Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Trust the Process

I've used that phrase for years, stole it from my mentor at PricewaterhouseCoopers.  But what does it mean when you tell someone to trust the process?  I think it means that you have confidence that the efforts underway are organized in such a way that you do not need to supervise them closely.  In other words, the 'process' guarantees an acceptable outcome.

But what does it mean in practical terms?  For a project it generally means that the people responsible for completing the deliverables have the following attributes:

First, they have subject matter and skill competence as well as the necessary tools to complete the tasks at hand.

Second, they must have an understanding of the overall objective and the problem that it seeks to solve so they know what they are trying to do and can keep oriented towards it.

Finally, they understand the overall strategy or way the sponsors want have the problem solved such that if things don't go as planned they will still be able to direct the effort in a manner congruent with its sponsor's purpose.

It's this combination of competence, comprehension and congruence that allows us to 'trust the process' on complex tasks that we have no hope of personally supervising.  Yes, detailed work plans and milestones are necessary and very nice to have, but if the key players lack any of the big Cs, all the project management in the world can't save a project.  Which means the sponsors can't 'trust the process'.

Which brings us to that great big project in the sky called our Federal Government.  Right now the sponsors (aka the people) do not trust the process.  They do not believe that those in power have the expertise and skills to get the job done.  They question whether leadership even understands the problem (access or cost in healthcare?  mainstreaming illegals or secure borders?  too much spending or too few taxes?).  And they certainly don't believe in the strategies current leadership are pursuing to achieve results.

So what happens when the sponsor loses faith in the process?  They change the leadership.


That would be the definition of Newsweek, recently purchased for the princely sum of $1 by Democrat congresswoman Jane Harman's husband I guess to be their very own little rationalization and propaganda vehicle.  Judging from the clever front page copy apparently they believe that average Americans - you know, the ones that disapprove of BHO's performance as President - are a pack of cretinous, bigoted boobs who can't distinguish fantasy from reality.  That certainly seems to be the left's central assumption these days.  But how does that attitude toward's the  hoi polloi win the votes of enough of said 'boobs' to hold power?  Tricky that:  Despising the people while asking for their help.

No Class

H/T Instapundit

WHITE HOUSE WON’T GIVE THE SURGE ANY CREDIT FOR IRAQ SUCCESS: “Gibbs said Obama plans to call Bush before the speech, but through repeated questioning would not admit that the surge played any especially important role in the war’s progress.” Showing the forthright and generous spirit we’ve come to expect from this gang.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Man eating giant squid devouring fish stocks

It's all giant squid these days.
Story Image

Reality's a bitch, isn't she?

The left keeps being shocked when their caricature of conservatives (you know, racist, homophobic, bigoted illiterates) turns out to be false.  The latest:
Liberals continually expect that conservatives will match the cartoonish image that the left has concocted. They were shocked that Christian conservatives didn’t run Sarah Palin out of town on a rail because of her pregnant unwed daughter. Aren’t conservatives prudes and intolerant misogynists? Umm, no. Now, they can’t believe conservatives are so accepting of  Ken Mehlman, who publicly announced he is gay. You can sense the disappointment and surprise on the left — aren’t conservative going to repudiate him? No, nor do most of them even care.
Maybe they should treat their opponents as if they're human beings?  Naaaaw.

Oikophobia, self evident truths and our ruling elite's contempt

James Taranto theorizes on where the ruling classes' contempt for us comes from:
A “perfect description of the pro-mosque left” from James Taranto: “Oikophobia is fear of the familiar: ‘the disposition, in any conflict, to side with ‘them’ against ‘us’, and the felt need to denigrate the customs, culture and institutions that are identifiably ‘ours.’ … Yet the oiks’ vision of themselves as an intellectual aristocracy violates the first American principle ever articulated: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’ … This cannot be reconciled with the elitist notion that most men are economically insecure bitter clinging intolerant bigots who need to be governed by an educated elite. Marxism Lite is not only false; it is, according to the American creed, self-evidently false. That is why the liberal elite finds Americans revolting.” Did we put an “oik” in the White House?

What say the rest of you?  H/T Contentions

They're going down, down, down, down hey bopalooba

Thank Goodness

I always knew there was a reason I drank so much.  As Ernie Hemingway used to say:  "Have a Drink!"  H/T NRO

Heavy Drinkers Outlive Nondrinkers, Study Finds
One of the most contentious issues in the vast literature about alcohol consumption has been the consistent finding that those who don’t drink actually tend to die sooner than those who do. The standard Alcoholics Anonymous explanation for this finding is that many of those who show up as abstainers in such research are actually former hard-core drunks who had already incurred health problems associated with drinking.
But a new paper in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research suggests that – for reasons that aren’t entirely clear – abstaining from alcohol does actually tend to increase one’s risk of dying even when you exclude former drinkers. The most shocking part? Abstainers’ mortality rates are higher than those of heavy drinkers. (See pictures of booze under a microscope.)
Moderate drinking, which is defined as one to three drinks per day, is associated with the lowest mortality rates in alcohol studies. Moderate alcohol use (especially when the beverage of choice is red wine) is thought to improve heart health, circulation and sociability, which can be important because people who are isolated don’t have as many family members and friends who can notice and help treat health problems

Now this is brilliant

A Guardian of London blogger (!) on self indulgent weddings:

