Thursday, August 27, 2009

It Can Now Be Revealed

Ted Kennedy died and made the long trip South. After his many years in the Senate, he expected as much. Beelzebub greeted him, and asked which sector of Hades he would like to enter.

“Whichever one has the hottest women and the coldest Scotch”, answered the Lion of the Senate.

“OK, but that’s a long way away, in the circle for Envy”, replied the Father of Lies.

Unfamiliar with the territory and unaccustomed to making his own arrangements, the liberal royal family member ordered “Call me a car”.

“Of course, Mr. Kennedy,” Satan said, and dialed his phone. “Oh Mary Jo … our bargain is complete. Your fare is here.”

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Monday, August 17, 2009

This Blog has Moved.

I've come to the conclusion that Google de-searched this blog for political reasons. I don't care to really get to the bottom of it, even to the point of finding out if it happened or not.

Instead, I'm now blogging at and The Minority Report Blog. I do have a few thought pieces in the works that might go here, but look to Redstate and TMR for your daily fix of me.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Early in his term, President Obama stressed shared sacrifice as a means to correct the various problems with which he said we were beset. He has shied away lately from that terminology. Why is that?

Perhaps it is because having it called for it incorrectly, and then been stung with his own blatant hypocrisy, he now also incorrectly reckons it politically damaging to call for sacrifice at all. Or perhaps it's just incompatible with his new lifestyle.

Like Dan Perrin, I think Mr. Obama's slide in the polls is a self-inflicted wound, almost an own goal.

Americans understand sacrifice. If all virtue consists in risking something of known value for something of greater, but uncertain value, then some sort of sacrifice is inherent in all acts of virtue.

In our nation's past, we have rallied to the cry of shared sacrifice. In times of war, we have been willing to risk life and limb for the sake of a cause no more definite than putting down evil in some far off place. When presented with a clear goal -- defeating an enemy, sending a man to the moon -- we are inspired to greatness. When some are called on more than others, such as in Southeast Asia, we rebel.

And so it is with economic hardship. When asked to sacrifice to get the nation past economic hard times, we chafe. Such sacrifice is passive, and we are a people of action, immigrants all. To come to these shores we first had to leave somewhere else, and I think that's burned into our culture. Or perhaps we merely distrust that the sacrifice will indeed be shared.

And we are already sacrificing, thank you very much. With the onset of $4 per gallon gasoline in 2008, Americans quickly changed their consumptive ways, altering their lifestyles. More and more of us are turning away from living by credit. We're cutting back on spending now, and saving for later. We're responding to the crisis in a rational way, which happens also to be the virtuous path that got our parents and grandparents through Great Depression I.

We suspect that government policies forcing cheap and easy credit led us into the economic mess, and the only way out of the mess is to shun the cheap and easy credit.

And 10% of us are unemployed; even more underemployed, our talents lying fallow. In that situation no one wants either to sacrifice or to benefit from the sacrifices of others.

Even more fundamentally, we don't believe that such sacrifice would be required if we hadn't wasted our resources on foolish consumerism. We believe in the economic engine our personal liberty creates, and we don't think it ought to be controlled from Washington.

Mr. Obama conceives of sacrifice as shared sacrifice, a thing imposed on the People by the State. And it is not to all of the people that he calls, but merely the Haves. The Haves are asked to sacrifice their capital, the very thing most Americans believe will enable them to end our economic troubles. The Have Nots are not called to sacrifice, but to benefit from the bounty he will lay before them.

And at that, whether Have or Have Not, we chafe even more.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

First Pitch Explanation

President Obama threw out the first pitch at the MLB All-Star Game.

It did not bounce before getting to the catcher. That bactrian trajectory is a new pitch perfected by Obama in preparation for the game.

The president threw out the first pitch without a teleprompter.

There is no evidence that the Commander-in-Chief was distracted by a hot Brazilian teenager, nor even that any were present at the game.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Obama, ACORN, Iran

I wonder if Barack Obama's tepid, mealy-mouthed response to the violent protests by the Iranian opposition stems from his own complicity in election fixing?

Nah. That would imply possession of a conscience.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I'm tivoing the Iranian revolution. I have people right now gathering the information into book form, and in a few months I will purchase the paperback.

That's my way of saying it's great the the Iranians are dissatisfied with Ahmedicatedad, but I don't have to spend my day following it. It's not like I can affect the situation.

On the other hand, it does show once again that the global connectivity in general and the Internet in particular make it hard to keep tyranny going. Just as the PC and fax machine are said to have helped bring down the former Soviet Union, it appears that the Iranian revolution is being broadcast on Twitter.

But that presupposes that this is a revolution. It's impossible for me to know whether that is true or not -- are the protests against Ahmedinnerjacket, or against the Islamic regime itself?

And if they are against the Islamic regime, with what form of government will the revolution replace it?

I guess Barack Obama thinks maybe the revolution will bring something worse than totalitarian dictatorship - capitalism.

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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

A Moment Passes By In Utter Inconsequentiality

Sometimes a tiny detail of daily life, work, or what lies in between will claw its way back from the obscurity of lost memory to intrude once again as the focus of attention.

We read the news on some blog, or in the newspaper, or listen to the radio. Someone wrote that blog post, the wire story, or radio copy. How much work was it? Will they remember it tomorrow?

