Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Dirty

Busy changing diapers and all my Fleet Week pictures are awful.

That said, Fleet Week was a blast; or would've been if I'd been there all week with six full summer white uniforms. After one night bouncing between Times Square, Chelsea and Greenwich Village, my whites were completely trashed (and so was I). It's probably a good thing we only had the one night.

I was visiting the USS Klakring for, ahem, "training", but one thing led to another and I ended up on liberty. She was moored outboard USS Mitze, a new destroyer, and across the pier from USS San Antonio, the flagship of the new LPDs. It wasUSS San Antonio (LPD 17) pretty neat seeing those brand new ships, I wish I had had time for a tour. Red was a bit apprehensive about me going and even more so upon hearing that the liberty uniform would be whites - no civilian attire allowed. She had good reason to be. I smiled and humored the flirty ladies with the other three married guys I was hanging out with and we all made it out with our integrity intact, just in case you were wondering. I did have a difficult time trying to make some people understand that nobody goes home with the bartender.

We had just gotten off the train in Times Square when immediately a couple of ladies asked to have their pictures taken with me and my three buddies. And as soon as they posed, suddenly about three other families and groups of women got the same idea. That kind of thing went on all day! Just as we were about to duck into the Hard Rock Cafe, we were stopped by a cute stringer from the New York Times and briefly interviewed. Even though I rolled out the, "Hey, I have a journalism degree, too!" mojo, we couldn't convince her to show us to a good place to have lunch with her during the interview. Nice girl though, no idea where the article would be. Come to think of it, I didn't bother to check her credentials. Bad PAO!

At Hard Rock, the manager was all over one of my friends and sitting and flirting with us and gave us a modest discount on our bill. She also pointed out a bunch of great bars and restaurants to visit in the Village. And she gave us her phone number, you know, in case we got lost or needed "anything at all".

We visited some places I enjoyed though, like Cafe Wha?, the Peculier Pub, the Slaughtered Lamb Pub among the places I remember. Also on our way to dinner at what turned out to be a really nice French restaurant (the outdoor seating sold us) some guy walked up to us, handed one of my buddies $200 and told him to buy us a round of drinks on him. We tried half-heartedly to return it, but he scurried away. Dude, if you ever this someday, thanks.

It was terrific, heartening experience. I should've done it years ago. It's so weird walking around a city having random strangers want to be really nice to you. I shudder to think what would've happened had I been single; there were definitely some girls on the prowl.

I also would like to point out a good editorial in the Wall Street Journal today which eloquently sums up my thoughts on Al Gore and all this global warming ballyhoo:

Here's a test. What if science showed conclusively that global warming is produced by natural forces, with all the same theorized ill effects for humanity, but that human action could forestall natural change? Or what if man-made warming were real, but offsetting the arrival of a natural ice age? Would Mr. Gore tell us meekly to submit to whatever nature metes out because it's "natural"?

Mr. Gore's next movie should be about the urge to propitiate the gods with sacrifices, a ritual whose appeal did not go out with the Aztecs. Yes, Al, let us give billions to alternative energy bureaucrats and emissions regulators. This we do as a tribute to your shamanism, although it will make little appreciable difference to the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Share and enjoy!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Pushing Rope

How do you push a rope?

The liberal establishment continues to be surprised by people actually doing things that they say they're going to do. The government drags its heels on the things that it is actually supposed to be doing and suddenly we're surprised when Americans start getting together and solving their own problems again? How are we supposed to establish a socialist utopia if people are self-sufficient and independent? Damn that American spirit!

The AP was shaking it's metaphorical head at the prospect of the Minutemen gaining mainstream acceptance. Global Security cites polls in its "Great Wall of Mexico" article that Americans would prefer a border fence by about 51%/37%, though Rueters has a poll that disagrees. Y'know, if you put any stock in polls. Am I the only one with in government service who doesn't make decisions based upon what a "randomly" selected group of individuals else thinks? The majority of public opinion reporting I've heard with what little attention I've been paying of late seems to support a barrier of some kind, since 400 miles of desert doesn't seem to be cutting it.

