Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Obama - Wright, Part 2

Interesting theory about why the rift between Obama and Wright. Could it be that if Obama wins, then everything Wright needs to continue to do what he does, make a really good living complaining about "whitey", goes away?
Obama - Wright, Part 1

Here was my first reaction when I heard Obama say "that is not the man I met 20 years ago". Oh really, how about the man who married you the the Mrs.? How about the man who baptised your children? How about the man that inspired your book? Is that the same man?

It reminded me about the comment about Ayers when he said the bombings took place when I was 8. OK but you did not meet with him when you were 8, you did not serve with him on Boards when you were 8. There seems to be a pattern here.

I have not heard anyone else bring this up. Am I the only one?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

McDermott Pays $1 Million For Leaking Tape But Still Claims Victory

It is official, the check has finally been written and cashed.
Rep. Jim McDermott has paid more than $1 million to House Minority Leader John Boehner, ending a decadelong dispute over an illegally taped telephone call.

"Every last penny will be used to help elect Republicans," Smith said, calling it ironic that McDermott — an outspoken partisan — "is helping fund the defeat of his fellow Democrats. I wouldn't expect he'll receive a lot of thank yous come November."

Meanwhile, McDermott still does not get it...
"While the amount of damages assessed in this case is significant, I submit that defending the First Amendment is beyond measure and worth every penny," he said.

If it was truly "worth every penny" then why is he not out each and every day breaking laws in a constant effort to defend the First Amendment?

Why? Because he was not defending the First Amendment, he was proving that if you can come up with enough cash, ideally from other people, you are free to violate the law and do what you want.

Multiple calls to Rep. McDermott's office asking for an explanation of how he was defending the First Amendment have gone unanswered.

Another call into the office and we have an explanation. It seems new case law was created and the court ruled that Rep. McDermott did nothing wrong. When asked why then was he paying over a million dollars, I was told that it was because the court said he should not have turned over the tapes. I was also told that I needed to read the ruling to understand that he did not "lose" the case.

What was the word he used to describe the ruling... "nuanced". I kid you not.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Voter ID Is Constitutional

As blogging buddy Karl over at LSU notes, it is legal to require ID to vote. Who would have thunk it.

Reminds me of the time that I went to my polling place after complaining earlier in the day to the county about the law which said it was illegal to ASK for ID. When was my turn to sign the voters book, I asked to see the book and looked through a couple of pages of voters names as if I could not decide which one I was. I then said how about this one. The polling person said how do I know that is you? You do not, do you, and you are not permitted to ask for identification. I then said in fact that was me and they said we understand your point, feel free to make it somewhere else next time.
Potential African American Baseball Players Opt To Become Doctors and Lawyers

Jerry Brewer had an article in the Sunday Seattle Times complaining about the lack of African American baseball players in the major leagues.
The subject barely musters shock value now. Mention that the African-American baseball player is on the verge of extinction, and, at best, it inspires brief pondering. At worst, it prompts little more than an obligatory nod.

We already know he's dying. We figure there's little we can do.

This feels like a vigil.

"It's sad," says Dan Jurdy, the Rainier Beach High School athletic director. "It's really sad."

Only 8.2 percent of major-league baseball players are African-American, according to diversity expert Richard Lapchick's 2008 Racial and Gender Report Card. It's the lowest percentage in at least two decades. Some estimates have it as the lowest since the 1950s.

I say it is a good thing. First off, if you strictly look at the numbers, African Americans make up about 12% of the population in the US and account for 8.2% of MLB players. Now if you subtract out the foreign players, mostly Latin and Asian, that brings those numbers up to something closer to the population at large. The sad reality is a significant number of young African American males can not play in the majors because they are incarcerated. Subtract out that total and that would probably get you to right about that 12% number.

But here is my point... sometime in the past, say 20 years ago, if you were driving down the road and a top of the line Mercedes pulls up next to you and a fairly young African American is driving this expensive vehicle, your first reaction is I wonder what team he plays for. That was what I was thinking, that is what you were thinking. Not the case anymore. That guy could be a doctor, a lawyer, sell real estate or own a small business.

