Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cheated Out On Grease

I thought that I had made mention of this before but I guess not. However, since Azel(sp?) has brought it back up I figured I'd point it out. Over in Japan McDonald's has 'mega' versions of common menu items that are way more heroic than our wimpy American counterparts:




Cholesterol on a bun!

One theory is that McDonald's is so gun shy about selling unhealthy viddles that they've stayed away from the bigger sandwiches in the states. If so, we can point to another point of joy stolen away by the evil lawyers in this country. However, maybe, just maybe, environmentalists can bring that joy back.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ohio Issues 2008

[Update: Ooops, I missed issue 1 and misstated my stand on 5 (since corrected), oh well...]

Here's yet another roundup of Ohio ballot issues. It's always a good gauge for the populace as not every kook can get a ballot initiative in Ohio like they can out in California, so behind every issue there is usually some popular interest or a truck full of money:
  • Issue 1: Horridly technical Ohio consitutional amendment. Such details should be left to legislators.Sandmich vote: No, Sandmich Passage Prediction: No
  • Issue 2: This issue allows the state to go further into debt in order to perform vaguely defined environmental cleanup actions. A post over at the Pain Dealer site lists various projects that are tied to some sort of private development. I personally favor more favorable regulations that would allow manufacturing to return to abandoned plants rather than tearing them down for WalMarts. Sandmich vote: No, Sandmich Passage Prediction: Yes.
  • Issue 3: A justifiable fear began to grow some years ago that some corrupt enterprising state that abuts the Great Lakes would take it upon itself to sell water out of the lakes to nogoodnicks whose agricultural policies have drained their local water resources. In response the U.S. and Canada passed the Great Lakes Compact. As with most things related to government, it's rather heavy handed and this ballot initiative seeks to clarify some private property rights. Sandmich vote: Yes, Sandmich Passage Prediction: Yes.
  • Issue 4: I must confess to being mistaken on this initiative because I thought it was actually 'issue 5' for the longest time. This was the ballot initiative that would have guaranteed everyone in the state 7 paid days off from work. Someone came to their senses though and pulled the issue off the ballot.
  • Issue 5: It turns out that issue 5 is an effort to roll back restrictions that were put on 'payday' loan operators in the state earlier in the year. I hate seeing any kind of government regulation, but I can honestly attest to the fact that interest rates charged for credit loans rarely have any basis in reality. Although I've never had to use one of these places, it's not all bad that they exist. Sandmich vote: No [remove restrictions], Sandmich Passage Prediction: Yes.
  • Issue 6: Largely because Ohio's business environment stinks, DHL left their shipping hub in Wilmington, Ohio. For the longest time Wilmington, which is out in the middle of nowhere, was known for being the location of the training camp for the Cincinnati Bengals. However the Bengals have long since left and now the place will only be known for the hillbilly college that resides there, unless that is if issue 6 passes. If this issue passes then Wilmington will also be the location of the only lawfully sanctioned casino in the state. It's interesting that the same legislators that sought to protect the poor and ignorant with issue 5, seek to take from the same groups with issue 6. I guess the 'payday' loan operators main offense was not giving Uncle Buckeye a big enough cut. Anyway, yet again the quick fix of an artificial tax increase is in instead of trying to make the state a more favorable destination for businesses. Sandmich vote: No, Sandmich Passage Prediction: No.
  • Issue 127: A property tax for the county libraries. Mrs. Sandmich told me to vote YES, so I haven't put much thought into it. Sandmich Passage Prediction: No.
  • Issue 133: Parma city school tax. I grew up with a favorable impression of the public school system where my dad teaches at in southeast Indiana, but unfortunately Ohio public schools, and particularly those in northeast Ohio, are leaches. Teacher salaries start at nearly $40K a year, which isn't bad considering that A) they get their summers off, B) they pay like $20 a month for medical insurance and C) this is the killer, Ohio teachers don't pay into Social Security; and after all that they have nerve to complain about how rough they have it. I'm sick of their bitching so I feel that it's time to "starve the beast". My property values don't mean much since Uncle Sam is already seeing to populating my area with Hee-Bee-Gee-Bees on my dime via section 8 housing. Sandmich vote: No, Sandmich Passage Prediction: No.

