31 March 2009

Really Stupid Stuff, Part 689

The Sauda blog has the above picture with the question "Is this racist?"

They link to the Fox 50 website in Raleigh, North Carolina, and possibly elsewhere. One Anthony Bartkewicz reports:

A Russian ice cream company is taking criticism for using an image resembling Barack Obama to advertise a chocolate and vanilla ice cream bar, according to a Reuters report. The ad for an ice cream called Duet features a computer-generated cartoon of Obama in front of the White House with the slogan "The flavor of the week! Black in White!"

I have no particular opinion on whether or not this is racist. If you have to ask, I kind of doubt it. The really stupid stuff?

1. Other than being a cartoon representation of a black male in a suit, in what way does this resemble Barack Obama? I thought we were long past the notion that "they all look alike."

2. A quick Google search indicates that Mr. Bartkewicz is apparently an American writer who lives in the New York City area. A friendster.com profile indicates that an individual with this name living in this area is a 35-year-old male who describes himself as a "grammar and spelling Nazi." You might also want to become more educated in the identification of significant American landmarks if he is going to continue to serve as a journalist. The article identifies the building as the White House; it is the Capital.

Debt Forgiven?

It seems that some moron in Washington state got a traffic that he thought was excessive. To protest, he filled a plastic bag with coins, urinated in it, and mailed it to the clerk of courts office. The clerk of the court returned the bag saying,
that said they couldn't be taken because "the pile of coins emitted a strong, pungent odor of stale urine."
Since the article goes on to state that it is not illegal to send bodily fluids through the mail, it would seem to me that this moron, whose behavior I find reprehensible, has satisfied the debt.US 31 section 5103 reads:
United States coins and currency (including Federal reserve notes and circulating notes of Federal reserve banks and national banks) are legal tender for all debts, public charges, taxes, and dues.
And I was heard that if someone refused to take legal tender, you did not ultimately money unless they had previously posted conditions which they would not accept it under (such as "no large bills after eight PM, etc.)

I recall that some of the young people I worked with at Washington State youth camp were imprisoned for assault when all they had done was spit on someone. It would seem to me it would have been smarter to have accepted the money, and then arrested the guy for assault. Right now, I don't think they have a case.


Quotable Brewer

"No people will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffused and Virtue is preserved. On the Contrary, when People are universally ignorant, and debauched in their Manners, they will sink under their own weight without the Aid of foreign Invaders."

-- Samuel Adams 4 November 1775

29 March 2009

From the Bottom Up

Bill Clinton's Labor Secretary, Robert Reich, has a piece extolling Obamanomics in the Wall Street Journal.

He has taken a break from calling for discrimination against white male construction workers to repeat the stupid canards against de-regulation:

Energy markets were deregulated and we wound up with Enron. Food and drug safety has been neglected, resulting in contaminated products that have endangered consumers and threatened whole industries. Financial markets were deregulated and we now have a global meltdown. Obamanomics, by contrast, views appropriate regulation as an essential precondition for sustainable growth.
First, Mr Secretary, neglecting standards is not the same thing as deregulation.

Second, the financial markets did not melt down because of deregulation, but because of mandates to make unsustainable, "sub-prime" loans; mandates put in place by the Donkeys in Congress, and your old boss.

Third, apparently "appropriate regulation" is going to include telling someone not only the minimum they can pay employees, but the maximum.

Finally, we have this little closing argument:

Under Reaganomics, government was the problem. It can still be a problem. But a central tenet of Obamanomics is that there are even bigger problems out there which cannot be solved without government. By building the economy from the bottom up, enhancing public investment, and instituting reasonable regulation, Obamanomics marks a reversal of the economic philosophy that has dominated America since 1981.

Building the economy from the bottom up. In other words, the workers control the means of production! What a clever, original idea.

Or maybe not.

28 March 2009

Really Stupid Stuff, Part 688

I took this picture today at the local grocery store:That's right, folks. For a limited time, you can get them for $1 each, or, as a Green Tag Special, you can get 5 for $5!

27 March 2009

Earth Hour! Counterrevolution

March 27, 2009 -- 4:30 p.m.

Turn On, Tune In

Cast a vote for freedom by switching on the lights Sunday night!

