Friday, December 30, 2005

The situation up in Sudbury

I was up in Sudbury for the weekend, trying to get the skinny of what was going up there in the election. Sudbury is one of those "yellow dog" Liberal ridings - a yellow dog could run as the Liberal candidate and get elected, but it might not be so easy for incumbent Diane Marleau. The NDP candidate Gerry MacIntaggert is running a strong campaign, and it things go right for him, he might be able to pull it off. My mom, who is as much of a Tory partisan as they come, might plug her nose and vote NDP if MacIntaggert is close enough to win.

This reminds me of the 1984 election in Nickel Belt. Liberal incumbent and Trudeau cabinet minister Judy Erola was running against former NDP MP John "chi-chi" Rodriguez. I know that a lot of Tories voted for Chi-chi rather than Erola. My father's logic on this was impeccable. Rodriquez was already eligible for his lifetime MP pension, and Erola would be if she won election again, so it made more sense to vote for the commie we were already paying than the one that we were going to end up paying forever. No use in wasting taxpayer money on two MP lifetime salaries when one would do.

How long until the SEC investigates the IT scandal

Captain Ed has once again led the way in showing the depths of Goodale's Income Trust inside trading scandal. Especially noteworthy is that the head of the company that runs the TSE might be implicated as well:
Richard Nesbitt, CEO TSX Group: According to CTV, Nesbitt purchased $759,000 worth of stocks hours before the announcement and made $100,000 in profit the next day. However, he could not be reached for comment, yet his spokesman said that he was only filling up his core holdings before the calendar year end.
Since a lot of these companies trade on the NASDAQ or NYSE as well as on the TSE, it is coming imperative that the SEC investigate this matter as well, since it would not help the integrity of U.S. markets if everyone knew that any stock that was dual listed on the TSE was prone to manipulation. Sadly, I cannot trust the RCMP on this matter, as they have had a history of slacking off when it suited their political masters. The U.S. will have to do the heavy lifting, and all they will get for it will be ingratitude.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Media hand wringing and inexcusable behaviour

No Pun(dit) Intended has a great post about the media coverage of the Toronto shootings that took place a couple of days ago. The key passage:
At first they failed to say the suspects were "Black Males" so as to limit outcry that all black males are criminals and gangsters and thugs. However, as Jean Chretien would say "the proof is in the proof is in the proof, is in the proof" or something like that. Look at the statistics, of all the homicides in Toronto, the suspects are disproportionately Black. I am not suggesting all black people in Toronto are thugs or criminals. However, we must acknowledge that a certain 'gang mentality' exists within a certain subset of society that is only encouraged by gangster rap, which we are too scared to denounce.

I find it hilarious how PM Paul Martin and Toronto Mayer David Miller blame the shootings on 'poverty' and 'exclusion' in society. Paul Martin also openly blames the gang violence and shootings in Toronto on the United States terrible gun laws and how guns are leaking across the border into Canada into the hands of criminals. I find this assessment funny. Doesn't the United States have similar qualms with Canada's lax Drug laws, and how the decriminalization of Marijuana is leading to the export of cannabis to the homes of the United States? Of Course this hypocrisy is too complicated for most 'feeble minded' Liberals to understand.
Go figure. The media has once again ignored the facts - who the perpetrators are, how this is the third gun incident in the Yonge/Dundas area, and how all the handguns are illegal to begin with. All they do is bitch and moan about how Toronto has "lost its innocence" and how David Miller and socialist sycophants bemoan the lack of midnight basketball and demand more money to be thrown at the situation. To make matters worse, if that shot off-duty police officer was allowed to carry his handgun while off duty (which they are allowed to do in the U.S. since police officers are never really 'off duty' to perform their sworn duties), perhaps the carnage would have been limited. Then again, if that officer, who I hope has a speedy recovery, did stop them, he would be raked over the hot coals as an out of control racist oppressor.

Pathetic, how Toronto liberals deal with real problems. Canada needs a Rudolph Giuliani to fix this problem once and for all. For more on this too, read this post from the Other Club on gun crime in Canada - Herschblogger hits a home run on this matter too!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Pravda on day care

I read this account on day care in Toronto, on how for some areas, if you don't register for a spot as soon as you find out you're expecting, you're SOL. While I disagree with the statistic outcome implied on this - this does exemplify a bigger problem: raising children is an exorborant cost rather than an asset in major cities. I think the biggest problem is that tax rates are so high that it is difficult to raise a family on one income, and extremely difficult in a high cost of living city like Toronto.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Oh Irony!

Stephen Taylor has a link whereby Tory operatives have found copies of future Liberal attack ads. I found this one on the left particularly funny. Obviously, the Liberals have decided to compare Stephen Harper to Mike Harris, thinking that Harris is unpopular in Ontario.
This is more indicative of the groupthink in Grit election HQ than electoral calculus. Considering Dalton McGuinty's dismal record so far, I would bet a large portion of undecided voters, whom this ad is trying to target, are waxing nostalgic for the Harris years on some level. Let's look over some key points, which I would use in a response:
  • Mike Harris: Cut taxes 30%, took a massive deficit inherited from the NDP and balanced the books. Got rid of cash grabs like photo radar. Relatively clean government.
  • Dalton McGuinty: Promised not to raise or cut taxes and then hit taxpayers with a huge health care premium tax. Broke dozens of campaign promises on matters like hydro, adoption, balance books to name a few. Panders to public sector unions at taxpayer expense. Does a lot of "reforms" that are symbolic in nature but are ineffective at best or harmful at worst. Soft on crime. Finance minister resigned when named in an OSC investigation.
  • Paul Martin: Broke many campaign promises, both as PM and as finance minister. Panders to special interests with huge government spending promises at expense of taxpayers. Makes a lot of "reforms" that are symbolic in nature but are ineffective at best or harmful at worst. Soft on crime. Party riddled with corruption allegations. Finance minister potential target of OSC investigation.

So based on this information, my rebuttal ads would show the records of McGuinty and Martin side by side - showing some of the items above with the question: "Is Paul Martin the Dalton McGuinty of Canada or is Dalton McGuinty the Paul Martin of Ontario."

Saturday, December 17, 2005

If the U.S. really wanted to show Canada that friendship isn't a one way street

With my previous posts about U.S. ambassador David Wilkin's comments about the shrill anti-American tone coming from the Liberals in this campaign, and Paul Martin's subsequent wrapping himself in the Canadian flag, it got me thinking. What would the U.S. do if it was really pissed at the Canadian government and wanted to send a real message to the Liberal about friendship being a two-way street. Of course, I'm hypothesizing, not advocating this, but this is what I came up with. Kind of a passive-aggressive response that does not violate any trade agreements or other bilateral agreements. Here is what I came up with:

  1. Require all Canadians entering the U.S to present a passport. Wait, that has been done and it kicks in January 2007. The $100 I had to spend on a new passport can be called the: "Liberals George Bush bashing tax". Minor inconvenience and cash outlay, but still a poignant gesture.
  2. Ban Toronto garbage from crossing the border for "national security purposes". There is a house bill that allows the states to prohibit the importation of garbage from foreign countries. Once that is passed, I know the State of Michigan will do it. I'm in favour of this regardless, as those commies in Toronto City Hall should be taught a lesson of the hypocrisy on their garbage policy. Plus I bet this gets support in Canada, as everyone knows, Toronto bashing is sporting outside of the GTA.
  3. If the U.S. finds another terrorist suspect on U.S. soil that was a refugee claimant in Canada, then it gets nasty. It could get to the point where all cargo is thoroughly inspected entering the country - which grinds the economy to a halt, especially in Ontario, or requiring Canadian visitors to get a visa - which would really screw things up. This is unlikely, as the economy of a lot of states like Ohio, Michigan, New York would be severely impacted.
  4. My favourite is to offer green cards to all Canadian doctors, engineers, and scientists, and turn the brain drain from a small leak to a torrent. Rob Canada of its best and brightest and allow them to 'vote with their feet' (like me) and escape Trudopia once and for all. This helps the U.S. economy by bringing in desperately needed skills and builds the economy all while sticking it to the Canadian government at the same time.
Some of these things are happening already, and some I'm just postulating for the heck of it. But the fact that I could run these off rather quickly should be a warning to the Liberals about running off their mouths, as I would bet that some in congress or the white house have thought of these on some level.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Reaping what you have sown

Looks like Paul Martin and the Librano's antics are finally getting press attention south of the border (H/T Right in Canada), but it is not good press:

The ambassador's point raises a larger question: Can Canada really be considered our "friend" anymore? As someone whose family comes from Canada, a country I grew up loving as a child, it pains me to ask the question. That said, what other question can be asked when the Canadian government not only willingly allows Islamic terrorists into their country, but does nothing to stop them from entering our nation.

