Friday, December 24, 2010

Some Helpful Job-Hunting Advice for Soon-To-Be Ex Senators and Congress-Critters

......Courtesy of Iowahawk.  Hilarious, as always. A sample:

In order to land that good job back in your home district, you first need to understand the ins and outs of the non-Washington economic system. Unlike Washington's easy-to-understand system of leveraging raw unbridled rulemaking and police power to extract tribute from fearful and/or favor-seeking constituents, non-Washington industries are largely based on the production of "goods" or "services." It sounds complicated, but the basic idea boils down to making things or doing things that other people will pay for. The complicated part is to remember that they must pay for them voluntarily.

Read the whole thing.
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Monday, December 20, 2010

JibJab Is Back With a Farewell Tribute to 2010

And what a year it was too.

(Via Power Line)
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Thursday, December 09, 2010

COP-16 Climate Change Delegates Sign Petition to Ban Dihydrogen Monoxide

The oh so scientifically literate believers in global warming have just proved that they'll believe nearly anything that comes packaged in the right kind of scientific sounding jargon.  At the UN sponsored COP 16 (confluence of Parties) conference being held in Cancun, Mexico this week, a group of students who are members of CFACT (Center For A Constructive Tomorrow) created a mock petition advocating a ban on dihydrogen monoxide (DHMO). You may know it better by its chemical formula shorthand, H2O. Conference delegates were apparently quite eager to sign it. Yes, these geniuses really did sign a petition to ban water.

The CFACT students also circulated a mock petition to encourage the UN to damage the US by imposing tariffs intended to lower US GDP by 6% over ten years unless it signs a treaty on global warming. Again, it sounds as if everyone asked was eager to sign.

It wasn't all mischief though The CFACT group also organized a little tour to the other side of Cancun, to see what living with energy poverty was really like.  Hopefully, rubbing a few smug, sanctimonious noses in that reality will make a few of them question their cause.

Read them all (and there's a Penn & Teller video at the first link)

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Friday, December 03, 2010

From the Wall Street Journal - Clinton: State is Her "Last Public" Post

So Hillary is getting out of public life. Well, so much for my prediction.

See ya, Hills.
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The Story of Business: Competing for a Future

In this short video from Bankrupting America, the owner of a small business talks about what higher taxes will do to his ability to compete.

(via Instapundit)
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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Economics 101 Video Series

The video on Keynesian Economics below this is actually the most recent in a series of short videos on Economics. They're well worth your time to watch. There are ten, including the one in the post below this. You can find them at the Center for Freedon and Prosperity website.
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Why Keynesian Economics Is Wrong

This 5 minute video produced by the Center for Freedon and Prosperity of the American Enterprise institute explains why the Keynesians are wrong. Economic growth causes consumer spending, not the other way round. This is why no amount of Keynesian "stimulus" will cure what ails our economy. Improving the lot of consumers by way of policies that increase their disposable income, such as lower tax rates, are the right prescription.

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Friday, November 26, 2010

Bill Whittle - What We Believe, Part 7 - American Exceptionalism

The seventh and final installment of Bill Whittle's "What We Believe" series is up.  If you haven't seen parts 1 through 6, they are posted here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 and Part 6.

Bill has also produced the series on DVD, which is available for purchase here.
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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Vegetarianism From the Other Side - Turnabout

Via Instapundit we have this rather funny YouTube:

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Take Me To Your Lizard Gets a New Look - What Do You Think?

I've been trying to figure out how to widen the post area in the template I've been using for this blog so it will accomodate YouTube videos. I've been having to cut them down to about 70% of size by changing the standard width from about 640 to 448 pixels wide so the right side doesn't get cut off, and dropping the height from 385 to 270 pixels to keep the aspect ratio right. I couldn't quite get it to work right, so I thought I might just try a new look entirely.  I think I like the way it turned out after I customized a bit. The contrast between the text and the background is higher, which ought to make it a little easier on the eyes and I can always go back to the old template if I want to.  

For those of you familiar with the way the blog was before, do you like the new look?   
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Thursday, November 18, 2010

What Will Happen When the Bush Tax Cuts Expire?

According to Gary Wickert a tsunami, actually three of them, will sweep over the economy one after the other and they won't just affect "the rich":

First Wave

Bush Tax Cuts Expire. Congress didn’t even have the strength of character to stay and vote on extending the Bush tax cuts before running home to protect their professional political careers. These tax cuts all expire on January 1, 2011. Thereafter, the top income tax rate will rise from 35% to 39.6%, the same rate at which two-thirds of small business profits are taxed. The lowest rate will rise from 10% to 15%. All the rates in between will also rise. Somewhere I seem to recall a promise about tax cuts for 95% of “working families.”

Second Wave

Obamacare will be the focus of congressional wrangling over the next two years, but it is unlikely to be repealed in that time. There are over 20 huge and completely new taxes contained within the new health care law which was hurried through Congress without being read and passed against the will of the American people. Several will first go into effect on January 1, 2011.

Third Wave

The Alternative Minimum Tax and Employer Tax Hikes. The AMT, which was originally intended simply to make sure that wealthy taxpayers didn’t use tax shelters and other tactics to avoid having to pay any taxes at all (a good start for an argument for a flat tax), affected nearly 4 million families last year. Starting in 2011, it will affect over 28 million families.

