Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Another Distinction for UW-Madison

You can read the article if you like, but here's the closer:

Of the five schools on both lists, the school with the best-combined score—14— is actually University of Wisconsin, Madison, a public school. This means that Wisconsin parents can look forward to paying in-state tuition rates to provide four years of a genuinely balanced and cost-effective sex life for their kids.

It's all Walker's fault.

HT:  Hit and Run

Only Half-Stimulated

This is not a surprise.

Hiring isn’t the same as net job creation. In our survey, just 42.1 percent of the workers hired at ARRA-receiving organizations after January 31, 2009, were unemployed at the time they were hired (Appendix C). More were hired directly from other organizations (47.3 percent of post-ARRA workers), while a handful came from school (6.5 percent) or from outside the labor force (4.1 percent)(Figure 2). Thus, there was an almost even split between “job creating” and “job switching.”  --Zippers quoting Mercatus Center

There are 1,000 'reasons' to NOT hire someone.

Ooops! $535 Million, 1,000 Employees Down the Drain


HT:  VerumSerum

Good Tax Plan, Wrong Candidate

Huntsman, who is arguably the most RINO

Huntsman would reduce the marginal corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent, one point lower than the OECD average. Reuters' Jim Pethokoukis is a believer: "The Hunstman tax plan is -- easily -- the most pro-growth proposal ever offered by a US presidential candidate."

ALL deductions, including charity and mortgage-interest. ALL of 'em.


Strip-Club Is "Stimulus," Right?

Well, here's the item.

D.C. Attorney General Irvin Nathan has accused a District HIV/AIDS service provider of spending nearly $330,000 in federal tax dollars to open a strip club. 

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, Nathan said Miracle Hands Inc. promised the city it was using the cash to renovate a warehouse in Northeast for use as a job training center for residents with HIV/AIDS. Instead, the warehouse was turned into the Stadium Club, a strip club that continues to operate, the suit says. Miracle Hands shares an address with the club, according to the company's website.

Tax funds or Stimulus?  In this case, aren't they the same?

And really:  "Miracle Hands" is a job-training outfit?  

Can't go there.  Mustn't go there.  Shouldn't go there. 

Homeland Security: How Much Spending Is TOO Much?

RenMan found another juicy little nugget with typical Federal umpty-zeros-in-the-amount.

"The number of people worldwide who are killed by Muslim-type terrorists, Al Qaeda wannabes, is maybe a few hundred outside of war zones. It's basically the same number of people who die drowning in the bathtub each year," said John Mueller, an Ohio State University professor who has written extensively about the balance between threat and expenditures in fighting terrorism.

"So if your chance of being killed by a terrorist in the United States is 1 in 3.5 million, the question is, how much do you want to spend to get that down to 1 in 4.5 million?" he said.

Oh, actually?  Quite a bit!!!

The spending has been rife with dubious expenditures, including the $557,400 in rescue and communications gear that went to the 1,500 residents of North Pole, Alaska, and a $750,000 anti-terrorism fence — fashioned with 8-foot-high ram-proof wrought iron reinforced with concrete footers — built around a Veterans Affairs hospital in the pastoral hills outside Asheville, N.C.

West Virginia got $3,000 worth of lapel pins and billed the federal government for thousands of dollars in cellphone charges, according to the Center for Investigative Reporting, which compiled a state-by-state accounting of Homeland Security spending. In New York, $3 million was spent on automated public health records to help identify bioterrorism threats, but investigators for the department's inspector general in 2008 found that employees who used the program weren't even aware of its potential bioterrorism applications. --RenMan quoting LATimes

Yes, it's GWBush, colluding with the "security at ANY cost" faux-Conservative Pubbies, prompted and entertained handsomely by the earmark-oriented Lobbyists of Questionable Technology (a/k/a 'vaporware') and the good old-fashioned Urge To Make Gummint Even Bigger.

Well, now we have it.  Feel safe?  How about a huggy-lovey crotch-grab?

Nancy Pelosi's Look Into the Mirror

"The prestige they could get no other way, they buy with spending....."

So comments N. Pelosi, psychologist and philosopher, discussing "rich" people.

And author-ette of the largest-spending Congressional budgets in the history of the Republic.

(Vid from AmSpec Blog )

The USCC's Argument With Reality: New Missal Edition

The black-hatted (not biretta-ed) one promises a lot of fun over the next few weeks.

Here's just a taste:

In 2002, Pope John Paul II introduced a new edition of the Missale Romanum ( editio typica tertia, the "third typical edition" [since the Second Vatican Council]) for use in the Church.  Soon after, the complex work of translating the text into English began.   USCC, Office of Mis-Information


...when in fact, the process actually began nearly twenty years earlier. That's because then they would have to admit, that they were stupid enough to let the aging-hippie academicians and liturgical iconoclasts loose on the project, to the point where the Holy See had to finally step in and make them start over.

Well, what's a fact or two when we have Important People to......ahhh.........protect.  (After all, that worked so well in other cases, right?)

Housing Forecast: Blech

LSI released a boatload of numbers on the delinquent/foreclosure situation.

Mish recaps:

As of the end of June, 4.1 million loans were either 90 or more days delinquent or in foreclosure, as delinquencies remain two times and foreclosures eight times pre-crisis levels. the current rate of foreclosure sales, judicial foreclosure states would require 111 months [ TEN YEARS!] to work through inventories of loans that are 90 or more days delinquent or in foreclosure as compared to non-judicial states, which would be able to clear the inventories in approximately 32 months...

More at the link.  Basically, don't look for a surge in home prices anytime soon.

Starting a Race War?

Tim is getting a bit tired of the hype.  He didn't mention this item:

Rep. Andre. Carson, Indiana Democrat, told an audience in Miami that tea-party supporting members of Congress look at African Americans as “second-class citizens” and would like to see them “hanging on a tree.”  --WaTimes quoted at Zippers

Look, Rep. Carson:  that crap is unacceptable, period. 

Unless you're interested in starting a race war.

Are you?

Obama's New Plan!

Vox Day lists the stuff Obama will propose.

a tax cut that would directly reward companies for hiring new workers

new spending for environmentally friendly construction and for rehabilitating schools

clean-energy tax cuts

programs to target long-term unemployment, potentially including a version of a Georgia unemployment insurance program that pays employers to hire workers who have been unemployed and provides funding for training

new programs to lift the housing market, such as a refinancing initiative that could pump tens of billions of dollars into the economy.

renewing — and potentially expanding — ongoing efforts, such as a two-percentage-point cut in the payroll tax.

Vox has comments on each element which are worth reading.

The "What Ifs" of Porkulus

Interesting, not too long, read on "what if" questions surrounding Porkulus.

What if the president of the United States hadn’t proposed an $800 billion stimulus plan back in 2009—but one twice as large? That is the question haunting the intellectual left, led by the economist and columnist Paul Krugman...

...For Krugman’s opposite numbers, the question is the reverse: Might the U.S. economy actually be stronger today if Uncle Sam had done nothing and just let the business cycle play out?


On the question "If It Were Larger", quoting Taylor of Stanford:

Individuals and families largely saved the transfers and tax rebates. The federal government increased purchases, but by only an immaterial amount. State and local governments used the stimulus grants to reduce their net borrowing (largely by acquiring more financial assets) rather than to increase expenditures, and they shifted expenditures away from purchases toward transfers. Some argue that the economy would have been worse off without these stimulus packages, but the results do not support that view.
Taylor then opines that "more spending" would have been extremely inefficient, in that the programs were reasonably well-shepherded by Biden.  IOW, there wasn't much more to get.

