Monday, January 31, 2011

All I Can Say Is...

Warning: Spontaneous Cranial Explosions Reported in NYC

I cannot leave my office here in the heart of New York City, since on the streets craniums are exploding everywhere because of this. Spontaneous explosions are leaving blood, cranial matter and skull shards everywhere and represent a severe safety risk. I haven't witnessed such an epidemic of cranial explosions since 2004 when George W. Bush was re-elected, when I was hit by a 2" x 3" shard of skull on my right cheek. An inch higher and I would have lost an eye. I don't know how long I will have to bunker down here in my 16th floor office (a safe height from street level cranial explosions which appear to be maxing out at 7 floors), no one quite knows when the danger will abate. As bad as it is, it is not the worst instance of widespread cranial explosion that one can envision hitting New York City, which if it comes to pass will render the city completely unsafe, a veritable free fire zone of exploding blood, skull, and tissue.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Palin's Judo

The MSM/EJM still doesn't get it, even after I laid it all out for DO NOT give a putatively weak opponent opportunities to rebut the charge of weakness and call into question your superior position. If they are weak, allow them to be weak and eventually demonstrate this weakness, but don't create chances for them to reverse perceptions. Basic Sun Tzu folks, but these media morons are still fumbling and, frankly, that ridiculously weak opponent is taking full advantage by looking, well, much stronger than advertised.

Egypt Erupts: Giving Myself Partial Credit for 2010 Prediction

Just a reminder, one of my 2010 predictions was that someone like Mubarak gets shot. We're still in January and if he showed his face, he most certainly would be shot, so I'm claiming partial credit for this prediction, score .5 for DB! That makes 4 of 8, pretty good for some not-quite obvious prognostications.

Told You So: Not So Comebacky Kid

Stephen Green is taking a bow for being ahead of Krauthammer on the putative Obama Comeback. If he's taking a bow, I suppose I can too.

Oscars Mean Hollywood Treading Lightly...

Well Hollywood hasn't quite taken my advice to shorten the Oscar ceremony by making just one movie with all their pet themes and nominate it for every damn Oscar, but they've spared us the usual assault and stuck only modestly to the script:

- Fraudulently dishonest anti-oil company movie...check.

- Homosexuality is a state of grace and you're a f**king homophobe, Pal !!...check.

They've spared us any terrorist lionization or Israel bashing, and as far as I can tell the empowering awesomeness of abortion is MIA. I'm sure there is a little religion bashing in there somewhere (I didn't see all of these movies, er, most of them actually), but nothing too aggressive. Clearly Hollywood is back on its heels given the mood of the country, and is reluctant to make the movies they really want to jam down our throats. Small mercies.

Slobbering Love Affair Continues Strong

The MSM/EJM loathe Reagan with all their fiber, and yet if he can be used to sell their amateur-hour progressive poster boy to a sensible and souring American electorate, well, so be it...hold the nose and resurrect Ronnie. Oh how it must pain them to have to make a nod in the Gipper's direction, but the ends always justify the means in that world.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

File Under "Eye Off the Ball Just a Tad"

I don't know how I got on the email list that blasted out the wonderful news of "Sustainatopia 2011" which appears to be some sort of eco-investing confab touting alot of mushy green stuff. But this really caught my eye, apparently one of the topics or focus areas is "Building a Sustainable Haiti." I kid you not, they want to build a sustainable Haiti. Here's another idea. How about building a Not-Totally-F**king-Miserable Haiti?? Baby steps people. Let's build something that is not a complete cesspool of misery and human suffering achieved through human failure and lack of civilizational norms. Let's do that and then worry about Haiti's carbon footprint or planetary impact or whatever. The organically farmed casavas can come later.

The Right Man for the Job?

There is social unrest in the streets of:
Cote d'Ivoire

and the slow boil continues in:

tensions remain high between:
North Korea and South Korea
Russia and Georgia
Russia and Japan
Iran and Iraq

The world is looking quite messy and promises to get worse. But the guy who goes around the world bowing to people, getting embarrassed at his own state dinners, announces retreat dates for US military operations, and sees nothing exceptional about America is going to win re-election in a cake walk???

What Is Old Is New Again

The caption reads "Heaven help him...he's going to play 60 minutes of pro ball." That's the October 1965 issue. Guess what? Pro football has always been dangerous. Nothing new under the sun, except of course spending billions on "clean energy", "investing" to compete in the global economy, and rallying the nation over Sputnik.

Feminism Rolls On

Remember, a woman's right to choose is sacrosanct...oh wait, not that right to choose.

The Sense and Clarity of Chris Christie

This is why Chris Christie has become and remains a rock star, listen to this guy speak off the cuff - no teleprompter - about the state's fiscal problems.

UPDATE: ...and speaking of good sense, for someone so obviously daft, Sarah Palin is sounding awfully smart.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

More CW, More Cold Showering

Well, here is another one of those "Obama will cruise to re-election" pieces. The central argument is twofold: 1) liberals are liberals and we could have unspeakable misery and they'd still vote for the guy, and 2) most Americans are still stupid and/or not engaged. I can't dispute #1 although I can tell you, only anecdotally though, that many mainstream liberals who voted for Obama are now quite embarrassed. I don't doubt the reflexivity of liberals but I sincerely doubt their passion going into 2012. The tsunami of enthusiasm will not be re-created. As for #2, I don't think the author quite gets it. People are paying attention and we have deep-seated structural problems economically and financially that I don't think Obama even has a superficial understanding of, and it shows.

