If the term A**hole is too offensive, then skip this. If allowances can be made in the interest of very well done satire, then highly recommended.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
In these days of internet connectivity and many meetings being call-in since travel is often restricted, I've spent a good deal of time working from the covered deck this summer. Even with current laptop screens actually working outside is difficult to impossible -- the sun, or even a somewhat cloudy day washes the screen out too much to allow it to be productive. Having the deck covered seems to solve the problem though -- face the screen away from the outside and it is very visible.
Makes some of those hours of work MUCH more enjoyable -- and for those days when I'm not working, that reclining deck chair works very well for reading that often ends up with the energy state being lowered even a bit more.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
The nation is close to evenly split in its assessment of the president's policies to date, and there is great intensity on both sides of the debate with dwindling numbers in the middle.
The MSM is finding this almost unbelievable and trying with all their might to shore up the sinking BO. How in the world is it that a failed community organizer with no leadership experience would be having problems being president of the US? To lefties that assume that they could handle any job in the universe better than whomever happens to have it if only they were recognized for the brilliance that keeps getting ignored, the concept that somebody that "sounds good" might not be able to make a great leader is beyond comprehension.
As is always the case with the those that simply "know better" independent of facts or results, the cries to stamp out those that are not in agreement are rising. The WH is encouraging folks to rat out anyone saying anything "fishy" (now there is a technical term) about BOcare!! Naturally the MSM is largely ignoring this, let alone calling it "chilling".
Not that supporters of "hope and change", now currently in the guise of BOcare are likely to be either the question asking or answering type, but in case there is anyone that is starting to wonder if "not all change is positive change", these would be some reasonable questions to want to get answered before going many more trillions in the hole.
If a slick car dealer came up to you and said that he was going to get you a cheaper and better car and get some other guy to pay for it, would you believe him? Would you believe him if he read everything to you off a teleprompter?? If not, it would REALLY be a good idea to think just a little more deeply about BOcare.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
I found this column to be a lesson in "why we don't just all get along". We open with an assertion:
If race were the only issue, there would be much less hyperventilation about Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.'s unpleasant run-in with the criminal justice system. After all, it would hardly be the first time a black man had unjustly been hauled to jail by a white police officer. The debate -- really more of a shouting match -- is also about power and entitlement.
Would it be the first time a white man was unjustly hauled to jail by a black officer if the shoe were on the other foot? But, "it's about power and entitlement". Let's think about that for a bit -- do we not REGULARLY have all sort of white "celebrities" of various sorts in the news for everything from disorderly conduct, various driving problems, alchohol, drugs (even the very recreational pot use)?
Consider virtually any rock band? I try to pay as little attention as possible, but Brittany Spears, Mel Gibson, Rush Limbaugh (detained at Miami Airport for having Viagra without a prescription, along with his well known Oxycontin addiction). I'm sure I could go on, but so what? "Powerful whites" don't get arrested?. It seems VERY questionable based on evidence.
I'm talking about President Obama, obviously, but also Citigroup Chairman Richard Parsons, entertainment mogul Oprah Winfrey, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor and many others -- a growing number of minorities with the kind of serious power that used to be reserved for whites only. In academia, the list begins with "Skip" Gates.
So we move forward with the orignial suspect assertion. The REAL PROBLEM is that the POLICEMAN was somehow "pissed off" BECAUSE this "big cheese" was black -- otherwise he would have "turned the other cheek". But wait, I thought we CELEBRATED the "powerful" falling under the normal rule of law like everyone else? Young George Bush got a DWI even though his Dad was hugely wealthy and powerful. The Bush twins got busted for underage drinking WHILE their father was President. Even Teddy Kennedy at least had to file a police report for killing his young secretary. Had any of these folks decided to start screaming at the officers involved, I'd be surprised if they would have gotten much in the way of press or other left-wing sympathy.
Apparently, there was something about the power relationship involved -- uppity, jet-setting black professor vs. regular-guy, working-class white cop -- that Crowley couldn't abide. Judging by the overheated commentary that followed, that same something, whatever it might be, also makes conservatives forget that they believe in individual rights and oppose intrusive state power.
That paragraph is pretty rich. What have we here? The "Law and Order Democrats"?? Are we asserting that it is usually CONSERVATIVES that are on the side of "to hell with authority, let's abuse the fuzz"?? Police stopping by to see if your home is being robbed is NOT "intrusive state power" ... it is sort of "minimal expected government service". Would one actually to be in favor of police NOT doing that, one would be in favor of anarchy. What we have here is a naked (and poor) attempt to equate a view that private citizens need to observe basic compliance with government authorities doing their jobs with some sort of "racism". One hopes that the formulation is disingenous, else the author borders on the insane.
And then the big finish. If Lawrence Summers were to have gotten into a similar shouting match, there would have been no arrest. The columnist is secure in there being no way to "prove" such a thing -- non-arrests don't make much in the way of stories. The assumption is however that Larry Summers would have decided to get into a shouting match with the officer. Most all of us have had occasion to deal with police under various and nearly always stressful circumstances. How many of us have gotten into shouting matches with them? I'd hazard to say very few, or none -- the fact is that Larry Summers would be VERY unlikely to do so, since what HE would see is an officer simply trying to do their job and have absolutely no animosity about him doing it.
Yet Gates' fit of pique somehow became cause for arrest. I can't prove that if the Big Cheese in question had been a famous, brilliant Harvard professor who happened to be white -- say, presidential adviser Larry Summers, who's on leave from the university -- the outcome would have been different. I'd put money on it, though. Anybody wanna bet?
But Henry Gates is part of the "racial hatred industry" -- to him the white officer was a symbol, not a person. The officer was representative of the "oppressive racist white ruling class" -- and indeed, "didn't know who he was messing with". Were Henry Gates race baiting industry to die, he would no longer be famous -- his need for existence would cease to be. Gates was virtually REQUIRED to take umbrage at a white police officer in his home. To do otherwise would have been impossible.
Likewise for BO -- in his books he complains about the "driving while black" syndrome. All of us have been pulled over at one time or another for what we saw as "no reason". When we are white, it is just "getting pulled over" -- for black Americans it is "racial profiling" plain and simple and there is no amount of logic or statistics that will change their mind.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Well, they are if someone ELSE pays them!! Rangel is a well known crook to anyone that strays from the MSM sheep pasture. All this has appeared before, but suffice it to say Charlie believes it is the "moral duty" of OTHER Americans to pay much higher taxes -- it just isn't for HIM!!!
I love the title. Were the Germans in WWII afraid of Government? How about the Russians in 1914? The Chinese after WWII? Nope, there is NEVER any reason to be "afraid" of larger and larger government -- the bigger the government the better as long as you are CNN, MPR or just a standard Democrat.
Of course the REASON for us to be OK with big government is:
And finally, Medicare has proven to be more popular than private insurance programs. So, for all the talk about hating big government, the big government seems to be doing something right, according to numerous polls. According to a Kaiser poll, 68 percent of respondents said they believed the Medicare program would put "your interests above their own" compared to 48 percent for private insurance.
