It's the best way to reduce stress and help the brain function effectively.
August 2010 Archives
It's the best way to reduce stress and help the brain function effectively.
Meanwhile, I'm paying the taxes, bringing up the family, and driving the ten-year-old minivan that can be heard a tenth of a mile down the street with all its squeaking. There'll be no gravy train when I retire in approx. twenty-three years.
Most of what the gubmit spends is, in fact, on the elderly. And these programs are on autopilot. Only the military spending varies. Here are the facts, as presented by Dr. Walter Williams:
Federal tax receipts for 2009 totaled $2.1 trillion. The largest items in the federal budget were Social Security ($710 billion), national defense ($689 billion), Medicare ($456 billion) and Medicaid ($327 billion). The primary recipients of federal spending are seniors. Some of the letters argued that it's unfair to characterize what seniors are getting as handouts because they worked all their lives and paid into Social Security and Medicare.
But Bill Gates, obviously very cognizant of the importance IQ points even if he won't go where logic dictates in having a more meritocratic educational system--see Thomas Jefferson's harsh description of what it would look like in heartless form at the end of Chapter 14 in his Notes on the State of Virginia--lauds this wonderful guy who is now instructing Gates's own children, Sal Khan.
The Khan Academy is a place where one can go and learn from a better teacher than is likely present in his or her own public or private school.
I am also interested in IQ and education. I agree with Jefferson more than the modern followers of John Dewey, or the latest imitator. One of my great teachers Ernest van den Haag, who is vilified on Wikipedia--a dead white conservative (former Marxist)--made the point that Charles Murray has echoed in his must-read book, Read Education: college should be for smart guys (and, increasingly, gals). One hundred fifteen IQ, approx. But we've opened the doors, made going to college an entitlement, and watered it down to meaninglessness. The bachelor's degree? What's that worth today?
I went to college for seven years. Yes, a superannuated student was I. My sister, never having gone, makes more money working her one very successful job than I do in working two. (School starts Wednesday for me.)
Mr. Murray, the second smartest man I've ever met, says the modern educational system is "living a lie." That's powerful stuff. I happen to agree with it. I mean, it's incontrovertible.
Life's unfair. Just look at this datum from a remarkable George Will column:
By age 4, the average child in a professional family hears about 20 million more words than the average child in a working-class family and about 35 million more than the average child in a welfare family -- a child often alone with a mother who is a high school dropout.It's all about family, IQ, and attitude. The schools aren't as meaningful as commonly thought.
After removing the water separator/fuel filter and emptying it into an appropriate transparent container, I was surprised to see no evidence of water or ethanol/water sludge. Uh oh. That left one other possibility: electrical.
Because I had removed one of the batteries in The Boat to lend it to my work compadre for his boat and since the problem didn't occur until after I did this, I thought it might have had something to do with it. I reinstalled the battery, fired up the engine, and let it run for a few minutes to get it to operating temperature. Then I opened the throttle to rev it to the same level it was when I had the problem. There were no misfires, no sputtering, and the engine ran smoothly. This wasn't proof positive the problem had been fixed as the engine wasn't under load. That had to wait until today so I could take it out onto the lake and try it...or so I thought. Other duties took precedence so the test cruise out onto Lake Winnipesaukee will have to wait until after work on Monday.
One advantage of waiting until Monday: BeezleBub won't be working. Today was his last 'full' day because school starts Wednesday and he goes to his Saturday-only work schedule at the farm.
**********It was Old Home Day yesterday here in our little town. It's a celebration of everything that makes our town special to us. BeezleBub's boss Farmer Andy and his missus were the Grand Marshals for the celebration.
There were all kinds of activities running the gamut of kids games, tours of a number of historical society museums and sites, horse-drawn wagon rides, a parade, and lots of vendor booths selling all kinds of goods and food. I admit to partaking of an ice cream sundae (sold by our local church for fund raising), two oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (made by our favorite breakfast eatery), and some double fried french fries (really crispy, just the way I like them).
Needless to say I didn't feel the need to eat dinner after eating all that stuff. At least I didn't overdo it otherwise I might have never been able to work on The Boat afterwards.
**********The big gathering hosted by Glenn Beck at The Mall in Washington DC was not what the MSM had probably believed it was. The Washington Post tried to minimize the size of the gathering, claiming 'thousands' attended. The photo in the article was misleading, giving a very narrow view towards the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. An aerial view of the same event shows over 300 thousand people attending the event.
Beck's gathering certainly didn't fit into the narrative Reverend Al Sharpton was selling, trying to paint it as some kind of twisted theft of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's legacy. That Dr. King's niece spoke at the conservative gathering has more to say about the Tea party than anything Sharpton could.
Should the Left be worried about the gathering steam of the Tea party? Absolutely.
**********Now to something entirely different: The Wankel Engine.
I've been a big fan of the Wankel ever since the Mazda RX-2 came on the market. A former girlfriend had one entirely tricked out and it was an absolute screamer, pumping out a lot of horsepower out of only 1300 cc's of displacement. I co-drove a Mazda RX-3 Rally car for a couple of seasons and was always impressed with the performance. I saw more than my share of RX-7's out on the track during my road-racing days. A co-worker drove a latter day RX-7 for a couple of seasons and had nothing but praise for its performance. I've even seen a head-to-head comparison of two identical boats, one with a fuel-injected 4.3L Volvo Penta V6 power train and the other with a marine version of the modern Mazda 13B Wankel. The Wankel powered boat blew away the V6, with equal horsepower (~225HP) but at a fraction of the weight. (A two rotor 13B Wankel has only six moving parts. The V6 has approximately 166 moving parts.)
Here's a video showing the components of a Wankel and how it works.
**********A number of diseases once thought to be on the verge of extinction are making a comeback.
I believe some of them have returned because misinformed parents have decided immunization is far more dangerous than the diseases those immunizations are supposed to protect against. They're wrong and it's their kids who are paying the price for it.
Other maladies have also returned, including bedbugs. These pests could be dealt with easily if the EPA allowed the use of DDT to eradicate them. But because of Rachel Carlson, DDT - one of the most effective insecticides ever created - has been banned. Not that there weren't problems with DDT if used incorrectly, but use in situations like this are highly unlikely to cause any disruption of the ecology or create a Silent Spring.
**********It's one thing when climate scientists 'analyze' data. It's another thing when statisticians analyze the same data sets and come up with entirely different results. And so it goes with the Mann Hockey Stick which, after the statisticians used Mann's data, came up with an entirely different looking graph. (Scroll down below the updates to see the original post and links.)
(H/T Maggie's Farm)
**********Adding a little more fuel to the fire about the Ground Zero Mosque is this opinion video from one Brit who gets it.
I'd say Pat Condell has hit the main points about the Ground Zero Mosque and how it will be perceived, not just in America, but in the Muslim world. Those perceptions will be entirely opposite to each other, sending the wrong message which in the end will mean more trouble, pain, and death rather than less.
**********As if we need even more evidence that high tax rates affect business decisions, an increasing number of high tech companies are abandoning California for low tax states.
The latest to join the departing crowd: Adobe, eBay, and game maker EA are all pulling up stakes and heading to Utah.
The list of companies that have already left or have moved a majority of their operations out of California include Apple, Buck Knives, Ditech, Fluor Corp., Lennox, Pixel Magic, Denny's, DuPont, Fidelity National Financial, JC Penney, Intel, Intuit, Hilton Hotels Corp., Nissan North America, Northrop Grumman, Schott Solar, Starkist, Teledesic, Toyota, Yahoo, and USAA Insurance, just to name a few.
And with those moves go a lot of jobs and the taxes that would otherwise go to California. And people wonder why some business in the US have shifted their operations overseas when the taxes and regulations being dumped on them in greater numbers makes it less attractive to do business here.
As has been said over the years "As goes California, so goes the nation." Let's hope not.
**********Cassy Fiano links and comments about Muslim bullying at Disneyland, where Disney officials have made every effort to accommodate the needs of a female Muslim employee who insists she be allowed to wear her hijab while in costume. Every attempt to reach a compromise has been met with rejection.
I have a feeling this woman and her friends at CAIR have bitten off more than they can chew. I hope Disney stands its ground and doesn't cave on this issue. After all, this employee knew the conditions of her employment before going in and now after two years of employment wants to change the rules after the fact.
(H/T Pirate's Cove)
**********I have to agree with Michelle Malkin on this one: The Summer of Recovery is looking more like The Beltway Chainsaw Massacre.
