Sunday, February 28, 2010

One Can Only Hope

AJ Strata:

The entire nation is rapidly coming to the conclusion that this election has to send a clear and loud message to DC. We are going to pick one of two diverging paths this year and they need to listen. The liberals are going to try and push through Health Care establishing their preferred choice.

If they are lucky they will lose in Congress because enough dead-end Democrats will realize they are now free to vote their will and kill it. All Democrats now have very little chance of another term in the majority beyond November, many have no hope of another term ever. This actually releases Democrats from any pressure by the liberal leadership. They are now free to vote the path they want the country on: government control of our lives or individual freedoms and choices (with the requisite responsibility for the results).


What will happen if the Liberals actually convince Democrats to drive off this cliff is there will be a mandate from the people to dismantle the Health Care madness completely – and then to move onto other areas of government intrusion. Liberals think they can control the outrage building in the nation, that their delusions of grandeur will come shining through as established fact for the peasants and dullards who make up the electorate once their dream passes. They are completely clueless of course. If they continue down this path the country will rise up and smash them and anything even slightly tied to them.

They risk an enormous counter force that will roll back a century of building up the federal leviathan. The people will be so furious with these eggheads in DC taking their health care away they will support the break up of federal power over the states on all fronts.

There is no winning path for the liberals anymore. The GOP knows it, which is why they can stand pat without any risk. The only choice for the centrist Democrats is to decide how much damage they want the federal system to take in response to the liberal power grab. With an approval rating now between 10-20% it is now a question of what each Democrat wants to stand for as the their party flounders like the ‘unsinkable’ Titanic. There will be no Obamacare in a year.

Do Your Part!

Details here.

He Speaks For Me

Straight talk against the EU overlords.

Another Klavan Keeper


Who Needs Jesus, When You Have The Federal Government?

Al Gore doesn't:

Immanentize The Eschaton Watch [Jonah Goldberg]

Al Gore today in the New York Times:

From the standpoint of governance, what is at stake is our ability to use the rule of law as an instrument of human redemption.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

And Lucifer Was The Most Intelligent Created Being

So what precisely is the point?

Avatar = Pocahontas

As proven by this mashup.

It Has Its Donwsides, But It Might Just Be Crazy Enough To Work

Highlighted by Mish:

Grrr Writes:

I've come up with a radical scheme that could possibly work to end the housing crisis:

1) People that can't or won't pay their mortgage lose the house.

2) The banks take the house and sell it to people who can afford it.

There are a few flaws:

1) It doesn't require massive amounts of government money.

2) It doesn't protect people from their mistakes.

3) It doesn't punish responsible people who are patiently waiting for houses to become affordable.

4) It could result in the banks that helped create this mess failing.

In spite of these issues, I believe we should give it a try.


As quoted at GayPatriot:

While Barack Obama was making his latest pitch for a brand-new, even-more-unsustainable entitlement at the health-care “summit,” thousands of Greeks took to the streets to riot. An enterprising cable network might have shown the two scenes on a continuous split-screen — because they’re part of the same story. It’s just that Greece is a little further along in the plot: They’re at the point where the canoe is about to plunge over the falls. America is farther upstream and can still pull for shore, but has decided instead that what it needs to do is catch up with the Greek canoe. Chapter One (the introduction of unsustainable entitlements) leads eventually to Chapter Twenty (total societal collapse): The Greeks are at Chapter Seventeen or Eighteen.


Think of Greece as California: Every year an irresponsible and corrupt bureaucracy awards itself higher pay and better benefits paid for by an ever-shrinking wealth-generating class. And think of Germany as one of the less profligate, still-just-about-functioning corners of America such as my own state of New Hampshire: Responsibility doesn’t pay. You’ll wind up bailing out anyway. The problem is there are never enough of “the rich” to fund the entitlement state, because in the end it disincentivizes everything from wealth creation to self-reliance to the basic survival instinct, as represented by the fertility rate. In Greece, they’ve run out Greeks, so they’ll stick it to the Germans, like French farmers do. In Germany, the Germans have only been able to afford to subsidize French farming because they stick their defense tab to the Americans. And in America, Obama, Pelosi, and Reid are saying we need to paddle faster to catch up with the Greeks and Germans. What could go wrong?

Read the rest here. It's Steyn at his best.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Feudalism Rising


"What’s really going on, I think, is that the nature of class war has changed. The old virus has mutated. The old social and political divisions have given way to two new classes — rather as on the trains. Those in economy are most of us, paying for the comforts of those in first class. And those in first class are the new political class — all those who owe their advancement and their security and their pensions and their privileges not to their backgrounds or their talents, or even necessarily their political parties, but to the state and our taxes."

Wesley Mouch Lives


You Should Intentionally Default: President Obama

Well, ok, maybe not quite that explicit, but....

Feb. 25 (Bloomberg) -- The Obama administration may expand efforts to ease the housing crisis by banning all foreclosures on home loans unless they have been screened and rejected by the government’s Home Affordable Modification Program.

The proposal, reviewed by lenders last week on a White House conference call, “prohibits referral to foreclosure until borrower is evaluated and found ineligible for HAMP or reasonable contact efforts have failed,” according to a Treasury Department document outlining the plan.

Contract rights don't matter, law doesn't matter, we'll just ignore all of that pesky stuff when we don't like it.

Should this come to pass the obvious thing for everyone in this country who is underwater to do is to default. On purpose. The resulting flood of defaults will bury the banks with the HAMP "review" requirement for literal years, allowing you to stay in a free house for that amount of time.

During that time you can save a lot of money (your entire mortgage payment) or live high on the hog on the money you would otherwise send to the bank.

Of course you should consult with counsel before doing this, but this sort of change, if Obama actually does it, should be expected to provoke exactly that response.

If I was underwater on my house and had a non-recourse loan, the day this went into effect I'd burn the payment book and send a picture of it on fire to the bank along with a photograph of my ass bearing a hand-scrawled "kiss it!"

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Richard Dawkins Learns Something New Every Day

The latest is detailed by Vox Day.

Fun Fact

Bloomberg is catching on: Banker Bonus Anger Is Shifting to Government Workers...

By the way, unfunded obligations of state pension and medical benefits for public union retirees in Illinois is $25,000 per capita. That does not include the obligations of cities and the county.

More at Mish's post.

Monumental Scam Leads To Indentured Servitude

"Everything the government touches turns to crap."
--Ringo Starr

Charles Hugh Smith on the Student loan racket

Student loans are a classic simulacrum of "helping the citizenry:" the real purpose is to support bloated bureaucracies and create highly profitable debt instruments.

The time has come to end the student loan charade/scam/rip-off. Cloaked in the language of "helping the citizenry get a higher education," the entire student loan system is instead a classic simulacrum: behind the propaganda, it is nothing but a highly profitable funding mechanism for bloated, bureaucratic "higher education" fiefdoms and yet another debt instrument which profits Wall Street and banks while indenturing the citizenry in a perverse form of lifelong servitude.

I am not saying this to be contrary; it's simply stating what is "obvious."

Here is the key to understanding the fundamental fraud at the heart of the entire U.S. financial system and one of its offshoots, the student loan industry: lowering interest rates and providing limitless credit does not make a good or service "affordable," it only raises the price.


"It Is Another Thing To Pour Gasoline On A Populist Bonfire While One Is Already Being Roasted. "

From Michael Gerson in the WaPo (of all places):

On health-care reform, the strategy of President Obama and Democratic congressional leaders is psychologically understandable -- as well as delusional.

It is easy to imagine the internal dialogue: "Well, they voted for me, overwhelmingly. I didn't hide my views on this issue; I highlighted them. If they actually knew what was in the plan, they'd support it. If I don't believe in this, I don't believe in anything. Sometimes you just have to lead." But there is a problem with this reasoning: After a year of debate, Democratic leaders -- given every communications advantage and decisive control of every elected branch of government -- have not only lost legislative momentum, they have lost a national argument. Americans have taken every opportunity -- the town hall revolt, increasingly lopsided polling, a series of upset elections culminating in Massachusetts -- to shout their second thoughts. At this point, for Democratic leaders to insist on their current approach is to insist that Americans are not only misinformed but also dimwitted.

