On December 8, Fox Business News' John Stossel will start taping Stossel, his new weekly show on libertarianism and economic freedom. John is a longtime Reason reader and friend, and we were thrilled when he tapped Reason's Nick Gillespie to appear on the very first edition of Stossel to discuss Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged. The following week, John will draw from Reason.tv's award-winning video content as he takes on the healthcare debate.
If you will be in New York and would like to be part of the Stossel studio audience, please send an email to email@example.com or call Fox News directly at (877) 369-8587. The shows will be taped at Fox Studios, 133 W. 47th Street (between 6th and 7th Avenues). Please be sure to include your name, the number of seats you need and an email address and phone number where you can be reached for confirmation. The following programs are scheduled:
WHEN: Tuesday, December 8th
SUBJECT: Atlas Shrugged and its meaning today
ARRIVAL TIME: 1:00 PM
WHEN: Thursday, December 10th
SUBJECT: Global warming and the environment
ARRIVAL TIME: 10:00 AM
WHEN: Thursday, December 17th
ARRIVAL TIME: 10:00 AM
Thanks again for your support of Reason.
President, Reason Foundation
I can't beat Scrivener's headline: "Now that he's running the entire economy, don't we all feel better?"
Advisers told Summers, others not to put so much cash in market; losses hit $1.8b
But the warnings fell on deaf ears, under Summerss regime and beyond. And when the market crashed in the fall of 2008, Harvard would pay dearly, as $1.8 billion in cash simply vanished. Indeed, it is still paying, in the form of tighter budgets, deferred expansion plans, and big interest payments on bonds issued to cover the losses...
Harvard ... would pay $500 million to get out of the interest-rate swaps Summers had entered into, which imploded when rates fell instead of rising...
Summers, now head of President Obamas economic team, declined to be quoted on his handling of Harvard finances...
Title: Nicholas Kristof, Obamacare, and the Broken Window Fallacy
Don't forget to hat-tip: Professor Reynolds...
UPDATE: If you don't have time, Michelle Malkin (jk links to Michelle Malkin -- mark the date!) does a great job, awarding Kristof the prize for "Quite possibly the crappiest NYTimes column for Obamacare ever."
Bainbridge gets points for the Bastiat reference, but what Malkin grabs is that the object of pity in this ObamaCare paean already qualifies for government healthcare, but (don't laugh, this gentleman is truly suffering) he cannot secure the services of a physician because the reimbursement rates are too low!
Programmers all over the world have begun wading through the code [for Tiger Woods's Driveway Rally 2k9] and they have been stunned by how bad it is. Its quite clearly amateurish and nothing but an accumulation of seat-of-the-pants hacks and patches.
How did this happen?
Nah, just kidding! That what Shannon Love says about the non-peer-reviewed computer models supporting peer-reviewed climate papers. "Its hard to explain to non-programmers just how bad the code is but I will try" Follow the link for the visual analogy.
BLEG UPDATE: I am becoming a huge Shannon Love fan and have linked frequently. Each time, I reach the uncomfortable moment of choosing a gender-based pronoun. Anybody know if I like his writing or hers? (Chicago Girlz?)
I learned computer programming because I wanted to write video games (we're talking early 1980's...) I never got as far as a finished, releasable product, but the foundation returned more than a decade later to establish my fourth and current career.
Players get to choose a Maserati, Aston, Koenigsegg, or Porsche supercar. They then must drive the car at high speed around Tiger's driveway, avoiding obstacles like trees, garden walls, and a machete-wielding Mrs. Woods. Advanced levels pit the driver, online, against members of the Palm Beach police department.
Buy both PGA Tour 10 and Driveway Rally 2009 together for 52.95. Delivery guaranteed by Dec 24th if ordered this week...
No, not my bad language...but a few items today augur well for the ClimateGate controversy's improving the quality of debate on climate change. That's all I ask. If DAWG's real, let's study it and plan around it, based on realistic scenarios.
The Telegraph (I know a lot of Telegraph readers whom I am sure are uncomfortable with the paper's thoroughness on this story) brings us the story of David Holland, an Electrical Engineer from Northampton who makes the most serious and level statement I have heard on DAWG in many years:
Mr Holland, who graduated with an external degree in electrical engineering from London University in 1966 before going on to run his own businesses, told The Sunday Telegraph: "It's like David versus Goliath. Thanks to these leaked emails a lot of little people can begin to make some impact on this monolithic entity that is the climate change lobby."
He added: "These guys called climate scientists have not done any more physics or chemistry than I did. A lifetime in engineering gives you a very good antenna. It also cures people of any self belief they cannot be wrong. You clear up a lot of messes during a lifetime in engineering. I could be wrong on global warming I know that but the guys on the other side don't believe they can ever be wrong."
Nailed it. I could be wrong, but I need to see that the other side understands that they could be wrong as well. Brilliant.
In the wake of the Drive-By Media's silent treatment of Climategate I'm compelled to ask, "If a nuclear mushroom cloud appears in Tel Aviv and the New York Times doesn't report it, do six million Jews still die?"
In the wake of IAEA's admission that "the agency's investigation into Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program is at "a dead end" due to Iran's lack of cooperation" and Friday's 25-3 IAEA vote to "censure" Iran and demand a freeze of its nuclear enrichment program, Iran is boasting they will build 10 new enrichment plants, effective immediately.
But the "significant" vote, "significant because it was backed by all six major world powers, including Russia and China" carries no weight. Only the feckless Security Council can impose sanctions. Yet that body has repeatedly demonstrated its conviction that reality is a fiction. Enter Israel who says [first link],
Israel commended the passage of the resolution.
"The importance of the resolution is in its determination that Iran is continuing to defy the resolutions of both the Security Council and the IAEA Board of Governors, as well as its expression of concern over the fact that Iran is building its enrichment facility in Qom in secret," said Israeli Embassy spokesman Jonathan Peled. "The demand to immediately halt the construction of this facility is of extreme importance."
In layman's terms, the IAEA has given Israel an international green-light (as if it were necessary) for pre-emptive strikes in self-defense. In Israel, reality is fact.
So, on Thanksgiving, we should thank ourselves and the other producers who make the good life possible. Why don't we?
From a young age, we are bombarded with messages designed to undermine our confident pursuit of values: "Be humble," "You can't know what's good for yourself," "It's better to give than to receive," and, above all, "Don't be selfish!" We are scolded not to take more than "our share" whether it is of electricity, profits, or pie. We are taught that altruism not mere benevolence or generosity, but selfless sacrifice for others is the moral ideal. We are taught to sacrifice for strangers, who inexplicably have a claim to our hard-earned wealth. We are asked to bail out failing banks and uninsured patients. We are asked to serve rather than lead. We are taught to kneel rather than reach for the sky.
As for the CSM, perhaps they printed it only as an excuse to re-link their flawed Atlas Shrugged opinion from 2007. Like Martha Stewart of Sarah Palin, the author calls Rand's ethics "dangerous." In both cases - a danger to what, exactly?
