Tuesday, April 30, 2013

And In Economic News...and Greek Philosophy

Business activity, as measured by the MNI Chicago report, shrank to a multi-year low.  Need I mention this occurred "unexpectedly"?

European unemployment rises to a record 12.1%, an official statistic which, like here, understates actual unemployment. 

Just a quick comment: The European Union and the social welfare state model followed to varying degrees,  but universally nonetheless, in Europe was designed to reduce income inequality.  The ostensible purpose was to preserve the social fabric, as inequalities tear at the social fabric, or so lefties tell us.  How is that social fabric holding up in Europe these days?

Plutarch vs. Aristotle.  Who's winning?  Europe is very rich.  It is not a heinous, immoral inequality that is wracking Europe.  It is the plundering of the productive sector.  It's Aristotle hands down.

Vanity Fair Displays Its Legendary Elite Tone Deafness

Check out our cool, laid-back President!

Yeah, everybody struggling in our sub-par growth, 14% unemployment (U-6) economy is just itching to hear all about our chill POTUS.

Home-grown/imported/subsidized terrorism got you down?  Relax, bro.  Obama is Smooth J Smooth.

ObamaCare making every-damn-body nervous?  Lightworker don't fret bra!

Oh and I thought the zeitgeist of the day was "Lean In" not "Lean Back"??  Is this tone deafness or stupidity?  Or both?

Monday, April 29, 2013

Jason Collins. Look Squirrel !!


Martina Navratilova, Billie Jean King (Bill Tilden), Sheryl Swoopes.  The US Women's Soccer team has several homosexuals.

This is such a bullshit story, manufactured by the media to have something to talk about.  Thousands of people come out of the closet every day, what makes this Collins dude so special?

Also, what is this prejudice against tennis?  Two of the greatest tennis players to ever live have been out of the closet for decades.  What gives?

I'll tell you what gives.  Crappy economy, home-grown terrorism, simmering Middle East, and a POTUS who is a lame duck not three months into his second term...look squirrel!!!!!!!!

Millennials: I Totally Want This Job, But I Gotta Retweet This...

I heard this the other day from a contemporary who was hiring for jobs: the millennials pretty much suck
Newly minted college graduates soon entering the job market could be facing another hurdle besides high unemployment and a sluggish economy. Hiring managers say many perform poorly — sometimes even bizarrely — in job interviews.
They see a job more as a theraputic exercise in self-actualization.  In a robust economy you could get away with this crap, maybe.  They're gonna have to get it together or else they'll be 35 and stuck in entry level jobs.

More Evidence of Dems' Remarkable Feat

I have told you how life under the Obamacrats would play out economically - crappy for the vast majority, but pretty good for a small elite.

Looks like that's exactly how it's playing out, unless, of course, the blithering idiot Bush somehow plotted the sinister seeds that have taken root and resisted five years of the brilliant, god-like Lightworker's best attempts at making it otherwise.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Why Do We Assume Obama Will React?

"After Boston, Obama can no longer ignore the global jihad"

Oh yes, he can.  And he will.  If Clapper stays, I'm right.

The Most Dangerous of Obama's Drones, Are In His Cabinet

James Clapper is one of them. This idiot is a danger to us all.

Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. said during an appearance at a conference in Washington on Thursday that he has seen no evidence that U.S. agencies failed. “The dots were connected,” he said. He also called on the public “not to hyperventilate for a while before we get all the facts.”

I see evidence...

Stuck on stupid...

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Like School In the Summer Time

Liberals Lead Us to the Sour Spot

Not for nothing is Dan Henninger a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, but one wonders how hard he had to exercise those Pulitzer worthy chops to spot and elucidate this obvious dissonance:  America was going to descend into tyranny at the hands of George W. Bush's warrantless wiretaps, and yet famously blue Bostonians cheered that their city was transformed into a locked-down police state. 
 In contrast to the Bush era fight over how many judges had to approve surveillance of terrorism suspects, we had the transfixing spectacle last week of Bostonians okay with having their city transformed into a state of virtual martial law after the bombs went off.
The citizens of Boston and its suburbs allowed massively armed SWAT teams to enter their homes, order residents out and eventually find the bullet-riddled Dzhokhar Tsarnaev lying half-dead in a boat. When it was over, people lined the streets to cheer the police army. You'd need more than a roving wiretap to find a peep of objection from the old Bush critics.
And they weren't even spared the terrorism.  Bush, at least, wanted to prevent terrorism, and I don't recall any de facto martial law in any major city under Bush.  In the end, we got the terrorism and the police state, if only momentarily.  This is what Walter Russell Mead calls, the "sour spot" where, while seeking to negotiate a tricky trade-off, one fails on both counts.  I wouldn't necessarily pin this one on Obama, although he is a walking talking symptom of the problem rather than the actual problem - this hitting of the sour spot is the result of the massive yet phony anti-ChimpyBushHitler hissy fit that the nation had from 9/11/01 through roughly the first week of November 2008.

On another note, this is not the only time recently that a WSJ columnist has illuminated how our society has hit the sour spot.  James Taranto pointed out the hollowness of abortion advocates' phony desire for abortion to be "safe, legal, and rare."  Well, it's legal all right, but it sure ain't rare and it ain't safe, as the details of the Gosnell trial reveal.  So we tempted sliding down the slippery slope of life-demeaning sexualization in order to end back-alley abortions. And now we are at the bottom of said slope with 7 year olds able to get the morning after pill at Walgreen's, and we have the back-alley abortions anyway.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

America Is Stuck On Stupid

This could be an enormously long post, but I will try to keep it brief.

Let's face it, America is stuck on stupid.

I've laid out so many nuggets on this blog and so many other blogs have the widely dispersed evidence.  For instance, just go to Instapundit and search the term "the very best of hands."  But it is more than the idiocy of our leaders, it is that combined with inertia and an unresponsive politics.  For some reason we can't get things done we can't change things.  Although I am indisputably conservative/libertarianish, I think that a liberal/progressive would share such a feeling, witness the frustration/outrage over the failure to enact any sort of gun control legislation at the federal level (although lefties have gotten several big wins on the state level).  But gun control is not an issue they I would hold up as an example of "stuck on stupid."

Stuck on stupid means we are plumbing the depths of idiocy and irrationality that, if allowed to continue, will be our destruction.  We won't self-destruct if we don't close the "gun show loophole."  We will self destruct if we run trillion dollar deficits by giving the wealthiest cohort of individuals to ever walk the Earth free artificial joints and unneeded retirement income, which is what Medicare and Social Security amount to.

I'm talking first principles.  Why do we do things?  At the basic level.  Why?

Why do we spend billions  of dollars on the least efficient form of energy and prejudice the most efficient form of energy all for a speculative theory, especially when the more efficient energy that actually serves our purpose based on that phony theory?  Stuck on stupid.

