Saturday, April 17, 2010

Thank God for Qatar, Norway, The Netherlands, France, Luxembourg, Denmark, Sweden, Austria, and France. They make us look fiscally responsible ! !

From The Washington Times:

Americans are used to taking comfort in the fact that European countries such as Sweden, France and Finland are inefficient "welfare states." Even if American competitiveness slacks off a bit, the thinking goes, we'll always be on top because the United States would never allow government to get as burdensome as it is in socialist foreign lands. It's time to start thinking differently as the U.S. bureaucracy expands to record levels.

....even after adjusting for differences in the cost of living and the number of citizens in each country, total U.S. government spending per capita in 2009 exceeded that of all but eight nations in the world. More than 95 percent of countries have smaller relative governments than we do. In total, U.S. government spending came to $17,400 per capita, or about $70,000 for a family of four. The per capita cost of our government is much more than the per capita income of most of the world.

(These numbers do not yet include the increased costs due to ObamaCare™ or the upcoming Porkulus spending.  Plus you could leave out the money we're borrowing from China to protect Japan and Taiwan from China, plus all other defense spending, and we'd still be ahead of 93% of other countries in non-defense spending per capita.)

....We can't afford to throw away $70,000 on government for a family of four. If that fortune weren't funding the bureaucratic leviathan, it would be invested, saved or spent on consumer products people want.

Hell, we're even spending more money than some of the "Social Democrat" nations that provide healthcare, 4-week vacations, subsidized everything, and guaranteed employment, all from cradle to grave.  From erection to resurrection.  Where the hell is the money going? 

It could be used for productive purposes to get the economy moving again. Instead, the money goes down a rathole, dragging America's competitive edge with it.

Just think....They are spending, I repeat, they are spending $17,000.00, per year of your money.  And for what ??? 
You can tax the rich and the fortunate wealthy.  You can apply a punitive tax to Wal-Mart.  You can confiscate every penny from every American earning more than $250,000.00 per year.  All you'll be doing is giving them incentives to stop being productive, or force them to raise the prices of the goods and services that they provide. 
We have to stop voting for people who want to spend money.  We have to stop. 
Socialist flag pics came from here and here

What "Turning The Corner" Looks Like

To paraphrase Vice-President Biden, this is one Big F***ing Graph:

I found it over at the Ace Of Spades HQ

From the comments: 
So this is what Barry's laser like focus on the economy gets you.

And then:
Yeah, if he applied such focus to foreign policy we'd be at war with everybody but the Cubans.

Please, please, please.....stop the politically motivated violence

I've begged and begged, numerous times over the last few weeks.....
The politically motivated violence associated with anti-Obama sentiment has GOT TO STOP ! 
But it got out of hand again yesterday

Dial it back, people, dial it back.  The mainstream media groups are watching. 
They are watching, aren't they? 

Hello, media ???   Are you there?  Anybody reporting on this? 

Oh.  Sorry.  This incident doesn't fit the preferred narrative. 

My bad.   

Friday, April 16, 2010

Lewis Black doesn't think that Lewis Black pays enough taxes. So he has a tax accountant do his taxes.

I watched this Lewis Black/Anderson Tucker interview during last night's Mandatory Treadmill Time.  It's part of the celebrity guilt festival that we see every tax day:

You'll have to go here for the very brief clip.  YouTube won't let me embed this one. 

If Lewis Black feels that he doesn't pay enough taxes, he should simply pay more taxes. 
If Lewis Black believes believes he doesn't pay enough taxes, but has hired a tax accountant?  He should fire the tax accountant.  It really is that simple. 
If Lewis Black feels that he should "give something back", he should continue to produce stand-up comedy routines, bestselling books, and all the other things that have made him one of the top 10% earners in the U.S.   "Giving something back" is not a synonym for "Flushing it down the toilet". 

End of rant. 

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Well, Congress just wanted you to know that they're, like, keeping an eye on you

The witch hunts that I wrote about a few weeks ago have been cancelled.

Henry Waxman (D-Mars) has cancelled the show trials Congressional hearings that would have given congress a chance to grill the CEO's who have written off upcoming losses due to ObamaCare™
Turns out that Waxman's own accounting rules required the companies in question to report the write-offs exactly as they did it, and when they did it. 
Go here

Things that don't fit the preferred narrative

But I thought the Tea Party movement was filled with ignernt hillbillies? 
Here's The New York Times:

Tea Party supporters are wealthier and more well-educated than the general public, and are no more or less afraid of falling into a lower socioeconomic class, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Dr. Robert Atkins vs. The U.S. Department Of Agriculture

"Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint."

