Saturday, November 12, 2011

How To Win The Libertarian Argument

How does one win the "Libertarian Argument"?

By going here. 


You can find more of Mr. Micklethwait's fine work by going here. 

The cartoon below showing many of our failed evangelism practices came from here. 


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Was Cash For Clunkers A Clunker?

Was Cash For Clunkers A Clunker?

That's the question that Ezra Klein of The Washington Post asks if you go here. 

To even ask that question is to answer it. 

Yes, the program was a clunker.  It was a clunker of such magnitude that to even ask the question is to answer it.  If you're pay more for something than it is worth, or to expedite or reward a lopsided trade of that type, then you are participating in Clunkerite behavior. 

Good Lord in heaven, this thing made me crazy back in the day.  Now even the Official Newsletter Of The Obama Vandalism Team is almost admitting that the program was dumber than a box of rocks.  Here's Klein:
For one thing, the fuel-economy requirements were fairly lax: A person could, in theory, trade in a Hummer that got 14 mpg and get a $3,500 voucher for a new 18-mpg SUV. What’s more, that slight gain in efficiency would be partially offset by the energy costs involved in manufacturing the new car. And on the economic front, critics argued, the program might just move up purchases that would’ve happened anyway — thereby providing little actual stimulus.
And that's exactly the type of thing that the smarter people among us did.
My employer, Jukt Micronics, participated in a similar Texas program for forklifts.  It was supposedly about lowering carbon emissions, but in reality it was about using up some of the Texas government's 2009 budget.  Hit this link.  The forklift giveaway was pure, undiluted, insane, government mandated greatness.  I can't thank you good taxpayers enough for giving me these forklifts , by the way.  Oh, and we're letting these things idle all night so that the government inspectors will see that they're getting enough hours, which is the only way they can prove that I really needed them. 
Long story.  Hit the link.  I'm begging you. 
Go ahead.  Hit this link. 
You'll continue to vote for Democrat or Republican idiots unless you hit this link. 

But that's enough chatter about how I'm letting forklifts idle all night so the odometers will prove that I really did need the forklifts that you gave me so that I could help reduce carbon emissions.....Back to Ezra Klein at the WaPo:
So were the naysayers right? It seems so. A newly updated analysis from economists at Resources for the Future finds that the actual benefits of the program were pretty meager. The paper examined U.S. car sales using trends in Canada as a control group, and estimated that about 45 percent of cash-for-clunker vouchers went to consumers who would have bought new cars anyway. In the end, the program boosted U.S. vehicle sales by just 360,000 in July and August of 2009 and provided no stimulus thereafter. What’s more, the program increased average fuel economy in the United States by just 0.65 miles per gallon.
Ezra, you ignorant slut. 
The program was not about stimulus, or fuel economy.  I don't know why this is so hard to admit.   
The program was a political favor to Detroit which harmed most of the rest of us.  It annihilated the used car and used parts market.  Mission accomplished on that score. 
Now, there’s a case to be made that that’s better than nothing. For one, handing $3,500 vouchers to people who would’ve bought cars anyway still counts as stimulus. What’s more, as the RFF paper found, the program reduced overall U.S. carbon-dioxide emissions by between 9 million and 28.4 million tons. But even so, that implies that it cost between $91 and $288 per ton to get those reductions — a pretty lousy bargain as far as carbon policy goes. Even if the program did have some benefits, it’s hard to argue that it was an efficient way to dole out cash.
Oh for Christ's sake !!!   It doesn't count as "stimulus".  Ezra, if I take money from you and give it to a forklift manufacturer, it doesn't stimulate anything but my do-gooder credentials.  You won't get to spend the money the way you wanted to, and the forklift manufacturer gets to spend it the way he wants to.  Net gain: Zero. 

And chances are, the manufacturer is going to spend some of it on campaign contributions for the person who took away your money, you idiot.  

Here's one of my least favorite videos of all time. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Let's go into business together !!

I found this on Libertarian Reddit:

We will go into business together.

Now, I don't have any money, since I have never produced anything, and I have no ideas. You will have to come up with an idea, a business model and all of the capital, but we will be partners and I will take 35% of the profit.
I will tell you what you can not produce, I will tell you what materials you may not use, I will tell you where you may not locate your factory, I will dictate the working conditions of your employees including the number of hours they work and how much you must pay them.
I will make you jump through hoops.
In exchange for all of this, all I ask is 35%.
Then, after growing and maturing your business over years and years, when you are ready to retire you may sell your business and I will take 20% of everything that you have spent your entire life building.

Sound like a good deal?

I'm sorry, this is NOT a choice.

