Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Coach & AD as gods!

Only in Kentucky!!! Eighty percent of the front page A-Section of the Lexington Herald-Leader of 31 March was devoted to the (gasp and four palpitations) possibility that John Calipari, basketball coach at the University of Memphis, is almost certain to leave that post for the newly opened similar position at the University of Kentucky, the immediate result of UK’s firing of Billy Gillispie, who was hired only two years ago to a seven year “memorandum of understanding,” with a current salary of $2.3 million annually. Okay, that sounds strange but the worthies involved, athletic director Mitch Barnhart and Gillispie, could…well…never get on the same page (sorry), thus sign an actual contract.

Result of such turmoil: The memorandum calls for a buyout worth $6 million to Gillispie, who has indicated that he expects to collect all of it. Who wouldn’t? Barnhart is reluctant about that, but he’s honored the “memorandum” for two years by paying Gillispie on the strength of it and – it would seem – hasn’t a Nike to stand in. Not to worry, citizens and taxpayers! The UK Athletic Department is not actually a part of the university. It is the fiefdom of Sir Mitch the Barn-hearted, fueled by cash from everywhere – tickets, donations, TV contracts (especially), student fees, and anywhere else a buck can be cadged, preferably legally but practically, in any way that presents itself.

Nothing new here, of course! The university has parted with some $1.6 million in buyouts of fired coaches since the 1990s and can well afford this bit of largesse, a surplus that might be confiscated for academic purposes, since well…isn’t that what education is all about? Added to this bit of economic nonsense is the fact that Calipari signed only last year with Memphis a new contract worth $3.35 million per year for five years. If he breaks it, will UK also pay the penalty for a walk-off-the-job excursion to greener pastures? This is what UK did when Sir Mitch broke his contract at Oregon State in order to come to UK, which anted-up $100,000 for the privilege of his expertise, recently exhibited in the “Gillispie Affair.” So…that’s actually $1.7 million in buyouts since the 90s, and, of course, an example of Sir Mitch’s hypocrisy.

Breaking contracts is the usual thing in university sports, and the athletic departments simply pay the freight, their way of condoning deviousness as a way to win. Since sports are reputed to be character-building enterprises as well as steroid-fueled athleticism, this seems strange but money talks when all else is silent, including morals, and winning means fat TV contracts, notwithstanding all the high-sounding rhetoric about the character-building.

Respecting which, UK has been on NCAA probation so many times in the last 30-40 years that such probation is noted as a guarantor of winning seasons (a badge of honor), though it didn’t help football that much, actually a minor sport, though, in Kentucky. Calipari, among other things, has also proven, not unlike lots of other coaches, that winning sometimes depends on the performance of thugs and hoodlums, often with graduation rates that are near the minus mark. The professional NBA looks with great favor – more importantly, at no expense – to the universities for its flesh market, whether comprised of hoodlums or not. They represent the NBA minor leagues.

What’s Calipari worth in the current marketing of young men to the public? Some have mentioned $35 million over eight years; others have mentioned $40 million over six years. There will be the usual perks – two cars, though maybe three in this case; country-club memberships; buyout clauses worth millions more, etc. His importance is so concrete that the paper devoted about 60% of its front-page story to a profile of just his forehead, nose, chin, and mouth, though not in its game-time screaming-mode.

Sir Mitch the Barn-hearted, terribly underpaid at more than half-million per year (automatic $50,000 per year raise) and therefore an example of extreme sacrifice (he may get only two cars free), explained the Gillispie firing as not occasioned by losing too many games, but by Gillispie’s not being the “right fit,” whatever that is. Actually, he tried to explain by indicating that Gillispie was too rough around the edges (indicated when he didn’t show up for a speech to the Rotary Club) and lacked diplomatic abilities exemplified, for instance, by his terse remarks to a lady sportscaster to whom he indicated that she didn’t ask the right questions and could therefore not expect answers…or something like that. One simply can’t offend lady sportscasters in this day of political correctness. On second thought, it might be worth $6 million to take the chance.

And so it goes.

Jim Clark

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Big Con

It’s probable that the feeling among most citizens regarding the current so-called “financial crisis,” having reflected back to last fall and the “bailout” fiasco and moving forward through subsequent congressional/presidential decisions, is the maddening one of simply “being had,” conned into believing that the government, in order to save the country, was forced to divert the hard-earned cash of ordinary workers from valid governmental enterprise in order to re-distribute it to institutions whose fat-cat managers had run them into the ground and become filthy rich in the process. It’s the empty feeling one has when he’s been cheated in a game or been the victim of a pickpocket – or even a mugger.

The feeling deepens into outright anger when one remembers that elected officials and bureaucrats have been as much a part of the problem as their fellow corrupt pooh-bahs of business, both parties being tarred with the shame of finagling everything from the statistics to the facts in order to pull the wool over the eyes of the public. This is not even to mention that the president could do no better than to nominate a two-bit tax-cheat to the highest financial position in the country and that a Congress that wallows in either stupidity or outright negligence was perfectly willing to enter into the perfidy, although republicans have made a gallant fight for sanity.

Citizens watched in virtual disbelief as their lawmakers, without even reading the 1,100-word, $787 billion worth of “stimulus” legislation, approved it on 13 February, though not one House republican voted for it and only three republican senators. This was a travesty on the democratic system, the fact that a handful of elected officials can write legislation no one understands – not even themselves – and ram it down the throats of the public. A president who may or may not know as much about economics as a sharp ninth-grade general-math student was overjoyed to sign it and then get on with the process of the House’s budget plan in excess of a shocking $3.5 TRILLION, to take effect 01 October.

Resulting from the doling out of hundreds of billions of dollars to banks, financial institutions, insurance companies, auto companies, and the actual 80% ownership of gigantic AIG has been practically no change in the economy’s downward spiral. The unemployment rate stands at 8.5% and is projected to exceed 10% by October. Yet, the Congress and the president seem to think that spending amounting to incomprehensible levels will somehow work. This is sheer lunacy and the average citizen has a right to wonder what’s going on, since none of this makes sense.

This is true especially at tax-time. Treasury Secretary Geightner paid up two years worth of stolen taxes in order to get his plum appointment. He owes another two year’s worth but hasn’t felt the need to cough it up, being the public-spirited citizen he is (that statute of limitations thing – sorta like those unconscionable bonuses at AIG)…this, while ordinary joes and janes are filling out tax forms and sweating out how to make the payments.

Citizens have a right to be furious over this, not even to mention how they felt when former senator Daschle anted-up a cool $140,000 worth of stolen taxes in order to be commerce secretary – but the public outcry over having this super-tax-cheat in government gave him a change of mind. The democrat senators would have approved him in a heartbeat (plenty of corruption in that august body), though he would have gone to the Big House if he had been caught stealing that money from a bank. He would never have paid-up, so at least the IRS got some money accruing to his blatant dishonesty. Neither would Geightner have paid-up…both of them too elitist by half.

