Saturday, October 31, 2009


A comment at Uncommon Descent:

I have debated many ID denialists (that’s what I call them now, since their argument is never based on evidence or logic). Whenever I point out the basic premises of ID theory, they call me a liar and ridicule me for not knowing anything about ID.

They always do the same thing: cherry-pick quotes to “prove” that ID proponents believe that ID refers to a god, refer to the Dover decision, then proceed to use motive-mongering, character slander, and simple denials.

The reiterate over and over that IDists conduct no science; when I refer them to the research, they simply deny it. If they cherry-pick a quote, I provide a full context that contradicts their characteriztion, they insist that the proponent in question was lying when they produced the quotes I refer to.

When I point out that this impeaches their own witness, they go back to ridiculing me.

And they do all this while completely admitting – and even being proud of the fact – that they have read absolutely no significant ID materials other than what is available on anti-ID sites.

It astounds me that people will adamantly argue against something, ridiculing it and smearing the character and reputations of others, without even bothering to give a significant reading to the material they vilify … and then insist that their position is the more logical and supportable, and that I – who have actually read the material – don’t know what I’m talking about.


Go here, maximize your browser, and use the slider to zoom way in.

Great Quote

"If men have grasped some faint glimmer of respect for individual rights in their private dealings with one another, then that glimmer vanishes when they turn to public issues -- and what leaps into the political arena is a caveman who can't conceive of any reason why the tribe may not bash in the skull of any individual if it so desires."

- Ayn Rand

From here.

Hyperinflation Is A Mirage

She speaks for me.


Don't try this at home.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Noonan Has Finally Seen The Dark

Great essay: "We're Governed By Callous Children".

There Is No Such Thing As Insuring A Pre-Existing Condition

Spelled out nicely by a commenter to the previous article I linked:

Something, I posted a couple days ago on another article; but it applies here, so I'm recycling it:

Insurance for those with "Pre-Existing" Conditions is NOT insurance.

In the ongoing healthcare debate, I have yet to anyone state the obvious in regard to insuring individuals with "pre-existing" conditions. Perhaps out of a fear of seeming harsh or uncaring.

The OBVIOUS that I speak of is that providing health care or health coverage to individuals with "pre-existing" conditions is quite simply NOT INSURANCE. That is, it cannot be defined as Insurance. What those with "pre-existing" conditions receive is called WELFARE. In this instance, it is welfare provided by a private company in the free market and subsidized by other consumers.

Allow me to provide a very basic description of what insurance IS, and what it IS NOT. Insurance is a privately provided service whereby the provider offers to pay for catastrophic occurrences that befall the buyer in exchange for regular payments. That is, you pay premiums, and IF you get sick the insurer will pay your expenses. The pay-out by the Insurer has the potential to exceed the sum of the Insured's payments. This is the same way that all insurance works.

What Insurance IS NOT, is the payment of expenses for a catastrophic occurrence that has ALREADY occurred, and is ongoing. This is what those with "pre-existing" conditions are demanding when they try to get health insurance.

If you would like a simple proof of this, do the following:

Buy a house. Do not buy Homeowners' Insurance. Wait until your house catches fire. Do not attempt to put out the fire. When your entire house is fully engulfed in flame, call the insurance company. Explain the situation to the Insurance company (that your home is presently burning and cannot be saved). Then, and only then, ask to purchase homeowners' insurance. When they inform you that they cannot give you a policy because your house is currently burning down, explain to them that you have a RIGHT to homeowners' insurance.

You cannot do this, because once your house has burned down, there is nothing to insure. Likewise, once your health has failed, and you have what is called a "Pre-Existing" condition, you no longer have anything to insure. It is your SOUND health that is insured (ensured) by health insurance. If it were your "Pre-Existing" condition that was insured, they would call it "Illness Insurance", not health insurance. Try getting a car insurance company to pay you for a "pre-existing" collision.

Only Health Insurers are asked to pay the expenses of those who have already have a claim and who have not paid any premiums. In any other situations this is known as a GIFT. This particular gift is paid for by other policy-holders.

The only alternatives to the present situation in regard to individuals with "pre-existing" conditions are:
1. Deny "insurance" to anyone with a "pre-existing" condition; or,
2. Provide coverage for "pre-existing" conditions through government managed welfare.

The latter would pay for those expenses related to the "Pre-Existing" condition, and leave those with such conditions to purchase private health insurance to cover all other medical expenses. This would put individuals with "pre-existing" conditions on the same footing as healthy individuals when buying health insurance for care not related to their "pre-existing" condition. That is, with something to actually INSURE.

One way or another, however, the healthy will be paying the medical expenses of those with "pre-existing" conditions. Personally, I would prefer having this administered by the free market (as it is today). However, in today's America, The People seem less concerned with having their money TAKEN via taxation and redistributed by the Government, than they are with voluntarily paying a lesser cost through the efficiency of the free market. [I think I sense an argument against the "witholding" of taxes here]

Lastly, in the interests of "Full Disclosure", I have a "Pre-Existing" condition.

You'd Better Hope Insurance Is Profitable

Crystal clear:

Now the figures are in. The evil greedy immoral health insurance industry has the audacity to post an average profit of 2 per cent! And according to ObamaCare proponents, that two percent can cover everybody for everything while all are paying lower premiums. This from the economic geniuses in congress claiming they will solve all of our health care problems without restricting coverage.


"Insurance" may be most used -- yet least understood -- word in our political parlance today.


Without insurance, the entire concept of private property rights is not sustainable. The industry does a poor job of making this point, because you never hear it, but it is true. If you can lose any property with one strike of a match, one cutting of a bolt or one turn of the wheel -- then you effectively have no real property ownership.

Further, without insurance, the concept of ever getting a loan for a car, boat, a Harley or a home is out the window. Even if you obtain these things by writing a check for the full price, the concept of a good night's sleep is out the window without the financial protection of insurance.

Thus, the idea of a vibrant free market economy is in fact moot without risk management by way of insurance. (And you know, maybe that's the whole point behind the trashing of the insurance industry. More on that later.)

Further, not only do we need the concept of insurance to have private property and a vibrant economy, we need to have rich insurance companies as well. After all, if the check the adjuster writes you for your wrecked car bounces, then you still have a wrecked car and no way out of the situation. Does anyone ever think about this?

The same is true of health insurance, which is really protection against financial damage to your family from paying for health care.

Just a thought: if the insurance check bounces for the electrocardiogram, you can probably forget the check for the by-pass surgery being any good.

And as we now know, there is only a 2 per cent gap between the check being good and bouncing as it stands now. You should absolutely adore insurance company profits, but no one seems to. It will only help your 401 K and your piece of mind if your insurance companies are wealthy. If that makes you mad, then start an insurance company -- or invest in them -- so you can share in the massive profits! Resentment is wasted energy.


And perhaps the worst of all: they [believe] that companies must forget the concept of pre-existing conditions, even though doing that would be the exact antithesis of the entire concept of insurance. Hey, why not wait until the flames reach the living room before buying homeowners insurance? Or let your spouse get the life insurance policy once you're on the slab at room temperature? Don't laugh. That's the same concept as a health insurance company having to take a sure fire loss of several hundred thousand dollars for folks who already have the pre-existing condition of cancer or heart disease when they start writing their 300 dollar a month check.

Which now brings that 2 per cent profit margin back into focus. How many surefire six and seven figure losses can an industry with a thin margin absorb? How much more of the routine expenses can this same industry pay, not to mention paying for handling the associated paperwork?


[W]e have to ask: What are they really trying to do? They have to know that they are dismantling the entire private insurance market. Don't they?