A Web site called EarthHour.org, apparently unconcerned about the carbon footprint of majuscules, urges global warmists to "VOTE EARTH BY SWITCHING OFF YOUR LIGHTS FOR ONE HOUR" starting at 8:30 p.m. tomorrow. We were tempted to make fun of this, as many people in the site's comment section have done, but then we remembered what President Obama said about cynics who fail to understand that the ground has shifted beneath them. So instead of being consumed by the stale political argument that this protest is silly, we're going to do something positive: organize a counterprotest.

Reader, if you are against global-warming hysteria, high taxes, socialized medicine and a weak foreign policy, Sunday is your day. Show how you feel about the issues by turning on your lights in the evening and leaving them on until you go to bed. If you go out for a drive after dark, make sure you turn your headlights on too.

Granted, the EarthHour people have a head start on us. They started planning this months ago, whereas we're giving you all of 48 hours notice. Yet we think the outlook is bright for this effort. Tell your friends, tell them to tell their friends, and so on, and we'll bet millions of people across the country will turn their lights on Sunday night.

If no one will listen to the silent majority, let's at least make sure they see us.

26 March 2009

Thin Ice

In the Times, Christopher Booker reports on an expedition to measure the thinning of the polar ice cap, which would be proof of Global Warming:

What a wonderful parable of our time has been the expedition to the North Pole led by the explorer Pen Hadow. With two companions, he is measuring the thickness of the ice to show how fast it is “declining”. His expedition is one of a series of events designed to “raise awareness of the dangers of climate change” before December’s conference in Copenhagen, where the warmists hope to get a new treaty imposing much more drastic cuts on CO2 emissions...

The idea is that the expedition should take regular radar fixes on the ice thickness, to be fed into a computer model in California run by Professor Wieslaw Maslowski, whose team, according to the BBC, “is well known for producing results that show much faster ice-loss than other modelling teams”. The professor predicts that summer ice could be completely gone as early as next year... The latest reading given by a typical sensor shows that since last March the ice has thickened by “at least half a metre”.


I KNEW it!

Global Warmism is a religion!

A London employment tribunal has ruled that Tim Nicholson, right, was wrongly dismissed as a property firm’s “head of sustainability” because of his fervent commitment to “climate change”. Mr Nicholson had fallen out with his colleagues over his attempts to reduce the company’s “carbon footprint”. The tribunal chairman David Neath found the company guilty of discriminating against Mr Nicholson under the 2006 Equality (Religion and Belief) Regulations, because his faith in global warming was a “philosophical belief”.

James Taranto and others at the WSJ have commented on this in the past, and now we have legal proof! Of course, most civil rights protections only go one way. The author closes with this statement:

Recalling how “eco-psychologists’’ at the University of the West of England are pressing for “climate denial” to be classified as a form of “mental disorder”, one doubts whether the same legal protection would be given to those who fail to share Mr Nicholson’s “philosophical belief”.

23 March 2009

In poor taste, and completely inappropriate!

I once proposed telling this jokeas part of a Vaudeville-style routine in connection with a local melodrama called Shanghaied in Astoria. The director nixed it because he did not think it would add to the comic, festive atmosphere of the show to have the audience think about death. Jaakko & Eino (pronounced yak'-ko and ay'-no) are archetype comedy figures who would be the Finnish counterparts to the dumb and dumber of Norwegians, Sven and Ole.

Please understand that I have nothing but sympathy for the families of those who died in this tragic plane crash. It is now been revealed that likely an entire family has been wiped out. That is awful.

But just in case anyone has any question as to what a terrible person I am, I confess to the following:

Last night I flipped on the news, and the story of the Butte, Montana plane crash came on. It was "Breaking News" at that point, and there was an awful lot of information that was known incompletely, and it turns out later, wrongly. I was thus reminded of a joke.

The initial reports from the scene were that there were 17 dead at the scene, and that the plane had crashed into a cemetery adjacent to the Butte airport.