Further, we learned from the permanent-income hypothesis that won Milton Friedman his Nobel Prize, some Americans realize all the massive deficit-financed spending of today will ultimately require raising their taxes tomorrow. So short-term changes in income tend to have little impact on how people spend. “New Keynesian” models, like one used by the European Central Bank, sought to incorporate such factors and predicted that the Obama stimulus would have just a fraction of the impact estimated by Romer and other White House economists. Instead of creating 3 million jobs, perhaps the actual total was 600,000
Pethokoukis moves to the '20/'21 recession.  The actions there?  Cutting Gummint spending, which worked; recall that the economy boomed in that decade.

...But how would such an approach have worked the past few years? Economist Brian Wesbury of First Trust Portfolios thinks the huge increase in government spending under the Obama and Bush administrations has hurt the economy. Cutting it back would boost growth....

Wesbury's model includes factoring that Gummint spending hinders long-term growth--still a bit controversial but not pulled out of the air.

More at the link, including tax-reductions, consumption tax possibilities,.....(and as it turns out, Feldstein and I were on the same wavelength about Gummint purchases.)

HT:  PowerLine

Wrong, But Obstinate About It

Ahh, the little-town cop shops.

...It seems the Lakewood vet had stockpiled her Edgewater Towers condo with a home arsenal including handguns, shotguns, a sniper rifle — plus a Thompson sub-machine gun, just in case the pizza guy got fresh.

Her cache somehow caught the attention of Lakewood Police, who paid a visit last September. When they found Rice wasn’t home, they asked an obliging employee of the complex to open up the apartment without her consent. Once inside, they raided the gun rack, making off with 13 firearms worth around $15,000. The only problem: They had no apparent reason to.

When Rice kindly asked to have her toys returned, the cops acknowledged that the weapons were legally owned. But they refused to return them without a court order. And so Rice has filed suit in Lakewood Municipal Court.

Maybe they like playing with her toys?

HT:  Arms/Law

New Guy at BATF? Not Really

ConYank tells us that the new head of BATF (yet to be confirmed) has been around for a while.

...According to Senator Charles Grassley's June 15, 2011 congressional testimony attachment 4, the chair of AGAC (Jones) was a member of the Southwest Border Strategy Group and attended at least one briefing on Fast and Furious in October 2009....


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Justice Harlan on Union/Employer Rights

Arkes reminds us of something which is important.

Justice John Harlan, the great dissenter in Plessy v. Ferguson on racial segregation, put the argument on unions most clearly in the case of Adair v. U.S. (1908). The anti-slavery movement confirmed that the individual person was the owner of his own labor. He was not obliged to give justifications when he walked away from the employ of any man.

But the employer was no less a natural man than the worker. If a worker wished to join a union, that right was implicit in his standing as a free man. So too was his right to refuse to work at a place that would not confine its hiring only to members of his union. But the employer had precisely the same right to free association, including the right to refuse a relation with a union of that kind, for it barred his own freedom of association, including his freedom to employ people of his own choosing quite willing to work for him.

That these arguments seem to come as news to so many people may simply reflect the fact that our lives have been woven in now with a system of “rights” and franchises and licensing conferred by the laws. And as we become accustomed to them, we may no longer have the same vivid sense of a right to work that finds its moral ground in the natural law.

Worth keeping handy....

Battle Over "Cantus" for New Translation

Not surprisingly, the battle is joined over the term "cantus" (chant) in the new translation's instructions.

In this corner:

"Our interpretation of 'chant' is in using the word 'chant' in a generic way, a translation of (the Latin) 'cantus,' 'that which is sung," said Father Richard Hilgartner, executive director of the U.S. bishops' Secretariat for Divine Worship.

When the church uses "chant" in the General Instruction, Father Hilgartner told Catholic News Service, it is "really talking about what texts are sung, not the musical form."

Well, Father, it IS an 'interpretation.'

In the other corner:

"It has been kind of been under the radar, it's ebbed and flowed in history. Mass propers have been staples since the seventh century," said Jeffrey Tucker, a proponent for the use of chant with the new missal. Tucker, who sings in a schola in Auburn, Ala., is a blogger, assistant editor of the journal Sacred Music, and publications director of the Church Music Association of America, a group Galipeau called "small but loud."

Galipeau works for a major pamphlet-missal publisher; his derogation of CMAA is, perhaps, inspired by his employer's revenue-stream requirements.

So what's Tucker talking about with these "propers"?

In liturgical terms, "proper" refers to texts used for a particular day, feast or rite. Each Mass includes verses from Scripture as entrance antiphon and Communion antiphons. However, in current U.S. practice, they are most often used when there is no music for the Mass -- and even then not always included -- and, when included, almost always recited.

Actually, each Mass also includes a Proper Offertory versicle, not to mention a specific Gradual and Alleluia verse (usually sung after the first and second readings, respectively, in the Ordinary Form Mass.)

Galipeau prefers evolutionary sophistication, you know.  (Raise the little finger when at tea.)

How music is used at Mass has evolved since Vatican II, according to Galipeau. He identified the 1970s as "when the terminology of the 'four-hymn syndrome' began to be challenged. Basically, it was 'Music in Catholic Worship,' the (U.S.) bishops' first document on music after the council, that said it's the acclamations at the Mass that have the priority -- the Holy, the Eucharistic Acclamation. Instead of singing four hymns at Mass, we need to change our thought completely and sing the Mass."

Amazing.  "Sing the Mass" but maybe not the actual, specified, TEXTS for singing, such as the Propers.

The MCW document has been superceded by another USCC document (Sing to the Lord) on the same topic; the newer one is obviously written by two very different camps.  In his critique of STTL, Prof. Mahrt, a highly-credentialed student of sacred music (and a performer, as well) says this:

As a matter of principle, I would suggest that “progressive solemnity” does not properly serve the sung liturgy, since it omits the singing of certain parts of the Mass which should and could be sung and thus gives up on the achievement of a completely sung service. The result is what I have called the “middle Mass,” neither high nor low, in which the beautiful and purposeful differences between the musical parts of the Mass are overshadowed by the more obvious differences between the spoken and sung parts

Thus, Music in Catholic Worship was flawed to some extent in the beginning by ignoring almost all the Liturgical Movement's work of the late 1800's/early 1900's--and STTL, while an improvement, does not really hit a home run, either.

Galipeau's "....sing the Holy and acclamations" language wears bell-bottoms.

And, with no sense of irony whatever, Galipeau appeals to "tradition" (!!!!) of ~30 years' duration:

Galipeau, in a July 11 post in his "Gotta Sing Gotta Pray" blog, said that at his majority-black Chicago parish, "I just don't think this whole argument about the singing of the propers will ever amount to a hill of beans to these parish people. The people have grown accustomed to singing hymns and songs at the entrance and at Communion from a wide variety of traditions. ... A different antiphon every single Sunday might be a bit too challenging for Catholics."

Galipeau does not provide a sou of evidence for his assertion, nor does it occur to him that he COULD use a small group to sing the propers.  Who knows?  Maybe the congregation will figure it out and sing along.

The USCC guy comes back to 'splain it all:

Chant has a legitimate place in Catholic worship, Father Hilgartner said, but "there's room for other legitimate cultural adaptations, which includes the form that music for liturgy takes." He added the word "song" was removed from the new General Instruction of the Roman Missal because "it sounds secular, even when it's preceded by 'liturgical.'"

Well, he's right, in the main.  Hymnody is certainly an ancient practice, as is psalmody (which IS the foundation of Chant.)  But if we place "cultural adaptations" before the actual liturgical law ans recommendations, e.g., propers and chant, we have trouble.

Much more here, with even finer distinctions and argumentation.

More Ugly: Income Numbers

This is just plain nasty.

U.S. incomes plummeted again in 2009, with total income down 15.2% in real terms since 2007, new tax data showed on Wednesday. The data showed an alarming drop in the number of taxpayers reporting any earnings from a job -- down by nearly 4.2 million from 2007 -- meaning every 33rd household that had work in 2007 had no work in 2009.

