Friday, April 30, 2010

Praise the Lord

Tonight's humor:
The Pastor asked if anyone in the congregation would like to express Praise for answered prayers. A lady stood and walked to the podium.

She said, "I have a Praise.

"Two months ago, my husband, Tom, had a terrible bicycle wreck and his scrotum was completely crushed. The pain was excruciating and the doctors didn't know if they could help him."

You could hear a muffled gasp from the men in the congregation as they imagined the pain that poor Tom must have experienced.

"Tom was unable to hold me or the children," she went on, "and every move caused him terrible pain. We prayed as the doctors performed a delicate operation, and it turned out they were able to piece together the crushed remnants of Tom's scrotum, and wrap wire around it to hold it in place."

Again, the men in the congregation were unnerved and squirmed uncomfortably as they imagined the horrible surgery performed on Tom.

"Now," she announced in a quavering voice,"thank the Lord, Tom is out of the hospital and the doctors say that with time, his scrotum should recover completely."

All the men sighed with relief. The Pastor rose and tentatively asked if anyone else had something to say.

A man stood up and walked slowly to the podium.

He said, "Hi. I'm Tom."

The entire congregation held its breath.

"I just want to tell my wife that the word is sternum.


:)

[From Thought You Should Know]

ObamaCare provision seeks to kill forests, small business

From the Cato Institute, comes another revelation of what's in the 2,000 page ObamaCare law:
Most people know about the individual mandate in the new health care bill, but the bill contained another mandate that could be far more costly.

A few wording changes to the tax code’s section 6041 regarding 1099 reporting were slipped into the 2000-page health legislation. The changes will force millions of businesses to issue hundreds of millions, perhaps billions, of additional IRS Form 1099s every year. It appears to be a costly, anti-business nightmare.

Under current law, businesses are required to issue 1099s in a limited set of situations, such as when paying outside consultants. The health care bill includes a vast expansion in this information reporting requirement in an attempt to raise revenue for an increasingly rapacious Congress.

In a recent summary, tax information firm RIA notes the types of transactions covered by the new 1099 rules:
The 2010 Health Care Act adds “amounts in consideration for property” (Code Sec. 6041(a) as amended by 2010 Health Care Act §9006(b)(1)) and “gross proceeds” (Code Sec. 6041(a) as amended by 2010 Health Care Act §9006(b)(2)) to the pre-2010 Health Care Act categories of payments for which an information return to IRS will be required if the $600 aggregate payment threshold is met in a tax year for any one payee. Thus, Congress says that for payments made after 2011, the term “payments” includes gross proceeds paid in consideration for property or services.

Basically, businesses will have to issue 1099s whenever they do more than $600 of business with another entity in a year. For the $14 trillion U.S. economy, that’s a hell of a lot of 1099s. When a business buys a $1,000 used car, it will have to gather information on the seller and mail 1099s to the seller and the IRS. When a small shop owner pays her rent, she will have to send a 1099 to the landlord and IRS. Recipients of the vast flood of these forms will have to match them with existing accounting records. There will be huge numbers of errors and mismatches, which will probably generate many costly battles with the IRS. ...

Read the rest here. If this interpretation is accurate, the FedGov has just imposed a massive tax on business (and thus their customers and employees), as the amount of paperwork and associated time and effort to comply with this requirement will be a job and business killer. Small business, in particular, will be hit hard. Many, already teetering on the edge, will go out of business with this extra tax on their limited time. Their tax compliance costs just went through the roof.

Not to mention the billions of pieces of paper that will be generated. Looks like ObamaCare will be the death of many forests. Not to mention all the unproductive time spent tracking down information, correcting errors, reissuing corrected 1099s, dealing with the cuddly folks at the IRS to sort out errors, etc., etc. On the bright side, the US Postal Service just got its own "stimulus" package, as those billions of pieces of paper won't deliver themselves. Get ready for more unemployment when this kicks in in 2011. Chains We Can Believe In.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The new math

Tonight's Abbott and Costello video, math edition:




[Via The Anchoress]

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Movie quotes

Tonight's movies quotes, Arnold Schwarzenegger edition:

But remember, they "care about the planet"

Via Jammie Wearing Fool, comes this sprawling example of eco-hypocrisy, from the "green" U.N. environmental ambassador, Gisele Bundchen, and her hubby, Patriots QB Tom Brady:
What kind of U.N. environmental ambassador builds a 20,000 square-foot home with a six-car garage, an elevator and a lagoon? Why, that would be the Hub’s favorite Pats fan, Gisele Bundchen!