There were also some discussion with aviation experts on the phone as to what sort of aircraft this was and how many passengers it could carry. The consensus was that this plane could carry 10 to 12 people, and yet there were 17 reported dead. Which is what reminded me of this joke.
Did you hear about the terrible accident? It's the worst disaster in county history. A single engine, two-seat plane crashed in the Astoria Cemetery. Clatsop County search and rescue coordinators Jaakko & Eino report that the body count currently stands at 183, and is expected to rise as digging continues.
Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

But sometimes, especially in the midst of tragedy, you've just got to laugh.

Finally, some Good News

Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner has an editorial in today's Wall Street Journal. In it, he proposes the best news to come out of the Obama administration on the economy so far: we're going to let the market decide the value of assets!

However, the financial system as a whole is still working against recovery. Many banks, still burdened by bad lending decisions, are holding back on providing credit. Market prices for many assets held by financial institutions -- so-called legacy assets -- are either uncertain or depressed. With these pressures at work on bank balance sheets, credit remains a scarce commodity, and credit that is available carries a high cost for borrowers.

Today, we are announcing another critical piece of our plan to increase the flow of credit and expand liquidity. Our new Public-Private Investment Program will set up funds to provide a market for the legacy loans and securities that currently burden the financial system.

The Public-Private Investment Program will purchase real-estate related loans from banks and securities from the broader markets. Banks will have the ability to sell pools of loans to dedicated funds, and investors will compete to have the ability to participate in those funds and take advantage of the financing provided by the government.

The funds established under this program will have three essential design features. First, they will use government resources in the form of capital from the Treasury, and financing from the FDIC and Federal Reserve, to mobilize capital from private investors. Second, the Public-Private Investment Program will ensure that private-sector participants share the risks alongside the taxpayer, and that the taxpayer shares in the profits from these investments. These funds will be open to investors of all types, such as pension funds, so that a broad range of Americans can participate.

Third, private-sector purchasers will establish the value of the loans and securities purchased under the program, which will protect the government from overpaying for these assets.

Now we can just get Congress to drop this fetish for regulating income, the market may actually have a chance to pull us out of this mess that extra market vehicles like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac let us down the garden path into at Congress's behest.

17 March 2009

Just Another Small Town

When I lived in Washington state, I became aware of an interesting law. It is true that the state of Washington has a number of interesting laws, but this particular one made a great deal of sense: in a school district of less than 400,000 residents, it is unlawful for a teacher to be married to a school board member.

This one makes sense because of the opportunities for conflict of interest and mischief that could take place. For instance (and I am not accusing anyone of anything appropriate), when I lived there, one of our school administrators had been raised in the community, and had relatives who were members of the school staff and board. After he left and took a job at another school district, I heard he was happy as a clam not having to deal with those sorts of entanglements.

What is the point? Well, one of the many interesting things that came up in the news recently occurred during the consideration of former Sen. Tom Daschle for the post of Chief of the Secretariat of Socialized Medicine... I mean, Secretary of HHS. It seems that Mr. Daschle's wife is a lobbyist for the Airline and aircraft industry. A former Miss Kansas, she worked for the Federal Aviation Administration in the Clinton administration and now represents the interests of airlines and aircraft manufacturers before Congress. She began her work as a lobbyist while her husband was the Senate majority leader.

I was wondering how common this was, so I googled a number of terms regarding legislator, senator, representative, spouse and lobbyist. I came up with only two articles on the entire Internet, one from Washington Monthly from 1995, and the other a 2007 piece from the Washington Post.

I do not believe that any of those listed in the 1995 article are still in office. The WaPo article mentions as lobbyists the spouses of Senators Byron Dorgan, D - North Dakota, Elizabeth Dole, R - North Carolina, Ted Stevens, formerly R - Alaska, and Kent Conrad, D - North Dakota. I think it's also safe to say that even though he never registered as a lobbyist, the spouse of Hillary Clinton, formally D - New York was also a engaged in lobbying.

House of Representatives members whose spouses are also registered lobbyists include Roy Blunt, R - Missouri and Stephen LaTourette, R - Ohio.

As the fallout from Mr. Daschle's appointment, we also learned that there individuals who work for law firms and lobbying firms who claim to have duties other than lobbying, and therefore are not registered lobbyists. These would include the spouses of Senators Kay Bailey Hutchinson, R - Texas, and Richard Durbin, D - Illinois.

