Friday, September 29, 2017

Just for fun; top 11 love songs

Since the weekend is coming, let's follow Elspeth's lead and come up with some good love songs for people to enjoy as they come home to their families. 

#11.  Aba Daba Honeymoon, Donovan, sung by Reynolds and Carpenter.

#10.  Good night, The Beatles (you'll have to buy the White Album to get this's worth the money, especially for their tribute to the Beach Boys)

#9.  Honeysuckle Rose, Waller. Yes, I know this is Satchmo and not Fats, but he just drew a bead on the song in this recording.

#8.  You say it best when you say nothing at all, Overstreet, sung by Alison Krauss.  Keith Whitley's version is good, too.

#7. Home Sweet Home, Motley Crue.  The granddaddy of heavy metal power ballads. 

#6.  My Girl, The Temptations.  Why doesn't Mrs. Bubba let me get one of those sleek purple tuxes?

#5.  By the Light of the Silvery Moon, Edwards.  Just don't get caught by your dream man without a corset!

#4.  No one like you, Scorpions.  Thankfully most business trips are not to death row on Alcatraz.

#3.  All the fun, Overstreet.  Love in ordinary life and repentance from the "fun" of the world.

#2.  O Sole Mio, traditional rendered by Capurro, rendered by Pavarotti. 

#1.  Papageno, Mozart.  Malachi 2:15, just with credit given to the wrong One.

Who knew?

At least two members of Robert Mueller's "dream team" of investigators have left.  Now the departure of one is said to have been "expected", but let's face facts; top notch lawyers don't leave top flight investigations where they can make their reputation, and huge bank in the private sector, for no reason.

There are probably other explanations, but one major possibility--the most likely in my view--is that (a) the investigation is not going the way media reports suggest, (b) they're getting sick of the felonious leaks. 

In other words, some of Mueller's team have a conscience.  Who knew?

(either that, or they're going back to the FBI to throw a wrench in the works to stop things from coming back at Hilliary or Comey)

Thursday, September 28, 2017

That's about right

The Babylon Bee "celebrates" the life of Hugh Hefner, who died yesterday at age 91.  One might add that those who are the victims of the 27 common sexually transmitted infections, those who have been victimized by the notion of "safe" extramarital sex, those who have been pushed to abort their children by aggressive lovers, and the like will have a hearty thank you (redacted, rhymes with "duck shoe") for the life of Mr. Hefner. 

Fact checking the "fact-checkers"

Decided I'd have some fun with the most recent version of Glenn Kessler's fiction-checking.

He starts by claiming that since only 5500 estates paid estate tax in a recent year, it's not a big issue.  This comes as something of a surprise to two friends of mine who both practice estate law for a living, to put it mildly.  Plus, the $19.3 billion collected in 2014 could have been put to actual good use instead of subsidizing clowns like Elon Musk.  So not only does Kessler miss the fact that a lot of work goes into A-B trusts and other ways of avoiding the tax, but also misses completely that it is pretty big.  Three Pinocchios for Kessler.

Next, he claims that Trump's claim that our corporate tax rate is 60% higher than the OECD average.  Well, 39.1%/25.5% is, indeed, 53.33% higher than the average.  Kessler tries to redefine the question away from what Trump said, but that's an inherently dishonest ploy that Kessler uses often.  Another five Pinocchios for Kessler.

Next, Kessler tries to get around the obvious fact that over 90% of taxpayers use some form of help with their taxes.  He remains true to form by admitting it's true, then trying to redefine the question.  Um, Glenn, just because help is readily available, often for a price, doesn't mean that help isn't needed.  Another three Pinocchios for Kessler.

Next, Kessler tries to use 2016 estimates to determine the impact of a tax plan released in 2017.  Five Pinocchios plus a "zerbert" for violation of causality.  In the next bit, Kessler seizes on Trump's prior  rejection of the Reagan tax cuts to try to say something, exactly what I'm not sure.  No Pinocchios, but a body slam for a tu quoque fallacy. 

