Friday, December 23, 2011

Hear, Hear

Gil Dodgen:
Something that must be kept in mind is that, if proponents of the creative power of the Darwinian mechanism are correct, every aspect of every biological system in every living thing that has ever existed — from functional proteins, to the flagellum, to the human mind — must be approachable in a step-by-tiny-step fashion through the accumulation of random errors. This should strike reasonable people as belief in something that can only be described as a miracle.

InVivoVeritas adds in the comments (in response to a detractor of the original post):

Your high priestly sermon on science sounds pompous and at places ridiculous.

For example, it appears that you strongly advocate in one paragraph the usage of random number generators for their creative power in writing program code. So, it might be no surprise that you are a fervent advocate of evolution and its mysterious creative resources.

To summarize your lengthy peroration, I would enumerate only the following three salient points I found worth discussing:

• The intuition is an enemy for the practice of science.

• The usage of common sense for acquiring knowledge and manifesting discernment is a bad and dangerous habit
• You will never hire programmers that do not know how to harness the creative power of random number generators to write code (enough on this topic by now)

You should not be too concerned with the first two points above. It appears our public schools and many of our higher learning institutions comply more or less with your thesis and, I don’t know how much the generations of graduates are marked by these academic practices but definitely a lot of professors were seriously damaged by them.

In contrast with your style, GilDodgen’s text is short, persuasive and ‘on the money’.

Let’s read and simplify one of his main statements:

“… screwing up complex, functionally integrated, information processing systems…” with random changes will always (except in very rare cases) will make such systems less functional or significantly damaged.

Let’s try an exercise and see, if I intentionally ignore your stated “science practice guidelines” enumerated above, we can make some common sense and intuitive inferences about the topic at hand: believing in the miracles and the evolution.

Let’s proceed also by using analogies – which I believe represent a reasonable method of inquiry.

The engineered artifacts are among the few things (if not the only ones) that have certain resemblance with living organisms.

It is well known (here the common sense snake rises his head) that random changes in such engineered systems are in most of the cases reasons for partial or total failure.

Change randomly a line in the source code of a program or a sequence of bytes in the binary code of that program and you will get a “bug” (a program malfunction) with a degree of severity dependent only on your luck.

Make a physical change in a gear of a car transmission system: hit it with a hammer, or drop in a nail or washer, and you will get most probable a gripped transmission and a damaged car.

Add randomly a wire connection between two randomly selected wires in the electrical system of a car or of your house, or just cut randomly a wire in such a system and you have a good chance to get a short circuit, a fire, but never a better car or a more secure house.

All the above are logical, defensible analogies of what someone can expect from a random change (mutation) in a living thing. There might be a difference: the living things may have more sophisticated sub-systems than our engineering artifacts to protect themselves against such random changes and to continue to work somewhat unaffected – by correcting or avoiding the induced change.

This is the logical equivalent of a random mutation or random change in a living organism. It will most likely be detrimental or even compromising for its continued function.

Here is the essence of the myth of evolution and of its “creative power”. It is a religion that requires tremendous amounts of unfounded faith from its adepts or defenders. Such defenders must come with sophisticated thesis like the intuition is anti-scientific and common sense is an enemy of knowledge and understanding to maintain the flame of faith in evolution among the trusting believers.

The simplest single cell organism is machinery with an exceptional degree of autonomy and internal complexity- all at a miniature, nano scale. The “technology” inside the simplest living cell is well beyond the most advanced human engineering artifacts from many points of view: number of interconnected systems, complexity of controls, energy efficiency, scale, speed of manufacturing and autonomy. To BELIEVE that such a complex system was “created” ONLY by a long chain of random changes is TO BELIEVE IN MIRACLES. And this was Gil Dodgen’s thesis.

To believe that macro evolution can create a more sophisticated organism from a simpler one (or from NOTHING) requires the following:

- to abandon your intuition
- to throw away your common sense
- to incessantly praise the unlimited creative powers of random changes

In short, only a miserable religion can ask his believers to obey such dubious commandments.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Self-Refuting Book Title

A Random Walk Down Wall Street: The Time-Tested Strategy for Successful Investing (Completely Revised and Updated).


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Narrative Of Doom

Chilling story of what happened on Air France 447 a couple of years ago. Quite tragic that the other pilot had no mechanical feedback that the other pilot had the stick all the way back the whole way down. If he had, I don't think there is any way the crash could have happened. Why any pilot under any circumstances other than an intentional stall would keep the stick all the way back is beyond me.


Thursday, December 08, 2011

Absurd Headline

The MSM is insane (from Yahoo news page):

Here's a link to the article, just to prove it's real.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Excellent Headline

"Multimedia car mirror lets you play games while crashing"


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Penny Wise And Pound Foolish

Vox Day:
It's really astonishing that the European Union has refused to recognize that Greece has gone bankrupt. In trying to save the banks holding sovereign Greek debt, they went and destroyed the value of all the trillions in credit default swaps. It's like declaring that corpses aren't really dead, so therefore the insurance companies don't have to pay out on any life insurance policies. That might save a company or two in the short term, but it destroys them all in the intermediate term for the obvious reason that no one is ever going to waste their money on life insurance again.

Monday, November 07, 2011

As Succinctly Put As I Have Ever Seen

The history of contraception and abortion can be stated succinctly: more contraception correlates with more abortion. The reason is obvious: contraceptive culture is promiscuous and inculcates a disrespect for the sanctity of life. Abortion is the last full measure of that disrespect.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011


From Atheism Analyzed:

Atheist Fallacy

The most egregious Atheist deception is the idea that Atheism is a lack of a belief. While this concept has been addressed elsewhere, it deserves another statement in this article.

Here are the possibilities:

1. The person has not heard of theism and has no position on it. (ignorant)

2. The person has not heard of theism and has rejected it. (impossible)

3. The person has heard of theism and has no position on it. (apathetic)

4. The person has heard of theism and has rejected it. (Atheistic)

5. the person has heard of theism and can't decide, needs more data. (Agnostic)

The idea that an Atheist has no position on theism or God is illogical; it is actually absurd and is a dodge to avoid certain logical arguments...

Declaring that Atheists do NOT reject God and theism is, again, absurd.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Masterful Take Down

Egnor once again annihilates the stupid. Inviting plenty of commentary from those too far gone to know when they have been demolished.

Monday, October 10, 2011

I Laughed Before I Heard This One

Making the rounds on the internet:

Bartender: "Sorry pal, we don't allow faster-than-light neutrinos in this bar."


A neutrino walks into a bar...

Monday, October 03, 2011

Tarkenton Lays It Out

Great analogy:
Imagine the National Football League in an alternate reality. Each player's salary is based on how long he's been in the league. It's about tenure, not talent. The same scale is used for every player, no matter whether he's an All-Pro quarterback or the last man on the roster. For every year a player's been in this NFL, he gets a bump in pay. The only difference between Tom Brady and the worst player in the league is a few years of step increases. And if a player makes it through his third season, he can never be cut from the roster until he chooses to retire, except in the most extreme cases of misconduct.

Let's face the truth about this alternate reality: The on-field product would steadily decline. Why bother playing harder or better and risk getting hurt?

No matter how much money was poured into the league, it wouldn't get better. In fact, in many ways the disincentive to play harder or to try to stand out would be even stronger with more money.

Of course, a few wild-eyed reformers might suggest the whole system was broken and needed revamping to reward better results, but the players union would refuse to budge and then demonize the reform advocates: "They hate football. They hate the players. They hate the fans." The only thing that might get done would be building bigger, more expensive stadiums and installing more state-of-the-art technology. But that just wouldn't help.

If you haven't figured it out yet, the NFL in this alternate reality is the real -life American public education system. Teachers' salaries have no relation to whether teachers are actually good at their job—excellence isn't rewarded, and neither is extra effort. Pay is almost solely determined by how many years they've been teaching. That's it. After a teacher earns tenure, which is often essentially automatic, firing him or her becomes almost impossible, no matter how bad the performance might be. And if you criticize the system, you're demonized for hating teachers and not believing in our nation's children.


Friday, September 23, 2011


I don't know why, but this one-liner (apropos of not much) struck me as pretty hilarious:

"I have Romney Derangement Syndrome."

Seen in comments here.

Good Fisking Of Elizabeth Warren


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

How Ya Gonna Tweet About Corporate Greed?

On your iPhone!

Great little "Day of Rage" video.

Don't miss the second one either. The voiceover sounds like it's from the "Honey Badger" guy.

