27 December 2010

blog has sent you a link

blog thought you'd be interested in the following article at Reason
Magazine:

Easy Money For College Can Mess You Up, Man.
http://reason.com/blog/2010/12/27/the-higher-ed-bubble-plus-kath

18 December 2010

Michael Moore banned in Cuba

His movie, Sicko, supposedly depicted the superior medical system available under the Communist government of Cuba as opposed to the deficiencies of the capitalist system in the United States.
So a little ironic that his movie won't be shown in Cuba.
Castro's government apparently went on to ban the film because, the leaked cable claims, it "knows the film is a myth and does not want to risk a popular backlash by showing to Cubans facilities that are clearly not available to the vast majority of them." …
The info is from Wikileaks. The story from The Guardian 
...the only way a Cuban can get access to the hospital [depicted in Moore's movie] is through a bribe or contacts inside the hospital administration. "Cubans are reportedly very resentful that the best hospital in Havana is 'off-limits' to them," the memo reveals.
Yep, that sounds like a Communist model. Politics - who you know - determines who receives the best care. 

16 December 2010

By its fruit, the tree is known.

Great discussion of Communism vs. Nazism at Instapundit.
One excerpt:

I'll repeat: The difference between Communists and Nazis is mostly PR, and the PR is better because more journalists and academics were communists than Nazis.

And reader Michael Ravine notes what Robert Heinlein said about communism: "I regard it as Red fascism, distinguishable from black and brown fascism by differences of no importance to me nor to its victims."

Some Communist apologists appear and are rebuked.

15 December 2010

If California is the future of the nation ...

It doesn't look good.

Here's an anecdotal analysis from a longtime Californian.

It's a longer piece but it reads well. One bit I'll excerpt (but it's worth reading all)

Fresno's California State University campus is embroiled in controversy over the student body president's announcing that he is an illegal alien, with all the requisite protests in favor of the DREAM Act. I won't comment on the legislation per se, but again only note the anomaly. I taught at CSUF for 21 years. I think it fair to say that the predominant theme of the Chicano and Latin American Studies program's sizable curriculum was a fuzzy American culpability. By that I mean that students in those classes heard of the sins of America more often than its attractions. In my home town, Mexican flag decals on car windows are far more common than their American counterparts.

I note this because hundreds of students here illegally are now terrified of being deported to Mexico. I can understand that, given the chaos in Mexico and their own long residency in the United States. But here is what still confuses me: If one were to consider the classes that deal with Mexico at the university, or the visible displays of national chauvinism, then one might conclude that Mexico is a far more attractive and moral place than the United States.

So there is a surreal nature to these protests: something like, "Please do not send me back to the culture I nostalgically praise; please let me stay in the culture that I ignore or deprecate." I think the DREAM Act protestors might have been far more successful in winning public opinion had they stopped blaming the U.S. for suggesting that they might have to leave at some point, and instead explained why, in fact, they want to stay. What it is about America that makes a youth of 21 go on a hunger strike or demonstrate to be allowed to remain in this country rather than return to the place of his birth?


14 December 2010

Young entrepreneur help desk

Help for young adults who want to start a business. Started by a film school grad who lived it.

08 December 2010

quote o' day

Much of the social history of the Western world over the past three decades has involved replacing what worked with what sounded good.
Thomas Sowell, Is Reality Optional?, 1993
(1930 - )

23 November 2010

Trip to the USS Ronald Reagan

Interesting account of a civilian's visit to an active aircraft carrier. Lots of pictures.

09 November 2010

Putting the Brakes on Bush nostalgia

Have to agree with this.
His candor, decency, self-effacement, and clear love of country stand in stark contrast to the current antagonist-in-chief at the White House
BUT (and yes, that's a BIG BUT)
The problem, of course, is that Bush nostalgia is indelibly marred by his disastrous domestic policy legacy of big government, big spending, and betrayal of core fiscal principles — the very impetus for the Tea Party movement upon which he now heaps glowing praise.
I never loved GWB, but I found him presidential and I always felt that his heart was in the right place. I know many (MANY) will disagree, but that was my impression, and I continue to feel that way.
I tried, after he was inaugurated, to like President Obama. I remember hoping as I watched the swearing in that he would govern more or less as he campaigned, that is as more of a moderate than his history suggested was his inclination. I was disappointed.
Regardless, Bush was a disaster on the domestic front and only looks at all moderate by comparison with his successor.

20 October 2010

Deep analysis of the current political climate

From here.

AMERICANS: "So, the economy is pretty bad and there's high employment. You think you can do something about that?"

DEMOCRATS AND OBAMA: "We can spend a trillion dollars we don't have on pork and stuff."

AMERICANS: "No … that's not what we want. We'd really like you not to do that."

DEMOCRATS: "You're stupid. We're doing it anyway."

AMERICANS: "That's not going to help us get jobs!"

DEMOCRATS: "Sure it will; millions of them … though they may be invisible. You'll have to trust us they exist. And guess what else we'll do: We'll create a giant new government program to take over health care."

AMERICANS: "That has nothing to do with jobs!"

DEMOCRATS: "We don't care about that anymore. We really want a giant new health care program. We're sure you'll love it."

AMERICANS: "Don't pass that bill. You hear me? Absolutely do not pass that bill."

DEMOCRATS: "Believe me; you'll love it. It has … well, I don't know what exactly is in the bill, but we're sure it's great."

AMERICANS: "Listen to me: DO. NOT. PASS. THAT. BILL."

DEMOCRATS: "You're not the boss of me! We're doing it anyway!"