(Photo: Boston Herald)

And a paparazzo’s sneak pics of Bundchen and hubby Tom Brady [stats]’s gargantuan new Brentwood, Calif., chateau has green activists seeing red.

“How big a space do two people need?” asked Philip Dowds, a Massachusetts Sierra Club official and professional architect. “A 20,000 square-foot house - the resources that it takes to put it together and the land that it needs, this just can’t happen anymore.”

According to photos taken by Los Angeles shooter Alec Byrne, who said he got a peek at the blueprints, the new West Coast lair of the Patriots [team stats]’ star quarterback and his glam wife will feature amenities including:

a wine bar and gallery

a six-car garage

a service kitchen and butler room

a pool house and lagoon-shaped swimming pool and spa

a recreation room with 19-foot ceiling.

And the manse will have an elevator - even though that seems to contradict environmental advice Bundchen offers on her own Web site to “take the stairs.”

“In addition to exercising, you save the electric power of the elevators,” she says on giselebundchen.com, which is currently festooned with references to Earth Day.
I guess Ms. Bundchen is just trying to keep up with her fellow "eco-warriors", like Al "Multi-Mansion" Gore. Do as I say, not as I do -- the mantra of eco-fakes everywhere.





Besides, how much closet space can Ms. Bunchen really need, anyway? Her work attire doesn't appear to be all that bulky. :)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Jackie Chan stunts

Tonight's top 10 stunts, Jackie Chan edition:

Maybe they should just ban guns ...

... in Chicago. Oh, wait ... they already did. Since 1982, no new handguns (except for violent criminals). From the crime-ridden Kingdom of Daley:
Two state representatives called on Gov. Pat Quinn Sunday to deploy the Illinois National Guard to safeguard Chicago's streets.

Chicago Democrats John Fritchey and LaShawn Ford said they want Quinn, Mayor Richard Daley and Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis to allow guardsmen to patrol streets and help quell violence. Weis said he did not support the idea because the military and police operate under different rules.

"Is this a drastic call to action? Of course it is," Fritchey said. "Is it warranted when we are losing residents to gun violence at such an alarming rate? Without question. We are not talking about rolling tanks down the street or having armed guards on each corner."

What he envisions, Fritchey said, is a "heightened presence on the streets," particularly on the roughly 9 percent of city blocks where most of the city's violent crimes occur.

Weis previously identified those "hot spots" and said he plans to create a 100-person team made up of selected and volunteer police personnel to respond to crime there. If guardsmen were to assist police, they could comprise or contribute to that force, Fritchey said. ...

Read it here. And for those clueless anti-civil rights folks, here is yet another statistic to remind them of what a "World Without Guns" (except for violent criminals) looks like:
So far this year, 113 people have been killed across Chicago, the same number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan combined in the same period, Fritchey said.


[Via Karl Denninger's Market Ticker]

Monday, April 26, 2010

Balloon magic

Tonight's magic trick how-to video:

The global village

From CBS News, on some examples of the domino effect of the Icelandic volcano eruption on world commerce:
While the volcanic ash cloud covering parts of Europe continues to wreak havoc for airlines - costing the industry more than $1 billion as of Monday - grounding most of the continent's air travel for several days has had a ripple effect extending far beyond Europe's borders.

The following is a collection of international anecdotes demonstrating how the ash cloud has done more than hit airlines' bottom lines and inconvenienced air travelers.

• The lack of refrigeration facilities at the airport in capital of the West African nation of Ghana has been a big blow to pineapple and pawpaw farmers who sell to Europe because of the lack of flights. As of Tuesday, no cargo flights have taken off yet.

• In Africa, a group of five people from Sierra Leone and Liberia had to abandon a fact-finding trip to the war crimes trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor in The Hague.

• In Kenya, thousands of day laborers are out of work because produce and flowers can't be exported amid the flight cancellations. Kenya has thrown away 10 million flowers - mostly roses - since the volcano eruption. Asparagus, broccoli and green beans meant for European dinner tables are being fed to Kenyan cattle because storage facilities are filled to capacity. ...

Read the rest here. When your supply chain spans the globe, any disruption in the transport infrastructure can have far-reaching effects. With just-in-time inventory management now the norm in many industries, such a disruption can quickly bring production lines to a halt, with those production stoppages themselves causing supply problems downstream.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

When gas prices get really high

Tonight's hummer stagecoach:

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Virtual choir

Tonight's musical interlude - Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir - 'Lux Aurumque':

From this description:
Composer Eric Whitacre and his collaborators offer up a really interesting hybrid of the virtual and the real in the Virtual Choir, combining 185 separate choristers from 12 countries recorded independently, all conducted by the composer (through a prerecorded conductor track on YouTube) and combined into a single performance. ...