**********Gateway Pundit gives us the Tale of Two Rallies: Clean Conservatives versus Filthy Liberals.
It appears conservatives clean up after themselves while liberals believe someone else will pick up after them.
**********A bit of not surprising news: Used car prices are up as much as 30%. Gee, could it be that Cash For Clunkers had something to do with that? Radley Balko certainly thinks so.
So we have a government program whose stated aim was to shore up huge, failed corporations by giving public money to mostly upper-income people that in the end will penalize low and middle-income people. But remember folks, it's the libertarians--who opposed C4C--who are greedy corporatists who hate the poor.What did Obama and Congress think would happen to the used car market in light of Cash For Clunkers? When they artificially reduced the supply of used cars (using taxpayer money) did they really believe there wouldn't be a rise in used car prices? I certainly thought it was a really bad idea.
Call it yet another example of the Law of Unintended Consequences coming into play and biting Obama and Congressional Democrats in the a**.
(H/T Pun Salad)
**********And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where school starts on Wednesday, a new heat wave started today that's expected to last all week, and where I'm still feeling the effects of our town's Old Home Day.
While xenophopia is fear of the alien, oikophobia is defined as fear of the familiar: "the disposition, in any conflict, to side with 'them' against 'us', and the felt need to denigrate the customs, culture and institutions that are identifiably 'ours.' " I think the term applies. After all the "liberal elite finds Americans revolting", something that can be taken two ways.
They may see the rest of us as the great unwashed masses, but they are also experiencing our long overdue revolt against their condescending We-Know-Better-Than-You attitudes, particularly about how we live our lives. It's not like they're a shining example of how we should live considering they suffer from the same maladies as everyone else: infidelity, licentiousness, addiction, sloth, greed, larceny, ignorance, jealousy, violence, and yes, murder. I think what makes them worse though is their willful ignorance, choosing to remain ignorant about things the rest of us find important because they affect our every day lives and the lives of those around us. But that is likely just another manifestation of their oikophobia. Yet another? How about this for an example:
If you think it's offensive for a Muslim group to exploit the 9/11 atrocity, you're an anti-Muslim bigot and un-American to boot. It is a claim so bizarre, so twisted, so utterly at odds with common sense that it's hard to believe anyone would assert it except as some sort of dark joke. Yet for the past few weeks, it has been put forward, apparently in all seriousness, by those who fancy themselves America's best and brightest, from the mayor of New York all the way down to Peter Beinart.So if we do not agree with their view of how the world should be, we are dismissed as barely cognizant troglodytes, incapable of higher thought processes? It figures. But then, that's how they raise their self-esteem. - tearing down those they see as inferior, even when they aren't. It makes them feel special.
Unfortunately special can be defined for them as "snooty, self-appointed anointed...and clueless."
There's nothing I can add to this. It speaks for itself.
But every now and again a story comes out that reminds me of the truest American approach to education. Paul Galvin writes about this approach:
There is nothing inherently American about a top-down, one-size-fits-all public school system, a system drawn from the authoritarian Prussian model...Hearthside teaching aka home schools, private tutoring, and small community-based private schools (with the emphasis on small) are representative of the American tradition.An example of this traditional and commendable approach can be found here in Merrimack, NH. This magnificent young lady has interests, thoughts, and beliefs which would be very hard to sustain at the public school. Pro-Second Amendment? Pro-dead white males? Pro-liberty and Constitution? Pro-life? At best, she'd be considered weird. Notice her home--a Mormon one--consciously celebrates life. Look at the background collage of all the baby pictures. That's the kind of home that will save us.
Libertarians have to stop believing they can love liberty, but consciously embrace the left whenever possible. It's the right that is the natural ally.
**I don't home school. Not yet.
The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.So why is there a federal dept. of education? Other than a power grab by a politician (Jimmy Carter) and as a sop to the teacher unions.
It seems the media and the Left want to see the Tea party as nothing more than an extension of the GOP or the Religious Right, and therefore not worthy of their attention, unless it's for something negative (even if they have to make it up). They ignore that the Tea party isn't happy with the GOP either and have worked to "throw the bums out" from both the Republican and the Democrat parties. We've seen this in a number of state primaries where incumbents have been defeated by newcomers supported by their local Tea parties. If anything it can be said the Tea party isn't an extension of the GOP. Instead it's an insurgency aiming to reform the GOP and remove the RINO faction that has made it seem more like the Democrats, with profligate spending and expansion of the size of government (though to a lesser extent).
All kinds of motivations and political beliefs have been laid at the feet of the Tea parties and their supporters by the Left. Unfortunately for them they're wrong. All those supporting the Tea parties want is fiscal sanity by the government to to be left alone by that same government. How do we know that?
Because they've told us so.
Well, there are real-world examples showing the truth that humans respond to incentives/disincentives, the great insight of this economic thought.
#1. Western Europe and the US have the same tax revenues despite Europe's higher tax rates. Liberal economists eat their words."Whose Laffing Now?"
#2 Amity Shlaes compares Maine and New Hampshire. This is what Warren T. Brookes used to do in showing how NH would bounce back sooner than her New England neighbors from a recession (and have a less severe shock to boot). Shlaes could also compare the US and Argentina, where the latter had a slightly larger economy per capita about 70 years ago before embarking on ruinous socialist policies that impoverished her vis-a-via the US.
I mean this guy is like a Khalil Gibran of relationships:
You could spend $100,000 on a lavish wedding, but the thing she'll most fondly remember is that erotic note you hastily scrawled on a cocktail napkin and passed to her under the table. Think about it.
An occasional commenter here posted her viewpoints about the Ground Zero mosque and I felt compelled to answer her. Paulina and I rarely see eye to eye on anything, but I respect her opinions because, quite frankly, she tends to think things through before writing about them. There are times when she lets emotion override logic, but it occurs rarely (that I've seen). I think this is one of those times.
When I first heard about the "Ground Zero Mosque" a few weeks back, all the controversy made me think there was a plan to build a Hagia Sophia type structure right where the trade center stood. Turns out it's some sort of community center (gym, swimming pool, theater and a mosque) two blocks away from ground zero, planned by a Sufi (read: peaceful, Buddhist-like) Imam (Feisal Abdul Rauf, or whatever). Never mind that there is already a mosque four blocks away and that lower Manhattan was originally a very muslim community (back in the late 19th century it was called Little Syria) - why is it that the very people who like to get all outraged on behalf of the constitution are forgetting it's very first amendment?So the reason for the opposition is because we're all Muslim-hating, intolerant conservativs, and worse, Christians? Yeah. Right.
I know why, of course. It's because most Americans and certainly most conservatives, like to think of America as a christian nation. They like to throw their bible into political arguments (gay marriage? no way - it's an abomination!). More importantly, they have found themselves a nice little enemy in Islam. What used to be a multifaceted religion practiced by nearly a third of the world's population, is now equated with intolerant governments and terrorism. The idea that Islam is a violent religion is now somehow taken as a fact. And this I also understand. We all need an "other" to hate or put down. I myself have an "other" in conservatives and all religious fanatics, christian and muslim alike. Still, it is the intolerance and bigotry that piss me off the most when it comes to my "others" and so I've decided that it would be an excellent idea to build and actually mosque, with minarets and all, right there next to where the trade center stood, to symbolize the hope for tolerance and peace.
Here was my comment to her post:
We're told we must be tolerant of other beliefs, primarily Islam. However the reverse isn't true, as seen every day by the likes of the media, academia, the government, and the multi-culti proselytizers. Those of us of Judeo-Christian beliefs must not be tolerated because, after all, It's-All-Our-Fault. The Muslim community in New York has shown great insensitivity to the feelings and beliefs of those who lost loved ones on That Terrible Day. It is they who are showing intolerance, not those protesting against something they see as a slap in the face.The argument has been made in other places that there are already churches, strip joints, and an OTP parlor surrounding Ground Zero, so why should building a mosque create such a controversy? It's simple, really. They were already there on That Terrible Day. Frankly, if the mosque had also been there on That Terrible Day, I doubt there would be nearly as much opposition to it. There might even have been none. But that isn't the case here.
Whether the intentions of those wanting to build the new community center are good or otherwise, I believe they could have handled it differently which might have lessened the opposition to it. Instead, they sprang it on the people of New York with little or no notice, something they should not have done. It showed insensitivity. Did they really expect any different response under those circumstances?
We headed out onto the lake for some waterskiing, wakeboarding, and anything else we could thing of, including a late dinner at one of the lakeside restaurants.
We did hit a couple of snags along the way.
