Friday, May 28, 2010

Yes, a crime was committed

The White House has announced that Rahm Emmanuel asked Bill Clinton to discuss a position with Joe Sestak in exchange for dropping his Senate bid. While the White House contends that the arrangement was legal because the contact was indirect, and because the position would have been unpaid, the law does not explicitly say that employment or positions must be paid. (it's quoted in the article)

A crime was committed, and at the very least, Rahm Emmanuel needs to go, if not his boss. Numerous contacts between the players make very clear as well that there has been some degree of witness tampering and obstruction of justice involved as well.

I would have figured that a Harvard trained lawyer like Obama would be smarter than this, and that Bill Clinton would remember enough about l'affaire Lewinsky not to get involved in a mess like this, but apparently not.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Good news for British Petroleum!

No, not the (at least partial) success of stopping the oil leak, though that certainly is good news. Rather, this.

No kidding, President Obama's declaration that his administration is calling the shots on the control and cleanup of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is giving British Petroleum wonderful legal cover. You see, when they get accused of allowing a particular bay to be soiled, they simply note that they wanted to do something, but the Obama team prevented them from doing so--and in too many cases, they'll be entirely correct.

Heckuva job, Barry.

Translation: "Yes, a crime was committed."

The Obama administration is saying that an official response will be coming soon to the accusation that Obama's officials had offered Joe Sestak a job if he'd drop out of the Senate race in Pennsylvania.

Now I realize the link says it will prove that there is nothing there, but reality is that if there truly was nothing there, they could simply produce the transcripts of the phone calls and demonstrate that Rep. Sestak (and at least one other person) was flat out lying.

They're not doing that, but rather crafting a if the GOP is smart, they'll get him on the witness stand.

Update: by noting that he will be waiting until President Obama makes his statement before releasing his, Congressman Sestak is giving a very strong hint that his office is coordinating testimony with the White House. Michelle Malkin even gives a hint that there were calls exchanged. That would be, of course, witness tampering and obstruction of justice, two of the charges which were leveled against President Clinton in the infamous affaire Lewinsky.

Get him on the witness stand, GOP!

Cue the world's smallest violin....

My local paper had a recession sob story about a contractor in Wisconsin who had lost pretty much everything. I was feeling fairly sorry for him until I got to about the fourth paragraph, where it noted that (boo hoo) he had lost his $700,000 home to foreclosure.

Given that it takes somewhere between $50,000 and $100,000 per year simply to maintain a home of that size (mortgage, taxes, insurance, utilities, maintainance, etc..), I think I've got a hunch that "excessive debt" and "covetousness" might have had something to do with the demise of his company and the loss of his home. More or less, the first $100k to $200k in pre-tax income was devoted simply to keeping his home. If you doubt that covetousness can destroy a man, you now know better.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Stuck on stupid

Apparently, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has assigned Barney Frank to head the committee shepherding a financial reform bill. For those who don't remember, Congressman Frank is the guy who, while carrying on an affair with a Fannie Mae executive, not only refused to recuse himself from deliberations about Fannie Mae, but also claimed (wrongly) that there was nothing on the books of Fannie Mae that could blow up in the government's face.

Except for the bad investments which have already cost tens of billions of dollars in government bailouts already, with more to come. It may be possible that Mrs. Pelosi could have chosen a more incompetent person than Frank to head this committee, but she would certainly have to work hard to find one.

Finally, a real Super Bowl

H/T Gino. Apparently, the 2014 Super Bowl will be played in New York City. Now if only 2015 can go to Green Bay, 2016 to Buffalo......2017 Murmansk....

An object lesson in gun control

What would happen, say, if an island nation were to use its geographical isolation to have the best chance of reducing crime by banning private ownership of handguns?

Well, John Lott gives us the answer, and it's not pretty. Jamaica's murder rate has soared to 60 murders annually per 100,000 people, right up there with Chicago and Washington, DC--notably two other places which have banned private ownership of handguns. Another example of a place that's tough to get to, but has a sky high murder rate due to handgun bans: South Africa, with a murder rate of nearly 40/100k annually.

It's worth noting, by the way, that Jamaica and South Africa now have higher murder rates as a country than DC usually does as a city.

Addendum: a happy ending in Chicago as an elderly couple ignored Chicago's unconstitutional handgun ban, which allowed them to defend themselves against an armed intruder. A high profile lawyer will defend them, and it is unclear whether the attacker, now deceased, was on the board of aldermen, the city's most notorious crime ring.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

This explains the government's response to the oil spill!

