Saturday, November 6, 2010

Keith Richards, on The Rolling Stones' tax strategy

I'm about 1/4 into Keith Richards' autobiography, Life. 

What a book, what a book.  This thing is enough to justify the invention of the printing press.  Forget the drugs, the partying, and his currently fashionable look that makes him appear to have dipped his hair into a fishing tackle box.  The first impression you get when you open this autobiography is that you're having a conversation with a very smart man. 
Here's Keef on The Rolling Stones' tax avoidance strategy, compliments of Greg Mankiw.  Incentives really do matter, don't they? 
The Stones are famously tax-averse. I broach the subject with Keith [Richards] in Camp X-Ray, as he calls his backstage lair. There is incense in the air and Ronnie Wood drifts in and out--it is, in other words, a perfect venue for such a discussion. "The whole business thing is predicated a lot on the tax laws," says Keith, Marlboro in one hand, vodka and juice in the other. "It's why we rehearse in Canada and not in the U.S. A lot of our astute moves have been basically keeping up with tax laws, where to go, where not to put it. Whether to sit on it or not. We left England because we'd be paying 98 cents on the dollar. We left, and they lost out. No taxes at all. I don't want to screw anybody out of anything, least of all the governments that I work with. We put 30% in holding until we sort it out." No wonder Keith chooses to live not in London, or even New York City, but in Weston, Connecticut.

Tax the rich all you want.  They'll just leave. 
You'll never see a robin drop worms into every nest in the forest. 

Keith Olbermann suspended for supporting political candidates. I'm not lying.

Olbermann has been suspended from his MSNBC anchor duties for a while because he was making financial contributions to political causes. 
Yeah, you read that correctly. 
Keith Olbermann contributes more to socialism by opening his mouth on TV than he could ever hope to contribute by giving money to politicians. 

Here's Rick Moran from Pajamas Media:

None of this is news to anyone who has a passing familiarity with political debate in America. Yet the rapidity with which MSNBC bounced Olbermann from the network begs several questions. What did he do that other journalists — including those at Fox News — haven’t done? Why now? And why should MSNBC all of a sudden feign an interest in impartiality?

Alas, Babylon. The press in America have never been “impartial,” and the grandiose proclamations of objectivity and neutrality in covering politics this last century made by sober-minded newspaper editors were always more for purposes of marketing than related to any claim based in reality. “Yellow journalism” aside, the great publishers in the 19th and early 20th century were all house organs for one of the two political parties. Major dailies were political kingmakers, and a word from a Horace Greeley or Robert McCormick could make or break a politician’s career.

What made this arrangement preferable to the insufferable hypocrisy we experience today with the media is that everybody knew which side the press was on. Being forewarned is being forearmed, and at a time when there were a dozen dailies in New York City alone, if you didn’t like Hearst’s take you could always read what the Sulzbergers had to say about politics. There was never a lack of choice as far as the news consumer being exposed to the spin from both parties.

Today, even little children know that MSNBC has a strong, pronounced liberal Democratic bias and a demonstrated animus against conservative Republicans. This is not a secret nor is it necessarily bad. If you don’t like the network’s tiresome promotion of Democratic candidates and causes, you can always switch over to Fox’s equally tiresome boosting of conservatives and the GOP.
And here's Jonah Goldberg:
Look, I understand why everyone is pouncing on Olby. And given his sanctimony and hypocrisy, not to mention the fact that he seems to have broken the clear rules of his own employer, I have no problem with him getting whipsawed.

But there are two problems with these kinds of journalistic ethics “scandals.”

The first is that they aren’t a scandal. So Olbermann gave money to some Democratic candidates. Ostensibly the rules against this are intended to prevent journalists from giving the appearance of bias. Whether or not such rules make sense for actual reporters, such rules are silly for someone like Olbermann. Does anybody, and I mean anybody, suddenly trust Olbermann’s opinion less because of this news? I’m waiting. Does anyone think he’s less biased? More biased? Un-biased?