As long as kids think the only chance to succeed is playing pro sports, they will not hit the books and stay in school and become a doctor or a lawyer or an engineer or teacher. The reality is making a living playing sports is one in a million and the overwhelming majority just do not have the God given gifts that it takes. But they can graduate from high school and go to college and make something of their lives. That should be what we are concerned about, the number that graduate, not the number that can hit a ball with a bat over a wall.
Government Ideas On How To Spend Tax Dollars

Here is a story that bothers me in a number of ways

After an unsuccessful campaign for Congress in 2000, Illinois state Sen. Barack Obama faced serious financial pressure: numerous debts, limited cash and a law practice he had neglected for a year. Help arrived in early 2001 from a significant new legal client -- a longtime political supporter.

Chicago entrepreneur Robert Blackwell Jr. paid Obama an $8,000-a-month retainer to give legal advice to his growing technology firm, Electronic Knowledge Interchange. It allowed Obama to supplement his $58,000 part-time state Senate salary for over a year with regular payments from Blackwell's firm that eventually totaled $112,000.

A few months after receiving his final payment from EKI, Obama sent a request on state Senate letterhead urging Illinois officials to provide a $50,000 tourism promotion grant to another Blackwell company, Killerspin.

Killerspin specializes in table tennis, running tournaments nationwide and selling its own line of equipment and apparel and DVD recordings of the competitions. With support from Obama, other state officials and an Obama aide who went to work part time for Killerspin, the company eventually obtained $320,000 in state grants between 2002 and 2004 to subsidize its tournaments.

There is the obvious corruption angle. Clearly Obama took a payment in order to direct taxpayer money to a client. But here is my issue... the government is providing tourism promotional grants... to a ping pong company?

This reminds me of a book I read about the Clinton administration. Before the 1992 election, the Clinton camp was going to come up with places where the federal budget could be cut and the one thing they came up with, reducing the amount of money the government gave to honey producers by 40 million dollars. And why exactly is the federal government giving money to honey producers?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Black Panthers, Celebrating 40 Years Of Racial Socialism in Seattle

Of course that is not how the Seattle Times tells it...
The group was never anti-white, members said. Its mission was to advocate for the poor and protect the oppressed.

as long as they were black...

According to the Black Panthers own 10 point plan:
1)We want power to determine the destiny of our black and oppressed communities' education that teaches us our true history and our role in the present-day society.
2)We want completely free health care for all black and oppressed people.
3)We want an immediate end to police brutality and murder of black people, other people of color, all oppressed people inside the United States.
4)We want an immediate end to all wars of aggression.
5)We want full employment for our people.
6)We want an end to the robbery by the capitalists of our Black Community.
7)We want decent housing, fit for the shelter of human beings.
8)We want decent education for our people that exposes the true nature of this decadent American society.
9)We want freedom for all black and oppressed people now held in U. S. Federal, state, county, city and military prisons and jails. We want trials by a jury of peers for all persons charged with so-called crimes under the laws of this country.
10)We want land, bread, housing, education, clothing, justice, peace and people's community control of modern technology.

Who would you think the Black Panthers are referring to when they say "our people"? Not Asians, not Hispanics, certainly not "the Jews".

Substitute the word white in place of black and you would think it was the KKK or white supremacists talking... no wait, that is not correct. The KKK is not a socialist group that is demanding land, bread, housing etc. for its members.

Here is a better analogy, substitute the word Germans for black and it sure sounds like the Nazis or as they are officially known, the National Socialists.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Diversity Loving Liberals In Seattle... Not In My Backyard

You got to love liberal Seattle..

Many residents in Seattle's affluent Magnolia neighborhood are fuming over plans to house homeless people near Discovery Park at soon-to-be-closed Fort Lawton.

At one community meeting, some residents wondered whether homeless housing at the fort would attract wife-beaters, sex offenders and crack addicts. They rolled their eyes when city officials asserted that such housing increases property values. They worried about the impact on schools and scoffed at the idea of homeless people shopping at the closest grocery — which sells pheasant-and-rosemary pâté for $9.99 and ground coffee for up to $18 a pound.

"We're the ones who live here, and we want to have a nice, safe neighborhood to live in," Donald Raz, a King County deputy prosecutor and Magnolia resident, said later.

Like most affluent neighborhoods in Seattle, Magnolia doesn't have any housing for homeless people mainly because land is too expensive for social-service agencies to buy.