Two cases in point out of many. The first being in December 1999, when al Qaeda operative Ahmed Ressam entered the United States from Canada. By luck, he was arrested with a trunk full of explosives. His mission: to blow up Los Angeles International Airport. Next were two Pakistani men on the "no fly" list, with possible terrorist connections, who were arrested in Seattle. They were caught buying one-way tickets to New York City with cash. How did these potential terrorists get into our country? From Canada. One of the men even had a driver's license from British Columbia.

For years, our intelligence services have warned and even begged Canadian officials to do something about its dangerous open immigration policies. Immigration policies
that continually allow highly suspicious people into Canada with a free shot at the United States. U.S. politicians from both sides of the aisle have joined with U.S. law enforcement personnel to ask Canada to address this growing security threat. In response, Canadian politicians from the left have basically said, "Drop dead." We may yet. And how tragic it would be if the deaths of thousands of innocent Americans came at the hands of a terrorist that Canada willingly allowed into their country....

Our once great friend is turning against us. Common sense and our national security dictate that we can no longer afford to ignore that fact.

This will probably be the first of many articles coming out on this topic in the U.S. The passport requirement for Canadian citizens travelling to the U.S is the first step of many that are going to be taken. Softwood and beef could have been resolved a lot quicker if the Canadian government decided to be helpful rather than being an irritant. Paul Martin and also make as many threats as he wants to the U.S. for 'retaliation', but the only people who will be hurt by it are Canadian workers dependent on access to the U.S. economy. If PMPM decides to wrap the flag around him and make the election a referendum on GWB, he will be risking the economic prosperity of the country as a crass political ploy.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Looks like I'm a bit behind

Based on my previous post - it looks like Stephen Harper has mused about income splitting in this McLeans article. H/T to Mark Peters for this.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Liberal Party consolidates it propaganda wing

When I read the above article (h/t to Warwick), it is not surprising at all. So now CTV and the Globe and Mail will now be controlled by the OTPP and the Toronto Star. Where are the howls from the Left decrying the consolidation of media power, like what they did some years back when Conrad Black's Hollinger had the National Post and most of the local dailies in the country. So let's get an overview of this again:

  1. Global and National Post - owned by former leader of Manitoba Liberal
  2. Toronto Star - owned by Liberal bagman
  3. Globe and Mail, CTV - controlled by Liberal bagman
  4. CBC -dependent on the ruling party for its largesse.
All of the above entities are also at the mercy of the CRTC for their livelihoods, so there is a double incentive not to offend the party there too.

And don't get me started on OTPP. Yes, it is a well run pension plan for its members, but due to Canadian content rules for it's portfolio, the plan has its fingers in way too many pies in this country, and if they ever decided to really get political, they could really mess up the economy. Look at Quebec's public sector pension plans - which is on some levels a separatist slush fund.

If one defines fascism as the intertwining of state and corporate interests as a ruling structure, Canada is starting to look more like Mussolini's Italy than a free society.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

For Paul Martin's Gun Ban

I got one already - available at

My "daycare" solution

Simple - allow income splitting between couples so that families with a member who stays at home can split the income. In the U.S., they call it "married filing joint" where both incomes and income tax brackets are aggregated. This means that if there is one wage in the family, the higher tax brackets don't kick until twice the level for single filers. This would eliminate the 'marriage penalty' that Canadian families face when one stays at home. A colleague of mine once told me that unless he had a job making $45,000 CDN, it made more sense for him to stay at home considering the taxes and costs of day care - pretty pathetic huh? The married filing joint option makes the financial burden a lot less onerous than what previously exist. I believe that on one level, the Liberals are against this because this would ensure that all families would be forced to be dependent on government for their child rearing, and easier to indoctrinate to the ideals of the party.

Maybe I should take off my tinfoil hat soon.

The pettiness of Local Government

Good article on how Toronto City Council is screwing things up in a nutshell. I'll stick to my assertion that Toronto becomes as dysunctional as Detroit within my lifetime. Hat tip to Dissonance and Disrespect.

First week of the Canadian Election

The parties have been on the official hustings this week, and if one thing sticks out, it is how brazen and crass the Liberal are. Shameless, really. A potential insider trading scandal with finance minister Ralph Goodales announcement not to tax the snot out of income trusts hitting the markets before the after close announcement, and then making a campaign promise to ban handguns.

The insider trading thing will not go far I suppose, even though there is a lot of prima facie evidence to show market manipulation, it is a tough case to prove in court. Second, I have no faith in the OSC and the RCMP, who are both compromised. The OSC proved it with the ongoing investigation to Royal Technologies, on whose board sat Greg Sorbara, the now former Treasurer for the province of Ontario. Both bodies have illustrated a penchant for looking the other way when their political masters are in trouble.

I expect things to pick up in after the holidays, and things should get pretty nasty soon.

Howard Dean's poor sense of timing evident again

Tip of the hat to the Other Club, who found the irony of Howard Dean demanding the surrender of U.S. forces in Iraq on the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbour. Funny how the MSM doesn't notice that.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Detroit voters re-elect Kwame - or not?

Well, it seems that I have spoken too soon about Kwame having a 'fraud proof' margin of victory in this month's Detroit mayoralty race. Consider this:
  1. The city clerk responsible for the election had her family and friends on the payroll - many of whom had criminal records.
  2. During the presidential elections, there were allegations of massive voter fraud, which included city clerks filling out absentee ballots of the elderly, and other ballot stuffing matters.
  3. During the mayoralty race, the election was being monitored by the U.S. justice department.
  4. Rumours going along during the vote included officials from the city clerk's office allowing voters to bring home their ballots, among other things.

So, the question is whether there is enough in a recount to find 14,000 votes. O.K. - now let's start taking bets on what the final margin will be.

Detroit voters re-elect Kwame - or not?

Well, it seems that I have spoken too soon about Kwame having a 'fraud proof' margin of victory in this month's Detroit mayoralty race. Consider this:
  1. The city clerk responsible for the election had her family and friends on the payroll - many of whom had criminal records.
  2. During the presidential elections, there were allegations of massive voter fraud, which included city clerks filling out absentee ballots of the elderly, and other ballot stuffing matters.
  3. During the mayoralty race, the election was being monitored by the U.S. justice department.
  4. Rumours going along during the vote included officials from the city clerk's office allowing voters to bring home their ballots, among other things.

So, the question is whether there is enough in a recount to find 14,000 votes. O.K. - now let's start taking bets on what the final margin will be.

Detroit voters re-elect Kwame - or not?