And the proposed form of this insistence -- enacting health reform through the quick, dirty shove of the reconciliation process -- would add coercion to arrogance. Majority Leader Harry Reid has declared that "everything is on the table" -- as though Senate Republicans and Democratic moderates were the domestic equivalents of Iran. This is the political context that Democratic leaders have set for their historically "transparent" health summit -- a threat as transparent as a horse's head in a senator's bed.

Obama now approaches the Rubicon. The Senate is in disarray. Its procedures frustrate his purposes. Before crossing the river with his army, Julius Caesar is reported to have said, "Let the dice fly high!" For what stakes does Obama gamble?

First, the imposition of a House-Senate health-reform hybrid would confirm the worst modern image of the Democratic Party, that of intellectual arrogance. Parties hurt themselves most when they confirm a destructive public judgment. In this case, Americans would see Democrats pushing a high-handed statism. It is amazing how both parties, when given power, seem compelled to inhabit their own caricatures.

Second, this approach would almost certainly maintain conservative and Republican intensity through the November elections. In midterm elections, it is intensity that turns a trend into a rout. It is one thing to pour gasoline on a populist bonfire. It is another thing to pour gasoline on a populist bonfire while one is already being roasted.

Third, this action would undermine Obama's own State of the Union strategy, which seemed like a shift toward the economy and away from health-care reform. The White House finds it impossible to settle on a strategy and stick with it. Democrats keep being drawn back into debates -- Reid is now proposing the return of the "public option" -- they have lost decisively, as if one more spin of the roulette wheel will recover their losses.

Fourth, a reconciliation strategy would both insult House and Senate Republicans and motivate them for future fights. The minority would not only be defeated on health reform but its rights would be permanently diminished -- a development that would certainly be turned against Democrats when they lose their majority. Each side would have an excuse for decades of bitterness, creating a kind of political karma in which angry spirits are reincarnated again and again, to fight the same battles and suffer the same wounds.


It's An Exceedingly Rare Occurence

But I find myself in agreement with PZ Myers:

Stop patting yourselves on the back over this study

Category: Stupidity
Posted on: February 25, 2010 10:40 AM, by PZ Myers

Good grief. This ridiculous study is making the rounds of the atheist community, with its claim that liberals and atheists are smarter than conservatives and religious people. Look at the numbers!

Young adults who identify themselves as "not at all religious" have an average IQ of 103 during adolescence, while those who identify themselves as "very religious" have an average IQ of 97 during adolescence.

Seriously? Show me the error bars on those measurements. Show me the reliability of IQ as a measure of actual, you know, intelligence. Show me that a 6 point IQ difference matters at all in your interactions with other people, even if it were real. And then to claim that these differences are not only heritable, but evolutionarily significant…jebus, people, you can just glance at it and see that it is complete crap.

And then look at the source: Satoshi Kanazawa, the Fenimore Cooper of Sociobiology, the professional fantasist of Psychology Today. He's like the poster boy for the stupidity and groundlessnessof freakishly fact-free evolutionary psychology. Just ignore anything with Kanazawa's name on it.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

What He Said

Vox Day:

As I have pointed out on numerous occasions, the natural selection component of TENS is a logical and philosophical hypothesis, not a scientific one. Even Richard Dawkins has reluctantly admitted in his latest book that it is entirely plausible natural selection is not the mechanism by which evolution operates, and since after 150 years there is still no significant scientific evidence that Darwinian natural selection takes place, I expect that it will not be too terribly long before Darwinism takes its rightful place with phrenology, astrology, and other pseudo-sciences. And in the meantime, it is always amusing to see not-very-bright biologists shrieking about how their intellectual superiors don't understand the tremendously complicated concepts to which they are so emotionally attached.

And Nothing To Get Hung About

Nothing is real. Don't miss this vid.

Declare The Pennies On Your Eyes


The Leading Edge

Fiscal reality dictates that there will soon be a reckoning for public sector unions. Mish has a post entitled "Inspired Reader Stands Up To Union Mobs" which contains this speech given by a citizen at an Albany, NY city council meeting:

Reader "Justin" put his neck on the line by his actions. To understand what "Justin" is riled about please see What Union Leaders Really Think.

Today’s NY Post reveals a moment of honesty from a NY union official.

Albany Police Officers Union President Chris Mesley says that, regardless of the faltering economy, a no-raise new contract is unacceptable.

And to hell with the public.

"I'm not running a popularity contest here," Mesley said. "If I'm the bad guy to the average citizen . . . and their taxes have go up to cover my raise, I'm very sorry about that, but I have to look out for myself and my membership."

Mesley added: "As the president of the local, I will not accept 'zeroes.' If that means . . . ticking off some taxpayers, then so be it."

Standing Up To Union Thugs

It takes courage to stand up to thugs, especially organized mobs. But that is what "Justin" did. Here is an Email from Justin.


I've been a long time reader and fan of yours and I recently took your advice last night as I publicly protested the remarks of Chris Mesley to the Albany City Common Council. I know you're busy but I thought you might enjoy some of my comments.

Justin's Speech

Good evening Madame President and council members.

When Chris Mesley became a police officer he swore an oath to act in a manner befitting a police officer; to act with honesty, courtesy, and regard for the welfare of others. This week, Mr. Mesley broke that oath and spit in the face of Albany and its citizens.

He received national attention when he went on the record saying, quote, "If I'm the bad guy to the average citizen...and their taxes have go up to cover my raise, I'm very sorry about that, but I have to look out for myself and my membership".

Ladies and gentleman, if you are a taxpayer in this city and you do not protest the blatant arrogance of Chris Mesley, then you are asking to be taxed to death.

What he said should not come as a surprise to anyone. Public sector unions have held nothing but contempt for the average citizen for years; Chris was just the only one to say it openly. I, for one, am glad he said it though, as the public spotlight is now shining brightly on him and the unions.

As the New York Post goes on to say, taxpayers will, quote, "end up working longer and harder to pay for the guaranteed salaries and plush benefits of union members. Mesley admits he understands that. He just doesn't care".

Well, unlike Mesley, I do care and I'm here to represent the interests of taxpayers in this city. As such, we demand that the city of Albany offer to refuse pay increases to all Council 82 union members.

If they don't like it or feel they are underpaid, as they so claim, then let them leave. I'm sure they will find plenty of work in the private sector, since it's just bursting with high income jobs and benefits.

Just give you an idea of how underpaid Chris is, I did some digging. According to publicly available figures, Chris Mesley's salary for 2009 was $70,289. Reports from the Times Union in 2008 speculated that his wages as union leader were an additional $30,000 or more. All in all, Chris Mesley is almost certainly in the six figure range at a time when the median salary for a household in Albany is $33,000. Yes, you heard that correctly. Chris Mesley is making 3 times or more the median salary and is complaining that he might not get a raise. To add insult to injury,

Chris does not even live in the city of Albany, the city he has sworn to protect and serve.

The sense of entitlement of Chris Mesley and, all those who think alike, has led to the pilfering of state and city coffers. They are like leeches, sucking the taxpayers dry, and that's an insult to leeches. At least leeches know when to let go.

As representatives of the taxpayers of the city of Albany, I expect each and every one of you to respond to the belligerent comments made by Mr. Mesley, and act in the interest of the public. The unions, which were once created to protect the citizens, have now become the very thing that terrorizes them. They have become the new "gangs of New York", and, as Mayor Philip Hone perfectly summarized 170 years ago, they "patrol the streets making night hideous and insulting all who are not strong enough to defend themselves."

The time has come for private sector workers to stand up and demand fair representation in a world where the political muscling of public unions has unjustly prevailed. Public union officers cannot serve in the best interests of the public while simultaneously serving the interests of their union.

