Archive for October, 2011

Non-daily Digest

October 31st, 2011 No comments

Mike Adams, Townhall — Death to Tenure

AP — US cuts UNESCO funding over Palestinian vote

Of potential greater concern to the administration is the possibility that the Palestinians, buoyed by the 107-14 vote in their favor at UNESCO, will apply for membership in other U.N. organizations…

Yes, that would certainly bother the White House—which loves the U.N.—but would be a blessing to U.S. taxpayers. If only more U.N. bodies would admit the Palestinians we could stop wasting our money on the execrable organization.

Fox News — Justice Department Sues South Carolina Over State’s Strict Immigration Law

See a pattern developing here? States are fed up with the feds’ failure. If the DOJ spent half as much time, effort, and money actually enforcing federal immigration law rather than trying to stop states from doing so, there’d be no need for state action.

Thomas Sowell, IBD — Loudmouth 1% Are Trashing Rights of 99%

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The Case for Global Warming Skepticism

October 31st, 2011 No comments

If you weren’t asleep last week, you were inundated by the mainstream media’s coverage of Professor Richard Muller and the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperatures (BEST) group. BEST has conducted an in-depth analysis of surface temperature data spanning the last two centuries, and is releasing four papers regarding temperature data for public and peer review. Muller, in an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal, wrote,

…let me explain why you should not be a skeptic, at least not any longer.

and concluded

Global warming is real. Perhaps our results will help cool this portion of the climate debate.

The reaction from the left was swift. The debate is over. Anyone who still disputes anthropogenic global warming is a “denier”—morally likening skeptics to the cretins who deny the truth of the Holocaust. Yada, yada, yada. A rehash of the same tired ad hominem attacks that have been lobbed by the left for years. In one of the most blatant attacks, the Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson blasted,

For the clueless or cynical diehards who deny global warming, it’s getting awfully cold out there.

Not so fast, there, spanky. You see, one of BEST’s own members—Judith Curry, chair of the Dept. of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at no less than Georgia Tech—countered Muller directly in the U.K.’s Daily Mail:

“There is no scientific basis for saying that warming hasn’t stopped,” she said. “To say that there is detracts from the credibility of the data, which is very unfortunate.”

Curry further discusses the issue in her own blog. She notes that the data set as analyzed by BEST is, well, the best set currently available and acknowledges that the way the data has been presented hides the truth about global temperatures. (She claims that was “teased” out of her, but does not contradict its accuracy.) To wit, even though CO2 emissions have risen drastically over the last decade, temperatures haven’t—a fact which contradicts the computer models being hyped to scare the general public.

Professor Curry again:

“This is nowhere near what the climate models were predicting,” Prof Curry said. “Whatever it is that’s going on here, it doesn’t look like it’s being dominated by CO2.”

[The graph to which she refers.]

Despite their best efforts to demonize skeptics, warming alarmists still have a lot of convincing to do. When two notable, respected scientists working on the same team with the same data can draw such disparate conclusions, the scientific debate is far from over.

Non-daily Digest

October 25th, 2011 No comments

Townhall — Clean Energy’s Dirty Secret: Cancer

Think “green” energy such as solar and wind are clean and safe? Not for the impoverished Chinese miners whose labor provides the rare-earth metals our government won’t let us mine here. Not only are their industrial methods unsafe, their mining technology is driven by…very dirty coal and oil. The small amount of CO2 we avoid by replacing cheap, reliable clean coal with expensive, spotty wind and solar is more than made up by the real pollutants spewed into the environment in Asia. Don’t hear the Goracle talk about that very often, now, do ya?

Real Clear Markets — Can the Youth Vote Be Bought For a Trillion Dollars?

You bet it can. You might even talk me into supporting it if you added a condition that only useful majors—math, physics and other sciences, pre-med, etc., rather than “womyn’s woes” and “minority grievance studies”—need apply. On a related note…

LA Times — Student loans add to angst at Occupy Wall Street

Many of the twentysomethings protesting in Manhattan have racked up sizable debts, and some are left to wonder whether their diplomas may be worth less than their cardboard signs.

