Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Social media does not make it true!

That is it. I am letting out an angry rant blog finally. I have made it a point to keep my posting civil and thought out, but I am going to vent some. Hopefully there will be a point to all this.

Earlier this week TMZ broke the story of MJ passing away with no confirmed sources. At that time the average person was skeptical of it. TMZ is not the most reliable source always and has a habit of exaggerating somethings, at least in my experience. The story was not truth to many until NY Times or LA Times or CNN verified it. Later that day social media broke the deaths of George Clooney and Jeff Glodblum. In case you hadn't heard, nothing happened to them and they are still kicking.

These stories were pranks in the aftermath of a pretty dramatic day with MJ and Ms. Fawcett leaving us. That is to be expected I suppose. I remember hearing about UFOs on 9/11.

Then Billy Mays died and his son broke it through Twitter and, here is the key part, it was true. It has been a sad week, having been kicked off with the death of Ed McMahon.

Tonight though, Twitter let me know that both Rick Astley and Paris Hilton had died. And Yahoo Answers had the SEO firepower to show up with enough posts to make it seem like it may be true. The truth of it all though is that 4chan members decided to capitalize on the four deaths and the gullible nature of many social media users.

I was told to take everything with doubt by John Kass during a very lucky interview I had with him once upon a time. I took that to heart and dove into the underbelly of the Internet to find the truth. Long story short, I was Rick Rolled, a lot.

So here is my point. Users of social media, take everything with a grain of salt. Nearly the only power major media has left is reputation. Let them use it and confirm information you know and purge you of ignorance. The FTC is planning to regulate bloggers and right now I can understand why, as much as that hurts me.

So, when you get onto Twitter or Facebook or whatever, bring your instincts and common sense with you.


Monday, June 29, 2009

Personal Sidetrack

As many know, Sunday was the Pride Parade again. The parade is infamous for being wild, naked and drunk. Think Animal House covered in glitter and let loose on the streets. Getting to why this is a personal sidetrack, I covered the parade with the help of another intern for The Windy Citizen. My short, photo heavy, coverage of the Mardi Gras like bead throwing and the massive amounts of garbage generated by the spectators, was published on the site this morning. I'm just happy and bragging of my tiny accomplishment.


Sullivan Missing the Point on Waxman-Markey

There is a decent amount of buzz brewing today over a the cost-benefit analysis put together by Jim Manzi on the Waxman-Markey bill. The analysis is very well worth the read and I would suggest reading the whole thing. For those of you unwilling to read it all, the result of his analysis is that:
The costs would be more than ten times the benefits, even under extremely unrealistic assumptions of low costs and high benefits. More realistic assumptions would make for a comparison far less favorable to the bill.

The left is a-twitter, already rationalizing away the reasons why we can't pay attention to this, and they have a strong guiding hand coming from Andrew Sullivan, who obviously doesn't care for Manzi's results. He links us to Matt Steinglass, who laments the reasonableness of performing a CBA for items which cannot be measured in terms of cost:
There are two issues here. First, GDP measures income, not wealth. If your house burns down, it will most likely not change your income. Does that mean you should spend nothing to protect your house from burning down? Second, GDP only measures things that can be measured in money. But the worth of many precious things cannot be measured in money: Yellowstone National Park, the independence of one’s country from foreign rule, the existence of elephants and polar bears, clean air, the ruins of the city of Ur, the fact that humans have traveled to the moon, etc.

Sullivan also links to Rortybomb, who makes a similar argument, describing the Planet Earth itself as being the sunk cost in the CBA:

That said, the thing that worries me about the Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) approach to this issue is that there is always an implicit “do-over” cost in CBA. If we start a marketing campaign, hire a new team, or build a factory we do a CBA. If it turns out wrong, we simply stop the campaign, lay off the new team, or dynamite the factory. We eat our sunk costs and are back at square one. Sometimes this is costless, sometimes you have to pay for the dynamite. Indeed estimating the cost of this metaphoric dynamite should be high on the list of the CBA.

Now if 100 years from now, we want to “do-over”, how much will it cost to ‘dynamite’ the previous 100 years of warming? How much of GDP will we have to spend to get back an additional 10-20% of biodiversity? I’m worried that we are looking at Planet Earth as the sunk costs in these CBAs, and that makes me very worried, and being very worried makes me more willing to spend. We can’t just jump to another Earth if we got it wrong, in the same way we can build a new factory if our projections were off. This isn’t even tail risk or ‘precautionary principle’ land – we, as managers of Firm Earth doing a CBA, want to know the costs of getting rid of that 3 degrees of warming. As far as I can tell, they will be very, very high.

Both Steinglass and Rortybomb choose to ignore the most important part of Manzi's cost-benefit analysis, and Sullivan, by linking them to back his own agenda, proves that he seems not to care about it either (emphasis mine):
Remember that the U.S. should not expect any net economic damage from global warming before 2100. That is, the bill’s benefits would accrue to U.S. consumers—who are also bearing its costs—sometime in the next century. The EPA underestimate has costs rising from zero to 0.8 percent of consumption between now and 2050, and offers no projection beyond that year; but to what level would costs rise over the more than 50 years between 2050 and the point in 22nd century when we might actually expect some net economic losses from global warming? The answer is likely to be much higher.

What this means exactly is that the economy as a whole is unlikely to suffer any damage from "global warming" before 2100, therefore we are not expected to enjoy any benefit from the bill for 91 years, and that is only the point at which we might break even. In the meantime, we are all going to be paying, according to Heritage, $4,600 per year for this bill for a family of four. Now, in a crude look, if we say we have 300 million people, and all of them are families of four, so we have 75 million families of four paying an additional $4,600 per year for 91 years, this will be, cumulatively $31.395 trillion dollars paid to stave off what may very well be a ghost, and considering I've ignored inflation of any kind, that's on the low side!

Considering that the science regarding "global warming" or "climate change" actually appears to be far from settled, I am inclined personally to wonder into what crystal ball the likes of Steinglass, Rortybomb and Sullivan are looking that makes them know this bill is possibly worth its cost.

