Resistance Begins at Ohm!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Regulating the free speech marketplace, the internet

And on the heels of how the government and Walmart monitor you, let us review how the FCC plans to regulate the internet. They do not have the authority (according to Congress and the courts) and they do not have a public or business consensus. But that doesn't stop progress (er, regress?) Do not be fooled by the stated objectives. This is not about preserving, innovating, investing or competition. And it is certainly not about free expression.

Just an example

You know you are in trouble when Al Frankin says it's a bad idea.

Are you suspicious why the FCC chair would chose December 21 for this vote? Maybe hoping that no one is looking?

This is the commission agenda item:
SUMMARY:  The Commission will consider a Report and Order adopting basic rules of the road to preserve the open Internet as a platform for innovation, investment, competition, and free expression.

Sorry I can't give you anyone to contact about this because the FCC isn't listening.

Wallstreet Journal op

Monitoring America(ns)

This is a Washpo series on homeland security. More specifically, how homeland security (DHS, state and local) collect and maintain information on Americans.

Your privacy is essentially meaningless. Not only does the federal government collect and maintain information on citizens who have done nothing illegal, it encourages the collection and submission on such data. This is DHS and the FBI constructing the haystack in which they hope someday to find a needle. But they haven't so far, unsurprisingly.

Read the article, browse the website. Now it is easy to understand why DHS has branded tea party groups as potential terrorist threats - they have all the data they need to support a preconceived notion, any preconceived notion. Antiwar protesters and environmentalist demonstrations are in the same bucket. This type of self-imposed paranoia has no party affliction other than the label on the current regime.

Be afraid, very afraid.

Monitoring America

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The omnibus spending bill

What a turkey that was. Sure, it was crafted by both democrats and republicans largely behind doors over the course of a year. With a lot of "I'll give you this if you give me that." All of that horse trading was to decide how to spend $1.1 trillion.
The problem really isn't 6000 thousand earmarks that micromanage how to divvy up the goodies. That process is symptomatic of a more-or-less pragmatic process otherwise known as making sausage. They have to get to the end game somehow.

The real problem is $1.1 trillion. Or how much sausage this country really needs.

Mitch Mc. said that republicans are now realizing there is something wrong with the process. Maybe. But what about tackling the budget in exactly the opposite way? Instead of saying (Mitch) let's start with $1.1 trillion and figure out how to spend it, what about let's start with 20% less and figure out what to cut?

A great learning experience would be to start with Congress' own budget, $5.42 billion. That's an 89% increase since 2000. OK, security does cost more, but hey - there are 535 senators and representatives. That is over 10 million for each one of them. Per year.

Sorry, was in a hurry to complete Christmas shopping and forgot to list citations.

Congressional operating costs: Congressional News Connection
Decent summary of what I heard myself on C-Span: Politico

Thursday, December 16, 2010

13% of Americans approve of the job Congress does

Gallup poll
What do you call that, the margin for error?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

We interrupt this budget rant for something really awful

This company was created by a couple of homeland security insiders (see about us).
They have a mobile app called the Patriot app. The gist is you can use a smartphone camera and text message features to rat out suspicious behavior - you know the "If you see something, say something" DHS method of security the homeland.
Or maybe you want to rat out your fellow employees for taking an extra couple of minutes coffee break, or tattle on government waste, or company littering. Whatever.
Kind of like a speed camera on steroids.

Here's a quote - one of their corporate goals:
Provide instruction and increase consistency in actions while decreasing variance in human behavior to mitigate risk and error

Why wait for China to foreclose on the US when we can act just like them now?

Citizen Concepts - ewwww! Patriot my patoottie!

Oh well, I guess in a free market economy, you get all kinds. I can't wait for this to show up at a Walmart near me. (By the way, if you don't know Walmart culture, this is just so apropos)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

GOP is stupid

Libs are freakin because Obama is giving in, caving, yadeya.
GOP is so focused on personal taxes, they can't see the tree for the leaves, let alone the forest.

Obama wins, here's why:
1) If the economy gets better in 2 years, then we will be able to afford a tax increase - and we certainly could use the money to reduce the deficit.
2) If the economy doesn't get better, then obviously the tax rate extension didn't work, and raise taxes to reduce the deficit. 2012 motto: I won. Again.
3) We just spent another near $trillion we don't have. So regardless what happens, repubs are responsible for even more deficit. How's that for performance and they aren't even sworn in yet. That will be another fine campaign issue.
4) No one is talking about cutting spending, which is the real problem. So he gets to keep his outrageous budget which is 20% over fy2008.

All the "I'm not happy and there is plenty in here to dislike" is just covering up a smirk.

Being without internet for 3 weeks....

Changes your perspective on things.

Friday, November 12, 2010

RIP Domino 5-5-1991 11-12-2010


He lived a long life and patiently raised many cats along the way. Always a gentleman and never swatted a soul. He was loud and verbose. It is very quiet around here now. The dog will miss his bed buddy.

I am sad to see you go, old man. I am relieved that you are now at rest.

Rainbow Bridge, the poem
Rainbow Bridge, the memorial site

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Budget is about choices

Why not just cut all the budgets by 20%? Because it means you do all that you do less effectively. Rather than do a mediocre job of everything, how about doing what you do well and quit doing the things that don't make as much difference?
Besides, what is fair about cutting medicare and social security by 20% while we continue to fund frog sex and send bazillions to Pakistan which has no income tax?
Congress needs to make choices. Not between across the board cuts of 15% or 20%; not between tax increases for 5% or 15% of the tax paying population. Congress needs to decide that we are going to stop doing a lot of things because they are less important than other things - and we can't just do 20 or 30% less of the important things (like border protection, security and veterans benefits). But we may need to do things like:
  • Cut the Congressional budget - especially staffing - by 25%. If we are going to shrink government, we don't need as many people on the hill working on all the assorted committees.
  • Stop subsidizing things like oil, farm products and recycling programs. Let the market do what the market does best. Instead of increasing the gas tax, cut the energy subsidies. If you want to ensure more stability, think about managing short term speculative investments, especially for commodities.
  • Get real about the cost of security vis-a-vis the benefits. Don't intelligence and identity matching make a lot more sense than random (strip) searches at the airport?
  • Encourage the activities that "produce" and cut off the activities that don't. If oil drilling results in revenue, then do more of it, not less of it. Parks are nice. But solvency is more important. Doing is productive. Not doing (like not planting corn, or not drilling, or not fishing) is simply wasting resources.
  • Quit spending the money overseas that is subsidizing corrupt and two-faced governments. 
  • Quite spending money domestically that is subsidizing corrupt and irresponsible state governments.
  • In addition to cutting budgets, cut the regulatory burden on business - especially small business - by 20%
  • Similarly, get out of state government business. Define the desired results, but not the methods. 
  • Look at more than just medical malpractice as part of tort reform. The lawsuit lottery has to end.
  • Consider this: if there isn't a reasonable expectation of reward, people are not likely to take risks. That includes the risk to begin businesses, invest in the market, make career decisions.
  • Quit creating and expanding all these agencies to collect data - it is incredibly expensive to collect and maintain data when you consider the privacy and security requirements as well as the "rent." For example, why is OMB collecting information on individual medical insurance claims? That cannot be a productive use of funds. I'm sure BC/BS is going to be a lot more resourceful managing fraud in their policies.
Just some ideas, I'm sure if you started a discussion with voting options for budget ideas, you could come up with a lot more.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

One liner on hope and change

We were hoping he would change Washington, not America.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

DOJ - Did I hear that right?