The article does discuss an attempt by Sen. David Vitter to bar the practice of Senate spouses lobbying the Senate. (Sen. Vitter apparently has reason to keep his spouse far from his office.) That paragon of virtue, Sen. Harry Reid, said that he would support this legislation as long as it grandfathered/grandmother in all the spouses currently lobbying. The legislation has gone nowhere.

This of course completely ignores the issue of children of legislators, etc. etc.

Given how little attention this matter has gotten from the press over the years, I was led to a further question in my mind: do journalists not report on such things because they don't want the careers of their spouses examined? How many journalist spouses are involved in lobbying in Washington DC?

The Washington Post article does go on to say,

Typically, according to their offices, those Senators with lobbyists-spouses do not let their spouses lobby them with their staff personally.
Well isn't that noble of them? "Hi senator. I'm a lobbyist. Of course, I do not lobby my husband directly. You know my husband, don't up? He's the Senate majority leader?"

But really, isn't official Washington, especially Capitol Hill, just a metropolitan version of a small-town? Shouldn't our Senators and Representatives hold them selves to least as high a standard of avoiding conflict of interest as a small-town Washington school board?

The Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations

Interesting piece. Breitbart does ok, but he fails to note the most stunning aspect of the conversation. What Maher and Dyson both do (in addition to 2-on-1, which is the essence of bullying) is to equate liberal political thought and government action (the Nanny State) with the interests "Black culture."

As Bush 43 used to put it, in a wonderful turn of phrase, this is "the soft bigotry of low expectations."

I would love to see Maher and Dyson try this tact with Thomas Sowell. But then Sowell is probably to classy to do Maher, and Maher would be too terrified to have him on!

Kind of curious to see what Maher goes on to say about the need to break the teacher's union, which I agree with, but not curious enough to put up with any more of Bill Maher.

H/T ConservativeExpress.

The Difference Between...

... Republican and Democrats, is, in part, this:

The Honorable Richard Cheney was a United States Congressman, Secretary of Defense and the Vice President of the United States. Regardless of what you think of his opinions, or even think of the man personally, in formal circles, there is a certain dignity with which one treats the men who have held those offices.

On the Tonight Show and the Late Show, etc. etc., standup comedians do their work, and no one expects them to treat the subjects of their humor, often high elected officials, with any dignity at all.

One of the differences I would note between Republicans and Democrats is that I do not ever recall even Jimmy Carter, and some of his ridiculous statements, being treated with this sort of disdain by the Press Secretary of the last two Republican POTUS.

Perhaps I'm wrong, and would retract this if I'm shown so.

But to the larger point, it seems that Mr. Gibbs is incapable of distinguishing between entertainment and political leadership. Letterman is an entertainer. Gibbs is a (representative of a) political leader.

This inability to distinguish these would explain the Obama administration's preoccupation with Rush Limbaugh.

16 March 2009

Good? Really?

You learn some interesting things and you study Greek... or when you Google etymology on the Internet.

For instance, the Greek prefix "eu" means "good or happy." The word "pheme" is a form of the verb "to speak." That means that a "euphemism" means to "use of a favorable word in place of an inauspicious one." In other words, a euphemism is happy talk in place of what people do not wish to speak or hear about.

Another instance is when you take that same Greek prefix and attach it to a form of the word "thanatos" which means "death." "Euthanasia" then, is a "happy death." Or at least a happier way of saying, I killed him to put him out of his misery.

This is brought to mind by a story from the Portland, Oregon NBC affiliate, which I used to watch regularly, KGW NewsChannel 8.

BONNEVILLE, Ore. – A second sea lion recently trapped as part of an effort by wildlife managers to protect endangered salmon and steelhead has been euthanized.

Authorities said the California sea lions were trapped because it had been regularly feeding in the waters below Bonneville Dam.

Euthanized? Do you suppose the sea lion regarded this death as a "happy one"? Is this really euthanasia ... or just euphemism?

15 March 2009

Top _____________ (Fill in the blank)

One of my favorite pick-me ups over the years was to walk through the checkout stand and see what was on the cover of the Weekly World News. This was (is?) a tabloid that takes neither itself nor its readers seriously.It is a magazine preoccupied with a child it claims is a hybrid of man and bat. In a move that presaged tabloid TV, and the way that genre has affected/infected regular news programming, the victim of any terrible accident that occurred was always reported as being a "Mom."

