Saturday, May 31, 2008

A Few Predictions

Several months ago, I congratulated Al Gore for winning the Nobel prize.
This was only noteworthy because at the time, Al Gore had not yet won the Nobel prize. The winner wouldn't be announced for another week.

Since that worked out well and got this site its first attention, I thought I would lay a few other predictions out for all the world to see. I'll follow up on these shortly before George W. Bush leaves office.

1. Congratulations to Barack Obama for not selecting The Clintons for Vice President. Obama realizes he needs someone to help him carry some swing states, and those two can't do it.

2. Congratulations John McCain, President of The United States of America.

3. This one is a "pivot". The crystal ball is cloudy. But I think one of these two things will happen: We will capture Osama bin Laden, possibly in Iraq, shortly before the election. This will give everyone some warm and fuzzy feelings about our military adventure over there. OR.... Osama bin Laden will release a very scary video shortly before the election, scaring the crap out of everybody and putting John McCain in a better position to live in the White House.
Either of these scenarios will benefit Republicans.

4. The Dallas Cowboys will not win a playoff game this year.

5. Fuel prices are going to keep going up. So shortly before leaving office, George W. Bush will move to open ANWR and possibly more areas in the Pacific and Atlantic to oil rigs. No one in the house or senate will have the cajones to oppose it. Fuel prices will go down shortly afterwards.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Charlie Rose and Susan Schwab, Interpreted

A few weeks ago, Charlie Rose interviewed U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab.
Ms. Schwab's words should be chipped in granite and placed in the Alabama courthouse that recently housed the controversial 10 Commandments monument.

Even now, as we speak, her every utterance is being memorized by the prisoners I keep in my backyard mini-Guantanamo Bay re-education camp for unrepentant Nancy Pelosi supporters. (For every five minutes of text memorized, they get another helping of tuna.)

Here's a somewhat edited video of the interview.

Fortunately, for the benefit of future generations, I happened to TIVO the complete interview. This portion was worth transcribing:

Charlie Rose: Where is there protectionist legislation that embarrasses you...when you're having to deal with foreign trade negotiations?

Susan Schwab: The most embarrassing legislation right now is the legislation that is not moving. None of our trading partners can understand that when we have these really really strong trade agreements with Korea, with Panama, and as we're currently talking about with Colombia, why the Congress of the United States is not rushing to get these put in place.
Because all of our trading partners? They're trying to do (trade) deals with those same countries....
Unfortunately, as we sit there, on the sidelines, waiting for Congress to act, they are out there negotiating these kinds of agreements. There are over a hundred bi-lateral and regional trade deals being negotiated by other countries and with each other that have the potential to lock us out of preferential deals.

Charlie Rose: In other words, you're saying (that) while the Congress fails to pass trade legislation, other countries are going in and by making other agreements for themselves, they will close out the United States from opportunities?

Susan Schwab: (unhhh....Yeah !) See the video.

I know that many of my readers tend to doze off when uninterpreted trade/free market/geek stuff is presented without translation. so here's an interpretation of what's really being said in the interview:

Charlie Rose: Susan, you sound vaguely embarrassed that you have to represent a nation where someone as fundamentally ignorant as Nancy Pelosi can stop something as beneficial as the Colombian Free Trade Agreement. When you sit down at the bargaining table, do you feel totally humiliated? Do they laugh with you, or laugh at you? Is there anything you'd like to get off your chest? Want to take a penalty kick? Take some cheap shots?

Susan Schwab: Thanks for asking Charlie....yes, I would like to explain what its like being the figurehead on the bow of a ship of fools.
If I'm sitting across the table from the trade negotiator from, say, Liechtenstein, and they're proposing that both nations eliminate tariffs on each others' products, I have to stop and explain Pelosi. I have to explain the Democrat congress. I have to explain that they can be bought by anyone with $20 and
a KFC 10-piece bucket.
The negotiator from Liechtenstein looks up at me, and says "You know, we're also negotiating with Bulgaria and Eritrea and The Vatican and just about every other nation on earth, right?"
And I'll have to say, "Yeah, but what can I do? Nobody understand that these agreements make our products more attractive overseas."
And then the Liechtensteinian negotiator will say "You're shitting me. You can't be serious."

So what can I do?
And then we'll have to wrap things up, because I can't get anything done with that unrepentant protectionist witch in charge of the legislative branch of our government. And you know what really makes me feel bad? When we all go out for drinks afterwards, LIECHTENSTEIN picks up the tab. Freakin' Liechtenstein. They feel sorry for me.