Second, the larger problem with these kinds of rules is that they do little to prevent media bias and a great deal to hide an important form of evidence of it. Banning liberal journalists from giving money doesn’t prevent them from being liberal, it just gives them a bit more plausibility when they deny it. Now, I can see the argument that someone who makes a donation would be more interested in protecting their investment, as it were. So I don’t think the policy is completely misguided. But at a certain level banning donations is like NPR barring staff from attending the Jon Stewart rally. It doesn’t fool anyone, but gives the accused a lawyerly rebuttal to accurate accusations.
When you sit down in front of a camera, behind a typewriter, or at a laptop to deliver consumable political opinions to large groups of people, you can pretend to be objective but you'll never pull it off. 
No one ever has. 
So let's drop the pretense, and put warning lables of "REPUBLICAN" on Faux News, "DEMOCRAT" on MSDNC, and "SLOWLY LEANING TOWARDS LIBERTARIAN, BUT NOT FAST ENOUGH" on Fox Business. 

This post was written by The Whited Sepulchre, who arrived at these opinions through painstaking research, academic training, reading a lot, common sense, and a vigorous editorial process designed to remove any hint of bias from these pages. 

Does anyone believe that?  Good. 
Don't believe it in reference to CNN, The New York Times, Fox News, or anyone else. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

How to get from Fort Worth, TX to China

1) Go to Google Maps

2) Hit "Get Directions"

3) Type in "Fort Worth, TX" in blank A

4) Type "China" in blank B

Pay particular attention to the instructions for getting across the Pacific Ocean. 

Google is pure, undiluted greatness ! 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Semi-libertarian is elected to the U.S. Senate. MSNBC goes ballistic. Comedy Gold.

Here's the MSNBC election roundtable on Rand Paul's election to the Senate.
Hit it at the 7:30 mark.

Here's a Baltimore TV reviewer called Z On TV, on what you're about to see:
Some might call it an anchor desk, but I would not debase the word "anchor" by putting it in front of a desk that includes folks offering this kind of analysis. The team includes: Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, Chris Matthews, Lawrence O'Donnell and Eugene Robinson.

This is their reaction Tuesday night to the victory speech of Rand Paul, the new U.S. senator from Kentucky. Check out O'Donnell's words, in particular, against MSNBC's claim that Fox News, not MSNBC, is the cable channel trafficking in fear. O'Donnell says Rand is now "empowered" to "creat a worldwide despression."

The pundits are telling the truth. But they think that they're lying

Browsing through a bunch of the election post-mortems early this morning, I noticed a general trend.
The professional typists are coming away from yesterday's election with the following lessons for us all:

1) Americans are racists.
2) President Obama didn't properly communicate the general awesomeness of his accomplishments.
3) The porkulus package wasn't big enough. 
4) Losing the House will do the Democrats some good, since the Republicans will make a useful foil for Obama and the Senate. 

The mainstream media doesn't really believe any of this.  They think that they're lying. 
In reality, they're telling the truth. 
Let's take these one at a time. 

1) Americans are racist.

Yes, they are.  But it's not a racism of the in-your-face variety.  It manifests itself in what Bush The Lesser called "the soft bigotry of low expectations".  It shows up in our remaining Affirmative Action regulations.  And it appears when we put a junior Senator from Illinois, with no executive, management, or even legislative experience into the most challenging job in the free world. 
Hundreds of thousands of people had their Affirmative Action moment in 2008, felt totally great about it, and then experienced the worst buyer's remorse most of us have ever seen in a mid-term.  They either stayed home or changed their minds.
Yes, many Americans are racists, and they see people through that filter.  But 2010 wasn't the racist election.  2008 was.   

2) President Obama didn't properly communicate the general awesomeness of his accomplishments.

Once again, the pundits are telling the truth.  But to acknowledge that Obama's efforts to justify ObamaCare, Porkulus, or Cash For Clunkers didn't make sense?  That would undermine their entire worldview. 
The Democrats didn't fail because of a lack of communication on Obama's part. 
Good lord in heaven, I am so tired of that man's voice. 
He talked and talked and talked. 
This is the moment that is now.  Now is the time that is after the past but before the future.  The present time of badness is so much better than the failed eight years of relative goodness.  And on and on and on.  I could produce reams and reams of it without making a lick of sense, that even Obama's Mama couldn't distinguish from the real thing.  People are just sick of having to listen to it.   

Here's Mark Twain, on his experience with an evangelist named Hawley:

Well, Hawley worked me up to a great state. I couldn't wait for him to get through. I had four hundred dollars in my pocket. I wanted to give that and borrow more to give. You could see greenbacks in every eye. But he didn't pass the plate, and it grew hotter and we grew sleepier. My enthusiasm went down, down, down - $100 at a time, till finally when the plate came round I stole 10 cents out of it. So you see a neglect like that may lead to crime.
As always, Mr. Twain has a takeaway illustration for us all.  Please, please, please, when you run out of things to say, stop talking. 