Now, That's Funny

Don't miss this.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

One Hopes So

PRESIDENT CLARITY: Victor Davis Hanson: The Great Obama Catharsis. “Barack Obama has done the United States a great, though unforeseen, favor. He has brought to light, as no one else could, many of the pernicious assumptions of our culture from the last half-century. He turned theory and ‘what ifs’ into fact for all America to see, experience, and, yes, suffer through. . . . Had McCain been elected, or had Obama proved a canny Clinton triangulator, we would never have gotten out of the bipartisan rut of massive borrowing, growing government, higher taxes, and unionized public employee regulators. But with Obama as the great liberal deliverer and with the masses scared to death of Him, the next president will inherit an America in catharsis. The future is uncertain, but at least now, after our cauterizing, we have some sort of chance to return to the old principles that might save us.”

Monday, September 19, 2011

It's Funny 'Cause It's True

Good one:
Math joke from Anna, the bartender and civil engineering student: an infinite number of mathematicians walk into a bar. The first one tells the bartender he wants a beer. The second one says he wants half a beer. The third one says he wants a fourth of a beer. The bartender puts two beers on the bar and says “You guys need to learn your limits.”

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Statist Dictionary

Good stuff.

Not Hiring

Excellent Charles Hugh Smith piece.

Most of the discussions about boosting hiring and employment are detached from the realities faced by actual small-business employers. Pundits protected by ivory-tower tenure or plump think-tank positions can indulge in the luxury of debating the efficacy of modest tax cuts on hiring, but for those in the trenches of small business, these economic-policy debates are as germaine and valuable as debating how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

The reality is that adding an employee is very costly and adds multiple layers of risk. Small business is not going to hire another employee because the employer's share of Social Security taxes is a few hundred dollars less. Adding an employee could, without exaggeration, cost the employer his business and/or his sanity. Think of someone in the ocean with a water-logged life preserver, someone whose head is barely above water. That is the typical small business employer: it won't take much to push him/her under.

Robert F., a small-business employer for 22 years, shares the rarely-addressed point of view of the employer:
I own a security firm in a major Western-U.S. city. I have been an employer for 22 years. What a nightmare it is! Few seem to understand why businesses don't want to hire--here's my perspective.

Once I hire someone, I am party to a relationship that is full of risk. What usually happens is the "check harvesting" situation where just enough work is done to extract a paycheck. I am on the hook for matching Social Security tax, medicare tax, city occupational tax, unemployment tax, federal unemployment tax, workers comp insurance and all the abuse that goes along with that system. I have to withold State and Federal income taxes with ridiculous penalties for late payments. Often I will get served with a garnishment or child support levy for an employee, and I am on the hook for all this. If I fail to withold on a garnishment I become liable to pay the debt.

To take one real-life example of many: after all this, the employee can't get along with others, grows a beard and says it's a religious right, needs weekends off because he goes to church and it's descriminatory for me not to give him time off for his beliefs.... soon I'm looking for a way to fire him. Now the rage begins! I am subject to violence, attacks, retribution, slander-- everything all because the employee won't/can't do the job he accepted.

I have been through terminations where I was threatened with a gun, had to call the cops, etc. The usual take is that the police will take action after the homicide spree is done with. My nice Chrysler car got a cinder block thrown throught the window a few years back (oh, but there's no proof it's the guy I fired one week ago who punched his fist throught the window and had the paramedics haul off out of my office.)

Sure, I've had some great employees too--people who I only have good things to say about. I also paid them every cent I owed them and they often got more than their base pay--bonuses, extras, etc. But I could write another two pages on malicious lawsuits. For example, I promote some guy and a woman is burned up because she didn't get it and "it's discrimination." One guy is gay and other employees tease-- my job to step in and mediate and manage the mess and "This is a hatefull workplace-I'm going to be talking to a lawyer."

If I advertise for a job opening, my office fills up with the angry, over-qualified, alcoholic dead-beats and weed smokers... they all have rights of course and I owe them a job. So, Obama says employers need to hire the uenmployed? Yeah, sure! Sorry if I sound bitter-- this is my last year doing this and then I am going solo/free-lance. While I might earn less, I will have my sanity!
Many non-employers will read this and dismiss it as hyperbole or atypical; those of us who have had burdensome payrolls know it is simply realistic. The issues of high costs and multiple risks are societal and cannot be reduced to econometric quantification; the burdens and entitlements built into the labor market are not fully revealed by statistics.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Excellent Cartoon


Why As Little As Possible Needs To Be Subject To Politics

Via Instapundit:

Despite the obvious importance of science, one group of people does everything in pure defiance of scientific methods: politicians. What do politicians do when they think they have a great idea? They just go and implement it. It’s like someone thinking he’s got a cure for cancer and immediately injecting it into everyone he can. That’s a madman, not a scientist. You always have to at least try out your idea on monkeys to make sure it doesn’t kill them.

Were farm subsidies first tried on monkeys? Social Security? Bank bailouts? No, the unscientific politicians went straight to trying all their ideas on humans, and now we have a bunch of bankrupt people instead of harmless bankrupt monkeys.

But the problem with testing political ideas on monkeys is that forcing them to go billions into debt would violate animal-cruelty laws. The only ones we’re allowed to do that to are people.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Cartoon Says It All

Lots of amusing details, too. See it here.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Egnor Kicks The Hornet's Nest

The man is on a roll, attracting all the wisest acolytes of PZ Myers to give him what for.



Friday, August 26, 2011

Gettin' Jiggy With Silverlight

I created this today. It is done entirely in Silverlight markup, with no algorithmic source code.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Well-Earned Rant

My how the tables have turned:
Suddenly, you’ve all found your inner nation building, war is necessary neo-conservatism. And you like it, you really like it! Now there’s no more “chickens are coming home to roost“, just “hum, roasted chicken, want some?”

You want everyone to think that this what you’ve always supported. Except when you didn’t.

You same folks were mysteriously silent when Ghadaffi turned in his WMD arsenal shortly after we invaded Iraq. That was trivial, a silly distraction to the more important constant and unrelenting ‘Bush lied’ attacks. You were too busy spouting off about how it was an illegal war, that millions of Iraqi civilians were being slaughtered and how we can’t be the world’s police force.

Well now, times have changed. Or rather, a Democrat occupies the White House so those things are completely irrelevant now.

Pres. Bush, along with his supporters, was unmercifully villified and unrelentingly condemned, still to this day, for spending a year groveling at the UN and getting the approval of our Congress to dispose of Saddam Hussein. A lunatic who gassed his own people, invaded Kuwait and set their oil wells afire and waged a decade long war with Iran, which killed millions, and included the use of WMD’s. While Pres. Obama spent a couple hours informing, (no approval needed evidentially for the Noble Peace Prize winner), the UN and a couple members of congress that he wanted to topple ole Muammar (before going on another vacation).

And we’re just expected to meekly climb on board and forget all that?

Think again.

Have we seen one news story about any civilian deaths in Libya? One? Am I to believe no civilian deaths occurred, that the bombs dropped by Pres. Obama miraculously didn’t injure, maim or kill anyone they were not intended for? Only under Pres. Bush could that happen we’re lead to believe.

Has there been even one war protest to speak of? In San Francisco, Madrid, London, anywhere?

I somehow missed Christiane Amanpour or any breathless reporter informing us that Libya was a quagmire after the predicted “couple of weeks” war waged on for five months. Along with all the hand wringing about how much deeper in debt it was causing us to be.


And all of us Neanderthal Conservatives are to just go along for the ride, to forget the Left’s red faced indignation, their self righteous screeds, their “War is not the answer” lamenting?

Only if you’re high on medical marijuana would you think we’ve forgotten the kabuki theatre of ‘peace through dialogue‘, and my personal favorite - we need to ‘better understand our enemies‘ (of which the then Sen. Obama wrote an op-ed eight days after 9/11/01). Not forgetting either the constant, idiotic cries of “jingoism”, the omnipresent labeling of America as “imperialistic” (still waiting for proof of) all neatly mixed with a grotesquely distorted and convoluted misuse of historical missteps of the USA into a bitter and sour cocktail of “America is the real terrorists”. Yup, that was tasty.

This forum doesn’t allow me to tell all you born again “chicken hawks” precisely where you can put your new found globe trotting, defenders of the oppressed, democracy is a universal right, war IS indeed the answer, ya’ hypocritical, chest thumbing jackwagons.

You’re so smart, you’ll figure it out.

Friday, August 19, 2011


From the comments: “The untold story is that redistribution of income is, by and large, not designed to help the poor but to preserve social stability on behalf of the rich (or a portion of them). It’s like Guido Calabresi used to tell his students on the first day of classes at Yale. Are you in favor of high taxes? Yes. Are you in favor of high spending? Yes. Do you want to see your seats at Yale redistributed to people with lower test scores? Silence. Aha, he would say, you just want to redistribute other people’s advantages, not your own.”

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Plain Truth

Michael Egnor:
'Cheryl' wants to Expel me...