You know, when you consider that "We're Saving The Planet" is the biggest power/money grabbing scam since "We're Saving Your Souls," whoever leaked/released those e-mails and such is kind of like the modern scientific equivalent of Martin Luther. This person/persons may well have broken the backs of the Global Warming Priests who did everything in their power to make sure that the common man, and those who would oppose them, had no direct access to the Spoken Word of God. -- Col. Douglas Mortimer, writing to Instapundit
WASHINGTONIn keeping with a longstanding Thanksgiving tradition, Vice President Joe Biden ceremonially pardoned a 4-pound yam today at a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden. "Under my authority as vice president of the United States of America, I hereby grant this yam full and unconditional clemency," a smiling Biden declared as he gently patted "Spud," a Beauregard sweet potato grown in Louisiana and selected from millions of candidates yielded by this years harvest. "May he never find himself in a casserole. Right, little guy?" Like yams reprieved before him, Spud will ride as an honored guest aboard the second float of the Disneyland Thanksgiving Day Parade before spending the rest of his life in the comfort and safety of a tuber petting zoo.
It's likely that many readers have seen the following letter circulating via email. It is legitimate and has been verified by Snopes.
[Page 2 is below the fold]
A friend with far better things to spend his time on than politics wrote to Mr. Guthrie:
Dear Mr. Guthrie,
As you probably know, your forthright letter to Ms Pelosi is circulating widely on the internet and has been verified by Snopes.com as actually written by you which is reassuring. I think many agree with you in every regard about Ms. Pelosis despicable behavior; she is the epitome of political corruption and blind arrogance. Thank you for your letter.
I noted in your letter the following comment, I await your defeat in the next election with glee. Of course, that would be a great day to see her expelled from office by disgruntled voters. My understanding though is that she hails from a district in San Francisco where her voter base of hard left liberals is much larger than an opposing constituency. Is this the case or do you know if there is a local San Francisco movement afoot fire her. If so, I would like to contribute financially to that effort and would like know who to contact to make my contribution.
Thank you in advance for your kind response.
Mr. Guthrie wrote back:
In fact, Ms Pelosi has a strong opponent who I had the pleasure of having supper with a couple weeks ago named John Dennis. You can evaluate him yourself by going to johndennis2010.com. I am doing what I can for John from afar. John is a principled conservative CONSTITUTIONALIST. He needs all our help financially, endorsement wise and in merely spreading the word. Please let me know what you think after looking at his web page.
It's also important that those who can effectively deliver the liberty message do it. The time has passed to pretend that "someone else will do it."
The deciding factor for me came down to this: When things get dark, which they will if we don't change our present course, I know that I will regret not having spoken out on this stage when I had the chance.
I don't believe that ANY Democrat will be safe in 2010. My friend is sending a cash donation to help Defeat Pelosi. I will do the same.
New York City is famous for lots of things. For one, New York pizza. Unfortunately, the city is also known for its ridiculous nanny-state laws. One pizzeria owner wrote in to a food blog about his struggles with regulators
Even though there are ZERO reports of anybody getting sick from reheated pizza-by-the-slice, Bloomberg's Nanny Brigade has moved in to restrict consumer choice and business opportunity.
We're from the government and we're here to help: protected from the scourge of pizza!
That underscores something I appreciated (blast from the past link) about President George W Bush, and one is not surprised to see Presidents Kennedy (best and brightest), Carter and Clinton eschew the evil corporate types for academics and pols.
But, to be fair, let's look at the outlier(s). A good, long, blue stripe didn't keep President Nixon from giving us wage/price controls, the EPA and abandoning Bretton-Woods.
Three Navy SEALs recently captured a "most wanted" terrorist in Iraq. In the process, he apparently sustained a bloody lip. The (hero) SEALs are now to be Court Martialed for assault.
Ahmed Hashim Abed, whom the military code-named "Objective Amber," told investigators he was punched by his captors and he had the bloody lip to prove it.
Now, instead of being lauded for bringing to justice a high-value target, three of the SEAL commandos, all enlisted, face assault charges and have retained lawyers.
Can the civil suit and charges of racial bias be far behind?
I weep for our Republic.
UPDATE: Here is some background on "Objective Amber" from the same story:
The source said intelligence briefings provided to the SEALs stated that "Objective Amber" planned the 2004 Fallujah ambush, and "they had been tracking this guy for some time."
The four Blackwater agents were transporting supplies for a catering company when they were ambushed and killed by gunfire and grenades. Insurgents burned the bodies and dragged them through the city. They hanged two of the bodies on a bridge over the Euphrates River for the world press to photograph.
I'm aware that not all ThreeSourcers share my appreciation of Megan McArdle. But she has written a gem that demands linkage. McArdle is unimpressed with the argument that we may as well do ObamaCare. because Medicare is going to bankrupt us anyway:
Anyone who has dated a manic-depressive has heard some version of this argument. "I can barely make ends meet now, so I might as well use my tax refund check to buy a boat! After all, if I can't figure out a way to fix my budget, I'm going to go bankrupt anyway."
The premise is fun. The serious treatment she gives to an American bankruptcy is a bit disturbing in its casualness.
Professor Reynolds suggested reading the whole thing. Do what you want.
Gotta love the AP! There's a 2,000+ page healthcare bill out, it "reduces the deficit" by applying 10 years of revenue to six years of expenses, and by claiming Medicare reductions that no sentient being expects will not be rescinded by this or a future Congress.
Thankfully, the Associated Press has pulled a few resources off the Sarah Palin book to expose the disingenuousness of -- wait for it -- the GOP opposition:
WASHINGTON -- Republicans love to get their hands on the Democrats' health care legislation. They show it to the cameras at every opportunity, even piling one version on top of another to make a big pile look even bigger.
Although they complain they don't have time to read all of it, they found the time to tape it together, page by page, so they could roll it up the steps of the Capitol like super-sized toilet paper and show how very long it is.
It surely is long. But, no, not longer than "War and Peace," as they claim.
Those wacky Republicans! What stunt will they dare try next?
Those right-wing neocons at Der Spiegel are again doing what they can to sabotage the current President, saying "His recent trip to Asia, however, showed that it's not working. A shift to Bush-style bluntness may be coming.":
Lost Some Stature
Upon taking office, Obama said that he wanted to listen to the world, promising respect instead of arrogance. But Obama's currency isn't as strong as he had believed. Everyone wants respect, but hardly anyone is willing to pay for it. Interests, not emotions, dominate the world of realpolitik. The Asia trip revealed the limits of Washington's new foreign policy: Although Obama did not lose face in China and Japan, he did appear to have lost some of his initial stature.
In Tokyo, the new center-left government even pulled out of its participation in a mission which saw the Japanese navy refueling US warships in the Indian Ocean as part of the Afghanistan campaign. In Beijing, Obama failed to achieve any important concessions whatsoever. There will be no binding commitments from China to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A revaluation of the Chinese currency, which is kept artificially weak, has been postponed. Sanctions against Iran? Not a chance. Nuclear disarmament? Not an issue for the Chinese.
The White House did not even stand up for itself when it came to the question of human rights in China. The president, who had said only a few days earlier that freedom of expression is a universal right, was coerced into attending a joint press conference with Chinese President Hu Jintao, at which questions were forbidden. Former US President George W. Bush had always managed to avoid such press conferences.
UPDATE: A good friend sends this link: Even Chris Matthews sees "Carteresque Mistakes." Matthews saw the original Carter mistakes up close and personal.
"Our youth today are imperiled by low quality music," said Commission chairman Nelson Mandela. "We will be lending African musicians to U2 to try to refurbish their sound to satisfy the urgent and growing needs for diversionary entertainment at a time of crisis in the global music and financial sectors."
