Monday, June 30, 2008

Who Dunnit?

It seems like it happened decades ago yet it actually took place while smoke was still rising from the WTC pile in lower Manhattan. In early October 2001 people started to die from anthrax inhalation and skin contact. The nation's mail system was being used to attack US citizens with deadly anthrax spores. Media elites who today believe the Bush administration overreacted to threats against the nation were, at that time, writing hysterical columns about not being able to get enough Cipro to stay alive. Read that October 21, 2001 Mo Dowd NYTimes column linked above to get a flavor for just how much the nation's mood has changed. Back then Americans didn't know where the next attack was coming from and where the terrorists would strike. Of course, over time, we learned that everything was simply George W. Bush's fault-- except for the things that were Don Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney's fault. That made life dramatically easier. We could just blame Bush and his evil henchmen for everything scary in the world. We could even put Democrats in control of Congress so John Conyers and Henry Waxman could purge Washington of any remaining knuckle-dragging, pro-America zealots. Ignorance truly is bliss.

The FBI never has seemed to have a good idea, at least not for public consumption, about who was behind the anthrax attacks that cost at least 5 American lives and, according to the FBI, $1 Billion. Along the way they gravitated to the domestic white male theory. The "person of interest" they fingered was Dr. Steven Hatfill. The mainstream media loved this twist to the storyline. Reporting on Islamic terrorists who want to kill infidels gave them the creeps so having a big, white, male, American suspect was something that was much more to their liking. Some of us never bought the "Hatfill as anthrax terrorists" story for one minute. If Hatfill could just stay alive and solvent long enough he might just get vindication and a payday out of this like Richard Jewell , we guessed.
Last week Steven Hatfill got his payout without apology from the US government. He receives $3 Million cash and a 20 year annuity of $150,000/ year. That annuity has a cash value of $3 Million to Dr. Hatfill, although it costs the government less than that amount. So this must be upsetting to the media-- the white American male apparently didn't do it-- right? No. Along the way a reporter got caught up in the trial. She refused to testify about who from the government leaked what to her about Hatfill. The judge imposed a $5,000 / day fine on her until she fessed up. The government's settlement likely makes that imposition moot. So, the press folks now celebrate the fact that the media don't have to reveal sources or even admit if their sources ever really existed. I'm not saying that this reporter made stuff up and attributed it to anonymous government sources-- but others sure do, and even freely admit it. So the basic press principle of making up stuff and reporting it as news is still intact. Whew... that was a close one!
Where are we now regarding the attacks? If Hatfill wasn't the source of the mailed anthrax who was? Where are the perpetrators now? Do they have more anthrax spores? If anthrax is mailed again are the safeguards we spent a small fortune on sufficient to protect the public? Does Maureen Dowd have enough Cipro? Some people who never believed the Dr. Hatfill theory have some ideas they've been kickin' around for a while. I don't have any idea if they're onto something with any of this. Frankly, I worked within groups a large part of my life and found that a group of more than three people could barely conspire about where to have lunch, so my skeptic's alarm bells go off loudly when anything even barely smacks of a "conspiracy." Still, there are a lot of questions and seemingly no solid answers. The mainstream media, once obsessed with anthrax, seems quite content now to have it all go away in a summer filled with hope for change. But, really, who dunnit?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

'Cause That's What Friends Are For

Last night closer Todd Jones of the Detroit Tigers blew a save opportunity for the first time this season. He came in to pitch the ninth with a 5-2 lead and eventually gave way to Freddy Dolsi with his team behind 6-5. Not pretty. But, in the bottom of the ninth, following a single by Polanco and a Ryan Raburn walk, Miguel Cabrera powered the first pitch he saw deep into the right field gap at Comerica Park for a 7-6 victory. Waiting to hug Miggy at the third base line was one Todd Jones.

The Tigers, coming from a horrible April/May start, have pulled to 40-40 and have a chance, with a win today, to actually have a winning record at the season's mid-point.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Like Takin' Breakfast From A Baby

"Why is it that, like, I can't just eat my waffle? ... I'm just gonna eat my waffle right now."

-- Senator Obama campaigning at a diner in Pennsylvania, April 2008

It's not exactly the equivalent of “I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it.” Nor has it yet risen to the level of Dukakis-in-a-tank, but the cautious waffle may soon become the symbol of the youthful, energetic junior Senator from Hyde Park, Illinois. Suddenly the bold advocate of HOPE and CHANGE is just another careful, calculating pol! Who could've hoped that he would change so quickly? Republicans? Who knows, they don't appear to even be awake.

A web-based operation called The Politico apparently monitors the crazy lefty blogs (they politely call those fever swamp denizens: "liberal internet activists") and they report that the wackos are not happy with this new Senator Waffles. Poor babies are disappointed to find out that his handlers realize a guy to the left of George McGovern can't get elected President of the United States. BXO promised to filibuster the recent terror surveillance bill but he didn't do it, and now he isn't even acting like a full-blown gun-grabber. The horror. Add to that a few waffles that the fringe nutballs care somewhat less about: town hall joint campaigning with the crusty old Republican nominee and the public campaign finance renege.

Now you can look at this as a post-primary centering that any smart Marxist would do to become more electable. Frankly, that's how I see it. But he gave his opponent a tremendous opening with that "I'm just gonna eat my waffle..." moment. I see foam flying discs that look like waffles with different Obama position reversals printed on them flying around at spirited McCain campaign events, roaring crowds, TV ads with the video of the waffle moment edited in with reneges and position shifts, it's beautiful I tell ya, and then... oh, wait, there aren't any spirited campaign events for McCain. That's right, he's running away from his base. I almost forgot. Scratch the order for the nerf waffles. Nix the TV ad idea. Big Mac wants a "civil" campaign.


