Saturday, February 27, 2010

Adventures in Logic 2

Mark Steyn whithers Greece and America, the skinny:

In Greece, they’ve run out Greeks, so they’ll stick it to the Germans, like French farmers do. In Germany, the Germans have only been able to afford to subsidize French farming because they stick their defense tab to the Americans. And in America, Obama, Pelosi, and Reid are saying we need to paddle faster to catch up with the Greeks and Germans. What could go wrong?

The circular logic would be hilarious if it weren't so tragic for our kids.

Adventures in Logic

Throughout the health insurance debate everyone has made a fundamental assumption that if not true or even questionable invalidates the entire premise of universal health insurance. To wit: does health insurance improve health outcomes.

Megan McCardle at the Atlantic does a review of the data that demonstrates that the premise is, ahem, at best questionable.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Why are Democrats such racists?

It looks like the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization act will pass the house this week. Essentially what it does is what Animal Farm did. In Hawaii, all animals are equal, but some shall be more equal than others.

The result will be racial quanta obsession to make a Nazi or KKK member proud.

What is it about the Democrats? For a brief shining moment, say from 1964 to 1966 some of the Democrats were actually race and color blind. The rest of the Party's history has been one of racial spoils.

I have a theory. The Democrats are essentially Liberal Fascists. The key to fascism is to define a 'them' that is responsible for ones problems and that will pay for one's programs. It is in its essence a philosophy of divide and conquer. Racial spoils fit beautifully into a governing approach that is predicated upon rewarding group identity.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Historical Controlled Substance Insanity

The American legal system on substance abuse: It's always been vicious, brutal and insane. Here's the story of how the government poisoned industrial alcohol during prohibition, killing thousands of people.

Frustrated that people continued to consume so much alcohol even after it was banned, federal officials had decided to try a different kind of enforcement. They ordered the poisoning of industrial alcohols manufactured in the United States, products regularly stolen by bootleggers and resold as drinkable spirits. The idea was to scare people into giving up illicit drinking. Instead, by the time Prohibition ended in 1933, the federal poisoning program, by some estimates, had killed at least 10,000 people.

DEA, FBI, ATF, local drug enforcement. All vicious, all brutal, all insane. Why else would 800,000 mostly minority men be in prison or jail for doing what Barack Obama freely admits doing hundreds of times? And of course Clinton and W denied doing so, but their denials are widely disbelieved. I think it's category error: we see something as a problem that can be fixed when it is in fact a condition of man.

Utopian projects are always ugly. They attract thugs and breeds brutality into their psyches.

Our government is such a bloody mess.

Another healthcare Jim Nabors Moment

Studies find out that there's a trade off between how much is spent and survival. The more you spend, the more survival. It seems that some realities of economics still hold in the kafkaesqe world of healthcare.

"Surprise, surprise, surprise, surprise"

Incidentally, this doesn't mean that there is a direct correlation between spending LEVELS and outcomes, just that given our current system, the outcomes tend to be better, particularly for serious conditions, the more resources that are brought to bear.

Markets can allow us to drive up efficiency at all levels of quality, yielding lower costs. But so long as there is any market mechanism left, higher spending will tend to correlate with better outcomes.

By contrast, in areas where the market has totally been destroyed, there is no correlation. Utah spends around $5,500 per public school student. New York spends over $15,000 - test scores? About the same.

We need more market forces, not less. Everywhere.

Some lesser known things to do in Omaha

My friend Ben leads a pilgrimage to Omaha each spring for the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting. We usually try to get in a few bits of Buffetnalia - his favorite restaurants, Dairy Queen and so on. This year I propose that we go after some of the more esoteric pilgrimage sites. Here’s a list that I got from some old coot in big glasses playing a ukulele on the street. Probably not all open then, but what the hey.

Wourdes – Pilgrims with diseased portfolios are wheeled into the The Marketslayer’s home to drink from the holy tap. The fount from which all investment returns flow.

The Great Mosque of Munger – The faithful enter the mosque dressed only in a plain white cloth. They circle the Chabaa seven times to signify the seven levels of fundamental risk. Then they ritually stone the Devil of Technical Analysis with small denomination debentures.

The Shroud of Warrin – When El Buffo was a young portfolio manager he used to wrap his fundamental analysis in a plain white cloth woven by his Mom. The investment insights held therein were so powerful that they literally burned an image into the cloth. That image? The profile of a young Warren Buffet in the throes of his investment Passion. The faithful fall to their knees and seek absolution for their investing failures – churning, lack of diversification, sitting on too much cash, momentum investing.

On Manhood

David French talking about real manhood. Read the whole thing:

Basically, when I think of what a man is and should be — the ultimate expression of manhood — I think of the men who stormed Omaha Beach, or charged the Confederate line at Cold Harbor, or (to take a nonviolent example) braved the firehoses at Selma. First, there was the brotherhood: the bond between the men in the unit that civilians can’t ever experience or understand. There was the honor: the connection to the high purpose of the mission (the defense of the defenseless and the triumph over evil) and the legacy of those who’d served before. There was also courage: to get onto the landing craft meant that they might die, to leave the landing craft meant that they probably would die, yet they did it anyway. And there was also aggression: Their ultimate purpose was not to go die but to go kill, and they performed their mission with excellence.

I mention those elements because I think they describe something essential about the highest elements of manhood — the combination of the aggression with courage with duty with honor with brotherhood. You see shadows of these things in good sports teams, in some fraternities, and even (but rarely) in some men’s groups. But you often see perversions of them as men — without an object upon which to focus their aggression, without real brothers to stand beside, and without a higher purpose to motivate them — flail around aimlessly, often violently or petulantly. Unable to express their natures, culturally condemned as those natures are misunderstood by a feminized church and education system, and without a higher call, there is nothing there but pursuit of the hookup, aimless adventures, and effortless access to porn.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Will on the Administration

George Will before CPAC:

Today we have an administration who can envision a world without the internal combustion engine but not one without the Chrysler Corporation.