Hey, it's popular!! And why not? The people on Medicare are getting VASTLY more than they paid in, and they are getting it all at the expense of current and future taxpayers!! What a GREAT SYSTEM!!! Just like bailouts, FICA, and the proposed "universal health", once a program is in place and the constituents of the program are enjoying ever growing benefits at the expense of others, the program is POPULAR!! ... and "popular = good". Popular government is a GOOD THING!!!
Only, a lot like "what goes up must come down", it is good right up until it isn't. Is now that breaking point? I have no idea, but anyone can look at deficits now in the Trillions per year and projected to be in the 10's of Trillions per year and realize "this isn't going to last. What is really funny to me is that Democrats used to yowl about "the Reagan deficits" or "the Bush deficits" when we were running low 100's of Billions in the midst of generally growing GDP. We were running deficits that were mid single digit % of GDP (the WORST Bush pre-Democrat Congress number was 5.3%, and even 2008 was only 7.4%) ... we are projected for 12%+ in 2009 and it just gets worse from here on out.
So deficits that were "5%" in a growing economy were enough to raise holy hell with constant talk of "irresponsibility", while deficits of 12% with a declining economy but your boy BO in the WH are fine? And some folks wonder why it is hard to respect a Democrat's honesty.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Fun little article to read. It would be nice if folks were figuring out that the empty suit messiah and his cronies never had any ideas about how to "get to good", but I think he has too much faith in the current america.
Friday, July 24, 2009
I don’t know how many people understand the significance of Mr. Obama’s proposal to give MedPAC, the expert advisory board to Medicare, real power. But it’s a major step toward reducing the useless spending — the proliferation of procedures with no medical benefits — that bloats American health care costs.
Well, the significance is that a federal beauracratic board will tell you what works and what doesn't work, BUT, since BO and the Democrats refuse to bite the hand of the trial lawyers that feed them, the Doctor will be between the "rock" of the MedPAC board telling him "that test doesn't have a high enough effectiveness, so we won't pay" and the subsequent malpractice lawyer saying "are you aware that had you done test X there is an x% chance that the condition would have been found and little Susy would have been saved?". Damned if you do, damned if you don't ... something which government excels at!
Mr. Obama was especially good when he talked about controlling medical costs. And there’s a crucial lesson there — namely, that when it comes to reforming health care, compassion and cost-effectiveness go hand in hand.
But wait, the CBO says that BOcare will cost a TRILLION MORE than what we have now. I guess that "talk" is "especially good" when it is served up with a huge helping of chutzpa from Krugman's perspective. TALKING about less while spending a Trillion MORE is somehow acceptable, even though the Nobel Prize winning economist says "compassion and cost-effectiveness go hand in hand". Indeed -- an extra Trillion in economy wrecking deficits while a government agency cherry picks procedures on the basis of campaign contributions or phases of the moon doesn't sound all that compassionate to me.
Well, in the case of health care, one pill means continuing on our current path — a path along which health care premiums will continue to soar, the number of uninsured Americans will skyrocket and Medicare costs will break the federal budget. The other pill means reforming our system, guaranteeing health care for all Americans at the same time we make medicine more cost-effective.
How can one win a Nobel prize and think that sloppily? Really? There are ONLY two choices. 1). Do nothing 2). Do whatever it is that BO finally figures out that he wants (if he ever figures it out)? In this vast nation with 300 million people, there are ONLY TWO choices!!! Wow, if you believe that, then you most likely voted for BO, and until you turn your brain on, there isn't much to discuss.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
"I don't know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played in that [Gates case]. But I think it's fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry; number two, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home; and, number three, what I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there's a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately. That's just a fact."
As the immortal Forest Gump said, "Stupid is as stupid does". Where is that old "truth to power" deal now? Just try to imagine if we had a BLACK cop arresting a WHITE Harvard Law professor, "bringing the cops mother into it", and then have a WHITE President ganging up on the lowly black cop on national TV! (of course, the white president would have to be a Republican, cuz the MSM isn't much for criticizing democrats, no matter what they do.
BO and Gates should maybe look in the mirror -- tenured Harvard proffessor and President of the US are actually pretty high positions. Now if anyone still had any ideas that BO was just "caught up in the moment", this link is from TODAY ... he is defending his stupidity and adding to it.
The president said he understands the sergeant who arrested Gates is an "outstanding police officer." But he added that with all that's going on in the country with health care and the economy and the wars abroad, "it doesn't make sense to arrest a guy in his own home if he's not causing a serious disturbance."
Say what? Every day normal Americans ought to be looking at "healthcare, the economy and the wars abroad" as they do their daily work, and THAT ought to be taken into consideration by a police officer responding to a burglary call??
BO needs to keep that teleprompter turned on and stick to ONLY what rolls across it!! That kind of thinking borders on complete insanity!!
As having had to live through the decade, I like the assessment in this paragraph:
To most people, this was less a giant step for mankind than one of the low points in what has been justly described as a “slum of a decade,” but Hardball host Chris Matthews, a one-time speech writer for our 39th president, convened two ex-colleagues - Gerald Rafshoon and Hendrik Hertzberg (now at the New Yorker) - to commemorate and discuss the event.
One can't get much more apt than "a slum of a decade" as an epitaph for the '70s for at someone who "came of age" in that decade with HS graduation, college and getting into the work force as I did. Thank God for Reagan!!! The pain of the '70s was salved by the glory of the '80s.
This is a thought provoking analysis:
“Today, the malaise speech is being revived as a totem of Mr. Carter’s unrecognized greatness,” as Hayward tells us. “Jimmy Carter was a visionary president! If only we had listened to him!”If only we hadn’t had to listen to Matthews’s idea that presidents always “appoint” their successors by being their opposites: Hoover “created” Franklin D. Roosevelt; Nixon created a “truth-teller” like Carter, and it took a catastrophe on the level of George Bush the younger to give us the radiant presence who rules us today.“You might say he begat Obama,” he babbled to Hertzberg, “It took Bush to make us see the importance of an Obama...What do you think about a...sophisticated Obama coming in after an incurious president like Bush?”Hertzberg, of course, would be up to the challenge. “We really required a comprehensive disaster...to make Americans ready to take this extraordinary and wonderful leap of faith that they took in electing this remarkable president that we now have,” he replied.
Historically, of course, it took a disaster like Carter to make Americans take a chance on a 69-year-old ex-movie actor who cured their “malaise” in short order. Since malaise appears poised to be making a comeback, perhaps this will happen again.
I might say that from my perspective "it takes a rise of the power of the MSM to create a true disaster" ... Nixon was no worse than LBJ or certainly not FDR on skullduggery ... it is just that Nixon was hated by the MSM so he had to be destroyed. Bush was hated by the MSM and although they did their best to destroy him, they didn't succeed -- which made them REALLY hate him! The "disaster" of the Bush years was primarily in both houses of congress going to the Democrats in '06 -- the slide started immediately thereafter.