We drive along the highway, or ride in the bus or train. Who poured the concrete or rolled the asphalt, who laid the rails? Who planned the construction and guided the project along, these many years ago? They may have forgotten doing it by now, or it may be the pride of their life's work, an achievement they tell about to this day.

The sand, gravel, lime, and crushed rock used to make the concrete all came from somewhere. Would anyone remember the day those components were ordered, delivered, or put together?

We dispose of some problem or issue, only to have it return from the grave. The matter is settled, we think, and it leaves our short-term memory, erased from our agenda for all time. But something in the solution to the problem was incorrect, insufficient, or ill-advised. Invisibly, it has clung to existence, waiting for just the wrong moment to spring itself on its erstwhile vanquisher.

A penny lies quietly on the sidewalk. How did it get there? If the penny could write a blog post, would it tell of its glory days as part of the change back from a Happy Meal? Or would it lament that, with the minimum wage what it is, it now would be unprofitable to hire someone to pick up pennies even if the ground were strewn with them?

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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Where Cheney is Wrong

I like Dick Cheney. I think he's an asset to our nation, and a man to whom we owe a debt of gratitude.

Generally speaking, I agree with his stances on various issues.

And on gay marriage, he has a reasonably consistent position: people should be free to marry whom they choose, and the several States should decide for themselves what they will allow.

But the trouble is this: marriage is not about freedom or liberty, it's about a government sanction of a binding relationship. It's a special contract, with centuries of legal precedent governing it. I say that not to make an appeal to tradition, but rather to say we should tread lightly in these matters, until all of the ramifications are clear.

Extending marriage, or even civil unions, to same-sex couples means giving a societal stamp of approval on their relationship.

And I don't think that's a good idea. I have a variety of reasons for thinking it's not a good idea, about which others may disagree.

So while I agree with Mr. Cheney that people should be allowed to do what they will, they should not demand that I approve their decision.

Is my position consistent? Sure. Do what you will, but don't ask my blessing.

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The Health Insurance Mistake We're Going to Make

In any market, there has to be the freedom not to participate. Without that freedom, there is far less downward pressure on prices, and less incentive to compete.

What the Democrats will do instead is to enforce price controls on the market. They will say, as they do now with Medicare and other services, that a doctor must bill the government no more than what they bill other insurers for a given procedure or service.

That will cause doctors to do what every other regulated group has ever done: they will find ways around the regulations. They will find new services to provide -- or new labels for old services -- and bill whatever the market will bear. Prices will zoom out of sight.

In addition, if everyone has insurance, everyone will go to the doctor. People with head colds will line up for treatment, which will not be forthcoming. But they will still show up, and insist on being fixed.

I know this, because I've been to a hospital emergency room.

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Monday, June 01, 2009

GM Bankruptcy: Toldja.

On November 11, 2008, I said:

  • The former Big Three are hemorrhaging cash, which an infusion will not stop.
  • They'll have a larger debt load.
  • Strings attached to the bailout will include limits on executive compensation and, possibly, government mandates to produce smaller, more efficient cars.

Since the Big Three lose money making smaller, more efficient cars, making more of them in itself won't help profitability. Since a big problem with the automakers has been poor management, limits on executive compensation will only cause the best managers to leave for more pastures which are perhaps less green, but more golden.

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Friday, May 29, 2009

Who Wins With Inflation?

Debtors with real assets.

That class includes homeowners with fixed rate mortgages. Homeowners without mortgages will get a big payout if they sell, but in the mean time there will be mean times.

People who own other hard assets (such as gold) will also benefit, but few people hold gold as a large part of their financial portfolio. A lot of people are over-invested in their houses. Which is fine, because you can't live in gold.

With significant inflation, the denominated value of a real asset (like the sale price of a house) goes up. Wages go up, though usually not as fast as the cost of living. If the loan amount stays the same, it begins to shrink in comparison to the amount of money available to the debtor.

Another big winner is the Treasury, which is the biggest debtor of all.

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Rachel Lucas Learns that History Lingers

Before the eleventh century, the Celtic and Anglo-Saxon peoples of England had more trouble with each other and the Romans, Danes, and Vikings than with the French.

In A.D. 1066, William the Conqueror took over England for France. He installed Frenchmen as the new ruling class, to the point where the English we speak now probably owes as much to Old French as to Old English.

Since that time, the English have had a kind of hate-hate relationship with the French.

I look for the European Union to fix all of that in a thousand years or so.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Diversity: FAIL

Judge Sotamayor gets reversed a lot.

That by itself could point to a raised level of diversity in the kinds of opinions in the judicial system.

The trouble is that it is her reasoning, not her conclusions, with which her fellow judges disagree. They don't think she gets the whole judging thing all that well.

Which is the first problem with imposing physical diversity in the hopes of achieving diversity of opinion: you may get diversity, but it will be achieved by lowering the overall quality of the whole.

The second problem with imposing physical diversity in the hopes of achieving opinion diversity is that you really can't judge a book by its cover.

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Permissive Parents, Leftist Children?

I have an hypothesis. It is that children of permissive parents grow up to be liberals, while children of strict parents grow up to be conservative.

I'm sure, before I even start, that if my hypothesis is true it is only a matter of degree, a question of percentages and leanings.

What I know for certain is that liberals generally act like spoiled children, and never want anyone to suffer consequences for their actions (nor to be rewarded for hard work).

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Can't get back in the blogging habit

Having taken a semester off, it's hard to want to start up again. It's much easier to read what others write and make the occasional comment.