Friday, April 23, 2010

Women in art

Tonight's art history -- five centuries of portraits of the female face:

Mirror, mirror on the wall ...

... Who's the fairest lawyer I can call? Today's frivolous lawsuit -- a restaurant owner in California gets sued for a restroom mirror being placed a couple inches too high (bet you didn't know the law tells you how high to hang your restroom mirrors, did you?):




And the government wonders why small business is hurting, or reluctant to expand. Everywhere faces stifling regulation, and this "mirror too high" violation is of a federal law, but places like California and New York are so overlawyered that lawyers have time to concoct lawsuits like this.


[Via Mish]

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Your connecting flight is boarding

Tonight's aero stunt - changing planes, the hard way:

From the video's description:
For the Akte Blani(X) 2 project, skydiver Paul Steiner from the Red Bull Sky Dive Team and the Blanix Team complete another spectacular stunt. 2.100 meters above the ground, Steiner went out of the cockpit and walked on the wing, then transferred from one plane to the other. No belts, no tricks.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Big toys

Tonight's large RC toy, although the term "toy" may not do it justice:

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Business cards, kinetic edition

Tonight's kinetic business cards:

How an Icelandic volcano helped spark the French Revolution

From the U.K. Guardian:
Just over 200 years ago an Icelandic volcano erupted with catastrophic consequences for weather, agriculture and transport across the northern hemisphere – and helped trigger the French revolution.

The Laki volcanic fissure in southern Iceland erupted over an eight-month period from 8 June 1783 to February 1784, spewing lava and poisonous gases that devastated the island's agriculture, killing much of the livestock. It is estimated that perhaps a quarter of Iceland's population died through the ensuing famine.

Then, as now, there were more wide-ranging impacts. In Norway, the Netherlands, the British Isles, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, in North America and even Egypt, the Laki eruption had its consequences, as the haze of dust and sulphur particles thrown up by the volcano was carried over much of the northern hemisphere.

Ships moored up in many ports, effectively fogbound. Crops were affected as the fall-out from the continuing eruption coincided with an abnormally hot summer. A clergyman, the Rev Sir John Cullum, wrote to the Royal Society that barley crops "became brown and withered … as did the leaves of the oats; the rye had the appearance of being mildewed".

...

The eruption is now thought to have disrupted the Asian monsoon cycle, prompting famine in Egypt. Environmental historians have also pointed to the disruption caused to the economies of northern Europe, where food poverty was a major factor in the build-up to the French revolution of 1789. ...

Read it here. Hmmm, just what the world needs -- potential disruption of crop harvests and food supplies. How's that personal food storage plan coming along?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Flyby

Tonight's jet propulsion video - a compilation of law altitude flybys (ignore the cheesy Top Gun clip at the start):

Sunday, April 18, 2010

It's magic

Tonight's magic trick, Chinese edition. The audio is in Chinese, but you don't need to understand the patter to appreciate the trick:

Steyn on nonproliferation

Mark Steyn's take on The Big Zero's recent World Kumbaya gabfest on nuclear nonproliferation:
In years to come — assuming, for the purposes of argument, there are any years to come — scholars will look back at President Obama’s Nuclear Security Summit and marvel. For once, the cheap comparisons with 1930s appeasement barely suffice: To be sure, in 1933, the great powers were meeting in Geneva and holding utopian arms-control talks even as Hitler was taking office in Berlin. But it’s difficult to imagine Neville Chamberlain in 1938 hosting a conference on the dangers of rearmament, and inviting America, France, Brazil, Liberia, and Thailand . . . but not even mentioning Germany.

Yet that’s what Obama just did: He held a nuclear gabfest in 2010, the biggest meeting of world leaders on American soil since the founding of the U.N. 65 years ago — and Iran wasn’t on the agenda.

...

... Iran has already offered to share its nuclear technology with Sudan. Sudan? Ring a vague bell? Remember that “Save Darfur” interpretative-dance fundraiser you went to where someone read out a press release from George Clooney and you all had a simply marvelous time? Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed — with machetes. That’s pretty labor-intensive. In the Congo, five and a half million have been slaughtered — and again in impressively primitive ways.

But a nuclear Sudan would be a model of self-restraint?