 The modern wedding, with its stupendous cost (£20,000 on average) and duration, is really a celebration of the participants. They really are unique and precious snowflakes, just as they have suspected all along. In fact, they are each and both of them just the unique and precious people they would like to be. Everyone pretends that for the day the couple really are starring in their own film: following the conventions of modern films, that means nothing really bad can happen to them.
Feeling unique and treasured and valued for yourself is exactly the point of being in love, and it’s very nice. But it’s not realistic. In particular, it’s a disastrous attitude to bring to a wedding. There will be times when you appear – and are – not in the least bit treasured or valued, and when you’ll be unlucky to be thought unique: everyone going through a divorce is convinced for a while they were married to the absolutely worst spouse in history.
The great point about completely impersonal ceremonies, whose form is the same for everyone, whether these are religious or entirely civil, is that they remind us that the problems and difficulties of marriage are universal. They come from being human. They can’t be dodged just by being our wonderful selves, even all dusted with unicorn sparkle.
On your wedding day you feel thoroughly special, and your guests will go along with this; so that is the moment when the ceremony should remind you that you’re not all that. What you’re doing isn’t a step into fairyland. And if it does turn out to be the gateway to a new life, that is one that will have to be built over time and unglamorously with the unpromising materials of the old one.

This reminds me of mine.  Although in that one there was clearly only one star.

The Democrats are insane aren't they?

Read this:
Via Politico:
In a required report to the United Nations Human Rights Council, the State Department said the federal government’s challenge to the Arizona law that requires police to check the immigration status of anyone they stop or detain was an example of how the United States is protecting human rights.
Now let me get this straight: The Obama administration says that fighting a law that says that Arizona should enforce Federal law is fighting for human rights. So it isn't the enforcement of the law that is a violation of human rights, it's which government agency does the enforcing? This is so incoherent as to be risible. Hilary and BHO are both supposed to be 'brilliant' Ivy league lawyers. How can they make such an obviously stupid argument? And they are making this cretinous case to a "Council" packed with the likes of Iran and Sudan. What an embarrassment.

What a Shock! Housing bubble caused by trying to goose home ownership

Few correlations are so visibly obvious as this one.  And guess what?  Our current policies are the exact same ones that caused the wreckage the first time.  President Obama is so clever, isn't he?

The Old Time Religion - Times Square Style

Mike Potemra writes:

One of the most common criticisms of U.S. Evangelicalism today is that it has become bland and sentimental, offering an easy solution to . . . well, to what exactly is not clear, because there is a greater reticence now than in the past in talking about sin. So it’s refreshing to encounter a place like Times Square Church in New York City, where both the hymns and the preaching declare unflinchingly the need in which men and women live — despair, addiction, disgrace, sin — to provide the rawest context for the religious message. The highlight at today’s 6 PM service was a 40something Italian-American, a woman who grew up in the area: She told of her brokenness in a life of drugs, booze, organized crime, and empty affairs, a brokenness that began to heal when she accepted her religious faith. In her presentation, both the brokenness and the healing appeared palpable; rarely have I felt the truth of the old adage that church is not a social club for saints, but a hospital for sinners. This is the old-time religion of long-ago revival meetings: sin, suffering, blood, redemption . . . and, most important, hope.

Boomtimes! For the welfare state

From USA Today:

–More than 50 million Americans are on Medicaid, up 17 percent since the recession began in December 2007. And that’s before Obamacare will add 16 million more to Medicaid’s rolls. The cost of the program is up 36 percent.
–More than 40 million Americans receive food stamps, up 50 percent in the same time period. The cost of the program has increased by 80 percent.
–10 million receive unemployment benefits, a fourfold increase from 2007, and down from a peak of 12 million in January of this year. The cost of the program has more than tripled.
–More than 4.4 million Americans receive welfare payments, an 18% increase during the recession. The cost of the program has increased 22 percent.

Lefty poll:P 54% of Louisianans believe that W handled Katrina better than BHO has handled the spill

From Heritage:
But if the Obama administration has treated New Orleans with action and not neglect, with empathy and not indifference, then why does the latest survey from Public Policy Polling, a liberal polling firm, show that not only do Louisianans disapprove of Obama’s actions in the aftermath of the spill by a 61%-32% margin, but a majority, 54%, believe that President George W. Bush did the better job of helping Louisiana through Katrina? The answer was given by Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) shortly after the President’s Xavier speech when Jindal told reporters: “The experts all agree, we can end this moratorium before six months. Let’s put our people back to work.”

Bedbug epidemic: Made in EPA-land?

H/T Instapundit

JONATHAN STRONG: Is the EPA to blame for the bed bug ‘epidemic’? “Around when bed bugs started their resurgence, Congress passed a major pesticides law in 1996 and the Clinton EPA banned several classes of chemicals that had been effective bed bug killers. . . . According to research at the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, academic headquarters for studying the six-legged beast, some strains of bed bugs can survive, zombie-like, for up to 16 days after being directly sprayed with currently used pesticides.”

Fascist is as Fascist Does

H/T Instapundit

SHIKHA DALMIA: GM’s Politically Timed IPO. “The General Motors IPO, the second largest ever, is arguably this decade’s most hyped financial event. But it might also turn out to be this decade’s biggest financial fiasco. Its timing is driven not by the financial needs of the company– or the interests of taxpayers who are poised to get royally screwed–but the election-year needs of the Obama administration.”

What hath BHO wrought?