How Do You Know what you know 7: The "biggest scientific scandal ever" everywhere but in the US

It's been called the 'Biggest Scientific Scandal of All Time' but in the US it's a non story. The English press has been chewing on this bone for months but the press in "The World's Greatest Democracy"? Not so much.

Failing to report stories when they don't fit one's ideological agenda is a sign of weakness and cowardice. Which coincidentally appear to be two core values of America's so called "main stream media".

So how DO you know what you know?

Postscript: the head of the East Anglia CRU, Phil Jones had a rather damning interview on BBC where he walked back from several central tropes of the Gorean howl. To wit: there has been no net warming since 1995(!) and that Midieval temperatures could very well have been warmer than today. Here's a list of 'responsible' journalistic organizations that have failed to report on it one week on:

# No mention by the New York Times
# No mention by the Washington Post
# No mention by USA Today
# No mention by ANY major U.S. newspaper EXCEPT the Washington Times
# No mention by the Associated Press
# No mention by Reuters
# No mention by UPI
# No mention by ABC News
# No mention by CBS News
# No mention by NBC News
# No mention by MSNBC

Measuring Church

One of my friends made a claim recently that one can't measure how well a Church is doing.


In fairness, what he was really saying was that there is no true 'bottom line' in a Church setting. One can measure how much money is in the bank, but unlike a private business, profit does not really reflect the mission of the Church. But of course no one running a business would be foolish enough to focus on only the bottom line to measure their success either. All organizations need multiple dimensions, both financial and otherwise to assess the success of their efforts.

One measurement tool that I used extensively in my strategic consulting/reengineering career was the concept of "Touches, Handshakes and Hugs". The concept is simple: organizations can measure how effective their programs are in part, by how many times their publics interact with them and the intensity of those interactions. First some definitions:

A "Touch" is a simple interaction - a parent dropping a child off at school is 'touching' the school.

A "Handshake" is an interaction where the substance of the Church's message is communicated. The child's day at the church school would constitute a "handshake".

If the Child or the Parent accept Christ, Join the Church or otherwise make a serious commitment to the Kingdom, then the handshake turns into a 'hug'.

This "Touch-Shake-Hug" or TSH measurement can be a useful tool to a Church. For example, it can be used to identify opportunities to communicate the church's missional message to the public: where do we have lots of touches? How can we turn some of them into handshakes? For example a church school can email short videos explaining to the parent what the kids are being taught in bible - giving the parents the same message. Or a mom's day out program can use the touch opportunities afforded it to invite parents to other events.

It's also a tool for evaluating the effectiveness of various programs: how many unchurched touches does a particular program achieve? How well does it turn 'touches' into 'handshakes'? and how often do those 'shakes' turn into commitments to God or the Church, or 'hugs'? If a program isn't getting the touches, then it won't get the shakes or the hugs. If it's getting lots of touches but we can't track it to shakes or hugs, perhaps we need to rethink our approach or investment.

TSH also provides a useful metric for evaluating competing investment opportunities, whether they be capital or ministry opportunities, here or abroad. All investments should be required to project their Touch and Handshake metrics. We wouldn't require them to project 'Hug' metrics, instead we rely on the Holy Spirit to turn faithful attempts to touch people's lives and to share with them into commitments or hugs. Obviously we should invest in those initiatives that are likely to touch the most people the deepest. The TSH method gives us a language to quantify and measure that.

TSH isn't some brilliant new idea, indeed we measure certain types of handshakes (attendance, enrollment) and certain types of hugs (conversions, membership) today. What TSH does is put our scattered human interaction measurements into a broader framework that allows us to think and plan strategically about where we need to improve and where we should invest.

Just another tool in pursuit of the kingdom.

It is now certain that Iran will get nukes and very soon

Either this is a catastrophe of epic proportions or a non-event. Steyn says catastrophe.
Which it is depends upon:
  1. What the Israeli's do.
  2. Whether we try to stop them.
  3. And if they don't try or we stop them, then whether or not a nuclear device goes off in a city somewhere in the world.
If 3. happens, the "Great Recession" will look like a walk in the park. The global order will collapse like a house of cards.

Characteristically Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and the Democrats are asleep at the wheel. The one certainty is that they will do nothing to stop Iran, the only question is will they actively block Israel from stopping the 'mad mullahs'?

FDR became a 'great' President because his feckless economic policies ensured that a deep recession turned into the Great Depression. Depression helped sow the chaos that led to the rise of the Fascists while our economic weakness meant that we were unwilling to act when acting could have averted catastrophic war. The cruel Irony of FDR is that his incompetent leadership made world war all but inevitable.

It would be an even crueler, more vicious irony if BHO's incompetence and cowardice resulted in his "glorification" as our first 'nuclear war' time President.

But I wouldn't put it past 21st century Schlesingers and Zinns to lie him into it.

Friday, February 19, 2010

This is why I gave up parody

'nuff said:

A reporter for a leftist weekly in Atlanta was fired this week “because he held on to the notion that there was an objective reality that could be reported objectively, despite the fact that that was not our editorial policy at Atlanta Progressive News.”

All of a sudden an Ivy league education is looking like a drawback

Michael Knox Beran (see below) and now David Brooks. Our 'meritocratic' Ivy plus a few elite is demonstrating that all of their education doesn't make them better leaders and in some cases (our fearless President is a shining example) isolates them from the real beliefs and values of the American people. Never have our Universities been more isolated from the culture, never have they been more left wing and never of course, have they been richer.

Coincidence? You be the judge.

There's an earthquake coming and the cries of the academic radicals buried under the ruins will be heart rending to behold.