Answer: yes, your diploma is worthless. You should have studied something that has real market value rather than “capitalist oppression of modern subversive poets” or “literary merits of gay S&M porn.”

NY Times — Distrust of Government Grows Amid Fears, Poll Finds

Wow, it took a poll to figure that out? But this is really rich:

The combustible climate helps explain the volatility of the presidential race and has provided an opening for protest movements like Occupy Wall Street…

Someone need to correct a cranio-rectal inversion. The OWS folks are asking for more government intervention—regulations, salary caps, student loan bailouts, etc. It is the dreaded Tea Party groups that have been clamoring for less.

CNN — Federal judge temporarily bars Florida’s welfare drug-test law

“Perhaps no greater public interest exists than protecting a citizen’s rights under the constitution,” the judge wrote…

Which article or amendment makes welfare a right? As an automobile driver I can be randomly stopped by a DUI task force but the same state can’t screen welfare applicants for drug use?

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Non-daily Digest

October 23rd, 2011 No comments

Townhall — Occupy the Consequences of a Philosophy That Encourages Rape and Theft

CNN — Clinton warns Iran against moving into Iraq

Or else…what? Iran has repeatedly demonstrated its determination to meddle in Iraq while we still have troops in country. Do you really think they’re going to stop once we leave?

BBC — Great Ormond Street criticised over Arvind Jain’s death

Yep. Healthcare is sooo much better when it’s controlled by bureaucrats.

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Non-daily Digest

October 21st, 2011 No comments

Arthur Laffer, Wall St Journal — Cain’s Stimulating ‘9-9-9’ Tax Reform

let’s not make the perfect the enemy of the good.

Victor Davis Hanson, Townhall — Railing Against Reality

CNN — U.S. judge dismisses Arizona claims against feds on immigration law

“It is but the latest chapter in a story that Arizonans know all too well: The federal government ignores its constitutional and statutory duty to secure the border. Federal courts avert their eyes. American citizens pay the price,” the statement [from Arizona Governor Brewer] said.

The federal government refuses to protect it’s citizens and states aren’t allowed to. The administration feeds weapons to Mexican drug cartels yet blames American gun owners for the violence that is increasingly crossing the border. This will only get uglier.

Los Angeles Times — U.N. human rights office calls for probe into Kadafi’s death

“There seem to be four or five different versions of how he died,” said Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva. “There are at least two cellphone videos, one showing him alive and one showing him dead. Taken together, these videos are very disturbing.”

Disturbing? Only if you’re a like-minded, blood-thirsty dictator. Any manner in which he could possibly have died would have been too good a fate. Now let’s see if Libyans are smart enough to replace him with something better. Not holding breath.

Fox News — Muslim Junior ROTC Student Wants to Wear Head Cover With Uniform

Cry me a river. I’m just waiting for the lawsuit from a 15-year-old tranny who wants to wear his dress in the color guard. It’ll happen.

IMAO — I can’t not vote

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Non-daily Digest

October 19th, 2011 No comments

BBC — George Clooney: ‘I won’t run for office’

Thank you very much!

Fox News — Clerk Kills Would-Be Robber Who Grabbed Daughter

Much cheaper than a trial.

Hot Air — Cuba drills where Obama fears to tread

Make no mistake—someone will drill for the oil in the Gulf. Think Cuba is going to do a better job 60 miles off our shores than we would?

Townhall — America’s Orwellian Liberalism

Wall Street Journal — A New Spending Record

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Non-daily Digest

October 14th, 2011 No comments

CNN — Obama orders U.S. troops to help chase down African ‘army’ leader

Special Forces as military advisers, eh? Sounds an awful lot like how we first got into liberals’ favorite war…Vietnam.

Los Angeles Times — Obama administration scraps program in health reform law

“For 19 months, experts inside and outside government have examined how [the Department of Health and Human Services] might implement a financially sustainable, voluntary and self-financed long-term care insurance program under the law,” [Secretary Kathleen] Sebelius wrote.

