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CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR'S BOOKS

Friday, September 16, 2011

WORD AROUND THE NET

"Welcome back, Carter. Except a Jimmy Carter rerun now represents a best-case scenario."

Medal of Honor
Heroes rarely think they are heroes, and most feel they didn't do enough. That's the response of Medal of Honor winner Dakota Meyer who saved 13 fellow Marines and 23 Afghanis in a brutal, 6 hour firefight. Staff Sgt Meyer doesn't think he deserves the award, because he didn't get all his men out alive.
About 50 Taliban insurgents perched on mountainsides and taking cover in the village had ambushed the patrol.

As the forward team took fire and called for air support that wasn't coming, Meyer, just a corporal at the time, begged his command to let him venture into combat to help extricate the team. Four times he was denied his request before Meyer and another Marine, Staff Sgt. Juan Rodriguez-Chavez, jumped into an armored Humvee and headed into battle. For his valor, Rodriguez-Chavez, a 34-year-old who hailed originally from Acuna, Mexico, would be awarded the Navy Cross.
"They told him he couldn't go in," said Dwight Meyer, Dakota Meyer's 81-year-old grandfather, a former Marine who served in the 1950s. "He told them, 'The hell I'm not,' and he went in. It's a one-in-a-million thing" that he survived.

With Meyer manning the Humvee's gun turret, the two drew heavy fire. But they began evacuating wounded Marines and American and Afghan soldiers to a safe point. On one of the trips, shrapnel opened a gash in one of Meyer's arms.

Meyer made a total of five trips into the kill zone, each time searching for the forward patrol with his Marine friends — including 1st Lt. Michael Johnson — whom Meyer had heard yelling on the radio for air support.
God bless this young man's courage and dedication to his friends and fellow Marines.

Neil Hume writes at the Financial Times that we're experiencing significant inflation, but its hidden because instead of printing money, the United States government under Ben Berneke and President Obama is simply issuing bonds... to its self. In other words, they're giving themselves loans based on trust of the stability of the US and then treating that as cash. Here's his main concern:
The point is we can’t know who will pay, only that someone will pay. Thus the government has raised revenues without even knowing upon whom the burden falls, let alone telling them. Compare this to raising explicit ‘honest’ taxes, which are at least transparent. We know who levied the sales tax or the income tax, when it was levied, when it is payable, and how much has to be paid. The burden of this money printing, in contrast, seeps silently into the economy, falling indiscriminately but indubitably on unseen, unknowing victims.
That inflation will come due, probably all at once, some day down the road, but what will the price be? No one seems to know for sure. All President Obama knows is that he'll be out of office by that point, and he's banking on his hard left socialism bringing about a utopia that will make it all better by then.

Business Insider, however, shows that the general public is doing its best to eliminate their debt. This was a big surprise to me, since I figured most people were burying themselves just to maintain their lifestyle.

household debt
However this does uncover a basic flaw with monetary policy at the Obama administration. As Joe Weisenthal writes:
In a nutshell: When households are shedding debt, making debt cheaper does basically nothing.
The usual method of controlling a bad economy through lower interest rates can't help here because people are just trying to not borrow money. They see things getting really bad and don't want to be under a huge debt load when it finally hits. So all the low interest rates do is make money super cheap for the very, very wealthy, who make more money than ever with their investments.

Which is probably why this is true: the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer and more numerous under President Obama. Unemployment being so extended and so bad is destroying poorer people while Obama administration monetary policy, cronyism, and bailouts (making investments basically risk-free) are helping rich people.

Solyndra is big in the news. This scandal is making headlines while the far more serious and upsetting Fast&Furious/Gunwalker scandal is being basically ignored. Here are a few tidbits about the failed solar energy company:
  • Solyndra Employees knew the company was a failed, doomed effort.
  • Obama's administration ignored their own watchdog reports on Solyndra
  • President Obama was personally invested in Solyndra for $50,000
  • In 2009 Solyndra praised Obama and Chu for personally working so hard to get them loans
  • Meanwhile, Solyndra worked the White House aids and team with offers of jobs after they retired from politics.
  • And the White House pressured a 4-star General to change his testimony to congress about the company, according to reports.*
Why on earth would the Obama administration work so very hard to help such a company out? Because it wasn't about economics and reason, it was about the belief that "green" technology is a winner if only given a chance, the certainty that government can fix anything, and the idea that if you're enlightened and smart enough, you can make anything work. And all those donations and cronyism didn't hurt, either.

*Apparently the 4-star General was ordered to change his testimony about Lightsquared, not Solyndra - same principle, just a different company. And now a second person has stood up and said they were pressured to change their testimony to help Lightsquared get loans.

