Tuesday, December 31, 2013

DC Media smack foreheads: "By Jove, I knew something was missing, Obama isn't qualified to run a midget whorehouse, much less the US government"

Politico soft shoes it (don't want to PO the establishment) but they make the essential point:  BHO came to office with virtually no demonstrated capacity to do the job for which he was hired.  And it shows.

The fruits of hiring a chief magistrate because of his skin color.  Not that McCain was any better, we were considering hiring him for the job based upon his demonstrated ability to get beat up longer and harder than most anyone else, which is a qual for Mixed Martial Arts, not the Political Arts.

Yes they can't.

Of course some weisenheimer commenter had to point out that the Federal government is very much akin to a multi-trillion dollar midget whorehouse.  Sigh.

Gosh darn global warming!

Enviros trapped in world record summer Antarctic ice pack.  Two icebreakers fail to save them, ship abandoned.  Which is a very inconvenient truth.  Story here.


The economy is still not nearly back to the long term growth trend line (extend the blue line before 2008 straight) which is why the red line is so low.  Boy we've had a lot of  'Hope 'n Change' haven't we?

The true value of a robust market for governance

George Mason's Michael Greve explains the benefits of state governance diversity:

Polarization (whether measured by single-party control over states, policy outcomes, or whatever) has its downsides. Single-party states may start to work like the House of Commons and “overshoot” in a red or blue direction. At the federal level, a polarized system is bound to produce politicians who aren’t used to compromise; and unless one or the other party rakes all the chips off the table, you can’t get a darn thing done in Washington.
On the other hand: as noted before (e.g. here) the right, “competitive” kind of federalism requires a certain degree of polarization (or sectionalism). And the price may well be worth paying. Consider a few well-understood but underestimated advantages:
· Competitive federalism reveals information. We can debate the abstract advantages of “red” or “blue,” “American” and “European” social models until the cows come home: there’s no substitute for observing the actual effects in real life.
· Competitive federalism satisfies preferences. A thoroughly blue or red United States would leave one half of the country very unhappy. That’s not true under federalism—not when preferences are heterogeneous across states and (relatively) homogeneous within states. As, increasingly, now.
· Competitive federalism reveals preferences and reduces ignorance. People move across states lines in response to a ton of factors (climate, jobs, housing costs…)—many of which are policy-dependent. “Foot-voting” is a pretty good political feed-back mechanism: sooner or later, (state) politicians will pay attention. And as my colleague Ilya Somin has argued in a recent book, there’s no incentive to cast an informed vote for the House, Senate or President; so people vote in near-total ignorance. They don’t vote that way with their feet, for obvious reasons.
You can’t have those sweet advantages without the bitter; the trick is to minimize the costs. Here, that means national-level solutions that allow the states to go their own way, instead of entangling them in federal schemes. Dan Balz thinks we’re moving in that direction, and so do I.
A few quick words about California and Texas: you can make a serious case that these states are really too big for the United States. Whenever we had a choice, we’ve made states roughly equal in size (that’s why the prairie states look so similar, and how Michigan ended up with a piece of real estate that obviously belongs to Wisconsin). Due to the way we acquired Texas and California, that wasn’t doable and so here we are. All things equal it’s not good to have two or so big whales and a bunch of pilot fish: what if the big guys start swimming in the same direction? It’ll look like the EU.
Texas and California aren’t, and a lot depends on keeping it that way. One aspect of the competition that IMHO merits special attention:
There’s been a lot of talk about increasing inequality and the “hollowing-out” of the middle class. Some of the jeremiads are probably overblown, but the concern is real and in any event politically salient.
Who will do better in this regard—California, or Texas? My impression (as an occasional visitor) is that California is becoming a place for multi-millionaires, union members, beach bums, and welfare recipients. Everyone else is toast, or would be better off elsewhere. Texas somehow feels different. It’s at least possible that in this country, a “blue” social model means a lot more inequality.

Monday, December 30, 2013

The ambiguous, inscrutable God

One of the things that I've learned in this life is how a strong belief in something (a business, an ideology, a person, God) can narrow one's understanding of it and blind you to the difficult bits.  When we commit to something or someone we tend to avoid issues or questions about our 'beloved' that are difficult, unpleasant or just perplexing.  That's what happened to me with the Christian God (and my ex-wife, my business and my ability to clear water hazards with my driver from 200 yards out).  For almost all my life I've been a stalwart Evangelical Christian, Southern Baptist division and then, after I got my education, switching to the Evangelical Presbyterian division (a little insider Presbo humor).  Sunday school teacher, tither, retreater, BSFer (bible study), mission tripper, the full Yahweh.

But as I aged and failed and divorced I came to question whether I was really on God's team, what the Baptists call 'saved' and the Presbos call 'elect'.  And once I began to entertain those doubts I shifted to what I would call a 'Rawlsian' analytical position.  John Rawls was a generally irritating establishment mouthpiece of a philosopher from Harvard but he articulated the common sense notion of the 'original position'.  The original position was the idea that we should not evaluate the truth, desirability or goodness of any regime or proposition from the standpoint of a 'winner' in that system.  Instead we should reason without knowing whether we win or lose.  Doing so allows one to look in places that the true believer might overlook. Now please note: I come at this from an orthodox (no not Archbishop Makarios with the funky hat and man dress, that's Orthodox) Christian perspective - there is no Jesus Project or Madelyn Murray O'hare hysteria in this. Just Sunday school semi-literacy.

And since I've dispensed with the assumption that 'of course' I'm on Team Yahweh, I've come up with a whole bunch of conundrums, paradoxes or just oddities about Christianity that never occurred to me or at least never rose to the level of conscious concern before.  I still am a believer, but I no longer pretend that I understand Him or that I know that He will 'save' me.  The more I think about it, the more I realize that I (and everyone else IMHO) know a lot less about the Creator than we think.  The following are a list of 'conundrums' and 'paradoxes' that have occurred to me for your reading pleasure.  Or not.

Sin Free in '33?
It is Church doctrine that Jesus was fully man and fully God and unique among men lived a sin free life.  Yet it is a trivial task to find examples of Jesus doing things that would get any one of us into serious trouble with the law or at least our moms.  And this contradiction is in his marketing brochure, so to speak, so He's not even trying to hide it.  What's His point?  Damned if I know.

A lover that loves to punish.
The Church presents Jesus as the sin qua non of love and compassion - the Lamb of God.  Yet go back to the Gospels and right there in broad daylight is Jesus talking with apparent relish (certainly not sorrow) about all of the Pharisees and Scribes and their converts who he says will get what's coming to them good and hard.  So which is it?  Ghandi? or Himmler?  Both?

Immortal death?
Another puzzler is the rather odd way that the Church represents Jesus' death and resurrection.  As the old hymn goes: "Oh how He loves you and me, He gave his life, what more could He give?". This is nonsense:  Jesus is part of the Godhead, he is immortal and infinite.  He doesn't do dying. What died couldn't be anything more than the 'meat puppet' or if you hate that image, the 'earthly form' that He roamed around Palestine in.  Saying He 'died' because it died, would be like saying that God the father 'died' because the burning bush got chopped down.

Is Jesus really my friend?
And while we're on the topic of sappy songs about Jesus what's up with 'you've got a friend in Jesus'?  Or for that matter 'What would Jesus Do'?  I may be a little pedantically negative here but Jesus is only your friend if he saves you.  And you won't know that until your number comes up, no matter how tight you think you are with the Triune God.  If God damns you I think it only reasonable to sing 'You have an enemy in Jesus' or even 'Whatever Jesus Would Do (to me) You Should Do the Opposite or WJWD(tm)YSDtO.  Okay, so it's not catchy, sue me.

