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CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR'S BOOKS

Friday, August 12, 2011

WORD AROUND THE NET

"Socrates taught that wisdom begins in the recognition of how little we know. Mr. Obama is perpetually intent on telling us how much he knows. Aristotle wrote that the type of intelligence most needed in politics is prudence, which in turn requires experience. Mr. Obama came to office with no experience."

Death by vampire... bat. That's the news from Louisiana, setting of HBO's True Blood vampire drama. A 19 year old migrant worker from Mexico was bitten by a vampire bat and died a week later, although technically the death was from rabies, not the tiny scratch the bat gave him. Naturally the CDC had to claim climate change was causing the bats to be found further north, but the truth is they've been seen in the Southern US in the past, this isn't some new phenomenon.

Nutter, a term used to describe someone acting crazy in England, applies to a very sane, reasonable man in Philadelphia. Mayor Michael Nutter told young blacks in his city that they are acting like thugs and idiots. This is a phenomena that only really happens in black churches, as he "preached" at his church recently. Stephanie Farr writes in the Philadelphia Inquirer:
You've damaged yourself, you've damaged another person, you've damaged your peers and, quite honestly, you've damaged your own race," he said. "You damaged your own race.

"If you want ... anybody else to respect you and not be afraid when they see you walking down the street, then leave the innocent people who are walking down the street minding their own damn business. Leave them alone."
...
"Take those doggone hoodies down, especially in the summer," he said. "Pull your pants up and buy a belt because no one wants to see your underwear or the crack of your butt."
Its unlikely any thugs and hooligans are attending church or would listen in any case, but its good to hear common sense from people.

Why is the mayor of Philadelphia making this kind of statement? Well, Philly has been the scene of multiple black-gang attacks, called "flash mobs" by the press in an idiotic distortion of the phrase. Two happened this week alone, with a mob erupting after a church picnic and one involving students from a charter school started by Oprah Winfrey. These aren't blacks outraged by racial mistreatment, poverty, or injustice. They're just grouping up to tear things apart and cause trouble, steal, abuse people, and worse. They invade shops, take what they want, attack people, and often are shouting racial epithets and telling about how they are going to get whitey. Press coverage tends to very carefully ignore their all-black racial component.

Remember that hacking story? The one that had Murdock testifying before congress? Yeah the one that disappeared from the press. It vanished from the front page about the same time it was announced that other, non-Murdock news organizations were being investigated. Suddenly this wasn't a very interesting story to the legacy media. The latest story is that phone hacking is so widespread and prevalent in the press that even the Guardian is involved.

Newsweek is so unwanted that it sold for a dollar and has cut back its weekly publication to quarterly. The latest edition had a picture of Michelle Bachman so outrageous with a caption "the Queen of Rage" so idiotic and false that even the hard left National Organization of Women condemned the cover. Newsweek is apologetic, probably gleeful they are getting attention and maybe a few more sales.

Clueless Lefty and former NPR reporter Cokie Roberts was upset that the US system won't allow the president to do anything he wants and lets people she disagrees with have a voice.
And the problem that we have here is the Constitution of the United States of America which actually does require people to come together from different perspectives whether it's divided government or not.
This, to her, is a problem. To the founding fathers, this was a feature to protect liberty from those who would use power to violate the freedom of the people.

Corey Feldman, one of the two Coreys from the 80s who made so many movies together, recently spoke out against the pedophiles and predators in Hollywood. He's misusing the term - an adult that preys on teenagers is an ephebophile - but his point is hardly surprising. Film makers with power over beautiful young people preying on them is not exactly unexpected in a culture which mocks and rejects any morality or right and wrong. I feel for child stars, especially the girls, who come up through that system. I wonder about parents who put their children into this grinder.

Parents are a bit tired of lousy schools protecting terrible teachers and administration. Canada has a system which allows parents to demand changes in the school; so Connecticut decided they'd try the same thing. The local teacher's unions fought it hard, and although the bill passed, the American Federation posted a power point presentation on their website about how they defeated the parents and destroyed the legislation. Brian Bolduc at National Review Online has the story:
Under the proposed legislation, if a school failed to achieve “adequate yearly progress” in its test scores — as defined by the No Child Left Behind Act — three years in a row, parents in the district could force the school to hire new management if a majority signed a petition.

