November 30, 2003
The editorial cartoon in this Sunday's Connecticut Post really made my blood boil. The illustration was of a large prescription bottle. The label read
RX: Congressional Pharmacy, Washington, DCObviously this was drawn by some wizened old liberal who doesn't think his share of $400 Billion over 10 years is enough to buy his vote. The cat food line is particularly outrageous since Medicare's own surveys indicate that a whopping 4% of seniors face serious financial issues regarding prescription drugs.
Prescribed To: America's Seniors
PRESCRIPTION DRUG BENEFIT 1 capsule to be rammed down throat daily
SIDE EFFECTS: Privatization. HMO subsidies. High Drug Prices. insufficient Coverage. Nause
TAKE WITH CAT FOOD
I think I am going to pick a day (maybe I'll wait until spring when it warms up a bit) and stand at the end of my driveway naked. A sign would invite anyone who thinks the Medicare Prescription Drugs for Votes Plan is not enough to stop and kiss my @$$.
My version of the cartoon would have read as follows
RX: Congressional Pharmacy, Washington, DC
Prescribed To: American Taxpayers
PRESCRIPTION DRUG BENEFIT 1 capsule to be inserted rectally daily
SIDE EFFECTS: Expanded Federal Control of Health Care, Higher taxes, Lower Disposable Income. Can lead to Price Controls.
TAKE WITH SECOND JOB
November 28, 2003
There is of course the message this sends to our troops. This tells the troops that they have full faith and support of the Commander in Chief. There is the explicit message he delivered to the troops and to the Iraqi people, that we will not turn tail and run. These are very important messages to send. That he could send them and steal the headlines from Hillary's Afghanistan trip is really just the apple pie after a great turkey dinner. But the real message, and the most important message this trip sends is to our enemies on the ground. What this is about in the end is what it says to Saddam, Osama, the Ayatollas in Iran, the dictators in Syria and Korea, and even the royal family of Saudi Arabia.
The message it sends to supporters of terrorists everywhere is that the United States can essentially do whatever it wants, whenever it wants. Forget about the imagery of the President serving dinner to the troops for a moment and look at was accomplished. The President of the United States the most powerful and important man on the planet boarded a plane - and not a nondescript unmarked plane but the clearly marked Air force One - and flew 12 hours to the other side of the planet. They landed at Bagdad International Airport - in the middle of a war zone - and sat down for dinner. He shook some hands, gave a speech, got back on Air Force One and took off for home. They did all of this without the world knowing until they were back in the air. I bet even the French are impressed.
Somewhere in the back of whatever is left of Saddam's and Ossama's minds they have to be thinking that if they can pull this off, if they can fly the President of the United States in and out of Bagdad without anyone knowing, what else are they capable of. And somewhere in a basement in Tikrit and a mountain cave in northern Pakistan a couple of guys already on our shit list are probably sleeping a little less comfortably.
I am still overwhelmingly frustrated at Bush's spendthrift ways in general and particularly the Medicare Prescriptions for Votes program but this Thanksgiving trip reminds me that we are still better of without any of turkeys running against him.
November 25, 2003
The "War on Terror" is a final chance for everyone to avoid catastrophe. The strategy we're following gives the world by far the best chance it has of getting through this without mass death and destruction.I highly recommend reading it. But not right before going to bed.
When I think of what this entitlement is going to cost me I wish I could have 2 minutes of quality time with George W. I would love the opportunity to shove a lit cigar under his nose and quote one of my favorite lines from the movie Top Gun
But I don't think that would really matter because George and every other elected thief in Washington knows that neither they nor anyone in their generation will have to cash that $400 BILLION check.
Son, your ego is writing checks that your body can't cash
There isn't even the hope that under the weight of this new program the whole Medicare system will just collapse. Long before the system is in actual crisis the politicians will scare up an imaginary Medicare crisis which will be the basis for decimating the pharmaceutical industry through regulation and price controls. From there it is not even a slippery slope but a mere hop skip and a jump to fully socialized medicine.
Worse still is that the $400 BILLION Medicare fraud represents the desert cart at the end of the all-you-can-eat spending buffet the White House and Republican Congress have been feeding at like a boat load of drunken sailors who haven't eaten in a week. As someone who is going to spend the rest of his working life paying for all this gluttony there are two ideas that I see completely missing from this government, compassion and conservatism.
The scariest thought of all though is that Bush and his Republican congress are still a better option than anything the Democrats have to offer. The Democrats in the senate fought hard to block the $400 BILLION Medicare fraud because they didn't think it was enough.
November 24, 2003
Part of what I find lacking in the Memorial concepts stems from a deep dislike for the building plans for the new Trade Center. In the midst of the rage, anguish and confusion of 9/11 my first thought was that we should rebuild the towers exactly as they were. Time has only modified that thought slightly. Because there does need to be a memorial. If for nothing else to serve as a reminder to every ass who does nothing but criticize every step we take in defiance of terrorism. Now my thought is that we should rebuild the towers exactly where and as they stood with the addition of 11 floors to the top of each to serve as a memorial.
