Saturday, August 28, 2010

Maybe the Mayan calendar is more accurate than we realized.

2012 will bring a massive solar storm 'with force of 100m bombs.'That quote is from a badly written headline at which reports:
Astronomers are predicting that a massive solar storm, much bigger in potential than the one that caused spectacular light shows on Earth earlier this month, is to strike our planet in 2012 with a force of 100 million hydrogen bombs.

Several US media outlets have reported that NASA was warning the massive flare this month was just a precursor to a massive solar storm building that had the potential to wipe out the entire planet's power grid.

Similar storms back in 1859 and 1921 caused worldwide chaos, wiping out telegraph wires on a massive scale. The 2012 storm has the potential to be even more disruptive.
It's obvious that our only salvation is to cease all use of electrical power in the next year, global warming can wait for now. Send money to the Sierra Club.

Update: Australian scientists dispute the predictions. Of course they would. They're on the far side of the earth. We're the ones who'll be hit hardest!

Thank heaven that we won't all be working when this hits!

Oikophobia - the opposite of patriotism

James Taranto:
If you think it's offensive for a Muslim group to exploit the 9/11 atrocity, you're an anti-Muslim bigot and un-American to boot. It is a claim so bizarre, so twisted, so utterly at odds with common sense that it's hard to believe anyone would assert it except as some sort of dark joke. Yet for the past few weeks, it has been put forward, apparently in all seriousness, by those who fancy themselves America's best and brightest, from the mayor of New York all the way down to Peter Beinart.
Bigotry against ones fellow citizens on the basis of their politics is also bigotry. Bigotry is baseless prejudice, and there is no better example than the vicious belittling by 'progressives' of the intelligence and motives of anybody who disagrees with their agenda.

Read the whole thing. Print it out and post it on the fridge for your kids to read. Read it again and talk about it. It'll do you all good, especially the quotes from Charles Krauthammer. (The best bargain anywhere.)

"I know they're saying 'get out of town,' but I don't have any way to get out,"

An interview with Jim Demint. The real trick is to win with Pat Toomey.

I've only felt this surge of hope a few times in my life. First was in 1964 when I was 16, and that got smothered in the LBJ landslide. Then again when Reagan was elected, only to see the momentum throttled by Ross Perot's arrogant and egotistical splitting of conservative votes. I think this year will be a repudiation of Obama and his statist and prodigal policies, but how long can the movement hold. It's one thing to get involved for one or two election cycles, but quite another to stick with it and keep it from sliding back into the swamp, as we saw after 1994.

We talk about eternal vigilance and an informed electorate, but it's harder to maintain than it sounds. We have people America who consider the Constitution essentially a dead letter to be replaced at the whim of the Supreme Court and the ACLU. Freedom will always be surrounded by enemies.


Martin Luther King's Dream

Demagogue Al Sharpton demands that it belongs to blacks only. The real power of MLK's speech is that it spoke to everybody, regardless of skin color. From what little I've seen of Beck's rally, he's conducted it in that spirit to honor those men and women who have given their lives in service to our nation. Al Sharpton dishonors King's memory and his achievements, by using them as a club to attack conservatives. There's a lot of grousing from the left implying that conservatives have no right to honor Reverend King. Is that really what his life meant? If so, it's a distortion of history.

Glenn Reynolds' blog if full of useful links tonight. Starting with "How Drinking Saved Our Marriage," then, after two and a half hours, "How Far Should You Go on a First Date? Scientists Can’t Decide" and "SCIENCE: Ogling beautiful women a natural reflex for men."

What did he start drinking at 6:30?

Friday, August 27, 2010

In a close race, in Nevada, an NRA endorsement could tip the scales.

That's why its non-endorsement of Harry Reid is important. He's been running ads smearing Sharon Angle as a dangerous nut using some of her pro-Second Amendment statements. There are lots of Mormons in Nevada who probably won't be supporting him again after his stint as Majority Leader, but not nearly as many as there are gun owners. The question is whether enough of them will be affected by the NRA's opinion to turn the tide.

