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CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR'S BOOKS

Friday, July 22, 2011

WORD AROUND THE NET

"Uh, if a flat screen TV uses the same amount of energy as a refrigerator, why would a green group like the Department of Energy want us to purchase a power hungry device? "

Linda Hamilton
Last month I noted that Pennsylvania is still collecting liquor taxes to rebuild Jonestown after the flood in the 1800s. Not to be outdone, Alabama has a long-running tax too. This one was designed to pay homecoming vets from the Civil War. That didn't work out so well, the Confederacy was collapsed, but the tax is still in place. They shifted the funds to a park commemorating the failed rebellion, and it pulls in $400,000 a year. Never, ever vote for a tax because its "temporary."

Texas has been surpassed in economic activity in at least one category, finally. This time the bulk of jobs created in June were made in Wisconsin. My guess is all those reporters, bussed in SEIU protesters, and leftist rent-a-mob guys increased economic activity in the state, but the truth is, the bill's passage already has helped schools find ways to save money. I bet the rest of the economic work by Walker and the Republicans in the state legislature is helping businesses along, too.

Other states did well too. Indiana for example had a budget surplus this year. Both Indiana and Wisconsin have a certain political party majority, after years of other party dominance. Hint: its associated with an elephant.

Michigan, meanwhile, has continued its horrific plunge. When Governor Granholm took office, she claimed green jobs would save the state and invested heavily into them. Has it worked? As it turns out, no.
While the state ranks 12th in the nation with its 76,941 clean economy jobs in 2010, it lost 1,596 green jobs and had a negative 0.3 percent annual growth rate of such jobs from 2003 to 2010, according to the "Sizing the Clean Economy" study.
The state that did best in terms of retaining "green" jobs? Alaska. Granholm is now an "expert" on Meet the Press.

The Lone Ranger, all but forgotten and largely obscure to kids even if they are aware of him, is coming back to the big screen. Westerns have fallen out of favor as being too un-PC and masculine, which probably explains the approach this new movie is taking:
Depp is the big selling point for Lone Ranger, where he’ll play the Ranger’s capable American Indian sidekick, Tonto. Armie Hammer is also onboard as the main hero, who is reportedly being refashioned as a possibly-insane Don Quixote figure by Verbinski, screenwriter Justin Haythe (Revolutionary Road), and co-writers Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio (the Pirates of the Caribbean series).
Look, I like Johnny Depp, and I'm sure he can pull off the Tonto job well but seriously? You couldn't find a single American Indian actor to pull it off? So who'll pay to see a whimsical, zany Lone Ranger?

Like the parade study done by Harvard, I suggest taking this one with a fairly large block of salt, but profs from three universities claim they discovered that exposure to the American flag tends to make American voters lean Republican. Again, to whatever degree this study is accurate, it says less about the Republican party, who shows a rather historically typical patriotism and flag waving, than about Democrats who seem to avoid this as distasteful and continually question and mock patriotism.

Instead of using the Ad Council ads to put out public service or awareness ads, the Obama Administration uses them to campaign and promote his policy ideas. The latest is about compact fluorescent bulbs, since the bulk of the nation is annoyed at the federal government telling them they cannot buy cheaper incandescent ones in a violation of the US constitution. However, as Junk Science notes, the ad also lies. It claims you'll save enough money by using CFLs to buy a flat screen TV, but replacing your entire household worth of lights will only save at most $50 bucks a year.

Also in Junk Science, this news that surprises no one who has a fundamental understanding of biology: coral reefs adapt to climate change. The same people who swear up and down that you're a drooling idiot for questioning evolutionary adaptation then swear up and down that everything will be obliterated by the slightest climate shift. When agendas collide, tonight at eight.

I've noticed something about Global Climate Change alarmists: global warming is the new Jew. You can blame it for all the problems in your country so as to avoid criticism by your suffering subjects. Take third world countries like Bolivia, who blames climate change for problems in to poor indigenous communities. It's not lousy government, corruption, and mistreatment of local indian communities, its climate change!

Other environmental news:

-CERN has been researching cloud formation and climate change due to cosmic rays the sun produces. They've ordered their scientists not to jump to "any conclusions" in mentioning the study such as "this seems to detonate the human-caused global warming theories."

-Climaquiddick emails reference this several times, but the fact is there's been almost no warming for the last 15 years - and only one of those years showed significant warming, caused primarily by the cyclical El Nino current shift.

