Friday, October 28, 2011


"Whether the old-fashioned virtues can be reinstilled in time to save the nation and who will do it remains an open question."

Governor Perry is going to sit out a few Republican debates, likely because he doesn't do very well in them but also because of his stated reason: there's too many. Its ridiculous, there's a debate every few days. Too many debates = saturation, boredom, disinterest. And since almost every one of the debates is held by groups and institutions hostile to Republicans, they seem more a way to attack and harm them than showcase them. I'd pick and choose too, were I a candidate.

Steven Spielberg spoke about Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull recently. In essence he said the refrigerator nuking was cool, and it was all Lucas' fault about the aliens:
"I sympathize with people who didn't like the MacGuffin because I never liked the MacGuffin. George and I had big arguments about the MacGuffin. I didn't want these things to be either aliens or inter-dimensional beings.
Yeah, that makes sense. Mister fixated on gray, big-eyed aliens and extraterrestrial landings on earth, Mister Close Encounters and Taken miniseries wasn't the one who insisted on gray big eyed aliens in a space ship. Right. Hey guys? You lost your mojo, especially Lucas. Retire.

Occupiers illegally squatting in a New York Park with zero city resistance or condemnation have decided they don't care for feeding and aiding people who contribute nothing and merely want to live off their efforts. Putting aside the hypocrisy of freeloaders who want to live off the productivity of others being angry at freeloaders who want to live off their productivity, an Instapundit commenter put it best:
Tragic. The horses are tired of working for the cats, who don’t contribute anything, and have taken their case to the pigs. Let me know if they get this resolved before the farmer comes back.
Occupiers are more equal than others.

Others have written about this but it bears repeating and spreading around. If you want one example of the difference of coverage based on bias and calumny between the Tea Party rallies and the Occupy rallies, here it is:
Remember when the Tea Party was in Arizona and that one guy lawfully carried an AR-15 in a sling on his shoulder? Remember how it made the news and how the beltway crowd was really freaking the Hell out? Remember how MSNBC used selective editing to make it look like it was a disheveled white guy when it was really done by a clean cut black guy? And the media went into OMG!!!111 mode?

Funny story. Turns out, there’s a bunch of guys at Occupy Phoenix wearing camo, tactical gear and carrying around AR-15s and I haven’t heard a peep about it in the press.
That's because the press just knew the Tea Party was a batch of scary radicals out to destroy everything they held dear, while the Occupiers must be protected, promoted, and their problems downplayed - or ignored, such as armed neo-nazi white supremacists showing up to show solidarity and protect them from the police. These guys actually are all that the press claimed the Tea Party is, and they're ignored. For more on this theme, check out James O'Keefe's latest video coup of leftist journalism profs explaining how leftist bias works and how the New York times carefully crafts a narrative.

The White House and Democrats in general are trying very hard to sell congress as "Republican controlled." Since Republicans only control 1/6th (a half of 1/3rd) of the federal government this is an outrageous, absurd lie, but it worked before, apparently. A goodly chunk of people, including most Obama voters polled, believed that Republicans controlled congress in 2008 when they held neither house. If they can get people to blame Republicans for their misery, the Democrats think they will do better in 2012. Its only a question of how ignorant and gullible the American people are.

Inflation rolls on, with the Consumer Price Index up 3.9%. Despite being continually redefined to attempt to conceal inflation for decades, the numbers keep going up - one wonders what they would look like with the definition used during the Roosevelt administration. But that's not the bad news, according to Steve Horowitz at the Mercatus Center:
Specifically, year-to-year increases for three areas in particular might be cause for concern: Finished goods are up almost 7%, intermediate goods are up 10.5%, and crude goods are up nearly 21%.
In other words, its costing businesses more and more to produce the goods you buy. And while they're using every trick they can to try to keep prices down (ever wonder why the stuff you buy keeps getting smaller packages?), that can't go on forever.