Well, it seems that I have spoken too soon about Kwame having a 'fraud proof' margin of victory in this month's Detroit mayoralty race. Consider this:
  1. The city clerk responsible for the election had her family and friends on the payroll - many of whom had criminal records.
  2. During the presidential elections, there were allegations of massive voter fraud, which included city clerks filling out absentee ballots of the elderly, and other ballot stuffing matters.
  3. During the mayoralty race, the election was being monitored by the U.S. justice department.
  4. Rumours going along during the vote included officials from the city clerk's office allowing voters to bring home their ballots, among other things.

So, the question is whether there is enough in a recount to find 14,000 votes. O.K. - now let's start taking bets on what the final margin will be.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Useless Republicans

Seems like Mark Steyn has the same thoughts on the utter uselessness of Republicans in the U.S. House and Senate with pushing a conservative agenda. My favourite line:
Well, I would be in favor of wrapping virtually every Republican Senator in asbestos, and using them to insulate my attic. I think that would be a more useful deployment of them, than what they're doing in the United States Senate. That is simply the most absurd, irrelevant, minimalist approach to governing that I've heard. You know, the trouble reminds me of something that I think Norman Lamont, when he was chancellor of the exchequer, said in Britain about ten years ago, that he said that the conservative party, he said then, is in office, but not in power. And that's what these guys give the appearance of. They're in office, but they're not in power.
Well said again. Comes back to what I've been harping on for a long time - if you're a 'conservative' party who can't implement a conservative agenda when in power - why bother voting?

Where's the outrage? a.k.a. Democracy in the age of cynicism.

With all the crap going on about the malfeasance in government, where Liberal Ottawa comes to mind, my greatest dismay is with a substantial portion of the electorate, who are willing to give this government a pass, vote Liberal, shrug their shoulders, and say "everybody does it". This, I believe is a symptom of a larger decline, a decay of the societal fabric that has been the foundation of Anglo-Saxon governance.

I was trying to put a term on the the political/moral culture - and what came to mind after a lot of thinking was WASP. This is not scientific, but more on an observation - nations with a more "protestant" or "anglo-saxon" political culture seem to have less corruption and tolerance for corruption than their counterparts. Historically, compare "anglo-saxon" Ontario to Quebec on a loose level, and you'll get my point. Anyhow, I think that there are two historical reasons for this: the first being the Protestant reformation, which was in part a revolt against corruption of the Church. The development of a protestant culture inculcated a suspicion of authority and intolerance of corruption, which manifested itself in part in the development of their societies an political systems. The second major element would have to be the Scottish enlightenment, and the writings of the preeminent thinkers - John Locke and Adam Smith. Smith, in particular, argued that a free society could not survive without a strong moral compass, that capitalism needed a moral foundation in order for it to be just and fair. Otherwise, he believed, society would evolve into anarchy or depotism.

This model survived well into the twentieth century, where two related movements, secularism and legalism, started to eat away at these foundations. I say legalism because it replaced an inate societial understanding of what is right and wrong with a complex legal code, which many use as a defense of their behaviour. Bill Clinton is a good example of this - what he did in a general sense was wrong, but he used legalisms to claim he technically did no wrong. The same can be said of the Liberals right now in Ottawa - using a bunch of legalistic defenses for the indefensible in a larger societal sense. Secularism has also played an indirect part, by attacking the Judeo-Christian underpinnings of soceity as being somewhat wrong or intolerant, and usurping these cultural underpinnings with a "whatever floats your boat" attitude in some sense.

These two elements have contributed to undermining the civil morality that has been the hallmark of Anglo-Saxon democracies: a sense of fairness, demands for accountability, and 'doing the right thing' in general. These notions have been erroded, and in its vacuum, two things have replaced it. The first is a growing cynicism, which, for a lack of a better word, has replaced faith in the civil discourse. The belief that everybody is crooked and there is not faith in elected representatives (not saying naive - as that faith should be subject to great scutiny), means that there is no faith in change for the better, no faith that there are people out there who believe in the ideals of public service. The second is the use and defense of legalisms to pursue what are otherwise odious goals: a society that relies on technicalities and not on general principles of right and wrong will descend into rent-seeking and amoral behaviour.

The solution to all this is for society as a large to find their moral compass and their faith. Find their faith in the system, demand accountability from those who play fast and loose with the trust that was placed in. Make accountability and proper behaviour a key criteria for public office - not bribing people with their own money. It won't happen overnight, but maybe if people start demanding that right behaviour is not an option, it will slowly change. In the case of Canada, with it becoming a "post-Christian" country - I do not have a lot of hope for a large segment of it.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Why do we elect Republicans? Part 2

Another example of why bother? Republicans in congress drop the authorization for drilling in ANWR in conference with the senate for fear that it won't pass otherwise? If a 'conservative' party who has majorities in both houses of congress cannot get a minimally invasive oil exploration project rammed past the ludicrious objections of the eco-communists when the price of gas is hovering around $2.50 - $3.00/gallon, then I ask again - why are we electing you.
Note to those of you who vote GOP - during the primaries - if your GOP congressman didn't support drilling in ANWAR, or waffles on this question - he doesn't deserve your vote.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Armistice Day - Belgium in WWI

While I ponder the great sacrifices that were made during the Great War, specifically members of my family who died on the fields of Flanders in 1914-1918, I found this disturbing article in the Brussels Journal on Belgium's role during this conflict. It is not flattering. Many people today see the Great War as a futile waste of life, quite understandedly so. However, once you read this history of Belgium's role, it will only reinforce this perspective on the matter. This is the tone of the story:
The danger now came from the south: 25 miles from De Panne, not protected by water, lay the mediaeval town of Ieper. The Belgians had fled from it on 7 October, allowing the enemy to enter the town. The British, however, recaptured it on 13 October. From 19 October to 22 November 1914, the British fought “First Ypres,” the first of the three battles around the small Flemish town that was to become a British graveyard. The British held on to the indefensible salient during the entire war. They paid, however, the heavy price of over 200,000 men. Ieper became a symbol of man’s destructive power, but also of his courage. In a sense, it was also a symbol of treachery, because while the British died like rats, Albert, whose country they were defending, looked on. He did not lift a finger because he was “neutral.”
I was somewhat aware of Belgium's duplicity in the Great War, from reading Martin Gilbert's fine history of the First World War. But this is a lot more than I knew. The Belgian government's, particularly that of King Albert, makes me respect the bravery and valour of our men went to fight and die on the fields of Flanders even more so, as the locals there did nothing. I shall never forget what was done there, and my gratitude has been raised a lot by reading this story.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

More on Kwame's re-election

I read this in today's Detroit Free Press, which kind of confirms what I've posted earlier on Kwame's suprising win against Freeman Hendrix. The article:

DESIREE COOPER: Kilpatrick's win was not really a surprise
November 10, 2005


What happened?

That's the lingering question following Kwame Kilpatrick's "surprise" mayoral victory. Whatever happened, I can tell you one thing: It didn't just happen last night. It happened the day we locked major segments of the black population into intractable poverty, creating a caste that neither participates in mainstream society nor shares its values.

Rule No. 1 for campaigning in Detroit: Not all blacks are black. In order to win here, you've got to resonate with those citizens of what Michigan State University sociologist Carl Taylor calls the "Third City," an urban sub-culture born of poverty and neglect. Taylor is the author of several books about urban culture including "Dangerous Society." "In the Third City, you have citizens, noncitizens -- people who participate in an underground economy, but not in mainstream civic life -- and anticitizens -- people who defy authority and accept criminal activity as normative," said Taylor. "There's a strong identity of 'us' against 'them' -- the white power structure and the black bourgeoisie."