Concerns about U2 have been growing in Africa for a while. One Western aid blogger testified to the Commission that his teenage kids found U2s music "cheesy." The Mandela Commission proposed that U2 follow a series of steps to recover its Edge:
On the wild chance somebody doesn't know this joke, here's the Cliff's Notes® version (best in a Groucho Marx voice...):
He: "Would you sleep with me for a million dollars?"
She: "A million dollars, I'd have to think about that..."
He: "Would you sleep with me for $20?"
She: "No, you think I am some kind of whore?"
He: "We know what you are, now we're haggling over price!"
Take Louisiana Democrat Mary Landrieu, who claims to have grave concerns about the bill's cost. Those worries became less pressing when Majority Leader Harry Reid added language on page 432 of the 2,074-page opus that would raise the bill's cost by increasing federal Medicaid subsidies for "certain states recovering from a major disaster." Guess which state is the only one that would qualify under that wording?
This political gratuity was quickly reported as costing $100 million, but Senator Landrieu made clear after her floor speech that her vote couldn't be bought that cheaply. "I will correct something. It's not $100 million, it's $300 million, and I'm proud of it and will keep fighting for it," she told reporters.
"2009 is also the first year of global governance"
Hope and Change for the entire planet.
Don't take my word for it. Listen to the new President of the European Union, Herman van Rompuy.
Here is my transcription, complete with relevant emphasis:
It is my firm intention to ensure that our work develops, over a long-term period, a perspective that goes beyond six months and will allow us to be better organized where the major multi-annual dossiers are concerned, such as the financial perspectives in the Lisbon strategy. I also think that going back to our roots in the European Council could help us to discuss from time to time in an informal and open way the big questions of the European project. I'm thinking more specifically of the economic and social agenda and this is a particularly urgent matter because of the environmental and energy challenges we face and aspirations we have for greater security and justice for all our fellow citizens. We're living through exceptionally difficult times. The financial crisis and its dramatic impact on employment and budgets. The climate crisis which threatens our very survival. A period of anxiety, uncertainty and lack of confidence. Yet these problems can be overcome by a joint effort in and between our countries. Two-thousand-and-nine is also the first year of global governance with the establishment of the G20 in the middle of the financial crisis. The climate conference in Copenhagen is another step towards the global management of our planet. Our mission, our presidency, is one of hope supported by acts and by deeds.
Brother tg assures us that the climatologists in the climate cabal "are not evil environmentalists bent on hatching a secret plan to rule the world -- they are scientists, no better or worse than the rest of us." That may be true but it doesn't mean their work is not being used by others to "hatch a secret plan to rule the world."
The Global Warming Extremists controlled the argument for years by saying, it's only legitimate science if it's published in certain journals and peer reviewed, and if you control the Journals you control the science. But sadly with Al Gore's invention, the anointed few are losing control, much like the medieval church did with the invention of the printing press.
The Associated Press spells it out for those for those who don't understand the arcane procedures of the US Senate:
WASHINGTON A bruising debate on health care awaits the Senate after Thanksgiving now that the historic legislation has cleared a key hurdle over the opposition of Republicans eager to inflict a punishing defeat on President Barack Obama.
The bill would extend coverage to roughly 31 million who lack it, crack down on insurance company practices that deny or dilute benefits and curtail the growth of spending on medical care nationally.
To be more fair than they, the fourth paragraph quotes Leader McConnell with some decent opposition, but he comes off sounding political now that we have laid down the facts: Democrats want to "pass historic legislation" that "extend[s] coverage to roughly 31 million who lack it," "crack[s] down on insurance company practices that deny or dilute benefits" and "curtail[s] the growth of spending on medical care nationally"
Republicans are "eager to inflict a punishing defeat on President Barack Obama."
Mike Rosen calls them the "Dominant Liberal Establishment Media."
Brother jk calls them <heavenly music>The New York Times.</heavenly music>
Climate change conspirast Michael Mann, of "hockey stick" fame, calls them the "Prestige Press." This excerpt from one of the email thread archives that comprise Climategate definitely is one of the "things that make you go HMMMM."
Andrew Revkin to Michael Mann, Sep 29, 2009, 4:30 pm:
needless to say, seems the 2008 pnas paper showing that without tree rings still solid picture of unusual recent warmth, but McIntyre is getting wide play for his statements
about Yamal data-set selectivity. Has he communicated directly to you on this and/or is there any indication he's seeking journal publication for his deconstruct?
Michael Mann replies, Sep 29, 2009, 5:08 pm:
I'm fairly certain Keith is out of contact right now recovering from an operation, and is not in a position to respond to these attacks. However, the preliminary information I have from others familiar with these data is that the attacks are bogus.
It is unclear that this particular series was used in any of our reconstructions (some of the underlying chronologies may be the same, but I'm fairly certain the versions of these data we have used are based on a different composite and standardization method), let alone any of the dozen other reconstructions of Northern Hemisphere mean temperature shown in the most recent IPCC report, which come to the conclusion that recent warming is anomalous in a long-term context.
So, even if there were a problem w/ these data, it wouldn't matter as far as the key conclusions regarding past warmth are concerned. But I don't think there is any problem with these data, rather it appears that McIntyre has greatly distorted the actual information content of these data. It will take folks a few days to get to the bottom of this, in Keith's absence.
if McIntyre had a legitimate point, he would submit a comment to the journal in question. of course, the last time he tried that (w/ our '98 article in Nature), his comment was rejected. For all of the noise and bluster about the Steig et al Antarctic warming, its now nearing a year and nothing has been submitted. So more likely he won't submit for peer-reviewed scrutiny, or if it does get his criticism "published" it will be in the discredited contrarian home journal "Energy and Environment". I'm sure you are aware that McIntyre and his ilk realize they no longer need to get their crap published in legitimate journals. All they have to do is put it up on their blog, and the contrarian noise machine kicks into gear, pretty soon Druge, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and their ilk (in this case, The Telegraph were already on it this morning) are parroting the claims. And based on what? some guy w/ no credentials, dubious connections with the energy industry, and who hasn't submitted his claims to the scrutiny of peer review.
Fortunately, the prestige press doesn't fall for this sort of stuff, right?
Revkin again, Sep 29, 2009, 5:18 pm:
tom crowley has sent me a direct challenge to mcintyre to start contributing to the reviewed lit or shut up. i'm going to post that soon. just want to be sure that what is spliced below is from YOU ... a little unclear . ?
I'm copying this to Tim, in hopes that he can shed light on the specific data assertions made over at climateaudit.org.....
I'm going to blog on this as it relates to the value of the peer review process and not on the merits of the mcintyre et al attacks. peer review, for all its imperfections, is where the herky-jerky process of knowledge building happens, would you agree?
One can almost see the "wink, wink" between the lines when Mann says, "...the prestige press doesn't fall for this sort of stuff, RIGHT?"
The two of them certainly appear to be defending the standing of their sycophantic collection of science journals against any dissent - even from other peer-reviewed journals which may happen to be "discredited."
The evidence pointing to a growing human contribution to global warming is so widely accepted that the hacked material is unlikely to erode the overall argument. However, the documents will undoubtedly raise questions about the quality of research on some specific questions and the actions of some scientists.
As one of the leading lamestream media voices, Revkin's seems to be spinning: Yeah, these guys were doing bad science but we're only talking about a handful of scientists. Well we're also only talking about a handful of reporters who tell us that the science is settled, and Revkin is one of them.