So, regardless what California might do about it's laws concerning marijuana (quit enforcing them, decriminalize possession or just make it legal) the feds are going to enforce the law - I guess put pot heads in federal prison.
But they won't enforce immigration laws because they are too busy with other stuff????? They let illegal aliens out of jail because they don't have enough beds?
Wash Times
Intellectual Conservative

You have to say DOJ has priorities, it's just that they are all screwed up. Go figure.

And DHS/ICE is just as -- irresponsible.
Canada Free Press

High tech - more trouble than it's worth

So, I have this really expensive embroidery/sewing machine. Two names, initials H and V. I never use it for embroidery - it's a lot of trouble to set up and I'm not very inspired by the results.

Anyway, it has a lot of handy utility stitches and every once in a while, I pull it out to sew something. Like a hem in a knit fabric. Or overcast a seam. This happens maybe once a year.

And every *&^ time, it sews about 15 feet, snarls the thread, flips some kind of bar in the bobbin assembly and absolutely will not work after that. It doesn't look like it would be very hard to fix myself if I only knew how, but apparently it is something only the HV mechanic can do. Of course, it only happens on Saturday (because that's when I'm home to do this stuff of course) and the dealer is closed on Sunday. Note to file, any project will take a minimum of 9 days.

I think I am just going to go get some simple machine that has half decent utility stitches and tell the dealer they can have this piece of high tech poo. If they can get it running.

Why can't the government do a cash for clunkers program that lets people s-can their junk for some functioning tools? Somehow, I think that would be more stimulative. I am definitely shovel ready with this.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Libertarian vs Cynical

Some interesting discussion going on at a Stossel article:

Congress Can't Repeal Economics

Obama is neither clueless nor evil. By removing a viable marketplace for private insurers, you gain more customers for the public option, which is what Obama and Pelosi wanted in the first place. Likewise, by taking free market out of medical care, you by definition change the type of people who gravitate there as employees. Free market tends to make individuals accountable. Darwinian capitalism. Government market tends to make nothing an independent decision. Medical treatment will be determined by a book and a committee of physician assistants and nurse practitioners. Not that there is anything wrong with either. It's just that overall, the quality of medical care has to deteriorate just because of the lack of education and practice in a variety of care environments. Fewer experts will result in more mistakes and fewer people practicing will result in more overlooked symptoms. But more inadequate government employees will review and revise the treatment plans until they pass the sniff test. Just like getting specialized treatment now in a PPO - you have to jump through the bureaucratic hoops. Just look at how government (e.g., public schools, the motor vehicle dept.) work now.

That's all part of the plan, too. It is medical Darwinism. Not only will fewer people survive medical care, but the attention will turn to ostracizing people who are not viewed as having an appropriately healthy lifestyle. Smoking, obesity, high triglycerides, failure to exercise, too much fat, salt and sugar, not enough fruit and vegetables, drinking caffeinated and sugary drinks will not only cost more at the retail counter, but it will cost more for your insurance and care. And you will get in the back of the line for care over and over, while someone who has a higher "health index" gets the priority. Technically, people who don't do everything perfectly cannot be penalized, but people who do can be incentivized, and what is the difference? Just that the government will be able to say they don't charge the poor sick people more for being sick. They will get free care, when the governments gets around to it.

If you think I am crazy, consider this: they are monitoring garbage with microchips to make sure you recycle. So, very easy to monitor what food you buy with RFIDs, and then penalize (tax) accordingly. Kind of like paying tax by the mile instead of tax by the gallon. (Tax by the mile is what state governments are coming up with since gas tax revenues are down due to increased mileage and reduced driving.)

Just making people wait longer before they get a diagnosis (let alone treatment) will shorten the amount of time that people are in the program, yes? True it is cheaper to treat healthy people than sick people, but once they are sick, you really want to get them out of the program as soon as possible.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

What about young independent voters?

I think we're a dying breed.
Source: Pollster

You would have to say that the GOP truly ruined the brand for the long run if that many young people switched from R to D between 2004 and 2008. Same kind of thing happened in 1996, just not nearly so dramatic. The tracks for independent and republican all demographic certainly seem to reflect inverse trends. Democrats seem to run a fairly constant trend from 1976 to 2004, when it dips - odd. But young people seem to be polarizing - and swinging too and fro. It would be interesting to do some digging and try to figure out what their unique burning issues were in 1996, 2000 and 2008. Makes you wonder... and it doesn't exactly seem like anyone (including Rock the Vote) really has a handle on this.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

What is it about independent voters?

I caught a few interviews last week that just show me they don't get it.

One was a discussion among representatives of young republicans and young democrats. Another was with a lady who works for rock the vote. Another was a pol-dit who was commenting on independent voters and what they want.

The young democratic view seems to be be something along the lines that young people are looking for a leader who will articulate a way forward. No one now has a plan. The guy talking about independents wanted to paint with a broad brush in tea party terms.

My y-gen kids are thoughtful, politically informed and astute on the issues. Yet they are not represented by either of the young groups that were talking - not even close. And they say that their friends ranging from late 20s to 40 are of similar views, if not as well as informed. But they would be the first people to tell you (to paraphrase the Cheshire cat) if you don't know where you are going, any path will do. They aren't looking for some path.

I personally took umbrage at the guy who thought he knew what independent voters are all about. First of all, I don't believe they like to be painted by anyone's brush. Let me explain like our president - if I just say it slower and louder:  in-de-pen-dent. Meaning I don't ascribe to the political ideology of any group. People have different priorities and different visions on a variety of issues. You can't put everyone in the same bucket and start making assumptions on what motivates them. Unless of course, ideology is what motivates them, whether political, cultural, familial or (egad) facebook. Lack of ideology seems to be perplexing to these nanos. We don't need someone to tell us how to think.

The other strawman that was set up is that independents are just mad about liberals, progressives and democrats who are in power. That whatever the democrats want or do is somehow the issue. Nope, missed the point, we don't like what the republicans want or do either. That's why we threw them out in - get this - 2006. That was two years before Obama.

