Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Obama's Calculated Deception

American Spectator ^ | 8/1/2012 | Peter Ferrara



How the Obama campaign is trying to deceive you on the economy.

Calculated Deception. That is the central theme of the Obama campaign. Calculated Deception is the term I use for Obama's rhetorical practice of trying to take advantage of what he calculates the average person does not know, and his party-controlled, so-called mainstream media won't report. And that can be seen over and over in the Obama campaign.
Obscuring the Worst Recovery Since the Great Depression In Monday's Wall Street Journal, Edward Lazear, former Bush chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisors, notes, "A graph titled 'Private Sector Job Creation' on the Obama-Biden campaign website… announces proudly that 4.4 million private sector jobs have been created over the past 28 months." But that factoid is meaningless out of any context, more like a pediatrician boasting to you that under his care your 16-year-old son has grown to 4 feet 4 inches. At the same point during the Reagan recovery, the economy had created 9.5 million new jobs.
Moreover, Lazear correctly adds, "there hasn't been one day during the entire Obama presidency when as many Americans were working as on the day President Bush left office." That's right, contrary to the Obama campaign's misleading claim of 4.4 million new jobs created, total jobs today are still half a million less than in January 2009 when Obama entered office.
Lazear continues, "Moreover, the unemployment rate, which we were told would not exceed 8% if we enacted Mr. Obama's stimulus package…has never fallen below 8% during his presidency. The rate has averaged 9.2% since February 2009."
-snip-
(Excerpt) Read more at spectator.org ...

New Elizabeth Warren ad: Golly, why aren’t we more like China?

Hotair ^ | 08/01/2012 | Ed Morrissey

Suddenly, I'm getting more enthusiastic about watching the Democratic convention. The latest ad from the DNCC's prime-time speaker compares America unfavorably to China, demands more government spending, and its title "Rebuild" reminds voters of her original "you didn't build that" rant to entrepreneurs. What could go wrong?

CLICK ABOVE LINK FOR THE VIDEO


The New York Sun can't quite believe that someone who wants Elizabeth Warren to win would have approved this ad for distribution:
The first problem is mathematical. U.S. gross domestic product is about $15 trillion a year. Increasing infrastructure “investment” to the 9% Chinese level that Ms. Warren cites would mean an additional $1 trillion a year in government spending. That’s an immense spending increase. To put it in context, the entire federal government spent about $3.6 trillion in 2011, on revenues of about $2.3 trillion.
Where would this money come from? Not tax increases, right? Ms. Warren has already reportedly promised nearly a trillion dollar tax increase, spread over ten years, by raising the estate tax, imposing the Buffett Rule, and letting the Bush tax cuts expire for those earning $250,000 a year or more. But that money, she has said, would go toward deficit reduction. If Ms. Warren really wants to spend $1 trillion a year more on infrastructure, she’d need to eliminate all national defense spending ($705 billion) or all Social Security spending ($730 billion) and then find another more than quarter trillion dollars. Or else she’d have to go on the biggest borrowing or taxing binge in American history.
Math, though, is hardly the only problem with emulating China’s approach to infrastructure spending. History is another. America and China are at different junctures in our development. America built a lot of bridges, tunnels, and highways in the 1950s and 1960s when China was stuck under Communism. A lot of China’s spending now isn’t going to outpace America but to catch up with things that we’ve had here for decades, like potable water and a population that is mostly non-rural.
Finally, not all of China’s infrastructure spending is worth emulating. The Chinese Communist treatment of those who stand in the way of their projects makes Robert Moses, the mastermind of so many of New York’s neighborhood-destroying highways, look like Mother Teresa. For example, the group International Rivers reports that 1.2 million people were displaced to construct the Three Gorges Dam. That $40 billion project also reportedly had devastating effects on the Chinese river dolphin, river sturgeon, and paddlefish.
China is able to spend so much on infrastructure because it’s an un-free country. It lacks the rule of law that lets American community groups wage legal and political battles against big government projects. Ms. Warren may protest that when she’s talking about “infrastructure” she mainly means maintaining existing roads and bridges, not building brand new projects that flatten urban neighborhoods or destroy scenic rivers. But that’s not what’s happening in China.
And that’s not all. One of the favorite examples of Chinese infrastructure spending among progressives like Warren is their commitment to high-speed rail. That has turned into a $271-billion disaster for China, however. Their trains don’t even run on time for all that money; China had to slow them down because of all the defects in the system. Let’s ask Warren’s potential constituents how well the Big Dig project turned out, both financially and operationally.
Or, let’s not. I for one cannot wait for Warren to go on prime-time television just before Bill Clinton formally nominates Barack Obama to tell the nation that her aim is to make America more like China.

Chick-fil-A not alone in touting religion alongside products!

Foxnews.com ^ | 08/01/2012 | Joshua Rhett Miller

Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy is not the only business tycoon who refuses to hide his faith under a bushel — top executives from some of America’s biggest companies are born-again Christians who talk about their beliefs more often than their balance sheets.

