Monday, November 23, 2015

That Louisiana Governor's Race

This past Saturday, Democrats had a substantive win in the Louisiana governor's race with their candidate, Jack Bel Edwards defeating Republican U. S. Senator David Vitter by a healthy 10 point margin.
Needless to say this made the Dems happy and the thought that maybe they are turning the corner in the South and Republicans should be weary of these results.
I agree with the thought that yes, it should be of concern for Republicans. It was not helpful to run a candidate like Sen. Vitter, a man with a lot of baggage. Mostly it is his role in a sex scandal in 2007. While he was able to win reelection, another bit of baggage was his frosty relationship with the current governor and former GOP presidential candidate, Bobby Jindal. That is noted here in this excellent analysis by Taylor Millard. In fact, their dissonance goes back to the 2007 prostitute scandal and then gubernatorial candidate Jindal not offering support and or forgiveness to Sen. Vitter. In fact, Mr. Millard gives us this from a local political blog:

The main source for voter hatred of Vitter, the 15-year-old extramarital behavior which came to light in 2007, didn't defeat him then. But the constant drumbeat of "hookers, hookers, hookers" an "hypocrite, hypocrite, hypocrite" in this election created and insurmountable gender gap and wiped out his chances of getting the job he always wanted.

In other words, his behavior, still even in a horribly corrupt state as is Louisiana, came to bite him in the butt when it counted.
But here's an odd thing.
It did not go down ticket to the race for Lt. governor as the Republican candidate, Billy Nungesser, defeated the Democrat candidate, Melvin Holder, by about the same margins as Mr. Bel Edwards defeated Sen. Vitter.
 Also, the Democrat attorney general lost to the Republican challenger. And the state legislature is one of the most solidly Republican in the South.
There is no question that some voters did vote against Sen. Vitter to also vote against Gov. Jindal. Some voters probably did not like that fact that he was running for president and his statewide popularity numbers were in the 30s. So who knows if Gov Jindal did more to help Sen. Vitter would it have helped or hurt more?
What is clear is that this is more of a blip for Democrats than a preview of 2016. In fact this was much more of a GOP year than not. Look at Kentucky as a Tea Party Republican, Matt Bevin, won the governor's mansion. Look at Virginia as the GOP kept control of the senate and the state legislature.
In about two months, we will see what all of this means for the Republicans as caucus-goers in Iowa and voters in New Hampshire will set the pace and if it is going to be a Republican year all the way around.

Monday, November 16, 2015

I Will Not Change My Facebook Profile Photo To The French Flag

Oh I know, you are thinking that I am totally heartless and do not care what happened this past Friday night in the capital of France, Paris.
That is the furthest from the truth.
One of the reasons that I write this blog in the first place is to point out that we are in a real war, the War Against Islamofacist Terror, as I have coined it.
What happened in Paris was an extension of this war.
The photo below is the inside of the Bataclan nighclub that was seized and where the height of the carnage occurred. An American, Nohemi Gonzalez, a student at California State University, Long Beach, was among one of the dead. The event was a concert being performed by the American rock band, The Eagles of Death Metal.

This is what the Islamic State does on a constant basis. This is but a death cult.
The following is what I believe for myself and not intended to offend for the sake of offending people. Everyone has a reason for what they do or don't do. This is why I won't.
I won't change my profile photo to the French flag because I find it a cheap way to show support. To me, I will support France in all that it does to fight back against the evil Islamic State. That includes calling the enemy what it is.RADICAL Islam. It is not the whole religion. It is a low percentage but very high numbers that support a radical ideology that is akin to the seventh century that they would like to return.
I won't change my photo profile because I still have my remembrance of 9/11/01 when RADICAL Islamic savages brought the war here to the United States. Make no mistake, this is a world-wide war. These RADICAL Islamics want their brand of "pure" seventh-century Islam to be around the world.
To me, changing a photo to show solidarity means I will show solidarity for what needs to be done. As the French president, Francois Hollande, said it was an act of war and that the French response would be pitiless. And France has already shown that it will take the fight right to the Islamic State and bombed the de facto capital of the Islamic State, Raqqa. I expect more of this. Too many that have changed their photo will not support the response that is needed for what has been declared an act of war.
No, I will keep my profile photo to show my remembrance of 9/11 as support for France and all that they will have to do to respond and maybe nudge us timid, sleeping Americans back to real action.
Vive La France! Vive La Amerique!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Starbucks Christmas Cup Kerfuffle

OK, I make no apologies to liking Starbucks coffee and that I am not a boycotter.
So there is a new kerfuffle about the current Starbucks Christmas/Holiday cups as pictured below.
OK, the cup is all red, a color very connected with the Christmas/Holiday season. No problem. Plain Red with the Starbucks' logo.
Over the last several years, this is what a Starbucks Christmas/Holiday cup looked like.
See the difference?
Recently, a Christian vlogger made the lack of any Christmas reference on the 2015 Christmas cup an issue.
Joshua Feuerstein recently noticed the change and sent out a viral You Tube video suggesting that people who buy drinks beyond a simple coffee should respond when their name is asked to answer Merry Christmas.