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Something Funny About Obama

He hardly ever uses a hard 's' sound at the end of words. Instead, he uses a whistling, hissing soft 's'.

It's like fingernailssss on a chalkboard.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Quote of the Day

John Podhoretz, on Joe Klein on Charles Krauthammer:

He won’t like me saying it, but Charles Krauthammer, who is more than a friendly acquaintance, is far from a tragic figure. He is a miraculous figure. He has, through a combination of raw will and a sagacious mind and a rigorous temperament that, were it possible, he should leave to science so that it can be studied and bottled and sold, lived a life both triumphantly important and triumphantly ordinary. (Although his wife, Robbie, is far from ordinary. For one thing, she is from Tasmania. For another, she is an artist of great skill. For a third, she has the dirtiest and liveliest mouth in either her forsaken hemisphere or her present one.) If you are his friend, in a fashion that I can’t quite explain, you come to have no sense whatever that he is in that chair. He may be right about what he argues (obviously, I think so, most of the time). He may be wrong. But whatever he is or is not, to argue that Charles’s views are restricted by the restrictions on his physical form is do violence to the most basic notions of civil discussion.

I'd read the Politico article earlier, but skimmed past Klein's dissing of Krauthammer [w/t link added]. I was too nonplussed at Politico's implication that Krauthammer was some kind of conservative Pied Piper, apparently based on NRO's regular posting of his transcripts. Those transcripts take up no more of NRO's Corner bandwidth than any of the hundred or so other conservative pundits with Corner posting privileges.

In fact, not realizing that Krauthammer has physical challenges, I always wondered why they posted the stuff for him. But I appreciate the fact that they do so, since he's generally on target and I don't catch him on the tube.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Frank J Deserves An Award

For clear-headed, outside-the-box thinking to diagnose the troubles currently befuddling his Party, his country, and indeed the very human race, FrankJ of IMAO has won the Socrates' Academy Wisdom and Sobriety "Really Smart Blogger Award" award.

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Friday, May 15, 2009

Obama 1, Pelosi 0

And so we have before us the Pelosi waterboarding kerfuffle (which I am dubbing "Prevari-gate" because "Watergate" was already taken).

Who wins if Nancy Pelosi is weakened politically?

Barack Obama. Pelosi will give him whatever he wants, without so much as a whimper.

Note that CIA Director Leon Panetta has come down on the side of the Bush CIA on this one. He wouldn't do that without White House approval. They want Pelosi out of there.

So who wins if Pelosi resigns?

Barack Obama. Obama will have his pick for Speaker, which would probably be long-time Rahm Emanuel ally House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.

House Republicans, agitating against Pelosi because they don't like her very much, are going to give Obama just the Speaker he wants.

In the long run, it will all work out, because Obama-Hoyer-Reid triumvirate will ultimately bring about electoral defeat. But not before they screw the country up in some very bad ways.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

George W. Bush, the Environmental President

The Left has been talk-pointing for years that the air is getting worse and worse, the sky is falling, and it's all George Bush's fault. But this is another thing they know that just isn't so.

From the annual Index of Leading Environmental Indicators (pdf), Steven Hayward:

The latest findings are significant because they stand in sharp contrast to a refrain among some environmental campaigners and the media that air pollution is getting worse, and to the assertion that the Bush administration was “rolling back” the Clean Air Act. Final data for 2008 won’t be available for several months, but the EPA’s latest report shows that air pollution levels in every category fell from 2001 to 2007; moreover, air pollution levels in most categories fell at a faster rate than during the first seven years of the Clinton Administration.

Table 1 below displays the reduction in national mean ambient levels of the six criteria pollutants for comparable periods of the Clinton and Bush administrations.

Table 1: Ambient Air Quality Trends under Presidents Clinton and G. W. Bush

Clinton (1993–1999)Bush (2001–2007)

–5.14% –5.9%

Particulates (PM2.5)
N/A* –9.1%

Carbon Monoxide
–24.6% –39%

Sulfur Dioxide

–33.0% –56%

Nitrogen Dioxide
–9.6% –20%

*National PM2.5 emissions monitoring began in 199.
Source: EPA and author’s calculations

OBTW -- w/t NRO

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Hammer, Nail, Assembly Required

U.S. News and World Report's Peter Rolff puts steel to work:

It is true that the U.S. economy was in bad shape when Obama came into office. But he and his top appointees want us to believe that their preferred solution—pushing huge increases in federal spending in his so-called economic recovery act and his budget for the upcoming fiscal year though Congress to prime the Keynesian pump, putting money in the hands of their political constituencies—are in no way related to the just announced record $1.8 trillion federal deficit.
Perhaps the worm is turning. RTWT.

w/t TPM

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Man's Signature Says A Lot

I'd never seen Harry S Truman's signature before. Here is a man worthy of "the buck stops here". Bold, and incisive, yet also with an artistic side: his signature is enjoyable to look at. It flows, as if looking at it, we get to watch it being created.

But even more than how a man signs his name, where he puts it is the key to knowing him.

America needs you, Harry.

And happy Birthday, Israel.

w/t: Yid With Lid

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Gibbs: We Have Ways of Making You Talk

Via Ace, we have Obama spokesdroid Robert Gibbs admitting that waterboarding worked, but who knows what else would have worked?

In the category of things that work, there are two obvious categories: mean and nice. There is no logical room between them.

