Saturday, October 2, 2010

Yeah! What's that?

United States of Islam Flag

My friend just sent me this image.

Here's the message he sent with it: "I found this flag on a Hizb ut-Tahrir website. Clearly, they are working to overthrow the United States."

Just keeping everyone informed.

Friday, October 1, 2010


"OH! But people don't like the Republicans either! People don't like the Republicans either."


The race for mayor in this small but fast-growing suburb of Little Rock shows how far the Democratic brand has fallen: though the office is intended to be nonpartisan, Jill Dabbs, 38 and a first-time candidate, requested that her name be listed on the ballot as “Republican Jill Dabbs,” as one might be listed as “John Paul Jones” or “Hillary Rodham Clinton.” (A judge turned her request down.)

Virtual Interplanetary Travel

Some of you might be interested, amused, irritated, irrigated or exasperated to read the exchange I had near the end of the combox here. I don't claim to know what kind of serious conclusions to draw from it, so anyone can help me out who wishes to.

I don't know if I'll continue the discussion. The truth is that the primary reason I engage certain people is to attempt to understand how they think, or at least to find out what they think. When someone questions many of the things I take for granted I always seek to clarify, but never to persuade. The opinions one finds voiced on blogs can be an endless source of entertainment.

Way too fun

After viewing this, check out the making of the video here. Yes, they had to lip-sync everything backwards.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

"Possible unintended consequences"

Remember this episode?

Well... what shall we tell Mr. Osequeda and his colleagues about this? Excerpt:

McDonald's Corp. has warned federal regulators that it could drop its health insurance plan for nearly 30,000 hourly restaurant workers unless regulators waive a new requirement of the U.S. health overhaul.

The move is one of the clearest indications that new rules may disrupt workers' health plans as the law ripples through the real world.

Trade groups representing restaurants and retailers say low-wage employers might halt their coverage if the government doesn't loosen a requirement for "mini-med" plans, which offer limited benefits to some 1.4 million Americans.

Yeah, the real world―that's where all us little people live. Damn those "unintended" consequences!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Living like a Gypsy Queen in a fairytale

Defective Hardware

I pointed out earlier that Obama's rebuke of voters for their "fear and anger" is really a scolding directed at independents and people "in the middle" rather than conservatives. Now John Podhoretz points out that the Democrat base is explicitly getting balled out by the Vice President and President Obama himself.

It's odd, to put it mildly, that the veep chose to go to New Hampshire on Monday and declare that Democrats disappointed with the president should "buck up" and "stop whining."

Vice presidents are at times tasked with issuing direct broadsides against enemies while the top guy stays above the fray. But never before has a vice president served as an attack dog against his own party's voters.

One might have chalked up these wild words to Biden's propensity to speak incautiously. But then Rolling Stone released excerpts of an interview conducted 11 days ago with Obama in which the president said almost exactly the same thing: "People need to shake off this lethargy," he insisted. "People need to buck up."

He went on to offer a prospective denunciation of anyone who'd voted for him in 2008 but might fail to turn out to vote in congressional races in 2010: "It is inexcusable for any Democrat or progressive right now to stand on the sidelines in this midterm election."

Even worse, the president was promising he'd judge such "irresponsible" people harshly when it came to their seriousness of purpose: "If people now want to take their ball and go home, that tells me folks weren't serious in the first place."

I agree with Mr. Podhoretz that this goes against the proper way to view voters, i.e., people deciding who to hire for a job. But I think it's even worse than what he imagines when he suggests that Obama views himself as his voters' "boss". I think he sees them as gears in a damaged machine, and he thinks if he bangs the machine around a little it will do what he wants. Fortunately for us, he is not Fonzie. And these ain't no Happy Days.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Bustle in your hedgerow

Here's how Thomas Sowell's article "Politics vs Gold" begins:

One of the many slick tricks of the Obama administration was to insert a provision in the massive Obamacare legislation regulating people who sell gold. This had nothing to do with medical care but everything to do with sneaking in an extension of the government's power over gold, in a bill too big for most people to read.

Did you know that? I didn't, but I can't say I'm surprised. Obamacare also messes with the college loan market. It picks up later on the same theme:

Whether gold is a good investment for individuals, and whether the gold standard is the right system for a country, are much more complicated questions than can be answered here. But what is clear is that the Obama administration sees people's freedom to buy and sell gold as something that can limit what the government can do.

Indeed, freedom in general cramps the government's style. Those on the left may not be against freedom in general. But, at every turn, they find the freedoms granted by the Constitution of the United States hampering the left's agenda of imposing their superior wisdom and virtue on the rest of us.

I'm telling you, my stash has seriously increased in value, but I ain't sellin' any yet. IMO it's still a bargain at $1295 an ounce.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Keynesian Fallacy Explained Simply

The NCPA publishes short synopses in a "Daily Policy Digest" like this latest one from author Richard McKenzie's disembowelment of Keynes.

The basic Keynesian stimulus argument goes something like this: If the federal government engages in deficit spending during a recession, the added government expenditures (unaccompanied by tax increases) will boost "aggregate demand." Greater federal spending on a road, for instance, will create jobs for construction workers, who can then spend their additional income on, say, bread. Bakers now will have more to spend on, say, cars and so on, says Richard B. McKenzie, a professor in the Merage School of Business at the University of California, Irvine.

National income stimulated by the initial government road project can grow by some multiple of the expenditure, Keynes' theory says. A stimulus package (and budget deficit) of $1 trillion would morph into a minimum of $1.5 trillion in additional national income -- maybe even into $4 trillion or $10 trillion.

But if it sounds too good to be true, it is, says McKenzie.

* If such income growth were possible, the country would be awash in prosperity, given that the federal government increased the national debt by $1.88 trillion in fiscal 2009 and could run deficits of $1.6 trillion and $1.3 trillion in fiscal 2010 and 2011, respectively.
* Between 2012 and 2015 it will add at least another $3 trillion to the national debt.

As economist Milton Friedman observed, when the government engages in deficit spending, it must borrow the extra funds from someone who could have spent them on private-sector projects. Thus, an increase in government spending could be totally offset by a decrease in private spending, as lendable funds are diverted from private to government uses. The net effect can be no net increase in aggregate demand -- and no multiplier effect. Indeed, with the inevitable waste in government stimulus projects, the multiplier effect could as easily be negative as positive, says McKenzie.

Source: Richard B. McKenzie, "John Maynard Keynes, R.I.P.," Freeman, October 2010.

Or to phrase it in Wizard of OZ language, "Pay no attention to the theft victim behind the curtain."

Sunday, September 26, 2010

His argument was impeccable

A man told me why he quit going to church. "You've already heard everything they're going to say. You could make it up in your head and it would be word for word what the guy would tell you. And your see the same people week after week. You could go away for years and come back―you wouldn't have missed anything of significance. What is the point?"

His argument convinced me. It was direct, simple, flawless; like a pistol which merely needed to acquire the correct target. So I quit watching television.