Monday, May 30, 2011

The Meaning of Liberty

Just spotted this Michael Ramirez IBD Memorial Day cartoon via Power Line. Proves once again that very often a picture is indeed worth 1,000 words. Or more.

(Double click image to enlarge.)

Prudent Man: New Column in Washington Times Communities

Since budgetary and economic topics come up on HazZzmat more often these days, I've decided to remove most of my market and financial observations to my new column over at the Washington Times Communities, the site where a number of Times writers (and some new ones) migrated after that paper's severe downsizing about a year and a half ago.

The new column is called "The Prudent Man" and my initial entry explains why.

Today's offering is Part I of a two-part series on the very nearly criminally negligent IPO (Initial Public Offering) of LinkedIn stock to the general public--most of whom never had a chance to get a single share while the Big Boys got enough to buy several hotels on Boardwalk or, at the very least, a few tropical islands.

I'll be putting up one or two columns a week on the new site in what I hope is not a vain attempt to educate investors as to how the game is really played. And, if possible, to build a little pressure in Washington and in New York to stop the fleecing of small investors as well as the gradual erosion of the small businesses that still constitute the backbone of this country.

Meanwhile, readers in the DC metro area will continue to find my performing arts news and reviews in my Curtain Up! column, also at the Washington Times Communities.

Memorial Day: Remembering Iraq War Vets

It's always tough to find the right words to describe (what at least should be) our collective gratitude to the men and women who have defended our U.S. way of life both here and abroad for nearly 250 years now.

I.e., my late dad--a "Naval" Marine commanding a battery of big guns on the U.S.S. Bunker Hill--fired away at kamikaze Zeroes near the end of WWII. But he and his fellow combatants still had to endure the literal heat of battle as at least 4 of the fuel-lade kamikazes managed to crash into the Bunker Hill's flight deck, burning hundreds of sailors and marines to death and nearly sinking this great carrier. But both the living and the dead aboard the Bunker Hill were only a few among the tens, the hundreds of thousands of American heroes who saved us from the relentless drive of totalitarianism.

What can you really say about heroism like this except to sit back in awe and wonder at the kind of dedication that inspired this inner and outward courage?

Today, we can easily forget how we gained and retained our freedom at great cost. Most of us, this writer included, never had to face a barrage of kamikazes; or a war in the jungles of Vietnam where death could arise without warning from jungle trees or tunnels or by the hands of a Vietnamese woman or child secretly bringing a grenade to a friendly Yank's campfire; or an unendingly hostile and complex desert hell in a hostile Middle Eastern country where we attempted to introduce the radical idea of democracy.

It's this last (and still not-quite-finished) war that Walter Russell Mead discusses online today. Aside from paying slightly too much courtesy toward liberal pieties, I think he offers a lengthy, well-reasoned, and inspirational assessment of what political and military courage really takes on a day when we all should pause to remember. One of his major observations:
While the politicians washed their hands and hung up white flags, and while the press lords gibbered and foamed, the brass kept their heads and the troops stood tall.  And gradually, a miracle happened.  America started winning the war.
Click the link above to read the entire piece.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Obamanomics vs. Boeing; or, The Incredible Vanishing Workforce

This quote from Senator Lamar Alexander during a Hugh Hewitt interview, re: the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) attempt to shut down Boeing's new manufacturing plant in right-to-work South Carolina:
I don't see how the president allows this to go on for very long. Killing job creation in a jobless recovery isn't a great way to persuade people of your fitness for a second term.
Good point. It is astonishing just how easily the unions and the environmento-freaks pull President Obama's puppet strings. Boeing's vicious, Seattle-based factory union workforce has been notorious over the years for threats and strikes against its employer. When they happen--and they do--not only are the union members themselves out of a job. The entire Seattle support system suffers as do Boeing's numerous suppliers. The ripple effect has historically been wide-ranging and damaging to many sectors of the economy.

But no matter. Obama appointees of NLRB are actually dragging Boeing to court for: constructing a new manufacturing plant in South Carolina that will employ non-union labor. I.e., for engaging in capitalism, not to mention interstate commerce. Not to mention creating thousands of jobs directly and indirectly in economically hard-hit South Carolina. Now at this late stage, when the factory is already built and the moneys expended, the Administration is trying to deal a crushing blow to Boeing on the eve of one of the largest aerospace build cycles of all time: the building of the new Dreamliner.