The mean things are being roundly criticized as Stuff We Wouldn't Do To Save LA. If there are mean things that are not as mean as those we used, how do we know that they would have been effective? And being effective, would that not signify that they were too mean?

The "nice" category is also properly bisected by "costs something" and "costs nothing".

The things that are nice and cost nothing, I trust we've already tried. Oh, we haven't? You've had 100 days. Put up or shut up. The only possible explanation, then, is that this category of things that cost nothing and are nice takes longer than 100 days to produce results. I posit that there are terrorists targeting the United States with action plans taking less than 100 days to implement.

The things that cost us something can be summarized as bargaining with terrorists.

So the official position of the Obama Adminstruation is that it's better to bargain with terrorists than to waterboard them.

Just so we're clear.

P.S.: Gibbs is now tacitly admitting that the Geneva Conventions do not apply to these prisoners. Otherwise, we would not be able to question them at all.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Obama To Make Draconian Budget Cuts

President Obama, after spending a mere trillion dollars on government growth in an effort to "stimulate" the economy, and pushing dramatic leaps in Federal spending in his budget, has laid out a bold plan to cut as much as $100 million.


How can he make these awful cuts, while spending in other areas barely keeps pace? Is he going to order women and children to starve in the street, while AIDS patients are left with no medicines, and senior citizens choose between paying the light bill and buying cat food to eat?

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Someone Needs to Tighten Reins at Politico

Capital is what you have. Capitol is where they take it.

Obama tightens reins on capital

By MANU RAJU & MIKE ALLEN | 3/16/09 4:07 AM EDT

No longer will the president tread gingerly in his dealings with Congress and lose control of the message war.

Marking a new season in his young presidency, President Barack Obama and his allies around Washington are about to give the capital a bracing lesson in one-party rule.

I thought you guys were the professionals.

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Sunday, March 08, 2009

The Single-Tasking President

I've often said we ask too much of our Presidents. Whenever I hear someone criticize the President for taking vacation, or not handling today's crisis or local emergency, I respond that one guy shouldn't make or break the system.

Barack Obama on the campaign trail, in response to John McCain's call to cancel a debate to deal with the credit crisis:

"It's my belief that this is exactly the time when the American people need to hear from the person will be the next president," the Democrat said in Clearwater, Florida. "It is going to be part of the president's job to deal with more than one thing at once. It's more important than ever to present ourselves to the American people."

But after a few scant weeks in the Oval Office:
Sources close to the White House say Mr Obama and his staff have been "overwhelmed" by the economic meltdown and have voiced concerns that the new president is not getting enough rest.

British officials, meanwhile, admit that the White House and US State Department staff were utterly bemused by complaints that the Prime Minister should have been granted full-blown press conference and a formal dinner, as has been customary. They concede that Obama aides seemed unfamiliar with the expectations that surround a major visit by a British prime minister.

But Washington figures with access to Mr Obama's inner circle explained the slight by saying that those high up in the administration have had little time to deal with international matters, let alone the diplomatic niceties of the special relationship.

Apparently, Barry never had a job in which he had to satisfy multiple customers at once.

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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

No, Rick.

Rick Moran, writing at The Next Right:

I will say frankly that this is the nuttiest part of Limbaugh's speech. There is probably no one answer to what ails conservatism but there is widespread agreement among profressionals (sic) that people like Rush, who wish to repeal not only the Great Society but also the New Deal, are anachronisms. It is not going to happen - ever. The question then becomes do conservatives chase a will o' the wisp goal that guarantees them permanent minority status or do they apply conservative principles to government as it is and not as we would wish it to be?

We stand on principle, Rick. The government is doing things it should not be doing. The fact that it has been doing these things since before we were born does not make them right. The fact that the majority currently supports them does not make them right.

You go ahead and stand for the status quo. I will stand for liberty.

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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

E Pluribus Unum

From many, one. From many of us in flyover country to whomever inside the beltway would continue to disparage the Voice Crying In The Wilderness:

Rush Limbaugh is a formidable force. Do you know why? Because he says what conservatives believe, and he is extraordinarily articulate, witty, insightful, and yes, courageous. There is a very large portion of Americans that still strongly believe what the Founding Fathers believed, and don’t care much for what Alinsky and Marx believed. You might think Rush (and his 20 million listeners) gauche, obtuse, obvious, unsophisticated, and ignorant. That’s OK, because we think you are self-important gas-bag idiots without a lick of common sense, with DC-centric tunnel vision and no idea what real America and real Americans are. When pressed, we can do disdain better than you can too.
Read the whole thing, and understand that it's not about Rush Limbaugh: it's about us.

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Monday, March 02, 2009

Rush Limbaugh Is Not My Leader

He is a leader of the libertarian*-conservative movement, but he's not the leader of it. It has no leader, nor does it need just one leader. It needs what it has: millions of leaders.

For the record I listen to Rush nearly every day, and mostly agree with him. Sometimes I disagree, and sometimes when I do so it turns out he was right all along. But he is not always right -- just usually so.

* I don't care if Libertarians or libertarians agree with that assessment. Rush is a free marketer, and despite self-labeling as a conservative and championing socially conservative positions, he is equally outspoken in favor of individual liberty.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tax Loopholes

Tax loopholes are measures enacted by Congress to achieve some policy goal, like encouraging oil production or getting people to move back to central urban areas from the suburbs.

Tax loopholes are evil economic manipulation, I think.

