Thursday, September 30, 2010

- A Suicide At Rutgers

I can’t imagine what college must be like with everyone videotaping everyone else, pretty much all the time. Had that been possible when I was in college, there would have been 5 suicides (and 14 murders) a week at Rutgers.

This story is really tragic. The kid’s parents didn’t know that he was gay and he was obviously not emotionally prepared to share that information with them. But his roommate and his friend took that choice away from him and it was more than he could take. It’s a terrible story, and it seems like the people who did wrong will be punished for it, but it’s important not to come to the wrong conclusions about all this.

I’ve made plain my feelings on the politics surrounding homosexuality before, but for simplicity sake let me say them again. My view is this… if it doesn’t involve someone who lives in my house, and I’m not being presented with a bill for anything the next morning, then I could not care less what anyone does in their sex life. So long as it doesn’t intrude on the issues I just mentioned, then I literally view it as none of my business. More than that, I view it as incredibly poor manners to comment on anyone else’s sex life in any way. Had the two kids being charged in this tragedy shared my view, this whole tragedy might have been avoided.

If I were to guess, I’d say that they probably didn’t think it was such a big deal. I think if they knew how it would affect the victim then they almost certainly wouldn’t have done it. After all, they had been conditioned by decades of public school indoctrination to believe that being gay is no big deal at all. As heterosexuals they probably thought it was no worse than showing video of a heterosexual boy with a girl they thought was unattractive. But to this kid and his family, it was a much bigger deal than that. It’s genuinely tragic that they didn’t have the common sense (or at least the good manners) to mind their own business.

There are probably those who think that some of the blame lies with the victim’s parents for not making it ‘OK’ for the boy to publicly proclaim his sexual preference. I think that’s exactly wrong. Anyone who commits suicide has more complicated issues than the final straw would ever lead you to believe. But even beyond that, I think that values should be taught to children by their parents and not by the state. I may not agree with the specific values being taught, but I very firmly believe that it’s their right and theirs alone. When it comes to things like that the state (and specifically the state run schools) should mind their own business as well.

The public schools have tried for 3 decades to make ‘tolerance’ a central issue. And in that vein homosexuality is considered an important protected ‘victim’ class. That has as much to do with this issue as anything. Some kids will always be insensitive jerks, and that will always reach its peak in the post adolescence of college. And it’s ironic that had these kids not been specifically conditioned to think of homosexuality as a non-issue, they might have better understood how horrified this poor kid might have been by his being ‘outed’.

But the media, academics, and intelligentsia will never frame it that way. Their ‘solution’ to this issue will be more and stronger indoctrination that further erodes the role of parents in their children’s lives. That literally will be adding insult to injury and can only lead to more trouble like this… not less.

- Battle For The American Soul

That's how Henry Olsen from the AEI is describing this election over at NRO.

He identifies our choice very well. Do we want to sacrifice our place as 'the land of opportunity' in order empower government to protect everyone from risk? Do we eliminate the chance for bettering your life through your own merit and hard work in order to others who are less willing to struggle so hard to achieve?

Seems obvious to me.

Monday, September 27, 2010

- Evidence Of Racism & Hate

It will probably surprise no one that it wasn't at a Tea Party event but at a public speech given by a Democrat public official.

Friday, September 24, 2010

- How The World Really Works

I was out last night with an old friend from the energy business. He’s a higher level guy who made his bones in the trading world, and is now doing private equity and project financing in energy development. This takes him to a lot of third world countries who are developing energy resources and he is usually dealing with the ruling classes and the senior government people in those locales.

He told me a story of one of his partners in Mexico who had a polo field he wanted to water. Polo is very popular among the ruling classes in Latin America, and to water a large area like that you need pressurized water, which you get by putting a big tank at the top of a nearby hill and pumping water up into it.

So he bought himself a big water tank appropriate to the task, and went to hire a crane to put it at the top of a nearby hill. Thanks to Mexico’s Marxist trade unions and intrusive and heavily corrupt government bureaucracy who are always anxious to fleece 'the rich' when they can, a crane to do the work he needed would cost him about $250,000 per day. He didn't like the price.

Instead he hired a local peasant to sit by the side of the road and wait for a crane. He was there by the side of that road for 8 months before a crane finally rolled by. when it did, the man got up from his folding chair and flagged it down. He then bribed the driver to pull off the road and do the work he needed. Total cost for the bribe and the 8 months of an otherwise penniless man waiting to deliver it: about $3,500.