In an economy that is deeply in debt and still reeling from the still-ongoing Great Recession (don't let the economics professors tell you it's over because it isn't for the average Joe), this administration, time and again, destroys many times over the jobs that it keeps promising to deliver. Let us count the ways. Besides the current Boeing brouhaha:
  • The Gulf of Mexico fishing industry is still reeling because the administration has still declared large areas off-limits to fishing due to the 2010 BP oil disaster. But there's no hard evidence that tainted fish and shellfish are being caught in a large chunk of the off-limits areas. Cost: at least hundreds of jobs.
  • Adding to the Clinton administration's brilliant idea of taking thousands of oilfield acres permanently out of production to satisfy the eco-freaks, the Obama administration continues to refuse drilling permits in Alaska and on America's East Coast. Meanwhile, the administration essentially has used the BP spill as an excuse to continue to deny new drilling permits in the Gulf. Cost: tens of thousands of new and existing jobs.
  • The administration is making it tough to open new drilling for America's spectacularly rich deposits of natural gas, citing the eco-freaks' groundwater-contamination scare tactics. Largely disproved, these groundwater contamination theories are thwarting the creation of tens of thousands of jobs in America's hard hit Rust Belt and Appalachian economies and robbing the average American of a cheap and abundant fuel that could dramatically lower our imports from the Al Qaeda-Chavez oil cartel.
  • With regards to the above, the administration, arguably, is deliberately goosing the price of gasoline so that Americans will give up and stop driving. Refer to candidate Obama's specific crap and trade reference to this, circa 2008. ("I'll make energy prices skyrocket.") This, of course, will also destroy large sectors of the economy and the jobs that go with them. All the better to make us even more dependent on the nanny state.
Such behavior is typical of this doctrinaire, Marxist administration. True Marxists, like Obama, really have no idea how capitalism works. They regard it as a system that creates wealth for the few, so it's their job, like that of Robin Hood, to take the profits from the few and give them to the many their supporters--like the unions and the ecofreaks. They have no clue that they're simply doing what other socialistas have done before them. They are destroying the golden goose that actually helps enrich us all by providing a comfortable living to the many.

Like Lamar Alexander, I'm not sure how much longer the U.S. can stand this before it collapses.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Patriots celebrate Bin Laden death outside White House

Well, here's a cheery video for a change. Credit not given, but obviously via CNN since Wolf Blitzer is doing the voiceover. BTW, nice job, Wolf, for just shutting off the microphone and letting the celebration speak (or sing) for itself. BTW, wait for the ad to run (I couldn't take it out). Then click the forward arrow on the screen to play the clip.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Bin Laden Death Confirmed by Obama

We just caught the live stream of President Obama's announcement on Fox News. Stories have yet to update, but should shortly. Some details are still not exactly complete, but it appears that this is the real deal.

Americans regardless of political persuasion should feel good about this. But leave it to Reuters to stick this snide paragraph in their report on bin Laden's death:
It is a major accomplishment for Obama and his national security team. Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush, had repeatedly vowed to bring to justice the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington, but never did before leaving office in early 2009.
Yeah, right. Even President Obama, not exactly known for his classiness toward the Bush Administration, gave Bush and the military plenty of credit for the intelligence leading up to this operation in his statement.

The major media in this country has almost entirely lost its last shred of respectability over the last several years. The gratuitous paragraph cited above is yet another nail in the MSM's credibility coffin.

Bin Laden Is Dead. Really.

All I can say is, it's about time. News is breaking as this is posted.

Fox News will stream an apparently impending Obama presser on the story. As of Sunday, May 1, 2011 at 11:32 p.m., the Presidential announcement has yet to go live, but you know how these things work. It should run shortly.

From what I can glean from other reports, Osama was whacked by a mortar hit in a "mansion" outside of Islamabad. Apparently the attack happened a week ago and the U.S. has confirmed bin Laden's identity via DNA. Again, we need some official corroboration, but it looks like this is probably the real deal.

This might also explain the recent Predator hits Pakistan has been complaining about.