-Mark Twain

I grew up on a rice farm in North Mississippi, in a family full of big-time eaters.  In addition to rice with every meal possible, we also ate a lot of bread.  Lots of spaghetti. 
When I was working on the farm, and then in warehouses, I never had to worry about weight gain.  It didn't matter what I threw in the furnace, it was going to burn. 

30 years later.....well, you know what happens.  I got up to 235 pounds.  I could feel my heartbeat in my neck without touching it.  When I was younger, my blood pressure was borderline anemic.  Earlier this year, I found out I was in danger of the problems associated with high blood pressure. 

What the heck?  I was making a point (more or less) of eating "balanced" meals, as I understood them.  I didn't eat many desserts.  I had looked at the USDA Food Pyramid on the back of bread wrappers enough times to understand how a regular healthy diet was supposed to work.  I would often sit down and knock off a mega-bowl of rice, and consider it healthy.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Pyramid, for those of you reading in other countries, used to look like this:

See those 6-11 recommended servings of bread, cereal, rice, and pasta at the bottom?  Remember this picture from the back of your old bread, cereal, rice, and pasta packages?  Why was the government advising us to eat more carbohydrates than a Chinese village?  Here's Buzzle:

During this time (2003-2004) controversy arose between the food pyramid of Harvard and that of the USDA. Proponents and supporters of the Harvard model claimed that the USDA pyramid was flawed. The argument had to do with the fact that it was the USDA, and not the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), that created the food pyramid. Ergo, the food pyramid of the USDA was prone to influence from lobbyists in the food industry.
You can go here for an interesting set of links about the sugar, beef, wheat, and tater industries scratching and clawing to preserve their places on Uncle Sam's menu recommendations.  Based on pressure from other health experts, dieters, and the fact that we were all getting fatter than the Sunday newspaper, (and we were dying a lot) the USDA eventually revised the pyramid to cut way back on the carbohydrates.  You can go here to see that they're now recommending 3 ounces of grains every day.  That's a heck of a lot less than 6 to 11 servings. 

So, back to my point..... I had to lose some weight.  I used to be in the bookselling business, so I went to the all-time bestseller, a title that spent about 4 years on the NYT Bestseller List: Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution.  Guess what I found inside? 

* The U.S. is the fattest nation in the world.  Many of our homeless people are overweight.
* Much of this has more to do with insulin resistance caused by eating too many carbohydrates.  We consume so many of the foods pushed by lobbyists (my words, not Dr. Atkins') that our bodies don't/can't burn off any fat. 
* Our epidemics of diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure can be attributed to these habits. 

There has been sufficient evidence to make these assertions for more than 30 years now.  But the heavy hand of government and such powerful organizations such as the Department Of Agriculture blanketed the nation with messages about low-fat dieting from the 1970's to the present.  In fact, U.S. government statistics from this time clearly demonstrate that along with the dramatic decrease in dietary fat intake....there was also a dramatic increase in the intake of refined carbohydrates, not only sugar, but white flour. 
There is no doubt in my mind that this increase in refined carbohydrates has been spurred by the media attention given to The Food Guide Pyramid, created by the U.S. Department Of Agriculture, which made 6-11 servings of wheat derivatives the basis of the pyramid.  I believe that the Food Guide Pyramid's recommendations have directly contributed to the twin epidemics of diabetes and obesity we now face in this country. 
(The food combinations that were recommended by the U.S.D.A.) are bad for your health, bad for your energy level, bad for your mental state, bad for your figure.  Bad for your career prospects, bad for your sex life, bad for your digestion, bad for your blood chemistry, bad for your heart.  What I'm saying is that they are bad. 
About three and a half weeks ago, I started doing the exact opposite of what the U.S. Department Of Agriculture recommended, and went with Dr. Atkins' approach. 
I've lost almost 20 pounds. 
I've pulled in my belt by THREE notches.  Count 'em.  Three.  Yeah.  Three. 
I've lowered my resting heart rate by almost 10 beats per minute. 
I feel much better.  The sunshine looks brighter.  There's now enough room in my pants for a Mormon family. 
I don't have anyone to blame but myself for getting up to 235 pounds.  I've always known I shouldn't eat so much. 

But is there anything, anything at all, that our government can do better than the private sector? 

One more note: go to for the circumstances of Dr. Atkins' death. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The thing that is supposed to be the sincerest form of flattery

Here's a video that's going viral, prominently featuring The Teleprompter Jesus:

But shouldn't this have gotten a link? Or a footnote?  Or, better yet, a royalty payment? 
Nah, the lyrics don't have anything in common except the Teleprompter Jesus reference.
But it's good to see the idea taking off.

