Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New year: Where Are They Now?

Where Are They Now?

President Obama’s Economics Dream Team

Berkeley, Chicago & Harvard

Governors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jessie Ventura

Who cares?

Governor Jenifer Granholm

Having inherited a sinking economy, the Berkeley and Harvard grad rode it down and then fled Michigan to Berkeley when her term expired – don’t let the door hit you on the way out

Governor Rob Blagojevich

Visiting his predecessor Governor George Ryan in the federal pen

Congressman Anthony Weiner of New York

Enjoying his new child with his faithful wife Umma

Congressman Alan Grayson of Florida

Planning a comeback

Dominique Strauss-Kahn

The future leader of France is no more

Jon Corzine

The epitome of hubris and the destroyer of wealth

Conrad Murray

Celebrities who violate the law may be acquitted, but not doctors who kill


Paving the way for Italy, Portugal, and Spain, not to mention California

Vivian Schiller, Ron Schiller, & Ellen Weiss of NPR

Ask Juan Williams

Whitey Bulger

Please come to Boston

Kim Jong Il

He joins Francisco Franco in still being dead

Hosni Mubarak

Has he become a living mummy?

Muammar Gaddafi

Sleeping somewhere in the dessert

Osama bin Laden

He swims with the fishes

Christians in the Arab Mideast

The new Diaspora has begun

Occupy Wherever

Evicted by their political supporters

Joe Paterno

His name’s off a trophy and his wife is barred from the university swimming pool

Jim Tressel

Making replay calls for the Indianapolis Colts

The new LAUSD school menu

Food fight by the students

Notre Dame



Regis Philbun


Filene’s Basement


The light will shine on The White House


Twice sunk by GM

The old GM

Howrey LLP

Won’t be the last law firm to fail

Incandescent light bulb

Political burn out

Bank of America’s $5 debit fee

Verizon’s $2 payment fee

About as popular as the $2 bill

Coke’s new white cans

Didn’t Coke learn from the New Coke

Law & Order

Moved to London

Detroit 1-8-7

Who’s going to save Detroit?

L.A. Lakers

Meet Donald Sterling’s L. A. Clippers

Indianapolis Colts

See Jim Tressel, above

Mel Gibson

Met his Apocalypto

Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas: Explain How the Republicans Blew the Payroll Tax Cut?

Here we are, a day after Christmas and a week after the House Republicans caved on the 60 day extension of the payroll tax cut, not to mention the unemployment compensation extension.

How did they blow it?

How did they hand a tax cut issue to the Democrats – a true political oxymoron?

How did the House GOP manage the seemingly impossible task of getting the Wall Street Journal, Senator John McCain and Charles Krauthammer to agree with the New York Times and the Democrats?

Why didn’t they just accept the fraudulent Senate 60 day extension, and send it back to the Senate with one simple amendment – change the 60 days to 365 days?

Why didn’t they relabel the 60 day cut a “tax holiday” instead of a tax cut, even a phantom tax cut?

Can a 2 month $160 tax cut sink the Republican agenda?

What’s going to happen in two months when the payroll tax cut reappears in the middle of the primary season?

Will they be rolled again on the lure of a middle class tax cut?

Has the House GOP forgotten that the Democrats still control the Senate and the President has the Bully Pulpit with a friendly media?

Have the Republicans forgotten one of the most significant political strengths of President Reagan – better to get 70% and call it a victory than fight for the last percent?

When will the Republicans learn when to fight and when to fold?

Will the Republicans figure out how to beat the Democrats’ mischief as President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid use every trick possible to retain the Presidency and Senate?

Is any of this going to matter on November 6, 2012?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas Trent Arsenault, The Giver of Life

We celebrate the birth of Christ on Christmas – the miracle of Jesus, and indeed the miracle of life. To hold our newborn son or daughter in our arms is to witness the miracle of birth and life. As our children grow, we go to bed every night saying “Thank You God.”

Not all women though can share in the celebration of life. They may lack a fertile lover.

Trent Arsenault has been offering the gift of life for 5 years. The minister’s son had an epiphany in 2004 when he read about a neighborhood teacher who wanted a baby. He found his calling. He would donate his sperm to women who desire it. He would gift these women with life.

What greater gift can there be?

Trent is a free standing sperm bank in Fremont, California.

Trent does it for the love of life. He charges no money for his services and does not know the women in the Biblical way. He obviously does not claim a charitable contribution. All he asks in exchange for his semen is a contract in which he disclaims any paternal rights or responsibilities.

Even God’s angels today need the services of lawyers.

Trent offers his services on line and provides complete medical records along with his photo.

He has donated his sperm 348 times to 46 women. 14 babies have been born and 4 more are on the way. He has provided the gift of life to suffering women.

The Grinch, aka The Food and Drug Administration, is attempting to stop to his ministrations. The FDA, which does a poor job of safeguarding our medications or food, issued Trent a cease and desist order, threatening fines and imprisonment. It claims he violates their regulations, which require a blood test within 7 days preceding any donation of body tissue or fluids. They view sperm as a body fluid, even when no exchange of body fluids exists. The agency charged his “firm or establishment in Fremont recovers and distributes semen, and therefore is a manufacturer of human cells.”

The whole situation is illustrative of a bureaucracy gone wild, of a Nanny State that does not know when to quit.

Of course, artificial insemination through strange men poses risks to fetuses. Some men pass on genetic problems. STD’s can also reach the mother and child. So too though with sex through marriage and other relationships.

The FDA has no jurisdiction over normal heterosexual relations, which carry much
more risk than the non-carnal sperm donations. A man can father as many children as he wishes through as many women as he can entice into a sexual relationship. The late Wilt Chamberlain supposedly claimed he had bedded 20,000 women and 23 in 10 days. Magic Johnson, who admitted to being a “Party Animal,” was sued by one consort for giving her AIDS.

Every act of sexual intimacy between fertile couples carries risks to the baby and the couple itself. Whatever risks may exist with artificial insemination are probably less than with traditional sex, especially the classic one night stand. The breakup of a relationship may also cause great emotional trauma to at least one of the two.

At one level, the FDA’s action reeks of 1984. At a basic, constitutional level, the FDA’s stance also clashes with the fundamental precepts of Roe v. Wade and Griswold v. Connecticut – those of a woman’s right to choose

Merry Christmas Trent.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Is Jon Corzine That Stupid?

Vice President Joe Biden said Jon Corzine was the person they called between the November 2008 election and inauguration day. They wanted his advice on the economy. He was the most brilliant person they knew on the economy. Corzine advised the Stimulus Package.

We know how that worked out.

Strike One!

Jon Corzine must have been brilliant. The tenant farmer’s son with an MBA from Chicago rose to become Chairman of Goldman Sachs at age 44. The wunderkind is a true genius.

So why last week did he not plead the 5th Amendment before Congress, but even worst, ignorance? He had no answer for how $1.2 billion in client funds went missing shortly before his company, MF Global, entered bankruptcy: “I simply do not know where the money is.”

Neither did the CEO and CFO he appointed at MF. Their defense is one of abject ignorance. The reality is one of gross mismanagement.

$1.2 billion is not petty cash, even for Goldman Sachs. How could MF’s senior management not know where it is? The farmers, grain elevators, and others who invested the $1.2 billion only know where it is not. The man who ran the company claims not only not to know where it is, but also that he never authorized an illegal transaction.

How can the brilliant head of Goldman Sachs be so ignorant and incompetent?

Of course, Corzine’s record is not that brilliant.

He was Chairman of Goldman Sachs from 1994 to 1999, when he was ousted from the firm.

Strike Two!

His consolation prize was $400 million in GS stock.

He spent $60 million of it in 2000 securing a Senate seat in New Jersey. The seemingly arch-capitalist discovered his inner self of a clueless progressive. His voting record was to the left of Senator John Kerry.

His 2003 divorce cost him half of his fortune – the price to pay for openly cavorting with a mistress. The consolation prize, the girlfriend, did not work out. He then spent several million cutting his ties with her, a union official.

Strikes 3 and 4!

Don’t you only get three strikes in baseball?

He spent an additional $40 million in 2005 winning the New Jersey Governorship.

He then presided over 4 years of mismanagement, incompetence, infidelity,
arrogance, and corruption, while taxes, especially property taxes, keep rising. He also raised the sales tax to 7%.

The voters toss him from office; a progressive Democrat in one of the bluest of blue states, is defeated for reelection.

Strike 5! He’s on borrowed time, but doesn’t realize it. Hubris pride.

A new consolation prize awaited. An old friend from Goldman Sachs, J. Christopher Flowers, offered him MF in March 2010.

He assumed control, and within 20 months drove MF into bankruptcy. It had a debt/capital ratio of 40:1. This leverage exceeded even those of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers when they folded.

Strike 6!

He bet $6.3 billion in the debt of five European countries: Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, and Spain. At least he avoided Greece. He was warned against it, but felt the rewards were great, while the risk low. Leverage; he was betting with other investor’s money. The firm had assets of $39.7 billion and liabilities of $41 billion when it folded. The securities firm was out of cash. He learnt nothing from the 2010 Crash. A fool doesn’t learn.

He’s not so smart after all.

By the time he’s finished with litigation, settlements, and attorneys fees, he may be a pauper.

He never learnt to cut his losses.

It’s not easy to blow $400 million.

Jon Corzine is a stupid fool.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Salute to Myron Miller - A Great High School Coach

We glorify professional and college coaches. Let’s start with Amos Alonzo Stagg, Pop Warner, and Clark Shaughnessy. Names like George “Papa Bear” Halas, Paul Brown, Vince Lombardi, and Bill Walsh ring through the NFL eons. College greats include Knute Rockne, Ara Parseghian, Paul “Bear” Bryant, John McKay, Woody Hayes, Bud Wilkinson, Darrell Royal, Eddie Robinson, and Bobby Bowden. College stadiums, such as Tennessee’s Neyland stadium, are named for coaching greats.

But what about high school coaches? For example, who is the coach of Concord De la Salle? What about Massillon, Valdosta, or Long Beach Poly?

Myron Miller, currently at Tustin High, is one of the great, unsung high school coaches. The Tustin Tillers defeated El Toro of Lake Forest at Angel Stadium last Saturday, 35-28, to win their first California Interscholastic Federation Title (Southern California) since 1948. Tustin has been in the finals 3 of the past 4 years.