3) The porkulus package wasn't big enough.

Absolutely correct.  If the stimulus package had been twice as big, more people would've gotten a boost before the election, and it might have changed a few things for a few people. 
But consider this....If a thief breaks into every home in your neighborhood, takes most of the property, pawns it, and then spends the money on jewels for his girlfriend, the pawn shops, the jewelry stores, and the girlfriend will all be grateful.  They're more grateful for a large theft than a small one.   
The pawnbrokers, jewelers and girlfriends are mistaken when they think this will be the start of a continuing trend. 
So when Paul Krugman says the theft from the private sector wasn't large enough, he was right.  But not for the reasons he thinks. 

4) Losing the House will do the Democrats some good, since the Republicans will make a useful foil for Obama and the Senate.

Once again, the professional commentators don't really believe this, and this is just a sour grapes response to a blowout of an election.  But here's the truth in what they're saying:
The punditocracy (meaning the non-bloggers) tend to believe that a great seismic shift happened yesterday.  Biggest change in Congress since the Great Depression.  A huge swing in the balance of power. 


We will see some Kabuki Theatre between Obama and Boehner.  Both parties will use the others' picture in their fundraising.  The Republicans will be useful as boogeymen, but that'll be the only difference. 

The car will keep going in the same direction, down the same highway, but with a different driver.  The Dems have pulled over at a roadside park, gotten out to stretch their legs, and crawled in the back for a nap.  They have made out well.  They've gotten a trillion dollars worth of pork into the pockets of their supporters, they've destroyed 600,000 cars for union autoworkers, and they're well on their way to crippling private enterprise with ObamaCare, Cap'n'Tax, and other abortions.  Oh, and we're still at war with the same people we were bombing during the Bush stint at the wheel.

The car will stop at different restaurants, and the driver will change all the radio station presets.  The driver might even buy fuel from different truck stops. 
Nothing else is going to change.  You can forget about an ObamaCare repeal.  It just doesn't work that way.

The national debt stands at some point between 13.5 and 14 trillion dollars. 

Do any of those who are excited about the Republican victory believe that the debt is going to be smaller in 2012 ? 
Following the example of my friend Mike Coyne, I'll bet $100 that our debt is higher in 2012 than it is now.  We can work with the $14 trillion number.   
Any takers? 

There IS a solution to this problem, and it is called The Libertarian Party. 

Monday, November 1, 2010

What If ?

From John Jay Myers, Libertarian candidate for U.S. Congress, 32nd District, Texas:

What if we were not all fighting constantly about what we wanted from government?

What if we understood it is not the role of government to pass out favors or be involved in business, or to “create jobs”?

What if we didn’t have to tirelessly keep track of our politicians, trying to find out what crazy thing they are doing now?

What if we understood that governments role is to protect our life, liberty and property?

What if we knew that wars always end poorly whether they be wars on terror, drugs, poverty, or about education?

What if we knew that people should be able to do what they want with their lives as long as they don’t harm other people?

What if we were shown that the freer the society the more prosperous the whole of the people, time and time again?

What if we lived in a more libertarian society?

When you pull the switch tomorrow, please vote Libertarian !!!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Dallas Cowboys 17, Jacksonville Jaguars 35, and a history of all the coaches that Jerry Jones has fired in his quest to figure out the problem

I played left guard for one year at North Sunflower Academy.  I was in the 9th grade.  That's enough to qualify me to comment on this issue. 

Lord have mercy, what an ugly game.  The Dallas Cowboys got spanked, and I mean spanked by the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars, 35-17. 
Can you believe that Detroit is actually looking forward to playing us? 

What needs to happen?  Well, let's look at some history. 

The Cowboys franchise got its start in 1960.  Tom Landry was head coach.

When Landry was fired by Jerry Jones, he had a career record of 270-178-6.  However, Landry (before the start of the 1989 season) had not won a playoff game since 1983.  That's five years.  It was probably time for a change. 

When Jerry Jones purchased the team, he made himself General Manager.  He has supposedly been in charge of all personnel decisions since 1989. 