Revkin has authored two global warming books and so has a lot to lose himself from this controversy, as his reputation is just as much at stake as the scientists.' Therefore his defense mechanisms are fully engaged. In his blog post yesterday about the revelations, he states that repercussions "continue to unfold" and "theres much more to explore," but do you really think he can be counted on for follow-up stories about it this week?
For my part I have to ask, is Revkin a reporter, a blogger, or a co-conspirator?
The conspiracy behind the Anthropogenic Global Warming myth (aka AGW; aka ManBearPig) has been suddenly, brutally and quite deliciously exposed after a hacker broke into the computers at the University of East Anglias Climate Research Unit (aka Hadley CRU) and released 61 megabites of confidential files onto the internet. (Hat tip: Watts Up With That)
CO2 never was a problem and all the machinations and deceptions exposed by these files prove that it was the greatest deception in history, but nobody is laughing. It is a very sad day for science and especially my chosen area of climate science. As I expected now it is all exposed I find there is no pleasure in I told you so.
One email from 1999, titled "CENSORED!!!!!" showed one U.S.-based scientist uncomfortable with such tactics. "As for thinking that it is 'Better that nothing appear, than something unacceptable to us' as though we are the gatekeepers of all that is acceptable in the world of paleoclimatology seems amazingly arrogant. Science moves forward whether we agree with individual articles or not," the email said.
That's my favorite line and it is a footnote to a footnote (I kid you not) in Karl Popper's "The Open Society and its Enemies."
But Dr. P saw the nexus of environmentalism and totalitarianism long before Rachel Carson or Vice President Gore. Brother AC is driven mad by the Freegans -- I am driven mad by the (I don't know, can we call them "darkies?" Better not.)
Karen O'Connor, a Barrington Hills homeowner, is a lawyer who specializes in technology and an organizer of the anti-ordinance group. She thinks that residents would be happy to move toward environmentally friendly and aesthetically pleasing exterior lighting if given the choice. They're just tired of government regulations creeping into every detail of their lives.
But letting people choose for themselves wouldn't win praise from the International Dark-Sky Association, which encourages cities to adopt strict lighting ordinances, and rewards those that do with the designation International Dark-Sky Community. Ms. O'Connor suspects that the desire for praise has made some elected officials more interested in the opinions of dark-sky advocates than in the druthers of the people they represent.
The power utility is running commercials for a candlelight lunch movement. Wrong on so many levels, guys: how about you just make the power and we buy it?
I did go to a mining school in the late 70s: the preferred bumper sticker was "Let the Bastards Freeze in the Dark!"
Hide your Brazillian Rosewood! They've raided Gibson!
An international crackdown on the use of endangered woods from the world's rain forests to make musical instruments bubbled over to Music City on Tuesday with a federal raid on Gibson Guitar 's manufacturing plant, but no arrests.
A Federal raid for f***ing wood! Executive power at its finest!
UPDATE II: I wish I could start over and make this post more serious. A good friend of the blog emailed the classical values link to me this morning. This is how liberty ends. Whatever happens to health care, the Feds (the Executive Branch) are now in charge of wood. Anything with wood in it. Anything made of wood. It's all in their purview now.
While trying to maintain a low profile on a plane yesterday, The Refugee caught the Glenn Beck show on Fox News. Beck showed a clip of Damon Vickers from Nine Points Management and Research on CNBC (I think) saying that the current direction of US debt would lead to a currency crisis that would result in a whole reworking of worldwide currency and a new world order. The Refugee does not do the analysis justice, but it was cogent and chilling.
Beck then interviewed Vickers and discussed Cloward-Piven. Columbia professors Cloward and Piven were two 1960's radicals intent on socializing America. On September 28, 2009, The American Thinker ran a piece on the Cloward-Piven strategy. Here is an excerpt:
The Strategy was first elucidated in the May 2, 1966 issue of The Nation magazine by a pair of radical socialist Columbia University professors, Richard Andrew Cloward and Frances Fox Piven. David Horowitz summarizes it as:
The strategy of forcing political change through orchestrated crisis. The "Cloward-Piven Strategy" seeks to hasten the fall of capitalism by overloading the government bureaucracy with a flood of impossible demands, thus pushing society into crisis and economic collapse.
Cloward and Piven were inspired by radical organizer [and Hillary Clinton mentor] Saul Alinsky:
"Make the enemy live up to their (sic) own book of rules," Alinsky wrote in his 1989 book Rules for Radicals. When pressed to honor every word of every law and statute, every Judeo-Christian moral tenet, and every implicit promise of the liberal social contract, human agencies inevitably fall short. The system's failure to "live up" to its rule book can then be used to discredit it altogether, and to replace the capitalist "rule book" with a socialist one. (Courtesy Discover the Networks.org)
Hopefully, The Refugee is not just falling into a conspiracy theory trap. However, it all adds up very nicely. Worth the read and worth the thought. Scary.
WASHINGTON President Barack Obama's choice for a top job with the Treasury Department is having tax problems.
A congressional report says Obama's nominee for undersecretary of the Treasury for international affairs, Lael Brainard, was late in paying real estate taxes in 2005, 2006 and 2007.
The report by the Senate Finance Committee staff also challenges the accuracy of a deduction Brainard claimed for running an office from her home. The challenge led Brainard to reduce the deduction on her 2008 return.
The committee's top Republican is unhappy that the committee staff had to submit 10 sets of questions to Brainard before getting complete information about the discrepancies.
Conan [O'Brien, talk show host]: to create energy, and it sounds to me like an evil plan by Lex Luthor to defeat Superman. Can you, can you tell me, is this a viable solution, geothermal energy?
Al [bert A. Gore, Jr, 45th Vice President of the United States and Nobel Laureate]: It definitely is, and it's a relatively new one. People think about geothermal energy when they think about it at all in terms of the hot water bubbling up in some places, but two kilometers or so down in most places there are these incredibly hot rocks, 'cause the interior of the earth is extremely hot, several million degrees, and the crust of the earth is hot
John Derbyshire points out that there is debate (the science, apparently being not settled) whether the Earth's core is 5000 C or 9000C, but it ain't millions Mister Vice President.
WASHINGTONIn an effort to combat what organizers are calling "our current epidemic of complete and utter obliviousness," the American Foundation for Paying Attention to Things has declared December "National Awareness Month." -- The Onion
History doesn't repeat, but it rhymes. (I attribute that to Mister Twain, but the lineage is murky.)
Scrivener links to a post that compares the "dismal science" economists to their contemporary poets: who stood for human rights, freedom and equality? Who stood for slavery? Let's say the poets don't come out well.
It was [Thomas] Carlyle who christened economics [social science] as the "dismal science", in contrast with the gay science of poetry. The context is shocking:
Truly, my philanthropic friends, Exeter Hall philanthropy is wonderful; and the social science -- not a "gay science", but a rueful -- which finds the secret of this universe in "supply and demand", and reduces the duty of human governors to that of letting men alone, is also wonderful.
Not a "gay science", I should say, like some we have heard of; no, a dreary, desolate and, indeed, quite abject and distressing one; what we might call, by way of eminence, the dismal science.
These two, Exeter Hall philanthropy and the Dismal Science, led by any sacred cause of black emancipation, or the like, to fall in love and make a wedding of it -- will give birth to progenies and prodigies: dark extensive moon-calves, unnameable abortions, wide-coiled monstrosities, such as the world has not seen hitherto!...
