Right Thinking From The Left Coast
The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it - Henry David Thoreau

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:

The survey is an unconstrained plurality, meaning that whatever name pops up the most leads.  Obama had 32% of the vote, Bush had 5%.  That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement from the public.  Those are probably the two most famous men in America.  For 60% of the public, their most-admired man is not McCain, Bush or Obama.  For 69%, their most-admired woman is not Clinton or Palin.

In fact, for most people, I would dare say that the person they most admire is someone they know, like a parent or a sibling or a friend.  That’s certainly the case for me.

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) TrackbacksPermalink

Monday, December 27, 2010

Ignoring the Man Behind The Curtain

I’m a bit late on this story:

An anonymous 50-year-old airline pilot is in hot water with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) after posting on YouTube a behind-the-scenes tour of what he says are security flaws at San Francisco International Airport.

While airplane passengers go through security screening—such as with metal detectors, full body scanners and pat downs—the pilot shows in one of several video clips, recorded with his cell phone, that airport employees at SFO simply swipe a card to go through an unmanned door.

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) TrackbacksPermalink

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) TrackbacksPermalink

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 Obama administration is sticking with a George W. Bush-era decision to deny polar bears endangered species status.

In a court filing Wednesday, the Fish and Wildlife Service defended the previous administration’s decision to give the polar bear the less-protective “threatened” species designation, a move that will frustrate environmentalists who hoped for stronger protections under the Endangered Species Act.

FWS Director Rowan Gould said the 2008 “threatened” listing was made “following careful analysis of the best scientific information, as required by the ESA.”

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) TrackbacksPermalink

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) TrackbacksPermalink

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.

The Federal Communications Commission’s new “net neutrality” rules, passed on a partisan 3-2 vote yesterday, represent a huge win for a slick lobbying campaign run by liberal activist groups and foundations. The losers are likely to be consumers who will see innovation and investment chilled by regulations that treat the Internet like a public utility.

There’s little evidence the public is demanding these rules, which purport to stop the non-problem of phone and cable companies blocking access to websites and interfering with Internet traffic. Over 300 House and Senate members have signed a letter opposing FCC Internet regulation, and there will undoubtedly be even less support in the next Congress.

Yet President Obama, long an ardent backer of net neutrality, is ignoring both Congress and adverse court rulings, especially by a federal appeals court in April that the agency doesn’t have the power to enforce net neutrality. He is seeking to impose his will on the Internet through the executive branch. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, a former law school friend of Mr. Obama, has worked closely with the White House on the issue. Official visitor logs show he’s had at least 11 personal meetings with the president.

The net neutrality vision for government regulation of the Internet began with the work of Robert McChesney, a University of Illinois communications professor who founded the liberal lobby Free Press in 2002. Mr. McChesney’s agenda? “At the moment, the battle over network neutrality is not to completely eliminate the telephone and cable companies,” he told the website SocialistProject in 2009. “But the ultimate goal is to get rid of the media capitalists in the phone and cable companies and to divest them from control.”

A year earlier, Mr. McChesney wrote in the Marxist journal Monthly Review that “any serious effort to reform the media system would have to necessarily be part of a revolutionary program to overthrow the capitalist system itself.” Mr. McChesney told me in an interview that some of his comments have been “taken out of context.” He acknowledged that he is a socialist and said he was “hesitant to say I’m not a Marxist.”

For a man with such radical views, Mr. McChesney and his Free Press group have had astonishing influence. Mr. Genachowski’s press secretary at the FCC, Jen Howard, used to handle media relations at Free Press. The FCC’s chief diversity officer, Mark Lloyd, co-authored a Free Press report calling for regulation of political talk radio.

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) TrackbacksPermalink

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:

PAUL SOLMAN:  David Cook got a B.A. in anthropology in 2008.  Unable to find work in his native Atlanta, he moved his wife and young son to Fort Collins, Colorado, earlier this year for a government job which looked like a sure thing, but:

DAVID COOK, college graduate: They said that they were considering hiring college students, local college students, to fill the positions as interns for free. So…

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.”

PAUL SOLMAN:  After Abigail Lunetta got her B.A. in creative writing two years ago, she worked in New Orleans as a part-time copywriter, then moved to New York to find a real job.

ABIGAIL LUNETTA, college graduate: I just sort of assumed that I would become an assistant editor somewhere for some publication, and just work my way up. It’s definitely no walk in the park.

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.

Evan Melillo is a history major who minored in political science and graduated last year $40,000 in debtHe hoped to land a local government job after an internship at the town manager’s office in nearby Sandwich, Massachusetts.

EVAN MELILLO, college graduate: I really had to give up on that after a couple of months, because the positions just weren’t there, and who I’m competing with are far more experienced people than me.

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:

LAUREN MELILLO, mother of Evan Melillo: Evan’s brother was—has not been to college and has had just about as much success finding work, making the same amount of money as Evan has.

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:

GC, college graduate: I have applied for 400 jobs, at least, probably closer to 500.

PAUL SOLMAN: GC graduated from Brown in 2009, $80,000 in the hole. A comp lit major, she hoped to work at a nonprofit for at-risk youth. But 18 months have yet to produce a full-time job.

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.

