June 29, 2009
I heard something about Michael Jackson dying. Has anyone else heard this?
June 22, 2009
Here is a roast which is going around the internet as though it had come from Don Rickles, when it did not. But it has great verisimilitude:
Oh my God, look at you. Anyone else hurt in the accident? Seriously, Senator Reid has a face of a Saint - A Saint Bernard. Now I know why they call you the arithmetic man. You add partisanship, subtract pleasure, divide attention, and multiply ignorance.
Reid is so physically unimposing, he makes Pee Wee Herman look like Mr. T. And Reid's so dumb, he makes Speaker Pelosi look like an intellectual. Nevada is soooo screwed! If I were less polite, I'd say Reid makes Kevin Federline look successful.
Speaking of the Speaker... Nancy Pelosi, hubba, hubba! Hey baby, you must've been something before electricity. Seriously, the Speaker may look like an idiot and talk like an idiot but don't let that fool you. She really is an idiot.
Madame Speaker... want to make twelve bucks the hard way? Pelosi says she's not partisan, but her constituents call her Madame Pelossilini.
Charlie Rangel... still alive and still robbing the taxpayers blind. What does that make, six decades of theft? Rangel's the only man with a rent-controlled mansion.
He's the guy who writes our tax laws but forgot to pay taxes on $75 grand in rental income! So why isn't he the Treasury Secretary? Rangel runs more scams than a Nigerian Banker.
Barney Frank - he's a better actor than Fred Flintstone. Consider... he and Dodd caused the whole financial meltdown and they're not only not serving time with Bubba and Rodney, they're still heading up the financial system!
June 21, 2009
If you Google "French Military Victories," it will say it didn't find what you were looking for and inquire if you meant "French Military Defeats." When you (of course) agree, you will find:
- Gallic Wars
- Lost. In a war whose ending foreshadows the next 2000 years of French history, France is conquered by of all things, an Italian. [Or at ths time in history, a Roman -ed.]
- Hundred Years War
- Mostly lost, saved at last by female schizophrenic who inadvertently creates The First Rule of French Warfare; "France's armies are victorious only when not led by a Frenchman." Sainted.
- Italian Wars
- Lost. France becomes the first and only country to ever lose two wars when fighting Italians.
- Wars of Religion
- France goes 0-5-4 against the Huguenots
- Thirty Years War
- France is technically not a participant, but manages to get invaded anyway. Claims a tie on the basis that eventually the other participants started ignoring her.
- War of Revolution
- Tied. Frenchmen take to wearing red flowerpots as chapeaux.
- The Dutch War
- War of the Augsburg League/King William's War/French and Indian War
- Lost, but claimed as a tie. Three ties in a row induces deluded Frogophiles the world over to label the period as the height of French military power.
- War of the Spanish Succession
- Lost. The War also gave the French their first taste of a Marlborough, which they have loved every since.
- American Revolution
- In a move that will become quite familiar to future Americans, France claims a win even though the English colonists saw far more action. This is later known as "de Gaulle Syndrome", and leads to the Second Rule of French Warfare; "France only wins when America does most of the fighting."
June 20, 2009
Iowahawk has a great article here. It's all good but here is perhaps the best part:
Breaking down, an emotionally distraught [widowed Mrs.] Vvzzvzwwzzz was comforted by PETA President Ingrid Newkirk and ACLU President Nadine Strossen. The two groups announced they will file an amicus brief in the case and file a separate class action suit against the insecticide, flyswatter and pest strip industries, seeking over 1 million metric tons of compensatory shit on behalf of 200 billion Fly-Americans.
This wouldn't have been funny before Nancy Pelosi. Even as satire.
June 17, 2009
No doubt you've seen this, and Shepherd has given a transcript of His O'liness when his TelePrompTer fails. But here one disaster is on YouTube:
I can't sit through it all, even though I am not known for the quality of my mercy to socialists.
Jack Cashill of The American Thinker here thinks it entirely possible that Bill Ayers ghosted Dreams From My Father. Let's never forget that Ayers, from the Weather Underground, gave Obama his coming-out party into politics, and that Ayers boasted about constructing nail bombs that exploded and killed three Weathermen: "Guilty as sin, free as a bird, it's a great country."
Cashill in much more detail details how before Obama putatively wrote his first book, he had virtually a nonexistent paper trail.
But before that just about Obama's only output was some very bad poetry. This from "Underground":
Under water grottos, caverns
Filled with apes
That eat figs.