Victor Davis Hanson has some bracing clarity along these lines today based on our most recent national tragedy.
Is America so short of manpower that we need a Tamerlan Tsarnaev, his brother, his mother, or his father in the United States?
Seriously.  Why were the Tsarnaevs even here?  Compassion, right?  They were refugees.  Really?  Refugees from something so terrible that...they went back to visit.
Why give asylum to folk such as the Tsarnaevs if many of these endangered “refugees” eventually return to live in, or to visit, the supposedly hostile place that was the basis for their origin claims on our asylum?
And we subsidize their radicalization.

Sure we have an honorable tradition of accepting immigrants.  But everybody?  What skills did the Tsarnaevs have that we need?  Do we not even ask who we want or what we need here anymore?  It looks like we have, in the Tsarnaevs and no doubt many like them, some folks with not alot to offer, who aren't really refugees, who live off of taxpayer money, and wind up inflicting mayhem upon our society like we rarely ever see.  Like I said, stuck on stupid.

Petty, infantile insults to our greatest allies.  Naive and hopeless overtures to sworn enemies.  Stuck on stupid.

NASA outreach to Muslims.  Air traffic furloughs while the FAA spends $400 million on women's issues.  Stuck on stupid.

One eighth of the country on food stamps.  Stuck on stupid.

Getting back into the business of socially engineering the housing lending market.  Calling terrorism by the Orwellian term "man-made disasters."  Stuck on stupid.

2000 page laws that no lawmaker reads but that votes for anyway.  Stuck on stupid.

Mad?  Don't worry, we won't be stuck on stupid for too much longer.  We don't have the time and we don't have the money.  Common sense is coming back, no matter what we do.  It's coming back.  It has to, despite our most fervent wishes.

We won't be stuck on stupid for too much longer.

Keystone XL Really Is Dead

Awhile ago, I reluctantly, and sadly, determined that Obama would kill off the Keystone pipeline.  It has always been a no-brainer and conventional wisdom has long thought that Dear Leader would approve the project just as soon as he was re-elected.  Not so.  The hard left environmentalist base is one of the few major constituency blocks that Obama still has sway over lock, stock and barrel.  Screwing them would be one of the most counter productive things he can do towards his number one strategic focus in his second term - winning back the House and passing any and all progressive wetdreams he can.

Seems that sad prediction is playing out.  Keystone XL will not be built while Lightworker occupies the White House.  Sorry Canada, this is what happens when your great neighbor to the south goes flakey.

Sigh. The Media Sucks Pretty Much Everywhere

Yet another example of foreign media not knowing shit about America spicing the news with their own biases

As wonderful as Aussies are in general, just like the rest of us, their media sucks.

H/T Instapundit.

Punching Back Twice As Hard?

This is how you respond to bullying aimed at your free speech rights, or any rights for that matter.
A West Virginia teen who was arrested and suspended for wearing a National Rifle Association T-shirt to school returned to class Monday wearing the same shirt that got him into trouble.
Jared Marcum, 14, was joined by about 100 other students across Logan County who wore shirts with a similar gun rights theme in a show of support for free speech.
Punching back twice as hard?  I'd say this man learned the lesson that a certain elected official was advocating.

Obama Is Very Disappointed In Us

Thus, we will cool our heels in airport lounges.  That'll learn ya'!

Attention Women: Self-Edification is Not Allowed

Attention all women (or womyn...?):  Here Ye, Here Ye.  Self-Edification and Betterment is not in concert with Feminist Ideals.  Do NOT, repeat, do NOT pursue an elite advanced degree if you choose to do something as prosaic and anti-feminist as stay at home and raise children, because we wouldn't want smart, educated people raising children, that is for society to do.

Thank you for your compliance in this matter.

Directorate of Feminist Doctrine and Policy Committee for Roles of Women in an Enlightened Society

Friday, April 19, 2013

Boston? Terrorists? Pshaw! Let's Talk Amnesty!

On Maps and Politics

I've posted this map as it has been emerging to show you just how popular Andy Cuomo's gun control SAFE Act is in New York state.  Well, all the votes are in and the map can now be presented as a complete picture.  It turns out the SAFE Act is popular pretty much only among the 11 million residents of the eight counties that comprise the New York City metropolitan area (and down here it probably garners alot of support not on the merits, but because it was Cuomo's bill and the machine must support Cuomo at all costs).  Among the roughly 8 million residents upstate, not so much.  Only the seat of government, Albany, and the crunchy socialist hive of Ithaca (Tompkins Co.) have chosen not to rebuke Cuomo. 

The gun control debate is however a microcosm of a divide that extends to many issues in New York, principally economic issues.  Arguably, upstate has suffered from bad economic policy foisted on them by the undue influence of the city in the state legislature.  The result has been hollowed out industrial cities, decaying rural communities, and a loss of population.  The political tension is enormous, but the status quo is not as tenuous as this map would seem to say.  Those living in "green" territory on this map are at a 3 million voter disadvantage and as their economy gets less and less vibrant, what is left is dominated by public sector unions who ally with New York City Democrats to preserve the status quo.

Notice the map looks alot like this one, no?  That's the November election break-out by county.

What does this tell you?  It tells you the cities have to be in disarray for political power to swing to the rural areas.  While the cities thrive, urbanites run the country.  The Reagan Revolution swept the country after the 1970s decimated urban cores economically and socially.  The ensuing economic revival put Bill Clinton in the White House.  We've been bouncing around in indeterminate fashion since, but the cities have hung in there while suburban, ex-urban, and rural areas have been hit hard by the sub-prime crisis and the weak Obama/Pelosi/Reid recovery, giving us a full eight years of Obama.  What's next?  Who knows, but you can assemble a list of names such as Detroit, Stockton, Harrisburg (PA), Central Falls (RI) of cities that have collapsed and a much longer list of cities that teeter on the brink, and you might be able to tease out a fighting chance for a shift in the balance of power.  Maybe.  History is never inevitable, people make choices (see Thatcher, Margaret).

Anyway, that is our cartological political analysis of the day.  Have a nice weekend America.  Watch out for that sweet, nice, scholarship-winning Chechan terrorist next door!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Gun Control Fizzle: Americans Don't Trust Bloomberg, Obama, Et Al

There are many salient points worth discussing about why the latest push for federal gun control has fizzled in the Senate, and the media is missing, seemingly, all of them. 

First point missed is that Newtown is not the only heinous crime that should bear heavily on the gun control debate.  As I have said, I think Cheshire, equally heinous in my view, should bear equally.