The U.S. tax code: Saving and creating unnecessary jobs

Here's a video from The Center For Freedom And Prosperity about the hidden costs, the opportunity costs, and the obvious right-out-there-in-your-face costs of the American tax system:

Here's an example of the Hong Kong tax system:

It's a freakin' postcard. 
In the Hong Kong system, you don't get deductions for doing what Barack and Nancy and Harry like.  You don't get credit for politically correct behavior. 
You pay a percentage of your income to the government. 
(They do have an alternative form, where taxpayers are allowed to take deductions for a few things like charitable donations, care of elderly relatives, and retirement savings.  Go here to read more.  But for the most part, citizens send in the form shown above.)

Now, think of the time and effort you've spent calculating your taxes.  Think of the tax accountants in the U.S. who have spent the last few months discovering tax loopholes, protecting their customers' money from the government, despite the fact that many of these same customers recently voted for a guy whose stated goal was for the government to spend more money. 
Think of the things that your business can't do because of the tax implications.
Think of the employees you're now reluctant to hire because it would put you in a new Obamacare bracket. 

If you're in the Obama administration, think of how much energy was required for you to be a successful tax cheat. 
The Flat Tax is an idea whose time has come.  Hit the link to learn more. 

Monday, April 12, 2010

The New Jim Crow - by Michelle Alexander

* There are more African Americans under correctional control today -- in prison or jail, on probation or parole -- than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began.

* As of 2004, more African American men were disenfranchised (due to felon disenfranchisement laws) than in 1870, the year the Fifteenth Amendment was ratified prohibiting laws that explicitly deny the right to vote on the basis of race.

* If you take into account prisoners, a large majority of African American men in some urban areas, like Chicago, have been labeled felons for life. These men are part of a growing undercaste -- not class, caste -- a group of people who are permanently relegated, by law, to an inferior second-class status. They can be denied the right to vote, automatically excluded from juries, and legally discriminated against in employment, housing, access to education, and public benefits -- much as their grandparents and great-grandparents once were during the Jim Crow era.

Scary stuff, isn't it?

During my morning mandatory treadmill time, I watched the following C-Span interview with Michelle Alexander.

She's the author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in The Age Of Colorblindness. 

The video is around 45 minutes long, and I'm posting it here for future reference.  Lord have mercy, what an indictment against our government.   

I see victims of the system every day.  They come in applying for jobs.  They've been unemployed for years.  Decades, in some cases. 
Why?  Because when they were 19 years old, they got busted for marijuana possession. 
They have a permanent mark on their record that leaves most employers unwilling to take a chance on hiring them. 
Combine that with idiotic, racist, minimum wage legislation, and Ta-Da !    You've created permanent Food For The Machine. 

Let me explain. 

We have more prisoners than any other nation - 25% of the world's total, despite having only 6% of the world's population.  According to the Michelle Alexander interview, if we were to go back to the 1970's-era incarceration rates, we would have to release 4 out of 5 prisoners currently doing time.

We have so many prisoners that we're having to privatize the cages that we're using to lock up black kids.  Ordinarily, Big Gubmint likes to run everything, but this particular growth industry is beyond them.  Marijuana prohibition creates tens of thousands of jobs, public and private. 

The prison lobby advocates building more and more cages.  (Here's a great link on the prison lobby.  Here's a more specific one on how it works in Texas.)

When the prisoners are released, many of them have to pay for part of the cost of their incarceration. 
They often have to pay for their own parole officers, counseling sessions, etc. and after talking to ex-cons for about 10 years, I'm of the opinion that most of these counselors couldn't counsel a 3-year-old to go the potty. 

If they fail to make these payments, they're either locked up again, or their paychecks are garnished.  After all, the private prison system has to be paid, right?  (Some of these private prison groups are traded on Wall Street.)

Now that you have all that info, can you explain the difference between the current system and slavery?
Do you understand why the prison lobby, in its public and private form, fights so hard to preserve the system? 

Go here to read about John Kerry, John Edwards, and John Dean's "youthful indiscretions" with marijuana use.  Go here to read about Al Gore smoking weed.  Then add George W. Bush, who affirms that he's smoked marijuana, and Barack Obama, who admits to all of the above, plus cocaine. 

What would've become of Barack Obama if he'd been locked in a cage at age 19? 

Marijuana use isn't held against presidential candidates.  So why the hell are we using it to justify creating slaves for the government?