Mark Kirk Pays to Play

When the debate was raging over Barack Obama's "stimulus program" back in February, one of the most intriguing points in the debate was brought to the table by Congressman Mark Kirk. He brought up the issue of exactly how the government raises its money, and asked the very simple question: Where will it come from? I wrote about this subject after listening to a radio interview with Kirk:

On February 10, 2009, Congressman Mark Kirk appeared on the Roe Conn show on WLS in Chicago. He began expressing this same concern about where we were going to get the money. Kirk mentioned several fairly incredible figures in the interview. First and foremost, the amount of total money we are looking to borrow is six times the amount we've ever borrowed in one year ever before.

Almost more disturbing is the actual volume of borrowing we are going to need to pull off as a country. Kirk explained that a substantial amount of the government's debt issuances are a very short-term variety, only four weeks. This necessitates that the government actually borrow substantially more than initially necessary, since it will auction a new short-term security to pay off a previous one, similar to someone paying off one credit card by taking out another one. His estimate in regard to this process was that the country was going to need to average borrowing $150 billion every week for 52 weeks. Now, this works out to something on the line of $7.8 trillion, so I, as did Roe Conn, thought this number fairly dubious. However, when pressed, Kirk explained that it was due to that short-term nature of most government debt.

Mark Kirk was on that radio interview looking out for the American people, discussing the unfathomable debt to be unleashed upon us by the people who claim to represent us. He went on to vote against the stimulus. Fast forward to the afternoon of June 26, 2009, merely four months later, with the vote for the largest tax increase ever seen ready to take place in the House of Representatives. The tax increase imposed by the Waxman-Markey "clean energy bill" is regressive, affecting the lowest income earners most egregiously, as it looks to nearly double electricity prices, and to increase natural gas and gasoline by over 50%. To even get the bill out of committee and onto the floor for a vote, 85% of the money received had to be allocated to special interest groups. This means that for the estimated $5.7 trillion the bill could take in over the next 15 years (give or take), less than 1 trillion will even be available to be utilized by the federal government for anything useful. In the meantime, the bill leaves you and me holding the bag.

What are those costs? According to the analysis we conducted at The Heritage Foundation, which is attached to my written statement, the higher energy costs kick in as soon as the bill's provisions take effect in 2012. For a household of four, energy costs go up $436 that year, and they eventually reach $1,241 in 2035 and average $829 annually over that span. Electricity costs go up 90 percent by 2035, gasoline by 58 percent, and natural gas by 55 percent by 2035. The cumulative higher energy costs for a family of four by then will be nearly $20,000.

But direct energy costs are only part of the consumer impact. Nearly everything goes up, since higher energy costs raise production costs. If you look at the total cost of Waxman-Markey, it works out to an average of $2,979 annually from 2012-2035 for a household of four. By 2035 alone, the total cost is over $4,600.

Beyond the cost impact on individuals and households, Waxman-Markey also affects employment, and especially employment in the manufacturing sector. We estimate job losses averaging 1,145,000 at any given time from 2012-2035. And note that those are net job losses, after the much-hyped green jobs are taken into account. Some of the lost jobs will be destroyed entirely, while others will be outsourced to nations like China and India that have repeatedly stated that they'll never hamper their own economic growth with energy-cost boosting global warming measures like Waxman-Markey.

So, facing down a bill that can only be described as exponentially more destructive to the American people than was the "stimulus," one would have imagined a man like Mark Kirk to be one of the leading voices in speaking out against the travesty of Waxman-Markey. Instead, with the vote looming close, and Democrats defecting in droves, we find ourselves looking at a list of eight Republican representatives voting for the bill, and none more emblazoned on my mind than Mark Kirk.

Kirk's vote comes six months after his interview with Politico where he indicated his strong consideration of running for President Obama's former Senate seat, citing his desire to see a special election for the seat, given the corruption surrounding the governor's office.

“At this point, everyone is tainted. In order to restore the trust of the people of Illinois in their representatives, this decision should not be made by people connected to a corrupt government,” said Kirk.

“We should return this seat to the people who own it — not the corrupt government. In this state, trust has been broken between the state of Illinois and its people.”

There is no question that it is President Obama's agenda to grow our government. From the standpoint of rhetoric of policy, Obama has made "climate change" a major issue. In that respect, Waxman-Markey is a major step forward for him. With an eye toward his former Senate seat, it appears Mark Kirk has voted for the bill to garner the President's favor, in hopes to earn his future endorsement.

Moving beyond the rhetoric, and dealing in reality, there is no question that the Waxman-Markey bill is the largest power grab and move toward more stringent central economic planning by the federal government we have seen in our lifetime, furthering President Obama's true agenda. It is at such a time as this that the people of Illinois, and every other state, deserve the opportunity to trust their representatives. Unfortunately, Chicago politics has captured the national stage. One does not play if one does not pay. Apparently over the last six months, Mark Kirk has gotten this message loud and clear.

At this point, everyone is tainted.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

2016: Year of Rapture for Chicago

The Olympic budget for Chicago has been all the buzz as of late. Daley keeps going back and forth on how much the taxpayers are going be responsible to pay for. It seems that we will be stuck with a $500 million tab for something most people I have spoken to don't really want. The city happens to be in debt $420 million, but I will leave that for another rant.

Here are some highlights from the Olympic plan for Chicago:

-$500 million will have to be paid by taxpayers
-$4.9 billion is the proposed budget
-$2 billion or so is already secured (for now)
-There was much more secured but a lot disappeared with the failing economy

That is all great, solid numbers, we should know what to expect, right? Well, how about we take a look at the upcoming 2012 Olympics. They face the same economy as us right now, similar building costs and London is a dense, urban environment.

Here are some highlights of what is going with the 2012 budget:

-1 pound is about $1.60 (for reference)
-Original budget was proposed to be 2.35 billion pounds ($3.76 billion)
-The new expected cost is around 9 billion pounds ($14.4 bilion)
-Construction is expected to cost 3.3 billion pounds ($5.28 billion)
-Increased costs with Olympic projects has increased the amount being funded by public money

Now, factor in the recent actions by Daley (flip-flopping), the reputation Chicago has with politics and large amounts of money that needs to be spent and Daley at the reins of this corrupt dog sled. Why does anyone think Chicago getting the Olympics is a good idea? Daley and most of the people behind the companies that say they support the Olympics will be dead or retired in Miami by the time the billions of debt that is going to pile up catches up with the taxpayers. The already poor youth, getting paid less to work more, will be the taxpayers supporting the city in 2016.

Repent... or move soon.


Friday, June 26, 2009

Cap & Tax Insanity!

