July 29, 2009

The One Speaks. The One Lies.

I read this story on The Hill on the sausage making process of the Health Care Socialization bill. Actually given the quality of the ingredients it might more accurately be called the hotdog making process.

Two things stand out as alarming. The first is the Congressional impulse to pass some form of reform legislation. Regardless of its effectiveness or destructiveness. (Though for some on the left I am beginning to believe those are one and the same.)

The second is the bold faced lie told by the President of the United States in support of passing something - anything - he can sign as healthcare reform.

On Tuesday, Obama reiterated his support for the public option during an event held at the headquarters of the seniors’ lobby AARP. “I think that helps keep the insurance companies honest because now they have somebody to compete with,” he said.

If the insurance companies were all banded together acting in collusion as one giant commercial monolith without competition do you know what would happen? The Department of Justice would be all over them for anti trust violations. Insurance companies have plenty of competition. Their called OTHER INSURANCE COMPANIES. Even in the midst of his lie about the lack of competition, The One admits that there is more than one insurance company.

To the extent that the insurance companies are all the same. With similar offerings and similar operations keep in mind that this is not driven by market forces but by regulation. Insurance operates within a government defined box that limits their freedom to innovate and offer a better or different product than their competitors.

The One does not seek a "Public Option" in health insurance to engender competition. The "Public Option" is intended as a virus that will eventually kill private health insurance. The only option he is interested in is one which results in the government controlling the public.

If The One were truly interested in fostering competition in healthcare and health insurance, he would be working to eliminate the regulatory barriers to competition within the industry.

More competition requires more freedom. Not more government.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 06:52 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment

July 28, 2009

Getting Service Right

I use this space to vent quite often. Vent's are good. They help to relieve pressure and keep thing from blowing up. But today a non vent. Today a story of a store doing it right when it come to service.

My old 94 Corolla was in need of a little TLC. There had been a leak in the exhaust, up near the engine, for many months and not doing anything about it only seemed to make it worse. When I bought it from a neighbor last year it been used as a station car for a couple of years. Which means it was driven to and from the train station every day - about 2 miles each way and never over 30 mph. The first time I took it on the highway I discovered it was seriously out of alignment and shook like a chihuahua at any speed over 50. So if figured it was time to take care of that too. Plus it was due for an oil change. I was hoping I could continue to ignore the state of the tires.

I brought it to the local Midas shop. The bad part of the exhaust was, of course, the expensive part because replacing it meant replacing the now damaged oxygen sensor. In addition to the wear from the poor alignment there was some dry rot in the tires so they had to go. I didn't even know Midas sold tires, but I decided to just go all the way.

I got to the shop and explained to Steve at the counter that I needed it to be done in time to pick up the daughter at her camp at 3:30. The camp was only a few miles away so it didn't need to be ready too much before then. Steve said they could have it ready on time so I walked a couple of blocks to the library to work on the whole "FIND A JOB" thing.

I walked back to Midas to get there at 2:30 when they thought they would be ready. It turns out that ran into a little trouble. The part of the exhaust they needed to remove was original equipment. It had been on the car for 14 years and 146,000 miles. It was a lot harder to get off than they expected. They were probably not going to be ready on time.

I had considered this possibility earlier in the day and had a Plan B. Our other car was with my wife at the hair salon about a 45 minute walk if I pushed it. Probably closer to an hour in the heat and humidity. Before I could even start to decide if I was hitting the road the head guy Kevin hit me with plan C.

If they didn't have the car ready on time Steve would drive me to pick up my daughter at camp. When the time arrived when I would have to leave, everything was done except the alignment. So Steve and I drove to Southport to pick up my daughter and had a nice chat during the five minutes or so we had wait for cam to let out.

By the time we made it back to the shop the car was ready and waiting.

I have no doubt that had I made that walk to get the other car, temporarily stranding my wife, this would be an entirely different post and I would have an entirely different opinion of Midas of Fairfield. Now, thanks to their generous help and tremendous service they have gained another loyal customer.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 08:25 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

Culture of Corruption

In honor of Michelle Malkin's new book Culture of Corruption I have added new items to the Hold the Mayo Zazzle store.

Available as a bumper sticker and a t-shirt. Get yours today. Tell yourt friends.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 12:39 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

July 27, 2009

Show me a Sign

I have the original print of the Socialism Sucks art taped in the rear window of my car. Yes, before it was a wildly popular bumper sticker and t-shirt it was a piece of white paper put through mu cheep ink jet printer. I have to say, I am pleased at how well the color has held up.

I've gotten interesting reactions from people honking as they pass me on the highway to offer a gesture. Either a thumbs up or a different finger if they felt the need to disagree.

