December 31, 2008

2008 - Those Were the Days

2008 Quick Hits

-The year journalism died.
-The year the Clintons finally went a... - no wait, not done with them yet.
-The first African-American is elected President, that's cool.
-He's a socialist; oh, not so cool.
-He replaces a conservative turned socialist.

-Gas hits record highs, then tanks as the dollar it relies on falls.
-There's still a Castro in Cuba, 50 years later.
-The year a failed Democrat policy and it's danger to the US economy (low-income housing assistance) is exposed, and no one seems to care.

-McCain wins the we-got-nuttin' GOP primary.
-A star is born in Sarah Palin.
...prompting the media to lose it's mind.
-Doesn't matter, Bush is still the GOP poster boy, whole party loses.

-Campean and Ramos are still in prison.
-Democrat operatives investigate a private citizen, Joe the Plummer, because he asked a question the media wouldn't - and the one he questioned flubbed the answer.

Tony Snow
Charleton Heston
Tim Russert
Heath Ledger
George Carlin
Paul Newman
John McKay

Fannie and Freddie
The Big Three

-Michael Phelps
-The not-so-perfect Patriots
-The hapless Detroit Lions
-Flyers return to prominence, then lose to the Pens in the conference finals.
-Dolphins complete a most-incredible turnaround.
-Eagles make playoffs while looking bad doing it.

...and The Phillies end Philly's championship drought.

Whew, that was exhausting...

I hope you have plenty of food and water stored away. No particular reason (wink), just a wish for you and your family.

Have a Happy and Healthy 2009 from page13news.

December 30, 2008

Want Self Control? Find God

Not sure if I am surprised more that two psychologists, publishing in the Psychological Bulletin, are admitting that a little personal relationship with God may lead to better self control, or the fact that the New York Times is reporting it.

A self-described heathen, 'Science' writer John Tierney struggles with the concept. But since a "doctor" gave it a thumbs up, well he may just give it a whirl.

December 29, 2008

December 28, 2008

Incredible NFL Final Weekend

After the tie with Cincinnati, many thought the Birds were dead. Instead the Eagles have somehow managed to salvage their season and a playoff birth, primarily because the rest of the NFC is mediocre. All the more sweet that it came against those damn Cowboys.

Question is, are Eagles fans going to be happy about it? It may extend Andy Reed's tenure here, but may not save Donovan from leaving. Philly will face Andy Reed's former assistant head coach Brad Childress as the Birds head to north to face the Vikings.

In New York, the Miami Dolphins complete a miraculous turnaround as they beat the rival Jets to win the AFC East. Miami ties a record for best season-to-season improvement, winning 10 more games than the previous year.

In Baltimore, rookie coach John Harbaugh and rookie QB Joe Flacco (Delaware) become the first such combo to make the playoffs.

In Pittsburgh, Ben Rothlisberger gets knocked out of a meaningless game against Cincinnati with a concussion.

And in Green Bay, the Detroit Lions complete the most pathetic season in NFL history going 0-16. The mark was worse than the 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers who went 0-14 in the only other winless NFL season.


I used to hike quite often, well one serious trip a year anyway. Usually it was among the 46 high peaks of the Adirondacks, near Lake Placid in Upstate New York.

It is a great way to give yourself a personal brain-wash. When you spend 3 days only thinking of your next step, and the greasy burger you'll enjoy when you get back to civilization, you're bound to gain a little perspective.


The Discovery Channel had a Survivorman marathon all day yesterday with a running of the 3rd season in this ultimate survivor series. If you haven't seen the show, it's a hiking adventure on steroids. One man, two camera's and seven lonely days in some of the most remote locations on the planet. The goal, find a way to survive with little food, water, or supplies.

The host, cameraman, and editor (also a singer-songwriter) is Canadian Les Stroud, an expert adventurer who puts you in the middle of nightmare scenarios in remote locations and educates you on surviving the wild.

From eating grubs (remove the 'bum' before you do), to building shelters, to starting a fire using grass-eating animal dung, and protecting yourself from lions using thorn bush, Stroud films his every move. There's no backup crew protecting him, one false move could be fatal.

The chances you'll need to utilize any of these skills is minute, but as a hiking enthusiast the tips could come in handy.


