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The Government is merely a servant -- merely a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a patriot and who isn't. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them. - Mark Twain
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
The Most Admired
Gallup has their poll out of most admired people. It’s the usual suspects. Their most admired men are Obama, Bush II, Clinton, Mandela, Bill Gates, Benedict XVI, Billy Graham, Jimmy Carter, Glenn Beck and the Dalai Lama. I can see Mandela, Gates and Graham, perhaps. But most of the rest I wouldn’t put on my short list. The same goes for the women—Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, Oprah, Michelle Obama, Condi Rice, Elizabeth II, Angelina Jolie, Margaret Thatcher, Aung San Suu Kyi, Laura Bush and Barbara Bush. Maybe on that list, I’d take Thatcher.
I posted on this two years ago and I stand by what I said then:
I can’t take Gallup seriously until they start giving people a slate of candidates to vote up or down on. When they seriously claim that Hillary Clinton is the most admired woman in American based on a 17% showing, they’re just being stupid.
I’m not sure who I’d list at the top of people I most admire, now that Norman Borlaug is gone. But there would be very few politicans on that list. To be honest, I admire a janitor scrubbing filthy floors every night to keep his kids fed more than I can admire some pampered privileged Ivy League dipshit yammering at me about how little I appreciate his wonderfulness.
Last time I threw this out to the floor, I got vague comments about teachers and soldiers and such, rather than names. But in a way, that answers the question entirely. The bulk of Americans are decent, hard-working and moral. They have no reason to look up to anybody. And certainly not a bunch of vote-grubbing egotists.
Posted by Hal_10000 on 12/29/10 at 11:33 PM in Decline of Western Civilization • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink •
Monday, December 27, 2010
Ignoring the Man Behind The Curtain
I’m a bit late on this story:
The response of the Feds was to confiscate the pilots handgun.
This is yet another illustration—if any other were needed—that our TSA security is, in fact, security theater. It is designed to create the illusion of security, not its reality. Because the reality of security would just be too damned hard. It would involve using our brains and being selective in whom we examine closely. It would involve using the best technology rather than that which has the most powerful political backers.
This pilot committed one of the greater sins—he showed that our security theater is just that. Time to get him to shut up. The man behind the curtain will not tolerate exposure.
Posted by Hal_10000 on 12/27/10 at 04:46 PM in War on Terror/Axis of Evil • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink •
The EPA Push
My laptop appears to have died, meaning light blogging (well, that and Christmas). So a belated Merry Christmas to you all, even those with whom I frequently argue. Actually, especially those with whom I frequently argue.
To get the blog rolling again, I’ll start where I left off. Just as I said with the polar bear thing, I think it’s best that Congress decided on any AGW-related rules, not the EPA, which is now moving to regulate power planet emissions. They do not have the authority, not even authority spinelessly delegated by Congress.
I’m reminded of the recent push of the FCC toward Net Neutrality, not only without Congressional authorization but with specific indications from Congress that they did not want this to happen. One of the first things the GOP Congress needs to do is put the kibosh on executive agencies acting like little Congresses of their own. This is not the way things are done.
Posted by Hal_10000 on 12/27/10 at 08:14 AM in Politics Law, & Economics • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink •
Friday, December 24, 2010
The Latest on Polar Bears
It may surprise you, given my acceptance of AGW science, but I actually agree with this decision:
The reason this decision is justified is because the danger to polar bears from ice melt is, at this stage, theoretical. The polar bear population is stable and, as Lomborg has pointed out, the greatest menace the polar bears face right now is hunting, not glacier melt. It’s also not clear that polar bears won’t adapt to rising temperatures. And it’s even more unclear that we could do anything about it, even if global warming were endangering the polar bears. Even if we stopped all CO2 emissions today, glacier melt would go on for another fifty years.
