The Irony is Deafening

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My mother sent an email today, with the subject “On My!!!” (which I presume was supposed to be “Oh My!!!”). The entirety of the email is contained below:

On My !!!

Here’s a quote from the Oct. 14 British Spectator that sums it up perfectly: “You have to pinch yourself – a Marxist radical who all his life has been mentored by, sat at the feet of, worshiped with, befriended, endorsed the philosophy of, funded and been in turn funded, politically promoted and supported by a nexus comprising black power anti-white racists, Jew-haters, revolutionary Marxists, unrepentant former terrorists and Chicago mobsters, is on the verge of becoming President of the United States. And apparently it’s considered impolite to say so.”

The quote, from an article in the UK Spectator, found here (a good read, btw), has caused quite a stir… I bet you already saw this coming: somebody from the 9 people she emailed it to complained. She used her work email to send the message, and now she is “in trouble” for using company resources blah blah blah.

Am I the only one who see’s the irony here?

McCain & Obama to announce running mates…

Political, Satire No Comments »

…each other. Rumors are flying that the two presumed candidates for president will, in an unprecedented move, each announce the other as running mate.

“If John wins, Barack wins; if Barack wins, John wins; and either way, America wins” a spokesman for the Obama campaign said under condition of anonymity. “It’s win-win-win-win…win.”

The deal is said to have begun when McCain’s people, having been impressed by Obama and his campaign, approached the DNC with the proposal.

“They were apprehensive at first, but once we reminded that of all the times John had stopped conservatives in their tracks, and how much Obama respected him, they were convinced” said a McCain representative.

Barack was said to be indignant to the proposal when approached by the DNC, but Michelle was able to convince him that McCain “was, for all intents and purposes, already running as a democrat. This just takes the competition for the undecided gun-toters out of the equation.”

The two will still run separate, but equal, campaigns with pooled funding. Each is still running for president with the other as their VP choice. Whoever gets America’s vote will be Commander in Chief, the other will be the vice president.

Not everybody is happy about the situation though. Some from the GOP have claimed that the move insulates the candidates from the people’s voice. “By removing a true choice from the ballot, the two candidates have shown utter disrespect for the Constitution and the American people.” Those thoughts from one GOP spokesperson fell on many deaf ears though.

“I’m glad they’re running together” said one as of yet undecided voter. “It was really hard to think that hard and make a decision. I didn’t think I was going to be able to do it… and now I don’t have to. My grandmother always used to tell me that one politician was as bad as the next, so I don’t think it really matters anyway.”

There are still many questions yet to be answered though. How will this effect the campaign tone? Some Americans are hoping this will guarantee an end to negative campaign ads, but media companies are worried the candidates will cut their ad budgets altogether. Local candidates worry that this move will slice voter turnout. Still others worry that this opens the door for a third party candidate such as Ralph Nader to make a serious run.

Whatever the case, it is sure to be an interesting campaign season. At least it this doesn’t make it really boring.

Mudcats Fireworks

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Mudcats Fireworks

Originally uploaded by Gabriel Jordan.

Was out at Five County Stadium once again for the Fourth of July. This year I accidentally left my tripod and remote at the house, and only had my fixed 50mm lens, so I had to improvise a bit… but I got a few interesting shots. Check ’em out.

… and for last year’s set that were taken with proper equipment, see here.

The Great Minimum Wage Swindle

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When the Democrats took back over the congress in 2006, new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised a long list of things they would pass within the first ‘hundred hours.’ They were only successful at getting one thing passed in that time frame: a minimum wage hike. It went into affect July 24th, 2007, and now, almost one year later, I’d like to explore the consequences of that one act that was supposed to help all of us little people.

One year later, an economy that was humming along swimmingly is in a heavy slowdown. One year later, gas prices have risen another dollar. One year later, unemployment is inching up. One year later, the US Dollar is quickly losing value and credibility around the world.

Now, I know that most people would tie this squarely on a combination of the housing market, ‘predatory’ lending, and oil… and to be certain, those factors didn’t help. But my contention is that it was the minimum wage hike that was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. Let’s look at some graphs, shall we?

