Wednesday, July 1, 2015

SCOTUS Finds Acorns

Lost in the hubbub over more politically charged recent SCOTUS decisions are two that they got right.

The first was a FDR relic designed to artificially inflate raisin prices, thereby ensuring profits for raisin producers. Under the program, the government takes a portion of each year's raisin crop, which it then destroys or dumps overseas. This raises prices - and hence profits - for California raisin growers, free market be damned.
Thirteen years ago the government tried to take 47 percent of farmer Marvin Horne’s raisins and give him nothing in return. Horne fought back, arguing that the confiscation was an uncompensated taking of private property under the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause. Today, on his second trip to the Supreme Court, Mr. Horne’s claim was vindicated by eight justices.

For a case about raisins, Mr. Horne’s plight has generated a fair amount of attention... Perhaps this is because Mr. Horne’s adversary, a New Deal-era government agency called the Raisin Administrative Committee (RAC), is so inherently comical and head scratching. It’s the New-Deal case that took almost 80 years to bring, and, like so many of President Franklin Roosevelt’s crazy schemes, a majority of justices found it had severe constitutional problems.

The RAC is a group of 46 raisin growers and packers (and one “member of the public”) that meets in an office in Fresno, California. There they decide how many raisins they must take off the market in order to keep the price of raisins artificially high. If it weren’t ratified by the government, such a meeting would undoubtedly be an illegal collusion to raise prices under the Sherman Antitrust Act.

If the RAC requests a farmer’s raisins, then the farmer must give them up and he is guaranteed nothing in return...
Kind of like taxes, but paid with raisins instead of dollars.
The RAC is the product of a 1937 law called the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act (AMAA). The AMAA was the consequence of the antiquated economic thinking of the New Deal, much of it directly pushed by President Franklin Roosevelt himself. Roosevelt strongly believed in the power of government-created cartels to fix perceived problems with the free market.
That kind of thinking is the cause of so many of our problems. It also is a factor in the next SCOTUS decision.
A divided Supreme Court on Monday dealt a significant blow to the Obama administration's environmental agenda, invalidating a rule that would limit the release of mercury and other pollutants from power plants.

"We hold that EPA interpreted unreasonably when it deemed cost irrelevant to the decision to regulate power plants," Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in the court's majority opinion.
"No regulation is “appropriate” if it does significantly more harm than good."
Only a government agency would consider cost "irrelevant."

Bottom line - even nine blind hogs can occasionally stumble across a couple of acorns... or raisins.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Chains Of Logic

Unless you've been living in a cave the past couple of weeks, you're aware of the ongoing debate over the Confederate flag.

Why? Because apparently that flag made a messed up white dude murder nine black people in a church.

Setting aside the lunacy that a piece of cloth (or for that matter, an inanimate lump of metal) can be responsible for killing anyone, let's follow where that belief leads a member of the mainstream media.

CNN host Ashleigh Banfield speculated, on the air, that it is time to think about removing the Jefferson Memorial from the National Mall in Washington D.C.

That's the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, not the Jefferson Davis memorial.

The reason: Thomas Jefferson owned slaves.
Thomas Jefferson–like a lot of people 270 years ago–owned slaves. He inherited them from his father. Jefferson gave away many of the estimated 170 slaves he owned after his death...

But Thomas Jefferson didn’t want to divorce from the union in order to preserve slavery. In fact, Jefferson wrote constantly and argued regularly about whether or not the founders should include the abolition of slavery in the Bill of Rights.
Using that 'reasoning' we should remove barack obama from office because his family owned slaves.
Obama’s great-great-great-great grandfather, George Washington Overall, owned two slaves who were recorded in the 1850 census in Nelson County, Ky., the Baltimore Sun reported in 2007, and Obama’s great-great-great-great-great-grandmother, Mary Duvall, also owned slaves.

Obama’s campaign team in 2008 did not dispute the information.

Leftists are currently purging the Confederate flag because its association with slavery, but given that “logic,” shouldn’t they also be calling for Obama’s resignation since he too has a historical link to slavery?
Makes sense to me...

