Tuesday, January 31, 2012


New CBO Data Graph

Huge Deficits as Far as the Eye Can See. (h/t Jimmy P)

I like that it's in percentage of GDP. You get a better picture of how bad the spending was during Reagan and Bush (father) and what good things the '94 House Republicans did. Notice too that the thing heads seriously south when the Democrats take over Congress in January, 2007

Oh, and the Alternative Fiscal Scenario is the more likely prediction, even if it's a bit rosy still.

UPDATE: Here's a piece at Powerline which explains why even the terrible projections of the CBO are not based in reality, Money quote:

In particular, the baseline outlook assumes the expiration of three policies that will not happen. First, it assumes that the tax cuts put in place in 2001 and 2003 will expire, raising taxes sharply at the end of this calendar year—a proposal not even President Obama supports. Second, the baseline assumes that the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) will begin to snare more and more taxpayers, even though the AMT has been patched annually to hold taxpayers harmless for more than a decade. Third, the baseline assumes that Medicare’s payment rates for physicians will decrease by 27 percent on March 1, 2012, despite the fact that Congress has repeatedly prevented the payment reduction. While those assumptions are not tenable, they do improve CBO’s baseline deficit outlook by $4.9 trillion over the projection period—overstating tax receipts by $4.6 trillion and understating Medicare spending by $326 billion.


Monday, January 30, 2012


Why We Fight

So this woman doesn't have to wear a burka.


Sunday, January 29, 2012


Another One Bites the Dust

First let me talk about the etymology of the term "bite the dust". Many probably think it was coined in the Queen song but it has, I believe, a more ancient origin, probably in the Iliad (c 700 BC) or at least in the mid 19th Century translation thereof. It is a kenning for dying in battle. Now we use it for just dying or failing.

So talking about failure, the list of failed government supported, 'green energy' companies has expanded from Solyndra to now include, Evergreen Energy, Ener1, Beacon Energy, SpectraWatt, and Eastern Energy (with 6 more in serious financial trouble). All told, our government has almost certainly wasted $6.5 Billion on these losers, chump change in the greater, horrible debt picture, but still real waste. It is all the more disheartening that this backing of the government is based on a fraud, that increased CO2 will be in any way deleterious to our planet. And the final insult to injury is that President Obama has said he will double down on supporting such worthless projects in the future.


Thursday, January 26, 2012


Childlike Thinking at The Nation

Here is an editorial at The Nation magazine about what it calls the "disastrous" Supreme Court decision Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission (2010). The editors of the extreme left wing magazine cheer on the recent, foolish Montana Supreme Court's decision to rule opposite of the U. S. Supreme Court. The Nation also calls for an amendment to the Constitution to reverse the Citizens United decision of "corporate personhood rights." The amendment is titled: "Corporations are not people."

Of course, there is nothing in Citizens United which declared corporations anything other than a business organization chartered by the state and granted many legal rights to an undying entity separate from its owners and organizers.

Here is what the Court actually wrote:

The Court has recognized that First Amendment protection extends to corporations. Bellotti, supra, at 778, n. 14 (citing Linmark Associates, Inc.v.Willingboro, 431 U. S.85 (1977); Time, Inc.v.Firestone, 424 U. S. 448 (1976); Doran v.Salem Inn, Inc., 422 U. S. 922 (1975); Southeastern Promotions, Ltd.v.Conrad, 420 U. S. 546 (1975); Cox Broadcasting Corp.v.Cohn, 420 U. S. 469 (1975); Miami Herald Publishing Co.v.Tornillo, 418 U. S. 241 (1974); New York Times Co.v.United States, 403 U. S. 713 (1971)(per curiam); Time, Inc.v.Hill, 385 U. S. 374 (1967); New York Times Co.v.Sullivan,376 U. S. 254; Kingsley Int’l Pictures Corp.v.Regents of Univ. of N. Y., 360 U. S. 684 (1959); Joseph Burstyn, Inc.v.Wilson, 343 U. S. 495 (1952)); see,e.g., Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.v.FCC, 520 U.S. 180 (1997); Denver Area Ed. Telecommunications Consortium, Inc.v.FCC , 518 U. S. 727 (1996); Turner, 512 U. S. 62; Simon & Schuster, 502 U. S. 105; Sable Communications of Cal., Inc.v.FCC , 492 U. S. 115 (1989); Florida Starv. B. J. F., 491 U. S. 524 (1989); Philadelphia Newspapers, Inc.v.Hepps, 475 U. S. 767 (1986); Landmark Communications, Inc.v.Virginia, 435 U. S. 829 (1978); Young v. American Mini Theatres, Inc., 427 U. S. 50 (1976); Gertz v.Robert Welch, Inc., 418 U. S. 323 (1974); Greenbelt Cooperative Publishing Assn., Inc.v. Bresler, 398 U. S. 6 (1970). This protection has been extended by explicit holdings to the context of political speech. See, e.g., Button, 371 U. S.,at 428–429; Grosjean v. American Press Co., 297 U. S. 233,244 (1936).