It was also in the Weekly World News that I learned that Aliens are political pragmatists, without any particular party loyalty.

But one of my favorite cover stories was the one pictured below. A copy of the front page hung on my office wall in Washington state for several years.
The article inside quoted several (10 if I recall correctly) individuals that I had never heard of, and even included their pictures. They were described as "top Bible experts."

Now the theological community is a big one, and so it is not surprising that I had not heard of one or two of these people being quoted, but the fact that I had heard of none of them surprised me some. But then this was a fake news story, and one of the ways I have come to identify fake news stories is the use of unnamed or unknown individuals who are identified as "top experts."

So while this article would not have surprised in the least if I found it at The Onion, or Scrappleface, or even in the Weekly World News, I showed my naïveté in that I was a little surprised to discover that the AP would begin a story,

COPENHAGEN – Top climate scientists warned Tuesday that sea levels could rise twice as much as previously projected as they presented the latest research on global warming.
Is it any surprise the story goes on to quote three guys, two of whom I've never heard of (the other I have reason to distrust), and I consider myself reasonably well-informed on "climate change" claims.

I think I'll dump AP and go back to reading the Weekly World News!

UPDATE: CNN has jumped onto this hyperbole train:
The world is facing an increasing risk of "irreversible" climate shifts because worst-case scenarios warned of two years ago are being realized, an international panel of scientists has warned.
Scientists tell us that several billion years ago the earth was caught up in a spate of volcanism which caused the atmosphere to resemble that of Venus, dark, gritty and toxic. Sixty-five mission years ago, an asteroid obliterated the sun in the sky and killed off most living things, including the most successful animal family of all time. About 730,000 years ago, the Earth's magnetic field shifted, again. The environmental effects are believed to have been dramatic, and it could happen again. As little as 100,000 years ago, the lot upon which my home sits was covered by as much as several hundred feet of ice.

All of these effects were overcome by nature's own mechanisms. And yet CNN claims that we are now capable of creating "'irreversible' climate shifts"!

The word "irreversible" is in quotes in the article, so it is apparently someone else's word. That would make its use acceptable if the article went on to comment that this is all speculative, and that it is not a unanimous, and perhaps not even a majority, opinion among scientists. But it does not. It serves as a piece of cheerleading for global warmism.

So the earth can overcome all the disasters that have come about is making, but we humans are going to do something that is a reversible!

Can you say hubris? I knew you could.

10 March 2009

Reality Check

When I let my Newsweek subscription go a few years ago, one of the things that I missed was Robert J Samuelson. I know, I can get him on the net now, but I can't read that in the ... um ... library.

I was never able to figure out Samuelson's political leanings from his columns(I am sure I could look them up); he simply seemed interested in the facts and was appropriately skeptical of everybody. I especially like the reality check he offers this week:

Presidential Double-Talk

To those who believe that Barack Obama is a different kind of politician—more honest, more courageous, more upfront—please don't examine his administration's recent budget. If you do, you may sadly conclude that he resembles presidents stretching back to John F. Kennedy in one crucial respect. He won't tax voters for all the government services they want. That's the main reason we've run budget deficits in 43 of the past 48 years.

Barack Obama is a great pretender. He constantly says he's doing things that he isn't, and he relies on his powerful rhetoric to obscure the difference. He has made "responsibility" a personal theme, and the budget's cover line is "A New Era of Responsibility." He claims that the budget begins "making the tough choices necessary to restore fiscal discipline." It doesn't.

09 March 2009

Islam: Religion of Peace part 2 (The Pre-quel?)

How did I miss this story?

In 2005, Cronulla Beach, Sidney was rocked by a series of minor, but very disturbing, confrontations between Muslim street gangs and surfers. While the Australian mainstream media discouraged accurate reporting in order to protect delicate Australians from realizing that primitive savages had begun to assert themselves, other news outlets ultimately let the truth out:

It seems that gangs of Muslim youths had taken to frightening bikini clad females sunbathing, threatening them with rape, being lewd and gross, and generally threatening the surfers and sunbathers who sought to make them go away.These youths were openly racist and very creepy. The media and police blamed the victims, of course. Eventually three off-duty life guards were beaten up by a Muslim gang. The police deferred doing anything.

