Thursday, September 30, 2010

Runes, magic hard drives, humans and free will.

Researchers at the Highway Loss Data Institute compared rates of collision insurance claims in four states — California, Louisiana, Minnesota and Washington — before and after they enacted texting bans. Crash rates rose in three of the states after bans were enacted. The Highway Loss group theorizes that drivers try to evade police by lowering their phones when texting, increasing the risk by taking their eyes even further from the road and for a longer time.
Life is so damned complicated when you believe in magic, isn't it?

Important public service message from this station

video
Hat tip Al Colby

Sweden and the Obami: Passing in the dark?

The Paradox of our age is the ur socialist society:  Sweden is becoming steadily more capitalist as our erudite and honors law grad government lurches drunkenly and corruptly leftward.   If we persist we could find ourselves just not to the left of Canada but of Sweden as well.

And poorer than them too.  What is it about the Democrats that causes them to insist, insist that they repeat the mistakes of European social democracies despite overwhelming evidence of their failure?

Madness or venality.  You be the judge.

I hear Dandy Don is breaking out his signature tune in the Golden State

"Computer software giant Adobe, computer game monster EA Games, and Internet auction king eBay are abandoning California to set up shop in Utah. Why? California’s horrid business climate and high taxes."

Turn out the lights, the party's overrrrrrrr!!!!

The phrase 'turning a silk purse into a sows ear' comes to mind.  Although CA is implementing standard, doctrinaire liberal 'blue state' policies.  Is Obamaland par-excellence.  Pity that results in collapse.

But don't worry, I hear the Porn industry is staying put.

Brits do behavioral economics

What a bunch of Maroons....(Moron's in Bugs Bunny speak).  Also U of Chicago people.  Thaler was a prof of mine and is now (according to Tyler Cowen) in the lead for a Nobel.  He was a weiner.  Particularly when compared to real Nobelists that I studied under like Stigler and Fogel.

There is some substance to the research but he has let himself be beguiled by dreams of a clean, tidy and thoroughly fascist future where people are 'nudged' (aka:  manipulated) by wise and far seeing bureaucrats.

It's thoroughgoing evil and the negation of humanity and free will.

As I said, a weiner.  A big, beer soaked bratwurst of one.  Mustard anyone?

$27.5mm because the feds don't like the font

Federal Regulations require that street signs not be in full uppercase font so NYC is pissing almost 30 million away replacing fully functional street signs.  Here.

For God's sake, please, please break it up, break it all up.  We have become a punchline to the world's joke.  The funny words?  "Federal Government".

It's a vulgar, bad joke and it's on us.....

Remind me, why do we organize society as if women are the weaker sex?

Women earn more money, get better jobs in high tech.  Of course.  And where are our leaders, temporal and spiritual?  Cowering.  You see, women vote and fill the pews and they are not mocked.

Do you hear that Mr. Anderson? That's the sound of inevitability.

In Wisconsin, Ron Johnson leads Russ Feingold by 12 points among likely voters according to Rasmussen.

Amazing.  What hath Obama wrought?

Once again, Police are simply bureaucrats with guns

Not your friends, not on your side.  They're on their side.  This is getting so common that I am tired of doing it but these people have life and death authority over us so they should be held to a much higher standard than they apparently are.

U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson recently awarded Barron Bowling $830,000 for the beating he suffered at the hands of DEA Agent Timothy McCue. McCue and Bowling got into an accident in Kansas City, Kansas, after which McCue emerged from his car, gun drawn, and beat the leaving hell out of Bowling. McCue, the DEA, and officers at the Kansas City police department then conspired to cover up the beating, leaving Bowling to face charges of leaving the scene of an accident (understandable, given that he was getting beaten at the time), and assaulting Agent McCue with his car. Witness statements incriminating McCue for both the accident and the beating were lost or destroyed, as were photos of the damage McCue did to Bowling’s face.
The good news: At least one of the Kansas City police officers has since been disciplined. He was investigated by Internal Affairs, forced into early retirement, lost his retirement health insurance, and lost part of his pension.
The bad news: Only one of them was disciplined. Oh, and he happens to be the cop who exposed the coverup.

Is there such a thing as "Minnesota Too Nice?"

Fox News outlines ways that Somalis are demanding accommodation of their culture in the Land of Nice.

The Police: Bureaucrats with guns....

There not your friends, gang.  More here.

While there are no laws on the books in Connecticut that make filming a police officer illegal, Quinnipiac senior Kenneth Hartford found out on Saturday night that it isn’t quite so simple. According to multiple witnesses, within minutes of Hartford beginning to film a Quinnipiac student being arrested outside of Toad’s Place in New Haven, an officer tackled and handcuffed him. Hartford was charged with Disorderly Conduct and Interfering with a Police Investigation. He went on to spend the night in jail at 24 Union Avenue.
In a short video that he took on his cell phone before his arrest (viewable above) officers can be heard swearing at Hartford. The officer who ultimately arrested Hartford said, “Put that in your fucking pocket and get the fuck out of here.” When Hartford then tried to capture the officer’s name and badge number on video, the officer shoved him away.

Clearly the Obami's schooling got in the way of their educations.

McDonalds is likely to drop the health plan that they sponsor for hourly workers because of Obamacare Regulations.  H/T Gianna Sabella.

Okay, gang, one more time:  just because you write the special runes on the magic hard drives doesn't mean the thing that you want will come true.  There are these things out there called humans and they have this thing called free will and they don't always behave the way you imagined in your graduate seminar.

I know, I know, it's weird having to deal with the real world.  Yes it would be much better if it was all like law school.  But then who would pay for all of the free time, clean our homes and mow our lawns?

Face it:  reality is a necessary evil.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

In times like these, there have always been times like these.

Victor Davis Hanson on the obvious fact that it's never been easy to govern America, although you certainly can make it much harder if you screw with everything at once.  Money graf:
A recession and 9/11 were not easy in 2001. And 18% interest, 18% inflation, 7% unemployment, and gas lines by 1981 greeted Reagan. Truman took over with a war … a wrecked Asia and Europe, a groundswell of communism, a climate of panic at home, and a soon to be nuclear Soviet Union … capped off soon by a war in Korea.
BHO:  quit yer whinin' and try governing from the center for a change.