Of course if everyone in any given Starbucks says Merry Christmas is their name, well what a back up that will be.
But seriously, I will commend Starbucks for the fact that they refer to the special coffee blend at this time of year as Christmas blend. Almost all of their competitors refer to the season special coffee blend as Holiday blend. And the cup is still red, folks.
To my knowledge, the Christmas blend is still such.
But the real issue, and it is an issue, seems to be lost on everyone.
The disingenuous nature of corporate America at this time of year.
This is the one holiday, Christmas, that is not referred to as such. Suddenly, there is a generic holiday and that is what it is called.
Why I recently received a "Holiday" gift guide from a clothing company I like.
My question is, what "Holiday"?!
Maybe Veteran's Day. Thanksgiving. I don't know. Maybe it was Halloween since I received the gift guide the week before Halloween.
We all know that the holiday in reference is Christmas. The forces that are forcing corporate America to not use the C-word in advertising and discouraging people from wishing others specifically a Merry Christmas know. Corporate America knows it. The American people know it.
Yet every year we do this Kabuki theatre dance to avoid offending some people.
How many people really get so worked up over the Christmas season that we, as a society, are forced to purge it as much as possible?
The reality is that it is an activist community more than average people that get worked up over such a thing. There is not a viable thought to this Christmas hate other than, well Christmas hate.
Starbucks is in reality a company that has not buckled under the pressure to holidayize Christmas but because people said that Christmas blend coffee would be cool, they did it. The cup is red, I'm fine with it.
As a Christian, I want people to know the real meaning of what we celebrate on December 25 every year. It's not really about corporate America does to guilt us into getting that last gift we forgot about. But the same corporate America can respect the fact that people are shopping for CHRISTMAS gifts from roughly Thanksgiving Day to December 24. That Holiday is Christmas and honesty is better than fraud.
There is a war against Christmas, but in this case Starbucks is not against Christmas and if you want to say your name is Merry Christmas when you get that Peppermint Mocha Latte, mazeltov!

Thursday, November 05, 2015

The Donald Begging For Cash?! Say It Ain't So!

According to this piece in Politico, I am afraid I have some bad news for the Trumpettes as this is a serious undermining of one of the themes of the Donald J. Trump presidential candidacy.
Now the article does say straight up in the second paragraph that Team Donald started to "build relationships" but that in doing that with gambling mogul, Sheldon Adelson, Team Donald, no the Donald himself, was pretty much asking for money for a possible (at the time) presidential run. The Donald personally made a call to set up a meeting with Mr. Adelson. After all but begging, Mr. Adelson has declined to support the Donald, who pointed out that he lives in heavily-Jewish populated New York and that one of his daughters' married a Jew, and is leaning to Florida Republican senator, Marco Rubio.
Needless to say, the Donald is now beating up on Mr. Adelson.
I don't think so.
Then there is the case of Paul Singer, another big money dude like the Donald. The story is similar and the result is that when Mr. Singer announced that he will support Sen. Rubio, the attack Donald came out.
And let us not forget that there was a Super PAC that was supporting the Donald and that the Donald actually went to a fund-raiser before heat was put on the campaign about that issue. Now Team Donald, led by the chief attack dog himself, is disavowing that Super PAC and discouraging any more attempts to form any Super PAC in the name of the Donald.
Then there is the eeeeevvvvviiiiilllll Koch brothers, noted libertarians but supporters of small government Republicans.
There was a big Koch donor confab here is California recently that included five GOP presidential candidates. The aforementioned Sen. Rubio, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (before he dropped out of the race), former Florida governor, Jeb! Bush, Sen, Ted Cruz, and former Hewlett-Packard executive, Carly Fiorina. Some one was not invited. Guess who?!
If you said Donald J. Trump, you would be correct.
And of course his inner attack dog came out on Twitter:

(Koch) is looking for a new puppet after Governor Walker and Jeb Bush cratered. He now likes Marco Rubio - next fail. 

