Saturday, February 28, 2009

If He Plays His Cards Right, Jesus Might Even Become As Enlightened As The Anglican Church Of Canada

Details at The Anchoress.

Spelled Out, For Those Not Living In Cotton Candy Land

Peter Schiff:

Suppose there is a very small barter-based economy consisting of only three individuals, a butcher, a baker, and a candlestick maker. If the candlestick maker wants bread or steak, he makes candles and trades. The candlestick maker always wants food, but his demand can only be satisfied if he makes candles, without which he goes hungry. The mere fact that he desires bread and steak is meaningless.

Enter the magic wand of credit, which many now assume can take the place of production. Suppose the butcher has managed to produce an excess amount of steak and has more than he needs on a daily basis. Knowing this, the candlestick maker asks to borrow a steak from the butcher to trade to the baker for bread. For this transaction to take place the butcher must first have produced steaks which he did not consume (savings). He then loans his savings to the candlestick maker, who issues the butcher a note promising to repay his debt in candlesticks.

In this instance, it was the butcher's production of steak that enabled the candlestick maker to buy bread, which also had to be produced. The fact that the candlestick maker had access to credit did not increase demand or bolster the economy. In fact, by using credit to buy instead of candles, the economy now has fewer candles, and the butcher now has fewer steaks with which to buy bread himself. What has happened is that through savings, the butcher has loaned his purchasing power, created by his production, to the candlestick maker, who used it to buy bread.

Similarly, the candlestick maker could have offered "IOU candlesticks" directly to the baker. Again, the transaction could only be successful if the baker actually baked bread that he did not consume himself and was therefore able to loan his savings to the candlestick maker. Since he loaned his bread to the candlestick maker, he no longer has that bread himself to trade for steak.

The existence of credit in no way increases aggregate consumption within this community, it merely temporarily alters the way consumption is distributed. The only way for aggregate consumption to increase is for the production of candlesticks, steak, and bread to increase.

One way credit could be used to grow this economy would be for the candlestick maker to borrow bread and steak for sustenance while he improves the productive capacity of his candlestick-making equipment. If successful, he could repay his loans with interest out of his increased production, and all would benefit from greater productivity. In this case the under-consumption of the butcher and baker led to the accumulation of savings, which were then loaned to the candlestick maker to finance capital investments. Had the butcher and baker consumed all their production, no savings would have been accumulated, and no credit would have been available to the candlestick maker, depriving society of the increased productivity that would have followed.

On the other hand, had the candlestick maker merely borrowed bread and steak to sustain himself while taking a vacation from candlestick making, society would gain nothing, and there would be a good chance the candlestick maker would default on the loan. In this case, the extension of consumer credit squanders savings which are now no longer available to finance other capital investments.

What would happen if a natural disaster destroyed all the equipment used to make candlesticks, bread and steak? Confronted with dangerous shortages of food and lighting, Barack Obama would offer to stimulate the economy by handing out pieces of paper called money and guaranteeing loans to whomever wants to consume. What good would the money do? Would these pieces of paper or loans make goods magically appear?

The mere introduction of paper money into this economy only increases the ability of the butcher, baker, and candlestick maker to bid up prices (measured in money, not trade goods) once goods are actually produced again. The only way to restore actual prosperity is to repair the destroyed equipment and start producing again.

The sad truth is that the productive capacity of the American economy is now largely in tatters. Our industrial economy has been replaced by a reliance on health care, financial services and government spending. Introducing freer flowing credit and more printed money into such a system will do nothing except spark inflation. We need to get back to the basics of production. It won't be easy, but it will work.

President Obama would have us believe that we can all spend the day relaxing in a tub while his printing press does all the work for us. The problem comes when you get out of the tub to go to dinner and the only thing on your plate is an IOU for steak.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Oratory Is The Only Thing That Matters, Except When It Isn't

Great observation:

[C]ritics of conservatives will use anything to fault an up-and-coming Republican leader. As Mary Katharine Ham put it, “Liberals who thought Sarah Palin’s brilliant RNC speech performance meant absolutely nothing are sure that Jindal’s off night means everything.“

To such liberals, it seems, a polished performance (save those by charismatic women) matters more than accomplishment, more than substance. Look how quickly they flocked to Barack Obama when all the man had done was show that he could wow audiences with his formidable presence and elevating oratory. (If Palin’s RNC speech mean nothing, how come Obama’s DNC speech four years previously meant everything?)

At this point in his career, Governor Jindal has accomplished far more that had then-Senator Obama when he made his debut on the national stage. So, now we know that for Obama fans, presence is all, substance doesn’t matter.

And they accuse us of being shallow.

Piece Of Cake

That is, if the cake were made of TNT, and the candles were fuses.

Vanderleun has an amusing essay examining the procedure for escaping from the Space Shuttle before it blows up on the pad.

Here's a taste:

4) On the far side of the gantry is an open platform with slots in the floor below and a lot of cables slanting down and away from the whole shebang. These cables are called "Zip lines."

5) Suspended underneath these zip lines at floor level are wicker baskets. You will climb into these. (Tick, tock, tick, tock... time's a wastin'.)

6) Did I mention you will get into these wicker baskets backwards? You will. Then you will release the basket.