And, apropos of all this we have via Instapundit:

CHANGE: Pew Poll: Favorability Ratings of Labor Unions Fall Sharply. “Favorable views of labor unions have plummeted since 2007, amid growing public skepticism about unions’ purpose and power. Currently, 41% say they have a favorable opinion of labor unions while about as many (42%) express an unfavorable opinion. In January 2007, a clear majority (58%) had a favorable view of unions while just 31% had an unfavorable impression.”

The Real Problem

The problem is not that Intelligent Design is a "science-stopper".

The problem is that among the "educated", atheistic Darwinism is a philosophy-and-theology-stopper.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

No One Has Free Will, Except Those Who Deserve Outrage

Gagdad Bob:

We had another troll last night arguing that free will doesn't exist. I won't get into his ridiculous arguments -- which he wasn't free to make anyway, nor am I free to accept -- but perhaps they illuminate a central reason why the left doesn't value liberty: it doesn't exist. And they have Darwinism to prove it!

In fact, the denial of free will is a kind of all-purpose dogma for the left, as it is the underpinning for so many of their cherished beliefs: poverty causes crime, America causes Islamist terror, Israel causes Palestinian savagery, etc.

But they never hold this dogma consistently, for they don't apply it to white collar crime; nor have I ever heard a leftist argue that Islamic terror is the cause of "American imperialism," or that Muslim Jew hatred is the cause of "Zionist expansion," or that provocatively dressed women are the cause of rape, or that blacks were the cause of their own lynching. It's always a one-way denial of free will that excuses the left's various mascots while robbing them of their dignity and humanity, i.e., their free will.

Oddly, only the enemies of the left have moral freedom. But they always exercise this freedom in an evil way, in order to exploit and harm their victims. This is what "hate crime" legislation is all about. Leftist mascots have no free will, so "hate" doesn't enter into their crimes (remember, they are passive pawns of "societal forces" and similar ghostly presences). But white European males do have the gift of free will, so they require an extra penalty for having willed their crimes in a hateful manner.

Conversely, the left never wills anything bad, despite the disastrous consequences of their policies. Millions of Africans dead from malaria due to the banning of DDT? We meant well! Destruction of the black family due to welfare and other perverse entitlement programs? Oops! Skyrocketing crime rate due to judicial leniency? Sorry! Hispanic children who are illiterate in two languages due to bilingual education? Lo siento! Real estate bubble due to government-mandated loans to unqualified people? D'oh!

A Couple Of Good Ones At Rick's

Don't miss these two.

Monday, February 22, 2010

It's All So Simple And Obvious That Only An Idiot Could Doubt It

Mainstream evolutionary reasoning, nicely skewered here.

They Are The Ultimate Example Of Such


Rasmussen said on TV last night that 71% of Americans view government as a special interest group.

Who said Americans were stupid?

Your Neighbor's Life Threatening Emergency Is Important To Us. Please Stay On The Line, And We Will Collect Your Credit Card Information Shortly.

If you wish to avoid a $300 service charge, please hang up now.

More legislative brilliance:

911 Just Became Worthless

There's stupid, and then there's really stupid.

This fits into the second category:

Apparently, the town of Tracy, California (a bit east of the Bay Area) has decided to turn 911 emergency calls into a profit center. Karl Bode points us to the news that the town now wants people to pay $300 for every 911 call. Of course, if you think you might be a frequent 911 caller, they've got a plan for that. For the low, low, low price of just $48 per year, you can call 911 as many times as you want. Yes, that's right folks, there's a special deal for those of you who regularly have emergencies. Make sure to order now!

There is an update on this - apparently it will only apply if the fire department has to respond to medical emergencies.

You know, like, for example, if you're driving down the road and see a horrible single-car wreck happen in front of you?

The 911 system has just become worthless folks.

I won't dial any more when traveling, and I've phoned in a couple of really bad single-vehicle accidents that I happened upon "first." I have no idea if my doing so saved lives or not, but it is reasonable to assume that it might have.

Those people may now die, because unless I can be assured that I won't get hit with a $300 bill for calling in an accident everywhere in this nation I'm not going to do it, and this sort of idiocy has a way of spreading - rapidly.

Thanks to the people of Tracy, California, which believes that raping its citizens is the most important aspect of things, I can no longer use my cell phone to call in auto accidents without the risk of being charged $300 for being a good Samaritan.

Just Sayin'

To think that Science! is the highest form of human knowledge is akin to thinking that in a play the set design is far more important than the script.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

It's All Their Money


BusinessWeek reports that the Treasury and Labor departments are asking for public comment on "the conversion of 401(k) savings and Individual Retirement Accounts into annuities or other steady payment streams."

In plain English, the idea is for the government to take your retirement savings in return for a promise to pay you some monthly benefit in your retirement years.

They will tell you that you are "investing" your money in U.S. Treasury bonds. But they will use your money immediately to pay for their unprecedented trillion-dollar budget deficits, leaving nothing to back up their political promises, just as they have raided the Social Security trust funds.

This "conversion" may start out as an optional choice, though you are already free to buy Treasury bonds whenever you want. But as Karl Denninger of the Market Ticker Web site reports: "'Choices' have a funny way of turning into mandates, and this looks to me like a raw admission that Treasury knows it will not be able to sell its debt in the open market -- so they will effectively tax you by forcing your 'retirement' money to buy them."

Moreover, benefits based on Treasury bond interest rates may be woefully inadequate compensation for your years of savings. As Denninger adds, "What's even worse is that the government has intentionally suppressed Treasury yields during this crisis (and will keep doing so by various means, including manipulating the CPI inflation index) so as to guarantee that you lose over time compared to actual purchasing power."

This proposal follows hearings held last fall by House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller, D-Calif., and Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., of the Ways and Means Committee focusing on "redirecting (IRA and 401k) tax breaks to a new system of guaranteed retirement accounts to which all workers would be obliged to contribute," as reported by

The hearings examined a proposal from professor Teresa Ghilarducci of the New School for Social Research in New York to give all workers "a $600 annual inflation-adjusted subsidy from the U.S. government" in return for requiring workers "to invest 5% of their pay into a guaranteed retirement account administered by the Social Security Administration."

Wow, for $600, I'll give you the keys to my house and safe deposit box, too!!



YOUNG VOTERS WANT SPIRITUALITY, BUT NOT NECESSARILY RELIGION. Well, that’s because religion often tells you to do things you don’t want to do, or to refrain from doing things you want to do, while spirituality is usually more . . . flexible.

As for me, I just jokingly tell people "I'm religious, but not spiritual," in the hopes of getting them to think a little more deeply about the question.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Undercover Boss

The Anchoress highlights an excellent theological analogy.

"I'm Just Glad The Little Dog Escaped!"

Says a commenter to this off-the-wall post about an old magazine cover. Safety, people!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Manipulating Corpses For His Own Delight

Utterly predictable.

Irony Abounds

Nicely expressed:

HEH: Politics: Proles Have Gotten Under the Egalitarians’ Skin. “Progressivism purports to protect the toiling and exploited masses from the amoral rapacity of big banks, big insurance, big tobacco, and whatnot. It must be exceedingly frustrating to have the toiling and exploited masses turn against the policies you have designed for their own good. . . . The Tea Party proles who reject the interference, reject also the premise that the Obama administration and its progressive supporters constitute a superior class: America’s would-be overseers really are no better than anyone else. For those who profess to care about equality, this must be terribly hard to hear.”

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I Started High School The Month They Were Number One

They really did have a huge impact.

Key Dem Strategist Starting To Sound Like A Conservative


In a welcome but unexpected move Democrat strategist rips White House for obeisance to organized labor.

Longtime Democratic strategist Pat Caddell on Wednesday blasted the Obama White House for creating “a world in which there is no dissent,” following his banishment from Colorado Democrat Andrew Romanoff’s campaign for Senate.

Caddell said he is being ostracized for sounding alarms about the problem that public sector unions are posing for the Democratic party. He said he supports industrial unions but that government employee unions such as the SEIU — which is one of the Democratic party’s biggest campaign contributors — violate the raison d’etre of the party, which is to “stand up for ordinary average Americans, not money and special interests.”