Some say this administration should just be given TIME to make its grandiose plans work, when already AIG has been funneling money to Goldman-Sachs and its European enterprises, after being awarded THREE bundles of billions – about 170 of them…and there’s no end in sight. Geithner has decided to offer “toxic” housing contracts (euphemism for defaulted loans) to private financial institutions or even individuals, even though that makes little sense, especially since no one can say what these bad loans are worth. Only an auction could settle that, but that’s too sensible to be done – actually too risky for the government AND the institutions.

The latest: the feds have told General Motors that the CEO had to go…and he’s gone, even though he’d been on the scene there since 1977 and had to compete with the likes of Toyota and other auto establishments not operated by union members, a huge competitive disadvantage. Geithner has also asked for the power to shut down any enterprise he deems doomed to failure, whether it is or not. This is government by executive fiat, about as un-democratic as it gets. A compliant Congress – actually just the democrat majority – will go along, most of that constituency either unaware of the Constitution or just part of the corruption.

So…the citizens have every right to be mad. It seems abundantly clear now that there’s no bottom to the cesspool into which Obama and his gang have decided to throw the nation’s money (already pumping more money into the auto interests), itself piling up what will eventually be a bad debt of huge proportions. Obama may have won Berlin, but he will soon be losing the USA as people begin to understand his easily recognized intentions. A power-grab of this magnitude is not much more serious than those that have caused palace-coups in other governments. That won’t happen here, but if the Congress goes along with this, the voters will pull off the coup next year.

And so it goes.

Jim Clark

Friday, March 27, 2009

Gillispie - Toast!

The saga of Gillispie is finally over at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. On the afternoon of 27 March, the president and athletic director, Dr. Lee Todd and Mitch Barnhart, respectively, held a press conference to handle the matter, so important that Lexington TV stations had already – a good while before – chopped big slugs out the afternoon soaps or whatever else to break the news to the breathless. In Kentucky, something as important as a basketball firing deserves more instant attention than a triple murder.

The most amazing thing regarding this matter – something everyone has known for two years – is that Coach Gillispie has been working without a signed contract for…yep…two years. He and Barnhart have been operating on something called a “memorandum of understanding” that spelled out all the usual stuff like how many cars UK furnishes the coach for free (Barnhart gets two, even though he can drive only one at a time), how many country club memberships UK furnishes the coach for free, how much an appearance in a NCAA shoot-out adds to the coaches take, and the salary guarantee, of course – a cool $2.3 million per year, more as the years add up to seven, the length of the “memorandum,” now broken by UK, not the coach.

When asked about this at the press conference, Barnhart simply said that it just hadn’t been possible to work out a contract, obviously expecting everyone to understand that this was a perfectly permissible perennial problem. After all, what’s a little thing like a $2.3 million-contract between friends? Why couldn’t the athletic director complete a contract within 60 days, you ask? He didn’t say. Obviously, anyone as shifty as Barnhart is should be a part of the administration in Washington, where being smart enough to cheat the government out of taxes or anything else is the most important part of any resume.

Well, the athletic director said the coach simply wasn’t a “good fit” for the job. He’s admittedly not a hale-fellow-well-met type of guy, not given to making speeches or being an “ambassador” for the basketball program. In fact, the coach was rude – oh gasp and three palpitations – to one of those lady sportscasters who grabs a coach at the end of the first half, when he’s trying to get to the locker-room to give a thorough tongue-lashing to his team. Who can blame him, anyway, if somebody – man or woman – asks a stupid question, like “Hey, why didn’t you use a zone press or at least have the manager whip out his .38 and shoot the guy making all those three-pointers?”

Those with suspicious inclinations – such as present company – might see other aspects that could lead to a firing. For instance, Barnhart gets an extra $25,000 when the team gets to the NCAA March Madness Tournament, now in progress but obviously without UK, which just lost to Notre Dame in the NIT, not the NCAA. There’s more: If the team gets to the epitome of basketball-jiving – the imperial Final-Four – Barnhart gets another $25,000. This year – zilch – though Barnhart collected a cool $30,000 when the football team made it to a bowl, a possibility if it wins only half its regular-season games.

So…what’s a poor, fired coach to do? The “memorandum” mentioned a “firing consolation prize” that could go as high as $6 million. The word is, though, that negotiations are underway involving UK and Gillispie, and UK has said the amount will be less than that. Nah! The negotiations are in the hands of the coach’s lawyer…what else, pray tell? In recent years, UK fired a football coach and gave him a cool million dollars in the process, plus two cars. Not long before that, UK fired another football coach and showed its appreciation by slathering him with $600,000. Dragging a simple firing through the courts is something the school would rather not do (terribly distracting when tuition has just gone up another 5%), besides which, the athletic department is always flush with cash, so what’s not to like about a quiet, lush giveaway? It’s only money, doncha know?

Thus the saga of Gillispie! Like the man said – just not a good fit. Oh yes…Barnhart is in line each year for $50,000 in “discretionary incentives” as defined by the president. Wonder how that definition will strike the citizens this year. As for the coach…laughing all the way to the bank! Only in Kentucky!

And so it goes.

Jim Clark

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Sick Newspaper?

There’s a genuine sadness connected to the gradual failing of Lexington, Kentucky’s only newspaper, the Lexington Herald-Leader, a McClatchy property. Through the years it’s called attention to government misdeeds particularly, the most recent being the pilfering of the city’s airport by top management of hundreds of thousands of dollars in just the last three years. The results of its good work included an audit by the state, resignations of the perpetrators, and possible criminal trials. Without the paper’s activity, these thieves, who were already making salaries in the six figures, would have kept right on in their stealing from the public.

The paper’s editorial activity can be correctly labeled as “far-left fringe,” perhaps part of the reason for its loss of customers, such loss already in process well before the current downturn in the economy. Kentucky is not a far-left state, though its voter registration is overwhelmingly democrat. Its two senators have been republican for many years and all but two of its six congressmen are republican. It voted heavily for John McCain last year.

The paper has a sort of mean streak in both its news and editorial departments, the objects of its excoriations often being religion or people/institutions with which it simply disagrees editorially. Here is a segment from this blog of April 2006, for instance:

“Finally, the saga concerning the student expelled from the University of the Cumberlands, because of his flaunting his homosexuality by describing his “dating life” on two Web-sites, is over, and the Lexington Herald-Leader, which adopted this affair as a cause celebre has had to move onto other areas of supposed discontent/abuse/discrimination/exclusion/racism/whatever for its ridicule and bashing. It bashed Southland Christian Church last December, ridiculed the governor’s prayer breakfast earlier this year, and then tried to make some sort of cockamamie issue out of this business [UC homosexual], which might have warranted a small space a couple of times in the regional-news (B)-segment of the paper. UC receives some funding from the Kentucky Baptist Convention, whose churches number nearly 800,000 members in just this state, and so, ipso facto, the school was ripe for degrading on the twin axes-to-grind subjects of church-state and discrimination, since a proposed pharmacy college at UC had been voted funds in the just-ended legislative session.