Thursday, June 26, 2008

There Is No Private "Big Oil"

“The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they’re ignorant: It’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.” - Ronald Reagan
When I hear the left's arguments about energy prices I'm reminded of the above quote. So much that they know just isn't so. That's not a knock on Democrats alone as there are lots of Republicans that fit that quote as well. I can think of one, the GOP standard bearer as a matter of fact, who has railed about "big oil" and "excess profits" just like his Democrat pals. The above graphic shows just how off base that thinking is. There is no such thing as "Big Oil" in terms of private enterprise and its control of crude oil reserves. Every minute and dollar spent attacking our domestic integrated oil industry is time and money taken away from productive enterprise.
In tangentially related news... GM stock closed at $12.81 last night. As recently as October 12, 2007 it hit $43.20. This morning it gapped down at the open to a level not touched since 1955.
Ford closed at $5.22/ share last night. It too hit its recent high on October 12, 2007: $9.24.
Like GM, Ford gapped down at the open.
Bad policy, whether driven by big government or big labor, is a destructive force. And I'm not talking about creative destruction.
The above visual comes from today's Investors Business Daily. For active traders IBD is the single indispensable tool. As an added benefit the IBD Issues & Insights pages are excellent. Even IBD non subscribers can read most of Issues and Insights here.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A One Time Only Offer

The media reports daily that Americans are trading in their big vehicles to buy smaller, greener transports. Even Car & Driver magazine is doing articles about fuel sippers. I suspect their readers care more about the new Dodge Challenger than the Smart ForTwo, but they don't want to swim against the riptide, I'm sure. Reports come in daily that people are taking terribly low trade-in value for their SUV's and pickups. The unrelenting carnage, the horror, the full-blown panic of it all is around us every time we turn on the TV, look at the 'net or read a paper.

This morning I came across this article that predicts that everyone will leave the comfortable suburban and exurban homes they now live in and crowd into congested cities because, well, because gasoline is a tad pricey. I always imagine these articles are written by unmarried young people without children who are living in overpriced rental units in New York. Maybe not, frankly, I don't really care who these nitwits are. Around our stately plantation the bigger current issue is about the tremendous building boom going on all around us and how our exurban paradise soon might be in the middle of the suburbs. The idea of buying a farm even farther out in the country where the chickens, goats and big dogs run free has been broached. Buying a tiny overpriced condo in the city? No. That won't be happening. We are blissfully out of step. Contrarians? Yep.

Lately I had been looking for more ways to profit from the media-driven panic over energy prices. With a sky filled horizon to horizon with dark clouds there have to be some shiny silver linings. But, instead of attempting to profit I've decided now to offer relief for folks like the ones that get rounded up for tasty quotes in all of these articles. After all, this is an age where the US Congress holds hearings about Wall Street "speculators" and argues about whether they are really, really, bad guys or distilled, pure, Satanic evil. *Sigh* So, rather than profit, it's time to offer relief to these folks I read about and hear about daily.

My offer to you, the long-suffering owner of a clean, fully-loaded GMC Yukon Denali with less than 15,000 miles on the clock: sign over the clear title on that gas hog to me and I will come to your location and give you $750 in cold cash to put towards your Smart ForTwo, Prius, skateboard, bicycle or whatever you wish to drive in these troubled times. You do NOT want to get caught driving an unfashionable SUV this summer. Plus, by this fall, gasoline will be $10/ gallon the "experts" say so you'll just be parking the Denali anyway-- better to get $750 for it NOW. And, for a limited time only, I will make the same offer on the wildly unpopular Hummer H3, and the fat Toyota Sequoia. Don't miss out on this one-time only offer. But wait, there's more! I am making a second offer of $500 cash to the second person who offers one of these vehicles. Tick-tock people. Time's wasting and gas will never, ever, ever, be cheaper than it is today! Right?

What can I say, I'm a giver. Now I need to work on my offer for the clear deed to one of these suburban "McMansions" the media says folks will be fleeing. Get me Chris Dodd's loan guy on the phone, we're going to have to get creative.

UPDATE: Sadly, as of June 29th I have not received one serious response to my kind offer to ease the suffering of my fellow Americans. I did however put 15 gallons of gasoline in my Chevy Tahoe on Saturday. $3.799/ gallon.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

This Is Too Good

Back on May 30, 2008 I addressed the "Lost Amazon Tribe" here. My point back then was that it was a depiction of what our future will be like with the Cap & Trade/ Global Warming crowd in control. Living naked in grass huts, digging in the ground for acorns to eat, getting a drink of water off a leaf, chasing a lizard for din-din... hey, it might not sound all that great but our CARBON FOOTPRINTS WOULD BE SOOO TEENY TINY IT WOULD BE SO WORTH IT! Meanwhile the Pope of Warmism, Al Gore his own self, is cranking through nearly 18,000 kWh/ month at his Nashville area digs. Go figure.

Anyway, here's the coolest part of this continuing story. Last Sunday it was reported that the photographer who circulated those pictures, José Carlos Meirelles, was perpetrating a hoax. No, he didn't hire a bunch of people to dress up and act like this "lost tribe". But he did report that nobody knew they were there when actually people have known they were there for about a hundred years now. Here's the best part. Meirelles embellished the story (ok, he lied) to get the world to stop logging in the Amazon. It was a ploy so that in the salons of London, New York, San Francisco etc. Warmists who have never done a day of labor in their life would say, "We must stop this infernal destruction of the Amazon rainforest Tiffany! Look at these lads in these pictures! We simply must let them be to live their pure and simple... by the way, when is Sting coming by for drinks again?"
See the beautiful symmetry of this. Just like Warmism, it ain't science, it's politics!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Getting Cured

A couple of months ago I was having a terrible time with heartburn. This is not a joke, the Dartlads can attest to the fact that I was hittin' the Tums EX-750's (now in delightful assorted tropical fruit flavors!) at least once a day. Now, several years ago I had an angiogram done-- long, boring story-- and there was some plaque in my arteries but it was at a normal level for a feller of my advanced age, so when I get heartburn as bad as this every freakin' day I don't think "HEART ATTACK!" like most people. Instead I assume it's food or beverage related. I ruled out coffee immediately. Not for any legitimate reason but just because I am addicted to coffee and so... it can't be coffee! OK!?! Get away from my coffee!! oops... sorry...
Was it toast? Unlikely. Cheese? Doubt it. Coca Cola Zero? Maybe. So I did a couple of afternoons of work without a refreshing Zero to get me through to the 4PM close. Still got heartburn. What the heck was it that was causing these daily bouts of heartburn? On June 5th, a Thursday, I had an unbearable attack and gobbled down about three TUMS EX-750's. That helped. But the general problem continued on for a few more days, not as bad as June 5th, but still painful. And then, for no reason it subsided. I began to notice that my attacks of debilitating agony were down from twice a day to twice a week. Why? What changed?
This weekend the answer came to me while I watched my beloved Detroit Tigers take two of three from the San Diego Padres. It wasn't TUMS I needed, it was Thames. Marcus Markey Thames and his pals. Ever since that June 5th, an off day after a dreadful 3-6 west coast road trip, the Tigers are 12-4 and have pulled within 5 games of first place. Can it continue? Of course! Will it? Nobody knows. That's why we watch the games. But, I'm hoping the heartburn is gone for 2008. C'mon guys, win it for my esophagus.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sunday In The South

A warm Sunday. Seems like a good time to motor around Asheville in an Italian sports car.
Now where did I put mine?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Now That's Something You Don't See Every Day

The Russian city of Zheleznovodsk is in the heart of that nation's health spa country apparently. The Mashuk-Akva Term spa decided to draw attention to the curative powers of one of their classic spa procedures by commissioning a statue of an 800 pound bronze enema syringe bulb lifted into position by three happy little angels. According to an AP reporter, who went all the way to the Caucasus Mountains to get to the bottom of this breaking story, the spa director declared, "An enema is almost a symbol of our region."

