Sunday, October 31, 2010

Jakarta, we have a problem

Obama can't fill an arena in Ohio.  Can't fill two thirds of an arena.  Can barely fill half of one.  All it took to destroy Hope and Change was.....Captain Hope and Change.

Heckuva job, Bammy.

Another example of the magical thinking of fascists

From Instapundit.

SNAKEBIT: Coral Snake Antivenom Crisis Gets a One-Year Extension. “The world’s stock of coral snake antivenom, set to expire this weekend, gets a last-minute one-year extension from the FDA. But is there enough antivenom to last that long?”

Now let me see, I've just been bit by a coral snake which has one of the most deadly venoms known.  But oh dear!  The anti-venom is out of date.  Nope, Doc, not me!  The Government knows what's best!  If it's out of date I don't want i...........

The government lawyers type magic runes into special, holy hard drives and behave as if the world will change its behavior just because they say so.  Laughable if it weren't so destructive.

Those stupid moron voters - why being lefty means never admitting your wrong

What ever happened to the permanent Democrat/Progressive majority?  I mean, what IS wrong with Kansas after all?  Ex radical Ron Radosh explains why his erstwhile friends keep waiting Hale-Bopp like for 'the people' to rise up and proclaim just how doggone smart they are.

All I can say is that the avatars of progressivism are getting mighty old waiting for the 'new dawn', ain't they?

Wait!  Is that the Progressive dawn I see creeping over yonder shrub?  Naw, just an SUV's lights...they're hauling Cub Scouts.  Sorry.

More hope and change, so called 'news' reporters colluding to derail the campaign of a candidate they disapprove of

And you wonder where the Tea Party comes from.  H/T Instapundit.

JOURNALISM: “Last night news broke that Anchorage’s CBS affiliate KTVA News 11 reporters were caught on tape discussing ways in which they could potentially embarrass the Senate campaign of Republican Joe Miller.” Funny, there was a time when I would have found this inherently unlikely. Has the press changed, or is it just easier to get caught now?

Obama: great for plutocrats, for the middle class? Not so much.

Joel Kotkin, moderate Democrat on the Suburban revolt against hope and change.

Much of the suburban distress, of course, stems from the still perilous state of the economy. Obama’s mix of fiscal and monetary policies has provided much succor to Wall Street, where stock prices have soared 30 percent, and to big corporations, whose profits have risen by 42 percent. This has been great for Manhattan plutocrats -- but not particularly helpful for the suburban middle class.

Read the whole thing.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Stewart and Colbert's "Rally to entertain white Liberals"

Wow.  So diverse.

Can they do that? Obama is heckled in CT.

It is going to be a long, long two years for our sleek and oh so modern savior.  Chekitout here.

Lawn Jockey? These guys are all class.

And of course the white guy gets a pass.  Because you see, white liberals own  the Plantation so they are not punished for straying from it.

One high-traffic left-wing blog even referred to Williams as Fox News' "lawn jockey."  (Which was not the first time that slur was used by the left against Williams.)

Yet, there have not been similar howls regarding left-wing superstar Bill Maher, who recently expressed concern about the spread of Islam in the West, as reported by Mediaite:

Those who accuse the once libertarian Bill Maher of becoming too much of a liberal apologist might want to clean their ears. Maher made a Juan Williams-esque confession on his program when he apprehensively noted that Mohammed has just become the most popular baby name in Britain. “Am I a racist to feel alarmed by that?” Maher asked his panel. “Because I am. And it’s not because of the race, it’s because of the religion. I don’t have to apologize, do I, for not wanting the Western world to be taken over by Islam in 300 years?”
 See for yourself:

Claiming that today's campaigning is the 'most negative ever' is silly

Corrupt, venal, wasteful.....and remarkably stupid.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Cornell and Dartmouth Shame Students for Not Adding Their Real Money to the Ongoing Bonfire of Imaginary Money. “Fundraisers at Dartmouth and Cornell singled out students by name for failing to donate money to the universities.” Chutzpah. Plus this: “The single student from Dartmouth’s 1,123-student Class of 2010 who did not contribute this year was criticized in a column in the college newspaper and on a popular blog, which posted her name and photograph.”
And this: “Why would anyone with a normal human level of income give any money to these universities? Today’s endowments and their fluctuations exist in a budgetary fantasyland; from the schools’ point of view, individual gifts are literally worthless. It is like writing a check to the Department of Defense.”
And, from the comments: “Who was the holdout, and does she need a job? I like the cut of her jib.”

H/T Instapundit

Friday, October 29, 2010

Can't we all just get a Bong? Up with CA's Prop 19

Legalizing Marijuana is clearly in the public interest.  It's the one thing that CA lefties have gotten their lives.

It's all about the Benjamins. Of course everything our 'leader's' do is about the Benjamins, and the power and the glory and the cruelty.