Monday, June 29, 2015

FOD 2015.06.29

Lost in all the hoopla over gay marriage and the Confederate flag is the June 30 deadline for finalizing a deal with Iran on its nuclear weapons program.

How's that going, you ask?

How do you think?

As of Sunday night, reports were emerging from Israel that obama has caved in to Iran on the issue of inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities.
Israeli news sources report that the U.S. and its negotiating partners have given in to Iran’s insistence that it will not allow inspections of its nuclear weapons facilities: 
The P5+1 countries led by the United States under Barack Obama have caved in to Iranian demands and will not insist on inspections of nuclear installations as part of a deal on Iran’s nuclear weapons program...
Iran has consistently declared that it will not allow inspections, and Barack Obama wants a deal at any cost, either because he actually wants to help Iran to obtain nuclear weapons–circumstantial evidence supports that conclusion–or because he is so desperate for some kind of foreign affairs legacy that he is willing to go along with anything. From the beginning of this process, Iran’s government has issued more truthful updates on the status of the negotiations than has our own. In some parallel universe, this would be an embarrassment to an American administration.

Events are moving rapidly toward ... an agreement that will cause billions of dollars to flow to Iran to enable the mullahs to accelerate their nuclear weapons and ICBM programs:

Was there ever any doubt? I don’t think so. More important, neither did the Iranians. They knew they could dictate the terms of the agreement because they were dealing with Barack Obama, and they have done so. Meanwhile, here in the U.S., we are busy posting rainbows on our Facebook pages. It is hard to escape the conclusion that we deserve what we are going to get.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Sunday Funnies 2015.06.28

The big news this week - bigger than the SCOTUS ruling on obamacare, the terrorists attacks around the world, the Confederate flag controversy, or the latest antics of Kim Kardashian - is the legalization of gay marriage.

I fully support gay marriages.

They have every right to be as miserable as the rest of us.

What do you call a gay guy who marries a much younger man (IOW, a gay cougar)?

A Pink Panther.

Supporters of gay marriage say it's about respect, tolerance, and equal rights.

Why do gays get special treatment? I've been married for over 20 years. I get no respect, no tolerance, and no equal rights.

You know who is really opposed to gay marriage?

Gays who are afraid of commitment. Now they have no excuse.

I think gay marriage is great for all Americans - especially divorce lawyers.

Of course, gay marriage does raise some serious questions.
Who gets the bachelor party?
Who goes downstairs in the middle of the night to check on the noise?
Who forgets the anniversary?
Who refuses to stop and ask for directions?
Which one will take forever to get ready?

Congratulations gay people -- you are about to discover the joys of alimony.

Caution: clicking on the "Show/Hide" button below will reveal a funny, but crude, offensive, and definitely NSFW cartoon.

You've been warned...

Saturday, June 27, 2015

We Got Pink Flamingos In The Front Yard

I am sick unto death of the gloomy news lately. So today I've decided to focus on something frivolous. And what could be more frivolous than pink flamingos?

Creator of pink plastic lawn flamingo dies
Don Featherstone was a classically trained painter, a talented sculptor and artist who became famous for creating the pink plastic lawn flamingo - the ultimate piece of American suburban kitsch.

And it didn't bother him a bit.

Featherstone, who died Monday at 79, embraced the fame the invention brought him.

"He was the nicest guy in the world," Nancy Featherstone said. "He didn't have a selfish bone in his body. He was funny and had a wonderful sense of humor and he made me so happy for 40 years."

Featherstone, who studied art at the Worcester Art Museum, created the ornamental flamingo in 1957 for plastics company Union Products Inc., of Leominster, modeling it after photos of the birds he saw in National Geographic.
Pink Flamingos - inspiration

Pink flamingos - artist's conception
Featherstone worked at Union for 43 years, inventing hundreds of products in that time and rising to the position of president before his retirement in 1999.

"People say they're tacky, but all great art began as tacky," Featherstone said in a 1997 interview.

He was forever humble about the flamingo, and in fact, his wife often brought it up in conversations with people they would meet, bringing a sheepish smile from her husband, she said.