And I don't think people are looking for a way forward. I think they see very clearly where the current path is leading and this is a categorical rejection of the destination. Hope and change isn't a way forward, it isn't a goal, it isn't even a measurable objective along the way. Change is not progress if it is just motion. If you take bit broader perspective and remember that people weren't happy in 2004 either, picked a different crew in 2006 and kept "throwing the bums out" in 2008, then you can't simply say that it is about the current administration or agenda. What I see as consistent across the half-decade is a dissatisfaction with having a more and more intrusive government that appears to be more and more incompetent and disconnected from the people they work for. My small group of boomers have been talking 3rd party for 6 years. And the heat went up a lot as soon as Bush was re-elected. We didn't want Kerry, what an elitist, lying fool. But we didn't like Bush and especially pork ear marking Congress.

We don't like the prices we are paying for healthcare. But we know that requiring even more be spent isn't an improvement. We didn't like medicare part d, either, remember? We like choices and medicare advantage offered options that fit our locations, our lifestyles and our medical needs. Taking away advantage to pay for someone else's free health insurance wasn't a good idea. The people on medicare have been paying for the plan for years and years. It was a stupid idea and it is an insult to make it law and then exempt the state of Florida.

We are really, really pissed that wall street, banks and market traders were rescued when it was our money that they bet and lost in the first place. If anyone needed to be restored, it was the people who got ripped off. We don't believe Goldman, Citibank and the like needed taxpayer money. We really don't like screwing us by giving our GM stock to the unions and giving Chrysler to the Italians. And then tell us that we have to give more while congress keeps adding more and more to their pockets and budgets and giving more and more to their friends.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Tax symantics more complex than tax code?

If you give someone a tax cut, they will pay less in taxes, right? So how is it a tax cut if you will be paying the same amount in taxes (or more)?
If you are not going to give someone a tax cut, then they will be paying the same taxes, right? So if you are paying a lot more in taxes, isn't it really a tax increase? I don't understand the idea of a non-tax cut or tax non-cut, it smells like Washington mumbo jumbo to me. They are not giving money back as tax cuts because they aren't collecting the money in the first place! You can't give what you ain't got.
How can you put more money into the economy by asking people to not pay more in taxes? They have the same money today as they did yesterday. If I am still spending $100 at the grocery store this week just like I did last week, instead of spending $110, I don't have an extra $10 to go blow at Best Buy.
Let's be honest, what we are talking about here is a tax increase. It is a big increase for everyone making more than $250K per year. Half of the income generated by small business is also in this category. If you take revenue out of the hands of those businesses, they won't be hiring and they won't be making the capital investments which create jobs in other businesses. Probably the best thing successful businesses could do at this point is incorporate and quit getting penalized like some rich slacker.These folks get to pay twice the social security a working stiff does, get to pay all their insurance premiums and can't itemize them as deductions, in addition to assuming all the risk if their particular market segment tanks any given year. Obviously, they aren't paying their fair share so they should be paying your fair share as well (sarc/off).

The small business loan program and some targeted tax cuts - which are supposed to create more jobs - is the latest guilt trip/extortion attempt. So, the government proposes to take a big chunk of income from successful small businesses in order to pay for a loan program for less than successful small businesses - run by the government of course. Besides sounding like another business bail-out, why:
  • would we trust the government to run another loan program? Might as well just throw the money out the window if their home loan programs and mortgage salvation programs are any indication.
  • would we assume that the money borrowed from the government and spent by small business is more stimulative than money spent by small business without the government's interference? Do you think maybe the government is just grabbing some more of your tax dollars to - oh I don't even know what anymore, none of it goes where they are telling us anyway.
  • would we not use the revenue to pay for some of the things this government has already bought? Like the $800+ billion stimulus program. Or the loss we are taking when the government gives --er sells at a significant discount -- GM stock to auto unions? Or the endless hundreds of $billions we keep giving to fannie and freddie so banks can continue to make a damn killing repossessing houses and taking a tax deduction for the original market value instead of the actual amount of the loan? 
The president and congress are telling us that we can't afford to continue the current tax rates because they need the $700 billion they will get if they increase taxes. Need it for what? How many times are we going to spend this money?
Furthermore, wasn't the idea to put money into the economy to get us out of the recession? How can they say on the one hand that those tax non-cuts are stimulative and don't cost much, but these tax non-cuts cost too much? If it doesn't produce much revenue, then it doesn't benefit the economy much either. And if the government takes an additional amount of money (in the form of tax increases) out of the economy, it is going to be the antithesis of stimulative (what is that recessive? Retarded?).  They cannot say that all the money the government spent up to this point has done anything for the economy, or even saved the state and local jobs they claim. Pretty much it all just went to pay the bills, just like you and I would do.
And on a similar note, how can the president tell us with a straight face that some new spending program is paid for by not spending money we don't have on something else? I'm going to run down to the car dealer and buy a new Chevy and claim it's paid for because I'm not going to buy a new house I don't have the money for anyway? Never mind I have already signed a contract for that new house. Look, if my family has $50,000 per year and annual bills of $75K, we can't buy that $25K car and claim we are paying for it by not buying something else for $25K. We don't have $25K for anything, we don't even have $25K to cover the shortfall between income and bills.

How stupid do they think we are?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Climategate stories

This is a history of climate wars, with some deserved humor and a bit of tongue-in-cheek.
Climate wars... ending?

And this is a summary of all the various "gates" (falsehoods, exaggerations, unsupported speculation, propaganda) in the IPPC reports. Skeptical Swedish Scientists

Both are worth the read, IMNSHO
Certainly an impressive weight of evidence.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Picking losers

I think I have figured out why the whole mosque thing is bigger than maybe it warrants.

Clearly, our culture is still very raw about what Islam and a few dozen muslims carried out on 9/11. And what is wrong with that? You can't call people religious bigots because they are still emotional (angry, sad, offended, fearful) - that was a big deal. To the extent that muslims around the world are still celebrating the attack on the World Trade Center, we are still entitled to our emotions about it, are we not?

That is a point of discussion regarding my opinion about the proposed mosque. I have an opinion and so do a lot of people. There are no right or wrong feelings. There is, however, gracious and civilized behavior, which means you consider another person's feelings about a matter before you decide to do something that impacts them.

Here's what the prez said. America's feelings aside, they have a right to religious freedom (true) including building a mosque at ground zero minus 2 blocks (false, property rights are different than religious rights - dummass). And I am picking the winner here - it's the muslims. Everyone else, tough noogies. Then on Saturday, he said he didn't have an opinion about whether they should build the mosque, just that they had the right.

It's picking winners and losers again. We don't want one person at the head of the executive branch picking winners and losers. Furthermore, this isn't a debate that concerns the presidency, so why would he be picking in the first place? The rest of the message seems to be that if we don't agree with his choice, then there must be something wrong with us. We are too stupid to understand, or we are racists or bigots or trying to make it political. Wrong. We are offended that you are making this decision; that you are once again picking the losers and the losers are us.

