Friday, September 30, 2011

Environmentalism means never having to say your sorry

Watch this graphic video of an eagle being killed by a Wind Turbine.  When this happens to oil companies, the Feds lower the boom.  With Green companies...not so much or in fact ever.  This is an example of liberal fascism in action:  if you are 'with' the statist program, the laws apply differently than when you are an opponent of state action.  In much the same way that supposedly 'color and gender blind' hiring and admissions laws are applied differently for white men than other groups.  This is the essence of fascism - the law applies based upon your status in the power coalition.  And since everything is against the law....well let's just say it pays to be part of the power coalition.

Here's some more details:

The graphic video above shows a magnificent eagle getting killed by a wind turbine.  According to a 2009 estimate from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (reported on the American Bird Conservancy website here), those bird fatalities happen more than 1,200 times every day (440,000 deaths annually and 50 deaths every single hour of the day on average).   For the millions of documented wind-related bird fatalities that have taken place in recent years, how many wind companies have been prosecuted? None - they get a pass.  

In contrast, 28 migratory birds (including ducks) allegedly died after landing by mistake in oil waste pits in western North Dakota between May 20 and June 11, and seven oil companies are being charged by the U.S. attorney for North Dakota for violating the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

By comparison, the Audubon Society estimates that between 7,000 and 23,000 birds were killed by the BP oil spill of 2010. Or between 6 and 18 days worth of green wind farm carnage.

I'll bet you didn't hear about any of this in our 'Main Stream' Media, did you? No 60 Minutes exposes of the shocking bias in the administration of justice? You see, they're part of the coalition too.

Fascist is as fascist does.

The Other Ten Percent work for the government

 90 percent of Americans say economy stinks.

And by 2017, investment bank Goldman Sachs predicts the US could be poised to pass Saudi Arabia and overtake Russia as the world’s largest oil producer

All I can say is W.O.W.  Revolutions come from all directions don't they?

Oh please Mr. Government, don't choose me

Another government redistribution parable...

Carter didn't even do this

In the inimitable words of Bugs Bunny:  What a maroon.

JONAH GOLDBERG: Seriously, in 2008 we elected a community organizer, state senator, college instructor first term senator over a guy who spent five years in a Vietnamese prison. And now he’s lecturing us about how America’s gone “soft”? Really?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Mark Steyn - Live Free or Die

Speaking to an Australian group about the creeping destruction of core western rights. Must watch internet, gang.

Mark Steyn on Free Speech at the IPA from Institute of Public Affairs on Vimeo.

Fascism Watch: San Francisco has the most punitive traffic regime in the nation

It's not only among the most bigoted but also the most legally vicious places in the nation.  Fascist is as fascist does.

In San Francisco, Parking Tickets Are the New Taxation

With some the highest fines in the country for parking ($68) and traffic violations ($436 for running a red light),  "Many San Francisco residents now feel that the city government has become a kind of Kleptocracy, a government run by thieves. That is, those in power tax residents through the form of heavy fines for much-needed cash, even as basic services are under threat.

CAIN VS. UNABLE: Herman Cain within 5 points of Barack Obama.

I just love the headline.  Here.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fascism Watch: H&HS now bans contact between employees and the press

Except via public relations officers.  Fascist is as fascist does.

PR Office Censorship | Department of Health & Human Services
The Department of Health and Human Services’ just-released media policy makes it official that staff members and reporters are forbidden to speak to each other without reporting to public information officers and supervisors. The rules have “formalized a creeping information-control mechanism that informally began during the Clinton Administration and was accelerated by the Bush and Obama administrations,” writes FDA Webview & FDA Review editor Jim Dickinson. “The U.S. now takes a large step toward joining other information-controlling countries like my native Australia, where government employees who talk with the news media without permission commit a federal crime. I came to the U.S. in 1974 to escape this oppression.”

Even the Fish and Wildlife service is a bunch of paramilitary gun toting thugs

If our Federal overlords behave like fascists it's only because they are fascists.  The Feds are the greatest threat to our Freedoms.  Break it up, break it all up.

With military precision, the federal officers surrounded the building, donned flak jackets and helmets, readied their weapons, burst in, and forced terrified employees out at gunpoint. Officers ransacked the facility, seizing computers, papers, and materials.

It was the second raid in three years by the Fish and Wildlife Service on Gibson, maker of the famous Les Paul guitar. The situation would be laughable, if the consequences for Gibson weren’t so dire.

Kaus on Ford's ad pull: Corporatism's a bitch.

MICKEY KAUS: Why’d Ford Pull That Ad? “Poor Ford. They don’t go broke like their rivals. Then Obama White House props up and promotes those rivals. They try to point out their relative independence in an ad, which then risks turning the Obama White House into an actual enemy. But when they pull the ad it only reinforces the point that they have to suck up to the Obama White House. Corporatism’s a bitch.”

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Drug War plus Obamacare destroy efficient, effective medicine

Because with all of the laws today, you can convict a ham sandwich of a crime.