First, my compadre's boat had a dead battery. That problem was easi8ly fixed with a battery transplant between The Boat and his boat. (The Boat has two batteries.)
Second, The Boat had issues with some water in the gas, causing all kinds of problems when we wanted to go fast. Considering the distance we needed to cover, using The Boat was not a viable option. So we headed back to the docks where I returned The Boat to its slip and we headed out again in my compadre's boat.
Finally we made it to the restaurant and had ourselves a leisurely meal.
Just before we headed back home the moon rose, giving us a 'night light' to steer by. When we got back to the docks I and the others helped my compadre get his boat back on his trailer, reversed the battery transplant, and returned to our homes. I finally got home to The Manse just in time to catch the rest of second half of the Patriots-Rams preseason game on the TV.
All in all, it was an awesome 'night out with the boys'.
Ft. Hood is the largest US Army base and a jihadi had 15 or more minutes of unimpeded firing. Nothing in this report will prevent the next attack.
First off, the POTUS should remand the order by that Clinton fellow who turned our military bases into gun free zones (except for the MPs scattered in obvious locations). It's disgusting. That's one lesson still left to be learned.
Lawrence Auster is as worried as I.
Well, it may have been as many as four guys from other Muslim countries, trained talent, who were tracked down by the British SAS and lit up by lasers for the planes to drop a load on their foreheads.
I love this stuff. I recommend Stephen Hunter's books, esp. this one. I don't remember ever having read a better book.
Which two states are we talking about?
Maine and New Hampshire.
Amity Shlaes uses these two states to show how out of touch our President is when it comes to how tax policy and government spending can have an effect on the economy, positive and negative.
Even before Obama was born, some states were applying the Obama rule of "spend, even if it means higher taxes, and you will grow." Others operated on the philosophy that less government, even perhaps in times of trouble, served their residents better.Amity goes on to explain how both states were at parity in regards to taxes, income, and government largess back in 1946, but took divergent paths from that point on. Maine ended up adopting both a sales and income tax while New Hampshire still has neither. (The point could be made that New Hampshire does actually have one in the form of an Interest & Dividends Tax, but most folks pay neither because they don't have enough income from either to trigger the tax.)
J. Scott Moody of Public Choice Analytics, a New Hampshire public policy consultant who specializes in cross-state analysis, ran his own experiment. Moody compared Maine, a state that more than 60 years ago embarked on one path, with New Hampshire, which went a different route. Like the president, Moody favors an emphasis on the household pocketbook. He therefore spends time looking at per capita personal income of individuals.
In the end the two different paths taken have illustrated quite handily how taxes and federal largess can have an overall negative effect on the state so afflicted.
Overall today, Maine residents shoulder a heavier tax burden than do those of New Hampshire. State and local taxes take 12.6 percent of personal income in Maine, the sixth-highest share among states. In New Hampshire state and local taxes take 8.7 percent, putting New Hampshire at 49th for tax burden.In general New Hampshire hasn't suffered nearly as much from this recession as the other states in New England and the rest of the northeast. Historically, New Hampshire has fared better during recessions and recovered from them more quickly since the 1970's. Such success can be attributed to the state's low tax burden and limited government.
The result? Decade in, decade out, New Hampshire's economy grew faster than Maine's, so that the Granite State surpassed the Pine Tree State in 1984 and today boasts an output that is 20 percent bigger. Maine's recessions and double dips were worse than New Hampshire's. Eventually New Hampshire also won the population contest, passing Maine, in part thanks to migration. Last month, joblessness was 8.1 percent in Maine, better than Ohio but still bad, and 5.8 percent in New Hampshire.
Unfortunately over the past 4 years the state has been inflicted with a milder form of the Tax-And-Spend disease that has plagued so many other states. Fortunately the voters have managed to hold the line at the town/city level, reining in spending and keeping property taxes in check. They are also making known their displeasure with their spendthrift legislators, seeing them for the wastrels they have become. An example: the legislature made the mistake of trying to abscond with $110 million in private funds from a state chartered medical malpractice association to help fill a ~$250 million budget deficit of their own making. Fortunately the state Supreme Court saw through the maneuver and told the state government the money wasn't theirs and to keep their hands off. That hasn't stopped the legislature from trying an end run around the Court, but the voters are quite aware of what's been going on and will likely correct the problem this coming November.
How many other states would have had their Supreme Court slap down a money grab by their legislatures? How many other states would fire the legislators trying to spend and tax their citizens money to the point where the state would no longer be attractive to businesses? Not to many, from what I can see.
So what does any of this have to do with what's been going on in Washington? Simply this: If the tax, spend, and grow the government at any cost agenda doesn't work at the state level, what makes Obama, Pelosi, and Reid think it will work at the national level? The only difference will be the number of zeroes in the size of the deficits. Unfortunately I doubt any of them will take the hint.
The video available at Gateway Pundit about his walking out of an interview at the Washington Times editorial conference room. He was being queried by editiorial head honcho James Robbins and was put in a position to discuss historical examples of jihad that had more to do with warfare than moral rejuvenation.
It's amazing the empty suits we've got in charge.
If the 27.2% plunge in existing home sales is any indicator, the 'recovery' has just had a major setback. If home sales are falling, small businesses tied directly and indirectly to housing aren't seeing any increases in their business. This in turn means they won't be adding any new employees.
Can anyone say "Double Dip Recession?"
Walter Williams has the data in "Who Cares About Our Future?":
Just don't expect it will have much meaning, as a Tennessee pastor found out much to his chagrin recently.
I have a brother and a sister; my wife has two sisters. All are or have been married. Out of these four, how many children do you think have been produced? One.Extended family is the reason Americans survived the last Great Depression; the absence of extended family is the reason we won't survive the next one.
I have one nephew. My wife has no nieces or nephews. How sad. But typical. (My brother was only recently married, but figures to have only one or two.)
I've written about this before. The practical materialism of esp middle class whites will spell the doom of the American way of life. Middle class people--the "lower classes" from the aristocracy's point of view, it's interesting to note--have historically voluntarily limited their family size, unlike their social betters (nobles prideful of familial blood) and peasants (children are an economic asset to the farm). But never to this extent.
The college-educated American white woman has something like 1.2 children (on average) over her lifetime. What's needed for mere population equilibrium is 2.1.
I wish I could say I spent Saturday outdoors, but duty called and instead I worked most of the day at our small business performing the quarterly maintenance on the machinery that is part and parcel of our business. There's still some electrical work to be done, replacing fluorescent light ballasts in two fixtures and checking a third, but that will wait until later.
The day inside was a small price to pay for our business to survive.
**********Could it be that the cure for the problems with our housing market could be solved by taking a lesson from our neighbor to the north?
Canada's housing market hasn't been suffering a downturn like we're seeing in the US because they've managed to avoid the mistakes our government has made over the years. Unlike the US, Canada has always managed to finance its housing through private banks with no government funding or guarantees. And even though the US government efforts to increase home ownership through numerous government housing finance agencies, Canada has a higher percentage of home ownership than the US. There has been little or no government interference in the housing market in Canada, meaning there aren't the distortions in the Canadian housing market as seen here in the US.
Maybe it's time for Washington to get out of the home financing game because, quite frankly, they suck at it. Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, and a whole host of other government agencies dealing with housing finance should go away.
**********Another thought: The US should also take a lesson from New Zealand and do away with farm subsidies. The Kiwis did that a number of years ago and their agricultural system stopped shrinking and farms actually started making money again.
The farm subsidies here in the US distort food prices and only help the big agribusinesses at the expense of family farms. (The agribusinesses are usually the ones receiving the subsidies.) In effect, the government has been choosing the winners and losers, something that always ends up costing consumers more in both prices and taxes.
**********Another subsidy we could do without? Ethanol.
Ethanol has been sold as the answer to our greenhouse gas and foreign oil dependency problems. But it's scam. Just like farm subsidies, ethanol subsidies distort the market, raising food prices as farmers grow crops (corn) for ethanol production and not as food. With a guaranteed price, courtesy of Uncle Sam, it makes economic sense to the farmers (or should we say agribusinesses) to grow a crop where they know exactly what their profits will be.
It's one thing if crop-based ethanol actually did lower our dependence on foreign oil sources and lowered the greenhouse gases generated, but it doesn't. Instead it tends to be neutral or even have a negative return, meaning it takes more energy to produce what we get back and generates more greenhouse gases than if we did nothing.
Now if that ethanol was in the form of some good sippin' whiskey, I might be willing to pay for that...
**********Ron Enderland reminds us (at least those of us who are Baby Boomers) about how foul language by kids was usually taken care of by washing their mouths out with soap.
