28 December 2009

no comment

"The lot offers wider parking spaces especially designed for female drivers, who tend to cause twice as many collisions in parking lots than in other places, according to insurance company data," the Global Times says.
from here

23 December 2009

A death panel by any name would smell as sweet ...

The senate bill includes a provision that the section of the bill that regulates the Independent Medical Advisory Board - the panel of bureaucrats who will be rationing care - can only be repealed or amended by a super-majority of the senate.

In a letter to Harry Reid last week, CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf noted (with a number of caveats) that the bill's calculations call for a reduction in Medicare's spending rate by about 2 percent in the next two decades, but then he writes the kicker:
"It is unclear whether such a reduction in the growth rate could be achieved, and if so, whether it would be accomplished through greater efficiencies in the delivery of health care or would reduce access to care or diminish the quality of care."

Reducing access to care or diminishing the quality of care. 
I'll take whatever's behind door number three. 

18 December 2009

following up

on the previous post on the Copenhagen Dictators Parade from earlier.

Here's Jonah Goldberg from National Review Online:
The historical record is clear: Democratic free-market nations are better at protecting their environments than statist regimes for the simple reason that they can afford to. West Germany's environment was far cleaner than East Germany's. I'd much sooner drink the tap water in South Korea than North Korea.
 
Mugabe rails against capitalism as if he has a better idea of how to run things. That's almost funny given that Mugabe has destroyed what was once a great cause for hope in Africa, in large part by abandoning capitalism and democracy. Zimbabwe now has the highest inflation rate in the world and one of the lowest life expectancies. Let's hope nobody was taking notes when he was giving out advice.
 
Moreover, capitalism, and the wealth it creates, is the best means of bending down the population curve. Don't take my word for it. The U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change acknowledges that "affluence is correlated with long life and small families" and that growing prosperity will cause world population to decline even further.
 
Want to know the best way to heal the planet? Create more rich countries. Want to know the best way to hurt the planet? Throw a wet blanket on economic growth.

"Chavez, Morales, Mugabe lash out at Copenhagen"

yeah, that's definitely who we should be taking advice from.

"I don't think Obama is here yet," said Mr Chavez.
"He got the Nobel Peace Prize almost the same day as he sent 30,000 soldiers to kill innocent people in Afghanistan."
That's gotta hurt. 

 And from Mr. Mugabe - ranked the 7th worst dictator of all time according to a 2007 Parade Magazine article - we get this lovely analogy

"Why is the guilty north not showing the same fundamentalist spirit it exhibits in our developing countries on human rights matters on this more menacing threat of climate change?" he said.
"Where are its sanctions for eco-offenders? When a country spits on the Kyoto Protocol by seeking to shrink from its diktats, or by simply refusing to accede to it, is it not violating the global rule of law," he added in reference to the core emissions treaty which the US has refused to sign.

Senator, you can't HANDLE the truth

Kind of cheezy, but it made me grin.

17 December 2009

Political truth-o-meter

Interesting web site that investigates political sound-bites and rates them for accuracy. Seems pretty bipartisan. They're also keeping track of President Obama's various promises and how they're holding up.

11 December 2009

UN's armed response to questions about ClimateGate

sigh.

What's up with our 'safe schools czar'?

An administration department of education appointee - the apparently ironically titled "safe schools czar" - was the executive director of an organization that presented seminars billed as promoting tolerance for homosexuals, but which were essentially sexual how-to classes for students at least as young as 14. 

This hasn't been widely covered in the media - at least I haven't seen it. The first references I saw to it - which I didn't understand, lacking the context - were in the Day by Day cartoons online.

Here's a treatment from the Washington Times. 

And here's a more graphic piece that includes some video and a poor quality image of one of the organisation's pamphlets. As well as a clip of the classic Monty Python skit on the same topic. It was funny because it was so outrageous. Or so they thought...

All we are saying ... is

everyone involved needs to embrace the idea that all scientists are skeptics; that all scientific theories are open to doubt; and in particular that future projections of climate change are subject to considerable uncertainty. Furthermore, the economic and environmental impacts of warming are also uncertain, as are the costs of CO2 mitigation.
From the Earth Institute at Columbia U. 

We need honest open discussion about the research and the options. There's no such thing as "settled science".

Love this title ...


And the Amazon reviews should be entertaining, too.

Friday Fun

A site dedicated to ... shoelaces. More specifically different ways to tie and lace shoes. 

The New Socialism

Politically it's an idea of genius, engaging at once every left-wing erogenous zone: rich man's guilt, post-colonial guilt, environmental guilt.
The Green movement is the new plan for transferring wealth from the developed world through the UN to (the dictators in) the Third World.
Read the rest here.

09 December 2009

ClimateGate as the tip of the iceburg

Most of the participants in Copenhagen seem intent on rushing headlong into a successor to the Kyoto Protocol. But it would seem more fruitful at this point to redouble our efforts to figure out what we do and don't know about the climate's past, present and future. That includes casting some much-needed sunshine on the data on which so much importance is being placed, but which so far has remained shielded from public view.
from the WSJ 

08 December 2009

The first sign of corruption

 in a society that is still alive is that the end justifies the means. – Georges Bernanos

At this scale of government, corruption is endemic. It doesn't make that much of a difference which party sits on top of that much power. With the rare exception prosecuted by law enforcement, there is little immediate risk of penalty for dirty politicians. It takes years to get them voted out of office, and their local electorate might not be eager to displace a powerful, long-term incumbent with a new representative… especially if the incumbent has brought a lot of money home to the district, in addition to lining his own pockets. Big Government even corrupts thevoters.