Monday, August 16, 2010

How far, freedom of religion

This is not about Islam, it is about the extent that religious rights extend. Maybe I'm wrong, after all I am not a constitutional scholar (unlike Barry, after teaching a class, but not as a professor). My take on religious rights in this country is that we have the right to believe and worship whatever we wish, or nothing if we wish that. Where does this include real estate? Seems to me that a local government can decide whatever it wants regarding the use of property, and your religious rights or my religious rights don't have a thing to do with it. What does imminent domain mean? The government can claim property from private ownership for whatever purpose it deems worthy. I don't think religious rights trump that... So what the heck does religious freedom have to do with how this piece of property is used? Governments decide all the time that some activity is inappropriate for a particular place. Might be because of traffic, noise, inconsistent with other land use.... sorry it's not that you can't do that, you just can't do that there. Sorry.

I like this soundbite: The right to do something doesn't make it right to do. By the same token, the right to one thing (religious rights) don't have to extend to some other right (property). I think the whole argument is a strawman. I don't hear anyone discussing this piece, they are just all wrapped around the axle about how they feel. Meh.

Of course, New York doesn't have a monopoly on bad taste, distasteful policy and poor use of resources. Seems the State Dept. has decided that this Imam is just the person so send on a diplomatic mission to the mid-east. Yeah, he seems like just the person to hold a discussion about religious tolerance and respect. Right.

I really don't like stepping into this mess but since I haven't heard anyone discuss the difference between one right and another instead of subsuming one right to another, I had to toss the idea out there and see what comes of it.

Oh, my comment on constitutional law qualifications? Barry wasn't a constitutional law professor. He wasn't a professor at all. He was a part time lecturer, and while he was hired to discuss constitutional law, that isn't what he "taught" at all. Why do we keep perpetuating this resume embellishment? It isn't OK to embellish a military career. But how is it fair to skewer one person for that while another person parades around as an academic when they weren't even close?
NY Times
conservative blog take on it
second hand testimony

Friday, August 13, 2010

Market Compass Goes Awry When Governments Steal

Bloomberg Opinion by Mark Gilbert

In my not so humble opinion, there are three core issues which make investment risk unmanageable.
1) Governments decide who wins and who loses in the marketplace
2) Governments confiscate and redistribute core assets
3) As citizens, we allow government to keep doing it.

The first is as citizens of any developed country, our willingness to look aside as our corrupt governments choose the winners and losers in business, finance, asset owners and services - from borrowing/credit to insurance to investment markets to manufacturing to health care. The winners and losers are not determined by investments and market, they are determined by policy wonks in government. I can't even say that they are determined by your elected representatives since they don't seem to have a freakin clue what is written in the bills they pass. Only the policy wonks who wrote the bills are really making any of these decisions. Success is not determined by investor trust and understanding of risks, it is determined by whether the government will allow a business to function in a profitable manner. The government intervenes in numerous ways, but these are certainly significant:
  • extorting profits (taxes, fees, ceilings) that are redirected to non-market social programs. Maybe not the best example, but take the tax on cigarettes. The completely unrealistic tax based on product value drives an entire secondary public market of social programs. The people who manage those programs are completely unmotivated by and totally insulated from a non-government valuation of the programs. In other words, the government collects money and does things that people find little value in, yet there is nothing to stop those programs in perpetuity as long as the unrelated revenue is there. This is important because it is a big factor in problem number 2.
  • subsidizing certain industries at the expense of others - this is directly picking winners and losers. For example, lets take from durable medical goods in the form of more taxes and give to the pharmaceuticals in the form of prescription subsidies. Or lets take from coal and give to wind. Or take from farm and give to ranch or take from wheat and give to corn or take from insurance and give to mortgage lending... the list goes on an on and the methods are often difficult to discover, being well hidden in programs supposedly benefiting certain groups of citizens in one way or another.
  • benefiting certain groups over other groups. We sort of expect that the government will support poor people at the expense of rich ones, although often that seems to be the sole objective, not a genuine attempt to alter the ability of poor people to compete more fairly in the economy. Benefiting teachers at the expense of business owners, benefiting farmers at the expense of miners; in fact we don't even have to identify a particular group who are expended. The fact that the government chooses certain groups from among the various producers in the economy and favors them with benefits that other groups don't get is the point. Favoring homeowners, single people (yes, there is no marriage benefit, only a penalty), people with children, nurses, indebted college graduates does make a difference in decisions people make, however it also makes a big difference in the opinions of the people who aren't favored. Sure we all want to have our children taught by happy, competent teachers, and make sure there is a nurse available when we park our parents in the nursing home. But where does that leave the waitress, construction worker and taxi driver? Government has no place in making these value judgments. 
The people who buy the products, do the work, finance the risk and use the services should make these decisions in the marketplace. Otherwise government is owned by special interests, which is what we see happening now. This leads to class warfare and ultimately, when enough people feel the corrupt and capricious decisions of government have a greater risk of harm to them personally than benefit, it leads to revolution.

The second core problem is redirecting resources necessary to generate wealth. This comes in two forms, confiscation and redistribution of a country's assets such as land, timber, water, energy; fungible things such as money, oil, pseudo-products such as futures and carbon credits; and permissions to do certain things (everything from build a hospital to make a mess). When government redirects its income to do certain agreed-upon things like national defense, social programs such as medicare and retirement into other things like banking and automobile manufacturing, it is taking the risk of failure from the private market and putting it on the taxpayer directly. If you want to take a chance on GM or Citibank, you should do that through your own capital investments.

The government should not be creating a funds pool out of your tax dollars and then choosing which stupid business decisions your are going to pay for. This is particularly troublesome because as an individual, you can choose not to take the risk and keep your money for some other purpose you determine is more worthy. When government is allowed to do this, you have no decision about whether a particular risk is worthy of your earnings. Who says GM and Citibank are too big to fail? Moreover, when you decide to take a risk on GM or Citibank, you should feel reasonably certain that your investment will bear fruit based on the performance of the company and the agreed-upon rules of the market. You should not fear that the government is going to confiscate your personal ownership and turn it over to some favored class --- say retired union workers for example.

This is exactly what happened with GM. People who invested in stock, who put their money into divested retirement accounts, who relied on investment managers to return an averaged pools of assets had those chits and their associated GM obligations voided by a bankruptcy court. The assets were not distributed fairly to those who had standing in a divestiture decision. They were given - literally - to the government who in turn gave a portion to unions for the funding of retirement benefits including medical care. From the hands of private investors into the hands of special interests, courtesy of the government. Yes, GM has an obligation to its retirees, but not at your personal expense without your consent. You did not decide to invest your tax money in GM, or pay dues to the union. But you are paying none-the-less by having your investment assets stolen and by having your tax dollars used to shore up the now union owned auto companies (Chrysler is the other entity and the situation there is only worse - your tax dollars are shoring up Fiat, who has no skin in the game having received 20% ownership in Chrysler for exactly $0). Ditto Citibank, AIG, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and so-on. Goldman Sachs = winners; Lehman Brothers = losers. Except for the unions, Chrysler would have been a loser, too -- as they should be based on their performance.