President Bush gave a speech May 15th on the idiot box outlining five goals:
  • First, the United States must secure its borders. This is a basic responsibility of a sovereign nation. It is also an urgent requirement of our national security.
  • Second, to secure our border we must create a temporary worker program.
  • Third, we need to hold employers to account for the workers they hire. It is against the law to hire someone who is in this country illegally. Yet businesses often cannot verify the legal status of their employees, because of the widespread problem of document fraud.
  • Fourth, we must face the reality that millions of illegal immigrants are here already.
  • Fifth, we must honor the great American tradition of the melting pot, which has made us one nation out of many peoples.
Well, that all sounds hunky-dory, but if he actually puts actions behind these words (in a way that does not exacerbate the problem), color me surprised. At least he's making it sound like he's trying to do something about it. And at least the issue is being addressed in the floundering, retarded way that government handles everything, but addressed nonetheless. Who wants to start a pool on how soon and for how long it will be forgotten again?

A friend who sits next to me in my Prospective Engineering Officer Course started going on and on about immigration one day while I was trying to study. Fred and his wife are wonderful people (well, his wife is, anyway... ;]) that my wife and I are fortunate to know, and he's an outstanding officer. They are also Puerto Rican, so it's one of those issues that sticks in his craw, I suppose. Particularly since he's had some personal unpleasant experiences living in and driving through border states.

Fred told me about driving through the southwest (might've been New Mexico) about three years ago, when he stopped for gas in a small town. A local who saw him demanded to know "what he was doing here" and that he "go back to Mexico." He said that the guy was with the Minutemen and was demanding to see his papers. The fellow gets more agitated and Fred's sitting there in his Miata with military stickers, his wife in the car and being threatened by this ignorant slob. So Fred tells him, "Look my friend, my gun is in my trunk; you want to see who can get there first?"

So Fred is under the impression, possibly an accurate one, that the Minuteman Project is fostering a bit of hostility toward Hispanics in general. My understanding is that the fellow who Fred encountered, if he was a Minuteman, did not adhere to the Minuteman pledge (.PDF). I hope he is the exception and not the rule, but there are probably more of them than we know. I think it's unfortunate that good people are being harassed in the name of a good idea.

Anyway, he doesn't think a wall or a fence or putting troops on the border are the answer to this particular problem and would much prefer a step which the current officeholders will likely never take: welfare reform.

This option is attractive to me because it doesn't strain the military and it frees up my tax dollars so the government doesn't need to take them in the first place. If someone can make more money sitting at home watching The Price is Right while on welfare than they can washing dishes at a restaurant, what you have is a basic economic decision. So Americans who don't want to work don't have to, illegal immigrants who don't want to work don't have to, and illegal immigrants who want to work keep wages depressed and taxes high with virtually no consequences to any of these parties. Result: undesirable behavior is rewarded.

Additionally, as Crazy P has written, many (if not most) of the illegal border crossings have nothing to with hardworking people coming here looking for the American dream.

However, I disagree that other measures will not work, and that welfare reform alone will do the job. I think people are looking at this through typical either/or mentality. My proposal is let's do it all. Build that wall, reform that welfare, arrest and deport them. You think it's impossible to expel 12 million illegal immigrants from the U.S.? If Mexico can do it, so can we! Remove some road blocks to citizenship for those who truly want to join the American Experiment and let people come here legally via a guest-worker program (don't we already do work visas?).

Here's another novel idea: hold the states responsible for border enforcement? Send the National Guard under operational control of the state governors. Reward states that produce results with additional funding, perhaps... Now there's your tax dollars at work! We have individual states for a reason, and New Mexico, Texas, Arizona and California should be taking the lead on this (not to mention the northern border states.

And Mexico, as a sovereign nation, you should be ashamed, passing your problems on to the United States so the rest of your people can live in a steadily deteriorating society the deteriorates slower because your undesirables are up making money on the border.

What I mean to say is that this is a complex issue without an easy solution. The least of our concerns should be the welfare of people breaking the law - how about the welfare of Americans? Perhaps the government needs to start looking at how to make Americans happy. (Particulary the ones with desperate men crossing the desert threatening their families, destroying their property and peeing in their shrubs.) I contend that the best way for the federal government to do that is to keep us safe from criminals and foreign invaders, fix the potholes and leave us the hell alone.

But to the original question: how do you push a rope? You freeze it. Similarly any meaningful solution to illegal immigration must start with border security before any headway can be made, not guest worker programs.