The larger government becomes, the more its arrogant ruling class believe themselves worthy of royal treatment… and the more justified they feel about lying to the public for their own good. That is why the climate change elite gathered in Copenhagen this week is outraged that anyone would dare question their right to save a foolish world from itself, by lying through its teeth in a bid to seize power.

Read the rest

07 December 2009

EPA to declare Carbon Dioxide a pollutant

"An endangerment finding from the EPA could result in a top-down command-and-control regime that will choke off growth by adding new mandates to virtually every major construction and renovation project," Thomas Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement. "The devil will be in the details, and we look forward to working with the government to ensure we don't stifle our economic recovery."
Never mind that we're finding out that there has been a conspiracy among top global warming scientists to manipulate data models and to squash any dissenting research.  

06 December 2009

How long can the blame game go on ...

Barack Obama, nearly a year into his term, is still talking about Bush culpability for everything from unemployment to Afghanistan.  At what year will it ever stop?
Bush inherited a nuclear Pakistan, a firewall between the CIA and FBI in matters of counter-terrorism, an appeased and ascendant Osama bin Laden, unsustainable no-fly zones over Iraq (the French had already bailed), al-Qaeda with a safe zone in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, and an intifada-prone Mideast—in other words, no more than the regular stuff. But I don't remember Bush talking of the creepy Clinton pardons—Eric Holder  being at their epicenter—after a year in office.
When Clinton arrived in January 1993, the Balkans were a mess, and no one knew what to do about Milosevic. Eastern Europe and the former republics had been promised varying degrees of NATO membership. And we were running staggering trade deficits, and in a recession. But even Clinton got over blaming Bush soon enough.
Bush I had to deal with an invigorated Saddam Hussein, the Kuwait mess, a Noriega who was out of control, easing the Soviets out of eastern Europe, a divided Berlin reuniting—and, again, the usual stuff.
Reagan inherited a demoralized military, an insane regime in Khomeini's Iran, a bellicose and appeased Soviet Union, and communist expansion in Central America.
In other words, nothing Obama has seen overseas is, by past standards, all that unusual. Iraq was mostly quiet when he assumed office. We had not been hit again since 9/11. The Patriot Act and anti-terrorism protocols were in play and working. The fact that he has not yet closed Guantanamo and kept Predators, tribunals, renditions, etc. apparently means he finds them useful—despite the reset rhetoric.

04 December 2009

Steyn on global warming

"If you're 29, there has been no global warming for your entire adult life. If you're graduating high school, there has been no global warming since you entered first grade. There has been no global warming this century. None. Admittedly the 21st century is only one century out of the many centuries of planetary existence, but it happens to be the one you're stuck living in." 
In response to that, the shrieking pansies of the eco-left had a fit. The general tenor of my mail was summed up by one correspondent: "How can you live with your lies, dumb f–k?" George Soros's stenographers at Media Matters confidently pronounced it a "false claim." Well, take it up with Phil Jones. He agrees with me. The only difference is he won't say so in public.
Which is a bit odd, don't you think?
From here

03 December 2009

What he believes ...

Thomas Friedman's opinion piece in the NY Times. 
He makes some good arguments. This in particular seems worth keeping in mind:
 Many big bad things happen in the world without America, but not a lot of big good things.
We may not like being the sole super power in the world today. And people elsewhere may not like us in that role either. But as our power decreases, the relative influence of other nations becomes greater. Raise your hands who wants to live in a world where China or Russia is the dominant power in the world.
Personally, on the Afghanistan situation I'm undecided. I agree with him that nation building there is not the same as in Iraq. It's a different mix of cultures with fewer people spread over a larger area. That said, whatever we decide I hope we back our decision appropriately. If we're in it, we need to be in it to win it.

02 December 2009

jon stewart

on Climategate. Funny stuff.

Hear, hear!

Congressfolks introduce bill to set IRS penalties at level paid by Treasury Secretary Geithner - $0.

24 November 2009

Imagine ...

If these were internal Exxon-Mobil e-mails, the trial lawyers would be racing out the door with only one pants-leg filled and every Green press flack would be demanding this lead the evening news and front every newspaper above the fold. If similar e-mails came from the RNC showing racism or homophobia, the New York Times would not demur in the name of privacy, it would call for the GOP to go into federal receivership.
Seriously, this is a really big deal but it's not likely to be treated like it by the news megaliths because it doesn't fit the narrative.
But there's no media bias.
Never mind that the science that is the basis for the entire Global Warming panic that we are completely restructuring our economy over is now suspect and the most respected authorities on the subject have proven that they have been manipulating their findings and squashing results that don't agree with their own.

23 November 2009

No argument here...

 A rule under which only politicians have guns strikes me as the worst of all possible worlds

12 November 2009

The long awaited correlation between politics and food preferences

This is kind of fun.