After the Donald tries to illicit support, either by name and or money, and does not get it, he unloads on them.
It is possible that the Donald did all of this to say to his Trumpette supporters, see, I really can not be bought!
But why try in the first place?
I am of the nature to believe that in the end, the Donald is no different from any other politician. And make no mistake, he is in the game so at least for a season he is a politician. And politicians seek support from seemingly like minded people.
I can tell you why the Koch brothers would not support the Donald. Because he is too dependent on the government. He is a rent-seeker. He loves him his eminent domain. He sees no problem with asking the politicians for special favors when it suits his purposes. That's not the Koch brothers' agenda.
This is one big blow to a campaign that claims to seek no money from anyone. That this candidate is so rich that he can't be bought.
But he can beg for support and cash from his fellow billionaires. And so far is a big failure on both.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

O, Canada!

Oh, Canada, indeed as voters on Monday ended nine years of Conservative party rule and swept Justin Trudeau and the Liberals to power.
It was not even close as the third party, the Liberals, went from 34 seats to a staggering 184 out of 338 seats, a solid majority. And it was not just the ruling Conservatives that were vanquished but the opposition, far-left New Democrats that suffered losses as well. The New Democrats lost 59 seats and is now back to being the third party and has 44 seats. The Conservatives lost 67 seats and is a stronger opposition party than the Liberals were for this election. The Conservatives have 99 seats.
The Liberals meteoric rise from the ashes can be summed up in two words.
Justin Trudeau.
Mr. Trudeau is the son of the late Liberal Prime Minister, Pierre Elliot Trudeau and the clan is essentially the Kennedy family of the Great White North. The Montreal-Toronto dominated media elevated Mr. Trudeau to a God-like status while it became clear he did a terrible job as PM. But he was an "intellectual" and let's face it, that trumps anything even and including strong leadership. Sure, Mr. Trudeau suppressed terrorism and kept Canada together, at the expense of making French-speaking Quebec a nation within a nation and forcing the nation to become a bilingual one. And his economic record was standard, liberal fare and proved to further alienate the economically stronger prairie provinces and British Columbia.
To be blunt, Justin Trudeau is not even in the same league as his father was. Justin Trudeau is but a dilettante much like the late John F. Kennedy, Jr.
But damn if he is not good looking and has that family name.
Very hard for the soon to be ex-prime minister, Stephen Harper, to go up against.
In comparison, one can compare Prime Minister Harper to Mitt Romney running up against Barack Obama.
No doubt that the Conservatives hurt themselves with some less than savory candidates that made rude comments against First Nation (Native Americans, Eskimos, Indians) people. Also, the economy is beginning to stagnate due to international pressures. Some Canadians saw Prime Minister Harper as wanting to be more like the neighbors to the South, the United States. Yet Prime Minister Harper is openly very much a Canadian nationalist.
But one aspect of a Canadian election compared to an American one is that it is not a popular-vote election. Because it is a parliament and a first past the post system, it is actually 338 separate elections. Think of it as a perpetual congressional mid-term. It is the leader of the majority party that usually forms the government. Even if it is not 170 seats in the case of this past election. Prime Minister Harper led two majority-minority governments before winning an outright majority prior to this election. Another aspect of Canadian elections is that the sitting prime minister can call for elections anytime before the fixed, four-year term ends.
With a 14-seat majority, Justin Trudeau has four years to see what he can do.
It maybe four long years for Canada.
Oh, Canada, indeed.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Cost Of The Scandinavia Welfare State