People got angry. And as the Prime Minister whined about multicultural values , a crowd of 5,000, many drunk, gathered to protest the Muslim behavior. That gathering turned into a riot when the crowd was threatened by a Muslim with: ‘I’m going to blow youse all up.’

That was only the beginning of a jihad against white Australians. Open racist hatred broke out, chronicled by the media that could not deny the fact that Muslim street gangs were attacking men and women because of race, screaming “Allah” this and “Allah” that.

Days of rage followed, with Tit for Tat, church burnings, assaults on Aussie women, and assaults on Muslim youths. Many arrest followed, and the authorities got control of situation.

Death by a 1000 Papercuts, a blogger, has an update on the story. But what fascinates me about this is the utter logical disconnect that seems so prevelent among Muslim males. It seems to go like this:

  • I am a good Muslim.
  • As a good Muslim, I reject that which is overtly sexual as lewd and inappropriate.
  • You are being overtly sexual and lewd.
  • Therefore, I will rape you.
  • I am a good Muslim.
Huh?!? How?

It is either a complete loathing of women or just a total disconnect that seems to occur in Muslim men. This is not new. The first time I was aware of the existence of Islam as a religion was when the Bangladesh war of independence hit the news almost 40 years ago. (I was a Huntley-Brinkley junkie at an early age.) The first "facts of life" talk I got from my parents was when I asked what the reporter meant by "mass rape" being used as a means of war by the Pakistani army. And then there is the fact that at least some of the 9/11 hijackers spent the last evenings of their life in strip clubs.

For a religion of peace which is based entirely on works, this seems particularly counterintuitive. Perhaps someone can enlighten me.

(Picture not related, but I do like it.)

Peace In Our Time

WASHINGTON - President Obama said the U.S. is not winning the war in Afghanistan and suggested trying to engage moderate elements of the Taliban in reconciliation talks.

"Our troops are doing an extraordinary job in a very difficult situation," Obama told The New York Times in an interview. "But you've seen conditions deteriorate over the last couple of years. The Taliban is bolder than it was."

Obama said the U.S. should try to identify Taliban moderates just as they did Sunni Muslim insurgents in Iraq a practice credited with helping to ratchet down the violence there.

The problem is that identifying a moderate Taliban is going to be a lot like a definitive diagnosis of Alzheimers. You will only be able to confirm it after the victim is dead. ("See, we only shot him. We did not cut off his head. We are moderate Islamists!")

Dear Mr President: General Petraus negotiated from a position of strength. You need to do the same thing. Do not initiate conversations with the mythical moderate Taliban until you can punish - if not defeat - them and protect those who come to our side. Otherwise this really is going to look like Vietnam.

In the meantime, somebody get the President a fedora and an umbrella.

07 March 2009


Ann Althouse, a Professor at the UW Law School has a popular blog. She is moderate to liberal, having voted for Bush in 2004 and Obama in 2008.

She had this interesting comment about Rahm Emmanuel and Hillary Clinton both having said recently that "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste."

Althouse comments:

What if George Bush or Dick Cheney had said something like that openly? It's the kind of line that people used to imagine Bush people saying in secret.
One of her commenters replies:
The left engages in massive projection. That which they accuse, they are. Now Bush made his own mistakes, but the idiotic accusations of the left come from their own approach and shadow.
Given the claims that the Right wanted to stifle our freedom of speech (through the Patriot Act) and the fact that it is the Left that is jonesing for the fairness doctrine to return, (and I could go on and on), all I can say is Amen to that!

Protected Class

The CourierPost, a newspaper somewhere in New Jersey reports

Authorities are looking into whether an attack on a 5-foot-tall inflatable pink Easter bunny in the New York suburbs was bias-related.
The bunny with the big eyes and black line for a smile was left punctured and deflated in the snow-covered yard of the house where Isabel Gonzalez and her husband live in Cortlandt, N.Y.

