Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Is Obama Wright?

Five Hundred Fifty

The ultimate performance version of Cadillac's new midsize sedan, the CTS-V will hit the streets with at least 550 HP. We drove the standard 304 HP V6 version of this car a couple weeks ago and found that powerplant more than adequate. It doesn't offer the seat-crushing torque of the Hemi in my current ride, but almost any driver would be satisfied.

The Hemi has 340 HP and pushes 4,046 pounds around (in the 300C).

The CTS-V's turbocharged V8 will be pushing a little more than 3900 pounds with at least another 110 HP.

For some perspective, consider the standard 2008 Corvette has 430 HP. The Dodge Viper, with an 8.4 Liter V-10 just tops the CTS-V at 600 HP.

I probably won't get a chance to drive one of these, and probably wouldn't want to own one.

I don't even know how you'd find a way to enjoy that kind of power in a passenger car. I get into enough trouble with what I've got.

Morons of a Lesser God

These stories never cease to disgust. A Wisconsin couple allowed their eleven year old daughter to die of complications of Type-1 diabetes.

Was it because they couldn't afford insulin because of a crack habit?


They prayed.

God didn't answer in time.

Daughter died.

A couple who prayed as their 11-year-old daughter died of untreated diabetes will be charged with second-degree reckless homicide, a prosecutor said Monday.

I don't believe we are to understand God's motivation or timing. One has to wonder, if these lost souls believed that God would heal their daughter of her diabetes, how do they rationalize God allowing their daughter to get it in the first place?

JBird's mother prays every night for God to heal our daughter. In the mean time, we help her manager her diet, insulin levels and otherwise keep her as healthy as possible.

We are buoyed by the fact that Type-1 Diabetes is thought to be curable in the foreseeable future and also that we know of many adults that live otherwise normal, healthy lives as a result of a careful regimen of diet and insulin treatment.

Madeline Neumann, daughter of Dale and Leilani Neumann, died March 23 at the family's rural Weston home. An autopsy determined she died from undiagnosed diabetic ketoacidosis, an ailment that left her with too little insulin in her body.

The grandmother said she told Leilani Neumann to take the girl to the doctor but the mother said her daughter "would be fine and God would heal her," the court record said.

The grandmother eventually contacted a daughter-in-law in California, who called police on a non-emergency line to report the girl was in a coma and needed medical help. An ambulance was dispatched to the home shortly before some friends in the home called 911 to report the girl had stopped breathing, authorities said.

The Neumanns each face up to 25 years in prison if convicted. Charges were being filed later Monday, Falstad said.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Can You Smell What The Barack is Cooking?

Hungry? Blame Algore.

a Roosh Five Original

Al Gore, who is decidedly well fed, is being blamed for creating a real crisis in the wake of his politically-motivated sham-crisis, Man Made Global Warming.

(sort of hard to acknowledge Global Warming as while I started this post, my grass which just started to go green is now covered in snow...on April 26th)

With prices for rice, wheat, and corn soaring, food-related unrest has broken out in places such as Haiti, Indonesia, and Afghanistan. Several countries have blocked the export of grain. There is even talk that governments could fall if they cannot bring food costs down.

One factor being blamed for the price hikes is the use of government subsidies to promote the use of corn for ethanol production. An estimated 30% of America’s corn crop now goes to fuel, not food.

Nice. So the federal government borrows more money to subsidize ethanol production, which weakens the dollar further, making oil even more expensive.

“I don’t think anybody knows precisely how much ethanol contributes to the run-up in food prices, but the contribution is clearly substantial,” a professor of applied economics and law at the University of Minnesota, C. Ford Runge, said. A study by a Washington think tank, the International Food Policy Research Institute, indicated that between a quarter and a third of the recent hike in commodities prices is attributable to biofuels.

What's the trade off of burning our food to "save the planet?" (notice the quotes?)

One fill up equals a year of nutrition for a human being (or three months if you're Al Gore).

“It takes around 400 pounds of corn to make 25 gallons of ethanol,” Mr. Senauer, also an applied economics professor at Minnesota, said. “It’s not going to be a very good diet but that’s roughly enough to keep an adult person alive for a year.”

Meanwhile, the ethanol industry, which sprung up mostly in response to Global Warming alarmists stands in peril as the world's governments say "Oops" in unison.

Way to go, Al.

Monday, April 28, 2008

What to do with your Government Handout -er Rebate Check

I won't belabor the point that President Bush's Government Stimuless Plan is a bad idea that will further weaken the dollar, driving oil, commodity and food prices ever higher.

(I did that here)

Besides, he doesn't usually ask me for my opinion and your check is apparently already in the mail.

I won't be getting one but I'm happy to tell you what to do, and what not to do with yours.

1. Pay down your debt: pay off some of the fun you've already had. Credit cards first, then car loans, and if you're saving enough for retirement and educating your kids, pay down home equity credit lines and your mortgage.

2. Invest it in a home improvement: preferably an improvement to your kitchen or a bathroom. Either will give you the most leverage with your investment. A new sink, counter top, floor tile, even new faucets will add at least as much value to your home as you invest, probably more.

3. Spend it in your community: go to your local hardware store and spend it on stuff made in America. Something made by Toro for example.

4. Buy American: If you spend it on stuff, make sure it's American stuff because the check you have in your hand is money borrowed from the Chinese so make sure you don't send it back to them. We're all going to have to pay it back someday.

5. Donate it to charity: The federal government is not a charity but they think you are so give the money to someone more deserving.

6. Put it in a Section 529 Plan for your kids' college education: Invest in your kids. The cost of a college education is growing at double the rate of inflation due mostly to politics and mismanagement. Soon only rich kids will be able to afford college. Best get a head start.