Gun control: using two hands instead of one

 

FIREARMS REFRESHER COURSE

[]

1. "Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not."~Thomas Jefferson

[]

2. "Those who trade liberty for security have neither." ~ John Adams

[]

3. Free men do not ask permission to bear arms.

4. An armed man is a citizen. An unarmed man is a subject.

[]

5. Only a government that is afraid of its citizens tries to control them.

6. Gun control is not about guns; it's about control.

[]

7. You only have the rights you are willing to fight for.

8. Know guns, know peace, know safety.

    No guns, no peace, no safety.

[]

9. You don't shoot to kill; you shoot to stay alive.

10. Assault is a behavior, not a device.

11. 64,999,987 firearms owners killed no one yesterday.

12. The United States Constitution (c) 1791. All Rights Reserved.

13. The Second Amendment is in place in case the politicians ignore the others.

14. What part of 'shall not be infringed' do you NOT understand?

[]

15. Guns have only two enemies; rust and politicians.

[]

16. When you remove the people's right to bear arms, you create slaves.

17. The American Revolution would never have happened with gun control.

[]

IF YOU AGREE, PASS THIS 'REFRESHER' ON TO TEN FREE CITIZENS.

 




--
tom

I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.
 - Thomas Jefferson

10 November 2009

Global cost of corruption: $1,600,000,000,000

... that's $1.6 trillion with a T - every year. That's an estimate, of course, since it's kind of hard to get a handle on that kind of transaction. Much of it, unfortunately, is stolen from the world's poorest nations. This only makes it harder to fix global hunger and poverty.
"This money is significantly greater than the value of all foreign development aid. It is more than the ten year cost of the health care bill that just passed the House. It would be enough to fund a worldwide basic health system and provide basic primary education to every child on earth. Over the next fifty years it will cost the world much more than climate change."

03 November 2009

Worldwide resurgence in czars experiences setback

as the UK Drug Tsar gets fired for not perpetuating myths about drugs.

Cautionary note about Facebook games

Watch for scams in Farmville, Mafia Wars, and the rest of the FB games.

12 October 2009

09 October 2009

So's how's Healthcare reform working for Massachusetts

Short answer - not good.


A few highlights - but read the whole thing:
 Massachusetts has all the goodies in the Baucus bill:  subsidies, guaranteed issue, community rating, an individual mandate, and employer penalties.  Indeed, the Massachusetts program is probably to the left of where we're going to end up, on things like empowering the exchanges to negotiate with insurance companies and the size of the penalties for failing to procure insurance, two measures which are supposed to be critical for holding costs down.

and
And health-care costs have continued to grow rapidly. According to a Rand Corporation study this year, the growth now exceeds state GDP by 8%. The Boston Globe recently reported that state health-insurance commissioners are now worried that medical spending could push both employers and patients into bankruptcy, and may even threaten the system's continued existence. 

But why can't we be like Europe?
It's no good saying that well, we should try to be more like the Netherlands--you can't build a system on the assumption that you will, suddenly and for no apparent reason, be able to import someone else's political culture. 

and finally:
Progressives are watching the whole health care legislative process with utter dismay as it produces a monster of a bill that not even its mother could love--and trying to love it anyway, on the grounds that it's a start.  But this ridiculous hodgepodge, this hypertrophied Rube Goldberg apparatus, is not some startling aberration of the political process, induced by some Republican dark magic.  This is the kind of thing the American political system produces.  This is why all of our programs have a substantial element of the inexplicable and bizarre. 

02 October 2009

Hard to argue with this

this
We've got the worst political class in American history, and its rottenness is pretty thoroughly bipartisan.

01 October 2009

Why aren't we researching ways to remove excess CO2?

That makes more sense to me than trying to reconfigure the entire world energy structure ...
Governments are doing practically nothing to study the removal of carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere, but this technology could be a much cheaper form of climate protection than photovoltaic cells and other approaches getting lavish support, according to an article published today in Science.

15 September 2009

ACORN and Obama

With ACORN in the news for at least three separate instances of supporting child prostitution it's a good time to remember that one of our president's early jobs was as a community organizer with ACORN. And that ACORN was in line for $4 billion in stimulus money right after the president's inauguration even while they were under investigation for voter registration fraud.
I think if this was a Republican president, we'd be hearing a LOT more about this ...

14 September 2009

legalize, regulate, treat, tax

From New Scientist: 

Better world: Legalise drugs

Far from protecting us and our children, the war on drugs is making the world a much more dangerous place.

10 September 2009

ACORN back in the news

... well should be at least.
Sheesh.
You'd think an organization like this would be a black mark on a resume ...

28 August 2009

26 August 2009

Personal liberty

 ... larger government not only means less personal freedom but more corruption, influence peddling, and "rent seeking" as interest groups and industries inevitably must seek to sway government representatives and bureaucrats who would hold enormous power over their economic destiny.
 Let's avoid all that. (from here)

17 August 2009

Best health care in America at the VA?

I was reading Paul Krugman's piece in the NYTimes about various approaches to universal coverage. He mentioned that "our own Veterans Health Administration, which is run somewhat like the British health service, also manages to combine quality care with low costs."
I had thought that there were a lot of problems with VA care, but apparently that's not the case these days. This piece talks about an article singing the praises - deservedly so, it seems - of the care provided by the VHA. 
I think Krugman downplays valid concerns about following the English or Canadian models - particularly since he got burned recently polling Canadians about their thoughts on their health service.
Still, the fact that the VA manages to provide superlative care definitely gives me food for thought. 

more whole foods fun

The agitator sees irony in the proposed whole foods boycott.