With that gigantic load off your mind you can head into the weekend with a sunny disposition and a smile on your face. It's just a service we provide here at Monkeydarts.

Photos are from the unveiling as gas-filled balloons lifted the covers away.

H/T to Don Luskin who beat us to this heartwarming tale from Mother Russia.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Turning To Sports

Yesterday it was Westerns, today the AFI's Top 10 Sports films list goes under the 'Dartscope. But first I need to address a couple of items from the Westerns list. It has been pointed out that after knocking four of AFI's choices off the Top 10 and adding four of my own I now have SIX John Wayne movies in the Top 10. My response to that complaint is, you're right. So, take "Butch and Sundance" off and add "Rio Bravo". There, now I have SEVEN John Wayne movies out of ten on my list. That's better. Also, I assume that AFI excluded films that were made for TV. That's why I followed their lead and didn't put the best Western of all time on my list: "Lonesome Dove". That's right, "Lonesome Dove" is even better than "The Searchers". There. I said it.

Sports movies are far more plentiful than I thought before I started trying to come up with a list. It makes sense, since the conflict inherent in sports leads easily to a dramatic film. However, truly great sports movies are hard to come by-- maybe because the drama of the actual games outdistances what film can do.

Here's the AFI Top 10:

1. "Raging Bull"
2. "Rocky"
3. "Pride of the Yankees"
4. "Hoosiers"
5. "Bull Durham"
6. "The Hustler"
7. "Caddyshack"
8. "Breaking Away"
9. "National Velvet"
10. "Jerry Maguire"

"Raging Bull" is a film school masters course. Dissect it frame by frame and learn how to tell a story with film. It belongs in the 10, of course, but "Rocky" is the better entertainment. If you're old enough to have watched "Rocky" in a theater, before anyone knew who Stallone was, you'll probably remember how great the experience was. Many people around today had a perception about Stallone or had seen a parody of "Rocky" before they actually saw it. Plus they saw it on a TV-- not in a theater. Believe me, seeing Rocky in a theater without any idea who this guy was who wrote it and starred in it was a totally different experience. But you had to have been born before 1960 since the movie came out almost 32 years ago!
"Pride of the Yankees" is OK. Gary Cooper just doesn't do it for me though and the thing people remember is his duplication of Gehrig's moving speech at Yankee Stadium. The real speech is on film-- watch it and skip the movie. "Hoosiers" is a tremendous movie and every kid in America should see it before he graduates from high school. "Bull Durham" is constantly at the top of lists like these. When it was first out I thought it was OK. A few years ago I tried watching a bit of it and it no longer amused and delighted. If you have to have Costner in a sports movie, and he's made a few, go with "Field of Dreams". AFI put "...Dreams" in the Fantasy category, not Sports, but it's a better sports movie than "Bull Durham". Better yet, if Costner must be represented, put "Tin Cup" on the list.

"The Hustler" is just simply great stuff. The book it was based on was written by Walter Tevis who was an English professor of mine in college. He invented the character Minnesota Fats by the way. In early drafts I've read of The Hustler the fat pool champion character was from St. Louis. Tevis changed it because Minnesota Fats sounded better to his writer's ear. The guy who you saw playing pool on TV as "Minnesota Fats"? He was a first rate pool hustler who changed his name to "Minnesota Fats" after the movie came out. As I recall, Walter Tevis was not amused since people thought he based the character on this guy. He swore that he had never even heard of the guy when he wrote The Hustler and I believed him then and now. Now you know the rest of the story. Gooooood day.

I was shocked to see "Caddyshack" on the list. I didn't think AFI had a sense of humor. That's a keeper. "Breaking Away" is a nice movie. Top 10? Doubtin' it. "National Velvet"? If you want a horse movie on the list try the recent "Seabiscuit". "NV" is about steeplechase for cryin' out loud! "Jerry Maguire" is a chick flick masquerading as a Sports movie. Get it outta here! So, what to add? The big problem is narrowing a list of Sports movies to put on the list. Basically there are a ton of movies that would be number 10 (or maybe 11) on the list.
Try these on for size: "Bang The Drum Slowly", "Friday Night Lights", "The Great White Hope", "Chariots of Fire", "Slap Shot", "Grand Prix", and "Remember The Titans". Are documentaries allowed? "When We Were Kings" must go on the list then. If "Caddyshack" works then how about a comedy based around college football (Huxley U. vs Darwin U.)-- The Marx Brothers' "Horse Feathers". To me the best baseball movie of all time is "The Natural". How is that not on the AFI list? Even though the knucklehead John Cusack is in it I watch part of "Eight Men Out" every time it shows up on the grid.

But, if there's just one sports movie that you should see it's "Cinderella Man". It's the true story of boxer James J. Braddock. Braddock is played by the great Russell Crowe. Men didn't see it because of the horrible title. Women didn't see it because it was about boxing. Trust me on this, "Cinderella Man" is one of the best movies of the past ten years in any genre. Women will love it for its story of family, faith, forgiveness and virtue. Men will love it for the story of a man who persevered through the worst that life could throw at him and, in his own way, triumphed. And, the boxing scenes are filmed tremendously well. If you rent the DVD of "CM" and don't like it I'll have someone send you your money back.
-That's Marilyn Monroe in the picture above. No, she isn't in any of these movies but she married and divorced a baseball player. Close enough.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Love Those Lists

America loves lists. We've got to know who's #1. FORBES knows this and prints lists all year long ranking sports franchises, media folk, rich people, best cities for business, and on and on. I look at every one of those lists and beg for more. TV programmers aren't total dopes either, at least when it comes to lists. Allow me to pull up my satellite grid for a second and see what "list shows" are on tonight. Hmmm, VH1 is showing the 100 Greatest Songs of the 80's, Travel has Florida's Top 10 Beaches, ESPN Classic contributes The Top 5 Reasons Why You Can't Blame Charles Barkley (for what I don't know-- maybe I'll just have to watch), E! lists the 12 Sexiest Vegas Jobs tonight, and KTLA in Los Angeles has the Top 5 Men. They are breaking it into two back-to-back shows of Two And A Half Men each apparently.