But closing a loophole doesn't help the economy, generally. All it does is remove the incentive it was put in place to provide, so discouraging the activity it was designed to foster. Generally there isn't a lot of money for the government to gain.

Another effect of closing tax loopholes is to raise the general level of economic uncertainty. What is a good business activity? Companies and individuals don't know what the rules are if they keep changing.

Similarly, the more loopholes that are created and subsequently removed, the less effective tax policy will be.

But I guess in the end, any business which bases its activity on the presence of a tax loophole for it deserves what they get when the loophole goes away.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

More Proof Robert Reich is an Idiot

As if more proof were required to verify his status as world-class moron, Robert Reich provides it:

We're in a deepening recession, in case you hadn't noticed. The biggest challenge is to ramp up aggregate demand. Yes, we have to borrow lots from the Chinese and Japanese to do this, and, yes, it's costly in terms of additional interest payments to them. But there's no choice. In fact, if the slump gets worse -- and I have every reason to fear it will because that's the direction we're heading in as fast as you can imagine -- we'll probably have to have a second stimulus. And if the second isn't enough, a third. And so on. FDR's biggest mistake was doing too little until World War II. (No one should interpret this as a recommendation for more military spending -- I'm just saying Obama will probably have to think and do much bigger than the $787 billion stimulus so far.)

Shorter Reich: A never works, B has worked before, and there is no C. Let's do A.

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Friday, February 20, 2009

Santelli Gets To Obama

Robert Gibbs, the partially sentient White House Press Secretary, lashed out in an ad hominem attack at Rick Santelli.

My, what thin skins these Obamians have.

Mr Santelli had the audacity to say that if the Keynesian multipliers were above 1.0, that is, if every dollar of government spending yielded more than a dollar in private sector growth, then why do we need to worry any more? Just keep spending, and spending, and spending as we have been, and everything would be fine.

But the fact that no sane policy maker would do that, shows that the "multiplier" is not above 1.0. Instinctively, we know that to be so.

In fact, the multiplier is not a constant number at all, but a variable depending on a number of factors we don't even fully understand, and cannot predict. The multiplier is a random function, rather than a constant. The effect of government spending is not linear, but decreases after some maximum point.

But Mr. Gibbs did not address that point. He merely attacked an American citizen who dared to speak out, to raise his head up from his miserable work to question the One.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Leave Climate Science to the Scientists From Now On

Doug Ross points out this howler.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), a global warming alarmist bureau, predicted in May of 2008 that the North Pole would be free of ice last summer.

But it seems they underestimated the extent of Arctic ice by 500,000 km². That's about 190,000 square miles, an area the size of the States of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland combined — with room left over for West Virginia, South Carolina, and Indiana, to boot.

They weren't using the most accurate methods to measure, but were using older, inaccurate methods because they were in line with their earlier data.

In other words, even though they knew that the methods used to gather their earlier data were inaccurate, they continued to use them for prediction.

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93% Of US Are Not Stupid Jerks

2% In Foreclosure
5% Delinquent
33% Current
27% No Mortgage
32% Rent

w/t Malkin

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A Nation of Slaves

Now comes Barack Obama, with his vast experience as a mortgage broker, corporate CEO, Chairman of the Board, and Wall Street investment analyst, to

  • Adjust mortgages negotiated by lenders and borrowers,
  • Set executive salaries
  • Tell us all that unless we completely reorder our society, culture, and most of all our economy, all three are irretrievably bound for unmitigatable disaster.
Have we, a once proudly free people, accepted the premise that we need the government to run our economy, our business, our very lives?

Notice the strings attached to the TARP, after companies accepted money from the government, often under duress: "You have taken our money, now you must run your business to suit us. No longer can you offer incentives to salespeople to accel. No longer can you structure executive pay as you wish. Now you are our slaves, and will do as you are told."

Can there be any other result with the other bailouts that are coming? States, beware. Car makers, you know who will run your companies already.

And you, slave, you accepted a loan. How dare you smoke on these premises? How dare you purchase that foreign-made vehicle, while you sit in this home we bought you? And that thermostat setting on the in the home we bought you -- do you not know how much carbon dioxide you are venting into the public's air?

Do as you are told, slave.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Read Iowahawk

And for once, you will not laugh.

How many thousands across Africa die every year because someone decided DDT was thinning bird egg shells and killing bees? It does neither. The replacements for it, on the other hand,do kill bees.

Of course, those are all African bees, the eradification of which would have been a net positive.

But without the more effective DDT, uncontrolled mosquitoes spread malaria to thousands of Africans, many of whom then die of the disease.

But to the radical environmentalists, that may be the net positive.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

A Put Down for the Ages

It's from a whole blue-on-blue essay.

You're not a coward merely because you're afraid to seek the truth when it might not conform to your views ... rather your chickensh** views are shaped by the fact you're a coward.

w/t the indispensable Moe Lane

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Friday, February 13, 2009


We have reached the point in the US at which pain is treated not as a useful spur for individuals to accel, but as a barrier to be avoided or defeated.

The trouble is that economic problems are not fixed objects. If the government tries to cure the problem of increased home foreclosures by borrowing money to give to lenders or borrowers, the only possible results are increased home prices and a worse problem in the future.

A collapse in home prices, or a glut of homes on the market, make homes more affordable. Isn't affordable housing what the liberals claim to want? Home prices will fall until people start to buy houses. They won't fall while the government is promising to subsidize prices.

More generally, any time the government offers money for people to buy something, look for prices of it to increase to match the offer.

