Monday, January 31, 2011

Microsoft Goes Creepy


At a recent presentation for investors, Microsoft said the ability to see into consumer's living rooms means advertising opportunities. Kinect's cameras can be used to identify people, or objects. Then share shopper's preferences with advertisers. --Ticker quoting NPR

Apparently the system (Kinect) will record you as you play a game and store the pix on XBox.

Or so they say.

No Smoking? No Business!

P-Mac discovers elementary business truth: if you don't offer what customers want, you won't have customers.

The most telling evidence in his essay does NOT come from bar-owners, nor 'cancer researchers.'

It comes from a third party with knowledge:

Chuck Beth, who makes money off coin-op pool tables and pinball machines in Racine bars:

“Comparing recent months with 2008, an average year, the cash in those games is down by one-third, Beth said. ‘Some places, the smaller ones, are down by more than 50 percent.’

“ ‘There isn't a single bar in this town ... that it didn't affect,’ Beth said. ‘Not one of them is up - all of them are down.’”

Oh, and there's a Supreme Irony moment in the piece, too. Read it.

Sensenbrenner MIA on Budget Cuts

Long story short, the Pubbies said they'd 'cut $100Bn' from the budget.

Then Boehner walked it back to $60Bn because, after all, they can only cut 1/2 a FY's budget (at this point in time.)

Eighty-nine MC's signed a letter saying "WHAT??"

Sensenbrenner is not among them.

Nor, for that matter, is Ryan--although as Chair/Budget, he may be sorta 'recusing.' We DO find Reid Ribble on the good-guy list, but not Mr. TV Show Duffy, nor (predictably) Petri.

WI Democrats Against Jobs

Four (D) bozos:

On Thursday, Democrat Reps. Brett Hulsey (Madison), Louis Molepske (Stevens Point), Chris Danou (Trempeleau), and Nick Milroy (South Ridge) wrote a letter to the founder and CEO of Bass Pro Shops, Inc., urging them to keep their store and their hundreds of jobs out of Wisconsin.

These are the people to whom Wisconsin owes its in-the-tank 'business friendly' ranking.

These are the people who are, in fact, the enemies of the State and its people--who want to WORK. They prefer frogs and pretend-swamps.

HT: Berry

Bring Your Machete....

We'll bring guns.

HT: Patrick

Gingrich Goes All Painted-Face Prostitute

Just the other day someone mentioned how they 'liked Gingrich' for the (R) nod.

Maybe this will help him understand why I think Gingrich is NOT the right guy:

"There are now counties where the first or second largest taxpayer and employer in the county is in fact producing biofuels and I think that’s a good thing for rural America. It is great to have jobs that our young people can go to, so they can stay home if they want to, and have a good job, being productive, earning a good living, and doing something they find interesting."

He was endorsing ethanol. Ignorant college-prof goes on to rant about "big-city folks" taking trains and subways to work and oppressing the rural folks....

Oh, by the way, did I mention that Newtie was professoriating in Iowa?


HT: AmSpec

Egyptian Military: "BuhBye, Mubarek!"

Reasonably new:

The army said on Monday it would not use force against Egyptians staging protests demanding President Hosni Mubarak step down, a statement said. It said "freedom of expression" was guaranteed to all citizens using peaceful means...--AOS/Drew quoting some news service

The AmSpec seems to think that the military will NOT support radical Muslims.

So who knows?

ObozoCare Whapping, Again--UPDATED

It's not SCOTUS, but...

The 20-State lawsuit in FedCourt in Florida was successful.

Even more interesting:

"Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire Act must be declared void"

As you recall, another FedJudge declared that the mandate IS severable.

HT: Ace

UPDATE: White House Lying Machine says Fed Judge "Over-reached" in decision.

We have now reached the Queen of Hearts stage in Lewis Carroll's book.......

Sykes' Audience of Children and Chickens

Charlie brought up the 'net Kill-Switch' thing.

Interesting response. What SOUND like young folks are defending the 'kill-switch' idea--even while admitting that such is a totalitarian-state procedure.

(It's also interesting that those arguing for a kill-switch are working hard to bring GWB into the discussion.)

One should be concerned for the country when yout' are endorsing totalitarianism for the sake of "security."

While at the same time the argument is made that "guns in the hands of civilians are dangerous."

FedGov's Vitally Necessary Activities

You can count on Planet Moron to find multitudes of Constitutionally-mandated vitally important critical make-work jackasseries.

From the Federal Register:

...This rule increases the Native spearmint oil salable quantity from 980,220 pounds to 1,118,639 pounds, and the allotment percentage from 43 percent to 50 percent. The marketing order regulates the handling of spearmint oil produced in the Far West and is administered locally by the Spearmint Oil Administrative Committee (Committee).

And it's always up-to-the-minute, in this, the age of the Internet!!

...This notice announces publication by NHTSA of the annual insurer report on motor vehicle theft for the 2005 reporting year. Section 33112(h) of Title 49 of the U.S. Code, requires this information to be compiled periodically and published by the agency in a form that will be helpful to the public, the law enforcement community, and Congress.

How can we LIVE without these helps??

Can Walker "Lean" WI Government?

What George Lightbourn proposes (in essence) is "Lean Government."

....we can see the excesses that have been allowed to creep in. We see liberal pensions and other benefits. We see a government that abhors measurement and is thus unable to articulate if it is becoming more or less efficient. We see an industry that says it cannot do more without more money, that struggles with innovation. Walker must somehow imprint government with an entrepreneurial spirit that will define it for generations.

...what will the new government look like? It certainly will be smaller and, yes, its employees will have benefits more in line with the private sector. However, if Walker continues his journey its full distance, he will create a government that is responsive to what the citizens demand and flexible enough to adapt to ever-changing needs. It will persistently measure all of its activities and will focus on productivity and performance.

So, too, it will be a government in which employees are not simply operating under command and control but are allowed discretion to do their jobs and be held accountable for results. It will be a government marked by innovation and adaptability and attraction of top talent to its ranks.

The first thing to recall is that government is NOT industry. So there will always be some 'slop,' (there is some in "lean-ified" industry, too). One does not have "J-I-T" policing, nor prison space.

Lightbourn's most significant comment is that 'the Government abhors measurement.' It is axiomatic that in order to "lean" a process, one must measure the elements within that process, in time and/or cost, against the expected outcome. THEN one can adjust the process for efficiency, whether through mechanization, or automation, or simply by placing the elements of the process within the reach and control of the process-operator.

Yes, that means that Government employees will be more 'empowered.' That's also axiomatic in the Lean-management theory. It means that they will know more about the expected outcome and facilitate the outcome rather than institutionalizing the process.

Don't be surprised if that results in a lessening of supervisory positions. Don't be surprised if it results in some mistakes, either. Those are learning opportunities and can be fixed.

One likely good outcome: less lawyers.

Not trying is the cardinal sin.

HT: Sykes

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Twit-(R)'s Shuster, Mica: "Spend & Waste!!"

No surprise that they're from the East--wherefrom the last wise men left around 2100 years ago. Now all that's left are spendaholics.

Two top members of the House Transportation Committee said they will push the president's initiative seeking to give 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail over te course of the next 25 years.

"I believe it's good for America to develop a high-speed rail corridor in the Northeast corridor," Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), the chairman of the railroad subcommittee, said according to the Connecticut Post. "It's a place we have to start, we have to accomplish it, because then I believe all of America, in the various corridors around the country, will want high-speed rail if they see success here."

Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), the chairman of the whole committee, also said Friday he was "pleased that President Obama has helped to launch a system for improved passenger rail service for our nation."

Pay for it yourselves, jackasses. At this time, the US taxpayer "contributes" $45.00/ticket to Amtrak riders.

On the Constitutionality of ObamaCare

Althouse went to a seminar.

