Monday, May 31, 2010

Let The Crimes Begin

Sestak: Bill Clinton offered him job to quit race

Were a Republican in the WH, the MSM would be in full throat for a special prosecutor this weekend. For those with a memory short of full Alzheimers, we have proof.

Valerie Plame was worthy of a special prosecutor in the Bush administration -- an alleged leak as punishment for a husband leaking supposedly damaging information. Now we know that the "leak" was an inadvertent statement by Richard Armitage, generally a foe of the Bush administration, that had nothing at all to do with Valerie Plame. Never mind, we had a multiple year investigation anyway, and managed to prosecute Scooter Libby for perjury for getting some dates wrong, even though he had nothing to do with the inadvertent leak by Armitage. Such is the shape of "scandal" with a Republican in the WH. Oh, perjury? That is just one more legalism like campaign finance rules and 60 votes in the Senate that is only applicable to Republicans. Such is the America that we live in.

BO has trudged out one of this nations most prolific liars, the ever penitent Slick Willie in front of the cameras to accept the blame for this particular sordid political manipulation. An action that would be nothing but fodder for late night comedy were it being attempted by a Republican. Unsurprisingly, it sounds like the same shenanigans were pulled in Colorado.

Naturally, what we are going to see from the MSM is a concerted attempt to find any cases where a Republican in recent years, or potentially we might even get to hear some version of the "Jefferson had a child by a slave" defense. Heartwarming.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Rich Deoderant For BO

Op-Ed Columnist - Obama’s Katrina? Maybe Worse -

Deoderant is another one of those human things that is "better than the alternative". Rich is trying hard to cover of the last few months and especially last weeks stench of BO that has gotten bad enough to cause even if his best left buddies if some of this problem is more serious than a few skipped showers and rancid workout wear. Perhaps there is something actually rotten emanating from their beloved BO.

There isn't anything worth really commenting on here than to to realize that poor Rich is trying hard to convince himself that BO really really MUST be more competent than Bush, and even though it looks dark right now, certainly Bush HAD to be more incompetent on Katrina than BO on Deepwater Horizon!

Apparently not convinced of his stench covering, he brings in a parade of those noxious Republicans that he and his readers hate to much for scary cameos .... Palin, Gingerich, Cheney, Glenn Beck, "creationists", Tea Partiers. From a left wingers view, it must be a fetid stew of infamy working hard to remove that hanging cloud of rancid BO left after the Thursday press conference, the Dr Spock beach party in Louisiana, and the High Schoolish attempt to use Slick Willie as a lying "human shield" for the Sestak cover-up.

Life is tough when you put a Chicago political hack that reads what he thinks off a teleprompter in the WH and then set expectations somewhere around Lincoln.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Poor Enough to Learn?

We’re too broke to be this stupid - Mark Steyn, Opinion -

This is a great column, just read it. What we see increasingly every day is that we are very very stupid, but most American's don't quite understand that they are no longer rich. A decent amount of stupidity for the rich is like any other luxury for the rich -- you can get away with it. We used to be a rich country. Europe used to be rich. We got too stupid, and we got poor in a hurry.

You can drink "too much" to the tune of 10 to even 20% for quite some time and be OK, you can speed to around that tune for a good long time without a ticket. Start drinking too much to the tune of 1-2x the limits, or speeding at 1-2x the legal limit, and things go bad in a hurry.

Thus, the lesson for the stupid -- deficits that were 10-20% were "bad" -- of course, the stupid were EXTREMELY bent out of shape about those. They didn't like the spender in chief!  Now the deficits are 3-4X what they were! You drink like that, you die. You speed like that, you either die or go to the slammer  --- news at 11, the same thing is true of spending!

Here is the end of the article ... it is short, well written and very important. Just read it and skip the tease.
The green jobs, the gay parades, the jihadist welfare queens, the Greek public sector unions, all have to be paid for by a shrinking base of contributing workers whose children and grandchildren will lead poorer and meaner lives because of the fecklessness of government. The social compact of the postwar era cannot hold. Across the developed world, a beleaguered middle class is beginning to understand that it’s no longer that rich. At some point, it will look at the sheer waste of government spending, the other shoe will drop, and it will decide that it no longer wishes to be that stupid.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Expert Blamestress

Amy Klobuchar: Blame spreads with oily mess | StarTribune.
At hearings of both the Senate Environment and Commerce Committees, on which I serve, we listened to the leaders of BP, Transocean and Halliburton explain how each of their companies may not have been at fault for the disaster. Their evasive testimony reminded me of kids who knock a baseball through the neighbor's window and won't own up to their actions.
Isn't that refreshing? Clearly, big oil is to blame.They are immature to boot ... just ask Amy.
First, there needs to be a thorough investigation of this disaster. I support the creation of an independent commission, similar to the commissions that investigated the Three Mile Island and Space Shuttle Challenger disasters.
Talk about adult and courageous, Amy has gone out on a limb and suggested "an independent commission". Wow.We ought to be writing a new "Profiles in Courage" ... or potentially, "See How UN-childlike I am".
Second, the parties responsible must be held accountable. They must pay for the damage they have wrought instead of trying to put it on the backs of taxpayers in Minnesota and other states.
Oh, yea, "accountability" ... that is a cool thing. I wonder when it will actually be that a Democrat is ever "accountable" for anything? As near as I can see, "never" would be a darned good estimate. 
Third, we need to put an end to the cozy relationship between the oil industry and the federal agency that was supposed to be the public's watchdog.
What you mean "we" Senator? Now lets see, "we" elected full Democrats to the House and Senate in '06, and in '08 we elected a Democrat President to boot -- as I recall, he was the really really special "walks on water" sort. So did "we" just get official confirmation from Amy that Democrats are NEVER responsible? BO took more corporate money than any other candidate in history. Isn't there SOME point at which it might be DEMOCRATS that have to DO something about "cozy relationships"? ... nope.