Commentors on atheist blogs often provide the clearest insight into atheist nastiness. Here's a snippet from one "Cheryl", a dyspeptic materialist commenting on my observation that materialist theories of the mind are gibberish and not the least consistent with neuroscience.

If [Egnor] weren’t a practicing neurosurgeon, I’d have compassion for him. But as it is, I’m appalled he’s still licensed to practice medicine.
Now please understand that all I've done to incur Cheryl's compassionless wrath is to disagree with her. I present evidence that materialism is an inadequate theory of the mind. That has enraged Cheryl so much that she objects to the fact that I'm licensed to practice medicine.

She presents no evidence that I'm unqualified to practice, or that I'm an incompetent surgeon, or that my patient outcomes are anything but good. Actually, I'm a tenured professor of neurosurgery and vice-chairman of my department. I'm an active scientist and educator, and have a good surgical practice.

Nothing objective about my qualifications would lead Cheryl to be 'appalled' that I'm still licensed to practice medicine. She just despises me, apparently, because I question her ideology. That is, she's appalled that I haven't lost my livelihood merely because I don't accept materialism.

Is the practice of medicine dependent on acceptance of doctrinaire materialism? Does science presuppose hard materialism?

Well, I'm in no danger of losing my career, despite the fact that I piss off materialists. But imagine if I were a graduate student in biology, or a young post-doc, or an assistant professor and didn't have tenure or seniority or a long track record of accomplishment to protect my livelihood. I would be in significant professional peril for not towing the materialist line.

The scientific world is full of little brownshirts like Cheryl. If you tow the line-- if you pay lip service to materialism-- you have a job. I have friends who are biologists-- several quite accomplished scientists-- who don't believe the materialist cr*p for a minute. But they stay silent. As one told me: "I gotta feed my family, Mike, and if I spoke out, I'd never get a job or a grant again"

Unless you're bullet-proof, you've got to be careful in science, especially in biology. There are a lot of Cheryls out there. A lot of them have titles like 'chairman' or 'grant reviewer' or 'journal editor' or are just colleagues who can make your life hell. There is an ideological ticket that you gotta get punched, and if you don't get in line, well... they'll find a way to.. um... Expel you.

Thanks, Cheryl, for making it so clear.

Excellent Critique By Jon Stewart

As he skewers media treatment of "invisible candidate" Ron Paul.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Peter Hitchens

As quoted at Instapundit:
ETER HITCHENS: Police water cannon and plastic bullets? After 50 years of the most lavish welfare state on earth? What an abject failure. “Bitter laughter is my main response to the events of the past week. You are surprised by what has happened? Why? I have been saying for years that it was coming, and why it was coming, and what could be done to stop it. I have said it in books, in articles, over lunch and dinner tables with politicians whose lips curled with lofty contempt. So yes, I am deeply sorry for the innocent and gentle people who have lost lives, homes, businesses and security. Heaven knows I have argued for years for the measures that might have saved them. . . . As the polluted flood (it is not a tide; it will not go back down again) of spite, greed and violence washes on to their very doorsteps, well-off and influential Left-wingers at last meet the filthy thing they have created, and which they ignored when it did not affect them personally.”

Sunday, August 14, 2011

I Do Not Like Them, Uncle Sam-I-Am

Seen here:
I do not like this Uncle Sam, I do not like his health care scam. I do not like these dirty crooks, or how they lie and cook the books. I do not like when Congress steals, I do not like their secret deals. I do not like ex-speaker Nan, I do not like this ‘YES WE CAN’..I do not like this spending spree, I’m smart, I know that nothing’s free. I do not like their smug replies, when I complain about their lies. I do not like this kind of hope. I do not like it. Nope, nope, nope!

Monday, August 08, 2011

Klavan: Leftism A Synonym For Failure

Good stuff:
As the 9/11 massacre underscored the failure of the left’s multicultural worldview, so the current debt crisis highlights the failure of leftist redistributionism.

In fact, leftism has failed utterly. It has failed everywhere and it has never done anything else but fail. From the murderous, leftist tyrannies of the Soviet Union and China to the soft but nonetheless oppressive and stagnant socialism of a moribund Europe, the relativist, wealth-crushing, overweening state has revealed itself to be an engine of misery and collapse.

This is a disappointment to many. To those who feel they are entitled to the fruits of other people’s labor, to those who feel their good intentions can be brought to fruition by the government, and to those, most of all, who fancy themselves elite, who fancy themselves better able to make moral and economic decisions on your behalf from on high than you, the citizen, can do on your own — to all of these, the failure of leftism is a trauma so great it has yet to be accepted. Rather, in order to distract both their followers and their opponents — and maybe themselves — from the gathering facts on the ground, leftists routinely rely on three well-worn techniques: insults, stupid arguments and lies.

The insults we all know. Disagree with the left and you’re a racist, a sexist, an Islamophobe — whatever. What do such insults even mean, really? Let’s say you oppose Barack Obama — and let’s say you really are a racist — does that mean his share-the-wealth ideology works? Of course not. If you’re a sexist, does that make women less interested in babies or more interested in trucks? If you’re Islamophobic, does that change the odds that the man who murders you will be named Mohammad? We are what we are and the world is what it is regardless of our personal merits and failings. The insults — for the information of all you teabagging terrorists out there — are just the sound of the left indulging in base intimidation, hoping they can keep you from spreading the word that their philosophy has failed — failed always and everywhere.


Quote Of The Day

"Democrats Continue To Accuse The Tea Party Of Terrorism As Leftists Burn London To The Ground"


Saturday, August 06, 2011

Philosophical Bumper Sticker

"Honk if you lack free will"

Seen in comments here.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Quote Of The Week

Vox Day re:the S&P downgrade of US debt:
The worrisome thing is these are the agencies that still had Enron at AAA when it was going bankrupt. It boggles the mind to think how bad U.S. finances must be for the ratings agencies to actually notice.

One Can Only Hope

It is high time for the Federal Reserve to stop enabling the thieves.

Charles Hugh Smith:
Many observers expect the Federal Reserve to bail out the stock market next Tuesday with an announcement of QE3, another round of "monetary easing" to reinstall the trade in risk assets. If they do, it will fail. The basic reason it will fail is that the Fed's credibility has fallen below a critical threshold. Put another way, the quasi-religious trust in the Fed's infallibility and power to single-handedly reverse global markets has been eroded by reality: QE2 was a monumental failure.

Here's a couple of things to understand about the Fed before you "buy the bounce when they announce QE3."

1. Though nominally independent, the Fed is a political construct. The idea that public opinion and political support have no influence on the Fed is wrong; the Fed's failure to revive the economy while squandering trillions of dollars propping up banks and Wall Street bonuses was not lost on the political class. Though nobody's talking about it, the Fed's abject failure to revive the real economy has greatly diminished its political range of maneuver.

Rumor has it that the word has already gone out to the Fed not to intervene with additional trillions to prop up Europe.

2. The consensus view is the Fed has either engineered the stock market drop to give it a free hand with QE3, or it will be "forced to do something" to combat the implosion of its pet fix to the broken economy, the "wealth effect" of rising stocks.

What these views miss is the Fed is now in a no-win endgame where its best move is to minimize the damage to what's left of its own reputation and credibility. The worst move here would be to double-down on QE3, because if it failed to goose global markets in a sustained fashion, then the Fed's remaining credibility and "magic" would vanish in a puff of smoke.

Chairman Ben Bernanke telegraphed this in his recent testimony to Congress, in which he basically stated that the Fed had done all it could and there was little more it could do other than wave a dead chicken and chant a few old incantations. Though he dutifully repeated the standard reassurances, i.e. "There is always more monetary easing we can do," he was careful to lower expectations that such easing would accomplish anything.

His testimony was that of someone setting up CYA in a major way. (CYA = cover your behind from recrimination when things head south.)

3. The Fed's power rests not in the fabled printing press but in the invisible coin of trust. Now that its fallibility has been exposed, its power, i.e. the magical faith in the guaranteed efficacy of its actions, has been destroyed.

This cloak of invincibility is what generated its power, and now that its grand policy of rescuing the economy via monetary easing and "the wealth effect" have collapsed into smoking ruins, that cloak has been shredded.

The folks running the Fed are not stupid, though they may be profoundly misguided. If they announce a vast QE2-type "easing," they would be taking on a potentially fatal risk, as the entire blame for the coming debacle would fall squarely on the Fed. They know a QE2-type easing will fail, because they have undeniable evidence that QE2 failed.

In other words: since they know QE3 cannot revive the economy or the market, then why on earth would they bet the farm pursuing a policy that's doomed to fail? That would be a form of institutional suicide.

While doing nothing would expose them to political heat from politicos desperate to revive the economy by any means, the Fed is not about to step in front of the train just to satisfy inept congresspeople.

