28 August 2009

Name that party!

Also good for a rueful chuckle. This time we have a former Secretary of State for New Mexico and a number of her associates arrested for conspiracy, fraud, embezzlement, money laundering and other charges with nary a mention of which political party any of them belonged to, except for a “Democratic Party consultant”. I suppose we can guess about the rest of them.

This is politically interesting in light of former Governor of New Mexico Bill Richardson having an investigation aimed at him stopped by order of “top Department of Justice officials”. Grant III, dudes.

27 August 2009

Exporting jobs and cash

So President Obama is in favor of government support for offshore drilling for oil as long as it is not in USA territorial waters.

The U.S. is going to lend billions of dollars to Brazil’s state-owned oil company, Petrobras, to finance exploration of the huge offshore discovery in Brazil’s Tupi oil field

But hey, it’s subverting free markets and that’s always good, right? It’s not like that sort of cash is needed anywhere in the USA, and especially not in any taxpayer’s pocket. It does look good, however, in Geroge Soro’s pocket apparently.

We're paying millions for what?

Pay levels for First Lady Michelle Obama’s staff which totals out near $1.3M/year. Put’s the whole “Palin’s fancy clothes” thing in perspective.

Wee weeing in the ocean

I would like to influence Congress to stop being stupid, but my problem is that my representative actually votes reasonably well (he opposed Cap & Trade, POR-Care, and Porkulus) while my Senators are idiots and cretins, that is Senators Dick Durbin and Roland Burris. Durbin’s flat out not interested in listening to voters because he’s got the Chicago Machine to keep him in office (I have voted against Durbin at every opportunity). Burris doesn’t care because he’s not going to win re-election no matter what he does. To top it off, there’s a distinct possibility that Durbin may become Senate Majority Leader if Senator Harry Reid gets booted in 2010. Let me tell, nobody will win if Dick “Gitmo is a death camp” Durbin ascends to that position.

Data follies

This is an interesting article on what passes for “science” to the Warmenists. Basically the raw data for the temperature series that demonstrates global warming has been lost through indifference at best, deliberate negligence at worst. So apparently “climate change” is important enough to re-order our entire economy, but not important enough to store raw climatological data. I say to the Warmenists, get back to me when you’re willing to do actual science and not propaganda.

25 August 2009

Tales of the Narrative

There was a protestor at one President Obama’s town halls carrying a slung AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. This was of course deeply disturbing to Old Media (although not the White House or Secret Service), but not disturbing enough that they forgot the Narrative. MSNBC’s report discusses concerns about “white people showing up with guns strapped to their waist” even though the person in the report was actually black. The video clip was edited deliberately to conceal this little counter-Narrative fact.

Expended ammunition

So Cindy Sheehan has finally realized that she just a munition, not a cause, in the MAL’s vendetta against President Bush. Not that this will stop future useful idiots from signing up, or discourage the MAList rank and file shifting as wildly as the Party Line demands.

But if success isn't your goal …

Speaking of Sweden’s economic history (via Brothers Judd) —

In the late 1980s and 1990s, Sweden began an economic course correction that continues today. Marginal tax rates were reduced for most of the population. The wealth tax and inheritance tax were abolished. Financial markets, telecommunications, electricity, road transport, taxis and other activities were deregulated. Privatization of industry was begun, and the current government is continuing the process.

The generosity of some welfare and other benefits has been reduced, with the goal of making work more economically rewarding relative to government benefits. Also, trade liberalization has been expanded greatly. The result has been a pickup in economic growth, and Sweden is no longer falling further behind other developed countries.

One notable success has been pension reform. Sweden was the first nation to implement a mandatory government retirement system for all its citizens. Sweden, like the United States and most other countries, was then faced with an increasing, unfunded social security liability as a result of low birthrates and people living much longer.

After studying the problem in the early 1990s, the Swedes approved in 1998 moving toward a Chilean private pension system, first developed by former Chilean Labor Minister Jose Piñera. (Seventeen countries have adopted variations of the Piñerian system, which has been very successful in Chile.)

The new Swedish pension system has four key features, including partial privatization, individual accounts, a safety net to protect the poor and a transition to protect retirees and older workers. The benefits have been substantial budgetary savings, higher retirement income and faster economic growth.

Those who wish to chase the Swedish model need first to decide which model they seek: The high-growth, pre-1960 model; the low-growth model of the 1970s and 1980s; or the reformist, welfare-state model of recent years.

The irony is that the current Democrat Congress and administration are rapidly emulating the parts of the Swedish model that proved disastrous and rejecting those parts that are proving to be successful.

Because wealth and prosperity for the commoners isn’t their goal. They much prefer the plantation style economic system.

22 August 2009

Glad the last election got religion out of the White House

“We are God’s partners in matters of life and death”

President Obama

09 August 2009

Angry organized mobs

The White House says punch back twice as hard and unions respond to the call. I see now what the Democratic Party means by “civic engagement”.

P.S. Who is it that is organizing mobs for town halls?

Scrip for thee but not for me

California is apparently demanding payment of taxes payments it makes in scrip and refusing to accept that very scrip as a valid form of payment. So not only are the vendors out the actual cash for whatever goods and services they provided to the state government, but are also out an additional tax layer on top of that. Ah, how wonderful it is when the government promotes fairness and honest trade!

08 August 2009

Obama Hagiography Watch

White House press secretary Gibbs mocks Old Media coverage of the ‘Beer Summit’ — I have to agree that we’ve reached a bad point where even the narcissistic targets of Old Media fawning think it’s too much. These people are obsessed.

06 August 2009

This one's for you, Harry

One for Eagar’s “corporate managers are idiots” file

One of the main architects of the friendly approach, Karen M. Ignagni, the industry’s chief lobbyist, personally pledged to President Obama that insurers would not stand in the way of a sweeping overhaul this time.