Monday, October 27, 2008

World Series Notes

Although I haven't gone through and scanned all the major league ballparks, the Tampa Bay Rays must have the ugliest ballpark in the MLB (especially with the absence of the Expo's old haunt*). I thought it odd at first since the Buccaneers have one of the nicest looking arenas in the NFL, but then I figured the design was due to the sometimes horrific weather patterns in Florida during baseball season. That still doesn't completely excuse the fact that the arena looks like it should be storing shipping containers instead of entertainment.


In a word: warehouse

I've stated before that I'm not the biggest baseball fan, but over the years I've acquired a taste for playoff level professional baseball. It would be impossible to expect that major league players could go all-out in every one of the 162(!) games they play every season, but that changes in the playoffs when games go from being vaguely important in some way, to critically important in every way. Every pitch and every 'at bat' is critical and ripe with tension.

That brings me around to the DH rule. I've always been cool to the idea, seeing it as a sanctioned form of cheating. However, I've warmed to it through this series of playoff games due to horrible batting by the pitchers. I don't mean that they're bad compared to their teammates, I mean they're downright awful by any comparison. They don't even look comfortable holding the bat and seem eager to get the ordeal over with so that they can go back to hiding in the dugout. I've felt quite sorry for these guys and have come around to thinking that they don't deserve that humiliation just for the sake of strict rules interpretation. Sure, the pitcher for the Phillies hit a home run last night, but that's the exception that proves the rule since the last home run hit by a pitcher during the World Series was 34 years ago. What's the point in that, really? Ready to wait another 34 years for the next World Series pitcher-hit home run?

*Interestingly enough, the proposed design for a new Rays stadium bears a striking resemblance to the deadly old Expos stadium.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Wife Beater Redux

I went to another luncheon sponsored by the local Domestic Violence Center today. I heard stories about various cretins and these stuck with me more than usual, probably because they had to do with teenagers.

The featured case was of a young guy who stabbed his fifteen year old ex-girlfriend to death and got life in prison with no parole; except, the girl's mother was distraught because the state of Iowa decided to have a parole hearing for him!

My first thought was "why?", but my second was "why is he even still alive?". However I have to wonder how far anti-domestic violence adherents would want to go to prevent such horrid crimes. I would be all for having such a low life get his entrails cut out and burned in front of him "ye old English style", but I suspect that the pushers of such gutless initiatives as anti-stalking laws would be abhorred at such a prospect.

We all dream of living in a secured park-like setting that is free of violence with a wall between them and the rest of the world, but people will have to accept at some point that to get closer to that goal, horrible things will have to happen on the other side of the wall to keep the chaos at bay. Otherwise, you're just blowing a smoke of feel-good platitudes.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Double Edged Saif

I was hoping this controversy was going to fly under the radar of the general public, but it looks like it's hit the wire:
One of the fall's most anticipated video games for the PlayStation 3, Sony's "LittleBigPlanet," had to be yanked from shelves at the last minute Monday because it might accidentally offend Muslims.
The controversy is that since the song had lines from the Koran in it then Muslims, always looking for an excuse to be offended, would riot in the street while no doubt burning American and Israeli flags despite the fact that the developer is British and the publisher is Japanese.

However, I had another thought after I heard more about the song's artist:
"It's quite normal to play music and be inspired by the words of the Prophet Mohammed," said Diabaté, himself a Muslim. "It's my way to attract and inspire people towards Islam."
Sony simply wasn't going to win on this one. They were either going to be accused of blasphemy and/or protelyzing, best to dump the track and continue down the road with everyone else in pursuit of creating bland, multicultural entertainment products.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Max Payne


I hope you like talking, and mood. Yep mood and talking, can't get enough!

There's a key scene in the Max Payne video game where he goes into a diner only to be ambushed and the place set ablaze. It's a tense segment where you're trying to escape being burned alive while people are shooting at you. In the movie's rough equivalent of this segment, Max goes into a diner and then...just leaves. So it goes for the rest of this snoozer, I felt all three hours of this 99 minute movie.