BO has us set up for the kind of long term disaster of FDR proportions -- one hates to consider that we may end up hoping for WWIII to bring about an end to the BO travails as WWII did for FDR.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
When your side has a 60 vote Senate advantage, it is hard to dodge responsibility for governing. When you are liberal, your idea of government is "Gimme That Thing ... and make someone else pay".
Who ought to pay? Well, that "wealthiest 1% of course".
To today's centrist Democrats, this has become a distant memory, a history lesson they cannot grasp. The notion that actual individuals might have to pay to secure the national interest appalls them. In the House, the Blue Dogs doggedly oppose proposals to fund universal coverage by taxing the wealthiest 1 percent of the nation's households. Their deference to wealth -- whether the consequence of our system of funding elections or a byproduct of the Internet generation's experience of free access to information and entertainment -- is not to be trifled with.
People that are lucky enough to have multi-decade successful careers, stable marriages, good investments, good health, successful private businesses or other such "good things" SOMETIMES get to the point were they get to that "1%" when they are in their late 40s or 50s. Since they got to that point, they paid high tax rates all the way through their lives and get to pay the full cost (and part of the cost of a few others) of their kids education in college along with full cost on anything else that is "income adjusted". That was SUPPOSED to be "the American dream". Many decades of hard work gave one the CHANCE to get A FEW EARNING YEARS in that upper level of income.
Now it is evil to get there, so there ought to be huge tax penalties that treat the folks that managed to succeed as some sort of a "redistributionist pinata"
I don't think so. Making high income is very hard. Cutting ones income is very easy. Nobody that got to the top 1% is stupid enough to send in well over half of the money they earn to the feds so it can be spent on the "pork of the day". If those awful "Blue Dogs" lose and Mr Meyerson "wins", then what we are going to see is an "easy chair revolt".
The best thing going for the poor is the increase in their standard of living brought about by the energy of free enterprise. The only way they can ever escape from poverty is by obtaining a good education, and getting a decent job. Big Government is a miserable failure at the former, and an active threat to the latter - as can be seen from the obscene cap-and-trade bill, or Obama’s health care proposals. Nothing should be a higher priority for the poor than slashing the size of government and radically cutting taxes. The free markets are always hiring. When they slow down, it’s because they aren’t free.
Here here. Good little restatement of the obvious.
Being a supposedly conservative NYT reporter is sort of like being a moderate Catholic at the Vatican. While he may be LESS liberal than most of the NYT folks, that isn't exactly saying much. Therefore, he tends to follow the "left and right are treated pretty equally" view, so it is easy to see how he might think that the left is over reaching just like he thinks the right did in the early '90s.
Of course, the right "over reached" with such far out righty items as prescription drug benefits, Sarbannes Oxley, Hurricane Katrina (man, those righties are powerful) and "compassionate conservatism". For a couple of years those "steamroller righties" happened to have a whole couple seat majority in the Senate and couldn't get Miguel Estrada, a latino judge appointed to the federal bench because he was "too conservative".
The standard for "over reaching" toward the right sort of looks like a tepid move leftward, where I tend to disagree with Brooks that even federally taking over a bunch of banks, GM, running up multi-trillion deficits, cap and trading the economy to oblivion and converting health care to a political playground is even going to come CLOSE to be being as much of a leftware over reach as the Republicans supposedly made.
Bush was so "moderate" he approached being a RINO ... BO is so far left it really gets difficult to see where his views would differ from a socialist. MIGHT he be "over reaching" -- sure, but with the MSM all in his corner, it is going to take a lot of pain before the sheep figure out that "there has to be a better way"!
Read it all, here is a teaser:
Big Government is the most formidable engine of poverty the industrialized world has ever seen. The worst famines to sweep the twentieth century were caused by either incompetent or malevolent government, with the Holodomor famine in Ukraine being a particularly horrifying example. Millions of Ukrainians were starved to death in the Holodomor, as a deliberate matter of Soviet policy. The infamous Ethiopian famine of the mid-80s prompted a well-meaning response from the West, including the Live Aid concerts organized by Bob Geldof… but while hundreds of millions of dollars were raised, much of the aid money and relief supplies were simply stolen by the Ethiopian military junta. Collectivist governments around the world have produced uniformly terrible standards of living.I think everyone really knows that the poor are way better off in a market economy, but that makes no difference to Democrats. Their only concern is really about them being in power -- the poor are just pawns in that purpose and having them stay poor is fine with them.
Not that the MSM likes to focus on it much, but the states that are in the most trouble are the most liberal ones. Our founding fathers wanted "13 laboratories" in which we could test the various theories of government and decide what worked and what failed. We have done our best to water that down with Federal rules and money transfers, but we have never been completely successful. The "Blue States" are in the worst shape of all because in case anyone missed Japan, the USSR, Western Europe, Cuba, and Chile, "socialism doesn't work".
On the surface this should be the moment the Blue Man basks in glory. The most urbane president since John Kennedy sits in the White House. A San Francisco liberal runs the House of Representatives while the key committees are controlled by representatives of Boston, Manhattan, Beverly Hills, and the Bay Area—bastions of the gentry.
Despite his famous no-blue-states-no-red-states-just-the-United-States statement, more than 90 percent of the top 300 administration officials come from states carried last year by President Obama. The inner cabinet—the key officials—hail almost entirely from a handful of cities, starting with Chicago but also including New York, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco area.So we have BO pushing the "Chicago Model" of "pay to play" at a national level with the idea that all we really need to do as a nation is to move money between those that make it and those that support BO. "Don't play (or work) and don't pay" is sounding like the best model.
How long until the American people get wise to this? I have no idea -- but there isn't much need to worry about it. Just watch the Blue States melt, no doubt followed by the whole country, and EVENTUALLY I bet more folks will realize that "the rich" aren't the complete patsies that BO and company has made them out to be.
I like fighter planes, I have no idea how bad we need F-22's. Neither BO or Slate would be on my list of sources that I would want to go to for the specific advantages of the F-22 system, but one thing that I do have at least a reasonable grasp of is relative amounts of money.
The Air Force brass wanted $4 billion in the fiscal year 2010 budget to build 20 more F-22s. Gates slashed the request to zero. The Senate Armed Services Committee voted, 13-11, to shift $1.7 billion from other programs in order to fund another seven planes. That's the line item that the full Senate excised this afternoon.
So we saved something between $1.7 and $4 Billion. Our federal budget is approaching $4 Trillion. $4B is 1% of $400B and .01% of $4 Trillion. Folks that are angry because the multiple trillions spent on "stimulus" money "wasn't big enough"! are giddy because someone decided to not spend $.01% of the budget on a set of new fighter planes.
Symbols are very meaningful.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
For the majority of Democrats, trapped in the permanent adolescence of "I want it all and I want it NOW at zero effort to me", Republicans are as permanently backward as parents who claimed that resources were limited, curfews were for your own good and tomorrow and "never" were not the same thing. This whole article should be a must read for folks that still have just a smidgeon of connection to reality.
