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CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR'S BOOKS

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

RIP PATRICE O'NEAL

"A lot of people walk out of my show. If I've got 250-300 people in the audience, 20 will walk out. I average about 20 walkouts, which is good. Because everybody else stays, and I love that. That's what comedy is. Not everybody should be laughing at everything at the same time. That's not even natural. "

Patrice O'Neal is a guy not enough people knew about, a comedian who was not just funny but smart and honest about life. He was a huge black dude, very overweight and tall and yet he didn't make any of his bit about his size, it was just about life and people. One of my favorite bits he did was about black women.

I've noted on here many times before the way news shows (especially Fox News) fixates on missing little white girls. O'Neal made a whole bit about it, mocking the coverage of news and police when a white girl goes missing versus a black girl.

The key part was how the audience all knew the name of Natalie Holloway, but didn't know the name of the Peruvian girl killed by the same man. And she'd only died a few weeks before the show. It was hilarious and biting at the same time.

He had a lot of physical problems, not the least of which was diabetes, and he died recently. Patrice O'Neal was a light spot of comedy in a pretty dreary field of lame hacks. Here's a bit from the Nick and Artie Show (which I recommend, but be ready to be offended and confronted with stuff you don't in many places). They discuss their friend and toast him:

RESTING CHRISTOPHER

I'm taking the day off to rest, I apologize for the lack of content.

PICTURE OF THE DAY


So ronery...

Quote of the Day

"I think the notion of telling the public to prepare for both global warming and an ice age at the same [time] creates a real public relations problem for us."
-John Shepherd, in Climaquiddick II emails

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

NO MO CAIN

"Another one bites the dust"

Herman Cain is probably about to drop out of the presidential race. Like I said a while back I liked Cain and he's got the most impressive resumee of the GOP candidates (and is one of the smartest) but he wasn't ready yet. He could have been a good VP candidate and in a term or maybe be ready to run for president, but not now.

The Obama team has a history of smearing candidates so they don't have to face them or remove them from running on topics utterly unrelated to their ability to do the job. Jeri Ryan's nasty divorce details had nothing to do with the ability of Jack Ryan to be a state legislator, but the Obama team with more than willing accomplices in the press made sure that's all people thought about and focused on.

And, sadly, a lot of right-leaning blogs and sites piled on too. Mostly they did so out of an abiding terror that Cain would win and the certainty that he couldn't beat President Obama (at this point my cat's bones could, but they were afraid). So they wanted to stop him, diminish his momentum and move people away from Cain toward candidates they thought were more "electable."

In the process they did President Obama's work for him, for free. They helped smear Cain so badly that now he probably has no political future or career. And the Obama team is probably throwing a party now, because Cain would have obliterated Obama's only remaining strength: vote for me, honky, or you're a racist.

FALSE MARTYR

"I certainly don’t want to give you the impression that we’re going to use his death as a football or anything like that."

Joaquin Luna, 18 years old, shot himself to death in his home. Supposedly he left behind a note, explaining his actions. Stephen Dinan in the Washington Times explains:
In the letters he left, his brother said, Luna expressed despair at the chances for the federal Dream Act, which would legalize illegal-immigrant students and young adults.

Congress blocked the legislation last year.

“He was actually doing this for the cause, mainly the Dream Act,” Mr. Mendoza said. “He was doing this to show politicians, to show that something had to be done because there are a lot of kids out there in the same situation.”
Now, people who are suicidal usually have a lot of reasons, and most of the time the reasons themselves don't add up to enough; there's something else desperately wrong inside. For example, this kid had supposedly two choices as he saw it: not getting cheaper college rates... or not going to college at all. And he chose not going to college, permanently. There's no logic or sense to that, even for a massively depressed person.

Which is why I'm a bit skeptical about the letter, but when you're so depressed you consider suicide a real option, you are pretty well insane at that point, so reason doesn't factor into it.

Here's the problem with this entire scenario, though. He could have gotten in-state tuition rates if he wanted. All he had to do was become a citizen of the United States. Children of illegals generally have an easier path to it, because it wasn't their choice to come here. At 18 he could strike out on his own. At worst, he'd have to go to Mexico and come through legally using the system.

At worst, he wouldn't become a citizen and college would cost more. So he'd have to get a job, work hard, get money together and pay more of his own way. Or, if he's smart, avoid college entirely because its pretty well a massive rip off at this point.

The fact that this boy tragically took his own life says nothing morally or reasonably about denying non-citizens benefits given to citizens. If an American citizen from Oklahoma couldn't get in-state tuition in Texas, why on earth should a citizen of another country get it? Reason, not emotion, should decide legal cases and situations like this. This is tragic... but it changes nothing, and it certainly doesn't make him a "martyr."

Martyrs were killed by other people, to begin with, they didn't selfishly take their own lives in the greatest act of cowardice known to man.

Incidentally, this happened in Texas, the state where Governor Perry was in charge and supposedly signed a local Dream Act bill. Which didn't apply to this kid, meaning the bill wasn't what its been portrayed as in the press.

NORWEGIAN WOULD

"How can someone who has planned this for such a long time... be considered insane"

Norway
Remember Anders Behring Breivik? The fascist who was called a right winger by every media source on earth until it was obvious he wasn't? The man who shot hundreds of people, killing 77? The Norwegian authorities looked awful by not responding to cries for help on the island until too late to save scores of lives. The Norwegians on the island were utterly unable to fight back, unarmed, and even thought it was some kind of test at first.

And now, the Norwegian courts have decided that Breivik shouldn't go to prison. We all knew he'd be at worst put in a comfortable country club style prison for part of his life, get out after a while, and never face the death sentence. But the courts have decided he's insane.

Well, yeah. Anyone who takes a rifle and shoots at, wounding and killing 228 people is insane, that's a given. But then, its rare to kill anyone without being insane. The truth is, this guy's philosophy of life and his ideas are boilerplate fascism, he'd be a jackbooted SS trooper in WW2, like thousands of others. Crazy? Sure. But then so were all the guys at the Nuremberg trials. So was Hitler, Goebbels, Hess and so on. So were most of the SS and Gestapo. So were the death camp guards and commandants.

Putting this guy in an insane asylum is might seem like the most reasonable reaction to the emasculated leftists in Norway, but they really could use a bit of the Viking at this point because he's never going to get better. And justice, not to mention the blood of all those innocent people cry out for justice, which is not served by sitting and talking to him about his feelings.

PICTURE OF THE DAY


This venison seems to be protected by a force field...

Quote of the Day

“The national media, which leans a little to the left I could argue …”
-Chris Matthews

Monday, November 28, 2011

ANTI-EVOLUTIONARY

"Anyone who doesn't believe in evolution cannot in good conscience be allowed to practice medicine."

Evolutionary theory has replaced religious dogma in the west. Basically if you don't believe everything you're told about evolution, many people think you're an idiot, a weirdo, a heretic, someone unfit for most jobs even if they haven't the slightest thing to do with biology or origins.

The truth is 99% of all scientists can get by without even encountering evolutionary theory in their work, and the ones that must, don't need to bother with the theory. You don't have to be a hardcore Evolutionist if you are a paleontologist, you'll just be savaged and villified by your peers. Its a method of examining data, not a scientific law that you must use to learn facts.

Still, there are many who are outraged if a plumber doubts aspects of evolution, let alone anyone in a scientific field. So with that setup, what do you think of a doctor who rejects the theory? Is he unqualified? Incompetent? Idiotic?