Major corporations like Tyson Foods, Interstate Batteries and Hobby Lobby were either founded or are now led by outspoken and deeply religious bosses. While some of the companies distinguish between their corporate identities and their leaders’ faith, others embrace it.
—Norm Miller, chairman of Interstate Batteries, discusses his faith and salvation at length on the company’s website, even inviting people to write him for advice on prayer;
—Tyson Foods, the Arkansas food processing giant, offers chaplains to counsel its employees on life issues like deaths or family emergencies;
—In-N-Out Burger, the popular California-based hamburger chain, prints “John 3:16” on the bottom of its cups;
—Hobby Lobby, the Oklahoma City-based arts and crafts store chain, cites its commitment to “honoring the Lord” on its website and closes its 500-plus nationwide locations on Sundays, as does Chick-fil-A.
“We believe that it is by God's grace and provision that Hobby Lobby has endured,” its website reads. “He has been faithful in the past, we trust Him for our future.”
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/08/01/chick-fil-not-alone-in-touting-religion-alongside-products/#ixzz22KZwvds3
(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...

What the Ted Cruz Tea Party of Texas Wants RINO’s and CINO’s to Know: WATCH OUT!


RantPolitical.com ^ | 8-1-2012 | PolitiJim (@politiJim)


I know, I know. We are supposed to be magnanimous in victory. But there isn’t just a new ‘Sheriff’ in Texas, there is a new mandate on how things are going to be done from now on. And what the Ted Cruz Tea Party of Texas Wants RINO’s and CINO’s (Conservatives In Name Only) to Know is:

We won’t be fooled by Republicans merely SAYING they are conservative any more.
The Big Folly of Houston’s Republican bloggers is a prime example of the dishonest dialog the GOP establishment will find has gone the way of bell bottoms and pucca shell necklaces. If you think “politics” is more admirable than principled, balanced honesty with voters, you will find your following dwindling faster than a ice cold Shiner Bock on a 110 degree Dallas day.
Negative ads work. Newt Gingrich learned that in Iowa and Florida. But only if they are launched over a short period of time robbing the victim of a chance to respond. Furthermore, when they are outright lies – they have the OPPOSITE effect as the truth is known and as many voters told us on camera. Therefore the second new “law of the new West” is:
We Texans won’t take the word of the media, or a political ad, in lieu of doing our own homework.
(And if we find out you’ve been lying, there will be hell to pay.)
CONTINUED AT: What the Ted Cruz Tea Party of Texas Wants RINO’s and CINO’s to Know
(Excerpt) Read more at rantpolitical.com ...

Thank You

As we progress into 2012, I want to thank you for your educational e-mails
over the past year. I am totally screwed up now and have little chance of recovery.


I can no longer open a bathroom door
without using a paper towel,
nor let the waitress put lemon slices in my ice water without worrying
about the bacteria on the lemon peel.

I can't sit down on a hotel bedspread
because I can only imagine
what has happened on it since it was last washed.

I have trouble shaking hands
with someone who has been driving
because the number one pastime while driving alone is picking one's nose.

Eating a little snack sends me on a guilt trip because
I can only
imagine how many gallons of trans fats I have consumed over the years.

I can't touch any woman's handbag
for fear she has placed it on
the floor of a public toilet.

I must send my special thanks
for the email about rat poo
in the glue on envelopes because I now have to use a wet sponge with
every envelope that needs sealing.

ALSO,
now I have to scrub the top of every can I open for the same reason.

I can't have a drink in a bar
because I fear I'll wake up in a bathtub
full of ice with my kidneys gone.

I can't eat at KFC
because their chickens are actually horrible mutant
freaks with no eyes, feet or feathers.

I can't use cancer-causing deodorants
even though I smell like a
water buffalo on a hot day.

Thanks to you
I have learned that my prayers only get answered
if I forward an e-mail to seven of my friends and make a wish within five minutes.

Because of your concern ,
I no longer drink Coca Cola because
it can remove toilet stains.

I no longer buy
fuel without taking someone along to watch the car,
so a serial killer doesn't crawl in my back seat when I'm filling up.

I no longer use Cling Wrap
in the microwave because it causes
seven different types of cancer.

And thanks for letting me know
I can't boil a cup of water
in the microwave anymore because it will blow up in my face, disfiguring
me for life.

I no longer go to the cinema
because I could be pricked with a
needle infected with AIDS when I sit down.

I no longer go to shopping centers
because someone will drug
me with a perfume sample and rob me..

And I no longer answer the phone because someone will ask

me to dial a number for which I will get a huge phone bill with calls to
Jamaica , Uganda , Singapore and Uzbekistan ..

Thanks to you
I can't use anyone's toilet but mine because a
big black snake could be lurking under the seat and cause me instant
death when it bites my butt.

And thanks to your great advice
I can't ever pick up a
dime coin dropped in the car park because it was probably placed
there by a sex molester waiting to grab me as I bend over.

