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CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR'S BOOKS

Friday, December 23, 2011

WORD AROUND THE NET

"If you have ever been robbed by a black teenaged male, you know how unbelievably fleet of foot they can be."
-Ron Paul, 1996

Osprey
Like most people in America, I find the Iowa/New Hampshire emphasis in the primary election system obnoxious and bizarre. Because these states are so early in the process they have an insanely disproportionate power over the electoral process. However, my concern is that this makes their choices unreasonably potent, whereas others think its bad because they think Iowans are corn-pone, sister-marrying, knuckle-dragging hicks. James Lileks beautifully eviscerates one such hapless writer for the Atlantic in a recent Bleat.

Korean dictator Kim Jung Il died, and while the legacy media can't seem to find the outrage and dislike of him that they reserve for such murderous monsters as Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich, the internet has been mocking him relentlessly. Listverse has 10 crazy facts about the brutal tyrant, such as how he claimed to have invented the hamburger and had an entire city built at the border of South Korea that is meant to entice people into liking North Korea - a city that has no residents.

Republicans are dismayed at the choices this time around for their presidential candidates, much like 2008, but in the midst of all the furor around the GOP primary, people seem to forget how lousy the Democrats have it as well. Poll after poll suggests Americans want to replace President Obama with anyone else, and the Democrats are panicking. For now it appears Obama won't face a primary challenge, which is too bad because as Joel Pollack points out at Big Government, there are Democrat candidates out there who'd be a lot better for the country.

Victor Davis Hanson has a long piece up at National Review Online about his home and Southern California's thieves who are nearly out of control:
Hundreds of street lights are out, their copper wire stripped away. In desperation, workers are now cementing the bases of all the poles — as if the original steel access doors were not necessary to service the wiring. How sad the synergy!
...
Hundreds of bronze commemorative plaques were ripped off my town’s public buildings (and with them all record of our ancestors’ public-spiritedness). I guess that is our version of Trotskyization.
...
The Catholic church was just looted (again) of its bronze and silver icons. Manhole covers are missing (some of the town’s own maintenance staff were arrested for this theft, no less!). The Little League clubhouse was ransacked of its equipment.
...
A couple now in their early 90s lives about three miles away from me on their small farm...They now live alone and have recently been robbed nine, yes, nine, times.

He describes how being away on vacation means your home is guaranteed to be robbed. How he's been rammed twice from behind and the driver fled, how criminals are arrested then released routinely, how crimes like litter and small theft are treated as not worth the police's time, and how almost always these criminals are... Mexican gangs, largely made up of illegals. Living in rural southern California is like living when the roman empire fell apart and people began clustering around strong warlords who could protect them from bandits.

Waste and misuse of funds is a bipartisan effort in Washington DC. Representative Tom Coburn (R-OK) has compiled a "book" of waste by the US Congress, including these examples:
  • $764,825 for a study on how college students use cell phones and social media
  • $55,660 on butter packaging for Kriemhild Dairy Farms
  • $96,000 on iPads for kindergarteners for a school district in Maine
I defy anyone to find a single place in the US Constitution which permits the US Government to tax its citizens and hand out the proceeds for any of these spending items. And these are just the small unconstitutional bills.

Hours before being slated for harvesting his organs for transplants, an Arizona man woke up. He had been in a coma since an accident in October, and doctors had declared him dead, a vegetable, unable to function. It appears he will enjoy a full recovery.

Ron Paul is enjoying a big surge thanks to polls and people not happy with Gingrich or Romney. Unfortunately, his past keeps showing up, such as newsletters he edited and wrote in the 1990s. These newsletters include racist cant against blacks, all sorts of wild conspiracies, and the usual Ron Paul style libertarian isolationism. Paul claims to denounce the letters, says he never wrote any of them, but he was listed as the editor for all of them. The closer people look at these letters, the worse it looks for him. Not only did he announce them with pride in the 1990s, but a close examination of the newsletters reveals the writer identifies himself as Ron Paul, refering to his run for various offices and his activities as "me" and "my." Either he wrote them, or he lied about writing them and reading them for editing. And he printed them in his name under his banner, either way, tacitly endorsing what was said.

Something unfortunate during high unemployment periods is that employers become very picky. Not only are they suffering the same economic pressures that everyone else is, but they have such a broad range of choices, they will try to get the absolute best person for the job, rather than who they can get at short notice. This makes it very hard for a new entry to the job market to find any work. And some businesses are announcing they'll only accept applications from someone already at work - proving they are a worker and are at least somewhat reliable. Democrat Assemblyman Mike Allen of California is introducing a bill to make it illegal for a business to advertise that they'll only accept applications from people already working, which is pointless and foolish. Businesses will just stop advertising and keep the same policy.

Thanks to the millions of dollars in overtime, cleanup, and court costs the Occupy movement cost Los Angeles, the city is even further in debt. Corrupt and idiotic Mayor Villaraigosa has announced budget cuts in an attempt to deal with the increased debt. Great job, occupy.

