Thursday, August 27, 2015

Another week of retail frustration

Trying to put some final touches on a house rehab project.

It's been another week of running from store to store trying to snag enough parts, components and miscellaneous supplies to get the job done.

A decade ago, I could walk into any big box home improvement store, and seemed to be able to walk out with what I needed. Today, I count on making three or four stops to gather the same kind of market basket.

Retailers are running on ever-thinning inventories. It theoretically keeps their costs down, while maxing out customer frustrations.

I also find that checking online for inventory isn't fool proof. Saw the store near my had an electrical component I wanted, a small copper ground block.  But in the store, it was nowhere to be found. While one part of the website told me several of the items were in the store,  the store's online layout "finder" map wouldn't give a location. Clerk had no better luck locating in it on his gizmo. I settled for a substitute product.

Last night, I went to a particular store because it supposedly had four 3-inch drain stops in stock, or so the online site professed. At the store, there was no bin dedicated to the part, nor did the store's in-house system show it was ever stocked there. Next store, same company, about ten miles up the road, had the item in stock. Yes, I make a point to scout alternative stores before leaving home, just in case the first stop doesn't pan out.

Am I just being nostalgic, or was life really better when I could go into a store, load up a cart (sometimes two or more), and have everything I needed to spend the rest of the week on a job site getting repairs or up-grades done?

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Venezuela didn't take long to go from a touted socialist Utopia to being a failed hell hole

Socialism in full collapse in Venezuela.

Reports of electric outages or toilet paper shortages are old hat.

Now, there's a report newborns are dying in hospital after being exposed to bacteria from opossums that have infested the facility. Inoperable toilets are another, uh, inconvenience.

Wasn't but a couple of years ago that European and American Lefties were still celebrating the progress of Venezuela's socialist revolution.

Digging around earlier today, I found a 2009 article where an apparently left leaning American was gushing with praise for Venezuelan health care.

Socialism can look fine for a time, until the parasite that it is begins to suck enough life out of its host to begin killing it. And yes, corruption can speed the process.

To borrow another phrase, socialism sucks when it runs out of other people's money.

Collapse happened fast in Venezuela.

With the damage done to our economy, our infrastructure, and our social structure under the guise of fundamental transformation over the past six years or so, don't assume an American downfall wouldn't come as hard and fast.


Don and I will give this topic, and few others, some play on the Friday, August 21, Don and Doug program.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Like it never (maybe almost never) happened

A few weeks back, there was a good deal of buzz when the head of the Atlanta NAACP called for the removal of the Confederate memorial from the side of Stone Mountain Park. Around the same time, someone snatched a Confederate flag from a flagpole at the park (The missing flag quickly replaced with another Confederate flag).

In response, a few hundred Confederate flag wavers, and a handful of armed "militia", showed up on a Saturday to demonstrate in favor of the Confederate remembrances.

Now?

*Poof*

Snopes, the website that prides itself as a debunker of urban legends seems of a mind that calls to blast the memorial off the side of the mountain is mostly the stuff of, well, urban legend.
Although subsequent references to an NAACP statement calling for the destruction of the Stone Mountain carving were rife in articles across the web, we were unable to locate an actual copy of the purported statement to review its content or substantiate its existence. 
Other media "fact checkers" latch on. 


Too bad Nikki Haley was in a rush to appease what she perceived as progressive mobs.

Maybe calls to remove the Confederate flag from South Carolina's capital grounds would have vanished in similar fashion. 


And lest you begin to doubt your recollection or sanity, many in mainstream media reported the call to sandblast Stone Mountain. The Los Angeles Times was one of them

Parsing the path to America's Civil War

Some of my Facebook and Twitter friends seem deeply taken in by a Prager U video that contends the Civil War as all about slavery. While slavery was a major issue of the era, and had deeply divided the nation, it probably isn't what directly led to open hostilities.

Just because a guy's in uniform and touts West Point credentials, don't assume he's giving you the facts without spin. History can be complicated.



The historical record shows a northern controlled Congress passed a steep tariff targeting southern states 40 days prior to southern shots being fired at Fort Sumter. The southern states, feeling themselves treated as step-children, grew tired of funding the lion's share of the federal budget, and chose to walk away.

In the Prager video, Col. Ty Seidule, a senior West Point history prof, makes effective use of Southern political quotes to support his slavery-was-the-cause Civil War narrative, but Col. Seidule fails to share comments from northern politicians that might run counter to his position.

As long as the south was paying the bills, Union politicians weren't so eager to kill their cash cow.

