Tug of War

Tug of War

Tug-of-WarKasey and Django fighting over a toy. Once Kasey gets it free the result is usually about five minutes of full tilt running around the backyard. Django tries to cut the circle most times because he has a hard time keeping up, but then Kasey just reverses field in a blink and suddenly the circle is rotating the other direction.

What a Real 4X4 Grill Looks Like

What a Real 4X4 Grill Looks Like

4X4When I first moved to the lower 48 from Alaska I was shocked to see four wheel drive vehicles… with no dents, and wax jobs. Shiny paint, white whitewalls. Sports utility vehicles — what the heck is that? In Alaska you drive a “rig” or you drive a 4X4 or a truck… you don’t drive an “SUV”. Here’s what a real 4X4 grill should look like, notice the winch, the come-along, and the handy-man jack. These are all great things to have if you are really four wheel driving.

Comparative Health Care MA vs GA

Comparative Health Care MA vs GA

In this video 1000 pennies compares two major health care differences between Georgia and Massachusetts.

Obama’s First Six Months: The Fail

Obama’s First Six Months: The Fail

Domestic

Even being kind and peering through rose-colored glasses won’t give the appearance that President Obama has succeeded in his major policy initiatives – especially when you look at real data from his first two quarters in office.

The biggest challenge he talked about in the final days of election season was the economy and his policies and initiatives have fallen well short of promise. It could be worse than just the bare unemployment figures indicate.

While there are mild signs of recovery, the overall data after two fiscal quarters of Obama’s Presidency indicate the big fail on most promises. States are the beggars next in line to come after US Taxpayers and you should expect to see lots of lobbying from them during the second half of the year.

He promised not to raise taxes on the middle class, but he certainly has. With tobacco taxes as first step and the coming Cap and Trade Bill, pretty much every person in the US will see some impact to their budget in the form of a hidden energy tax.

The effects on industry are likely to quell the mild recovery mentioned above, but he’s pressuring the Senate right now to get it passed pronto. Let us hope the Senate stops this monstrous blow on the economy and your wallet. This might also impact the balance of power in congress, as vulnerable Dems come under fire for voting for Cap and Trade.

If Cap and Trade doesn’t stall the economy, then his health care reform plan will, and that looks headed into a maelstrom of congressional indecision. Congress will take this up right after the holiday break and you should expect some major contention. It seems that everyone wants universal health care, but not many want to pay for it.

In other areas he’s appearing like Bush III rather than a Democrat president, indeed the biggest “change” might be hypocrisy.

On ethics President Obama’s promised transparency in government has been displaced by realpolitik, and the end of influence he promised has been tossed in favor of pay to play and patronage. Congress doesn’t seem to mind since they are the new jet setters on our dime, and for now the MSM is still backing the President’s plays.

Foreign

When it comes to the war on terror, Obama is a series of reversals and that’s the only reason he gains a passing grade. Here are but a few:

  • He promised to stop warrant less wiretaps, but has reversed on that.
  • He promised to end unlimited gitmo detention, but reversed on that
  • He promised to close gitmo, but now runs into the same rock and hard place Bush did.
  • He promised to release Abu Ghraib photos, but wisely reversed after counseling on that.

In every major challenge to the US from tinpots and tyrants, he’s talked softly and wielded a feather boa. The only reasons he gets a C in foreign policy are his firm prosecution of the war in Afghanistan and his follow through on the Bush policy and negotiations in Iraq. He is clearly on path to alienate some allies such as Israel, Columbia, and Japan from his soft stance and passive/agressive meddling.

The recent Honduran issue shows clearly that he is as isolationist as any hard core paleocon rightwinger, although his approach is passive / aggressive rather than blunt as a paleocon’s would be. The mixed message of “not a coup but not legal” and the pressure through OAS that our state department is sending sure isn’t impressing our allies who are opposed to Chavez’s Bolivarian Revolution in Central and South America.

I am certainly not one of those who are hoping for Obama to fail and consider it stupid for anyone to wish for that – but it appears that in many areas he is not succeeding. Hope and Change has metamorphosed into Hypocrisy and Carterdom.

Tonight’s Moon

Tonight’s Moon

moon-070109

Here is tonight’s moon, I’ve got something set wrong on the camera that I can’t find, these are coming out a bit dimmer than they used to. I’ll fiddle about and find it eventually, most likely it’s average white balance or something like that.

Ok, I have the dimness thing figured out, the other night I was trying to photograph firefly traces, and set the AWB method / setting to shade. Fixed now.

Virgin CEO Branson Fully Favors Nuclear Energy

Virgin CEO Branson Fully Favors Nuclear Energy

Richard is somewhat halting in public speaking but what he says here is very pertinent and right on the money.

This is exactly in synch with what oil economy specialists say, especially in light of the new restrictions on shipping diesel fuel. The sooner we can free up more light sweet crude from power production for transport, the better.

Quick Hits

Quick Hits

With the withdrawal of US Troops from Iraqi cities negotiated by the Bush administration we see the last major Iraq policy initiative of the previous President. If anything breaks in Iraq after this, it’s on Obama.

In Pakistan the Taliban are still retreating in a hard backwards slog where they are killing their own wounded, the refugees are still fleeing, and it appears that Pakistan is really serious again about combating terror. I might even start rooting for them again if they continue and don’t fall back to more hudna-centric Peace Accords that only aid the Taliban.

In Afghanistan the Marines have finished pouring into the South, and I expect to see big changes in Helmand over the summer; meanwhile US forces continue to pound the Haqqani network in Eastern Afghanistan.

In Honduras they are telling Obama and the Organization of American states to go pound sand because Zelaya is not coming back.