Not making a difference since 2006. Blog motto: Always be sincere whether you mean it or not.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Touché, Rev.

I served six years in the military.. Does that make me patriotic? How many years did Cheney serve?

I'm still not joining your church, Rev. but that was delicious.

I don't mean to insult the Black Church, but the only time I like to listen to a sermon is to cure insomnia...

There is one black church I would have loved to be part of, Rev. Leroy's Church of What's Happenin" Now. I would say with everyone, "Make it crawl, Rev., make it crawl" at the collection.

Here's to you, Pastor Flip, wherever you are.

Friday, April 25, 2008

It Wasn't All That Depressing

The end of the world is coming. Real Estate prices are in the tank and Walmart won't sell you more than a few grains of rice. Should we panic now, or when the depression actually hits and how will we know when it does?

Mr. Howard Katz in a blog post titled Reality has a different take.

The things in reality which are generally called recessions are credit contractions; they are periods when wealth flows from the paper aristocracy back to the ordinary American. During a credit contraction about 95% of the American people get richer. (During the Great Depression real wages rose, per capita meat consumption also rose, the nation ate less margarine and more butter and gave more [per capita] to charity.) The periods designated as depressions and recessions were such for the paper aristocracy but not for the average American. And the idea was to convince the average American that he was getting poorer when in fact he was getting richer (and vice versa). This is why after two decades of “economic growth” under the leadership of someone the media described as a “miracle man,” the people of the world are rioting and killing each other for food. This does not quite fit my definition of economic growth.

I am no economist, but am the son of people who lived through the depression. I can only inflict family narratives on my few readers.

My father, at the beginning of the depression had a bit of a hard time. When he got a job with a large enterprise, through some nepotism I suspect, things changed. He had a paycheck and some relative wealth. He would speak wistfully of how low prices were during the depression.

My mom's family did not have such a good time. With her dad out of work, it was tough. Oh, her dad's loss of work was injury related not economy related.

The 95% figure sounds high as I've heard unemployment figure that were persistently high. Still, the increase in meat consumed make it hard to argue the point. After all, how many steaks can a Rockefeller eat?

I feel much better.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Not that seeing you on TV would be special, Justice K.

As someone living in a small Massachusetts town and who is afflicted with a minor elected position, I get to see collegiality at work. It ain't pretty. At our annual town meeting, every adult has a vote, yet it is poorly attended. The Woody Allen comment about showing up being eighty percent of success is evident. The members of the town boards are there and everything is adopted rather than rock the boat. If the highway department opposed a salary increase for the cops then collegiality would be shattered and no one wants that so the heck with the taxpayer.

And, of course, we see the curse of collegiality in the church abuse scandals. "Father Tom might be diddling some kid. Let's call him in to warn him and move him to Saint Swithin's. He is really wonderful except for that problem. He was in my seminary class. Quality of mercy, you know."

So it goes.

But, to some, collegiality is a virtue. The Skeptical CPA reports on an article by Nat Hentoff on Anthony Kennedy's defense of his warm relations with his fellow justices.

Y'all remember Tony. He's the guy who read into his oath of office that the constitution isn't enough and that foreign law needs to be cited. Maybe if there is a disputed election he will quote Salic Law to disqualify Hillary.

Well, Tony is worried that if Supreme court sessions are televised, things may not be cosy among the brethren and sistern of the bench.

"We teach that we're judged by what we write and by what we decide... I do not want an insidious dynamic introduced into my court that would affect the relations that I have with my colleagues.

"It would be unhelpful for the collegial relations... I don't want to think that one of my colleagues asked a question because he or she was on TV. And I don't want that temptation to exist... We (justices) think that we should be entitled to at least a presumption of correctness and to some deference in determining how best to preserve the dynamic of the wonderful proceeding that we know as oral argument."

Yeah, I guess Nino saying to Justice Bader Ginsburg, "Ruth, you’re an ignorant slut, by the way, did you get us tickets to Daughter of the Regiment?" on TV might ruin their off bench friendship.

Some points for Big Tony,

1. It is not your court. You seem to forget who pays your salary. Everybody in government does, but this is a bit of a reminder.

2. I take “I don't want to think that one of my colleagues asked a question because he or she was on TV. And I don't want that temptation to exist...” as an admission that there may be some losers on the court that need to grandstand. Not yourself, of course. Anymore of those foreign law citations coming along?

3. "It would be unhelpful for the collegial relations...” Tony, your relationship to the constitution is more important than your relationship with the other functionaries. Next time, join a seminary if it’s collegiality you want, though Benny seems to be cleaning up that act.

4. "We (justices) think that we should be entitled to at least a presumption of correctness and to some deference in determining how best to preserve the dynamic of the wonderful proceeding that we know as oral argument." Maybe your being overly presumptuous there, Tone.

Anyway, Mr. Justice, if you don't think you can hack it, maybe that Judy woman is available.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Question is the Wrong Answer

Over Market Watch from Dow Jones I saw the following poll question,

Who do you think has the right cure for the looming Social Security Crisis?

John McCain

Hillary Clinton

Barack Obama

Yeah, okay. It is a question as useful as, say, Which would make a better conversationalist, an amoeba or a spirochete?

Some will tell you to vote for a nominee because if you vote third party as they cannot win.

It does not matter, whichever of the above wins, you lose.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Good Point, Ron

In Ron Paul's April 7, 2008 weekly column about the amended the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the congressman states,

We have been told that this power to listen in on communications is legal and only targets terrorists. But if what these companies are being compelled to do is legal, why is it necessary to grant them immunity? If what they did in the past was legal and proper, why is it necessary to grant them retroactive immunity?

Why is he one of the few to use commonsense?

It is like the fact that we needed a constitutional amendment to take away drink, but not to take away someone's nickle bag (are they still called "nickle bags?") If you are reading this from prison and are righteously indignant because you are spending valuable time as a state guest because of some nasal ingestion, don't bother calling your lawyer. Nothing is going to happen.

Oh, and the law Ron Paul opposes, it is going to probably pass. Ronnie is one of the few who reads the laws and he is also one of the fewer who even understands them.

That is why the voice of humility proposed The Second Grand Reform based on the words of Jonathan Swift

No Law of that Country must exceed in Words the Number of Letters in their Alphabet, which consists only of two and twenty. But, indeed, few of them extend even to that Length. They are expressed in the most plain and simple Terms, wherein those People are not mercurial enough to discover above one Interpretation: And to write a Comment upon any Law is a capital Crime. As to the Decision of civil Causes, or Proceedings against Criminals, their Precedents are so few, that they have little Reason to boast of any extraordinary Skill in either.

Like our friends in prison, let us not hold our collective breath. Of course, if it ever did become law, it would not mean our solons understood the legislation they voted on. They would, however, lose the excuse that they had not read it.