What is the least-risky course of action for the Fed? Announce some wimpy half-measures to dodge the accusation of doing nothing, but also avoid any grand QE3 measures which would shift the blame for the coming meltdown on the Fed.

The Fed is backed into a corner of the board where all the endgame choices are unsavory. The Fed squandered all its pawns, rooks and bishops in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Its political capital has been expended pursuing policies that failed to fix the financial causes of the 2008 meltdown and also failed to revive the Main Street economy. As of yesterday, the "wealth effect" created by a rising stock market has been gutted.

The Fed is on the defensive. When you're playing defense, trying to protect your King and Queen with a single Knight, the Grand Strategy is no longer an option.


The Fed bet the farm last August on QE2, and it lost. It no longer has the political capital or market credibility to make that sized bet again. It is on the defensive, and in survival mode. Big bets and grand gestures have no place in this endgame.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

If You've Ever Owned An Old VW, You'll Want TO Watch This

My first couple of cars were '67 Bugs, which I drove from about 1982 to 2008.

This is a beautiful video tribute to old VW's.

Cool Photo

Seen here:

A Handy Formula

HOW TO PREDICT YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY PAYOUT. If you’re 50 or under, try this methodology: Pick a number. Then subtract that number from itself. You’re done!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

A Frank Exchange Of Views


If This Be Totalitarianism, Then Bring It On!

Plus this: “Incidentally, nice bit of Orwellian doublethink to call the grass-roots, libertarian-oriented Tea Party ‘Totalitarian.’ This has to be the first ‘Totalitarian’ movement in the history of mankind that, if it gets everything it wants…will leave you the hell alone.”

Monday, August 01, 2011

"We?" Who Is This "We", Reporterette?

Her bias is showing, caught on tape during a Whitehouse press briefing.

Friday, July 29, 2011

"If It Doesn’t Work Out, It Will Not Be Because Of The Politics. It Will Be Because, Lacking The Will To Confront What Is Killing Us, We Were Already Doomed."

Dynamite Andre McCarthy piece, and one showing a lot more cojones than the rest of the pushovers at NRO.

What He Said

A commenter at NRO:
Ah yes, thank you Mr. Capretta, who represents the same careerist insiders with the same line... stand on no underlying principles whatsoever, compromise by caving in to the progressives, then declare victory and go home, all accompanied by marvelous nuanced political plays and ploys that exhibit the most erudite thinking of the cognoscenti.

Back in reality, let's talk about what will really happen: Reid will gut the bill and send it back to the House, daring the Repubs to do something about it. Obama will demagogue about the intransigent Republicans to not pass Reid's bill. The Old Left Media will pleasantly spin the issues his way as usual, and the great unwashed American voter (whoever that may be these days) will lap up the propaganda with nary a dissenting thought in their heads, in large part because the Repubs yet again exhibited no principled action, with the most logical conclusion being it was because they must not have had any underlying principles in the first place. The typical voting blocks living on the progressive plantation will then go marching merrily off to the voting booth in November and re-elect Obama and the Dems with a comfortable majority in the Senate, and increased power in the House.

Meanwhile, the doddering old fools who comprise the Boehner apologists will go off muttering into their beards about 'Rome wasn't built in a day', and 'psychology of the American voter', and 'wait until next year (next election, next decade, next century)'. Yes, I'm so glad this has all worked out for the best. And it will definitely trump those terrible Tea Partiers, such fanatics every one of them having the unmitigated gall to try to actually make meaningful change to this nation's march into the abyss.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

"Obama Seems To Be Taking His Defeat In The 2012 Election Rather Well"

Is the title of this good read.

Pretty Darned Cavalier About Such A Sum

If you think that a $2T increase in the debt ceiling is no big deal, please try to remember that divided amongst 100 million taxpayers, this amounts to $20,000 apiece. And that's just an incremental increase to the overall debt, good for just over one year's worth of deficit spending.

Do you really think you're going to get your $20,000 dollars per year's worth? Do you see why this game is essentially over, not 20 years from now, but today, regardless of what sham the Capitol Hill crime syndicate manages to pass?

Socialism, We Hardly Knew Ye

Roger L. Simon:
President Obama’s been taking a lot of flak lately for not having a plan.


Well, the reason for the latter is simple: because he can’t. The minute the president evinces a budget plan, the game is up. No liberal budget will stand up to scrutiny. There is no money left for deficit spending in our aging society. The welfare state is kaput. It’s gone — probably for generations to come.

Of course, there’s always that canard about taxing the rich. That will save things. But the truth is even if you tax the rich at 100%, it barely sets back our entitlement crisis a year or two, while virtually bankrupting the few job creators who remain.

So no wonder Obama doesn’t have a plan. What would it be?

Rich Miniter put a fine point on it in a recent article for Forbes, “Why the Democratic Party is Doomed [2].”
The Democratic Party, as we have known it for the past 70 years, is now in its last days.

Yes, the House Republicans may raise the debt ceiling for a mix of spending cuts and revenue raisers. Yes, Barack Obama may win the 2012 presidential contest. Yes, bureaucrats and judges will continue to impose new and costly regulations on the economy.

But it doesn’t matter. The long-term trends are almost all bad news for the left wing of the party.

This week’s fight over raising the federal debt limit exposes a key weakness in the warfare-welfare state that has bestowed power onto the Democratic Party: Without an ever-growing share of the economy, it dies.
Miniter’s right. As an ex-lib, it almost makes me feel sorry for liberals. But I’m not because too many of them are still playing ostrich. One lib friend just sent me an email — I’m still somehow on her list — trumpeting a 1954 (!) quote from Eisenhower [3]: “Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history.”

I guess the implication here is that’s what Republicans are trying to do, when, especially in the case of Social Security, they are the only ones making a serious effort to save it (see Paul Ryan). But liberals must preserve their delusions — and actually not read the small print, in Ryan’s proposal or anybody else’s. After all, they are people with no plans. Why should anybody else have them?

Plans are dangerous because someone might scrutinize them. Someone might point out that Social Security was enacted in 1935, when life expectancy was 61.7 (It is now 77.9 and increasing), and, if it isn’t overhauled, it’s finished. No, you better stay away from these plans. Better to have vague theories and pronouncements. (No, I’m not going to say “hope and change,” but you know I was about to.)

All is not lost, however, in this most unPanglossian world. When you are finally able to shake free of liberal-statist ideas or, as Miniter explains, are forced to abandon them because the state itself is broke (not yet Greece, but close enough), you get a tremendous bonus: the pleasure of self-reliance.

When finally free from the bromides of their ultra-bourgeois ideology, even liberals realize you feel better when you do things for yourself. Most of us know from our own families and friends that the happiest people are those who have made their own way, not those who have had life handed to them, either by inheritance or from the state.


But time is on the side of our country and culture again. We are a giant boat finally turning in the right direction. Have patience — we will get there.

Atheists Can Be Just As Moral As Theists.


Good point by commenter over at Ilion's:
One 'trick' I'm particularly tired of is this: "Atheists are just as moral as theists, so you theists better say this if you want any dialogue with atheists." Except A) Who wants dialogue with atheists, particularly New Atheists who are bound by politics more than anything? And B) On what grounds do I say atheists are as moral as theists? My stock reply is, oh, so atheists are typically against abortion, gay marriage, premarital sex, and other things I view as immoral? And that usually seems to shut down that move, if only for that particular moment.

Indeed. And if the atheist manages to get those ones right, there is still the question of "Good according to whom?"

Atheists are--by definition--in violation of the Greatest Commandment, after all, no matter how well they do at the Second greatest commandment.

Adolph Hitler: "The Clergy Are Like Lice"

Did I say Hitler? My bad. I meant to say Myers.

But don't worry, give the atheists power and all will be sweetness, light, and universal brotherhood, as any militant atheist will tell you, and has been proven again and again and again in modern history.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Destruction != Design

Gil Dodgen:
Where to begin? I’ll begin with two self-evidently wrong propositions of evolutionary theory.

1) Gradualism. Attempts to cram the fossil evidence into the gradualistic model display transparent desperation to make the evidence fit the theory. The fossil record testifies consistently and persuasively to three things: stasis, abrupt extinction, and abrupt appearance of new functional life forms. In addition, common sense argues that there is no gradualistic pathway for almost any biologically complex and functionally integrated system. A simple example is the avian lung. There is no conceivably logical gradualistic pathway from a reptilian bellows lung to an avian circulatory lung, because the intermediates would immediately die of asphyxiation.

Furthermore, attempts by Darwinists to explain away this kind of obvious problem strike ID folks — we consider ourselves, by the way, to be the real “free thinkers” concerning origins — as desperate attempts motivated by a desire to defend a theory in evidential and logical crisis.

2) The biologically creative evolutionary power of stochastic events filtered by natural selection.