I can't do any gardening
because I'm afraid I'll get bitten by the
Violin Spider and my hand will fall off.

If you don't send this e-mail to at least 144,000 people in

the next 70 minutes, a large dove with diarrhea will land
on your head at 5:00 p.m. tomorrow afternoon, and the
fleas from 120 camels will infest your back, causing you
to grow a hairy hump. I know this will occur because it
actually happened to a friend of my next door neighbor s
ex mother-in-law's second husband's cousin's best friend's
beautician!

Oh, and by the way...

A German scientist from Argentina , after a lengthy study,

has discovered that people with insufficient brain activity
read their e-mails with their hand on the mouse

Don't bother taking it off now, it's too late.

P. S. I now keep my toothbrush in the living room, because

I was told by e-mail that water splashes over 6 ft. out of the toilet..

NOW YOU HAVE YOURSELF A VERY GOOD DAY

Heads he loses; tails we win: Barack Obama’s walk down the QUEER marriage plank!

coachisright.com ^ | August 1, 2012 | Kevin "Coach" Collins

As November gets closer, with few options open to him, Barack Obama has elected to gamble that he can walk on a very narrow plank to victory. In May when Obama “evolved” back to being for QUEER “marriage” he was taking a calculated risk.

He knew, or should have known, that he would face a strong backlash from his African American base. When the backlash came, was a lot stronger than anyone would have expected.

In 2008 Blacks flocked to the polls to vote for Obama at a 95% rate. That surge was enough put him over the top and win election.

Nevertheless, this year things are very different. Gay marriage has lost 32 public votes without a single victory and shows no signs of being backed by a majority of Americans in general and African Americans in particular.
African American ministers are not just disappointed with Obama, they are furious with him over his newly “evolved” position.
To make things worse for Obama he has stubbornly refused to even meet with Rev. William Owens a powerful leader in the Black Church who wants answers. It has now been a full month since Rev. Owens requested a White House meeting with the president and so far he has been ignored.
Democrats double down on Gay marriage
The Democrat National Committee has announced it will include support for Gay marriage as one of the center piece issues it will give Obama to run on. There is now no way to turn this around.
If the Democrats back down on this issue they will lose Gay money and further depress their already unenthusiastic Leftist base. If they don’t back down they will feel a backlash… Two separate polls ….20% of Black vote …. Romney…
(Excerpt) Read more at coachisright.com ...

Flashback: More States Move to GOP in 2011 (Take Note Corrupt Pollsters)

Gallup ^ | February 2, 2012 | Jeffrey M. Jones

PRINCETON, NJ -- Democrats have lost their solid political party affiliation advantage in 18 states since 2008, while Republicans have gained a solid advantage in 6 states. A total of 17 states were either solidly Republican or leaning Republican in their residents' party affiliation in 2011, up from 10 in 2010 and 5 in 2008. Meanwhile, 19 states including the District of Columbia showed a solid or leaning Democratic orientation, down from 23 in 2010 and 36 in 2008. The remaining 15 states were relatively balanced politically, with neither party having a clear advantage.

(Excerpt) Read more at gallup.com ...

YOU & I ARE MEMBERS!


They like to refer to us as senior citizens, old fogies, geezers, and in some cases dinosaurs. Some of us are "Baby Boomers" getting ready to retire. Others have been retired for some time. We walk a little slower these days and our eyes and hearing are not what they once were. We have worked hard, raised our children, worshiped our God and grown old together. Yes, we are the ones some refer to as being over the hill, and that is probably true. But before writing us off completely, there are a few things that need to be taken into consideration.
In school we studied English, history, math, and science which enabled us to lead America into the technological age. Most of us remember what outhouses were, many of us with firsthand experience. We remember the days of telephone party-lines, 25 cent gasoline, and milk and ice being delivered to our homes. For those of you who don't know what an icebox is, today they are electric and referred to as refrigerators. A few even remember when cars were started with a crank. Yes, we lived those days.
We are probably considered old fashioned and out-dated by many. But there are a few things you need to remember before completely writing us off.
We won World War II, fought in Korea and Vietnam.
We can quote The Pledge of Allegiance, and know where to place our hand while doing so.
We wore the uniform of our country with pride and lost many friends on the battlefield.
We didn't fight for the Socialist States of America ; we fought for the "Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave."
We wore different uniforms but carried the same flag. We know the words to the Star Spangled Banner, God Bless America , and America the Beautiful by heart, and you may even see some tears running down our cheeks as we sing.
We have lived what many of you have only read in history books and we feel no obligation to apologize to anyone for America .
Yes, we are old and slow these days but rest assured, we have at least one good fight left in us. We have loved this country, fought for it, and died for it, and now we are going to save it. It is our country and nobody is going to take it away from us. We took oaths to defend America against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and that is an oath we plan to keep. There are those who want to destroy this land we love but, like our founders, there is no way we are going to remain silent.
It was mostly the young people of this nation who elected Obama and the Democratic Congress. You fell for the "Hope and Change" which in reality was nothing but "Hype and Lies."
You have tasted socialism and seen evil face to face, and have found you don't like it after all. You make a lot of noise, but most are all too interested in their careers or "Climbing the Social Ladder" to be involved in such mundane things as patriotism and voting.
Many of those who fell for the "Great Lie" in 2008 are now having buyer's remorse. With all the education we gave you, you didn't have sense enough to see through the lies and instead drank the 'Kool-Aid.' Now you're paying the price and complaining about it. No jobs, lost mortgages, higher taxes, and less freedom.
This is what you voted for and this is what you got. We entrusted you with the Torch of Liberty and you traded it for a paycheck and a fancy house.
Well, don't worry youngsters, the Grey-Haired Brigade is here, and in
2012 we are going to take back our nation. We may drive a little slower than you would like but we get where we're going, and in 2012 we're going to the polls by the millions.
This land does not belong to the man who calls the White House his nor to the likes of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. It belongs to "We the People" and "We the People" plan to reclaim our land and our freedom. We hope this time you will do a better job of preserving it and passing it along to our grandchildren.
So the next time you have the chance to say the Pledge of Allegiance, Stand up, put your hand over your heart, honor our country, and thank God for the old geezers of the "Grey-Haired Brigade."
Footnote: This is spot on. I am another Gray-Haired Geezer signing on. I will circulate this to other Gray-Haired Geezers all over this once great county.