AMERICANS: "Look what you did! Now the economy is way worse, we're even deeper in debt, and we have a bunch of new laws we don't want!"

DEMOCRATS: "You're racist."

AMERICANS: "Wha … How is that racist?"

DEMOCRATS: "Now you're getting violent! Stop being violent and racist, you ignorant hillbillies! And remember to vote Democrat in November."

13 October 2010

Interesting analysis of Obamacare

This is old, but I hadn't seen it before. A retired constitutional lawyer read one of the early drafts of Obamacare and commented. Some of it's more than a little scary.
I'm not sure how much of what he read was in the bill that was passed, but it's scary enough that it was ever proposed.
Take a look.

03 October 2010

Invitation to view tom's Picasa Web Album - 2010 State Fair

You are invited to view tom's photo album: 2010 State Fair
2010 State Fair
Sep 5, 2010
by tom
Message from tom:
Pix from the State Fair
To share your photos or receive notification when your friends share photos, get your own free Picasa Web Albums account.

30 September 2010

heh

Lifted straight from Instapundit:
"This week, President Obama called for the hiring of 10,000 new teachers to beef up math and science achievement. Meanwhile, in America, EarthSol-System, public school employment has grown 10 times faster than enrollment for 40 years (see chart), while achievement at the end of high school has stagnated in math and declined in science (see other chart).
Either the president is badly misinformed about our education system or he thinks that promising to hire another 10,000 teachers union members is politically advantageous–in which case he would seem to be badly misinformed about the present political climate. Or he lives in an alternate universe in which Kirk and Spock have facial hair and government monopolies are efficient. It's hard to say."
(original piece here.) 

21 September 2010

Stoicism - an old idea is new again

A new book argues that some ancient Greek philosophers were onto something with their ideas about seeking
a life of "tranquility," meaning a life free of "anger, anxiety, fear, grief, and envy."

 

16 September 2010

For everyone who complains

that Bush should have been more on the hot seat for the expansion of government under his watch: "Point taken."

On the other hand, throughout most of Bush's presidencies I just kept telling myself - "Thank heavens Gore(Kerry) didn't win."

I think that would have been worse.

And it doesn't mean that Obama should get a pass for going exponential on the path that Bush went down.

08 September 2010

The facts about effective learning.

Essentially - mix it up.
For instance, many study skills courses insist that students find a specific place, a study room or a quiet corner of the library, to take their work. The research finds just the opposite.
and
Varying the type of material studied in a single sitting — alternating, for example, among vocabulary, reading and speaking in a new language — seems to leave a deeper impression on the brain than does concentrating on just one skill at a time. Musicians have known this for years, and their practice sessions often include a mix of scales, musical pieces and rhythmic work. Many athletes, too, routinely mix their workouts with strength, speed and skill drills. 

Also, different "learning styles"? False.
"Student traits and teaching styles surely interact; so do personalities and at-home rules. The trouble is, no one can predict how."
and
"The contrast between the enormous popularity of the learning-styles approach within education and the lack of credible evidence for its utility is, in our opinion, striking and disturbing," the researchers concluded. 

02 August 2010

28 July 2010

Where are these angels?

Milton Friedman on the Phil Donahue show from 1979.
Fantastic discussion of basic economics and why free markets work. I especially like the way Friedman punctures everyone of Donahue's anti-capitalist assumptions.
One thing that strikes me is how much time Friedman is given to talk. I don't watch much TV - at least not many talk shows - but my perception is that a guest today never gets so much time to speak and develop ideas without being talked over or interrupted by the host(s).

21 July 2010

The ruling class ...

Demublican or Reprocrat - makes no never mind if you're the right people.
The Tea Party is a reaction to this more than anything - the idea that our representatives don't.
When pollsters ask the American people whether they are likely to vote Republican or Democrat in the next presidential election, Republicans win growing pluralities. But whenever pollsters add the preferences "undecided," "none of the above," or "tea party," these win handily, the Democrats come in second, and the Republicans trail far behind. That is because while most of the voters who call themselves Democrats say that Democratic officials represent them well, only a fourth of the voters who identify themselves as Republicans tell pollsters that Republican officeholders represent them well. Hence officeholders, Democrats and Republicans, gladden the hearts of some one-third of the electorate -- most Democratic voters, plus a few Republicans. This means that Democratic politicians are the ruling class's prime legitimate representatives and that because Republican politicians are supported by only a fourth of their voters while the rest vote for them reluctantly, most are aspirants for a junior role in the ruling class. In short, the ruling class has a party, the Democrats. But some two-thirds of Americans -- a few Democratic voters, most Republican voters, and all independents -- lack a vehicle in electoral politics.
This is a terrific piece.

13 July 2010

ya think?

It does seem that the President was inadequately vetted pre-election. So we're doing the vetting now, instead, which is somewhat more expensive.

12 July 2010

That explains it ...

illegally voting felons MAYBE put Franken over the top.

08 July 2010

Going to Hell in a handbasket

Or ... maybe not.

When I was a student, in the 1970s, the world was coming to an end. The adults told me so. They said the population explosion was unstoppable, mass famine was imminent, a cancer epidemic caused by chemicals in the environment was beginning, the Sahara desert was advancing by a mile a year, the ice age was retuning, oil was running out, air pollution was choking us and nuclear winter would finish us off.
...
I began to pay attention and a few years ago I started to research a book on the subject. I was astounded by what I discovered. Global per capita income, corrected for inflation, had trebled in my lifetime, life expectancy had increased by one third, child mortality had fallen by two-thirds, the population growth rate had halved. More people had got out of poverty than in all of human history before. When I was born, 36% of Americans had air conditioning. Today 79% of Americans below the poverty line had air conditioning. The emissions of pollutants from a car were down by 98%. The time you had to work on the average wage to buy an hour of artificial light to read by was down from 8 seconds to half a second.

