~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I O 93 93/93 I O ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Location: LaGrange, Kentucky, United States

The opinions and interests of a husband, analyst and Iraq war veteran.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

UPDATE via Insty: "Every Iraqi soldier I saw this morning wished me a Happy Thanksgiving."

UPDATE: Thanksgiving dinner was a success. Menu items included a turkey and giblet gravy, homemade raspberry sorbet, broccoli casserole, mashed potatoes, spinach and artichoke dip, slow cooked green beans, and ice cream with crock pot spiced apple and bread pudding topping... all from this collection of Weight Watchers recipes. We estimate each plate at about 22 points but tasted more like 102.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Bailouts in perspective

Also from NRO, this time from Mark Hemingway:

The bailout [thus far] has cost more than all of these big budget government expenditures – combined:

- Marshall Plan: Cost: $12.7 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $115.3 billion

- Louisiana Purchase: Cost: $15 million, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $217 billion

- Race to the Moon: Cost: $36.4 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $237 billion

- S&L Crisis: Cost: $153 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $256 billion

- Korean War: Cost: $54 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $454 billion

- The New Deal: Cost: $32 billion (Est), Inflation Adjusted Cost: $500 billion (Est)

- Invasion of Iraq: Cost: $551b, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $597 billion

- Vietnam War: Cost: $111 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $698 billion

- NASA: Cost: $416.7 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $851.2 billion

TOTAL: $3.92 trillion
The only expenditure that comes close is WWII, and even that cost less.
Some staggering numbers, to be sure. But also keep in mind the staggering wealth, the surplus we've enjoyed in recent years as compared to even a generation ago. I'm not worried about the numbers so much as I am worried about Thomas Sowell's assessment about what this "crisis" is really all about:

Amid all the political and media hysteria, national output has declined by less than one-half of one percent. In fact, it may not have declined even that much-- or at all-- when the statistics are revised later, as they very often are.

We are not talking about the Great Depression, when output dropped by one-third and unemployment soared to 25 percent.

What we are talking about is a golden political opportunity for politicians to use the current financial crisis to fundamentally change an economy that has been successful for more than two centuries, so that politicians can henceforth micro-manage all sorts of businesses and play Robin Hood, taking from those who are not likely to vote for them and transferring part of their earnings to those who will vote for them.

And that's what worries me. The raw numbers (while huge) mean nothing or almost nothing, at this point in America's fantastical record of economic success. Weathering the current credit crisis will, IMO, require record-setting expenditures of public dollars simply because we're a fantastically rich nation, and if that's what it takes takes to restore consumer confidence in capitalist America, I'm okay with that. But what will our political leaders take away as the principle lesson from this crisis? That it is better to govern lightly, and give the private sector the freedom to gain or fail, to rise or fall on its own merits? Or that it is better to take away freedoms from the private sector as a safeguard against future crises?

I hope for the former, but fear we're in for another round of the latter. Say hello to the new New Deal.

UPDATE: Case in point - "Obama Chief of Staff Hopes to Exploit the Economic Crisis to Expand the Growth of Government"

Those of us who intend to push back against our would-be government nannies have got to get invigorated now, or else we'll be swept aside by the momentum of Barack's historic win. By nature, I'm not an activist. I don't have an activist's compulsion for public demonstration. But I do intend to observe and point out my observations (both here on the Kadnine blog and in letters to my elected leaders.) It's long been my policy to listen to my elected leaders' words (and the words of their appointees) and take what they say at face value. I don't assume it's some sort of benign code to placate the base. When Obama's Chief of Staff is quoted, "... You never want a serious crisis to go to waste," because it's "an opportunity to do things you could not do before," ... believe him! Why? Here's why.

More Central Planning is always the proposed answer in every crisis. Always. It's human nature. We humans are hard-wired to want to meddle in the affairs of others (and politicians doubly so.) It takes self-awareness, education, and discipline to leave our neighbors alone. It takes instruction from those who came before us to learn that giving in to that base desire to try to run the lives of others is, in fact, a vice. It's a character flaw and not (as too many have convinced themselves,) a virtue. These deluded on both Left and Right believe their only sin is "caring too much." And that's unfortunate.

Also, I'll be watching for an epidemic of mission-creep coming down the legislative pike from the majority Democratic Congress, (aided by many Republicans who just loves them some big federal programs!) Congress critters of all brands use crises to further their pet projects. Remember how we were told draconian new drug enforcement laws were "needed" to win the War on Terror? Yeah. It was fun pushing back then, wasn't it? It worked, too. It can work again.

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It's an honor

... just to have served with the likes of this Marine:

"The biggest thing to take from that day is what Marines can accomplish when they’re given the opportunity to fight," the sniper said. "A small group of Marines met a numerically superior force and embarrassed them in their own backyard. The insurgents told the townspeople [of Shewan, Afghanistan] that they were stronger than the Americans, and that day we showed them they were wrong."


"I didn’t realize how many bad guys there were until we had broken through the enemies’ lines and forced them to retreat. It was roughly 250 insurgents against 30 of us," the corporal said. "It was a good day for the Marine Corps. We killed a lot of bad guys, and none of our guys were seriously injured."