It never ceases to amaze me how expletives that would have gotten us grounded until we were 35 are now used like punctuation in every day speech. And it's not just kids using it, it's adults, too.
I am guilty of that infraction from time to time, but not like so many I hear today. I use far fewer of them than I used to, and then only when I do something like mash my thumb with a hammer or some other self-damaging accident. BeezleBub certainly had something to do with that, calling me on it back when he was 10 years old.
Sometimes there's something to be said for the old ways.
**********Even though it's still summer we've already started preparing for winter here at The Manse.
We received our first of three cords of dried firewood for use in the Official Weekend Pundit Woodstove over the winter. The first cord was a pretty good mixture of ash, red and white oak, and maple, stuff that burns well and long. Farmer Andy tells me the other two cords will be the same. (BeezleBub tells me the same thing, seeing as he was the one who split and stacked it last year and the year before and loaded it on Farmer Andy's trailer.)
With the two cords of well dried wood we have left over from last winter we'll be pretty well covered for our heating needs...unless Global Warming gives us a particularly long and bitterly cold winter.
Deb has also made an appointment with the chimney sweep to clean our chimney of all the creosote and ash from last winter's use.
**********Skip's right on this one. The problems we're seeing today with our spendthrift and Constitution-ignoring Congress and President are all Woodrow Wilson's fault.
It certainly seems that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is following Wilson's progressive philosophy, seeing the Constitution as an impediment to government power. We also know she wants to silence dissent, as did Wilson.
I want a bumper sticker just like the one Skip found.
**********Obvious headline of the week from the Washington Post: With Consumers Slow To Spend, Businesses Are Slow To Hire.
Gee, ya think?
**********It may be just me, but it seems more people are missing Dubya as time goes by. The Anchoress has the reasons to explain why.
What I find most interesting is that an ever larger number of Democrats are missing him every day. Could it be because without him their cohesiveness has been waning due to the fact that they no longer have a GOP nemesis at which to point a finger? Or could it be they have come to understand that their president is either inept and/or malicious. Or could it be both?
(H/T Pirate's Cove)
**********Bogie brings up the subject of aging pets, something any pet owner has to deal with throughout our lives.
Of our eight cats, one is 11 years old, another is old but we don't know how old, and the rest are between 2 and 4 years of age. So far all of them are healthy, but we did have a scare when one of our younger cats became quite ill and it looked like she wasn't going to pull through. Fortunately the vets were able to save her and she's back home looking none the worse for wear, though she does have a few places were her fur was shorn.
**********Is it any surprise Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged is "flying off the bookshelves"? As the USA Today article reports, it is the second most read book in America behind the Bible. Is it any wonder, considering we're living Rand's dystopian nightmare today?
**********And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the long overdue rain is falling, school starts soon, and where I could really use a week off.
As evidence, since Heller two years ago, supposedly finding a right to the Second Amendment in the nation's capital, 0.002% of that city's population has accomplished the unreasonable monetary and time commitments the foot-dragging city has erected (Chicago looks to emulate this tyranny) to be able to possess a gun in their home.
A WaPo reporter actually did some reporting. She found a daunting challenge awaiting any would-be practitioner of the Second Amendment:
It took $833.69, a total of 15 hours 50 minutes, four trips to the Metropolitan Police Department, two background checks, a set of fingerprints, a five-hour class and a 20-question multiple-choice exam [to receive a permit to possess a gun in one's home]!Bearing it on one's person? That's apparently for another court case, as the hesitant majority in McDonald did not rise to the truth and logic of Justice Clarence Thomas's concurring bold opinion, breaking with over a century of established precedent, by the revival of the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. (Here's a wonderful back-grounder by Reason's Brian Doherty.)
The 1789 Bill of Rights certainly should be considered as inalienable American rights. But they get in the way of progressives' dreams of Big Gubmit that Thomas Sowell has been writing about so eloquently:
The Constitution of the United States is the biggest single obstacle to the carrying out of such rampaging presumptions [of progressives], so it is not surprising that those with such presumptions have led the way in denigrating, undermining and evading the Constitution.
The government program that was supposed to help people renegotiate their mortgages in an effort to head off foreclosures hasn't been successful, with nearly 50 percent of 1.3 million homeowners taking advantage of the program dropping out. All the program managed to do was delay the inevitable for a few months. But many of the homes meant to be 'saved' by the program were still foreclosed. I wonder how much tax money all of that cost us?
Another thing driving down the prices of housing is the large inventory of homes being held by banks. With over 2.3 million homes foreclosed since 2007, and the present national median home price of $179600, over $406 billion in real estate inventory is waiting in the wings to be sold. If all of that property were to hit the market at the same time housing prices would plummet even faster than they already have. That might be a great deal for someone looking to buy a home (assuming any bank would be willing to give them a mortgage), but many of those looking to sell homes would likely be forced to hold on to them or sell them at a huge loss.
What's worse is that some have been driven to pull what's come to be known as a buy & bail, where they buy a lower cost home they know they can afford and then let the mortgage on their first home go into default. This has been a prevalent tactic for those deeply underwater on their mortgage where they owe far more than the home is worth but don't want to pour their money into a sure money-losing property.
And the Obama Administration wonders why the housing market trend is still downward?
First and foremost, we need to expose the intellectual, constitutional, and moral bankruptcy of the welfare state. We need to change the way we think about government and restore an ethos of liberty and responsibility."Legalized plunder" is the well-known phrase first coined by the great libertarian thinker Frederic Bastiat, whose pamphlet _The Law_ has been very influential to generations of libertarian thinkers. Like me.
To be specific, a program like Social Security, where the fissures are now being exposed like an earthquake is underway, is intergenerational theft.
UPDATE: Here's a clue that a dramatic growth in gubmit creates problems. The number of murders in Venezuela has gone up _dramatically_ (nearly a four-fold increase) since Hugo Chavez, the Castro wannabee, took over in 1998.
...I have never witnessed an administration so truculently at odds with the American public's values and culture. Obama combines the vindictiveness of Nixon with the ineptness of Carter. Add a dash of Adlai Stevenson's elite professorial aires (sic) and you have an accurate picture of BHO." The vindictiveness of Nixon with the ineptness of Carter." After thinking about it for a while it became clear to me that this description of our present President was apt.
Nixon may have been vindictive, but at least he was an effective President. Carter may have been inept, but at least he had actually done something substantive with his life before he became President. Obama cannot make either claim.
Employers: You can no longer take into account prospective employees' criminal pasts. For fear of violating the ruinous--and false--dogma of "disparate impact." Since more brown- and black-skinned people are incarcerated as a percentage of their respective populations, it would therefore be "discriminatory" to take into account said incarceration. Hello, George Orwell.
And forty-five people applied for it. Forty-five.
One of the great living economists is Richard Rahn. He explains that "juveniles" are in charge of the economy. (He has a great story about Sir Anthony Fisher and sea turtles, well known in libertarian circles.) So a double-dipper (or worse) recession, here we come. It sucks, but that's what we get with Carter Redux:
Most clear-thinking adults, even without formal training in economics, can understand that if the government greatly increases regulations on business (not justified by serious cost-benefit analysis) and increases taxes on labor and capital, the cost of doing business will rise; hence, businesses will have to hire fewer workers. Obviously, these basic concepts have eluded a majority of the members of Congress and many in the administration because this is precisely what they have been doing.
Despite the disdain that many in Congress feel for the American electorate, more of them are feeling the heat back home. Some have already lost their primary bids to run for re-election, becoming victims of hubris after they decided it was just a dandy idea to spend the nation into debt to a level never seen before with little hope of ever being able to pay it off. And should the Republicans manage to take back one or both houses of Congress, there's another question all of us have to ask them, that being do they "have the stones" to take the measures necessary to bring our government's fiscal house into order?
Reading comments to the two posts linked above it appears that a substantial number of people on the left cannot conceive of the actual size of the deficit or what it will take to fix it. More than one of those commenting wrote something along the lines of "All we need to do is slash defense spending and we'll have enough to pay for everything." All that phrase did was prove to me and others commenting that they really have no idea how much money we're talking about. As one commenter put it in response to the clueless:
If we cut defense spending to zero, we'd still have almost a trillion dollar deficit to deal with every year. Better to cut things that really do nothing more than suck up tax dollars with little, if anything to show for it.This same commenter also brought up the point that defense is one of the duties of our federal government as defined in the Constitution. ObamaCare, Cap and Trade, corporate bailouts, union bribery, and government departments like the Department of Education, the Department of Energy, and a number of others are not. Yet we waste billions on them with little return for that 'investment' of our tax dollars except more needless regulation, more costs associated with complying with those needless regulations, and tighter restrictions on our economy's ability to function. How does any of this help anyone...except those in Washington wishing to exercise more power over our lives?