The Third City is held together by common values often at loggerheads with mainstream ones. Citing the hero status of slain rapper Tupac Shakur, "The thug is perceived as the underdog," said Taylor, "I was taught to walk away from a fight. In the Third City, parents are likely to tell kids to never back down -- even to carry a gun. Their biggest resentment is hypocrisy. When major systems fail it only affirms the feeling that everything is rigged to favor whites and the rich." Since the Coleman Young era, Third City voters have set the tone of Detroit politics; this election was no exception. "The mayor did have the advantage among those who were unemployed and under 62 years old," said EPIC/MRA's Ed Sarpolus. "And those areas of the city that were most impoverished solidly voted for the mayor."

Taylor said: "Think about George W. Bush. When he walks into a room, he seeks out the males. He winks and nods at them when he talks. It's similar with Kilpatrick. Many in Detroit feel that, whatever his flaws, he understands them." Mayoral contender Freman Hendrix, however, had a harder time garnering that trust. For example, when Hendrix called for civility during the second debate, he may have sounded statesman-like to some, said Taylor. But for some Detroiters, he sounded like an authority figure talking down to his audience.

Attack the white element
The best way to galvanize the Third City is to demonize a white candidate, even where one doesn't exist. On the street, Kilpatrick supporters referred to Hendrix by his first name, Helmut, a name that betrays his half-Austrian heritage. The Third City factor also colored the perception of election news coverage. Stories about Kilpatrick's abuse of public funds, including leasing a Lincoln Navigator for his wife, were seen as an attempt at election by journalism.

"Every man wants to give his wife the best, so what?" said Brenda Keith, 59. Pershing High School teacher Karanji Kaduma, 28, applauded the mayor for not kow-towing to the media. "The media has so consistently skewed things against us over the years, it can't be a mistake," he said.

What about Jackie Currie?
Why, then, didn't street fighter City Clerk Jackie Currie receive Third City largesse?
Perhaps it was the Rosa Parks factor. Her funeral last week was a marathon of speeches exhorting blacks to remember the hard-won civil rights battles, especially voting rights. Allegations of voter fraud may have prompted Detroiters to surgically remove Currie. If there's one thing we've learned from the state takeover of the Detroit school board: You don't mess with the right to vote. What happened during Tuesday's election? The black bourgeoisie was pitted against the working poor, the darks against the lights, the intellectuals against the street fighters. It might have been a lot of things, but it wasn't a surprise.

With these attitudes, the race baiting, the marxist rhetoric, the acceptance of graft, is it no wonder that this city is going broke? I still think that a financial manager will be appointed by the state to fix up Detroit's finances (i.e. a state appointed receiver who deals with bankrupt cities) before Kwame's term is done - that will be his real leagacy.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Site of interest

I was referred to this site The Brussels Journal.

Great commentary on current events from Europe from a Hayekean perspective.

Their motto "All the news that never is printed"

Detroit voters re-elect Kwame

When driving home around 8 p.m. last night - most of the exist polls where projecting a 'fraud proof' victory for Freeman Hendrix. When I got up this morning - Kwame pulled it off. Seems like the old Coleman Young "blame whitey" platform helped him over the top. Now, I'm starting to take bets of when the city of Detroit will be officially bankrupt and a fiscal manager will have to be appointed by the state to clean it up.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

My take on Gomery

After reading a lot of postings, newspapers articles, and other pieces on last week's preliminary report by Judge Gomery on adscam, there are the observations that I think are most relevant.
  1. The limited scope of the report means was set up to limit damage to the Liberals. Adscam is representative of the activities across the government, most notably HRDC and Indian Affairs. The scope was limited to Adscam in order to hide even more damming allegations of impropriety. See Angry in the Great White North's summation of the underreported scandal of Abotech and Liberal MP David Smith.
  2. There is a hint of bias in the report. Gomery's report looks like it clears Mr. Dithers, it really doesn't it. I think that there was not enough evidence to blame Martin, and Gomery tries to please his current master by absolving him. However, in the U.S., Martin would be called an "unindicted co-conspirator" - meaning he knows what is going on, but there is not a strong enough case to go to trial. Based on Martin's position as the #2 guy in Chretien's cabinet, the senior minister of Quebec, vice-chair of the Treasury board, and a Montreal area MP, the more appropriate question is how could he NOT know. So Gomery did Martin a favour and exonerated him while piling on Chretien. I think Chretien might have a case in suing to discredit the report.
  3. The "culture of entitlement" described in the report really described the rot of the civil service. The senior levels of the civil service is full of liberal hacks with their own agendas, as well as little accountability. This clearly means that a combination of the following needs to be done: (1) Purge the civil service. Canada has traditionally followed the notion of having a non-partisan professional civil service that serves cabinet regardless of party. Let's not kid ourselves - Mulroney's government had a ton of resistance from Trudeau's dead wood at the top of the bureaucracy. It is time to seriously consider following the U.S. example - when an administration changes, the new one can basically fill those positions with their hacks and lackeys. It might not solve all the problems, but at least it is more transparent and that there is actually some turnover when a government changes. (2) Tighten up oversight, conflict of interest rules, tendering of contracts, and ministerial responsibility. Expand it to cover all crown corporations and anything that the Federal government has its fingers in.
  4. The Federal government is too big and it's time to scale down. The fact that such huge amounts of money are getting sloshed around without anybody noticing means that the government is too big. Start scaling back the functions of Ottawa, and slashing budgets or eliminating departments.
  5. Election spending limits also drove this. Adscam was also a way to get around election spending caps. Get rid of personal contribution limits, and limits by campaigns and open it up. My solution - if you can vote (i.e. Canadian citizens only - no corps, no unions), you can give as much money as you want to a political party or campaign, but every dollar will be disclosed within two business days of receipt. This eliminates a lot of the skullduggery with the bags of cash and paid workers being used to circumvent spending caps. It also brings a greater degree of transparency to election spending.
  6. If the Liberals get re-elected after this, this confirms by suspicions of the moral rot that is setting in Canada. If the people do not demand accountability for this malfeasance, then as David Warren pointed out in his great column, we are slaves to the state.
  7. If the Liberals get re-elected after this, Quebec and Alberta separatists are the biggest winners. Both parties will see themselves as victims of Liberal corruption, and the re-election of the Liberals will only reinforce their notion that the only solution will be out. Quebec's reason because the separatists will argue that it is an insult that they must be bribed with their own money, while Alberta will argue that Ontario enables the theft of Alberta's wealth to a corrupt Ottawa. Both factions will have a huge boost in support if Ontario allows this to happen.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Detroit & Rosa Parks

A poignant article by Henry Payne from the Detroit News, published in National Review. A snippet:

Parks’s burial in Detroit is a poignant irony: a woman that embodied the dream of black equality being laid to rest in a place that symbolizes the nightmare of urban black despair.

The problems of Detroit in 2005 are not the problems of Montgomery 50 years ago. Today, Detroit blacks have legal equality and black representatives in political office — yet their city is in crisis. Detroit’s crime rate ranks as one of the nation’s worst — a shocking 42 homicides per 100,000 citizens. (New York, by comparison, has seven. Los Angeles, 17.) These are largely black victims of black criminals. While officially 12 percent, the city’s unemployment rate is estimated closer to 30 percent as the population’s staggering 47-percent adult-illiteracy rate and high taxes make Detroit inhospitable to business.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Who is really gouging on gasoline...

