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CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR'S BOOKS

Friday, November 11, 2011

WORD AROUND THE NET

Merchandising, merchandising, where the real money from the movie is made. Spaceballs the T-shirt. Spaceballs the lunchbox. Spaceballs the coloring book. Spaceballs... the flamethrower! Kids love it.
-Yogurt, Spaceballs

Rosa Parks Transit CenterYes, today is 11/11/11. The only reason that's striking is because of how it looks. Imagine what people thought in the year 1111. This happens ever 100 years.

Big Hollywood went and took a look at Michael Moore's massive estate on Torch Lake; that's just one of his enormous homes by the way. The place is gargantuan, and to me it seems like an idiotic use of money, but it required a lot of contractors, carpenters and so on, so it isn't all bad. Michael Moore keeps insisting he's one of the occupiers, because he is opposed to rich fat cats but... he is one. And as Newt Gingrich pointed out a few nights ago, this whole 1%/99% thing is ridiculous anyway:
In this town, Henry Ford started as an Edison Electric supervisor who went home at night and built his first car in the garage. Now, was he in the 99 percent or the one percent? Bill Gates drops out of college to found Microsoft. Is he in the one percent or the 99 percent?
Given that the poorest people in the United States are better off than most of the planet, the distinction is absurd to begin with.

Glenn Reynolds runs Instapundit, which is the biggest blog in the world in terms of readers as I understand it. That means he gets given books every day and was loaned a Nissan Leaf to test drive. His overall assessment:
So is the Leaf worth it? The price is a bit steep — the car I drove, which had Nav, XM/Sirius, and assorted other bells and whistles, was priced at over $37K, which means that you’d be spending about $30,000 even after the $7500 federal tax credit. Is that worth it for a commuter car that never needs gas? Only if gas prices skyrocket — or if you follow the early adopter’s manifesto. But a lot of people do, and I can attest that the Leaf, which is surprisingly cute, did draw a lot of favorable attention as I drove it around. If you’re looking for a car that’s different, and plenty of people are willing to spend money for one of those, then this certainly fills the bill. It’s also pleasant to drive, and surprisingly comfortable.
He points out most of the car's problems such as limited range and weak power (but lots of torque, which means it accelerates nicely but couldn't tow anything). He doesn't mention the fact that you'll need to replace the battery - which will lose capacity every recharge - within five to ten years, costing half as much as the car's original price. Like I've said before, if I had stacks of cash, I'd buy something like this for in-town commutes, an extra car just for local driving (but not major shopping trips). But only if I had stacks of cash, because gas would have to go up enormously to justify the purchase price. There's a reason Nissan has sold only a few thousand world wide.

Not long ago I wrote about a California school that banned wearing flag pins and showing an American flag on Cino De Mayo. They said it was to protect the American students and show respect for Hispanic students at the school. Now, putting aside how Cinco De Mayo means almost nothing to actual Mexicans, this case went to court and yesterday there was a decision. The district court under judge James Ware (an Bush the elder appointee, Clinton tried to get him on the 9th circuit court but failed) who decided that the school could do so. The basis of the decision is a legal position which allows schools to restrict the free exercise of rights by students for their protection and to maintain order.

Eugene Volokh argues on his site that this is the right decision based on law but it says something ill of the school that they thought it necessary. I call BS on that, because there's nothing reasonable or common about the idea of banning the US flag on any day in any American school to protect children. Schools need to be free to restrict kids, but only if there's a reasonable and just cause, not simply because they think that some of the kids will get upset.

Governor Perry may have forgotten the Department of Energy, but he's not alone; the press tends to forget them too, when its news that will hurt President Obama. The latest stunt the DoE has pulled? Sending "green" loan guarantees to prop up failing and foolish Spanish solar companies. Its not enough to send half a billion to American failing Solar companies, the Obama administration wants to do so with ones in other countries, too. By total coincidence, the Spanish companies in question are big donors to the Democratic party in their US businesses. Well we're not in debt or anything, and clearly solar energy is a big winner based on the performance of these companies. Sure.

Basically, the Obama administration is treating the US Government like a huge academic experiment to show how great his leftist ideas are at the expense of reason, responsibility, and the law. Solar power doesn't work but it should and that's money well spent anyway.

Newsbusters' Geoffrey Dickens has a single paragraph that sums up the media's political bias:
In just the first eleven days of October, ABC, CBS and NBC flooded their morning and evening newscasts with a whopping 33 full stories or interview segments on the protesters. This was a far cry from the greeting the Tea Party received from the Big Three as that conservative protest movement was initially ignored (only 13 total stories in all of 2009) and then reviled.
Its not like covering protests was a new concept, the press had just finished spending years of covering every single anti-Bush protest held in the nation. Meanwhile, amazingly, the media and occupiers whine that the press ignored them for weeks. I guess it fits the narrative, or something, because every major media outfit in the nation was on the spot the minute these things started up.

