Thursday, July 30, 2009

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Preserving, Upholding, And Defending

A soldier explains the Constitution to his legislators. Hint: The federal government has absolutely no Constitutional authority to do thing one about health care. He gets a wild ovation for his efforts. Count me in.

See the video.

Some Midsummer Photos


See them bigger here.

Deleverage Medicine

Cash is the answer. Charles Hugh Smith.

It's Magic

This is a spectacular achievement (and the soundtrack is a pop song I haven't heard for about 35 years).

Hear, Hear!

"In Praise Of Racial Profiling"

H/T Brutally Honest

Monday, July 27, 2009


Seen here:

A friend of mine used to say that “A good education is the one thing Americans are willing to pay for and not get”.

Good Heavens,. He Keeps Digging

The man is simply way out of his league, and doesn't know it. More proof that affirmative action helps no one.


Is the title of this great little Mark Shea essay, which he re-introduced in response to this.

They Don't Know Why They Were Elected


Just As "Charity" Is Easy When It's Other People's Money, "Apologies" Are Easy When They're Not For Yourself

Great point.

"It Won't"

I like the cut of this guy's jib (see the video at the link).

20 Hours Of Drivin', 46 Hours Of God Rockin' The House

Got to sleep last night at around 2:00 AM after our return from the Steubenville San Diego Catholic Youth Conference. My wife and I brought 8 kids down from the Bay Area, starting our journey at 6:00 AM on Friday. 11 hours later we were in San Diego for the Friday night/all day and night Saturday/Sunday morning conference, joined by a couple of great Stanford kids who served as chaperones.

Man OH MAN, it was awesome!!

Imagine an arena filled with 3500 Catholic teenagers (most from SoCal), just goin' nuts for the Sacraments, getting spiritually healed, and giving ecstatic, glorious praise and worship to Jesus! All accompanied by phenomenal, totally kickin' music and superb preaching.

And done in companionship with my adorable little 4 months pregnant wife who did the bulk of the organizin' to get us down there.

The real juice!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Insane Theocrat

Oh, you can just bet that the press will be all over this:

Obama says he prays 'all the time' for guidance

(AP) – 2 hours ago

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama says he's gone from praying nightly before going to bed to praying all the time because he has a "lot of stuff" on his plate and needs "guidance all the time."

Obama made the comments in an interview to air Thursday on ABC's "Nightline."

Obama says he thinks every president has been humbled by the number of issues they have had to deal with. He says he thinks they are quickly cured of the illusion that one person can solve all those problems.

Leftists, it's time for you to go berzerk, just like you did over Bush and Palin! The man says he is guided by God! He's clearly dangerously insane!! Will this nightmare never end?

Has The Shark, At Long Last, Been Jumped?

Good comment:

I believe this is a clear example of Barack displaying intellectual density. A smart person does not say “I don’t know the facts”, and then go on to assert a conclusion. If Barack had worked his way up in the world - had succeeded at running various enterprises, had to refereed disputes between employees, had to tiptoed through an EEOC minefield, and through potential exposures to legal actions arising from race or gender - would Barack EVER have said “I dont’ know the facts” yet here is my conclusion. Never.

Even w/o having worked his way up via concrete accomplishment, it’s still amazing Barack would embrace such flawed reasoning; would act upon such assumption. Barack is dense. Barack is arrogant. It ain’t what he don’t know that’s hurting us so badly, but rather what he does know that ain’t so.

I think the Gates Assumption is a demarcation point. It will be remembered by the public. It shows Barack leaps to assumptions in rash fashion. If Barack makes this assumption about the police officer, what rash assumptions has Barack embraced about Iran? Israel? Honduras? Tax policy? Spending? Health Care?

The average voter can understand the Gates vs. police dynamic. We all know s/o, or know of s/o, who has been arrested for mouthing off in an incident which had nothing to do w/race. I’m the whitest guy ever. The one time I began to speak angrily to a police officer, I never completed my first sentence before being certainly informed that, if more words came from my mouth, I would shortly be residing in jail. It was infuriating. And I immediately shut the heck up.

B/c police interaction resonates with the average voter, therefore Barack’s Gates Assumption will resonate. Someday, we will look back on this as a turning point.

One more thing: someday, we may even look back on this as a turning point in our dainty and fearful handling of any accusation of racism against any white person.

Ricci resonated with a the voting public which instinctively understands the injustice of racial quotas. The public noticed the selection of Sotomayor, and the defense of Sotomayor, and the refusal of either Sotomayor or Dem Senators to come clean over Ricci.

The racial Gates Assumption, coming on the heels of the racial Ricci discussion, and on the heels of the unforthright Sotomayor defense, will resonate.

Second more thing: between the Sotomayor defense and the Gates Assumption, Barack may have ceded his Oprah-esque status as a bargainer who is beyond race. The Gates Assumption is as blatantly racial as it gets. And people understand interaction with police. This won’t be easy for Barack to shrug off. As it concerns race, and in the eyes of the public and of voters, I don’t think it can be shrugged off.

It would take a Joe Kennedy type full court press to rebuild Barack as being beyond race. Maybe a buyoff or a threat which induces an onsite witness to tell a tale. Maybe a world victimization tour by Gates, telling a fully sympathetic story.

Worst case, in my mind, would be an attack upon character of the police officer: James Crowley, in the style of the attacks upon Clarence Thomas, Gen Petraeus, Joe the Plumber, Frank Ricci.

Also this:

This just shows how poor a politician Obama actually is.

He’s nailed his colors to the mast when he himself admits he doesn’t know what happened. He looks bad now, for jumping in with his size 13s when he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He could look even worse if his position is later proven to be rubbish. Then he’d either have to apologize or stonewall when he was clearly in the wrong.

Suppose this had been the Duke lacrosse “rape” case, or the Tawana Brawley fiasco. How ridiculous could he look, if, as in those cases, proof later emerges that he’s on the wrong side?

The smart thing to do was…nothing. But failing that, issue some anodyne statement about the necessity of upholding law and civil rights, and how he’s sure that justice will be done. But no. He’s got to insert his foot in his mouth.

Obama: You’re the President, as you keep reminding us. ACT LIKE IT. Think before you speak. If nothing comes up on the teleprompter, shut up until you receive your instructions.

Doubling Down


THE PRESIDENT CONTINUES TO ACT STUPIDLY: Today, Obama said that with all that's going on in the country with health care and the economy and the wars abroad, "it doesn't make sense to arrest a guy in his own home if he's not causing a serious disturbance." This is idiotic. Whether a person was justly arrested in connection based on a given incident has nothing to do with what's happening with health care or in foreign wars. Is Obama trying to say that the arrest would have been okay if everyone had health insurance, the economy was prosperous, and we were out of Iraq and Afghanistan?

Obama also said: "My suspicion is that words were exchanged between the police officer and Mr. Gates and that everybody should have just settled down and cooler heads should have prevailed. That's my suspicion." But why should the president articulate mere suspicions about a local police matter? And how can the president justify declaring, based on "suspicion," that a police officer acted "stupidly"? The answer, I think, is that he can't and should stop trying to.

Indeed, one could turn Obama's argument around and say that with the president trying to push through a health care bill, deal with the economy, etc. it doesn't make much sense for him to devote attention to a simple dispute between one citizen and the police.

Important Safety Tips

The Gates arrest is a splendid opportunity for again viewing this Chris Rock video.

Who's Out Of Touch?

Here's some political inspiration.

What's Not To Understand? The Guy's A Commie.


Let us suppose Obama thinks that Nancy Pelosi and the unions are right on all these topics, and Max Baucus is wrong. Even then, shouldn't somebody be advising him on political strategy? This is the aspect I find completely perplexing.

Brooks says:

The party is led by insular liberals from big cities and the coasts, who neither understand nor sympathize with moderates. They have their own cherry-picking pollsters, their own media and activist cocoon, their own plans to lavishly spend borrowed money to buy votes.

No doubt, but surely even from within the cocoon you can see what a losing approach this is. Why did Obama win in the first place, for heaven's sake? Because he campaigned as a centrist. Admittedly, what he really believed was often in doubt, and some of the policy specifics made one wonder. But look at health care. He positioned himself to the right--toward the cautious center--of Hillary Clinton. And it worked pretty well, didn't it?

If Obama offends the left, what are they going to do apart from whine? Let them whine. If he offends the center, he loses votes and is deeply wounded electorally. And so is the party in Congress, since the swing seats are almost by definition the ones where moderates and independents drive the outcome. When Max Baucus declared that the president wasn't helping him, sirens should have gone off in the White House--and some advisers should have been fired on the spot.