Charlie Rose: In other words, you're saying (that) while the Congress protects a few jobs at the expense of many jobs, other countries are going in and by making other agreements for themselves, they can close out the United States from opportunities? Sorta like General Nathan Bedford Forrest's theory about "
getting there firstest with the mostest"?

Susan Schwab: (unhhh....Yeah !) See the video.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Caption This

I need a caption for this picture.

What NAFTA Superhighway???

The Nation (a fascinating Old Leftie magazine), Lou Dobbs, and The John Birch Society all oppose the proposed NAFTA superhighway.

With a Trifecta like that all in opposition, it's GOT to be a great idea.
Have none of these jackasses ever ready any history? Do they not know that trade is the greatest builders of a nation? Amsterdam? Great Britain? Hong Freakin' Kong? Aren't they aware huge swaths of Africa remain impoverished, partially because of a lack of good deep water ports?

Nobody has ever protected themselves to prosperity. No, that's not true. Small numbers of people are trying to protect their prosperity at the expense of the larger group.

Imagine if you could only trade with relatives.
Or just people on your block.
Then imagine that there's an idiotic demogogue, like the ones above, who is warning you about the evils of mixin' and minglin' with them dern folks on the next block who do thangs different, and tellin' stories of Mexican truck drivers out of their minds on Mexican drugs.

Imagine if you could only trade with nearby states in the U.S.
Imagine that it's pre-1982, and there are idiotic shipping regulations that keep carriers from going across state lines.
I could go on forever.
Do people buy into this guy because he's on TV ? Is that it?
But there has to be a large contingent of Lou Dobbs viewers out there who finished grade school and who can read without their lips moving.
Does anyone know anyone Lou Dobbs loyalists that they can introduce me to?

I want to meet one, and study its habits.

Because you know what I really love about this? (there is no NAFTA superhighway ! read the Nation article !)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Sparrows Are Falling

One of my employees rescued a kitten today. We had some sudden rain, and it was trapped in a truck well beneath an elevation ramp.
The kitten's eyes were swollen shut, probably from an infection, but my guy got some paper towels and started gently rubbing the kitten's face and eyes.
The cat can now see, but we didn't have any milk for it, and it's probably not old enough for solid food. It turned down hot dogs and Pringles.
I have three cats. If I came home with another cat, it would probably have to go live with the pig.
None of my employees need a cat.
The shots, food, getting it "fixed", etc., will be expensive.
If we take it to the animal shelter, they'll put it to sleep within a few days.
There are probably 5,000 kittens just like that one in Fort Worth. I bet 5% of them die every week.
It seems hopeless.

I volunteer for a charitable program called Family Pathfinders. A group of us try to help struggling families with job training, filling out job applications, financial aid, learning to call in to the workplace when running late, and all the tens of thousands of little skills that many of us take for granted.
We were assigned our first family about 9 months ago, and met with them as often as we could, and helped them as much as we could.
The family consisted of a single mother and her three daughters.
We eventually gave up and had to end the relationship. The mother wouldn't tell us the truth about where their money was going, and she wouldn't show up for meetings or appointments.
But I'm haunted by those three little girls. They're doomed.
What the hell do you do? Adopt them? Do what the State of Texas did at the YFZ Polygamist Ranch, and take the kids away from their mother?

A cyclone has hit the nation of Burma, a nation ruled for decades by its own military. Their government is so paranoid, they won't let aid flow into the country.
The United Nations, truly one of the most useless organizations to ever exist, is doing nothing but rationalizing ways to justify doing nothing.
Our Right Wing isn't willing to intervene, perhaps because there is no oil or any strategic advantage for doing so.
Our Left Wing isn't willing to intervene, because they have a puzzling infatuation with totalitarian governments (see Mao, Castro, etc etc etc.)
The Libertarian types generally oppose intervention because it's none of our business.
The suffering in that miserable nation is almost too great to comprehend.
What can we do?

I know a lot of people who take comfort in Jesus' words in the Gospel of Matthew. Here's Matthew 10:29-31.... "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows."

Taken at face value, Jesus seems to be saying that God is aware when sparrows fall. "Apart from the will of your Father....", that phrase implies that the sparrow doesn't fall unless it's the will of God. And we are worth more than sparrows.

The kitten, who is now in a box in one of my offices at work, probably weighs as much as two sparrows. Do I take it back outside, now that the rain has stopped, and hope that Mom shows up? Do I get it over with, and simply wring its neck? Take it to the pound? Buy milk, teach it to drink from a saucer, raise it to adulthood, and turn it loose in the neighborhood? And what about the other estimated 4,999 stray cats in Fort Worth? They're out their breeding like, like....well, cats.