As the politico article notes, the real motive here was to try to regulate greenhouse gases through the backdoor via the Endangered Species Act. That’s precisely the sort of sneaky approach that needs to be avoided. Good for the Obama Administration on this. It will further enrage the Democrat base (said base still not happy with a massive healthcare expansion, financial regulation, Stimulus IV, DADT repeal and START) but it’s the right thing.
Posted by Hal_10000 on 12/24/10 at 07:43 AM in Science and Technology • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink •
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Robertson on Pot
This has been making the rounds:
I never thought I’d have any kinds words to say about Pat Robertson, but if this video reflects his view—i.e., he doesn’t walk this back—I have to applaud someone who’s willing to change his mind on this issue. My read is not that he wants marijuana legalized, but that he supports the idea of decriminalizing it. He’s not the first man of God whom I’ve heard use this line of reason. A pastor I knew outlined the same point of view—that pot smokers need help ... help from God in his case ... not jail.
In the end, it will be conservatives that take the lead on winding down the War on Drugs. Because eventually, we’re all going to realize how wasteful it is.
Posted by Hal_10000 on 12/23/10 at 04:31 PM in Religion and Sky Pixies • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink •
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
And the collectivists keep marching on..
Even congress in this lame duck session from hell, where the bills being passed aren’t being passed to help the American people, but a desperate act to boost the sagging poll numbers of a deadbeat, compeltely out of his water, buffoon pretending to be the POTUS, they refused to touch the clearly misguided government takeover of the internet effort masquerading as the “Net Neutrality” effort. Guess what this reall is about? No, don’t. Here is John Fund at the WSJ pointing out that it is the usual collectivists using class warfare as the excuse du jour to grab control of the internet. In this case they had to bypass the congress and have the executive directly steal the show because even Pelosi & Reid know this is not what the American people want.
Get that? Obama puts a well know commie in charge of this thing, and then he and his bunch of crooks bypasses congress. Think this will end up with the feds also regulating not just the how, but the “WHAT”? And have no doubt that the ultimate agenda here is control of the “What” that’s on the internet. And that’s just the start. The end goal is for government to control the message.
The internet has been the most horrible thing to happen to the big power government types since they thought they had won when they had destroyed religion, took over education and the courts, and controlled the media talking heads. All their pro-collectivist propaganda is useless when you can get on the internet and find proof of how f-ed up this stuff really is. I hope the 112th immediately puts the kibosh on this idiotic coup that completely went around the constitution to steal people’s freedoms under the guise of making Netflix downloads cheaper for the average moron that wouldn’t have a clue he was being abused by his own government.
Don’t panic or be surprised when the FCC suddenly demands blogs like this very one need to clear their existence with them, and thus get an anual license to exist. “Say the wrong thing, lose the license” then being the obvious agenda.
Posted by AlexinCT on 12/22/10 at 11:20 AM in Decline of Western Civilization Deep Thoughts Left Wing Idiocy Science and Technology The Press Machine • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink •
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Malemployment: The Choice of a New Generation
I’m LOLing so hard at this. Found here.
You all really need to watch this video that aired on PBS recently, regarding what they are calling the “malemployment” of recent college grads. The transcript really doesn’t do the video justice, as each of the individuals profiled demonstrates unique facets of cluelessness, but here’s a taste of each, emphasis mine:
Translation: “So, not having a steady job already in hand, I uprooted my debt-ridden family to a completely different state on the mere hope that I would be hired.”
You dumb fucking striver. You quit an actual paying job in your field to move to one of the most expensive cities, and the most competitive market, in the entire country, because you ASSUMED that your utter lack of experience wouldn’t matter and that publishing houses would shower you with job offers. Now you’re stuck picking up dog crap for the city’s actual achievers. Serves you right for believing your teachers when they said “get your degree! It doesn’t matter what it’s in!”
Unsurprisingly, that’s not the most ignorant or snotty thing she says. She actually believes it’s Wall Street’s fault that her lack of skills and pointless humanities degree from a state school haven’t gotten her the job of her dreams, and she can’t live like the Sex and the City whores.