There's much more. Read the whole thing.
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Monday, November 15, 2010

Mitch McConnell Endorses Earmark Ban

Finally, it looks like the Republican establishment is getting it. The Weekly Standard has the story and the full text of his remarks but here is what it boils down to:

Nearly every day that the Senate’s been in session for the past two years, I have come down to this spot and said that Democrats are ignoring the wishes of the American people. When it comes to earmarks, I won’t be guilty of the same thing.

Make no mistake. I know the good that has come from the projects I have helped support throughout my state. I don’t apologize for them. But there is simply no doubt that the abuse of this practice has caused Americans to view it as a symbol of the waste and the out-of-control spending that every Republican in Washington is determined to fight. And unless people like me show the American people that we’re willing to follow through on small or even symbolic things, we risk losing them on our broader efforts to cut spending and rein in government.

That’s why today I am announcing that I will join the Republican Leadership in the House in support of a moratorium on earmarks in the 112th Congress.

Read the whole thing.

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Top 10 Ways to School Your Leftist Friends on Facebook

It isn't just Facebook where this rings true but Diane Schrader pretty much has the usual  course of the argument down. She summarizes in number 1:

1. Challenge them on being “offended.”

After I pointed out a series of inappropriate statements made by another writer on the election thread (see #2), we finally reached the motherlode of Leftist indignation – the opportunity to play the offended victim. In this case, the tiresome but fully predictable whine came from the original writer, who accused ME of insulting her friends. At this point it is often helpful to provide a brief summary of the entire thread… something along these lines:

1. RB makes a crack about scary elections.

2. PB says it’s terrifying and he wants to move to Canada.

3. Diane asks what’s scary.

4. PB calls her a teabagger.

5. Diane suggests that is not an effective argument.

6. PB says Diane can’t know what he was really thinking when he called her a teabagger.

7. Diane says words have meaning, and asks if you going to answer my question.

8. PB says you only care about your own opinion.

9. Diane notes again that she just asked for his opinion.

10. RB says when she said elections were frightening she meant she was scared by low voter turnout.

11. Diane laughs hysterically.

12. AC joins in to offer the news that she and her husband are smarter than all the stupid, ignorant and shallow conservative screamers.

13. Diane sighs and points out that this is also not an argument but simply an ad hominem attack.

14. RB accuses Diane of insulting her friends, who have either implied or outright stated that Diane is a stupid, ignorant, shallow, screaming, teabagger who won’t listen to their side. Although they never stated their side.

Ahhh… Arguing with Leftists. Sometimes it’s like taking candy from a baby. But remember, other people are almost always lurking, reading, and considering. Stay cool (easy to say, difficult to do – I’ve certainly made my share of mistakes on this one) and try to be the bigger person. Those lurking readers will be able to see who’s presenting rational thoughts, and who’s devolving into hysteria. I think it’s telling that in this thread I’ve used as an example, some of the participants went back the next day and deleted all their comments. Apparently even they eventually recognized how foolish they sounded. Score.

Read the whole thing.
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Quantitative Easing Explained

You may have heard the term "quantitative easing" employed (unlike far too many people) lately and wondered what it means. The short answer is "printing money" (like there's no tomorrow) For the longer version, watch the following:

(h/t Bob)
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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Occupational Licensing and the Economic Damage It Has Done

The Institute for Justice, a libertarian public interest law firm, has produced a short YouTube video about the explosion in occupational licensing requirements since the 1950's when only 1 in 20 people needed government permission to make a living. Now it's 1 in 3. It isn't all just the government driving this though, it's industries using government to erect barriers to entry for potential competiors, i.e., rent-seeking behavior.  Anyway, here you go; five minutes well spent:

(Via Instapundit and Reason's Hit & Run)
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Friday, November 12, 2010

Bill Whittle - What We Believe, Part 6: Immigration

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Zombie On the Evils of Gerrymandering

Over at Pajamas Media, Zombie offers up a course on Gerrymandering 101, that is where instead of the people choosing their congressional representatives, the representatives choose their constituents by redrawing the lines between electoral districts to protect their own reelection chances. He follows up with another post naming and shaming the ten most bizzarely gerrymandered congressional districts of the 111th Congress.

Read it all.

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Friday, November 05, 2010

What We Believe Part 5 - Bill Whittle On Gun Rights

Here is part 5 of "What We Believe", Bill Whittle's series of video essays on what conservatives believe and why. This one is about gun rights. There are going to be 7 parts in total with part 6, "Immigration," and part 7, "American Exceptionalism" to follow soon.

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Monday, November 01, 2010

How to Make Atlas Shrug....

....Or to reach even further back into literature, how to kill the goose that laid the golden egg. Forbes publisher Richard Karlgaard explains why increasing tax rates is counter-productive to increasing tax revenues (for those that still don't get it) and notes that the effect is non-linear:

The more you tax and regulate things, the less you get of those things. What's really important to understand is that the "less you get" part is not linear. There's a tipping point at which you may get nothing if you pile on too many burdens. The supplier always has a choice to supply or not. Capital can go on strike. Atlas can shrug.