Between all the talking and set pieces a story starts to come out that seems dissimilar from the game. However, after reviewing wikipedia it turns out that the plots were closer than I recalled and I have to think that the screen writers sought to play down the predominant mob elements of the game (which were absent in the movie) and play up the left wing bilge about an evil pharmaceutical company engaging in twisted military-industrial research (which in the game was a shadow of it's cinematic portrayal). I went to play the game to check my memory (the game is more than seven years old at this point), but the Windows game did what Windows games do best*:


My Windows gaming experience to a 'T'

The game had some catchy themes, but it's main draw was novelty items. The Matrix had come out two years prior and Max Payne exploited the bullet time obsession of the day by allowing Max to be able to slow down time over short stretches so that he could get an edge on opponents. As well, the game featured a graphical art, crime noir style that, while not necessarily original was basically unique for a video game. However appealing these items were in the game all them to varying degrees were already old hat in cinema when the game came out. In the intervening years it's become even more challenging to make an engaging film based off these points and the film suffered further when they failed to bring in the games other predominant feature, lots and lots of shooting.

With a violent and dark motif, the game easily snagged itself an 'M' rating (i.e. 'R'). While watching the movie, I saw the style and the talking, and more style and talking, and...well you get the point, and I came to think that it was mistake for the producers to drive the films rating down to PG-13 (i.e. 'T'). All the good stuff that gave the game its heft had been dumped. One particular segment in the game involves a play-through of a nightmare for Max that's one of the most disturbing, and yet involving scenes in any game I've played, and although the film made what can best be described as a very strong weak showing to force the scene in, it was left in such a gelded state that it may as well have been dumped all together along with all the other good scenes that were in the game.

It's a shame, the movie had everything in it that should have made a movie work: decent acting, nice sets, respectable direction; but when a movie gets beat by a video game in the story department it has issues. Games can get away with crappy stories since they can rely on other mechanisms to keep it entertaining, for movies though that's all they have; or this case, don't have.

*I recently saw something, again, that poked fun of the Mac for the lack of video games it plays. The joke though is that playing video games on a Windows system can be such an exercise in pain that it's doubtful that anyone in their right mind would want to play a lot of video games on Windows either.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Loser, Baby!

Some absolute loser by the name of John Seewer is going after a plumber that lives in the Toledo area because said plumber had the nerve to question Barry Obama (blessed be his name) on taxes. So instead of going after, say, a certain presidential candidate who bought his house with the help of a convicted felon (among a printed dictionary of other faults), Mr. Seewer is going after some poor schlub. As if America is better off knowing how much back taxes the poor plumber owes as opposed to whether or not someone running for president claimed a glorified bribe as income on his 1040.

I must confess, I HATE the John Seewers of the world as they work feverishly to make the planet worse, and it looks like this particular loser lives in my state which means this bottom feeder's presence has a direct impact on my well being! I HATE elites like him so VERY much that, heh heh, a certain Penny Arcade shirt came to mind, but they don't sell it anymore! Instead I snagged the comic it's based on and made a rough abbreviated version:

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Mama Money Quote

At the YMCA tonight I had to sit through several Obama ads that featured video of the handful of times he had seen middle class white people* and several shots of the child Obama with his mother (I'M HALF WHITE!!!) before she dumped him off on her parents so that she could study Indonesian blacksmithing. If only he would also relay the message his mother pressed into him:
Sometimes I [Obama] would overhear him [Obama's step-father] and my mother arguing in their bedroom, usually about her refusal to attend his company dinner parties, where American businessmen from Texas and Louisiana would slap Lolo’s back and boast about the palms they had greased to obtain the new offshore drilling rights, while their wives complained to my mother about the quality of Indonesian help. He would ask her how it would look for him to go alone, and remind her that these were her own people, and my mother’s voice would rise to almost a shout.

