December 31, 2014

Happy New Year

Best Wishes to everyone for a happy, healthy and productive 2015!

December 30, 2014

2015 Predictions

I don't relish predicting the upcoming year as I have a lousy record at predicting events.  Nevertheless, it makes for a funny review at year end.  That said there are a few things I think are probable.  To protect myself from future ridicule I will mix in what I think is probable with what I think is less probable (much less in some cases) in the predictions below.  Keep in m ind these represent predictions, not preferences.

(1) Announcing a run for president in 2015: Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal, Ted Cruz

(2) Not announcing a run in 2015: Joe Biden, Mitt Romney, Scott Walker, Sarah Palin and Ben Carson

(3) New England will play Seattle in the Superbowl. The win I see as a toss up, so I'm going with New England.

(4)  Hillary Clinton will stumble and her status as heir apparent in the Democratic party will be shaken, perhaps for good.

(5) Oil prices will stay low for at least half of 2015, more likely through September and maybe even the whole year.

(6) Japan, Europe and China will feel economic weakness in 2015 and the recessionary pressures could spread to North America.

(7) President Obama will continue to work around Congress and his approval ratings will reach the into the 30's (37%?).  He will not recover above 41% for the remainder of his presidency.

(8) Joblessness will continue to decline slowly, but at the end of his presidency Obama will have a record-setting unemployment legacy that dates back to the Depression era numbers.

(9) Russia will slow it's economic decay but the slide will continue throughout the year.

(10) Terrorist activities will continue to plague the Western world, not just America, however, the success of ISIS will abate and the acts of terror will tend to be lone-wolf or small cell group  sorts of problems.

December 29, 2014

Still more 2014 in review from Reason TV

Another take on 2014 via Reason TV.

More 2014 year in review from PJTV


2014 Year in Review

Looking back at 2014 there was a lot in the news about race relations.  To my way of thinking, that means 2014 was in many ways an unproductive year.  The highlight for me had to be the mid-term elections.  The GOP picked up governorships, seats in Congress and most impressively 10 seats in the senate, slaying the Harry Reid dragon and unfortunately, enabling president Obama to feel free to bypass Congress at his whim,

The ebola outbreak, the North Korean hackers of Sony and the missing Malaysian airlines plane were all interesting stories but diversions from the real issues.  Russia's invasion of the Crimean peninsula, the stagnation that's been passed off as a recovery, the erosion of the middle class under this president, the continued push forward of Obamacare, the decay of American power, influence and respect around the globe are all urgent matters in need of immediate action.

2014 was a largely unsuccessful year for the United States.  But after a midterm election where it appears the American electorate finally woke up to the disaster that has been Democratic leadership, perhaps the country has turned the corner.  Let's hope 2015 turns out to be a much better year.

Top fails of 2014

2014 fail stuff for fun.

December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Christmas Musical Interlude - A 3 hour Christmas medley

A special musical interlude for Christmas, since I'm otherwise occupied today.  Merry Christmas

December 24, 2014

PJTV and the War on Christmas

Via PJTV, it sounds like Americans still believe in Christmas.

December 23, 2014

An early Christmas post

A Christmas message.

For my Jewish reader(s)

I used to have some Jewish readership, given my support for both Israel and the website "Funny and Jewish".  So I may have a reader or two left among my dozen of readers...

Yeah, so a belated but heartfelt Happy Hanukkah.

If I Were Sony... #IfIWereSony

I'd be capitalizing on the free publicity for the movie "The Interview" and put the movie out and I'd do it on Christmas Day.  Bold, newsworthy, and more free publicity.  In fact I'd amp up the advertising to include the hacker attack and the threats.

I bet you'd get people going to see the movie as a form of statement to North Korea, who might not even otherwise go to see it.

But that's just me.

Please, not another Bush

There's a myriad of reasons to not want another Bush in the White House.  They have a mixed record of conservatism at best.  I'd give the Bushes a combined rating of D- at best.  They did not embody conservatism, but rather establishment-ism. And if the GOP is not a conservative party, then why does it even exist?  We've already got a progressive liberal party, There's no need for a somewhat less progressive and less liberal party.  Furthermore, no name will stir the liberal base the way the name Bush will do.  

I doubt that conservative voters will rally around Jeb Bush the way the Republican establishment appears to be doing.  The problem with the counterweight on the actual conservative side is a split vote among many candidates.