Carlyle is arguing here for the reintroduction of slavery in the West Indian colonies.
There have been (way too many) great examples in our time, but the top of the charts for me goes to Carole King, who sat in front of Fidel Castro with an acoustic guitar and sang "You've Got a Friend."
Third call today from the Nebraska Correctional Facilities Victims Notification Unit. Notifying me of an upcoming parole hearing for some guy I never heard of. (I got a new landline installed for work, the previous owner of this number gets a lot of calls from debt collectors.)
To stop the calls, all I have to do is enter the four-digit PIN number I registered with. Of course, I did not register and do not have a PIN. I have learned that they are serious about calling back.
They do leave a number to call but nobody answers.
UPDATE: It gets better. I have now called five numbers and finally found the right office. They can't turn it off because I don't have the PIN. They have to be certain that I am not the criminal turning it off to keep bad testimony from my parole hearing. I told young Justin that I'm certain it is easier to get out of jail than to stop these calls.
I think I understand some of the points that were made in there, and I think he has some valid points, the coach said during training camp in 2002. Theres sometimes an emotional aspect, and momentum, if you will to those decisions, but Im not sure how to calculate that.
I understand the points that hes made. I dont understand all the mathematical equations [of] how he got to those points, but I think that some of those are legitimate points and you just have to evaluate the situation to your team, the team youre playing, he added. I see where a lot of thats coming from.
I'll not abandon it because of last Sunday night's game. The Pats came pretty close to making the first down and I have no reason to believe that they could have stopped Peyton Manning had he started 17 yards deep in his own end zone.
Hat-tip: New Englander N Gregory Mankiw. who reminds "Some strategies that fail ex post might be optimal ex ante. Randomness is a fact of life, even if Patriots' fans do not fully appreciate it."
UPDATE: Searching for a link for the Advanced NFL Stats site, I found, mirabile non dictu, an interesting post on the Belichick call.
WASHINGTON When it comes to paying for a health care overhaul, Americans see just one way to go: Tax the rich.
That finding from a new Associated Press poll will be welcome news for House Democrats, who proposed doing just that in their sweeping remake of the U.S. medical system, which passed earlier this month and would extend coverage to millions of uninsured Americans.
UPDATE: JammieWearingFool suggests that other results from the poll are not quite so encouraging (to the collectivists).
Lloyd Grove at The Daily Beast tallies the body count:
In his readiness to discard underlings who are no longer useful to him, or otherwise have passed their sell-by dates, Barack Obama is no different from his predecessors. But hes arguably more unsentimental than most about the unpleasant necessity of throwing friends and allies under the bus.
Steve Clemons: The Assassination of Greg CraigAs Jacob Weisberg wrote recently in Slate, Obama has a healthy disdain for the overrated virtue of political loyalty If you're useful, you can hang around with him. If you start to look like a liability, enjoy your time with the wolves
Discussion point: Most, if not all ThreeSources would list over-loyalty as a President George W Bush vice. He kept some folks inside that should have been "defenestrated." So, is President Obama's coldness a positive? I hate to get a reputation as a big Obama booster, but I am thinking it might be.
I am reading Ray Morris's "Fraud of the Century." It's 1876 and Governor Tilden and the Democrats are competitive after 16 years because of Grant's failure to clean house. Grant, like Harding, didn't profit from corruption but both reputations were destroyed. Perhaps extreme loyalty is a vice and ruthlessness a virtue. "Sorry Michelle, but your poll numbers are down..."
I was drawn to this story on a legal settlement with state governments over supposedly misleading advertising by Vonage, the internet phone provider. Not because I'm a Vonage customer, but because the supposed settlement fine was 3 billion dollars. Hmm, thought I. What's their market cap anyway? Oops - Reuters got it wrong. Was supposed to be million. I guess all those stories about government spending have got the Reuters newsroom desensitized to the size of a BILLION DOLLARS.
But the foray onto the Reuters site wasn't completely without reward. I happened across this anti-frigidity pill developed in Germany and on track for the U.S. market in three years or so.
"By modulating the neurotransmitter system, flibanserin may help to restore a balance between inhibitory and excitatory factors leading to a healthy sexual response," said Elaine Jolly, a Canadian gynaecologist and medical researcher who helped oversee the trials.
During the half-year course of once-daily flibanserin in the trials, the number of satisfying sexual events -- which did not necessarily involve orgasm -- rose to an average 4.5 per month from 2.8 in the North American arm of the trial, the study shows.
In the control group on placebo the rate rose to 3.7.
Women on the drug also reported a higher level of sexual desire and less distress from sexual dysfunction than those on placebo.
The drug's side effects were described as mild to moderate and included dizziness, nausea, sleepiness and insomnia.
So it makes women more interested in having sex and falling asleep afterwards. Men of the world rejoice!
Free Harvard Economics lesson from the guy what wrote the book:
Let's review some basic principles of supply and demand: If a government policy increases the demand for a service, the price of that service tends to rise. If the government prevents prices from rising, shortages develop. The quantity provided is then determined by supply and not demand. In the presence of such excess demand, the result could be a two-tier market structure. Consumers who can somehow pay more than the government-mandated price will be able to purchase the service, while those paying the controlled price may be unable to find a willing supplier.
Follow the link to see Professor Mankiw apply the lesson to a current WaPo story.
All Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has to do is avoid signing a TARP renewal by its statutory expiration date on December 31. Judging by the reader comments on our Web site, we'd guess that millions would happily leave out cookies and milk for the jolly Washingtonian who shows up with a sack full of nothing for auto makers. -- WSJ Ed Page
Okay, I'm a little grumpy. I frittered away a whole day yesterday watching football. Thats not so bad but my teams lost every game. (Dear Keystone State Brothers and Sisters: my first day as a Iggles fan did not go so well.)
To get away from football woes, I turned to the WSJ Editorial Page. You know, to cheer me up. As it happens, that didn't work. Hard to think that the health care bill could actually be worse than I thought, but it is. In addition to the nationalization of 16% of GDP, there is a little bombshell of arrogation of power to the Executive branch
As envisioned by the Senate Finance Committee, the commissionall 15 members appointed by the Presidentwould have to meet certain budget targets each year. Starting in 2015, Medicare could not grow more rapidly on a per capita basis than by a measure of inflation. After 2019, it could only grow at the same rate as GDP, plus one percentage point.
The theory is to let technocrats set Medicare payments free from political pressure, as with the military base closing commissions. But that process presented recommendations to Congress for an up-or-down vote. Here, the commission's decisions would go into effect automatically if Congress couldn't agree within six months on different cuts that met the same target. The board's decisions would not be subject to ordinary notice-and-comment rule-making, or even judicial review.
Clearly, the President's powers are not comprehensive enough (Gene Healy, call your office!) we need to give the Executive 15 picks (Advise and Consent? I am guessing not) who will make life-or-death decisions for providers and patients.
At the risk of flippancy, Senator Baucus, I can think of another way to keep political influence out of these decisions rather than a base-closing panel: HOW ABOUT WE DON'T LET GOVERNMENT TAKE OVER THEM TO BEGIN WITH???
And, while my beloved Broncs likely deserved the loss, we sure got a few tough calls from the officials, did we not?