"There Will Always Be Chicken Little Types"

Morality has no right to interfere with science:

Scientists Warn Large Earth Collider May Destroy Earth

BATAVIA, IL—In October, Fermilab scientists joined a growing number of physicists around the world in warning that the Very Large Earth Collider—a $117 billion electromagnetic particle accelerator built to study astronomical phenomena by colliding Earth into various heavenly bodies—could potentially destroy Earth when it sends the planet careening headlong into Mars, Jupiter, or even the sun.

"The Large Earth Collider will surely gain us priceless scientific insight by offering a brief glimpse of the universe at the moment of its destruction," Fermilab director Gordon Josephs said. "But because the Collider achieves this by hurling the Earth into another large celestial object, there are some who feel the risks associated with annihilating our world are too high. All I know for certain is that this rigorous debate will only end when we activate the VLEC, make the Earth collide with another planet, and obtain results through firsthand observation."

"That's just good science," Josephs added.

Physicists at CERN and Brookhaven National Laboratory, who underwrote the VLEC's construction with donations from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, agree that there are "some troubling variables" whenever attempting to launch Earth through the vacuum of space into a massive body of solid matter. Yet, they insist, the academic benefits of a planetary collision outweigh any risk of annihilating the Earth.

"When we boil the oceans, tear the tectonic plates from the globe, and peel back the layers of the Earth to expose its molten core, we'll be seeing firsthand what end-times researchers have only theorized about," said Greg Giddings, a planetologist at the University of Michigan. "It might be worth the chance—which, if you ask me, is very small—of destroying the Earth in the process just to see that."

"There will always be Chicken Little types," theoretical physicist and futurist Michio Kaku said. "When the first nuclear reaction was achieved, there were those who said its very existence made it a weapon of unspeakable power, and there is evidence they may have been right. It's probably worth asking if the Very Large Earth Collider may in fact pose some minute danger to the Earth."

While the project remains controversial, physicists agreed in late November to reconvene and evaluate the risk factor of the project after a small-scale field test, during which the Very Large Earth Collider will be turned on at 10 percent capacity, catapulting Earth into the moon at only half the speed of light.

College, Housing, Whatever, The Government Is An Equal Opportunity Destructive Force


A Remarkable Comparison: Affordable Student Loans vs. Affordable Housing

Here is an email from Eugene Holloway, a Maryland Attorney, on the rising cost of college education.

Eugene writes:

When I attended law school at George Washington U in 1969, the tuition was $1,900 a semester. I worked my way through and had no debts when I began to practice law.

Later, student loans became the norm. The loans were subsidized, encouraging students to become indebted rather than build sweat equity in themselves. Student loans also took parents off the hook for saving to pay for their childrens’ education. The result was still more government dependency.

Screwing up the marketplace with subsidies, drove up the price of education, encouraged institutions to grow based on government support, and placed undue emphasis (economically) on higher and frequently useless education.

We should expect the higher education market to suffer a similar fate to the real estate market, where subsidies, encouraging people to buy what they could not afford (and did not need) led them to a result that, when compared to their investment in time and treasure, was uneconomical.

Eugene Holloway

I spoke briefly with Mr. Holloway on the phone. He is from the Austrian economist school, and spoke of the "education malinvestment".

Over time that is certainly what has happened. The cost of education has spiraled out of control with the cost of higher education far exceeding the payback unless one gets lucky in the jobs lotto process.

Many college graduates will be paying back student loans for 20 years or more. This is what happens when government tries to make things affordable. The same thing happened with affordable housing.

Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Mission

Has anyone even bothered to look up the Mission Statement of Fannie Mae?

We are a shareholder-owned company with a public mission. We exist to expand affordable housing and bring global capital to local communities in order to serve the U.S. housing market.

Fannie Mae Limits


Fannie Mae exists to expand affordable housing.

Fannie now offers loans as high as $938,250.

By what stretch of the imagination is that affordable? That such loans are deemed necessary is proof Fannie Mae has failed its core mission.

Fannie at least has a mission statement that one can understand. They failed, but the mission is clear. Compare an contrast to the Federal Student Aid program.


Program "Success"

One way to measure success is by dollars spent. By that measure the student loan program is a rousing success.


The document states the student loan portfolio is now up to a whopping $556 billion.

Is it any wonder with success like that, that cost of education is spiraling out of control?

Nowhere along the line are there any incentives by anyone (either the colleges or those administering the program) to reduce costs.

As long as government is willing to "help out" with student loans, universities and colleges will keep raising prices, and the total cost of an education will keep soaring until one day it blows sky high, just as happened with mortgages.

Note that the loans are guaranteed by the government. Also note that student loans are not discharged in bankruptcy. Those two facts are all you need to understand why the financial industry as a whole consistently champions the promise of postsecondary education and its value to American society. No one really gives a damn about the students. Worse yet, were funding cut off, there would be student outrage over it when stopping funding is exactly what is needed to bring costs down.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Well Said

Michael Behe:

At the end of his post Thornton waxes wroth.

Behe’s argument has no scientific merit. It is based on a misunderstanding of the fundamental processes of molecular evolution and a failure to appreciate the nature of probability itself. There is no scientific controversy about whether natural processes can drive the evolution of complex proteins. The work of my research group should not be misintepreted by those who would like to pretend that there is.

Well, now. I’ll leave it to the reader of my previous replies to Thornton to decide whether she thinks they have scientific merit, and whether it is I or he who misunderstands the disputed facets of molecular evolution. As for “the nature of probability itself” and “no scientific controversy,” I will briefly address those here.

To illustrate his own grasp of probability Professor Thornton talks baseball.

[Behe] supposes that if each of a set of specific evolutionary outcomes has a low probability, then none will evolve. This is like saying that, because the probability was vanishingly small that the 1996 Yankees would finish 92-70 with 871 runs scored and 787 allowed and then win the World Series in six games over Atlanta, the fact that all this occurred means it must have been willed by God.

Let me first say that, as a devout fan of the Philadelphia Phillies, I would never think that a Yankees title was intended by the deity. (Bought by George Steinbrenner, perhaps, but certainly not “willed by God.”) That aside, I don’t think Thornton’s analogy captures the evolutionary problem. The example he chose posits a fully functioning team for a very specific game, baseball, performing within the parameters it was designed to — hitting the ball, playing defense, winning and losing games. Even the 1962 Mets did all those things (in somewhat different proportions). Yet the problem for the steroid receptor proteins Thornton’s lab designed was to work at all. To do so they needed to have the correct tools (the right amino acid residues) oriented in the right directions. So let’s change his example a bit. Instead of asking if the Yankees would have won the title with a different number of runs, let’s ask if they would have won if their batters lay down on the ground instead of standing when at bat. And let’s ask if they would have won if they swung towels instead of wooden bats. And if their pitchers threw the ball in random directions. And if their fielders all huddled together in left field, or ran away from a hit ball instead of towards it. I’ll bet even Professor Thornton would be surprised if they won under those circumstances.

Which of those strange behaviors would the imaginary Yankees have to change to win a Series title? — All of them. And how long would it likely take if each season they randomly changed one behavior a bit (say, fielders ran in a direction 173 degrees from a hit ball instead of 180 degrees straight away from it)? — Very, very long. The bottom line is this: it is Thornton who, frankly, doesn’t understand probability applied to evolutionary possibilities. His set of conceivable examples is severely restricted to ones that simply have to work, or that lead inexorably in the direction he wants them to go, without comprehending that there is no evolutionary law that says anything has to work, or that the best current innovation has to lead along a path to something even better. The remarkable thing is that his own admirable laboratory research illustrates this, but he is too enthralled by Darwinian theory to see it.

