Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Jim Cooper:: "Even the rich ones hated it..."

I received yesterday an email from Congressman Jim Cooper's office crowing about his "No Budget, No Pay" bill that presumably requires Congress to pass a budget or else they won't be paid.

As usual, Rep. Cooper talks a good game for the media but it's all hypocrisy. He promotes himself as a fiscal conservative but voted for Obamacare and all that wasted stimulus money that did everything for Democrat special interest groups and nothing for the economy. Under his President, with Cooper's unflagging support, we are running trillion dollar yearly deficits and have run the national debt up to nearly $17 trillion so far.

Only when a vote doesn't matter or it's a purely symbolic issue like this "No Budget, No Pay" gimmick can you count on Mr. Potato Head to show up for the cameras and pose as a fiscal conservative.

And as a true acolyte of the Class Warfare President, Rep. Cooper had to throw this line into his letter to me and his other constituents:

"Many of my colleagues hated the idea of not getting a paycheck. Even the rich ones hated it because they like money the most."

Rep. Cooper has done quite well for himself at the public trough. I believe most folks would put him in the "rich" category. Yet under the cloak of fiscal conservatism, and waving class envy as his flag as if he's one of the common folk, he instead does his part behind closed doors to sell our country down the road to fiscal perdition.

No Budget, No Pay is fine, but for Rep. Cooper I've got a better idea in 2014: No Seat.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Obamacare's Smoking Gun

So now it comes out that the legislation about which Nancy Pelosi so famously said that we must pass it to know what's in it targets cigarette smokers for yet more abuse.

According to a report on the site MSN Money, starting next year the implementation of Obamacare could cost, for example, a 55 year old smoker an insurance premium penalty of up to $4,250 a year.

I happen to smoke here and there and it also happens that I will be 55 when this provision goes into effect. This is not welcome news for me. If it's really going to cost that much, I may just say to heck with health insurance and take the tax penalty. It will be a cold day in Hades before I let some pinheaded Democrat legislation-writer determine my personal habits.

Smokers don't get much sympathy in this world and I'm not looking for any. But if you are a little overweight and enjoy your sugar, or you are a little alcohol-dependent and enjoy your alcohol, or you are a little cold-natured and like to turn the heat up on a cold winter afternoon, then you can look for the freedom to enjoy these small liberties to cost you more, a lot more, as the Obama administration runs amok in its unfettered second term. Its legions of arrogant do-gooders, who know what's better for you and could not care less about your personal liberty, will take every opportunity to punish you for living the way you want to live.

If I could find the person or persons responsible for this particular malfeasance, I would lock them in an airtight room with me for a full day of chain smoking.

Just for the pleasure of it.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Good bar bet word: Supersede

No, that's not misspelled. That's why it's such a good bet in a bar. According to the guy I overheard win one such bet some decades ago somewhere in east Tennessee (though one might not normally think spelling would be the stuff of betting games), it's the only word with a last syllable that's pronounced that way, spelled that way, i.e., with an s instead of a c.
 
It helps win the bet if first you have your opponent spell intercede or procede or some other random word so they don't suspect something's up with supersede.

By the way, if they spell those first two words with an s, just don't even go there. Give them their money back, and buy them a drink.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Before you accept welfare, food stamps, public school, etc:

Remember: "The free cheese is always in the mousetrap."

Monday, January 21, 2013

Antidepressants, Conflict, & Guns

Dr. Ann Blake-Tracy was a guest on the second half of Coast to Coast AM Saturday night. Those last two hours of that night's show, if you are taking antidepressants or have a loved one who does, are worth the price of the whole subscription to the site's archives.

For some twenty years, she explained, since noticing their effects on close friends, she has investigated and worked to raise awareness about "seratoneric" medications - those which affect your body's seratonin production and which are typically used to combat depression.