On seven days of a nine-day period, the paper made the subject front-page-above-the-fold stuff, positioned in the area devoted to the most important news of the world. This says something about the managerial mentality and professionalism attached to this publication. In addition to the huge front-page segments, pictures, and headlines, the paper dedicated a huge plethora of columns and pictures to the subject on its interior pages, all in the front (A) “news, editorial, op-ed” section. In the process, it furnished free-of-charge in the supposed “news accounts” the information that a protest drawing people from all over the state would be held at UC, Williamsburg, Ky., on the nineteenth. On the evening TV news accounts of that “protest effort,” there seemed to be more interviews with law enforcement people, standing around sort of slack-jawed and obviously wondering why they were there, than with the participants. The paper said “about 50” showed up, so there might have been 35-40 actual participants. There are 1,700 students at the school, so it might be correctly assumed that their apathy was evident.”

Southland Christian Church is probably the second-largest church in the state and is active in a plethora of community activities to especially care for the poor, involving huge outlays of cash. The paper castigated the church because it cancelled regular services on Christmas 2005, a Sunday, though technically there was a service in progress on Christmas, having been in progress after midnight on Christmas Eve. The paper couldn’t have cared less about the Christmas situation. It merely wanted – for whatever reason – to hurt the church. In the case of UC, the school’s handbook stipulated that homosexual behavior would not be tolerated, the same regulation as that of the military. This was no big deal, though it deserved a mention, but the paper apparently saw it as an opportunity to hurt the university, which is a private institution and can make its own rules.

The paper also seems to have as its mission a constant drumbeat of race-baiting. One columnist in particular has made it practically a cottage industry to fan the “race-flame” as often as possible, once devoting a column to the charge that black students were “afraid” to attend the University of Kentucky. Afraid! Black athletes, as in most universities, are fully accepted. Only one white player has had any appreciable game-time during this basketball season. The UK quarterback in 2006 and 2007 was African-American. The notion that black students were afraid to attend the school right in their hometown was so ridiculous as to make one wonder why the paper printed such lies. Strangely, the very next year the enrolments – same town, same school – jumped dramatically. The fear was dissolved practically overnight.

The paper is being victimized, as is the case with well-established papers throughout the country, by TV and the Internet, though the loss of advertisers does take its toll. Monopoly papers, such as in Lexington, would do well to try for a better editorial balance – not just on the op-ed page, but within the guts of the paper, as well. When there were two papers, there was balance in the city. Also, no editorial or commentator-comment should occur in news accounts…or even a byline. Let the people read the news and decide for themselves what it means. If they need help, they can turn to the editorials.

And so it goes.

Jim Clark

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Press Conference Tedium

President Obama’s press conference on 24 March involved considerable tedium, especially if one watched it all, as was the case in this corner. Constantly referring to his goals of making everything better concerning health, education, climate, energy, and the economy, of course, he provided little in the way of actual information. The anointed One fielded 13 questions in 57 minutes, an average of about 4.5 minutes per answer, more than enough time to continue the campaign of last year, which is what the exercise actually entailed.

Strangely, he alluded approvingly to the pitch made earlier in the day by Treasury Secretary Geithner before Chairman Barney Frank’s House Finance Committee for Congressional fiat to afford him (Geithner) virtual dictatorial powers with respect to taking over financial institutions, as well as other enterprises, that he feels are about to fail. Strange, because as a former law-school teacher of Constitutional Law, Obama’s bound to know that such power is indeed un-Constitutional…or does he?

Geithner’s plan, another in a series of “test balloons” launched lately to try to discover which way the wind is blowing, also seemed to involve (does anyone actually know?) the government’s colluding somehow with private entities – presumably of any stripe – in the matter of their saddling themselves with those “toxic assets” (how’s that for an oxymoron?) to get errant banks off the hook so they can start lending money again. The government would also loan the entity the money to buy the toxic assets, so there’s no way the private outfit could lose since the government would also absorb any loss, according to the proposed legislation, translated as taxpayers again being robbed. Any profit would accrue to the rescuer-entity. The amount involved: $1 trillion!

There’s a problem with this, of course, to wit, that no one knows what the toxic assets are worth, in the first place. Geithner’s position seemed to be that…well, that’s just the way it is. This is incredible, this floundering around in a sea of red ink without the slightest idea of how deep the shade or depth of red is. Geithner seemed also to be saying that there’s no way now to determine if this idea will work. If it does – fine! If not – too bad! Madness!

The current head of the European Union, Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, on Wednesday warned that the U.S. economic rescue plans were, "a way to hell." CBS) Obama seemed not to understand this in his remarks since he insisted that he would “drive down” the cost of health care while driving up astronomically government spending (stimulus package), including $150.1 billion for health care.

This makes no sense, obviously, so the Anointed One probably means that he will place caps on everything medical – doctor fees; surgery costs; medicine; nurse uniforms; hospital expenses; wheelchairs…Egad! This is socialized medicine, the one thing Americans, notwithstanding race, creed or anything else, fear the most. In the middle 90s, there were some 46 health-insurance companies in Kentucky, at which time the governor/legislature decided to tell them whom/what they would cover. Forty-five companies left the state. The Obama administration is heading into deep waters in the health area.

Obama blew off the remark by a questioner with regard to the fact that the Congressional Budget Office (nonpartisan) had determined that his budget was actually more expensive than claimed by a mere $2.3 trillion, simply stating that the White House figures involved a prediction of greater growth than that of the CBO. So…the financial experts are in the White House now, speaking of whom, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel was shown during the conference (Fox camera) smiling broadly while White House spokesman Robert Gibbs was seen whispering to the guy on his right. In his press conferences, Gibbs has raised the terms of “uh, uh-uh, uh-uh-uh” and “er, er-er, er-er-er” and “um, um-um, um-um-um” to a new level of repetition/eloquence. He manages about one “uh, er, um” per three words…virtually incoherent, but maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Makes Obamessiah look perfect by comparison!

Finally (last question), somebody asked about the Middle East, Israel/Palestine in particular. The president said this (checked the transcript): “And by assigning George Mitchell the task of working as Special Envoy, what we've signaled is that we're going to be serious from day one in trying to move the parties in a direction that acknowledges that reality.” Is that perhaps the same as sending the Archangel Michael? Was he saying that other presidents were not serious? Of course he was – elitism carried to a profound extreme. What a laugh! With a passing reference to the (gasp) video he sent to the Iranians, he proceeded to get back to the economy for the finale.