In your Face, Unions!

We need to see more of this:

Boeing Expands Operations In South Carolina

A well deserved victory celebration goes to the workers at Boeing Co.'s 787 Dreamliner factory who on September 10 voted 199-68 to decertify representation by the International Association of Machinists.

Today the seeds of desertification bore fruit as Boeing picks Charleston for new 787 line...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What A Deal

An analysis of Cash for Clunkers that ends with:

Three billion dollars is a lot of taxpayer money to stimulate sales of just 56,000 cars -- over $50,000 each, and many of them foreign brands. As is so often the case with government spending, we got Trabant quality at Lincoln prices.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What Shall Come Of This Train Wreck?

Doctor Zero:

The hotly-contested 2009 races, especially the three-way congressional special election in New York, are the distant thunder of the storm approaching in 2010. The 2010 elections are not merely about gaining temporary political advantage for the Republican Party. The task ahead for American voters is nothing less than reversing the momentum of history. This will not be an easy task… and it will not be simple.

There is no question that the momentum of history has swung to the left, ever since the days of Wilson and Roosevelt. The New Deal promise of modest taxation, to pay crucial benefits to the most desperate among the poor, became first a lie, then a joke. No one on the Left even bothers pretending their agenda consists of selfless dedication to the poor any longer. It’s all about desperate grabs for gigantic amounts of power over an increasingly impoverished and dominated middle class.

The madness of launching new trillion-dollar programs on top of a madly inflating deficit has become accepted as reasonable discourse. When Nancy Pelosi made her infamous comment that the constitutionality of individual health insurance mandates was not a “serious” question, she was committing a horrible offense against her office, but also providing an accurate description of the current atmosphere in Washington. We’re twenty years past the point where such an outrageous statement could even shift the tracks beneath the Crazy Train of her political career.


The leftward drift of American politics has continued through decades of prosperity, and the occasional sour little puddle of Carter malaise, because it has been possible for the Left to play its game without causing sudden or radical damage to the middle class it hates. The quality of American life continued to improve, even as a few more freedoms were clipped away, or another gigantic spending program was broken into millions of pieces, and piled carefully on our shoulders. It’s no wonder that Barack Obama was able to sell people on “hope and change,” even though he’s never had an original thought in his life, and his domestic agenda is shrouded in dusty liberal cobwebs. His constituency loves to buy the same scratchy old record, year after year, as long as it comes with a flashy new album cover.

A truly transformational moment is upon us. The old game is over. The mad spending spree of 2009 has left America mortgaged to the hilt. The money is all gone. There are no more ways to pinch a few billion more out of the upper class, without destroying the middle class lifestyle. The Right has always been correct in its belief that tax-and-spend liberalism would not work. Every available dollar has been taxed and spent, and not one single problem the Left demanded the sacrifice of our wealth and freedom to address has been resolved. Not one of their programs has worked, and none of their cost estimates have been accurate, to within an order of magnitude. Tax-and-spend is over. The new coin of the realm will be control. A swarm of czars is already hard at work, minting these coins… and behind them, the momentum of history pushes a pendulum that has become a wrecking ball.

How do we reverse that terrible motion? We certainly won’t do it by slipping Dede Scozzafava into a district that was Doug Hoffman’s to win. We don’t have time for twenty-year “big-tent” strategies that promise a 60% chance of reversing 70% of the damage Barack Obama has done in nine months. We also cannot afford to let any more socialists walk away with elections, just to teach the clueless GOP, and errant American voters, another painful lesson. We don’t have enough blood left to endure those kinds of lessons.


How do you reverse the momentum of history? You can’t do it by eking out a narrow win in a few congressional races, or even the presidency. You need the help of the American people, who have the power to correct much that is wrong with their country, very quickly… if they choose to use it. They should understand that inertia will guarantee the destruction of their lifestyle, as the economic doomsday machines cranked into high gear by Barack Obama complete terrible programs written seventy years ago. The days of purchasing easy grace, by supporting an avalanche of clever little spending programs funded by invisible taxes and antiseptic deficit spending, are over. The people who brought our country to this perilous hour must be stripped of the authority to decide what options are unthinkable, and which beliefs are mandatory.

The leader who emerges from the crucible of 2010, and begins the race for 2012, will be someone who relishes a job that is neither easy, nor simple.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Another Triumph

Simply unstoppable:


Pretty good:

Actual President May Vary From Candidate


For 30 months the nation has been in the grip of a certain Obama obsession, immune to countervailing facts, unwilling to face reality, and loath to break the spell. But like all trances, the fit is passing, and we the patient are beginning to appreciate how the stupor came upon us, why it lifted, and what its consequences have been.

Barack Obama was elected rather easily because, in perfect-storm fashion, five separate trends coalesced last autumn.

1) Obama was eloquent, young, charismatic — and African-American. He thus offered voters a sense of personal and collective redemption, as well as appealing to the longing for another JFK New Frontier figure. An image, not necessarily reality, trumped all.

2) After the normal weariness with eight years of an incumbent party and the particular unhappiness with Bush, the public was amenable to an antithesis. Bush was to be scapegoat, and Obama the beginning of the catharsis.

3) Obama ran as both a Clintonite centrist and a no-red-state/no-blue-state healer who had transcended bitter partisanship. That assurance allowed voters to believe that his occasional talk of big change was more cosmetic than radical.

4) John McCain ran a weak campaign that neither energized his base nor appealed to crossover independents. McCain turned off conservatives; many failed to give money, and some even stayed home on election day. Meanwhile, the media and centrists who used to idolize McCain’s non-conservative, maverick status found Obama the more endearing non-conservative maverick.

5) The September 2008 financial panic turned voters off Wall Street and the wealthy, and allowed them to connect unemployment and their depleted home equity and 401(k) retirement plans with incumbent Republicans. In contrast, they assumed that Obama, as the anti-Bush, would not do more bailouts, more stimuli, and more big borrowing.

Take away any one of those factors, and Obama might well have lost. Imagine what might have happened had Obama been a dreary old white guy like John Kerry; or had Bush’s approvals been over 50 percent; or had Obama run on the platform he is now governing on; or had McCain crafted a dynamic campaign; or had the panic occurred in January 2009 rather than September 2008. Then the trance would have passed, and Obama, the Chicago community organizer and three-year veteran of the U.S. Senate, would have probably lost his chance at remaking America.

I note all this at length because Obama seems to act as if this right-center country — one that polls oppositely to his positions on most of the major issues (deficits, spending, nationalized health care, homeland security, Guantanamo, cap-and-trade, etc.) — has given him a mandate for a degree of change not seen in nearly 80 years.

Apparently, Team Obama figured that with sizable majorities in both the House and the Senate, Obama would snap his fingers, Congress daily would pass bills redefining America, and Obama would stay in perpetual campaign mode to hope and change the country to accept his agenda. Governing would be like campaigning, as audiences fainted hearing the details of a 1,500-page health-care bill or of ever more sins from America’s past.

But, after just a few months in office, that proved not to be the case. Just as a number of planets had to line up precisely to allow an inexperienced hard-left ideologue to be elected president, so there would have had to be a similar configuration to allow him to govern successfully...

Much more follows.

Well, The Difference Is That Bush Was An Out Of Touch Rich Guy Who Had Everything In Life Handed To Him On A Silver Platter

"President Barack Obama has only been in office for just over nine months, but he's already hit the links as much as President Bush did in over two years."

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Just The Highlights

Here's all you need to know:

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Vox Day:

Anyhow, it shouldn't surprise the professor that the left relies so heavily on personal attacks and appeals to authority. First, they're authoritarians. Second, they certainly aren't going to argue the science on the subject, because none of it supports their position. And third, if they were informed and capable of arguing logic, they wouldn't be leftists in the first place.