More:
Crazy Politico: Reaction
Reuters: Immigration is Mexico's Disgrace
Yahoo News: Mexico Threatens Suits Over Guard Patrols
Maggie Gallagher: My Day Without Immigrants...
Overall, what the Day Without Immigrants reveals is this: We Americans love hardworking immigrants. America is still a nation of immigrants. But America is not a nation that depends on low-skill immigrant workers for our prosperity. In truth, they need us more than we need them.
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Disparity
What Border Problem?
Invasion
Connect The Dots

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Antidote to Misandry

Tired of polite society trying to metaphorically castrate and defenestrate all red-blooded males? Me too, which is why I enjoyed this essay at The Other Side of Kim du Toit: The Pussification Of The Western Male (TFHT: Dr. Helen, a great supporter of the manly man and the InstaWife).

Share and enjoy!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Con-fusion

I don't know if I can really call myself a "Milblogger". I'd like to be included under that prestigious umbrella, being likely candidate for a 20-year career in the Navy (a little over 12 years to go!), but my interests don't lie solely in my service. I'm an average guy with a lot of things on his mind who just happens to command rough men who stand ready to do violence on your behalf while going down to the sea in ships.

So my focus hasn't really been on the Iraq front of the Global War on Terror. Victor Davis Hanson has an excellent perspective on Iraq, which he lays out this weekend, which I recommend (I always recommend VDH, make him a regular read, link him on your blog, whatever it takes). The points he makes are points I've also made in conversations with short-sighted folks. A Turkish girl about a year ago insisted my perspective would change if I read about the history of Iraq, which I did; and it solidified my conviction that we have absolutely done the right thing.

So I'm galled that, just when I'm beginning to think the administration has is together, the Honorable Commander in Chief starts admitting "mistakes were made", throwing kerosene on the dying embers of criticism. It's not that mistakes weren't made, that much should be obvious to any observer. What the armchair quarterbacks don't get is that this whole leader-of-the-free world thing isn't as easy as it looks on TV. Mistakes and setbacks are a fact of war - nitpicking every single one does nothing for the cause. Then again, for people who like to keep count of the number of dead soldiers, the cause doesn't mean a whole lot.

Some people liken the Global War on Terror to the War on Drugs (i.e. c'mon, you can't seriously declare war on terror). I've personally, er... participated in the War on Drugs and have found it to be, yes, part of the GWOT. Why else would we be pouring money into Afghanistan to encourage the farmers to find something better to do than growing poppies (as just one example). Also while I was in the eastern Pacific looking for drug smugglers in 2002, international links were being uncovered between regional and international terrorist organizations, the South American drug trade and other organized crime (slave trade and piracy among them). Hopefully I can dig up some references to these relationships.

This is why our neglect of the border and the populist revolution in South America disturbs me. Especially since Venezuela, Bolivia and Cuba want to cozy up to Iran.

So what I'm trying to say here is that even though the media at large paints a picture of Iraq and Afghanistan and al Qaeda being separate events and tries to make it sound like the President and his administration are alternately complete fools or persuing some nefarious agenda all their own (or, remarkably, both at the same time). All the while, we have succeeded and will continue to do so.

The ultimate cause that we're fighting for, maybe it's a bit of a high concept for some, because it involves such a paradigm shift from pre-9/11 thought. We thought the world had turned into a wonderful utopia and enlightened place. Or maybe we just thought it was as good as it would ever get. It turned out that the world never was a safe place and rather than dealing with our problems and our enemies, we just ignored them in the hope that they would leave us alone.

People need to realize that nobody knows how to do this perfectly, how to completely stop fanatical lunatics from flying airplanes into things (something we dicussed on my first ship following the USS Cole bombing), how to keep violent and savage people from dominating others. What I do know is that what we were doing before, nothing, only worked for the people who have freedom to take for granted. I do know that is wrong to allow the world to remain a hostile place and leave its problems for my son and daughter to solve.

Setting events in motion now guarantees their freedom from fear of terrorism in 50 years, just as we have nothing to fear from Germany or Japan today thanks to the heroism of our grandfathers. The world is too big to keep everyone from harm, but with Iraq and Afghanistan, the seeds have been sown for a potential change in the way that region operates. This is a long-term change: it took a lot of time to screw up the Middle East and it's going to take a long time to unscrew it.

EDIT: For months I had meant to make reference to this, but at this point, I think I'm just going to supply the links to the famous "Documents Recovered in Iraq That Seem to Indicate Links Between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda, That the Pentagon Was Sitting On." This link will be conveniently in the sidebar for you to preuse at your... uh, convenience.

