Wednesday, December 24, 2008

2 Birds With One Stone




Q: What do you get when you kill 2 chickens with 1 stone?

A: Food for thought.





Here's a way to solve 2 socioeconomic problems with 1 stone. Problem Number One: thanks to the recession--some have called it the worst economic crisis since the FDR's Great Depression, but I think the Carter stagflation era was worse than the 2008 recession--we have higher than normal unemployment. Problem Number Two: thanks to our government's unwillingness to protect our borders, we continue to have illegal immigration.





Well, here is something that would solve both problems: all those unemployed Americans should go to work on farms, in restaurants, and for landscaping companies. Unemployment would plummet, and since there would be no jobs for them, the illegals would stop coming here!





Food for thought.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Uncle Chuck Wants You ['re Money]


I recently received the following email from Senator Schumer. The letter is reproduced here in its entirety, for your enjoyment. I have changed the addressee (that's me), as indicated by italics, to protect my anonymity, in case the democrat storm troopers want to come after me.


"Dear smarterthancongress:

Thank you for writing and sharing your thoughts about America’s financial crisis. I agree with you that giving the Secretary of the Treasury authority over a $700 billion dollar fund to stabilize the financial system, without any checks on his authority, or oversight of his actions, would have been a grave mistake. However, the severity of this economic crisis forced the Congress to act in order to save Main Street from further financial pain. If we had not acted when we did, small businesses trying to fill orders and meet payroll, students looking to pay for college, consumers looking to buy cars and so many others would have faced even greater economic hardships, which would have been disastrous for household wealth and jobs in our country. That is why I made the difficult decision to support the administration’s rescue plan after insisting on changes to the program to ensure that taxpayers will share in the rewards of recovery, that executives of these mismanaged financial institutions would not be enriched with taxpayer money, and that there would be effective oversight of the program. When the economy recovers, taxpayers should be able to recoup most, or all, of this money because the federal government will earn a return from any investments it makes in banks needing assistance. To hold the banks’ executives accountable, the bill requires that all companies that benefit from government assistance limit how much they pay their top employees and, in many cases, eliminate golden parachutes entirely. And to guarantee effective oversight of the rescue program, major oversight mechanisms were written into the legislation, including the creation of a new Inspector General and Congressional oversight panel. Finally, we forced the Administration to add protections for homeowners into the bill that address the eye of the financial storm – the foreclosure crisis. Of course, this is only one part of a comprehensive solution needed to get our economy back on the right track. Congress stands ready to deliver a broad-based economic stimulus package to invest in Main Street, create new high-paying jobs, and keep the engine of our economy going. Again, thank you for contacting me on this important issue. Please do not hesitate to contact me again if I can be of further assistance on this, or any other matter.

Sincerely,

Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator


Please do not respond to this email. To send another message please visit my website at http://schumer.senate.gov/SchumerWebsite/contact/webform.cfm . Thank you."

There is no need for me to nitpick this letter. You can do that yourself, since you are
smarter than congress. However, please notice that there is no (zero, zip, zilch, nada) acknowlegement of Congress's share of responsibility for the recession. You know what I mean:
democrat cronies like Frank Raines running Fannie and Freddie into the ground with the encouragement of Christopher Dodd and Barney Frank; democrat/environmentalist policies blocking American oil production; CAFE standards, etc. And Schumer is up to his neck in this, and shows not one scintilla of introspection, apology, or responsibility.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Letter from D.C., or Why is this Woman Smiling?



What, me worry?

The following is an email that I received from the junior Senator from New York. That's right, she is still the Senator, even though she has been pretty scarce the past 3 years, and is abandoning us in the very near future(boo hoo!) to advance her own career . The email is shown here in its entirety. Changes are in italics.


"Dear smarterthancongress.com:


Thank you for sharing your views on the state of the auto industry. I appreciate your concern and I welcome the opportunity to respond.

The auto manufacturing sector has been devastated by the recent economic crisis. Frozen consumer and commercial credit and sharply declining sales have pushed U.S. automakers to the edge of bankruptcy. According to one estimate, almost three million American jobs are tied to the Big Three automakers. The collapse of the domestic auto industry would have a ripple effect that would be immediately felt by New York's nearly 98,000 auto manufacturing-related workers and the many suppliers and dealers throughout the state and the entire nation. Moreover, a collapse would have a destructive impact on our economy.