I hope so. I loathe Harry Reid.

It gets worse.

The Middle Finger Mosque may actually get public financing!

Isn't this unconstitutional? Why does it make a difference if we subsidize Islam overseas, rather that here? I don't really mind the government helping religion out a little, but it should be impartial, and we should be getting more than continued terrorist attacks for our money.

The Middle Finger Mosque is a clever PR ploy by Muslims who are not really looking out for the greater glory of God. If we allow it, we look like we've given in to the forces of a new caliphate. If we drive it elsewhere, Muslims overseas will be told that it proves we hate Muslims. However, it should be clear to everybody that it is not outlawed. All the opponents are asking is that the developers show some respect to the people of NYC and New Jersey who bore the brunt of the 9/11 attacks. I doubt that an attempt to build a cathedral in Mecca or Medina, or most other Muslim cities would get as restrained a reception as this has gotten.

Fair Enough

The 'holdout' juror in the Blagojevich trial speaks out. I found her comments to have integrity and courage. She makes Patrick Fitzgerald look as cheesy a politician as Blago himself. She cuts right to the heart of the case when she says ". . . she never saw him formulate a clear plan to sell [Obama's former Senate] seat. But in voting him not guilty, she stressed she did not find him innocent.

"'I thought he was narcissistic,' she said. 'I thought he was all over the place. I thought he was just rambling.'"


That's what you get when you let government subsidize technologies, rewarding PR and political skills over technical merit. For example:
While most of the green automobile attention in recent years has been focused on electrification, liquid fuels still have about 100 times the energy density of today's best lithium-ion batteries, a difference that probably won't change significantly any time in the near future.
Hydrocarbons have emerged as the leading fuels for a reason. Carbon is not our enemy, folks. It's the basis of life on this planet, after all.

Good legal advice

drilling engineer
"who was a key decision maker at the rig in the Gulf of Mexico that blew up in April has refused to testify before a federal panel investigating the incident."

It seems pretty obvious that this "investigation" is going to have a lynch mob mentality. He has nothing to gain and lots to lose by cooperating.

As I've written before, it seems to me that this should be a matter of strict liability, but not as far as criminal liability goes. From what I've read, it appears that deep sea drilling has a certain irreducible amount of hazard and the oil industry needs to accept responsibility for it, but that doesn't mean it should be a whipping boy for politicians.

David Brooks recounts a disagreement over stimulus between the U.S. and Germany:
The debate got pointed. American economists accused German policy makers of risking a long depression. The German finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, countered, “Governments should not become addicted to borrowing as a quick fix to stimulate demand.”

The two countries followed different policy paths. According to Gary Becker of the University of Chicago, the Americans borrowed an amount equal to 6 percent of G.D.P. in an attempt to stimulate growth. The Germans spent about 1.5 percent of G.D.P. on their stimulus.

This divergence created a natural experiment. Who was right?

The early returns suggest the Germans were.
How can economics be a science when it doesn't have to accept repeated, well documented results?

Yeah, we stupid!

This makes me laugh. "Lately there has been a rash of news stories and columns decrying the stupidity of Americans, . . ." Progressives are dropping all pretense of believing in government by the people--the people are too stupid to govern themselves; they need us to dictate to them.

There's something appropriate

about the fact that the Federal Reserve Board of Governors issues its report from Jackson Hole.

Krauthammer: The last refuge of the liberal is to call his opponents bigots.
Liberalism under siege is an ugly sight indeed. Just yesterday it was all hope and change and returning power to the people. But the people have proved so disappointing. Their recalcitrance has, in only 19 months, turned the predicted 40-year liberal ascendancy (James Carville) into a full retreat. Ah, the people, the little people, the small-town people, the “bitter” people, as Barack Obama in an unguarded moment once memorably called them, clinging “to guns or religion or” — this part is less remembered — “antipathy toward people who aren’t like them.”