Many years ago the American Film Institute (and where would the world's movie watchers be without an institute to promote movie stars, directors, and other Hollywoodsters? Thank goodness for the visionary thinking of Lyndon Baines Johnson!) got all over the Top 100 thing. Since 1998's 100 Years, 100 Movies the AFI has cranked out an annual list show for network broadcast. Last night's version was AFI's 10 Top 10. Basically it was a way to show clips from 100 movies by breaking them into 10 arbitrary genre groupings. It was pure piffle-- and I watched all 180 escapist minutes of it.

List shows work because everybody has an opinion and so there will be disagreements about the list. That leads to what's called water cooler talk. Nobody has actually stood around an office water cooler talking since 1959 but it's still called "water cooler talk." The genius of AFI's 10 Top 10 is that it also plays into our short attention span. After all, a Top 100 list can seem like so much worrrkkkk. In fact, I'm too lazy to complain about all ten lists. I'm just gonna point out how crazy two of them were: Westerns and Sports. I'm picking these because Westerns are my favorite genre and I love sports. I'll leave it to others to pick apart Romantic Comedies, Epics and the rest.
The AFI Westerns List:
1. "The Searchers"
2. "High Noon"
3. "Shane"
4. "Unforgiven"
5. "Red River"
6. "The Wild Bunch"
7. "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid"
8. "McCabe & Mrs. Miller"
9. "Stagecoach"
10. "Cat Ballou"
OK. I'm not going to get into the rankings, just whether they deserve to be on a Top 10 list. "The Searchers" at #1 is obvious. "High Noon" is lefty claptrap and shouldn't be on any list of great Westerns, although it usually is. People who don't like Westerns put it there I surmise. "Shane" is another movie that's always on these lists but I doubt many people who vote it there have watched it in a long time. If they had they'd know that Brandon De Wilde is the most annoying kid ever filmed. Not only was he a terrible child actor but his screeching "When ya comin' back Shaaannnne?" is distilled fingers-on-a-blackboard stuff. When am I comin' back to "Shane"? Never.
Clint's "Unforgiven" is good stuff although he was purposely trying to mess with Western movie mythology with it. Still, it can be on a list like this. "Red River" is a classic of the genre and must be on the list. "The Wild Bunch" is Peckinpah's best film and if you don't have Sam on your list why don't you just watch girl movies. "Butch and Sundance" is cute. Edit out the stupid bicycle ride to "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" and it gets another star. You can keep it on the list. "McCabe and Mrs. Miller" is a dirty hippie movie set in the west. Get it the hell outta here. Although, Julie Christie looked quite fetching in it so maybe... NO! get it out. "Stagecoach" goes at the top next to "The Searchers." "Cat Ballou"? Insane. So insane it nearly invalidates the list.
So, I opened up four spots. What to add? Well, just off the top of my head: "True Grit", " The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance", "The Outlaw Josey Wales", and "One-Eyed Jacks". I could watch all four of those movies a hundred times before watching the four I plinked ever again. Although, Julie Christie... NO!
Tomorrow: Sports
And, no, that picture of Sophia Loren and Jayne Mansfield has nothing to do with the AFI lists. It just means, "Hooray for Hollywood!"

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

75% Stuck On Stupid

While looking for something completely different on the Chicago Tribune's website I ran into this article reprinted from the Washington Post. This is the gist of it:

Watch out for cars with bumper stickers.That's the surprising conclusion of a recent study by Colorado State University social psychologist William Szlemko. Drivers of cars with bumper stickers, window decals, personalized license plates and other "territorial markers" not only get mad when someone cuts into their lane or is slow to respond to a traffic light, they also are far more likely than others to use their vehicles to express rage —by honking, tailgating and other aggressive behavior.

My initial reaction was the same as it is to most things in the WashPost: "that's nuts." But I reconsidered and thought that ol' Szlemko just might be on to something. So, I did my own quick research and found that, sure enough, 75% of people with bumper stickers on their cars are stark ravin' crazy and should be avoided at all costs by the sane among us. The other 25% loves them some John Cash.

Monday, June 16, 2008

How Green Was My Shakedown?

Four years ago Kenneth Timmerman published a meticulously researched book about how Rev. Jesse Jackson has used race for decades to extort millions of dollars from corporations and other guilt-ridden entities. Shakedown: Exposing the Real Jesse Jackson is quite an interesting read. But in these days of HOPE and CHANGE it seems almost like ancient history. Can the multi-million dollar race shakedown game still be lucrative when the prospective next President of the United States is black? Well, half black-- but the media elites always describe him as black, so we'll go with that.

One day last week I was driving along a nearby county road while a radio station out of Charlotte, North Carolina was reporting on Rev. Al Sharpton's upcoming visit to their city. It had something to do with a police shooting. That part of the story was just the low hum of life's rich pageant to me. The interesting thing to me was that the fellow being interviewed was from another city in North Carolina but was connected to Rev. Al's operations. In addition to talking about why Al was coming to town to get "the facts" and "the truth" about this particular shooting, he also revealed that the Sharpton organization was planning to open a branch office in Charlotte. That was an "I coulda had a V-8" moment for me. Now, I knew that Al's organization had "network" in its name but in an age where diet food by mail is hawked as a "system" I never considered that this "network" extended beyond New York. Sure enough, Al Sharpton franchises the race hustle industry! The entrepreneurial spirit of America is endlessly exciting.

So apparently Rev. Sharpton isn't overly concerned about how an Obama presidency could detract from his revenue streams. The Post has an interesting story this very morning about how lucrative this public service is to the National Action Network and its Chief. Lots of fun details in there for your reading pleasure. I wonder if Al has a team of marketeers in a room somewhere with white boards and squeaky colored markers planning around the various scenarios vis-a-vis the November elections? That sort of planning takes me back to a prior business life. Fun stuff. Oops, just re-read that. Sorry Al, I meant Powerpoint slides, not "white board" and "colored markers." Please don't boycott me.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day

I can think of no better way to say Happy Father's Day than to post this picture of a mare and her newborn foal taken a mile or two from here. After all, without mares and their foals we fathers would just be stallions. (Plus, this picture was made by the youngest Dartlad!) As a father of three I can confidently say that bein' "Dad" is a great thing to be. A great thing indeed. I'm also very fortunate to be the son of a very much alive octogenarian. Happy Father's Day to all the stallions checking in today.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Just Drill It

The other day Senator McCain got a question he dreaded about his position on drilling for crude oil in ANWR. During his answer he trotted out a tired old line of his that compares ANWR to The Grand Canyon.