...Meade and I sat at a table which seemed to be full of lawyers who supported health care reform. One lawyer haughtily informed me that whatever law professors might think about the Constitution, it's really all politics, and this health care reform represents a big, important political effort and that's why it's going to be upheld in the courts. I said, if it's all politics, then what of all the politics pushing back against the law? What about the polls that show most people are against it and what about the last election? If you're going to say politics determines the outcome, then don't you have to take that politics into account too? The lawyer looked either alarmed or angry, because I, a law professor, didn't simply assert that the Constitution matters, which would have made it easy for him to irritatingly chuckle about naivete. ...

Well, then, if it's only politics that counts, let's follow Dick's advice in Henry VI.

Given the above, I know which ones should be first on the list, too.

AFSCME Gets Its Wish: Total Control of Fed Labor Relations

You didn't hear much about EO 13522. There's a reason: you'll pay--a LOT--for it.

Here's the core:

According to a recently distributed guidance memorandum signed by Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry and Office of Management and Budget Deputy Director Jeffrey Zients, federal managers must “allow pre-decisional involvement with unions in all workplace matters to the fullest extent practicable, without regard to whether those matters are negotiable subjects of bargaining.”

Use of the term “pre-decisional” means documents produced prior to a specific policy decision are exempt from disclosure under the FOIA. And requiring federal managers to involve union bosses on all matters regardless of whether they are negotiable under the law effectively gives them a veto on virtually any workplace issue. Such power represents the essence of the British disease and thanks to Obama, it’s now established policy in the federal workplace.

Think 'back-room,' (but no smoke allowed.)

HT: Roger/PJMedia

Jumpin' Graphic Jiminy!!

NOAA/NASA's Hansen manages data on temperatures.

(Oh, REALLY!, you say!)

Yup. The graphics are on this PowerLine post.

One may argue that NASA/NOAA simply revised data to reflect........well.......SOMETHING or other.

Maybe you're right....

You probably assume that NOAA and NASA have made their raw data available to independent researchers, along with explanations of the adjustments they have made. But no--those agencies have resisted Freedom of Information Act requests for the original, raw data.

...but you'll never know.

The Dead Poets' Society v. Krugman

Somebody has to have fun with the living-dead-Krugman.

...With my luck so quickly turning knowing I could now start learning
About the essay prompt concerning: how full employment to restore
With inquisitive expression quickly I began to question
“How do we end this recession and full employment to restore?”
Not shaken up nor shaven was the economic maven
Quoth the Krugman, “Spend some more.”

“More spending can’t be provided", were the words I gently chided
"With congress ever divided, nothing makes it to the senate’s door”
“Maybe in a perfect setting, but what you seem to be forgetting
The whole plan is just begetting of higher deficits galore?
Borrowing now is easy, paying it back is quite a chore!”
Quoth the Krugman, “Spend some more.”

Yes, there's lots more at the link! Good stuff....

HT: LegalInsurrection

Silliness in Oshkosh

Kevin brings us news of the Omnipotent State of Oshkosh.

"Motorists who do not adequately remove frost from windshields and side and rear windows, and those who fail to remove snow and ice from the outside of their vehicles may be stopped by Oshkosh police and could face a fine of $175.30. 'Police will not ignore these,' said officer Joe Nichols, a spokesman for the Oshkosh Police Department."

"Adequately," eh? That's a highly-precise adverb.

And 'remove snow from the outside of their vehicles'??

Next, 'those who drive an unwashed car'.....

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Another View of Egypt

The AmSpec blogger Guardiano has a different take on the Egyptian situation.

...So it is that many conservatives -- even many so-called experts -- on Fox News and elsewhere, have been impugning the Egyptian revolution with comparisons to the Islamist takeover of Iran in 1979.

This is a wrongheaded and mistaken comparison. And it is causing too many conservatives to withhold their support for the legitimate and democratic aspirations of the Egyptian people.Are there Islamist elements in Egypt? Of course. There are Islamist elements in every Muslim country. But are they the dominant political element there? No.

Do most Egyptians support the Islamists? No.

Is the revolution in Egypt about an Islamist demand for theological purity and an exclusion from Egyptian society of Western influence? Absolutely not.

He's of the opinion that the Egyptian military will play a very large role AND happens to be 'the good guys' in this affair.

The Michelle Campaign

Heh. When Holder finishes making "date violence" a Federal crime, it's next.

HT: Lonely

Porn: It's Not Just Your Marriage

Good things from the NFL.

Packers defensive end Ryan Pickett had hoped to attend National Porn Sunday, a Feb. 6 religious service whose anti-pornography message will be broadcast to 300 churches across the country on Super Bowl Sunday.

...Pickett and his wife, Jennifer, who also appears on the video, sit on the board of directors of, a Las Vegas-based Internet site that bills itself as the largest online resource for people struggling with pornography addiction and workers in the sex trade.

The article concentrates on the effects porn can have on its viewers and their marriages, which is a real concern.

Not so much on the "sex-trade workers", which is, perhaps, even more a concern, especially those who are imported specifically for prostitution.

Good on you, Mr. Pickett!!

Senator RoJo to Pres: "Get Serious"

Senator Ron Johnson gets it.

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson challenged President Obama to produce a "serious plan" to back up his pledge to reduce spending, saying he's confident Republicans would be willing to help him pass it.

Dear Senator Johnson,

He won't.



Porkulus v. the Real World, Internet Version

Woopsie! Porkulus/Big Labor/Obozo rules demolishes budget. Who Coulda Node??

A project in Sauk County to expand high speed Internet access to rural areas is running into problems due to the high costs of bids from contractors.

These roadblocks may show that President Barack Obama’s goal of expanding high speed internet to 98 percent of American residents in the next five years may be hard to achieve, official said.

You'll never guess why, right?

A federal grant to bring broadband to rural areas of northern Sauk County was approved earlier this year. However, the low bid from contractors for the stimulus-funded project is over-budget by $3 million.

Mikonowicz said the problem stems from federal guidelines dictating workers' wages."The problem with it is it's even above the union rates for this area, “said Mikonowicz. “ Say a laborer on a union project may be at $26, $27 an hour. All of sudden, they're bumped up to $44 an hour."

That's more than a FIFTY PERCENT pop.

Fun With SOTU

Coulter comments on Obozo's SOTU....

Obama said, "We are the nation that put cars in driveways and computers in offices; the nation of Edison and the Wright brothers; of Google and Facebook."

And then the government outlawed Edison's great invention, made the Wright brothers' air travel insufferable, filed anti-trust charges against Microsoft and made cars too expensive to drive by prohibiting oil exploration, and right now -- at this very minute -- is desperately trying to regulate the Internet.

By the way, that 'internet regulation' may include a 'kill switch' in the White House, just like the one Mubarek used in Egypt.

More at the link.

Debt, Borders, Spending, and "Date Violence"

On some planet, in a galaxy far, far away....

Stemming teen dating violence and safeguarding children is a "Cabinet-level priority" of the Obama administration, Attorney General Eric Holder told a gathering at the Justice Department on Friday.

The single most pro-abortion Administration in history wants to 'safeguard children' from Washington, DC.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Cow Menace (!!)

P-Mac finds a real gem.

“Two weeks ago, the Environmental Protection Agency finalized a rule that subjects dairy producers to the Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure program, which was created in 1970 to prevent oil discharges in navigable waters or near shorelines....

...“The EPA rule requires farms—as well as places that make cheese, butter, yogurt, ice cream and the like—to prepare and implement an emergency management plan in the event of a milk catastrophe. Among dozens of requirements, farmers must train first responders in cleanup protocol and build ‘containment facilities’ such as dikes or berms to mitigate offshore dairy slicks.” --WSJ quoted by McIlheran

You can't make this stuff up.