H/T Instapundit

JOHN FUND: Obama Builds a Big Tent . . . for Conservatives. “In the past, more secular Tea Party types might not have showed up at a religiously-themed event like ‘Restoring Honor.’ Similarly, many of the devoutly religious people I met at Saturday’s rally probably would in the past have shunned an explicitly political event such as Friday night’s Freedom Works meeting. But I kept bumping into the same people at both gatherings. . . . The conservative movement is maturing and learning to incorporate a wider cross-section of people under its banner. That may well be one of the more enduring accomplishments — albeit inadvertent — of Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid these past two years.”
I told you it was a new Great Awakening.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Anti-"bigotry" the last refuge of a liberal scoundrel

Charles Krauthammer accurately describes the nature of the slow motion liberal crack-up we are witnessing.  When Americans don't go along with the statist project, they cry 'bigot'.  Money graf:

Now we know why the country has become “ungovernable,” last year’s excuse for the Democrats’ failure of governance: Who can possibly govern a nation of racist, nativist, homophobic Islamophobes?

What’s a liberal to do? Pull out the bigotry charge, the trump that preempts debate and gives no credit to the seriousness and substance of the contrary argument. The most venerable of these trumps is, of course, the race card. When the tea party arose, a spontaneous, leaderless, and perfectly natural (and traditionally American) reaction to the vast expansion of government intrinsic to the president’s proudly proclaimed transformational agenda, the liberal commentariat cast it as a mob of angry white yahoos disguising their antipathy to a black president by cleverly speaking in economic terms.

Do standardized tests discriminate against kids who don't give a darn? The latest bias scandal uncovered.

I just want to say for the record that I am shocked, shocked by this careist bias.  Kids who don't give a crap deserve better.
In The Know: Are Tests Biased Against Students Who Don't Give A Shit?

Doom Doom Doom Doom

The Cardinals are collapsing.  If they are going to do this I wish they'd do it earlier in the season so that I can waste my time in some other way.  Doom.

Obama's Approval Raings - It just keeps getting worser and worser

Pollster.com does great work consolidating opinion polling.  By looking at all polls in aggregate you get a much more definitive picture of the state of public opinion, washing out the biases and different methodological tics of different polling companies.  It also tends to commodify the underlying polls, though.  What else is new?

Silicon Valley engineer shortage: is it really all about age?

Read this:

An interesting paradox in the technology world is that there is both a shortage and a surplus of engineers in the United States. Talk to those working at any Silicon Valley company, and they will tell you how hard it is to find qualified talent. But listen to the heart-wrenching stories of unemployed engineers, and you will realize that there are tens of thousands who can’t get jobs. What gives?

The harsh reality is that in the tech world, companies prefer to hire young, inexperienced, engineers. And engineering is an “up or out” profession: you either move up the ladder or face unemployment. This is not something that tech executives publicly admit, because they fear being sued for age discrimination, but everyone knows that this is the way things are.

This is true, but why?  Let's do a little mind experiment:  100 engineers work for 20 years.  50 of the engineers are adaptive, inquisitive and proactive, they rise the corporate ladder or become known as knowledge experts in a particular field or otherwise distinguish themselves.  The other 50, because they lack these attributes remain journeyman engineers doing solid if uninspired work.  

If you believed that this scenario is true (and with adjustments to the percentages, it almost certainly is) then strongly preferring a newly minted or young journeyman engineer over an older one is perfectly rational.  Based upon form, the odds that a 50 something is suddenly going to become brilliant or turn out to be a great leader are virtually nil.  While the equivalent youngster has some probability of delivering that type of excellence to you today and being a friend, colleague and contact as he rises to great heights.  And in high tech engineering, it's brilliance, innovativeness and adaptability that count, not 20 years of engineering experience.

Now knowing that, who would you rather hire?

H/T Instapundit

More evidence that we have a 'confidence' recession

Corporate profits are streaking towards a new high.   And they are doing it in an evironment of slow/no growth with near zero interest rates.  Typically this would lead to an explosion in investment as companies rush to position new capacity and products to take advantage of the coming boom.  But today they don't expect a boom, they expect a continuing slump.  So they sit on their swelling cash hoard waiting to find out about how much the cost of labor, energy, capital and other key factors of production (come to think of it, those are the three key factors) are going to rise under the current regime (or whether the economy destroying measures can be repealed).

Until they get some answers we will get no meaningful growth.  H/T Carpe Deim.

Who has the responsibility for proving Islam is a 'religion of peace'?

Al Colby sent me this picture.  And as the phrase goes:  it says a thousand words.  Many of them unfair, of course.  But it raises a question that Muslims have never really been required to answer: Given the level of violence and cruelty committed in the name of Islam, why should non-Muslims assume otherwise?  The argument that Islam is a religion of peace is one that Muslims must make every day to counteract the cruelties committed so often and visibly by their co-religionists.  We Christians have been analyzing, apologizing and explaining for centuries the sins done in our name.  So should Muslims.  Sauce, Goose, Gander.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

I thought the Obami were going to hold Wall Street's feet to the fire

First Federal Bank, aka: Citigroup is stonewalling on a major discrepancy in its financial statement.  It seems it doesn't like what a particular top level analyst is saying about its accounting practices so it is denying him access.  Kevin Williamson wonders if the all time top recipient of Citi campaign contributions could help set a date.  I publish Mr. Williamson's post in its entirety.  H/T NRO

