Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Clark Judge on the State of the Union

Clark Judge's Monday post at Hugh Hewitt's site hits a home run. Here it is in full:

SOTU: Did I hear that right?
By Clark S. Judge: managing director, White House Writers Group, Inc.; chairman, Pacific Research Institute.

It sounded like such a soft, even conservative speech.

But let me get this straight:

1) banks will be punished (do I understand this right, by a committee headed by Eric Holder?) if their lending is too risky,

2) and they will be required (by the same committee) to give more home loans (meaning, it must be, to people who would otherwise not qualify for the loans, or else the government would not have to be involved) at lower rates (which means rates that do not compensate them as much as the market says they need to be compensated for the risks they are taking, all of which sounds like a new edition of the policies that brought on the financial collapse),

3) which must mean that they will have to pull back on risky lending someplace other than homes,

4) the only place that most banks would be able to pull back on riskier customers would be loans to small and new businesses,

5) but these are the businesses that have created just about all the jobs over the last 20 years and he said early in the speech he wants to encourage them,

6) so maybe their growth capital will come from selling stock to the kinds of people who invest in new and small businesses,

7) but through the Buffet Rule he’s going to double the tax rate on investment income for those people, meaning that, like the banks, they can’t be fully compensated for the risk of backing small and new businesses,

8) so they will not invest more in small and new companies but in big established firms,

9) so more of those small and new firms will have to turn to the government for capital,

10) which luckily he said would up its investing in early stage businesses with “the best” ideas,

11) “the best” ideas meaning, I guess, as with Solyndra, ideas that advance his agenda through companies whose owners support his candidacy),

11) (sic) or maybe it would be companies that agree to invite unionization (since the unions have failed to organize the new and dynamic sectors of the economy, which is why they have been shrinking),

12) but then with the big businesses, he wants to punish American companies if they invest overseas,

13) and he wants to increase exports,

14) but being competitive in the global markets often means having part of your production near your markets, which is why many companies have opened production facilities abroad and many foreign companies (BMW and Honda, for example) have opened their facilities here,

15) so he’ll make these companies less competitive, meaning less able to export anything that might be paired with some other product the company makes abroad in order to attract buyers,

16) and it also means he’ll have the U.S. ignoring many of the international trading rules of which we have been the principal sponsor since the end of WWII, rules that have led to an incredible growth in widely shared wealth all over the planet,

17) which means that, if he follows through, he’ll blow up the post-WWII global economic system,

18) which in the very short run may help the uncompetitive American labor unions but in the not-so-long run would devastate every economy on earth,

19) but it would also mean he would be in a position to decide where big companies could invest, and when, just as he’ll be in control of all new and small businesses, too,

20) meanwhile he is going to tell states and localities what their budget priorities should be,

21) and make them adopt his policies for running their schools, leaving me to wonder, when he’s through, what won’t he control?

I believe that’s what I heard the president advocate last night. But one term I didn’t hear, maybe I missed it: “The Constitution.” Then again, wasn’t he suggesting that, in brave times like these, we need to put aside those old rules. Do I have this straight?

Yes, I think he does.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

1000 Days

I saw this at Power Line:

Rep. Jim Jordan, chairman of the House Republican Study Committee, notes that the last time the Senate passed a budget, “you had never heard of the iPad, Tiger Woods was only known for his golfing abilities, General Motors had never declared bankruptcy, you had never heard of Swine flu. And the national debt was $4 trillion smaller than it is today.

Here's his point in a quick visual:

The Congressional Budget Act of 1974 requires the President to submit the annual budget to Congress each year by February 1st (see p. 6-7), and it requires Congress to pass a budget before the new fiscal year begins on October 1st. Every year. It's required. By law.

The Democrats in the Senate have been defying federal law for 1000 days now, and the press isn't doing a thing to hold them accountable. It's discouraging seeing what's happening to our country. I don't really want to watch...

Back Again

One weekend when I was 20, my husband and I were working on the bicycles. I reached over my bike, grabbed the frame, and lifted it to turn it upside down. My lumbar region felt as though it had been blasted by lightning, and I spent the rest of the day flat on my stomach in bed.

That was the moment my back troubles began.

I can go years without having any back pain, and then one day I'll twist or bend funny and WHAM! My back screams at me again.

A couple weeks ago I walked into the bathroom at night to brush my teeth and felt a little twinge in the back of my waist. No big deal. But later that night I felt a few more twinges, so I decided it wasn't a bad idea to get the chiropractic gel-pack out of the freezer and lean against it while I sat in my spot on the loveseat and watched some streaming TV shows on Netflix. Just in case, really.

By morning, though, my back was in full-Psycho mode, and for the first time in the two and a half years at my job, I took a sick day. I spent the day alternating between icing my back and giving the gel-pack a chance to re-freeze. By the next morning, my back had improved to a steady band of lightning across my waist, so I headed off to work with my gel-pack and walked around the office like an old lady.

It's been a slow recovery, but every day has been an improvement over the previous one. Sunday I wore heels to church without any ill effects. (Yay! I hate flats! I feel frumpy when I wear them.) So this week it's heels again at work. Life is good.

But I have a new BFF (sorry, girlfriends!). It's my gel-pack. She and I still hang out together a few times a day. I don't have the courage yet to end that relationship.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

An Inauspicious Beginning

This morning when I left for church, I put the key in the deadbolt on the outside of the door, locked the knob on the security screen door, pulled the door shut, and then shut the screen door. With my keys still in the deadbolt. Locked inside the screen door.

And this was not the first time I've done that.

All my keys are on the same key ring, so I couldn't go anywhere in my car. My roommate had already gone to her church an hour before, so I called her and left a message asking her to call me right away to let me know when she'd be home. But since I hadn't reached her, I called my daughter.

She was home and was happy to hang out with me. I sat outside reading my Nook until she arrived, and then we headed for the movie theater. On our way there, I got a call from my roommate, who hadn't listened to my message. She was worried, because she got home from church and found my keys in the door. I assured her I was fine.

My daughter and I went to see Mission Impossible VIII or whatever number they're on now. It was good (much better than Sherlock Holmes II), except I couldn't quite handle the window scene in Dubai.

After the movie, we went out for lunch and then stopped at home to pick up my keys so I could take them to Home Depot to get duplicates made of the two house keys (screen door, front door). Now that I've locked myself out twice, it's no longer a fluke but a pattern. And patterns must be addressed.

When I was finished getting the extra keys made and tested in the doors, I dropped them in a zippered spot in my purse. If I ever lock my keys in the door like that again, I'll be able to get them unlocked, since I never go anywhere without my purse. Problem solved!

But it's not the best start to the new year, because not only was my first real action of the year such a boneheaded one, I also missed church entirely. It's a good thing I don't believe in omens, or I'd be facing an absent-minded, heathen year. Instead, I see it as a sign that things will only get better.

Have a very happy 2012!