Let's face it Amy, if a Republican were in the WH Amy would be screaming high and low that THEY were responsible for this mess! Oh my GOD, how awful would it be that THEY had "allowed this horrible DISASTER to go on for over a month". No doubt Republican competence would be lower than deep sea oil sludge. Oh sure, Amy would also want her pound of flesh from the folks that provide the oil to power her plane trips to and from Washington, to heat her huge home in chilly MN in the winter and cool it in the summer, and even power the computer that she typed her diatribe on. Other political parties, people that actually DO ANYTHING, they are "like kids that broke a window".

What is Amy like?

Let's face it. "SH*T happens -- at least when people **DO** anything. Did BP or anyone else want to lose a 1/2 Billion dollar rig and 11 lives?? Might that oil might have been more profitable going into one of their tankers than into the gulf? Might it not be good to learn that even with brilliant and mature Democrats like Amy in Congress and the Royal BO in the WH spending Trillions he doesn't have, blathering from a teleprompter every day, passing new laws, regulations and who knows what, sh*t STILL happens.

The only difference now is that less of everything happens, it is all more costly, and Amy and the MSM are confused about who could possibly be to blame when it STILL happens. What a pity, they used to be so completely certain.

Hopefully, come November, We The People can at least solve THAT issue for them!

The Tougher Lefty World

Why Did North Korea Do It? | Mother Jones

I've been noticing that the left seems a bit confused lately. Just a couple years ago, the answers would have been simple:
  1. To show the arrogant Bush that they are not impressed  by him.
  2. Because of the incompetence / irrelevance of the Bush administration policies
  3. Because Bush as turned his back on the rest of the world with his stupid focus on Iraq
  4. ... and on and on
In summary, it would have been "Bush's fault". The MSM is so confused, it is hard for them to even report on things like the N Koreans torpedoing a S Korean ship. Just a couple of years ago, this would have been a "clear case" that "proved" something negative about the Bush Administration, now they are just confused.

One of the huge problems with the "consistency is not an issue" position of the left is that these sorts of great learning opportunities are bypassed. Could it be that N Korea is just an isolated country with a few generations of nutcase leadership that does a lot of unpredictable things? Maybe not everyone responds the same to the brilliantly smooth rhetoric of BO. One might even start to realize that there is much more to "leadership" than "reads well off a teleprompter" -- oh wait, that would probably be WAY too much of a learning experience, but one can always wish!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

In Muted Questioning of BO

Obama should take charge of cleanup in the Gulf - The Boston Globe

Hey, a Boston paper stating mildly what would have been a drumbeat a month ago if a Republican was in the WH. Let's consider obvious realities for a minute:
  • BO called for more drilling a couple weeks prior to the accident. I know, he wasn't really serious, but he DID say it -- were he a Republican, that alone would have been enough for the media to go ballistic on the "stupidity" of the administration. Do I agree? No -- news at 11, we need oil. Disasters ... natural and human caused are ALWAYS going to be part of our existence, no matter who is in power. The point is that the MSM would have ZERO consideration of that with a Republican in power.
  • Think back to Katrina. Katrina was fall of '05, an there was a MAJOR media effort to wipe out the Bush presidency and the Republican Congress. If we had "media parity", BO and the Dem congress would be toast based on this spill alone. I hate to break new news to most liberals, but Katrina wasn't human caused, and the City or New Orleans and the state of LA were the first line of defense for hurricane response -- just as much as BP is in charge of handling the early stages of the spill. It might be shocking, but Bush didn't even call for more Cat 5 storms to hit cities below sea level a couple weeks before Katrina! His response to the unbelievably incompetent response of NO and LA wasn't even slow -- in fact, he overstepped his authority to send in the guard without a request from the LA governor -- the only actual impeachable offense of his presidency. 
  • CAN the government do anything here? Who knows -- in general, government is less capable than the private sector, but we do have the military, NASA, and a few other examples of "reasonable competence". The point is that the media deciding on a scapegoat and just piling on has nothing at all to do with actual facts. It may STILL not be possible for BO to fully dodge this even with the lapdog liberal press. He is sitting in the big chair -- like it or not, the buck tends to stop there, and this spill is a bad thing. People expect presidents to protect them from "bad things" -- how much actual power and capability the president has to actually carry that out is beside the point. The way the game is played though is that EVERY attempt is made to NOT stick a Democrat with "bad stuff" ... Oklahoma Bombing, 1st WTC bombing, Kovar Towers, USS Cole, Waco, Ruby Ridge, market crash of '00 ... all under Billy C. To hear the media, one would think that all he single handedly did in his administration was balance the budget -- what isn't reported is that he was drug kicking, screaming, and ordering pizza and BJs in the Oval Office due to to "painful cuts" that made that possible. 
Well, at least SOME people are starting to wonder if the great and powerful BO who promised to stop the rise of the oceans, heal the world economy and bring peace in our time can't plug one silly old oil well, what the heck is up? I thought he was "Super BO"???