McCain: "As far as ANWR is concerned, I don’t want to drill in the Grand Canyon, and I don’t want to drill in the Everglades. This is one of the most pristine and beautiful parts of the world."

Maybe the Senator needs to go to ANWR and check it out. In fact he should have Alaska Governor Sarah Palin take him there. By the time he leaves he'll realize-- it ain't the Grand Canyon! And, if he's smart, he'll ask Palin to be his running mate.

All of which is an excuse to put up a picture I took while running the Colorado River rapids in the Grand Canyon more years ago than I care to recall. I recommend it to anyone plus it's closer than "pristine" ANWR.

UPDATE: Jonah Goldberg at The Corner has some snapshots of ANWR for comparison here.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Take No Prisoners?

It will be interesting to see if the message from the US Supreme Court to our warriors today is interpreted as, "Take no prisoners."

The law of unintended consequences can be cruel. Meanwhile, the clear-thinking Justice Scalia writes in his 25 page dissent:

“The game of bait-and-switch that today’s opinion plays upon the Nation’s Commander in Chief will make the war harder on us. It will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed. The Nation will live to regret what the Court has done today. I dissent.” -Justice Scalia, joined by Justices Thomas, Roberts and Alito

We're Solid Man, Now Get Out

It used to be said that the most dangerous spot in DC was between Chuck Schumer and a TV camera. Personally, I always figured you could replace Schumer with any number of US Senators; especially John McCain back when Russert, Matthews, Schieffer, Brokaw and all the rest hearted him real big. Seems like a long time ago, doesn't it Johnny Mac? But hold it, there's a new "most dangerous spot in DC": advisor/ confidante to Barack Obama. One day you're someone he couldn't disown any more than his (typical white) grandmother and the next day you're sittin' on the curb with a big bruise on your backside.

The latest to go is Democrat graybeard Jim Johnson. James Johnson couldn't really help it. He's a competent guy who knows a bit about how Washington works-- which means his resume is at odds with the HOPE/ CHANGE/ Yes We Can! Obama message. Eventually the lone VP searcher will probably be Ms. Kennedy since there are just as many reasons to dump Eric Holder as there were to dump Jim Johnson. As JFK's daughter she's untouchable, but we have no idea if she is even barely competent for this task. That will likely be the theme of the Obama presidency as he fills cabinet posts. The competent folks will mostly have resumes that irk the base that loves Barack because he isn't one of the hated "them." The people that the base will push on him will have pasts that will come out in the senate hearings process. This is just the beginning.

But what a great beginning it's been! As he exits Johnson follows other notables like Samantha Power, an Obama campaign advisor who made the mistake of revealing a little bit too much about BXO views regarding Israel. Remember Austan Goolsbee? He was the economic advisor who got his britches snagged on the barbed wire running along the Canadian border when he gave them a nudge-nudge-wink-wink moment in Ottawa regarding NAFTA. Farrakhan acolyte, Father Pfleger had to be pushed away from the head table. Barack might not think that Reverend Wright is wrong but he knows he's not Reverend Right Now. Hyde Park pals Mr. & Mrs. Ayers, both domestic terrorists, have yet to have their big day in the sun, but the dossiers are brimming. The Democrat's handmaiden media will try to keep those two outta sight-- but eventually the truth will get out to a wider audience. I dream of President Obama nominating Bill Ayers for Secretary of Education. Even the hapless Republicans in Washington should be able to hit that fat pitch out of the park. How many more skeletons are going to tumble out of Obama's closet this summer? Hard to tell. Has the media even made any attempt to look into his father's side of the family beyond reading BXO's two autobiographical books? That might be an interesting place to look into what makes the likely next POTUS tick. Something tells me that if it was a tale that would resonate in the bosom of America we'd be hearing all about it. I'm not a cynic-- I'm a skeptic.

The most interesting moment, however, will be when (if?) Michelle Obama makes another outrageous public statement. It will be very entertaining to watch the drumbeat get louder as Axelrod and Plouffe huddle to figure out what to tell Barack to do about his, ahem, wife problem. I can't wait to hear these words:

"That is not the Michelle that I know."
If it takes over 20 years for a guy to figure out his preacher is a raving, racist loon how long can it take for him to figure out that his wife has some issues regarding the country he wants to lead?

An editorial about Obama's Johnson problem in theWSJ here

Rick Moran nails it at The American Thinker . The title alone is worth the price of admission.
Plus, Moran has the transcript from way back (a couple of hours ago) in the pre-Johnson Dump era:

"Now look, the, the, ah, ah, ah, I mean the uh first of all uh I, I, I am not vetting my VP search committee for their mortgages so you're going have to uh d-direct... Well, nah I mean becomes sort of a... um... I mean this is a game that can be played everybody... It who is tangentially related to our campaign I think is going to have a whole host of relationships. I would have to hire the vetter to uh vet the vetter."

- The Greatest Orator of The Age, Barack Obama
You said it, Barry. I'll bet Axelrod's heart rate doubled as he listened.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


A few people have wondered why I would let young 'dexter go this summer for reasons that are based on projections of future federal government-induced troubles for the business. The short answer is, "I ain't runnin' a charity around here! He was an 'at will' employee and my 'will' is to save money now!" Many people who have never made a payroll, never paid monthly vendor & utility bills, never worried about whether a monthly or quarterly sales goal would be met, seem to think that a business owner can wait for the flood waters to rise before filling the sandbags. Unfortunately most of the people in the House and Senate of the United States fit in this category of economic idiot. These are the people who don't say "boo" in the lean years but want to tax away everything you make in the flush years. Certainly the two guys running for President have never had the concerns of a business owner or manager. At least in the case of McCain he married into a business savvy family when he snagged Cindy. But I see scant evidence that any of their acumen rubbed off on him. The other guy? He has no clue. Zero. I try wading through his soaring rhetoric and there is very little of value there to explore. What is there is pretty much boilerplate Marxism.
--One must look ahead to thrive. The best way to look ahead at the political landscape is by following political futures trading. I use InTrade for this. Taking a look at the latest political futures we find that a Democrat controlled House will be sworn in next January. It's a lead pipe cinch at 95.5. The Senate? Democrat control is a certainty as it trades at 93.8. The 2006 Democrat takeover election ushered in a new populist/ protectionist mood in WashDC. My guess is that this extremely destructive trend will be extended with this November's congressional election.
--What about the Presidency? Well, Obama is trading at 61.3 while McCain is at 34.5. That could change, of course, but I try to strip the opinion out and let the market tell me what's happening. In fact, when you go a level deeper and look at electoral vote futures by state it looks pretty good for Obama. In the states that will be contested Obama has solid futures trading advantages in PA, CO, IA, MI, OH, NM, WI. He's showing small leads in VA, NH & NV. As for McCain, he's ahead in FL & MO. That's it. In any event, because of the way the 2003 tax reforms had to have an expiration date stamped on them (thanks to weak-kneed Sens. like Linc Chafee and John McCain, btw) there isn't much a President McCain would be able to do to stop the inevitable growth-crushing tax rate hikes that are coming.
--There is virtually no way that we avoid more regulation, higher tax rates, more job destruction, more protectionist trade policy, and less free trade in 2009/2010. Meanwhile Poindexter is in Washington DC today interviewing for an analyst's job. He's a smart kid, he figured out that the nation's biggest growth industry for the next couple years at least will be Big Government, Incorporated.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Wages of "Compassion"