People like this tend to go into law school or get an MBA, and take on even more debt, royally screwing themselves even further. That’s not even the most LOL moment for Evan, though:
Yeah, and I bet Evan’s brother doesn’t have 40 Gs in debt either. They don’t show his bro in the feature, but I would bet a Franklin that he rubs that fact in Evan’s face every chance he gets.
PBS, bless their hearts, saves the best for last:
Gee, what’s wrong with this picture? Oh yeah, you could have used that high IQ of yours to get a chem engineering degree from the Colorado School of Mines (she lives in Denver), and put yourself in a position to actually pay off the tuition after graduation if you knew how to hustle. Instead, you went $80k in the hole to get a fucking comp-lit degree in the hopes you’d get a job at a non-profit after college. Did you ever think how in the BLUE HELL you were going to pay that debt back working for a non-profit?
As I said, each of these chumps shows a unique level of cluelessness, not too mention an exaggerated sense of entitlement. I DESERVE TO GET THE JOB OF MY DREAMS, I HAVE A DEGREE AND MUST BE COMPENSATED FOR MY EFFORTS. As tough as this depression has been for a lot of people, I have to admit a special sense of glee at seeing a bunch of self-involved douchebags from the Millennial generation being brought low by real life. Hopefully they’ll take the right lessons from this (there’s hope, I think, for Evan; Abigail will go on thinking she’s special and wondering why Houghton Mifflin won’t put her in charge of the whole operation).
This is just another symptom of the disease I wrote about a few months ago. This country has absolutely got to stop acting as if getting a blue collar job is something only “those people” do. It’s been a steadily growing cultural malaise ever since the 1960s, this attitude that if one doesn’t get a college degree and join the paper-pushing managerial class by any means necessary, then one has utterly failed at life. It’s created at least two generations of debt slaves (in some cases, these people will be paying for their college education literally for the rest of their lives) in an economy that is way over-saturated with people just like them, with not enough jobs to go around. Our technocratic wonderland has finally reached a scale where it cannot sustain the workforce it has. We will either have to ramp back, or see the whole structure come tumbling down.
Posted by on 12/21/10 at 05:53 PM in Decline of Western Civilization Life & Culture • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink •
Monday, December 20, 2010
Christie Good, Christie Bad
This if great news:
You can read about the Aitken case here. Aitken should never have been convicted. The law allows someone to transport weapons between residences. The judge and prosecutor not only didn’t accept that explanation, they refused to inform the jury of the exemption.
In a day when Obama can barely bring himself to pardon people who never went to prison four decades ago, in an era where Bill Richardson is struggling on whether to pardon Billy the Kid a century after his death, Chris Christie, a former prosecutor, went out and did the right thing. Bravo.
It’s not all good for Christie. NJ.com has a story about Christie trying to sabotage medical marijuana efforts by putting in place all kinds of rules to make its use difficult at best:
I have surprisingly little patience with depriving sick people of medicine. Christie has the authority to set the rules for medical marijuana use. But this seems to be going to far.
Posted by Hal_10000 on 12/20/10 at 10:04 PM in Politics Law, & Economics • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink •
Jib Jab’s 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
The Life of Bradley Manning
I’m sorry. Am I the only person who’s having trouble getting worked up about the supposed brutal treatment of Bradley Manning? Look, I’ve been on the anti-torture side from day one. I thought our treatment of Jose Padilla was shameful. But here is what Manning is experiencing:
This is actually better than my first grad school apartment. It’s certainly better than the conditions at Gitmo. This is not some stone coffin in which Manning has been imprisoned. It’s a jail cell, a standard one.
These are fairly standard hours for military personnel. I’ve never been in the military but I have been rousted out of bed by a few marines who decided that sleeping in until 6:15 was the laziest thing they’d ever heard of.
The post goes on to note he is allowed to watch basic cable television and make written correspondence with approved people. He even gets approved visitors on weekends. There’s no indication of who those approved people are, of course. He also has reading material (note that some of the above has been disputed).