The Cure For Doctors Who Think Outside The Box
It seems it's other doctors reporting them. Jay Parkinson had a bright idea about how to incorporate technology and house calls into a medical career:
Upon finishing my second residency at Hopkins in Baltimore in September of 2007, I moved back to Williamsburg to start a new kind of practice:
1. Patients would visit my website
2. See my Google calendar
3. Choose a time and input their symptoms
4. My iphone would alert me
5. I would make a house call
6. They'd pay me via paypal
7. We'd follow up by email, IM, videochat, or in person
It was simple, elegant, and affordable for me to start. But most importantly, it just made sense given how we all communicate and do business today.
...I didn't need an office or staff. Everything was run by me, my iPhone, and my MacBook Pro. My overhead was about 10%, compared to a regular doctor who spends about 65-70% of their practice revenue on overhead. I was profitable after just a few days. The 7 million hits on my website in the first month obviously helped get the word out about my new practice (thank you internet!).
Then, about six months later I got an official letter from the New York State Office of Professional Conduct. Obviously, that was unsettling. It essentially said that someone had made a complaint about my practice and my use of the internet. They wanted all of my records about the eight patients I prescribed narcotics for in my practice-- I prescribed one time prescriptions for Tylenol #3 for eight patients treating their acute pain for various conditions. The state wanted a serious offense they could charge me with, hence why they singled out the narcotics. I pulled up my records on my MacBook for all eight patients and made them into a pdf and sent them off to the state proving that I'd seen the patients in person, established a doctor-patient relationship, followed standard medical treatment guidelines, and kept the records to prove it.
... You see, anyone, anywhere, can call the state anonymously and report any doctor they want. The state then takes action by sending a startling letter to that doctor asking for records. You are then asked to produce those records and appear in front of their board with or without your lawyer at your expense (lawyer's fees and lost revenue from time not practicing...thousands of dollars).
The state was looking to see if I was prescribing narcotics to strangers I've never met using the internet to do so.
Obviously, I wasn't. That surely wasn't what my practice was about. My practice was about being an old-fashioned neighborhood doctor using today's technology to provide care to the uninsured in my neighborhood who lived close enough to me to walk or ride my bike. I looked at internet communication as augmenting the real-life relationship I had with my patients. That was my dream, and that was my reality.
He ended up shutting his practice down. I wish he'd given all the reasons why. What he went through after being reported is one reason he said he closed up shop, but to me, this seems to be a smart and innovative way to practice medicine, and one more doctors should consider, especially in the wake of governmentcare in 2014

Rube Goldberg, Thy Name is IRS

Why the US has the highest taxes on capital in the developed world.  But go ahead, raise 'em even more.  Tthat is going to work soooo well because you see, successful capitalists are innumerate fools.

In today's economy profits are privatized while risks are socialized

The ever readable Matthew Continetti talks about Solyndra but his tag line could be talking about any Federal initiative.  No matter what we do, the lobbyists and rent seekers are closer to the centers of power than the people.  The obvious, indeed only answer is to radically reduce the power of the center.  Then the plague of locusts will disperse, making them easier to squish.  More here.

One more Global Warming fail

The AGW crowd tell us that the planet is warming rapidly and that extreme weather events are becoming much more common and that those events will kill 'millions'.  Not only is there no evidence that extreme weather events are more common, there is strong evidence that weather is killing far fewer people relative to the earth's population.  Advice to AGW bigots:  if you don't have any science you should only make claims that can't be tested.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Thank you Mr. Obama

Being a libertarian Christian I have long predicted that our century long love affair with the 'progressive' state would end in tears.  Now it seems that time has come.  Somehow that doesn't really make me feel good.  Most people dreamed of an omnicompetent, god-like state that would take away our tears without taking away our humanity.  They didn't realize that all they did was transfer who held their chains - from their families and local business men who were humans that they knew to a remote, faceless and pitiless bureaucracy.  There is only one God and our attempts to substitute the state for Him are the worst form of blasphemy.

No wonder it doesn't work.

HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): Americans Express Historic Negativity Toward U.S. Government. Including this: “49% of Americans believe the federal government has become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens. In 2003, less than a third (30%) believed this.”

Ken Burns inadvertently makes a history of today

It's funny how we are repeating all of the 'progressive' mistakes of the 20s and 30s, but this time they are being repeated as farce.  Below is from Ken Burns' PBS documentary on Alcohol Prohibition.  More here.

"Prohibition The Drug War was intended to improve, even to ennoble, the lives of all Americans, to protect individuals, families, and society at large from the devastating effects of alcohol drug abuse.  But the enshrining of a faith-driven moral code in the Constitution paradoxically caused millions of Americans to rethink their definition of morality. Thugs became celebrities, responsible authority was rendered impotent. Social mores in place for a century were obliterated. Especially among the young,liquor drug consumption rocketed.

Prohibition The Drug War turned law-abiding citizens into criminals, made a mockery of the justice system, caused illicit drinking drug use to seem glamorous and fun, encouraged neighborhood gangs to become national crime syndicates, permitted government officials to bend and sometimes even break the law, and fostered cynicism and hypocrisy that corroded the social contract all across the country. With Prohibition The Drug War in place, but ineffectively enforced, one observer noted, America had hardly freed itself from the scourge of alcohol drug abuse – instead, the "drys" drug prohibitionists had their law, while the "wets"millions of Americans had their liquor drugs

The story of Prohibition the Drug War is a compelling saga that goes far beyond the oft-told tales of drug gangsters in the U.S., Mexico and Colombiarum marijuana runners, and cocaine smugglersflappers, and speakeasies, to reveal a complicated and divided nation in the throes of momentous transformation. The film raises vital questions that are as relevant today as they were 100 years ago – about means and ends, individual rights and responsibilities, the proper role of government and finally, who is — and who is not — a real American."