It wasn't that the Supreme Court suddenly and out of the blue found "personhood" for corporations, you mental midgets; it's that the court stayed with nearly 80 years of precedent and found, yet again, that people who organize their business interest as a corporation do not lose their individual right of free speech protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution. Here's more from Justice Kennedy:

Under the rationale of these precedents, political speech does not lose First Amendment protection “simply because its source is a corporation.” (The identity of the speaker is not decisive in determining whether speech is protected. Corporations and other associations, like individuals, contribute to the ‘discussion, debate, and the dissemination of information and ideas' that the First Amendment seeks to foster”). The Court has thus rejected the argument that political speech of corporations or other associations should be treated differently under the First Amendment simply because such associations are not “natural persons.” (Citations omitted).

So, let's follow The Nation's thinking here to its rational conclusion. If corporations can be stripped of their First Amendment rights regarding political speech because they are not natural persons, then the New York Times Corporation and Time, Inc., to name but a few examples, would have no First Amendment rights at all. Congress could then pass any law abridging the hell out of any corporations' First Amendment rights. I am led to believe that The Nation is itself a non-profit corporation (since 1943) and so if it gets what it says it wants it will necessarily forfeit its First Amendment rights as well.

Is this what passes for rational thinking on the left?

Oh, and regarding your proposed Amendment to the Constitution. Good luck with that. Please expend a lot of money and energy chasing that dream.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Second Thoght of the Day

We’ve come too far to turn back now.

President Obama during the 2012 State of the Union Address.

He's right, we should push on to Greek levels of national debt. What could go wrong?



Thought of the Day

....a more fundamental political reality: Voters simply will not be taxed to cover the costs of blue government, and in most cases they will vote out of office anyone who suggests otherwise.2 That, at base, is what the Tea Party movement is all about. Voters with insecure job tenure and, at best, defined-contribution rather than defined-benefit pensions simply refuse to pay higher taxes so that bureaucrats can enjoy lifetime tenure and secure pensions.

Second, voters will not accept the shoddy services that blue government provides.


Third, government must reconcile itself to its declining ability to manage a post-blue economy with regulatory models and instincts rooted in the past. We need to be thinking about structural changes based on properly aligned incentive architecture, not regulatory systems based on command protocols.

The collapse of a social model is a complicated, drawn out and often painful affair. The blue model has been declining for thirty years, and the final bell has not yet tolled. But toll it will, and as the remaining supports of the system erode, slow decline and decay is increasingly likely to give way to headlong crash.

Walter Russell Mead



The State of the Union

If you missed the campaign speech, here is a transcript. President Obama wants to:

  1. Set up new bureaucracy called a Trade Enforcement Unit.
  2. Train 2 Million for new jobs.
  3. Give more money to teachers and require High School students to stay in school.
  4. Create a lot more complex tax code.
  5. Double down on supporting useless wind and solar energy.
  6. Use the money from downsizing the military to 'nation build' here in the US.
  7. Subsidize mortgage refinancing.
  8. Write more regulations.
  9. Create a new bureaucracy called a Financial Crimes Unit.
  10. Raise taxes on the highest earners and continue to underfund Social Security and Medicare without any reform to those programs' unsustainable spending.
  11. Create a new bureaucracy called the Veterans Jobs Corps.
Doesn't the President know that we don't have any money left?