Speaking of survival. I've taken a well-deserved break from news scanning and commentary to enjoy the kids for a few days during the holidays. Last night, the family took in Marley and Me - now that's survival.

It's a cheesy chick-flick eerily similar in every way to the experience my wife and I had with our own black Labrador, Harley. I miss that dog, especially during hikes.

December 20, 2008

Lose at ballot box, no problem...

...the (Democrat) government will fix that.

Jerry Brown, former Presidential candidate and current attorney general for California, is asking the supreme court there to invalidate the Prop 8 gay marriage ban voters just passed.

Brown's reasoning,
"the amendment process cannot be used to extinguish fundamental constitutional rights without compelling justification.

(this ban) presents a conflict between the constitutional power of the voters to amend the Constitution, on the one hand, and the Constitution's Declaration of Rights, on the other,"

No Jerry, marriage is a right granted by God and recognized by religious organizations, to legitimize children. Marriage is not a right granted or taken away by state law. There is no 'inalienable' (his word) right to have your marriage recognized.

State law only applies to the tax benefits which may or may not be attached those laws. If voters (a.k.a. tax payers) don't wish those benefits be afforded to non-traditional marriages, they are entitled to put on such restrictions.

By Brown's logic (eh-hem) a California citizen is entitled to marry his/her dog and the laws of the Golden State would have to recognize it.

This issue, as with all gay-marriage initiatives, is simply about getting money; getting the tax-break. It's got nothing to do with equal rights or alternative lifestyles being legitimized.

The people of California have spoken on the issue, but the losers can't accept it.

December 17, 2008

SEC 'Concerned' Over Failure of Oversight

We constantly hear the word oversight, regulation, and czar bandied about as though some magical governmental wizard will somehow cure, prevent, or fix whatever industry maleficence is taking place.

Now with the Madoff case hitting the fan, experts are asking how this scheme wasn't picked up earlier, including the SEC - you know that governement agency responsible for keeping an eye out for these things.

Meanwhile we are discussing an auto-industry czar to enforce government demands tied to the pending bailout.

I'm sure the Car Czar will do a fine job, no really.

December 16, 2008

Talking Ponzie

Ponzie Scheme - a financial gimmick which pays returns on investments through the investments of others, not through any business gains - also known as a pyramid scheme; rob Peter to pay Paul.

Named after Charles Ponzie, an italian immigrant, who in 1920 became notorious in New York for a similar type stunt using postage stamps.

Among Madoff's victims, Frank Lautenburg (D-NJ), Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon (co-owners of the NY Mets), and former Eagles owner Norman Braman.

Clusterstock is keeping a tally.

More well-known Ponzie Schemes

Enron - $70 billion
Worldcom - $11 billion
Madoff - $50 billion and growing

...and the granddaddy of them all
Social Security - $600 billion

Word has it, the Madoff victims (of their own greed) will petition the government for a bailout.

Cartoon courtesy of Mises Economic Blog

It's Official, Merry Christmas!!

Rasmussen Reports - 69% of Americans proudly say Merry Christmas while 19% prefer Happy Holidays; few are offended by the latter.

Would you avoid stores that have a policy forbidding the Christian reference by employees? More than a third would.

December 15, 2008

Hoeffel 'Playing Politics' with The Law

Former US Senate candidate Joe Hoeffel (D-PA), doesn't like that law enforcement is getting what it wants.

The budget for Montgomery County DA Risa Ferman's office requested additional funding for more administrative staff from the county's general fund, with additional confiscated funds (from law enforcement activities) going toward material support to detectives in the field instead of paying for the new administrative positions.

Hoeffel tried to stir the pot by claiming Ferman's office was getting special treatment by not adhering to the Montco's self-imposed hiring freeze. He's referring to a 3-2 vote down party lines which approved the DA's request.

Ferman responded by citing Pennsylvania state law which doesn't allow for the necessary expenses of law enforcement to be jeopardized when it comes to budgeting. She also accused the two Democrats of playing politics with public safety.

Bingo Risa!

HT Alex at PAWaterCooler

December 13, 2008

'Suicide' for GOP - Ignore Technology

From CNN

The Republican party needs to understand the vital role today's technology plays in influencing public opinion and how it opens the door for grassroots activism.

"It would be suicide for the Republican Party and conservatives to not aggressively embrace technology," said Matt Lewis, a writer for the conservative Web site "The world is dramatically changing in the way people get their information and the way they communicate -- the party needs to change with it."