Obama could fix this problem so easily. I say that because I don't think he has strayed as far left as Brooks does. It's as much about messaging as policy. But he has to start disappointing the party's liberals. He has to pick a fight or two, and takes sides with the centrists. In choosing the party's liberals over the party's moderates, he is repudiating one of the most brilliant campaigns ever seen. I simply don't understand it.

Maybe you don't understand it because you don't want to understand it.

Liar? Ignorant? Stupid? A Little Of Each?

Excellent Neo-neocon post.


Found here:

All budget savings are based on this old joke.

The boy ran into the house and said exitedly, “Dad, I saved a dollar today by running home behind the bus.” The gruff father gave him the back of his hand. “Stupid child, you could have saved five dollars by running home behind a cab.”

O's A Genius

Ace of Spades rounds up a few more data points from last night's press conference.

Here's some wisdom:

3. Economics 101 FAIL

"Having a public plan out there that also shows that maybe if you take some of the profit motive out, maybe if you are reducing some of the administrative costs, that you can get an even better deal, that's going to incentivize the private sector to do even better."

A Stellar Predictive Record

Pretty good Market-Ticker screed.

But The Information Simply Isn't Pertinent, Because Democrats Are, By Definition, The Good Guys


Seems the AP forgot to tell us that Thomas Daniel, the investigator who thinks that outgoing Alaska Governor Sarah Palin may have violated state ethics law in raising money to defend herself against frivolous ethics charges, cut a rather generous check to Democrat Mark Begich’s Senate campaign last fall summer. According to Open Secrets, he contributed $1,000 to that Democrat, the same amount he gave to John Kerry in 2004. He gave $1,800 to the DNC (Democratic National Committee) and contributed to various Democratic campaigns, but not a dime to Republicans.

Don’t you think that might have some bearing on his ability to adjudicate an ethics issue involving a prominent Republican?

If the man investigating a Democrat had supported a Republican candidate, I’d bet the AP would let us know that. Not just that. The reporter neglected to inform us that Daniel works for Perkins Coie, a firm which served as counsel to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. Given that Mr. Obama’s presidential campaign was trying to defeat the ticket on which Mrs. Palin ran last fall, you’d think that maybe Mr. Daniel might want to recuse himself from investigating her. Or that that AP might report that. I mean, if his firm had worked for Republicans and he were investigating Democrats, they would certainly make much of it.

And the AP just might let us know that Perkins Coie has a history of helping Democrats in election campaigns.

"A Particularly Awful Appearance"


Bottom line, I thought this was a particularly awful appearance, and if there's a headline, it's:


Obama wants to do several things at once with this legislation, and as I've said many times before — God, his rhetorical tics are contagious — some of them are contradictory. It's hard to pay for. It's trying to expand coverage to those who don't have it — and he seemed to pledge 97-98 percent of Americans would be covered tonight — and make sure no one finds themselves being denied needed care. But it's also supposed to cut costs, and it's hard to spend less money and more money at the same time. The Blue Dogs are not mean people who want to destroy Obama's presidency. They would love to have the big, grand bill-signing ceremony with Ted Kennedy. But they're terrified that the bill will cost Americans a bundle, deny some constituents some needed care, tie up everything with red tape, and their governors hate it. They're not gonna end their political careers over this.

Judging from his answers tonight, Obama does not yet grasp this.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Looking into the numbers, things are far worse for ObamaCare than first meets the eye:

Rasmussen, which first started reporting the erosion of support Barack Obama enjoyed last month, now shows that Obama’s major domestic policy objective has suffered a 14-point flip in support. Late in June, Barack Obama’s health-care policy had a 50%-45% edge in support from voters. Today, 53% of voters oppose it, with support dropping to 44%, and support is much softer than opposition:

The health care reform legislation working its way through Congress has lost support over the past month. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 44% of U.S. voters are at least somewhat in favor of the reform effort while 53% are at least somewhat opposed.

Today’s 44% level of support is down from 46% two weeks ago, and 50% in late June.

Opposition has grown from 45% in late June to 49% two weeks ago and 53% today.

As in earlier surveys, those with strong opinions are more likely to oppose the plan rather than support it. The current numbers: 24% strongly favor and 37% strongly oppose.

Both men and women oppose ObamaCare by majorities, 57% and 50%, respectively. The only age demographic supporting it is the 18-29 year olds; opposition constitutes a majority in all other age demographics except 40-49, where it has a plurality opposed (48-46).

Most problematic for Obama is the flight of independents, who oppose the bill 60-38. That’s not his only problem, though. People making more than $40K per year strongly oppose ObamaCare:

* $40-60K: 62% oppose
* $60-75K: 74% oppose
* $75-100K: 65% oppose
* $100K+: 51% oppose

Those numbers represent the middle class, except for a portion of the last demographic (I’d hardly call $100K/year “rich”, although Obama may not agree). If the middle class aligns 2-1 against ObamaCare, we can understand why Congress has suddenly gotten skittish about pursuing it. The middle class sees their choices getting taken from them and in return getting a big bill to pay for a new government entitlement, and they don’t like it a bit. If Obama keeps pressing on this plan, the Democrats can kiss off those middle-class voters they wooed in 2008 by promising them no new taxes and fiscal sanity.

If Nothing Else, Leftists Need To Realize That ObamaCare Is A Grave Threat To Cheap Exotic Cuisine

Come on, commies, do you really want to face this nightmare?

But in all seriousness, an e-mail from a restaurant owner to Hugh Hewitt:

Hugh- as a small business restaurant owner I’m appalled that very few (politically, media) are discussing the massive impact Obama-care will have on small businesses. We simply cannot afford mandated employer health care in our industry, and keep in mind that our industry is one of the most critical backbones of the entire American economy- there are over 945,000 restaurants in America, employing over 13 million people.

Keep in mind we primarily employ entry level and relatively unskilled laborers in the restaurant business. Our business models are built on razor thin margins as our customers (the American public) demand great value for their food- we simply cannot afford to provide health insurance for our majority unskilled and frequently transitory workforce whom in many cases are already paid higher wages than their skills could demand in an unregulated market via inflation indexed mandatory minimum wage laws. Mind you we do offer solid compensation and health benefits to management and senior staff who by virtue of their skills, responsibilities, achievements and longevity have earned them We are already hammered by mandatory minimum wage increase that have siphoned off critical profits from our business in this time of recession- contributing greatly to significant price increases and labor force reductions already. Now Obama-care is proposing an 8% payroll surtax to finance mandatory healthcare?! This is INSANITY. Restaurants are built on after tax cash flow business models of less than 5% (which mind you has already been chipped by about 2% for min wage increases and price discounting to maintain traffic during a recession has hurt profits as well). Given payroll represents on average 25% of a restaurant businesses sales, an 8% surtax represent another 2 % hit to the bottom line! The senate version is almost as bad. And don’t let the small business exceptions fool you as restaurants are VERY labor intensive, and even a single small restaurant operation typically employees 20-30 people- practically every restaurant in America will be impacted by the mandate. Given that most small business restaurant operators survive on scale (2-10 locations) and again at very low margins, the small business exceptions will provide no relief for the those in the restaurant industry who provide the majority of jobs.

What does the administration think businesses will do in reaction to this law? For starters we will be forced to drastically reduce staffing in an effort to reduce our payrolls and offset the tax impact on our profits- I anticipate the current hiring freezes in the industry to turn into massive layoff waves, and the industry to cut back dramatically to levels that will significantly impact our service models and even our ability to continue to operate. Second we will have no choice but to raise prices significantly- the HIDDEN TAX on the American public is that all taxes are ultimately passed on to the consumer. Third, and perhaps worse, many, many, MANY restaurants will simply not be able to cope with the cost burden and will fold almost overnight, swelling the ranks of the unemployed even more drastically. Finally, the financial incentive to build new restaurants in America will be gone. Say goodbye to new and interesting and convenient cuisine options in your neighborhood as no rational investor will put money in the future into a money losing business proposition.

Always Be Closing!

He was a shrewd marketer.

It Absolutely, Positively Is All About Him

His Waterloo.

If It Really Were A Good Investment, Why Would They Let Someone Else In On It?

But they're trying anyway:

An apparently confidential IPO found its way to me and I reckoned it was worth sharing: it's an IPO for the U.S. Government, underwritten by Goldman Sachs:



In conjunction with its junior underwriting partners (international banks), Goldman Sachs is pleased to offer shares in a unique initial public offering: the Federal Government of the United States of America.

