Friday, April 30, 2010

Rest in Peace, Dr. Dorothy Height

A LOVELY TRIBUTE AND FUNERAL SERVICE HERE FOR ONE OF THE GODMOTHERS OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT. Above she sits on the left with her long-time friend and colleague, the late Rosa Parks. Height died this week in Washington at the age of 98. President Barack Obama gave her a touching tribute and openly grieved the loss of her presence in American life at the funeral service held for her at the National Cathedral. More on her service.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Michael Krieger At Zero Hedge: It's the Last Dance, Folks

LAST YEAR I wrote about how the leaders in America were essentially fiddling as Rome burned. This fiddling has become an all out dance party and many investors have been dragged onto the floor one more time due to money printing, an inherent desire to be optimistic, a plethora of propaganda and rising asset prices. However, this is the last dance folks. Our corporate and political leaders have destroyed us. Chuck Prince would be proud.

Read the whole thing, if you dare. BTW, this last dance may go on for a little while longer. But don't let that fool you.

Sen. Jim DeMint Speaks Truth to Toothless Financial Reform Folly

UPDATES: Financial Reform Bill Will Only Hasten Next Collapse Then, 10 Ways Dodd's Reform Bill Are Failing on Financial Reform

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Un-Fab Fabrice Tourre On Brokering Highly Sophisticated Derivatives Deals



IS HE FABULOUS OR A FRAUD? Or, indeed, both? The London-based Goldman Sachs banker Fabrice Tourre, who is at the centre of a $1bn mortgage trading scandal, tentatively stepped into the public gaze today for an uncomfortable grilling by lawmakers in Washington.

It was a tough debut for the 31-year-old, who was greeted in Congress by a group of
Code Pink demonstrators dressed in black and white prison stripes, bearing signs reading: "Stop looting America!" Yet Tourre was unflustered – in fact, he proved to be something of a smiler, wearing a faint smirk through opening exchanges in which senators made blustery statements of outrage over the excesses of Wall Street's wealthiest investment bank.

Fabulous or a fraud?

Tourre is neither fabulous nor necessarily a fraud. Rather, perhaps he's both. In truth, he's just a broker----like tens of thousands of others like him----with major swagger and world-class arrogance. He's also the middleman for financial opportunists who are hungry for exotic new financial one-night stands on all sides of the transaction.

It goes without saying that nothing here should fall outside the rule of law. However, just as online, virtual dating is legal, so is what some would call fast financial deals like Tourre brokers. Like booze and fast women, this will never be outlawed in today's speeding, loose world of virtual investments. To the extent that this is casino capitalism based on ephemeral products is considered legalized gambling, I would be for more transparency on every level. Still investors have taken long positions, then hedged their positions with shorts---on every conceivable investment known to man---since time began.

We live in a world of many houses of cards and both the private as well as the public sectors of all political stripes are responsible here.This is not a Republican verses Democratic issue.

So I suggest we tax the winners and refuse to bailout the losers, making things as transparent as possible along the way.

Again let me say, in the stratospheric world of arbitrage and 2nd and 3rd order financial derivatives--- along with those who broker, buy and sell them--- it's going to be very hard for bureaucrats, legislators and especially members of Code Pink to assess guilt and responsibility though they may certainly try. It's a heady world of sophisticated investors who are begging to go long and short on exotic risks. If they're more than willing to play this game and accept responsibility for their risky investment appetites then let them.

I fear too much government intervention will only assure that bailouts will soon become institutionalized thereby exhausting taxpayers even further over time.

The thing all Americans should really be concerned with is why government would ever bail Goldman Sachs and its ilk out with taxpayers funds in the first place. I had no stomach for then Treasury-Secretary Hank Paulson's rescue mission in the last days of the Bush administration. Let investors beware. Let stockholders beware. Let management beware. Let taxpayers/Tea Partiers beware and say NO! to bailouts and the silly policy of Too Big to Fail, especially on all virtual financial products now under scrutiny.

Bethany McLean tells why she agrees and writes at the NYT.