7. Put it in a Roth IRA: If you got a check, chances are you qualify for a Roth IRA. Pay the price now or pay it later, retirement is coming faster than you think. If you get into a jam, you can always get at the contributions without penalty and in the mean time the money will grow and distribute tax-free at retirement.

8. Save it: I know it's a radical idea. Banks have these things called savings accounts and they will be happy to take your money, pay you some interest, keep it liquid for you, and better yet, lend it to someone else who might start a company or build a building or otherwise create jobs and economic growth.

Whatever you do, don't buy consumer electronics, like that Plasma TV your perpetually adolescent buddy just put on three-years-same-as-cash, as you might as well just send the check directly to China or Japan. My apologies to my friends at Best Buy but whatever you buy there will be in the landfill in five years.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Obama Admits to Getting High during his Campaign!

"...I don’t get too high when I’m high..."
So he inhales, but not that much.

FYI, this is a parody

Make a Difference

My son sent me this video. It has a great message. Please watch it.

Glory Days

In October The USPS will start selling forty two cent stamps with some of the more striking examples of America's automotive glory years. These were the years of tailfins, style, raw horsepower and when "The Cadillac" of something, anything, actually held meaning.

These were also the years of dominant American marketshare.

Check them out here.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

As a Liberal, I will Raise Your Taxes

"...and mine too, If I get around to paying them!!! Ha Ha Ha Ha!"

On Friday, Franken's campaign manager, Andy Barr, declined to say whether Franken had paid taxes on earnings in California between 2003 and 2007.

He said Franken's accountant is working with California officials to sort things out.

Hey Al, why don't you get your own Sh*t together, then maybe run for office in a State you don't even live in, with a campaign funded by people also having nothing to do with Minnesota.

Spacehog - In The Mean Time

Friday, April 25, 2008


I don't watch a lot of TV at all but last night in the cool-down period after a rather mediocre episode of The Office, we caught 30 Rock.

The quote of the night was Alec Baldwin's character expressing his disdain for his company's (GE) board of directors, "the most sycophantic group of yes men this side of an Al Franken book signing."

And now for your vocabularic enjoyment:

Sycophant (

a self-seeking, servile flatterer; fawning parasite.

Sycophant (Wikipedia)

A sycophant (Gr. (συκοφάντης)) is a servile person who, acting in their own self interest, attempts to win favor by flattering one or more influential person, with an undertone that this is at the cost of their own personal pride, principles, and peer respect.

In ancient Greece the word was the counterpart of the Roman "delator": a public informer.

According to ancient authorities, the word (derived by them from συκο suko, "fig", and φανης fanēs, "to show") meant one who informed against another for exporting figs (which was forbidden by law) or for stealing the fruit of the sacred fig-trees, whether in time of famine or on any other occasion (Plutarch, Life of Solon, 24, 2.).

The Oxford English Dictionary, however, states that this explanation, though common, "cannot be substantiated", and suggests that it may refer instead to the insulting gesture of "making a fig" or to an obscene alternate meaning for "fig", namely sykon which means cunt.[1]

Another old explanation was that fines and taxes were at one time paid in figs, wine and oil, and those who collected such payments in kind were often called sycophants because they publicly handed them in.[citation needed]

Of course, I liked it because it was Alec Baldwin defaming Al Franken.

BMW. The Ultimate Listening Machine

A BMW Car is a Bimmer.

A BMW Motorcycle is a Beemer.

A BMW Speaker is a....

Bummer? Bumper? Bommer? Bammer!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Ford Loves Your Butt

The Ford Motor Company is leveraging its design and engineering resources to give your seat the most exquisite driving sensation. Your butt will cherish the experience. Their new slogan?

"Has your butt been in a Ford lately?"

The extra care taken in the design of the seats is in line with Prozzi’s overall objective for the Flex interior to create an environment that customers will not tire of. “In fact, it should be something you cherish experiencing every day,” he says.

I've driven a lot of cool cars over the years but I've never "Cherished" the experience. Those seats must be quite splendid.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

McCain Takes On Taxed Talk

Cell phones are going to be a hot issue here in Minnesota as Amy Klobbershar pushes her asinine Cell Phone Consumer Empowerment Act of 2007, as if five or more carriers don't provide enough in the way of competition for consumers. True to form, the DFL believes government should be involved in every aspect of our sad little lives.

Do you really want to know whose sticking it to you when you use your cell phone? None other than the feds.

Among the better ideas John McCain announced last week is a ban on new cellphone taxes. For America's 257 million wireless subscribers, the GOP Presidential candidate is advancing a sensible policy with political punch.

A recent analysis by economist Scott Mackey in the journal State Tax Notes shows that the average monthly tax burden on wireless customers is more than 15% – double the average sales tax burden. In some states, such as New York (big surprise), the total tax bite is more than 20%.

Tax on Talking

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Let's Play Hide the Obama!

Obama doesn't want to play any more. After the other night, he doesn't want the hard questions.

...because he ain't got the answers.

Big baby.

Does this bode well for Obammy? Have Hillary and Obama succeeded at tearing each other's candidacy to shreds?

...or will McCain finish Obama off once Hillary is done with him?

Hillary Clinton had accepted the invitation to Sunday's proposed (North Carolina) debate but Barack Obama's campaign had not. In an interview with the Charlotte Observer earlier this month, Obama voiced skepticism about participating in too many debates.

"I will tell you, after the 21st debate," Obama told the paper (in advance of last week's 21st debate), "all of which have been nationally televised . . . North Carolinians have had ample opportunity to watch these debates. . . . I don't know that they are ending up being more informative than the kinds of town hall meetings that we've scheduled."

Of course, after last week's debate--which turned out to be highly informative--Obama has got to be wishing he had stopped at 20.

It strikes us that Obama may be setting a trap for himself. Consider the experience of John Kerry in 2004: He won nomination easily, with the media largely buying into his "war hero" story and not asking tough questions.