Next, Kessler attacks the tax cuts in Indiana as small--OK, 0.2% of 3.4% doesn't seem huge, but it's nearly a 6% cut in the tax rate.  Four Pinocchios and an F in math for Kessler.

Finally, Kessler winds up with a whopper; he claims, without ever having seen a recent Trump tax form, that Trump would not benefit from repealing the AMT.  He does encourage felonious leaks, however, by noting the case in 2005.  Let's give that one another three Pinocchios. 

Overall, I grant Kessler 23 Pinocchios plus a body slam, a zerbert, aiding and abetting a felony, and an F in math.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Nice to know

Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse noted that the "noose is tightening" around President Trump due to the Mueller investigation.  From this, I infer that (a) true to the Democratic Party's history with the KKK, Whitehouse is A-OK with lynching and (b) Mueller's team is leaking like a sieve, which is in itself a series of felonies. 

Time for Trump to start playing hardball, starting with requesting a special prosecutor to investigate the clear crimes of Hilliary Clinton, Lois Lerner, and James Comey.  Who knows, maybe they'll find that Whitehouse has been encouraging those leaks by Bob Mueller's team and be able to put him in jail, too.

It seems that we ought to modify an old joke about lawyers:

Q.  What do you call a bus going off a cliff with 50 DC bureaucrats in it?

A.  A good start.

Drain the swamp, Mr. President. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Death of a sporting goods store

Now perhaps this just has something to do with me being something of an "old soul", but the recent merger of Cabela's with Bass Pro has me remembering what Cabela's, and a lot of other sporting goods stores, used to be.  When I first visited Cabela's in the early 1990s, it was a place where one could get things that were hard to get elsewhere--Filson coats, Woolrich and Pendleton shirts and slacks (among other vendors), high end boots, and the like.  Over the past 25 years, the "good stuff" has been steadily replaced by mass market camo and "Cabela's" brand t-shirts and sweatshirts--to the point where my family largely stopped going, despite living fairly close to one of their stores.  If I wanted cheap polyester, I could go to Sports Authority, Gander Mountain, or Dick's here in town--all of which have closed in the past two years, interestingly.

I do, however, visit the Pendleton outlet when I get the chance (and have the money), and the local menswear store that carries Filson gets my business, and the local shoe stores that carry premium brands like Birkenstock, Beautifeel, and Haflinger get my family's business as well.

It strikes me that maybe, just maybe, the crisis in "brick and mortar" stores has a lot to do with the fact that the financial guys are optimizing inventory turns and the like instead of letting the owners manage the business.  Yes, you can sell a lot more cheap camo than you can Mackinaw coats, but you might find that you can make a business when Dad buys one every 15 years, and then buys one for each of his sons as they come of age.

Much like small toy stores are eating the lunch of Toys-R-Us by selling decent toys, really.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Now that's interesting

Apparently there is a kerfuffle these days because many football players have decided to protest mistreatment of minorities (which probably does not include their multimillion dollar paychecks) by refusing to stand for the national anthem, and apparently NFL fans have retaliated by refusing to watch the games.  So perhaps to shore up ratings, ESPN is going to show the playing of the anthem, because all those fans that were offended that football players didn't stand for the national anthem apparently didn't notice that ESPN wasn't showing the anthem at all. 

Alrighty then.  Personally, as much as I love my country and the freedom, liberties, and opportunities we have, it strikes me as odd to require people to stand for it before every sporting event.  It is the political equivalent, really, of being told to tell Grandma how much I liked her chili....right after I've just enjoyed my fourth bowl.   Yes, mom, I can do that, but I think she might have already figured out that I thought it was pretty good.

Another perspective....

....on the collapse of Toys-R-Us while neighborhood toy stores thrive is this; the last time I went to Toys-R-Us, to get a toy that I hadn't found in the smaller stores, I saw a sign by the door; "Toys-R-Us bans guns on these premises."  So beyond the fact that going through Toys-R-Us requires going through a huge amount of trash to find any treasure--it's only marginally more fun than shopping at Wal-Mart--and even beyond the fact that the local one is a dump--you've got the fact that the company has told criminals who might come there that your victims have been disarmed for your convenience.