Not to be left out, the SEIU and Michigan government have been working together to skim off money for the union. How? By designating every single person who gets state medicare benefits as members of the SEIU. Joel Gehrke reports at Beltway Confidential:
For the SEIU, this makes them public employees and thus members of the union, which receives $30 out of the family's monthly Medicaid subsidy. The Michigan Quality Community Care Council (MQC3) deducts union dues on behalf of SEIU.

Michigan Department of Community Health Director Olga Dazzo explained the process in to her members of her staff. "MQC3 basically runs the program for SEIU and passes the union dues from the state to the union," she wrote in an email obtained by the Mackinac Center. Initiated in 2006 under then-Gov. Jennifer Granholm, D-Mich., the plan reportedly provides the SEIU with $6 million annually in union dues deducted from those Medicaid subsidies.
Now, this isn't just astonishingly immoral (taking money away from disabled people) but its the kind of money skimming idea that gangsters come up with, like on The Sopranos. Hard to figure why the state is such trouble with schemes like this going on.

Dover Air Base has a mortuary that deals with deceased US Air Force members, and for years they disposed of ashes no one claimed by dumping them on a landfill. The practice has since been changed to dumping them at sea. What's odd to me is the reaction people had to this news. They were outraged that these ashes were buried in a landfill, absolutely horrified. But the burial at sea isn't any more dignified or special. Either way you're just dumping ashes out somewhere. The dead guy doesn't care, what difference does it make? None, except in perception. The fact that a landfill is a place where trash goes doesn't make the ashes any different. The ocean is a place where a lot of trash goes too, and fish poop in it all day long. Once I'm dead you can dump me just anywhere, who cares?

Fast and Furious keeps being a scandal despite the legacy media studiously ignoring it (except CBS and Fox). One of the latest bits of news is about a leak. Originally there was a leak put out, and John Dodson was blamed for it. He was called out for releasing information illegally and condemned for it by the Obama administration (and Democrats in general, eager to bury the scandal). It turns out, a US attorney working in Arizona leaked the document in order to smear Dodson and under orders by the Justice Department. Every night, for hours at a time on talking head shows, and headlines every day - that's what we'd get if this was a Republican administration.

Hillary Clinton, leaving the "Overcharge" button behind, has been working in Afghanistan to abandon the place and get troops home before the 2012 elections so President Obama can point to at least one promise he kept, sort of. The Taliban considers this great news; the sooner the coalition abandons Afghanistan, the sooner they can move back in and take over. And since they control much of Pakistan now, they'll have nukes soon, too. Ahmad Majidyar at National Review Online excerpts part of the Taliban's recent communication:
For the past ten years, our brave Mujahedeen have been engaged in Jihad against a brutal and invading enemy for a noble cause, and are rendering sacrifices on a daily basis. And with Allah’s help, they have pushed the wealthiest and most arrogant power of the world to the brink of collapse. They have killed and wounded thousands of their troops and inflicted permanent disabilities and mental disorders on many others. As a result, their people have risen up, are protesting, and the American and Western nations are no longer ready to extend the Afghanistan war and see their soldiers return in coffins. It is only Allah Almighty’s grace and mercy that He chose us to serve this nation and the Islamic community at this determining and sensitive juncture and defeated the greatest enemy of Islam by our hands.
They think its great America wants to leave; they call that "victory," a word President Obama avoids at all costs so President Bush can't get any credit.

Mayor Bloomberg is a fraud. I don't mean how he demands people eat healthy while he eats heavily salted junk. Former Freeland Borough, Pennsylvania Mayor Tim Martin died in September of 2010. But since then, Bloomberg has signed Mayor Martin's name to thwo different anti-gun ads, three letters to congress, and one to the president. Well its what he would have wanted, I'm sure Bloomberg will say.

Martin Luther King jr wouldn't have appreciated or associated with the Occcupy movement, according to his niece. I am not so sure, given the man's hard left politics, but she's issued a Cease and Desist letter to Jesse Jackson to stop him from using King's name in the occupy events. This isn't the first time Jackson has abused the name of Martin Luther King for his advancement and personal benefit. A day after King was shot dead, Jackson appeared with a bloody shirt, claiming to have held the man's body as he died, and saying he was King's successor. Jackson was in the crowd under the balcony and never touched King.

According to a new study reported in Pediatrics, Tylenol, not air pollution is the primary driving force behind increased incidents of athsma. I'm sure dirty air doesn't make athsma any easier, but its not why there's more of it showing up. Stop crying wolf.

