Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Deficit This Year

This kind of deficit in the first year of a Presidency -- let alone the first month -- is beyond bizarre. If you want to destroy an economy and enslave future generations to the government, this is certainly the way to do it. Obama is claiming he will cut the deficit with tax increases. Now there's a brilliant idea. Try to take a trillion dollars out of the economy during a recession. Do that, and the economy will tank even more, and there will be far less money going into the Treasury. I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt and just assume he's one of the most economically ignorant people to ever walk the planet. The alternative is too frightening to contemplate.

Shakespeare and Melina

Sometimes when my 2 year old daughter Melina plays, I read aloud. I typically read poetry. The rhythms of good poetry create a music for her to play by. I've read her the romantics, Propertius, and Shakespeare, among others. Earlier this month, I picked up Shakespeare. I'm working through all the plays. I didn't say anything at all -- I just began reading from "A Midsummer Night's Dream." After reading for about ten minutes, Melina came up to me and said something I couldn't quite understand. I thought she was saying something about her ear, so I asked her, "What's wrong with your ear?" She replied, "No. No Shakespeare, daddy."

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Volcano Stimulus

Predictably, people are jumping on Bobby Jindal's comments on spending in the "stimulus" package on volcano monitoring -- which was really an excuse to make a play on words -- saying volcano monitoring is important. Of course volcano monitoring is important. As the article notes, it will even allow people to keep jobs making such equipment and installing it. But really, it has no business being in an emergency stimulus package. That's the point. There are many such things in the package that have nothing to do with stimulating the current economy. Most of the package, in fact, falls into that category. But nobody's going to note such nuances, but instead will falsely claim Jindal is opposed to volcano monitoring.

Increased Abuse of Prisoners At Guantanamo Bay SInce Obama Elected

Here is a report about there being an increase in abuse of Guantanamo Bay prisoners since Obama took office. The articles observes that this increase seems to be a simple reaction to the fact the prison will be closed down soon, and that the increase in abuse does not seem to be coming from the top -- i.e., from Obama himself. I only bring this up precisely because of the question of interpretation. When issues of this kind of abuse came out during the Bush administration, the report might observe that there was no evidence of a connection to the top (Bush), but . . . there was always a "but." Reporters always assumed that, even if no evidence could be found connecting abuse to Bush, that he was directly involved, that he was directing that abuse in fact occur. I'm not saying that he did or did not, since I have no evidence one way or the other; rather, I am interested in the fact that the author of this piece repeats Obama's not involved, and seems determined to drive home the point that Obama's not actually responsible. Bush didn't receive this kind of defense against accusations of abuse (which I assume are not being made against Obama anyway) by Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity. Suppose John McCain had been elected, and he had closed the prison, and there was a report of more abuse -- how do you think this report would likely have read?

3.5 Million Rhetorical Jobs

OBAMA: "Over the next two years, this plan will save or create 3.5 million jobs."

I love this oft-repeated line because it's an out. No matter what happens to the economy, Obama can take credit for having "saved" 3.5 millions jobs. If the economy recovers, he will take credit for the jobs create, and claim the rest were those he saved. If the economy tanks, he can claim that it would have been worse by 3.5 million jobs if he had not acted. Why does nobody say these things?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Baby Alert

Another Camplin baby is on the way. Anna's about 9 weeks along. Due date: Sept. 23rd(ish).

Friday, February 20, 2009

Who Defends Free Speech?

It is so nice to read a clear-headed argument about anything -- but especially when it involves the issue of free speech.

A Few Questions for Leftists

I sometimes wonder how so many pro-government people can seem to recognize corruption, abuse of power and money, etc. when it comes to rich CEO's, but cannot see the corruption, abuse of power and money, etc. when it comes to rich government officials. As far as I can tell, the only difference is that they don't like the fact that the CEO is rich from having engaged in trade with them, but they do like the fact that the politician is rich from having forcibly taken our money from us. They support what amounts to theft (try to do the same thing as the government and see what happens to you; also, try not to pay your taxes, and see what happens to you); I support free exchange between cooperating, free people. How can somebody be in favor of involuntary exchange, but be "morally" opposed to voluntary exchange?

In the Stock Market's Opinion . . .

Obama has been President for one month now. The stock market is down 10%. We know, at least, what those who know the most about the economy think of his economic policies. And yet he continues. Perhaps he doesn't care about economic growth? In fact, I suspect not. Socialists only care about idealized equality in fact and helping failure at the expense of the successful.