The 'price' of sex is plummeting

Pretty good summary at the link.  The key dimension that is ignored is the radical shift in the commanding heights of the economy from productive sectors to state subsidized, bureaucratic ones and the concomitant rise in a class of increasingly female Mandarins who are good at academic tasks.  Add that to a stunningly brutal criminal justice system that has tagged almost 50 million adults, mostly men with the crippling tag 'felon' for things that used to be misdemeanors and the result is a shortage of marriageable males.  And that leads desperate young women to do things that their 'liberated' mothers never would have consented to.

It's all so progressive.  And feminist.

NOT SURE THIS APPLIES IF YOU’RE MARRIED: How the ‘price’ of sex has dropped to record lows. “Women are jumping into the sack faster and with fewer expectations about long-term commitments than ever, effectively discounting the ‘price’ of sex to a record low, according to social psychologists.”

The Outsourcing of Private Morality to the State

Victor Davis Hanson identifiesperhaps the core issue of our  'progressive' social democratic society:  the nationalization of morality.

The outsourcing of private morality to the state is a particularly modern affliction, but equally as pernicious. We witness the startling paradox that today’s private society is crasser, less honest, and more uncouth even as its government’s official morality stresses gender, race, class, and green ethical superiority. But just because the state now thankfully mandates disabled parking spaces does not mean that we honor a crippled relative more than in the past, or that our children are more likely to write a note of thanks to a grandparent’s gift. I can surely see an erosion in the public expression of manners and morality even as I sense our government is now more “fair” and “equal” than ever before.
Just because the state will sue you for the appearance of sexual harassment does not mean that leaving your laptop in a college university carrel means it is less likely to be stolen than, say, a wallet in 1955. The frightening worry is that the two are connected: the more the state steps in to to assure that we are cosmically moral, the more we assume we can relax and therefore become concretely immoral. Detroit is a symptom of that transition from family to state definitions of morality. Go to Athens today, and one can read high-sounding praises of the all-encompassing welfare state, and see all around private machinations to get out of taxes and boasts about getting a public job that requires no work and earns lots of pay.
When poverty is defined as relative want rather than existential need, states decay and societies decline. In the fifth century, Athenians were content to be paid to go to the theater; by the fourth, they were paid also to vote — even as they hired mercenaries to fight and forgot who won at Salamis, and why. Flash mobbing did not hit bulk food stores. The looters organized on Facebook through laptops and cell phones, not through organizing during soup kitchens and bread lines. Random assaults were not because of elemental poverty, but anger at not having exactly what appears on TV.

State University Recruitment - It's about the Benjamins

Precisely what behaviors do State Universities exhibit that differs them from private businesses?  Both take any government subsidy they can lay their hands on and charge the maximum the market will bear for their services.  There is one difference:  Old State U pays no taxes.  I say tax the rich.

"According to a new survey of college admissions directors by Inside Higher Ed, the admissions strategy judged most important is the recruitment of more out-of-state and international students, who can pay significantly more at public institutions. Ten percent of those surveyed also reported admitting full-pay students with lower grades and test scores than other admitted applicants, and a majority of schools either use or plan to use controversial commission-paid agents to recruit foreign students (commission-based recruitment is barred in the U.S.). 'This isn't about globalization or increased educational diversity,' asserts USC's Jerome A. Lucido. 'They need the money.' So, should employees of a public university where the President's annual compensation exceeds $1 million receive a full state-funded pension for educating 16,000+ out-of-state students?"

Friday, September 23, 2011

Warren Buffet's taxes are so low because he takes his pay as dividends

It turns out that Warren Buffet only takes a 100,000 dollar salary.  A comparable CEO would be earning millions in salary and cash bonuses every year.  Bravo for him.  Except....if Mr. Buffet is still earning those millions but taking them in tax preferred compensation.  In other words, is Mr. Buffett structuring his compensation to avoid higher taxes even as he calls for higher taxes on those who earn less than him but cannot structure their compensation so?  I'm assuming the IRS has passed on his comp arrangements so they are legit in the narrow legal sense.  But is it honest for him to use his wildly unconventional compensation as the basis to make a dishonest political argument?  Carpe Diem has more here.

Update: Another thought... I think Warren Buffett distorted and misrepresented the tax issue by using himself as an example, implying that his case as a CEO paying a lower tax rate (17.4%) than his secretary was typical, when that is not the case.  Buffett’s case is an extreme outlier and not at all typical of a CEO because: a) Buffett takes only a $100,000 salary, and b) gets about $40 million of income annually from dividends and capital gains taxed at 15%.  