Jerry put the great Jimmy Johnson in as head coach.  Johnson had been coaching at the University Of Miami, and was familiar with many of the players soon to be drafted by the NFL.  We'll never know who made the decisions that led to the Cowboys era of greatness in the 1990's, but my money is on Jimmy. 

Jimmy Johnson coached his Cowboys to Super Bowl victories in 1992 and 1993.   But he couldn't get along with Jerry and left after the 1993 season.  

The details remain shrouded in a late-night haze, but it seems the trouble started when Jones toasted the Cowboys and was offended when Johnson reciprocated but did not invite Jones to join his table. A few hours later, Johnson alleges, Jones told a group of reporters in a bar that he planned to fire Johnson and replace him with Barry Switzer, an old foe of Johnson's from his college coaching days.
Then General Manager Jerry Jones....

....appointed Barry Switzer as Cowboys head coach. 

Using Jimmy's players, Switzer was able to win a playoff game in 1994, and he won the Super Bowl in 1995. 
The Cowboys won a single playoff game in 1996 (a year soon to be known as "the good old days), but went a disappointing 6-10 in 1997. 
General Manager Jerry Jones.....

....knew he had to do something after his head coach didn't win a playoff game in 1997.  He fired Switzer, and replaced him with Chan Gailey. 

Gailey went 10-6 in 1998, and then 8-8 in 1999.  He didn't win any playoff games. 
So then, Jerry Jones, who was supposedly still making all of the personnel decisions....

...fired Chan Gailey and replaced him with Dave Campo. 

Campo was head coach in 2000, 2001, and 2002, and had a won/loss record (respectively) of 5-11, 5-11, and finally, 5-11.  No playoff wins. 
So General Manager Jerry Jones, who was still in charge of ALL personnel decisions....

....fired Campo and replaced him with Bill Parcells. 

Despite winning a couple of Super Bowls with the Giants, and an AFC Championship season with The Patsies, Parcells was unable to do anything with Jerry's Kids in Dallas.  There were lots of discussions about "They want you to cook the dinner, at least they ought to let you shop for some of the groceries."  Some former Parcells players got signed, and Parcells had some small authority over the team. 
From 2003 through 2006, the Dallas Cowboys went 10-6, 6-10, 9-7, and 9-7.  They didn't win any playoff games. 

(It was at the beginning of the Parcells era that I discovered that God hates Jerry Jones, and I started making a small fortune betting against Dallas.  That has nothing to do with the matter at hand.  I wasn't worth a crap at left guard at North Sunflower Academy, but I can tell who God doesn't like.)

Parcells retired. 

Then Cowboys General Manager Jerry Jones, who hadn't won a playoff game since 1996....

...thought that he could improve the situation by bringing in Wade Phillips. 

Maybe Jerry Jones had discovered the source of his problems.  Maybe this coach would be the one who could properly use Jerry's draft choices. 
The first year, 2007, it almost worked.  The Boys went 13-3, but didn't win a playoff game. 
The next year, they went 9-7, but didn't make the playoffs. 
In 2009/2010, perhaps to illustrate the old proverb that "even a blind hog can sometimes find an acorn", Jerry's draftees went 11-5, and beat the Philadelphia Eagles in a playoff game.  The curse was lifted. 
The next week Minnesota beat the tar out of them 34-3. 

This year, the mighty Dallas Cowboys have started the season with one win and six losses.  They just finished losing to Jacksonville.  Yes, Jacksonville.   
Jerry Jones and the city of Arlington have taken people's homes by force, bulldozed them, and built the greatest sports facility on this planet on the site of their theft.  All to host this mess.  That was like tearing down the Taj Mahal to put up a movie theatre that only shows "Jackass 3". 

That's the history of the Dallas Cowboys coaches and their playoff wins. 
Let's hope that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who is a brilliant businessman, can figure out the root cause of his problems.

Pics came from here and here and here and here

God Hates Figs

From the Gospel of Mark, Chapter 11:

12 The next day, when they had come out from Bethany, he was hungry.

13 Seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came to see if perhaps he might find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs.
14 Jesus told it, "May no one ever eat fruit from you again!"

Jeremiah 29:17  Thus says the LORD of hosts, behold, I am sending on them( sword, famine, and pestilence, and I will make them like vile figs that are so rotten they cannot be eaten.

Unfortunately, the GodHatesFigs website has gone under. 
Those wanting to contribute to other worthwhile causes should consider