According to Wikipedia, so you know it may or may not be complete bs, Magnolia's demographics are such:
As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 19,156 people, 9,077 households, and 4,828 families residing in the neighborhood. There are 9,416 housing units. The racial makeup of the neighborhood was 87.4% White, 5.8% Asian, 1.6% African American, 0.6% Native American, 0.3% Pacific Islander, 1.0% from other races, and 3.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.3% of the population.

And of course the residents in Magnolia donate 3-1 to Democrats.

They are all for helping the homeless, just keep those wife-beaters, sex offenders and crack addicts away from overwhelmingly white, liberal neighborhood.
Global Warming Does It Again

Global warming once again is damaging crops...
Reports of crops damage caused by freezing temperatures has grabbed the attention of Gov. Christine Gregoire, who may seek a proclamation offering growers low-interest loans

Fire up those SUVs
"Right now, the damage does not appear widespread but may be significant in isolated areas," Gregoire said in a news release. "Growers are telling us they need a few days of warmer weather before they will know the real extent of the damage."

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Why I Love Dick Cheney, Part 630913

Air Force 2 takes off.

Airforce II Blows Media Away - Watch more free videos
Toys For The Kids

I recently bought stock in Hasbro... and not Playmobil... which on sells such exciting toys as Safe Crackers by Playmobil
Product Description
Two "crooks" have broken into the bank's safe. Comes complete with working safe locker.

or how about the Playmobil - HazMat Crew
Product Description
Oh, no! Hazardous waste has managed to seep out of a barrel and onto the sidewalk! No need to worry, the Hazmat Crew has promptly arrived. The street has been secured with road warning signs and the Crew begins clean up with their powerful very vacuums. Dressed in protective uniforms and armed with hazardous material equipment, this sidewalk is sure to be free of this hazardous substance in no time! Ages 4 & Up

Fun for everyone.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Sexism At the University of Washington

According to the UW's own Factbook for 2007, 9521 first year freshman females applied for admittance to the University of Washington while 8356 first year freshman males applied. 53.26% of the applicants were female, 46.74% of the applicants were male. But... 55.55% of those accepted were female while a mere 44.45 accepted were male.

Oh where oh where is that champion of diversity and all things fair, State Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles when you need her?
The Cure For High Gas Prices... More Government Regulation

My Senator, Maria Cantwell, feels that the solution to high gas prices is more government regulation.
Today, U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell and Rep. Jay Inslee will be sending a letter to President Bush, urging him to increase vigilance at the federal level. They want an energy-fraud task force established at the Department of Justice. Last year, Cantwell was able to insert a provision into law that provided more tools for the federal government to investigate allegations of gas-market manipulation but the rule-making has been slow to start.

Is she in favor of increasing supply by drilling in ANWR? No. Is she doing anything to increase refining capabilities? No. All she wants to do is increase government regulation. Yea, that should help.

I guess I should not expect anything more from her.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Stock Market Investing Update

As I mentioned in a previous post, I had changed the way I invest in the stock market a while back. Starting in January, I tweaked that method slightly. I now purchase up to 5 stocks every 3 months instead of selling the 5 that have hit the one year anniversary and buying 5 new stocks. In January I held two of the 5 I already had and bought 3 new stocks. Just last week I purchased 4 new stocks, replacing the 5 that I have had for the last year.

This is a slight modification to the "MFI" method I had been using. I just feel more comfortable not being forced into 5 new stocks every 3 months. If I can find 5 worthy of purchase, great, if not, ok. This also concentrates my investment dollars into fewer stocks, which can be good or can be bad.

So far, the results since January, way, way too short of a time period, have been exceptionally good but only time will tell.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Global Warming, Is There Anything It Can Not Do?

I drove around the Seattle area watching it snow and hail from time to time while the thermometer said it was 41 degrees outside.

Snowing at 41 degrees. I am finally impressed by global warming.
Former Marshall Principal To "Resign"

If by "resign" they mean paid a lot of money so he will stop working there.

Seattle Public Schools will pay former John Marshall Alternative School principal Joseph Drake more than $200,000 in exchange for his resignation from the district.

Clearly this guy should not be a principal of a school.
A district investigation found that Drake was viewed as a "threatening person" by his staff. In addition, the investigation said he "engaged in a campaign of profane, intimidating and bully behavior, using the 'F' word during a meeting with central-office staff members"; bullied University of Washington evaluators working on a report about his school; "created an atmosphere of mistrust and 'my way or the highway' approach to policies and practices at the school"; and "impugned the character and competence of the district staff."