"They are not my people."
No prob though, Obama has found 'his people' and they certainly aren't the people in those B.S. ads that he's running on TV:
[Kenyan presidential candidate] Mr. Odinga and Mr. Obama were nearly inseparable throughout Mr. Obama's six-day stay [in Kenya]. The two traveled together throughout Kenya and Mr. Obama spoke on behalf of Mr. Odinga at numerous rallies. In contrast, Mr. Obama had only criticism for Kibaki. He lashed out against the Kenyan government shortly after meeting with the president on Aug. 25. "The [Kenyan] people have to suffer over corruption perpetrated by government officials," Mr. Obama announced.
And who is dear Mr. Odinga?
About 50 parishioners were locked into the Assemblies of God church before it was set ablaze. They were mostly women and children. Those who tried to flee were hacked to death by machete-wielding members of a mob numbering 2,000.

The 2008 New Year Day atrocity in the Kenyan village Eldoret, about 185 miles northwest of Nairobi, had all the markings of the Rwanda genocide of a decade earlier.

By mid-February 2008, more than 1,500 Kenyans were killed. Many were slain by machete-armed attackers. More than 500,000 were displaced by the religious strife. Villages lay in ruin. Many of the atrocities were perpetrated by Muslims against Christians.

The violence was led by supporters of Raila Odinga, the opposition leader who lost the Dec. 27, 2007, presidential election by more than 230,000 votes.
...
In return for Muslim backing, Mr. Odinga promised to impose a number of measures favored by Muslims if he were elected president. Among these were recognition of "Islam as the only true religion," Islamic leaders would have an "oversight role to monitor activities of ALL other religions [emphasis in original]," installation of Shariah courts in every jurisdiction, a ban on Christian preaching, replacement of the police commissioner who "allowed himself to be used by heathens and Zionists," adoption of a women's dress code, and bans on alcohol and pork.
I can see why white people in general wouldn't want to vote for someone who supported white only institutions just the same as many black people are leery of politicians espousing strong ethnocentrism since it's bad for civil society and damaging to all parties; but there's got to be a difference between that and voting for someone who has had it in for them, right?


*Got to love this other line that was espoused by the theology practiced at Obama's church of twenty years:
If God is not for us and against white people, then he is a murderer, and we had better kill him.

Spam Marks

From Slashdot:
An international spam ring with ties to Australia, New Zealand, China, India, and the US is in the process of being shut down. Finances of members in the US are being frozen using the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 while the FBI is pursuing criminal charges. The group sent spam advertising male enhancement herbs and other items using a botnet estimated at 35,000 computers, and able to send 10 billion emails per day. The Federal Trade Commission monitored the group's finances and found that they had cleared $400,000 in Visa charges in one month alone.
I have noticed about a 33% drop off in the amount of spam that my workplace gets, but would it be too much to ask to have the government find the people who purchased some of that $400,000 of crap off of the spam and ban them from ever, ever using a computer again?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Wasted Cycles

As you might recall, Intel was quite happy when they were able to snag Apple into their camp. Formerly, Apple used processors manufactured by Motorola for their systems. I figured Intel was happy because of the uptick in sales, but in hindsight I think it was the fact that they were reaching the upper echelon of what kind of speed they could crank a CPU up to and they knew that it was only a matter of time before even a slouch like Motorola was able to catch up to them and negate Intel's speed advantage, such as it was. After all, there was a lot of truth to what Apple was saying at the time that the CPU speed isn't the be-all end-all. It doesn't really matter if your CPU is moving at 509 million gigahertz if your memory is stuck at 100Mhz since a computer is generally as fast as its slowest component.

But the speed game was great marketing. Who wants to talk about front side bus speed and PCI bus access rates when you can just slap a number on your product like "2.4Ghz". So Intel was happy to get Apple because work is so much easier when you don't have to, you know, work.

Intel though can't completely sit on it's laurels and it's substituted all that hard work that they put into speeding up their product for the lazy-out of cramming more identical CPUs onto the same form factor. Now when one goes to buy a product it's measured in 'cores', or the number of CPUs that have been baked onto the chip. Here's the nasty secret though: hardly anything uses multiple 'cores'. That's why some people experience a performance drop when they trade in their ancient 2.4Ghz PC for a 2Ghz multicore because the app(s) that they use most heavily isn't written to use more than one CPU.