"So, Exxon Mobil broke corporate records last week, posting a $9 billion profit on $100 billion in revenue in the third quarter. Right on cue, Democrats demanded that Washington confiscate some of those profits. Are they predictable or what?... Want to know who is making a bigger windfall than oil companies are making from the prices paid by the poor gasoline consumer? It's good old Uncle Sam and his 51 little brothers. Refining costs and profits combined make up about 15 percent of the cost of a gallon of gasoline, according to the U.S. Energy Department. State and local taxes make up almost double that, about 27 percent. State and local gas tax collections exceed oil industry profits by a large margin, according to a Tax Foundation study released last week. Since 1977, consumers have paid $1.34 trillion in gas taxes—more than twice the profits of all major U.S. oil companies combined during that same period. Last year, state and federal gas taxes took in $58.4 billion. Major U.S. oil company profits last year totaled $42.6 billion." —New Hampshire Union Leader

The face of evil

Here is something the MSM won't tell you about the 'insurgents' in Iraq. From the incomparable, and invaluable Bill Roggio of the Forth Rail (article linked above). Here's a snippet: In Kirkuk, children as also used as suicide bombers;
“A child thought to be just ten years old, wearing an explosives belt, has died
in a roadside explosion at the al-Quds intersection...”
Of course the MSM won't report it, as they didn't about North Vietmanese attrocities back then, but shouldn't we expect a wee bit more from the 'Blame America First' crowd?

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Mexican government's subversion of U.S. law

Here is a great article by Heather MacDonald in the recent issue of City Journal. She details how the Mexican government repeatedly interferes in U.S. domestic laws and blatantly subverts U.S. sovereignty. Her summary:

The Mexican government will push to control as much U.S. immigration policy as it can get away with. ItÂ’s up to American officials to stop such interference, but the Bush administration simply winks at foreign attacks on immigration laws that it itself refuses to enforce. President Bush should worry less about upsetting his friends at Los Pinos and more about listening to the American people: illegal immigration, they believe, is an affront to the rule of law and a threat to American security. It can and must be stopped.

This just undermines the Americanpublics general apprehension to the immigration issue, and why aggressive action needs to be taken. There is a consensus building on this matter, and the major parties ignore this at their peril.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Detroit Mayor's Race turns ugly

I'm surprised it took this long. In this week's Michigan Chronicle there was a full page ad by "Citizens for responsible government" decrying the media "Lynching" of Detroit Mayor Kwame Fitzpatrick by the white suburban press and their puppet, challenger (and front runner) Freeman Hendrix.
The sorry thing is that race baiting has been a staple of Detroit politics since the 70's. Coleman Young had a lengthy track record of this - ranting about how the whites should get out of Detroit and the how the suburbs are out to "get" him, etc. Kwame is hoping these old tricks will help him on a last minute, desperate attempt to not be the first incumbent to lose a Detroit mayoralty race in a long, long, time.
Will it distract voters from Kwame's dismal record as mayor, which highlighted a near bankrupt city, a declining population, crumbling infrastructure, rumours of featherbedding and inappropriate behaviour, and a general hostility to the press? The root of Detroit's problems can be seen as it is ranked the most Liberal city in America? This is what happens to a city where the most liberal of liberals have been ruling unfettered for forty years.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Delphi - This is going to get ugly soon

Based on the initial offer by Delphi (link above) - this is going to be an ugly Christmas here in Southeast Michigan. For now, I am going to assume that this is an opening position and that a settlement will be made before a strike happens.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The wierd stories keep on comoing

Hat tip to the Corner:

Man costumed as feces has case in court to settle

Canadian PressOct. 18, 2005 07:35 AM

VICTORIA, Canada - Mr. Floatie - a brown, smiling lump of feces - will have to take a break from his environmental concerns Tuesday as he heads to British Columbia Supreme Court. The costumed crusader for sewage treatment is being challenged by the city of Victoria because of his nomination as a candidate for the position of mayor in the upcoming municipal election. Mr. Floatie is a high-profile and tireless reminder of Victoria's practice of pumping raw sewage into the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The man inside the costume, James Skwarok, says the city appears to be taking issue with his candidacy because only real persons can run. It's an objection he finds moot. "Of course I'm not a real person, I'm a big piece of poop." The move by the city to keep Mr. Floatie off the throne of power has left him "beyond bummed out. I was fuming." Robert Woodland, Victoria administrator, says the law governing municipal elections clearly states that only people can run for a position. And they must do so under their real name. Woodland says he can personally attest that Mr. Floatie is not a real person. "He is a costume character."
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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Mary Jo Kophechne Could Not Be Reached For Comment

Tell me this story does not warrant a comment or two. HT the Corner:

Sen. Edward Kennedy Helps Rescue Fishermen
The Associated PressMonday, October 17, 2005; 2:24 AM
HYANNIS, Mass. -- U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy attempted to rescue six men who had become trapped by high tide on a jetty off Hyannisport on Sunday. The Massachusetts Democrat eventually left the rescue to Hyannis firefighters, The Cape Cod Times reported Monday.

Kennedy was walking his two dogs on the shore at 11:15 a.m. when he spotted the men cut off from shore by the rising waters. They had been fishing on a jetty that begins at the tip of the Kennedy compound. Tides had risen over the patchy rocks, which made it difficult to walk back to shore. Kennedy and a friend tried to rescue the men using a 13-foot boat but rough waters forced them back. A crew from the Hyannis Fire Department picked them up. The men, in their 20s, were not identified. They were brought to Cape Cod Hospital with mild hypothermia

Monday, October 17, 2005

Turkey, the Ottoman Empire, and Iraq today.

I had a long conversation with a good friend of mine about the parallels between the formation of modern Turkey with what is going on in Iraq. He points out his skepticism and brings up the following observation: In the first years of the Turkey, auditors banned religious headgear (i.e. the Fez). This symbollic move, though pointless to a westerner with a classical liberal outlook, was a tipping point in turning Turkey from a sectarian to a secular civic society. He wishes to see some sort of action by the new Iraqi federal government, which would emphasize the secular authority of the state over the sectarian traditions that linger in that society. Such a move, in his opinion, would undermine the rule of the secular government over the religious factions that have traditionally dominated the country.
I am starting to understand his observation of the parallels between the founding of modern Turkey and the efforts to form a federalist Iraq. Though I'm much more sanguine than my friend on this. It has led me to seek out histories of the formation of Turkey and see what lies in store in Mesopotamia.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

More on Delphi - U.S. Auto industry

Detroit Diesel has started to do what Delphi tried to do - increase the contribution from retirees for their health care costs. This is going to go through the industry, and is a necessity for the American auto industry to survive, as the current model is untenable.

This is what happens when you try to project life expectancy, investment returns, health care costs, and interest rates and further than a few years. Defined benefits as we know it are dead. Deal with it.
I see a lot of people complaining about this. How Delphi, GM and all that are breaking their 'promises' to the retirees. First - if you actually believed that these companies would keep their promise, given the history of labour-management relations in this country - you were a fool. The kind of fool who believes that a 20 year old will actually get a social security cheque. Second, if you didn't save any money, and pissed it all away on cars, boats, cottages, well... sorry, you should have thought better. Those of us who are not unionized have to save for our own retirement and pay for our own health care. The alternatives are pay out of pocket or get nothing when the plans go insolvent.

Delphi in Chapter 11

This is getting ugly here. Delphi, the former parts arm for General Motors which was spun off into it's own publically traded company, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. This is going to have a large impact on the economy here. First, there are hundreds of smaller parts manufacturers that provide parts for Delphi. Many of them have not been paid in months.

Delphi has long had troubles well before it become as separate company. It had large inflexible unionized workforce, excessively generous benefits, and long-term contracts that handcuffed the company. Add to this rising steel and fuel costs, and a teetering auto industry, and it was the tipping point. Delphi tried to extract consessions from the UAW over retiree benefits, but when the UAW balked, they carried through on their threat and went into bankruptcy.