But here is the "money quote", literally...
In a March 4 letter, Drake wrote that he deserved compensation "in order that my family and I continue to experience a quality lifestyle."

He "deserves" compensation so he can continue to experience a quality lifestyle? No... you deserve compensation because you supply goods and or services of value.

This smacks of the school district spending taxpayer money to take care of their own. The guy deserved to be fired and they paid him off to go away. Must be nice to have a checkbook funded by others that allows you to do that.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Cuban Citizens Can Finally Get Cell Phones, Part 2

More interesting facts and figures from the same article:
The contracts cost about US$120 (euro76) to activate — half a year's wages on the average state salary. And that doesn't include a phone or credit to make and receive calls. Still, lines formed before the centers opened, and waits grew to more than an hour.
Astorga planned to buy about US$65 (euro41) in credit — enough, she hopes, for three months of very brief conversations

The "average" state salary? What about economic equality? Shouldn't all workers be equally poor in a Marxist utopia?

So lets run some numbers, $120 to ACTIVATE, another $65 for 3 months worth of calls, so $260 per year for air time. $120 is half a years wages for the average state salary, so $240 is about the average yearly salary. So for the low, low price of only 58% above your yearly salary, you to can purchase cell time and activation for a cell phone. The actual cell phone is extra.

So to put that in perspective, if you were making the US federal minimum wage, not the average salary, but the minimum wage of $5.85 an hour and working a full year at 40 hours per week, you would earn $12,168 and if the US had "economic equality" similar to Cuba, phone activation and airtime for the year would cost $19,266. But remember, that does not include an actual phone.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Cuban Citizens Can Finally Get Cell Phones

Not like I really care but I did find this quote interesting:
Getting through the day without a cell phone is unthinkable now in most developed countries, but Cuba's government limited access to cell phones as well as kitchen appliances, hotels and other luxuries in an attempt to preserve the relative economic equality that is a hallmark of social life in communist Cuba.

"Economic equality" Or as we would call it, everyone is dirt poor.

Anyway, welcome to the 1990s Cuba... you may want to start getting prepared for that Y2K bug.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

McDermott's Loses Again But Thinks He Won

There is a saying that goes something like I would rather deal with a corrupt politician than an insane one because at least I know how to work with the corrupt one.

But what if the politician is both corrupt and insane? Today's lowlights from my congressman...

McDermott to pay more than $1 million in Boehner legal bills

A federal judge has ordered Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) to pay over $1 million in legal bills incurred by House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) in a long-running battle between the two lawmakers over a leaked 1996 phone call.

Chief Judge Thomas Hogan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ordered McDermott to pay $1,053,181.40 in attorney's fees and costs, plus roughly $40,000 in interest to date. The Washington Democrat also had to cough up another $60,000 in fines. And that's on top of the hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees that McDermott must pay his own lawyers.

In a statement, McDermott said the legal fight - which Boehner offered at one point to settle with a public apology and a charitable donation - was worth it, despite the cost.

"This has been a long and costly battle but, in the final analysis, the judgment handed down today in the U.S. District Court is a small price to pay in defense of so fundamental a principle, and freedom, as the First Amendment," McDermott said. "Because of this protracted legal challenge, the First Amendment is stronger today, and shielded by new case law that will buttress its capacity to protect the publication of truthful information on matters of public importance long into the future. Knowing this, I am proud of my role in defense of the First Amendment."

I have a call in to McDermott's office asking what case law now protects the right to illegally disclose taped conversations. I also asked what color is the sky in Representative McDermott's world. I won't hold my breathe on getting an answer.

H/T Orbusmax
More Global Warming News

According to Reuters...
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - Ribbon seals, which depend on floating sea ice that is growing scarce in a warming Arctic, will be considered for listing under the Endangered Species Act, a U.S. government agency said on Wednesday.

Also according to Reuters, in unrelated news...

CHARLOTTETOWN, Prince Edward Island (Reuters) -Canada's annual seal hunt, which the government promised would be more humane this year, cranked up slowly on Friday because of thick ice.
Global Warming 2008

It is April, a light covering of snow on the ground here in Seattle, 30 degrees this morning, my vehicle was frozen shut.

Global warming, she is finicky, ain't she.