One notable exception was ABC's Charlie Gibson, who almost exactly a year ago confronted Kerry about his shifty behavior vis-à-vis his medals.

Once Kerry was past the convention, the questions that should have been asked much earlier began coming out. The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ended up doing the media's job for them. If Obama succeeds in avoiding the tough questions now, someone will end up asking them in the fall.

Will he be prepared?

I think not. And the tough stuff is beyond Hillary. It is becoming clear that the Democrats are in big trouble. Already.

Tahoe Hybrid: Punishment for Being Green

I saw my first Tahoe Hybrid on the road tonight.
My reaction?
If you have an appreciation for Hybrid Technology (at any cost) than certainly, as the commercials say, the best application of the technology is going to be where it has the greatest potential impact. SUV's.

Save 25% (or whatever) of the fuel a Prius-sized car burns? Okay. Save 25% of what a full-sized SUV that is something.

Thing is...why is the thing so homely? Why punish those willing to pony up a few extra grand to save a few less in gas by making the rig an ugly suit?

The answer is clear and can be found in the reasons why (among others) the Honda Accord Hybrid didn't sell (and was killed) and the Prius, despite it's butt-ugliness, continues to enjoy strong sales.

The Honda didn't sell because it wasn't ugly enough. Okay, so it isn't the ugliness per se that makes the difference. Its the difference that makes the difference. The Accord Hybrid looked almost exactly like the standard version.

As for the Prius? It may be ugly, wimpy, and embarrassing, but it is distinctive. You know it's a Hybrid.

You see owners of Hybrids have been proven to be conspicuously green. They aren't content with saving the planet and keeping it to themselves. They want to be recognized for their valor!

I don't begrudge them. Anyone willing to pay a premium for a car that will only be returned to them if they keep the car for fifteen years should garner some recognition.

And that is why they made the Tahoe, replete with homely 80's-era Pontiac plastic cladding, lumpy bumper covers and four-inch high "Hybrid" decals down the sides, as ugly as they could.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Who's Bitter? Obama.

Obama's political inexperience is showing of late, mostly when he opens his mouth. One has to wonder if the DNC is starting to worry that Obama will not have the ability to weather, let alone prevail, in what will surely be a full-on frontal attack by Team McCain for the general election.

Right now Obama is doing their work for them.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Syndicate

Most discussions about the rising cost of health care emphasize the need to get more people insured. The assumption seems to be that insurance – rather than the service delivered by doctor to patient – is the important commodity.

But perhaps the solution to much of what currently plagues us in health care – rising costs and bureaucracy, diminishing levels of service – rests on a radically different approach: fewer people insured.

You don't need to be an economist to understand that any middleman interposed between seller and buyer raises the price of a given service or product. Some intermediaries justify this by providing benefits, such as salesmanship, advertising or transport. Others offer physical facilities, such as warehouses. A third group, organized crime, utilizes fear and intimidation to muscle its way into the provider-consumer chain, raking in hefty profits and bloating cost, without providing any benefit at all.

The health insurance model is closest to the parasitic relationship imposed by the Mafia and the like. Insurance companies provide nothing other than an ambiguous, shifty notion of "protection." But even the Mafia doesn't stick its nose into the process; once the monthly skim is set, Don Whoever stays out of the picture, but for occasional "cost of doing business" increases. When insurance companies insinuate themselves into the system, their first step is figuring out how to increase the skim by harming the people they are allegedly protecting through reduced service.

If you find merit in this perspective, imagine if you will if that (or and additional) "middleman" became the federal government...with it's history of mismanagement and cost overruns...can anyone possibly imagine our healthcare system actually getting better?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Tax My HSA!?

If you want to raise the ire of the average American and his or her employer, there may be no better way to do it right now than mess with their HSA's.

Health Savings Accounts are bringing choice and therefore market forces to bear on the health insurance industry. They help employers and employees reduce and better manage their health care expenditures. Most importantly, they allow the consumer to become more involved in the decision-making process, which I can't help but think has put insurance companies and health care providers on notice.

But then there's the Democrats. Their lack of understanding of job creation and economic growth, let alone the motivations and forces that create the wealth they are so intent on redistributing, never ceases to amaze. Their rabid wont for revenue to grow government is palpable and unsustainable.

Democrats have made affordable health care a mainstay of their election agenda, but apparently only if you're willing to get insurance through the government. Witness their stealthy assault on Americans who prefer the private-sector option of Health Savings Accounts.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Louise: Thank You

On Monday morning, we lost my wife's mother, Louise. She battled respiratory illness for many years; the last year and a half were the hardest.

Louise raised three healthy, happy children who have all gone on to have families of their own; ten grandchildren. Our Jujubee shares her middle name with her grandmother and of our three, is the most touched by the loss.

Louise's husband, strong and stoic, lovingly cared for her every need these past few months. He kept every promise. I don't know a better man.

The caregivers at North Memorial Hospice were so wonderful to Louise. It was evident, they loved her too.

We will celebrate Louise's life tomorrow and lay her to rest on Saturday. We know that now, for the first time in years, she breathes easy. She watches over her children, her masterwork; and her grandchildren, her greatest joy.

Temple Bailey in the short story entitled, "A Mother's Way" describes a mother's walk this way:

The young mother set her foot on the path of life, "Is the way long?"

"Yes," her guide said, "and the way is hard. You will be old before you reach the end of it. But--" he stopped to smile warmly, "the end will be better than the beginning."

The young mother was so happy, and thought, that she could not believe anything could be better than these early years. She played with her children, and gathered flowers for them along the way, and bathed them in the clear streams. The sun shone on them and life was good, and the young mother cried, "Nothing will ever be lovelier than this."

Then night came, and storm, and the path was dark. The children shook with fear and cold, and the mother drew them close, covering them with her mantle. Her children said, "Oh, mother, we are not afraid when you are near." The mother said, "This is better than the brightness of the day, for I have taught my children courage."

