictures, and vitriol?
I have just the place for you to visit....

I met Stephen Smith at my first Tarrant County Libertarian Meetup. (Come to Pop's Safari Bar tomorrow night for one of our mini-meetings, and you can meet him too.)

He writes a political blog called A Beginner's Guide To Freedom, and also ran for the State Legislature as a Libertarian.

"You see, the Republicans and Democrats in each state have set certain rules about who is and who is not allowed on the ballot – i.e., whom the voter may or may not vote for. The specifics vary, but generally speaking, the Republicans and Democrats get space on the ballot automatically, but every other party has to go through a time-consuming and wildly expensive process of obtaining signatures, verifying names and addresses, and fighting off legal challenges just so they can have their candidates listed as a choice for the voter to ignore come November. And should the voter ever pay more attention to these renegade candidates than the major parties might like, the number of signatures required to gain ballot access in the next election cycle is simply raised higher."

In other words, The Mommy Party and The Daddy Party ain't about to go gently into that good night.

Nevertheless, I think both sides of the gay marriage debate miss a fundamental point. The real question is not whether government should recognize gay marriage. The real question is “Why does anyone – gay or straight – have to ask government for permission to marry at all?”

Well said. But almost immediately afterward, Steven couldn't resist having a little fun at Melissa Etheridge's expense.

Melissa Etheridge inadvertently stumbled over a good point recently. After Prop 8 passed in California, she fired off an angry blog post in which she threatened to withhold her state income taxes because the vote didn’t go her way. She backed off that threat in a later interview featured on the November 17th edition of Access Hollywood, but she did mention how bizarre it seemed that her right to marry the person of her choice had been put to majority vote.

Yeah, it seems like a fundamental right to me, too.

But I can’t help laughing at the irony. Melissa Etheridge is a proud “progressive” who has been outspoken in her support for the likes of Dennis Kucinich and Al Gore. So normally she’s all for putting things to a vote – like voting for new and creative ways to waste your money on some ill-conceived socialist plan.

....Now that she’s on the losing side, however, Ms. Etheridge is slowly coming to grips with the fact that direct democracy is a double-edged sword. Do you think this will be enough to get her to reconsider her lifelong worship of big government? Neither do I.

Me either. Why Gays and Lesbians insist on voting for Democrats is God's own mystery.

Stephen's blog is one of the few I've discovered where I've been impressed enough to start at the beginning with the goal of reading the whole thing.
Read him, link him, save his site to your favorites, and meet us at Pop's tomorrow night.

John Stossel on The Bailouts

Here's John Stossel, of ABC News, saying all the things I try to say but doing it much more eloquently.
WARNING: He does NOT have any funny pictures.

Tax Holiday? Hell No. We Need A Bill In The Mail, Every Month

Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert has proposed a two month tax holiday.
I'm generally in favor of anything that helps Starve The Beast, but I woke up this morning with a different worldview.
We don't need a tax holiday.
We need to start getting a bill in the mail every month, just like we do for electricity, water, trash removal, and credit cards. This one would be for Government.

The Nashville Business Journal has calculated the total bailout package at 8.5 trillion dollars. That's eight and a half trillion dollars, trying to prevent a generic recession. You might remember recessions. We've had ten or twelve of them in the last hundred years. They go away when we leave them alone. They linger when we have a Type-A, Proactive Messiah in The White House. Here's the NBJ:

Federal bailouts, equity buys into banks and investment houses, liquidity infusions by the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank, loan guarantees and economic stimulus checks now total $8.5 trillion, according to various estimates.

....The total includes the $700 billion bank and Wall Street bailout; federal takeovers of
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; individualized bailouts for Citigroup and American International Group; and various cash infusions into financial and lending markets. The $700 billion includes federal equity buys into Bank of America Corp., JP Morgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and other financial institutions.

It works out to $28,000 per U.S. citizen that we've either loaned or guaranteed. Got any kids? Got any retired parents? Know any homeless people, people on welfare, or people who just don't pay any taxes? Lump their 28K's together with your 28K, add it up, and give the worksheet to.... your children.

Encourage them to start working very, very hard. Help them develop a taste for Ramen Noodles and Spam. In the meantime, the current Generation Of Swine should have to start making feeble efforts to pay down the deficit every month. Would that alter some elections? Would that change some campaign rhetoric?