In England, there are students, including medical students, who walk out of lectures when evolutionary theory is brought up. They reject it based on their scripture and won't tolerate the discussion. The way evolution is taught in schools, it can be pretty heavy handed, and if your faith is opposed to the concept, that can be tough to tolerate from profs. Too often, professors are more interested in showing how pathetic and stupid you are for disagreeing with them than convincing or just worrying about the truth. It goes both ways; you can get really hostile, condescending Christian profs who attack you in class at some colleges.

Most of the time in the past, these students have been Christians, but lately more often, they are Muslim. Something few people seem to comprehend is that most of the basic structure of faith is similar between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Each religion believes in a single, all powerful deity, a scripture that must be obeyed, laws that best reflect the will of this creator, and that the world was created by this deity, not gradually evolved by chance from matter that appeared out of nowhere or is eternal.

Muslims reject evolution as well, because they believe all these basic tenets of their faith. Christians are generally attacked and mocked for questioning the dogma of the modern secularist, but Muslims generally are protected by the same people.

Personally I suggest these students sit around and learn what people are teaching and saying so at the very least they're equipped to disagree intelligently. Running away from difficult or opposing ideas is a mistake many Christians have made, they have to be confronted and examined. But Islam has no vigorous history and scripturally-mandated tradition of arguing, examining, questioning, and debating their faith as Judaism and Christianity have enjoyed for millennia.

Its the comments - and granted, this is an open forum so it tends to dredge up the lowest detritus the internet has to offer - that really made me laugh and shake my head. Almost all of them demanded they not graduate, not get a degree, not practice their field of work.

And it should be fun to watch the left scramble to find a way to diversely tolerate this shocking betrayal of their basic belief system: do you condemn Muslims for rejecting one of the main tenets of your faith in evolution, or do you tolerate their diverse culture and narrative?

BARNEY GONE

"And I think there is too much bloviating around from politicians."
-Barney Frank

Barney Fag
Barney Frank (D-MA), one of the most leftist, openly corrupt legislators in the US Congress, is claiming he will retire soon. Frank is openly gay, which probably protected him from ethics charges and various rules violations that would have caused other legislators problems. He's known for his reliably radical left position on topics, his virulent protection of the crumbling and incompetent Fannie/Freddie quasi-government lending agencies, and various boyfriends who keep having problems with the law.

Him being gone from congress can't happen too soon. Maybe Massachusetts can erase the humiliating blight of their horrific choices of congressmen they keep voting for over and over with someone new and not as awful as Kennedy, Murtha, and Frank.

One down, about 300 to go. Throw all the bums out, until they start listening.

THE TURKEY IS A LIE

"For as long as there are those who believe, the plastic turkey will remain forever real!"

Bush with Turkey
Just in time for Thanksgiving suddenly I got a bunch of hits on the old Plastic Turkey Myth post I did. Its frankly amazing to me that people are still interested in the story, but equally amazing some people still believe it and are spreading it around. Tim Blair links to a Cornell University professor who references the story, adding to his Turkey Roll of all the bozos who keep pushing this myth.

I understand that this is too good to pass up for the left. It fits their narrative perfectly: a hapless idiot crafting a clever lie to fool the American people with. He couldn't even get the turkey right! But like so many myths in the past, the Plastic Turkey was a lie.

For those not aware of the story: In 2003, President Bush the younger flew out to Iraq in secret and without the press to help serve turkey to the troops. The local military press covering the annual thanksgiving feast found the president of the United States there serving turkey. Somewhere, the claim that the turkey was fake, that he was just posing by the feast instead of doing anything (probably because he's too retarded to be allowed near a knife by Dick Cheney) took root.

The turkey was real, the president served it to soldiers (who loved him), and there wasn't anything plastic. The turkey in the front of the image was a show turkey to show what was being handed out (already cut by the kitchen staff), but it was real, too. Even the New York Times, who ran the plastic story, retracted it a few days later (buried in small print).

This one is dying a harder death than the "Bush ordered the Grand Canyon to only sell creationist books" myth. Almost nobody even mentions that one any more. Thanks to the Google priorities, my blog entry on the topic is the first listing for "plastic turkey myth" so hopefully I'm doing my part to debunk it.

PICTURE OF THE DAY

Quote of the Day

"Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are even incapable of forming such opinions."
-Albert Einstein

Friday, November 25, 2011

WORD AROUND THE NET

"What can we do to get more women out here?"

European Union leadership is fighting hard to protect its subjects, this time from fraudulent claims. It turns out that bottled water companies were claiming - get this - that water hydrates you. Can you believe it? Water! Adding water to your body! I mean, really! Claiming that your water actually provides water to anyone who drinks it is punishable by a 2 year prison sentence. Related: this story about dangerous limes. This is what you get when you put hard left academics in charge of a huge, unaccountable bureaucracy. The EU finished a three-year investigation claiming there is "no evidence" that drinking water hydrates humans. No word about how much the French wine business was involved.

Every so often you get a news story that's more honest and reasonable when it comes to certain topics. For example, the New York Times and NPR compiled on a story about the debt. Despite what you'll hear from the Occupy movement and most leftists, we can't fix the debt with tax increases on the rich.
It's tempting to look to our millionaires and demand they pay more in taxes, but the same inconvenient truth applies. When you add up all the money made by all the people who earn more than $1 million a year, it amounts to around $700 billion. But since the millionaires already pay close to $200 billion in taxes, the government would have to increase rates to nearly 100 percent — which is about the worst idea ever — for it to have any real impact.
Unfortunately, here's where they go off the rails. The only possible way to conceivably deal with the debt, they claim, is to raise taxes on more people:
To solve our debt problems, we have to go to where the money is — the middle class.
Cutting? not even on the table, they don't even bring it up. No cuts, ever. Just tax more!

Meanwhile, the Occupy movement has a benefit album coming out. On it will be DJ Logic, Ladytron, Warren Haynes, Toots and the Maytals, Mike Limbaud, Aeroplane Pageant, Yo La Teng, Jackson Browne, Third Eye Blind, Crosby & Nash, Devo, Lucinda Williams and those obnoxious Zucotti Park drummers. Yeah I've not even heard of most of those guys. Previous benefit albums have raised a lot of cash, according to the AP:
There's a long history of benefit albums, from George Harrison's "Concert for Bangla Desh" that raised millions for flood victims through Unicef in 1971, and the "We Are the World" single in the 1980s, which raised more than $60 million for famine relief in Africa.
Bangladesh is one word really, but aside from that... what are they raising money for? What's the benefit, what's the charity?

Belgium, famous for having no chance against the Germans in WW2 as they cruised around the idiotic Manginot Line, has another cause for infamy. Arutz Sheva reports:
Five Muslim Moroccan girls in Belgium beat a 13-year-old classmate, called her a "dirty Jew” and told her to "return to your country.”
...you read that right, the Moroccan immigrants told a Belgian Jew to return to her country. Which they want wiped off the map anyway.

Elsewhere in America, Sara Schulman, a professor at CUNY, wrote in the New York Times recently all about how clever and deceptive the Joo is by being nice to homosexuals because that makes the palestinians look bad. Pinkwashing, she calls it. Professor Jacobson at Legal Insurrection points out how the palestinians treat homosexuals, which is just proof of the pernicious Jew to this professor.

Tanner Latham at WFAE Charlotte wrote about the occupy movement there, and there's this bit that just made me laugh out loud:
St. Aubin-Bridgewood says people don't realize Occupy Charlotte is more than just 48 tents: There are people all over town "occupying from home."

"They get on the internet, they put up different articles, they try and stay involved, they try and keep the conversation going, they try and educate their friends and family and neighbors as to what the movement's about," explains St. Augin-Bridgewood. "That's basically what I call Occupying from your Home."
I'm occupying Michael Shumacher's island mansion from home.

Thus far, the occupy movement has cost cities across America close to $20 million dollars they do not have according to a recent study. These cities, already staggering under massive debt, are being forced to spend millions more to control these protesters.

