Wednesday, May 27, 2009

GOP reponse to Sotomayor gives America no credit

The GOP is afraid. They see the Sotomayor nomination as a nearly insurmountable problem. They can't protest her nomination without alienating the Hispanic vote. Or so they say.

I think what they're really saying is that they can't control their own message. They either can't or won't make it clear what their real reasons are, so they're preparing to lose the battle to win the war. Or something like that.

I don't think they even know what war it is they're fighting. It's not a fight over minority voting blocks. It's a fight over who can and should lead this country. It's a fight over what this country's values should be.

We already know the Democrats will pander to minorities long enough to get their vote, and then stiff them. Why would Republicans want to duplicate this tactic?

Here's a revolutionary idea: Stand for something and see how many people rally to your cause. Go on the record as to why you oppose Sotomayor. Make it clear it's because of X, Y, and Z in her judicial record, or A, B, C in her stated beliefs. Make no mention of her race. Wait for the Democrats to call it a race issue, then simply kick the stool out from under them: "America has elected a black president, proving once and for all that we're beyond such pettiness. Won't you please join us in the 21st century?"

When they duck and cover in anticipation of Democrat accusations of racism they only reinforce the idea that there is actually something to it. That, and they give America no credit for having a brain. They don't think we notice that the race card gets played by the left all the time. They don't think we can see through it. They don't think we'd recognize a principled stand when we see one.

Give us some credit. And give yourselves a boost. Stand up for something. Show you've got a spine. We're looking for a few good vertibrates.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Political Correctness unmasked

Alfonzo Rachel has a new video up at Pajamas Media that's well worth watching. Don't let the jive-talk fool you. There's substance behind his humor. Some NSFW language.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Salute to the Greatest Generation

Some local organization has sponsored a B-25 bomber to fly in to town. It's been making occasional loops over the city today. I was out mowing the lawn during on fly-over, so I stopped and watched it for awhile. I was amazed at how big, slow, and noisy it was.

I tried to imagine going to war in an aircraft like that. They would spend the better part of a day on missions in amazing cold and thin oxygen--they often had to use breather masks. Their planes were easy targets for any fighters that came along. Hours of boring flight interspersed with moments of intense anxiety and terror for a minute or two aiming and dropping bombs. And then turn around and do it all again on the way out.

And they did this over and over again.

I pretty much believe we have forgotten just what an amazing thing they did in turning back such an enormous global threat through sheer willpower with weapons largely primitive by today's standards. I wonder if we have that fortitude and clarity of purpose today.

Those who lived it won't try to remind us of what they did. They're largely quiet about it. I think they discovered early on that the only ones who even could understand it were the others who went through it too. Everyone do you describe something like that?

It's our loss, because we're going to need what they had someday. I hope we can still find it.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Fumbling Toward Employment

It's not been nearly a month since I was laid off. In some ways it's been a very encouraging month. I've had more interviews in a month than I had in five months last time. I'm at least attracting attention. Five years have made a difference in my marketability, evidently.

On the other hand, it's hard to know what to plan for. If it's going to be difficult to find a job, then I might be better off exploring some of my self-employment options and lining up some volunteer work. But if there really is something out there just around the corner, then perhaps I should be devoting more time to my job hunt.

Then, of course, there's the outplacement service paid for by my previous employer. They have a very specific program the recommend that they assure us can make a huge difference in our job hunting. But to do everything they recommend could take several weeks just in preparations. That's a lot of time that could be invested elsewhere.

Of course I can work a little at each option, but is that going to be effective?

I can feel myself slipping into paralysis by analysis. Part of me would really like to run away for a few days and just sit on top of a mountain and think for a few days. If I were single and with no kids and had this much savings I know what I'd do in an instant.

But it's not that simple. I have people depending on me. It's both a positive and a negative. They keep me motivated to keep working at...something. But they also keep me from taking any significant risks.