16 August 2009

Why does health care cost so much in the US?

That's the question I typed into Google. About halfway down the results page I found this article from the NYTimes Bizness section.

Compared to other countries, health care is more expensive here. We knew that. Health care expenditures per capita seem to be closely related to GDP per capita - so countries with more money spend more on health care - makes sense. 

But that doesn't account for the discrepancy in the US. We pay more here for 
" factors other than G.D.P. per capita. Prominent among these other factors are:
1. higher prices for the same health care goods and services than are paid in other countries for the same goods and services;
2. significantly higher administrative overhead costs than are incurred in other countries with simpler health-insurance systems;
3. more widespread use of high-cost, high-tech equipment and procedures than are used in other countries;
4. higher treatment costs triggered by our uniquely American tort laws, which in the context of medicine can lead to "defensive medicine" — that is, the application of tests and procedures mainly as a defense against possible malpractice litigation, rather than as a clinical imperative."
Any real reform needs to address all those factors.  

Health care reform

The president's op-ed sounds reasonable. He usually sounds reasonable until he gets off message or off prompter - which is understandable, he doesn't actually have much experience after all. It's charming, really, the glimpses into his real attitudes and ideas.
I liked that he wrote so much about reforming Medicare. That's a great idea and since that's already a government program they should get started on that right away. For the rest I think we should wait and see how that part goes.
And for a look at what's ACTUALLY in one of the bills under consideration - so, to be clear, what the actual law would be as opposed to what the op-ed says - here are answers to a few questions like - 
df
WILL THE PLAN RATION MEDICAL CARE?
um ... yeah
WILL THE PLAN PUNISH AMERICANS WHO TRY TO OPT OUT?
un hunh - well, it imposes a tax penalty, so it would only actually punish the 60% or so who actually pay taxes ...
WILL THE PLAN DESTROY PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE?
yes - it doesn't outlaw it, but it creates a situation that is so disfavorable to private plans that they will be quickly marginalized if not completely eliminated.
DOES THE PLAN ALLOW THE GOVERNMENT TO SET FEES FOR SERVICES?
of course - as with medicare. 

There's more, please follow the link and read it all for yourself.

30 July 2009

Really?

Really? This is something the leader of the free world needs to do? A "Beer Summit"? Seems like the government is being run by PR flacks. I see a new reality TV show in the offing. Move over Judge Judy. President Barry's in the house.

17 July 2009

Gadgets circa 1979

This is kind of fun

I was in 8th grade in 1979.

I had this. And I played it a fair amount. It was basically just trying to move one dot of light through others. 

Saw this in theaters. I was a huge Steve Martin fan - had two or three of his albums.

No internet. 
No cell phones. 
VHS players were still a pretty big deal. 
No CDs.
No PCs. 
No Macs.

hard to imagine...

That was 30 years ago.
30 years from now expect to look back with the same sort of amazement at how primitive things were.

16 July 2009

It's good to be the government

Social Security Administration spends $700,000 on conference. Good thing the government's got plenty of money ...

13 July 2009

Separation of economy and state

Makes sense to me.

"Patrick Henry did not say "Give me a small rollback in government or give me death." He said: give meliberty. So should we."

Pilot Green Energy Program Looking Green Around the Gills

Austin Energy officials say that times have changed and that the nation's most successful (by volume of sales) green-energy program, which offers the renewable energy only to those who select it, might no longer be the best way to carry out the city's goals. It now costs almost three times more than the standard electricity rate.
Sounds like a good concept - customers who opted in were guaranteed a fixed rate for 10 years. The program started in 2000 and went well up until this year when costs have risen. Now 99 percent of the current offering is unsold.
All they need to do is tax the standard electricity at a 200% rate and the green energy becomes competitive. Duh.

01 July 2009

If democracy and human rights are high values, then all societies are not morally equal.

President Obama hasn't shown much interest in promoting democracy according to this piece in the Wall Street Journal. I think it's evident not only in his foreign policy and his speeches which are the focus of the article, but also in his governance. He seems to have taken to heart the adage that the most efficient form of government is a benign dictatorship. Congress and the media have shown little interest in balancing or pointing out his power grabs - placing the administration of the Census under direct control of the White House, strong-arming and firing independent Inspectors general to help out political allies. I'm not much of an alarmist, generally, and I expect the pendulum will eventually swing back, but I'm a little nervous about the direction we're heading.
*grin*

30 June 2009

franken wins, franken wins, franken wins

sigh
I can't imagine anyone's surprised by this. Oh well.

What does it mean when the director of the Congressional Budget Office says:

Under current law, the federal budget is on an unsustainable path—meaning that federal debt will continue to grow much faster than the economy over the long run.

Whatever it means it doesn't seem good. A cynic might think we're just creating a perpetual crisis situation that will require the government to continue to 'fix' things for the foreseeable future (or at least until 2012).

29 June 2009

health care

I don't pretend to know how to fix the health care system in the US. I agree that there are issues and they need to be addressed. I fear throwing out the existing system and starting from scratch for a lot of reasons - many of them vague and hard for me to articulate. I don't have a lot of knowledge in this area - although I did work for a health insurance company for a while and we had premature twins who exposed us to some of the incredible expenses that come with the extremes of medical care. We were fortunate enough at the time to be on a health plan that essentially covered everything. Had we chosen a different plan option from my employer our personal expenses likely would have been more significant.