More Sense In Ten Minutes Than A Leftist Will Express In Ten Years

Bill Whittle

Don't Miss This

"Man decorates basement with $10 worth of Sharpies". This is astonishingly cool. H/T Mark Shea.

He Wants Us To Lose, That's Why


While our Narcissus-in-Chief is frozen gazing at his perfect image in his private pool, choices have to be made in Afghanistan. Consider the following:

(a) We have a Democratically controlled Congress that by and large has supported, since 2004, the Kerry-Obama-Hillary Clinton narrative of a "good" war in Afghanistan, supposedly shamefully neglected by George Bush's neo-con adventure in Iraq, but absolutely vital to the security of the United States, and one entirely winnable — if only we allot sufficient resources.

(b) We have a proven command in Generals McChrystal and Petraeus and their circle of subordinates, who crafted a winning counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq that defeated the terrorists, ensured stability for the fragile constitutional government, and took a tremendous toll on the human and material resources of al-Qaeda, as well as the reputation of radical Islam among the Middle East street.

(c) We have thousands of battle-hardened, experienced veteran soldiers and their officers, who know far more about the Middle East in general, and counter-insurgency in particular, than was true than when we first deployed to either to Afghanistan in 2001, or Iraq in March 2003.

(d) The Islamic world is much less in thrall (polls tell us that) to bin Laden and his advocacy of suicide bombing and terrorism than it was five years ago; Pakistan in general, the victim of numerous terrorist attacks, is far more willing to take concerted action that aids our cause than at any time in the last eight years. And we have a president who by his own admission resonates abroad in a way not true of the past, and will be given a level of international support not usually accorded to American efforts in the Muslim world.

(e) The president has a domestic opposition — entirely unlike that of George Bush's — that is eager to support President Obama to fulfill his promise to win Afghanistan by devoting more resources to the effort.

(f) We have a media mesmerized by Obama, that will withhold criticism of him in Afghanistan in a way that was simply not true of the Bush effort in Iraq, that, nonetheless, proved successful.

(g) We have a split public, but one far more amenable to a surge in Afghanistan than was true in late 2006 of the proposed surge in Iraq.

(h) We should be bolstered by our success in Iraq, and the enemy demoralized by its failure; rather than vice versa.

Given the above, and given that George Bush made a far more difficult choice that saved Iraq, it is hard to figure out why Obama can not make a simple decision to send troops requested by commanders on the ground.

The Insane Are A Threat

What the Limbaugh Quote Hoax Really Tells Us

Listening to the contemporary American left’s views of the rest of us is increasingly like listening to a paranoid schizophrenic slip farther into delusions that they are surrounded by malevolent people. Just as we have to worry that the schizophrenic might act on their delusional beliefs and strike out violently against the evils they imagine, we have to be increasingly worried that leftists will strike out against the rest of us based on their delusional fantasies about what we non-leftists believe.

And make no mistake about it, leftists do harbor dark delusions about non-leftists. The fact that so many leftists fell completely for the Limbaugh quote hoax proves it.

The first rule of a good con or hoax is to appeal to the preconceptions and prejudices of the mark. The scammer weaves a story shot through with details that the scammer knows the mark already believes to be true. Conversely, this means that you can determine what a mark actually believes by observing what cons and hoaxes they fall for.

Watching so many serious journalists and leftist political figures fall for the fake Rush Limbaugh quotes tells us something very frightening about what leftists believe true about non-leftist America. I say, “frightening,” because we evaluate the level of threat that others pose based on our understanding of the amorality of their beliefs. Then we rationalize the harshness of the methods we are willing to employ against them based on our threat assessment. We are much more willing to use draconian methods against people we view as extremely evil than we are against people we judge less evil.


Given this, what does it portend for American non-leftists that a wide and powerful swath of the American left apparently believes it quite credible that a major media figure with an audience in the tens of millions looks back fondly on slavery and approves of political assassination? What draconian methods could those leftists rationalize using if they really believe they are fighting people with such values?

As I have written before, immersion in fantasy is a defining aspect of leftism. As they move progressively towards the left pole of the political spectrum, the realities become more and more immersive while becoming more and more detached from reality. At the far end of the spectrum, the leftists become delusional to the point they believe they are trapped in a gotterdammerung struggle of good versus evil that justifies any action they might take in fighting that struggle. When dangerous fantasies, once the providence of the 5% most radical left, become accepted as true in the 40% just to the left of center, the rest of us are in great danger.

So we have to ask: Just how seriously deluded is the mainstream American left that they believed it credible that Limbaugh actually said the things attributed to him in the fake quotes?


Only someone seriously immersed in a deep fantasy about Limbaugh’s beliefs would swallow such quotes without checking them or thinking about the practical possibility of Limbaugh making such statements without every person in the world knowing about it within the hour. More troubling, not only would they have to believe that Limbaugh thinks that way but that his audience does as well.

They fell for the hoax because their fantasy about the evil of non-leftists tells them that most non-leftists think this way. They didn’t need to check on the provenance of the quotes any more than the rest of us need to check an assertion that the sun came up in the East this morning. It was just that obvious to them.

So, we come back to the main question: What methods could these deluded leftists justify using against the rest of us if they really believe we hold such beliefs and values as are inherent in the fake quotes? What couldn’t they justify doing to drive such people from politics or even the nation itself? We even have to ask, what level of violence could they justify using against us?

This isn’t about Limbaugh. They clearly view Limbaugh as just the most visible manifestation of tens of millions of Americans pining for the good old days of slavery. Make no mistake. They aren’t just targeting Limbaugh as someone so evil that they can justify any extremity in fighting him.

They are targeting the rest of us as well.

Britt Hume Takes It To 'Em

Good stuff.

Death Star Truthers

This is very good:

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

It's Really No Big Deal, Because Leftists Have No Principles

Brutally Honest:

This exchange took place this morning during the White House press briefing:

Tapper: It’s escaped none of our notice that the White House has decided in the last few weeks to declare one of our sister organizations “not a news organization” and to tell the rest of us not to treat them like a news organization. Can you explain why it’s appropriate for the White House to decide that a news organization is not one –


Gibbs: Jake, we render, we render an opinion based on some of their coverage and the fairness that, the fairness of that coverage.

Tapper: But that’s a pretty sweeping declaration that they are “not a news organization.” How are they any different from, say –

Gibbs: ABC -

Tapper: ABC. MSNBC. Univision. I mean how are they any different?

Gibbs: You and I should watch sometime around 9 o’clock tonight. Or 5 o’clock this afternoon.

Tapper: I’m not talking about their opinion programming or issues you have with certain reports. I’m talking about saying thousands of individuals who work for a media organization, do not work for a “news organization” -- why is that appropriate for the White House to say?

Gibbs: That’s our opinion.

Can you imagine the fallout if President Bush had targeted ABC, CBS, NBC or CNN as Obama has done Fox news?

Can you?

Of course you can.

Monday, October 19, 2009

This Comment Nails It


What I find odd is that anti-IDists challenge the math of IDists, yet expect everyone to accept their assertion that chance is a sufficient explanation without any mathematical model whatsoever.

It seems to me that questioning IDers on the accuracy of their probability analysis is rather hypocritical when one offers no probability analysis whatsoever to support one’s original contention that chance is a sufficient explanation.

Mote, eye, beam.

Good Quip

Vox Day:

The present U.S. financial system isn't merely based on sand, it's based on the pretense of sand.

He adds:

It's good to be a bankster now. But keep in mind, there was also a time when it was good to be a French aristocrat...