But it's not all Obama. "In the last two years, the United States has run up deficits that amount to a combined $2.5 trillion dollars -- almost a fourth of all the debt the nation has taken on in its entire history." Let me repeat. $2.5 trillion. And Obama isn't done yet. This economy -- this government -- will collapse under this kind of debt, if it continues at this rate. Obama is destroying the future for political power now. That can be called nothing but unethical.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

No, You Do Not Deserve an "A" -- You Earn One

Even the New Republic has people who understand that the self-esteem movement has ruined our students. Now it needs to get to our parents, teachers, administrators, school boards, etc.

For Shame

Megan McArdle on shame. I find it interesting that this issue is starting to come up more and more

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Congressional Hypocrisy

Despite losing money and customers, I have just learned that there is a institution whose leader nonetheless received a $79,000 pay raise last year and a $135,000 "performance bonus." The pay raise was almost a 30% raise. I suspect if this person had not been the Postmaster General, he would be in front of the very COngress who gave him this money to explain himself.

Can You Manage This Many Interactions?

Walter Williams on why nobody is qualified to run the economy. Some simple math:

"Imagine you are trying to understand a system consisting of six elements. That means there would be 30, or n(n-1), possible relationships between these elements. Now suppose each element can be characterized by being either on or off. That means the number of possible relationships among those elements grows to the number 2 raised to the 30th power; that's well over a billion possible relationships among those six elements.

Our economic system consists of billions of different elements that include members of our population, businesses, schools, parcels of land and homes. A list of possible relationships defies imagination and even more so if we include international relationships."

But just for fun, let's talk about adult American citizens, of which there are about 100 million. That is 100,000,000, or 10^7 (ten to the seventh power). n(n-1) is about 10^14 possible relationships. If the relationships are just yes-no, then that is 2^(10^14) possible relationships or, approximately, 10^(10^4) = 10^10,0000. That is 10 followed by 10,000 zeroes.


The government cannot even managed to accept a form and take my picture in under 5 minutes, and that's two interactions -- both "yeses".

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Anti-Stimulus Bill Signed Into Law

Today President Obama signed the "stimulus" bill into law. The DOW dropped almost 300 points so far today in response. What do the stock traders know that we don't? Why has the stock market consistently responded negatively to 1) the election of Obama, 2) his being sworn in, 3) the bailout, and 4) the stimulus bill? Looking at the trend of the DOW, I was convinced that 8000 was its floor. It's now at 7500, below what looked to be its natural floor. That should scare people. And already there is talk of a new stimulus bill. This one was almost a trillion dollars. How much will the next one be? How much more of a power-, industry-, institution-grab will this next one be?

Monday, February 16, 2009

We Are All Socialists Now (Except Me)

In the 70's, Nixon declared, "We are all Keynseans now." THis year, Newsweek pronounced, "We are all socialists now." How did we get here? A few quotes from the articles:

"The U.S. government has already—under a conservative Republican administration—effectively nationalized the banking and mortgage industries."

"it was, again, under a conservative GOP administration that we enacted the largest expansion of the welfare state in 30 years: prescription drugs for the elderly. People on the right and the left want government to invest in alternative energies in order to break our addiction to foreign oil. And it is unlikely that even the reddest of states will decline federal money for infrastructural improvements."

"A decade ago U.S. government spending was 34.3 percent of GDP, compared with 48.2 percent in the euro zone—a roughly 14-point gap, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. In 2010 U.S. spending is expected to be 39.9 percent of GDP, compared with 47.1 percent in the euro zone—a gap of less than 8 points. As entitlement spending rises over the next decade, we will become even more French."

"the man who laid the foundations for the world Obama now rules is George W. Bush, who moved to bail out the financial sector last autumn with $700 billion."

And here is the problem in a nutshell. People believe that "The Obama administration is caught in a paradox. It must borrow and spend to fix a crisis created by too much borrowing and spending." But this is not a paradox. If you find that someone is dying of arsenic poisoning, you don't give them more arsenic. Only a socialist would think that more of what caused your economic problems is what you need to solve them.

Chavez Forever

In an example of why democracies need strong constitutions that are difficult (but not impossible) to change, the Venezuelan people just voted themselves in a dictatorship. Let no one fool you that Chavez will allow elections to keep him out of office. He will keep elections only so long as they keep him in power.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Obama-Loving Europe Threatens Trade War WIth Obama-Led US

The Europeans overwhelmingly wanted Obama to win. Now the European Union is threatening a trade war with the U.S. because of Obama's policies. The Europeans are idiots on both accounts.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Stock Market's Opinion of Bailout

The DOW dropped almost 400 points today. I guess we know what investors think of his "bailout." I was pretty sure 8000 was the bottom, but it seems Democratic policies can send the market below even the floor.

