Sunday, November 30, 2008

Our New Sailor

On Monday evening before Thanksgiving we started our 13 hour drive out to Waukegan, IL to attend our youngest son Christopher's graduation from Navy Boot Camp. He's a 'nuke' which apparently is also synonymous with 'geek' in the Navy. He'll be heading off for his A-school as soon as some paperwork gets cleared up.

The graduation ceremony was impressive. There was a band, a parade of the flags of the fifty states, an honor guard complete with tossing rifles around, and a review. A captain from the office of the deputy secretary of Naval Operations gave a stirring and brief congratulations and reminded all the sailors that aptitude and attitude were two of the most important qualities. You can work on both and those who did would be very successful.

We hung around in the are for Thanksgiving and the day after taking our sailor shopping and to a couple of movies. We went to "Bolt" just because it sounded cute and it was much better than we expected. We ate Thanksgiving dinner at a sparsely populated small restaurant named Anastasia's which featured among other things a brandy flaming cheese appetizer called "Saganaki." Good stuff! Then on Saturday morning at 5 a.m. we rose for the long drive home. Both ways we were fortunate to hit Chicago at times when the traffic was light which seems to hardly ever happen around Chicago.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Serious Change did you say?

The election euphoria continues as the economic meltdown theatrics thunder on. Now we have the big three automakers flying into Washington in their private, corporate sponsored jets with their hands out. "Too big to fail" we keep hearing. You might want to tell that to the Roman Empire. There is no such thing as too big to fail. The big question is fail now or fail later after they've sucked the tax payer dry and there are no more options.

It is not written on the book of life that if you are in business you must succeed. It doesn't have an exception for size. The market punishes wastefulness whether it is the plundering of the company by unions or by management. The U.S. automakers have been fumbling around for quite a few years making poorer quality cars than the Japanese, the Germans, and now even the South Koreans. Cozying up to Congress is not going to suddenly make them better automobile manufacturers.

The gubbment needs to get out of business. What is the change we've signed up for? Increasingly it looks like a fast track to national socialism as we fund a free enterprise melt down (probably induced by government in the first place) with exasperatingly irresponsible bailouts without a trace of real accountability. This isn't a recipe for solving the problems. It is a fast track to turning an economic glitch into a long term track back to feudalism. Here you are serfs, pick up your gubbment check and don't make any waves or we'll turn you into a non-person.

The talking heads in the media have been particularly mindless of late. That is what happens when you can no longer tell the difference between truth, spin, and rank propaganda. It's all a crock. Time to tune-out and get back to something productive like actually thinking.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


Well the fat lady has sung and we have kicked the can for hope and change. What has interested me so far is the artificial euphoria of the media, even some of the more even handed media. The long and short of it is that the most liberal senator in the U.S. senate, a man with essentially no credentials, a man who ran on a platform empty of substance who has a record of consorting with radicals and people who hate America is now the president with a majority in both houses of congress.

Did you notice that gun sales have skyrocketed. The market tanked for two days after the election. Those are not signs of great confidence in the wisdom of the American electorate. If you search for precedents for this election the ones that come to mind are the election of FDR, the election of Johnson in 1964, and perhaps the election of Jimmy Carter after Gerald Ford went back on his promise not to run. The first two ushered in spectacular growth in government. The last destroyed the retirement savings of millions and left the nation with double digit inflation, huge unemployment and blamed it all on the people. Hold on, we're in for a horrific ride.

One ought to remember that government doesn't produce anything. It doesn't produce jobs. It doesn't produce wealth. What it is supposed to do is defend you from enemies from within and without. Often, as in the three examples above, it proves to be more the problem than the solution.

Watch closely as the new administration tries to figure out what it is all about. It will be interesting to watch how they try to fill in the blanks and right now it is all blanks. I think that vacuity will show up shortly and we will see that the promised change is just more of the same old lame ideas which have failed and failed and failed. We'll get to pay the price all over again. Carter has returned.