Saturday, September 04, 2010

How fast was Christchurch going?

Mayor: Quake hit city 'like an iceberg.'

Just another rumor?

With Ms. Salahi's record, she could show up uninvited. That WOULD be a first.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Unemployment rose to 9.6%, but . . .
The U.S. jobless rate rose to 9.6% in August, but the government’s broader measure of unemployment rose even more to 16.7%, the highest rate since April.

The comprehensive gauge of labor underutilization, known as the “U-6″ for its data classification by the Labor Department, accounts for people who have stopped looking for work or who can’t find full-time jobs.
Steve Benen, looks at job losses, because this number has slowly improved and has now showed some jobs created in the private sector.

Which is more indicative of the overall health of the economy? I'm no economist, but when I notice that the unemployment rate is not getting better even though the private sector is adding some jobs, my guess is that these "new jobs" aren't be created fast enough to keep up with the number of people looking for work, which increases as new workers come into the job market. Using a difference statistics that the unemployment rates, doesn't change the fact that the economy isn't really improving or is doing so only sluggishly at bet. Not much to persuade people to vote Dem in November.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

In politics, nobody should get cocky, ever.

Instapundit is fond of the line from Star Wars: A New Hope "Great kid! Don't get cocky!" and quotes or paraphrases it frequently. He features a long post quoting comments on the theme from his readers. The advice applies not just to the GOP. It also applies to conservatives, the Tea Party, and anybody who starts taking success for granted.

Politics, from the viewpoint of politicians, is about power, but for most non-political types, it's about government. I think that a lot of people consider government news little more than background noise, and politics a nuisance that nobody can get rid of. When they hear that the government wants to help people who can't afford health insurance, they think, "Well, that's nice!" Everybody feels sympathy for those who are needy. That's why such programs poll well until people know more about how much they cost and how.

That has changed now. People are frightened by the way the Democrats have followed on the financial collapse with even bigger deficits, a move toward taking over the nations health-care system and looming tax increases. They see the way these bills were passed, without input from opponents, developed in secret and voted on without time for people to know what was in them as arrogant. They saw more arrogance at townhall meetings and politicians ducking hard questions and criticism. Now, they're angry. The temptation is for the GOP to see whatever is bad for the Dems as good for them, and assume that this will blow over and that it will then be business as usual. They make a mistake to dismiss the Tea Party as a bunch of radical conservatives and libertarians who have always been a thorn in their side. Ask Bob Bennett.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

They'll never learn

Robert Rubin and Julian Robertson write in the WSJ, that we should bring back the estate tax now, on the grounds that, according to the sub-head, "allowing it to lapse has cost us billions of dollars in revenue this year."

That's one way to defeat the capital freeze caused by uncertainty; spring tax changes on people and businesses without enough time for them to react. Yeah. It worked so well for FDR.

The Omniscience of Hindsight

What a strange argument Glenn Greewald makes.
The predominant attribute of American elites is a refusal to take responsibility for any failures. The favored tactic for accomplishing this evasion is the "nobody-could-have-known" excuse. Each time something awful occurs -- the 9/11 attack, the Iraq War, the financial crisis, the breaking of levees in New Orleans, the general ineptitude and lawlessness of the Bush administration -- one is subjected to an endless stream of excuse-making from those responsible, insisting that there was no way they "could have known" what was to happen: "I don't think anybody could have predicted that they would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile," Condoleezza Rice infamously said on May 16, 2002, despite multiple FBI and intelligence documents warning of exactly that. One finds identical excuses for each contemporary American disaster. Robert Gibbs just invoked the same false excuse: that "nobody" knew the depth of the financial and unemployment crisis early last year.
Note that nowhere does he claim that he or any of his fellow lefties knew any of these things, nor does he mention the lapse of the Clinton administration to do anything serious about Al Qaeda, despite an escalating series of acts of war against American troops, embassies and the USS Cole.

The point here is that a lot of people were worried about further attacks by bin Laden's organization. A lot of people predicted the current disastrous results of the last 18 months of irresponsible spending and expansions of government, as evidenced the rise of the Tea Party movement motivated by that exact fear. While Greenwald and his cohorts have denied, mocked and spewed bile and accusations, the ranks of the movement grew and the administration and Congress ignored the rising opposition to their overweening agenda. Who could have known it would lead to this debacle? Certainly not Greenwald.