As proxy owner of the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury, Goldman Sachs is in a unique position to realize the full value of owning shares in the U.S. Government, as Goldman Sach's proxy ownership has yielded astounding profits.

The U.S. Government (USAG) has a number of features which offer investors extraordinarily unique long-term opportunities. As the sole global empire, the USAG has an unmatched ability to obtain, borrow, connive, plunder, discount or otherwise control key assets such as the largest remaining reserves of fossil fuels (Mideast) and surplus capital (China's foreign reserves).

The USAG does have substantial liabilities which carry significant risks to investors. However, Goldman Sachs believes these unfunded liabilities in the approximate range of $50 to $75 trillion can be set aside in favor of the $23 trillion in profits to the banking and investment sectors which are flowing from the TARP and other bailout programs designed and managed by Goldman Sach proxies in the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury.

As the most significant unfunded liabilities, Social Security and Medicare, are sliding irrevocably into insolvency, Goldman Sachs believes these liabilities can be jettisoned by legislative actions taken by its proxies in Congress and regulatory actions taken by its proxies in the Executive, Treasury and Judicial branches of the USAG. This will free the revenues streams generated by taxation to flow directly into the owners of the USAG, Goldman Sachs, its international bank partners and shareholders in this IPO.

Although the underwriters (Goldman Sachs and partners) anticipate a steady flow of profits from the $23 trillion being funneled into bailouts and backstops, other significant if unlikely risks include thermonuclear war due to Imperial over-reach, the financial destruction of middle class taxpayers, and insurrection of the debt-serfs who constitute the majority of citizens living under the control of the USAG.

The IPO also offers unmatched opportunities for global exploitation and profits as a result of alliances and agreements with other cartels such as the Peoples Republic of China, the European Union, the Union of Oil Kleptocracies and other international organizations whch control and exploit the planet's populace and resources.

Large shareholders in the USAG will also gain other substantial benefits such as access to heavily fortified islands in the Caribbean and Pacific and special status in Switzerland.

Private junkets on Imperial cruisers and aircraft carriers will also be available by invitation to selected shareholders.

This offering and all subsequent actions of the U.S. Government will be under the management of Goldman Sachs and its international partners.

Wait The Age Of The Universe For A Mousetrap To Spontaneously Appear, And Nobody Will Beat A Path To Your Door

A clear thinker dismantles one of the well-known arguments against Behe. This is just one of many sound critiques. Now there is a funny thing about the Darwinists. For them the game ends as soon as their side offers criticism. The counter-criticisms are simply never acknowledged.

If Darwinists refereed tennis, it would go like this: Side A serves, side B returns, therefore side B wins!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Your Humble Blogger

Image Hosted by

Snapped by my wife today with a Nikon D40 and its kit lens.

You Have Blasphemed The Prophet!!!

Steven Pinker in a letter to the Boston Globe:

Creationism piece no way to honor Darwin’s birthday
July 20, 2009


SHAME ON you for publishing two creationist op-eds in two years from the Discovery Institute, a well-funded propaganda factory that aims to sow confusion about evolution. Virtually no scientist takes “intelligent design’’ seriously, and in the famous Dover, Pa., trial in 2005, a federal court ruled that it is religion in disguise.

The judge referred to the theory’s “breathtaking inanity,’’ which is a fine description of Stephen Meyer’s July 15 op-ed “Jefferson’s support for intelligent design.’’ Well, yes, Thomas Jefferson died 33 years before Darwin published “The Origin of Species.’’ And Meyer’s idea that the DNA code implies a code maker is just a rehash of the ancient “argument from design’’ - that an eye implies an eye maker, a heart implies a heart maker, and so on. Darwin demolished this argument 150 years ago.

In a year in which other serious publications are celebrating the bicentennial of Darwin’s birth and the sesquicentennial of “Origin,’’ the Globe sees fit to resurrect his long-buried opposition.

The advantage that traditional newspapers have over the Internet competition is quality control. If the Globe repeatedly gives its imprimatur to the latest nonsense from an anti-science lobbying organization, what’s the point of going to it for reliable, intelligent commentary?

Steven Pinker

Here is what some of the UD commenters had to say:

Virtually no scientist takes “intelligent design’’ seriously, and in the famous Dover, Pa., trial in 2005, a federal court ruled that it is religion in disguise.

I can’t help but wonder what Pinker would have had to say had Jones ruled that ID was science. Would they accept citations of the ruling as de facto evidence that ID is indeed science or would they pound their lecturns shouting that courts and judges do NOT get to decide what is or is not science?

Pinker continues to fume

And Meyer’s idea that the DNA code implies a code maker is just a rehash of the ancient “argument from design’’ - that an eye implies an eye maker, a heart implies a heart maker, and so on. Darwin demolished this argument 150 years ago.

Whenever words like “demolished” or “eviscerated” or “destroyed” are invoked to describe the state of ID arguments, its a sure sign that the critic has nothing of substance to offer. Pinker waving vigorously waving his hands as he shouts “DEMOLISHED! DEMOLISHED!” at the top of his lungs doesn’t exactly amount to any sort of compelling argument. So, Dr. Pinker, should you happen to read this blog, then I have a challenge for you: tell us how you know scientifically that the properties of Nature are such that any apparent design we observe in biological systems can not be actual design, even in principle? I’m not the least bit interested in your philosophical, metaphysical or theological opinion on the subject…only the science. Show me the scientific research studies that confirm this hypothesis and cite the relevant peer reviewed scientific journals where these studies were reported, because I would love to read them. I would also be most interested to hear how these finding might be falsified.

If you don’t have such scientific studies (hint to Dr. Pinker: you do NOT), then why on earth should anyone give a whit about your philosophical opinion on the subject? Do you really believe that your academic authority includes the right to dictate which philosophical worldview is acceptable for science and which isn’t? If you truly believe that, Dr. Pinker, by all means tell me from whence this authority of yours comes and who or what validates that authority such that the rest of us must yield to it.

In other words, Dr. Pinker, instead of writing snitty letters to the editor of a newspaper, why don’t you try laying out an actual argument to support your case using actual science, logic and reasoning. For an example of how to do that, I refer you to the original article by Dr. Stephen Meyer which you so vehemently attack.


Still, I have to wonder what Pinker bases his outrage on. Is it:

a. That the BG has published op-eds from the super-mega-evil Discovery Institute?

b. That it establishes a trend: TWO–COUNT ‘EM–TWO pro-ID op-eds IN AS MANY YEARS? Why, that’s ONE PER YEAR!! Beware the coming theocracy!!!

c. That the publication of the super-mega-despicably-evil op-ed from the SMDE Discovery Institute occurred so close to Our Lord’s 200th birthday? Was its publication merely an instance of bad timing? Would there have been a better time to publish it? Arbor Day, perhaps?

d. Or that it “sows confusion about evolution”? Apparently, this is Pinker’s job. After all, isn’t this the same Steve Pinker who published a NYT op-ed defending infanticide?

"And Keep In Mind, This Time When They Come For The Jews? It’ll Probably Be Long After They’ve Already Come For You."

The Jaded Haven post I referenced here, inspired a commenter to add:

When did we lose it? You’ve heard the old saw “…first they came for the Jews, then…”?

First they came to each state asking them to give up their right of restricting voting to only those who were established and responsible citizens, to anyone who could be coaxed to say ‘yay!’ or ‘nay!’ in the name of Democracy! and Progress!

Then they came to take the right to define the school curriculums from the local parents, to give the content of their children’s minds to distant experts approved by the govt, in the name of Democracy! and Progress!

Then they came to take the right to say where your children should be, what they should do, what they should learn, and where they should learn it, to the govt, not for any nefarious purposes of course, but in the name of Democracy! and Progress!

Then they came to take the right to be responsible for paying your own taxes and took your right of first claim on your own income… and you know why, not for any naughty purposes, oh no, only for your own good.

Then they came to take the right for your U.S. Senators to be beholden to those local state legislators who not only knew and understood the interests of their state (and whom the people might know personally, and elected), and demanded that they be elected not by ‘vested interests!’ (which meant you) NO! but by the People!, which changed the nature of the Senate from a deliberative body, removed from the heat of popular opinion, to a forum of show boaters even more practiced in heated populist rhetoric than those in the house of representatives – and far less answerable for their actions… all in the name of Democracy! and Progress! and Campaign Finance Reform! (Gosh that one still works well, doesn’t it!).

