Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Religion of Peace is at it again

Peaceful Muslims indiscriminately attacked and killed Christians in Pakistan after a false report that some Christians had defiled a copy of the Koran.

"The mob opened fire indiscriminately, threw petrol bombs and looted houses as thousands of frightened Christians ran for safety. 'They were shouting anti-Christian slogans and attacked our houses,' Rafiq Masih, a resident of the predominantly Christian colony, said. Residents said that police stood aside while the mob went on the rampage. 'We kept begging for protection, but police did not take action,' Mr Masih said."

Eight members of one Christian family were burned to death and dozens of others were feared killed in a town with 50,000 Christians in eastern Pakistan.

Another day, another example of peaceful Muslims going about their business - killing infidels.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Evidence that Obama is lying about his healthcare plan

Anyone who doubts that Obama is lying about not using a "government option" to gradually squeeze out private insurance and create a government run single payer system should watch this video. Here is the man himself saying that is what he wants to do, before he says it isn't what he wants to do. Hope and change is evidently about changing your story and hoping people won't remember what you said.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

De-capitalizing America

The reason rich countries are rich is that they've managed to accumulate more capital than poor countries. All rich countries have relatively free market economies because that is by far the best way to accumulate capital. Governments in these countries tend to destroy less capital than governments of poor countries.

However, formerly rich countries can destroy enough capital to impoverish themselves. Obvious examples are Zimbabwe, which was among the richest countries in Africa until Marxist Robert Mugabe took over, and, on a longer time scale, Argentina, which was one of the richest countries in the world in 1900, before a succession of populist rulers depleted its capital.

The US government under Obama has recently engaged in an orgy of capital destruction using borrowed capital to fund myriad wasteful liberal causes and special interest groups, and by propping up failing businesses. The latest, and perhaps clearest example is the so-called "Cash for Clunkers" program.

Here the government is paying dealers to destroy cars traded in for new ones which get a whopping 4 miles per gallon better gas mileage. The market value of the used cars is effectively the residual capital value of those cars, so destroying them wipes out that much capital, in addition to raising the cost of used cars for poor people.

Programs like these are precisely how formerly rich countries become poor, as they de-capitalize their economies. Examples like Zimbabwe and Argentina show what happens as this process continues. The governments of both countries have ignored basic economic science to "help the poor", with the result that the poor are now poorer than ever.

The liberal agenda results in the mindless destruction of vast amounts of American capital, with the result that the American poor will be poorer than they would have been. If you doubt that, ask yourself if you would like to live in Zimbabwe.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

One reason medical care costs go up - successful treatment

It's long been known that dead people have very low health care costs. This is probably one of the main cost cutting strategies of Obamacare, along with the fact that poor health care, which leads to an earlier death, costs less than good health care. But he doesn't want to confuse you with those details now.

This article shows how rising survival rates from heart attacks have gone hand in hand with the more expensive interventions needed to secure better results.

"In the 1960s, the chance of dying in the days immediately after a heart attack was 30 to 40 percent. In 1975, it was 27 percent. In 1984, it was 19 percent. In 1994, it was about 10 percent. Today, it's about 6 percent."

Just think, if our survival rates were the same today as they were 40 years ago, we could not only have saved the extra money for more sophisticated and successful heart attack therapy, but all those dead people wouldn't have cost a dime in additional health care all the extra years they didn't live.

"Organic" food no healthier than regular food

One of the many cons perpetrated by the environmental movement over the past 40 years is that so-called "organic" food is healthier than other food. Scientifically illiterate people by the millions have bought into this nonsense, needlessly paying higher prices, often out of constrained budgets, for vegees fertilized with cow poop instead of "chemical fertilizers", as if manure, and everything else, isn't composed of chemicals.

Finally there is a definitive study.

"Organic food has no nutritional or health benefits over ordinary food, according to a major study published Wednesday. Researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine said consumers were paying higher prices for organic food because of its perceived health benefits...

A systematic review of 162 scientific papers published in the scientific literature over the last 50 years, however, found there was no significant difference.

'A small number of differences in nutrient content were found to exist between organically and conventionally produced foodstuffs, but these are unlikely to be of any public health relevance,' said Alan Dangour, one of the report's authors.

'Our review indicates that there is currently no evidence to support the selection of organically over conventionally produced foods on the basis of nutritional superiority.'

The results of research, which was commissioned by the British government's Food Standards Agency, were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition."

The environmental movement has always used junk science to advance its agenda by preying on the fears of ignorant people. One wonders how long they'll be able to keep the "organic foods" movement going after studies like this one.

Pass this article along to your "organic" friends. Unfortunately, since environmentalism is a religion, rather than a science, many people will continue to worship their environmental gods regardless of the evidence.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Why can't our voter identification system be as good as Mexico's?

This article describes the Mexican voter identification system, which unlike ours, actually verifies a voter's identity. It's interesting that one of the main "arguments", if one can call it that, against voter identification in this country is that it would somehow discriminate against Hispanics, while our Hispanic neighbor to the south uses a system far better than any state in America.

"In Mexico, every registered voter has an official ID card, complete with photograph, fingerprint and a holographic image... When a Mexican voter presents his card, the poll worker looks up his photo to see if it matches up...After voting, the Mexican voter's thumb ink is applied to his thumb. That way, if he shows up at another polling site to vote, they know he's already voted elsewhere."

It's obvious to anyone but clueless liberals that the reason for resisting effective voter ID laws is to facilitate massive voter fraud by the Democratic party. At least since the 1960 presidential election was shifted to Kennedy by vote fraud in Chicago, Democrats have used vote fraud to win closely contested elections.

Their attempt to win Florida in 2000 by inventing new votes was blocked by the Supreme Court, but since then, they've used that same process to "win" the Washington governor's race in 2004, and the just concluded Minnesota Senate race by the clown Al Franken.

Recently, Attorney General Eric Holder denied the state of Georgia the right to verify the citizenship of voters, which will have a chilling effect on any other state which attempts to implement a similar capability. This opens the way to voter registration for millions of illegal aliens, which should be sufficient to move a number of swing states into the Democratic column in future elections.

If Republicans don't get serious about voter identification, and stopping the use of recounts to produce imaginary votes in future elections, we won't have to worry about elections anymore - they'll be mere formalities to provide the illusion of legitimacy to a permanent Democratic one party government.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Wild horse welfare

Most of us knew that Barack Obama combined with Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress would lead to wild spending and untold insanity. Here's one of the latest examples.

"H.R. 1018 is the 'Restore Our American Mustangs Act.' It can fairly be described as a welfare program for horses. Believe it or not--this isn't satire--here is what the bill will do:

[T]he 'Restore Our American Mustangs Act' ... would create a new $700 million welfare program for wild horses. The program:

* Conducts a horse census every two years

* Provides 'enhanced contraception' and birth control for horses

* Establishes an additional 19 million acres of public and private land for wild horses

* Covers $5 million tab to repair horse damage to land

* Mandates that government bureaucrats perform home inspections before Americans can adopt horses

'Enhanced contraception' for horses? Maybe I'm out of touch, but I didn't realize that wild horses use contraception at all...

Nineteen million acres, by the way, is around 28 times the area of Rhode Island."

And this is one of the smaller examples of liberalism run amok. There should be a TV sitcom about these sorts of incredible stories. Oh, there is one, the news.

Imagine a cloth one atom thick


There are so many depressing items in the news these days that it seems almost pointless to write about them. But once in a while there is an interesting tidbit which isn't about our seeming rush over the cliff.

This is one such item, about a new material called "graphene", which is a sheet made of carbon atoms one layer thick.

"'It is the thinnest known material in the universe, and the strongest ever measured,' Andre Geim, a physicist at the University of Manchester, England, wrote in the June 19 issue of the journal Science...

