January 31, 2009

Editorial Cartooning

I always wanted to draw editorial cartoons. The problem is I can't really draw all that well. But I figure why let that stop me?


Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 09:40 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment


The Wrong Change

Something happened on the road to the paradise of HopenChange. For one brief moment the Republicans in the House of Representatives remembered the ideas of fiscal responsibility and limited government. They voted as a united group in opposition to the pork feast the Democrats are trying to pass off as an economic stimulus bill. I suspect this is not the Change The One was Hoping for.

For that they deserve a nice pat on the back and a hearty "Well Done" for a good start. Because that's all it is.

Their action in the House was of course futile because they lack the numbers to stop the liberal steamroller that threatens to flatten what is left of our economy. I wonder if they see the connection.

I wonder if they understand that if they had acted in the same manner when they had a majority of the seats in the legislature they would likely not find themselves in a place where even with 100% party unity they can effect nothing.

I wonder if they have learned.

But like I said - they made a good start. They need to do more. Just voting "NO" to the wishes of The One will not be enough.

The GOP needs to put forth significant alternatives to the dreams of HopenChange. They need to put forth something other than a crap sandwich filled with different crap. They need to put forth some stark opposition.

The debate should not be about which way is the best way to masively expand the government. The debate needs to be expand the government vs expand freedom.

Don't propose different spending - propose cutting spending.

Don't propose different regulation - propose cutting regulation.

Don't propose less growth of government - propose cutting government.

The GOP does not have the legislative numbers to pass any of this and they probably don't have the political clout to actually influence the debate. But they neend to put the ideas out there to the American people. They need to show them that there is better way than the Belt Way.

If they do this, them maybe they will be in a position to accomplish something in 2010 or 12.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 10:40 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment


January 29, 2009

Burned in St. Elmo's Fire

Leg four of the Virtual Volvo Ocean Race is over for the yacht Hold the Mayo. Finishing a short time a go in a very disappointing 15,235. I might as well have sunk off the coast of Borneo.

How did it get that bad? I'll let Rob Lowe explain:




Simply put on one tack boats were passing me by the hundreds. On the other I was making consistent gains on the fleet. But those gains weren't real.

Leg 5 from Qingdao, China to Rio de Janeiro, covering approximately 12,300 nautical miles gets under way February 14.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 10:14 PM | No Comments | Add Comment


The One - Super Patriot

President Obama, The One, may just be the most patriotic person to ever occupy the Oval Office.

The One has a fervently strong belief in the productive capacity of the American market economy.

The One has an overwhelming belief in the dedication and perseverance of the American people.

The One believes with all his heart that the American people can overcome anything and accomplish anything.

The One believes that no matter how bad things get, and how little his spending orgy does to help, that the American people will find a way. They will find a way not just to survive, but to innovate, thrive and succeed.

He knows this. He believes this. He is counting on it to save his ass.

Shrug?

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 06:31 PM | No Comments | Add Comment


January 28, 2009

Lawyers, Geese and Money

I was working up a good rant about some ridiculous class action suit that apparently I qualify for and how lawyers are ruining the country.

Then Ted wrote this and I had to delete it because I can't say it any better:

Really, the main thing this whole situation demonstrates is that not enough lawyers get sucked into jet engines.

Read the rest.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 09:25 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment


Hold the Mayo Racing Leg 4 Update

I haven't posted any updates this leg of the Virtual Volvo Ocean Race because it is just too depressing and embarrassing.

I started out phenomenally well. I was in 441st place in a fleet that has grown to well over 130,000. Then two things happened. First, I choked. I looked at the wind forecast and saw something that was less than perfect and talked myself into tacking away to pursue moderately better conditions. The boats that held their course did very well.

The second thing is that due to a seemingly endless string of circumstances in the real world (work - family those sorts of things) I stayed on the wrong course a good deal longer than I would have liked.

When I finally got back to the boat to assess the damage I had lost 40,000 places and I was on the left side of the South China Sea while the group I tacked away from was enjoying them selves sailing along the coast of Borneo.

The choice I faced at that point was fairly stark. I could head back to the east and eat the loss and follow everyone to the finish or I could double down and work my way north on the west side of the Sea and hope for a large very favorable wind shift.

I doubled down.

To some extent it was successful. I never got the big shift to put me in the lead but I made up a lot of ground.

With just under 300 miles to the finish I have a slight chance of finishing better than 15,000th.

In the official scoring you get to throw out your three worst races. I certainly hope this is one of them.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 08:11 PM | No Comments | Add Comment


Lord of the Eggs

One Egg to rule them all, One Egg to find them, One Egg to bring them all and in the darkness bind them ...


Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 12:54 AM | No Comments | Add Comment


January 21, 2009

Random Thinking

There's a lot of BIG news that I guess requires some sort of commentary. Actually I don't think it's required, but it can be fun. (At least for me.)