Check out the National Debt Clock to your right. They've only added a half trillion to the odometer in the last month or so. Nobody, and I mean Nobody, has any idea how much of this is debt, how much is merely a loan guarantee, and how much is just a friendly transfer of dollars from you to somebody at Goldman Sachs that Paulson knew when he worked there. Or that Rahm Emmanuel knew from Freddie Mac. Or that somebody just wandered in and asked for.

A team of Nuclear Physicists, Forensic Accountants, the cast of CSI, and Stephen Hawking couldn't properly calibrate that National Debt Clock.

So, how are we going to pay for all this? My online acquaintance, Kevin Colby, has posted this gem about Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert. Gohmert wants us to have a "tax holiday" in January and February....

One U.S. Congressman, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), is fighting to prevent more outrageous spending sprees by Washington with taxpayer dollars going to executive cronies.
With $350 billion of the $700 billion bailout still available to Paulson pending Congressional approval, a conservative Texas lawmaker is proposing to put that money towards a tax holiday from both personal income tax and FICA tax for Americans during January and February of 2009.
He stated, “By instating a temporary tax holiday, we could electrify the American economy and provide overwhelming relief to taxpayers, all for less than the cost of the current failed Paulson-Pelosi bailout system.”
“We need to give this money to the people who earned it. I am sick of Washington millionaires trying to decide which of their cronies should get the next wad of taxpayer money,” Rep. Louie Gohmert continued. “Think about how much you would have if you didn’t have any social security or income tax withheld from your pay check, or if you didn’t have to pay those taxes for January and February! Americans could take and invest their own money where they believe it should go - to paying down mortgages, buying a new car, making credit card payments. The economy would get relief where it is needed the most."

In ordinary circumstances, I believe that The Laffer Curve does apply. You can increase revenue by lowering taxes.
But we now have a higher calling. It's called "Throwing The Bastards Out".

We should do the exact opposite of what Louie Gohmert is proposing.

Every taxpayer should immediately receive a monthly bill in the mail for his or her share of this giveaway, plus the payback for all other spending, based on a 30-year payoff plan. If 98% of us voted for RepubliCrats, then we should immediately start paying for the consequences.

Employers shouldn't be burdened by having to withold it from paychecks. The current witholding rates aren't remotely enough to pay this piper. We need to experience the pain of holding the money in our chubby little hands, and then handing it over to someone who has a campaign donor in need.

The monthly statement should include a nice, condensed, line-item summary of what the spending is for, with no more than two pages of detail. Just list Goldman Sachs, Fannie/Freddie, Growing Democracy In Muslim Sandpiles, Farm Subsidies For Millionaires, Cooling The Earth, The Ford, Chrystler, and Chevy Lear Jets, etc etc etc.

I also propose that it arrive in a black envelope, stamped with a white Skull and Crossbones, but that shouldn't be a dealbreaker. A plain white envelope sanctified with Ben Bernanke's blood would do nicely.

Chances are, your monthly bill will be for more than you currently earn. That's ok. If the government can operate at a deficit, I'm sure you can figure out a way to do the same.

Tax witholding, tax holidays, and the transfer of responsibility to future generations: these have us in a dream world where we can still pretend like everything is just peachy.

But hear that flute off in the distance, the annoying music that seems to be getting louder and louder? That's the piper, and he WILL be paid.

Poster from The Lazy Slacker, who owes me a bailout, should I ever need one.

A Translation From The Original English, Part 2

In the Comment Field of the previous post, someone CLAIMING to be NickM has signed on and offered some faint praise, but also tried to make some corrections to the original text.

My children, we must hold everyone to a high standard of proof.

1) How do we know that this person really is NickM ? How do we know that he isn't some devious representative of The Flying Spaghetti Monster?
2) If we weren't supposed to have the original text, the text that has worked so well for us for so long, then why were we given the original text to begin with?
3) Doesn't it make sense that God would want us to have the original text?
4) What will happen to our standards, our values, our core beliefs, if any Limey With A Laptop can sign on and cause us to question our worldview?

Like Mr. Khoja's Koran, our sacred original text has given us comfort and guidance in times of trouble since.....early yesterday morning. We part from it at our own peril.

"(It) is no mere book, but is a living creature, with a power that conquers all that oppose it."



Monday, December 1, 2008

A Translation From The Original English

Chris and NickM from the Counting Cats blog are frequent commenters on this site.

I believe that the Counting Cats site should join Shakespeare, The King James Bible, and William Faulkner as one of the great monuments to the glory of the English language.

As I understand it, Chris lives in Australia and Nick is in England.