What do we do for the three little girls? Our Family Pathfinders group will be assigned a new family soon. Do we just give up on this other family and hope for the best? I can promise you, the girls aren't going to turn out OK by mistake. Not in that environment.
As upper income families have fewer and fewer children, the lower income families, right or wrong, perceive more and more economic advantages in having more kids. It is staggering to think of.

In Burma, at least 20 people died from neglect, hunger and exposure in the time it took you to read this far. Their military won't allow anyone from the outside to help. What can be done?

Sparrows are falling everywhere. What are we supposed to do? Just watch, pray about it, and congratulate ourselves for not being among the fallen?

And now that I've put all this in perspective....does anybody want a cat?

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Monday, May 26, 2008

I Get Questions....

Bloggers generally try to be helpful. They usually have an agenda that they believe will benefit humanity.
So in the name of bettering our species, I'm going to post a few of the search engine inquiries that have guided people to this site. According to my Statcounter, many were phrased in the form of a question, as if Google worked like a "Magic 8-Ball".
It doesn't.
I've given links to the post they were directed to, plus I'll try to give a better answer than I provided in the original post, if I gave one at all. I'm deleting a few numbers from each server address just to protect the privacy of the questioners....Here goes. (Alltel Communications Of North Carolina) [Label IP Address]

North Carolina, Matthews, United States, 0 returning visit

Date Time WebPage
26th May 2008 21:11:49 went to a nascar race and now my ears are ringing how do i stop it

This person, a North Carolinian from the cradle of NASCAR, went to a race and wants ME to explain how to stop his ears from ringing.
The short answer: it can't be done. When I went to the race that I blogged about above, my host gave me some earplugs shortly after we sat down. Take some with you next time. (Wave Broadband) [Label IP Address]

California, San Mateo, United States, 0 returning visit

Date Time WebPage
26th May 2008 19:33:04 will recession be over&btnG=Google Search

When will the recession be over? There isn't one. All the talk of a recession was designed to increase Guvmint control over the economy, and give politicians a reason to do something, anything, other than leave everything alone. Which, of course, would be the most helpful course of action. (I still don't have my stimulus check....Just an FYI to the Keynesians out there.) (Comcast Cable Communications Inc) [Label IP Address]

Pennsylvania, Canonsburg, United States, 0 returning visit

Date Time WebPage
26th May 2008 05:31:39 gunpowder be attracted to a magnet&

I've gotten a lot of people wondering about this....
Somebody in Canonsburg PA wants to know if gunpowder can be attracted to a magnet.
They've obviously seen that waste of an Indiana Jones movie.
The answer is "no". But in the movie, gunpowder, light fixtures, and swords are attracted to magnets. Gun barrels are not.
A friend of mine suggested that I pay attention to how quickly peoples' shirts dry off around the waterfall. I don't plan on seeing the movie again, but thought I'd throw that suggestion out there.
Here's another one: (Verizon Internet Services Inc) [Label IP Address]

United States, 0 returning visit

Date Time WebPage
25th May 2008 21:59:49 libertarian not

Barr Libertarian Not?
I agree. Barr Libertarian Not.

This has been a public service of The Whited Sepulchre Outreach Ministry.

Memorial Day Motivational Poster

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Bob Barr is the Libertarian Party candidate for President

Bob Barr is the Libertarian Party candidate for President.
Bob Barr is the Libertarian Party candidate for President.
Bob Barr is the Libertarian Party candidate for President.
Bob Barr is the Libertarian Party candidate for President.

I think I could type it a dozen more times, and it wouldn't truly sink in.
I feel like one of those Hillary supporters who say they're going to stay home on election day if Obama is nominated.

I can't see Bob Barr as a Libertarian. Bob Barr is not a Libertarian. Or he wasn't when I was keeping up with him. What the heck is going on here?

Radley Balko, of "Reason" magazine, and author of the link above, states that he's "become rather fond of Barr over his 5-year conversion to libertarianism."

And I've became rather fond of Herman Goering over the course of his 5-year training to become a rabbi.

Bob Barr, at least on social issues, was one of the leading anti-libertarian politicians we've known. Maybe he's converted. Maybe he was struck blind for three days on the Damascus Road.

Maybe he's going to start working gun shows, lobbying for marijuana decriminalization, and building floats for gay pride parades. But isn't this rather sudden?

As one Baptist preacher told me when I was doing church music in Mississippi: "Allen, I don't have anything at all against reformed whores. But maybe you should wait a few weeks before you let them lead out the choir."