The victory was typical Miller power football. Tustin went five for five on 4th down, including twice in the last 5 minutes, even when deep within their own territory. His view is simple – if they can’t get 2 yards on 4th and 2, then they don’t deserve to win.

Myron Miller has been coaching for 42 years, 17 at Tustin. The Tillers have been league champions 9 times in these 17 years, and also in the CIF semi-finals 9 times.

What’s amazing is how Myron Miller does it. Last Saturday’s game was typical – 8 yards passing and 334 yards running. Myron is Old School, really old school. Forget about anything as modern as the T Formation, much less the Wishbone, Pro Set, Power I, or Spread. I screamed out to my wife in 1997 when we went to a Tillers game: “That’s the double wing!’

He plays the double wing, which is so ancient that teams do not know how to defend it. It’s a power running offense that eats up the clock. His style is vintage Lombardi. His teams depend upon conditioning and execution to win.

His players are in excellent condition; he believes in a rigorous weight lifting regime. His exercise regime is so tough that when games begin in early September, he has less than 30 players on the team, often less than 2 dozen. Many players have to play both ways.

The great championship game in 1997 featured the Tillers, behind running back DeShaun Foster against Carson Palmer’s Santa Margarita, which seemingly had more coaches than Tustin had players. Foster ran for 378 yards and 6 touchdowns while Carson passed for 413 yards. Santa Margarita prevailed 55-42. Carson Palmer won the Heisman at USC and is still in the pros.

Many of Miller’s graduates have played at higher levels. Six were in the NFL in 2008: Sam Baker with the Atlanta Falcons, Beau Bell with Cleveland, Chris Chester with Baltimore, DeShaun Foster with the 49ers, Matt McCoy at Tampa Bay, and Frostee Rucker with Cincinnati. Another running back, Anthony Wilkerson, currently plays for Stanford.

Here’s to Myron Miller – a champion

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The October 2012 Ad Against Governor Perry in the General Election

The October 2012 Ad Against Governor Romney – Should He Win the Republican Nomination

Governor Romney has run a disciplined, focused campaign. Stay apart from the circular firing squad of the other Republican candidates. Stay alive in Iowa, win New Hampshire, survive South Carolina, and let his well organized, well financed campaign survive the primaries as his opponents fall one by one by the wayside. Polls show he has the best chance against president Obama in November.

And yet, the businessman has fallen behind Congressman Newt Gingrich, a career politician, when the public consistently shows disdain for politician. The non-politician politician should be cleaning up, not watching the possible nomination slip – sliding away.

He made a mistake in the recent Republican debate. The Governor misspoke when he offered to bet Governor Rick Perry $10,000. Born rich, the product of America’s elite boarding schools and colleges, he appeared out of touch with the American people. The patrician FDR never would have made this mistake. The predictable ads have appeared.

But these are but a foreshadow of the October Ad.

The Ad does not bring up the $10,000 bet. Nor will it morph RomenyCare into ObamaCare to discourage Republicans and Independents from voting for the Governor. No, it directly attacks his job-creating business background.

The non-politician governor would have been a career politician if he had won the 1994 Senatorial contest in Massachusetts against the incumbent, Senator Ted Kennedy. The young, dynamic business executive was a refreshing change from the Senator. The Massachusetts public was receptive to dumping the Senator. A founder of Staples, the creator of jobs was gaining momentum.

Then came the Ad.

Mitt Romney was a founder of Bain Capital, which invested in other companies, often reorganizing them, then flipping them for a profit. One example is the acquisition of Dade International, a medical company, which Bain turned around, and then cashed out for $242 million. Dade later went bankrupt.

The one at issue in the Ad was Ampad. Bain acquired it in 1992 for $5 million. It then merged competitors into Ampad, cutting costs by downsizing the workforce. Reorganization of a struggling company entails cutting plants and facilities, product lines, and laying off employees, including entire factories. The alternative to a reorganization could be liquidation.

One of the laid off employees was featured in the ad, explaining how he and his co-workers struggled after losing their jobs while Bain made millions. The violins are playing for the unemployed. In short, Romney prospered by firing productive workers. As one terminated employee said “If he’s created jobs, I wish he could create some here, you know, instead of taking them away.”

Brutally effective ad! The candidate had no response. End of campaign. Kennedy 58%, Romney 41%. The Ampad ad had the same effect on Mitt Romney’s campaign as the Willie Horton ad against Governor Dukakis.

That’s the ad that will run in October, timed for the maximum effect on the November election.

Bain Capital apparently made $100 million off of Ampad, which entered bankruptcy in 2000.

The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Los Angeles Times have all in the past two weeks discussed the record of Bain Capital. Newt Gingrich referred to it on Monday in appearance in New Hampshire.

The ex-Governor demanded the ex-Speaker give back the $1.8 million in consulting fees he received from Freddie Mac. Congressman Gingrich responded the Governor “should give back all the money he earned from bankrupting companies and laying off employees over his years at Bain.”

The Massachusetts voters may be familiar with the Ad, but it will be a novelty to the American voter.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Questions, Questions, Questiona About Newt

Has Newt Gingrich peaked too soon, or just in time?

Can Newt win Iowa without a strong ground game in effect?

Does Newt carry too much Baggage?

Will Newt’s infidelity trump Mitt’s Mormonism in the South on Super Tuesday?

Can he survive the statements of former staffers and colleagues?

What are his former campaign staffers thinking today?

What will the intensive media fly-specking, the Sarah Palin treatment, uncover?

Will Newt be Cained?

Can a lobbyist become President?

Will Congressman Gingrich become the first Republican to walk the plank on Freddie Mac?

What weight is given to a Newt flip flop versus a Mitt flip flop?

Is a career politician electable as President?

How many of his nine political lives does he have left?

Is Survivor his favorite reality show?

Will the candidate be able to control his mouth throughout the primary season and general election?

Will his new found support for immigration reform hurt him in the primaries, but help in the general election?

Is Congressman Gingrich the second coming of Lincoln, Churchill, Reagan, and Thatcher combined?

Will his wife’s spending habits become an issue?

Is Newt too short to be elected?

Is he too paunchy to be elected?

Is the former professor too cerebral for the public?

If Congressman Gingrich fails, who will be the next anti-Mitt?

Did Governor Romney play it too safe?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Demonization of Herman Cain

Herman Cain has suspended his quixotic campaign for President. He soared and fell like a meteor.

How sad!

The articulate, accomplished plain-spoken Cain seemed the anti-Romney the Republican conservatives have desperately been seeking. He knew jobs came from private employers. More significantly, he was the first Republican since Sarah Palin who connected directly with the voters. He was not a career politician. Even Governor Romney has been running for office for 15 years. He spoke simply, directly and genuinely to the people.

No programmable, robotic talking points – just real ideas. His ideas, like Ronald Reagan’s seemed to make sense, even though heavily criticized by the experts.

Common sense.

A positive campaign – not a negative campaign.

A true conservative – not a faux conservative.

Indeed, could Cain be the second coming of Reagan?

A fresh breeze

Herman Cain would represent the Party of Lincoln.

The Republican Party that freed the slaves.

Even if he entered the election for ulterior or unknown reasons, Cain soared in the polls. Cadres of Republican activists flocked to him. 9-9-9. Cain was The Man.

Authentic, but flawed, as we all are.

And then came the women with accusations of sexual harassment and long affairs. I don’t know the truth of the charges, any more than Anita Hill and Justice Thomas, but we must take sexual harassment claims seriously.

And yet, some of the “charges” seemed more like a man hitting on a woman than sexual harassment.

Cain offered to take a polygraph. Clinton never did.

The media went ballistic. Gloria Allred appeared with her client, Sharon Bialek, the first accuser, eventhough the statute of limitations had long run.

Where was Gloria with Kathleen Willey’s accusations against Governor Bill Clinton?

Where was the media with the candidate who had a campaign squad created just to handle his “Bimbo Eruptions?”

Where was Gloria Allred with Paula Jones?

Where were the investigative reporters with Jennifer Flowers?

Where was the media harassing President Clinton with his obstruction of justice, settlements and surrender of his law license in Arkansas?

Have you noticed that one by one, the mainstream media has destroyed each major opponent to Governor Romney?

Have you noticed the fly-specking and vitriolic treatment that conservative woman Republicans, like Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman, and conservative Republicans such as Herman Cain, receive without any media outrage by the double standard?

How about the candidate who campaigned in all 57 states with a couple left to go?

Where was the media on that gaffe?

Of course, Herman Cain probably was probably not going to win the nomination. He had little fund raising and no ground game, especially critical in Iowa.

We are electing the President of the United States, not a candidate for sainthood.

The economy is in the tank, the dilettante President has been a disaster spending his time golfing, traveling, and fundraising, and basing his campaign on demagoguery.

Social issues are important, but this election should be based on economic issues.

Herman Cain’s out, at least for the Presidential nomination.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Weekend in the Big House

The call went out. The faithful returned to Ann Arbor. The Wolverine Nation poured through DTW. This is the year. Doctors, lawyers, engineers, execs, parents, children, grandparents, all answered the call. They came. They knew. They believe.

The team believes.

The cry, the chant, the call, two simple, but powerful words: BEAT OHIO.

Even the Columbus Dispatch knew. They dropped the clock.

The stadium was a sea of maize and blue – not the blurry scarlet and gray of 2 years ago. 114,132 in Michigan Stadium, the Big House. Less than 10,000 Buckeyes. BEAT OHIO.

The forecast was rain -52% chance of rain. And yet they came.

Michigan-Ohio State, Wolverines versus Buckeyes, the greatest rivalry in sports could not descend to the level of the Harlem Globetrotters and Washington Generals. Ohio State wanted to win, but the Wolverines had to win. 2926 days were 2926 days too many. Only one win in ten years.

The two schools hate each other, but they need each other. Hence, the mutual respect.

The sun broke through for a few minutes at kickoff and then hid behind the gray clouds. Were the football gods sending a message? But then the clouds broke and the blue shone for the 4th quarter. Go blue. Ohio State was doomed for this was the omen. The football gods had spoken: BEAT OHIO.