Michael Kinsley's column in the Washington Post captures one of my vaguely uneasy fears:
Statistics on life expectancy or infant mortality are averages. The easiest way to raise your averages -- maybe even the best way, if we're being honest -- is to concentrate on the general level of care and not to squander a lot on long-odds cases. But if the long-odds case is you or a family member, you may well feel differently.
 
Our twins - more accurately, the one who lived for 11 days as opposed to the one who died in utero - was a long-odds case who spent all of his short life in one of the the highest-rent district of the hospital - the neonatal intensive care unit. As his parent I would have been outraged if I'd been told that the odds were such that it didn't make financial sense to treat him.

I've spent a little time with Google tonight and there certainly are statistics to say that England and Canada - two nations with universal coverage - have better longevity rates and better infant mortality rates than we have in the US. Some of the commentary on those statistics, though, suggests that the statistics - as they often do even if they're mathematically correct - fail to encompass the whole story and that there are other factors reflected in those numbers other than just the health care systems of the respective countries.

It is a complex situation that deserves careful, transparent consideration with all parties represented - both private and public. We should not rush this decision to meet any arbitrary deadline.

28 June 2009

You might be naive if

this surprises you.

please please please

don't put the government in charge of any more healthcare.

The Massachusetts plan that's being studied as a model for a national plan turns out not to have enough money.

There are good reasons the framers gave very limited powers to government and it's usually a mistake to expand those powers. When the government is in charge politics becomes the primary motivator.

I understand that a lot of people don't like profit as a motive because it seems greedy, but I think politics as a motive is at least equally greedy and considerably less transparent.

25 June 2009

mediterranean diet

and living longer. A new study compares the effect of various components of the Mediterranean Diet on living longer. The bad news - I'm supposed to eat a lot less meat. sigh.

Only one approved opinion on

'climate change' at EPA. Luckily, with the new administration science will be separate from ideology. It must be so because The One said so.

Here's a more detailed piece.

Does a 'firm pledge' count

if nobody really believes it?

23 June 2009

Why can't the president get an ice cream with his family?

I'm really no fan of President Obama, but I don't care at all if he wants to get an ice cream with his family.
Good for him, in fact. It's got to be hard being the First Family. I've always felt sorry for the kids, especially.
There are plenty of real issues to discuss.
This is just silly.

22 June 2009

What happens to medical research under Obamacare?

Here's an amazing breakthrough (at least in trials) that took people with inoperable prostate cancer and virtually eliminated the tumor non-invasively and without chemo or radiation.

Will this kind of research still happen under a nationalized health system? How much of it happens under existing national health systems? Maybe it happens, now. I don't know, but I'm concerned about it. 

I'm really looking forward to a lot of medical breakthroughs in the next few decades to save me from my poor health choices going into my golden years.

21 June 2009

New draconian rules for private pilots

This is kinda scary. I'm not a pilot, but I don't like the trend...

19 June 2009

Why Obama’s big economic gamble is failing

Apparently he's a politician, not an economist.
"...current Obama budget chief Peter Orszag — concluded that an Obama-like economic stimulus package would be "totally impractical" because it would take so long to implement. (True enough, only seven percent of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has been doled out so far.)"
It was impractical for actually helping the economy, but it's a cornucopia for consolidating power and rewarding loyal constituents. 

17 June 2009

The Chicago way

White house getting out the guns for the knife fight. 

12 June 2009

Obama removes AmeriCorps's Inspector General in spat with friend

Curious to see if we hear any more about this

To summarize - a federal inspector general investigated an Obama-supporting California Mayor (and former pro basketball player), Kevin Johnson, and found that he had misused AmeriCorps grant money. Johnson supposedly has agreed to pay back roughly $400,000, or almost half the grant money that was received by his non-profit group. This seems to suggest that the there was some substance to the investigation and one would hope the inspector responsible would be commended for saving money and reducing fraud. Instead, President Obama has 'lost confidence' in him and wants him fired. Gotta love that Chicago style politics.

10 June 2009

Who's in charge of GM?

This guy - a 31 year old white house aide. Well, that makes sense.

09 June 2009

Stimulus plan creating jobs

at an inverse rate. It's almost like the opposite of creating jobs. Probably, I just don't understand the numbers.

“Barack Obama invokes Jesus more than George W. Bush did.”

But with less conviction ... (quote from here)

08 June 2009

02 June 2009

Are religious conservatives to blame for abortion doc murder?

Question posed in USA Today.
My answer - they're to blame if they pulled the trigger - or conspired to have the trigger pulled. 

Otherwise, they're free to hold and express their opinion - at least for now. And hopefully that will always be true. If people aren't free to express opinions that others disagree with then we no longer have freedom of speech. The whole point of "free speech" is to be able to do just that. There's no need for the government to protect the right to express popular opinions.

29 May 2009

BBC asks:

Analysis: Can Obama deliver on the Middle East?

Answer: He'll probably do as well as Jim-uh Carter and other Nobel Peace Prize winners like Yasser Arafat, Kofi Annan, or the United Nations Peace Keeping Forces - you know, the ones who did such a bang-up job in the Congo.

Agenda? What agenda?