And then there are events. Events, my boy, events. So, let me refer to you this again. Let me also add some color from just today's events. The SOTU was poorly received in terms of ratings and criticism. Even the AP came out and said the SOTU address was a melange of contradictions. The head Medicare actuary threw cold water on the central tenets of ObamaCare - reducing cost and expanding coverage. And something like 10 states are now dredging up an 18th century doctrine called nullification to combat ObamaCare as if plain old lawsuits weren't good enough, which more than half the states are pursuing. If that isn't the early innings of a full-blown constitutional crisis, I don't know what is. Social Security is officially broke and this guy is still talking about losers like high-speed rail and clean energy, as well as bizarro-world stuff like salmon, saccharin and Sputnik.

This is not just some devil-you-know calculation. The man has revealed himself as nothing of what people hoped and dreamed, but rather a complete pretender. Obama floundered on jobs for two years yet still strides to the podium to reassure America that jobs are his new priority. He engaged in ragingly partisan politics and rhetoric and now breezily calls for bi-partisanship. He talks so grandiloquently but puts forth such laughably puny ideas. At some point the schtick gets old, and it is damn old right about now. Maybe if times were better, Americans would tolerate a little disconnectedness, but times are not merely "not good," they are convulsingly uncertain and fraught with unease. Obama's election was historic because it was an historic reach, a gamble, electoral entrepreneurialism if you will. When you roll the dice and fail, as we have, you don't double down. The past is not the correct lens with which to analyze the re-election chances of Barack Obama, only present circumstances will do. You have to believe that the entire country has gone stark-raving mad - running around in underpants and suspenders screaming about the end of the world mad - to believe that Obama gets re-elected in a walk. On present course, it'll be a dogfight.


A lie to be sure, but a tantalizing one. Why? Could this be a sign that I might earn some extra-credit?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Rahm for Metaphor

So Rahm Emmanuel quits the Obama administration to run for Chicago mayor without a complete/100%/without a single doubt/locked up/buttoned down/all bases covered understanding of the law that would let him run or not....

That's a pretty good metaphor for just about everything the Obama administration has done, no? Hey, we'll just do it, who gives a shit is it's legal, a good idea, smart, etc.

Obama's Pet CEO

Clearly, Jeff Immelt of GE has taken over (been coopted is more like it, since Immelt was briefly critical of Obama) as Obama's pet CEO now that ultra-creepy Eric Schmidt is out at Google (although Schmidt is likely to go the full "inside" monty and become an Obama re-election worker bee). I've commented numerous times on what a disgrace GE is to true capitalism and what a phony CEO Jeff Immelt is (here, here, and here). Fred Barnes does the job thoroughly and expertly for a wider audience here.

Friday, January 21, 2011

I'm Here to Cold Shower the CW on 2012

We are going to start seeing a ton of this kind of article, about how Obama is going to win in 2012 (here is another). I think these are reasonable analyses and I don't dispute the power of incumbency; I surely don't dispute that the slobbering love affair of the MSM/EJM with Dear Leader is going to kick into overdrive; and I don't dispute the idea that Republicans can screw up their chances. And of course, we never know what things will look like two years down the road. However, let me posit a few items that I've mentioned before but that are worth revisiting and combining.

- Obama will run with unemployment at/near 10% and gas over $4. While not a lock, these are highly probable. The economy is recovering but not fast enough to add the number of jobs needed to help Obama politically. Jobs creators are justifiably cautious and the only shift has been in Obama's rhetoric; the nasty, job-killing stuff he has foisted on the economy is still fully operational down in the inner workings of the economy. Even if unemployment moderates a bit, it is a virtual certainty that it will be higher than when he took office. Not good. Gas will be over $4 and food prices will be higher and rising (either explicitly so or stealthily so). These are core pocketbook problems that Americans have historically taken out on incumbent Presidents.

- Many Americans are still spitting mad at the MSM/EJM for their despicable performance in the 2008 campaign, a performance which continues today, and the thicker they lay it on, the more they slobber over Obama, the more grossed out it will make regular Americans and the more it will galvanize an anti-Obama coalition. The media will conduct Act II of its slobbering love affair from a vastly diminshed position in American society, with vastly reduced influence, this time around.

- The stakes are so high. If we re-elect Obama, we live with ObamaCare forever and we get more "wise Latina" entho-racial progressive victimology crap placed onto the High Court. Americans like continuity, but they have their limits.

- The world will look a mess, further revealling what a non-entity at best, a provocateur through his weakness at worst, Obama is on the world stage.

- His coalition is gone. And, Dear Leader may excite his base, but you can bet your keister that the other side's base will be damned excited too.

- ObamaCare will continue to backfire. Premiums will rise, doctors will refuse Medicare, drug prices will go up, among many other adverse developments. And we may even see the SCOTUS declare major portions of it unconstitutional. Under that scenario are we really going to re-elect the guy whose signature achievement proves to be a legally out-of-bounds, economic flop?

- Donny Baseball will be beating the ABBO drum like nobody's business and just to ensure that the message gets out, I'm gonna flood the zone with hot chicks with guns. So here goes...ABBO!

And So It Begins...

Lebanon is lost...

Lebanon: Jumblatt Says He Sides With Syria, Hezbollah
January 21, 2011
Progressive Socialist Party of Lebanon leader Walid Jumblatt said Jan. 21 that his party will stay firmly with Syria and the resistance, referring to Hezbollah. Speaking at a press conference, he said his meeting with Syrian President Bashar al Assad was excellent and that the two agreed to implement the Saudi-Syrian initiative to end the political crisis. Jumblatt said the initiative goes against cooperating with the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and that the West does not like the initiative because it is a compromise. He also said resorting to actions in the streets would increase tension and instability.

Not a few years ago Jumblatt was hailing the Bush-inspired Cedar Revolution as the emancipation of Lebanon from Syria. Guess Syrbollah gave him an offer he couldn't refuse.

It's coming folks...chaos on a major scale. The exemplar of outreach and understanding, of peace and coexistence, has somehow failed to bring us together into the Global Land of Milk and Honey.