That’s how Buffett reports a 17.4% tax rate, but he never explained in his NY Times article (or elsewhere) that his case is NOT typical for salaried CEOs.  The typical CEO reporting ordinary income of $1 million or more would be paying taxes at a rate of something like 29%, including payroll taxes.  The typical secretary reporting $50,000 of income would be paying something like 11% for income tax, and something like 14% including payroll taxes. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

But this isn't a problem if you have a printing press in the basement

The Gainesville Tea Party seems to have the right idea: They take some of our key economic numbers — how much money the U.S. government brings in, how much it spends, and how much brave politicians are “cutting” to bring those numbers into balance — and simply lop off eight zeros (i.e., divide by 100 million) to make those numbers something that American families can relate to:
Why S&P Downgraded the US:U.S. Tax revenue: $2,170,000,000,000
Federal budget: $3,820,000,000,000
New debt: $ 1,650,000,000,000
National debt: $14,271,000,000,000
Recent [April] budget cut: $ 38,500,000,000
Let’s remove 8 zeros and pretend it’s a household budget:Annual family income: $21,700
Money the family spent: $38,200
New debt on the credit card: $16,500
Outstanding balance on the credit card: $142,710
Budget cuts: $385
Even as a self-described policy wonk, I found this eye-opening. It’s harder to pretend that Washington leadership is serious about restoring fiscal sanity when their budget cuts are seen in this context.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Liberal Foundations and Eugenics

Before Hitler eugenics was all the rage among our 'progressive' betters.  But they really, really don't want to talk about it.

Between 1929 and 1974, the state of North Carolina forcibly sterilized thousands of its citizens who were deemed “feeble minded” or otherwise found by the state to be unworthy of having children. At least 27 states had such programs, but North Carolina’s was among the most active and the longest lasting. In the last few months, the state has been considering providing compensation to the surviving victims of the program, and the hearings surrounding that decision have brought out some of the gruesome details.
As the Hudson Institute’s William Schambra points out in the latest Chronicle of Philanthropy, however, one aspect of this history that has not received much notice has been the deep involvement of some prominent liberal foundations in the American eugenics movement, particularly in its early years. In the case of North Carolina, the Carnegie Corporation was especially important.
North Carolina’s state government, like those of most other states that had eugenic programs in the last century, has formally apologized to its citizens for its eugenic program and, as noted, is considering compensation to the victims. As Schambra points out, Carnegie has yet to do the same.

'nuff said

Is The One, really the One and Done?

Ed Morrisey on the President's abdication of policy for politics.  Well, whaddya expect?  He was never qualified to be President, only to run for President.  Affirmative action, thy name is Barack.

Instead of working with Republicans to craft a deficit-reduction plan that could pass Congress, Obama instead filled his with tax hikes that even his own party rejected in 2009 and 2010 in the effort to fund Obama's signature health-care overhaul bill. Our colleague David Frum calls it a "stunt" that would derail economic growth, if it ever had a prayer of passing the House. Democratic strategist Mark Penn wonders at The Huffington Post why Obama would want to turn himself into another Walter Mondale — and also why Obama passed on the opportunity to work on comprehensive tax reform with Republicans rather than get stuck in "the thicket of class warfare." Why not work on co-opting a big Republican issue as Bill Clinton did with welfare reform, Penn asks, and seize the mantle of leadership?

Penn wonders why Obama didn't think to work with House Republicans on deficit reduction, but he might have asked why Obama didn't bother to work with Senate Democrats on the jobs bill, either. The White House apparently forgot to consult with its own allies in the upper chamber when writing the rerun of the 2009 stimulus bill, only to discover to their embarrassment that it won't pass the Senate. At least six Senate Democrats have gone on the record in the media expressing opposition to passing it in its current form, and not just purple-state incumbents up for tough re-election fights (like Joe Manchin and Robert Casey), but also those in relatively safe seats like Tom Carper (Delaware) and Barbara Mikulski (Maryland). Even Dianne Feinstein in solid-blue California talked to the media about her concerns over the cost and effectiveness of Obama's plan.
Obama mailed in both proposals rather than engage in the hard work of governance. If Obama had any interest in actually passing his deficit-reduction plan, he would not have filled it with tax hikes that have floated around the Beltway for years — and which both Republicans and Democrats have rejected in the past. The jobs bill was even less creative than his approach to deficit reduction, cribbed from a failed and costly exercise in central economic control. Obama didn't bother to put much effort into either because he has no intention of doing the hard work needed to accomplish actual deficit reduction or improve the job-creation climate. The president has more than a year to go before the next election, but Obama has stopped governing and has shifted entirely to campaign mode. This is what it looks like when a president quits.

Warren Buffett, the Home Spun Humbug Exposed

Mr. Buffett is a brilliant business man who has positioned himself as the the 'people's plutocrat'.  He often says things that are nonsense but that the intelligensia eats up.  He is far to cagey a character to say these things without knowing their (lack of) truthfulness.  He's a corn fed, home spun humbug in it for his own glory.  Period.

A.P. FACT-CHECK: Secretaries Don’t Pay More Taxes Than Their Bosses. “Even when talking rates rather than aggregate payments, the claims made by Buffett and Obama are nothing more than an urban legend.”