But today, beneath the optimistic rhetoric, lurks another possibility that no politician and few pundits want to admit: that the system is no longer up to the task and that the factors that once brought relief are no longer operable. There is the real possibility that this time we will not win but rather founder the way Japan has done since its economic catastrophe. There is the possibility that this time it is hopeless.
Wow, the last time I remember it being "hopeless" was when Carter was in the White House. So why is it "hopeless" this time? Well, because we still have those damnable Republicans! That's why!!
What those Fathers could not have anticipated was a political party dedicated to total obstructionism - dedicated to making certain that the government would fiddle while the nation burned. For this we have the Republicans to blame for their actions and the Democrats to blame for their inaction. As comedian Bill Maher recently put it, “The Democrats have moved to the right, and the right has moved into a mental hospital.’’
Yes, anyone that isn't in complete agreement with multi-trillion dollar deficits, government takeover of major industries and a foreign policy of apology to all is insane! At least we can see that the "moderates" at the Boston Globe want to have an intelligent discussion on merits!
... you can readily see that not even the Democrats’ 60 votes in the Senate are sufficient to move legislation even if there is a public outcry for action. According to polls, roughly 70 percent of Americans want a public option in healthcare. With that kind of support, the fact that it is even being debated is testament to how decrepit our system has become.
And so we are now a nation with great professions of faith that we will succeed but little real confidence that we will, a nation that focuses more on what can go wrong than on what can go right, a nation that can’t seem to get action. We are a timid nation with small dreams and even smaller plans - a nation that seems to have lost its capacity to do big things. We all know the nation is broken, but we may no longer have the will or the institutions to fix it.
I wonder how many Americans want to live to be 100? have true love? win the lottery? I'm thinking it is way over 70%, to that must be REALLY a testament to how broken our system is that we haven't guaranteed THOSE items!!! Every teen knows that the prime determinant of what we get is very much supposed to be what we want.
So we have a "timid" nation spending Trillions more than we have, taking over private business and rushing government programs through to gaurentee us everything from the right climate to the right healthcare. It is clear that the only thing that can "save us" is to get rid of the Republicans. Can't we abolish old age, sickness and baldness while we are at it? What could POSSIBLY limit folks that can say "yes we can!"???
Today was an interesting departure for MPR. The person they talked to was a military person that had formerly had the job of informing families, so the focus was on the value of the sacrifice and the importance that the military places on dealing with the families.
Over the previous years when Bush was president, the standard MN military deaths reporting on MPR involved interviews with the family and friends of the lost soldiers and almost always included the obligatory voice saying something about "optional war", "we were lied to", "he went into the guard never expecting to be deployed", "this is a senseless loss", etc.
I'm often struck with how significant the more subtle bias differences are. The vast majority of people that I know of a somewhat moderate to conservative leaning either never would or no longer listen to MPR -- they simply get irate as to the level of bias inherent in the reporting model.
My sense is that with the increase in media forms, capacity and diversity, Americans less and less listen to each other. Many Americans pine away for the days of Walter Cronkite -- yesterday MPR devoted the noon program to an hour on him. The idea was "EVERYONE trusted Walter", and that was a GOOD THING. One man should tell millions what to think as long as he is a left winger!
Naturally, the points that were covered in the interview were that he was one of the first on Watergate, he decided the Vietnam war was going to be lost in '68, and it was interesting to hear him talk about "favorite presidents of his life", FDR and Kennedy. He didn't want to go to "worst", but it was pretty obvious "Reagan and Carter". Carter because he was a failure, Reagan because he successfully "rolled back the new deal" in Cronkite's words. Strange -- last I checked both Social Security and Medicare faired quite well under Reagan (HUGE tax increases) and it was under CLINTON that welfare reform happened. But I digress.
The point is that from MPR and the general MSM view, their ought NOT be "competing political views" -- we ought to all "listen to and believe Uncle Walter". We ought to all use our "freedom" to "freely" believe the same thing.
How does that happen? In general, subtly -- each little story about soldiers dying, the economy, natural disasters, etc is "crafted" ... naturally by the views of the reporters, not a "conspiracy" to fit into the narrative of their world view. All humans have a world view narrative, and we all have "confirmation bias" to accept that which fits our view and to reject that which does not.
So must we all just live with our own stories, not being able to understand each other and believing that there is no truth? In my opinion, not if we are willing to accept the wisdom of the ages and to fight the confirmation bias by being able to cogently argue as many points of view as we can. I think the best we as humans can do for knowledge is "approximation", but that means that some approximations are FAR closer to reality and truth than others and there is ALWAYS room to improve your own approximation!
Our tendencies are the same -- and will NEVER be completely modified, because we are all human, but it may be possible to temper them by at least being able to listen to both sides and ideally to be able to argue either side reasonably well.
Monday, July 20, 2009
No question Bush is evil, and we all know how "chilling" the US "Christian Right" is with all their hypocrisy and "peeking into bedrooms". No reason that the US should have anything bad to say about Muslim nations.
In the Islamic Republic it is illegal to execute a young woman, regardless of her crime, if she is a virgin, he explained. Therefore a "wedding" ceremony is conducted the night before the execution: The young girl is forced to have sexual intercourse with a prison guard - essentially raped by her "husband."
I'm thinking that if BO just sits down and has a chat with these people they will be quick to see things our way -- unlike those evil Christians and Republicans which have a tendency to be intransigent.
The US media needs to get to this guy right away. Doesn't he know we have closed Gitmo? Doesn't he know we have sworn off any interrogation techniques more stringent than saying "pretty please"? Most of all, doesn't he know that we now have the worlds most competent and respected leader in charge of the US forces, the incomparable his holiness BO, potentate of the masses?
Most of all, his captors know that if anything untoward was to happen to him, BO would be VERY UNHAPPY! Nobody wants to make BO unhappy, he may look stern and say bad things about you in a speech. That would be too much for anyone in Al Quaeda to bear, so I'm certain they will treat this guy fairly and humanely.
What else would we expect from them? They aren't like "Republicans" or anything evil!
Sunday, July 19, 2009
The book is loaded with detail and anecdotes about the people that dedicated a decade or more of their lives to the quest for the moon. The challenges of getting the F1 engines in the mammoth Saturn V to be stable ... 2 tons of LOX and a ton of kerosene into each of the 5 F1s in each second producing 1.5 million lbs of thrust each.
A lot of details on some folks that had a lot of responsibility but were far from household names -- Joe Shea being one. He took a lot of personal responsibility for the building of the Command Module, and strangely, would have been in the capsule below the astronauts feet if they could have gotten a com plug for him the night that Apollo 1 burned. He was devastated by the loss of the crew and always felt personally responsible, but he lived on with the pain and had a pretty successful life.
There is a lot of focus on the decision to do "Lunar Orbit Rendezvous", which was originally seen as "off the wall risky", but eventually came to be seen as the only reasonable way to do it.
Most of all, I'm struck by the fact that we haven't been back to the moon since '72. I liked this quote:
A new all-purpose political truism entered the language: "If this nation can put a man on the moon, then it should be able to ..." Cure cancer, stop crime, end poverty. All it would take, many seemed to think at the time, was the same kind of money and commitment that the US had lavished on Apollo.