VIRGINIA: Red-light camera installed at accident-free location. “Albemarle County, Virginia plans this week to install its first red light camera system, ostensibly to reduce accidents caused by red light running. County documents show that at one of the two intersection approaches selected, there has not been a single accident caused by red light running in the past three years.” It’s all about the benjamins.

What will the butcher's bill be?

The only question:  will our green avatar's insane policies and hatred of humanity kill millions, tens of millions or hundreds of millions?  I hear Paul Erlich is hoping for a cool billion dead.

ARE WE HAVING ANOTHER FOOD CRISIS? “The world food price index is at its highest since 2008, when food prices rocketed and millions of people suffered. This year the crisis seems to be happening again. Prices for the staple grains that underpin the world’s food supply soared after forecasts for the US and Chinese maize harvests fell in October, Pakistan lost its wheat to floods, and crop losses to drought and wildfire led Russia to ban grain exports until 2011. Food prices have soared in India, Egypt and elsewhere and are being blamed for riots in Mozambique.”

Apple surges past Microsoft in revenue and almost matches it in profit

This is interesting but not the real story.  The real story is how 10 years ago it was "open source" that was going to wipe out Microsoft (Apple wasn't even part of the discussion and Google had just been born).  Well guess what?  It's the closed ecosystems and new proprietary cloud models that dominate with Open Source still interesting but not really a source of significant innovation.

Is that what open source has come to? Just a low cost solution for proven functionality?

The Banks are lending more to the government and less to main street

Essentially what our fearless 'leaders' have done is create a policy mix that has shifted massive amounts of capital from the private sector into government or government guaranteed debt instruments, principally Fannie and Freddie.  Alan Reynolds explains the sordid tale.

Ain't it great to be 'led'?

The tragic parallels between the Great Recession and the Great Depression

Policy uncertainty driven by leftist innovation.  Which of course was so predictable.  Sigh.

Today many Americans credit FDR with rescuing our nation from the Great Depression, but there's plenty wrong with that view, says Lee Ohanian, a UCLA economics professor who specializes in economic crisis. "What's wrong with that view is that private-sector job growth did not come back under Roosevelt," says Ohanian, who notes that Americans often forget how long the Great Depression lasted. Unemployment stood at 17 percent in 1939, a decade after the infamous stock market crash, and, although times were much worse back then, Ohanian sees troubling parallels between the Great Depression and the Great Recession. In both instances our nation emerged from a severe downturn with strong productivity growth and the banking system largely restored. We were poised for a recovery, but didn't get one. "So the key puzzle for both today and the 1930s is why aren't private-sector jobs being created at a much more rapid rate?"
Uncertainty may have something to do with it. "Uncertainty is an enemy of job creation," says Ohanian. "Because in a world with a lot of uncertainty there's a tendency to 'wait and see.'" Our nation's job creators wait and see what Washington's next experiment will be.
CEO Joanne Garneau has spent a year waiting for the Federal Trade Commission to announce a new regulation that will determine whether her company hires more employees or even stays in business. It's just one regulation, a tiny one by Washington standards. How will businesses end up being affected by ObamaCare or the 2,300-page financial overhaul? What if taxes go up? Todaylike the 1930s, uncertainty reigns.
Watch the whole damned thing.

Ways to determine whether "You Might Be a Marxist"

Very few people have ever critically studied Marx.  That doesn't mean they haven't been taught Marx but what is taught in our colleges is more eschatology than economics.  Rand Simberg helps those disabled by Marxist thinking into a recovery program.  He also demonstrates the key areas where existing government policy rests on (deluded) Marxist assumptions.

The only one missing is the desire for inheritance taxes which in their almost totally self defeating vindictiveness embed more Marxist delusion than all other policies combined.

Very good, clear and sober explanation.  Brief too.

Cats living with dogs, lefty and righty think tanks agree on budget cuts

If Liberals are really serious about good government, they need to free up money from 'bad government' so the government can do it.  If righties are really serious about keeping taxes low(er) they need to do the same thing.  A marriage made, well if not in heaven, then in purgatory.

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) and National Taxpayers Union (NTU) have joined together to propose a list of 30 specific recommendations to reform our future spending commitments. If enacted in their entirety, these changes would save taxpayers over $600 billion in total by 2015, the target date for the Fiscal Commission to reduce our publicly-held debt-to-GDP ratio to a more sustainable level of 60 percent. While our organizations have often differed about the proper regulatory scope of government and a host of tax policies, we are united in the belief that we spend far too much money on ineffective programs that do not serve the best interests of the American people.

Facebook means that shared secrets are no longer secret

Most of the standard secrets that banks and others use to authenticate users when they forget their passwords are now readily available on facebook or personal web sites.  Look at the standard few and think about it in the context of your FB account:

  • Mother's maiden name
  • Pet names
  • High school mascot
  • Favorite food
  • Favorite color
  • Favorite TV Show
Trade Harbor, is dedicated to enabling strong multi-factor authentication using people's voices.  It's an outstanding tool that consumers should demand their banks and other fiduciaries' support.