The sure fire solution to any insoluble adult crisis: Screw the kids

The unions are creatures of the state who used their political power to get a limited right to legal extortion.  Many of them used that right to drive their marks to the edge of bankruptcy.  Now at Goodyear, they are giving up some of the 'rights' they extorted in exchange for huge payments to their older members.  And who pays?  Why the young and weak, natch.  It's always the young that pay.  You see, they have no power.  And their parents and grandparents?  Apparently, they have no honor.

It's all so progressive.  Carpe Diem explains:

One key to Goodyear's turnaround has been better relations with its union employees. In 2006, it locked horns with the United Steelworkers union in a battle over retiree health care costs that led to a bitter, two-month strike.Eventually, the two sides reached an agreement that offered Goodyear a two-tiered wage system and more flexible work rules in exchange for putting $1 billion into a fund to cover the cost of health care for retired workers. The company also reduced its U.S. plants to 16 from 29; nine were part of a division that was sold.

Peak Oil Peak Idiocy

It turns out that North America has more oil than previously thought.  A lot more.  Technology and price drive oil supply, not rocks.  I predict that we will continue to 'discover' that we have more and more and more oil and gas long after I'm gone.

HOUSTON CHRONICLE -- "A new report that predictably found huge potential natural gas supplies in the U.S. also contained news its own writers found surprising - that oil is more abundant than they thought. 

The study released Thursday by the National Petroleum Council, a collection of industry, academic, government and other officials convened by the secretary of energy, touted how advanced technology has unlocked vast formations of natural gas previously deemed uneconomic to tap."

1. "The potential supply of North American natural gas is far bigger than was thought even a few years ago. As late as 2007, it was thought that the United States would have to become increasingly dependent on imported liquefied natural gas, owing to what appeared to be a constrained domestic supply. That is no longer the case. It is now understood that the natural gas resource base is enormous and that its development – if carried out in acceptable ways – is potentially transformative for the American economy, energy security, and the environment, including reduction of air emissions. These resources have the potential to meet even the highest projections of demand reviewed by this study.

Thanks to the advances in the application of technology pioneered in the United States and Canada, North America has a large, economically accessible natural gas resource base that includes significant sources of unconventional gas such as shale gas. This resource base could supply over 100 years of demand at today’s consumption rates.

2. Surprising to many, North America’s oil resources are also much larger than previously thought. These oil resources offer substantial supply for decades and could help the United States reduce, though not eliminate, its reliance on imported oil. The United States and Canada together produce 4% more oil than Russia, the world’s largest producer. Realizing the potential of oil, like natural gas, in the future will depend on putting in place appropriate access regimes that can allow sustained exploration and development activity to take place in resource-rich areas.

3. Natural gas and oil resources will be needed even as energy efficiency reduces demand and lower carbon alternatives become more economically available on a large scale. Moreover, the natural gas and oil industry is vital to the U.S. economy, generating millions of jobs, widely stimulating economic activity, and providing significant revenues to governments.

4. Realizing the benefits of natural gas and oil depends on environmentally responsible development. The nation can realize the benefits of these larger resources by ensuring they are developed and delivered in a safe, responsible, and environmentally acceptable manner in all circumstances."

TSA is a fiasco and should be disbanded: TSA Founder

I disagree.  TSA is the best educational program, showing how the state can be stupid, expensive and cruel all at the same time.  TSA is worth millions of votes to conservatives.  I say we keep it.

HUMAN EVENTS -- "A decade after the TSA was created following the September 11 attacks, the author of the legislation that established the massive agency grades its performance at “D-.”

“The whole program has been hijacked by bureaucrats,” said Rep. John Mica (R. -Fla.), chairman of the House Transportation Committee. “It mushroomed into an army,” Mica said.  “It’s gone from a couple-billion-dollar enterprise to close to $9 billion." As for keeping the American public safe, Mica says, “They’ve failed to actually detect any threat in 10 years.”

“Everything they have done has been reactive.  They take shoes off because of shoe-bomber Richard Reid, passengers are patted down because of the diaper bomber, and you can’t pack liquids because the British uncovered a plot using liquids,” Mica said. “It’s an agency that is always one step out of step,” Mica said.

It cost $1 billion just to train workers, which now number more than 62,000, and “they actually trained more workers than they have on the job,” Mica said.

“The whole thing is a complete fiasco," Mica said.  "Screeners should be privatized and the agency dismantled."

Friday, September 16, 2011

Google's Religious Pricing Policy: Standard, garden variety San Francisco bigotry

What Birmingham was to racial bigotry, San Francisco is to political and religious bigotry.  Same old stuff in a trendier package.  But by and large big southern companies fought against racism.  By contrast, Google revels in its smelly little orthodoxies. Stephen Carter explains here.  I'm going to try Bing for a while...

Google also added a remarkable list of restrictions for eligible charitable groups and institutions. Among those not able to apply for the program are websites where people donate cars to charity; child care centers, unless the “entire” purpose is to serve a disadvantaged community; hospitals; websites “that result in a poor experience for the viewer”; and -- most troublesome -- “places or institutions of worship (e.g., churches, ministries, temples, synagogues).”
This last restriction caught religious groups by surprise - -and, according to an article in Christianity Today, which first reported the story, many have cut back on services in response to the unexpected price increases on Google’s applications. Another program, the cloud computing service Google App Engine, recently beset with controversy because of price increases, may also soon see discounts for non-profits -- with similar restrictions, one assumes.)
The evangelist (and Watergate veteran) Charles Colson has labeled Google’s action as“corporate cowardice.” That is clearly over the top -- the only entity that I can imagine Google might fear is Facebook -- but I do believe the new policy is a serious mistake. I am a great fan of Google and its products, and, like most everyone these days, I rely on its search engine. But Google for Nonprofits is poorly conceived.

