Saturday, July 17, 2010

Byrd Droppings

 saw on Instapundit that a dorm named after William Stewart Simkins is being renamed.  It seems that Simkins was an organizer for the Ku Klux Klan. 

Good for them.  But let's not stop there.  Another KKK Kommunity Organizer recently passed away, and it would benefit our nation to rename the following facilities, also known as Byrd Droppings:

Robert C. Byrd Academic and Technology Center
Robert C. Byrd addition to the lodge at Oglebay Park, Wheeling
Byrd Aerospace Technology Center
Robert C. Byrd Bridge between Huntington and Chesapeake, Ohio
Robert C. Byrd Cancer Research Center
Robert C. Byrd Clinical Addition to the veteran's hospital in Huntington
Robert C. Byrd Community Center, Pine Grove
Robert C. Byrd Community Center in the naval station, Sugar Grove
Robert C. Byrd Drive, from Beckley to Sophia (Byrd's hometown)
Robert C. Byrd Expressway, U.S. 22 near Weirton

Robert C. Byrd Federal Building
Robert C. Byrd Federal Courthouse
Robert C. Byrd Freeway
Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope
Robert C. Byrd Hardwood Technologies Center, near Princeton
Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center of West Virginia
Robert C. Byrd High school in Bridgeport
Robert C. Byrd Highway
Robert C. Byrd Hilltop Office Complex, Mineral County
Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarships
Robert C. Byrd Industrial Park, Hardy County
Robert C. Byrd Institute in Charleston
Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing
Robert C. Byrd Library and Robert C. Byrd Learning Resource Center
Robert C. Byrd Life Long Learning Center
Robert C. Byrd Locks and Dam
Robert C. Byrd National Technology Transfer Center
Robert C. Byrd Rural Health Center
Robert C. Byrd Scholastic Recognition Award
Byrd Science Center, Shepherd University
Robert C. Byrd Technology Center at Alderson-Broaddus College
Robert C. Byrd United Technical Center
Robert C. Byrd Visitor Center at Harpers Ferry National Historic Park

The cost of new signage for these facilities could be covered with Porkulus funds.  This would be appropriate, since it was Pork that built all of 'em. 
After that, no more pork projects named for racist Democrats.  Ever. 
No more pork projects named for racist Republicans.  Ever.  Or left-handed people.  Or right-handed people.  Or anyone else. 
No more freebies.
That would solve the problem, wouldn't it? 

You can't always get what you want. You get what you need.

I was listening to one of the Republican radio stations yesterday, and they were interviewing a Ron Paul disciple who....well, let's just say that this particular Paulista didn't have much media savvy. 

The conversation went something like this:

Republican Host:  Ron Paul's campaign spent more money to earn fewer electoral votes than any other campaign in history. 

Paulista:  That unh....may be true.  But unh....Ron Paul is the only one bringing these types of....unh.....things to the unhhhhtention of the Unhhhhmerican people.

Republican Host:  Like what things?

Paulista:  Things like....unhh....there aren't two different....unh....political parties, just two factions within the same big government group. 

Republican Host (outraged):  So tell me, how many Republicans voted for Obamacare?  How many Republicans voted for the Wall Street "reform" bill?  None !  None !  None !  How can you say that there is no real difference between the Republicans and the Democrats ?????

Paulista:  Unhhhh......

I didn't try to listen any more after that because the screaming was too loud.  (I was doing the screaming.) 

The appropriate answer to this question, of course, is the answer that Ron Paul would have probably given.  "How many Republicans voted for TARP?  How many Republicans voted for Porkulus?  How many Republicans voted to bail out the banks and Wall Street?" 

Host:  Unhhhh.....Enough Republicans from "safe" districts voted for them for the bills to pass? 

And then Ron Paul would have probably said "And how many Republican votes were needed to pass Obamacare and the Wall Street reform farce?"

Host:  Unhhhh....None? 

They don't always get what they want.  They get what they need. 
Speaking of which, here's the funeral scene from The Big Chill.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Old Media is not happy with The New Media. Government must intervene.

From The New York Times, via Reason magazine's Hit & Run blog:

Google says it only tweaks its algorithm to improve its searches. Some Web sites that have accused Google of unfair placing are merely collections of links with next to no original content of their own, precisely the kind of sites that Google’s search algorithm screens out to better answer queries....Still, the potential impact of Google’s algorithm on the Internet economy is such that it is worth exploring ways to ensure that the editorial policy guiding Google’s tweaks is solely intended to improve the quality of the results and not to help Google’s other businesses....

