Monday, November 30, 2009

The Border is Neglected

I was going over my notes, and discovered I hadn't written anything about the border in quite a while. This is not because I don't think it is important any more, but I have just neglected it because it hasn't been much in the news any more. With all the other stuff going on, and not that much happening with the border, it is one area that hasn't gotten much coverage.

There is no excuse for this. While there hasn't been as much immigration activity due to our economy being in the dumps, drug smuggling is still going on, and terrorists can still move freely across our border.

The Army Corps of Engineers does have a border fence assessments site, which, while mostly a big PR stunt, isn't all bad.

Proof that the fencing action is working (June 2008)

The increasing use of bribes by Mexican drug cartels to corrupt U.S. agents comes as Washington is sending $400 million to help Mexico’s army-led war on the trafficking gangs, whose brutal murders have surged to unprecedented levels.

There is, of course, another side of the coin, some ranchers worry how they will get their livestock to water after the border fence is built? Border Fence Plan Worries Texas Ranchers (Oct 2006) and I would never discount that. It is just one hurdle we are required to get past.

Hopefully I won't neglect this topic in the future.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A day of Thanksgiving, or consumption

Today is supposed to be a day of Thanksgiving. But too many Americans, and too many others around the world, will only be interested in how much they can consume. It goes along with the Black Friday mentality.

This was what first attracted me to Geez Magazine. And while I don't share all of their views, I do share some of them. In fact, one of the first articles read was at the beginning of their De-Moterize Your Soul campaign, which many of us should at least give a passing glance. I don't read their stuff any more, but am thankful they were there for the few months I did read some of their stuff. The ones I liked the best are no longer on the site, but here is a good one about taking up bicycling for Lent.

So, instead of planning how we will go Chasing the Wind tommorrow, why don't we take today to give thanks for (or try to make amends with) our friends and families, and plan to spend tommorrow NOT shopping.

Just a thought.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Season of Advent

I just looked at the Blog of the Crunchy Conservative, which I used to read occationally, and there is nothing on Advent. Checked some other pages on Beliefnet, and while there is some stuff, none of it is on the front page. Hmmm, the season is upon us, and I wonder how many, if you did a survey, know the relationship of John the Baptist and Jesus. Or Elizabeth and Mary.

Just wondering.
If anybody else is wondering, it is in
the first chapter or two of the Gospel According to Luke.

Happy Reading.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Ammo Shortage almost over

The ammunition shortage is easing. (And that must be Bush's fault too. )

The article misrepresents some of the facts and totally ignors others, but is correct that the Ammo shortage is easing. I was recently able to find reasonable quatities of ammo at Achadamy.

Demand for guns and ammo began growing last year before the November presidential election. It continued partly because many gun owners were concerned that President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress would reinstate an assault weapons ban or drastically hike taxes on ammunition, guns and firearms materials, analysts have said.

While there hasn’t been such action in Washington, apprehension remains and is likely playing a role in prompting people nationwide to not just buy guns and ammunition, but to stock up on them as well, some gun enthusiasts say.

Truth is, Obama has done everything he can to infringe on the second amendment rights of citizens, and the press has done everything they can to ignore it, or misconstrue it. The press has for the past two years plus, been blaming the ammunition shortage on the war in Iraq, and later on the reaction to the election President Obama. Well, on that last part, they may be partly right. We did stock up a lot of guns and ammo based, correctly, on the premise that Obama is hostile to the Constitution - and especially the Second Amendment (and it is looking like he is just as hostile to the First Amendment, but that is another article).

The real problem began with the militarization of police forces in the late 90's as a poorly managed reaction to the Los Angeles bank robbery shootout. The massive increase in firepower and (practice) ammo usage caused the inital shortage in 2006 and 2007. Of course, that still goes on, and added to the stocking up of citizens in 2008 and 2009.

Back Story, correcting all the myths promoted by the Liberal Associated Press.
More currant story, same author.

If, for some reason, that one fails, try this one,
the article was written on 6 Mar 09

As a side note: Obama has ordered the disarming of Airlines Pilots, choosing Idiocracy over security.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Looking at rising numbers, but no

Because most measurements of our economy are measuring the wrong things, the economy still looks better than it is. If you read this Oct 29th Bloomberg article, you will see that the GDP grew 3.5 pecent in the third quarter after a yearlong contraction as government incentives spurred consumers to spend more. What is wrong with this picture is that they are still measuring consumption, as if consuming things will make us wealthy.

On the other hand, the Manufacturing Index rose above 50 for the third straight month Now that is an honest sign of recovery. Full report here. Hold your apploause, this, by its self, is not good news. (as you read past the nice headline, it doesn't say more people are working, only that those working are producing more. Still, that is good, at least in the "not too short" run.)

Here, Peggy Noonan gives a more complete picture of the problems facing America in the long run, titled "We Are Governed by Callous Children." Be sure to read both parts of her article.

Our Competition, China, may Add 11 Million Jobs as Recovery Gains Pace. This is why gas prices are going up.

Employment data is still dismal excerpt:
The Labor Department on Nov. 6 will report that the unemployment rate rose to
9.9 percent in October, from 9.8 percent the previous month, as companies cut
another 175,000 jobs, according to the median forecasts in Bloomberg News
surveys of economists. More Americans filed bankruptcy in October than any month
since changes to bankruptcy laws in 2005.

Oct. 2 (Bloomberg)

The U.S. jobless rate probably rose to a 26-year high in September as employers kept cutting staff, signaling consumers will not lead the recovery, economists said before a report today.

Unemployment likely climbed to 9.8 percent, the highest since 1983, from 9.7 percent in August, according to the median estimate of 81 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. Payrolls probably fell by 175,000 workers...

And remember, the real rate, when you count all those not elegible for unemployment insurance payouts is about 7% higher.

As if the above isn't enough to show that Wall Street is out of touch with Main Street, Goldman Sachs is considering giving $1B to charity to mollifiy anger with their giving over $16B in executive compensation to reward those who helped run the economy off into the ditch. Or they might put the $1B into dividends. Ya'Think? The fact that they are only considering this as an altermative to funding their pet projects shows that corpratism is certainly not capitolism. (Update: They put the money into a fund to help small businesses. Still, profits should go to shareholders, not to corporate execs and their pet charities, even if I like their charities.)

So, there you have it. The recovery is underway - if you are a corporate exec or banker. If you used to turn a wrench or work in a factory, it will be quite a while longer for you. This stage of the recovery is for those who already have money.