A good, quick video summation of this insanity with Glenn Beck and Peter Schiff. Bookworm has the list of which representatives are leaning which way at this point, and Michelle has directions on how to get your rep's number. It's close as hell. If your rep is undecided or straddling the fence, get on the line immediately with a resounding NO! Melt the phone lines and crash the servers!

UPDATE: NRO is saying it could be pulled...keep the phone calls rolling until it happens!

Michael Jackson Jokes

Time to start banging the MJ drum. Allow me to begin the list of some of the best Michael Jackson jokes I've come across one way or another over the past few hours. Feel free to begin adding your own in the comments. I consider there to be no line pertaining to child molesters, so go as far as you'd like...

When Farrah got to heaven, God gave her one wish. She wished for all the children of the world to be safe. So God killed Michael Jackson.

Michael Jackson's body is not to be cremated or buried. Its to be recycled into grocery bags. That way he can continue to be white, plastic and dangerous for kids to play with.

The Thriller video is going to be so much cooler now that it has an all zombie cast.

Michael Jackson hasn't been this stiff since McCauley Culkin stayed over for the weekend.

(325): I bet farrah fawcett is having words with michael jackson in heaven for stealing her thunder.

(551): Michael Jackson and Farah Fawcett are dead
(201): NOOOOOOOO not MJ! Someone tell the paramedic to grab him by the heart and just "Beat it"

Since Michael Jackson is 95% plastic, they're gonna melt him down and make him into legos. That way little boys can play with HIM for a change.

I was trying to figure out who died first: Farrah or Michael. I should have known better. As usual, Michael came in a little behind.

UPDATE: The laughs roll in from FreeRepublic...fantastic...also kudos to sawahjack in the comments!

In mourning, ten year old boys across the nation flew their pants at half mast.

Michael Jackson wasn’t really found at home having a heart attack; they found him having a stroke in the pediatric ward.

IG-Gate Expands

Nobody would fault you if you haven't really heard much about this currently brewing catastrophe, what with ABC whoring itself to the President to slang the rocks of nationalized healthcare to the American public in prime time, or with the greatest tax increase in the history of all the universe ready to be sprung upon us by congressional democrats, but nevertheless IG-Gate is now growing into a swine flu-like pandemic. RS McCain covers the recent "stepping down" of Amtrak's inspector general. Another one bites the dust:
Senator Chuck Grassley has asked Amtrak about the circumstances of the Inspector General's unexpected retirement seven days ago and invited Amtrak to provide information about the interference by Amtrak in the work of the Inspector General described in a report prepared at the request of the retired watchdog.Grassley said the report indicates that Amtrak's policies and procedures have systematically violated the letter and spirit of the Inspector General Act."As I continue my investigation into whether the independence of the Inspector General was undermined by Amtrak officials, I want to make sure I have any and all information Amtrak wants to provide," Grassley said. "The allegations are serious, including third parties being told to first send documents under subpoena by the Inspector General to Amtrak for review, and the Inspector General being chastised for communicating directly with congressional appropriations and authorizing committees"

Inspector Generals are appointed for the purpose of remaining outside the sphere of politics in the decision making process, in order to ensure government agencies are in fact serving the tax paying citizens they were created to serve, rather than the political whims of demagogues. Curiouser and curiouser then that we are seeing IG after IG forced out of work or marginalized as unfit for duty.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

RIP Mark Sanford

I have written briefly about Mark Sanford twice before, once in Feburary and once in May. Slowly but surely he was growing on me. His challenge of the federal government in attempting to flat out refuse acceptance of any stimulus funds for his state made me smile from ear to ear. Then when forced to accept the funds, his challenge to utilize the funds to pay down state debt rather than spend, spend, spend was the political highlight of the aftermath of the nuclear financial explosion that was the passing of that bill.

Here was a man, I felt, that was going to be able to be a figurehead of Libertarian values moving forward over the next four years. Given his personality, I wasn't sure how, if at all, he would be able to handle the national stage, and so I had been biding my time in really getting behind him, though have often received emails from members of DraftSanford2012 dutifully keeping me apprised of his actions.

What attracted me to Sanford was his level of commitment to his personal and political values and his staunch refusal to act politically in any manner that was not in the long term best interests of the people of his state. I fought to remain quiet over the last week amid stories of his disappearance, and was ultimately left saddened and discouraged yesterday upon the announcement of his affair, effectively his political death.

As we conservatives and libertarians hold ourselves to a higher level of personal responsibility than do liberals (see Kennedy, Edward and Clinton, William), it is only fitting that we now cast this man out as a possible representative of our values. There will be no apology made, no eloquently spun explanation of how he is only human, on behalf of Mark Sanford's repugnant weakness, merely only the hope that he finds a way to come to terms with his struggles and to live out a decent personal life from this point on.

Politically speaking, we are left to carry on the mantle of conservatism and libertarianism for the time being without a potential star. Reihan Salam eulogizes:
Back in 2002, when he was first elected governor, Sanford was the darling of D.C. libertarians. As one of Newt Gingrich's foot soldiers in the House of Representatives, he acquired a reputation as a budget-cutting cheapskate who, with his friend and ally Ron Paul, constantly railed against pork-barrel spending and the overweening power of the federal Leviathan. Despite his small fortune, Sanford slept in his congressional office. And his tightfistedness extended to the running of his first gubernatorial campaign, when he reportedly hunted for loose change and haggled over office supplies. His enthusiasm for school choice and firearm ownership also won him kudos from the right wing. But Sanford's total inability to play nice with the legislature stymied his most ambitious efforts, including a long-term plan to roll back South Carolina's state income tax.

All the same, Sanford's libertarian bona fides were real. In March, Michael Brendan Dougherty wrote a fascinating
profile of Sanford that, on close examination, could have killed his presidential ambitions then and there. Sanford railed against the Federal Reserve; when asked about Michael Phelps’ arrest on drug charges, the governor rolled his eyes. And he seemed to be launching a critique of the Bush Doctrine when he told Dougherty, "I don't believe in preemptive war," a categorical statement he later inched away from in a rare bout of political cowardice. For me, though, the most telling part of the profile came at the end, when Dougherty noted Sanford's total lack of interest in University of South Carolina basketball and his inability to use basic sports metaphors. Given the macho cast of American conservatism, this might have proved a fatal flaw. His recent public weeping won't help matters.