Why is Hell Hell for Jesus?
And Jesus having a hellish experience descending into hell? Really?  As I understand it God is the creator of everything, Hell is part of his property portfolio so to speak.  And once again, He's infinite and most importantly, omnipresent while Satan and his cast of demons are created creatures consigned to God's custom built dungeon.  Having Jesus go to Hell for a few days seems to me to be more like General Burkhalter visiting Stalag 13 and already knowing about Hogan's tunnel, still, radio and affair with Klink's secretary because he's been there all along - it's the Colonel Klinks of hell who should be filled with terror, not Jesus.

The agony of our sins.
A key tenet of the faith is that Jesus took on the sins of the world and that this was the most horrible, painful experience ever undertaken by a sinless God (see above).  Let's apply some arithmetic to that claim, shall we?  The problem with the Universe (as Douglas Adams pointed out) is that all the numbers are terrible.   Our universe has (conservatively) 100 billion galaxies each with 100 billion stars and most with some planets.  It's existed as best we can tell for 14 billion years.  So there are roughly 3.5E+28 4,000 year civilizational period/star combinations in the 14 billion years of our universe.  That's 3.5 with 28 zeros after it for the Theologians in the audience.

And Jesus is part of the core team that makes these things.

So the accumulated sins of one sentient species on one planet in one 4,000 year period divided by this number is tiny, to put it mildly.  But let me give you a little more human scale perspective:  Each of us has about 100 trillion cells in our bodies.  All the humans alive today have a grand total of 7E+23 cells in all our bodies (or 100 Tril times 7 Bil).  So there are more 'addressable civilizational star timescale pairs' in the universe than there are cells in all the human beings alive today - as a matter of fact 50,000 times more.  So if a human is to humankind's cells the way that God is to the universe then the laboring and travailing of humanity would be experienced by you as one skin cell sluffing off out of one of the 7 billion humans' bodies once every 50,000 years.  By comparison you'll sluff about 40,000 off today, more if you pick your nose.  And of course the 'sins of the cellular world' would be more akin to a cell's list of particulars for why the ribosomes were so mad at the golgi apparatus for locking them in a vacuole.  Human tempest:  here's your universe scale teapot.

Besides, if Jesus had undergone the type of spiritual and psychological trauma that the pastorate attributes to Him in their more fevered Jeremiads, where are the traces?  He shows up three days later with his meat puppet needing some body work but otherwise all boomps-a-daisy, no psych trauma, no nightmares, nothing. It's all "Jesus! The Resurrection Tour".  And this is the profile of someone who has just survived the worst emotional, psychological and spiritual trauma ever experienced in the history of the world?# But then you'll argue "He's God, he's infinite and powerful so he wouldn't get damaged". Which is my point exactly.##

So you're friends with Jesus, so what?
The evangelical world emphasizes having a 'personal relationship with God"  Yet theologians that I trust (except when we're playing for money) tell me that Jesus' key role at the end of time is to judge the 'quick and the dead'.  And crucially, in the Great Salvation Sweepstakes, Jesus will not consider any detail  about any of us, our goodness, badness, or for that matter, badassness,  instead he'll be 'going with his gut' so to speak, "lest any man should boast" (well except for those Pharisees and scribes he railed on in Matthew, He seems to already have it in for them).  Bottom line:  you can have a kick ass relationship with Jesus but it won't amount to a hill of beans on Judgement day.   That you've been His faithful pal for 80 years will not be a selection criteria because Jesus picks his own friends.

Where's the rest of me?
And precisely who is Jesus saving anyway?  He makes His choice without reference to our deeds (and I assume without reference to our good looks, singing voice or penchant for smart assery - Oh God I hope so).  If that's the case, is He really choosing to save 'me' or am I just part of the 'quota' and any old soul will do?  Now there's a thought to make you feel small.

The Bible?  Well you see, it's just this book.
Last but not least, the Holy Bible:  the Judeo Christian 'ethical tradition' is a true wonder of the world - the best, most sophisticated expression of how we should live.  This body of wisdom was handed down to us from God.  And on the final day when the greatest decision that will be made for any of us will be decided, Jesus will reach down and chuck it out the window to be replaced with the holy 'coin flip' that will seal our fates.  Nothing that he teaches (aside from his own sovereignty) will be applied in the 'sorting'. It's almost like He built this entire body of law and wisdom and then decided it was not going to work and went with plan B.  A lot like Judaism, in fact.*

So:  a sin free savior that sins, the great humanitarian with a sideline in concentration camps, the immortal God who somehow contrived to get himself 'killed', a God that loves you unless He doesn't , the creator and ruler of hell who is intimidated by it, an infinite being who agonizes over infinitesimal events, a personal relationship with God that is irrelevant to God's final opinion of you, and finally a God so detached from the ethical foundation of his own faith that at the crucial point (for us) he replaces it with a simple binary decision heuristic.

So what does it all mean Basil?  First of all, I'm assuming I'm not the first person to notice this stuff and therefore there may be perfectly rational explanations rising above the level of 'because'.   After all, I'm no theogenius: I spent 52 years on God's team without ever getting to call a play.  But I suspect that part of what is going on is the natural tendency of humans to 'anthropomorphize' (you owe me a dollar for that word) anything we come in contact with:  we imbue everything with human attributes because it makes a strange and brutal world more comprehensible.  We also demand answers even when there aren't any.  And when you take those two human behaviors and mix them with a immense concept like an infinite God and toss them into the marketplace of ideas where real money changes hands, you're apt to get quite a bit of cognitive distortion even before you get to the average knucklehead on the street.  And all of that distortion will come in the direction of making God simpler, more like us and possibly 'nicer' which seems to be the case in some of the 'paradoxes' mentioned above.

But as I said before:  I don't call plays, I don't even start, I'm more like a blocking dummy on the practice squad.  But I consider it fortunate that God  is less comprehensible and less like us than we think. Because a God built in our image would be the horror of the age.

*Now you may say, "wait a minute, the purpose of the law is to condemn man and show that he needs Grace". So what you're saying is the whole damned book is just God screaming that we suck in a thousand different always erudite and literary ways?    Hokay, you guys are the experts.

#Actually it's more like Jesus experienced all the emotional, spiritual and psychological agony ever perpetrated in the world but it's still small beer to the infinite

## I can think of one other way that this could be explained:  If Jesus on earth was temporarily not infinite, Omnipotent, etc. and didn't have full awareness or memory of his Godhead status then His achievement would become proportionately greater.  Sort of 'God in recovery mode' or less charitably, 'Retard God'.

Mexico is getting better....fast.

Great piece by Mike Barone outlining the progress Mexico has made.  It's great news for a great people.

Since the AGW models are all wrong, then the underlying science must be fundamentally wrong in at least one respect

Which means that the science isn't settle.  Which means that the policies being pursued are based upon shoddy science that doesn't understand the climate system enough to make short term model predictions.
David Hoffer explains in detail here.

It's all a house of cards.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

It's true! All your exes live in Texas. Net migration to the dystopia vs Cali and NY.

From a great speech by Richard Fisher, President of the Dallas Fed.  Yee.  Haw.

At college 'we pretend to teach and they pretend to learn'

 You'd think that since in most cases they're just selling scraps of paper,not marketable skills that we could get the price down.  But tragically, the Federales are involved and they pride themselves on making the simple and cheap insane and expensive.  Story here.

Any novel? Or does it need to be "Literature"?

Hey!  I just said what everyone was thinking.


HT Instapundit.com

Massachusetts, the Model for Obamacare has the highest health costs in the nation

I've pointed this out before but as you'll note from the source of this headline the so called main stream media continue to studiously (desperately, cravenly, criminally?) avoid reporting this rather crucial factoid.