Left Handed Federalism

I’ve been thinking about progressives and Federalism and as SNL’s Chico Escuala might say:  “Federalism be berry, berry good to them”.  Because what we have now is really ‘left handed’ Federalism.

Left Handed FederalismProgressives have the best of centralization and federalism – Federal Domestic legislation is almost always ‘minimum standard’ legislation, mandating a minimum state intervention or benefit.  Progressive (I’m omitting the ironic scare quotes for style) states are free to pursue Federalism in the only way that they want to:  more state intervention.  More conservative states don’t have the same option, thus we have left handed Federalism.

Constitutional Nullification  Progressive states have replaced the solid south as the locus for Federal Nullification – whether it’s cities refusing to accept the SC’s 2nd Amendment decisions or medical marijuana (which I support, btw) progressive states and communities routinely refuse to abide by or enforce Federal laws they don’t like.  They are aided in this by an establishment press who hardly ever finds fault with them for it.

Exhibit No 1:  Immigration  The best example of this is immigration.  Recently, Arizona had the temerity to pass a law directing state and local law enforcement to do nothing more than enforce the Federal law and was pilloried for infringing on the ‘prerogatives’ of the Federal government.  By contrast, California routinely and actively nullifies Federal immigration law, handing out drivers licenses and so on.  And all we hear are…crickets.  Orval Faubus is now Jerry Brown.

Turning the Tables   What would happen if Federal law was rewritten to be ‘maximum intervention’ rather than ‘minimum standard’, leaving states the ability to intervene less but not more?  And what will happen to progressive nullification as the establishment press continues to decompose and information becomes more and more democratic?

The End of Empire  I think some prescient progressives are realizing that with the collapse of the social democratic model the future will not be kind to progressive governance and its favored constituencies.  As the rot spreads, they will increasingly see themselves as latter day Celtic Monks fortifying their state monasteries to save ‘civilization’ from the conservative huns. 

It goes without saying that the process works in reverse for us barbarians.  Something that concerns me greatly.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

So what do you tell your kids?

Jim Manzi makes a good point that the 'good' jobs that people hunt for are precisely those so 'well defined' as to be automatable and outsourceable.  It's the complicated, non-standard activities that are safer.  He calls it "Me, Inc".  Get good at managing ambiguity and working for yourself seems to be the answer.  Read the whole thing.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Evidently it is Mathematics that is sexist...

Male Female disparities in math achievement remain constant regardless of policy or inputs.  Could biology have something to do with it?  Could it be something other than male evil?  Is it possible?

Selection Bias - The case of WW2 Bomber Armor

There are three big issues with statistics and public policy:  confusing correlation with causation, relying on unvalidated models to project the future and selection bias.  Here's a great example of the third from WW2.

election bias and bombers

by JOHN on JANUARY 21, 2008
During WWII, statistician Abraham Wald was asked to help the British decide where to add armor to their bombers. After analyzing the records, he recommended adding more armor to the places where there was no damage!
This seems backward at first, but Wald realized his data came from bombers that survived. That is, the British were only able to analyze the bombers that returned to England; those that were shot down over enemy territory were not part of their sample. These bombers’ wounds showed where they could afford to be hit. Said another way, the undamaged areas on the survivors showed where the lost planes must have been hit because the planes hit in those areas did not return from their missions.
Wald assumed that the bullets were fired randomly, that no one could accurately aim for a particular part of the bomber. Instead they aimed in the general direction of the plane and sometimes got lucky. So, for example, if Wald saw that more bombers in his sample had bullet holes in the middle of the wings, he did notconclude that Nazis liked to aim for the middle of wings. He assumed that there must have been about as many bombers with bullet holes in every other part of the plane but that those with holes elsewhere were not part of his sample because they had been shot down.

Screw the Young - Again

Two tier wage structures are all the wage in unionized industries as Dad and Grand dad hold on to their gains by sticking tit to their kids.  As with Social Security, Medicare, the Drug War and the rest of the Federal state, us elders are behaving shamefully towards our kids.  Why?  Because we're greedy and they have no power.  I don't have to tell you that before the 20th century the looting of the next generation by their parents and grandparents was unprecedented in the history of the world.  Such are the wages of 'social democracy'.

WALTER RUSSELL MEAD: The War Against The Young: Detroit Edition. “Chrysler is experimenting with a two-tier pay system – high wages for experienced older workers and about half that salary for new, young recruits. Economists are excited because it brings in jobs without overburdening the company’s payroll; Via Meadia, on the other hand, sees the arrangement as just another battlefield in the war against the young. . . . When it comes to adjustments, the union movement and the older generation at large makes sure that the pain falls on the young rather than spreading it around. It’s a shame, especially since the young workers will also be paying taxes into Medicare to fund health care for seniors today that the country won’t be able to afford when today’s twenty-somethings want to collect. One of the big questions in American politics: will America’s young people realize they are being systematically scammed and organize to stop it, or will the older generations continue to pull the wool over those adorable little eyes?”