Saturday, January 21, 2012


Self-Authenticating Details

Diomedes and I have been having a series of discussions regarding God and he's used the 'finding the watch' example (the existence of which implies a designer/builder and in a larger sense the existence of a watch designer/builder implies the existence of a designer/creator of the mind and body of the watch designer/builder). That brought to mind the 'finding the fork on Mars' opinion piece I read a long time ago. I have since thought of examples of simple actions the details of which in context reveal not a greater truth but the authenticity of the action itself. One that came to mind was in Tom Cruise's movie a few years ago, Valkyrie, about an unsuccessful plot to kill Hitler. In the movie, he's Col. von Stauffenberg, who has lost his right hand and two fingers of his left. When he has to charge his pistol, I think it's a Walther PP, he does it by pushing the slide open on the edge of a desk. That has to be the way the real von Stauffenberg did it, because there is no other way to do it one handed. The detail, if one knows about von Stauffenberg's physical condition, the necessity of opening and closing the slide to put a bullet in the chamber and the force it takes to push open a Walther PP slide, authenticates itself. I find these details supremely satisfying. I have embedded the trailer for the movie on the blog and the detail I'm talking about comes at 1:40. It takes less than a second.

Truth, it seems, can come in very discrete packages.

This might seem a very tiny thing to post about, but it resonates with me as we approach Holocaust Remembrance day and I've posted a longer thing about some movies about WWII.



"Valkyrie" Official Trailer [HQ]


Seeing the Holocaust Through Movie Prisims

There are four films that say a lot about the national madness which overtook Germany beginning in the mid 1930s. All of them are set during the war which resulted from this madness, mainly towards the end of that war. If you watch these films, you will think differently about the Holocaust and the European Theater of WWII than you did before you watched them. They are, in the main, tough movies, but who doesn't want to shake up one's sense of history?

They are: Conspiracy, The Grey Zone, Downfall and Sophie Scholl.

Conspiracy is an HBO movie, one of that network's best efforts from its salad days, with Kenneth Branagh as SS Lt. General Reinhard Heydrich and Stanley Tucci as Karl Adolph Eichmann in a generally accurate recreation of the Wannsee Convention in January, 1942, where it was decided that the answer to the "Jewish Question" was to be murder on an industrial scale. All the actors were excellent and the script razor sharp. Even though it's just a meeting in a nice home in a Berlin suburb, it packs a serious punch; although what I took away was not Hannah Arendt's banality of evil, but the seriously capricious nature of justice.

Downfall is the last days in the Fuhrer bunker in Berlin (now a shopping mall) with a superb performance by Bruno Ganz as Hitler. They've taken his "Der Krieg ist verloren" rant here and changed the subtitles into contemporary American political content generally to hilarious effect, but here is the deadly serious original. There is also a lot of pitch perfect detail, my favorite is the palsy in his left hand (a symptom of Parkenson's?) as he congratulates some Hitler Youth (also captured on film at the time--view here). If you like to see Nazis shooting themselves in the head (and who doesn't?) this is your movie. My lasting take away was the die hard enthusiasm of the Goebbels family, well, of the mother and father.

All my adult life, I've heard about the White Rose, the German resistance to the Nazis, and in my ignorance I had imagined a pervasive, effective underground movement. Sophie Scholl disabused me of my fantasies. You start with the pathetic, little, ineffectual movement it was and end with a despairing respect for the steely ruthlessness the Nazis used to crush any resistance and reduce it to absolute insignificance. You're not thankful for the lesson.

The Grey Zone is about a later Sonderkommando at Birkenau, when the largely Hungarian trustee Jews staged a short, ineffectual revolt in October, 1944. The performances, other than Keitel's, are excellent (even David Arquette's) and the dialog is so hard you could cut diamonds with it. This is an unrelentingly harsh view of one of the nadirs of human interaction. It makes Schindler's List look like a Disney film in comparison and is a necessary antidote to the slop we were force fed in Inglourious Basterds.


