May 29, 2009

The GOP Debate

I have stayed on the sidelines of the great debate on what the Republican Party should be following the election of The One. The principle reason is that I'm not a Republican, so I really don't have a place in the discussion.

I was a registered Republican for a while. I was what would have been called a Reagan libertarian. Though I confess I rather like the epithet hurled at me once over at Reason Magazine's Hit & Run: Conservatarian.

But since the primary role the GOP should be filling now is fighting the spread of socialism I am compelled to express my opinion of what I wish the Republican Party would be.

I wish they would be fearless.

I wish they would be fearless in the face of political correctness and call out The One for his socialist agenda.

I wish they would not fear being labeled as racists merely for disagreeing with The One.

I wish they were fearless enough to shake their fists and shout "THIS IS WRONG."

I wish they had the courage to stand for the founding principles of this nation, principles of liberty, justice and the rule of law, and declare that they would rather lose an election than see the American people suffer further loss of liberty.

I wish they would stand for something - anything - other than watching what they say and how they say it so as not offend.

But fearlessness and courage do not seem to be qualities we value in our representatives, and they certainly do not seem to be prevalent among the go along get along Republicans.

There are a few who will lay it on the line and not back down. Rush Limbaugh was taken to task by both sides of the aisle when he said he hopes Obama fails. Obama's goal, clearly demonstrated by his policies and his actions, is to create a socialist America with total federal government control over every aspect of our lives. I want him to fail to achieve that goal.

I want him to fail in his quest to appoint a Supreme Court Justice who believes that policy should be set from the judge's bench and that it can done better by a Hispanic woman than by a white man.

The only organization in any sort of position to effect that failure is the Republican Party.

I wish they were fearless enough to do it.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 09:38 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment


You Can’t Handle the Type

Son, we live in a world that has type and that type need to be kerned by men with keyboards. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Brand Manager? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Times Roman and curse Helvetica; you have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that Times Roman's letter spacing, while tragic, probably saved eyes and that my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves eyes.

You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at meetings you want me kerning that type, you need me kerning that type. We use words like leading, x-height, ligature. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent trying to perfect something. You use them as a punchline.

I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who reads and studies the page of the very type I provide and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said "thank you," and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest that you pick up a keyboard and set some type. Either way, I don't give a damn what font size you think you are entitled to.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 03:10 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment


May 26, 2009

Useless Nattering Stupid Cretins - UPDATED

The headline "Useless Nattering Stupid Cretins" should be abbreviated UNSC.

After North Korea announced the test of nuclear bomb and fired off a couple of short range missiles for good measure, the UNSC held an emergency meeting and issued a sternly worded memo.

We can all sleep well tonight knowing the UNSC has brought an end to the North Korean nuclear threat.

A memo? Seriously?

It would be funny if it were not for the fact that so much of the world, including the idiot in the Oval Office, think that this is going to accomplish something.

UPDATE: QUICK TAKE ANOTHER MEMO

North Korea launched another missile into the Sea of Japan early Wednesday, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported, citing an official at Seoul's presidential office. The action marked the third straight day the nation has tested missiles and came as members of the U.N. Security Council met to discuss a punitive resolution against North Korea for its apparently successful nuclear-weapon test Monday.

Raise your hands if you expect the Useless Nattering Stupid Cretins to accomplish anything.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 11:45 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment


May 21, 2009

Monkey Trials

This started out as a comment at Confederate Yankee. I would have left it there but I got a server error each of the three times I tried to post.

CY's post is about the news stories regarding the discovery of a 47-million-year-old monkey fossil (some kind of Lemur technically). Posts on this on a couple of sites have generated hundreds of comments as blog commenters attempt to settle the question "Does God exist?" (I don't think they have figured it out yet, and they are certainly a very long way from reaching any kind of consensus on the issue.)

I normally don't wade in on these shout fests because it is usually not worth it unless you're just interested in seeing how many people you can piss off with one comment. This part of the post struck a nerve though so I had to throw down my two cents.

Science, as wonderful as it is, can tell us only that the universe we know is roughly 4.6 billion years old, and that it probably started with a big bang. But it cannot tell us what existed 4.61 billion years ago, and offers no workable hypothesis about where that matter was prior to it's dispersal or where it came from, or how it got there, any better than when God simply spoke:

L E T   T H E R E   B E   L I G H T

...and there was.

So I wrote this in response:

The truly wonderful thing about faith is that you believe whatever you want about anything. It all depends on the meaning of "is."

The fact that science does not (yet) or cannot know what caused the Big Bang or what came before, does not provide evidence either for or against the existence of god.

Science has invalidated a literal reading of the Biblical account of creation. All that is left is for believers to point to everything science has learned and claim "god did that too."