7) Upon releasing the basket you will be propelled backwards and downwards at a very high velocity along the long slanting cable for some distance towards a massive pile of sandbags.



H/T Brutally Honest.


Via Brutally Honest:

"If I Hadn't Made It The Way It Is, There'd Be No You Hanging Around To Hate Me, Would There?"

Excellent Ash Wednesday reflection by Vanderleun.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Gagdad Bob:

The absurcular philosopher asks "how can the intellect be immaterial when no one can imagine how the immaterial can interact with the material?" But "It’s odd that people view this as an objection. I look at the same facts and view it as a proof. Of course you can’t imagine the interaction. That’s the whole point! Did you think we were kidding when we said 'immaterial'? If I could imagine the interaction, then I’d be wrong! Don’t you see that I’m insisting that you can’t imagine any interaction?"

Again, the scientistic bonehead essentially says, "Duh, I don't see anything immaterial. So it must not exist." Which is about as sophisticated as a child putting a blanket over his head and asking "who turned off the lights?!"

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The "Most Important Idea Anyone Ever Had," In Addition To Being Untrue, Is Of Virtually No Use

Forbes has a great piece by Darwin-skeptic Dr. Philip Skell.


Mark Shea:

The Difference Between Faith and Science, we are told...
is that Science (the capital letter is essential) studies cold hard fact while religion is all about airy fairy speculation about things nobody has ever seen.

I always think of these dogmatic pronouncement when I run across things the International Journal of Astrobiology.

Astrobiology. For those of you who don't know: that's a science that has less actual data to work with than the Medical Bureau at Lourdes.

In fact, it has no actual data whatever. But that doesn't stop people who are confident that, any day now, the atheism of the gaps will confirm the deathless faith of some materialists which declares that this earth (and indeed this universe) is a dime a dozen and we can stop marveling at the glory of creation and the strong suggestion of You Know Who.



"Multiculturalism is when people of all races, colors, and creeds join hands in a common effort to blame the Jews."

Lawlessness And Fraud Leads To Destruction Of New Credit Leads To Nothing Good

Another great market-ticker piece.

No Incentives Without Disincentives

How a dynamic of "heads I win, tails you lose" got us into this situation. Includes an extended quote from Nassim Nicholas Taleb, who is a darned good writer when he's not talking about himself (and here, he's not).

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Monday, February 23, 2009

Some Bobbian Wisdom

Gagdad Bob:

The fundamental problem with scientism is that it takes its abstractions as more real than the reality they describe, which soon enough leads to a kind of intellectual totalitarianism, which always occurs when ideas are deemed more important than people. (This dynamic is also at the foundation of the soul pathology of the left.)

As I mentioned in my book, science strips the world of all its primary qualities, relegating them to an ontological limbo. Once one has done this, one has devalued the human world, with all of its richness and particularity, beyond redemption. Or, there is no ontological grounding for the richness -- it becomes just a kind of entirely subjective epiphenomenal luxury with no intrinsic meaning whatsoever. Truly, that way madness lies. And cultural death.

The scientistic world is a simple world, far too simple to ever account for the intellects capable of abstracting from the world in this manner. It is this abstract scientistic world -- that is, when taken as the fundamental reality -- that DeKoninck called the "hollow universe," but the hollowness is really in the heads of the spiritually impoverished simpletons.

Running out of time here, but last night I was doing a little thought experiment. Imagine, for the sake of argument, that it were possible for conscious beings to exist at the quantum level, where all of the richness of the cosmos is bleached out. Through their sophisticated experiments, they "discover" this unexpected macro realm floating "atop" their sea of quantum energy, which features all kinds of things that seem impossible based upon the laws that govern their realm. "Ah ha!," they proclaim. "We've finally discovered the point of this otherwise meaningless cosmos. It's human beings!"

Brave Guy

Funny, too:

H/T Mark Shea.

Choose This Day Whom You Will Serve

Oh, great.





One Person At A Time

Beginning to see the light:

Rethinking intelligent design

Dr. Thomas Woodward came to my college (Princeton) to give a talk on Intelligent Design. I had already made up my mind a while back that ID was bogus, the arguments had been pummeled into the ground and that it was bad science and even worse theology. I went to the talk expecting to give him a good talking-to. To my surprise, he was very reasonable and the points he made were at the very least thought-provoking. Some of the evidence of design he presented I hadn't heard before. What was most interesting, though, was that he pointed me to the work of Brad Monton, a philosopher of physics who did his PhD at Princeton, who is an atheist but who also thinks at least some of the ID arguments have some merit. Check out his fascinating blog here and read the preview of his forthcoming book, Seeking God in Science, in which he-gasp-defends ID as an atheist, and thinks ID should be discussed in the science classroom as an illustration of some of the difficult questions that arise in philosophy of science.

I'm ashamed that as a self-proclaimed critical thinker I let myself be swayed by the emotional atheist rhetoric against ID. The truth is that I haven't really engaged with the ID writings in any depth, and at the very least I owe people like Dembski, Behe, Meyer, Denton and others the courtesy of careful consideration, more than they get from the hysterical mass media. I've always been about the quality of arguments. I couldn't care less if ID is creationism disguised as science, or whether there is a pernicious political agenda behind it. I want to know how good the arguments are. And I haven't really gone a long way towards doing that.