Thursday, January 19, 2012


Leading From Behind, Way Behind

The New York Times, here, has praise for President Obama's monstrously stupid idea to kill the Keystone XL pipeline (quelle suprise!) as does well know energy expert Robert Redford here. The gist of the NYT opinion piece is that there hasn't been enough time to prepare a through environmental study. We wouldn't want to be hasty with a decision this important.


The Canadian company building the pipeline (and it will be built--where is the only remaining question) proposed it February 9, 2005. The longer extension was proposed in 2008. The average time it takes to get a permit for a gas or oil pipeline like this is 20 months. We're over 40 months for the extension, nearly 84 months for the first part of the pipeline (which was actually built in Canada). How much time do we need? There already is an EIS from the State Department. Do we need 2 of them?

Nothing built by man is perfectly safe but pipelines are the safest, most efficient way to transport oil and gas there are. There are tens of thousands of miles of pipelines already in America and many along the general route the Keystone XL should be proceeding. Their environmental impact is none to minimal.

Here's the rationalization for the President's singular inability to lead from the NYT:

The extraction and production of tar sands oil in the fields of northern Alberta would also cause far more greenhouse gas emissions than drilling for conventional crude.

Ah, we're saving the planet by foregoing Canadian tar sand oil. How freakin' noble. But, of course this is merely Warmie propaganda. The effect on world temperature of this decision is nothing as China will take the oil and use it if we don't. Indeed, the world is proving to be very resistant to CO2 warming no matter what the simple computer programs say.

It gets worse:
Far more important to the nation’s energy and environmental future is the development of renewable and alternative energy sources. This is the winning case that Mr. Obama should make to voters in rejecting the Republicans’ craven indulgence of Big Oil.
I see, supporting the creation of American jobs is "craven". Caving in to the elitist environmental hysterics is bold leadership. Of course. In lefty logic, if we don't develop our real and available sources of energy, we'll have to develop very expensive and intermittent at best alternative energy, if we can. But at least we prevented American corporations from providing us with reasonably priced energy with the finished product produced by working Americans. That'll teach Big Oil a lesson it will not soon forget.

Besides, who would want a large, stable supply of oil, through the safest method possible, from a friendly neighbor when we can get much more expensive oil through more hazardous methods of transport from distant foreign nations who hate us and who cut off the supply from time to time? I mean the decision makes itself.

Mr. Redford writes:

President Obama has just rejected a permit for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline -- a project that promised riches for the oil giants and an environmental disaster for the rest of us.

His decision represents a victory of historic proportions for people from throughout the pipeline path and all across America who have waged an uphill, years-long fight against one of the most nightmarish fossil fuel projects of our time.

Nightmarish, environmental disaster? Please.

I, for one, am getting a little sick of rich people, who will obtain their extravagant energy needs with nary a ripple in their bank accounts, pretending to protect the planet by making gasoline, et al., more expensive for the bulk of Americans for whom paying more for necessary energy means they actually have to give up something else. I think the self-righteous pretending is the toughest thing to stomach.

Make better movies, Bob, yours lately have been pretty unwatchable; and leave energy policy to non-hysterical types who actually know something. Energy is essential to civilization. We will obtain and use all the fossil fuels there are and when they are gone, we'll move on to the more expensive types whose time has not yet come. That's an inconvenient fact that makes this celebration by liberals of an extreme and cynical political decision ring a little hollow.


Monday, January 16, 2012


Thought of the Day

If Bain Capital had taken a look at Solyndra, would they have invested $500 million in that mess?

Neal Boortz



Monkeying With the Numbers

Steven Goddard catches extremist Warmie True Believer James Hansen, et al. changing the historical record regarding temperatures, again. Goddard then explains why the changes are hooie.

I seem to remember a book where there were government employees whose job it was to change all the records to reflect the current political meme. Anyone remember the title of that?