I have a feeling those in power are in for a rude awakening come this November and November 2012. A lot of them will be hitting the unemployment lines.
Robert Nedelkoff calls him a "monument to a vanishing age of punditry."
Here's an excellent informal piece of the Old Lion--he was very skeptical about the blogs--by Seattle Times's John Hamer, who 20 years earlier had received an encouraging note by a man who once was the most syndicated political columnist in the country.
But I laughed viewing this, the classic SNL spoof of Kilpatrick's work on 60 Minutes.
Well, thanks to Neal Boortz's linking to an Andrew McCarthy piece, this guy is even worse than I had let on to you, my gentle readers.
It saves lives, even if our fastidious Catholic philosophers who disapprove of our bombing of Hiroshima would think it gravely immoral.
UPDATE: The city has good props for an upcoming Michael Bay Transformers movie, such as the once-opulent Michigan Central train station that T-Mo at Posse says "has been abandoned, looted, and left to the destruction of Mother Nature for over 20 years." He should know, he works in the city.
It was the Progressives of a hundred years ago who began saying that the Constitution needed to be subordinated to whatever they chose to call "the needs of the times." Nor were they content to say that the Constitution needed more Amendments, for that would have meant that the much disdained masses would have something to say about whether, or what kind, of Amendments were needed.
The agenda then, as now, has been for our betters to decide among themselves which Constitutional safeguards against arbitrary government power should be disregarded, in the name of meeting "the needs of the times"-- as they choose to define those needs.....To get their way, the elites must erode or dismantle the Constitution, bit by bit, in one way or another. What that means is that they must dismantle America. This has been going on piecemeal over the years but now we have an administration in Washington that circumvents the Constitution wholesale, with its laws passed so fast that the public cannot know what is in them, its appointment of "czars" wielding greater power than Cabinet members, without having to be exposed to pubic scrutiny by going through the confirmation process prescribed by the Constitution for Cabinet members.
- A government takeover of the healthcare system,
- A government takeover of the auto industry,
- Unmatched federal spending and deficits,
- Ballooning entitlements,
- Demonization of the private sector
- The glorification of all things government
- Empowering our enemies and angering our friends
- Race-based civil rights enforcement
- More burdensome regulations on the private sector
- Higher taxes for everyone
- More tax increases to come
- Pandering to terrorists
Don't dump those incandescents for CFLs or LEDs just yet.
Every so often a quiet uneventful weekend is appreciated.
**********Penn & Teller give us another lesson in the B.S. that passes for conventional wisdom, this time covering nuclear power and hybrid vehicles.
Penn Jillette confirms what I've known for some time - the folks pushing hard to eliminate nuclear power don't know what they're talking about, nor do they care. It's all about control using fear and disinformation in order to 'save' us from ourselves.
When it comes to hybrid vehicles, it's more about feeling good and not actually about saving the planet (or energy). I've seen (and driven) a number of vehicles that get better overall fuel economy than the hybrid Penn & Teller use for their demonstration (a Toyota Prius) that also perform better and can transport a family of 4 and all their luggage in total comfort.
By the way, the clip linked above is Not Safe For Work as it includes bare boobies and lesbians making out in the back seat of the aforementioned Prius. (No, I'm not kidding.)
**********Here's more information that points to a recoveryless Recovery Summer.
Consumer spending is down. Unemployment applications are up. Businesses aren't hiring.
I'd like to see the White House spin all of that as signs of recovery.
**********You've got to like John Boehner (R-OH). He managed to come up with a number of possible names for the nameless $26 billion union bailout bill passed by Congress. It proves the man has a sense of humor.
Here is the list he created:
Save Our "Stimulus" (SOS) ActMy two favorites are the DUMB Act and Cash For Flunkers.
"Recovery Summer" Bailout Act (Cash for Flunkers)
Delivering Unions a Major Boost (DUMB) Act
Helping Election Expenditures, Hurting American Workers (HEEHAW) Act
Democracy Is Strengthened by Clearly Leveraging and Optimizing Special-Interests' Effectiveness (DISCLOSE) Act
Rescuing Incumbent Democrats Is Costly (RIDIC) Act
Summertime Cash for Union Bosses Instead of Spending Cuts for Taxpayers Act
Frivolous Act of Ineffective Largesse (FAIL) Act
Naming These Things Hasn't Gotten Us Anywhere, So Why Bother Act
**********Fellow Granite Stater Patrick Hynes lets it be known there's nothing wrong with New Hampshire.
After 4 years of being lied to by our two representatives to the House and the spendthrift budgets (with 30% spending increases over two biennial budgets) and tax increases by the Democrat majority New Hampshire legislature, Granite State voters have shifted away from the Democrats and are favoring the rejuvenated New Hampshire GOP.
**********And speaking of the Granite State, here's a rather astute look at New Hampshire through the eyes of a Maine comic. What makes it so funny is that it's absolutely true.
**********I had mentioned that nothing unusual had happened around The Manse over the weekend. That's not exactly true, sort of. Let me explain.
Shortly after leaving The Manse for a quick shopping trip to WalMart I came across a doe with her two fawns. They slowly crossed the road, giving me the once over before continuing their way into the woods. This experience in and of itself isn't unusual...for here. We see it all the time. But it would be my guess that most folks not living in rural and semi-rural areas see deer rarely, making what we experience on a somewhat regular basis unusual to most folks.
**********Cap'n Teach points us to yet another example of the Gore Effect during an anti-Anthropogenic Global Warming protest. In this case it was an anti-AGW protest in Australia during one of the coldest winters on record Down Under.
**********Whoever came up with the phrase "Payback is a bitch" must have had a crystal ball.
As Cassy Fiano tells us, femisogynists moms are finding out their teenage daughters have taken their ideology to an unexpected place.
There's a new nightmare on the block for femisogynist moms. Now that they're all grown up and settled down with teenage daughters of their own, they're shocked to find out that the sexual empowerment they've been championing for decades has backfired on them. How has it backfired? Well, the femisogynist moms are finding out that sexual empowerment has really turned their daughters into slutty teens.Talk about the punishment fitting the crime. What did they expect?
(H/T Pirate's Cove)
**********The suggestion has been made that New York sell off its roads and universities to raise funds to deal with its budget shortfall.
Of course that will only work in the short term. What will the Empire State sell when it runs out of roads and schools? Of course they could always sell the Brooklyn Bridge again...and again and again. (It's probably been the most 'sold' New York landmark except this time the 'sale' would be state sanctioned.)
**********And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the well-to-do weekenders have already left in their Citations, Lears and Gulfstreams, the weekend weather has been nice, and the summer nights are arriving sooner every day.
In response to the amazing Daily Mail article--the UK press going where the American
Reply 26 - Posted by: Joe Btfsplk, 8/15/2010 8:19:58 AM (No. 6775613)
This could well be the tipping point where American Patriots take action against the enemy within. This cannot and will not stand in a free America. We have a rogue president that is dismantling our values, our economy and our traditions. We stand together now or we will be buried together in the future. The government has become one with the enemy.....
This summer's weather has caused a bit of amnesia about the previous two summers, where the weather was mostly cooler and wetter than normal. During those summers, here in the northeast we didn't really experience summer weather until August. June and July were cold and very wet, seriously affecting the farm industry and the tourist trade. On the farms, crops ran late and some were drowned out altogether. And who wants to go to the beach or go hiking or boating or hit the tourist spots when it's in the 60's, cloudy, and damp?
If we have a string of summers like the one we've been experiencing this year, then we might be able to attribute it to global warming. But if it's just this summer, and the following summers are 'normal' then wouldn't we have to say it was just weather and not climate? If you're like most folks, I'd say the answer would be yes. But knowing the It's-All-The-Fault-Of-The-Evil-Humans global warming folks they will ignore the normal summer pattern and focus intently on this summer as proof of AGW. Never mind there's been a decade long cooling trend.
And then of course, there's this. But let's not let facts get in the way of our opinions, right?
"To be fair, Obama's predecessors -- particularly the previous Bush administration -- share in the responsibility for the mountainous rise in federal debt. However, that's all the more reason for the Obama administration to work toward a peak instead of a steeper incline."