Previously I've mentioned this, but here's a specific example of how the Tea Party is treated differently by left leaning city and state governments than the Occupy movement in the Richmond Times-Dispatch:
The tea party group is sending Jones an invoice for the charges incurred for the Tax Day rallies it has held at the plaza the past three years, arguing that the Occupy Wall Street offshoot group squatting there has been using the park illegally and free of charge since Oct. 15.
Owens said her group has shelled out about $10,000 for the three rallies held there, including a rental fee for use of the park, various permits and other expenses.
"The city of Richmond is allowing Occupy Richmond to blatantly break the law day after day while forcing other groups to strictly comply," a news release from the tea party group said.
Its not just the Tea Party that had to pay of course. I disagree with reimbursement of the Tea Party, its not unreasonable of them to pay for services and so on. But the city should be held responsible for not charging the Occupiers and letting them violate health, safety, and park ordinances without consequence.

Walter Williams asks a good question in a recent column:
Who Poses the Greater Threat?

Bill Gates is the world's richest person, but what kind of power does he have over you? Can he force your kid to go to a school you do not want him to attend? Can he deny you the right to braid hair in your home for a living? It turns out that a local politician, who might deny us the right to earn a living and dictates which school our kid attends, has far greater power over our lives than any rich person. Rich people can gain power over us, but to do so, they must get permission from our elected representatives at the federal, state or local levels.
Indeed, and while rich people buy things, hire people, and invest, helping the economy and creating jobs for all, the government is essentially parasitic, taking away and interfering. To a certain degree that's good and necessary but the federal, state, and local governments of the US have gone far beyond that point in the name of doing good for others.

England is proposing something radical and extreme for its employers: allow them to fire unproductive workers. I know, I know, crazy talk.
Under current regulations, workers are allowed to “coast along” and employers are left fearful of expanding because new staff may prove “unknown quantities” who are impossible to sack, the report says.

The radical recommendation to scrap the concept of unfair dismissal is made by Adrian Beecroft, a venture capitalist, in a report commissioned by David Cameron.
Radical. Few examples of how bad things have gotten in the UK can equal this story and the news paper response. It is deemed radical to allow employers to fire lousy workers.

Exhibit 481037 of how efficient and terrific the government runs things: there was a site that allowed people to search for federal government jobs, run by The federal government decided they should be running that site, so they took it over with Take it away, Wall Street Journal:
But 18 months ago the "smart" Obama Office of Personnel Management decided the federal government could do a better job of running It spent some $6 million developing a new in-house version of the site, promising to improve the job-search experience. It unveiled its creation two weeks ago. It's a monster all right.

The volume of requests instantly crushed government servers, slowed the system and locked out thousands of applicants. Naturally, the site has a Facebook page. Naturally, the comment queue is boiling over.
They want to run your health care. And pretty much everything else in your life, for that matter.

While I've never had any evidence, I have long suspected those burly gymnastics coaches were a bit more friendly with their little wards than was proper. All those kisses and hugs and close stares made me a bit uncomfortable, and now we have evidence of at least one who went too far. SCATS is a gymnastics club who has turned out some of the finest professional gymnasts in the world. The coach, Don Peters, has been accused of sexual molestation and activity with at least three of his gymnast including Doe Yamashiro, as young as 16 years old.

Michael Moore is a proven liar and he's known for mistreating his workers, but he's rarely been so boldly bald faced about his lies as recently on CNN when he absolutely refused to admit that he's rich and part of the hated 1% he claims to fight against. Moore is everything his movies attacks, especially his last one that was a screed against capitalism while earning Moore hundreds of thousands of dollars as a capitalist.

Governor Kitzhaber met with Occupy Salem and talked to them. I've been by the group a few times, there's like 20 people there, in the daytime. If they're like England's occupy groups, most of them go home at night and sleep in warm beds, which sort of negates the whole occupy effect. Kitzhaber is a hapless lefty, and he thought the group was doing a really good thing while illegally camping on the capitol mall, and then said that this is exactly what the park was meant for. Funny, that's not what the law says. The city has kindly provided tape barriers and port-a-potties for the occupiers at the expense of residents.

Smoking pot has long been known to aggravate schizophrenia, and there is evidence that it can bring the onset of this awful mental illness. A recent study suggests that as little as one joint can cause it - maybe Reverend Jim's tale on the TV show Taxi wasn't so silly after all. Pot smokers really want to downplay how bad this stuff is for you but its really not safe to ingest, even putting aside deliberately sucking burning material into your lungs.