Tony Blankley channelling Christopher Lasch

Conservative trying to explain the Tea Party in Hegelian terms.  I dig saying Hegelian.  He.gel.i.an......Smokin'!

Really worth a gander, gang!

Larval Lawyers should be required to pupate before becoming Senators

Al Franken's latest Gaffe.  A Frankengaffe is when Al Franken is funny.  Al Franken being funny has always been accidental.  Even when he was a professional comedian.

These days he be Frankengaffing all over the place.

Lifestyles of the rich and polygamous

Here's a good example of why the NYT is bleeding readers faster than a beheading.  Discussing His Highness Prince Mohammed al Mahktoum's 'junior' wife (everybody in Dubai says the HH piece when in front of other people, it's weird).   From Commentary, money graf:
The disconnect between the princess’s emancipated life with the patriarchal nature of her marriage is, no doubt, a complicated subject. But this is the same newspaper that reports about American polygamy as a freak show fraught with abuse of both women and children. Yet when confronted with “Big Love” Arab potentates and their trophy second wives who engage in a practice that most Americans rightly consider odious, the Times is prepared to bow and scrape like any courtier.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Crocodile tears from the first Amphibian

He's heartbroken at how bad the schools are.  That's why he killed the voucher program that they relied one.  Vile cynicism that will go unremarked by our 'main'  'stream'  'media'.  Hope and change indeed.


In a television interview this morning, President Obama explained that D.C. public schools aren’t good enough for his daughters. I won’t begrudge him that. But then there was this:
In the NBC interview, Obama was asked for his view on the documentary “Waiting for Superman,” which depicts some of the challenges of improving urban schools. Obama said it is “heartbreaking” that some parents have to rely on a lottery to get their children into a school that they believe will meet their needs.
Obama’s solution, of course, is basically to eliminate the lotteries, which is what he did when he moved to wipe out D.C.’s modest school-choice program for poor kids. When nobody in the hoi polloi has a choice and every school is mediocre, there won’t be a need for lotteries or heartbreak. Problem solved!

We already know this but....

....it never hurts to remind people of the travesty that is our Federal 'government'.  Bust it up.  Bust it all up.

Steve Hawkings defines reality as "a system excluding God" - how clever

Now, let me get this straight.  Stevo the stuck says that 1. Because gravity exists God doesn't have to.  And 2. That math defines reality rather than reality defining the parameters of math, which leads to 3.  Reality is what M.  Hawkings imagines between his ears.  Clever and rather useful for someone whose reality is day by day, inexorably closing in on him as more and more of his (very real) body shuts down.

But I'm not sure it represents anything more substantive than the cries of a trapped and frantic mind.  Pray for Steven Hawkings.  His life must be so very hard.

Donald Sensing has much more here.  It's all very interesting.  Well worth the read.

How much of our money has the Fed lost?

Once again our fraudulent overlords live by opaque rules that they would put us in jail for.  Break it up, break it all up.  H/T Marginal Revolution


The Federal Reserve has spent over one trillion dollars buying mortgage backed securities, so-called toxic assets.  How much are these assets worth?  It's a simple question but one that is exceedingly difficult to answer not the least because the Fed has resisted being audited in defense of its so-called independence. One might say the Fed's actions have been hidden behind a veil of independence.     
We do know that the Fed purchased many of its mortgage securities from the GSEs, especially Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  We also know that these GSEs have cost the taxpayers at least $148 billion so far and may end up costing $400 billion in one "worst case" scenario.  How much larger would the GSE losses have been if the Fed had not taken these mortgages off their books?  The Fed also bought toxic securities from the banks and one imagines that the Fed got the short end of that stick.  How much larger would bank losses have been without these purchases?
The Fed has been a financial empath, it has taken on other people's financial pain and put it on its own books.  But all of this shuffling of losses--perhaps not coincidentally from more to less transparent forms--has obscured the fact that when the shuffling stops it's the taxpayers who are the ultimate empaths, whether they volunteered or not.  The taxpayers deserve more than a shell game, they deserve a proper financial accounting which explains where the losses came from and how much ended up on different books, including those of the Federal Reserve.

Cry for South Africa

It's going the way of the rest of Africa.  Even the NYT, usually a reliable source of economic illiteracy and 'progressive' psychobabble can see the handwriting on the wall.  But they're following the Obama playbook to a tee.  How could anything go wrong with such noble hope and change.  Maybe we weren't the ones they were waiting for.  More here.

Poetic....something, I don't know

Owner of Segway dies after driving Segway off of cliff.

Minneperfectionism

I often accuse my friend Ben Knoll of Minneperfectionism, Minnesota bein' so close to perfect and all, dontcha know.  But this Lutheran Airways piece catches the Minneperfection tone perfectly.  You betcha! Sorry, Ben.

UN appoints our 'take me to your leader' dude

Well I for one will welcome our bug eyed alien overlords if they ever show up.  And now I can rest easily knowing that we'll welcome them good and proper-like.

THE United Nations was set today to appoint an obscure Malaysian astrophysicist to act as Earth’s first contact for any aliens that may come visiting.

Mazlan Othman, the head of the UN’s little-known Office for Outer Space Affairs (Unoosa), is to describe her potential new role next week at a scientific conference at the Royal Society’s Kavli conference centre in Buckinghamshire.

She is scheduled to tell delegates that the recent discovery of hundreds of planets around other stars has made the detection of extraterrestrial life more likely than ever before – and that means the UN must be ready to coordinate humanity’s response to any “first contact”.

During a talk Othman gave recently to fellow scientists, she said: “The continued search for extraterrestrial communication, by several entities, sustains the hope that some day humankind will receive signals from extraterrestrials.”When we do, we should have in place a coordinated response that takes into account all the sensitivities related to the subject. The UN is a ready-made mechanism for such coordination.”

Professor Richard Crowther, an expert in space law and governance at the UK Space Agency and who leads British delegations to the UN on such matters, said: “Othman is absolutely the nearest thing we have to a ‘take me to your leader’ person.”

Why Margaret Thatcher Matters

Claire Berlinski on the tragedy of Post War England and its salvation by the Iron Lady.