First of all, we are no longer "this nation". The nation that put men on the moon had values, courage, faith and a spirit that is WAY different from the nation that we have become today. Could THIS nation put a man on the moon? I'm not so sure.
Of course, even if we could, going to the moon is primarily an ENGINEERING PROBLEM, and while it is a difficult problem, it can be done with known technology. It isn't primarily a "science problem", or a "social problem". Curing cancer requires massive invention, and there is a non-zero chance it is "impossible" (to do it and have a living patient with a reasonable quality of life).
The hubris of "if we can send a man to the moon ..." is unbelievable. Stop crime or end poverty? What would that mean? We don't even know what it would mean to do those things, let alone have any starting point as to how they might actually be achieved. It is very likely that the "cure" might end up being worse than the problem.
The moon was hanging in space for all of human history. We ALWAYS "knew what it meant" to go there. Once we had put unmanned landers on it, it was certainly "possible" to send a man there -- THEN, the issue was one of "merely" time, money, commitment, and the willingness to risk (and lose) human lives in the pursuit of the goal.
It is most often those who have accomplished the least that have the most to say about "if we can send a man to the moon ...", or "it seems to me it OUGHT to be done thus and so ...". Sadly, we now have a president that has accomplished nothing in his life save a couple good speeches and yet has huge confidence in his ability to do nearly anything. Knowing your limits as well as your abilities engenders "confidence". Being supremely confident you have no limits is hubris.
We once were a nation with the confidence to go to the moon, today we are a nation with the hu bris to believe that "we" (well, maybe the rich, the smart, the dedicated) could "do anything" -- if they would just get down to it.
Friday, July 17, 2009
Just read it all. I'm half through "Apollo" by Murry and Cox that I'll Blog on later, but the lament of 40 lost years of the American and human spirit of exploration and conquest is a sad tale. In remembering and reading the histories of that era, we get some sense of the focus and passion that we lost.
The shuttle is now too dangerous, too fragile and too expensive. Seven more flights and then it is retired, going -- like the Spruce Goose and the Concorde -- into the museum of Things Too Beautiful And Complicated To Survive.
America's manned space program is in shambles. Fourteen months from today, for the first time since 1962, the U.S. will be incapable not just of sending a man to the moon but of sending anyone into Earth orbit. We'll be totally grounded. We'll have to beg a ride from the Russians or perhaps even the Chinese.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
As the MSM misdirects us with attempts to call a slower declining economy in the face of trillions of bailout debt being spent "success", and the BO administration works hard to burden us with a dark future of high energy costs and Post Office Healthcare, it is important to note that the MSM and BO were 100% wrong about the Surge in Iraq.
As the US troops very quietly withdraw from the cities in victory, something that 2 years ago was hammered home by the US media and the political left including BO as "impossible", it is worth noting that BO is far from infallible, and consider where the economy is likely to be 2 years hence!
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
But the barbed adjectives didn’t match the muted performance on display before the Judiciary Committee. Like the president who picked her, Sotomayor has been a model of professorial rationality. Besides, it’s delicious watching Republicans go after Democrats for being too emotional and irrational given the G.O.P. shame spiral.
W. and Dick Cheney made all their bad decisions about Iraq, W.M.D.’s, domestic surveillance, torture, rendition and secret hit squads from the gut, based on false intuitions, fear, paranoia and revenge.
Sarah Palin is the definition of irrational, a volatile and scattered country-music queen without the music. Her Republican fans defend her lack of application and intellect, happy to settle for her emotional electricity.
Senator Graham said Sotomayor would be confirmed unless she had “a meltdown” — a word applied mostly to women and toddlers until Mark Sanford proudly took ownership of it when he was judged about the wisdom of his Latina woman.
And then there’s the Supreme Court, of course, which gave up its claim to rational neutrality when the justices appointed by Republican presidents — including Bush Sr. — ignored what was fair to make a sentimental choice and throw the 2000 election to W.Oh those horrid Republicans. Have they trotted out some staffer willing to claim that Sonia sexually harassed them? Have they elected any bomb throwers as bad as Ann Coulter to give them 60 votes in the Senate (Franken)? How about racist titles? "Black Man's Last Stand"??
Faced with that warped case of supreme empathy, no wonder Sotomayor is so eager to follow the law.
One doesn't have to go out to the fever swamps of the Kos kids or MoveOn. Even with everything coming up roses for the lefties, the hatred springs eternal. I guess hate is one of those itches that just never gets fully scratched.
While killing the unborn is "settled law", the Supreme Court lacks the capacity to decide on an election -- at least if it goes against the left. We well know that they would be completely fine if they had ruled for Gore.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Very fun to read use of basketball as an analogy for inequality. With some excellent points, one of the first being that "equalize" means "everyone move toward the lowest".
The problem with trying to equalize is that you can usually only equalize downward. If the government were to spend some of its stimulus money trying to raise my basketball ability level to that of Michael Jordan, it would be an even bigger waste of money than most of the other things that Washington does.While it is certainly true that if there is any economic freedom at all, we can't all be at the top, it is also unfortunately true that the vast majority of us CAN end up at the BOTTOM in a failing totalitarian system. When we make the grossly unnatural condition of "equality" an objective, rather than the broad set of naturally selected objectives -- falling in love, raising a family, having a nice dinner with a good beverage, gaining knowledge, earning what we individually think is a "decent income" -- given each of our radically different ideas of what sorts of gratification delays, time/effort trade offs, etc go into that, it is highly likely that our "equality optimized system" ends up being radically less productive than the one that was "individually optimized".
Most activities do not exist for the sake of equality. They exist to serve their own purposes-- and those purposes are undermined, sometimes fatally, when equality becomes the goal.
Monday, July 13, 2009
For the past half-century, federal spending has averaged about 20 percent of GDP, federal taxes about 18 percent of GDP, and the budget deficit 2 percent of GDP. The CBO's projection for 2020 -- which assumes the economy has returned to "full employment" -- puts spending at 26 percent of GDP, taxes at a bit less than 19 percent of GDP, and a deficit above 7 percent of GDP. Future spending and deficit figures continue to grow.When dealing with Democrats, the "belief factor" is always interesting. Bush Sr said "no new taxes" and broke his promise so I voted for that crazy Perot and got Slick Willie. The odd thing with Democrats is that even their consituency assumes that they are lying -- BO says he is not in favor of Gay marriage, yet most of his constituents say "he really is, he is just saying that he isn't to get elected". He now claims to NOT be in favor of single payer, but he said he was in the past, and his supporters say he is -- he is just acting like he isn't to fool the conservative rubes into supporting BOcare which will lead to single payer.
Once one has slipped the surley bonds of even having any thought of veracity, a whole new level of chicanery is almost assured. BO talked about how bad the "Bush deficits" were -- even though the worst of them happened with Democrats firmly in control of both houses of congress. Now the BO deficits are so much worse that it is frightening to compare.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Sowell does a good job of reminding us of the obvious we seem to have forgotten relative to health care.