What is happening at Delphi will be happening at GM soon. The conventional wisdom is that $1,500 of the cost of every GM vehicle goes to covering their health care costs. The problem is that unionized employees and retirees have no co-pay to speak of (unionized employees and retirees pay 7% of their costs, while management pays 27%). With more and more retirees living longer and longer, it is no wonder that the big three are bleeding red ink.

A lot of this was inevitable, and has been brewing for 30 years. Excessively generous labour agreements from the 60's and 70's, when the big three had 90% market share have finally started to impact the company. GM's debt is BB- (anything BBB and above is 'investment grade' while anything below is 'junk'), while Toyota's debt is rated AAA. This is a testament to years of mismanagement.

There is going to be a brawl with the UAW over this, and the other auto makers and suppliers are going to follow suit, as they are in survival mode.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Quote of the Day

"To ban guns because criminals use them is to tell the innocent and law-abiding that their rights and liberties depend not on their own conduct, but on the conduct of the guilty and the lawless, and that the law will permit them to have only such rights and liberties as the lawless will allow... For society does not control crime, ever, by forcing the law-abiding to accommodate themselves to the expected behavior of criminals. Society controls crime by forcing the criminals to accommodate themselves to the expected behavior of the law-abiding." —Jeff Snyder

Friday, October 07, 2005

My solution for Detroit's economic future

Considering we're having a mayoral election in Detroit here between a competent and an incomptent crook. So in light of Katrina, and the troubles facing the auto industry here in the Motor city, here is my recipie for economic development:

  1. As hurricane Katrina illustrated - the U.S. is running perpetually at full refining capacity. There has not been a new refinery built in the U.S. in over 25 years. This has primarily been due to environmental regulations and NIMBY activists.
  2. Katrina showed what happens when a small portion of that capacity is even temporarily taken offline, in terms of $3/gallon gas.
  3. $3/gallon gas is killing the big three, whose profits are derived from larger vehicles with poorer gas mileage. They are at a competitive disadvantage in the smaller, more fuel efficient care segment.
  4. Detroit is dependent on the big three for it's economic survival, and thus $3/gallon gas is not in the interests of Detroit.
  5. Detroit has large segments of its city with abandoned manufacturing properties, which are enviornmentally damaged.
  6. Detroit should use these lands and actively promote the construction of refineries within its boundries. This would utilize land already environmentally damaged, thus not making things worse. It would bring investment dollars for construction and infrastructure of the refineries, create jobs and tax revenues for the city, and help lower the price of gasoline, which helps the industrial base in Detroit.
  7. This is also feasible location wise - if Sarnia, 40 miles up the river is the hub of refinery capacity for Ontario, why can't Detroit be the refninery hub for the rust belt?

I am suprised that neither Kwame Fitzpatrick or Freeman Hendrix have latched on to this idea. If the next mayor of Detroit becomes a champion of such a plan - it is a political and economic winner. Jobs, economic development, and helping the largest employers in the city... whowoulddathunk???

Bankruptcy rule changes - an illustrative example

This story from the Detroit Free Press is a fine illustration of why bankruptcy reform is needed. This passage show why people are making last minute filings to avoid the new rules:

Short has more than $20,000 in credit card and other debt. She has a $700-a-month payment on a 2004 Cadillac Escalade. "I just can't do it on my income," she said.
She once worked as a blackjack dealer at a casino, but she left that job when her grandmother got sick. She does some child care, but is looking for a better-paying job.
"It's hard to find a job. I'm looking, though, really hard." Short has about $38,000 a year in income, including Social Security and a pension. Her husband was a Detroit police officer who was shot and killed while off-duty in 1994. Benjamin Short, 29, an undercover narcotics officer and a seven-year employee of the department, was gunned down in a lounge, caught in the cross fire during an argument of which he was not a part.
How did LaVita Short come up with the $600 needed up front for an attorney?
"I'm not paying my truck note -- I'm desperate," she said.
Short said she already has faced a foreclosure on her Southfield home, where she couldn't afford the $1,600-a-month mortgage payment.

Well there is not much sympathy from me on this. I understand the bad luck in her life, but c'mon - if you can't afford the mortgage - you go out and get the Escalade!?!!?! I have no symapthy for GMAC for making such a stupid loan. More of this is going to happen, but I think that the rule changes, that will affix some degree on individuals for the poor credit decisions they make, are really needed.

Finally! A real choice

Read the election platform for the Freedom Party of Ontario. Wow! I am impressed. Now there is a real alternative to the socialists (NDP), criminal socialists (Liberals), and socialist lite (PCs). A real libertarian alternative.

Thanks to my friends at the Londong Fog for the info!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Media Distortion in Iraq

Hat tip to Right Thinking People for this link to a U.S. Army officer's description of the MSM's efforts to give aid and comfort to the enemy. Go read the entire article - it confirms what I have thought for a while. Thank goodness for sites like the fourth rail and the Belmont club for useable information on what is going on, along with the countless miliblogs out there.
Here is an excerpt:
What about the media's portrayal of the enemy? Why do these ruthless murderers, kidnappers and thieves get a pass when it comes to their actions? What did the the media show or tell us about Margaret Hassoon, the director of C.A.R.E. in Iraq and an Iraqi citizen, who was kidnapped, brutally tortured and left disemboweled on a street in Fallujah? Did anyone in the press show these images over and over to emphasize the moral failings of the enemy as they did with the soldiers at Abu Ghuraib?
Did anyone show the world how this enemy had huge stockpiles of weapons in schools and mosques, or how he used these protected places as sanctuaries for planning and fighting in Fallujah and the rest of Iraq? Are people of the world getting the complete story? The answer again is no! What the world got instead were repeated images of a battle-weary Marine who made a quick decision to use lethal force and who immediately was tried in the world press. Was this one act really illustrative of the overall action in Fallujah? No, but the Marine video clip was shown an average of four times each hour on just about every major TV news channel for a week. This is how the world views our efforts over here and stories like this without a counter continually serve as propaganda victories for the enemy. Al Jazeera isn't showing the film of the C.A.R.E. worker, but is showing the clip of the Marine. Earlier this year, the Iraqi government banned Al Jazeera from the country for its inaccurate reporting. Wonder where they get their information now? Well, if you go to the Internet, you'll find a web link from the Al Jazeera home page to CNN's home page. Very interesting.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Let Wal*Mart run FEMA!

A great article about how private sector companies like Wal*Mart stepped up to provide help while the various levels of government and agencies fiddled like Nero by Mike Tierney of the New York Times(!) - reprinted in the Tallahassee Democrat. This segment in the article sums it all up:

If you mention the Red Cross or FEMA to people in Slidell, you hear rants about help that didn't arrive and phone lines that are always busy. If you mention state or national politicians, you hear obscenities.

But if you visit the Wal-Mart and the Sam's Club stores here, you hear shoppers who have been without power for weeks marveling that there are still generators in stock (and priced at $304.04). You hear about the trucks that rolled in right after the hurricane and the stuff the stores gave away: chain saws and boots for rescue workers, sheets and clothes for shelters, water and ice for the public.

"This was the only place we could find water those first days," said Rashan Smith, who was shopping with her three children at Wal-Mart on Saturday. "I still haven't managed to get through to FEMA. It's hard to say, but you get more justice at Wal-Mart."

This just supports my thoughts that the government could get out of 99% of the things it does and let the private sector do it cheaper, and more efficiently.

Why do we elect Republicans?