Some of us already get it.

In a related story, page13news is now on Twitter. Now all I gotta do is figure out how it works.

December 11, 2008

Whiteout in New Orleans

...or one last poke in the eye by President Bush to Mayor Ray Nagin's "chocolate city"?

They told us global warming caused mega-hurricanes, so what's the excuse for this?

"We're going to have riots"

Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) on the potential after-effects of a Big Three Auto bailout defeat.

From Carter Clews at ALG

December 10, 2008

International Anti-Corruption Day

...another reason why Jonah Goldberg rocks!

In related news, the FBI and the Chicago Tribune celebrated the UN holiday in Illinois yesterday.

Barack Obama was, of course, cleared of any association. The local media, like good puppets of propaganda, made sure to regurgitate that fact.

But Obama advisor David Axelrod disagrees, and the puppets fail to report.

Is this anyway to celebrate a holiday?

December 8, 2008

Birth Cert - Constitution Update

We, the Almighty and Powerful Supreme Court, sworn to uphold the Constitution, have decided only certain portions of that old, worn out document actually have relevance and are worthy to be discussed.

They have refused to hear the case of Leo Donofrio, which contends that Obama is not a natural born citizen because his father maintained a Kenyan citizenship at the time of his birth. The lawsuit charged the New Jersey Secretary of State should not have allowed Obama on the ballot because the "natural born" citizenship status had yet to be verified.

There's still Philip Berg's case, which contends that not only has Obama not proven he is a natural born citizen, but that even if he was, that citizenship was renounced when his step-father enrolled him in an Indonesian school. At the time, the school only allowed citizens to attend.

Stay tuned.

December 7, 2008

NFL Week 14

Eagles continue to run the ball after the scripted plays were finished and surprise, they win. Donovan McNabb, 19-30 for 191 yards, was efficient and mistake free verses one of the NFL's best defenses.

Perhaps the Burress flack is a little more than just a personal judgement issue for the Giants after all.

In Pittsburgh, the Steelers beat the Cowboys 20-13. There's something classic about this matchup, whenever it's played. The Steeler won in dramatic fashion with an interception return for a touchdown with under 2 minutes remaining.

The Pittsburgh win means the Eagles are firmly in the playoff hunt. If Tampa beats Atlanta, and the Birds pull off a 5 game win streak to end the season (games against Cleveland, Washington, and Dallas remain), they will be the 6th playoff seed in the NFC. Not easy, but possible.

In the AFC, the Dolphins and Patriots win while the Jets lose. That creates a 3-team log jam atop the AFC East. If Miami wins their remaining games against the 49ers, Chiefs, and Jets (in the season finale), they win the AFC East.

In fantasy news, page13 relaxed while enjoying a playoff bye week, earned after becoming the SFL's 2nd seed. page13 is pursuing a third title in the 19 year history of the league.

Republican Win in New Orleans

A little more than 3 years following hurricane Katrina, a Republican wins Louisiana's 2nd congressional district race in the Crescent City. It marks the first time in over 100 years that a Republican will hold the seat.

The incumbent, William Jefferson, was infamous for his actions following the worst natural disaster in US history. Jefferson used government resources to save some cash he had stashed in a freezer, during the storm's aftermath when those services could have been better used helping those hit hardest by the hurricane.

Oh, I forgot to mention, the challenger is the first ever Vietnamese-American in congress, Ahn 'Joseph' Cao. Cao and his family left war-ravaged Saigon in the early 70's when he was a young boy.

This election, as well as the 4th congressional district race in Louisiana, was ironically delayed due to Hurricane Gustov and was held separate from the presidential race in November. Turnout was, according to this article, "abysmally" low (damn you lazy Democrats).

A couple of observations...
-Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-1 in the 2nd district of the Bayou State.
-A REPUBLICAN won in New Orleans!!
-A Vietnamese-American is a Republican!!

The article also states...
Ironically, had Gustav not postponed the voting schedule one month, the general election would have been held the same ballot as last month's presidential election, when high turnout among African-American voters likely would have carried Jefferson to a 10th term.
Are they assuming that African-Americans would vote for any African-American, even if he was indicted of bribery and public corruption? Wouldn't that indicate a certain level of racial bias present in that voting block?