104,000 closest friends and neighbors in the Big House erupted into a continuous chant of The Victors, interrupted only by the PA system playing Sweet Caroline. The stands shook. The players knew. Michigan would beat both the Buckeyes and the officials. The scattered Buckeye fans could only woefully look on. Michigan, unlike Notre Dame, was not going to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

The two worthy opponents marched up and down the field. No quarter was asked, and none given. The Buckeyes played their hearts out, but it was not to be. They were destined to lose this fall day. Michigan pasted 40 points on Brutus, the most since 1946.

The Best Damn Band in the Land played its loudest to cheer on the Buckeyes, but its sounds were muffled in the home of The Victors. BEAT OHIO, not Carmen Electra roared through the stadium.

Four Buckeye cheerleaders plaintively cried out "Go Bucks." The deafening chorus responded "Go Blue."

This was more than a game, more than the annual clash between two intense rivals. This game was not for the national championship; nor the Big Ten title. Not even a trophy. It was more than that. This game is the rebirth of Michigan football.

The nation’s winningest football program was in a malaise, just as in the 1960’s. An attempt to rebrand Michigan football failed, as miserably as had the New Coke.

The Wolverines had been declawed and defanged. Jim Tressel was doing to Michigan what Woody Hayes did 5 decades earlier. The hallowed grounds of Harmon, Carter, Howard, Woodson, and Brady were desecrated.

The sins of Appalachian State and Toledo had to be expiated.

Every major program has its lows. Texas is hurting now. Notre Dame has fired every coach since Lou Holtz retired in 1996. USC was suffering until Pete Carroll arrived. Nebraska had similarly tried to remake itself. Alabama, LSU, and Oklahoma went through football droughts.

But this is Michigan. Appalachian State was a debacle, and the spread without defense and blocking is a failure. The buzzards were circling. Michigan had to rid itself of the albatross.

The great university survived the collapse of Detroit and the Michigan economy, but the football program was in systemic decline. Michigan, Notre Dame, and USC are great academic institutions, but football is in their DNA. Michigan is not Michigan, Notre Dame not Notre Dame nor USC USC without football.

Time to return to the fundamentals – the team, defense, conditioning, the will, and a Michigan Man from Ohio. Bo in 1969 and Hoke in 2011. This is Michigan football.


So what if Tressel is out for cheating and lying. Michigan won.

So what if Pryor turned pro. Michigan won.

So what is Ohio State’s QB was a raw freshman. Michigan won.

So what if the Ohio State team was banged up. They lost.

So what if the Ohio State players had more tattoos. The Wolverines had more points.

History records the final score with no asterisk.

Tens of thousands stormed the field as the final seconds ticked off. No one left the stadium. This was the second coming of November 22, 1969.

10-2 with victories over Notre Dame, Nebraska, and The Ohio State University. The new genesis of Michigan football has begun.

THE VICTORS beat Ohio.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Huggies Dump on Santa

How do you distinguish your disposable diapers from the competition? – Huggies, Luvs, Pampers and private labels up the kazoo.

Go designer diapers. Add cachet to the little pooper catchers and throw in a noble cause for good measure.

Tis The Season to be Jolly with Santa diapers and wipes.

As Huggies advertised “Dress’em like Claus for a cause.”



Full of guilt

Tug on Santa’s white beard for a good cause (the donation of 17 million diapers to diaper banks).

Offset the guilt of filling our landfills with disposable, non-biodegradable diapers rather than reusing cloth diapers.

Rip’n Wrap is all so convenient.

Huggies does not actually say the diapers bear Santa’s image. Rather the ad shows a baby clad in red and white with a Santa cap and a matching red and white diaper. My initial impression though is of Santa diapers. It’s Santa’s diapers and wipes.

How jolly can Santa be when he must carry a load in his pants as well as on his back?

Think of the song: “Here comes Santa Claus; here comes Santa Claus, right down “Detritus Lane.”

Santa lands on the roof, climbs down the chimney, and expects a glass of milk and a plate of cookies. Instead, he gets a different gift from the little crapper. Mommy and Daddy deserve lumps of coal!

Santa distributes IPods, ITouches, Imacs, IPhones, and IPads, and gets “ICraps” in exchange.

Santa’s Little Helper has now become Santa’s Little Pooper. No more need for the Grinch to raise a stink in Santa’s Workshop. The Little Pooper serves the purpose.

Santa has to carry all those diaper gifts back to the elves for proper disposal.

Or Santa can scatter the scat over the Midwest to boost ethanol production without a permit from the EPA. The sprinkling of the fertilizer bomblets will throw off NORAD’s tracking system of Santa’s sleigh.

Parents at some stage in their children’s growth must face that painful, difficult talk. No, not the birds and bees. Your little one learnt that from the internet, but the painful conversation that Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy do not exist.

Now you simply say that the reason you can pollute Santa’s diaper and wipe your bum with Santa’s baby wipes is that “Yes Virginia, there is no Santa.” Virginia already figured that one out.

How can any child believe in the existence of one they shat upon?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Tomorrow is Election Day in Ohio

Ohio’s voters face a critical election tomorrow, a precursor in the battle ground state to next year’s Presidential election. President Obama cannot win reelection unless he carries both Michigan and Ohio. Conversely, Republicans do not win the White House unless they carry Ohio.

Tomorrow’s election though is not for an individual, such as Governor, Senator, Attorney General, Congressman, or to the state legislature. It may be viewed indirectly as a referendum on Republican Governor Kasich, but it may also be a referendum on the future of public employee unions in Ohio and he nation.

The 2010 midterm elections swept Republicans into office in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The newly elected Republicans stuck it to the public employee unions in the name of fiscal reform. The goal was also to cripple these unions and their financial lifelines for Democratic candidates.

Wisconsin’s anti-union efforts to cripple the public employee unions received the most national attention. The unions unsuccessfully poured millions of dollars in initially fighting the legislation, in a contested state Supreme Court election, and then in recall elections against Republican legislators. Their supporters also occupied the state capitol.

Amidst the Wisconsin furor, the Ohio Republicans quietly enacted S.B. 5, an even more restrictive limitation on public sector unions in the state than Wisconsin’s.
S.B. 5 requires public employees to pay 15% of their health insurance and 10% of their salaries to their pensions, hardly out of line with the private workplace.

The main feature bars binding mediation for health coverage, pensions, and staffing levels. The real kicker though is that in cases of bargaining impasses between unions and city councils and school boards, the cities and school boards can unilaterally impose their last offer on the employees.

The effect is to essentially repeal public sector collective bargaining in Ohio.

The unions have spent $30 million in the repeal campaign, established phone banks, and mounted a door to door get out the vote effort.

Polls show the recall effort succeeding. If so, it will be a major victory for the unions. If they fail though, they will witness an increase in anti-union legislation across the nation and a major hit on their financial base.

The unions are emphasizing the threat to public safety through S. B. 5. The Wisconsin legislation exempted first responders from its coverage, but S.B. 5 includes police and fire in its ambit.

Even if the unions win, their victory may be Pyrrhic. The resulting cost constraints on state and local government will result in increased layoffs in the public sector.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Occupy Oakland - Why?

Occupy Oakland?


What’s to Occupy?

Wall Street's 3,000 miles away, and Montgomery Street is across the Bay - a world apart.

There’s just Oakland.

Oakland is a blue collar, lunch bucket city with high unemployment.

Oakland is to San Francisco as Newark is to New York City.

It’s Oakland.

Not even Silicon Valley, down the road, is will to move into Oakland with cheap downtown rents.

Even the predecessor of Cal moved from Oakland to Berkeley.

Clorox and Safeway are in Oakland, but who wants to occupy a bleach manufacturer and a flailing supermarket chain? You might borrow some Clorox from Safeway to clean up though.

There are no one percenters in Oakland, with the exception of the fabled Charles Crocker, Dominic Ghirardelli, Henry J. Kaiser, and Warren Bechtel, but they reside in the crypts of Mountain View Cemetery up in the hills. You could occupy the crypts, but it’ll be tight. Sleeping on marble and concrete might be an improvement though.

You could occupy Frank Norris’ grave and learn how to write a book about the malefactors of great wealth – a book, the Octopus, that’s still in print a century later.

You could occupy the gravesite of Fred Korematsu as a tribute to the valiant Japanese American who fought interment in World War II. He did not want to occupy a concentration camp.

You could occupy the gravesite of Reverend Henry Durant, the first President of the University of California Berkeley, and perhaps learn how to build a great institution.

You could visit the sites of Julia Morgan and Bernard Maybeck, and learn about beauty as you walk through the grounds laid out by Frederick Law Olmstead.

Yes, you could do all this, but you are occupying Oakland.


My mother and grandma are interred in Mountain View Cemetery on the ridge above Millionaire Row looking down on the crypts, but with a splendid across the Bay to San Francisco. My mom, a Berkeley grad, would love it if you paid her a visit.

The living affluent, but hardly “One percenters,” live in the small enclave of Piedmont and in the Oakland Hills along Mountain Blvd., but their premises are secure.

You might try occupying Mills College. They could accommodate you. The coeds could use an education in squalor and filth.

Jerry Brown, in his 8 years as Mayor of Oakland, couldn’t make it work. Now he’s moved on to another basket case, the State of California.

Make it a meaningful protest in Oakland. Occupy the Oakland Army Base, the facility which ships munitions to the Pacific.

Occupy the Oakland Coliseum, the cement slab where the Raiders and A’s perform – the last dual municipal venue in the nation. The Grateful Dead used to perform in the Coliseum on New Year's, but Jerry Garcia is now a deadhead.

Occupy the adjoining Oakland Arena, and thus fill it with more than show up for Warriors games.

Emulate your Occupy Wall Street idols by occupying the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge. If you are going to get arrested, tear gassed, and struck, then become a martyr for a memorable cause, but occupying Oakland in front of the Federal Building?

Gertrude Stein had this sage advice about Oakland, her childhood home: “There is no there there.”

Monday, October 17, 2011

Represenative Jesse jackson, Jr.'s Brilliant $40,000 Proposal for the Unemployed

Congressman Jesse Jackson proposed giving $40,000 to each of the 15 million unemployed persons in America for four years.

Utterly brilliant; even the Greeks haven’t thought of this one.

Just think about it a moment.

Which makes more sense? Congressman Jackson or President Obama’s "Enact it now" non-jobs jobs plan?