The flamingo even made an appearance on the silver screen. A pink flamingo, dubbed Featherstone of course, was a major character in the 2011 animated movie "Gnomeo & Juliet."

"The thing that thrilled him the most was that movie," Nancy Featherstone said.

The flamingo almost met its demise in 2006, when Union went out of business. But the company was eventually bought by Cado Products Inc., which to this day proudly manufactures the ornaments in Fitchburg, retailing for about $14.99 a pair.

"We still sell thousands of them a year," said Bruce Zarozny, president of Cado, noting that the company's packaging refers to them as "The original Featherstone pink flamingo.

He's not sure how many have been sold over the years, but it's in the millions.

"They say there are more plastic Featherstone flamingos in the world than real flamingos," he said.

Interesting pink flamingo fact:
The distinctive pink flamingo color develops thanks to their selective diet, which primarily consists of organisms — such as shrimp and algae — high in pigments called carotenoids.
So why aren't Cajuns pink?

Pink flamingos are everywhere. They're even in the NFL.
Q:  Do you know the difference between a plastic pink flamingo and the Washington Redskins?
A:  One is ugly, stands in the grass, and is totally useless, and the other is a lawn ornament.

There is a long-standing rivalry between pink flamingos and lawn gnomes.

Pink flamingos are considered game animals by some.

They've even inspired a country-western song.

And that's enough frivolity for today...

Friday, June 26, 2015

Friday Follies Happy Hour 2015.06.26

I really don't care too much one way or the other about the Confederate flag, but I really, really hate other people telling me what to think and do.


Yesterday's score:

obama - 2
America - 0

Barack Obama's Best Day Ever
In a presidency filled with ceaseless wars, unfulfilled promises, and electoral disappointments, President Obama is having one of the best days he could ever hope for.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Affordable Care Act, securing a much-needed win for Obama's embattled health care law.
I always thought the Supreme Court's role was to interpret laws as written, not to twist and distort them according to the impact a ruling might have. Guess I was wrong.

Across the street just a few hours later, Congress was set to pass a worker-assistance bill that the president will sign along with fast-track authority, advancing a crucial piece of his trade agenda.
I don't know if I'm for or against the trade bill, mainly because the details are being kept top-secret. That in itself is enough to make me oppose it.

"They must be popping the champagne corks at the White House this morning," mused former Clinton policy adviser and Brookings Institution senior fellow William Galston. "And why not?"
One more bit of bad news:
In yet another win, albeit a less monumental one, the Supreme Court Thursday also upheld a central legal argument for the administration's efforts to fight housing discrimination.
This one means the Fair Housing Act can be interpreted to cover actions related to homes and housing that have a discriminatory outcome, whether or not that discrimination is intentional.

In other words, expect Section 8 housing to spread like crabgrass.

I find it ironic (and damn funny!) that the FHA named that program Section 8. Old-time military folks will know why.

Bah! I'm gonna go wash away my troubles with a Shiner or two... or three... or four...

Thursday, June 25, 2015

A Gloomy Future

While we're all being distracted by trivial crap like the Confederate flag imbroglio, events halfway around the world are quietly beginning to heat up. The one common thread linking them is China's new willingness to flex its increasing military muscle.

'We should be very clear: China is at virtual war with the United States'
Last month's massive breach of federal employees' data allegedly at the hands of Chinese hackers, made public Thursday, indicates a treacherous new reality in the global cyber game.

"It's very serious indeed," geopolitical expert Ian Bremmer, the founder of Eurasia Group, told Business Insider.

"China's offensive cyber capabilities have consistently surprised the United States in terms of breadth and sophistication of attacks.

...Bremmer added: "We should be very clear: China is at virtual war with the United States, and the threat is far higher than that of terrorism, which gets the lion's share of attention — and, in the post-9/11 world, funding."
There is also the threat of physical confrontation.
In an effort to stoke nationalism and distract its people from a slowing economy, the Chinese government has been acting particularly aggressively in the South China Sea, engaging in territorial disputes with neighbors including Japan.

The Global Post, a state tabloid owned by party publication The People's Daily, wrote that any attempt by the US to stop China from building out parts of the South China Sea would inevitably end in war.

