Watcher’s Business

This is a long one.  Last week’s winners, followed by this week’s posts, each of which has the obvious potential to be a winner.  First, from last week:

Winning Council Submissions

Winning Non-Council Submissions

And now, this week’s submissions, which I’m enjoying tremendously:

Council Submissions

Non-Council Submissions

Doing business in California — NOT

[David Foster has again been kind enough to take seriously my request for guest blogger content. I wish more of you would. There's so much going on out there that, even if it weren't for my time constraints, I couldn't handle it all.]

A FOUNDRY SAYS FAREWELL

…to California.

For 60 years, Gregg Industries, a subsidiary of Neenah Enterprises, has run a foundry in a Los Angeles suburb. Employing 200 people, the foundry made components like engine and turbine casings, for companies like Honeywell and Caterpillar.

Last Wednesday, the plant closed down. It’s not because of a lack of business–the work will be moved to another Neenah facility, probably in Wisconsin or Pennsylvania. Primary cause of the closure is continuing problems with local air quality regulators, who say the foundry violates standards on odor even after the expenditure of $3 million to mitigate the issue. But that’s not the only reason. “I think there are so many special interests in California, there is no common interest,” said Neehah CEO Bob Ostendorf. “It’s just a lot easier to do business on the electrical costs, lot easier to do business on the environmental costs, lot easier to do business on the quality of work-life costs (OSHA),” outside of California, he says. “I love the state, I love the people…but you sure as heck can’t do business here.”

Another company mentioned in the article is a much newer enterprise called Metalast, founded in 1993 and described as “a metal finishing company that has moved into “green” chemical solutions for companies like Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Boeing.” The writer observes that “these are exactly the kinds of jobs Governor Schwarzenegger has been touting as being California’s future.” But when Metalast wanted to expand and build, founder/CEO David Semas decided to move to Nevada. “Between taxes and traffic and just the bureaucratic red tape required to build a business or build a technology center, in California it would add three years to the process, as opposed to building the same kind of technical center here in Nevada.”

The Democrats talk a lot about saving “good manufacturing jobs,” but when it comes to maintaining an environment in which manufacturers can thrive, the “progressive” wing of the Democratic Party–which now by far the dominant obstancle in that party–is usually the greatest obstacle.

I fear that the “progressives” are going to do to the country as a whole the same kind of damage hat has already been done to California.

link via ShopFloor

David Foster blogs at Photon Courier and also at Chicago Boyz.

Swine flu hits home — sort of *UPDATED*

Our school system is dealing with a very fluid situation, as information about the swine flu changes from minute to minute.  My sense, currently, is that it’s real, it’s out there, it’s spreading fast (as if it was November, not April) and, in the U.S., it’s not a very serious threat as compared to any other flu.  As to that last, it may be because our flu shots provide limited immunity; because we’re healthier than people in Mexico; because we have better medical care; because, being a combination of flus, we in America have already been exposed to part of it; or something else I haven’t thought of.

The school system’s current policy — today’s policy — is that any kids with any symptoms (headache, sniffles, cough, fever, vomiting) have to go home.  As you notice, the last two symptoms are significant in any event of something bad.  I don’t send a feverish or vomiting child to school.  Those middle two, though, are pretty significant right now because they’re precisely the same symptoms as your average April allergy.

My son always has sniffles from March through May.  His allergy symptoms have never been serious enough for me to medicate him.  They’re worse in the morning but, by the time he’s blown his nose and run around, they’re gone.  My laissez faire policy, however, bit me in the butt today.  The school, very politely, refuses to take my child until he’s symptom free — or until he has a note from his doctor.

He already saw the doctor early this week (“kids’ fine, no flu, maybe a slight cold and, definitely allergies”), but I didn’t get a note, because it didn’t occur to me to do so.  By today, however, the poor doctor is so overwhelmed, as is the entire system in which he works, that I can’t get a note.  Until then, I’ve stocked up on allergy meds.

As I said, the school is dealing with a fluid system, and I do believe in “better safe than sorry.”  Until we have more information about the flu’s reach and impact, the schools here are doing the right thing.  Having said that, I’ve got a sniffly, bored, and entirely healthy little boy at home, for the third day in a row, and neither of us is very happy.  I wonder how often this scenario is being played out, right now, across the U.S.  And although I’m situated so that I can manage having him home (I work at home, and am a second income, and I’m in a slow period of work anyway), I wonder how many other Moms and Dads are scrambling to deal with a healthy child at home.