But for Texans, Mississippians and, well, people who don't usually listen to the BBC, Masterpiece Theater, Shakespeare, or even Monty Python, some of the Counting Cats vocabulary can be difficult. As in Shakespeare, The KJV, and Wild Willie Faulkner, the terminology can be a barrier to understanding.

As a service to the English speaking world, I am going to translate the difficult terms in one of NickM's posts from the beautiful (yet primitive) form of English used in the U.K. into the more advanced form used in Fort Worth, Texas. This is Nick's story of a Mr. Khoja, who is suing his employer. Please remember that standards for Political Correctness in England are not as evolved as they are in Cowtown. After all, England is in Europe. Fort Worth is in west Texas. Let's begin:

A Muslim chef is suing the Met because he is feels religiously discriminated against because he is expected to cook bacon and pork sausages for the dibbles’s breakfasts.

You mighta heard about the Muslims. They're now England's top dog church, and they're gonna control the U.K. courthouses if everybody else allows them to practice Sharia Law on British soil.
A "chef" is a fancy name for someone who cooks. Genuine working chefs can actually be seen at a few places over in Dallas.
"Religious Discrimination" is like the feeling experienced in Fort Worth by all non-Baptists. It's merely what they should expect.
Nick accidentally shows us how badly his Mama raised him when he says "pork sausage". (In many primitive cultures, they actually make sausage from something besides pigs. If I'm lyin', I'm dyin'.)
"The Met" is short for "Metropolitan Police Service".
The word "dibble" started off funny. According to The Urban Dictionary, a dibble is a "....Police officer, a name taken from the U.S. cartoon, Top Cat, where the local cop is called Officer Dibble. Used in Northwest England."

He is no ingenue.

This dude didn't just fall off a Tater Wagon on his way into town.

He’s a former senior catering manager at Hendon Police College and sixty years old.

A "senior catering manager" is somebody who rides herd on a lot of cooks. If he's done that job, and he's already older than God's dog, then Nick wants us to know that this particular Muslim chef has handled lots and lots of pork sausage on his ride up the trail to being the senior catering manager. He's handled bacon. And ham. And pig feet, pork rinds, and pork tenderloin, which is damn good with biscuits for breakfast. Chitlins might be too much, though.

NickM usually does a lot of bellyachin' about government waste, and he's missing a chance to ask "What the hell does Hendon Police College need with a senior catering manager?". None of my business. It's Nick's website.

You’d a thunk by now he would have come across that phenomenon called the “full English Breakfast” by now.

"You'd a thunk" is prob'ly an American saying, since I understood it without looking it up. This is a subject for further research.

Here's some Wikipedia, talking about a "Full English Breakfast": The normal ingredients of a traditional full English breakfast are: bacon, eggs, fried or grilled tomatoes, fried mushrooms, fried bread or toast, and sausages, usually served with a cup of tea. Black pudding is added in some regions as well as fried leftover mashed potatoes. Originally a way to use up leftover vegetables from the main of the day before, bubble and squeak, shallow-fried leftover vegetables with potato, has become a breakfast feature in its own right. Baked beans and hash browns are modern additions that have crept into many recipes.

After all that, if you're curious, you can hit on this next link and read about Gout in Britain.

I don’t know if Khoja is involved in the all too common now legal jihad or if he is merely fancying retirement and wants a nice little nest-egg and his solicitor told him he could make a packet out of it.

The British folks say "his solicitor" instead of "his g**damn Lawyer". A "packet" is a small parcel, in this case, one that contains money. Therefore, Nick isn't sure if Mr. Khoja 1) wants to make a religious statement by raising hell and rolling a stump under it, or 2) just wants to make a whole lot of money by suing the government.

I was prepared to consider the latter - a chancer on the make - the most likely until I saw this…

A Chancer, says WordWeb Online, is "Someone who risks loss or injury in the in the hope of gain or excitement" (we've all been there, ain't we?) or "A person who places expediency above principle".

I bet that last one nailed it.

Nick quotes from the article he saw in The Daily Mail.....

Britain’s most senior Muslim officer, Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur, has accused the force of racial discrimination and the National Black Police Association has urged people from ethnic minorities not to join.

Mr Khoja was originally represented by Dr Shahrokh Mireskandari, the controversial lawyer at the centre of the race war, but changed solicitors in August.

His current lawyer Khalid Sofi said there was an ‘important issue of principle at stake in Mr Khoja’s case’.

‘He has genuine and strong religious beliefs and expects that they will be accommodated,’ he added.