By calling the proposed Ground Zero Mosque's religious leader, imam Rauf, a "moderate"--even if he refuses to call Hamas a terrorist organization as the State Department correctly does and blames Christians and America for Moslem jihad--and sending him to the Near East on a tax-paid-for "outreach," State Department spokesgelding PJ Crowley is showing a tone-deafness worthy of the Carter administration.
Building a Mosque, naming it Cordoba, the historic Moslem caliphate in Spain (Get it, the West?), next to Ground Zero is indeed, as Charles Krauthammer persuasively argues, a "sacrilege."
It just goes to show what a thankless, pointless, and ruinously expensive fiasco trying to make Iraq Safe for Democracy was and is.
Elliot Abrams, Neocon's Neocon, has come out very strongly against "intermarriage."
We have reached a point where a Jew is so uneducated about his own beliefs, so confused about what it means to be a Jew that he could intermarry and still feel proud to be a Jew.
Marc Mezvinsky's intermarriage is the result of our inaction.
Yup. I'd say that pretty much says it all.
George McGovern, former Senator from South Dakota and Presidential candidate in 1972, was a class act. And one thing that made him that was his ability to see things from someone else's viewpoint. And once he 'walked a mile' in that someone's shoes, he came to a realization that some of the legislation he supported or authored while in Congress did more harm than good, particularly in matters pertaining to the economy and the businesses that drive it.
How do we know this? Because he told us so way back in 1992 in a WSJ op-ed piece. It so impressed another member of Congress that he had it submitted in its entirety to the Congressional Record, both as a reminder and a warning.
Here are McGovern's very words, words that should be read by every member of Congress, and particularly those from the Democrat Party.
It seems to me that question hasn't been asked at all by the Democrats in Congress since at least 2007. It certainly hasn't been asked since 2009 by either the Democrats in Congress or The One in the White House. There have also been far too few Republicans asking that question, too. It's a question that is long overdue.
A Politician's Dream Is A Businessman's Nightmare
`Wisdom too often never comes, and so one ought not to reject it merely because it comes late.'--Justice Felix Frankfurter.
It's been 11 years since I left the U.S. Senate, after serving 24 years in high public office. After leaving a career in politics, I devoted much of my time to public lectures that took me into every state in the union and much of Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.
In 1988, I invested most of the earnings from this lecture circuit acquiring the leasehold on Connecticut's Stratford Inn. Hotels, inns and restaurants have always held a special fascination for me. The Stratford Inn promised the realization of a longtime dream to own a combination hotel, restaurant and public conference facility--complete with an experienced manager and staff.
In retrospect, I wish I had known more about the hazards and difficulties of such a business, especially during a recession of the kind that hit New England just as I was acquiring the inn's 43-year leasehold. I also wish that during the years I was in public office, I had had this firsthand experience about the difficulties business people face every day. That knowledge would have made me a better U.S. senator and a more understanding presidential contender.
Today we are much closer to a general acknowledgment that government must encourage business to expand and grow. Bill Clinton, Paul Tsongas, Bob Kerrey and others have, I believe, changed the debate of our party. We intuitively know that to create job opportunities we need entrepreneurs who will risk their capital against an expected payoff. Too often, however, public policy does not consider whether we are choking off those opportunities.
My own business perspective has been limited to that small hotel and restaurant in Stratford, Conn., with an especially difficult lease and a severe recession. But my business associates and I also lived with federal, state and local rules that were all passed with the objective of helping employees, protecting the environment, raising tax dollars for schools, protecting our customers from fire hazards, etc. While I never doubted the worthiness of any of these goals, the concept that most often eludes legislators is: `Can we make consumers pay the higher prices for the increased operating costs that accompany public regulation and government reporting requirements with reams of red tape.' It is a simple concern that is nonetheless often ignored by legislators.
For example, the papers today are filled with stories about businesses dropping health coverage for employees. We provided a substantial package for our staff at the Stratford Inn. However, were we operating today, those costs would exceed $150,000 a year for health care on top of salaries and other benefits. There would have been no reasonably way for us to absorb or pass on these costs.
Some of the escalation in the cost of health care is attributed to patients suing doctors. While one cannot assess the merit of all these claims, I've also witnessed firsthand the explosion in blame-shifting and scapegoating for every negative experience in life.
Today, despite bankruptcy, we are still dealing with litigation from individuals who fell in or near our restaurant. Despite these injuries, not every misstep is the fault of someone else. Not every such incident should be viewed as a lawsuit instead of an unfortunate accident. And while the business owner may prevail in the end, the endless exposure to frivolous claims and high legal fees is frightening.
Our Connecticut hotel, along with many others, went bankrupt for a variety of reasons, the general economy in the Northeast being a significant cause. But that reason masks the variety of other challenges we faced that drive operating costs and financing charges beyond what a small business can handle.
It is clear that some businesses have products that can be priced at almost any level. The price of raw materials (e.g., steel and glass) and life-saving drugs and medical care are not easily substituted by consumers. It is only competition or antitrust that tempers price increases. Consumers may delay purchases, but they have little choice when faced with higher prices.
In services, however, consumers do have a choice when faced with higher prices. You may have to stay in a hotel while on vacation, but you can stay fewer days. You can eat in restaurants fewer times per month, or forgo a number of services from car washes to shoeshines. Every such decision eventually results in job losses for someone. And often these are the people without the skills to help themselves--the people I've spent a lifetime trying to help.
In short, `one-size-fits-all' rules for business ignore the reality of the market place. And setting thresholds for regulatory guidelines at artificial levels--e.g., 50 employees or more, $500,000 in sales--takes no account of other realities, such as profit margins, labor intensive vs. capital intensive businesses, and local market economics.
The problem we face as legislators is: Where do we set the bar so that it is not too high to clear? I don't have the answer. I do know that we need to start raising these questions more often.
Never mind that we don't have to money to pay for this. Never mind the string attached that are trying to force states accepting any of this money to bypass their own budgeting process. Never mind that the $10 billion of that money to be used for education won't help anyone because it won't be available until after the school year starts and cities and towns have already set their budgets and their personnel requirements.
It is a blatant, in-your-face bribe to the unions using our money and the Democrats in Congress don't care who knows it. It doesn't help that President Obama helped sell the lie by making claims he knew the general public wouldn't accept. For one thing there isn't a single public union contract out there that guarantees employment for life, but to hear the President tell it the $26 billion he and Congress just spent are supposed to help spendthrift states do just that. Since when are public employees supposed to be immune to the effects of a recession? Since when are we supposed to fund pay raises when many of us haven't seen a pay raise in two years, or worse, have received pay cuts?
All this little $26 billion bribe does is further illustrate the utter contempt the Democrats in Congress and the present occupant of the White House have for those of us actually paying the bills.
He says it was immoral, justified only by the erroneous "ends justify the means" argument, or consequentialism. He forces me to think and clarify my thinking. But I have to disagree.
I wish, though, we hadn't bombed Nagasaki, a city containing 60,000 Catholics, esp. so soon (three days) after Hiroshima. It should have happened a couple of weeks later.
The lively commentators are interesting, too.
A life in business is filled with uncertainties, but I can be quite sure that every time I hire someone my obligations to the government go up. From where I sit, the government's message is unmistakable: Creating a new job carries a punishing price.And what happens when the provisions of ObamaCare kick in and adds thousands more to the cost of hiring a new employee? The probability of hiring that new employee goes down.
More than one commenter to the op-ed piece linked above made it quite clear they had absolutely no understanding of business and why businesses hire new employees. To them all that was needed was for the business to hire new employees and the economy would start its recovery. They didn't understand that businesses won't hire them until they are needed. To do otherwise places a burden on those businesses with little or no prospect of generating any more income for that business and quite possibly turning a marginally surviving business into a money losing business. Businesses hire only the amount of employees they need to provide the goods or services their customers require. But these economic morons either can't or won't understand this simple concept.
My wife and I own a small business. (We both have other jobs.) While it is surviving it is barely viable. The economic downturn saw our income for the business shrink by almost 70%. My wife stopped taking a salary a year ago in order to ensure the business would survive. Both of us put in countless hours without pay in order to make sure we can pay our bills, our taxes, and meet our payroll. If the economy recovers we expect our customers to return as well (though not necessarily to the pre-recession level). But until then there's no way we could even consider adding another employee because if we did we wouldn't take in enough to pay them and pay all our bills, taxes, and business loan. In a short period of time we would be out of business and 5 employees would be unemployed. Yet this is exactly what the aforementioned economic/business morons want us to do.
Need I say more?