Notice the repetitive trend

The government spiked spending in peacetime in two eras:  at the start of the Great Depression and now.  The Great Depression lasted 8 years after the spike, ending only in World War 2.  But of course during the Great Depression our government wasn't technically bankrupt.  Frightening, isn't it?

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

Next January the last Kennedy will leave Federal office:

Whatever the outcome of the race, the election will mark the end of an era in American politics that dates back to 1946 when John F. Kennedy won a House seat in Massachusetts. Each year since then, at least one member of the Kennedy family has been in the White House, the U.S. House, or the U.S. Senate.
I look forward to the day when little black children and little white children can play together without self absorbed, amoral rich kids robbing them blind and calling it compassion.

The modern version of the Anita Hill hit job

People from the past making money and status points by smearing conservatives that are unpopular with the news media seems to be a growth industry, doesn't it.  Contrast this instasmear with the desperate attempts by the news media to avoid the Clinton, Gore, and Edwards sex scandals - among others.

KATIE GRANJU: Hell freezes over: I defend Christine O’Donnell. “The obnoxious first person accounting from the anonymous asshat who says he went on a single date with her three years ago – and whom Gawker admits to paying ‘in the low four figures’ for the story and photos – actually tells the tame tale of a woman who DID NOT have sexual intercourse during what Gawker describes tantalizingly as a ‘one night stand.’” Yeah, everybody’s piling on this lame hitjob, all across the partisan divide. Nick Denton is a uniter, not a divider!

Way to go, Bammy

John Stewart mocks President Obama from the left during his 'interview' on Comedy Central.  Calls him Dude.  The crowd laughs at him.  A new low.

Barack Obama lacks the minimal honor and dignity required to lead the world's indispensable nation.

We are the world's laughingstock.

And when the Hegemon is preoccupied and held in contempt night falls.  And cruel creatures rule the night.

The antithesis of leadership

BHO really has changed his tune, hasn't he?

In a radio interview that aired Monday on Univision, President Obama chided Latinos who “sit out the election instead of saying, ‘We’re gonna punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us.’” Quite a uniter, urging Hispanics to exact political revenge on their enemies — presumably, for example, the nearly 60 percent of Americans who support the new Arizona immigration law.

This from a president who won’t even use “enemies” to describe an Iranian regime that is helping kill U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. This from a man who rose to prominence thunderously declaring that we were not blue states or red states, not black America or white America or LatinoAmerica — but the United States of America.

This is how the great post-partisan, post-racial, New Politics presidency ends — not with a bang, not with a whimper, but with a desperate election-eve plea for ethnic retribution. Nice.

It is unimaginable.  Unimaginable that George W. Bush or Bill Clinton would have said something like this in public to a supporter group.  "Punish our enemies"?  This is what happens when you give a man a free ride from Punaho to the Presidency, he never needed to develop the disciplines of mind and soul that would make him worthy of the honor.  Bill Clinton had some of this problem but mostly with the fact that he had been given a free sexual ride.  George W. Bush had it in his first 40 years because he was always able to take advantage of his Father's connections to bail out his lack of discipline and maturity in his private life.  President Obama has problems because no one seems to have ever held him accountable for what he says or achieves.  In public.  Doing his day job.

It's sad for America, a tragedy for the honorable left and ultimately a disaster for Barack Obama. 

Is the 3D reality that we see all around us simply a hologram?

This enquiring mind wants to find out.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Oh the irony, the brutal irony: Stewart and Colbert by stoking cynicism about politicians undermine leftism

David Brooks makes a rather obvious point missed by all of those chock full 'o brains leaders of ours:

By the way, I’m totally confused about what the political impact of Stewart-stock and Colbert-palooza will be. On the one hand, watching their shows I get the impression they are generally mainstream liberals. On the other hand I do think their shows are unintentionally conservative. Just as the show “60 Minutes” sends the collective message that political institutions are corrupt, so the Comedy Central shows send the message that politicians are buffoons. Both messages undermine faith in political action and public sector endeavor and so cut right against the intentions of their founders. 

The view from across the pond

MEP Daniel Hamman from England speaks on what makes the United States unique and essential.  Interesting perspective.  5 segments all worth a gander.

Larry Tribe: Sotomayor: 'not nearly as smart as she thinks she is' and a 'bully'

Now I stand behind no man in my love of a good ten year old, unsubstantiated 'pubic hair on a coke can' porn story but I think the perspective stated by Prof Larry Tribe of Harvard in a letter to President Obama on then Judge Sotomayor's fitness to serve on the Supreme Court would have been far more valuable to the "Greatest Deliberative Body in the World".  Read the whole thing here.