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Democrats' Three Favorite Words

Spend, Spend, Spend.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Of Envy and Admiration

Sometimes people are successful at what they do. Others are not. Sometimes people succeed, sometimes they fail. Having failed, we learn (or not) and try again.

When we see other people who are more successful, we have really only two options, though a third lingers: we can resent them, or we can emulate them. The lingering third is what most people end up doing, which is observing from afar and doing nothing. On some level we pass judgment, either in favor of or against the more successful. From the link above:

Some people assume that if any person they don't like is more successful than someone they like it is primarily or solely due to moral inferiority - a greater willingness to lie, cheat and steal. This mindset is common in underground subcultures, though some mainstream progressives also think this way. A more advanced version of this mentality adds the assumption that anyone who is successful in the "wrong" areas - for example dating or country music - must be a despicable and morally inferior individual.
There is a danger in giving up, in deciding that your sweat and diligence are no match for the world. But there is no higher virtue than working, being paid for it, and saving for a better future in which you no longer work for money, but money works for you. That, and not mere home ownership, is the American Dream.

When people decide that the only way they can get ahead is to lie, cheat, and steal their way to the top, they have one of two options: do it themselves, or vote for it. We call the first group criminals, and the second group liberals.

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Monday, February 09, 2009

Big Boondoggle Rescues FutureGen Boondogglet

Chris Edwards has a piece on FutureGen in the Cato@Liberty blog. FutureGen is a project to take CO2 from burning coal and pump it into layers of rock beneath Illinois farmland. I live and work near Mattoon, and would probably personally benefit from the boondogglet. Edwards:

FutureGen was launched in 2003 by President Bush as a public-private partnership to build a low-emission coal-fueled power plant and demonstrate technologies to capture carbon dioxide. The government was to share the cost of the project with 12 private energy companies. The project was originally estimated to cost $1 billion, but by 2008 the estimate had ballooned to $1.8 billion. By mid-2008, $176 million had been spent.
A lot of the money spent for FutureGen in the Mattoon area went to building an interstate exchange. The exchange also serves other light industry in the area. It was needed already.

The FutureGen decision to locate in Mattoon was still ringing in the air when Rod Blagojevich sent a letter to President Bush asking him to come to Mattoon for a photo op demonstrating the President's commitment to fighting greenhouse gases and such. The tone of the letter, and Blago's announcement of it, were a clear attempt to rub the President's nose in the fact that Illinois had been chosen over Texas. It was embarrassing to me that Blago thought Bush so small-minded, but that's what we had for a governor.

Immediately after that letter was announced, the project got the axe (or got sent back to the proverbial committee).

Maybe it was a coincidence, but I've always thought that if Blago had just kept his mouth shut, the project would have gone on as planned.

As a global warming skeptic, I see little need for this project. I've also seen too many B-movies not to be scared silly about pumping steamy-hot CO2 into underground rock formations. It just screams Godzilla plot.

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Friday, February 06, 2009

Iowahawk Speaks Truth to Power

They may be criminals, but they care.

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Thursday, February 05, 2009

America Is Useless and Doomed Without Obama

This recession might linger for years. Our economy will lose 5 million more jobs. Unemployment will approach double digits. Our nation will sink deeper into a crisis that, at some point, we may not be able to reverse.

It's not polite to call the President of the United States a liar.

So I'm impolite: Barack Obama is a liar, and a fear-mongering liar, at that.

An irreversible recession? The American economy does not depend on the skill with stimuli of the politicians in Washington. It depends on the hard work of Americans. It will recover, despite Obama's best efforts to destroy it.

All of this is a sham, anyway. He knows it will recover. He's just bad-mouthing the economy until some kind of "stimulus" package passes. After he gets his economic program through, he will become a cheerleader. When the economy recovers, which it is bound to do by its very nature, he will take credit.

What a disingenuous, self-serving piece of work that man is.

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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Bottom-up, or Craniorectal Inversion?

During this year's presidential campaign, Barack Obama posited that the economy should grow not from the top down, but "from the bottom up".

After the election he is showing his true big-government beliefs in action. Only government can solve our problems, he says.

Clearly, he's a top-down kind of guy.

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Why Universal Health Insurance Is a Bad Idea

First, it's an expansion of government into an area that it has no business running, which is our health. Once the government funds or controls insurance, it is not just a slippery slope but a fait accompli that the government will dictate who gets how much health care -- and who is cut off.

Secondly, one of the benefits of competition in the marketplace is that some people have the choice not to buy a product or service. All of the market is trying to get them to buy, and it must provide enough benefits at a low enough price to entice them to buy whatever product or service is offered. If everyone is compelled to have health insurance, the clumsy and ineffective alternative of price controls will have to be employed, and it will fail.

Therefore, people must be given the opportunity to opt out and save some money. Let people decide if their health is good enough, or the risk to them great enough, to choose health insurance over some other priority.

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Monday, February 02, 2009

Blagojevich and the Party Machine

In the days of the Soviet Union, the Communist Party existed as a kind of shadow government. There was an official government, with a President, ministers, a legislature, and so on. As The Columbia Encyclopedia puts it, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union

... had been organized to parallel the territorial hierarchy of government administration and all significant institutions, including the press and armed forces, thereby effectively controlling all policy.

Sometimes the official government position was a mere figurehead, who did nothing without consulting the Party, of which he had to be a member. But sometimes the Party boss was also the government official for the corresponding geographical area.