It is short, easy, and instructive to read -- worth following the link, but here is the take away at the end:
One point that Sowell doesn't go into is what I call the issue of "Learjet health". Why do we fly my 70 something aunt from N Wisconsin to Mayo TWICE on a helicopter? I can't afford it, she can't afford it -- why do we nationally think we can afford it? Is it "nice" that we ALL are getting the absolute "top flight healthcare"? I guess -- but then complaining about cost doesn't really seem to be very rational.
Politicians may talk about "bringing down the cost of medical care," but they seldom even attempt to bring down the costs. What they bring down is the price-- which is to say, they refuse to pay the costs.
Anybody can refuse to pay any cost. But don't be surprised if you get less when you pay less. None of this is rocket science. But it does require us to stop and think before jumping on a bandwagon.
The great haste with which the latest government expansion into medical care is being rushed through Congress suggests that the politicians don't want us to stop and think. That makes sense, from their point of view, but not from ours.
What would we say if everyone that wanted "the best" had to have "$50K in an account" (lor $100 or whatever) that would be used for "care beyond that normall avaiable"? If I wanted to be sure that my family could "get the chopper", then I'd be required to come up with those assets and have them sitting in an account -- otherwise, it's the ambulence.
Cruel? Heartless? Well, we KNOW that Teddy Kennedy, famous athletes, corporate CEOs, etc **WILL** be taking the chopper -- no matter what BO and company decide. If we can't afford "all" (and I think it is pretty clear that we can't), then we are going to ration. If we don't find a way to have something approaching a rational discussion on cost, price, value, then we are going to do what all the other countries do, which is have a MUCH worse system for 98% of the population and the upper 2% have the best there is.
Niall is Scottish, Oxford, Harvard, Stanford, PHD, and an EXCELLENT writer. A real find. Here are his "main summary points" from the introduction:
- Poverty is not the result of rapacious financiers exploiting the poor. It has much more to do with the LACK of financial institutions, with the abscence of banks, not their presence.
- If the financial system has a defect, it is that it reflects and magnifies what we human beings are like. Money amplifies our tendency to overreact, to swing from exuberance when things are going well to deep depression when they go wrong.
- Few things are harder to predict accurately than the timing and magnitude of financial crises.
The interaction of "money" and "value" back through history -- gold of course, bonds, "fiat money", etc are all covered with nice stories to help make them memorable. The Medici family, the Rothschild family, and the nexus between Jews, banking, and why. Mainly, interest was called "usury", and the church prevented Christians from charging it -- therefore, the Jews got the role. The use of commodity backed bonds is well covered using the Confederacy and cotton as examples.
Probably the biggest surprise to me was the level of involvement of Milton Friedman and the University of Chicago in the Pinochet administration in Chile and the results. Here is a paragraph from one of the Chilean government officials of the era that might be of slight interest to someone in the US today that is not in the complete thrall of BO:
What had begun as a system of large-scale insurance had simply become a system of taxation, with today's contributions being used to pay today's benefits, rather than to accumulate a fund for future use. This "pay-as-you-go" approach had replaced the principle of thrift with the practice of entitlement ... but this approach is rooted in a false conception of how human beings behave. It destroys at the individual level, the link between contributions and benefits. In other words, between effort and reward. Whenever that happens on a massive scale and for a long period of time, the final result is disaster.
Imagine that!! A welfare system that breaks the connection between effort and reward doesn't work for humans!!! What a concept! He covers it for Japan, Europe (especially Britian) and some for the US, but I'd argue that effectively, we all really understand this. "There is no free lunch" -- everyone would LOVE it for "someone else to pay", but the bottom line is that they aren't going to. You can demand that they do and force them into concentration camps and even kill them in the final analysis, but just like China, the USSR, N Korea, N Vietnam, etc, you find that unless you allow the "profit motive" to have a solid effect, you end up with a disaster where everyone is poorer with the exception of a few folks in the central government.
He covered hedge funds and especially George Soros quite a bit. I'm always amazed at how someone that one would assume that the left would see as "the worst of the worst" -- making money on international currency flows with no concern as to what country, what jobs, or whatever is injured. In 2007, Soros made $2.9 B himself, yet because he gives entirely to left wing causes (ACORN, MoveOn.org, and the Daily Kos) his making of $2.9 billion is just fine, while some other exec that makes a "mere" $50 million or so for running a real company and making real things is considered to be a "robber baron".
The reason is simple -- the majority see the government as "providing" for them rather than the people that produce the wealth. The producers are bad -- they don't pay enough, they need to work harder. Long live the re-distributors!
The book is an excellent read -- derivatives, credit default swaps, sub-prime loans and a host of other things are covered in a relatively easy to understand and narritive manner. The bottom line is what one might expect. "Value" is based on what people are willing to pay, and "risk" is changeable and not computeable. Not only is there " no free lunch", there is also no "safe haven". There ARE principles that would seem to work well in even the medium term, and nearly certainly in the long term, but in the short term, "markets fluctuate" -- sometimes violently.
In the big picture, that is GOOD, but ONLY if the governments let the process of "creative destruction" take place -- if unions are no longer competitive, then they lose. If cars need to change, then the companies that build the new kinds of cars fast enough survive and those that don't die.
Esentially we have turned to the socialist direction that has failed miserably across the globe over and over because it is human nature to want to remove risk and to get a lot more for a lot less effort. Both are very good impulses if being pursued by creativity, hard work and lots of mental effort in a competitive environment. Both are huge disasters if being pursued by government officials trying to force the markets to be calm and business to be stable by fiat.
This knowledge isn't new ... Shakesphere had it down pretty well:
I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
Why, so can I, or so can any man;
But will they come when you do call for them?
Why, I can teach you, cousin, to command
And I can teach thee, coz, to shame the devil—
By telling the truth. Tell truth and shame the devil.
BO seems to be doing a lot of calling.
One of the occupational hazards of being male and being photographed all the time. Since Jesus is fully God and fully man, my take would be that the "glance of admiration" would be automatic enough that his humanity would take notice of an interesting female form as well.
Of maybe his worshipfulness BO is just "acting human" ... I'll give him high marks for doing a good job of it!
Saturday, July 11, 2009
The book is excellent as a coverage of all the different theories as to "what went wrong" with Hitler. While the author touches on "Stalin", he completely misses Mao, Pol Pot and who knows -- would we even really know if Kim Jong was killing millions? I think we kind of expect that he effectively is by at least starvation, so he could be on the list as well.
So why is Hitler so hard to understand? Well, because he singled out JEWS ... as opposed to say anyone that didn't worship Mao, buy into the communist manifesto (Stalin), wasn't illiterate (Pol Pot) ... or I guess was "just in the wrong Korea at the wrong time" ... Kim. We have a nice thick book here going into a whole bunch of theories about the mixed blood, Hitler having one testicle, maybe getting VD from a Jewish prostitute, maybe somehow being scared out of his wits by a Jew in some sort of odd religious dress in Vieanna as a boy -- and on and on.