Headline:

Report says 300,000 die a year from global warming

In the article:
"Roger Pielke Jr., a political scientist at the University of Colorado, Boulder, who specializes in climate risk, said the report was "a methodological embarrassment" because there was no way to distinguish deaths or economic losses related to human-driven global warming from those linked to naturally occurring climate extremes."

The real agenda:
"Annan stressed the need for the talks to focus on increasing the flow of money to poor regions to help reduce their vulnerability to climate hazards"

So the headline simply cites the report without indicating that it's disputed at all. That's what most people will see. Anyone who reads the article will hopefully note that
1) Kofi Annan runs the organization that commissioned the report. That should be a red flag.
2) Even some academics question the methodology of the report and frankly say there's no way to make the determinations the report claims.
3) Annan is looking to increase the money flowing through his hands - doubtless so that much of it can get stuck there. 

Which critics?

"Critics say the cyber czar will not have sufficient budgetary and policymaking authority over securing computer systems and spending."
I just can't imagine that we need the government to tell us we need secure computer systems. Luckily we have so much money that we might as well spend it on more figurehead government departments. 
.

26 May 2009

Not a shocker.

Maryland's millionaires  move after new taxes target them. Is someone surprised by this?

21 May 2009

11 May 2009

No media bias here.

A Tax-cut rally was held at the Minnesota state capitol on May 2. Thousands of people attended. Republican governor, Tim Pawlenty, spoke. If you were a reader of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, though, you would have no idea that such an event took place.

A Pro-Tax rally , however, apparently was newsworthy enough to make it into the state's largest newspaper, although the comments suggest it was sparsely attended. 

Both events seem like they would rate a mention in the newspaper. This blatant example of bias makes me feel better about dropping my subscription and continuing to tell them "No" every time they call me begging for me to let them send me their rag for practically free.

Mark Twain Inspirational Posters

Good stuff .

10 May 2009

anti-piracy

Here's one idea that seems worth a shot.

Whether this is THE idea or not I'm not qualified to judge, but it seems like there's GOT to be a way to defend these ships from such poorly equipped attackers. Being perpetual victims isn't going to do anything but encourage more of this.

30 April 2009

Tea partiers

They were the people who were doing the important things right -- and who are now watching elected politicians reward those who did the important things wrong.
from the WSJ - titled: The Real Culture War Is Over Capitalism


We were looking into refinancing yesterday because we're in an ARM and I'm nervous about the inflation that's almost sure to arrive when the economy starts recovering and finds itself awash with lots of shiny new dollars. We weren't finding very attractive rates for our particular situation so Gerri called a friend who used to be a mortgage broker. His advice - quit paying your mortgage for three months. Banks will be throwing themselves (and money) at your feet.

We're not going to do that, but that's the environment that the new administration has created. Behavior that is rewarded is repeated. When money is available for people who don't pay their mortgage, then people won't pay their mortgages. Obviously.

interesting

The Cancun airport is the first in Mexico to install 50 new heat thermometers to detect passengers with elevated fevers. The thermometers are set to be put into use tomorrow for both departing and arriving travelers. Cancun and Quintana Roo have yet to officially report a confirmed case of swine flu, maintaining that there are zero infected people in the state. And that's it for the good news.
I just hadn't heard of that technology. Kind of cool. Kind of Big Brother.
From here

21 April 2009

simple math ...

 If the government increased the top tax rate from the current rate of 35% to 100% (yes, that's right 100%), it would only collect an extra $400 billion this year. In other words, confiscating all the income that is currently taxed at 35% would not raise enough revenue to cover any of the annual deficits projected in the next 10 years. 
from Forbes

Bad news for Nike, et al.

Barefoot runners suffer fewer injuries.

10 April 2009

French response to piracy:

France's policy is to refuse to accept acts of piracy and avoid having French citizens taken ashore as hostages, 
Makes sense to me.  

Really? We're actually NEGOTIATING with pirates?

That seems likely to encourage more piracy. Hard to believe a couple of SEALs couldn't manage to get the captain off. Where's Rambo or Jason Bourne when you need them? 

09 April 2009

No liberal bias to see here. Move along.

The curious case of 200 nearly identical MSM headlines 


An ACORN-funded organization sends out a press release and it's dutifully rolled out to newspapers around the country. Follow the link for a discussion of other numbers representing 'uninsured' Americans. (again, via Instapundit.)

libertarian perspective

being libertarian does not mean you have to have a cold heart. You can be a bleeding heart, but you show it by what you do, not what you advocate forcing other people to do.
 (via Instapundit)

02 April 2009

Phages kill antibiotic resistant bacteria ... but not here, thanks.

In use in Eastern Europe since the early 1900s, phages are viruses that attack bacteria. Considered as safe and reliable as aspirin over there, the FDA has reservations that make their use rare and last-ditch here.
 
studies published over the past several decades, based on trials conducted at Eliava and elsewhere in Eastern Europe, have shown that phage therapy has an 80 to 90 percent success rate against bacteria likely to show antibiotic resistance, such as Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. In contrast, many antibiotics fail outright against the evolved forms of these pathogens.
 
That's 80 - 90 % success against bacteria that we can't kill - the so-called flesh-eating bacteria. 