Doug Ross ran down what's happened in the middle east since President Obama took office. Its not good:
  • Tunisia democratic elections in this once-peaceful Mediterranean state have installed an Islamist party.
  • Libya - With dictator Muammar Gaddafi the vacuum is being filled by Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, who declared the nation to be Sharia controlled. Obama militarily assisted the rebels.
  • Egypt - Again, Mubarak is gone and radical Muslims are taking over. Obama praised the rebels.
  • Syria - An effort to depose Bashar Al-Assad was met by the slaughter of at least 3,000 civilians. Obama said little.
  • Iran - A similar attempt to revolt against the government was brutally crushed. Obama condemned both sides.
  • Iraq - Obama has announced the withdrawal of all troops by the 2012 election, deliberately blowing any chance of a permanent base to protect from Iran.
  • Israel - Ordered by Obama to withdraw to the point that allows its enemies strategic positions to attack it.
Ross calls this the Obama Caliphate. The whole south and east Mediterranean ring is becoming Islamic.

Rajat K Gupta was one of the most respected, well-paid, and trusted financial advisers in the world. He's been busted for insider trading, working out special deals with another disgraced hedge fun investor Raj Rajaratnam. I'm sure their both being Indians is coincidental. Walter Russel Meade notes this is part of a wearying pattern all too often among boomers, but I have a different response.

This is why unlike most conservatives and libertarians, I am not unreservedly supportive and defensive about the free market and capitalism. As a commenter points out, the founding fathers knew this system would only work as long as citizens were virtuous; capitalism is essentially organized, institutionalized greed which is only sustainable and workable as long as people are ethical and virtuous to offset that greed.

Hard leftist Kevin Drum - he of the Drum Principle - recently admitted that the "stimulus" spending's positive effects (what little there was) for taxpayers was negated by rising gas prices. Now if only he'd admit that Obama's policies directly resulted in those higher prices.

Marc Morano compiled the various problems with human-caused global warming hysteria recently:
The Antarctic sea ice extent has been at or near record extent in the past few summers, the Arctic has rebounded in recent years since the low point in 2007, polar bears are thriving, sea level is not showing acceleration and is actually dropping, Cholera and Malaria are failing to follow global warming predictions, Mount Kilimanjaro melt fears are being made a mockery by gains in snow cover, global temperatures have been holding steady for a decade or more, deaths due to extreme weather are radically declining, global tropical cyclone activity is near historic lows, the frequency of major U.S. hurricanes has declined, the oceans are missing their predicted heat content, big tornados have dramatically declined since the 1970s, droughts are not historically unusual nor caused by mankind, there is no evidence we are currently having unusual weather, scandals continue to rock the climate fear movement, the UN IPCC has been exposed as being a hotbed of environmental activists and scientists continue to dissent at a rapid pace.
Other than that, though... teh consensus. Hard to believe scientists and laymen are turning against alarmist cant.

President Obama and the UK Government wanted 2011 to be the "year of the Electric Car" but like every year before it, inconceivably, people don't really want vastly over priced, under powered cars with short ranges, degrading incredibly expensive batteries, and long refuel times. As Richard Hall notes in The Independent, very few of the new best models have sold. The little electric car lot in my town got turned into a home and garden supply store.

However, there is good news for electric cars, according to the LA Times they are useful to auto dealers. People come into see one and drive off the lot with... a normal gas powered car. Given how awful the car market is right now, they need anything they can get.

Fluorescent lighting does ugly things to colors unless you get a nice full spectrum job like we have in the study to help avoid winter blues (whether that helps or not I really couldn't say). As an added bonus, a study published in the American Journal of Public Health notes that it appears that fluorescent lighting can lead to an increased chance of "eye diseases like cataracts and pterygia." They cost more, put out less light, release lead gas and might destroy your vision. But hey, they last slightly longer and use less energy. Good enough reason to compel people by Linkfederal law to purchase them, apparently.