You know that bank we own? No, not that one, this one. There seems to be some trouble:
An all-out war has broken out between Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit and a prominent securities analyst who is saying that the big bank may be cooking the books by inflating its earnings through an accounting gimmick, FOX Business Network has learned.
The analyst, Mike Mayo, of the securities firm CLSA, has been telling investors that Citigroup(C: 3.70 ,+0.04 ,+0.96%) should take a writedown, or a loss on some $50 billion of “deferred-tax assets,” or DTAs. That is a tax credit the firm has on its financial statement that Mayo says is inflating profits at the big bank by as much as $10 billion.
For that critique, Mayo has been denied one-on-one meetings with top players of the firm, including CEO Vikram Pandit, Chief Financial Officer John Gerspach, and any other member of management, while other analysts enjoy full access to the bank’s top executives, FBN has learned.
In fact, Mayo hasn’t had a meeting with Pandit or anyone in Citigroup management since around the time of the financial crisis, in the fall of 2008, when Citigroup was on the verge of extinction and needed an unprecedented series of government bailouts to survive.
You know who ought to be able to get a meeting with Vikram Pandit? Tim Geithner. And if not Tiny Tim, then his boss, Barack Obama, who was the top recipient of Citigroup campaign contributions in the last election cycle, having taken in more than $730,000. You know who else might be able to get a meeting? New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who is the biggest recipient of Citigroup money in this election cycle so far.
Obama and Gillibrand should know: If you’re going to bail out the bank and take the bank’s money, then when it’s time for due diligence, you need to make sure that somebody steps up.

Sara Palin speaking a the Restore Honor rally

Something is going on, folks and La Palin is in the midst of it.  Like her or not, you can't argue that like Obama before her she has hit a resonant chord with Americans.  What she does with the music it makes will be interesting to watch.  I can almost hear the howls of agony in faculty lounges all over the nation.

La Russa and Pujols at Glenn Beck's Rally

Professional athletes are very protective of their reputations.  They almost never participate in high profile events that could be perceived as sectarian or not in the mainstream.  I guess that means that Glenn Beck represents the mainstream.  And Pujols and LaRussa?  Heck, now I'll even forgive them for booting this season.  They have always been the class of professional sports.  I'm proud that they represent St. Louis.

And they didn't want to get shot either

THAT DIDN’T TAKE LONG: EPA Backs Down On Lead-Bullet Ban. “It is an important victory, mainly from the EPA’s own admission that ammunition is outside their jurisdictional reach.”

H/t Instapundit

Liberal Fascism in one easy chart - H/T WSJ

California Job Losses showing who holds political power and who doesn't.  Illuminating, isn't it?
Okay, so it was two charts.  So sue me.

My egalitarian friends will hate this

From the Economist.  How the pursuit of egalitarianism in the credit markets drove the financial crisis.  Hmm it was Englishmen who held the first "Tea Party", wasn't it?

Singularity Economics and the Techno Sponge

The theory of the singularity predicts that as the technology sectors which are experiencing radically exponential productivity growth (doubling in output every 18 months is typical) grow as a share of the economy, growth in productivity and wealth will accelerate.  It also predicts that as this happens, the economy will experience deflation.  The Futurist argues that with the exponential tech sectors of IT hardware, software, and some biotech constituting 1.5% of GDP that this effect has started.  He calls this the Tech Sponge.  In his view the Tech Sponge explains why our wildly inflationary monetary policy is yielding no inflation.  People with better macroeconomic chops (and models) will need to look at this question more closely but clearly something is going on.

If this is the case it will be difficult if not impossible to inflate away our excess debts.  Which, of course has always been our Federal overlords' intention.


What is this world coming to? More come to see Glenn Beck than MLK on the Mall

Of course liberty from a rapacious state and its self seeking minions is the civil rights issue of the day.

More on Slavery and Freedom

It is clear that we cannot be both free and dependent to a state that takes the greatest part of our works and then pretends to care for us.  But what does it mean to be 'free'?  I believe it does not mean what the Libertarians think - lassiez faire - the affirmative right do as we please for that way lies death.  Rather the Christian meaning of freedom is essential to ordered liberty:  the right and the desire to do right as guided by faith and conscience.  The right to make mistakes and then to bear their consequences and repent of them.

This is the point of Paul's letter to the Romans when he said:

15 What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, [3] you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 

And this is why the social democratic state is so dangerous.  The overweening state takes the liberty to do right or to sin and bear the consequences out of the hands of the people, making them infants.  It is the negation of faith as well as liberty.

For I have found that to seek liberty is to seek the truth.  For it is truth that makes you free.

Free people are not dependent and dependent people cannot be free

The fundamental flaw in attempting to create a cradle to grave social democracy on top of a (small l) liberal republic is that the habits of mind and soul that make a people free are undermined by the minutely prescriptive rules and financial dependency that are the social democrats' tools in trade.  Abraham Lincoln's words at Gettysburg turn out to be strangely prescient:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Indeed, we are engaged in a great civil war testing whether a our nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure.  Can a nation be half dependent and half free?  Can one half live off of the other half?  Can votes hand out laurels and regulation build empires?  Or will our love of comfort and safety, our faithlessness and therefore fear of the future turn us in to Aldous Huxley's Alphas, Betas and Epsilons?

Once again, Abraham Lincoln:

If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it.

We are now far into the fifth year, since a policy was initiated, with the avowed object, and confident promise, of putting an end to slavery agitation.

Under the operation of that policy, that agitation has not only, not ceased, but has constantly augmented.
In my opinion, it will not cease, until a crisis shall have been reached, and passed.

"A house divided against itself cannot stand."

I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free.
I do not expect the Union to be dissolved -- I do not expect the house to fall -- but I do expect it will cease to be divided.

It will become all one thing or all the other.

Either the opponents of slavery, will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocateswill push it forward, till it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new -- North as well as South.

Because at the end of the day when a man is spending half of his labor* in service to and expecting a great part of his sustenance from a soulless state, he is a slave.