Then the morning came and there was a hill ahead. The children climbed and grew weary. The mother was weary too, but she kept encouraging her children, "A little patience and we are there." So the children continued to climb. When they reached the top, they said, "We could not have done it without you, mother." And the mother, when she lay down that night, looked past the stars and said, "This is a better day than the last. My children have learned fortitude in the face of difficulty. Yesterday I taught them courage, today I have taught them strength."

With the next day came strange clouds that darkened the earth--clouds of war and hate and evil. The children groped and stumbled. The mother said, "Look up. Lift your eyes past the blackness to the Light." The children looked up and saw an Everlasting Glory above the strange clouds. It guided them and brought them through the darkness and evil. That night the mother said, "This is the best day of all, for I have helped my children learn to see God."

The days went on, and the weeks and the months and the years. The mother grew old, until she was very little and bent. But her children were tall and strong, and they walked with courage. When the way was hard, they helped their mother; when the way was rough, they lifted her, for she was as light as a feather. At last they came to a hill, and beyond the hill they could see a shining road and golden gate flung open wide. The mother said, "I have reached the end of my journey. Now I know that the end really is better than they beginning. For my children can walk alone and they will teach their children after them."

The children said, "You will always walk with us, mother, even when you have gone through the gate."

They stood and watched her as she went on alone, and the gates closed after her. They said, "We can't see her, but she is with us still. A mother like ours is more than a memory."

Double Trouble

This is not a good sign as it relates to the economy nor does it bode well for the future retirement of these individuals.

What's even worse, one who borrows from a 401k, if intending to pay the loan back, exposes oneself to one of the few situations where an individual will be taxed twice on the same dollars.

As you may know, contributions to a 401k are tax deductible, grow tax deferred, and are taxed at distribution. When the owner of the 401k takes a loan, the loan comes out tax-free but is paid back with after-tax (already-taxed dollars). When those dollars are distributed back at retirement, they are taxed again.

If the loan remains at termination of employment, the loan almost always has to be paid back, or it will be considered a distribution. A distribution before age 59 1/2 will most likely result in a tax liability and a 10% penalty.

It is probably better to borrow the money elsewhere if at all possible and reserve the 401k loan option for only the most dire circumstances.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Today's Special: The Waffle

In November, Mr. Obama said he would accept public financing for the general campaign if John McCain committed to public funds. Now he doesn't want to be tied down by the spending limits attached to public funds. This is embarrassing. Solution: Call his Internet contributors a "parallel public financing" system.

That's not the Change you were talking it Senator? Is this a manifestation of the Kerry endorsement?

Good for him. But Mr. Obama is unmistakably talking about abandoning the virtuous world that campaign finance reformers have in mind. The reformers' agenda has always been to limit "the influence of money" in politics, and do so by capping the amount candidates can spend. This naturally appealed to Mr. Obama when he was the underdog. But now that he's top dog, standing on principle isn't as appealing as the prospect of a colossal war chest.

Mr. Obama once said he would "aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election." Mr. McCain has already taken steps toward public financing in the general election. So now Mr. Obama wants to preserve his reputation as a reformer while exploiting his new financial advantage. We are all beginning to learn how expansive the meaning of "change" is.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008



But you must admit, the Democrats are giving us every dollar's entertainment value that is.

If I am to read correctly the positions of late, Obama is not a racist (he just hung out with them for twenty years and keeps accidentally speaking like one) and Hillary attended Charlton Heston's funeral.

Mr. Obama's comments are a gift to Hillary Clinton, who pounced on his "demeaning remarks," presenting herself as more in tune with Pennsylvania values – even reminiscing about how her father taught her to shoot a gun. Mrs. Clinton may have earned an "F" from the National Rifle Association for her Senate voting record, but she'll take any opening she can.

Senator Obama has had a mostly charmed Presidential run, but the truth is there's much that Americans still don't know about him or what he believes.

The American Dream: Pay More Taxes

Who says Congressmen can't be funny?!

California Republican Congressment John Campbell as introduced a bill to allow such giants of fiscal intelligence like Barbara Streisand and puzzling proponents of higher taxes like Warren Buffet to put their money where there mouths are.

if Bill and Hillary Clinton are eager to pay more taxes, they should write a personal check to the U.S. Treasury to compensate for the lower tax rates they so frequently decry. And lo, here comes legislation to make it easier for the former first lady and other pseudo-populists to do just that.

The bill would allow for contributions to the federal troughs above and beyond one's lawful burden.

California Republican John Campbell yesterday introduced in the House his "Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is Act," which would amend the tax code to allow individuals to make voluntary donations to the federal government above their normal tax liability. The bill would place a new line on IRS tax forms to make this easy.

Funny thing is, you can already do this. Last years take?

Still, don't expect many to take Mr. Campbell up on his offer. The Treasury already accepts voluntary donations to decrease the nation's debt; last year it received all of $2.6 million. Apparently even most liberals would rather keep their money, or bequeath their estates to charity rather than to the IRS.

I suppose that is why Buffet has pledged his Billions to the Gates foundation - not the federal government.

Monday, April 14, 2008

I Am America (And So Can You!)

So as to have some listening material for a series of connecting flights to a cruise last month, I downloaded Steven Colbert's audio book version of I Am America (And So Can You!)

If you didn't know this already, Steven Colbert is the comedian to conservatives. He is one of America's most promising satirists. The Yang to his previous employer, if not mentor, the decidedly liberal John Stewart of the Daily Show on Comedy Central. Truth be told, I think he's funnier than Stewart and I think Stewart knows it!

(not to be confused with this John Stewart who is also entertaining but by no means a liberal)

Colbert's thesis? Fix America!

I Am America is so in your face, so over the top that if you are not careful you will miss the even funnier subtleties laced in the narative.