As Sanford slinks away from the public eye, antiwar libertarians have lost their best hope of building a national movement. The 2008 uprising of Birchers, hippies, and raw-milk enthusiasts that fueled Ron Paul's quixotic bid for the White House was looking for a leader, and Sanford seemed to fit the bill. Now he'll instead spend his days doing who knows what—he'll write a book or play golf or maybe smoke a bowl while cradled in the arms of some dark-eyed South American siren. Which, when you think about it, doesn't sound that bad.

Blown Away by Lunch

Sex sells. I only wonder who's done a better job of selling me a sandwich. Burger King via implied fellatio, or Quizno's via it's latent homosexuality. You be the judge.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Don't have to be big to be corrupt: Ex-Alderman Parrillo

Chicago politics are so twisted and mangled and confused it is a shock this city is only half a billion dollars in debt. In the '60s there was an alderman named Don Parrillo. This man may be the most corrupt politician in Chicago, and that is saying a ton. Harold Washington looks like a good man compared to him.

So what does any aging, corrupt and power-hungry politician want? A book deal of course.

And here is the first taste of what is to come. Really a fantastic read.

A few laughs are good for the heart: John Hodgman

Whether you like Obama or not, a lot of what Mr. PC says is correct. He is a comedian, but anyone who follows comedy knows some of the brightest minds in the world use humor to change it and convey serious messages with a veil of protection.

Peter Schiff on Obama's Overregulation

Peter Schiff attempts to be a voice of reason in this video from June 18th.


Hat Tip (C4L)

Useless Resolutions

On the back of my criticism of Ron Paul over what is essentially a face-value House Resolution, commenter ambhci provides us with a few examples of our Congress working ever so diligently to legislate on our behalf. Suddenly a comment I received from a friend on Facebook suggesting that Congress pass a House Resolution barring Creed from reforming doesn't seem so ludicrous.

Here are a few Resolutions:

The first one from March of last year in a "Democrat Controlled Congress". The rest are samples from 2008. Lets not talk about wasting time as that is mostly what the Congress does...

A non-binding resolution to demand that President Bush impose "stringent inspection requirements" on trade with Iran - language that leaves the door open for a military blockade - will likely come to the House floor this week, according to sources close to Congressional leadership. The legislation, H.Con.Res.362, which is paralleled by a similar Senate bill, has gained bipartisan support rapidly, with more co-sponsors signing on by the day. Once it hits the floor, it's bound to "pass like a hot knife through butter," a staffer in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office told Chelsea Mozen of the nonprofit Just Foreign Policy.

A resolution recognizing soil as an essential natural resource, and soils professionals as playing a critical role in managing our Nation's soil resources.

H.RES.216: Congratulating the men's volleyball team of the University of California, Irvine, for winning the 2007 NCAA Division I Men's Volleyball National Championship.

S.RES.180: A resolution recognizing the 70th anniversary of the Idaho Potato Commission and designating May 2007 as "Idaho Potato Month".

H.RES.630: Congratulating the Warner Robins Little League Baseball Team from Warner Robins, Georgia, on winning the 2007 Little League World Series Championship.

H.RES.970: Expressing support for designation of June 30 as "National Corvette Day".

H.RES.1050: Recognizing Pittsfield, Massachusetts, as being home to the earliest known reference to the word "baseball" in the United States as well as being the birthplace of college baseball.

H.RES.89: Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that a day should be established as Dutch-American Friendship Day to celebrate the historic ties of the United States and the Netherlands.

H.RES.892: Expressing support for designation of a "National Funeral Director and Mortician Recognition Day".

H.RES.483: Recognizing the 63rd Anniversary of Big Bend National Park, established on June 12, 1944.

And since this follows quite nicely:

Congressman Demands To Know Who Left Fish Sandwich To Rot On House Floor

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Stimulus #2 - All Hands On Deck

According to Barack Obama today, we apparently have yet another "stimulus" bill to look forward to. This to come on top of the trillion dollars we've already passed, and further on top of a potential nationalized healthcare plan costing at least another trillion, according to the CBO. Perhaps I am an alarmist. After all, the President has assured us we don't need another stimulus...yet.
"Not yet because it is important to see how the economy evolves and how effective the first stimulus is. The stimulus package was the first thing we did and we did it a couple of weeks after inauguration," Obama said in response to a question.
At first glance a suitably pragmatic approach. Until he continues.
"At that point, nobody understood what the depth of the recession was going to look like. ... It's not surprising then that we missed the mark in terms of our estimates of where unemployment would go. It's pretty clear that unemployment will end up going over 10 percent if you look at the pattern."
Gone is the fear-mongering pretentiousness Obama displayed back in January and February when he and the Democrats in Congress force-fed us this heaping pile of dung. Now we find a man who simply didn't understand what the depth of the recession was going to look like. In fact, we find a man who is merely just like every other man. He couldn't possibly have known that the stimulus would be ineffective! Nobody could have!

In fact now it's pretty clear we're going to have simply thrown a trillion dollars away as unemployment continues to rise unabated even despite the stimulus spending.

But of course, somehow it would only be worse without it.

So I wonder what the real question is here? It seems to me not to be IF we will get a Stimulus #2, but WHEN. Obama has insulated himself on all sides on this issue. There are two options for the future:

1. The Pure Fantasy Option - Stimulus #1 works, the economy improves measurably because of its effects, and Obama's Keynesianism is proven right. Stimulus #2 is passed easily due to the roaring success of Stimulus #1.

2. The Horribly Real Option - Stimulus #1 fails or has no measurable effect on the state of the economy. Obama takes to the podium to peddle more fear, claiming over and over again that the only reason unemployment isn't even worse is because of all the jobs heroically "saved or created" by Stimulus #1, no matter how impossibly immeasurable the statistic, and that surely without Stimulus #2, unemployment will only spiral further out of control.

Gird your loins, America.

The New Bailout: Cash 4 Gold

The Onion Strikes Again

Hilarious video as usual. Enjoy!