In short, a successful Bush run, is yet another recipe for defeat.  Romney, McCain, Bush, Dole, Bush have been a list of elites with only 2 wins in 6 tries since 1992, and one win was without a popular vote win to boot.  In fact the other win was based on war time support.  The establishment appears to be running on fear of being losing and it proves to be the wrong strategy most every time.

Not only is an establishment, liberal Republican bad, another Bush is the worst possible name of the lot.  Truly, truly a bad idea.

Q3 GDP results are in and... least the New York Times is thrilled:
The American economy grew last quarter at its fastest rate in more than a decade, providing the strongest evidence to date that the recovery is finally gaining sustained power more than five years after it began.

Bolstered by robust spending among consumers and businesses alike, economic output rose at an annual rate of 5 percent during the summer months, the Commerce Department said Tuesday, a sharp revision from its earlier estimate of 3.9 percent. The advance followed a second quarter where growth reached a rate of 4.6 percent after a decline last winter that was exacerbated by particularly harsh weather.
5% growth following 4.6% growth is pretty solid to be sur. In the view of the New York Times it no doubt proves that progressive, Keynesian Obama policy has worked. A bit late for them probably but successful nonetheless.

Here's the problem. On the heels of a dismal non-recovery for 5 years, it's to be expected. It's the least the economy should be doing at this point. Suffice it to say, I'm not impressed.

The additional caveat is that perhaps these are not the final revisions. I wouldn't be surprised if there is another revision in the future. And with the Congress controlled by the GOP, legislation will not continue to stand in the way of recovery any longer. At least if the president doesn't veto everything that gets sent his way.

December 22, 2014

Stratfor: Russian financial crisis?

Via Stratfor: Russian economy, what's going on?

This is against a backdrop of a Russian military refurbishment that has been going on for a few years:

Tea Party Turns Five

Via the Heritage Foundation, is the Tea Party done, or is it a lasting movement?

If 20% of adults identify with the Tea Party, isn't it fair to now consider them a persecuted minority now? Just asking, tongue in cheek.

PJTV: Stories liberals tell

Stories liberals tell and and how conservatives can win back the culture. This is important because culture drives some of the electorate and often the direction of the conversation.

December 21, 2014

Sunday verse

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.
~Ephesians 6:13

December 20, 2014

Saturday Learning Series - 100% Planes

National Geographic covers the numbers on aircraft.

Lies, Damn Lies, and Obama (on Sony this time)

President Obama: Never talked to Sony about the hackers before they pulled The Interview from it's future showings in theaters across the country.

Truth: Um, hold on a minute.

Via Deadline:
UPDATED: Sony CEO Michael Lynton further contradicted President Obama’s criticism that Sony had “made a mistake” in handling the release of The Interview in his full sit-down with CNN on Friday. Obama said today that the studio did not come to him for help when cyberterrorists crippled the studio in a November hacking attack ordered by North Korea, but Lynton said the President was the mistaken one. “We definitely spoke to a senior advisor in the White House to talk about the situation,” he confirmed. “The White House was certainly aware of the situation.”

What’s more: Sony also consulted with the US State Department before the November hacking attack to assess any potential political heat the Seth Rogen/James Franco comedy might provoke.

Saturday Learning Series - Christianity, the second 1000 years

Continued from earlier, the first 1000 years, the documentary on the history of Christianity continues into the second millennium.

Saturday Learning Series - Christianity, the first 1000 years

An interesting documentary on the first 1000 years of the world's largest religion.

December 19, 2014

Friday Musical Interlude - Cattle Call

This Friday Musical Interlude hearkens back to 1944 or 1955.  The song Cattle Call was released twice by Eddy Arnold (though his version is not the original), the second time it reached #1.

December 18, 2014

Hackers defeat Sony

So the ridiculous (as in not a political documentary but rather farcical comedy) movie The Interview has lost all backing from Sony because hackers who broke into Sony's emails and put out numerous emails embarrassing executives have threatened theaters 

Sounds like the work of North Korean cyber warfare.  The whole country is starving and they're trying to build nuclear missiles.  The leader seems obsessed with Dennis Rodman and clearly takes Hollywood seriously.  So a movie that farcically talks about assassinating him would be most unwelcome.  

Do you seriously think Anonymous, would be intent on stopping a Seth Rogan, James Franco comedy?  The same pair that recently appeared on Naked and Afraid to spout poop humor are an affront to a group aligned with "the 99%"?  No.  