The Daily Mail has probably got way more readers than The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, but they can't even spell the word "center". Lordy, what a country.
Now we're back to Nick's opinions, with no more interruptions from The Daily Mail.

Can we for the fifteenth billion time state that religion does not equal race?

In the U.S., we'd say "fifteen billionth time", but you probably got his point. Why is the National Black Policeman's Association getting riled up over a church problem? Are races and religions really one and the same? Doesn't your religion depend on thinking and reasoning things out all by yourself? Or are you just born into it? Hmmmm..... Awww, never mind.

I just wish all the Muslims and Jews over there could just sit down and settle their differences like Christians.

For the love of God / Allah / Jehovah / the Flying Spaghetti Monster....

1) God: the only God, the one that created heaven and earth in six days, the Supreme Being worshipped by Fort Worth Baptists.
2) Allah: the Arab mis-pronunciation of the word "God".
3) Jehovah: another name for God, invented by William Tyndale as a way to pronounce the Hebrew YHWH, which didn't have any vowels.
4) The Flying Spaghetti Monster: a critter in another religion, somewhere between Catholic and Cooking, where heaven and earth was both made by The FSM using "his noodly appendage".

....For the love of God, please leave that canard (a lie) keyed-up and on it’s rims on the hard shoulder. (I ain't 100% sure, but I think it means "strip the tires off of it and leave it on the side of the road with the motor running.)

Please. Pretty please. And quite what the NBPA is doing by telling ethnic minorities not to join the fuzz (Police) is utterly beyond me.

That is beyond parody. (He can't even make fun of it. He's been around the world 8 times and to 3 Messican funerals, and he's still ain't seen anything like it.)

I am gob-smacked. (Bewildered. "Everlasting Gobsmackers" is the candy in "Charlie And The Chocolate Factory" - a big book without any pictures by Roald Dahl.)

I am truly discombobulated. (Confused as a goat on astroturf.)

I mean you’ve got a bunch of folk of colour (that's a lot better than the politically incorrect term "colored people", isn't it?) who are coppers (police) telling other folk of colour not to bother joining because… What, you might only rise to Assistant Comissioner!

Bloody hell, (Hell's Bells) that pays a heck of a lot more sponds (Greenbacks. A half breed of "pounds sterling") than I’m ever likely to see. Apart from that really shouldn’t the NBPA be trying to recruit more technicolour (minority) officers? I mean, really, such an organisation shouldn’t even exist (this is the truth folks - the UK is one of the least racist societies on the planet - I know that fact must cut wannabee Malcolm Xs to the quick but a fact it remains) but given that it does exist one would have thought that’s it’s primary justification would be to recruit more, not fewer, officers of African and Asian descent.

But then I’m reet naive me. (The Urban Dictionary has 3 meanings of "reet", and the English scholars and experts gathered around my laptop cain't agree about the right one. I don't know Nick well enough to say, since we've howdy'd, but we ain't shook yet.)

Of course that isn’t it’s role. Because ya see if it ever did achieve it’s alleged goal then that’s the point at which the gravy train (the easy money) hits the buffers (ends) and it’s passengers (the Professional Victims) have to find a proper way to make a living.

Instead, why not discourage blacks and Asians from joining the force so you can bitch (bitch) about the situation ad infinitum (a long, long, long time).

Oh, and go for quotas for promotion at the same time. Brilliant! You go for quotas and restrict the number of people elligible then you do a number for your own progress up the greasy pole. (Nick says everybody who whines about cooking pork should just be part of a set-aside. Go ahead and have the government separate the sheep from the goats. To "progress up the greasy pole" means to move further up the feed trough. Make up a quota for that too.)

Yes, I know that’s a political term but any bugger (fudge-packer) who believes that any police position above sergeant in the UK isn’t intrinsically a political one is utterly deluded (loco). Hell, Bob Peel is doing a triple salko in the grave....(Ok, this gets complicated. Robert Peel is who thought up the police force. A triple salko is a spinning move in gymnastics and ice skating. So Nick is saying that the father of the modern police force is turning over in his grave because muslim cooks don't want to cook pigs.)

Sam Vimes is back on the sauce (despite the best efforts of Lady Vimes and indeed Nobby Nobbs and Fred Colon) over it. (Sam Vimes is a policeman in some science fiction books. To go "back on the sauce" means, in Baptist terms, to succumb to the temptations of Demon Rum. Nick is saying that a made-up policeman has fallen off the wagon because muslim cooks don't want to cook pigs.)