Journolist's Ezra Klein was one of the reporters that went to a closed-door session of Democrat congressional staffers. Usually congress briefs reporters, but not this time. Fishbowl DC has the details:
Klein spoke to a group of Senate Democratic Chiefs of Staff last Friday about the Supercommittee, just days before the Committee announced its failing. “It was kind of weird,” said a longtime Senate Democratic aide, explaining that while people “enjoyed it” and gave it “positive reviews” this sort of thing is far from typical.
...
Klein’s speech to high-level Democratic aides was in the Capitol, closed door and off the record. It lasted 30 minutes. “I think they thought it was very helpful,” said the aide. “I think it’s unusual. What’s more common is to get someone like Paul Begala or a White House staffer.
I'm sure it was terribly objective and balanced.

Students are demanding they have their college loans waived, bailed out by the federal government. President Obama, desperate to stave off a primary challenge and shore up his base is proposing that happen. The total debt in student loans in America is huge, over a trillion bucks but as Nick Gillespie & Meredith Bragg write at Reason, the individual loan averages $25,000 per student. They offer two other reasons why we ought not bail out student loans but they leave off the most critical: because they owe that money for services rendered. Its an important lesson for the "participation trophy" generation to learn: you have to pay for what you get.

Possibly you've heard this story: a man caught a huge, 881 pound tuna. He called up the Bluefin Tuna Hotline to report his catch, hoping to sell it while it was still fresh. The feds showed up and seized it because he caught it by accident in a net intended for bottom feeders. The fisherman didn't have a tuna permit and individual fishermen can only catch the fish with rod and reel. The NOAA has a good reason for sweeping in to take the fish: the last big tuna to sell netted more than $300,000 and the feds do not share any of that money with people they seize it from.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, more recent and accurate estimates suggest that at most 700,000 jobs were protected by the "Stimulus" package and ended up crowding out private investment, ultimately harming the economy. If only someone had warned the Democrats before they spent a trillion dollars that this would happen. Oh yeah, we did.

James Bond is coming next year, in a movie called "Skyfall." According to IMDB and various news sources, Q will be back played by Ben Whishaw. If You're like me you just said "who?" Apparently he was in Layer Cake with Daniel Craig, and is rumored to be just as light in the loafers.

Some stories about wind power:
  • England shuts down its wind turbines at night because they make too much noise
  • The Dutch have figured out that massive subsidies to make wind power work is not worth it.
  • 14,000. That's how many wind turbines have been abandoned in the US in the last 30 years.
Federal Prosecutors are turning out to be some of the sloppiest, laziest, and most willing to bend the rules in the legal business. Congressman Stevens (R-AK) was corrupt, but they blew the case so badly that he walked away scott free and even has tried to get his old job back. He died in a plane crash not long after. Turns out the prosecutors hid evidence from the defense team, particularly evidence that would help Stevens fight the charges.

Funny enough, it turns out the occupy movement is almost all male (and white, for that matter). The Tea Party rallies were about 55% female, but the OWS guys can't get girls to join them. It turns out that girls don't like stinky, uncomfortable, unsafe, parasite-ridden, cold, and miserable events. They'll drop by a few hours for the cameras, but don't tend to stay.

Official economic numbers, carefully shaped by years of governments finding the most sunny way to produce them, have once more come in well under previous estimates. 2.0% is what they're saying officially now, but since every single growth estimate from the Obama administration has been later adjusted down, sometimes by more than 1%, expect that to drop. I wonder what the numbers would look like if they used the same method as during the depression?

Saudi oil producers were worried about American energy independence. Canada is able to produce oil from their tar sands, and America has massive oil reserves in shale deposits. They needn't have worried, though. President Obama made sure neither one gets taken advantage of by the United States, at the cost of a good million jobs or more.

Conservatory's Joy McCann points out something painfully obvious about the Obama administration:
When there is a conflict between jobs and public employee unions, or a conflict between jobs and the environmentalist lobby, jobs lose every time under this Administration. . . . How this President can claim that he’s interested in job-creation, or even job-maintenance, is simply beyond me.
But he has a jobs bill that's actually just Stimulus II that neither party wants to even get close to!

Victor Davis Hanson has a piece up about the decline of university education, remarking on a change at a certain point:
I noticed about 1990 that some students in my classes at CSU were both clearly illiterate and yet beneficiaries of lots of federal cash, loans, and university support to ensure their graduation. And when one had to flunk them, an entire apparatus was in place at the university to see that they in fact did not flunk. Just as coaches steered jocks to the right courses, so too counselors did the same with those poorly prepared but on fat federal grants and loans. By the millennium, faculty were conscious that the university was a sort of farm and the students the paying crop that had to be cultivated if it were to make it all the way to harvest and sale — and thus pay for the farmers’ livelihood.
Education and truth has been exchanged for political indoctrination and leftist ideology. And the profs are often the last ones to be aware of how much has been lost, swimming in the seas of academia. After generations of professors are brought up through this system and replace the older ones, fewer are even capable of recognizing the change.

Pepper-sprayed students are the focus of the occupy movement at the moment, with the media finding a narrative that makes them seem if not sympathetic, at least pathetic and the underdog. The problem is, the students agreed to being peppersprayed, saying “You're shooting us specifically? No that’s fine, that’s fine.” Video of the event is at Gateway Pundit. They can't get the Kent State moment they want so bad, but this is being treated as if it is. Gerard Vanderleun mocks these students and refers to when protests were real and dangerous from the late 60s and early 70s. Back then they faced shotguns, water cannons, and dogs. Today they throw a fit when their wi-fi has fewer bars.

Warren Buffett keeps going on about how rich people should be taxed more. He claims he wants to pay more taxes (and can, if he really wants to, there's a mechanism in the IRS). Meanwhile his company is 5 years in arrears on taxes, and recently sued the IRS for illegal taxation so they don't have to pay. Well, fair's fair, GE paid no taxes at all two years in a row.

Alarmists are admitting that there will not be any world accord on lowering emissions before 2016 at the earliest, and even if they somehow came to an accord, it wouldn't take effect before 2020. And, as Andrew Bolt points out... that will be too late to save the world, according to several alarmist hysterics. Meanwhile, the world stubbornly refuses to warm, even as CO2 levels are said to be rising.

NASA's data-manipulating James Hanson, who claimed he was being suppressed and silenced by the Bush administration even as he gave thousands of interviews, is being investigated for fraud and corruption. It turns out he made more than a million dollars of unreported income last year that violates his work contract. Funny how the loudest voices for alarmist climate change are the richest too, almost as if they're so loud because they get paid to.

And that's the Word Around the Net for November 25, 2011.

PICTURE OF THE DAY


For me this is the ultimate, defining occupy image. This guy's sign says it all. For all the marxist rhetoric and leftist ties, the occupiers aren't about any leftist movement. They're just about wanting everything for free. They want big government, but weak, subserviant big government. They don't want a powerful state, they want a puppet state that exists to make them comfortable and happy and give them goodies.

Somewhere, the ghost of JFK is weeping.

Quote of the Day

"If you refuse to be made straight when you are green, you will not be made straight when you are dry."
-African Proverb

Thursday, November 24, 2011

HAPPY THANKSGIVING



Even if you aren't in the USA, it never hurts to take a day, set it aside for thanks, and remember that we are not autonomous and we owe someone else for all we have.

Even if we have little, we have something to give thanks for.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

CLIMAQUIDDICK, MARK II

"I also think the science is being manipulated to put a political spin on it which for all our sakes might not be too clever in the long run."
-IPCC member Peter Thorne

You knew this was coming. Another flood of emails from the Hadley CRU and other climate alarmist accounts has been released. The guy who has it claims he has 250,000 more on backup waiting to be let out. These are less about science than about the cause, about pushing what they know isn't very valid, and honesty behind the scenes.