I would rather accept not knowing than accept a story on faith.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 03:46 PM | Comments (6) | Add Comment


May 20, 2009

Move On Jack

My friend, Jack, has recently begun receiving email alerts from MoveOn.org. Jack doesn't know why he is getting this political spam, and a swear I did not sign him up.

Today's please give us money urgently notice was on "health care reform." I couldn't help but notice a few editing errors that coincidentally all seemed to obscure the truth. So I fixed it for them.

Dear MoveOn member,

Breaking news on health care: The Washington Post is now reporting that insurance giant Blue Cross Blue Shield "is putting the finishing touches on a public message campaign aimed at killing a key plank in preventing Obama's reform platform nationalization plan."

The Huffington Post sums it up as "Insurers Planning on Double-Crossing disagreeing with Obama."
We knew the insurance companies would eventually turn on defy the president, but this is much sooner than expected. And they're targeting the public nationalized health insurance option—the crucial piece that will help cover enslave everyone. So we're immediately launching a rapid-response fund-raising campaign to go toe-to-toe with Blue Cross Blue Shield and win quality nationalize health care for all Americans.
 
We need to raise $150,000 in the next two days. It's a lot, but we'll need every penny to take on Goliath a vacation. We'll run ads, hold events, and work like act crazy to get hide the real truth out to from voters. AND we'll keep the pressure on paying off members of Congress to make sure they don't get bullied into gutting passing the president's plan to guarantee take over and ration health care coverage for everyone. Can you chip in $20 right now to make it happen?

The public health insurance option is a key provision in Obama's plan to help cover all of us install socialized medicine. It would finally give ultimately deny everyone the choice between keeping our current insurance or switching to a new, high-quality public plan bureaucratically managed single payer system. And under a public health insurance plan bureaucratically managed single payer system our premiums wouldn't subsidize CEO government salaries or stockholder profits and increase dependence on government (or and in this case, misleading attack ads), so and we'd all save a lot on health care costs because we can make other people pay for our care.

Plus, if we had the choice of a public plan bureaucratically managed single payer system, private insurers would have to lower rates and improve quality to compete would be forced out of business, so they're dead set against it. Today's news just confirms that fact.

In the past, Blue Cross Blue Shield (just like every other insurer - including the federal government) has been sued for underpaying doctors and fined for refusing to cover necessary medical treatments for their customers. Now, with what watchdog Obama socialist front-group Media Matters calls a "desperate attempt to deceive survive," they've gone one step too far.

Can you chip in $20 to help stand against Blue Cross Blue Shield pay for the entertainment at our office party and pass health care reform nationilized health care with a regardless of strong public option opinion?

I'm sure that's what they meant to say.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 11:42 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment


May 15, 2009

Changing the Air

Over the course of the year there are a few quintessential moments that I always look forward to eagerly. The first faint aroma of fall, the first snowfall, the first day long enough that I need sunglasses driving home from work.

Another favorite is the first really warm day of spring. The day when you can open every window in the house and "change  the air." It's not that I live a hermetically sealed closed environment, but over the winter with the windows shut tight staleness seems to accumulate. Accumulated traces of cooking smells that never get completely dissipated. A slight build up of the smell of dogs. The lingering smell of heated air.

All of that is gone on that first day you can throw the house open to the wind.

I think as a nation it may be time to do that with our House. And it wouldn't hurt to do it with the Senate either.

To that end I am launching a new political initiative to change the air in Congress and urge the American people to enforce term limits in the voting booth.

I am struggling a bit with the name though and I could use some input. Because a good name is a key to success.

The first idea I has was Veto Incumbent Congressional Elections or VICE. Local chapters would, of course be called VICE Squads.

The second is The Vote Out Incumbent Congress Enterprise: The VOICE.

The mission, regardless of the name, is to vote out any member of congress who has served two terms. It doesn't even matter to me anymore if they are one of the "good" ones. There is no political or ideological litmus test. It doesn't matter if we are replacing Republicans with Democrats or Democrats with Republicans. The only standard is chronological.

It doesn't matter who wins an election. It only matters who loses.  Washington is responsible for most of what is wrong in America today.  If you are in Congress, you are Washington. You are part of the problem

It is time to send a message that the Congress serves at the pleasure of the people.

So help me decide on the name. Let's get organized. Let's change the air in Washington.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 07:08 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment


Pop Quiz

Name the president who gave this speech (I have editied out a few minor details that would make it too easy - like the man's name!):

President [...], calling current deficit spending “unsustainable,” warned of skyrocketing interest rates for consumers if the U.S. continues to finance government by borrowing from other countries.

“We can’t keep on just borrowing...,” [...] said. “We have to pay interest on that debt, and that means we are mortgaging our children’s future with more and more debt.”