Not only are human beings wealthier, they are also healthier, wiser, happier, more tolerant, less violent, more equal. Check it out - the data is clear. Yet if anything the pessimists had only grown more certain, shrill and apocalyptic. We were facing the `end of nature', the `coming anarchy', a `stolen future', our `final century' and a climate catastrophe. Why, I began to wonder did the failure of previous predictions have so little impact on this litany?


07 July 2010

Atlas still shrugging

National Academy of Sciences (State Science Institute?) publishes a list of Skeptical Authors on Climate Science in connection with an article that claims that 97 - 98% of climate scientists are in agreement on Global Warming - based on published research.
One of the scientists on the naughty list takes issue and points out that the IPCC actively suppressed contradictory research from being published while also falsifying their own evidence.

29 June 2010

Plato got it ...

"The price good men pay for indifference to publiuc affairs is to be ruled by evil men."

Nice to know

who's running things.

23 June 2010

Interesting stuff

about memory and how it works.

and another piece from the same site about how opinions are formed.

22 June 2010

Malice and Incompetence

from Jerry Pournelle. Says he (I'm paraphrasing):
  • President Obama is and always has been a liberal socialist.
  • Probably this doesn't make him malicious.
  • It does put him in direct conflict with the US Constitution which generally emphasizes individual (and state's) rights over collectivism.
  • The upcoming election will be very important.

Despite strong (decent, at least) showing in the World Cup

Some expect U.S. men's soccer to decline going forward due to the shrinking number of NCAA Division I Men's soccer programs.
I guess time will tell.
My impression is that soccer is still a growing sport in the U.S. and skilled, passionate players don't necessarily have to go to college (particularly Division I schools) to wind up playing professionally somewhere. As anyone who watches the World Cup knows, it doesn't matter where a person plays professionally when it comes to fielding national teams.

13 June 2010

Uh-oh

I just got an email from the UN Secretary General that I have an overdue payment ... I better get right on that.

09 June 2010

You know what they say about learning from history ...

Walter Russell Mead discusses the role that peace activists and appeasers played in creating political environments that led to genocides and pogroms in the 20th century.

Fortunately the destructive doves weren't able to fool FDR about the Nazis.  "You can't turn a tiger into a kitten by stroking it," he once said — but the pious nincompoops and delusional intellectuals were persuasive enough here and abroad so that France, Britain and the United States were unable to step while Hitler was still weak and prevent World War Two by enforcing the peace.

Had these people wised up and supported moderate programs of rearmament in the early 1930s and insisted that the western democracies take a stand against Hitler early on, there would have been no Nuremberg Laws, no Holocaust, no mass terror bombings of European cities, no Stalinist occupation of central Europe — and no Cold War.

Morally of course this was nowhere near as bad as what the Nazis and Communists did.  The peaceniks didn't will the slaughter of millions of innocent people: out of ignorance and conceit they merely created the conditions which let it happen.  But while the peace movement wasn't as evil as the dictators, the dictators could never have achieved their goals without their sanctimonious and timorous enablers in the western world.

 
It is just not true, historically speaking, that 'peace movements' lead to peace or, for that matter, support policies that will bring peace.  More often than not, the opposite is true.  Winston Churchill was a grizzled old British imperialist of the worst kind, but if Britain had listened to him instead of to its peace campaigners in the 1930s there most likely would never have been either a World War Two or Cold War.
You don't get peace just by talking about it and wishing for it.

Hopefully we're not doomed to repeat this lesson.

03 June 2010

quote for the day

Eleanor Roosevelt wrote,"Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people."

01 June 2010

If I were ever in a position

to fund a multi-billion dollar foundation, I hope that I wouldn't name it after myself ...

A parent's

nightmare

24 May 2010

When math gets scary ...

The problem facing the Western world isn't very difficult to figure out: we've spent tomorrow today, and we can never earn enough tomorrow to pay for what we've already burned through. When you're spending four trillion dollars but only raising two trillion in revenue (the Obama model), you've no intention of paying it off, and the rest of the world knows it. In Greece, the arithmetic is starker. To prop up unsustainable welfare states, most of the Western world isn't "printing money" but instead printing credit cards and pre-approving our unborn grandchildren. That would be a dodgy proposition at the best of times. But in the Mediterranean those grandchildren are never going to be born. As I pointed out in my bestselling hate crime America Alone four years ago, Greece has one of the lowest fertility rates on the planet—1.3 children per couple, which places it in the "lowest-low" demographic category from which no society has recovered and, according to the UN, 178th out of 195 countries. In practical terms, it means 100 grandparents have 42 grandkids. Greek public sector employees are entitled not only to 14 monthly paycheques per annum during their "working" lives, but also 14 monthly retirement cheques per annum till death. Who's going to be around to pay for that?
from Mark Steyn 

21 May 2010

Another shocker

"Spain admits that the green economy as sold to Obama is a disaster."
from here

20 May 2010

What he said ...

here
I particularly like this bit:
I think it's very cool that we have a black president and that a black child is doing her homework at the desk where Lincoln wrote the emancipation proclamation. I just wish the black president was Condi Rice, or someone who believes more in freedom and the individual and less in an all-knowing government.
When the election results were in, the one thing I was happy about was that the stranger (a black man) I spoke to at Burger King several months before turned out to be wrong when he told me he didn't think this country was ready to elect a black man president. I hoped we would finally be able to start getting past identity politics. I haven't seen much evidence that that's happened, yet.