Blog brother Johngalt doesnt want me to waste my "single use magic history wand" on Fannie Mae because he'd prefer abolition of the 16th Amendment.
Decent point, jg, and a fun mental exercise. I was going to fix Dred Scott v Sandford in a work of historical fiction. All are problematical and I have no idea of the wand's range. (Stephen Fry's "Making History" is a fun read -- a Physics grad student open's just enough of a time hole to prevent Hitler's birth).
I claim that eliminating or retarding the growth of Fan & Fred is in range and for our present financial difficulties remains the best play. Edward Pinto, a former credit officer at Fannie Mae, implicates not only the GSE's but ACORN's involvement in crafting legislation:
The proposals of Acorn and other affordable-housing advocacy groups were acceptable to Fannie. Fannie had been planning to use the carrot of affordable-housing lending to maintain its hold over Congress and stave off its efforts to impose a strong safety and soundness regulator to oversee the company. (It was not until 2008 that a strong regulator was created for Fannie and Freddie. A little over a month later both GSEs were placed into conservatorship; they have requested a combined $112 billion in assistance from the federal government, and much more will be needed over the next few years.)
The result of loosened credit standards and a mandate to facilitate affordable-housing loans was a tsunami of high risk lending that sank the GSEs, overwhelmed the housing finance system, and caused an expected $1 trillion in mortgage loan losses by the GSEs, banks, and other investors and guarantors, and most tragically an expected 10 million or more home foreclosures.
The Obama Administration is "Empowering Consumers" by taxing their health plans!
According to Phil Klein of the American Spectator, Christina Romer, head of President Obamas Council of Economic Advisers, had this to say today about the Senates proposed excise tax on high-end health insurance policies:
Part of the idea of how that is going to work is precisely because it does empower consumers. It empowers each of us to have an employer-sponsored plan to call our HR office and say, Would you negotiate harder? Would you think about (whether this) is the most efficient plan out there, because I dont want my plan paying an excise tax.' So I think thats something that is very much empowering consumers.
I was really empowered when I bought my 255' Yacht. I said "Hey, Skippy, what can we do to get the price down below the Luxury Tax?"
Where are these people from? You want empowerment, tax all heath plans and provide a personal deduction. But this spin makes me weep.
WASHINGTON -- The federal government kicked off fiscal year 2010 by posting its widest-ever October budget deficit, the Treasury Department said Thursday.
The $176.36 billion gap is more than $20 billion wider than the shortfall recorded in October 2008, driven up by lower tax receipts, stimulus-related revenue reductions and consistently high government outlays.
Treasury's monthly budget statement shows receipts were $135.33 billion in October, down 18% from a year earlier and at the lowest level since October 2002. Meanwhile, outlays were $311.69 billion, down 3% from a year earlier and at their second-highest monthly level on record.
So now the mandate is like a tax? Which is it? I'm not exactly sure what's untrue about Rep. [Dave] Camp's statement. If you don't pay your taxes, what exactly happens? You go to jail. You dont get prosecuted in theory. Men with guns come to your home and take you away. -- John Stossel
Steven Tyler Laid Off From Aerosmith As Band's Jobless Rate Hits 20% -- The Onion
The announcement of the largest-ever round of Aerosmith layoffs sent shock waves throughout the group, but band leaders said that four decades of perfect employment was "unrealistic" and that it was necessary to shed some of the graying, outmoded workforce.
"Explaining to a longtime Aerosmith employee that his or her job is being eliminated is one of the most difficult challenges we face in this business," Aerosmith manager Trudy Green said in a statement released this morning. "We thank Steven for his many years of loyal service, and wish him the best of luck in all his future endeavors."
If the words put your friends to sleep, Professor Mankiw brings a picture:
And every time you do something nice for the poor, you make this worse. Then-Governor Bush campaigned in 2000 on "toll-booths to the middle class." We all have a gripe or two with President Fortythree, but he got it. President Obama obviously does not and I question how many GOP pols do.
This little picture says all the economics and it implies the morality of making people work through "The Dead Zone" for no gains.
We always come back strong after a bye week! I have the first tune in a great guest video session with The Hoagies in the Tuesday guest slot. You're stuck with me solo for the headline act, but you get an incredible tune: Johnny Burke's "Pennies from Heaven."
Reason Magazine has been a very vocal critic of recent missions, and a constant critic of anything that can be considered military expansionism or adventurism. But this is an awesome tribute to some guys who ensured many of the freedoms we argue over:
Thomas "What's the Matter with Frank?" Kansas tries to fill Al Hunt's seat on the WSJ Editorial Page. As I've said, I have found him not quite up to the task, but I bet Al would be right with him on today's. Click on"
And read the subhead: "What if those in control don't believe in oversight?"
Yup, that's the problem, Mister Frank -- you put one guy in charge of the whole world and he might just sit around and never exercise his power. Clearly, thats why Monroe fought for tripartite government and a bicameral legislature: to make sure somebody got off their ass and told somebody else how/what to do.
UPDATE: Don Boudreaux answers more substantively that I did.
Even if we can imagine a super-regulator operating in ways that increase the efficiency and stability of financial markets, the prospect that he or she will be either inept or dishonest is far too great to risk concentrating such enormous power in a single person or agency. In practice we must reckon on realities and not on fantasies.
So in fact we must reckon on the allure of power to those who greedily crave authority over others; we must reckon on powers corrupting influence; and we must reckon on the imperfections that mar even the finest individuals knowledge and judgment. These unavoidable realities of the human condition will result in this One Big Regulator whose hands, at best only loosely tied, will be on all of the nations financial levers injecting into financial markets systematic risks far greater than those that already exist.
Reading an editorial, if I do not know the author, I always scroll to the end to tell me "who is saying this." I clicked on a WSJ editorial by Janet Trautwein titled "Why We Need a Strong Individual Mandate " Scroll to:
Ms. Trautwein is CEO of the National Association of Health Underwriters.
Now, I am not one who thinks that employment in a government research lab -- or oil company -- makes one's opinion or research on climate change irrelevant. But the head of a national trade association arguing for a Federal law requiring all subjects citizens to buy your product...let's say that's a little suspicious.
"I do think I do not want the same kind of focus on safety and soundness that we have in OCC [Office of the Comptroller of the Currency] and OTS [Office of Thrift Supervision]. I want to roll the dice a little bit more in this situation towards subsidized housing." Representative Barney Frank, September 25, 2003
It was six years ago that Mr. Frank announced his famous dice roll on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the name of affordable housing. Mr. Frank got his wish, and the losses keep rolling in, with no end in sight as Washington finds new ways for the companies to serve political purposes.
If we cannot, as a nation, accept a general acceptance of Fannie and Fred's culpability in the current financial situation, liberty is dead.
You can argue about degree and the relative importance of other factors. But the more-government crowd says everything bad comes from too-little government. I remain convinced that if you could change just one thing with a magic history wand, Fannie and Fred would be the target.
The people who run your city, the politicians who are full of bright ideas for improving your life by infringing on others' rights, and the black-robed genius who is tasked with interpreting our founding documents; NONE of these people are smarter than you.
NONE of these people are gifted with superior insight on how better to run your life or use our native resources. But they believe that they are. So without the brake of morality or explicit law, these geniuses and pols and town busybodies will extend professional courtesy to each other as they go about dismantling your life for some dubious utopian idea.