Goethe describes the ivy league

Michael Knox Beran channels Goethe: A pithy, Germanic description of our leaders?

I have, alas, studied philosophy
Jurisprudence and medicine too
And worst of all theology
With keen endeavor, through and through ----
And here I am, for all my lore,
The wretched fool I was before.


'nug gesagt ('nuff said)

The cure is the same as the disease? Genius!

Michael Ramirez cuts to the Obami chase.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

So how do you know what you know? 6

Deroy Murdock summarizing the gaping, yawning holes in the global warming narrative. Increasingly looks like a huge bag of hot air.

Al Gore, call your service.

After all to "save" the people one must lie to them, no?

Davis Bacon - Bacon for the unions and......Davis for everyone else

Porsmouth, NH turns down federal funds because it turns out that federal "prevailing wage" rules would have added more to the cost than the Feds were willing to contribute.

What a Union Scam.

This is "progressive", folks.

Poll: Americans the most attractive people in the world.

See here. Of course it doesn't apply to me.

Something to remember among all the (my) caterwauling:

From Conrad "the con" Black:

It has become a cliché to say that the U.S. is in decline. It is certainly true, but need not be irreversible, and the country has been there before. It was in decline when the Watergate debacle destroyed a successful presidency and the long and costly enterprise in Vietnam ended terribly on the helipad on the roof of theU.S. embassy in Saigon. But 15 years later, the country was at a unique pinnacle as the world’s only superpower. Not even the Roman Empire enjoyed such eminence, though its rivals, Persia and China, were (unlike their current status) too distant to be seriously bothersome. What is unusual now is that all the Great Powers are in decline, except China — and that country’s rise is at least a third composed of a public-relations flim-flam job.

The Canary is tweeting in Greek, and Spanish and Portugese and Gaelic and.....

Seems that the global coal mine is full of tweetin' birds these days.

Where are all you moderate Democrats gonna go?

Pat Caddell has all but been thrown out of the party.

Uncertainty Kills

Report from a Houston Fed Meeting. An economist from the El Paso branch was commenting on the economy there. Money grafs:

During the Q&A session, I felt compelled to ask the obvious question: Did he believe that the healthcare reform and related tax proposals, the proposed cap and trade legislation and the consequent increase in energy costs, the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, the agitation for higher taxes on the wealthy, the proposal to increase corporate tax rates, the proposal to increase capital gains taxes, the trial floating of ideas such as a national VAT and removal of the earnings cap on FICA, the more robust regulatory bureaucracy . . . did he believe any of these uncertainties were depressing hiring?

He stated yes, without a doubt and proceeded to relay a conversation he had with a local chemical company regarding their 2010 capital expenditure budget. When asked what the company intended to invest in 2010, the response was ‘nothing,’ not due to a paucity of good opportunities, but because it was impossible for the company to calculate a rate of return given all the uncertainty over cost of labor, energy prices, regulatory mandates and the like.

Of course Uncertainty Kills is just a derivative of the more central meme: Stupidity Kills.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Our Economy Goes Existential

From the Onion:

WASHINGTON—The U.S. economy ceased to function this week after unexpected existential remarks by Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke shocked Americans into realizing that money is, in fact, just a meaningless and intangible social construct.

What began as a routine report before the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday ended with Bernanke passionately disavowing the entire concept of currency, and negating in an instant the very foundation of the world's largest economy.

"Though raising interest rates is unlikely at the moment, the Fed will of course act appropriately if we…if we…" said Bernanke, who then paused for a moment, looked down at his prepared statement, and shook his head in utter disbelief. "You know what? It doesn't matter. None of this—this so-called 'money'—really matters at all."

"It's just an illusion," a wide-eyed Bernanke added as he removed bills from his wallet and slowly spread them out before him. "Just look at it: Meaningless pieces of paper with numbers printed on them. Worthless."

According to witnesses, Finance Committee members sat in thunderstruck silence for several moments until Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) finally shouted out, "Oh my God, he's right. It's all a mirage. All of it—the money, our whole economy—it's all a lie!"

Everything but the squeal

Genetically engineered Pig lung successfully oxygenates human blood. Paves way for trans-species lung transplants.

How do you know what you know? 5 - "Peak Oil"

What is it with Academics and apocalyptic projections? Could it be that Academics, not having to produce anything of value, let their politics govern their beliefs? Naw, that's ridiculous.

OIL: “Exxon Mobil (XOM) announced today that in 2009 the company’s proven reserves increased by 133% of the amount of oil produced. . . . Amazingly, Exxon, who has been accused in the past of being too conservative in terms of exploration and development, has been finding more oil than it produces for each of the last 16 years, to the dismay of peak oil proponents.”

And this is despite the fact that US companies can't explore in the richest unexplored places in the world, like Iran, Saudi, Venezuela, Most of Russia. They're working in the 'picked over', 'played out' regions of the world.

So how do YOU know what you know?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Credit Where Credit's Due

Obama pushes for two new nuclear reactors. Good for him.

Darwin, Kirkegaard, Hegel and Nietsche

Just finished a study session with my sophomore high school son for Western Civ. He's contending with the core philosopher's of the modern left ascendancy. In high school. Jesus Freak religious, evangelical, bible beating, easy to command high school. I never saw this stuff in high school, college or graduate school.

My son is dealing with more sophisticated, intellectually challenging ideas in his Christian High School that I saw in my entire formal education.

So who is it that is easily led? Easy to command? Not evangelical Christians.

Reality is sooo hard to deal with, innit?

Al Gore, call your service

Lake Erie frozen over for the first time since 1995-6. What will the Goracle do with his time?

Oh, I forgot to tell you about the time I met the Goracle in person: It was at an I banker's cocktail party in New Orleans prior to Katrina. He was standing around alone, looking lost. We walked up and schmoozed for a few minutes. He's a lot shorter than he looks.