Recriminations like this are natural, but his litany goes back over the past decade. At some point, mature people, particularly those focused on dealing with problems rather than litigating them ad infinitum, have to act based on the facts as they are. Part of governing and politics is the fact that there will always be alternate claims about what happened, why, what could or should have been done to prevent it and most importantly, what should be done about it now. The decision our founders made is to leave these decisions to the political process. It's endlessly frustrating when you're sure the people are making a big mistake, but as Kipling wrote,
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;
you might have grown up and become a decent leader.

Yikes! Virtual demographics in Japan. Mark Steyn should have some pithy comments.

CNN: Murkowski could concede Alaska GOP race as early as Tuesday, i.e. tonight.

I'm in no hurry. Let's just wait and see. It's still a very close election and may be subject of a recount. Just don't take so long that the winner can't campaign in the main election.

Another lame attempt by Feminists to seize the name "Mama Grizzlies" away from Sara Palin.

First of all, female grizzlies try to avoid contact with males when they have cubs, because the males will kill cubs in order to bring the female into breeding condition. The females will defend their cubs ferociously, when they can't avoid a confrontation, but that has no analogy to feminism. Female bears do not vie with males in any other situation, because nature doesn't recognize political theory. Some critters have larger females who eat the males after mating, but not grizzlies. I guess having your cub killed by a male would be the Grizzly parallel to abortion rights, but I don't see any female Grizzlies fighting for the right to just turn over the cub and go their way in relief.

Secondly, Ruth Bader Ginsburg? The analogy just isn't going to work! Give it up!
Find another symbol.

I had forgotten this.

In Nevada, "None of these candidate" is a choice on the ballot. That could help Harry Reid defeat Sharron Angle. I've often thought about I'd like to have that choice on the ballot, but I can see that it can reward mudslinging by making people so disgusted that they reward a candidate who otherwise couldn't win by voting against both him and his opponent, essentially reducing the requirement from a majority to a plurality. My proposal, however, has always been to count the number of registered voters who fail to vote as votes for "None of the above." This is, of course, entirely impractical. Nobody would win most elections. But it might be worth doing for one year, just to make it clear to people how their failure to vote can seize up the workings of our republican form of government. The trick now would be how to assure that those who do vote, are informed on the issues and the candidates and I don't know how to do that.

A soft message enrages the true haters.

I watched Glenn Beck's show this afternoon for a few minutes and as he cited various "reports" and comments about the "Restore Honor" gathering and himself, it occurred to me that his critics and enemies have handed him a huge victory and amplified his message by contrast to their own bitterness and disdain for religious faith. Our founders, even those who didn't personally practice or support sectarian religion, believed in religious freedom and expression as a necessary part of self-government.

To see Chris Matthews project that Dr. King would see this gathering and say, "I have a nightmare!" or Ed Schulz shouting about his hatred for and desire to crush Fox News in the ratings, nothing needs to be said by Beck to refute them.

Some have said that this is all because Beck is a shrewd manipulator. Howard Dean compared him to Father Coughlin, a notorious antisemite and bigot. He could have conducted his entire program today without saying a word, just replaying clips of his critics and scenes from the rally. Beck, this "master demagogue," really didn't do anything new. He is emulating Martin Luther King, Jesus and harking back to the words of Psalms in the King James Version: "A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger," but with a spin. He let his critics spew the grievous words, but turned the other cheek. If he made a mistake, it was in letting his giddiness over the success of this event show through. The Beck Haters will call this gloating, but, hey, it's only human to rejoice when your plans succeed so well.

If this proved anything about Glenn Beck, it's that he's no dummy, and that his critics are gravely mistaken to rely on demonizing or dismissing him. He used the same appeal to the better angels of our nature that Abraham Lincoln in 1864 and Barack Obama in 2004 invoked before him.

The LDS Church owned Deseret News one of two remaining daily newspapers in Salt Lake City has announced "the reduction in our print work force by 57 full-time and 28 part-time employees, which reflects just over 43 percent of our work force." The Paper will integrate its newsroom with KSL radio and television, also owned by the church.