As Modern Healthcare reports:
Massachusetts, whose health care reform program was used as a template for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, had the highest per capita health spending in the U.S. in 2009. According to the commission's report, the state spent $9,278 per person on health care in 2009, which was 36 percent higher than the national average of $6,815, and 11.2 percent more than the next-highest state, New York, which spent $8,341.
And I, utterly unable to help myself will pile on by pointing out that 'ol #2 New York was among the first to implement the two provisions of the ACA loved by health inflation aficionados everywhere:  shall issue and community rate.  Oh, and in case you love inflation, MA has the highest patient wait times to see a new doctor/specialist - 54 days, 2.5 times greater than the national average and more than twice as long as a metro like DFW which is larger, growing more than twice as fast and unlike Boston is 'diverse'.  Oh, Massachusetts also has the second highest concentration of Physicians in the nation. Amazing, ain't it?

For a libertarian conservative like me, PPACA is the gift that just keeps on giving!

But you gotta feel for the ink stained leftist wretches:  I mean if you're trying to jam a law called the Affordable Care Act down the throats of a gagging, choking electorate without the use of lubrication, the last thing you want to point out is that the Affordable part of the title is an absolute screaming, fucking lie.  After all, what are we here?  A goddamn democracy?

All hail the great and glorious Federal Superstate and our Elective Monarch on the Eagle throne, or for almost three weeks this depressed holiday season, the Eagle Chaise Lounge.

You know, I think I may finally be losing my temper on this thing.

Anti-semitism is the best indicator of incipient barbarism

I don't have much use for most Jews - after all they're overwhelmingly lefty and a lot of the ones who aren't are cogs in the Lootetron 2000 we call Wall Street or even worse in Hollywood (not to mention that a lot of 'em seem to hate my guts without ever meeting me).  But I don't have use for them because of what they do and believe, not because their Momma was a Jew.  After all, a lot of my best friends are Jews.  No, that's a lie, a few are but I really don't know that many, after all, I'm a typical flyover country goy.  Indeed, thank God I'm a Country Goy!

But like most Evangelicals, or in my case post-Evangelicals (or maybe pre-lapsarian Evangelicals, I don't know my posting and lapsing which may be why I'm so post), I have a soft spot for Israel and not because of the non-immanentized eschaton (what part of post don't you get?) but because they seem to be the only decent chaps in a truly shitty neighborhood.  That and the fact that they positively kick ass! Again and again and again - and if you're going to take sides in a fight halfway around the world, why not go with the local Yankees franchise?

That's why I find anti-semitism so illuminating.  Walter Russell Mead by way of Glen Reynolds points out that arab anti-semitism has reached levels that imply a Red level alert for that region's mental health.  And certain academic groups such as the American Studies Association in the US, not being satisfied with being looney left, have now set out to displace the Palestinians as the absolute most deranged group of hepcats in creation.  Which is damned hard to do.

But as Glenn points out, if you need a quick and dirty diagnostic for lunacy:  Iranian Mullahs, Al Quaeda fanatics, Academic Marxists, Pat Buchanan, you could do a lot worse than a simple anti-semite saliva test.  Of course once you diagnose the nutter butters there really is no cure other than putting them down.  Which works for dogs, but not people.  And dogs as a species aren't known (except for the Alsatians, Dobermans, Dachshunds and Shnauzers) for their anti-semitism.

Anyway, scratch a Jew hater and you'll almost always find bat shit crazy underneath.

Captain Perfecto #3 - Trial of the Multiverse or Loopholes are for Lawyers

This is part 3.  If you are a masochist, you can try parts one and two.  Just don't forget the Ibuprofen.

"So the case got dismissed."
"On what grounds"
"Does it really matter?  Lack of standing, lack of jurisdiction, lèse-majesté, because."

The lawyer flicked an imaginary dust mote off of his impeccably tailored trousers, the crease was sharp enough to cut flesh.
"The totalitarian ruler of the universe has any number of remedies up to and including the execution and perpetual torture of the plaintiff."
"So what happened here?
"The totalitarian ruler of the universe has any number of remedies up to and including the execution and perpetual torture of the plaintiff."
"Ah, so."
"Yes, sad really.  I don't understand what Adam and Eve were trying to do. After all, it was very clear from the beginning that they were created to invalidate the warranty by misusing those fruit components."
"You mean it was a set up job?"
"Of course, how could it be otherwise?  They don't call the ruler of the universe Captain Perfecto for nothing", the lawyer said primly.  Indeed, everything about him screamed prim:  suit, gleaming desk, even his screen saver looked like it would be happiest in a spinster's study.

"But why? What does He have to gain by creating, enticing and then smashing these silly little pumpkins?"
"Well that's the million dollar question, isn't it?  I guess at some level He just enjoys the chase, creating and manipulating humans is his 'thing' so to speak."
"But this one seems to have gotten way, way out of hand, I mean 60 billion souls, keeeriiist, that's a lot of wastage"
"And it's still going strong.  But the one thing you never, ever, ever do is hold the almighty God accountable for what He creates. Or does, for that matter. That's a big no no."
"But who else can be responsible?  I mean God made it didn't He?"
"And he's perfect isn't He?"
"Well, after a fashion."
"What do you mean?"

The lawyer shifted in his chair, considered crossing his legs and then noting his perfect crease, demurred. 
"Well there are some of us that believe that God only appears to be perfect because He sits outside of space and time, in other words, He sees the future and arranges it such that it turns out the way He wants - He engineers His personal perfection into the system."
"I see"
"Of course all of His mucking around with time to make Himself look good plays absolute hob with the universe - the amount of chaos and pain that occur because of His 'never ending pursuit of perfection' well, let's just say that we wouldn't have a human rights tribunal or a FEMA if God was a tad less....fastidious."

"So what about you?"
"What about me?"
"Well you seem to have God's 'number' and excuse me for saying, but you don't seem to be his biggest fan, why aren't you dead and being tortured? Sorry for being so blunt."
"What makes you think that I'm not?"
"Being tortured? Well for one thing, you're sitting here."
"There are lots of different types of torture, God is infinite and therefore infinitely creative in his infinite cruelty"
"Oh, ha-ha, joke's on me!"
"Let's just say that I have limited immunity.."
"Oh, UN, huh"
"Sort of."

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The advantage of Bitcoin is simple: It can't be manipulated by the statists

And that is potentially worth trillions.  Which is why a 'fake' currency created by a shadowy Japanese professor and used heretofore primarily as a payment conduit for the illegal drug trade is now getting some serious attention.  The 'legitimate' governments of the world having drained themselves of almost all credibility have made Bitcoin possible. Bloody amazin'.

Aussie Bank Asks "Will Bitcoin Replace The Dollar?"

Bitcoin is rapidly becoming part of the everyday lexicon. Following David Woo's investigation, National Australia Bank's Emma Lawson looks at its creation, use, and quality as "currency," and find that Bitcoin meets most, but not all the conditions required to be a currency. Lawson concludes Bitcoin may not be the most efficient monetary system, given the costs to create, and that the supply set-up can be seen as both an advantage (hyperinflation is not possible) but also a disadvantage (there are conditions which may create deflation). But, if enough people believe in it, and use it, it may be here to stay as a payment system. Simply put, its success (or failure) will depend on establishing trust and adoption.


Monsieur: The Dog Food, it stinks, please take it away

Nobody is eating what the Lord and Savior is grinding these days.  Couldn't happen to a smugger crowd of cronies.  Smug and ignorant is no way to go through life, Mr. President.

A new Gallup poll finds President Obama’s approval rating at 39 percent and his disapproval rating at 54 percent. But it’s not just that the public is increasingly displeased with the job Mr. Obama is doing; they are growing weary of the whole packaged deal. They are frustrated with the president, his style, his attitude, his approach to the job.

