DYSPEPSIA GENERATION

We have seen the future, and it sucks.

Archive for February, 2011

Motoring Out of the American Century

25th February 2011

Ed Wallace, much as I love him, starts out wrong and proceeds to walk off a cliff.

In 1980, the top 1 percent of this country’s earners owned 9 percent of its assets; 30 years later they’ve increased that ownership to 24 percent.

No, they haven’t. 30 years later, it’s almost certainly a substantially different group of people. The billionaires at Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Apple, and Facebook, for example, are in the later group but not the former. And in 1980 Sam Walton was rich but not yet the riches person in the world; he has since been replaced by a passle of heirs — which may not affect the percentages much by themselves, but if you include all of the people in similar circumstances … well, let’s just say that poor old Ed has fallen into the Aggregation Fallacy.

And just because the top 1/100 own a greater percentage doesn’t tell us whether they actually own more, or whether they own pretty much the same and it’s just that the bottom 99% have gotten hammered economically — by, oh, I don’t know, maybe government policies? Like increased taxes? Which, of course, the Really Rich can hire experts to weasel out of, when they’re not going straight to the source and buying legislators and bureaucrats to give them favorable exemptions.

That’s the problem I have with ‘populists’ in general — their hearts are in the right place, God love ‘em, but their heads are frequently off on vacation. (Democrat politicians and journalists have the same problem, but in their cases it’s stupid and evil rather than just stupid.)

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What Collective Bargaining Gets You

25th February 2011

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Some inconvenient truth.

When someone says, “It’s not about the money,” you know it’s about the money.

Unions in Madison insist that their protests are really about collective bargaining. But collective bargaining is about the money.

Collective bargaining gives a public-sector union a monopoly over the government’s workforce. By law the government can employ workers only on the terms negotiated by the union; it cannot hire non-union workers to do the job. That means the government must reach an agreement with the union to get anything done. The voters’ elected representatives do not have the final say.

This gives unions enormous power over government budgets, which they use to get more of the budget spent on them.

And that pretty much says all that needs to be said on the subject.

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Can Living With Dogs or Cats Prevent Asthma in Kids?

25th February 2011

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If kids who live in close proximity to farm animals seem to develop asthma at lower-than-average rates, can urban or suburban children reap the same benefits by acquiring a dog or cat?

Yeah, they’re really not big on pigs in the suburbs. And downtown has enough piggy humans that actual swine would be crowded out.

I get the impression that rolling your kid around in the mud during the first three months of its life is the best thing you can do. But perhaps I’m just misinterpreting the available literature.

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off

More Pseudo-Libertarianism

25th February 2011

Thomas doesn’t like Bryan Caplan, Scott Sumner, or Will Wikinson very much.

Can’t say that I blame him.

Why should one reject IQ tests as “culturally biased,” and under what conditions? I have no doubt that there is some degree of cultural bias in IQ tests, but so what? As an employer, I may want employees who are not only capable of carrying out certain kinds of mental tasks but who also are attuned to the culture in which I operate my business. If that rules out, say, inner-city blacks who prefer rap to Bach, who wear outré clothing, and who speak a language other than standard English, so be it.

Sumner also “cringes” at “distrust of democracy.” Does he not understand the history of American politics in the twentieth century? It can be summarized, quite accurately, as follows: promise, elect, spend, tax, regulate, promise, elect, spend, tax, regulate, etc., etc., etc.

I can only shake my head in amazement at the delusions of left-libertarians. I must come up with a new name for them, inasmuch as they are not libertarians.

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The Rich Have 80% More Energy Than the Rest

25th February 2011

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Guess I’ll never be rich, then; sounds too much like work.

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Stalking the Wild Facebook User

25th February 2011

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For three days this week, victims of unrequited love were able to effortlessly track their crushes’ Facebook relationship statuses using the Breakup Notifier Facebook app that launched Monday. On Wednesday, however, the social network shut down the app — but not before it had acquired about 3 million users.

Now Facebook app WaitingRoom wants to offer those former Breakup Notifier users an upgrade in stalking efficiency. Not only will the Facebook app notify you when the person you’re pining after relieves himself or herself from a relationship, but it will also help you anonymously encourage that breakup.

