Monday, August 31, 2009

Odds Are Copenhagen Is Already a Bust

Todd Stern, US State Department Special Envoy on Climate Change, seems to think that the US and China can strike some totally awesome global warming deal in Copenhagen - the next big global confab of enviro-bureaucrats and busybodies - thereby getting the whole world on board for fighting global warming, sorry climate change. In other news, China is plunking down $1.7 billion and unknown future sums for access to one of the least enviro-acceptable hydrocarbons, Canadian tar sands. Oh, and don't forget all that drilling the Chinese are doing right at home.

Governments around the world are spending hundreds of billions of dollars on developing hydrocarbon resources, Africa wants bribes, India has said 'eat me poseurs,' and yet globo-ninnies like Stern are still trying to put a good face on Copenhagen. The world has just seen what it looks like when everyone stops consuming as much oil, and most countries don't like what they've seen. Give the Toddster points for optimism.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Ford Is All Alone Against UAW Wolves

Ford has been more successful as of late than GM and Chrysler, and the UAW doesn't like it. Naturally they are going after the only Big Three carmaker that they don't control. The UAW can't abide letting Ford hurt GM and Chrysler, it's goal is three equally mediocre majors. As I have said, in the brave new world of government/union ownership of GM and Chrysler, Ford can't afford to be a UAW shop.

UPDATE: Ford's sales up 17%, Chrysler's down 15%...GM is waaayyyyyy down. Gee, could this have anything to do with it?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

An Open Letter to Anne Lamont

Let me bypass over your obvious elitist condescension (filled with horror and disgust at the notion of deliberating with Chuck Grassley are you? Curious that, and seriously, how jejune is the obligatory Sarah Palin dig?), your ignorance of our Constitution, and get right to the heart of the matter. Barack Obama promised you what was not his to give and you were a fool to accept the promise. What did he promise? You think he promised you healthcare, but what he promised you was my property. If I am a taxpayer, he promised you my money and my children's money. If I am a buyer of Treasury bonds, like the Chinese government, he promised you my nation's resources. If I am a doctor, he promised you my expertise and attention - again my property. If I invented a medical device, he promised you my property. If I am a shareholder in a pharmaceutical company, he promised you my money. If I am an inventor of future medical technology, he promised you the fruits of my toil. Again, it was not his to promise and I will not relinquish it. That is why you will be left heartbroken and it is your own fault. You wouldn't offer to sell you house to a person with no money to buy it and you wouldn't trust your life to a stranger, so why would accept this empty promise? It is foolish to count on a promise that cannot be met.

I'll make it easy for you by framing things in your puerile puppy love analogy. It is not Republicans that are saying "we're just not that into you." It's Americans. We got on that couch and looked at that adorable guy too, and when he tried to advance, aggressively, to the heavy petting stage, we had second thoughts. This is not what we bargained for. We came to the couch in a fit of pique, emotionally drained from recent experience, and lured by the siren song. Now, however, we are back to thinking rather than feeling and emoting. Now we realize we should have stayed away.

This is the real world honey. We live with finite resources and almost infinite complexity. Learn how to live in such a world and stop placing faith in leaders to wave a wand and make things just so. Stop trafficking in feel-good, utopian pap and get educated.

Donny Baseball
Unwilling Underwriter of your Utopian Dreams

P.S. And by the way, what the hell are founding parents?

Africa's Opportunisitc Extortion

Africa to developed world: we'll fight global warming, but only with your money. I don't blame the Africans here, global warming is not their idea, they would have never come up with something so moronic and they are all wagering their futures on hydrocarbons. But since the rich countries are all in a tizzy about it and are looking to do something about it and need votes in order to feel good about a "global consensus", hey, why not offer to accept a bribe. There must be some African proverb to the effect of "A fool and his money..."

Do You Mean These Green Jobs???

Whoops. Biofuels not getting us to the promised land. As usual folks, you heard it here first (more).

UPDATE: I guess this is what happens when you appoint a Communist as "green jobs czar." OK, I couldn't resist, that was a dig. It is implausible to attribute alternative energy failures to the recent appointment of this man, although I have no doubt that given time his influence would have been destructuve anyway. The problem is one of economics and science, not czars. Alternative energy just can't compete on the economics and the physics - it is too expensive and there is no clear way to get enough of it.