BTW, I don't disagree with anything Sen. Claire McCaskill says below in theory. However, not even Congress can legislate an end to these sophisticated virtual financial products---in long and short form-- anymore than it can do away with the Internet. Both are here to stay for better or for worse.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sunday Reflections

THE PROBLEM with life is not that it’s a tragedy, but that it’s a bore.
— H.L. Mencken

Unbelievers may know about spiritual beauty by hearsay—may even be able to make fine speeches about it...But to the regenerate [born again,] God has given a glance...and there breaks in upon the soul a heavenly sweetness, such a sense of the amiableness in holiness and an excellency in God and a sweet loveliness in Christ....He sees by a new light that was never before let into his mind.
— Jonathan Edwards

From last week's Redeemer service in Manhattan.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Small Chair For G-Boy

ONCE UPON A TIME.... I had been innocently walking across the East side when this little chair caught my eye through the window as I passed. It was covered in red fire engines and clumps of trees. It reminded me of a pair of pajamas with fire engines my son had as a boy. I had to go in and take a closer look. It was the cutest little chair I'd ever seen. Made for a little boy, a little G-boy. It was on sale. I bargained, struck a deal, then asked them to hold it a week.
A week later on Saturday morning my son met me at the store, picked up the fire engine chair and gallantly hailed a taxi. Away we went, speeding the chair to its new home to live with G- Boy.
We put the chair near a window while G- Boy was napping. And waited. But we didn't have to wait very long. When naptime was over, G-boy flew out of his room and spied the chair. He stopped looked and listened, then climbed aboard for the first time.And the rest is history for a little G-boy and the chair with fire engines all around.
And the boy and his chair and his parents and baby sister all lived happily ever after......

The end, for now....

Friday, April 23, 2010

Jon Stewart Takes On Comedy Central For Cowering To Muslim Threats To Creative, Free Expression

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party


BEING TRUE TO OUR NATION'S FIRST AMENDMENT, Stewart goes down on his own Comedy Central regarding a censoring incident on South Park, a program I've never seen. (More on the controversy.) My hat's off to him on this one for standing up to political and religious correctness. He courageously says what needs to be said. And he does it by leaving no religion yet un-parodied. It's very funny.

H/T: Big Hollywood

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Our Currency Becoming Like Monopoly Money


WITH THE UNVEILING OF THE NEW FRANKLIN $100 BILL this week, I want to share a little vignette that happened to me on the Metro here in D.C. last week.

I love riding the Metro and do as often as possible. When I went to buy a $5 fare card with a $10 bill, I entered it into the fare machines as instructed. In a second or two my card came out along with $5 in change. But it was the sound of the change that caught me off-guard and totally shocked me.

Five $1 coins dropped out of a little bin and into a cup. I had expected one dollar bills. But it was the sound and sight of these little pieces dropping that shocked me. They sounded and looked liked Monopoly money. Or play money that might have come out of a Cracker Jack box. I was caught off guard as I picked up these tinny-looking things. Was I supposed to believe this was real money? Had I been defrauded? I really wondered about all this as I got on the Metro. I turned this play-looking money over in my hands during the ride as the truth of this small moment sunk in---up close and personal:

Our money is being devalued at astounding rates even as it's being spent, printed and minted on a 24/7/365 basis. It's folly that by any sane standard is unsustainable, and yes, it's been going on for years and certainly in the Bush administration. Still the Obama administration is taking spending and creating money to new levels of breath-taking, death defying heights. With new money coming out of Washington these days, there's no longer any pretense of it even looking or sounding like real money of old. I vowed to spend these little pieces of tin at the first chance I got.

But it brought home again the lesson that a continues to haunt me---short of a born-again fiscal sobriety experience, by our federal government, our fiat money is heading down the tubes and one day will be totally worthless. It may not happen for a little while, and who knows when. But the sobering effects of this small experience in the Metro last week left me concerned that it may be sooner rather than later. It also left me believing everyone should have some real silver and gold in their lives. And I'm not just talking about silver and gold stocks either. I'm talking about the real, hard thing you can hold in your hands. Because when this play money gig goes down, the real thing will be more and more valuable and helpful in the crisis that's heading our way.

It's not a matter of if, but only of when. God help us all when it happens. We won't have seen anything like the coming currency crisis.

H/T for Don's Column to good friend SG in Colorado.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

As The President Jets To Wall Street Thursday To Villianize and Scapegoat Goldman Sachs, Is The Coast Clear To Go Back to D.C.?

I HOPE SO. Who in their right mind wants to be in Manhattan Thursday for the current Scapegoat Fest now underway by the Obama Administration and its MSM enablers? Believe me, I'm no great fan of Goldman Sachs. Or Hank Paulson. Or John Paulson for that matter. Stay tuned for the diversion of blame from any-and-all government responsibility over the past half-century on to the villains and scapegoats of Wall Street. It's time we stepped back and not bought into group-think here. I think there's more than enough responsibility to go around both the private and public sectors. While President Obama purports to mete out blame in only one direction, I beg to differ.