Orrin Lays and Hatches an Egg.

He just doesn't get it. Nor, apparently, has he heard about the 'developers' unpaid property taxes and criminal record. If he can't pay his property taxes, I'd want to know where his funding was coming from, especially if it were coming from Muslim sources.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Want to lose weight?

Eat like Australopithecus, but be aware that you won't be able to meet your energy needs. It takes meat and there's a program on the Science Channel tonight called How Food Made Us Human about the theory that meat is what made us evolve our large brains. Of course, that doesn't explain why human ancestors started eating meat instead of staying in the trees, but then in science not everything has to have a reason. It could be just be a simple, fortunate mutation.

From watching the "primitive" hunter-gatherers shown in the program, it certainly doesn't look like it was just handier to start hunting, killing, butchering and cooking animal flesh. None of the hunters were fat. Their lifestyle takes too much work. Furthermore, the program demonstrates how cooking food, even vegetarian animals like mice, gives animals more energy and makes them fatter. Cooking makes food easier to digest by breaking it down before we eat it and allows our digestive processes to release more sugars into our blood.

Extremely lean meat, however, isn't sufficient. It has too much protein to meet our energy demands without overloading our livers. That's called rabbit starvation, because rabbit flesh has very little fat. Fat is where the energy comes from and together with protein, it makes bigger brains possible. Bone marrow is rich in it. Brains take quite a bit of energy, and the myelin which insulates nerve fibers is made of 80% fat and 20% protein.

(There's no link, because I couldn't find one to this documentary. Maybe it's too politically incorrect to promote meat consumption.)

Bishop's Murder Appears the Result of Insanity

More on the murder of Mormon Bishop Clay Sannar:
The brother of a man accused of the fatal shooting of a Mormon church official in Central California says the man was a former member of the congregation who felt wronged by a leader in 1988.

Mike Ward told the Visalia Times-Delta newspaper Monday that his older brother, 47-year-old Kenneth James Ward of Modesto, also was mentally ill.

Police say Kenneth Ward walked into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Visalia on Sunday and killed Clay Sannar, a lay bishop. Kenneth Ward later died in a shootout with officers after telling police where they could find him.

Mike Ward told the Times-Delta that his brother didn't know Sannar. He says his brother had been a church member in the 1980s and was upset by a bishop then who had "shunned him to hell."
That's all the report says. Mormons don't practice "shunning to hell." Ward may have been excommunicated or disfellowshipped in 1988, both of which may be reversed through reinstatement.

Another report states:
Visalia police have confirmed that the man they say shot and killed a Mormon bishop Sunday had been arrested for making criminal and terrorists threats in Modesto.

The circumstances of the arrests are not being made public, however a Stanislaus County court worker said that a man named Kenneth Ward, who is the same age as the suspect, had been arrested in 2004 for making threats against a victim at a church.

The name of the church was not released.

The brother of the suspect, Mike Ward, said his brother did have a past incident and was committed to a psychiatric hospital, but would not go into details.

Mike Ward has been going door-to-door apologizing to families living on Burrel Street.

Police are also calling Lay Bishop Clay Sannar, who was gunned down Sunday at the Church of Jesus Christ Latter-Day Saints, a hero because he urged people to leave the church offices after Ward walked in and made a scene, police said.

Like Lucy and the Football

Obama asks Republicans to serve on 'bi-partisan' deficit commission to make recommendations on resolving our out-of-control spending problems, then attacks the GOP recommendations for reforming Social Security with scare tactics implying that retirees will lose their benefits.

Eat More Calimari!

'Giant' man-eating squid are destroying fish stocks! Must be global warming again.

Woo hoo!

A universal cure!

But wait until the lawsuit solicitation ads are out.

How is Journolist like a Sex Tape?

People have offered $100,000 for both of them. As Beck said today, the mouth of hell is about to open. I didn't know what he was talking about at the time. He admitted that he isn't proud of his behavior before about 10 years ago.

It's interesting how repentance, as opposed to facile apologies, immunizes people from attacks on their past. Repentance means more than just regret. It means change, literally 'turning around' or 'turning back.'