The post-war consensus was that as a reward for the sacrifices that Britain endured, it was time to build a new Jerusalem.  Under the Attlee government, this involved nationalizing the major industries and building a cradle-to-grave welfare state.   At the time, this seemed to everyone an extremely progressive idea.  But it nearly destroyed Britain.  It nearly drove the country into the ground.  By the time Margaret Thatcher came into power in 1979, Britain, which just a few decades earlier had controlled an empire, had become the sick man of Europe.

Racial Segregation in America

Here is an interesting article with maps showing racial segregation in America.  It demonstrates a long but little known fact:  the most 'progressive' cities in America are the most racially segregated and the "Reddest" ones are the least.

Discuss among yourselves why this result - completely at odds with diversity theory - should be the case.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

It is this we seek to end

Waiting for Superman is a film funded and produced by the impeccably liberal David Guggenheim (of An Inconvenient Truth fame).  It chronicles the desperate attempts by inner city children and their parents to 'win' the lotteries that enable handfuls of them to escape the unionized but oh so progressive hell holes called the public schools.  I dare you to watch the trailer without tears in your eyes.  These children desperately wait for a lottery number and cheer rapturously because they have 'won'.  What have they won?  The right to got to a school that has far less money than their local public school.  Why would anyone cheer to go to a poorer school?  Because it isn't run by teacher's unions and their fascist 'progressive' footmen.

Watch the trailer.  Virtually everyone in the trailer voted for Obama.  Obama in one of his first acts as President eliminated the Washington DC voucher program program that offered some of these children hope.  Only through enormous outcry was it restored.  But only for the kids who were already in it.  Mr. Hope and Change is consigning these kid's younger brothers and sisters back to the hell they sought to escape.  Why?  Because he owes the unions.  He needs to pay them back.

So he pays them back in the coin of children's lives.

So my friends, watch the trailer, look the children.  And turn away saying 'sorry but I've got my wonderful high quality public schools'.  Go ahead, I dare you.
This just in:  Union "Teachers" protest the viewing of the film here.  Guggenheim talking about the film here:
This is an inconvenient truth.

A member of the European Parliament discussing the insanity of euro-regs

The Obami have a man (or should I say gov) crush on the EU.  They want to be just like them.  This gentlemen describes just how mad that is:

Cruelty in the service of the social engineers

My Good Friend Ben Knoll disagrees with me in the strongest possible terms regarding the utility of a death tax (see here for previous posts).  He fears that a society where the very wealthy can pass on their wealth to their children will become so imbalanced that the wealthy will constitute a permanent aristocracy.  The aristocracy will then be able to buy themselves political and (eventually via technology) cognitive advantages that will result in a two tier and definitely un-democratic society.

I have sympathy for the concern but reject the 'remedy'.  If we are to discourage large concentrations of wealth being handed from generation to generation, then how much more should we legally discourage large concentrations of intelligence and elite credentialing from doing the same?  After all brains, brands and networks are simply the raw materials of great power and fortunes. Ask BHO, GWB, WJC all who inherited no money (GWB perhaps will in the future) but huge reservoirs of the BBN.  The Bell Curve argued persuasively that the 'egalitarian' universities were deliberately and selfishly cultivating a biological and credentialed cognitive elite.  And of course they sell elite networking as the core value add of their institutions.  Why aren't these measurable and huge advantages taxed?  Or banned?

I think Warren Buffet and his sidekick Charlie Munger have a better approach.   Buffet is shaming the rich into giving it away (I think it a Bad Idea if given to the wasteful charity/state borg but it's not an Immoral one).  Munger makes less of a splash but ultimately has it more right:  keep it out of the hands of the wealth destroying sectors, keep it working for society.  Their answer is their example:  emphasize relative modesty (for middle class Americans are fabulously rich by world standards) in lifestyle and the obligation to give back to the society that has given one so much.

Kevin Williamson said something that I thought was interesting, he calls it his state intervention heuristic:   If you’re not willing to have somebody hauled off at gunpoint over the project, then it’s probably not a legitimate concern of the state.

Laws embed in them state cruelty and state terror.  The terror comes from fear of the cruelty.  Fear of the guns, shackles, humiliation, prison and confiscation that is visited on those that refuse to abide by the states endlessly proliferating diktats.  It is a necessary evil to be kept to an absolute minimum.  My problem with the left (both decent and fascist) as well as the church lady right (MADD is a classic) is that they are far, far too willing to pick up the pistol and the shackle to ‘remake’ society in their image.  The cruelty and terror (not to mention the rent seeking) that they engender tear at our social fabric.

And lead good men to dream of worlds where everyone is so terrorized that they don’t even think of stepping out of the bounds that the (cognitive, branded, networked-rich run) state has set for them.  Which they call 'democratic'

Soma, anyone?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Chinese appear to be making the same "rising power" mistakes that the Germans did

Let's hope this turns out better.  One thing we could do is not hamstring our economy in the quixotic pursuit of will-o-the-wisp 'fairness' and lawyer wealth creation.  We will need all of our innovation, wealth and courage to see off the increasingly arrogant Chinese over the next 30 years.  At least until they fall into national senescence due to their remarkably irrational statist fertility policies.

 Daniel Drezner: China has a longer learning curve than I had anticipated. “Now, it is possible that Beijing has simply decided that its internal growth is so big that it can afford the friction that comes with a rising power. My assessment, however, is that they’re vastly overestimating their current power vis-a-vis the United States, and they’re significantly undererstimating the effect of pushing the rest of the Pacific Rim into closer ties with the United States (and India).”

Holy man bites dog, batman! Wapo reports news embarrassing to the Obami

When WAPO begins treating the Obami like Republicans you know they are doomed.

A veteran Justice Department lawyer accused his agency Friday of being unwilling to pursue racial discrimination cases on behalf of white voters, turning what had been a lower-level controversy into an escalating political headache for the Obama administration. . . . The rare spectacle of a Justice Department lawyer publicly rebuking the department’s leaders came amid heightened legal and political fallout from the case. The commission is to issue a report on the matter next month, and an internal probe by the department’s Office of Professional Responsibility is pending. . . .
“We had eyewitness testimony. We had videotape. One of them had a weapon. They were hurling racial slurs,” Coates said. “I’ve never been able to understand how anyone could accuse us of not having a basis of law in this case.”