Stepping on the figs
That the apes
Eat, they crunch.
The apes howl, bare
Their fangs, dance . . .
From this doggerel which any limerick could look down on to Dreams, which was called by Time Magazine the "best-written memoir ever produced by an American politician." Well, my opinion of Time is that I hope it uses soy-based ink so that it won't poison the fish I wrap in it.
Obama was elected president of the Harvard Law Review, which is evidently more of a popularity contest than one of merit; an online search doesn't reveal a single signed article of his in any law review.
Does his sudden ascendency to literary greatness without practice make sense? No. Is consistent with Obama's near-aphasia when the TelePrompTer fails? Yes. Will I stop asking rhetorical questions? Yes.
June 16, 2009
When this was first released I had hours of fun slapping Hillary. There's a button which starts that incredibly annoying voice, stiff with self-righteousness.
But I feel a little bit guilty now. She's the most honorable person in the Administration. Were she president I don't think that the country would fall apart in her hands, whereas in Obama's hands, or his TelePrompTer's hands I'm quite certain that it might.
June 14, 2009
Hitler sings the theme to the Jeffersons.
June 13, 2009
Is there any doubt that if Ted Kennedy had succeeded in getting the health plan he is proposing now pushed through a couple of years ago....that he'd be dead now?
June 12, 2009
Cass Sunstein is one of the authors of Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness. I'm assuming that this is the Yiddish sense of "nudge," pronounced "noodge," meaning constant nagging until you get what you want. For your own benefit, as defined by others, of course. I don't know that Mr. Sunstein would appreciate my definition of it. This book had much made of it in Britain among the governing classes, who seem somehow to mock Americans and then swallow anything that we come up with and the worse the more credulous they are.
Mr. Sunstein is a friend of President Obama and is the nominee to head the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. Or the regulation czar. The nasty little monster who gets to tell you what to do. Because he knows best.
Of the many irritating accretions to the Imperial Presidency recently one of the worst is the appointment of these Czars. Czar is of course Russian for "Caesar," and as a small-d Democrat (remember that small d), I don't much like caesars or czars, kings or princes. Or popes in the White House. These czar parties all smack of party in a frat house made entire of poli-sci majors and if there is one image that ought to wobble your tripes, it is that.
Mr. Sunstein believes, among many other things of questionable value, that animals have the right to file suit using humans as representatives; he advanced this claim, and I cannot call it an argument, in his 2004 book Animal Rights. I have wracked my brain for days trying to think of an idea more amenable to leftist mischief and cannot.
Mr. Sunstein is of the view that the Internet is anti-democratic because of the way that users can filter out information of their own choosing. In other words, it is a ThoughtCrime to choose your own news. I doubt sincerely that Mr. Sunstein is bothered by the relentless far-left tocsin of MSNBC; does his advocacy of a Fairness Doctrine apply to the twitching Keith Olbermann? Would the MSNBC website be forced to put in links to Rush Limbaugh?
June 11, 2009
First off, I want to thank the Midland Development Corporation for finally posting their approved meeting minutes on their website. Progress is progress, and it deserves to be acknowledged.
Now to the title of this entry, which comes from the Approved April 24, 2009 Minutes of the MDC:
Mr. Hatley stated that Lockheed Martin has contacted Mr. Easterly to bring a C5 Galaxy, the largest airplane in the fleet, to Midland International Airport where it will conduct a three-year retrofit on the plane. Lockheed selected MIA due to the fact that the runway and ramp can handle a plane of its size and weight.
All the quotes in the media about the AMI hangar, going to the MRO conference, and ambiguous references to the size of planes our runways and ramps can handle don't quite measure up to the specifics reported in the MDC minutes. The way the minutes read, it seems like a done deal.
If the C5 retrofit is a reality, I'm glad to see all that FAA grant money, local airport bonds and PFC charges are contributing to the marketability of our local airport. For me the jury is still out on how effective the MDC was in this deal, seems Lockheed Martin called up and said, we need a place to park a plane and work on it and your site meets our requirements.
I wonder if they even asked for ED money?
Government ownership and control over financial institutions. Check.
Government ownership and control over major manufacturing. Check.
Okay, sure, these guys took bailout money. They get what they deserve.
Obama Administration: Rein in pay in US private sectorExecutive pay needs curbs, better management, across US private sector
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Obama administration says executive compensation must be better managed to prevent the sort of risk-taking that jeopardizes the economy.