Another point that goes completely missed is that the political leadership of the gun control movement undermines their key arguments.  They insist that everything they are doing is "reasonable" and they make fun of people "imagining tyranny".  Well, who is the political face of gun control in America today?  Michael Bloomberg.  Think about that.  The guy who bans smoking, trans-fats, large sodas, wants to restrict baby formula, and who sees surveillance drones as inevitable is the guy who is telling us that all gun control efforts will be "reasonable".  Really?  Bloomberg doesn't believe in the Second Amendment one iota and he's unleashed a wave of hectoring, nannying, restrictive policies upon his jurisdiction, and yet law-abiding Americans are "the black helicopter crowd" for not believing that this endeavor is 100% reasonable when they see Michael Bloomberg at the head of this movement?  The New York Sun gets it:
So people look at Bloomberg-land and ask, where is he leading us? Where does he want to go? The way we interpret the decision of the Senate yesterday is that it is saying, “not one more inch in that direction.”
And it is not just Bloomberg as a symbol, people need only look around them and see what is happening in everyday life to gauge the amount of trust we should grant these politicians proposing their entirely "reasonable" Second Amendment restrictions:
Now, stop and think of what Americans are seeing and hearing every day.  First, their government just concluded a massive and contentious, but ultimately successful, effort to demand that they buy a product which many do not want and/or cannot afford.  This is on top of thousands of smaller petty tyrannies, such what lightbulbs one can use, how much water a toilet or washing machine may use, or what processing must be done to the milk you buy.  Then Americans look to some of the policy ideas that get put forth here and there, such as forcing the installation of tracking devices in all automobiles ostensibly so that government can tax you by the mile (good heavens, no, never to track your movements) or taking your retirement nest egg in return for a government provided annuity.   ...
Finally, we see our elected representatives passing laws that no one has read let alone analyzed carefully.  Sometimes they do this in contravention of the rules and sometimes even with a sickening pride in bypassing the rules.  We have other officials suggesting the suspension of elections and there are countless examples were those in power don't seem to want or tolerate the rules applying to them, so we are increasingly living under a set of rules that the elites have exempted themselves from.  And I haven't even mentioned what to many is an obviously bloody-minded statist President who no one would ever accuse of valuing modesty in the exercise of power.
It really doesn't take much to join that black helicopter when you think about it, does it?  I would suggest that if politicians want us to believe that what they propose is reasonable, they should act in a reasonable manner.  When they nanny, restrict, demonize, over-regulate and ban, they shouldn't be surprised when we assume that their intentions with gun laws are to nanny, restrict, demonize, over-regulate and ban.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wait, I Thought the Government Was "Us"

Wait a second President Obama, I thought the "government is us"...?

If we can and should do what we want (which is an incredibly dangerous Constitutional theory, but that is a different story) based on polling, shouldn't we give the same respect to the people's representatives actually voting?  Aren't they us?  Aren't Senators a reflection of us, too?  Isn't a vote in the Senate...you know..."us"?

Of course not, when it is a poll or a talking point, it is unequivocally "us", when it is elected Senators voting, it is the lying gun lobby.

UPDATE:  Few Americans see gun control and immigration as top priorities.  No one ever said they are Americans' priorities.  They are Obama's priorities.  He's the President and you're not.  Ergo, Shut Up.

UPPDATE:  WTF, Harry Reid voted against the gun control bill......???????  Is he part of the shameful display in Washington today?  Is the Senate Majority Leader part of the "gun lobby"?  Is he part of the anti-common sense, dead-children-forgetting minority?

UPPPDATE:  I just watched the Lightworker's press conference, and I must say, as one who loathes Obama with all my being, "WOW."  I thought Dear Leader was fantastic.  I have seen through his bullshit for going on five years now and every word he has ever said has dripped with phoniness.  But today was different.  Even though he was wrong on policy and contemptuous of the democratic process, he was passionate.  He is never so passionate as when he suffers a defeat.  He is never so passionate as when the peons rise up to rebuke his benighted view.  He is never so passionate as when he is questioned.  It was a majestic performance.  Yet it was a performance that reminded me of why I loathe the guy - the pomposity, the imperiousness, a scolding self-righteousness, and above all a lack of humility and grace.  It was beautifully contemptuous.

In Other (Good) News

Lost in all the hub-bub of Boston, Ricin-laced envelopes and other top stories is this little tidbit.  The Supreme Court has tossed out a cynical attempt to raid and hamstring oil companies using a century old statute.
The Supreme Court Wednesday said a centuries-old statute making international law enforceable in U.S. federal court can't be applied to actions that take place overseas, blunting a tool human-rights groups had used against torturers and other abusers for violations in their home countries.
In an opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts, the court held that the Alien Tort Claims Act, adopted in 1789 shortly after Congress met for the first time, applies only to actions that take place in the U.S. While all justices voted to dismiss the suit against Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Justice Stephen Breyer, joined by three other liberals, disputed the bright line majority conservatives drew.

Science: Just the Thought of Beer, Makes Us Feel Good

Seriously, just the words "Wanna grab a cold one?" or even the hyper abbreviated version with interrogative intonation "Coldie?" makes me feel alot better about things.
"Our bodies anticipate the effects of beer, releasing euphoric signals even before alcohol gets into our blood."
H/T to the Good Professor, by whose lights we are also informed that science has determined that more sex makes us more happy.  Next they'll tell us that pizza is a delicious comestible.

Crime Not Committed By White Male, Lefty Media Hardest Hit

Heinous, gun-related, obliquely anti-government crime...has to be one of those hate-filled white males, right?


KAUFMAN, Texas — The wife of a former judge was charged Wednesday with capital murder in connection with the slayings of a North Texas district attorney, his wife and an assistant prosecutor, a law enforcement official said.

The overnight arrest of Kim Lene Williams is the latest twist in an investigation that has also focused on her husband, who was prosecuted for theft by the two slain officials. Investigators initially considered the possible involvement of a Texas prison-based white supremacist gang.
One small dream of the lefty media dashed.  Tragic.  What if the Boston Marathon bomber turns out not to fit the desperately desired narrative?  Is there a federally-funded psychiatric support program for leftists with broken dreams of white male atrocity?

More Stealth Inflation

It's rampant
The company is unveiling a bow tie shaped can that will mirror the brand's longtime bow tie logo.
Consumers will be giving up about an ounce of beer to get that conversation started. The new can holds 11.3 ounces rather than the standard 12 ounces. 
Unless you're getting a 6% price break, you just got prices raised on you.  That new can is an inflation delivery device.

This is how clever marketing organizations cover up the inflationary "crapify" maneuver.

Economics Smackdown!! Fate of the World Hangs In the Balance!!