Solyndra isn't the only company that's been heavily pushed by, publicized, and given loans to that collapsed. SpectraWatt, Evergreen Solar Inc., Mountain Plaza Inc., and Olsen's Crop Service and Olsen's Mills Acquisition Co. all had similar treatment and all died. Green investments touted as the future, all given big loans in the "Stimulus" bill, all bankrupt and failed.

Ultimately, the "stimulus" package dumped $38,600,000,000 into "green" businesses, with the claim that it would "create or save" over 60,000 jobs and jump start the economy from President Obama. After two years, the only new, permanent jobs anyone can find add up to 3,545. That's about $4.8 million dollars a job, not exactly what you'd call efficient. Of course the Obama administration claims it saved millions of jobs, but I can claim that too; I spent money in the last two years, maybe my money was what allowed a company to keep that employee on. Carol D. Leonnig and Steven Mufson write at the Washington Post:
Many economists say that because alternative-­energy projects are so expensive and slow to ramp up, they are not the most efficient way to stimulate the economy.
And that's putting it mildly. I can't figure out what economist would even question this basic and obvious conclusion.

Wrapping up our "green tech" news section, we have this story from Gateway Pundit about General Electric. Jim Hoft writes:
GE was awarded 44 contracts totaling over $46,000,000 and 44 grants totaling more than $79,000,000 from the Obama-Pelosi $757 billion dollar stimulus package. Millions of dollars in stimulus funds were used by GE in green energy projects.

Today GE announced that it was going to gut its offshore wind-power plans.
The Forbes story he links points out that GE has figured out that there's no market for wind power, since its unreliable and delivers little power compared to more standard sources.

SAT scores have dropped across the United States. These scores are considered by some to be an indication of readiness for a college education, and despite increases in education funding under the Obama administration and Democrat majority in congress, they have trended downward. Naturally, that will be used as an excuse for even greater increases in funding.

Teaching is a tough job, but its made even tougher if you barely know the language you're attempting to teach in. If, for example you speak only scant Spanish and try to teach in a Mexican school, you'd never get hired, and if you did, you wouldn't last long in the job. However, the Obama administration disagrees. According to information uncovered by Judicial Watch, the Department of Justice is claiming that requiring your teachers in American schools to speak English is a civil rights violation.
Public school teachers with unacceptable English pronunciation and grammar are being protected by the Obama Administration, which has forced one state to eliminate a fluency monitoring program created to comply with a 2002 federal education law.
Arizona's largest newspaper reports that the state was forced to eliminate a program that would monitor teachers to make sure they can actually speak to their students in the same language.

Michelle Obama's drive to get everyone else to eat more healthy foods has resulted in several large restaurant chains to change their policies. Now, at Olive Garden, Red Lobster, LongHorn Steakhouse, The Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze and Seasons 52, children who want french fries will have to get parental permission. All meals will come with vegetables and fruit instead of fries unless a parent specifically requests the fries. Granted, these restaurants suck, but they do all cater to families. Note how approving and supportive the Associated Press article is of this scheme.

Tasmania is a tiny island just south of Australia, almost exactly opposite the location of where I live on the globe. Their government is considering a bill that would require newspapers to have a license to publish the news. Why? Well a license gives the government leverage over whoever must have one. If they don't like what you do or think you're doing it wrong, they can threaten to or take away your license, destroying your business. Its a way of controlling the news media, in this case. There's a reason why nearly every year more businesses in America, let alone Tasmania, require licenses, and its not concerns over quality.

Don't be surprised to hear some politician or another seriously call for that in the United States - and not just for newspapers.

Among the other census data revealed recently is this tidbit, courtesy Brad Tuttle at Time Magazine:
In the spring of 2011, 5.9 million young adults aged 25 to 34 lived with their parents, up from 4.7 million before the recession. And these adult kids still at mom and dad’s make very little money: Over 45% have incomes that’d put them below the poverty threshold.

The U.S. Census Bureau puts these adult children living with their parents in the category of “doubled-up households”—when at least one extra adult resides in the home who is not in school and/or is outside the typical family unit. As of last spring, doubled-up households represented 18.3% of American residences (21.8 million total), up from 17% four years ago, when there were 19.7 doubled-up households.
Its not all bad news though, multiple generations of families and extended members are more likely to live in the same home too. That's an old tradition that the US moved away from in the 20th century, but having other generations around is good for kids. Of course, this is probably driven primarily by Mexican households.

Strategy Page has an article on how the Middle East developed into what it is today, with particularly useful background on Israel and palestinians that most people seem ignorant of. The article is worth reading, although the conclusion seems at best naive, suggesting Middle Eastern tyrants and subjects want democracy.

