Friday, June 24, 2011

WORD AROUND THE NET

"Because you can’t spell unethical with out UN"

Spyker AutoSanity prevailed in the Netherlands, and Geert Wilders has been found not guilty of hate speech for honestly portraying radical Islam. Well, mostly prevailed, since the people that cost the country so much time and money even having the trial in the first place are still in power and aren't being billed for the expenses.

Something every insurance company has ever done is ration its coverage. They can't afford to cover everything for everybody, so they have to say "no" sometimes. The advantage of having a free market system is that chances are if you have a real problem, you can find an insurer that will cover you - it will just cost you. If the government takes over all the system and refuses to cover you, you're out of options.

That's why when people talk about "death panels" and "rationing" in the context of socialized medicine, its a problem. And when Cass Sunstein, President Obama's head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs says this:
Rather than ensuring that everyone get the best care possible, Sunstein wrote that government should rely instead on the "value of a statistical life year" (VSLY), which would likely result in significantly lower benefit calculations for elderly people and significantly higher benefits for children.

Government would assign a dollar value to your life in terms of what it's worth, and if you exceeded that limit, well, too bad. Britain's National Health Service has a similar measure of cost-effectiveness called the "quality adjusted life year" to see if your life is worth saving.

In the paper, Sunstein said, "I urge that the government should indeed focus on statistical life years rather than statistical lives. A program that saves young people produces more welfare than one that saves old people." He added that under the VSLY approach, "Older
people are treated worse for one reason, they are older. This is not an injustice."
... it makes people nervous about what they have in mind.

The United Nations sometimes seems like it was founded to hammer on Israel. Its Council on Human Rights (CHR) consistently and continuously attacks Israel while ignoring other countries.
Israel demanded Friday a UN vote and called on members to vote against a Human Rights Council agenda for the next five years, which will keep Israel as the only permanent state to be targeted out of 192 member-states.
...
The US, Canada, and Palau are the only countries that joined Israel in objecting to the agenda, which passed with an automatic approval of 154 states.
That's right, a council with Cuba, Saudi Arabia, China, and until a few months ago Libya voted to keep Israel as a continual target of condemnation. What a shock. The UN already had to dismantle the CHR's predecessor, the Human Rights Commission was disbanded for being basically worthless, dominated by human rights violators, and attacking Israel, so it was rebuilt... and does exactly the same thing. As William Jacobson says, defund, dismantle. Ship the UN somewhere they fit in better, like Germany.

Oregon's state government has decided to increase water standards, as I wrote about last week. The water standards were perfectly safe in the state already (far beyond the safe level, in fact) but without a vote or legislation, the regulatory agencies of the state just decided to increase the standards to ten times the federal levels. Republicans in the legislature decided that perhaps this should have been put to a vote, and offered legislation that would require the Senate to approve regulatory changes, but the bill was shot down by the Democrat Majority.

Named "the race" and clearly a Hispanic supremacist group with ties to Reconquista radicals, La Raza is also tied to some Mexican prison gangs. That's no deterrant to President Obama, though, who plans on speaking at the yearly La Raza national conference. Imagine a group of whites claiming to be working to help white people in America exclusively, called "The Race" or "The People." Now imagine what would happen if any president went to speak at their conference.

Texas has been busy. They tried passing legislation that would make it illegal for airport security workers to engage in certain search procedures (which are basically groping passengers), but they backed down when the Obama administration stamped its foot. They passed legislation making it legal to create and sell incandescent bulbs in the state, and most recfently, the state senate committee sent a bill to the legislature outlawing "sanctuary cities." Technically these cities are already breaking federal immigration laws, but since the feds won't do anything about it, apparently Texas has decided it will.

Arizona passed a law a while back that prohibits education in its state school system which
  1. Promote overthrowing the U.S. government;
  2. Promote resentment towards a race or class of people;
  3. Are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic race; and
  4. Advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.
Recently, the state superintendent finds that Tuscon's Unified School District's Ethnic Studies program (particularly its Mexican Studies portion) violated this law. Apparently they were pushing Mexican superiority, although the story does not say exactly, although another story says that some charge that the schools promote racial resentment. TUSD has 60 days to prove they are in compliance or lose $15 million in funding. Why they're offering ethnic studies to begin with is my question.