Yeah but it was a record year for Sharknadoes

US shatters record for fewest tornadoes.  AGW fail, natch.  Gee things be goin' bad for our Lords and Saviors ain't they?

I guess this means the bloody seas are going to continue to rise as the earth gets hotter - Obamafail!

Electric vehicles are gaining a small foothold in the U.S., but according to the feds, it will remain just that — small. Fossil fuels will power the vast majority of vehicles for the next two and a half decades, with electric cars accounting for a scant 1 percent of vehicles sold in the United States in 2040, according to Uncle Sam. 
The U.S. Energy Information Administration Annual Energy Outlook report for 2014 predicts that by 2040, nearly eight in 10 cars sold will run on gasoline, down marginally the number sold last year. The number of diesels rolling out of showrooms will double to 4 percent of all vehicles sold, while hybrids will comprise 5 percent of cars. That’s up from 3 percent last year 
But the headline figure is this: The EIA predicts that only 1 percent of total vehicle sales in the U.S. will be plug-in hybrids, with another 1 percent being fully electric in 2040.

HT Instapundit.com

Just another day in Obama's America

In Obama's American every Iowan who applied for O'care has been asked to reapply.  "Sorry, you fucked up, you trusted us."  Here.

More frun than a barrel of progressive monkeys trying to organize a banana collective.

Single payer healthcare - another reason why Vermont is one of the poorest states in the nation

But I say let 'em do what they want so long as we get to do what we want down here.  Even aging hippies eventually get tired of poverty.  Details here.

Judge rules that Corps of Engineers liable for shoddy levee work but immune

The real villains of Katrina are the state and local elites who didn't prepare the city for the inevitable. Everyone knows the Feds are inept and self serving but its the people on the scene that need to hold their feet to the fire.  Blaming your house fire on a builders defect is small comfort if taking some simple steps could have avoided the tragedy.


Friday, December 27, 2013

I always thought 'Liberal Fuck' was an insult

Pajama boy sets me straight. Parody is dead. Dudes like this cat killed it.  Amazin' just bloody amazin'.


Top momentum metro areas for 2014

Latest metro league tables from Joel Kotkin who is getting a good rep in this.  Results are as one has come to expect:  9 of top 10 are red metros.  #10 is silicon valley.  The top 6 red metros include four of the most diverse (least white) in the nation (Hou, DFW, Austin, SA) oh, and three of them are among the six highest real income per capita too.  The top 6 blue metros include three of the whitest in the nation (Msp, Seattle, Portland) and the two Federal heavens (DC and Baltimore).  I guess blue works best if you keep the Feds in or the darkies out.  Which is what that nasty right wing public choice theory would predict.

7 of the 10 fastest dying are blue metros, with only 1 from a truly red state, Memphis which for better or worse at 46% is the blackest major metro area both racially and politically in the nation which means mega blue in practice.  By contrast, Nashville, still very black but red run, is number 5 best in the nation.

But look at the details, what's amazing is the differential rates of rot. Blue metros sure seem to be bleeding a lot of red. Which is why we need strong national laws to impose blue 'standards' on red areas so we can all rot together! It's all so progressive.  Rest here.

But 1.2 Oz gets you ten years

Our vile, perverted Federal Dystopia strikes again.  Because while all animals are equal, some animals are more equal than others.

SCIENCE: Professor admits faking AIDS vaccine to get $19M in grants. But there’s a stiff penalty: “Han agreed last month not to seek government contracts for three years, the register said.”

That'll teach the privileged academic a lesson.  

Is there any part of our evil state that isn't rigged for the gentry?  Anything worth defending?  Anything?  Anyone?

HT www.Instapundit.com

Yeah but how many men can meet the 3 BJ requirement?

Specialization is key in this woman's Marines.

The Marines Corps quietly puts off the requirement that female Marines perform 3 pullups. “Only 45% of female recruits could meet the standard, which 99% of male recruits meet.”

How to kill yourself in a thousand painful steps

Chapter 1 Death with rope

You'd think it would be easy to kill yourself: gun (bang), drugs (gulp), car (crash), jump (splat) and so on.  But no one just wakes up one morning and says "hey I think I'll kill myself" and then pops into the tub with his toaster. No, there's some suicide prep required:  first you must kill your will to live - and let me tell you: doing in your bloody will is harder than you think.

And it's not the normal inhibitions that really bite will-wise.  It's not Mom (boo hoo!), the kids (wha??), the ex-wife (yes! yes! woo hoo!), hey, be nice.  Or the friends (Blah, blah, blah, Oh right, Bill? yeah, blah, blah, blah) that hold you back, rather it's the little things that you pick up along the way that trip you up on your road to oblivion.

I mean if anyone would be a candidate for a quick exit stage left it would be me. I couldn't even get my parole officer to give a rip about my life: She was an exasperated redhead, middle aged and anything but even tempered: "What are you doing here?  We don't get guys like you, why didn't you plead this down?  What do you mean you don’t have a record?  Dammit, not another legal dumbass!"

I shrug.

"Well don't think just because you're some sort of bloody emoti-Con that I'm going to waste any time on you because I'm not.  I've got dangerous people to watch.  You're going to the computer"

The 'computer' turned out to be a small wizened man looking up through his coke bottle glasses tap, tap, tapping into an antiquated contraption in another large, bureaucratic cube farm: "OK, so here's your global travel permit allowing you to travel anywhere in the world at any time without asking our permission, but if you want to go into space you’ve got to get another form…heh, that’s a joke, we’ve never really ever had anyone leave the earth, I mean not without the aid of drugs, that is……...well anyway, sign here.  Once a month call this number and after the beep or whatever it is, type in this code. And remember:  other than this computer, you're not to call us ever.  Ok?  No matter what.  We'll call you if we need something.  Never ever call us. OK?  Seriously, never.  Well have a nice probationary period!"


I couldn't even get either 'beat the rap' or 'dangerous criminal' right.  No, I had to fall ineptly between the two: I was a legal dumbass whose parole officer (who, in its defense was a rather old computer) wouldn't even return my call.

Not that my professional life had gone any better:
"Hey you stole my software code and then sold it back to me"
Satish, my ex-Development VP was a smooth talking Indian, dressed in a stylish suit sitting across from me at Panera.
"Well, let's not say steal, let's say leveraged the software into BippenTech's newest platform."
"But it's the same code you persuaded me to pay BippenTech to enhance for us, not to sell it to our competitors, you said your brother could do it for cheap"
"It is enhanced, this is version 1.2"
"Putting Copyright Bippentech, Ltd. India on everything is not enhancing it, it’s stealing it."
"Well it is for us, enhancing, I mean.  Say, just to show you there are no hard feelings we'll license 1.2 back to you for free, you can't do any better than free, can you? Of course my brother insists that we charge you for maintenance."
"You're licensing me my own software that I hired you to enhance if I pay you maintenance?  You son of a bitch!"  And then I hit him.  Rather hard, I'm afraid, missing his face but succeeding in spraining my hand on the iphone concealed in his immaculately tailored breast pocket.
"Shit! What do you have in there? Ow, ow, ow!”
"What is wrong with you? you're crazy!" my VP in charge of Fraud cried, backing away from the table, chairs and crockery flying everywhere, to the bystanders: "you saw him hit me, he's crazy!  Boy this is the last time I try to help out an old friend" And that's when I snapped.  I lunged and straddling him on the ground hit him over and over again with an oversize plastic coffee mug.  But at least it was empty.

"I suppose you think this is how you get the State of Missouri to give a rip about your miserable little life" the red head parole officer was positively raving now.  "Well you guessed wrong buster, we are not wasting our time on you"

And the antiquated dotmatrix printer went ztthp, ztthp, ztthp, printing out a sheet that said 'warning!' on it that coke bottle glasses man shoved at me with a disapproving glare.
“I know, I know, don’t call you, you’ll call me.”