The HadCRU record is suspect because its raw data has been lost or purged so that it can never be checked for accuracy.

The GISS has demonstrably been corrupted by scientists changing the distant past for no other reason than to make the record support their cause.

No one should rely on these temperature records. GOGO.

Labels: ,

Saturday, January 14, 2012


This One Made Me Laugh


Friday, January 13, 2012


Gary Younge's Decoder Ring Is Working

My first reaction to Mr. Younge's piece in the Nation titled: The GOP's Blatant Racism was to read it again looking harder for the promised examples of blatant racism. Then I wanted to send Mr. Younge a definition of the word 'blatant' (I know he may not have written the headline of his piece). But on third thought, that act, implying a black man did not know the definition of a word would be just another subtle example of racism on my part, at least in his eyes and in the eyes of the sort that routinely reads the Nation.

I'm perfectly willing to believe that a subset of Americans harbor a rarely expressed racial animus against fellow Americans of different race, but it is impossible for me to believe, as I have a solid grounding in history, such animus exists only or even primarily in the anti-slavery party. It is a nasty smear made none the less nasty by the fact that many Democrats embrace it merely for political advantage rather than actual belief, the main political advantage being keeping African-Americans on the Democratic plantation. Oh, no, there I go again with the code. Let's look at Younge's "blatant" examples.

Rick Perry's father, a Democrat, did indeed buy a property in the 80s (not precisely a current example) which was known as "Niggerhead" but whether that's evidence of the elder Perry's racial animus is in some doubt (as he did not name it that) but, even if so, it certainly is not evidence of Republican racism.

Here's his first recent example from Rick Santorum:

"I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money; I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money.”

“Right,” said one audience member, as another woman nodded.

“And provide for themselves and their families,” Santorum added, to applause. “The best way to do that is to get the manufacturing sector of the economy rolling again.”

Mr. Younge points out that where Mr. Santorum was speaking the black population was 2.9 %. OK, but Santorum is running for national office and certainly his words are not meant to apply only to the place he is talking, but nation wide. Santorum probably should have used the word 'poor' instead of 'black' but my strong suspicion is that Mr. Younge would have still accused him of racism while using code had he done that.

His next example, under the same criteria:

Just a few days later, in Plymouth, New Hampshire, Newt Gingrich told a crowd, “I will go to the NAACP convention and explain to the African-American community why they should demand paychecks…[instead of] food stamps.” African-Americans make up 0.8 percent of Plymouth’s population. Food stamp use in Grafton County is 6 percent—a 48 percent increase since 2007.
Again, Newt is running a national campaign and referred to the national NAACP convention not the branch in Plymouth, New Hampshire. Who actually cares where he says it in his attempt to become the president of our entire nation by talking about things of national interest?

After two outstanding uses of apophasis, Mr. Young points out that: "According to the Agriculture Department, more whites use food stamps than blacks and Latinos combined." True that. But of course both blacks and Latinos are minorities in this nation, with 12.8% and 16.3% of the population respectively. Whites are 72.4%. One would expect white use to be more than other minorities combined. Is that the end of the inquiry?

According to the 2000 Census (Sup Survey PUMS Data set) white use of food stamps was 3.7% while blacks use was 15.3% and Hispanic use was 10.6% (Food stamp use has gone up a lot since then both under President Bush and President Obama so those percentages are certainly higher now but I don't know the specific ones now. Sorry I could not find current info).

Back to the smear of Republicans. Next example of current racism:

Oh, there is none. Mr. Younge talks about an old Ron Paul newsletter and trots out the smears of the past--Nixon's southern strategy to Willie Horton-- and then has this weird statement:
Today it seems as though Republicans who might be put off by racist rhetoric are in short supply, as though the presence of a black president has left them blind to their own sophism.


Just as counter-examples, here are some actual blatant racist statements from non-Republicans. Perhaps you'll recognize some of the sources and catch the racism without having to use dog ears or a decoder ring:

The Negro is indolent and lazy, and spends his money on frivolities, whereas the European is forward-looking, organized and intelligent.