UPDATE: Michael Totten agrees.


I said "any man, woman, vegetable or animal." The Good Professor says "syphilitic camel". Donald Duck, Ham Sandwich...WHATEVER. Folks, it is time to play the odds, not be dreamers. In that light check this out. And this. In 2012, folks it's gotta be "ABBO"...Anything But (You Know Who). Yes, even...throat tensing up...H...tongue numbing, can't get it out...Huck...can't say it, but yes, even him.

Mission Creeps

Once again, a small microscopic seed of an idea expressed here at NBfPB is a full-blown flower, beautiful to behold, in the hands of Victor Davis Hanson.

Good Thing We Have Economists

Fun. My two favorite liquid substances, crude oil and fine wine, apparently are very much alike. I haven't read the whole study but what these economists seem to be saying is 1) drink your wine, and 2) we ain't running out of oil. Duh.


It's about time! Finally somebody grew a pair and offed some damn pirates. Kudos to the South Koreans. Maybe civilization has some hope after all.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Google To Focus on Obama Re-election, Not Shareholders

So Eric Schmidt is resigning the CEO role at Google out of the clear blue sky in favor of founder Larry Page. I'm betting that Schmidt is going to jump into a major role in the Obama re-election campaign, after all, he's essentially in the Obama administration, the one token business guy that doesn't think Obama is clueless trying to convince the world that Dear Leader loves capitalism. If I am right, Google shareholders get a sub-standard CEO (puhleez, no way Page is a real CEO) so their management team can focus on what really matters, getting Obama reelected. I wouldn't be happy if I was a Google shareholder.

Roger Simon...Call Me...

Somebody over at the new PJTatler blog that $4 gas could be Obama's next economic crisis. Note the 1/13/11 date on that bold prediction, and uh, note the date on this bold prediction, and also note the lack of qualifiers like "could". This new PJM blog seems like it has alot of folks blogging there. If I can beat them by almost two years, what I am not doing on that roster? Don't they want the badassest crystal ball in the blogosphere on the team? I work cheap!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Ajami: Middle East Is Proof of What Moral Indifference Breeds

Fouad Ajami has a must-read opinion piece in the WSJ today that illuminates just how disastros Barack Obama's foreign policy has been. It is a foreign policy born of moral indifference and preening, psuedo-intellectual self-centeredness - in other words, typical squishy liberalism. Throw in a reflexive, unthinking imperative to be the anti-George W. Bush and you have the conditions to let chaos flourish around the world. Lebanon is on the cusp of being taken over lock stock and barrel by some of the most loathesome thugs on the planet. A thieving, brutal dictator is defying his people and the world by holding on in Ivory Coast. North Korea is lobbing bombs into South Korea. KGB-run Russia is reassembling the USSR. I could go on, but suffice it to say "Told ya' so." Two years of looking at Obama and knowing that they have two more years, at least, of running room, the bad guys are running wild. There is hardly a single optimistic development in the cause of human freedom and liberty anywhere to be found in the world, with the possibble exception of Tunisia which had nothing to do with the United States, and could easily fizzle out into another miserable outcome. If history is clear on one thing, it is that when the world's pre-eminent power is an indifferent, morally relativistic obliger, evil has a heyday and suffering ensues. Tragic.

Good Money After Bad

A key financial advisor to the German government says that Germany wasted good money on Greece and to prepare to bite the bullet. If only they had listened to me....would saved alot of time, energy and duetschmarks, er sorry, Euros.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Obama Era is the Age of Farce

This guy is a bloody farce. The guy whose singular achievement was this, now wants to cut down on "job-killing regulation." This is the guy who holds a phony, meaningless "jobs summit" every time a bad employment report come out. This is the guy who makes a big deal over saving $100 million dollars after he proposed doing this to us and our children. I mean, did he really cite saccharin as an example of regulation that needs to be addressed? SACCHARIN ?!??!??!?! Farcical.

What is the Cost to the World of Being a Bunch of Pu**ies?

Lameness = $12 billion.

"Somali pirates lined their pockets with a share of $238m in ransoms last year alone, the report from US-based think tank One Earth Future reads.

The amount paid to pirates pales into relative insignificance, however, when compared with estimated costs further along the chain. The report estimates that the total excess cost of insurance to the shipping industry is between $460m and $3.2bn.

Of arguably greater impact on the shipping industry is the cost of re-routing ships around South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope in an attempt to avoid the treacherous Gulf of Aden and northern Indian Ocean. This cost is estimated by the group at between $2.4bn and $3bn."

Rand Paul Rocks

Three cheers for the junior Senator from Kentucky. Sounds alot like the Donny Baseball plan of long ago. (fwiw, note the prediction made in the very last sentence...not bad, I must say.)

Thank You, Sir, May I Have Another...

BP has been screwed by the Russians and been screwed by the United States of America. So, given today's energy world, where does it choose to do business going forward? Well, Russia obviously. The screwings over there, I can only surmise, are more predictable and thus easier to plan for.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

How Do You Say "Drill Baby, Drill" in Norwegian?

Here's a fun tidbit. Those Euro-cosmopolitan Scandinavians, the Norwegians to be precise, are getting tough on the energy companies operating in Norwegian waters. Music to the ears of bien pensant elitists here in the US, no? You can almost see the words on the pages of the New York Times, "Getting tough on those oil companies is exactly the right thing to do and as you would expect from the environmentally enlightened Europeans as compared to our retrograde approach here in the US." Wait a minute. Not exactly. The Norwegian government is getting tough because they want these companies to get it in gear, to ramp it up, to get their hands on more hydrocarbons. Norway wants to see "maximum exploitation" of the resource. While the Obama administration and its radical green zealots , like Carol Browner, choke vitality out of the world-leading US energy industry, the rest of the world is getting quite serious and quite busy producing the energy that the world will need to maintain the growth of global living standards. Sad.