By the way, that’s another example of the self-indulgent irrelevance of Obama. The mound of corpses being piled up around the world today is not from high-tech nuclear states but from low-tech psycho states. It’s not that Britain has nukes and poor old Sudan has to make do with machetes. It’s that the machete crowd is willing to kill on an industrial scale and the high-tech guys can’t figure out a way to stop them. Perhaps for his next pointless yakfest the president might consider a machete nonproliferation initiative. ...

Read it all here.

Arizona elminates permit requirement for concealed carry

News from the Grand Canyon State:
PHOENIX – Favoring the constitutional right to bear arms over others' concerns about gun safety, Gov. Jan Brewer on Friday signed into law a bill making Arizona the third state allowing people to carry a concealed weapon without requiring a permit.

The measure takes effect 90 days after the current legislative session ends, which likely puts the effective date in July or August.

"I believe this legislation not only protects the Second Amendment rights of Arizona citizens, but restores those rights as well," Brewer, a Republican, said in a statement.

Alaska and Vermont now do not require permits to carry concealed weapons.

By eliminating the permit requirement, the Arizona legislation will allow people 21 or older to forego background checks and classes that are now required. ...

Article here. Good news from the Grand Canyon State.

Starting sometime in July or August, Arizonans will be able to say “the Second Amendment is my permit!” and mean it! :)

Now they need to start working on eliminating their “gun free” zones, aka Disarmed Victims zones. Baby steps, baby steps.

Naturally, the article has the typical “sky is falling” Leftstream Chicken Little Media slant, but this is good news. As a friend in AZ pointed out, AZ is the first state with major metropolitan areas to get rid of the permit requirement for concealed carry (Vermont and Alaska are much more lightly populated and so don’t really qualify in that regard). Hopefully, this will become a trend. I believe Wyoming also had a bill to eliminate their permit requirement for concealed carry, but unfortunately it didn’t make it out of committee. Maybe next session.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The color test

Tonight's interactive fun - the Color Test. The goal is to click on the color, not the word, that matches (click on image below to start):


Friday, April 16, 2010

Projections

Tonight's fun with projected light, done for a private festival in England:

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Some bullshit happening somewhere

Tonight's satire, from The Onion [language warning]:

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A farmer's tale

Tonight's humor:
A young journalism student was assigned to write a human interest story. He went into the country to do some research. There, he found an old farmer sitting on his porch, introduced himself, and explained his mission.

The young man asked, “Has anything ever happened around here that made you really happy?”

The old farmer scratches his beard, and after a long moment, said, “Yeah, one time my neighbor’s daughter, a fine looking gal, got lost. We formed a posse and found her. After we all screwed her, we took her back home.”

“I can’t print that!” the young man exclaimed. “Can’t you think of anything else that happened that made you happy?”

The farmer thought for a minute and smiled, “Got it! One time a neighbor’s sheep got lost. We formed a posse and found it. Then we all screwed it, and then took it back home.”

Again, the young man said, “I can’t print that, either. Let’s try another approach. Has anything ever happened around here that made you really sad?”

The old farmer dropped his head as if he were ashamed, and after a long silence, he looked up timidly at the young man and said,

“This one time, I got lost.”


:)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Handsome Mens Club

Tonight's comedy skit, from Jimmy Kimmel:

Monday, April 12, 2010

Riddle me this

Tonight's humor:
Barack Obama meets with the Queen of England. He asks her, "Your Majesty, how do you run such an efficient government? Are there any tips you can give to me?"

"Well," says the Queen, "the most important thing is to surround yourself with intelligent people."

Obama frowns, "But how do I know the people around me are really intelligent?"

The Queen takes a sip of tea. "Oh, that's easy. You just ask them to answer an intelligent riddle."

The Queen pushes a button on her intercom. "Please send Tony Blair in here, would you?"

Tony Blair walks into the room. "Yes, my Queen?"

The Queen smiles. "Answer me this, please, Tony. Your mother and father have a child. It is not your brother and it is not your sister. Who is it?"

Without pausing for a moment, Tony Blair answers, "That would be me."

"Yes! Very good," says the Queen.

Obama goes back home to ask Joe Biden, his vice president, the same question.

"Joe. Answer this for me. Your mother and your father have a child. It's not your brother and it's not your sister. Who is it?"

"I'm not sure," says Biden. "Let me get back to you on that one." He goes to his advisors and asks every one, but none can give him an answer. Finally, he ends up in the men's room and recognizes Colin Powell's shoes in the next stall.

Biden asks Powell, "Colin! Can you answer this for me? Your mother and father have a child and it's not your brother or your sister. Who is it?"

Colin Powell yells back, "That's easy. It's me!"

Biden smiles, and says, "Thanks!" Then, he goes back to speak with Obama.