You can check out the whole batch at various sites, but here are some quotes to consider. First, from former Hadley CRU chief Phil Jones:
"Any work we have done in the past is done on the back of the research grants we get – and has to be well hidden. I’ve discussed this with the main funder (US Dept of Energy) in the past and they are happy about not releasing the original station data."

"I’ve been told that IPCC is above national FOI Acts. One way to cover yourself and all those working in AR5 would be to delete all emails at the end of the process "
Remember when the original batch of these came out, including evidence that they deliberately blocked giving data out to Freedom of Information demands? And how their allies in the government cleared them of any wrongdoing despite this blatant violation of the law? Yeah, he's giving advice about how to avoid releasing data. Because good scientists doing valid work fear people checking their work.

THE GRAPH
Here's a couple about the ridiculous Hockey Stick graph:
"I’m sure you agree–the Mann/Jones [Hockey Stick graph] paper was truly pathetic and should never have been published. I don’t want to be associated with that 2000 year 'reconstruction.'"
-Ray Bradley at RealClimate.org

"In any case, the graph has no objective basis whatsoever; it is purely a "visual guess" at what happened, like something we might sketch on a napkin at a party for some overly persistent inquisitor..."
-William M. Connolley

"But it will be very difficult to make the MWP [Medieval Warm Period] go away in Greenland."
-Henry Pollack
Now, keep in mind, Real Climate is a website partly run by Michael "Piltdown" Mann which continually claims the graph is not just valid, but terribly important. They keep trying to pretend the medieval warm period wasn't global and should be just factored out, despite data from around the world showing it was everywhere.

Here, one of the Real Climate guys trashes the graph, and another alarmist notes its not easy to just ignore the data. Mann doesn't care. RealClimate doesn't care.

GIGO
Oh and here's one more. Its about an alarmist who tested the position that Macintyre set out, that Michael Mann's computer modeling was front loaded to produce a hockey stick graph no matter what data it received:
"I thought I’d play around with some randomly generated time-series and see if I could ‘reconstruct’ northern hemisphere temperatures. [...] The reconstructions clearly show a ‘hockey-stick’ trend. I guess this is precisely the phenomenon that Macintyre has been going on about."
-Rob Wilson
Get that? He just randomly generated various data, without pattern or any sort of consistency, just various numbers. He plugged them into Mann's program, and presto, shockingly enough, he got a hockey stick shape.

THE CAUSE
And finally there's this series of quotes, referring to the alleged science as the cause, all from Michael Mann:
"By the way, when is Tom C going to formally publish his roughly 1500 year reconstruction??? It would help the cause to be able to refer to that reconstruction as confirming Mann and Jones, etc."

"They will (see below) allow us to provide some discussion of the synthetic example, referring to the J. Cimate paper (which should be finally accepted upon submission of the revised final draft), so that should help the cause a bit."

"I gave up on Judith Curry a while ago. I don’t know what she think’s she’s doing, but its not helping the cause."
You can tell when you're dealing with honest, properly done, ethical science when they refer to their work as a "cause."

This is the stuff they don't want to say out loud but are talking to each other about. Mann's response? “Well, they look like mine but I hardly see anything that appears damning at all." I'm sure you don't see a problem here, but we do.

MISGUIDED CONSERVATISM

"So what, other than simple mean-spiritedness, is going on here?"

Firefighter
Last week I wrote about how I vary from many conservatives on basic issues. Its not that I'm no conservative I just have a real problem with how too many respond and act. Here's another example.

The Portland Fire Department has a webpage, with a blog on it. The blog tells stories about what the PFD is up to besides saving lives at the risk of their own and stopping fires. Each week they post a recipe.

Enter Orbusmax, a northwest right-leaning news compliation source I use for stories. Its like Drudge for the Pacific Northwest. I like Orbusmax, they've got a lot of good local news you don't see anywhere else and they've been excellent at hammering the Portland city government for fraud and corruption in the housing department. So they link to the PFD blog and say


And so dutifully people started to show up at the firefighters site and attack them for this "waste of money:"
Posting freakin' recipes on the Fire Bureau website? Are you kidding me?
Posted by: Elizabeth

What colossal waste of time!
Posted by: Mick Harris
This is asinine. It doesn't cost them any more money to post a recipe on the blog than it does to post a picture of six new graduates (congrats guys). Firefighters actually have some free time on their hands, because when they're on duty they have to be ready when a call comes. That means sitting around the station waiting. If one of them types up a few things on the website, that doesn't waste anyone's money.

And since firefighters cook at the station, and some of them are really good at it, it makes sense that they'd have some recipes to share. Good for them for doing so.

I understand the tendency to respond negatively to government by conservatives, its not just rational, but supported by experience. Nine times out of ten if you see the government spending money on something they're probably doing it wrong and wastefully. But not in this case. Think first. Get off their backs.

PRODUCT IN THE PLACE OF ARTIST

"Please be advised that in this week's Jennifer Lopez Top 40 Spin Increase of 236 we bought 63 spins at a cost of $3,600."

Jennifer Lopez, singer, actress, writer, and overall entertainment girl. She's all over the place, and now she's pushing this squat goofy looking Fiat 500 in advertisements. Buy it girls, and you can be like J-Lo! It will be a constant party of fun and cute boys! Paint it pink and decorate it!

Jennifer Lopez might very well be a nice enough person. She is a fairly capable actress, I liked her in Out of Sight and other movies she's been in. I don't care for the music she sings, but she's not terrible at it. The problem is, she's a product, a packaged deal.

A few years back I wrote about a payola scandal that happened in California. DJs at radio stations were being paid to play songs - mostly Jennifer Lopez - by Sony Music. She's pushing this Fiat pretty hard, including an appearance at the American Music Awards when the dancers gave way for the 500. The ad with her driving this little shoe-shaped thing was done with CGI, she was never in the Bronx neighborhood the ad shows.

From her perspective, its just a job; what's the difference between a fake ad for a car and playing a fake Federal Marshall in a movie? But from the perspective of Sony, she's a lucrative commodity, she's a property they're pushing in all their entertainment line. There are songs, beauty supplies, garden tools, music sheets, software, movies all with her name; you can get J-Lo jewelry and clothing and books. She's everywhere, because Sony sees a way to make money off her in all these ways.

And that's much of the problem with modern entertainment, particularly music. The artists are chosen for how marketable they are, how easy they are to package and sell. Justin Bieber might think he got so popular because of his hard work and talent, but there are thousands of guys like that out there. He was just the most marketable, according to his agent and the label that gave him a contract.

This is why so few people have sympathy for the plight of entertainment corporations. They're not just soulless and money grubbing, but they destroy the creativity and art they're allegedly built around. Yeah, its wrong to steal but most people shrug at downloading songs or movies because the companies are so repulsive. The product is usually not worth much money anyway, but they try to charge so much for every single piece.

This near-total control of entertainment giants like Sony, Time-Warner-AOL and others is extremely bad for music, movies, art, and so on. Yet when it comes time for another merger, the government which heavily scrutinizes every other industry shrugs at entertainment. The attitude seems to be that can it hurt for one company to own cable channels, magazines, movie studios, record labels, theaters, printing companies, publishers, and so on all at once?

I'll tell you what it hurts: it destroys culture by putting out crap. Nearly everyone in the world believes modern popular music is trash. If you aren't sure, listen to a few hours of top-40 and most downloaded songs. When you regain your sanity, listen to even bad music from before 1995. The difference is so profound you'll be close to weeping.