So does John Tamny: The Goldman Sachs Scandal is Much Ado About Nothing

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Beautiful Hudson River in Spring: From Manhattan to Rhinebeck

HARD TO BELIEVE ONLY SIX WEEKS AGO, this whole area was covered in feet of snow. Today it's resplendent in the rebirth of green everywhere. This morning after saying goodbye to family, I drove out of Manhattan, over the GW bridge and up the river to Poughkeepsie then on to Rhinebeck to visit my good friend, via Hyde Park where I stopped to take a few photos of FDR's summer home with daffodils. After taking a few things out of the car, we drove north for a late afternoon amble along Poet's Walk on the river. The day was sunny and cool with a brisk wind on all sides. Good conversations were had by all and many laughs too.

It's not the Golden Gate, but in my book it's just as much fun to cross.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Gath's Empty Tomb Teaches Us To Set Our Sights on the Only Empty Tomb That Matters

WHILE EXPLORING THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL IN MARYLAND this week, I came upon this old structure at Gathland State Park. While it looks ominously like a jail, it's really a 150 year old tomb---an empty tomb---which John Alfred Townsend, a war and political correspondent pen-named Gath, built after the Civil War, 20 years before his death, at his palatial summer retreat there. Gath had it constructed in honor of himself and his then-highly acclaimed status as a writer.

Since I came upon this crypt so soon after Easter and Christ's Resurrection after three days from the empty tomb where he was placed outside Jerusalem, I couldn't help but ponder the comparisons.

The sign for the interpretation of Gath's tomb is photographed below, and you can see it enlarge by clicking on the image. However, I'd like to copy it here because I think conveys great wisdom:

During the 19th Century few people bought burial lots in public cemeteries as we do today. Instead, a small parcel of their own land was usually
set aside as a private cemetery. If enough money was available a
mausoleum (tomb) was often built for certain family members.

Gath, concerned with his own burial, built this lonely tomb about 20 years
before his death, which came on April 15, 1914 in New York City.By this time
his great wealth had dwindled and the near penniless Gath was buried in a Philadelphia, PA. cemetery instead of his own tomb as
he had desired. Gath's empty tomb mutely symbolizes the uncertainties of Life, Fame and Fortune and the certainty of death.

I believe there is great truth here: Life is uncertain and fame, fortune, wealth, power and all manner of seeming advantages in life are indeed transient, as Gath's life and tomb surely attest to. In the end, there is only one true advantage that can sustain each of us through the ups and downs, the misunderstanding, the errors and the trials and tribulations of life: The empty tomb of Christ.

Bob Deffinbaugh has a wonderful commentary on the Resurrection at Hope you'll read it . Meanwhile, I want to post his opening paragraphs here:

One of my friends, Craig Baynham, tells the story of an uncle who one day was leisurely driving his convertible in the mountains. He had his top down, his radio turned up loud, and was enjoying to the full the beauties of the winding mountain road on which he was driving. So intent was he on the scenery, and so deafened by the blaring of his radio, he failed to notice the driver behind him becoming more and more impatient.

Finally the road presented sufficient room for the furious driver to pass. A blast of the horn and a shake of the fist (even a few not-so-well chosen words) were not sufficient to appease the anger of the hostile motorist. Forcing the uncle’s car to the side of the road he proceeded to verbally vent his frustration. Craig’s uncle, who had been oblivious to the whole matter until now, proceeded to apologize for the inconvenience he had caused. But no apology was sufficient.

“Your apology is not enough. I’m going to pick you up out of that car and beat you to a bloody pulp,” the man finally threatened. As the motorist began to close in on him, the uncle quickly removed a 45-caliber revolver from under the seat and aimed it point blank at his attacker. With only a moment’s hesitation the aggressor blurted out, “I accept your apology.”

And with this he returned to his car and went his way.

The moral to this story is that the introduction of one unexpected element can completely change one’s perspective on a situation. That, in my mind, is precisely what occurred early on that Easter morning nearly 2,000 years ago. In the mind of the Jewish religious leaders, the crucifixion of Christ had once and for all dissolved the popular movement that centered about Jesus the Nazarene, which so threatened their position of leadership in the nation Israel.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ overruled the verdict of the Sanhedrin that Jesus was a malefactor who must be removed. When He rose triumphant from the dead, the claims and teachings of our Lord were undeniably validated. This event revitalized the feeble faith of the disciples and became the heart of the message which the apostles began to preach. It forced the enemies of the cross to face their responsibility for rejecting God’s Messiah and to reconsider the person and work of Jesus Christ.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead not only demonstrated the truth of His teaching, but the value of His death. It proved Him to be the Son of God. It transformed discouraged and disbelieving disciples into fearless preachers of the gospel. Those who shrank back from suffering were now gladly willing to suffer and die for the cause of Christ. One new element transformed the course of history. That element was the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Who Would Have Thunk It?