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Decisions Will Be Made, Moral vs Political Sentiments

America's new culture war: Free enterprise vs. government control

Good article, the point I would add is that on a national level, decisions will be made -- they will either be decided by a market economy or politically. BO tells the youth "don't decide on the basis of money" -- to him, "money", economic forces are "the dark side". He believes that government and political forces are the forces of good -- the intelligentsia running a massive and ever growing government beauracracy pulling the puppet strings of a controlled economy will produce a "better" result.

Here are some BO words on the topic:

Yet, in his commencement address at Arizona State University on May 13, 2009, President Obama warned against precisely such impulses: "You're taught to chase after all the usual brass rings; you try to be on this "who's who" list or that Top 100 list; you chase after the big money and you figure out how big your corner office is; you worry about whether you have a fancy enough title or a fancy enough car. That's the message that's sent each and every day, or has been in our culture for far too long -- that through material possessions, through a ruthless competition pursued only on your own behalf -- that's how you will measure success." Such ambition, he cautioned, "may lead you to compromise your values and your principles."

Let me try to translate into what those words might be if uttered by an American rather than a leftist Luo:

You're taught to chase after the brass ring of political power; you try to be on the this or that list of "most likely to be elected" or lists of most recognized official; you chase after power and figure how big your corner or oval office is; you worry about your government position grade or being elected to the next higher office. That's the message sent each and every day, and is now taking over our culture -- that through political and government power, through a ruthless competition pursued for the gain of you and your party -- that is how you will measure success. Such ambition is ending the experiment that was once called America.

This issue has been understood for centuries. Decisions will be made, they will be made via the market, or they will be made politically. The KEY thing that Adam Smith taught was NOT "The Invisible Hand", but "The Theory of Moral Sentiments". We may wish that we were all sorts of things, but the fact is that we are human, with a nature that is on average, inclined to focus on the good of ourselves or a fairly small set of our peers ( "a couple hundred"). Take your pick as to "why" this is -- millions of years of evolution based on relatively small social groups, or falling from God's grace through the temptation of the devil, but it is what it is, and we aren't going to change it.

What is human nature? To paraphrase, "... if all China were swallowed up tonight, we would be more afflicted by the knowledge that we were to lose our little finger tomorrow than by that great calamity." (I put the actual Smith text below).

In the words of Darth Vader "Search your heart, you know it to be true". Might we wish it otherwise? Sure. Might some of us even go so far as to claim "NO! It can't be true!!" ... however substitute something slightly different -- exploratory surgery for cancer, something with one of our kids, etc, and the truth is clear. We are by nature incapable of putting "the needs of the many" ahead of our own, or those of some fairly small group that we care about. That is who we are! How could it be otherwise? It makes absolutely perfect sense in either the "adaptive" sense (like why would evolution care about a billion people on the other side of the planet) ... or "fallen" (Satan has a really bad rep).

Human is ALSO who the supposed all powerful and all knowing government officials that operate a controlled economy are. When they are "corrupted" by having too much power, it really isn't "corruption" -- one could in fact call it "finding themselves". Those of us that are Christian believe that through the CONSTANT exposure to word, sacrament and prayer, Christ can improve on who we are. We cannot however be "fixed" while in this corporeal body, so all the suitable temptations of the flesh are still going to win if they are large and persistent enough. Give a centralized government enough power and it is absolutely corrupted -- it has to be.

So, we must live in the real world. One with corrupt humans and scarce resources that must be efficiently allocated to produce "the best possible". Those decisions WILL be made -- either through a competitive market in which we all play, or by a small set of powerful bureaucrats doing "what they think is right" via political power. What is been proven over and over is that the "magic" of the market works extremely well (but far from perfectly), while controlled economies work amazingly badly -- so bad it is hard to imagine how any rational person would choose to operate that way. But then, nobody ever said that we elected "rational people".

The Adam Smith words from "Theory of Moral Sentiments":

Let us suppose that the great empire of China, with all its myriads of inhabitants, was suddenly swallowed up by an earthquake, and let us consider how a man of humanity in Europe, who had no sort of connection with that part of the world, would be affected upon receiving intelligence of this dreadful calamity. 
He would, I imagine, first of all, express very strongly his sorrow for the misfortune of that unhappy people, he would make many melancholy reflections upon the precariousness of human life, and the vanity of all the labours of man, which could thus be annihilated in a moment. He would too, perhaps, if he was a man of speculation, enter into many reasonings concerning the effects which this disaster might produce upon the commerce of Europe, and the trade and business of the world in general. 
And when all this fine philosophy was over, when all these humane sentiments had been once fairly expressed, he would pursue his business or his pleasure, take his repose or his diversion, with the same ease and tranquillity, as if no such accident had happened. The most frivolous disaster which could befall himself would occasion a more real disturbance. 
If he was to lose his little finger to-morrow, he would not sleep to-night; but, provided he never saw them, he will snore with the most profound security over the ruin of a hundred millions of his brethren, and the destruction of that immense multitude seems plainly an object less interesting to him, than this paltry misfortune of his own.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A State That Works

Payback Time - Deficit Crisis Threatens Ample Benefits of European Life -

In Athens, Mr. Iordanidis, the graduate who makes 800 euros a month in a bookstore, said he saw one possible upside. “It could be a chance to overhaul the whole rancid system,” he said, “and create a state that actually works.”