Optical Illusions, Cool Optical Illusions, And Government Accounting

These fall under the second category.

Friday, October 16, 2009

I Like The Cut Of This Guy's Jib

Some sense from a musical celebrity.

Watch It All Blow Up

The animation is a little slow, but hey.

It's Funny 'Cuz It's True

A bit crude, some four letter words, but this is pretty highlarious.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sheer Madness

This whole thing is insane:

It behooves us instead to take a moment to marvel at the insanity of the process we have allowed to steer the fate of the Republic.

Think about this. We have decisions made about matters desperately close to home, affecting our health and wealth, our lives and livelihoods, and by whom? A group of Senators, fairly capable people, farm the work out to aides of whom we know nothing. Who are these people and how is their capability determined, their efficiency measured, their accuracy gauged? The work produced by these ciphers in their crypts is hardly understood by the legislators, then subject to manipulation by jurists. It seems unimaginable that your life and mine may be offered as human sacrifices to the meddling of these wizards of Oz hiding behind their curtains.

Number two: it is astonishing that we undertake sweeping steps based on the most rudimentary projections of outcomes. How many months and years would a private firm have to invest in study upon study before it undertook a project affecting hundreds of millions of people and trillions of dollars? Look for example at the pharmaceutical firms. Before they can bring a drug to market, they must spend fifty to a hundred million dollars in research and testing. That is for one single solitary drug.

Has the Senate, or the Congressional Budget Office, spent a fraction of that in limning the outcome of a massive health-care overhaul? Nah, they throw a few numbers together, extrapolate from a series of questionable premises, and plop a paper down with a figure that is treated as gospel. Is anyone testing past CBO projections to assay the degree of precision they achieve? We do know that Medicare was never going to cost more than 4 billion dollars a year. And yet we trust this system to dictate the prescription of all the drugs by all the doctors for all the citizens… a system no company could rely on for a single medication.

Point three: it is utter madness to create open-ended commitments with no mechanism to impose restraint when it overreaches or simply grows too big. It has been a favored feint of Obama and the Congressional Democrats to cite as an advantage for public health insurance the fact that it does not "need" to show a profit. But the need to show a profit is what we count on to regulate the insurance companies. A profit is a barometer of systemic efficiency. These public plans go hog-wild, and if we complain about the money being lost, we are answered by higher taxes.

Who are these people? What are they doing? Are they qualified to do it? Is anybody? How do they know the results they will bring? Can they possibly know? What is their track record in previous undertakings? Is anyone keeping track? Are there consequences to them if they fail? What guarantees do we have that if they mess up someone will clean up the mess? With questions like these, it is the height of irresponsibility to trust the fate of a country to this apparatus.

The cherry-on-top came earlier this week when the insurance industry unveiled a report by Price Waterhouse predicting vastly higher insurance costs if this bill is enacted. Within minutes members of Congress were deriding the bias and distortion of this finding. The irony here is mind-boggling. The worst accountants in the world are heaping scorn on the best accountants in the world, telling them to mind their own business. They should better stay with what they know, industries which make sense, plan carefully, deliver well, track results punctiliously and discard what does not work.

Visualize secession. Ten or fifteen years from now it will be seen as having been inevitable.

Russians Get To Inspect Our Nukes, American Citizens Barred From Inspecting Obamacare Legislation

We've been doubly sold out:

President Obama will let the Russians inspect our nukes, a clear sign that America is now in the submissive position with Russia. Obama is the Beta male submitting us to the Alpha. Why doesn't Obama just make it official and just hand over the keys to the White House to our enemies and get the whole thing over with. From Fox News (emphasis mine):

Russia and the United States have tentatively agreed to a weapons inspection program that would allow Russians to visit nuclear sites in America to count missiles and warheads.

The plan, which Fox News has learned was agreed to in principle during negotiations, would constitute the most intrusive weapons inspection program the U.S. has ever accepted.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who met with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, said publicly Tuesday that the two nations have made "considerable" progress toward reaching agreement on a new strategic arms treaty.

The 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START, expires in December and negotiators have been racing to reach agreement on a successor.

Clinton said the U.S. would be as transparent as possible.

"We want to ensure that every question that the Russian military or Russian government asks is answered," she said, calling missile defense "another area for deep cooperation between our countries."

And Obama hasn't been in office for one year yet. What will he give away next year and the year after that? Is there a line that Obama can cross that will send even his most fervent and sycophantic supporters scurrying for the shadows? If so, I'd love to hear it.

Update:I just saw on Fox News Channel that the Baucus proposal that was voted out of the Finance Committee, which Bill Sammon calls a vapor bill because doesn't exist on paper as it's only a concept, is not even close to what the Senate will eventuall vote on. That bill is being written by top Democrats and Rahm Emanuel in Harry Reid's office and will be rushed to the floor for a vote next week.

So, Obama allows the Russians unfettered access to our nukes, yet he and the Democrats are going to the ends of the earth to hide the details of the health care bill that Americans will be required to live with and pay for should it pass. Why? Because they don't like being held accountable by the American people even though they work for the American people. You try being this secretive with your boss and see how far it gets you.

Racism As Ruthless As Can Be



According to the data, not all races are considered equal in the college admissions game. Of students applying to private colleges in 1997, African-American applicants with SAT scores of 1150 had the same chances of being accepted as white applicants with 1460s and Asian applicants with perfect 1600s.

The results of the study come three years after Jian Li, a rejected Princeton applicant, filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. He alleged in the complaint that he had been discriminated against based on his race when he was denied admission to the University.

Read the whole thing.

The Phrase "Intelligent Design Creationism" Is Lazy Bigoted Rhetoric

Good discussion here.

Tom Gilson makes this excellent point:

I’m still convinced the (clarified) position is true: that by the most common and popular definition of creationism, it is irresponsible to equate ID with creationism, and it is probably evidence of either (a) dishonest manipulative intent, (b) a kind of blindness, or (c) some third option I’ve been asking someone to suggest but no one has offered.

Furthermore, I think it’s obvious that this is so, because the definitions of ID and of that common view of creationism are quite different. You ought to know that two entities are not identical if they have different properties. That common definition of creationism has the properties of affirming a young earth, denying common descent, and using a particular interpretation of the Bible as a starting point. None of these properties is true of ID, so ID is not identical to creationism in that common sense of the term.

Therefore to use careless language like “Intelligent design is creationism in a cheap tuxedo,” or to insist on calling it “Intelligent Design Creationism” is to obscure the terms of discussion, obfuscate the issues, and cheapen oneself by so doing.

I am surprised that you would not see this and make a call to all your comrades to raise the discourse to a more honest, forthright, and productive level. Instead (since you have accused people like me of kowtowing to the DI) I think it is quite likely you are too committed to the NCSE line that obscures discussion with rhetorically manipulative practices.

You learned nothing from this discussion (that’s your statement, not mine). That’s a shame. You had opportunity to learn that even though creationism and ID are connected in some ways, there is more than one meaning to “creationism,” and that a responsible writer or speaker would want to be clear as to which one he was referencing when he used the term, and to avoid equating ID with something that it is not equal to.

Regarding the history of ID and creationism, which you ask me to read about in more depth: I’ve read quite a bit of history of ID from the anti-ID side, especially of course Creationism’s Trojan Horse. You keep asking me, imploring me, reminding me, to be aware of ID’s history. I keep acknowledging the facts that you want me to see, and then you ask me to study it again as if I hadn’t acknowledged it. I find this very odd practice on your part. I guess it’s because I don’t draw the same conclusion you draw, which is that having some shared history makes ID creationism.