MADD has become drunk with power

"It's all about the Benjamins"  is the best quote from Eric Schie's commentary.  As they say, read the whole thing.


ERIC SCHEIE ON M.A.D.D.: Anti-Drinking Activists Drunk With Power. “Now, I do not defend drunk driving. But the direction in which this hysteria is going — making driving after a glass of wine with dinner a felony — is simply an outrage. This isn’t a crackdown on drunk driving; it is neo-prohibitionism. The M.A.D.D. speakers were also calling for a return to the 55 mph speed limit, because drunk drivers are said to be much more dangerous at high speeds.”
M.A.D.D. has been all about the benjamins for years. They’re just another example of a non-profit gone wrong. They should disband, now that their work is basically done. But they won’t, because that would shut down the gravy train.
It's called fascism, boys.  And it stinks.

H/T Instapundit

Friday, September 24, 2010

A moral case against death taxes

I want to draw a distinction between my opposition to increased marginal tax rates in incomes which I consider to be prudentially foolish and death taxes which I consider to be immoral.  As a Christian I believe that all people are worthy and that any penalty or restriction upon them should only adhere to their behavior.  Thus I find it wrong to attach any penalty to their ‘status’.  Status penalties are gutter Marxism.  For example the Jews had their property and lives confiscated in Nazi Germany not because of their behavior but because of their status.  Capitalist ‘blood suckers’ and kulaks had the same in Soviet Russia, Maoist China and Kampuchea.  Inheritance taxes are essentially the same:  you are saying “because some person received their inheritance in money form beyond some arbitrary limit, they should be punished for it by the confiscation of the greater part of their wealth”.  If like Lebron James they received it in a different manner, well they get to keep it.

Thus there are ‘moral’ inheritances and ‘immoral’ inheritances that are driven by status, not the behavior of the inheritor.

I would have no moral problem (though I think it stupid on prudential grounds) to sumptuary or luxury taxes that tax excess display and ostentation.  That goes to behavior and society has to decide what the limits are (‘party on’ is my vote).  That is Christian.  Only in a Nietzschean world where there is no transcendence and there is only power can people be singled out for special abuse (or reward) for merely their status.  This is why I find racial quotas so immoral.

Holy Racial Steroetypes, Batman! Tea party becoming more popular with Black Voters

Some day the black-Democrat voting monolith is going to break with disastrous consequences for the left (and salutary ones for black Americans).

PJTV POLL: Tea Party Gaining Support Among African-American Voters. “Our survey found that more than one-in-three African Americans support the movement. Moreover, the data revealed that 32 percent are also likely to vote for a congressional candidate who the Tea Party supports.” If this pans out, it’s a big deal.

Stupid, stupid people

Obamacare still not popular.  We Americans are such morons aren't we?


PETER SUDERMAN: Wasn’t ObamaCare Supposed to Be Popular By Now? “Despite spending months involved in intensive outreach and messaging campaigns both before and after the law’s passage, Democrats still seem to think that the problem is that the public doesn’t understand the law’s benefits. But there’s some evidence that much of the public aware of the law’s major benefits. The problem, I suspect, is that they’re also aware of the law’s costs.”

It be rainin' Democrats everywhere these days...

....bailing from the Obami band wagon.  H/T Instapundit.


THE HILL: Landrieu to block OMB nominee unless oil drilling ban lifted. “A Gulf Coast Democrat is vowing to block Senate confirmation of President Obama’s budget director until the administration agrees to lift or ease a federal freeze on deepwater oil-and-gas drilling. Sen. Mary Landrieu’s (D-La.) hold on Jacob Lew, Obama’s widely praised pick to run the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), marks a dramatic political escalation of her battle against the temporary drilling ban, imposed as a safety measure after the BP oil spill.” They told me if I voted for John McCain, pro-oil interests would hold the government hostage. And they were right!

The new Democrat Rallying Cry: That mean man Barack Obama made me do it!

This is why I got out of the parody business, gang.  Couldn't compete with reality.

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: Obama Made Us Do It! “Yes, Bush’s utility for blame is now like that of the demonized Rush Limbaugh, the Tea Party, Fox News, Glen Beck, Wall Street, the insurers, the surgeons, the Republicans, and John Boehner, and so has pretty much expired. Even Move.on.org cannot believe that all the above kept the country at nearly 10% unemployment. Instead, the new mantra for Democratic candidates is a sort of ‘Obama Made Us Do It!’ And I cannot recall ever quite seeing that in American politics. Even the slaughtered House Republicans of 2006 did not plead in their campaigns that they were coerced or duped by George Bush.”

Why did the Dems have a 'fake news' anchor testify yesterday?

Perhaps because a major Obami scandal was popping out of the briny depths as well?  The black panthers, voter intimidation and the DOJ's racist administration of justice.  Pretty nasty stuff really.  Instapundit has the story:

DISTRACTION: So, yesterday reader John Mark Williams suggested that the Colbert testimony was intended to distract from coverage ofChristopher Coates’ testimony about the Justice Department’s racism scandals. If so, it’s worked. Front page of Daily Caller: Colbert. Drudge led with Colbert until the news of the Klein & Zucker firings came out. Limbaugh led off today talking about Colbert. NRO has covered Colbert at The Corner, but not Coates. Washington Examiner headline: Colbert. Looking around other sites, I see more about Colbert than Coates. Hot Airand Power Line did better.
But let me quote the Power Line treatment: “Coates’s testimony is a bombshell. It exposes a couple of Obama administration scandals at once. One involves the Obama administration’s attempt to cover up the rationale for burying the case against the NBPP. The other involves the Obama administration’s support for the racially based administration of justice. Coates’s testimony is suggestive of other scandals as well. You probably won’t be hearing much about it on the broadcast news tonight or in the papers tomorrow, but we all should do everything we can to get the word out.”
I expect the usual JournoList types to provide cover, but I’m kind of surprised to see so many people who should know better taking the bait on a non-story about a fictional character.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Your Klavan Election Guide

Once again Andrew gets it pitch perfect.  Fun for the whole fam ding dong amily:  Paleo poppa to vegan sis!