"Say, I did some research and I have the answer to that riddle. It's Colin Powell."

Obama gets up, stomps over to Biden, and angrily yells into his face, "No, you idiot! It's Tony Blair!"


:)

[from Thought You Should Know]

Herman Cain, Mike Pence speeches at SRLC

Today's political speeches, from this weekend's Southern Republican Leadership Conference - Radio talk show host Herman Cain, and Indiana congressman Mike Pence - both without Teleprompters:






If I recall correctly, Mike Pence is one of the few Republicans who were against runaway government spending even in the Bush II days. Yet it's hard to imagine that the Republicans won't revert to their big government lovin', spendthrift ways if they get back in power. Not to mention that they did very little for rolling back gun control laws when they had control of both the legislative and executive branches.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Rube Goldberg, your music video is ready

Tonight's music video, from the band OK Go, entitled This Too Shall Pass:




Read about the making of the video here.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

River surfing, UK edition

Tonight's bore wave surfing video, on the Severn river in the UK:

Friday, April 9, 2010

Naked Dawn

Tonight's movie spoof:

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Chick-fil-A

Tonight's fast food ballad:

Should the states part company?

So asks syndicated columnist Walter Williams, in this editorial in the Orange County Register:
Here's the question asked in my September 2000 column titled "It's Time To Part Company": "If one group of people prefers government control and management of people's lives and another prefers liberty and a desire to be left alone, should they be required to fight, antagonize one another, risk bloodshed and loss of life in order to impose their preferences or should they be able to peaceably part company and go their separate ways?"

The problem that our nation faces is very much like a marriage where one partner has broken, and has no intention of keeping, the marital vows. Of course, the marriage can remain intact and one party tries to impose his will on the other and engage in the deviousness of one-upsmanship. Rather than submission by one party or domestic violence, a more peaceable alternative is separation.

I believe we are nearing a point where there are enough irreconcilable differences between those Americans who want to control other Americans and those Americans who want to be left alone that separation is the only peaceable alternative. Just as in a marriage, where vows are broken, our human rights protections guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution have been grossly violated by a government instituted to protect them. The Democrat-controlled Washington is simply an escalation of a process that has been in full stride for at least two decades. There is no evidence that Americans who are responsible for and support constitutional abrogation have any intention of mending their ways. [emphasis added] ...

Read it here. The secession meme is slowly going mainstream.

Hypocrisy, thy name is Democrat

Much ink and airtime has been expended in the Democrat Propaganda Corps (DPC), i.e., the "mainstream" media on the Tea Party supporters inciting violence (to hear the DPC tell it). Nothing like the pot calling the kettle black:

From James Simpson writing in American Thinker: The Left's Ludicrous Accusations against Tea Partiers (article has a long list of examples of the Left's violence and vandalism against the Right):
Forgive the obscene photo of "Politically Incorrect" show host Bill Maher, but it serves as a stark visual testimonial to the Left's true nature. Every day, the Left shows us with their own actions that they are exactly what they accuse conservatives and tea partiers of being.

It is astonishing that they have the gall to accuse anyone of anything. People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. But then we remember that the smear and the lie are all they have. As a post at Powerline relates, "It is liberals, not conservatives, who rely on ad hominem attacks, outrageous allegations and violent imagery." The accusations of racism and threats of violence put forth by congressional Democrats since Saturday are straight out of the Alinsky playbook. They probably made the calls themselves.

Thank God for talk radio and the internet. Thanks to the New Media, Democrats can no longer do these things with impunity. As Andrew Breitbart says, "The emperor has no clothes." The Left is being exposed for the empty fraud of a movement it is, and as that happens, they are getting increasingly desperate. Yes, we do have to worry about violence. From them. But this is nothing new, either. ...


And from Naked Emperor News, via Common Cents, comes this video of Dem-Hypocrite Maxine Waters [NSFW - foul language warning]:

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Different scents for different gents

Tonight's Old Spice commercial:

Oath Keepers: Time to take a stand this April 19 in Washington, D.C. and Virginia

From Oath Keepers, comes this call to action:
There are two upcoming events on April 19, 2010 in the Washington DC/northern Virginia area that I, Oath Keepers Founder, Stewart Rhodes, will be speaking at. I urge you to be there as well.

1. THE RESTORE THE CONSTITUTION RALLY. This will be an open carry rally at Ft. Hunt National Park, in Virginia (where open carry is legal), right across the Potomac from DC. Go to www.restoretheconstitution.wordpress.com for more information. The organizer is Iraq combat veteran, Daniel Almond. The event starts at 9am and I’m scheduled to speak there from 11am to 11:25am, and then Army veteran and retired police Capt. Chauncey Normandin (RET), Lowell (MA) PD, the Oath Keepers National Vice President East of the Mississippi, will conduct an oath ceremony.