But I would not build a memorial only to those who died on that day. I would build not only a memorial to the lost but a tribute to the living. A tribute to those who fought death on that day. A tribute to those who toiled endlessly, digging with their hands and passing debris in bucket brigades in the hope that they might pull one survivor from the wreckage. I would build not only a memorial to the lost but a tribute to the spirit of a wounded nation that gathered itself and declared This Will Not Go Unanswered.
November 21, 2003
UpdateIf you google "Feith memo investigation" Hold the Mayo is #2 out of 2,400
November 20, 2003
Teddy Kennedy is still getting away with calling minority judges neanderthals. The mainstream press is still ignoring the Feith memo - and no one seems too upset that the thing was leaked in the first place.
I'm sure with good night's sleep I'll be able to laugh at the King of Pop once again.
November 19, 2003
In the areas of manufacturing and raw materials, there is really no entity that has the market position and power to challenge the influence of government actions. A long history of over regulation and anti-trust actions have seen to that. When it comes to clothing - and in this specific case undergarments - government is attempting to influence the world of consumer retail. Once government enters into that arena, they come face to face with the behemoth named Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart's power in the marketplace will render Bush's misguided textile quotas meaningless.
There is an excellent article from Fast Company Magazine that takes an in depth look at the pressures Wal-Mart puts on its suppliers to reduce cost. The scope of Wal-Mart's power in the retail world is mind boggling and although they are a U.S. based company, patriotism does not enter into their buying decisions. If quotas inflate the cost of undies from China, Wal-Mart will buy them from anywhere else they can get them for a penny less than domestic sources.
The net effect will be to distort production internationally but do nothing to help U.S. manufacturers. If you think Wal-Mart's buying decisions can't have that effect, Consider these stats from the Fast Company article:
Wal-Mart is not just the world's largest retailer. It's the world's largest company--bigger than ExxonMobil, General Motors, and General Electric. The scale can be hard to absorb. Wal-Mart sold $244.5 billion worth of goods last year. It sells in three months what number-two retailer Home Depot sells in a year. And in its own category of general merchandise and groceries, Wal-Mart no longer has any real rivals. It does more business than Target, Sears, Kmart, J.C. Penney, Safeway, and Kroger combined.The rest of the article chronicles the effects of this power on manufacturers. If you work for a company that does business with WM, (I do) these stories will hit home. If you don't they will amaze you.
There is no question that Wal-Mart's relentless drive to squeeze out costs has benefited consumers. The giant retailer is at least partly responsible for the low rate of U.S. inflation, and a McKinsey & Co. study concluded that about 12% of the economy's productivity gains in the second half of the 1990s could be traced to Wal-Mart alone.
Last year, 7.5 cents of every dollar spent in any store in the United States (other than auto-parts stores) went to the retailer.
November 17, 2003
Where one would naturally expect the shrill bleatings of the likes of Kennedy, Daschel and Hillary claiming that the the republicans released this secret memo for political gain there is nothing. Why? As last week's leak showed, the Democrats want to use possible intelligence failures and distortions as weapons against Bush in the 2004 election. Any investigation that revealed the contents of the Feith memo to be the truth would invalidate that part of their election strategy. With the economy improving the Dems would rather let a major breach of secrecy pass than risk the last issue they have to base a campaign on.
The Republicans who last week were in high dudgeon last week over the Democratic strategy memo that called for the Ds to use intelligence committee investigations to gain political advantage are silent on this leak. Why? Clearly given the Democratic strategy leaked last week this memo helps them, but if it were investigated and proved false it would be a disaster for Bush.
It's high stakes poker played with confidential intelligence information and national security. Winner takes all for the Office of President of the United States. If the GOP had any confidence in the information in the Feith memo they would be betting the farm on an investigation. Or are they playing it close to vest hoping to lure the Dems into calling for an investigation that sinks all 9 candidates by validating the war in Iraq.
The Democrats either know that an investigation would hurt them or they are trying to bluff the Republicans into a false sense of security. Either way nothing gets done and a major security breach goes not only unpunished but without investigation. Bipartisanship at its finest.
According to an AP report here Senate Intellligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., said he expected to ask the Justice Department and the Pentagon to determine if the leak constituted a crime.
"That's highly classified material and an egregious leak of classified material"Democratic vice-chairman of the committee Jay Rockefeller is ecpected to sign onto the request.
I am not sure how an "egregious leak" of "highly classified material" can happen without a crime being committed.
The Republicans open weakly and the Democrats call.
November 16, 2003
November 15, 2003
November 14, 2003
He concludes with
That no judge should ignore the Constitution when doing so suits their ideological agenda is a philosophy all nominees must accept. So must all senators. For they too have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution, the whole Constitution, and not just the parts that, for the moment at least, lead to results they happen to like.I wish I had said it that well myself.