The cost will come to roughly $600 billion annually, or the equivalent of 1,200 Solyndras. It’s much cheaper than the President’s non-jobs jobs bill.

It would solve so many problems.

State unemployment funds are broke, and hence borrowing from the Feds. No more unemployment compensation. Indeed, we could do away with the state employment and unemployment offices at substantial savings to the states.

No more debates about the minimum wage, since the new minimum wage will de facto become $40,001 annually. Any one earning less than that will quit and file for the guaranteed federal $40,000.

Forget any “Stimulus Bill” with or without shovel ready jobs. These checks will go directly to the people.

No more hypocrisy about the jobs bills really being mostly payoffs to teachers unions. No payoff to public employee unions.

Thus, we could cut the $1.2 trillion deficit in half by eliminating the other programs.

No more fictitious government make-work jobs.

No more ambiguity about who’s on the public dole.

Some issues still have to be resolved. For example, would it apply only to those currently on the unemployment rosters, or could it extend all unemployed and unemployable persons?

The potential for fraud and corruption is great. The Skid Road liquor stores could register all the homeless bums, and then reap the ensuing booze sales. I saw a sign yesterday in a downtown. It said “No lies; It’s for beer.”

I forgot. Congressman Jackson is from Chicago so corruption is not an issue. He was interested in buying a Senate seat Governor Blago was interested in selling.

Will the $40,000 constitute taxable income? Will the government thereby give with one hand and take back with the other?

Will the $40,000 annually count towards federal pension plans?

How about the government’s medical plans?

Will the beneficiaries pay into social security?

Do prisoners qualify? They seem able to tap into many government funds.

Will defeated politicians qualify?

Will undocumented immigrants qualify and day laborers qualify?

What about college students?

Maybe they will occupy the federal building rather than Wall Street.

Of course, the plan makes no economic sense, but neither does President Obama’s three year economics plan.

Congressman Jackson’s suggestion rates right up there with Herbert Hoover’s 1928 “A chicken in every pot and two cars in every garage” and George McGovern’s $1,000 tax credit for every citizen.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Paul BunyanTrophy is at Stake

Tomorrow is the Big Game, the fight for the Paul Bunyan Trophy, a 4’ piece of wood,
which is not to be confused with the Paul Bunyan Axe. Michigan plays Michigan State to decide the best football team within a 63 mile diameter. It might actually be a good game.

Who will win?

Who will be exposed as a great pretender?

6-0 Michigan or 4-1 Michigan State?

Michigan State should be favored.

Michigan leads the series 67-35-1. ,

Little Brother has grown up, beating down Big Brother the last three games. Last year’s score was 34-17, but it wasn’t that close.

Michigan was 4-1 two years ago, when it lost to Michigan State. The Wolverines won only one more game that year.

Michigan was 5-0 last year, and then lost to State. The team only won 2 games over the rest of the season.

Michigan is now 6-0 and plays Michigan State. ?????

A void exists in Schembechler Hall, a vacuum where Paul Bunyan normally resides.

Michigan State has the better players, a great coach in Mark Dantonio, the best defense in the nation, the home field advantage (especially the clock), no major injuries, a bye week, and The Jinx.

No first year Michigan coach has beaten Michigan State since Bennie Oosterbaan in 1947.

Not Bo in 1969 (23-12 loss). Bo beat Woody, but the loss to Sparty haunted him.

Not Mo in 1990 – 27-28, close, but still a loss.

Not Lloyd in 1995 (25-28)

Not Rich Rod in 2007 (The Coach whose name shall no longer be used)

The Coach who shall not be named recruited in Florida, essentially ignoring Michigan and Ohio. Mark Dantonio, from Michigan and Ohio, has spent 4 years at Michigan State recruiting the best players out of the State of Michigan.

Both teams played Notre Dame earlier in the season. The Wolverines won as the Irish choked, but then The Fighting Irish destroyed the Spartans the following week.

Michigan State plays a traditional Big Ten, smash mouth football. Michigan did not for the past three years. Whether or not it can regain its old-time swagger in 7 games remains to be seen.

Michigan has great coaches,DRod, an improved defense, and youthful enthusiasm.

Michigan State dominated the series from 1950-1969, 14-4-2, winning or sharing the national title in 1965 and 1966. Then came Bo and the dominance of Michigan. Even Nick Saban in 5 years at Michigan State could not capture the magic he has since shown at LSU and Alabama.

Go Blue.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Occupy Wall Street

Occupy Wall Street

By all means, occupy Wall Street

Fill the Park Hyatt Hotel at 75 Wall Street and the upstairs condos

Take 40 Wall Street, the Trump Building, off the Donald’s hands

Occupy Trinity Church at Broadway at Wall. Take a break on Alexander Hamilton’s grave

Occupy the apartments and fitness center at 37 Wall Street

Occupy the condos at 55 Wall Street

Clean up your act

Get dressed at the Wall Street Custom Clothiers of Mercer Island, Washington

Occupy the Esquires Barbers and the Wall Street Café at 14 Wall Street - the last capitalists on Wall Street

Grab a bite at Bobby Van’s Steakhouse, and then occupy it across from the Exchange

Occupy the Deutsche Bank Building at 60 Wall Street, but that’s German

Go around the corner to the American International Building at 70 Pine Street, but AIG is bankrupt.

Occupy the restrooms, instead of using a police cruiser for that purpose

Occupy the Wall Street Cleaners in Texas

Wall Street is not Wall Street anymore

Occupy the Wall Street Journal offices by hiking up to Midtown. Make sure not to leave any bed bugs behind

Occupy the Morgan Stanley offices on the same hike to Midtown

Occupy Goldman Sachs, yes Goldman Sachs, in Battery Park

You’re decades late

Wall Street is not Wall Street anymore.

Occupy the Wall Street Deli, a franchise chain out of Alabama

While you’re occupying Wall Street, read the Bawl Street Journal on-line with your white earpods attached to IPod, ITouch, IPhone, and I Pad, from the philanthropic billionaire Steve Jobs.

Really occupy Wall Street, not Zuccotti Park a few blocks away

Your ancestors at Berkeley knew who they were, where they were and what they were protesting. Peoples Park, Free Speech, Cambodia and Kent State were real; Occupy Wall Street is not.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Why Not Governor Romney?

Why Not Romney”

Governor Romney has so much to offer.

He’s a successful businessman.

He pulled off the Salt Lake City Olympics.

He was elected Governor of Massachusetts as a Republican in one of the bluest of blue states.

He is highly intelligent with a JD and MBA from Harvard.

He’s an experienced campaigner who comes across well in debates. This is the fourth time Mitt Roney has run for office.

He does not lose his composure. He’s poised and polished. He stays on message.

He’s run before, and Republicans usually nominate a prior candidate.

He’s not associated with Washington.

He says the right things as a Republican.

The governor has a loving family.

So what’s not to like.

First, he’s a Mormon. It doesn’t bother me and most Americans. We believe in religious tolerance, but some Ministers belief a Mormon is not a true Christian. That’s absurd in today’s America and harkens back to the days when Catholics were suspect.

That he believes in God should suffice.

Second, he’s not a true conservative because he took liberal views as Governor of Massachusetts. The reality is that Republicans must be pro-choice and in favor of gun control to be elected in Massachusetts. Senator Scott Brown was supported by the Tea party in Massachusetts, but the Senator has shown moderation in his views.

Third, he has changed his views on abortion and other issues to get the Republican nomination. Thus, he can’t be trusted. Most politicians make strategic shifts at some point in their career.

To most the main issue is RomneyCare in Massachusetts, which President Obama has claimed to be the basis of ObamaCare. RomneyCare has been a financial disaster for Massachusetts, as it will be for America. Records now show that Romney’s advisors advised President Obama in preparing ObamaCare.

Governor Romney does not, and cannot, disown RomneyCare, but his defense of it is unconvincing. He says it’s proper for a state to mandate health insurance, but not for the federal government. No principled basis exists for the distinction.

He could say that mistakes were made in RomneyCare and that we should learn from them, but he doesn’t.

My problem with the Governor is different. I saw him campaign 4 years ago in a 500 person auditorium. He looked like, talked like, and walked like a preppy, which he is. He did not connect with the audience on a personal level – the essence of a Ronald Reagan as a campaigner. There’s nothing wrong with preppies, but it’s not the image to convey to the average American.

He says all the right things, except for RomneyCare, but the sense is he doesn’t really believe what he’s saying. He’s too robotic.

A whole different problem will arise if he wins the nominations. Jobs are the number one issue for Americans. Governor Romney first ran for the Senate in Massachusetts against Senator Ted Kennedy.

Romney was leading in the polls. The Kennedy Campaign then ran a brutally effective TV ad. Mitt Romney’s firm, Bain & Co., had taken over a manufacturing company and laid off 10,000 workers. The ad was one of the fired workers explaining what Romney had done. Senator Kennedy never looked back.

Why not Governor Romney?

He's too robotic.

So What's Up (or Down) with Governor Perry's Campaign?

So What’s Up (or Down) With Governor Perry’s Campaign?
Republicans are desperately searching for a nominee who will win in November 2012. They do not want a replay of Sharron Angle in Nevada or Christine O’Donnell in Delaware. President Obama cannot win reelection by himself, even if he raises a billion dollars. But the Republicans can reelect him with the wrong nominee.

The nominee must come across as a leader, as one who is comfortable in his or her skin.

The media, and many Republicans, are dissatisfied with the existing slate of candidates, but why conservatives should follow the lead of the media remains a mystery.

Five different candidates win five different, otherwise meaningless, straw polls.

All have risen in the polls, and all have fallen, with the exception of Governor Romney, who holds steady in the 15-25% band.

Republicans are carefully scrutinizing the candidates, but none emerge from the pack, hence the waiting for Godot, the searching for Superman. The pressure to find an alternative unleases a media frenzy. Anticipation builds, euphoria sets in, as it did with Governor Christie. The siren call can be seductive to an ambitious politician, as almost all politicians are.

Governor Perry’s entry into the race sucked the oxygen out of the political air for a few days.

And then a strong blast of cold reality sets in.

Governor Perry had not heeded the lessons from every four years. First, the media builds you up, and then it brings you down, and then repeat the process to prolong the race. The media, which had heralded the new arrival, now turns and dumps on him or her.