Like diamond, graphene is pure carbon. It forms a six-sided mesh of atoms that, through an electron microscope, looks like a honeycomb or piece of chicken wire. Despite its strength, it's as flexible as plastic wrap and can be bent, folded or rolled up like a scroll...

Graphene was the leading topic at the annual meeting of the American Physical Society _ a leading organization of physicists _ in Pittsburgh in April. Researchers packed 23 panel sessions on the topic. About 1,500 scientific papers on graphene were published in 2008 alone."

While graphene won't solve the world's problems, it's an interesting material to contemplate. According to an article in Wikipedia,

"Measurements have shown that graphene has a breaking strength 200 times greater than steel, making it the strongest material ever tested." The largest graphene sheets made so far are about 1 square centimeter.

If it can be scaled up to large enough sizes, it would be amazing to be able to hold a fabric which is invisibly thin at the edge. Of course, its applications are unlikely to include conventional fabrics any time soon.

"America Alone" and Hizb ut-Tahrir

I just finished re-reading Mark Steyn's excellent book "America Alone" about the decline of the West and the pending takeover of Europe by Islam. This is really a must-read book, both profound and extremely well written. One of his points is that we're allowing the infiltration of western society by Islamic organizations dedicated to our destruction, and he has many examples of this process.

Well, here's another example:

"Hizb ut-Tahrir is a global Sunni network with reported ties to confessed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Al Qaeda in Iraq's onetime leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. It has operated discreetly in the U.S. for decades.

Now, it is coming out of the shadows and openly hosting a July 19 conference entitled, "The Fall of Capitalism and the Rise of Islam," at a posh Hilton hotel in a suburb of Chicago...

Hizb ut-Tahrir, rather than training members to carry out terrorist acts like Al Qaeda, focuses instead on indoctrinating youths between ages of 9 and 18 to absorb the ideology that calls for the formation of an empire — or "khilafah" — that will rule according to Islamic law and condones any means to achieve it, including militant jihad.

Hizb ut-Tahrir often says that its indoctrination "prepares the infantry" that groups like Al Qaeda take into battle, [Islamic expert Walid] Phares said.

'It's like a middle school that prepares them to be recruited by the high school, which is Al Qaeda,' he said. "One would compare them to Hitler youth. ... It's an extremely dangerous organization."

Phares said Hizb ut-Tahrir has strongholds in Western countries, including Britain, France and Spain, and clearly is looking to strengthen its base in the U.S...

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is one of the group's most famous alumni... In addition to plotting the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, he also is implicated in the World Trade Center bombing of 1993, the Bali nightclub bombings and the murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl."

So what are we doing about it?

"Hizb ut-Tahrir ... is not recognized by the State Department as a known terror group...

Hilton Oak Lawn General Manager Rick Harmon said Hizb ut-Tahrir used its own name when it reserved the room for the conference, but the hotel was not aware of the content of the event, which includes lectures entitled "Capitalism is Doomed to Fail," "The Global Rise of Islam," and the "Role of Muslims in America," until after the contract was signed.

Still, Harmon said the hotel is open to all kinds of meetings, that don't necessarily reflect its position or beliefs.

'We're United States citizens and an American business — if it's legal, we're able to host it, as long as it's nothing that disrupts our other guests' privacy and security.'"

Presumably, organizing the destruction of western civilization won't disrupt their guests' security.

While radical Islam works tirelessly on a thousand fronts, we snooze on.


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

California greenies doing their best to force companies to leave the state

A California judge, at the behest of environmental groups, has ordered Chevron to stop a large project underway to upgrade a 107 year old refinery which would have increased the amount of gasoline it can produce from a barrel of crude oil by 7%.

The judge ordered that a new environmental impact statement be prepared, and a new permit be obtained from the city. About a thousand jobs will be lost until the project is eventually re-started, if ever.

Not wanting to take responsibility for the economic hardship they've created, the greenies think the company should just keep these workers on the payroll with nothing to do.

Will the last industrial operation in California please turn out the lights when it leaves?

More British insanity

It's interesting how government bureaucracies can develop policies that look utterly insane to any ordinary person. Such is the case with the British government refusing to name escaped prisoners for fear of violating their "right to privacy."

"Civil servants have refused to name inmates who have fled prison...They say releasing their names would breach obligations under the Data Protection Act.

It echoes a row in 2007 when Derbyshire Police refused to release pictures of two escaped murderers.

The latest development emerged in response to Freedom Of Information requests to name inmates on the run rom the prison near Woodbridge, Suffolk.

The open prison which has sea views ... is known as Holiday Bay because of its easy-going regime.

The Ministry of Justice confirmed 39 prisoners had absconded from Hollesley Bay between January 1, 2007, to March 31, 2009.

It also provided a general list of crimes they were sentenced for and confirmed that 16 involved violence.

The offenders included nine robbers, two serving sentences for attempted robbery, one for wounding and four others for grievous bodily harm.

But the ministry refused to say how many - if any - had been recaptured, saying their identities had to be protected from third parties."

And this is the kind of decision making Obama would apply to our health care.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Examples of "free" Canadian health care

Few on the conservative side misunderstand the downside of "free" government run healthcare, especially when there are so many examples in places like Canada and Britain. Here's another article showing some of the grotesque failures of "free" healthcare in both of these countries.

"In America, people wait in emergency rooms, too, but it's much worse in Canada. If you're sick enough to be admitted, the average wait is 23 hours.

'We can't send these patients to other hospitals.' Dr. Eric Letovsky told us. 'Every other emergency department in the country is just as packed as we are.'

More than a million and a half Canadians say they can't find a family doctor. Some towns hold lotteries to determine who gets a doctor. In Norwood, Ontario, '20/20' videotaped a town clerk pulling the names of the lucky winners out of a lottery box. The losers must wait to see a doctor.

Shirley Healy, like many sick Canadians, came to America for surgery. Her doctor in British Columbia told her she had only a few weeks to live because a blocked artery kept her from digesting food. Yet Canadian officials called her surgery 'elective.'

'The only thing elective about this surgery was I elected to live,' she said."

We need to get our liberal friends to read more of these articles.

14% Unemployment on the way?

The economic illiteracy of the Obama team is almost as frightening as the illiteracy of the media covering his administration. This article uses basic economic relationships to show that it is likely that unemployment will soar as the Obama bogus stimulus approach causes further reductions in private business investment.

"Given that employment is a direct, linear function of private business investment (PBI), unemployment can be expected to rise much farther in the months ahead...This measure decreased 37.3 percent in the first quarter of 2009, compared with a fall of 21.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Because a lot of PBI goes toward offsetting depreciation and increasing productivity, it takes a 5% year-over-year increase in PBI to produce a 1% increase in the number of jobs. Correspondingly, a 5% decrease in PBI will yield a 1% reduction in total employment...

The 37.9% investment decline reported by the BEA can be expected to eventually produce a reduction in total employment of about 8.5%. Accordingly, we can expect unemployment to rise to about 14% within a year unless the downward slide of PBI is reversed...

'Stimulus' is based upon the superstition that government borrowing and spending creates 'demand'. In reality, it does no such thing. 'Stimulus' is like trying to raise the level of the Hudson River by dipping out a bucket of water, walking five feet downstream, and pouring it back in...

While doing nothing to boost demand, Obama's "stimulus" will depress PBI, and therefore employment. This is because the "stimulus" plan requires selling an additional $787 billion in government bonds. The money to buy these bonds will have to come from somewhere, and much of it will come from people who would otherwise invest in starting or expanding businesses. Indeed, the bonds will have to be priced so that this risk-free investment is more attractive to investors than their other alternatives.

In the fourth quarter of 2008, the Federal government ran a deficit of $303 billion (and therefore had to sell $303 billion of new bonds) and business investment fell by 21.7%. In the first quarter of 2009, the Federal deficit was $650 billion and business investment fell by 37.3%. The economy is being forced to invest in Barack's Bailout Bonds rather than in businesses that create jobs.

