Thursday, February 28, 2008
BMBS mourns the loss of conservative writer William F. Buckley Jr., who passed away yesterday at the age of 82. Buckley was a prolific, intellectual heavyweight credited with making conservatism cool at a time when it was considered reactionary and geeky. He founded National Review in 1955 and oversaw the growth of the movement from a fringe ideology to a dominant political creed during the latter half of the twentieth century. He was also a devout Catholic who attended Latin Mass regularly.
And no, he wasn't in any way related to Bray Buckley.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Monday, February 25, 2008
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Monday, February 18, 2008
Screw 2007. How bout we do a year that actually mattered, like the greatest year in modern U.S. history:
- The controversial Reagan tax cuts, enacted 2 years earlier, finally come into effect. In addition, the Federal Reserve's politically risky decision to tighten the money supply to fight inflation begins to bear fruit. As a result, starting in January, the U.S. economy emerges from its worst depression since the 1930's and commences the longest peacetime expansion in history. Inflation and unemployment plunge as economic growth soars to unprecedented heights. R&D investment in Silicon Valley firms like Dell, Microsoft, Texas Instruments, and Whelan's Furniture surges, paving the way for the boom years of the 90's. Despite 2 mild hiccups in 1990 and 2001, the prosperity we enjoy a quarter-century later remain the direct result of Reagan's administration and the sound money policies of his Fed chairman, Paul Volcker. Both men pursued a bold agenda that defied the political and economic orthodoxy of the time, and set the nation on a completely new economic course.
- In March, President Reagan addresses the nation, announcing his plans for the "Strategic Defense Initiative." The program calls for billions in new defense spending to launch a system into space capable of firing at and taking down any inter-ballistic missiles fired by the Soviets. Dubbed "Star Wars" by the media, the announcement strikes more fear into a Soviet leadership already intimidated by Washington's new defense buildup and "rollback" policy aimed at bankrupting communism. Three short years prior, after invading Afghanistan and watching American influence wane under Carter's policy of "peaceful coexistence", the Soviets knew they'd have little trouble carrying out their master plan of eventual world domination. It is an extraordinary tribute to the capabilities of one man's leadership, convictions, and communication skills that merely 36 months later, the tables had completely turned and officials in what had been the world's most powerful totalitarian empire were already shaking in their boots and whispering to one another about the sudden reality of an impending collapse brought about by military and economic inferiority.
AT THE MOVIES
- Speaking of Star Wars, the final (and best) chapter of George Lucas' epic trilogy opens to sold-out theatres in May. It ends in the greatest 20 minutes in all of cinema. Tom Cruise is introduced in Risky Business. The year also saw the release of timeless classics like Jaws III, Flashdance and Mr. Mom. The best part about most of these movies is that there isn't a whole lot of complex thinking required. The good guys win and the bad guys lose, and everybody gets their $2 worth.
- There is officially no cussing on the radio or on TV. Pop-stars are busy creating hot new dance routines, not molesting 6 year-olds. Black artists actually sing songs, using lyrics you can actually understand. Musicians actually want to entertain their audiences by singing and dancing and producing catchy music videos that MTV would actually play. None of it involves mumbling about "how many times I've been shot" or "how mom and dad screwed up my life," because no one gave a damn about these things anyway.
- Michael Jackson releases the best-selling album in history. And if that's not enough, he goes ahead and decides to make the best music video of all time too. In May, he performs the moonwalk for the first time in front of a live audience at a Motown special.
- The Police are clearly the biggest rock band in the world. They release their final and most successful album, Synchronicity. Meanwhile, an underground college band from Athens, Georgia releases their studio debut Murmur. Rolling Stone hails it as album of the year. This is the only time you will hear me cite Rolling Stone on this blog.
- Dale Murphy wins MVP, and Herschel turns pro after winning the Heisman in late '82. Professional athletes are busy promoting Wheaties, milk, and wholesome living, not getting juiced or electrocuting dogs.
- I am born in January in Marietta. My two favorite TV shows are Romper Room and Pinwheel. If I disobey my parents I actually get this thing called a spanking.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Like the fact that the Benedictine Cadets have won a post-season basketball game for the second year in a row. Write it down. BC will win a state playoff game in basketball next year and make a run at the state title in two years.