Even if one does not routinely carry a pistol, one can resent stores telling criminals that you are defenseless, and I therefore rewarded Toys-R-Us with "no dollars and no return visits".

Friday, September 22, 2017

Not since Opus assaulted a mime...

....with an olive loaf has there been a crime this bad.  Fremont, CA man attacks Safeway staff with a baguette.  As the gluten addiction czar of the MOB, I just have to say that this kind of thing is the sort of thing that, sad to say, makes life difficult on law-abiding bread owners, and I can only say as well that I'm grateful that this wasn't an "assault baguette" of the pain a la ancienne type of Philippe Gosselin.  Otherwise, "bread control" advocates would be going door to door with warrants, demanding to see if there is dough fermenting in the fridge and taking lawfully possessed sourdough/pain au levain.

Maybe it's time to start a National Bread Association so that lawless bread control will not become the law of the land....remember, loaves don't beat people, people beat people.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Maybe, or maybe not

This National Review article suggests that the way a search of former Trump colleague Paul Manafort's residence was handled suggests that Manafort may be in great jeopardy.  Perhaps, but since so much has leaked out of the Mueller investigation already, it stands to reason that if Mueller had much on Manafort, it would have leaked.

I'm guessing the real reason is to "send a message" and intimidate key players.  Other rumors suggest that Mueller has put wiretaps into the White House, but I doubt that as well, since the Secret Service is bound to screen anyone who enters the building.  Plus, if he does so without real justification, or with false justification, Mueller risks going to the Big House himself.

Shakespeare wrote about this, I believe. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

On reparations for slavery

I was listening to NPR last night, and after a very interesting bit about the case of 272 slaves sold by Jesuit priests in Maryland, another bit came up where Na-Tehisi Coates was arguing that there ought to be reparations for slavery.  In the radio bit, it was with regards to Harvard's endowment, but just for the sake of argument, let's indulge it nationwide.

And for the sake of argument, let's ignore the best arguments against it.  Let's assume that calculating what a person is owed is not subject to complex genealogies and even DNA tests.  Let's ignore the fact that most whites were not slaveowners, and many have ancestors who were still in Europe at the time of the Civil War and had no role in the practice whatsoever.  Ignore the fact that when it's been tried before, monetary payments end up in the original hands within a few years--this occurred in Malaysia, for example.  As Proverbs 20:21 notes, an inheritance quickly gained is not blessed in the end.  Finally, let's ignore the fact that we probably all lost a LOT with, for example, Ben Carson's ancestors picking cotton instead of practicing medicine. 

Rather, let's calculate a number.  In 1860, there were about four million slaves with an average "price" of about $1000.  For the country as a whole, GDP of $12 billion for about 30 million residents in 1860 indicates an average GDP/capita of about $400.  Hence, the ~ 4 million slaves freed by 1865 would have had a "book value" of ~ $4 billion and (assuming an average age of 25 years) an overall productivity in their lives of about ~$10 billion. 

Scaling the larger number for inflation, we get to something like $250 billion dollars in reparations that would be owed.  Add for slaves who never tasted freedom, and you're talking twice that.

Now let's contemplate what we are trying to fix with reparations.  I would presume that we'd be looking at economic deprivation and cultural impacts of slavery, no?  Well, it strikes me that about 25% of the annual trillion dollars in welfare spending goes to blacks, or, about.....$250 billion annually.

So in a sense, our nation is making those reparations payments not just once, but rather annually, and we've been doing this pretty much every year since the Great Society started.   And that brings to mind the question, again; "How's that working out for you?". 

We might note, of course, that some kind of restitution might also be wise vis-à-vis the old Jim Crow laws and such, but again; "How's that working out for us?".  I'd love to write a check for my family's share and say "I'm good", but it strikes me that in reality, I can do a lot better for my minority friends and neighbors without ever touching my checkbook.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Priestess Hilliary?