“I think the public unions are going to take the country and the Democratic party down the tubes,” Caddell said. “They’re in the business of taking care of — of asking taxpayers, asking ordinary people, to pay for people who make twice as much as they make, with benefit packages they will never see, and they’re told, you may not cut those.”

He pointed to health-care negotiations, where the SEIU has preserved health-care benefits from cuts, and to the $787 billion stimulus, which has benefited mostly state government employees so far. He said public sector employee unions in California have contributed to the state’s fiscal crisis by demanding that taxpayers subsidize their job status and guaranteed salaries and benefits.

Caddell said he was not attacking government employees but that the system “has grown into something far beyond what it should be.”

“How are you going to tell a person who makes $40,000 that they must pay money to make sure that people keep jobs who make $80,000, roughly, and who have defined pensions that they will never see?” Caddell said. “You cannot ask ordinary Americans who have no jobs, whose pensions have been ransacked, and whose pay has been stagnant, to keep rewarding people who don’t face the same kind of conditions and risk.”

“The people who pay for it are suffering,” he said. “The taxpayers are going to explode. This is the big coming issue of our time.”

This is indeed the big issue. Cities and states are insolvent because politicians buy votes from public unions. There is no one to speak for the taxpayer who gets the shaft.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Can't You See The World Is Fallen, You Stupid Christians?!?

Science discovers effects of the Fall, which is a core doctrine of the Christian religion. Therefore God doesn't exist.

Nice try.

Genius Photoshopper Proves That If Palin Did Not Look The Way She Looks, She Would Look Like Someone Other Than Herself

Gee, I'm impressed.

Althouse comments here.

What Your Masters Really Think Of You


In a breath of both arrogance and honesty please consider What Union Leaders Really Think.

Today’s NY Post reveals a moment of honesty from a NY union official.

Albany Police Officers Union President Chris Mesley says that, regardless of the faltering economy, a no-raise new contract is unacceptable.

And to hell with the public.

"I'm not running a popularity contest here," Mesley said. "If I'm the bad guy to the average citizen . . . and their taxes have go up to cover my raise, I'm very sorry about that, but I have to look out for myself and my membership."

Mesley added: "As the president of the local, I will not accept 'zeroes.' If that means . . . ticking off some taxpayers, then so be it."

In the real world, when bubbles pop and markets contract, everyone has to take a haircut. In the world of politicians and unions, political muscle wins, regardless of economic circumstance.

Complete War

I understand completely. Unions want complete war and they have got it. Victory is the complete annihilation of every public union in the country.

If you are a taxpayer, not in any union, and you do not protest such greed and arrogance you are begging to be taxed to death.

The attitude of Albany Police Officers Union President Chris Mesley is actually the norm for union leaders. I am delighted he was stupid enough to say what he did on the record. His comments ought to be on the lips of very city council in the country.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Quote Roundup

Stuff I've run across here and there over the last couple of days.


I find the Great [Higgs] Boson Hunt to be rather interesting, mostly because I am anticipating the prospect of all the amusement that will be provided by the competing explanations for why the standard model of particle physics is incorrect, what the most likely alternatives are, and whose fault it was. It is quite funny to think of all the time and effort that has gone into the search for something that may still turn out to be no more real than the mythological pegasi. And yet, one has to respect the physicists, as unlike the evolutionary biologists, they have the intellectual integrity to test their assumptions and are even willing to abandon their theoretical models when their predictions fail rather than angrily defending them in the face of the observable evidence.

As we all know, if Haldane's famous rabbits in the pre-Cambrian are ever found, it will take about two nanoseconds for the Darwinists to begin shrieking that what they had previously sworn up and down was a pre-Cambrian strata were actually Palaeogene rocks and this doesn't disprove anything anyhow and maybe it's not a real rabbit and why do you hate science you stupid Creationist bible-thumper....


Last Thursday night I spoke at the University of Arkansas for an Academic Freedom Day Event. The crowd was civil with a good mix of both ID-friendly folks and ID-skeptics. The Q & A was generally harmless but the most amusing question of all came from a very nice gentleman with a local "Free Thinkers" group who asked me a 'how dare you' type question, arguing that because the “consensus” or "thousands" of scientists oppose ID, so should I.

Here’s a little snippet of what I said in reply: “ID is a minority scientific view. But you owe it to yourself to examine the issue for yourself and come up with your own viewpoint. And if the consensus is right, fine. If it’s wrong, fine. But if you are just going to dismiss ID because somebody else tells you to then you have fallen into an anti-intellectual position.”

So it turns out that the "Free thinkers" don't really think you should be free to think for yourself when it comes to evolution. In their view, you should just think what certain scientists tell you to think. Who would have thought?


“If design did in fact occur, any research program that rules design out of court from the very beginning is bound to take us away from the truth instead of towards it.”

This is exactly the question I have often posed to skeptics (or anti-ID folk in general) – let’s just assume for a second that ID is true. Assume that the world actually is designed. How could we know it; how could we find that fact out?

If the response is that we can’t know it and that the only thing we could know is a naturalistic answer, then it seems to me you have just admitted a failure in your worldview. If you can’t know something that could actually be the case through a certain worldview, why take said worldview?

If, on the other hand, the response is that there could be some way of finding it out, then why fight so strongly against it as if it is a totally worthless enterprise?

A lot of skeptics come off to me as disingenuous at this point, and I simply don’t understand that. And they often confuse the source of the study for the conclusion. That is, if my belief in God is what interests me in the possibility of finding design in the world, that does not mean the conclusion of my work has to be supernatural or something. Obviously that is precisely what motivated many scientists of the past to study the world, but they didn’t come away with some functionally useless response of “God did it” although they did come away with a teleological response. But without the teleology, it seems to me that the study is irrelevant anyway.

The question of design, in my mind at least, is not a question of who did it or how that designer might have done it. Those are separate and certainly valid questions, but that’s not what the particular question at hand is about. It’s simply about whether or not the world bears the marks of design. Why all the fuss over a simple question … especially from Christians who agree that God created it?


ID’s metaphysical implications make many scientists uncomfortable, which motivates them to erect a sign over the gate to the science club that says, “No ID Allowed.” Barr desperately wants to be a member in good standing of the club, and if accepting neo-Darwinism is the price of admission, he is willing to pay, metaphysical calamity be damned.

That may be OK for Barr, but what about the rest of us? Should we meekly submit to the bully boys and girls in the science club and give up on a promising research project because it gives materialists the metaphysical willies? Whatever happened to freedom of inquiry and “follow the evidence wherever it leads”? The scientific establishment pays lip service to “self-correction” and “eternally contingent conclusions,” but the plain truth of the matter is that scientists may be the most brassbound, obdurate and reactionary people on the planet, clinging to their pet theories and received orthodoxy with an intransigent stubbornness that would make a medieval churchman blush.

Link (from the comments)

[I]t does seem true that many philosophers smugly and naively assume that God is dead and that there is no longer any need to worry about philosophy of religion. Found this comment over at Prosblogion:

"Some discussions make me tired all over. I'm glad I get to do philosophy because I get to avoid these conversations. There's just not much to say about the election. We all know that any minimally decent, rational person is going to vote Obama/Biden. I want to hang out with philosophers because we're clever enough to have long ago settled the question about who to vote for and can talk about something interesting instead. I know some colleagues of mine feel that way about religion. They'd just as soon hear a new argument for what they take to be a dead hypothesis they have to listen to their relatives chatter about every holiday as I'd like to hear some clever argument for thinking I ought to be grateful that McCain wants to tax my health insurance. If you come by my office to give me that argument, you're crapping in my punch bowl. I know full well that if I drop by their offices to talk philosophy of religion, I'm doing the same to their punch bowls."

I can only regard such indifference as insane. Doesn't this most important question of all--whether when we die we will pass forever into nothingness or find ourselves face-to-face with God Himself--deserve more attention from the brightest among us? Like it or not, this is the condition we humans presently find ourselves in, and our condition ought to impel us to seek to discover with all our might whether there is a God or not. How philosophers can turn their backs in some kind of dreary nonchalance and leave it up to the likes of Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, Dennett, and Co. to handle this infinitely important question with conceptual care is totally beyond me.