Oddly enough, employers aren't fools

Economists find that there is no statistically significant impact on earnings of graduating high school.  Their clever research design seems to be rather robust.

Although economists acknowledge that various indicators of educational attainment (e.g., highest grade completed, credentials earned) might serve as signals of a worker’s productivity, the practical importance of education-based signaling is not clear. In this paper we estimate the signaling value of a high school diploma, the most commonly held credential in the U.S. To do so, we compare the earnings of workers that barely passed and barely failed high school exit exams, standardized tests that, in some states, students must pass to earn a high school diploma. Since these groups should, on average, look the same to firms (the only difference being that "barely passers" have a diploma while "barely failers" do not), this earnings comparison should identify the signaling value of the diploma. Using linked administrative data on earnings and education from two states that use high school exit exams (Florida and Texas), we estimate that a diploma has little effect on earnings. For both states, we can reject that individuals with a diploma earn eight percent more than otherwise-identical individuals without one; combining the state-specific estimates, we can reject signaling values larger than five or six percent. While these confidence intervals include economically important signaling values, they exclude both the raw earnings difference between workers with and without a diploma and the regression-adjusted estimates reported in the previous literature.

Gee, rational players don't put any faith in pieces of government paper.  Imagine that.

The difference between being middle class and doing middle class stuff

Glenn Reynolds explains:

The government decides to try to increase the middle class by subsidizing things that middle class people have: If middle-class people go to college and own homes, then surely if more people go to college and own homes, we’ll have more middle-class people. But homeownership and college aren’t causes of middle-class status, they’re markers for possessing the kinds of traits — self-discipline, the ability to defer gratification, etc. — that let you enter, and stay, in the middle class. Subsidizing the markers doesn’t produce the traits; if anything, it undermines them.


In a phrase:  correlation is not causation.

It would have been so much easier if law school grads were required to pass statistics....

Loretta Sanchez, Democratic Congresswoman from California and Racist

"The Vietnamese (her opponent is an ethnic Viet) and the Republicans are trying to take the seat away from us". Why is it that Dems can be racist swine and not be held to account by our "crusading" media?
The left's blinkered worldview in one easy paragraph.  Here is Slate's legal correspondent Diana Lithwick opining on Christing O'Donnell:

I have been fascinated by Christine O'Donnell's constitutional worldview since her debate with her opponent Chris Coons last week. O'Donnell explained that "when I go to Washington, D.C., the litmus test by which I cast my vote for every piece of legislation that comes across my desk will be whether or not it is constitutional." How weird is that, I thought. Isn't it a court's job to determine whether or not something is, in fact, constitutional? And isn't that sort of provided for in, well, the Constitution? 

And here is Jonah Goldberg's response.  'nuff said.

This is awesome. It's not just that Lithwick dismisses a perfectly sensible and mainstream argument. It's not just that she is ignorant of the contents of the actual Constitution (it does not provide for the Supreme Court serving as the either sole or final arbiter of what is constitutional). It's not that she seems to have forgotten Marbury v. Madison. It's not that she cannot grasp the idea that some legislator might not want to vote for unconstitutional legislation. No, what really makes this great is the absolute bunkered pomposity behind her instinctual certainty that anyone who disagrees with her bouillabaisse of ignorance and ideology must be "weird."

Rearranging the Deck Chairs on the Titanic

P020209PS-0149
Hat tip Ann Althouse.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

US bank liabilities far smaller than others

How is it that the more 'controlled', 'centralized', 'regulated', and 'socially aware' banking systems of Europe were so much more levered and risky than the Cowboy Americans the left keeps telling us about?  If state leadership and regulation were the tabasco, then it would seem that they would be less risky rather than wildly more so.

That is if state dominance and control had anything to do with financial probity.

At all.

But our Democratic party clowns (nee nah!  nee nah!) have just passed a financial 'reform' with 243 NEW regulatory mandates.  Prediction:  it will both hamstring the sector and make it more risky for next time.

When the Jumbo Jet is in trouble, the last thing you want are a bunch of ignorant lawyers randomly fiddling with the buttons and dials.  Law lecturers...tchah!

This is a desperate, depressing graphic that screams the case for change

Too much
From both the Obami and their RINO herd mates.  Tea anyone?

And lest any of you fall into the "well this is unprecedented" rationalization.  Remember that the 1982 recession was every bit as deep as this one.  Only the guy in the White House had an Irish name and the Senate was led by a Baker, not an (intellectually thin) Reid.  See that big blip in '82-3.

You don't?  Look close.  It must be there.  After all state action is the sin qua non of our survival.  Without it we'd be.......rich.

Tell my pastors this

Many of them are still in the papyrus and quill age.  Don't worry, we just love 40 minute sermons.  They are so.......quaint, like blunderbussess and Pilgrim Hats.  Thy game is completely changed yet thou hast not even realized that thy scoreboard hour glass has begun to floweth.  Forsooth!

Thanks to smartphones and laptops, people now spend one-half of their waking days interacting with media, and have increased media consumption by an hour per day over the last two years.


I tippeth mine hat to yonder Carpe Diem.  

You know the (Leftist) end is near when you read stories like this

The left are mad aren't they?  Hat Tip Carpe Diem

1. Christina Sommers in today's NY Times on the proposed "Paycheck Fairness Bill," which would make it easier for women to file class-action, punitive-damages suits against employers they accuse of sex-based pay discrimination. Q: Now that young, childless, single women earn 8 percent more than their male counterparts in large metro areas (21% more in Atlanta), couldn'tmen also file class-action lawsuits if this bill passes?

Democrats bring Stephen Colbert (in character) to testify on immigration

Definitely going to elevate the debate.  Jonah Goldberg (aka J-G as in "Okay J-G, whatever you say J-G") has more:

I’m with Mark et al on this. I am really kind of stunned by the stupidity of the Democrats. I mean the entire political discussion has been about how the Democrats have been out of touch with the times, with the country’s needs etc. And here they are playing games with Stephen Colbert? I still like Colbert and think he can be funny. But it’s almost as if the Democrats are deliberately taunting the voters. Maybe that’s the idea for some reason?  Or maybe the idea is to activate the youth vote by making congressional hearings into an ironic joke?
In fairness, Colbert wouldn’t  provide the most “fakiness” to a Congressional hearing. Duke Cunningham invited Elmo to testify before Congress. Yes, Elmo the muppet. But at least Elmo’s testimony was on music education for kids. There aren’t raging passions on both sides of the music education issue. Bringing in Colbert — in character! — to talk immigration strikes me as  beyond idiotic.