Ender's Game was an interesting and creative science fiction tale written by Orson Scott Card about a little boy trained to obliterate an entire species of aliens. A movie is finally being made about the book, and Harrison Ford is said to be signed on as one of the rough instructors. Hopefully they can trim off the weird religious bit at the end, and they'll certainly have to change how the kids are clothed. Also in the movie are Abigain Breslin, Asa Butterfield, Hailee Steinfeld and Ben Kingsley. This is not a kid's movie despite the star being a child.

Pixar's latest animated feature is an Scottish faerie tale called Brave and not everyone is happy about it. The Atlanta Braves major league baseball team claims the name is too close to their team name and has filed a copyright objection to the movie. This is not just idiotic but a perfect example of how big corporations abuse copyright law.

According to insiders, National Geographic Studios is shutting down. Their work was associated with March of the Penguins but despite putting five films out has grossed less than a million dollars this year. And their channel pretty much sucks, too. The magazine went downhill pretty bad in the 90s until it was just another "humans are destroying the world, global warming, we're all doomed" tract. Its sad, because they used to be such a great resource.

Two wealthy men showed up at a middle school in 1988 and promised the students that they'd pay for their entire college education. Given a future and the chance at getting the education everyone kept saying they needed, what happened to these students? As Paul Schwartzman writes in the Washington Post, things didn't turn out that great. Almost as if getting it for free didn't mean as much, and that education isn't a magic ticket to riches and comfort.

When I first saw the Osprey aircraft, I thought it was a pretty nice device for transportation and supply. It looked kind of fragile, and anything that complicated is likely to break down easily and not do well in poor conditions, but if used right it could be fine. Well, the Marines love the things and have been using them in combat. How do they fare? David Axe writes in Wired that the planes break easily, are poorly armored, and because of the tilting rotors, have no door guns, so they are more vulnerable in combat. The only weapon is a gun that points out the back cargo door, which when its being used is full of people and supplies being moved, and can't be fired.

Just in case you thought President Obama was somehow out of the loop on Fast & Furious, or figured it was some rogue internal scheme by an out of control individual at the Obama Justice Department, Joe Schoffstall has a reminder. Back in 2009, Deputy Attorney General David Ogden announced new efforts with Project Gunrunner "as directed by the president." These new efforts were to hand guns to mexican drug gangs and not track them. Hundreds of dead people later, including a US Federal agent, and no one has even been indicted.

Perjury has some pretty stiff penalties, but only if you are prosecuted. When you perjure yourself hurting the Bush administration, the Obama justice department has no problem with it, however. Hans A Von Spasovsky at PJ Media writes:
A career employee in the Voting Section of Justice’s Civil Rights Division has confessed to committing perjury, sources say. The employee, Stephanie Celandine Gyamfi, reportedly told investigators from the Inspector General’s Office that she perjured herself during an inquiry into Justice Department leaks during the previous administration. Despite the admission, she has not been fired for criminal malfeasance. Indeed, it appears she has not been disciplined in any meaningful way at all.
Well she was speaking of a higher truth, to power. Democrat power.

Each Chevy Volt that is bought gets a rebate of almost ten thousand dollars from the federal government, courtesy you as a taxpayer. But that's not all you're paying. Each car is being subsidized by as much as $250,000 in dealer incentives, grants, and development costs. So every man, woman, and child in America is paying about 25 cents a car to help someone buy a Volt.

Despite this massive spending project, the Volt isn't selling very well. In fact its selling so awful the line would be dumped by a car company were it not owned by the federal government and mandated to put out an electric vehicle. In a year-end push to get sales up, the federal government has bought thousands of the thing for fleet vehicles, and since the policy is that auto dealers must buy rather than hold these cars on their lot, those numbers are added to the sales as well. And they're still anemic.

NASA scientist James Hansen set up several scenarios to shoot for in terms of emissions back in the 1990s. These zero emissions after the year 2000 schemes have since been apparently forgotten, since world temperature are lower than his "plan C" consequences. In other words, he said we had to lower our emissions or the world would warm up. And its not getting as warm as he warned.

Another green energy company covered in "Stimulus" cash is collapsing. This one was given to a Germany company called Solar Millennium, to the tune of $2.1 billion in grants. Similarly, $1.45 billion in loan guarantees was handed to Spanish company Abendgoa Solar, both of which are now bankrupt and losing down. In total, about $90 billion went to these debacles, which while it is a drop in the bucket from the trillion dollars the total package was, its an awful lot.

Apparently global warming alarmists are a bit hazy on the concept of superlatives. No Frakking Consensus has a humorous look at all the places and peoples that have been predicted to be "hardest hit" by climate change by various hysterics. There are almost two dozen.

According to Leon Panetta, President Obama is moving forward toward bombing Iran. While I have no problem with this idea of blowing up nuclear weapon facilities (and the US has the tools to do the job), this is sort of in opposition to the man's rhetoric and campaign themes.