Certainly the Holecaust is a horrible thing -- but why are 6 million Jews of greater concern than 40+ million in the USSR, at least that many in China under Mao, 6 million or so under Pol Pot?? Is starving in a larger region where you have been sent to die somehow better than dying in a gas chamber? I'm not sure.
The book leaves me believing that more mass deaths are always possible as long as humans choose to put faith in individual leaders rather than tried and true systems which are designed to transcend any specific leader -- the Church, the Constitutional US System being primary example.
Will BO kill people? I have no idea. I only know that many folks and the media in this country are giving him the kind of power to enable it. While the MSM and Democrats loved to make comparisons between Bush and Hitler, Bush clearly lacked the level of popular support and ability to emotionally inflame the masses the way that Hitler and BO did and do.
It isn't really "Hitler" that needs to be understood. ANY leader that manages to acquire total contol has the potential for mass killing. If they are the kinds of speakers that can get those cheering mobs standing and screaming, then the potential is even greater. Then, all they need is a scapegoat -- Jews, Christians, The Wealthy, Big Business -- maybe even Republicans. It doesn't really matter -- they just have to be blamed and the idea that they are "responsible" -- the masses aren't, and "we will all be better" if "they" are somehow removed.
It is really just a simple thing. It is human nature to be taken in by a charismatic leader, and it is human nature to desire to blame others for our problems. Killing them is pretty nasty, but taxing those we hate is on the same road -- or giving someone else preference over them for a job, or calling out their beliefs as "hate speech", or preventing them from following their religion in public, teaching their children what they believe, etc. All are on the "path to the holocaust, and all the listed elements other than the killing are currently targeted at wealthier white Christians.
Hitler is really no harder to explain than a whole bunch of folks once one realizes that ALL centralized and totalitarian power is LEFT. The only reason that Hitler is "odd" is the idea that somehow he is the lone "deviant" on the "right". Remove that false distinction and suddenly he falls right in with all the despots of history.
Friday, July 10, 2009
As soon as the Obama administration-in-waiting announced its stimulus
plan — this was before Inauguration Day — some of us worried that the
plan would prove inadequate. And we also worried that it might be hard,
as a political matter, to come back for another round.
Much like global warming being "settled science", the "fact" that all is required for jobs and economic growth is for the government to spend massive amounts of money is now "settled economics" on the left. I mean, they always thought it was good and now BO has done a bunch of it, so there is no way it won't work -- one just just needs more of it, or NOTHING would have worked.
It is like blood letting used to be. Patient shows up sick, take some blood, if he gets better, proof that bloodletting works. If he doesn't get better, take some more blood until he gets better -- if he dies, then clearly nothing would have worked. He was either just too sick, or the bloodletting was started too late or too conservatively. Exactly as "foolproof" a position as Krugman's.
But there’s a difference between defending what you’ve done so far and
being defensive. It was disturbing when President Obama walked back Mr.
Biden’s admission that the administration “misread” the economy,
declaring that “there’s nothing we would have done differently.” There
was a whiff of the Bush infallibility complex in that remark, a hint
that the current administration might share some of its predecessor’s
inability to admit mistakes. And that’s an attitude neither Mr. Obama
nor the country can afford.
See, look how far we have advanced since the evil Bush.
Paul is an "Economist" -- what he is doing is "science", so he himself has no issues with the "Bush infallibility complex" -- I mean it isn't as if he doesn't KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that massive government spending is all that it takes to have a growing economy. (remember the success of the USSR? "we have seen the future and it works"!! The lefties knew it was nirvana all along)
Thankfully, there is no way that Krugman (nor BO if he follows Paul's perfect wisdom) would EVER have to admit any mistakes if they keep spending, because they BY DEFINITION can't be wrong!! If Trillions more in spending just result in more debt, misallocation of economic resources and a sliding economy for a long time to come as they did in the 30's and 70's, then clearly "nothing would have worked". No matter how bad it gets, it "would have been worse" had we not spent the Trillions we have spent already ... and now the Trillions more that Paul would like.
How thankful we should all be to be free from that horrible "unscientific arrogance" of the evil Bush years!!
Thursday, July 09, 2009
I loved Palin's acceptance speech, given the time we have got to know her better, most of that information has made her less desirable to me as a Presidential candidate than I had hoped she would be. OTOH, neither Bush was every very desirable, and Clinton was a known womanizer, serial liar and complete blowhard with whacked out conspiracy theorist of a wife before he won -- twice!
What we see here clearly is the absence of any "sisterhood" among the supposedly disenfranchised and downtrodden females. One might guess that since we are talking about a female governor of Alaska and ex-VP candidate and a regular columnist for the NYT makes the idea of "discrimination" seem like it would be laughed off the stage, but since "gender issues" are part of the liberal elite's view of the world, such is not the case. Abortion is the sacrament of feminism, and for Palin to be against it, and WORSE to choose to carry a Downs baby to term is "beyond the pale" ... the priestesses of the "real women" like Mareen can't allow that to go unpunished.
So we get parody as commentary. I especially liked this:
It’s just like when Obama, the One Who Must Be Obeyed, said his family
was off-limits so everyone left them alone. But they never left mine
alone. Thank goodness for that though because we hate being out of the
limelight! It was a blast to see Bristol with my grandbaby Tripp on the
cover of People as the ambassadress of abstinence!
Notice anything strange there? As nearly as I can see, Michelle and the girls have very much enjoyed being gushed over in People and a whole bunch of fashion magazines, AND, it IS true that the media have ONLY given the kids positive coverage! I remember during the Clinton years, Limbaugh made some comment about how "plain" Chelsea looked, and he was lambasted -- and rightfully so. Has there been ANY interest in treating the Palin family with ANY respect at all? NONE -- we aren't talking about "plain" here ... we are talking about jokes about a 14 year old getting "knocked up" during a major league baseball game.
It is clear that Maureen's hatred of Sarah knows no bounds -- the column is self proving as an MSM hit piece.
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
Will hits a home run here. McNamara and BO have a lot in common -- they are both arrogant and intelligent guys that lack that hallmark of wisdom, "epistemological humility". Humility about what is even knowable by anyone that draws breath. Of course McNamara had a lot more experience than BO before he flamed out and helped Kennedy and LBJ get us into 50K+ deaths in Vietnam where we turned tail and ran with no progress. Bob headed Ford, BO made a good shot at getting some asbestos out of an apartment building and only came up a little short.
Here is George's take:
Today, something unsettlingly similar to McNamara's eerie assuredness pervades the Washington in which he died. The spirit is: Have confidence, everybody, because we have, or soon will have, everything -- really everything -- under control.
The apogee of McNamara's professional life, in the first half of the 1960s, coincided, not coincidentally, with the apogee of the belief that behavioralism had finally made possible a science of politics. Behavioralism held -- holds; it is a hardy perennial -- that the social and natural sciences are not so different, both being devoted to the discovery of law-like regularities that govern the behavior of atoms, hamsters, humans, whatever.
