October 7th, 2010

#2336: "It's going to be a great holiday season for retailers!"

When was the last time you heard the media say that? 2008? 2006? 2004? 2002? Hell no!

...maybe--maybe--1999.

But it's an election year this year, and the Democrat Regime is on the ropes, and so--with the economy sucking wind--now suddenly we're looking at a banner year for retailers.

That doesn't quite jibe with this WSJ story about the middle class not spending, does it? But then again the WSJ is run by those fringe kook right-wing thugs, you know, like Fox News.

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NY incomes drop for the first time in 70 years. Why do you suppose that is?

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Limbaugh was talking about this: 30 companies are going to get waivers from the feds this year, else they will have to end their employee health plans.

McDonald's is one of them, apparently.

Do I need to repeat myself? I do?

Remember when Obama and the Democrats said you could keep your coverage under Obamacare?

THEY WERE LYING TO YOU.

...because next year, when it's not an election year, do you honestly think those big corporations will get those waivers? Don't count on it. The entire point behind Obamacare is the destruction of the health insurance industry; it just wasn't supposed to kick in before 2013, is all.

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I wouldn't mind owning a Suzuki Samurai. But not that one.

A Ford 302, auto trans, and rear end have replaced the Suzuki mechanicals. The rear end hasn't been narrowed to match the Samurai's body, either. It's not that I have anything against Fords; it's just that if I wanted a Ford truck, I'd buy a Ford truck.

I test-drove a Samurai in 1988 and I really liked it. It's not going to win any drag races--0-60 in 17 seconds--but it was fun to drive.

Of course, what I'd really like to do is to buy a Samurai and a Suzuki Carry pickup and then schmooze the two together to make a US-street-legal 4x4 kei truck. That would be awesome.

...I saw them in the Philippines and instantly fell in love with them. You can get them in the US, but "off-road only" because they don't meet US safety standards. *sigh*

But! They're about the same size as a Suzuki Samurai, and I'd wager it would just be a matter of making some body mounts to put the Carry body on the Samurai frame.

I only lack the money to pay about $10k for a Carry, plus another $2k or so for the Samurai; it would be nice also to have access to a shop with a crane for body removal and installation. Being able to weld thicker steel than about 1/8th inch would be a plus, so add "having a real welder" to the list. (My Harbor Freight 110v flux-core welder is fine for small jobs. Not for something like welding stuff onto vehicle frames.)

Yeah, that project idea ain't happening any time soon. Unless I win the Powerball or something.

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He will change his mind about this kind of thing when he's older. His car stranded him twice in one 24-hour period, yet he loves it and won't sell it for anything.

(Technically he wasn't "stranded" the second time, but he had to repair it beside the road in the rain. Close enough.)

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Stealth bank bailout bill nearly becomes law without any Senate debate.

I don't know what to think of the Obama administration. On the one hand, it's shown almost zero regard for public opinion; on the other hand, it appears to be doing as much as it can to limit the damage to Democrats in the upcoming election.

Don't think that Obama's veto of this bill is anything but the latter. He's not interested in what the little people think. But--at least for now--the little people still get to decide who represents them in Congress, and the Democrats don't want to lose any more seats than are strictly necessary.

On the other hand, why the hell didn't the Republicans object to this, at all? Did they have a chance to? Why did "the full Senate then immediately [pass] the bill without debate, by unanimous consent"?

Something stinks in D.C.

...wait, it always does. NVM.

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"This week in eugenics!"

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Vox Day discusses the letters of Cicero. Guess what? We're more like the romans than most people imagine!

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I saw a bit over at Ace of Spades about how there seems to be an upward tick to the employment figures (a downward tick to the unemployment figures) and how it just might be because businesses see the impending Regime Change in Congress as--at worst--preventing any further government action on controversial issues.

Maybe.

Business may actually be optimistic about a GOP-controlled Congress because Obama will veto GOP bills that try to do anything to reduce federal spending or lower taxes. "Gridlock" is vastly preferable to what we've seen from the Democrat Regime since Obama took power, and--to this way of thinking--it's the worst case. The better case is if the GOP manages to pass some initiatives aimed at fixing what's wrong with the economy.

...but it's foolish to think that Obama is going to let a pesky thing like control of Congress stop the "Hope and Change Train" he's running. The Obama administration is the singular most imperial Presidency in history, bar none--I think the proliferation of "czars" who are accountable only to Obama is enough evidence of that--and he has as much as said that he plans to use executive orders and the regulatory agencies to get the rest of his platform enacted, if he can't get it done any other way.

