Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Here is Calvin Coolidge, from his 1923 Thanksgiving Day proclamation. He wrote this himself, as he did all his speeches.
The American people, from their earliest days, have observed the wise custom of acknowledging each year the bounty with which divine Providence has favored them. In the beginnings, this acknowledgment was a voluntary return of thanks by the community for the fruitfulness of the harvest. Though our mode of life has greatly changed, this custom has always survived. It has made thanksgiving day not only one of the oldest but one of the most characteristic observances of our country. On that day, in home and church, in family and in public gatherings, the whole nation has for generations paid the tribute due from grateful hearts for blessings bestowed.

To center our thought in this way upon the favor which we have been shown has been altogether wise and desirable. It has given opportunity justly to balance the good and the evil which we have experienced. In that we have never failed to find reasons for being grateful to God for a generous preponderance of the good. Even in the least propitious times, a broad contemplation of our whole position has never failed to disclose overwhelming reasons for thankfulness. Thus viewing our situation, we have found warrant for a more hopeful and confident attitude toward the future.

In this current year, we now approach the time which has been accepted by custom as most fitting for the calm survey of our estate and the return of thanks. We shall the more keenly realize our good fortune, if we will, in deep sincerity, give to it due thought, and more especially, if we will compare it with that of any other community in the world.

... We have been blessed with much of material prosperity. We shall be better able to appreciate it if we remember the privations others have suffered, and we shall be the more worthy of it if we use it for their relief. We will do well then to render thanks for the good that has come to us, and show by our actions that we have become stronger, wiser, and truer by the chastenings which have been imposed upon us. We will thus prepare ourselves for the part we must take in a world which forever needs the full measure of service. We have been a most favored people. We ought to be a most generous people. We have been a most blessed people. We ought to be a most thankful people.
Yes, we should.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

General Government Motors

It would be very nice to believe that General Motors' recent IPO represented the successful culmination of a multi-billion dollar bailout, especially since that bailout was combined with the General Government's flaunting of the rule of contract law.

The rescue of the UAW was morally hazardous, ethically reprehensible and accomplished on the backs of taxpayers - the majority of whom objected to the transaction. It would be nice to believe jobs were saved and taxpayers profited. It would be the very minimum definition of nice, and it would still be BS.

The Cadillac of Bad Ideas

Did the Auto Bailout Really Save One Million Jobs?

It would even be nice if General Government Motors applied a lesson already learned:  Buy what you want or need instead of compromising. Makes great sense

But the General Government has insulated General Motors from that lesson. You are meant to buy a Chevy Volt.  Not some car you actually want.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Rombamacare and 2012

Bush was excoriated because he couldn't tell the MSM about mistakes he had made. Obama does not recognize the possibility that someone who stopped the oceans from rising could ever make a mistake. Conventional wisdom has Bush as an idiot, Obama as a genius.

Mitt Romney also has a reputation as a smart guy, moreover one who understands business and finance. He has an easy path to turn a mistake into a benefit. He could say, "Federalism is, among other things, about the idea that individual states can serve as venues for policy experiments. I led Massachusetts in such an experiment: I was instrumental in designing a state mandated health insurance system upon which Obamacare was modeled. My plan has been a disaster for Massachusetts.

Ironically, that lesson was made possible by the vestigial Federalism which President Obama seeks to finally destroy via initiatives like his own health care mandate. I am able to learn from my mistake, so should the country.

The broader lesson is that central planning cannot replace the free market, no matter how smart the central planner thinks he is. I will not forget that again.

Since Romney apparently cannot do this simple and intelligent thing, I'd agree with this analysis.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A moment's silence, please.

A moment silence is observed at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month because that is when the guns went silent for the armistice that ended World War I. I observe this ritual. I commend it to you.

This day is Remembrance Day, Armistice Day, Veterans Day. The silence should resound throughout the countries who observe it under those different names.

I first posted what follows below on 11/11/2008. I don't know if I can do much better, so here it is again. The changes I would make are to shorten it a bit and to put Terry Kelly's song at the top.

There, I did.

Please read the story about why the song was written and then listen to it. Then, if you want, come back and read the rest of this post...