Good government Democrats must be pleased as punch!  What a coup!
What leadership, what seriousness of purpose.  What profound and relentless stupidity!

More Bush 'Wickedness' endorsed by the man who called him wicked.

As they say:  Wicked, Dude.  Bitchin' hat tip to Instapundit.


KENNETH ANDERSON: The Millennium Development Goals and the Obama Administration’s Continuity with John Bolton. “Ambassador Rice’s language is so close to what Ambassador Bolton said five years ago it seems unlikely to me it was by accident; it seems more like a diplomatic-legal signal that the US position is that it never did commit itself to what Ambassador Bolton’s critics said the US had committed itself to do. I’m not in the least unhappy that the administration has taken this position, of course; but it is this week’s instance of yet more continuity with the Bush administration’s then-wicked, wicked position.” When Bush did it it was wicked; when Obama does it, it’s “pragmatic.

Damn! am I having some kind of fun!  Why it's almost wicked!

Couch......Watermelon

Cleopatra cat on her very own couch in the basement.  16 pounds and every ounce of it.....fat.

Yowwwrrrr.

Our Brave New World

As with so many things, the UK leads the way.  Down.  The latest lunacy from our dissolute cousins back East.


And already the British are running with it: UK Proposes All Paychecks Go to the State First. “The UK’s tax collection agency is putting forth a proposal that all employers send employee paychecks to the government, after which the government would deduct what it deems as the appropriate tax and pay the employees by bank transfer.”

H/T Instapundit

Christine O'Donnell - the new Scott Brown?

REMINDER: They Also Called Scott Brown A Non-Serious Extremist. “Brown was treated much as O’Donnell is being treated now, as a joke, unqualified, likely racist, homophobic, and a host of other epithets. The current view of Brown, which has taken hold over the past 9 months, has replaced the reality of what went on in January 2010.”


H/T Instapundit

Goody!

Network news shows hemorrhage viewers, fail to break 20 Million.  Down another 5% from last year.  Here

Every time I think the news about the left establishment's decay couldn't get any better, darned if they don't go and surprise me.  Whee.

"Obama lied, the economy died"

Heard on the ether.  'nuff said.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Barack Obama: Their Dan Quayle

"Long before America was even an idea, Mexicans were here".  I don't even think Potatoe Dan Quayle could say such a stupid thing.  And of course only BHO has played more rounds of golf per week than the Danster did while in office.

So why is "Harvard Bam" not mocked for his teleprompted stupidity, not to mention his vile racialist pandering?  You watch this laugher and tell me.

Important liberal emotional safety tip:  This is why we shouldn't put unaccomplished law lecturers in the White House, gang.

Obama's Era of Limits

President Obama:  When middle class black women grow tired of defending you, then the nation is tired of you.  Jim Geraghty has the story which I reprint in full.


I have a feeling we saw a zeitgeist moment Monday, when a professional-looking African-American woman directly confronted Obama about how the results he has produced are nothing like his grandiose, hope-inspiring rhetoric of change. The transcript barely does it justice, but she asked, "I'm one of your middle-class Americans. And quite frankly, I'm exhausted. Exhausted of defending you, defending your administration, defending the mantle of change that I voted for. . . . My husband and I have joked for years that we thought we were well beyond the hot-dogs-and-beans era of our lives, but, quite frankly, it's starting to knock on our door and ring true that that might be where we're headed again, and, quite frankly, Mr. President, I need you to answer this honestly. Is this my new reality?"

It was that last preface that jumped out to me; she's prepared and preemptively swatting the usual line that the country is moving in the right direction but that change takes time.

Obama chuckled a bit in the beginning, and readers of the Ace of Spades diagnose what was going on there: "Some commenters explained why Obama laughed at first at that racist [*] woman who said 'I'm tired of defending you': Obama thought at first she was making the point that exists only in Obama's head, that is, that these attacks are all silly distractions made by unserious people (or seriously racist people who talk about him like he's a dog). He wanted to laugh with her at how nonsensical all this criticism was. I hear ya, sister. It's ridiculous, isn't it? But then she affirmed her own belief in the seriousness of these criticisms and he realized he wasn't going to get what he had been used to -- adulation for his lack of accomplishments. And then he grimaced."

*This is Ace mocking the reflexive labeling of Obama critics as racist.

At Outside the Beltway, Doug Mataconis thought the response was more revealing: "Obama's response, which you can watch here, struck me as professorial and detached, which is pretty much a description of his entire Administration when you think about it. What struck me about Obama's response most of all, though, is that his response focused entirely on what the government could do for this woman by giving her more money, or by implementing new regulations. Hardly surprising coming from a Democrat, of course, but given the current political climate, it does seem that the President still doesn't get it."

Kindly old Ed Morrissey, writing at Hot Air, sees a teachable moment in all of this: "She's hardly alone in worrying about a return to the 'hot dogs and beans' days for middle-class Americans, because many people have begun to realize that this is indeed the new reality under this administration's economic policies. Apparently, that's not the change for which she voted in 2008, but as many of us predicted, it's the change Obamanomics delivers every time it has been tried. Instead of defending Obama, perhaps she should spend her time looking for alternatives in 2010."

Another Reason to Eliminate RINOs

Sam Brownback and Susan Collins are among the Senators seeking to implement a national renewable energy standard upon the nation.  In other words to California-ize our energy markets.  The upshot.  Making our energy markets as destructive as California's will make our economies that way too.

We need to go on a Rino Steak diet.  And we need to break it up.  Break it all up.

Planet Gore has the Gore-y details here.

No more lawyers in our politics, please, whether larval, pupate or fully winged.

How much is enough

One question that the left never seems to be willing to answer is "how much is enough?".  What share of national income will satiate the insatiable appetites of the avatars of state power?  What limits do they see to their desire to rule people's lives?  How 'equal' is 'equal' enough?

