Saturday, January 17, 2009 Is Obama overdoing the Obama=Lincoln thing?: "“Everyone wants to be Lincoln,” says Harold Holzer, who has written or edited more than 20 books on Lincoln and the Civil War. “Is Obama overdoing it? Maybe.”"
None of these academics dares to be perceived as criticizing The One. Let me wade right in. Is Obama overdoing it? Hell, yes.

The choo-choo train whistle-stop tour is the point where he jumped the shark. If he starts wearing a stovepipe hat I'm moving to Canada.

The Growing Foreclosure Crisis - "The foreclosure crisis has become a wave, afflicting neighborhoods of every stripe -- but particularly communities created by the boom itself."
This is a long and very detailed article that should chill the blood of anybody living in one of the new CIDs around the nation. It isn't a subprime crisis anymore. The new housing stock, full of CIDs, is next in line.

This housing market collapse is like one of those 1950s horror movies where as soon as you forget about him, the giant gila monster just sort of pops out of the mesquite and knocks a gas truck off the road. Then he crawls off, and you go back to watching the kids at the sock hop in the old barn. But guess where the giant gila monster just happens to be crawling?

The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan (January 16, 2009) - The Centrist

The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan (January 16, 2009) - The Centrist: "If Obama manages to leverage this crisis toward entitlement reform, he would become an historic president. It really would be Buchanan-Lincoln. I've spent too long in DC to believe it, but I can still hope can't I? And the key thing this time around is whether we can build a grass-roots movement to support Obama in this, just as we did in the campaign. Raise the retirement age, means-test social security, raise Medicare premiums for the affluent. After what has amounted to a generational war on the under-40s under Bush, re-balancing is actually a moral cause."
The direction that the Obama Administration takes on the future of federal entitlement programs is as important as anything else on their plate.

Farkitrol® - It can help™ with Dangerous Playgrounditis.

Farkitrol® - It can help™ with Dangerous Playgrounditis.: "Every single year, the Mainstream Media reports on exactly how unsafe it is for a kid to go out and play on the grounds that have been designated 'playgrounds'. Farkitrol® works by helping the patient realize that they were once kids themselves, and that falling down and scraping an elbow or slamming their shins against the ladder for the monkeybars didn't kill them. It just made them learn how not do that the next time."
This new drug would be good for those HOAs that are closing their playgrounds out of fear of litigation. But be sure to scroll down and read the possible side effects.

Canal ice helps Dutch rediscover national identity - International Herald Tribune

Canal ice helps Dutch rediscover national identity - International Herald Tribune: "NIEUWERKERK AAN DEN IJSSEL, Netherlands: For the first time in 12 years, the Netherlands' canals froze this month, bringing the Dutch, who like their tulips in neat rows, a heady mix of pandemonium and euphoria.

Hundreds of thousands of skaters, their cheeks as red as apples in the freezing temperatures, took to the ice, and hospital wards were filled with dozens of people with fractured arms, sprained ankles and broken legs."

Take a look at the photo of people skating on the canal with windmills in the background. Does that look like fun, or what? For our part here in the Chicago area, yesterday it was -18 F. The wind chill factor took it down to -36. A bit cold for skating on our frozen lake.

I guess Al Gore should basically lay low for the rest of the winter. He won't find a receptive audience in the general public at the moment.

Friday, January 16, 2009 New Nationwide Study Reveals Low Civic Participation in California New Nationwide Study Reveals Low Civic Participation in California
Low indeed. The state is 45th in volunteering, 44th in "attending civic meetings," and 45th in "working on community problems."

I thought the great CID revolution in California was going to produce this huge outburst of communitarianism and local involvement.

Thanks to Fred Pilot for this link.

My Way News - Calif. tax refunds to be delayed starting Feb. 1

My Way News - Calif. tax refunds to be delayed starting Feb. 1: "SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - California's controller says he will begin a 30-day delay on tax refunds and other payments starting Feb. 1 because the state is running out of money.

Controller John Chiang said Friday he must delay $3.7 billion in payments next month because lawmakers have failed to address California's growing deficit."

I wonder at what point the dysfunctional legislature will get the picture. Maybe never? And then the issue is whether the electorate will weigh in and replace the current crowd with people of a more fiscally conservative inclination. But that might mean voting for (gasp!) Republicans.