Unexpectedly ... you keep using that word ...

A report on weekly jobless claims showed the number of people filing for first-time unemployment benefits rose unexpectedly by 25,000 to 471,000 last week.
from here

Seriously, though, why are the numbers always 'unexpectedly' bad. 
I mean, I expect it. 
Who doesn't? 
And why does anyone continue to care about their 'analysis' if it's always wrong?

17 May 2010

What's going on with the police?

POLICE: MORE MILITARIZED THAN THE MILITARY? Radley Balko has a letter from a military officer:
I am a US Army officer, currently serving in Afghanistan. My first thought on reading this story is this: Most American police SWAT teams probably have fewer restrictions on conducting forced entry raids than do US forces in Afghanistan.
For our troops over here to conduct any kind of forced entry, day or night, they have to meet one of two conditions: have a bad guy (or guys) inside actively shooting at them; or obtain permission from a 2-star general, who must be convinced by available intelligence (evidence) that the person or persons they're after is present at the location, and that it's too dangerous to try less coercive methods. The general can be pretty tough to convince, too. (I'm a staff liason, and one of my jobs is to present these briefings to obtain the required permission.)
Generally, our troops, including the special ops guys, use what we call "cordon and knock": they set up a perimeter around the target location to keep people from moving in or out,and then announce their presence and give the target an opportunity to surrender. In the majority of cases, even if the perimeter is established at night, the call out or knock on the gate doesn't happen until after the sun comes up.
Oh, and all of the bad guys we're going after are closely tied to killing and maiming people.
What might be amazing to American cops is that the vast majority of our targets surrender when called out.
I don't have a clear picture of the resources available to most police departments, but even so, I don't see any reason why they can't use similar methods.
Quite different from using door-busting tactics to serve warrants on nonviolent drug offenders. Of course, one difference is that we care about winning the hearts and minds of people in Afghanistan . . . .
another post shamelessly lifted from Instapundit 

Why government should be small....

BUT REMEMBER, THE SOLUTION TO EVERY PROBLEM IS MORE REGULATION: "The federal agency responsible for ensuring that the Deepwater Horizon was operating safely before it exploded last month fell well short of its own policy that the rig be inspected at least once per month, an Associated Press investigation shows. In fact, the agency's inspection frequency on the Deepwater Horizon fell dramatically over the past five years, according to federal Minerals Management Service records. . . . In fact, last year MMS awarded the rig an award for its safety history."

15 May 2010

Global Green Meltdown Gains Momentum

About time. 
We trust the experts less and less, but they keep coming to us for money.
In this atmosphere, the fight for a massive global treaty to fight climate change that involves annual payments of $100 billion and more to (mostly) corrupt and incompetent governments in developing countries that make Greece look as tidy as Sweden has no chance.
see rest here

13 May 2010

Why should all of our Supreme Court justices be from two schools?

What's so special about Harvard and Yale?
Seems to fly in the face of anything resembling intellectual diversity ...

Bureaucracy and Tyranny

The Founding Fathers well described "swarms of officers sent hither to harass the people." It is worth pondering how bureaucracy may have inside it a tyranny trying to get out.
read the rest, it's short.

Why aren't Communists more closely associated with Nazis?

"In the world's collective consciousness, the word "Nazi" is synonymous with evil. It is widely understood that the Nazis' ideology—nationalism, anti-Semitism, the autarkic ethnic state, the F├╝hrer principle—led directly to the furnaces of Auschwitz. It is not nearly as well understood that Communism led just as inexorably, everywhere on the globe where it was applied, to starvation, torture, and slave-labor camps. Nor is it widely acknowledged that Communism was responsible for the deaths of some 150 million human beings during the twentieth century. The world remains inexplicably indifferent and uncurious about the deadliest ideology in history."
Read the rest ...
 
The holocaust killed 6 million Jews, and is rightly reviled as one of the most horrifying tragedies in the history of mankind.
Where, then, is the outrage for the 150 million killed by Communists? Why do they get a pass? How is Nazism's racial genocide worse than the ideological genocide of Communists the world over?
We would be wise to remember where Communism tends to end up and to be suspicious of those who look kindly on it.

Afghan opium trade

Just ran across this old article on the opium trade in Afghanistan and was struck by a couple of quotes:
"When I have water and roads provided to me, I will stop growing poppies."
and
"I don't want my children to be in this trade and I hope that some day the world will help us. Only then can we stop the opium trade."

I don't especially care if they grow opium or not, but I love how it's not their fault. If only 'the world' would give them water and roads they'd find a new line of work. Can't decide if they've been coached on those answers or if they were born with the entitlement gene. 

12 May 2010

So, do you really have to go to Harvard or Yale to be President?

I'd think most people would respond, "Of course not!" But the numbers are hard to ignore ...

April deficit bigger than expected.

"Bigger than expected" seems to be a theme these days. This time they were off by 30 billion with a B. The actual deficit was nearly 60% higher than analyst estimates. That's a significant amount to be off by. 
Story here.