Full disclosure, before I go any further into this rant.  Google owns Blogger/Blogspot.  It doesn't cost me a dime to use Blogger/Blogspot.  And when I put Google ads on my site, my traffic from Google searches increased by about 50%. 
In my arrogant opinion, that's nobody's business but mine and Google's. 
For reasons that I don't understand, this site is now one of the top search results for pictures of Macaulay Culkin.  Do I have the best pictures of Macaulay Culkin?  I don't know or care.  But people are using Google to find them here.  If they don't like what Google and I provide, they can use Yahoo.  Or Bing.  Or Dogpile.  I don't think anyone has ever put a gun to anyone's head and forced them to use Google. 

Now, let's continue....

Some early suggestions for how to accomplish this include having Google explain with some specified level of detail the editorial policy that guides its tweaks. Another would be to give some government commission the power to look at those tweaks.

Oh God.  Some idiot wants a government commission to look into the problem. 
And finally....

....if Google is to continue to be the main map to the information highway, it concerns us all that it leads us fairly to where we want to go.

Reason magazine's Peter Suderman, of course, politely suggests that The New York Times and The United States government butt the hell out of Google's succesful business model. 
Mr. Suderman doesn't take it far enough. 
Let's re-write that last sentence from the NYT:

....if The New York times is to continue to be the biggest newspaper in the Dead Tree Media, it concerns us all that they give us balanced information, or at least an admission of Statist bias, in everything they publish. 

We need a government commission to look at the statist, lefty bias of the New York Times.  We need to be sitting in on their editorial board meetings.  We need the power to preview every article they publish, with an eye toward detecting favoritism toward their preferred politicians, causes, and advertisers. 
Granted, nobody forces anyone to purchase The New York Times.
But that's not the point.  They're successful.  If they're successful, they're powerful.  If they're powerful, we need to be able to control them. 

Dammit, somebody, somewhere is reading things that somebody else doesn't like. 

Government must intervene. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Are we going to give Toyota the benefit of another show trial?

So are we going to have another show trial? 

Are we going to reimburse Congress's GM and Chrysler's competitors? 

Is Obama going to set up a slush fund escrow account to pay off Toyota dealers, mechanics, and salesmen because of the harm done to their business, kinda like we're doing for the victims of the BP oil spill?  Is Obama going to call Reid and Pelosi into the White House, and tell them how much they're going to set aside for their victims? 

I don't think so. 

Oh well.  You can go here for details.  Old people tend to confuse the gas pedal with the brake.  Move along, people.  Nothing to see here. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Texas is the #1 state for business in the U.S.A.

Once again, Texas is CNBC's  #1 state for business in the U.S. 

We are a right-to-work state with NO state income tax.   

You can go here to see the rankings.  Go here for CNBC's analysis of why Texas is #1. 

One puzzling sentence in the CNBC analysis....high wages hurt the state in the all-important Cost-of-Doing-Business category, where it comes in at number 30.

Let's repeat that.....high wages hurt the state in the all-important Cost-of-Doing-Business category, where it comes in at number 30.

Does this mean you don't have to be represented by the mafia or devote part of your paycheck to Democrat politicians in order to earn high wages?   How can we possibly have abnormally high wages as a right-to-work state? 

Could it be that individuals prosper most when they represent themselves instead of allowing....awwww, never mind. 

I've posted this before.  Here's some Ray Wylie Hubbard.  You can go ahead and fast-foward to the two-minute mark where the song gets crankin'.   

Repealing Obamacare

1. Republicans will never, ever repeal Obamacare. The fix is in.
2. We haven't had a Free Market in healthcare for a long, long time. I don't think we'd recognize it if we saw it. If I get sick, I think someone else needs to pay the bill.
3. All that having been said, this is a good video.

Monday, July 12, 2010

A shocker

Go here
In related news, they've released a study proving that Chinese people eat a lot of rice. 

When in doubt, bang a newspaper on the table

This guy no more understands ObamaCare than he understands The Pelagian Heresy. 

Enjoy the political savvy and communication style of Rep. Ciro Rodriguez, Democrat, Texas 23rd District. 

6 suggestions for creating jobs

On Meet The Press yesterday, I watched former Tennessee congressman Harold Ford, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, the Republican National Committee’s Ed Gillespie, and New York Times typist David Brooks.  The sat in a circle and lamented the current failure of the Statist dream.

They were trying to decide how to create jobs and “grow” the economy. It would have been funny had it not been so depressing. Some level of government pump-priming was assumed by all to be necessary. Needless interference from Washington munchkins was a given. No one really questioned the level of harm caused by the recent Porkulus, TARP, Detroit and Wall Street bailouts. Even ideas about tax cuts were presented as “for small businesses only”, as if the janitors at General Electric weren’t worth a raise, but the millionaire owners of a Mom’n’Pop enterprises should automatically get a tax break.