From the introduction:

Now, you might ask yourself, if by yourself you mean me, "Stephen, if you don't like books, why did you write one?" You just asked yourself a trick question. I didn't write it. I dictated it. I shouted it into a tape recorder over the Columbus Day weekend, then handed it to my agent and said, "Sell this." He's the one who turned it into a book. It's his funeral.
But I get your "drift." Why even dictate?

Well, like a lot of other dictators, there is one man's opinion I value above all others. Mine. And folks, I have a lot of opinions. I'm like Lucy trying to keep up with the candy at the chocolate factory. I can barely put them in my mouth fast enough.

In fact, I have so many opinions, I have overwhelmed my ability to document myself. I thought my nightly broadcast, The Colbert Report (check your local listings), would pick up some of the slack. But here's the dirty little secret. When the cameras go off, I'm still talking. And right now all that opinion is going to waste, like seed on barren ground. Well no more. It's time to impregnate this country with my mind.

Colbert leaves no conservative stone unturned.

Part 1: My American Childhood
Chapter 1: The Family
Chapter 2: Old People
Chapter 3: Animals
Chapter 4: Religion

Part 2: My American Adolescence
Chapter 5: Sports
Chapter 6: Sex and Dating
Chapter 7: Homosexuals
Chapter 8: Higher Education
Chapter 9: Hollywood

Part 3: My American Maturity
Chapter 10: The Media
Chapter 11: Class War
Chapter 12: Race
Chapter 13: Immigrants
Chapter 14: Science

Conclusion: The Future

The narrative is filled with strident opinions, sound effects, and guest narrators. As it is narrated by Colbert himself, I can't imagine the written version being nearly as funny.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Nathan Miller & Unstoppable Company

We headed out to the Fine Line Friday night to attend a cancer benefit event my sister helped organize for a close friend who is suffering from lung cancer, despite having never smoked.

We left having discovered a solid local talent.

Nathan Miller, wielding his signature lap guitar, and displaying a fairly impressive vocal aptitude, kicked off a great night to a full house. Think Jeff Healey (God rest his soul) meets Jonny Lang.

Nathan Miller on CD Baby:

"What is that instrument he's playing?" That's usually one of the first reactions to Nathan Miller. For the record it's an acoustic lap slide guitar. Its roots are from the 20s and 30s when Hawaiian music was all the rage. Today Nathan uses it for everything but Hawaiian music (maybe one day though). One listen and you wont care what instrument Nathan Miller is playing, but you will want more.

Nathan Miller began playing guitar after hearing Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze” on a record his mother bought him when he was 12. That Hendrix record would lead him on a search to find all of Hendrix’s influences. It was there, in the search for inspiration, that he fell in love with the blues. “I’d say from about the time I was 13 until I was 20, or so, all I listened too, and all I played was blues music.” Cutting his teeth on Albert King, Albert Collins, Son House, Charley Patton, and contemporaries such as Stevie Ray Vaughan, Johnny Winter, and Chris Duarte, Nathan began getting friends together to jam whenever he could.

After High School Nathan reluctantly attended the University of Minnesota where he was introduced to hip hop music by some friends in the dorm. Those friends he met where in the popular Minneapolis hip hop group The Oddjobs (currently known as Kill the Vultures). They introduced Nathan to a whole new world of music by taking him to house parties, and concerts. “They showed me the most amazing emcees and ever since I have been influenced by these great hip hop artists.”

It was also during this time where Nathan began straying away from the blues music he loved so much. Finding no real place to take the music in the confines of 12 bar shuffles, and I-IV-V chord progressions, Nathan found himself at a crossroads for what he wanted to do with music. He says, “I just kept playing all the time thinking all these licks all these songs this entire style has just been done to death. My blues heroes wouldn’t want me copying them, they would want me to innovate, to make my own blues.” So he put away the electric guitar and turned his focus to songwriting.

After woodshedding for a couple years Nathan had himself a handful of acoustic shows under his belt and a new batch of original songs but he still wasn’t happy. He needed something to change, that all came in the form of some industrial steel, an art project, and a $35 acoustic guitar pickup.

Nathan had always been interested in lap slide guitar, and its voice like qualities. “I was always a little afraid to approach it, for whatever reason.” In a metal sculpture class in college, Nathan’s professor came up with a class assignment to make a playable instrument out of found metal objects. “This was my chance to play lap slide guitar, and it didn’t feel as intimidating because I only made it with 3 strings.” From the moment he played it for the class, he knew he had found the voice he was looking for.

Purchasing an old lap slide guitar, then later commissioning luthier Rance White out of North Carolina’s Lazy River Guitar Company to build some weissenborn-style acoustic lap steels, he began playing and writing songs featuring the instrument. Influenced by contemporary players such as David Lindley, Bob Brozeman, and Ben Harper, Nathan began gaining notoriety around town as the lap guitar guy.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Domestic Terror

Democrats have their finger on the button and are just waiting for the opportunity to push it.

As the presidential campaign enters its final stages, there will be increased debate over budget priorities and how they will be paid for. Many commentators and political leaders, including Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, believe that tax increases are needed to restore near-term budget balance and finance longer-term entitlement growth.

These claims fail budget arithmetic and economics. Worse, they raise serious questions about the nation's broad fiscal policies and its commitment to economic growth.

The tax code changes enacted in 2001 and 2003 are scheduled to expire at the end of 2010. If they do, statutory marginal tax rates will rise across the board; ranging from a 13% increase for the highest income households to a 50% increase in tax rates faced by lower-income households.

Liberal democrats, devoid of any other strategies, are going to pull the only lever they've ever known. Does anyone actually believe they have a clue as to what is required to restore our economy's ability to grow and create jobs?

Proponents of bigger government invariably argue that allowing all or some of President Bush's tax cuts to expire is necessary in the near term to balance the federal budget, and necessary in the longer term to finance the retirement and health-care promises made to the baby-boom generation. But a tax increase is neither wise nor necessary.