Bluntly put, she’s not nearly as smart as she seems to think she is, and her reputation for being something of a bully could well make her liberal impulses backfire and simply add to the fire power of the Roberts/Alito/Scalia/Thomas wing of the Court on issues like those involved in the voting rights case argued last week and the Title VII case of the New Haven firefighters argued earlier, issues on which Kennedy will probably vote with Roberts despite Souter’s influence but on which I don’t regard Kennedy as a lost cause for the decade or so that he is likely to remain on the Court.
But of course Ms. Sotomayor was on the plantación so no whipping or shackles were required.

Barry O he go: The Cargo Cult Presidency of Barack Obama

Fascinating explanation of the original cargo cultists from Vanuatu and their modern analogues.  Money graf:

What fascinates us about the John Frum movement and cargo cults in general is that the cultists had no idea where “cargo” comes from, and assumed it must be created magically and sent by spirits or deities. They had no conception what the world was like outside their island, or that there even was a world outside their island.

So, instead of figuring out how to generate cargo — or wealth in our terminology — themselves, the Tannans wait for a messianic figure to arrive and rain riches down upon them as a reward for their piety.

This, at the risk of overstating the obvious, is the exact attitude of Obama’s fan and voters — at least in 2008 and 2009.


Consider this description of John Frum, and note the many similarities to our cultural perception of Obama:
John Frum is the son of God, but he’s not Jesus. He’s a black Melanesian, but sometimes a white man – or, according to others, a black American GI. He’s a kastom messiah, come to turn the people of Tanna back to their old ways before the missionaries – but he’s also a universal avatar of change, a successor to Buddha or Jesus or Mohammed.
The messianic nature of Obama-worship has been noted ever since he first appeared on the political stage, and which reached its climax at his inauguration in January 2009, with Obama even topping Jesus as our nation’s favorite hero, in a poll taken shortly after he assumed office.

One of Obama’s most potent campaign slogans was “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” While many have since noted the not-so-hidden narcissistic megalomania encoded in the slogan — Obama was asking us to vote for him, after all, not for ourselves, so by “We are the ones” he really meant “I am the one” — but it was the second half of the sentence which disturbed me even more. “Waiting for”? The implication is that Americans have been pining for a messiah to rescue them, as if that was our default position. Waiting. Waiting.

Daily Telegraph on the tea party

Good perspective from across the pond.  More here.

I have no special brief for the Tea Party. I’m sure that, like all big organisations, it contains its share of cranks. But most Americans regard the proposition that taxation, spending and borrowing have risen too quickly as essentially reasonable. That’s the thing: neither I nor George Monbiot gets to decide what “extreme” is any more. The Internet has broken the old cartels; pundits have lost their powers. We are finally approximating the ideal of government of, by and for the people – and, unsurprisingly, not everyone likes it.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

PJ O'Rourke on the election Nov 2nd

"This is not an election, this is a restraining order".

Remember this statistic next time you hear talk about how important campaign finance rules are

In a year that they are going to be stomped into jelly:

So far, the latest figures show that the Democratic Party machinery has outraised its Republican counterpart in this campaign cycle by almost $270 million.

Even the NYT says so.  'Nuff said.

Even the 'effing Pope says it!

Read it here.  I'm not sure I should say 'effing and Pope in the same sentence, should I?

The role of the elite and expertise in public policy

Jim Manzi reflects my schizophrenic views on the value and nature of elites in our society with one caveat:  It's not necessarily the elites intelligence or knowledge that I doubt, it's their wisdom.  For I have learned from long experience that unlike raw intelligence, wisdom comes from the crowd.  Indeed in the Bible, the Book of Proverbs says the same thing.

Imagine that.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The epitome of horrific (which of course is 'Blue') governance

Ezra Klein opining on the scariest thing he's read recently:

The scariest sentence I've read today

There are no chain grocery stores in all of Detroit.
And here's the runner-up:
As a reporter, I've worked from New York to St. Louis to Los Angeles, and Detroit is the only big city I know of that doesn't put out a crime blotter tracking the day's mayhem. While other American metropolises have gotten control of their murder rate, Detroit's remains where it was during the crack epidemic.

Divided Government is not Gridlocked Government

The invaluable Mike Barone:

The evidence suggests that partisan polarization in the absence of supermajorities does not cause gridlock.  What can and has caused it on so many important domestic policy issues has been electoral volatility.  From the TARP example to a raft of others, it is clear that as long as enough congressional members with safe seats are prepared to hammer out deals across party and ideological lines, significant legislation can pass.

Coffee, the ultimate food

Is there anything that it can't do?  And bacon.....and beer......and potato chips....and....

Balloon filled with ground coffee makes ideal robotic gripper (w/ Video)

October 25, 2010 By Anne JuBalloon filled with ground coffee makes ideal robotic grippe
Graduate student John Amend, left, and associate professor Hod Lipson with the universal robotic gripper.
( -- The human hand is an amazing machine that can pick up, move and place objects easily, but for a robot, this "gripping" mechanism is a vexing challenge. Opting for simple elegance, researchers from Cornell University, University of Chicago and iRobot have bypassed traditional designs based around the human hand and fingers, and created a versatile gripper using everyday ground coffee and a latex party balloon.