Note: I took these graphs from Yahoo! Finance. I then marked a vertical red line on July 2007, approximately the time the minimum wage hike went into affect.

The above graph is the DOW Jones composite from June 2006 to June 2008 (2 years). Notice that it was on a slight but steady climb until July 2006, when it peaked, platuaed, and started slowly falling.

This graph is even more shocking when you stretch it to five years:

What changed in July 2006?

Let’s look further. How has the US Dollar performed around the world over the past few years?

The above graph is a valuation of the US Dollar in comparison to the Euro over 5 years. I will grant you that it is a downward slope throughout, but if you really look, between 2005 and 2007, there was a slight gain, then a loss again, for just a very slight net loss of value through about March ’07. Then July ’07 hits, and the downward slope increases and there have been no significant gains since.

The Euro is strong anyway, so that is somewhat to be expected. How about the US Dollar vs Yen?

Now that is a bit more striking. Up through July ’07, the US Dollar had been gaining value in comparison to the Yen… then something changed. Granted, after a plummet, it has made some gains again, but it’s still down compared to where it was.

What caused all this downturn? I’ll tell you… On May 25, 2007, Democrats tied a minimum wage hike to a supplemental spending bill for the Iraq War, something they knew Republicans wouldn’t vote against and Bush would sign, and the rest is history. The bill required that on July 24, 2007 the federal minimum wage increase from $5.15 to $5.85. “Great… that’s a good thing, right?” No.

The wages business pay workers, in a market sense, must line up with what the labor is worth. A minimum wage increase doesn’t change that. The labor is still only worth what it was worth to begin with. No outside force can change what a day’s work is worth, only the worker can. That didn’t stop congress from trying through… By raising the minimum wage, rather than increasing the value of a day’s work, they devalued the US Dollar. They’re trying to dictate market forces they can’t control.

You may think to yourself, “But surely only a small percentage of Americans actually earn minimum wage, so why does this effect us all?” You would be correct on the first part. Only a small percentage of American’s earn the minimum, and a large part of that is students who aren’t supporting anybody. BUT, at several unions across the nation, and other positions, pay is determined as percentage above minimum wage. That means that not only did those earning minimum wage get the hike, thousands other did as well… but what about you and me who don’t have salaries calculated like that? We now earn a less than what we did in two ways: A, we earn less as a percentage above minimum wage. B, we earn a devalued Dollar. I once earned just more than twice minimum wage, I now cannot say that. You and I essentially got a pay cut.

Beyond getting the shaft on our paycheck, prices in everything increased. This, too, can be tied to the minimum wage. Yes, even gasoline really started to rise after July ’07:

As you can see in the graph, gas had a tendency to raise in summer months and fall in winter for a fews years, but after the summer of 2007, it just continued to rise… Why? Because businesses at every level had to pay their employees more and thereby had to charge more for their product to make up the difference, even oil companies. I admit that it is not the only factor contributing to gas’s rise, but it is a factor.

And with the added cost to businesses, guess what else come along? That’s right, unemployment, since employers can no longer afford to hire as many people.

Look, I don’t have a problem with people earning more money, but the key word in that statement is ‘earning’. When the government dictates that businesses must pay them more money without them earning it, it ends up hurting us all, even those it was supposed to help. Sure, they’re getting a few more bucks, but it comes in the form of a devalued dollar and the added bonus of higher prices and more unemployment.

Our economy isn’t in the can yet, and I don’t think it has to be. That said, it’s not looking all that great either, and it all seemed to start about the same time: Summer ’07, just after the minimum wage hike… and you know what? It’s about to happen again. Yes, the bill passed called for three minimum increases. In a few weeks, on July 24th of this year, it will jump to $6.55. And finally, on July 24th 2009, it makes it’s final leap to $7.25… at least that is until they pass another hike.