President Obama's new definition of poverty is something I've touched on in a previous WATN, but it bears repeating. He wants to define poverty not as buying power or actual status, but relative monetary worth. That way, no matter how good things get for the poor, they'll always be defined as poor because they have less than the hated rich. Someone could make $50,000 a year and be defined as under the poverty level if the rich get rich enough.

Kelo vs New London was one of the worst supreme court decisions of all time, basically handing corporations the ability to seize land they want in the name of "economic development." To this day the actual land owned by Kelo in the case is still undeveloped. According to several studies, the economic benefit of these seizures is often minimal if not nonexistent. But corporations have gotten so good at working the system that we've gone from a Democratic Republic to an oligarchy. The "richest 1%" don't run things, its a coalition of career politicians, lawyers, and megacorporations working as cronies, each for their own benefit at our expense.

Irony isn't rain on your wedding day, but this qualifies: Detroit bus drivers refuse to work because of brutality and gang violence. In specific they refer to how a bus driver was savagely beaten by black youths at the Rosa Parks Transit Center in downtown Detroit."It is going to be a safe, sheltered environment," they said when the transit center was being built. Now passengers don't care to ride the bus, either. You can ride anywhere you want on the bus now, thanks to Rosa Parks... but you won't want to in Detroit.

Months back I reported on how Warner Brothers, part of a huge megacorporation, owns the likeness of Guy Fawkes that "Anonymous" and the occupy movement likes to show off. So every time they buy one of those masks, they donate to the man's oppression. Warner Brothers isn't the only company that's earning off these fools. T Shirts, Mugs, Merchandise of all kinds focused on the occupiers popped up soon after the first event started, cashing in on the credulous, the hipster, and those struggling in the proletariat's battle against the oppressive hand of capitalism.

Curious about what else Eric Holder and the US Department of Justice is up to lately? Well they have two cases they're working on. One is to prosecute a woman for standing on a sidewalk near an abortion clinic, an area so sacred and sanctioned by the government that you can't even get near one if you don't care for killing babies. The other case is a woman who pepper sprayed an old man who offered her literature about how you can put a baby up for adoption, outside the magical boundary around an abortion mill. The department of justice doesn't care for that to be prosecuted. Again, this department under Holder and Obama isn't about justice. Its about what they consider fairness and politically correct.

Traders at the Chicago Board of Trade felt bad for all those occupy Chicago folks outside their building. They seemed to be without jobs and living in tents on the street, so one day they opened up a window and dumped hundreds of McDonald's applications on the occupiers, hoping that would help them get work. The occupiers were horrified.

Probably you're sick of the whole occupy nonsense and tired of reading about it but if you only read one thing ever on the topic, you must read this by Mark Steyn. Here's an excerpt:
America is seizing up before our eyes: The decrepit airports, the underwater property market, the education racket, the hyper-regulated business environment. Yet, curiously, the best example of this sclerosis is the alleged "revolutionary" movement itself. It's the voice of youth, yet everything about it is cobwebbed. It's more like an open-mike karaoke night of a revolution than the real thing. I don't mean just the placards with the same old portable quotes by Lenin et al, but also, say, the photograph in Forbes of Rachel, a 20-year-old "unemployed cosmetologist" with remarkably uncosmetological complexion, dressed in pink hair and nose ring as if it's London, 1977, and she's killing time at Camden Lock before the Pistols gig. Except that that's three-and-a-half decades ago, so it would be like the Sex Pistols dressing like the Andrews Sisters. Are America's revolting youth so totally pathetically moribund they can't even invent their own hideous fashion statements? Last weekend, the nonagenarian Commie Pete Seeger was wheeled out at Zuccotti Park to serenade the oppressed masses with "If I Had A Hammer." As it happens, I do have a hammer. Pace Mr. Seeger, they're not that difficult to acquire, even in a recession. But, if I took it to Zuccotti Park, I doubt very much anyone would know how to use it, or be able to muster the energy to do so.
This is the best thing ever written on the topic, bar none. If you know someone curious or wanting to know more about the events, send them this article.

Shockingly, a professor recently admitted that he was making crap up to attack political opponents. For years, Dutch professor Diederik Stapel at the University of Tillberg systematically invented data to support a variety of hypotheses about how anyone not leftist as him sucks in various ways. Like Dean Yeager told the boys at the beginning of Ghostbusters:
The purpose of science is to serve mankind. You seem to regard science as some kind of dodge... or hustle. Your theories are the worst kind of popular tripe, your methods are sloppy, and your conclusions are highly questionable! You are a poor scientist!
The surprise isn't that this happened, its that anyone reported it. I wonder just how much of this is going on in a system where you can get paid for kicking your political enemies in the furry beanbags - as long as they're to the right of the university, ideologically speaking.

And that's the Word Around the Net for November 11, 2011.

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