Oh yes…he insisted somewhere in there that there would be a cap-and-trade law passed by Congress and that he would sign it. This is in spite of the fact that global cooling has been taking place since 2002. Indeed, the term “global warming” is out of fashion now, since the globe isn’t warming. Now, it’s all about climate change, as if that makes any difference. Cap-and-trade (not favored by Congress currently) means more taxes, and for no purpose at all. This president and his co-conspirators actually mean to take this country down the socialism trail. One can only hope that enough Congresspersons will finally catch on.

And so it goes.

Jim Clark

Monday, March 23, 2009

Christ Was No Wimp

A newspaper writer used his column recently to emphasize that God is both male and female. There’s no argument with this, nor any argument with a woman’s being ordained to ministry, assuming she possesses the qualities required of men for ordination. The writer insisted that the biblical terms “man” and “mankind” are generic (both sexes), which, though perfectly acceptable, may or may not always be true. He could hardly get into the mind of God, always referenced in scripture as masculine, to find out. When the term “woman” is used in scripture, is it also generic…or does it call attention to a difference?

This is a backdoor way of remarking that some churches/denominations – especially those categorized as “mainline” – have made a conscious effort for about three decades or so to emasculate men. In some denominations, hymns have even been abridged (dishonestly) to remove as completely as possible any reference to God as masculine, though dancing around the term “father” has been hard to do. In the process, the revisers have attempted to remove any reference to violence (a guy-thing, doncha know) or to anything concerning the military.

A noted hymn-writer tried in 1974 to emasculate the well-known hymn Lead On, O King Eternal (words-Shurtleff), but couldn’t make it work, so she just wrote her own version to the same tune (Lancashire-Smart), entitled Lead On, O Cloud of Presence, exchanging the notion of men fighting for God’s precepts (often translated as freedom) for that of the Israelites wandering in the wilderness for 40 years. Go figure. According to religio/political correctness, Onward, Christian Soldiers is too militant to (gasp) actually be in a modern hymnbook, much less sung among civilized people.

Among the first prophecies concerning Christ is Isaiah 9:6, wherein is noted that the child to come, among other appellations, would be called the “Prince of Peace.” The Old Testament accounts preceding Isaiah’s words and from that time forward are filled with descriptions of wars, atrocities, death, and destruction – even the carrying away of defeated peoples into slavery. It was into this same kind of Middle East turmoil that Christ was born, not into a milieu of freedom, but into slavery under the Romans, who ruled that part of the world with an iron fist – just as the Jihad-Muslims are trying to do now – and would later engage brutal crucifixion in ending Christ’s life.

Christ spoke of peace, but perhaps in some ways that were/are quite surprising. For instance, in Matthew 10:34 Christ stated flatly that he had come not to bring peace to the world…but a sword. He intended to participate in some kind of mayhem himself, whether verbal or physical. In Matthew 24:6, Christ stated just as flatly that wars were inevitable and that his followers would suffer, be hated, and even be put to death in the midst of wars.

In the very poignant framework of the “Last Supper,” according to Luke 22:36, Christ made it plain to the disciples that they were to secure swords for themselves, even if they had to sell some of their clothing to do so. He emphasized his instruction by comparing it to the one he gave them at an earlier time when he sent them out in an evangelistic endeavor and told them to take neither purse, bag, nor sandals, but that now they were to take those things…with the addition of a sword.

Soon after giving that admonition, Christ made it plain that those who live by the sword (aggressors) would die by the sword, so he meant for his disciples to merely defend themselves and their families. Christ expected their lives to lack peace, even as his did, as remarked in John 7:1, where John explains that the Jews were in Judea to kill Jesus, so, rather than going to the Feast of Tabernacles publicly with his brothers, Jesus went in secret. He was a hunted man.

On at least one occasion, Christ, after fashioning his own whip, used it to lash the money-changers and physically drive them and their paraphernalia/animals from the temple. Many theologians/preachers try to whitewash this quite vividly described act, but they don’t signify successfully. Not as he’s often pictured, Christ was no well-coifed “girly-man” (as the California governor would have it); instead, he was tough as nails.

Emphasis is always placed on the fact that God/Christ is love, and justifiably so. However, love is also exhibited when, as Jesus would have it, a man lays down his life for others. This kind of Jesus-love was exhibited in the last century, when some 617,000 American GIs, for love of others and country, died in unsought wars, as have nearly 4,900 in this century. Jesus was no wimp. God help us if American men, whether Christians or not, should be otherwise today.

And so it goes.

Jim Clark

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Cynicism to the Nth Degree!

The cynicism with which the administration approaches government can be seen in the political incest/hypocrisy with regard to some current main players or former players with whom the Anointed One has or has had connections. This amounts to a kiss-off of the average citizen in behalf of furthering whatever aims he has in mind, the most obvious being, as he himself has admitted, “spreading around the wealth,” otherwise known as redistributing the earnings of people without regard to how acquired, i.e., based on work, intelligence, risk, and preparation.

The cynicism is heightened when there’s evidence of an elitist attitude exhibiting the notion that those who “win,” as Obama would have it, can simply do as they please, the devil take the hindmost. His nomination of at least four people who were well-documented tax-cheats to high positions in government is an example of this elitism. One of them has been accepted by the Congress, the Treasury Secretary, of all people, and another has not excused himself, the meaning being that the majority in Congress are either so ambitious or unbelievably dumb that they don’t realize their own pathology – hypocritical elitism.

Richard Holbrooke is the Anointed One’s representative to Pakistan and Afghanistan, an important-sounding job that one assumes carries a very good salary. Since he reports directly to the president, as does the secretary of state, his salary is probably close to hers – $186,600 per year. Holbrooke has an interesting history. He joined AIG's board in February 2001 and resigned in July 2008, two months before the company nearly collapsed, according to the Associated Press of 19 March.

Over more than seven years as a board member, he may have earned as much as $800,000 in cash and company stock, according to AIG financial documents filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission. Since September, AIG has received $180 billion in taxpayer money to keep it from failing and causing more damage to the U.S. economy (at least according to the propaganda emanating from the White House). What a coincidence, but, as the Anointed One would have it, to the victor belongs the spoils! Holbrooke’s efforts will amount to zilch, but he will be well rewarded. The Pakistanis will have his lunch!

Though she had no training or experience in finance, Jamie Gorelick was appointed the Vice Chairman of Fannie Mae and served in the role from 1997 to 2003. During that six-year period, she earned over $26 million. During Gorelick's tenure, FNMA suffered a $10 billion accounting scandal, an ominous harbinger of the firm's looming troubles. One of the falsified transactions helped FNMA hit earnings targets for 1998, which triggered bonuses for top executives including nearly $800,000 to Gorelick, according to the Doug Ross @ Journal, Sept. 2008.