Here’s how it works: When you indicate interest in an unavailable Facebook friend, that person gets an e-mail notification that there is someone in his or her “WaitingRoom” (this person need not have the app installed at this point). The identity of the admirer isn’t revealed until the recipient has changed his or her Facebook status to single.

Another great reason to avoid Facebook.

Posted in You can't make this stuff up. | Comments Off

Jury Nullification Advocate Faces Indictment

25th February 2011

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Since 2009, Mr. Heicklen has stood there and at courthouse entrances elsewhere and handed out pamphlets encouraging jurors to ignore the law if they disagree with it, and to render verdicts based on conscience.

That concept, called jury nullification, is highly controversial, and courts are hostile to it. But federal prosecutors have now taken the unusual step of having Mr. Heicklen indicted on a charge that his distributing of such pamphlets at the courthouse entrance violates the law against jury tampering.

Arguing about the theory and history of jury nullification provides some of the most entertaining moments in law school.

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Obama praises Algeria for lifting state of emergency that was put in place to prevent Islamic rule

25th February 2011

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Of course he does. Change = Progress, right?

The pro-Sharia Islamic supremacist political party known as the Islamic Salvation Front won the first round of Algeria’s 1991 elections, whereupon the military stepped in, canceled the second round of elections, and banned the Islamic Salvation Front and all Islamic political parties. This led to civil war, and the state of emergency. Islamic Sharia forces would still win any free election in Algeria.

Posted in Living with Islam. | Comments Off

Paul Krugman’s Third World fantasy

25th February 2011

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According to Nobel laureate and raconteur Paul Krugman, Gov. Scott Walker and “his backers” are attempting to “make Wisconsin — and eventually, America — less of a functioning democracy and more of a Third World-style oligarchy.”

Democracy, naturally, can only be saved by public sector unions, which attain their political power and taxpayer-funded benefits by “negotiating” with politicians elected with the help of unions who use, well, taxpayer dollars. And you know, that doesn’t sound like an oligarchy at all.

In this world, when you tax a citizen a bit less to try to generate economic growth, you are not taking less from the taxpayer but “stealing” from a third party who at some point in his life was told he had an indelible right to your wallet, no matter the cost. And if you don’t hand it over? Well, even though Wisconsin is home to some of the nation’s highest taxes, and even though the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported that tax cuts were “not even in effect yet, so they cannot be part of the current problem,” you can’t stop unionists from blaming “giveaways” to the rich.

 

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Affair has legal fallout

25th February 2011

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The wife of a Roseville city employee has filed a $3.9 million claim against the city alleging it improperly demoted her soon-to-be ex-husband for his extramarital interoffice romance.

The demotion, which negatively affects her alimony, should be reversed, said Paula Tilley, 58.

She seeks compensation for lost spousal support, retirement, “emotional, mental and physical distress,” and for the city’s “reckless conduct.”

This reminds me of the beggar in Fiddler on the Roof:

‘Here’s a kopeck.’
‘One kopeck? Last week you gave me two kopecks.’
‘I had a bad week.’
‘So you had a bad week — why should I suffer?’

Posted in You can't make this stuff up. | Comments Off

Plastic fantastic! Carrier bags ‘not eco-villains after all’

25th February 2011

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Unpublished Government research suggests the plastic carrier may not be an eco villain after all – but, whisper it, an unsung hero. Hated by environmentalists and shunned by shoppers, the disposable plastic bag is piling up in a shame-filled corner of retail history. But a draft report by the Environment Agency, obtained by the Independent on Sunday, has found that ordinary high density polythene (HDPE) bags used by shops are actually greener than supposedly low impact choices.

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School for pregnant teenagers being set up in New York

25th February 2011

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Just another fine day in the Obamanation.

‘Everything in the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.’ — Benito Mussolini

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Tearing Down Walls — Egyptian Style

25th February 2011

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Three ancient monasteries in Egypt are among the oldest continuously functioning Christian religious establishments in the world. Until the recent insurrection and the overthrow of the Mubarak regime, the monasteries could count on the police protection from marauding Muslim zealots and thieves looking for valuable icons.

When civil order vanished from Egypt a few weeks ago, the Copts appealed to the army for protection. They were told that the military could not protect them, that they must protect themselves. And so they did, building protective fences around the monastery.

Unfortunately, it seems the army prefers that the monasteries remain unprotected: on Sunday soldiers with bulldozers arrived and began destroying the fences. Any Copts who attempted to interfere are being shot at by troops.