Let me repeat: I acknowledge the historic connections. My point from the beginning has been this: there is a current commonly understood meaning attached to “creationism,” and there is a current meaning to “Intelligent Design,” and it is currently inaccurate to equate the two.

As I said to someone yesterday, if one cannot recognize the current meanings of terms but has to always tie them to their historic roots, then chemistry is “Chemistry Alchemy” and astronomy is “Astronomy Astrology.” There comes a time when the only reason not to give up that kind of thinking is if you want to embarrass chemistry and astronomy for some reason. That time of course is when chemistry and astronomy take on independent definitions of their own that distinguish themselves from their predecessors.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Now That's A Sign


It's All Very Simple

E-mail from a friend, who's been home sick watching a lot of Discover Channel :

"God created everything in 7 days - all the Earth, planets, animals, forests and man and woman, right Dad?"

"Heh - heh - No, no Billy. That's just a silly story from Sunday school they tell little kids like you to keep you from asking too many questions. The straight shot of it is that, billions of years ago, everything used to be at a single point, and for mathematical reasons, it exploded. Then most of it self-annihilated immediately, but the stuff left over cooled over billions of years and is the universe today. Globs of goop fell back in on itself, making super massive black holes inside of huge discs of hydrogen. The gravitational stress of the holes falling in on themselves caused super-massive, short-lived stars to form (you see, the bigger the star is, the faster it burns up) - ANYWAY, then the heavier elements were created when these stars up-and-went super-nova and our solar system formed from some left over debris from one of these giant explosions - then some X-factor occurred which recombined all the junk into amino acids in a mud puddle where life started somehow and through the process of evolution (which has never been observed but is THOUGHT to be a process of natural selection), which (heh-heh) led to elephants, us and eventually this second Togos #10 I'm about to bite into. Oh, and don't forget, Billy, empty space also is teaming with matter that forms and then pops from energy borrowed from the future and that dark matter makes up 96% of the universe, but we can't detect it. There's some string-theory stuff about vibrating dimensions the width of a human hair too, but I don't quite have a handle on all that. It all makes for a much simpler reality than that silly God stuff, son."

-=Buford T. Atheist

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Federal Government Has Already Seceded From The Union

Good food for thought in these two links.


I believe it is time for State Governments to openly question whether The Federal Government has violated the contractual limits and stipulations of the US Constitution on an ongoing basis for more than two decades, and whether The States should remain within a Union where one party violates the rights and privileges of the Other Parties with impunity and malice aforethought.

Despite the calls of some who scream "racism!" and similar echoes of the 1860s this debate is not only proper now it is proper at any time; all parties to a contract are charged with continual assessment of whether the terms are being met, and it is never "over the line" to raise the question or hold an open debate on this account.


The Constitution is in fact the contract under which each State entered the Union. All contracts may be renegotiated, but none may be violated unilaterally. By refusing to comport with equal protection under the laws of the land as demanded by same and by stepping into what are clearly intrastate matters with judicial and legal activism, as was done with Bush's interference with state predatory lending laws and other similar abuses, along with government refusing to stop bogus accounting that threatens state tax revenues and fiscal health The Federal Government is acting not as a party to The Constitution in concert with the States of this Union but rather as an insane monarch who has used The Constitution as toilet paper and then discarded it into the trash.

The States must demand that these violations be immediately cured and should the Federal Government refuse the States must both indict on their own initiative the bad actors in this economic mess and consider declaring themselves free of the bonds imposed by the Constitution, not by virtue of their desire to violate its' letter and intent but rather as a consequence of the other side's refusal to recognize that the original agreement still exists.


Is not The Constitution (as properly amended) a Contract between the people, the States and The Federal Government?

I argue that it is.

Contracts require performance by all parties.

Has The Federal Government met its burden of performance?

If not, who's seceding from whom?

Is there not an argument to be made that Secession has already happened - without a shot fired - and it was Washington DC and Wall Street that did the Seceding from our Constitutional Form of Government?

Note that under 18 USC Chap 115 Sec 2381-2385, for a crime to be committed an act of secession must involve violence. A "mere" renouncement of the Constitutional Principles that allegedly bind our nation together by The Federal Government and its handmaidens both at The Federal Reserve and on Wall Street, accomplished without violence, is, by all appearances, lawful.

So here's your homework for the day - ponder this:

Does America, bound and defined by The Constitution with the rights and duties of each party defined, still exist, or has Washington DC and Wall Street already seceded over the previous two decades? Is this, in point of fact, not the root of the problems we now face in our economy and nation, whether they be runaway debt, financial frauds perpetrated upon the people, the counties and states, or blatantly-fraudulent entitlement promises that are mathematically impossible to sustain?

Saturday, October 10, 2009


Ace of Spades:

In the sidebar, I'm collecting up "terrorists." Here's one that writes a long confession to his terrorist designs.

George W. Bush launched a “preemptive” war. Now the Nobel Committee is trying for “preemptive” peace. I had always thought the way these things worked was that you helped bring peace or democracy to some corner of the globe first, and then you won the Nobel Prize. But this year, the Nobel Committee has turned that logic around: It clearly likes what Obama is trying to do: on nuclear disarmament, climate change and Middle East peace—and so, in a “preemptive” strike, it’s giving him the award now, in hopes that doing so will boost his chances of success later. It’s an interesting idea....

I like Barack Obama as much as the next liberal, but this is a farce. He’s done nothing to deserve the prize. Sure, he’s given some lovely speeches and launched some initiatives—on Iran, Israeli-Palestinian peace, climate change and nuclear disarmament—that might, if he’s really lucky and really good, make the world a more safe, more just, more peaceful world. But there’s absolutely no way to know if he’ll succeed, and by giving him the Nobel Prize as a kind of “atta boy,” the Nobel Committee is actually just highlighting the gap that conservatives have long highlighted: between Obamamania as global hype and Obama’s actual accomplishments.

He says Obama will "survive" this award, but the Nobel committee might not.

Obama will survive the award, but this will be the most damaging blow to him yet. The floodgates open for talk-show jokes. The American public will begin thinking, "Can we maybe wait until he actually solves some problems before rushing to decorate him with Certificates of Participation and Badges of Effort? Is Barack Obama here to improve our lives, or we his?"

And they will also begin noticing Obama's outsized ego, and worrying about further feeding that bloated, dangerous monster.

A minor actor can be perfectly average but perfectly respectable in his averageness. No one usually begrudges an average person for being average.

But if that average actor wins the Academy Award, suddenly his inadequacy becomes the talk of the town. He was neither more or less average before the award -- but the bestowing of the undeserved award suddenly makes his quite-unobjectionable averageness a subject of sudden derision and his otherwise-unremarkable career the butt of a thousand jokes.

The Marisa Tomei comparison is already being made -- but Marisa Tomei actually earned her Oscar. It's not her fault that the Academy Award almost never rewards inspired comic performances, and so we're surprised when they finally see some comedic acting they think is worth noting.

And Marisa Tomei at least fulfilled the most basic requirement for receiving an Oscar -- she finished a project and did so to general accolades.

Obama has done none of that.

Barack Obama has done nothing to earn his many accolades -- his book deals, his law review editorship, his Senate seat, his presidency -- except simply exist.

Woody Allen observed that 80% of success was just showing up. For Barack Obama, that's 99.9%.

And this highlights the already-wide and quickly-expanding gulf between Obama's reach and his grasp, his reputation and his resume, his accolades and his accomplishments, his words and his deeds... and his hopes and his actual changes.

There has long been an elephant in the room, best ignored, at least best ignored for Obama's political sake.