When I first started thinking about you know, doing myself in I used to visualize myself hanging.  Me hanging from that tree, me hanging from a bridge, me hanging from a light pole, everywhere really.  And it seemed like a pretty good solution: after all I was pretty good at knots in the boy scouts and rope was easy to get.  On top of that, it was fairly dramatic but with not too much damage to the corpse so they could do an open casket if they wanted – except if I got left somewhere and the crows pecked out my eyes and raccoons chewed off my face, then it wouldn’t work – but I’d just do it somewhere really visible so they’d see me and take me down quickly.  

But then I’d be on the nightly news (that night they’d change it to the nightly noose, har, har) with Action 7’s Kim Roderick standing next to my dangling corpse interviewing the slacker who found me “yeah I sawr him up here.  He tweren’t doin’ nuthin’, just danglin’ this way and that. Danglin’ an’ danglin’ an’ danglin’.” 
And then the EMT who was supposed to take me down would explain by the use of a retractable pointer just why I was dead, “It’s your fracturing of the third and fourth vertebrae that sever the spinal column that does it, you’ll note that it often leads to a loss of bladder control here” points to my swaying crotch, “which is what happened in this subject’s case.”

Hmmm.  Perhaps not.

Stanford: It is trivially easy to find identity from metadata

It turns out that Mr. Clapper, the NSA and the rest of our self satisfied, overpaid 'saviors' are once again full of......clap.

I think they need to take a really big data dump.


Thursday, December 26, 2013

John Cochrane on after Obamacare craters

Probably the closest to truth that I've seen on healthcare it'll be tough but worth it.  Read the whole thing, but the key grafs:

No other country has a free health market, you may object. The rest of the world is closer to single payer, and spends less. 

Sure. We can have a single government-run airline too. We can ban FedEx and UPS, and have a single-payer post office. We can have government-run telephones and TV. Thirty years ago every other country had all of these, and worthies said that markets couldn't work for travel, package delivery, the "natural monopoly" of telephones and TV. Until we tried it. That the rest of the world spends less just shows how dysfunctional our current system is, not how a free market would work. 

While economically straightforward, liberalization is always politically hard. Innovation and cost reduction require new businesses to displace familiar, well-connected incumbents. Protected businesses spawn "good jobs" for protected workers, dues for their unions, easy lives for their managers, political support for their regulators and politicians, and cushy jobs for health-policy wonks. Protection from competition allows private insurance to cross-subsidize Medicare, Medicaid, and emergency rooms. 

But it can happen. The first step is, the American public must understand that there is an alternative. Stand up and demand it. 

Interesting that the two parts of American society that are most critical of inequality and exploitativeness — Hollywood and academia — are the two parts of American society where savage inequality and exploitatiopn are most pronounced.

We’re Constantly in Fear: The life of a part-time professor: Academia’s dirty little secret. 

You don't hear such cries of agony and exploitation coming from the evil oil companies' workers. Or hell, from Walmart workers for that matter.  What is it about powerful progs that makes them so good at screwing the weak and vulnerable around them?  

More Kinder rape for your viewing pleasure

From a Harvard professor turned Senator, natch - Elizabeth Warren, vile looter extraordinaire.  I really don't know how these people sleep at night.  They've pushed the Fed to zero out interest rates for six years now, impoverishing seniors.  Now they want to loot their kids to make the (heavily voting) senior's whole.  Heaven forbid these 'cats cut their own cronies a bit.  Evil, evil, evil but that's what progs do.

Some Dems now want higher Social Security benefits.

Ms. Warren gave voice to this new phase when she took to the Senate floor recently with a speech calling head-on for higher Social Security benefits. “Seniors have worked their entire lives and have paid into the system, but right now, more people than ever are on the edge of financial disaster once they retire—and the numbers continue to get worse,” she said. “That is why we should be talking about expanding Social Security benefits—not cutting them.”

As that reference to retirees on the “edge of financial disaster” indicates, one force driving the argument is the fact that a lot of baby boomers saw their retirement cushions deflated by the financial shock of 2007 and 2008. Research by the Employee Benefit Research Institute shows that the share of workers saving for retirement has declined to 57% now from 64% in 2008—and that the share of workers who have more than $25,000 set aside has declined over the same period to 43% from 51%.

Because the Obamacare dog food tastes like......dog food

Oh why oh why won't Johnny New Mexican buy?

Despite well-functioning state exchange, New Mexico has enrolled . . . just 291 people. “The NM HIX did everything right to sell Obamacare. The people are not buying.”

Ht Instpundit.com again.

Postcard from the Kinder Rape

Because it's twice as special when your teachers rape you.  It's amazing how egalitarian progressives turn out to be the top looters in looterville.

So remind me again why we revolted against Old King George?

His 'oppression' is looking increasingly quaint when compared to the rat bastards who run our dystopia.  Once again HT instapundit.com

TAR. FEATHERS. Local courts reviving ‘debtors’ prison’ for overdue fines, fees.

Not these jackasses again

What is it about the Chinks and the Russkies?  Why can't they just chill or go abuse Tibetans or Mongolians or some other ians?  This is just getting seriously boring.  HT Instapundit.com

ANNE APPLEBAUM: Russia And China Bring Back Cold War Tactics. “We in the United States may not believe that we are engaged in an ideological struggle with anybody, but other people are engaged in an ideological struggle with us. We in the United States may not believe that there is any real threat to our longtime alliance structures in Europe and Asia, but other people think those alliances are vulnerable and have set out to undermine them.”

If we'd known that you could get so famous being coon asses, my family would have never left the swamp

Duck!  It's Dynasts:

5 shot, three killed outside NJ strip club

Ok, so you don't like the art form, I get that.

Captain Perfecto #2 - Product Liability from Heaven

This is part 2 of a multi-part story.  Part 1 is here. Part 3 is here.

Sorry, I got a bit carried away by the higher dimensional geek world scenario which I'm really not interested in right now.  Although I am trying very hard in my spare time to create a virtual world where every boss I've ever had and every girl that turned me down for date, kiss, hug, feel, etc. will inevitably get 'what's coming to them' and get it good and hard.  Hey, a guy can dream, can't he?

So anyway, back to Captain Perfecto - our perfect God.  I'm interested in this notion of God's putative perfection because you may not have noticed but this world that He created is seriously fucked up.   A long time ago I was a little concerned that He wasn't in the know so I told Him in a prayer and despite being the bearer of bad news I didn't get smote (smited?).  So I guess it was old news and that he was getting hourly reports on the status of world perfection recovery efforts:  "fucked up even more now, Lord", "still an absolute shambles, God", "Hitler just got born" and so on and so forth.

So how did it happen? How did the non-sinning, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient stands outside time and space God end up with such a crapulous cluster bump of a Universe?  Was it a design flaw?  Shortcuts in development?  Incompetent contractors?  Inadequate testing and issue management?  Nope, nope, nope and nope.  According to the Prime (God) it was user error.  No, that's not right it was willful user error aka: sabotage. Hmmm.

So that raises the question:  who was this 'user'?  I mean to wreck an entire Universe the way this one has been screwed up he must be an absolute stud-muffin of wastage, the 007 of imperfection - "Bomb, James Bomb" so to speak.  We understand his name was Adam'nEve or it may be that there were in fact two prime users:  Adam and 'nEve which is hard to pronounce so we'll just call them "Damned Eve".  It turns out that when you track back carefully through a series of front companies and cut outs that Damned Eve are in fact employees of Captain Perfecto - the perfect God, in fact His creations.  It seems that Adam was created to be the cyber operator of creation's showroom also known as the "Garden of Eden" built I suppose, to showcase particularly appealing and advanced features of the Creation.