That's the theory, but is it true? Let's ask Rolling Stone Keith Richard:

"The whole business thing is predicated a lot on the tax laws," says Keith, Marlboro in one hand, vodka and juice in the other. "It's why we rehearse in Canada and not in the U.S. A lot of our astute moves have been basically keeping up with tax laws, where to go, where not to put it. Whether to sit on it or not. We left England because we'd be paying 98 cents on the dollar. We left, and they lost out. No taxes at all.” [my emphasis]

QED. Nothing like a nice little example from the real world to prove the point.

(h/t Bob)

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Why We Should Eliminate the Corporate Income Tax - Megan McArdle

Megan McArdle sets forth the arguments for why the corporate income tax should be eliminated. One of the best is the fictional idea that corporations actually pay the taxes. Ultimately, taxes are always borne by an individual somewhere:

You can't tax a corporation; you can only tax a person. For all the talk about corporate personhood, ultimately, all the income in a corporation ultimate ends up in the hands of some person: shareholders, employees, suppliers. Ultimately, we're not interested in the accumulation of money and power in "Ford Motor Company"; we're interested in the managers and shareholders who benefit from that accumulation.

This is a central concept of the FairTax also.

It's all good. Read the whole thing.

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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Should You Trust the Latest Medical Research? Probably Not

Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Research at The Atlantic (via Instapundit) about medical studies and their reliability, or rather lack thereof. It profiles a Greek physician/mathematician named John Ionnidis who has made a career out of challenging and exposing flawed research.

He’s what’s known as a meta-researcher, and he’s become one of the world’s foremost experts on the credibility of medical research. He and his team have shown, again and again, and in many different ways, that much of what biomedical researchers conclude in published studies—conclusions that doctors keep in mind when they prescribe antibiotics or blood-pressure medication, or when they advise us to consume more fiber or less meat, or when they recommend surgery for heart disease or back pain—is misleading, exaggerated, and often flat-out wrong.

An example I've run across is the contention that saturated fat is bad for you and that you will lose weight by going on a low fat diet. It isn't and you won't. Personal experience bears this out. I needed to lose some weight for health reasons and have dropped 35 pounds, give or take, since last March. I stopped eating pasta, rice, potatoes and bread. I do eat green vegetables, meat, butter, etc. and my most recent bloodwork had me with very good cholesterol numbers. I have stabilized at the weight I was nearly 20 years ago.
More from The Atlantic article:

Consider, he [Ionnidis] says, the endless stream of results from nutritional studies in which researchers follow thousands of people for some number of years, tracking what they eat and what supplements they take, and how their health changes over the course of the study. “Then the researchers start asking, ‘What did vitamin E do? What did vitamin C or D or A do? What changed with calorie intake, or protein or fat intake? What happened to cholesterol levels? Who got what type of cancer?’” he says. “They run everything through the mill, one at a time, and they start finding associations, and eventually conclude that vitamin X lowers the risk of cancer Y, or this food helps with the risk of that disease.” In a single week this fall, Google’s news page offered these headlines: “More Omega-3 Fats Didn’t Aid Heart Patients”; “Fruits, Vegetables Cut Cancer Risk for Smokers”; “Soy May Ease Sleep Problems in Older Women”; and dozens of similar stories.

When a five-year study of 10,000 people finds that those who take more vitamin X are less likely to get cancer Y, you’d think you have pretty good reason to take more vitamin X, and physicians routinely pass these recommendations on to patients. But these studies often sharply conflict with one another. Studies have gone back and forth on the cancer-preventing powers of vitamins A, D, and E; on the heart-health benefits of eating fat and carbs; and even on the question of whether being overweight is more likely to extend or shorten your life. How should we choose among these dueling, high-profile nutritional findings? Ioannidis suggests a simple approach: ignore them all.

That last piece of advice has much to commend it. It will help you preserve your sanity (and no, that's not a scientifically tested conclusion).

Read the whole thing. It's an eye-opener.

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Why Obamacare Must Be Stopped

Physician Dr. David Janda tells an audience what is gong to happen when Obamacare kicks in in 2013. He is working to get another physician, Rob Steele elected to Congress in place of John Dingell. They had to "pass it so we could find out what's in it."  Well, we're finding out alright and it is not good. Watch.

(h/t Bob)
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Friday, October 29, 2010

Bill Whittle with What We Believe Part 4: Natural Law

In this fourth installment on what it is that TEA Party conservatives believe and why ( you can go back and watch 1, 2 and 3 in this post) Bill Whittle explains the difference between Natural and Political Law.

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Chris Christie Pleads Guilty.....

... to impatience with the New Jersey Legislature's failure to address major issues. No they have bigger fish to fry (right after their in-progresss 2 week vacation) such as a bill requiring animal shelters to spay/neuter animals before they adopt them out, or requiring dentists to inform patients if any dental prostheses they prescribe for them might not be US made. 

Ouch. Now that's going to leave a mark.

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Andrew Klavan Issues a Warning - The Extremists Are Coming!

Bill Whittle may be able to explain an idea beter than anyone else I can think of, but I have to give Andrew Klavan the edge when it comes to explaining an idea humorously. I am not a witch indeed.