Virtually everything the Obama administration wants to do will have the effect of increasing unemployment. As bad as joblessness is now, be prepared for it to get much, much worse."

Caffeine shown to slow or reverse Alzheimer's in mice

There are lots of promising medical study results these days, many of which you never hear about again, but this one seems interesting since many have relatives who have or are at risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. It's also interesting because the "medication" is the caffeine in coffee, and it's great to have a health reason to drink something many of us are addicted to anyway.

"
Three large cups of coffee a day could help to slow the progress of Alzheimer’s disease and even reverse the condition, researchers say...mice with a rodent equivalent of the disease showed a 50 percent reduction in levels of amyloid protein in their brains after scientists spiked their drinking water with caffeine...

By the end of the two-month study, the caffeine-drinking mice were performing far better on tests of memory and thinking than mice given water. Their memories were as sharp as those of healthy older mice without dementia."

Something to think about with your morning cup of java.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Away for a week.

I'll be traveling in remote places next week so won't be blogging 'till the 28th or so. Those who are desperate for pearls of wisdom here are invited to visit the archives. Have a great week!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Another missive from a recovering liberal

"Robin of Berkeley" has been writing a series of articles about what it's like for a lifelong liberal to wake up one day and discover that everything she's believed for all these years is nonsense, and that conservatives have been right all along. These are well written pieces with an insight into both liberal and conservative thought, in other words, a good read.

Her latest piece is on the possibility of becoming a gun owner. It's worth forwarding to any of your favorite liberals. Here's the intro:

"I've been thinking about learning how to fire a gun, maybe even buying one. Now if you are a lifelong conservative, Red State dweller, and NRA member, you might be thinking, "Big yawn. What's next? She'll be telling us what she had for breakfast?"

So let me try to convey to you the enormousness, the Alice in Wonderland quality of my even posing the question, something I've never, ever considered in my life. No one I know owns a gun. I've never seen a gun (well on a holster of a police officer but I never wanted to get up close and personal with it). I have given lots of good money over the years for gun control. Learning to fire a gun seems as ludicrous as deciding to take up brain surgery...."

Some things never change


If you haven't already seen it, above is a cartoon from The Chicago Tribune in 1934. (Click on it to enlarge) It would need little updating to be completely current.

Those who've read Amity Shlaes' book, The Forgotten Man, a history of the 1930's depression, know that there are lots of parallels between the mindless government activism of the 1930's and of today. Government meddling in the '30's turned a garden variety downturn into a depression, and the much larger scope of meddling today has the potential to do the same, or at least retard a recovery.

What's interesting is how little has changed in the past 80 years. The same sorts of remedies are trotted out, no matter how many times they have failed in the past. If you haven't read The Forgotten Man, it is an excellent refresher course on the history of the '30's, which bears an uncanny resemblance to the political economics of today.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Obama's huge foreign gas tax giveaway

As everyone knows, gasoline prices are rising again, recently topping $3 per gallon in California, that "green" tax and regulation hell. It would have been nice during the breather from sky high prices last summer if the government had taken steps to increase domestic production to forestall future increases, but instead the Obama administration has been working to reduce domestic production and increase our vulnerability to hostile foreign suppliers.

Gasoline has what's called an inelastic demand curve. That means that it takes large price changes to cause much change in the demand for gas. This works in both directions, which is why prices fell so much after the big run-up last year. It also works on the upside, so gradual increases in worldwide consumption are leading to the large upward price movement we are seeing now.

This tendency to large price swings means that relatively small increases in production put a large downward pressure on price. America has plenty of oil locked away offshore and in vast oil shale deposits in Utah, Colorado, and neighboring states, so it would be relatively easy for us to produce a couple of million extra barrels a day if the government would let industry do it.

The cost of Obama's anti-production strategy is probably a dollar or more per gallon increase in gas prices. The US consumes over 800 million gallons of oil per day, so about half a billion dollars a day due to unnecessary price increases goes overseas to benefit the Hugo Chavez's and Saudi princes. Obama's anti-production policy is, in effect, a huge tax imposed by his administration on Americans for the benefit of America's enemies.

With the help of an absolutely clueless and fawning media, he touts meaningless green energy fantasies as if they are a substitute for real energy production, and the population snoozes in ignorance as they work to provide billions of dollars for the benefit of foreign oil plutocrats.

It's really enough to make you weep.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Total economic collapse caused by unions


This article describes the demolition of American urban areas where unionized employers once had businesses as the population leaves in search of employment.

"The government [is] looking at expanding a pioneering scheme in Flint, one of the poorest US cities, which involves razing entire districts and returning the land to nature.

Local politicians believe the city must contract by as much as 40 per cent, concentrating the dwindling population and local services into a more viable area.

Flint, sixty miles north of Detroit, was the original home of General Motors. The car giant once employed 79,000 local people but that figure has shrunk to around 8,000.

Unemployment is now approaching 20 per cent and the total population has almost halved to 110,000.

The exodus – particularly of young people – coupled with the consequent collapse in property prices, has left street after street in sections of the city almost entirely abandoned."

This collapse is the result of the false promise that unions can raise the standard of living of the average worker. Instead they have raised costs to their employers to the point that most unionized companies have had to shed workers or shut down entirely. Flint Michigan is the poster child for the damage caused by unions.

Who has benefited from their drive for higher wages? Against the rapidly dwindling number of union workers still employed are the millions who've lost their jobs or who never got jobs in the first place at companies infected with the union virus, as well as the other workers who lost jobs when local economies collapsed.

An ever shrinking percentage of the private workforce is unionized as these private employers close plants, lay off workers, and shift jobs overseas. The Obama proposal to allow unions to intimidate workers by getting rid of secret balloting would only accelerate the loss of manufacturing jobs in America.

If unions ever were a good idea, they certainly aren't any more, unless you want to see more unionized areas return to farmland. The process of de-urbanization taking place in Flint is going on in former union strongholds around the country.

"Most are former industrial cities in the "rust belt" of America's Mid-West and North East. They include Detroit, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Memphis.

In Detroit, shattered by the woes of the US car industry, there are already plans to split it into a collection of small urban centres separated from each other by countryside."

More Obamacare posters



From Michelle Malkin, a couple of the reader generated posters she's been putting up. It will be interesting to see whether enough citizen backlash can be generated to stop government run healthcare.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Is Russia planning another invasion of Georgia?

"'About 8,500 Russian troops will take part in military exercises starting this month in the country's North Caucasus region, just north of Georgia, the Russian defense ministry said on Thursday...'up to 200 tanks, 450 armored cars and up to 250 artillery pieces of various types will be used,' the defense ministry said in a statement detailing its plans...

The Russian exercises will run from June 29 to July 6 [and] will involve more troops than the 'Caucasus 2008' when some 8,000 soldiers took part in exercises in the same region, just weeks before the Russia-Georgia war."

Large scale military exercises along a border are often used as a prelude to invasions of neighboring countries, and Russia conducted a similar exercise last year prior to invading Georgia.

The Putin government tried very hard to bring down the Georgian government so it could install a puppet regime, both during the invasion and by supporting pro-Moscow forces within Georgia during the past year. One of these attempts led to a failed coup earlier this year. Putin never accepted the breakup of the Soviet Union, and seems to have Georgia in his sights for a forcible return to the Russian fold.

With Obama in the White House, Putin knows the time will never get better for Russia to take Georgia by force. The announcement of these war games may be an indication that plans are moving ahead for such an action.

If it happens, expect an effusion of nuanced verbiage from Barack and Hillary, and perhaps a sternly worded, though nuanced, note. Our "allies" in Europe will no doubt counsel caution to avoid "escalating the situation," mindful that they are dependent on Russian energy and have no military capability to speak of.