The story of how Eve got her job is a little more circuitous*.  Apparently, during the launch and PR phase of Creation God spent a lot of time in the Eden showroom with Adam, most likely going through various demo procedures and policy decisions such as what to do when the lions attacked the wildebeest and so on and so forth.  And it was during one of these discussions that Adam broached a ticklish subject:
"Hey God, when am I going to get to try this humping thing?"
"Humping wha???"
"Yeah, what the Dingos and Giraffes and Rabbits are doing all the time, they tell me that it's the reason they're alive and I don't get to do it.  I mean I tried on you and you got mad so I guess I'm not supposed to".
"Ah, yes well...."
"So what about it, God, where do I get off, so to speak?  I mean you've told everyone that I'm the boss and everything but they're all laughing at me behind my back"
"Well what exactly do you want?"
"I dunno, what should I have? I mean the sheep look kind of interesting, maybe something sheep like?"
"Weelllll, maybe not, how about I put you to sleep and figure something out?"
Which had the double benefit of shutting Adam up and getting Eve made - a creature who by her constant nagging would shut Adam up for good and guarantee that God would almost never ever visit Eden again.

But back to the heart of the matter:  so God, being the party of the first has accused Damned Eve being the parties of the second of deliberate, willful sabotage of the universe known as 'God's Creation' through the mechanism of illegally picking, biting, masticating and swallowing two fruit-like devices integrated into the so called 'tree of life' system at the center of the Garden of Eden demo center in direct contravention of God's stated policy which both Adam and Eve as createes of God acceded to in their creation agreements.  Did I get that right? I'm not much at church legalese.

Now Adam and Eve readily confess that they did in fact pick, bite, masticate and swallow said devices and that as God's createes they were enjoined from said picking, biting, masticating and so forth.  In their defense they argue that because they are - like the rest of the Garden of Eden demo center and indeed the rest of God's Creation - createes of said God, that as a matter of law their actions do not constitute sabotage but are in fact the result of negligence by the Prime Creator or one of his sub-creators.

This is an epochal, well really multi-epochal charge.  Because if true, it means that God has the biggest freakin' case of product liability on his hands in the history of the trial bar. Or liability insurance for that matter.  If in fact it can be shown that the perfect God created an imperfect creation then it can be easily shown that this was a willful, malicious act by the perfect God. Because if a perfect God creates an imperfect Universe that means he must have done so deliberately and therefore under standard product liability law is liable for treble damages for anything that goes wrong in creation.  Suffice it to say the trial lawyers are oiling up their writ-writers for a profitable suing season.

Indeed, top legal analysts have looked at this case every which way from Sunday and even on Sunday which isn't technically done and say that the only way that God can 'beat the rap' so to speak is to assert that despite representations to the contrary that He is not in fact perfect.

Which informed observers tell me would literally be a Hell of an Admission.  Here is part 3:  The Trial of the Multiverse or Loopholes are for Lawyers.

*One of the other 'oddities' about the Creation is Eve.  How is it that God didn't think of Eve up front?  Why did Adam have to go all mopey and make little lamb eyes at the ewes before God realized that an Adam needed an Eve? That doesn't make sense if creation was 'perfect' until us lowlifes showed up and trashed the joint.  It does however explain how Eve got her name:  Ewe - Eve, see?  Eeeeeeeuuuwwwwww.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Captain Perfecto

This is the first part of a multi part post.  Part 2 is here.

So God's perfect, right? How do we know? Well we don't. We just assume that since He tells us that He will kill us if we sin* then He must not be doing the dirty which I guess is a reasonable assumption so long as you believe that God is also good or at least has the same sense of fair play that we do. But that doesn't mean he's perfect does it? You can make an honest mistake and it not be sin, can't you? And I assume so can God.

But hang on a tick: God's not just sin free, he's the Great Omn-I-Am: omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent. Which implies perfection doesn't it?  Particularly if you hold that God stands outside of the space time continuum then it's hard to see how God could be anything but perfect within our universe.

Of course this isn't quite as shocking as it first seems.  One of the benefits of software modeling is that it gives us humans the ability to conceptualize and execute self contained universes where the gamer can with the use of parameters and time shifting replicate after a fashion the great Omni-I-Am.

For example, the notion that the Creator is sin free is readily parameterized into Sim behavior so that any act of the Prime Mover is accepted as real, true, and just. Regardless of its 'objective' morality or apparent stupidity . If the PM says it's righteous to remove the last ten millimeters of every grown Sim's foreskin with a dull iron age knife then by golly the Sims will happily line up with their loin cloths around their ankles shouting out joyous screams of righteous agony in praise of the glorious prime mover's brilliant commands.

Which is why some smart alecs argue that we're nothing but Sims in a virtual world created by beings from a higher dimension who are stuck living in their mom's basement because they're dorks who can't get a date on the higher dimensional equivalent of Saturday night. They say that the foreskin business is a dead giveaway that we've been created by pencil neck punks. Or not. There are even scientists who claim they can divine whether or not we're in a mom's basement world. Or at least one where the Creator hadn't thought of the basement world gag or on learning that the scientists had the gag, hasn't gone back two turns and coded for it so that their idea of his idea got made into his idea of their idea until no one had any idea. Oh dear, my eyes have gone cross.

You can see how unreal reality can get when you think too deeply about it.  Oh God!

No I'm not talking to you Nelger Zarthusian 5th dimensional proto being living in your mom's lower spawning and waste conversion chamber, you dork.  Why don't you get a productive pod purpose or a job or something? Sheesh! I can't stand the 5th Dimension they're so...so....choreographed.  Part 2 is here.

*More like he will kill us in a way where we can't move but will still feel pain and then stomp on us for eternity. But don't worry, the theologians tell me that thiswill be perfectly just torture and that God feels really, really bad about it.

Saint Clauswitz

And a ho ho horrible defeat to you too.


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Capitalism is the precondition for charity

Kevin Williamson has another trenchant column pointing out that charity or indeed redistribution can only come out of that which has been produced and for that you need capitalism.

No makee, no givee, capiche?


10 of 15 richest counties in America are in the DC area

This concentration of wealth around capital city is called the "Crony Configuration".  It's very common in third world kleptocracies. Because in corrupt centralized states all wealth is captured and retained by one's relationship to those who control (as the Sovs used to say) the state organs.

It's interesting to note that the statists are constantly railing against the 'fat cats' who presumably live elsewhere.  So why out of America's 3000 or so counties do the 'fat cats' have only five spread rather evenly across the country while the 'selfless servants of the people' have ten?

 Reminds me of an old children's fable I once read.  It was about a farm:

But just at that moment, as though at a signal, all the sheep burst out into a tremendous bleating of--
"Four legs good, two legs BETTER! Four legs good, two legs BETTER! Four legs good, two legs BETTER!"....

"My sight is failing," she said finally. "Even when I was young I could not have read what was written there. But it appears to me that that wall looks different. Are the Seven Commandments the same as they used to be, Benjamin?"

For once Benjamin consented to break his rule, and he read out to her what was written on the wall. There was nothing there now except a single Commandment. It ran:


Yes they can, they did and are doing it today.  

"And the man in the silk golfing shorts crosses the fairway and says 'get a job'."

The purpose of government, first and foremost is to secure resources for themselves

Sometimes it's essential to state the obvious.  Something that has been true since the first chief bonked his first 'subject' on the head and took his coconut:  People in the business of government are there first and foremost to provide for themselves and their families.  After, and only after they get enough gravy for themselves will they consider the people for whom they presumably toil.  And their 'service' to the 'people' will be informed by what gets them either more money or more power so they can get more money.  In other words they behave like everybody else with the possible exception of Mother Theresa and I'm not too sure about that chick.