President Obama Dreams He's Dictator?

I have heard President Obama twice argue that there should be no opposition to his policies because he won the Presidential election. The lack of opposition to a single man's governing policies is commonly known as dictatorship. Someone needs to tell Obama that so long as we are a democratic republic and so long as there is an opposition party, he should, well, expect opposition. This isn't a dictatorship yet.

Liberal Alternative Media at the Press Conference

Liberal radio talk show hosts? Bloggers from the Huffington Post? At a press conference? Really?

Why not Rush Limbaugh and me?

Monday, February 09, 2009

A Few Thoughts on Obama's Press Conference

Tonight, President Obama said we need to loosen up credit. Leaving aside the fact that it was lose credit that got us into this economic mess in the first place, it seems to me that if you wanted looser credit, you wouldn't want to have the government borrow almost a trillion dollars, as that is now a trillion dollars not available to lend to anyone else. Am I wrong about this? Sure, in the long run, the government will pay it back -- but we're talking about the situation right now. If you want looser credit right now, you won't want the government borrowing money right now.

Overall, I found President Obama's economic ignorance on glorious display tonight. He's against what caused the economy to bounce back so quickly after 9-11 -- the tax cuts -- and is in favor of the thing that caused the economic meltdown as the solution to the current problem. He's rejecting the economic policies of Bush that worked, and is accepting all the disastrous policies Bush adopted in the last 6 months of his administration. It's as though Obama is trying to emulate FDR exactly -- after all, FDR adopted Hoover's economic policies that drove the economy into the Great Depression after campaigning against those same policies when he ran for President -- even accusing Hoover of being a socialist during the campaign.

It also seems that Obama's idea of "bipartisanship" is to offer a Democrat-created bill and demand the Republicans vote for it. The snide comment about leaving out tax cuts so the Republicans could take the credit for putting them in so they would then vote for the bill both shows his hand for future bills and shows he doesn't understand why the GOP opposes the bill.

The World Bank Razes Villages

The World Bank was apparently involved in the destruction of an entire town in Albania. The article refers to the World Bank as an "anti-poverty institution," but any objective description of them would call them a "poverty- and dictatorship-maintaining institution." The article acts like this is a fluke, but it is in fact endemic to the very way the organization is designed. This only mad ethe news because it occurred in Europe. African dictators raze villages all the time using U.N and World Bank money, and nobody cares.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

How to Kill the Arts

Tonight on the Grammy's I heard one of the worst ideas ever: the proposal that Obama create a Secretary of the Arts. If your goal is for the federal government to do for the arts what it did for education by creating that cabinet position, then by all means, create it. Practically destroy the arts in the U.S. Turn the arts in the U.S. from one of the best overall to one of the worst. Great idea.

And let's assume the best (from the liberal perspective), that Obama appoints someone who will support the arts as they want it supported. Are they so short-sighted as to not understand that Republicans do on occasion win the WHite House, and that it will be a Republican, likely a social conservative, in there at some point in the future? Who wants Pat Buchanan Secretary of the Arts? Could happen, to have someone like him. This is aside from the fact that the Left will want to have someone in there who supports political correctness.

And when government supports something, private donations go down. And, again, imagine having an administration who doesn't think the arts are important at all. Funding goes out the window, and the private funds are no longer there.

Such a cabinet position could well destroy the arts in the U.S. And right when the arts seem poised to be the next big element of the economy (if the dominance of the arts in the press, including this Sunday's Dallas Morning News is any indication).

We need to start a letter writing campaign to nip this idea in the bud right now.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

What Should Be Obama's "Katrina," But Won't Be

A little over a week later, Obama finally gets around to declaring Kentucky a major disaster area. Bush reacted faster than this to Katrina. Where's the outrage?

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Caps for CEO's and Hollywood

This restriction on CEO pay for companies that took bailout money is a bad omen. It is a bad omen in no small part because several of the banks in question were forced to take the money, even though they did not want it. What is to prevent the federal government from deciding to punish a CEO (who, say, hasn't been donating to the right people) by forcing the company to take a bailout to force the company to lower the CEO's wages?