UPDATE: Obama's war on our energy supplies rages on...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Just a Reminder

Hey, just a reminder, that while we are doing all this "healing" and having all these "dialogues" and thriving together in the wake of the Tucson shooting, we're spending $1 trillion dollars more than we take in. $1 trillion. We can tax every last dollar of income from every American making over $200,000 and we won't close that gap. We've buried ourselves in debt and there are essentially only two ways out, 1) cut absolute spending 10% every year for 10 years, or 2) stiff our bondholders, namely the Chinese. We can NEVER tax our way out of this.

For Illini Readers

With all this new traffic we've been getting, maybe we have some new readers from Illinois. Sorry about those slimmest of slim lame duck votes that just raised your taxes. Here at NBfPB we strive to provide you with both the inspiration and tools to avoid taxes, although most of this is relevant to federal taxes. Still forewarned is forearmed...oops...can I still say that and not get blamed if some psychotic loser shoots up some joint? Anyway, whether you're moving to Indiana or just openning up a 529 college savings plan...happy tax avoidance!

2011 Predictions !!

OK dear readers, all fifteen of you, I know you've been anxiously awaiting my 2011 predictions given the high octane performance of my cyrstal ball these past two years. As you know, here at NBfPB we don't dumb down the test. I don't make the easy predictions and proclaim great insight when they come true, I like to be slightly out there in left field so that when I'm right there's a little bit of a "Wow-factor", but only slightly because we lead a fact-based life here at NBfPB and we strive to be truly "reality-based" as opposed to, well, you know who. So here goes:

- Israel Gets Attacked, War Comes Back to the Mideast: I'm not talking a few Qassam rockets, that's everyday life in the Little Satan; I'm talking attacked where Israel must respond, thus war. This isn't a super original idea, but the conditions are now set for this, that is why I am predicting it now rather than last year or the year before. Iran is teetering, Hezbollah has lain waste to any shred of civic strength in Lebanon, Syria has Stockholmed the West, Israel will begin work on monetizing the enormous wealth of one of the world's great hydrocarbon deposits, and the relations between Israel and its great protector/ally, the US, have never been this bad. It's a perfect time for some pre-emptive mischief and Israel's enemies will jump at it.

- Hillary Re-emerges for 2012: Now that the Obama presidency is officially owned lock, stock, and barrel by the Clintonites, they will work to undermine his 2012 chances and/or strike a grand bargain that enhances Hillary's power post 2012 and sets her up for further gains when the time is right. The Clintonite cadre will now set the conditions as best they can for Democratic success (work with Boehner, win back business) but otherwise allow Obama to blunder into a situation that enhances Hillary's profile. (I know that the Hillary replaces Biden meme is tired and spent, but I think that is the most likely route.)

- Venezuela Explodes: I know I semi-predicted this before, but I need to pad my score a little bit. With Chavez now ruling by decree, Venezuelans can now be under no further illusions that they are living under a loathesome dictatorship, not just an incompetent but well-meaning socialist, and they will rebel with greater fury. They will conclude that the time for peaceful marches are over, and that if they are to prevent a full slide into severe privation and oppression, they must act by any means necessary.

- Gas Hits $4: This is the year. This isn't a hard one, but it was much harder to call when gas was at $2. I made the soft call then, I'm making it official now.

- Pelosi Leaves Congress: She can't stand life as second fiddle after tasting raw, unrestrained power. She leaves. (Here's my long shot prediction for extra credit: Pelosi primaries Obama for the presidential election in 2012 claiming he has sold out the progressive movement.)

- Polling Reveals 40% of Americans Identify With the Tea Party Movement: The movement will persist and, after watching it in action and after concluding that the original tawdry slurs of the MSM/EJM are false, more Americans will come to a fair-minded understanding and appreciation for the Tea Party.

That's it for now, gotta go. Cheers!

UPDATE: Almost forgot, one more prediction...more "hot chicks with guns" on NBfPB...

Liberalism In Pictures

When I said that the world that liberals have built up all around us is crumbling, I didn't know that there were actual pictures...

Detroit was once the nation's fourth largest city and one of the richest. But we gave it away. We gave it away to lefties, race hustlers, and union goons and they destroyed it. You can dress up the analysis all you want, but that's the cold hard reality.

(HT: Mark Perry)

Another Self-Inflicted Wound for the Elitist Media

As the fevered reaction of the left to the Tucson shootings emerged not moments after the news hit the wires, I suspected that the left would, overreach is not the word, repulse the American public at large. They have certainly done that but they have compounded the mistake by strengthening their most hated rival, Sarah Palin. Clearly the left knows nothing of war-gaming, Sun Tzu not being high on their reading lists. When dealing with an opponent who you believe is weak strategically, you allow that opponent to make mistakes, confirming your view and strengthening your position. Clearly the wrong thing to do is to give your opponent easy opportunities to appear strong, contravening your view thereby strengthening them and weakening you. The MSM, or EJM as I like to call them, has done just that. They've given Palin an easy opening to look strong - calm, mature, measured and reasonable - when they needn't have done so, and they degraded their strategic stance, that Palin is hopelessly weak - inflammatory, immature, unpredictable, and irrational. Classic blunder. With each passing day, the MSM/EJM lets its power and influence in society slip away with these childish blunders.

UPDATE: Towering intellectual, Jim Clyburn, hasn't read his Sun Tzu either. (BTW, where are the feminists given Clyburn's chauvanistic "there, there, pretty little lady" routine? Oh, I forgot, stupid question.) Meanwhile, trained psychologist Charles Krauthammer posits a levelheaded analysis.