Evidently, those responsible for monitoring oilfield safety were a little more interested in drugs and dirty pictures than in actually, say, buying the fire booms that could have been used to contain the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Five will get you ten that the Democrats in Congress introduce bills to give these clowns more meth money, though.

The Federal government's war on small business... epitomized by President Obama's speech on the subject recently. Beyond the hilarious absurdity of lauding Michigan's Governor Granholm for her economic prowess (15% unemployment is something to brag about on President Obama's planet, I guess) is the tragedy of the Small Business Administration--the government entity that probably does the most harm to small business in general.

Now I concede that the SBA has some serious competition for the title of "most harmful to small business" from the IRS, EPA, and other regulatory agencies, but in my opinion, they win due to "small business loans" and related programs.

You may be confused; weren't those supposed to help entrepreneurs? Maybe, maybe not, but here's what actually happens with SBA loans; entrepreneurs apply for standard bank loans, get refused, and only then are they eligible for an SBA loan. In short, your business is only eligible for help from the SBA when bankers tell you that your business plan won't work, and your credit isn't too hot, either.

The end result; thousands of small businesses get started that shouldn't, imposing greater competition on those who actually should have been in business. Worse yet, an artificially high price for the goods and services used to start small businesses is established, and legitimate entrepreneurs must factor in these artificially high prices and low average returns into their business plans.

In other words, if you wanted to hamstring small business, you could hardly do better than to establish the SBA loan program. Like most government programs outside the Department of Defense and Department of Justice, it's time to end the SBA.

Monday, May 24, 2010

More reasons to homeschool

Beyond the fact that homeschoolers are free to actually teach theology, logic, and a host of other things not currently taught in the government schools, of course.

Here's a story about a 30 year old school principal who has been caught sending a, um, "risque" picture of herself to a student she met while playing online video games. Beyond the criminal activity, there is the issue of her age.

You see, the "principal" was once the (per J.T. Gatto) "principal teacher," responsible more for mentoring teachers than for administering the school. Today, we've turned this around, and all that's needed is a master's degree in school administration (or doctorate) and proper political connections. So with a 30 year old principal, the school district was clearly cheating its teachers and students out of what a real principal is supposed to be.

And a funny one (unless you're from Beer City); a Milwaukee area school bus driver has been fired after being caught using plastic bags to avoid going to the restroom. So if school buses gross you out, well, you're not working without evidence. Hopefully a helpful homeschooler can meet this bus driver sometime and let them know that if they want to be more regular, it helps to have some fiber in their diet.

Finally, smart people may want to watch out for Twin Cities area teachers, as a Ramsey County teachress has just been convicted of emulating Mike Tyson in his infamous bout against Evander Holyfield. If you hear them coming, watch out, or else you might not next time.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Insane stupidity from the Windy City

...Hizzoner Daley threatens to shove a bayonet into the posterior of a reporter, missing the obvious point that if the recently killed police officer been carrying his pistol, a recent tragic incident in that foul city could have ended very, very differently.

How to cripple the economy

According to this source, this source, and this source, actual post-tax disposable income for many families in Minnesota flattens between income of about $20,000 and $50,000, and in many cases a "raise" from one's employer actually results in less disposable income for the worker. I personally know people who have been told by employees NOT to give them a raise, because it would hurt them financially.

If you want to kill someone's incentive to go to college to get from $20k/year to $40k/year annual income, this would be a great way to do it.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

This is why we need adults in government

To rebuke fools like Mexican President Felipe Calderon, who used his time in Congress to berate our country for our immigration and gun laws. An adult in government would have pointed out to Mr. Calderon exactly why so many Mexicans want to come to our country, that Mexico's immigration laws are far harsher than those of the United States, that Mexico's murder rate is triple that of the United States', and finally that if Calderon wishes to reduce small arms traffic over the border, he's quite welcome to help us build a fence on the border. He'd also do well to quit allowing drug traffickers to use the resources of Mexico's police and army.

Unfortunately, we have children in Congress and the White House, children who chose to applaud Calderon's hypocritical and foolish ranting. Hopefully these children can be returned to the private sector this November, where they can learn the lesson that actions have consequences.

Call me "Salathiel"

Why so? Well, it turns out that it's an old family name on my mom's side, and as you might guess, it's been the object of some degree of hilarity--"what kind of sadist would name their child 'Salathiel'?", and so on.