Che Guevara

Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds.

Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV)

I turned the fire hoses on those niggers.

Theophilus Eugene "Bull" Connor

Anyone see the difference between those examples and the serial smears of Mr. Younge? Anyone think Mr. Younge can see it?

Anyone else wholly underwhelmed by Younge's examples of recent "blatant" Republican racism?


Thursday, January 12, 2012


Urinating on the Dead

Here is the story which has even normally pro-Marine Hugh Hewitt saying this sort of behavior is ripe for punishment.

Are you freakin' kidding me?

Can we get any more wimpy as a nation? This story is on the extreme side of nothing in a nothing-burger faux outrage.

UPDATE: Diomedes thinks they Marine (snipers, it turns out) should be punished. Each should have to do ten push-ups as penance.

UPDATE 2: Here is a good piece on the subject in the New York Post. Money quote:

Still, as wartime atrocities go, this is pretty mild stuff. My Lai, for sure, it ain’t.

And, again, the Taliban sure ain’t — excuse the metaphor — choirboys.

Maybe somebody should ask Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl about it.

Oh, wait: The Islamists beheaded him — on videotape.

Perspective, folks. Perspective.



I Watched Full Metal Jacket, Again

I still think the first part (of three in the book it's based on, The Short-Timers by the late Gustav Hasford) is about the best filmmaking Kubrick ever did. Introducing us to R. Lee Ermey and Vincent D'Onofrio with prominent roles for both was no small matter either. But what struck me again was the cadence chants during the training runs. Here's part of one:

I don't know but I've been told
Eskimo pussy is mighty cold.

You just have to admire the epistemological honesty.



Tebowing Has a Famous Historical Precedent

Not a classic example of tebowing but no doubt an example.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012


61 Years and a Month Ago

A normal lifetime ago, UN forces (almost all of them American--1st Marine Division, 3rd and 7th Infantry Divisions--with a few British Royal Marines and ROK policemen) were stopped in their retreat* advance out of what we call the Chosin Reservoir by Chinese sappers' demolition of the only road out (at least 16 feet of it). It looked bad for a while; but we dropped in bridging materials, spanned the gap, and most of our guys escaped * advanced to Hungnam, where we loaded them on boats and got the puck out of there.

*I keep having trouble using General Smith's preferred vocabulary.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Bouncing Along Between Joy and Despair

I am very thankful that now there is no pervasive sense of an underlying inevitablility of re-election that was present when Bill Clinton went for a second term; but one recent poll or another, one current story or another, fills me with joy at the contemplation of Obama losing huge or despair at the prospect of his squeeking across the electoral finish line. He's over 50% and growing at Intrade. That ain't so good.

But with the near desertion of white voters, who put him in office just over 3 years ago, and other things he's doing wrong or failing to do well, I begin to feel better. Here's a little tidbit from The Hill which causes my heart to soar--as much as it can; it's his choice of how to campaign just now. The Quote I like:
It has become increasingly clear over the last several months that Obama has little interest in tacking to the political middle to improve his standing with the broad center of the country.

He has decided that he wants his presidency to mean something different, and he has made the fateful decision that he will govern as a left-wing political populist. That is why he has embraced the Occupy Wall Street movement, why he keeps using class-warfare rhetoric, why he has given up on deal-cutting, why he has decided to run against Congress rather than on his accomplishments.

(Emphasis added).

I certainly think first: What accomplishments? But let's look at the "running against Congress meme" closely. Lots of people say he's doing it, comparing it to Truman's run against a do-nothing Congress in 1948. But it's not a do-nothing House (they're doing their jobs), it's a do-nothing Senate (no budget for 3 years, very few consents to nominations, no oversight of agencies, etc.). And the Senate is Democrat controlled. So he's running against his own party? He's running against do-nothing Democrat Senators? Really? He thinks this is the road to a second term?