It is profoundly disappointing that the measure on the floor of the Senate last week was blocked. It would have provided critical assistance for American automakers and the millions of workers whose jobs are directly and indirectly in jeopardy. Millions of Americans, whose livelihoods are in jeopardy, are left to wait over the holidays to see whether their jobs will be saved.

This is a difficult time for America and for American families. Our economy has been buffeted by turmoil in the financial markets and the growing mortgage crisis, resulting in - and compounded by - severe job losses and a deepening sense of anxiety across this country. Inaction is not an acceptable option. I have called for the current administration to use the tools at its disposal to keep our automakers afloat, including using the authority given to the Treasury Secretary to stabilize our markets and troubled companies. In the long term, we must pursue economic policies that will not only create jobs but create the incentives for these companies and many others to lead our nation and the world in developing innovative technologies that will shape our future and ensure our prosperity.

Again, thank you for your letter regarding the auto industry and our economic challenges ahead. For updates, please check my website at http://clinton.senate.gov.
Sincerely,
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton"


So thats it.   I will not nitpick the Senator's letter;  I will leave that to you.  After all, you are SMARTER THAN CONGRESS.

Friday, December 12, 2008

73 - 44 = ? OR, WHY ARE THESE MEN LAUGHING?




Do you think the geniuses in Congress can do the math?    Lets see.   73.   That would be the average hourly labor costs paid to UAW workers by the not-so-big three Detroit automakers.   44, on the other hand, is the average hourly labor costs  of the other car manufacturers in the U.S., i.e., Toyota.  

So, what's the answer?   73 - 44 = an untenable business model.   The geniuses in Congress, mostly democrats, who are beholden to the unions and the environmental wackos, have pressured the auto makers to accept ridiculous UAW contracts, and have imposed CAFE standards upon them.   Add to the cauldron the big-bonus nincompoop auto execs  that came up with the Hummer and the Scion, and you come up with a poisonous potion worthy of the Wierd Sisters of  Macbeth.

Now the same geniuses, plus Bush and King Henry (Paulsen), want to use my money, my hard-earned money, to bail Detroit out.   Not to worry, you say, its a loan to Detroit, and they have to pay it back to the taxpayers.    Remember the last time Congress said the loans would be paid back?   Its called the sub-prime mortgage crisis.   

NO MORE BAILOUTS!

Kudos to Kongress


The price of petrol in suburban New York has finally dipped below $2.00/gallon.  Time to go buy me another Hummer.   But seriously, all praise is due to the geniuses in Congress who rescued us from $4.00 a gallon gas;   and thanks to President Bush and King Henry (Paulson) for their part in this process.  I knew that bailing out AIG, and buying up all those risky subprime mortgages would do the trick.   Those evil oil barons must have been shaking in their boots when they  stared into the steely eyes of Charles "Chuck" Schumer, and "Dirty" Harry Reid.     Now, whenever I fill up, I think fondly of our fearless leaders on Capitol Hill (see list on the right side of this page) and in the White House.   They have shown that they have the power to take care of us in these troubled times.   Thank God they did not leave us in the hands of market forces.

But wait, I just thought of something.   The price of gas really started to plummet after the election.   Maybe its the messiah--I mean, the Obama--who is responsible for our fuel savings.
Lets all say a prayer of thanks to Him, also.

Barack atah adonai....



Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Obama Hitches a Ride*


Referring to his economic team, and his plans for socializing---er, dealing with the current economic situation--in America,the president-elect said:

"But understand where the vision for change comes from. First and foremost, it comes from me. That's my job, is to provide a vision in terms of where we are going and to make sure then that my team is implementing."

Then why does in look like he is hitching a ride on the Clinton bandwagon?


*photo by Charles Dharapak, AP


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

How do you spell KGB?

This from Ben Evans of the Obama-Associated Press:

"We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we've set," Obama said in July. "We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded."

Civilian national security force? Do we not have enough over-zealous police already?

And you thought the Patriot Act was bad!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Political SAT Question

IAGO : OTHELLO

RAHM EMANUEL : ____________?


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Two Americas


The term "Two Americas" was coined by the great slip-and-fall Senator from North Carolina, John Edwards.  We can now see graphic proof of his idea in this county-by-county electoral map from the recent presidential election.  The map is the work of Mark Newman.  Notice how the blue is mostly limited to urban areas of high population density:   the northeast, the west coast, the tip of Florida, the upper midwest (Chicago, etc.)     This is one America, comprised of upper middle class and upper class white liberal elites,  service union members,   city dwellers who do not depend on cars, the entertainment industry, the pornography industry, etc.  The second America,  the Red America, is the rest of us.   We are also know as bitter clingers, or, in the olden days, the silent majority.