At the AFT’s national conference last month, a lobbyist for the union described the state chapter’s successful efforts to weaken the legislation in a presentation entitled, “How Connecticut Diffused [sic] the Parent Trigger.” In it, the lobbyist recounted how the AFT initially tried to “kill the bill” but later decided to “engage the opposition” to mitigate its effect.

In the slides, the lobbyist noted that the AFT dragged the Connecticut Education Association “kicking and screaming” into line and that “parent trigger advocates . . . were not at the table.”

Eventually, legislators settled on a measure that set up “school governance councils” on which parents would hold most of the seats but which had only “authority to recommend reconstitution in [the] third year of poor performance.”

Also among the slides, first reported by Dropout Nation, was the lobbyist’s reminder that “school governance council” “is a misnomer.” “They are advisory and do not have true governing authority,” the slide reassured its readers.
The powerpoint presentation has since been removed from the website. Victory for unions is keeping parents powerless and lousy teachers in place.

Although you're not reading much about it in the legacy media, Operation Fast & Furious is still out there. Dead US law enforcement, armed Mexican gangs, murdered civilians, all at the feet of the Obama justice department. Testimony recently in congress included proof that the program was known at the highest levels of the ATF, that the president was kept informed, and that pressure was put on agents to not even follow up on the money. The US Knew for 8 months about the death of a Mexican federale, but kept the information from the Mexican government because it would lead to questions about Gunwalker. Worse comes out every few days about this program and you almost never even hear it mentioned in the press.

In fact, according to Neil McCabe at Human Events, news organizations such as the Washington Post knew about the operation and how guns were moving around but kept quiet about it, Linkinstead reporting about how "US Guns" were making it across the border and even killed a US agent. Why? Well "we're handing out guns to the criminals in Mexico and not keeping track" doesn't play to the gun control narrative very well and makes the Obama administration look at best incompetent.

Having been a young man looking for work in the Carter recession, I know what it was like. And it was not as bad then for unemployed people as it is today in some ways. The rate was higher, but it went away sooner. The amount of time people have gone without jobs under Obama's recession is significantly longer than Carter's:

Long Term Jobs
Yeah, its another hockey stick, another real one. People have been without work an awful long time in this alleged non-recession.

Meanwhile, consumer confidence has dropped to the lowest level since Carter was presidenLinkt. President Downgrade, the Food Stamp President, has not been especially comforting to employers or consumers.

Although the general push of the Bret Stevens Wall Street Journal piece is about how smart or not President Obama really is (I don't think anyone can make it to high office without better-than-average intellect) , it is these quotes from the 2008 campaign which caught my attention. I knew most of them but it helps to be reminded of the colossal, unspeakable levels of arrogance this man has:
"I think I'm a better speech writer than my speech writers," he reportedly told an aide in 2008. "I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I'll tell you right now that I'm . . . a better political director than my political director."

On another occasion—at the 2004 Democratic convention—Mr. Obama explained to a Chicago Tribune reporter that "I'm LeBron, baby. I can play at this level. I got game."
Oh, wait, I know the answer the left will give: President Bush was dumb!1!!!!1!! Gotcha.

As if the Government Health Insurance Takeover Act wasn't bad enough, now we learn, courtesy a study done by professors at Cornell and Indiana Universities, that the gargantuan, unread bill passed by congress over the very loud, angry, and overwhelming opposition by the American people includes billions in subsidies. Michal Allen at Legal Insurrection writes:
According to their policy brief, a very conservative estimate of the response to these incentives shows the number of Americans insured by the employer actually drop, with an additional four million people in the government exchange more than policymakers intended at a cost of nearly $20 billion over the $18 billion they expected. This staggering number doesn’t even reflect the fact that many firms are going to drop coverage, a phenomenon McKinsey Quarterly says is going to strike nearly a third of employers.
This bill is a ghastly piece of junk stuffed to the gills with all sorts of unrelated crap that couldn't get passed any other way, and designed to destroy private insurance so the government takes over. The sooner it is repealed and destroyed, the better. I have no confidence this will ever happen.