Stop the presses.  The economics world is about to be rocked (or is being rocked) by another spectacular, epic fight over the fate of the world.  Well, actually only over some obscure math.
Today the Twitterverse exploded with chatter about a new research paper claiming to find holes in a landmark academic paper that’s been cited to justify extreme austerity measures. By mid-afternoon the authors—Harvard economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff—had e-mailed reporters a quick reply defending their work.
 “Growth in a Time of Debt” (2010) by Reinhart and Rogoff argues that countries’ economic growth slows when government debt levels rise, with a noticeable breaking point at debt equal to or exceeding 90 percent of gross domestic product.
So economics journalists went bonkers after Mike Konczal of the Roosevelt Institute in New York reported on a new critique (PDF) by three economists from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst—Thomas Herndon, Michael Ash, and Robert Pollin. What makes the UMass study credible is that Reinhart and Rogoff gave the authors the original data, allowing them to try to replicate the results.  Herndon, Ash, and Pollin said they found three important errors in what they described as a working paper.
The Rogoff/Reinhart thesis has been dynamite in the economics world (inexplicably of course; how the notion that excessive debt leads to ruin can be groundbreaking is beyond us mere layfolk), and to be challenged not as a matter of theory, but of computation, is dynamite as well.  Well, maybe not.  Larry Summers wrote an influential paper that was found to be garbage when the conclusions fell apart by removing data from one country, (economic power house Botswana), and he did OK for himself. 

DeLong and Lawrence Summers co-authored "Equipment Spending and Economic Growth" in the Quarterly Journal of Economics in 1991, and "Equipment Spending and Economic Growth: How Strong is the Nexus?" in the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity in 1992. The papers were presentations of an empirical study showing higher social returns to capital equipment investment than would be predicted by the classic Solow growth model. But only a year later, "Reassessing the Social Returns to Equipment Investment," an NBER Working Paper by Hassett, Alan J. Auerbach and Stephen D. Oliner, revealed that DeLong and Summers were just flat-out wrong, and for the most embarrassing of reasons: their results fell apart with the removal of Botswana from their data set:
"DeLong and Summers' own data fail to reject the Solow model for the OECD countries. The same is true even for their full sample of quite heterogeneous nations if we exclude just one country (Botswana). These results clearly refute DeLong and Summers' claim to have uncovered robust evidence of uniformly high social returns to equipment investment."
Hassett's paper was published in 1994 in the Quarterly Journal of Economics -- the same Harvard-sponsored journal that had published the original erroneous DeLong/Summers work. After this embarrassing debacle, Teflon-coated Summers managed to go on with his career, eventually becoming Treasury secretary under Bill Clinton, and then president of Harvard.
Even if the critique turns out to be valid and Rogoff and Reinhart's paper does not hold up, do not weep for them.  Their careers and stature will be intact.  That said, it will be embarrassing for the rarefied air of the Harvard economics department to have been sullied with the notion of professional accountability at the hands of ...BLEH...UMASS.

Of course, the media is quick to turn to the political implications because this relatively meaningless fight over math is an opening by which they can trash the right.
It’s been cited repeatedly in the U.S. and elsewhere to justify budget cuts by policymakers and legislators, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan among them.
Putting aside the fact that what is being called "austerity" is complete bullshit, the notion that if R-R's calculation are incorrect then massive, debt-fueled government spending is somehow not dangerous, is preposterous.  But then again we are talking about academic economics here.  So, forget Greece, forget the slow-rolling collapse of massively indebted European PIIGs, forget toilet-swirling Argentina...Paul Ryan is a dastardly evil heartless shit because...R-R's spreadsheets!

Regardless of the way this spat turns out, the truth remains, countries DO go bust (with the attendant economic collapse) and they go bust by accumulating too much DEBT.  You don't need a spreadsheet to know that much.

More Cars, More Gas

I am 100% certain that liberals, progressives (whatever they are calling themselves these days) don't read Mark Perry's Carpe Diem blog.  Staying informed with facts and/or understanding differing viewpoints is not the way they roll.  Frankly, it is for the best, for if they did their heads would be exploding.  Recent data on automobile manufacturing and oil production must be profoundly depressing to the modern leftist.  Record numbers of cars are being made and a surging amount of oil is being extracted from beneath the surface of the U.S.  Yup, more cars and more gas, and under the rule of the Lightworker no less.  The potential for spontaneous cranial combustion is too great.  Please do not pass this info on to your lefty friends.

Our President the Schmuck

Latest schmuck move here.  Penultimate schmuck move here

This is not a policy difference, this is animus at work.  Yet again, directed at our longest-standing and most important ally.  What a schmuck.

Weiner: Limp Chances Or Stiff Competition?

If you thought that no electorate would be dumb enough to elect Anthony Weiner to office again, well, you just don't know New York City.  Could happen.  Good judgement is not generally how it works around here.

Monday, April 15, 2013

From the Bureau of Orwellian Bullshit

Breaking:  Man-made disaster affects Boston Marathon.  Very likely due to Tea Party extremists, so no overseas contingency operations will needed in response.  It is important for all citizens to remember that we are not at war with Islam, which is a religion of peace.  As our President has said, it is tragic when such things occur without any clear reason why.  Let us not forget that the most important thing is for us to begin the process of healing...

The Tide of War Is Receding...?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Unexpectedly, The Absolute Most Expected Thing Happened

I nailed it.  I said the media will revive their silly "unexpectedly" bullshit in Obama's second term.  Yes I did.
Here we stand on the cusp of Obama 2.0 with all it portends - unrelenting expansion and entrenchment of the $1.3 trillion in-the-red-annually entitlement Leviathan coupled with raging anti-business fervor - and news of economic malaise is still "unexpected".  Good f**king God
The media pulled off a remarkable feat for over four years, incessantly advancing the notion that with a completely clueless economic illiterate, who never had a real job, occupying the White House, some how, some way, inexplicably, economic data was persistently disappointing.  Now, with four more years of malaise at best teed up, is the MSM is going to try to keeping foisting this on us.  Obama 2.0 is Obama Unleashed and yet somehow, some way these economic statistics remain peskily malaise-ish.  Unexpected indeed.  The corruption in the MSM is galling, they are simply too willfully blind to see.
 Sure enough. And the Good Professor adds a dollop of the requisite snark.
RECOVERY SUMMER! Retail Sales Fall . . . wait for it, wait for it . . . Unexpectedly! “Retail sales in the U.S. unexpectedly fell in March by the most in nine months as employment slowed, showing households ended the first quarter on softer footing.”

Let's Face It, Alan Blinder Is a Shill for Leviathan

There comes a time when you have to throw away all reliance on someone's credentials and judge them on present evidence and performance.  In that spirit I wonder why anybody would listen to a word Alan Blinder say or writes anymore.  I've pointed out his daftness numerous times before.  Well, today he seals his descent into the ridiculous by declaring Dear Leader's budget "responsible."  In reality, the federal government hasn't produced a responsible budget in decades, but even by the low standard of our government, Obama's latest budget is disastrously irresponsible.  The best that can be said of this latest budget proposal is that it, perhaps, is not the most disastrously irresponsible of Obama's tenure. 