THE VOLCANIC ERUPTION IN ICELAND this week with its massive, systemic travel delays to and fro Europe reminds me again and again of how God and Life will have its way with us, no matter how adamently we think we're in control. No matter how prepared with think we are, all it takes is a little volcano blow on a small island-nation in the north Atlantic to show us we're really not and to turn the direction of our destinies in ways both great and small, in the blinking of an eye. Whether it's a snow storm, an earthquake, a volcano, a bird or a pebble---or something we could never have thought of--- our lives and destinies can change in a heartbeat.

The massive air pollution of this event also reminds me of the folly of Cap and Trade legislation that tries to control all this on a global scale. One day in the life of the real world shows that we can't really control carbon emissions, and especially weather, like we think we can with all due respect to Al and company. It's hubris! Sure, good stewardship and some pollution laws are a good idea and have accomplished a lot over the last four decades. Yet, when something of the magnitude of a volcanic eruption like this happens, it shows that we're really like ants in the face of God. He's definitely in control of delays, global emissions and progression in the global system and, we're not. Not really, by a very long shot.

My Apologies For Slack Writing Of Late

A FRIEND CALLED yesterday to ask why I hadn't put more taglines on the previous post, specifically the photos at the bottom of the post. I answered that I was having computer problems and lucky to have posted anything at all. Since I've been on the road, AOL has updated itself to something that reminds me of the unchecked growth of the federal government. The biggest problem is that I can't seem to refresh my edits and re-read them in a timely fashion. Yet when I go to Internet Explorer on my desktop to do it, AOL keeps popping up even when I've closed it down. The worse part is it automatically signs itself back online--- even when I haven't told it to. No doubt some techie somewhere in the habit of over-functioning, inserted this update, thinking it would be helpful. But it's not, for me at least. And at times, I simply don't have unlimited time or patience to fool with it.

Though my time on the road and with family is more limited at the moment, it's not for lack of trying that some of my posts seem a bit unfinished. Last night when I put up the photo of the fireball over the Midwest, I tried for 30 minutes to get the copy and links posted and finally gave up and went to bed! This will eventually get resolved when I have the time and motivation to get my genius to help me from a distance. Meanwhile, if you see a post and sentences that end mid-stream with no punctuation at the end, please know, I'm trying to get to that period! It's just that I may not get there for a while on my computer that has run away with me. It's all the fault of the Commerce Clause, no doubt!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

On and Off the Appalachian Trail in Western Maryland

MEANWHILE, Iceland's Volcanic Ash Shuts Down Airline Travel In Europe and Britain.
IT WOULD BE HARD TO OVER-STATE HOW BEAUTIFUL THIS PART of the country is in spring. The Maryland section of the A T goes through some of the most beautiful, historic and interesting parts of our country. A great deal of the Civil War was fought here (from Antietam up to Gettysburg just north of Frederick) with huge casualties and untold sufferings on both sides. Above, I hiked the A T from the Potomac River near Harper's Ferry up to Weverton Cliff where the views were stunning and looked out over three states.

Tennessee's New Health Freedom Act Clears a Hurdle in State Legislature

THIS FROM Humphry on the Hill. I applaud the TN State Legislature. Of course the constitutional issue of whether new federal health mandates can be superceded by a state laws such as this will wind its way through the courts and remains to be seen. I believe this state law would be legal. Why else would our Founding Fathers set up a federal system, specifically enumerating and limiting powers of the federal government? This is truly a fascinating time to be an American and a Tennessean too:

THE TENNESSEE HEALTH FREEDOM Act was approved 19-11 today by a House committee where it had stalled a week earlier.

The bill (HB3433) by Rep. Mike Bell, R-Riceville, declares that Tennesseans can ignore a federal health care law that includes penalties for those who refuse to get health insurance. The panel also approved a proposed amendment to the state constitution that that has similar language (HJR745) to Bell's bill.

The bill also says the attorney general has a duty to fight the federal law in court, though Attorney General Bob Cooper said in an opinion last week that the bill, if enacted, would be invalid because it is preempted by federal law. Cooper also said he could not defend the proposed law in court.