Monday, February 16, 2009

A Gifted Orator. A Highly Intelligent Man.



One wouldn't know it from reading the Washington Post or New York Times, but some inside the White House don't think that President Barack Obama hit a home run with his first national press conference last week.

"It looked scripted beyond the scripted part, the speech," says one former communications adviser, who has been feeding notes and suggestions to the White House team and worked with them on the inauguration. "Every president has gone into one of these things knowing that there were some pre-arranged questions or journalists to be called on, but this one was pretty ham-handed."

To that end, he says, the White House is looking to install a small video or computer screen into the podium used by the president for press conferences and events in the White House. "It would make it easier for the comms guys to pass along information without being obvious about it," says the adviser.

The screen would indicate whom to call on, seat placement for journalists, pass along notes or points to hit, and so forth, says the adviser.

Using a screen is nothing new for Obama; almost nothing he said in supposedly unscripted townhall events during the presidential campaign was unscripted, down to many of the questions and the answers to those questions. Teleprompter screens at the events scrolled not only his opening remarks, but also statistics and information he could use to answer questions.

"It would be the same idea with the podium," says the adviser.

Obama had a teleprompter set up for his remarks last week, before taking questions, but the White House couldn't use the teleprompter for anything but the remarks, because the journalists were so close to the screens. Further complicating matters, teleprompter copy can't be easily updated in real time, in a setting like a White House press conference.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Good Rejoinder

From here:

We heard it over and over on the campaign trail, “experience doesn’t matter,” “experience got us in this mess,” “what we need now is leadership,” and so on, ad nauseum. And a healthy portion of independent voters eventually bought into this canard.

Now, some of the president’s apologists have the gall to tell us that we cannot criticize the administration so early in the game. Said Ruth Marcus in the Washington Post, “expecting the Obama team to operate perfectly under these conditions is like expecting a first-year med student to perform surgery.” Ms. Marcus is absolutely correct. This is why we tend to avoid having first year med students perform surgery and why we definitely don’t want to elect their political equivalent to the presidency.

Red On Red

Many examples of how liberalism can't get out of it's own way.

I Haven't Read The Post, Yet

But Gagdad Bob is offering a darned funny title here.


AP writer isn't right, he isn't even wrong.


CLARENCE, N.Y. – A commuter plane that smashed into a house apparently plunged flat to the ground rather than nose-diving, ending up pointed away from the airport it was trying to reach, investigators said Saturday.

Investigators did not offer an explanation as to why the plane ended up pointed away from the Buffalo airport, but it does raise the possibility the pilots were fighting an icy airplane: Air safety guidelines say pilots can try a 180-degree turn to rid a plane of ice.

Other possible explanations are that the aircraft was spinning or flipped upon impact.


The bolded text gives precisely the wrong impression. You can do a 180 degree turn to leave icing conditions you've just flown into, but once the plane is covered with ice, doing a 180 is not going to get rid of the ice. The writer makes it sound like an aerial pirouette is somehow going to shake the ice free, like maybe you'd see in a cartoon...

Newton Day In America

Excellent reflection on the true meaning of "Darwin Day".

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Common Sense Is In Such Short Supply

But here's some:

Benedict Groeschel: You and I were talking and you told me an anecdote about when they took the crucifixes down from the classroom walls at Boston College. I think this anecdote is a little bit long, but I think our audience would be very interested to hear it.

Peter Kreeft
Well, I was teaching comparative religions, and during the long break, there was a Jewish student and a Muslim student in the front row. The Jewish student noticed a faint cross painted on the wall behind me, so he asked me, "Is that supposed to be a cross?"

I started to explain that that's where the crucifix used to be, and another student, a Catholic, said "Oh, we took the crucifixes down last year."

"Why did you do take them down?"

"Oh, well, we didn't want to offend people."

"When did you take them down?"

"Well, let's see. 1979."

"Aha," said the Jewish student. "It was the Bundy money."

No one understood that, so he explained that President Carter's secretary of state, McGeorge Bundy, had brokered a deal by which federal money could go to private schools if and only if those schools were not sectarian, divisive, discriminatory... something like that. And - by coincidence - all 21 Jesuit colleges took down their crucifixes from their classrooms in the year following that decision. So when he explained that to the students, the students were rather scandalized, and one said, "Oh, no, we wouldn't do that for money."

And he said, "Of course you wouldn't, but I hope you got more than thirty pieces of silver this time." Rather wicked... some of them were so biblically illiterate that he had to explain to them that Judas Iscariot was the first Catholic bishop to accept a government grant.

But then the student said, "No, we did that to be ecumenical."

And then the Muslim chimed in.

"What is ecumenical?"

So the student said, "Oh, ecumenical means we think we're all equal, and we didn't want to discriminate against others, and offend outsiders."

And the Muslim said, "You mean people like me, and my friend the Jew?"

"Well, yes."

"Well, I am highly insulted."


"Well, you're treating me like a bigot."

"No, we hate bigotry."

"Let me explain. Suppose you came to my country. You enrolled in a Muslim university. Now we don't have pictures or images; we think that's idolatry, but when you are in a Muslim university, you know you are in a Muslim university. Who would object to a Muslim symbol in a Muslim university, except a bigot? Now you expect me to be offended by a Catholic symbol - the crucifix - in a Catholic university, so you are treating me like a bigot."