Who ARE These People?

What is it with Democrats and using death for political gain? It is wrong intrinsically, which they are too morally bankrupt to understand, but beyond that, it is bad politics. Don't they remember what their distastefulness and lack of decorum upon the death of Paul Wellstone wrought? Immoral and stupid. They are your masters America. Have a nice day.

Spare Me: Kennedy Was An Embarrassment

I am already sick of, as Roger Kimball puts its, all the sanctimonious pap over Ted Kennedy. If I hear or read "lion of the Senate" one more time I am going to puke. Kennedy was a reprehensible figure - a womanizer, a drunk, a manslaughterer, and, perhaps most galling to me, a mediocrity who lorded over the rest of us from within his protective shell of power. His caddish, misogynistic ways have been well-chronicled. His disgraceful attack on Judge Bork has long since proven to be "willfully false and remarkably coarse" and has done more to poison the tone and squash reasoned debate in politics than anything in the last 30 years. Furthermore it takes a special type of loathsome elitist to impose financial and legal burdens on the rest of us, all the while hiding behind his family's wealth and power. Kenndy was unaccountable to the laws that the rest of us have to live by and he was unburdened by the taxes that he imposed on the rest of us - Kennedy money is locked up safely in legacy trusts, shielded from taxes, for the preservation of the Kennedy clan's aristocratic lifestyle.

Ted Kennedy was the antithesis of what the founders had in mind when they envisioned popular representation. They created a system whereby intelligent and accomplished citizens would take time out of a productive life to represent our voice in the government as a bulwark against the rise of tyranny, most likely in the form of an executive with an outsized cult of personality, and then return to private life. Ted Kennedy was never accomplished or productive. Nor was he temporary. We've had forty-seven years of Senatorial tyranny of a man forged from a life devoid of character and lived without a basic standard of virtue. He was and is an embarrassment to our nation and the people of Massachusetts who put him in office again and again. I wish his soul repose and his family grace in their grief, but let's spare the phony political hagiographies.

UPDATE: Similar sentiments, more eloquently put.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Peak Oil? No. Peak National Debt? If Only.

Yesterday brought news of finding some surprises in the sofa cushions. On the bad side, Barack Obama found an extra $2 trillion in crippling national debt. On the good side, some oil companies found a couple billion and a couple hundred million new barrels of recoverable oil. I have taken the Peak Oil concept to task here at NBfPB many times. Refreshingly, the NY Times gave Michael Lynch space to shoot down Peak Oil silliness yesterday.

Crappy Little Bird Ruins Dream of Green Paradise

I love it when silly elitist, leftist priorities collide - like when tens of thousands of minority Obama voters came to the pols in California to elect Obama and wound up defeating Prop 8. In this story, we learn how rigid environmental virtue stands in the way of green energy. Can we get a spotted owl or something to kill off ObamaCare???

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The VRC is Back Baby!!! Boo-Yah!!!

I LOVE IT!!!  The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy is Back!!  It's tanned.  It's ready.   And it is organizing/paying AARP members, who've been listening to left-wing propaganda for years now to forget all that and go to town-hall meetings and give their elected officials what-for!!!  It's spurring people to risk their safety in the face of union goons to ask Congressfolk whether they've done their jobs and read the relevant bills.  Bwaaahhaaaa, I love it when a plan comes together!!!!!!!!! 

Einstein's Definition of Stupidity, Anyone?

Here is an interesting post that illuminates the sad decay of Detroit. Like many of our urban centers, Detroit's economy has been on a long slide downward and thus its civic vitality has been hollowed out. Allow me to add to this pictorial essay some other interesting factoids regarding our country's poorest cities...

What do the top ten cities (over 250,000) with the highest poverty rate all have in common?

