Saturday, December 12, 2009

Welcome to Obamaville - Somewhere, Herbert Hoover is smiling

This is a picture of a Hooverville, the migrant shack and tent communities that sprang up during the Great Depression. This one was burned down by the Seattle authorities at least twice.
(Hoovervilles in your neighborhood are very, very bad for real eastate prices.)

It seems that the homeless tent communities aren't gone yet.... We have one in Colorado Springs.

Take note of the online messages about how the Obamaville sign money could've been better spent. "He could've taken the money spent on the sign, and given it to the homeless."
I disagree.
There are times when fighting against the cause of a disease is more important than fighting against the symptoms of a disease.

John Stossel's new show on FoxBusiness

Thanks to the miracle of Tivo, I was able to watch John Stossel's first show on FoxBusiness last night. (Stossel recently left ABC because he wasn't allowed any airtime to cut through the Statist fog surrounding that network.)

I've read Stossel's stuff online and in print for a couple of years now, but this was my first chance to see him on the tube. Overall, I was impressed.

The program, simply entitled "Stossel", had an unfortunate infomercial quality that I hope they can eventually tone down a bit.
The topic was climatechange.
His featured guest was Jerry Taylor, an energy researcher for The Cato Institute - probably the best of the Libertarian think-tanks, and therefore one of humanity's greatest treasures. Taylor took nothing but hostile questions from the studio audience, and handled them with ease, conceding some points, but asking the questioners to look beyond the basic goals of any energy regulation.
Assume that the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change's numbers are 100% correct. One hundred and seventy thousand people died last year because of man-made changes to our weather. Even if you assume that that number is accurate (it isn't), here's some numbers that are accurate:
3 million people died last year because of poor indoor air quality. That's what happens when your only fuel and heating source is human and animal manure.
Here's another accurate number, one that I've never seen anyone contradict....Mrs. Sepulchre is always reminding us that 25,000 people will die today because of malnutrition, most of them children.
Around two billion people are barely hanging on to existence. What's going to happen to them if the idjits in Copenhagen succeed in taking over the energy industry? We can't merely legislate lower carbon emissions and expect energy costs to remain the same, or expect the 2 billion mentioned above to ever claw their way out of poverty. The #1 mistake the Climate Alarmists are making is to assume that they can intervene without making the cure far worse than the disease.
The next guest was the dude in Arizona who gave Stossel a $6,000.00 golf cart. Perhaps I'm over-simplifying. YOU gave John Stossel a $6,000.00 golf cart.
Since the golf cart has zero carbon emissions, they qualify as an electric vehicle under one of the green energy scams. Stossel had to pay for the golf cart up front, but gets it all back on his taxes.
The golf cart dealer tried to defend the program based on the fact that most of us do our running around for trips that are less than 8-10 miles.
He didn't mention the carbon emissions of energy plants - coal burning, heat emitting, etc. energy plants. Once again, the alarmists can't look past the first stage of their energy programs. The golf cart is "green", therefore it is good. Pay no attention to the carbon emissions produced by charging the batteries.
The last guest was Stephen Dubner, co-author of the new Freakonomics book. Dubner sent the alarmists into a frothing rage a few months ago, when he and Steven Levitt publicized a proposal to spew some sulfur dioxide into the upper atmosphere through a massive garden hose. Climate engineers came up with the proposal a few years ago, after noticing that the earth cools significantly after volcanoes erupt.
This would only cost a few hundred million dollars per year. It would be simple. And there would be little or no opportunities for any Graft For Greenies programs.
Therefore, Dubner and Levitt were branded as heretics. Dubner took a few questions, mostly about acid rain from sulfur dioxide. He handled them with ease. (When's the last time you heard anything about acid rain, the former Panic Of The Decade?)
Overall, I really liked the show, and I hope Stossel can get some ratings. Every question from the audience was from someone disagreeing with the guest. Who knows, it could've all been scripted. At least it was a fair script.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Professor Stephen Schneider of Stanford faces a skeptical journalist, is frightened, calls security

Professor Stephen Schneider of Stanford faces an untamed journalist, apparently for the first time, at the Copenhagen Global Cooling Global Warming Climate Change Rent Seeking Conference....

Hey, this is what happens when you try to get yer science info from science sources.

Al Gore and Vogon Poetry

If any of you are fan's of Douglas Adams' Hitchiker's Guide To The Galaxy series, you probably remember Vogon poetry.
Here's a brief description of the relative awfulness of Vogon poetry, from the
Hitchhiker's Wikja:

Vogon poetry is of course, the third worst in the universe.
The second worst is that of the Azgoths of Kria. During a recitation by their poet master Grunthos the Flatulent of his poem "Ode to a Small Lump of Green Putty I Found in My Armpit One Midsummer Morning" four of his audience died of internal hemorrhaging and the president of the Mid-Galactic Arts Nobbling Council survived only by gnawing one of his own legs off. Grunthos was reported to have been "disappointed" by the poem's reception, and was about to embark on a reading of his 12-book epic entitled "My Favourite Bathtime Gurgles" when his own major intestine--in a desperate attempt to save humanity--leapt straight up through his neck and throttled his brain.
The very worst poetry of all perished along with its creator, Paul Neil Milne Johnstone of Redbridge, in the destruction of the planet Earth. Vogon poetry is mild by comparison.