And so it is in Chicago. The Democratic Party machine in Chicago, liberal activist groups, unions, and limousine class form a shadow government, without whose approval the official government makes no move.

Blagojevich, Emanuel, and Obama are products of that machine.

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Friday, January 30, 2009

Attacking Rush Limbaugh

Never get in a debate with someone who sells air time by the megawatt.

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Not that there's anything wrong with that.

W/t Gateway Pundit

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

I don't do stock tips.

And I don't play the market. I don't know anything about banks, except that they keep money there.

But these guys turned down TARP.

At least five banks said this week that they had decided against selling preferred stock to the government. They included United Bankshares Inc., which was approved for $197.3 million in aid, and Bridge Bancorp Inc., which was approved for $15 million

Buy their stock. You'll be glad you did.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Light Blogging Alert

It's going to be a difficult semester at the Academy, so I'm not going to blog much. I do have some longer thought pieces in the pipe, but I don't know if I'll get to any of those.

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Joshua Will Not Save the Times

Josh TreviƱo is a terrific writer who confidently strides the ridgeline of his own convictions, while maintaining the vision to change his path when seeing a better way.

If the rumors are true and Josh gets picked to write in the New York Times, I would read the opinion section, at least on the days his columns appeared.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Barack Periander Obama

There are parallels between Barack Obama and Periander, second of the tyrants of ancient Greece.

Both are patrons of the arts, swept into power by befriending the masses against the rich.

He fostered wealth by the steady encouragement of industry and by drastic legislation against idleness, luxury and vice; and the highest prosperity of the Corinthian handicrafts may be assigned to the period of his rule. At the same time he sought to check excessive accumulation of wealth in individual hands and restricted the influx of population into the town. Employment was found for the proletariat in the erection of temples and of public works. Periander further appears as a patron of literature, for it was by his invitation that the poet Arion came to Corinth to organize the dithyramb.
If you include his desire for mandatory civilian service, that bit about legislation against idleness even fits.

If he were the slightest bit willing to curtail illegal immigration, Obama would be a dead ringer for a 3,000-years-gone dictator.

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Obama to Arabs: We Are Weak

We will listen first.

I listened on 9/11, pally.

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Obama Stops Denying Facts by Denying Facts

President Obama declared that the days of denying the facts (of Global Warming) are over.

Has he not gone outside for the last ten years?

Because it's been getting colder, not warmer.

Unserious, incurious, and power mad.

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

The President's Mental Box

Barack Obama is in a box. He has declared, for a long time now, that we should get out of Iraq in 16 months.

But there is nothing magical about the number of months for moving troops, or shifting the remainder of territorial control to the Iraqis. The only thing special about 16 months is that Barack Obama has used that figure for so long.

Now his generals have come to him and said that he should pay attention to the conditions on the ground, and not to some arbitrary spot on the calendar.

Obama should have come out on November 5, the day after his election, and said that the target is 16 months from January 20, 2009, but that if we could get out sooner, we would. And furthermore, he should have claimed Iraq as a US ally.

But none of that was possible, because Obama is hemmed in on all sides by his supporters on the left, the troops on the right, reality on the ground, and his own public insistence. He can't be wrong, he can't change his mind.

But neither can he change, with his empty words, the reality on the ground in Iraq.

And neither can he change the desire of men who have seen their comrades fall in battle to see their blood mean something.

But the thing he is really unable to change is his own need to be right. He cannot be wrong about the efficacy of the war in Iraq, General Petraeus' surge, or the proper use of military force in foreign policy. To admit that we could be out of Iraq sooner than his 16 months by winning battles than by folding our tents and slithering away would be to admit that he was wrong all along. And with this President, that will never happen.

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Who Says Barack Obama is a Miserable Failure?

That would be an awful thing to say. So why are people trying to say that Barack Obama is a miserable failure? It isn't right. It isn't fair.

OK, so maybe it's fair.

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Friday, January 23, 2009

Obama Facts, Post-Inauguration Edition

Barack Obama took the oath of office for the first time since Abraham Lincoln.

Barack Hussein Obama can spell his own name.

Jesus walked on water; Barack Obama can emerge from the cesspool of Chicago politics and not smell like sewage -- (Rush Limbaugh).

Barack Obama has arms so long he can put one around Michelle and walk alongside.

George Bush liberated Iraq; Barack Obama fixed that by liberating Gitmo.

Barack Obama was elected, and now Global Warming is not a problem.

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

The President Is Not the Leader of the Free World

To the extent that the world has a leader, it is not free.

I should end this post there, but something else occurs to me.

Obama, by virtue of his international and liberal upbringing, Muslim father, and not least his African lineage, may be tempted to see Southwest Asian and African leaders as more like himself than not.

Perhaps that will be a net positive for civilization in the long run, but there remains a distinct possibility that he will presume a false familiarity. Like an undercover agent trying to infiltrate a criminal operation, there are shades of loyalty and of distrust that no American can ever cast aside, as long as he remains such. Will the mullahs and warlords play on his heritage, and if so, will he play along as the cat or as the mouse?

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Hosanna! Crucify!

Right now, two days past his inauguration, the media are all shouting hosannas at Barack Obama.

But I wonder how long it will be before the shouts of "Hosanna! Glory to Obama in the Highest!" turn to "Crucify!" or "Impeach!".

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Oh, Dear.

The megolobamania has begun. Barack Obama personifies change.