Average income in 2009 fell to $54,283, down $3,516, or 6.1% in real terms compared with 2008. ... Compared with 2007, average income was down $8,588 or 13.7%
.  --Vox quoting TaxProfBlog

Note well:  those are 2009 figures.  '10 and '11 are not going to be much better--at best, a flatline, at worst, they just get worse.

"Bureaucrats"? Nope. "Family"

Man alive.

...the Obama White House wanted to make sure that Irene was no Katrina and that, in fact, the president and his aides would be seen in compassionate command of the situation.

Hence the introduction of what may be the most condescending euphemism for the national government in its long history of condescending euphemizing: “federal family.

Can you say "transparent bulls**t"?

HT Malkin

"Law? We ARE the Law!!" --Obama & Co.

Mentioned before, but worth repeating:

...the Obama administration is already funneling taxpayer dollars to ACORN in violation of a congressionally approved funding ban. The Department of Housing and Urban Development gave an $80,000 grant to ACORN Housing, which has renamed itself Affordable Housing Centers of America, in March....

Not that 80 grand is a lot of money.  But ya know, it's a friggin' law.

Bureaucrats Get Paid to Write Regs, Folks

The regulatory fever is not surprising when you consider the fact that bureaucrats are paid to regulate.  If necessary, to re-regulate--and then, as required, to explain the regulations, re-regulations, and all that sort of stuff.

They're even paid to write proposed regulations---several times, if necessary.

...In December 2009, the agency presented a proposal for addressing pollutant runoff from construction sites of 10 acres or more....

...The National Association of Home Builders challenged the data the EPA used to set turbidity limits, and the agency, conceding a miscalculation, issued a revised set of rules in December 2010.

...Amid further objections from NAHB, the December 2010 revision was withdrawn by the EPA earlier this month, and the agency is now revising the revision.

EPA's first and second proposals would have called for pumps and filtration systems (!!!!) to "fix" the problem, whatever it might be.

White Thugs and Jerks? Yup.

"Thugs" and "jerks" doesn't quite capture what should be said about these creatures, but then, this is a sorta-kinda-almost-always "family" blog, mostly.  (However, another appropriate noun begins with "a" and ends with "s", and there are three "s"'s in the term.)

The National Socialist Movement has scheduled an “In Defense of White America Rally” on Saturday afternoon in West Allis, in response to what organizers have characterized as black flash mobs earlier this month at the Wisconsin State Fair.

"Defending WHITE America?"  Against whom, precisely?  Is there another America?  Or are these people so moronic that they don't get  the concept of 'floating all the boats'?

It's too much to expect that they've read John Donne, I suppose.  Prolly too much to expect that they've read Dr. Seuss, too.

The (R) Hijacking of the "Stop Spending" Mantra

In a series of posts with the headline "It's the Spending, Stupid, Part XXX,XXX" we highlighted a few of the moronic, bloated, and disgusting spend-items in various Gummints.

We weren't alone in mentioning the spending; the TEA Party arose in response to Gummint spend-a-holics, not to mention Gummint regulate-a-holics, Gummint tax-a-holics, and the Gummint ninny-nanny-a-holicism which pervades the modern Statist regimes from top to bottom.

The (R) Party, which on paper was opposed to Gummint spending, taxing, and regulation to varying degrees saw an opportunity, and moved right in.

Sweet, eh?


Which (R) Presidential candidate has mentioned "cutting the Federal payroll"?  Which (R) Presidential candidate has mentioned "reducing staff at EPA, Dep't of Education, Dep't of Labor, Dep't of Commerce", (pick one, pick all, pick more)???

We are happy that the Walker Administration has found a way to cut the gross costs of staffing Wisconsin governments.  But the Walker Administration's budget increases the State's full-time headcount.  Is the Governor telling us that there are no positions which are redundant, or that there are no Departments or Department segments which could be reduced or eliminated?  And, worse, that he must increase the number of State employees to 'get jobs done'?

By their nature, politicians like to eat their cake and have it, too.  That's OK, because we all do.  It's human nature.

But sloganeering doesn't cut jack, and it certainly doesn't cut Statism.

CERN: "All Your Formulae Are Wrong, AlGore!"

Just to put a finer point on the CERN study which noticed that the sun has an impact on global warming (gasp!!), here's a bit more of their text:

“[I]t is clear that the treatment of aerosol formation in climate models will need to be substantially revised, since all models assume that nucleation is caused by these vapours [sulphuric acid and ammonia] and water alone.

--quoted at AOSHQ

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Next "Genius" Economic Adviser


Didn't know this, but Obozo's CEA nominee is the same genius who advocated the destruction of ~3 million used cars in "Clunkers."

That move destroyed any chance low-income people had for buying a car to get them to work, because the prices on the remaining used-vehicles skyrocketed.

Genius, indeed.

The linked article has a few other things to say about Prof. Krueger...

Buffet To Start Corn-A-Holing You?

Warren Buffet has recently made a number of investments which have paid off by virtue of Federal Government actions.  Goldman Sachs was one; GE would seem to be another, and last week's $3Bn for Bank of America is tantalizing, no?

That's not all.

More recently, Buffett said he's considering investments in ethanol pioneer Archer Daniels Midland

As Tim Carney notes in the linked article, ADM is a success largely due to its influence with big-time political animals (who the Hell would use ethanol if they weren't forced to?).

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Ground Zero Mosque, and Incidentally, Shari'a!

This guy is a few cans short of a six-pack.

AMERICA’S most controversial imam – the man at the centre of the storm over plans for the “Ground Zero Mosque” in New York last year – flew into Edinburgh yesterday to tell the Festival of Spirituality and Peace that greater integration between Islam and the West depends on the incorporation of Sharia law into the legal systems of the UK and the United States as well as Muslims adopting the culture of their host countries.  --Zippers quoting Herald Scotland

The news story goes on to say that he's regarded as a 'moderate.'

Obama Lied (!!!) Again

Obviously, TOTUS was malfunctioning.  Why else would Teh Won lie about US energy resources?  /sarcasm

HT:  MoonBattery

UPDATE:  More on the same in this Powerline post (scroll down to the Bachmann portion.)  Clearly, we've been handed the Green Weenie.  Maybe it's time for them to move in with the polar bears while we get some work done down here.

(Polar bears like to eat, too, you know.)

As Usual, Reuters Gets It Wrong

Reuters is a sometimes-reliable news source.  Here's one example why:

...In the United States, lawmakers and President Barack Obama fought a contentious budget battle earlier this summer that resulted in the loss of the nation's coveted "AAA" debt rating from Standard & Poor's.

Wrong, turkey.

S&P downgraded US debt because US spending pushed US debt into the yellow zone.  The 'debt-ceiling' battle did not substantially reduce spending; but S&P was headed towards their re-rating regardless.

Justice Bradley vs. WI Stat 940.203(2)

Cited at Prof Jacobson, here's the text:

“Whoever intentionally causes bodily harm or threatens to cause bodily harm to the person or family member of any judge under all of the following circumstances is guilty of a Class H felony.” (my emphasis added)

The conditions are:
(a) At the time of the act or threat, the actor knows or should have known that the victim is a judge or a member of his or her family.

(b) The judge is acting in an official capacity at the time of the act or threat or the act or threat is in response to any action taken in an official capacity.
(c) There is no consent by the person harmed or threatened.

Where's Izzy when you really need him?

More Ammo, and Canned Food

Here's Mr. Optimism for the day.

It is important to pay attention to Europe; we've mentioned a bazillion times that the Great Depression was touched off by the failure of Creditanstaldt, an Austrian bank.

Holder's Guitar Raid, Part Two

You all know that AG Holder has authorized a raid on Gibson Guitars, based on some groundless interpretation of some other country's law.  The agency (Customs) is having a lot of fun and costing Gibson about $1 million/week.