Gorelick will be remembered for her role in the Clinton administration’s prohibiting of government agencies such as the FBI and CIA to exchange the kind of information that might have helped in preventing 9/11. She’s mentioned here as the paradigm for the efforts of Attorney General Holder (provider of the pardon for tax-evader Marc Rich), Senator Leahy, and the Anointed One to rid the country of the absolutely necessary “Patriot Act” that allows surveillance on those who would sabotage this nation.

Obama’s economic adviser during the campaign, Franklin Raines pulled in some $90 million between 1998 and 2003, when he ran Fannie Mae, the majority from bonuses. And when OFHEO (Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight) began to ask uncomfortable questions, Raines actively lobbied Congress to cut its funding. In April, Raines agreed to disburse $24 million for his role in the accounting "errors." Under Raines' leadership, Fannie overstated earnings by a stunning $10.6 billion, all the while paying Raines and his senior management team massive bonuses, according to the Motley Fool, September 2008. Even the Anointed One probably does not possess the degree of cynicism as that of Raines, an outright liar who obviously paid-up to escape jail-time.

From the Washington Post of May 2006: “Good numbers kept Wall Street happy. They paid the light bills for more than 50 partnership offices that represented Fannie Mae around the country. And they made top executives multimillionaires. [Jim] Johnson received $21 million in his last year as chief executive and a consulting contract worth $600,000 a year.” From the New York Times of June 2008: "[Jim] Johnson was also involved in some of the more controversial executive compensation decisions in recent years, serving on the board of five companies that granted lavish pay packages to their executives -- and often playing a key role in approving them.”

The Jim Johnson noted in those excerpts was the man the Anointed One chose to join Holder and Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg for the purpose of choosing a vice president. Johnson dropped out of that obvious bit of political incest almost immediately, however. He drew criticism over a report that he had received what may have been reduced rates on loans from disgraced Countrywide Financial Corp.(as did Senate Finance Chairman Dodd), a mortgage lender with business ties to Fannie Mae. Surprise! Surprise!

The latest: The Congressional Budget Office has just determined that Obama’s forecast concerning his budget statistics over the next decade represent a mistake of $2.3 trillion – toward the RED. The compliant, complicit Congress is hocking the nation up to its ears with debt that future generations will be unable to pay, the ultimate result being socialism, with everyone depending on government for everything. This is the Obama plan – just give money to government apparatchiks (the numbers pulled out of thin air) and let them bankrupt what has been the greatest economic machine in history. This is cynicism carried to the nth degree.

And so it goes.

Jim Clark

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

DNC Memorandum #1

Office of the Chairperson, Governor Tim Kaine, 18 March 2009

***Greetings to all the worthy staffers at the Democratic National Committee. Though I’ve been your chairperson for some time now, this is my first memorandum. I apologize for not having communicated earlier but, as you know, things have been hectic since the inauguration, the most historic event in history because an African American has been elected president, though the content of his character and not the color of his skin was the issue. Nor, as some have claimed, did it demonstrate that race trumps gender or that one gender trumps another, notwithstanding race, as the talking-head republicans, otherwise known as lovable idiots, have claimed. The truth, as all reasonable people know, is that $700 million can accomplish just about anything. This being the case, the DNC will institute a “development seminar” soon to train staffers in the art of extracting cash from every possible entity in every way possible. In this regard, do not mention that President Obama and State Secretary Clinton made any kind of a deal with respect to her recouping the $12 million she lost in trying for the top spot. Both have claimed that no such deal took place and that they will not make any deals again.

***It has been called to my attention that snickering has been taking place around the bottled-water keg and non-trans-fat, non-hamburger (eating grease okay if Senator Biden does), non-hotdog, non-dairy-product-of-any-kind, non-chocolate, non-smoking (smoking okay if Obama lights up), veggie-fortified, yogurt-enhanced snack-bar and body-mass-chart, carbon-cap-graph, endangered-species-obituary-wall-chart, blue-state-map, and Bush-dart-board regarding the claim by Speaker Pelosi that the president jogs on the Potomac River. This will not be tolerated, nor will snickering be tolerated regarding the joke (rumored to be made by Limbaugh) that Staff Chief Emanuel tried to jog out from the Jefferson Memorial to meet the president one morning, lacked the proper faith and had to be rescued from drowning by the Coast guard since the president couldn’t break stride to grab him account losing too few calories. Also, the rumor that Speaker Pelosi aggravated her arthritis by jumping up and down too many times during the president’s state-of-something speech and by clapping her hands too hard is not true, nor is it true that she had her feet botoxed the next day, per suggestion of Senator Kerry. It was actually the next week.

***House Finance Committee Chairman Frank has been noted on Fox News as saying in an interview last July that was taped and therefore irrefutable, unfortunately: “I think this is a case where Fannie and Freddie are fundamentally sound, that they are not in danger of going under.” The two FMs were, of course, already under, so the chairman was technically correct, thus staffers are to remark upon the exemplary honesty exhibited by Frank, who, nevertheless, has said that Fannie and Freddy happen to be close friends of his (descendants of the Flintstones – little joke there) and had invested only 99.5% of their assets with Madoff, thus were in no danger of going under and were doing quite well living in their car.

***Questions have been asked concerning the whereabouts and activities of former chairperson Dr. Howard Dean. I’m delighted to report that Howard is back in Vermont, though not practicing medicine. He’s available for speeches and will work them in according to his schedule in refurbishing, maintaining and operating the bike paths in the state. The rumor that he sent Rahm Emanuel a dead fish is not true, and Howard has said he will not do it again unless Emanuel puts a dead horse-head in his bed again. As he mentioned in his last memorandum in November, he has developed a new scream. Instead of the "On to Wisconsin" motif, it will be a simple but hugely amplified WHOOPEE!!! It will be a sort of cross between a Tarzan yell and a diesel-locomotive-horn and is already copyrighted, so you may not use it without permission. He plans to introduce the new SCREAM© in a speech sponsored by the ACLU at Guantanamo. It will be billed as the "I Have a Scream II" speech but will be directed toward the ocean in order not to offend the prisoners unless the Greens nix this plan account of disturbing the whale mating-calls. The last time he did the scream in Vermont, a traumatized moose mated with a racehorse, with the result being a mule-deer nobody can catch.

***It was also noted in November that Michael Moore has scrubbed his new movie project tentatively entitled "The Great Satan is Red and Caucasian" in favor of a newer movie tentatively entitled "Calypso Louie Discovers Messiah." The background music will be reggae and Harry Bellafonte will appear to sing the Fig-newton Boat Song. The Right (actually Left) Reverend Honorable Dr. Imam Farrakhan, ayatollah of Chicago, has promised to play the theme-song of the movie on his violin. The music will include segments of the national anthems of olde-European countries in the interest of advancing socialism.