And there's more to it than that. Music and popular entertainment helps shape the younger generation. Taylor Swift recently told 60 minutes that music is basically raising the next generation, because they're constantly listening to it and all those ideas and concepts are pumped directly into their head in a way that reason and logic is bypassed. Music in particular reaches us in a way that is separate from our thoughts, it affects our souls more directly. Its incredibly powerful.

Do you really want a big corporation only interested in making the most money, devoid of any ethical considerations or virtue, raising your kids with this immensely powerful tool? You might think Rhianna and Lil' Wayne are harmless, and if your 14 year old daughter goes berserk when you tell her she can't listen to that crap then you should let her. But she's learning about life from these songs. What's she learning? (strong parental advisory):

You know them hoes love Weezy
Sticky, pimp small, long hair, big d*ck
Weezy bring to y'all
Don't y'all lip quit
Put your lips on this d*ck
Let me get on some livin'
Spit all over ya chin...
-"Act A Ass," Lil' Wayne

Our love, his trust
I might as well take a gun
And put it to his head
Get it over with
I don't wanna do this
Anymore, anymore
-"Unfaithful," Rhianna

Justin Bieber's lyrics are generally vapid and repetitive like Black Eyed Peas, but at least he's not pernicious. You'll just end up a drooling cretin if you listen to much of it. And that's what we're getting, because anything more creative, edgy, interesting, and unusual is scary to record companies. They want what they can control and trust, not what is artistic and exciting.

They can't control artists and innovators. They can't rely on a really great band to do what its told. They can't get predictable, easily marketed results out of a new Guns 'n' Roses or Yes. They can't put that together in a package with dozens of other lucrative products, because artists like that will say "Cologne? Are you nuts?"

So we get what we have here. And since people keep buying this vomit, they'll keep it up.

*UPDATE: The Fiat 500 filmed with J-Lo's body double in it for the ad broke down during filming the commercial. Chrysler strikes again.

PICTURE OF THE DAY

The Tea Party movement often flies the Gadsden flag. Here's the Occupy movement's version:

OWS Gadsden Flag
Courtesy an idea by Buzzsaw at Ace of Spades HQ, rendered by "Rex Harrison's Hat"

Quote of the Day

"This day I completed my thirty first year, and conceived that I had in all human probability now existed about half the period which I am to remain in this Sublunary world. I reflected that I had as yet done but little, very little indeed, to further the hapiness of the human race, or to advance the information of the succeeding generation. I viewed with regret the many hours I have spent in indolence, and now soarly feel the want of that information which those hours would have given me had they been judiciously expended. but since they are past and cannot be recalled, I dash from me the gloomy thought and resolved in future, to redouble my exertions and at least indeavour to promote those two primary objects of human existance, by giving them the aid of that portion of talents which nature and fortune have bestoed on me; or in future, to live for mankind, as I have heretofore lived for myself."
-Meriwether Lewis, in the middle of the expedition

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

PICTURE OF THE DAY

States by ranking in food stamp participation under the Food Stamp President:


Oregon is number 1. Here's the basic rundown on how you qualify for getting food stamps in Oregon, according to the pdf from the Oregon State government:
  • income of no more than $150 a month
  • More than $100 in cash, checking or savings accounts
  • Monthly rent and utility payments more than your monthly income, cash and money in your bank accounts
  • Are you a migrant or seasonal farm worker?
  • If yes, does anyone have $100 or more in cash, checking or savings?
  • Will you get income of $25 or more in the next 10 days?
Notice: if you're a migrant worker - or have been one in the past and are just living in Oregon now on the dole, like many are now - its easier to get food stamps. Small wonder the state's Hispanic population exploded in the last 20 years. Come to Oregon, we'll help you get a place to live and give you food!

THE ART OF POLITICS AND THE SUPERCOMITTEE

"Politics is the art of the possible."

What happened with the budget "supercommittee," the group of 6 Republicans and 6 Democrats that was supposed to figure out a way to cut the debt and find a way to build a budget? Well it succeeded at what congress mostly wants: kicked the can down the road so they don't have to deal with it yet.

The problem with the budget is that the only way to do it right is to do things that are going to annoy a lot of voters. Either you have to raise taxes massively across the board, or you have to cut massively across the board, and probably even with tax increases you would have to cut. Congressmen don't like cutting, they almost never, ever do. They'll cut the rate of growth, but they almost never actually cut any spending. Reducing spending means lowering their power, and congressmen don't play that.

Republicans offered tax restructuring that would have increased taxation on most wealthy Americans (by eliminating deductions, etc). The Democrats rejected it, because the GOP required cuts in exchange, the "great compromise" idea. The Democrats demanded a trillion dollar tax hike and increased spending by 30 billion dollars, while offering token cuts (reductions in the rate of growth, again) as "compromise." The Republicans declined.

The two just couldn't meet. And they won't for the forseeable future. Democrats like President Bush Obama are claiming the entire blame is at the feet of evil Republicans. Republicans are claiming the entire blame lays at the feet of evil Democrats. The truth is, they're both to blame in a sense. The two parties are at this point so separated and divergent on how to handle the economy and spending that they cannot every meet. There's no art here, no possibility.

Its simply impossible for them to reach an agreement. So its up to the voters to decide: do we want to be Greece, or do we want to start to dig our way out of the hole? Spanish voters picked the latter. What will America do? President Obama vows to veto anything without more taxes and that includes any cuts. So that has to be part of the answer as well: a president who'll do what has to be done. Signs point toward the Spanish road, with voters rejecting Democrat tax and spending increases but we'll see.

The problem with the concept of compromise is that it presumes there's reasonable give and take to a middle ground. We're not in that situation here.

We're in this mess because of one sided total domination of a mindset in government that figured we'd always forever get to spend more money on more programs. We're in this mess because in the last decade, the total spending of the US Federal government doubled. Twice.

For almost a century the budget has been successively larded up with more and more spending, the bulk of it on redistributing funds from wealthy people to poor people in the form of welfare, social security, and medicare. Each time a new big program was created, it added to this budget. Then in the last ten years or so, it skyrocketed. Allow me to show you how with this graph courtesy Domenech at the Ace of Spaces HQ:


And now we're over fifteen trillion dollars in debt, more than most country's Gross National Products combined. The United States is in debt by such a gargantuan number it is difficult to visualize, let alone comprehend. And it got that way by continually spending more than it was taking in.

That means "compromise" means "do more of that and a little bit of what we need to" which is like "compromising" with a bully to stop beating you up by only using one fist. Sure, technically he gave up a little, but the problem wasn't solved, it's just getting worse at a slightly slower rate. If your purpose here is to actually solve the problem, then compromise has to be where and what is cut, not between cuts and tax increases.

But the Democrats think the problem has not been too much spending, but insufficient taxation. They all demand we go back to the tax rates of the 1990s, claiming that would fix the problem because look at how the debt was vanishing back then! The problem is, the budget was a quarter the size back then, and only started to eat away at the debt after the Contract With America Republicans forced President Clinton over repeated budget busting budget attempts to finally sign a balanced one.

The federal government has gone so totally berserk since then its impossible to argue factually that all we need is to raise taxes, or that raised taxes would even make any difference other than a slight slowdown in the accumulation of debt through interest rates.

And what will the cuts come in? We know already thanks to the Government Accountability Office that there are hundreds of billions of dollars in waste and duplication and that was just a surface audit of legislation, not practices in agencies. But who will cut there? Cuts mean losses of jobs, and as I've written about before, in a low job climate, cutting jobs will look crazy. Just like someone who knows nothing about surgery would think removing an inflamed appendix before it ruptures and kills the patient is barbaric and evil - look at all the pain you're causing! - cutting the federal government budget will look pernicious and destructive.