As has so often been true in the past, the economic damage caused by the tax increases and tax avoidance behavior will prevent the promised revenues from being realized. At the same time, the promise of higher revenues will encourage Congress to continue its profligate spending. As a result, a tax increase won't lower the budget deficit.

The current economic slowdown will increase the federal budget deficit this year and, in all likelihood, next year as well. But as the economy enters its recovery phase, raising taxes would choke off the recovery. The right policy, for both the economy and the budget, would be to make current tax rates permanent well before the scheduled increase. Giving investors greater certainty that current tax rates will be maintained will spur investment and aid the economic recovery, as it did in 2003. Federal budget balance will be achieved once the economy is again operating on all its cylinders.

More here.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Benefits of Socialized Medicine

A patient was left with a phone bill of £127 after being left hanging on the line for 49 minutes to make a hospital appointment.

Wayne Marshall, 30, was left fuming after spending nearly an hour on the phone to the outpatients' department of Broomfield Hospital.

But he was gobsmacked when he discovered the two calls had landed him with a bill of £127 for just trying to rearrange his appointment.

He eventually got through on his second attempt the same day after a 29-minute call.

We should do this! Its sounds super-duper!

ARCKID - I'll Stick around

Great song. It's been on Sirius for a long time but you can't buy the CD or the song on iTunes for some reason.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Can We Have Some Rice with That?

(CNN) – Condoleezza Rice has said she has no desire to be John McCain's running mate, but a new poll out Wednesday suggests that duo could beat the Democratic ticket in the bluest of states.

In a new poll conducted by Marist College and WNBC, a McCain-Rice ticket would beat a ticket that includes both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in New York — a state that reliably votes for the Democratic candidate. (In 2004, John Kerry beat President Bush there by nearly 20 points. In 2000, the margin between Al Gore and Bush was an even higher 25 points.)

But should McCain and Rice team up, the poll suggests the two Republicans would carry New York, defeating a Clinton-Obama ticket by 3 points (49-46 percent) and an Obama-Clinton ticket by 5 points (49-44 percent.)

Rescue Dawn

Rescue Dawn is a pretty well made film, based on true events, it depicts the adventures of Dieter Dengler, a Navy pilot who is shot down conducting a secret bombing mission. Secret because the US was supposedly not yet in the war in Viet Nam when he was assigned the mission.

Dieter is captured and thrown in with other POW's that have been captive for a couple years before Dengler got there. Ostensibly, the rest of the story is their survival and escape.

I found the movie interesting and timely given John McCain's experience as a POW even though I don't think he spent time in a jungle camp like these guys.

Christian Bale (see Batman Begins) and Steve Zahn (a Minnesota native) offer decent performances.

Rescue Dawn is an entertaining movie, good enough to rent at least, mostly because it's (based on) a true story.

Or is it?

The family of Dieter Dengler disagrees. They have their own website debunking the authenticity of the producer's version of events depitcted in the movie.

Whether the heroe's welcome at the end is true or not, it was satisfying enough, all told a pretty good film, authentic or not.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Full Service Advisor

You don't even have to sign your own name!

Ameriprise Financial Inc. has agreed to pay the state of New Hampshire $3.84 million to settle allegations that some of its financial advisers forged at least 96 customers’ signatures, the New Hampshire Bureau of Securities Regulations said today.

Obama isn't Liberal.

He's really really liberal.

When it comes to being labeled "a liberal," Barack Obama is dismissive. "Oh, he's liberal. He's liberal," he said recently in describing a characterization of him by Republicans. "Let me tell you something. There's nothing liberal about wanting to reduce money in politics. It's common sense. . . . There's nothing liberal about wanting to make sure that everybody has health care."

Unless higher taxes and larger government is the answer. Which of course for always is.

Mr. Obama needs to inoculate himself against the claim that he's a liberal. For the past quarter-century it has been consistently the most effective charge made by Republicans against Democrats. America is a center-right country and in modern times has not elected a thoroughgoing liberal as president (Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton ran as moderate Democrats). The problem is that, by any reasonable standard, Mr. Obama is an orthodox liberal.

...which almost makes it sound as though it is to be revered!

National Journal rated him as the most liberal person in the Senate in 2007, and for good reason. On economic policy, Mr. Obama favors higher income, Social Security and corporate taxes. He supports massive increases in domestic spending and greater government regulation of the economy. He favors a significantly larger role for the federal government in health care. He opposes the North American Free Trade Agreement.

...does any of that sound like anything other than the same old liberal politics? Obammmmma, where's the Change? Gimme some of that Change you've been ramblin' about!

Mr. Obama has criticized the Supreme Court's decision to uphold a partial birth abortion ban, and he wants to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. He voted against John Roberts and Samuel Alito for the Supreme Court. In Illinois, Mr. Obama supported banning the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns. And he supports granting driver's licenses to illegal immigrants.

For whatever reason, Mr. Obama has failed to do what Mr. Clinton did in 1992 – run as a "new" Democrat who favors some conservative policies.

Methinks come the general, America's going to see this guy coming. Hopefully McCain will see to that.
Since Mr. Obama's record reveals him to be a doctrinaire liberal, he dismisses ideological labels as simplistic, misleading and outmoded. When asked if he's comfortable with the liberal label, he says, "This is what I would call old politics. This is the stuff we're trying to get rid of . . . Those old categories don't work, and they're preventing us from solving problems."

Let me translate. What Obama is offering is the same old crap with a different name. Ham in a can is Spam, no matter what you call it.

In fact, "liberal" and "conservative" can be useful (if incomplete) monikers – a shorthand way of describing where an individual stands on issues and, as importantly, their political philosophy. They are an indicator of a person's underlying assumptions, the propositions they embrace or reject. Mr. Obama's effort to present himself as a post-ideological figure is an effort to avoid an important national debate. And John McCain should not let Mr. Obama (assuming he wins the Democratic nomination) get away with it.