(Please also notice the correct use of the word comprised.)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Date That Will Live in History




Congratulations to Barack Obama.   Congratulations to the United States of America.  Yesterday was a date that will live in history.   Now it is time to turn our eyes to the future.  How will the new president and his party handle their long-sought  power?

On January 20, 2009, everybody turn on your TVs,   and then tell me what you see:   is it an inauguration or a coronation?  The democrats and their friends from Hollywood love to stage grand spectacles, and the Obama convention speech and acceptance speech were mere rehearsals for the Big One when he takes the oath of office.

 

McCain, Bush I and II,  and Reagan all approached the presidency with a sense of humility, meaning they realized that the office was larger than them.  They were mere occupants for 4 or 8 years, servants of the people and guardians of the Constitution.   Clinton viewed the presidency as something for him to use, as a tool to advance his own cause, or his wife’s, or his party’s.   It is only a slight exaggeration to say it was a toy for him to play with.

 

What about Obama?   Will he view himself as a servant of The People, or their King?

What about us?   Will we view him as a fallible servant of the The People, or as our King?

 

Barack Honolulus, Rex Americanae.   BHRA*


*cf. the Catholic motto, INRI,   for  Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iud├Žorum, Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.   John 19:19

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Obamalation, Obamanation


Congratulations,  President-Elect Obama, and sympathy for the loss of your grandmother.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Why Jews will vote for Obama, a Sermon

Stop me if I get too preachy.

On second thought, do not stop me.   Some of you out there, especially the Ninevites in Congress and Palm Beach County, could use a good sermon.   

I have been reading "What God Can Do for You Now," by Robert Levine (Sourcebooks, Inc.,  2008).   Levine quotes Rabbi Harold Schulweis:  "Jewish holiness is in relatonship with the broken vessels of society: the poor, the stranger, the fatherless, the widow...It takes place in the marketplace, the prison, the hospital, the convalescent home." [page 178]    This refers to Leviticus, chapter 19, known as the holiness code, which explains in detail our responsibilities to our fellow men, especially those less fortunate than ourselves.

Democrat politicians, Obama in particular, preach about helping the poor, the homeless, the illegal alien, the sick, the minority, the sexually alternative, etc.   This message appeals to Jews, who have been inculcated with the holiness code their whole lives,   and liberals, who are laden with guilt, and others, who hope to be on the receiving end of government's largess.   The popularity of the democrat message is understandable.  Unfortunately,  those who buy into it are "...persons who cannot discern between their right and their left hand..." (Jonah 4:11).

Why is it wrong for Jews, in particular, to support the democrat-liberal social welfare agenda?
What is wrong is that it is an abrogation of their responsibility under their covenant with God.
The holiness code, and, arguably, much of the old testament, is about personal responsibility.
Nowhere in the Bible are we instructed to set up governments to do our holiness for us.   Leviticus is about our individual obligations to our fellow man.  "You wanna be Holy, you do these things," it says.    It does not say, "You wanna be Holy, you pay your taxes and let your government do the dirty work."    It is not for Barack Obama to take the gleanings of your harvest and transfer them to others, it is for you to do so.   And the measure of your Holiness is not by how much you pay in taxes, but by how much you voluntarily do for you neighbor and your community.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Global Warming SAT


Inspired by "The Deep Sleep," by David Craig,   Columbia magazine, Fall 2008.

Here is a short quiz on climate change, aka "global warming."   If you can answer any of these questions, then you are Smarter than Congress.  You may open your test booklets now and begin.  There is no time limit.  Good luck.