And he had Dandruff.

$600 Bucks for Henlein's Take Back Your Government

Is what they're asking for this out of print Libertarian manifesto and masterpiece on Ebay. The Tea party has reached boiling point. The Obami are so screwed.

Aw Snap!

This is clearly George Bush's fault: Foreign demand for US Treasury securities falls by record amount as China reduces holdings.

What happens when the people figure out the con?

Bad things for the scammers.

Only 6% of the public believe the $787 Billion 'stimulus' created any jobs at all. (NYT/CBS Poll)

Ouch, baby, very Ouch.

Monday, February 15, 2010

This recession is different.....

..than other post war recessions. Very similar to the Great Depression, though. Gee, was that Barack Obama who was handing out 'progressive' histories of FDR to his staff? Sounds like another "Dumb Over"*

This Forbes article gives the best graphical explanation of our current 'capital strike'.

*Trying to solve a problem by doing exactly the same thing that failed last time is a "Dumb Over"

The Obama Legacy: Devastated Democrats?

Evan Bayh flees the field - perhaps to challenge The One. This movie really isn't turning out the way it was scripted is it?

This just in: Barbara Mikulski to retire? Mikulski? I thought they'd bury her under her Senate lectern.

On Excommunication

Yesterday was a big day at our Church. It seems that someone had been spreading rumors that our large evangelical congregation was instituting a discipline process for wayward members that was intended to lead to exclusion from the Church of the unrepentant. Of course this is ridiculous, evangelical churches don't excommunicate parishioners, heck the Roman Catholic church doesn't excommunicate for unrepentant sin anymore, only for institutional lese majeste.

And that got me thinking: to get in trouble at Church one needs to behave (as the sociologists that my Pastor is so fond of quoting say) 'outside of the group norms'. Clearly marital infidelity, substance abuse, violence and financial profligacy fit the evangelical definition of sins with a capital S that are outside of what the Church deems appropriate.

But what about sins that fit within the evangelical church's norms? For example, I've always called our Church elders the "Good Old Boys" because to become an elder, first you must be good in the evangelical sense (no drunks, bankrupts, wife beaters, wife cheaters, etc.) you must be sort of old (hence elder) and of course you must be male. The most common besetting sin of elders that keeps them from getting drunk and catting around is pride. And Elders have pride by the bushel load. With some of them it's hard to see where an elder leaves off and the Pharisee begins.

That's not the only category that gets a pass: what about the elderly? In America, the elderly have an institutionalized, state sanctioned license to take their children and grandchildren's wealth called Social Security and Medicare. Hundreds of TV Documentaries, Radio Shows, and Newspaper articles have pointed out the incredibly cruel and cynical intergenerational taking of wealth by older, powerful parents from their weak and indeed, often unborn, children. Our Pastor says that God has special anger for those who exploit the poor and the weak. But our Church doesn't.

Our Church is an old, old southern church. Before the war between the states, it had slave owning members. You see back then, slave owning was a norm of the Church. And as a consequence a sin to God was not a "Sin" to the Church. This seems to be what is going on with the pridefulness of the "Good Old Boys" and the intergenerational looting by the elderly. These seem to be sins to God, but not "Sins" to the Church. Indeed not only are they not sins, in sociological terms they are core group norms.

I mean who would "discipline" the Elders? Other Elders? "George, you have committed the sin of arrogant pride, what do you have to say for yourself? Oh, look at that pudnum, I can't stay mad at you, you look just like me - come over here and give me a hug you wascally wabbit." And the Elderly? "Well they've got all the money, you see (taken from their kid's futures) and well, gee, it's just, like, hard" (studious gazing at the ground, kicking at non-existent dirt clods).

Oh and about Excommunication: The evangelical Church doesn't excommunicate, everyone knows that. We drag people through humiliating disciplinary processes, condemn their sin (but not the sinner - tough trick that), and otherwise make their lives uncomfortable. Then they leave. But it's not excommunication, not at all, nothing like it. No-Siree-Bob!

China First

Robert Samuelson points out that China's experience over the past 200 years has been radically different than ours and that this has led to radically different conclusions. China believes in an aggressive (and aggrieved) "China First" policy and is unwilling to submit its goals to international norms unless they get explicit benefit.

It sounds a lot like the rise of Japan a century ago. Just 10 times bigger.

It's hard to see a feckless and incompetent Obama Administration doing anything concrete about it. After all, with the largest legislative majorities in a generation they can't even close Guantanamo or pass health insurance reform.

The Chinese are watching. And drawing the appropriate conclusions.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Out of the mouths of babes

Paul Krugman on our fearless leader:

I’m with Simon Johnson here: how is it possible, at this late date, for Obama to be this clueless?

Something to teach your Sons for Valentines

Truth from odd places. One Nikki Dowling gets it right:

Women are not, as the cliché goes, delicate flowers but dense rose bushes. Underneath those sweet-smelling, soft red flowers are thorns. If you just grab for a rose, even if it looks like it wants to be picked, you’ll walk away with a bleeding hand. Proceed with caution. Find a spot where the thorns are thinner. Be gentle, speak softly. After a few tries, maybe, just maybe, you’ll be able to get that dangerously beautiful flower to budge a tiny bit. You can’t take it home just yet, but maybe you can get close enough to try.

The problem with conspiracies to deceive.... when they start unraveling they fall apart with a ferocity and speed that sweeps away the reputations of everyone who was associated with them. Professor Phil Jones of East Anglia and Climategate fame admitting that there has been no net warming in the world since 1995 and acknowledging that the famed 'hockey stick' graph that was so instrumental in fomenting climate hysteria is most likely baloney. Read the whole thing here.

