April 27, 2009

Note to Self

The next time you see an interesting right-of-center headline that decries our fiscal mess, search the text for 'Bush'. If the word does not appear, move on immediately.

The only exception is writers who have established a long-term record of credibility.

April 24, 2009

Not a Dime's Worth of Difference...

Rasmussen Reports:
51% View Tea Parties Favorably, Political Class Strongly Disagrees

Fifty-one percent (51%) of Americans have a favorable view of the “tea parties” held nationwide last week, including 32% who say their view of the events is Very favorable. (p)Thirty-three percent (33%) hold an unfavorable opinion of the tea parties according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Fifteen percent (15%) are not sure.

...the nation’s Political Class has a much dimmer view—just 13% of the political elite offered even a somewhat favorable assessment while 81% said the opposite. Among the Political Class, not a single survey respondent said they had a Very Favorable opinion of the events while 60% shared a Very Unfavorable assessment.

One-in-four adults (25%) say they personally know someone who attended a tea party protest. That figure includes just one percent (1%) of those in the Political Class.
The whole thing is worth reading.

Political Parasite Class.

Fixed it.

April 20, 2009

Outrage!! The Nasssty Governments Won't Let Goldman Ssachs Pay Off TARP!

Bloomberg reports:
Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein, 54, wants to refund money received from the U.S. Treasury to run the bank without any limits on compensation.
But the government may not let Goldman repay, thunders Henry Blodgett. Are we going to be a market economy or a command economy? Are we on the brink of communism? Etc etc

Back to the Bloomberg piece:
Even after repaying funds to the U.S. Troubled Asset Relief Program, Goldman Sachs intends to take advantage of government help by continuing to sell low-interest debt backed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Chief Financial Officer David Viniar said on a conference call today.

Goldman Sachs has sold one $2 billion bond without an FDIC guarantee and about $22 billion with the backing since the government program became available in October.

“It’s still attractive to have the FDIC-insured debt,” Viniar said in an interview today. “We’ve issued some non- guaranteed, we expect to issue more non-guaranteed, but the FDIC-insured is also attractive.”
That puts things in a different light...

More here.

Earth Without People, Hurray!

Dinocrat quotes:
“We need to be doing a lot more to reverse the global trend toward fatness, and recognize it as a key factor in the battle to reduce (carbon) emissions and slow climate change”…
The underlying attitude here is totalitarian. This guy pretty much nails it, IMO:
What they want is a a command-and-control economy based on scarcity of resources. And of course, once widespread scarcity is established, THEY will be in control of the scarce resources, so WE will OBEY.
Somewhere, Mencken is not surprised:
The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed -- and thus clamorous to be led to safety -- by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.
And then there are the Earth Without People people:
The environazis are not interested in renewable energy because they are not interested in renewable people. These are anti-human…opposed to our very existence.

You have to wonder what induced the level of self-loathing required to make some people hate absolutely everything associated with their species. But there you have it.
I'm baffled. I have no idea of how to communicate with someone who thinks this way.
I don't know if the climate is warming, cooling or trendlessly fluctuating, or whether anthropogenic warming and natural cooling are offsetting each other. IMHO the proper long-term recourse is geoengineering--reversible geoengingeering, thank you very much--, and I support research into such proposals even when the motivation seems half-cocked.

April 18, 2009

The Religious Right

I finally had occasion to jot down my impression.

The religious kook right favored big government as a means to impose their agenda on the country. They thought that small-government voters and centrists would have no choice but to vote Republican. They deliberately allied with the Abramoffs in the GOP and blew off the limited-government wing. They counted on a permanent Republican majority in which they would pull the strings.

After the complete collapse of their strategery, their reaction isn't pretty. They don't acknowledge that they were wrong or mistaken and need to change. No, they believe God is testing the righteous, i.e. them, while He prepares to smite the nation for its sins, i.e. for throwing them out of power.

The refusal to learn or adjust is the worst part of the situation.

Afterthought. Call the GOP's controlling coalition an alliance between the influence peddlers and moral dirigistes aka culture warriors.

April 16, 2009

My Sentiments Exactly

Seen at a Tennessee tea party:
A sign near the center of the crowd summed up the sentiment succinctly: Above side-by-side pictures of President Bush and President Obama were the words “Dumb & Dumber”.
It's too bad the tea parties didn't start under Bush.

Afterthought. The Boston Tea Party was about illegitimate taxes. The main point of the current protests is that illegitimate government spending will ruin future generations and bankrupt the country.

Calling the protests tea parties helps get attention and so does holding them on April 15, but the implication is inaccurate. The passions behind the Boston Tea Party and contemporary protests may be similar, but the issues are different. Today's labeling predisposes the underlying message to be distorted by opponents and misunderstood by the public.

The mislabeling will be corrected if the protests jell into a long-term constructive political movement.

April 12, 2009

Classic Posts

Most online content is not of permanent value. Two exceptions are below.

The 2003 Glenn Reynolds on loving monsters. (Unfortunately Reynolds spreads himself too thin nowadays.)

Megan McArdle on gay marriage (with an addendum here).

As Timely Today as Twenty Years Ago

P.J. O'Rourke's 'The Piece of Ireland That Passeth All Understanding'.

And not just the Irish. Consider Serbs and Croats, for example. No need to mention Africa.

April 11, 2009

Intellectual Property and the Economy

Afaic "intellectual property" (patents, copyrights, trademarks) is a social contract. Afaic parasitical rent-seeking special interests have distorted the underlying law to the point at which intellectual property does more harm than good.

Despite the excesses and misuse, incentivizing innovation and progress sounds like a worthy concept. However, two reputable economists argue that the concept is inherently flawed and we'd be better off without it.

April 10, 2009

Copyright and Terrorism

Does the content industry's government-abetted predatory behavior facilitate terrorism? A couple of comments to that effect are plausible on their face. By creating a mass market for circumventions of "intellectual property", the industry may have stimulated development of evasive technologies that the bad guys would not have invented on their own. Mass circumventions have enabled the few actual villains to hide like needles in a haystack.

April 8, 2009

A Shout Out to VDH: Thank You!

Column after column, year after year, Victor Davis Hanson drones out his unhip historical truths.

If conservatism survives this rudderless period, it will be because people like Hanson staid the course.

April 5, 2009

Obama and JFK

The press gushes over Obama while ignoring his inexperience and gaffes. Comparisons to JFK continue.

Soviet Premier Khrushchev supposedly sized up JFK as weak when the two met. This perception emboldened Khrushchev to put Soviet missiles into Cuba, thereby precipitating the Cuban Missile Crisis.

(Speaking of comparisons: the left dismisses or ignores Obama's blunders; Bush loyalists mocked his critics as educated dopes who didn't understand strategery.)

April 1, 2009

Charges Dropped Against Ted Stevens

The prosecution withheld exculpatory evidence from the defense.
...it appeared that the prosecutors who tried Mr. Stevens on ethics charges would themselves now face ethics charges.
Judge Sullivan recently ordered that some of the government lawyers involved be held in contempt of court, including the two top officials of the Justice Department’s public integrity division, the section that prosecutes official corruption.
I'd like to know these government lawyers' political backgrounds. The investigation of the government lawyers should pursue potential links to the Democratic Party's campaign apparatus. Fat chance, of course.

(Not that I'm a fan of porkmeister Ted Stevens.)