UPPDATE: Now it's clear to me that we have another Roveian plot of political jujitsu on our hands...the putatively respectable pages of the WaPo host a lecture on civil discourse by ... wait for it ... Al Sharpton. I'm telling you, the left needs to get itself exactly what it thinks Rove is/was, a sort of all-powerful, Grand Wizard of strategy and plots. That way they could rein in these awful mismatches of execrable characters weighing in on pressing topics.

UPPPDATE: Wow, the MSM/EJM keeps tripping over giant cinderblocks of stupidity that they have carefully laid down in their own what has to be the silliest analysis of this whole sordid affair, Amy Walter and Michael Falcone claim that Sarah Palin has managed to make this story about her. Defending yourself when people who hate you deep in their soul attack you with a vicious, scurrilous accusation built on nothing...that's making it about you? Leaking credibility...drip...drip...drip...

UPPPPDATE: The good professor has some thoughts on the Palin issue here. Slipped right by me that Palin is generating substantial earnings for herself for essentially draining the MSM/EJM of its small reservoirs of remaining credibility: they come at her, she lands a cut increasing the bleeding (i.e. by traffic-copping Obama's bus right over Krugman's pavement splayed body), and she likely sells more books or TV ads. That's pretty much a dream job, wouldn't you say? For me that's somewhere between professional beer taster and quarterback for the New York Giants.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Sometimes people will ask me if I saw a certain article in the NY Times and I tell them that I don't read it. I usually get a "Really?" which gives me the opportunity to explain that I don't read it for the same reason that I don't drive a Mitsubishi, drink Arkansan wine or freeze-dried coffee...I have no room for inferior products in my life. This is just one of the hundreds of examples of what I mean.

Another Day, Another Embarassment from Dear Leader

This is not a gaffe. Diplomacy is the most scripted, carefully wrought dance of any government function. This is the functional equivalent of saying "F**k You." Not just to Great Britain mind you, although that's where it'll resonate the most. This is also a big middle digit to Japan and Australia. This statement reveals an unacceptable level of either mean-spiritedness or callousness. As much as I believe Obama is a fraction as smart as the media and all his fawners have made him out to be, he can't be this dumb. Simply can't. Outrageous. Will the embarassments never end?

Monday, January 10, 2011

2010 A Good Year for Oil Exploration

Mark Perry brings us up to date (with a nice visual too) on the prodigous efforts of the human mind and spirit in harnessing vast quantities of beauteous hydrocarbon energy. 2009 and 2010 were very good years for energy exploration (everywhere but the in the US, more here) and 2011 promises a robust slate of activity as well. Good, because we need it.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Unemployment: Nothing Meaningful In Today's Numbers

Today's drop in the unemployment rate was the consequence of losses to the workforce, meaning people stopped looking for jobs and thus were left out of the ranks of the officially "unemployed". Paul Krugman used to caterwaul about all these discouraged workers, but as I predicted, the left now keeps deathly silent about the underemployment phenomenon in order to spin things Dear Leader's way. There will be no mention of discouraged workers in any coverage of today's employment numbers, the MSM will jump on the 0.4% drop in unemployment as the glorious achievement of the Lightworker and the Pelosicrats. Of course it has nothing to do with the improving animal spirits, such as they are, upon the shellacking that went down this past November. It has nothing to do with the modicum of tax relief and certainty that Mitch McConnell and John Boehner squeezed out of The One. It has all to do with the $4 trillion of debt they've experting weaved into the economy, and the coherent and productive rules governing healthcare and financial regulation that they've overlayed onto the way business is conducted. Ok, enough with the sarcasm, I'm starting to sound like a teenager here. Seriously though unemployment is the linchpin of Obama's future in office, it needs to come way down if he has a shot at re-election, and not just come down quantitatively, but qualitatively too. It needs to actually feel like soming down to the voters otherwise a few points in a favorable direction won't mean much. So far, we're not even close on either score and you know how I feel about it, it's their own damn fault.

Liberals Forget - The Constitution Keeps the Money Rolling In

All this hub-bub about the reading of the Constitution on the floor of the House of Representatives is fun to follow. The Powerline guys are all over it here and here, but the emerging view is that the left is pretty darn disdainful of the Constitution. Yeah, I know, shocker. I would warn those on the left, however, not to be so hostile to the Constitution for no other reason than that it is the only thing enabling the funding of even the most basic liberal vision. Many citizens, myself included, view the Constitution as the only basis for our government's legitimacy, thus without it there is no legitimacy and nobody pays taxes to an illegitimate government. Got that? No Constitution, no taxes. You'll have to come and collect, and that will exceedingly difficult. That's the political science conundrum that all you Constitution-haters face. But that's not all. On a raw note of practicality, those who base legitimacy in the Constitution own more guns than those who don't, so I'd start lovin' that 100 year old (so Ezra tells me) document or start thinking about how you're gonna gain the firepower advantage.

Abortion in NYC

Wow, 41% of pregnancies. I'll be honest with you, I don't feel passionate about this issue. I am unabashedly a celebrator of life, but I'm not sure that requires me to be autocratic about our laws that effect people otherly situated than myself. So rather than a particular outcome, what I want more than anything when it comes to the abortion debate in this country is honesty. Just an absence of bullshit is all I ask. I want people to dump the inane platitudes and speak forthrightly and true. First order of business, let's just call abortion what it is...birth control, primarily for poorer, younger, generally minority, women. Let's dispense with all the rubbish about empowerment of women, the vaunted right to choose putatively enshrined in the Constitution, and just called it what is - birth control - and argue that despite its oftentimes guesomeness, it is a birth control option that should be available to women. Stop cloaking it in nobility. We're the only people on Earth that gussy it up and dance around the cold reality. The Russians, serial aborters to be sure, don't spout gobbledygook about privacy or empowerment, they call it what it is...birth control. If we dispense with the bullshit then we can dispense with the illogic that enters into the, if it's so damn empowering why do even proponents desire that it be "rare". If you believe that it is empowering, you should advocate aborting with abandon and these stats out of New York City should jazz you up. You should be like, "Awesome! 41% of pregnant women have had the empowering experience of exercising a woman's constitutional right to abortion! Only 59% more to go!" Or you could call it what it is and the national debate might actually be productive.