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Bill Whittle on What Conservatives Believe

Bill has produced three (so far) videos on the conservative outlook on the World. I can think of no one who can articulate any idea better than Bill, so I'll shut up now and let you watch. Here are the videos:

Part 1: Small Government and Free Enterprise

Part 2: The Problem With Elitism

Part 3: Wealth Creation

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Fraudulent Branding and Barack Obama

Kyle-Anne Shiver talking about the marketing of Barack Obama over at Pajamas Media:

"If Barack Obama had been a commercial product instead of a political candidate, then he and his brand creators — Axelrod et al — would be facing one of the most massive class action suits ever to hit any American business."

She goes on to compare the marketng of our 44th president to the marketing of cigarettes forty years ago. Read the whole thing but I wanted to draw attention to this comment left by reader cfbleachers (Yes, he gets his numbeing a little muddled; 1, B, C but he's on the money otherwise).

(Via Instapundit)

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Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Feds Are Cooking the Economic Statistics Books

That is the premise underlying this article by Terrence Aym at and I'm not a bit surprised. Aym relates how John Williams of American Business Analytics & Research, LLC, publisher of Shadowstats, has analyzed the numbers on inflation, unemployment, money supply and several other key indicators of economic health, employing the same methods in use by the government up until 1994. His conclusion; we are in as bad shape as we were in the Great Depression. Real inflation is near 10%, not zero, and unemployment is actually closer to 23%, not the official 9.6%. And the dollar? It is worth about 50% of what it was in 1985 in terms of purchasing power. Finally, GDP growth is not the positive 2% to 3% being reported. In real terms it collapsed by 6% in 2009 and is running at negative 1% to 2% now.

If this is all true, then what the government is doing is truly criminal. This just contributes even more to the general economic uncertainty that is paralyzing the economy now. It is hard to see how this can get turned around when we can't even accurately assess the extent of the problems because we can't get good information.

Read the whole thing.

(h/t Jeff Smith)
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Saturday, October 16, 2010

It's the Uncertainty, Stupid

Home Depot cofounder Ken Langone had an op-ed in yesterday's Wall Street Journal, really more of an open letter to President Obama taking him to task for his habit of saying that he is pro-business because business growth is what creates jobs, while continually vilfiying, bashing and threatening those very same job creators. He then professes to be mystified about why the economy is still stalled. Mr. Langone makes it simple to understand.
That short-sighted wavering—between condescending encouragement one day and hostile disparagement the next—creates uncertainty that, as any investor could tell you, causes economic paralysis. That's because no one can tell what to expect next.

Anyone with even a passing acquaintance with the business world knows this. Obama doesn't because his cabinet contains the smallest number of people with any business experience of any presidential administration in US history and that includes him.

Langone goes on to say that had he tried to start Home Depot in today's economic and regulatory environment it would never have gotten off the ground, let alone become as successful as it has.

We opened the front door in 1979, also a time of severe economic slowdown. Yet today, Home Depot is staffed by more than 325,000 dedicated, well-trained, and highly motivated people offering outstanding service and knowledge to millions of consumers.

If we tried to start Home Depot today, under the kind of onerous regulatory controls that you have advocated, it's a stone cold certainty that our business would never get off the ground, much less thrive. Rules against providing stock options would have prevented us from incentivizing worthy employees in the start-up phase—never mind the incredibly high cost of regulatory compliance overall and mandatory health insurance. Still worse are the ever-rapacious trial lawyers.

Read the whole thing.
Update: Related: Government Regulation of the Economy Is the ‘Silent Killer’ Good discussion in the comments.

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Moral Case Against Liberalism

Writing over at Pajamas Media (lot's of good stuff over there today) Matt Patterson makes the moral case against liberalism and shows how liberal policies, no matter how well intentioned, eventually lead societies governed according to liberal principals to economic bankruptcy. Patterson asserts that this is because of the liberal tendency to divide people into groups or "mere collections of similar skin and genitals." To lump people together by groups is to dehumanize them and when you have dehumanized them, you can justify nearly any injustice against them, usually taking wealth away from one and redistributing to another.

Sometimes I like to play a little game with my liberal friends. Let us suppose, I say to them, that you have one hundred dollars with which you plan to purchase food for your family at a local grocery. Now let us suppose that I come along and rob you while you are on your way to the store, taking half of your one hundred dollars.

At this point I ask my friend: Is the robbery good or bad for you economically? “Bad,” they invariably answer, for “I now have less money for groceries.” Then I ask them: Is my robbing you good or bad for the grocer? “Bad,” they again answer, for “now he, too, has less money for his family.” Next question: Was it morally right or wrong for me to rob you? “Wrong, of course,” they answer, for “the money did not belong to you.”

Then, the coup de grace: What if I planned to give your money to someone else, I ask, someone whom I felt was more worthy or deserving of your money?

At this point, many liberals begin to suspect they have been led into a rhetorical cul de sac, and cognitive dissonance sets in as they realize that an honest answer necessitated by their answer to the previous questions will conflict with their stated political principles and past voting habits. Some will nevertheless admit, “Well, it isn’t really for you to decide who gets my money….”


An honest answer is that such behavior, like the hypothetical robbery, is both morally wrong and economically deleterious. Yet the same liberals who can see the fault in such behaviors for individuals support exactly those behaviors on the part of governments; confiscatory taxation and unsustainable deficits and debt are, after all, the inevitable consequences of liberal governance.