Perhaps you feel that this is history and it's behind us now. Think again. When the government is deciding that using clean, efficient, reliable, available and predictable natural gas for electricity production is a bad thing and instead using environmentally damaging, inefficient, unreliable, only partially available and completely unpredictable wind shall be done instead, we are facing intended and unintended consequences far into the future. Why? Because we are making huge capital investments in very high-risk ventures that cannot be undone -- at the expense of low-risk ventures which then will not exist when high-risk fails. Wind and nuclear energy do not have private market investment support to speak of because no one is stupid enough to put their money there. So the government is putting your money there instead.

Because it is just way too costly to fund on the pubic dime, the government is expecting to pay for it through a non-existent asset called carbon credits. There is no such thing. It is another form of money and it is designed to work like a futures market, except there is no future product being traded. The money for these carbon chits come from the industries that the government has decided will be losers - coal, oil and natural gas. They are collected by the government and given to the losers - wind, solar and nuclear. This is how the government makes winners when the private markets won't have anything to do with it. And you, the taxpayer are not only shouldering the risk, but you are also entirely funding the cost through increases in your energy costs - in whatever form they take. Since it isn't tax revenue, the government will not hold itself accountable for those costs. Rather, it assumes you will shoulder this additional burden silently because you can't elect someone else to be your electric company and you don't have a choice. Here, the government has created an entire new market by taking money out of the economy as we understand it and putting it into a new economy that is managed by government without your market input, just your cash input. The same thing is happening with health care. Remember we have already passed that turkey; carbon credits isn't a federal program yet. It is a regional one. However, when you consider the level of debt the government has incurred, one can only expect that carbon credits under some other name (probably the energy preservation or electrical costs reduction - something opposite of the truth) will have to pass.

My conclusion therefore is that putting your money into precious metals and hiding it in your mattress is a much better risk posture than putting your money in equity markets. You may not be a winner, but at least you won't lose twice, only once as a taxpayer. Even if you did win in the market, the government is destined to confiscate 50% of your winnings, so really what is the point in taking the risk in the first place? Unfortunately, I cannot recommend you go build a carbon futures trading market infrastructure anticipating that skimming the transactions will make for a comfortable retirement. Why? Because Al Gore already has a (government subsidized) monopoly.

If we continue to allow government to keep changing the rules, taking from one to give to another, skimming the transactions and putting the cash in the control of congress, we will continue to reap what we deserve -- more debt, less credit and diminished wealth. Government never grows wealth or increases production.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Federal Budget in Pictures

I think this is a very informative web site and recommend a visit...
Fed Budget Chart Book
Federal spending per household = $31,088

Debt as pct of GDP

I'm working on a chart that shows interest relative to other discretionary spending. No love for MS today.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Constitutional ammendment? We don't need no stinkin ammendment!

The state of Mass approved a new law that awards all 12 of their electoral votes to the prez candidate that wins the most votes nationally. Not that gets the most votes in Mass., the most nationally. Here's what they say:
"What we are submitting is the idea that the president should be selected by the majority of people in the United States of America," Senator James B. Eldridge, an Acton Democrat, said before the Senate voted to enact the bill.
Under the new bill, he said, "Every vote will be of the same weight across the country."
Boston Globe
Supporters are campaigning, state by state, to get such bills enacted. Once states accounting for a majority of the electoral votes (or 270 of 538) have enacted the laws, the candidate winning the most votes nationally would be assured a majority of Electoral College votes. That would hold true no matter how the other states vote and how their electoral votes are distributed.
Well, to hell with the constitution, I guess Mass, Illinois, New Jersey, Hawaii, Maryland, and Washington can make all our decisions for us.

Who wants to lay odds DOJ doesn't sue any of them...

DOJ decides to sue Arizona for enforcing a law that says the same thing federal law says. Oh sorry, states can't do that, it is an activity reserved to the federal government. (I understand that the suit did not address their major complaint - that AZ would overload their system. I guess enforcing federal law regarding our borders interferes too much with the other important things they do.)

Yeah, OK. I guess it makes sense to someone.

Friday, July 23, 2010

What a breath of fresh air

Writing in the summer issue of the magazine The American Scholar, Prof. Laughlin offers a profoundly different perspective on climate change. “Common sense tells us that damaging a thing as old as [Earth] is somewhat easier to imagine than it is to accomplish...
 The real extinction problem, he says, is human population pressure: habitat destruction, pesticide abuse, over-harvesting, species invasion. This is a distinction of great importance because it might help direct environmental concern to goals that people can actually achieve: Forget Gaia, save a marsh; forget the planet, save a frog.
 I can't wait to read the whole essay.
Source: The Globe and Mail

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Climate questions I found answers for

It wasn't hard, really since I watch this blog regularly. I thought these were straightforward answers without a lot of prevarication.Thank you.
Roy Spencer, Ph.D.
A sampling of the questions he answers:
1) Are Global Temperatures Rising Now?
2) Why Do Some Scientists Say It’s Cooling, while Others Say that Warming is Even Accelerating?
3) Haven’t Global Temperatures Risen Before?
7) Is Increasing CO2 Even Capable of Causing Warming?
11) Is Rising CO2 the Cause of Recent Warming?
17) How Important Is “Scientific Consensus” in Climate Research?    

Energy questions I can't find answers for

1) Why not natural gas?
Rather than using tax payer money
  • to replace everyone's electric meters, 
  • to deploy a bunch of wind turbines that will never return on the investment, 
  • to buy a bunch of solar panels when this country doesn't have enough real estate for solar (as we know it now) to ever make a dent in other generation methods,
  • to continue promoting ethanol when it is obvious it takes more energy to make it than we get back, not to mention the conversion of land from better agricultural uses,
  • to build a lot of electric distribution for wind and solar,
  • to fund a few more commissions and panels to mull over the same information we've been mulling for several decades, and 
  • to jump start the manufacture of electric vehicles which will never replace a substantial number of passenger cars let alone truck
Why are we not building distribution for natural gas for vehicle use? It is easy to convert gasoline engines to natural gas, it is much cleaner, and we have a whole lot of it! Seems to me that would be one of the most beneficial ways to use those stimulus dollars - building an infrastructure that would actually transform us away from the oil economy. Why is no one talking about this, what am I missing?

2) If I understand the laws of nature correctly, it takes the same unit of energy to move a unit of mass or to change the temperature of mass, regardless how that unit of energy is produced. In other words, it takes energy to do work and the work doesn't care how you get it. The work could be moving goods from one place to another or it could be changing water to steam. However the work is accomplished, the energy required to do that work is the same. The difference between one method and another will have a lot to do with how much energy is expended outside of the objective. For example, it takes x BTUs to change y liters of water from ice to steam. But applying the BTUs to the water will also increase the temperature of the container, the stuff that is producing the heat (engine, fireplace bricks) and the rest of the local environment (air, ground).