Not like a silly little thing like evidence will sway the believers in the Bush = Hitler philosophy. I wonder who they'll hate in 2008?

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Fantastic! Incredible! Holy Hellfire, Tell Us About It!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Catching My Breath

I suppose it goes without saying that posting is and will continue to be sporadic here at PCIF. Those of you with kids probably know that while my interest in current events hasn't changed, my time and inclination to write about them of late absolutely have. I've been getting a lot more satisfaction out of staring at him, rocking him, burping him and changing his diaper. Trying hard to be a good dad and husband; I don't think I could do much worse than this guy. Thank goodness the bar is set so low. Thanks for everyone's well-wishes; Jack and Red are doing great. They're unconscious right now, as I probably ought to be, having been up since about 0430.

Some servicemembers do that as a habit, but I've never been a morning person. Sure, Jack woke us up, but I had to get going anyway because I had my last test ever here at the Surface Warfare Officers School. With the Prospective Engineer Course over in two weeks, there's finally a sense of brushing the dust of this New England tourist town off my boots and movin' on.

Before that, I'll be heading down to New York on Monday for Fleet Week... well, not actually for Fleet Week, but during Fleet Week. I'll be visiting one of the ships for training, but c'mon, it's Fleet Week! My final week in Newport will be consumed with Engineering Casualty Controls Drills evaluated by our friends Afloat Training Group (they're here to help).

So the family and I will be moving down to Jacksonville, Florida, and June will likely involve little to no blogging while we get situated and I turn over as Chief Engineer. Then I'm off on deployment, so, depending on connectivity there won't be much activity here, either. Y'know, for about six months.

My hope is to be able to blog the deployment. It ain't Iraq, but I wouldn't be going if it weren't important. More about that later, anyway. Hope you have a terrific Memorial Day weekend

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Friday, May 19, 2006

One-Eyed Jack

Hello, blogosphere! Meet James Matthew Armstrong, born 9:31 AM, Thursday, May 18th. 8 pounds, 14 ounces; 20 inches, stem to stern. He's got a squint and a scowl and if I have anythign to say about it, his first word will be, "Aaaarrr!"

Red's doing fine, but they're about to dope her up a bit, so I need to go take of my little matey.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Have You Hugged a Cop Today?

Happy National Police Week, Dad (item 6A, old, but special[.pdf]).

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Life Imitates the Onion?

From the Onion:
I'm Doing My Inconsequential Part For The Environment
Every day, without fail, I meticulously organize my recyclables into five distinct categories, thereby subtracting an eyedropper's worth of garbage from the countless tons of waste that ferment in our landfills. It only takes a few extra minutes, but just think of the impact it totally lacks.
Read the whole thing!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Priorities

The President is going to be on TV in an hour talking about immigration. Looking forward to reading what you think about it since I will not be watching. Instead, I'll be reading about diesel engines and my ship's electrical plant. (I just scraped by on the last test, thanks for asking, Crazy P. You know what they call the guy who got a 3.2 GPA? Chief Engineer.)

Meanwhile, I thought it would be fun to do a "One-Sentence Story" post, since I don't have time for substance. You may have done something like this before: I'll post the first line and you take it from there. Continue the story based upon what the last person posted.

Ahem...

"There I was. Drunk. Again..."

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Privateer

I was filling out a survey yesterday and it asked about my retirement plans.

I gave it some thought and wrote, "Buy a boat and some guns and go fight pirates."

Maybe I'll go sink some Go-Fasts running cocaine, too.

I think the Minutemen would approve.

Friday, May 12, 2006

pro·gres·sive (n)

From Judicial Watch (it's a .pdf file) the following quote is on page 60 of a report regarding Bill Clinton's first official act as President of the United States, pushing the morning after pill through the FDA. (TFHT: James Taranto)

The excerpt of the following letter from Ron Weddington, who served as co-counsel in successfully arguing Roe v. Wade was written to a Clinton tranisition team staffer. Emphasis mine.
I don't think you are going to go very far in reforming the country until we have a better educated, healthier, wealthier population....

You can start immediately to eliminate the barely educated, unhealthy and poor segment of our country. No, I'm not advocating some sort of mass extinction of these unfortunate people. Crime, drugs and disease are already doing that. The problem is that their numbers are not only replaced but increased by the birth of millions of babies to people who can't afford to have babies.

There, I've said it. It's what we all know is true, but we only whisper it, because as liberals who believe in individual rights, we view any program which might treat the disadvantaged differently as discriminatory, mean-spirited and...well...so Republican. . . .