(One important thing to remember: Corporations don’t pay taxes. People do. Corporations merely aid the government in collecting taxes from people - they funnel money to Uncle Sam from their employees, their vendors, customers, and their owners.)

Ford, Maddow, Gillespie and Brooks, along with their lords and masters in government, are like the folks whose only tool is a hammer. Everything looks like a nail. The only remaining solution in their toolbag is to take away everything, and then parcel it back out to the people whose behavior they like.

Imagine that you are a small business owner, one of the ones now beloved by politicians everywhere. Or imagine that you are one of Obama's greedy mega-business owners and that you have difficulty speaking because of all the steak and lobster stuffed into your cheeks and the multiple cigars in your mouth that you lit with $100 bills stolen from the savings of orphans.

Imagine that you’re either one of those types of guys. There’s really no difference between the two, except for lobbying power. What would encourage you to hire more people? More speeches from The Teleprompter Jesus? “Investments” of more of your tax money into green “energy”? (Note the scorn quotes.) Would you feel better about hiring more people if the government passed another Porkulus Plan to spend even more money on….government?

I think not. Ask yourself if the following proposals might be more effective:

1. We currently have one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. Cut that tax rate in half. Let businesses keep the money that they’re earning and let them spend it as they see fit. They can spend it on themselves, on employees, on equipment, on paying vendors, or giving the savings to customers. Either way, it will still get spent or invested. Letting Bill Gates or Mark Cuban or even Jerry Jones spend the money is always a better choice than letting Obama, Reid and Pelosi give the money to their constitutents. If that means there’s less money to be squandered by the Richland Hills Texas City Planning Department, well, so be it.

2. The teen unemployment rate is hovering around 40-50%. We just had a minimum wage increase from $5.25 to $7.25 an hour. Statists are always, always, always surprised when these arbitrary price-fixes hurt teen employment. I have teenagers show up every day looking for work, and some of them might already be worth $10.00 or $12.00 an hour to my employer. Some of them are worth about $3.00 an hour, if motivated with cattle prods. Some of them aren’t worth the amount of CO2 they pump into the environment every day. I would be willing to take a chance on hiring trainloads of these kids if I could do so at around $4.00 an hour. Some of them would be making $12.00 within a year. Most would not. Others would quit within the first week. The only way to find out who is in which group? Hire a bunch of them. But I’m not taking that chance at $7.25 an hour.

3. The black unemployment rate is now at 15%, as compared to a nationwide rate of 9.6%. Why is this? It’s because if I hire a black guy and he doesn’t work out, I’m going to have to spend countless hours with our Human Resources department proving that I’m not a racist who discriminates against black people. The black employee that I let go will automatically be given unemployment compensation, whereas we usually fight those claims filed by someone in a non-protected group. If employees couldn’t sue employers who didn’t want to employ them any longer, just like grocery stores or lawn services can’t sue me when I stop employing them, we might again see minority employment once again pass white employment levels. (Do a bit o’Googling to find out when that was last true. Hint: use the key words “Davis Bacon Act”.)

4. When you hire a babysitter, do you look forward to withholding and paying her taxes? Do you feel obligated to provide for her health insurance? Do you believe that babysitters should be unionized, without benefit of a secret ballot election, and that you should then be forced to hire ONLY union babysitters? Would collecting taxes, providing healthcare, and paying more for union babysitters cause you to hire more or less of them? Please be brief with your response.

5. Our president delights, absolutely delights, in demonizing successful large businesses and employers who want to hang onto the money they earn after they take the risk of hiring people. Could whoever programs his teleprompter change the script and get that idiot to stop doing that? He’s scaring people.

6. Central banks are starting to look at dollars as if they were hand-grenades dipped in HIV vaseline. These people know that the current regime isn’t going to stop throwing money to its constituents as if every day is Mardi Gras, and billions are beads. They know that the Obama/Bernanke/Pelosi Axis Of Inflation is about to start firing up the printing presses. Could we encourage them to stop spending, since dollars are the only currency we can use in the U.S., and we don’t want the market to be flooded with them?

I don’t have an economics degree, and I will never, ever be selected as a talking head on Meet The Press. But I do hire people. Or don't.  It just depends on the incentives, doesn't it?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

On the harmful effects of Global Cooling

From the Los Angeles Times:
Unusually cold temperatures in Southern California continued, with Los Angeles International Airport setting a record low on Friday.

LAX got to only 67 degrees, breaking a record set in 1926, according to the National Weather Service.
Can we say "coolest summer ever" for L.A. ?  Or is it too early? 

Fort Worth's summer has been downright pleasant so far. 

I hope this isn't anything we need to start worrying about.  A lot of people have spent a lot of money and time lobbying Congress to achieve this kind of weather, lobbying for carbon emission quotas, cap and tax schemes, perpetutal motion machines, and fans blown by unseen fairy flatulence. 