I wish I had time to fisk this daft column, but I don't (it is tax season you see) but I will be on the lookout for the best takedown available and I will link to it.  I imagine budget svengali Keith Hennessey will have some something to say.

Finally, we'll see how responsible this budget based on how many votes it gets in Harry Reid's Senate.  The last Obama budget got precisely zero (0) votes from that sausage-making spending machine.  That's the very definition of irresponsible.  If this one gets more than that, I guess we can say, directionally, Obama has made progress by inching ever so slightly away from careening toward dead-flat broke.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Scientist Rebukes Propagandists Calling Themselves Scientists

This has to be reproduced in full.  It is a letter from David Deming in response to the geology faculty at Western Washington University in re "global warming" in particular and science in general.  It is brilliant and I've bolded a section that reiterates what I have written about on this blog before - that "science" is merely our best level of knowledge at the time, completely subject to change.
I write in rebuttal to the March 31 letter by WWU geology faculty criticizing Dr. Don Easterbrook. I have a Ph.D in geophysics and have published research papers on climate change in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. In 2006 I testified before the US Senate on global warming. Additionally, I am the author of a three-volume history of science.
I have never met Don Easterbrook. I write not so much to defend him as to expose the ignorance exhibited in the letter authored by WWU geology faculty. Their attack on Dr. Easterbrook is the most egregious example of pedantic buffoonery since the Pigeon League conspired against Galileo in the seventeenth century. Skepticism is essential to science. But the goal of the geology faculty at WWU seems to be to suppress critical inquiry and insist on dogmatic adherence to ideology.
The WWU faculty never defined the term “global warming” but described it as “very real,” as if it were possible for something to be more real than real. They claimed that the evidence in support of this “very real” global warming was “overwhelming.” Yet they could not find space in their letter to cite a single specific fact that supports their thesis.
There is significant evidence that would tend to falsify global warming. The mean global air temperature has not risen for the last fifteen years. At the end of March the global extent of sea ice was above the long-term average and higher than it was in March of 1980. Last December, snow cover in the northern hemisphere was at the highest level since record keeping began in 1966. The UK just experienced the coldest March of the last fifty years. There has been no increase in droughts or wildfires. Worldwide hurricane and cyclone activity is near a forty-year low.
One might think that the foregoing facts would raise doubts in scientists interested in pursuing objective truth. But global warming is not so much a scientific theory subject to empirical falsification as it is a political ideology that must be fiercely defended in defiance of every fact to the contrary. In the past few years we have been told that not only hot weather but cold weather is caused by global warming. The blizzards that struck the east coast of the US in 2010 were attributed to global warming. Every weather event–hot, cold, wet or dry–is said to be caused by global warming. The theory that explains everything explains nothing.
Among the gems in the endless litany of nonsense we are subjected to are claims that global warming causes earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions. Last year we were warned that global warming would turn us all into hobbits, the mythical creatures from J. R. R. Tolkien’s novels. I am not aware of any member of the WWU geology faculty criticizing these ridiculous claims. Their vehemence seems to be reserved for honest skeptics like Dr. Easterbrook who advance science by asking hard questions.
At the heart of the WWU geology faculty criticisms was the claim that peer review creates objective and reliable knowledge. Nonsense. Peer review produces opinions. Scientists, like other people, have political beliefs, ideological orientations, and personal views that strain their scientific objectivity. One of the most disgusting things to emerge from the 2009 Climategate emails was the revelation of an attempt to subvert the peer-review process by suppressing the publication of work that was scientifically sound but contrary to the reviewer’s personal views.
The infamous phrase “hide the decline” refers to an instance where a global warming alarmist omitted data that contradicted his personal belief that the world was warming. This sort of bias is not limited but pervasive. Neither is science a foolproof method for producing absolute truth. Scientific knowledge is always tentative and subject to revision. The entire history of science is littered with discarded theories once thought to be incontrovertible truths.
The WWU geology faculty letter asserted that technological advances arise from application of the scientific method. They claimed that airplanes were invented by scientists. But the Wright brothers were bicycle mechanics–not scientists. The modern age of personal computing began in a suburban California garage in 1976. The most significant technological advance in human history was the Industrial Revolution in Britain that occurred from 1760 through 1830. When Adam Smith toured factories and inquired as to who had invented the new machinery, the answer was always the same: the common workman. Antibiotics were not discovered through the rigorous application of scientific methodology but serendipitously when Fleming noticed in 1928 that mold suppressed bacterial growth.
Dr. Easterbrook’s contributions have furthered the advance of scientific knowledge and the progress of the human race. It matters not if a multitude of professors oppose him. As Galileo explained, it is “certain that the number of those who reason well in difficult matters is much smaller than the number of those who reason badly….reasoning is like running and not like carrying, and one Arab steed will outrun a hundred jackasses.”
David Deming
Professor of Arts & Sciences
University of Oklahoma

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

CNN, A Bunch of Schmucks

This is why CNN is licking the bowl in terms of ratings.  What a bunch of schmucks.  They complain about Fox, and then they make it so much easier for people to switch to Fox by being a bunch of schmucks.  Nothing short of bankruptcy and the unemployment line for all involved would satisfy me.

Will Rand Paul Give the Simple Pitch?

Rand Paul will give a speech at Howard University on Wednesday.  I wonder if his theme will sound at all like the Simple Pitch...?

We stand for improving schools through school choice and breaking teacher union monopolies.  We stand for creating jobs by lowering taxes and regulations on businesses.  We stand for safer communities through tough law enforcement and allowing citizens to protect themselves by exercising their 2nd amendment rights.  We stand for municipal solvency by eliminating public sector union collective bargaining.

We think we can improve your lives through better policy.  Your "friends" will give more of the same and you'll get more of the same.  If you're satisfied with that, fine.  If not, would you consider giving us a shot?  As I said, we can cooperate.  Isn't it worth a shot?

Thank you for listening.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

I Liked It Better When Things Sucked

Joe Queenan, who I normally enjoy reading, has yet another jejune lament that Manhattan isn't the socially broken down shithole of yore.  Where are all the mob hits?  Where have all the drugged-up trannies gone?  Why do we have neighborhoods where people can actually walk through at night?

I get it.  To a point.  There is a certain frisson to living in a war-zonish major city.  I myself have war stories, like when my neighbor was murdered with a kitchen knife by his gay lover and nobody on the hall figured it out until the stink took over.  It makes for a great story, but truth be told, nobody really wants to live that way.  Likewise, New Yorkers really didn't want the dysfunctional mess that pre-dated Giuliani/Bloomberg era New York.  They understand that when you can't even have trans-fats, Big Gulps or smoke in bars, how can you expect to have a mob hit a week or tranny mud-wrestling on the corner?  You can't. And New Yorkers decided they were done with all that bullshit.