Everyone was thinking.

He didn't stop. He said to the students, "How many of you believe that Jesus is the Son of God?"

And most of them raised their hand.

He said, "Well, we Muslims don't believe that; the Koran says that's blasphemy, that's ridiculous, but we have a great devotion to Jesus. We hardly ever mention his name without saying, 'Blessed be he' or 'Blessed be his name' and we think he's one of the greatest men who ever lived, and he is a great prophet, and we love him and his mother Mary. And if we had pictures of him, we would never take them down, not for any money in the world. In fact," he said, and he was now waxing eloquent, "what if some soldiers came into our classroom and said, 'We demand that you take down this offensive picture of the prophet Jesus'? Every good Muslim would go in front of that picture and say, 'You will take down this picture of our beloved prophet Jesus over our dead bodies. We would be glad to be martyrs for him.' So I think we are better Christians than you are."

You could hear a pin drop.

Mac vs PC

Interesting e-mail to Hugh Hewitt.

Jon Stewart Absolutely Skewers Obama

Here's a great take on the significance of this skewering.


Several good items in this post.

Here's one:

WASHINGTON - Waving invisible banners proclaiming "Census Rights Now," an enormous throng of Imaginary-Americans rallied at the National Mall today to support the Obama Administration's planned takeover of the U.S. Census Bureau.

"I want to thank everyone in the Imaginary community for turning out for this great cause," said President Obama, speaking on the steps of the Lincoln Monument to a reportedly cheering crowd estimated at between 0 and 12 million. "For too long, the Census Bureau has discriminated against people on the basis of their existential status, or perceived lack of appearance. That must stop. I promise you that under my administration, Imaginary-Americans everywhere will enjoy the same rights that they do in my home town of Chicago."

ABC News analyst Jake Tapper said the rally underscored the growing national political clout of Imaginary-Americans.

"It used to be that Non-Existentials were mostly confined to a few wards in Chicago, Philadelphia and Detroit, but we're seeing them more and more in opinion polls and elections around the country," said Tapper. "With dozens of congressional seats and billions of dollars in federal grants hanging in the balance, the President wants to make sure Imaginary citizens don't get undercounted in the 2010 Census."

"It's just smart politics," added Tapper. "According to the exit polls, President Obama carried the Imaginary vote 346% to √-12%."

Someone Predicted All This

But what the hell does she know?

Well, Come On, It's Just Common Knowledge Now, Folks!


"The domestic issues Mr. Obama ran and won on — health care, education, climate change, rebalancing the distribution of wealth..."

From a NYT article called "Obama’s Battle on Stimulus Shows Threats to His Agenda."

Obama ran on a redistribution of the wealth agenda? So, back when he was campaigning, and his opponents characterized things he said as meaning that he wanted to redistribute the wealth, and his supporters shouted that down as typical right-wing distortion, Obama was really laying the groundwork for claiming that he had won a mandate to redistribute the wealth? Incredible!

Just One Tiny Problem

Good post by a guy who seems to accept Darwinism overall, but is perplexed by a nagging detail.

Puritanical About Food, Licentious About Sex

"The all-you-can-eat buffet is now stigmatized; the sexual smorgasbord is not."

If you have the time, then Mary Eberstadt has a fascinating sociological article.

Doesn't Miss A Beat

I don't know (exactly) what Joaquin's problem was, but Letterman was a comic genius in handling it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Well Said

Link (from the green text at the bottom of the post):

Coyne and Pigliucci tell us (again) that there is such overwhelming evidence for evolution. OK, put up or shut up. They don’t know what a species is, they don’t know what the target of selection is, they don’t know if natural selection is a queen or a jester, they don’t know what adaptive radiation is, they don’t know how speciation operates (the main reason for Darwin’s little storybook), and they can’t connect mutations to any actual benefit to an organism. Other than those little minor matters, evolution is so supported by such mountains of evidence that only a fool with an agenda could dare question it.

Colin Patterson of the British Natural History Museum once posed a question to his fellow evolutionary biologists: “Can you tell me anything about evolution, any one thing that is true?” He got a surprised silence. He told them, “I had been working on this stuff for twenty years, and there was not one thing I knew about it” (see ARN). Notice he asked if they knew anything – something they knew was true – not what they thought about it, what they guessed about it, what stories they could tell about it. Would that more evolutionary biologists would ask that question. All we see in paper after paper is competing guesses, modified models, controversies, debates, changing definitions, and the inevitable, “future research should be able to shed light on this question.” The articles above show that basic, fundamental tenets of Darwinism are no more nearer solution than they were to Darwin. What has increased is not their knowledge, but the sophistication of their ignorance. Then Pigliucci and Coyne pompously blast away about the “overwhelming evidence” for evolution and how stupid the creationists are. This is not good salesmanship.

Are you a good shopper? Of course you are. You’ve learned to check the specs, not the hype. When a salesman comes to you shouting, “Acme Widgets are superior to all the other garbage out there, and the testimonials are so globally unanimous, that only a complete idiot would even look at the competitor’s product, which is produced by evil, wicked, stupid ignoramuses who only want to make a buck out of your gullibility.” You know that you have to blow off the bluff of the chuff (chuff, n.: a boorish, proud, insensitive fellow) and look at what the product can do. Evolutionists dare not allow you to do that with their product because the competitor will always win hands down. That’s why they must have a monopoly in marketing. The special effects in the evolutionary ads require rigging and selective illumination to highlight the glow and keep other things in the dark. When you ask to see the goods, you get vaporware on back order.