This utterly stinks. (This is a bunch of horsecrap.) I shall leave you with two addendums to this rant. (Nick wants to make two more points and tell a deathbed conversion story, then he's going to end the sermon and pass the collection plate.)

1) The man claims to be a truly observant Muslim. (Mr. Khoja claims to practice what he preaches.) Judging by the piccy (pictures in the newspaper) he isn’t observing the sunna (Muslim Bible verses) about not shaving his beard. (Mr. Khoja shaves his face.) If he can pick and choose then so can his employers.

2) Tolerance is a two way street. My wife is a vegetarian. (Vegetarians are people who don't eat meat. Yes, they exist. By choice !!!!)

She was once even a vegan (she went through another stage where she wouldn't even wear leather. But then she got cured.)

....and I thought she was from Derbyshire - boom, boom! (this is a very bad Nick joke. Some scholars think it was thrown in here by someone else.)

....but she’s happy to handle meat. Hell, a few years back I did a swallow dive down the stairs (5.9 for artistic expression) and broke both wrists. (See the comments about a "Triple Salko") She was perfectly happy to cook me a steak at the time. She thinks eating meat is wrong.

She has a moral objection to killing animals (I once heard that there was a person in Dallas who felt this way) but her biggest concern was messing it up because she wasn’t 100% sure what she was doing. (I know, I're wondering why he married her if she couldn't cook a steak. But these are British people. They're a different breed of cat.)

My wife has a logical, sensible (I was once almost a vegetarian myself) reason for objecting to all meat. She is also an atheist. (Atheist: Somebody who doesn't believe that God didn't create animals for her to not eat. Or someone who does believe that God didn't create animals for her to eat. Or someone who doesn't believe that God did create animals for her to not eat. It gets complicated.)

Why does that count for less than the opinion of a follower of a depraved C7th Bedouin (7th Century nomad) on one sort of meat? Well why? The fact that my wife was born in 1979 and Muhammed died in 632 doesn’t cut it. (It makes no sense. It don't add up.) Neither does the fact that Big Mo (Muhammed, the Muslim Jesus) has umpty million followers (lots of deluded victims). Why do we give religions such scope beyond what we allow the un-religious? I mean, at the end of the day, it’s all just opinion, right?

Like many of our beliefs about eating meat, pig cooking, the validity of Muhammed and God and Jehovah and The Flying Spaghetti Monster, this translation is all an opinion. I think my translation is accurate, others might not.

Someone claiming to be NickM, or claiming to speak for NickM, might eventually sign on and take issue with my interpretation of NickM's words. I'm going to require a very high level of proof before I believe that it's really NickM speaking, though.

I've become very, very loyal to this translation.

Duckburg Inflation

For the last couple of months I've been wandering around like the Ancient Mariner, telling this same tale to any Wedding Guest who would listen.
Nobody gets it.
This should help.
If anyone sees any difference in this Uncle Scrooge cartoon (featuring Huey, Dewey, and Louie) and our current Federal Reserve activity, please let me know.

HT to ReasonTV and Samizdata.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

From The Mumbai Bloggers

Blue Bloggin', the left of center Texas site, has a collection of links to Mumbai bloggers.
Great, great stuff.

If you have limited time, go to India Uncut, Going Anon and Anon, and Jasmine And The Elephants Blog.

I've linked to whichever post they did immediately after the shooting started (it's eerie to look at the ones done immediately beforehand. You want to scream at them to GET OUT !)

Most of these folks are posting every 12 hours or so. We get to read it.

For better or worse, the world is getting much, much smaller.

The Richardson Snub

The Richardson Snub
by Ruben Navarrette

Check out this gold-plated resume: Seven-term member of Congress; special envoy to North Korea, Iraq, Cuba and Sudan; U.N. ambassador; energy secretary; governor; and five-time nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize.
You would think such an overachiever would be a shoe-in for secretary of state in the Barack Obama administration, especially if that person was also a member of a highly sought-after ethnic group that gave two-thirds of its votes to Obama and helped him win four battleground states. And what if that person also happened to be a former presidential candidate who had stuck his neck out to endorse Obama over Hillary Clinton and wound up persona non grata among Team Clinton and even likened to "Judas" by ever-loyal Clintonista James Carville?