Slavery, J Q Adams, and Representation

The precis on "3/5ths" excerpted from an essay on "why Chris Matthews is REALLY stupid." anyone who has spent, say, five minutes studying the U.S. Constitution and its history is fully aware the famous "three-fifths clause" was a compromise by the anti-slavery forces to keep slave-owners from being over-represented in the U.S. House of Representatives where population determined -- then as now -- the number of congressional seats per state. If slaves, specifically mentioned as "persons" in Article 1, Section 2, Paragraph 3 ("three fifths of all other Persons") were counted, the Southern slave-owners would have an even greater numerical advantage in Congress than they already were destined to have. With slaves counted as a whole person, slave owners' power would increase -- while slaves would be unable to ever win their freedom in a system dominated by slaveowners. Hence the compromise, which was in fact pushed by anti-slavery forces.

The population in the North would grow -- eventually destined to overwhelm the South in numbers. This was one of the reasons for the Dred Scott decision -- a desperate attempt to write slavery into the Constitution forever, written by the slave-holding Roger Taney -- the Democrat who was Chief Justice of the United States.

--Jeff Lord, AmSpec

Somebody Noticed the Coward in the White House

Actually, "coward" is not quite the right word.

Treacherous, underhanded, perfidious.....those are closer.

He's voting "present" on the upcoming budget cuts.

Obama is turing this into a game of chicken, which he's destined to win, as he's the biggest chicken in government. He wants the GOP to take the lead only so he can demagogue them, win in 2012, and then do nothing.

Effete, self-indulgent, anile....

An adjunct con-law Marxist lecturer.


The Pope in England

The premiere of MacMillan's "Tu Es Petrus" is embedded in this post. It was used for the Pope's visit to England.

Yes, it's a big one. Huge! Orchestra, full organ, massive chamber, decent (not highly disciplined) choir.

What struck me is MacMillan's tone-painting, or illumination of the text.

The music at the beginning clearly tells us that someone important is speaking and that what he says is significant. But it also is vaguely threatening, as if to say that 'this "Petrus" thing will not be a light and easy task'.

The music accompanying the 'gates of Hell' is unsettled, almost chaotic. The rhythm, as well as the vocal 'hooks' in the music, tell us about demons.

Then, at the end, the music is gentle, solicitous. You can hear the "I will love and support you" in that final unaccompanied phrase "...and I give you the keys....."

"Tu es Petrus, et super hanc petram aedificabo ecclesiam Meam, et portae inferi non praevalebunt adversus eam; et tibi dabo claves regni coelorum"

You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against her, and I give you the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven."

HT: Jeffrey & Co.

The Movie and the Reality of Exorcism

Badger found an interesting interview with an exorcist who advised Anthony Hopkins during shooting/preparation of the movie.

...As in the movie, Fr. Thomas was skeptical about demonic possession and often chalked it up to phony manifestations or mental disorders, until he stuck around for a while, and realized that demonic possession is not only dangerous, but on the rise.

“I wasn’t scared, but once I knew that what we were dealing with was very real, I became quite interested in helping people,” he said. “The movie’s depiction of exorcism is very real to what I experienced.”...

More at the link.

And for Milwaukee folks worried about .........certain Lefties........there IS a local resource!!

When is Jihad Permissible?

From Andrew McCarthy:

It is conventional wisdom among the West’s Islamophilic opinion elites — and thus prototypically among Obama administration officials — that jihad, the Islamic injunction to struggle in Allah’s cause, has been distorted by sharia-obsessed Islamophobes into a summons to destroy the West. Jihad, this wisdom holds, is just an internal exercise in self-betterment — kind of like greening the planet and brushing after every meal. Jihad becomes confrontational and even violent only in self-defense, when Muslims are truly under siege.

Au contraire, says al-Azhar’s Imad Mustafa. To be sure, he agrees that the doctrine of “defensive jihad” calls for war against non-Muslims who “attack” Muslims. But defense, for purposes of this doctrine, is in the eye of the beholder — or, more accurately, in the eye of the mufti who decides what sorts of provocations constitute an “attack.” Implicitly, that leaves room for lots of pretty offensive jihad if the mufti construes the concept of “attack” broadly enough. What is bracing about Mustafa’s new fatwa, however, is that he’s not leaving anything to chance. He’s making what is implicit unmistakably explicit.

Besides the defensive variety, Mustafa expressly endorses “offensive jihad” as the license to attack non-Muslims living in non-Islamic countries. It is the consensus of sharia scholars, he instructs, that offensive jihad is “permissible” in three different situations: (a) “to secure Islam’s border”; (b) “to extend God’s religion to people in cases where the governments do not allow it”; and (c) “to remove every religion but Islam from the Arabian peninsula.”

Well, that wraps it up, eh? Just exactly where is "Islam's border"? Vienna? Caucasus? London? And which governments do "not allow" Islam? (Better question: what constitutes "allow"? Is it tolerance, which is the case in Western Europe and the US, or does "allow" mean sanction of sharia courts--which are NOT sanctioned in the US?)

HT Captain's Journal

Spitzer Wants His Own Facts on Gun Rights

Are US taxpayers STILL funding NPR?

NPR interviewed some guy named Spitzer who asserts:

"As a matter of history, we didn't really see anything like the individual point of view emerge until the 20th century," he said. "That doesn't mean individuals didn't own guns or didn't think gun ownership was an important thing — of course they did. But the chief purpose that is cited for the individual ownership of guns is personal protection — from predators, from criminals or from marauding Indians or whatever threats might arise. But you didn't need the Second Amendment to ensure that civilians would have the right to defend themselves or to own a gun to defend themselves."

The modern debate about individual gun rights, he says, began in the aftermath of Congress' enactment of the Gun Control Act of 1968, in the aftermath of the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy.

Umnnhhh, nope.

Essentially, the individual rights understanding dominated everywhere until the 20th century. ...So the collective rights view really is widespread only from 1940 or 1968 until 2007, and then only in the federal courts and a handful of state ones. For the rest of the history of the Republic, the individual rights view held sway.

Hardy is a very competent historian, not a fabulist like Spitzer.

Realtors' Home Sales Numbers Exaggerated?

Calculated Risk did a little digging....

I've been discussing the National Association of Realtors (NAR) existing home sales data with several analysts. As an example, Keith Jurow has been sending me data from local areas, and also calculations based on data from Inside Mortgage Finance suggesting that the NAR existing home sales data is overstating sales. I've also looked at other sources, and I think the NAR started over estimating sales in 2006 or 2007 (perhaps by 5% or so in 2007), and the errors have increased since then (perhaps 10% or 15% or more in 2009 and 2010). I expect the NAR will revise down sales for these years in the not too distant future...

Not good news.

"No Problem" Abortion Study: Flawed

Some Danes came out with a study which tells us that "there is not a statistically significant difference in first-time inpatient admissions and outpatient psychiatric visits before and after an abortion, concluding that it is unlikely that the abortion procedure causes mental health problems"

As you might expect, the study has major flaws. But then, somebody made a deal with the Devil, who is the father of lies. Surprised??

--These researchers used a window of 0-9 months to measure pre-abortion mental health; however, the assessment should instead have been before the pregnancies were detected. The data do indicate that rates of mental health problems are significantly higher after abortion compared to after childbirth (15.2% vs. 6.7%) and compared to not having been pregnant (8.2%).

--the authors note in the beginning of their article that previous studies lack controls for third variables, but the only third variables they consider are age and parity. There are no controls for pregnancy wantedness, coercion by others to abort, marital status, income, education, exposure to violence and other traumas, etc

--all women who had psychiatric histories more than 9 months prior to the abortion were not included in the study and there are many studies showing that these women are at heightened risk for post-abortion mental health problems

--the results follow women for only one year post-abortion or childbirth and there is plenty of evidence suggesting that the negative effects of abortion may not surface for several years.

