Tuesday, January 14, 2014
I've been in some terrific traffic jams. I shouldn't say terrific because when you're in one it's no so. Some of the worst have been at the George Washington Bridge. - You know where this is going. Once it was 104 degrees in that tunnel on the NY side of the bridge and I thought -"What if I used my other car?" - That was the one without air conditioning. I probably would have passed out and caused an even worse traffic jam. And it was good for my political career. I didn't cause a traffic jam so I guess I can run for President. Chris Christie??? Maybe not. Traffic jams at the George Washington Bridge are so frequent that there are several electronic billboards miles from the bridge indicating the waiting time for the upper and lower sections of the bridge. The signs are used for nothing else. For those not familar with the bridge a waiting time of 20+ minutes is fairly common.Forty minutes to an hour crawls are regular occurences. WHY? Often it is never revealed. You crawl across the bridge for the better part of an hour and don't see anything out of the ordinary and just shrug and chalk it up to...Volume?? In the "Bridgegate" (yeah, the news media is so creative)scandal, Christie underlings came up with a traffic study that reduced the Fort Lee, NJ exit lanes. This added to the normal chaos and bumped up everyone's crawl-time. How much? It's hard to say because of the aforementioned regular chaos and daily traffic nightmeres. It is almost not worth investigating but politics being politics there is going to be both a state and federal investigation.This probably seems like a waste of time and money to most people but not our politicians. They are going to get to the bottom of this and afix blame and hopefully destroy Gov. Christie's reputation and kill his political career. For Democrats it's a win-win. They get multiple investigations that will prove Christie to be a spiteful, petty, wasteful, duplicitous, partisan, and --- wait. Let's have that investigation, by all means.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Most literate adults know the phrase:"let them eat cake." They are also aware that Marie Antoinette has been attributed the quote regardless of facts to the contrary. The quote is meant to suggest a completely clueless aristocrat who responds to the cries of the poor who have no bread. She simply suggests that the poor do as she does, "when there is no bread I eat cake." Whether Marie Antoinette did or didn't actually say it is immaterial. The fact is a lot of people in Paris did not have bread. This fact was true because of the actions of Louis XVI. The king felt sorry for people who could not afford bread. Most people could but it was expensive for a fair portion of the Parisians. So being a good monarch and a fair minded person he did what he could: He forced all the bakers and bakeries to lower the price of bread. He didn't do it just once. He did it until he forced most bakers out of business. Thus most of the people in Paris had no bread thanks to Louis's best intentions. In the present circumstances regarding health insurance, one can see what's coming. Even after all of the web-site problems are fixed, the basic structure of Obamacare will reveal itself. Once revealed the short-comings will be obvious. Instead of a lack of bread there will be a lack of health care. Health Insurance may become more affordable but doctors want to get paid. Medical school is as expensive, as it is difficult, time consuming and challenging. Doctors have to pay for their very expensive education, they also have to pay for very, very expensive malpractice insurance. President Obama has good intentions. That is fine. But he lacks anything that could be called experience implementing anything. His time in the Senate was very short. Obamacare stands as the one and only accomplishment of his first term. And note the selling of this plan was based on a lie. The fact is that to this date more than 5 and a half million people have lost their health insurance. It is now estimated that more than 65 million more will be losing their plans in 2014.No wonder there is an adage about good intentions. The President complains that Republicans have no plans regarding this problem. That is not true. As recently as October Ted Cruz (Sen. R-Tex.) suggested a delay in implementing Obamacare. Cruz was crucified by the Left, liberals, the media, the Hollywood elite, Hip-hop moguls, and every moderate Republican. Then Obama did just what Cruz suggested by Presidential fiat at a news conference. -- Silence. Or how about the call for Tort reform that Republicans have been suggesting for about thirty years. I guess they ran out of room to fit in that idea. (By the way - a huge portion of this country has no idea what Tort reform even means) With over 22,000 pages the ACA is not a law. If it were, it couldn't be delayed by Presidential fiat. If it were a law there could not be 743 exceptions (which there are). If it were a law it wouldn't be a laughing-stock. The "laws" most glaring problem is with the Supreme Court. John Roberts called the ACA a "tax" rather than a purchase. Since Congress has the power to tax the ACA passes constitutional muster. But here's what Roberts forgot:the Constitution stipulates that only the House of Representatives can generate statutes involving taxes. The ACA started in the Senate. Let's see the House of Representatives re-introduce the ACA to correct that misstep. Yeah, that'll happen
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
The left is dismissing the obvious: After a year of secret negotiations Sec. Kerry was told to get me something, anything!! Thus the Iranian agreement was produced. To describe this "treaty"?, "agreement"?,"pause"?, is like nailing jello to the wall. What the Iranians are required to do with their near-weapons grade material is very much like putting it in the freezer. It could be quickly reconstituted. So we get nothing there. The centrifuges are untouched.The agreement does not require Iran to do anything in that regard- nothing. The inspections are limited to those "acknowledged by Iran." So, nothing there. Just a week ago France, of all countries, cautioned against the agreement that was emerging.And then surprise, an agreement is reached seemingly out of the blue. What changed? What did the U.S. get? The answer seems to be: We'll see. Six months from now a follow-up agreement is planned. In the meantime Iran gets $8 Billion in formerly frozen assets, as well as $7 Billion in he form of sanctions that are being eased. The Iranian economy also received a boost in the overall value of its currency, which had been in free-fall, adding several more billion$ to the deal in the form of unintended economic consequences. So one can see why Iran likes this deal: they give up nothing and get recognition as an emerging nuclear power, eased sanctions and a $20 Billion economic injection. We couldn't even get a Christian minister out of an Iranian jail. No wonder the Iranians are celebrating.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
My self-imposed exile is over. Obamacare has chased me out of hiding because that's what I've been doing. It seemed for quite awhile that no amount of evidence, truths or apriori knowledge could budge the Progressive mind. That has changed. It is not time to celebrate but it is time to move to the offense. At the root is a right. This kind of thinking backs much of the progressive agenda. "People have a RIGHT TO ...." You can fill-in-the-blank. In the case of Obamacare the right is health care and by extension Health Insurance. But here's the rub: Rights can not depend on other people to provide that right. We have Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion, Press, Thought, and other fundamental rights that do not cost others money, time or effort. That is not the case with Health care. The Affordable Care Act imposes a tax on all America.It also assumes that medical professionals will accept whatever payment the government deems reasonable.That notion of a goverment decreeing the price of a product well below its cost has a history. (See: French Revolution Louis XVI attempts to control the cost of bread) The Health Care law is the culmination of a long held belief that all people should have Health Insurance, as a fundamental right. All people do get health care but those lacking insurance are, more often than not, treated in hospital emergency rooms in an inefficient and costly manner. This fix,the ACA, promises to change that. It also promises to insure those without insurance whether they want insurance or not. Part of the calculus of the ACA depends on those not wanting insurance (young healthy - you know the type)voluntarily buying expensive plans so as to balance the actuarial tables for those who want but can't afford a plan (perenially ill with pre-existing conditions - you know the type) Promises based on actuarial tables; does that sound like the founding fathers idea of fundamental anything? This ever expanding "rights regime", that is at the heart of Obamacare, will either sink this program or it will destroy American life in a fundamental way, if it succeeds. So far so good.