HISTORY!!!!
Apparently we made history yesterday by swearing in the first black President of the United States. In some small way I understand the significance of passing that cultural milestone. I don't seem to remember a lot of celebratory posturing when a black man, and then a black woman were appointed Secretary of State. We all, of course remember the celebrations surrounding the confirmation of the currently serving black Supreme Court Justice.

But I guess party plays a role in all of this historical hysteria as well.

I think America having a black President was as inevitable as America one day electing a woman President. And I think it matters just as little.

It has taken us 200 years as a culture to get past our stupid racial impulses. We should be proud?

Obama is the 44th President. No matter what color, shape ethnicity, gender that is how he should be judged. Or as it was once said - by the content of his character.

We passed a milestone yesterday - let's keep moving.

Turbo Fraud
President Obama's nomination for Treasury Secretary has a few problems on his way to confirmation. It seems for the four years he worked for the IMF he neglected to pay his self-employment taxes. Two years of that were caught in an IRS Audit. The other two he made good on when he was getting this nomination.

Tim Geithner, Head of the New York Federal Reserve, claimed that the problem happened because he was using the software Turbo Tax to prepare his own returns.

Members of both parties are claiming that Geithner is uniquely qualified to run the Treasury. I don't have the numbers but I bet thousands of self-employed people use turbo tax every year and manage to pay their taxes correctly. Not being able to do so apparently makes one qualified to run the IRS.

Then there is the fact that the melt down of the financial industry happened when the center of that industry was under his regulatory supervision. I wonder if he will join with the Democrats in blaming the crisis on a lack of regulatory oversight.

The truly horrifying thing is that this guy will probably be confirmed. Even if the Republicans had the courage to try to stop it, they lack the votes.

Speaking of Uniquely Qualified
President Obama's nomination for Attorney General, Eric Holder, is apparently uniquely qualified for that position by virtue of his roll in that gross miscarriage of justice known as the Marc Rich Pardon. He admits it was the wrong thing to do, but that he learned from that mistake.

Apparently clemency for FALN terrorists was just peachy - nothing to learn there.

I've Got A Secret
President Obama also nominated someone with absolutely no experience to be the Director of Central Intelligence. If that is the standard, I am also uniquely qualified to hold that position.

Diplomatic Incident
Hillary Clinton is the new Secretary of State. Enough said.

Everyone is saying we should give the new President a chance to see what he can do.

I've seen enough.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 09:14 PM | No Comments | Add Comment


January 17, 2009

Hold The Mayo Racing Update

After a long stop-over in Singapore, leg 4 of the Virtual Volvo Ocean Race gets underway at midnight EST tonight.

2,500 miles to Qingdao, China.

I am fairly certain that I will start on auto-pilot and take over control in the, hopefully not too early, morning.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 07:59 PM | No Comments | Add Comment


January 13, 2009

Idiocy Knows No Limit

I'm on a roll tonight. There must be full moon. Here's a story of stupidity too grand to believe.

In summary: Illegal alien father arranges a marriage for his 14-year-old daughter in exchange for $16,000 100 cases of beer and some meat.

When he didn't receive payment he reported his daughter missing to the police. Thinking that they would would return her home until he got his meat.

He's in jail on an immigration hold.


Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 09:53 PM | No Comments | Add Comment


A Nation Ruined by Idiots

Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, gave a speech in which he put forth a radical prescription for dealing with the crisis in the financial markets. Bernanke

suggested the incoming Obama administration may want to retool the government's approach to fighting the credit crisis and tap a $700 billion (£482 billion) financial rescue fund to sop up bad assets on the books of banks.

What a truly unique and innovative idea. Maybe we should throw another few hundred billion his way just for coming up with something so revolutionary.

Apparently Bernanke has figured out that the decision not to use the bailout money for what it was originally intended, i.e. to "sop up bad assets on the books of banks" hasn't worked out so well. Not that I had any great expectations for TARP as conceived.

So after unaccountably changing the program and unaccountably handing out $350 billion to banks and other businesses who spent the money without any accountability, Bernanke now thinks the government should go back to plan A.

I think everyone involved in writing this legislation, passing this legislation, signing this legislation and executing this legislation should be taken out and beat with a stick for the crime of being STUPID.

We'll think of other punishments for being lying power-hungry hypocrites later.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 09:37 PM | No Comments | Add Comment


This Is Not the Conflict You Were Looking For

I had the radio on driving home tonight and heard a brief news account of Mrs. Clinton's confirmation testimony.

Apparently she assured members of the committee that there would be no conflict with her husband's fundraising with foreign governments while she serves as Secretary of State because she is going to have the State Department review all such donations.

Excuse me?