Professional advice on dealing with home invasion robberies: In view of the fact that fire codes prohibit dead bolts on back doors, smart home invaders just kick them down, and they tend to be in groups. Solution?

"The only real way to counter this is to carry your gun with you everywhere you go inside of your home."

Gee, that's helpful. I will just walk around the house strapped like Wild Bill Hickock. I'll get myself a waterproof rubber gun for the shower, too.

In Bush's Farewell, a Self-Portrait of Decisiveness With Few Apologies - US News and World Report

In Bush's Farewell, a Self-Portrait of Decisiveness With Few Apologies - US News and World Report: "He dealt only minimally with his mistakes and failures. 'Like all who have held this office before me, I have experienced setbacks,' he said. 'There are things I would do differently if given the chance. Yet I have always acted with the best interests of our country in mind. I have followed my conscience and done what I thought was right. You may not agree with some of the tough decisions I have made. But I hope you can agree that I was willing to make the tough decisions.'...Bush has said repeatedly that history will vindicate him and that he will eventually be seen as a wiser, more prescient leader than he is given credit for today. But his standing with the public remains very low. The latest Gallup Poll finds that 61 percent of Americans disapprove of his job performance, while 34 percent approve, mostly fellow Republicans. This is almost as grim as Richard Nixon's ratings after he resigned in disgrace in August 1974, when Nixon had 66 percent disapproval and 24 percent approval, Gallup said."
I have never been a Bush hater. I think he made some enormous mistakes, but for the most part he was trying to do what he believed were the right things. The problem is that he has a limited frame of reference and quickly seizes on certain courses of action that he can't change. He is not an introspective or particularly curious man, and has lived a live of almost infinite privilege that has left him with an enormous sense of entitlement.

Clearly he is a stubborn man, and I don't think that is necessarily a bad quality in a leader as long as there is a point where a reality check kicks in. For example, Lincoln's determination to keep the Union together and win the Civil War showed stubbornness, but he changed his approach at various points when things weren't working, and eventually won the war and kept the Union.

But with Bush, sometimes I get the sense that he really doesn't want to hear contrary opinions or facts that undermine his fixed ideas. That makes it easy for people to manipulate him. Just tell him there is a crisis and he has to act and make a hard decision right now, and there is only one course of action open. He will do it every time. Then just keep telling him what he wants to hear--things are going well; we will find the WMD; the Iraqis love us and want democracy; the bailout will work; whatever.

He also trusts certain people and won't change his opinion. His trust in Cheney and Rumsfeld, and also the slimy George Tenet, undid his administration. Contrary voices were shut out and Bush's stubbornness took over. The rest is history--which will not vindicate Bush, as he continues to believe.

Foreclosure Filings Up 81% in 2008 -

Foreclosure Filings Up 81% in 2008 - "WASHINGTON -- More than 2.3 million American homeowners faced foreclosure proceedings last year, an 81% increase from 2007, with the worst yet to come as consumers grapple with layoffs, shrinking investment portfolios and falling home prices. Nationwide, more than 860,000 properties were actually repossessed by lenders, more than double the 2007 level, according to RealtyTrac, a foreclosure listing firm based in Irvine, Calif., which compiled the figures. Moody's, a research firm, predicts the number of homes lost to foreclosure is likely to rise by another 18% this year before tapering off slightly through 2011. Still, foreclosures -- which keep breaking records going back 30 years, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association -- are likely to remain well above normal levels for years to come, and that will continue to keep home prices from rebounding."
I listen to talk radio when I am writing, and I hear people on investment shows and various ads (sometimes indistinguishable from each other) saying that now is the time to buy real estate. That seems to be the default position, no matter what the market conditions. I am not an economist, but despite the low prices I think buying real estate now is still a risky proposition. It may be a long time before prices go up again, and holding property for investment purposes costs money.

In court, Countrywide calls its ads ‘puffery’ - Mortgage Mess-

In court, Countrywide calls its ads ‘puffery’ - Mortgage Mess- "In marketing, advertising and testimony before Congress, Countrywide Home Loans has said repeatedly that it is working hard to modify the mortgages of financially strapped borrowers caught up in the subprime meltdown. But in a New Hampshire court, attorneys for the lending giant are singing a different tune, describing such assurances as “mere commercial puffery.”