I am reminded of a quote from Bob Novak, which I'll paraphrase: "Republicans were put on earth to cut taxes and spending, and if they're not going to do that, why elect them?" This comes to mind in light of Congresses and President Bush's profligate spending the past few months. Examples are the pork ridden farm and highway bill, and now an 'economic Marshall Plan" for the areas stricken by hurricane Katrina. I have seen any sincere effort by the Republican leadership, whether it be in Congress or the White House -to detail any offsets that will fun the disaster recovery plan.
This is reminding me of the Mulroney government of the 80's - they had a huge mandate to cut spending and taxes and did neither. At least I'll give the Republicans credit for getting it half right. However, if they don't start reigning in spending and start paring back the scope of government, a lot of conservatives will start wondering aloud that if they wanted big government spending, they'd elect Democrats.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Mmmm .. Malt Liquor

I had to post this in its entirety - copyright be dammed - this is too funny!

Candy is dandy, but malt liquor is quicker

... by James Montgomery

I bet a lot of people didn't know that the real reason St. Patrick banished snakes from Ireland wasn't because they were pagan creatures, but because the serpents were trying to swipe his cachet of ice-cold Olde English.

So, this St. Patrick's Day, while most people are quaffing overpriced pints of Guiness, I think a more fitting tribute to St. Patrick's brave act is to crack open a few quarts of fine malt liquor.

Also, you could crack open quarts for the New Orleans Saints, NCAA basketball tournament qualifiers St. John's and St. Bonnaventure or the great city of St. Paul, Minn.

Yes, malt liquor has a rich history. During the Middle Ages, a quart of it was as valued as fine silk from the Orient, and I think that malt liquor was the reason the Crusades were fought.

Thus, let us celebrate its long and storied past.

Before we get started, I would like to say that the selection of malt liquor available in this town sucks. In order to find different malts, I had to drive all over the place. But in the end, it was all worth it. And so, without any further delay, my swollen liver and I are proud to present a beginner's guide to malt liquor.

Olde English 800
a.k.a. the eight ball, a.k.a. olde anguish
Hmmmm. What can be said about Olde English 8? Well, for starters, it's the Cadillac of malt liquors - much respected and revered. Smooth sippin' on this one, although the aftertaste resembles napalm. After drinking OE, you want to call your grandma on the telephone and confess all of your sins to her. It looks like piss in a bottle, which is common for most malts, and it tastes much the same. I cannot give OE a bad review, as it is the flagship of malt liquor; I can only say that it tastes like diesel fuel and finishes like lighter fluid. In other words, it's a great malt liquor for beginners to earn their wings with.

Coqui 90
a.k.a. the great equalizer.
Oh, sweet Jesus. This is the malt of champs. I've only found this malt in a few select stores around town (usually the ones which smell of urine), but it's well worth the search. This is the malt that doesn't mess around. To give you an idea of it's potency, I once drank three quarts of the stuff and was only able to lie on the floor moaning "Coqui 900.... Coqui 900." In its purest form, I believe that you can power a lawnmower with it. It's what you find clutched in the hands of drunken bums late at night. It tastes nasty, but what do you expect? It packs a mean wallop.

Bull Ice
This is what fine malt liquor is all about. Bull Ice is all business: the label says its 7.9 percent alcohol, but it leaves you feeling like its 70.9 percent. One of the only malts in the survey that left the honored judge feeling really debilitated, and it was one of the cheapest ones I found. It's a thick malt, and it tastes like a rusty nail. As an added bonus, on the inside of the label is a picture of a bull's head, which, as the quart progresses, becomes more and more blurry, which is both astonishing and fun. Plus, it gains mad review points for having a tight African-print label.

the official beverage of my job
Well, the title about says it all: this IS the official beverage of my job. I have seen normal men drink of this holy chalice and then become endowed with super-human mopping abilities. It tastes like glue and its consistency is much the same. The only downside to Hurricane is that it packs a weak wallop. (I feel now is as good a time as any to remind you that a good malt liquor is two things: cheap and potent-Hurricane is neither.) Despite its weak bite, Hurricane holds a special place in my heart because I have drank many of them and then served the public. Plus, it's the only thing I'll touch whenever I watch the Weather Channel.

Olde English Ice 800
Do you remember the girl (or boy) you once loved? The one you shared laughter, cuddles and all your earthly secrets with? The one who you thought you'd take a bullet for, the one you thought you couldn't live without...until they cheated on you and ripped your still-beating heart from deep within your ribcage and danced all over it? Olde English Ice 800 is all those feelings combined into one 32-ounce bottle: this shit is bitter. Drinking this stuff is much like losing the love of your life, except that the label features a black panther, ready to strike. Whatever the hell that means.

a.k.a. the family malt
Bottled malt liquor taste in a can - isn't life great? This was one of few malts I could find in a grocery store. When you drink it, it leaves an aftertaste like you just licked a concrete wall. The fact that it's in a can allows for the whole Billy Dee Williams effect: you can pour one of these into a glass bottle and look like the elegant, smooth drinker. A good malt for beginners.

Colt 45
a.k.a. the Bespin malt
Speaking of Billy Dee, this is his original joint. It is surprisingly smooth sipping for a malt, and it actually leaves a good taste in your mouth. Simply knowing that once upon a time Lando was sippin on this shit in the cloud city of Bespin makes it intriguing; the fact that it has had the same label since the late '70s makes it a must-drink.

a.k.a. the mullet malt
Feel the sting of the bee. This shit is strong enough to make you renounce your religion. Not to be confused with Mickey's Ice, this malt is neither ice-brewed nor good tasting. This is the stuff you reach for when all other malts are gone. Mickey's manages to be both awful tasting yet strongly appealing. Usually seen being bought by mullet-heads and guys who drive Camaros, no lie.

Silver Thunder
When it comes to Silver Thunder, there was only one man to turn to: world-renowned malt liquor connoisseur, Brian Montgomery:

"By far the best malt liquor for under one dollar. Besides, drinking the thunder will make you reminisce of your corner, brown-baggin', hood days. Silver Thunder provides an OE-type taste, but is only recommended when the funds are low and the hoes are slow. You can find Silver Thunder mainly in gas stations and convenience stores around 75th Street (a.k.a. Tower Road). So, if you're looking for the cheap, G-style drunkenness, then Silver Thunder is the quart for you."

St. Ides
Once again, Mr. Montgomery:

"First off, this quart is not to be mistaken for the sissy-ass fruity flavor known to most high-school kids. This quart is packed with a Tyson-type cross that will set you on the floor after one round. Many of you young marks will complain about the shortage of this special punch in Gainesville. In order to obtain a mean headache, you eager drinkers must travel to Georgia. Let me tell you, the 7.5 percent alcohol mix will set you free. Trust me, the trip is well worth the pleasure. After the breaking of the's on like Donkey Kong."

King Cobra
A nice, solid brew, with a finish that resembles pine. A zesty bouquet, fully of mountain-fresh berries and hardy earthen tones. Just kidding. This malt tastes and smells like stale urine. Being one of the more elusive malts, I had to drive deep into the heart of the hood just to catch a glimpse of it. King Cobra has no redeeming qualities whatsoever, except that the morning after drinking it, you want to swear off any form of alcohol, which might improve your grades. And it has a cool label.

St. Ides Special Brew
a.k.a. the sissy malt
First off, I don't even know if this stuff is actually malt liquor. All I know is that it is sold in only the most ghetto-ass convenience stores and drinking too much of it makes your teeth tingle. This shit is like drinking liquid sugar. I prefer the Kiwi flavor, but it all tastes pretty much the same. Drinking it reminds you of your glory days in elementary school when a gulp of JOLT! Cola would get you keyed up. Despite all that, the fact that you look like a sissy when drinking it earns Special Brew a thumbs-down from me.