US To Trade Gold Reserves For Cash Through Cash4Gold.com


Why Ron Paul is Wrong

Yesterday I expressed my dismay in Ron Paul for his failure to make the vote passing the House Resolution to condemn Iran's violent crackdown against its own people unanimous. Perhaps in my general lividity over the situation, I failed to make the points I intended to make clearly enough. I've received a number of comments from various directions, be it on Digg or Facebook, here, or even in other blog responses to my post that I just think misunderstood exactly why I felt it necessary to take Ron Paul to task. Admittedly, the post is a bit sloppier than what I normally write as I wrote it more from a stream of consciousness standpoint that from the typical logical breakdown that I normally follow, and did not spend much time editing myself after I was finished. It seems through some combination of my own sloppiness, the fervor of most of his supporters to continue to support him no matter what, and perhaps a flat misunderstanding of my intention, I feel that I must clarify exactly what the point of my post was.

The astute reader will note that I took pains to show my support of Ron Paul, and even to agree with the general premise of his foreign policy. I support a policy of non-interventionism. I believe the number of troops we have stationed indefinitely abroad is obscene and wholly unnecessary. But I also feel it is naive to believe that we can deal rationally with certain governments that are by their very inception and definition, irrational. It is here, in the area of non-interventionism, where many people seem to have misunderstood my meaning. This misunderstanding is best embodied in a blowback post by Marc Gallagher at Liberty Maven. There he cites me and writes:

Those clamoring for intervention need to answer a few questions, but there is one question that trumps them all.

What is the endgame of intervening in Iran?

Is it the preposterous idea to enforce a fair election in another country and install Mousavi as President so the Iranian reformers can be “free”? Where in the U.S. Constitution that we claim is the supreme law of the land permits the U.S. government to intervene in another country’s election process (no matter how flawed it may be)?

This has been a common response to my opinion. Some, who obviously failed to actually read the entire post, have gone so far as to call me a neo-con. However, upon reading my words carefully, you will note that nowhere did I ever promote that we should be interventionist or interfere in Iran's election process. The issue at hand is not an issue of interventionism versus non-interventionism. The issue at hand is a country whose people are willing to die, nay, be martyred in the streets in a fight for their own liberties, their own basic human right to a fair, honest, democratic vote. The issue at hand is a government losing its overbearing grip on its people, and responding with intentional slaughter.

This is a black and white issue of right and wrong. It is simply wrong that the Iranian government would kill its own people, no matter the reason. The fact that the government is killing its own people for the purpose of continuing to violate their basic human rights is flat out evil. The United States sits across the dinner table of the world and observes this abuse, pushes its chair back, rises and makes its voice heard in condemnation of these events. This condemnation is not an act of interventionism. It is a commentary by the world's leading power on what is right. If we cannot lead by our examples, we must at times be heard.

The proper place from which we should have been heard was the mouth of our President. The United States is still the most powerful country in the world. We still reside at the head of the dinner table. Barack Obama was unwilling to sit at the head of the dinner table watching this blatant misbehavior take place, rise and be the stern voice of authority necessary to bring the room to order. He was unwilling to stand up and be a voice of justice.

In the absence of a stern voice of authority resonating from the White House, our Congress voted to pass a condemnation of Iran's brutality. The resolution is a simple, strong statement for freedom and individual liberties:

Expressing support for all Iranian citizens who embrace the values of freedom, human rights, civil liberties, and rule of law, and for other purposes.

Resolved, That the House of Representatives--

(1) expresses its support for all Iranian citizens who embrace the values of freedom, human rights, civil liberties, and rule of law;

(2) condemns the ongoing violence against demonstrators by the Government of Iran and pro-government militias, as well as the ongoing government suppression of independent electronic communication through interference with the Internet and cellphones; and

(3) affirms the universality of individual rights and the importance of democratic and fair elections.

Nothing in the language of this resolution is remotely interventionist. The resolution is a statement of American values, and a declaration of what all individuals should expect as their rights. A unanimous vote could have provided the world with the resounding statement by America that Iran's actions are wrong, that its people deserve to be treated as human beings instead of animals. Instead we fall one vote shy of unanimity. One vote provides the international community with reason to doubt America's belief in her own values. Ron Paul's vote. His reasoning?
I rise in reluctant opposition to H Res 560, which condemns the Iranian government for its recent actions during the unrest in that country. While I never condone violence, much less the violence that governments are only too willing to mete out to their own citizens, I am always very cautious about “condemning” the actions of governments overseas. As an elected member of the United States House of Representatives, I have always questioned our constitutional authority to sit in judgment of the actions of foreign governments of which we are not representatives. I have always hesitated when my colleagues rush to pronounce final judgment on events thousands of miles away about which we know very little. And we know very little beyond limited press reports about what is happening in Iran.
Where do I even begin? Let's work backwards. We know very little beyond limited press reports about what is happening in Iran? Excuse me? For a man whose campaigning and fundraising has relied so heavily on the viral spread of information via the internet, he sure seems to be ignoring the fact that it even exists in this case. There is so much information available online, even including videos of martyrs being made, that it's unfathomable to believe anybody, let alone the internet-savvy Ron Paul, just isn't sure about what's happening in Iran.

He questions Congress' constitutional authority to sit in judgement of foreign governments? Of course we have no constitutional authority to affect the actions of foreign governments. But this does not mean we cannot, as the shining beacon of liberty and freedom, have our country's voice be heard at a time that demands that we provide a strong voice of leadership. Iran is spilling the blood of her own people in the streets, and it's not within our authority even to say something about it? Please.

He goes on:
Of course I do not support attempts by foreign governments to suppress the democratic aspirations of their people, but when is the last time we condemned Saudi Arabia or Egypt or the many other countries where unlike in Iran there is no opportunity to exercise any substantial vote on political leadership? It seems our criticism is selective and applied when there are political points to be made. I have admired President Obama’s cautious approach to the situation in Iran and I would have preferred that we in the House had acted similarly.
He invokes Saudi Arabia and Egypt as examples of countries that do not offer their citizens the right to vote, and comparatively wonders why we have not offered similar resolutions condemning those countries for not offering their citizens their basic rights. He completely ignores the blatant facts involved in the situation at hand. The citizens of Saudi Arabia and Egypt are not protesting their governments en masse, and being slaughtered for it in the streets. Does this seem like selective criticism only for a political point to be made? It sure seems to me like we're trying to do the right thing with this resolution. The only one trying to use this situation to make a political point is Ron Paul, as he grandstands for non-interventionism over a case that is entirely exclusive of interventionism at all.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Shame on Ron Paul

Anybody who has followed what I write, or who has perhaps decided to read a few things here and there, ought to very well know that I am fan of Ron Paul. I have enjoyed the fact that his voice has come more to the forefront over the past year or two as a necessary voice of reason in terms of the economy. However, when it comes to foreign policy, Ron Paul has, essentially 100% of the time, been laughed off the stage.

