March 29, 2010

This Is Just Good Government. The French Would Never Be Protectionist.

No, they're just being logical:
LONDON, March 26 (Reuters) - Hedge funds and managers based outside the European Union should be banned from soliciting EU investors unless they meet the bloc's strict new supervisory standards, a senior lawmaker said on Friday.
Jean-Paul Gauzes, a French centre-right lawmaker responsible for the draft in parliament, wants to ban third country funds and managers whose home rules are deemed by the EU not to be of an equivalent standard to the bloc's new rules.
It's a pure coincidence that their proposed measures would undermine London as an international financial center--and simultaneously take a whack at the US finance industry.

All part of France's high-minded mission to civilize the world.

March 27, 2010

Is This How the Underclass Feels?

I hate my stockbroker.

I need low commissions and I don't have much money to pay for data.

My online broker has low commissions and offers free data.

The trouble is that the executions are poor and so are data access and quality. I am livid. When I log on, I have little confidence that the connection will hold; when I put in an order, I have little confidence that it will be filled expeditiously; but I have high confidence that my blood pressure will surge.

Other people feel the same way. The broker is routinely berated on discussion sites, including the broker's own.

For the time being, I can't afford better. If the broker went out of business, I'd be in real trouble.

In effect, I'm demanding that a level of service which I can't afford be provided to me for free.

My anger is irrational. Pointless. Silly. But there it is.

March 26, 2010

New Yorkers Love Their Nanny State


What Would Milton Friedman Say?

The closest we can come to knowing is to hear his student and colleague Gary Becker.

A badly needed dose of intellectually grounded optimism.

In fact, I assert that in conditions like ours, optimism is a moral obligation.

March 25, 2010

Frum Done at AEI

David Frum coined the term 'conservative entertainment industry' and was fired from AEI shortly thereafter.

Early in his tenure as RNC Chairman, Michael Steele had to apologize to Rush Limbaugh.

This is insane.

Or pathetic. Does Oprah Winfrey call the shots in the Democratic Party?

My suggestion: Flush Rush.

Addendum 20100326. Mark Steyn and others basically say that Frum was not earning the six figures that AEI paid him.

I Was Hit by Scareware a Few Months Ago

Maybe from these people:
(Reuters) - Hundreds of computer geeks, most of them students putting themselves through college, crammed into three floors of an office building in an industrial section of Ukraine's capital Kiev, churning out code at a frenzied pace. They were creating some of the world's most pernicious, and profitable, computer viruses.
In a rare victory in the battle against cybercrime, the company closed down last year after the U.S. Federal Trade Commission filed a lawsuit seeking its disbandment in U.S. federal court.
The kind of victory I'd prefer is a UAV strike.

March 24, 2010

The Health Insurance Industry's Coming Collapse

Neo-neocon has the scoop from Rush Limbaugh.
Modest Proposal and Open Letter

Rush, you didn't become a very rich man by accident. Surely you'd like to be an even richer one.

It's possible to profit from the collapse of the health insurance stocks. Short them, buy options, or a combination of the two.

Do you feel lucky, Rush? Well, do you?

I look forward to hearing that your broker has executed your instructions. I look forward to following the market value of the Limbaugh Portfolio.
To be entered as a comment on the linked article.

Failure: What's in It for Me?

Moral superiority.

March 23, 2010

Republicans AMBUHshed by Stock Market

AMBUH is an index of health insurance stocks. It's up more than 85% in the last year.

Something to watch as Obamacare continues.

Curse you, George Soros! ;-)

A biotech metric (the XBI ETF) is up over 30%, underperforming the insurance stocks. So I see no reason to reconsider my opposition to Obamacare.

To be posted at LGF & NNC.

March 22, 2010

Among the Best of the Genre

Hitler Discovers Republicans Have No Ideas.

A Liberal Speaks

I am apologizing about the teabaggers.

As a highly educated white liberal of elite morality and intelligence, I hope for the day when my race is a credit to me.

March 21, 2010

A Democrat I Can Support

Congressman Tom Perriello (D-VA) says:
If you don't tie our hands, we will keep stealing.
That is, I can support him if he's willing to live up to the rhetoric.

Stealing is exactly what they're doing.

Obamacare and November

My previous post described how my anti-Obamacare activism stopped on a dime.

Instapundit thinks this is a serious analysis
What they don’t realize is that today’s vote isn’t the end, but just a new beginning in the debate over health care. Buckle up, because if they manage to cobble together enough votes to pass the Senate Health Bill today, we’re set for weeks and perhaps months of a constitutional and political crisis the likes of which we haven’t seen in our lifetimes.