10 May 2010

The new lawless administration, same as (worse than) the last lawless administration

THEY TOLD ME THAT IF I VOTED FOR MCCAIN, we'd get an Attorney General who'd want to curtail Miranda rights. And they were right!
Attorney General Eric Holder said that Congress should "give serious consideration" to updating the Miranda warning which requires law enforcement officials to inform suspects of their rights – including the right to remain silent.
In an interview on "This Week," Holder said that the U.S. needs to exam whether the current rules regarding Miranda warnings give law enforcement agents the "necessary flexibility" when dealing with terrorism cases.
Ah, remember all that talk about the "lawless Bush Administration" trampling civil rights, and the fierce moral urgency of change? Well, if you believed that stuff when they were peddling it. . . hey, rube!
from Instapundit 

05 May 2010

Hmm. This explains a lot

a 1999 study by psychologist Robert Feldman at the University of Massachusetts showed that the most popular kids were also the most effective liars.

and then, I'm guessing,  they went into politics ...
From this article on the Top 10 Secrets of Effective Liars. Arm yourself for tonight's news and the upcoming elections. :-)

26 April 2010

Tea Party vs. Central planning

Here's what the TP itself really fears, in an inchoate way that for most of its members doesn't rise to the level of clear understanding, but is still intuitively very powerful: the US is embracing central planning as a governing theory, as fast as our legislative processes will allow. . . . Central planning has two primary flaws, when compared with economic freedom: it misallocates resources, and it magnifies the impact of corruption. I could write a decent-sized book explaining both of those mechanisms, but because I've never been busier in my life than I have been these past few weeks, I'll cut to the conclusion.
The endpoint of central planning, if not outright failure, is a much deeper and more intractable division of society into haves and have-nots. After promising a better world for everyone, the progressives will end up creating a society that is more polarized than ever. . . . And we're already seeing everywhere, from David Brooks to Noam Chomsky, the signs of how the elites will have to deal with the polarization: by loudly proclaiming in their captive media that the have-nots are stupid and, eventually, evil.
from here, via this

25 April 2010

Healthcare to look forward to ...

Great Moments in Socialized Medicine 
"Doctors repeatedly mistook a teenage girl's cancer for migraines--spotting three tumours only after her father refused to leave the hospital until she had a CT scan," London's Daily Mail reports:

Danica Maxwell, 14, said she felt like 'a nuisance' and 'just another kid with a migraine who was making a fuss' when she was seen at the West Cumberland Hospital, in Whitehaven, Cumbria.
When she was eventually operated on she was told she would have died had the cancer gone unnoticed any longer.
The tumours removed from her body were deemed so unusual they were sent to America for analysis.

Danica's tumors ended up at Princeton University, where former Enron adviser Paul Krugman produced the following analysis: "In Britain, the government itself runs the hospitals and employs the doctors. We've all heard scare stories about how that works in practice; these stories are false."

from here.

16 April 2010

Obama now micro-managing hospitals ...

Obama extends hospital visit rights to partners of gays


To be clear - I think a person's life partner should certainly have visitation rights. I just don't think the President of the United States should be making that call. How is it the government's business or responsibility?

15 April 2010

I wish I could believe this was actually true

Libertarian sentiment has finally gone mainstream.
A movement that said that people should do whatever they wanted as long as it didn't hurt anyone else couldn't compete during the culture wars that began in the 1960s.
But after two wars, a $12 trillion debt, a financial crisis and the most politically tone-deaf president in modern history, Americans may have finally given up on big government.


Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/politics/Hating-the-government-finally-goes-mainstream-90852389.html#ixzz0lB7bXp8y

07 April 2010

What is a libertarian?

See here
 It appears that when government sets out to solve a problem, not only does it violate our freedom, it also accomplishes the opposite of what it set out to do.
In this particular case, the author is discussing the government mission to 'help the poor'. Welfare programs do not help the poor. At least they don't help them to not  be poor anymore. Rather they encourage them to become ever more dependent on the government. 
This is not very helpful to the poor, but it is very helpful to the politicians who continue the programs and expand them to more and more people.

Politics ...

How is it that Obama can fail to see that changes of the magnitude he is seeking would compel those who believe that those changes are dangerous—who honestly believe that they are bad for the country and whose belief is grounded in powerful ideas about how society should be ordered—to marshal their forces to do whatever is in their power to prevent them from taking place? And that it would be wise not to dismiss or belittle the energy and resolve of the opposition, but rather to take their full measure and plan accordingly?
This has been frustrating to me as well. I get accused of being contrary and partisan because I disagree fundamentally with the current government's approach to governing. They believe government should be large and have expansive power and responsibility. I believe government should be small with limited power and responsibility. These are fundamentally opposite views. I don't disagree with them because they're Democrats (or Republicans in a lot of cases), I disagree with them because I think they are wrong, whoever they are.

05 April 2010

The Aurora Borealis ... from the other side

A picture from a Japanese astronaut on the International Space station. 

30 March 2010

NASA climate data not reliable, per NASA

Full article here
Global warming critics call this a crucial blow to advocates' arguments that minor flaws in the "Climate-gate" data are unimportant, since all the major data sets arrive at the same conclusion -- that the Earth is getting warmer. But there's a good reason for that, the skeptics say: They all use the same data. 
"There is far too much overlap among the surface temperature data sets to assert with a straight face that they independently verify each other's results," says James M. Taylor, senior fellow of environment policy at The Heartland Institute.

25 March 2010

House of Anger? Please.

The original article.