“But despite our best analytical efforts, I do not see a viable path forward for CLASS implementation.”

Really? You mean it’s not as affordable as you insisted it would be? Isn’t this the kind of thing that should have been researched and debated before you passed the bill Ms. “We need to pass it so you can find out what’s in it” Pelosi?

NY Times — House Panel Examines Details of Solyndra Deal

The Energy Department may have made a decision without precedent when it allowed Solyndra, the now bankrupt solar technology company, to restructure its loans so private investors — not the government — would have first call on its assets in case of liquidation, two Treasury Department officials acknowledged Friday before a House subcommittee.

By “not the government” they, of course, mean that when Solyndra went belly-up, we the taxpayers got screwed first.

Fox News — Love of Money May Mess Up Your Marriage

I really should stop being amazed at the amount of research time and money that’s wasted by academics. Newsflash—this is not news.

[1 Timothy 6:6-10, NIV] But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

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Non-daily Digest

October 13th, 2011 No comments

Thomas Sowell, Townhall — Reverse Racism

NY Times — 8 Killed in Salon Shooting in Southern California

How could that happen in a gun-free zone?

BBC — EU billions fail to lift west Wales and valleys economy

Well, whadya know? Keynesian economics doesn’t work on their side of the pond, either.

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A look at the Occupy Wall Street Declaration

October 11th, 2011 No comments

Upon prodding by a liberal friend, I decided to look up the official “Declaration of the Occupation of New York City” to see their specific grievances. It doesn’t contain any more depth than the call to action I examined yesterday. Here goes, with my rating of each of their, um, “points.”

They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage.

Partial truth. Yes, there have been numerous cases of wrongful foreclosure. Most foreclosures, however, are the result of failure to make payments. Duh.

They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give Executives exorbitant bonuses.

Partial truth. Most, but not all, of TARP has been repaid, as the funds were not actually bailouts but loans (unlike the GM and Chrysler bailouts, which benefited the unions over the manufacturers’ creditors). Side note: conservatives (not to be confused with Republicans) opposed TARP, which was passed by the Pelosi/Reid Congress and signed by the (rather un-conservative) Bush.

They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, the color of one’s skin, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.

Partial truth. Discrimination of all kinds is hardly unique to the corporate world. Neither is it rampant throughout the corporate world itself. Abuses should be addressed individually rather than by lumping all corporations together. (I won’t even get into whether gender identity and sexual orientation should be protected. Whole ’nother can-o-worms.)

They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization.

Partial truth. Our food supply is hardly poisoned. If it were, we’d all be dying of poisoning rather than from the side effects of obesity. And the agricultural industry has been harmed far more by government intervention in the form of subsidies (a bipartisan affliction) than by any corporate actions.

They have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless animals, and actively hide these practices.

Partial truth. I’m not sure who’s hiding the fact that drugs and other chemicals are tested on animals before humans. It’s quite true that such testing harms and kills thousands of animals every year. Without that testing, however, we simply wouldn’t have the amazing medicines available today. Every human that is saved from cancer as well as parasitic, viral, and bacterial disease owes his life to animal testing.

They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions.

Partial truth. If “negotiate” means “unionize” then, yes, many corporations do fight unionization. If workers were smarter, they would as well. Consider the case of auto manufacturing. Not a single foreign maker in the U.S. is unionized, yet their employees enjoy similar pay and benefits and nary a one of those evil corporations has ever been bailed out by taxpayers. Union dues pay for very big union boss salaries and hefty donations to one of our dominant political parties (bonus points for guessing which one). They don’t help the worker all that much.

They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right.

Lie. Students make a voluntary choice to acquire debt in the form of student loans, and they have both a legal and moral obligation to pay them back. Further, a college education isn’t a human right.

They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers’ healthcare and pay.

Partial truth. Outsourcing simply hires one group of workers in place of another. Any intelligent business will outsource work that can be performed more affordably by external labor. Most often, outsourcing does not result in a reduction in pay or benefits, but a reduction in employees for one company and an increase in employees for another. There’s hardly anything unfair about it.