...Also, it [Obamacare] is in direct conflict with state law in at least two states, Idaho and Virginia.

While the legal battles wage on, expect an enormous public back-lash against the Democrats.
1. How about the Constitutional crisis from the Clinton impeachment?

2. The author seems unaware that federal law supersedes state law.

3. Yup, just like the enormous public backlash against the Democrats in 1998.
These clowns could be in for quite a surprise.

As with the previous post, I'll put the above at LGF.

March 20, 2010

Obamacare and Me

Here is how this conservative-tilting libertarian stopped working against the bill.

I made a list of Congresspeople to call. After calling a couple, I checked in at The Corner to find Kathryn Lopez chatting about co-hosting a broadcast with Rick Santorum...and Tom DeLay himself called in! Afaic Santorum is a synonym for stupid; DeLay, for corrupt. I was not pleased.

Then she tried to fire me up with this video.

My palm smacked my forehead. They think we've forgotten how crazy and corrupt and dumb and incompetent they are. They think they have the rubes marching to their tune again.

I made no more calls.

I hope the bill is defeated. If it passes as seems likely, I'll go on from there. I'm picking my battles. Stoicism is a virtue that merits revival.

And K-Lo, about reinstating my subscription? Fuhgedaboudit.

You betcha.

I'll place the foregoing at Little Green Footballs.

March 18, 2010

David Brooks and Jennifer Rubin

I've been critical of both of them, but recently Brooks has gone farther off the deep end while Rubin has talked sense. I will submit the following as a comment to Ledeen's Brooks piece.

Brooks has abruptly swung from Polyanna smugness to what he thinks is Kierkegaardian despair.

And he still doesn't get it:
But I persist in the belief that government is more fundamentally messed up than ever in my lifetime. Barack Obama campaigned offering a new era of sane government. And I believe he would do it if he had the chance. But he has been so sucked into the system that now he stands by while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi talks about passing health care via “deem and pass”...
Ah yes, the noble well-intentioned leader is undone by his sinister advisors. Poor Kaiser Wilhelm! Poor Chiang Kai-shek! Poor President Obama!

Where does the buck stop? Or don't they talk so simplistically in the intellectual stratosphere that Brooks inhabits?

I have a degree of sympathy for Brooks, but I fear that he has ruined himself and abetted great damage to the country in the process.

Rage and despair each have their attractions under the circumstances, but neither is constructive. IMHO Jennifer Rubin strikes the right note:
I personally am not out on a ledge. (But then I never bought the whole Obama campaign whoop-de-do.) Should this pass, I have infinite faith that the American people will deliver a mortal electoral blow to those politicians who thought they could shred anything to get their way. And then bit by bit — or in one fell swoop — the elected replacements for the shredders will rip out ObamaCare. So there’s no reason to be morose. Elections are great corrective exercises, and one is just around the corner.

March 17, 2010

La Pelosi

If she rams through Obamacare and the Democrats hold the House in November, she is a shoo-in to enter history as a strong Speaker. In any other scenario, her current chances are iffy at best.

Afterthought 20100318. The Supreme Court Justices who attended the State of the Union address were attacked by Obama while surrounded by jeering Democrats. Obama and the Democrats might come to regret that bit of intimidation.

A Guess about 2012


Request to St. Patrick

Great job throwing the snakes out of Ireland.

Now please come back and throw them out of DC.

March 13, 2010

Thanks, I Needed That

The importance of hybridizing your skills. I've been griping because I should do that but don't want to; the reminder is constructive.

However, focus and specialization can be essential too.

It depends on the context.

Creative synergistic visionaries are essential. So are people who take out the trash on schedule every day.

March 11, 2010

Interesting Conjecture about Advanced Intelligences

How will advanced intelligences, either artificial or alien, treat sapients below them on the evolutionary scale?

J. Storrs Hall suggests that such intelligences will be risk-takers and they will treat sapient risk-takers with consideration as primitive kindred.

But if the sapients have used their intelligence to construct a static, risk-averse society, they will be treated as uncivilized, even as inanimate.

Wolverines! Wolverines!

I first saw Red Dawn within the last three years or so. To date it is my only exposure to the acting of Patrick Swayze (1952-2009 RIP).

The film surprised me. I've occasionally seen it dismissed as a fascistic propaganda piece. I didn't think it would be that, but I expected it to be more upbeat and flag-waving than it is. IMO the human cost of war is well portrayed. The price is presented as worth paying, but Red Dawn does not flinch from saying that the price is high.

Iowahawk Comes Roaring Screaming Back

Even Homer sometimes nods, and so, perhaps, has Iowahawk for a time.

However, this compilation of press reports regarding senior Obama staff is close to the level of his best work.