A few people have approached me in parking lots most of these have been supportive. I guess it's easier to disagree with a gesture at 70 mph than face to face. Of course there was the one guy who called me racist, but I didn't take him too seriously. In fact I laughed at him.

Today someone walked up to me and said "I don't like that sign in your window."

To which I replied, "Then you really won't like the t-shirt."

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 08:10 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

July 24, 2009

Reform School

I don't know what is worse, that people in power in Washing ton are complete idiots or that they think that they rest of us are. Actually the worse thing is there is no clear voice to teach them the lesson on reform that they really need to learn. The whole government needs to spend some time in reform school.

Healthcare does not need reform.

Energy does not need reform.

Banking does not need reform.

Automobile manufacturing does not need reform.

Schools do not need reform.

All of these segments of our society can be fairly described as troubled or broken. All of them have a single common source of their problems. The power elite are working to reform everything except the one thing that needs reforming the most.


If you eliminated 25% of the government involvement in the malfunctioning areas of our society, you would eliminate 50% of the problems.

But fixing things. Making life better and freer is not part of the agenda of either party in Washington. Getting power. Securing Power. Expanding power. That is the motivation behind everything they do.

The bright spot is that the American people seem to be realizing what is being don to them. Tea Party protests against government run health care are happening all across the country. There has been an increase in sale of Socialism Sucks merchandise.

Will it be enough? Can the creation of a Socialist America be stopped? How much more liberty will have to lose before the people of this once free nation rise up and scream NO?

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 04:42 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment

July 22, 2009

Getting it Right

I wrote a post recently that was critical of fundraising call I received on behalf of Rob Simmons who is running for the Connecticut Republican nomination for the Senate vs Chris "Friend of Angelo" Dodd." I thought it only fair to highlight a fundraising effort that they got right.

This one came in an email

Dear Stephen,

; ">
Senator Dodd wants you to believe -- get this -- that he makes lobbyists cry. 

A web video his campaign released to much ridicule last week claimed that lobbyists couldn't even get a meeting with the Senator. 

So what was Dodd doing this weekend? 

According to the newspaper The Hill, he was schoomizing with lobbyists at a high-priced retreat on Martha's Vineyard. 

And it's not the first example of Dodd cozying up with lobbyists in recent months. Last month, he attended a fundraiser with health industry lobbyists while chairing health reform in the Senate. 

From AIG to Countrywide's Angelo Mozilo, lobbyists and special interests have always had Chairman Dodd in their back pocket.

We thought it was about time that you as an ordinary citizen has Connecticut's senior Senator in your pocket -- and for a lot less than the millions in campaign contributions the banking, financial services, and insurance industries have showered on Chairman Dodd over the years.

Donate $5 or more to our campaign and receive your own personal "Pocket Dodd" you can cut out and display as a reminder of the special interest cronyism we'll finally be rid of in November 2010.

In the last few years, Pocket Dodd has been busy: moving to Iowa, launching a frivolous campaign for President, jetting off to his cottage in Ireland -- anything but doing his job overseeing a financial industry in crisis.

Send us your photos of Pocket Dodd in action at info+photos@joinrobsimmons.com.  Or follow Pocket Dodd's latest adventures on Twitter at @PocketDodd.  Most important, don't forget to get yours today.


Jim Barnett
Campaign Manager, Simmons for Senate

My first thought in response to the opening sentence is that Dodd probably does make lobbyists cry. Even lobbyists probably cringe a little every time he asks them to open their wallets.

I don't know too much about Simmons as a candidate yet. So far his candidacy has been all about the alphabet - ABCD. Anybody But Chris Dodd. So far, that seems good enough.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 08:30 AM | No Comments | Add Comment

July 18, 2009

Are You Looking at Me?

Every day I have to pick the daughter at camp at 3:30. I get there a little early to have a place to park since it gets rather congested when all the parents arrive. The camp is located in the stuffy yuppy little town of Southport.

I was sitting in my car yesterday listening to the radio waiting when a woman pulled into the space next to me and looked over at me me with an intense disdain. I wondered why that was.

It could be that I was sitting there in my thoroughly used 94 Toyota Corrolla. An eyesore in the midst of sea newer much more luxurious autos.

It could be that she disliked the Socialism Sucks sign in the the back window.

Maybe she just found me physically repulsive.

But I think the most likely source of her reaction is that I was sitting there with the engine idling to power the air conditioner. Senselessly and obliviously pumping deadly carbon into the atmosphere. I think this is most likely because she had her windows down and turned off the engine as soon as she parked. She was not going to sit there causing climate change. She was better than that. Better than me. And so was her enormous Range Rover SUV.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 09:35 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment

July 17, 2009

Politicians Don't Listen

I just got off the phone from a very annoying political fundraising pitch. It was annoying because even though I agreed with everything the candidate's representative was saying - the man would not shut up and listen to what I had to say.