Patterson also talks about a practical example, Johnson's Great Society and the War on Poverty, still not won after 46 years, and the lessons to be drawn from that:
Liberal policies fail practically because they are morally defective — they discourage the recognition of individuals qua individuals, and therefore encourage the adoption of policies that hurt individuals. One might say in fact that it is the moral bankruptcy of liberal ideology that leads directly to the economic bankruptcy of states and nations that liberals govern.

When you see a person, not as an individual, who might have worked for and earned whatever money they have, but as a mere cog in a group (“the rich” for example) then it is easy to say, as Obama did, “I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.” And if you see a person not as an individual who might have made some bad choices and is perfectly responsible for the consequences, but as a member of a group (the “disadvantaged” for example), then you have all the justification you need to rob from the one and give to the other, and you will have lost the capacity to see the injustice you have done to both, or care about the economic and social wreckage that follows.

Read the whole thing.

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The Audacity of Mind-Blowing Arrogance

That is what Bryan Preston at Pajamas Media is calling President Obama's recent assertion that if the Republicans win control of the Congress, they'll have to move in his direction. I'm not sure there isn't an equal dose of cluelessness competing with the arrogance here. Obama, from Sunday's New York Times:

“It may be that regardless of what happens after this election, they feel more responsible, either because they didn’t do as well as they anticipated, and so the strategy of just saying no to everything and sitting on the sidelines and throwing bombs didn’t work for them, or they did reasonably well, in which case the American people are going to be looking to them to offer serious proposals and work with me in a serious way.”
This from a man who is polling at  minus 18% in Rasmussen's Presidential Tracking Poll on job performance. Here is what Bryan Preston has to say about that:

"Nearly half the country “strongly disapproves” of your job performance, Mr. President. They’re your bosses. They’re evaluating you, your policies, and how you have behaved over nearly two years on the job. And they’re set to fire a wide swath of your allies and replace them with your political opponents. This forces Republicans to work with you? If the American people could fire you right now, a near majority of them would. But they can’t, yet. The best the voters can do right now is fire your enablers and keep more from getting into power. Democrats everywhere are finding ways to run away from you and your foolish policies, if they can. There’s a reason for that, and it’s not just the persistent unemployment rate that your massive stimulus project did nothing to alleviate."

And on the policies of Obama and the Democrat party in general:

"From border security to energy policy to failure to handle disaster to irresponsibility on taxes to granting terrorists civilian trials in the very city they attacked, this president and his party’s policies have been given a run. They’ve failed, and so dozens of Democrats all over the country are about to be fired. Their failure isn’t in that they didn’t try hard enough or do enough. Their failure is in the fact that they pushed their policies over the objections of the voters, those policies have been disastrous, and now November is just around the corner."
Exactly right. I can't wait for November 3rd.

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Friday, September 24, 2010

A Primary Challenge for Obama? I Say Count On It.

Over at Commentary, Peter Wehner speculates that President Obama may have to deal with a primary chanllenge in 2012. I think he will and I'm predicting it will be Hillary Clinton. Obama is sinking in the job approval polls and you can bet that Hillary is still nursing a grudge from 2008 when she probably should have won her party's nomination. The Clinton's could never let an opportunity to take out a severely weakened Obama go to waste. My predicton is that shortly after the upcoming mid-term election, and certainly no later than the middle of next year, she will resign as Secretary of State and after a very brief break she will be hitting the road for one of her "listening tours."

Obama's numbers are terrible now. After the expected mid-term rout in Congress, he will become positively toxic, indeed he already is to some extent, as evidenced by all the Democrat congress critters that don't want his help campaigning and indeed actively avoid making appearances with him, even in their home states.

As for this comment in Wehner's article:

"If Obama remains or becomes increasingly radioactive in 2011, liberals will seek to separate their movement from a deeply unpopular president. And the man who in the past has been so quick to throw others (like Jeremiah Wright) under the bus may find himself suffering a similar fate. The cruelest cut of all, of course, would be for this act to come courtesy of those who were once Obama’s more worshipful supporters."

To paraphrase Matthew 26:52; He who lives by the bus, dies by the bus.  It couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

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Monday, September 13, 2010

Boehner Indicates Willingness to Compromise and Avoids Walking Into a Trap

Jennifer Rubin takes House Minority Leader John Boehner to task for a statement he made on Face the Nation on Sunday, that if he couldn't get all of the Bush tax cuts extended, that is for everyone, then he would settle for getting them extended for those making less than $250,000/year.  Ms. Rubin says this muddies the waters. Glenn Reynolds says he "is  squishing." I think Neal Boortz has it right though:

... what if Boehner had said that he would absolutely NOT vote for ANY extension of the Bush tax cuts unless they applied to everybody. Then we would have had a media outrage today and Democrats would have been dancing in the aisles over the idea that the man who wants to be Speaker of the House would vote against tax cuts for the middle class if wealthy people didn't get their tax cut as well.

Boehner gave the only reasonable answer he could here. In doing so he avoided a trap (cue Admiral Akbar) the Democrats were setting for him, counting on a compliant MSM to create the right narrative. The headlines were not going to say, "Boehner Stands on Principle, All or Nothing on Tax Cut Extension." They would say rather: "Boehner Defends Tax Cut Extension for His Rich Friends at Expense of Middle Class." Remember, the Democrats are masters of the art of dividing people into interest groups and then driving wedges between them.  Boehner's answer also deprives the Democrats of the stand-by argument that Republicans are the party of "no" and won't compromise. It's all part of Standard Leftist Operating Procedure, or SLOP, as I like to call it.