It would be wise for a rational left to come up with an answer and to self-impose limits.  Sadly, the actual answer is:  "until it collapses".  And then we in the productive community are expected to clean up the mess.

And be called greedy, evil, dirty people for doing so.  Richard Lowry has more.

Holy unintended consequences, Batman! Insurance companies decide not to invest in businesses sure to lose money.

Insurance companies are dropping out of the Child Only insurance market like flies because the Obamacare regs are being implemented immediately.  Of course these same regs shall be implemented on all Americans in 4 short years (absent a reintroduction of sober, rational government).

 If they are, the insurance market will collapse.

Which brings up an interesting question:  are the Obami incapable of understanding the insurance market and reasoning from the evidence as it seems, or did these Harvard trained Larry Summers advised 'geniuses' design a system that would deliberately destroy the market, making moot all of BHO's promises that "you can keep your own insurance"?  Hmm.

"Well I said you can keep your own insurance but all the insurance companies went outta business so what can I do?"

And some call Christine O'Donnell unfit to serve.  Amazing.

Pecadillo this, pecadillo that

Evidently Christine O’Donnell is now the Dark Evil Nemesis Implicating and Attacking Life as we know it (aka:  DENIAL).  But her pecadillos seem just that, small peccares (sins).  After all the Big ‘HE’, WJC appropriated interns for personal use (at what imputed hourly rate is what I want to know – we’ve got a deficit to close here) and the gang thought that was OK.  HRC took a cool quarter mill of fine collectibles given to “the President” with her and the citizens of the Empire State made her Senator and then Our Fearless Leader and all his Little Leaders whooped her into Secretary of Statehood to the praises of the ‘great and the good’.  She is now unofficially the left’s ‘Savior’.  She is coming to save them from……….their last ‘Savior’.

I’ll bet Kennedy, Kerry, Pelosi and Reid never had to live off of campaign funds.  Just Daddy, Wifey, Hubby and…..Wynn.



Ex-aide: Christine O'Donnell lived off campaign funds

BY MARK BENJAMIN Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington on Monday filed complaints with the U.S. Attorney’s office in Delaware and the Federal Election Commission against Christine O'Donnell, the Tea Party-backed Republican Senate nominee in Delaware. The group alleges that O’Donnell, a perennial candidate who waged two losing (and little-noticed) Senate campaigns before this year, has been breaking the law for years by using campaign contributions for personal use, paying for gas, rent, even bowling....






Monday, September 20, 2010

Candide Indeed or Lisbon on the Mississippi

My Pastor was discussing the problem of evil recently and he cited the Lisbon earthquake of 1755 which hit on Sunday morning killing thousands at worship.  It was a profoundly disillusioning event.  After all the faithful in Church were crushed while the heathen at home in their beds were largely spared.  Voltaire made much of this in Candide, mocking his character Pangloss for asserting that this was 'the best of all possible worlds' or indeed that categories of 'good' and 'evil' even exist.

Fast forward to 21st century Saint Louis.  We sit some 200 miles from the New Madrid fault which upon widely spaced occasion generates some of the most devastating earthquakes known to man.  And because of the peculiar geology of the region, much of the energy of such a massive quake would be transmitted to our fair city, as they say 'knocking it for a loop'.  Indeed recently a very modest quake whose epicenter was 300 miles away in the wilds of Indiana hit St. Louis with such force that it woke me up.  I thought a truck had hit our house.  A big one.

One of the other curiosities of Saint Louis is it's penchant for "non-riverboat riverboat casinos".  To get casino gambling back into the State its proponents had to accept a limitation that games of chance could only be held on 'riverboats' in 'navigable rivers'.  However, this cramped the industry's style so 'navigable river' quickly morphed into lagoon near a river and 'riverboats' became immense floating buildings sitting in these lagoons.

What does this have to do with Lisbon and Candide?  Waterborne structures sitting in captive lagoons are perhaps the best technology for avoiding damage in an earthquake.  So if like in Lisbon the inevitable 'Big One' strikes us on a Sunday morning, the faithful will be crushed while the gamblers will hardly even notice.

In this, the best of all possible worlds.

The Price of Envy

Impact of the estate tax rate on growth and jobs.  This is just one model but it's probably reasonable.  Certainly these aren't wild numbers for a tax as distortive as the Estate tax.

Estate Tax
The question is this: How many people's futures must be extinguished to sustain a statistical prejudice?  We wiped out 10 million or so to push the cargo cult statistic of home ownership up three or four digits, so how much to push something called a "gini index"?  Equality is not a statistic or a quantum of money, but a culture.

What price envy?

Remember, nothing is written in stone

I agree with VDH except for the part about being a Creditor nation.  Creditor nations are places that lack sufficient investment opportunities at home that investors have confidence in.  Thus they seek to invest in other places.  The US has almost always been a debtor nation because like the world's people, the world's money wanted to move there for a 'better life'.

If we get our act together we will continue to import capital, just for private, not statist ends.


VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: With A Whimper, Not A Bang. “The notion that we are doomed and the Chinese fated to prosper is not written in stone. It is simply a matter of free will, theirs and ours. They must deal with a new era of coming suburban blues, worker discontent, unions, environmental discretion and regulation, an aging and shrinking population and greater personal appetites, social protest, and nonconformity — in the manner that industrializing Western nations did as well in the early twentieth century. . . . We in turn can easily outdistance any country should we remain the most free, law-abiding, and economically open society as in our past. A race-gender-ethnic-blind meritocracy, equal application of the law, low taxes, small government, and a transparent political and legal system are at the heart of that renewal. America could within a decade become a creditor nation again, with a trade balance and budget surplus, drawing in the world’s talent and capital in a way not possible in the more inflexible or less meritocratic China, Japan, or Germany. Again that is our choice, not a superimposed destiny from someone else.”

Is the "Big He" pulling out?

Clinton backing slowly, carefully away from the Health Care debacle.


OOPSIE! The Hill: Clinton says he was wrong on healthcare bill’s popularity. “Former president Bill Clinton, a champion of healthcare reform, admitted on Sunday that he made the wrong prediction about the popularity of President Obama’s healthcare bill. Initially, Clinton had predicted that the polls in favor of Democrats would be boosted as soon as the legislation was signed into law. Instead, Clinton said on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press,’ his prediction was wrong for two reasons.”

