Saturday, July 25, 2009

I think she's onto something.

Listen very, very closely. I think she's onto something.

A lengthy digression on Thomas Friedman's Carbon Footprint

The "settled science" of Anthropogenic Global Warming takes yet another's the abstract of three Australian scientists who claim that any Global Warming Climate Change Climate Turbulence we've experienced throughout the last 50 years is due to Mother Nature, not people with large houses and SUV's. I doubt that this paper (peer-reviewed, BTW) will make much difference. The fix is in.

Speaking of large houses, here's Thomas Friedman on the subject of whatever it is we're trying to prevent by driving a Prius. Friedman has written some great books about globalization and the benefits of Free Trade. That got him booed on college campuses, and there was a pie-throwing incident by a group called The Greenwash Guerillas.

(Note to self: do some research on whether college campuses are the most likely places for attacks on free speech.)

To recover some fashion cred, Friedman then wrote "Hot, Flat, and Crowded", which basically said that the gods aren't happy with everything you're doing so they're going to heat up the earth. The Thought Police began to smile again on Friedman.

Anyway, back to evil people with large houses. Here's Thomas Friedman in the New York Times:

....this bill’s goal of reducing U.S. carbon emissions to 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 is nowhere near what science tells us we need to mitigate climate change. But it also contains significant provisions to prevent new buildings from becoming energy hogs, to make our appliances the most energy efficient in the world and to help preserve forests in places like the Amazon.

Here's Thomas Friedman's house.

Where are the Greenwash Guerillas now that we really need them?

Two layers of Whitening (with a primer coat) to the good people at Small Dead Animals for the links.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Government Takes Over; Venezuela Runs Out Of Coffee

I found a site called "The Return Of Scipio" on Leonidas's blogroll.
According to Scipio, the Hugo Chavez'x Venezuela has run out of coffee.
I repeat, Venezuela has run out of coffee. They're having to import it.

Here's Scipio:

It seems Venezuela’s dictator Hugo Chavez has been meddling with the economy again. One marvels at the mentality that can cause a nation’s most common product to become as scarce as chastity in a whorehouse. Really, one cannot swing a dead cat in Venezuela without hitting some coffee planter. It would be as if Cuba were running out of sugar—oh wait, it is. Castro and Chavez have the same understanding of economics....

The entire discipline of economics since Adam Smith has escaped Chavez. Why could this idiot not open any Econ 101 text and turn to ‘price controls?’ Here are the results of Chavez meddling in areas far above his pay grade.

On-and-off food shortages for years have dogged the government of President Hugo Chavez, a former paratrooper who has nationalized several industries and expropriated land as part of his socialist revolution.

Hit the link to read the whole thing. It's worth it.

The Return Of Scipio: "Writing not for fortune or fame, but because God is watching."

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Ever have one of these days?

Have you ever been in charge of implementing a totally ridiculous program in your workplace? Have you ever known ahead of time which employees would give you a hard time over it?
Have you ever had to put on your game face, and charge ahead with the rollout, even though you knew that every word you were saying was totally insane?

I've had to do that before.
So has Rep. Russ Carnahan, (Mommy Party - Missouri)

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Rep. Carnahan, and we all wish him a speedy recovery.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Beer That Never Lifts You Up, And Always Lets You Down

To our friends who voted for The Teleprompter Jesus....
Let's start with this expression of disappointment from Talking Points Memo:

"....allowing detention without trial creates a dangerous loophole in our justice system that mimics the Bush administration's abusive approach to fighting terrorism."

Then there's Charles Krauthammer, who has been pissed off since Election Day:

If hypocrisy is the homage that vice pays to virtue, then the flip-flops on previously denounced anti-terror measures are the homage that Barack Obama pays to George Bush. Within 125 days, Obama has adopted with only minor modifications huge swaths of the entire, allegedly lawless Bush program.The latest flip-flop is the restoration of military tribunals. During the 2008 campaign, Obama denounced them repeatedly, calling them an "enormous failure." Obama suspended them upon his swearing in. Now they're back.

....Observers of all political stripes are stunned by how much of the Bush national security agenda is being adopted by this new Democratic government. Victor Davis Hanson (National Review) offers a partial list: "The Patriot Act, wiretaps, e-mail intercepts, military tribunals, Predator drone attacks, Iraq (i.e. slowing the withdrawal), Afghanistan (i.e. the surge) — and now Guantanamo."

Here's the L.A. Times Top Of The Ticket blog:

The still sort-of-new Barack Obama Democratic administration has again adopted another policy straight out of the administration of his much-criticized Republican predecessor, George W. Bush.
Obama administration officials have rejected a watchdog group's request for a list of healthcare industry executives who've been meeting secretly in the White House with Obama staffers to discuss healthcare changes being drafted there and in Congress.