The Nobel Prize committee has painted that elephant in hot-pink and gold-flake and thrown a ten thousand watt spotlight on it.

The elephant can no longer be ignored.

Obama will become a laughingstock because of this.

Is this his fault? Partly, sure. But not mostly his fault.

But then, neither it is the fault of a mediocre actor who awakes one day to the grim news he has been honored far beyond his abilities, and now will be ridiculed far beyond his culpability for that.

Friday, October 09, 2009

From Empty People, To Empty People, An Empty Honor


The soft bigotry of no expectations.

Leather swimsuit...shark.

But here's what's really cool: The Nobel committee has just announced that Matteo will be receiving the Nobel prize for best "linker not thinker" blog of approximately 90 readers a day having "cartagodelenda" in its URL. It will be an honor to share the stage with Obama, and I am very humbled. I wept openly when I got the news.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Greetings From 64 Bit Ubuntu Linux Installed On A WinXP Partition

I've recently been inspired to take the plunge into screwing around with Linux. Today I installed the Wubi release of Ubuntu, which installs a filesystem into a single big file under XP, and is removable by the XP Add/Remove programs dialog. The machine then becomes a dual boot operation without having messed with disk partitions or anything scary like that. And the nice thing is that the Linux installation, because it just looks like a moderately large file to XP, can be backed up along with all of my other XP stuff using my current methods.

So far, I'm quite impressed; this is a real operating system instead of a Microsoft junkpile. So far, all of the usual stuff seems to work: Firefox, YouTube, Flickr, Blogger, etc. Right now I am listening to some Brian Eno ambient music via

One very pleasant surprise was that Linux recognized my USB 2.0 ethernet adaptor (which I got when the built-in Ethernet port blew out when I was away on vacation last year), so there were no problems getting on the Web, which was utterly crucial to get the setup working, since I had to do many problem-solving searches on Google to get things tweaked in.

All that being said, this is not for the faint of heart. You really have to be ready to roll up you sleeves and search for answers when a few things do not work right. For example, it took me many hours to get Linux to run my Nvidia adapter at 1024x768 75Hz. Not recommended for non-software professionals or for anyone that does not have at least passing familiarity with Unix.

Still, I'm quite impressed overall, considering this is all absolutely free! It's also cool that the exact same box I run XP on can also be a Unix machine, depending on how I boot it up.

Breathtaking In Its Tone-Deafness

Who did Michelle think she was addressing?


I'm not the first to note how thoroughly solipsistic the First Lady's speech was (Joe Gimenez did a very good job here). This is because it was so painfully obvious. She wasn't singing the praises of the Windy City; it was Windy Michelle talking about what may be her favorite topic: herself. Confusing advocacy with autobiography, it was I, I, I; her father this and her father that; how well she learned to throw and punch; how she played games as a girl; what she learned through sport; how she is a mother and a daughter (which we sort of discerned); ad infinitum. I half expected her at any moment to break into the chant, "Mm, mm, mm, Michelle LaVaughn Obama!"

Now, not only is such self-centeredness a turn-off in general, I believe it's largely responsible for two specific mistakes the First Lady made. The first one was something Gimenez pointed out: her full-court press entitlement appeal. As to this, here is a sample of what she said:

But today, I can dream, and I am dreaming of an Olympic and Paralympic Games in Chicago that will light up lives in neighborhoods all across America and all across the world; that will expose all our neighborhoods to new sports and new role models; that will show every child that regardless of wealth, or gender, or race, or physical ability, there is a sport and a place for them, too.

Now, boiling her appeal down to its bare essence, what's she really saying? Answer: Give us the Olympics to help the poor children of Chicago. What's the problem with this?

Remember, many of the IOC members are from the Third World. Thus, doesn't this throw the poverty pitch into question? After all, if your concern is inspiring the poor children of a city and nation, why would you pick a major metropolis in the richest country in the world? I can just see a South American IOC member thinking, "You want to see poverty? I'll show you kids living in cardboard boxes on garbage dumps" or an African member grumbling to himself, "You think you know hardship? Take a look at the boy soldiers who were forced to shoot their own mothers and fight a guerilla war."

Then, discussing her father's influence in her life, the First Lady said, "And even as we watched my dad struggle to hold himself up on crutches, he never stopped playing with us. And he refused to let us take our abilities for granted. He believed that his little girl should be taught no less than his son. So he taught me how to throw a ball and a mean right hook better than any boy in my neighborhood."

Of course, her father did have a tremendous cross to bear, yet we still have to ask how such a story is received by people hailing from nations in which there's a dearth of potable drinking water. As for touting her feministic upbringing, did it ever occur to her that politically correct appeals may not have legs beyond the rarified air of the Western world?

Monday, October 05, 2009

"One Must Never Lend Out More Unsecured Than One Has In Excess Capital"

Excellent Denninger tutorial on the principles of sound banking. He makes a good case against the idea that fractional reserve banking is at the root of our troubles. He summarizes:

Note that this has exactly nothing to do with whether you are on a Gold Standard nor does it have anything to do with fractional reserve lending. In fact the Depressions of both 1873 and the 1929/1930s occurred while on "hard money". A gold standard (or any other "hard" currency) will do nothing to stop this, because the problem has never been the fiat nature of currency - it is the fact that credit is being extended without collateral beyond the actual cash reserves of the institution in question.

The Mae West Presidency

Great post. H/T Brutally Honest.

Here's a snippet:

We have here a Mae West presidency, which I illustrate with two quotes of the platinum blondeshell:

1. It's better to be looked over than overlooked.

2. There's no such thing as bad publicity.

When even the Washington Post's Michael Gerson observes of Obama's speech to the UN General Assembly, "I can recall no other major American speech in which the narcissism of a leader has been quite so pronounced," then the volume of similar observations, which began well before the election, cannot be discounted.

So why did Obama go to Copenhagen? It was not really to see Chicago through. Like everything else in his life, Chicago was simply a tool to serve a purpose and selection of the city as 2016's venue was not actually important to that purpose.

The purpose of the trip was simply to splash Obama's photo on the front pages of the world's newspapers, to provide video of him basking in the personal adulation of the European crowd, an adulation that remains very real there even while Obama's popularity slides at home.

This is a man who simply craves attention, who thrives on it, who consumes it as nourishment. That's the first Mae West-ism at work...


After John F. Kennedy was elected, President Dwight D. Eisenhower spent many hours with him. One of the key lessons was this: "All the decisions you will make," said Eisenhower, "will be hard decisions." Dwight went on to explain that the easy things will be tended to by cabinet secretaries and others of the administration with executive authority. But the tough ones will always be kicked to higher levels to be decided. At every level, the decisions become more and more difficult until, at last, the presidential inbox is filled with nothing but the most difficult items.

Fortunately for Kennedy and the country, he already had some experience facing very difficult decisions and for the most part was prepared for the inbox. Yet he was not so proud that he never asked his predecessor for advice. The photo at left won the 1962 Pulitzer Prize. It shows JFK and DDE walking at Camp David during the Cuban Missile Crisis after the Bay of Pigs fiasco (see endnote). Kennedy had asked Eisenhower to come there to give advice. It's worth noting that Eisenhower was a Republican but it didn't matter to Kennedy.

It is impossible to imagine President Obama inviting any former president to Camp David to help him steer a better course. Don't waste a second imagining either Bush could ever be invited. As Bill Clinton has said, he hardly ever gets even a phone call from Obama. Carter? You can imagine it, but ain't. gonna. happen.