Iowahawk took the occasion to note a part of the action NOT covered in other places.

Today's uncovering of secret multi-agency program for shipping illegal Gibson guitars to Mexican drug cartels left red-faced officials of the U.S. Department of Justice scrambling for an explanation amid angry calls for a Congressional investigation.

"I have ordered all agency personnel to fully cooperate in any Congressional inquiries, including all reasonable document request, as soon as we can redact them with Sharpie pens and lighter fluid," said U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

The secret program came to light early this morning in the border town of Nogales, Arizona, after what was described as a wild battle of the bands between members of the Sinaloa cartel and Los Zetas, two of Mexico's most notorious violent drug gangs.

..."I've been working the border for over 25 years and have never seen a weapons cachet like this," said Patrol Supervisor Mike Foreman. "A '53 Goldtop, a '59 Black Beauty, Flying V's, a whole armory of SGs. Enough for an entire guitarmy. It's a wonder there weren't any total shreddings."
Suspicions that the U.S. Department of Justice was involved in the case first arose after agents noticed "Property of the U.S. Department of Justice" embossed on the back of each guitar. A trace of the serial numbers confirmed that they were confiscated only days earlier by DoJ agents from the Gibson Guitar Company in Memphis.

Responding to a Freedom of Information Act request, Justice Department officials admitted that the guitars were part of a complicated sting program know as "Operation Fast and Fretless," ostensibly designed to stem traffic of illegal guitars and amplifiers between the U.S. and Mexico. The multi-agency program - involving Justice, ICE, TSA, EPA, IRS, FDA, Fish & Wildlife, USDA, and the Bureau of Whiskey, Groupies & Hotel Rooms - reportedly encourage border area pawn shops to sell the guitars to known drug kingpins.

Go to the link.

Public University? Public-Funded Grants? Be Careful!

The University of Virginia continues to stonewall FOIA requests for "Hockey-Stick" Mann's papers and emails.

Some of the materials have been released:

...UVA has said it will claim exemptions to protect records of a "proprietary nature," which is irrelevant here under Virginia's FOIA law because all the research Mann did has been published, and therefore public. Obviously missing from the fluffy document dump this week were the already-publicized Climategate emails between Mann, East Anglia pals, and other alarmists....

Much has not, and UVA insists that it's not going to release the rest.

That will be interesting.  As some read the statute,

...there is no exemption in Virginia's FOIA for "private discussions between scientists about science" under taxpayer-funded research and institutions....


Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Islamic Collapse

David Goldman points to an essay by Fr. J. Schall SJ.

...“The Fragility of Islam” is the subject of his latest pronouncement at the Catholic Thing blog. Western analysts tend to accept the narrative of Muslim triumphalism, the assertion that the strong faith of the Islamic world will overwhelm the temporizing and vacillating West. Not so, Fr. Schall argues: Islam itself is “as fragile as communism.”...

That is precisely what B-16 was driving at in his famous Regensburg lecture.  Islam cannot stand up to philosophical questions; its "truth claims" are specious and hollow.


The fragility of Islam, as I see it, lies in a sudden realization of the ambiguity of the text of the Koran. Is it what it claims to be? Islam is weak militarily. It is strong in social cohesion, often using severe moral and physical sanctions. But the grounding and unity of its basic document are highly suspect. Once this becomes clear, Islam may be as fragile as communism.

So.  While Spencer is correct that Islam's jihadists are a threat (as are other jihadists of any persuasion), the might and main of Islam is not, at least in any long-term sense.

Even More (!!) Buffet Hypocrisy

Warren Buffett is beginning to look more like Warren Buffoon.

He's famously advocated "more taxes" for the rich (like him, for example) but has not volunteered Dime One to the Treasury from his own silk-lined pockets.  He also has stated that he will give his fortune to PRIVATE charity because the Gummint is far less efficient and efficacious.  (Duh)

(On the give-away, Buffett deserves all the kudos we can give him.)

But there's more.  Seems that Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway is fighting the IRS guessed liabilities going all the way back to 2002.

At December 31, 2010 and 2009, net unrecognized tax benefits were $1,005 million and $926 million, respectively. Included in the balance at December 31, 2010, are $774 million of tax positions that, if recognized, would impact the effective tax rate. The remaining balance in net unrecognized tax benefits principally relates to tax positions for which the ultimate deductibility is highly certain but for which there is uncertainty about the timing of such deductibility.  B-H annual report quoted at PowerLine

Which is it, Warren? 

Marquette High and the Domestic Terrorists

Belling broke the story; BadgerBlogger amplified a bit.

The Milwaukee based pro-teachers union/ education activist group Rethinking Schools, is holding a fund raiser for their 25th anniversary. All well and good, but do you know who they have invited to be their keynote speaker? Yeah, that guy pictured on the right, unrepentant terrorist, founder of the Weather Underground, William Ayers.

So, of course, one is inspired to look at the "about us" page of Rethinking Schools.

No surprise that Mike Trokan is on the list; he and/or his family have been Lefty agitators for years.  Lots of years.  And for some reason, the Hispanic school on Fratney has a slug of folks on the masthead.

But the real shocker:

Terry Burant - Terry Burant teaches chemistry and environmental science at Marquette University High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and also teaches graduate courses in curriculum studies and undergraduate teacher education courses at Marquette University.

Louie 'the Atom' was a church musician, too.  That was as controversial as he ever got.

John McCain's Pals One Week, Enemies the Next

Seems like Sen. McCain is more like the "back-and-forthright candidate" of Pogo fame.

Sen. John McCain has posed as the scourge of ousted dictator Moammar Khadafy.  That is now.  But there was then.

...The cable indicates that McCain was the dominant voice among the congressional delegation in a push for military hardware for Qadhafi.

"Sen. McCain assured Muatassim that the United States wanted to provide Libya with the equipment it needs for its ... security," according to the cable.  --AmSpec quoting Wikileaks

Isn't it time for McCain to retire and live on the dividends from the Busch distributorship?

D of Labor Oversteps Bounds. What's New?

Below is an item describing D of Energy's arbitrary and capricious robbery of Exxon.

Here's another example of Obamaland Law:

The new NLRB rule requires employers to post notices informing employees of their collective bargaining and organizing rights.  If the company has an “internet or intranet site,” they must also post the notice electronically.

Who’s affected by this rule?  Oh, just every private-sector company that employs more than 2 people, and is not involved in agriculture, railroads, or air travel.  Even if they operate in right-to-work states, and employ absolutely no union labor.  In other words, about six million employers.  No big deal.

Oh, and if at least 20% of your employees don't speak English, you have to post the notice in whatever other language they speak

There's a problem with that.

Under the National Labor Relations Act, the NLRB does not have the authority to broadly impose rules, such as the one issued today. The statute only permits the Board to act when a representation petition or unfair labor practice charge is filed.  --NFIB

Unless The Law is what we SAY it is.

"Arbitrary, Capricious" D of Energy, Says Exxon

No surprises here.

ExxonMobil, the world’s largest energy company, filed a lawsuit against the federal government for canceling an oil-drilling lease in the Gulf of Mexico that held “billions of barrels of oil,” according to the company. 

In the suit, filed Aug. 12 in federal court in Louisiana against Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar and related parties, Exxon alleges that the Interior Department made an “arbitrary, capricious” decision in canceling the deepwater leases, arguing that the government’s action “deprives ExxonMobil of property without due process of law.

In Obamaland, the law is what Obama & Co. SAY it is.  

Beyond that, of course, is the effect:  billions of barrels will not be recovered for use by consumers, thousands of jobs are gone.

Friday, August 26, 2011

AHA!! I Was Close!!

Turns out that my "BUY MORE AMMO" mantra was thinly-disguised investment advice (in a derivative fashion.)