I will then travel into DC (without firearms) to the other event on that same day:

2. THE SECOND AMENDMENT MARCH. This will be an unarmed march on the National Mall in DC itself on April 19, 2010. Go to www.secondamendmentmarch.org for more info. The organizer is Skip Coryell, Second Amendment activist and author. Oath Keepers is now a proud sponsor of that march. I’m scheduled to speak there from 12:45 to 1pm, also conducting an oath ceremony right there in DC. Depending on the turnout, it has the potential to be the largest oath ceremony in history. Among the other speakers will be Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America, Orange County Sheriff candidate Bill Hunt, Sheriff Richard Mack, Suzanna G. Hupp, Pastor Kenn Blanchard, and Michael Bane (some of whom will also speak in Virginia).

Both events will run all day on April 19, 2010, but the organizers are coordinating so some speakers will be able to speak at both.

This April 19, 2010, is the one year anniversary of Oath Keepers, and there will of course be a contingent of Oath Keepers in Lexington, Massachusetts to celebrate there, but I feel compelled to go to the events in DC and Virginia instead. Let me tell you why, and why you should be there too. ...

Read the rest here.

More information on the rallies here:

In D.C.: Second Amendment March.


And in Virginia:


Restore the Constitution Rally. The Restore the Constitution rally will be held this April 19th, 9AM to 5PM at Ft. Hunt National Park in Northern Virginia. This is an armed rally (loaded, openly carried handguns, unloaded and slung long guns), so if you are able to attend, please consider going openly armed (if legal for you to do so, of course). Let's send a peaceful, but potent reminder to the slugs in D.C. that the American people retain the spirit and the means of resistance to their tyrannical desires.

Gerald Celente on what to do in a crisis

Eric King interviews Gerald Celente of the Trends Research Institute:

Part 1:




Part 2:




Part 3:




Mr. Celente states that he only has about a three week supply of food stored, which is probably more than the average (or even most) New York City dweller. I disagree, however, that a three week food supply is anywhere near adequate. Of course, Mr. Celente's stated plan is to leave the country in the event of a larger crisis -- most folks won't have that option. Still, that plan assumes that you will be able to leave the country, which may or may not be a viable option, depending on the crisis.

[Via LewRockwell.com]

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Old Tablecloth Trick, BMW edition

Tonight's bit of moto magic:

Our Marxist Moron-in-Chief strikes again

From the New York Times:
WASHINGTON — President Obama said Monday that he was revamping American nuclear strategy to substantially narrow the conditions under which the United States would use nuclear weapons.

But the president said in an interview that he was carving out an exception for “outliers like Iran and North Korea” that have violated or renounced the main treaty to halt nuclear proliferation.

Discussing his approach to nuclear security the day before formally releasing his new strategy, Mr. Obama described his policy as part of a broader effort to edge the world toward making nuclear weapons obsolete, and to create incentives for countries to give up any nuclear ambitions. To set an example, the new strategy renounces the development of any new nuclear weapons, overruling the initial position of his own defense secretary.

Mr. Obama’s strategy is a sharp shift from those of his predecessors and seeks to revamp the nation’s nuclear posture for a new age in which rogue states and terrorist organizations are greater threats than traditional powers like Russia and China.

It eliminates much of the ambiguity that has deliberately existed in American nuclear policy since the opening days of the cold war. For the first time, the United States is explicitly committing not to use nuclear weapons against nonnuclear states that are in compliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, even if they attacked the United States with biological or chemical weapons or launched a crippling cyberattack. ...

Rest here. This makes the United States less safe; now those with chem/bio weapons can feel free to use them without fear of devastating nuclear reprisals from us. Want to attack U.S. cyber infrastructure and cripple our nation? Go right ahead, but watch out -- we might launch a strongly worded letter in your direction, or maybe even a U.N. reprimand if it's a really successful attack on America.

The foundational premise of our nuclear deterrent has been undermined by this imbecile in the White House, and we are all less safe as a result.

John Williams on Hyperinflation



(100 trillion! We're rich! Right?)



