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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