*While the taxes are not quite there, the regulations guarantee it and the spending promises to exceed it,

Friday, August 27, 2010

Those would be states where Democrats are in close electoral contests

Democrats really don't want the military to vote in elections.  They would prefer to have slave warriors like the muslims used to have:  Jannissary and Mameluke slaves fought Muslim wars for a millenium or more.  Being excluded from political power, they in most cases resolved to take it by force and eventually most of the Ottoman empire was run by these ex slaves.

It is foolish and dangerous to disrespect and exclude the warrior class from its rightful share of political participation.

Of course foolish, dangerous and disrespectful characterize the administration's approach to many things.

Bust it up.  Bust it all up.

Examples of Hindlish/Urdlish - one of the many emerging creoles of English

My friend Preeti Suba on my other friend Nadeem Butt's facebook site.  Urdu uses arab script, Hindi sanskrit script.  They've adapted words and phrases from English, using the roman script for Hindi/Urdu.  The world is certainly an interesting place, isn't it?  BTW Singlish is even weirder what with Mandarin, Hakka, Malayan, Tamil and English all smooshed together.  Our maid Mei was a riot to listen to.

Preeti J Suba

Cap'n Preeti J Suba by the way..... now only, you got time to ask ki dubai chhor diya ke kiaa?.. ab tak khair khabar puchhane ki zarurat nahi thi kya? to pehle aap is sawal ka jawab dijiye. phir me bataungi

Jul-aye! 21 roundabouts 12:20 in the mornin' ·  · 
Preeti J Suba

Cap'n Preeti J Suba ye sharabi film ka dialog hai.. aur aap to jante ho, aap kabhi nahi samaj sakte ki kab mai khich rahi hu aur kab tarif kar rahi hu......

Jul-aye! 21 roundabouts 12:19 in the mornin' ·  · 

    • Nadeem Butt arey yar mein bhi mazak hi kar raha hon,,, aap bhi kabhi nahi samjho gi, lollz, anyways esa nahi hey,, miss to hum bohot kartey hein, husna keep asking about u. i thought k shayed 1 month k liye gaye hogey but its almost more than a month, isn't it?...., and our visit is due at your new home, I didn't go till now...
      Jul-aye! 21 roundabouts 2:54 in the mornin' · 

Are the police our friends?

Piece of advice:  If the police are not actively stopping a violent or property crime do not assume that they're on your side.
The resisting-arrest conviction last week of Felicia Gibson has left a lot of people wondering. Can a person be charged with resisting arrest while observing a traffic stop from his or her own front porch?
Salisbury Police Officer Mark Hunter thought so, and last week District Court Judge Beth Dixon agreed. Because Gibson did not at first comply when the officer told her and others to go inside, the judge found Gibson guilty of resisting, delaying or obstructing an officer.
Gibson was not the only bystander watching the action on the street. She was the only one holding up a cell-phone video camera. But court testimony never indicated that Hunter told her to stop the camera; he just told her to go inside.
In all other cases you should assume that these career bureaucrats are on their own side.

They're out of control and we're out of money.  Seems like we could find a solution to this problem, no?

I am blessed (and I don't know why)

From time to time I look around and am amazed at what I have been allowed.  Very few people have been given what I've been given.  And despite the fact that I have diligently tried to turn every one of these silk purses into sows ears (I've gotten good at it) He still blesses me and I still feel His blessings upon me.

If my screwed up, start/stop, up/down, high/low experience isn't evidence for a benevolent God, I don't know what is.

As the doxology says:  "Praise God from whom all blessings flow...."

Incompetent is as incompetent does.

David Brooks, now fully repented of his temporary Obamamania catalogs the economic policy failings of this administration by comparing them to the Merkel regime in Germany.  Money Grafs:

The American stimulus package was supposed to create a “summer of recovery,” according to Obama administration officials. Job growth was supposed to be surging at up to 500,000 a month. Instead, the U.S. economy is scuffling along.

The German economy, on the other hand, is growing at a sizzling (and obviously unsustainable) 9 percent annual rate. Unemployment in Germany has come down to pre-crisis levels.

Essentially when it comes to economic management our leadership has done everything wrong.  Every-ever-loving-thing.  It may be a new world's record, certainly it wins this year's Fidel Castro Memorial award for the best performance in screwing up an economy category.

This is the same brain dead 'progressive' thinking that turned a sharp recession into a depression that  is called "Great" only in America.  Boy I'm sure glad he handed out all those FDR histories to his team.

His only problem:  he places too much emphasis on consensus.  The reason that Scandinavians and Germans didn't make our mistakes this time is because they poked their own eyes out with similarly stupid policies back in the 80s and 90s.  Once burned twice shy.

Whats that strange smell you ask?  Burning flesh?

Fascist is as fascist does.

And that goes for power hungry Republicans as well as Democrats.  H/T  Instapundit

SO THE OLD LINE WAS THAT TEA PARTY CANDIDATES WOULD BE SPOILERS, but it’s angry, bitter G.O.P. insiderswho are playing that role now. Just more evidence that the Republican party’s establishment cares more for its own than for policy — or the country.

Time Magazine comes up with a brilliant new product

Watch the Fiesta ad too (zombies).
TIME Announces New Version Of Magazine Aimed At Adults

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Academic administrative bloat: A problem, not THE problem

George Leef and Todd Zywicki point out that colleges (and lower schools) have experienced a spectacular surge in the number of 'useless' mouths.  But this scandal is nothing more than a symptom of a much greater underlying disorder.  A bit of history:

Before Gutenberg general information, high entertainment and education were all the province of the Rich.  With the advent of the book and then the phonograph, the costs of these forms of information fell dramatically.  Indeed, in the 1600s entities called libraries and schools popped up everywhere to take advantage of economies of scale by focusing scholars and books in a single location where their relatively high cost could be spread over many students.