Two examples:

"Cap and trade": the EPA is working on regulations aimed at controlling carbon emissions. It will be disastrous for American industry, of course, but the EPA doesn't give a rat's ass about practical considerations when it's stomping over its bailiwich in its hobnail boots.

"Card check": this trial balloon has already been floated once; it hasn't gone away. Big Labor owns the Democrat Party; that's why the UAW got such a huge payoff in the GM bankruptcy.

"International trade": Big Labor wants Chinese goods to be more expensive. China has built its economy around cheap yuan and big exports; any action by the US government to reduce China's comparative advantage will be met with strong opposition from Beijing. Get them mad enough and they may sell off all the US treasuries they're holding, making a run on the dollar and turning it into toilet paper.

Any bill that cuts taxes and government spending will have to be supported by a veto-proof majority, and--as good as things look for the GOP!--I don't see them getting that. And anyway, that assumes that the GOP is actually interested in reducing the size and scope of the federal government, something that it has shown no interest in since 1982. (Which was a mere 28 years ago, I might add.)

Even given that the GOP decides to continue the Bush tax cuts, the new Congress isn't formed until after January 1, which is when they expire. Can you extend an expired tax cut, or do you need to push through a new bill? And regardless of that, will Obama actually sign any bill that extends the tax cuts for everyone? Don't make me laugh.

I do want to be wrong about the direction I see the economy taking, but I don't see how I can be. It's just that it takes time for all this stuff to play out; and even during the Great Depression there were temporary upswings. The structural flaws in the economy have not been dealt with and until those issues are fixed, nothing will get better.

As it stands right now we're facing some hard times; the longer we try to stave them off the worse we make the eventual crash.

I don't think we're going to see a sudden rush to hire workers in 2011 unless the GOP passes a miracle, because that's what it would take to fix what's wrong with the economy. I'm talking about Reagan-era tax rates and substantial cuts (real cuts, not just reductions in the rate of growth!) to government spending and an end to corporate bailouts. I'm talking about actually enforcing the immigration laws. I'm talking about getting government the hell out of the way of people and businesses so they can earn and spend money.

But none of that will happen. The GOP is run by Ruling Class elites who are only marginally better-educated in economics than the Ruling Class elites who run the Democrat Party. None of them is interested in the things I mention above because all those things would transfer power away from D.C. and back into the hands of the people...and the Ruling Class thinks the people are too stupid to know how to wipe their own backsides without advanced training and government supervision.

*sigh*

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On to fun things! Anime!

I've now gotten 3/5 of the way through dubbing To Aru Kagaku no Railgun to DVD, and I've learned a new kanji to boot! I'm not sure what the total number of kanji I now know is, but it's less than 15 and there are over 5,000 of them, so I'm nowhere near being done with this shit.

I like to watch the credits and try to figure out what the peoples' names are. I can read perhaps one kanji in 700 but only about 2,000 are in "common use", and of those 2,000 a fraction turn up in common names, so I can read "That's 'Ogawa'! That's 'Yamaguchi'! ...I think that's...'Honda'?"

Now I can read "Kiyama", too.

Anyway, I got through the "Level Upper" arc and am now into the "Skill Out" arc. These stories all fit into a cohesive whole but you can still tell where one story ends and another begins.

And once I'm done with this, I'll do To Aru Majutsu no Index, though--to be honest--I think Railgun is the better series of the two. Still, having seen Index, I find that Railgun takes on an added dimension. It's fun when Touma shows up, for example, or when Komoe-sensei appears in an episode.

I do look forward to the new Index series, though. It starts broadcast in Japan this month.

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Still no sign of the live-action Kimi ni Todoke on the torrents, though, and if I try to Google it, I get a bunch of BS. *sigh*

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There's also no release date for Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya in the US. I found the torrent for the crappy-cam fansub, but I'm not going to watch that. I want to enjoy the artwork and animation; the source for this video is a camcorder someone in Japan sneaked into a theater. No.

I don't think there's a release date for the Japanese release, either, now that I think of it. I certainly didn't come across any when I did my search last night. The damn movie came out in February of this year, for crying out loud.

I did come across a link for a torrent of the Haruhi light novels, but unfortunately it was recursive: go to the page it led to, click on the torrent link, and...go right back to the Google search that led me to the page. *sigh*

What am I going to have to do? Go to Japan and kick down a few doors at Bandai? WTF.

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I haven't seen any news of when WoW Cataclysm goes live. Amazon says 2011; other sources say sometime this year. But the damn patch is sitting on my hard drive, waiting only for the right bit to be flipped in a server somewhere on the left coast, which makes me think sooner rather than later.

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Ah, the life of the otaku is fraught with peril.