27 July 2011

Different brand, same product

This note on the coming collapse of Al Qaeda has been making the rounds. I think it’s likely true but frankly, so what? It seems a rather logocentric fallacy that if a specific organization goes under, the cause, motives, and techniques used will also disappear. It seems far more likely to me that a few of the currently critical actors involved will be terminated but the overall actions of the Caliphascists will go on mostly as they do now.

24 July 2011

Incentives, once again

Via Instapundit is this article which claims that it is “surprising” that women send more sexual explicit text messages or pictures than men.

Seriously who is surprised? One need only spend about 5 seconds considering the two scenarios

  1. Man sends a woman he knows a picture of himself naked.
  2. Woman send a man she knows a picture of herself naked.

In which scenario is the recipient more likely to say “wow — thanks!”? I would estimate, based on personal experience, that if a woman is at least somewhat attractive and sends a naked picture of herself to a random male, at least 95% of the time it will be sincerely appreciated and no complaints will be made. I would estimate in the reversed genders, you’d get a 95% “oh yuck, I did not need to see that” response. Which gender, therefore, is going to experience positive feedback and be more likely to repeat?

Or do I live among a group of highly abnormal humans?

22 July 2011

It's about the looting

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D.-Md.) said on the House floor last night that if the balanced budget amendment Republicans are supporting is ratified and included in the Constitution it would make it “virtually impossible” to raise taxes.

source

The panic is really getting to them — now we have the admission that raising taxes is the priority. Loot first, govern second is their real motto apparently.

20 July 2011

More unexpected news

Oh look, private sector job creation ground to halt right after POR-care came out. Totally unexpected, that. And clearly the fault of those business owners. We should probably just outlaw them, as the clearly don’t understand how business is supposed to work.

Outside of Washington D.C. and the blue hells, it’s not all unexpected gloom and doom — some states are actually running budget surpluses. The key ingredient?

With the exception of Arkansas, all of these states have Republican Governors.

I guess that would explain the lack of the word “unexpected,” wouldn’t it?

Yes. Even Old Media knows that. After all, our President tells us that balanced budgets and the dignity of our senior citizens are incompatible. And he has such a trail of success. And even at that, it’s worse than it looks because after the headlines the revisions to economic data are almost all bad.

From 2007 to 2010, initial reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) told us that the economy lost 4.201 million jobs. BLS revisions have thus far ramped up the number of jobs lost by 2.43 million. The four-year total is now 6.631 million — a stunning 58% increase. As seen above, the bureau’s revisions to the 12 months of the real recession (July 2008 through June 2009) have shot reported job losses up by almost 1.9 million, a jaw-dropping average of 158,000 per month.

Don't results count?

An interesting article and chart which shows that general progress against poverty in the USA was making slow and varying progress until the Great Society when the government stepped in to “help”. As predicted by free market types like me, progress almost immediately ground to a halt. “Unexpectedly”, of course. But clearly that can’t be the fault of any government program or action, it must have been Fox News convincing people to stay poor just for spite.

19 July 2011

It's the union label

Here’s some interesting data which claims that the largest contributor to the decline of private sector unions is that unionized companies simply can’t compete. The question to ask in that case is, is it good for one generation of workers to kill the host company to have good jobs, or should they have some concern for their children?

Reality Dysfunction Tales

In the “how thick a bubble do these people inhabit” I have a couple of tidbits I’ve been meaning to post.

The first is about a very ephemeral advertisement from student members of the Democratic Party going on about why they are members. It’s so pathetic it it was taken down the same day it went up after the mockery became too much. But apparently the makers didn’t have any idea it would turn out that way.

Almost as good is this notice about a President Obama fundraiser featuring dinner with Obama which apparently wasn’t bringing home the bacon. So they added Vice President Joe Biden. No further comment needed.

18 July 2011

So paniced they're admitting the truth

Obama Administration admits that current government retirement programs incompatible with a balanced budget.