"If the United States' bottom line is that China has to halt its activities, then a US-China war is inevitable in the South China Sea," the newspaper said. "The intensity of the conflict will be higher than what people usually think of as 'friction.'"
It won't just be the U.S. and China. Other countries are being drawn in as well.
The Philippines will hold separate naval exercises with U.S. and Japanese forces this week on a Philippine island that is not far from the disputed Spratly archipelago, where China's rapid creation of seven island outposts is stoking regional tensions.

Manila, which has one of the weakest navies in Asia, has stepped up its security cooperation this year in the wake of Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea, not just with ally Washington, but also with Japan and Vietnam.

Late on Sunday, reporters could see two P3C-Orion maritime surveillance planes, one belonging to the United States and the other Japan, parked on a military airfield in Puerto Princesa City, the Palawan capital.

China's official Xinhua news agency condemned what it said was Japan's "meddling".

China claims most of the South China Sea. The Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan and Brunei have overlapping claims.
There is, however, some good news.
Every week seems to bring new cause for concern about China's rising military power and assertiveness. Some scholars and pundits worry that the Chinese government is aiming to block U.S. forces from operating in East Asia altogether -- and even plans to replace the U.S. as the world’s leading superpower.

While China’s buildup indeed creates security challenges for the U.S. and its Asian allies, the consequences are more subtle and complicated than some alarms would suggest. Despite its quickly increasing defense budgets in the last 20 years, China still lacks the ability to project combat power in a sustained way far from its shores, and the U.S. maintains full-spectrum military superiority, even in East Asia. Chinese forces lag far behind their U.S. counterparts in quality of equipment, experience and training.

One of the biggest advantages the U.S. has compared with China is its network of allies -- some 60 countries, which (including the U.S.) account for some 80 percent of global military spending. China has a formal alliance only with North Korea and a strong security partnership with one other Asian country, Pakistan. It has defense cooperation and an arms trade relationship with Russia, but mutual mistrust between the two historical rivals makes it hard to label this an alliance.
On the other hand:
... Measures of the overall balance of power between two countries are most relevant when considering wars of survival, such as World War I and World War II. But most international security politics involves coercive diplomacy and limited military engagements short of full-scale war. In such struggles, geography, politics, psychology and perceptions can play an even more important role than the military balances of power.
Bottom line: our military might is eroding, while China's is growing. Our international influence is shrinking, while China's is expanding. Our political leadership is widely perceived as weak, foolish, and short-sighted. China's - well, hell, there's no need to complete that comparison.

I don't think there's any immediate threat of armed conflict between us and them. But I do think that China is a master of the long term view, while American politicians can't see beyond the next public opinion poll. China's political masters don't have to worry about placating the loud-mouthed whiny politically correct cretins and 'entitlement' leeches that we have to contend with.

I am not optimistic about the future.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Reading The 21st Century Paper

Yesterday I was doing the 21st century equivalent of reading the newspaper; I was browsing news sites on the Internet. In rapid succession the following articles jumped out at me.

Obama laments 'distorted impression' of Muslims
President Obama stressed religious tolerance during an Iftar dinner to celebrate the Muslim holiday of Ramadan...

Obama lamented the "distorted impression" that many Americans have of Muslims.
After reading that article, I metaphorically turned the page of my digital newspaper and saw this headline.

Islamic State urges followers to escalate attacks in Ramadan
Islamic State urged its followers on Tuesday to escalate attacks against Christians, Shi'ites and Sunni Muslims fighting with a U.S.-led coalition against the ultra-radical group.

Jihadists should turn the holy month of Ramadan, which began last week, into a time of "calamity for the infidels ... Shi'ites and apostate Muslims", Islamic State spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani said in an audio message. He urged more attacks in Iraq, Syria and Libya.

"Muslims everywhere, we congratulate you over the arrival of the holy month," he said. "Be keen to conquer in this holy month and to become exposed to martyrdom."
That's the sort of thing that contributes to my 'distorted impression' of muslims...

And then there was this article.