The 11th Hour of the 11th Day of the 11th Month - A Pittance of Time reprise
Tuesday, November 11, 2008

If we do not remember those who gave their lives to preserve our way of life, we are likely to lose that way of life by the worst possible means - the habit of thinking things had to be the way they are and not some other way. This lesson is not buried in some dusty tome; our grandparents know better. How could we forget?

Some of us understand that things are the way they are because some soldiers were - and are - so committed to liberty as to give their own lives in its defense. Sadly, the vast majority of us do not seem committed to remember this debt.

re is encouragement for this amnesia. We have many enemies, and putative friends, who desire that we forget past courage and honor. They desire that the remembrance of the justice of the causes of the past should slip away. They view even their own immediate ancestors - who rose to meet challenges of personal and cultural annihilation - as quaint throwbacks to an unenlightened age.

These enemies and self-declared friends are wrong. We must reject their idea that our enemies are simply people we haven't yet had the intelligence to recognize as our moral equivalents.

Remember Ypres, Belleau Wood and Dieppe. Do not forget Iwo Jima or The Bulge or the Chosen Reservoir or Khe Sanh.

And Khe Sanh is a good example of how an agenda of defeat twists logic: At Khe Sanh 205 Americans were killed, while the North Vietnamese lost between ten and fifteen thousand. The Western press portrayed Khe San as a defeat. Like Tet. Do not forget Tet, where Walter Cronkite surrendered, on our behalf, following our resounding victory.

Our enemies had these "victories" because, while our soldiers were annihilating them, we lost heart. We should certainly remember that.

What we remember will affect what we think. The ritual denigration of the US military continues to affect Associated Press headlines 40 years after Tet, as observed by TOC.

Veterans day is not an event that counters this defeatism, where will we find the will to win the war against Islamofascism? Respect for those who gave their lives on our behalf LAST WEEK is as necessary as respect for those who died in the Civil War and WWI and WWII and Korea and Viet Nam.

Without our continuing consciousness of their effort, those who have died and those who die tomorrow on behalf of our present freedom, are literally dust. You must not let that happen. They died for their homes and families and friends, and for a rule of law and traditions they cherished and a future they believed in; they died for you.

This truth was not a question until latter half of the 20th Century.

In 1915 John McCrae, a Canadian Army doctor, wrote In Flanders Fields, about the horrors he saw in the Ypres salient.

In Flanders Fields

by John McCrae, May 1915

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep,
though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Update 10:29AM
Also see: Michigan Taxes Too Much

Monday, November 08, 2010

Red flag in Senate district 17

The Conservative Evolution of Randy Richardville
The future majority leader of the Michigan Senate wants his critics to know that he is no liberal

He may want us to know that, and he may not be a liberal. What he is not is a conservative. He's a "Republican" who favors unionization forced by government
As a recent example, he co-sponsored Senate Bill 731, legislation that would transfer $6.6 million in taxpayer money to the SEIU government employee union. It did it by creating a government "employer" for about 42,000 individuals who are hired by elderly or disabled Medicaid recipients. The Mackinac Center has filed a lawsuit over a similar set- up involving home day care providers.
He wants us to focus on the "big picture" and not on his "voting record from 6 years ago."

OK, let's. His SEIU subsidy was introduced in 2009.

In the 2010 election cycle Sen. Richardville was the Republican with the third largest donation total from the MEA.

Sen. Richardville also showed favoritism toward public employee unions by introducing Senate Bill 1072. SB 1072 expanded the number of public safety groups which can go to arbitration in contract disputes involving Public Act 312.

Sen. Richardville cast a vote for corporatism in May of 2010, preventing the owners of a Michigan insurance company from selling their own investment.

I suspect he'll get along fine with Rick Snyder. I hope I'm wrong about Snyder.

All links from Mackinac Center for Public Policy and its Capitol Confidential newsletter. The Mackinac Center deserves your support.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

I'm really, really busy

Posting has been delayed and will be sporadic.

So, to keep my hand in, here are some random things I found interesting.