Gerrymandering is being discussed a lot lately, as the US starts redistricting in response to the 2010 census. Usually the complaint is that the people making districts are doing it too much - they are creating ridiculous, confusing districts based on political advantage rather than proportional representation. However, the Delaware Black Caucus has a different approach: they are angry that the Democratic Party majority of the state legislature isn't gerrymandering enough.

Unable to get the DREAM Act to pass in congress, the Obama administration is trying its favorite ploy: just implement it by regulation. Neil Munro at the Daily Caller reports:
The new rules were quietly announced Friday with a new memo from top officials at the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. The “prosecutorial discretion” memo says officials need not enforce immigration laws if illegal immigrants are enrolled in an education center or if their relatives have volunteered for the US military.

“They’re pushing the [immigration] agents to be even more lax, to go further in not enforcing the law,” said Kris Kobach, Kansas’ secretary of state.
...
“We think it is an excellent step,” said Laura Vasquez, at the Hispanic-advocacy group, La Raza...
Why President Obama even bothers with trying to get legislation passed to begin with I can't figure out.

California's thermostats and electrical grid tracks how you use your power instead of just how much you use it. President Obama likes the "smart grid" idea, but most people who aren't pleased with government intrusion oppose it. Now someone has been arrested protesting the installation of these Big Brother devices, and hopefully more resistance will build.

White House energy secretary Chu promised that by the end of spring the White House would have (more) solar panels and a solar powered hot water heater on the roof. Its summer and they still aren't up. Its likely they'd interfere with security and communications, but the plan is still in place. This kind of thing sort of calls into question the consistency of the Obama administration's demands everyone else move to this sort of energy production.

Meanwhile, GM's Volt plant was supposedly going to be this big demonstration of alternate energy. They put solar arrays on the roof and bought wind power. The solar panels cost 3 million to install and save... fifteen thousand a year on energy costs. As Seton Motley notes at Big Government, that will take just two hundred years - assuming no replacements and the flow of power is uninterrupted by heavy clouds.

When you've lost the whackos in your group, you know you've gone too far. Mark Lynard threw a pie in the face of Bjorn Lomborg for questioning some alarmist science, but even he has had enough of the IPCC's shoddy and questionable reports. This time the IPCC claimed that 80% of the world's energy could be produced by alternate sources like wind and solar which have proved insufficient for even 1%. According to Andrew Orlowsky at The Register:
Mark Lynas called foul, saying the reliance on such a tainted and obvious source of propaganda damaged the cause of activists.

"The IPCC must urgently review its policies for hiring lead authors – and I would have thought that not only should biased ‘grey literature’ be rejected, but campaigners from NGOs should not be allowed to join the lead author group and thereby review their own work.

"There is even a commercial conflict of interest here given that the renewables industry stands to be the main beneficiary of any change in government policies based on the IPCC report’s conclusions. Had it been an oil industry intervention which led the IPCC to a particular conclusion, Greenpeace et al would have course have been screaming blue murder," wrote Lynas.
Lynas then noted if calling for consistency and good science made you a denier, then he was a denier. Welcome to the club, now go apologize to Lomborg.
Maryland's public school system is now requiring all students to take indoctrination courses on climate alarmism before they can graduate. And people wonder why so many parents are home schooling these days.

Antony Wiener was pushed out of congress for sexting girls and sending pictures of his namesake out while being married. I have no problem with someone showing that poor judgment and the inability to keep a simple promise from being tossed out of power, but what about Charles Schumer? His latest stunt is to use his power to force the patent office to review a patent claim by someone because his banking buddies aren't happy with it.

It turns out this guy named Claudio Ballard came up with a great system to help process digital checks, and patented it. Banks want to use this process, but don't want to pay Ballard's company, so they keep violating the patent and getting sued and they're tired of it. So they tapped their buddy Schumer to fix things, and he's working on it. Cronyism: what capitalism becomes when the government works for big business.

Jon Stewart is under a lot of pressure lately. First he went berserk on Fox claiming that he wasn't biased and besides he was a comedian and anyone who thinks CNN is biased is insane. Then he got in trouble with blacks for doing an Amos 'n' Andy voice impression supposedly as GOP presidential candidate Cain, and then he had to (sort of) apologize for calling Fox Viewers "most consistently misinformed media viewers" when even left leaning sites like PolitiFact said that was false.