Palin's Cunning Sleight of Hand - F Rich NYT

According the Frank Rich of the NYT, now the "chillbilly boob" who went to low class colleges, believes in Jesus and refuses to 'off' her Downs baby for the "Good of the State" is practicing "cunning sleight of hand" .

Which is it Frank? Cunning or Boob? Will the left please get their narrative straight.

This is getting embarrassing.

Unemployment and Obama's 'Reign of Error'

Here are charts on unemployment that illustrate just how the last year’s reign of error has ruined business confidence and destroyed hiring. Positively FDResqe in its illogic.

Ideas have consequences. Particularly bad ones.

The Fallacy of Fairness

A central tenet of 'left thought' and one held (albeit in inchoate form) by a majority of Americans is the believe in "Fairness". Thomas Sowell, perhaps our greatest living political philosopher (and eons ahead of John Rawls but of course, he's dead) explains the sheer illogic of the "Fairness" meme.

It's a multi-part series so read the whole thing.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Obama The Musical

Andrew Klavan trips the light fantastic about a German musical idolizing Barack Obama. Hmm Germans idolizing charismatic politicians. Makes sense to me.

See you on broadway.

The Essential Difference Between the US and Europe

As usual, Mark Steyn has the mot juste:

He's right. I've been saying for months that the difference between America and Europe is that, when the global economy nosedived, everywhere from Iceland to Bulgaria mobs took to the streets and besieged Parliament, demanding to know why government didn't do more for them. This is the only country in the developed world where a mass movement took to the streets to say we can do just fine if you control-freak statists would just stay the hell out of our lives, and our pockets. You can shove your non-stimulating stimulus, your jobless jobs bill, and your multitrillion-dollar porkathons. This isn't karaoke. These guys are singing "I'll do it my way" for real.

BHO Doesn't do incrementalism

One of the President's problems is that he believes in large 'comprehensive' visions implemented top down from Washington. It doesn't seem that this ex-community organizer believes in incrementalism. Jeff Anderson gets to the point in the Weekly Standard regarding "comprehensive" healthcare reform:

This bizarre combination of claims is revelatory of the president’s outlook on politics. “Incremental gains” is a phrase foreign to his vocabulary, as is the notion of having Washington solve problems by getting out of the way and unleashing the initiative of individuals or communities. Rather, problems must be solved all at once, comprehensively, nationwide, from the top, by the federal government. This approach is largely divorced from practical considerations or, as Sebelius notes, from compromise. It is the approach of the theoretician, not the practitioner; of the academic, not the statesman; of one who prefers to decree or to gain acquiescence, rather than to negotiate or to persuade.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Party and the Proles

Government workers are waxing fat and we are further and further under their thumb. Carpe Diem has the story. It is so ugly as to be comical.

We have always been at war with Eastasia.

$400 MM and all we got was this lousy Obama T shirt

Unions blew $400 million (some of it borrowed) electing Democrats in the last election cycle. If they don't get anything out of it except the T Shirt, they're going to look like the biggest Chumps since.....well since the policy Liberals standing next to them in the ill fitting Obama T Shirt blew $500 million.

Obamawhining on the budget

Megan McCardle (no right winger or even Republican) has his number. You know, I used to have to quote right wingers to get criticism of the one. Now it seems anyone who is paying attention and not directly on his payroll is sick of him. This has to be an all time record from hero to zero. W. O. W. Ms. McCardle's Money Graf:

Listening to his defenders reminds me of those people who sit around whining about how their Dad was really distant and critical. … I mean, fine, you apparently had a rotten childhood, but Dad can’t get come and get you off the couch and find you a girlfriend and a better job. Girls and employers get really creeped out if they try.

Whatever George W. Bush did or did not do, he’s no longer in office, and doesn’t have the power to do a damn thing about the budget. Obama is the one who is president with the really humongous deficits. Deficits of the size Bush ran are basically sustainable indefinitely; deficits of the size that Obama is apparently planning to run, aren’t. If he doesn’t change those plans, he will be the one who led the government into fiscal crisis, even if changing them would be [sob!] politically difficult.

Niall Ferguson on our Insane Budget's Greek Profile

Niall Ferguson, never the most cheerful of analysts is positively funereal about our nation's prospects under current leadership. Money graf:

Even according to the White House’s new budget projections, the gross federal debt in public hands will exceed 100 per cent of GDP in just two years’ time. This year, like last year, the federal deficit will be around 10 per cent of GDP. The long-run projections of the Congressional Budget Office suggest that the US will never again run a balanced budget. That’s right, never.


David Broder says of Sarah Palin: "the lady is good". More here:

I gave her high marks for her vice presidential acceptance speech in St. Paul. But then, and always throughout that campaign, she was laboring to do more than establish her own place. She was selling a ticket headed by John McCain against formidable Democratic opposition and burdened by the legacy of the Bush administration.

Blessed with an enthusiastic audience of conservative activists, Palin used the Tea Party gathering and coverage on the cable networks to display the full repertoire she possesses, touching on national security, economics, fiscal and social policy, and every other area where she could draw a contrast with Barack Obama and point up what Republicans see as vulnerabilities in Washington.

No, this can't be true. Repeat after me: "She's a chilbilly boob, she's a chillbilly boob, she's a chillbilly boob". Poor Chrissy Matthews is going to have a rupture up his leg if this continues.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Left Made Palin - And Sara is going to make them eat every bite

Ralph Reed explains:

What ultimately drives the media crazy is they know instinctively they are co-conspirators in her rise. From the Katie Couric interview to the over-the-top attacks by the likes of Shrum, by overplaying their hand they made Palin a bigger force than they ever intended. Had they simply been fair to Palin when she ran for vice president and treated her with decency, she would not be viewed now by so many grassroots conservatives as a victim of irrational elitist hatred. As much as John McCain in selecting her as his running mate in 2008, the MSM made her a force, and she is proving she can use that platform very effectively indeed.