The first group of links at Memorandum today are all attacks on Beck and the Restore Honor gathering. But I like Ross Douthat's comment, "In a sense, Beck's 'Restoring Honor' was like an Obama rally through the looking glass." James Taranto adds, "Watching news coverage of Saturday's uplifting, pietistic speeches reminded us, too, of the prepresidential Obama--not the Obama of 2008 and the bizarre personality cult, but the Obama of 2004, who in his Democratic National Convention speech urged listeners to rise above identity politics." Both agree that the rally took on political tones, but I don't think that was the intent. It wouldn't even have been controversial if there weren't so many anti-American voices in the media today. You just couldn't have Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin and not have it seen as a political rally.

Taranto continues:
Douthat makes one serious error. True, the Beck rally was about "identity politics." But the identity being celebrated was not that of "middle-class white Christians," even if many of the attendees can be stuffed into that pigeonhole, but of Americans. The message resonated, and had political content, because, as we argued Friday, the country is currently governed by an oikophobic self-anointed elite that is unable to hide its contempt for Americans qua Americans.

That was clear in much of the news coverage. catches ABC News's Christiane Amanpour trying to explain it all:
it was about--as speaker after speaker kept saying--restoring patriotism and proud-to-be-an-American. I point that out because I think that is what gets such a big cheer from people. And perhaps when we try to figure out why there's such a huge number of people coming to these rallies, in a period of time when people feel such anxiety, such anger, such sort of worry about what's going on around them--the economy and the rest--they come here and they hear a feel-good message, and that they respond to.
As NewsBusters' Mark Finkelstein observes, "Sounds like Amanpour sees religion and patriotism as . . . the opiate of the masses." Yep, Marxism Lite.

Investment tip

Earplug futures.

After noting much of the media coverage of the huge gathering on Saturday at the Lincoln Monument which characterized it as a Tea Party rally, as hate filled, as a usurpation of Martin Luther King's Dream, etc., I watched Glenn Beck's show this afternoon. He didn't come on with his usual levity and with a humble attitude to explain the true nature of this gathering, which was a call to return to the faith in God that has characterized the United States in the past. He presented images and reports to demonstrate number of people who attended, the order and peacefulness of the gathering and generally to refute reports in the media that it was a political rally. I had seen references to a Black Robed Regiment, but when he explained that this group comprised ministers, priests, rabbis and clergy of various religions and denominations, community leaders and mothers, I realized that comparisons to the KKK or some kind of quasi- military group were mischaracterizations.

Now, Glenn Beck could just be a clever manipulator, a wolf in sheep's clothing, pretending to care about honor, faith, hope and charity and God while in secret plotting to gain political power, but he has never struck me that way. In his serious moments, he comes across as a sincere man concerned about his country and the divisions occurring among us and about a return to the vision of our founders. He's a man with a message, but it seems to be an exhortation to a return to individual responsibility, caring for others and to respect for faith and prayer, to "firm reliance on divine providence," and to personal probity and the universal values taught by religion. He is, in Mormon terms, offering his testimony. The theme of the the gathering was "Restore honor" referring to the last line of the Declaration of Independence, "And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor."

I've read and heard the criticisms of Beck and tone of his attackers. The answer to such vitriol shouldn't be in the same spirit, and I think that is what Beck is trying to do, to present a message of a return to the values that built this nation. His critics sound bitter, angry, cynical and full of sound and fury and, yes, lies.

Beck called upon us to volunteer to serve our country, our God and our fellow men, to tithe, and reaffirm your sacred honor, to stand for truth without fear for the results. He challenged his listeners to make this commitment in the next 40 Days and 40 nights. Men have given their lives for their honor. Who does that today? Only terrorists. But that is not what martyrdom is about. The emphasis of martyrdom is on standing by your principles, defending one another, even to death, not to killing innocents.

If you still don't get it, re-read the Sermon on the Mount, in which Jesus instructed his disciples on how they should represent him in the world. It wasn't a discourse on foreign policy or politics. His kingdom is not of this world. That is the key to understanding his Sermon. His kingdom and its representatives turn the other cheek. Political leaders have to obey other rules, the rules of this harsh world. Christ's representatives must rely on his inspiration and spiritual protection.

