Monday, February 23, 2009

Pure Patriotism

I was thinking about posting on a couple of documentaries I caught over the last couple of nights that I wanted to point out, but I was feeling lazy and thought I could do it tomorrow. Then I got a e-mail from a fellow blogger with a truly beautiful film that I had to post right now.

I'll start with my original videos and save the best for last:

“Speed and Angels” is the real “Top Gun”. It covers the last F-14’s to go through the training, also the only female Tomcat pilot. It covers the training for Navy pilots including Carrier landings. After watching this film, I would love to launch off a flattop, but I would be willing to forgo landing on one, especially at night.

"Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag" was an IMAX film, and I don’t care how crappy your monitor is, the photography is phenomenal. It’s got a real good back story and it focuses on my favorite plane (F-15 Eagle, baaybeee!!). The first 30 minutes (of 49) cover dogfights and air command and control… but then it really gets great. They go with a downed pilot exercise that really shows coordination of all the different facets available. They finish with a live bomb exercise that just freaked me out. G-d help anyone that goes against our military is about all I can say.

This last one I just had pop up in my email and I clicked on the attachment..The tears were flowing so bad, that I had to watch it again to pick up the pieces I missed the first time. What a beautiful bird to symbolize such a great nation!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Gemerational Theft Act

A very good article on the folly of the "Generational Theft Act" by Vox Day at WorldNetDaily:

Stimulus spelled out

Amidst the dire predictions of imminent catastrophe if Obama's stimulus package were not passed by the Congress, and equally dismal prophecies of how the stimulus will extend what is looking like a doozy of a depression, there has been a near-complete failure on the media's part to explain the core principles behind the fiscal stimulus to the American people. This is due to the near-complete ignorance of economics on the part of the mainstream media; one can hardly expect them to explain what they do not understand. Some readers may find it useful, then, if I attempt to rectify the situation.

Hey, they just report the news! People certainly don't expect them to do some research and find out if what they are told is true or that their may be people that disagree with what they are being fed.

In 1987, the new Federal Reserve chairman, Alan Greenspan, averted a financial meltdown in the fall when he used a variety of aggressive monetary policies to inject liquidity into the financial system, temporarily driving down the overnight repo rate from 7.5 percent to 5.5 percent in a matter of days. Interest rates, as measured by the effective federal funds rate, were slashed from 8.5 percent in late September to 5.5 percent in mid-December. The success of his actions in stabilizing the financial system gave great credence to the Monetarist school of economics, epitomized by Nobel Prize-winner Milton Friedman, who had long asserted that management of the money supply was the key to preventing the economy from contracting.

Friedman had long blamed the Federal Reserve for failing to respond aggressively enough to the stock market crash of 1929, and in collaboration with his co-author Anna Schwartz, had claimed that a more aggressive lowering of interest rates would have prevented the Great Depression. Greenspan's successful navigation of the 1987 crisis appeared to prove conclusively that the monetarist thesis was correct, and in 2002 led to current Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke making a humorous admission in his speech made in honor of Friedman's 90th birthday.

Let me end my talk by abusing slightly my status as an official representative of the Federal Reserve. I would like to say to Milton and Anna: Regarding the Great Depression. You're right, we did it. We're very sorry. But thanks to you, we won't do it again.

But then something odd happened:

Similar rate-cutting actions were begun in July 1990, February 1995, May 2000 and June 2006 when signs of economic contraction appeared. However, as the cuts came more often and the target rates fell lower, it began to become clear that these liquidity injections were no longer having the desired effect of propping up stock, real estate and commodity prices. Now that interest rates are effectively at zero but the economy is still in the process of shrinking, the failure of the monetarist theory has become obvious, especially given the continued failure of the Japanese economy to respond to extreme interest rate-cutting following its 1989 crash.

It slashing interest rates stopped working, plus we had the example of Japan's economy tanking using this principle, but nobody can put two and two together.