Here's a little tip for the fundraisers of Rob Simmons. I fully agree that if nothing else changes in the next election getting Chris "Friend of Angelo" Dodd out of the Senate is something that has to happen. That is the reason for my earlier contribution to his campaign. However, when you open you pitch with a lament about joblessness and the person on the other end of the line tells you that having just lost their job they are not in a position to make a contribution at this time, the proper response is not to ask for slightly less money.

When that person then explains that they will not be making any further contributions until they have an income - the proper response is not to ask for slightly less money.

That person is telling you that they are not going to give you any money at this time. Persisting in trying to extract money from that person is eventually going to piss them off. You don't want to piss off supporters and potential future contributors.

Offer a statement of some kind of empathy - even fake scripted empathy - wish them well and say the candidate will work to change policies that are crippling the economy. Ask for the vote.

Stop asking for money.

You would have to go a long way piss me off enough for me to hope Dodd wins the election. Today you took a small step in that direction.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 09:38 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment

July 16, 2009

When Men Were Free

Do you remember all of that talk from The One about the absolute necessity for a government insurance option to bring some competition and integrity to the insurance industry? (I know I just typed government, integrity and insurance in the same sentence. I did it with a straight face too!) Well there is a simple trick to winning any competition - be the person writing the rules.

Investor's Business Daily set out to do the work that most members of Congress would never dream of doing. They read the health care nationalization bill. This is how The One plans to compete with private health insurance:

"Except as provided in this paragraph, the individual health insurance issuer offering such coverage does not enroll any individual in such coverage if the first effective date of coverage is on or after the first day" of the year the legislation becomes law.

The One gets to finally keep a promise. He has said repeatedly that if you are happy with your present insurance you cold keep it. He never said what would happen if you didn't already have private insurance and wanted to get some. At that point, your only option would be the public option.

And apparently it's retroactive.

Consider my situation, which is similar to a rapidly growing segment of the population. I lost my job recently. So I have been busy with trying to find another job. A job that pays well and has great benefits.

Assume for a moment that I find this job. And that it comes with a beautiful office with a water view and medical insurance. Assume that I start this new job in August and the benefits start in October. If Congress passes the health care nationalization act before the end of the year, and The One signs it, my insurance is gone and I wind up on the public plan.

My enrollment would be after the first day of the year in which socialized medicine became law.

I do not want to be part of the socialized medicine system. EVER.

Closing his spech on socialized medicine Ronald Reagan said:

... one of these days we are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children, what it once was like in America when men were free.

That day may be coming soon.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 06:59 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

July 12, 2009

Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For

Blogging has been lighter than usual lately because my attention has been focused on LOOKING FOR A JOB!

The big challenge is that I have become something of a dinosaur. 90% of all Graphic Design jobs available require and extensive alphabet of programming skills that I just don't have. HTML, CSS, PHP, AJAX, XML and so on. I know just enough HTML and CSS to not wreck this site too badly too often. The rest is unknown.

I'm a print guy in a digital world. I can design a web site - I just can't make it work. And while it seems to me that those should really be two separate disciplines the rest of the industry sees it differently. So I am beginning to learn the basics.

It's a challenge for me to learn without doing though. If I have a problem to solve I will work at it until I figure it out. That is how I developed the skills I do I have. 

I never studied design. I was doing digital production for a marketing agency when they decided to eliminate the production department and have the Art Directors do their own mechanicals. Rather than fire the production staff they made us all Art Directors. It was like the old fashioned way of teaching kids to swim. They just threw us in the deep end and we would sink or swim on our own. I swam.

In my entire career, I have NEVER opened a manual for any of the core software I use. I just figured it out because I had to use it to get something done.

Now I have to learn code. I have to learn it without a project to complete - without a problem to solve. I have to learn it theoretically vs practically.

I'm going to need a lot of Motrin.

I'm going to be doing it while looking for a job that will let me be a designer, without requiring me to be a code monkey.

I haven't found it yet. But I know it's out there.

You can help too. Here's a PDF that has my resume and some samples of my work. The whole resume, and even more work is available at this site, where you can even hear me doing the voiceover for a product launch video.

If you know of anyone, anywhere looking to hire a designer feel free to send them the PDF or the link. One of the advantages of the digital nature of the profession is that it can be done from anywhere. However, for the right opportunity relocation is an option.