And dump on Governor Perry they have, aided by a few Republicans who do not heed President Reagan’s 11th Commandment “Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican.”

No candidate is perfect; we are all humans. The longer a politician is in office, the longer his record, unless he continually votes “present.”

Governor Perry has been Governor of Texas for 10 years, an eternity in politics, creating a book of actions that call for scrutiny.

Here to date are the attacks on the Governor:
1) He referred to social security as “a Ponzi scheme.”
2) Texas leads the nation in capital punishment;
3) He had low grades in college;
4) Too many recent Presidents come from Texas, especially as governors; Perry seems the second coming of Bush;
5) The Governor is overtly religious; he wears his religion on his sleeve;
6) He mandated young women receive the HPV vaccine;
7) He doesn’t want Fed Governor Ben Bernanke to visit Texas;
8) He favors in-state tuition for illegal immigrants;
9) He performed poorly in three debates, in essence, phoning it in; and
10) The New York Times and Washington Post last Monday ran front page articles saying his dad leased a hunting camp in 1983. The entrance rock to the land said “Niggerhead,” a once common, but now unacceptable word, in the South.

We all know social security is an underfunded, government sponsored Ponzi scheme. Even the liberal economist/columnist for the New York Times, Paul Krugman, has called social security a Ponzi scheme.Telling the truth about social security is not a failing, but failing to propose a solution loses votes. He has ideas.

243 executions to date during his governorship. Most Americans favor capital punishment. That will not cost him votes.

The Perry and Bush camps do not like each other. President Bush has degrees from Yale and Harvard. Governor Perry is an Aggie – that says it all.

Governor Perry was not meant to be a science major in college. Organic Chemistry, the bane of pre-meds, was especially challenging to him; hence, the occasional aspersions about his intellectual abilities. Let us remember the saga of Senator John Kerry, supposedly smarter than President Bush. The Senator had lower grades at Yale than the President, indeed 4 D’s, including Geology, Political Science, and 2 in History, as well as another D in his sophomore year. Vice President Gore was also brilliant compared to President Bush, until you asked about his Vanderbilt grades, not to mention his D in Natural Science (Man’s Role in Nature). The Vice President also received a C- in Economics. That’s appropriate! How ironic! President Bush had but one D in 4 years. Vice President Biden graduated 76th in a class of 85, after having been readmitted for being expelled for plagiarism.

When asked by a reporter in Iowa about his views on the Federal Reserve, Governor Perry responded

“If this guy prints more money between now and the election, I don’t know what y’all would do to him in Iowa, but we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas.” He also stated that printing more money at this time is almost treasonous.

Governor Perry’s first two debates were underwhelming, but the third gave rise to substantial doubts about his electability. He questioned Governor Romney’s inconsistencies, but seemed robotic, not himself, in these comments.

The Governor appeared uncomfortable in this exchange, demonstrating no leadership presence,

Then came the critical immigration question. Texas has granted in-state tuition to illegal immigrants for 10 years, roughly the length of his governorship.

He strongly supports this position. Governor Perry, like President George W. Bush and Senator John McCain, recognize that the Republican Party cannot survive by being anti-Hispanic. The Hispanic immigrants must be embraced by the GOP, else the Grand Old Party will fade the way of the Know-Nothings 1½ centuries ago.

He should have defended the policy by simply saying that “I want the sons and daughters of our Hispanic immigrants to become doctors, lawyers, and engineers rather than gang-bangers.”

Instead, he echoed Democratic talking points by stating “If you oppose it, I don’t think you have a heart.” That statement is an insult to all, perhaps the majority of Americans, who oppose in-state tuition for those illegally in the country. Debatable issues, in which reasonable minds can differ, should never be personalized. His opponents, especially Governor Romney and Senator Santorum, immediately dumped on him on the illegal immigrant issue.

His position will hurt him in the Republican primaries, but help in the general election.

The Republican electorate is flexible right now. The Governor can easily come back with a strong performance in the upcoming debates. The base is looking for the viable alternative to Governor Romney.

Governor Perry has an advantage most of the contestants lack – a steady supply of campaign funds. He raised over $17 million the past seven weeks. Most of the candidates are campaigning on a shoe string.

The governor is a brash, plain speaking Texan. He says what many of us think. That will appeal to many voters this election cycle.

Whichever candidates who survive the early caucus and primary season will also have a second life. Florida has advanced the primary season to the first two months of 2012. The Iowa Caucus is now tentatively scheduled for January 3.

The media never likes the race decided too quickly. They must keep the suspense going. Thus, they will revive the candidacy of a once moribund campaign to prolong the campaign.

If Governor Perry wants it enough, if he has the fire in his belly, he will step up in tonight's debate.

It’s still most likely to come down to Governors Perry and Romney.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Public Nudity and the Arousal Police in San Francisco.

I love San Francisco; I really do. I left my heart in San Francisco in 1970.

A great city, but sometimes the politics get zany.

The Summer of ’67, the Haight Asbury, Free Love, Polk Street and the Castro, the San Francisco folk scene, the hungry i and the Purple Onion, the Kingston Trio, Limeliters, and the Smother Brothers, followed by the psychedelic sound, the Fillmore, the Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service, and Janis Joplin and Big Brother and the Holding Company, not to mention Broadway, Carol Doda and the Topless. Those were the days my friends, those were the days, but sometimes it’s just plain crazy.

And sometimes the city tries to exercise common sense and do the right thing, but the real zanies with their gluteus maxima emerge out of the woodwork.

David Goldman and his husband were sharing a joint at a public plaza in the Castro when naturist Eric Anderson sat down at a nearby table in the buff. He placed a sarong between his bare cheeks and the seat, an act of “normal etiquette.”

Laws exist against lewd and lascivious activity, indecent exposure, public nudity, and even public displays of expression, but this is California.

The California Supreme Court held nudity by itself is not lewd. For what it’s worth, the court sits in San Francisco.

The health implications are great. As of now, chubby checks could deposit anal detritus or expel methane gas on the public accommodations. Flatulence is not attractive.

Private businesses, such as bars and restaurants, may have to amend their existing signs “No shoes, no shirts, no service” to “No shoes, no shirts, no skivvies, no service.” Yes, they’ll probably be sued for discrimination with the argument that public nudity is but a form of free speech.

Note to San Francisco. Even Berkeley and the University of California Berkeley in 1993 banned public nudity as Andrew Martinez, “Nature Boy,’ liked to attend classes wearing only his backpack and sandals.

Supervisor Scott Weiner has introduced an ordinance that would prohibit nudity in restaurants and would require naked persons to put a towel or other appropriate article between their bare derrieres and benches or other public seats. Supervisor Weiner represents the Castro.

Nudity would otherwise be permitted unless signs of arousal existed. Hence, the arousal police, a unit of the old sex crimes or vice squad, would have to monitor for signs of arousal.

Of course, the arousal exception could be legally attacked on sex discrimination charges since it would result in a prima facie case of discriminatory impact on males, easily demonstrated through statistical analysis.

As a practical matter, if the photo in the September 26 New York Times is representative, then most of the “male strippers” are middle aged men letting it all hang out, but hardly calculated to arouse.

The response by some denizens to Supervisor Weiner’s proposal was, of course, a public “Nude-in” in San Francisco’s fabled fog and cold. One tourist commented “Where are the supermodel types? We want to know why it’s always the people who should not be naked who get naked.”

Some advocates of the nudists argue they could be a tourist attraction, perhaps equal to Carol Doda with her silicone 44’s in her prime, but they are not. The homeless camped out in front of the major downtown hotels were also not a tourist attraction.

Others argue nudity is protected expression and speech under the First Amendment. Judges don’t see it that way.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Michigan - Notre Dame 2011

Once again the fabled heavyweights of college football played football. Once again, the third time in three years, Michigan won the game in the last 30 seconds – the final 8 seconds this time.

114,804 fans in the first night game at the Big House, all but 5,000 of whom were waving maize pompoms, watched Notre Dame snatch defeat from the jaws of victory for the third straight year.

The Fighting Irish controlled the line of scrimmage for the first three quarters, leading by 17 points entering into the final quarter. Then its defense collapsed, yielding 4 touchdowns, including 2 in 82 seconds at the end of the game. Notre Dame led the entire game until the final 73 seconds, when Michigan scored the first of two touchdowns while Notre Dame scored one. The Fighting Irish’s offense had faded in the fourth quarter, committing five turnovers overall.

Michigan has won more games than any other college. All the while the fabled Fighting Irish were exciting America under their fabled coaches Knute Rockne, Frank Leahy, Ara Parseghian, Dan Devine, and Lou Holtz, Michigan just kept racking up wins.

These two schools, barely 140 miles apart, one private and one public, share much in common: academic excellence, dedicated alumni, 2 of the 3 greatest college fight songs, 2 of the 3 top winning programs, 11 national championships each. Notre Dame has had 96 All Americans compared to 77 for Michigan and 7 Heismans to Michigan’s 3.

Just as the old ad said “This is not your father’s Oldsmobile,” neither the current Michigan nor Notre Dame football teams are those of past eons. They are but shadows of their former selves. Both are rebuilding, an unheard of experience for two teams who simply reloaded year after year.

Notre Dame has been rebuilding since 1996, the year Lou Holtz either resigned, or was pushed to resign. Every coach since Lou has been terminated: Bob Davie, Ty Willingham, Charlie Weiss, and George O’Leary after a record 5 days. A few more losses like last Saturday’s and Kelly will be unemployed, unless he has a heart attack first. The Fighting Irish are rapidly joining The Ohio State Buckeyes as the graveyard of coaches.

Michigan just suffered through the worst three years in its history – so much for Rich Rod and the spread. The Wolverines have lost three straight times to Little brother Michigan State. It has been, according to the daily clock on the Columbus Dispatch web site, 2,853 days since Ohio State has lost to Michigan in football.

The Wolverines’ slide had been apparent for several years, but was blatantly obvious to the world on September 1, 2007 when the Appalachian State Mountaineers defeated Michigan 34-32 in the Big House, with 2 Michigan field goal attempts being blocked in the final two minutes.

Special teams have become a weakness for Michigan. Watching field goals has become an adventure.