Talk about an idea that requires a willing suspension of disbelief. There won't be any conflict because she is going to have her staff review the donations? Doesn't that sort of create another whole level of conflict of interest?

Since as Secretary of State, the departments actions are essentially hers - it's a "buck stops here" thing. This means her assurance amounts to "I'll review them and make sure there's no conflict. Trust me."

I don't think so.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 05:56 PM | No Comments | Add Comment


January 10, 2009

Cowboys in Crash Helmets

It's snowing in my part of the world today so I didn't feel to much like going anywhere or doing anything. In and around what I did do I spent a good deal of time riding the range of the interwebs.

I read a bunch of fantastic reviews of Clint Eastwood's latest and reportedly last film Gran Torino. By all accounts, Eastwood was superb and his role and the move itself called to mind many of his classic performances. The Outlaw Jose Wales was mentioned often as the most apt comparison.

Eastwood was and always will be a cowboy. Strong, independent and uncompromising. Even his other signature role, Dirty Harry, is really just an old west sheriff with a car and a bigger gun.

Then I saw this story in the New York Times: Bull Riders Start Trading Hats for Helmets

I suppose wearing a helmet for bull riding makes sense from a safety standpoint. And as one "cowboy" put it:

“You can’t make money in this sport if you’re at home with a busted face.”

But the contrast couldn't be any more clear. And any more saddening.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 09:15 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment


January 07, 2009

Missing The Problem

Senator Tom Coburn gave a rousing speech in the Senate yesterday that Michelle Malkin highlights.

The Oklahoma Senator does a great job of taking his fellow legislators to task for not "acting as a statesman or are you acting as somebody who wants to get reelected?" But he makes one colossal error in discussing the problem and the solution. (emphasis added)

... Anything less than that says the people who took their oath today and those of us who have taken it before, we violate it. We raise our hand and put one on the Bible and say we will uphold it, but then when it comes to the first tough choice, look good at home or do what is in the long-term best interests of the country, we swivel, we back down, and we opt for the short term, the self-aggrandizement, and the stroke on our own back. We are better than that. The people in this body are better than that.

Senator Coburn, it's a nice sentiment. If it were true, however you would not be giving this speech.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 05:58 PM | No Comments | Add Comment


January 05, 2009

A Different Third Term

One of the more effective themes of The One's campaign was the claim that electing McCain meant a third Bush term. Just think of how effective it might have been if McCain pointed out that electing The One would mean a third Clinton term.

The nomination of yet another recycled Clintonite, Leon Panetta, to be director of the CIA is stunning. The man has zero intelligence experience - and not much more intelligence. He will be the perfect security/foreign policy partner for the equally inexperienced Secretary of State.

I can't help but wonder what reason Jamie Goerlick gave for turning down the position.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 08:39 PM | No Comments | Add Comment


January 03, 2009

Start the Year with a Chuckle

One of my six loyal readers and frequent participant in the comments section, Wayne, sends out stuff to his email list whenever he finds something he thinks we might all enjoy. Sometimes they leave me shaking my head in wonder - today's brought a good laugh or two.

Meet Uncle Jay - who apparently explains the news.


Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 03:41 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment


January 01, 2009

Celebrating Revolution

The people who control the precise measurement of time added a second to 2008. It's called a leap second. They do this periodically to make sure that the extremely precise time of their atomic clocks is synced to the less precise time of the planet's rotation and revolution. Which of course begs the question of what is the point of having "precise" atomic clocks that need periodic adjustment.

When I read that I stopped for a moment and wondered "What is time?"

After a two minutes of trying to wrap my brain around that I took two Advil for the headache and dropped the thought.

There are two measurements of time that make some sense. There is the interval in which the Earth makes one complete trip around the sun which for lack of a better word we call a year.

Then there is the interval it takes for the planet to make one complete rotation. We call this a day. Not really the best word I think since a day includes not only a day but also a night.

These measures of time are based on concrete measurable events. After that, however, it all seems rather arbitrary.

Each day is broken up into 24 units we call hours. Why 24? Since the Earth rotates through 360 degrees why not 36 hours? One hour for every ten degrees of rotation. Each of those 36 hours could still be divided nicely into 60 minutes. Each of those could still be divided into 60 seconds. The whole measurement of the day would be nicely tied to the rotation of the planet.

Of course we would all be working 12 hour days (except in France).

We seem to be obsessed with celebrating the passage of time. Once a year we celebrate the fact that the Earth made it around the sun and we managed to survive the trip. We call this a birthday.

If married we celebrate the fact that our union has survived one more celestial round trip.

And then on the day that we determined to be the first one of the year (wouldn't we be embarrassed if science later proved that what we thought was day one was actually day 247) we celebrate the revolution again.

As the saying goes, "It beats the alternative."

Viva La Revolution.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 11:54 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment


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