Saying the modification offers are “only Countrywide’s vague advertisements,” attorneys for the lender are asking the court to throw out a lawsuit alleging breach of good faith, fraud, negligence and misrepresentation, which was filed on behalf of a family that was refused a loan modification by the California-based company."

Read this and tell me if it doesn't tick you off just a little bit.

Community Profile: Oak Brook IL Real Estate --

Community Profile: Oak Brook IL Real Estate -- "Although Oak Brook residents live in a collection of disconnected subdivisions, that suits professionals who appreciate the privacy they afford.

'Professionals, including lots of physicians, who work downtown or in other suburbs,' describes buyers of Oak Brook houses, says Bob Briant of Re/Max Elite in Hinsdale. 'They can get on a highway in any direction and get to work quickly.'

Buyers typically request one subdivision, Briant reports. 'They want one of the gated ones, the one with a pool and tennis courts or the one with the biggest lots,' he says. 'Each has different characteristics.'"

I love the way the American press can talk and talk about a place without ever mentioning that most of these subdivisions have homeowners' associations.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Homeowner’s Association President indicted on charges of sexual abuse of a child | LOCAL NEWS | | News for Louisville, Kentucky

Homeowner’s Association President indicted on charges of sexual abuse of a child | LOCAL NEWS | | News for Louisville, Kentucky: "John Sheesley is the President of his neighborhood’s Homeowners Association, an organization that is supposed to notify residents about sex offenders in the community."
Sounds like he may have failed to mention one offender to the police.
Thanks to Fred Pilot for the link.

Ricardo Montalban passes away: "Ricardo Montalban, the Mexican-born actor who became a star in splashy MGM musicals and later as the wish-fulfilling Mr. Roarke in TV's 'Fantasy Island,' died Wednesday morning at his home, his family said. He was 88."
Not only Patrick McGoohan, but Ricardo Montalban as well. Montalban was another terrific actor and by all accounts a true gentleman...except when he was tormenting James T. Kirk, as Khan. | Polling places inside gates not an automatic problem | Polling places inside gates not an automatic problem, says opponent of bill to prohibit them: "Here in southern Beaufort County, we've been voting inside our gated communities for many years now. We can't recall any problems associated with that. Most people who vote at these locations live in the communities. Election officials don't seem to go out of their way to locate polling places behind private gates if a location outside the gates would work as well...One of the bill's sponsors says that when polling places are in gated communities, there's a chance voters who live outside the gates might not be able to get in to vote."
That's Hilton Head, SC, which is basically wall to wall (pun intended) gated communities. How would a fellow who lives inside a gated community even be aware that voters were trying to get inside to vote, but being turned away? Flags, ambulances, ice cream trucks, process servers, realtors, and apparently voters have been excluded from these places. And if you look at the story below, all that security doesn't always prevent bad things from happening.

MyFox Washington DC | Double Murder in Upper Marlboro

MyFox Washington DC | Double Murder in Upper Marlboro: "The Oak Creek community is a quiet, gated community with a guard stationed at the entrance gate.

Police will not say if it was a random crime or if the couple was targeted, nor is it clear if anything was taken from the home."

This is not just quiet. These are McMansions in Prince George's County.

Barack Obama: it is no longer essential to kill Osama bin Laden - Times Online

Barack Obama: it is no longer essential to kill Osama bin Laden - Times Online: "As recently as October 7, in a presidential debate, Mr Obama said: 'We will kill bin Laden. We will crush al-Qaeda. That has to be our biggest national security priority.'

Yesterday, the President-elect adopted far less aggressive language, saying his 'No 1 priority' was to protect America from further attack.

'I think that we have to so weaken [bin Laden's] infrastructure that, whether he is technically alive or not, he is so pinned down that he cannot function,' he said. 'And I'm confident that we can keep them on the run and ensure that they cannot train terrorists to attack our homeland.'"

"Technically alive"? Isn't it interesting how quickly campaign rhetoric becomes inoperative?