For a while, it seemed to be working — until recently, when the insurance industry re-emerged as Washington’s favorite target. “Villains,” Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker, called health insurers. And Mr. Obama derided the industry for pocketing “windfall profits.”

What person with a functioning brain and some minimal level of awareness could have expected this to end any other way?

Notes on racial healing

Elizabeth Gates, daughter of Henry Louis Gates, quotes her father

The president and the vice president are great men, Liza. They did the right thing to invite us there to talk, but it’s up to us now to extend this conversation. We have plans to meet in private and discuss things. You know, Crowley’s not a bad guy. He’s not a Joe the Plumber who wants to represent the Right. He would be horrified to be considered a racist

So Gates père considers the “Right” to imply “racist”. Well, that’s certainly open minded of him!

But it brings me to something that’s bothered me for a while with regard to SCOTUS nominee Sotomayor, which is why voting against her is considered anti-Hispanic, but voting against Miguel Estrada for the D.C. Circut Court wasn’t. I think no small part of this is fed by putatively members of the Right like Orrin Judd who never hesitates to ascribe racial motivations to such political actions, while the MAL always denies that, even when it’s an obvious motivation (e.g., MAList hate for “Oreos” like Thomas Sowell).

Who decides?

Harry Eagar writes

tasks that do not return a value of more than $6.25 [per hour] probably should [not?] be done

This loses the issue in the details, because the question for a freee market type is not whether $6.25/hour is a good cut off point, but who should decide whether such a job should be done. A free market types thinks it should be up to the worker, the employer, and the person who gets the results of the job. Eagar seems1 thinks it should be up to a collective and decided globally for everyone without regard to local context.

This gets back to the informational model of free markets where, by letting each set of directly involved people make the decision, far more information is brought to bear on the overall issue. In contrast, Eagar’s solution requires a small number of people to apply their far more limited knowlege to create a global solution. When people write of markets “knowing” things, this is what they mean. Prices are the result of the application of this distributed information, not the essence.

1 Sorry to qualify, but I can’t even decide if Eagar meant to put in a “not” so as usual I am having to do a lot of extrapolating of the meaning of his writing.

Anti-socialite on the social web

I read this article on Yahoo!’s new home page and I thought “gosh, I am so out of the modern Internet scene” because I was surprised that anyone actually uses these “home pages”. I have never have, having failed to perceive any value to them. But apparently many people do, so I am once again a web flower. Why would people want to use such a page as a “gateway to all their online activities” — why not just go there? Or, if you have a manageable number of favorite websites, load them in to a session manager and have it fire them up for you when you start the browser? I guess there are the widgets, but I tried iGoogle for a while without finding any widgets worth the time spent displaying them. I am just not compatible with this new fangled technology.

Nevertheless, I checked out the Yahoo! page. Frankly, I couldn’t distinguish it from MSN or whatever on a bet. I can tell it’s not Google primarily because my Google page is basically empty except for the search box. But I rarely hit that page either, since most browsers have a search box built in.

In the course of this I did notice that Yahoo! 360 had shut down a few months back, which shows you how much I used my page there.

What I think would be interesting is to find out how many people have pages at these social networking websites that don’t have any connections, just the page. I have a bunch, because I like to keep at least a passing familiarity with the technology, but I don’t do anything with them except check in once every month or two.

Non-market solutions watch

IBD is reporting that ACORN, a group nationally known for creating voter fraud and shady internal accounting while receiving massive government funds, is being hired as a “partner” for the upcoming US Census. But at least there’s no private sector corruption, so it’s all good, right?

Stalins or Lemmings?

NPR was hard at work this morning spinning the health care “reform” debacle for the Democratic Party and President Obama. It was just stunning to hear them go on about “organized mobs” who were “shutting down debate” on the issue, while those of us who don’t forget history still clearly remember Obama stating ‘the time for talk is through’. Not to mention it’s hard to have a debate on documents no one has read.

What’s interesting to me is that the Democratic Party must know, at some level, what an epic fail their vision of health care will be as evidenced by their near desperate needs to get votes from the GOP despite a large majority in the House and a filibuster proof majority in the Senate. If this legislation heralds the dawn of a new age of health care plenty at low cost, shouldn’t the Democratic Party want all the credit for themselves?

Yet despite this clear acknowledgement of programmatic failure, the Democratic Party continues to push something that’s clearly unpopular. Why such strong efforts for something that’s a failure on its merits and politically? The only explanation I have seen is pure power lust, i.e. it may fail, and people may hate it, but it would give the Democratic Party such enormous power to control people’s lives that it’s worth it. I am open to other suggestions, though.

Window Pains

It looks like Windows 7 is finally arriving on the computer scene. Frankly, I think Microsoft could just re-release Vista with new labeling and do better than the first release. Vista had a number of problems but in my view the biggest one was that it was designed too far ahead of the hardware curve, compounded by a very poor (and misleading) marketing effort of “Vista Ready” vs. “Vista Capable”. Now, three years later, those hardware issues have effectively disappeared with new computer systems easily being capable of running Vista, eliminating much of the pain of upgrading.

I have heard rumours that Windows 7 will be much less backwards compatible, which I think is a good thing. No small amount of the ugliness of Windows stems from it trying to keep decade old software operational. There will have to be a break at some point (which Apple has already gone through). I think Windows 7 is a good point at which to do that, because of the rise of easily used virtual machine software. Now, if you really need to run some old Windows 2000 software, any moderately savvy user can set up a virtual machine to do that without requiring direct support from the operating system. I am surprised Microsoft hasn’t done that internally.