Friday, April 18, 2014

Looking for a Republican Presidential Candidate for 16

Unless we want four more years of Hillary, the Republicans need to win the presidency in two years.  To get the country moving again, the economy growing again, people back to work again, we need to pass some legislation that Democrat presidents would never sign.  We need to repeal most, perhaps all of Obamacare.  We need to build the Keystone XL pipeline.  We need to explore for oil and gas offshore and on federal land.  We need to curb the EPA.  We need to stop wasting money on pork and crony capitalism, the Highway bills, the farm bills, the green energy boondoggles.  We need to start rolling back endless job killing regulations.  We need to fire the endless federal SWAT teams. 
   To do any of this Republicans need to win the presidency.  Hillary would veto ever one of this projects.  To win, Republicans need a candidate.  So far, the guys who make the evening news don't look very electable.
   Start with Rand Paul.  Nice guy, would enjoy having him over for drinks.  But, he is an isolationist.  Believes that American should withdraw to the continental US,  and  incur no expense, bear no burdens, and let the rest of the world take care of itself.  Nice ideas, but the last time isolationism gave us WWII.  If the US had joined the League of Nations, and exerted itself, Hitler could have been stopped, anytime up to 1938.  We could have laid down the law to the Germans, even removed Hitler from office.  The French and the British would have backed us up.  But we didn't, and Hitler went on to set the entire world on fire.  Look what Putin is doing to Ukraine right today.  We ought to stop him.  Rand Paul won't.
   And, Rand Paul probably shares his father's fetish for a gold standard currency.  I heard the elder Paul, ight up here in the Littleton Opera House, explaining how he would go back to a gold back currency.  And throw the economy into a worse tailspin than it is now.  To be fair, I haven't heard the younger Paul making goldbug talk, but I haven't heard him reject it either. 
   Chris Christy took a solid hit over the George Washington bridge lane closings.  Too bad, but that's American politics, a blood sport.  He's gotta do a whole bunch of recovery to be in the running.
   Ted Cruz might be a possibility.  He has a pretty good record.  But I don't know enough about him and I suspect a lot of people outside of Texas feel the same way.  He has two years to make himself better known.
   Condi Rice anyone?  I like her, but I suspect she will not run.
   Jeb Bush?  Nice guy, good family, but his father and his brother have held the presidency and giving it to a third member of the same family seems awfully like a hereditary monarchy. 
   We need someone....


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Federal HIghway Trust Fund going dry

This comes from Neil Cavuto on Fox.  He had a couple of guests, one who called to close it down for good and one who called for pumping it up with more of my tax money. 
   Me, I think we ought to shut it down, cancel the federal gasoline tax that goes into the fund, and let the states take care of roads and bridges.  The states do most of this already.  The Federal Highway Trust Fund was started up under the Eisenhower administration.  It earmarked all the federal gasoline tax money to building the interstate highway system.  Well, the interstates are all built, have been for 30 years.  So Congress critters dole out trust fund money to their districts whether it's needed or not.  Congress critters love that part. And, surprise, the districts always find a way to spend it, all of it.  When good old Tip O'Neill retired, his numerous friends in Congress decided do something nice for good old Tip.  They funded the Big Dig in Boston, a $14 billion dollar tunnel under the center of town.  The Big Dig was still being dug years after good old Tip died.  It didn't do much to improve Boston traffic, but it did open up a lot of prime real estate in the center of town.  Contractors all over Massachusetts loved the Big Dig. 
   The states have the resources to keep the country's roads and bridges in repair.  Thrifty New Hampshire, with out either a state income tax or a state sales tax, keeps it's roads in better shape  than bigger richer New York does.  And, when the state government has to raise the money for road work, it tends to stick to necessary work and skip the frills.  You can save a lot of money that way.  And, state funded projects don't have to pay the inflated Davis-Bacon wage rates that federal projects do. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Old Winter Driving Trick

Broom the snow off your car in the morning.  Shining on bare car metal and glass, the sun will make the whole car warm to the touch, even when it's below freezing.  The warmth will melt all the frost off the windows, make the car interior warm and cozy, and make the motor warm and happy to start.  Much easier than chipping ice off the wind shield.  If your battery is getting old and weak or your motor needs new plugs, the extra warm might just be the difference between getting started, and calling for a jump start.