Today the marginal cost of general information and quality entertainment are effectively zero.  The cost of education, by contrast is soaring to ludicrous heights, driven by its addiction to state subsidies that enable it to cling grimly to 16th century technologies that barely exist outside of the bloated, backward academy.  Administrative bloat is no more than the latest metastasizing malignancy of a raging cancer on the body politic that is piling faux gothic pile on top of pedagogical farce on top of union rule.

It’s all going to come crashing down on their heads.   And here I sit with my bag of popcorn waiting for the show.

Obama golfing with UBS President Robert Wolf

Those greedy stinking Wall Street bought Republicans.  I hate the way they're so chummy with the damn bankers.  I mean those guys are......never mind.

Of course to be fair, what's a corrupt banker to do?  The only way to get a meeting with the Hole in One is to schedule a tee time.

Traffic Hell

A traffic jam enters its eleventh day in and around Beijing.  OK, everyone breathe deep.  Whee.

The Stimulus turns out to have been a whole bunch of Cash TO Clunkers

David Boaz of Cato has the story here.  I turns out that government lawyers aren't as wise and selfless as they say they are.  Indeed, pretty much everything they touch seems to need a flushing.  People keep pointing back to the crisis in 2008 and saying what if the govt didn't step in - where would be be today?  Simple:  far further down the road to recovery.

Bust it up, bust it all up.

The future of the Postal Service?

If only.  The government sinecure is losing a billion a month.  Thank God for the government.  It keeps us poor and humble.  H/T Instapundit.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Get thee to a Nunnery....from Harvard?

Actually this isn't that interesting a story:  a woman flees from one feminist gynocracy to another without passing go or collecting $200 or any 'real world' knowledge.  Pretty standard stuff for our 'educated elites'.  Just ask President Obama.

It's just that I dig saying "Get thee to a nunnery".

More exploitation of men

The 'War between the generations' turns out to largely be a war between the sexes with men being stomped badly.  Just one more brick in an immense, all but impenetrable wall.  H/T Carpe Deim.

"Oh what tangled webs we weave when first we practice to.....manipulate the future"

From the 2001 study "Is War Between Generations Inevitable?" by economists Jagadeesh Gokhal of the Cleveland Fed and Laurence J. Kotlikoff of Boston University:

"Seniors today will receive far more benefits from government transfer programs (programs that redistribute resources among groups) than their share of the national tax burden. On average:

1. A male reaching 65 years of age today can expect to receive $71,000 more in government transfer benefits (of all kinds at both the federal and state levels, but mainly from Social Security and Medicare) than he will pay in taxes (of all kinds at both the federal and state levels) before he dies.

2. A 65-year-old female can expect a net gain of more than twice that amount; she can expect $163,000 more in benefits than she will pay in taxes.

A far different picture confronts people entering the labor market today. In general, they will pay far more in taxes than they will receive from transfer programs, and any expansion of elderly entitlements will make things worse. For example:

3. A 20-year-old female can expect to pay $92,000 more in taxes than she will receive in transfer benefits over her lifetime.

4. The future looks more than three times as bleak for her male cohort, who can expect to pay $312,000 more in taxes than he will ever receive in benefits."

HT: Walter Williams

MP: We've got quite a gender gap here! On average, 65-year old men today will receive only 43.6% of the net benefits that women receive, and young men today can expect a net tax burden over their lifetimes that will be 3.4 times greater than for women.

Oh Rusty, you're so fine....

...you're so fine you blow your......own office.  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you my Congressman and his crack team of fire bombers.  It just doesn't get any better than this, boys.

HOW ABOUT THIS? Carnahan Confirms Powers Firebomb Story. “Rep. Russ Carnahan confirmed that former staffer Chris Powers was the individual who ‘firebombed’ his campaign office, not tea party activists as some in the local media had reported.”

Republican "Fixers" being replaced - Florida

Bill McCollum pounded by insurgent Rick Scott with big help from La Palin.  Alaska, Florida, Massachusetts.  She's a game changer boys, a curvaceous blonde game changer.

Tea anyone?  One lump or two?

Not only is Obama bad for Donkey's in 2010, he's going to spank them for a Decade

All I can say is great timing boys!  We couldn't have saved the Republic without ya!  El Barone on the looming redistricting catastrophe for the House of Obamouse.

Eighteen months ago it looked like Democrats were going to profit from redistricting. . . . But that scenario now is the stuff of dreams. Democrats are threatened with losing many governorships and legislative chambers, and their chances of taking over many from the Republicans look dismal.

Instead, the optimistic scenario belongs to the Republicans. If they hold what they have and capture a few governorships (Ohio, Tennessee, Wisconsin) and a few legislative chambers (the Houses in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania and both houses in Wisconsin), they will control redistricting in 11 states with more than five House seats, including Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas. Those states are projected to have 178 House seats.

This would be an even better redistricting cycle for Republicans than the one following the 2000 census, which was their best in 50 years. It could move one to two dozen House seats into the Republican column.