Then they came for your actual property, your Gold, actually came and took the gold from peoples houses, on pain of fine and imprisonment, and when the Supreme Court balked, there came the “Switch in time that saved Nine” but which denuded them. And when the govt forced a decision on them that voided the sanctity of contract, Justice McReynolds said “Congress had no power to destroy the gold clause commitment. FDR is Nero at its worse. As for the Constitution, it doesn’t seem to much to say, that it is gone”.

And then they came for the cigarette makers, and the Dr’s, and the car mfg’s, and the food labelers, and the uninsured, and … and… and… no need to fill in the blanks folks, they will do that quite well all by themselves now.

“How ever did we get here?!!!”

Please. Stuff it.

And keep in mind, this time when they come for the Jews? It’ll probably be long after they’ve already come for you.

This week might be the very last chance to slow it down… CALL your non-representing representatives and tell them NO! On what? Doesn’t matter, just NO!!!

"Our Fate Was Sealed By Dead Relatives Who Sold The Nation’s Soul For A Liar’s Foul Promise"

It might not be very uplifting, but it is true.


This Sums It Up


Bitter Clingers

You disagree with The One and that's what you are. It's just as true in July 2009 as it was in April 2008. Video proof.

Obama Is Giving You The Duty To Die

But don't worry, the government will get you personally ready for the concept via periodic mandatory sit-downs with a euthanasia specialist. See The Anchoress for details and reflections.

The Democrat Party Is...

All this.

Deserved Mockery

Good video. The crowd is having none of the lies being dished out by this Democrat congressman re:health care "reform".

Profiles In Centrism

More data:

The president's decision to appeal for help to the hard-left edge of the blogosphere tells us his health care plans are faltering in the Senate where hopefully risky, radical and increasingly widely unpopular schemes go to die, even when one party has 60 votes.

In another attempt to save his radical attempt to remake American medicine from sinking under the weight of common sense and objections on cost and other grounds, President Obama conducted a conference call with bloggers from the leftosphere. So much for any pretense that the hard-left scheme to move the country to Canada-style single payor has anything to do with common-sense, reasonable reform of aspects of a generally-admirable health care system. The president went to his hard-edged shock troops --a political strategic reserve-- and asked them to rush and bully the Hill. No doubt they will, but will Democratic senators and an increasing number of House members looking at a difficult re-election landscape a mere 15 months down the road be pushed into political suicide by the posters at Daily Kos?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Eviscerating A Spurious Cliche

Mark Shea:

"Extraordinary claims require extraoardinary evidence"

is one of those stupid tropes that have gained currency among the sort of people who value cleverness over wisdom. It sounds great and is routinely trotted out to smack down anybody who argues for things like the existence of God or the reality of a miracle.

There's only one problem: it's meaningless crap.

There is no sliding evidentiary scale whereby claims of factuality require more and more astounding evidence until the biggest claim of all requires and infinite amount of stupefyingly awesome evidence to establish the claim. We do not require a tiny amount of evidence for petty theft, but virtually incredible evidence for murder.

What we requires is sufficient evidence. Produce the purloined necklace from the suspect's pocket with his prints on it and that's enough. Produce the corpse with the bullet from the .45 belonging to the suspect, give motive, and demonstrate that he was seen by witnesses shooting the guy and you've got a conviction. Nobody says, "The charge of murder is more extraordinary than the charge of petty theft, so in addition to this normal evidence we will need something extraordinary."

All this stupid meme really means is "I dislike claims of the supernatural, so I'm going to lard on a bunch of unreasonable demands in order to make fend off the obvious evidence. Is there a documented medical miracle? I won't pay attention to the evidence. Instead, I will demand to have such miracles occur in a laboratory (even though I would never demand that all murders and thefts occur in laboratories). If the evidence is overwhelming that the miracle, say "giving the gift of sight to a woman who had no pupils in her eyes", took place, I will demand to know why the miracle does not occur to *everybody* and why all blind people are not healed.

In short:

"Incredible claims require incredible evidence," can only mean, "claims that I choose to reject willfully and a priori require evidence that I will not choose to reject willfully and a priori." This is entirely a matter of the speaker's intellectual and volitional dispositions. But a speaker's intellectual and volitional dispositions have no effect on the truth, i.e. the reality, of a claim. Thus the the idea that, "incredible claims require incredible evidence," is not relevant to judging the truth or falsity, i.e. the reality or non-reality, of any particular claim.

Remember: theists are people who fear the light of rational inquiry, while atheists are Thinking People who fearlessly follow the evidence wherever it leads. Fortunately, it leads to the conclusion that we live in a godless universe that they arrived at when they were nine years old and they have never ever had to stop and reconsider that mystical insight. They're so right they don't even have to bother with counter-evidence.

If Politics Were About Sense Rather Than Graft

David Bernstein via Instapundit:

A HEALTH-CARE SUGGESTION THAT’S TOO SENSIBLE TO BE TRIED: “Let the Democrats put forward three different health care reform proposals. Let the Republicans put forward two different proposals. Find five states to volunteer. Each state adopts one of the proposals. Wait several years. See if any of these proposals worked out well, and if so, which one seems best, and why. Learn from this trial and error, and then pass a national health bill, instead of trying an untested, one-size fits all solution for 20% of the American economy.”

They Stole It Fair And Square


Let's dispense with this sort of bilge from The Washington Post right here:

Money can't buy love? For proof, look no further than Goldman Sachs. Last week, the firm reported a spectacular quarterly profit -- close to $3.5 billion for the bank and about $385,000 in compensation for each employee for the first half of the year -- and right on cue, the braying began for the heads of the Goldmanites. Earlier this month, Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi, in a comprehensive exercise in conspiracy mongering, primed the pump of outrage with his article "The Great American Bubble Machine." Now a chorus of supporters has chimed in, shocked that in a recession the evil Goldman could turn such profit.

I know nobody that objects to making a profit.

I know a lot of people who object to theft.

What began as an effort to keep the financial industry from repeating its mistakes has turned into, as at other points in history, an attack on the idea of trading profit. It is no longer enough that the banks should be reformed; the opportunity to make this kind of profit should be eliminated.

That's an outrageously false statement.

Many in the community, myself included, object strenuously to a poker player who has an extra set of aces up his or her sleeve. We also object to a casino capitalist model where the winnings are kept but the losses are forced onto someone else.

And that, dear reader, is what Goldman and the rest of the big banks have been doing for the last two years.

Over the last several years Goldman Sachs entered into a metric ton worth of credit default swaps with AIG, even though AIG was incapable of paying off on those swaps. They did so as the "brightest people in the room", that is, either knowing that AIG was incapable of covering the bet or simply not caring that AIG could not cover the bet.

These transactions allowed Goldman (and the other banks who engaged in them) to hold "assets" on their books at intentionally-inflated values - that is, at demonstrably more than those "assets" were actually worth in the market, under the rubric that should their value fall Goldman would be able to "recover" under their insurance policies (the CDS.)

But in point of fact these transactions were never any good, because AIG didn't have the money to pay.

When this became evident Goldman (and others) managed to connive the government into "saving" AIG by throwing more than $100 billion dollars of taxpayer money into the firm. About $13 billion of that went directly to Goldman Sachs to "pay off" those contracts. Billions more went to other institutions, including banks in Europe.

In doing this, Goldman and these other banks forced the taxpayer to eat their bad bet - that is, their loss. That $13 billion was in fact unearned - they had no right to it, as AIG was in fact insolvent and they would have collected zero had the firm gone into bankruptcy. Goldman and these other banks were either unable or unwilling to rescue the firm themselves, so through the use of political influence peddling they got the taxpayer to do it for them, thereby collecting on a transaction that they either knew or should have known had no chance of being paid off at the time they entered into it.

Having done this, they placed yet more bets. This time they won those bets, and made a "profit." But they would have never had the capital to place the bets but for the taxpayer bailing them out in the first place, as they would have likely gone under last fall.

The real objection of Taibbi and others is that Goldman, except for one bad quarter at the nadir of the financial crisis [And these same fools who never saw any of this coming also don't know the difference between "nadir" and "eye of the hurricane"-Matteo], has turned a profit. Big profit.

No, the real objection of Taibbi and others (myself included) is that Goldman managed to steal $13 billion dollars of American Taxpayer money, without which they would not exist today. Having stolen that money through claims of imminent financial collapse made by their former head, Henry Paulson, at their urging, they now have speculated with that taxpayer money and kept the proceeds.

Nobody would object were Goldman to return not only their "TARP" money but also the entirety of the "passthrough" benefits they have received, specifically but not exclusively the $13 billion dollars that was funneled through AIG to them.

But if Goldman had done that, they would have posted a huge loss, and in addition would not have had the money to repay TARP.