Self Referential Hitler Video

A fresh twist on the perennial favorite.

Okay, How About NOW?!?!

Good insights:

Can You Hear Me Now?
Posted by HughS

I didn't give Bob McDonnell much of a chance early in the Virginia gubernatorial election. In fact, Creigh Deeds wasn't given much of a chance against the big money primary leader Terry McAuliffe. Then McAuliffe got crushed in the Virginia Democratic primary by Deeds. Shortly afterward, and coincidentally at the same time the Obama big spending agenda came into focus for voters, Deeds found himself struggling in an election held in the President's own back yard. McDonnell was the first major candidate to make the Obama agenda a singular issue in an election, and he won. But the recipe to his success was no secret.

Then incumbent Democrat John Corzine, the only candidate I can think of that had access to more money than Barak Obama, lost to Republican Chris Christie in Blue New Jersey. During all of this a vigorous and heated discussion of policy, which never took root during the 2008 Presidential election, was blossoming in the grass roots. When Scott Brown claimed the "Kennedy" seat in the Massachusetts special election even politicos suffering from industrial strength denial (like Senators Ben Nelson and Blanche Lincoln) openly expressed concern. But the hard core leftists at the New York Times, The Huffington Post and Firedog Lake raged on for President Obama to redouble his efforts on ObamaCare, ObamaSpending, Passive Aggresive Terror Policy and Cap and Trade.

However,today an adult showed up at this Democratic bonfire of insanity and told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, his putative leader, to take this job and shove it. Indiana Democratic Senator Evan Bayh's announcement to not run for reelection mere days before the Indiana filing deadline is a clear signal to Democratic caucus leaders that they are not just wrong on policy but also totally out of touch with reality (something we have been saying on this blog for months.) As Dan mentioned below, Majority Leader Reid didn't even get a heads up. That sound you hear is the sound of sheets splitting across the wide, wide bed of the Democratic Party.

After the Indiana bombshell delivered today the collective eyes of news junkies will naturally settle on La La Land, where California Senator Barbara "Please call me Senator" Boxer is presenting the same symptoms shown by Deeds, Corzine, Coakley and Bayh. Everywhere in flyover country there is a chorus of Tea Partiers, silent majorities and ordinary middle class Americans (including many unemployed) shouting "Can you here me now?"

The NYT Endorses The Complete Truth Of Climategate

Via its usual methods. If they refuse to report on it, there must be something to it. The NYT is an excellent indicator of truth in this fashion.

Another One Batted Down

One of the favorite pastimes of Darwinist ideologues is to trash Michael Behe by trumpeting the latest (or stalest) denunciations of his critics, all the while conveniently ignoring the fact that Behe has provided excellent rebuttals to the criticisms. For the Darwinist true believer, these rebuttals simply do not exist, and therefore they keep rolling out the same lame "refutations" of Behe again, and again, and again.

Behe takes on the latest spurious "refutation" here.

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Theological Clue By Four

The latest from Edward Feser.

The Scheme Collapses

The latest bunker video from Hitler. This time: Climate Change.

Patiently Explained Once Again To Those Who Have Chosen Not To Understand

It ain't just the atheists who play dumb when it comes to ID. Jay Richards responds to Stephen Barr here.

The sometimes ignorant Glenn Reynolds trumpets (gleefully?) the spurious idea that First Things has officially disavowed ID here. But of course, just because a magazine devoted to intellectual discussion and debate publishes one author's opinion, this does not constitute an official endorsement of that opinion.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Cutting Through The Handwringing Rhetorical Fog

John C. Wright:

The Definition of Marriage

Reading many of the comments in two recent posts on the topic of matrimony, I was disappointed and surprised to see the number of comments which called into question the definition of marriage; yet not a single post I saw made reference either to a dictionary (to discover the common meaning), or to a law dictionary (to discover the legal definition). Perhaps there was a post there that I missed.

If you don't know what a word means, you don't make it up, you look it up.

If you want to invent a new word, or use an old word in a specific way for the sake of argument, then you use the phrase, "Let us for the sake of argument take the word x to mean y" or something to that effect. That phrase tells unwary readers you are not using the real word, but merely making an invention of your own, in order to pursue clarity, or, if your motives are less than pure, to achieve a rhetorical advantage over your opposition.

Not a single post I saw introduced a new and more precise definition of marriage for the sake of argument. Perhaps there was a post there that I missed.

I am not sure how to explain this oddity.

One possibility is asking the definition of marriage was what we might call a "substitute question" where the questioner asks one question but really means another.

The other possibility is that the questioner holds to a subjectivist epistemology, and tacitly assumes that any "definition" that does not compel universal assent is invalid; and such a view might also tacitly assume that there are no grounds, aside from personal preference, or whim, for assenting to a definition, so that in effect, asking "what is the definition?" is a rhetorical question, actually a statement that there is and can be no definition, because definitions do not exist.

My suspicions are provoked only because I cannot imagine such a discussion centered around asking the definition of a contract, for example, or the definition of negligence, or tort, or reality, or will, or trespass. These all have common or have legal definitions.

The words mean what their definitions, their bounds, say they mean, and the words do not mean the opposite of what they mean, or everything, or nothing, or what-you-please.

Some words are ambiguous, because we use the same word for several different meanings (I both cleave to my wife and cleave with my cutlass, for example) but this is mere puns (what used to be called "quibbles") and it behooves us if we fear ambiguity to say which of several meanings is meant. But this does not mean words mean nothing at all, or everything, or nonsense, or what-you-please. Perhaps the suspicions are narrow souled of me --- I can understand why an innocent young scholar might be deceived by a dishonest philosophy, and even if I think the young one honest, I cannot call the philosophy honest.

This is speculation on my part. I really don't understand the course of the conversation. The word "marriage" when used in English means when the context of the English language (and therefore of the English law and custom and culture) has always taken it to mean.

What does marriage mean? Allow me to quote at length from Bouvier's INSTITUTES OF AMERICAN LAW starting at page 59.

[lengthy quote]

THAT is marriage. That is the definition. This is not a matter of opinion: it is settled.

Those of you are who competent to have an opinion as to whether Bouvier constitutes an authority may judge for yourself; those of you who are not must trust those who are. Alien as it may sound in our egalitarian age, not all opinions are created equal, for the creator of opinions is mortal, and prone to error.

Those who reject the authority of this jurist, or of the law he cites, must give grounds for the rejection. Your mere opinion or preference is not enough.

Now, those who would like to revise the definition have to give some warrant for the change, and say by what authority the change can be made.

Merely pretending that marriage does not exist, has no definition, has never existed, or is surrounded by an indissoluble fog of confusion is a weak argument.

And Jeffrey Dahmer Ate Cheerios For Breakfast



TPM: “Man Charged With Stockpiling Weapons Was Tea Partier, Palin Fan.” Yeah, well, Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers are “Democrats, Obama fans”, but that wasn’t a problem, was it?

No, to stress their associations would be racist, or McCarthyist, or something. Plus, be sure to ignore those murderous socialists.

Phil Jones Is Nothing But An Anti-Science Global Warming Denialist


See also Ann Althouse's comments regarding this little gem of foolishness:

"The admissions will be seized on by sceptics as fresh evidence that there are serious flaws at the heart of the science of climate change and the orthodoxy that recent rises in temperature are largely man-made."

Imagine that. Those crazy skeptics will seize on anything.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Vox Day

On Science!:

The fact that one can have reasonable confidence in the scientific method absolutely does NOT mean that it is reasonable to have confidence in the scientist who claims to have utilized it.

And, for the sake of the obtuse scientific illiterati, I will once more point out the important and obvious fact that peer review is not, and has never been, any more intrinsically scientific than white lab coats or being unattractive to women.