My take below

Unfairly or not, the defining images of opposition to health care reform may end up being those rage-filled partisans with spittle on their lips. Whether the outbursts came from inside Congress — the "baby killer" shout of Rep. Randy Neugebauer, and his colleagues who cheered on hecklers — or outside, where protesters hurled vile names against elected representatives, they are powerful and lasting scenes of a democracy gasping for dignity.
Since the media will largely control the 'defining images', this likely will be true to a great extent. As an adjunct of the Democrat party, most of the media will happily replay the clips that make the oppostion look 'rage-filled' and buffoonish. Similarly rabid protestors of the Iraq war were potrayed as simply exercising their rights in what was obviously a righteous cause.

Most of these vignettes are isolated incidents — a few crazies going off in a vein-popping binge. But the Republican Party now has taken some of the worst elements of Tea Party anger and incorporated them into its own identity. They are ticked off, red-faced, frothing — and these are the men in suits.
The accounts I've read of people who've actually attended Tea Party events describe orderly, polite protests - nothing 'red-faced' or 'frothing' about it. I'm sure there are crazies who show up, as there are crazies on the other side who don't represent most of the left. The tea party's views are mostly libertarian and - from what I've read - they've avoided affiliating with any existing party. They're not happy with pretty much any of the current crop of legislators. Bush was no proponent of smaller, less-intrusive government.
Here's an interesting commentary on an article discussing the supposed threats to Democrat lawmakers.

... as the party of the hissy fit, Republicans are playing with fire.
And Democrats should know as that's more often their role. (Low hanging fruit. Couldn't resist)

On Monday morning, most Americans awoke with some relief that the epic battle was over. Then, they tried to figure out what health care overhaul would mean to them. They found out that insurance companies would no longer be allowed to drop people if they get sick. They saw that older children could stay on their insurance through age 26. And the elderly, the most consistent voting block, discovered that the new law would gradually end a prescription drug donut hole that causes many of them to cut their pills in half to get through a month.

Saul Alinsky wrote a book - Rules for Radicals. Rule number 12:  "pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it."This administration seems fond of Saul and his rules. In this case the target is insurance companies. The first step to a single payer health system is to get rid of the insurance companies. If insurance companies are required to cover people with existing conditions then why would anyone buy insurance before they became sick? That goes against the whole theory of insurance. Would anyone expect their auto insurance to cover them for an accident they had before they obtained coverage? Doesn't that sound silly?

No death panels. No socialized public option. No forcing people to change doctors or providers. And the most contentious part of the new law — requiring nearly everyone to get health coverage or pay a fine — does not kick in until 2014.

The fine will be pointless unless it is more than the cost of the insurance. I guess we'll see, but I'm guessing that won't be the case. And that 2014 date is interesting - that's when the requirements kick in, but the taxes start right away. That was the only way they could massage the numbers from the CBO to make it look like the plan isn't going to bankrupt the country.
 
But it's always better to be building something than destroying it.
That's just a silly statement.

Having welcomed Tea Party rage into their home, and vowing repeal, the Republicans have made a dangerous bargain. First, they are tying their fate to a fringe, one that includes a small faction of overt racists and unstable people. The Quinnipiac poll this week found only 13 percent of Americans say they are part of the Tea Party movement.
Again with a misportrayal of the Tea Party as being about rage. And here's one thought on the supposed racist faction of the Tea Party movement. There probably are racists among Tea Partiers but there are probably more in the Democrat party - or have we forgotten our President's long-time pastor Reverend Wright.
And let's not be too quick to dismiss that 13 percent who are 'part of the Tea Party movement'. Since this is a movement that's just about a year old, 13 percent doesn't seem too shabby. I'd consider it pretty impressive. I mean I'm not 'part of the Tea Party movement' but I feel a lot more affinity for them than either of the dominant parties.

It was the ancient Greeks who gave us a sense of what Republicans will be living with under this pact with rage. Many people are afraid of the dark, the saying goes. But the real tragedy is those who are afraid of the light.

Hmmm. A 'pact with rage' - really?
And I guess we'll see when and how brightly the light shines on the details of the new healthcare plan. Considering the administrations past aversion to transparency, I'm not expecting much.

Not likely, but makes sense to me ...

From my inbox...
An idea whose time has come 


For too long we have been too complacent about the workings of Congress. Many citizens had no idea that members of Congress could retire with the same pay after only one term, that they didn't pay into Social Security, that they specifically exempted themselves from many of the laws they have passed (such as being exempt from any fear of prosecution for sexual harassment) while ordinary citizens must live under those laws. The latest is to exempt themselves from the Healthcare Reform that is being considered...in all of its forms. Somehow, that doesn't seem logical. We do not have an elite that is above the law. I truly don't care if they are Democrat, Republican, Independent or whatever. The self-serving must stop. This is a good way to do that. It is an idea whose time has come.

Have each person contact a minimum of Twenty people on their Address list, in turn ask each of those to do likewise.

In three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message. This is one proposal that really should be passed around.



Proposed 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution

"Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States."
You are one of my 20.

01 March 2010

From an email forward ...


I'm Sick of "Inherited"

The Washington Post babbled again today about Obama inheriting a huge deficit from Bush, blah blah blah. Amazingly enough, a lot of people swallow this nonsense.

So once more, I'll try a short civics lesson.

Budgets do not get approved by the White House. They are passed only by CONGRESS and the party that controlled Congress since January 2007 is the Democratic Party. They controlled the budget process for FY 2008 and FY 2009, as well as FY 2010 and FY 2011. In that first year, they had to contend with George Bush, which caused them to compromise on spending, when Bush belatedly got tough on spending increases. For FY 2009, though, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid bypassed George Bush entirely, passing continuing resolutions to keep government running until Barack Obama could take office. At that time, they passed a massive omnibus spending bill to complete the FY 2009 budgets.