Rewards to the skilled lowest in nation's with the most rigged labor markets

Which is why the talented tenth tends to decamp to Anglo Saxon economies where their skills are valued more.  Not that our Lord and Savior isn't trying to drive them off, to be replaced by unskilled campesinos who will vote as they're told.  Hatip Marginal Revolution

Intriguingly, returns to skills are systematically lower in countries with higher union density, stricter employment protection, and larger public-sector shares.

That is from Eric A. Hanushek, Guido Schwerdt, Simon Wiederhold, and Ludger Woessmann, the NBER paper is here. There is an ungated OECD version here.- See more at: http://marginalrevolution.com/#sthash.LlVlljaV.dpuf

The 'fruits' of the gentry's environmental oppression

Energy is one of things normal people need to escape poverty and live decently along with housing, food, education. Is it any surprise that the prog hysteria over Anthropogenic Global warming has driven the price of electricity to an all time high?  What the gentry wants, the gentry gets and pronounces it righteousness.  No matter how much it screws the weak and poor and the young.  Hey they got the power:  we gave it to 'em.

Electricity Price Index
This November, the average price for a kilowatt hour of electricity was 13.0 cents. That was down from the 13.2 cents in October and 13.7 cents in June, July, August and September. But it was the most a KWH of electricity has ever cost on average in the month of November since BLS started reporting the average price of KWH of electricity in November 1978.
It's  highest in places like CA and NY.  One of the reasons that these states, heretofore 'rich', are now among the poorer in the nation, poorer than traditional laggards like Oklahoma.  So which state's citizens are the bright ones now?
- See more at: http://cnsnews.com/news/article/terence-p-jeffrey/christmas-lights-electricity-price-index-all-time-high-us#sthash.rzdI8MsN.dpuf

Twitter, Reddit oppose free speech.

Why does it not surprise me that these oh so 'hip' social 'media' sites are rank hypocrites?  The fact that they come from the SFO bay area is a dead giveaway - it's the land of the aging but not maturing hipster.  Reddit won't allow criticism of the increasingly risible anthropogenic warming pseudo hypothesis and Twitter won't allow expressions of support via istandwithphil.com.  It's like they're all still in their onesies, drinking cocoa and haranguing their dead parents on some loonie left obsession.

Thugs and cowards.  What's next banning criticism of Lord and Saviorcare? Time for investors to ask these charlatans 'where's my money' before they dissolve all of their brand equity.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Do the GLBT honestly believe that they can ban orthodox Christianity?

It is a testament to the hubris of the left during this age of hope 'n change - or is that hoppin john? No hoppin john is some kind of food, hope 'n change is the transparently Leninist philosophy that small elite serving as a vanguard of the people shall impose the mores and politics of the faculty club on the nation.  You know, any kind of sex except that which produces children, the systematic pillaging of other people's children's futures and the elevation of the environment to be their pagan God.  Lenin called it Democratic Centralism meaning 'you shut up, we call the shots'.  Now Lenin used to shoot those who wouldn't let him call the shots which was a classic Russian solution.  Here in hope 'n changeville, we simply assassinate their character and claim that war is peace, love is hate, property is theft and the Christian God supports gay sex, nay commands celebration of creative orificography.  And any backwoods neanderthal like the Duck Dynasty gang had better shut up if they want to keep their jobs and their homes.

As anyone who doesn't spend their days in leftist hothouse environment already knows it won't work.  And hopefully they'll persist and drag the corrupt and cynical Democrats down with them.

There's hope for change.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Has Europe become the stupid continent

At least with respect to banking reform they have, says FT's Wolfgang Munchau.

But without a common fiscal backstop, it lacks credibility. The ECB will be in no position to demand that banks raise capital if there is no backstop. It would risk financial instability if it exposed a bank as undercapitalised that has no access to outside capital. The resolution fund will not be able to help because it will not be fully mutualised for a decade. At the start all risks will remain within the member states.

Unlike the Federal Deposit and Insurance Corporation of the US, the eurozone’s resolution fund will have no credit line

The ECB thus has every incentive to fudge the exercise. This is possible because reviewing a bank balance sheet or a stress test is no exact science. The key variable is the assumption made about the future.

Unfortunately, a fudge does not change the dire economic reality. An exercise in ending the credit crunch in the banking sector will actually prolong it because the recapitalising banks in the periphery will be put on ice due to a lack of funds.

Economically, this is 1990s Japan all over again, probably worse given the periphery’s dire economic state. The banking system in the eurozone will not be able to supply the economy with sufficient credit, except in creditor countries. The economic consequences of what finance ministers hailed as a “historic” decision will be substantially negative.

The periphery finance ministers who accepted this deal know all this. They are not stupid. And still they are not acting in their best interest. If your policy consists of keeping your head down, then perhaps this is the banking union you deserve.

What a pathetic bloody mess Europe has become.  Kinda makes you feel better about being a 'merican in the Obama dystopia.  Sigh.

In his first term Obama took more vacation days than the average private sector working after 20 years

Hey, give the guy a break.  When he was elected he set out three core goals:  nationalize the health care system, fundamentally transform America and get his handicap into single digits.  He's blown almost all his time on the first two.
Barack Obama

Do you know how important it is to our diplomacy to be able to play golf well?  Obviously not.  When GWB gave up golf for the duration after 9/11 he hurt the nation's diplomacy.  I have it on good authority that Ayatollah Khameini is a 4 handicap and tends to blab about his nukes to his golfing buddies.

Story here.

Yellowstone would make an awesome 'Secret Volcano Lair'

 Study: Yellowstone magma much bigger than thought. “The hot molten rock beneath Yellowstone National Park is 2 ½ times larger than previously estimated, meaning the park’s supervolcano has the potential to erupt with a force about 2,000 times the size of Mount St. Helens, according to a new study. . . . The last Yellowstone eruption happened 640,000 years ago, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. For years, observers tracking earthquake swarms under Yellowstone have warned the caldera is overdue to erupt. Farrell dismissed that notion, saying there isn’t enough data to estimate the timing of the next eruption.”

HT Instapundit.com

$60 Million Bel Air mansion reflects return of the mega home

Betcha he's a Democrat.  Most of our coastal gentry are.

Obamacare initiates self destruct sequence

Megan McCardle, one of the most knowledgeable experts on O'care points out the administrations latest poll tested flail that exempts certain customers from the mandate amounts to the initiation of repeal.

I'd be happy to do the countdown for them:  ten, nine, eight....

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Obama's UAW crony economics

So the UAW chips in a hunnert mill or so to get the Obami into office. BHO bails GM, liquidating investors but holding the richest Union in the world harmless.  Taxpayer takes 10 big ones in the shorts.  UAW's crony ROI on their investment in BHO? 1000%.

Who says Dems don't like the rich and powerful? You got the gravy, you get the steak.  And the taxpayer's buyin'.

Boy hope 'n change be breakin' out all over.


Friday, December 20, 2013

We don't have global warming or global cooling, we have global stasis

My God, if this keeps up then Al Gore is going to need some other lunacy to occupy his time and this one has cost the world a cool trillion.  Can't we just all chip in and buy him a pony?  Hattip WUWT

Life is a beach. Even for cattle.

From National Geographic.

How to hurt the poor Obama-style

Why are the poor poor?  There are many reasons, health, substance abuse, prison, mean dad, you name it.  Those are the root causes and they will be with us until the end of time.  But the proximate reason most of the poor are poor is because they don't work very much.  Some do work full time, earning low wages and living alone, but only 21 percent of minimum wage workers are poor. It's long been recognized that if a poor person can get a real job, and stick with it for more than a year then their odds of remaining poor fall radically.  And working delivers order, self esteem, opportunity and connectedness that can help heal the root causes of their original poverty. Productive gainful employment no matter how modest is the one thing that can dramatically transform a poor person's life.

