February 1st, 2007


(no subject)

Day By Day talks about the raison d'etre of the mainstream media. The cartoon does, however, remind me of this interchange between Milton Friedman and Gen. William Westmoreland, when Friedman was arguing for an all-volunteer army (the full article is here, and it's a good one):

Gen. William Westmoreland, testifying before President Nixon's Commission on an All-Volunteer [Military] Force, denounced the idea of phasing out the draft and putting only volunteers in uniform, saying that he did not want to command "an army of mercenaries." Friedman, a member of the 15-person commission, interrupted him. "General," Friedman asked, "would you rather command an army of slaves?" Westmoreland got angry: "I don't like to hear our patriotic draftees referred to as slaves." And Friedman got rolling: "I don't like to hear our patriotic volunteers referred to as mercenaries." And he did not stop: " If they are mercenaries, then I, sir, am a mercenary professor, and you, sir, are a mercenary general. We are served by mercenary physicians, we use a mercenary lawyer, and we get our meat from a mercenary butcher."

Rhymes With Right has more on this, including a link to the original article, and links to even more commentary.

Cox & Forkum reruns "Iran's Proxy War" and yesterday discussed "War Power".

So much good stuff over at The Grouchy Old Cripple that I'm just going to ask you to take a trip over there.

A few goodies from Don Surber as well: He wonders whether Joe Biden might be right about Barack Obama (Rhymes With Right has an interesting take on Biden) and suggests that Congress read the Constitution (which, incidentally, they've taken an oath to preserve, uphold and defend, some of them even taking the oath on the Koran). How does someone preserve, uphold and defend something they've never even read? Come to think of it, they stopped a bill in Congress that would have required everyone voting for a piece of legislation to certify that they had actually read it and understood all of the provisions of it. Guess it would have required them to actually do their jobs, and heaven knows we can't have that. When would they have time to perform for the cameras, go drinkin', get Botox injections, or run for President?

And that's another thing. I think the states should enact laws that say that if you decide to run for President, you have to give up the job that your constituents have elected you to do. The people of Arizona, Illinois, and New York are now in effect represented by one Senator. That's not fair to them. I remember when Deion Sanders was playing for both the Falcons and the Braves. He decided, during the World Series, that he would do football with the Falcons in the afternoon and baseball in the evening with the Braves. Bobby Cox, manager of the Braves, kept him on the bench, even though he could have used Deion. Bobby decided that Deion had made his choice, that he'd rather play football than baseball that day. It should be the same way with Congress.

Tom McMahon over at 4-Block World has a couple of goodies: Ice Age Disco reminds us that thirty years ago the big worry was global cooling, and he also shares with us the Paris Hilton Cycle of Fame. His Separate And/Or Equal was an interesting history lesson, as well.

Rhymes With Right reports on the death of Molly Ivins. I join him in praying that she rest in peace. He also shares further evidence on the encroachment of the Nanny State.

Anyway, I've been at it for an hour now, and it's almost time to start work. Have a good one.

(no subject)

Here's one of those "the sky is falling" stories you get from the Associated Press:

2006 Personal Savings Fall to 74-Yr. Low

Now, why do I bring this to your attention? The answer lies in the article, in this sentence:

The savings rate is computed by taking the amount of personal income left after taxes are paid, an amount known as disposable income, and subtracting the amount of spending.

Emphasis mine, because you'd miss it otherwise. In other words, disposable income is what the government lets you keep.

Now, the problem is actually bigger than this. Let's look at it this way: the price of everything you buy, whether it's a loaf of bread, a big screen TV, or help doing your income taxes, includes a chunk that is handed over to the government. The price of that loaf of bread includes the taxes collected from the guy who grew the wheat, the guys who milled it into flour, the guys who baked it into loaves of bread, the guy who drove the bread to the store, the gal who rang it up, the kid who put it into a bag for you, the manager of the store, and let's not forget the gasoline taxes paid to transport raw materials and finished goods, utility taxes on the electricity, gas, and water, etc. I've seen it estimated that if that loaf of bread has twenty slices, six of them go to the government. That's over and above what your employer takes out of your check and passes along to the government, along with other taxes that they pay for the privilege of having you work for them.

The AP and most of the rest of the mainstream media would like you to believe that Americans are frittering away their life savings on big screen TVs and trips to the nail parlor. (Of course, there are plenty of people in this world, many of them Americans, who depend on you buying big screen TVs and trips to the nail parlor. But let's ignore that for a minute.) The truth is that we're spending a lot of our lives supporting the people who want to make the rules for games they neither understand nor want to participate in.

Do the math: I have to earn $1.25 to pay for a $1 loaf of bread that actually costs $0.70. That's 55 cents in taxes on a 70 cent loaf of bread. That's a tax rate of 78 percent. That might make a small contribution to the lack of savings. Wouldn't you say?

The AP and most of the media's not going to tell you that. You might hear it on talk radio, though Congress is working on finding ways to shut down talk radio. That's why I'm doing this, as a public service. No need to thank me.