The last cap imposed on CEOs was a disaster too. In lieu of pay, people started getting bonuses and stock options. The latter caused many to cook the books to drive up stock prices. When the CEO's exited, they sold their stocks at the artificial price. The next CEO came in and was shocked to see what was happening. Enron, anybody?

Earlier tonight Mark Levin suggested that Hollywood actors -- many of whom support CEO caps -- should also get salary caps. Perhaps the same caps as the CEO's get. A caller suggested extending it to professional sports. See how they like it. I'm with him. Some Republican, just to make a point, should offer it up as a bill.

Or, better, how about a bill to tax every single dime over $500,000? Then people can get paid whatever they want, but will only get to take home $500,000. Now there's a Democratic idea!

On the other hand, a simple restriction could do things like lower the cost of making movies, which could lower ticket prices. Since mostly poor and middle classed people go to the movies, this would really help them out financially by lowering their entertainment costs. I would think that all the Hollywood Left would welcome such a change with open arms, since it would help out the poor so much.

Of course, the tax idea could send a lot of money to Washington, so maybe they would prefer that route. Of course, I would guess that what would happen with the tax is that it would act as an effective cap, with companies simply not offering to pay more than $500,000, so it would work out to be a cap anyway. So let's do it that way. That way, we get a quick influx of cash to the federal government -- then an effective cap. What Leftist Hollywood actor could possibly object to such a fair proposal, one which helps out the federal government and the poor directly?

500 Million Jobs Lost!

Wow. 500 million Americans? That's impressive -- especially in a country with only 300 million people. Must be all the illegal immigrants too losing their jobs. Sure, she meant 500 thousand -- but that's no reason not to make fun of Pelosi for it. Any opportunity to make fun of that dingbat should be taken.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Racist Leftists

Despite the fact that nobody could ever give a specific instance of my saying or doing anything that could be interpreted as racist, I am often accused of such by Leftists who argue with me online, but don't actually know me. True, it's a shortcut from thinking and is designed to sidetrack arguments they are clearly losing, but it has occurred to me as well that the people who are so apt to accuse others of racism are much like those homophobes who think everyone is gay and who openly, vociferously condemn homosexuals every chance they get. Methinks they both doth protest too much. Those who go around accusing everyone under the sun of racism are themselves the biggest racist, feel guilty about it and, not wanting to feel guilty, project their feelings onto others, accusing those others of that they themselves are. It's pathetic, really. And such people should be called out on this fact every time they accuse someone who disagrees with them of racism.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Letter to the Editor on Excellence Published

My letter to the editor, posted here was run in the Dallas Morning News Sunday Sports Section.

"Intelligent Design" Advocate Reviews Dutton

While I would typically never make a link to anything put out by those dispensers of misinformation over at the Discovery Institute, I figure if Dutton is willing to do it, then so should I. They have a "review of Dutton's new book "The Art Instinct," which is really nothing more than a nonsensical smear piece. They attack Darwinists at every turn, but are willing to use them when convenient, even when the critic is the atheist biologist Stephen Jay Gould, who too often placed Marxism ahead of science, and whose criticisms of sociobiology and evolutionary psychology had nothing to do with biology and everything to do with the fact that they disproved Marxism.

In any case, they criticize Geoffrey Miller for claiming that the arts had their origins in sex -- that they developed through sexual selection. The author is particularly offended at the suggestion that Handel's "Messiah" could have had any sort of connection to sex, whether deep in our evolutionary past, or directly, as claimed (and here I would agree with them that such an interpretation is not necessarily correct) in the PBS special. I think there is extremely good evidence that sexual selection did in fact give us big brains, and art. I also think that there is extremely good evidence that subsequently, the arts have been used for a wide variety of things, including religion. At the same time, singers, musicians (think of rock stars), artists (like Picasso), poets, actors, etc. tend, as a group, to have more sex partners, and to attract more sex partners. This alone suggests a connection. This does not mean that the arts cannot and have not been used for other purposes. Handel's "Messiah" is a fine example of this. But what of other of Handel's works? Or his becoming a musician? Even if his musical aspirations were entirely rooted in religion, that is no argument against sexual selection as the evolutionary origin of the art form.

The article overall is superficial at best. But it's the kind of garbage I expect out of the Discovery Institute, who have pushed "Intelligent design," which is a lie masking their creationist mythology they wish to force on everyone, contra all evidence to the contrary. But here's the bottom line: creationism is religion; evolution is science. Evolution is true/factual; there are several theories of evolution. Creationism is mythology; there are several creation myths. And I say all this as a devout Christian, who believes the enemies of truth are the enemies of Christ.