A Brit on freedom.
Only the Tea Party can save us now

God how I wish I were American right now. In the US they may not have the Cairngorms, the River Wye, cream teas, University Challenge, Cotswold villages or decent curries. But they do still understand the principles of “don’t tread on me” and “live free or die.” Not all of them, obviously – otherwise a socialist like Barack Obama would never have got into power. But enough of them to understand that in the last 80 or more years – and not just in the US but throughout the Western world – government has forgotten its purpose. It has now grown so arrogant and swollen as to believe its job is to shape and improve and generally interfere with our lives. And it’s not. Government’s job is to act as our humble servant.
A couple of notes on Mark Steyn.
Kevin Libin: What do the U.S. mid-term elections, China and Omar Khadr have in common? Mark Steyn knows

Steyn, at his finest, delivers ‘almost a counsel of despair’

A couple of obvious portents to which few are attending:

Dollar at Risk of Crashing, Triggering Inflation: Strategist

Brazil ready to retaliate for US move in ‘currency war’

All worth the reading time.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Memo to the San Francisco Chronicle

The other day you told us: Nancy Pelosi is perfect fit for San Francisco

The editorial went on to say she was also the best choice for the country. Apparently, all the stupid people do not see it that way. They do agree that Pelosi embodies San Francisco values, it's why just 8% of independent voters view her favorably. My question is, "By what tortured definition of "independent" are these people describing themselves?"

Republicans Poised to Win Mid-Term Elections: Survey

Likely voters view Ms. Pelosi unfavorably by a two-to-one margin. Among independents, just 8 percent view the Speaker positively, compared to 61 percent who view her negatively.
Requiem for the Pelosi Democrats
"It's been an authoritarian, closed leadership."
Ms Pelosi will not be Speaker of the House in the next Congress. She has never been the speaker for Americans.

Here be dragons

...from the medieval practice of putting sea serpents in blank areas of maps.

Gallup calls today's long awaited thrashing of the Democrats "Uncharted Territory." Let's make sure they are proven correct. Today is the most consequential election of your lifetime.

Don't get cocky.
Make sure you vote!

Readers of this blog probably already know there is no Michigan Democrat, in any race, for whom you should vote, but just in case there is any confusion regarding non-partisan candidates it's:

Mary Beth Kelly and Robert Young Jr for Supreme Court. IMPORTANT.

Billie Jo O'Berry for 30th Circuit Court (because Canady is terrible).

On the partisan candidates, exceptions to the GOP are:

Stacey Mathia or Ken Proctor for Governor. (why?)

Libertarians for all State Boards and Regents.  (To provide a baseline.  See 'why?', just above).

On propositions:


NO on additional taxation for Ingham County Police Patrols.

NO on Con Con.

Show me the dragons.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Fatuous bunch of crap

Carolyn Lin is professor of communication sciences in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and associate dean of the UConn Graduate School. She is "an expert on campaign strategy."

Here's the proof in her own words:

The most damaging aspect about negative political advertising is that when the lies about another candidate stick, there is no easy way for that candidate to rebut those lies...

Around the country, a lot of candidates have been condemning government and the need for government to participate in people's lives. But Lin says most voters really don't agree with that, since elimination of government might mean you have to pave your own street, establish you [sic] own fire department, go without food safety regulations, or live without government help in a disaster such as a hurricane, earthquake, or oil spill...

You have to craft messages in such a way that people can understand them. You need one clear message, and you need to hang on it throughout the campaign...

Says Lin, “Turnout will be the key for both candidates.”
"[T]he need for government to participate in people's lives"? Need? Participate?? I guess that's more profound than “Turnout will be the key for both candidates,” less profound than "when the lies about another candidate stick, there is no easy way for that candidate to rebut those lies," and as profound as "You have to craft messages in such a way that people can understand them."  Where would we be without expert campaign strategists?

"Elimination of government." Where did she get that? Though I'd be happy to repair my own streets if people like Carolyn Lin were in charge: I'd be directing the moat digging and the placement of caltrops.

"Establish my own Fire Department?" Hell, Ingham County already tells me I have to establish my own Police Department.

I hope, for UConn's sake, that parents paying for their children's education there do not become aware this drivel.