Obama extending amnesty to illegals in prisons, jails
The Obama administration has ordered agents to begin ignoring many of the illegal immigrants they encounter in local prisons and jails, as the president begins to implement a lesser-known part of his deportation amnesty program...

Agents will still troll local prisons and jails looking for immigrants, but they will no longer try to deport those with drug possession offenses, theft or fraud if it involved stealing an identity in order to further their unlawful presence in the country, the House Judiciary Committee said Tuesday.

Even some illegal immigrants who have been charged with serious felonies but who are released by the local authorities won’t be picked up by immigration agents until they’re actually convicted, the committee said.
That's the sort of thing that contributes to my 'distorted impression' of obama...


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Obama Coffee

I'm tired, I'm cranky, I've had a few beers, and I'm fed up with all the political correctness out there. So I'm going to repost a tweet that got the wife of the Israeli interior minister in hot water.

I don't care how many progs get their panties in a wad - that's funny!

And true...

Speaking of coffee:

Okay, one more - just because I can't think of anything profound to post.

Monday, June 22, 2015

FOD 2015.06.22

The sad thing is that the latest outrageous behavior by the obamas no longer outrages anyone...

This is how distraught Obama is over S.C. church massacre
In his official White House statement yesterday on the church massacre in Charleston, President Obama decried what he described as the "senseless actions of a coward" who had "once again cut short so many lives with so much promise." He then added, "Our hearts ache with sorrow with the entire Emanuel AME Church family as they seek solace and comfort in the shadow of a gunman’s act of pure evil and hatred."

His heart wasn't so heavy that he felt impelled to postpone his trip to the West Coast, where a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee had been planned at the home of a millionaire member of the Hollywood community...
Not to mention golf.
Obama continues to cast a pall of unseriousness over his presidency, which was already of questionable seriousness, planning a weekend of golf out in California following two days of fundraising on the Left Coast.

According to the Washington Examiner, Obama will golf in Palm Springs even amidst drought, a prospect that should deeply annoy enviros and Californians forced to restrict their water use. Golf courses are notorious guzzlers of water.

Obama's hitting the links following the announcement of a tragedy is hardly news any more. This most recent incident pales on the chutzpah scale when compared with his heading out for a round of golf 10 minutes after holding a press conference on the death of American journalist James Wright Foley at the hands of Islamic State butchers.
And don't forget last week's 'private' soiree featuring Prince and Stevie Wonder.
The event taking place in the East Room was a performance by Prince for about 500 A-list friends, supporters, and entertainment-world pals of President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama. Pop and rock acts playing the White House isn't news; what set the Prince event apart was its secrecy. Called a "private party for friends and family" by one White House official, the bash featured a lengthy set by Prince and a cameo by Stevie Wonder, and it was kept so under the wraps — before and after — that it quickly became one of the year's most talked-about pop shows.

...the White House declined to release a guest list for the evening, and at least one of the entertainers in attendance had to sign a non-disclosure form agreeing not to talk about the event. Nearly every guest invited to the party who was contacted by Rolling Stone declined to comment on the party, including Bon Jovi, who made a special trip to D.C. for the event. "He's observing the private nature of event — just not commenting," Bon Jovi's rep told RS.

The party was so under the radar that word didn't leak out until Sharpton excitedly tweeted that night: "Leaving the White House party w/POTUS and FLOTUS. Awesome to see Prince and Stevie Wonder on keyboards together. Unbelievable experience." In doing so, Sharpton — who also declined to comment further — inadvertently broke the news of the party to the world.

At the daily White House press briefing two days later, press secretary Josh Earnest was grilled on why the administration didn't "verify the event" until after it was over — and even then only reluctantly. Earnest called it "a non-public event that occurred at the White House" and added, "Given the private nature of the event, I don't have a lot of details to discuss from here."
Meanwhile, Mooch and the first kids - accompanied by Mooch's mother - are in Milan teaching Italians how to cook (at U.S. taxpayer expense, of course).
Journey costs more than twice as much per day as the average American family earns in a year

Barry golfing while neglecting affairs of state. Michelle freeloading off the middle class liberals claim to be fighting for. Private elitist parties and hypocritical recreation.

This is our First Family...?