More at the link.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Like Gasoline? Better Hoard Some

This is getting really, really serious.

"We are talking about a transformation of the future relevance of deepwater Gulf development to U.S. domestic energy production — and a major threat to Gulf region jobs and to the nation's energy security. Based on the development impacts outlined by Wood Mackenzie, we believe as many as 125,000 jobs could be lost in 2015."

A slowdown in Gulf permitting has already cost jobs and will reduce Gulf oil and natural gas production and government revenue this year. Unless policymakers reverse course, 2011 could be the first year without a lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico since 1964.

If you think Social Security is in trouble NOW, wait until those jobs disappear.

It won't help that gasoline will be $9.50/gallon, either.

Christie and the Cop

Last year, the teachers.

This year, the cops.

You AFSCME folks--pay attention.

The Lights Are On.....

What DOES it take to flip a lightswitch to "off" when you leave the office?

Too much for EPA.

HT: Lonely

The Financial Commission Dissent

Hennessey released a dissent from the FCIC's report which will be released tomorrow.

Long. But here are a few dollops.

...we heard frequent arguments that there was a single cause of the crisis. For some it was international capital flows or monetary policy; for others, housing policy; and for still others, it was insufficient regulation of an ambiguously defined shadow banking sector, or unregulated over-the-counter derivatives, or the greed of those in the financial sector and the political influence they had in Washington.

In each case, these arguments, when used as single-cause explanations, are too simplistic because they are incomplete. While some of these factors were essential contributors to the crisis, each is insufficient as a standalone explanation.

The majority’s approach to explaining the crisis suffers from the opposite problem– it is too broad. Not everything that went wrong during the financial crisis caused the crisis, and while some causes were essential, others had only a minor impact. Not every regulatory change related to housing or the financial system prior to the crisis was a cause. The majority’s almost 550-page report is more an account of bad events than a focused explanation of what happened and why. When everything is important, nothing is...


....The majority says the crisis was avoidable if only the United States had adopted across-the-board more restrictive regulations, in conjunction with more aggressive regulators and supervisors. This conclusion by the majority largely ignores the global nature of the crisis

A credit bubble appeared in both the United States and Europe.

The report largely ignores the credit bubble beyond housing. Credit spreads declined not just for housing, but also for other asset classes like commercial real estate. This tells us to look to the credit bubble as an essential cause

There were housing bubbles in the United Kingdom, Spain, Australia, France and Ireland, some more pronounced than in the United States.

Large financial firms failed in Iceland, Spain, Germany, and the United Kingdom, among others. Not all of these firms bet solely on U.S. housing assets, and they operated in different regulatory and supervisory regimes

OK. Now for what the dissenters call "10 Essential Causes" in rough chronological order:

Credit bubble, Housing Bubble, Non-Traditional Mortgages, Credit Ratings/Securitization, Financial Institutions' Concentrated/Correlated Financial Risk, Leverage and Liquidity Risk, Risk of Contagion, "Common Shock" (lotsa financials with exactly the same problem all at once), Financial Shock/Panic, and Financial Shock causes Economic Crisis.

The dissent takes a much higher-level view--the "39,000 foot look" at the crisis than did the majority report.

What they identify is a serious lack of 'the vision thing,' which was worldwide and by no means restricted to lenders or regulators.

It had a lot to do with consumers, too.

"Cheap" Energy? Not Here

P-Mac listens to the neighbors and the wind-noise.

The essay's worth reading in entirety--but here's a zinger:

Well, yes, neighbors do complicate things. So do lawsuits, like the one Clean Wisconsin joined to try stopping We Energies' new low-pollution Oak Creek power plant; the settlement will raise your power bills by $100 million. There are lots of trade-offs in generating electricity, and wind is no exception.

Ah, yes. Clean Wisconsin.

More like "Clean-Out-Ratepayers" Wisconsin.

Bite me.

What's "Immoral" at DPI, Anyway??

The New Holstein school superintendent is suspended without pay for (allegedly) trying to arrange a hot date with an underage girl.


Turns out he had 'issues' while in the Madison school district. But the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction couldn't find a problem. If they had, the guy would have had license problems.

...Districts are required to report to DPI teachers and administrators who commit certain crimes or if "the person resigns and the administrator has a reasonable suspicion that the resignation relates to the person having engaged in immoral conduct."

Immoral conduct is defined as "conduct or behavior that is contrary to the commonly accepted moral or ethical standards and that endangers the health, safety and welfare of any pupil."

Gasper said Nelson's conduct didn't meet that standard based on evidence provided by the district. The state can revoke a teaching license for incompetence or immoral conduct.

Well, what did the guy do?

[Nelson] resigned as athletics coordinator from the Madison School District in 2005 after viewing pornography on his work computer. The Department of Public Instruction investigated Christopher J. Nelson in 2005 after Madison officials brought the matter to its attention. But the agency did not find reason to revoke his teaching license


ObozoCare's Cost-Shift

It's not just a question of the Constitution and mandates, nor of death panels.

It's going to BK the States.

Much of the debate over the federal health law has been focused on the future, including its role in the 2012 presidential elections and in 2014, when many of its provisions take effect. But Smith focused attention on the immediate impact of the law.

Smith [Wisconsin HHS Secretary] said the law requires Wisconsin, which faces a shortfall of up to $3.3 billion in the 2011-'13 budget, to keep spending on Medicaid programs even as their costs rise. That has been a national issue for many states, including Arizona, where Gov. Jan Brewer asked the Obama administration this week for an exemption from the health law mandate so the state could drop some participants from the Medicaid rolls.

IOW, this is an 'unfunded mandate,' or cost-shift. Easy to figure out why: the costs don't show up in the ObozoCare numbers--a lie by omission about the total cost of the law.

So what does that mean to Wisconsin?

The state's health care programs for the poor face a shortfall of $214 million this year and a whopping $1.8 billion more over the next two years

That should pretty much wipe out State employee salaries, no?

By the way, there's a Doylet flushing here, too: he changed the eligibility requirements and added a lot of new Medicaid patients.

Rand Paul: Negotiator

Evidently Rand Paul's been watching the Priceline commercials.

Want to save $500 billion this year? Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has a way to do it.

That's a number that Boehner (and for that matter, the Republican Study Committee) never even dreamed about--and it's in ONE YEAR.

...there's also no reason every agency has to see its budget increase every year, and a lot of these cuts really do make sense. Most of them simply represent a return to 2008 levels of spending -- remember that a 30 percent cut is less than it seems when an agency's budget been increasing by 40 percent over the last few years.

More details at the Belt/Con link.

So: How D'Ya Like (R) 'Governance'?

As a followup to the Beck item, we present a smoking-scathing review of some (R) popinjay's questioning of Cass Sunstein from the pen of a Beltway Confidential blogger:

...Of course, the human indignity of joblessness or less freedom resulting from those same regulations didn't quite come up because the hearing was quickly reduced to a GOP gabfest when Chairman Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., opened the hearing asking that Sunstein please stick to "yes" or "no" answers to questions from members for the sake of time constraints. In those few moments when Sunstein could get a word in...

Show trials and campaign speeches are last century's games Mr. Stearns, you dope.

Sunstein/Obama may be right or wrong about regulations. But we expect actual GOVERNANCE from the House (and Senate.) That includes serious discussion of ideas.

No, I'm not holding the (D) Party to those standards--they've proven that they're incapable of governance, too. See ObozoCare and Porkulus.

There will be plenty more instances of this sort of "Look At Me!! Re-Elect ME!!" stuff. Let's hope that honest DC coverage exposes it for what it really is.

Fiddles. Rome. Fire.