Why too much spending sometimes isn't enough

From Andrew Coulson of The Cato Institute:

The Washington Times reports today on a candle-light vigil beseeching the federal government for extra cash for new computers. The group organizing the vigil, OurDC, shares this “horror story” from former technology teacher Toval Rolston:

I’ve been in D.C. schools where the computers are so antiquated that you can’t even download a basic pdf file; our children don’t have the tools to compete in today’s high tech world.
The twin implications of this plea are that DC schools are underfunded and that more money will actually be spent wisely. The first statement is false and the second is decidedly unlikely. The last time I calculated total spending on K-12 education in DC, from the official budget documents, it came out to over $28,000 per pupil  (the linked post points to a spreadsheet with all the numbers).

How do you manage to spend $28,000 per pupil and not manage to keep your computer hardware up to date? Or, for that matter, manage to have among the worst academic performance in the country? Maybe, just maybe, it has something to do with not being capable, or perhaps even inclined, to spend the money on what works.

The Washington Times, by the way, points out that OurDC is headquartered at the same address as the Service Employees International Union. Go figure.

This one is easy.  They're spending $28,000.00 per pupil in the D.C. public schools.  Multiply that by the number of kids in a typical classroom (let's call it 20), and you'll get $560,000.00 per classroom of kids. 

The kids aren't doing well in the D.C. schools. 

This is very similar to the problem that we had with the last Stimulus Package.  We spent $750,000,000,000.00 (that's $750 billion) to revive the economy and it didn't work.  Economist Paul Krugman explained the poor results:  The stimulus was too small. 

That is obviously the problem with the D.C. schools.  We're spending enough to hire someone from (ahem) "The 1%" to teach each classroom of kids.  But it's not working.  The results are horrific.   

Therefore, more spending per child is necessary.  We need to be spending enough to hire someone from The 1% of The 1% to teach each classroom of kids.   

Anytime the nation needs someone to explain these things, I provide this service at no charge. 

The picture of the Memphis Jr. High School's "Literacy Night Tonigt" came from Memphis resident Scott Moore's Facebook page. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

John Spivey on the Alan Ross Gay/Lesbian Pride Parade

My friend John Spivey, chair of the Tarrant County Libertarian Party, posted story on Facebook today.  I've written about participating in the Alan Ross Gay/Lesbian parade before, and if you've got the time I hope you'll hit this link just to look at the pictures.  Here's my first paragraph:
Since I didn't think our transvestite could walk the entire parade route, I agreed to walk beside the Alamo, which was a good thing, because two different people handed me Jello Shots while I was handing out flyers and freebies, and I couldn't hear myself think because our DJ's on top of the Alamo had AC/DC techno-mixes cranked up to ELEVEN, and most of the crowd was screaming and clapping and shouting, and it was sometimes hard to stay in line behind the gay choir and the bicyclists with Aids.

It was a fun, fun day. 

Rather than repost the same pictures, I'm gonna throw in some other protest pics that I've been saving for an occasion like this. 
Here's Big Daddy John Spivey on that event.  Enjoy ! 

So - Allen Patterson, Michelle, Richard Forsythe and a bunch of Tarrant County Libertarians helped out the Dallas County LP with their float in the Alan Ross Pride Parade - a huge gay event in Dallas. It's a big event each year - and we think it's a pretty good 'recruiting spot' for us as many, many gay folk are fiscally conservative and obviously, socially tolerant. To paint a picture for you...

We're in a float that is shaped like the Alamo, with a sign that says "Remember the Rainbow" (the Rainbow Lounge raid was big news then).

We had Jeff Daiell, an LP Gubernatorial Candidate on board with his wife. He's wearing a nice suit, she's in a conservative outfit. They're just wonderful folks. We also had an awesome DJ on board John John John-Ra Weidenfeller who was playing some AWESOME music. I particularly enjoyed the 'techno version of Strawberry Fields Forever'. We even had our own transvestite!

Well, we had a GREAT time in the parade, as we were behind a giant float with a jungle theme, which featured mean dressed as women dressed as animals. In bikinis. - We gave (threw) pens, candy and other LP logo'ed items.

 At the end of the parade, we were instructed to 'move along - not clog up the ending spot of the parade - and find a clear area to park.

 As I mentioned this is a huge event, so we had to drive around to find a spot. So, Allen and I were up on the rolling Alamo with Daiell and his wife - and John-Ra was still spinning tunes with an awesome (and loud) PA system. Well, we couldn't find a spot so we started driving down Cedar Springs.

We pulled into a Starbucks Parking lot where a REALLY drunk - and flambloyant - gay dude quickly climbed up onto the float and screamed, "Oh MY GOD - I LOVE LIBERTARIANS!!" And started to dance to the music.

He is introduced to Mr. Daiell and began - er, 'overhugging' him. Jeff is a great person and was very nice as this guy attached himself to him.