Democrats have always tried to control the economy, and the results always ends up backfiring. When salary cost is not directly tied to labor market value, the entire economy must adjust, and that takes time. We’ll get through this, too, but the next few years may be a bit bumpy. So the next time you hear your congressman promising minimum wage increases, think about the consequences before jumping on the bandwagon.

How fast things change…

Political No Comments »

That video, posted to YouTube in February, is an amazing testament to how quickly the mainstream media changed sides in the democrat race. For those that don’t remember, in February, the media was still fully behind Hillary Clinton. Some were even angry that Obama was challenging her.

The question asked by Matthews is a question that he wouldn’t touch today. It’s still just as valid a question and point as it was in February, maybe even more so now that Obama has the nomination, but he would never ask anybody that today; he would never ask anything that might make Obama look bad now… Matthews and the rest of the MSM are in the tank for B.O. now.

Citizenship Now Means Nothing

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Top US court deals Bush blow on Guantanamo rights

So five of our esteemed US Supreme court judges have now declared that US Citizenship has zero meaning. The US government and courts now offer constitutional protection to non citizens, right down to enemy combatants. What gave them the right to decide on a military issue? I have no idea. What I do now wonder is this: since non-citizens around the world now enjoy the protection and services of the US government and access to all it’s Constitutional benefits, when will we start levying taxes on said non-citizens? Osama Bin Laden and crew must owe years of back taxes by now… and why do we check passports at airports? Everybody is in effect a US citizen, so what is the point? Border security? Why bother? Let them all in. They’re protected anyway.

Your tax dollars will now go towards public lawyers who will be defending and setting free known terrorists because of process errors and protocol mistakes when they were ‘arrested’… We are all now financial backers of terrorists. How does that feel?

What is truly sad is what my dad pointed out: this decision will guarantee that future wars will be fought with a ‘take-no-prisoners’ attitude. It won’t be worth the hassle of trying to deal with them in the courts, so just kill them…

If the founding father’s had been able to see what the court system would become, I must believe they would’ve made it easier to remove judges. If judges were truly making decisions based on the standard of law, theoretically they would all have to decide the same way, with perhaps a few decisions being disputed by a justice or two. But in today’s courts, it seems like more often than not the decision is (basically) a 50/50 split decision, which can really only occur if judges are simply deciding cases based on their personal beliefs and legislating from the bench.

I know this post has been a bit scatterbrained, but I’m sick, and I’m angered and frustrated by this decision, so you’ll have to forgive me.

The Incredible Hulk: A Quick Review

Movies No Comments »

Lou Ferrigno in the episode Image via Wikipedia

So, I just got back from seeing a sneak peek of The Incredible Hulk, starring Edward Norton, Tim Roth, and Liv Tyler, among others. I want to preface this review by making two things clear: A) I never have read any of the comic books, so I can’t speak to the movie’s accuracy; B) I never saw the Ang Lee Hulk, I can only go off of my sister’s statement that this movie was much better, or at the very least, not painfully long like the first…

…in all seriousness, she really did seem to enjoy it, and I did as well, but it wasn’t without it’s flaws:

The movie picks up where the second one left off. Rumors that the first movie would be retold through flashbacks are true, but it’s much in the same vein as the Spider-Man movies: it’s all in the opening credits and told through pictures and newspaper clippings, just enough for you to get the general idea of it if you hadn’t seen the first. The movie is light on dialogue overall, which is probably a good thing, as some, though certainly not all, of the dialogue was stiffly delivered in my opinion. None of that really takes you out of the experience though, which is good. Unfortunately, there are things that took me out of it:

The effects in the movie are generally well done, and I commend the CG artists. There are, however, a few times when humans are interacting with CG characters that they still just didn’t quite hit the mark. One particular scene takes place on a cliff between Hulk and Betty, and is reminiscent of King Kong with Ann Darrow, but unlike Peter Jackson’s ape, the Hulk just ends up feeling green screened in. It’s not quite Matrix Revolutions ‘virtual cinema’ bad, but it’s noticeable. That said, when they effects are good, they are great. The battle at the end is a blast to watch.