Evolutionary biology today is a sad case of what happens with protectionism and totalitarianism in the marketplace of ideas. To get the good stuff you have to go to the black market, which is really the white market when the black light is turned off, the doors are opened and the sun shines in.

Is There A Dawkins?

Well done.

U.S. News Has A Pro-ID Column


Also some good responses in the comments against the usual cacophany of invective-spewing Darwinst jackasses (and yeah, I've noticed the self-referential irony of this sentence; I'm standing by it).

When Murphy's Law Collides With The Peter Principle

And you spice 'em both with affirmative action. American Thinker:

What happens when everything that can go wrong in a person's character formation does go wrong, and that person continues to be promoted to his level of incompetence?

President Barack Obama happens.

I'm well into my sixth decade of life and have yet to see a more perfect collision of Murphy's Law with the Peter Principle in a single individual.

[lots more follows]

Catholic Humor

Mark Shea:

Which reminds me of a story: A friend of mine said he took a Presbyterian friend to Marytown in Chicago for a look-see. The Calvinist guy was weirded out by the Fatima statues they have out front, depicting the children kneeling in prayer before the Blessed Virgin. The Catholic (a convert from Calvinism himself) watched his friend eyeing the statues warily and then remarked, "That's the great thing about being Catholic! Not only do we get to worship statues, but our statues worship statues!"

Note to the humor-impaired: Catholics don't worship statues.


One heck of a Market-Ticker piece.

The hopeless tools running the show are about to take what could have been a mere 'disaster' and, while completely bypassing 'catastrophe', head straight for 'gotterdammerung'.

She Has No Right To Speak On The Topic. She's A Female.

Brutally Honest highlights the anti-abortion class project speech of a 12 year old girl. Good stuff.

They Went Looking For Prejudice, And They Found It!


The Islamic studies chairman at American University in Washington undertook a study to see “how well this country upholds its ideals in a post-September 11 world.“

As part of that study, Hailey Woldt traveled to Alabama and dressed in “traditional black abaya.” Her “experience was a pleasant one.” And it was unexpected. As Allahpundit put it, “They went looking for prejudice — and darned if they didn’t find it.“

This led Shannon Love to observe:

What Woldt discovered was not the prejudices of the small-town southern white American but instead the prejudices and stereotypes of contemporary leftist academia. Woldt expected to find prejudice not because she had already seen it but because her education indoctrinated her to expect it in others. This little incident opens a window on the insular, elitist and bigoted world of leftist in contemporary academia.

(H/t Instapundit.)

Why is it that the supposedly most broad-minded Americans have the most narrow view of their fellow citizens?

And from the comments to the post:

Isn’t it a mortifying disgrace that these so-called “intellectuals” are so deluded and drunk on their own elitism that they are genuinely bewildered when it turns out that all of their bigoted assumptions about their own countrymen are ignorant stereotypes? These fools have never questioned the characterization of Southerners (and pretty much anyone who doesn’t live in NY, LA or SFO) as hateful, inbred, racist, homophobic savages prone to violent, homicidal outbursts against anyone that is different from themselves.

Yet, it’s these are the same f-ing idiots who claim that the jihadists mean us no harm, want to live in peace, and are “just like us, with families and children.” What happened to these people that they are only capable of seeing hatred and evil in their own fellow citizens?


I live up in the Liberal Northeast, where most Libbies believe that the South hasn’t evolved since the 1840s. I had a pair of friends who are very liberal and decided to adopt a dog from a rescue group in Mississippi. They were so on the fence about heading down there because they were convinced that they’d be lynched by the KKK the moment they crossed the state’s border… and they’re white!

To make a long story short, my pals came back with a lovely new (actually, old) golden retriever, and a new perspective. According to them, they went down there expecting to get drawn and quartered by right-wing rednecks. Turns out that they were met with nothing but hospitable hosts and friendly locals all the way from Mississippi to West Virginia. One hotel went out of their way to accommodate their dog. From what they say, people didn’t start being rude to them until they crossed over to the New Jersey border.

To this day, they talk about how they had the Southerners all wrong and how they’re embarrassed by how misinformed they were.

Remarkably, a lot of their liberal friends dismiss their experience to mere luck.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Unpacking 'Science vs Religion'

Great essay.

Here's a good point:

To answer the question ‘can science and religion be reconciled,’ one must first ask it in a way that can be answered. Can evolutionary change be reconciled with Christianity? Can biological information be reconciled with atheism?

The Classic Trap

Trying to use an intelligently designed and painstakingly controlled experiment in order to refute intelligent design. It is often joked that if we ever create life in the lab from scratch, Darwinists will jump up and exclaim, "See! No designer needed!" Here is a prime example of that mindset.

Worrying About The Wrong Thing

Some folks are worried that Obama will eventually be seen as "Carter II". It seems more likely to me that Carter will eventually be known as "Obama I".

He Wanted To Hit The Ground Running, But All He's Done Is Hit The Ground

J.R. Dunn has a great reflection on the trainwreck that is (and will probably continue to be) the Obama Presidency.