Friday, February 08, 2008
Congress Sends Economic Stimulus Bill to White House
Seeking to get tax rebate checks into the hands of consumers who will spend them and stimulate the U.S. economy out of a slowdown, (Not true.) the House on February 7 voted 380 to 34 to approve the Economic Stimulus Package Act of 2008, an amended version of the Recovery Rebates and Economic Stimulus for the American People Act of 2008. The House passage of the bipartisan legislation came quickly after Senate lawmakers modified the measure to boost the number of elderly and disabled veterans who would receive assistance. The White House has signaled that President Bush will sign the measure, which was first negotiated by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson, Jr.. The bill does not contain revenue offsets and will increase the federal budget deficit by $124.5 billion over 10 years, according to Senate estimates.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles B. Rangel, D-N.Y., said he hopes that, after the slowdown is over, Congress will recognize that millions of poor Americans are having trouble meeting their basic needs, while affluent Americans are unaware that a problem exists. (Are you kidding me? Then why are 90% of America's "poor" severely overweight?) Ranking member Jim McCrery, R-La., said the stimulus bill is an excellent example of the House and Senate working on a bipartisan basis. He noted that the best way to stimulate the economy is to give businesses tax breaks to create jobs that provide paychecks that Americans can spend. (Agreed.)
Intense negotiations between Senate leaders and the White House on February 7 lead to an agreement on a slightly altered version of the House stimulus package that the Senate quickly approved by a vote of 81 to 16 (Ridiculous) and sent to the House for that chamber's approval. The revised version extends rebate checks to some 22 million low-income senior citizens and 250,000 disabled veterans and denies rebates to illegal immigrants.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., declared victory despite failing to advance a package that included extended unemployment benefits and low-income home heating assistance. Nonetheless, he vowed that Congress would quickly assemble and pass what he termed a "housing package" that would provide much-needed financial assistance to the troubled mortgage industry. "We were able to make the House bill better, and while I am pleased with that result, there is still more to do," he said. Reid added that lawmakers would continue to monitor the economic downturn and consider developing a second stimulus measure.
Note to reader: Harry Reid is a Communist.Under the House version, individuals would receive rebate checks up to $600; married couples would receive up to $1,200, and an additional $300 for each child under the age of 17. The minimum rebate amount is $300 ($600 for married filing jointly). Taxpayers will receive this amount if they have at least $1 of tax liability or $3,000 in qualifying income, defined as the sum of earned income, veterans' disability payments (including payments to survivors of disabled veterans) and Social Security benefits. Income eligibility for the rebates is capped at $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for married couples. The measure provides employers the opportunity to fully expense equipment up to $250,000 in the year it is purchased with an overall annual investment limit of $800,000. (The only positive out of this bill.) In addition, the measure increases the loan limits for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and FHA-approved mortgages.
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
One phrase the video mentions that we often hear is how it's tougher now than it has ever been to "make ends meet." You will hear all the candidates, particularly the Democrats, in the coming election talk about this. But how can "make ends meet" really be defined in 2008? I stopped by Wal-Mart the other day to buy some groceries. While there I passed by the electronics department and noticed a lot of customers who, judging by their dress, looked relatively "lower-income" (most, also, were Mexican). I observed them all stocking up on cell phones, flat-panel TV's, new ipods, and DVD collections. I guess they desparately need all of these things just to get by and make ends meet. Seriously, who could afford these things 15 years ago?
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Monday, February 04, 2008
Gentlemen, The date has been set. The inaugural Gael Force Run will take place on Thursday, March 13th at 6pm. This time was selected not in spite of its proximity to the parade day, but because of it. Many Hurricanes live out of town and this allows them the opportunity to come and compete. This will also afford our run and our group the public exposure they so richly deserve. This run is not meant to be merely an athletic competition, but also an exhibition of buffoonery. That being said, costumes and flair are strongly encouraged.
I've posted the map of the course, which is the exact same as the 2007 St. Patrick's Day Parade route. The only refreshment stop is Skyler's, which has been noted on the map for your pre-race planning purposes.
The rules for this race are as follows:
- Runners must stick to the parade route. No cutting through squares. The barricades should be up anyway.