What no one is disputing is that he is in solitary confinement and not allowed to interact with other prisoners. He is also on Prevent of Injury watch, which means checks every five minutes, no pillows or sheets (but he has blankets and a mattress with a built-in pillow) and is forbidden from exercise except during the approved time.
Harsh? Yeah. Inhumane? No fucking way. If the report above is accurate, this is, in no way, torture or inhumane treatment. He is not being beaten. He is not confined to a dark cell. He is not cut off from all human contact. And given the nature of what he is accused of, screening his contacts and keeping him away from other prisoners seems appropriate. Among other things, we don’t know if there is other information out there that he hasn’t leaked yet, but could, given the chance.
And let’s supposed that he is being forced to sit in his cell and stare at the walls all day. That might be too harsh, but it’s not torture or inhumane. For people to lump it in with actual torture, like sensory deprivation, sleep deprivation, water-boarding, beating, walling, stress positions, sexual humiliation, etc. is insane. Not only insane, but stupid. It blunts efforts to stop real torture, not just here but in truly horrific regimes like Iran or North Korea. How can you be taken seriously when you lump this in with the electric shocks and burning tongs that constitute real torture in places like Kyrgyzstan?
I wouldn’t want to live like that sure. But then again, I did not leak hundreds of thousands of documents that may harm the United States and get friends and operatives killed.
And that’s the thing the liberal commentariat seems to be forgetting in their attempts to make Manning the victim. He committed a crime. When you commit a crime, you go to prison. Prison is unpleasant, humiliating and boring. It’s supposed to be that way.
Now maybe what Manning did has some ultimate nobel purpose. I doubt it, since most of the revelations are more embarrassing than dangerous. But let’s postulate that Manning’s leak was a good thing. FIne. But that doesn’t mean the law doesn’t apply to him.
During the torture debate, I addressed the fictitious ticking time bomb scenario with the following: if you really think you have a ticking bomb and really think torture is going to stop it, then you do the torture and then take the consequences of breaking the law. You decided to make that sacrifice for the greater good. You can’t make an open-ended exemption to the law for people who think breaking the law is justified. The same applies here. If you are in a position to receive classified information and you believe that releasing the information is vital to the health of the Republic, you release it and take the consequences. (Of course, if you think it would harm the US, that’s called treason).
We are a nation of laws, not men, and a nation where actions have consequences. Being confined to a military prison is a consequence of what Bradley Manning allegedly did. Being confined to a military prison is the correct application of the law that Manning allegedly broke. If he starts getting “enhanced interrogation” or is confined without trial for a long time, then we can talk. Until then, I have to think that he is simply reaping what he has sown.
Posted by Hal_10000 on 12/19/10 at 01:08 PM in War on Terror/Axis of Evil • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink •
Saturday, December 18, 2010
In the end, eight Republicans joined the Democrats. One important aspect:
In other words, this is but one step in a process. The President and Congress have signed off and the Pentagon will figure out how to make this happen without disrupting the service. I can’t imagine there’s a better way of removing this policy than that. Ironically, if the opponents had their way, we might have gotten this overturned by a judge, which would have disrupted things.
(This should also get Obama’s liberal base to shut up. Without the tax deal, this would not have happened. And the same applies if START goes through.)
Posted by Hal_10000 on 12/18/10 at 02:46 PM in Politics Law, & Economics • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink •
Lie of the Year?
In general, I like Politifact. They’re fairly objective in their analysis of talking points. But occasionally they get wrapped up in details, rather than ideas. Such is the case with their ”Lie of 2010”, that Obamacare was a “government takeover” of healthcare:
As pointed out by others, France’s and Switzerland’s don’t constitute a takeover under this definition. Buy by any reasonable definition, this constitutes at least a partial government takeover. Consider:
1) The government will directly provide health insurance to more than half of Americans and provide subsidies to millions more.