This proposition is dead-simply, obviously, and empirically unreasonable (except in isolated pathological instances such as bacterial antibiotic resistance, in which case the probabilistic resources are available to allow informational degradation to provide a temporary survival advantage). Natural selection is irrelevant. Throwing out failed experiments does nothing to increase the creative power of random events. Simple combinatorial mathematics render the stochastic proposition completely unreasonable.

The two examples I’ve provided I find to be self-evidently wrong.

A commenter adds:
This proposition is dead-simply, obviously, and empirically unreasonable (except in isolated pathological instances such as bacterial antibiotic resistance, in which case the probabilistic resources are available to allow informational degradation to provide a temporary survival advantage).
This makes me think of taking a wrecking ball to a building and making a big hole. The building now has the advantage of a new entrance and improved ventilation. But the electrical systems are damaged and it is structurally less sound.

Is this clear evidence that a wrecking ball can add a new security system or self-repairing windows? Does it explain where the furniture came from? Who thinks that way?

Enough With The Wholly Disingenuous Talk Of Default From Both Parties, And Even The Conservative Press

I'm getting tired of this lie. Under the 14th Amendment, the government is not allowed to decide to default in lieu of being fiscally responsible. And common sense dictates that if for some reason the criminal syndicate on Capitol Hill does decide to unconstitutionally renege on making debt payments, then the entire big government game is finito for them, since the bond market will shun all new debt issuance.

In short: Enough! Stop talking pure nonsense!

Related to the overall topic is this comment by an Instapundit reader:
I’m worried. See if you follow my concern. Thus far the Democrats have proved intractable on these negotiations. But more than that, they seem to be living in denial as regards the national debt and more importantly the deficits. Right now we’re projecting deficits of 1.5 trillion every year for the next ten years. But those projections are based on growth rates of something like 3 – 3.5% from 2013 onwards. Which is unrealistic when you consider the current debt load plus piling on 1.5T more every year. It’s obvious that these projections are pure fantasy. They’re in denial about Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid sustainability and about Obamacare. They genuinely believed O-care was going to “bend the cost curve”! It’s ridiculous.

Now, we all know this. None of this is new information. What has me worried is the idea that the Democrats ACTUALLY DON’T UNDERSTAND THIS IS THE END OF THE ROAD. What if they actually aren’t capable of recognizing when they’ve lost? Or when we’ve run out of other people’s money? None of these people work for a living. Their concept of where money comes from and how wealth is created (and destroyed) is completely divorced from reality because they live in a government bubble. And the very small minority among them that do understand this from previous jobs and experience are okay with Progressive policies aimed at leveling/equalizing/delivering-economic-justice because they just assume that the economy can handle some siphoning. And usually it can. But not at this volume or for this time scale.

Here’s the position I think we may be in. We’ve been negotiating with the President and The Democrats in Congress on the assumption that they’re sane. It’s okay to play hardball with these guys because eventually, whether they like it or not, reality insists upon itself and they have to cave. It’s a painful process so you expect some tantrum throwing and caterwauling, but eventually they HAVE to accept reality. Except if they’re not sane. If they want five apples and there’s only two plus two but they CAN’T ACCEPT that two plus two equals four. Orwell wasn’t just writing a parable about the eventual end point of IngSoc. He was describing what human psychology can drive Ministers to inflict upon the populace for the sake of “justice”. I’m worried they’ll pull the trigger on default as just one more “political” step in the march towards freedom from want or whatever other principle they’re operating under. They’re playing this game as if they could win, as if taxes in a downturn are a good idea with benign consequences. As if debt equivalent to GDP is survivable for the world’s anchor economy/currency, let alone sustainable.

And so maybe, just maybe, Republican strategy (what little there is of it) has badly misread the opposition. Obama tried to add 400 billion in taxes to a deal he had already agreed with Boehner at the last minute. Boehner walks out cause Obama is negotiating in bad faith and has been all along, but what if Obama is actually incapable of good faith negotiation? I think right now that it’s actually possible we won’t see a deal at all. Because the Republicans are looking at the math and at reality and saying “Okay, Democrat demands can’t be serious because they can’t possibly work” and Democrats are looking at politics and how it works and saying “We don’t have to give in cause that’s not how you win these things. You pin it on the other guy politically and then reap the political dividends.” I wasn’t around for the start of WWI, but I get the feeling I understand Kennedy’s fascination with Tuchman’s Guns of August. I’m not talking about a shooting war, but about leaders overestimating and underestimating and just plain misjudging each other in a brinksmanship scenario. In short, it could be too late to do anything when people finally wake up. The crisis may have already arrived with an economic and fiscal momentum all it’s own that no amount of dealing or compromise or statesmanship can stop..

Also, let us note that Bill Clinton is urging the 14th Amendment, not as a reason to default, but as a reason for Obama to keep borrowing regardless of what Congress authorizes, so that kind of backs up my point, yes?

These commenters at Legal Insurrection spell out why Clinton's gambit probably wouldn't actually work:
I expect the Dems joker is the 14th Amendment ploy and I fully expect them to use it. Slick Willy said as much and there have been hints in other quarters.


The 14th amendment gimmick may not work. I’ve already seen commentary that some traders of government debt will avoid dealing in those cusips. Nobody wants to be stuck with paper that the courts could deem to be illegitimate because it wasn’t authorized by Congress.

Friday, July 22, 2011

A Fable (Cartoons)

All too true.

Welcome To Your Indentured Servitude

Charles Hugh Smith:
If we knock down all the flimsy screens of artifice and obscuring complexity, what we see in Europe is a continent of debt-serfs, indentured to the banks under the whip of the European Union and its secular religion, the euro.


Here is the fundamental fact: there are trillions of euros of debt which can never be paid back. In a non-feudal system, one in which the banks were not the Masters, then this fact would be recognized and acted upon: something like 50% of the debt would be written off in one fell swoop, all the banks whose assets had just been wiped out would be declared insolvent and liquidated, the remaining debt would be sized to the economic surplus of each debtor nation, and a new, decentralized banking sector of dozens of strictly limited, smaller banks would be established.

To the degree that is "impossible," Europe is nothing but a Neo-Feudal Kleptocracy serving its Banker Lords.

The Greek worker whose pay has been slashed in the "austerity" demanded by the banks serves the Banker Lords, as does the German worker who will be paying higher taxes to bail out Germany and France's Banker Lords. Though the German is constantly told he is bailing out Greece, the truth is Greece is just the conduit: he's actually bailing out the EU's Banker Lords.

We can clear up much of the purposeful obfuscation by asking: exactly what tragedy befalls Europe if all the sovereign debt in the EU was wiped off the books? The one and only "tragedy" would be the destruction of the "too big to fail" banks, not just in Europe but around the world. As the big European banks imploded, then their inability to service their counterparty obligations on various derivatives to other big banks would topple those lenders.

While the political vassals call that possibility a catastrophe, it would actually spell freedom for Europe's 500 million debt serfs. From the lofty heights of the Manor House, then the loss of enormously concentrated power and wealth is indeed a catastrophe for the Lords and their political lackeys. But for the debt-serfs facing generations of servitude for nothing, then the destruction of the banks would be the glorious lifting of tyranny.


In the old, horribly risky system of independent states and currencies, any bank foolish enough to loan vast sums to weak states and its citizenry would soon find the currency in which their loans were paid would weaken to the point that even if the loans were repaid in full, their losses would be crushing.

For example, say a bank loaned Greece 1 billion drachma when the drachma was equal in value to the U.S. dollar. The loan would thus be worth $1 billion. But let's say that by the time the loan was repaid, the drachma had fallen to 50 cents. Measured in dollars, the bank suffered a loss of 50%, even when the loan was paid in full.

The euro removed all that nasty risk, and created a massive vassal class of EU bureaucrats to enforce the rules and make good any defaulted debt via the European Central Bank (ECB), the supra-national lender that served the big banks as guarantor. Ultimately, the ECB was funded by the member states' taxpayers, which spread the costs of the arbitrage over such a large number of citizens that it seemed impossible that the guarantee could be broken.

But the Banker Lords got greedy, and they overshot the carrying capacity of the EU's economy by a trillion euros; the debt loads are now so enormous that the surplus skimmed from the debt-serfs isn't enough.


The cloak has been removed, and the bloodied whip is now visibly in hand. In a household analogy: your mortgage has been rolled over into a new form of servitude, and your wages have been cut even as your taxes have been raised to service your debt to the Banker Lords. The vassals are bowing and scraping before their Lords, promising deeper cuts and higher taxes; yes, Master, we will obey.