As others have exhaustively pointed out, there is nothing at all in Obama's resume that shows he ever made highly difficult decisions that depended, at the end, on his own personal reservoir of wisdom and experience. So he does not tackle the inbox because its contents are above his competence. (One is reminded of Obama telling Rick Warren that when an unborn child gets human rights is "above my pay grade.") He tends instead to lesser matters that match his lower level of competence and gratifyingly feed the ego. And so he flies to Copenhagen to deliver a speech of no significance on a matter of no consequence. Why? Because he can do that - simply standing in front of a crowd reading eloquently from a teleprompter he can handle quite well.

And it gets him front and center in the international media. It's a twofer.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Everything I Needed To Know About Sales I Learned From The Obamas

This is good:

Of course Barack and Michelle Obama failed in Copenhagen. Their strategy could not possibly succeed. In their academic arrogance, they thought they could sell a product they clearly do not believe in (the United States) and moreover, they could do so by stressing the benefits to the seller (Chicago) and not the buyer (the IOC). And to top it off, they committed the faux pas of talking too much about the sales force (themselves) and not about the product or the buyer.

Gee, what could possibly go wrong?

Anyone who has had to succeed in the real business world -- and that includes few if any on Team Obama -- instinctively knows that to get business done you have to believe in what you are doing and offer a product or service that is focused on the benefits to the customer. In the Obama World of Chicago pay-to-play power, business gets done by flexing muscle and clearing the field of your competitors. You don't have to sell anything. You don't have to believe in anything. It is fine to be self-focused. You simply have to apply the power of the applicable political machinery and you win.

Which could explain why the First Couple was so apparently lost in an attempt to actually have to make a sale to an audience not cowed by Chicago-style clout, inoculated by our own fawning Jurassic media, nor remotely interested in their life stories. Perhaps that is how and why they botched it so badly.


The article just keep getting better and better from there.

It concludes:

The bottom line is this: this was an Obama epic fail, period. They were the sales force, they were the focus of the sales presentation and they were the product. The Obamas were there to sell the Obamas with the Obamas. All Obama all the time.

And the world said, "No thanks."

Hitler Hates Epcot Dining Plan

These have become an internet cliche, but I just ran across this particular one. Pretty amusing:

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Okay, Try This

Weird, wild optical illusion.

This Is Where We Draw The Line! For Now (no promises).

Polanski-aghast lefties should not be let off the hook so easily:

The second wave of backlash to Polanski’s arrest consists of a majority of leftists joining the right, all raging against Hollywood’s defense of his behavior, relieving parents everywhere that the despicable “Free Roman Polanski” petition is anomalous to the left-leaning — not at all representative of the philosophy as a whole.

They shouldn’t relax too much. It’s farce. Leftism owns that petition, no matter what it says to divorce itself from its amoral horror.

The left isn’t misrepresenting its position on Polanski, but just as surely they aren’t remotely upholding honesty. You simply don’t get to draw lines and make stands when you’ve made a career of relativity. You don’t get to do that and redefine good and bad based on the tides and expect to be embraced beyond the tide change.

The majority of the left doesn’t now stand for rape-rape, or even sorta rape — they say it’s not ever permissible or excusable.

No sir, and certainly not today.

That is all you should let yourself conclude after flitting through those same leftists’ prior work. When they allow themselves to move the uncrossable line, calibrating right and wrong to the news cycle, you only get to take solace that the left thinks Polanski a monster now, until a more favorable comparison arises.

Left-leaning and despise Polanski and the petition? Check your archives.

Ever apologize for a terrorist? Ever empathize with a suicide killer or his cause, researching the struggles of his upbringing while that special breed of emergency personnel was still washing his victims’ organs from the pizza parlor? Death by shrapnel is a worse fate than Polanski’s victim suffered, don’t you know, and Polanski witnessed unspeakable horror prior to his crime, too.

What did you write when “Tookie” Williams was executed? Were you kinder to him than Terry Schiavo’s folks?


You drew a line on Polanski’s case, yes, but which word narrows your pupils: Guevara? Or Malkin?

Does a Bill Ayers’ nail bomb seem a more palatable agent of crime than Larry Craig’s foot? Did you treat it as such?

The “Free Polanski” list is leftism’s monster, no matter how many leftists claim to disown it. No such list could ever be compiled by conservatism, classical liberalism, objectivism, or any other related creed built around natural law and it’s unalterable ethical code. Only leftism allows one to stand for Polanski, and another to stand against him, and both be definable as authentic believers of the philosophy.

It’s piffle. You’re not talking sense or being intellectually honest any more now than ever, as long as you’re still trailing that wake of subjective reasoning. You don’t just get to join a common-sense backlash against Hollywood, and think it means a whit about women and rape, when you still ascribe to a philosophy that does not allow you to scratch a permanent line in the dirt. All you get to say is that you despise Polanski’s behavior except when you do not, if your archives contain anything at all parallel to the above.

A Big Part Of The Disgrace Was The Smarmy, Self-Regarding, Diplomatically Inept Speeches

If I'd been in a position of authority and someone had tried to snow me with the kind of pablum the Obamas were shoveling I'd also have done everything possible to--as Rush Limbaugh put it--"b*tch-slap them upside the head". Somehow our under-qualified affirmative action hires don't get this.

Althouse has more.

Friday, October 02, 2009

DMV Style Healthcare? Count Me In!

The Emperor Is Buck Naked

Good points:

There's actually something worrisome about this whole Chicago fiasco, and it goes back to President Obama's inexperience. Diplomacy 101 tells us that your head of state only shows up on the high-profile stage when a deal is complete. The lesson that most politicians learn well before they gain positions of power is that diplomacy is done by diplomats, professionals who work through all the negotiations and the hardball tactics and the carrot/stick combinations. The principals in the matter gather to discuss high-level topics and to smile for the cameras as the agreement is being signed. Heads of state do not conduct diplomacy, they ratify it, and surprises are entirely unwelcome at those summits and signing events (hence Reagan's anger in Iceland.)

Why were you and Ramesh surprised? Because you thought that President Obama at least knew this very basic lesson. Today's announcement suggests that he does not, and it just got advertised big-time to countries who already were pretty sure we had a rookie at the helm who didn't know how to use international power. President Obama just got upstaged by an organization against whom no retaliation is acceptable, and he wants to meet with the Iranians next month? We are in deep, deep trouble.

Reasonable Explanations

The Corner:

Top 10 Reasons Chicago Didn't Get the Olympics

An e-mail:

10. Dead people can't vote at IOC meetings

9. Obama distracted by 25 min meeting with Gen. McChrystal

8. Who cares if Obama couldn't talk the IOC into Chicago? He'll be able to talk Iran out of nukes.

7. The impediment is Israel still building settlements.

6. Obviously no president would have been able to acomplish it.

5. We've been quite clear and said all along that we didn't want the Olympics.

4. This isn't about the number of Olympics "lost", it's about the number of Olympics "saved" or "created".

3. Clearly not enough wise Latina judges on the committee

2. Because the IOC is racist.

1. It's George Bush's fault.

Don't Miss This PSA

Well done!

Leftist Thought Doesn't Get Any Better Than This


GARRISON KEILLOR: KILL ALL THE REPUBLICANS. ““Thirty-two percent of the population identifies with the GOP, and if we cut off health care to them, we could probably pay off the deficit in short order.”

I’m sure we’ll hear lots of condemnation of Keillor’s “eliminationist rhetoric” from David Neiwert, et al. Meanwhile, with this gang in charge who would be surprised to find that under ObamaCare your chances of a liver transplant really will depend on your politics? Not me.

"For the first time in my adult life...I'm PROUD of the International Olympic Committee!"

Moses has failed to part the sea.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Great Quip

No reason to read the post, but I ran across this in the comments here:

"Free-thinking! You get what you pay for!"