The Top Of The Ticket people go on to quote the Obama campaign's website back when it was tut-tutting about Dick Cheney doing the same thing.

Let's throw in one more, this time from The Heritage Foundation:

*President Bush expanded the federal budget by a historic $700 billion through 2008. President Obama would add another $1 trillion.
*President Bush began a string of expensive finan­cial bailouts. President Obama is accelerating that course.
*President Bush created a Medicare drug entitle­ment that will cost an estimated $800 billion in its first decade. President Obama has proposed a $634 billion down payment on a new govern­ment health care fund.

They list several others, but this is already becoming tiresome. You can go here and here and here to read even more comparisons of the two.
The typical anti-Obama rant usually ends with "How's that Hopey-Changey thing working out for you?"

Instead, let me offer a Bush Light, "The Beer That Never Lifts You Up, And Always Lets You Down".

(You could've had a Bob Barr !)

Bush Light can provided by Hammer.

The Weekly Radley - This will be discussed for decades

From Radley Balko's Agitator blog:

So if you’re going to be a pedestrian who mistakenly calls the cops because you see a black man trying to pry open the jammed door to his own home, and if you’re going to be the responding cop who then questions said black man for possibly burglarizing his own home, then arrests said black man for subsequently taking offense and getting uppity with you, both of you should probably make sure said black man is not Henry Louis Gates, the famed Harvard professor of African-American Studies.

Uh-oh. I bet Gates is a mite irritated. Here's The Washington Post: a country where one in nine young black men are in prison, where racial profiling is still practiced, the arrest of a renowned scholar on a charge of disorderly conduct in front of his house last Thursday has fueled an ongoing debate about race in America in the age of its first black president.

....The white officer who arrived found Gates in the house (the driver was gone) and asked him to step outside. Gates refused, and the officer followed him in. Gates showed him his ID, which included his address, then demanded that the officer identify himself. The officer did not comply, Gates said. He then followed the officer outside, saying repeatedly, "Is this how you treat a black man in America?"

The charge against him (Gates) was dropped Tuesday, but Gates said he plans to use the attention and turn his intellectual heft and stature to the issue of racial profiling. He now wants to create a documentary on the criminal justice system, informed by the experience of being arrested not as a famous academic but as an unrecognized black man.

The harsher side of the experience was "deeply painful and traumatic," Gates said. "I'm outraged that this could happen to me in my own home, but I'm outraged that it could happen to any individual."

He said his documentary will ask: "How are people treated when they are arrested? How does the criminal justice system work? How many black and brown men and poor white men are the victims of police officers who are carrying racist thoughts?"

According to Michael Meyers, executive director of the New York Civil Rights Coalition., Reverend Al Sharpton has already chimed in. Here's The Washington Post:
Rev. Al Sharpton: "I've heard of driving while black, and I've heard of shopping while black. But I've never heard of living in a home while black."

Meyers continues:

Give me a break. Why isn't it enough that the charges of disorderly conduct have been dropped against Gates? The question answers itself: The race activists need to posture that the nation has to pause and contemplate and endure yet another round of guilt around their "truth" and constant observation of racism by cops. "See," they exclaim, "in postracial America, the black man with a Ph.D. can't get into his own home without causing suspicion and getting arrested."

The real truth is that Gates did not get arrested for being black or even for being suspicious or for breaking into his own home. He was arrested for disorderly conduct - for failing to do what civil rights activists and race experts always advise innocent black men, and all others who come into contact with the police, to do: cooperate.

It makes sense to repeat this message now, especially for the benefit of young black men. If the police confront you, don't go demanding badge numbers and reading the cops the riot act. Be courteous and calm. Explain yourself and, if asked, present ID.
If there has been a constitutional violation of some kind by the cops, that can be taken care of once the police have left you alone, moving on - let's hope - to investigate other suspicious behavior.

So which way should Professor Gates have responded?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Weekly Radley - This will be discussed for decades

So if you’re going to be a pedestrian who mistakenly calls the cops because you see a black man trying to pry open the jammed door to his own home, and if you’re going to be the responding cop who then questions said black man for possibly burglarizing his own home, then arrests said black man for subsequently taking offense and getting uppity with you, both of you should probably make sure said black man is not Henry Louis Gates, the famed Harvard professor of African-American Studies.

Fighting In The Shade, Leonidas, and Libertarians

Note to all varieties of libertarians:

I met an interesting guy, also named Allen, at the Blodgmeet last weekend. All I knew about Allen was that he was retired and his wife was from Scandinavia. They have a boat. He spells his name properly, with two "L's" and an "E". He doesn't talk much, but when he does, it's worth listening to.