Calif fire officials mull over stay-defend policy -

Calif fire officials mull over stay-defend policy - "Modeled after a concept in Australia, where homeowners in rural areas fight fires on their own, the program would teach people how to make their homes more fire-safe and how to save their property if firefighters are unable to respond."
I call this the ultimate in privatization.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

City of Madison, Wis. Eyes Draconian Zoning Ordinances to 'Adapt to Climate Change'

City of Madison, Wis. Eyes Draconian Zoning Ordinances to 'Adapt to Climate Change': "Call this a case of liberalism via central planning gone wild. In one of the most politically left-of-center cities east of Berkeley, Calif., ideas put forth at city hall in Madison, Wis. would dramatically limit free enterprise and personal liberty, all in the name of environmental sustainability."
Among other things, if you cut down one tree on your property, you have to plant two.

Feces-throwing monkey on the loose in Tampa Bay

Feces-throwing monkey on the loose in Tampa Bay: "Wildlife officials said a rhesus monkey known to throw feces when mad is on the loose in Tampa Bay. Authorities have been trying to capture the primate since Tuesday afternoon, but it managed to evade a bucket truck and tranquilizer dart."
Probably just Al Franken celebrating his election to the US Senate.

U.S. military report warns 'sudden collapse' of Mexico is possible - El Paso Times

U.S. military report warns 'sudden collapse' of Mexico is possible - El Paso Times: "EL PASO - Mexico is one of two countries that 'bear consideration for a rapid and sudden collapse,' according to a report by the U.S. Joint Forces Command on worldwide security threats.

The command's 'Joint Operating Environment (JOE 2008)' report, which contains projections of global threats and potential next wars, puts Pakistan on the same level as Mexico. 'In terms of worse-case scenarios for the Joint Force and indeed the world, two large and important states bear consideration for a rapid and sudden collapse: Pakistan and Mexico."

Maybe they should hit up the TARP program for a bailout.
Seriously, political correctness keeps the American press from saying much about how bad things are in Mexico. There are few places in the world where drug gangs deliver baskets of heads as warnings to the government not to get too frisky. The border area is chaotic, the Mexican military and federal police have always been corrupt and are now heavily infiltrated by the drug gangs, and the Mexican judiciary, prosecutors, and local governments are running scared with good reason. - Solicitor General Pick Has One Glaring Gap on Resume - Solicitor General Pick Has One Glaring Gap on Resume: "If confirmed, Elena Kagan will soon walk into this club as solicitor general, without a single Supreme Court oral argument to point to in her past -- or, it appears, any other appellate experience. President-elect Barack Obama said last week he would nominate the Harvard Law School president to the position."
The Solicitor General is the #3 official in the Dept. of Justice and represents the US government before the United States Supreme Court. And Elena Kagan has no appellate experience, it seems. Interesting choice. | News | Blagojevich ally Emil Jones urges caution on impeachment | News | Blagojevich ally Emil Jones urges caution on impeachment: "Senate President Emil Jones, who has stood with Blagojevich throughout his battles with the General Assembly, ends a 36-year career in state government when he retires Tuesday.

On Monday, Jones urged his colleagues to be cautious when they take up the issue of Blagojevich's impeachment Jan. 26.

'Maybe all the evidence may point in one direction, but it may be the wrong person,' Jones said. 'We don't have all the facts.''"

Here's one thing we know for certain. Emil Jones is a clown who has been the key enabler of the worst governor in the nation for six years. Without Jones, Blagojevich wouldn't have been able to tie the state government in knots. It will take a long time to undo the harm this unholy duo have caused.

Just leave, OK? Shut up and leave.

Pajamas Media » Ex-Cop Arrested in Oscar Grant Shooting

Pajamas Media » BART Cop Arrested in Oscar Grant Shooting: "In one of the videos, Mehserle can be seen rising from his knees over Grant, drawing his weapon and firing downward. The bullet struck Grant in the back and passed through his body, then ricocheted upward and lodged in his lung. Grant was taken to a local hospital but died from his wounds."
I watched a video of the incident and I don't see how this can have been a justified shooting.

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Prisoner star McGoohan dies at 80: "Emmy-winning actor Patrick McGoohan, best known for starring in cult 1960s TV show The Prisoner, has died at the age of 80."
One of my all-time favorite actors. The Prisoner was good, but Secret Agent was great. If he had taken the role of James Bond, he would have been better than Sean Connery. And his performances in Braveheart and a host of other films were top-notch.