Michigan, which has produced a score of All American defensive backs, including Charles Woodson and Ty Law, hasn’t had a good pass defense in 4 seasons. The secondary has joined special teams in losing games.

Notre Dame’s pass defense was equally porous on Saturday.

Touchdown Jesus can’t help Notre Dame anymore.

A relaxation in admissions standards might, as Notre Dame’s great Paul Hornung said a few years back. Notre Dame doesn’t give slack in admissions of football players.
However, Stanford has the same high admissions standards as Notre Dame, and Jim Harbaugh proved you can build a winning program at Stanford.

Saturday was a great game. Michigan and Notre Dame weren’t playing for No. 1, or even a BCS Bowl, but for pride. They fought like two aging pugilists refusing to go down for the final count.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What Will Today's Elections Portrend for 2012?

By year elections often foretell electoral shifts during the general election. For example Democrats picked up safe Republican seats in Louisiana, Illinois, and upstate New York as President Bush’s popularity plummeted.

Two Congressional elections today may, or may not, forecast the November 2012 elections result. Two “safe” seats, a Republican seat in Nevada and a Democratic District in New York, are in play.

Nevada is presumed to remain Republican so New York’s 9th Congressional District is attracting attention. The district overlaps Brooklyn and Queens. It is 30% Jewish and has voted Democrats to Congress since 1923. It’s been a blue district for 88 years.

The disgraced Anthony Weiner recently held the seat. He was preceded by his mentor, Senator Charles Schumer.

The Democratic candidate is David Weprin, scion of a politically prominent family and an orthodox Jew. Bob Turner, the Republican, is a 70 year old Catholic, whose claim to fame and fortune is that he produced the Jerry Springer Show.

Polls show independents, and perhaps Jewish voters, breaking for the Republican.

Assemblyman Weprin has run a poor campaign, perhaps because he is a carpet bagger who does not live in the 9th District.

Turner has run an inspired campaign, attacking the Assemblyman on local issues, and President Obama’s policies, especially to Israel. The President is in danger of losing the Jewish vote in 2012.

The long term implications of the election are small. New York lost 2 Congressional seats in the 2010 census. New York’s 9th District is presumed to one of the reapportionment casualties so whoever wins will be a short termer.

However, the short term political consequences will be dramatic. The election will reaffirm the 2010 election results. If the 9th, the bluest of blue Congressional Districts bleeds red, then few Democratic seats can be viewed as “safe” in 2012. The public employee unions will be politically weakened. Democrats nationally, especially Blue Dogs and Senators running for reelection, will stumble over each other as they run away from the President. The Democrats will accept any campaign funds he raises for them, but avoid him publicly. His proposals will be dead on arrival, even in the Democratic Senate.

The Democrats cannot afford to lose this election. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has poured $500,000 into the election. The teachers union is mounting a get out the vote campaign.

The Republican has two powerful allies in his campaign. Both former mayor Ed Koch and the New York Post have endorsed him.

The election should not even be close. Congressman Weiner defeated Turner in 2010 in a landslide 61-39% margin. But then again, Scott Brown never should have won Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat in Massachusetts.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Let Us Pray at Ground Zero, But Just Not Today

Today is the 10th Anniversary of 9/11, a day of remembrance and reflection, a day to honor the survivors and the families of the victims, and America and the American Spirit

9/11 brought America together ten years ago, if only for a few days. Congress sang Kumbaya on the steps of the Capitol.

The FDNY rushed up the stairs into the fires to their deaths while civilians escaped. The police forces of New York and the Port Authority suffered heavy losses. 341 firefighters and 2 paramedics died in the collapse of the Twin Towers as did 23 New York City police and 37 Port Authority officers.

Among the early fatalities was Fr. Michael Judge, Chaplain of the Fire Department.

New York City commemorated the Tenth Anniversary of 9/11 earlier today. Ground Zero is undergoing a rebirth. Most of the perpetrators have been killed or captured. President Bush promised American justice and he and President Obama delivered.

The tragedy of 9/11 made us stronger us a country. Treating terrorism as an act of war rather than a criminal act freed the United States to mount a full scale offense. Increased security, enactment of the Patriot Act, the combined actions of federal law enforcement services and intelligence agencies, the unpublicized efforts of the treasury Department to track monies, and the active intelligence operations of the NYPD, as well as some luck, have resulted in no successful external produced terrorist acts against the United States since 9/11.

9/11 and America’s response shows the growth of the American people. We demonized our enemies in the two World Wars, Korea, and Vietnam. We interned American citizens of Japanese descent in concentration camp in World War II.

9/11 was different. President Bush led the way in not blaming the terrorist acts on Muslims, but on a fringe of radicals who happen to be Muslims.

But we did not pray at Ground Zero because Mayor Bloomberg said no clergy. No Catholics, or Protestants, Muslims or Jews, Hindus or Sikhs No priest, reverend, minister, pastor, rabbi, imam, mullah, pandit, guru, monk, or nun.

Mayor Bloomberg said no. He does support though an Islamic Mosque next to Ground Zero.

No fire or police either. Mayor Bloomberg said no to them too. They suffered individually and collectively for the loss of one fire fighter is felt by all, but the Mayor felt different.

The explanations make no sense. In essence the site is too small; so no room exists for the clergy, fire, or police. America is bigger than that.

The site of 9/11 can never be too small for religion, police, or fire. This is America, and they are victims. We are all victims of 9/11.

Today is a time for all of us, a day of unity.

It’s not just Mayor Bloomberg. The National Cathedral in D.C. is hosting clergy, which places it ahead of New York, but is excluding evangelicals.

9/11 was not just an attack on America. It was barbaric assault against the world and civilization, a crime against humanity. Christians were killed, as were Jews and Muslims. Presumably other religions as well, but I have seen no breakdown by religion. Religion, all religion, was under attack.

The site of Ground Zero is legally controlled by New York City, but it belongs to all Americans.

We needed to reaffirm religion today

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Reflections on President Obama's Speech

President Obama can still deliver a speech. This is his most impassioned speech in eons. He was in his groove; his mojo was humming. He was smoking. The President regained his cadence. Vice President Biden stayed awake.

Forget the details; the presentation was great.

He felt this jobs speech; it is personal for the President is facing unemployment.

This speech was the kickoff of his reelection campaign, but it was good.

But was anyone listening?

Has the public tuned him out?

If so, nothing he says will make a difference.

As he spoke out to Congress, was he thinking how many of the Senators and Representatives will be unemployed after the November 2012 election? How many of the Senators and Representatives fear unemployment?

He repeatedly demanded “Pass it now” 17 times! That was the President’s tag line. He threw down the gauntlet. He challenged Congress, but the Republicans remained seated. They were not moved.

The Democrats stood, as they must for a Democratic President, but there were no long, time-consuming ovations.

The sounds of silence from both sides of the aisle are telling.

Of course, his campaign is based on running against Congress – a “Do Nothing Congress” – but that was President Truman’s campaign theme in 1948.

"Pass the American Jobs Act Now," but no Bill has been presented to Congress.

Pass the bilateral trade bills with Columbia, Panama, and South Korea, but he has yet to present these agreements to Congress.

As for the contents of the speech, it was poor. Nothing new, just repackaged fairness and spending. President Obama is big on recyling. “Shovel ready” is now “infrastructure.” Extending unemployment benefits is still extending unemployment benefits. Tax increases on those who can afford to pay more are still tax increases.

He quoted Warren Buffet in support of raising taxes. Just increase Buffet’s taxes, and be done with it.

The President proposed targeted tax breaks, up to a $4,000 tax credit for hiring those who have been unemployed for at least 6 months and for increasing wages.

Employers hire when they believe it will be profitable to do so. The targeted tax cuts to date have not worked.

The former political science major, community organizer remains ignorant of even basic economics.

The $450-500 billion plan is paid for, but the details won’t be available until Monday (Is it next Monday or a week from Monday? Promises, Promises!

And put teachers back in the classroom, and hire more teachers. Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO was an invited guest at the speech. President Obama knows the base of his reelection campaign.

The Republicans did not even present a televised response. Representative Pelosi was offended that the Republicans would insult the President by not responding. Why respond, when nobody watches these responses anyway? Why respond, when it would conflict with the pre-game show?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Caution: Paintballing is Hazardous to Your Silicon Gel Breast Implants

The health risks of silicone gel breast implants have been extensively studied, analyzed, and litigated. Just last month another study was released that absolved the implants. Fears of rupture and leakage are over blown. “Rupture phobia” was a false alarm.

And as trial lawyers in Southern California, the heartland of plastic surgeons, discovered, juries were unsympathetic to women who were unsatisfied with what nature endowed them.

The investigators should have noted the BBC news from Croydon, England. The British have given us so much, our language, our laws, our founding fathers, penicillin, radar, sonar, flush toilets, Bob Hope, Marxism, Mark Burnett, James Bond, and Twiggy.

And now comes definitive proof of the rupture risks of silicone gel breast implants.

A 26 year old English woman with implants was paintballing on Saturday, August 20 – not the balling the implants are intended to attract.

She was, of course, balled with the paint gel.

Complaining of pain from the paint, she visited her GP two days later. She underwent surgery after being informed an implant had ruptured.

The paintballs shoot out of the gun at about 190MPH, and then decelerate before striking the target, the ballee. The paintball capsules are made of a special gelatin shell filled with food coloring and “bio-friendly” paint. Our ballee’s gel was attempting to gel with the shooters gel – gel on gel, if you would.

Upon hearing of the unfortunate accident, a lead specialist nurse counselor said “Breast implants are made to meet the highest European and American standards and are extremely robust.” I always thought they were extremely inert.

UK Paintball, which operates the Croydon and 49 other UK sites, responded to the incident with two measures.

First, they want women with surgical breast implants (are there any other kind of implants?) to notify them at the time of booking. They then want the participants to sign a revised waiver form with the added line “Paintballs can damage/rupture breast implants.”

Second, the British have such a way with words. UK Paintball did not note the irony in this statement for women with the implants: “You will also be issued additional padding to protect your implants while paintballing.”

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Once Again With Michigan Football Predictions

The Big Bo Era (Bo, Mo, & Lloyd) ended at Michigan 3 years ago. The Rodriguez Era began. The Pro Power Set era was over; it had shown signs of fading. The Spread offense was in, brought by the master. Out with the old; in with the new.