I am not proposing that you send federal agents armed with Depo-Provera dart guns to the ghetto. You should use persuasion rather than coercion. You and Hillary are a perfect example. Could either of you have gone to law school and achieved anything close to what you have if you had three or four or more children before you were 20? No! You waited until you were established and in your 30's to have one child. That is what sensible people do. . . .

Having convinced the poor that they can't get out of poverty when they have all those extra mouths to feed, you will have to provide the means to prevent the extra mouths, because abstinence doesn't work. The religious right has had 12 years to preach its message. It's time to officially recognize that people are going to have sex and what we need to do as a nation is prevent as much disease and as many poor babies as possible. . . .

There have been 30 million abortions in this country since Roe v. Wade. Think of all the poverty, crime and misery...and then add 30 million unwanted babies to the scenario. We lost a lot of ground during the Reagan-Bush religious orgy. We don't have a lot of time left. . . .

The biblical exhortation to "be fruitful and multiply" was directed toward a small tribe, surrounded by enemies. We are long past that. Our survival depends upon our developing a population where everyone contributes. We don't need more cannon fodder. We don't need more parishioners. We don't need more cheap labor. We don't need more poor babies.
Now, I'm just about positive that not every abortion supporter agrees with this guy. But the fact is that they and people like this guy both see enabling desperate women to resolve the consequences of their poor decisions by killing their babies as a way of improving society. I've mentioned before that I am "pro-choice", but not in the way that these people are.

I've also posted before about Progressivism being the source of many of society's current problems. I remain mystified at the current crop of liberals' desire to call themselves "progressive" based on what true progressives actually believe. I understand that maybe they think "liberal" or "Democrat" has a negative connotation in today's America and that virtually no one has a sense of history these days.

But progressives didn't just start the eugenics movement in the 1920's, they still favor eugenics as means of population control and cleaning up the gene pool today, even if they don't call it that. They've got a lot of nerve calling Republicans discriminatory and mean-spirited in light of the sort of practices that they think are acceptable.

So. "Progressives", let me ask you something. Is that something you really want to be associated with? Do you suppose that because you believe in the same thing for different reasons, that it's OK?

Previous:
Decisions
You keep using that word...

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Colorblind

From the Wall Street Journal (TFHT Cake or Death, Hot Air):
Last year, as two vacancies appeared on the U.S. Supreme Court, Judge Luttig was widely reported to be on the White House short list, and his candidacy was touted by former clerks who had gone on to influential positions in the current Bush administration. But the positions ultimately went to two fellow alumni of the Reagan Justice Department, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito. People close to the selection process said that it was unlikely President Bush would consider Judge Luttig for any future vacancies, as political imperatives all but precluded nomination of another white male for the high court.
Look, it's nice he was being considered for the job and all, and good for him getting a good job and all. But am I the only one who gaped at that last sentence? Does it honestly matter to people what color and sex the folks on the SCOTUS are? Really?

Maybe I'm just a sexist racist bigot homophobe due to my inherent white maleness. I Just Don't Get It, do I? Perhaps I am naive for thinking people ought to get by on their ability and merit, not because they fell screaming out of the womb looking a certain way. Fairness is not equal to preferential treatment and the federal government giving the public the impression that quotas should be used to determine who serves on the bench.

If that's the perception, is it only a matter of time before it is reality? Is that the sort of country you really want to live in?

We do this in the military, as well, by keeping track of our demographics and trying to get more women and racially diverse people into the Armed Forces, even if they don't really belong there because they are not the right kind of person to be a serviceman. Yes, I said "serviceman".

It bothers me that less qualifed people attain positions and priveleges they have not earned; I hope it's not too much to hope that such people make the most of their good fortune.

As for Judge Luttig, well, I would've taken the job at Boeing, too, if I was weighing that with remaining a part of a system that routinely discriminates against qualified people based on the color of their skin.

James at Peace On That has some related thoughts, and I have a test tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Pity Party

No sooner did Patches admit his struggle with addiction to prescription medication and sequester himself in my home state at one of the best hospitals in the world than the serfs faithful to the fallen kingdom of Camelot rallied around their golden boy.

