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CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR'S BOOKS

Friday, September 03, 2010

WORD AROUND THE NET

"Who proposed that? Oh yeah, I did. And so did thirty thousand economists.

Two years ago."
-Ace

Stephen Schochet has a new book out called Hollywood Short Stories in which he has compiled scores of little anecdotes and tales of stars and greats from Hollywood's past. Some you may have heard, others are new to me at least, and he's been excerpting a few of them at Big Hollywood for your entertainment and his potential book sales. One in particular I thought was worthy of passing on, about Katherine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, and the limousine leftist hypocrite:
One night at dinner, the outspoken actress got into a lively argument with her father Doc Hepburn about how to best help the less fortunate. Tired of their moralizing, Tracy went out to the porch for a smoke. After a couple of puffs, he looked up to see a very lost, very timid-looking Mexican fisherman who had somehow stumbled onto the property. Tracy yelled inside, “Hey, better get another plate ready in there, the poor are here to collect.”

Old man Hepburn came out on the porch. “Hey you, get the hell out of here! I’ll sic the dogs on you.”

After the frightened trespasser ran away, Thomas Hepburn told the startled Tracy, “Got to get the alarms fixed.”

Then the men went back inside, and the family resumed their discussion on aiding society’s downtrodden.

Sadly, that kind of thing is all too often the way the leftist elite faces problems - with other people's money and time, and in theories.

Attorney General Eric Holder has filed another suit against Arizonans attempting to enforce federal law, this time controversial sheriff Arpaio for civil rights violations. Byron York explains why this might be a difficult suit at The Examiner:
When the Department first informed Arpaio that a probe was under way, back in March 2009, it sent a letter saying the investigation would focus on "alleged patterns or practices of discriminatory police practices and unconstitutional searches and seizures." But now we learn that just six months before that, in September 2008, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, known as ICE, did its own investigation of Arpaio's office -- and gave it a clean bill of health. Arpaio's lawyers recently got a copy of the ICE report through the Freedom of Information Act.
Still, this is less about justice than about the Obama administration crushing a state for daring to make it look bad when it comes to border enforcement.

Facing electoral disaster, the Obama Administration is looking for ways to bleed off momentum from the Tea Party movement and help his party. The latest idea that is being floated out is the "tax holiday," something suggested by many in 2008 and swiftly rejected and mocked by then-Senator Obama. There's no question the Democrats are hard at work with at least some helpful members of the press to figure out an "October Surprise" to help their cause. I'd welcome tax cuts for businesses, and had they done this early 2009, well the recession might have already been over with and the economy might be roaring along by now. Ace of Spades puts it this way:
I had a number crunching blogger run the numbers for me, and he said that the "Stimulus" of around $900 billion could have paid for a full and complete payroll tax holiday for employers for 2 1/2 years, or a full payroll tax holiday for both businesses and employees for 1 1/4 years.
At this point, it just seems too late and too much like deliberate manipulation and desperation on the part of Democrats.

Bedbugs continue to capture Instapundit's attention, and Glenn Reynolds has this interesting email on the site about another potential cause for their rise:
Reader Tom Brosz writes: “I’ll tell you where at least some of the bedbug problem comes from. Used to be years ago hotels washed their linen in steaming hot water, and everybody got fresh crisp sheets every day when they stayed there. Nowadays, it’s all ‘green,’ and cold water washing at hotels is the rule of the day, along with places that don’t change your sheets unless you ask. I hope to God they still change them between customers, but sometimes I wonder.” Those old laundry customs were designed to limit the spread of bedbugs (and other gross things) but people have gotten complacent, I guess....
If I'd known bedbugs were going to be this hot 3 years ago I'd have pushed the little post I did harder. Maybe your parents weren't so dumb and world-hating after all, maybe the knew something you don't about cleanliness and an ordered society's requirements. Previously on WATN....

Michael Barone has a problem with big. That is, he thinks many of the problems we see in the world's economy these days can be traced to three big things: Big government (interference with the market, overspending, regulation), Big Union (increasing cost of doing business, expanding to areas that damage the market), and Big Business (damaging competition, cronies in government passing laws that manipulate the market, and being "too big to fail"). Moving away from these models gives smaller structures like small business and small local unions a better chance to thrive and help the economy rather than control it for their own benefit.

Nexagon is a chemical gel which acts to stimulate healing where it is applied. In places where healing is stopped or greatly reduced (such as an ulcer), it starts healing up, and in places where healing is going on, it speeds the healing significantly. Testing is still going on, but this could be a big breakthrough - or a ghastly carcinogen. Just remember: ever since the fall, every good thing has a bad side to it. For every X-Ray machine, there's an atomic bomb.

Recently a Swiss study was done on new automotive technologies and they discovered that when you include the manufacture and materials used to build electric cars, you actually are causing more environmental damage by driving one than a good diesel auto. The problem is all those rare earths and special processing to make the high-efficiency batteries are pretty nasty for the environment, while diesel is significantly less so.