Obama campaign team lousy at governing

It turns out that BHO's winning campaign team is a disaster at governing. Any sentient being could tell that bomb thrower Rahm Emmanuel, who famously sent a fish wrapped in paper to a reporter he disliked, would be a catastrophe in the high process, low profile chief of staff role. Anyone except someone like BHO who had absolutely no experience managing anything or anyone of substance. As Edward Luce at the FT explains:

Pundits, Democratic lawmakers and opinion pollsters offer a smorgasbord of reasons – from Mr Obama’s decision to devote his first year in office to healthcare reform, to the president’s inability to convince voters he can “feel their [economic] pain”, to the apparent ungovernability of today’s Washington. All may indeed have contributed to the quandary in which Mr Obama finds himself. But those around him have a more specific diagnosis – and one that is striking in its uniformity. The Obama White House is geared for campaigning rather than governing, they say.

I particularly love the MSM condescendion on Ronald Reagan in the same piece.

The Hollywood touch

Political scientists credit Ronald Reagan with having managed the best transition from campaigning to governing when he moved to the White House in 1981. While lacking in intellectual skills, Reagan was often a shrewd judge of character. Following his victory in a bitter primary campaign with George H.W. Bush in 1980, Reagan promptly hired his defeated opponent’s campaign manager, James Baker, to be his first chief of staff. Understated but authoritative, Mr Baker is considered one of the most effective performers in that role, to which he brought a good managerial background and an ability to play honest broker.

So let me get this straight: the intellectual nullity, RR managed the most successful transition from campaigning to governing because he was a shrewd judge of character (perhaps from his 8 years in Sacramento?) while the Intellectual "giant" BHO is a flailing failure because he doesn't understand character, didn't know who to hire, took the wrong advice and generally behaved like a sophomoric boob. Hmm - A great endorsement for "intellectuals".

Washington DC Survival Information from the Weather Service

Damn Global Warming.


My friend Ben was right

My friend Ben is a Democrat (gasp!) although a reasonable, moderate one. He has often argued that divided government is good government at our Federal level. While I'm too much of an ideologue to agree with him completely, I must agree that this has been the case over the last year. Michael Barone asks and answers the question about why the Democrats after having more political power than at any time since 1964 find themselves in a worse predicament than he has seen anytime in his long career.

“The same people who directed the campaign that defeated Hillary Clinton and routed John McCain, a campaign that raised far more money and attracted far more volunteers than any before it, have within a year come up with a legislative program that is crashing in ruins and that, to judge from recent polls, has left the Democratic party weaker than I have seen it in almost 50 years of closely following politics.”

Of course one could point out that 1964 was followed by 1965 and Tonkin Bay.

The Spinning isn't working anymore

BHO has famously exploited the reluctance of the media to criticize him to spin his partisan version of events. But now that the President is pushing a bipartisan line, even CBS. C. B. S. - The Cronkite Broadcasting Service is pointing out the utter vacuous insincerity of his supposed bipartisanship.

CBS reports:

Mr. Obama said he “won’t hesitate to embrace a good idea from my friends in the minority party.” But he wants his way. He wants his energy policy enacted along with his jobs bill, his financial regulatory reform and his health care plan.And if the opposition continues to block his objectives, he said he “won’t hesitate to condemn what I consider to be obstinacy that’s rooted not in substantive disagreement but in political expedience.”

When a sitting president calls for bipartisanship by the opposition – he really means surrender. And if they block his proposals, its “obstinacy” and not political views they hold as strongly as he holds his.

Even the true believers are getting tired of his schtick, one year in. Without substantive change at the top, it's going to be a long four years for the Obami. But where does change come from with a callow and untested leader? Only catastrophe.

And we're not at catastrophic yet.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Barack Obama takes Cynicism to a new level

Fred Hiatt asks in the Wapo why the Obama administration is killing off DC's voucher program just as research demonstrates it is working. Perhaps his union pals have something to do with this?

The Obama administration said it was going to respect science and respond to evidence -- a contrast, many Democrats said, to the previous regime. So why is President Obama killing off the program that offers the best chance to find out if school vouchers work?

Congress has been paying for the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, which helps more than a thousand District children attend private schools. It gives a chance of a future to children who otherwise would be condemned to attend failing schools. How can that be bad?

Jim Taranto with a timeless truth

"The Republican Party is not without its flaws, but the Democratic Party would be much worse without it--and vice versa."

Too True, Too True. As an aside, here is Tom Delay at his retirement defending partisanship:

"You show me a nation without partisanship, and I'll show you a tyranny. For all its faults, it is partisanship, based on core principles, that clarifies our debates, that prevents one party from straying too far from the mainstream, and that constantly refreshes our politics with new ideas and new leaders. Indeed, whatever role partisanship may have played in my own retirement today or in the unfriendliness heaped upon other leaders in other times, Republican or Democrat, however unjust, all we can say is that partisanship is the worst means of settling fundamental political differences — except for all the others."

Two Cheers for partisanship!

What? Tom Friedman wrong?

Stay rates for Chinese earning Phds at US universities are around 90%. Kind of contradicts Tom Friedman's Hu Jintao pinkie ring kissing routine.

It's tragic how such a creative, thoughtful journalist has morphed into a cheerleader for the world's biggest thugocracy.

Weakling is as weakling does

The fruits of Obama's new 'multilateralist', 'cowboy free' foreign policy? He can't even get his phone calls returned. No wonder he's taking his ball and going home. He can get this type of humiliation from Reid and Pelosi, he doesn't have to travel half way round the world. Matt Welch of Reason explains:

“America is losing the free world,” said a January headline in the Financial Times. While that statement is exaggerated, the sentiment behind it has been gaining traction around the globe, especially in the wake of the climate conference debacle in Copenhagen. It’s not just that the less confrontational American president has been unable to deliver results. He can’t even get his phone calls returned.