What's Behind Hatred of Obama?

Townhall.com ^ | August 1, 2012 | Jonah Goldberg

What drives Barack Obama's "doubters and haters"?

So asks Obama biographer David Maraniss in a recent op-ed article for the Washington Post. By doubters and haters he means the people who think Obama wasn't born in the U.S., that he's a secret Muslim or that he's a closet socialist.

He has an answer: "Some of it can be attributed to the give-and-take of today's harsh ideological divide. Some of it can be explained by the way misinformation spreads virally to millions of like-minded people, reinforcing preconceptions. And some of it, I believe, arises out of fears of demographic changes in this country, and out of racism."
True enough! Some people are no doubt driven by such motivations and anxieties; "some" is a gloriously accommodating word.
But that hardly settles things. For an essay titled "What Drives the Obama Doubters and Haters," Maraniss offers no explanation until the last paragraph (the quote above). And even then he offers no evidence, just assertions.
I think Maraniss is a great reporter, and I don't believe for a moment he is in on a cover-up of Obama's "real" place of birth or his secret Muslim faith. (Nor do I think either allegation is true.)
As to Obama's closet socialism, I've never found it unreasonable (never mind racist or paranoid) to think Obama's more comfortable with European-style social democracy (aka socialism).
Still, let me add two culprits to Maraniss' list: The first is Barack Obama. The second is the journalistic establishment that worked so hard to get him elected.
As Maraniss demonstrates quite effectively in his book, "Barack Obama: The Story," Obama's identity has long been a cultivated political project. Much of the poetic license -- to use a kind phrase -- Obama deploys to tell his own story is plausible only to those eager to take him at his word.
Maraniss couldn't authenticate Obama's tales of racial hardship as a young man. His grandfather being tortured by the British, the bigotry of his high school basketball coach? Untrue.
Moreover, Obama's explanations about the aspects of his past that have managed to become controversies have always seemed insufficient to people not disposed to root for him. Bill Ayers -- a former domestic terrorist -- was "just a guy living in my neighborhood." Obama's word that he wasn't a member of the radical New Party was enough for the press corps to stop digging for evidence that he was (as reported by my National Review Online colleague Stanley Kurtz). Jeremiah Wright? Only right-wing crazies care about him.
Even Obama's more recent embellishments about, for instance, being outspent and outgunned in his previous political races strike many people as the sorts of fibs that would create journalistic frenzies if uttered by a Republican.
And then there's the huge divergence between the president Obama said he would be and the president he's actually been. In 2008, Obama insisted that he was a unifier, a pragmatist and a non-ideologue. You don't have to be a birther or a secret-Muslim conspiracy theorist to feel like that was all a big con job. That's politics and not deceit (a subtle distinction!), but dismay at how Obama has governed doesn't amount to racial panic either. And blame for the widespread feeling that we were sold a bill of goods by a cheering press does, in fact, belong to the press.
Yes, Obama also signaled to his base that he intended to be a "transformative" president, a progressive Ronald Reagan. But that message was intended only for his base. Whenever conservatives picked up on those notes -- when he said he wanted to "spread the wealth around," etc. -- the immediate response from the Sunday talk show crowd was that conservatives were being paranoid for misreading Obama, the pragmatist.
It's fine to beat up on conspiracy theorists, but journalistic muckety-mucks who are mystified by their ever-shrinking credibility -- and profitability -- might wonder what they've done to fuel a climate of distrust. There's a reason why ABC's Jake Tapper is one of the few nonconservative reporters respected on the right: He's stayed as skeptical of Obama as he was of George W. Bush.
Meanwhile, it's fascinating how much attention the conspiracy theorists get. It's almost as if some journalists want to use them as bogeymen to discredit all criticism of Obama. That's some journalists, not all.