That’s a polite way of saying: clinging to bigotry. And promiscuous charges of bigotry are precisely how our current rulers and their vast media auxiliary react to an obstreperous citizenry that insists on incorrect thinking.

And you thought the economy was bad!

Phil Plait examines the ways the Universe could wipe out mankind. I'm not worried. I'm pretty sure I'll die on my own before that.

But I can't believe that mortality is more than a tiny slice of our existence. Science itself admits to a gigantic blind spot created by the speed of light and is only now beginning to recognize the existence of other dimensions, even as it denies that there could intelligent beings there. Intelligence cleaves to intelligence and seeks its own kind, and while we are any intelligent species, surely there are more intelligent ones or perhaps more advanced versions of our own.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Reid's worried.

Greg Sargent comments that "Harry Reid's latest ad strings together a host of Angle-isms to paint her as, well, a dangerous psychopath . . ." So dangerous that she would vote for multiple trillions in deficits? That should be her answer. There is a minimal chance that she could plunge the world into war, but there's a very good one that he would do even more damage when he's already helped foist lurch toward a regulated economy on us.

Michael Gerson:
Republicans need to ask three questions of candidates rising on the tea party wave:

First, do you believe that Social Security and Medicare are unconstitutional? This seems to be the unguarded view of Colorado Republican U.S. Senate candidate Ken Buck and other tea party advocates of "constitutionalism." It reflects a conviction that the federal government only has powers specifically enumerated in the Constitution -- which doesn't mention retirement insurance or health care.

This view is logically consistent -- as well as historically uninformed, morally irresponsible and politically disastrous. The Constitution, in contrast to the Articles of Confederation, granted broad power to the federal government to impose taxes and spend funds to "provide for ... the general welfare" -- at least if Alexander Hamilton and a number of Supreme Court rulings are to be believed. In practice, Social Security abolition would push perhaps 13 million of the elderly into destitution, blurring the line between conservative idealism and Social Darwinism.. . .

[Second,] do you believe that American identity is undermined by immigration? . . .

Question three: Do you believe that gun rights are relevant to the health care debate? Nevada Republican U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle raised this issue by asserting that, "If this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies."
If Mr. Gerson is the voice of the Republican Party, I think he's one of the reasons it lost the last two elections. The Party has turned its back on conservatives, a major part of its base. The Tea Party movement, combined with the arrogant recklessness of the Democrats, has revived the Republicans' hopes, but he seems to want to undermine its success with cheap shots, deliberately misrepresenting the views of the main body of the movement.

Gerson's second and third questions aren't worthy of a serious answer. The first, is, however. Whether entitlement programs are Constitutional or not, we have been saddled with them. It seems quite clear at this point that defined benefit pension programs are political time bombs. I think that the framers of the Constitution would have been horrified had they been told that we would ever consider, let alone enact such a program. But the damage has been done, and the courts have been complicit.

The real issue is how to reform them and prevent them from overwhelming our government. The government has made us too many promises and contracted for more than it can pay. Unless we confront our fiscal problems and resolve them, future elections will merely be arguments over whether we hit the iceberg at full or half speed and our children will despise us, along with the generations who built and expanded this shaky edifice.

Update: The Public Pension Bomb. Gerson thinks it's bad politics to face up to these looming problems, and that may be true, but it is worse politics to just keep paying current bills with credit cards. Democrats have used scare tactics on old people for so long that Social Security and Medicare have become the Third Rail of Politics. We bailed on GM and Chrysler to pay off UAW retirees' unrealistic benefits. Add to that hordes of angry retirees on public pensions, when the issuing entities turn out to be broke. How long before nationalized health care is seen in the same light? It's broke before it even starts!

Peggy Noonan
The president's position is not good. The past few months have been one long loss of ground. His numbers have dipped well below 50%. Top Democrats tell Politico the House is probably lost and the Senate is in jeopardy. "Recovery summer" is coming to look like "mission accomplished." The president is losing the center.

And on top of that, he is still a mystery to a lot of people.