Coach Rodriguez had been a success everywhere before. There would be no transition.

The change would be installed immediately. It was Rich Rod’s way or the highway. 25 players chose the highway. Even the weight lifting equipment was tossed.

He would run the spread, even if he lacked a quarterback to do it. He would run the spread without an offensive line. Offense was his forte.

Defense would be an issue; the secondary was weak and porous, and several star defensive linemen and linebackers had moved on to the pros. Recruiting had lagged a little the past few years of Coach Carr, but this was Michigan after all – the winningist program in college football history. Defense wouldn’t matter, because the explosive offense would rack up the points. It was time for the change. The baton would be passed seamlessly.

The predictions for success were made by those of us suffering from excessive exuberance. I predicted perhaps an 8-4 record. We were all wrong with the exception of Kirk Herbstreit, the ESPN broadcaster and former Ohio State quarterback. He predicted 3-9 or 4-8.

We scoffed at the Cassandra, but he spoke the truth.

He predicts 8-4 this year, and I will plagiarize his prophesy this time.

Coach Rodriguez went 3-9, losing to Toledo, 5-7, and 7-6. He lost three times each to Michigan State and Ohio State (by blowouts). The defense got progressively worse, setting records for futility. Denard Robinson may be an incredible QB, but you can’t score if you don’t get the ball. Wisconsin blew Michigan away last year, not throwing one pass in the second half because Michigan’s once fabled and feared defense could not stop the Badgers running game. The Coach recruited quickness out of Florida, almost all on offense.

Rich Rod was the wrong coach for Michigan – the fit wasn’t there.

Brady Hoke, perhaps the second coming of Bo, has arrived as the new head coach. He has brought with him two of the most respected defensive and offensive coordinators, Greg Mattison and Al Borges, in football.

This may not be a season of miracle. The defensive line and linebackers are suspect and the team lacks depth, especially on defense, but Notre Dame, Nebraska, and Ohio State play in Ann Arbor. The team is probably 2 years away from becoming a contender, but the Wolverines could start out 6-0, facing Western Michigan, Notre Dame, Eastern Michigan, San Diego State, Minnesota, and Northwestern, followed by Michigan State, Purdue, Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska, and Ohio State. The 5 toughest games should be Notre Dame, Michigan State, Iowa, Nebraska, and Ohio State. One win out of those five game should yield an 8-4 record.

A win against Ohio State would signal the second coming of Bo.

Anticipation; anticipation!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Why Can't We All Get Along in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin has brought us so much political excitement in the past year in between the football seasons.

The Republicans swept the 2010 election; a blue state bled red. The new Republican governor and legislature acted quickly, as did the Democrats in Washington in 2008, to capitalize on their newly acquired power.

Wisconsin’s state and local government budgets were hemorrhaging, as they were nationally. Public employee salaries, medical expenses, and pensions, as well as related contractual obligations were a major cause.

The Republican response in Wisconsin was to use the budget as the means to reform, that is, to curb public employee collective bargaining rights through the Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill. Benefits would be trimmed. The employees would contribute more to their benefits. The unions, of course, screamed bloody murder.

But this wasn’t the real issue. The Republican measures were intended to defund and defang the public employee unions as banks for the Democratic Party. If money is the mother’s milk of politics, then the Republicans were aiming to forcibly wean the Democrats.

Government would no longer collect the mandatory dues of the public employees. Indeed, the public employees no longer have to pay mandatory dues, which makes Wisconsin a semi quasi right to work state.

No wonder the unions went ballistic. Other newly Republican states, especially in the Midwest, might follow. The union funds are an even greater issue to the Democrats than reapportionment.

The Wisconsin unions suddenly agreed to the employee contributions if the union busting provisions were dropped.

They demonstrated, followed by civil disobedience and sit-ins in the state capitol. The democratic senators fled to Illinois to avoid a vote. The unions sued; a friendly judge in Madison enjoined the bill until overruled by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

They unsuccessfully fought to block the reelection of a conservative judge to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The vote was 4:3 to uphold the statute. They mounted recall campaigns against 6 Republican Senators to turn the senate blue again. They won two Senate seats, but fell one short of control of the Senate. They are threatening to recall Governor Scott Walker next year.

Solidarity forever. Unions from outside Wisconsin poured funds and organizers into Wisconsin to defeat the Republicans.

The citizens of Wisconsin want the parties to work together. The Republicans are speaking magnanimously, but they won. They can be graceful in victory.

Some labor leaders are not in a conciliatory mood.

Randy Radtke, President of the Marathon County Labor Council, announced last week that elected Republicans would not be allowed to march in the Wausau Labor Day Parade. It is, after all, a parade to celebrate workers and the union movement. Republicans are not going to rain on their parade.

The ban received national attention, but not necessarily favorable.

The ban appears petty and vindictive. It feeds into the negative image many have of unions. One conservative wrote “Union Thugs Ban Republican Rep. Sean Duffy From Their labor Day Parade.”

The labor representatives refused to budge from their principles.

Jim Tipple, the non-partisan Mayor of Wausau, then stated that the labor organization would have to foot the costs of the parade. He said “This is not a political rally, it’s a parade, for God’s sake.” He also stated that the banning of a political party from an event co-sponsored by the city is against public policy.

He’s only talking $2,000, and the unions could certainly raise that money, but Radtke relented yesterday. Republican politicians, including the Republican Congressman, state senator, and assemblyman from Wausau can march in the parade.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

President Obama Caves in Less than a Day - A Sad Day for America

President Obama has said he wakes up every morning worried about American jobs.

President Obama had three years to call a joint session of Congress to address the jobs problem.

President Obama had 9 ½ days of vacation on Martha’s Vineyard to call a special session of Congress to present his plan for jobs.

Instead, he called for a Joint Session of Congress for next week to present his plan – the reelection plan.

Congress is not in session Monday, Tuesday or Friday next week. That leaves Wednesday or Thursday.

Wednesday is a long-scheduled Republican debate at the Reagan Library. Thursday is the kickoff of the NFL Season – Green Bay versus N’awlins.

Jay Carney, the President’s press spokesman, announced today that the President’s speech will be on Wednesday. The President’s Office advised NBC that they could move the coverage of the Republican debate.

The Republicans objected; preempting an opposing party’s long scheduled debate looks pity and a political dirty trick.

Jay Carney suggested the GOP is free to move the time of the debate.

Speaker Boehner advised the White House that Wednesday was unacceptable, but that Thursday would work.

The White House announced earlier tonight that the Joint Session will be on Thursday, September 8.

The President caved to the Speaker in less than 12 hours.

This is the type of act that makes any Administration appear incompetent and weak.

All they had to do was get a commitment from the Speaker and Senate Majority Leader.

Instead, they announced the Joint Session without clearing it in advance.

It was either an initial decision reeking of incompetence or political gamesmanship.

The public is looking for leadership. They also are looking for meaningful proposals from the President - not a campaign speech next Thursday.

Let me add though that I think the GOP also mishandled the situation. They should have moved their scheduled debate back an hour, and asked the media for equal time to respond to the President’s address. The debate would be the response with all 12 Republicans candidates blasting the President’s proposals in real time. This debate would receive a much higher audience than it otherwise would have and whoever delivers the Republican response on Thursday night.

Which do we watch live, and which do we TIVO Thursday night – the President or the NFL?

A sad day for America, and miscalculation by both parties. That’s not what Americans want from Washington.

President Obama's Problem - He's Not President Clinton

Success has many a proud parent, but failure an orphan.

Therein lies President Obama’s problem.

He gave the left everything it wanted, but now he’s in President Johnson’s position.

At some point during Vietnam, the President looked around, and all the advisors, the best and brightest, that urged entry into Vietnam had abandoned him, with the exception of Secretary of State Dean Rusk.

President Johnson was abandoned. He gave up reelection.

President Obama is watching the economy dive on his watch. How ironic! It was the Wall Street collapse that led to his election.

Unemployment is 9.1% on his watch.

The national debt was downgraded on his watch.

Inflation, especially food inflation, is rearing its ugly little head on his watch.

Housing continues downward on his watch.

The banking industry, especially the largest of all, the Bank of America, is shaky on his watch.

The Republicans won control of the House and most state legislatures and governorships in 2008 and are in the process of defanging the public sector employee unions in many of the Midwest states.

All this is the opposite of what his economic advisors told him would happen. These economics advisors, the best and brightest, have returned to Berkeley, Chicago, and Harvard. They abandoned him. They have tenure. They don’t have to stand for reelection.

He bailed out the UAW by stiffing the Chrysler and GM debt holders.

The Stimulus Bill propped up public sector employees (SEIU, NEA, AFT, AFSCME) for
two years.

His NLRB is handing power to the private sector unions.

He gave America government health care.

He’s subsidizing a green economy.

He’s implementing amnesty.

He appointed a Latina to the Supreme Court.

His EPA is delivering on Cap and Trade.

What more can they want?

They want out.

A columnist in Newsweek compared the President to Chamberlain and appeasement for giving in on the debt limit.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters is willing to take on the President.

He expected criticism from conservatives, but not the liberals.

The liberals face an intellectual problem.

They can look inwards to themselves and recognize the failure of Keynesian economics, and all they believe in. Their dream for America is failing.

Or they can attack the President.

The President is also at a loss. He too is a true believer. He soaked up the Reverend Wright’s Liberation Theology for 20 years. He started his political career at the house of Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn. He believes in fairness, equality, redistributionism, and the workers. He is a true believer.

Five days before his inauguration, he said “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming America.” His goal was to transform America. He is on his way, but not in the way he expected. He wanted America to emulate Western Europe and social
democracy. Look where that’s gotten Europe.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt connected with the American people during the Great Depression. He felt our pain.

President William Jefferson Clinton was an astute politician who balanced the populism and the conservatism of Arkansas voters. President Clinton knew when to
tack, veer, or drop anchor. He felt our pain.

President Clinton's telepromter failed once. Clinton continued his speech without missing a beat.

President Obama's telepromter failed once. The President froze.

President Barack Hussein Obama’s problem is clueless. He did what he promised, and it failed. His rhetoric is being tuned out, unless he admits a mistake and reverses course. A mea culpa might work, but he’s incapable of admitting the mistakes.