Northwestern University has a Muslim chaplain named Abdullah Faaruuq spoke at a fundraiser for convicted terrorist Aafia Siddiqui, calling her "brave" and claiming she "warrants our support." There's no word on any action by the Massachusetts university.

Every year, the White House has an official Christmas Tree, decorated by items donated from people, chosen by staffers. Previously the Obama White house has had decorations praising Mao, and this year there's one praising President Obama... but nothing about Jesus. These trees reflect the values and interests of the White House.

Champion News has collected the 100 best-paid teachers in America, topped by a phys ed teacher earning $203,154 for nine months of work. The list is impressive, and it does some damage to the "teachers are barely making it starving hard workers who need to be paid more" line people so often repeat.

Gas prices have skyrocketed again under President Obama, but few legacy news organizations are reporting on it. MSNBC recently added up the average cost for an American in gas as the price went up this year and figured it was around $4,155 per household.
Link
Again the Environmental Protection Agency is looking for ways to impose its ideas on America without congressional or constitutional authorization. In the name of "sustainability" the EPA comissioned a $700,000 study to find new was to use the existing laws to more heavily regulate and punish people. And given that the agency is already violating existing laws and the constitution, one expects their definition of "using existing laws" will be a bit more flexible than most peoples'.

Elsewhere in EPA news, a modern dance troupe in Utah has been given $25,000 in federal funds. They're working on new ways to spread the alarmist word, and being funded by your tax dollars to do so.

Part of the reason businesses are so cautious about hiring new people is that often young peoples' work ethic is so awful. Case in point, Amiee Groth's amazingly unselfaware piece for Business Insider about how working at Starbucks was so incredibly awful and hard. The terrors she faced:
  • It was really busy
  • She had to learn her job
  • She had to clean up after a broken toilet
  • She had to do jobs she felt were beneath her
  • You don't get long comfortable breaks
  • Some people she worked with weren't gentle with her fragile ego
  • She was fired without a kindly chat
Basically she's been raised in a plastic bubble in the "participation trophy" generation and thought her experiences in the service industry were so horrible and unthinkable that she had to write an article explaining this bizarre and unique experience nearly everyone has gone through in the past. She left after 3 weeks.

Climaquiddick I and II have been brutal to the reputations of many sciences and the work they do. Not only are these men shown to be petty, mean spirited, and bitter, but they admit destroying data, manipulating it, and much uncertainty about topics they presented to the world as absolute and totally trutstworthy. Now, it appears that the US Government was complicit in helping these alarmists hide data. “Work on the land station data has been funded by the U.S. Dept of Energy, and I have their agreement that the data needn’t be passed on. I got this [agreement] in 2007,” writes ACU head Phil Jones in 2009.
Two months later, Jones reiterated that sentiment to colleagues, saying that the data "has to be well hidden. I’ve discussed this with the main funder (U.S. Dept of Energy) in the past and they are happy about not releasing the original station data.”

A third email from Jones written in 2007 echoes the idea: "They are happy with me not passing on the station data," he wrote.
Sharing data and comparing notes is one of the bedrock foundations of science. Refusing to do so is not.

Remember those doctors who handed out fake, lying notes so that teachers could skip their work, abandoning children and their duty to education and protest Governor Walker? You'd expect some board of ethics to find fault with this behavior, but so far, no. Surprising no one, ten doctors have been given a pass for their fraud. The ends, after all, justify the means.

Ethanol isn't the only alternative fuel being subsidized by the federal government, threatening crops for other use. Biomass subsidies are so profitable that wood for building things and making furniture in the US is seeing short supply, driving up prices in Britain. There's nothing the government can't make worse, if only you give them more money.

Part of the Government Health Insurance Takeover Act was a provision to help small businesses survive being forced to fund lavish health plans. $5,000,000 was set aside in the Emergency Retiree Reinsurance Program (ERRP), intended to last until 2014. It already ran out of money and is being ended this year. It seems that ERRP turned into a kind of slush fund tapped into by small businesses GM and the UAW, and quickly got used up.

Finally, remember that Radiohead concert that was rumored to take place with the Occupy Wall Street event? The rumor that caused the occupy crowd to seem huge and significant? The one who leaked the rumor has been tracked down and shock of all shocks, he's a freelancer for the New York Times.
It started like this: an autonomous group of Occupy Wall Street activists were sitting around brainstorming ways to get more people out to Zuccotti Park over beer and pizza. This was a little over a week into the occupation, before the mass arrests on the Brooklyn Bridge, and it still wasn’t clear whether the whole thing would catch on. Someone suggested we should get Radiohead to play a free concert – they were in town for a couple small shows and fans were ready to sell pounds of flesh for tickets. The band wouldn’t even have to play the thing, people just had to think they were going to.
Again, higher truth, end justifies means, you get the picture.


And that's the Word Around the Net for December 23, 2011. Merry Christmas!

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