While the predominant issue of the past eight years has obviously been the war on terror and our foreign policy, I have, until recently, not paid much attention as I have not felt particularly obligated to. As much more attention as I pay to foreign affairs than I used to, however, economy, "global warming," and general political philosophy are issues I am much more excited about and enjoy writing about. I agree with Ron Paul on certain aspects of our foreign policy. In particular I believe we are probably too interventionist. I think there has to be a way we can impose our military might without actually physically occupying countries ad infinitum. I believe that if our dollar were real, and if our economy were suitably strong, all nations would be forced to bow to us economically, and the use of force would largely be unnecessary, irrational theocracies excluded of course. Perhaps we have been interventionist for so long that this train of thought seems ludicrous, but it doesn't seem unreasonable to me to believe that it is possible.

However, I disagree with Ron Paul's nonsensical explanation of his own foreign policy as not being isolationist. He explains this in his book The Revolution, and attempts to back it up with references to his previously issued A Foreign Policy of Freedom. His overarching argument is that he believes all countries should be left to their own devices, to do as they please, and that peaceful political discourse and freedom through trade are all that are necessary to coexist. A brief glance at the past 20 years of history, however, wholly undermines that line of thought, as we have watched our one time allies turn against us in their zeal for power. I refer, of course to Bin Laden himself, whom we aided in liberating Afghanistan from Soviet control, only to watch as his irrational thirst for anarchy turned against us. Paul would argue that it was our meddlesome policies that triggered this, however this ignores the fact that Bin Laden and others like him despise our culture at their very cores, and would act to destroy it no matter our political relationships with them.

Which brings me to Iran.

The protests in Iran following what appears to be an obviously rigged election resulting in a victory for Ahmadinejad have been nothing short of inspirational. Watching a long oppressed people rise up in anger at the sham of the "democratic process" that was just put on by the clerics for show on the world stage has filled me with more hope for our own ability as a people to shrug off the impending autocratic measures intended to be enforced by the Obama administration than ever before. The protests continue despite repeated shootings and further brutal crackdowns by the Iranian government. Twitter and other social networking outlets have fostered the spread of information from the ground like a California wildfire, despite the Iranian government's every attempt at censorship, including the bald faced threat of violence.

At a time when our president, the leader of the free world, should have stepped up to the plate and delivered a strong denouncement of the Iranian government's tactics, he said nothing for days. Finally, when it became apparent that this revolution would persist, that the will of the Iranian people could not be ignored, Barack Obama took to the podium and delivered a "pragmatic" speech that can be considered nothing short of weak sauce in light of the way it should have been handled in promoting freedom and liberty. Even as our President tip-toed through the middle-eastern tulips, however, our Congress passed a resolution condemning Iran's violent crackdowns (HT: LGF). What should have been a unanimous vote in the condemnation of brutality by a government against its own people passed 405-1.

The one vote against the denouncement? Ron Paul.

The very same man who is the figurehead of the Campaign for Liberty in the United States, a fantastically grassroots movement of citizens coming together largely via the internet to organize and begin to fight for their rights against what they perceive as an overgrown, perhaps in cases even oppressive, government, refuses to denounce ruthless violence by a government against its own people?

I am continuously irked by Charles Johnson for what I feel is an overly critical eye toward Ron Paul. He has attempted to paint the man as a racist and to marginalize him as an extremist. I am irked further by Johnson and by Rick Moran for what I perceive to be their attempts to marginalize the emergence of libertarian thought into mainstream politics as being extreme. Indeed, my own shot across Johnson's bow back in April lost me the privelege of being a posting member at his website inside of a week.

However this time, Charles Johnson is right. When I read this story there was nothing I could do but hang my head in disgust. Not only because this vote is a betrayal of the ideals of liberty and freedom, but because it simply makes it so much harder to rely on Ron Paul's words about any subject, including economy, no matter how right he may be.

Ron Paul's refusal to join in denouncing the actions of an oppressive Iranian government that is flailing as its people are twisting loose from its iron grip is nothing short of a shameful cry for attention. A failure to denounce oppressive actions abroad amounts to an abandonment of the core principles he so vehemently preaches here at home.

There is no principle involved in this decision by Ron Paul.

There is only shame.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Change We Can Believe In

What if we put up a giant roadblock in front of the speeding roadster that is our fractional reserve centralized banking system? What if our inflationary monetary policy crashed headlong into the side of a building and exploded, never to be heard from again? Quite simply, what if we, as a country, actually followed our own laws? Would we return to a more sensible way of interacting with each other? Would we regain some level of our freedom?

I think we would, and this video provides a very basic look as to how restoring our monetary policy to within the realm of the constitution would do so. Enjoy.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Public Plan Deception

Barack Obama is on the verge of starting a media assault on the American Public promoting his nationalized healthcare agenda, and in typical Orwellian fashion, he'll be telling us it's all about the competition. It's got nothing to do with competition. It's got everything to do with a forceful government takeover of yet another industry. I will be starting my own research and analsyses of the programs being discussed, as well as Obama's propaganda campaign set to begin next Wednesday on ABC shortly. In the meantime, the guys at Verumserum have put together a great video exposing the fraudulent claim that a public plan has anything to do with competition.

Enjoy, and pass it along!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ron Paul on HR1207

Ron Paul discusses the excellent momentum behind HR1207, and introduces some temperance into expecations regarding what seems like the most realistic avenues toward improvement in our dealing with the Federal Reserve. Excellent video. Enjoy!

(Hat Tip: Lew Rockwell)

The Tyrrany of Cap & Trade

For those of us that keep an eye on the "Global Warming" "Climate Change" "Energy Security" debate, and actually feel like we should know the facts, Lord Christopher Monckton is an undeniable force for common sense in the discussion.

His "Open Letter" to John McCain during the presidential election in October of 2008 remains quite simply one of the most comprehensive and practical arguments against the idea of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) I have ever come across, and is well worth the read for anyone wanting to shore up their arguments in the debate. And he has not stopped there, continuously offering some of the most salient arguments against AGW out there, such that he has even been banned from the debate.