I bring this up because MSDN magazine, Microsoft's organ for Microsoft programmers, has been running a series of articles on coding to multi-core systems. It's in Microsoft's interest to push this skill set since no one is going to buy a new PC with new M$ software on it if they're going to get worse performance. This brings up the other nasty secret: writing multi-threaded apps sucks.

Reading about programming in general isn't the most uplifting topic, but reading about multi-threading may be the most boring thing I have ever read, ever. It's like listening to a bug doctor talk about the different kinds of dirt that can accumulate on the legs of ants: the topic is easily grasped by many, but cared about by exceedingly few. Add onto that the fact that writing multi-threaded apps is like having to teach someone to juggle correctly the first time they try by writing down the instructions and mailing them to the aspiring juggler. I found this quote over at MSDN that best summarizes the whole topic (emphasis me).
Anyway, back to the problem in hand. If you are seeing effects akin to thread sync issues in a multi-threaded program then it's very likely that there are thread sync issues. This is a problem with your application, not with Windows. It may be things like you aren't using memory barriers where needed so the processor cache isn't being flushed, or that you're missing or have incorrectly placed one or more critical sections, or any number of things. As I'm sure you're aware this is very difficult to debug...
The core issue, as it were, is that the main program has to farm out it's sub-functions to what is essentially a completely different computer. When will the 'separate computer' get back to the main program? Who knows!

Companies like Adobe, Autodesk and Microsoft have the skills and resources to code their high-end packages to take advantage of this functionality, but I still think it's a stretch for Microsoft to expect that the vast army of 3rd party programmers who write to Windows will be able to tackle multi-core programming when so much of what they write barely works on one.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Boo Ray

Something that I've had an issue with is the huge cost discrepancy between regular DVDs and Blu-ray disks. I was looking forward to picking up the movie Hitman on Blu-ray, but it's ten friggin' dollars more! Adherents will point out that the high definition Blu-ray packs twice the resolution as those old DVDs, and although true, this is a matter of scale.

When DVDs came out they wiped out VHS tapes. Tapes were a horrible medium where age and mild use would render them unwatchable. I had tapes that I had gotten new that were painful to sit through due to tracking issues, and god forbid that your machine got grumpy and ate your thirty dollar exclusive edition of some flick. Blu-ray simply doesn't have those kind of advantages over DVDs. However, it needs to be said that the higher resolution disks aren't all they're cracked up to be either. A standard DVD played over a progressive scan player with RGB cables is already pretty darn good, and my experience has been that unless it's a vista shot of some sort(which can be breath taking in HD), it's difficult to even tell that a movie is being played back on Blu-ray. Aggravating this point further is that if a movie is more than ten years old, there's a decent chance that the print that's committed to disk doesn't look all that great on DVD, let alone Blu-ray.

What brought this back to mind is Netflix upping the subscription fee for Blu-ray users by a buck. Inexpensive given the typical cost difference, but Sony will have to find a way to bring the media costs down as their project will have problems catching on if they continue to charge a 50% premium for what is typically a 10% better viewing experience.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Obama Roll

My buddy turned me onto this product which I've used fairly religiously for my blogging since the products release. As it turns out though, I have a big stash of Obama crap that I've never bothered to post, since Obama's abhorrence as a candidate is so apparent that no amount of additional evidence would ever be enough to dissuade one of his persistent adherents. However the stash continues to grow, so I figured I'd dump it all in the monster post.

From here:
His race and his ideas are apples and oranges. It's nice to have an apple on the table, to be sure, but the oranges are dry and stale. And no matter how many times you say how great it is to have the apple, no matter how often you bleat "you just don't get" how wonderful apples are, it won't make the oranges any fresher.
From here:
Meantime, there was the supposedly dogmatic McCain challenging Bush’s approach to Iraq nearly from the get-go. In the summer of 2003, in response to the upswing in violence, he called for “a lot more military” in order to win in Iraq. He said he had “no confidence” in Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. In May 2004, McCain told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that “we’ve got to adjust to the realities of the situation as it exists and that means doing whatever is necessary and acting decisively.”