Last week we wrote at length about the unemployment leap to 5.5%. Drilling down into the data it was clear that the jump was due entirely to the 16-24 year old summer job search by kids like Poindexter * pictured here. Some of this jump was due to the way the data was massaged differently, but there was actually an underlying problem-- Democrat legislation enacted last summer destroyed many thousands of summer jobs this year.

The folks at IBD can tell you all about it here. The idea that raising the minimum wage decreases employment isn't any big revelation. It always happens that way. But most of us had probably forgotten that one of the first moves the new Democrat Congress made last year was to pass job-killing legislation. They are soooo compassionate and caring. Just ask Poindexter.

* - Poindexter used to head up our analysis area. I fired him this month to save his salary and benefits cost in anticipation of the large tax increases coming after January 2009.

Election Day 2008

No, not the election in November that everyone seems to be talking about, I mean our election here today. We vote a lot around here-- this is the third statewide vote already in 2008. It would be two but for the fact that the D's and the R's held their respective Presidential Primary elections a week or so apart back in January. Around the offices of Amalgamated Monkeydarts we vote in every election, even the minor ones, so at lunchtime today a Jeepload of us went off to cast ballots. South Carolina doesn't have registration by political party. Of course the Democrat Party was the only thing going in the state for about a hundred years after the War Between the States until LBJ busted up the "Solid South" for his party in the mid 1960's. You couldn't find enough Republicans for a pickup basketball game if you searched the whole state back in those days. Since we don't have registration by party, a voter asks for which ballot he wants on election days that have primary contests-- like today.

When we made it over to the volunteer fire department to vote there was no line. The lovely ladies working the polling place were plenty glad to see our group. We were breaking up the monotony I'm sure. The last to vote in our group signed the Republican side of the ledger on line #63. The Democrat side had 5 signatures so far. Hmm, 63-5, I reckon the Republicans have the lefties outnumbered around these parts. There were two, exactly two, contests on the R ballot: Lindsey Graham running against a fella named Buddy Witherspoon in the US Senate primary, and a three way battle for our local representative on the county council. We live in an unincorporated area so our only voice over in the county seat is that county councilman.
The state uses the exact same touch-screen voting machines in every precinct in the state. They work just swell-- not even a Florida Democrat could foul them up. The longest part of the process today was signing in and having one of the poll workers activate a screen to use. The actual voting took two taps of the screen, one push of a red flashing light to cast the vote, and one tap of the screen to confirm. Took about 8 seconds. Total time to exercise the franchise, including the drive over to the firehouse, about 10 minutes. Might be a bit more crowded in November, though.
UPDATE: We get yet another election! Seems like our county council candidate with the most votes had less than 50% of the vote so there will be a runoff June 24th. Man we like to vote around here.

Monday, June 9, 2008

More Than A Feeling

A 43 year old married father of two teenagers, Tommy DeCarlo, is the new lead singer for the multi-platinum classic rock band BOSTON. He gave up his day job at our local Home Depot (River Gate Plaza in Steele Creek) to head out on the road this summer. Story and more pictures here. A short interview on video is here. All of it courtesy of Sarah Aarthun at the Charlotte Observer.

Livin' the dream. Literally. Good luck, Tommy!

PS- Thanks for helping out on that problem with the propane tank on our grill!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Markets Intrude on a Peaceful Sunday

A quick addendum to Friday's post and its updates regarding the market mayhem offered here for your Sunday reading pleasure. Gold had its biggest one day gain Friday too. Once again, another big blow to the people who argue that the price of crude oil is a "supply & demand" issue. There is an underlying price that, certainly, is related to supply & demand tension. Nobody really knows what it is. I've heard people recently say that only $40/bbl is "real" and the rest is trading froth. Others think the floor is $80.
No less a figure on the scene than T. Boone Pickens hisowndamseff thinks the total current price is "real." I haven't seen a comment about Friday's spiking action from him though. He could sell iceboxes to polar bears but he can't sell that tall tale to me. My guess, and it's only a guess, is that the price will fall below $80, maybe as far as $60, but will stabilize around the $80 level looking out over the next couple years.

I'll just say this, what happened to crude oil prices Friday was due entirely to the dollar and traders' unwillingness to go through a weekend short crude oil. The leap in gold prices Friday proves that to be so.

Meanwhile, it appears most people don't know the unemployment rate jump was mostly a statistical anomaly. (Read the Implications section in Brian Wesbury's Friday dispatch.)
Oh well, markets trade on information-- they don't always trade on correct information.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Much Too Young To Feel This... Old

Today the youngest Dartlad will graduate from high school. Next weekend the oldest will graduate from college out on the West Coast.
These are big events in their lives. They are a big deal to their grandparents too. And these graduations make for some very proud parents too.
Now go away while I get all misty.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Friday Morning Wildness

Whoa! A week or so ago I wrote here about how the (then) rising price of crude was not primarily a supply/demand issue but, rather, was a way to play the US$ weakness. I implied that the crude oil market had made a top at 135.09 on May 22nd. The timing of those remarks were pretty good-- hey, even a dart-throwin' monkey hits the target every now and then. Oil dropped about 10 percent from that point until, well, until this morning's May non-farm payroll numbers came out. More importantly, the household employment survey came out and showed our low unemployment numbers jumping abruptly from 5% to 5.5%.