In January 2012, GC requested that her name be removed from this article. She expressed regret at giving the interview and has since moved on professionally. As per her request, her name has been reduced to initials, and we wish her the best as she is currently, in her words, “networking heavily and trying to change career fields.” - JimK

Posted by on 12/21/10 at 05:53 PM in Decline of Western Civilization   Life & Culture  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christie Good, Christie Bad

This if great news:

Brian Aitken, who was convicted of illegally possessing two handguns that he had legally purchased in Colorado, will be spending Christmas out of prison.

Gov. Chris Christie commuted Aitken’s sentence, from seven years to time served, according to an order the governor signed today.
Aitken had appealed to Christie for commutation after being sentenced in August. According to the commutation order, Aitken will be released as “soon administratively possible.”

In 2009, Aitken was arrested for possessing two handguns and ammunition — the guns were unloaded — after state police found them in the trunk of his car. Aitken was visiting his mother in Burlington County when she became concerned about his well-being and called police.

Aitken, who had recently moved from Colorado where he bought the guns, faced felony charges the same as if he had used the guns to commit a crime.

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:

One rule places a limit on potency, so the legal pot can’t be as strong as the varieties Segal can find on the street. Home delivery was allowed at first, and then banned, for reasons the Department of Health will not explain.

If a doctor wants to prescribe pot, he needs to warn patients every three months that some experts believe this treatment is ineffective, and that marijuana can be addictive.

Each distribution center can carry only three strains of pot, and hold no excess inventory. They can’t make pot cookies or brownies, even for patients with cancer or AIDS who have lung problems.

You get the idea. Sure, the law is on the books. But it was signed by former Gov. Jon Corzine, and Christie never liked it. So he is trying to strangle this baby in its crib by drafting one unworkable rule after another. Call it bureaucratic sabotage.

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) TrackbacksPermalink

Jib Jab’s 2010

Posted by Hal_10000 on 12/20/10 at 05:12 PM in Fun and Humor  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

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:

His cell is approximately six feet wide and twelve feet in length.

The cell has a bed, a drinking fountain, and a toilet.

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.

At 5:00 a.m. he is woken up (on weekends, he is allowed to sleep until 7:00 a.m.). Under the rules for the confinement facility, he is not allowed to sleep at anytime between 5:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. If he attempts to sleep during those hours, he will be made to sit up or stand by the guards.

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) TrackbacksPermalink

Saturday, December 18, 2010


In the end, eight Republicans joined the Democrats. One important aspect:

Pentagon officials have warned gay and lesbian soldiers that the current law will temporarily remain in place if the bill passes as they review the legal technicalities of the repeal.

A guidance memo would be sent to military personnel informing them of the change, which would remain in effect for at least 60 days after it is signed into law, Pentagon spokesman Col. David Lapan said.

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) TrackbacksPermalink

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:

“Government takeover” conjures a European approach where the government owns the hospitals and the doctors are public employees. But the law Congress passed, parts of which have already gone into effect, relies largely on the free market:

• Employers will continue to provide health insurance to the majority of Americans through private insurance companies.

• Contrary to the claim, more people will get private health coverage. The law sets up “exchanges” where private insurers will compete to provide coverage to people who don’t have it.

• The government will not seize control of hospitals or nationalize doctors.

• The law does not include the public option, a government-run insurance plan that would have competed with private insurers.

• The law gives tax credits to people who have difficulty affording insurance, so they can buy their coverage from private providers on the exchange. But here too, the approach relies on a free market with regulations, not socialized medicine.

PolitiFact reporters have studied the 906-page bill and interviewed independent health care experts. We have concluded it is inaccurate to call the plan a government takeover because it relies largely on the existing system of health coverage provided by employers.

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.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 12/18/10 at 08:54 AM in Left Wing Idiocy  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Friday, December 17, 2010

What Kelo Hath Wrought


The nation’s highest court has decided not to reconsider the legality of eminent domain for Columbia’s campus expansion, marking the end of a two-year legal battle between the state and the remaining private landowners in Manhattanville.

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court released its decision to deny the property owners’ appeal—the last recourse for Nick Sprayregen, owner of Tuck-It-Away Self-Storage, and gas station owners Gurnam Singh and Parminder Kaur, who have refused for the past six years to sell their land to the University.

This gives a clear green light for the state to use eminent domain on behalf of Columbia’s 17-acre campus expansion in West Harlem. The Supreme Court will not reassess a June ruling from the New York State Court of Appeals, which said that the state could transfer private property to the University in exchange for market-rate compensation for the current owners.

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) TrackbacksPermalink

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:

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) TrackbacksPermalink

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Suing Ourselves Thin

Oh, come on:

With perfect Grinch timing, a consumer group has sued McDonald’s demanding that it take the toys out of its Happy Meals.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, an advocacy group,

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?

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, an advocacy group, claims it violates California law for the hamburger chain to make its meals too appealing to kids, thus launching them on a lifelong course to overeating and other health horrors. It’s representing an allegedly typical mother of two from Sacramento named Monet Parham. What’s Parham’s (so to speak) beef? “Because of McDonald’s marketing, [her daughter] Maya has frequently pestered Parham into purchasing Happy Meals, thereby spending money on a product she would not otherwise have purchased.”

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.

Ah, paternalism.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 12/16/10 at 09:27 PM in Decline of Western Civilization  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
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