It doesn't matter whether one is using oil, wood or wind-generated electricity, it takes the same amount of energy to produce the same effect. It just comes down to how much is wasted along the way that makes one method more efficient than another.

There are really inefficient ways to produce energy just like there are really inefficient ways to use it. If I need to use as much energy to create a gallon of ethanol as it produces when I burn it (which is still creating the same amount of CO2 duh), then I'm not saving any energy, I'm consuming twice as much. However we decide to replace carbon-based energy with something else, one has to consider the whole formula. How much real estate is used to host those solar cells? What is lost getting the electricity from the solar cell to the house? How many trees (or how much prairie grass) aren't consuming CO2 because those solar cells are using their space? And how much will all those solar cells heat the air around them - those big black heat sinks that will continue heating the air after the sun goes down and they are no longer producing a single watt?

My not-so silly question, doesn't it produce as much CO2 more or less to plow the field with a diesel tractor as it does with a team of oxen?

My serious question about what happens to the energy, doesn't doing the work transfer a lot of heat to the atmosphere apart from whatever CO2 might be produced? How much in total?

My last question, what can we really hope to save through this adventure in massive wealth conversion to wind and sun considering not only the manufacturing but the transmission, storage (!), inefficiency, heat loss, and real estate requirements?

3) We have a *lot* of energy stored in the form of carbon-rich oil and coal. That stuff used to be something else - plants and animals. Before it was oil, what was composition and temperature of the atmosphere? What were the sea levels (like it's even comparable)? It seems to me that oil and coal are about the most efficient and stable ways to sequester CO2 that we could hope for. And before it was oil and coal, it was something else "in the wild." As far as I can tell, when all that carbon and oxygen was in the wild, the world did not end. But it couldn't have been "as we know it" so what was it instead?

4) This is not one of those big picture questions, but I can't confirm the answer. Plants convert CO2 to oxygen, but they also produce CO2 - they "respire." I want to know what the net oxygen production is. And is there a mechanism where O3 is created instead? I found one source that indicates the net is something like this: plants produce oxygen at a rate about twice what they produce in CO2.

I wish I understood this better.

5) Why do people think that CO2 is bad (it is plant food - the sun converting CO2 to carbon and oxygen) and oxygen is good (it is toxic, actually, in concentrations much higher than found naturally and it is the key element in combustion represented not just by fire, but by oxidation - rust, and aging)? Seems to me that CO2 is actually a pretty good way to sequester oxygen, which if we had too much of would destroy the world as we know it.

Friday, July 16, 2010

I can't believe these


Obama on Immigration, July 1, 2010 
'The southern border is more secure today than at any time in the past 20 years.'
Sure bud, what country were you in then?
“Being an American is not a matter of blood or birth, it’s a matter of faith,”
Uh, WTF? Read the constitution, the US constitution.
Said too many times:
"I can make a firm pledge, under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes, not one dime."
America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles of justice and progress, tolerance and the dignity of all human beings. (here)
Yah, that's what I always say about the Taliban: Justice, progress, tolerance and dignity

A 1.6 billion dollar tax break for lawyers -

And Congress doesn't even need to deem, let alone vote
I don't have any confirmation on this, but if true, it sure takes the cake. And eats it, too.

American Thinker

I'm speechless.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Greece on the Great Lakes

Illinois is so far in the hole.... $12 billion!

Items of note:
“Their pension is the most underfunded in the nation,” said Karen S. Krop, a senior director at Fitch Ratings. “They have not made significant cuts or raised revenues. There’s no state out there like this. They can’t grow their way out of this.” 
The state’s income tax burden is not terribly high — Illinois ranks in the bottom half of states — and its government is not terribly large. (The budgets in New York and California, per capita, are much larger). Even if the state cut out all family and human services spending, more than half of the budget deficit would remain. 
 “We are a fiscal poster child for what not to do,” said Ralph Martire of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, a liberal-leaning policy group in Illinois. “We make California look as if it’s run by penurious accountants who sit in rooms trying to put together an honest budget all day.”
Illinois reports that it has $62.4 billion in unfunded pension liabilities, although many experts place that liability tens of billions of dollars higher.
So what do they do? Raise retirement age and slash benefits - for future workers.

NY Times, July 2, 2010

Wonder what Michigan, Ohio and New York look like?

This cannot continue. People, agencies and businesses will be literally bankrupt because the state cannot make payroll and won't even give letters of credit so agencies can borrow against future payments (not that more borrowing is a solution). Those people, businesses and agencies will in turn default on their obligations, causing a cascade of pain that will spread to other states.

And the rest of us (states and citizens alike) will be expected to pick up the tab. Look, I don't have a problem taking care of people who are victims of circumstances. But you can't claim victimhood when you keep electing irresponsible idiots to run your affairs. You can't cannot hold these pensions as untouchable while everyone else loses their job. And you can't keep funding all the things like mental health, after-school programs, and subsidized transportation. You need to eliminate half the things you do if you are buying twice what you can afford. Given the interest due on the Illinois loans, its citizens cannot afford to cross the street right now. More borrowing is not the solution as you won't make interest payments on your loans as it is. The time for tough choices and a change in stewardship is at hand.

If everything is important, nothing is important.

Citizens must hold their elected officials to account and force them to cut up the credit cards. You cannot continue to throw up your hands and claim it wasn't you, it was someone else that brought this on. If you don't, why should the more responsible (or perhaps luckier) people in other states come to your rescue?

This is a recipe for financial disaster and in the case of Illinois, the oven timer is beeping because the goose is cooked.

This is a microcosm of the US in general. Unfunded pensions (social security), unfunded benefits (medicare and veterans) and debt obligations are looming ahead like Jaws, and will consume better than half the federal budget in the near future. Military costs look small by comparison. The taxes you pay now for benefits you think you will get in the future are really taxes for benefits that were given in the past. There is no money set aside for those future benefits and we don't even count them as liabilities in the federal budget. We long ago spent the so-called social security and medicare trust funds. We are simply borrowing more and more money that is not even planned for the government's revenue stream.  Healthcare is no different, it is another ponzi scheme that will suck the revenue out of our economy like a large leech, leaving the middle class not only without medical care, but without the infrastructure to restore privately funded services.

Is the answer to grow the economy out of this? Here's the problem with that idea: interest payments are non-productive. They do not build infrastructure, provide any services, create any industries, improve education, save for the future or pay for expenses. Think of it like money thrown in the fire. Interest payments do not build the economy. It enriches the financial industry and is used to lend more to -- whom? To the "little people," the small businesses and the local governments who will be broke because of taxes (to pay the interest).  On the other hand, if we refuse to pay the interest, then we destroy the very financial institutions that we borrowed to the hilt to save just last year. The ones we say we need so we can borrow just to survive. They provide the mortgages, car loans, even the infrastructure we use now to pay "cash" for everything from gas and groceries to cable and phone bills.