We had to move from this spot - and our stow-away got trapped on the float with us as we drove around a Tom Thumb parking lot - and as we were dodging low hanging tree limbs, on a giant Alamo, with a overhugging, techno dancing, drunken and very noisy gay guy, "120 BPM 'Strawberry Fields' blaring - - Allen Patterson looks at me and says as deadpan as can be, "You know, this kind of thing happens to me every day."

I've never taken LSD - but I now feel I don't have to. I had a completely sober psychedelic experience.
Seriously, you've got to hit this link and look at the parade pics.  It was a fun, fun day.
Here's a pic of me on parade day with some Spokesmodels for a product that doesn't really matter.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Herman Cain and Ron Paul on The Housing Bubble

Let's kick Herman Cain while he's down, shall we?  After all, he was Deputy Chair of the K.C. Fed for a couple of years, and still defends that vile organization. 

Here are some crusty old Herman Cain and Ron Paul quotes about the possibility of there ever ever ever being a "housing bubble". 

One of these guys was proven right. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

What to do with 250 copies of "The Book Of Mormon"

A Southern Baptist Witch Doctor, Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Dallas, recently made some waves by stating that Christians shouldn't vote for Mitt Romney because he's a member of a cult.  (Romney is a member of the LDS church.  Also known as the Mormon church.) 
The Robert Jeffress publicity stunt reminded me of something that I did about 25 years ago.
This is an unlikely story, so I'm going to copy my friend Henry Farrish when I throw it on Facebook. 

Henry can't vouch for the buildup, but he can verify the aftermath.  And the aftermath was pure, undiluted greatness. 

Here goes:

I moved to Fort Worth, Texas, in January of 1984 to attend Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
The training didn’t take.

I dropped out of seminary because of a crisis of faith, because my heart wasn’t in it, because of The White Elephant Saloon in the Fort Worth Stockyards, and because of the discovery that God just might not have plans to torture Jews and Muslims for eternity for their lack of belief in things they’d never heard of.

I eventually went to work doing shipping and receiving for Taylors Books, a local retail chain. My last semester, the spring of ’85 (?), I skipped all of my classes except for a couple that I liked and spent most of my time working at Taylors and reading heretical literature in the seminary library.

If you ever want to know more about the Marcionite heresy, I’m your man.

While I was going through my dark night of the soul, a couple of Mormon missionaries were on a parallel track.  Customers and employees of Taylors Books could look out the store windows and see these two depressed Mormon lads on their bicycles, pedaling around the Camp Bowie Boulevard neighborhood in their black slacks, white IBM shirts and black ties, going through a lackluster routine of handing out pamphlets and hardback copies of The Book Of Mormon. I wish those boys had come in the store so we could compare notes.

The pic of a couple of random Mormon missionaries came from here. 

They reminded me of those kids who are paid minimum wage to put on a Hot Dog costume and pass out coupons for Big Dawgs House O’ Wieners. Any photo of these missionaries could’ve been captioned “So….it really has come to this”.

These boys decided that spreading the message of the late prophet Joseph Smith was a poor career choice. They eventually gave up on evangelism and quietly dumped two massive cases of “The Book Of Mormon” at the back door of Taylors Books and said “screw it”.  Maybe they would’ve felt too guilty about throwing the books into a dumpster, but figured that a bookstore might sell them.  We never saw them again, and as far as I know they took their bicycles to I-20 and pedaled back to Salt Lake City.

They left me with about 250 free copies of “The Book Of Mormon – Another Testimony Of Jesus Christ”.

What to do, what to do….

I’ve got to digress for a moment.  You won't miss much if you skip the next 7 paragraphs....

Here’s what was going on at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary at the time. They were having a Holy War.  There was a conservative faction in the Southern Baptist Convention that didn’t believe that women should be allowed to preach, or even teach men (I’m serious). They didn’t believe that women should be leaders in the church or in the home - a concept called the “subordination of women”. (This rule doesn’t apply at the national level, though, as some conservatives found enough wiggle room in their policies to support Sarah Palin, who was godless enough to run for Vice President despite owning a real live vagina.)

The conservatives claimed that every word of the arbitrary collection loosely called “Bible” is without error, they insisted on a literal 6 day creation, and that humans speak multiple languages because some people at Babel once built an offensive tower, and that gays and lesbians were sinners who chose homosexuality the way that you choose Coke instead of Pepsi.

Very few people stopped to wonder if God didn’t like Muslims, women, Jews, or homosexuals, why oh why did he keep making so many of them?

Up until that point, Southern Baptists had advocated a couple of concepts called “Autonomy Of The Local Church” and “Priesthood Of The Believer”.  I don’t have the time, space or inclination to go into those traditions here, since I no longer have a dog in that fight, but those concepts imply that individual churches and individual Christians are free to find their own way, for better or for worse.