2) The government will forbid insurance companies from pricing insurance based on likely use. If you use more insurance because you’re sick or because you’re a woman, the insurance company can’t charge you for it.
3) The government has set a minimum standard of health insurance which all companies have to meet ... unless they are a politically powerful business that can get a special dispensation from the Administration.
4) The government has set medical loss ratios, mandating that companies spend a certain amount on actual healthcare costs.
5) The government will mandate that everyone purchase insurance.
Notice I haven’t even used any slippery slope arguments. I’m going on just what’s in the bill.
This is a takeover in all but name. We have created a heavily regulated micro-managed system that everyone is forced to participate in. It may not be socialized medicine and may lack a public option (other than Medicaid. And Medicare.) But the distinction is academic.
Speaking of academics, Karl at Hot Air points out that Politifact’s analysis relies on three healthcare experts who are known to be hostile to the free market and are big supporters of single-payer healthcare. On the other hand, they dismiss the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation as “conservative groups” even though both boast more knowledgeable experts on healthcare than the three hacks Politifact is quoting. Things that Cato and Heritage predicted—the disappearance of child-only health insurance, the rise of insurance rates and the mad scramble to get waivers—have already happened.
This is simply bad journalism. Of all the lies told this year, this is the best they can come up with? Splitting hairs over a campaign slogan? Just off the top of my head, without google, I can up with five bigger lies told this year:
1) The lie that GM has paid back its loan (it borrowed from one bailout fund to pay another).
2) The lie that the taxpayers may profit on TARP (on some banks, yes, not on all of them).
3) The lie that the stimulus “created or saved” 614 quadrillion jobs or whatever they are saying this week (based entirely on economic models—models that have failed to predict the unemployment rate).
4) Rand Paul and the Aqua Buddha.
5) Anything Christopher Monckton has to say.
This is weak from Politifact. They should stay out of the business of weighing what people say about a subject and just stick to the facts.
Update: Yet another “conservatives are idiots” “fact check” comes from World Public Opinion, which claims that conservatives are “misinformed” about certain issues, including the idea that the stimulus created 2-5 million jobs.
A better translation: conservative are misinformed about our opinions, which we consider facts.
Friday, December 17, 2010
What Kelo Hath Wrought
We’ve gone a long way from Kelo now, haven’t we? First, it was OK to force people to sell their homes because a rich developer might pay more in taxes (except, oops, they decided to close the factory). Then it was OK to force people to sell their homes to stadium developers because it would stimulate the economy (except, oops, they don’t). Now it’s OK to force people to sell their property to a private university filled with spoiled rich kids that pays no taxes.
This is not just an example of politics at its worst, it’s a perfect illustration of the hypocrisy that tends to run rampant in liberal institutions. What do you think the political composition of Columbia’s faculty is? 90% democrat? 95? I’m sure they spend much time gnashing their teeth and rending their robes over the rich and powerful exploiting the poor and weak. I’m sure that, every year, they published hundreds of books, papers, magazine articles and journal letters on the subject (which no one reads, of course). But, when push comes to shove, they are more than happy to use every ounce of their political clout to deprive someone else—someone less powerful and less wealthy—of their property rights.
It’s shameful. I understand the need to expand a college campus (they are always crowded for space). It’s not the expansion that’s I have a problem with, it’s the means by which it has been accomplished.
And the Court, having already pissed on property rights with Kelo, sees no reason to revisit the matter. Can’t say I blame them. Of the five justices who were in the majority on Kelo, Stevens and Souter have been replaced by Sotomayor and Kagan. So that precedent isn’t going anywhere. (Although I do wonder if the Ivy League backgrounds of the justices—all nine went to Harvard or Yale Law—played a role here.)
Unless you live in a state that has explicit protections against eminent domain, it is open season on property owners. To the well-connected, our property is just modern version of Naboth’s vineyard.
Posted by Hal_10000 on 12/17/10 at 06:35 PM in Politics Law, & Economics • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink •
Bloated 111th congress’ last Omnibus crashes & burns.