Once God is dead, then the hope is that man, via "science" can "settle things" -- as in "settled science" (an oxymoron) for Global Warming, "Quantization of risk" in the markets and all manner of other "science" in every pursuit of mankind. It used to be that when things failed, it was "God's will" -- in today's randomized atheist world, the answer of the profane to the divine seems to be "Shit happens". We have come a "long way".
So paradoxically, we live in an unordered, purposeless, random universe, yet through some fantastic accident, we are "blessed" with the masterful brilliance of BO who somehow possesses all the right "answers" to the unordered "questions" of our troubled world.
McNamara, like many who leave high office, never left the capital of this nation that believes people learn from history, and that therefore history is linear and progressive. But the capital, gripped once again by the audacious hope of mastering everything, would be wise to entertain a shadow of a doubt about that.
Do the masters of the randomly created ordered universe have doubts? How could they? If they did, there might possibly be a God beyond them, and that just won't do at any cost!
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
If the stimulus passed, the White House vowed, unemployment would peak at 8%. Today, it's 9.5% — and rising.
"The truth is, we and everyone else misread the economy," said
Biden. He used that phrase — "the truth is," or something similar — at
least three times in a talk with ABC's George Stephanopolous. But the
"truth is" something quite different.
Many voices — including ours — were raised in opposition to the
stimulus when it was debated. We didn't "misread" the economy. We knew
from history that, left alone, it would get better without government
How many times did we hear that the Surge was a failure before a single extra soldier had been sent over? Hundreds at least. How much do we hear from the MSM about the "stimulus" being a failure? Virtually nothing, and when we do, the statements are usually that "it probably wasn't big enough, we need another one".
Gee, "EVERYONE misread the economy" ... no, they didn't -- BO and the MSM misread the economy.
Monday, July 06, 2009
Say it isn't so! This guy seems to claim that when the government wants to sell trillions in debt, somebody has to buy it! Wow, what a concept! It is really odd to me how when deficits were down in mere 100's of billions with Republicans in the WH, one heard a ton about how the government debt "crowded out" economic development, and how it was "unsustainable". There was some truth to that, but the reason it was never as bad as the MSM liked to make it at that time was the simple issue of SCALE!
If I tell you that I just spent $10K, the only way that number has any real meaning relative to how "serious" that is if you have some idea of my income/wealth. If I'm a college student with little income and little or no assets, then it is HUGE -- if I'm a 50 year old with a decent job, income, savings, it is "real money", but not "lifestyle changing" -- If I'm Warren Buffett, the relative financial impact is less than if you or I decide to buy a penny gumball (if there was such a thing anymore). The old $300B deficits on a $10T economy were about like the 50 year old case -- serious money, but not life changing. High Multi Trillion deficits on a now shrinking GDP are like the college student case -- code red, we are dead!!
The meaning of deficits is RELATIVE to the GDP of the country. The formerly "huge" deficits were all in the 2-4% range of usually quite healthy GDPs. NOW, we have WWII kinds of 60-80% to God knows where % of GDP without any war to blow up the production with!!! Which means that someone is going to have to BUY the "stuff" that gets bought/stimulated. Except none of this "stimulus" is going to people that buy stuff via less taxes or such, it is going to be spent by the Government for "something". But wait -- how are people going to be employed? In Government make-work jobs? How well do you suppose those will pay? and how much will those folks buy to stimulate the economy? Like basically zero ...
Now, it would be "nice" if China would just buy all our debt -- but then, we are going to have to be SURE to buy EVERYTHING from them so they have all that money to buy our debt. Therefore, NO JOBS!! The odd thing though is that a lot of the Americans that BO is certain are stupid rubes seem to be figuring that it might be better to just SAVE money!!! That actually IS a good idea for the economy long term, it just doesn't do anything to help short term unemployment. Especially when most of the savings is just going into all the government bonds that BO has to sell -- thus the very apt analogy of taking a bucket of water out of the Hudson river and then putting in back in at a different point. Getting a bigger bucket doesn't really do a hell of a lot.
The idea is to live on less than you make and INVEST the extra in something that goes up in value. Before BO and company decided to start buying up the worst of US industry and destroying the rest, that was usually STOCKS! Now it is most likely government bonds -- but unfortunately, those don't really do much to put people to work. At some point, somebody has to DO SOMETHING -- and that usually means risk/reward/competition/innovation/profits -- all that yucky stuff that BO hates.
So, we just tug on our bootstraps and watch the unemployment numbers rise.
Sunday, July 05, 2009
Good article, having a booster crash land and flying another satellite through the plume to look for water is an interesting approach! Be cool to finally be able to see the landers sitting on the moon. Let's see -- 40 years ago! So I remember that just fine, it would be like a 50 something when I was 12 remembering back to "the crash of '29" -- egads, '29 seemed like ANCIENT history to me when I was in school -- for that matter, WWII seemed like ancient history!
"The moon will essentially walk around underneath the orbiter," says Garvin. "With the detail we get in the photographs, every picture will be like a mini-landing." That includes photos of the Apollo sites, all half-dozen of which should have their portraits snapped. If NASA gets lucky, Garvin believes the first such images could be in hand by the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11, on July 20.
Saturday, July 04, 2009
I have no idea why she made the move, but the sense of it to me was either what Steyn assumes here -- "fed up", or there is some nasty scandal on the horizon that we are going to hear about "soon". If it is about her running for President, then she is just way out of touch. In my opinion, the odds of her being viable were very low, they are nil now.
I think these three paragraphs capture the essence of one of the many serious problems that beset our nation. It borders on the impossible to get anything like the leadership we need in the envioronment that has been created, and it is difficult to see a way forward for leadership that isn't so deformed by special reasons for wanting to lead that they really ought to be disqualified, but unfortuntatly they are are all that is available.
The idea of the left having any actual compassion is really too much to ask if someone has an "R" next to their name. To the left, that "R" is all that can be seen, and the judgement is swift at total. For the American elite, someone that is willing to identify themselves as a Republican has given up their humanity.
Then suddenly you get the call from Washington. You know it'll mean Secret Service, and speechwriters, and minders vetting your wardrobe. But nobody said it would mean a mainstream network comedy host doing statutory rape gags about your 14-year old daughter. You've got a special-needs kid and a son in Iraq and a daughter who's given you your first grandchild in less than ideal circumstances. That would be enough for most of us. But the special-needs kid and the daughter and most everyone else you love are a national joke, and the PC enforcers are entirely cool with it.
Most of those who sneer at Sarah Palin have no desire to live her life. But why not try to - what's the word? - "empathize"? If you like Wasilla and hunting and snowmachining and moose stew and politics, is the last worth giving up everything else in the hopes that one day David Letterman and Maureen Dowd might decide Trig and Bristol and the rest are sufficiently non-risible to enable you to prosper in their world? And, putting aside the odds, would you really like to be the person you'd have to turn into under that scenario?National office will dwindle down to the unhealthily singleminded (Clinton, Obama), the timeserving emirs of Incumbistan (Biden, McCain) and dynastic heirs (Bush). Our loss.