But because the political environment and challenges facing America have changed significantly since Ronald Reagan was president, it will not be enough for Mr. McCain to invoke the word "liberal" against Mr. Obama. Mr. McCain needs to present a compelling case on the foundational beliefs that divide liberalism and conservatism – on matters like the size and role of government, competition and accountability in education, health care, and whether higher taxes encourage or retard economic growth. Mr. McCain also needs to force a debate on the proper role of the judiciary, the protection owed to unborn children and the rights owed to unlawful enemy combatants, and whether promoting liberty should be a central aim of American foreign policy in combating militant Islam.

Mr. McCain needs to become an educator-in-chief on matters of political philosophy. He won't be able to fulfill that role nearly as well as Reagan, who was a philosophical conservative in the way that Mr. McCain (and most other Republican politicians) is not. And Mr. McCain himself has, until now, been sui generis on matters of conservatism. His challenge is to make his case well enough to convince Americans not only that Mr. Obama is a liberal, but that having a liberal in the White House would do real damage to our country.

Mr. McCain has overcome harder challenges than this one.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Energy Bus

Written by Jon Gordon, The Energy Bus uses a simple if not a little corny story to impress upon the reader the importance of managing one's personal attitude as well as making sure to surround yourself with people of the same caliber. There is very little new ground covered here but it is a very easy, quick read with short chapters that can be read one each night.

“It’s Monday morning and George walks out the front door to his car and a flat tire. But this is the least of his problems. His home life is in shambles and his team at work is in disarray. With a big new product launch coming up in 2 weeks for the NRG-2000 he has to find a way to get it together or risk losing his marriage and job. Forced to take the bus to work, George meets a unique kind of bus driver and an interesting set of characters (passengers) that over the course of 2 weeks share the 10 rules for the ride of his life… and attempt to help him turn around his work and team and save his job and marriage from an almost inevitable destruction.”

A good read for anyone that needs a little attitudinal adjustment or maintenance.

Jon Gordon's Web Site

Now That's Funny!

...I don't care who you are!
HT Lynn S

There Goes the Neighborhood

If you are not one of the folks who over-extended yourself by purchasing a home you couldn't afford by entering into a mortgage you shouldn't have qualified for, and should have known was going to go up, you're going to pay any way. After all, this is America. Land of the safety net.

...and the falling dollar.

It appears there is no one left in Washington that has any respect for the taxpayer or our financial fitness as a nation.

Congress is going to stick it to the rest of us and give the money to one of the most notoriously ineffective agencies in the Federal Government.

Majority Leader Harry Reid's bipartisan "housing stimulus package" hits the Senate floor on Tuesday afternoon, and what it proves is that, whatever their other differences, both parties can agree to throw good money after bad. The bill is a $15 billion list of subsidies that won't do much for housing markets but will please the homebuilders, local politicians and other influential lobbies.

Among the largest items is $4 billion for notorious Community Development Block Grants. The money is intended to purchase and redevelop foreclosed properties. It's hard to think of a less promising vehicle than the CDBG program, which is managed – after a fashion – by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. A February 2008 report from the White House budget office calls the program "ineffective," which is putting it mildly. On a 100-point scale of achieving results, CDBG scored a 27.

The main Republican contribution (thanks to Georgia's Johnny Isakson) is a $7,000 tax credit for those buying homes out of foreclosure. This means that Americans who behaved responsibly and paid their mortgage but are now trying to sell their homes will have to cut their offering price by $7,000 to compete with foreclosed properties nearby. Thus does the Senate contribute once again to tax fairness and personal responsibility.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Hot Hot Heat - Let Me In

Great Song with an Average Video.

The Future Should Be No Surprise

Here is a sad story about a 47 year old family man who is lamenting the fact that his autoworker job has been eliminated and he will have to move in order to find another job in his industry. He's lived in his hometown and has worked for Chrysler for 29 1/2 years.

His wife Sanaa greets him with great news. His son has been accepted to the University of Delaware, and that means he’ll have two children attending the school come this fall.

While he’s proud his kids will be getting the college education he never was able to, the moment was bittersweet.

After putting in 29½ years as an autoworker at Chrysler he needs to keep working in order to pay for his children’s college education.

But he faces a major dilemma.

The plant is slated to close next year, part of cutbacks sweeping the nation’s ailing auto industry. Unsure if he’ll be able to find a job in the area that pays the $50,000 he now gets at the automaker, plus benefits, he is considering moving to Detroit to work at a Chrysler plant there.

This is a great example of how the auto unions have harmed their members, failing to prepare them for the fact that our economy is evolving. That our automotive manufacturing industry, in no small part because of the unions, has become non-competitive, steadily losing market share and resorting to the outsourcing of manufacturing to Canada and Mexico or completely abandoning certain product segments.

Once a dominant force among labor, the United Auto Workers now rank 12th among U.S. unions with about 500,000 members, and its ranks keep dwindling.

It's a sad story that the media loves to tell. Blame Bush for outsourcing, not the unions. Blame Chrysler for harming its employees instead of vice versa. Blame Americans for not buying American despite inferior quality, design and engineering, instead of blaming the unions for inflating labor costs to the extent that domestic automakers were forced to slash quality to stay competitive with foreign competitors at given price points.

For this man, however, the future should be no surprise. Domestic automakers have been suffering, closing plants and laying off workers for years. If not his union, his common sense should have been telling him for some time now that if he wants to maintain his family's standard of living, he should have been making proactive moves to retool, retrain and reinvent himself.

"Unfortunately, there’s a perfect storm working against the domestic auto industry," says Patrick Heraty, professor of business administration at Hilbert College. Faltering U.S. vehicle sales have pushed automakers to eliminate more and more workers to cut costs.