That’s how the world works in places where the government tries to control everything. That’s the future that Obama and the Democrats would have us embrace. They don’t realize this of course. They think it will be a paradise where ‘experts’ will be making all the important decision taking into account all the political stakeholders. But in reality it will be a guy sitting on the side of the road for 8 months, in order to bribe a guy to do his job, without getting the government involved.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

- The Boys Are Back In Town

Bow hunting season started on September 11th in NJ this year, so if you've wondering where I've been, now you know. With a few gaps,the Bow season for Deer will continue well into the heart of winter. Firearm season on the other hand, is only 6 days long and usually falls after the rut is finishing up in December. So if you want to be a Deer hunter in NJ, you really have no choice but to learn to love the bow.

I've written more about it, but I need to finish a few work things up in time to get out into my stand this afternoon. The bucks have begun moving around this past week in spite of the heat, and I'm determined to get that great big MoFo that's in my area this year.

Updates will be forthcoming.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

- F'ing "SUPERIOR" To Other Presidents?!!!

Cough Sputter.....choke gasp....Jimmy Carter ... Superior?!!! WTF!

This was sent to me by my buddy Vishnu (who apparently knows all too well how to get my goat).

Carter was the worst president in living memory and continues to be an intrusive, classless, contradictory and embarrassing part of US foreign policy as an Ex-President. But in his own estimation he feels he's SUPERIOR to other ex-president who have allowed others to govern on their own when they got elected. Even Brian Williams takes a minute to ridicule this delusional self assessment.

They say Clinton had a big ego, but compared to this guy he's freaking Francis of Assisi.

Monday, September 20, 2010

- Redefining "Radical" Part: 2

Their view of the political spectrum:

Our view of the political spectrum:

- Just Because You Call Them 'Radicals'...

Liberals always seem to think that words can mean whatever you want them to. They've always been more sympathetic to the 1984 'newspeak' style of public relations than conservatives who tend to believe that 'the truth' is more objective.

The current Democrat plan to depict the tea party as 'Radicals' is typical of that. They plan on launching a massive ad campaign to that effect. The problem with the plan though is that the tea party people aren't actually radicals, and since most Americans know that, they will be unpersuaded by the Obama plan.

The blowback from this will be to make it clear to America just how much they were 'flim-flammed' by the news media, when they portrayed Obama as a centrist prior to his election. To people like Obama (and the news media) the Tea Party really is a dangerous element because they represent a move to re-empower individuals over the elite. But ordinary Americans know better.

As for this ridiculous town hall today ... CNBC claims they have a 'broad cross section' of people to ask questions of the President. They have students (liberals) teachers (ultra-liberals), union laborers (liberal muscle), CEO's (liberal fundraisers) and a live audience stuffed with a variety of cherry picked 'activists', lobbyists, trial lawyers and government laborers.

What a joke.

Some of the questions have been 'pre-taped' (I suppose to give Team Obama a chance to carefully craft his answers and get them on the teleprompter.) They prepackage this pseudo news and choreograph it to deliver only their message, and then call otherwise boring suburbanites 'radicals'. And if we're to play our roles in this farce, we're supposed to listen to this obvious nonsense and take them seriously. We're supposed to be fooled by this ... AGAIN. Every time you think they can't possible condescend to us any further, they prove themselves willing to go even one more hyperbolically ridiculous step.

Apparently the only thing the Democrats have in terms of of a plan is to try to redefine the word 'moderate'. So by their definition, if you believe that class warfare helps the economy, then you're a moderate. If you believe that strong labor unions help reduce unemployment while greedy businesses increase it, and if you believe a top down 'planned economy' where decisions are all made by experts is more efficient than an economy based on economic liberty, then you are a 'moderate'. If you believe that high taxes (on the right people) and high deficits are a good idea, and that the government should be the ones who decide how people live their lives, then you ... are a 'moderate'.

But if you believe that they key to prosperity is personal responsibility, or that economic liberty helps the rich and poor alike, then you're a 'radical'. If you believe in limited government you're a 'radical'. If you believe that individuals have a right to make their own decision about how they live their lives, or how to spend the money they earned, then you are a 'radical'.

I can go on like this all day..... but frankly I'm too disgusted.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

- An Obama Revelation

Actually the revelation is mine, it's just ABOUT Obama. Here it is. Right now he's out there basically begging the black community to come out and support their local Democrat candidate. But if what is expected to happen this November happens, then it means that on top of everything else, he's no good at being a community organizer either.