Barack will give a wonderful speech during which he will equate the Russian invasion with the American invasion of [fill in the blank]. He will declare that we shouldn't blame others for what we have done ourselves, particularly during the Bush administration. Finally, Barack and Hillary will deplore the "tragic situation" and offer humanitarian assistance to the displaced Georgians - and Russians.

If Russia does grab Georgia, it may not be satisfied with just one bite at the apple. Once Georgia is digested, Putin may decide that reassembly of the Soviet empire should take place before the Obama administration leaves office, since he knows any reaction is likely to consist of empty rhetoric.

It will be interesting to see whether an invasion of Georgia becomes the "big test" that Joe Biden predicted.

Crony capitalism, Obama style

People watching the news probably know that new Government Motors CEO Edward Whitacre has announced that he doesn't know anything about cars. In the Obama administration, that in itself would qualify him to run what used to be the world's largest car company.

However, he's even got a better qualification as the man who made White House Chief of Staff
Rahm Emanuel rich with a very sweet deal during Whitacre's time as head of telecom giant SBC.

"
In short, SBC picked up a residential security outfit in acquiring telecom Ameritech and was ordered in 2000 by the Federal Communications Commission to divest itself of the property. Ameritech had sunk $1.4 billion into the subsidiary -- SecurityLink -- and SBC thought it could sell it for about that much.

Instead, according to the story, SBC ended up selling the company in 2001 to an investment group represented by Emanuel for $479 million. Six months later, the group sold it to Tyco for a cool $1 billion.

Rhambo ended up with his biggest payday outside of politics - a $16 million windfall courtesy of his ties to the machine."

But that's not all,

"
Bill Daley, Bill Clinton's commerce secretary and brother of Chicago's popular Democratic mayor, was named SBC's president by Whitacre in 2001. His responsibilities, according to the official release, included regulatory matters, governmental initiatives, and external and international affairs.

In other words, he became a lobbyist/door-opener for the corporation. He got a $1.1 million signing bonus from Whitacre, a starting salary of $600,000 and a bonus of no less than $600,000 in 2002, plus stock options, a country-club membership and a monthly car allowance, including free fuel and maintenance."


No wonder Obama decided that
Whitacre was the perfect man for the job. Taxpayers and investors will get hosed, but there should be major money making opportunities for Obama's political friends.

Imagine the headlines in all the major media if Bush had made this kind of appointment.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Ocean heat trends falsify global warming theory


As this article points out, "Water is a more appropriate metric for heat accumulation than air because of its ability to store heat. For this reason, it is also a more robust metric for assessing global warming and cooling...

For any given area on the ocean’s surface, the upper 2.6m of water has the same heat capacity as the entire atmosphere above it! Considering the enormous depth and global surface area of the ocean (70.5%), it is apparent that its heat capacity is greater than the atmosphere by many orders of magnitude. Consequently... the ocean must be regarded as the main reservoir of atmospheric heat and the primary driver of climate fluctuations.

Heat accumulating in the climate system can be determined by profiling ocean temperature... These measurements are now possible on a global scale with the ARGO buoy array and from satellite measurements of ocean surface heights. ARGO consists of a world-wide network of over 3000 free-drifting platforms that measure temperature and salinity in the upper 2000m of ocean. The robotic floats rise to the surface every 10 days and transmit data to a satellite which also determines their location.

Pielke’s Litmus Test

In 2007 Roger Pielke, Sr. suggested that ocean heat should be used not just to monitor the energy imbalance in the climate system, but as a “litmus test” for falsifying the IPCC’s AGW hypothesis... One of the world’s foremost atmospheric scientists, he has published nearly 350 papers in peer-reviewed journals, 50 chapters in books, and co-edited 9 books.

Though other criteria... can be used to test the AGW hypothesis, ocean heat has one main advantage: Simplicity... Ocean heat touches on the very core of the AGW hypothesis: When all is said and done, if the climate system is not accumulating heat, the hypothesis is invalid.

It is evident that the AGW hypothesis, as it now stands, is either false or fundamentally inadequate. One may argue that ... not enough time has elapsed to falsify this hypothesis. This would be true if it were not for the enormous deficit of heat we have observed. In other words, no matter how much time has elapsed, if a projection misses its target by such a large magnitude (6x to 8x), we can safely assume that it is either false or seriously flawed."

More evidence of Obama administraion corruption

From Byron York at the Washington Examiner:

"Some strange and potentially suspicious events tonight concerning the Obama White House and the AmeriCorps program. I've been told that on Wednesday night the AmeriCorps inspector general, Gerald Walpin, received a call from the White House counsel's office telling him that he had one hour to either resign or be fired. The White House did not cite a reason...

Inspectors General are part of every federal department. They are given the responsibility of independently investigating allegations of waste, fraud, and corruption in the government, without fear of interference by political appointees or the White House. Last year Congress passed the Inspectors General Reform Act, which added new protections for IGs, including a measure requiring the president to give Congress 30 days prior notice before dismissing an IG. The president must also give Congress an explanation of why the action is needed. Then-Sen. Barack Obama was one of the co-sponsors of the Act.

Now, there is the hurried attempt to dismiss Walpin, without the required notice or cause...

The firing apparently stems from Walpin's investigation of a non-profit group, St. HOPE Academy, run by Kevin Johnson, the former NBA star who is now mayor of Sacramento, California (and a big Obama supporter). "[Walpin] found that Johnson, a former all-star point guard for the Phoenix Suns, had used AmeriCorps grants to pay volunteers to engage in school-board political activities, run personal errands for Johnson and even wash his car," the AP reports. In April, the U.S. attorney declined to file any criminal charges in the matter and criticized Walpin's investigation. But at the same time Johnson and St. HOPE agreed to repay about half of the $850,000 it had received from AmeriCorps.

Bottom line: The AmeriCorps IG accuses prominent Obama supporter of misusing AmeriCorps grant money. Prominent Obama supporter has to pay back more than $400,000 of that grant money. Obama fires AmeriCorps IG."

Change we can believe in.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Still More "Obamafacts"

Obamafacts are just like real facts, except they're not true. But it's ever so liberating to be able to make up "facts" to support your theories and worldview when the real facts don't. And it's especially nice when the MSM is too busy bowing before its Messiah to bother with little things like truth.

Victor Davis Hanson has a nice, if incomplete, collection of Obamafacts about history in this article.

On Obama's Cairo speech,

"Obama also insisted that 'Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance. We see it in the history of Andalusia and Cordoba during the Inquisition.' Yet the Spanish Inquisition began in 1478; by then Cordoba had long been re-conquered by Spanish Christians, and was governed as a staunchly Christian city.

In reference to Iraq, President Obama promised that 'no system of government can or should be imposed upon one nation by any other.' Is he unaware of how the United States imposed democracies after World War II?

Obama also stated: 'For centuries, black people in America suffered the lash of the whip as slaves and the humiliation of segregation. But it was not violence that won full and equal rights...'

The only thing that ended slavery in the United States was the Civil War, which saw some 600,000 Americans — the vast majority of them white — lost in a violent struggle to ensure that nearly half the country would not remain a slave-owning society."

The problem with Obamafacts is that they lead to Obama's policies, based on make believe, which don't work as well when they collide with the world of real facts.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Get ready for major inflation


Arthur Laffer is the economist who created the famous "Laffer Curve" showing that higher tax rates can result in lower tax revenues. In this article in the WSJ, he points out that:

"The percentage increase in the monetary base is the largest increase in the past 50 years by a factor of 10 (see chart nearby). It is so far outside the realm of our prior experiential base that historical comparisons are rendered difficult if not meaningless."

As a result, "The 12-month growth rate of M1 [one of the main measures of money in circulation] is now in the 15% range, and close to its highest level in the past half century...