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Friday, September 10, 2010

Another Delicious Smack-Down by NJ Governor Chris Christie

Via Roger Kimball at Pajamas Media we have this delightful smack-down of a clueless New Jersey teacher's union member.

It really is too bad this man has (so far) ruled out running for President in 2012. The country as a whole could benefit from someone who isn't afraid to spell out reality the way he can and the Republicans in particular can learn a few lessons from listening to him. No apologies and no prisoners. Go and read Roger's commentary on it too. You'll be glad you did.
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The United States Is Being Governed by a Ghost

That is the conclusion reached by Dinesh D'Souza:

"......our President is trapped in his father's time machine. Incredibly, the U.S. is being ruled according to the dreams of a Luo tribesman of the 1950s. This philandering, inebriated African socialist, who raged against the world for denying him the realization of his anticolonial ambitions, is now setting the nation's agenda through the reincarnation of his dreams in his son. The son makes it happen, but he candidly admits he is only living out his father's dream. The invisible father provides the inspiration, and the son dutifully gets the job done. America today is governed by a ghost."

It's an excellent article. Read the whole thing.
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Thursday, September 09, 2010

Victor Davis Hanson On the Origins of Barack Obama's Petulance

Victor Davis Hanson's Works and Days column at Pajamas Media is, as usual, a must read today. He talks about why President Obama seems to be so sensitive and touchy. He also talks about the series of happy seemignly accidental events that have gotten him to where he is now.  This passage in particular caught my eye:

"He is our collective Peter Sellers of Being There. To paraphrase the embarrassed awards committee, Obama was granted the prize more on his symbolic potential, rather than on the basis of anything he did."

Actually, he has always reminded me more of Forrest Gump, a man who just seemed to always be in the picture, in the right place at the right time, by sheer accident. We all know what Forrest's Mama always said too: "Stupid is as stupid does."

Read the whole thing.
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Monday, September 06, 2010

If You Still Think Islam Is the "Religion of Peace"...

...Here are three things you should know.

The video was put together by a Swedish group called the White R0ses, named for a German resistance group from WWII. Pay particular attention to the concept of Taquiyya, about 5:53 in.
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Saturday, September 04, 2010

Expiring Tax Provisions 2009-2020 - Prepare to Pay

The Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation has a list of expiring tax provisions from 2009 through 2020 available for download in PDF format here. A lot of the expiring provisions are tax credits, e.g., the credit for purchasing an qualified alternative fuel vehicle. I actually think that's a good thing because offering credits for buying something that someone might not choose to buy absent the credit, or might have bought anyway without it but just changed the timng of the purchase to take advatage of it. This just introduces distortions into the market in the name of producing some social outcome of dubious benefit.

A prime example was last year's Cash for Clunkers program which did nothing more than pull forward the purchases of cars that were going to be purchased anyway at a cost of billions of taxpayer dollars and had the perverse side-effect of taking a portion of the  supply of affordable used cars out of the market, making what was left more expensive. And what market demographic buys used cars? Yup, lower income people. Cash for Clunkers subsidized relatively more affluent people to buy cars they would have bought anyway at the expense of the poor and of the taxpayers and was incompetently administered to boot [Ed.; Well what did you expect? It is a government program after all.].

Anyway, all that being said, almost all the expiring tax provisions will result in higher taxes for nearly everyone. To paraphrase a certain barbarian; what will be left in your wallet?
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Zombie Part Five - Proposals for an Educational Renaissance

In parts  one through four of this five part series, Zombie has laid out the problems with our educational system. Well, anyone can criticize and point out problems, right? In part five he proposes some possible solutions for fixng the problems. Some are more practical/attainable than others but the suggestions are worth discussing. Examples:

Educational structures

  • Introduce competition into the educational marketplace.
  • Encourage homeschooling
  • Break the monopoly of public education, but keep it as a safety net


  • Get back to basics
  • End the practice of mass-adoption of a few major textbooks
  • Form centrist national pressure groups to make textbooks indoctrination-free
  • Get politics and religion out of science classes
  • Introduce and popularize “skills survey” courses

Pedagogy (methods of instruction)

  • Group students by ability, not age or ethnicity; bring back “tracking”
  • Have “small schools” or “departments” within large high schools
  • Allow teachers with creative ideas to be idiosyncratic

Transparency and Independence
  • Parental notification
  • Break the teachers’ unions
  • Bring back competition and individuality
Read the whole thing. 

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Friday, September 03, 2010

Zombie Part Four - In Pursuit of Cultural Hegemony

Here is part four of Zombie's excellent series on education. So far he has laid out the thesis that there is a battle going on for the hearts and minds of the nation's children as it plays out in how text books are written.  We have seen how the 800 pound gorillas in influencing how they are written, the Texas State Board of Education and the California State Board of Education, approach the task. Today, he takes on the "self-esteem" crowd. An excerpt:

While educators may be unconsciously relying on dubious theories of psychological modeling (as mentioned in yesterday’s essay) to justify the unrelenting ethnic tokenism in our nation’s schoolbooks, their official explanation revolves around the supposed need to boost students’ “self-esteem.” Those kids who do poorly in school, the theory goes, fail only because they have low self-esteem, leading to low expectations. Therefore, the best way to boost performance for struggling students is not to make their curriculum more challenging or to tailor it to their needs, but rather to use the curriculum as a mechanism to improve students’ self-image. If kids love themselves, the educational theorists claim, they’ll want to succeed, and if they want to succeed, they will succeed. Problem solved!