In his victory speech, Cao spoke of his former homeland. He shed light on how a new generation of Vietnamese, who have seen the best and worst of democracy and communism, see the differences between the 2 political systems.
"I'd like to thank my Vietnamese community," he said, "and I'd like to encourage young Vietnamese in this country to work peacefully for a free and democratic Vietnam."
Hmmm, free and democratic. No spread the wealth. No government bailout of banking and other industries. No government stimulates the economy with massive spending on "rebuilding programs". No communism.


December 5, 2008

Senate Hearings - A Joke, Not Funny

I am watching highlights of the Big Three Auto execs being grilled by Congress and can't help but wonder why the Senators aren't sitting in the seats the executives are.

Instead, with grand pomposity oozing from their pores, they question the big, evil, rich white guys on why their industry has failed.

The bailout will go to the industry, that's becoming obvious, the excuses are already being laid out. The fake objections to the auto bailout requests until now have all been for show, to make it seem like the Senators really care about how they spread the wealth.

The only remaining questions revolve around the extent of control the government will have over the domestic automakers. As someone called it, Rush I believe, you are witnessing the "greening" of the auto industry.

Local governments are also lining up at the trough like the scum-eating pigs they are. States, counties, and big cities just can't wait to get their piece of government-controlled pie.

Be sure, a giant dog and pony show will accompany those requests for US dollars, but in the end, the cash will be printed for them as well.

Instead of these fraud committees grilling executives, hearings examining the actions of members of the Senate banking, finance, education, and housing committees should be the focus.

Chris Dodd, Barney Frank, Max Baucus, Ben Bernanke, and King Henry Paulson (heck, let's bring every member of Congress up) should have to answer questions from taxpayers who have had enough.

The questioning would go something like this...

Senators and esteemed government appointees, you have screwed up social security, medicare, medicaid, education, and the housing industry. You've wasted billions of dollars with government excesses and handouts. You've destroyed the free-market society which had a proven track record of success, before your meddling tore it apart.

With your "oversight" you've created an environment where American industries are choked to death by your regulations and comfy ties to the unions who help keep you in your powerful positions, to the point where they are forced to come begging for your assistance; and with it, further oversight, further control.

Just who in the heck do you think you are, Senators??

NY Times Photo

December 3, 2008

Chambliss Win and Specter

Now that the Democrats won't get the 60 vote insta-socialism Senate they wanted, they will have to rely on so-called moderate Republicans to pass their agenda, without the potential of a filibuster looming.

This puts Arlen Specter and other centrists in a pickle.

First, the obvious. Will he stay home with the party he needs to re-elect him in 2 years, or give Pat Toomey (or another potential primary contender) plenty of ammunition?

Second, if Arlen sides with the left, it also increases the chances the Dems will focus on PA in 2010. If he survives the primary, the bitter fight will not just drain him of cash, but may leave Specter with half the party considering to stay home. If he loses, Democrats will make PA their number one target.

December 2, 2008

Economic Team Obama - Good and Downright Ugly

This article by David Weider at Market Watch breaks down team Obama, from what will be the President-elect's primary focus, the economy.

Weider has positive reviews for a few of the choices, like Timothy Geithner at Treasury, as a sign of real change. He defends Obama on the numerous former Clintonites, noting some of those were to be expected. However, it's a few specific appointees which Weider says are legitimate reasons to worry.

Robert Rubin, a former Clinton Treasury hack who worked on removing some of the reforms which came in the wake of the last Depression. Now, a decade later, we approach yet another economic meltdown. After that stunning performance, Rubin moved on to Citibank, and now Citibank needs $45 in bailout money. Coincidence, or a sign things won't be getting better?

Weider gives reason to why Rubin is a bad choice...

Along with Vikram Pandit, Citi's current CEO, Rubin seems to think that the whole system broke, not institutions. "This was something that was bigger than Citi," Pandit said.

Except, of course, that J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. is OK, and so are Wells Fargo Corp., and BB&T Corp., along with other banks that were wise enough not to boost short-term profits through derivatives at the risk of long-term survival.
But it doesn't end there. Add former Time-Warner (yawn) chief Dick Parsons to help get us out of the financial mess. Parsons, by the way, is on Citi's board as well - no, really.

Not sure this change is for the good.