Ask yourself, why did New York (New York Fucking City!) elect a hard-ass, Republican prosecutor whose only real campaign plank seemed to be an animus toward "Squeegee Men" as mayor?  After two terms of that guy, who they bitched about to no end, why did they elect a prissy arrogant finance guy?  Why?  Why?  And why?  Because living in a broke-ass, shithole where the dregs of society rule the streets is not long term fun.  Like I said, it has its short term frisson, especially for transplants from the rest of the country who want to prove to Ma and Pa that they can make it in the world (or just piss Ma and Pa the hell off), but it sucks to think that you're hunkering down for a decade or more to do battle in the Land of the Drug-Addled, Crime-Prone Misfit Toys.

I get Queenan's nostalgia, but it is an unhealthy nostalgia.  New York is a great city and it became a great city because it was, mostly, a city of strivers, not of voyeurs.  The era for which Queenan pines was a hiatus from the greatness of New York, it was a time where New York lost its way and coasted on its accumulated greatness.  It had to correct itself or it would have been modern day Detroit before Detroit became modern day Detroit.  Great cities have to pick themselves up by their bootstraps or else the whole fuckin' place will up and move to Texas or North Carolina.  New York has come back a tad, but it has never quite aggressively attempted to re-assert its greatness, and I think that is by design - it wants to be a great city but it wants to be a nice place to live too.  Which is why it feels a bit like Iowa to Queenan.  That's fine by me.  I like that I can get country music in the Big Apple now, and I like that I can get a bad-ass meatball parm sub in South Carolina (Guiseppe's in Hilton Head, btw).  To me, both are progress.

Did Frank Bruni Write the NYT's Daftest (Most Daft?) Gun Column Yet?

I think so.  See for yourself.  There is so much stupidity combined with elitist New York presumption to unpack here it's makes my brain hurt.

First off, the column a classic of the genre where elitist libs go shooting for the fist time so that they can then feel qualified to propound to the rest of us their wisdom of all things firearms.  The device is typically infuriating to the knowledgable until such time as it inevitably results in comedy.  Bruni's piece is chock-a-block with such inadvertent comedy.  There's this:
...and it would be maybe 20 feet away when one of us took our shot, which wasn’t a single bullet but rather — Advantage No. 53 — a scattering of pellets.
Does Bruni have even a basic understanding of real world physics?  No hunter or shooter in the history of hunting and shooting - not even Chris Kyle - could hit a bird in flight with a "single bullet" except through sheer blind luck.  It's impossible, it's a waste of time to even think about it let alone endeavor to do it.  Of course, this is why human beings invented something called a "shotgun," which was specially designed to give humans a chance to hit and harvest birds in flight.  Further comedy emanates from the hoary old lament that hunting isn't fair.   "Advantage No. 53" is part of Bruni's column-long device making this lament.  (I am struggling to resist admonishing Bruni the way I admonish my 7 year old, "Who said life is fair?")  Yes, in the shotgun we have an advantage over our winged prey (unless you suck at shooting that is).  The anaconda has advantages over the field mouse.  The toad's forked, lightning fast, sticky tongue is an advantage over the fly.  There are innumerable unfair fights to which, in aggregate, we have given the name "the food chain" and humans are at the top for a reason.  More basic science that Bruni seems to be either unaware of or uncomfortable with.

More comedy.   Bruni is bewildered over why the safety button on his gun is so small and doesn't travel a greater distance between its on and off states.  Well Frank, for the same reason that the brake pedal in your car is smaller than your foot and you need only touch it to slow down significantly - safety devices on the modern machines in our world have been honed to be exactly where and what they need to be, no more no less, and proper experience and training lead to a second nature understanding of where safety buttons are and how to actuate them.

Next up, after Bruni gets through telling us how unpopular, or less popular, hunting actually is, he informs us of the proliferation of hunting preserves (over 300 in Pennsylvania alone!) that charge alot of money for what seems to the author a rather lame hunting experience.  So, hunting is unpopular but these preserves seem to be so numerous...?  Bruni clearly went to the Fox Butterfield School of Economics.  Of course the reason that these preserves have proliferated is because hunting is increasingly popular (and the reason they seem to be expensive, is because they can rip off ignorant city folk who don't know any better).

Bruni's column is a classic of the genre in another sense in that it attempts to advance a gun control agenda through the focus on hunting.  Lefties consistently try to use hunting as the basis for their argument even though the Second Amendment has nothing to do with hunting and the Founding Fathers never said anything like "No hunter shall be debarred the use of arms to bag a chukar."  Politically, as well, civilian disarmers consistently attempt to peel off hunters from the rest of the gun rights community.  So, even as an admitted novice, Bruni declares Colorado's recently passed gun control laws "totally reasonable."  To whom?  By what standard?  Well, to him naturally, and his fancy-pants chef friend.  If that isn't absolute moral authority, I don't know what is.  The good news is that Bruni intends to go hunting again someday.  Who knows, perhaps he'll go wild boar hunting and give us his first-timer impressions of felling a 300 lbs. sow with an AR-15 and declare the Second Amendment a manifestation of a racist, patriarchal fear of the Other.  Can't wait.

Anyway, such are the results when you let your restaurant critic take on social/political issues.  Did the Frank Rich experiment go so well that the poo-bahs at the NYT had to bring yet another lifestyle columnist to the Op-Ed pages?

Friday, April 05, 2013

American Youth Learning a Harsh Lesson...Maybe

Hey youngsters, at least you rocked the vote.  Some of you may have even gotten laid, by laying down a sweet "I'm so down with Barack" rap.  Enjoy it.

Lynne Fenton's (and ONLY Lynne Fenton) Conscience Should Be Clear

Alas nearly everyone else in officialdom ought to have a deeply nagging conscience, most especially the police force that took Fenton's warnings not seriously at all.  Then all the people who tried desperately to hide the fact that Holmes's potential dangerousness was handed to authorities on a silver platter.
In a revelation that may have Colorado voters rethinking their state’s push on gun control, court documents revealed that the mass shooting in Aurora that killed 12 and injured 70 more could have been prevented by law enforcement.  The psychiatrist for suspect, James Holmes, had warned campus police that Holmes was dangerous and homicidal a month before the shooting took place.  Lynne Fenton even told the police that Holmes had begun to stalk and threaten her, and yet no action was apparently taken
Read it and weep. This is negligence pure and simple.  But why should we expect the police to protect us when they are not bound to protect us?  This is the bottom line judicial stance in the seminal legal case regarding what we can expect from the police:

“… a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any particular individual citizen.”       
That is from Warren v. District of Columbia (1981).  BTW, don't ever read the details of that case over a bowl of Cheerios or any foodstuffs for that matter.  Oh, and for fun, how about another, related case.  This one is McKee v. City of Rockwall.
 There is no constitutional violation when the "most that can be said of ... state functionaries ... is that they stood by and did nothing when suspicious circumstances dictated a more active role."
How bloody clear does it have to get for Americans to see that they are on their bloody own?  The cops don't have to protect you and, as we see in the Colorado case, they probably can't or won't even if they had nearly perfect information.  And yet, our elected representatives want to restrict our ability to protect ourselves?  And not just that, people like this and this are the folks passing these laws.  So, the most corrupt, venal, idiotic douchebags among us get in office and make the rules that put us all in more danger.  We should be spitting mad as a society.  Spitting bloody mad.