Beck's "Bankrupt": Part One Review

I think I've been clear: I'm not a Glenn Beck fanboy. While his work on the Progressive movement has been illuminating, I'm not entirely comfortable with his evangelism stuff. (Your mileage may vary.) Suffice it to say that on some issues, I agree with him; on others, I don't.

So when one of the chilluns gave me a copy of his book "Bankrupt", I did the polite thing, saying "Thanks!!" and put the book on the pile.

OK, so now I'm reading it and am about 1/3 of the way through. In this portion of the book Beck has covered the country's spend-and-borrow/net-national-debt history from Day One through Obama. It's not 'nuanced' and 'thorough'; he does not cover the cross-currents, nor spend dozens of pages illuminating the far corners of economic theory; he and his co-authors pretty much stick with the 'top-line' (or bottom line, if you prefer): the National Debt's history.

Believe it or not, if you're a Lefty, you'll want to read this book. NOT because Beck agrees with the Progressive Left's governing philosophy; he doesn't. Not because he rips the skin off FDR, and even more so off LBJ, both for his fiscal insanity AND his complete and total screwup in VietNam.

Nope. You'll want to read it because he takes Ron Reagan and the Bushes over the coals. It's merciless. Yes, there was a Congress with which these guys had to bargain, and yes, those Congresses acted like 8-year-olds (at best---most 8-year-olds stop destroying things at night.) And yes, Reagan had a fixation on winning the Cold War which over-rode his interest in fiscal responsibility. (So maybe.......maybe.......Reagan was right.) And he's pretty kind to Bill Clinton. Not adulatory; kind.

(Bet you didn't know that Gingrich and Clinton had agreed on a "Ryan Roadmap" sort of solution to Social Security which Clinton never introduced, eh??)

The book is seductively "readable." But it is not enjoyable reading. It is flat-out scary.

In some ways, it fits right in to the "Ruling Class/Country Class" thesis of Prof. Codevilla. And that "ruling class" includes the Congress (except for a very few like Sensenbrenner) which has voted this country's children right into the toilet over the last 100+ years. They have committed the sin of Richard Rich in a way, selling the Country for a few more years in Congress. I'd rather that they had chosen to live in Wales; we would be the richer for it.


In 1980, the national debt was ~$1 trillion. Now it's pushing $14 trillion....

Dismantling Obama's "Innovate/STEM" Blather

So happens that Norm Matloff is a (D) kinda guy.

But even he doesn't think that Obama gets it.

On "innovation":

Suppose for example Intel suddenly invents a miracle processor chip, 10 times as fast and using 1/10 the power of current chips. Intel would likely have the chip manufacture and software development done in, say, Vietnam and Russia. The development of the chip itself, both original and ongoing, would be done largely by H-1Bs in the U.S. This process is NOT a job producer for Americans

Matloff grants that the Intel situation will not apply to all industry, nor in all cases.

On "Education":

It's also unconscionable/tragic to imply that our K-12 schools have a "math/science deficit," and if only we remedy that, why, innovation and prosperity will follow. I may have my own problems with the school system, but the fact is that the much-ballyhooed international test
scores, such as PISA, are extremely misleading.

There are various issues that render the test scores noncomparable to ours: Schools in East Asia weed out their weaker students around ninth grade, they tend to cover various topics in earlier grades than we do, they "teach to the test" even more than we do, and so on. But the biggest single difference is that we have a large underclass to deal with, and sadly it remains a major problem.

Matloff's wife is from China; they visit the Far East regularly. He's not speculating about the education situation over there.

You can even prove it for yourself, by the way:

A couple of months ago, The Atlantic Monthly reported that, no, it's not completely an issue of the underclass. Their explanation was very weak, and most importantly, undermined by their own graphic. Go to
In the drop-down menus next to "COMPARE," choose Washington DC and Hong Kong. Well, guess what--37% of white students in DC scored at a high level in the PISA test, versus only 23.9% of all students in Hong Kong, the latter having one of the highest levels of performance in the world in PISA. You'll find similar results for Taiwan.

As to importing STEM stars from other countries:

...concerning Obama's proposal to give fast track green cards to STEM foreign students with degrees from U.S. universities: Obama's phrasing (sadly, exactly from the list of talking points of industry lobbyists) was "It doesn't make sense to grant these students graduate degrees and
then send them back home to compete with us." Well, the correct comment would be, "It doesn't make sense to add these people to the STEM labor pool, when we already have so many STEM experts with advanced degrees who are unemployed or underemployed." And as Prof. Saxenian's research at UCB has shown, even those who do stay here often contribute
expertise, investment funding and the like to firms in their home countries anyway. Mr. Obama should also find it troubling that the reason we have so many foreign students in our university graduate programs is that the National Science Foundation, a key federal agency, actually planned it this way, with the goal of flooding the market in order to hold down PhD salaries; see for instance

On educational methodology:

I hope Obama meant it when he said that "memorizing equations" is not the route we want to go in. As I mentioned, the Chinese government realizes it's wrong too, though it will be quite
difficult for them to turn around a millenia-old cultural mentality.

---sourced from Matloff's email of today--

Ben Stein observed that Obama's SOTU was a good speech, if Obama were a high-school student living in the late 1950's.

Matloff might add that it's a good speech, but it's not grounded in reality.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


A very nice improvement on the old 12-ga 'sweeper.

Bonus: you probably don't even have to fire that sucker. Just mount it on the front porch and exercise it with the remote control every so often at random times.

It'll keep the riffraff out of the area.

Col. West Calls a Spade a Spade. HooBoy!

We're heading towards a clarification, folks.

...Congressman Allen West, R.-Fla., has stirred a bees nest with negative comments about Islam. West, appearing on the “Shalom Show,” told producer Richard Peritz that Islam was the “antithesis” of America’s founding principles....

*cough* he's right, of course. Islam is a monotheistic heresy which, ipso facto, is totally incompatible with Christianity and Judaism. None of that "life, liberty, pursuit" stuff would last for 3 seconds in a strictly-run Caliphate.

(History does provide some counterfactuals: Portugal and some of Spain, e.g., were Muslim-ruled for several hundred years and Catholicism survived. And a small, rapidly-decreasing number of Catholics persevere to this day in Iraq, Egypt, and Iran. But Saudi Arabia is not a nice place for Christians; Indonesia's not great, and Turkey's heading in the wrong direction fast.)


“Contrary to the views expressed by Congressman West, I work to represent the highest ideals of our great nation – ideals like freedom of worship and respect for all faiths, equal protection under the law as well as a civil and open public discourse,” Ellison said.

Ellison (D-CAIR) was not amused.

He's free, of course, to reconcile Mohamet's teachings with the Declaration and Constitution, but I'm not holding my breath.

HT: Zippers

ObozoCare Waivers? LOTS More!!

Verum made a few calls, got the info.

...the day after the President’s State of the Union, the new waivers are up. There were 222 such waivers approved in November. That number has now jumped to 729 through the end of December. The total number of people covered by the waivers has gone from 1.5M to just under 2.2M. The list includes the usual assortment of union locals and businesses. I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to suggest that OCIIO was asked to hold this development until after the SOTU.

Say it Ain't So, Verum. The White House playing political games?


Actual Thought on Palin and "Blood Libel"

From a woman, Caroline Glick, who blogs for the Jerusalem Post:

...By calling the Left out for its behavior, Palin exposed its agenda. But the logic of the blood libel remained. Trusting the public’s ignorance, and the liberal Jewish community’s solidarity, the leftist media in the U.S. immediately condemned Palin for daring to use the term, hinted she was an anti-Semite for doing so, and argued that by defending herself, she was again inciting violence.