McCain quoting Seeking Alpha:

Sturm, Ruger (RGR) has been hitting new highs for the last several years. This guns and ammunition stock has outperformed gold by a wide margin, and it currently is not as crowded and as highly publicized as the gold trade.

Consider the following facts. Sturm, Ruger has outperformed Gold over the last 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 12 months, 3 years, and 5 years! . . 
It is also important to note that Sturm, Ruger was even up in 2008, when the market was down 38.5%.

And some of you reactionaries thought I was just a tinfoil-hatter.


Eric Holder, Wrecking-Ball-in-Office

Eric Holder needs more than a good spanking for his assholery.

The government’s position is…that is the law of the land in Madagascar and they are saying that is the law of the land in India. That is not the case. The fact is, we have affidavits from numerous government officials – and this court case, specifically now, is forMadagascar wood. We have affidavits from virtually every govt official saying that it is legal, that their definition of what is legal is a fingerboard blank and its been exported within every certification that is necessary. So they have the arrogance to interpret Madagascar law differently than the people in Madagascar.  --Verum quoting ObamaFail Blog/Interview with Gibson's CEO

Holder is a major threat to the entire business community, and by extension, to every American.  His action against Arizona, his stacking of the deck in Civil Rights Division, his complete jackassery in the Philly voting-rights debacle, and his (frankly) full-on racism is an embarrassment.  Maybe not to Obozo, but to the rest of the country.

Perry: Better Every Day

Holy Batman, Robin!  The guy can think without the "help" of the Fortune 50.

Ingraham asked Perry: "Do you think our trade policies have been working for the American family vis-a-vis China or other many of the other countries that have been growing incredibly fast right now?" 

"I don't think our trade policies have been working for years, frankly, from the standpoint of being in the best interest of our families," Perry replied. "Do we need to trade? Absolutely. Am I a free trader? Yes. But I'm a fair trader. Just because we pass a free trade agreement with a country doesn't mean we need to put ourselves at a competitive disadvantage to make their diplomatic people smile at us. I mean we need to be tough traders.  --AOSHQ quoting WeeklyStandard

He conditioned that a bit, of course.  But it's very interesting that he's willing to use the phrase.

Oh, No!! Contessa's Outta There!

TMJ-4 was lucky that she left.

Contessa Brewer, who has been a fixture on MSNBC since 2003, will no longer be an anchor on the network, TVNewser has learned.

Maybe some station in South Dakota will pick her up.

And maybe not.


CERN Research: AGW Is FooFooDust

Well, we all knew it anyway.  Here's the three-sentence summary of CERN's cosmic-ray research:

Do Cosmic Rays help create high-altitude clouds that reflect sunlight - which has a big impact on the Earth's temperature? And have we been seeing fewer Cosmic Rays lately which means fewer clouds and more warming? Yes.

I hear hockey sticks breaking all around.


Fed Courts Putting "Sex-Change" on Taxpayer Bill

The 7th Circuit (3-panel) recently ruled that Wisconsin must provide sex-change hormones under the 8th Amendment (which prohibits cruel/unusual treatment.....)  At that time, I said that the justices were out of their minds.  They call it "health" treatment.

Well, if there's a "health" problem, it's the lack of healthy minds at the 7th.

More now from Massachusetts!

A federal judge in Boston is on the cusp of deciding whether or not taxpayers will be forced to fund sex-change operations for convicted criminals.

The whole enchillada, so to speak. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fr. Wenig Gone

Two different individuals have told me that Fr. Wenig is no longer the pastor at St Mary's Elm Grove.

EF Mass in Madison: Is It Different There?

It's always interesting to read what reporters write.

A Madison Newspapers reporter wrote this about the Extraordinary Form (old Rite) Mass in Madison:

Gregorian chant is the required music, sometimes accompanied by an organ or singing.

Most of you will get it.  
For those of you who don't, "Gregorian Chant" IS SUNG.  His sentence is comparable to "Eating sometimes requires food."  Further, Chant is not "required": it is preferred, although Chant (Gregorian or ersatz/Rossini) is the only music used for some singing during the Mass.

God love him; he tried.  And I admit the topic is somewhat technical.

Same graf:

Female altar servers are not used because traditionalists believe the role should be reserved for boys, the only ones who can become priests.

Umnnhhh....has nothing to do with "belief."  Has everything to do with the liturgical law in force in 1962.  Again, arcana; but gee, whiz....

However, he can't be blamed for semi-accurate quotations from Church "historians":

"Vatican II shifted the emphasis to draw more on the talents and abilities of people who are not ordained — the idea that, ‘It's my church too,'" said the Rev. Steven Avella, a history professor at Marquette University in Milwaukee and a Catholic priest.

Nope.  The Liturgical Movement, which began in the late 1800's, was the impetus for "draw more on the talents [of those who are]...not ordained."  In Germany, it was quite common for Catholics to sing some parts of the Mass, such as the "Kyrie" and "Gloria" in German long before Vatican II.  And Pius X (early 1900's) was very clear:  he wanted the people to say or sing their parts of the Mass, albeit in Latin.  (For that matter, every parish choir consisted of "non-ordained" folks, too.)  Finally, it was not "Vatican Two" which made all the changes happen; it was the implementing commission.  Vat II only provided a general framework.  It's analogous to Congress writing a law, but leaving the implementation to regulators.

Nice to see that the Madison papers pay attention to what's going on, no matter the techno-glitches, though.  Let's hope the reporter returns and sees the crowd double in a couple of years.

Fr Z also noticed the item.

Not What Obama Wanted About Perry

Comments about Rick Perry from a rocker who ran against him (and lost, big.)

A "mensch," eh?

Better than "mishuganah" which describes Obama to a T.  Unless he's worse than that.

Some of That First Amendment Is OK, But......

I really don't know why DailyKos doesn't buy the NYT and make it formal.

New York Times editor Bill Keller writes a loaded piece today posing a strict religion test for the 2012 GOP presidential candidates, noting that American’s are “too squeamish” about aggressively “probing” a candidates religious beliefs.

Why sure!  Just as soon as Obozo answers a few questions in similar vein........


WTMJ reports that there will be NO charges filed over the attack on Prosser by Bradley.

Meanwhile, in Europe

Remember Europe?  It's part of the "west" and also has a few sovereign debt problems.

...the Germans aren't always predictable, they do tend to be sticklers for the letter of the law, and there is no question that if the letter of the law is respected, the bailouts will be pronounced illegal....

Vox also adds 2+2:

Insurance on the debt of several major European banks has now hit historic levels, higher even than those recorded during financial crisis caused by the US financial group's implosion nearly three years ago.

That jibes with the noted increase in bank-borrowing from the ECB of yesterday, at 2.25%, a punitive rate.

The Innerleckshuls of Yale

Some folks remind us, endlessly, that Yale is........well.......Yale.  A bastion of intellectual heavyweights, and possibly excepting that bunch at the Yahhhd, so damn smart that their heads hurt.

Uh huh.

Remember that time when you first matriculated? And Yale was all like, “Hey guys, no big deal, but we’re going to need all of your personal information. Yeah, that Social Security number? Fork it over. Don’t worry, though. We’re world-class academics. We know not to do anything stupid with it, like make it available on Google, or whatever.


The university announced on Friday that around 43,000 Social Security numbers — belonging to current and former students, faculty, staff and alumni – were released into the Google

Fortunately, many Yale grads are now employed by Government.

The DC Mind, Satirical Version

Moron notes that Sunstein has eliminated about $5Bn in reg-burdens (over the next 5 years or so) and is damned proud of himself.

At the same time, Obozo & Co. have implemented a "few" more regs which will add about $90Bn/year in costs, or $450Bn in 5 years.


...we have a great dieting tip for those of you out there looking to slim down your figure.  All you have to do is cut out that morning bagel.

And add bacon, eggs, waffles, pancakes, ham, hash browns, home fries, biscuits

That's the ticket!!