And so the entire educational system has systematically been re-tooled to focus on self-esteem building. In early grades this involves unsubtle classroom activities — assignments, songs, everybody-wins “contests” — directly informing each student how wonderful they are. In later grades, however, kids begin to grow more sophisticated and skeptical of such heavy-handed methods, so the curriculum designers “cleverly” embed self-esteem building hidden messages into the reading material where it can work on each student’s subconscious. Usually this involves praising and glamorizing “heroes” who just happen to share some ethnic/cultural/gender/appearance attribute with kids in the class, the assumption being that the students’ minds will internalize the message, “If this hero who looks just like me can succeed, then so can I!”

Needless to say, this is the biggest crock of baloney ever foisted on the American public. True self-esteem is not a precursor to achievement and success, it comes as the natural consequence of achievement and success. It’s something you earn, not something you’re given. And to the extent that one can artificially induce baseless self-esteem in someone who has not done anything noteworthy to earn it, one has only succeeded in creating a child with a personality disorder whose swollen ego and sense of entitlement will only later serve as a hindrance in adult real-world interactions.

It's all good stuff. Read the whole series, if you haven't already.
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Thursday, September 02, 2010

Zombie Part Three - Indoctrination Nation

Installment three of Zombie's five part series on education is here.  This time, California is compared to Texas.

While the media generally goes into hysterics every time the Texas State Board of Education meets, with commentators hurling mockery, outrage and vitriol at the board members, there is a total lack of interest when other states’ boards of education meet for the same purpose. Yet Texas is not the only state that influences the content of American schooling: a few other states also determine textbook standards that end up being used in other parts of the country. California, in particular, is also an important textbook market for publishers. Yet mysteriously, one never hears of any controversy erupting when the California State Board of Education meets to decide the content of textbooks used throughout the state and in many other school districts around the country which shun the Texas-approved textbooks.
Why is that? Could it simply be that California-approved textbooks aren’t as politicized as those in Texas?
Quite the contrary. If anything, the textbooks approved by the California State Board of Education are even more politicized than Texas textbooks, and more ideologically biased. So: Why does the media ignore what happens in California textbooks? Because the state’s bias goes the other way. California-approved social studies textbooks are politically correct in the extreme, with multiculturalism and “social justice” as the defining characteristics. The pressure groups and board members setting policy for California’s (and hence a substantial portion of America’s) textbooks exceed their Texan counterparts in their extremism, but since California pushes the “correct” kind of extremism, you never hear about it.

Read the whole thing.

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Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Zombie on the Ideological War Over School Curricula

Over at Pajamas Media, the blogger known as Zombie has the first two parts of a five part essay up on the battle for the hearts and minds of today's children, how the extremes of the left and of the right have crowded out the middle and how Texas has become a central battlefield in the debate over what our children should be taught and how. The thesis:

Students are returning to school this week. But they’re not heading back to class — they’re walking straight into a war zone. Our kids have become cannon fodder for two rival ideologies battling to control America’s future.

In one camp are conservative Christians and their champion, the Texas State Board of Education; in the other are politically radical multiculturalists and their de facto champion, President Barack Obama. The two competing visions couldn’t be more different. And the stakes couldn’t be higher. Unfortunately, whichever side wins — your kid ends up losing.

That’s because this war is for the power to dictate what our children are taught — and, by extension, how future generations of Americans will view the world. Long gone are the days when classrooms were for learning: now each side sees the public school system as a vast indoctrination camp in which future culture-warriors are trained. The problem is, two diametrically opposed philosophies are struggling for supremacy, and neither is willing to give an inch, so the end result is extremism, no matter which side temporarily comes out on top.

Both visions are grotesque and unacceptable — and yet they are currently the only two choices on the national menu. Which shall it be, sir: Brainwashing Fricassee, or a Fried Ignorance Sandwich?

He goes on to describe the opposing sides in general and in installment two Zombie dissects what the Texas State Board of  Education is trying to accomplish. It's very thought-provking reading.
Part one can be found here.
Part two can be found here.
Read the whole thing.
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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

You Picked a Fine Time to Lead Us, Barack

Apparently this video has been kicking around the Intertubes since March. It's the first time I've seen it (thanks, Bob!) though. Enjoy it.

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Oshkosh 2010 Video

Great video compilation from this year's EAA AirVenture airshow, a/k/a Oshkosh. One of these years, I'll get there.

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Vote Jeff Smith for AZ-6

We are coming down to the last few days before the August 24 primary election and Arizona Congressional District 6 voters have a choice to make in the Republican primary about whether to send Jeff Flake back to Washington for a sixth term or to send someone new, someone who has not lost touch with the concerns of the people of the district. For me, the choice is clear. Jeff Smith should get the nod. His postitons on some of the most important questions facing us today.

Jeff Smith fully supports SB 1070 and is for building a complete double border fence, opposes any form of amnesty and believes we need to enforce the immigration laws that are already on the books. And he doesn't belive American taxpayers should be subsidizing the education of people who aren't supposed to be in the country in the first place.