From John Williams of Shadow Government Stats comes this commentary on the possibility of hyperinflation in our future. A snippet:
A Great Collapse. The U.S. economic and systemic solvency crises of the last two years are just precursors to a Great Collapse: a hyperinflationary great depression. Such will reflect a complete collapse in the purchasing power of the U.S. dollar, a collapse in the normal stream of U.S. commercial and economic activity, a collapse in the U.S. financial system as we know it, and a likely realignment of the U.S. political environment. The current U.S. financial markets, financial system and economy remain highly unstable and vulnerable to unexpected shocks. The Federal Reserve is dedicated to preventing deflation, to debasing the U.S. dollar. The results of those efforts are being seen in tentative selling pressures against the U.S. currency and in the rallying price of gold.

Crises Brewed by Federal Government and Federal Reserve Malfeasance. The crises have been generated out of and are centered on the United States financial system, triggered by the collapse of debt excesses actively encouraged by the Greenspan Federal Reserve. Recognizing that the U.S. economy was sagging under the weight of structural changes created by government trade, regulatory and social policies — policies that limited real consumer income growth — Mr. Greenspan played along with the political and banking systems. He made policy decisions to steal economic activity from the future, fueling economic growth of the last decade largely through debt expansion.

The Greenspan Fed pushed for ever-greater systemic leverage, including the happy acceptance of new financial products, which included instruments of mis-packaged lending risks, designed for consumption by global entities that openly did not understand the nature of the risks being taken. Complicit in this broad malfeasance was the U.S. government, including both major political parties in successive Administrations and Congresses.

As with consumers, the federal government could not make ends meet while appeasing that portion of the electorate that could be kept docile by ever-expanding government programs and increasing government spending. The solution was ever-expanding federal debt and deficits.

Purportedly, it was Arthur Burns, Fed Chairman under Richard Nixon, who first offered the advice that helped to guide Alan Greenspan and a number of Administrations. The gist of the wisdom imparted was that if you ran into problems, you could ignore the budget deficit and the dollar. Ignoring them did not matter, because doing so would not cost you any votes. ...

...

As to the fate of the developing U.S. great depression, it will encompass the fire of a hyperinflation, instead of the ice of deflation seen in the major U.S. depressions prior to World War II. What promises hyperinflation this time is the lack of monetary discipline formerly imposed on the system by the gold standard, a fiscally bankrupt federal government and a Federal Reserve dedicated to debasing the U.S. dollar. The Fed’s efforts at liquefying the system have been extreme, yet broad liquidity is in monthly — soon to be annual — decline. Where the Fed’s systemic actions have generated temporary apparent systemic stability, the weakening annual growth in the broad money supply, and continued extreme Fed efforts at systemic liquefaction, suggest that the systemic solvency crisis is far from over. ...

Read it here.

A father's promise

From Ohio, comes this report:
The letter sat on the dresser for four years.

Robert Gilbert never opened it. He only touched the envelope when he needed to dust around it. He wanted to give it back to his son unopened.

Every time his Marine son was deployed, his son would ask, "You still got my letter?"

His dad never wanted to read what was inside an envelope marked: "Dad, open this if I am wounded. Love, Robert."

The call to open it came March 8. ...

Read it here.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Ready for takeoff

Tonight's personal aircraft - the Martin Jetpack, from a New Zealand-based company:

Will you stand with the Constitution, or with tyranny?

So asks Nate, a black conservative (or as the nutballs over at MSNBC might say, "a differently colored racist"):

Well, that explains a lot: SEX, er, SEC staffers surf for porn at work

No wonder they didn't have time to do such boring stuff like regulate Wall Street fraudsters -- they were too busy ferreting out more stimulating Internet fare:
So that's what they were doing instead of watching out for fraudsters like Bernie Madoff.

Fresh details are surfacing about the extent of the Securities and Exchange Commission's problem with porn-obsessed workers. No fewer than 16 investigations are currently underway into SEC employees who've spent up to 1½ hours a day viewing online smut and kiddie porn.

One of those investigations involves the FBI, which was called in after the computer of one senior SEC employee was found to contain flash videos of what appeared to be child pornography. It was unclear if any arrests were made.

The developments are sure to add to the withering criticism the SEC has endured for more than a year for blatantly overlooking public warnings and tell-tale signs of Madoff's massive $65 billion Ponzi scheme and other fraud cases.

The SEC's own inspector general's office has turned over documents to other agencies and lawmakers documenting two years of heavy porn-surfing on the job by SEC staffers and vendors, one whom is a woman. ...

Your money, "hard" at work.

Grant: US Treasury yields likely to rise

Today's economics video - Jim Grant of Grant's Interest Rate Observer on money and the economy:




At about 1:40 into the video Grant mentions that the U.S. Treasury last year improperly spent almost $100 billion. The sad part is that enormous sum of money was only about 5% of Treasury outlays. Imagine spending so much money you can't keep track of $100 billion. Welcome to the U.S. Treasury.