The House Commerce Committee approval sends the measure to the Calendar Committee, where approval is typically routine. The bill, already approved by the Senate, could then be scheduled for a floor vote - perhaps as early as Thursday, but more likely next week.

Commerce Committee approval came after almost an hour of debate, which included defeat of amendments proposed by House Speaker Emeritus Jimmy Naifeh and Rep. Mike Stewart of Nashville, both Democrats.

Naifeh proposed an amendment that would have prevented Tennesseans choosing to ignore the federal law from receiving federal Medicare benefits as well. Stewart proposed an amendment to declare that the new law could not be used to expand the power of insurance companies to deny coverage.

In his concluding remarks, Bell compared the current state-federal government relationship to an "inspirational poster" showing a frog about to be eaten by a "large water bird, maybe a crane" that has grabbed the bird around its neck in a desperate effort to avoid being swallowed.

Winners and Losers of Tax Day


Monday, April 12, 2010

Cautionary Tale for Our Times: Will the Real Cause of the Polish Air Disaster in Russia Please Stand Up?

WE'VE HEARD EVERY CONCEIVABLE THEORY FOR THE CAUSE of the crash in Russia that killed everyone on board---including Poland's President Lech Kaczynski and his wife. From bad weather to pilot error, equipment failure and sabotage--- none of the theories have quite added up to the kind of disaster that went so devastatingly down, in my opinion.

Until now.

When I got back to D.C. late yesterday, my intrepid host told me his news day had been filled with the new, most likely theory for the crash: VIP Syndrome. As I read about it in on the front page of The Washington Post, it did seem to make perfect sense: the president of a country running late who just had to get to a ceremony on time and threw his weight around to make sure he got there. In order to do this, he ordered his pilots to land in fog and zero visibility, against all recommendations or without permission from Russian air traffic controllers to divert and land at another airport.

The theory is that Kaczynski was too impatient to arrive at his destination to entertain any thoughts of diversion. Frustrated, he ordered the cockpit to land anyway. The rest is tragic aviation history.

Evidently, this wasn't the first time Kaczyski had thrown his weight around on a plane to suit his schedule needs rather than the safety of all the passengers on the plane, various news sources are now reporting. Last year, the Polish president tried unsuccessfully to have a pilot fired for not listening to his VIP orders to fly the plane in a manner that suited his schedule. The pilot refused and lived to tell the tale. He also won the case.

Unfortunately, the ill-fated pilots last weekend let VIP Syndrome over-ride their better judgment and orders from the ground. Theirs was pilot error of the gravest kind and cost them the ultimate price: over-riding principle for the sake of appeasing a so-called important person.

Time will surely tell us more when the contents of the black box are disseminated. But I for one think this will be the conclusion. I also think this is a cautionary tale for our times and all of our lives: We all think we're important and often will brook no voluntary delays in our mad dash to keep our schedules and get our needs met. But often delays and even cancellations are for our own good and can even spare us great harm or death. We ignore them at our great peril.

Will be interesting to see what a full investigation turns up. But my money's on impatience and VIP Syndrome. It's a global disease of our hurried, self-important times. It's a disease we all need to be aware of. Not getting there on time is certainly not the ultimate inconvenience as the Polish air disaster aptly proves. If no one else pays attention to this storyline, I hope and pray that I do.

MEANWHILE, the Poles are claiming it is ALL Russia's fault. Sounds like an international political incident in the making to me with no one taking responsibility.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Perfect Ending for Phil and Fans At the 2010 Masters


LAST YEAR LIKE TIGER, HE DROPPED OUT OF THE PGA BECAUSE OF PROBLEMS with his wife. Unlike Tiger, whose sex scandals and serial infidelities to wife Elin almost undid his family and career, then two-time Masters winner Phil Mickelson took time off to support his beloved wife Amy in her struggle with breast cancer.

This weekend in Augusta, arch rivals Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson were both back in the game. The ending to the four-day tournament couldn't have been sweeter or more satisfying. While Tiger's embarrassed wife appropriately stayed home and out of the limelight with her children as he took 4th place this afternoon, Amy Michelson was there to see her loving husband of 16 years take the winner's seat and get awarded his third green jacket for a five under par in today's round.