I have to admit I read this and chuckled. How desperate is the left to cover the fact this was a massive and well deserved loss for the collectivists in the demcorat party when their focus is on how insane they feel that republicans chose to filibuster the bill despite having pork for their own there:
How could they! They love the pork too, so why would they suddenly decide to oppose it? It’s insane! Madness. They did something that hurts them! Does that line of thinking sound familiar? It is more of the usual tripe about voting against your own interests that constantly befuddles the collectivists. Well, it seems that while they originally missed the message of the 2010 elections, the 9 republicans with all that pork got the pissed off vibes from the American people, after all, and decided they better not go along with this shit.
Evil teabaggers! They got to these republicans and made them rethink their stance on bloated government spending. How vile! Don’t these people know that without government deciding who wins and who doesn’t we can’t have social justice? Evil!!1!
Senator Reid however opined that earmarks where a necessary part of the whole bloated machine’s ability to operate. Who cares if we are spending more than we can afford anyway?
Heh, that’s why your party got its ass handed to it in November. If you hadn’t had all them union thugs to stuff ballots for you in Nevada, then you might have gotten the message loud & clear. Don’t panic though. There won’t be any government shutdown as the left predicted.
And what’s next?
Fail, fail, and fail, I bet. Hurry up and get us the 112th please.Close this post...
Posted by AlexinCT on 12/17/10 at 11:56 AM in Deep Thoughts Elections Election 2010 Left Wing Idiocy Politics Law, & Economics The Press Machine • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink •
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Suing Ourselves Thin
Oh, come on:
All right, I’m stopping this in mid-sentence. CSPI are the embodiment of the Nanny State. Since their foundation, they have been pressuring the public to live and the government to force the public to live like impoverished monks. They want everyone to be as skinny, malnourished and miserable as they are.
They also have a record of using weak science or no science at all for their various fatwas. Remember that these assholes were the ones who pushed trans fats on all of us based on iffy science, then shrieked for them to be withdrawn based on iffier science. Now they are claiming ... OK, I’ll let the article explain. What were you saying again?
First of all, I need to see proof that eating fast food meals leads to a lifetime of obesity. I don’t mean proof as in, “everyone knows” or “people have gotten fat”. I mean longitudinal studies of thousands of people that show causation not just correlation.
Second, are you kidding me? Her daughter pestered her into purchasing Happy Meals? My daughter pesters me for a lot of things. That does not make me helpless. If she had her way, she’d watching Dora the Explorer all day and all night. If I let her do so, is that Nickelodeon’s fault? Or mine? And, as the article points out, there are healthy options for Happy Meals, such as milk and apples in place of soda and fries. Is it McDonald’s fault that she’s helpless before her daughter’s pouting?
Any you know what? There’s nothing wrong with giving your child the occasional Happy Meal. Just as there’s nothing wrong with the occasional sweet or a little bit of TV. Part of enjoying life is occasionally abusing your body. My daughter likes fries and likes the toys that come with Happy Meals and we let her get one maybe once ever month or two (with apple juice, not soda). She’s in excellent health.
The problem we have in our society is not the existence of indulgences. The problem is the lack of people’s willpower to limit these indulgences—either for themselves or for their children. I know it’s fun and lucrative to blame a big corporation for that lack of willpower. But it’s garbage.
Walter Olson thinks the State of California is unlikely to allow the suit. I certainly hope so. Because if they do, it means we parents are going to be eventually raising our children in a CSPI-approved open-air gulag where every choice, even bad ones, is taken away from us.
That’s not America. That’s not even Mexico.
Update: Later notes make it clear the mom in this case doe stand up to her daughter. So what she’s complaining about is ... that she has to say “no” to her kids? It’s also indicated that she may be a food advocated for the state. So it’s not her kids that are in danger, it’s yours because you have a weak spine.
Posted by Hal_10000 on 12/16/10 at 09:27 PM in Decline of Western Civilization • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink •
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