Gene Sperling, who advises Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, said Thursday the administration does not want to impose caps on executive pay. But he also laid out for the House Financial Services Committee a list of guidelines calling on publicly-held companies to link compensation to long-term performance, not short-term gains.
Sperling said in prepared testimony that the administration believes compensation practices "must be better aligned with long-term value and prudent risk management at all firms, and not just for the financial services industry."
Benito Hussein Obama.
It has a certain ring to it.
No word if he plans to return to blogging after a 7 month hiatus.
June 8, 2009
Only 42% of those who currently own a General Motors car are even somewhat likely to buy a GM product for their next car. That figure includes just 30% who are Very Likely to do so.
GM and Chrysler were in the toilet before the recession and with Federal fingerprints all over them now they will circle the drain even faster.
Three of the four automobiles I have purchased (including the last two) were GM. The next one will not be. Period.
Related: Take a good look at how the new Gummint Motors is to be operated. Fresh into bankruptcy and theoretically into a period of re-gearing for profitability, Barney Frank (unindicted co-catalyst of the Fannie Mae collapse) has the White House intervene to stop the closing of a GM plant in his district.
Barney Frank needs to be thanked, actually. In one action he has shown not only why the New Gummint Motors will fail, but why it damned well should fail.
Have you seen the new Fords? There may be one in my future.
June 7, 2009
It's difficult talking to some people these days; if the topic turns to politics the gloom is tangible. My father in particular says he lies awake at night fretting. I take the view that there's nothing to be done. Americans have drunk the Kool-Aid and we're headed into socialism while children sing songs of cultist adoration to His Holiness. I never thought that Clayton Williams' remark comparing rape to bad weather--"As long as it's inevitable, you might as well lie back and enjoy it"--would be applicable to me.
Duston McNeato has some Literal Video versions on that glorious waste of time YouTube. Here is a Literal Video version of a dreadful and maudlin 80s song with lyrics which describe the video--and frankly improve on the song. I'd forgotten how much I disliked Bonnie Tyler.
After this series of non-sequiturs I don't know that I'll ever have any more joined-up thoughts. My cats are hungry. The sun is setting. The French eat horses. Austan Goolsbee in the White House has perfected a new type of lying and when you consider the competition he needs Olympic gold.
June 6, 2009
Oops, did I say D-Day? I meant Tetris.
How preciously one-worldly of them.
June 4, 2009
You didn't believe the Wellheads wouldn't have anything to say about the AMI Hangar proposal in Today's MRT would you? Of course not.
In looking at this deal, and rating it from "are you out of your fricking minds" to "well, it's as good a use of the money as any" this project falls into the later. Sure there are some questions to ask about this deal, but spending money on a City Owned Hangar to clean it up, patch the roof, fix the door and generally tidy the place up to show prospective tenants, isn't that terrible of a deal.
Compared to the plans for Dean Baldwin last year, this is downright conservative:
1) it rehabilitates an existing and usable structure that is already owned by the City.
2) it doesn't require debt financing to accomplish.
3) it is an existing limited resource (hangar with tarmac access) that has served in the "MRO" role before. It isn't trying to "spark demand" for "something" like the La Entrada Business Park.
4) When it is leased, the City receives rent income AND the local governmental entities receive property taxes.
I guess the only question I have is, since the City owns all the Hangars and buildings that have tarmac access at MAF, why did the City let the AMI hangar fall into such disrepair?
I guess that's one for the Managed Competition Committee to look at.
June 3, 2009
I feel like I should not have to mention this to the Secretary of the Treasury and the head of the Internal Revenue Service.....but....
You do know that any rent you receive will have to be declared as income, right?
Here it comes. As early as this summer the government will begin attempting to ration health care in this country.
June 2, 2009
And it is his youngest son, Kim Jong-un. (No, that's not a joke.)
And they are already teaching the country's school children a song paying tribute to him.
June 1, 2009
Well, there is certainly change a-happening. But have a look at this Fortune article regarding GM's bankruptcy filing this morning.
This line in particular:
Retiring vice-chairman Bob Lutz, always as proponent of emotional cars, sees hope. For evidence, he points to the interest shown by members of the government's auto task force in the new Cadillac CTS coupe.
Wow. Interest shown by members of the government? Well, that is just a lead pipe cinch to be a hit in the marketplace.
Seriously, how fast would you empty out the current administration and the offices of the DNC if you required them to drive domestics?