Sometimes things end as they should---and life for a moment seems fair. This weekend's ending at the Masters was just such a moment. I'm sure Tiger will make a comeback if he can get his shattered life back together over time. As far as I'm concerned, he shouldn't have won today. But Mickelson---a true champion on the field and in his marriage---won a victory all America can applaud and keep applauding. I am! We needed a great personal story like this after all we've endured from the exhausting and sordid Tiger Woods saga. Lefty won and everyone is cheering. And that long hug and embrace with his wife after it was all over was surely a sight for sore eyes.

Related: Near perfect golf with near perfect ending.

From the Fifth Floor Window Saturday

WHILE PLAYING WITH G-BOY AND BURPING G-GIRL yesterday, with parents taking a short break, suddenly from a cracked window choir music and singing erupted on the street below. I ran over to see what was happening, and to my surprise saw this grand procession first going out of the Russian Orthodox Church below, up the middle of the street and then back into the church fifteen minutes later. It was a majestic but somber affair, no doubt a ceremony mourning the deaths of the Polish leaders and friends on Russian soil this weekend. One of the things I noticed was that all the women had their heads covered with scarves. It was a beautiful and touching scene. The priests robes were stunning. May God have mercy on them all. How quickly life can change for any and all of us, in the blink of an eye. That's why accepting Christ is the only way, the only consolation. Seeing your loved ones again for all eternity no matter what happens here, is a promise worth banking on! On my way to church. More later.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Spring Comes To Manhattan

HOW GRIEVOUS THE NEWS OF THE POLISH AIR TRAGEDY IN RUSSIA TODAY. I mourn and pray for all these people who are directly and indirectly touched by this personal and national loss. We truly don't know how quickly our lives can change in the flick of an eye.

I LAST FLED MANHATTAN IN AN EPIC SNOWSTORM IN LATE FEBRUARY. Now, less than six weeks later, I return to a blizzard of color and profusion of flowers and early spring green budding on trees. I also return to a precious wee granddaughter, AKA G-girl, whom I held for the first time and prayed over yesterday, as I did and do her older brother, G-boy. It's cooled off here in Manhattan after an early heat-wave left everyone tired and cross.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

George Washington: The Guy Who Stole All Our Money Now Wants to Steal Our Paycheck, Too


QUESTION: HOW MUCH LIGHT ARE YOU WILLING TO SEE SHINE on global financial markets---aka, the gargantuan global mess---we now find ourselves in?

If the answer is not much or I thought all that was over now, then I advise you not to go to my newest link on the sidebar---Zero Hedge. I admit that I've linked to it before, then delinked because after reading it for several months, I had to take a breather. Soft lighting and rose-colored glasses is not these writers' strong suit.

But if you're more afraid of the dark of midnight than the blazing sun of high-noon, then I encourage you to take a look at this no-nonsense site. Sure, some of it will be above our pay grade and too esoteric for most of us to grasp. Still, every now and then there will be light to see by and understand. Light that could help light our way ahead.

Take for instance the piece featured at the top of ZH tonight by George Washington: The Guy Who Stole All Our Money...

It's short, to the point and, well, it's written by George Washington for heavens sakes.

As to the comments, it's a wild place down there where even angels often fear to tread. But you can sometimes learn a lot on a topic you're interested in if you put your mind to it. Me, I like these guys and their bluntness. You'll have to decide for yourself. Meanwhile, I'll try to stay linked to them this time for the longer haul, though I still may have to take a break from the harsh bright lights of their financial markets reality show every now and then. But overall, I find it well worth my time and efforts to read and learn from the likes of GW and Tyler Durden.

This site isn't for everyone and that's as it should be.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

As Our Political Divide Grows, Is It Time to Part Company?

SYNDICATED COLUMNIST WALTER WILLIAMS HAS BEEN asking the same politically charged question for over ten years: "If one group of people prefers government control and its invitable management of people's lives and another group prefers less government, more liberty and a desire to be left alone, should they be required to fight, antagonize one another, risk bloodshed and loss of life in order to impose their preferences on the other or should they be able to peaceably part company and go their separate ways?"

Williams believes our nation is fast approaching a schism of irreconcilable differences not unlike a marriage crisis that has come to the boiling point over broken vows, as in constitutional vows. Rather than continuing the power struggles, endless talk or escalating opposing differences to the point of violence, Williams wonders if it's not time to consider a separation:

I believe we are nearing a point where there are enough irreconcilable differences between those Americans who want to control other Americans and those Americans who want to be left alone that separation is the only peaceable alternative. Just as in a marriage, where vows are broken, our human rights protections guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution have been grossly violated by a government instituted to protect them. The Democrat-controlled Washington is simply an escalation of a process that has been in full stride for at least two decades. There is no evidence that Americans who are responsible for and support constitutional abrogation have any intention of mending their ways.