But this isn't enough, of course; the Lords are demanding the rings off the fingers of the debt-serfs, and the rights to sovereign assets; they are casting a covetous eye on the comely daughter as well, and we can fully expect a discreet demand to exercise droit du seigneur, a right befitting the Lords of the new Feudalism.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Now, That's A Cop

You'll want to watch this from beginning to end.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


LEFTISM DEFINED? “He prefers the inequality that comes from a government hierarchy, over inequality that comes from voluntary trade.” I always figure that people who feel this way do so because they think they’re better at sucking up to authority figures than at creating value on their own. And my guess is, they’re right about that.

Worth A Thousand Words

Seen here.

Wipe The Plutocrats Out (Financially)

Charles Hugh Smith:
A simple 8-point plan would restore both the banking and the real estate sectors, and end the political dominance of the parasitic "too big to fail" banks.

Craven politicos and clueless Federal Reserve economists are always bleating about how they want to fix the U.S. economy and restore "aggregate demand." OK, here's how to start:

1. Force all banks to mark all their assets to market at the end of each trading day, including all derivatives of all types, including over-the-counter instruments.

2. Allow citizens to discharge all mortgage and student loan debt in bankruptcy court, just like any other debt.

3. Banks must mark all their real estate to market weekly as defined by "last sales of nearby properties" adjusted for square footage and other quantifiable measures (i.e. like

4. Require mortgage servicers and all owners of mortgage-backed securities to mark every asset within each pool to market weekly.

5. Any mortgage, loan or note which was fraudulently originated, packaged and sold, including the misrepresentation of risk, the manipulation of risk ratings, fraudulent documentation by any party, etc., will be discharged as uncollectable and the full value wiped off the books and title records without recourse by any of the parties.

If a bank fraudulently originated a mortgage and the buyer misrepresented material facts on the mortgage documents, then both parties lose all claim to the note and the underlying asset, the house, which reverts to the FDIC for liquidation, with the proceeds going towards creditors' claims against the bank.

6. Any bank which misrepresents marked-to-market asset values will be fined $10 million per incident.

7. Any bank which is insolvent at the end of a trading day will be closed and taken over by the FDIC the following day, and liquidated in an orderly manner via open-market auctions of all assets, including REO (real estate owned).

8. All derivative positions held by the insolvent bank will be unwound immediately, and counterparties who fail to make good on their claims will also be closed, given to the FDIC and liquidated.

You know what this is, of course: a return to trustworthy, transparent accounting. And you know what the consequences would be, too: all five "too big to fail" banks would instantly be declared insolvent, and most of the other top-25 big banks would also be closed and liquidated.

At least $3 trillion in impaired residential mortgage debt would be written off, maybe more, and $1 trillion in impaired commercial real estate would also be written down. Derivative losses are unknown, but let's estimate it's at least $1 trillion and maybe much more.

If $5.8 trillion of fantasy "value" is wiped off the nation's books, that's only a 10% reduction in net household and non-profit assets, which total $58 trillion. Even an $11 trillion hit would only knock off 20%. If that's reality, if that's what the assets are really worth in the real world, then let's get it over with. Once we've restored truthful accounting and stopped living a grand series of debilitating lies, then the path will finally be clear for renewed growth.

The net result would be the destruction of the political power of the "too big to fail" banks, the clearing of the nation's bloated, diseased real estate market, and the restoration of trust in institutions which have been completely discredited.

Bank credit would flow again, and we could insist on a healthy competitive system of 250 small banks instead of a corrupting system of 5 insolvent parasitic monsters and 20 other bloated but equally insolvent financial parasites.

Those who lied would finally get fried. At long last, those who misprepresented income, risk, etc. would actually pay some price for their malfeasance. Criminal proceedings would be a nice icing on the cake, but simply ending the pretence of solvency would go a long way to restoring banking and real estate and ending regulatory capture by TBTF banks.

What's the downside to such a simple action plan? Oh boo-hoo, the craven politicos would lose their key campaign contributors. On the plus side, the politicos could finally wipe that brown stuff off their noses.

Monday, July 18, 2011

It Is, Indeed, A Red State Hell-Hole

William Jacobson:
Why are there homeless people in San Francisco?

As you know, I’m visiting here. And one thing I’ve noticed is that there are quite a few homeless people.

Why are the people of San Francisco so heartless? They must all be Tea Party supporters.

Why don’t the politicians here care about the poor? They must be Republicans.

How can citizens just walk by without helping? Probably too busy with their capitalism.

San Francisco is a beautiful city, but I don’t know if I could live in such a heartless, Republican, capitalistic place.

"We're Not About To Throw Away The Rest Of The Picture"

Great post at Rick's.


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sad, But True

Michael Egnor:
The damage that the Democratic party has done to racial relations and to the black family in America is incalculable. The KKK could only dream of destroying the black family and making black neighborhoods incubators of crime and misery. But perhaps the KKK did accomplish it anyway, via the party to which it was always violently loyal.

This explains the racial policies of the modern Democratic party: several decades ago, the Democratic party realized that black people were more valuable in a voting booth than on a tree limb.


Edward Feser hits it out of the park with this one.

And some input by commenters on the abject-stupidity-fest in progress over at Jerry Coyne's place:
A quote from Bertrand Russell, of all people, accurately sums up 90% of the comments over on Coyne's blog: "A stupid man's report of what a clever man says is never accurate because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand."


Amusingly, while commentators in the one Coyne thread are trying to deny causation - no first cause if no causation! - commentators on another Coyne thread are exalting causation in order to deny free will.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Intellectual Pygmies "Discuss" Aquinas

Edward Feser give it the old college try, and this is the result.

Bring It

Charles Hugh Smith:
1970 + 40 = 2010: That takes us to the present. Right now the nation is wallowing self-piteously in a fetid trough of denial and adolescent rage/magical thinking that the nation's bogus, debt-based "prosperity" has crashed and cannot be restored, though Ben Bernanke and the clueless "leaders" the citizenry has fecklessly elected keep trying to glue Humpty Dumpty back back together again.

Unfortunately, all they've accomplished is to glue their own fingers together.

The "too big to fail" banks and Corporate Cartels effectively own the Federal machinery of governance, the Savior State's fiefdoms are expanding their reach and power like uncontrollable cancers, and the "leadership"--mostly self-glorifying. grossly incompetent, self-absorbed, greedy Baby Boomers, but with a few equally clueless 40-somethings present just to prove that age is no protection against self-delusion and supreme greed-- has resolved to surrender to the Financial Power Elites and State fiefdoms, and fiddle around with "extend and pretend" strategies until they can exit the stage with bulging bags of swag.

Their only goal is to not be the one blamed when the whole corrupt contraption finally collapses under its own weight. If there was ever a more pathetic, corrupt, cowardly and incompetent set of "leaders" in the nation's history, they must have done their skimming during periods of relative prosperity. Now we need real leaders, not TV-ready simulacra spouting bloated slogans that contain the magic word "change."

Gen X and Gen Y, this is your "lights, camera, action!" call, if not for political power, then for a cultural revolution. I for one am ready for a Fifth Awakening, a Cultural Revolution, and a restoration of self-rule and the real, non-financialized economy.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


How about you?

College educators got 55%, the general population, 49%.

Via Vox Day.

We Are Not Worthy Of Him

Peter Wehner:
At one point I thought it could be attributed to an unusual degree of cynicism, but now I wonder if it goes deeper than that. What I have in mind is President Obama’s obsession with portraying himself as our moral superior. Virtually every time he speaks these days, we are treated to another journey through what William Makepeace Thackeray aptly dubbed Vanity Fair.

For example, if you listened to the president’s news conference today, a theme we are by now wearily familiar with was repeated with numbing repetition: Obama, according to Obama, is quite simply better, much better, than those around him. He is a man of pure motives and unparalleled reasonableness, extraordinary intellectual depth, and unsurpassed seriousness. Others are driven by narrow self-interest, by the political calendar, by outside pressures. They are too ignorant or too weak to do the right thing, the good thing, the hard thing.

Not Obama.

Members of Congress, from both parties, are trapped by their own ideological predispositions. Obama, according to Obama, is not. He is free from bias, able to see reality whereas others merely see shadows. It is not easy to be Obama in a fallen world.

Politics tends to draw into its orbit people who are inordinately impressed with themselves and caught up in excessive self-love. But in Barack Obama we have stumbled across someone unlike anyone we have seen before. This is a man, after all, who believed he had it within his powers to heal the planet and reverse the ocean tides. And as the hopes and dreams of his 2008 campaign continue to crash down around him — as his popularity wanes, as some of his most worshipful followers turn from him, as he is unable to extract himself from the results of his failed policies — his narcissism seems to grow, not diminish. It is hard to tell where this will all end. But I suspect it won’t be pretty. Watching what happens to those who fall in love with their own reflection rarely is.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Through The Looking Glass

Jerry Coyne is an utter fool. Edward Feser shows why, with a table-turning though experiment.