And as I noted in the same piece, blacks are disproportionately represented in federal government jobs, by about double the actual national percentage. Guess what people will yell if you start cutting black jobs? So who is going to have the guts to do what needs to be done, even if the nation puts Republicans in power? What basis do any of us have from history and experience to believe the GOP, once its a majority, will care about the budget or cutting?

Aside from some act of God or massive catastrophe I do not see any change of pace for America or anywhere else. The fact is, people know what has to be done, but they'll have that NIMBY attitude - cut somewhere that doesn't affect me.

And meanwhile, the party out of power, eager to regain that power, will go berserk maligning, attacking, smearing, and even inventing trash to throw at the party that tries to cut, using every political device, willing accomplice in the legacy media and entertainment industry, and dirty trick to stop what has to be done.

So we have this confluence of political sloth and greed, public greed and apathy, and lust for power that prevents doing the right thing at every turn. And with a modern culture that not only rejects but mocks virtue, ethics, hard work, and sacrifice, there's just no way out of this that ends well that I can foresee.

NORTH KOREAN PARK

"Great ideology creates great times."
-Kim Jong Il

The happiest place on earth, that's what Disneyland calls its self. They do a pretty good job too, everyone seems happy, nothing ever seems to go wrong, everything is bright and cheerful. North Korea has a theme park they let the elite soldiers and party officials go to. Its not so happy.


It looks more like an abandoned 1950s theme park, something you'd see in Fallout than an active one.

At least you'll never have to wait in line, 99% of North Koreans will never have enough money or time, even if they were allowed to visit the place.


Insert some comment about the snack bar. Actually, according to various accounts (like the Lewis & Clark expedition) dogs taste pretty good.


There were parts of the Soviet Union, Albania, etc that looked this way, too. There's no incentive to clean up, fix things, build something that lasts, or keep things pretty except a gun in your back in this kind of society. So you only bother when anyone is paying attention.

Quote of the Day

"Just tell us commander, give us our orders and tell us where we’re going. Give us the mission"
-Chris Matthews begging Obama

Monday, November 21, 2011

SONGS I LIKE: Here I Go Again (Whitesnake)

hanging on the promises in songs of yesterday.

Whitesnake is one of those big hair metal bands from the 1980s that people tend to mock. They had a big sound and some huge hits, then faded away, although lead singer David Coverdale is still around doing his thing. The band was a lot better than most of the hair metal bands of the time such as White Lion and Poison. They had a lot of talent and Coverdale had an incredible voice.

The song "Here I Go Again" is one of their absolute best. It seems kind of ordinary at first, but builds quickly into something not just catchy, but lasting and you can't help enjoying it even if you haven't seen the video with Tawny Kitaen at her peak of hotness. The song starts out with a theme I think many people would agree with if they thought about it: songs lie about love.

We grow up hearing songs about love and how it ought to be, this soaring, emotional explosion that goes on and on and you are loved back even better than you give. That's just not how it works. There's a time of this intoxicating infatuation that soars and destroys your capacity for rational judgment, but that goes away, and if you've based your entire relationship on how you feel, that goes away, too.

Still, you can't help but sympathize with the singer: he's looking for the love he's always been told is out there, the kind of love that consumes you and never goes away, with someone you can trust, respect, and who treats you with respect and love every day.

I don't know where I'm goin'
but I sure know where I've been
hanging on the promises in songs of yesterday.
An' I've made up my mind, I ain't wasting no more time
but here I go again, here I go again.

Tho' I keep searching for an answer
I never seem to find what I'm looking for.
Oh Lord, I pray you give me strength to carry on
'cos I know what it means to walk along the lonely street of dreams.

Here I go again on my own
goin' down the only road I've ever known.
Like a drifter I was born to walk alone.
An' I've made up my mind, I ain't wasting no more time.

Just another heart in need of rescue
waiting on love's sweet charity
an' I'm gonna hold on for the rest of my days
'cos I know what it means to walk along the lonely street of dreams.

Here I go again on my own
goin' down the only road I've ever known.
Like a drifter I was born to walk alone.
An' I've made up my mind, I ain't wasting no more time
but here I go again, here I go again,
here I go again, here I go.

An' I've made up my mind, I ain't wasting no more time.

Here I go again on my own
goin' down the only road I've ever known.
Like a drifter I was born to walk alone
'cos I know what it means to walk along the lonely street of dreams.

Here I go again on my own
goin' down the only road I've ever known.
Like a drifter I was born to walk alone.
An' I've made up my mind, I ain't wasting no more time
but here I go again, here I go again,
here I go again, here I go,
here I go again


Here's the real official video (after an ad) so you can enjoy Tawny one more time:



This is part of the Songs I Like series.

MEN CAVE

"A man cave is a lair of refuge and escape where bros can be bros well into middle age, even when married and occupying a house with a female co-inhabitant."

Sweet Mancave Brodwag
Wow the Man Cave, can there be anything more masculine and manly? Have you started making your own? Maybe this Christmas you can get some stuff to put in yours, such as these suggestions from the website "Bro Bible"
  • A Urinal
  • A Pin-Up Calendar
  • Neon
  • Kegerator
  • A Humidor
  • Indoor Putting Green
  • Stripper Pole
...and so on. Apparently being a man is about sex, beer, and sports. At least, to Bro Bible.

I sympathize with men wanting a place they can call their own, a spot in their house they can retreat to and be in comfort and happiness. I remember well Al Bundy retreating to his bathroom on Married With Children to escape the family. It was the one place in the house that was truly his, instead of controlled by his wife.

And that's the problem, isn't it? Its one thing to have a game room where you can go to have fun, but its another to have a man room, because that's basically an admission that you have surrendered the rest of the house to the woman. If you have only one room in the house that really reflects your personality and masculinity, that means the rest of the house... doesn't.

Now, I'm not saying the house should look like a cross between a frat house and a hunting lodge. Women typically are better at decorating and its her house too, in a marriage. She should have her input too. But if you're shoved off into one room while she puts 15 pillows on the couch and teddy bears everywhere, there's something basically wrong not just with the relationship but you as a man.

I know its easy for me to say as a single guy but men: when a guy comes into your house and it looks like the set designer for Oxygen channel fixed up the place, that says a lot to us about you. Its fine to have her touches, but the place should have your touches too. I don't want men to turn into interior decorators, I just want us guys to have our say and our stuff int he house as well.

Every married comedian on earth has the same basic gag: when you get married kiss all your stuff goodbye. Now, some of it probably ought to go. You're married, its time to give up the milk carton furniture and that utility company spool you use as a coffee table. You have a wife now, so your massive collection of porn and the girlie posters are not necessary any longer (in theory), and probably insult and make her feel like she's competing with women she can't even yell at.

But then... women carry baggage from their youth that should be abandoned too. I know you adore that stuff you carried with you from teenage years, but... let it go. You expect your man to grow up and abandon the trappings of his single days, you need to as well.

And think about it. What does it say about our comprehension of masculinity when the entire concept of a man cave is about permanent adolesence? I don't have a problem with beer, video games, and beautiful women. I have a problem with that defining your gender. Men are not bigger and older frat boys. Masculinity is not defined by the word "brodawg" and how many beers you can chug.

The entire concept of a "Man Cave" is like some child's misconception of what dad's room was like, its a juvenile caricature of masculinity, surrendered to female supremacy. A man's study with books and hunting trophies, a good comfortable chair, and so on was about what a man accomplished in life and how he bettered himself, not about how he parties, pukes in a trash can and lusts after ever-younger women (relative to his age) that are ever more out of his reach while playing video games.