Today we are provided with a fantastic interview with Monckton, performed by Gregory Murphy, Associate Editor of 21st Century Science & Technology where the true intentions of the Marxist Green Left are brought to the forefront.

Murphy: In the past you’ve described the global warming scare, fraud, hoax—you’ve used numerous words to describe this—as a “genocidal” policy, similar to the policy of how AIDS was handled, or to the ban on
DDT. Is that still your view?

Monckton: What we have here, is a faction in politics, and it’s a worldwide faction, that really came out of the Marxist extreme left when the Berlin Wall collapsed, and found its new home in the environmental movement. And it got into the environmental movement and took it over. A friend of mine is one of the founders of Greenpeace, and he said, “All of us who are genuine environmentalists left after a year, because the Marxists moved in and took it over.”

After establishing who is pushing the argument for anthropogenic global warming, Murphy and Monckton go on to discuss their true intentions.

Murphy: That is very true. What is coming out - you’ve identified the biofuels scam as hurting the poor with food starvation, which is listed as one of WHO’s top causes of death. Now, [UN Secretary-General] KofiAnnan has just issued a bizarre, bogus report stating that 300,000 people have died already as a result of global warming or climate change per year, and more deaths are possible. But the policies that he’s advocating to solve this will kill billions of people, and will eclipse that, even if it were true.

Monckton: Let’s look at this report. It’s produced by the usual crowd of rent-seekers wanting to enhance the role of the UN as a world government. That’s what is really behind this: It’s world government that the left are after. And world government, of course, does not mean democratic government. It means autocratic government, rather like the EU writ large. And this report they produced is plainly nonsense, and you can just look at one simple fact, and that is that for the last 15 years, as [MIT climatologist] Dick Lindzen is about to tell us, there has been no statistically significant global warming. For the last eight and a half years, there has actually been a trend of global cooling, and quite a rapid one. So, why is Kofi Annan coming along now, 15 years after the warming stopped—and, of course, the warming was pretty unremarkable even while it was happening; it was entirely within natural variability—but the warming stopped 15 years ago, and only now do they tell us that this warming was killing people. It certainly can’t have been killing people recently, because we’ve been having global cooling. And that one fact is enough to establish what complete nonsense this UN report is. All it is, is another way of keeping this flagging, failing scare in the headlines between now and the Copenhagen Climate Summit organized by the UN for December 2009. And at that summit, they are hoping the first steps to turn the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change into a world government will be taken. They are not frankly particularly worried about whether they get a deal on who should cut global emissions by how much. It is not, and never was, about that. It is not and never was about the climate. As Vaclav Klaus, the president of the European Union at the moment, has rightly said, “It’s not about climatology; it’s about freedom.”

They want to take our freedom away. They want to set up a world government which will tell the rest of us how to behave, and which will certainly not be subject to any democratic recall or accountability or constraint. And they will do this by saying that, of course, the peoples of the world if left to their own devices, would screw up the planet, because of the emissions of carbon dioxide. Therefore, to save you from yourselves, we are going to ask your government to hand over their sovereignty and their powers—of course in our democratic countries, their powers are peoples’ powers—to unelected bureaucrats, technocrats, and dictators, so that they will govern us in the future.That is what this is all about, and they have to be stopped, which is why I am here.

For all of the scientific argument that is readily made against the faux-science that supports AGW, it is refreshing to find a voice like Monckton's finally speaking plainly about the true intentions of the Green Left. Murphy and Monckton address the hard science in great detail, to be sure, but it is Monckton's blunt approach to the political facts at hand that is outstanding to find. Those of us that have examined both sides of the facts, have all largely been able to deconstruct the science for AGW and find it incredibly lacking. Following Monckton's lead, now is the time to begin to deconstruct the political aspects of AGW, and to expose the environmentalist frauds for what they truly are: Marxist wolves in sheeps clothing.

The entire interview may be found here. Enjoy!

10,000 Galaxies

In a "blank" patch of sky, the Hubble Telescope acquires imagery of 10,000 galaxies.

This image provides a fantastic progression from our small corner of the universe, Earth, out to the limitless expanses of the outer reaches of what we are able to observe. Humbling.


(Hat Tip: Lew Rockwell)

Stimulus Deja Vu

JWF points us to a few of the more comical items the "stimulus" is paying for. My favorites are these three:

1. $500,000 for Homelessness Prevention in the town of Union, NY.
- Union, NY does not have a single homeless person.

2. $2.2 million for Skylights to be Installed in a state-run liquor warehouse
in Montana

3. $3.4 million to build a "turtle crosswalk" in Lake Jackson, FL

So far be it from me to toot my own horn about how the stimulus was a gigantic waste, but I sure did write a hell of a lot about how it wasn't going to work, and how not much of the spending was going to go to useful work.

I may not be Paul Krugman writing a prescription for the housing bubble in 2002, but seeing the facts bear out my own thoughts is somewhat satisfying.

If only it weren't so horribly sad.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Bottom Line: Value

I was on my way to a friend's house for a graduation party this past Saturday, and, because it helps me not to become a raving lunatic in Chicago traffic (2 hours to go 40 miles), I was listening to a bit of talk radio. Specifically, the show was Moneytalk with Bob Brinker, and the topic of discussion was the current, woeful state of affairs with General Motors and Chrysler, and their inability to have recently kept up with the times in terms of building good cars. The discussion ranged through various topics, one of which focused on the fact that as GM and Chrysler had found that they were able to make good money producing their trucks and SUV's, they had all but abandoned the market for cars in terms on remaining on the leading edge of design and quality, as compared to the likes of Toyota, Honda and Nissan.

I was intrigued by this thought, and found myself even more intrigued when a caller, an obvious fan of American made vehicles, brought up what he felt was an extremely valid point, in response to the question of whether or not anyone thought that the current car-buying generation would be able or willing to forgive GM and Chrysler for their gross mishandling of the industry and themselves. This caller was outraged that people "just aren't giving American cars a chance." He expounded on how it's not the 90's anymore, that the days of poorly constructed interiors and cheap looking cars have passed. He finished his point by discussing the fact that when you compare American cars to their foreign counterparts, there really is no difference in quality, and he expressed anger at the fact that, given this, many Americans are still unwilling to even look at American cars.

I waited for what I felt to be the obvious response to this line of thought: "Yeah, but look at the pricetag!" It never came. This was somewhat shocking to me.