The fix for HOAs won't come from government - Tuesday, January 13, 2009 - The Goldwater Institute

The fix for HOAs won't come from government - Tuesday, January 13, 2009 - The Goldwater Institute: "Government policies have caused developers to oversupply HOAs to meet artificial demand for HOA communities. When HOAs are created to satiate government bureaucrats, rather than homeowners, it shouldn't be surprising that many HOA communities are neither well-crafted nor homeowner-friendly. But, the solution to the HOA problem is not more government intervention. It is less. The first step is for government to stop mandating and subsidizing the creation of HOAs."
From Nick Dranias. Thanks to Fred Fischer for the link.

California nightmares « For What It’s Worth

California nightmares « For What It’s Worth: "Under a California law enabling people to sue for violations of the disabilities act, here’s a wheelchair-bound cripple who makes “in the low six figures” by suing companies for, say, having an outside towel dispenser too high off the ground. Each suit is for a few thousand dollars - to small to make it worthwhile defending against, to expensive to pay and stay in business."
The author of the blog post says this is a perfect example of why California is going down the drain. I found the link on Instapundit.

Father and son try to cut to front of line, go to jail | | The Star Press

Father and son try to cut to front of line, go to jail | | The Star Press
This is one of those stories that just warms the heart. The mug shots tell the whole story.

Don't throw away leftovers, warn "food police" - Telegraph: "Householders are to be visited by officials offering advice on cooking with leftovers, in a Government initiative to reduce the amount of food that gets thrown away.

Home cooks will also be told what size portions to prepare, taught to understand 'best before' dates and urged to make more use of their freezers.

The door-to-door campaign, which starts tomorrow, will be funded by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), a Government agency charged with reducing household waste."

Shu Bartholomew sent this along. The British seem to have lost the notion of limited government somewhere along the line as they make the UK into a literal "nanny state." Can't have a gun, can't hurt a burglar, can't even cook your own food without some bureaucrat telling you to make better use of your leftovers. The amazing thing is not that government officials are running amok and wiping out the entire concept of privacy. It is that the public doesn't put a stop to it. I guess that's why they call them "subjects" instead of "citizens."

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Extreme Mortman » A Coup D’état For Crudités - Just When You Thought it Was Safe to Take Politics Seriously Again

Extreme Mortman: Obama Dines With Conservative Opinion Leaders.
: "
It’s true.

He motorcaded to a house in Maryland this evening, and if the press pool report is accurate, he is breaking bread with William Kristol and David Brooks. (If Brooks and Kristol seem to be unusually briefed about Obama’s thinking, you’ll know why.)

CBS News’s Dan Raviv tells the pool that the house, on Grafton Street in Chevy Chase, belongs to George Will. (Unless he’s moved.)"

This is impressive. He is also meeting with the House Republicans, who he could completely ignore if he wanted to. Maybe he meant it when he said he wanted to be everybody's President...

Chicago Boyz » Blog Archive » Why California is No Longer a Paradise

Chicago Boyz » Blog Archive » Why California is No Longer a Paradise: "California has followed the grim path of the Great Lakes states. As I wrote before, those states where once the industrial dynamo for the entire Earth, yet they destroyed that enormous economic dominance by political policies hostile to economic creativity. Likewise, California had a golden era as an economic and cultural dynamo. Well up until the late 1980s California was the place to go to make it big. People moved from other states to California. Now, internal migration has reversed. California looks less like a dreamland and more like basket case waiting to happen."
Interesting post, and it makes a lot of sense, but I think it is oversimplified, both with regards to the upper midwest and California. Chicago is a booming city, Detroit is a dump. There are other things going on besides politics. Worldwide State pension funds lose $865 billion: "Jan. 13 (Bloomberg) -- State governments from Rhode Island to California have run up estimated pension-fund losses of $865.1 billion, forcing some to cut benefits for new hires.

Assets for 109 state funds declined 37 percent to $1.46 trillion over the 14 months ended Dec. 16, according to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index of stocks fell 41 percent in the period."

This is grim--the baby boom retirements are just starting.