Nobody I am aware of cares if a firm is able to turn a legitimate profit through their actions in the market. We object not to profit, but to blatant chiseling of the taxpayer after a company or individual makes a bad bet due to their own incompetence or willful blindness, then demands that the taxpayer cover it, yet when their bets turn out well, they keep the money and hand it to their "associates."

That's robbery, and I and others will continue to point it out until the shills who advocate for same and try to excuse it, along with Goldman themselves, are held to account.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

I'm Sure This Is All Just Some Kind Of Honest Misunderstanding

If is to be believed, then an LA packing company received a 1.2 million dollar grant for 2 pounds of ham.


But, it's got to be some kind of typo or mistake.


UPDATE: More from Instapundit.

Slow Down, Son

Appearing in the WSJ, some advice to Obama from a long-time Democrat activist.

Wizbang and Jennifer Rubin add their reflections on the article.

We Need This


MAKE CONGRESS PAY THE SURTAX: “Rep. Artur Davis, D-Ala., said he will propose that a 1% surtax be applied to the salaries of members of Congress, regardless of how much they earn. Davis said that would help lawmakers share in the tax that the House bill — which this week cleared two of three House Committees — would impose on families and businesses earning more than $350,000 annually.” It’s their fair share.

Hey, how about a constitutional amendment requiring that members of Congress always pay the highest marginal rate. . . .

Friday, July 17, 2009

Health Care Mythology

A most excellent piece by Cliff Asness, an investment fund manager.


Myth #6 Health Care is A Right

Nope, it’s not. But we are at the nuclear bomb of the discussion. The one guaranteed to get me yelled at or perhaps picketed by a mob waving signs printed up with George Soros’s money. Those advocating socialized medicine love to scream “health care is a right.” They are loud, they are scary, but they are wrong about rights (as the 1980 kid in me resists the temptation to type “TO PARTY” – you had to be there).

This is more philosophy than economics, and I'm not a philosopher. But, luckily it doesn't take a superb philosopher to understand that health care simply is not a “right” in the sense we normally use that word. Listing rights generally involves enumerating things you may do without interference (the right to free speech) or may not be done to you without your permission (illegal search and seizure, loud boy-band music in public spaces). They are protections, not gifts of material goods. Material goods and services must be taken from others, or provided by their labor, so if you believe you have an absolute right to them, and others don’t choose to provide it to you, you then have a “right” to steal from them. But what about their far more fundamental right not to be robbed?

In fact, although it’s not the primitive issue, the constant improvement in health care gives another good example of why the “right” to health care makes little sense. Did you have a right to chemotherapy in 1600 AD? You could have protested to Parliament all you wanted, but chemo just didn’t exist. Then, did you have a right to it the moment some genius invented it? You did not pay for the research. You did not make the breakthrough. Where do you get the right? How did it come into existence for you the moment somebody else created these things? I’m pretty sure you cannot have rights to material goods that don’t exist, and I am pretty certain that the moment some genius (or business, or even government) brings them into the world your “rights” do not improve. But strangely, many disagree.

Conundrums are easy to create. If a cure for all disease is discovered but it costs the GDP of Europe for each treatment, do we all have a right to it? Of course not. We can say we do, but it does not matter. We cannot have it (unless you agree with my forecast for Europe’s GDP and wait 50 years). But the absolute “health care is a right” position leads to a clear yes (you know those people bussed in by ACORN and the SEIU carrying signs saying “health care is a right”? Ask them what they think about this issue; I dare you). The smarter crazies might argue that they only mean the right to a reasonable level of health care. But then we have government running and rationing health care, as Congressional committee decides what’s “reasonable”? Health care is not a primitive right, but keep printing those signs.

So why do people scream health care is a “right” if it so obviously is not? If not a right it can still be willingly provided as charity by society (I’ll again leave aside the libertarian fight about whether we all need to be forced to provide charity). But those screaming “health care is a right” worry that this will not work out as well for them. It would work out if all they cared about was good health care for all, and not power, but they do love that power.

Those seeking free health care could admit these are not rights but they simply want other people’s stuff, and be honest supplicants, or open thieves. However, they believe that guilt and the false moral high ground work better for them. Do not cede that ground. They are beggars with the government’s guns behind them...


Via American Digest.


Drink Up

Pretty good. H/T Mark Shea, who says this was made by a 16 year old.

"Bailando En La Calle, Everybody!"

Iowahawk parody.

"Green Shoots"


GE (NYSE: GE) was out this morning with earnings and continues to validate my central thesis: severe economic contraction.

Revenues were down 17% - another double-digit contraction, and this is particularly troublesome in what it says about the global economy, given GE's global reach.

Again, we continue to see the same sort of theme in industrial and consumer products reporting - Harley Davidson (NYSE: HOG) reported units shipped down 30% year over year yesterday, and now GE out with a 17% year over year revenue decline.

Stocks are, at their core, priced on earnings growth, with the most-common ratio used for such metrics being P/E/G, or Price-to-earnings-growth.

But earnings are not growing, they're contracting - dramatically - in percentage terms over year-ago levels. How can it be otherwise? Even with no inefficiencies due to firms having too many employees for the revenue contraction that is occurring, a 30% reduction in business done should lead to a 30% decline in profits earned. Add to that the fact that firms are nearly always behind the curve and you have profit declines that are much larger - in some cases 100% or even going from a profit to a loss.

This is not a circumstance that will reverse in the immediate future; in order for it to do so, revenue must come back up, and in order for revenue to come back to pre-bust levels, we would have to re-inflate the credit bubble - which simply cannot happen.

Multiples are going to continue to contract. Those analysts and market callers who are all over the momentum trade can in fact make a good buck trading the momentum, but that's all they're trading - they sure aren't trading earnings acceleration or even stabilization.

The move in the market off the 666 levels in March has been driven by a false premise, egged on by CNBC and the other "mainstream media" - that this is a typical recession, it is short-lived, and we will soon go back to previous spending and business patterns.

That is not going to happen, yet it is what everyone in the media and analyst community is looking for and basing their valuation and market timing calls on.

I don't know how long we have to continue to put up numbers like this before people wake up, but wake up they eventually will. When Harley Davidson ships 30% fewer motorcycles, when GE sells 17% less "stuff" (including their financial cooking) and when company after company, including Intel, IBM and others come out with revenue numbers that are down double-digit percentages on an annualized basis, there is no possible way you can justify the multiples that these firms are selling at.

When The Port of Long Beach shows container shipments down nearly 30%, when freight carloadings are down nearly 25% year over year, when sales tax receipts are down in the double digits and when income tax collections, both personal and corporate have effectively collapsed there is simply no argument that "the recession is over" or that "trend growth is around the corner."

The fact of the matter is that port, rail and tax receipts are not subject to being "gamed" by government number-crunchers, they do not play "seasonal adjustments" (since they're year-over-year numbers), they do not represent wishes, dreams, or desires.

They represent real-time, high-frequency, "right now and in your face" economic performance metrics and are impossible to argue with.


What those high-frequency data sources are telling us, here and now, today, is that we are in the middle of a 25-30% economic contraction - exactly as I predicted would occur in 2007.

The problem with this level of indicated weakness in the economy is that we have shielded firms, especially banks, from taking the losses that should have come last year and in 2007 related to their over-extension of credit. Now those institutions are going to have to live with the reality of a much smaller economy, meaning that they will be forced to turn to dramatically increasing credit costs to customers to avoid drowning (e.g. increasing credit card rates and spreads), which is exactly what they're doing. This in turn will suck even more money out of consumers pockets, dragging consumption down even further and will force even more defaults.

This is a vicious cycle that can only be broken when the defaults that are being hidden behind the curtain of our financial institutions are forced into the open and disposed of. Yes, this will likely cause those firms to go bust. But the economic penalty we are and will continue to pay for allowing The Bezzle to continue in these firms will, if not stopped, soon choke off any hope of recovery, just as it did in 1930, and lead to precisely the same sort of economic result.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Creotard Theocrat

I hold (without appeal to revelation) that when we take a view of the Universe, in it's parts general or particular, it is impossible for the human mind not to perceive and feel a conviction of design, consummate skill, and indefinite power in every atom of it's composition. The movements of the heavenly bodies, so exactly held in their course by the balance of centrifugal and centripetal forces, the structure of our earth itself, with it's distribution of lands, waters and atmosphere, animal and vegetable bodies, examined in all their minutest particles, insects mere atoms of life, yet as perfectly organised as man or mammoth, the mineral substances, their generation and uses, it is impossible, I say, for the human mind not to believe that there is, in all this, design, cause and effect, up to an ultimate cause, a fabricator of all things from matter and motion, their preserver and regulator while permitted to exist in their present forms, and their regenerator into new and other forms. We see, too, evident proofs of the necessity of a superintending power to maintain the Universe in it's course and order. Stars, well known, have disappeared, new ones have come into view, comets, in their incalculable courses, may run foul of suns and planets and require renovation under other laws; certain races of animals are become extinct; and, were there no restoring power, all existences might extinguish successively, one by one, until all should be reduced to a shapeless chaos. So irresistible are these evidences of an intelligent and powerful Agent that, of the infinite numbers of men who have existed thro' all time, they have believed, in the proportion of a million at least to Unit, in the hypothesis of an eternal pre-existence of a creator, rather than in that of a self-existent Universe. Surely this unanimous sentiment renders this more probable than that of the few in the other hypothesis.