Battle of the monopolists

Now that "IT" is hitting the fan in the college market, the oligopolists are looking for ways to cut out their partners so that they can keep their cashflows up.  The shift to e-books is a good idea but is driven by the powerful trying to sustain their 'take'.  It is absolutely wrong to think about 'not for profit' in any different way than 'for profit' - they both are self seeking, profit maximizing organizations, it's just one is more honest and open to positive pressures while the other hides their objectives and is largely immune to market rationalization.  It would be better if all service providers were for profit and foundations funded activities at them that are desired.

Some companies and college leaders are now proposing that e-textbooks should be required reading and that colleges should be the ones charging for them. It is the best way to control skyrocketing costs and may actually save the textbook industry from digital piracy, they claim.

E-textbooks are far cheaper to produce than printed texts, making a bulk purchase more feasible. By ordering books by the hundreds or thousands, colleges can negotiate a much better rate than students were able to get on their own, even for used books. And publishers could eliminate the used-book market and reduce incentives for students to illegally download copies as well.
The current system deceives and delivers grotesque amounts of waste.  More

Monday, October 25, 2010

For goodness sake, we need to be able to pay our bills!

Here's the chart that says it all.  All of the cliches about how we needed to save the economy from collapse forget that the primary threat to our economy is epic, drunken profligacy, both in spending and in promises of future benefits.  There's just no getting around it:  we're bankrupt and the system is going to collapse.  And the answer isn't, indeed cannot be to double down.

Robert Heinlein was right

Key quote from the Libertarian sage of the future:

Political tags — such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth — are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.

Times are brutal

Seen recently in relatively well off St. Louis:

  • A mid level executive at one of our contractors (no bonuses for a couple of years) using her lunch break to surf the web for the best place to hock gold jewelry to keep her daughter in Catholic school because (of course) the much richer government schools suck so much.
  • A friend descending into depression because after three years of struggling he can't make ends meet and is rapidly running out of options.  Depression won't help, but he can no longer resist.
  • Another friend who is out looking for a job for the third time in three years - he's divorced and got two kids in college.  The Sheriff auctioned his home for back taxes.
  • My neighborhood that has never seen for sale signs before has ten percent of the houses for sale
  • A successful businessman friend laying off his employees one by one as hope turns to despair
And a President who doesn't understand, doesn't care and has no idea how to help continues to speechify mind numbing leftist cliches.  Why doesn't the ignorant fool shut up?

Barney Frank: Vile thug

This alone should cause the Left to abandon this man.  That it hasn't says volumes about the morality of the Democrats:
Congressman Barney Frank has never hesitated to use his power ruthlessly. On one occasion, he threatened bankers with summoning them before his committee and forcing them to reveal their home addresses — which would of course put their spouses and children at the mercy of any kooks that might come along.
But there's so much more.  Read on my friends.

ClusterStock: The best damn in the world.

Is this cool or what: international port volumes.  If you like economics and cool graphics, I recommend Clusterstocking.

Cui Bono? The two best analytical words in the English....well Latin language

So why have textbook prices soared far beyond inflation?  Why have new books that simply reshuffle and update mostly long held knowledge gone through the roof?  Perhaps it's that faculty members get paid to write them and other faculty members (their friends and colleagues in the discipline) make them required reading?  That would be those oh so egalitarian faculty members fighting for the little man.  But I guess not for the little student.  
Cui Bono - a great tool, isn't it?

The Deepwater Horizon Certainly Killed about 1300 Birds, Maybe a Few More

Matt Ridley discusses regulatory biases here:

"Affect heuristic'" is a fancy name for a pretty obvious concept, namely that we discount the drawbacks of things we are emotionally in favor of. For example, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill certainly killed about 1,300 birds, maybe a few more. Wind turbines in America kill between 75,000 and 275,000 birds every year, generally of rarer species, such as eagles. Yet wind companies receive neither the enforcement, nor the opprobrium, that oil companies do.

But the best illustration of regulatory bias is the statistic itself:  1300?  Is that all?  (This piece was published in the WSJ and such a stunning data point surely was fact checked out the wazoo).  The news media must have been filming the same dying bird over and over again.  I'm a cynic, believing that the news media lie constantly and even I was taken in by this so called 'catastrophe'.  It turns out that if the Gulf were the Superdome filled with water to the very top, then total amount of oil spilled would have equalled two beer cans full.  Did you know that? Imagine the environmental catastrophes occurring at every Saints game.

So long as our so called 'news' media can't rationally report news but hype it to hysterical levels, we will struggle to govern ourselves.  For if we don't know the truth, can't get any perspective, how can we make good decisions?  