It's still something of a different name, but I'm starting to clue in, I think, to why my ancestors carried that name. It's fairly subtle; Salathiel, or Shealtiel in the Old Testament, is only mentioned as the son of Jehoiachin and the father of Zerubbabel in 1 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, Matthew, and Luke. He is almost deliberately obscure.

However, I can start to infer my ancestors' reasoning through this; Salathiel was the son of a wicked king, and the father of a Godly governor. He was the person who should have sat on the throne in Jerusalem, but could not due to the exile. In fact, I would have to guess that he never even saw the land he should have ruled; his father was either eight or eighteen when taken to Babylon, and it was seventy years later that his son returned. He may not have even lived to see the edict allowing his son to return.

He thus had every reason to become, for all practical purposes, a Babylonian--worship pagan gods some, enjoy the non-kosher foods Daniel rejected, and collect a harem of pagan women--certainly the rulers of Babylon would have given him a small palace and encouraged him to drink himself into a stupor, as was their custom. He could also have lived a life in brooding and bitterness at the position that had been denied him through no fault of his own.

Instead, somehow, he ended up raising the son who helped Ezra and Nehemiah rebuild first the Temple, and then Jerusalem itself. I would have to guess that he--seeing the chastisement of his father and the punishment of his nation--chose (like Moses) to forego the pleasures of worldliness in order to invest in a future that he probably did not live to see.

He is probably not a bad role model for the times we live in today, as we see the financial and political institutions our fathers knew degraded and destroyed by our own sin. We may, to a degree, have no choice other than to train our children for a life that we will not be able to enjoy.

It also tells me a bit about my ancestors; explicitly Biblical names, especially obscure names, were largely the province of the Puritans, and this gives me the hope that I will not meet just one Salathiel in Heaven (ben Jehoiachin), but also two other Salathiel Mournings. I must infer that they at least heard the Gospel, and the Salathiel that passed the name down after a generation had evidently responded to it as well.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Global warming update

Yet another scientist has found data which refute the predictions of the theoreticians; global ocean levels are not, apparently, rising at all. And another prediction of routine warming? At least one scientist argues that there will apparently be cooling, instead.

One would hope that others clue in to the fact that, again and again, the predictions of the "standard theory" are not being borne out in practice, and maybe, just maybe, the "standard theory" needs to be revised--instead of being put into law with cap & trade legislation and international treaties.

Clarifying the immigration mess....

Walter Williams hits yet another one out of the park. In a nutshell; unless we are willing to argue that all people have the right to live in the United States, we need to have, and enforce, reasonable immigration laws.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Now this is priceless

Dear Leader Barack Obama is apparently requiring background checks, including a citizenship check, for each student who will be "allowed" to shake his hand at a high school graduation in Kalamazoo.

As Doug Powers says, "you first, Mr. President." Never mind that a simple metal detector check ought to be more than adequate to ensure security.

And the school? Read the notes by Michelle Malkin's readers; evidently this is one school that would be greatly improved by shutting it down completely. Must be a poster child for Arne Duncan's education reforms, I guess.

Good news from Saudi Arabia

A young woman out on a (prohibited) date apparently decided to beat the "wahhabi" out of one of the religious policemen which plague that country. People are starting to wise up about what radical Islam really means, praise God.

Greece's problem, Italy's problem, and ours, too.

It's called Hauser's Law, according to the Wall Street Journal, and more or less it points out that when government attempts to take more than Joseph's 20% tax (Genesis 41:34), people find ways around that tax.

This explains why so much of the economy is in the black market in places like Italy and Greece, and it has a parallel in the United States with estimated tax evasion of about three hundred billion dollars; there is a limit to how much taxation citizens will endure, and when government attempts to go beyond that level, they succeed only in pushing their citizens out of the legitimate economy--impoverishing the people and actually cutting tax revenues.

The WSJ article suggests that it's merely an empirical law; I would suggest, rather, that Scripture subtly but firmly points out (see Genesis 41, 2 Chronicles 10) that there are limits to what level of taxation government can extract without causing disaster. It is, perhaps, God's Laffer Curve.

H/T Anti-Strib.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Besetting sins

One place where my "small l" libertarianism ends is when libertarians endorse the legalization of street drugs and prostitution; I differ because I simply believe that there are certain behaviors that are "besetting sins," and hence a contract to indulge in these sins really ought not be protected by the law. It's simply going beyond the realm of "voluntary."

An exhibit of this principle comes from South Africa, where thousands of prostitutes are flocking to "serve" hundreds of thousands of soccer fans for this year's World Cup. The power of the besetting sin of fornication is illustrated by the fact that soccer fans will apparently be willing to "hire" prostitutes from Africa--knowing full well that Africa's AIDS tragedy has been largely transmitted through the same.