Great Quip

"We have nothing to hope for but hope itself."

--Mark Steyn

Atheist Genesis

Mark Shea:

In the Beginning, there was Nothing--and it Exploded

Gradually, over time, the explosion cooled into little bits that just acted the way they acted because they do. These bits combined into more and more complicated stuff. The stuff interacted according to physical laws that just happen to be fine tuned so that the stuff could manifest characteristics called life. At this point, the All Explaining Theory of Everything called Evolution kicked in, leading in short order to bacteria, jellyfish, trilobites, bony fish, amphibians, dinosaurs, mammal, homo erectus, homo sapiens, various stupid civilizations enslaved to the god meme that accidently evolved in our brains, and Me: Homo Rationalisticus, who has kicked down the ladder of prehistory and taken my place as a Truly True free being. Sooner or later, I will build a rocket and colonize the universe. Or, alternatively, I will be destroyed in an Armageddon ignited by human folly and die declaiming about the pointlessness and futility of the whole meaningless whirl of time space matter and energy. But one thing I will never do is consider the possibility that Nothing does not just explode and create everything, because that would bring me perilously close to suggesting the existence of You Know Who.

That's more or less the Creation Myth of the reader of popular science mags these days. I think of it because a reader writes...


On one of my own pet peeves:

I had a moment today on the road where I wanted to put a Tomahawk through the car in front of me, because it was UNAWARE OF ME. This is, and is not, as selfish as it sounds; when I have to turn left against oncoming traffic, I get my corpus into the intersection, so the vehicle behind me can turn in my wake if it chooses. But I got behind someone who dared not nose into the intersection, worried perhaps that the greater distance would make it difficult for me to take in all of her instructive, ruckus-provoking bumperstickers. I didn’t follow, because that would have meant breaking the plane on a red light. My cause was just, but I declined to take the field.

It’s always amazing how many people drive with no idea whatsoever of what’s behind them. The rear-view mirror might as well be a cable channel not included in their package.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Quote Of The Day

From commenter here:

I too have wondered if Obama regrets now being the President. It’s a tough job for anyone, but especially tough when it’s your first job.





February 9, 1964

Good reflection on the Beatles at NRO.

Pelosi's Lapdog

Ed Morrissey:

Well, governing’s been a bust thus far, and Obama likes getting out of the White House. Why not go back to what he does best — in fact, just about all he’s done in his political career?

On Monday, President Obama will travel to [Elkhart, Indiana] to highlight what’s at stake as his $800-billion-plus economic stimulus bill is debated in Congress.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs says Obama wants to go where the nation’s economic problems are “acute” as part of his “his effort to convince Congress to move swiftly.” …

Monday’s visit will be Obama’s third trip to Elkhart — he stopped by twice during the presidential campaign — but his first trip outside Washington as president to meet face-to-face with average citizens.

Free tickets to the Concord High School town-hall-style meeting were handed out first-come-first-served starting at noon Saturday. People were lined up before 7 a.m. and the tickets were gone by early afternoon.

During the campaign, critics and opponents noted that the only real track record Obama had built in thirteen years of politics was campaigning for something else. Three weeks into his new administration, he’s found governing to be difficult, especially when trying to shove a partisan porkfest down the throats of an increasingly skeptical public. Time to go back to campaign mode! It apparently beats pulling the bill back for a chance to offer Republicans some input to get a bill that would generate easy support and passage.

Jazz Shaw can’t understand why Obama and the Democrats don’t see that:

If Obama allows this bill to slide through under the Democratic leadership’s knuckle, his vision of a post-partisan, new America working together for a bright future melts into just another four year cycle of political rhetoric which we’ve heard far too many times before. Today is the time to be in the trenches salvaging what will doubtless be one of the defining moments of Obama’s first (and if he’s lucky, not only) term. It’s not a moment to drop back into election mode and head off for a campaign rally.

In a way, Obama’s escaping rather than campaigning. The problem in this bill isn’t in Elkhart, and neither is the solution. Obama let his signature issue jump off the rails when he failed to control Nancy Pelosi and force her to get Republicans involved in writing the bill. That didn’t happen in Elkhart. He could solve that problem by summoning Pelosi and Harry Reid to the Oval Office and instructing them to go back to the drawing board, this time with Republican leadership, and get a bill that would gain massive support on both sides of the aisle.

After all, it’s not as if Republicans have shown an allergy to government spending over the last decade, and a targeted, efficient stimulus already has Republican support, as shown in the alternatives already offered by House and Senate GOP caucuses. If such a bill passed with wide margins, Obama could claim leadership and bipartisanship. Instead, he caved to Pelosi’s partisanship, and worse gave it cover by doing what Pelosi refused to do: meet with Republicans. The Left laughably claims this as bipartisanship, demanding that Republicans reciprocate by supporting a bill in which Democratic leadership refused to give them a voice.

Reversing that would take leadership by Obama, which has been completely absent in the first three weeks. Instead of leading, Obama’s bailing out of Washington and hiding out 1500 miles away. He wants to go back to what he does best, which is obviously not governing or leading.

So Does This Mean They Really Didn't Blow Up Alderaan?

Geek out on this!


Pretty good. Link (scroll down past the blog header).