But, Heraty adds, "for the vast majority of auto workers there is no substitute and no place to go where they can get a comparable salary and benefits."

While other industries go begging for manufacturing workers at similar pay and benefits, franchise opportunities and many other entrepreneurial opportunities exist that offer financing and formulas for success, this man would rather move his family across the country to find another dead-end job in the auto industry.

So why did he not see this coming? Why did he not make changes; start looking for other opportunities; take corrective action? He's only 47 years old, and his industry has been suffering for years now.

I can't speak for Chuck Madarani, but I can take a wild guess.

He didn't because he has been indoctrinated by his union and his liberal politicians that he deserves a living as an autoworker. That autoworkers deserve to make $70,000 a year. That if the automakers won't pay this, we will strike. That if our job is eliminated, the government will save us. He's given 29 1/2 years. They owe him, notwithstanding 29 1/2 years of cashed paychecks.

Robert Rose, who for 14 years worked as a supervisor at a General Motors plant and then as a rank-and-file worker at a GM contractor, was laid off in late 2006. It took him months to land a job, but he’s now working for Daewoo International as a warehouse supervisor.

He got the job through Adecco, a staffing agency that actually pays his salary and benefits. He was making about $70,000 in his previous auto job but is now making only $40,000 a year.
Rose says he’s close to getting hired outright by Daewoo and expects his salary will go up.
But he is also pondering a total exit from the auto industry and seriously considering going back to school at night to become a nurse, especially if he doesn’t get a heftier paycheck from Daewoo.

America has never been about entitlements. It is about opportunity. Our government doesn't guarantee our happiness, only the freedom to pursue it. America is the land of opportunity, not the land of secure jobs. Immigrants come here and laugh at us "fat, dumb, Americans" and the way we come out of high school or college looking for a "secure" job while our legal immigrant counterparts, often times with less education and resources, start business, create wealth, and end up employing their own "fat, dumb, Americans."

In lulling them into a false sense of security and entitlement, liberal politicians and their unions have extinguished the American Dream for many millions of Americans. The very Americans that they purport to count among their constituents. The very Americans for whom their hearts bleed for.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

"On THAT roof? Yes on THAT roof. Roger."

"This photo was taken by a soldier in Afghanistan of a helo rescue mission. The pilot is a PA National Guard guy who flies EMS choppers in civilian life. Now how many people on the planet you reckon could set the back end of a chopper down on the roof top of a shack on a steep mountain cliff and hold it there while soldiers load wounded men in the rear...God Bless our military!"

Global Warming Movement Explained

I have marveled at how Al Gore can enlist such a following of rabid, entranced groupies for his MMGW movement. This despite his hypocritical lifestyle, the substantial debunking of a great many of the assertions in his documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" and the fact that temperatures are falling.

But now I know how he does it.

An excerpt from Al Gore's book "Assualt on Reason":

When I was a boy growing up on our family farm in the summers, I learned how to hypnotize chickens. You hold the chicken down and then circle your finger around its head, making sure that its eyes trace your hand movement. After a sufficient number of circles, the chicken will become entranced and completely immobile. There's a lot you can do with a hypnotized chicken. You can use it as a paperweight, or you can use it as a doorstop, and either way, the chicken will sit there motionless, staring blankly. (What you can't do is use it as a football. Something about being thrown through the air seemed to wake the chicken right up.)

It turns out that the immobility response in animals is an area that has received some scholarly attention, and here is one thing the scientists have found: The immobility response is strongly influenced by fear. A fear stimulus causes the chicken's amygdala to signal the release of neurochemicals, and controlled experiments show that they make immobility much more likely.

No, I'm not saying that television viewers are like hypnotized chickens. But there may be some lessons for us larger-brained humans in the experiences of barnyard hens.

Well, maybe a lesson for socialist politicians. People, refuse to cluck.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


Hell's Weavers

We can't actually remember ever meeting the elusive crack band of Russian bikers known as Hell's Weavers, but we now have definitive proof that the group does indeed exist.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Not Your Father's

...his was made in Detroit.

All I have to say is "Why?"

Toyota officials have stated that GM’s copyright on the Oldsmobile brand name expired midway through 2006. In the midst of the constant corporate shuffling underway in the domestic automotive juggernaut, somehow responsibility for renewal slipped through the cracks and the name floated around untethered for almost a year before someone at Toyota noticed. The unsubstantiated—at this point—story is that the alert came from the astute nephew of a still-confidential executive, who works as a clerk in the U.S. Copyright Office.

Just because you can, doesn't mean its a great idea. As if Toyota needs another brand to manage.

Citing Oldsmobile’s greatest successes as a slightly upmarket and sportier alternative to its Chevrolet and Pontiac cousins, Carter said that the name will be applied to today’s American performance-oriented luxury vehicles—SUVs.

Well if being cancelled is what you call success, then yes!

Asked if the iForce V-8 in the Sequoia will be renamed Rocket for Oldsmobile applications, Carter scoffed. “Toyota is a company that looks forward, not back. The past can inspire us, but we can never relive it. We will not mire ourselves in bygone days.”

...but bringing back the Oldsmobile brand is forward-looking?

Yikes. Someone is going to lose their job over this one.
note the date

Never Say Never

Can we make an exception this time?

I said it Jesse. Never!

Minnesota has embarrassed itself for generations to come with you as Governor, Senators Wellstone and Dayton, Senatorial candidate Franken, Fuchsia 2009 license plate tabs*, and eight inches of snow in April.

*When I picked my license plate tabs up the other day and complained about the color, the employee behind the counter claimed Jesse was responsible for the color choice this year.

I rest my case with this picture. He looks Presidential don't you think?

Jesse Ventura says he has no plans to run for office, but 'you never say never'

I wish this was an April Fool's ploy