--Thomas Jefferson in an 1823 letter to John Adams


If A Black Man Makes A Case For Anything Whatsoever, All You Gotta Do To Refute Him Is To Point Out That Other Black Men Disagree

At least in Barbara Boxer's universe. But she gets pwned for it by a black guy who is just not going to put up with that kind of racist condescension (video at the link):

Senator Boxer didn't take that inanity lying down. She played the race card badly in the Environment Committee, and it didn't go well. Watch the video.


Harry Alford represents the National Black Chamber of Commerce, and testified, complete with documentation to support his claims, that the cap and tax and tax bill that Senator Boxer so wants to see become the law of the land would not help the energy situation in this country, would actually harm it, and have a devastating impact on businesses, and by extension, jobs.

Senator Boxer didn't see Mr. Alford sitting in the witness chair as someone with a viewpoint to have a debate with. She saw an African-American man that opposed her, and proceeded to then cite a NAACP resolution and a 100 Black Men of Atlanta endorsement. Mr. Alford rightly called Boxer on her racial condescension, which clearly flustered her. Note at the end of the clip where she responds to his anger as an Army veteran as saying she married a veteran, as if that's supposed to somehow protect her with that constiuency group, too.

Boxer's entire M.O. as senator is to wield liberal ethnic or gender groups as a bat to bludgeon any criticism to her agenda. That's not debating, that's bullying. That's not respecting racial diversity. It's using racial groups as a weapon. It may be lost upon Senator Boxer, but not all African-Americans agree on everything. Not all Minnesotans do, either, for that matter. Maybe she could have cited some statistics that challenged Mr. Alford's material, and had a fruitful discussion about the merits of implementing a cap and tax and tax system. Boxer can't have that discussion. She'd lose. Instead, she implies she has more black people supporting her than opposing her, so Mr. Alford must therefore be discredited. Her stunt yesterday was reprehensible, shameful, and another blush in a long line of embarrassments all non-union voting residents of the Golden State have had to endure.

"Don't Tread On Me" Will Soon Make A Surprising Comeback, And From Unexpected Quarters

Megan McArdle:

I confess, I am surprised to find out just how little money you can raise by slapping a 5.4% surtax on incomes above a million. I also wonder at what point serious political resistance to taxes sets in. I know, it's common to claim that Americans are tax haters. But actually, Americans, even the wealthy, pay their taxes at a rate that would shock an Italian. We grumble, but in the end, we pay.

But at some point, that changes. In the highest paying zip codes, the effective average combined tax rate (not the marginal rate) on many affluent people is already well over forty percent--I shelled out more than 40% of my really non-lavish journalist's salary when I lived in Manhattan. The repeal of the Bush tax cuts will push some taxpayers into the 50+percent total tax bracket. Is America ready?

One thing I think that wonks often overrate is how fiercely the resistance to taxes mounts once you get past a certain point. Our mental arithmetic is all wrong. We think of a 5% tax increase as a relatively small amount. But of course, once you're nearing a 50% average tax rate, a 5% tax increase is something like a 10% cut in the taxpayer's take-home pay. And the higher the starting tax rate, the larger the percentage of tangible income the tax increase consumes. Yet because wonks assess tax increases relative to the size of the base rate, an increase from 55% to 60% actually sounds smaller than an increase from 15% to 20%. Yet from the perspective of the taxpayer, the former represents a much greater encroachment on their disposable income.

Someone with two million a year in adjusted gross income now takes home $650,000 out of the last million, then pays some portion of the remainder to various state and local authorities. In 2011, if all goes as currently planned, they'll lose just more than $100,000 of that income, and more to various tax increases on lower income levels. Rich people are less budget-conscious than you and I, but I bet even they notice a missing $100,000.

Should we feel sorry for them? No. But I expect they'll start felling sorry for themselves. And I'll be interested to see what impact this bill has, if it passes, on Obama's support among the wealthy.

Atheist Slap Fight

P.Z. Myers is quite properly taken to task in Chris Mooney's new book Unscientific America. Mooney is the guy who wrote The Republican War On Science, so you'd think his "New Atheist" secularist bona fides would be secure. But no, not with Myers. From Mooney's blog:

10. The Trouble With PZ Myers. In his review, Myers doesn’t address our criticisms of him–of his public writings and actions. But we will end by elaborating upon why, in the wake of the communion wafer desecration, we decided we had to speak out about Myers in a way that would really be heard.

Though we have not said so until now, Myers is among the central reasons we left ScienceBlogs. There were many factors involved, of course, but one was our shock at what he calls “Crackergate.” We describe the full incident in the book, but let us quote from Myers’ words when he closed off comments (there had been over 2,000) after posting his picture of the defiled eucharist with a rusty nail driven through it:

What effort I put into [the desecration] was not in response to the reality of your silly deity, but in response to the reality of your dangerous delusions. Those are real, all right, and they need to be belittled and weakened. But don’t confuse the fact that I find you and your church petty, foolish, twisted, and hateful to be a testimonial to the existence of your petty, foolish, twisted, hateful god.

Now I’m afraid I’m going to have to close this thread. Its purpose has been well served: the fanatical Catholics and their crazy beliefs have been fully exposed. Over 2300 comments on this subject in 20 hours is quite enough.

Watching all of this, we were appalled. We could not see what this act could possibly have to do with promoting science and reason. It contributed nothing to the public understanding or appreciation of science, and everything to a nasty, ugly culture war that hurts and divides us all.

We recognize that Myers writes entertainingly and sometimes hilariously; we know he’s kind and soft-spoken in person; and we realize he describes science accurately and insightfully. And we understand he’s a very good teacher as well.

Nevertheless, in his online persona–and nowhere more than with the wafer desecration–we believe he cultivates a climate of extremism, incivility and, indeed, unreason (the opposite of calm and respectful debate and exchange) at ScienceBlogs. And it is past time that someone spoke out about that, as we did in Unscientific America.

For too long, people in the science blogosphere have tiptoed around Myers. After all, he can send a lot of angry commenters your way. And he, and they, are unrelenting in their criticisms, their attacks, and so on. Just read our threads over the last week–it’s all there, the vast majority from people who have not read our book and do not seem inclined to do so.

But we’re not afraid of Myers or his commenters. They can leave hundreds of posts on our blog–we readily allow it–but our book will be read by a different and far more open-minded audience. It’s already happening. And that audience will largely agree that Myers’ communion wafer desecration was offensive and counterproductive, and that more generally, he epitomizes the current problems with the communication of science on the Internet.

We know how many others agree with us, because we have heard from them. We also know the standards of intellectual decency, fairness, and so on that we’ve learned from years of journalism and in academia. And if, as our book proposes, we are going to be training young science communicators, they must learn at least two basic lessons they will not be getting from Myers: civility and tolerance.

Our core concern, though, isn’t really about Myers or his blog. What worries us is what they say about the world of American science as it appears on the Internet. For Myers is, as we all know, the most popular blogger on the most popular science blogging site–and has a horde of loyal followers who see themselves as the disciples of reason, and swear by “science” (when they’re not just swearing).

And this is his most famous performance: Desecrating a communion wafer.

That doesn’t just say something unflattering about Myers–it says something devastating about all of us.

Amen, brother.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

They're Starting To Notice The Barrels Of Tar And Sacks Of Feathers


House Members Being Hammered Over Waxman-Markey [Iain Murray]

I'm hearing that the popular reaction to the passage of the Waxman-Markey electricity tax bill in the House has blown House members away. The public outrage is really hurting those who voted for it, and that's why the bill has been "parked" (as the Blair government used to say) in the Senate. Very good sign. We need that sort of public pressure to defeat this monstrosity, and similarly for the health-care plans. If these two overreaches go down, Obama's political capital will be spent. How often has a president become a lame duck by his own actions within a year of taking office?