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

This is how Cronies make money

Buffett invested 5 Billion in B of A after Fannie Mae (AKA the Feds) took huge amounts of dud mortgages off of the troubled bank's balance sheet - and paid them half a billion to boot.   More importantly, the value of the dud assets has not been disclosed.  Thus a bankrupt Fannie took money from the Feds to take (undisclosed) bad assets from a tottering B of A and then magically, two weeks later, BH swoops in to pick up $5 Bills worth of now more attractive B of A paper.

What did the Feds tell Buffett that they haven't told the rest of us?  More here.

Given Bank of America’s recent struggles—its stock has fallen 55 percent from the beginning of 2011 to its lowest point last month—it has had a not-so-clandestine need for capital and confidence. Warren Buffett’s $5 billion capital injection to this end was a much-discussed event in August. The Treasury Department’s $500 million-plus capital injection via Fannie Mae two weeks before the Oracle of Omaha got back in the bank saving game was not.

The secrecy is a problem, particular given the absurdity of Fannie Mae—which itself needed a $5.1 billion bailout just two months ago—bringing more liabilities onto its balance sheet.

Obama is a plant to discredit government

The Manchurian hack?  I report, you decide.  Here.

Lies, damned lies and poverty statistics

Watching our elite 'media' one would conclude that starvation and homelessness (at least during Republican administrations) is rampant in the land.  Leading poverty wonk Robert Rector corrects the record here.  Money graf:

How can that be? In 2009, the U.S. Department of Agriculture asked parents living in poverty this question: “In the last 12 months, were [your] children ever hungry but you just couldn’t afford more food?” Some 96 percent of poor parents responded “no”: Their children never had been hungry because of a lack of food resources at any time in the previous year. Only 4 percent of poor parents responded “yes,” their children had been hungry at some point in the year.

Only 4 percent of poor parents even said their children had ever been hungry during the year.  That is as close to zero as you can get in a public survey.  The elite media are frauds and liars.  Once again.

Arab Spring: Teenage Temper Tantrum

I've lived and worked in the Middle East and Southeast Asia and what is happening in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Syria seems to me to be very much like a teenager's rebellion.  These societies are growing up and have gotten a taste of wealth and modernity and are now in a very awkward adolescent phase.  Some of the Dads were nasty but even if they were fairly benign, the kids are just sick of being told what to do.  Sometimes this ends up being a time of growth into maturity but sometimes it is a time when the teen runs off the rails.  I fear for many Arab states the combination of the disappearance of long term authority structures and decades of heavy, intolerant Islamization will lead to a lot of teen countries in the ditch.  Sigh.

SPENGLER: Endgame For Egypt. “The misnamed ‘Arab Spring,’ really a convulsion of a dying society, began with food shortages. Egypt imports half its caloric consumption, 45% of its people are illiterate, its university graduates are unemployable, its $10 billion a year tourism industry is shuttered for the duration, and its foreign exchange reserves are gradually disappearing.”

It DOES NOT take a village to raise a family...

It turns out that Hilary Clinton's ghost written psychobabble may not be true.  I guess it was just ideological pap to push for more state intervention to facilitate more elite looting.  I can't believe Hilary would do such a thing.  I for one am shocked, shocked that the lady who stole $100,000 in White House china and silver would behave in such a way. What is our power elite coming to?

“In the African villages that I study in Mali, children fare as well in nuclear families as they do in extended families,” said U-M researcher Beverly Strassmann, professor of anthropology and faculty associate at the U-M Institute for Social Research (ISR). “There’s a na├»ve belief that villages raise children communally, when in reality children are raised by their own families and their survival depends critically on the survival of their mothers.”

Social Security - Not a Ponzi scheme...because Ponzi schemes are voluntary

Liberal "Tolerance" defined

In yesterday’s Impromptus, I mentioned an interesting fact — at least I think it’s interesting: During the 2008 cycle, Fox News was scheduled to host a Democratic presidential debate. But the candidates canceled, because Fox was judged beyond the pale — it had cooties. Last week, the Republicans debated under the auspices of MSNBC.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Obama: From Hero to....well you know

 In Barack Obama’s third August in office, the stimulus-fatigued U.S. economy created no jobs. In August 1983, thanks to Ronald Reagan’s pro-market reforms, America generated 280,000 new positions.

Our Fearless Leaders: Malpractice on a Continental Scale

Despite the obvious importance of science, one group of people does everything in pure defiance of scientific methods: politicians. What do politicians do when they think they have a great idea? They just go and implement it. It’s like someone thinking he’s got a cure for cancer and immediately injecting it into everyone he can. That’s a madman, not a scientist. You always have to at least try out your idea on monkeys to make sure it doesn’t kill them.
Were farm subsidies first tried on monkeys? Social Security? Bank bailouts? No, the unscientific politicians went straight to trying all their ideas on humans, and now we have a bunch of bankrupt people instead of harmless bankrupt monkeys.
But the problem with testing political ideas on monkeys is that forcing them to go billions into debt would violate animal-cruelty laws. The only ones we’re allowed to do that to are people.
Read the whole thing.