President Obama’s problem is that he is no President Clinton.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

On Wisconsin - Republicans Hold Onto Wisconsin Again

The Republicans won another major victory in Wisconsin yesterday.

Wisconsin is historically one of the most progressive states, as blue as they come - a bulwark of the Democratic Party. Both Al Gore and John Kerry beat Bush in Wisconsin, albeit it narrowly. The strength of the Democratic Party is centered in Milwaukee, Madison and the large unionized workforce.

The 2010 mid-term elections led to a Republican landslide nationally. The Republicans won the House and gained substantially in the Senate.

The real landslide though was at the state level. Republicans won a record number of state legislators and gained many governorships. 20 legislative chambers flipped from Democratic to Republican. The sweep was most apparent in the Midwest, where the Republicans gained control of the legislatures and governorships in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin, as well as Pennsylvania. They won control of the legislature, but barely lost the governorship in Minnesota. Illinois remained Democratic, and the Democrats barely hung onto the Senate in Iowa.

Just as the Democrats in 2008 used their victory to ram legislation through Congress, the newly Red states took the opportunity to curb the power of the public sector unions.

Governor Scott Walker led the way in Wisconsin. His measure was billed as an attempt to rein in a $3.6 billion budget gap by curbing collective bargaining tights of public employees and requiring them to pay a greater share of their pensions and healthcare premiums, but it was union busting in reality.

It wasn’t union busting in the traditional sense of breaking the union, but union busting in the sense of emasculating their political powers. No longer will public employees be required to pay dues to the union, which dues in turn will be funneled to Democratic candidates.

The unions could still turn out their vote, but might no longer be the bank for the Democrats. Governor Walker was driving a stake into the financial heart of the Democratic-union alliance.

Hence, the substantial, at times violent, opposition to the legislation.

The unions responded by filing a lawsuit to enjoin the legislation. A friendly judge in Madison enjoined the statute. The ultimate decision would be by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which was divided 4:3 with a conservative majority.

The next step of the unions was to fight the reelection of conservative Judge David Prosser to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The campaign was expensive and vicious, but Judge Prosser won the April 5 election by about 7,000 votes.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court shortly afterwards upheld the legislation with Judge Prosser casting the deciding vote in a 4:3 decision.

The unions then turned to the recall, seeking to replace 6 Republican Senators with Democrats – hence the election yesterday. The Senate was split 19-14 after the 2010 election. A recall of three Republicans would turn the Senate.

The Democrats won only 2 seats yesterday with the Republicans holding onto 4. The results were something of a shocker to the unions. They expected victory in many of the Senate districts, which are based in the Milwaukee area. Over $30 million was poured into the elections by both sides. The unions got out the vote. But it wasn’t enough.

It’s not over though. The Republicans responded to the Democratic recall efforts by targeting 3 Democratic Senators for recall. One won retention last week, and the other two are being voted on next week. Speculation is that one of the two seats could flip to the Republicans.

The latest Democratic act is to promise a recall effort against Governor Walker next year.

Lost in all this political flurry is that the Governor signed a Republican gerrymandered reapportionment bill the other day, strengthening Republican prospects in future elections.

As a blue state turns red, the Democratic Party is fighting to retain its historic place in Wisconsin politics. It's fighting for political survival. If the Democrats lose, they should blame President Obama and not Governor Walker.

Maybe Wisconsin is once again leading America.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Is President Obama the second Coming of President Hoover?

Many, including oui, feared that President Obama would be the second coming of President Jimmy Carter.

Mea culpa; mea mas culpa.

After his speech earlier today, President Obama is coming across as the rebirth of Herbert Hoover.

History tells us that President Hoover’s inaction was one of the major causes of the depth of the Great depression.

History is written by the winners. FDR was a winner, and Hoover a loser. Hence, FDR, the activist FDR, was a winner, one of the greatest presidents in American history, and President Hoover, the inactive Hoover, is one of the worst.

The truth is slightly different. President Hoover did prime the pump, albeit not to the extent as President Roosevelt.

Yet, President Hoover was constrained by the economic orthodoxy of the time. He signed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff and substantial tax increases in 1932 (with the highest rate of 64%), both of which are universally viewed as turning a recession into a depression. He also inaugurated public works projects, but clearly not to the extent of President Roosevelt.

President Obama believes in protectionism and tax increases.

The great British economist, John Maynard Keynes, proposed the Keynesian solution to economic slumps – spending tremendous sums of public funds to prime the pump and trigger the multiplier effect.

President Roosevelt took Keynes to heart, as well as increasing taxes. He engaged the American people. Remember, his theme song was “Happy days Are Here Again.”
Of course, he didn’t fix the Great Depression. World War II and the post-war spending binge set off the great American economic recovery, coupled with the reality that the European countries and Japan were economically crippled.

President Obama’s speech today proposed no new solutions, but was mostly a regurgitation of his talking points - extend the payroll tax cut, unemployment benefits, and infrastructure investment to prime the pump, while raising taxes.

The $870 billion Stimulus Bill was supposed to put America back to work with “Shovel Ready” jobs, but it was primarily a public employee union subsidy. He invested his political capital in Green Jobs and Keynes.

The Stimulus Bill failed, and the President exhausted his stimulus goodwill with that bill. The progressive Agenda failed.The voters in 2010 rejected it.

President Obama could be bold. His original economic team of academic superstars has bailed on him. Keynes failed. The Treasury Department has done all that it can. The Fed has exhausted existing remedies. The Obama Administration has run out of options, except to print money.

President Obama must be bold or he will lose reelection. He should recognize that Obamanomics has failed, and shift course. One attribute of FDR was flexibility; he was not wed to any one program.

President Obama is a tried and true progressive, weaned on Tax the Rich and Spread the Wealth. He is a community organizer who believes the government is the source of money. He knows that Labor is due its due.

He never understood that the wealth of America was built on cheap energy (oil, gas, and coal) and entrepreneurism. He forgot that he was elected on the stock market collapse and the subsequent economic collapse.

What he promised today was Hoover – steady on the status quo.

The people must know that the President is with them. President Roosevelt's Fireside Speeches resonated with Americans. President Obama took no responsibility and exhibited no leadership.

Crisis is the test of leadership. President Hoover did not step up. President George W. Bush was not perceived to step up. Leadership must look America in the eye – not rotate between teleprompters. Leaders must offer hope and inspiration – not blank words and talking points. The American people do not want to hear a broken record.

His acolytes responded to Standard and Poor’s downgrade of America’s credit rating as a political issue. They attacked S & P, blamed it on the Tea party, which Vice President Biden called terrorists, with the Treasury Department telling the major banks to ignore S & P, and that the credit agency made a $2 trillion computation error.

S & P downgraded today the debts of several federal agencies, such as Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac, as well as insurance companies, such as Warren Buffett’s. The nation’s debt is not $14 billion, but much more when one considers the federal guarantee of loans, such as Fannie and Freddy and the Federal Home Loan Bank, guaranteed federal student loans, and who knows how many more.

President Obama quoted Warren Buffett as questioning S & P’s downgrade. Let us remember that Buffett’s company. Berkshire Hathaway, controlled Moody’s, the major credit rating agency that along with S & P and Fitch’s missed the housing debacle.

Unless the economy turns around quickly, President Obama will have a primary opponent and be a one term president whose legacy is worse than Carter’s and Hoover’s.

President Obama’s response to the economic crisis is to schedule two fund raisers tonight. His job is paramount. That tells it all.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

It's Not the Debt Limit - It's the Debt

As expected, Congress and the President reached an agreement to raise the debt limit. The full details are not yet available, but the only figure we need to know is that the agreement supposedly agrees to cut spending $2.4 trillion over the next ten years, back loaded into future years.

That’s $240 billion a year when the deficit is between $1 – 1.5 trillion. In short, Congress and the President are still spending about $1 trillion more a year than the IRS takes in.

Let’s look at it another way. Federal government spending is on auto pilot to rise 8% annually. Now it will be slightly less than 8%, perhaps 7%. The magic, or tragedy, of compound interest is that 7% annually doubles in a little less than a decade.

Assuming interest rates remain at the same low level, we will add $7.5 trillion to the existing $14 trillion national debt. If interest rates rise over the next decade, as basic economics teaches us they will, then the result will be an economic disaster for the United States. High interest rates, high inflation, and even higher unemployment will ensue. The only question is when.

That doesn’t include the damage still to be incurred by Obamacare and the rising prices in fuel and energy today, and the declining dollar.

$240 billion annually is only chump change in our current budget. Even a $4 trillion cut would only have reduced the annual deficit by $400 billion.

So who won?

The Republicans and the Tea Party – they changed the terms of debate in Washington, except that the passage of the final bill will be heavily dependent on Democratic votes.

The American taxpayer - at least for now - maybe. Wait till the new commission makes its report on Thanksgiving.

Who lost?

President Obama – he did not get his “balanced approach,” continues to sound like a broken record, and never showed leadership. He admonished House Majority Leader Eric Cantor not to call his bluff. The Republicans called the President’s bluff, and he folded. Once again the President showed he can talk the talk, but not walk the walk.

Senator Harry Reid and the Do Nothing Senate.

National security, since substantial defense cuts are on the way.

Credibility. President Reagan once agreed to tax increases for subsequent budget
cuts. Subsequent Congresses never delivered on the cuts, and President Reagan realized his mistake.

The big losers though are the American people since Congress did not succeed in substantially slowing the road to Greece.

The devil is in the details. If, apparently the new Committee does not come up with the specified reductions in spending or Congress does not approve them, then automatic spending cuts will take place in 2013 – after the election. The proposal initially seems to be a poison pill, designed to force the committee and Congress to act. Half of triggered cuts will come from the defense budget. Another chunk will come from Medicare providers.

The can, the ever expanding can, was kicked down the road, the ever shrinking road. Economic growth is essentially dead in the water.

This whole debate was politically unnecessary. The Democrats refused to raise the limit when they had total control of Congress last year. Senator Reid wanted the Republicans to have to share in the blame. In the meantime, both parties played to their base.

The $2.4 trillion is either a down payment on a larger cut or simply a lost cause.
The answer will come in November 2012.

Republicans need to win even bigger in 2012 than they did in 2010.