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CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR'S BOOKS

Friday, November 04, 2011

WORD AROUND THE NET

"I don’t want to say things are getting grim in Zuccotti Park, but Bloomberg might send in Snake Plissken."
-Treacher

Cool Cars
Unemployment in America dropped from 9.1% to 9.0% last month, according to the present official numbers released by the US government. Hopefully they won't revise that for the worse like they have the growth numbers for every single quarter Obama has been president. Anything over 4% is considered bad. Anything over 8% is considered death for a president's career. A drop of .1% is insignificant, but I'll take whatever reduction we can get.

Men's Wearhouse in Oakland put up a big sign that declared they stood with the 99% and were closing on Wednesday in solidarity. The next day, the 99% smashed in their window. Lesson learned? I doubt it.

Cool cars is the topic of a recent study at Berkeley Lab's Environmental Energy Technologies Division. John Neff at Autoblog reports:
Their research shows that cooler colors like white and silver can reflect as much as 60 percent of the sun's rays, while darker colors like black only reflect around 5 percent. This means that after sitting in the sun for an hour, a silver car's roof is a full 45°F cooler than a black car's roof, which, according to the researchers, would equate to a 9 to 11°F difference in cabin air temperature.
That translates into about a 2% increase in fuel mileage. Want a gas sipping car? Get a light colored deisel. It will cost you about half what a hybrid or electric car does and over the life of the car the fuel consumption won't be much different in terms of cost, especially if you have to replace those batteries.

Inflation is calculated by the US Government by specifically excluding energy and food prices, because most people just don't buy food or energy. Or something. Over the last two years, according to the Wall Street Journal, food prices have gone up by 12-20%, and that doesn't include smaller packaging on many items. Since food constitutes about 15% of your household budget on average, that's a significant increase in cost and shrinkage of your dollar, particularly since the average income is not rising, but in many cases shrinking as well. Just don't expect to read or see this in any legacy media sources.

Instapundit reader Matthew Tanner is not amused by a push to bail out college students from their loans:
Remember the Santelli rant (which sort of unofficially birthed the Tea Party)? Folks who were responsible in their home-buying, who paid their mortgages, essentially being forced to pay the mortgages of the less prudent?

Well by all means let’s double down by doing it again, this time with student loans. I’m paying for three kids in college, and for the two years prior I was paying for four. It’s been absolutely killer for my wife and me, but we’re working hard and scrimping so our kids aren’t saddled with debt when they graduate. If they “bail out” student loan debtors, I will have once again been suckered into playing by what I thought were the rules.

If they keep punishing prudence, and rewarding imprudence, maybe I will finally learn my lesson, that it is prudent to be foolish.
Nobody seems to remember that these days. The Tea Party's trigger was uncontrolled rage at the bailouts.

Seattle crime fighter Phoenix Jones was arrested recently for using pepper spray on a woman trying to break up a fight. He has been arraigned for assault and his costume seized by the police as evidence. The court has ordered him to stop his day job, which was teaching life skills to autistic children. Jones (who has a facebook page) says he has another costume offered to him of superior quality by a major brand but they require him to prominently display their logo. He'll go back to crime fighting on the streets while he looks for work, and has been wearing a Flash costume lately. The cops can't stand the competition and the system doesn't care for someone who breaks the mold like that.

President Obama mocked the House of Representatives recently. The house passed a resolution about the national motto "In God We Trust" instead of passing his stimulus 2 package (he calls it his jobs bill). Democrats don't want the bill either, so that's just political posing, but in this instance I have to agree. Not only is the motto a lie - America does not trust in God, but yeah... aren't there more pressing issues than this meaningless resolution? Seriously?

Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and six other Senate Democrats are calling for a change to the US Constitution. Their complaint is that campaign finance system is so corrupt and so much money goes into political campaigns. That's annoying to me too, but the problem isn't an insufficient constitution. If the federal government restrained its self to proper constitutional activities, then it would be much smaller, have much less control over far less money, and as a result there'd be less reason and interest in spending so much and corrupting people to get in office. The reason people want to be in congress so bad is because of the power and money. Reduce that, reduce their interest.

Why do journalists and others fall for smart-sounding but false things so often, and why do they cling to them so fiercely? Why do some topics get entrenched with academia and journalism? Jim Tynan has a good explanation:
This seems to me to be the same thing. Journalists who are not scientists, or professors who are not climate scientists, identify with the Knowledge Class: the technologists and researchers.

Deep in their heart, many of these pundits or English professors or whatnot realize they don't know much, nor are their skills that valuable. They are important only as courtiers for the Knowledge Class. Anything that threatens its perceived hegemony is a threat to these hangers-on, even the journalists. And the only way they see to prove their loyalty to their masters in the New Class is to make a rabid defense of its dogmas.

So the journalists and others on the low rungs of the Knowledge class defend the dogma. And of course this also goes for the dogma of Keynes, and multiculturalism, and much else.
Or, as Mark Twain once wrote:
People's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing.
Its a sort of second-hand intellectualism, an albedo effect: I seem more important and interesting and elite by reflection.

Electric cars are kind of a bane to GM lots, too. In an effort to incentivize dealers, GM makes the dealers buy the Volt entirely up front rather than renting them until they sell:
Dealers are desperate to get the Volts off their lots, partly because GM makes them buy the autos from the factory up front. The dealers can only get their money back if they sell the cars, and so some have taken to desperate practices. According to various media reports, they’re discounting them to local governments, and selling them in bulk to companies that want to stay on the administration’s good side.
Aside from fleet purchases by the federal government and crony corporations like General Electric, sales of this car have been a trickle.