McCain was challenging Bush when Obama was assuring voters there wasn’t “much difference” between his position and Bush’s. And now Obama is locked into a position despite the facts on the ground. Obama may indeed have great judgment, but his record shows little experience employing it.
This is related in some way:
"Terrible things, incomprehensible things," he shouted, "things that would drive a man mad!"
He stared wildly at them.
"Or in my case," he said, "half-mad. I'm a journalist."
"You mean," said Arthur quietly, "that you are used to confronting the truth?"
"No," said the man with a puzzled frown. "I mean that I made an excuse and left early."
From here:
Many are for him for no more serious reasons than his mouth and his complexion. The man has become a Rorschach test for the feelings and hopes, not only of those on the left, but also for some on the right as well.
In this bit, Obama puts forward the idea that illegal immigrants would be allowed to serve on juries, which probably isn't too much of a stretch once he allows them to vote:
Obama had a version of the jail pander, too. He spoke of immigrants "arrested for crimes they didn't commit and thrown in jail by juries they couldn't serve on."
Obama says that it's American's fault that they don't speak the foreigner's languages:
Now, I agree that immigrants should learn English. I agree with that. But ['BUT' what?] understand this. Instead of worrying about whether immigrants can learn English — they'll learn English — you need to make sure your child can speak Spanish. You should be thinking about, how can your child become bilingual? We should have every child speaking more than one language.
A commentator on YouTube answers back:
It's funny, because English is the second most spoken language in the world. So why the hell should I learn Spanish? If anything, I should learn Mandarin (most spoken language).

Obama, of course, lives the life of a Peruvian peasant:
We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times—and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK. That's not leadership. That's not going to happen.
I was never clear if he meant 72 in the winter or summer. No matter as I cannot afford any of that or an SUV because of what his buddies have done to energy prices.