It's A Complete Mystery

The NYT wonders why certain things are not covered by the NYT. Rest assured, though, it has nothing to do with the NYT.


Quip Of The Week

These days, when the President says that we have to "eat our peas", I no longer know whether he's offering a metaphor or invoking the Commerce Clause.

Atheist Slap Fight

There are some reasonable atheists (at least sometimes). One of them reads the others the riot act.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

We Need More Like Him

Let’s stop talking about new taxes and start talking about new taxpayers, which means jobs. This debt is the No. 1 issue on everyone’s minds and rightfully so. It is a major issue, but everywhere else, in the real world, the No. 1 issue on people’s minds is jobs. And I tell you, every other problem facing America — a mortgage crisis, a home foreclosure crisis, this debt problem — all of these issues get easier to deal with if people are gainfully employed across America. And the impact that unemployment is having across this country is devastating. …

Our job here [in Congress] is to do everything we can to make it easier for them to find a job, not harder. And I think that’s what we have to do when it comes to ‘a balanced approach’ and when we talk about revenue. We don’t need new taxes, we need new taxpayers, people who are gainfully employed, making money, paying into the tax system and then we need a government that has the discipline to take that additional revenue and use it to pay down the debt and never grow it again. …

So you look at all these taxes that are being proposed and here’s what I say: I say we should analyze every single one of them through the lens of job creation, issue No. 1 in America. I want to know which one of these taxes they’re proposing will create jobs. I want to know how many jobs will be created by the planes tax. I want to know how many jobs will be created by the oil company tax that I’ve heard so much about. How many jobs are created by going after the millionaires and billionaires that the president talks about? I want to know! How many jobs do they create? …

I traveled the state of Florida for two years campaigning. I have never met a job creator who told me that they were waiting for the next tax increase before they started growing their business. I’ve never met a single job creator who has ever said to me I can’t wait ’til government raises taxes again so I can go out and create a job. I’m curious to know if they say that in New Hampshire because they don’t say that in Florida. So my view on all that is, I want to know how many of these tax increases the president proposes will create because if they’re not creating jobs and they’re not creating new taxpayers, they’re not solving the problem.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Hear, Hear

Mark Shea:
The Age of Unreason

Everybody is familiar with the pop culture drama and comedy caricature of the fundamentalist preacher or rigid authoritarian priest who, possessing special knowledge his tribe trembles at, pops off about things he doesn’t understand.

He turns up in popular entertainment all the time, denouncing people as witches for building some gadget (a popular theme in time travel stories), or confidently murdering Copernicus (if you are a Dan Brown sucker) or thumping a Bible and howling about fake moon landings. The Ignorant Religious Popinjay so beloved by the Manufacturers of our pop culture dramas and comedies about Science vs. Religion is always treated like The Authority on Everything by gullible doofuses who follow him because they think that his mastery of the one class of information they value makes him a master of all classes of information they know nothing about. That’s the agitprop continually pounded into our heads by modernity: The Middle Ages (we are told) was that time when those who were masters of mystic hoodoo about the Faith were likewise anointed masters of Science and enabled to hold back Progress for centuries with their ignorant anti-science prattle until our Age of Reason dawned. It’s a beloved and venerable lie, rebutted again and again by real historians of science such as Fr. Stanley Jaki. But it remains a lie believed by millions at this hour.

The irony, of course, is that if any age should be called the Age of Unreason, it’s ours. It proceeds precisely by taking people who know a lot about one thing and anointing them Masters of Everything. It is further complicated by the fact that many of our contemporaries worship their intellects rather than use them. They “know” what the “know” because they uncritically regurgitate something some “expert” on television said was “the assured results of Science”. Case in point: the adulation and respect still being accorded the increasingly weird and ignorant remarks of physicist Stephen Hawking. Here he is, delivering the verdict from Mt. Sinai that God did not create the Universe:
“Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists, why we exist.”
Classic. There is a law of gravity. It’s just there. Therefore this is no Legislator. Like he knows. He is a guy in a lab coat—a technician who knows a great deal about how the lights in the metaphysics classroom work. That doesn’t qualify him to tromp into the metaphysics class and bawl, “I don’t see the point of this junk.” And yet, that’s just what he’s doing, to the awed applause of suckers who, while denouncing the Old Man in Rome as an authoritarian ignoramus, will simultaneously declare “Hawking said it. I believe it. That settles it.”


If The GOP Had An Ounce Of Cleverness

They'd do this:
WANT NEW SOURCES OF REVENUE? If I were a Republican member of Congress, I’d be proposing big excise taxes on movie tickets, DVDs, CDs, digitial movie and music downloads, etc. Then let Hollywood scream about how the tax increase would destroy American jobs. . . .


This is highly amusing. A picnic turns into a frank and sincere exchange of political/economic views.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Asinine Trope. Refuted Thusly.

“I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”- Stephen Roberts

(as cited here)

"I just believe in one more God than you do.... When you understand why I don't dismiss my God, you will understand why I do dismiss all the others." - SteveK

(as cited here)

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Now, That's Succinct!

There is not a damn thing that public unions workers can do cheaper or better than private industry. Taxpayers foot the bill for the difference.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Moral Hazard

Nice and short, as good as an explanation of moral hazard as you're going to find.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

It's A Complete Mystery

A real puzzler:
JAMES TARANTO: The ‘Jim Crow’ Lie: How could asking for ID be discriminatory only when it comes to voting?
Today railroads and hotels, along with almost all providers of public accommodations in almost all circumstances, are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race. So what happens when you ride on Amtrak, the government-subsidized railroad? You hear an announcement over the PA system advising you to be prepared to show your identification if the conductor asks to see it.

Likewise, these days there is a good chance you will be asked for identification when you check into a hotel. You need ID to board an airplane or to drive a car. Recently we visited a doctor whose office is in a hospital. Just to enter the premises, we needed to present ID to a security guard.

If black people have trouble producing identification, how come nobody ever claims that these requirements are discriminatory?

Another important aspect of civil rights is equal employment opportunity. Under the 1986 immigration law, when you are hired for a job, you are required to provide your employer with documents proving both your identity and your citizenship or legal residency. How come nobody ever claims these requirements discriminate against blacks?
Because ACORN isn’t involved in faking things up there.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Something To Keep In Mind

Michael Egnor:
Atheists are an amusing coterie. They are the least persecuted group in history; Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Muslims have died in the thousands and millions for their beliefs. The 20th century is the most horrible century for Christian martyrs. The Holocaust is the paradigm of human evil. Buddhists have been persecuted systematically in many nations. Muslims were slaughtered in the Crusades.

Anti-atheist pogroms? Can you name one? Of course not. The reality is that atheists have rarely been the target of organized violence or supression. SInce the French Revolution, the Reign of Terror, and Communism, atheism has been the most prolific perpetrator of violence in human history. No other ideoogy comes close. State atheism- from the Reign of Terror to Lenin to Stalin to Mao to Pol Pot to Kim Jung Il- killed more people each week of the past century than the Spanish Inquisition killed in 300 years.

When He's On, He's On

Some excellent Jon Stewart.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

There Can't Be Bias, Because The Deals Are Separate!

Google's idea of fairness:
Google: Built for Favoritism? While denying Google had offered the Obama campaign a special ad deal, company spokesman Jake Parrillo advanced this defense:
Parrillo told POLITICO that the Republican and the Democratic political ad sales teams at Google are kept separate and are unaware of the other side’s projects or deals.
How does that make the situation better? It seems to make it worse. Maybe one team give the Dems good deals and the other gives the GOP bad deals! But because they never talk to each other they never find out (and never have to consciously decide to favor one party over the other–or decide whether to blow the whistle on those who do). Maybe only the Obama supporters at the top of Google know, and they approve.

Chesterton Quote

Seen here:
“Democracy means government by the uneducated, while aristocracy means government by the badly educated.” — G. K. Chesterton.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Vox Day:
I hope you all enjoyed the brief, but glorious Anthropogenic Global Warming/Climate Change era, as it appears Science (ever to be praised, never to be doubted) has now changed her mind again and the Earth is going to be getting colder. But this time it's not Man's fault, but rather the Sun's.
What may be the science story of the century is breaking this evening, as heavyweight US solar physicists announce that the Sun appears to be headed into a lengthy spell of low activity, which could mean that the Earth – far from facing a global warming problem – is actually headed into a mini Ice Age.

But whether the Earth is headed for a mini Ice Age or a maxi Heat Age, we can be certain of one thing. The only possible solution recommended by Science will involve handing over more money and political power to whatever government authority pays the salaries of the scientists involved.

If They Weren't A Bunch Of Castrati, This Is What They Would Do

Jay Tea:
Finally, a lot of Democrats are calling for Congressman Anthony Weiner to resign his seat. On the other hand, a lot of them are calling for an "ethics investigation." (Which translates to "give us six months for this to die down, then we'll scold you and pretend it never happened.")