I have owned five cars in my so far short lifetime, the first three of which were used American cars. My first was a 1990 Dodge Shadow, handed down to me from my mom, which I drove until the engine finally gave out somwhere around 120,000 miles, 60,000 of which were driven on a cracked block. My next car was a 1989 Pontiac Grand Prix that lasted me six months until I got T-boned by a Buick. Next, I picked up a 1990 Cadillac Coupe De Ville that gave me nothing but problems with the electrical systems and dumping gas into the exhaust. That was my last used car.

After the Cadillac debacle, I went looking for a new car and, being a recent graduate of college, there were financing deals aplenty. I looked at VW first and couldn't quite afford their entry-level Golf at the time, or didn't quite want to afford what the payments were going to be. I loved my Pontiac, and had always loved Pontiacs, so I went to look at them. The Sunfire was their entry level car at the time and was an obvious chick car, and just felt cheap to drive. I put it in the maybe column and went to Mitsubishi, where I took the Lancer OZ Rally for a spin. The manual transmission shifted like butter, the radio sounded great, the car looked like a small racer, and it purported to get good mileage. At about $11,500 at the time it was also cheaper than any of the cars I had already looked at. I liked it a lot, but I knew a guy who got a lemon from Mitsubishi once upon a time, so I was still skeptical. I went next door to check out the Dodge Neon at about $12,000 as well. Every foot of road I drove that car, it felt like it was going to fall apart, and the engine was too loud to boot.

I wound up throwing in a 10-year 100,000 mile extended warranty and an alarm system and buying the Lancer for $12,500, finishing up with monthly payments that were $50 less than my tight budget at the time. I put 80,000 miles on that car in a little over three years, never doing anything but routine oil changes, new air filters, new brakes and rotating the tires, and routinely broke the 30 mpg barrier even in the city. The point is that the price was right for the quality of the vehicle that I found to be acceptable to my tastes. That is the measure of value in any product, and most especially a vehicle.

When the time came that my Lancer's blue book value was higher than what I still owed on it, I began looking at trading in and trading up. Once again I made several value comparisons. Unfortunately I was unhappy with the newer model designs offered by Mitsubishi, and looked elsewhere. I again yearned for a Pontiac, but nothing but the so-so G6 caught my eye even briefly. The same was true of basically every car offered by GM and Chrysler, with some of Chrysler's offerings (I'm looking at you, Crossfire) were flat-out comical. I was now in the low $20,000 range as far as affordability so I checked out some Fords as well, particularly the Mustang, and was just left flat by its interior. I strolled into a VW dealership on something of a whim one day and took the 2007 Jetta Wolfsburg for a spin. The car drives like a dream, has a fantastically designed interior (love the heated seats in the winter), gets mid-to-high 20's for gas mileage, and just looks cool. Overall another winner when comparing what I was getting for the money.

What the caller despairing over the lack of faith Americans have in American-made cars failed to recognize, was simply a microcosm of what GM and Chrylser themselves have failed to recognize about the American public. When faced with a choice regarding our money, we are shoppers. We all want the best value for our dollar, and more often than not we are going to set emotion over brand name aside when we find the best value. General Motors forgot this. Chrysler forgot this. With these companies now beholden to the government, I fear there will never be a mind working in them that comprehends this fact again.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Peter Schiff on the Daily Show

In case you haven't seen it already. Fantastic interview as usual, and great to see Schiff, and his ever more important message, get this kind of mainstream coverage. Enjoy the video!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Time Has Come: Bernanke Worried About Audit!

Back on April 27th, I wrote the following:
The Federal Reserve, it's mere seven member Board, and the President of the United States have, for 100 years, enjoyed the power to manipulate the economy as they so choose. The situation has become so dire as to recognize the complete collapse of the Dollar itself as an inherent possibility, something recognized even abroad, with multiple countries calling for a new, universal currency at the recent G20 conference. The basic tenents of our society: Capitalism, Liberty, and ultimately our Freedom depend on our ability to show each other a mutual respect through our transactions. As the Fed continues to manipulate our money, it continues to call into question the true value of our money. When we can no longer properly understand the value of a Dollar, we can no longer determine in what way we should trade with each other, in what way we should respect each other.

The time has come to bring the Fed out of the shadows and into the light. The time has come to bring the true free market back to the forefront of our economy. The time has come that We the People begin again to forge a new history.
When I wrote that summation to my look at the history of the Federal Reserve, the bill that spawned that post, HR 1207, the Federal Reserve Transparency Act, had just been introduced by Ron Paul into Congress, and had been referred to the House Committee on Financial Services, disturbingly enough headed by Barney Frank. At the time, the bill had gained 91 cosponsors, and I wrote of a grassroots effort to garner further support for the bill.

Less than two months later, the official count of cosponsors sits at 190, with an unofficial count topping 200 representatives!

The truly grassroots movement to drag the Federal Reserve forth from the darkness in which it resides has been largely bolstered by members of Campaign for Liberty and Young Americans for Liberty and are highlighted by stories just like that of this man from Iowa, who, along with others, managed to convince his representative, a Democrat, to cosponsor the bill. As it stands now, all but three Republican members of the HCFS are cosponsors to the bill, along with several Democrats. On the whole, nearly half of the members sitting on the committee are cosponsors to the bill.

It is little, if any wonder then, that a report has trickled along from Congress that Ben Bernanke, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, is "worried about an audit of the money supply." The man finds himself in a position to be the first man to answer for the consequences of his actions in a role that has had to answer to no one in 100 years. Not only that, he finds himself having to answer to the collective will of the American People.

Monday, June 8, 2009

...and the Law Won!

Barry O'Bomber of the Barry Bomber Four joins us today to debut his new single, covering the classic "I Fought the Law," but with his own special twist, chronicling his rise to the presidency and actions since his inauguration. Enjoy folks!
Breakin rocks in the hot sun
I fought the law and
I won
I needed money cause I had none
I fought the law and
I won

left my baby and it feels so bad
Guess my
race is run
She's the best girl that I ever had
I fought the law and I won

Robbin people with a six-gun
I fought the law and
I won
I lost my girl and I lost my fun
I fought the law and I won

I left my baby and it feels so bad
Guess my
race is run
She's the best girl that I ever had
I fought the law and the law won
Barry O: Wait a minute. That's not how that last line was supposed to go was it? Did somebody change my teleprompter?