Unfortunately, none of those schemes are in place.  Yet.  It would be a shame if we got the good effects before the good causes were put into place by our government.  Less-informed people might start thinking that there was no relationship between our behavior and the weather. 

For tens of thousands of years, superstitious people have believed that when we anger The Gods, it causes changes in the weather.  The spring rains don't come.  The corn harvest is puny.  It must be because of something that we did. 

Therefore we do rain dances, throw virgins into the volcano, make chicken sacrifices to The Corn God, put a carbon-trading scam in place, purchase a Prius, or pray.  They are equally effective. 

If earth continues cooling, people will stop feeling guilty and will stop making sacrifices to The Government The Weather Gods.  Well, God is not mocked. 

Senator James Inhofe will be punished for allowing his family to build this obscene structure during Washington D.C.'s Global Cooling scare last year.  (Luke 17:2  "It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.")  You can look it up ! 

Pray for heat.  Pray, pray, pray.  All bad things should always be our fault.  Repent.  Sacrifice.  For we are guilty, guilty, guilty of doing things that are bad, bad, bad. 

I'm gonna go sacrifice a goat.  Have a good day !   (But don't you dare feel good about it.)

LeBron James, U-Haul rental rates, the Ocean Endeavor drilling rig, and Central Banks

Speaking of LeBron James moving from a state with a 7% state income tax (Ohio) to a state with a 0% state income tax (Florida) and apparently not even considering a state with a 12% income tax (New York).....

Mark Perry at the Carpe Diem economics blog has been looking at U-Haul rental rates between Ohio and Florida.  LeBron isn't the only one leaving the Buckeye state. 

One-way rental rates for a 26-foot U-Haul truck on August 4, 2010

Miami, FL to Cleveland, OH: $1,000
Cleveland, OH to Miami, FL: $1,457
Premium to leave Ohio: 45.7%

Orlando, FL to Cleveland, OH: $834
Cleveland, OH to Orlando, FL: $1,301
Premium to leave Ohio: 56%

Tampa, FL to Cleveland, OH: $917
Cleveland, OH to Tampa, FL: $,1379
Premium to leave Ohio: 50.4%

Assuming that one-way U-Haul rates are based on relative demand, there are lot more people and trucks leaving Ohio for Florida than vice-versa, resulting in large premiums to rent trucks going to Florida and large discounts for trucks going to Ohio.

Any idea why?  Here's something from an earlier post about Ohio:

While LeBron's departure got extraordinary media attention, it is hardly unique. In the early 1990s, Ohio was the home of 43 Fortune 500 companies. Twenty years later the number is 24. Census Bureau data show that from 2004-2008 Ohio saw a net outmigration of $6 billion of income and some 97,000 taxpayers. Even Ohio's famously liberal Senator, the late Howard Metzenbaum, moved to Florida late in his life to reduce his estate taxes.
Just for grins, here's the U-Haul relative demand between Detroit (relatively statist) and Dallas (relatively libertarian).

In related news, from The Houston Chronicle:

Diamond Offshore announced Friday that its Ocean Endeavor drilling rig will leave the Gulf of Mexico and move to Egyptian waters immediately — making it the first to abandon the United States in the wake of the BP oil spill and a ban on deep-water drilling....

Larry Dickerson, CEO of Houston-based Diamond, signaled that other of his company's rigs could be relocated, too.

"As a result of the uncertainties surrounding the offshore drilling moratorium, we are actively seeking international opportunities to keep our rigs fully employed," Dickerson said. "We greatly regret the loss of U.S. jobs that will result from this rig relocation."

It was unclear how many U.S. jobs could leave with the Ocean Endeavor, but typically more than 100 workers are on the rig at any given time, doing everything from drilling to cooking meals. Onshore, a network of businesses supplies the rigs with groceries, equipment, uniforms and drilling materials.

"It's not unusual for an energy service company to have 1,000 vendors that they buy from or purchase services from," noted Rep. Kevin Brady, R-The Woodlands. As a result, Brady said, the economic damage from the moratorium stretches far and wide.

And finally, from Fortune magazine:

A new report from Morgan Stanley analyst Emma Lawson confirms what many had suspected: the dollar is firmly on its way to losing its status as the reserve currency of the world.

We already knew that central banks have preferred gold to dollars, and that they're even selling their gold for cash; now, according to Lawson's data, it seems that those central banks prefer almost anything to dollars.

So what do LeBron James, the Ocean Endeavor drilling rig, and Central Banks have in common? 
They all respond to negative incentives.  All three of them are abandoning places and commodities run by crazy people. 
Just like you do, every time you get a chance. 


A fresh coat of Whitening to Newsalert for all the links.