#1: Detroit, MI hasn't elected a Republican mayor since 1961;
#2: Buffalo, NY hasn't elected one since 1954;
#3: Cincinnati, OH ...since 1984;
#4: Cleveland, OH ...since 1989;
#5: Miami, FL has never had a Republican mayor;
#6: St. Louis, MO ....since 1949;
#7: El Paso, TX has never had a Republican mayor;
#8: Milwaukee, WI ...since 1908;
#9: Philadelphia, PA ...since 1952;
#10: Newark, NJ ...since 1907.

Now, I'm not saying that a Republican mayor in each of these towns would save the day, but it just seems to me that some folks are stuck on stupid...

Note: Newark has the lowest poverty rate of the Top 10 at 24.2% and Detroit takes the prize at 32.5%

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Zurich Bankers Feel the "Chicago Way"

After failing to "man up" and protect its centuries old banking laws and thereby eviscerating the competitive advantage of its global banking franchises, the Swiss government has decided that maybe they don't want to own just another big bank. Maybe I am overstating it. Swiss banks will still shelter the fraudulent billions of African dictators, they are just throwing a few Americans under the bus. Still why own the bank with the biggest presence in America?

Contrarian View: Thank Goodness for Porkulus and Cash for Clunkers

Here is a question? Why, just as they were embarking on selling the American public on a massive government expansion into 17% of the economy (and a 17% that people really care about), did the Congress and the Administration give the American people two fresh, overt object lessons in government ineffectiveness and incompetance? We all know why, but the more important point is that these disasters are making ObamaCare that much harder to sell, God love 'em.

Unions vs. Greens, Love It!

Remember that partnership between the oil companies and the unions I mentioned a few weeks ago? Well, they've hit the ground running. And I would say they have good reason to.

Just remember, Obama Smart, Palin Dumb.

Tales From the Country's Worst Legislature

Re-defecting defector and all-round scumbag NY pol Pedro Espada was bribed to redefect by fellow Dems. New York taxpayers will be thrilled to know that their tax dollars are now going to provide no-show jobs for Espada's friends and family. We need to cashier every last one of our bozo state legislators.

More Proof We Botched Stimulus

Via The Economist via Carpe Diem, looks like people are cottoning onto to what I told you a while back - China did stimulus right and we did it wrong.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Anthony Weiner Doesn't Understand How Insurance Works

Funny that, a congressman hailing from (and who wants to be mayor of) the financial capital of the world doesn't even have a rudimentary understanding of insurance. In this segment of Morning Joe, he presses the hosts to describe what value insurance companies provide. Gee, that is a hard one - how about INSURANCE, namely the promise to cover large potential expenses that are contingent on future events. Insurance companies take on the risk that you will get sick and incur healthcare costs. Without someone to take on the risk, all your costs will come out of your pocket. Weiner goes on to talk about how insurance company profits extract $230 billion "from the system." Again, pure ignorance. Insurance companies of all stripes make money on "float" - the ability to invest and earn investment income on your money between the time when you give it to them and the time when they have to pay it back to you in the form of claims reimbursement. That's what they get in return for your risk that they assume. Insurance company profits come from investing in stocks, bonds, and other stuff, not from extracting money from the healthcare system.

Of course, I jest. No doubt Sausage Factory Worker Weiner (man, I love writing that!) does understand how insurance works, alas, which makes nearly everything that comes out of his mouth in this segment a pernicious lie.

Argentina + Socialism = Beef Imports?

The funniest thing I saw today was "Vick's an Eagle, Hide Your Beagle" until I saw this...
“The world is currently divided into three types of countries: the developed ones, the emerging nations and Argentina.” That is a former Brazilian agricultural minister now serving on the board of large Brazilian meatpacking company JBS. Even accounting for nationalistic rivalries, he is more or less accurate. The quote comes from a story about how Argentina is destroying one of its most storied industries (and part of its culture) via insane economic meddling. You could chalk this one up under the logic of Aneurin Bevan.

UPDATE: And just in case you were wondering, the funniest thing I read before the Vick thing was "'Cash for Clunkers' is just 'death panels' for cars." (UPDATE: or it could equally be described as "IOUs for suckers."

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Is Corzine Hitching to a Falling Star?