And where was Barack Obama during this time? He was a member of that very Congress that passed all of these massive spending bills, and he signed the omnibus bill as President to complete FY 2009.

Let's remember what the deficits looked like during that period:




If the Democrats inherited any deficit, it was the FY 2007 deficit, the last of the Republican budgets. That deficit was the lowest in five years, and the fourth straight decline in deficit spending. After that, Democrats in Congress took control of spending, and that includes Barack Obama, who voted for those budgets. If Obama inherited anything, he inherited it from himself.

In a nutshell, what Obama is saying is I inherited a deficit that I voted for and then I voted to expand that deficit four-fold since January 20th.



 


16 February 2010

Idaho resident responds to NYT article pimping sad stereotypes

Funny stuff.

This sounds right to me

... all the fraud, critical "lost" data, suppression of criticism and so on doesn't prove that there's no global warming — people can lie about things that, nonetheless, turn out to be true — but it has to induce a certain degree of skepticism. So what should we do?

Nothing. At least, in my opinion, we should continue to try to minimize the use of fossil fuels regardless. Burning coal and oil is filthy, and they're more valuable as chemical feedstocks anyway. We should be building nuclear plants and pursuing efficiencies in the shorter term, while working on better solar (including orbital solar), wind, etc. power supplies for the longer term.

I agree. Cap and trade is a bunch of crap with primarily political goals.
But I'm all for taking care of the environment and burning less oil. I was an early adopter of compact fluorescents - because I believed the hype that they would save me money in the long run. Now I'm switching back to incandescents and waiting for LED lights to get cheaper. The fluorescents never lasted as long as they claimed - some of them I replaced as often as I would have an incandescent and for a lot more money. And now of course we find out they have mercury in them which will now be going into our landfills. 
I'm interested in solar, too, but again mostly I'm waiting for it to get cheaper. 
And of course, I don't think the government needs to be driving this stuff. Let the markets sort it out.

11 February 2010

A plague on both your houses

voters not happy with Dems or GOP. 

Sounds about right to me.

10 February 2010

Have a little salt with this ...

This was forwarded to me from my friend Craig. I thought it was interesting but kind of long. I definitely agree with it that lawyers are more part of our problems than likely bringers of solutions. I suspect there are plenty of lawyers among Republicans and some non-lawyers among Democrat politicians, but I haven't looked into it.

The Democratic Party has become the Lawyers Party. Barack Obama is a lawyer. Michelle Obama is a lawyer. Hillary Clinton is a lawyer. Bill Clinton is a lawyer. John Edwards is a lawyer. Elizabeth Edwards is a lawyer. Every Democrat nominee since 1984 went to law school (although Gore did not graduate). Every Democrat vice presidential nominee since 1976, except for Lloyd Bentsen, went to law school. Look at leaders of the Democrat Party in Congress: Harry Reid is a lawyer.. Nancy Pelosi is a lawyer.
The Republican Party is different. President Bush is a businessman. Vice President Cheney is a businessman. The leaders of the Republican Revolution: Newt Gingrich was a history professor. Tom Delay was an exterminator. Dick Armey was an economist. House Minority Leader Boehner was a plastic manufacturer. The former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is a heart surgeon. Who was the last Republican president who was a lawyer? Gerald Ford, who left office 31 years ago and who barely won the Republican nomination as a sitting president, running against Ronald Reagan in 1976.
The Republican Party is made up of real people doing real work, who are often the targets of lawyers. The Democrat Party is made up of lawyers. Democrats mock and scorn men who create wealth, like Bush and Cheney, or who heal the sick, like Frist, or who immerse themselves in history, like Gingrich.
The Lawyers Party sees these sorts of people, who provide goods and services that people want, as the enemies of America .. And, so we have seen the procession of official enemies, in the eyes of the Lawyers Party, grow.
Against whom do Hillary and Obama rail? Pharmaceutical companies, oil companies, hospitals, manufacturers, fast food restaurant chains, large retail businesses, bankers, and anyone producing anything of value in our nation.
This is the natural consequence of viewing everything through the eyes of lawyers. Lawyers solve problems by successfully representing their clients, in this case the American people. Lawyers seek to have new laws passed, they seek to win lawsuits, they press appellate courts to overturn precedent, and lawyers always parse language to favor their side.
Confined to the narrow practice of law, that is fine. But it is an awful way to govern a great nation. When politicians as lawyers begin to view some Americans as clients and other Americans as opposing parties, then the role of the legal system in our life becomes all-consuming. Some Americans become adverse parties of our very government. We are not all litigants in some vast social class-action suit. We are citizens of a republic that promises us a great deal of freedom from laws, from courts, and from lawyers.
Today, we are drowning in laws; we are contorted by judicial decisions; we are driven to distraction by omnipresent lawyers in all parts of our once private lives. America has a place for laws and lawyers, but that place is modest and reasonable, not vast and unchecked. When the most important decision for our next president is whom he will appoint to the Supreme Court, the role of lawyers and the law in America is too big. When lawyers use criminal prosecution as a continuation of politics by other means, as happened in the lynching of Scooter Libby and Tom Delay, then the power of lawyers in America is too great. When House Democrats sue America in order to hamstring our efforts to learn what our enemies are planning todo to us, then the role of litigation in America has become crushing.
We cannot expect the Lawyers Party to provide real change, realreform or real hope in America Most Americans know that a republic in whichevery major government action must be blessed by nine unelected judges isnot what Washington intended in 1789. Most Americans grasp that we cannotfight a war when ACLU lawsuits snap at the heels of our defenders. MostAmericans intuit that more lawyers and judges will not restore decliningmoral values or spark the spirit of enterprise in our economy.
Perhaps Americans will understand that change cannot be brought to our nation by those lawyers who already largely dictate American society and business. Perhaps Americans will see that hope does not come from the mouths of lawyers but from personal dreams nourished by hard work. Perhaps Americans will embrace the truth that more lawyers with more power will only make our problems worse.
The United States has 5% of the worlds population and 66% of the worlds lawyers! Tort (Legal) reform legislation has been introduced in congress several times in the last several years to limit punitive damages in ridiculous lawsuits such as spilling hot coffee on yourself and suing the establishment that sold it to you and also to limit punitive damages in huge medical malpractice lawsuits. This legislation has continually been blocked from even being voted on by the Democrat Party. When you see that 97% of the political contributions from the American Trial Lawyers Association goes to the Democrat Party, then you realize who is responsible for our medical and product costs being so high!