Still, there is some small shred of hope. Yet another federal court found the bill unconstitutional, the 11th circuit court just ruled that way.

Antarctic temperatures have been higher than normal for a long time, according to climate alarmists. Although ice is building significantly across almost all of the continent (except where geologists believe a volcano is lurking beneath it), they insist the antarctic is melting and we're all doomed unless we turn the government over to a global socialist committee of leftists. However, there seems to be some errors with temperature collection on the bottom of the world:
A paper published today in the Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology finds that temperature measurements on the Antarctic plateau "are shown to be significantly warm biased by solar radiation," resulting in temperature measurements up to 10°C (18°F) warmer than actual temperatures.
How? Well it turns out the units housing the thermometers were acting like little greenhouses, capturing the sun's heat. Like the scores of temperature stations James Watt has shown in heat islands (such as the one installed next to the exhaust of a cooling unit, or near blacktop parking), these readings were improper and excessively hot. Garbage in, garbage out is one of the most basic rules of modeling and computers, but the alarmists want to insist nothing of the sort is happening.

Keeping up the flood of paralyzing and expense-spiking regulations that strangle liberty and commerce in America, the federal Department of Transportation has gotten into the act. Sonny Riddle at the Gazette Virginian reports:
A new rule being proposed by the federal Department of Transportation would require farmers to get commercial drivers licenses.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which is a part of DOT, wants to adopt standards that would reclassify all farm vehicles and implements as Commercial Motor Vehicles, officials said. Likewise, the proposal, if adopted, would require all farmers and everyone on the farm who operates any of the equipment to obtain a CDL, they added.

The proposed rule change would mean that anyone who drives a tractor or operates any piece of motorized farming equipment would be required to pass the same tests and complete the same detailed forms and logs required of semi-tractor trailer drivers.

Drivers would keep logs of information including hours worked and miles traveled. Vehicles would be required to display DOT numbers. A CDL in Virginia costs $64 for eight years, or $8 per year, not including the cost of an instructional class and the written test.
Want to drive that tractor? Hold on sonny, you need a special license. Farms aren't collapsing fast enough. Food prices aren't high enough. We need to work harder to destroy America's entire economy. Apparently.

One of the first places congress could look to cut is giveaways to countries around the world, particularly those who have made it abundantly clear they hate the United States. Why are we subsidizing their hate, again? I cannot find anywhere in the US Constitution that permits congress to take money from citizens and hand it to another country. Anywhere. And even if it was constitutionally permissible, we can't afford it now anyway. Take a recent threat to cut off $100,000,000 a year going to Hamas in the palestinian-controlled areas of Israel. Why are we sending them a dime, given their hatred of the US and our fourteen trillion dollar debt???

Tumwater Washington has kind of a funny name, but what's going on there isn't funny. The Mazama Gopher has been declared endangered and needs protecting, even though pretty much everyone hates gophers and no one is exactly sure how many there are or what their habitat must consist of. The ruling almost eliminates any use or changes on land affected to protect the rodent and people are a bit miffed at having to pay property taxes on land they can't use to protect a tunneling rat. So signs have popped up, protesting the decision. And one person has been told his sign was banned by city ordinance prohibiting political signs on public rights-of-way. His sign was in his yard, on the property side of the sidewalk.

The city law does not actually define the right-of-way, so city workers are given "some leeway" as to how they define it, and this one defined it as his front yard. From the outside it looks a lot like this guy's sign annoyed the government and they want him shut up. He's suing the city for violating his free speech in one of the most literal and definite meanings of the word. This is exactly what the founding fathers meant to protect: disagreement with government over rights.

Finally I guess there was a debate last night. I keep track of politics because they interest me, but not in terms of politicians, rather in terms of what it means for our lives and why they turn out the way they do. Debates seem so meaningless to me - particularly in their modern format - and I doubt many people really watch them anyway.

And that's the Word Around the Net for August 12, 2011.

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