Ted Cruz's Victory Foretells Conservative Takeover of GOP

Sacbee.com ^ | 7-31-2012 | Richard Viguerie

"The victory of Ted Cruz in the Texas Republican Senate runoff primary means that the torch is being passed to a new generation of principled small government constitutional conservatives and that the 'let's make a deal' Republican Party of old will soon go the way of the Dodo bird.

"Ted's nomination sent a strong signal that a new conservative Republican Party is being born and, by 2016, principled conservatives will replace most leaders in Congress and the Party at the national, state, and local levels. GOP leaders should 'ask not for whom the bell tolls -- it tolls for thee.'

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/07/31/4679803/richard-viguerie-ted-cruzs-victory.html#storylink=cpy

(Excerpt) Read more at sacbee.com ...

California: The Road Warrior Is Here


July 29, 2012 - 10:56 pm - by Victor Davis Hanson

Where’s Mel Gibson When You Need Him?
George Miller’s 1981 post-apocalyptic film The Road Warrior envisioned an impoverished world of the future. Tribal groups fought over what remained of a destroyed Western world of law, technology, and mass production. Survival went to the fittest — or at least those who could best scrounge together the artifacts of a long gone society somewhat resembling the present West.
In the case of the Australian film, the culprit for the detribalization of the Outback was some sort of global war or perhaps nuclear holocaust that had destroyed the social fabric. Survivors were left with a memory of modern appetites but without the ability to reproduce the means to satisfy them: in short, a sort of Procopius’s description of Gothic Italy circa AD 540.