H/T Instapundit

"Macho, Macho Vlad, he just wants to be a Macho Vlad"

Russian Strongman Vladimir Putin firing fiery darts at a Grey Whale.  "he just wants to be a Macho Vlad".  With apologies to the Village People.  Why can't we have manly leaders like Macho Vlad?
Vladimir Putin

Republican "Fixers" being replaced - Alaska

Looks like hereditary Senator Lisa Murkowski is out in Alaska.   Bennett, Crist, Murkowski and so on.  Republican 'insiders' are paying a heavy price for their cozy relations with the Washington overclass.  They're being replaced by candidates much more committed to doing the right thing.  It's a pity the Democrats aren't using this crisis to do the same thing.  It was the only thing that could save them from what is shaping up to be the worse electoral drubbing in United States history.

"Never let a good crisis go to waste, I always say"  Now who said that?

Profiles in Courage - Rusty Carnahan runs away

Not too bright, got his job because people felt sorry that he was an 'orphan', it seems he's also a bit of a coward when it comes to taking a stand on the issues of the day.  Or maybe his staff hasn't copied out the answer for him in his super-duper Congressional Big Chief notebook.

Run away, Rusty, run away.

Feds killing the goose that lays the golden eggs - CEO of Intel

The next new thing will not be based in the United States unless Federal government policy changes a lot and quick, according to Paul Otellini, the CEO of Intel.

What a shock!  I mean who knew?  I didn't see this coming, I can tell you that.

I wish I'd broken mirrors instead of promises - Owl City

Seth Godin amplifies Owl City's apt phrase for business.  Clever Godin, very clever:

 Little lies and small promises
"I'll be out of bed in five minutes," is not a true statement because it's a promise not meant to be kept. It actually means, "go away, I'm sleeping, I'll say what I need to get rid of you."
"Your call is very important to us," is not a true statement either. The truth is self-evident.
"I promise I'll tell the manager about this," is of course not a real promise either. It might be uttered with good intent, or might be designed to get an annoying customer to go away, but still...
You can already guess the problem with little lies. They blur the line, and they lead (pretty quickly) to big lies. The worst kind of little lies are the ones you make to yourself. Once you're willing to lie to yourself, you're also willing to cheat at golf, and after that, it's all downhill.
Companies that refuse to break small promises have a much easier time keeping big promises. And they earn a reputation, one that makes their handshake worth more.
Given that expectation and trust are just about all we have left to sell, it seems to me that little lies and small promises are at the very heart of the matter. And they're a simple choice, nothing requiring an MBA or a spreadsheet.
It all depends on what you want to stand for.

Where have all the new jobs gone?

Where have all the new jobs gone?  Long time passing.
Where have all the new jobs gone?  Long time ago.
Where have all the new jobs gone?  Lefties killed them, every one.
When will they ever learn?  When will they ever learn?

Will absolutely no apologies to left fascist Pete Seeger.

JOHN STOSSEL: Where Are The New Jobs? “The problem today is that the economy is not being left alone. Instead, it is haunted by uncertainty on a hundred fronts. When rules are unintelligible and unpredictable, when new workers are potential threats because of Labor Department regulations, businesses have little confidence to hire. President Obama’s vaunted legislative record not only left entrepreneurs with the burden of bigger government, it also makes it impossible for them to accurately estimate the new burden. . . . Nothing more effectively freezes business in place than what economist and historian Robert Higgs calls ‘regime uncertainty.’”

Marco Rubio, Republican Nominee for Senate in Florida on what it means to be an American

From Jim Geraghty and NRO:

"My parents grew up in a place like almost anywhere else in the world, where what you are going to accomplish in life and how far you can go is decided for you before you are even born. . . . In almost every other society in all of human history, how far you can go in life is not up to you. It's decided for you. And that's the way it still is almost everywhere else on this planet. Except for one place: the United State of America. A place where anyone from anywhere can accomplish almost anything. A place where it doesn't matter if you weren't born into a connected family. It doesn't matter if you don't run in the right social circles. If you have a good idea and the willingness to work in pursuit of it, you can accomplish anything.

"Sadly, I think sometimes those of us that are born in this country take that for granted. And we believe that that's the way it is almost everywhere else in the world. It's not. Now, maybe that's a lesson I learned young because I've been raised in a community of exiles, of men and women who know it is possible to lose your country, and everything you hold dear, a people who understand that this place, this nation is unique, that there has never been anything like this in the history of all of mankind. And even now, even today, with the challenges that we face, there is still no place on Earth that you would rather be, no country on Earth that you would trade places with. But what we must always remember is that this exceptional country of ours -- it didn't happen by accident. This extraordinary country we have didn't just happen 'because.' It happened because the people who were here before us did what they had to do to ensure that their children inherited a better life."

I haven't checked every last one of Florida's past results, but it appears Marco Rubio is the first Senate candidate in Florida history to win more than 1 million votes in a primary.
Nuff Said

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Madness American Style

Tyler Cowen channels Arnie Kling on the madness that is Fannie and Freddie.  This really is nuts, guys!

Old consensus: we need Freddie and Fannie in order to make housing "affordable."
New consensus: we need them in order to "prevent further house price delclines," in other words, to make housing less affordable.
It's the Goldilocks theory of home mortgage intervention.  Most of all, I am curious what is the underlying theory why few private investors would not, without the mortgage agencies, fund mortgages at the right price.  I would gladly write a series of blog posts examining those theories, as many of those same investors buy riskier assets, such as some equities.  Or is it simply an attempt to hold a finger in the dike?
Our either real or supposed inability to do away with the mortgage agencies over a five-year time horizon is one of the major reasons to be a pessimist about the American economy today.  None of the underlying theories about these agencies, and why they are needed, are very good news for any of us.  And that is perhaps why those theories are not articulated very often.