Mind you, this is a NYT column. Facts are facts -- Europe is bankrupt and so are we. Even the daft are starting to realize that "something that works" is WAY better than some wished for state that doesn't.

We may have had 5 or 10 years more to do some reasonable things in another world -- privatize part of Social Security, raise the retirement age, do away with capital gains taxes, lower or remove corporate taxes, drastically cut the size of government at all levels,  increase competitiveness in healthcare. That sort of stuff. We blew it. We killed privatization in '05, we elected Democrats in both houses in '06, and we missed our chance. The piper must be paid.

PARIS — Across Western Europe, the “lifestyle superpower,” the assumptions and gains of a lifetime are suddenly in doubt. The deficit crisis that threatens the euro has also undermined the sustainability of the European standard of social welfare, built by left-leaning governments since the end of World War II.

We could have long discussions on how "sustainable" the old capitalist system was. Plenty of environmentalists and other doomsayers have been saying "not" for at least 100 years. That is a complicated technical and economic discussion -- can knowledge leverage/replace resources with "smartness", do reserves of natural resources rise as the Present Value of them rises, etc, etc.

What is NOT complicated is that the demographics of the Welfare State in Europe, Japan, nor here were NEVER sustainable. There was the ILLUSION of sustainability because the difficulties came up on us in decades, and decades are way too long for most humans to really contemplate as being "high priority". This year always seems a MUCH higher priority than 10 years from now!

So what is no surprise to anyone with even a moderate interest to look into it, the dominoes fall. One thing that I remember from the '80s that I see as lost today, certainly in this article, but wider as well. What ever happened to the idea that our choice of career ought to be enjoyable, uplifting, a source of joy? There once was a time when "making something" and even "making a fortune" was actually GOOD --- when it made sense that people that had even accumulated vast wealth like Gates, Buffett, etc would still work because their work was part of their life mission.

In Athens, Aris Iordanidis, 25, an economics graduate working in a bookstore, resents paying high taxes to finance Greece’s bloated state sector and its employees. “They sit there for years drinking coffee and chatting on the telephone and then retire at 50 with nice fat pensions,” he said. “As for us, the way things are going we’ll have to work until we’re 70.”
"Have to work"? Has the meaningless parasitic life of the bureaucrat become something desired? Sadly,  in the Age of BO, where the political power wielded by overpaid over benefited employees at the public teat must be protected to continue the regime, has wasting your life and the resources of the nation to be a Democrat voting automaton become something desired? If so, we have but one more deeply entrenched problem that will need to be excised before we can more forward again.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Punish Your Friends, Reward Your Enemies

RealClearPolitics - The Fruits of Weakness

As Charles points out, in a BO world, this isn't "weakness". His greatest pride is that he is a Luo tribe member.
Nor is this retreat by inadvertence. This is retreat by design and, indeed, on principle. It's the perfect fulfillment of Obama's adopted Third World narrative of American misdeeds, disrespect and domination from which he has come to redeem us and the world. Hence his foundational declaration at the U.N. General Assembly last September that "No one nation can or should try to dominate another nation" (guess who's been the dominant nation for the last two decades?) and his dismissal of any "world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another." (NATO? The West?)
No, on the world stage, none but "citizens of the world" like BO ought to be elevated, certainly not imperialist, capitalist nations like the US used to be.
Given Obama's policies and principles, Turkey and Brazil are acting rationally. Why not give cover to Ahmadinejad and his nuclear ambitions? As the U.S. retreats in the face of Iran, China, Russia and Venezuela, why not hedge your bets? There's nothing to fear from Obama, and everything to gain by ingratiating yourself with America's rising adversaries. After all, they actually believe in helping one's friends and punishing one's enemies.
From BO's view, this policy makes sense -- friends of the old haughty and arrogant America are really bad nations, they need to be punished. Enemies of the old pre-BO US need to be rewarded. It is all a matter of perspective. The US? Europe? Japan? ... old stuff, they all had their time. Perhaps the Luo nation will gain the dominance that it deserves? 

Friday, May 14, 2010

Why So Incurious?

A Hidden History of Evil by Claire Berlinski, City Journal Spring 2010

Kind of long for the message. The message is that there are all sorts of verified documentation from the USSR sitting on computers around the world, available to any scholar or historian. Nobody cares, very little has been translated, it is a mystery to the authors of the article.

Here is an example:
And what of Zagladin’s description of his dealings with our own current vice president in 1979?

Unofficially, [Senator Joseph] Biden and [Senator Richard] Lugar said that, in the end of the day, they were not so much concerned with having a problem of this or that citizen solved as with showing to the American public that they do care for “human rights.” . . . In other words, the collocutors directly admitted that what is happening is a kind of a show, that they absolutely do not care for the fate of most so-called dissidents.