MSM Goes Into Illogical Overdrive to Discredit Fiscal Rectitude

This is really beginning to fry my ass. In a logical escalation of the perverted notion that lowering taxes or even keeping them level is a "cost" to the government, alot of the financial punditry is blaming the tax rate extension deal for the rise in interest rates. That's simply off base and I've addressed that, but the premise that leads to that conclusion is the real problem. The media is rife with this poison, but I'm going to pick on the WSJ's Brett Arends, only because I saw him on Kudlow last night spouting this rubbish. Like so many others, Arends seems to think that the minute the government decides to spend money, they have a claim on our money. None of these guys seems to get the concept that it's our money, not the government's, so we'll have to attack this idiocy on another flank. Arends seems to think that we are borrowing money to fund tax cuts. I don't how a man employed by a leading business publication can say such a dumb thing and keep his job. No legitimate business in the world borrows money to act as revenues. If company A loses company B as a customer, it does not borrow to make up for the lost revenue, and it certainly doesn't go to company B to bitch and moan that it now has to go out and borrow to fund it's expenditures. Imagine an enginemaker losing Ford's business then borrowing to build engines anyway and then lamenting that it had to borrow to pay itself for the engines that Ford selfishly won't take. You borrow money to fund expenditures and only expenditures, revenues are never "funded", they must be generated. If you lament the borrowing you can only then logically reject the expenditures, you cannot reject the deficiency of revenue. Not possible. Sorry. That is the world. The sky is not green and the grass is not blue. We have to destroy this cockamamie notion that we are borrowing to hand money to rich citizens. We are borrowing to feed the government's spending appetites, which have exceeded the citizenry's ability and willingness to cover. Pure and simple, but I'm afraid the MSM is going into overdrive with their illogical fiscal theory in order to undermine the Republicans' attempts at fiscal rectitude, such as they may be.

Newly More Aggressive Pirates Even More Aggressive Now

I told you how pirates are expanding their range of operations and thus the threat zone to merchant shipping. Well, now it seems pirates are using hijacked merchant vessels as motherships in order to enable a more aggressive posture, putting more ships and crews in greater peril.

And of course, the world's navies are still acting like a bunch of silly traffic cops, warning ships to avoid danger zones...“The captured ships at sea will be closely monitored by the navies and their positions will be made public. This allows other vessels to avoid known areas of operations of these merchant vessel-borne groups."

What's wrong with killing these MFs, sinking their own motherships, and taking back hijacked ships by force? Are we that rich, fat, and lazy that we can let these civilizational pests disrupt global trade, steal tens of millions of dollars of our private property, and threaten innocent seafarers just making a living? Who is the namby-pamby in charge here? I find it hard to believe that the Chinese navy would hold back on putting these jackwagons on the sea floor. What gives?

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Change Change and More Disorienting Change!!

Clintonite pitbull leaves Chief of Staff job to be replaced by hard-nosed, but practical Clintonite. Prominent Clintonite economist leaves and is replaced by hardly prominent Clintonite economist. Leading candidate to replace Bush Era Secretary of Defense is Clintonite...Clinton?? Man, the radical social change is getting a little out of hand, wouldn't you say? No wonder the progressive set is bonkers...let me rephrase wonder they are upset.

"It's Still Just Me"

Let me state this from the outset, I am in no way, shape or form comparing or equating John Boehner with one of the greatest great men of history, but Roger Simon's analysis of Boehner's entrance onto the political big stage has me in mind of pithiness, humility and what the combination thereof says about a man. A pithy and self-effacing approach to a momentous occasion is not proof of character but this combination of attributes has a long history of accompanying men of great character as they navigate great challenges. Perhaps the best example is George Washington's speech to his officers on the brink of insurrection against the fledgling civilian government. It seems the power of oratory failed, but the power of character prevailed as Washington made no headway until he had to take out his reading spectacles to read a letter..."Gentlemen," said Washington, "you will permit me to put on my spectacles, for I have not only grown gray but almost blind in the service of my country." This brought grown men, men hardened by war, to tears.

"It's still just me" is hardly the stuff of eloquence and we are hardly living in the uncertain, tenuous, yet heady days of the early republic...but but but...just maybe...perhaps, there might be, in those four words, cause for a little optimism in the incipient Speakership of John Boehner.

Tell Me Again, What's Expensive Exactly?

Funny the cosmic forces at work in the world. I was just reading something (this I think) that put me in mind of a quip used ad nauseum by former Harvard President Derek Bok. Bok is fond of saying, in reply to the criticism that Harvard's tuition is too high, "if you think education is expensive, try ignorance." I've always liked this quip, it's clever and captures the important concept that not all costs are monetary. That said, I think, as applied, the quip is false. Education is not necessarily expensive, but a Harvard degree certainly is, and the two are not the same. To wit, it is the credential that is expensive - the education need not be expensive, nor even need it be present (come to think of it, wasn't this the stance of the left vis-a-vis the Yale and Harvard Business School "educated" George W. Bush??). Nevertheless, the deeper falsehood lies in the fact that for society the cost of ignorance, as defined by a lack of a Harvard or similar education, looks downright manageable (tantalizing even) versus the ever mounting costs of a world run by our credentialled elites. Sure enough, Victor Davis Hanson supplies the timely and erudite exposition of this irony in "The New Sophists".