Our Version
Sometimes, and in some places, in California I think we have nearly descended into Miller’s dark vision — especially the juxtaposition of occasional high technology with premodern notions of law and security. The state deficit is at $16 billion. Stockton went bankrupt; Fresno is rumored to be next. Unemployment stays over 10% and in the Central Valley is more like 15%. Seven out of the last eleven new Californians went on Medicaid, which is about broke. A third of the nation’s welfare recipients are in California. In many areas, 40% of Central Valley high school students do not graduate — and do not work, if the latest crisis in finding $10 an hour agricultural workers is any indication. And so on.
Our culprit out here was not the Bomb (and remember, Hiroshima looks a lot better today than does Detroit, despite the inverse in 1945). The condition is instead brought on by a perfect storm of events that have shred the veneer of sophisticated civilization. Add up the causes. One was the destruction of the California rural middle class. Manufacturing jobs, small family farms, and new businesses disappeared due to globalization, high taxes, and new regulations. A pyramidal society followed of a few absentee land barons and corporate grandees, and a mass of those on entitlements or working for government or employed at low-skilled service jobs. The guy with a viable 60 acres of almonds ceased to exist.
Illegal immigration did its share. No society can successfully absorb some 6-7 million illegal aliens, in less than two decades, the vast majority without English, legality, or education from the poorer provinces of Mexico, the arrivals subsidized by state entitlements while sending billions in remittances back to Mexico — all in a politicized climate where dissent is demonized as racism. This state of affairs is especially true when the host has given up on assimilation, integration, the melting pot, and basic requirements of lawful citizenship.
Terrible governance was also a culprit, in the sense that the state worked like a lottery: those lucky enough by hook or by crook to get a state job thereby landed a bonanza of high wages, good benefits, no accountability, and rich pensions that eventually almost broke the larger and less well-compensated general society. When I see hordes of Highway Patrolmen writing tickets in a way they did not before 2008, I assume that these are revenue-based, not safety-based, protocols — a little added fiscal insurance that pensions and benefits will not be cut.
A coarsening of popular culture — a nationwide phenomenon — was intensified, as it always is, in California. The internet, video games, and modern pop culture translated into a generation of youth that did not know the value of hard work or a weekend hike in the Sierra. They didn’t learn how to open a good history book or poem, much less acquire even basic skills such as mowing the lawn or hammering a nail. But California’s Generation X did know that they were “somebody” whom teachers and officials dared not reprimand, punish, prosecute, or otherwise pass judgment on for their anti-social behavior. Add all that up with a whiny, pampered, influential elite on the coast that was more worried about wind power, gay marriage, ending plastic bags in the grocery stores — and, well, you get the present-day Road Warrior culture of California.
Pre- and Post-Modern
I am writing tonight in Palo Alto after walking among nondescript 1,500 square-foot cottages of seventy-year vintage that sell for about $1.5-2 million and would go in a similar tree-shaded district in Fresno or Merced for about $100,000. Apparently, these coastal Californians want to be near Stanford and big money in Silicon Valley. They also must like the fact that they are safe to jog or ride bikes in skimpy attire and the general notion that there is “culture” here amid mild weather. I suppose when a car pulls out in front of you and hits your bumper on University Avenue, the driver has a license, registration, and insurance — and this is worth the extra million to live here. My young fellow apartment residents like to jog in swimming suits; they would last one nanosecond doing that on De Wolf Avenue outside Selma.
Survival?
Meanwhile, 200 miles and a world away, here are some of the concerns recently in the Valley. There is now an epidemic of theft from tarped homes undergoing fumigation. Apparently as professionals tent over homes infested with termites, gangs move into the temporarily abandoned houses to burrow under the tarps and loot the premises — convinced that the dangers of lingering poisonous gas are outweighed by the chance of easy loot. Who sues whom when the gangbanger prying into the closet is found gassed ? When I get termites, I spot treat myself with drill and canisters; even the professional services warn that they can kill off natural pests, but not keep out human ones.
No one in the Central Valley believes that they can stop the epidemic of looting copper wire. I know the local Masonic Hall is not the Parthenon, but you get the picture of our modern Turks prying off the lead seals of the building clamps of classical temples.
Protection is found only in self-help. To stop the Road Warriors from stripping the copper cable from your pump or the community’s street lights, civilization is encouraged to put in a video camera, more lighting, more encasement, a wire protective mesh — all based on the premise that the authorities cannot stop the thieves and your livelihood is predicated on the ingenuity of your own counter-terrorism protocols. But the thief is always the wiser: he calculates the cost of anti-theft measures, as well as the state’s bill in arresting, trying, and rehabilitating him, and so wagers that it is cheaper for all of us to let him be and just clean up his mess.
Reactionary Dreaming
In around 1960, rural California embraced modern civilization. By that I mean both in the trivial and fundamental sense. Rural dogs were usually vaccinated and licensed — and so monitored. Homes were subject to building codes and zoning laws; gone were the privies and lean-tos. Streets were not just paved, but well-paved. My own avenue was in far better shape in 1965 than it is now. Mosquito abatement districts regularly sprayed stagnant water ponds to ensure infectious disease remained a thing of our early-20th-century past. Now they merely warn us with West Nile Virus alerts. Ubiquitous “dumps” dotted the landscape, some of them private, ensuring, along with the general code of shame, that city-dwellers did not cast out their old mattresses or baby carriages along the side of the road. It seems the more environmental regulations, the scarcer the dumps and the more trash that litters roads and private property.
I walk each night around the farm. What is the weirdest find? A nearby alleyway has become a dumping place for the rotting corpses of fighting dogs. Each evening or so, a dead dog (pit bulls, Queensland terriers) with a rope and plenty of wounds is thrown up on the high bank. The coyotes make short work of the remains. Scattered about are several skeletons with ropes still around their necks. I suppose that at about 2 a.m. the organizers of dog fights drive in and cast out the evenings’ losers. I have never seen such a thing in 58 years (although finding plastic bags with dead kittens in the trash outside my vineyard was a close second). Where is PETA when you need them? Is not the epidemic of dog- and cock-fighting in central California a concern of theirs? (Is berating in Berkeley a corporation over meat-packing a bit more glamorous than running an education awareness program about animal fights in Parlier?)
Education, Education, Education…
The public schools were once the key to California’s ascendance. Universal education turned out well-prepared citizens who were responsible for California’s rosy future — one based on an excellent tripartite higher education system of junior colleges, state colleges, and universities; sophisticated dams and irrigation systems; and a network of modern freeways and roads. In the private sphere, the culture of shame still prevailed, at least in the sense that no one wanted his 16-year-old son identified in the papers (with his home address no less) as arrested for breaking and entering. And such crime was rare. Rural California was a checkerboard of 40- and 80-acre farms, with families that were viable economic units and with children who worked until dark after school. It is hard to steal when you must disc ten acres after baseball practice.