Actually, what is confounding is that he seems more a mystery to people now than he did when they elected him president.
Not to me. He had no experience when he was elected, except years of training revolutionaries and listening, if only subliminally, to Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright. He has barged ahead with the boldness of the ignorant and the nation and his party are paying the price.

Think of it. We have allowed a group of people whose total wealth in their lifetimes won't approach the size the the deficits they've run up to sign our names on the debt. That alone justifies a vote of no confidence in any of them.

At MSNBC, the stress is unbearable.

"Ed never gets any attention and love, and he finally snapped."

Mayor Bloomberg is a moron. "We are all Muslims!" Really? If we believe that, the terrorists will have won.

Andrew McCarthy asks "Which Islam will prevail in America?" That seems like the wrong question. The right one would be, "Which Islam will prevail in the world?" Islam is not a monolith. Like other religions it has divided into various streams and some of them have become toxic as Muslims have seen the cultural stagnation of their countries as an embarrassment. The problem is two-fold. First, many Muslims assume that Americans are like the colonial powers that kept them backward and poor for so long, although it's questionable how much of the blame could be laid on the West. Second, the competing radical strains seem to be vying against each other for leadership of all Islam and to them, that means reconquering all the former lands Muslims held before the great pushback of the past 5 centuries began.

The West's response has been alarming, like a mental defective trying to pet a wild bear who keeps extending his hand until he no longer has one.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Some Dems advertising opposition to Obama's agenda. Well, my congressman, Jim Matheson voted against Obamacare, which is why I might vote for him this time around. We'll see how close it gets.

Without a Media Decoder you wouldn't know:
In the past year and a half, Fox News has been a voice of opposition on some issues to the Obama administration. The White House last year labeled Fox, in essence, part of the political opposition, while making clear that they believe Mr. Garrett is a fair reporter.
Of course, if all you had was the Media Decoder, you probably wouldn't know the half of the news that the NYTimes doesn't report or distorts.

Major Garrett has become a good reporter at Fox. He asks the questions of the White House that should be asked. I saw him as a protege of Brit Hume who grew in the job.

Attacker of Muslim cabbie works for pro-mosque group. Was attack staged in order to discredit opponents of the Middle Finger Mosque? Or is the kid just insane?

(Via Belmont Club), A graphic display of how unemployment has risen in the past three years.


Another great moment in education.


How Republicans could begin the repeal of Obamacare. I think that a lot of it will depend on convincing surviving Democrats that it was a bad idea to pass it in the first place.

Is it just me or is there a lot more hostility in pop music these days? I haven't been paying much attention until just recently, and while there are still a lot of love songs, there are a crop of songs, especially in the adult alternative genre, like Maroon 5's "Misery;" Sara Bareilles' "King of Anything;" Christina Perri's "Jar of Hearts;" John Mayer's "Heartbreak Warfare" from an album titled Battle Studies. Leona Lewis sings "You cut me open and I/ Keep bleeding, keep, keep bleeding love;" in way that makes love sound pathological, like hemophilia.

Bareilles' and Perri's songs are extended put downs seething with resentment and accusation, which is not to say that the men to whom they're addressed don't deserve it. Rob Thomas' "Mocking Bird" has the lines, "I don't want to love you now, if you'll just leave someday; I don't want to turn around, if you'll just walk away." I compiled this list from listening to The Pulse and Spectrum channels on SiriusXM. They're catchy tunes, performed well and seemingly quite popular.

There's a strong current of music that sounds like people think of love as just a source of pain and misery, something to fear and avoid. Lovesick yearning has always been around and people have written songs about it. There are a number of old folk songs about famous murders resulting from love affairs, but they seemed to be more cautionary tales of historical events. These current ones seem especially bleak, bitter and resentful, as if the switchblades are out.

It all reminds me of a book called Human Intimacy by Victor Brown which says that two things are required for true emotional intimacy, risk and commitment. In other words, intimacy is a process of learning how to be hurt and still stick with it, but that means that both partners need to be committed enough to do that.