Here's what the great--I don't care if she's an atheist--Heather MacDonald says:
Here are the crime data that the Times doesn't want its readers to know: blacks committed 66 percent of all violent crimes in the first half of 2009 (though they were only 55 percent of all stops and only 23 percent of the city's population). Blacks committed 80 percent of all shootings in the first half of 2009. Together, blacks and Hispanics committed 98 percent of all shootings. Blacks committed nearly 70 percent of all robberies. Whites, by contrast, committed 5 percent of all violent crimes in the first half of 2009, though they are 35 percent of the city's population (and were 10 percent of all stops). They committed 1.8 percent of all shootings and less than 5 percent of all robberies. The face of violent crime in New York, in other words, like in every other large American city, is almost exclusively black and brown.
Now it's Moocherella with the prodigious chip on her shoulder on her Tone Deaf Tour in Europe. And in the White House she has more aides than any other First Lady in history--by far. What gives? It's correct to call her a modern-day Marie Antoinette.
The sense of entitlement of some people is impressive. Progressives feel they are morally superior, which often translates in the sort of behavior of Michelle, whose very lush position was so unnecessary it was never filled once she left it.
Hilda hadn't been feeling well the past couple of days and this morning she was totally listless, unable to keep anything down, including water. After a brief phone discussion with the vet at the clinic I gathered Hilda up, put her (unprotesting) into the cat carrier, and got her to the vet.
The vet found she was severely dehydrated, probably due to a stomach ailment. Hilda will be getting a couple of x-rays, some blood work, and an I.V. to help rehydrate her. She'll be staying overnight and I'll pick her up Monday morning and take her to her regular doctor.
**********As if my post of yesterday about the 'Political Class' needed any more juice to back it up, here's Chris Muir's take on the same issue.
Take my word for it, his take is far scarier than mine.
Victor Davis Hansen adds his three cents worth in regards to Obama's total disconnect with the American electorate.
**********Skip Murphy points us to a graph that illustrates just how well the "Summer Of Recovery" is working.
Hint: It's not.
**********Stephen Spruiell also piles on the lack of economic recovery, specifically in the private sector.
The argument from the Left appears to be that government workers should remain insulated until private-sector hiring picks up again. It does not seem to occur to those making this argument that maybe one reason private-sector hiring isn't picking up again is because the government is vacuuming up capital to preserve government jobs, taking on large amounts of debt in the process that will have to be repaid through higher taxes in the future. Higher taxes in the future means lower returns on investments made today, which means that the private sector will create fewer jobs than it would have otherwise.Gee, why didn't someone think of that? Oh, wait...we did way back in late January 2009! Too bad Obama and the Congressional Democrats chose to ignore us then and continue to do so now.
(H/T Viking Pundit)
**********Deb and I ventured out on the lake this afternoon with a friend's family.
Going out onto Winnipesaukee on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon is something we rarely do due to the large number of boats and the rough water created by them. It makes for slow going unless you're willing to deal with the thumping you'll take at higher speeds. The weekend also meant our favorite sandbar would be crowded, which it was.
It took a while to maneuver through the other anchored boats at the sandbar and once at our destination we had to use both a bow and stern anchor to keep The Boat from swinging about and striking an adjacent boat. Leaving wasn't all that easy either, having to pull both anchors at the same time in order to keep from drifting into another boat.
It's things like that that usually keep me off the lake on weekends. I'd rather enjoy our time out on the lake, not work at getting from one place to the next and then dealing with hundreds of other boats trying to use the same small patch of water at the same time.
**********The Feminazis aren't gone, they've just been re-branded as femisogynists.
I've seen how the feminist movement was hijacked and became less about equal rights and more about revictimizing women, making them out to be incapable of standing on their own while at the same time vilifying men. Betty Friedan must spinning in her grave.
**********As happens almost every year on the anniversaries of dropping the A-Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the revisionists come out in force to decry Harry Truman's decision to use the bomb. And, as always, they are wrong.
Between those two cities about 150,000 died. That's half of the number of civilians killed when the Japanese invaded and took Nanjing, China.
It was estimated that there would have been 500,000+ American casualties and up to 15,000,000 civilian casualties if we'd had to invade the Japanese home islands.
Of course the revisionists ignore those particular factors when condemning Truman's decision. After all, it's not like he's still here to defend himself. Nor are there many left who actually fought the Japanese or planned the battles during the Pacific campaign to tell the revisionists that they're full of crap.
**********And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the weekend weather was great, the lake was rough, and where we're still waiting to hear about Hilda.
What's sad is the 'common folk' - that's you and me - are right and they are so incredibly wrong. The political class has no advanced wisdom, no special knowledge divulged to them through secret and ancient organizations, and no divine right or ability to rule you, me, or anyone.
They are nothing more than a mutual admiration society striding within the halls of power with impunity, an undeserved sense of entitlement, and the arrogance to believe they are the only ones with the answers. They believe the rest of us are incapable of running our own lives and need to be taken care of. That's ironic considering how many of them can't even run their lives. They have the same problems, the same foibles, the same weaknesses, the same flaws as everyone else. But somehow I doubt you'd ever get them to admit that, for to do so would mean they aren't any more enlightened than the rest of us and that doesn't track with their belief system.
How do I and the rest if America know this? Because we see it every day on the news, on CSPAN, in the newspapers, and in almost every law passed by Congress or a large number of blue state legislatures over the past few years. Our wishes, our desires, our demands, and our knowledge of the real world is dismissed out of hand because we aren't them. Never mind that we're the ones who pay the bills, create the jobs, build the cities, grow the food, and everything else they depend on. Without the rest of us they are nothing.
Wait. What the heck am I saying? I meant to say that even with us they are nothing. Perhaps it is time for them to learn this truth.
Let me introduce you to a true culinary masterpiece, found courtesy of my missus.
Handmade ground beef patties, topped with sharp cheddar cheese, wrapped in a bacon weave, then the next step, add hotdogs as the heads, legs and tail. Next step?
Place on an oven rack, covered loosely with foil and baked for 20-30 minutes at 400 degrees. A little crispy, not too crunchy...just how a turtle should be, no?
Before I die, I really would like to go to Lincoln, Nebraska, and watch the Cornhuskers take on the Spartans of Michigan State. I have a passion.
When Michigan State beats the Wolverines it's a very good year.
This racism charge is a convenient new way of saying that "my dog ate the homework." There comes a time when you have to perform just like everyone else.
BTW, I bet it was a gun free zone. At UPS, which is also a Teamster operation, we're not even allowed to have guns locked up in our cars in the parking lot.
Again and again it's been tried, even here in this country, and it's failed EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Yet the Progressives are incapable of realizing a very simple and easily proven truth, that being you cannot enrich the poor by impoverishing the rich. Yet again and again they insist that in order to be "fair" they need to spread the wealth. Unfortunately they will quickly do away with what wealth there is (except theirs, of course) and make sure everyone is poor. As if that were somehow fair.
The argument they use is that the wealthy can afford confiscatory taxes. But for every means the Progressives come up with stealing what isn't theirs through taxation, the wealth producers find ways around them. And as the tax rates climb, they collect less revenue from the wealthy. Should it become bad enough, the wealthy will leave, taking their wealth with them. That's a lesson the UK learned during the 1970's, when their 'wealth' taxes caused a mass migration of wealth to more tax-friendly locations, with the end result being the collapse of the British economy.
Could the same thing happen here? Absolutely. We've already seen some elements of that occurring, with US corporations moving their 'headquarters' to tax-friendly nations like Bermuda, allowing them to greatly reduce the amount of corporate taxes they pay. Why? Because the US has some of the highest corporate taxes in the world. Only a sucker or an idiot wouldn't make moves to lessen their tax burdens if at all possible.
Now that Obama, Pelosi, Reid, Frank, and Dodd have decided the rich are the problem, they've been wasting no time trying to figure out even more ways of extracting money they did nothing to earn to give to their 'core' constituents, meaning not the average working man or woman. One commenter to the piece linked above has some of it figured out.
[They] are not really interested in raising revenue - but to continue punishing those that have money - ... It is as simple as that.The Progressive mindset does not allow them to think anything other than wealth is a 'zero sum' game. That means they believe that if someone became wealthy it was because they stole it from someone else and made them poor. It appears it is hard for many of them to believe the wealthy became that way through hard work, long hours, and taking risks others were not willing to take. That many Progressives in government have managed to become wealthy through their government connections and not through the traditional American system of hard work again leads far too many of them to think their way is the only true way to become wealthy. It is true in a kleptocracy, something it seems a lot of Progressives are working very hard to create. One thing they have overlooked though is that most kleptocracies are Third World nations, with a vast majority of their populace living in poverty because that's exactly the way the kleptocrats in power want it. The Progressives in this nation are no different, though they'll try to pretty up their attempts in mind-numbing governmentalese and politically correct speech, trying to make it seem as if it's a good idea.