Just back from a week "down the shore."  That means Jersey for those of you not in the know.  So I caught a little local TV while away and potentially toast Gov. Corzine is running adds that stress the theme that he and Barack Obama are, like, BFFs.  Some ads don't even say "Corzine for Governor", they say "Corzine & Obama."  Not sure how smart that strategy is.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Healthcare Thought Experiment

Here is a thought experiment. You are a 55 year old vascular surgeon and you've been practicing medicine for 25 years. You went to medical school, did years of internships, studied and passed the boards. You have done hundreds if not thousands of carotid endarterectomies, bypass surgeries, and stent implantations. Over the years you've made alot of money as this is complex and critical stuff this vascular surgery (cardio-vascular disease is one of the five diseases that account for 75% of healthcare spending). You've raised kids and now have grandkids. For the near miracle of a carotid endarterectomy, which can add years onto someone's life, you used to get paid a couple thousand dollars. As Medicare has tried to put a lid on costs, that figure has gone down to less than a thousand bucks, say $900. The success rate of such surgery has gone up, so it should be more valuable, as should your own value since you've performed so many of them, but nonetheless you are earning less for this surgery. Now ObamaCare passes and in order to "bend the cost curve" reimbursement for carotid endarterectomies falls further - either through direct mandate Medicare lowers its reimbursement rate or the "comparative effectiveness" folks determine that this is a costly procedure based on some "quality of life adjusted years" formula. Let's say it falls to $600. What do you do? Here are some options:
1) Keep practicing this highly complex and special skill you have for the price a plumber would charge to install a sink (call this the "suck it up" or the "public spiritedness" option);
2) Retire to spend time with the grandkids, or do just about anything else given that you have more than enough money to retire (call this the "live your life" or "Go Galt" option;
3) Refuse any patients in need of a carotid endarterectomy that can't pay you in cash an amount more reflective of the free market price for the procedure, say $2500 (call this the "demand fair payment for your services" option);
4) Refuse to perform any carotid endarterectomies at any price and solely perform elective cosmetic vascular surgeries like repairing middle-aged women's vericose veins, where you make more money? (call this the "Half Galt" option)
5) Sue the government, maintaining that forcing you to perform carotid endarterectomies for $600 represents a "taking" of your private property, your expertise and training (call this the "fight City Hall" option).

Hmmm. Interesting thought experiment, no? Think option 2 isn't realistic? Watch this. Think option 4 is nuts? Read this. Think option 3 is crazy? Read this. Think option 5 is nuts? Read this. Might I suggest that the only nutty option here is option 1? So what will "bending the cost curve" do for our healthcare system if it is indeed achieved through lower reimbursements to doctors? Plenty to ponder there. Thanks for playing along.

Forbes Joins the Alternative Media

The current issue (8/24/09) of Forbes has got to be the most subversive offering of business journalism in decades. First heresy: Green Company of the Year...Exxon. Second heresy: West Point is better than Harvard.

Radical. Welcome to the alternative media Forbes!

"Underemployment" Is Now Officially Out of Vogue

Liberals, like Paul Krugman, will now cease to mention the "underemployment" that they have been crowing about for years. Now that hiding the underemployed helps Dear Leader falsely tout the stimulus as the engine of economic recovery, you won't see guys like Krugman parsing the employment data for the truth as they used to claim.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