The message vs. the medium

Dan Doriani made some excellent points in his sermon on Sunday regarding the difference between the underlying message of the Gospel and the way it should be presented to various groups.  He showed how Paul phrased his messages to Jews, Farmers and Athenian Philosphes very differently based upon the experiences they had.  But of course Paul didn't have the variable of medium to contend with.  He had his voice and pen and papyrus (or parchment).  Modern messengers have a much wider choice of media and formats to communicate ideas, concepts and truths.  Depending upon the audience and circumstances it can make quite a bit of difference in terms of comprehension and effectiveness.  So how does one choose?

The first thing we need to recognize is that technology is driving both a cultural and a cognitive shift in the nature of communication.  The cultural shift is obvious:  paper to electronic, prose to texting, aural to multimedia, narrative to experiential.  In every case our children are growing up in an environment where the traditional written word is less important and the visual is more so, where the storyline is less about watching others and more about participating.  This isn't as new as it seems.  Gutenberg ushered in a shift from poetry and chanting that could be memorized by the unlettered to dense and long-winded prose that was published.  People substituted hot, caffeinated drinks for alcohol allowing them to stay awake through long prose speeches or sermons.  Over time as education filtered down to the masses the standard language of messages was simplified.  Instead of appealing only to a lettered, clerical elite whose stock in trade were words and logical propositions, the message shifted to simpler, shorter prose using common allusions and imagery.  The medium shifted as the audience did.

This has persisted into our own age where video, audio and virtual reality/first person experiences have become ubiquitous - leading to expectations that Biblical exposition will follow.

But it's not just techno-cultural, it's also an actual shift in cognition.  Cognitive scientists tell us that they can measure a significant gain in basic intelligence among the young.  Because of the constant exercise of the visual cortex delivered by video and video games the ability of younger generations to analyze and experience knowledge in a visual-spacial manner is rising markedly.  Our children are measureably better able to process information that comes to them this way.  And relatively small shifts in cognition, when coupled with radical shifts in technology and culture mean big problems for traditional communication forms.  The younger generation expects faster, more immediate and richer interactive experiences and will punish anyone who doesn't respond with the Bronx cheer of inattention.

So what does this mean for the way we should organize the presentation of the Gospel?  It seems to me that the shift from prose to visual and from narration to experience is most marked the more distance one puts between the messenger and the receiver.  In prayer, when we are alone and the Holy Spirit is right there with us, there is very little room for the medium to vary.  Perhaps the young visualize more imagery and put themselves in a scene while my generation conceives of the conversation more as dialog.  Either way, the amount of difference is small.  The same holds for face to face interactions one to one or in a small group.  While there may be some recourse to new media to to tell a story, when there are two, three or four people together, the interaction remains voice and gesture driven and the truths deeply personal.

Move out one more frame of reference to the 'class' and things begin to shift radically.  Recent meta studies of pedagogical techniques by the US Department of Education reinforce the notion that learning happens best when it is broken into small chunks tied to review and testing that can be consumed by the student at their convenience.  In addition, group learning is often best facilitated on line between groups of students with similar needs who can share tips and techniques with each other.  Finally learning happens best when it is 'just in time':  the lessons coming at the point in time when they will be applied and therefore reinforced.  This is a far cry from the Industrial Revolution model of schools as 'learning factories' that attempted to economize on expensive teaching talent and books by centralizing learning in large facilities governed by rigid time tables only tenuously connected to the actual learning needs of the student.

The traditional worship service with its mix of worship, teaching and quasi-administrative activities is really just a special case of the 'class'.  Like the school, the worship service is in part an artifact of the need for economies of scale:  learned preachers of the gospel were scarce, worship media such as music and hymnals were expensive and administration activities like keeping connected with the community's status (prayer cards and attendance) and gathering offerings (the collection plate) were all manual 'snail mail' activities best facilitated at one time and place each week.

Clearly worship is a communal activity, one in which the combination of voice, song, many people and the Holy Spirit lead to a sense of community and joy.  It should not be done 'virtually'.  It is an essential aspect of creating Christian Community.  But what of preaching?  Preaching is simply concentrated teaching in a communal setting.  As such it has some benefits and some drawbacks.  It is the one time that the entire community hears the same message, making it a common, unifying experience.  On the other hand it either meets a lowest common denominator of teaching or it flies over the heads of many of the audience.  Teaching that has the narrative prose style that appeals to older listeners does not resonate with younger generations used to shorter, multi media and interactive experiences.  And of course administration can be done in many different ways that are longer tied to paper or a specific facility and time.

The final ring in the circle of communication is remote messaging.  In Paul's day the painstakingly copied scroll was the only way to convey information remotely.  With the advent of the printing press, the cost of conveying information at a distance began its inexorable slide to zero.  Bibles and other commentaries became common.  Handbills, fliers and newspapers could be used to get the word out and connect people back to events and sources of authority.  Today this process has only accelerated with personal digital assistants like IPhone and Android creating whole communications environments that leverage video, music, text and link them to the possibility of immediate response or virtual community.  The younger generation really only operates in this style of communication.  They don't do phone calls, they text.  They don't read many books, they read shorter textual presentations interspersed with other media that they have a cognitive advantage in integrating.  They are comfortable cultivating friends and collaborators that they've never met physically in environments of shared affinity.  These radically transformative media are leading a shift in how the Gospel is and can be proclaimed, both directly and via life wisdom, help and love lessons.

In future blog entries I will (most likely in vain) attempt to explore further this revolution in communication and what I perceive is its implications for our churches and ultimately all of us.