This is pretty hardcore. No one would shake The One's hand.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Good Sticker


Poseurs Are Not Really Into The Shocking And Transgressive

At least not when it's about something real.

Don't Judge A Book By Its Cover

Another America's Got Talent amazing surprise. Actually, not too amazing and not too surprising if you know any small town "country" people. Just really darned good.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Newsweek Thinks Obama Should Skool The Pope


In truth, though, Obama’s pragmatic approach to divisive policy (his notion that we should acknowledge the good faith underlying opposing viewpoints) and his social-justice agenda reflect the views of American Catholic laity much more closely than those vocal bishops and pro-life activists. When Obama meets the pope tomorrow, they’ll politely disagree about reproductive freedoms and homosexuality, but Catholics back home won’t care, because they know Obama’s on their side. In fact, Obama’s agenda is closer to their views than even the pope’s. …

Notre Dame awarded the president an honorary degree because it saw the need to highlight the best of Catholic teaching as applied to politics: the ability to open the eyes of those who would prefer to keep them closed, and to open the hearts of those who would prefer not to know the pain that their actions cause. The pope has a lot to learn about Catholic politics in America. Barack Obama can teach him.

And If The Peasants Decide To Burn Their Own Crops, What Then, Comrade?


The Bad Guys

Ponder a simple fact: The Obama administration is dispersing income lavishly to those who do not pay taxes and it will have to be paid for by those who do. For all the talk of that awful percentile who make over $200,000, this administration has not distinguished the hyper-rich 1% that make untold money (e.g., the Buffets, Soroses, Turners, Gateses, Kerrys, Gores, etc), from the much more demonized, larger 5% of the population whose income does not come from investments and insider influence and deal-making, but rather from providing more tangible goods and services — the family doctor, the plumbing contractor, the small lumber company owner, the car dealer, the local family-held insurance company, the airline pilot, the car-leasing firm, the patent attorney, etc.

“Their Fair Share”

Last fall we heard that this percentile was unpatriotic, did not wish to spread the wealth around, and had made off like bandits under Bush. But the fact is, to quote Mayor Gavin Newsome’s “like it or not,” they are precisely those who decide most dynamically whether to hire, fire, expand, contract, buy/sell goods, etc.

And the results of the Obama war against them are threefold: 1) in major key states, the productive minority’s state income taxes will near or exceed 10%; their federal rates will go to 40%; the abolition of caps on FICA will ensure 15% plus of most of their income will go for new Medicare and Social Security bites; and they may well be eligible for a newly proposed punitive health-care surcharge tax of 4-6%.

Add It Up

If one were to add all that up (forget rises in sales taxes, inheritance taxes, luxury taxes, etc.), then one can get to 70% of one’s income. So right this minute, the electrical contractor is thinking:

“I made $412,000 last year due to Saturday jobs, overtime, risky bidding, gambles on new equipment, and new lines of credit, but under Obama I will pay maybe $50-80,000 more of my income to the government. In other words the cost of, say, hiring two more entry-level electricians, or the cost of outfitting an entire new van with boom and equipment, or what I cleared every Saturday last year — all that will go to the government.”

Ripples of Doubt

And that means rippling throughout this key sector of the economy — even before these taxes have been enacted — are hesitation, stasis, and ultimately constriction — at first for psychological reasons, soon confirmed by the actual facts of less money. In short, very bright people will be thinking how to hide income, how to barter, how to slow down and not produce goods and services, rather than blast full speed ahead and enrich angry others.

A Certain Paranoia

2) Do not discount again the psychological element. This putative electrical contractor also knows that after handing over his profits to the new government, and delaying or ending his plans for enlargement, he will not be praised, but continually demonized (I scanned CNN, MSNBC, CBS, and NBC the other evening, and all the stories had a common theme: the “rich” (yes, you see, ACME Electric is now about the equivalent to AIG and Citibank) will have to pay their “fair share” for all sorts of “overdue” necessities: cap-and-trade, nationalized health care, education grants and freebies, and new social programs.

You Owe Us

So our electrician senses that despite his newfound, sizable contribution to the public good, he will a) not be thanked but only further ridiculed; b) see his money diverted from his own wise use of it, to anonymous agencies’ liberal expenditures of it: the money will not be just lost, but invested in things that will make things worse, not better, through subsidies of failed programs and the destruction of incentives; c) see that the world under Obama is now unfair in Orwellian fashion: the Citibanks and AIGs, in Robert Rubin fashion, are so well connected to both parties that they will suffer little for their mistakes; the Ivy-League and Washington technocratic class that is to run all this is happy with its government perks and does not think new taxes and compliance apply to themselves (cf. Dodd, Rangel, Geithner, Daschle, Murtha, etc.).

You Never Needed All That Anyway

3) Finally the now chastised and ossified electrician will begin to see that his new truck, his boat, his vacation home, all these are somehow immoral in carbon, political, cultural, racial, and social terms. And he senses that others, who do not pay any income taxes (approaching 50% of the population), see themselves at war with him: the more he pays in taxes, the more others see that his compliance with such new burdens is proof of what he “really” owed all the time, and a sign that he can pay even more next round.


That is the model here in California and that is the model we are soon to see in Washington: the government worker and those who receive his largess, are kings; those who pay for them, and who work in private enterprise for far less, are, well, less than fools.

Vanderleun On Palin

Interesting take:

In the last week Sarah Palin has moved herself from the periphery to the center of power in the Republican party. The Party just doesn't seem to know it yet.

By resigning as the Governor of Alaska, Palin has positioned herself as the single most valuable power broker for the GOP in the 2010 elections. Simply put, in close primaries pitting Republican against Republican, and in close general elections for the Senate or Congress, Sarah Palin's endorsement and/or campaigning for a candidate can get that person elected. In addition, Palin can also raise money for a party and for candidates who would otherwise be strapped for cash. These are formidable political powers and only by freeing herself from Alaska will she be able to exercise them.


The question is not who among the Republicans won't want Palin's endorsement in 2010. The question is which Republicans in close contests, incumbent or challenger, would be able win without it. This raw political fact will become especially visible in the last few weeks before the 2010 polls when Palin will give a new meaning to "barnstorming."


2010 is a make or break election for the Republicans. And the person in that year that can make and break Republican candidates is now Sarah Palin. She's not only a star, she's the only star the Republicans have or are likely to have. Love her or hate her, the Republicans must have her, and she must be available for active campaigning across the country.

And as Palin will benefit the Party in 2010, so will she benefit from any electoral victories (primary or general) that she will have had a hand in securing. Politics raw runs on money and markers. An endorsement or appearance by Palin brings crowds, commitment, enthusiasm, and donations -- not from the interior old-guard of the Party -- but from the rank and file conservatives and the center-right feminists. These people form the mass of the Party. It might ignore them between elections, but it will need their lawn signs, donations, and door-belling in the primaries and general elections. Palin can give all this --the people -- to the candidates of her choice. She can do this by simply showing up.

A retreat from the public eye for a bit will not diminish her stature but enhance her myth. Myth, as we have seen in 2007-2008, is a powerful force in elections.

What will Palin get for bringing in victory and money? She'll get what she doesn't have now -- markers. At the present time it's hard to think of any markers that Palin holds. You have to actually deliver money or victory to a politician to get a marker from a politician. If she campaigns broadly and effectively for various Republicans in 2010 she'll have a sheaf of markers going into 2012. She'll also have a core staff already tempered by the 2010 elections, most likely a book, and an enhanced myth. By the end of 2010 Sarah Palin will have become the most powerful person in the Republican Party. Palin will be, at the very least, a kingmaker, at most a populist Queen.

Her enemies in all parties may not have quite figured this out yet, but they sense it. Sensing, they fear her. And that's why the hate goes on.

Seems like a good assessment. Is it really deniable that the only GOP politician who is not some kind of candy-assed joke, and the only one anybody gives a darn about, is Palin?

One of Vanderleun's commenters had this to say:

Necessity is the mother of invention and one would think based on that universal law that a conservative leader would have already emerged full blown. I mean a real firebrand, a fist pumping, spittle flinging, rabble-rouser. Someone, in a word, that would channel the energy and intention of that guy in the youtube video you posted beating a PC monitor with a bat as he utterly eviscerates the statism that we are now force fed daily. I pray Palin is that person. I fervently pray that the GOOD will wake up to the fact that it's evil twin has been on a winning streak these past few decades and that it is high time that sulphurous stink suffered some defeat. Sometimes I have wondered if GOOD was still in the game even. Justice is crying out from the very rocks for its turn.