I don't know how many commercials are in this series; this is the second that Instapundit has posted. The first subject ended up coming to America for care, this woman got treatment after begging doctors for two years:
There's a BB King tune, he sings "Went down to the welfare office to get myself some grits and stuff. The woman said you ain't been around long enough! Everybody wants to know why I'm singin' the blues..." I cannot imagine hearing "you have not suffered long enough -- others have been on the list longer."
But of course that will not happen here: we Americans are so much kinder and more generous than Canadians and our government is so much more efficient than theirs -- no doubt our version of socialized medicine will rock!
The Justice Department wants a list of IP addresses for a website:
In a case that raises questions about online journalism and privacy rights, the U.S. Department of Justice sent a formal request to an independent news site ordering it to provide details of all reader visits on a certain day.
The grand jury subpoena also required the Philadelphia-based Indymedia.us Web site "not to disclose the existence of this request" unless authorized by the Justice Department, a gag order that presents an unusual quandary for any news organization.
They came for FOXNews and I was silent because I did not have cable...
Hat-tip: a friend of ThreeSources "sent from her iPhone."
The government's household survey (the one from which the unemployment rate of 10.2 percent comes) showed a "decline in employment" of 589,000 in October, which followed a 785,000 employment drop in September.
That number also includes people who say they retired and others who were fortunate enough to have died during the past month and no longer require a job. -- John Crudele, claiming the actual unemployment rate to be 22%
Hat-tip: @JimPethokoukis (you have GOT to click and see his Twitter background).
The lead editorial in the WSJ today captures it pretty well:
The bill is instead a breathtaking display of illiberal ambition, intended to make the middle class more dependent on government through the umbilical cord of "universal health care." It creates a vast new entitlement, financed by European levels of taxation on business and individuals. The 20% corner of Medicare open to private competition is slashed, while fiscally strapped states are saddled with new Medicaid burdens. The insurance industry will have to vet every policy with Washington, which will regulate who it must cover, what it can offer, and how much it can charge.
We've lost our liberty and privacy, we've demolished the greatest engine of innovation for improving quality-of-life ever created, and we've signed up for complete middle-class serfdom. But THANK GOD for the work of those brave blue dog Democrats who stood tough and stripped out abortions!
I guess I am still enough of a partisan hack that I can at least appreciate the possible bloodbath for the Democrats in 2010. But this has come one step closer than I thought. I figured something would pass the House (the old line was "you could pass a ham sandwich in the House") but I did not expect anything this bad to pass.
On to the Senate. I am thinking of writing Senator Bennet today with a pledge to donate $1000 to his opponent if he votes for it. Good idea?
JCT Confirms Failure to Comply with Democrats Mandate Can Lead to 5 Years in Jail
Friday, November 06, 2009
Today, Ranking Member of the House Ways and Means Committee Dave Camp (R-MI) released a letter from the non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) confirming that the failure to comply with the individual mandate to buy health insurance contained in the Pelosi health care bill (H.R. 3962, as amended) could land people in jail. The JCT letter makes clear that Americans who do not maintain acceptable health insurance coverage and who choose not to pay the bills new individual mandate tax (generally 2.5% of income), are subject to numerous civil and criminal penalties, including criminal fines of up to $250,000 and imprisonment of up to five years.
No surprise to ThreeSources, all government mandates are ultimately enforced by guns and jail time. I wonder that some enterprising 527 could not make a good TV commercial by juxtaposing this with footage of Then-Senator Obama ridiculing rival candidate Clinton for mandates.
Hat-tip: Ann Althouse who asks "Is this what the Democrats mean to inflict on the unsuspecting public that believes it is getting health care? What chaos lies ahead?"
Pretty good day for me. I completed a project that will keep my boss from being fired. Then I refrained from sending ten emails accusing my coworkers of embezzlement and sexual harassment that could have got them all fired. So I am counting myself as up eleven.
More than $4.7 million in federal stimulus aid so far has been funneled to schools in North Chicago, and state and federal officials say that money has saved the jobs of 473 teachers.
Problem is, the district employs only 290 teachers.
"That other number, I don't know where that came from," said Lauri Hakanen, superintendent of North Chicago Community Unit Schools District 187.
The Obama administration last week released the first round of data designed to underpin the worthiness of its economic stimulus plan, which so far has directed $1.25 billion to Illinois schools. That money has helped save or create 14,330 school jobs in the state, the administration claimed.
This got me thinking of CNN News-whatchamacallit Susan Roesgen, thinking a tea partier was insane because Illinois was lined up to get so much Federal Jack -- surely Lincoln would approve:
She looks at a few districts in Virginia, compares their 2008 and 2009 voting patterns, and proclaims a tipping point on heath care and the entire Obama agenda:
The White House and the congressional leadership saw this coming, and it is why Speaker Nancy Pelosi is force-marching her health bill to a vote tomorrow. She's not about to give her members time to absorb the ugly results, or to be further rattled by next week's Veteran's Day break, when they go home for a repeat of the August furies. If not now, she knows, maybe never.
Look for it, nonetheless, to be a squeaker. A lot of Democrats are getting a sneaky suspicion Mrs. Pelosi is willing to sacrifice their seats on the altar of liberal government health care. Combined with the election results and Mr. Obama's falling poll numbers, this is no recipe for loyalty. Hello, tipping point. Hello, even crazier Washington.
Sad that President Obama could not find the time to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall in Berlin. But glad Chancellor Angela Merkel addressed a joint session of Congress:
[F]or me America seemed completely out of reach . . . then on the 9th of November 1989, the Berlin Wall fell.
And this border which had divided a nation, for decades, keeping people in two different worlds, was now open. And this is why for me, today is first and foremost a time to say thank you.
I thank all those American and Allied pilots who heard and heeded the desperate appeal of then-Mayor of Berlin Ernst Reuter, in 1948, who said, you, the nations of this world, cast your eyes towards the city.
For months, these pilots flew food to Berlin for the airlift, saving the citizens from starvation. Many of these soldiers risked their lives. Dozens lost their lives. We shall remember and honor them forever . . .
I think of John F. Kennedy, who won the hearts of the Berliners, when, during his visit in 1961, after the wall had been built, he reached out to the desperate citizens of Berlin by saying, "Ich bin ein Berliner." I think of Ronald Reagan, who, far earlier than most, clearly saw the sign of the times and, standing in front of the Brandenburg Gate, already in 1987, called out, "Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall." This appeal shall remain forever in my heart.
Here's another rousing cheer for the Obama Administration: American Magazine says that he will be continuing "the failed policies of the Bush Administration" for Four More Years!
Reading the climate-change news in recent weeks, one might wonder who won the last election.
The Obama administration has rejected the Kyoto Protocol (ensuring it will expire), adopted some of former President George W. Bushs key positions in international climate negotiations, and demurred when asked about reports that the president has decided to skip the December climate summit in Copenhagen. United Nations climate negotiator Yvo de Boer has concluded that it is unrealistic to expect the conference to produce a new, comprehensive climate treatywhich also describes the once-fond hopes for passage of domestic climate legislation this yearor even in Obamas first term.
Chrysler to break out new "Ram" line of trucks. If they'd called it the Rahm line I'd really start to worry about politicization. ... -- Mickey Kaus. Who knew a pundit that mixed automobiles and politics would become so vital?
You just get dizzy comparing press coverage of the economy before and after Jan 20, 2009: AP:
New jobless claims drop to 512K, lowest since Jan.
