“…don’t bother, they’re here.”

For those outside San Diego, the new Mayor (Bob Filner, former embarrassing Congressman), is in a kerfuffle with the Hoteliers of the City.

For many years, the Hotels have been taxed – a tax which they pass on to the out-of-towners who flee to San Diego for sun. That tax is then provided back to the hotels for TV ads to continue the trend.

The new Mayor refused to sign the yearly deal with the Hoteliers, arguing that the tax was illegal since it was not voted on by the voters, but that even though it was illegal he would sign it if the City got some of the swag. Further, he wanted the hotel employees to get a new “living wage.” (Can you say, “extortion?”)

The hotels took the Mayor to court, and the court ruled that in the initial resolution, the City Council (ruled by Democrats and unions) did not require that the Mayor sign the previously unanimously agreed to deal.

So the Council went back and passed a new resolution to require the Mayor to sign. Only one Democrat, Marty Emerald, voted “No.”

Marty Emerald was reliably in the pocket of the union masters, but the union MEMBERS in the audience apparently wanted the resolution passed.

The embarrassment that is Filner, continues unabated. With Kwame Kilpatrick of Detroit in jail, and Antonio Villaraigosa of LA  on his Mayoral last legs, Filner reliably takes over the Fools Mantle.

“…don’t bother, they’re here.”

Rand Paul Is Making a Mark

Rand Paul must be making a mark.

I was watching Bill O’Reilly discuss Paul, and when FOX cut to an advertisement I switched to MSNBC and they were talking about Rand Paul.

(I love Rand Paul.)

What turned out to be news to me is that Paul has a budget — or more appropriately, a Budget. Even more news to me is that the Progressive House Conference has a Budget. (It calls for a top tax rate of 49%, and a Trillion and a half dollar increase in overall taxes.

Those two budgets join the Senate Democratic Budget, and the House Republican Budget.

It seems everyone in Washington has a Budget except the president who is required bylaw to submit a budget between the first week in January and the first week in February. Obviously, he has not done that and when he does that means five Budgets.

Rand Paul’s budget calls for a 17% flat tax. I still await the time when that idea’s time has come, but right now the nation is in punishing the successful.



Don’t Tell The Choo-Choo Lobby

Please do not tell the Choo-Choo lobby about the new bus and trolley stop covered today in the Washington Post. It is in Arlington, is open to wind, rain and cold, but covered and semi-protects as many as 15 people — at a cost of only $1 million.


Get a Rope!

SCOTUS Has a Chance To Strike a Blow For the Constitution

The Supreme Court is hearing two cases this week that REALLY count — Prop. 8 in California, and DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act.

With any kind of luck the Court will uphold the first and overturn the latter.

If that happens, the right of states to determine their own fate will be upheld. My interest has nothing to do with “Gay Marriage” and my position therefore does not support or oppose that issue.

Marriage has always been controlled by states, and the states have determined the age of marriage, the closeness of kin they could marry, and all other rules of marriage. If the Court overturns Prop. 8  it would have the federal government usurp still another state right.

And, usurp a states right is just what the Defense of Marriage Act did, so I want that overturned.

Our Founders gave us the 10th Amendment just to let states experiment. Homogenization was NOT their concept.

There is at least some hope that my wishes may be realized. Justice Ginsberg said last year at Columbia Law School that the Court may have gone “too far, too fast” in Roe v Wade.

Any such comment that indicates even a modicum of restraint on the power of the Court would be welcome.

Still In Class, Learning the Lesson The Hard Way

The Cyprus situation marks the beginning of the end for the Euro. Bank depositors in Italy must be nervous, and Spain as well. There are nations already bailed out, like Portugal and even Ireland that threaten to go back into bankruptcy and may need the help of the IMF, European Bank and European Union, and now a precedent has been set — seize as much as 40% of uninsured funds.

President Obama must be licking his lips. Instant sharing of the wealth!

Unfortunately for him, the US is still very solvent, even with a $17 trillion debt, because this nation in generations past has developed an economic engine so strong that even George Bush and Barack Obama combined could not destroy it.

Bush and Obama tried, Lord knows, and the fight goes on, but all over Europe there are people looking for a save haven for their money and the US, as bad as we are, is still the best haven — which should give everyone pause and give you some idea of how poorly run the European Union really is.

Europe is a perfect example of the principle in the quote:

“There is not enough money because the production of rights and benefits has outstripped the production of wealth.” (Christopher Caldwell — the Weekly Standard)

Europe is learning this lesson the hard way. We are just a bit slower.

Tilda reclined in a glass box!!!!!!!

Oooooo1 Tilda Swinton (whomever she is) did an impromptu “performance art” piece at the Museum of Modern Art! (Actually, she is an award winning actress, I am informed.)


Tilda reclined in a glass box!

The modern art(sic) world is all atwitter!

(Here ends my overuse of the exclamation point.)

Modern art(sic) appears to be more about personalities than art.

If I had so reclined, I would have been arrested, but Ms. Swinton, who apparently is some sort of “actress” in a stage theater show (Moonrise Kingdom), well that makes it “art.”

It is almost self evident that the Mona Lisa would be a beautiful painting even if I had been the artist instead of da Vinci.