The authors open incredulous of the difference in treatment of Communism and Nazism, even though Communism killed far more people, and end with a variation of the theme.

Indeed, many still subscribe to the essential tenets of Communist ideology. Politicians, academics, students, even the occasional autodidact taxi driver still stand opposed to private property. Many remain enthralled by schemes for central economic planning. Stalin, according to polls, is one of Russia’s most popular historical figures. No small number of young people in Istanbul, where I live, proudly describe themselves as Communists; I have met such people around the world, from Seattle to Calcutta.
We rightly insisted upon total denazification; we rightly excoriate those who now attempt to revive the Nazis’ ideology. But the world exhibits a perilous failure to acknowledge the monstrous history of Communism. These documents should be translated. They should be housed in a reputable library, properly cataloged, and carefully assessed by scholars. Above all, they should be well-known to a public that seems to have forgotten what the Soviet Union was really about. If they contain what Stroilov and Bukovsky say—and all the evidence I’ve seen suggests that they do—this is the obligation of anyone who gives a damn about history, foreign policy, and the scores of millions dead.

I think the reason is simple. Nazism was falsely identified as a "evil of the right". It was of course not so -- evil on the right would be anarchy, but it has been such a productive fiction for the left, they mostly believe it to be true. But wait, "Nazi" was the National SOCIALIST Party" -- Socialists are basically just Communists that are less sure of their convictions.

I remember Reagan calling the USSR "The Evil Empire" -- the US and foreign media had a cat. How could he? We are talking of an ideology that killed over 100 million and enslaved Billions more -- yet, we must have TWO complete fictions:
1). Communism is the OPPOSITE of Nazism
2). Since Communism is "left", it MUST be "basically good" -- oh sure, it is "too far", but it CERTAINLY can't be as bad as, let alone WORSE than that scourge of the "right", Nazism / Fascism!! It simply will not do!!

So the vast bulk of our population trundles along thinking "there is always a clear and present danger of falling into the RIGHT (fascist, nazi) political ditch, but there is NO risk of falling into the LEFT ditch -- and even if there were, it isn't such an evil ditch at all! Maybe the USSR just didn't really "implement it right", but it is all egalitarian, commrady and basically good.

Nothing to worry about on the left!

Anirban Bandyopadhyay

“Like Neurons in the Brain”: A Molecular Computer That Evolves | h+ Magazine

Just too cool a name to not put in the title. Looks like "termination will come from the North" ... leave way too many young single nerds and geeks, with way too few young women to connect them to the real world up in the really really isolated snow and cold and "wala"; they build a brain. We would really be better served to use "stimulus money" to send them young women or snowmobiles to save us from potential victimization by killing machines from the north. Might actually be the first thing that would be an appropriate usage for the name "stimulus".

There actually are some very seriously smart folks that are worried about evil runaway technology.

I followed this thread in the late '90s and my view is that it is a bigger worry than Global Warming, but probably less of a worry than some sort of natural cataclysm ... asteroid, super volcano like Yellowstone, big solar flare, oddness from magnetic pole shift, plague ... etc, the "list of doom" is unsurprisingly long for thoughtful people, and at least hints at divine intervention being responsible for us existing. Take yourself out of the bounds of human recorded history, into geologic and universal time and it is clear that while it is very true that we live in a "Goldilocks Universe" (not too anything, but JUST right).

Even so, we generally flatter ourselves -- from historically finding ourselves the center of everything, to now being certain we can destroy the planet with nukes and believing that moving existing carbon from one state to another will do the trick. Maybe, but I can guarantee that all the folks of that opinion will die -- the planet? Not so much.

Seriously, it sounds like some pretty amazing research, and if some form of strongish AI capability is going to happen anytime soon, the combination of molecular and evolutionary technologies as seemed the most likely to me for some time.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Take VAT

Of Crony Capitalism And European Austerity - IBD -
Our founders were well aware that the limitation of the power of government was a difficult task and did all they could by separation of powers, states rights and the reservation of any rights not enumerated to the people. They did an excellent job, but they really didn't account for the arrogance and power lust of politicians like FDR and BO.

A Treasury press release did say "GM Repays Treasury Loan in Full." The loan is, however, a small part of taxpayer exposure. Under crony capitalism, when government and corporate America merge, both dissemble.

I've heard a number of liberals touting how "well GM is doing" ... since they "repaid their loan". Good PR, useless measure of business results.

Then we move to Greece.

So the U.S. government, which would borrow 42 cents of every dollar it spends under the president's 2011 budget, is borrowing to rescue Greece and others from the consequences of their borrowing.

That nation, whose GDP is below that of the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area, is "too big to fail," meaning too inconveniently connected to too many big banks. Bailing out Greece really rescues European banks that improvidently bought Greek bonds.

 "Too Big to Fail" has more to do with political leanings than it does with any other factor.

At the Parthenon last week, the Greek Communist Party, which got 8% of the vote in the last national election, draped banners emblazoned with the hammer and sickle: "Peoples of Europe Rise Up." Of course. "Arise ye prisoners of starvation," exhorts "The Internationale," the left's ancient anthem. But who is to arise against whom?