From here:
Consider Bernadine Dohrn, Ayers' wife and the co-host of Obama's career-launching fundraiser. When she was in the Weather Underground she was one of those members typically fascinated with Charles Manson (I discuss this briefly in my book). Speaking of Manson's famous murders she exclaimed, "Dig It! First they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them, they even shoved a fork into a victim’s stomach! Wild!” In appreciation, her Weather Underground cell made a threefingered “fork” gesture its official salute.
From here:
As I’ve pointed out repeatedly over the past few days, Obama’s attempt to bully TV stations airing the ad and stop scrutiny of his radical ties is part and parcel of a larger campaign to chill the free speech of conservative political activists and donors.
From here:
For example, Rezko is going to prison in large part for packing the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board with five of his lackeys so they would approve hospital construction in which he had an interest. That Board used to have 15 members, making it hard for Rezko to corrupt it, but in 2003, a bill passed the Illinois legislature reducing the number of members from 15 to 9. And who was the chairman of the Illinois Senate Health and Human Services committee that recommended that bill? Why, Rezko's $250,000 friend, the Presidential nominee ...
From here:
It's worse than a conspiracy. It's a consensus. The newsrooms of the agenda-setting newspapers, the television networks and the newsmagazines have become strongholds of the elites that Barack Obama, he of Harvard Law, insists he is not one of. The young men and women in the newsrooms of flyover country emulate the elites and sometimes dream of one day being one of them.
From here:
So it is with huge grief-filled disappointment that I discovered that the Obamas send their children to the University of Chicago Laboratory School (by 5th grade, tuition equals $20,286 a year). The school’s Web site quotes all that ridiculous John Dewey nonsense about developing character while, of course, isolating your children from the poor. A pox on them and, while we’re at it, a pox on John Dewey! I’m sick to death of those inspirational Dewey quotes littering the Web sites of $20,000-plus-a-year private schools, all those gentle duo-tone-photographed murmurings about “building critical thinking and fostering democratic citizenship” in their cherished students, living large on their $20,000-a-year island.
From here:
Hmmm, why does Obama think that voting for him "is a leap from the American people"? Is he not-too-subtly pinning his problems on his racist countrymen?
From here:
That's $845 BILLION [for Obama's promised foreign aid project], folks. (You can read more about it from Cliff Kincaid at Accuracy in Media, here.)
Do you think the AIG bail-out is a bad idea? Picture doing it about once a year for about 10 years. But there's a difference, of course. If AIG recovers, the taxpayers could get their money back with interest. The money Obama plans to flush down a UN sink-hole will never be seen again — and the global tax that generates it will be with us forever.
From here:
Throughout his political career, Obama has gotten more than $125,000 in campaign contributions from employees and political action committees of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, second only to Dodd, the Senate Banking Committee chairman, who received more than $165,000.
Clinton, the 12th-ranked recipient of Fannie and Freddie PAC and employee contributions, has received more than $75,000 from the two enterprises and their employees. The private profit found its way back to the senators who killed the fix.
There has been a lot of talk about who is to blame for this crisis. A look back at the story of 2005 makes the answer pretty clear.
Oh, and there is one little footnote to the story that's worth keeping in mind while Democrats point fingers between now and Nov. 4: Senator John McCain was one of the three cosponsors of S.190, the bill that would have averted this mess.
From here:
We're told that this is no time to play the blame game. But why not? Since we're all stockholders now in a vast Ponzi scheme, we should have some say in who gets thrown into the street and who doesn't. The Democrats are particularly eager to avoid the blame game. They fiercely opposed legislation in 2005 that would have imposed sanity on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, whence came this misery. The legislation was written by three senators, including, as it happens, John McCain. The senators who blocked it were, as it happens, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Chris Dodd. This unholy trio took more than a quarter of a million dollars in campaign contributions from executives and employees of Fannie and Freddie. Just a coincidence, of course.
From here:
But who's desperate? The Obama camp dispatched Rep. Alcee Hastings, who was impeached and thrown off the federal bench for taking a $150,000 bribe to go easy on a couple of racketeers, to inject a little race baiting into their faltering campaign in Florida. "If Sarah Palin isn't enough of a reason for you to get over whatever your problem is with Barack Obama," the black congressman told a group of retired Jews, "then you damn well better pay attention. Anybody toting guns and stripping moose don't [sic] care too much about what they do with Jews and blacks." It was the most overt use of hate speech yet.
From here:
Obama gets a freakin' house with help from a someone indicted for money laundering, wire fraud, extortion and corrupt solicitation; has someone raising money for his campaign with well-publicized ties to organized crime; and the Illinois attorney general is currently looking into how Obama earmarked $100,000 for a former campaign volunteer who never spent the money for its intended purpose — and yet, I don't see too many "investigations" decrying Obama's transparently false claims he practices a "new" kind of politics.
I've thought that the commie label of Obama has been overblown, but his tactics against those who disagree with him make me wonder:
All the while, in St. Louis, local law-enforcement authorities, dominated by Democrat-party activists, were threatening libel prosecutions against Obama’s political opposition. County Circuit Attorney Bob McCulloch and City Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce, abetted by a local sheriff and encouraged by the Obama campaign, warned that members of the public who dared speak out against Obama during the campaign’s crucial final weeks would face criminal libel charges — if, in the judgment of these conflicted officials, such criticism of their champion was “false.”
Oh well, I'm sure it will be off to the gulag with the lot of us eventually, all in the name of forced servitude.

From here:
You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them,” Obama said. “And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.
I take it then that Obama is anti-gun, anti-religion, pro "anyone who isn't white" and pro deindustrialization? His campaign's excuse is that he was only telling the rich San Francisco types what they wanted hear. Yeah...

From here:
If John McCain had belonged to a church for 20 years and that church advocated white supremacy and the pastor of the church spewed racist propaganda wrapped in Biblical verses — much of which was caught on video-tape — what would we say? If McCain's good friends included people involved in blowing up abortion clinics instead of the Capitol Building, the Pentagon, and police stations, what would we say? If McCain was socially close to a professor with ties to neo-Nazi groups in Berlin, as opposed to a professor who had ties to the PLO, what would we say? If McCain spent his formative years schooled in fascism as opposed to Marxism, what would we say?
'We' would say that mentioning any of that is racist! Right? Right.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Low Horsepower Politics #2

This cements the case in my mind that the issue isn't idiotic politicians per se, but the idiotic voters who elect them:
DFL U.S. Senate candidate Al Franken has moved into his first solid lead over incumbent Republican Norm Coleman, according to a new Star Tribune Minnesota Poll.