Speaking of Diesel, James Enstrom, a Phd and epidemiologist at UCLA, was fired because of a study he put out. The study demonstrated that there was no causal link between diesel soot and deaths in California. This put him in direct contradiction to a California Air Resources Board (CARB) statement which claims its new standards on diesel emissions will save 9,400 lives over fifteen years starting in 2011 and will reduce California state health care costs by as much as $68 billion. As Van Helsing writes at Right Wing News, UCLA told Dr Enstrom that his work "is not aligned with the academic mission of the Department" and gave him his walking papers. Funny, I thought only the Soviet Union required scientists to produce work which agreed with the party line.

Graduation from high school in Oregon requires passing a few tests, such as one that demonstrates the ability to read and comprehend what you've read. This year, out of around 40,000 students in the Sophomore class taking the prep test, 12,000 failed. And that's better than last year. The ethnic groups doing worst? Hispanics and Blacks. The areas doing worst? Inner city schools. This year is the first year which requires passing the test to graduate. The Oregon Live site has a sample of the reading test and more details.

Good news for the students looking at taking this test next year though: Betsy Hammond at the Oregonian is reporting that they'll be able to use spell check while taking the test. Why? Because spell check is everywhere anyway, and why teach kids how to spell if that's true? Seriously, that's what education officials said, according to the Oregon Live story:
Among the reasons for the change: "the increasing use of computers with spell checkers for communication in the work place, college, postsecondary training, and the military."
The only thing left to do is spend more money on the test, clearly. They've already taken the "make it easier" step.

Monogamy and evolution is the subject of a book entitled Sex At Dawn, and it has caused some buzz around the internet with its conclusion that monogamy is counter to biology and evolution, a false construct imposed by culture. Putting aside questions of where that culture got this idea if we're merely meat puppets jerked around by random evolutionary events, I can't help but notice that so much of modern evolutionary theory and study involves a scientist with an agenda hammering away on it like a kid determined to get that round piece through the star-shaped hole. Megan McArdle is reading the book and she's not impressed with their scholarship, science, or writing abilities.

Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus and a Democrat. She's also guilty of misappropriating CBC funds to friends and family members. Todd J Gillman and Christy Hoppe write at the Dallas Morning News:
Longtime Dallas congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson has awarded thousands of dollars in college scholarships to four relatives and a top aide's two children since 2005, using foundation funds set aside for black lawmakers' causes.

The recipients were ineligible under anti-nepotism rules of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, which provided the money. And all of the awards violated a foundation requirement that scholarship winners live or study in a caucus member's district.
Representative Johnson said she didn't mean to give all that money to family and friends, she just was trying to help out needy and worthy people that she happened to know. Look for her to claim racism is involved in the accusation is racist in a few weeks. Meanwhile, Breitbart has video presenting evidence that she bypassed worthy candidates to favor her buddies and family.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is a hapless little wretch but he wields a lot of political power. However, even he has overstated his power with a recent statement trying to defend his "we've lost the Iraq war" statement which proved humiliatingly false:
At the time Sen. Reid made this comment, President Bush had been pursuing a failed, stay-the-course strategy that had cost thousands of American lives and billions of taxpayer dollars. Iraq appeared to be on the verge of a sectarian civil war. He was simply pointing out what our military leaders, including Gen. Petraeus, had been saying for months: that we could not win by staying the course; the war needed to be won diplomatically, politically, and economically.

Sen. Reid and his colleagues were successful in forcing President Bush to finally abandon his failed approach and refocus on political reconciliation. This is what ultimately paved the way for the Iraqi government to take greater responsibility for Iraq’s future. Sen. Reid’s comments were directed at President Bush and his following of misguided policymakers, not at the heroic troops who continue to serve our country with incredible courage.
Guy Benson at Town Hall points out the problem with this spin: the surge was already underway when Senator Reid made his comment and provides the video of him making this idiotic statement. What a miserable example of all that is wrong with congress today.

Snohomish County, Washington has a funny name, but it also has a funny government. The Snohomish County Commission has decided that smoking should be restricted in public housing, so they're going to give more money to no-smoking units than those that allow it.

Not to be outdone, Pierce County, led by anti-smoking zealot
Dr. Anthony Chen is looking at a total ban on all smoking in and around apartment and multi unit residential buildings. Dr Chen's predecessor already has banned smoking in almost all public places such as bars and bowling alleys.

Oregon Senator Democrat Ron Wyden (one of the fifty richest man in congress) voted for the "stimulus" package and for the Government Health Insurance Takeover plan. But now he wants to get an exemption for Oregon from that very same plan. His advertising is hilarious, he totally avoids mentioning that he's a Democrat and portrays himself as a rebel, an independent voice of reform and transparency standing up to Reid and Pelosi. Wyden is also not polling well against Huffman, his Republican opponent.

Another Oregon story: Oregon's Department of Transportation as given up watering the grass along highways and has taken up a different approach: paint. Painting the grass costs about $6,000. Watering it costs $8,000. Maybe they could just let it go yellow naturally, and grow in the winter and save all that money?

Finally, a man called 9-1-1 emergency services with a desperate request: he needed a hug and some hot cocoa. Well we've all had those days, but really leave that for real emergencies. Of course, he was calling from his neighbor's hot tub, where he'd not been invited and was yelling at them so much they had previously called 9-1-1.

And that's the Word Around the Net, September 3, 2010.

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