I hope he doesn't.

I hope he stays in office and completes his term.

Because I want to hang that SOB around their necks.

For years, the Democrats were proud as punch to have Weiner be one of their biggest mouths, their attack dog, their face of fierce, confrontational liberalism. He was their "loose cannon," their bomb-thrower, and they loved him for it.

But once he was caught, they still backed him. They bought into and parroted his lies and alibis and excuses. Then, when that started falling apart (thank you, Andrew Breitbart), they started hemming and hawing. They started wimping out, saying that "it's up to his constituents to judge" and "we think there should be an Ethics Committee invesigation."

Sorry, that game ain't gonna play out that way.

If I were advising Speaker Boehner, here's the game plan.

It's too late to oppose granting Weiner's request for a leave of absence so he can get treatment for being such an ass****. So, from this point, it's time to make certain that the Democrats own Weiner.

When the vote comes up for the Ethics Committee investigation, all Republicans vote "present." Then bring up an expulsion vote, and do the same damned thing. Explain that they want to give the Democrats the opportunity to take out their own trash.

And when that fails, then start up the campaign literature. Every single Democrat who campaigned with Weiner, gave him money or took money from him, who made any kind of joint appearance with the guy, gets Weinered. Run pictures of Weiner with the Democrat, then a few selections from Weiner's self-portraits. Turn every race into an art gallery showing, with the theme of "Democrats' Pride."

And, if Weiner had the slightest sense of integrity (a very doubtful proposition), he'd admit that it's exactly the kind of thing he would do if he had the chance.

Welcome To South Africa

Phi Beta Cons:
Disgusting Little Boxes

If you want to be disgusted, take a look at the front-page story in today’s New York Times, “On College Forms, a Question of Race, or Races, Can Perplex.” It’s about how selective colleges and universities are wrestling with the problem of how to deal with applicants who check more than one box for race and ethnicity: which mixes are to be most favored, whether it’s better to be mixed or pure, what do to about students who refuse to check any box, and how to tell if a student is really sincere in his or her self-identification or is just “gaming” the system. Now, maybe it’s just me, but I think a lot of people will find it really sickening to read about how these politically correct educrats sit around and give a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down to an 18-year-old based on his racial and ethnic mix. As for “gaming” the system, were we supposed to lament the fact that a black applicant 100 years ago might try to pass for white? I think our condemnation then and now should be more concentrated on the racially discriminatory system itself rather than on those who tried or try to game it.

What Color Is The Sky On Neptune, Axelrod?

If he really believes this he's a sorry creature, if he doesn't then woe to him:
As I pointed out in a post earlier today, when on John King’s CNN show yesterday, Obama strategist David Axelrod offered up this whopper, “This president was scrutinized, more perhaps than any candidate ever had been.”

Monday, June 13, 2011

Dark Humor

Mark Shea:
Why Euthanasia is Coming

It wasn't enough for Generation Narcissus to slaughter it's young in vast numbers. Now, with all those missing wage earners, you serfs in Gen X and Y must be sentenced to perpetual servitude to pay for us to continue to live in the manner we've become accustomed. Respect your elders, slaves!

Wait! Why are you looking at me that way? Stop stepping on my air hose!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

I stopped trying to debate Libs, and now I just go straight for the jugular.

The conversations usually goes something like this:

“I can’t quantify how stupid Palin is. I can to a reasonable degree quantify how stupid Obama is.

He thinks there are 57 states (plus 2 more), and that the “P” is enunciated in the word “Corpsman “. But lest I seem too petty, he also thought giving 1 Trillion dollars to cash starved state and local governments, and widening roads in front of empty shops would stimulate the economy.

I can also most certainly quantify how stupid Obama supporters are.

They voted for a candidate that had: No executive experience, no management experience, no diplomatic experience, no military experience, no private sector business experience,

He never stayed up late trying to figure out how to meet payroll, and he never closed out the register at the end of the night shift.

He has no published academic works, and his litigation experience consisted of a handfull of cases in small claims court.

His true claim to fame consisted of working for an organization that pressured banks into giving stuff to consumers who could not afford it...

And you voted for him…. Who's the idiot again?!?!?

At that point, I calmly walk away under a barrage of F-Bombs.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Great White Hope To Great White Father To Great White Elephant To Great White Shark

This is outstanding. The lifecycle of progressivism.

A Principle Unequally Applied Is Not A Principle

More hi-jinks:
BLOG COMMENT OF THE DAY: “The Washington Post thinks it’s ‘harassment’ to request Michael Mann’s files from the University of Virginia (their Memorial Day editorial) but it’s cool with requesting and obtaining and asking for citizen-journalists to go through 24,000 of the State of Alaska’s emails involving Sarah Palin.”

Friday, June 10, 2011

He Absolutely Nails It

I don’t understand why natural selection is a help when trying to acquire targets of high specific function. All natural selection does is end pathways; it doesn’t create them and it has no knowledge of where such targets might exist, nor any knowledge of the best path to get there.

Since many pathways that lead to highly functioning macroevolutionary targets might in fact go down roads that natural selection would prevent, it seems to me that adding natural selection to the system can’t do anything but decrease the chances of acquiring the targets.

Often people use strings of letters to represent the evolutionary process, as if the best pathway from random letters to “Methinks it is a weasel” is to simply change letter slots randomly until one locks in the sentence; but that’s not a valid way of looking at it, when those letters generate real-world, 3-D designs that can cause the organism to be selected against.

If there are X amount of pathways to achieve a macro-evolutionary feature, all natural selection can do is remove a set of those pathways from being operable. Those left may or may not even be able to reach the goal; the only availabe pathway might in fact be through an area censored by natural selection – IOW, “you can’t get there from here”.

If there was unlimited room, and unlimited resources, it seems to me that a random walk unhindered by natural selection would have a better chance at gaining macroevolutionary outcomes when one doesn’t know whether or not that outcome is even possible via steps that natural selection would allow.

Sure, we might have a bunch of organisms with malformed, dysfunction,non-functional wings that make it really hard for them to survive, but we’d at least have a better shot at acquiring “working wings” if evolution allowed every step to succeed,instead of only those that could be locally and immediately justified in survival terms.

He expresses this much better than the comments I left:
Meleagar (at comment 6),

You have nailed it precisely. The materialists would have us believe that natural selection is a probability enhancer, when, in fact (since all it is is death), it is a probability reducer.

After all, an ensemble of monkeys isn’t going to reach Hamlet faster if you continually machine-gun some substantial fraction of them.

It should be blindingly obvious, but there are many who do not want to see it.


Differential reproduction equates to differential destruction. Destruction is not construction.

The point is this: if one were to calculate probabilities of reaching a particular function via random variation based on no constraints of competition and no natural selection, where organisms are free to breed and reproduce their heart’s content, with no culling of the herd, those probabilities are going to be better, not worse, than if natural selection (i.e. death, i.e. differential destruction) were operating.

Again: obvious.

Well Stated

Cliche thought it may be, in this case it’s really not about the sex. (It may end up being about the sex depending upon Patterico’s next post(s) in this series, but it isn’t yet.) What it’s about is a guy in a position of power having a grip on reality so weak that he thought he might be elected mayor of America’s biggest city despite tweeting photos of his rod to random women around the country. When the average politician is unfaithful, as sleazy and shameful as his behavior may be, there’s usually at least some rational precaution taken to keep from being found out. With Weiner, it’s the opposite — photographic evidence, perfectly preserved and duplicable via the Internet, generated by him without so much as the minimal precaution of making sure that his face isn’t captured in any of the photos. You don’t have to find his behavior immoral to think, “Gee, maybe this guy, who’s clearly willing to do almost anything to impress his admirers, shouldn’t be trusted with sensitive government responsibilities.” Even now, after two weeks of saturation coverage, some of his Democratic colleagues are marveling that “I don’t think he understands how bad this is.” Of course he doesn’t. Name one fact adduced about him over the past two weeks that would make you think he has a realistic sense of anything that relates to his own ambition. For cripes sake, we’ve reached the point where Bill Clinton is allegedly frustrated that he won’t step down.

I do like the implication from this morning’s Post story, though, that Weiner needs to stick around in Congress because he has no marketable job skills to make it in the real world. That’s a perfect microcosm of our political class these days — clammy, corrupt, removed from its subjects to the point that it couldn’t survive among them if it had to, and yet somehow entitled to govern them. What a unique skill set Weiner has, huh? He’s incapable of doing anything except (a) peppering liberal talking points with soundbite-worthy wisecracks and (b) crafting the laws everyone else has to live by. Oh, and (c) snapping photos of his bare ass and e-mailing them out.