- ALL runner's must stop at Skyler's and chug one beer before continuing the race. No travelers.
- The runner who finishes last must purchase no less than four cases of domestic light beer for all runners to enjoy at the post-race social.
- Runners who choose to compete without flair in their dress and/or demeanor will be teased mercilessly.
All members and pledges are expected to attend.
A lot of the above is true, but I have but one desperate plea; I have never asked ya'll to do anything else before: please go to the polls and cast your ballot for Mitt Romney tomorrow.
Why Romney, you ask? Well, now that Fred and Rudy (my previous choices) are out, it's coming down to who can actually win 9 months from now. Let's be clear: Romney has flaws, serious flaws. He implemented the equivalent of Hillarycare when he was governor. Despite these drawbacks, this sudden rational for supporting Romney is becoming clearer by the day: if John McCain wins the Republican nomination, we are going to get demoralized in November. Sure, McCain leads both Obama and Hilary in some polls now, but this in no way reflects the reality of circumstances voters will face an entire baseball season from now. The truth is that Romney can rally conservatives while McCain cannot.
With the exception of Iraq, voters are going to be turned off by McCain's me-tooism in debates with Hilary or Obama. Want to give amnesty to 12 million illegals? Sure, that's cool, I just helped write such a proposal last year with Ted Kennedy that allows that. Want to repeal the the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy? No problem, I fought hard against them in the first place, using the same class-warfare arguments as Dennis Kucinich. I agree with you on most everything Hilary, except the troop surge of course. I'm also 71, really grumpy, have never run a business, and enjoy bashing those who have. Domestically, I've had no guiding principles or philosophy in the Senate other than to rebuke my evil right-wing critics at every opportunity. The media loves me and continues to support me because they know I will effectively render the GOP irrelevant.
Romney, on the other hand, would be undoubtedly able to articulate a strong, energetic conservative response to the warm, fuzzy, feel-good proposals the Dems put forth. He would offer voters a choice instead of a mere echo. And despite his blemishes as Governor of Massachusetts, he is unfortunately our only hope for a GOP victory. He is the only remaining candidate that "gets it", while McCain never has and apparently never will.
Again, Americans deserve a choice in November, not an echo. For this reason, I am now forced to endorse Mitt Romney for the Republican nomination for President of the United States.
Friday, February 01, 2008
Liberal response: Somehow "freeze" interest rates and give direct federal assistance to those who've been foreclosed upon. Prosecute "unscrupulous" lenders who made loans they shouldn't have and prevent them from making such loans in the future. Require lenders to provide additional disclosure documents to borrowers. Extend unemployment benefits for those out of work and increase foodstamps. Rollback the Bush tax cuts for those making over $200,000 and provide immediate relief to middle and lower income families because, unlike the rich, "they actually need it."
Bush Administration response: Send everybody rich and poor $1600 and hope new consumer spending will somehow "stave off" a recession. We're all Keynsians now so let's prime the pump and party like it's 1973.
Conservative response: Do nothing. Allow lenders and borrowers to take the hits they deserve for making bad investment decisions as this will prevent them from making these same mistakes again when the Fed fuels its next unsustainable boom. "Freezing" interest rates would have disastrous unintended consequences: all lending would cease because banks would have no incentive to lend money at rates below what the actual supply of savings and risks involved are. It would also signal that the U.S. is willing to undermine that basic tenants of contract law just for political expediency. Stimulus packages and more federal intervention would only serve to further distort and prolong the miscalculations that brought about the recession in the first place. A correction in housing is inevitable and necessary in order for the economy to recover and for the market to return itself to equilibrium. Unprofitable investments must be liquidated so capital can be reallocated into sectors that are truly profitable. Handouts, rate freezes, and rebate checks will only delay this process.
After today, Piggly Wiggly #219 will close its doors for good. Slumping sales were blamed on competition mainly from Food Lion. Food Lion had the better location in Georgetown as it was on the south side of Abercorn on King George Boulevard. All of Georgetown's limited growth since the stores opened has occurred on this side of Abercorn. Though the Pig is just on the other side of Abercorn and visible from the Food Lion, many would not cross. Rightly so; that light is a total pain in the ass.