Its fine to have a room especially masculine in a house (like a woman might have a room that's especially girly), set aside for a guy to escape into. Believe it or not, guys need to get away from women once in a while, and that's not unreasonable - women need to get away from men too, and since the workplace can't provide that any longer, this is an aid. But this room shouldn't be an island in a sea of femininity and it shouldn't be some throwback to your early 20s single party years.

BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY

"We are the 99%"

A few days ago I showed the image of a page now taken down from the Wisconsin Democratic Party website calling for people to find names in graveyards to put down on petitions to recall Governor Walker. Democrats are claiming that since this was a user-sponsored event, it must have been some evil Republican who did it but... 71 people signed up to be at the event on their calendar before it was deleted.

Now the Occupy Milwalkee folks have been caught on camera giving young people cigarettes in exchange for signing the petition - and these kids don't look old enough to vote, or smoke legally, for that matter. I'm sure this was some sinister Republican Party trick, too.

The commenters at Gateway pundit reject the entire thing, saying these kids are old enough to vote, they're just bundled up so they look young, and besides Republicans are stupid.

For your amusement, the mighty Union-driven flash mob dance protest against Governor Walker, with its stunning choreography and massive numbers:

PICTURE OF THE DAY

And if asked, she'd claim she wants all the traits she identified in her friend as what she wants in a relationship.

Quote of the Day

"The Obama’s obsession with the dated policies of corporatism and crony socialism, aging technology such as solar, and dated liberal psychobabble are yet more examples of an Administration cocooned in the past — specifically, the Carter-era seventies. They’re permanently trapped there; the rest of us can escape less than a year from now — if we want to."
-Ed Driscoll

Friday, November 18, 2011

MOVIE POSTER PATTERNS

"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery"

For a while I've been amazed at how similar so many movie posters are. Sometimes its a deliberate Homage, but most of the time it just seems like they have a template and use it over and over. At IziSmile, they complied a bunch of these from a Tumblr page, and you can see what I mean:


Now I'm sure at least some of this is laziness, just throwing together a layout that has worked in the past.


Some of it I'm confident they're trying to evoke a previous movie you really liked, such as Unforgiven.


And some of it I'm sure is a powerful graphic image that draws attention and interest. Its just sad to see how blatantly these images are duplicated over and over. And its not just movie posters that does this. Book covers are like this; a popular book cover will be reused over and over again. How many romance novels have a big stud with a shirt open to show massive pecs and a hot girl hanging off him? How many fantasy novels have a pretty girl in front of nice scenery?

Advertising does the same thing, with the same lazy, duplicate layouts and images over and over again to draw the eye. In a way its inevitable: there's only so many images that really will work to do the job, and they're trying to achieve a common goal of generating interest and catching your attention very rapidly.

Its just sad how often its a near total ripoff.

WORD AROUND THE NET

"The increasing sense that this country is run by a hereditary celebrity class is one of the most corrosive and dangerous forces eating away at our common life."

Thanksgiving is coming up next week. According to a report by Jim Cross at KTAR Arizona, its going to cost you 13% more than last year. Gas is over $4.00 a gallon in places across America as the price per barrel goes up over $100. Inflation is a very real fact, but the legacy media is largely ignoring it and continuing their complete reversal of gas price treatment from when President Bush was in office. They know people vote with their wallets and hope nobody is noticing.

Earlier this week a man shot an AK-47 at the white house and hit a window. He was found in the Occupy DC camp and arrested. The man appears to be either a joker or insane, as he claimed to be the second coming of Jesus Christ in a video at one point, but crazy or not, he's one of the occupiers - or at least, they consider him one in San Diego. There, they held a moment of silence in solidarity with this man. This event got virtually no media coverage, but you can imagine the outrage and continuous play if the guy was found in a Tea Party rally and one held a moment of silence for him. The president would be on TV within seconds to condemn this atmosphere of violence and call for calmer rhetoric, a new tone. And he should, but he won't when its the occupiers.

Speaking of a suddenly-quiet media, check out the video of a panel discussion on Newsbusters. This was on The Morning Joe, a show on MSNBC where they spend ten minutes mocking Republicans and chatting about various topics, but when Solyndra is brought up, suddenly they have nothing to say and stare at the table awkwardly until the topic is changed. Its as if they think by ignoring something it just goes away. Are they right? That's up to you as a voter.

Sarah Palin continues to do what she does best, although the press is paying her less attention now that they aren't terrified she'll run for president. Her most recent column brings up various facts that Big Government has been hammering from a new book called Throw Them All Out by Peter Schweizer. As I wrote about a month or two ago, insider trading isn't actually illegal for congressmen, and they've gotten very rich off it. So have cronyists like Warren Buffett and Jon Cornyn. The system has been designed to take politicians and make them massively wealthy, at our expense.

Radar Ridge was going to be a big wind farm project to generate power with wind turbines, but it has been shut down. Why? Was it evil Republicans? Greedy conservatives? Hateful Christians? No, environmentalists. The Marbled Murrelet, a threatened species, lives in the area the turbines were to be built, so the entire operation was shut down. Individually the left may be for various forms of energy, and few of them are intentional Luddites, but collectively they are all opposed to any energy production and technological progress. As we've seen around the world, though, these wind farms only produce about enough power to run a cell phone anyway.

Calls for Attorney General Holder to resign have been growing, mostly from Republicans, but some independents such as myself have been wishing it for more than a year. Holder responded by... going on a five day taxpayer funded junket to the Caribbean, because the topics he wants to discuss cannot be handled in any other climate, apparently.

General Motors has been struggling since their bailout. Their PR department has been working hard with the federal government to make things look rosy, but their sales aren't great, the Volt is selling about a fiftieth of what they predicted, they claim to have paid off their federal loan but only did so by taking TARP money to do it, and now it turns out the cost of their bailout is even bigger than originally thought. Because of plunging stock prices, the cost to taxpayers in loss will be over $25 billion dollars. And, because of how the Obama Administration allowed them to restructure their finances, that loss will actually be closer to sixty billion for the federal government.

Meanwhile, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in the House of Representatives is trying to figure out why non-union workers at GM took a huge cut in their pensions while the UAW workers were allowed to keep theirs. Its pretty obvious that cuts needed to be made, but since the Delphi finance department workers were a small portion of the GM workforce and the union pensions were much better, its clearly deliberate union favoritism by the Obama administration that led to these cuts.

Occupy Wall Street saw some horrible fat cat exploiters and marched after them shouting slogans and intimidating them. These evil oppressors? Children as young as four trying to go to school.
In the middle of thousands of protestors yelling and chanting — some kicking and screaming – CBS 2’s Emily Smith found little school kids trying to get to class. Nervous parents led them through the barriers on Wall Street. The NYPD helped funnel the children, anything to ease their fears while some protestors chanted “follow those kids!”
That'll show em! Just because they are young, cute, and innocent is no reason to hold back with your bitter anger and hatred.

However, this kind of behavior isn't too surprising, given the occupy allies in the Union's attitude toward children. Alameda California's school district has $1.1 million dollars left over from last year's budget. The school board voted to buy textbooks and pay for teaching programs for the students. The teacher's union insists that money should be given them as bonuses, and call the spending for students "unfair." I just want to know how they managed to have a surplus of money in a state drowning in debt.

Dan Mitchell has five cautionary lessons from Europe's financial crisis that he wants American lawmakers to heed:
  1. Higher taxes lead to higher spending, not lower deficits.
  2. A value-added tax would be a disaster.
  3. A welfare state cripples the human spirit.
  4. Nations reach a point of no return when the number of people mooching off government exceeds the number of people producing.
  5. Bailouts don’t work.
Instapundit reader Bart Hall has a sixth: "Immigration will not solve a demographic problem unless those immigrants become well-assimilated and productive citizens."