Many conservative thinkers and politicians have long viewed Palin as a liability. By remaining in the spotlight, they allege, Palin is helping the Left. They argue that the media have already destroyed her ability to communicate with non-conservatives. Since she is viewed as a conservative leader, by failing to shut up she is making it impossible for other potential leaders whom the media don’t despise to connect with the swing voters they will need to unseat Obama in 2012.

While alluring, this position does more than harm Palin. It renders the 2012 election irrelevant.

It matter not whether these conservative thinkers support Palin. What matters is that by telling her not to defend herself from libelous attacks, they are accepting the Left’s right to criminalize all conservatives. If she is not defended against a patently obscene effort to connect her to a madman’s rampage in Tucson, then conservatives in the U.S. are signaling they really don’t want to control U.S. policy. They are saying that if a Republican is elected in 2012, he or she will continue to implement Obama’s radical policies


Palin was correct when she slapped back hard.

The manicured and perfumed Left isn't used to that sort of response. They prefer the puppy-dog Righties like McConnell and Cantor. But then, the manicured and pampered George III wasn't expecting Madison, Jefferson, and Washington to deliver the message:

"Bite me."

And by the way, Buy More Ammo!

HT: Gateway

Ace and Allah Declare Defeat for America

Well, at some point in time, he was going to do it.

...But if an equal number of Republicans and Democrats say "don't ever touch Social Security, not a tiny bit," while yipping and yapping about UN funding, I don't know. Seems like the vaunted right-wing shadow media isn't doing a very good job of telling truth to people if so few understand the basics of this.

Voucher Fever: The fever no one has. No one's seriously arguing for Ryan's plan except for Ryan and Coburn (and Sarah Palin, a bit).

About time somebody noticed...

The Yankee joins the chorus.

Allahpundit's post which inspires Ace's long face/short reponse.

Eggster, as usual, brings the data. Too bad it's a funeral, not a party.

This Is Your Wife....

This is your wife when cleaning up broken POISON LIGHTBULBS mandated by GE's Congress and President Bush.

HT: PowerLine

Upcoming WI Tax Increase!

Well, ain't this wonderful.

The State of Wisconsin owes the Feds $1.5Bn for unemployment comp borrowings.

Next September,

...the state will owe at least $50 million in annual interest payments alone. That comes on top of an estimated $3.3 billion deficit in the upcoming state budget.

Moreover, under the complicated federal rules, states are not allowed use general fund revenue to cover their unemployment fund borrowing shortfalls. That means employers who’ve been paying into the system may have to pick up the tab by paying in even more.

That will be a VERY significant increase for construction contractors, among others.

HT: Owen

You Went to College! So What?

Ruh roh.

Reality emerges.

A recent study from professors at NYU and UVA may have corroborated this theory, “New research finds that 45 percent of undergraduate college students show no significant improvement in the areas of critical thinking and complex reasoning by the end of their sophomore year. … [Students] were tested using the Collegiate Learning Assessment, a standardized essay-based test that measures analytic and problem solving skills, reports the New York Times. Inside Higher Ed explains some of the study’s results: 45 percent of students “did not demonstrate any significant improvement in learning” during the first two years of college. 36 percent of students “did not demonstrate any significant improvement in learning” over four years of college. Those students who do show improvements tend to show only modest improvements.” --quoted at LegalInsurrection

That's not exactly a shock to anyone who's had to deal with Kollege Kids in real-world actual-work situations.

Right-to-Work: The Beginning, Not the End of the World

Noteworthy stats:

...the numbers are clearly in favor of right-to-work laws. Americans for Prosperity looked at the data and found that right-to-work states had 1.3 percent higher productivity growth, 8.7 percent higher job growth, and 8.1 percent higher economic growth between 1997 and 2007. AFP also found that unemployment tended to be lower in right-to-work states.

Needless to say, the AFLCIO and AFSCME wannabe-monopolists differ. But their causation analysis is, .........ummmnnnnhhhh..........questionable.

HT: LaborPains

DNR, Again. This Time: Bullets

Apparently Ms. Stepp has more than a few weeds to pull from the DNR loco-weed garden.

A veterenarian X-rayed some deer meat he had in his freezer and found some lead content. So happens he's on the DNR board, so:

Spurred by the presentations from public health and wildlife experts, board members started a conversation that may lead to pilot projects that restrict the use of lead shot and tackle on some state lands, as well as increased education efforts.

The language there is deceptive. "Lead shot" normally refers to shotgun pellets. But that's not really an issue.

While the use of lead shot in waterfowl hunting was banned by the federal government years ago, lead ammunition continues to be used to hunt deer and other game. Lead is also used to make sinkers and other fishing tackle

So what they're really after is bullets.

No surprise at all; a bunch of wackos petitioned EPA about banning bullets, too. Despite the fact that it's the Obama Administration, EPA decided that 'it has no authority' to ban bullets.

Maybe DNR thinks they can do so. They're wrong.


HT: Berry

The Windmills of Their Minds

Oh, yah, the post-fossil economy is just.......wunderbar.

Focus Magazine reports that the German Ministry of Economic Affairs has warned that Germany may in the future experience energy blackouts, as the country doesn’t have the capacity to cope with the EU’s renewable energy targets, which oblige member states to source 20% of energy from renewables by 2020. Liberal MEP Holger Krahmer is quoted saying, “this shouldn’t surprise anybody given the irrational energy policies of excessive reliance on renewables.”

One less foreign competitor.

HT: AmSpecBlog

McCotter/Ryan "What Is Government For?"

There are serious thinkers in Congress who have begun to examine the question "What is Government for?".

Paul Ryan's brought up the topic a couple of times--last night he mentioned it again.

Thad McCotter, who could easily be defined as a 'son of the sage of Mecosta' is another.

...transforming Washington’s centralized and suffocating bureaucracy will require reaffirming or reorienting root assumptions about the role of government in our lives.

The American consensus rightly holds that workers, innovators and entrepreneurs have made our economy the most prosperous and equitable in human history; and, further, holds that within our economy a social safety net is both necessary and just. This is why, from the consent of the governed, Americans support government helping those who cannot help themselves; and that, wherever possible, such assistance must be temporary and must promote a citizen’s return from governmental dependence to self-reliance.

McCotter recognizes that the Party of FDR and LBJ will not do what's necessary; but he also understands that a lot of (R) folk don't get it:

If, however, Republicans simply parley amidst the ruins of the welfare state, a rhetorically skilled President will conflate opposing his means with opposing shared goals; paint the GOP as heartless accountants; drag the costly, decrepit carcass of the welfare state one small step further into the 21st Century and America one giant leap toward ruin.


This, then, is the true state of our union: a nation grappling with the present, grasping for the future; and, all the while, transforming today into tomorrow. High time their servants in Congress did the same by burying the welfare state’s crumbling remnants; nurturing a 21st Century “citizen driven government”; and ensuring the last, best hope of earth’s future remains in the safest hands of all – yours.

The time is now.

Ryan, in his SOTU response:

ROLE OF GOVERNMENT: “We believe government’s role is both vital and limited – to defend the nation from attack and provide for the common defense … to secure our borders… to protect innocent life… to uphold our laws and Constitutional rights … to ensure domestic tranquility and equal opportunity … and to help provide a safety net for those who cannot provide for themselves. We believe that the government has an important role to create the conditions that promote entrepreneurship, upward mobility, and individual responsibility. We believe, as our founders did, that ‘the pursuit of happiness’ depends upon individual liberty; and individual liberty requires limited government. Limited government also means effective government. When government takes on too many tasks, it usually doesn’t do any of them very well. It’s no coincidence that trust in government is at an all-time low now that the size of government is at an all-time high.” --quoted at AOSHQ

He elaborated a bit on McCotter's foundation and moves the (R) position to something a LOT better than "Dr. No."

The time is now.

The Obama "Spending Freeze" in Context

The White House has touted a 'spending freeze' to be announced by the President, which would save $400Bn over 10 years.