***A delicate matter requiring intelligent treatment: The installation of Tim Geithner as Treasury Secretary has been unfairly condemned by conservatives on the basis that he didn’t pay his taxes. The interpretation (sometimes called “spin” by mean-spirited republicans) of this matter is that all Americans try to figure a way not to pay taxes, so Geithner is perfectly normal and should be commended for getting away with not paying for all but two years. Also, especially since the president has vowed to bring honesty back to Washington, please explain State Secretary Clinton’s experience in Bosnia in 1996, wherein she said she had to run for her life to dodge sniper fire, as a simple senior moment, in which she either didn’t see that the sniper was a fifth-grader or that she suspected the small girl had an AK-47 ensconced in that bouquet of flowers she handed the then first lady.

***Finally, those who have been preparing position papers for the president dealing with the subject, “the typical Muslim,” may discontinue their efforts since the president has obviously been elected. The same is true for his request regarding the “typical Pentecostal.” Palin lost, obviously. He has requested that I thank those who worked hard to help him form a satisfactory description of the “typical white person,” and has said he feels your effort helped him win. To show good faith, the president is planning an “apology trip” to Pennsylvania in order to erase his mistake in regarding Christians as grasping their Bibles in their anxieties and hunting for illegal immigrants (actually, any immigrants, as if anybody wants to mine coal) with their shotguns held fast to their bosoms.

***Notwithstanding that the government owns 80% of AIG and various and assorted other once-private enterprises such as Chrysler and GM, the rumor that bonuses are in line for everyone as retention incentives is absolutely false, as is the rumor that every staffer will be given a union card and a company car. To the contrary, in keeping with the spirit of the vice president, who averaged giving $369 per year over the last decade to charity, everyone will be granted a five percent cut in salary. I have already told Vice President Biden about your magnanimous gesture to the party. If you should find it impossible to make this gesture, you have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in any other occupation of your choosing. This is a great country.

And so it goes.

Jim Clark

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Cool Million per Family?

The Sunday morning talk-shows on 15 March were loaded with bureaucrats, government officials, and Congresspersons discussing the economy and little else. The Anointed One, while not looking good with respect to what has been happening with all the billions of dollars the government doesn’t have that have been allocated to every entity imaginable – state governments, local governments, private entities, and – of course – those precious earmarks, is at least not being bombarded with questions regarding the war on terrorism and why he’s still allowing Americans to be killed.

All kinds of figures have been thrown around with respect to the cost of the stimulus packages, bailouts, whatever, but the fact is that nobody seems to know much about them. Last fall, the Congress passed a “bailout” of some $750 billion or so for the financial institutions based on a three-page bill that the Congresspersons surely had enough time to read. As it stands for AIG alone, for instance, the handout is at about $170 billion, and the head honchos of AIG are paying themselves multiple millions in bonuses to celebrate their failure. Strangely, they can and do just get away with it, which makes one wonder if they’re paying off the right government officials/bureaucrats.

Indeed, both McCain and Obama deserted their campaigns long enough to attack Washington with their wisdom and in the process, of course, practice one-upmanship on each other. Result: nobody, including those ham-actors, seems to know what the bill actually meant. Half of the money has been given away as the economy has worsened to the point that unemployment stands at 8.1 percent, foreclosures have been tripping merrily along, and Obamessiah’s Treasury Department has absolutely none of the 17 deputy-secretaries appointed/nominated and in place. Secretary Geithner is left twisting in the wind as his Congressional-committee partners in crime scathingly scapegoat him on practically a daily basis, never mind their dereliction in oversight responsibilities.

This is what House Finance Committee chairman Barney Frank said last July on a Fox News program: “I think this is a case where Fannie and Freddie are fundamentally sound, that they are not in danger of going under.” This is the kind of leadership under which the nation suffers. Even as he spoke, the FMs had already died long before but the bodies had not been discovered, at least not until after the government crooks who partly ran those disasters had reaped (or raped the taxpayers for) tens of millions and both the Obama and Dodd campaigns had received hundreds of thousands.

Chair of the President's Council of Economic Advisers, Dr. Christina Romer, said on Meet the Press that the government was buying up failed loans, or something like that, with the taxpayers paying the freight. This brings up an interesting question. Why didn’t the government just give away money to citizens instead of giving it away to people and institutions who/which have proven indelibly that the money went either to crooks or to hopeless incompetents?

Consider! The figure that seems to rise to the fore as accurate for all that’s being wasted is $3 trillion, when all is said and done, including interest and another “stimulus” later this year. That amounts to $250,000 per person in this country, or a cool million to a family of four. Give a family $1 million with the stipulation that 20% must be saved, 20% paid in taxes and the remainder spent. Besides filling the federal coffers, that would fire up the economy to the extent that the unemployment rate would dissipate overnight. If that had been done in the beginning, most of the foreclosures would never have happened, and there would be two cars in every garage. The $300-per-person windfall was simply much too little a year ago.

Too simple? Maybe so…but it’s at least as logical as giving money to institutions, with virtually no accountability and then whining about not knowing where it is and what it’s doing. One thing is certain, to wit, that huge segments of the giveaways are going into private pockets…those of the smooth operators who know exactly how to work the system. It’s graphically apparent now that the people would have spent the money wisely, while the operators either don’t know the score or are out for what they can get.

The tragedy is that this once proud nation, with regard to its GDP and overall individual prosperity, has been reduced to taking taxpayer money – or just printing it or borrowing it from lovely China – and GIVING it to people and institutions for no better reason than that the officials and bureaucrats sent to Washington are either too dumb or corrupt or both to do what they’ve sworn to do, i.e., look out for the public welfare. Disgusting!

And so it goes.

Jim Clark

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Manmade Climate-Change Hoax

President Obama and the Congress – or at least most of it – have been breast-beating about the terrible effects that mankind has wrought and continues to wreak upon the climate, their claims asserting the inundation relatively soon of many land areas by the oceans, not to mention the increase in temperatures, called global warming, a buzz-term used by the alarmists. One result of this climate-fear-mongering, naturally, has been the carbon-cap legislation, complete with stiff penalties for concerns that allegedly infuse the atmosphere with too much greenhouse gas, meaning consequent higher taxes and prices for everything as the losses are recouped.