 (1)What is the ideal temperature for the earth?
(2) If you can not identify a specific temperature, then is the ideal temperature higher, lower or the same as the present temperature?
(3) What is the present temperature of the earth?   
(4) What was the temperature of the earth during the Cambrian explosion?  
(5)  Is atmospheric CO2 pollution?
(6)  What is the ideal atmospheric CO2 level?    If you can not be specific, then state whether the ideal level is higher, lower or the same as the present level?   The present level is about 387 ppm.
(7) Recently, the price of gasoline skyrocketed.  Why did Democrat politicians, most of whom claim to oppose the use of fossil fuels, try so hard to find a way to control the prices? One would think they would  have been jumping for joy, no?
(8)  The rise in gasoline prices has been attributed to evil oil companies, speculators, and OPEC, among others.  Yet  American and world-wide gasoline consumption   has dropped since the price went up.  How is that evil?
(9)  What were the reasons that Republicans opposed Kyoto?    Hint:  it was not because they hated Clinton.
(10) Why is there no wind farm off the coast of Chappaquiddick?
(11)  If global warming is the most serious problem facing mankind, or even if it is merely a serious problem, why has Congress not facilitated or encouraged the building of nuclear power plants to replace coal?
(12)  What happens to the ocean level when the arctic ice cap melts?  Hint:  "It rises" is not the correct answer.
(13)  What are the benefits of global warming?   Hint:  there are some.

Thank you for participating in this quiz.   You will receive your scores in the mail in  6 months.  Rush service is available for  one easy payment of $29.95. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Three Wise Men

Here is the answer to yesterday's riddle.

Q:  What's the difference between Teddy Kennedy, O.J., and Bill Ayers?

A:  Not much.  There are definitely similarities, however.  (1) Each of them, through intent or negligence,   cause the unlawful death of an innocent victim.  Notice, I am being careful not to call Teddy Kennedy and O.J. murderers.   The courts have ruled on that question.   (2)  Each of them got away with mur--oops, there's that word again.   Each of them got away with his crime, got away scott free.   Teddy Kennedy bought his way out of an indictment.  O.J. bought his way out of a conviction.   Bill Ayers bought himself prosecutorial misconduct.   

The  only differences I can think of are: (1) Teddy killed one person (Mary Jo Kopechne);   O.J. killed two (Ron and Nicole);   Ayers killed several, including 2 police officers and his own girlfriend, among others. (2) Ayers was a coward.  He had his flunkies make the bombs, plant them, and set them off.   At least O.J. had the cojones to do his own dirty work.  (3)  O.J. and Teddy Kennedy caused very little property damage.  Ayers cause hundreds of thousands of dollars worth, at least, and has never paid back one red cent.

One last difference.   O.J. has led a life of shame since his crime, and finally is going to jail.
The other two, because they are big democrat/liberals, have lived cushy, outwardly respectable lives.  But I wonder if the money, prestige and power can ever erase their shame.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The 3 Wise Men

Riddle:     What is the difference between Teddy Kennedy, O.J., and Bill Ayers?

Answer will be posted tomorrow.

Biden Slidin'

Yesterday, Bafflegabbed posted a blog titled "Palin Failin'."   He took issue with her use of the phrase "pro-American areas of the country."    Apparently, she said she was referring to patriotic small towns.   It turns out that Joe ("Joe the Politician") Biden has an unusual concept of patriotism as well.  Sarah Palin thinks patriotism resides in small towns .   Joe thinks that patriotism means  paying taxes.   And Barack (Baruch?)  Obama thinks patriotism means spreading the wealth.   I think they are all wrong.   I do not know the exact definition of patriotism, but I know a patriot when I see one.    John McCain is a patriot.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Three Stooges

Recently, I posed this riddle to my son: What is the difference between V.I. Lenin, Osama bin Laden, and Bill Ayers?

He answered: Only Bin Laden poses a national security risk to the US. I suppose this is true. After all, Lenin is dead, and Ayers is a loser (I think, see below), but I am not particularly worried about bin Laden either, cowering in his hut or cave or spider hole.

I think the correct answer is: not much.

Consider their life stories. Each of the three was a spoiled rich kid who got tired of spending his daddy's money and struggling in an oedipal effort to out-do, or at least gain the respect of, daddy. Failing in that quest, each turned to revolution, an attempt to denigrate and eliminate daddy's society. Lenin, of course, was successful for a time, and what a price the people of Russia and their neighbors paid. Bin Laden? Last time I checked, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia still exists. And Ayers?
What of Bill Ayers, the cowardly murderer and destroyer of public and private property?
His girlfriend died in a bomb-making accident, his wife did jail time, but he escaped without punishment because of a technicality, and now enjoys life and fame as a member of the Chicago intelligentsia. What would his daddy, the energy tsar, think of him now? Is Barack Obama, brainwashed when he was a political neophyte, his Manchurian candidate, programmed to bring about revolution from within the system? Or is Ayers just a burnt-out hippie, trying to cover his guilt and shame with his liberalism, his posturing, and his professorial robes?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Saving McCain On Healthcare

John McCain may have gained some ground in the debate last night, but he certainly did not deliver a knockout blow. Among other things, he failed to adequately explain the benefits of his healthcare proposal. Indeed, he has never adequately explained the benefits, so I will have to do it for him.