Unclear On The Concept

The fact that the top result for a Google search on the term "Facebook login" does not go to the Facebook page has caused mass confusion, as captured in the comments to the post that Google does point to. Comments are along the lines of "Where did Facebook go?!?"

The mildly amusing clueless comedy of errors is introduced here.

President Me! The Musical

Klavan! You've GOT to see this...

Yup, But The Genius Probably Doesn't Even Realize It


The problem with Obama’s new hedging on taxing those who make below $250,000, or his administration’s taking credit for victory in the Iraq war that they so once fervently tried to abort, or the flip-flop on renditions and tribunals, or the embarrassments over closing Guantanamo and trying KSM in New York or Mirandizing the Christmas Day bomber,or trashing/praising Wall Street grandees, is not that presidents cannot change their minds as circumstances warrant, or even that all politicians are at times hypocritical. No, the rub is that Obama is not merely flipping and triangulating on issues in a desperate attempt to shadow the polls, but he is doing so on matters that he once swore were absolutely central to his entire candidacy and his signature hope-and-change agenda.

"Is That Fair?"

A state governor (New Jersey), actually talking some sense. Hoepfully this is a leading edge:

Today, we must make a pact with each other to end this reckless conduct with the people’s government. Today, we come to terms with the fact that we cannot spend money on everything we want. Today, the days of Alice in Wonderland budgeting in Trenton end.

Today, we are going to act swiftly to fix problems long ignored. Today, I begin to do what I promised the people of New Jersey I would do. Today, I begin to give them the change they voted for in November.

The state cannot this year spend another $100 million contributing to a pension system that is desperately in need of reform. I am encouraged by the bi-partisan bills filed in the Senate this week to begin pension and benefit reform.

These bills must just mark the beginning, not the end, of our conversation and actions on pension and benefit reform. Because make no mistake about it, pensions and benefits are the major driver of our spending increases at all levels of government—state, county, municipal and school board. Also, don’t believe our citizens don’t know it and demand, finally, from their government real action and meaningful reform. The special interests have already begun to scream their favorite word, which, coincidentally, is my nine year old son’s favorite word when we are making him do something he knows is right but does not want to do—“unfair.” Let’s tell our citizens the truth—today—right now—about what failing to do strong reforms costs them.

One state retiree, 49 years old, paid, over the course of his entire career, a total of $124,000 towards his retirement pension and health benefits. What will we pay him? $3.3 million in pension payments over his life and nearly $500,000 for health care benefits -- a total of $3.8m on a $120,000 investment. Is that fair?

A retired teacher paid $62,000 towards her pension and nothing, yes nothing, for full family medical, dental and vision coverage over her entire career. What will we pay her? $1.4 million in pension benefits and another $215,000 in health care benefit premiums over her lifetime. Is it “fair” for all of us and our children to have to pay for this excess?

The total unfunded pension and medical benefit costs are $90 billion. We would have to pay $7 billion per year to make them current. We don’t have that money—you know it and I know it. What has been done to our citizens by offering a pension system we cannot afford and health benefits that are 41% more expensive than the average fortune 500 company’s costs is the truly unfair part of this equation.


If They Do Say So Themselves

They were kicking and screaming against the thing for almost 6 years. Now they take credit.

Captain Leftist

Great moments in understanding your target audience.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Calvin And Hobbes Snowman Humor

Good stuff.

Whacky, Relevant

Frozen Wasteland!

I Would Never, Never, Never Do That. No Promises.


What Does Toyota Stand For?

An original from a friend via e-mail:

Toyotas have been relatively free of defects and quality issues - up until now, right? So we know that Ford - Found On Road Dead, or Fiat - Fix It Again, Tony have had their share of quality issues and deserved these negative phrase - names. Well, since Toyota have a big problem with throttles and brakes, here are my takes on TOYOTA:

Throw Out Your Old Throttle Assembly


Tow Or Yell Out To Allah

You read them here first.

"Recited To An Audience That's Disappearing Faster Than A Gallon Of Ice Cream In Front Of Michael Moore's Pie Hole"

Entertaining post examines Time Magazine's interpretation of massive blizzards as confirming global warming. Perhaps a two-mile thick ice-sheet would be the ultimate confirmation, with the welcome side-effect of providing an excuse for declining readership.

What Is Their Major Malfunction?

Great little post about the Tebow ad.

The IPCC's Emily Litella Moment

Coming clean.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Bill Whittle

Great post.


Of course, the media coverage has tried very hard to portray the normal, average, every-day Americans of the Tea party rallies as dangerous and angry racists and Wal-Mart knuckle-draggers, while identifying the mass-produced signs, the mass-produced T-shirts, the mass-produced members of bused-in wiccan nihilist anarcho-Maoist lesbian eco-weenie anti-war protestors as somehow the genuine voice of the American people.

So as a person who has been there, let me try and explain what I think this whole movement is about.

The people I have met at these events were generally the happy, decent, hard-working people that make up the vast middle of Silent America. They are not bitter, and they are not “consumed with rage.”

But they — I mean, we – are angry. We have a right to be angry. As a matter of fact, we not only have a right but in fact have an obligation to be angry. The spending orgy in Washington brought on by the Democratic control of both houses of Congress and the election of the most liberal member of the Senate to the office of the Presidency is taking the country off the edge of a cliff and everybody knows it.


You know what this is reckless, Imperial orgy of spending feels like? It feels like coming out of the showing in the morning, dazed and exhausted after a good night’s sleep, and stepping in front of a mirror to find yourself covered in leeches that are sapping not just the blood it takes to make government function, but rather all of it – every last living drop of it – to fund entitlements and work projects and boondoggles of every description: congressional “climate change” junkets that include skiing and snorkeling days in New Zealand, and Bridges to Nowhere, and the use of Air Force jets as the personal chauffeurs not only of the Speaker of the House but for her families and cronies business cronies, too. We see a President who talks about sharing hardship but who then decides to go out on date night and catch a show in New York City and ends up spending every single tax dollar you and your kids will make in your entire life: gone!

Gone! What did you get for it? Nothing. What service did it do the country? None! So why did they spend it? Because – listen now – they spent it because that’s not your money. That’s their money. Just because you got up in the morning, sat in traffic, and worked all day before sitting in traffic again to come home exhausted… that doesn’t mean it’s your money to these bloodsucking, leather-winged, Big Government entitlement-mongers. No, that’s their money to spend as they see fit – and not just all the money you send in in taxes today, or next year, or the next ten years – they – Democrats and Republicans too – have spent all the money you will make in your lifetime, and then spent all of the money your kids will make, and the pool of work that your grandkids will do in 2060 or so – that’s mostly been spent too.

You want to know why we’re angry? What once was a social compact between the people and their representatives has rotted away into this: a people no longer paying a reasonable price for the limited number of things that only a government can provide, but rather victims of identity theft – people who open a monthly credit card statement only to discover fifty thousand dollars of vacations not taken, and jet skis and plasma TV’s paid for but never delivered. That’s why there’s a Tea Party.

Now some critics of the Tea Party movement say it is hypocritical to complain about Democrat spending without complaining about Republican spending as well. Well, there are two things to say about that: first, that is a profound insight from someone who has obviously never been to a Tea Party event, because if they had been there, they would know that the real thunderbolts thrown in response to this spending orgy is aimed not at the Democrats but rather the Republicans; the people who should know better, the people, in fact, that we thought would be standing guard over our hard-earned treasure, not shoveling it out the door by the fork-full.

Secondly, I’ll just let this graph do the talking.


So what’s ahead? Well, no one knows, least of all me. But I do have a very strong sense of what should be ahead.

Despite the authentic and wholly justified sense of betrayal that many conservatives feel at the hands of the GOP, I think that talks of a third party are suicide: not only permanent minority status, but also handing the store over to the people most intent on robbing it – forever.

The Tea Party Movement is really the conservative movement. It’s like a soul that has somehow been cut off from its physical body, and now both wander the landscape, trying to decide what to do. Because if the Tea Party movement is the grass-roots, common-man philosophical soul of small government and personal liberty and responsibility, then the Republican party is the skeletal structure – the bones and arteries and sinews needed to live in the real world.