It is a vicious cycle. It destroys your standard of living, therefore quality of life. It consumes your freedoms as the government makes your choices and you can't afford any alternatives. The more you make, the more you are taxed. It makes you a slave to the bank. And now we are doing it on a national scale. So, even if you are debt free with 6 months of food in your basement, your neighbors are not, your government is not, and both will be at your doorstep to take what you have.

Stop the madness, stop the spending!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Do you need more reasons to fire Congress?

Reason 1
Besides the fact that they are not doing the job they swore to do? 
One job that Congress is constitutionally charged to perform (as there is no other entity in the government that can do it) is pass a federal government budget. The senate can't, the president can't, the office of management and budget can't, the congressional budget office can't. Only the house of representatives can do this.

For the first time in history, the House has failed to pass a budget. Even more absurd, they "deemed" a fictitious $1.12 trillion budget as passed (well beyond what the government plans to bring in - deficit). That means the government can spend money starting October 1, just like the government has been doing this year.

From Human Events
Last night, as part of a procedural vote on the emergency war supplemental bill, House Democrats attached a document that "deemed as passed" a non-existent $1.12 trillion budget. The execution of the "deeming" document allows Democrats to start spending money for Fiscal Year 2011 without the pesky constraints of a budget.

The procedural vote passed 215-210 with no Republicans voting in favor and 38 Democrats crossing the aisle to vote against deeming the faux budget resolution passed.

Never before -- since the creation of the Congressional budget process -- has the House failed to pass a budget, failed to propose a budget then deemed the non-existent budget as passed as a means to avoid a direct, recorded vote on a budget, but still allow Congress to spend taxpayer money.

Reason 2
Largest tax hikes in history
From Americans for Tax Reform
Personal income tax rates will rise.  The top income tax rate will rise from 35 to 39.6 percent (this is also the rate at which two-thirds of small business profits are taxed).  The lowest rate will rise from 10 to 15 percent.  All the rates in between will also rise.  Itemized deductions and personal exemptions will again phase out, which has the same mathematical effect as higher marginal tax rates.  The full list of marginal rate hikes is below:

- The 10% bracket rises to an expanded 15%
- The 25% bracket rises to 28%
- The 28% bracket rises to 31%
- The 33% bracket rises to 36%
- The 35% bracket rises to 39.6%

Higher taxes on marriage and family.  The “marriage penalty” (narrower tax brackets for married couples) will return from the first dollar of income.  The child tax credit will be cut in half from $1000 to $500 per child.  The standard deduction will no longer be doubled for married couples relative to the single level.  The dependent care and adoption tax credits will be cut.

The AMT will ensnare over 28 million families, up from 4 million last year.  According to the left-leaning Tax Policy Center, Congress’ failure to index the AMT will lead to an explosion of AMT taxpaying families—rising from 4 million last year to 28.5 million.  These families will have to calculate their tax burdens twice, and pay taxes at the higher level.  The AMT was created in 1969 to ensnare a handful of taxpayers.

Obama Care.
There are over twenty new or higher taxes in Obamacare.  Several will first go into effect on January 1, 2011.  They include:

The “Medicine Cabinet Tax”  Thanks to Obamacare, Americans will no longer be able to use health savings account (HSA), flexible spending account (FSA), or health reimbursement (HRA) pre-tax dollars to purchase non-prescription, over-the-counter medicines (except insulin).

The “Special Needs Kids Tax”  This provision of Obamacare imposes a cap on flexible spending accounts (FSAs) of $2500 (Currently, there is no federal government limit).  There is one group of FSA owners for whom this new cap will be particularly cruel and onerous: parents of special needs children.

So how's that hope and change thing working out for YOU?
Get your Obama Tax Exemption Card here

Monday, June 28, 2010

Expert credibility in climate change, as told by expert snarks

Expert credibility in climate change
an article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)

Just to make sure I have this correctly:

People who study climate like to have an income.
The income comes mostly from the government.
The government "grants" income if the answer is what they want (not being scientists, facts and evidence are not an issue of consequence to politics and revenue).
If you don't have the right answer, you don't get grants (economic forcing?).
If you don't get grants, you don't get published.
Leading to fewer grants, thereby having negative feedback on "prominence," reputation and credibility.
Or you go study something else because food and shelter are good things.
Therefore, you aren't qualified to debate the matter, having failed to develop relevant expertise, like railroad engineering for example.

Do I have this right? Just checking.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Political Theater Where the Findings are Preordained

Jerry Taylor of the libertarian Cato Institute described the investigation as "an exercise in political theater where the findings are preordained by the people put on the commission."

This should not surprise anyone. A commission appointed by OB doesn't seem to have much technical expertise. Rather, it seems to have a lot of policy wonks who have already have the answers.
Like I said, those of you in Gulf states, I hope you like your commission. After all, the prez knows best.

Obama spill panel big on policy, not engineering

Saturday, June 19, 2010

About energy policy: get government out of the business.

Going (way) back to my issue about having government choose the winners and losers (especially when it is apparent the motives are anything but transparent, possibly criminal, and benefit the companies who are not in energy businesses to begin with). What BO has stated for years is that the path to alternative energy and a cleaner environment is to make carbon-based energy so expensive and/or scarce that you don't have an alternative (choice) except for what the government has developed for you (with your tax dollars, but without input from the very industry it destroys).

When was the last time government developed a successful product? Atom bomb (wait, that was technically "successful," just not an allowable source of energy)? Cure for cancer? Even decoding the human genome has produced nothing life changing for the billions we spent. The moon program produced a lot of valuable engineering, but it was private industry that produced products. Take the core research and patents behind Kevin Costner's oil separation centrifuges, one he bought from the Dept. of Energy after Valdez. My point is not about the effectiveness of his product, it is that DOE and the other government agencies failed to do anything with it (or anything else) where there was a clear need, and compelling government interest. An actor and dreamer built it instead. So why do we expect the government to produce any effective carbon energy alternatives?

What started this rant? Two articles from the same blog, Master Resource.

One is an excellent explanation about effective grass roots activism that goes contrary to what we usually expect from the green side. This approach addresses how to deal with the emotional blackmail like save the polar bears. The subject in this case is wind energy. The writer is equally passionate on the subject of why not wind turbines. Grass roots strategy: go for the juggler.

The other is an article that explains just how losers become winners by applying political influence they obtain, not by being knowledgeable about energy or alternative energy, rather by using credibility from being perceived as successful doing something else. Do they have energy solutions? No, they are spouting off the same drivel we have been getting for years: more committees, more theoretical speculators -- people who have your skin in the game not theirs, and who benefit from that whole process, not from the results.  These people are always around to make sure their interests and friends are first in line at the government trough. It has nothing to do with party.