The failure of monetary policy has caused many economists and politicians to return to the Keynesian school, which primarily concerns itself with fiscal policy. Just as the Federal Reserve's control of the price of money – the interest rate – is the primary tool of the monetarists, government spending is the primary tool of the Keynesians, or more properly, Neo-Keynesians, since even the biggest fans of John Maynard Keynes have been forced to acknowledge at least some of the fundamental flaws in his economic theories. The core of the Keynesian theory of economic contraction is a failure of demand to meet supply, or to put it more simply, people are refusing to buy enough stuff to keep the economy growing. This is why Neo-Keynesians like Nobel Prize-winner Paul Krugman worry about "the looming hole in the U.S. economy," by which he means the difference between what could be produced by the economy and what will actually be bought.

So now we go back to the "semi" discredited system that didn't work.

This next quote is long, but explains it with an easy to understand example:

Consider a hypothetical example of an economy in which there are 100 cars. Because a car lasts for 10 years, every year 10 cars wear out and are replaced. But things have been going well and people are getting wealthier, so five of them buy second cars. The three car makers each sell five cars, and there are now 105 cars in the economy. However, in the second year, there is a stock market panic due to the failure of the Madagascar cashew harvest, so the central bank gets nervous and slashes interest rates. Ten cars wear out, and 10 are replaced, but thanks to the low interest rates, the automakers can offer zero percent leases and other creative forms of payment, which encourage 20 people to buy second cars. There are now 125 cars in the economy. Interest rates stay low for the next three years, and people continue to take advantage of the new car-financing deals, until there are 185 cars in an economy that only required 100 five years before.

Then, an Icelandic bank bets heavily on the Norwegian cod harvest and goes under. The global stock markets drop, people feel less wealthy, and car drivers decide to reduce their automotive consumption. Ten cars wear out, as always, but instead of being replaced by new cars, they are replaced by cars that still have seven good years on them sold by two-car owners who decide they really don't need their second car anymore. The car economy shrinks by 10 cars to 175 cars, but even worse, the annual gap between the demand and the supply capacity is 30 cars. So, what is the solution?

The monetarists would recommend cutting interest rates, but since they are already low, that's not a viable option. (And then, there is the fact that because low interest rates caused the problem in the first place, they cannot reasonably be expected to fix it.) The Keynesians would attempt to stimulate the economy by having the government fill in the demand gap by buying 30 cars, but this will only put off the problem for a year since there will be 30 more used cars available to the 10 people who will require replacement vehicles next year. The optimal solution is the Austrian one, which is to leave the economy alone and wait for the extra cars to wear out. This may be frustrating to the would-be hero politician who wishes to solve the problem through decisive legislation, but it is the only solution that will not make things materially worse in the future.

Hey, there are going to be a lot of fancy golf carts on the market next year.

Doing nothing is admittedly difficult in times of crisis. But it is always wise to keep in mind that there is no crisis so severe that government intervention cannot make it worse.


P.S.: See my new Debt Clock on the sidebar to find out what you owe.


I'm not superstitious nor and I a big believer in premonitions...BUT...Chris didn't call yesterday. I carried my damn cell phone with all day and when I went to bed at 5 PM (day shift, up at 3:30 AM), I tried to put my phone so it would wake me (no easy feat, once I'm out, I'm really out)on the off chance he called late.

He didn't, so I figured maybe they got in trouble and were denied phone privileges.

Today when I got to work and being it's one of those "kinda holidays", I closed the gates and decided to leave my phone on the desk. (I had a phone stolen out of the office a couple of years ago, so it usually goes in my locker.) It was one of those feelings of "Well, he works for the gov't, maybe they'll consider it a holiday and he could get his phone".

At 12:42 PST my phone went off, my heart raced a couple of beats, then while reaching for the phone, I'm thinking "It's probably some new bill my wife left me with", I look at the display and it says "CHRIS"!

That was the end of my shift report, I was 2/3's of the way through, but the rest could wait.

I got to talk to him for about an hour. He's doing well, put on 10 lbs., got the hell beat out of him with pugil sticks last Friday and loved it, Tomorrow he goes to the range and tries to qualify as Expert Marksman (two more on target this time and he makes it 36 out of 40, but he's going for 40/40), Friday they get so shoot heavy weapons... .40 machine gun, SAWs, .50 Machine gun and something else I didn't recognize, and he's just short on all the PT stuff they have to pass, but he's still got two weeks to go to get by those.