The only road to success and recovery from this rocket-sled of ruin is to re-unite these two elements. We tried that, actually: Tea Party passion and internet fundraising, plus GOP ground operations, call centers, networks and so forth, and this was the result:


Victory is a ratchet. To retake this country we need every gain we can get – no matter how small – and give up as little as possible. If Scott Brown – Republican Senator from Massachusetts – turns out to be the most liberal man in the Senate then we’re living in paradise. That’s why there’s a Tea Party. And that’s why being a part of the Tea Party movement is, when it is all said and done, just plain fun.

And a final note: do you know who we owe the remarkable success of the Tea Party movement to? We owe it to Rachel Maddow, and Keith Olberman, and Chris Matthews. We owe it to Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid, and barack Obama – not just for the political motivation, but because they decided to make it personal.

By calling us Tea Baggers, and racists, and Nazis, and rubes, and hicks… by pretending we’re just a fringe group of dangerous radicals, or saying – as the President did, twice, and apparently with a straight face – that he was unaware that tens or hundreds of thousands of hard-working American patriots were clogging the streets of the city he lives in – well all of these geniuses poured can after can of lighter fluid on to what might have been some old, wet charcoal – nearly impossible to light – and turned it into a wildfire that will likely remake the landscape of this country. That’s why there’s a Tea Party.

So thanks, you big-brain, sneering, socialist ninnies! We couldn’t have done it without you.

"The Highest Form Of Patriotism" Has Become "Nihilistic Malice"


This being a democracy, don't the Democrats see that clinging to this agenda will march them over a cliff? Don't they understand Massachusetts?

Well, they understand it through a prism of two cherished axioms: (1) The people are stupid and (2) Republicans are bad. Result? The dim, led by the malicious, vote incorrectly.

Liberal expressions of disdain for the intelligence and emotional maturity of the electorate have been, post-Massachusetts, remarkably unguarded. New York Times columnist Charles Blow chided Obama for not understanding the necessity of speaking "in the plain words of plain folks," because the people are "suspicious of complexity." Counseled Blow: "The next time he gives a speech, someone should tap him on the ankle and say, 'Mr. President, we're down here.' "

A Time magazine blogger was even more blunt about the ankle-dwelling mob, explaining that we are "a nation of dodos" that is "too dumb to thrive."

Obama joined the parade in the State of the Union address when, with supercilious modesty, he chided himself "for not explaining it [health care] more clearly to the American people." The subject, he noted, was "complex." The subject, it might also be noted, was one to which the master of complexity had devoted 29 speeches. Perhaps he did not speak slowly enough.

Then there are the emotional deficiencies of the masses. Nearly every Democratic apologist lamented the people's anger and anxiety, a free-floating agitation that prevented them from appreciating the beneficence of the social agenda the Democrats are so determined to foist upon them.

That brings us to Part 2 of the liberal conceit: Liberals act in the public interest, while conservatives think only of power, elections, self-aggrandizement and self-interest.

It is an old liberal theme that conservative ideas, being red in tooth and claw, cannot possibly emerge from any notion of the public good. A 2002 New York Times obituary for philosopher Robert Nozick explained that the strongly libertarian implications of Nozick's masterwork, "Anarchy, State, and Utopia," "proved comforting to the right, which was grateful for what it embraced as philosophical justification." The right, you see, is grateful when a bright intellectual can graft some philosophical rationalization onto its thoroughly base and self-regarding politics.

This belief in the moral hollowness of conservatism animates the current liberal mantra that Republican opposition to Obama's social democratic agenda -- which couldn't get through even a Democratic Congress and powered major Democratic losses in New Jersey, Virginia and Massachusetts -- is nothing but blind and cynical obstructionism.

By contrast, Democratic opposition to George W. Bush -- from Iraq to Social Security reform -- constituted dissent. And dissent, we were told at the time, including by candidate Obama, is "one of the truest expressions of patriotism."

No more. Today, dissent from the governing orthodoxy is nihilistic malice. "They made a decision," explained David Axelrod, "they were going to sit it out and hope that we failed, that the country failed" -- a perfect expression of liberals' conviction that their aspirations are necessarily the country's, that their idea of the public good is the public's, that their failure is therefore the nation's.

Then comes Massachusetts, an election Obama himself helped nationalize, to shatter this most self-congratulatory of illusions...

Sunday, February 07, 2010

The Eighth Commandment Shall Only Be Overridden By Majority Vote

Good essay about basic principles.


[T]he vast majority of Americans would never dream of stealing from another person, yet they have no compunction about wanting government to take property from some citizens to give it to others.

Friends with whom we would entrust the keys to our house and all our worldly goods are often enthusiastic supporters of government programs that redistribute wealth. Few of us would imagine that a Washington lobbyist would peek out his window at home, wait for his neighbors to leave, and then sneak into their houses to take their possessions. The very image is absurd. And yet, those same lobbyists spend their working hours trying to persuade politicians to grant favors to them and send the bill to someone else.

Decades ago, the oldest free-market think tank, The Foundation for Economic Education, Inc., published Lewis Love's short parable, "A King of Long Ago." In the story, an artisan, a mason, and a lame beggar petition their king for aid. The artisan can't attract enough customers to meet his sales goals, the mason isn't getting hired very often, and the beggar isn't receiving sufficient alms.

They implore the king to correct this unsatisfactory state of affairs. The king commands that each petitioner be given a sword. He then authorizes the three to "go forth in the land and compel those who will not voluntarily deal with them to obey their command."

"No! No!" the three men demur. "We are men of honor and could not set upon our fellow man to compel him to our will. This we cannot do. It is you, O King, who must use the power."

"You ask me to do that which you would not do because of honor?" questioned the king. "I, too, am an honorable man, and that which is dishonorable for you will never be less dishonorable for your king."

Besides illustrating the ideal of the rule of law -- in which everyone, regardless of wealth, rank, and position, is equally constrained from infringing the rights of others -- this little parable shows the inconsistency of believing that private citizens should respect private property, but government leaders need not. Is that which is personally immoral politically moral?


Maybe what we're dealing with is mob psychology. Perhaps it's rationalization. "It's for a worthy cause," we tell ourselves, oblivious to the fact that the Eighth Commandment doesn't say "Thou shalt not steal ... except by majority vote or unless it's for the poor."


Many reason that democracy somehow sanctifies and legitimates the forcible redistribution of wealth. For them, democracy sanitizes and civilizes the process of taking someone's honestly earned property. They don't perceive this as robbery.

But if this isn't robbery, then what is it? If the state's would-be victims resist being plundered, the state will retaliate by confiscating even more of their property and/or incarcerating them. The democratic process rests on force and the implied threat of force every step of the way.

We don't bat an eye anymore when someone glibly proposes "spreading the wealth." In fact, many Americans enjoy spreading the wealth, as long as it isn't their own. In a recent survey, three out of four Americans agreed that Obama and Congress should raises taxes on that minority of Americans with annual incomes above $200,000. Apparently, most Americans believe that Obama, Pelosi, Reid, and their minions have more of a right to spend those dollars than the citizens who earned them.

If you think this line of thought is crazy, then let me ask you a question: What percentage of a person's honest income should he or she be allowed to keep? The only guidelines I am aware of are "all of it" (the original American way, since income taxes were unconstitutional until 1913) or nothing beyond what anybody else (except the governing elite) can keep, according to the communist principle "from each according to his ability to each according to his need."

Between those two polar extremes, any percentage one chooses would be arbitrary. In practice, the degree to which property is redistributed depends on whatever shifting political coalition has enough votes -- enough power -- at any given moment. Stripped of grandiose pretenses and specious idealism, contemporary political life has descended into a constant, contentious squabble to see who gets what at the expense of whom.

"She Insisted She Was Going To Be Buried In An Obama Tee Shirt."

So reports the President. Neoneocon notes that Obama's narcissism is starting to verge on the macabre.

Take a look at the second video she links to at the 8:25 mark. Note the audience reaction. The guy has crossed the line into weird.