Showing their dedication to fiscal responsibility and spending restraint, three Democrats in congress have introduced a bill to eliminate the debt ceiling and allow congress to spend an infinite amount of money without any limits. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Hank Johnson (D-GA), and Jim Moran (D-VA) all are sponsoring the bill, claiming that all the debt limit does is raise the possibility of national credit default. Hey guys, you knjow what actually causes that? SPENDING. But then, they know that, they just don't care.

Starting January 1, 2011, Oregon's Minimum Wage will go up to $8.80 an hour. In response, small businesses, mostly restaurants, will close, unable to pay their employees and stay open. This automatically happens as the result of a 2002 bill which raises the minimum wage based on inflation. It never, ever goes down as a result of things getting cheaper however.

Also in Oregon, to no one's surprise, the "medical" marijuana law is being heavily abused by doctors and "patients" to just score legal weed, according to the Oregon Sheriff's Association. Given how easy it is to get a doctor to write you a pass, this doesn't surprise me at all. Its become fairly common for celebrities and popular figures to state openly they smoke pot, and even grow it on their property without the slightest legal action.

Idaho shut down a charter school this year. There was no fraud, the school was producing good students, and it was successful. Their problem is that some of the classes used the Bible as a teaching tool. They weren't teaching religion, they were just using it as a book to help students study history. Isaac Moffett explains:
"It’s a primary source of history. It’s a primary teaching source of actually people who lived during the time period.”
Given how deeply influential the Bible has been in the past, it is completely reasonable to use it for teaching history. In fact, the Bible is so obviously a part of western civilization and heritage that California schools recently allowed it to be used as part of their curriculum. The state claims this violates the state constitution which prohibits teaching religious dogma in public schools, but the school says that's not what they were doing.

Do you Yahoo? Pretty much nobody does these days. Yahoo used to be the big search engine, then Alta Vista briefly took over, and then Google came around with the best search engine yet. Yahoo was a gigantic mega company rolling in cash, the first search engine to get rich - somehow - but these days Bing and Google are the big ones. Companies are manuevering to buy portions of Yahoo, not interested in the company but in the smaller ones it gobbled up while it was doing well, such as Flickr and del.icio.us.

Nobel Prize winning physicist Dr Ivar Giegar has joined the ranks of many other scientists who are finally fed up with how alarmist climate change science is done. In an open an open letter of resignation from the American Physics Society, he writes:
"In the APS it is ok to discuss whether the mass of the proton changes over time and how a multi-universe behaves, but the evidence of global warming is incontrovertible? The claim (how can you measure the average temperature of the whole earth for a whole year?) is that the temperature has changed from ~288.0 to ~288.8 degree Kelvin in about 150 years, which (if true) means to me is that the temperature has been amazingly stable, and both human health and happiness have definitely improved in this ‘warming’ period."
And that's the basic problem with the whole deal: its bad science handled poorly. Of course, as I've written before that's not exactly new to science, its just that this time around serious scientific opposition has arisen due to more information being available.

Walt Harrington is not a Bush voter. He disagrees with the man in many key areas, and voted for Gore and Kerry instead in 2000 and 2004. However, he's a man of honesty and character, and he knows George W. Bush well. And he has a problem with how his fellow Democrats and academics treat the president. He gives many anecdotes and plenty of information about the former president at The American Scholar, showing Bush to be a kind, honest, honorable man who did what he believed was right. He portrays President Bush as intelligent, informed, learned, and decent, as everyone who knows the man agrees. And that's the kind of rhetoric that we need in this country: you don't have to hate, slander, attack, demonize, and lie about someone just because you disagree with them politically.

Henry Waxman, outraged that New York voters - many of them Jewish - voted for a Republican to replace disgraced former representative Anthony Wiener, had this to say about Jewish voters:
They want to protect their wealth, which is why a lot of well-off voters vote for Republicans.
Yeah, those New York Money men and their money grubbing Joo ways. Sadly, Waxman in saying this hurts his cause in more ways than the obvious: he just admitted that Democrats threaten wealth. He then claimed that Jews "misunderstood" President Obama's plainly anti-Israel middle east policy. No, buddy, I'm sure they understand just fine, and that's why they are moving away from the president after supporting him very strongly in 2008.

And that's the Word Around the Net for September 16, 2011.

1 Comments:

Blogger Philip said...

Actually the general was asked to alter his testimony to assist a company called Lightsquared (majority owner is an investment fund run by Democratic donor Philip Falcone); an advance copy of his testimony was also leaked to that firm.

5:29 PM, September 16, 2011  

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