Goolsbee: Yeah, The Economic Policy I Shilled For, For Years, Stinks

This is rich.  Austan Goolsbee, the former wunderkind economist who shilled for Obama's crap Keynesian, redistributive, anti-capitalist economic policy during his tenure at the CEA, has the temerity to come out and blame the sequester for an economic malaise that has been a slow drip water torture for working Americans (for "fat cats" it's been pretty good though, I must say) since the day these losers took office.  I've taken Goolsbee to task before, for which he is richly deserving.  America is better off now that he is safely ensconced on campus somewhere (although as his replacement we got the guy who doesn't believe that demand curves slope downward).  Anywho...
Austan Goolsbee, a former economic adviser to President Obama, called this morning's jobs report "a punch to the gut":
Punch to the gut, Austan?  Yes, another punch to the gut in a long line of punches via Obamanomics, which you are partly responsible for.  What can struggling Americans do about your sad brand of centrally planned fiscal wreckage?  Nothing, which puts me in mind of this...

Thursday, April 04, 2013

The Foundational Lie Behind ObamaCare

Be sure to read this post in full and then read the links in full too.  Then cogitate over the fact that we now have an impending fiscal disaster of a healthcare tab, thousands of economically destructive regulations, distortions galore in the healthcare market that drive up the cost of healthcare - to say nothing of the social division this has caused - and for what?  Actually, for what is not the question, we know the answer to that - state control of your life and wealth redistribution.  The better question, is How Did This Come About?

Very simply, a lie.  Or at the very least a mistake so basic and elementary and thus so clueless that...forget it, I'm going with lie.

In fact I, among many, even pointed out the elementary mistake lie way back in 2007.
Of course, I have said this before - the "uninsured" is largely a mythical beast used to drum up ire over our healthcare system. Over 30% of the uninsured make over $50,000 and simply choose not to have insurance. I know that when I was in my late twenties, I passed on paying the $300 or so per month for health insurance in order to have more money in my pocket to frequent NYC's many fine public houses and to appropriately woo the future Mrs. Baseball. Sure enough, the WSJ article notes that a big portion of the uninsured are young people in their twenties and thirties.
Yes, I figured this out and I am not even the awesomest, law lecturer constitutional scholar most brilliant President/Lightworker ever.  With their own money, young people take a pass on healthcare insurance, but offer them free shit and gussy it up in the feel good social justice gibberish that they are suckers for and you have yourself major political momentum for a healthcare takeover overhaul.  But the truth remains, most of the uninsured were uninsured by choice and the system was not broken, creating a class of uninsured heartlessly willy-nilly.  Thus did the elemental lie become ObamaCare, a law from which we'll be digging ourselves out from under its ill-effects for decades.

Kim Jung Un, Deeply Rational Actor

The Powerline guys illustrate the rationality - yes - if not genius of Kim Jong Un, North Korea's 28-year old leader.
Skip past Barack Obama for a moment, and just take in the secretary of defense, and the secretary of state.  Chuck Hagel.  John Kerry.  Take a deep breath here.  Put yourself in the shoes of the Norks.  These guys make the British appeasers of the 1930s look like Chuck Norris.  Think the Norks haven’t paid attention to these guys?  Add in Obama’s obvious liberal guilt and what conclusion would you reach?  Even a 28-year old Kim, educated in private schools in Switzerland but moreover schooled in the Nork blackmail drill, will draw the obvious conclusion: time to go for broke and take the U.S. to the cleaners, because its leadership right now is ripe for the plucking.  Far from being crazy, Kim Jong Un may be the most rational person around right now.
This rings true to me.  But...right on cue...
...the White House is dialing back the aggressive posture amid fears that it could inadvertently trigger an even deeper crisis, according to U.S. officials.

Why Europe Will Perish, Or Why It Can't Fix Itself

I have put forth the thesis that Europe is unable to slaughter its own sacred cows, and therefore it will go down in flames.  Today brings further evidence that I am on to something.

Spain teeters on the edge of insolvancy, it has unemployment of 22%, a youth unemployment rate in the 40s.  It needs economic growth and activity desperately.  So, of course, what does it do in the face of the chance to extract energy via fracking - the same fracking technology that has set the US off on a revolutionary boom in energy and provided a rare bright spot in an otherwise dismal jobs landscape?  They ban it
Spain is set to enact its first regional ban on producing natural gas using hydraulic fracturing, yielding to objections from environmental groups that so-called fracking risks polluting drinking water.
In the northern Cantabria region, where energy companies say much of Spain’s gas exists in shale rock, the Parliament plans to vote April 8 on suspending the contested drilling technique “as long as current doubts on the technology remain,” according to the bill on the government’s website. All political parties in the region supported the law in a March 21 debate.
BNK Petroleum Inc. (BKX) and R2 Energy Inc. of Canada are among companies hoping to use fracking to shatter shale in Spain and tap what their trade group last month said may be enough gas to meet 70 years of national demand. While environmental protests led to a fracking ban across the border in France, in Spain opponents have failed in provinces except for Cantabria, where an estimated $100 million of exploration projects are forecast.
One more piece of evidence that Europe cannot fix itself, it has to hit rock bottom, which given recent events looks like it may be closer than farther away.

Note: even irredeemably anti-development institutions - like this one - recognize the revolution in the making that is America's fracking boom.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Joe Klein Shocked That ObamaCare Didn't Magically Mystically Change the Government into Competent, Efficient Juggernaut

Apotheosis of conventional wisdom, Joe Klein sees early ObamaCare incompetence as scary.  I'm scratching my head.


Yes, I'm screaming.  Did the Obamacare law contain a provision of magical mystical suspension of immutable forces?  When we got ObamaCare rammed down out throats the law passed, it was always going to be implemented by the same old federal government with its same old inherent flaws and inefficiency.  This is same government that throughout the decades has shown difficulty in achieving basic tasks and often devolved into operational scandal or farce.  But this wouldn't be small scale stuff, this is nothing short of reordering one-sixth of the US economy.  We didn't have All-Stars sitting on the bench, ready to come in and win the game.  It was always going to be your same old bureaucratic corps.  To expect anything other than what we've gotten to date (delays, overruns, insurmountable problems) reveals a willing suspension of mental capacity or rank stupidity.  ObamaCare's failure was always ever going to be thus.