Hold on a minute ! ! We have a new entry for one of those coveted Top Three Spots ! !

Here's The Goracle Of Music City, Tennessee, with a new entry that he couldn't squeeze into his latest book, "
Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis".

Be honest. Feel like gnawing a leg off ?

Weekly Radio Address tranlated into something reflecting more Truthiness

Someone has done us a great service by translating this blather into English.
It is worth multiple viewings, especially if you're wondering why nobody is hiring.

Found at the Tom Lewis Blog.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Weekly Radley - From The Most Transparent Administration EVER

From Radley Balko's Agitator blog:

The Obama administration is sponsoring a workshop on government transparency . . . that will be closed to the public.

“I can understand skepticism anytime a meeting for government people is not necessarily open to the public,” Nisbet (director of the brand spankin' new Office of Government Information Services) said. “However, everything that is discussed there is absolutely available for the public to know about.”

We're having to submit paperwork and requests to have OUR government employees tell us what they're doing on issues like lobbying, bribery, quid pro quo pro Climaquidicks pro additional quo's, and which lobbyists are visiting the White House for plunder.

Raise your hand if you think everything is honest and above-board.....

Anyone ? Anyone at all?

The cartoon came from here.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Redundant Phrase - Wasteful Stimulus

She Whose Name Is Not Spoken has been out of the public eye for a while. Yeah, she's now Secretary Of State, and there's lots of speculation going on about which pantsuit she'll wear to Chelsea's wedding, but the potential election nightmare of 2008 was avoided.
Well, she's back. Here we go.....

The Hill:

Nearly $6 million in stimulus money was paid to two firms run by Mark Penn, Hillary Clinton’s pollster in 2008.

Federal records show that $5.97 million from the $787 billion stimulus helped preserve three jobs at Burson-Marsteller, the global public-relations and communications firm headed by Penn.

It took almost 6 million dollars to preserve three jobs? What were those three guys doing? Putting out oil well fires? Test driving experimental aircraft? Taking dangerous experimental medications that could benefit all humankind? Walking between the President and his teleprompter?

Burson-Marsteller won the contract to work on a public-relations campaign to advertise the national switch from analog to digital television. Nearly $2.8 million of the contract was issued to Penn’s polling firm, Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates, according to federal records.

(Critics have) noted that the advertising campaign took place on May 5, only 39 days before the digital television transition was scheduled (June 12).

GOP Sens. John McCain (Ariz.) and Tom Coburn (Okla.) held a news conference Tuesday to blast 100 “wasteful” projects funded by the $787 billion economic stimulus package Congress passed earlier this year, concluding that at least $7 billion of the $217 billion spent through November was wasteful and mismanaged

Wasteful Stimulus - the only thing wrong with that phrase is that it is redundant. Is there anyone out there, anyone at all, who can honestly claim that we need to let that Den Of Thieves raid the Treasury for a second stimulus package?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Obama Urges Major New Stimulus, Jobs Spending

From The Dallas Morning News. Unaltered. No commentary necessary. Use the video below as a soundtrack.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama called for a major new burst of federal spending Tuesday, aiming to jolt the wobbly economy into a stronger recovery and reduce painfully persistent double-digit unemployment.

Despite Republican criticism concerning record federal deficits, Obama said the U.S. must continue to "spend our way out of this recession" as long as so many people are out of work. More than 7 million Americans have lost their jobs since the recession began two years ago, and the jobless rate stands at 10 percent, a statistic Obama called "staggering."

Congressional approval would be required for the new spending, the amount unspecified but sure to be at least tens of billions of dollars.

"We avoided the depression many feared," Obama said in a speech at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank. But, he added, "Our work is far from done."

It was the third time in a week the president had presided over a high-profile event on jobs, responding to rising pleas in Congress that he spend more time discussing unemployment as midterm election season draws near.

Obama proposed new spending for highway and bridge construction, for small business tax cuts and for retrofitting millions of homes to make them more energy-efficient. He said he wanted to extend economic stimulus programs to keep unemployment insurance from expiring for millions of out-of-work Americans and to help laid-off workers keep their health insurance. He proposed an additional $250 apiece in stimulus spending for seniors and veterans and aid to state and local governments to discourage them from laying off teachers, police officers and firefighters.

He did not give a price tag for the new package but said he would work with Congress on deciding how to pay for it.
Proposals in Congress being advanced by Democratic leaders that cover much the same ground would add up to $170 billion or more. Administration aides suggested the infrastructure proposals alone being weighed by the president could cost about $50 billion.

Republicans ridiculed the president's speech and his parallel call for doing more to hold down government deficits.

"At least the president's proposal will result in one new job - he'll need to hire a magician to make this new deficit spending appear fiscally responsible," said Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, the senior Republican on the Senate Budget Committee. House GOP leader John Boehner of Ohio declared the president "out of ideas and out of touch."