Now how on Earth does an unemployment figure cause oil prices to soar? In fact, if more people are supposedly out of work, doesn't that mean oil should drop in price instead of leap $7 per barrel like it did on this morning's news-- since there should be less demand after all? Well, loyal reader(s), what's happening this morning is proof, if you still needed it, that high oil prices are linked more to the weak dollar than to any "peak oil" or Schumer's Saudi scare. Think about it. Did demand soar overnight? No. Did supply fall off somewhere? Just the usual, no. So, what happened to cause oil to retrace most everything it had lost in two weeks at this morning's opening bell? Here's an outline:

- crude oil hit a high of $135.09 on 5/22 and faltered at that price

- the stock market, not coincidentally, went into a technical correction the day before after several days of selling-- this looked like big money managers reallocating portfolios

- the dollar strengthened against other currencies generally over the next two weeks- the fed was signalling that they were inflation-fighter mode now

- another way to play a strengthening dollar is to sell (and sell short) commodities, therefore oil plunged

- oil fell below $123/bbl on June 4th during the trading day (I'm looking at my intra-day trading notes not a chart) that quick of an oil price correction probably meant some large short positions were coming in on crude oil driving it down nearly 10% in two weeks

- at 8:30AM EDT today the May non-farm payroll and unemployment numbers were released

- that data was read to be very bearish for the general economy meaning the federal reserve would NOT be able to start raising interest rates and strengthening the dollar

- the above data point means NO inflation fighting from the fed... sooooo stock futures reduced downward sharply, the strengthening dollar sold off abruptly and, say it with me now, the people shorting crude oil covered their short positions... boom-- oil flies instantly to $134.50

Supply and demand? Don't make me laugh. Traders moving pretty damn fast for a June Friday? You betchyerazz. Don't worry Jake, it's Chinatown. Ooops, I mean, it's market action, baby! We live for this! And the word of the day on Wall Street TV... IT'S GOING TO $150!!! Run for your lives!!! They are herding up the sheep right now on CNBC and the sheep are sprinting towards the shearing barn. The pulse quickens.

Now, think about this tiny little bit of news about that supposedly horrible unemployment data: it calculated graduating kids from high school/ college differently than usual, thus the jump from 5% to 5.5%. My guess is there will be some "smoothing" of that number in the next couple of months. So the fed might not be knocked off the inflation-fighting, tightening track at all. Make sure you're on the "right side of the trade." Today, I am. But it's hard work being there and staying there in a volatile market. This ain't the late 90's when any dart-throwin' monkey could buy Intel or Cisco and look smart.

Watch to see if oil breaks above $135.09 today and STAYS ABOVE IT AT THE CLOSE. That will be the most important number today methinks.
UPDATE: Resistance at $135.09 held through the morning but around 1PM the price of crude broke through that level. When it did it, of course, rapidly advanced to just under $140. Remember, a couple of days ago it was trading at $122 and change. (Hint: That's got all the makings of a run.) Clearly the short positions that were taken over the past few weeks were covered today. Here's the quiz question though: will that short-covering rally continue next week and turn into further gains or will it collapse? Would you BUY crude oil at $138.84 per barrel knowing it was in the 80's just last February? If so you were the kind of "investor" who bought AOL right when Time Warner was buying her. Good luck.
UPDATE2:There's a gigantic, worldwide game of chicken going on-- this has very little to do with "supply disruptions", "sabre rattling" or "demand from China." Those things have all been in place for a long time. No, this is about two opposing trading positions battling it out for supremacy. The best place for you? In the La-Z-Boy with a tub of buttered popcorn watching it play out. Will the bull forces drive the world into an economic collapse? Will the oil bears win the day and drive crude oil down to 80, 70, 60....? I love this game!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

He Wants To Die? Oblige Him

The arraignment of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other mass murderers took place Thursday. Reports are that he affirmed his guilt and said he wanted to die. Sounds like a deal to me.

Yo, KShMo! Woody Allen called. He wants his look back.

Justin Smoak

Things didn't work out the way we hoped this year for the USC Gamecocks baseball team. Most national observers pegged them as a Top 10 team and some had them Top 5 in pre-season polls. As the season spooled out it was clear they had a great defense-- one that would be ranked 3rd in the nation. The hitting was good with plenty of power. But pitching was just too inconsistent to win the SEC title and it also held the Gamecocks back in the NCAA regionals where they lost to NC State. Final record, 40-23. That's baseball.

One part of the season that didn't disappoint however was the play of Junior first baseman Justin Smoak. The 6'4", 215 lb switch-hitter played excellent defense, hit for average, and showed power from both sides of the plate. Smoak home runs are never wall-scrapers. This kid booms the ball out of the yard. Justin made first team All American this year. Baseball America has ranked him as the #3 college prospect. The major league team draft boards have Justin as a Top 10 prospect when all the high schoolers are thrown in with the college boys. I think he could slip a bit because of his position, but he'll still go pretty high. So, it was no surprise when ESPN invited him to be in attendance in Orlando for their draft day coverage. He would get lots of TV time and attention as the camera watches him agonize over the picks. Will he be selected in the top 5? In the Top 10? Peter Gammons, what do you think?

Justin's response to the invitation from The Worldwide Leader In Hype? "No thank you."
Said Justin Smoak, “I’m hanging out in Goose Creek. I’ve been through the draft process before, and I just wanted to spend it with my family.”
Bless him. May he have great success in professional baseball and bring honor to his family and the fine people of Goose Creek, South Carolina. Go 'cocks!
UPDATE: Justin Smoak was pick #11. Drafted by the Texas Rangers he was the 8th college player selected.


This morning all is well in Hockeytown USA, the mighty Red Wings won the Stanley Cup. A tremendous hockey club, they were the sport's best team from the season opener until the Cup was held high in Pittsburgh. The Detroit Red Wings deserve it. (For those of you who get your sports news from ESPN, I'm talking about the NHL.)
Now, maybe some of that success will rub off on Mr. I's other major league sports outfit.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Ooo-ooo, Smell That Smell

There's a wonderful saying, usually attributed to Sun Tsu: "If you wait by the river long enough, the bodies of your enemies will float by." Sun Tsu has been dead for over 2,500 years so I can't e-mail him to see if he really said that, but if he didn't he should have. For me the wait hasn't been too long. Most of us knew when Hillary Clinton ran for the US Senate seat being vacated by the honorable Daniel Patrick Moynihan that her real goal was to reclaim the White House power base for the Clinton Crime Syndicate. Back when I used to care who the Republicans were running in 2008 much of the discussion revolved around who could "stop Hillary." It was a glorious week here in South Carolina back in January when we found out exactly who could stop her: Bill Clinton.