(HT: Powerline, with the excellently {for a bunch of old lawyers} culturally referenced title)

Hayek's Got the Juice

If you are at all a business/economic geek, you will love this speech by a former Coca-Cola packaging executive highlighted by Don at Cafe Hayek. Here is a really fun tidbit:

"In the early nineties, the northeast states from Maine to New York formed an organization called CONEG or Council of Northeast Governors. This council came together to discuss issues relating to solid waste, recycling and packaging. At one point the council was on the verge of concluding that government should establish packaging specifications for all products. In fact, one of the first products that they considered was a product of great importance to one of my prior companies—Orange Juice.

I was asked to present a paper on orange juice packaging, which I did. As I began my presentation, a young woman from Maine immediately challenged me, as she thought that I was essentially an immoral brigand for packaging orange juice. She thought that the orange was a great example of a product which required no packaging, and that was the way it should be sold.

Let’s examine the thesis being expressed by that individual. In the view of the individual, fresh oranges would appear to be an excellent example of a product that exemplifies the CONEG concept of no packaging or “reduce” in the mantra of reduce, reuse or recycle.
Upon closer examination, this is not the case. Fresh oranges are packaged in rather substantial corrugated containers for distribution to retail outlets. But that is not the place to begin one’s analysis.

Even though common sense makes it clear that fresh oranges are only available during a few months of the year, I will set that issue aside.

Industrial juice processors squeeze oranges more efficiently than consumers’ because of the equipment they use to perform the task. A consumer will, at a minimum, require about 20 percent more oranges than an industrial juice processor to yield the same amount of juice.

So, home squeezing of fresh oranges is less efficient of oranges and, therefore, less efficient of agricultural land, fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, water resources, agricultural capital, and agricultural labor than packaged orange juice. "

Wow. Talk about a fact that illustrates so wonderfully the Hayekian concept of widely dispersed knowledge that ultimately puts the fatal in "the fatal conceit." This little tidbit about the juicing of oranges is amazing. No bureaucrat could or would know this before the businessperson who is concerned with every last cent and thus every last drop of juice from an orange. The world is full of these amazing tidbits. At my ripe-but-not-too-ripe age I continue to be in awe of our Hayekian world with meaningful tidbits, details and nuggets buried under mountains of putative macro-all-knowingness.

A Special Place in Hell for Andrew Wakefield

This is so sad and tragic. This jackasaurus Wakefield has caused tens of thousands of parents (who were well-meaning but ultimately emotional and silly) to take up a crusade to spare other would-be parents their anguish. What's worse is that many of these parents of autistic children will never give up their now fervent belief in the link between vaccines and autism, they are too invested emotionally. The result will be many additional years of misplaced anger, effort, worry, pain and anguish. Wakefield and the lawyers he was in cahoots with are the essence of evil. They didn't murder and pillage, but the human suffering they caused is on the same level. They gave false hope and false confidence to a vulnerable and anguished group numbering in the tens of thousands, enlisting them in nothing more than a shakedown scheme. There is a special place in hell for the Wakefields of the world.

This is also a lesson in the cold reality that scientists are human too, just like the rest of us. Their training doesn't eliminate the cupidity, stupidity, and sundry flavors of vileness that humans are often capable of.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

A Picture for the Ages

Been a long time coming, too too long. We are finally rid of that crazy, loathesome woman.

Al Hunt's Boys Still Good for a Laugh After All This Time

Al Hunt's minions aren't missing a beat as the new Republican majority takes the helm in the House of Representatives. Apparently these putative deficit hawks got right on easing those critical anti-deficit rules, known as "pay-go" in order to grease the skids for tax cuts. Reporter Brian Faler comes at this subject with the expository acumen of a sixteen year old. Just read the almost never-ending series banal lefty tropes. It reads like a game of word association played over beers in some Columbia students' lounge. Corporations! Tax cuts! Government shortfall! Democrats close loopholes! George W. Bush!

Beyond the adolescent tone and structure the key offense of this exercise in "journalism" is a stunning level of political unsophistication. Faler has bought the paygo scam hook, line and sinker. Paygo was, by admission, not an anti-deficit mechanism. It was design to make tax cuts hard and spending easy. The rules were routinely waived or just outright ignored. In an even more stunning display of political ignorance, Faler perpetuates the laughable and now officially repudiated claim that ObamaCare cuts the budget deficit. No one believed that from the get go and the CBO's original projections were for big deficits. The CBO then said that their ultimate analysis was phony because of the way Congress gamed the process (like by sticking in an equally phony student loan bill). Finally, CBO revised their view after the fact and now say that the healthcare bill won't save any money but will cost...well...alot (which any reasonable person would have expected). Nevertheless Faler, presumably with a straight face, tells us that those profligate Republicans are intent on denying the nation this critical money-saving program (which, btw, has it's fiscal linchpin - the individual mandate - hanging by a thread under judicial scrutiny).

Just a note, I am now in my sixth year of chronicling the biased inanity of Al Hunt & Co. over at Bloomberg News. Keep it up Al, I'd miss ya' if you didn't.

UPDATE: Here is my favorite stroll down Memory Lane with Al.

How F**ked Up Is Hardline Islam?

Pakistan: Religious Scholars Caution Against Mourning Slain Governor
January 5, 2011
Pakistani religious scholars warned on Jan. 5 that anyone who grieves the assassination of the former Punjab province governor could face the same fate, Reuters reported. Gov. Salman Taseer, who opposed Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, was killed Jan. 4 by a member of his security detail. More than 500 scholars of the Jamaat-e-Ahl-e-Sunnat from the Barelvi sect of Sunnis praised the assassin’s “courage” and religious zeal, saying his deed made Muslims worldwide proud. They warned against expressions of grief or sympathy for Taseer’s death. The Jamaat-e-Islami party also called Taseer’s assassination justified, saying there would have been no need for someone to kill him if the government had removed him from his post.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

God Is...North Dakotan?