Update: check out Theory of A Deadman (Not Meant To Be) There are are still a lot of traditional love songs (consider The Only Exception by Paramore), but I don't recall so many what just make relationships sound hopeless. Young people seem to have become pessimistic and negative about working out problems.

We grow on people

60% of Iraqis don't want U.S. forces to leave. Maybe they should make friends with Israel.

Seriously, I don't think they've had enough time to get democracy ingrained. This short period of self-governance may be remembered as a short glimpse of freedom. Let's hope not. They should start hanging corrupt politicians. That might make an impression. We just seem to reelect ours.

We probably don't realize how important the stamp George Washington left on the U.S. was. It took over 125 years before anybody ran for more than two terms as president.


I'm listening to Pandora Radio and it tells me that "
These artists are similar to the Beatles:
John Lennon
Paul McCartney (& Wings?)
George Harrison
John Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band
The Rolling Stones
What's Ringo Starr, chopped liver?

I guess I'm just getting old.

I'm glad I don't live in Arizona

I didn't like Hayworth much, but voting to let McCain keep pursuing Robert Byrd's record would have stuck in my craw.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Byron York:
Recently a number of top Democratic strategists conducted focus groups in Las Vegas, Charlotte, Philadelphia and St. Louis. They also conducted a national poll of 1,000 likely voters and an online poll of 2,000 more likely voters. They wanted to measure the public's feelings about Obamacare and help Democrats make an effective case for the bill they passed in March.

The researchers found what they call a "challenging environment," which is a nicer way of saying "disaster in the making."
When you fashion such sweeping legislation as Obamacare behind closed doors and then pass it before anybody can read, absorb and debate it, only those with no respect for our representative democracy will really approve of it.

One other item reminded me of how outraged many Democrats were when George W. Bush used the phrase, "Bring it on."
Just a few months ago, Obama issued a very public challenge to opponents who seek to dump Obamacare. "For those Republicans and folks who are on the 'repeal' platform, my attitude is, go for it," the president told a cheering crowd at a Democratic fundraiser in Florida April 15. "I'll have that fight. We'll have that argument."

Well, the time to fight, the time to argue, has arrived. But with everything on the line, the president's party is trying to run away.
He seemed willing to defend a law passed over nationwide opposition which has risen to alarm, but he's not up for election this year and those who are don't particularly want to remind people that they supported his agenda.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The power of No

There are plenty of times when 'No' is the right answer. You don't negotiate settlements with deceitful totalitarians. You don't agree to bigger deficits without a compelling reason, like war. A recession is not a compelling reason. Keynesian only works in theory, not in practice. The deficits you create have to be paid back, but politicians don't know how to tighten their belts.

I have believed for at least 35 years that most of the time, voting against increased spending is the right choice. In the case of the stimulus bill, health care reform and financial regulation reform, voting against them was justified solely on the way they were devised, behind doors, without time for anyone to read and absorb their implications and hold a public debate on them. That should be a minimum requirement for such sweeping legislation. Federal laws are so vague that it's essential that a legislative history be created to guide courts in interpreting them, but there is none for any of these bills.

Heh. I guess I should be watching Mad Men, but I just couldn't get into it.

If I were really smart I'd change the name of this blog to "Dr. Lyle Evans."

How's this for an indictment?

". . . many of Mr. DeLay’s actions remain legal only because lawmakers have chosen not to criminalize them.”

I don't care for Delay's actions, but he learned what one could get away with in D.C. by watching Democrats get away with it. They controlled the House for 40 years and wrote the book on corruption. If "lawmakers have chosen not to criminalize" such practices, you have to point at them as well as Delay.

C. Edmund Wright:
Memo to the ruling class media: We are not ignorant or stupid. We've not forgotten Jeremiah Wright. It's not that we don't "know" what faith Obama subscribes to -- it's more that we don't believe him. Or you.
I don't believe that Obama has any core faith, unless you count Bill Ayers and Saul Alinsky as prophets.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Why the Dems are so worried.