IT makes me think I should go buy myself a teleprompter to practice with and then run for my local house seat. I mean, if he can do that, and it doesn't seem that he can do much else, then how hard can it really be?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

- Where Is The Mystery Here?!

The Teacher's Union is the largest and most politically powerful special interest in America. They spend more money on lobbying than the NRA, or the banking Industry, or any of the other 'special interests' that the Democrats have been demonizing for years. And miracle of miracles... this organization, whose central charter as a labor union is to increase costs as much as possible while reducing output as much as possible, is causing quality to fall instead of rise. I'm aghast.

In a world where everyone was honest, every time a new statistic about how schools are producing less while costing more is released, union officials should be shown on TV high five-ing each other and cheering. Because costing more while producing less is exactly the point of a labor union.

- CNBC: Man Vs. Machine

The much hyped CNBC piece on algorithmic trading is going to run today and I have to confess, I'm dreading it. I'll give good odds that it obfuscates the problem far more than it illuminates it. At it's best it's a complicated problem that even many people in algorithmic trading don't fully understand. And it's WAY beyond the ken of the trained chimps and 'journalist' experts at CNBC.

Central to algo trading of course, is HF trading. Not all High Frequency systems are a problem, in fact many are a great help to providing liquidity. But there is simply no way that CNBC will be able to show that. They aren't in that business. They are in the business of identifying a villain. They want to find someone to blame for problems, not help to solve them. And since the light has gone on over some producer's head about how some HF programs are gaming the system, I think they believe they've found a bad guy.

I get that this is a mass media program designed to get ratings and sell stuff. I'm OK with that. But this is one of those stories they won't be able to tell accurately, so I would just as soon they not try. By mislabeling the issue, they will become a part of the problem rather than a part of the solution.

- The Future Of Entitlements

Kevin Williamson over at NRO has written one of the more prescient pieces I've seen on the current state of US entitlements: The Entitlement Bubble: The Bust Is Going to Be a Nightmare

My freind over at NRO John Derbyshire, has been telling people to get a government job for years. And for years, I've been telling him that anyone who does what he says will be 'buying at the top'. It's not the soul sucking, pointlessly bureaucratic work that appeals to him but the generous benefit package that comes with it. Working for the government right now means retirement at close to full pay in your 50's (sometimes in your 40's) and free medical care until you die. While we dupes in the private sector not only have to pay our own way, but are forced to pay for the government staffers as well in the form of higher taxes.

But I've been trying to tell him for years that the ship has already sailed. Anyone who goes to work for the government today will never have a chance to see any such generosity. The political backlash against the public sector has already started in places like NJ and California, and it's spreading rapidly. But while John doesn't see that yet, I get the impression that Kevin Williamson might.

You see, professional investors are paid to look into the future, but analysts like John and Mr. Williamson are paid to look at the state of things right now. Don't get me wrong - I think they both do that very well. But I get the impression that the fog of the future is clearing for Kevin Williamson just a bit. And while he can't make out the precise problems that will be there for us in the future, he can make out a rough outline of it.

Add into the mix 10 years of double digit inflation eroding the value of earnings for all those (excessively) generous government retirement packages, and you see much more of the picture in 2020. That pressure will decimate our national standard of living, but will also erode a substantial part of our national debt. And it's that result that will keep the political pressure on for higher inflation for years. None of that is mentioned in the NRO piece.

Still, with all that said, it's a highly illuminating and well written article that gives a glimpse of the bloated state of things for the unproductive classes. And it does give a hint of the size of the future problem, even if it doesn't try to detail it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

- Taping The Cops

In general terms I'm more of a 'law and order' guy than some. But I absolutely think it's the right thing to allow the taping of any public servant while working. There are real privacy issues brought about thanks to video technology being so prevalent. But this certainly isn't one of them.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

- Nancy Pelosi (D): Land Of Oz

Given that her constituency is made up of mostly California moonbats, I don't think Nancy Pelosi is too worried about getting reelected. But I do think this campaign Ad is worthy of republishing all the same.

Friday, September 10, 2010

- Greek Potester Redux

A while back I wrote an open letter to the idiotic Greek protesters who were trying to use rioting as a means of forestalling the return of fiscal reality to their Mediterranean nation. The letter got a little attention (as did the rioting). It was reproduced on hundreds of websites, translated into 6 languages, and was read on the air by a popular afternoon radio talk show host. For a guy who has never even tried to make a penny on this writing stuff, that was fun. It was a really great chance to 'influence the conversation', which is the real reason I go to the trouble.