So if that's the case, it stands to reason that the most disastrous thing to happen to a poor person is to be unable to find full time work in the formal economy (informal pharmaceutical distribution doesn't count).  And that means that the most important people to the poor aren't their case workers but those that employ low skill labor.  Tragically these employers are in an historically deep funk. Not since the Great Depression has a poor person's employment prospects been so.....poor.

Which brings us to the current era of "Hope 'n Change" and specifically the case of one B. Obama and his eponymous but ironically 'verbed' (is that a word?  Google says no, but they're evil) signature initiative Obamacare along with a grab bag of other collectivist elixirs.  It is my considered opinion that the 'signature' policies of this administration are the greatest contributor to the poor's growing distress. Indeed  the Obami are putting on an 8 year long expert level clinic on how to frighten the jobs out of employers.  Here are the 14 easy steps to hurt the poor Obama-style:

Set the 'right' tone: The moment you are in office communicate your visceral hostility and lack of sympathy for employers by telling them 'you didn't build that', pushing for higher taxes on the 'rich', and in general communicate in a way that says they are part of 'the problem', not your solution.  Tell them that your goal is to 'fundamentally transform America' and that the nation isn't really 'exceptional' This makes employers nervous, particularly the small and mid-sized ones who don't really have the deep pockets needed to play big league crony-ball.

Impose massive new mandates on employers. Pass a law that targets small and midsize employers of large numbers of low wage workers for a new entitlement that will raise their cost of employment substantially.  This frightens low wage employers because higher costs mean lower profits or even losses.

Make the law an absolute crap factory of complexity and coercion.  Thousands of pages of statutes and tens of thousands of pages of regulations with hundreds of new ways for prosecutors to screw you means that no businessman can ever understand its implications well enough to be sure they won't be punished.  Which is very scary.

Shove it down the nation's throat. Pass the law against the considered and repeatedly expressed preferences of a majority of the nation's electorate on a party line vote using 'novel' parliamentary procedures and a significant number of dubious claims, including outright accounting fraud and lying to consumers about what the law would do to them. This upsets employers because they wonder that if the administration is willing lie, cheat, steal and ignore public opinion on this, what won't they do to get their way?

Start implementation with a heavy crony round:  Give waivers from the law (notwithstanding no legal authority to do so) to almost 2000 of the biggest and best connected low wage employers like McDonalds.  That way small employers can be certain that the deck is stacked against them.  Which maximizes optimism and faith in the 'system'.

Make the only way you can avoid the law's requirements is by either staying small or shrinking.  You've just given low wage employers a huge cost jump when they hit 50 total employees or 30 FTEs, employers near those limits either way are going to shrink employment.  Because if they don't, their smaller competitors will be much more competitive with their new found labor cost advantage.  Probably the first time in American history where whole sectors are rewarded so much for shrinking their business.  Astounding and astoundingly effective in reducing employment.

Streeeeetch out the agony.  It's been 5 years since President Obama was elected to (in his typically grandiose phrasing): fundamentally transform America and our healthcare system.  Yet Obamacare will take at least two more years to be fully implemented.  This freezes employers because due to it's complexity employers really don't understand it and won't get the full implications until it's fully baked,  So the Biblical seven lean years followed by seven even leaner years?

Mess with the "law" over and over and over. Decide not to implement some provisions, decide to ignore some prohibitions, change some commas to periods some ands to ors or buts, change implementation dates and otherwise behave as if the law that was passed is no more than what the Administration says it is at any point in time.  Employers just love politicized legal unpredictability.

Explicitly politicize implementation.  Schedule implementation dates after elections, put tasks on hiatus if they look like they will hit an electoral window (imagine of Lincoln or Roosevelt had done this).  Once again, this leaches trust and certainty from employers:  'what won't these cats do?"

'Nationalize' an entire complex health insurance distribution channel for 30 million Americans and do it really badly so that millions of people are hurt by the loss of health insurance or it's exploding costs and up to 100 million other Americans begin wondering if they're next.  The key here is to maximize visible incompetence.  Because there is nothing more reassuring to hirers than realizing that they must rely on the numbskulls and knuckleheads who have already screwed it up and can't be fired.

Who Moi? React with shock and anger to discover the emerging disaster that the legislation that you were responsible for implementing has become.  Improvise, spin and in general fly by the seat of your pollster's pants.  Employers really respect incompetence buttressed by inattention, cynicism and random lashing out.  It gives them warm and fuzzies all over.  Either that or they begin to itch uncontrollably.

Sic the EPA pit bulls on hundreds of thousands of previously exempt businesses. To do this have the EPA expand their jurisdiction to gases that come out of both ends of every American (and dog or cat for that matter).  Do so even though you don't have explicit legal authority because a few short years ago a Democrat controlled Congress declined to give it to you.  Then announce that you are going to expand the number of businesses subject to EPA regulation by 1000%.  EPA has such a sterling reputation that this by itself will stop huge numbers of projects until the green miasma clears and employers can stop going WTF? WTFF? in stunned disbelief.  Over and over and over again.

Start a class war.  Then, when the amount of uncertainty, fear, chaos and confusion hits a spectacular Wagnerian crescendo, replete with fat chicks in pigtails and viking helmets, pivot to massive political push to 'reduce income inequality' with your signature initiative being substantially increasing the minimum wage on top of the Obamacare costs.  Make sure you set the new minimum at levels that are common in high nominal income cities like NYC, SFO, BOS, where there are no Federal minimum wage workers anyway.  By doing this you will impose huge new costs on minimum wage employers in poor areas like CA central valley or TX Rio Grande valley (I mean who gives a damn about Mexicans anyway?).  Oh and of course don't forget to bash the 'rich' over and over again.  Employers once again note your contempt and add these costs to their retrenchment business plan spreadsheet.

So let's tot up the butcher's bill, shall we?  We've basically done everything that we can think of to increase low wage employers perception of the business risk in employing workers.  We've explicitly increased their key cost substantially and are trying to do it again. We've lied and manipulated the written provisions in duly enacted law in a transparently political way ensuring employers won't trust any commitment we make.   We've given them an easy way to rescue their profitability:  fire workers.  On top of all that we've demonstrated that they can't possibly predict how this will affect their business except badly and that the administration has no more of an idea of what it is doing than they do.

So what does a prudent, hard nosed, operationally focused business 'man about town' do (there ain't very many dreamers or innovators employing large numbers of low income workers)?  Hmmmm, what to do? what to do?  Tricky.  One the one hand employment costs are going up, on the other hand the minimum wage is going up, on the third hand the government doesn't....wait, these are all the same hand!

Employers are doing the only rational thing they can:  if you drive my core input costs up in an open ended and unpredictable way then I'm going to reduce my exposure to your shenanigans by reducing my utilization of said input: hiring less, automating more, pushing people to part time status, and concentrating skills investments and career paths upon a small core team - in a nutshell taking fewer employment risks on the poor and young lest they be converted to a Federal bomb that blows up in my face.

Finally, Don't forget the Double Tap. Thus far you've done the employment equivalent of putting a round in the chest of the poor's employment prospects.  But the experienced hope killer remembers that second 'tap' to head.  Unilaterally - without benefit of any stuffy legality (because once again a Democrat controlled Congress declined to give it to you) amnesty a significant number of illegal immigrants. Push for the amnestying of another 13 million illegals and demand a doubling of legal immigration to 2 million per annum.  Because nothing improves the employment prospects of the native American poor on the first rung of the formal sector employment ladder than huge numbers of newly legal competitors.

So put on your asbestos suit, Mr. John Q. Poor because your 'savior' is sending you to hell.  For his greater progressive glory (St. Obama healed the sick and made the planet cool!) and 13 million more Democrat votes.