It has been a little over 8 years since Cingular Wireless (now AT&T) rolled into Midland with a new call center. With an economic development package cobbled together from Tax Abatements, a "loan" from the Water and Sewer Fund, a grant from the Abel-Hanger Foundation, and Workforce Development Grants, the City of Midland pulled off it's largest Win. In the eyes of most pundits, this success provided the positive spin to get the ED tax over the hump in November of that same year. (It worked for me, it is why *I* voted for the ED Tax the 3rd time around - *Ain't that a Shocka*)
To begin, let's see what the available, online-published reports said the deal entailed.
Using the "Internet WayBack Machine" at www.archive.org, it is possible to resurrect the online newsletters of the Midland Chamber of Commerce, Midland Development Corporation, City of Midland and others. It is a little difficult to link to these files, given the nature of the archive, but they can be produced.
According to the Midland Chamber of Commerce Newsletters, the Comptroller of Public Accounts Tax Abatement Registry, and media reports the deal involved the following:
- $1,000,000 from Water and Sewer Funds.
- $250,000 from the Abell-Hanger Foundation (Through MC and City of Midland Grants)
- 10-year property tax abatement from the City, County, Hospital and College (MISD couldn't participate by law). Five years at 100% abatement and Five years graduated.
- hire a minimum of 300 employees by October 1, 2001
- hire a minimum of 750 full-time employees by April 1, 2003
- spend a minimum of $4 million in capital improvements
Though not contractual goals, the ED Boosters had these long term goals for the project:
- recover lost property tax revenue on increased valuation of a long vacant building
- diversify the Midland economy with stable jobs (ie not tied to the oil industry)
With Cingular meeting almost all of the Economic Development Goals set out for them within six-months of opening, by November 2001 the Chamber was touting the success in its effort to get the ED tax passed:
Cingular is a prime example of how economic diversification works, the success that the economic development plan can bring and the impact that new, diversified jobs, can have on Midland's economy. However, Midland cannot stop with Cingular. Midland must continue to diversify our petroleum-based economy. With the Economic Development Plan and Sales Tax on the ballot on November 6th, Midland will have the necessary resources to continue to implement the economic development plan for diversification.
So how did Cingular do?
Within a year of opening, Cingular reportedly had 1,100 employees and the chamber estimates that between building improvements, furniture and equipment Cingular had made over $15 million in improvements. Well above the levels required by the agreement.
By all measures, Cingular had been a big win. From zero to 1,100 jobs and a measly $5,302,500 property (the base level of the abatement) to a $20M+ property by 2002.
Fast forward 4 years, in 2006, Cingular is still trucking along with about 1,100 employees and the building owner (who leases to Cingular) sells the property for about $17M. This mother of all economic deals in Midland is still the only delivery on the promise of large scale economic development.
The Story is Legend, but where is it now? I don't think anybody has bothered to look in a while, because when I did, I found this:
Then there is the property valuations and property tax abatements. In 2006, the last year of the full abatement of property taxes Mid Builder/Signal Midland (the property owner) and AT&T Wireless (furniture and equipment) had a combined taxable value according to the Midland Central Appraisal District of $12,740,120.
Abatements don't freeze valuations or taxes, they just forgive taxes due on valuations in excess of the base, so in 2006, this amounted to $7,437,620 which was not taxed. In 2007, the abatement is only 80%, then 60%, 40%, 20%, 10% until it goes away after 2011.
First off, I always wonder how the appraisal district comes up with valuations, $12,740,120 seems a little light, considering the ED folks said improvements in 2001 amounted to $15M and the building itself sells for a reported $17M in 2006.
Now, come 2009, when the taxpayers are supposed to see Cingular receive a 40% abatement, whereby their property evaluations help offset residential property, the building and furnishings combined now total $13,016,570, a mere 2.17% increase in value in 3 years.
For comparison, the Sam's Club building, inventory and furnishings had a value of $9,950,260 in 2006 and a value of $10,619,070 in 2009. A 6.72% increase. My home, increased in value 33.1%. (Could I have their appraiser, please)
So, as this mother of all economic development successes turns eight, Cingular has cut close to 500 jobs, and those property tax increases meant to ease the burden of residential taxpayers aren't materializing because valuations of the property aren't at advertised levels of improvements in 2001 or the 2006 advertised sales price, nor are they keeping up with increased valuations of surrounding properties or residences for some odd reason.
So, is this "Cingular Success" being lost?
*Note, the City is a good source for Cingular employment levels, because as a part of the abatement contract, Cingular must report their employment levels to the City at regular intervals to check compliance with the agreement.