Michael Ledeen at NRO noted the story earlier today and highlights this quote from a reader:

"There are only two kinds of people that understand Marines: the Marines and the enemy. Everyone else has a secondhand opinion."
Gen. William Thornson, US Army

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Best birthday wishes

... to Lee at Digital Nicotine. May he continue his always entertaining blog for many more to come.

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Dick Cavett is still employed

... proving there's always a market for windbags who talk about the talk-stylings of other people who've actually, um... done stuff. Oh! And a shout out to fellow windbag Maureen Dowd is included free of charge:

The Wild Wordsmith of Wasilla

Electronic devices dislike me. There is never a day when something isn’t ailing. Three out of these five implements — answering machine, fax machine, printer, phone and electric can-opener — all dropped dead on me in the past few days.

Now something has gone wrong with all three television sets. They will only get Sarah Palin.


And how much more of all that lies in our future if God points her to those open-a-crack doors she refers to? The ones she resolves to splinter and bulldoze her way through upon glimpsing the opportunities, revealed from on high.

What on earth are our underpaid teachers, laboring in the vineyards of education, supposed to tell students about the following sentence, committed by the serial syntax-killer from Wasilla High and gleaned by my colleague Maureen Dowd for preservation for those who ask, “How was it she talked?”

My concern has been the atrocities there in Darfur and the relevance to me with that issue as we spoke about Africa and some of the countries there that were kind of the people succumbing to the dictators and the corruption of some collapsed governments on the continent, the relevance was Alaska’s investment in Darfur with some of our permanent fund dollars.

And, she concluded, “never, ever did I talk about, well, gee, is it a country or a continent, I just don’t know about this issue.”

It’s admittedly a rare gift to produce a paragraph in which whole clumps of words could be removed without noticeably affecting the sense, if any.

(A cynic might wonder if Wasilla High School’s English and geography departments are draped in black.)

Read the rest if you like, but you don't need to. It just goes on in this vein for another 15 paragraphs. Dick has distilled for us here the pure, concentrated contempt that the NYT (and the media in general) has for the Other.

Dick? We "get" the motivations behind those who supported Barack Obama. We also "get" Sarah Palin's appeal. It's you that can't seem to understand us. But I wouldn't presume to blame your educators, because that would just be rude.

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Sunday, November 09, 2008

I'm putting together a personal 'must see' movie list...

... and so far this is at the top:

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Saturday, November 08, 2008

Ahoy! Incoherence off the port stern!

I just watched the pilot episode of Whale Wars I recorded last night, and I have to admit, it is my new guilty pleasure TV show. This is my Jerry Springer. I look forward to every new, embarrassing episode. That attitude will change, of course, the moment one of these thrill-seeking imbeciles gets someone killed. But until then, pull up a chair and enjoy the spectacle of Berkeley Values on the High Seas. Watching these fools try to square the circle of "non-violent" eco-terrorism and it's being broadcast to millions of viewers? Thank you, Animal Planet. Thank you.

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Worth fighting for

Rep. Thaddeus McCotter on returning the GOP to it's "enduring principles":

While our party has pretended otherwise, this is no ordinary time. It is a transformative time in the life of our free republic. The economic, social, and political turmoil of rapid globalization has created chaos and, thereby, fertile fields for the Left. As Russell Kirk warned in The American Cause during the Industrial Age:

What really creates discontent in the modern age, as in all ages, is confusion and uncertainty. People turn to radical doctrines not necessarily when they are poor, but when they are emotionally and intellectually distraught. When faith in their world is shaken; when old rulers and old forms of government disappear; when profound economic changes alter their modes of livelihood; when the expectation of private and public change becomes greater than the expectation of private and public continuity; when even the family seems imperiled; when people can no longer live as their ancestors lived before them, but wander bewildered in new ways -- then the radical agitator, of one persuasion or another, has a fertile field to cultivate.

Fertile, indeed, are America's fields for the Left.

He goes on to identify the enduring principles of the Republican Party which, if adhered to again, he predicts will restore public demand for GOP leadership -

1. Our liberty is from God not the government.
2. Our sovereignty rests in our souls not the soil.
3. Our security is through strength not surrender.
4. Our prosperity is from the private sector not the public sector.
5. Our truths are self-evident not relative.

I couldn't ask for a more concise manifesto! Frankly I'm tired of voting for big-government centrists as a stupid, half-hearted defense against the big-government Left. I'm tired of feeling dirty when I vote. Give us something to fight for, and not just against, Grand Old Party.

(Via: Hot Air)

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Sunday, November 02, 2008

"[U]nder a President McCain preferably, under a President Obama if it must be."

A few minor quibbles aside, this pretty much sums up my own view:

This is a great and greatly enduring country. It flourishes because of the genius of its institutions and the decent and moderate instincts of its people. I look to the American future with confidence always - under a President McCain preferably, under a President Obama if it must be.

I believe America can and will survive either man's administration. Like David Frum, I too am optimistic about America's essential permanence. I am concerned about the potentially lasting damage an Obama presidency could do in just four or eight short years to the free market institutions that have made America the most prosperous nation in the history of history. Seriously now, will someone please explain to me why I need endure yet another big-government fashion fad when it's already been proven to retard American progress?

Milton Friedman had the answer:

A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both.

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