Beyond the few CG issues, a few other moments took me out of the experience: this Hulk exists in a world where one 5 minute chase scene takes you from dawn to day to night nearly instantly; where a cloudless day turns on a dime to heavy thunderstorms; where nearby untouched lights explode for no reason the instant two monsters collide; and where a fire can be put out by clapping your hands (if that is from the comic, than fine, but it seemed really far fetched). Minor stuff, to be sure, but it still was noticeable to me.

Alright, so I’m ragging on the movie quite a bit, which may give you the impression that I didn’t like it, which is not true. I enjoyed it. I was entertained by it. I would not have been disappointed had I paid to see it. It’s just no Iron Man. The cameos by Lou Ferrigno and Stan Lee were timely and well placed, Tony Stark’s brief appearance does exactly what you expect it to, and Nick Furry is mentioned, but never seen (no, not even post credits).

I’m not gonna stick a number/star/letter on this review; I don’t have the credentials to back something like that up. I can only say that I did enjoy it, but don’t expect miracles.

(Note: it’s almost 10:30pm, I’ve been up since 4:00am. I make no guarantees to the quality of this writing in terms of punctuation, spelling, or any other grammatical errors.)

Zemanta Pixie

Commentary on Comments to a Commentary.

Personal, Political No Comments »

In response to: Peter Schweizer: Conservatives more honest than liberals? –

I read this commentary unsurprised by it’s conclusions, but what really got me about the piece was the comments afterwords. If you haven’t yet, go read a few of them…

…now think about all the comments from liberals who claimed something to this effect:

“Obviously liberals answered the survey honestly and conservatives lied.”

Or another:

“But wait a minute, if we know everyone cheats on their taxes and Liberals claim they do, but conservatives claim they don’t, shouldn’t we infer that Conservatives were all lying when they responded to the question? It seems to me the issue is one of images of righteousness vs. actual righteousness… in reality they’re at least no better than all the rest of us and, probably, a lot worse – making the fact that they try and hide with fake gestures of modesty and decorum all the worse.”

That second quote is perfect. First off, if he’d have read the entire piece, the writer points out:

“The quick answer might be that liberals are simply being more honest about their dishonesty. However attractive this explanation might be for some, there is simply no basis for accepting this explanation. Validation studies, which attempt to figure out who misreports on academic surveys and why, has found no evidence that conservatives are less honest. Indeed, validation research indicates that Democrats tend to be less forthcoming than other groups.”

The commenter then asserts that “we know everyone cheats on their taxes.” I don’t cheat on my taxes, my sisters don’t cheat on their taxes, and I would be shocked if my parents cheated on their taxes. We may not always file them on time, but that’s hardly cheating. I don’t know where he got his information, but either way, his assumption clarifies the entire article…

Liberals have an ‘everybody does it’ attitude and no belief in absolute truths, the perfect mixture for dishonesty. They believe that everybody is dishonest, and there is no consequence for it…

The really amazing thing about his comment (and multiple others from liberal apologists on the article) is this: it never even crossed their mind that some people might actually have core beliefs, values, standards, and principles that they really do try to live up to. That is completely out of the question; not possible; nobody could actually live that way…

…and here’s the real kicker: these are the same people that believe humans and society are perfectible… and believe in diplomacy, an institution that is constantly failing because agreements are made on false premises and lies one country told to another.

The older I get, the more amazed I am at how much seemingly small principles vary from person to person and ultimately cause drastically differing world views, how blind others can be to this, and further the more proud I am to have been raised the way I was.

Inflatable Concrete… Wha?!?!

Misc., Technology No Comments »

Seeing as this has been around since the 1960’s, it apparently is not news, but it was to me. I was watching the Discovery Channel and they were playing some weird special on plans for a giant pyramid city straight out of science fiction, but the technologies behind it’s planning were what interested me, and this one blew me away (no pun intended)…

Robin Williams on Golf

Misc., Sports No Comments »

I’ve told my sister’s about this bit several times… it is truly hilarious.
Warning: NSFW, F-bombs abound…

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