200 Days From 30,000 Feet

Upon taking office without deep connections in either politics or business, President Obama falls back on cadre of ex-Clintonites (Podesta, Panetta, Summers, Clinton, etc.) to staff his administration. When several (I stopped counting at four) of his high level appointees ran into confirmation trouble over taxes (they didn't pay them), Obama had to resort to populating his administration with the B Team. He then had a series of embarrassing diplomatic gaffes on his first meetings with major American allies. In tackling the most important issue facing the nation, the economy, he let his team of economic all-stars bicker and fail to even meet, while he outsourced the economic stimulus package to Nancy Pelosi who crafted one that had zero chance of working because it was not an economic stimulus package but a wishlist of Democratic priorities sold to the American public as a stimulus. The President embarked on a sales pitch of said stimulus claiming that Caterpillar would hire back laid-off workers if it was passed, only to be contradicted five minutes later by the CEO of Caterpillar (ah no, the stimulus would not prompt any rehires). Then President Obama fired GM's CEO and ran roughshod over Chrysler's secured bondholders in order to lay the groundwork for GM bondholders' quiescence so that the government and its UAW allies could own two of our three large automakers. Somewhere in there he met and warmly greeted Hugo Chavez. He gave several speeches, many of which apologized for America in some way. He bullied Bibi Netanyahu and demanded that Israel not build houses in the Israeli capital of Jerusalem among other places. When Iran blew up after a clearly fraudulent election he dissembled and threw the Iranian people to the wolves (hundreds, perhaps thousands have been murdered, jailed, and tortured) in the hope of getting a deal with the Iranian regime, which has heretofore told him to expect nothing. When Honduras's Supreme Court and legislature ordered the removal of their President for illegal, extra-constitutional activities, Obama completely misread the situation, attacking Honduras and demanding Zelaya's reinstatement, agreeing with the likes of Hugo Chavez, and even going so far as to revoke diplomatic privileges for the interim Honduran government. He went to Russia, not to tell them to act like a normal country (i.e. don't murder journalists), but to offer to destroy perfectly good American nukes if the Russians would destroy decrepit and crumbling Russian nukes. The Russians accepted. He also proposed a budget that so shockingly expanded the budget deficit that the Chinese hinted they would stop buying US Treasury bonds so he sent Tim Geithner on a mission of reassurance to China, where an audience of college students laughed at Geithner's claim that the USA's finances are on sound footing. Somewhere in there, he released plans to tinker with corporate taxation policy, prompting well-known Republican idealogue Steve Ballmer, CEO of the raging right-wing corporation Microsoft, to criticize the policy as a job killer. And don't forget, Presidetn Obama appointed a whacky scientist who favors forced sterilizations to be his science advisor. During this time the President did some good things - he maintained terrorists in detention at Guantanamo, he barely altered the US's ability to fight terrorism through enhanced interdiction and interogation techniques, he order the whacking of some piss-ant pirates in the Gulf of Aden that hijacked a US-flagged ship, he checked out a fine young Brazilian's ass, he gave a speech in Ghana where he told Africans to get their act together, and...that's about it. But he also embarked on a major campaign to "reform" healthcare, the nuts and bolts of which he is unfamiliar with, having outsourced the legislation to Henry Waxman. In the process of selling this major revision to the American people he got one of his czars to ask other Americans to snitch on their fellow citizens who disagree with the current Waxman/Pelosi proposals for healthcare. While this is going on, his economic advisers are on the Sunday talk shows essentially saying that the President will have to eventually break his campaign promise not to raise taxes on those making less than $250,000, while his press secretary is saying "Ummm, no." Oh, and unemployment climbed to just shy of 10% because businesses are scared sh&tless over the array of attacks on their ability to conduct business emanating from Washington. Also, the President lent his support to Cap and Trade legislation and "Card Check" legislation meant to expand union membership throughout American businesses. India and China have stated that the US is free to hamstring its own economy through Cap and Trade, but that they won't consider such stupidity. Corporations have waged an aggressive under the radar campaign to kill cap and trade. Thus these efforts are dorment because there has been a backlash against them that is miniscule compared to the backlash that is building in response to the President's signature issue of healthcare reform. Then President Obama insulted law enforcement officials everywhere by implying a Cambridge, MA officer was either racist or just did't know how to do his job or both. That's about it, I think, although I am sure I missed something. Whew! Oh wait, forgot...the Administration has chosen to bestow America's highest civilian honor on an obscure Irish diplomat who organized a UN "racism" conference that got so out of control as a virulent anti-Israel rant that the Obama administration itself even chose to boycott its second installment. The Administration now admits that Mary Robinson wasn't vetted. Got that? Highest civilian honor America can bestow. Not vetted.

OK, now I am done. Whew! 200 down, 897 to go.

