Thursday, January 28, 2010

Caucus Time in Minnesota

Next Tuesday night we have the political caucuses for the Republican and Democrat-Farmer Labor parties.  Not many states have this system, so it is something different than most voters expect.  Instead of going someplace to vote in a primary for predetermined candidates, the local voter goes to a caucus where they can choose to run for a delegate seat in the county convention.  Resolutions are also submitted and voted upon to be considered at the previously mentioned convention.

In other words, it is an opportunity for the little guy to be heard and have some effect on local politics beyond just voting. Locally, the county chairs for both parties sat down with reporter Ryan Henry at The Houston County News for an informative article.

Government is best run if the people are fully involved and I recommend that every Minnesotan with a political opinion put their time and energy where their mouths are by attending their local caucus.

I’ll be doing my part as a convener for the Republican Party caucus location in Houston.  Should be interesting if the Tea Parties are any indication!

State of Disunion Speech

Well, that was a dismal performance last night.  Watching the talking heads on PBS try to spin the State of the Union speech being a great performance was to view an exercise in futility, as even Mark Shields admitted the speech wasn’t one that would be remembered in history.  I didn’t catch the entire thing but what I saw was a vintage Obama campaign speech.  That means it was devoid of substance, filled with lies, and highly partisan.

The AP put out a fact check that took the President to task on multiple statements and promises he made during the speech last night.  All are valid points and I’d like to add the one that managed to really anger me:  the claim to have supported the protesters in Iran.  Those of us who have followed the protests there have been frustrated with Obama’s refusal to support them and weak criticisms of the ruling dictatorship he wants to negotiate with so badly.

Despite the voters in Massachusetts rejecting Obamacare in shocking fashion earlier this month, the President showed himself to be no Bill Clinton.  There was no attempt to triangulate, or at least no intelligent one, by moving away from health care “reform.” Instead, Obama showed himself to be utterly committed to passing that corrupt bill no matter the cost.  Nobody is buying that it will lower costs, Champ.

Of course, he whined constantly about inheriting all the problems and this shows the Democrats inability to do anything other than “blame Bush.” That isn’t going to work anymore and will be completely without effect by the elections in November.

Another thing jumped out at me was when he announced the spending freeze and that it wouldn’t hurt people today because it would be implemented next year when the economy was better.  No applause when he made his typical “stop for the adulation pause” and scattered laughter followed.  Mr. Cool lost his cool and glared at Congress and ended up evoking more laughter.

Empty promises are the medium politician work with, but this one was such a whopper that even a chamber full of pols couldn’t believe it.  Obama believes everyone is so stupid that they’ll buy into the ridiculous concept of making an emergency cut in funding after it is no longer needed!  That way it won’t hurt!

Oh, please.

More people are waking up to the fact that President Obama is a con man who doesn’t really care about the people of this country.  If he keeps throwing out farcical pronouncements like the spending freeze, his only supporters will be the diehards in the Democratic Party.  It is already getting dangerously close to that as recent special elections have shown. By the time November rolls around, the Democrats in Congress will be in dire shape.

But we are stuck with this fraud in the White House for another three years and he will do a great deal of damage through the bureaucracy.  Barack Obama is simply the wrong man at the worst possible time to helm America.



I forgot to mention the direct attack on the Supreme Court that was made to their faces.  That was not a Presidential action and showed just what a demagogue Obama really is. Trying to cajole Congress into writing what would be another unconstitutional law to override the SCOTUS decision freedom of speech shows what disdain the so-called Constitutional scholar has for the Bill of Rights.  It also made clear how little value he has for the separation of powers across the three branches of government.

Barack is not a class act.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

First Amendment Upheld

Bye, Bye McCain-Feingold!

Today the Supreme Court has ruled that prohibitions against corporations and non-profits from running political ads violated the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America.  About time, a lot of little people got stepped on by McCain-Feingold as quite a few organizations and lobbyists represent people banded together from across the nation, not just the wealthy. The 5-4 ruling will set a precedent and very well may end up being a landmark case (the media loves to throw that label around for everything) affecting judicial rulings for years to come.

Powerline is all over this and has further links.