Germany? China maybe -- have we reached the point where an old European country and a supposedly communist Asian country are both to the right of the USA?

Wrong Kind of Music

Larry Elder : 'Barack Obama Doesn't Care About White People!' -

I think that Elder does a good job of making an honest comparison here. Yes New Orleans was bigger, but while Nashville isn't "MSM / Coastal Significant", it certainly is very significant in "fly over country". "Where is the outrage"? Well, there isn't any. These are people that believe in individual responsibility and find blaming others to be non-productive. They aren't sitting around waiting for help, they are putting on their boots and getting busy. They find floods, hurricanes, storms and such to be "acts of nature" -- nobody to blame, and well worth thanking anyone that helps in any way.

That is how it is in "Tea Party America" -- the part of the country that BO and the MSM sees "clinging to their bibles and guns" ... and I might add, also to lots of other values like thrift, self-reliance, helping your neighbor and being thankful rather than critical of whatever level of outside support shows up.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Learning From History

Very well done article that argues that the Great Depression was caused more by a failure to deal with inevitable and wrenching changes, rather than simply a failure to act quickly enough to deal with relatively minor financial market problems. It is understandable and well worth reading through. The basic theory is that the depression was caused by the need to depart from the gold standard and the need to define a new world economic leader to replace Britain. This depression is caused by the financial impossibility of a sustained Welfare State and the shift of global dominance from the US / Japan / Europe to China and India.

I nabbed a couple teasers, but I'd recommend the whole thing.
There are eerie, if crude, parallels now. The welfare state is today's equivalent of the gold standard. With aging societies, advanced countries have promised more benefits than their tax bases can support. Hence, high government debt. Greece is merely the canary in the coal mine. But politicians resist cutting popular benefits except under extreme pressure. It takes a crisis. Greece, again. Another unsettling parallel is the global economy. The United States' leadership since World War II is eroding before China's ascent. There's a danger now, as then, of a power vacuum. Witness the long delay in coming to Greece's aid. No one country acted decisively, even as markets grew nervous.

The case that we have dodged a second Great Depression rests on a narrower notion: that the Depression was preventable; and that advances in economic knowledge allowed us to do so. If we knew then what we know now, governments could have averted the tragedy. Despite some disagreements, economic scholars subscribe to a broad consensus about what went wrong in the 1930s. Government central banks, like the Fed, were too passive. They didn't halt bank panics. Intervention at decisive moments (perhaps the failure of the Bank of the United States in late 1930 or Austria's Credit Anstalt in spring 1931) could have changed history. Instead, mounting unemployment and falling prices fed on each other. Debtors couldn't repay loans, leading to more bank failures, a contraction of credit and deposit losses. But this time the mistakes were not repeated. Despite criticism, banks were "bailed out." Money was pumped into credit markets to pre-empt a downward spiral.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

BO Diversion

AFP: Obama bemoans 'diversions' of IPod, Xbox era

So true -- and has been true since the stick, fire, written word, the printing press and the push up bra. BO loves his Blackberry and I'm sure plenty of liberal media outlets -- things he doesn't know how to work and outlets with views that differ from his? Not so much. "A Diversion". "Unfiltered".

Anything that Bush didn't know how to do showed how stupid he was to the MSM and late night comedey. iPods seem pretty darned easy to operate -- I'm kind of surprised that NOBODY seems to be willing to poke a bit of fun at our "deity in chief" for not knowing how to operate an iPod!

Saturday, May 08, 2010

My Degree is Bigger Than Your Degree

Climate Change and the Integrity of Science -- Gleick et al. 328 (5979): 689 -- Science

Degrees, IQ, numbers of scientists, polls, etc are all exceedingly interesting and the longer list you can get of the folks with the most credentials, the more impressive it seems. At least to many. Apparently, we have come to the point where disagreement can be called "McCarthy-like", a fairly odd designation, since given the opening of the USSR post Reagan, a lot of his assertions have been proven to be correct.

I suppose maybe "McCarthy-like" could be better termed to mean "pugnatiously standing up for what you believe to be true in the face of withering criticism, up to and including your name being smeared and becoming an insult decades after your death. The fact that it comes to light that the bulk of what you asserted turned out to be correct, and that is completely ignored is just another factor for standing up against the popular crowd in the modern world. The penalties for iconoclasm have always been high -- in the modern world, those that dare go against liberal dogma pay highest.

So HCGW is now on the same scientific standing as old earth dating and evolution? I'd argue there is at least a couple big differences:
1). The earth being 4.5 Billion or 10K years old doesn't really call for any difference in human activity today except for those that have confused the bible with a technical manual -- and not many of those are going go for the 4.5 Billion
2). Ditto on evolution -- if we and the monkey's share a common ancestor back a few million years, that has little effect on day to day governmental decisions.

