Friday, November 30, 2007

Muhammad Teddy Bear Story Goes from Abnormal to Unbelievable

I usually don't write about stories like the Muhammad teddy bear because it is a better fit for alarmist talk radio, but this is too crazy not to write about.

As you probably already know, an English teacher was sentenced to jail (a lesser punishment considering she escaped 40 lashes) in the Sudan for allowing (encouraging?) her students to name a teddy bear Muhammad.

This story didn't surprise me in any way. That society has decided that they want some form of theocracy. Fine. Let them have it. I don't live there and never will. My knowledge of Sudan's legal system is not up to par, but if they had a clearly stated law against naming animals Muhammad then I don't know what all the fuss is about.

The problem is this. These people are rallying in the streets with clubs and axes demanding that the teacher be executed.

I think I am speechless. Not exactly, but nearly.

Mostly, I think this is a control issue. Muslims feel dominated and disgraced by their lack of economic and military progress in the last 500 years so they show their superiority where they can. I do not think there is any coincidence that the teacher is British. The Islamic state of Sudan was originally created after the original expulsion of the British under the leadership of Muhammad ibn Abdalla. Abdalla fought for the return to a more pure form of Islam; a fight that continues today.

In short: the people rallying are saying we want a return to a pure form of Islam and we don't want to be walked dominated by Western powers. They picked an absurd event to make their statement, but they are Abdalla's hordes.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Pelosi Strikes Again

Common sense? Who needs no stinkin common sense!

This appears to be the motto of Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Why?

She is holding up the $53 billion dollar Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) budget because she thinks employers should be allowed to have English only policies in the workplace. Senator Alexander's amendment to the CJS appropriations bill (the source of her angst) strips EEOC funding for lawsuits against English in the work place policies.

Beyond objections from the Hispanic caucus and ACLU types there is no reasonable objection. The employers who were being sued were not impinging on any rights because they did not dictate which language employees spoke on their free time. I could probably make an argument for the employers about efficiency, but what about common sense? If an employer can't dictate how an employee acts at work then what can they dictate? Maybe disgruntled employees should get the EEOC to start suing employers who mandate culturally insensitive uniforms etc.?

I'm not sure how or why the Hispanic caucus in Congress got so powerful, but she must find a backbone. I'm not holding my breath while i wait.

Thanks to John Fund at the Wall St. Journal.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Financial Collapse Continued

I hope this doesn't become a 'cry in your beer blog' but i can't ignore the bad financial news. There is almost literally a story every day about a major financial institution getting the smack down. Here are the latest and greatest.

Freddie Mac- $2 billion dollar loss for the third quarter

H&R Block - Chairman and Chief Executive Mark Ernst resigned today because of subprime exposure through Block's subsidiary Option One Mortgage Company

The Freddie Mac news may be the worse yet because investors may lose confidence in the governments will to bail out financial institutions. I don't think the government should do anything (after all they got us into this mess in the first place) but investors have held somewhat steady because the fed had already opened up the vault to be raided once. With inflation fears growing it is doubtful they will do the same again. Combine that with continued weakness in the overall housing market, retail weakness (Target's weak earnings), and weakened dollar (gold spiked about $20 an ounce today/yesterday), and you have the makings of a recession.

Buckle up.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Tough Primary Decisions

This morning I was swayed to support Mike Huckabee. There is now no choice based on this video.

Then I came to my senses. I am going to be voting for Ike based simply on his ad (via TruthCaucus).

Vote Ike 2008.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Financial Collapse Continued

About a week ago i wrote a post about how the subprime crisis is going to tighten capital markets. I provided a list of real estate failures that painted a stark picture. Little did I know that there would be more evidence in the coming days.

Barclays Capital - Announced write-downs totaling 2.67 billion

HSBC - $1 billion more in write-downs

As I said in the last post about this issue, the danger is not that these companies are going to go under. In fact, Barclays still turned a profit (amazingly). The problem is that capital markets are going to tighten. Lending institutions are going to make it harder to lend money. Less money means less investment. Less investment means less jobs.

Buckle in because its going to get bumpy.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Fred Thompson is the Heir Apparent to W

Fred Thompson seems to be the heir apparent to W. Why? Because Freddy has been light on the details and heavy on talking to the 'folks' its tough to know if he matches W in the policy realm, but phonetically he appears to be a perfect match. Here is an excerpt from his Meet the Press interview yesterday regarding a drug dealer friend of his (Los Angeles Times here),

"I'm not going to throw my friend under the bus for something he did, you know, 25 years ago if he's OK now," Thompson said. "On the other hand, I'm running for president. I've got, you know, to do the right thing, you know, and problems occur, and I'll just have to figure it out."

He manages to say 'you know' 3 times in 3 sentences. One word comes to mind: amateur. When a speaker feels nervous they tend to fill in the gaps with 'um' and 'you know' etc. A good speaker, when hit with a tough question as Thompson was, will pause. It is amazingly difficult to pause and collect your thoughts when eyes (and in this case cameras) are glaring, but is essential in public speaking. While it is true that he was hit with a very difficult question that he did not expect, it is also true that he normally speaks poorly. It is why he seems uninterested and bored.

At least George W. was animated when he would jump off the grammatical cliff. Maybe Thompson should take a page from W's book.