“On the last day of the [Copenhagen] talks, the Americans tried to fix up one-to-one meetings between Mr Obama and the leaders of South Africa, Brazil and India—but failed each time,” Gideon Rachman wrote in the Financial Times piece. “The Indians even said that their prime minister, Manmohan Singh, had already left for the airport. So Mr Obama must have felt something of a chump when he arrived for a last-minute meeting with Wen Jiabao, the Chinese prime minister, only to find him already deep in negotiations with the leaders of none other than Brazil, South Africa and India.”

David Gergen, call your service!

Why don't the geezers do what's right.

David Brooks asks why the Geezers don't do what is right and organize a reduction in the ludicrous transfer of wealth from the powerless (their children and grandchildren) to the powerful (them). You know it would be nice if our parents were to sit down and tell us that they're sorry for burdening our generation with their greed - imagine that, the richest electorates in the history of the world deciding that they didn't have enough so they nick their kids. You get a lot of oldsters talking about the problem but when it comes time to take the check, by golly, they belly up to the trough with their bibs on. Yum!

Nope, not gonna happen - grannies are going to continue to give us hugs, cookies and bankruptcy. My goodness gracious! How DID you get that red ink all over you?

I've asked my pastor why this isn't a moral issue - after all one generation is stealing the sweat off the brow of another - involuntary servitude really. I don't get anything except tepid clichés and silence. But of course our Church was a slave church and never said boo about the slavers in their midst pre 1865. And they're thinking: "well we survived that, so we'll survive this". But they forget: there were no slave members in 1865. When this comes down half the church will be slaves to the other half. It will tear congregations to shreds.

And the Pastors who have stuck with the old looters because they had all the money and power will be crucified on their crosses of gold. Hey! I'm channeling William Jennings Bryan! Talk about an old looter!

Monday, February 08, 2010

And now for petulance and withdrawal

Things haven't gone right for him on the world stage? So he's going to take his ball and go home. Jackson Diehl has the con at WAPO.

One of the problems with having no experience is you don't know how to cope with rejection and failure. Mr. Obama is demonstrating precisely how not to behave.

Will someone get some adults to help our callow law lecturer? Before he embarrasses us all?

And a self righteous scold.

As Jennifer Rubin says: "All blind dates don't work out".

He's a Whiner

Jennifer Rubin on the radical difference between W. and The One.

Corpseman Walking

Unhappy with Jim Geraghty's phrase of the decade: "Unsustainable is the new normal", President Obama has coined his own: America: Corpseman Walking


The Left is in a tizzy over the fact that SP writes notes on her hand. So to mock their bizarre obsession, she wrote "Hi Mom!" on her hand for all the hysterics to see.

Positively Reaganesqe.

Sarah Palin and her Redneck Teleprompter vs. The One

Sara Palin's Teleprompter:
What happens when BHO's Ivy League Teleprompter breaks down:

Sometimes it takes a democrat... explain why markets and market leaders are important. David Goldhill of the Atlantic explaining to NPR listeners (who need a lot of education) why Wal Marts are important to everyone.

You benefit from Wal-Mart whether you shop there or not.

In most goods and services there are very few active consumers. What happens is, everybody selling a good is affected by Wal-Mart. You benefit from that wherever you are. So many of those who oppose consumer-driven health care use the perfect as the enemy of the good. You’re not going to shop for health care if you’re hit by a bus. That’s not the point. The point is you’re served in a health-care system that’s been tightened up, both from a cost and quality point of view, by the fact that some consumers, for many procedures, are shopping around, and not just on price.

The reality is that if I’d known what I know about this hospital, it’s not where I would have put my father. It’s not that I would have been able to discover that when he got sick. It’s that in the same way that I can find out about almost any business that I choose, their quality record and their pricing, I want the same thing for health care. It doesn’t mean that if you’re hit by a bus you pick up the phone and call ten hospitals.

And I think this misunderstanding of how consumer economies actually work is crucial to a mistake that’s made a lot, which is that it’s much better to have some big, financially interested institution make a decision on your behalf because you’re not smart enough. You don’t have to be smart enough to get the best deal on most things in our economy, because some people care enough to create the Wal-Marts of the world. And that’s all that happens, is that once there’s a Wal-Mart, you’d better be competitive with Wal-Mart, or you’re out of business.

Doing Science will never be the same

Matt Ridley documents the way that lone bloggers have upended the entire climate science industry. Science has historically been reverentially quoted by a gullible press. Now with sunshine flooding the ugly basement bucket shops of the green scientists, the free ride is over.

And not a moment too soon.

A revolution is coming.

The Green Police: Now Environmentalism is the Joke - to Sell Cars

I never realized Germans could be so funny.

Jay Cost on Obama's Mistakes

Exceptionally perceptive article. After failing to ram its unpopular agenda through, the left is crying that the country is ungovernable. Mr. Cost says nonsese: This is a center or center right country that moves incrementally. Mr. Obama has tried to make massive changes from the left. Predictable result: failure.

One more example of Mr. Obama's inexperience and narcicissm leading to failure. I suspect we'll see quite a bit more incompetent flailing before he's done.

And in the end it will be the 'Racist' country's fault that he failed. All the Pharisees, moneychangers, sinners and Romans will have brought The One low and politically crucified Him on the (Capitol) hill of skulls.

But he'll rise again. Won't he? Well? Won't he?

Palin, Obama Treated as Equals

The press is starting to recognize Sarah Palin as the leader of the Opposition. When the press treats the losing candidate for Veep as the conceptual equal of the President, it's the President that has a problem.

How do you say EEK! in progressivese?

There's Hope for Change.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Sarah Palin: From Chillbilly Boob to Evil Genius in one year flat.