With Sen. Bernie Sanders (I/D-Vt.) running for president, he is the closest candidate that promotes a Scandinavia-style welfare state. it is worth analyzing what the cost of such a state is really like.
Scandinavia are also referred to as the Nordic countries of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.
The dirty little secret is that there is one three word reason the Scandinavian nations can afford a welfare state with a dab of capitalism.
The United States.
One of the reasons all the Scandinavian nations can do what they do is that they spend very little on defense spending. They all have small armed forces, including marginal navies and equally marginal air forces. They joined NATO and thus depend on the United States with it's still strong defense budgets and being the world's last superpower. Even with the cuts in defense spending, the Scandinavians can depend on the United States to help rescue them if there is some kind of military conflict.
So why is the Scandinavian model something the United States should avoid at all costs.
One, it is expensive with questionable results.
Two, it does not work.
Let's take a look at someone that lives in Denmark and see what it is like to live there.
In this article from earlier this year, the writer, Michael Booth, makes the point that American liberals/leftists love to point out the fact a McDonald's worker can easily make $15 an hour. And that more than 50% are sliced off the top in taxes. In fact for the average Scandinavian, as much as 60% of their income is taken away in taxes before they see what they can take home. In return there are a lot of "freebies" including free life-time education from cradle to grave. Same for health care for this is the land of single-payer, government-run health care. There are boatloads of mandates to the so-called private-sector economy that make it such almost in name only. Mandated, paid maternity leave for both parents, vacation time, sick time. You get the picture.
Here is an idea of the cost of living in the capital city, Copenhagen. This site says that of this writing, the Danish krone is 6.57 to the American dollar. So let's look at the link of the cost of living to see how much a very average car, a Volkswagen Golf costs. It is an average of 275,273 krone or $41,898.48c. How much does that car cost in the United States? At the Volkswagen website, the starting price is $20.175. It is more than half off the Danish price.
Why is that?
Ahh, there is the Value Added Tax, better known as a VAT that is cooked into the price of many items, especially big ticket items. This would be a way that big-government proponents would like to fund their plans to offer free college for all and even pay for single-payer healthcare. Of course the downside is that people will not be inclined to buy big ticket items if they do not have to.
But if you have that new Volkswagen Golf, how much is gas gonna cost ya? \
Well, almost triple the price of gas in the States. How about $6.34c a gallon? A fill 'er up? If the Golf has a 17.5 gallon gas tank, a cool $110.95c. Again, the tax is cooked in the price and thus it is hidden. Which is how it is in Denmark and the rest of Scandinavia.
Wanna take the family, mom, dad and two kids to the local McDonalds? Well, four combo meals cost a total of 280 krone or 70 krone each. That is $10.65c each. Roughly what one would pay at an airport in the States.
High taxation and low productivity are a disaster and only now, with the massive declining native birthrates, there seems to be a willingness of all Scandinavian governments to take in mainly Middle East, Muslim immigrants. New taxpayers.
But another downside is the fact that when all is taken care of you by the state, one's total well being cannot always be dealt with by the state.
According to Mr. Booth, the Scandinavian nations lead the world in suicides and the taking of anti-depressants. Also, and this is a surprise, these nations also are European leaders in violence against women. In this article, the Scandinavians are prolific binge drinkers. In Finland, Russian-adjacent, the leading cause of death among men in alcoholism. It is the second leading cause of death among women.
What Scandinavia celebrates is averageness. It does not really celebrate success. It is why those that can get the hell out. In many Scandinavian nations, leading hockey players that land NHL contracts know that if they stay citizens of their native land it will be massively taxed. Many, not all but many, realize their success is not something the home nation appreciates except as a big tax and thus many become American citizens.
Averageness leads to lack of innovation and or drive. In other words, Bill Gates could not really do what he did in any Scandinavian nation. Medical advances do not happen as often as in other developed nations. It is not to say some advances have not occurred in Scandinavian nations. But overall, even today, it is the United States that leads to innovation and yes, drive.
When Sen. Sanders touts Scandinavia, especially Denmark, he is asking for America to give up it's unique role in the world and celebrate averageness that we do not want to celebrate or make national policy.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

It's Come To This

This is modern America, folks.
The land of the lawsuit for anything culture.
Let's meet this douchebrain, Jennifer Connell and why she is a candidate for douchebrain of the year. Hell, the decade.
Miss Connell is a human resources specialist that lives in Manhattan, New York. She went to help her nephew, Sean Tarala, celebrate his birthday in 2011. At the time he was an exuberant youngster celebrating his eighth birthday. And when he saw his aunt, an aunt that he seemed to really love, he went to say hello in a special, rambunctious eight year old boy way. Sean jumped up to say hey. Landed in her arms and they fell to the ground. And apparently, Miss Connell broke her wrist as a result of her nephew's exuberance.
I guess she did not believe little Sean when he said, in her words, "Auntie Jen! I love you!"
This is the basis of her lawsuit against, not the parents, but now 12-year-old Sean, is this:

“The injuries, losses and harms to the plaintiff were caused by the negligence and carelessness of the minor defendant in that a reasonable eight years old under those circumstances would know or should have known that a forceful greeting such as the one delivered by the defendant to the plaintiff could cause the harms and losses suffered by the plaintiff.”

Yes, every eight year old boy surely knows to greet ol' Aunt Jen on bent knee and kissing her hand. 
Oh, didn't I mention that Miss Connell is a human resources specialist?! 
And didn't I mention that she sought $127,000 from SEAN? 
What human being does such a thing to another? 
A useless gold digger, that's who. 
I think that one should not share with a jury that she was having trouble holding a plate of hors d'ovures. Or that because she lives in a walk up in Manhattan she should get the $127,000. 
Boy, Miss Connell must have sure learned a lot in her job to take such a vindictive action against a boy that loved her. 
The jury in the case only took 20 minutes to tell this nit wit no way. That Sean Tarala is not liable for her breaking her wrist and or anything else. What happened was a total fluke. 
As for Miss Connell, there is a special place for her and we all know where that is!