About halfway through the interview, host John B. Wells began exploring the link between antidepressants and the recent spate of senseless mass shootings. He questioned whether the medication could have been manipulated in vulnerable young men by anti-gun crusaders to create scenarios that would gin up public sentiment against the second amendment. I know, it sounds far fetched, but who would have believed the Justice Department would do something as far fetched as Fast and Furious for exactly the same purpose? Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

Dr. Blake-Tracy wouldn't go there with the conspiracy theory, but she did make a particularly intriguing comment. She said she went to the NRA in the 1990s and warned them that the biggest threat to Second Amendment rights was the growing flood of antidepressants in the population. They were being given out like candy by doctors to any patient who complained of depression or anxiety.

The problems with these medications are manifold. And I'm no expert, so I won't try to cover them here. Instead I recommend that you visit Dr. Blake-Tracy's web site, drugawareness.org.

But I can speak from limited experience on one aspect. It seems to me that for everyday, peaceful living, antidepressants elevate a person's mood and help release them from unhealthy anxious feelings that they or their life are out of control. The problem comes when things really do get out of control, as in conflict with others. Maybe for a kid it's when they get embarassed at school, or for an adult, when they get into a disagreement with a friend or loved one.

At that point, the loss of coping skills that come from living drug-free becomes dramatically apparent. There is a stridency, a one dimensional, narcissistic and aggressive sort of tone to argument. There is no listening and no working toward the middle. It's a perfect prescription for disaster and textbook failure for conflict resolution. Couple that with alcohol abuse and you can just forget about a happy outcome, paradoxical though that may seem for a medication that's supposed to work against depression.

It's no wonder that anti-depressants have been found, when the truth is finally out, at the bottom of almost every major violent shooting of innocents in the last two decades. It's always either pill-heads or Islamists who do such things. Seems to me that smoking would be a much better option for stress relief!

So as the gun control freaks attack and attack and attack the guns, refusing to acknowledge that guns may not be the real problem, perhaps we should ask not what are they smoking, but what pills are they popping???

Friday, January 18, 2013

Frederick Douglass on the nanny state...

In the following excerpt from his speech "What the Black Man Wants," Frederick Douglass could be speaking of any disadvantaged class. In fact, in his recipe for social mobility, he notes to whites that it was "only about six centuries since the blue-eyed and fair-haired Anglo-Saxons were considered inferior by the haughty Normans, who once trampled upon them." He suggests that the best help at all is the least amount of help:

"Everybody has asked the question, and they learned to ask it early of the abolitionists, 'What shall we do with the Negro?' I have had but one answer from the beginning: do nothing with us! Your doing has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are worm-eaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall! I am not for tying or fastening them on the tree in any way, except by nature's plan..."

With that in mind, Douglass, who was born a slave and was largely self-taught, would be apalled at the grossly-expanding welfare state that has has taken the U.S. in the four short years of Obama's term from roughly $7 trillion of debt to $17 trillion. The millions of people on food stamps and myriad other forms of government assistance go against what he clearly saw as the path to freedom for his race. Common sense tells us it is true for all human beings. Rather than maximizing opportunity, the welfare state promotes dependence.

The nanny state, paradoxically, professes to help people, but in fact it enslaves them, whether black, white, or otherwise.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Reminder from George Washington...


“No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand, which conducts the affairs of men, more than the people of the United States.”—George Washington, First Inaugural Address

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Planned Parenthood Massacre

The shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary were horrific, but when it comes to genocide, Adam Lanza is a piker compared to Planned Parenthood.

Ace reporter Caroline May of The Daily Caller provides some of the horrific details in a recent report. Among the grisly truth revealed by Planned Parenthood's latest annual report and compiled by the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List: from October 2010 through September 2011, Planned Parenthood was responsible for 333,964 abortions nationwide, a record number.

How many kids went to your high school? If it's a thousand, it's an easy figure. Just multiply that by 334, and you get a mental picture of how many children's lives Planned Parenthood snuffed out in that one year alone. Just one year!