Denninger's Take

Good essay re: small business loans.

It concludes:

This bleating from places like The Wall Street Journal and the crackpots of advocacy is misplaced. If you're a small businessperson and you can't make a go of it without unsound loans - that is, loans made without full regard to "the 5C's" - then you shouldn't get the loan. Most of you shouldn't take the loan whether you can get it or not - the interest costs are just a millstone around your neck that will restrain both your choices and profitability in the future.

The day of the Ponzi is over folks.

Grow organically, manage your cash flow, and ask yourself this - if you lack collateral or capital, why should someone else loan it to you if you're not able to pay it back?

If you don't lack capital or collateral, why is it that you want someone else - in this case a bank - to take risk with THEIR capital you won't take with YOURS?

Friday, February 05, 2010

"Has A Nation Ever Grown Poorer After Reducing The Cost And Power Of Its Central Government?"

A darned good question, asked in this Doctor Zero post.

Why, Indeed?

The bottom line:

Conversation With My 14 Year Old Son

I do not have a son, or daughters either. But I did receive an email from "Clyde" who does.

Clyde Writes ...

Good day Mish

I had an interesting moment with my 14 year old son the other day. I had gone to the US Debt Clock website and was taking a minute to just watch the numbers roll up and down in the various amounts.

The site breaks down the debt into a per person amounts. It is quite depressing.

My 14 year old son walked by and I had him take a look at it all, explaining that someday my son, all this will be yours.

His first words were "Why the hell should I have to pay that back?"

I found that comment interesting in that he does have a point. It's not like the money that has been borrowed in the past has been used to create world class infrastructures or world class anything. The vast majority of all the money borrowed by the government decade after decade has been just thrown down every conceivable rathole.

Imagine if his entire generation comes to the same conclusion someday.

Thanks for all your great work, I appreciate reading your writings everyday.
Best, Clyde

Hello Clyde. You have a very bright son. His generation should not have to pay that debt back. Indeed, his generation cannot possibly pay that debt back even if they wanted to. Given enough time, his generation will be in charge and decide enough is enough and default on that debt.

However, I expect a crisis long before that. The result will be anything but inflation. What cannot be paid back, won't be paid back. What obligations cannot be paid, won't be paid. That process is deflation, not inflation. Changing attitudes are proof enough. We are in the grips of deflation now, led by pension promises that simply will not be met while millions look for jobs that do not exist.

As Long As You Don't Know How They're Going To Turn Out, Snuff 'Em

The wisdom of Behar.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

The Twelve Steps Begin Here



A job-seeker receives a valuable education (and seems apologetic about what led to the event, as well as thankful for the outcome).

How Could Such A Thing Happen?

It's the weirdest thing:

Election Day 1988 was only days away. Ronald Reagan was headlining a rally in Nevada. He said the options were the same as "when I stood before you." Reagan framed the Democratic "choice" as one for "liberal policies of tax and spend, economic stagnation, international weakness, accommodation, and always, always blame America first."

Reagan-era framing is regaining its relevance. Fair or not, liberalism's worst stereotypes have returned from the dead to haunt Democrats. "Tax and spend liberal," it's back with the charge of being soft on security threats – a claim that dogged Democrats from debates over crime to the Soviets to terrorism.

It must suck to be stereotyped for no good reason.

Amusing Eye Chart

Lifted from Lileks:

Honoring Family By Killing The Kids

Planned Parenthood has an odd euphemistic response to the Tebow ad.

He's Been Had

Fool him once, shame on you...

Like It Or Not



Obama said he would attempt to convince his party’s left wing to take a less ideological approach to economic challenges.

“We’ve got to make sure that our party understands that, like it or not, we have to have a financial system that is healthy and functioning, so we can’t be demonizing every bank out there,” Obama said. “We’ve got to be the party of business, small business and large business, because they produce jobs.”

Like it or not? Who wouldn’t like a “healthy and functioning” financial system? According to Obama, the answer is . . . Democrats.

Who writes this stuff?

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

"There's Nothing Within Pragmatism To Delineate The Proper And Just Limits Of Pragmatism"

Good points by Jonah Goldberg:

[Obama has] described himself as a "pragmatist," even a "ruthless pragmatist," countless times.


Of course Obama is an ideologue. The important question is whether he is sufficiently self-aware to recognize the truth.

I for one would be horrified to learn that the president is working from the assumption that ideological biases are something only other people have. That is the surest route to hubris and groupthink (which might explain Obama's political predicament).


What I really don't understand is what's so great about allegedly value-free pragmatism and so bad about supposedly unthinking ideology? The truth is that the vast majority of the time, pragmatism isn't value-free and ideology isn't unthinking.

Ideologies don't require blinding yourself to the facts; rather, they help you prioritize what you are going to do with the facts. Indeed, the very question of deciding what to be pragmatic about -- this but not that -- requires applying an ideological test.

The president invokes his or America's "values" to justify a ban on waterboarding, passage of universal healthcare, sustaining legalized abortion, higher taxes for the wealthy, gay equality and -- coming soon -- a more expedient system for selecting a college football champion. Those all involve pursuing ideological ends, even if that fact is obscured with rhetorical blather about pragmatic means.

A truly "ruthless pragmatist" might opt for summarily executing enemy combatants after torturing them with hot pokers. He might abandon anyone who can't afford health insurance to rot. He might ban abortion on the grounds that Social Security needs more young people or eliminate college football entirely as a needless distraction and a drain on resources.

The philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote in 1909 that if everyone becomes a pragmatist, then "ironclads and Maxim guns must be the ultimate arbiters of metaphysical truth." Russell's point was that there's nothing within pragmatism to delineate the proper and just limits of pragmatism. We must look outside pragmatism for that.

Our values, customs, traditions and principles provide the insulation against the corrosive acid of undiluted pragmatism. When you bundle these things together, it's often called an ideology, and there's no reason to apologize for having one.

Great Introduction To A Post

Gagdad Bob:

The Descent of Homo Slackiens

As I've mentioned before, I am a simple man with simple needs. Way back in high school -- after graduating high school, to be precise -- when it came time to chart the course of the pathless Gagdad path, I reduced it all to two non-negotiable demands.

First, I needed to somehow support myself without ever working on a full time basis, since I knew even back then that my real interplanetary cosmonautical mission would never be remunerative. I don't know why I was so confident about it, but even when I had no skills, no prospects, and no future, I was quite certain that I was having more fun than the people who did have those things.

In other words, I noticed that the people who tried to purchase slack with money ended up having less slack, because it took so much time and energy to acquire the money. In truth, these people weren't really in it for the slack, but for other things such as power, prestige, vital excitement, attention, etc. More often than not, they're just running away from their own mind parasites, which are what actually create the barrier between O and (•).

Very few people are truly motivated by slack, and willing to risk all in order to acquire it. Which is one more reason why I do not recommend my path to anyone, since you had better be certain at the outset that you are willing to risk all -- that you are truly on fire for O, and that no earthly consolation can make up for its loss. I don't want to be responsible for the people who realize too late that they are really motivated by the usual mundane human desires.

I might add that one cannot really "acquire" slack, since it is our prior condition. Thus, if we set up all sorts of elaborate means to acquire slack, it can end up leaving us slackless. Many people say they want slack, but they truly wouldn't know what to do with it if they had it. They would instantaneously become bored, or depressed, or persecuted, or adrift.

Secondly, I never wanted to have to use an alarm clock. I was so traumatized by the drudgery of high school and the tyranny of dragging myself out of bed each morning for such a meaningless endeavor, that I vowed never to perpetuate the exercise once I was out of high school.

This is just a roundabout way of saying that I slept in this morning, and that it's too late for a new post. However, due to the miracle of cooncidence, the first old post that I grabbed from two years back actually touches on the above. So here it is:




QUOTE OF THE DECADE: “‘We need to stand up to the special interests, bring Republicans and Democrats together, and pass the farm bill immediately,’ Barack Obama.”




Two Cops For The Price Of One

He's good cop and bad cop.