Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Miller Time Once Again.

Far be it from me to place myself in the same league as Gary Miller of (gulp!) Truth Vs. The Machine, but we do enjoy some common traits; We’re both Republicans, can’t stand those among the party elected who act witlessly, or outside of traditional Republican convictions or sacrifice the party in mere self-interest, wish our D.C. caucus would ignore the MSM and get a spine, and have not been inspired much to post since the last election.

Just to name a few.

We both seem to be posting a bit more lately, a happy development from the perspective of a G.M.M. reader (I need more material to steal for my own blog…).

However, Gary is much more a gentleman than I, and he appears to pull some punches against the Star-Tribune where, perhaps, a more forceful declaration would be reasonable. To wit:

Diaz quotes me saying something that would give the current king of the inane a run for his money:

“Coleman will have to differentiate himself from Bush in some way,” said Gary Miller, a conservative blogger who supported Kennedy’s campaign via his Kennedy vs. The Machine website. “I don’t know how he’s going to do it. It’s really a dilemma,” added Miller, who since has renamed his site www.truthvmachine.com.

Fair enough. Always happy to fit the meme. But it is was [sic] far from the essence of my point which was that there is very little downside to a visit from the President in light of the fact he will not be in the ballot next Fall.

Ok…chalk it up to my being ‘thick’ but a question, Gary…were you egregiously misquoted or not? If I read this correctly, you were, and (verbal) pistols at dawn may be an appropriate response.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Media Mirror x 2

Hugh Hewitt has it, but this footnote from Washington Post media columnist Howard Kurtz bears much repetition:
In an embarrassment to the industry, some staffers at a Seattle Times news meeting cheered when Rove's resignation was announced. To his credit, Editor David Boardman made the incident public and warned that staff meetings should not "evolve into a liberal latte klatch."
Seattlites - know who your sources are.

There's a second, as much revealing section of the same column:

In media terms, Iraq is becoming the incredible shrinking war.

While the conflict consumed 15 percent of the space or airtime at many news outlets in the second quarter of 2007, that is down from 22 percent in the first three months of the year, says a new report from the Project for Excellence in Journalism. Filling the void in part is the 2008 presidential race, which rose from 7 percent to 9 percent of the news content in newspapers and on television, radio and the Internet.

I wonder, perhaps, if the increasing amount of good news coming out of Iraq hasn't something to do with it...


The Star Tribune seems enjoy marginalizing any and all who take issue with the problems Islam presents to America. A story in the Sunday paper this week was headlined “A Father protests Flight 93 memorial: Tom Burnett Sr. wants to withhold the name of his son, who died in the crash, over the Islamic symbolism he sees in the design.”

The conflict over the design, entitled “Crescent of Embrace,” is not a new story, but the withholding of the Burnett name (at least until certain questions are answered to the satisfaction of Mr. Burnett Sr.) is. From reading the article, though, it seems pretty obvious where the STRIB stands, and it tips its hand here and there, revealing that they find Mr. Burnett’s position dismissible.

First the STRIB tries to minimize Mr. Burnett’s primary, obvious source of angst by saying “The crescent is considered by some a Muslim symbol.” Well, yes, including Muslims. One might as well say that the cross is considered by some to be a Christian symbol, although the designation is not as official or exclusive. The crescent can be representative of other things, including the moon, but it should be accounted for that this is a memorial to victims of a terrorist act whose perpetrators closely associated themselves with the common Muslim interpretation of that symbol.

The STRIB then can’t resist a mild denigration for Mr. Burnett, and they walk a fine line between that and due respect for the father of a 9/11 hero. While others have voiced Mr. Burnett’s concern, the STRIB attempts to point a ‘voice in the wilderness’ picture and picks one of them, blogger “…Alec Rawls of Palo Alto, Calif., who is reportedly writing a book on the subject.” The STRIB says “Burnett Sr. denied Saturday that he is following Rawls, even though both have raised similar concerns.”

The sentence itself is leadingly obtuse; it asserts that where “similar concerns” are raised, someone is leading while the rest are following. So why in the world would it enter the reporter’s head that Mr. Burnett is “following” Rawls?

This reveals an interesting world-view; apparently it’s beyond possibility that someone holding such objections is speaking or thinking for himself. That the question should be asked is demeaning, suggesting that Mr. Burnett is an empty headed robot who had the thought implanted by an outside source and is now, cult-like, having his strings pulled. Actually, concerned voices have included more than just a few bloggers, reaching into media such as National Review, The Wall Street Journal, and even a blurb or two on the nightly news.

I haven’t seen the latest designs for the memorial so can’t judge Mr. Burnett’s concerns. Neither am I able to discern from the STRIB story any facts that would be helpful in that regard. Perhaps that’s the most telling thing of all.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Another day, another panic.