While Obama did not propose the kind of direct federal public works jobs that were created in the 1930s, he said government action could set the stage for more job creation by private business. Many of his proposals would extend or expand programs included in the mammoth $787 billion stimulus package passed last winter.

While acknowledging increasing concerns in Congress and among the public over the nation's growing debt, Obama said critics present a "false choice" between paying down deficits and investing in job creation and economic growth.

"Even as we have had to spend our way out of this recession in the near term, we have begun to make the hard choices necessary to get our country on a more stable fiscal footing in the long run," he said.

To find money to pay for the new programs, the administration is pointing to the Treasury Department's report on Monday that it expects to get back $200 billion in taxpayer-approved bank bailout funds faster than expected.

Obama suggested this windfall would help the government spend money on job creation at the same time it eats into the nation's debt, which now totals $12 trillion.

A rare moment of total honesty from Social Security

From a Social Security newsletter, which can be found at SSA.GOV , entitled "What Young Workers Should Know About Social Security And Saving".

"....Because people are living longer and the birthrate is low, the ratio of workers to beneficiaries is falling. Therefore the taxes that are paid by workers will not be enough to pay the full benefit amounts scheduled.

However, this does not mean that Social Security benefit payments would disappear. Even if modifications to the program are not made, there would still be enough funds in 2041 from taxes paid by workers to pay about $780 for every $1,000 in benefits scheduled."

Consider the nerve it takes to publish a statement like that one. I'm going to take your money under false pretenses. I'm going to claim that I'll give it back to you based on a certain schedule. But I know that I'm full of crap. Everyone knows that I'm full of crap. But hey, I'm probably good for 75% of what I promised ! !

No one has the nerve to stand up and claim that I'm not full of crap, including me. But if people don't start saving more on their own, it's going to be an even bigger mess. Therefore, you must continue contributing.

And I'm going to issue press releases that show how badly screwed my system is.


The scariest map you'll ever see

Want to see something scary? This is what U.S. unemployment looked like in January 2007.
Blue/Green on this map represents high employment. Red/Brown equals moderate unemployment. Yellow/Tan means low unemployment.
I found it on Small Dead Animals, but that's not the link you need to hit just yet.
Hang with me a second. Do you ever wonder why "small l" libertarians and "Capital L" Libertarians make such a big deal over the 10th amendment? (The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.)
The 10th Amendment allows us to experiment. For instance, if Mississippi once had laws prohibiting any industry but cotton farming, and Alabama didn't, well, one can glance at a map like this one and see that Mississippi is getting punished for that decision. And plenty of others. In 2007, the Alabama/Mississippi boundary was as plain as the lines separating Haley Barbour's chins.
The 10th amendment, very much under attack in the current Federalist nightmare, allows individual states to opt out of lemming-like conformity to one another.
What the heck was wrong in South Carolina in 2007? I won't pretend to know. But South Carolina operates under one set of laws and regulations, while nearby Georgia operates under another. Otherwise, they are only separated by an invisible line.
Why was rust belt Indiana faring better than the regulatory hell of Michigan? Or its backwoods neighbor Kentucky? I don't know.
Now hit this link to watch a monthly update of the same map, from January 2007 to now. Almost every U.S. county changes to a less desirable color, but some places are doing much better than others.
Last, go to this map published by the State Policy Index site, ranking every U.S. state by economic freedom, economic freedom being defined as an overall absence of nanny-state maternalism. Look for pages 22 and 23.
There isn't a perfect correlation between high employment and economic freedom, but perfect correlations don't exist. Economic freedom is a good thing. Regulatory hells are not.
Note to everyone moving to Texas from California, trying to outrun the consequences of your votes: Please stay home on election day.
Note to everyone living outside the Texas/Wyoming "Freedom Belt": Welcome to Mississippi.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Dallas Cowboys 24, New York Giants 31 - December is the cruelest month

Without nearly enough apologies to the works of T.S. Eliot....

December is the cruelest month, breeding
Defeats out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Fumbles in the Meadowlands.
Autumn kept us warm, covering
Earth with easy wins over lowly Oakland, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
Eli surprised us, coming over the top
With a shower of passes; though we stopped not one,
Romo and Whitten set records; into the end zone
Giants returned punts, and treated us like losers.

LET us go then, you and I,
When the stadium is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherised upon a table;
Let us go, through Arlington's half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of bulldozed houses near one-night cheap hotels
And bad chain restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question …
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.

In the room libertarians complain
Cursing both Jerry, and Eminent Domain.

The yellow curse that rubs its back upon the uniforms,
The yellow December curse that rubs its muzzle on the gray and blue uniforms,
Licked its tongue into the corners of the end zone,
Lingered upon the Cowboy drives that failed to move the chains,
Let fall upon its back the hopes that falls from gullible fans,
Slipped by the defense, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft December night,
Curled again about the Meadowlands, and fell asleep.

We'll soon see New Orleans riding Brees-ward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water gold and black.

We will linger in the Dome of the damned,
By cheerleaders wreathed with fabric gold and brown
Till the ref whistles wake us, and we drown.

And I have known the eyes already, known them all,
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To explain the theft of land and homes?
And how should I go on?

For I will show you fear, fear in a handful of dust....
Pics came from here and here.