This is very good news to those who believe in the Bill of Rights and our Constitution.  No form of censorship should be allowed in politics.


Over at Big Government, Robert Frommer has a great post that explains why this was important for the people of our country and why this is only the beginning of the fight.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Radical Looking Warship

005 USS Independence LCS 2 On January 16th, The U.S.S. Independence LCS-2 entered the fleet.  Built for speed and fighting off of coasts, this new class of littoral warships may be just what we need to deal with the rising number of pirates plaguing the shipping lanes in Africa and Asia.

The stealthy tri-maran design can do over 40 knots and cruises at half that speed.  Besides being fast, she carries one helicopter and can carry UAV drones.  An assortment of guns rounds out the capabilities of America’s newest warship.  Her sister ship, the Coronado, had her keel laying ceremony in December.

More pictures can be found at the ship’s website and at the USN’s official page.

After watching this video, I think the Independence wouldn’t look out of place in a Star Wars flick:

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Brown Wins Senate Race in Massachusetts

All the networks are calling it for Brown with 70% of the precincts reported in.  He won convincingly, 53% to 46% for Coakley and it will be interesting to see if the percentage holds up.  Given the voter fraud that gives Democrats around 5% extra in the race, this was a very solid win.

Good news for now and we’ll have to wait and see if this kills Obamacare.  I suspect it will as Democrats up for re-election this year will be very scared after this debacle.  The last minute campaigning by President Obama did nothing to stem the populist tide and may have hurt things.

November is looking good for the Republican Party.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Is Mexico Becoming a Failed State?

One of the things that struck me about visiting Mexico last year was the feeling of being in an unstable environment.  Military road blocks were common as were people carrying concealed pistols in their vehicles.  You could feel the tension once you got away from the tourist areas and into the poorer ones.

That was Southern Mexico and things are far worse in the North. This sobering article in The Atlantic captures the growing instability that narcotics traffickers have generated in our Southern neighbor.  Corruption is endemic in Mexican society and it quickly becomes hard to tell the white hats from the black hats or even if there are any white hats.  If things escalate this year and they appear to already, we are going to have a huge problem on our border.  What would happen if we suddenly had a big refugee influx crossing into the States?

That is a contingency we have to plan for but I doubt our government will.  The lack of interest in foreign affairs that the Obama administration suffers from will mean if this happens it will be a complete surprise to them.

Good News in the MN Governor’s Race

Norm Coleman isn’t going to run after all.  I, for one, am very relieved to read this as I think it would have been a disaster. There would have been a revolt amongst the activists and Tea Partiers which would have dragged down other races.

Odds are that Marty Seifert will get the endorsement but things could change by convention time.  It will be interesting to gauge the mood at the precinct caucuses on February 2 and that may give a clearer picture.  Depending on who the new delegates and alternates are there could be a big shakeup in what direction the state GOP will go.

I think anyone who isn’t a fiscal conservative will be dead meat.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Odds and Ends for the Weekend

Haven’t been feeling very well and it has killed my writing the last few weeks.  Adding insult to injury, I broke a tooth 5 minutes before the local dentist closed for the weekend and have to wait until Monday to get something done.

Anyway, I ran into quite a few interesting things on the Net during all this and will put them in this post while I plot out a rather large one on the very bad economic news this month.

First up is a low budget docudrama aimed at educating kids about the Battle of Bunker Hill.  Since we live in a very visual age, I think the idea for the whole series has a great deal of merit.

Next is a fascinating find of the earliest known Hebrew writing. It dates 400 years earlier than the previously oldest Hebrew discovered and suggests the Old Testament is well, older than thought.  The content is very much like the scriptures and contains commandments on how to treat orphans, the poor, and slaves.

Ever buy expensive running shoes?  That may be making a fundamental mistake about running if this article is correct.  All I can say is that is my natural way of walking when barefoot so I wouldn’t be surprised if the theory pans out. No matter what, the prices commanded by these shoes is ludicrous.