Now Michael Lewis, An Ex Bond Trader but is now a guy who actually does make a living writing stuff like this, has written a much more comprehensive and readable piece that explains what all the Greek Stuff is about in the first place. Here's one my favorite parts:

The average government job pays almost three times the average private-sector job. The national railroad has annual revenues of 100 million euros against an annual wage bill of 400 million, plus 300 million euros in other expenses. The average state railroad employee earns 65,000 euros a year. Twenty years ago a successful businessman turned minister of finance named Stefanos Manos pointed out that it would be cheaper to put all Greece’s rail passengers into taxicabs: it’s still true.

And then there is this classic describing the chaos in western civilizations' cradle:

Here they are, and here we are: a nation of people looking for anyone to blame but themselves. The Greek public-sector employees assemble themselves into units that resemble army platoons. In the middle of each unit are two or three rows of young men wielding truncheons disguised as flagpoles. Ski masks and gas masks dangle from their belts so that they can still fight after the inevitable tear gas. “The deputy prime minister has told us that they are looking to have at least one death,” a prominent former Greek minister had told me. “They want some blood.” Two months earlier, on May 5, during the first of these protest marches, the mob offered a glimpse of what it was capable of. Seeing people working at a branch of the Marfin Bank, young men hurled Molotov cocktails inside and tossed gasoline on top of the flames, barring the exit. Most of the Marfin Bank’s employees escaped from the roof, but the fire killed three workers, including a young woman four months pregnant. As they died, Greeks in the streets screamed at them that it served them right, for having the audacity to work. The events took place in full view of the Greek police, and yet the police made no arrests.

I know communists are all atheist whose religion is the state, but I'm certain that there is a special ring of hell reserved for people like these.

The rest of the article is here. I highly recommend it.

- A Serious Conversation...

More from the best Governor in the country.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

- An Open Chicken Or Egg Question

I have an open question for you readers of this blog. Do you think it's economic illiteracy that pushes people toward a leftist view, or does their leftist views make it impossible for them to understand how free markets work, leaving them with economic illiteracy?

We know they hate the rich and will do anything they can (including hurting the poor) in order to get to them. But if this is simply misguided economic thinking leading them to incorrect conclusions, then there is a chance they can be redeemed with education. But if, on the other hand, their economic views are a product of their devotion to the leftist ideals of envy, subjugation, and the iron fisted rule of the elite over the masses, then we might as well give up on them.

I'm just asking...

- The Insulting 'Infrasctructure' Farce

No one can steal a trillion dollars and get away with it – but you could easily flush it down the toilet in an effort to build new railroads, airports and infrastructure. No one knows more about wasting money than the political left, and true to form, Obama has now proposed a new program for wasting money, that will do absolutely nothing to stimulate growth in our service based economy.

So why does he do it? In a word, Labor Unions. This is nothing more than another 50 Billion dollar giveaway for big labor. They have pulled Obama’s strings since the day he entered office, and this latest nonsense is evidence that they continue to do so. In this country, no one can give you a lower return on your ‘investment’ dollar than a labor union. But as Obama’s devotion to them clearly shows, when it comes to buying votes they are the guys to go to.

Personally I don’t know why we even bother pretending that having another bunch of construction guys standing around doing nothing is going to help anyone but them. We should simply dispense with the illusion. In fact, if president Obama would simply announce that he’s going to invest another 10 Billion in Union based voter intimidation and public sector vote buying, I promise to support the effort. If he could be honest enough to tell me the truth, I’d respect him enough to leave him alone about it. But this farce about ‘infrastructure spending’ is just an insult to my, and every other American’s intelligence.

Jimmy Carter was an incompetent president and a shameless anti-semite, but he was a nuclear engineer in the Navy and they say he was a fairly bright guy. So far, Obama on is even more insulting and condescending to America than Carter was, and all he did in the past was ‘organize’ neighborhoods for racial grievance scams. So long as he keeps this up horribly insulting business, his ratings will continue to fall with anyone who is directly funneling money to. They love him at ACORN, the SEIU, and the AFL-CIO, but the rest of us… not so much.

Friday, September 3, 2010

- We The People...

Never Going To Stand For This.