It's difficult to estimate the magnitude of the inflationary and interest-rate consequences of the Fed's actions because, frankly, we haven't ever seen anything like this in the U.S. To date what's happened is potentially far more inflationary than were the monetary policies of the 1970s, when the prime interest rate peaked at 21.5% and inflation peaked in the low double digits. Gold prices went from $35 per ounce to $850 per ounce, and the dollar collapsed on the foreign exchanges. It wasn't a pretty picture...

Alas, I doubt very much that the Fed will do what is necessary to guard against future inflation and higher interest rates. If the Fed were to reduce the monetary base by $1 trillion, it would need to sell a net $1 trillion in bonds. This would put the Fed in direct competition with Treasury's planned issuance of about $2 trillion worth of bonds over the coming 12 months. Failed auctions would become the norm and bond prices would tumble, reflecting a massive oversupply of government bonds...

In addition, a rapid contraction of the monetary base as I propose would cause a contraction in bank lending, or at best limited expansion. This is exactly what happened in 2000 and 2001 when the Fed contracted the monetary base the last time. The economy quickly dipped into recession. While the short-term pain of a deepened recession is quite sharp, the long-term consequences of double-digit inflation are devastating. For Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke it's a Hobson's choice. For me the issue is how to protect assets for my grandchildren."

It's not widely known that the major cause of the 1930's depression was ill-advised manipulation of the money supply by the Federal Reserve. It looks like we are on track for a repeat of this devastating episode of economic history. Ben Bernanke has let the inflationary genie out of the bottle, and as Arthur Laffer has shown, it will cause tremendous economic pain to get it back in. Mr. Bernanke will almost undoubtedly go down in history as one of the worst Fed chairmen ever.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

"Income Inequality"


Perhaps the central fallacy of liberalism/socialism is that capitalism causes the rich to get richer while the poor get poorer. This is simply impossible in a free market economy, because it is the capital of the "rich" which makes possible jobs which lift people out of poverty.

Since jobs must be financed with capital, more rich means more capital, which provides more jobs, so there are fewer poor. It's really that simple.

Anyone who doubts that formula should look at the overwhelming evidence. The wealthiest countries have the most rich people and the fewest poor. According to Marx and his benighted followers, it should be just the opposite.

However, their mantra, ignorant as it is, is still powerful among the economically illiterate, which includes essentially all liberals. As the great development economist Peter Bauer pointed out, it's quite possible for economists to get PhD's by studying some point of arcane minutia without having an understanding of basic economic principles. One must assume that most liberal economists fall into this category.

This article points out a number of the fallacies in the way income distribution data is typically presented. However, it seems to miss one very important point. Even if the top income bracket increases its share of total income, that doesn't mean the lower brackets receive less absolute income. To the contrary, that is an artifact of basic arithmetic.

By definition the lowest income brackets are closest to zero, which forms one end of the scale, since income statistics don't go below zero. By contrast, there is no limit on the upper end of the scale, so billionaires can make twice as much while all the other brackets earn more as well. In fact, when the richest percent of Americans make substantially more, that means they have substantially more to invest providing jobs for people in the lower brackets.

So taking money away from the richest percentage directly reduces the amount they have to invest in providing jobs, thus reducing income growth and increasing unemployment across the board. The socialist program of reducing income inequality by heavily taxing the rich inevitably creates higher unemployment and poverty, just the outcomes socialists say they oppose.

As their modern alliance with environmentalists shows, socialists really don't have the slightest concern for the poor. Virtually every environmentalist initiative, cheered on by socialists, hurts the poor. But the economic ignorance of the voting public allows their mindless mantra "the rich get richer while the poor get poorer" to continue to do its incredible damage to the very poor they claim to be helping.

In fact, both the environmentalist and socialist movements are all about gaining power, not about helping people or the environment. With the help of the supine major media, they're both much more successful in that endeavor than in achieving their stated goals.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Christopher Hitchens on Obama's Cairo speech

Mr. Hitchens can be a wickedly good writer, though he is wickedly wrong about Christianity. In this case, however, he has some interesting points about both Guantanamo and Obama's speech in Cairo. On Gitmo,

"Nothing prepared me for the way in which the authorities at the camp have allowed the most extreme religious cultists among the inmates to be the organizers of the prisoners' daily routine. Suppose that you were a secular or unfanatical person caught in the net by mistake; you would still find yourself being compelled to pray five times a day (the guards are not permitted to interrupt), to have a Quran in your cell, and to eat food prepared to halal (or Sharia) standards.

I suppose you could ask to abstain, but, in such a case, I wouldn't much fancy your chances...I asked how they justified the use of taxpayers' money to create an institution dedicated to the fervent practice of the most extreme version of just one religion...[Gitmo is] a state-sponsored madrasah."

On the Cairo speech,

"Any person with the smallest pretense to cultural literacy knows that there is no such place or thing as 'the Muslim world,' or, rather, that it consists of many places and many things. (It is precisely the aim of the jihadists to bring it all under one rulership preparatory to making Islam the world's only religion.) But Obama said nothing about the schism between Sunni and Shiites, or about the argument over Sufism, or about Ahmadi and Ismaili forms of worship and practice.

All this was conceded to the umma: the highly ideological notion that a person is first and foremost defined by their adherence to a religion and that all concepts of citizenship and rights take second place to this theocratic diktat. Nothing could be more reactionary.

Take the single case in which our president touched upon the best-known fact about the Islamic 'world': its tendency to make women second-class citizens. He mentioned this only to say that 'Western countries' were discriminating against Muslim women! And how is this discrimination imposed?

By limiting the wearing of the head scarf or hijab (a word that Obama pronounced as hajib—imagine the uproar if George Bush had done that). The clear implication was an attack on the French law that prohibits the display of religious garb or symbols in state schools...

But to the women who are compelled to dress according to the requirements of others, Obama had nothing to say at all, as if the only "right" at stake were the right to obey an instruction that is, in fact—if it matters—not found in the Quran. In Turkey, too, head scarves for women are outlawed in some contexts. Is this, too, Islamophobia?

Does the president think that the veil and the burqa are also freely chosen fashion statements? This sort of naiveté is worrying, and it means that among the global Muslim audience, the wrong sort of people were laughing at us, while the ones who ought to be our friends and allies were shedding a disappointed tear."

More "Obamafacts"

As has been mentioned here a number of times previously, the "facts" in Obama's mind don't have to correlate with the facts everyone else except the media sees. Yet another example from a recent Karl Rove column in the WSJ:

"Mr. Obama has an ingenious approach to job losses: He describes them as job gains. For example, last week the president claimed that 150,000 jobs had been created or saved because of his stimulus package. He boasted, 'And that's just the beginning.'

However, at the beginning of January, 134.3 million people were employed. At the start of May, 132.4 million Americans were working. How was Mr. Obama magically able to conjure this loss of 1.9 million jobs into an increase of 150,000 jobs?"

Rove points out that, of course "the White House press corps has let Mr. Obama's ludicrous claim go virtually unchallenged."


An Obamacare poster (or two)



From Michelle Malkin come these "advertisements" for Obamacare. If it can't be stopped, we'll all have to get used to pain, suffering, and dying unnecessarily. That's change we can believe in.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Obama's "stimulus" is failing according to his own projections


As this article points out, the economy is doing worse than it would have done without any "stimulus" spending, according to the Obama administration's own projections. Of course, the whole premise of "stimulus" spending has been discredited by 70 years of failure by governments around the world.

The last major trial of "stimulus" in the United States during the 1970's led to stagflation, that wonderful combination of high unemployment, low economic growth, and high inflation. Remember the "misery index"?

The fact is that there is no logical basis for the theory of stimulus through deficit spending. More importantly, it has never worked in practice. However, since one of the key criteria for major media personalities is a complete lack of economic knowledge, the term "stimulus" is repeated as if it actually means something.