H/T Instapundit.

Holy Bull Moose Batman! Republicans are Whigging out

Check this statistic out.  If the RINOs aren't careful, they'll be panhandling for earmarks on street corners.  Our politics are in a state of flux and the Federal elites have never been in so much peril.  Goody.

In Your View, Do the Republican and Democratic Parties Do an Adequate Job of Representing the American People, or Do They Do Such a Poor Job That a Third Major Party Is Needed?

Colin Powell, thy name is unprincipled

I have always though Colin Powell to be a rank opportunist.  A bureaucrat more concerned about his image and career positioning than the mission or the people he was accountable to.  This is just one more piece of evidence that at his center is a huge raging 'moi, moi, moi'.


WEATHERVANE COLIN POWELL, WHO ENDORSED OBAMA IN 2008, is waffling on 2012 and reminding people that he’s actually a Republican.


Don't  trust him gang.

H/T Instapundit

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Barone's Primer on Gangster Government



A few days before my Examiner column accusing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius of thuggery and gangster government for her threats against health insurers who contradict the administration line on the costs of Obamacare, my friend John Hoff, who worked on health care policy in the Bush administration, published a piece on the Heritage website describing some of the things the administration might be able to do under Obamacare. Including de facto price controls without explicit authority. Sounds like a primer on gangster government—taking away people’s property without due process of law. All the more reason to repeal this appallingly bad legislation.

Read more at the Washington Examiner:http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/a-primer-on-gangster-government-103209584.html#ixzz102Hogikw

Wear cheap ties, shop Walmart and read lots of science fiction

Walter Russell Mead Explains the keys to understanding the future:

The biggest single task facing the United States today is the unleashing of our social imagination. We are locked into twentieth century institutions and twentieth century habits of mind. Science fiction is the literary genre (OK, true, sometimes a subliterary genre) where the social imagination is being cultivated and developed. Young people should read this genre to help open their minds to the extraordinary possibilities that lie before us; we geezers should read it for the same reason. The job of our times is to build a radically new world; speculative fiction helps point the way.

Wear cheap ties, shop Walmart, and read lots of science fiction. Follow this advice, friends, and you are sure to go far.

Social imagination is essentially what our leftist masters lack.  They are grimly seeking to implement a social 'paradise' imagined over one hundred years ago, despite radical changes in reality.  This lack of imagination is killing them (and us).

Time for some more sci fi?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Something else not 'fit to print, report or video'?

Well what will our Ivy covered media elites say about this one.  Crickets.  Beuller?  Anyone?



Look who hates the Tea Party - Taranto

If you are known by your enemies then the Tea Party is in great shape:

The Herald quotes Glenn Reynolds, a libertarian law professor whom the paper misidentifies as a “conservative gadfly”: “I think the Tea Party couldn’t ask for any better publicity than to be denounced by a millionaire who dodges paying taxes on his yacht.” Actually, make that a near-billionaire who married another man’s fortune.

This is why the MSM is so pathetic

The Washington Post wonders whether politics could have had something to do with why GM salaried employees had their pensions largely wiped out while the GM UAW pensions were protected in full via the government bailout.

IT IS ONE of the enduring puzzles surrounding the bailout of General Motors: Why did retired salaried personnel of a former GM division, Delphi, receive a fraction of their promised pension benefits, while Delphi's retired hourly personnel, members of the United Auto Workers, got 100 percent, paid for in part by the "new" taxpayer-supported GM? For months, this has been a simmering cause celebre on the right, with critics accusing the Obama administration of paying off its union backers -- and echoing white-collar retirees' demand for the same deal the UAW got. Now, at the insistence of Republicans in Congress, Neil M. Barofsky, the special inspector general for taxpayer bailout funds, has pledged to investigate "whether political considerations played a role in favoring hourly over salaried retirees."

Wonders.  Pretends not to know.  Looks for someone to aggressively investigate this odd conundrum.  Over a year after it happened.  Hmm, this is a puzzler.  Tricky.  Don't jump to conclusions.

This faux independence, this precious naivete in the service of politicians and causes that they support.  It's so pathetic.  It's why the big papers are losing close to ten percent of their circulation every single year.

The Tea Party is getting mighty tasty, isn't it?


Larry Kudlow in his inimitable style says that the Tea Party is wiping out Obamanomics and keynsian manipulation and leading a massive resurgence in free market economics.
"Free-market capitalism is on the comeback trail. That’s one of the key tea-party messages. And make no mistake about it: The free-market power of the tea-party political revolt is totally bullish for stocks and the economy. In short, this is a revolution. 

The political elites in both parties don’t get it. Nor do the mainstream media. But the tea-party movement is stopping Obamanomics dead in its tracks. And it will overturn the Keynesian big-government planning effort now in full force in our nation’s capital. The tea parties are Reaganism reincarnate, and then some. 

Limited government, individual liberty, economic freedom. Defund Obamacare. No tax-and-nationalize energy scheme. Stop the tax hikes and move to a flat-tax system. No special favors and subsidies. No crony capitalism.  No runaway government spending and debt-creation. No TARP. No stimulus. No Obamacare. No Bailout Nation for GM, Fannie, Freddie, and AIG. Instead of federal spending running up to 25, 26, or 27 percent of GDP, look for our new tea-party representatives to move it back to 20 percent of the economy, or even less. 

In other words, this is not going to be your father’s Congress. Nor is it going to be your father’s Republican party. The party of George W. Bush and George H. W. Bush is about to be totally transformed (see cartoon by Michael Ramirez above). Constitutional spending limits. Low flat-tax rates. Slam-downs on budget baselines. Pitchforks maybe, but not pork. 

The new tea-party breed in Washington will unleash entrepreneurship and capitalism by holding back the government tide. In other words, folks, tea-party economics are very bullish."

This resurgence is perhaps bigger than the one that swept Jimmy Carter from power.  Hard left liberals like Feingold, Murray and Boxer are in desperate political trouble.  With the extermination of Murkowski, Crist and Castle, RINOs are becoming an endangered species all accoss the fruited plain.