Buffet *Hearts* Private-Sector Charity

While Buffet angles for a Sec/Treasury slot in the next Obozo Regime with silly prattle about 'more taxes', the other side of his mouth is chirping a much different tune.

I think that on balance the Gates Foundation, my daughter’s foundation, my two sons’ foundations, will do a better job with lower administrative costs and better selection of beneficiaries than the government

No kidding!

HT:  Warrior  quoting Jacoby

Seriously? A Third Party or Two?

Sure, the headline is confusing, even to me.  But that's what this story says.

We already see evidence on the ground that from the discontent coursing through the electorate there may emerge a third or even fourth political party that would be competitive in next year's presidential election.

Caddell and Schoen.

Caddell's always been a populist-democrat kinda guy, which accounts for his appeal and continuing viability.  I don't know much about Schoen.

So.  There's more than a skitch of credibility here--but a third party or two?  Hmmmmm.

Perils of the Odyssey

Noted by CalcRisk:

The Greek bailout deal is under pressure ... and the Greek 2 year yield increased to 44% and the 10 year yield increased to 18% this morning.


The "Civility" Thing

In the last couple of days, Jeb Bush has tut-tutted about 'civility' in politics.  He makes the point that a lot of Lefties really, truly, believe that what they prescribe is the best solution.

(Daniel Patrick Moynihan was a Lefty who really, truly, believed that Lefty-ism was best for the country--until he realized that actually, it was NOT.  Then he did the *cough* right thing.  No, he didn't switch parties; he simply dissected the most pernicious social programs with intellectual rigor.)

Well,  It's undoubtedly true that some Lefties believe that their agenda is best for the nation.  But I seriously doubt that Teh Won does.  If that were the case, he might want to be consistent.  But he's not.

In 2008, he castigated GWBush for increasing the national debt by "$4Tn in 8 years."  (On the facts, he's wrong; it was only $2Tn.)  But he also called Bush "unpatriotic" for that action.

So when others like Perry suggest that it is "almost treason" if Bernanke were to QE3 "for political purposes" before the '12 elections, Perry gets slammed?


Obama's sole interest is election and re-election.  He has no interest in the Constitution; no interest in the Rule of Law, no interest in basic business economics--which have a great deal of impact on the nation's economics--and no interest in moral Right Order.

He deserves everything that he gets from the opposition party and the population.  Un-patriotic, subversive, and inimical to the long-term health of the country?  Guilty on all counts.

Podhoretz (with whom we frequently disagree on foreign entanglements):

Of course, unlike Mr. Westen, we villainous conservatives do not see Mr. Obama as conciliatory or as "a president who either does not know what he believes or is willing to take whatever position he thinks will lead to his re-election." On the contrary, we see him as a president who knows all too well what he believes. Furthermore, what Mr. Westen regards as an opportunistic appeal to the center we interpret as a tactic calculated to obfuscate his unshakable strategic objective, which is to turn this country into a European-style social democracy while diminishing the leading role it has played in the world since the end of World War II. The Democrats have persistently denied that these are Mr. Obama's goals, but they have only been able to do so by ignoring or dismissing what Mr. Obama himself, in a rare moment of candor, promised at the tail end of his run for the presidency: "We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America."

...coming on top of his association with radicals like Bill Ayers, Jeremiah Wright and Rashid Khalidi, definitively revealed to all who were not wilfully blinding themselves that Mr. Obama was a genuine product of the political culture that had its birth among a marginal group of leftists in the early 1960s...

Here, Podhoretz and I disagree again:

I disagree with those of my fellow conservatives who maintain that Mr. Obama is indifferent to "the best interests of the United States" (Thomas Sowell) and is "purposely" out to harm America (Rush Limbaugh). In my opinion, he imagines that he is helping America to repent of its many sins and to become a different and better country. 

But I emphatically agree with Messrs. Limbaugh and Sowell about this president's attitude toward America as it exists and as the Founding Fathers intended it. That is why my own answer to the question, "What Happened to Obama?" is that nothing happened to him. He is still the same anti-American leftist he was before becoming our president

Frankly, Podhoretz makes a distinction without a difference in claiming that 1) Obama is not 'purposely out to harm America' and 2) that Obama is 'an anti-American leftist.'

Straining "civility" by holding mutually contradictory truths will lead to a mental breakdown. 

You're Still Being Corn-A-Holed

Too bad that the economy is in such terrible shape, eh?

...the U.S. is now the world's largest exporter of ethanol. Think about that for a minute. Here is a fuel that would not exist without subsidies, and we're exporting it.

Meanwhile, ethanol futures are rising because the price of corn [is] rising. Considering that we're required to mix ethanol with our gasoline, this could drive up fuel prices even as oil falls.

We export corn liquor while cattle in Texas and Oklahoma are starving (or being dumped into slaughterhouses.)

The DC Mind, Part 173,880

"What, you think your family is more important than a grizzly bear?  Off to prison, pal."

Jeremy M. Hill, 33, pleaded not guilty to killing the grizzly with a rifle on his 20-acre property near Porthill, Idaho, at the Canadian border.

Because the Endangered Species Act classifies the grizzly as a threatened species, Hill was charged with a misdemeanor.

The trial has been set for October 4 and Hill’s lawyer, Marc Lyons, said he plans to defend Hill on the basis of self-defense and protection of family.

Hill shot the damn thing and called the Feds to let them know he did it.  THAT was a mistake, obviously.

Gibson Will Be Hard to Replace

Elmbrook Schools super Matt Gibson will retire.

He'll be hard to replace.  He worked hard, was always friendly, looked at ideas seriously, and sailed the Elmbrook ship between Scylla and Charibdis--the budget numbers and service requests--with aplomb.

Best wishes to you, Matt, in retirement.

The DC Mind, Racine Version

This story has all the elements....

Pamela Bogan is ready to start her new candy store called The Mini Shop, but some are sour about parts of the building. Some aren't happy with the bars she put on the windows.

Racine Mayor John Dickert says, "It's about where we're going in Racine and if we're going to go back to bars on window, I think we're going in the wrong direction."

Despite nearby businesses keeping their grates, Mayor Dickert says the city for years has not allowed businesses with new zoning to put up or keep bars on their windows.

The building's owner states that there have been several break-ins; the store owner is concerned.   Imagine that!  She wants to preserve her store......

It gets better.

Bogan says, "By me being a first time business owner, and I'm black, I feel like that's what's playing a role in this."

The Mayor of Racine denies that allegation.

Deficit? Who Cares?? Not Milwaukee County

Milwaukee County responds to its $50 million deficit:

The Milwaukee County Board voted 13-5 late Thursday morning to allow domestic partnership benefits for county employees. As it stands now, benefits are only extended to families of people who are married.

Now that the measure has passed, and once it is signed by County Executive Chris Abele, health benefits would be extended to domestic partners, both gay and straight.

The measure will cost taxpayers an estimated $700,000....

Abele is also weeping and wailing that the provisions of Act 10 are already in play in the County's budget.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

JPMorganChaseFargo? ChaseFargo, Morgan?

This is fun.

There is a rumor circulated on Wall St. that JP Morgan will take over Bank of America within the week. The government will support the deal with a $100 billion investment in preferred shares issued by the combined entity. Alternatively, the government may guarantee the value of a large pool of Bank of America assets. The word is that Treasury Secretary Geithner has discussed the transaction with JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon.The “merger” would completely destroy the value of BAC’s common shares.  --McCain quoting BizInsider

So the question:  did Buffett buy common stock in WF or preferred?

The Cost of ObozoCare: Upward Bound!!

Oh, well.  CBO guessed wrong by at least 400%.  Such a shame.

The AP reports on two recent surveys of employers that shows nearly 10% are already planning to drop health coverage once Obamacare starts in earnest.