Here's some quotes from one noted Northerner:
"I do not now, nor ever did, stand in favor of the unconditional repeal of the Fugitive Slave law... I do not now, or ever did, stand pledged against the admission of any more slave States into the Union... I do not stand to-day pledged to the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia... I do not stand pledged to the prohibition of the slave-trade between the different States." - Abraham Lincoln, 1858, in his second debate with Stephen Douglas.
The American Civil War was well underway before Lincoln moved to rebrand it was an anti-slavery crusade. Interestingly enough, socialists like to brag it was Karl Marx who inspired Lincoln's shift.

One more point of contradiction for the "it was all about" slavery notion: As the Civil War raged on, West Virginia was admitted to the Union as a slave holding state. It happened in 1863, six months after Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation touted the ending of slavery in the break-away states.

West Virginia's state legislature eventually abolished slavery there in 1865, anticipating passage of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

I'm not arguing right or wrong of any of the actions detailed here, merely offering up examples from America's historical record that the path to the American Civil War, and its embrace of emancipation, wasn't clean cut as some make it out to be.

Like I said from the start, history can be complicated; it's the norm rather than the exception.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Ruh-roh. Something's stuck

Either someone tore up Obama's credit cards, or the U.S. Treasury's playing some mighty peculiar games.

CNS News notes the U.S. national debt has ceased its expansion, at least by the official count:
The portion of the federal debt that is subject to a legal limit set by Congress closed Monday, August 10, at $18,112,975,000,000, according to the latest Daily Treasury Statement, which was published at 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday. 
That, according to the Treasury's statements, makes 150 straight days the debt subject to the limit has been frozen at $18,112,975,000,000. 
$18,112,975,000,000 is about $25 million below the current legal debt limit of $18,113,000,080,959.35.

Meanwhile, there's this...

By way of VisualCapitalist.com:



Add the shenanigans China's now playing with currency devaluation, and it's really hard to say how the back half of 2015's are gonna work out, especially if some of these games get away from their handlers. 

Another surge at the border

More illegal immigrants swarming across the border in Texas.

While American MSM looks the other way, the local media has taken notice.

The Brownsville Herald says the surge is being documented in McAllen, Texas:
The immigrant relief center, which Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley opened 14 months ago at Sacred Heart Church downtown, saw nearly three times the average number of immigrants staying overnight over the last 30 days.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

The mess that Megyn made

I won't take the time, and don't have the patience, to parse out the ugly mess that's mushroomed since Megyn Kelly and her Fox News cohortsc chose to go to war against Donald Trump in the so-called debate.

If you need to catch up,  I think the Washington Post, as of noon Saturday, seems to hit most the high points with an article here.

I find it interesting that so-called "conservative" media work as hard or harder to protect an elitist Republican status quo as mainstream media does to protect its beloved Hillary Clinton.

Bottom line, it's probably too late for America to politely vote its way out of the mess that's been made over the past decade or so.

If political parties had the will to fix anything, they'd have started by now.


Friday, August 7, 2015

Trump got it right

For those who cringed when Donald Trump refused to say he'd back whoever the GOP nominee is, I say Trump got it right.

First off, never surrender your strength or clout unnecessarily, make others earn your support.

None of us should let a party take our vote or support for granted.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Obama sounds scared

A New York Times editorial describes Obama's rational for approving his Iran nuke deal like this:
"After the speech, in a meeting with a small group of journalists, Mr. Obama said the possibility of war if the deal fails was a matter of logic.Though Iran may not attack the United States directly, it could threaten American troops in Iraq with Shiite militias there, threaten Israel with rocket attacks by Hezbollah or send a suicide bomber in a small craft against American naval ships in the Strait of Hormuz, he said." 
Seriously?

When did Iran become a superpower that leaves an American president cowering in a corner?

Chamberlain looked like a Churchill compared to our petulant boy-man president.

Peace at any price is a losers game.

Kill the deal, Impeach Obama.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Vilification

Looks to me like the Associated Press wanted to hype "prepping" and "gun stockpile" labels.

It headlines a story out of North Carolina with "Fed charge three men accused of prepping for martial law."

But when you get into the text, you see it was alleged bomb making and a desire to obtain a firearm for someone with a criminal record that resulted in criminal charges.


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

"Flipping of the script"

The FBI will "embed" with Baltimore police.

So says the Baltimore Sun:
Ten federal agents will join the Baltimore police homicide unit, commanders announced Sunday, after the city followed its deadliest month in decades with a night in which 10 people were shot — seven of them in one incident. 
Interim Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said the addition of the special agents from the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Marshals Service and the U.S. Secret Service represent a "flipping of the script of sorts."  
"That's a bit unusual because local police departments — and Baltimore is no different — historically send detectives to federal law enforcement agencies to embed with their long-term investigations," he said. 
Davis says "flipping of the script."

Obama says "fundamental transformation."

Doors may be opening for greater federal control of local police.

Obama's envisioned day of a national civilian security force may be dawning.