WASHINGTON The number of newly laid-off workers filing claims for unemployment benefits last week fell to the lowest level in 10 months, evidence that job cuts are easing as the economy slowly heals.
Only a half million new unemployment claims this month (well, a little more but who's counting). I guess all the Stimulus worked!
WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama's economic recovery program saved 935 jobs at the Southwest Georgia Community Action Council, an impressive success story for the stimulus plan. Trouble is, only 508 people work there.
Moore's slice of the stimulus came in an $889.60 order from the Army Corps of Engineers for nine pairs of work boots for a stimulus project.
Moore says hes been supplying the Corps with boots for at least two decades. This year, because he provided safety shoes for work funded by the stimulus package, he said he got a call from the Corps telling him he had to fill out a report for Recovery.gov detailing how hed used the $889.60, and how many jobs it had helped him to create or save. He later got another call, asking him if hed finished the report.
"The paperwork was unreal," said Moore, who added that he tried to figure out how to file the forms online, then gave up and asked his daughter to help.
We have not had too much good news, I will make the most of it.
Blue Dogs would be dog-foolish to ignore the off year elections. Now, Leader Reid says they'll debate health care while looking down the barrel of midterms.
WASHINGTON In a blow to the White House, the Senate's top Democrat signaled Tuesday that Congress may fail to meet a year-end deadline for passing health care legislation, leaving the measure's fate to the uncertainties of the 2010 election season.
UPDATE II: Michael Barone underscores that the results imperil health care legislation:
I cannot imagine that Congressmen Nye, Perriello, Connally and Boucher have not already accessed the websites which have shown the position of their constituents in a contest which, while like all governorship contests has its own specific features, was also in its contrast on issue positions reasonably congruent with those prevailing on national issues. And I can certainly respond with sympathy if any or all of these incumbents responded to these numbers with a two-word comment of which I will relay only the first word which is, Oh.
The 2009 election results are certainly not going to make it easy for Speaker Nancy Pelosi to round up the needed 218 votes for Democrats health care bills.
He also mentions Westchester County, a race that brought a cautiously optimistic email from Perry.
Virginia is one of two states that elect statewide officials a year after presidential elections, and in the governor's race, Republican Bob McDonnell looks to win big over Democrat Creigh Deeds. (We're not sure whether Creigh rhymes with "gay" or "brie.")
In last Thursday's Quote of the Day Veronique de Rugy described how America is more and more resembling an Ayn Rand novel. (I think we all know which novel she refers to.) She correctly identified "crony capitalism" as the culprit and government manipulation as an essential ingredient for said cronyism but I took her to task for her examples: Bailouts. Not to defend government bailouts but the best example of crony capitalism I can think of at the moment is how the mortgage crisis was 100 percent engineered by government regulation.
Brother Silence agreed in the comments, saying that government made sure the banks made loans that were not discriminatory against the poor (because we all know it's not their poorness that keeps them from repaying their debt?) But I was befuddled when our good brother lept from this obviously flawed economic transaction - flawed from the standpoint of a private lender ever receiving his principal back, with or without interest - to blame the mortgage meltdown on "the boom and bust effect." There is no denying the fact that financial professionals did their level best to profit from the preordained train wreck set in motion by our friends on the Senate Banking Committee, among others, but is it not also obvious to everyone that without said foolish lending "thou shalts" the opportunity wouldn't have existed in the first place?
The only way for government to fix the economy is to stop "fixing" the economy. Or am I mistaken?
It is impossible to imagine a continuous gale of creative destruction taking place except in a context of boom and bust. Indeed, early theorists of business cycles understood this.
These are efficient responses to changes in real wages. No intervention by government is needed. Bailing out inefficient automobile companies such as General Motors only slows down the rate of progress. In fact, whereas most schools of economic thought maintain that one of government's key responsibilities is to smooth the cycle, "real" business-cycle theory argues that reducing volatility reduces welfare!
It is hard to see how this type of theory either explains today's economic turbulence, or offers sound instruction about how to deal with it. First, in contrast to the dot-com boom, it is difficult to identify the technological "shock" that set off the boom. Of course, the upswing was marked by super-abundant credit. But this was not used to finance new inventions: it was the invention. It was called securitised mortgages. It left no monuments to human invention, only piles of financial ruin.
There are those pesky bailouts again! But Skidelsky's point is that it's hard to have a boom-bust cycle in something where there is no production to boom and then bust.
Tim Flannery, the jet-setting doomsaying global warm-monger from down under, was in Ottawa the other day promoting his latest eco-tract, and offered a few thoughts on Copenhagenwhich is transnational-speak for Decembers UN Convention on Climate Change. We all too often mistake the nature of those negotiations in Copenhagen, remarked professor Flannery. We think of them as being concerned with some sort of environmental treaty. That is far from the case. The negotiations now ongoing toward the Copenhagen agreement are in effect diplomacy at the most profound global level. They deal with every aspect of our life and they will inﬂuence every aspect of our life, our economy, our society. -- Mark Steyn in a home run column on enviro-totalitarianism.
Ulysses Grant drops an interesting line in his (awesome, awesome, awesome) autobiography. He says -- during an uncharacteristic digression in the middle of military history -- that he "always thought the South could profit from defeat." He explains that the Confederate States were built on an inferior economic system and that both slaves and non-property holding whites would be better off under the North's economic system.
I'd suggest that the bulk of the country today, myself included, agrees with that. I got to wondering why "enforcing our values and way of life" is accepted for slave-holding States who were following the United States Constitution, but it was not acceptable for us to impose those same values on the indigenous peoples of America who had generally far worse governments than Mississippi, South Carolina, and Alabama. Im very sympathetic to those who feel that the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments were forced on the returning States. But I think that is a procedural question, the abolition of chattel slavery by force is accepted mainstream thought.
This is the kind of thought that will ensure that I never hold elective office. If anybody wants to throw their futures away in the comments, I'd be extremely interested.
Malaria is only weakly related to temperature; it is strongly related to poverty. It has risen in sub-Saharan Africa over the past 20 years not because of global warming, but because of failing medical response. The mainstay treatment, chloroquine, is becoming less and less effective. The malaria parasite is becoming resistant, and there is a need for new, effective combination treatments based on artemisinin, which is unfortunately about 10 times more expensive.
Mr. Samson is right to ask what spending money on global warming could do for him and his family. The truthful answer? Very little. For a lot less, we could achieve a lot more. -- Bjorn Lomborg
"The health bill [Speaker Pelosi] unwrapped last Thursday, which President Obama hailed as a 'critical milestone,' may well be the worst piece of post-New Deal legislation ever introduced." So begins a long and thoughtful editorial in the Wall Street Journal today -- and it does not let up from there.
The editors enumerate its flaws and suggest -- rightfully -- that the flaws are features, not bugs: the goal is to complete FDR's vision.
Mr. Obama rode into office on a wave of "change," but we doubt most voters realized that the change Democrats had in mind was making health care even more expensive and rigid than the status quo. Critics will say we are exaggerating, but we believe it is no stretch to say that Mrs. Pelosi's handiwork ranks with the Smoot-Hawley tariff and FDR's National Industrial Recovery Act as among the worst bills Congress has ever seriously contemplated.
Full of choir preachin' for ThreeSourcers, but if you are looking for a serious article to share with someone in the other side, this one is very very good.