Sony, the comedy was not high brow stuff, but seriously, this was a gutless move.  America is about freedom of speech.  Sony is about CYA I guess. This is almost as distasteful as Obama on Cuba.

Cuba? Really?

The president has decided to start normalizing relations with Cuba.  A communist pariah nation (not it's people) with waning support from Russia and Venezuela which is in rough shape and subject to more concessions on democracy that could be extracted from it's Castro leadership right now than the president cares to try to get.


There's no strategic value in this.  There's little political value in this - Cubans in America are not likely to support the president on this and Hispanics in general are also unlikely to be moved more towards the president.  Is it perhaps a scorched earth policy towards Hillary Clinton and her presidential aspirations?  I doubt it.  It seems like a purely ideological move, proving the president is indeed progressive and algned with a very left leaning world view.

How does this serve America in any way?  Will Cuba suddenly become more democratic?  Renounce communism?  NO.

Did the president come before the American people and explain why this is happening and spell out the reasons for it? NO.

For those reasons this is without merit and just plain dumb.

December 16, 2014

Empathize This!

Recently Hillary Clinton was giving a speech in which she proclaimed that you had to  empathize with your enemies. Today a bunch of Taliban radicals targeted a school in Pakistan in order to kill children.

How do you empathize with that? While you are pondering the answer,  here's a hint: you don't.

December 14, 2014

Sunday Verse

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.
~Luke 2:15-16

December 12, 2014

Friday Musical Interlude - Dreams remix

Psychemagik remixes  Fleetwood Mac's Dreams, using Stevie Nicks' vocals as an instrument.  Brilliantly done and true to the ethereal feel of the original.

December 10, 2014

Some rants on Canadian stuff (Part 2)

Alright, I get it Tea Party. Being unhappy with the representatives from your own side can happen.  Here in Canada that hasn't been a really big issue.  Our Conservative Party government has for the most part acted as conservatively as they could, given our center-left population.  It's a tough job given the circumstances, I get that.  Nevertheless, there's a few things they've done that have not been...perfect.

This morning I sent an email to Prime Minister Harper paraphrasing the points below.  I've never bothered to do that before.

I'm as about as conservative as they come.  I've never once in my life voted for a liberal candidate. I've always supported the conservative party, and even more so since they joined forces with Canada's version of the Tea Party, the Reform Party, long ago.  I've always been a supporter of Stephen Harper's government.  In fact, I voted for the conservative party candidate in a special election to replace our Finance Minister who hails from my riding (district, in American-speak) just a few weeks ago.

So I've got to be more than just a little annoyed to say what I'm about to say right now.  I'm not sure I want to vote for the Conservative party in the next election, I'm considering abstaining.


The conservatives have rolled out a number of new initiatives knowing that 2015 will be an election year.  Most of them are worthwhile - keeping taxes low, or lowering them where possible, consumer protection against cable and wireless companies and banks (you know, populist type stuff).  But the one thing that really, really irks me, is the selective nature of the tax credits they are proposing.

They have promised to give additional tax credits to working families.  On the surface, that seems fine but to qualify you must have your children, under 18 only, living with you.

This comes on the heels of the discussion of income splitting for seniors to reduce their tax burden.

Not to sound greedy, but seriously; what's in it for me?  I'm not a senior, and my oldest son is over 18 and my youngest lives with my ex-wife.  I'm already paying a pretty hefty child support bill every month, and she's remarried and living in a bigger house than I am, and taking multiple vacations every year.  But she's going to get this tax credit, while I get nothing.

That may sound bitter, but I have struggled financially over the last couple of years and I'm not happy to be excluded from a tax break which would definitely be helpful to my entire household.

It seems to me the most egalitarian thing to do would be cut rates across the board by a smaller amount rather than to use the tax code as a method of social engineering (to promote families, sorry, I'm not in a position to hop on that train), or else to pander to a voting block.  Either way, that's no different from what the liberal and socialist parties have done for decades. That's something I thought conservatives stood against.  Apparently not.

Unless something else happens before election time, I'm not inclined to throw my, until now unwavering, support behind the conservative party.

Some rants on Canadian stuff (Part 1)

Canadians are not fond of getting ripped off, we're just too polite to complain about it.