Finally, a cautionary story about how success can corrupt the creative process to the point of destroying a project.  Duke Nukem 3D was a hugely successful videogame released in 1996 and the sequel was promised almost immediately.  Last year it was cancelled after an insanely prolonged development that showed no sign of completion. At least it no longer is the king of vaporware!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Horrific Disaster in Haiti

The reports coming in from Haiti indicate that a true catastrophe has happened that may be as bad (or worse) than the tsunami that hit Indonesia.  Estimates of over 100,000 dead are on the low end and the human suffering is great.  The U.N. peace keeping HQ was completely leveled with no survivors.

Once again, please pray for the survivors and their rescuers.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Massive Earthquake in Haiti

Initial reports are that it was a magnitude 7.0 that collapsed a hospital in Port-au-Prince and damaged many buildings.  Communications are cut and I expect there will be a large death toll since the epicenter was inland. 

Pray for those affected, it is going to be bad.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Reality Is Stranger than Fiction

Global warming has gotten so bad that iguanas are falling out of trees from the heat in Florida. Oh wait, they are freezing from the record cold there.  My mistake.

The next link may not be reality, since it is only theory, but it qualifies as stranger than fiction.  The theory postulates that 8 percent of our DNA was inserted by animal viruses and furthermore they may cause schizophrenia!

I always though insanity was hereditary, but I thought you caught it from your kids, not your pets.

On a Lighter Note

Over at Dark Roasted Blend there is a nifty tribute to birds titled “Praise to a Common Duck.”

I can attest to the amazing acrobatic agility of barn swallows and the blazing speed of hummingbirds since we get both out here on the farm.  Also seen around here are Canada geese, bald eagles, hawks, turkey vultures, many a songbird and occasionally a blue heron.

So far none of the cats have brought in a large bird, but they do enjoy the sparrows a lot.

Mayo Clinic Testing Dumping Medicare

The world famous Mayo Clinic is piloting a program of refusing Medicare patients at their Scottsdale, Arizona clinic.  While technically not rejecting the patients, there are few on Medicare who can afford to pay their own way.  In other words, if you have Medicare as your only means of health insurance you are screwed.

This is something that has been coming for some time.  In a desperate effort to contain spiraling expenditures on an already overstressed social programs, the government has been underpaying fees and services.  Medicare, like Social Security, is in very bad financial shape and rationing is starting to happen.

The quote of the article for me is this:

Mayo’s move to drop Medicare patients may be copied by family doctors, some of whom have stopped accepting new patients from the program, said Lori Heim, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, in a telephone interview yesterday.

“Many physicians have said, ‘I simply cannot afford to keep taking care of Medicare patients,’” said Heim, a family doctor who practices in Laurinburg, North Carolina. “If you truly know your business costs and you are losing money, it doesn’t make sense to do more of it.”

Basic economics, that.

Medicare is for the elderly and disabled. It is already getting difficult to find doctors that accept it in some areas and that is going to get worse if the above quote is any indication.

Funny how every federally run welfare program is mismanaged.  Knowing that, what sense is there in either expanding Medicare or adding yet another program as Obamacare? 

Being on both Social Security Disability and Medicare, I’ve been sensitive to the growing problems with both.  In fact, I’m planning for the day when I can’t get medical care due to being on Medicare.  I can’t afford to save or go on another plan, so I’ll simply stop going to the doctor when that happens.

I won’t be the only one and things will get very dire in America as the quality of living plummets for many.  We are a graying nation and don’t have enough young people to sustain the system.

Oh yes, we are living in interesting times.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Andre “The Hawk” Dawson now Hall of Famer


Amidst all the gloomy weather and economic predictions, one ray of light for today.  Andre Dawson was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame today.  Ever since Ryne Sandberg got in I’d hoped “The Hawk” would be the next Cub MVP to get in.  Watching him play was always a delight and there are vivid memories from then.   The one that stands out is when Eric Show beaned him and knocked him out for a few horrific moments. Winning the National League MVP for a losing team was another highlight as it showed just how dominant he was that year.

But the best memory was seeing him at baseball card convention in La Crosse.  Dawson was always such a serious player and it was very rare to see him smile.  My mother took a hand sewn Cubs flag she’d made to get his autograph and when he saw it a huge smile broke out.  One of these days I’ll get the photo of that smile while he signed the flag scanned into the PC. 

Congratulations to one of baseball’s class acts!