Three reasons public sectors workers are kiling the economy

Today's video, from Reason TV:

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Hallelujah!

Wishing you all a Glorious and Blessed Easter. Today's musical interlude -- the magnificent Hallelujah Chorus, from Handel's Messiah. Performed by The English Concert, conducted by Trevor Pinnock:

Friday, April 2, 2010

RNC Chairman Steele gets spanked ...

... by Bloomberg columnist Margaret Carlson:
March 31 (Bloomberg) -- Bondage clubs, chartered jets, a lavish office re-do, winter meetings in warm places -- such is life at the Republican National Committee since Michael Steele took over as chairman in 2009. In the world of fundraising scandals, this one makes former Vice President Al Gore’s visit to a Buddhist temple look as quaint as tea at Buckingham Palace.

The RNC moved quickly to quash the latest flap exposed March 29 in the Daily Caller, the Web site run by conservative Tucker Carlson. Steele wasn’t at the West Hollywood club, though his committee paid the $2,000 tab at the Voyeur, a pricey non- family values night spot featuring simulated sex acts. An RNC aide was immediately fired.

What a spectacular meltdown for a once-rising star. All Steele had to do to succeed was raise money and hone a message for a couple of years. He did neither. It’s hard to see how he keeps his current job (though he may be too big to fire) much less ever get one of the better ones he was destined for.

When Steele started, the party that prides itself on fiscal responsibility had $22 million in cash on hand. It now has $9.4 million.

Every time you looked, Steele, 51, was making headlines for what he said, did, or didn’t do. As if Architectural Digest was going to come calling, Steele spent $18,500 jazzing up his office. ...

Read the rest here. Bondage clubs? Private jets? Meetings in Hawaii? Looks like the Grand Old Party is living up to its name. Still think the feckless Republican clowns will save us from runaway, irresponsible spending? They didn't when they were in power during the Bush v2.0 years, and it seems highly improbable they'll discover fiscal conservatism looking for it at the local BDSM sex club. Maybe they're just planning on being the Democrats' bitches for the foreseeable future, and wanted to get in some practice.

Congressman worried Guam might capsize

Today's Congressional committee video - Georgia congressman Hank Johnson (D-GA) shows the nation his concern for the island of Guam tipping over and capsizing (you can't make this stuff up) due to too many people on the island:




Just remember, we're paying this guy over $170,000 a year in salary, plus lavish benefits, plus official expenses like travel, a full time staff, etc.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The tipping point at zero

From Financial Sense, comes this article by Jim Willie:
The USEconomy is bifurcated, with price inflation advancing on the cost side while price deflation harms on the asset side, to produce a nasty storm that is unlikely to abate. When high pressure zones clash with low pressure zones, hurricanes and tornadoes occur. Calling the resulting near 0% or low 2% price inflation on a net basis a good sign completely ignores the forces pulling the national economy apart. Economists prefer to view the landscape in aggregate, but they miss the picture composed of two important parts enduring very different forces. The financial sector has grotesquely grown, to an extreme. Global financial assets have more than tripled since 1980, relative to GDP. In just this past decade, the volume of Credit Swap Contracts (asset backed bond insurance) increased five-fold in a span of four years. The base value of equity derivatives (stock index contracts) increased almost five-fold in the same four years. Leverage has also grown. Tremendous flaws exist in the prevailing economic counsel that misguides the nation, into one phase of disaster after another. Crisis is indeed the norm.

THE FAILED EFFECT OF NEW DEBT

The maestros believe that new money or new debt (hard to tell the difference) can be created, and presto change-o, the USEconomy rebounds. The new money production line is disconnected from the tangible economy. The bankers can thus can tap federal liquidity facilities and ignore their borrowing customers. The banking authorities are resisting the solution, for the clear reason that many from their sector would be destroyed and their power eradicated. The US Federal Reserve has overseen vast money printing for years, and a continuous climax in the past two years. A crescendo awaits. A tipping point comes, when all the USGovt deficits, all the USTreasury Bond issuance, all the US bank failures lead to a economic recovery, as profound change comes in international sentiment toward the USDollar. They will exit, since the US markets are not permitted to clear, to liquidate, to enjoy the fresh breeze inherent to capitalism. Financial markets throughout the entire USEconomy are essentially frozen. A huge waiting game has emerged between the expectant beneficiaries of USFed efforts to stimulate inflation and economic participants. In the process, the USEconomy deteriorates further. ...

Read it here.