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
SXSW is a meaningful set of letters to a great number of people. To others those letters mean absolutely nothing. You might as well write in sanscrit. But for a certain type of music lover SXSW has become somewhat of a Mecca to be visited at least once in one's life.Yet to these afficianados, these experts, these lovers of music the letters Yannick Nezet-Seguin might as well be glyphs from a dead language. It may have something to do with the synapses in the brain, their number, size, or capacity but the human mind can only handle so much. You might be an expert in a particular field and yet have never heard of an important person, theory, or significant fact in that field. Such is the plight of the Republican Party these days. Most voters think of themselves as experts when it comes to their choices in their particular voting booth. Once committed the work-a-day citizen gives passing reference to politics, economics, or social policy that affects them. They may look in from time to time to vindicate their choice but unless something dramatic occurs a lot of us spend more time with Soduko then with Fed policy - "who cares?"- pretty much sums up the attitude. In the past month a series of speeches were made by Republicans that were substanitive, warranted and even historic. Yet for the average expert the speeches were mostly goofy. The Republican reply to the State of the Union speech was covered by the news media as Marco Rubio taking a drink of water- that is what the "experts" saw. Tax policy, immigration issues, deficits and debt were not the main issues covered by Rubio: It was a furtive lurch toward a bottle of water that was what the experts saw. In the case of Sarah Palin speaking about the powers that be within the Republican party that speech was about a BigGulp (funny, ironic?)Her challenge to the Republican establishment to go run for office was ignored in favor of the Big Gulp as a focus. The third speech (not sequentially) was Rand Paul's filibuster. For years people have been complaining that Senate filibusters are nothing but empty threats. No Senator ever has a real filibuster. Well Rand Paul did. But what did the "experts" see. On every major news outlet the filibuster was shown to be a tactic where a Senator eats a candy bar on the floor of the Senate while giving a speech. Drones? Killing Americans with drones? Not in this speech. "I saw it," says the expert, "and I think it was a Snickers or Milky Way ." Evidently filibusters are candy eating marathons. If experts flipped from CNN to ABC to NBC they might have thought Senator Paul did nothing but eat candy bars. It may go down in history that way. Republicans have a tough row to hoe. It's almost like the Democrats control the media and they're determined to obfuscate the issues facing the nation.
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
The next Secretary of the Treasury has a signature that is, for want of a better word, silly. It literally looks like a doodle. It bears absolutely no recognizable relation to his name. I could probably reproduce here, if I were more tech savy. But let me describe it. It looks like the drawing of a slinky in action. It might be mistaken for an cartoonist attempt at suggesting dirty conditions. Or a tornado on its side would be a good description. It will soon appear on all of our paper currency.Now understand I'm not suggesting that he change his signature. If that is his signature, so be it. But the appearance of such a signature on every dollar denomination for the next four years adds a kind of unseriousness to our currency. As if our currency was emblematic of our government finances (where every dollar spent is 40% borrowed). This of course means that the cost of printing the currency is also done on loan. That phrase, "the full faith and credit..." should be amended to add a nod to the Chinese for propping up that "credit" portion of the statement. Getting back to the signature: The style of signing things these days and in the years to come is partly due to the time alloted to sign. If you take 5 seconds to sign a credit slip or one of those "debit/credit windows" by the cash register, you can hear the sighs of the people behind you as you write the capital letter of your surname. Most people under the age of 55 just scrawl something in about a nano second. The signature is actually irrelevant. You could draw a smiley face and no one would care- least of all the person wielding the pen. Schools across the country are no longer teaching the incursive method of writing. This is most obvious with todays college students who print in block letters almost everything they have to write. I say have to because so much of their writing is done on the computer that little or no hand written work is required. Even the dreaded Blue Book has taken it on the chin as fewer and fewer students can actually write not type. Profs from coast to coast are finding ways to eliminate the incursive written essay. They say students can't write (print) fast enough and when they try the product is not legible. So why not eliminate the exercise. Remember trying to read old manuscripts? Today old manuscripts are anything written incursive. Young people can't read it or write, they can't even write their own name. Maybe Jack Lew and his signature is of no consequence but looking at it on a hundred dollar bill will make the bill look like a joke. So be it.