"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.
28 December 2009
23 December 2009
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."
18 December 2009
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.
"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."
"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.
17 December 2009
11 December 2009
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.
Politically it's an idea of genius, engaging at once every left-wing erogenous zone: rich man's guilt, post-colonial guilt, environmental guilt.
09 December 2009
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.
08 December 2009
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.
07 December 2009
"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."
06 December 2009
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
"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?
03 December 2009
Many big bad things happen in the world without America, but not a lot of big good things.
02 December 2009
29 November 2009
24 November 2009
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.
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
17 November 2009
12 November 2009
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.
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
"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."
05 November 2009
03 November 2009
26 October 2009
12 October 2009
09 October 2009
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 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.
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.
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
01 October 2009
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
14 September 2009
10 September 2009
28 August 2009
26 August 2009
... 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.
17 August 2009
16 August 2009
" 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.
31 July 2009
30 July 2009
17 July 2009
16 July 2009
14 July 2009
13 July 2009
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.
12 July 2009
08 July 2009
01 July 2009
30 June 2009
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.
29 June 2009
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
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
24 June 2009
23 June 2009
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
21 June 2009
19 June 2009
"...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.)"
17 June 2009
12 June 2009
10 June 2009
09 June 2009
08 June 2009
03 June 2009
02 June 2009
29 May 2009
Report says 300,000 die a year from global warming
"Critics say the cyber czar will not have sufficient budgetary and policymaking authority over securing computer systems and spending."
27 May 2009
26 May 2009
22 May 2009
21 May 2009
11 May 2009
10 May 2009
30 April 2009
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.
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.
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.
21 April 2009
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.
10 April 2009
09 April 2009
02 April 2009
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.
31 March 2009
30 March 2009
29 March 2009
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
17 March 2009
12 March 2009
03 March 2009
26 February 2009
22 February 2009
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
20 February 2009
19 February 2009
13 February 2009
08 February 2009
06 February 2009
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.
30 January 2009
29 January 2009
28 January 2009
27 January 2009
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.
24 January 2009
23 January 2009
22 January 2009
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.
21 January 2009
20 January 2009
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.