The Boston Globe (not big fans of Patches):
Kennedy's district is heavily Democratic and has sent him to Washington for six straight terms despite other personal problems. On Saturday, a day after Kennedy's announcement, his powerful political friends closed ranks and roundly praised him for taking a very public step to get help, while people at home ranged from sympathetic to fed up.
Rhode Island Democrat Party Chairman and hack Bill Lynch said, "We do not walk away from our friends." Yes... regardless of what's best for your party or the people you claim to represent. That choice of words... "friends" seem to sum up how things get done in Rhode Island. You gotta know a guy who knows a guy.

I'm all for Patrick Kennedy getting help for his mental issues, real or manufactured. Let's be clear what I don't like about all this: 1) Kennedy's politics, 2) Kennedy's ineffectiveness as a politician, 3) the pass he got from the Capitol police and 4) The media's/public's puzzling desire to give him a collective hug. You've got to give it to Little Rhody, they sure like their scumbags. The drug thing seems to give this state a much needed excuse (since a politician's disinterest in doing anything constructive is not criteria for losing his Congressional seat in Rhode Island) to vote him out of office.

After all, he's a man of the people!

Montery County Herald:
'I don't buy the medicine story,'' said Michael Rossi, a nurse waiting in line at a news and video kiosk in this small downtown. He said he thought alcohol was to blame for the crash, not the prescription drugs cited by Kennedy.

Now the good news for Kennedy: The voters of Rhode Island -- including Rossi -- also don't seem to care.

''It's a separate issue,'' said Rossi, who said he would remain a Kennedy supporter. ''He's got maybe an alcohol problem. That doesn't make him a bad representative.''

More...
''Somehow, I still love him,'' said Helen Lisi, a retiree from Lincoln, R.I., who was eating with her daughter at a pub Friday in Cumberland. Maybe it was all that Kennedy had done for senior citizens, she said.
Like what exactly? The only things I can find are things that only make sense to Democrats, not economically.

Rose Iovini, 78, of Providence, said her support for Kennedy was unwavering.

"I think he's a sick boy, and he's doing the right thing. And politics shouldn't come into it," she said. "I think he'll be excellent when he comes back."

All together now: one, two, three...

Awwwwwwwww!

I've been hearing quotes like this on the radio here in Newport all day long. Poor kid, he's had a rough time, people should just leave him alone.

From the AP:
"Patrick Kennedy has a famous last name, but that famous last name is not why people continue to re-elect him," Lt. Gov. Charles Fogarty said. "He has earned the confidence of the people in this state."
Uhhh, yes. Yes it is, Charlie. Kennedy can't string two sentences together, let alone drive in a straight line. He doesn't give a crap about the people who vote for him - he rides his name through life just like many other New England politicians ( yes, you, Senator Lincoln "U.P.S." Chafee). Though he does have a record of which any Democrat would be proud. (That's votes, not his criminal record.)

Interesting are his positions on drugs:
  • Voted NO on military border patrols to battle drugs & terrorism. (Sep 2001)
  • Voted NO on prohibiting needle exchange & medical marijuana in DC. (Oct 1999)
  • Voted NO on subjecting federal employees to random drug tests. (Sep 1998)
About the only thing I see at OnTheIssues.org that I like about him is his vote for a nationwide AMBER Alert system.

I know Nicki will like this:
  • Voted NO on prohibiting product misuse lawsuits on gun manufacturers. (Oct 2005)
  • Voted NO on prohibiting suing gunmakers & sellers for gun misuse. (Apr 2003)
  • Voted NO on decreasing gun waiting period from 3 days to 1. (Jun 1999)
  • Rated F by the NRA, indicating a pro-gun control voting record. (Dec 2003)
But one has to realize he's not running to appeal to a conservative or a libertarian. He's your typical New England limousine liberal whose sole goal in life is to keep getting re-elected so that -- to paraphrase the Honorable Representative -- he never has to work an [effing] day in his life.

Bill Lynch:
"People have gotten to know him here personally in Rhode Island," Lynch said. "People here respect the fact that he's courageous enough to deal with this in the public eye, which is very difficult."
Pff. Yeah, tell that to Rush Limbaugh.

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It Runs In The Family
It's Not Easy Being Green

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Big Oil Will Devour Your Soul

Yes, I'm a bad, irregularly posting blogger these days.

Chevron profit jumps 49 pct to $4B
NEW YORK (Reuters) -- Chevron, the No. 2 U.S. oil company, Friday said its quarterly earnings rose 49 percent to $4 billion, topping Wall Street expectations and sparking a 2 percent rise in the stock.