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

Hitting a Moving Target

When most people think about hitting a moving target the typically imagine adjusting their aim. The Obama administration takes the approach that hitting a moving target means moving the target to wherever you happened to aim.

In a Washington Post essay under The One's byline (though doubtless written by someone on his staff) the President moves the target of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (AKA Stimulus AKA all you can spend pork buffet) in hopes that it will be somewhere close to where the act is aiming.

You will recall that the Stimulus was crammed through Congress as an emergency measure to save the U.S. Economy and "create or save jobs." The blog Innocent Bystanders took a look at The One's employment story used in selling the Stimulus and adapted this White House created graph to expose the fantasy to a little reality.

The White House when urging the quick passage of the Pork Party Bill claimed that without doing so unemployment would reach almost 9% and that the Stimulus would keep unemployment under 8%. The One and his economic team created the blue parts of the graph to illustrate the immediate impact of the Stimulus. The red dots indicate the reality of the Stimulus.

So one would expect The One to admit that they got the whole Stimulus thing wrong. Maybe you would think he would acknowledge that the massive debt he has created for future generations isn't working and isn't a goof thing. You could expect that. You would be an utter fool. But you could expect that.

The One promised change, and change he has delivered. He has changed the purpose of the stimulus.

It was, from the start, a two-year program, and it will steadily save and create jobs as it ramps up over this summer and fall.

This does not square very well with their chart which shown the employment benefit of the Stimulus kicking in almost immediately. Clearly the reality is that the Stimulus has failed. It has done nothing to stimulate the economy, and in truth that really wasn't how it was designed. It's purpose was to dump truckloads of borrowed taxpayer money where it could do the most good reelecting Democrats.

During the extremely brief and urgent debate of the Pork Bill, the Congressional Budget Office predicted that the economy would be well on the road to recovery in two years on its own. Without massive government intervention. Coincidentally, that is now the time frame The One posits for Stimulus success.

As long as he can keep moving the target and designing failure as success; as long as he can get away with the undefinable and unprovable jobs "created or saved" claim, The One will be able to claim credit for the recovery that would have happened if he was still voting present as junior Senator from Illinois.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 10:05 AM | No Comments | Add Comment

July 03, 2009

"Shut Up" In Action

Remember this video from Pajamas Media's Andrew Klavan?

Just in case you thought he was overstating the issue to make a point, consider the case of Alan Carlin. Like another famous Carlin, he dared to utter seven dirty words (I'm paraphrasing): "Anthropogenic global warming may not be real."

Except, that is, when it comes to Mr. Carlin, a senior analyst in the EPA's National Center for Environmental Economics and a 35-year veteran of the agency. In March, the Obama EPA prepared to engage the global-warming debate in an astounding new way, by issuing an "endangerment" finding on carbon. It establishes that carbon is a pollutant, and thereby gives the EPA the authority to regulate it -- even if Congress doesn't act.

Around this time, Mr. Carlin and a colleague presented a 98-page analysis arguing the agency should take another look, as the science behind man-made global warming is inconclusive at best. The analysis noted that global temperatures were on a downward trend. It pointed out problems with climate models. It highlighted new research that contradicts apocalyptic scenarios. "We believe our concerns and reservations are sufficiently important to warrant a serious review of the science by EPA," the report read.

The response to Mr. Carlin was an email from his boss, Al McGartland, forbidding him from "any direct communication" with anyone outside of his office with regard to his analysis. When Mr. Carlin tried again to disseminate his analysis, Mr. McGartland decreed: "The administrator and the administration have decided to move forward on endangerment, and your comments do not help the legal or policy case for this decision. . . . I can only see one impact of your comments given where we are in the process, and that would be a very negative impact on our office." (Emphasis added.)

Mr. McGartland blasted yet another email: "With the endangerment finding nearly final, you need to move on to other issues and subjects. I don't want you to spend any additional EPA time on climate change. No papers, no research etc, at least until we see what EPA is going to do with Climate."

The problem for The One is that he needs the veneer of science to justify and pass his Cap and Trade Control and Tax energy bill. He wants the power to control the power. He has control of banking and insurance; he has control of most of the domestic auto industry; he is working hard to take control of health care. With control of energy there will be nothing that the federal government does not directly or indirectly control.

Perhaps as they enjoy their barbecues and watch their fireworks Americans will remember what exactly it is they are supposedly celebrating. The Declaration of Independence was so much more than a statement of our separation from the English Crown. It was about freedom and liberty. About being responsible for our own lives and keeping the government, any government, in it's place.

The American people elected The One and gave him majority control of the Congress so it could be argued that the race toward socialism in America is done with the consent of the governed. I hope that, for the future of freedom and liberty, that argument proves false.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 01:46 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment

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