Holders of U.S. debt will eventually “get tired” of buying it, causing interest rates on everything from auto loans to home mortgages to increase, [...] said. “It will have a dampening effect on our economy.”

Wast it:

A: Thomas Jefferson
B: Teddy Roosevelt
C: John Kennedy
D: Ronald Reagan
E: Other (give name)

Leave your answer in the comments.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 11:59 AM | Comments (5) | Add Comment


May 13, 2009

The EPA Will Never Regulate CO2

There's lots a buzz today about a document leaked out of the EPA labeled as "Deliberative-Attorney Client Privilege." The memo outlines the economic impacts of the EPA regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.

"Making the decision to regulate carbon dioxide ... is likely to have serious economic consequences for regulated entities throughout the U.S. economy, including small businesses and small communities."

Don't think for a moment that the impact on businesses and communities of Regulating CO2 as a pollutant means anything to The One and his merry band of socialists. They really couldn't care less about businesses (particularly the ones that they don't control).

The reason CO2 regulation will never see the light of day at the EPA - and hence the reason this document was released - is that it will mess with The One's tax plans.

If the EPA were to slap strict regulation on the output of CO2 it would put a big dent in The One's cap and trade tax hike.

Do not lose site of the fact that Global Warming is not about saving the planet, it's about command and control. Cap and Trade is not about reducing carbon output but increasing tax revenue. The whole package is about increasing the size and ppwer of government.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 05:51 PM | No Comments | Add Comment


May 06, 2009

How Much is that Voter in the Window

The great thing about the internet is that if you keep looking long enough, someone will write something that crystallizes a concept to perfection. Sometimes, as in the case of this piece by Michael Barone, they do so without even noticing or commenting. Writing on the strong-arm tactics of what he calls our "Gangster Government" Barone wrote this describing the reaction of politicians to bondholders who don't want to be taken to the cleaners (emphasis added):

Michigan politicians of both parties joined Obama in denouncing the holdout bondholders. They point to the sad plight of UAW retirees not getting full payment of the health care benefits the union negotiated with Chrysler.

Why is it more of a problem that UAW members aren't getting what they negotiated than secured debt holders not getting what they negotiated? The answer is a simple matter of numbers.

There are more UAW members and retirees at Chrysler than secured creditors.

Why waste money buying the votes of a few hedge funds when you can use that money to buy the votes of large labor union.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 11:35 AM | No Comments | Add Comment


May 05, 2009

Immitation Is the Sincerest Form

During the last Presidential Primary, I wrote the following bit of satire:

The next piece of the plan due to be released is called "Drive America Forward." Critics who have previewed the details of the plan have begun calling it "Drive America Crazy." In this proposal, the federal government would provide a voucher to every American with an income of less than $60,000 that could be used to purchase anew car or truck for private use. The vouchers would be based on a progressive formula with those earning between $45k and $60k receiving $20,000; those earning between $28k and 45K receiving $25,000; and anyone under $28,000 receiving $30,000. These low income earners would receive car vouchers every four years.

Imagine my surprise and outrage to learn that the Democrats and The One had stolen my idea. Sure they modified it just enough to be sure that I wouldn't have a solid claim in court for copyright infringement, but the idea is still mine.

The administration has endorsed the bill broadly, saying it would advance key parts of the president's domestic agenda, namely slowing global warming and transitioning to a clean energy economy.

But the details have largely been left to the House Energy committee, which is still working on the final language and has postponed a vote due to cost concerns raised by the panel's moderate Democrats.

Committee members emerged from the meeting Tuesday claiming a modest victory. They said they agreed to embrace a "cash for clunkers" plan that would provide $3500 or $4500 to people who replace old, low-efficiency cars with new, more fuel-efficient models.

But they acknowledged that tougher matters remain, and that some of the resistance was coming from Democrats from coal- and oil-producing states that could struggle to meet the bill's mandates for pollution reductions and renewable electricity generation.

"Our committee is attempting to develop a consensus," committee chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., told reporters after the White House meeting. All but two of the committee's 36 Democrats attended. "Many of the issues split us along a regional basis. But we're talking to each other."

Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., who pushed for the "cash for clunkers" provision, said its inclusion in the bill does not guarantee he will support the legislation in its entirety.

"I want to be supportive and am doing my utmost to ensure we have a bill that I can support and that all democrats can support," said Dingell, who was replaced by Waxman as committee chairman this year. "However, I cannot commit to a yes vote until these other pieces are finalized."

I like my idea better since it paid for a whole new car. $4k won't even cover a decent down payment on a gently used car. Then again I'm driving a 94 Corola I bought from a neighbor for $2k so my Cash for Clunkers car would be a serious upgrade.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 06:44 PM | No Comments | Add Comment


May 03, 2009

It Depends on the Meaning of Big

Now that the restructuring plans are in place, I think we can safely dispense with idea that the government has bailed out General Motors and Chrysler. The One has done nothing more than pay off the United Auto Workers.