Thanks, but I liked the old America.

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Hotaru Is An American

He can't speak English, and doesn't know anything about our history, customs, or way of life. In fact, up until now in his life he has allowed others to care for his every need and want. He has lived his entire life thousands of miles distant from the United States.

But Michael has one thing that above all entitles him to American citizenship: the blood of a hero in his veins.

That's him, there on the right.

Because Michael H Ferschke III is the infant son of Sgt Michael H. Ferschke, Jr., a Marine killed in Iraq in 2008. He ought to grow to maturity among those who appreciate the sacrifice his father made for liberty.

And his mother Hotaru Ferschke is just the one to teach him.

[Originally posted at 20090114.0902, updated 20090116.1040
Thanks to FM in comments, I fixed the stupid name SNAFU.]

w/t Dan Collins

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I Fear a Backlash

Now that a goose group has claimed responsibility for the forced landing in the Hudson, I fear a backlash against all geese. We must know that this is only a splinter faction, and doesn't respresent the attitude of all geese, and certainly not of fowl generally.

So I will not tolerate any intolerance against geese, ducks, loons, chickens, or turkeys here.

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Monday, January 12, 2009

What's the Use?

Ross Douthat at The Atlantic writes of Armageddon, and the choice to retaliate or not to retaliate after the fall of a national capitol.

As Douthat has it, the British Prime Minister has break-the-glass orders with nuclear submarine commanders at the bottom of the ocean for what to do in case London were vaporized, King and Parliament with it. Ross wonders what Reagan would have done, and speculates that after his country were razed, Reagan may not have retaliated. He suggests that the Lion of Reykjavik would have lain down with the Wolf of Glasnost, saying that at that point, "What's the use?"

The utility of following through with destruction of their following destruction of ours is simple: lovers of liberty must oppose tyranny with every tool at their disposal. If the submarine fails to deliver retribution, evil men will dictate the history books. There, done.

The more interesting question is if the submarine commander would be bound to follow the orders of a dead Prime Minister.

Military doctrine, upon which the Geneva Conventions are based, holds that an officer's legitimacy stems from his loyalty to the State. Supposing that State no longer to exist, or to have been captured by opposing forces, the commander would be a rogue actor, or a member of the armed resistance, should he choose to obey the orders written in the safe.

But does the State no longer exist once its administrative offices and its Head are so much glowing dust? I think no easy answer to this question is possible, because there are levels of existence. If a State loses its monarch, bureaucracy, executive leadership and entire flag officer corps, does the State exist? Perhaps the question can only be answered post hoc, should the citizens of the State reformulate it into something able to control its territory.

Supposing the entirety of the nation's is land rendered inhabitable, or during the time in which the State is nonfunctional, we still have our submarine (or lunar base) commander, out of communication with the rest of the race. He may have information as to the source of the destruction that came upon his nation, or he may lack it, and in any case he will be confronted with some amount of uncertainty.

During the Cold War, he might safely have assumed that the former Soviet Union were the responsible party, and could be counted blameless for expending his arsenal against any high-value targets he could reach.

But in the 9/11 era, even a worldwide intelligence network may fail to uncover the source of mass destruction. An incommunicado commander, wishing to remain hidden, would have somewhat less certainty over how to retaliate, and against whom.

But such a commander would be loyal not just to a chain of command or the laws of a particular nation, but first to the noblest lady of our civilization: Liberty herself. If he could band together with like-minded warriors at sea, and perhaps find some undefended shoal to call home, they could once again breath the air as free men. Their war would continue until victory or defeat, by enemy or age.

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Friday, January 09, 2009

Key Unemployment Forecast Rises as Illinois Leads Nation

Unemployment among the nation's governors is expected to rise by 2% next month, a level not seen since the 1980's. The Illinois rate is forecast at 100% following action by the State Legislature.

Gubernatorial unemployment has been at a historical low of 0% for the past two decades or more. The move in Illinois is expected to dramatically increase the unemployment numbers, experts agree.

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich (D-Chicago) blamed the move on a conspiracy by those who oppose his efforts to take care of sick people. The conspirators, meanwhile, blamed the move on the Governor's personal inability to tell the truth.

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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Kudos to Senator Burris -- And to Rod Blagojevich

I'm not a supporter of Governor Rod Blagojevich. In fact, his politics are about as far away from mine as I can imagine for a fellow American.

But I have to give the guy credit when due. In the instance of the selection of Roland Burris as Senator to replace Barack Obama, Blagojevich, having been publicly tarred with arrest by Federal authorities, continued on in the performance of his duties. And he made a very good choice in Roland Burris.

I'm not a supporter of Burris, either. It's just that of the pool of established Chicago Democrats who are well-known in Illinois politics, Burris is the best available.

Burris showed his ability by going to Washington and telling Harry Reid that he would sue to claim his rightful seat in the Senate. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) said to seat Burris not because of any great statesmanlike respect for the rule of law but because she saw no way around his eventually being seated. Illinois law says the Governor appoints replacement Senators, whether the Secretary of State wants to certify them or not. So Burris is a Senator, whether Reid likes it or not. And the State Legislature can't unseat a Senator to have a special election.

At this point Reid's only option is to impeach Burris or let him serve his term. Burris can promise not to run in 2010, but he's not legally bound by that.

So well done, Governor and Senator.

By the way, I would have liked a special election in this one instance, but how often will these circumstances recur? The current law worked well enough.

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