Are you better off than you were four years ago? Not according to Ron Scherer at the Christian Science Monitor:
Bottom line: The average individual now has $1,315 less in disposable income than he or she did three years ago at the onset of the Great Recession – even though the recession ended, technically speaking, in mid-2009. That means less money to spend at the spa or the movies, less for vacations, new carpeting for the house, or dinner at a restaurant.
Most people beleive that America's standard of living is getting worse. They're right:
What has led to the most dramatic drop in the US standard of living since at least 1960? One factor is stagnant incomes: Real median income is down 9.8 percent since the start of the recession through this June, according to Sentier Research in Annapolis, Md., citing census bureau data. Another is falling net worth – think about the value of your home and, if you have one, your retirement portfolio. A third is rising consumer prices, with inflation eroding people's buying power by 3.25 percent since mid-2008.
If only President Obama had worked to help the economy instead of deliberately sabotage it with increased regulation, cost, and pressure on businesses.

According to a report from Al Nashra, President Obama's Muslim advisers are blocking Middle Eastern Christian access to the White House. If true, is this official Obama administration policy in action, or incompetence by the president and his advisers out of control?

Television has been big on homosexual characters for over a decade now, so much so that a study shows that nearly a quarter - 24% - of all TV shows feature at least one homosexual character. Given that the best information shows homosexuals make up about 3% of the human population, that seems excessive, to say the least. Almost as if people involved in the TV industry either are so surrounded by a disproportionate number of homosexuals or that they have an agenda to normalize homosexuals. Especially since they are always the good, funny, decent, and noble characters.

Republicans in the House of Representatives have announced next year's tentative schedule. Quickly, Democrats have condemned it for having only 6 working days in January and 14 more in February. They have a point: congressmen make an awful lot of money, wouldn't you love to get paid 6 figures for working 20 days in two months? Except... as Carin points out at Is This Blog On? the Democrats worked even less when they had control of congress.

And that's the Word Around the Net for October 29, 2011.


Eric said...

It's worth mentioning: regardless of whether you think there are too few or too many debates (I say the more the merrier), Rick Perry is sitting out debates because he doesn't like having to explain himself in front of a critical audience, and all he seems to know how to do in response is to call names and point fingers at others.

He's correct that in some (not all, not even most) of the debates the moderators have been too focused on trying to 'stir it up' between candidates, but Perry has been plenty willing to play along with that game, and is only upset becasue last week it backfired on him.

I was rooting for him when he jumped in the race, but Perry has quickly convinced me that he may even be a worse candidate than Mitt Romney, and certainly isn't a much better one. I kind of hope this signals the end of his campaign, but he's probably got too much money left to be out of it any time soon.

Eric said...

Also, on other matters:

I'm still willing to give Spielberg the benefit of the doubt... as producer he can still pick some good movies (True Grit remake comes to mind) and as director his upcoming film War Horse looks decent, and he's got a movie about Abraham Lincoln in the works, which is the kind of thing I can see him turning into a great movie.

Lucas though... yeah. Hang it up already, or at just stick to making Star Wars cartoons.


Regarding the cannabis research you mentioned, if you read the details all they have really proved from this particular experiment is that stoned rats don't perform as well in a maze as sober rats.


Michael More is such a bigoted liar I am constantly suprised anyone still treats him with the least bit of legitimacy.


I'd add this to your crticism of capitalism: it CAN work when people are unethical and without virtue, but ONLY if the government make the risk of those behaviors very very high in proportion to their rewards. That's why it is such a good thing when people like Raj Rajaratnam get caught and sent away.

Christopher R Taylor said...

I don't think there's a punishment the government can levy that's big enough to prevent greed from overwhelming people at these levels of earning. You can't make people do right with punishment, you can only make them fear doing wrong, and greed overcomes that fear at a certain point. The desire to do right has to come from within.

Unknown said...

The gun guys in Phoenix are totally independent border patrol anti immigration guys. There is no way the media would comment on them regardless. Them showing up on their own at the occupy Phoenix thing does not make them a part of it.

Christopher R Taylor said...

Why wouldn't the media comment on them, they commented on ONE guy showing up with a gun at a Tea Party rally? They said specifically they were there in order to protect the occupiers from the police.

That seems like news to me. At least as much news as one guy with a gun at a Tea party rally. How could you argue otherwise?