Eighteen Days of Hope and Change?

Was it all about power, after all—the furious Hollywood outbursts, novels, and films about killing Bush, and the Kerry-Kennedy-Reid-Pelosi-Durbin sermons on morality and ethics?

Was Obamania not about oceans receding and the planet cooling, not about vero possumus, or the Victory Column and a faux-Parthenon ushering in a sort-of-Virgilian new age?

Instead, though Bush-Hitler supposedly used to demonize his opponents as un-American, we get silence as Obama now dubs those who jump the Republican ship to vote for his trillion-dollar package as "patriotic" in the way that those who will be willing to pay Joe Biden's new higher taxes are—patriotic? And "The Decider" simply morphed into "I won"; and we went from Duke Cunningham and Larry Craig without a blink to Charles Rangel cheating on his taxes, and Dodd/Frank getting low-interest loans or a great job for a partner, as they took money from Freddie/Fannie and ensured they could implode without restraint? Was that all hope-and-change was about?

And in two weeks we went from the highest ethical standards in history to Richardson and Daschle pulling out for probable violations of the law and the new treasury secretary and de facto head of the IRS cheating on his taxes? And the secetary of labor suddenly paying off liens and lobbying for labor organizations? And ten-plus lobbyists appointed to a new no-lobbyist government? And when Hollywood used to give us movies like Rendition, and rants about Bush shredding the Constitution, what did hope-and-change give us? More FISA, the Patriotic Act, rendition, Iraq, and another year at least of Guantanamo—all now as necessary and legitimate as it once was Hitlerian. And after eight years of "Bush is trying to terrify us" we are told that anyone not voting for a new trillion dollars of debts is ushering in catastrophe, and without sudden change California will have no farms, no agriculture even. And for the incompetent, deer-in-the-headlights Scott McClellan, we got—incompetent, deer-in-the-headlights Robert Gibbs? Was that all hope-and-change was?

You're Sitting On A Chair In The Sky!!!

This is great.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

What Weigel Said

Seems sensible to me.

Where Are The Damages In Observing The Services You Paid For Delivered?

What tangled webs we weave...

This Is Presidential?

Hectoring appeals to authority and a whining, sarcastic, overbearing tone. Thoroughly ridiculous.

Can you imagine if a Republican President had ever done this?

Great Discussion

Probably the best single recent piece I have found on the current huge troubles in the LC/RC movement caused by the confirmation of bad actions and duplicity on the part of its founder.

Part two of the discussion is here.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

The First Time As Tragedy, The Second Time As Farce


“SCARING PEOPLE is not leadership.”

UPDATE: Jacob Sullum: “President Obama’s pro-stimulus op-ed piece, which Matt Welch skewered earlier today, displays the panicky, scare-mongering rhetoric we have come to expect from a politician who entered office less than a month ago with a reputation as a calm, cool, and rational weigher of facts.”

And here’s the Welch skewering.

MORE: A reader emails:

Roosevelt: We have nothing to fear, but fear itself!

Obama: Be afraid. Very afraid!!

Aviate, Navigate, Communicate

The recording and transcript of the successful landing in the Hudson.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Here's The Deal

The Anchoress:

A little levity from reader Stan:

Three contractors are bidding to fix a broken fence at the White House. One is from Chicago, another is from Tennessee, and the third is from Minnesota.

All three go with a White House official to examine the fence. The Minnesota contractor takes out a tape measure and does some measuring, then works some figures with a pencil. “Well,” he says, “I figure the job will run about $900: $400 for materials, $400 for my crew and $100 profit for me.”

The Tennessee contractor also does some measuring and figuring, then says, “I can do this job for $700: $300 for materials, $300 for my crew and $100 profit for me.”

The Chicago contractor doesn’t measure or figure, but leans over to the White House official and whispers, “$2,700.”

The official, incredulous, says, “You didn’t even measure like the other guys! How did you come up with such a high figure?”

The Chicago contractor whispers back, “$1000 for me, $1000 for you, and we hire the guy from Tennessee to fix the fence.”

“Done!” replies the government official.

And that, my friends, is how the new stimulus plan will work.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

"Clearly Gifted?"

This standard disclaimer is becoming tiresome:

Analysis: Daschle debacle humbles Obama

By CHARLES BABINGTON, Associated Press Writer Charles Babington, Associated Press Writer – 2 hrs 6 mins ago

WASHINGTON – Two weeks into his presidency, Barack Obama proved that even a clearly gifted politician cannot escape the gravitational pull of Washington forces that have humbled many of his predecessors.

The new president, seen by some as arrogant, was anything but on Tuesday.

"I screwed up," Obama said repeatedly during a series of TV interviews. "I take responsibility for this mistake."

It was a frank admission from an Oval Office where "mistakes were made" has often been the preferred dodge.

An old story, with new actors, played out Tuesday: A new president's team imperfectly vetted top nominees. The nominees, it turns out, had not paid taxes for household help or other services when they were private citizens. The news media and political adversaries bored in. And rather than spend more valuable time and political capital defending the appointees, the administration dropped them and moved on.

In other words, Obama may be more ordinary than some admirers would like to admit. He will surely struggle, over the coming weeks and months, with the economy, health care, military matters and Congress, much as other presidents have.