Deceased PoleyMeanwhile, Walgreens and Cracker Barrel chains are going to install electric vehicle chargers. Costco toyed with this idea, then abandoned it. The reason people are not buying these things is not because there are too few chargers around it takes too long to charge them, so having one in the parking lot while you drop in to get headache powders isn't going to help. Fewer than 15,000 electric cars are on the road, and as the Daily Bayonet quips: soon there will be more chargers than cars.

President Obama was called the "food stamp president" by Newt Gingrich and leftist commenters went nuts - largely because of how effective and memorable the name was. The sad thing is, its true: the already record number of Americans on food stamps went even higher in August, to 48.8 million. That's about one out of every 6 people in America, costing over $80 billion dollars in 2011, and projected to go up to $89 billion next year.

When even Politico reports the problems with the "stimulus" you know its gone really bad. Darius Dixon writes that over 100 criminal and fraud probes are underway regarding "stimulus" spending projects, such as Solyndra. I guess "Sheriff" Biden wasn't up to the task of fighting fraud and abuse of the funds. Barney Fife would have been more effective.

Eight people in Florida were arrested for voter fraud involving absentee ballots. Seems like a dozen or so people are nailed a month on this, perhaps a tenth of the actual number that ought to be. Oregon is entirely absentee ballot-elections, something Democrats want for every state. They sell it as cheaper and more convenient, but its actually just easier to defraud and control voting by people in a household.

Gaayyyy, that's what teenagers use as a derisive attack on something they consider pathetic, weak, emasculated, or inane. Its an insult, despite their careful indoctrination about homosexuality being quite normal, even laudable behavior. A teacher in Essex, England, suggested that homosexual students act "less gay" to avoid mistreatment or bullying by other students. Putting aside that this is good advice and enraging the PC crowd, I would suspect that's what the rest of the teenagers would advise, too.

Previously on WATN I wrote about the failure of college education and the response of the OWS crowd, and in it I mentioned a stat that bears repeating here. This comes from the Wall Street Journal, courtesy Carin at Is This Blog On?
In a recent work called “Academically Adrift,” these authors tracked the progress of more than 2,300 undergraduates at two dozen U.S. universities. They found that more than a third of seniors leave campus having shown no improvement in critical thinking, analytical reasoning, or written communications over four years. Worse, the majors and programs often thought most practical—education, business and communications—prove to be the least productive.
Its too expensive, and you're getting a lousy education as a result, in far too many cases.

Muslims say, and the Koran teaches, that Christianity is a sort of brother religion, a member of a group called "people of the book" who venerate the Bible as the word of God. Islam teaches that Christianity is false and wrong, but that Muslims should treat them (and Jews, incidentally) better than other folks who aren't people of the book. However, in practice, Islam tends to treat Christians and Jews with spite, violence, and brutality like any other religion. In France, for example, a group of Roman Catholics leaving a religious festival were pelted with rocks by Muslims although the press declined to cover it except for one scant mention.

Stephen Pax Leonard spent a year studying the language of some Eskimos and living among them. He wrote of his experiences in the Guardian, including many descriptions and details of the effects of the bone-chilling, astounding cold he experienced and is part of their daily life. That's the overall theme of the article: cold, in Greenland. Oh, that and how the world is warming up and climate is "changing rapidly" threatening the Eskimo way of life and culture. He seems not to have noticed any particular conflict here.

John O'Sullivan wrote an article that reported on a study which showed that in fact poorer and less developed nations were pumping out more CO2 than previously believed - so much so that the conventional wisdom about rich nations destroying the climate was falsified. He was fired, and he says that it was this article that was the reason. Given that Suite 101 has deleted all of O'Sullivan's articles from their site, that seems plausible. When the truth damages the narrative, well the truth has to step aside for the greater good.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are still financial disasters, partly responsible for the economic meltdown, and desperately in need of audit and restructuring, if not elimination. But the Federal Housing Finance Agency has approved $12.8 million in bonuses for execs in these bodies. From where I sit its hard to see Freddie and Fannie as anything more than no-work plush money makers for political allies.

Amazingly enough one of the GOP presidential candidates actually stopped attacking his fellow Republicans and promising things only congress can achieve long enough to tell what he'd do as president. Here's the list:
  1. order HHS to stop implementation of Obamacare until we can repeal it.
  2. open up domestic energy exploration and production.
  3. immediate moratorium on federal regs, audit to see which ones kill jobs, and eliminate them.
  4. National Guard on the border.
Who said this? Governor Perry, in an op ed at the Washington Times. Of course he also has the "mind control congress" bits in there. Still its a nice step, maybe others can follow.

And that's the Word Around the Net for November 4, 2011.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Eric said...

Regarding the inflation of food prices, get ready to see beef prices make another dramatic increase next year. The drought we had in Oklahoma and Texas this year caused many ranchers to take their entire herd to the slaughter house, and demand was high enough that beef prices stayed high in spite of this. Many of the cattle taken to slaughter were older cows that are usually retained for breeding purposes. So there will be a significantly lower number of cattle born next year, and high prices will keep many ranchers from setting many of these back for future breeding purposes. Right now we have fewer cattle in the United States than we did in 1973. Japan is the biggest importer of US beef and they are about to release import restrictions that have been in place since the Mad Cow scare a few years back, which means there will be an even larger demand for a shrinking supply. And corn feed prices have been on a meteoric rise for years and show no sign of letting up, so that's going to add to prices as well.

One ag report I heard on the radio this morning said retail hamburger meat prices next year could easily be between $5 and $6/lb, and that's for the fatty stuff where half of it cooks away when you put it on the grill.

12:04 PM, November 04, 2011  

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