Not only does "stimulus" not stimulate, it actually makes things much worse, and we are now starting to see the economic trend lines diverge in a negative direction from Obama's own projections of what would have happened had he not spent any of the trillion plus taxpayer dollars on so called "stimulus".

The old saying is that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. There are lots of historical illiterates out there, and it appears they have doomed the rest of us to repeat some very painful economic lessons.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Obama's new industrial policy looks just like old industrial policy

Barack Obama assured Americans that his takeover of the auto industry was done reluctantly, and that the government wouldn't try to manage the companies directly. That policy didn't last long enough for him to finish the sentence.

Now Congressmen are doing what they do best, looking out for their constituents by interfering in the companies' restructuring efforts. The latest example is by that paragon of Congressional virtue, Barney Frank, "who intervened this week to save a GM distribution center in Norton, Mass. The warehouse, which employs some 90 people, was slated for closure by the end of the year under GM's restructuring plan. But Mr. Frank put in a call to GM CEO Fritz Henderson and secured a new lease on life for the facility.

Mr. Frank's spokesman, Harry Gural, says the Congressman discussed, among other things, 'the facility's value to GM.' We'd have thought that would be something that GM might have considered when it decided to close the Norton center, but then a call from one of the most powerful Members of Congress can certainly cause a ward of the state to reconsider what qualifies as 'value.'

A CEO who refuses the offer can soon find himself testifying under oath before Congress, or answering questions from the Government Accountability Office about his expense account. To that point, Mr. Henderson spent Wednesday with Chrysler President Jim Press being castigated by the Senate Commerce Committee for their plans to close 3,400 car dealerships. Every Senator wants dealerships closed in someone else's state."

So our new industrial policy looks exactly like the old industrial policy of governments that own large businesses. The ink's hardly dry on the takeover documents before business decisions are subject to political interference at every level. Welcome to Government Motors.

John Murtha, a modern Pharaoh

In ancient times, Pharaohs forced their subjects to build pyramids as monuments to themselves. Now the modern Pharaoh, Congressman John Murtha has forced taxpayers to build an unused airport as a monument to himself. This ABC news report shows what an incredible waste of money this airport is.

Remember when candidate Barack Obama promised to scan the federal budget line by line to excise any wasteful spending? If you do, you have a better memory than he has.

If any of your liberal friends try to argue that a federal takeover of the healthcare system will reduce costs, send them this link. If the feds take over healthcare, we can look forward to the John Murtha unused medical center monument, and all our other little Pharaohs will want medical monuments of their very own.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Eric Holder bans honest elections

Obama Attorney General Eric Holder has always been a political hack of the first order. During the Clinton years he sued banks for not making enough sub-prime mortgages, thus helping to instigate the downward spiral in lending standards that led to the current economic meltdown.

Now he's at work preventing the state of Georgia from verifying the identity of voters so the massive illegal population can vote with impunity. This is electoral corruption on a huge scale.

"Georgia's secretary of state, Karen Handel, has blasted DOJ's move:

'The decision by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to deny preclearance of Georgia’s already implemented citizenship verification process shows a shocking disregard for the integrity of our elections. With this decision, DOJ has now barred Georgia from continuing the citizenship verification program that DOJ lawyers helped to craft. DOJ’s decision also nullifies the orders of two federal courts directing Georgia to implement the procedure for the 2008 general election.

DOJ has thrown open the door for activist organizations such as ACORN to register non-citizens to vote in Georgia’s elections, and the state has no ability to verify an applicant’s citizenship status or whether the individual even exists. DOJ completely disregarded Georgia’s obvious and direct interest in preventing non-citizens from voting, instead siding with the ACLU and MALDEF. Clearly, politics took priority over common sense and good public policy.'"

No doubt the MSM will bury this story like all the other stories showing the Obama administration's disregard for the law and for honest elections. That's why people have to read blogs to understand what is going on.

The key question is what can be done about it, but the first step is to let everyone know what's happening.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Check out PJTV

As internet speeds increase, on-demand video is getting more and more common. This is leading to the ability to create the equivalent of network news programs on the internet at a small fraction of the cost. Ultimately, internet TV news may do to NBC and the other left wing news broadcasts what the blogs and Craig's List are doing to liberal newspapers.

One such conservative TV website is PJTV, which offers a large number of video news and analysis clips on topics of the day. One such clip is on the subject of media bias by internet reporter Bill Whittle. It's well worth watching.

Another program is the news analysis by radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt. Hewitt is a former attorney, a relentless interviewer on his radio program, as well as a blogger and columnist. His TV segments radiate the kind of intelligence that is so obviously lacking in virtually all TV news venues.

Many of us have shifted away from major newspapers to the blogs for more and more print reporting. It's time to begin shifting away from the insipid, biased TV news as well, and turn to internet sites like PJTV. If we can keep the 1st Amendment intact, we should learn a lot more from internet TV news than from the dying relics of the MSM.

Obama has decided we are "one of the largest Muslim countries in the world"

One of the interesting aspects of the Obama presidency is his tendency to state "facts" that are completely false without being called to account by the MSM. If George Bush had mis-stated half the phony facts Obama comes up with, he might have been accused by the MSM of being a dunce - or, actually, he was accused of being a dunce.

But no matter how many false "facts" Obama cites in major speeches, there is no danger anyone in the MSM will accuse him of being a dunce, especially when they're bowing to him, as shown below.

His latest false "fact" is the statement that America is "one of the largest Muslim countries in the world." Not only are we not one of the largest Muslim countries in the world, we aren't a Muslim country at all.

So we can add this to the ever growing list of phony facts which Obama apparently believes. We're told he's a very smart guy - whatever he believes, true or not.

Now media bigwigs are bowing before Obama

Here's a Youtube video showing NBC's Brian Williams bowing to his Messiah. Just when you think the media can't go any lower in their groveling before the Anointed One, they show us they can.

A trillion for "stimulus", and now they're running out of cash for roads!?!?

According to this article, "The Obama administration said as much as $17 billion in additional federal money is needed to maintain roads and bridges over the next two years...

The highway trust fund will need an injection of as much as $7 billion by September or states would not receive all the money they are counting on to finance construction projects later this year, the administration said.

In addition, the fund will need as much as $10 billion more, or roughly 25% of what it distributes to states each year for road work, in the 12 months after September"

Wasn't infrastructure such as roads supposed to be one of the primary beneficiaries of the trillion dollar porkulus, excuse me, stimulus spending package? How is this even conceivably, remotely, imaginably possible? Are we living in some alternate universe where words and facts have completely lost their meaning?

Oh that's right, we're living in the Age of Obama, where a trillion dollars in spending is authorized, and there is apparently no money available to spend. But don't worry, Democratic lawmakers are on the case, "trying to identify new money sources to maintain the nation's infrastructure." Right, now we get it.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The 100 billion dollar payoff to the UAW

The United Auto Workers went all out for candidate Obama in the 2008 election, and Obama is now repaying the union with about a hundred billion dollars in taxpayer money. Talk about return on investment!

The so-called bailout of Chrysler and GM is not about saving the companies - that could have been done more effectively with a conventional Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing similar to that which most of the airline industry went through in the past several years. The problem was, that would have put unsupportable union wages and benefits at risk.

The airline and auto industries were both driven to bankruptcy by union demands that amounted to a choice between bankruptcy now or later. If the companies didn't agree to past contracts, strikes would have killed them on the spot, so it was always better to cave then and postpone the inevitable until later.

Well, later finally became now, and virtually the entire airline industry endured bankruptcies that wiped out stockholders, but resulted in reductions in extravagant union contracts that kept the companies from going completely out of business.

That could have been the route the auto industry took as well, but that didn't suit the UAW. With their political ally in the White House, the unions made a special deal that will cost the American taxpayers about $100 billion to enable these moribund companies to continue to fund lavish wages and benefits for current employees and retirees, but will do little to improve their competitiveness in the long run.