Former vice president Al Gore has made an industry out of this matter, producing a film, An Inconvenient Truth, writing a book of the same name, and traveling everywhere to push his project, namely, forcing people/industries to cut their greenhouse emissions, mostly CO2. For this, he won a Nobel Prize, even though he’s not a scientist, climatologist, or anything else having to do with an academic or practical study of climate phenomena. Indeed, his film may not be shown in England’s public schools unless the teacher points out its nine (or eleven, depending on the take) outright lies and designates it as political rather than scientific.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations adjunct, puts out reports periodically, the last one in 2007 amounting to a virtual earth-murder by especially the industrial nations, with the United States being the worst culprit, notwithstanding that China is the worst offender, with India not far behind. It should be noted that only 20% of the members of the IPCC gang actually are scientists. Gradually, credible American scientists such as Dr. John Christy of the Univ. of Alabama, Huntsville, are setting the record straight. Another is Australian Bob Carter, an adjunct research fellow at James Cook University, Townsville, who studies ancient climate change. This is part of an article by him in The Australian of 19 December 2008:

“THE Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change model of dangerous, human-caused climate change has failed. Independent science relevant to supposed human-caused global warming is clear, and can be summarised in four brief points.

First, global temperature warmed slightly in the late 20th century and has been cooling since 2002. Neither the warming nor the cooling were of unusual rate or magnitude.

Second, humans have an effect on local climate but, despite the expenditure of more than $US50 billion ($70 billion) looking for it since 1990, no globally summed human effect has ever been measured. Therefore, any human signal must lie buried in the variability of the natural climate system.

Third, we live on a dynamic planet; change occurs in Earth's geosphere, biosphere, atmosphere and oceans all the time and all over the world. No substantive evidence exists that modern rates of global environmental change (ice volume; sea level) lie outside historic natural bounds.

Last, cutting carbon dioxide emissions, be it in Australia or worldwide, will likely result in no measurable change in future climate, because extra increments of atmospheric CO2 cause diminishing warming for each unit of increase; at most, a few tenths of a degree of extra warming would result from a completion of doubling of CO2 since pre-industrial times.”

In other words, manmade global warming is a crock. Indeed, it appears that there was slightly more sea ice in January 2009 than in January 1980, though the amount increased in the southern hemisphere while decreasing in the northern hemisphere. In one of the Ice Ages (the third?), according to the scientists, the Ohio River was carved out as a humongous glacier did its deed and retreated northward from Kentucky back toward the North Pole, from whence it came. As far as anyone knows, this was millennia before any industrial activity and thus only a climate change as only an act of nature and little more. Indeed, Kentuckians and everyone north of the state might meditate upon this and consider a bit of warming as quite good.

Interestingly, while it demands all sorts of drastic/expensive changes/sacrifices from the United States, the Kyoto Treaty demands absolutely nothing on the parts of China, the worst polluter, and India. The combined populations of these two countries, 2.5 billion, represent 37% of the world’s population, while that of the United States comprises less than five percent. Federal statutes require billions of dollars worth of “scrubbers” in this country, already adding to the cost of everything from toothpaste to autos, while the Chinese and the Indian governments require virtually nothing, thus gaining advantage in the world market, especially exporting far more to the U.S. that it imports, in the case of China.

The time is long overdue for members of Congress (assuming they aren’t all dolts) to tell the president that the manmade-global-warming hoax is just that, and that easing the restrictions on industry is in order, along with a cessation of the fear-mongering about the oceans usurping New York and Los Angeles. Finding alternative sources of energy is important not because of this imagined manmade warming, but because fossil fuels will someday disappear, and, as they do, the cost of them will skyrocket.

And so it goes.

Jim Clark

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bunning Pulled for Reliever?

There comes a time when all things, good or bad, must end. Such a time has arrived for Jim Bunning regarding his tenure in the Senate. The reason has little to nothing to do with his philosophy of government, with which the perpetrator of this corner is in agreement on at least most things. He’s a conservative whose record speaks well of him.

The problem is twofold: (1) He may be a bit jaded now…age has a way of taking away the sharpness, as he, a former topnotch baseball pitcher, knows all too well. (2) He will have a hard time winning an election next year. He had a hard enough time in 2004, not because his opponent, Lt. Gov. Mongiardo (who has already announced that he will oppose him again, in 2010), was all that great, but because Bunning seemed intent upon falling on his sword, in both word and action (or inaction).

Actually, any republican will have a hard time next year unless he boogies on over into “non-partisan country,” somewhat like John McCain. Even then, any republican will have a hard time, but a fresh campaigner will have a better chance than the senator. Kentucky Senate Majority Leader David Williams will probably make the race in the Primary, is a good campaigner and all the rest, but it would be better for the party if a Primary bloodletting could be avoided.

Bunning seems to be having a lot of trouble raising money and the fact that he and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell don’t get along too well doesn’t help. McConnell is a premier money-raiser and Bunning needs him. McConnell had to work hard last year to hold his seat and he’s about as hard-nosed as Bunning conservatively, but it’s doubtful that he will back someone he feels is likely to lose, and that’s probably the way he feels, having the instincts of a political pro. That awful remark Bunning made the other day concerning Supreme Court Associate Justice Ginsberg, in and of itself, is enough to make one wonder if Bunning shouldn’t step down. Judgment that bad made Bunning look not only bad but maybe ready to do something else.

If the economy is still in the tank a year from now, as most economists believe will be the case, a republican’s chances will be enhanced, never mind that Fed Chairman Bernanke predicted to the Foreign Relations gathering today that the economy will turn around by the end of this year. The Anointed One keeps referencing FDR of the 1930s with respect to how to “get more shovels in the ground,” but doesn’t mention that unemployment in 1933 was at 25% and that in 1939 it still stood at 17%, a drop of about one percent per year. Added to that is his seeming not to understand that the work of thousands of men with shovels in the 1930s can be done today by one man and a machine.

The Congress has managed to spend in the last few months more than three times the amount of money spent in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars over the last eight years…actually much more than that when all the peripheral things are thrown in. In addition to that and the current budget proposal of $410 billion, many in the Congress are calling for another “stimulus” giveaway later this year. Sooner or later, the public will catch on to what’s happening and be in the mood to “throw the rascals out.” Maybe not next year, but it will happen. As the government takes over financial institutions and the largest manufacturing concern in the nation, people will smell socialism…a bad odor.

In the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Workers Party made a serious and determined effort to turn the country communist but even though the unemployment rate stood at 25% and people were walking the streets and standing in soup lines, they would have none of it. That was another generation – a stronger one than that of today – but even today folks might not accept the smell of socialism.

And so it goes.

Jim Clark

Thursday, March 05, 2009


It’s been interesting to observe yet again attempts to reconfigure Lexington’s downtown area to somehow make it into a park-like place to which people will flock in droves. Not long ago, the push was on to close Vine Street at Broadway, thus shutting off perhaps the most heavily traveled downtown street. The word was that folks could find their way into the business section by discovering wonderful routes through the narrow side-streets, where, if cars are parked thereon, two cars can barely pass each other. Just imagine rush-hour! The Urban-County Council actually voted once for this change, then had an attack of reality.