November 13, 2003
Here it is. I ad a site to my links because I think it is good. I consider listing a link as giving a personal recommendation.
The current list of nine is by no means exhaustive or final. In fact if you have a site to recommend - see the comment section below. I'll be happy to check out anyone's blog and if I think they are worthy of recommending I'll add them.
With the exception of Rocket Man who provided encouragement and a a number of invaluable hints when I was getting started links are listed alphabetically. (If the blog is listed by the author's name I'm keying off the last name; thus for now Andrew Sullivan is at the end of the list.)
The city of Lauderhill, Fla., passed a new law that controls the colors residents can paint their homeThe specific target of the measure is a man who had painted his house purple and gold Ã¢â‚¬“ the colors of his college fraternity.
I could go on at length about the absurdity of painting your house the colors of your college fraternity. Or I could rant about the psychological implications of a lack of maturity that leads one to cling to portions of their youth too tightly. And quite frankly I would have preferred it if he had painted his house purple and gold just to piss off his busy body neighbors Ã¢â‚¬“ which he has succeeded in doing.
But what really bothered me about this story was this:
a consultant will help the city create a color palette with hundreds of shades from which homeowners can choose. Commissioners are scheduled to vote on the palette in January.I tried a number of different searches on Google to try to determine how many possible paint colors you could choose from at a typical paint store or home improvement store. The closest I got to a number was Ã¢â‚¬Å“infinite.Ã¢â‚¬? I did come across and interesting discussion about the range of the visible electromagnetic spectrum the author of which concluded that somewhere there are probably around 300 trillion possible colors.
From this palette of 300 trillion visible colors the City Commissars of Lauderhill, FLA are going to vote on which few hundreds residents will be allowed to paint THEIR OWN HOUSES.
If I had the capital to fund a fantastically quixotic gesture against the stupidity and the intrusiveness of this law, I would buy a house in Lauderhill, and paint it a patchwork of every color the commissars approve.
November 12, 2003
I noticed too, that there are basically two types of posts on Hold The Mayo. I classified them by their basic emotional component. "This Amuses Me" and "This Pisses Me Off." There are a few that probably fall into both. Of the things that fall into PMO the most common are the Judicial System, the Tax System, and political hypocrisy. If I ever try to take on all three in one post I would be reduced to ranting incoherently! So unless I come across a hypocritical politically motivated judicial decision about the tax code that I can't ignore, I'm going to try to limit PMO posts to no more than two of the big three.
For most of the topics that annoy me, I tend to focus much more on the bigger picture. When it comes to the judiciary for instance I tend not to give a lot of attention to individual injustice and instead zero in on the systemic disregard of the Constitution, the law and the proper role of judges within the law that make individual injustices possible. Thus, I have written multiple posts an the current situation with federal court nominees in the Senate. A subject that covers two my biggest PMO issues.
The Democrats are filibustering the nominations of judges they label as extreme right wing judicial activists. What has earned these judges this label is a belief that is the role of the court to interpret and apply the Constitution not to re-write it, that the proper role of a judge is to judge according to the law - not to create law. Judges like Miguel Estrada and Janice Rogers Brown are in point of fact as opposite of judicial activists as you can get. What the Democratic obstruction amounts to is an effort to increase the liberal politicization of the judicial system. Recent conservative electoral victories have shown that Americans are ready to pull back from big government. That Americans want to put the brakes on the slow incremental drift toward socialism that many liberal policies represent. Having lost the power to advance their agenda legislatively, the left is seeking to ensure that the advancement of their agenda by activist judicial fiat is not thwarted.
I have been critical of the response of the Republicans in the Senate as being weak and basically non-existent. News reports now indicate that the Republications are getting off the sidelines and into the game. It's about time. The political battle over George Bush's nominations of strict Constitutionalist judges to the federal bench may well be one of the most constitutionally significant moments since the succession of southern states that lead to the Civil War. I write that not as an exercise in hyperbole but in the belief that if you look past the partisanship and the politics what this battle represents is a debate about the meaning and the role of the Constitution in America.
Each of the nominations currently being obstructed are to positions that have been described as a stepping stone the U.S. Supreme Court. The outcome of this political struggle within the Senate will determine if there are judges on a career path the SCOTUS who believe constitutional questions should be adjudicated based on what the Constitution actually says about the scope and limits of government authority or if we will continue down the path of judicial law-making. Will their be justices who believe that the Constitution represents the the highest legal standard, or will there be justices who believe that decisions should be based on their personal ideology, public opinion, or precedents of foreign courts.
As you watch the debate in the Senate over the next several weeks and hear the partisan wrangling and acrimony, remember the issues at stake are not really political power and process but the composition of the highest levels of the judiciary. What is at stake is the future of the Consitution.
November 11, 2003
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