We now have a government run auto industry that will continue to lose tens of billions a year making cars the government wants, not what customers want. Taxpayers will be asked to pony up again and again as this financial black hole continues to suck in and destroy capital that could have been used for productive investments.

But this is not to rescue the companies, it is to pay off their unions. For the millions they spent to elect Barack Obama, they are getting a thousand to one return on their investment. Democrats love to bleat about corporate corruption. The auto union bailout is an example of political corruption on a colossal scale.

Yet another example of back to basics education working in inner city schools

This article in the LA Times, of all places, tells about 3 inner city charter schools in Oakland, CA which score near the top of all California public schools using an unapologetic approach which emphasizes discipline, hard work, and traditional values.

"Not many schools in California recruit teachers with language like this: 'We are looking for hard working people who believe in free market capitalism. . . . Multicultural specialists, ultra liberal zealots and college-tainted oppression liberators need not apply.'"

"School administrators take pride in their record of frequently firing teachers they consider to be underperforming. Unions are embraced with the same warmth accorded 'self-esteem experts, panhandlers, drug dealers and those snapping turtles who refuse to put forth their best effort,' to quote the school's website."

How well does this approach work?

"Among the thousands of public schools in California, only four middle schools and three high schools score higher. None of them serves mostly underprivileged children."

Don't expect public schools to embrace this model any time soon. Only competition can force the public school monopoly to make the kind of real changes necessary to emulate success stories like this.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Some interesting numbers on wind power




This article in the Canadian press has some interesting information on the real economic and environmental impact of wind energy. For example,

"Flemming Nissen, the head of development at West Danish generating company ELSAM (one of Denmark’s largest energy utilities) tells us that 'wind turbines do not reduce carbon dioxide emissions.' The German experience is no different. Der Spiegel reports that 'Germany’s CO2 emissions haven’t been reduced by even a single gram,' and additional coal- and gas-fired plants have been constructed to ensure reliable delivery.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sunspot activity continues to decline




For those who haven't kept up, sunspot activity is much more closely correlated to global temperature than CO2. This article point out that 2008 had the lowest sunspot activity in a century, and that so far 2009's count is even lower.

The total for this 11 year solar cycle is now the 4th lowest since the 1600's. The previous low cycles were associated with periods of extreme cold. Not surprisingly, global temperatures are dropping.

No wonder California's going broke

This is a list of salaries of some top bureaucrats in California. Remember when people supposedly accepted lower pay to be a "public servant"? And this doesn't count their benefits. Government pensions are so generous, these salaries, high as they are, are only the tip of the iceberg.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Mark Steyn on "stimulation"

This is a great funny/serious column from the master about the local "stimulus" bureaucracy in rural Vermont.

Remember when Supreme Court justices were supposed to be the best legal minds?

Obama pick Sonia Sotomayer has published some strange opinions in her career, among them,

"then-district Judge Sotomayor ruled that a prospective lawyer must be given special consideration in taking the New York state bar exam because her dyslexia qualified as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act, despite the fact that she had failed the exam five times.

As a district court judge, Sotomayor also allowed a racial discrimination claim to continue when the plaintiff, a black nurse, sued Bellevue Hospital Corp because other nurses spoke mainly in Filipino, their native tongue, which she claimed made her feel harassed and isolated.

In 1994, Judge Sotomayor ruled in favor of two prisoners who claimed to practice Santeria, a Caribbean religion that involves animal sacrifice and voodoo, saying that “distinctions between ‘traditional’ and ‘non-traditional’ religions” are “intolerable.”"

We'll have to pray that the conservative justices on the court stay healthy.

Supreme Court nominee Sotomayer, self described racist and sexist.

One would expect Barack Obama to emphasize race and sex over ability when picking a Supreme Court justice, but one would not necessarily expect him to pick an overt racist and sexist such as Sonia Sotomayer. In her own words, quoted by the New York Times, “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”

Can one imagine the outcry from liberals if a white male Supreme Court nominee had reversed that comment? Does anyone imagine that liberals will object to her comments?

So liberals think it's perfectly OK to make racist and sexist comments as long as they're aimed at white males. The two terms are simply rhetorical weapons used by the left to intimidate conservatives, and have lost whatever substance they once had.

One would hope that the weak kneed Republican members of the Senate will bring these comments up during her confirmation hearings, and point out that she is a racist and sexist. I wouldn't hold my breath, though.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The great F.A. Hayek on freedom vs socialism

Many people believe freedom and socialism are somehow compatible. One of the first great expositions of the fact that socialism inevitably leads to loss of freedom was the book The Road to Serfdom by the Nobel Prize winning economist F. A. Hayek. It's one of those classic books everyone should have read somewhere along the way, and it's not too late to read it now.

This article points out,

"Hayek's central thesis in his sentinel work, The Road to Serfdom, is that through the inevitable mismanagement of resources and goods at the disposal of the state, all forms of collectivism lead eventually to tyranny. Hayek used the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany as examples of countries that had progressed through the phases of collectivist governments and reached the point of tyranny.

Hayek argued that disagreement regarding the practical implementation of any economic plan combined with the inadequacy of the planners' resource management would necessitate coercion in order for anything to be achieved. According to Hayek, the failure of central planning would be perceived by some in the public as an absence of sufficient power by the state to implement an otherwise good idea. This would lead the public to vote more power to the state, assisting in the rise of a "strong man" perceived to be capable of getting the job done.

Following these developments, a country will be driven into outright totalitarianism. For Hayek, this journey, inadvertently set upon by central planning, ends in the destruction of all individual economic and personal freedoms."

Sounds like the path we're on. It will be interesting to see how far down that path we go. As Hayek said, "
What has always made the state a hell on earth has been precisely that man has tried to make it his heaven."

The environmental movement, DDT, and mass murder

This article is just the latest in the long list of articles pointing out that the banning of DDT by the environmental movement has killed more people than Hitler, and probably more than Stalin or Mao as well. Yet the green movement has never been called to account by the absolutely clueless MSM or the equally clueless Republican party for its conspiracy to commit mass murder on the largest scale.

DDT has always been, and continues to this day to be the single most effective malaria preventer ever invented. The WSJ article above estimates that banning DDT has caused 50 million deaths and continues to cause a million a year, mostly children.

There should be a class action law firm out there to take on the biggest such suit in history demanding trillions of dollars in damages from the whole range of environmental groups for their complicity in these murders - for withholding a life saving chemical from dying people is murder, pure and simple.

As usual, the greens base their anti-DDT campaign on absolute junk science. An irony is that even birds, one of the main supposed beneficiaries of the DDT ban, are killed in the millions by mosquito born viruses like West Nile.

It's perhaps not surprising the the MSM, so deep in the green's pocket that they can't see out, aren't shouting about this travesty. It's pathetic that Republican politicians are either so clueless or so intimidated by the environmental movement that they won't speak up about the worst mass murder in history occuring right under their noses.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

An example of Obama's plan to save oil

It's basic physics that the more metal in front of you, the more protection you have in the event of a crash, and visa versa. Thanks to Obama, tens of thousands of Americans are going to experience this horrific end. But on the bright side, Obama has such a winning smile.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

An all too rare transformation

It has been said that those who aren't liberal when young have no heart, but those who aren't conservative when old have no brain. I disagree about the first part, but there is a common phenomenon of young liberals gradually awakening from their hallucinations and turning into thoughtful conservatives.

One such person who has written an interesting piece about her transformation is "Robin of Berkeley."

It's a heartening read even though we know it happens far too infrequently, and there are still far too many apparently incorrigible zombies out there.

The next couple of years will be the last time you can choose your own new car

The new fuel mileage standards the Obama administration has imposed on America will effectively take away your choice of which kind of car you'll be able to buy. Obama has ordered that you will now have one choice - small, and expensive.