Notice the difference with HCGW.
We are deeply disturbed by the recent escalation of political assaults on scientists in general and on climate scientists in particular. All citizens should understand some basic scientific facts. There is always some uncertainty associated with scientific conclusions; science never absolutely proves anything. When someone says that society should wait until scientists are absolutely certain before taking any action, it is the same as saying society should never take action. For a problem as potentially catastrophic as climate change, taking no action poses a dangerous risk for our planet.
Age of the earth and evolution are descriptive, not predictive. Other cases in which science makes predictions need to be TESTED prior to be accepted as truth. Einstein's theory of relativity has been tested by bending of light during eclipses and other natural phenomenon for example. The Bernoulli principles of air motion that allow planes to fly and ships to tack into the wind are "tested" via common experience.

The old earth view would say that our measurements ... even those extrapolated from the oldest fossilized trees and ice cores only deal with the tiniest fraction of the 4.5 Billion years of earth history. We know that "Greenland" is called that because the Vikings inhabited it from like 800-1300 AD, and they could grow crops and pasture cattle. Then the climate cooled and they had to abandon their settlements.

The same scientists that tell us that the the current warming is human caused would also tell us that there have been numerous cold and warm cycles on the planet over it's history -- enough warmth to melt enough ice to cover vastly larger areas with ocean, and enough cooling to expose a land bridge from Siberia to Alaska. Certainly, they would not say that our ancestors -- chimp or proto-human caused those cycles.

We have indeed entered into a "new era", but it is NOT some new era where science faces hard questions when it formerly did not. No, this is an era where there are enough scientists of a certain political bent that they believe they successfully brand any opposition in negative political terms and use the patina of science to gain control of current human activity. It could be that we have started "de-evolution" -- the form of argument used by this list of folks has more in common with the common simian form of adjudication by comparison of testicle size  than it does of scientific inquiry.

I have a long list of impressive folks, and you are "McCarthy-like" ... So there.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

The Government is Half Full

RealClearPolitics - Disasters Show That Government Works

I suspect EJ and I agree on nothing politically -- that is why I buck up and read him from time to time. This column is a great lesson on how our perspectives change. During the Bush administration, the situation from EJ's perspective was dark, darker and darkest ... Enron, Halliburton, 9-11, Iraq, Katrina ... you name it. All were absolute perfect proofs of government NOT working. My how things have changed.

Now? Well, BO called for more off-short drilling just a few weeks ago, but somehow there is no government fault in the actual spill having taken place. Had this happened during Bush, the screaming would be deafening about oil men in the WH, Cheney, Halliburton, the rape of the environment, too slow a response, wrong people in charge, etc, etc. My how perfectly this is all being handled now. But wait, there is a huge environmental disaster in the gulf on BO's watch. Can EJ honestly look in the mirror and say that he would have had CLOSE to this attitude had this happened 2 years ago?

We had no terrorist attacks on US soil from '01 to Dec '09. Now we have had two in which we happened to luck out because the equipment failed to operate. Would EJ be as easy on the Secret Service -- or Fox News for that matter if somebody that had ever admitted to watching a minute of anything on Fox tried to shoot BO but the gun jammed? I don't think I ever hear Bush get one second of credit for anything he did in avoiding attacks ( would that have meant "the government works"? ) ... now BO gets zero blame from the MSM for the fact that we have had two attacks where we lucked out ... an of course one at Ft Hood where we didn't. Ho hum, "government works" ... now at least, for EJ. For 8 years it was an abject failure.

The reason that Bush's popularity went so low is because he failed to control the growth of government, so many Republicans abandoned him ... and the party. The penalty for that was being saddled with a Democrat congress in '06 and BO in '08, but I do understand the principle.

Tea Party, Conservative, etc are about SMALLER government, not NO GOVERNMENT. EJ knows that, he is just shilling for his party to try to make the opposition sound loony. To me it backfires and makes him sound loony.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

They're Getting Warmer

Not A "One-Off" Event | The Weekly Standard

The NYC fizzled car bomb is yet another "lucky break" -- with lots of similarities in ineptness ... ineptness of perpetrator (thankfully), but also of US intelligence, and certainly in the idiocy of the follow-up. How many "one off events" is it going to take before they are successful? or before the BO administration realizes that stopping the use of "War on Terror" verbiage by our side does less than nothing to actually stop terror.

Unfortunately, this is what I'd expect to see. It is clear that the actions of the Bush Administration very much disrupted the terrorist networks and capabilities -- so much so that prior to BO taking over, the "shoe bomber" in Dec '01 was their "best effort" after 9-11. The momentum has run out.

Now, the BO policy changes, many of which we don't know (nor should we) are being shown to be ineffective. If McCain had been elected and done the same things, the MSM would be writing this Blog -- only MUCH harsher, and with headlines "McCain Anti-Terror Measures Failing" ... "Why the Incompetence on Terror?" ... etc, etc.

The terror networks are clearly getting back on their feet. We are sitting on our butts assuming that they will start to love our "citizen of the world" president soon. The fact that they have had a couple of bomb fizzles is an undeserved blessing that we can only hope that the administration is using as a wake-up call. Unfortunately, their rhetoric would not indicate that, and the lapdog MSM isn't likely to provide any spur to action.