Scrawling lines, or paint on canvas by apes, or kindergarteners, becomes “art” because of the ape, or the kindergartner — not because it is beautiful, or has a message (tell me what message an ape’s — or a kindergartener’s brain could contain), but because of the hominoid, or child itself.

Yesterday I attended a “Jazz” concert at the local (and stunningly fantastic) Lexus dealership, performed by some “jazz ensemble” from a local junior college whose professor (a terrific jazz musician), I know.

Understanding that music, like everything else is very personal, I purposely arrived late at the Lexus Cyber Cafe — a place I frequent — so I could turn around if the music did not suit my taste. I roamed among the stunning cars, listening to the jazz trio for some tune or anything resembling “music.” It was undiscoverable.

I then entered the rear of the cafe to see if anyone was there. A few, literally a handful, whom I judged to be the friends and close family of the “musicians.”

The music was similar to delivering the instruments into the hands of the aforementioned hominoid or kindergarten hands. Discordant.

The only art in the building, was the building itself, and of course the cars – including a Lexus LFA, a 200+ MPH road car, which is for sale at some astronomical number.

Now THAT is art!

As an engineer, I believe in standards, not personalities. (I think it is a guy thing ) I don’t care — and neither do any racing fans — whether Felipe Massa, Lewis Hamilton or even your elderly blogger, laps Malaysia track in 1:39 minutes — or whether it is in a Ferrari, Lotus or a Ford Focus.

Anyone, male, female or transgender who can hit .330 for a season in baseball has a job.

Now it may be unfair to judge the aforementioned jazz group on one piece, like walking into a symphony while they perform Stravinsky’s Rites of Spring. Still, you don’t get a second chance for a first impression, which is why the Lexus dealership itself is so visibly spectacular. And, I am certain that the dealership wants to attract a younger crowd. Certainly the Cyber Cafe has that potential, but it missed the mark in their first jazz endeavor.

But then what do I know? “In matters of taste, there can be no dispute.”

I just know what I like, and, as I tell my real estate clients who wonder why their absolutely stunning home doesn’t sell — “when you drive the freeway, note how few  cars are the same make, model, color and year of the car you drive.”

In real estate, we know that a home must meet the center of the bell-shaped curve to be easily salable. If your home “features” concrete floors, painted black, it is going to be more difficult to sell.” A verifiable truth.

We all have different taste, but lying prone in a glass case is just dumb to my taste. It seems like a New York thing, and they can keep it. Tilda has said that she will do this “performance art” several more times this year, unannounced, and the art world is all giddy.

How would you like to be married to someone who finds that sort of thing exciting?

The Nature of War

While issues of war and peace do not lend themselves to 500 word columns, and even less to blogs of even fewer words, the debate of how we fight “modern war” deserves thoughtful debate.

In my lifetime, I have seen single air-raids kill more than 100,000 innocent civilians on several occasions (in non-nuclear attacks)  in a war prosecuted by Generals and Admirals without intervention by the US President; to LBJ personally selecting targets while laying on the bedroom floor of the White House; to public angst over water-boarding three known terrorists, drone strikes and unplanned collateral damage of handfuls of civilians.

I have stood at the number two periscope while my (very liberal) Commanding Officer wept, with crosshairs on a barge that removed silt from Haiphong Harbor — silt that would have shut down that harbor at a time Russian ships were streaming arms, uninterrupted, to the North. We were forbidden to sink that barge.

(There was a lively debate over how we could explain a “lost” torpedo in the same patrol area where the barge disappeared.)

We need a debate about the nature of war. It will not forever be “simple” terrorism, or massive war — but, either, or some unknown combination.

The single most important thing about war, however it is defined, is winning it.

Quote of the Day

“With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”

–        Nobel prize winning physicist, Steven Weinberg

Weekly Standard Introduced Me to This Quote

“Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.”

Denis Diderot

(French Philosopher in the 1700s. He had another great quote when I checked him out — “The best Doctor is the one you run for, and cannot find.” I have been using that quote for years and never knew from whom it came.)

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/d/denisdider105429.html#DEY6XPwjL3RP7DMU.99

A “Bail-In?”

So what is the opposite of a bail-out?

A bail-in, as was demonstrated by the Cyprus kerfuffle. This exercise in stupidity is a perfect example of “unintended consequences.”

A fiasco of the first order, and this concept has no parents. Germany denies its their idea. Cyprus denies it was their idea.

Basically, the European Union was willing to bail out nearly bankrupt Cyprus with $13 billion if, and only Cyprus came up with $6 billion, and someone, some unnamed someone came up with the concept of seizing about 10% of bank deposits over €100,000, and about 6% of deposits under that amount.

Everyone, except the IMF and EU came apart at the seams…markets dove worldwide, the Cypriot legislature had to stop ATM withdrawals and extended the opening of the banks until Tuesday just to stop a run on the banks. There is a rumor that Russia will step in since their people have the largest accounts – Cyprus has large natural gas deposits and Gazprom is highly visible.

The fact that the Cypriot legislature stopped the seizure may ease the bank run, but I would not trust the bank ANYWHERE in Europe. The very concept must concern anyone I in Spain, Portugal, Greece, or Italy.

Next time the Troika of the IMF, the European Central Bank and the European Commission may not give warning.

Remember when FDR seized all of the gold currency?

OK, I don’t either, not yet having reached teen years, but I read the history books. So should you.