March 8, 2010

Is What Obama Is Precluding More Important Than What He's Screwing Up?

America has been about growth, change and progress. For example: The Louisiana Purchase. Emancipation. The Homestead Act. Women's suffrage. Jazz. Tom Edison. The telephone. Nuclear energy. Civil rights. The Salk vaccine. The Moon landing. The PC. The Internet. Mobile phones. Consumer GPS.

What transformations are not happening because of Obama's screw-ups?

On the other hand, unlikely though it seems, if he rights the ship and something big happens on his watch--something like a breakthrough in robotics that makes domestic manufacturing cost-effective--, he could still go out in triumph like Clinton did during the Internet Bubble.

For some time I've been meaning to express the foregoing. Since neo-neocon's post finally got me off the dime, I'll submit it there as a comment.

Dennis the Menace and Nicky 510

I've already noted that by the 1970s the blonde hellion of the 1950s had become a bland blank slate ready to be inscribed with PC programming.

Some of the original spirit is captured by Nicky 510, who reminds me of the primordial Dennis, and of Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes. Recommended.

March 7, 2010

How Much Lunar Water is Enough?

CNET reports regarding a NASA instrument aboard India's lunar probe:
NASA scientists reported Monday night that the space agency has discovered as much as 1.3 trillion pounds of ice on the moon, a finding that indicates future lunar visitors could have a wealth of water waiting for them.
Not having consulted the NASA sources as yet, for the time being I'll take the 1.3T lb as an estimate of the total water on the Moon (not the water on part of the area).

If a pint's a pound, that means the Moon has about 160 billion gallons.

However, 300M Americans use 400 billion gallons daily.

Suppose you cut that down to 20B gal/day by recycling. Then a small lunar nation of 3M people would use 200M gal/day. It would take them little more than two years (~800 days) to exhaust the supply.

We're not ready to colonize the Moon even if travel were affordable. We need to find--or make--more water. (There's plenty of solar power.)

However, when technological progres is allowed for, a lunar/Mars-colony test bed, populated by 3K+ high-skilled people supported by robotics etc, does not seem out of the question by midcentury.

March 6, 2010

I Thought This Was the GOP Playbook

Indiana prosecutor Stanley Levco claims that automated video rentals endanger The Children. He threatens to bring felony charges against a grocery store whose machine offers PG-rated material. He was alerted to the threat to Indiana's youth by...a lawyer for a video-store owner.

To my surprise, Levco turns out to be a Democrat.

March 3, 2010

Another Straw for the CAmel's Broken Back

The California legislature is seriously considering a law to create a sex-offender-type registry for animal abusers.

To be financed by "a small tax on pet food".

The state is melting down and they propose another "small" extension of government financed by another "small" tax.


March 1, 2010

Comments: March 2010

Speaking up for Jim Webb. (Webb was elected Senator in 2006, not 2004.)

On the expense and disruption of Presidential visits. Note also that there is a trickle-down effect: many a self-important governor and mayor will imitate the Presidential way of travel.

On the left and children of all ages.

On protests against CA education budget cuts. (Scroll down to 'gs said' or 'March 6, 2010 7:34 AM'.)

David Cameron reminds me of John Lindsay, not John McCain.

On Charlie Rangel's exit.

On the GOP establishment and it's ignoring of Paul Ryan. (Unfortunately, getting too specific about budget cuts opens you to attacks by supporters of those programs: you don't care about national defense, you don't care about The Children, etc etc

Why what is not happening could be worse than what is.

On Robert Frost's Design, Intelligent Design, and evolution. (Scroll down to ''gs said' or to 'March 9, 2010 11:05 AM')

On Rachel Corrie. John O'Neill's phrase about "rich American kids vacationing in other peoples miseries" is spot on.

On the morality of technology and Kurzweil's Reflections on Avatar. My comment is the first.

In support of Amazon's retaliation against Colorado's taxation efforts--but cautioning that the company acts against the public interest when it suits its purposes.

Shades of George MacacAllen: here, here, and here.

On Afrocity's PTSD-like symptoms: here and here.

On David Brooks: here and here.

Suspicion of the Republican resurgence.

On wrecking the country via immigration.

On the gravity of Obamacare: here, here, here, here, here, and here.

On getting illegal-alien amnesty through Congress, and the role of data overload in contemporary politics.

On Bush's Ben Tre logic. On Limbaugh's expertise in financial economics.

More on healthcare and Congressional machinations: here, here, here, and here.

On Obama and American Jews: here and here.

On the role of spiritual experience in the religious right's politics: here, here, and here.

On Michele Bachmann and Obamacare repeal. Also here, here, here, and here.

On bad poetry: here and here.