31 March 2009

Race and the 2008 Election: What the Exit Polls Showed

This is interesting, and I doubt if it's surprising to a lot of people. But I don't necessarily think it's quite as ominous as some might portray it. I think that during the campaign Barack Obama did a good job of portraying himself as a centrist interested in bipartisan efforts - much like John McCain. Given the choice between two essentially (seemingly at least) similar candidates, I imagine a lot of people would have picked Obama on the basis of race in an effort to move beyond discussions of race and - ironically - to demonstrate the nations evolution away from race-based politics. (via Instapundit)

Kindle v. tOuch 2

Josh Marshall follows up with his impressions on the battle as well as the future of books.

30 March 2009

Efficiency in government

There's a place for efficiency in government. That place is at the DMV or the building inspection office or police headquarters. Making law and enacting policy and especially raising taxes, however, are government activities where I don't mind considerable inefficiency. 

Sarcasm from USA Today?

Headline: Obama heads overseas to tackle world economy
Guess they didn't have room for the first half of the statement: "Now that he's got the US economy all fixed up, ... "

29 March 2009

kindle v. tOuch

Glenn Reynolds http://pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/75036/reviews his Kindle2. I got one for Christmas and while waiting for it to show up - three months later - I decided that an iPod tOuch would be a better choice. There's an ebook reading app that's available (free) and it's quite a bit more versatile than the Kindle. I also decided I wasn't crazy about the size of the Kindle - too big for my pockets and I'm not a Murse guy (though I've given it some thought).

It also seemed like the Kindle was more aimed at getting me to spend money at Amazon than enabling me to read whatever I wanted - like all the free ebooks that are available. I've been reading For Whom the Bell Tolls lately and enjoying it quite a bit. 

I suspect the Kindle might have a better - more paper-like - screen for reading, but I do fine with the tOuch. I haven't tried it outside much, but I've mostly been able to read it fine. Currently I've got it set to a black background with light grey text.

Having just gotten back from vacation I did decide that neither device is necessarily the best if you're vacationing at a hotel or other crowded location like the beach. It's not like you'd be well advised to leave your Kindle or tOuch unattended on your chair when you decide to take a dip in the pool or freshen your cocktail at the bar. A paper book is less likely to go for a walk than either high-tech alternative.

19 March 2009

I'm not really a Duke fan

but it's hard not to agree with this from Coach Krzyzewski:
as much as I respect what [the president]'s doing, really, the economy is something that he should focus on, probably more than the brackets

17 March 2009

12 March 2009

Stranger Danger?

Here 's an interesting commentary on Amber Alerts. 
There are only about 115 stranger abductions per year. The vast, vast majority of cases where a child is abducted involve either family members (200,000 - most custody related) or other people who the child knows (80% of 58000 according to the article). 
Definitely suggests we don't need to worry so much about our kids 'talking to strangers'. 
I know I'm a little overprotective as a parent, but I try to let kids be kids without being too paranoid.

03 March 2009

Wisdom of crowds

And what it says  about the President's economic policies.

The president plans to raise taxes

on the wealthy - except, I guess for his administration many of whom haven't been paying all their taxes, anyway. Can anyone say 'appearance of impropriety'?

26 February 2009

Big earners better start earning a lot more

if they're going to have to pay for the president's plans . 'Cuz right now they don't make enough to do the trick.

22 February 2009

Exactly

How long can a system that punishes virtue and rewards greed and profligacy flourish?

Minnesota considers lowering the drinking age to 18

I can't imagine this passing, but I'm in favor.

When I grew up in Tennessee the drinking age was 21. Nevertheless we really didn't have much trouble getting our hands on alcohol. Now I have 4 kids. Our oldest is nineteen and as far as I can tell he never had much trouble getting his hands on alcohol, either. They were actually - at least most of the time - more responsible than we were in high school. They usually had designated drivers.

Of course, that's beside the point. The fact is that I think the drinking age should be lower - lower even than 18, for that matter, and the bill has a provision for 16 year-old's accompanied by their parents (curious about enforcement of parents bit). This makes sense to me.

While they're at it maybe they can raise the legal limit back to 1.0 and quit pandering to the neo-prohibitionists.

21 February 2009

19 February 2009

13 February 2009

Good news

for a change . :-)

Some interesting and positive notes on recent tech discoveries and achievements.

CATO institute disects government spending as economic stimulus

Those who fail to learn from history  ...

08 February 2009

Milton Friedman v. Phil Donahue

No contest .

"The only cases in which the masses have escaped from the kind of grinding poverty you're talking about ... are where they have had capitalism and largely free trade. "

Don't bother me with the law, we're trying to get stuff done

I get the idea that the new president has an elastic idea of legality .

06 February 2009

Jerry Pournelle on the 'stimulous' and inevitable nature of government

(sorry for the long excerpt - it's from here )
 
The bad news is that the "stimulus" bill, which is the largest appropriations bill in the history of the world, is still on track for passage. It nationalizes a lot of the economy, and once those steps are taken, the Iron Law of Bureaucracy will see to it that the institutions created by it will remain. Forever. I have a few more words on that over in mail.
The tax cut provision of the "stimulus bill" seem aimed at solidifying party control: most of it is transfer payments to people who don't now pay taxes. In the US 40% don't pay federal taxes. If any large number of those are given money as transfer payments they will learn to rely on them. At which point they will be motivated to vote. And community organizers will see that they do vote. Now understand: many of those who get negative income taxes do necessary work and they aren't very well paid. The question becomes, is that a federal problem, and should it be dealt with by transfer payments? Because once this is instituted, it's going to be pretty permanent. Those affected by it will be mobilized to defend it, and it will mean more to them than it does to those opposed. So it goes.
It does look as if we are going to have a sea change, a fundamental change in the relationship between the United States and its people. There was such a change during Roosevelt's time, when Washington went from being a small town in Maryland to the Capital of a Federalized United States. There sill be another, I think, now.