Here's what Stewart based his attack on Fox viewers on, a study which found (courtesy Ace of Spades HQ):
  • 91 percent believe the stimulus legislation lost jobs
  • 72 percent believe the health reform law will increase the deficit
  • 72 percent believe the economy is getting worse
  • 60 percent believe climate change is not occurring
See, that's opinion, not fact. You might disagree with these conclusions, but that doesn't make them misinformed, just of a different opinion. But since they're all leftist talking points,

The clown nose is off Stewart and his pose as a moderate humorist just having fun with politics is getting less and less plausible even to people who don't follow politics much. Maybe he can get back to just being funny, which he was before 2001, instead of trying to manipulate opinion which he's been doing for about ten years.

Meanwhile Keith Olbermann restarted his "Countdown" show, on Al Gore's struggling Current TV channel. Your cable provider almost certainly carries this station but almost nobody watches it. They spent a fortune on hiring and setting up the show, which had as its first guest... Michael Moore. Yeah. That tells you pretty much all you need to know, apparently MSNBC was holding Keith back, believe it or not. Ace giggles at the racial diversity on Olbermann's staff, too.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the "stimulus" package contributed to almost doubling the national debt. According to the Democrats it absolutely had to be passed as soon as possible or unemployment could get as high as 8%. These days 8% would be a relief.

When the US Government took over General Motors in the most blatant socialism the country has ever seen, they looked at ways to cut costs. What they did was to cut pensions, a continuous sore point for business and government everywhere. Except they only cut non-union pensions, which made up a tiny part of the business' expenses.

Saab ran out of money, it can't pay its employees. Heavily subsidized by the Swedish government, the car and airplane maker never had a huge market share, and usually had very expensive vehicles. They made some good cars but never could get much business and the future of Saab is not seen as possible by most after repeatedly staving off collapse with foreign investments. Spyker, the badge that Saab took over, has restarted and has made some interesting cars but whether they can survive or not is another question entirely. I just have to question how big a market there is for yet another really expensive high end car these days.

Five Russian nuclear technicians died in a plane crash recently. They were all working on Iran's nuclear power plants, and while no official investigation of foul play is ongoing, you have to wonder about Mossad's involvement. I doubt the world is much poorer for their demise.

John McCain got a lot of heat for suggesting that the Arizona wildfires were caused by illegal immigrants. McCain is a cantankerous, unlikable moderate Republican but in this case it appears he's right - and it only made sense. According to the Cochise County Sheriff:
"The bottom line is, there was nobody in the park [who] would've been there legally," Dever said. "There were no vehicles, no nothing. It's a high-intensity drug trafficking and human smuggling area. We have scouts that hang out there all the time. They light signal fires, they light warming fires because it gets cold at night … There is nothing to indicate that there was any other cause. And the highest probability -- not possibility -- is that this is how this fire started."
True, it could have been drug smugglers, but there's a fine line between them and illegals crossing the border. Don't expect any apologies or retractions to be coming.

Nobody talks much about the Misery Index, created under the Carter administration. Back then the press was so eager to report bad news they overcame their natural bias toward the left and talked about how awful things were. After Reagan won the presidency a huge landslide victory over President Carter, the press became more circumspect: if only we'd kept our mouths shut. Still, every once in a while the index pops up, and recently it did at CNBC:
...misery, as measured in the unofficial Misery Index that simply totals the unemployment and inflation rates, is at a 28-year high, reflective of how weak the economic recovery has been and how far there is to go.

The index, first compiled during the soaring inflation days of the 1970s by economist Arthur Okun, is registering a nausea-inducing 12.7—9.1 percent for unemployment and 3.6 percent for annualized inflation—a number not seen since 1983. The index has been above 10 since November 2009 and had been under double-digits from June 1993 through May 2008.
Jeff Cox might be in trouble from the left, now.

The Crow was Brandon Lee's final movie, and it showed off what a talent he would be. The movie was a success and is still well-liked, but Alex Tse is going to remake it. Why? Well it might make money, I guess. Bradley Cooper has been picked to take over the main character Brandon Lee played. You may have seen Bradley Cooper as a pretty boy in A-Team, Hangover, and Valentine's Day. He seems like an odd casting choice.

And finally Minot, North Dakota is facing rising flood waters. There's been a lot of flooding this year, especially in the middle America states.

And that's the Word Around the Net for June 24, 2011. Go enjoy summer.

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