If you want a picture of the power of sexual immorality, you have it now. People will be paying hundreds of dollars effectively to play Russian Roulette.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Let me get this straight......

....the state of Arizona passes a law saying that police may investigate the immigration status of criminals, and liberals are generally AGAINST a measure that would send criminal illegal immigrants out of the country?

Did I get that right--that apparently many liberals are IN FAVOR of having more criminals on U.S. streets? If so, that certainly explains their affinity for gun control, too.

In related news:

Attorney General Eric Holder, who threatened to litigate against the new law, admits that he hasn't read it. What is it with Democrats telling us that they know what's good for us when they haven't even made an attempt to educate themselves on the subject?

Also, there is apparently a move by professional baseball players to boycott this year's All-Star game to be held in Arizona. This kinda makes sense, as many pro game-players have a rap sheet a mile long, and many of them are immigrants. We'll call it self-preservation of their careers.

Except for the fact that they're legal immigrants. Oh well.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Scary times in fashion.....

My family caught, sad to say, a little bit of "Dancing with the Stars" last night while dining at a fancy restaurant called "Pizza Ranch," and....let's just say that some of the outfits really helped my efforts at losing weight. If only someone were kind enough to tell some of the ladies that while showing more skin surely is distractive, it's not exactly attractive.

Especially bad was some guy in a see through shirt.....I would have made sure he was dancing to "YMCA" and "Instant Club Hit," if you know what I mean.

Then when I opened my new tank style undershirts, I was appalled to find that the manufacturer called them a "camisole." I can understand not calling them by their proper name ("wifebeaters"), but camisoles? What is this world coming to?

Friday, May 07, 2010

How tough things are these days

My employer has started to play country music backwards over the PA system....

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Kudos to President Obama....

....for his (admittedly joking) threat to send a predator drone to annihilate the Jonas Brothers (evidently singers of some sort) if they dared to mess with his daughters.

Now as the daddy of four daughters, I appreciate this, and I like it especially in light of President Obama's position as the holder of a 100% lifetime rating from NARAL and SIECUS; for everyone else's daughters, it's OK if teachers take them to get an abortion, or to encourage young teens (or even pre-teens) to perform deviant sexual acts.

On the other hand, when it's HIS children, he's willing to call in the Air Force to punish those who would dare violate his daughters' innocence. Hypocrite he is; and I'm praying that he'll realize that, even in public policy, ALL daughters deserve protection from predators and the violation of their innocence.

And yes, sons too.

Next, we'll tell them how many artillery shells we have

Evidently, our President has seen fit to let the world know exactly how many nuclear warheads we have--ignoring the basic reality that if you want to win conflicts, you need to keep a few things secret.

Now granted, there are only two nations that could even conceiveably dare to take the United States on in the nuclear way, but don't ya think that maybe, just maybe, it's a good idea to keep the Russians and Chinese guessing? Maybe next we'll tell them, in the name of openness, how many artillery shells and bullets we keep on hand, and how quickly we can make more, as well as the readiness scores of our infantry and cavalry divisions.....

Monday, May 03, 2010

Episode 3, 323, 526....

....of the "And this research got somebody their Ph.D.; sigh." series; in Spain, crack researchers have found that men's heart rates go up when they're introduced to a beautiful woman.

I don't know what's most depressing; that someone paid for this "proof of the obvious" to be done, that an actual academic agreed to perform it, or that people are reporting on it as if it's not completely obvious.

The Al Gore Oil Slick: call me confused

Lots of questions don't seem to be making it into the major media these days about the Albert Arnold Gore, Jr. Oil Slick Disaster. First of all, while crude oil is very flammable, it's not explosive. What led to the explosion, then? Some reports suggest a valve failed to release; why wasn't there a backup to something so critical in place, or at least an override to open it when pressure became too great?

Next, when authorities had a pre-approved burn plan to remove oil slicks, it's been delayed ten days while......the Obama administration sent lawyers instead of geologists and engineers to help, and has been spending a lot of time--before we even know exactly what caused the disaster--blustering on and on about how it was all BP's fault and how they would pay.

I can excuse lawyer Obama's ignorance of the engineering needs of an oil rig and cleanup from accidents, but I can't excuse his ignorance of how civil and criminal courts work to establish culpability and implement remedies. His habit of attacking perceived opponents instead of finding viable solutions is wearing very, very thin with me.