The President and the media

Is the honeymoon over ?

Are markets up

in reaction to the presidents appointments. Maybe investors are interpreting the appointments as an indication that payment of taxes will be optional going forward.

29 January 2009

Double post

Two articles from NYT health writer Lisa Belkin:


Germ-phobic mommies.  (via Instapundit)

28 January 2009

Shocking failure of British gun control

"40 percent increase in gun crime since guns were banned."
from this report  (on youtube)

As it's turned out criminals didn't actually turn in their guns. So now only criminals have guns.

Huh. Who could have predicted THAT.

27 January 2009

Opacity in the 'transparent' whitehouse.gov

The decision to withhold transcripts is not a departure from the Obama Team's online posture during the campaign, and signals that's exactly the posture they intend to take for the next four years. Team Obama got a lot of credit for being an active online presence, which indeed it was, but that presence was built for message control, not openness.

23 January 2009

Snafus ...

This piece  makes an interesting argument about how the press is treating the new administration versus how the previous administration was treated for similar issues.

My only comment is that it amuses me to see snafu used in mainstream articles since whenever I see the word I internally break it down into it's original acronym components.

It doesn't take much to amuse me, I guess.

It actually crossed my mind

as I listened to the music  that it must be really hard to keep the instruments in tune in that weather.Guess they didn't want to take a chance on a sour note. Still seems like they could have found another way to handle it....

22 January 2009

Aljazeera advertising on Slashdot

Not really sure how to interpret this, but it makes me a little uncomfortable.
--

We'll see I guess.


As Obama begins to govern and as the public sees that he simply borrowed Bush's foreign policy rhetoric, jazzed it up with his cadences and pauses, and then took either Bushites or Democratic centrists and called them hope and change, and as he glued new rhetorical veneers on the Patriot Act and FISA, and as he alienates many by making decisions other than voting present, and as the gaffes begin (Biden and Michelle can't be put under wraps forever), and the Chicago fumes linger (Blago ain't through yet), the fawning media will begin to look embarrassed, then ridiculous, and finally completely bankrupt. They offered no audit of Obama, no tough treatment, no honest examination of his flips, no balance in their treatment of Bush, and they will soon pay a terrible price for that derelection and worse, as the public sees them as the state megaphones that they have so sadly become.  
from Victor Davis Hanson vial Instapundit . (again)

I don't imagine the media or the left in general ever admitting to any embarrassment or wrong-thinking. They'll find a way to become victims.

Where's the outrage and anger

from the GOP ? (via Instapundit )

This had crossed my mind, but I hadn't really checked into it. Talk radio has certainly been fairly bombastic, but that's what they do. In particular I haven't heard of any Republican politicians or activists bemoaning the election results or our new president. Arguably, conservatives are less activist and more likely to support their candidates quietly when it's appropriate - during elections - but to accept and respect the results of the election. Maybe, maybe not. Either way, there hasn't seemed to be the same reaction from conservatives this year as there was from liberals after the last two elections.

21 January 2009

An inauspicious start?

Obama and Roberts, take two.
And seriously, chief Whitehouse counsel is named Greg Craig? I think his parents didn't like him much.

The new president

He also imposed a pay freeze on senior staff earning more than $100,000, saying that given the economic crisis, "It's what's required of you at this moment." 
Sounds promising.

Men's Health names Worst Foods

Good stuff - and so far amusing to me since I haven't seen anything I've ever eaten. This likely has more to do with my cheap side rather than any healthful inclinations I have.

20 January 2009

irony to come

This  seems to me destined to become ironical - 
With masterful insight, Bunch exposes this dangerous effort to reshape America's future by rewriting its past. As the Obama administration charts its course, he argues, it should do so unencumbered by the dead weight of misplaced and unearned reverence.
 

nanotech treatment of cancer

Cool stuff. 
Still about 3 to 5 years away from clinical trials, but very cool.

13 January 2009

Anti-semitism


The elephant in the room .... This saddens and frankly amazes me. Somehow Americans are painted as intolerant, while Europe gets a pass for it's anti-semitism. How does that work?

06 January 2009

Senator Franken

One of my co-workers observed that the only logical explanation for the incredible swing of votes - assuming there was no dirty dealing - is that there were more Franken voters who had trouble figuring out how to fill out the paper ballots. Hmmm.

Free the Sudafed!!

Instapundit mentions that he'd like to sue the people who make it so hard to buy sudafed. I'm on board with that one, though I didn't know this was such a widespread phenomenon. I assumed it was a Minnesota 'solution' and didn't think it would reach to more conservative Tennessee. 

Guess I shouldn't be too surprised since I remember stopping at a gas station in Tennessee a few years ago and seeing that power/energy drinks were controlled substances like cigarettes and alcohol. Not the case in Minnesota - which I agree with.