I think it is a fair assessment to say that all of the above is long past. Since about 1992, on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) testing, California ranks between 41 and 48 in math and science, depending on the year and the particular grade that is assessed. About half of the incoming freshmen at the California State University system — the largest public university in the world — are not qualified to take college courses, and must first complete “remediation” to attain a level of competence that was assumed forty years ago in the senior year of high school. The students I taught at CSU Fresno were far better prepared in 1984 than those in 2004 are; the more money, administrators, “learning centers,” and counselors, the worse became the class work.
I finally threw out my old syllabi last month: the 1985 Greek Literature in Translation course at CSU Fresno seemed to read like a Harvard class in comparison to my 2003 version with half the reading, half the writing, and all sorts of directions on how to make up missed work and flunked exams. It wasn’t just that I lost my standards, but that I lost my students who could read.
Life in the Whatever Lane
Does any of that matter? Well, yes. Those who are not educated soon inherit the reins of public responsibility. In practical terms, the symptoms are everywhere. I now expect that my county property tax returns will have common errors, from the spelling of my name or address to the particular acreage assessed.
When entering the bank, I expect people not just to not speak English, but occasionally not to write any language, and thus put a mark down, in Old West fashion, to cash their checks.
When I deal with a public agency, I assume the person on the opposite end of the counter or phone will not to be able to transact the requested service, or at least not be able to transact any other service other than the narrow one trained for. Calling any public agency is to receive a recording and then an incoherent order to press numerous buttons that lead to more recordings. Woe to the poor fool who walks into a Department of Motor Vehicles office on an average day, seeking to obtain a copy of his pink slip or find a registration form. The response is “get a number,” “make an appointment,” “get in line,” “wait,” or “see a supervisor.”
Cocooning
I quit not just riding a bike on the rural avenues where I grew up, but walking upon them as well. Why? There is a good chance (twice now) of being bitten not just by a loose dog without vaccination, but by one whose owner is either unable to communicate or vanishes when hunted down. And then there are the official agencies whose de facto policy is that our ancestors did such a good job eradicating rabies that we can more or less coast on their fumes.
Forty years ago I assumed rightly that cars parked along the side of the road were out of gas or needed repair. Now? I expect that the cars are much more reliable, but the owner of any car parked outside my house is either stealing fruit, casing the joint, using drugs, or inebriated. Last week I explained to a passer-by why he could not steal the peaches from my trees; he honestly thought not only that he could, but that he almost was obligated to.
What makes The Road Warrior so chilling a metaphor is the combination of the premodern and postmodern. While utter chaos reigns in rural California, utter absurdity reigns inside the barricades, so to speak, on the coast. So, for example, San Franciscans will vote on whether to blow up the brilliantly engineered Hetch Hetchy water project (I bet they won’t vote yes), more or less the sole source of water for the San Francisco Bay Area. The National Park Service debates blowing up historic stone bridges over the Merced River in Yosemite Valley — as hyper-environmentalists assume that they have so much readily available power and water from prior generations at their fingertips that they have the luxury of dreaming of returning to a preindustrial California. Of course, they have no clue that their romance is already reified outside Madera, Fresno, or Bakersfield.
High-Speed Madness
Take the new high-speed rail project, whose first link is designated to zoom not far from my house. An empiricist would note there is already an Amtrak (money-losing) line from Fresno to Corcoran (home of Charles Manson). There is now no demand to use another lateral (getting nowhere more quickly?). There is no proof that California public agencies — from universities to the DMV — can fulfill their present responsibilities in such a way that we would have confidence that new unionized state workers could run such a dangerous thing as high-speed rail (e.g., if we can’t keep sofas and washing machines out of the local irrigation ponds, why do we think we could keep them off high-speed rail tracks? Do we think we are French?).
If one were to drive on the 99, the main interior north-south “highway” from the Grapevine to Sacramento, one would find places, like south of Kingsburg, where two poorly paved, potholed, and crowded lanes ensure lots of weekly accidents. Can a state that has not improved its ancestors’ highway in 50 years be entrusted to build high-speed mass transit? Can a state presently $16 billion in arrears be expected to finance a $100 billion new project? Can a state that ranks 48th in math field the necessary personnel to build and operate such a postmodern link?
We Are Scary
One of the strangest things about Road Warrior was the ubiquity of tattooed, skin-pierced tribal people with shaved heads and strange clothes. At least the cast and sets seemed shocking some thirty years ago. If I now sound like a reactionary then so be it: but when I go to the store, I expect to see not just the clientele, but often some of the workers, with “sleeves” — a sort of throwback to red-figure Athenian vase painting where the ink provides the background and the few patches of natural skin denote the silhouetted image. And stranger still is the aging Road Warrior: these are folks in their forties who years ago got pierced and tattooed and aged with their sagging tribal insignia, some of them now denoting defunct gangs and obsolete popular icons.
I am not naïve enough (as Horace’s laudator temporis acti ) to wish to return to the world of my grandfather (my aunt was crippled for life with polio, my grandmother hobbled with the scars and adhesions from an unoperated-on, ruptured appendix, my grandfather battled glaucoma each morning with vials of eye drops), when around 1960, in tie and straw hat, he escorted me to the barber. The latter trimmed my hair in his white smock and bowtie, calling me at eight years old Mr. Hanson.
Like Road Warrior, again, what frightens is this mish-mash of violence with foppish culture, of official platitudes and real-life chaos: the illiterate and supposedly impoverished nonetheless fishing through the discounted video game barrel at Wal-Mart; the much-heralded free public transit bus zooming around on electrical or natural gas power absolutely empty of riders, as the impoverished prefer their Camrys and Civics; ads encouraging new food stamp users as local fast-food franchises have lines of cars blocking traffic on the days when government cards are electronically recharged; the politician assuring us that California is preeminent as he hurries home to his Bay Area cocoon.
On the Frontier
I find myself insidiously adopting the Road Warrior survival code. Without any systematic design, I notice that in the last two years I have put a hand pump on my grandfather’s abandoned well in the yard and can pump fresh water without electricity. I put in an outdoor kitchen, tied into a 300-gallon propane tank, that can fuel a year of cooking. I am getting more dogs (all vaccinated and caged); for the first time in my life I inventoried all my ancestors’ guns in all the closets and found shotguns, deer rifles, .22s etc.
I have an extra used pickup I chose not to sell always gassed in the garage. For all sorts of scrapes and minor injuries, sprains, simple finger fractures, etc., I self-treat — anything to avoid going into the local emergency room (reader, you will too, when Obamacare kicks in). And the more I talk to neighbors, the more I notice that those who stayed around are sort of ready for our Road Warrior world. At night if I happen to hear Barack Obama on the news or read the latest communiqué from Jerry Brown, the world they pontificate about in no way resembles the world I see: not the freeways, not the medical system, not the educational establishment, not law enforcement, not the “diversity,” not anything.
Hope and Change
Yet I am confident of better days to come. Sometimes I dream of the booming agricultural export market. Sometimes hopes arise with reports of gargantuan new finds of gas and oil in California. At other times, it is news of closing borders, and some progress in the assimilation of our various tribes. Sometimes a lone brave teacher makes the news for insisting that her students read Shakespeare. On occasion, I think the people silently seethe and resent their kingdom of lies, and so may prove their anger at the polls, perhaps this November.
One looks for hope where one can find it.