UPDATE:  And the problem seems to be with Mexico, not with the flu.  That is, the flu is probably a mild one, but Mexico is unable to deal with it.

It’s all about Me, Me, Me

Lest you needed a reminder that, in his own mind, at least, Obama was crowned king for the world, and wasn’t simply elevated to an important public servant job, the Daily Mail tell us that he released 300 (300!) (300!!!) photos of himself to commemorate his first hundred days.  So you too, you lucky son of a gun, can watch Obama watch TV.  The thrills running down my leg are indescribable at this point.

Off the top of my head *UPDATED*

Sick kid, work, 200 backlogged real world emails — haven’t yet formed coherent thoughts based on this morning’s reading.  Having said that, I’m still thinking, and offer these off the top of my head paragraphs.

Arlen Specter’s re-labeling is meaningless.  He’s long been a RINO, and he’s merely aligning his party affiliation with his votes.  Some have commented that he looks terribly ill, so this may be akin to a deathbed conversion.  If he is indeed ill, I hope that whatever ails him resolves itself with the minimum of pain and inconvenience (and that is true whether he ultimately recovers or not).

I’m beginning to wonder about his whole swine flu thing, not least because it’s forcing me to keep a kid with an ordinary cold home from school.  If this were truly a serious epidemic, the first thing to do would be to close the borders (the official borders, at least) to Mexico for a couple of days, despite the potential economic hits.  Two days of a closed border, and closed flights, of course, is a lot less serious than America in thrall to a deathly epidemic.  The fact that Obama hasn’t done this tells me (a) he’s an idiot or (b) he knows something about the flu deaths in Mexico that we don’t know.  I think it’s (b), especially given that his first agenda item with regard to the flu was to push his socialized medicine plan, and that despite the fact that Mexico, the country in which people are dying, is a socialized medicine country.  [UPDATE:  And this just makes my point about Obama creating or using a created epidemic for his own ends.]

The most interesting thing I’ve heard about the flu is that, since new flus are combinations of viruses from old flus, it is entirely possible that Americans have had a version of this flu before, while the Mexicans haven’t.  That’s why we’re getting in but, so far (and thank God) not dying from it, while the Mexicans are very hard it.  Mexicans may also be dying, of course, because of that socialized medicine problem, but who knows?

As you may have noticed, Charles, at LGF, is waging quite the war with certain European and European oriented blogs, based on his contention that they are neo-nazis, because they comport with neo-nazis.  That got me to thinking about Europe and political extremism.

As I see it, one of the problems with Europe, and it’s an old problem, is that the Europeans, for all their wonderful old-world sophistication, are lousy at moderation.  Perhaps it’s because, if one ignores the Muslim outsiders, each European nation, aside from being geographically small compared to America, is pretty damn homogeneous and inclined to statism (either monarchical or parliamentary).  That means that these cultures can turn on a dime, and turn hard.

Big, noisy, genuinely multicultural, opinionated, individualist America is about as wieldy as a large ship.  Creating a mass movement is difficult (Obama mania notwithstanding, especially because a mere 53% of the popular vote means that the real mania is confined to the media).

The end result is that, when indigenous Europeans identify a parasite in their midst, whether a harmless Jew or a harmful, fully wired Islamist, these same Europeans go from 0-60 in seconds in terms of mounting a united offense.  Moderation gets by-passed, and they go into full “kill the alien” mode.  In America, at least before the dawn of a 24 hour a day lockstep media, that kind of swift movement is difficult to orchestrate.  There are too many competing voices, and there is (or, pre-media, was) too much land to cover.

Europe has also been in thrall to PC so long that the only ones who even squeaked about Muslim extremism were the extreme right organizations.  Now that the lumpen masses are starting to squeak, and the government is refusing to acknowledge that there may be validity to those squeaks, the only ones they can turn to are the pre-existing neo-nazi organizations.

All of which is to say that, once you make common cause with those Europeans who are worried about Islamists, you seem invariably to fall into bed with the neo-nazis.  The European moderates are still moving lumpenly through the PC mist, and only the extremists are reacting — and they’re doing so extremely.