Your Heard It Here First...And Quite Awhile Ago

Respected financial strategist Jason Trennert takes to the pages of the WSJ to say this:
Companies like Merck and McDonald's might not have the authority to tax American citizens or possess nuclear weapons, but they do possess something the federal government doesn't have—money. All can boast of dividend yields that greatly exceed what an investor can earn on 10-year U.S. Treasurys. For Merck and Chevron, the yields are greater than for 30-year government paper.
Sounds a bit like this, no?
American corporations, in general, have pared down, gotten lean, hoarded cash, and repaired balance sheets. All this while governments are straining to achieve even the most meager prudent adjustments in the face of fiscal ruin. The US government is positioning its fiscal future to resemble those European countries that today are facing a painful reckoning the likes of which we haven't seen in decades. Yet we are still supposed to operate according to the paradigm that equities should pay us a premium over lending to the US government? So I ask, "Who do you think is a safer bet - the US government or the company that makes Tide, or Tylenol, or the leading brand of toothpaste?" Would you rather hold J&J stock yielding 3.5% or get an identically yielding US Treasury? Frankly, I see less risk in any number of institutions with names like Colgate-Palmolive, Johnson & Johnson, IBM, Proctor & Gamble, Clorox etc. In today's world, these are the less risky bets and the US government ought to pay me a premium for capital that I could otherwise tie up in the equity of these institutions.
That was from, oh, May 2010.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

ObamaCare. What ObamaCare? Most Pieces of Law Dead or Delayed

Let's get a running inventory of elements of PPACA, or ObamaCare, that have been repealed:
- 1099 reporting provision for all purchases over $600
- CLASS long term care entitlement program

Now let's turn to what is nearly, but not yet, repealed (voted down, but in a non-binding vote):
- Medical Device Tax

Now let's turn to provisions of the law where implementation is definitively going to delayed:
- SHOP exchange for small business

Then there are major elements of implementation that most observers believe will be delayed:
- The absolutely fundamental Healthcare Exchanges

...and the exchanges face legal challenges.

People keep saying "get ready for ObamaCare".  OK, I get it, but get ready for what, exactly?  And that is the problem...

Don't Kid Yourself, California Will Have to Drill and Frack

I have long said that California has to contemplate the unthinkable - drilling for oil, and I mean really drilling - if it is to survive in its current form.  Mark Perry highlights this dilemma today as well.  It's only a matter of time.  In the battle of unions protecting their pay and benefits over rich greens keeping the oil derricks at bay, it is no contest, the unions will crush the greens.  But not until they rape the muni bond market first.

Read more about the promise of an energy bounty in California here.  Hey lefties, don't think of it as extracting hydrocarbons, think of it as keeping the middle class out of the abyss.

The WSJ Notices What I Noticed About Pipelines Vs. Trains

I waxed a tad conspiratorial recently over the non-developments concerning the Keystone XL pipeline.  Well, today, in no less a prominent place than the lead editorial in the WSJ, Gigot & Co. sound a little conspiratorial themselves on the matter.
What's the difference between an oil spill from a pipeline and an oil spill from a train? Answer: A lesson in political opportunism.
The media have played up Friday's discovery of an oil leak in an old Exxon Mobil pipeline near Mayflower, Arkansas. It isn't clear how much oil escaped from the 850-mile Pegasus pipeline, but Exxon says it responded with teams and equipment able to handle as much as 10,000 barrels and that by early Saturday it had stopped the flow and begun cleanup.  

The real reason for the headlines is that Pegasus was delivering heavy crude from the Canadian oil sands to Texas. This is similar to the oil the proposed Keystone XL pipeline would deliver from Canada to the Gulf Coast, and the anti-Keystone capos are using the Exxon spill to scare up political opposition to the new pipeline.
All of this is in marked contrast to the non-reaction last week when a Canadian Pacific Railway  train carrying crude to Chicago derailed in western Minnesota, spilling about 15,000 gallons. Much of the press also ignored the train accident, though the spill was certainly serious and also took place near a town.
The train wreck illustrates one economic reality of the U.S. shale drilling boom, which is that energy companies have turned to shipping by rail as pipeline capacity has been filled. The volume of oil transported by U.S. rail has surged to 233,811 carloads in 2012 from 9,500 as recently as 2008. This means boom times for freight rail lines, including Burlington Northern Santa Fe, which is owned by Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway.
We are living the crazy times here in early 21st century America, so this is nothing.

Monday, April 01, 2013

2000 Year Old Religion Is Still A Mystery to NYT

Like I have always said, I don't read the New York Times for the same reason I don't drive a Hyundai. It's an inferior product.

Black People Celebrate Spring in Exceedingly Black Fashion

Remember this one from last week?
White People Celebrate Heat Loss in Exceedingly White Fashion."

Guys enjoying a basketball game is "exceedingly white"?  OK, whatever.  (Wait, isn't a writer using the word "exceedingly" exceedingly white too?  Just asking.) Back to my point...

Since we are supposed to be having this great national conversation on race, let's have it...let's have the open and honest...actually forget it.  If the above is the level of engagement that one side is prepared to do, let's shelve the good faith needed to have an open an honest debate, because, let's face it, nobody really wants that debate.  So screw the putative national conversationalists, let's talk about some "exceedingly black" behavior.  Hmmm, where to start...?  Hey, let's keep it in Chicago where we encountered our exceedingly white gaggle of gents last week.  What went on in Chicago lately that was "exceedingly black"?  How about this?
The warmest day of the year so far brought hundreds of mischievous teens to Michigan Avenue on Saturday. Police were calling it “mob action.”
CBS 2 has learned about multiple incidents in at least four different locations along the Magnificent Mile and in the Gold Coast, yielding a slew of arrests. In all, 25 juveniles and three adults were charged.
Many innocent shoppers and tourists became caught in the middle of a very chaotic situation. Hundreds of teens littered Michigan Avenue and State Street near Chicago.
Of course, if anybody actually read this blog, that statement would cause the most righteous of righteous indignation.  Hell, if the Mayor of Philly read it he might call the Human Rights Commission on me.  So what is my point?  Well, it is that the "national conversation on race" is phony.  It's a bunch of idiocy, disingenuousness, and, frankly, mild racial animus.  There is no real conversation.  Until leaders of all stripes call Chicago's wilding rampagers what they are and black leaders own up to a problem that is to a great extent their own (see here), and until we drop the puerile, superficial racial tweaking - guys enjoying a basketball game are just guys enjoying a basketball game - for more elevated debate, there is and won't be any conversation.