An LDS Bishop in Visalia, California, was murdered at the ward meetinghouse by a man nobody seems to know. No motive has been established.

LDS bishops are lay clergy, donating at least 30 hours [my estimate] a week to the members of their congregations, called wards. They really live the Savior's teaching that leadership involves service. Besides conducting committee meetings, bishops also conduct annual interviews with young members in the ward, with young men prior to being ordained to the priesthood or advanced. They also interview members to determine worthiness to enter the church's temples, where the highest ordinances of the church, including marriage for time and eternity are performed along with baptisms and other ordinances for the dead, are performed.

It was while doing interviews of this sort that Bishop Clay Sannar was shot and killed at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints chapel on Tulare Avenue in Visalia by Kenneth James Ward from Modesto, California, on Sunday afternoon.

A note on the organization of the church: local congregations are called 'wards' which originated as both a political and religious term in the city of Nauvoo, Illinois which was established and built by member of the LDS church in the late 1830s before being abandoned in the 1840s upon ultimatum by enemies of the church. "Ward" had the same meaning that it has in Chicago, New Orleans and other cities. The same practice was followed in Salt Lake City and other Mormon settlements after they arrived in the areas that are now in Utah, Idaho, Arizona and Nevada. Later, after secular governments took over, the church continued to use the geographical division of Wards, but they now apply to church organization. A number of wards comprises a Stake, which is an allusion to a tent stake from a Biblical verse which compares the kingdom of God to the tents used by the Semitic peoples of the Middle East, which were set up with a center pole or stake and then stretched out into different chambers held up and in place by other poles (stakes) and ropes attached to smaller stakes driven into the ground.

Today, the church is established around the world and divided into Areas and Regions. The officers of the church are Apostles, who comprise the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelves, the Quorums of Seventy. There is also an Office of the Presiding Bishop, which conducts the day to day financial and real estate operations of the church, including the welfare system of the church, under the supervision of the Twelve and the First Presidency.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The usual accusers are pointing to this incident in Tennessee as proof that Americans are bigots, but it's really evidence that Americans are getting tired of waiting for reciprocity from Muslim leaders and spokesmen in this country and worldwide who continue to preach jihad and world dominion and sponsor attacks on Americans. You have freedom of religion here, but not the right to seek the overthrow of religious freedom.

Another Carter comparison

Why experience is important in a President.

For Obama, Steep Learning Curve as Chief in War:
While Mr. Obama took three sometimes maddening months to decide to send more forces to Afghanistan, other decisions as commander in chief have come with dizzying speed, far less study and little public attention.

He is the first president in four decades with a shooting war already raging the day he took office — two, in fact, plus subsidiaries — and his education as a commander in chief with no experience in uniform has been a steep learning curve. He has learned how to salute. He has surfed the Internet at night to look into the toll on troops. He has faced young soldiers maimed after carrying out his orders. And he is trying to manage a tense relationship with the military.
Nobody expects every President to be a military expert, but he or she should have some executive experience, and understanding how the military works is definitely a big help.

The developer of the Middle Finger Mosque is behind on the property taxes on the project by nearly a quarter million buck. Once again, where's his money going to come from? If I were a planning commissioner, I wouldn't approve a project like this without knowing that the developer could finish it.

Two from the Times

Policy Options Dwindle as Economic Fears Grow and Why We Need A Second Stimulus That's what we need, new thinking! Maybe they can pass another stimulus during the lame duck session.

Ooh, there are billionaires supporting the tea party movement! Somehow, I doubt that George Soros or Steve Bing are among them. How much money did Obama raise again?

Heh. After spending the past two years excoriating and belittling Sarah Palin, feminists want a Palin of their own?

Wasn't Obama their Palin? Or was it Biden? Joy Behar? Rosie O'Donnell? It's hard to imagine a hard core feminist being as likable as Sara Palin. Somehow, she just keeps emerging resembling Hillary Clinton.

Honoring Reverend King with a "Separate but Better" Rally

Al Sharpton blunts the dream.


Via Instapundit. It seems that African Americans were invited to attend, but chose to hold their own separate by equal rally elsewhere. Just because the crowd was "overwhelming white" it doesn't mean that there was segregation going on. Maybe we could get a busing order in place for the next rally.