I knew we were getting ripped off on gasoline prices since the price of oil has fallen so sharply. So I did a bit of quick research on the spot oil price per barrel vs. gasoline prices at the pump for consumers in Canada. The last time oil prices were at their current level was in January 2009. At that time Canadians were paying approximately 80 cents per liter of gasoline. Currently the average price (at least in my area) is about $1 per liter. The extra 20 cents per liter(or approximately 80 cents per gallon), is going where exactly?

Frankly I don't care. I know it's coming out of my pocket and going into the bottom line of the energy companies. My quick calculation on the effect on consumers' wallets doesn't even take into account the secondary effects that it has on things line airline ticket costs, grocery costs etc.

It's gouging, and why Canadians are so damn passive about that sort of thing is truly beyond my ability to comprehend.

Quote of the Week

Sen. Bob Kerrey, Democrat, on the partisan nature of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence's report that kneecaps the CIA and does not serve America:
I do not need to read the report to know that the Democratic staff alone wrote it. The Republicans checked out early when they determined that their counterparts started out with the premise that the CIA was guilty and then worked to prove it....

The worse consequence of a partisan report can be seen in this disturbing fact: It contains no recommendations. This is perhaps the most significant missed opportunity, because no one would claim the program was perfect or without its problems. But equally, no one with real experience would claim it was the completely ineffective and superfluous effort this report alleges.
A few Democrats seem to have come down with a case of candor.

December 9, 2014

America and the self inflicted wound

The CIA is going to be releasing documents today dredging up the enhanced interrogation techniques and augmenting it with new details. I guess the American government feels that the United States  still has far too great of a competitive advantage over other nations and that the only way to remedy that is by giving itself some self inflicted wounds. There is no other reason to release the details.

If this is a political move by the administration it is their most egregious error yet. Lives could be lost over this.  Allies could be angered. Enemies will be enraged and energized. The upside? Transparency far beyond what is necessary?

The sheer stupidity of this is astounding. If this is meant to energize progressive voters and you happen to be one of them, let me ask you one question. If you are against enhanced interrogation techniques,  why are you not outraged over the techniques of ISIS which seem to always end in beheadings?

Addendum:  The report is being released by the Senate Intelligence Committee but it is clear that the administration wanted this. Any serious pushback from the president would have prevented the release.

December 7, 2014

Sunday Verse

He who brings trouble on his family will inherit only wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise.
~Proverbs 11:29

December 6, 2014

Saturday Learning Series - High Speed Flight

The series on the Ancient Greeks civilization from last week is complete. This weekend, a one off documentary on high speed flight.


December 2, 2014

Why abandon ship at this point?

What`s going on with GOP candidates abandoning bids for the presidency in 2016 at this point?  Two solid candidates just indicated they wouldn't run.  Rand Paul and Rob Portman both appear to have suddenly bowed out of the race.  I sort of get it - the next nominee should be a governor and no a senator.  I get trying to defend the Senate in 2016 too.

But come on.  This is the big prize. And these are not insignificant names.  And why now?  It makes me wonder. Is word out to clear a path for Jeb Bush?

Rush was wrong on Latinos

I hate to say it, but Rush Limbaugh was probably wrong on what Hispanic voters, in America legally, care about.  The entire conservative argument needs a re-think if the latest poll from Gallup is any indication.

Obama`s poll numbers have skyrocketed since he proposed unilateral amnesty for illegals.  Great.  That`s always going to be an uphill battle for Republicans it would seem.

My suggestion - make it about the children.  There has to be some way to differentiate between impacting children (here already) and dealing with the real transgressors.  I don`t know, that`s a knee-jerk reaction probably.  The poll could be an outlier.  The surge could be temporary.  It could mean a lot of things.  But the fact remains that the GOP has not done enough with many different constituencies and that needs to be addressed.

Good luck with that

President Obama is threatening a shutdown of government?  Really? Good luck with that.  I say the GOP should let him go ahead with it.  They've been on the wrong side of public opinion on shutdowns before.  They know the sting.  Not only would it further crater his popularity, it would poison the well for Hillary Clinton.  In effect, the only Democrat with the ability to get elected president in the foreseeable future would be an African American, or Hispanic. 

Maybe that`s his plan - to make the party beholden to racial politics.

Ever the party to put politics after national interest snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, the GOP has a plan to keep the government open for business and rescue Obama from his own folly.

That`s just great
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