Wermo Alice Pateesa

(h/t This Isn't Happiness)



Thought of the Day

In my next life I want to live my life backwards. You start out dead and get that out of the way. Then you wake up in an old people’s home feeling better every day. You get kicked out for being too healthy, go collect your pension, and then when you start work, you get a gold watch and a party on your first day. You work for 40 years until you’re young enough to enjoy your retirement. You party, drink alcohol, and are generally promiscuous, then you are ready for high school. You then go to primary school, you become a kid, you play. You have no responsibilities, you become a baby until you are born. And then you spend your last 9 months floating in luxurious spa-like conditions with central heating and room service on tap, larger quarters every day and then Voila! You finish off as an orgasm!

Woody Allen


Monday, January 09, 2012


Edvard Munch - Vampire

The popular conception is that when Republicans are in political power Zombies (actually Ghouls--but that's a different posting) are popular and when Democrats are in political power, Vampires are popular.

Could be.

Twilight is raking in a billion dollars while Zombies are relegated to a boring (in the main) TV show. The first really influential Zombie film (Night of the Living Dead) opened just a month before Richard Nixon won the presedency the first time. Close...



Second Thought of the Day

What happened to fantasy for me is what also happened to rock and roll. It found a common denominator for making maximum money. As a result, it lost its tensions, its anger, its edginess and turned into one big cup of cocoa.

Michael Moorcock



Thought of the Day

I myself have never been able to find out what feminism is; I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat or a prostitute.

Rebecca West


Sunday, January 08, 2012


Thought of the Day

Many of us were pleasantly surprised that our leading scientific societies have recently adopted such strong statements as to the reality and seriousness of anthropogenic climate change. There really is a scientific consensus, and it cannot be refuted or disproved by attacking any single data set.

I also think people need to come to understand that the scientific uncertainties work both ways. We don't understand cloud feedbacks. We don't understand air-sea interactions. We don't understand aerosol indirect effects. The list is long. Singer will say that uncertainties like these mean models lack veracity and can safely be ignored.

Warmie True Believer Richard Somerville in e-mail 1107 from 2004 (bold added by Tom Nelson)

The Warmie climate models do lack veracity and can safely be ignored. They are not evidence.


Wednesday, January 04, 2012


Thought of the Day

In his column posted last night, New York Times editor Andrew Rosenthal asserts: “There is a racist undertone to many of the Republican attacks leveled against President Obama for the last three years.” Rosenthal maintains “you can detect the undertone in the level of disrespect for this president that would be unthinkable were he not African-American.”

Apparently, Mr. Rosenthal was out of the country during the Bush presidency.

Nonetheless, Rosenthal’s charge concerning the unthinkable “level of disrespect” resonates. Republicans haven’t comported themselves well around someone who is “sort of a god” and can lower oceans and heal the planet. For someone like that, anything short of uncritical support is necessarily disrespectful, and probably treasonous.

Peter Kirsanow

As usual with these sorts of smears, Mr. Rosenthal's evidentiary suport for his assertion of racism in the anti-slavery party is pathetic. And I'm being kind to Mr. Rosenthal. The only thing that keeps the 'Republicans are racists' meme going is projection from the pro-slavery, Jim Crow law passing, Ku Klux Klan joining, party.

UPDATE: Former Congressman Artur Davis (D-AL 7th) has a similar take at the NRO. Money quote and classic example of Democratic racism:
I do wish Rosenthal had remembered the most bald-faced use of race to win a recent election. It was 2003; the candidate was a man belonging to a racial minority who was surprisingly leading in the polls in a governor’s race in a southern state, Louisiana. His opponents produced flyers with an artificially darkened photograph of the candidate taken when he was in college, with unkempt hair, which they circulated to the rural areas that had had once been enraptured by George Wallace. The stunt worked, and in that cycle, the candidate came up short. It was a blunt, hard racism that didn’t bother with code. The injured candidate was an Indian-American Republican named Bobby Jindal, and the people who knee-capped him were neither conservatives nor Republicans.


Tuesday, January 03, 2012


Hysterical Wailing of the Unreasoning Damned at the NYT

This nothing burger of an editorial at the ever declining NYT might have passed through my memory like a ghost fart had it not been for law professor Bradley A. Smith at the NRO, whose focus and writing make the editorial seem the hysterical wail of the unreasoning damned (lefties) it actually is.

