Saturday, December 31, 2011

Confessions of a surgeon.

Charles Krauthammer, after recounting the questions about whether there is other intelligent life in the universe, has this insight:
Rather than despair, however, let’s put the most hopeful face on the cosmic silence and on humanity’s own short, already baleful history with its new Promethean powers: Intelligence is a capacity so godlike, so protean that it must be contained and disciplined. This is the work of politics — understood as the ordering of society and the regulation of power to permit human flourishing while simultaneously restraining the most Hobbesian human instincts. There could be no greater irony: For all the sublimity of art, physics, music, mathematics and other manifestations of human genius, everything depends on the mundane, frustrating, often debased vocation known as politics (and its most exacting subspecialty — statecraft). Because if we don’t get politics right, everything else risks extinction. We grow justly weary of our politics. But we must remember this: Politics — in all its grubby, grasping, corrupt, contemptible manifestations — is sovereign in human affairs. Everything ultimately rests upon it.
The problem is that we're also an intensely emotional species, not always driven by rationality. How else to explain how so many in our universities believe that Marxist and Socialist policies can lead to prosperity despite the evidence of history. It also occurs to me that if extraterrestrials communicate across galactic distances, they've discovered some means to do so that we don't share. Perhaps telepathy, perhaps hyperspace, perhaps something that would appear supernatural or magick to us. I've believed since I began to ask myself about life, the universe and everything that God is a scientist, that "the glory of God is intelligence," the accumulation of truth. Mankind has placed a large sphere of truth outside of respectable inquiry, but expecting to receive radio signals limited by the speed of light is a pretty pointless if we ever really hope to discover the whole truth.

Romney Promises End To PBS Subsidies Tell me again how he's not a conservative.

Michael Barone: Voters Want Growth, Not Income Redistribution. I hope he's right come November.

Friday, December 30, 2011

This is what keeps me watching The World's Dumbest. The real things people do are beyond what anybody could concoct for Wiley Coyote. This week's show featured a clip from Brazil of young men stripping down to their shorts and having another drag them across pavement to scrape the skin from their buttocks followed by the application of rubbing alcohol to the wounds.

Mark Steyn on the lack of progress in reducing spending and debt.
At the end of 2011, America, like much of the rest of the Western world, has dug deeper into a cocoon of denial. Tens of millions of Americans remain unaware that this nation is broke – broker than any nation has ever been. A few days before Christmas, we sailed across the psychological Rubicon and joined the club of nations whose government debt now exceeds their total GDP. It barely raised a murmur – and those who took the trouble to address the issue noted complacently that our 100 percent debt-to-GDP ratio is a mere two-thirds of Greece's. That's true, but at a certain point per capita comparisons are less relevant than the sheer hard dollar sums: Greece owes a few rinky-dink billions; America owes more money than anyone has ever owed anybody ever.
We have got to get serious and elect serious people to do this job, or America will have no future.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Santorum is surging in the polls, although it's unclear how far it will take him. I posted the following comment at the link:
Now it's Santorum's turn to ride the Stop-Romney wave. But as that ad demonstrates, he can hardly pass muster as a fiscal conservative. He also has no experience as an executive or director of any large enterprise. He and the others, other than Perry, are all legislators, who think in terms of policies without having to worry about the details of implementing them. They can make bold and sweeping pronouncements and promises because they don't know or care what it will take to make them happen. The time to be preparing, organizing and fund raising for this election was the past three years. I read a lot of snarky remarks about Mitt having been running since 2008, but that seems to me to be his biggest advantage: his organizing, planning, fund raising and preparation. He seems to be the only one who has a realistic idea of what this campaign will take to win. This country is suffering, like the traveler in the parable, lying wounded by the road, and when the one comes by who is best able to help, conservatives seem determined to turn him away because he's a Samaritan and wait for a priest or Levite to come along. It ought to be clear by now that nobody else is coming except more of the thieves who brought us to this pass in the first place.

It seems to be Santorum's turn for a boost in the polls. I don't know how much that will really help him overall. He has little money for ads and has based his strategy on doing well in Iowa and building on that momentum, but I can't see him bringing in much money. He's very conservative, which is what appeals to Iowa's evangelicals, but how well that would translate to a national campaign I don't see. I think that a lot of people are dropping their pose of impartiality and saying the obvious, Mitt Romney is the one with the best chance against Obama. whatever you think of his record, he's the one who has prepared for this the longest, with organization and money raising. (I don't consider Ron Paul as a serious candidate. At 76, I doubt that he'd have the stamina to serve even if he won.)

Andrew Malcolm is having a lot of fun making fun of the New York Times' errant email offering subscribers a special deal, designed to get back those readers who had canceled the paper.

Washington's dirty secret
In fiscal 2011, the cost of the promises grew from $30.9 trillion to $33.8 trillion. To put that in context, consider that the total value of companies traded on U.S. stock markets is $13.1 trillion, based on the Wilshire 5000 index, and the value of the equity in U.S. taxpayers’ homes, according to Freddie Mac, is $6.2 trillion. Said another way, there is not enough wealth in America to meet those promises.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Rethinking Mormon Morality, an essay on the evangelical meme that Mormons aren't Christians.

John Hinderaker:
It is time for Republicans to get serious. After flirting with just about every candidate in a large presidential field, is is time to come home to the one candidate who has the demonstrated ability to run the largest organization in the United States, the Executive Branch of the federal government; who has never been touched by the slightest taint of scandal; whose success in the private sector makes him the outsider that Republicans say they are looking for; and who has by far the best chance of beating President Obama: Mitt Romney.
I agree. This is not to say that Romney is the best possible candidate, but he is the best choice from those who are running, including the fact that he's built a national organization and is leading the rest in fundraising. Most of the others have jumped in at the last minute or were running for the publicity. Today, the anybody but Romney contingent are turning to Santorum, but they haven't considered that he has never held an executive position. He and Gingrich have been legislators, but that's far different from running a large organization, which calls for a different skill set.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Joy to the World! Unless you didn't get an iPhone.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Mark Steyn reiterating why falling birthrates are dooming the West economically.