Driven by dishonest media narratives that present every event as a 'problem' that must be 'fixed' we persist in this grotesque fantasy that political lawyers are able to order our lives better than we can through markets.  And it's killing us.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Driving down the dollar to solve our structural economic woes - what could go wrong?

When I was a teen I used to have zits, big ones.  My mother always used to tell me not to mess with them, that I would end up getting them infected and have pock marks.  I ignored her, after all, all she had was 25 years of experience on me.  And besides, what could go wrong?

Now I've got pock marks and with them an enhanced respect for the strategy of not screwing with stuff. It's a  pity our fearless elites didn't have bad acne because they are about to screw with the bedrock source of people's confidence:  the belief at the end of the day that their money's good.

Hint to our 'leaders':  if people lose faith in our money, they lose faith in you and will become disappointed.  Not the pursed lips, Dad's mad 'disappointed' but the rioting, looting and lynching little 'ol you disappointed.  You don't want to do disappointed.  Trust me on this.

More on our childish, zit fiddling leaders here.

Wikileaks proves....that George W. Bush was right

Will miracles never cease?  H/T Instpundit:

I SAID BEFORE THAT WIKILEAKS’ JULIAN ASSANGE WAS CLEARLY A TOOL, BUT WHOSE? Well, so far the two biggest scoops from the latest document dump are that the infamous Lancet study was bogus, and that WMDs were found in Iraq in quantity. Neither of these stories is actually news to people who were paying attention, but now — conveniently enough just before an election, and even nicely timed for George W. Bush’s new book release — these stories are getting a fresh round of play. . . .

'They hate our guts'

PJ O'Rourke with the final, definitive exhortation to go out and win one for the Gipper (Ronnie's Ghost, that is).  Must read internet gang.

The English notice:

Jeremy Warner of London's Daily Telegraph:

The striking thing about my last two visits to the US is just how worried by the deficit most Americans are. Indeed they are ashamed by it, and rightly take the view that unless it is tackled soon, it will seriously undermine America’s long term economic prospects, not to mention its positions in the world. Obama’s failure to realise this, and to continue to force a minority liberal agenda down everyone’s throat, is the reason he’s lost the plot. To restore his presidency, he needs to move towards the centre, and that includes the construction of a robust deficit reduction plan that begins with dispatch.

So, foreigners notice that we're ashamed of our profligate government.  Seems about right to me.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Anti-constitutional behavior

You heard it here first:  the Democrats will use the lame duck session to pass all sorts of unpopular goodies for their base.  After all they are unlikely to get back into power again for a long, long time.

This of course would crush the spirit if not the letter of our Constitution and would be an overt statement of contempt by the left for the people whom they are technically accountable to.

Of course, that's why they'll do it.  I take comfort in the fact that in the long term they are bound to lose.  In  the short run, of course, they can create an enormous amount of chaos.

Mickey Kaus guts, filets and fries NPR over the Juan Williams Kerfuffle

Brutal but true here.

What a shock. I mean, who knew?

Castro's Cuba: Now to the right of Obama's America

Cats living with dogs, etc. etc.

What is it about the authoritarian liberal personality - Juan Williams must be silenced

Professor Jacobsen asks the rather obvious question:  PROFESSOR JACOBSON: Media Matters Is The Symptom, Not The Disease. “Notice something interesting. No conservatives are trying to prevent people from appearing on NPR, but liberal interest groups and their media outlets are trying to prevent people from appearing on Fox News. There is a real threat to freedom in this country, and it does not come from conservatives. Media Matters is just the symptom, not the disease.”
I guess the point is that when you've had the narrative to yourself for so long, you believe you own it.

Illiberality: apparently a liberal specialty.

More evidence that Rachel Carson was a stone cold killer - Malaria kills far more than estimated

Rachel Carson made her name and career (and a boatload of money) campaigning against DDT:  the safest pesticide in history.  Despite mounting evidence that banning DDT was a mistake that was killing first millions, then tens of millions of poor people around the world, she hung on to her 'moneymaker'.  Well now it turns out that the horrible butcher's bill that DDT free malaria is could be grossly underestimated.

Rachel Carson:  a curse on our world worse in human terms than Adolf Hitler.  Misguided 'liberalism' is not a problem, it's a horror.

Of course those that die are young and brown and don't live in Westchester, Georgetown, or Santa Monica so who gives a shit?

We need more immigrants like Joe Ptak

Spoken at a candidate forum about a "League of Women's Voters"  event.  Of course LWV is an 'elite' and therefore a left wing institution.  And people wonder where the Tea Party comes from.

My name is Joe Ptak and I live in Island Lake, Illinois. I attended the Joe Walsh-Melissa Bean “forum” and I WAS THE INDIVIDUAL who stood up and wanted to know why the pledge of allegiance was not going to be recited…I thought it might have been an oversight. I was flabbergasted and stunned to hear the LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS moderator say to me, and the audience, that it was never part of their program at these events and will not allowed.