Jeff Flake is soft on illegal immigration. He is an advocate of "Comprehensive Immigration Reform," including amnesty. Talking about comprehensive reform is a bit like being on a ship at sea that is taking on water and discussing how the engines need to be overhauled  the next time it is in port. If you don't deal with the leak, you'll never make it to port. We need to fix our leaky border first, then we can talk about fixing the system.

Flake was also against Prop 200, the 2004 Arizona voter initiative that denied funding of social services for illegal immigrants that passed with 56% of the vote. More recently he is quoted as saying that SB 1070, supported by over 70% of Arizona voters and over 60% of voters nationwide, was "imprudent". This sounds to me like someone who doesn't support the law at all but dares not say so outright because he knows he is out of step with his constituents on the issue. However, I will give him points for criticizing the DOJ decision to sue the state over it.

Another area in which Congressman Flake is out of step with his constituents is in his support for the DREAM act, which woulld make illegal immigrants eligible to receive federal student aid and to recieve in-state tuition rates at public universities.

Carbon Taxes
Jeff Smith is against any form of carbon taxes, cap and trade schemes, etc. and rejects the junk science of climate change. All of the proposed solutions to this non-problem will increase energy costs and give government even more control over how we live.

Jeff Flake has bought into the carbon nonsense and actually introduced legislation to impose a carbon tax which would increase every year for the next thirty years.  In addition to that he actually missed a crucial and very close vote on cap and trade so he could attend a beauty pageant his daughter was in. I'm proud of my daughter too, but when he went to Washington to represent the district, sacrificing things like that go with the territory.
Private Sector Experience
Jeff Smith comes from a private sector background, having worked for many years for Lucent and now is a private stock and options investor and has earned an MBA in Economics (not the Keynesian variety). 

Jeff Flake is a policy wonk with Political Science degree and think-tank work. He has never had to manage a business before. Private sector experience is a big plus in my book because it teaches how the real world, not the theoretical one works. 

Puerto Rico
Jeff Flake voted in favor of a bill on Puerto Rican statehood in what I can only conclude is a misguided attempt to "reach across the aisle." He did this despite the fact that Puerto Ricans already had the ability to vote on whether or not they want to become a state. In fact, they have managed to hold three such elections, voting against statehood every time. Couple this with his support for a bill that would grant permanent voting representation to Washington D.C. (in contravention to the will of the founders), and one has to wonder why Jeff Flake supports measures that are so obviously aimed at swelling the ranks of liberal Democrat voters and legislators.

Jeff Smith will not pander to the other side of the aisle, or anyone else for that matter.

Jeff Flake has made much of the fact that he doesn't ask for earmarks and that's good as far as it goes. However with only 1% or less of all federal spending going to earmarks, odious as the process of pork division is, the focus is misplaced.

Jeff Smith also opposes earmarks but more importantly he opposes all wasteful spending and will work towards reducing spending across the board, in particular he will work to reform entitlement programs, which are the largest part of the federal budget, an put them on a sustainable path.

A Broken Promise
When Jeff Flake was first elected in 2000, he promised to self term-limit to no more than three terms.  He is now running for his sixth term, which is evidence enough for me that he has gotten to like Washington a little too much. I am grateful for the service he has given the district, but it is time for him to come home.

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Portraits of the Fallen

If you've ever needed a way to illustrate the term "labor of love", look no further than this video of painter Kaziah Hancock:

(Another one from Bob. Thanks, Bob!)
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I Want Your Money - The Movie

A friend pointed me to this movie trailer:

There's a website too.

(Thanks, Bob!)
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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Can the Ground Zero Mosque Be Stopped?

That's the big question these days. Regrettably there seems to be no legal impediment to building it so close to the hallowed site. So, we are reduced to appealing to the better nature of Imam Feisel Abdul Rauf, the would-be builder, to choose a less sensitve site if he must build it at all, because he has the legal right to do it. It doesn't appear as if he is going to be influenced by these entreaties because the building of the mosque is not about promoting cross-cultural and inter-religious understanding as he claims. It is about conquest and putting up a monument to what the Islamic world views as a great victory.

As I've been mulling all this over, something occurred to me. Imam Rauf is not going to physically build the mosque. No, he is merely lining up financing to pay for its construction. To actually build it, he will also need to arrange for a building contractor. Given the scale of the building proposed, it seems to me there are only a very few construction companies with the ability to take on the project. It might also be hard to recruit construction workers for the project locally as many local workers may have lost friends or relatives in the 9/11 attack.

Perhaps those of us who would like to see this venture stopped should let it be known that agreeing to take this project on would not be viewed favorably and not worth the cost in bad PR, no matter how rich the contract. If nobody will take the project on, the mosque will not be built. I don't know how realistic a scenario this is, but it may be the only way it can be stopped.
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Monday, August 09, 2010

Why Business Aren't Hiring

When you add it all up, it costs $74,000 to put $44,000 in Sally's pocket and to give her $12,000 in benefits. Bottom line: Governments impose a 33% surtax on Sally's job each year.

The bottom line:

A life in business is filled with uncertainties, but I can be quite sure that every time I hire someone my obligations to the government go up. From where I sit, the government's message is unmistakable: Creating a new job carries a punishing price.

Read the whole thing.
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