The 39 mile per gallon standard for cars scheduled to take effect in just 7 years can now be met by just a handful of the smallest cars sold in America. Light trucks and SUV's will also have to average 30 mpg by these regulations, so truck buyers can also look forward to small, underpowered vehicles.

While large SUV's may still exist, they will have to be made extremely expensive to keep many Americans from buying them, or the automakers won't be able to meet their fuel economy mandates. So only Obama, Gore, and their friends will be able to afford them.

So if you want a decent car, you should buy your last one before they become unavailable.

The loss of freedom of choice, that is, freedom itself, due to these regulations is staggering. The so called free market is now the government controlled market for automobiles, which after housing is the single most important purchase most people make.

These regulations have a host of apparently unintended consequences. The first is a reduction in safety. Insurance statistics show that small cars have 2 1/2 times the fatality rate of large SUV's. Thousands of people are going to die as a result of these regulations. The number of people estimated to have been killed as a result of the 1970's CAFE mileage standards is over 60,000 people. That's in addition to the hundreds of thousands of additional serious injuries.

The shift to all small cars will also put the final nails in the coffin of the American auto industry. American producers have lost money on small cars for the past 40 years. They've managed to survive by making money on the large cars that will now be banned. Now they're being required to make billions of dollars of investment using money they don't have to produce cars that they will lose money selling.

There is no way they can be viable economic entities without outsourcing virtually all car production overseas. Even then, they won't be able to afford the investments required. So it appears the American auto industry may become the next Amtrac, a massively government subsidized business which will lose billions every year producing cars people don't want.

Ford, the last American producer not under government control, will eventually be forced into bankruptcy or it won't be able to compete with its massively subsidized rivals.

It will be interesting to watch the agonies of American politicians debating whether to subsidize companies which are shifting production overseas, or funding the huge losses they would incur by continuing to build small cars here.

Decisions about which specific cars to build, and where to build them, will no longer be based on economic considerations, but rather political decisions about which powerful members of Congress would benefit from the choices they, and not auto industry executives, will make.

Automobile manufacturing has been the single largest American manufacturing industry for close to a hundred years. The new mileage standards will substantially reduce the size of that industry in America. Any savings on oil imports will be offset by increased auto imports.

So buy your next new car while you can still buy a car you want. After that, the only choice you'll have is an Obamobile.

Some Chrysler creditors are fighting back

Until now it looked as if the Obama administration would have an easy time confiscating assets of Chrysler senior creditors to give to its union allies. Administration threats against these creditors were enough to cause some of them to agree to abandon their rights.

However, the managers of these investment groups have a fiduciary responsibility to their investors to protect their assets, and there has been talk that these investment managers may be subject to investor lawsuits for failing to defend their rights.

Whatever the reason, several Indiana pension funds have filed suit to block the proposed restructuring, and it appears other previously intimidated creditors may join them.

Obama's planned expropriation of Chrysler may not have such an easy time of it after all.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The coming ice age

As anyone familiar with climate history knows, the earth has been locked in ice ages for 90% of the past 2 million years, with huge temperature swings and mile high glaciers over what are now northern American cities like Seattle. Every hundred thousand years, there is a roughly ten thousand year warm period, which we are at the far end of now.

This article summarizes this history, and is a good reminder of how really ignorant the global warmers are. Human CO2 production, though it is a small percentage of natural CO2 emissions, may be the only thing we can do to delay the onset of the inevitable plunge in temperature that awaits us.

The sun is in a very unusual quiet period which has been linked to past temperature declines, and temps have been falling for the past several years. While this decline is unlikely to be "the big one," it is coming, and humanity will have to use all its technological capacity to avoid the catastrophic impact it is likely to have on food production and everything else modern civilization provides.

Spending trillions to reduce CO2 emissions is a huge step in the wrong direction.

A great critique of natural selection

One of the nice things about not working is the ability to read books you just didn't have the energy to open when you collapsed exhausted at the end of every 12 hour work day.

As the battle between the evolutionists and intelligent designers rages on, I recently finished the best critique of Darwin's theory of macro-evolution I've run across. Michael Denton is a molecular biologist who has written 2 really outstanding books, "Nature's Destiny: How the Laws of Biology Reveal Purpose in the Universe" and "Evolution: A Theory In Crisis".

I read his second one, "Nature's Destiny", first, and was so impressed that I went back to read his first, written over 20 years ago. "Evolution" is a head-on scientific assault against natural selection as the method which created the first cell and the major biological divisions. Denton agrees that natural selection by random mutation can explain micro-evolution, but he marshals the evidence against macro-evolution in way that I find very convincing.

There's way too much in the books to summarize in a short post, but I don't think many fair minded readers would agree with Darwin after reading these two books. They're absolutely credible, and devastating.

The left mocks the left

Normally Jon Stewart is about as enjoyable to watch as a snake slithering along. However, this video clip shows that Nancy Pelosi has finally sunk to whatever bottom it takes for a fellow far leftist to ridicule her pathetic lying about enhanced interrogation techniques. When leftists mock leftists, it's worth a chuckle.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Obama laughs at a joke wishing death for Rush Limbaugh

The has always been an ugliness to "humor" on the left, and this isn't the first, second, or third time leftists have joked about wishing death to conservatives. But this may be the first time a sitting president has publicly laughed at such a "joke".

Obama laughed as so called comedienne Wanda Sykes said she hoped Rush Limbaugh's kidneys would fail at the White House correspondents' dinner. He also chortled at her description of Rush as a traitor who wanted to be a 9/11 hijacker.

"An editor with Britain's Daily Telegraph who was at the dinner wrote that liberals will give Sykes a pass, since her target was a right-wing talk show host. And he marveled at Obama's response.

'That's way, way beyond reasoned debate or comedy and Obama's reaction to it was astonishing," wrote Toby Harnden. "Imagine if a comedian 'joked' that Obama was a terrorist who was guilty of treason and should be tortured and allowed to die. There would justifiably be an outcry.'"

This, apparently, is the kind of classy, hip, cool president that liberals can love.

Obama is now the Hugo Chavez of America

Last week Venezuelan de facto dictator Hugo Chavez took another step toward socialism by confiscating more assets of western oil companies at a time when Venezuelan oil production is plummeting due to the incompetence of the state oil monopoly. This will undoubtedly lead to further declines in production as the Venezuelan economy continues to implode.

Meanwhile in the U.S., in an unprecedented action, the Obama administration completed the forcible bankruptcy restructuring of Chrysler by effectively confiscating assets of the senior bondholders in order to turn them over to its political ally, the UAW, which is the organization most responsible for the destruction of Chrysler in the first place.

The actions of the two men are not significantly different. In the past, Americans could look at these sorts of confiscations in third world countries confident that nothing like that could happen here - but now it has. The rule of law, in this case bankruptcy law, has been suspended in the Chrysler case. When bondholders tried to resist, they were threatened with extra-legal action by the White House, which then lied about its threats.

As Michael Barone called it in his recent column, this is an example of "gangster government." Now General Motors will be the next company on the chopping block. It will be interesting to see what the fate of its senior creditors is compared to the benefits offered by Obama to its union.

On another front, the Obama administration bullied the state of California into reversing its decision to reduce the wages of some union workers as part of its desperate effort to reduce its massive budget deficit by threatening to withhold billions in federal dollars from the state.

“(California) officials say they are particularly troubled that the Service Employees International Union, which lobbied the federal government to step in, was included in a conference call in which state and federal officials reviewed the wage cut and the terms of the stimulus package.

California Secretary of Health and Human Services Kim Belshe said she could not recall another instance in which the federal government invited a significant stakeholder group into such government-to-government negotiations.”

It’s looks as if Obama is planning to operate far closer to the style of Hugo Chavez than previously thought. Private property and the rule of law are beginning to look like relics of the past after the socialist “change” Obama has in mind.