The Capital Strike in One Picture - Investment vs. Consumption

The reason we have an anemic recovery is because business does not have confidence in the future.  The primary reason for that is the massive and ongoing change in the rules of the game ushered in by the Obama administration.  Note:  if businessmen thought that the changes in the rules were going to benefit them then we would be seeing an investment boom.  For good reason they assume that the Obami are out to screw them and are acting accordingly.

This really isn't that complicated, gang.

Headwinds indeed

It was obvious to Todd on September 16, 2001 that the Atta technique had become obsolete at the hands of ordinary citizens. Our government is still spending a fortune defending against it.

And read Brad Todd’s “109 Minutes,” from September 16, 2001. Key bit:
Just 109 minutes after a new form of terrorism — the most deadly yet invented — came into use, it was rendered, if not obsolete, at least decidedly less effective.
Deconstructed, unengineered, thwarted, and put into the dust bin of history. By Americans. In 109 minutes.
And in retrospect, they did it in the most American of ways. They used a credit card to rent a fancy cell phone to get information just minutes old, courtesy of the ubiquitous 24-hour news phenomenon. Then they took a vote. When the vote called for sacrifice to protect country and others, there apparently wasn’t a shortage of volunteers. Their action was swift. It was decisive. And it was effective.
United Flight 93 did not hit a building. It did not kill anyone on the ground. It did not terrorize a city, despite the best drawn plans of the world’s most innovative madmen. Why? Because it had informed Americans on board who’d had 109 minutes to come up with a counteraction.

Friday, September 09, 2011

It's a (Police) thug world

Mall of America - an official Thug No Freedom Zone.  Stay away.

From Salon.

Poor BHO: Once again suffering under the "Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations"

People hold Palin to a much higher standard than they do the One, don't they?

Plus: “It’s even worse, because Palin’s (accurate) comments were made in an on-the-fly interview whereas Obama’s were in a prepared speech.”

What comes next?

In a superb and fairly balanced historical overview, Matthew Continetti argues that the New Deal Order is finally over and he asks what comes next.  Really worth a read, particularly for its historical perspective. An excerpt:

When our imaginary foreign journalist left Washington last week, in between the earthquake and the hurricane, he brooded on the current impasse. America had taken more than a decade of blows to the belly. There was no end in sight. Left, right, and center were voicing doubt and criticism of President Obama. None of the contenders for the Republican presidential nomination seemed quite appropriate for the job. The country was on the verge of another recession, the debt continued to metastasize, Iran was arming. There was a widespread feeling that the old order was passing away.
That led him to reflect on the prospects of the American welfare state. He asked how it could possibly keep the promises it had made. He pondered how long a political system could function without the public trust. He meditated on the strengths and weaknesses of the New Deal order. And he wondered: What comes next?

What does it mean to say that the 'science is settled' when half of the science is crap?

Even in the most rigorous, 'scientific' areas of academia, half of the 'findings' can't be reproduced.  Kind of makes you wonder about all of those global warming 'proofs', doesn't it?  Add this to the dishonest, essentially religious press accounts of environmental controversies and you have a real epistimological problem:  How DO you know what you know?

Just one more way Colleges and Universities have taken us for a ride.

Bayer halts nearly two-thirds of its target-validation projects because in-house experimental findings fail to match up with published literature claims, finds a first-of-a-kind analysis on data irreproducibility.
An unspoken industry rule alleges that at least 50% of published studies from academic laboratories cannot be repeated in an industrial setting, wrote venture capitalist Bruce Booth in a recent blog post. A first-of-a-kind analysis of Bayer’s internal efforts to validate ‘new drug target’ claims now not only supports this view but suggests that 50% may be an underestimate; the company’s in-house experimental data do not match literature claims in 65% of target-validation projects, leading to project discontinuation.
“People take for granted what they see published,” says John Ioannidis, an expert on data reproducibility at Stanford University School of Medicine in California, USA. “But this and other studies are raising deep questions about whether we can really believe the literature, or whether we have to go back and do everything on our own.”
For the non-peer-reviewed analysis, Khusru Asadullah, Head of Target Discovery at Bayer, and his colleagues looked back at 67 target-validation projects, covering the majority of Bayer’s work in oncology, women’s health and cardiovascular medicine over the past 4 years. Of these, results from internal experiments matched up with the published findings in only 14 projects, but were highly inconsistent in 43 (in a further 10 projects, claims were rated as mostly reproducible, partially reproducible or not applicable; see article online here). “We came up with some shocking examples of discrepancies between published data and our own data,” says Asadullah. These included inabilities to reproduce: over-expression of certain genes in specific tumour types; and decreased cell proliferation via functional inhibition of a target using RNA interference.
There is more here.  And here:
The unspoken rule is that at least 50% of the studies published even in top tier academic journals –Science, Nature, CellPNAS, etc… – can’t be repeated with the same conclusions by an industrial lab. In particular, key animal models often don’t reproduce.  This 50% failure rate isn’t a data free assertion: it’s backed up by dozens of experienced R&D professionals who’ve participated in the (re)testing of academic findings