The results came as U.S. consumer anger grew over high gas prices and Big Oil's gushing profits. On Thursday, Exxon Mobil, the world's largest publicly traded oil company, reported $8.4 billion in earnings -- its biggest first-quarter profit ever.
In a world that hasn't gone utterly mad, this would be awesome news for investors, however with the spectre of investigations hovering over the heads of oil companies for making too much money, this news is likely to drive off investors of less intestinal fortitude.

I wonder if "Big Oil" is in the new addition of the AP Stylebook?

Oh well, says the average person, what do I care about fat cat exectutives getting rich while they make deals in poorly-lit, cigar smoke-flled rooms and eat babies? After all, it doesn't affect me if they're getting pantsed and raped like a child-molester in prison by the U.S. Government. I think the government should take that money away from them and give it back to me. They're all just swimming in their money bins, I need cheaper gas!

/Sarcasm.

Cause and effect. Increasing the expense and inconvenience of manufacturing gasoline = more expensive gasoline. I don't know how much plainer it can be said, and I'm not the only one saying it. Regardless, the unwashed masses out there, whoever they are, seem to think that much of the blame lies squarely with the oil companies and gas stations, whose only crime has been to provide a product to the consumer at the lowest price that the market will support.

Some people correctly blame the government, but that just seems to foster a shrug and a grumble. After all, what are we supposed to do about it?

Hello, America! You're a representative republic! Throw the bums out. Better yet, run for office, if you think you do a better job. As long as you are content to be an armchair quarterback, and let guys like Charles Schumer or Mel Martinez, feed you bullshit about things that they barely understand themselves, they will continue to do so. Who are they to decide that profits are obscene? The U.S. and state governments rake in more per gallon than the oil companies so they can piss it away!

Charles Krauthammer had an excellent column explaining the issue in small words even politicians can understand, reinforcing my own rudimentary knowledge of the basic market forces at work here. I agree with the Economist and Wulf at Atlas Blogged, I think the government needs to let the market work and break down barriers that prevent it from operating the way it ought to. Y'know, like taxes. Because a $100 rebate isn't going to fix a thing and neither will villifying the companies that provide the commodity.

A tax holiday! Good grief, if we can remove the taxes entirely for a day or a weekend, could we not afford to spread that across a whole year and decrease the overall tax? Don't do me any favors, fellas.

Better yet, keep the taxes on the gasoline; just repeal the 16h Amendment and stop taking my income. I challenge you to figure out a better solution.

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Thursday, May 04, 2006

It Runs In The Family

Poor judgment and the perception that they are above the law, that is.

I was listening to Hannity as the news broke on the way home yesterday about Rep. Patrick Kennedy's little accident in Washington. Given Kennedy's history, I'm thinking this story goes deeper, even if it's just to alert people to the fact that he does have a history! Yet, like every other Kennedy before him, seems to suffer none of the consequences...

Well, we'll see. Luckily, Drudge is all over it; and the Boston Globe reports that not only was he on medication, but he was drinking while on it. Perhaps this'll wake Rhode Island up a bit, but I doubt it. People here seems to be proud of their corrupt and/or idiotic politicians; as though it's some kind of badge of honor or something.

EDIT: Funny, I didn't realize I didn't actually finish this post before I published it. Silly Robo.

So, after I hastily published that first bit, it turned out that - surprise! - Pat "I have never worked a [bleeping] (F------) day in my life" Kennedy's addicted to medication. Well, look, I'd prefer to avoid schadenfreude, but I do find it interesting how he's being treated in the news. All of a sudden he comes clean about his current addiction and emotional problems. Well, if I have little sympathy for him, it could be the fact that he's getting pity from the press and law enforcement instead of raked across the coals like others with similar issues.

Not that that would be fair, either, but it's difficult not to note the irony. Or perhaps hypocrisy. Regardless, I find it difficult to stomach the sob stories the local Rhode Island media are telling about poor Patches.

UPDATE: Turns out the Kos Kidz think he should resign for this. I think he should resign for being grossly incompent and negligent in his duty, not to mention essentially being a millionaire on welfare, but who am to judge? Michelle Malkin liveblogged his press conference, which sounds like it was more funny than Stephen Colbert at the Correspondents' Dinner.

Radio Equalizer has a good sum-up of the media coverage and the softballs the poor little rich boy has been thrown. Can we stop the Pat Kennedy pity party already?