In the mean time I feel like I'm being nibbled to death by cats...or is it ducks? Gah, Babylon 5 has screwed me up forever. We've got a tree--the only remaining tree in our back yard--that is looking sickly. So we've got someone coming tomorrow to examine it. There goes my morning and a week's worth of grocery money. My den is a mess, so I reorganized it and found a bunch of things that can be stored away in the garage. But before I can store things in the garage I need to organize the garage. Before I can organize the garage I need decent weather that won't soak everything I have to put out in the driveway temporarily. And on and on.

So with all of this I probably sound pretty down. I'm not...not entirely. I know somehow this is all going to work out, and probably for the better. It's just that in-between part that I'm not so good at.

Do you know what I miss most about my old job right now? My teleconferencing headphones. They had some really good sound quality and didn't leak a lot of noise. I've got nothing even remotely comparable at home. If I did I think I'd put on some Billy Joel (Best of, Disc 2) and have a good "blue funk" session and get all of this restlessness and frustration out of my system.

Of course knowing me I'd probably start singing along too loudly and wake up the boys. See, I'm determined to be in a downer mood tonight. Don't mind me. I'm tired. I'll be fine in the morning.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Obama carries out threat against Chrysler bondholders

Tom Lauria, former legal counsel for some of the bondholder firms involved in the Chrysler bankruptcy, claims the White House threatened to use the press corps to destroy the reputation of one of his clients if they continued to oppose the proposed deal. The White House has denied this, and a spokesman for the client has as well.

It is interesting, though, that no one seems to be questioning whether the press corps could or would be used in such a manner. One could argue that they don't need to questions, as the press is above reproach. One would be wrong, and entirely out of touch with current events. One need look no further than Newsweek yesterday to see how happy the media is to offer free PR work to the White House.

No, the only issue is whether the threat was made, not whether it would have been carried out. In fact the threat is being carried out as we speak.

Obama has made his stance clear: "While many stakeholders made sacrifices and worked constructively, I have to tell you some did not," the president said. "In particular, a group of investment firms and hedge funds decided to hold out for the prospect of an unjustified taxpayer-funded bailout. They were hoping that everybody else would make sacrifices, and they would have to make none."

Obama further echoed his theme of the investor class as greedy parasites: "I don't stand with them. I stand with Chrysler's employees and their families and communities. I stand with Chrysler's management, its dealers, and its suppliers. I stand with the millions of Americans who own and want to buy Chrysler cars. I don't stand with those who held out when everybody else is making sacrifices."

What is the sacrifice that the bondholders were asked to accept? They are supposed to accept 29 to 33 cents on the dollar for their stake (reports vary), compared with 50 cents on the dollar offered to the UAW. The bondholders were reportedly holding out for the same 50 cents offered to others. Not all sacrifices are equal, evidently.

And just who are these money-grubbing holdouts? According to Lauria, his clients "are mainly fiduciaries for pension plans, college endowments, retirement plans and credit unions who invested in low yield supposedly very secure first lien debt".

Pension plans, retirement plans, college endowments, and credit unions. So these awful, greedy investors are retirees, students, and families trying to save. Somehow these people are less important to Obama than Chrysler's management, suppliers, and dealers. Never mind that the same people who supposedly want to buy Chrysler-made cars are the very same retirees and families he's claiming are not willing to sacrifice.

Then there are the legal ramifications. Lauria described the debt held by these bondholders as "very secure first lien debt". The UAW's take has been described as unsecured. Legally, in any normal bankruptcy proceeding, the bondholders would have to be paid first. Anything left over would go to the UAW. So is it really so selfish of the bondholders to give up their prior claim and settle for being treated merely equal with the UAW?

It is to President Obama. The bondholders, in his opinion, should sacrifice by going from the front of the line to the back, while the UAW should "sacrifice" by stepping to the front.

Let's call a spade a spade, folks. Obama's plan for screwing average Americans in favor of his union pals is the worst kind of politics. It's cronyism. What's worse is that Obama is doing precisely what the White House denies he threatened to do: he is using the media to try to discredit the bondholders who dare insist that they be treated merely equally, let alone fairly and legally.