Please keep in mind that this “forum” was organized in Grayslake High School for the benefit of the students, who were asking the questions. Furthermore, there were numerous students present (gaining extra credit) as well as 350 adults and media who packed the auditorium.

I served in the USAFR’s for ten (10) years and there were many veterans in attendance. I was so proud when the audience rose up one by one, then in mass to recite the pledge of allegiance with loud and heavy emphasis on the words LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL. The moderator then had the gall to admonish the audience and for “disrespecting her”…my wife told me if that woman did not shut up she was going to get her “Brooklyn up” (being from NY).

I happen to be an Hispanic immigrant from Peru, South America, who was brought to this great country by my parents, along with three other siblings in 1960, when I was eight years old. I was raised in Chicago, have seen, and experienced a lot in this world. People are literary dying each day for just the OPPORTUNITY to live in this great land I call my home.

There are ignorant people in this land who do not have the slightest idea, nor understand, what it means to be an AMERICAN. Our Liberty, Freedom of Speech and the Press are never guaranteed and we must always fight to maintain them. I think our students in attendance witnessed that first hand and gained a lot of extra credit for themselves

The Man Purse

I went to Schnucks today. The van window wouldn't close and Diane's purse was there. Walked into the grocery store with it. I held it very mannishly, hiding it in the cart. Fortunately it was a very sober blue model. The check out lady eyed me suspiciously. "It's not mine", I said, staring straight into her accusing eyes, "never said it was" she stared right back. Stand-off.  So I picked up my groceries, shouldered my purse and flounced out.

Now this is big

The Bush Heir apparent:  Jeb - AKA, the smart one, the conservative one, the one that should have won one endorses Sara palin:

(CNN) – Former Florida Republican Governor, Jeb Bush said Friday he isn’t running for president, but would support Sarah Palin if she were to run.
This is significant politically but also conceptually.  J-Bush is the keeper of ideological rigor and is perhaps the most successful ex-governor in the nation.  He's a very, very serious character and not given to flights of fancy or doing things just because they're popular.

In my humble opinion, if Jeb Bush who is in a position to know says Sara Palin is the real deal, then she's the real deal.  And a lot of people will take his word for it.

As I said, gang:  this is a big deal.

BHO and the Elite Establishment:  be afraid, be very afraid.  Because if the Fishmonger's Wife can get the Republican establishment behind her then the Law Lecturer is going to have a rather abrupt return to the academy.  And be remembered by the cognoscenti as the Romulus Augustulus of the Left establishment.  No, not Mitt Romney's uncle, but the last Roman Emperor before the Barbarian Oadecer took over Rome.

And it couldn't happen to nicer group of guys.

Fiscal Democracy when every single dollar of taxes goes to pay for mandatory transfers or public debt, leaving nothing for actual government which must be funded exclusively by debt.  Progressivism in a nutshell.  A really big Nut Shell.  The Australian explains the dilemma (one, oddly enough that Australia has largely avoided by not following the Obami and Euro playbook).  We are literally spending ourselves to death.

The problem is not new, but the radicalisation of protests in France is giving it new urgency. Over time, Western governments have accumulated financial obligations towards their electorates, which they can no longer serve. The problem was described in January this year by a US economist, Gene Steuerle, in USA Today as "fiscal sclerosis", or "fiscal democracy". According to Steuerle, the US was broke because its mandatory spending consumed all its income, resulting in all its discretionary expenditure being financed from unsustainable debt. Every single dollar and cent earned through taxes last year had to be spent on serving past commitments and interest payments. "Fiscal democracy" is not much of a democracy, because democratically elected leaders have no space to manoeuvre, as their hands are bound by 'the programs and ideas of the past - even dead - policymakers".

It's October: there's a hint of Nixon and Liddy in the air

Only it's the Democrat's dirty tricks that are getting airplay:

ORLANDO, Fla. — Seeking any advantage in their effort to retain control of Congress, Democrats are working behind the scenes in a number of tight races to bolster long-shot third-party candidates who have platforms at odds with the Democratic agenda but hold the promise of siphoning Republican votes.
Read the whole thing in the New York Times (!) 

Did I say (!)?

Grigg's Law

Several of my pastor friends are on Facebook and Twitter.  Some of them use the tools well, some, not so much.  In fact, some of them even use them to reinforce the stereotypes that dominate how the 'unchurched' think about them.  You know the archytypes:  the sanctimonious stalwart shouting in stentorian tones, the too-nice milquetoast, or the rabbinical obscurantist lost in his dusty tomes.  Of course the 400 character maximum really cramps the style of guys used to banging on for 40 minutes or more.

Preachers preaching (or salesmen selling or politicians politicking) in FB always surprises me because it seems so terribly counterproductive.  Social media are social tools to help us authentically know and enjoy each other more, not a personal advertising medium.