The MSM mocked her mercilessly. Now look at what the NYT has to say about the Wahoo from Wasila:

Ms. Palin represents a new breed of unelected public figures operating in an environment in which politics, news media and celebrity are fused as never before. Her growing cast of advisers and support system could be working in the service of any number of goals: a presidential run, a de facto role as the leader of the Tea Party movement, a lucrative career as a roving media entity — or all of the above. Whether she ever runs for anything else, Ms. Palin has already achieved a status that has become an end in itself: access to an electronic bully pulpit, a staff to guide her, an enormous income and none of the bother or accountability of having to govern or campaign for office....

... Ms. Palin is quietly assembling the infrastructure of an expanding political operation....

Ms. Palin has also enlisted a small team of policy counselors to guide her through the substantive areas in which many deemed her to be lacking in 2008....

People with knowledge of the daily briefings say they are conducted by phone or e-mail. They typically include information on the day’s news, material that could be relevant to an upcoming speech, or guidance about a candidate Ms. Palin might endorse....

[T]he question of Ms. Palin’s ambitions and abilities remain as much a mystery now as when she first stormed the national consciousness 18 months ago. They warn against any notion that she has any grand plan beside keeping faith that God would help her recognize “the next open door” (a favorite Palin refrain)

For whatever reason the leftist media elite has a congenital inability to recognize intelligence and capability unless it is spouting cliches that they approve of until it's too late to do anything about it. For further information on this fascination phenomenon see Obama, Barack; Presidential Election of;.

There's hope for change.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Angela Braly, CEO Wellpoint on Obamacare

Angela, a close personal friend, was interviewed by the WSJ - in her mild mannered way she pointed out the lunacy of what the Democrats have proposed. The greatest inanity is the creation of guaranteed issue - one can get insurance in the ambulance on the way to the Hospital. New York has it, Indiana doesn't and these are the results:

Depending on the plan, WellPoint's monthly premium for a 20-year-old in Indianapolis, where the company is based, ranges from $53 to $202. But the same young adult looking for similar coverage in Albany would face costs anywhere between $832 and $1,047. Obviously health costs vary across the country, Mrs. Braly says, but these disparities are almost entirely due to New York's regulatory mandates. In a state with 19 million people, 88 New Yorkers between the ages of 18 and 24—88!—have bought WellPoint's best-selling individual insurance product because insurance laws make it perfectly rational not to acquire costly coverage until people need it.

Dean Vermer needs to step in and have a sit down with our callow leader: Ignorant and narcicisstic is no way to go through life, son.

GWB - Imbecile II

No Child Left Behind

Mr. Bush famously partnered with Ted Kennedy (which really should be an imbecelity by itself, as Ms. Kopechne would tell you if she were alive and unpartnered) to pass "Landmark" education reform legislation called "No Child Left Behind".

The essential component was a requirement that that all children score above average on standardized tests as condition for receiving Federal funds. Expert after expert has pointed out that Children's intelligence observes a normal distribution or 'Bell' curve and that the goals laid out in the legislation were simply beyond the cognitive capabilities of a significant minority. In other words, the expectation was biologically impossible.

But the Hammer of Helmand and Scourge of Samarra was having none of this impossible stuff, why he had heard of a district up in Minnesota - Lake Woebegon - where "All the kids are above average" and if a bunch of Yankee snow pounders can do it, so can the boys in Waco.


Unsustainable is the New Normal

NRO's Jim Geraghty coins the phrase for the decade.

Friday, February 05, 2010

George W. Bush, Imbecile I

I am feeling guilty about berating President Obama so often, although in such a target rich environment who can blame me? And why should I stop when I'm having so much fun? For example there is.....wait, stop!

Must. Pull. Self. Away.

Whew! That was close. As therapy I've started a new series focused on the various imbecelities of one George W. Bush late avatar of compassionate conservative cliches. To wit: His Compassionness' ban on incandescent light bulbs. See here:

On the Instability of Monopolies

Matt Welch has an interesting piece on the inherent instability of monopolies using Microsoft as an example. It seems that the existence of monopolies often calls into play the forces for their destruction: consumer anger, international envy, and corporate sclerosis from a too easy competitive life leach the power and talent away until the world beater turns into a tired, old, vulnerable company.

There's one monopoly where Welch's thesis breaks down: The Federal Government: it uses the existence of other monopolies and the "need" to regulate them to justify confiscating more (permanent) power and wealth from the rest of society.

Personally, I'd rather be ripped off by Sergei Brin or Bill Gates than Barack Obama any day. At least I get something for my money.

Our New Faux Nobility

From an interview with Clarence Thomas about who he selects to be his Law Clerks:

“And for law clerks he chooses ‘the kids I like,’ with “a preference for non-Ivy League law clerks, ‘because “I’m not part of this new or faux nobility.’

How is it that the institutions with the most "progressive" leadership and "progressive" politics have turned into the nation's greatest bastions of elitism and snobbery? Charles Murray and Richard Hernnstein's Liberal heresy: The Bell Curve described this transformation into a conveyor belt of privilege to a T. Which is why they were pronounced anathema on college campuses everywhere.

Of course the Obami are part of this new elite and they aren't impressing us lumpen proles.

There is Hope for Change.

He's really going to do it

I've observed that the Obama strategy of trying to use an anomalous election to ram through radical legislation was not a strategy likely to endear him to middle American voters who are concerned about their jobs. But I never, ever dreamed that given repeated evidence to the contrary (NJ, VA, MA) the One would stick to the plan even if it leads to his party's political destruction. Like me, Charles Lane of the Wapo is gobsmacked, utterly stunned by the President's unswerving commitment to his agenda regardless of reality.

You know, the media portrayed Obama as some sort of demi-Christ come to save us during the election. Perhaps Mr. Obama actually believes his press and sees the current process as just one more step on his long personal road to Golgotha.

W. O. W.