It was only a year ago that [CBO was] estimating a mere 2.5% of employers would drop coverage by 2019. Now we’re talking about 10% by 2014 with another 20% claiming to be uncertain.

The companies are mostly in the retail sector which is labor-intensive. 

HT:  VerumSerum

No Wonder The Guy Ran for President

Well, now we know why Obama ran for the Presidency.

He couldn't afford his wife's habits as a mere Senator.

White House sources today claimed that the First Lady has spent $10 million of U.S. taxpayers' money on vacations alone in the past year.

...But the situation sparked further anger after he and his wife elected to fly separately to the - despite travelling on the same day.

Top shelf vodka, lotsalotsalotsa shopping, and the massages!  ooooooooohhh the massages!!


HT:  Moonbattery

Real Inflation

The title is just to start the engines of Struppster.

But there's something to it.  Herb Armstrong describes a $5.00 grocery purchase in the Good Old Days:

Mr. Armstrong quoted the Labor Department’s figures for how much $5 would have purchased in 1913: 15 pounds of potatoes, 10 pounds of flour, 5 pounds of sugar, 5 pounds of chuck roast, 3 pounds of round steak, 3 pounds of rice, 2 pounds each of cheese and bacon, and a pound each of butter and coffee; that money would also get you two loaves of bread, 4 quarts of milk and a dozen eggs. “This would leave you with 2 cents for candy,” he wrote.

Prolly a big chunk of candy!

HT:  RenMan

Hoover Intellectualoid Goes Off the Rails

Kind of a disappointment, given that Tom Sowell is in the same building as this twit Epstein who sees Socialists under every bed.

...Limited government, low rates of taxation, and strong property rights are the guiding principles.

Unfortunately, many spiritual and economic leaders are working overtime to push social policy in the exact opposite direction. At the top of the list are two prominent figures: Pope Benedict XVI and financier Warren Buffett....

It's not likely that Epstein has read many (if any at all) Church papers on the economy.  If he had, he would have noticed that Leo XIII was clear on the question of "property rights," making that the phrase following "Life, liberty, and....." in his encyclical on social justice.  No Pope has ever retracted that (nor will any.)  In fact that phrase (property rights) was discarded by Jefferson in favor of "pursuit of happiness" in the Declaration.

[B-16] told journalists, "The economy cannot be measured by the maximum profit but by the common good. The economy cannot function only with mercantile self-regulation but needs an ethical reason in order to work for man." Standing alone, these words mirror the refrains of countless Spanish socialists,...

As you read the rest of Epstein's rant, you'll note that he simply discards any reference to "the common good" and natters/ninners/whiners only about "the need for profits."

Well, OK.  Profits are good.  Does the 'common good' preclude them?  No.  Does profit at the expense of the 'common good' lead to problems?  Yes.

Someday, Mr. Epstein may learn the meaning of the word "nuance."  It would be good for him.


Take a Lane Off the Hoan Bridge?

There are a few loose screws here.

With enthusiasm pent up over a decade, hundreds of cycling advocates argued passionately Tuesday night for a bike and pedestrian lane to be added to the Daniel Hoan Memorial Bridge.

OK, I get that.

Several residents raised questions about the cost and usefulness of a bike lane that they believe would be difficult to traverse in high winds and winter weather. Others objected to the potential that one of the six traffic lanes for cars and trucks would be turned over to slower-moving vehicles, creating congestion on a bridge that carries 40,000 vehicles daily.

What?  A five-lane?  Are they NUTS?

And, by the way, I've been on that bridge with a full-sized van in high winds;  I watched a VW van literally jump a lane in a gust of wind up there.  Add a little snow and/or ice, and the bikers would become road-kill.

Best-case is that bikers will use the damn thing for 150 days/year--and even then, there won't be many.,  Maybe 3 dozen/day.  No way should the State close a lane for that. 

Hang an enclosed lane under the damn bridge if you can do it.

Does Your Kid Need a Career? Try "Regulation"!!

Here's great news for some people.

If the federal government's regulatory operation were a business, it would be one of the 50 biggest in the country in terms of revenues, and the third largest in terms of employees, with more people working for it than McDonald's, Ford, Disney and Boeing combined.

And it has another couple of distinctions!!

Regulatory agencies have seen their combined budgets grow a healthy 16% since 2008, topping $54 billion, according to the annual "Regulator's Budget," compiled by George Washington University and Washington University in St. Louis.

That's at a time when the overall economy grew a paltry 5%.

Meanwhile, employment at these agencies has climbed 13% since Obama took office to more than 281,000, while private-sector jobs shrank by 5.6%.

Reg-costs fall disproportionately on small-business, when measured as cost/employee.

But just as important (and not mentioned in the article) is the cost to States, Munis, Counties, and Schools; Fed regs also force them to do things--and the cost is passed on to taxpayers, again.

The root cause of all this is Congress, which passes laws which deliberately leave space for regulators.

Pass the Law and Pass the Buck.  One neat package.  Get re-elected no matter how many ways you screw your constituents.

On "Studies" of the TEA Party and Like Ilk

McCain catches something from Ace:

Then they go off on a Tourettes jag calling non-progressives cowards, morons, haters and brutes.
And then they slap a brand name on it– Science (TM).

....that comment on the "science" of surveying TEA Party folk.

Huh? Groupon?

Whoa, there.

Groupon recently disclosed it owes more to merchants than it has in the bank; the online discounter stays afloat only by selling new Groupons. So the Groupon's recent sales dive is particularly unwelcome.

Apparently Bernie Madoff is not available for consultation.

The Death of High-Tech Manufacturing in the US

Gee, this article is really.....ugh.  Forbes cites a Harvard Review item by Pisano and Shih.

Amazon’s Kindle 2 couldn’t be made in the U.S., even if Amazon wanted to

--The flex circuit connectors are made in China
--The electrophoretic display is made in Taiwan
--The wireless card is made in South Korea...

(There's more.)

Apple, by the way, is an exception.

Further down:

...Once manufacturing is outsourced, process-engineering expertise can’t be maintained, since it depends on daily interactions with manufacturing. Without process-engineering capabilities, companies find it increasingly difficult to conduct advanced research on next-generation process technologies. Without the ability to develop such new processes, they find they can no longer develop new products. In the long term, then, an economy that lacks an infrastructure for advanced process engineering and manufacturing will lose its ability to innovate.”
That conclusion applies to goods which are relatively unaffected by shipping costs or J-I-T considerations.

HT:  Monty/AOSHQ

York v. Carroll: More Than a Quibble

Byron York wrote a column, in which he opined that "entitlements" are NOT the cause of the deficit.

It's conventional wisdom in Washington to blame the federal government's dire financial outlook on runaway entitlement spending. Unless we rein in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, the conventional wisdom goes, the federal government is headed for disaster. That's true in the long run. But what is causing massive deficits now?

York, gifted with what we flyover-types call "common sense", says Big Spending is the answer to that question--along with the great recession, which hit tax-revenues and jacked up some spending programs.

Conn Carroll didn't like it.

York responded.

...In his second paragraph, Carroll accuses me of "changing the definition of entitlement program [sic]" by counting increases in Medicaid spending as spending related to the economic downturn.  But the fact is, Medicaid is different from Social Security and Medicare.  It is a means-tested entitlement, which means it is available to lower-income people of pre-retirement age.

This minor skirmish is a mini-picture of the "Intellectualoid Angst" v. "Bachmann-Perry-Romney" camps in the Republican group.  In that much larger battle, we find BillyBoy Kristol and the WSJ editorial page weeping over the lack of a Washington Insider candidate, defined as one who understands that Big Spending (and its ugly, infected, pus-emitting twin Big Regulation) are absolutely necessary for........ahhh..........Washington Insiders.

Codevilla again, folks.  The Ruling Class doesn't like what it sees.