It is the conventional wisdom, or at least the congressional wisdom (oxymoron?), that health insurance* should be provided by employers. I contend that this is a poor way of providing health insurance, in that it denies health insurance to millions of people, raises premiums, ties employees to their employers almost like indentured to servants, is unfair to lower income employees, and results in higher taxes for businesses and individuals.

First, let's look at the dollars and cents. When you pay premiums to an employer based insurance plan, you get a tax deduction. This means that the amount of savings is determined by your tax bracket. For example, let's say your annual insurance premium is $10,000. If you are in a low income tax bracket, say 15%, your tax savings will be $1500. However, if you are in a higher tax bracket, say 33%, your tax savings will be $3300. It is plain as day that the higher your annual income, the greater your benefit under the current system. And don't forget, any one who does not get health insurance from his employer gets ZERO tax savings. Is this the result that liberal Congressmen wanted for constituents when they came up with the tax code? Are they to dumb to figure this out?

Now, lets look at the McCain plan. McCain would give a $5,000 tax credit (per couple filing a joint return) to any one purchasing health insurance. Since it is a tax credit, and not a deduction, is means $5,000 to every taxpaying family, even low income families who owe zero in taxes. This would be a greater benefit on a percentage basis to those with lower income, and a smaller benefit on a percentage basis to those with higher income. Under the current system, for someone in a 15% tax bracket to save $5,000 in taxes , his insurance premium would have to be $33,333.33. I have never heard of an insurance premium that high, even for plans with frills. So tell me, which plan states the insured more money, McCain's or the status quo?

Next, let's consider Freedom. This is simple. With employer based health insurance, the employee is limited to whatever insurance plans the employer offers. With McCain's plan, which disengages health insurance from employment, the insured can purchase any health insurance plan that is available in his state. Every one would have the exact same choices available to him as everyone else, including members of Congress.

I believe that premiums would be lower under McCain's plan also. Under the current system, insurance premiums are negotiated between insurance companies, large businesses, and labor unions (small companies and individual customers have no negiotiating power whatsoever). These entities have only their own interest at heart, not yours and mine. Furthermore, the pool of negotiating parties is limited, and the pool of potential customers is reduced by tens of millions of citizens (the 47 million uninsured). Keep in mind, many of these 47 million are healthy, and inclusion of healthy people in insurance plan helps spread out healthcare costs, and therefore helps keep premiums down. Finally, because we would be able to choose any health insurance plan that is on the market, insurance plans would be forced to compete for our business, not for IBM's business, or the AFL-CIO's business. They would have to come up with insurance plans to satisfy us.

Also, wages and salaries and jobs would go up if employers did not have to provide health insurance. I should not have to explain this, but the conventional wisdom is so ingrained that I think it is necessary. If a business does not have to pay health insurance premiums, guess what, its overhead is lower! A lot lower. That means: higher pay for employees; or higher contributions to retirement plans; or, hiring more employees; or, investing in equipment, plant, advertising, or other revenue increasing items, and hence the possibility of even more jobs, higher pay and better benefits. Now, would that be good for the economy, or bad?

Finally, did I mention FREEDOM? If I had a dollar for every time someone has said to me, "the only reason I stay at my job is for the health insurance," I would be a wealthy man. People are tied to their jobs; they do not feel free to leave their jobs because of the fear that they will lose their insurance. It is time to end the idiocy of employer-provided health insurance.

Elect McCain, take your tax credit, and go out and buy your own insurance. Embrace freedom, and you will be healthier, wealthier, and smarter than Congress.

*You know what bugs me? When polticians say "health care" insteadof "health insurance." Doctors, nurses, and hospitals, among others, provide health care. Insurance companies are financial middlemen. They transfer money from one party to another for a fee. That is not "health care."

For an alternate point of view, go to bafflegabbed.typepad.com.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Debate Headache

I watched the debate in HD.   Obama's ears, and McCains complexion were distracting.   It was hard to focus on the issues when the camera was focussed on their cosmectic defects.

Here's another headache:  McCain says Obama will raise taxes.  Obama says McCain will raise insurance costs.   Either way, guess who loses.    That's right, Joe the plumber.