Isn’t deficit spending forever a good definition of “unsustainable”?

P.S. This bit about domestic spending has been going around but I am not sure how much it’s significant. I suspect that either the President is completely clueless about reality, has managed to misspeak the same way multiple times, or being deliberately disingenuous and counting on Old Media covering for him. What we do know for sure is that he’s not serious about it.

Further bad incentives

This comment at Just One Minute makes me wonder about what happens if President Obama decides that he’s not going to win re-election and decides to focus on creating a narcissistic justification for the loss, like demanding massive job killing tax increases in exchange for increasing the debt ceiling. Obama entire has embodied contempt for the common man and disinterest in the actual state of the nation only his only career or psychological state. It’s easy to imagine an “apres moi, le deluge” from him.

On a second note, this is an interesting bit of the comment

Their worst fear is the day Sarah Palin announces, and I have little doubt this small little man will deliberately trash the economy at that point - it won’t take much. Of course, the business world (err.. the real business world) will respond to the possibility of an adult being in charge again

Is it possible that the nomination of Sarah Palin would save Obama’s second term precisely because people think she would win and the markets react to that?

The Wrong Incentives

Tim Noah observed

On Wall Street, financial crisis destroys jobs. Here in Washington, it creates them. The rest is just details.

Essentially, for the pro-regulation folks, trashing the economy means more jobs and power but that doesn’t count as self interest, or anything to be concerned about. Boosting the economy means lots of money for corporatists, but that sort of self interest is bad and wrong. Personally, I think self interest that creates wealth is better than self interest that destroys and steals it. But that’s just my inner shirtist talking.

Legal contradictions

While I don’t agree with the justifications provided by the Obama Administration on why it can ignore the debt ceiling, I do think that it is something the Executive branch of the government can do in the current circumstances.

Essentially the Executive is faced with having to choose to obey one of two laws — the debt ceiling,, or the budget. These are mutually contradictory and I don’t see why the former is automatically superior to the second. The federal budget is also law and directs the Executive to perform specific actions using specific amounts of federal money. If the Executive does not do that that’s (to me) seems just as illegal as ignoring the debt ceiling. My view is that if Congress sets up such a situation, then it’s an Executive privilege and duty to pick one or the other and tell Congress to get its laws straightened out.

17 July 2011

Winning The Future

Ah, the joys of an objective, non-profit driven public sector which is securing a prosperous future for us by canceling programs in electrical and computer engineering, and foreign language programs, while hiring additional ‘diversity’ administrators. We are so lucky to have these people looking out for the common good!

Modern angel dancing

I find posts concerning the question “are we living in a simulation?” to be dumb and pointless. Suppose we are — haven’t you just (as we say in computer science ) swished the dirt around? You still have to wonder about the physical laws in the reality in which we are a simulation. Unless that’s another simulation — maybe it’s simulations all the way down.

Enron was just a kids game

Hmmm. The GOP in the House of Representatives is apparently starting to balk about paying off cronies of President Obama in the guise of green energy. It’s only half a billion dollars backed by an agency that won’t provide Congress with required documents so who cares?

Then there’s all the POR-care waivers and the profiteering off the legal mazes it created.

But here’s some real money — the $22 Billion Housing Tax Credit Program utterly \failed as economic policy. What private scandal has ever been that big? Yet this will just disappear in to ether, no one will be held accountable or punished for wasting all that money. It makes Enron seem so small and petty.

But the government doesn’t neglect death and destruction, what with their gun running to Mexican drug cartels and the excellent example of how the tight knit social circles inhibit any strong reporting on the subject.

16 July 2011

Ethnic cleansing cleansing

I think I should pass this post about a public opinion survey in the Middle East along because Old Media won’t. The data just doesn’t fit The Narrative so to the memhole it goes. The key result —

[Palestinian] Respondents were asked about US President Barack Obama’s statement that “there should be two states: Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people and Israel as the homeland for the Jewish people.”