Williams certainly raises an interesting question. While peaceful separation sounds like a good idea to me, it begs the question of what such a separation would look like and how it would be constitutionally accomplished---peacefully? Would it be a separation or divorce? Would it involve peaceful secession, or is that an oxymoron? Would we divide up all the states into red and blue and have all the strict constitutionalists moving to red territories and all the nanny staters moving to blue?

It hardly sounds peaceful to me, since nanny state voters would need endless child/adult support from us tax paying citizens----most of whom would be high-tailing it to red strongholds holding onto whatever was left of their over-taxed assets.

Ah well, it's a great thought anyway. I like the way Williams is thinking. But I myself just don't see the words separation and peaceful together in our future anytime soon. It's a great thought though. And remember, all Scotch-Irish gun owners will all be going red--- peacefully or otherwise. I doubt that they'll go quietly into the night myself.

Masters Chairman Billy Payne Says What Needs Saying About the Tiger Scandal

GOOD FOR PAYNE FOR SPEAKING OUT before anyone tees off. The stodgy guys in green jackets were clearly not amused by Tigers massive indiscretions. They should reserve judgment for a long time and give Tiger no instant respect. Tiger has my well wishes, but he has not yet earned my respect----not by a very long shot.

BTW, I saw the NIKE ad with Tiger and his father's voice asking if he'd learned anything. I wasn't wowed at all, mainly because his father was a notorious womanizer himself who hurt his son by disappearing with other women, even when Tiger was with him. I rather wondered after watching the ad, Did Earle learn anything?

Tunku Varadarajan: Obama's Emasculation of America

I LOVE TO READ AND LEARN FROM GREAT WRITERS AND CLEAR THINKERS. Writers who say what I wish I'd said exactly the way they do with a minimum of words.

None of late has caught my fancy and attention more than the conservative man who writes at The Daily Beast from time-to-time whose name I can neither pronounce nor spell. Even my favorite tech invention Spellcheck freezes up when it tries to decipher his name in my copy.

Tunku Varadarajan is his name. (It suggests turnkey for his first name and gives up with no suggestions for the second.) From here on, I'll refer to him as TV. Anyway, TV has done a piece on Obama's nuclear weapons policy announcement that I think is extremely worthwhile. I couldn't agree more. He starts out saying what I said in my post yesterday:

Consider me unimpressed. Barack Obama’s ballyhooed “Nuclear Posture Review” has turned out, in truth, to be more “posture” than “review.”

As has been pointed out by a prominent parser of all things nuclear, the new policy actually changes very little: We weren’t going to nuke Brazil before the review and we’re still asserting the right to nuke North Korea if we need to. And even my nuclear-layman’s eye detects the thrust of platitude in the president’s assertion that, henceforward, the U.S. would “only consider the use of nuclear weapons in extreme circumstances to defend the vital interests of the United States or its allies and partners.” Does the president mean to tell us that his predecessors were free to consider the use of nukes in humdrum circumstances to defend trivial interests?

THEN TV's piece takes an interesting turn as he talks about the auto-emasculation of our country:

I despair of this latest episode of gestural theater designed to make the U.S. look exquisitely reasonable (should we call it “Jimmy-Cartesian”?), but which in truth results in the U.S. looking flaccid, or worse, complacent. After all, who gains from a presidential posture that has, in effect, stigmatized our most potent deterrent?

In terms of foreign policy—or, better put, foreign clout—the U.S. is going through a startling period of auto-emasculation. Barack Obama has discarded his predecessor’s big stick—the wielding of which should have confirmed the flaws not of big sticks but of his predecessor—and replaced it with a mission of almost messianic outreach to our foes and most adamant competitors (while, at the same time, snubbing allies like Britain, Israel and India....

I hope you'll read TV's entire piece. More than anything else, I grieve how Obama's policies continue to embolden our enemies, and also make our president look like a feckless neophyte hellbent on degrading and emasculating our country.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Short Subjects: Presidents Who Talk Too Much, Wives Who Refuse To Do Too Much


AT A TIME WHEN VENEZUELA IS COURTING RUSSIA BECAUSE IT WANTS NUKES AND IRAN SEEKS to annihilate any country with the letters 'I' or 'S' in its name along with its allies, it leaves me utterly slack jawed and (almost) speechless that our feckless president is announcing narrower limits on protocols for using nuclear weapons. More than anything else, that he would even talk about it publicly is shocking to me.