The Mattel toy recall boiled over during the week and I happened to be unlucky enough to be watching CNN one evening. A blow-dried baritone was (apparently) assigned to rake Mattel over the coals with as little background or context as possible. During an interview with the Mattel CEO, said interviewer was insistent on getting the CEO to admit that they’re only building toys in China so as to increase profit (as if there’s something wrong with that…).

Unfortunately, the CEO’s answers came off as mostly rehearsed spin, which made him look evasive and politician-like (which was not so bad given that the reporter came off like an agenda-driven shark instead of a thoughtful journalist). One thing I was waiting to hear from the CEO was the obvious; that Hot Wheels would probably cost $3 or more instead of $1 if they were made in the U.S. Companies produce overseas because American workers and regulations prohibit the manufacturing of goods at a price the American consumer is willing to pay.

Now my kid has about 40 Hot Wheels cars, if not more. Quite frankly, if I were told that one of them had lead in their paint my first reaction would probably be to shrug rather than dissolve into hysterics, as the CNN story seemed to demand (the reporter said he spent over an hour scouring his kid’s toy boxes). Lead is toxic, but like all toxins, the dose makes the poison. Is playing with one Hot Wheel car finished with lead paint going to hurt him? Not very likely…

Friday, August 17, 2007

Classless (or clueless?) Klobuchar

It may be getting to the point that it’s too much to expect elected Democrats (or their media allies like Nick Coleman) to think, or even address sudden disaster without nasty political overtones, as evidenced by the anti-Pawlenty/Bush rapid (rabid?) response to the I-35 bridge collapse. First it was due to the lack if an increased gas tax in Minnesota during the Pawlenty administration. Now it’s the Iraq War, according to the supposedly gentle Senator Amy Klobuchar:

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, suggested Bush administration spending on the Iraq war may have crimped funding for domestic projects such as road and bridge construction, and for such infrastructure projects as new levees for New Orleans.

"We've spent $500 billion in Iraq and we have bridges falling down in this country," Klobuchar told MSNBC. "I see a connection between messed-up priorities."

Klobuchar’s case (and veracity) falls on three salient, unarguable points. 1) We don’t yet know why the bridge collapsed, 2) federal highway funding to Minnesota has surged under Bush, 3) MnDOT engineers didn’t think they needed to spend additional funds on the bridge.

It doesn’t take engineering expertise to conclude that Klobuchar is simply acting as a classless political hack.

Friday, August 03, 2007

The Democrat's war on your Retirement: Part 1

If you’re under 50 the most likely way you’re going to have a comfortable retirement is through long-term investment in the equity markets. The reason is simple; that’s all there is anymore. Other sources of retirement income fall short or are disappearing:

Social Security was never meant to be more than a supplement to personal savings, and an actuarial fraud at that. Expect reduced benefits and/or higher taxes sometime in the future.

‘Defined benefit’ plans offered by employers were unsustainable and are gone. These were the plans that promised a pension check based on length of employment and salary.

Of course you could make a killing in real estate or build some other form of highly successful business. But these are less common and high risk.

That leaves ‘Defined Contribution’ plans; individual accounts where benefits are based solely on the amount contributed to the account, plus or minus income, gains, expenses and losses. These take the form of work-related plans like 401(k) or KEOGH plans, and IRAs. The investment of choice is the stock market, which historically provides the best long term returns.

In other words, healthy growing retirement accounts require healthy growing stock markets.

Enter the Democrats. Over the years they have tried to introduce regulations that make stock markets less efficient and strangle the corporate growth that is required to fund America’s retirements. We’ll start by examining Sarbanes-Oxley in the next post.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Shots across the bow

Ok, someone has to be crass, so it might as well be me.

Actually, I can’t claim ‘first blood’ on the Minneapolis post-bridge collapse arguments that are about to commence; I was just wondering how long it would be before things started turning political.

Not too long, really. The first crack in the veneer occurred (if I recall correctly) between 9 and 10pm when a gentleman on channel 9 talked about just having met today with Representative Oberstar about the nation's infrastructure, and how it needs “funding.” Of course, not that it would have prevented this particular disaster, but you know, he said, there’s this problem out there…

Well, yes, probably true. But about an hour later a local reporter was being interviewed by a national news anchor and the reporter mentioned that the early finger pointing may be in Governor Pawlenty’s direction for having vetoed, or threatened to veto, gas tax increases aimed at road construction.

That the Democrats would bend this tragedy to electoral ends would hardly be surprising (and probably expected), so Republicans had better get ready for what the DFL will dish out and the local media gleefully parrot.

In the first place, those who complain of ‘no new taxes’ had best come up with some proof that passing a gas tax in the last two sessions would have prevented the collapse.

Secondly, we must not forget that Minnesota transportation funding got a huge boost in last November’s election with the passing of a Constitutional amendment that dedicated gas and vehicle taxes to that very purpose.

So quite frankly, the only way the ‘lack of higher taxes’ argument is going to work in such a high tax state as Minnesota is if Pawlenty and the Republicans allow it. The DFL, for it's part, better be careful and not overplay their hand. It could very well backfire.

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