I knew that unconstitutional (it is contra the XIV Amendment) hate crime legislation had gotten out of control, but exactly which class is protected in NJ, Inflatable, Pink or Bunny? (You can bet it ain't Easter ...)

Mark this on the calander!

Something happened this week that I did not ever think would. I called Senator Russ Feingold's office and told him that I supported him and to please continue to stand firm against the omnibus spending bill that would increase spending by 8% for the rest of the fiscal year, in addition to having 8000 earmarks in it!

If he keeps this up, I just might vote for his re-election.

Unfortunately, I am not sure I can expect that cause, so he should probably not expect that effect.

What A Bunch of Maroons

As Daffy Duck used to say ...

A group of energy company executives got involved in climate change legislative planning, Kim Strassel reports. They were supporting a cap and trade system to stem global warming. They figured everyone would get an allotment of carbon atoms they could release and then be able buy and sell them. As Strassel reports,

But the political question was always how that first batch of permits would end up with companies. Corporate support rested on the belief they'd be "allocated," for free. This would allow them to delay the day when they'd have to pass costs on to consumers, and ignore, for now, the "tax" question.

It didn't take long for the pols to figure out they could auction off permits and spend the loot. President Obama's auction bonanza would earn the feds $650 billion in 10 years, according to the administration's budget estimate -- and that's a low, low, low estimate.

Politicians figuring out how to charge us a fee to do something we have always done for free? I am shocked. Shocked!

Any energy company exec who got involved in this process is not a victim, but a volunteer.

On the upside, if the Elephants and the business community do their job right, we may be able to kill this thing outright.

06 March 2009

Plato Speaks

Time Magazine whines:

Last Friday, Vice President Joe Biden and seven White House Cabinet members traveled to Philadelphia to kick off the inaugural gathering of President Barack Obama's Middle Class Task Force. The task force will convene monthly in cities across the country to confront the problems faced by average Americans. It's an admirable goal — in light of rising costs, stagnant wages and job cuts, a Pew Research study found that 78% of self-described middle-class Americans have trouble maintaining their current standard of living.

have a better shot at making ends meet than at influencing the Middle Class Task Force. That's because no member of the Middle Class Task Force is actually middle class. While defining America's most beloved demographic group has never been an exact science, most academics agree that the term refers to anyone earning between $30,000 and $100,000 a year. (Median household income in the U.S. hovers around $50,000.) Every member of the President's task force — from Biden ($227,000) to Council of Economic Advisors Chairwoman Christina Romer ($172,000) to Energy Secretary Steven Chu ($191,000) — makes well over $150,000, putting them in the top 5% of wage earners.
Why is Time complaining. Haven't they read Plato's Republic? As Plato pointed out in the Parable of the Metals, some people are just destined to rule - those of Gold - while we mere middle class folks are only Brass, or maybe Iron. It is not our place to command and decide. That is why we live in an oligarchy.

05 March 2009

American Idol Mis-Steps

I am not a huge fan of AI, but I did watch some of the last couple weeks (the Top 36!) with my wife.

I cannot figure out what the judges see in this one. She is an ok singer, and maybe they have tattoo envy (I find it excessive and gross). But the thing about the performance that got into the top 12 (by juducial fiat, not audience votes) is exactly what bugged me most about this performance: she wiggles like a 4-year-old who has to go to the bathroom.

02 March 2009

Change I Can Believe In

This almost escaped my notice the other night. Toward the end of his speech last Tuesday to the Joint Session of Congress (which was not, apparently, a state of union address), Pres. Obama said:
And we must also begin a conversation on how to do the same for Social Security, while creating tax-free universal savings accounts for all Americans.
That struck me as oddly familiar. In fact, it kind of reminded me of this statement:
Another interesting idea is to allow younger workers, on a voluntary basis, to take some of their own money and set it aside in the form of a personal savings account -- a personal savings account which is their own; a personal savings account which would earn a better rate of return than their money currently held within Social Security.
That, of course, was President Bush in 2005 suggesting the privatization of Social Security. (Which, I pointed out here, you never should have done, and since he did, he should have better explained.)

I thought to myself, this can't possibly be the case. I must've misunderstood. Well if I did, the Moonbats the Democratic Underground and the commentators at this blogger's site got exactly the same impression I got: privatizing Social Security may be back on the table.