Europe is struggling to keep its absurd attempt at a top-down socialist economic union designed to stave off the failure of running out of other people's money a few more decades. However, the productive, powerful economies of the north are being dragged down by the heavy welfare, low-production states of the south such as Greece and Italy. Well, the Germans at least have had enough, and are stepping in. They created a special commission controlled by Germany, replaced the leaders of two countries (Italy and Greece) with EU puppets, and are basically dictating to the EU what happens next.

A lot has been written about the EU and why it behaves the way it does (terror of having another war, revulsion and horror of nationalism (what Americans call "patriotism"), and a burning need to move further to the left and still somehow find a way to make it work economically), but the truth is, the system doesn't work and they're living proof of it. The only question is whether or not this will last, and if peace can be maintained by handing out other people's money and pretending there aren't really any borders or nationalities in Europe.

Europe spent its entire existence at war at least in parts of the continent as long as people have lived there... except during the last 60 years or so. How long does anyone really think that's likely to last?

Proof of this sixth lesson can be found at the Daily Telegraph where Ed West shows how immigration and cultural diversity inevitably leads to greater income equality and poorer economy. Its not hard to figure out, really. A society needs a united culture and approach to life and work to best achieve, and people who come to a society with their hands out refusing to adapt to their new home become a burden.

Congress instituted the Government Accountability Office in 1921 to try to make sense of proposals and show the real cost and economic impact of various legislation proposed. The office estimates it has saved $49.9 billion over last year, which is about ninety times its operating budget. more than 80% of the recommendations the GAO gave had been implemented within 5 years of their suggestions. Yet congressmen really don't care for it because the GAO keeps giving reports of how much their ideas will cost and hurting their chances of handing out goodies to friends and donors.

In fact, Representative Coburn (R-OK) reports that the House is trying to cut its budget. And while I'm all for budget cuts is this really the ideal place to start? To give you an idea what this plays out like, Democrats want to cut more from the GAO than Republicans. For the first time in my life, Democrats want to cut something out of the budget other than intel and military.

Gamers are wierd, that's the basic narrative of the media. A recent study reported in the LA Times claims that the brains of frequent video game players are different than ordinary people. Supposedly the kids studied showed greater development in the portion of the brain scientists believe is related to rewards than other kids. The thing is if you studied any particular, specialized group I bet you'd find brain differences, based on their work and special focus. Sort of like if you study longbowmen you find their skeleton and musculature is different than, say, lawyers. What you exercise and use most results in differences in people. The scientists claim this gives support to the "video games are addictive" theory.

Enjoy a nice tasty can of Pepsi Cola, its flavored with... foetuses. Actually, its not but their research department takes receptor cells from aborted babies and uses them to test their product, to see how they react. Sit back and think about that a while. Using bits from dead babies for your research in a cola. Does that bother you? Why, if unborn babies aren't really human, if they are just parasitic lumps of unviable tissue? Maybe somewhere deep down you know that's not the case. Like when you ask a pregnant woman when her BABY is due.

Neil Boortzman has collected eight principles of government that President Obama follows:
  1. American greatness comes from government.
  2. The economy is to be used as a political tool. Political objectives should be pursued through a command economy
  3. In a free market economy people acquire wealth by exploiting and taking advantage of the weak. It is the government’s job to right these wrongs.
  4. The people, are the property of government. Therefore, wealth produced by the people belongs to the government and the political class shall determine the manner in which that wealth is distributed back to the people.
  5. Money spent by government will lead to economic growth. Money spent by the private sector leads to wealth and income inequality.
  6. There is a point, which point shall be determined by the political class, at which individuals have made enough money.
  7. Government dependence is to be encouraged in all matters
  8. The United States is no more important in international affairs than Turkey or Greece.
These all seem pretty accurate and well-practiced by the president. Its boilerplate academic leftist cant, based on relativism, multiculturalism, and the belief that an enlightened group of leftist leaders in government can fix everything, but people who want to make money are evil greedy oppressors. I'm sure they all seem perfectly reasonable, in a classroom or talking to your fellow professors, but they just never seem to work out in the real world.

Frank J has a piece up in the New York Post about how the US Government is the biggest fat cat abusive cronyist of all. Sure banks rip people off, sure, the big corporations abuse customers and workers, and sure, bailouts suck. But they all do so based on the government, who takes the biggest slice of the pie. The US Government is like the mob, they get a cut of everything. Sure, that thief is evil, but the mob boss he gives a tribute to is worse because he's behind all of the bad stuff. The bigger the government gets, the more power it gains and the more stuff it gets a piece off, encouraging the graft, corruption, abuse, and cronyism people despise.

Tired of being groped by the TSA? Tired of being told you have to take your underwear off so they can letch at you? Sick of the stupidity of this organization? Well there's an answer! All you have to do is be rich enough to fly often and you'll get special treatment. The TSA has a program you can opt into if you fly often enough, get the right kind of frequent flier program, or are otherwise rich and influential enough to cause them grief for being molested and annoyed just to fly.

Another stem cell therapy has shown incredible success and promise. This time its about repairing severely damaged hearts using stem cells. And no, its not embryonic stem cells, its from the people's own fat cells. But you're a heartless murdering anti-science retard if you oppose blending up babies to experiment on them.

Leftists are working hard trying to get Justice Clarence Thomas to recuse himself from the Supreme Court when they look at the Government Health Insurance Takeover Act next year. Why? Because Elena Kagan is so incredibly compromised on the issue she must recuse herself, removing one of President Obama's predictable leftist justices. Why do I say she must? Because she worked with the Democrats to create the bill and she's on tape gleefully celebrating getting enough votes to pass the bill. This would be known as "conflict of interest" and "lack of objectivity," something no judge should ever be even reasonably accused of. Will she? Probably not, unless somehow Thomas is force out of the panel for that decision.

President Obama, eager to please both the environmentalists in his base and people wanting cheap oil and everyone with half a brain, decided to vote "present" on the Canadian Oil Sands pipeline. He just put off the decision, long enough that Canada is just going to sell the oil to China instead. Smooth move, mister president. Canada is going to harvest that oil, whether the US buys it or not. You just helped an enemy of the US and destroyed thousands of potential jobs. Well I guess the threat of a genuine primary challenge was looming large, and you can't have that can you?

"Corporate welfare" is a term the left likes to throw around. What they mean is tax breaks, subsidies, and other special treatment by the US government. Its not really welfare, but no conservative is fond of that kind of thing in any case. But its not just big corporations that get bailouts and government subsidies - "corporate welfare." Lots of leftist heroes do too, such as Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, Quincy Jones, Scottie Pippen, Michael Moore, songwriter Johnny Mandel, and Ted Turner are among the celebrities getting tax write offs, farm subsidies and other government money despite being worth millions.

A while back I pointed out how odd it was that cell phones can't be used as remotes, but it appears at least one company is using its head. Onkyo has an app you can get to control any of its audio/video receivers. As time goes on it seems likely more will do this, even if it requires a special component added to the devices to let your phone interface with the TV screen, for example.

And finally, in a dazzling display of "famously blind meritocracy that rules American life, rewarding the ultra-talented and pushing the less brilliant and skilled into the outer darkness" as Walter Russel Meade puts it, Chelsea Clinton has landed a plum, coveted job at NBC News. Because clearly, she's demonstrated not just the experience, but the well-known acumen for television news work. This is the kind of thing everyone despises, but goes on all the time because nobody ever pays a price for it. Celebrities rule America. If you need any proof, just look to the 2008 election where the president was chosen based on his celebrity status.

And that's the Word Around the Net for November 18, 2011.