Mickey's Ice
a.k.a. the old friend
Okay, so I know that the label says this stuff isn't really malt liquor but rather an "Ice Brewed Ale," but the fact you can find it in some stores for under a dollar qualifies it as a malt. Mickey's Ice is an old favorite, and drinking it is like having a nice dinner with an old friend. Back in the day, my friends and I would drink cases of this stuff. Its smooth taste, decent punch and cool green-tinted bottle make Mickey's Ice a perennial fan favorite.

One day, as I was driving around some of Alachua County's more "rural" areas in search of malt liquor, I stumbled upon a convenience store that sold something I had only heard of in urban legends: fine screw-top wines. While not malt liquor, screw-top wines manage to be ten times as ghetto as even the nastiest malt. I decided to include them:

Night Train Express
Man, I didn't even know they made this stuff. The label advises you to "serve very cold," as if that makes any difference. This stuff tastes like grape cough syrup mixed with lighter fluid. After drinking a 750 ML bottle I was knocked out, which allowed the people I was drinking with to take several "candid" photos of my passed-out ass, which featured, among other things, a fake penis, a Penthouse magazine and a sock. Needless to say, this "citrus wine with natural flavors" is not for beginners. Strangely enough, the label says that it "contains sulfites," which may or may not kill you.

What's the word? Thunderbird. The label says that it is "an American classic," which should make our founding fathers very proud. Another "citrus wine with natural flavors," Thunderbird is actually much tastier than Night Train. Actually, it wasn't half-bad, and I was able to finish off a bottle real quick. I would definitely recommend picking up a bottle the next time you are entertaining that special someone. Just think, a nice dinner, soft music, candlelight and a fine bottle of Thunderbird. The label says that it, too, contains sulfites...strange.

MD 20/20
a.k.a. Mad Dog 20/20
Sickeningly sweet and iridescent in color, MD is the stuff even the most hardcore of the homeless won't touch. One time, I went on a deep-sea fishing trip and took along two bottles of this stuff. A few hours later, I was vomiting over the side of the boat, and fish would come up and eat it. Ah, memories. Also, Elliot Smith recorded a song about Kiwi Mad Dog, which makes it the official beverage of indie rockers everywhere.

So there you go: a beginner's guide to malt liquor, plus a few screw-top wines thrown in for good measure. Now, hopefully, instead of plunking down your hard-earned cash on some fancy-dancy import pint this St. Patrick's Day, you will take that money, drive to the most fowl-smelling convenience store you can find, and invest in three or four quarts.

I promise you, you will not be disappointed.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Remember - We are at war

Please remember, the best way to serve the memory of those who perished four years ago today is to achieve victory over Islamofascism - total victory. This is a fight for the survival of Western Civilization, and anything less than a steely commitment to victory will result in our demise.

I have friends who survived what happened at the WTC, and acquaintances who perished there as well. They were unwilling participants in an act of war, not a 'misunderstanding', not a 'we had it coming'. There is no appeasement for these jackals, and no mercy should be shown to those who aid and abet those who wish us harm.

Some days I wonder if those in the White House truly understand it. I wonder why they aren't tightening the screws on Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Palestinian Authority, just to name a few. Some times I think we are too timid in our resolve to act decisively, that we don't understand that we need total unconditional victory to eliminate this cancer in our world.

Sixty years ago, we showed our resolve against National Socialism, Fascism, and Japanese Imperialism - we didn't accept half measures or meekness in our struggle, nor should we today.

I hope that we are all remember that we are at war. We did not start it, but we shall finish it. Those who stand against freedom and liberty must be destroyed, in order for our civilization to survive.

I have linked Mark Steyn's thoughts on this above - he says it a lot better than I do.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Now this is government waste I can support

Michael Goldfarb writes in the Weekly Standard about the new U.S Navy Destroyer DD(Rex) stealth destroyer - the next generation of naval warfare (artist's rendition on the right). Goldfarb discusses the key features:

DD(X) is designed to be the quietest surface ship in the fleet. The ship will be quieter even than the Los Angeles class submarines. More remarkable, however, is the ship's unique design, which will greatly enhance its ability to remain invisible to electronic surveillance. To reduce the ship's radar signature, the ship's designers have eliminated right angles from the deck. In addition, the ship's superstructure is built out of a composite material of wood and plastic--the effect of which is both to absorb radar and lessen the overall weight of the ship (leaving room for future, weight-intensive improvements).

Perhaps the most visibly striking feature of the DD(X) is its wave-piercing, tumblehome hull form. The tumblehome hull has a twofold effect. By having the hull slope inward from the waterline, the hull's exposure to waves is reduced, which in turn reduces the rocking motion of the ship, making it less easily detected by enemy radar. In addition, the tumblehome hull will make the DD(X) far more survivable than its predecessors in the event of an underwater explosion from a torpedo or mine. The Navy has already tested a quarter scale model at the Aberdeen Test Center in Maryland and achieved impressive results.
DD(X) will be less vulnerable to attacks above the waterline as well. Unlike the DDG's, DD(X) will employ a first of its kind Peripheral Vertical Launch System (PVLS). Missiles are typically stored in clusters at the center of a ship. PVLS, by moving those clusters to the hull, will provide the ship with something reminiscent of the reactive armor fitted to the M1A2 Abrams main battle tank. The PVLS concept has already been successfully tested, and will make this ship significantly less vulnerable to sea-skimming missiles like the French Exocet employed by Argentina against the British in the Falklands and those developed over the last decade by China.

The DD(X) will sail with a state of the art, dual band radar, which is one of the signature features of the new ship--and one of the primary reasons the Navy decided to invest in the DD(X) instead of upgrading their existing fleet of DDG's. The Spy-3 Multi-Function Radar has proven vastly superior to its antecedents in land-based testing. It offers 15-times greater detection against sea-skimming targets, 20 percent greater firm-track range against all antiship cruise missiles (which improves survivability), a 10-times increase in maximum track capacity, and dramatic improvements of performance in jamming environments.

DESPITE ALL THIS, the most intriguing element of DD(X) is its guns. Each 155mm gun will fire a Long Range Land Attack Projectile (LRLAP). The LRLAP has already been successfully tested to 83 nautical miles. Though it only carries 24 lbs of high explosives, the Advanced Gun System (AGS) is fully automated and holds a magazine of 300 rounds. With a rate of fire of 10 rounds a minute, the AGS should be able to provide the volume fire capability the Navy so desperately needs, and with GPS-guidance the LRLAP will be extremely accurate.
Now I hope the Navy builds a fleet of these, and then some. In light of developments by the Chinese navy - it should be the goal of the U.S. Navy to be generations ahead of all other powers in terms of technology and warfighting ability.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Tree Huggers, New Orleans & Hurricanes

This article in National Review Online discusses the impact the environmentalist might have had on the devastation in New Orleans. I have blamed them for the ensuing spike in the price of gasoline, as their efforts have ensured that not one new refinery has been built in the U.S. in the last 25 years, coupled with their efforts to detrail drilling in ANWAR.

With all that has happened in the state, it’s understandable that the Louisiana chapter of the Sierra Club may not have updated its website. But when its members get around to it, they may want to change the wording of one item in particular. The site brags that the group is “working to keep the Atchafalaya Basin,” which adjoins the Mississippi River not far from New Orleans, “wet and wild.”

These words may seem especially inappropriate after the breaking of the levee that caused the tragic events in New Orleans last week. But “wet and wild” has a larger significance in light of those events, and so does the group using the phrase. The national Sierra Club was one of several environmental groups who sued the Army Corps of Engineers to stop a 1996 plan to raise and fortify Mississippi River levees.

Hopefully when this tragedy is examined in retrospect, groups like the Sierra Club get their knuckles rapped for impeding efforts to protect the people who live on the Mississippi from floods.