Those old libertarian-ish traditions weren’t good enough for many of the grim young strivers of Southwestern Baptist Theological Semitary. Any system that leaves people alone, theologically or politically, is a blatant affront to those who just know what is best for everyone else. How can you pull of a successful Disney boycott or a big war if some churches and some people won’t participate in the hatin’ ??

The conservative faction was opposed by a “liberal Baptist” faction. (Yeah, roll that phrase around in your mouth for a while. There is such a thing!) The liberal Baptists were a smaller, less powerful group which has gone on to become Episcopalian.

Let’s just say that I wasn’t happy there. I couldn’t imagine spending the rest of my life enmeshed in those debates. I had already blown off half of my classes and was half-auditing the others just to learn more, with no intention of taking any final exams. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with the rest of my life and didn’t have an immediate goal.

But someone had given me 250 copies of The Book Of Mormon. I took that as a sign from God, or Jupiter, Zeus, Zool, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster (who had not yet been revealed unto us, Bless His Noodly Appendage), that those books should be put to use.

Early one Saturday morning, I put on a generic denim shirt, one that could’ve been issued to someone’s maintenance crew. I got my cases of Joseph Smith’s Epistle To The Polygamists, a couple of shopping bags, and drove to school.

Other than the professorial and administrative offices, Southwestern Semitary classrooms were as open and empty as the tomb of the slain Galilean. I decided to hit the school of Theology first. I went into a classroom and propped a copy of “The Book Of Mormon: Another Testimony Of Jesus Christ” on the chalkrail of the blackboard. Front and center. It felt good. It looked right. A Hustler centerfold of Hillary Clinton couldn’t have been more offensive in that environment. I took a few steps back to admire my work, “and saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:10 )

I went from classroom to classroom, like a Utah Johnny Appleseed, spreading the Mormon Gospel of Sacred Undergarments, Celestial Marriage, Republican Governors, and large families. What were they going to do to me, throw me out of school? Plus, the only way I was going to get caught was if I kept breaking out in loud giggles.

I went to the Preaching Lab, a mini-church sanctuary with a pulpit, piano, and pews. I put a copy in the hymnal rack on the back of each pew, left one on the pulpit, and then propped open one on the piano.
Next, I entered to the chapel. Entering this room with those Joseph Smith’s books was like performing a Muslim ritual Hajj to Mecca, approaching the holy Kaaba, and then whipping out a Pizza Hut Deep Dish Pork Lover’s special (with extra bacon) just to see how it would go over with the other pilgrims. I decorated the chapel with my heretical books. Thus was The School Of Theology evangelized.

I had to go back to my truck and restock my supply several times. I worked over the School Of Education, the School Of Music, the fitness center, and the childcare facility. No Mormon has ever spread the LDS gospel to a hostile audience the way I spread it that morning, and if there really is a multi-tiered Mormon heaven with Celestial, Terrestrial, and Telestial kingdoms, I believe I’m going spend eternity looking down on a lot of other Baptists. I did my work better than Brigham Young, dammit.

(Here's a helpful Mormon chart showing where I shall take my rightful place in the highest circle, The Celestial Kingdom.  I'm going to get into the highest Mormon Heaven because of my good works for The Faith.)

Nobody noticed anything until Tuesday morning. (Southwestern Semitary doesn’t have classes on Mondays. This allows part-time preachers with churches in Oklahoma, Louisiana and West Texas to return to The Angel Factory on Monday instead of driving all Sunday night.)

Tuesday morning, there was a massive uproar all over campus. Outrage. Sturdy, strapping young Baptists discussed marching on Salt Lake City to plant copies of Herschell Hobbs’ landmark tract “The Baptist Faith And Message” in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir loft. Some professors declared it to be a harmless prank, while others began their classes with a prayer that all Mormons/LDS church members would listen for the Spirit’s voice, find the true path, repent of their errors, and blah blah blah freakin’ blah. (That was the approach taken by Dr. Boyd Hunt in Systematic Theology, by the way. I know because I was there for it.)

That night, I went to my job at Bassham Food Services. The Bassham’s night shift was 50% Seminary students working their way through school, and 50% bewildered stoners and neighborhood kids who were very, very tired of being evangelized by Seminary students.

The breakroom conversations were about the cropdusting of the Seminary with copies of “The Book Of Mormon”. Theories of Whodunnit were proposed. Nobody could come up with a satisfactory explanation.

I just sat there grinning, looking like the guy who knows Who Farted.

My friend, co-worker, and roommate Henry Farrish looked at me for a while. Henry and I have known each other since the 4th grade.

Henry whispered “Did you do that?????”

I winked.

Later on, we went into a corner of the warehouse and laughed and laughed and laughed. Wish you could’ve seen it.

And that is what you do with 250 copies of “The Book Of Mormon”.