So I would like to offer a modest proposition to those in knowledge businesses:  Social media like Facebook and Twitter aren't and should not be simply extensions of what you do and say in your 'day job'.  Aside from being a heckuva lot of fun, the value of social media is that it enables you to share aspects of your life and personality that are hard to show to people with whom you seldom interact with in person.  We use stereotypes because like nature, our brains abhor a vacuum:  for those we don't know very well, we fall back on what we know of 'people like them' as a mechanism for filling in the empty spaces.  The only way any of us ever get past our stereotyping of a person is if we can replace the cliches manufactured by our minds with the concrete reality of a lived life.

And that's (if I can be so crass as to say so) the "business proposition" of Facebook:  help people know who you are in the belief that by knowing the real you they will be able to differentiate you from all of the other people who are lumped into your stereotypical archetype.  For it is only through the authentic evaluation of you as a real human being that trust can be created.

So long as you remain merely a symbol to me, I must necessarily believe that your relationship with me can only be stereotypical.  Become known to me and me to you, indeed become my friend and then we together can create a new reality that can transcend our prejudices, stereotypes and ignorance.

I call this "Griggs Law" after my friend Robbie Griggs who taught it to me.  In official propositional form it goes something like this:  The success of social media relationship building is inversely proportional to the effort expended to achieve non-relational goals".  Or mathematically, (sorta kinda):  e-1$=e(Ϝβ+Ϯ) where e is effort, $ is non-relational goals, Ϝβ is Facebook and Ϯ is Twitter.  I'm going to stop now.

Statistics are tricky things

A Facebook Friend sincerely opposed to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan posted the following link:

After Service, Veteran Deaths Surge

Suicides, vehicle accidents and drug overdoses take lives

By AARON GLANTZ on October 16, 2010 - 2:00 p.m. PDT
Courtesy of the Santos family
Reuben Santos served in Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit in 2003
In the six years after Reuben Paul Santos returned to Daly City from a combat tour in Iraq, he battled depression with poetry, violent video games and, finally, psychiatric treatment. His struggle ended last October, when he hung himself from a stairwell. He was 27.
The high suicide rate among veterans has already emerged as a major issue for the military and the families and loved ones of military personnel. But Santos' death is part of a larger trend that has remained hidden: a surge in the number of Afghanistan and Iraq veterans who have died not just as a result of suicide, but also because of vehicle accidents, motorcycle crashes, drug overdoses or other causes after being discharged from the military.
An analysis of official death certificates on file at the State Department of Public Health reveals that more than 1,000 California veterans under 35 died between 2005 and 2008. That figure is three times higher than the number of California service members who were killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts over the same period. The Pentagon and Department of Veterans Affairs said they do not count the number of veterans who have died after leaving the military.
Read the whole thing here.  It's a shocking indictment of our military's lack of care for our returning service men and women.  It is also demonstrably false.  Indeed virtually everything about this analysis is false.  
The article argues that the number of deaths among California military veterans under 35 during the period 2005 to 2008 was three times the number of military deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan at the same time and implies that this was caused by the horrible trauma of war and the callous indifference of the military.  Simple right?  No.  In the US there are 2,142,000 veterans in that age group.  At no time were there more than 200,000 service members "In Country" in the wars - and far fewer actually in combat.  Therefore in a non-war situation one would expect veterans deaths to exceed in-country deaths by more than ten-fold, that they only exceed it three-fold is a testament to the deadliness of war.
Indeed a quick analysis of the data using the Federal Government's mortality statistics for men aged 20 to 35 and adjusting for the proportion of all veterans who come from California (I assume they are proportionate to the state's share of the national population) I find that more than a 1000 California veterans should have died during this time period.  Essentially the 1,000 deaths are the normal 4 year mortality for any population of men in that age group.
Even after acknowledging that he does not know how many of the veterans who died had served in a war zone, the author continues to talk about how 'returning veterans' were dying far more often than active duty soldiers 'in country'.  He must know that the great majority of the 2.142 million veterans in this age group never ever served in Iraq or Afghanistan, including virtually all Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard veterans.
I don't fault my FB Friend for any of this.  Lord knows that I have often published statistics that supported my opinions only having to backtrack later when I find that they were distorted or dishonest.  I fault the 'activists' of both sides who exploit their own supporters.  After all I, being a war supporter I am very unlikely to take such reports at face value.   It's high time that we hold so called 'activists' of all stripes to much higher standards of proof, whether they are pitching 'the poor, poor soldier as victim' or 'Barack Obama isn't an American citizen'.

And there's another truly cruel aspect of all this:  the families of veterans who died in questionable circumstances now are led to believe that 'someone' could have done 'something' had only they seen the 'signs' of the veteran's 'post traumatic stress' that led him to wreck/fight/kill himself.  Yet the data show there is no mortal effect of PTS - veterans die at essentially the same rates of other people their ages.  This pain and second guessing and misplaced rage that haunts families is based upon lies.
We have a huge challenge to get our nation back on track, cheap left or right wing agitprop does not help.