11 billion barrels?!?!?! Whoa. 8 billion prompted Lula to declare that "God is Brazilian", so this again throws the nature of God into dispute. Frankly I can't settle the issue, I don't know where God is from or what nationality he/she/it claims (I just know he/she/it ain't from Cleveland), but I am coming to the conclusion that a higher power wants us to find shitloads and shitloads of oil and gas...because we are.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Pure As the Drivin' Snow...I Remain...Maybe

Well, it's happened. After over five years of slaving away posting poignant commentary on the state of our nation's public policy affairs, our economy, the markets and global affairs, I finally got the tsunami of traffic I had hoped for. What did it? My prescient calls on economic policy? My early call on Obama's meltdown? The expert analysis on geo-politics that I offer??? No. None of that of course. What else could it have possibly been except one of the three undisputed kings of all web traffic: porn, cats, or hot babes with guns? I don't do porn and I don't do cats, so guess was this post that did it. So now that I know how to whore myself for traffic, will I keep it up? Can the readers of NBfPB expect an Uzi-carrying Sweetie of the Month in the same vein as this? Alas, no. Like Socrates I am willing to honor my purity by paying whatever cost....WHATEVER THE COST!!! I am willing even to pay the ultimate price...perpetual web obscurity. I've blogged for over five years for what, like fifteen regular readers? Why change now? So although the temptation is high, dear reader, I will not succumb to the siren song of easy traffic. I will commit myself anew to poignant, cutting, incisive and perspicacious commentary on the pressing issues of our era.

That said, there is nothing stopping me from awarding next year's NBfPB Giants game balls by incorporating hot chicks with guns...

Austan Goolsbee, Politics of Fear Frontman

Like alot of his other discharges, Austan Goolsbee's dire warnings on the debt-ceiling issue are all wet and he is, once again, doing the cynically dishonest work of the administration that he has tethered his career to. Goolsbee warns that not increasing the debt ceiling would bring on the certain, immediate default of the United States of America and consequently trigger unfathomly bad things, like a global recession. No such thing would happen, and I think that Goolsbee knows it. If he doesn't know it, he's making the classic mistake that academic economists make (and he ought not to have such an important job, but that is another point altogether) by not factoring in markets. First of all the debt ceiling is precisely what it says it is, a ceiling, so the US Treasury would be free to issue plenty of new bills to roll over existing debt, so long as new issuance doesn't take us above the ceiling, so there would be no default. What's more, if Congress can set and reset the debt ceiling, surely they can specify that new debt can be issued only to rollover existing debt. Furthermore, the markets are smart and bond investors are likely to see through the capping of the debt ceiling. The massive collective entity known as the bond market understands quite well that the USA is not really anywhere close to "defaulting" in the truest sense, so the reaction would not be the cataclysmic event that Goolsbee postulates. In fact, the impending restriction of US debt supply would make the existing obligations more valuable and likely promote a rally in US bonds driving down interest rates. The Democrats for decades have loved low interest rates, so what it not to like now? That's easy. The one place where the debt ceiling would be cataclysmic is on the federal government's "business model" so to speak: deficit-fuelled spending on the great utopian social engineering projects of the last century (ObamaCare inclusive) and thousands of piddly, not-so-great social engineering projects. You would have to make significant cuts to nearly everything that Democrats since Wilson have ever done that requires money. Only the really, truly poor among the elderly will get a Social Security check. Those Native Americans will no longer have our billions in welfare, they'll have to make it in life on their own. The government is just going to have to buy less than 40% of the healthcare services sold in America each year. The ethanol producers are going to have to find another line of work. Aspiring young people are just going to have to save for college. Et cetera, et cetera. Frankly I think it is pure genius - the idea that our government would have to REALLY prioritize and spend only where it is truly needed and critical - but you can see why Goolsbee has to say what he's saying. It's scare tactics really, the kind of fear-mongering that we were told was the sole purview of Republicans and perfected under ChimpyBushHitler, the pure antithesis of the Lightworker Obama. There's a Reynoldsesque "They told me if I voted for McCain..." formulation in there somewhere.

UPDATE: Douglas Holtz-Eakin agrees with me.

Grading My 2010 Predictions

Well dear readers, it's time to look back on my 2010 predictions and tally up the score. I'd say I'm on a roll - 2009 was a good year for my crystal ball and 2010 was OK too. I thought I'd go 3 for 8 and I am giving myself a final score of 3.5 for 8. I nailed the high-profle Obama cabinet resignations, ClimateGate Part Deux, ObamaCare creates constitutional crisis, and I'm giving myself .5 for Iran getting bombed because Stuxnet was basically a bomb (even I can't think farther outside of the box than those zanny Israelis). A few of my other predictions will likely prove true (California going bankrupt and the assasination one are still pretty solid) but, alas, didn't come to pass in the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Ten.

Stay tuned for my 2011 predictions...

Obama Gets the Bulgarian Umbrella...?

Did somebody say, in re the START Treaty as a sign of a rebounding Obama, "a one-sided (against us) treaty with a crumbling, two-bit power run by a bunch of lying thugs is not going to alter that fundamental calculus " with American voters? Why yes, someone did. Turns out, not only is this not a menaingful positive for Obama, it may yet turn out to be a defeat and expose our POTUS, yet again, as the dangerously incompetent rank amateur that he is.

If you are not sufficiently steeped in Cold War lore to get the reference in the title...go here. The BU was the handiwork of the KGB. Obama, unlike his defeated rival for the Presidency in 2008, did not see those letters when he looked into Putin's eyes.

UPDATE: Speaking of rank amateurishness, Iran is tweaking us and the Ivory Coast has told us off...the Ivory FUCKING Coast!!!! Or,as they say in France, Cote FUCKING D'voire!!!!!