McClatchy Washington Bureau | 01/13/2009 | The other dark meat: Raccoon is making it to the table: "In five minutes, Montrose, Mo., trapper Larry Brownsberger is sold out in the lot at 39th Street and Kensington Avenue. Word has gotten around about how clean his frozen raccoon carcasses are. How nicely they’re tucked up in their brown butcher paper. How they almost look like a trussed turkey … or something."
Time to write a "Depression 2009 Cookbook," with a whole chapter on raccoon. Maybe one on pigeons, another on squirrel, and of course nothing satisfies like edible roots and shrubs from the back yard.

Let homeowners control HOAs

Let homeowners control HOAs: "Across Arizona, there are over 100 developments in financial trouble. Most have homeowner associations that remain under the control of a failed developer or lender. Because of this, hundreds of homeowners live among vacant lots filled with debris and weeds, little or no maintenance for common areas and decreased property values because of the blight. These homeowners want to clean up their neighborhoods but often can't because the developer or bank maintains control of the homeowner association, the common area and the HOA treasury.

Legislation that would allow homeowners to take control of their neighborhood and HOA would be smart and practical for these situations. This is a matter of protecting property rights and home values.

Let's allow those who bought and are living in these new neighborhoods with completion delays make the decisions for the HOA instead of a bank or financially distraught developer"

So says Sam Wercinski, Arizona's Real Estate Commissioners.

Obama, Blago flip sides of Bizarro plotline :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Carol Marin

Obama, Blago flip sides of Bizarro plotline :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Carol Marin: "As ferociously as we march like villagers with torches against Blagojevich, we have been, in the true spirit of the Bizarro universe, the polar opposite with the president-elect. Deferential, eager to please, prepared to keep a careful distance.

The Obama news conferences tell that story, making one yearn for the return of the always-irritating Sam Donaldson to awaken the slumbering press to the notion that decorum isn't all it's cracked up to be.

The press corps, most of us, don't even bother raising our hands any more to ask questions because Obama always has before him a list of correspondents who've been advised they will be called upon that day."

It has been obvious for a long time that the press corps loves Obama. Now he has succeeded in turning them into little lap dogs, according to Carol Marin, who is no critic of Obama herself.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Next Catastrophe: Think Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were a politicized financial disaster? Just wait until pension funds implode. - Reason Magazine

The Next Catastrophe: Think Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were a politicized financial disaster? Just wait until pension funds implode. - Reason Magazine: "State, local, and private pension plans covering millions of government employees and union workers with “defined benefit” accounts are teetering on the brink of implosion, victims of both a sinking stock market and investment strategies influenced by political considerations.

From January to October 2008, defined benefit funds—those promising a predetermined amount of retirement money to the payee—averaged losses of 26 percent, according to Northern Trust Investment Risk and Analytical Services, making it the worst year on record for corporate and public pension funds. The largest public pension fund in the United States, the California Public Employees Retirement Security System (CalPERS), lost a staggering 20 percent of its value in just three months last year. In May 2008, Vallejo, California, became the largest city in the state ever to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy, thanks largely to unmanageable pension obligations. The situation in San Diego looks worryingly similar. And corporations with defined benefit plans are seeking relief in Washington as part of a bailout season that shows no sign of slowing down."

Oh, why worry. Let's just wait until it happens, like we do with everything else.

Dems accept Burris into the Senate - Manu Raju and John Bresnahan -

Dems accept Burris into the Senate - Manu Raju and John Bresnahan - "The Roland Burris saga is over, as Democratic Senate leaders have accepted his credentials, clearing the way for him to be sworn in as the junior senator from Illinois by the end of this week.

The decision ends an embarrassing chapter in Democratic politics and allows the Senate to move on after the Burris spectacle dominated the opening week of the 111th Congress

In a statement issued after a 45-minute meeting between Senate officials and Burris’ lawyers, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said Burris is the senator-designate from Illinois now that the secretary of the Senate has approved his latest credentials."

If you look at this situation from start to finish, from when Blagojevich started thinking about filling Obama's seat to the imminent seating of Burris, it is hard to retain any faith in the competence or integrity of our politicians, and particularly the Democrats who are now in charge of the country. It is as though nobody has any concept that their office is a public trust with limited power and a specific governmental purpose. Instead, everybody acts like the office belongs to them, they can do whatever their party will let them get away with, and to hell with any limits. I think the situation would be improved if Illinois voters had the recall power, and I wouldn't mind seeing that at the national level, either. Maybe it is time to amend the Constitution.