-The Environmental Policy Project neatly sums up the nagging scientific problems with the alarmist industry:
  • Ignoring scientific data that is contrary to the central conclusions.
  • Failure to rigorously test hypotheses using physical observations.
  • Assuming results are evidence of cause.
  • Assuming a poor correlation is evidence of cause.
  • Assuming a thorough knowledge of the climate system.
  • Assuming that calculations involving variables with a low level of understanding can produce results embodying a high level of understanding.
  • Assuming projections from unverified models are scientific knowledge.
In other words, their science sucks, and when real science interferes with presumed conclusions and that sweet money flow, it has to give way to the agenda. If you thinks this is the only area where scientists do this, think again.

National Lampoon used to be cutting edge and funny, but it hasn't put out a funny movie for... I'm not really even sure how long. Decades? Now they have a cunning plan: a new Vacation movie! Starring Rusty Griswold, the young son, now grown up. Losing the talented core of these movies with Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, Randy Quaid and others and replacing them with a more modern cast does not strike me as promising. And the main jokes that really made the original Vacation work so well (and Christmas Vacation) were jokes that nobody would even try any more, like dragging a dog to death behind a car.

President Obama's big plan for the budget kept being mentioned and brought up by pundits, leftist commenters, and legacy media outlets, but nobody seemed to know what was actually in that plan. Why not? That was on purpose, because as White House Spokesman Carney notes there never was a plan. And that's because Obama is a Super Genius!:
Leadership is not proposing a plan for the sake of having it voted up or down, and likely voted down because it is — look, you know how this town works and how Congress works. If an individual, whether Democrat or Republican leader, steps forward and says, this is my plan and solely my plan, it makes it a lot harder for that plan to be the basis for a bipartisan compromise. The way to reach a bipartisan compromise is in bipartisan negotiations where a plan emerges that is the product of that negotiation and is supported by Republicans and Democrats and then presented. Otherwise, your chances of actually achieving something diminish greatly.
Leadership is having no plan, and acting like others are immature for doing the same thing. Got it.

Meanwhile, the president insists that cutting the budget will make cutting the budget more challenging. Seriously.
Proposed House cuts to the Executive Office of the President’s (EOP) budget will hurt administration efforts to cut the deficit, the White House argues.
You can't cut there, or there, or there, or there or... As Right Wing News points out, the Democratic Party survives by throwing money at a diverse group of activists and disgruntled interest groups, they can't afford to cut any of that.

Supposedly two thirds of the American people supported the House's Cut/Cap/Balance law but the Senate still voted it down by a straight party line vote: 51-46. Twenty of those Democrat Senators claimed they supported a balanced budget amendment, but voted against it anyway. Will voters hold them accountable? Senators are betting that you won't. Steny Hoyer's main complaint:
“In order to pay our bills, Republicans would require us to pass a Constitutional amendment that would permanently enshrine their partisan budget priorities in law and make it virtually impossible to raise revenue.”
In other words: it would be tough to raise taxes. Well, yeah.

John Hawkins has a piece on Townhall about economics, stats that will "blow your mind" and they're pretty grim. A couple of them:
  • The Obama administration has ramped spending up to the point we're borrowing $188,000,000 an hour.
  • Starting next year, The typical husband and wife who reach age 66 and qualify for Social Security, receiving the average benefit, will begin collecting a combination of cash and health-care entitlement benefits that will total $1 million over their remaining expected lifetime. Multiply that by the boomer generation, and increase it every year.
  • In FY2010, we spent $164 billion just on interest payments on the debt, up 18% from the previous year.
Janny Scott wrote a biography of President Obama's mother, cashing in on a certain book deal with the subject. Unfortunately in the process, she accidentally blew one of President Obama's big tear-jerker campaign speech points to pieces. He claimed his mom died because insurers refused to cover her. Turns out she got insurance and was fully covered. When pressed on this point, a big news story that would help sell her book, Scott became curiously silent on the topic, and the legacy media buried the story quickly.

CNN tried to make a list of the fifty most delicious foods. Popcorn is number 50, Massaman Curry made number 1 (???) and in between were foods like pizza, chocolate, Texas barbecue, fajitas, ice cream, shepherd's pie, and lobster. Also included is Sushi (#5??), stinky tofu (something even Andrew Zimmer couldn't gag down), and buttered toast with marmite yeast. I haven't actually tried all the dishes listed, but my list would still look significantly different.