They have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with none of the culpability or responsibility.

Lie. Corporations do not have the same rights as people. In a growing number of states, for example, corporations do not have the right to ban employees from keeping a firearm in a locked vehicle parked in the company’s lot. The right of the individual trumps the right of the corporation. Are there cases where the reverse has been true? Certainly. But to equate the two is plain silly. And responsibility? Companies pay billions every year settling lawsuits. The system is far from perfect, but we do have corporate accountability.

They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of contracts in regards to health insurance.

Finally a true statement.

They have sold our privacy as a commodity.

Lie. We, ourselves, have sold our privacy for the convenience of using credit cards, cell phones, the internet, etc. Read the fine print before you sign anything. Whatever happened to individual accountability?

They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press.

Lie. No press/media in the world have anything approaching the freedom enjoyed here, and our military and police have done nothing to encroach it.

They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit.

Partial truth. Some corporations have been guilty of failing to voluntarily recall products. More often, as in the recent case of Toyota, recalls are entirely voluntary. No corporation has ever refused a government-mandated recall.

They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce.

Lie. Corporations have no say in determining national economic policy. Their own corporate policies are sometimes disastrous, but blame for overall economic policy falls directly on the federal government and, in turn, on the voters who elect charlatans like Frank and Dodd, whose actions directly led to the Fannie/Freddie debacle.

They have donated large sums of money to politicians, who are responsible for regulating them.

True. And in recent years, that money has gone 2-1 to Democrats. Vote ’em out.

They continue to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil.

Lie. Corporations aren’t blocking anything. They are pursuing profit, which currently means oil and coal. There’s nothing illegal or immoral about that. A growing number of corporations are investing very heavily in alternative energy, including some of the evil oilers (like BP was long before the big spill). Nissan, for example, just this week announced a prototype automotive battery cell that holds the promise of being recharged fully within 5 minutes. Realization of that promise is still years off, though, and in the meantime we need oil.

They continue to block generic forms of medicine that could save people’s lives or provide relief in order to protect investments that have already turned a substantial profit.

Partial truth. We grant limited patent protection so that big pharma—which invests literally billions in research, most of which goes nowhere—can profit from their efforts and recoup their investment. Generic forms aren’t blocked. They’re delayed for a few years. If you don’t like the system, lobby your reps to change the law.

They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit.

True. Such behavior, however, is hardly limited to corporations, and won’t be eradicated until we figure out a way to eliminate all forms of dishonesty from humanity. We should certainly keep working at it, but it’s not something new or unique to corporations.

They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media.

Lie. Never in the history of humanity has a society had so much access to so much information. The rise of the internet (the infrastructure of which is developed and operated by, um, corporations) has made it virtually impossible to keep anything secret for long. Besides, the vast majority of mainstream media tilts left, with only the Wall Street Journal (ironically) and Fox News leaning right. I would bet less than 0.5% of the OWS protesters has ever voted conservative, so who exactly are they complaining about?

They have accepted private contracts to murder prisoners even when presented with serious doubts about their guilt.

Citations, please. I’m aware of state-directed executions. Haven’t heard of any murders.

They have perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad.

Lie. Someone needs to reread the definition of colonialism.

They have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas.

Partial truth. There have been a couple corporations involved in the interrogation and death of people outside our borders. (I quibble over the terms torture, murder, and innocent.) So go after those individuals. It’s not something endemic to corporate America.

They continue to create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive government contracts.

Partial truth. A relative handful of companies (as a percentage of all U.S. corporations) create weapons of all kinds (though we haven’t created any new WMDs in years) at the direction of our federal government, i.e., at the request of “we, the people.” That can be changed at the ballot box. Targeting WalMart isn’t going to stop the business of arming our military.

So we have a list of half-truths twisted into lies sprinkled with a couple true statements. Most of the grievances, where they have any legitimacy at all, are properly directed at a handful of corporations, and are the result of liberal, big-government policies and government interference. Demonstrating against corporate America is not going to change anything. Voting conservative—which the OWS folks would never consider—would.