For a kid whose diet was very "selective", he says he likes the army chow, mostly. There are some things he looks at and won't touch, so he just grabs veggies bread and rice and figures he'll eat more tomorrow when there is something he likes.

God I miss him! Eight months ago, I wanted him to get a job and move out. Now I'm counting the days and pennies so I can fly all the way across country to be able to spend a couple of days with him at his graduation from Boot. Then the Army takes him back for another 6 weeks for training in his specific field. After that he gets 2 weeks off to come home before posting.

Sunday, February 08, 2009


Out of 23 1/2 hours that Chris could have called, he managed to hit dead center of my 20 minute commute to work. I was at the interchange of two freeways, in the fast lane, with two cop cars traveling along with me. No talking on cell phones while driving and no place to get off.

I carried my phone all day in the hope that he'd get another chance to call, but I guess not. (G-d, I hope he doesn't think I screwed up.)

I'm in a major funk now. I know he's doing well, but I sense an undercurrent of "What the hell did I get myself into?" in his letters. He's all the way across the country, with a bunch of guys he doesn't know. His friends don't know how to write letters. They are so use to cell phones, text and E-mail that to sit down and write a missive is beyond them. Quick bursts of writing on one point, send it off and wait for the instant response, then the next round.

Ah, well. Next Sunday I'm working Days and if he calls about the same time, I'll still be at work.

Saturday, February 07, 2009


Chris moved into the next phase of Basic on Friday. That means he should get his cell phone tomorrow and be able to call. It'll be the first time we've been able to talk since he got to Georgia.

I've got my cell phone charging and checked to be sure the bill was paid up so there are no glitches on my end. I try to write him at least every other day, but my life is just so damn exciting! How many times can you tell someone about what the stupid animals did (sleep, eat, poo)? I try not to bitch about work, but it has crept in a couple of times. He's got enough on his shoulders right now.

He just got through the gas chamber and swears that is the major thing that drives him to pass Basic this time. He didn't puke, but said his sinuses where plugged for two days after.

Now that he's in "White Phase" I'm hoping it gets a little easier for a while. I'm not military, but I'd guess this middle section will cover the things that are more specific and technical. Lot's of learning, but Chris is smart and will do fine. My worry is the final phase. I'm guessing again, but I'd bet they put you through the wringer there. You've been taught the basics, shown how everything works, now let's see if you can do it under pressure.

I'm just soooo excited that my boy may call tomorrow, I'm afraid I won't be able to sleep well from worrying about missing his call. He's three hours ahead. What if he get's his phone early and calls at 8 AM my time? I'm on swing shift this week. and 8 AM is like 3 AM to me.

Now my next goal is getting the funds together to go to his graduation. I've already done the hard part and finagled the time off of work, I just have to get the minor things in order, like the flight, car rental, place to to pay for it.

If It's Friday...

It's raining and this storm pushed some nasty stuff in front of it coming in. It could be a cold that's got me, but it came on in minutes. I had been up for hours, feeling fine, drove to work and about 30 minutes before the rain hit, my sinuses were maxed out.

I'm not posting because the sheer magnitude of ineptness of the new administration just has me reeling. I can't beleive that someone elected President could be so clueless. Obambi can't find a single person for his cabinet, outside of the Republicans he selected, that doesn't have a tax problem.

Our patriotic duty to pay our fair share...yeah, right!

And this "Stimulus Bill"! Obambi thought he could just trust Pelosi to write it without administrative guidelines? 40 years of pent up socialism all rolled up in a bill that is suppose to get the economy under control? Nothing like telling people to work hard so we can tax the hell out you once everything is back to normal. Makes me want to work harder.

Right now I'm just sitting back and smiling at the silence of my lib friends and co-workers who are now realizing what they voted for.

I got a jones on for classical music today and just happened to run across this:

"Guitar: Impossible"