Somebody did it for you?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=llQUrko0Gqw

About Over

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Chrissy Mathews

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Context

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Let's Start at the TOP

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Exceptionalism

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Icons of Faith

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Yes Sir!

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Looking Good!

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White Racism?

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Not Smart

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Obama Built It!

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Problem?

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You Own It!

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Family Values

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Sunshine

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Wimp Factor

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Battle

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The Glorious Debate

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Red Tape

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The Dinkins Effect in the Presidential Race

Commentary ^ | 07.31.2012 | John Steele Gordon

Andrew Malcolm at Investors Business Daily has an interesting column on whether those who are telling pollsters they intend to vote for the president really are going to do so. The vast majority of them surely will, of course. But politics, like baseball, is a game of inches. If only two percent of those saying they will vote for Obama go into the voting booth and vote for Romney instead, that’s a four-percent shift, turning a comfortable 52-48 win into a 48-52 loss. If they simply stay home, that turns 52-48 into 50-50.
There are numerous signs the Obama campaign is very, very worried. His fundraising has not been the money machine it was in 2008, despite Obama’s burning out the engines of Air Force One going, hat in hand, from one group of fat cats to another. He is running through the money he does raise at a furious pace, mostly running negative ads in toss-up states. He is trying to shore up his base rather than reaching out to the center as he would if his base were secure. That doesn’t bear much resemblance to Ronald Reagan’s “It’s Morning in America” campaign of 1984, does it? There are even those who say Wall Street’s recent climb, despite very gloomy economic news, is due to a growing conviction on the Street that Obama is toast.
And yet pollsters all have the race tight as a tick, as Karl Rove terms it. What’s going on?
I think what I call the Dinkins effect is in operation. David Dinkins was the Democratic nominee for mayor of New York in 1989, having defeated three-term incumbent Ed Koch in the primary. His Republican opponent was Rudy Giuliani. The polls all showed Dinkins well ahead, but he won the race only narrowly...
(Excerpt) Read more at commentarymagazine.com ...

Romney's Apology Tour (and embracing our allies)

The American Thinker ^ | August 1, 2012 | Pamela Geller

Mitt Romney's recent triumphal tour of Britain, Israel, and Poland struck me as a much-needed and most welcome apology tour for Barack Obama's abject abandonment and humiliation of our most loyal and trusted allies. Finally, here is an apology tour that Americans can get behind. It was a triumph. The enemedia says otherwise, of course.

Mitt Romney began the long overdue, overwhelming task of beginning to rebuild allied relationships with longtime friends who were abandoned and betrayed by a reckless, feckless, subversive president.

(Excerpt) Read more at americanthinker.com ...

Sales numbers may make GM's bad week even worse (but Obama "saved" GM.)

nbc ^ | 7/31/2012 | Paul A. Eisenstein

GM's horrible week may get more horrible.

The week began badly for the world's No. 1 automaker with the unexplained ouster of its global marketing chief. Barring a late July surge, GM is expected to report July sales numbers on Wednesday that lag behind its chief rivals. And on Thursday it will announce what is widely forecast to be dismal profit numbers for the second quarter -- largely reflecting the maker’s ongoing problems in the free-falling European car market.

Complicating matters, GM’s recent problems have been magnified by its unintended and unwanted role in the 2012 presidential campaign. Though it was the former Republican President George W. Bush who launched the bailout of the struggling maker -- and rival Chrysler -- in late 2008, it was his successor, President Barack Obama, who took that effort to the next, far more costly level. To critics, “Government Motors” is a symbol of the administration’s perceived failures.

(Excerpt) Read more at bottomline.nbcnews.com ...