This regime is a poster child for "the ends justifies the means" (classic Alinsky), with the post-modern twist of the means is the end. In other words, keep spending your tax dollars and never get anywhere, just drive around for a few decades. Let the good times roll on. And if having committees who borrow the credibility of scientists to promote their political agenda doesn't scare you, you haven't read my post here.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What are the priorities again?

Make BP pay.
Have the government give people BPs money.
Make BP capture the oil in a few weeks.
Watch what amounts to 10,000 people per state pick up tar balls.
Make BP pay.
Stop drilling.
Have BP give money to people that the government layed off by putting a moratorium on offshore drilling for 6 months (huh?!?).
Have people study the accident.
Have people study the gulf coast other crises and problems (hey Gulf Coast, hope you enjoy DC studying you and deciding what you need, like they did with Katrina).
Reorganize minerals management - whip those slackers into shape (butts to kick).
More regulations, standards and enforcement.
End our oil addiction (because we have run out of safe places to drill?!? NOT)
Embrace clean energy (go ahead, give it a big hug and a kiss).
Spend another $80 billion we don't have. Tax oil so we can pay for more unemployment benefits and medicare and tax benefits and...
Legislate more efficient buildings, make power companies use solar and wind (which not only costs more but is less efficient and has a bigger carbon footprint) and conduct R&D (if you know carbon or hydraulic operations, how are you qualified to do something unknown? It's like having your drug store perform cancer research.)
Pray for courage.

Yup, just read that over and I don't see anything about plugging the damn hole. Or saving the wildlife and wetlands. Or protecting the coasts. Or get the oil out of the water. Nope, don't see any of that.

This presidency: Reasons why what seemed like a great idea isn't working

An interesting article in American Thinker. HT to Doug
Selected text from the article:
How could a new president riding in on a wave of unprecedented promise and goodwill have forfeited his tenure and become a lame duck in six months? His poll ratings are in free fall. In generic balloting, the Republicans have now seized a five point advantage. This truly is unbelievable. What's going on?
No narrative. Obama doesn't have a narrative. No, not a narrative about himself. He has a self-narrative, much of it fabricated, cleverly disguised or written by someone else. But this self-narrative is isolated and doesn't connect with us.  He doesn't have an American narrative that draws upon the rest of us. All successful presidents have a narrative about the American character that intersects with their own where they display a command of history and reveal an authenticity at the core of their personality that resonates in a positive endearing way with the majority of Americans.
Dorothy Rabinowitz in the Wall Street Journal points out: He is failing because he has no understanding of the American people, and may indeed loathe them.
... he's dissed just about every one of us--financiers, energy producers, banks, insurance executives, police officers, doctors, nurses, hospital administrators, post office workers, and anybody else who has a non-green job.
If this much intrigues you, please click over to AT and read the rest.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

This is open transparent government?!? Despicable!

Claiming “scientific consensus” and “peer reveiw” for findings that have neither
The seven experts who advised President Obama on how to deal with offshore drilling safety after the Deepwater Horizon explosion are accusing his administration of misrepresenting their views to make it appear that they supported a six-month drilling moratorium — something they actually oppose.
The experts, recommended by the National Academy of Engineering, say Interior Secretary Ken Salazar modified their report last month, after they signed it, to include two paragraphs calling for the moratorium on existing drilling and new permits.
Salazar’s report to Obama said a panel of seven experts “peer reviewed” his recommendations, which included a six-month moratorium on permits for new wells being drilled using floating rigs and an immediate halt to drilling operations.
“None of us actually reviewed the memorandum as it is in the report,” oil expert Ken Arnold told Fox News. “What was in the report at the time it was reviewed was quite a bit different in its impact to what there is now. So we wanted to distance ourselves from that recommendation.”
Salazar apologized to those experts Thursday.
Gosh, sorry to put words in your mouth. But don't expect us to change the policy.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Ack! Stop the breathing!

“CO2 is not a pollutant and it is not a poison and we should not corrupt the English language by depriving ‘pollutant’ and ‘poison’ of their original meaning. Our exhaled breath contains about 4 percent CO2. That is 40,000 parts per million, or about 100 times the current atmospheric concentration. CO2 is absolutely essential for life on earth.” – William Happer, Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professor of Physics at Princeton University, May 20, 2010.
HT Climate Change Fraud

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

How many is 1 billion?

A billion is a difficult number to comprehend, but one advertising agency did a good job of
 putting that figure into some perspective in one of it's releases.

 A. A billion seconds ago it was 1959.

 B. A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive.

 C A billion hours ago our ancestors were living in the Stone Age..

 D. A billion days ago no-one walked on the earth on two feet.

 E. A billion dollars ago was only 8 hours and 20 minutes, at the rate our government  is spending it.

 While this thought is still fresh in our brain let's take a look at New Orleans ...
 It's amazing what you can learn with some simple division.

 Louisiana Senator, Mary Landrieu (D)  is presently askingCongress for 250 BILLION DOLLARS
to rebuild New Orleans. Interesting number...  what does it mean?

A. Well... if you are one of the 484,674 residents of New Orleans (every man, woman, and child) you each get $516,528.

 B. Or... if you have one of the 188,251 homes in New Orleans , your home gets $1,329,787.

 C. Or... if you are a family of four... your family gets$2,066,012.

I wonder how much Mary Landrieu got?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Does Climate Change Matter?

In response to an interview between Climate Skeptic and Esquire Middle East, which is the subject of Reader Opinion Day at the Air Vent. The questions posed by Esquire Middle East are so blatantly biased that disingenuous doesn't begin to cover it. 

My frustration with the whole issue is that the first assumption seems to be it is the only issue. And everything else gets spun according to the requirements of the one issue. For example, deforestation and pollution - it isn't the same problem. Lumping pollution in with the global warming agenda is validation that the warmists don't feel it is a problem worthy of its own analysis. There are far more effective ways to reverse the accumulation of plastic trash in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre that attempting to outlaw oil.

My issue isn't with whether global warming exists or doesn't exist. My issue is that in context, relative to other issues, it does not warrant the level of economic commitment and human suffering that the proposed solutions will entail. The purveyors of the issue wail that if we don't have an earth to live on, then everything else doesn't matter. That is a hysterical argument. If one is willing to accept a qualify of life accorded to the population of say, Afghanistan, then sure, the price can be paid. Energy has consequences, good and bad. Eliminating energy or satisfying ourselves with what can be produced through wind, solar and hydroelectric are unlikely outcomes. Since we simply are not going to find enough members of the global population to willingly go there, taking the argument to its emotional extremes is a waste of time.

In the scheme of things, where does this problem fall on the list of priorities including:

Pollution, environmental destruction, amelioration and reversal of the current state;
Disease and health care, and better delivery systems to populations lacking basic care and prevention;
Food, clean water, population health and nutrition (which is related to disease prevention, and axis of health care);
Human rights - everything from genocide to female excoriation;
Affordable and available energy, since it is the foundation of productivity (without means of economic productivity, how will populations ever achieve self determination)?