I don’t know if I brought any clarity at all here, but I’m not sure that approving the fact that some Europeans have correctly identified a problem in their midst is the same as falling in, hook line and sinker, with the more extremist views of those same Europeans.  On the other hand, if you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.

And that’s off the top of my head.  Back at ya’ later.

UPDATE II:  One more thought for this hodge-podge.  Charles Johnson has pointed out that the Ron Paulians have infiltrated tea parties.  I don’t like the Ron Paulians because they make unabashed common cause with American neonazis who, in turn, are unabashedly proud of their violent racism and antisemitism.  However, I don’t think the fact that Ron Paulians — all of whom call themselves libertarians — are involved should taint the tea parties.

Genuine libertarianism, free from the icky Ron Paul taint, is very simple:  less government.  I think that the tea parties were a true, grass roots expression of classic libertarianism — American citizens rising up to oppose increased statism.  Certainly that was true in my neck of the woods, because I know many of the people who attended and they are true small government people who simply want less government interference, while maintaining a strong defense.  They are also pro-Israel and not racists in any way, shape or form.

The fact is, though, that Ron Paulians are everywhere, and it would be silly to imagine that they wouldn’t want to attend an event like the tea parties.

The thing is that, just because the crazies like it, it doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea.  The goal is to limit the crazies to participating roles and make sure that they don’t get the power.  Essentially, we’re facing the flip side of what happened on the left, which is that a whole lot of good ideas (such as equal opportunities and treatment for blacks and women) got co-opted by the radical left, who turned these good ideas into identity politics and vehicles for the Communist idea of equal outcomes for all, as opposed to the American idea of equal opportunities.

UPDATE III:  I haven’t commented on PlaneGate, and really can’t add to what Power Line has to say.

UPDATE IV:  And I have to say that Michelle Malkin’s tribute to Obama’s 100 days is the must-read of the morning:

Come on, who’s surprised? The White House-engineered photo-op of low-flying Air Force aircraft that caused terror in New York City this week epitomizes the Age of Obama. What better way to mark 100 days in office than with an appalling exercise in pointless, taxpayer-funded stagecraft.

The superficiality, the unseriousness, the hubris, the obliviousness to post-9/11 realities: They were trademarks of the Obama campaign and they are the tattoos on his governance.

He never leaves home without his teleprompter. All the Obama world’s a stage. Or a world ready to be staged.

So, is it any wonder he would staff his White House Military Office with a clueless paper-pusher who saw nothing wrong with spending inordinate government resources – and recreating 9/11 havoc — to update Air Force One publicity shots? And who planned, believe it or not, to do the same in Washington, D.C., next month, where 53 passengers and 6 crew members on board American Airlines Flight 77, and 125 military and civilian personnel inside the Pentagon were murdered by the 9/11 jihadists?

All for some damned publicity shots.

No one should be shocked. Remember: Barack Obama is the frivolous man who concocted his own presidential-looking Great Seal before he was elected. An ego big enough to publicly display a ridiculous “Vero Possumus” (“Yes, we can” in Latin) motto and a regal eagle with the Obama campaign logo emblazoned on its chest is an ego capable of far more reckless things. Obama orchestrated a grand photo-op in Berlin, Germany, to declare his world citizenship at the Siegessäule Victory Column – a soaring monument of arrogance championed by Adolph Hitler and Third Reich architect Albert Speer. He manufactured his own Open Temple of The One in Denver for the Democratic National Convention last summer, replete with fake Greek columns.

Read the rest here.

Lucky Obama

October 2008:  McCain finally looks poised to lead in the polls, the market collapses and cool, calm, collected, Ivy League educated Obama vaults forward to victory.  April 2009:  It starts to look as if both the American public and Congress may be getting leery about Obama’s proposal to nationalize healthcare (i.e., have the government take control of America’s medical system) and the swine flu hits.  Obama has a plan:  “Hey, kids!  Let’s nationalize healthcare!”

Facts about epidemic funding in the U.S.

Michelle Malkin has caught on to the fact that the Left side of the blogosphere has a new meme:  they contend that, should there be a pandemic, it can be traced to the always evil GOP because Rove/Collins opposed flu pandemic funding in the porkulus bill.

The only problem with this is that it’s a lie.  As Michelle explains, it was good ol’ Chuck Schumer who opposed that funding.  Whoops!

But you all had better get this fact-duck neatly lined up, because I can guarantee you that this false argument isn’t going to go away anytime soon.