Monday, May 03, 2010

A Little Optimism, Conservative Style

The U.S. Is Not Going The Way Of Europe Page 2 of 2 -

His main thesis is that the apple doesn't fall very far from the tree -- we are a nation of folks whose ancestors got up and left Europe, and he believes our active spirit is has been passed down. I certainly hope he is right!
So while so many of us--presumably a majority--are presently disgusted with the governance from Washington this past decade, history may well show that the failed presidencies of Bush and Obama may be the best thing that ever happened. History will reveal that their failures sparked a great awakening to remind us that big government and prosperity don't mix

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Report from PIPs New Shooters

Those of you not interested in shooting -- I wanted to get this to the PIWPSC page and this was the thought that came to my mind. Consider it "Blog Abuse". 

Thanks for a great job by all, even if Marla and I were an hour late -- never believe FB! ;-)

I thought the outdoors experience was much improved from last year. Things I really liked:

1). The "line up" ... just going through the "Make ready; Are you ready; Stand-by; BEEP" a couple of times is INVALUABLE to people getting started.

2). Three stages is just perfect, don't add more for the starters or it will get to be too much.

3). I think the level of complexity on the 3rd stage was "maximum perfect" ... a little less would still be fine, more would be over the top.

Now suggestions -- and they are JUST that, it REALLY thought it was fantastic, so these are just in the interest of "perfection":

-- I'd cut the "super detail and the anecdotes" in the presentation (I just saw the end, which was likely long on that) ... how someone got DQed at some super match is as useless as pointers on a Space Shuttle landing to a guy just ready to take his first turn at the controls of a Cessna. Just focus on the REALLY REALLY basic. Which to me is (but you guys are way more experienced / smarter on this, and will do better at picking):

  • Safety is primary and secondary. That is the one issue that your ROs, club helpers, etc will be "incessant" about, but that is OK. In my mind, the "biggies" are:
  • Cold range: Go to a safety area to put your gun on. Next time you touch it is "Make Ready". You can load mags anywhere but in the safety area. This is one that is hard for me after shooting elsewhere. "unusual to USPSA"
  • remember, you have at least 3 kinds of inexperienced. Folks that have never shot. Folks that have never shot USPSA. Both.
  • Finger outside of trigger until actual shot, including moving in stage. I've taken a couple of people to the range in the last year -- this can take awhile.
  • The 180, never sweep anyone with the barrel including yourself.
  • "Make Ready" -- slam the mag home. Lots of people that don't shoot a lot with experienced people don't get this (I helped the lady next to me at lineup, Marla had trouble in stage). Not really safety ... but it causes flustering, which can lead to unsafe things.
  • Talk to "your RO" about YOUR GUN -- I wouldn't even bother going through de-cockers, SAO/DAO, striker fired ... etc. DON'T CONFUSE THE NEW PEOPLE! Folks with Glocks and XDs don't even have to worry about any of this until they get a different gun, and by then they will know enough PIPs people so the biggest problem will be that "what do you think about shooting an XXXX?" will cost a major hunk of their lives, and they will know how to disassemble it, who designed it, who does speed packages on it, what the best grips for it are, where to buy,  ... how many versions of it Harmon owns, etc

Who is "Your RO"? I think it would be really cool to take "groups of 10" and match them up with an RO, RO in waiting, and a "minion or two". Then those groups STAY together for the outside session. The RO team takes their group to Safe Area ... maybe then brings each shooter in (or 2 or 3 each with a minion) ... look over the equipment. Talk about make ready procedure for that gun. Look at mags ... send them off to load if needed. Talk about only touch gun in safe area or "make ready", finger outside trigger, 180 ... whatever we want to stress.

Group goes to first stage -- RO and helpers focus on really new folks, either because they volunteered as new, or the RO/minions picked them out as needy.

RO has minion go to line, does a VERY deliberate run-through of the ENTIRE procedure that is coming up. (Both double taps). Focus on keys ... slam mag home, 180, finger outside trigger, holstering, clear, show empty, pull trigger down range ... cover any gun/holster safe issues, etc. I'd recommend putting up "ten" targets in some form on the "lineup" and shooting a couple of "double taps". Non USPSA shooters will likely have never done a DT. Clear the range. Have the minions go down and tape.

Group goes to 2nd stage -- AGAIN, have a minion go through exactly what will be done VERY deliberately. No attempts at speed. SLOW double taps, etc. Then take folks through based on volunteers or detected comfort level.

3rd stage ditto.

I think there was a big improvement from last year. We are looking like a "pro org" from what I see. My biggest criticisms revolve around too much "knowledge/experience/anecdote overload". We have core folks with bags and bags of knowledge, skill and experience. To a new person that is OBVIOUS -- and if it is overly expressed it becomes PAINFULLY obvious as in "how in the hell am I going to learn all this, and is the "barrier to fun" too high?  "Just the facts and slow" ... KISS.

I wrote on too much, didn't follow my own advice and gave the wrong impression. It was EXTREMELY well done. Looking forward to Wed night. THANKS.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

BO on "Enough Money"

Exactly who ‘makes enough money’ in Obama’s eyes? | Kyle Wingfield

BO made $5.5 million last year, with a health plan that is beyond "Cadillac", security that is out of this world, multiple provided residences, free travel including the jet that no others complete with, multiple personal chefs, large staff, gym, personal theatre with any first run movies he desires, etc, etc, etc.

As the article points out, lots of his "close personal friends" and backers make in the $100s of millions.

Supposedly, Bush was "arrogant". Nothing even came close to this!