And then there are the mothers-to-be left behind. Unless they are sociopaths, they will struggle with the regret for years to come, probably their whole lives. I know. I've seen it with my own eyes, and probably you have, too. But these women do not have all the blame. Abortion is legal. Our society sends a mixed message to young women at a very vulnerable time. We need to fix that.

There's a much worse scourge stalking innocent children in our country than maniacs with assault weapons . It is the genocidal, scalpel-wielding doctors and staffers of Planned Parenthood and the social engineering "Pro-Choicers" who enable them.

And the rest of us who allow it to continue.

Friday, January 11, 2013

New Year's Resolution

I had a good Christmas but there were a couple of things about it that really bugged me.

The first thing hit me sometime in November. I was driving down Belle Meade Boulevard when I saw what at first I thought had to be a high priced cathouse. Turns out it was somebody decorating early with Christmas lights. LED Christmas lights. They have to be the worst invention since the Clapper. The colors are atrocious.

The other thing that bugged me has been building for a while, but it really came home when I did all my Christmas shopping, in one day as usual. At store after store, as I checked out the cashier would badger me to join their frequent buyer program. This happened at World Market, at Books a Million, at Pet Smart, and at Big Lots, to name a few I can remember right off the bat.

After H.G. Hill's closed around here, and because Publix doesn't carry many local brands, I resigned myself to getting the Kroger Plus card some time ago. But lately I've found that I'm hounded to join the merriment at Walgreens, too, and Ace Hardware. It seems to be that retail chains have caught a fever of it not unlike the flu going around.

The kicker is, if you won't "join their club" they charge you more. A lot more. And I've never liked the idea of having all my purchases monitored, even when Kroger did send me coupons for stuff I buy anyway.

I've had enough of that. I have resolved not to shop at any place any more that wants me to join their club. So far I have stuck to it 100%. I find that doing this sends me more to locally owned independent places like Friedman's, Hillsboro Hardware, Parnassus bookstore, and Chappell's grocery stores, to name a few so far.

I feel better already.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

On raising children...

Attributed to Richard Needham (1912-1996), a Canadian newspaper columnist, quoted in the Old Farmer's Almanac 2013:

"No matter how you bring up your children, you turn out badly."

Monday, January 7, 2013

Hey, Mr. Obama: Before you gut the 2nd Amendment...

...how about repealing the 21st Amendment?

To refresh everyone's memory, the 21st Amendment repealed the 18th Amendment, which was Prohibition - the banning of the sales of alcohol products in the U.S.

So yes, what I propose is that before we start cutting back every law abiding citizen's gun rights, first we get what are supposed to be controlled substances under control - including not just alcohol, and not just already illegal drugs - but also "legitimate" pharmaceuticals like anti-depressents, ADHD medications, et al.

Let's just start with alchohol, the subject famously of the 18th and 21st amendments. I'm no teetotaler myself. I don't want my right to have a drink abridged. But nothing compares to the damage alcohol consumption does in this country day in and day out, hour by hour.

For example, just think how many people are killed by DUI each year. 10,228 died in drunk driving crashes in 2012 according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, roughly the same number of people who died of homicide by firearm... and that's not even discounting for justifiable homicide.

Yet DUI deaths are just the tip of the iceberg. Alcohol does much more damage that's harder to measure. Like loss of productivity for alcoholic workers and abuse of children by alcoholic parents. Marriage troubles and sexual indiscretion. Liver disease and other health complications. And talk about a gateway drug for teenagers; pot is nothing compared to alcohol.

Add to that the fact that over twenty million American adults are taking anti-depressants and a huge proportion of those are drinking while they're taking them, and the scope of the problem is incalculable. Little is being said about it because the focus is all about guns for the Obama administration right now, but evidence suggests that psychotropic drugs potentially had a big, if not decisive, factor to play in the Newtown tragedy.

So get real. The great Progressive campaign for Prohibition of alcohol did not work for America in the 1920s and the same notion won't work for guns now. At its very best stricter gun control will simply keep guns out of the hands of people who wouldn't abuse the right anyway, just as Prohibition only kept alcohol away from the people who weren't drunks anyway.