For some reason, I never got around to reading or linking his website until he left a comment on mine.

Check out the "About Me" section of Allen's blog, "Fighting In The Shade".

I feel better knowing that Allen is on our side.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Forget Walter Cronkite. Gene Elliott has declared that The War needs to end.

The war on drugs has lost the support of Gene Elliott.
Gene Elliott is a retired food wholesaler. He's one of the best-read people I know, and one of the most interesting. Every now and then Mr. Elliot sits down and types up some hot sports opinions and blasts them out to everyone in his email address book. I ALWAYS read them.

Here's an excerpt from the latest one:

If you want to be concerned about our country, try this. Recently, in a two day golf tournament in Wichita Falls, I spent two rounds on a golf cart with a man, recently retired, who was warden of a maximum security prison operated by the State of Texas....

I asked him what percent of prisoners are there because of drugs. He said about 65% if those are counted who are there because of crimes committed to support drug use. When I asked his opinion of a solution, he did not hesitate one bit. He said take the profit out of drugs for illegal drug dealers. Make them available through the drug store at normal commercial prices. That would let the air out of the balloon for drug dealers who are supplying drugs that, not only support enormous profits for criminal drug processing, transportation and sales, the price to users includes cost of corruption of law enforcement and other public officials.

I've never heard it said better. (In case you're wondering, I can't imagine Gene and Flo Elliott sitting down in the den with some weed and Zigzag papers and rolling up a fat one. They're not that kind of people. Well, Flo isn't.)

Slight change of subject....According to The Aggie, there was never a time when she couldn't buy marijuana at her high school. Why? Because, despite the penalties, there was a huge profit in doing illegal bidness there. What would happend to those profits if marijuana could be bought and sold to non-minors like any other form of farm produce? Do you think the Mexican border might suddenly be more livable?

When everyday users are caught and convicted, they go into prison as non-violent offenders. Many of them come out as extremely violent offenders, and spend the rest of their lives as fodder for the parole officer/counselor/probation industry. (I hire a lot of those guys, and I'm convinced that the probation industry has perverse incentives for keeping people in the system for as long as possible.)

Here's Senator Jim Webb, speaking on the senate floor:

Let's start with a premise that I don't think a lot of Americans are aware of. We have 5% of the world's population; we have 25% of the world's known prison population....
There are only two possibilities here: either we have the most evil people on earth living in the United States; or we are doing something dramatically wrong in terms of how we approach the issue of criminal justice. . . .
The elephant in the bedroom in many discussions on the criminal justice system is the sharp increase in drug incarceration over the past three decades. In 1980, we had 41,000 drug offenders in prison; today we have more than 500,000, an increase of 1,200%.

A 1,200% increase since 1980??? How is this possible?
It's possible because it's a great excuse for government spending. It really is that simple.

When alcohol was prohibited during the 1920's, we saw an incredible upswing in alcohol related violence. Fortunately, people could still remember that things weren't that bad prior to 1920, and Prohibition was eventually repealed. Bootlegging violence dropped off.

Unfortunately, very few people can remember when marijuana was legal in the U.S.
Will the ridiculous prohibition of, say, marijuana go away now that scads of police officers, prison guards, parole officers, and testing facilities have their jobs on the line?
Who knows.

Speaking of wars, much has been written and broadcast in the last couple of days about the passing of Walter Cronkite. Cronkite was famous for....well, he only did one thing that really mattered.
Cronkite was the newsreader who declared that the Vietnam War was over. And he did it long before the fat lady sang. For some harsh and pointed criticism of that action, you can go here or here.

I can't say that Vietnam was 100% right or wrong, much like I can't say that our current Middle Eastern adventure is totally right or wrong. But I can unequivocally say that our War On Drugs is being fought for a lot of very bad reasons.

When LBJ heard about Cronkite's statement, he supposedly said "If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost middle America."

Well, the War On Drugs has now lost the support of Gene Elliott.

Sanity beckons.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

We'll only be singing the 1st verse of each hymn....

I saw this banner on a church someplace south of Waco, and had to do something with it.

MINIMUM WAGE INCREASED ! (men, minorities, hardest hit)

The minimum wage will increase one more time on July 24th.

men, minorities, continue to be hardest hit.

From a blog post of about a year ago:

This (unemployment rate) is exactly what is happening at the lower end of the wage pool with today's minimum wage increase. There will be another mandated increase a year from now. A few months from now, start looking for bewildered print and online editorials about increased unemployment among teenagers and low-skilled minorities. The funniest ones will have no sense of irony, and will end with calls for our government to do something about the problem.