The deals prove beyond any doubt for me that the expression "Too Big To Fail," is not an economic evaluation but a political one. Big refers not to economic scope but the scope of political influence and the scale of campaign contributions.

I'm going to do something I have never done before - I am going to give you all free investment advice. With the caveat that this advice is likely worth exactly what you've paid for it

If you have any stock or investment fund that holds stock in Ford, sell it now. How successful do you think Ford can be when the organization with which they have to negotiate their labor costs is a majority stock holder in one of their main domestic competitors and holds a significant ownership position in the other?

And once the Democrats pass the Card Check bill (F you very much Mr. Specter) the writing will be on the wall for Toyota, Honda and any other transplant automaker building cars in the U.S. with non-union labor.

Here's my prediction, and I don't feel like I'm going out on a limb, Chrysler will fail before GM. But they will both fail.

What they will not do is die and go away. They will be propped up with treasury money and supported with massive government subsidies while carefully crafted regulations will handcuff their competitors.

The One and his Congress will see to it that the only cars that are economically viable for most Americas are the type of cars made by GM and Chrysler. This is how the government will control what type of vehicles are manufactured. And they will call it a free market!

We'll all be driving some manufacturers version of a hybrid K Car.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 06:33 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment


May 02, 2009

I Hate When They Do That

I haven't written anything about the whole Perez Hilton vs Miss California mess. In fact I've pretty much avoided reading about it too.

But then the psychotically heterophobic Hilton had to go and make a bogus copyright claim to get video of himself acting like an asshole puled from YouTube.

So I downloaded the video and converted it to a wmv for you to use as you will. (note: I usually do a small, medium and large version but the large is really just a medium so I didn't bother.

Perez Hilton Copyright Video large

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 08:57 PM | No Comments | Add Comment


May 01, 2009

The Friday Five

Way back when I first started blogging one of the recurring memes was called the Friday Five. Every Friday, if you wanted, you answered five relatively trivial question about yourself and linked to whomever wrote the originating post.

It was fun and helped me find a few blogs I still read today. I suppose it's entirely possible that one of the few times I participated I was discovered by one of my six regular readers. Who knows?

I don't even know if the Friday Five still exists. It's OK if it doesn't. For me it has been replaced by another five.

Hagen Daz Five.

I have to say this right up front: Ice Cream is one of my favorite things on the planet.

I also like good basic food. I prefer real butter to some processed gunk who's ingredients I can't pronounce. I prefer actual sugar to some laboratory concocted substitute. Even if it means I have to enjoy them in smaller amounts and less often, I'd rather have real stuff.

Hagen Daz Five achieves near perfection. Ice cream made from five basic ingredients. Cream, skim milk, sugar, egg yolks and a flavor. It comes in seven flavors: Vanilla Bean, Milk Chocolate, Coffee, Mint, Ginger, Brown Sugar, Passion Fruit. I have tried four of them so far.

The first one I had was the Ginger. I was hooked. From the first spoonful Ben and Jerry were dead to me. The flavor is wonderful and the ice cream is smooth, clean and delicious.

The second one I tried was Brown Sugar. This is now officially one my favorite things in the universe. Take all of the good things I wrote about the ginger and multiply them with the goodness of brown sugar.

The third one I tried I was a little disappointed with. I thought the flavor of the Mint was a little to subtle. I may have judged it unfairly though. I think I was judging it through the prism of hyper-sweet peppermint. It was much more of clean mint leaf taste. I am going to try this one again soon to re-evaluate it. I don't expect it to rival the Brown Sugar, but I think I will find it better than my original judgement.

The fourth one I sampled (meaning I sat down and ate a pint) was the Coffee. I'm a big coffee drinker I'd say I average 6 - 8 cups a day. I thought the Coffee ice cream was OK. The ice cream was flawless but the whole thing tasted like a cup of coffee with cream and sugar. I prefer my coffee black. If you like coffee ice cream though, you will love this flavor.

I have held off buying the Milk Chocolate flavor because I prefer dark chocolate and putting milk chocolate in ice cream seems kind of redundant. But the flavor ingredient is listed only as cacao, so it may turn out to be much much better that I expect.

I love vanilla and I am looking forward to trying the Vanilla Bean soon. I know it will be fantastic - but not a threat to Brown Sugar.

I strongly suspect that I will never try the Passion Fruit. It has precisely zero appeal to me. Your milage may vary.

I would be remiss if I did not note that they did a really nice job with the packaging as well. Simple, clean and still maintains enough of the art from the original packaging that you know instantly that this is Hagen Daz.

Great job Hagen Daz and Thanks.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 06:28 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment


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