08 February 2010

The system is working as designed.

The President's two major initiatives - cap-and-trade and health care - have failed because there was not a broad consensus to enact them. Our system is heavily biased against such proposals. That's a good thing.
from here

04 February 2010

Apparently we're in Wonderland.

Who knew?
Nothing means anything, anymore. Words truly are "just words," now, and in this Looking-Glass Administration, words mean exactly what Obama says they mean at any given moment. They will mean something else, in five minutes.

29 January 2010

Attacks on GOP

How can the Republicans be accused of being the Party of No, if they are in fact voting as their constituents want them to and rejecting the president's agenda? Doesn't that make us the People of No?
I think the President knows this and would much rather tell us to please just get out of his way because he knows better than we do what we need. But he's cunning enough to realize that might be seen as hubris by the little people, so he goes after the opposition party.
If someone is trying to set a bomb to blow up a building (or an economy, or a nation) then obstruction is what's needed. Compromising doesn't really do the job, sometimes.

SOTU and SCOTUS

From comments on Ann Althouse's blog (via Instapundit):
As Dennis Miller just said a minute ago on my radio: Obama chose to call out the only 9 guys in the room that did their homework in law school. And the rest who ended up settling for politics stood and cheered it.

27 January 2010

man up!

You know, one could argue that President Bush "inherited" Al Qaeda from Bill Clinton, who did little-to-nothing in response to all of Al Qaeda's provocations throughout the 1990's and unto the USS Cole bombing. But never, not once, did Bush ever say, "I inherited this…" It's time for Obama to become a man.
from here

SOTU

I didn't see it - only heard about 5 minutes of it, but saw some commentary to the effect that it sounded like a campaign speech. That doesn't surprise me. He's good at campaigning - really it's the only thing he has experience in ...

25 January 2010

perspective

Gerri's friend Joanna has been helping in Haiti since November. She has a blog. Her latest update ended: 
Hope that all of you had a good weekend.  I just noticed that the Vikings lost.  How sad.  I think it is the first glimpse of "news" I have seen in months.

23 January 2010

The middle class is filled with people who pay attention to the second page of their paycheck stubs.

It's clear that the middle class is the great enemy of collectivism. Only they have the combination of voting power, money, and economic self-interest to see the growth of government as undesirable, and provide effective resistance. They generally view their interactions with government in a negative light – they've all spent time in the Department of Motor Vehicles mausoleum, spent hours wrestling with tax forms, or been slapped with a traffic citation they don't think they deserved. They understand the inefficiency and emotional instability of government, and instinctively resent its intrusion into their lives. A health-care takeover is the best chance collectivists will ever have of persuading the middle class to vote itself into chains

The middle class is a vast group in a capitalist society, which is one of the things collectivists really hate about capitalism. Its upper reaches include the entrepreneurs and small business owners that bring economic vitality. Virtually every aspect of Obama's agenda is designed to injure or burden small businessmen, and this is no accident. Despite their angry rhetoric about giant corporations, leftists have little trouble controlling them.

it is crucial to understand that it doesn't matter if the people engineering a collectivist state have sinister motives or not. In fact, the belief that their intentions make a difference is incredibly dangerous. It's related to the catechism of the faculty-lounge Marxist, which holds that communism and fascism only failed because bad people were in charge of them.
 
and of the President's statement that he pushed so hard for the health care plan because insurance companies "were doing things that were just plain wrong, and were leaving folks in an extremely vulnerable position."
It doesn't matter if this is his sincere belief, spoken straight from the heart. His health-care plan was still an awful idea that united the country in opposition against the increasingly thuggish and arrogant methods he used to advance it. Those methods are integral to the collectivist enterprise. It will always become thuggish and arrogant, because when all virtue resides in the State, those who oppose the growth of the State become villains by definition.
 (emphasis mine)
from here - It's worth reading the whole piece

21 January 2010

True for families, businesses, governmente

Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery.
- Charles Dickens, David Copperfield.

20 January 2010

Thoughts on the Brown win

 Polls show that most Americans want smaller government, even with fewer "services." Running on a platform that money's better kept in voters' own pockets, rather than handed over to special interest logrolling and vote-buying, will work: If it'll work in Massachusetts, it should work pretty much anywhere.

from Instapundit.

17 January 2010

Haiti blogger

One of my wife's friends has been volunteering in Haiti since November. Take a look at her blog for a first hand account.

09 January 2010

It's not a myth ...

No, they're not camping in the snow. They're fishing. That snow is covering the frozen lake. It's never too cold to fish in Minnesota.
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