If you really want to make a positive difference, Mr. Obama, do something about those who abuse alcohol and pharmaceuticals and leave the responsible citizens alone.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe

No, it's not an episode of Steve Allen's "Meeting of the Minds". Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe, both of whose novels figured prominently in shaping race relations as America worked itself through the undoing of the Peculiar Institution in the nineteenth century, really did meet.


I know this because Christmas before last, my thoughtful children gifted me with the fascinating Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 1. I highly recommend the book. It is really a series of attempts at autobiography rather than one flowing narrative, and is full of interesting stories about Twain's relationships with many other luminaries of the day, including Ulysses S. Grant, Helen Keller, Booker T. Washington, and Andrew Carnegie, just to name a few. Twain insisted that the full autobiography not be published until a century after his death so that he could write (actually, most was dictated) as frankly and freely as possible.

Anyone who knows someone slipping into senility will appreciate the bittersweet nature of Twain's discussion of Ms. Stowe. "Mrs. Clemens" is Twain's wife, Olivia. Twain recorded this passage in 1906:

"In a diary which Mrs. Clemens kept for a little while, a great many years ago, I find various mentions of Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe, who was a near neighbor of ours in Hartford, with no fences in between. And in those days she made as much use of our grounds as of her own, in pleasant weather. Her mind had decayed, and she was a pathetic figure. She wandered about all day long in the care of a muscular Irish woman. Among the colonists of our neighborhood the doors always stood open in pleasant weather. Mrs. Stowe entered them at her own free will, and as she was always softly slippered and generally full of animal spirits, she was able to deal in surprises, and she liked to do it. She would slip up behind a person who was deep in dreams and musings and fetch a war whoop that would jump that person out of his clothes. And she had other moods. Sometimes we would hear gentle music in the drawing room and would find her there at the piano singing ancient and melancholy songs with infinitely touching effect."

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Today's Laugh

I've got to stop letting the radio wake me up. The first thing I heard this morning was that Congress passed a tax and spending "Fiscal Cliff" bill with virtually no cuts. The first analysis I've seen indicates that it will add over $3 trillion to the deficit. Yep, we're in the fiscal chasm all right!

But on the heels of that came Barack Obama, sounding disappointed in the deal, lamenting that "...we can't cut our way to prosperity."

I've got to admit, the guy is the very definition of unabashed. He's a pilot who, with a planeload of passengers hurtling to a fiery death, announces from the cockpit, "We hope you're enjoying your flight today. To your right and left and straight ahead, please take a moment to enjoy the beauty of the Grand Canyon..."

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Welcome to 2013, home of the Fiscal Chasm!

In case you were otherwise engaged and failed to notice, we went over the "Fiscal Cliff" last night.

And in case you were wondering what the Fiscal Cliff is anyway, it's a political invention designed to scare the wits out of everybody. Specifically, the Fiscal Cliff is a preprogrammed matrix of tax increases and spending cuts that go into effect as of today if Congress and the Yahoo in Chief fail to come to a budget agreement. Supposedly Wall Street types will be jumping out of windows because of it, if not from their various chemical habits.

Frankly I'm ok with it. It's about time taxes hurt more people, not just us small business types with pass-through income. And if it's the only way we get spending cuts, so be it.

But there's not enough collective courage in Congress to fill a thimble, so we'll eventually end up with some bastardized budget fix designed to placate big business, labor unions, and the political class, and those of us who actually produce wealth through entrepreneurial achievement, creating jobs as a happy byproduct, will continue to pay through the nose. Mark my words.

So be it! I'm still happy it's finally 2013, even down here in the chasm. I intend to ignore the Yahoos running things this year and like Candide, concentrate simply on plowing my own little field. And frankly, that's not all bad: the richest dirt is in the bottom land.

Best wishes for a happy new year, one and all!