Flu shot mismatched on B virus, early data suggests

Flu shot mismatched on B virus, early data suggests: "It appears there may be a partial flu shot mismatch again this year, with early data from Canada, the United States and Britain suggesting the vaccine component meant to protect against influenza B is not a match for the flu B viruses causing the most disease.

Predicting which family of influenza B viruses will dominate in a coming year — and therefore should be covered by the flu shot — is a challenge that has defied the experts in five of the last seven flu seasons, at least so far as disease patterns in North America are concerned."

On top of everything else, this. And Al Franken is a Senator.

Plan for Christian community clears hurdle - Fall River, MA - The Herald News

Plan for Christian community clears hurdle - Fall River, MA - The Herald News: "Freetown — Proponents of a proposed 100-acre Christian community off East Chipaway Road in East Freetown moved one step closer toward becoming a reality last week.
Attorney Frank MacLean, engineer John Robinson, and the Rev Jose Moniz, pastor of the Calvary Pentecostal Church of New Bedford, met with the Planning Board on Wednesday to discuss bylaw proposals that would make such proposed communities even possible in town."

I guess if the Massachusetts Bay Colony was OK, you can't say no to a Christian gated community, can you?

The Volokh Conspiracy - -

The Volokh Conspiracy - first Second Amendment case post-Heller?-
Meet US v. Arzberger.

Economic downturn pounds commercial real estate market -

Economic downturn pounds commercial real estate market - "Contractors, investors and developers are bracing for what could be the worst real estate crunch since the early 1990s, when the industry built a small city's worth of speculative office buildings that later went begging for tenants. Commercial property sales plunged 73% last year, according to Real Capital Analytics. Vacancy rates are rising, and hundreds of large properties are in default. The American Institute of Architects' billing index, a leading indicator of construction six months ahead, is at a record low. Unemployment in the construction industry is 15.3%, well above the average 7.2% jobless rate."
This is a second wave, coming after the housing market collapse. The article says we will have more business bankruptcies, more unemployment, and a drain on any recovery of economic growth.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

It's a dog fight! Obamas narrow down pup pick to Labradoodle and Portuguese water hound
If Barack Obama chooses the labradoodle, I may have to revise my opinion of him. That would be a sign of potential greatness. That's Tucker, our labradoodle, playing in the snow with my son Hunter. Great dog.

Bush Says He Refused to Bail Out Republicans With Iraq Withdrawal - Transition Tracker: "President Bush exudes serenity as he prepares to leave office, content that the war in Iraq is nearly won and he had the fortitude to buck his party despite incredible pressure to withdraw."
How nice that Bush feels wonderful about himself. Now, if he could just get out of town.

Earth on the Brink of an Ice Age - Pravda.Ru

Earth on the Brink of an Ice Age - Pravda.Ru: "The earth is now on the brink of entering another Ice Age, according to a large and compelling body of evidence from within the field of climate science. Many sources of data which provide our knowledge base of long-term climate change indicate that the warm, twelve thousand year-long Holocene period will rather soon be coming to an end, and then the earth will return to Ice Age conditions for the next 100,000 years."
This is in Pravda, and that means "truth" in Russian, so I guess it must be true.

Why does Obama think he is Abraham Lincoln?: "On Inauguration Day, not only will President-elect Obama be sworn in using the Bible that was used to swear in President Abraham Lincoln, he will dine like Lincoln as well.

The luncheon that will be served in Congress's Statuary Hall to the president-elect and vice president-elect and their families -- as well as congressional leaders, justices of the Supreme Court and pending members of the Obama Cabinet -- will be modeled after foods that Lincoln ate and enjoyed.

The first course will even be served on replicas of the china picked out by then-first lady Mary Todd Lincoln at the beginning of her husband's term in office."

I notice Obama left out the oysters and substituted scallops, shrimp, and lobster. That doesn't cut it. You can add in as many kinds of "seafood" as you like, but the bottom line is, if you want to be Lincoln II, you have to eat the oysters with gusto.

I happen to love oysters, but I don't think I'm Abraham Lincoln and I don't want to be President.