Why didn't we elect J. C. Watts?

He writes, "Repeal of ObamaCare can't come fast enough," and he's right. A good first step would be defeating Harry Reid and sending Nancy Pelosi back to the minority in the House.

MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.

Will the GOP, if it wins, repeat the mistakes of its past majorities?
My impression, not based on much analysis, is that the group elected in 1994 largely kept their word as set forth in the Contract with America. But over time, those who had pledged to serve for a limited time kept their word and we were left with opportunists and promise breakers and people who put partisan advantage ahead of ethics.

But the GOP took 12 years to squander its gains and lose Congress again. The Dems may have done it in 4.

The GOP is still under a burden of proof, however, with independents and its conservative and libertarian base. It should focus on economic issues, spending, taxes, deficits and debt, and reforming/reducing government. Forget about abortion, gay marriage, etc. Forget about trying to appeal to compassion. "Compassionate government" is what is bankrupting our nation. What Obama's victory has shown us is how reckless so-called progressives can be. Our Founding Fathers knew from their own experience and knowledge of history how dangerous and evil government power can be, they tried to fashion a system that would limit the accumulation of power, but the 'progressive' movement undercut their plan, and persuaded a fearful populace that the only salvation was stronger government. We should have learned by now, that our economic prosperity comes from free enterprise and hard work with minimal government bleed off of resources.

We should remember with humility that our long era of prosperity was in part due to the fact that the economies of Europe and the Far East were demolished by warfare, while ours was left standing. We have spent much of the past 50 years gradually disarming ourselves economically through 'progressive' programs to make us dependent on foreign nations for resources we could be providing for ourselves. The USSR destroyed itself trying to compete with us, but India and China are not so foolish as to follow the more radical demands of environmental 'progressives.' They will eat our lunch if we don't get over this "save the earth" nonsense. The earth doesn't need us to save it. We should preserve clean air and water and help save animal species because they are part of our stewardship as the most intelligent species on the planet, but we won't be doing much of any of those things if we can't continue to be as productive as we have in the past. Government subsidies and meddling in the markets don't enhance productivity. They eliminate the need for it.

We need a new politics of common sense and basic American virtues. We really don't have time or resources to waste on racism and class warfare. We can't force people to be ethical by passing laws. All that does is make the crooks more inventive. I don't like greedy fat cats any more than anybody else, but I recognize that they tend to appear most frequently in centers of power, whether financial or governmental. We can limit the financial ones, including fat cat labor leaders, by letting them fail when they deserve to. We can limit the governmental fat cats by voting out those who vote for more entitlements, more programs, more pork and earmarks and demanding real transparency such as Obama promised but never delivered. I don't know if he really thought he could pursue his agenda while putting the legislative process on C-Span, but he should know by now, if he's honest with himself, that the way his major initiatives were passed was anything but open and democratic. We tell ourselves that ours is a system of government by the people and for the people, but unless we get serious, that will become nothing more than a quaint trope. Unless we insist on responsible and honest government, we're headed for a depression that will leave a shambles for our children and a curse upon our heads. Let that not be so.

With Democrats running the show

New Jersey is "the first state of the union ever charged with violating federal securities laws."
New Jersey failed to disclose in 79 state bond offerings between 2001 and 2007 (totaling $26 billlion) that two public employee pension funds were underfunded. According to the SEC, the failure to disclose masked
the fact that New Jersey was unable to make contributions to [the pension funds] without raising taxes, cutting other services or otherwise affecting its budget. As a result, investors were not provided adequate information to evaluate the state's ability to fund the pensions or assess their impact on the state's financial condition.
Who was NJ Governor during that period? 2001 was the last year of Christine Whitman's tenure, Jim McGreevey served two years and resigned in a scandal that revealed his homosexuality, then it was Jon Corzine who was, before running, a U.S. Senator and before that the CEO of Goldman Sachs, a securities management and investment banking firm.

I can only hope Utah hasn't been doing this, or I'm screwed.

I call foul

They don't even show Crystal Light!