That's hardly an indictment. But Obama's rocket ride to the White House, his extraordinary speaking skills, and his smooth, I-don't-sweat style had some people calling him "the one," a once-in-a-generation political leader who could rise above his predecessors' foibles.


What is it with you people? He is not "clearly gifted", and he does not have, nor has he ever had, "extraordinary speaking skills". He is a middle of the pack nonentity, elected well before his time, for entirely base reasons.

No Big Deal. The Fight Was Never About "Marriage" Anyway.

Mission accomplished, back to the singles scene.


Seen here:

A commenter at Gateway Pundit writes:

There are two kinds of people in the electorate: 1. People who remember how horrible the Jimmy Carter years were. 2. People who are about to find out.

I know It Works In Practice, But Does It Work In Theory?

A guy does some real investigative journalism, by getting a job at WalMart to see for himself what it's actually like. Guess what? It's not the way the oh-so-concerned leftists like to think.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Republicans Must Achieve Miracles, Democrats Don't Have To Do A Damned Thing

The Anchoress gives the press what-for.

Beyond The Facts

Great Onion parody (marred by the lewd and irrelevant segue to the next "story" in the last few seconds):

Bratz Dolls May Give Young Girls Unrealistic Expectations Of Head Size

If Fraud Is The Foundation (Impossible Government Promises), Fraud Will Also Be The Walls And The Roof


How about those used car buyers (as victims)?

"SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- The national wave of auto dealership closures has come crashing down on thousands of people who are on the hook for used-car loans that dealers were supposed to absolve."

Isn't that nice? You trade in your car on a new one, and a month later the lender on your original note comes after you! Why? Because the dealer, who contractually was obligated to pay off your note, didn't. He pocketed the money (literally!) and then went out of business.

This isn't an ordinary contract dispute, it is outright fraud. You were given paperwork showing that the lien was to be satisfied and your transferred your title to the dealer - you gave him the vehicle and he gave you both a new car with a loan and a representation that your previous vehicle's lien was being discharged.

The "soft underbelly" of this whole scheme is that frequently dealers have apparently not been immediately paying off these liens, but rather waiting for things like the manufacturer holdback to come to them. In the meantime they spent the money, and if they fold ahead of those "promises" you are the one who takes it on the chin.

This is yet another example of "The Bezzle" in our financial system - that is, the underlying fraud and embezzlement that has permeated every corner of our financial and social systems. The nasty part of "The Bezzle" is that it almost always has an element of cost-shifting involved in it - we have seen, for example, banks about to fold (like IndyMac) start offering crazy-rich CD rates into the market, cost-shifting the interest expanse onto others (specifically, the FDIC!) Not every piece of "The Bezzle" is a crime, but all parts of it raise costs for those who do the right thing and punish them, as all are a "skimming" operation in one form or another.

But back to the car dealer - you'd think that when you traded in your car the next day satisfaction of your old loan would be transferred out to the lender who held that note by that dealer. You'd be wrong - those dealers have sat on these notes for days, or in some cases a month or more. If they go bankrupt you are the loser because your contract is with the dealer; the lender has every right to hold you accountable when the note isn't paid, and does.

Note that this is distinct from Real Estate transactions where by law when closing takes place escrow has closed and money has changed hands. The deal is over. This is NOT necessarily true in the automobile world - it should be, but its NOT. The States, which have the responsibility to insure that the regulated businesses they govern act in an ethical and legal manner, have done little or nothing to do stop this because "times were fat" and heh, we don't want to actually demand that dealers remit the next business day on traded vehicles - even though they could have, and prevented this from happening. Everyone "won" if the dealers got to play fast and loose with the money for a few days - or weeks - pretending there was no risk in doing so.

Does it end there? Oh hell no. How about this one?


More examples follow, including that of a 42-year-old drawing a government retirement pension worth $2 million, while also working another full time government job (which has its own pension benefits).

Rescue Of A Magnificent Bird

The story:

Antidote du jour (hat tip reader keenan; the story and photos come from a co-worker):

I was on my way home from work last week when I saw a dead broad-winged hawk on its back in the middle of a two lane road. I drove by it and then decided to take it home and get a better look at a bird of prey since it was dead. I turned around and when I pulled up next to it and stopped traffic, its head moved slightly. I picked it up and it flapped one wing. I set it on its belly on the passenger seat and its head just lay there like it was going to die.

On the 25 minute drive home it started to move its head more and pick its head up. By the time I got home it was standing on its feet and looking around but not afraid of me. I didn't want to scare it or have it try to fly during the drive home so I had my gloved hand on its back.

When I got home I slowly climbed out of the car and then called around for a vet. I finally found a lady who takes birds of prey at her hospital in Hershey. She said I need to put it in a box for its safety, which now was quite difficult because the bird was wide awake and aware of its surroundings. It must have been stunned from getting hit or flying into a car window.

It looked healthy with no broken leg so Steph and I opened the car doors and I had to force it out using a box. It was in no hurry to leave the car. It dropped to the ground and flew away. It was okay. I think if I would have left it on the road, other cars would have hit it. It just needed time to recover from being stunned.

Go to the link to see some very unusual snapshots.

The Boom Ain't Coming Back

Charles Hugh Smith gives 6 salient reasons.

Sunday, February 01, 2009