Let's be honest. Our country hasn't nuked any other country in peacetime or war for more than half a century. Our protocols for doing it ever again would have to be dire indeed. So no one doubts that our use of nuclear weapons would be an act of extreme and narrow circumstances that none of us ever, ever wants to see.

Yet, President Obama in his glib manner and utter naivete announces with a straight face that he wants to edge the world towards nuclear disarmament? He obviously thinks he has the personal charm and charismatic wherewith all to speak and have nations that would destroy everyone of us and our allies lay it all down at his wishful thinking. In doing this, he continues to put our country and all its citizens in grave, grave danger. And I for one grow increasing uneasy with this inexperienced, utterly idealist person in the White House. I truly wonder if he's living in the real world.

Wesley Pruden agrees and says it even better.


I commend Tiger's wife Elin for not attending the Masters this year with him. The media scrutiny would be far too intense and ridiculous for her--- or us---to bear. It's bad enough that over 90 body guards are protecting Tiger from women who would turn themselves into live missiles for ten minutes of fame, not to mention whatever other nut cases are in the crowd. What a bore. Elin has kindly spared herself and us seeing the Masters turned into even a greater circus spectacle than it already is.

In the beginning and end, the fact that Tiger has done treatment and is now attempting to salvage his career does not even begin to speak to whether his marriage can ever be resusciatated. If it can be--- and I have grave doubts--- it will be a very long, road back for Elin and Tiger to rebuild trust, respect and rapport. While the drive-by media would love to spin endless stories of Elin's cheering him on at the Masters and forgiving him, at this point it would be a pathetic sham for her to be there. Forgiveness in this case should be a long process and one day at a time.

So thank goodness, Elin is staying home this year. It's honest and one less massive security problem to deal with.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Starting the Week Right: Do-It-Yourself Democracy!


THIS IS VERY INTERESTING. Watch and be amazed! Now if we can just get the out-of-control Commerce Clause in the program or even a 12-step program we may have a chance!

And remember, if we don't do it, Nancy, Harry and Barack won't do it for us. Surely we know that by now.....

You've heard jokes for decades about 'government work.' Now you know that most newly created jobs in the last quarter were in the public sector. Below are three reasons that government work is killing the American economy. It's nice work these government workers have who are subsidized by taxpayers and underwritten by the strong arm of public union contracts. Getting a government job today is like becoming a permanenetly tenured professor. No amount of bad behavior, bad performance or incompetence can get you fired. And it's all compliments of us taxpayers.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Empty Tomb, The Finished Work of Christ

THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS IS WITHOUT DOUBT THE MOST RADICAL DOCTRINE OF ALL CHRISTIANITY. The full implications of the phrase He is risen! are almost unfathomable to the human mind, except with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Lon Solomon, at McLean Bible Church, talks on the most supernatural event in mankind's history which all followers of Christ celebrate today.

Sorry for such paltry blogging this week. Between my being far too busy and dealing with several crisies, now traveling--- still in transit---and huge connectivity problems today, I'm lucky to get anything up at all. It, however, is a glorious day and one that should give us all real and eternal Hope! I need this Good News today and also a day of rest and relaxation.

Will be back soon. Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Doctors Verses Gun Owners


(A) The number of physicians in the US 700,000.
(B) Accidental deaths caused by Physicians per year are 120,000.
(C) Accidental deaths per physician is 0.171.

Statistics courtesy of U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services.


Gun Owners

(A) The number of gun owners in the is 80,000,000. (Yes, that's 80 million)
(B) The number of accidental gun deaths per year, all age groups, is 1,500.
(C) The number of accidental deaths per gun owner is 0.000188.

Statistics courtesy of FBI


So, statistically, doctors are approximately 9,000 times more dangerous than gun owners. This is especially salient, for me at least, since the federal government has recently taken over healthcare. Moral of the story? Lock and load.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday and Spring Bursts Out All Over

DEATH PRECEDES RESSURECTION AND NEW LIFE. Never is this truth more evident than this time of year as wildflowers explode from every nook and cranny and dark days turn to light. The shift is remarkable this year after such a long cold--- dark yet productive----winter.

I will add some links here as I can. Meanwhile, this is the day, ordained from the beginning of the World that we mark Christ making a sinless sacrifice for our sins for all time, for once and for all. And darkness came upon the land. It appeared all hope was lost.....But waitIt's not the end of the story, by a very, very eternal long shot.....