This past week our only elected president to be impeached came unglued because Vanity Fair did a long article that explored Bill's very dark soul. It's one thing if The American Spectator or The Weekly Standard or the WSJ Editorial page writes something bad about him. After all, they're all just part of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy(TM). But when a glossy, New York fashion magazine read by the idle Gulfstream Greens and Limousine Liberals trashes Billy, why that's a bridge too far. By now I'm sure you've heard or read Billy's tirade about the article using Clintonian debate terms like "sleazy", "slimy", "dishonest" and "scumbag." That last one, for you youngsters, is defined as "a used condom." Looks like the William Jefferson Blythe Clinton Presidential Legacy is now complete. But buried in this outburst was this from the impeached one:

"It's all about the bias of the media for Obama... But I'm telling ya, all it's doing is driving her supporters further and further away-- because they know exactly what it is-- this has been the most rigged press coverage in modern history."

OK. I won't argue that the media isn't in the tank for Barack. But holy crap pal, you were President of the United States for eight years, put on some big boy pants ya whining, miserable sore loser. And, by the way, as for "the most rigged press coverage in modern history" you might get an argument from: Barry Goldwater, Dick Nixon, Spiro Agnew, Ronald Reagan, Dan Quayle, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Bob Dole, Don Rumsfeld, Scooter Libby, Mitt Romney... you get the picture. Maybe it's a matter of what the definition of "modern" and "history" is. Democrats have no idea what it's like running for public office without a handmaiden press to assist daily. Bill & Hill got a very small taste of it and they don't seem to like it much. Poor babies.

Whether you ever grow up or not is no concern to me though Billy boy. I'm just sitting here along the river watching your stinking carcass float downstream. Oh look, a turkey buzzard.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Enter At Your Own Risk

Preparations were already made to write about the cap&trade lunacy in WashDC, or Ben Bernanke's enchanting talk this morning about the fedrazzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Oops. Dozed off. Then I saw a story at Libertas. Actually the good folks there were linking to TigerHawk who got the story from the New York Daily News: Angelina Jolie Has Guns And She Ain't Afraid To Use Them.

"If anybody comes into my home and tries to hurt my kids, I've no problem shooting them," (Jolie) said. "I can handle myself. There's a side to me that people know is humanitarian, and there's a side to me that's a mommy. But there's also the side that likes to get down and dirty and run and jump around and fire guns."
If I have ever seen an Angelina Jolie movie I can't remember it. But this news, added to her op-ed a while back calling for the USA to see Operation Iraqi Freedom through to victory for humanitarian reasons, convinced me to put a Jolie movie at the top of my Netflix queue. Judging from the way she handles the hardware in her movies (judging from the dozens of stills I just went through to find a picture for this story) I believe she can protect her kids just fine. As for that Pitt fella, well, I'd trust Angelina with a Sig long before him. Someday I'll tell you about the night I ran into him at Casa Vega on Ventura Blvd. in Sherman Oaks. I'm sure he's a nice kid. Really. But she's tougher. A lot tougher.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Oh, If Only Someone Would Talk to Them...

You may have heard that the Danish embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan was bombed Monday. As I type this there are six known dead and dozens wounded. Robert Spencer at Jihad Watch attributes this to the seething rage over the cartoon depictions of Mohammed-- which Robert refers to as Motoon Rage. He's almost certainly correct, although I haven't seen any group claim this atrocity for their very own. On one of the recent pronouncements from al Qaeda leader Dr. Z, that nutbar "called for attacks on Danish targets in response to the publication of caricatures in Danish newspapers depicting the Prophet Muhammad" according to the AP. I take the reporting of the AP with a block of salt, but I'll trust them on this one.

So, you say, terrorists have killed six people and injured many more in Pakistan but otherwise there wasn't much activity on the Islamic terrorist front over the past few days. That would be wrong. For example, looking at just the last 7 days (5/26-6/1/2008) on the grid at The Religion of Peace we find that there have been Islamic terror attacks in Somalia, India, Iraq, Pakistan, Thailand, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, The Philippines and Yemen. Total known dead from those 38 separate terror attacks is, roughly, 157. That's before this attack on the Danish embassy in Islamabad. How many of those did you hear about since Memorial Day? For me, I think the total was one. Basically, it doesn't get reported but there are, on average, 3 to 4 Islamic terror attacks in the world every single day.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Gaffes Just Keep On Comin'

If you've ever visited Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills of South Dakota you know how impressive and enormous it is. If you've been lucky enough to see it at night, illuminated by giant spotlights, you've had a very rare experience. The junior senator from Illinois got his chance to see the sculpture this past Friday night. It was his first visit to the landmark. If you know any of the rangers and people who have worked at Mount Rushmore all of them can tell you some funny stories about the questions they get. The funniest is no doubt the question, and they are being very serious, about whether it is "natural" or "man made." Yes, people do ask that. The question Senator Obama asked a ranger has to be one of the best ever from a guy with a law degree from Harvard and a serious chance to be the next President of these United States of America. Check this:

Obama says his ears too big for Rushmore
MOUNT RUSHMORE NATIONAL MEMORIAL, S.D. (AP) — Democrat Barack Obama paid an unscheduled late-night visit to Mount Rushmore Friday, visiting the national memorial at closing time and joking that his ears were too big to ever be included in such a display.
Obama joined a group of reporters and staff members for an after-dark sightseeing visit to the national memorial, where the faces of four presidents are carved into the mountain. South Dakota and Montana hold their primary elections on Tuesday, the final ones in the nation, and Obama was campaigning in both states.
Asked by a reporter if he ever envisioned himself carved into the mountain, he said, "I don't think my ears would fit. There's only so much rock up there."
Obama said it was his first visit to the landmark.
He did express curiosity about the filming of a chase scene in "North by Northwest," Alfred Hitchcock's 1959 classic starring Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint that included a death-defying scramble over Rushmore's presidential faces.
"How did they get up there in the first place?"
he asked ranger Wesley Jensen.
"They didn't. It was a movie set," Jensen told him.
"Pretty spiffy, isn't it," said the Illinois senator, summing up his overall impressions.


The ranger and reporter were apparently asked later if BXO was joking about thinking Hitchcock actually filmed those scenes on the face of the monument. They thought that he was not. By now I'm sure his handlers, Axelrod, Plouffe et al are feeding the lapdog press the line that it was just a joke. If you've been there you know how loopy that question is. If you haven't, here's what it looked like in the movie. (photos above) Not exactly true to scale.
Oh, Senator, that girl in the shower in Psycho? She didn't really get stabbed to death.