Here is the professor's history of righting the constitutional wrong done by McClain-Feingold's limitation on political speech:
Within just a few years, the Supreme Court and lower federal courts were rolling back not merely McCain-Feingold, but portions of FECA. Probably the two most important decisions were Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which held that corporations and unions could spend money independently on political speech; and SpeechNow.org v. Federal Election Commission, a D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals decision, not appealed by the FEC, that held that individuals and others could combine their funds to engage in independent speech. Although campaigns remain, in many ways, more heavily regulated than at any time in U.S. history prior to 1974, the results of the court-ordered deregulation since 2009 have been quite good: The elections of 2010 saw more competitive seats than any election within most Americans’ memory; the campaigns were also the most issue-oriented in a generation; turnout was up, and is expected to be up again this year; Americans are having the most serious debate about the course of the nation’s politics since the debate over civil rights 50 years ago (before FECA was passed, we might note).

Here are examples of Smith's reasoned snark:

So this week, the Old Gray Lady’s editorial page cries out about “an unrelenting arctic blast of campaign ads stunning in volume and ferocity.” .... What, exactly, does the Times see as the problem?
Well, mainly, it’s that the campaign is just too rowdy. Meeting its burden of proof by claiming that some undetermined number of unnamed “residents” supposedly “say they have never seen anything like the constant negativity,” the Times assures us that the end of democracy is just around the corner. The Times notes with concern that “only a third” of ad dollars are “spent by the candidates themselves.” The Times refers to the groups of citizens who have the effrontery to speak out directly about candidates as “septic tanks.”

He then resorts to historical sleight-of-hand:

For example, one ad actually says, “Rick Perry is a blind, bald, toothless man who wants to start a war with France.” Another says that “Newt Gingrich is a hideous hermaphroditic character.” Yet another says that “if Ron Paul wins, rape, adultery and incest will be openly practiced. Are you prepared to see your dwellings in flames, female chastity violated?” No, wait a minute. I’m sorry, those comments were actually about John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, from the campaign of 1800. No, things are now much worse. The Times is worked up because one ad actually says that “Mr. Gingrich and Rick Perry [are] ‘too liberal on immigration, [and have] too much baggage on ethics.’” Another ad, moans the Times, “urg[es] viewers not to let ‘the liberal Republican establishment pick our candidate.’” Really — those are the two examples the Times provides of the campaign being “stunning in its ferocity.” Oh, the horror of it all! Don’t let your children near the TV.

Good, but here's the big finish:
So let’s sum up: The Times is concerned that 1) there is more political speech than there would be if not for the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United and the appeals-court decision in SpeechNow.org v. FEC; 2) groups of citizens are running their own ads, rather than relying solely on the candidates to run ads; 3) the ads are saying awful things, accusing candidates of “being too liberal on immigration,” or having “ethics baggage,” something the Times would never discuss, except in its news stories on Newt Gingrich’s “ethics” “baggage” on November 28, December 8, December 9, December 14, and December 31; 4) stories about a candidate’s ethics or positions on immigration should be off limits in an “accountable” campaign; and 5) all this citizen speech informing voters about various candidates’ positions, ethics, and endorsements, coming not only from the candidates but from other sources, can be blamed on Citizens United and SpeechNow.org.

These two articles are a good example of hypothesis plus antithesis equals synthesis. Here it was vapid venting (NYT editorial) plus historical context (regular NRO) reveals the first was merely hysterical wailing of the unreasoning damned.



Some Thngs are Funny Because They are True, but Inconveniently So

My favorite is No. 12. I'm OK with storing and sharing, for a fee, things on 'the cloud', what ever that is--just don't make me buy the new only very slightly better physical strorage system of the movies and music I like.

I think it all goes back to my decision to go with Beta.

(h/t This Isn't Happiness)



The Worst Chart of the Year

For me, the ratio seems a little generous on the 'actually hand out' side, but still fairly accurate.

(h/t This Isn't Happiness)


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