The survey, conducted Tuesday through Thursday by Princeton Survey Research Associates International among 1,084 likely Minnesota voters, shows Franken leading Coleman 43 to 34 percent. Independence Party candidate Dean Barkley is supported by 18 percent of respondents.
JD notes:
And the real lesson here is surely a conservative one: Since, given the number and scale of the issues they face, it is not likely that much of what they do will be right, the less we allow them to do, the better. Left alone, most problems take care of themselves.
Charles Hurt, writing in America’s Newspaper of Record on September 29, struck a chord that should resonate in the breast of every true conservative:

The reason Americans endure their federal government is that it is so inept and useless that it has little bearing on their everyday lives. But in an economic meltdown like this, people don't have a choice but to feel the fallout of their government's incompetence …

Exactly. Washington, D.C., is populated by fools and rogues. The less power we give them, the better. Yet we keep on giving them more! Perhaps we are fools, too.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Low Horsepower Politics

Worried about the ol' 401K? Remember in the horror movies where someone was taking care of their loved one who had turned into a zombie? That's your 401K, it's zombie-fied but it looks just enough alive to allow people to fool themselves into thinking that it can be saved. The bailout is the equivalent of dressing the zombie up in a nicer dress, good enough to fool the electorate until the election has passed.

One justification for the bailout is that the government will resell the assets later and possibly net the government a profit. Does anyone believe that? Does anyone have confidence in the same tools who lead us into this mess leading us out? The lack of economic confidence is bad enough, but political confidence is cratering. It's bad enough that a guy who wasn't alert enough to know that there was a gay prostitution ring being run out of his house is in charge of the laws of our financial system, but nearly everyone has seemingly drunk the lie that Herbert Hoover did nothing about the Depression while FDR saved us; completely forgetting the fact that A) Hoover/FDR both did stuff that largely made the problem worse and B) the stock market didn't recover until well after FDR's death. Just an example of the idiotic bloat that our esteemed lawmakers crammed into what was already an extremely bloated bill:
The legislation now contains mandated mental health care and addiction coverage in private insurance to attract liberal Democratic votes, and undoing the Alternative Minimum Tax as a way of appealing to conservative Republicans in the House.
People are having issues getting decent medical care and what is Congress's response? Make it more expensive! Soon they will mandate GPS devices and DVD players in all vehicles because congressmen cannot imagine people doing without those either. As for the AMT stuff, it doesn't matter since this beast is going to mean higher taxes in the near future and everyone will be paying AMT. As a final touch, Congress wanted to make sure the public knew that they have many more bad ideas by tacking this energy tax on the bill which will have the net effect of raising already high gas prices, brilliant!

Insult on injury, I should inform you that the European version of the bailout package isn't working over there and there's ample evidence that this bill will make things worse. After all, why lose money on lending to idiots* when you can just buy those safe treasuries that are being sold to finance the new debt?

No fear though, what once was old is new again! Remember a couple years ago when Chinese banks were on the skids because, under government pressure, they gave loans to dubious enterprises? We all had a great laugh while bashing them for bailing out industries that were gutting our manufacturing base, but who's laughing now? China has factories while we have bombed out ghetto housing. Or maybe even more pertinent, recall back in the eighties how everyone thought the neo-fascist government planning of the Japanese government was superior to the western way of lazzie-faire? Have you ever wondered what such a lacking system of picking the economic winners and losers would look like in the hands of government goons with a 10% lower I.Q.? I hope so, because you're about to find out. Go here to check out your new investment portfolio.

*This is a great example. California says that it cannot get a loan, but what they mean is that they cannot get a loan with a low interest rate. Big difference, I can understand perfectly someone thinking that California won't pay them back and requesting a premium rate. Fortunately Uncle Sam has proven time and again to be a rube in this kind of situation, so he will gladly give a $7,000,000,000 loan to Arnie, a loan which will no doubt be forgiven in the not too distant future.