The Electric Power Research Institute, a research arm of the electricity industry, did a study on electric cars and while they tried to spin it as positive, its not exactly glowing. Included in the findings:
  • By 2030, they assume 35 million electric cars will well, causing a drop in the gas usage of America by... 5%.
  • This assumed sales would reduce America's greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 1.2 percent, or 0.003 percent of the current global emissions.
  • Because you get a $7500 tax credit for buying an electric car, this would cost the federal government $260,000,000 in lost tax revenues.
What a bargain.

Last week's WATN wrapup had a story about a woman who was being brought up on criminal charges by the city for her front-yard garden. Apparently the Oak Park Illinois officials decided to drop the charges after getting national attention and mockery.

The US has defaulted on credit before. Its happened three and a half times: 1779 (not technically the USA yet), 1862, 1934, and 1979. If it happens again, however, this will be the biggest and most wide-spread one. No one is exactly sure what would happen but everyone agrees it wouldn't be good. Still, the Democrats would rather default than not raise your taxes.

Did your kid get good grades at university this year? Did you? Good for you, sort of. Nearly half of all grades issued by colleges and Universities in the US are "A" grades, according to a new study by the Teacher's College Record. There are three possibilities here as I see it:
  1. The study lies
  2. The students these days are amazing
  3. Colleges and Universities are cooking the books.
Which strikes you as the most likely? The TCR chose 3 and suggested reasons why that is happening. Is it worth 75 grand or more to get your kids that education? Do you want to go into debt for decades to get a degree that's increasingly dubious in value?

Military votes have always been a problem for the Democratic Party. While the exact percentage varies, it is always over 66% Republican and that's just bad news for Democrats. In completely unrelated news, when it comes to absentee military balloting it always seems like there's so many problems and delays when Democrats are in power. This last election was even worse than usual. Hans Von Spakovsky reports about a new study by the Military Voter Protection Project (MVPP) in National Review Online:
Of the 2 million military voters covered by the report, 15.8 percent requested absentee ballots, but only 4.6 percent cast absentee ballots that were counted. This is at least partly due to the difficulty and uncertainty of the process. Both numbers were below the 2006 midterm election figures, when 5.5 percent of military and overseas voters cast absentee ballots that were counted.

MVPP also found that local election officials in 14 states and the District of Columbia failed to comply with the federal requirement that all absentee ballots must be mailed at least 45 days prior to the election. That requirement, imposed by the 2009 Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act (MOVE Act), was intended to ensure that voters had enough time to receive and mail back a ballot, given the long transit times for overseas mail, particularly in war zones. These failures affected more than 65,000 voters.
According to law, there is supposed to be sanctions for violating voting rights for the military, but they never seem to come to pass under the Obama administration. Strangely, this didn't get any coverage in the legacy media.

The grim statistics about blacks in America continue to roll off. The latest suggests that black men are safer in prison than in the general community. Genevra Pittman writes for Reuters:
The new study involved about 100,000 men between age 20 and 79 who were held in North Carolina prisons at some point between 1995 and 2005. Sixty percent of those men were black.

Researchers linked prison and state health records to determine which of the inmates died, and of what causes, during their prison stay. Then they compared those figures with expected deaths in men of the same age and race in the general population.

Less than one percent of men died during incarceration, and there was no difference between black and white inmates. But outside prison walls, blacks have a higher rate of death at any given age than whites.
Maybe there's something basically wrong with black communities that no one wants to talk about for fear of being called racist?

Ann Althouse read a lawsuit being brought in Wisconsin to stop the redistricting efforts. Without defending or attacking the redistricting, consider one of the complaints the lawsuit brings up:
"Under the legislation, Democrats have little chance of attaining and retaining a majority in either the Senate or the Assembly, or in the congressional delegation... giving them little ability to overcome minority status at any point over the next decade."
Basically, they're suing because it hurts Democratic party chances of winning. That alone ought to get the case thrown out. Are you serious?

Maybe Michelle Obama's outreach to Hollywood to change their anti-military ways is working. First Mila Kunis accepted an invitation from a marine, then Justin Timberlake (who said no one had ever asked him out before), and now Linda Hamilton has invited a marine out. Next on the block: Miley Cyrus. Will she put someone ahead of herself? Its safe to be pro-military with a Democrat president, I guess.

Stephen Carter has a solution to the budget problems in Washington: apply Sarbanes-Oxley to Washington DC. As he puts it, nobody has anything personally at stake if they mess up the budget or play games with the numbers.

Apparently frustrated that the city continues to exist, San Francisco's city council is planning to make it illegal to ask potential employees or renters about their criminal past

And that's the Word Around the Net, July 22, 2011.

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