Finally, what if that person had the backing of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, an association of 26 national and regional Hispanic civil rights and public policy organizations. The NHLA recently sent a letter to President-elect Obama recommending New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson as secretary of state. John Trasvina, the group's chairman who also serves as president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, wrote: "No one is more qualified to serve as our country's chief diplomat than Gov. Bill Richardson." Board member Janet Murguia, the president and CEO of the National Council of La Raza, added this about Richardson: "His appointment would send a powerful message to Latinos throughout our country as well as to our neighbors in this hemisphere."

You can click the link above to read the rest of the article. It's greatness - a devastating indictment on the politics of choosing She Whose Name Is Not Spoken for Secretary of State, instead of Bill Richardson. (I took the opportunity to read some of Ruben Navarrette's other editorials. Here's his bio on the Washington Post Writer's Group Website.)

Groundhog Day - Over and Over and Over

People are making lots and lots and lots of comparisons between the Herbert Hoover/FDR handoff of the presidency to the current Bush/Obama handoff. One of mine can be found here.

Most Free Market/Small Government types are of the opinion that FDR did a whole lot to make things worse, and are afraid that Obama will do the same. (Note Rahm Emmanuel's recent comment that one should never fail to take advantage of a crisis, Geithner's desire to undertake bold new experiments, etc.)

George Will summed up my fears nicely in a Real Clear Politics editorial this morning. BTW, you don't have to scour the 'Net for the best Left, Right, Center, Overhead, and Underneath opinions if you look at RCP every morning.....They find them for you.

Here's George:

....The assumption is that the New Deal vanquished the Depression. Intelligent, informed people differ about why the Depression lasted so long. But people whose recipe for recovery today is another New Deal should remember that America's biggest industrial collapse occurred in 1937, eight years after the 1929 stock market crash and nearly five years into the New Deal. In 1939, after a decade of frantic federal spending -- President Herbert Hoover increased it more than 50 percent between 1929 and the inauguration of Franklin Roosevelt -- unemployment was 17.2 percent.

Here's more George:

"I say after eight years of this administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started," lamented Henry Morgenthau, FDR's Treasury secretary. Unemployment declined when America began selling materials to nations engaged in a war America would soon join.

If I haven't convinced you to just hit the link and read the whole thing yet, here's another spoonful of George:

Furthermore, Hoover's 1932 increase in the top income tax rate, from 25 percent to 63 percent, was unhelpful. And FDR's hyperkinetic New Deal created uncertainties that paralyzed private-sector decision-making. Which sounds familiar.

WTF? I mean, WTF? Isn't it supposed to help everything when you raise taxes on the rich? It doesn't change their behavior, does it? It doesn't slow down their productivity and willingness to invest?

Bear Stearns? Broker a merger. Lehman Brothers? Death sentence. The $700 billion is for cleaning up toxic assets? Maybe not. Writes Russell Roberts of George Mason University:
"By acting without rhyme or reason, politicians have destroyed the rules of the game. There is no reason to invest, no reason to take risk, no reason to be prudent, no reason to look for buyers if your firm is failing. Everything is up in the air and as a result, the only prudent policy is to wait and see what the government will do next. The frenetic efforts of FDR had the same impact: Net investment was negative through much of the 1930s."

That link for Russell Roberts goes to the "Cafe Hayek" blog, where Roberts and his colleague at George Mason U dispense indispensable wisdom daily. Cafe Hayek has been blogrolled on this site since Day 1. There's simply no good reason for people who can read in English not to look at Cafe Hayek once a week.

Here's the last of George:

Obama's "rescue plan for the middle class" includes a tax credit for businesses "for each new employee they hire" in America over the next two years. The assumption is that businesses will create jobs that would not have been created without the subsidy. If so, the subsidy will suffuse the economy with inefficiencies -- labor costs not justified by value added.
Here we go again? A new New Deal would vindicate pessimists who say that history is not one damn thing after another, it is the same damn thing over and over.

It probably is the same damn thing over and over. When the economy got really bad in the 1930's, our government came up with infamous Smoot-Hawley tariff. It raised taxes on imports to ridiculous levels, in order to Perteckt Amurrican Jobs. The unintended consequences? It shut down growth everywhere for about 10 years. (Regarding the unfortunate Mr. Smoot and Mr. Hawley, here's a video of the coolest thing Al Gore ever did....)

So here's my prediction. We don't learn from the past. We're throwing huge amounts of our kids and grandkids' money at this problem. (The problem: investors have lost money at the Wall Street Blackjack table, and wish to be made whole again.) So far, that hasn't worked. The next thing we're going to do is shut down NAFTA and other Free Trade agreements. Then we're going to put prohibitive tariffs into place.

I think we've seen this movie before.