Yup. It is way past time for someone to start kickin' ass and takin' names.

Attempted MSM Act Of Worship DENIED!!

Nice try.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Science Czar

The positions of the guy Obama just appointed "science czar":

It turns out that John Holdren, Obama’s new “science czar,” has expressed some unusually radical ideas about stemming population growth. Or to put it more simply, he’s a totalitarian eugenicist:

Forced abortions. Mass sterilization. A “Planetary Regime” with the power of life and death over American citizens.

The tyrannical fantasies of a madman? Or merely the opinions of the person now in control of science policy in the United States? Or both?

These ideas (among many other equally horrifying recommendations) were put forth by John Holdren, whom Barack Obama has recently appointed Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, and Co-Chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology — informally known as the United States’ Science Czar. In a book Holdren co-authored in 1977, the man now firmly in control of science policy in this country wrote that:

• Women could be forced to abort their pregnancies, whether they wanted to or not;
• The population at large could be sterilized by infertility drugs intentionally put into the nation’s drinking water or in food;
• Single mothers and teen mothers should have their babies seized from them against their will and given away to other couples to raise;
• People who “contribute to social deterioration” (i.e. undesirables) “can be required by law to exercise reproductive responsibility” — in other words, be compelled to have abortions or be sterilized.
• A transnational “Planetary Regime” should assume control of the global economy and also dictate the most intimate details of Americans’ lives — using an armed international police force.

The Atheists Can't Keep Their Story Straight

Excellent Discovery Institute piece packs a lot in a small space as it critiques Jerry Coyne's disingenuity.

Contains some good stuff from Chesterton:

The question of the miraculous is a philosophical and historical question. It is not a scientific question.

The scientific manner of dealing with miracles is really quite impressive as a rhetorical phenomenon: it gets the scientific rationalist out of having to do any intellectual heavy lifting. It involves making metaphysical and historical assertions without actually making any metaphysical or historical arguments. G. K. Chesterton spotted the method behind it a hundred years ago:

The philosophical case against miracles is somewhat easily dealt with. There is no philosophical case against miracles. There are such things as the laws of Nature rationally speaking. What everybody knows is this only. That there is repetition in nature.

... The historic case against miracles is also rather simple. It consists of calling miracles impossible, then saying that no one but a fool believes impossibilities: then declaring that there is no wise evidence on behalf of the miraculous. The whole trick is done by means of leaning alternately on the philosophical and historical objection. If we say miracles are theoretically possible, they say, "Yes, but there is no evidence for them." When we take all the records of the human race and say, "Here is your evidence," they say, "But these people were superstitious, they believed in impossible things."

In other words, when you show that it did happen, you are told that it doesn't matter, because it can't happen; and when you show that it can happen, you are told that it doesn't matter, because it didn't happen.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Absolutely Fab

This is great:

Those Who Can't Make Their Mortgage Payments Will Be Glad To Cough Up Higher Rents. Not.

A blown prediction.

Repressed Heterosexuality

This dynamic had never occurred to me (from comments to this GayPatriot post):

By “power of her presence” you mean, I think, her sexual attractiveness. I think that the gay community forces gays to suppress their latent heterosexual urges as much as the straight community suppresses gay urges. We make fun of “gun nuts” or athletes slapping each other or “bromance” or whatever as clearly repressed gayness. When there are a bunch of shaved-head muscle guys shouting epithets at a Pride parade, we assume they are working out their internalized homophobia.

So why can’t gays have internalized heterophobia? Sarah Palin brings out feelings that gays have been told they are not supposed to have. They are not supposed to get a tingly feeling in their leg in the presence of a powerful, attractive woman. So they respond in the way straights respond to Adam Lambert–they accuse her of shrieking, of lack of substance, etc.

Homosexuality is not a complete absence of feelings for the opposite sex. But many gays try to force that myth on themselves to maintain a group identity. I’ve always had some level of attraction to women. I remember those happy days around 8 years old obsessed with Sandy Duncan and Shirley Jones. And I was madly infatuated with my 7th grade English teacher. I feel some of those same things for Sarah Palin. Though my feelings for Todd are a whole lot more tingly.

The Code of the Left vs The Code of the West

Great Vanderleun post.

The Youth See Right Through The Scam

Too bad it's the youth in Russia and not the US.

Via Brutally Honest:

Let other capitals go all weak-kneed when President Obama visits. Moscow has greeted Mr. Obama, who on Tuesday night concluded a two-day Russian-American summit meeting, as if he were just another dignitary passing through.

Crowds did not clamor for a glimpse of him. Headlines offered only glancing or flippant notice of his activities. Television programming was uninterrupted; devotees of the Russian Judge Judy had nothing to fear. Even many students and alumni of the Western-oriented business school where Mr. Obama gave the graduation address on Tuesday seemed merely respectful, but hardly enthralled.

“We don’t really understand why Obama is such a star,” said Kirill Zagorodnov, 25, one of the graduates. “It’s a question of trust, how he behaves, how he positions himself, that typical charisma, which in Russia is often parodied. Russians really are not accustomed to it. It is like he is trying to manipulate the public.”

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

More Evidence That We Work For Them

Some serious attitude coming from the public employees who have bankrupted the state. They think they are better than the rest of us.

Theremin Concerts For The Homeless

Funny stuff at the expense of The One from Jon Stewart.

Three Months Of Photos

The best photos I've taken (or postprocessed) in the last three months are here (more load as you keep scrolling down, 56 total photos).

Here's another way to view them.

Also, in slideshow format.

A Diplomatic Genius

The latest from our chucklehead-in-chief:

God, I miss the days of the Bush administration, when we didn’t do things like this.

Referring to the long history of Russia-U.S. trade stretching back more than two centuries, Obama told an audience of business people in Moscow:

“Along the way, you gave us a pretty good deal on Alaska. Thank you.”

Contra Reuters, this was not a “pointed quip” (as Ed Morrissey notes, it only works as one if you assume that the President wanted to insult his hosts): it was a “somebody didn’t read the briefing materials (particularly the bits about Vladimir Zhirinovsky) gaffe.” What’s next? Thanking the Chinese for their involuntary help with training up our Navy during the Boxer Rebellion? That should go over well: they’re even touchier about their history than the Russians are.

And I actively dread thinking about what the current President is going to say, the next time that he visits Japan.

See also.


Denninger has the right attitude:

So now California is literally stealing tax refunds - that is, over-payments, and issuing "IOUs", never mind that those funds are not theirs. In any ordinary business such a game (while there was any cash available) would lead to the proprietor being locked up for theft-by-conversion.

In addition so-called "entitlement" payments to some are being made with these "IOUs", which are in fact nothing more than a promise to pay next Tuesday for a hamburger that is supposedly owed today.

In truth there is no hamburger; the cow was slaughtered and eaten six months ago. It has long since been "recycled" into fertilizer, yet the charade continues onward for another day, with the sheeple believing that somehow these pieces of worthless paper make it "all ok."

The banks, assuming they stick to their Friday deadline, understand this. They're saying "uh, you know, come October those things might not actually BE good!" That's a problem, you see, as someone's going to be stuck with the bill if that happens.

A "trading environment" has almost instantly sprung up for these things, including on eBAY and Craigslist, which has led to rumblings that the government may have petitioned the SEC to deem these things "securities." Huh? Securities? Like hell; these are nothing more or less than a post-dated check, and a potentially-rubber one at that. But this hasn't stopped the government from trying to make sure that you, the person owed, are the one stuck with the worthless toilet paper, has it?

Even worse is the fact that if you're a small business and are being "paid" with these things it is illegal for you to pay your employees with them yourself. Oh no - Wage and Hour laws say you must pay your staff with actual money. This is more than a small problem as you're being effectively forced to take on the credit risk of the state!

If you're a vendor to California you had better figure this one out and fast. My view would be exactly as it as when I ran MCSNet in Chicago and the city thought it would play "I'll pay you later" with our invoices for internet service to the library system. After several warnings I simply walked up to the terminal and typed:

$ disable account_tag = Chicago_Library

When the terminals in the libraries went dark there was an immediate reaction - and threats - from the City. Too bad, said I, I don't get "forbearance" on my parking tickets! Pay up or no service. Period.

An hour later - literally - a city employee walked into our offices with a check for the full balance, and that problem never happened again.

Those of you who "serve" California need to take the same position - pay now, pay in cash, pay from now on with order or COD, or no more goods and services - period. If you don't, you're running the risk of being the bag holder, and if it happens, don't say I didn't warn you.