They are so envious of those that can create wealth, that the only thing Obama and his ilk can do is grab onto as much as they can, spread the misery and distribute anything they can grab - The fact that they may have less to distribute is also irrelevant - As long as those that have money feel the sting, Obama is happy - and when those that have money do whatever it takes to try and escape the taxman, the misery creators, Obama will keep turning the screws ...
In the end, though, it all comes down to envy. Democrats, and particularly the Progressives within the party, envy the successful. It's all they have that might reach others of the same bent of mind. They'll work hard to take away what the successful have made, but won't work that hard to make themselves successful. They are, as Ayn Rand described them, looters.
But all of that aside (I do go off on tangents, don't I?), what Laffer describes, what most Americans understand, and what the nation needs can be broken down into two simple sentences, provided by yet another savvy commenter:
Who cares if tax breaks don't fill the pockets of lower wage earners (like myself)? If raising taxes doesn't help the economy, then don't do it. (Emphasis added)Indeed!
Shaq in Celtics green? Wow!
Here are this week's results:
While Lawrence Auster and others comment on those ubiquitous informal water bottles, I direct your attention that two of the four sailors--the bookends--can't even stand at attention properly, with heels together as is required. Is it the larger hips? This is perhaps a clue that what we have here is not the best of the best.
Don't get me started on the madness, absolute madness, of putting women in nuclear-powered subs. This was discussed in 1991 and '92 and thoroughly discountenanced then. The Navy has lost it.
We managed to get them out onto the lake before the weekenders showed up (though our trip back was a little rougher as the weekenders were hitting the lake just as we were heading back home). We also took them to the farm where BeezleBub works and they checked out the produce and other products for sale at the farm's retail stand. They came away with some fresh sweet carrots, some baked goods and a quart of Jordan's strawberry truffle ice cream. (Jordan's is a local ice cream maker with some of the best ice cream I've ever had!)
**********For the party that was supposed to "drain the swamp", they've failed miserably. The latest Congressional Democrat to face ethics charges? Maxine "We're going to nationalize the banks!" Waters.
First, it was Jefferson. Then Rangel. Now Waters. Between bribery (Jefferson), tax evasion (Rangel), and influencing bank bailouts for a bank with ties to a family member (Waters), the Democrats are showing they are no more ethical or moral than the GOP.
And we musn't forget to add John Kerry (tax evasion - "Do as I say, not what I do!") to the list.
**********I've always liked Penn & Teller. Their illusions are great, thoughtful, and just plain fun to watch. And as great illusionists, they also have a pretty good understanding of the illusions politicians and wackos of all stripes try to persuade us to do things that aren't really in our best interests at any level.
That being said, I found this one at Maggie's Farm. It points out the hypocrisy involved with all these recycling initiatives.
(Warning: There is some strong language as this was originally aired on Showtime.)
I've been a fan of recycling for a long time, but only for specific materials, those being steel, aluminum, and copper. There's a big market for those materials and no need of government subsidies to 'promote' recycling of those metals. (They are also the most recycled materials on the planet.) All other materials, like paper, plastics, cardboard and the like, are a waste of time, and more importantly, money. Tipping fees for these recyclables are as much as four times higher than the tipping fees for trash. We never get back the money spent on recycling these materials, leaving the government to kick in the $8 billion+ needed every year to make up the gap between the cost of recycling and the money made from using those materials. It's a money losing proposition.
**********Powerline has two posts covering the weakening of the Constitution, starting with Woodrow Wilson's contempt for it and latest Progressive move to make it irrelevant through the instrument of ObamaCare.
As Bird Dog wrote about this issue: "I like to remind myself that King George lll had nothing close to the power that our modern federal government wields today."
That's one heck of an unsettling thought.
**********Is a second American Revolution on the not-so-distant horizon?
If Obama and the Congressional Democrats stay the course, greatly expanding government power and reach while spending far more than it collects in taxes, I'd say it's inevitable. It isn't as easy to hide the machinations of the Progressives in government as it was in the past. The Internet makes that darn near impossible.
Of course I expect the Progressives to try to stifle dissent on the 'net by severely limiting political speech and opinion, particularly by opponents during election season. Oh, wait, isn't that what the DISCLOSE Act was all about?
**********Oh, I like this one! What makes me like it even more is that it's from the Boston Globe.
The Yacht versus the Pickup Truck.
Democrat John Kerry sets sail in a $7 million yacht built in New Zealand. Republican Scott Brown hits the campaign trail in a GMC pickup truck with 200,000 miles on it.I expect a proclamation to come forth any day now, stating "Let them eat government cheese!"
From Newport, R.I., -- where Kerry's "Isabel'' was berthed before heading to Nantucket -- to Rhinebeck, N.Y. -- where Chelsea Clinton will marry in a mansion modeled after Versailles -- today's Democrats are looking more like Louis XVI than Tip O'Neill.
**********I really don't need to comment on this one. It stands all by itself.
(H/T Eric the Viking)
**********Gee, who'da thunk this would happen?
Witness last week's land speed record for unintended consequences, as a liability provision in the Dodd-Frank financial reform brought new issues to a screeching halt in the $1.4 trillion asset-backed securities market.If rating services will be held as accountable as the securities they're rating, is it any surprise they'll withhold permission for any of the securities brokers or firms to use them? That's like holding TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian responsible for someone's credit rating, good or bad, and then suing them if you lend money to that someone with a reasonable credit rating who then, for one reason or another, couldn't make the loan payments. It's one thing if they'd falsified the rating, but if they generated the credit rating based upon the criteria they generally use, assuming the data they had was accurate, how could they be held responsible for that someone failing to pay their note?
The financial genius behind this section of Dodd-Frank is Representative Mary Jo Kilroy. The Ohio Democrat inserted a line in the bill that removes the exemption for credit raters like Standard & Poor's and Moody's from being considered "expert" advisers in judging securities offerings. This makes them closer to underwriters or accountants in vouching for an issued security, and it means that their consent is required before their ratings can be included in a registration statement filed at the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Both S&P and Moody's cited this enhanced liability in announcing that they would not consent to participating in SEC asset-backed securities registrations. Fitch, DBRS and others followed suit.
If that were to happen, all three would refuse to allow their ratings to be used to judge whether someone was creditworthy or not. That kind of legislation defeats the purpose of the rating bureaus and makes them useless.
Like that's going to help the economy.
**********According to Vermont Tiger, a new right-wing madman has been spotted within the environs of Newark, New Jersey.
In order to fix a $70 million city budget shortfall, he's been saying things like "Taxes cannot be the answer," and suggesting things like spending cuts to close the budget gap.
Who is this madman? Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a Democrat.
**********We all know the Obama Administration has no problem with stretching the truth. It's also quite apparent that it has problems telling fact from fiction. Now it appears it also has a problem reading charts, particularly those that put the lie to its claims about its spending in relation to the Gross Domestic Product. They claim its spending is lower than the Bush Administration's, but the chart, based upon the CBO's numbers, say otherwise. The Obama Administration's spending is a higher percentage of GDP than Bush 43's, Clinton's, Bush 41's, and Reagan's.
**********An area of Lake Winnipesaukee known as "The Witches" has claimed yet another boat.
Located to the east of Governor's Island and south of Timber Island, it is a formation of submerged rocks that has damaged or sunk an untold number of boats. Despite warning buoys along its periphery and clearly marked KEEP OUT labels on charts, hapless boaters still find themselves in the middle of The Witches every boating season. If the water is high enough and the boat is on plane it just might make it out in one piece. But far too often the boat will strike one of the submerged rocks, damaging its prop, rudder, outboard or stern drive, or worse, holing the hull and sinking the boat.
This time around the latest victim of The Witches had its hull breached and the boat sank in less than a minute. Fortunately the eight people on board were able to escape, jumping into the lake and swimming away from the boat. All eight were picked up by other boats and none were injured.
On more than one occasion I've seen boaters cutting across The Witches, oblivious to the danger. And on far too many of those occasions I've seen them strike one of the rocks hidden beneath the surface. I've also listened on the Marine VHF band here at The Manse and heard more than one call to the Marine Patrol reporting a boat stuck on The Witches. And so it goes on the so-called Bermuda Triangle of Lake Winnipesaukee.