UPDATE: And now he is deploying union goons to "give cover" to Democratic congressfolk from their concerned constituents. Awesome!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Stiglitz: Stiglitz Messed Up

Nobel-prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has come out saying that economic recovery will be very, very slow. Funny that, given that the economist that had the most intellectual influence on the "stimulus" bill that is flopping was...Joe Stiglitz. What were Big Joe's big ideas at the time? Unemployment benefits, aid to states, and giveaways to low income families. What did we get for stimulus? Mostly unemployment benefits, aid to states, and giveaways to low income families. How's it going? Hey, even Joe himself musn't think too highly of his policy progeny given his gloomy prognosis.

Greatest Scientific Discovery Ever

This has got to be the greatest finding in the annals of science. Throughout all of human history, do you know of any insight into our natural world that is more compelling?

Give Linda Douglass What She Deserves

Please tell me that someone has spammed the living crap out of for their ridiculousness and ridiculous imperiousness. I sent this in, it's the fishiest thing I am aware of.

UPDATE: I knew it. Awesome. This guy is right, whatever you do, don't laugh at a lefty!

UPPDATE: Uh oh, Instapundit is down (at least I can't get to it). Has Czar Douglass collared the Good Professor for fishiness????

N.B. I've read that some folks are afraid to spam the flag email for fear of being targeted...really, people...have we come so far from "lives, fortunes, and sacred honor" to where we can't reveal our email addresses?

Economic News Does Not Bend to Will of Obama

Dear Leader got another bad jobs report today. (As I have said, unemployment will be his Achilles' Heel - he made a potentially fatal mistake in out-sourcing the stimulus bill to Pelosi/Obey and Reid. {btw, a mistake he is making again by outsourcing healthcare reform to Henry Waxman}) While I am upset for our country and those suffering economic hardship, we get what we deserve - we elected a man of zero consequence and achievement to lead us, we gave barely-disguised socialists control of our legislative bodies, and we, frankly, join in on the demonizing and threatening of the one proven source of sustainable job creation, entrepreneurs and the private sector. As a result, the job creators are hiding out. This was not hard to see coming, in fact it was hard to not see, and yet we as a country we were blind to what was staring us right in the face.

Final thought, why do you think members of the Great Sausage Factory are so hot to tout the putative success of "Cash for Clunkers" despite the dubiousness of the claim? Because it is the only thing they can point to that is remotely stimulative. Yep, just $1 billion of the $787 billion has met with a bare minimum of success and they are crowing like the cock of the walk.

We'd be better off with 535 completely new elected members of Congress. I would be thrilled, even if the partisan makeup of Congress didn't change, to literally cashier every member and start fresh with 535 new individuals. "Slaughter the incumbents," I say.

UPDATE: More evidence that the stimulus was a bust if the goal was employment (hint: it wasn't that was not what you were told!). No shit Sherlock. If you crap all over business, busines won't hire no matter how much sugar you try to ladle on to the corn flakes.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

You Want Snitches... Here We Are

Apparently the White House, taking a page from the Soviet Union playbook, is looking for snitches to find out if anybody is talking ill of their plans for us and our healthcare.  Well, no need to employ aspiring nomenklatura - I'll rat on myself.  This past weekend myself, my wife, my brother-in-law, my sister-in-law, her parents, her aunt, two neighbors, their landscaper, seven other boaters on the lake, and a local gas station attendant all spoke vehemently against nearly every aspect of the healthcare reform proposal as it stands currently.   There was passionate displeasure based on scathing, logical criticism of the plans emanating from Washington DC.  And I might even add there was nary a kind word said of our pig in a poke POTUS.  There you have it - casual conversations fomenting resistance to our overlords' plans.  This all took place in the gorgeous environs of a western Virginia lake community.  We all vowed to write our Congressional representatives and do everything in our power to stop Obamacare dead in its tracks, so you'll be hearing from us soon.  Come and get us.

Too Easy, But Necessary

Racism vs. Patriotism (or Intellectualism, or something).

India's Eco Snub Picked Up By Big Newspaper

Bret Stephens, whose readership is slightly wider than mine, highlights India's delicious snubbing of the West's eco-poseurs. A problem for global warmists (sorry, climate changeists) to be sure, but not the only problem.

Funding for Liberal Wetdreams Goes Missing

It's starting to look official. Told ya' so. No sympathy here, the system is setup to be volatile, so you get what you ask for.