That's $40Bn/year, right?


At this time, the FedGov spends $1.3Bn++ per DAY for interest on the national debt.

The word "anemic" comes to mind.

Elections Matter; the Section 9006 Repeal

There is no "most awful" part of ObamaCare. The whole thing is a Zorg/destruction machine. (Don't know from "Zorg"? You haven't read your Calvin & Hobbes.)

But one particularly obnoxious provision is headed to the scrap heap.

...a bipartisan coalition of 54 senators introduced a bill to get rid of the mandate that both sides agree will prove burdensome for business.

The provision, outlined in Section 9006 of the law, requires businesses to report to the Internal Revenue Service any transaction -- the sale of goods or services -- engaged in with another business that is valued at more than $600. This would mean that a business would have to file a 1099 tax form in many cases for such transactions as hotel stays, meals, and purchases of office supplies.

Manchin (D-WVA) is a cosponsor. Another similar bill is being sponsored by Reid (D-Hack).

Whether you ascribe this to the '10 elections or the current ('12) campaign, it's a victory for the TEA Party.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Your Brand-New Billion-Dollar Waste of Money!!

Obozo marches on.

...the creation of the new National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) is a near perfect example of how government failure leads to further government interference with markets, in this case the market for new medicines.

It's a long-ish essay which refutes all the simple-minded LeftOWacky sob-story crap.

Select-O-Matic Wisconsin Budget Facts

Maybe these guys co-ordinated their blogging?

Bruce Murphy:

A Sunday New York Times analysis of state budget deficits shows that Wisconsin is in a bad position but nowhere near as bleak as some states. Wisconsin’s projected shortfall for fiscal year 2012 is $1.8 billion, or about 12.8 percent of the 2011 budget.

Note that the NYT/Murphy take focuses on 'budget shortfall'--as measured by deceptive accounting.

If one uses real-world (GAAP) accounting standards, the NYT/Murphy sunshine is......ahhh........beclouded:

On a GAAP basis, state finances are some of the worst in the country, and that is not hyperbole. In the 2008–09 fiscal year, Wisconsin’s GAAP deficit was $2.71 billion, better than only California, Illinois and New York. (Twelve states had GAAP deficits in 2008–09, according to the WTA.) The state’s GAAP deficit was $479.53 per capita and 1.11 percent of GDP, better than only Illinois. And if you go back to the previous paragraph, you’ll notice that the 2009–10 GAAP deficit is larger than the 2008–09 GAAP deficit.

Now if NYT/Murphy had consulted the vigilantes, he would have found this:

Not surprisingly, the state’s bond ratings have been dropping for years — Moody’s Aa2 rating ranks Wisconsin 34th, S&P’s AA+ rating ranks Wisconsin 26th, and Fitch’s AA+ rating ranks Wisconsin 31st. (Wisconsin Taxpayers' Alliance quoted by Prestegard).

One of the TEA Party's less-known objectives was to try to force Gummint to tell the truth about its operations.

Wisconsin has a long way to go.

On Rahm's "Situation"

While Roeser and Emanuel agree on virtually NOTHING politically, Roeser thinks that Rahm's been fed the green weenie.

In plain English the law that would deny Rahm Emanuel from running for mayor because in service of his country he purportedly lost his residence here is an ass and should be overridden ASAP.

When you read the piece, you'll discover a situation not unlike that of Milwaukee County; the Board (Chicago City Council) wants NOTHING to do with Emanuel (Walker/Stone) and will do whatever it takes to keep him outta there.

From here, of course, they all deserve each other.

The Law: Theatre of the Absurd

Neatly done! The brief but telling conviction of stare.

...Nearly a half-century ago, they determined that "privacy" is a fundamental right guaranteed by the United States Constitution. Of course, no right of privacy is literally mentioned in the Constitution, but no matter: You can find it in the document's "penumbra" if you wear the right kind of juridical reading glasses. And so in the Griswold v. Connecticut decision (1965), the Supreme Court discovered that, because of this right of privacy, married couples have a constitutional right to practice contraception. A few years later (in the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision), this led to a new discovery, namely the constitutional right to kill unborn babies. By the early 21st century (in the Lawrence v. Texas ruling), the Court had discovered a constitutional right to sodomy. In the future, the Court will probably discover a right to same-sex marriage, and after that (who can doubt it?) a right to polygamy.

Now, the normal human mind, seeing that the right to privacy leads to the absurd conclusion that the U.S. Constitution is an instrument made to protect abortion, sodomy, same-sex marriage, polygamy, and God knows what else, would pause and say: "Maybe we made a mistake with our initial premise of privacy." But not the judicial mind. It says instead: "If a certain constitutional theory leads to absurdity, then we must conclude that absurdity is what James Madison and the Framers of the Constitution intended. Long live absurdity!"

And who could argue with SCOTUS?

Credentials? How About Ability?

Pete Hamill, author; Brian Williams, anchor; James Taranto, columnist...

In common: no degree. None. In Hamill's case, not even a HS diploma.

It gets even better, but first this word from our editorialist:

It is a wonderful thing to sit in a classroom and grow in knowledge, if one is in fact doing that, but often it seems that degrees should be awarded in going through the motions; they come without a genuine expansion of thought, or an enlargement of wonder. And, to paraphrase Gregory of Nyssa, it’s the wondering that begets the knowing.

This one knocks me over:

Jeff “Skunk” Baxter dropped out of Boston University to start playing guitar in various local bands and became a founding member of Steely Dan and an occasional Doobie Brother. While he still accepts studio gigs, Baxter also chairs the Civilian Advisory Board for Ballistic Missile Defense and consults with the Pentagon, the Department of Defense, the intelligence community, and various defense manufacturers. His expertise in the area of missile defense systems and tactics is considerable, and he is self-taught. An interest in recording technology got him to wondering about military hardware, and things took off from there.

More than just China Grove.

I think Ms. Scalia may have written her conclusion before finding the evidence here:

Perhaps the over-reliance upon credentials is connected to the undervaluing of faith in society.

...because I'm not certain that 'faith' is the common denominator.

But she makes a point:

...when faith was common to kings and paupers, self-evident brightness and acumen were appreciated and acknowledged. People understood that there was more than one way to learn, or that ideas could be burnished and gifts could be nourished by sheer curiosity sustained on a pilot-light of passion, even without the consent and certification of an appointed body.

Well. Having 'faith' in people is different from having 'faith' per se. On the other hand, it should be evident that having 'faith' in college degree(s) ain't no panacea.

Was Obama Actually BORN?

This gets more like Alice in Wonderland every month or so.

"Senior officers in the City and County of Honolulu Elections Division told me on multiple occasions that no Hawaii long-form, hospital-generated birth certificate existed for Senator Obama in the Hawaii Department of Health," Adams' affidavit reads, "and there was no record that any such document had ever been on file in the Hawaii Department of Health or any other branch or department of the Hawaii government."

I've never been all about the birth. I thought it would be useful for Obozo to release the records--if for no other reason than to shut up the crowds.

It now appears that there's a good reason he didn't do so.

HT: Vox

You Care Enough to Send the Very Best (Lawyers)

Franklin Raines will be six feet under before this case is adjudicated--but not to worry!!! His taxpayer-provided fortune will be safe!

“Since the government took over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, taxpayers have spent more than $160 million defending the mortgage finance companies and their former top executives in civil lawsuits accusing them of fraud. The cost was a closely guarded secret until last week, when the companies and their regulator produced an accounting at the request of Congress.

The bulk of those expenditures — $132 million — went to defend Fannie Mae and its officials in various securities suits and government investigations into accounting irregularities that occurred years before the subprime lending crisis erupted. The legal payments show no sign of abating . . .

But it's not just Raines-Man. It's Bill Clinton's favorite "wall" babe, too.