Of course, I don't believe the word of it. This is the President who talks about not raising my taxes are instituting cap and trade so my energy companies' taxes go up and they pass the bill on to me. This is the President who says the issue is not a government or small government, but government that works, and then I was treasury secretary does nothing but pass out money as the Dow drops below 7000.

No. I don't believe a word of it.

But my favorite discovery in looking around the Internet to figure out this line comes from someone at Democratic Underground who calls himself bottomtheweaver. This person is so totally disconnected from reality that he actually wrote this:
He just said we need to face up to fixing SOCIAL SECURITY!!! Good grief, it's the most UN-broken progam in our nation's history!!!
Yeah. It's un-broken, as long as you don't expect it to continue past seven years from now.

Oh, good. Competence!

For his Homeland Security Secretary, President Obama picked Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano. At the time the appointment, the president said that this was because of her experience with border security issues, since Arizona is one of four states bordering Mexico.

What he failed to tell us was that Arizona has been so extraordinarily successful in their border security efforts that Phoenix has become the city with the second highest per capita kidnapping rate in the world, second only to Mexico City.

Apparently, experience to the Obama administration is like luck: there's good luck and there is bad luck, but they are both luck. Likewise there is good experience and bad experience but, what the heck, it's not like border security is anything important or something, so experience is just experience.

Brave young soldiers

Update on my oldest. He graduated from Basic Military Training on February 13. He was one of the first classes to be part of the new, expanded, 8 week BMT program. His favorite part, he said, was BEAST.

I am convinced that I am part of one of the most self-centered generations in history. For that reason, in particular, I am proud that my son, and his compatriots, have chosen to serve. They are aware of the risks, and for that reason, the picture of him in front of the Alamo (from his mom's trip down to see his graduation) is one of the most moving to me.

Congratulations son!

He is now at Shepherd AFB in Wichita Falls Texas learning to maintain and repair cargo planes.

When I am king...

One of the things I have always disliked is, when attending a jazz concert, the habit people have of clapping for a solo during the song. I mean, the song is still going on! And on the attached video, they were applauding for one soloist, right over my son's solo. When I am King, this will change. All applause will follow the completion of the song.

In the meantime, enjoy the video.



Thomas Fleming, writing in the Wall Street Journal, gives us a survey of the esteemed gentlemen who have occupied the White House.

Several polls of historians have named George W. Bush the worst president in American history. This baffles me. I've been writing about presidents for a long time. What I know, and what I presume these gentlemen know, doesn't connect.

Is Mr. Bush worse than John Adams? When a shooting war at sea started between the United States and revolutionary France in 1798, Honest John wrote a letter to George Washington, offering to resign so that George could resume the job. How's that for presidential leadership? Meanwhile, Adams had kept Washington's cabinet officers on the job, although he loathed them. He finally fired them in a fit of hysteria, which made them wonder if he had lost his mind.

Is Mr. Bush worse than Thomas Jefferson in his second term? Rather than build a decent navy to deal with the British -- who had a habit of boarding American ships on the high seas and forcing kidnapped sailors into semislavery -- Jefferson declared an embargo on all trade with England and the rest of Europe. The American economy came to a horrific standstill; smuggling became New England's chief industry. Someone described the embargo as "cutting a man's throat to cure a nosebleed." Nonplussed, Jefferson quit, telling only James Madison, his secretary of state, who was de facto acting president for the last year of Tom's term.

It actually gets worse than this. Before condemning former President Bush, I would suggest that my progressive friends (and President) might want to read the whole article, and give themselves the benefit of some historical perspective.

This adds to my argument that President Bush will be much better regarded by history than he is today.

New Math

The Rasmussen Polling Organization reports

Fifty-one percent (51%) of U.S. voters say President Obama’s plan to raise taxes on those who earn more than $250,000 a year would be good for the economy, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.
In the same polling cycle, the Rasmussen Polling Organization reports

"...a Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 59% of U.S. voters agreed with Ronald Reagan that “government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.”
This confirms, at a somewhat lower level than I would have predicted, that 41% of Americans are misguided, and 8% live in a complete disconnect from reality.