Just 34% said they accepted that concept, while 61% rejected it.

Obviously, to Old Media, it’s the Israelis who have to change and come to accept the two state solution. Just see if any mention of this is made by Old Media in context, vs. coverage of other parts of the same poll.

Extended privileges to the common man

As we watch the ever mounting number of waivers from POR-care, there is finally a proposed law I can support — let everyone who wants one get a POR-care waiver. Why restrict it to just the Aristocracy of Pull? Should ordinary working people have access to that kind of benefit, just like the rich and well connected?

15 July 2011

Always punctuate properly

Punctuation Saves Lives:

“Let’s Eat, Grandma.”

“Let’s Eat Grandma.”

cathyf

The truth comes out

I am so glad that President Obama finally admitted that there is no Social Security Trust Fund. I doubt, of course, that he understands that he admitted it, but one step at a time.

Zooism vs. Socialism

This post about the leftist tendencies of even science fiction writers reminded me of one leftist writer I like, whose socialist society is actually plausible — Iain M. Banks and The Culture.

Of course, the first question one asks is “how does he get around human nature?”. Two ways — first, The Culture has engaged in quite a bit of genetic engineering to actually make better people. But that’s just a minor help — the real secret is that because socialism depends on angels to work, The Culture built angels in the form of advanced artificial intelligences called “Minds” who effectively run the society.

Although the author and fans claim this is socialism / communism, in reality it is “zooism”. The Minds have a society, which they run in a communist / socialist fashion because they’re angelic and self sufficient (a Mind in a starship is completely capable of building everything it and its passengers needs without any external help — in effect they are hunter / gatherers trolling the galactic fields). Humans are just pets in the Mind’s zoo who are taken care of materially and politically by the superior Minds.

To keep the humans busy, The Culture intervenes in more primitive societies to improve them. I really link Banks’ explanation for this — it’s essentially done so that the humans in The Culture don’t realize how useless they really are. To not intervene is psychologically intolerable. I wonder how many socialist readers understand the relevance of this to their own existence.

Depends on the meaning of "factual"

President Obama claims 80% back increased federal government revenues basing it on, apparently nothing at all. Yet will he get called on that? Will any Old Media journalist make as big a deal as Palin’s mangling of Paul Revere’s ride? But that’s not bias, it’s just an acceptance than when The Leader speaks, it becomes true.

14 July 2011

Private sector takes responsibility, government takes more money

Mark Steyn get this exactly correct — the recent flap over New of the World demonstrates once again the clear superiority in terms of morals and accountability of the corporate world over the political one. The entire news organization was disbanded. When, ever, has a government agency suffered that fate? Does anyone think any public employee involved in this will suffer any negative effects? Almost certainly not. Yet it is such unaccountable, detached people who should run our society?

It's about the right kind of voters

WIth all the hub bub about new voter ID laws (which I strongly support) it’s amusing to hear the counter-arguments of how this will disenfranchise some people, primarily poor people.I find that a dubious claim at best, given the number of things which require identification just to get through the day. And if they can’t manage to make the very minimal effort to get an ID to vote then they don’t deserve to do so.

But what’s actually disgusting is the complete lack of concern from the same people over the disenfranchisement of members of the armed services who, frankly, are exactly the kind of people who should get special treatment in getting their votes counted. Any one who actually cared about voting would make this a priority, not providing a ready pool of easily purchased or fraudulently voted ballots.

11 July 2011

Extrospective only

The one thing that is generally most lacking in members of the MAL is the ability to introspect, to apply their observations and opinions to themselves or their policies. An example that’s just stunning in its obtuseness, even for and Old Media MAList, is Nina Totenberg going on about the problem of having journalism and government too intertwined. Utter lack of self awareness there. But even if she can’t look at herself, perhaps she could have noticed this about how many Old Media types were friends with Anthony Wiener when he flamed out.