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Occupy What? Why?

October 10th, 2011 No comments

OK, so my curiosity finally got the best of me and I had to head over to the Occupy Wall Street site. Now this is a movement of intellectual giants.

(From the official web site, front page link to the “call to action.”)

First, their principles:

1. If you agree that freedom is the right to communicate, to live, to be, to go, to love, to do what you will without the impositions of others, then you might be one of us.

Um, yeah. Anarchy has a very successful history. Besides, these freedoms exist with reasonable limitations or society simply couldn‘t function. Corporations have done nothing to limit them.

2. If you agree that a person is entitled to the sweat of their brows, that being talented at management should not entitle others to act like overseers and overlords, that all workers should have the right to engage in decisions, democratically, then you might be one of us.

Every individual in the U.S. is already “entitled to the sweat of their brows” as it is. If you don’t like working for a corporation, then don’t. Start your own business. Nobody’s stopping you. But business isn’t and shouldn’t be democratic. Twenty unskilled, uneducated workers very rarely have the business experience or knowledge to make good decisions that a single manager often has. That doesn’t mean managers always call it right—not by a long shot. But the people who have skin in the game, i.e., stockholders, have the legal and moral right to choose the folks who make decisions—it’s their money at risk.

3. If you agree that freedom for some is not the same as freedom for all, and that freedom for all is the only true freedom, then you might be one of us.

And this has what, exactly, to do with Wall St & corporations?

4. If you agree that power is not right, that life trumps property, then you might be one of us.

Yeah, so…?

5. If you agree that state and corporation are merely two sides of the same oppressive power structure, if you realize how media distorts things to preserve it, how it pits the people against the people to remain in power, then you might be one of us.

Let’s see. Wall Street gave significantly more to Obama in the last election. His admin has been full of Goldman employees, etc. The media have slanted leftward for decades. Oh, and conservatives would like to significantly decrease the size and power of the state. So all these protestors are going to vote R instead of D next time around?

And the call for action:

1. We call for protests to remain active in the cities. Those already there, to grow, to organize, to raise consciousnesses, for those cities where there are no protests, for protests to organize and disrupt the system.

Yes, let’s disrupt the system. Gas and food prices are rising. Real income is falling. Let’s turn a bad situation into a full-on disaster.

2. We call for workers to not only strike, but seize their workplaces collectively, and to organize them democratically. We call for students and teachers to act together, to teach democracy, not merely the teachers to the students, but the students to the teachers. To seize the classrooms and free minds together.

Frightening and moronic. Organize workplaces democratically? Right. What, exactly, do the hourly workers at my company know about the physics, chemistry, etc., required to manufacture LEDs and semiconductors? For the most part, nothing. And when they do apply themselves and gain the knowledge and experience required to make good decisions…they get promoted and paid more.

And democracy in the classroom? Please. Our students don’t need more democracy, they need to learn calculus and physics, and how to communicate in coherent English—and they need teachers who actually know those subjects instead of drones who’ve been inculcated with child psychology but couldn’t solve a simple math problem or parse a sentence to save their lives.

3. We call for the unemployed to volunteer, to learn, to teach, to use what skills they have to support themselves as part of the revolting people as a community.

Almost a good idea. Why not focus all that energy and effort into producing goods or services your community wants and needs—and making a profit at it so you’re not only supporting yourself but capable of supporting others instead of leeching off those of us who do productive work?

4. We call for the organization of people’s assemblies in every city, every public square, every township.

Funny. The Tea Party’s been doing just that for a couple years without crapping on police cars or destroying public and private property. The main difference is that Tea Party assemblies naturally disperse after a couple days because they’re comprised of responsible people who have jobs. I guess the next group they’ll direct their misplaced anger at will be the employed.

5. We call for the seizure and use of abandoned buildings, of abandoned land, of every property seized and abandoned by speculators, for the people, for every group that will organize them.

Hold on a second. I thought it was, “power is not right.” Mob mentality. Lovely. And then what? “Organize them” to what end?

Meaningless pablum straight from the pen of Saul Alinsky.

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