In her book, in which she of course blames just about everything but herself for her electoral loss, Hilliary Clinton notes that she will not offer "absolution" to women who failed to vote for her.  So not only did she want to be the leader of the free world, but apparently she also thinks she controls our spiritual destiny as well.

I'm not a huge fan of "Le Grand Orange", as Mr. D. calls him, but I dare say that our country dodged a bullet last November.  The question is what others might be coming our way as well.

Just what we needed!

Byron York notes that the new "Dream Act" being considered in Congress has looser requirements regarding criminality than other categories of immigration, looser even than President Obama's unconstitutional executive orders.  As if what this country needed is more criminals in our midst.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

On those allegations of collusion with the Russians

On one hand, the gossips in the swamp are claiming that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is "going for the kill" in trying to obtain an indictment for obstruction of justice against President Trump. 

Really, though, if Mueller wants someone to indict for obstruction of justice, it would be the Democratic Party, which has steadfastly refused to allow the FBI to look at their server to determine whether it was actually hacked, and whether it was likely that the hackers were indeed Russian.  Another good possibility would be to indict the guy who failed to issue a subpoena for this critical piece of evidence, and instead went on a fishing expedition, along with his whole team, none of whom appear to have resigned in protest over this obvious failure to investigate clear leads.

There may be a lot of real wrongdoing on the parts of a lot of people in DC regarding this, but one thing is sure; Robert Mueller's investigation isn't going to find any of it.

Thursday, September 07, 2017


An audit of the 7th Fleet of the U.S. Navy finds that many ships had expired certification in "mobility seamanship" (ability to sail at sea safely), and many others had expired certification in cruise missile defense and surface warfare, many of which have had expired certifications since at least 2015.    This is probably not the entire problem that resulted in the collisions of two ships with merchant ships, but I'm surprised that no one appears to have raised Hell over this, especially given that the tragedies recently could have prevented by the men on watch, the men in the radar room, the men in the sonar room, and the men on the bridge.  The failures here appear to be (along with perhaps basic maintenance) things that most boaters learn in a basic navigation class--they're not things that ought to be forgotten readily.

The only explanation that makes sense, really, is that except for auditors, everybody in the organization probably hates the certification activities, and does not see them as necessary for the proper functioning of the organization.  Apparently many are being disabused of that notion at this point, sadly only after the taxpayers are out billions in repair costs and dozens of families have lost loved ones.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

A finger on the scales...

....ably done by Mark Zandi of Moody's, and ably accepted without question by Yahoo finance.   How so?

Simple.  Zandi's estimate of a $105 billion loss due to the end of DACA (Obama's illegal, unconstitutional "Dream Act" for children brought illegally into the country) simply assumes that the children of illegal immigrants--largely farmers from Latin America--are just as productive, economically speaking, as the average immigrant--which includes a huge number of green card holders, H1B visa holders, and the like who have advanced degrees.

So while, for the sake of the "dreamers", I hope Zandi is right, statistics suggests he's put his finger on the scales of his estimates in a major way.  The kids of illegals simply are unlikely to have the same productivity as the kids of legal immigrants.

In related news, former President Obama has spoken against the repeal of his initiative not by arguing it's legal--he himself admitted it wasn't--but by arguing that it was cruel.  Well, yes, there is indeed going to be a lot of pain about this going forward, as a lot of people could end up, barring Congressional action, going home after a life spent here--some claiming to not even know the languages of their homelands.

But in the same way, it's cruel to the rest of us to have wage rates for the poor suppressed by a surplus of low skilled labor, and to have the rest of us providing schools and welfare for an additional group of poor people, and for us to be incarcerating those illegal immigrants who commit crimes--these data indicate that 90% of the 45000 immigrants in federal prison are here illegally.

I'm not holding out for a good deal regarding DACA at this point, sad to say.  It appears, really, that on the left, even the deportation of felons is frowned upon.  Why, exactly, we would need more felons in this country is beyond me, but I can come up with no other explanation for sanctuary cities.