Captain America, Winter Soldier

So I saw it at the Jax last night.  It's a Marvel comic book movie.  If you liked your Marvel comic books you will like this one.  There are a few plot holes, but not too bad.  It's right in tune with the times.  Everything, Shield, the World Security Council, the DC cops, you name it, is secretly infiltrated by bad guys, (Hydra?) and turns on Nick Fury  and Steve Rogers.  Shades of NSA, CIA, and BLM.
   Technically superb.  Lighting and color first rate.  No under lit dark interior shots. Non of that irritating fade-to-black-and-white post processing.  Good camera work, they use tripods, they skip the "shake-the-camera" shots.  Decent sound man, I could hear and understand all the dialogue.  Special effects utterly convincing.  Even Shield's vast flying aircraft carriers look real.  The textures of the huge machines is right, like painted metal, flat paint, no gloss, a touch of weathering.    The carrier's huge lift engines really look powerful enough to boost the massive thing into the air. 
   Incredible amount of hand to hand fighting.  Gymnastics, back flips, leaps up and over things.  Any of these fights would have taken gold at Olympic gymnastic competition.  Capt America's shield gets a fine workout.  Mixed martial arts, or is that mixed movie martial?  It goes fast and furious right up to the last reel.  The girl friend, Natasha, is as fast and deadly a fighter as Capt America.  Car chases and car crashes better than I have seen before.  The scene where the DC cops, driving Ford  Crown Vic's, try to take Nick Fury, driving a black Chevy Suburban, in DC traffic, is good, lotta seriously bent Fords. Every car chase involves fender-to-fender contact, and visibly mangled body and fender work.  And lots of bullet holes. If this is CGI work, it's very well done.
  A few goofs.  Nick Fury, reminiscing about his childhood, mentions his old man's "22 Magnum".  Not cool.  Back then, .22 anything was a kid's gun.  Everyone carried at least a .32.  Cops and serious guys carried .38 Special or .45. 
    Actors were run of the mill, except for Robert Redford, who played a treacherous senior bureaucrat.  Chris Evans and Scarlett Johanssen are competent leads playing comic book hero and heroine parts.  They both have the looks and the figures the parts call for.  Scarlett flaunted real cool shoulder length red hair, I still wonder if it was her own, or a wig.  Although they are together for most of the scenes, they don't real seem to be girlfriend and boyfriend. Scarlett (Natasha) gives off some vibs that she likes Steve Rogers, Steve doesn't seem all that interested.
   Anyhow, a fun flick, worth the price of admission.  Fine for older (say age six and up) children.  No bad language, no nudity, lots of slam bang violence, little to no blood, the good guys win in the end.      

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

It's Snowing, Again

On the 15th of April, it's snowing.  What ever happened to that worthless groundhog? 

Update, next morning.  We got four inches, I just measured it.  It's 20 F.  I see flocks of unhappy birds looking for food, shelter, warm, anything.  

Who's in charge here?

This morning the TV news announced that the IRS would be publishing new rules for non profit organizations, such as Tea Parties. 
   Where does a bunch of pure democratic civil servants get the right to set that kind of policy?  By rights, Congress should pass a law.  In real life, Congress is so split, and so partisan that it is incapable of passing anything.
   Especially on something like this.  First Amendment freedom of speech and press, means organizations can say and publish anything they like.  IRS  and FEC want to change that rule, into "You cannot say anything political, any time.  This led to the famous Heller decision, the Supreme court ruled that corporations and labor unions could politick as much as they like. 
  Anyhow the IRS wants to make a rule, defining just about everything as political activity and therefore forbidden to nearly every organization in the country.  We are talking about Tea Parties, Sierra Club, Boy Scouts, Red Cross, NRA, NMRA, Elks, Chamber of Commerce,  Shriners, Republican Party, Democratic Party, Consumers Union, Campfire Girls, Masons, VFW, churches, AMA, ABA, SAE, Salvation Army, USO and on and on.
   These "non governmental organizations" do immense amounts of charitable work  They bring Americans together, they set up civic events, and they form the civic glue that holds the country together.  And, they lobby for their political interests.  Wise Congressmen listen to them, laws they support get passed, laws they oppose don't pass.  Much of the work of democracy is guided by these non governmental organizations. 
  And now the IRS is trying to take them all over. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Why we cannot simplify federal income tax

What makes federal income tax such a bear to fill out?  It's all the special interest benefits built in thru out the law.   Mortgage interest deduction, the darling of realtors, home builders, and mortgage banksters.  Special deduction for school teachers who buy their kids pencils.  Capital gains to benefit stock holders.  Medical expenses deductions, favorite of the ill, and the medical industry.  A 12% tax break for manufacturing inside the United States.  And the liberal's favorite ploy, the variable tax loophole,  the wealthy have to pay more.  For instance social security benefits used to be non taxable.  Then some slippery democrats  added stuff making them taxable to the wealthy.  The incomprehensible Earned Income Tax Credit.  And on and on and on.
  And we are doomed.  Each special interest will fight to the death to keep their special tax benefit.  Us ordinary tax payers have to wade thru the special little worksheets, the gobble-de-gook instructions, and the never ending new tax forms.  We never get up on our hind feet and demand "Drop all this malarkey, give me one straight percentage to pay and be done with it".
 We should not have to purchase $80 software packages to do our taxes.   It didn't used to be this bad.  I can remember a time BC (before computers) when I did my own taxes with a ball point pen.  I couldn't do that now.
  Those special interests ought to to be hunted down and tarred and feathered.