Ace happens to like the York take.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"Conservatives Can't Win" Really?

Levin provided a little historical note here.

For several decades, it has been an article of faith among politicians and political analysts that no candidate can win a U.S. presidential election unless he can dominate the broad center of the spectrum, that all candidates on the edges of the left or right are doomed. Barry Goldwater's "extremism . . . is no vice" campaign of 1964 provides the classic evidence, reinforced by George McGovern's 1972 defeat in 49 out of 50 states. And since G.O.P. Front Runner Ronald Reagan relies upon a base of support that is on the far right wing of the Republican Party, some experts have long declared that if he wins the nomination, the G.O.P. would simply be repeating the suicidal Goldwater campaign. Ex-President Gerald Ford left no doubt about his views when he warned last month: "A very conservative Republican cannot win in a national election."--Time Magazine, 1980

That's not all.  There are some familiar words in this:

...Reagan confronts a Democratic President who, after a temporary surge in the national polls because of the crises in Iran and Afghanistan, is now plagued by declining job ratings. The odds are that by fall, Carter will be trying to defend his management of an economy with double-digit inflation and rising unemployment, gasoline prices of upwards of $2 per gal. and a reduced budget that offends many of the traditional Democratic-constituencies.

By the way, Reagan was behind Carter by 25% in polls only 90 days before the election.

Abp Dolan's Big Mistake

You'll hear more about this. Abp Dolan was interviewed by 60 Minutes.

When Safer suggested that the incidence of priests sexually abusing children might be decreased if Catholic clergy were allowed to be married, Dolan responded, "I don't know if – what we know scholarship-wise would back that up, Morley. The greatest culprits in sexual abuse are unfortunately married men. So, I don't know if marriage is the answer."

The Archbishop is wrong.

A fellow named David Usher cited a study:

The study found sexual abuse – indeed all forms of abuse – to be least common in homes with married biological parents. According to the report, only about 1 in 2,000 children in such homes suffer sexual abuse.
By comparison, the report states, 5 of every 2,000 children in single-parent households – and 20 of every 2,000 children in households where a single parent welcomes a partner into the home – suffers sexual abuse.

Those results are consistent with what's been reported for over 20 years in a variety of studies.  

We expect that the Archbishop will "clarify" or retract.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Krugman the Propagandist

Krugman, who is loved by one of my commenters, should stick to less-readable prose.

Making arguments by setting up straw-men, then forgetting little details like "cost-of-living", is supposed to be beneath his dignity.

Scratch one more 'dignity' threshold.

Wanna Counter-Party Bank of America? Think Twice...

Talk about ka-boom.

Ticker has the chart.  You don't really want to enlarge it.

Fed Loans Money to Banks. Fish Swim, Birds Fly

While Bloomberg (which had to go through Hell to get the documents) posts the news-story as a Big Big Big Big Deal, I don't think so.

Citigroup Inc. (C) and Bank of America Corp. (BAC) were the reigning champions of finance in 2006 as home prices peaked, leading the 10 biggest U.S. banks and brokerage firms to their best year ever with $104 billion of profits.

By 2008, the housing market’s collapse forced those companies to take more than six times as much, $669 billion, in emergency loans from the U.S. Federal Reserve. The loans dwarfed the $160 billion in public bailouts the top 10 got from the U.S. Treasury, yet until now the full amounts have remained secret.

Look, folks, here's the deal.  The Fed lends money to banks all the damn time, and usually requires collateral for the loans in the form of Treasury bills or bonds.  The transactions are called 'repurchase agreements' because the banks agree to "repo" the bonds in X days and pay Y interest for the cash.

Let's look at another humungous Fed lending day:

The balance was more than 25 times the Fed’s pre-crisis lending peak of $46 billion on Sept. 12, 2001, the day after terrorists attacked the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon.
That should give you a hint as to why the Fed did all that lending:  there was a crisis.  A damn BIG crisis.

Oh, by the way:

The Fed has said it had “no credit losses” on any of the emergency programs, and a report by Federal Reserve Bank of New York staffers in February said the central bank netted $13 billion in interest and fee income from the programs from August 2007 through December 2009.

So.  We had a crisis.  The banks needed cash for a number of reasons, not least the possibility of "runs."  The Fed lent them cash.  (Dunno if it was secured.)  The banks paid back the loans with interest.

I'm still looking for a story, aside from the umpty-zillion dollar amounts.

Defeat Walker EVERYWHERE!

Scott Walker is (evidently) a national threat.

The group that says it has raised $100,000 to get Warren into the race has placed a prominent ad on Google urging people to “Draft Elizabeth Warren – to run for Senate and defeat Scott Walker.”  --Boston Globe quoted at Beltway

That's the Progressive Change Campaign Committee's agenda.

Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) is fine with that.

Joe Biden, Reliably Moronic

This is beyond satire, actually.

...Biden talked about the other set of concerns about the one-child policy — demographic — in that China will increasingly have similar problems to the United States in terms of paying for entitlements to the growing number of people retiring who will need government support to make ends meet and a smaller population of younger workers able to take care of those obligations.

“But as I was talking to some of your leaders, you share a similar concern here in China.  You have no safety net,” Biden said in the prepared remarks. “Your policy has been one which I fully understand — I’m not second-guessing — of one child per family....

OK, Joe.


The Vanishing Obama "Plan"

Last week, it was going to be a speech with a 'specific plan' for fixing the economy.

Now, apparently, it will be an 'outline.'

Good.  That means that the Levin show won't be late-late-late.

Paul Ryan: "NO."

AOSHQ has it breaking.

Problems Down on the Farm

Aside from the silliness of Obama's "Contact the D of Ag" and the D of Trans' "CDL's for ALL!!!", there are longer-running and deeper problems down on the farm.  This from the Russell Kirk page:

One key proponent of wise stewardship of the land is Wendell Berry, a Kentucky farmer and man of letters whose short treatise The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture (1977) is a minor classic. In this closely argued work, Berry examines with sorrowful rage the transition of the American farm into a factory, an entity based upon productivity, statistics, and management from a bureaucracy high above the dark fields of the Republic: a world away from the family farm, with its perpetual striving for balance between the needs of man and nature. Egged on by arrogant individuals at the top of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the American farmer has been encouraged to abandon the principles of conservation—crop rotation, organic fertilization, topsoil nourishment, and small-holding in general—for what might be called “giantism”: farming run on a grand scale at a great distance by efficiency experts and self-promoting busybodies. For what purpose? At best, to achieve economies of scale, resulting in low prices for the consumer. At worst, to achieve surpluses that can be used against nations overseas in a cause that angers Berry deeply: “Food as a weapon.”

But the main effect of this top-down management of the American farm is a loss of something deeper and more costly: the time-honored, almost spiritual bond between the good land and the people who live on it and work it. This goes beyond the now-cliché phenomenon of city-bred children believing that milk comes from a factory. That is a symptom of something much more serious: a world in which the land is viewed as a sort of giant facial tissue, to be used and discarded, with more people working the land in an increasingly thoughtless manner, poisoning the earth with inorganic chemicals, growing foodstuffs of questionable nutritional value, and enriching a relative handful of agribusinesses at the expense of the smallholder, creating a vast gulf between the grower and the consumer. And all the while, there is promoted the general sense that smallholding is a mug’s game that is best abandoned for the more lucrative attractions of small-town and urban life. The overall result is a loss of orientation, the understanding of who man is and what his place is in the world. Humility, hope, a sense of pilgrimage on the earth, and the role of stewardship are replaced by a prideful, no-holds-barred domination.

The essay--which is controversial--reminds us that the question we argue over is "balance".  Some--Codevilla's "Ruling Class"--are convinced that all that is known is concentrated in Capitals, whether national or State.  Others simply do not believe that, and can adduce plenty of evidence to their contrary position.