Then, there was the push to build a mini-park in the middle of Vine Street – trees, shrubs, walks – EGAD! That, too, died a natural death, as it should have. Now, the push is on to change the one-way streets into two-ways, notwithstanding the tremendous ease of fairly rapid movement to be lost. The thinking behind this is that people will then take the time to see all the good things, like office-buildings, since they will be slowed down with the two-way traffic...oh yes, also take advantage of sidewalk cafes, etc.

The city is already into rebuilding Cheapside, perhaps the main feature being the Farmers Market, which will be located where parking is at a premium, especially since folks hate to use parking garages and get in the exit lines. Two-way streets, narrow by the standards of many cities, will exacerbate that problem. The city would do much better to see if it can rent part of the Lexington Mall on Richmond Road, or something similar, where parking space would be plentiful for both vendors and buyers.

In the mix is a $6 million outlay to overhaul the old Lyric Theater, along with another $300,000 per year to operate it. Why should taxpayers have to either rebuild something that’s unneeded and then pay through the nose to operate it? The Opera House is already available and about to be improved. Singletary Center is available, as well as Rupp Arena, both venues capable of holding huge crowds. In a small city of 280,000, these seem to be enough, without even counting the plethora of school theaters and private ones, not to mention scores of gymnasiums throughout the city. This is an unconscionable expense at a time when the economy is in the tank and the council solons constantly scream about the shortage of cash.

The downtown area is made for offices, financial institutions, government, apartment buildings and specialty shops. People go there essentially when they must during the day and for entertainment during the evening/night hours. Even the banks have offices all over the city because the cramming endemic to having all customers invade downtown is bad for business. The notion, as the local paper would have it, that the “young” geniuses want to live downtown and therefore should be accommodated by the city is too silly for even thinking. They’re no better than anyone else...just a class issue and not a pretty one.

It’s passing strange that taxpayers are expected to subsidize downtown, but little if any mention is made of entrepreneurs who have built their businesses elsewhere in the city and paid through the nose to establish parking areas and all the rest. What would the city officials do for them? Things are tight fiscally, and it ill behooves the council to spend money on entirely unnecessary enterprises.

Taxpayers are watching what has devolved into a financial circus/crisis in Washington, about which it’s too late now to do much except watch it deteriorate further every day. Having the local government USE them the same way the Washington gang does is just a bit much, and it’s time for slacking away from all these schemes, and getting the house in order. There’s enough infrastructure need in this city to use all available cash, so the time has come to set REASONABLE priorities and stick to them.

And so it goes.

Jim Clark

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Politics as Usual!

The notion that some sort of non-regulation of securities by Bush has caused the current downturn is disingenuous. Every credible economist insists now that the housing crisis fueled by the demands of President Clinton and his ilk that everybody own a house is the cause. Bush warned repeatedly during his administration that something had to be done but lacked the guts or the means to turn that around. He compounded the mess by starting the bailouts with the $300-per-person gratuities early last year and made things much worse by signing into law the humongous $787 billion “bank bailout” last fall. That’s not quite fair because the Congress was completely taken over by democrats in January 2007, so that’s where the boondoggles started but he could have vetoed them, as he should have.

When the democrats took over, the market stood at 12,622 (24 January 2007). It increased during the boom in place until 09 October 2007 (14,165). Then came the campaign, with either Clinton or Obama heavily favored to win – not much difference in philosophy. By 15 October 2008 the market stood at 8,578. On 04 March, it was 6,876. It has lost one-half its value in the two years democrats have controlled Congress and lost one-fourth of its value since Obama essentially took control with his pronouncements after the election. Obama’s refrain, along with his Congress, has been to do what FDR did.

Concerning FDR: Henry Morgenthau was Treasury Secretary 1934-45 during the Great Depression of the 1930s and said this in 1939: “We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. And I have just one interest, and if I am wrong…somebody else can have my job. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises…I say after eight years of this administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started…And an enormous debt to boot!” The unemployment rate in 1933 was 25%, in 1939, 17%.

In the middle of all the prosperity since WWII, Jimmy Carter and an overwhelmingly democrat-controlled Congress nearly did what Obama’s trying to do – turn the USA socialist, though he tried it another way – interest rates at 21% and rate of inflation in 1980 at 13.5%. The unemployment rate (7.5% in January 1981, about what it is now) reached 10.8% in September 1982 before Reagan fought it out successfully with House Speaker Tip O’Neill and the democrats for years to get the economy back on track. That ended the malaise-thing, which the rednecks, both democrat and republican, thought was actually something slathered on bread or dumped on lettuce.

The latest broken promise by the Anointed One has to do with his refusal to veto the current $410 billion budget bill account of its 8-9,000 earmarks (amounting to some $7.7 million, if anyone actually knows), the things Obama said he would end. The excuse: last year’s business. It would have been better if he and his press guy had said nothing. The Congress of last year is virtually the same as the current one, both run by the democrats. The hypocrisy stinks.

This is from Bloomberg, by Mark Drajem: “March 2 (Bloomberg) -- Ron Kirk, President Barack Obama’s nominee as U.S. trade representative, agreed to pay $9,975 in back taxes, partly for improperly deducting tickets to Dallas Mavericks basketball games, a Senate panel said. Kirk, a lawyer at Vinson & Elkins LLP in Dallas and a former mayor of the city, also erred in failing to report, as income, honoraria he received and donated to a scholarship fund at Austin College, the Senate Finance Committee said today in a report.

Committee Chairman Max Baucus and the White House said they still support Kirk, the fifth of Obama’s nominees to top posts whose family taxes have become an issue in the Senate’s confirmation process. Kirk’s back-tax bill is a fraction of the $48,268 paid by Tim Geithner, who was confirmed as Treasury secretary, and the $140,000 posted by Tom Daschle, who withdrew his nomination for Health and Human Services secretary.”

This is another tip-off of how a Chicago machine-politician sees government, something to USE for whatever purpose, without a smidgen of loyalty. While young men fight and die, these tax-dodging sleazebags make it into the highest offices. Yeah...that’s UGLY, but apparently the amount is what matters, not the principle. Daschle just took TOO much, but Geithner, who only paid up for two years of stealing out of four (statute of limitations), and Kirk...well, just cheating for chump change (just under a cool $10,000)...so let these crooks have the plush jobs. This is rank corruption – stinks!

Obama should tell Kirk to bug out, but that won’t happen. The Senate ought to vote “nay,” but that won’t happen. The lady tax-cheater who was supposed to have the new Obama-created conformance post stepped out, though her rip-off was less than a thousand. Maybe she had an idea of principle, while these other cheaters have no principles at all. Disgusting!

And so it goes.

Jim Clark