HT: Ritholtz

Ugly Mess in AMBAC/Bear Stearns Lawsuit

Nasty stuff here.

“Former Bear Stearns mortgage executives who now run mortgage divisions of Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and Ally Financial have been accused of cheating and defrauding investors through the mortgage securities they created and sold while at Bear. According to e-mails and internal audits, JPMorgan had known about this fraud since the spring of 2008, but hid it from the public eye through legal maneuvering. Last week a lawsuit filed in 2008 by mortgage insurer Ambac Assurance Corp against Bear Stearns and JPMorgan was unsealed. The lawsuit’s supporting e-mails, going back as far as 2005, highlight Bear traders telling their superiors they were selling investors like Ambac a “sack of shit.”

More at the link.

Nice job-recovery programs, too! Right into the arms of Goldman, B of A, and GM/Obama's Ally Financial.

HT: Ritholtz

GE: Bringing Good Things to Death

Not exactly 'news,' as all this began in '09:

On March 9, 2009, Obama issued an executive order extending federal funding, through the National Institutes for Health, for research on stem-cells derived from human embryos. Where President Bush had opened federal funding only for stem-cells that had already been harvested from embryos (and those stem cells can be used to create new stem cells), Obama was allowing scientists who harvest stem cells from healthy embryos (thus killing the embryos) to get NIH funding for the research on those new stem cells.

Obama’s executive order went into effect July 7, 2009. A week earlier, GE had announced that GE Healthcare and embryonic stem-cell giant Geron “have entered into a global exclusive license and alliance agreement to develop and commercialize cellular assay products derived from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) for use in drug discovery, development and toxicity screening. Geron described itself as having “core expertise in telomerase and human embryonic stem cells.

No small irony that GE will be offing human lives under the "GE Healthcare" brand, eh?

ATF: Just Crazy After All These Years

Well, after reviewing the film, it seems that ATF will be tracking sales of more than one Ruger 10/22--or almost any OTHER .22 long rifles.

... are [ATF bureaucrats] aware that there is no true .22 caliber long gun round and that if they are allowed to require FFL reporting two or more sales of only (1) semi-auto long guns, (2) over .22 caliber, and (3) with a detachable magazine. [Is] their hidden agenda is to actually require FFLs to report on two or more sales of all semi-auto long guns with a detachable magazine.

So far, the reporting requirement is (supposedly) only going to affect border-State gun shops.

HT: Arms/Law

Monday, January 24, 2011

Statist 'Net?

I'm automatically suspicious of anything from the pen of Lieberman, who is a Lefty of the first water.

A controversial bill handing President Obama power over privately owned computer systems during a "national cyberemergency," and prohibiting any review by the court system, will return this year.

Collins (RINO-Babe) co-sponsored. No comfort there, either.

Portions of the Lieberman-Collins bill, which was not uniformly well-received when it became public in June 2010, became even more restrictive when a Senate committee approved a modified version on December 15. The full Senate did not act on the measure.

The revised version includes new language saying that the federal government's designation of vital Internet or other computer systems "shall not be subject to judicial review." Another addition expanded the definition of critical infrastructure to include "provider of information technology," and a third authorized the submission of "classified" reports on security vulnerabilities.

Oh, goodie!!

Food Price Jump, Beck's Fault? Limbaugh's? Walker's??


Via Instapundit comes this story warning that restaurant food prices are about to sharply rise. The challenge for the government? Why, finding who to blame, of course.

After all: can’t blame it on short-sighted conversion of corn crops into ethanol; the government’s pushing for even more use of ethanol, despite the objections of the auto industry. Can’t blame it on higher gas prices; the government doesn’t really want to explain why it’s put a moratorium on offshore drilling in (disproportionate) response to last year’s Gulf oil spill. And there’s absolutely, positively, and completely no possible way that this administration is going to let even the hint of a suggestion of an implication of a reference to The Dread Word “Stagflation” escape any lips of any person associated with the executive branch.

There has to be an early line on this in Vegas.

HT: RedStates

Roe's "Right to Privacy"? Nope

Provocative, if a little late:

“What, exactly, is the problem with Roe? The problem, I believe, is that it has little connection to the Constitutional right it purportedly interpreted. A constitutional right to privacy broad enough to include abortion has no meaningful foundation in constitutional text, history, or precedent - at least, it does not if those sources are fairly described and reasonably faithfully followed.” --Ed. Lazarus, clerk to Blackmun

It's what you call a "triumph" of Legal Positivism.

HT: AmSpec

Ugly, Maybe. But It Works

On Ted Thompson's formula:

"I think this really to me showed all of Ted's work over the last two or three years," team president Mark Murphy said. "You look at the depth of the roster, the players he's been able to identify. We have starting players playing key roles for us who were undrafted free agents this year. It's a tribute to Ted and his staff that he's able to find these players."

Well. Everybody wants superstars at every position. Perhaps Ted's formula has worked better than anyone might imagine.

And by the way: next year in Jerusalem, too?? Remember, there are a LOT of damn good players sitting on the sidelines this year.

HT: Lakeshore

A Better "Green" Agenda

From an article written by a co-founder of Greenpeace.

I headlined "better" agenda because, overall, what he says below is far more sensible than the worship of poverty and windmills espoused, directly or not, by Big Green.

I believe:

- We should be growing more trees and using more wood, not cutting fewer trees and using less wood as Greenpeace and its allies contend. Wood is the most important renewable material and energy resource.

- Those countries that have reserves of potential hydroelectric energy should build the dams required to deliver that energy. There is nothing wrong with creating more lakes in this world.

- Nuclear energy is essential for our future energy supply, especially if we wish to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. It has proven to be clean safe, reliable, and cost-effective.

- Geothermal heat pumps, which too few people know about, are far more important and cost-effective than either solar panels or wind mills as a source of renewable energy. They should be required in all new buildings unless there is a good reason to use some other technology for heating, cooling, and making hot water.

- The most effective way to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels is to encourage the development of technologies that require less or no fossil fuels to operate. Electric cars, heat pumps, nuclear and hydroelectric energy, and biofuels are the answer, not cumbersome regulatory systems that stifle economic activity.

- Genetic science, including genetic engineering, will improve nutrition and end malnutrition, improve crop yields, reduce the environmental impact of farming, and make people and the environment healthier.

- Many activist campaigns designed to make us fear useful chemicals are based on misinformation and unwarranted fear.

- Aquaculture, including salmon and shrimp farming, will be one of our most important future sources of healthy food. It will also take pressure off depleted wild fish stocks and will employ millions of people productively.

- There is no cause for alarm about climate change. The climate is always changing. Some of the proposed "solutions" would be far worse than any imaginable consequence of global warming, which will likely be mostly positive. Cooling is what we should fear.

- Poverty is the worst environmental problem. Wealth and urbanization will stabilize the human population. Agriculture should be mechanized throughout the developing world. Disease and malnutrition can be largely eliminated by the application of modern technology. Health care, sanitation, literacy and electrification should be provided to everyone.

- No whale or dolphin should be killed or captured anywhere, ever. This is one of my few religious beliefs. They are the only species on earth whose brains are larger than ours and it is impossible to kill or capture them humanely.

He left Greenpeace when it became obvious that the organization had been co-opted by a bunch of Commies in the early 1980's. They 'came over' because Communism was failing and they needed a soapbox from which to continue their anti-capitalism (and anti-human) campaign.

You don't have to agree with all of his theses to understand his disappointment with Big Green. But he does have, at least, some consistency in his thoughts.

That doesn't mean that his philosophy is airtight. Defining poverty as an "ecological problem" is a category error; poverty is a problem generated by human failing, and remediable (to some extent) by recognizing its human cause and working to remedy that.

Lots more both at the AOS link and at the link to the essay.