The notion that change = progress is the chief intellectual deficiency of the Left.

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You Christians Can Believe, Just Don’t Act on It

24th February 2011

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Christians, orthodox Jews or anyone with traditional views of sex and marriage should be barred from state university counseling programs unless they agree to violate their beliefs.

That’s the gist of the amicus brief that the ACLU filed on Feb. 11 in a case in which a Christian student is challenging her dismissal from a graduate counseling program at Eastern Michigan University in 2009.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | 1 Comment »

Five facts about capuchin monkeys

24th February 2011

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Just in case you were wondering. I know I was.

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Egyptian Armed Forces Fire At Christian Monasteries, 19 Injured

24th February 2011

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For the second time in as many days, Egyptian armed force stormed the 5th century old St. Bishoy monastery in Wadi el-Natroun, 110 kilometers from Cairo. Live ammunition was fired, wounding two monks and six Coptic monastery workers. Several sources confirmed the army’s use of RPG ammunition. Four people have been arrested including three monks and a Coptic lawyer who was at the monastery investigating yesterday’s army attack.

Father Hemanot Ava Bishoy said the army fired live ammunition and RPGs continuously for 30 minutes, which hit part of the ancient fence inside the monastery. “The army was shocked to see the monks standing there praying ‘Lord have mercy’ without running away. This is what really upset them,” he said. “As the soldiers were demolishing the gate and the fence they were chanting ‘Allahu Akbar’ and ‘Victory, Victory'”.

The army also attacked the Monastery of St. Makarios of Alexandria in Wady el-Rayan, Fayoum, 100 km from Cairo. It stormed the monastery and fired live ammunition on the monks. Father Mina said that one monk was shot and more than ten have injuries caused by being beaten with batons. The army demolished the newly erected fence and one room from the actual monastery and confiscated building materials. The monastery had also built a fence to protect itself after January 25 and after being attacked by armed Arabs and robbers leading to the injury of six monks, including one monk in critical condition who is still hospitalized.

My, what a surprise. Aren’t you surprised? I’m sure surprised.

You’d think they’d have more important things on their minds.

That’s some fine Religion o’ Peace™ you got there, Mohammed.

Posted in Living with Islam. | Comments Off

Stand With Governor Walker

24th February 2011

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Public employee unions, which have become one of the nation’s most aggressive and influential special interest groups in recent decades, are unchecked by the competitive constraints and self-interested ownership that help to balance out private sector unions. In his forthcoming book Special Interest, for instance, Stanford’s Terry Moe points out that the Michigan Education Association has distributed a 40-page instructional manual for local leaders that’s entitled “Electing Your Own Employer, It’s as Easy as 1, 2, 3.” And as one high-ranking state union official told me when I wrote Revolution at the Margins, “We knew the school system wasn’t moving to Mexico,” so there was no reason to work with the state negotiator on establishing a prudent salary structure.

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Nearly one-quarter of biologists say they have been affected by animal activists.

24th February 2011

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Hey, intimidation works.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | 1 Comment »

Secret White House Meetings

24th February 2011

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Remember all that highfalutin rhetoric from Barack Obama about not doing business with lobbyists, etc? Well, we already knew it was a lie given the number of lobbyists he let into the White House to work after saying he wouldn’t.

But it appears the lie is a serial lie. Obama is having his minion take meetings with lobbyists routinely, but they are doing it outside the White House across the street.

I’m shocked, I tell you, shocked.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | 1 Comment »

Kashmir: Muslims burn down Christian school over rumor that Muslim converted to Christianity

24th February 2011

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My, what a surprise. Aren’t you surprised? I’m sure surprised.

That’s some fine Religion o’ Peace™ you got there, Mohammed.

Posted in Living with Islam. | Comments Off

USA Inc.

24th February 2011

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USA Inc.is a non-partisan report that looks at the U.S. federal government (and its financials) as if it were a business. Mary Meeker, partner at KPCB and former financial analyst at Morgan Stanley, created and compiled the report with the goal of informing the discussion about our financial situation and outlook. USA Inc. examines the country’s income statement and balance sheet, aiming to interpret the underlying data and facts, and illustrate patterns and trends in easy-to-understand ways. The report also analyzes the drivers of federal revenue and the history of expense growth, and discusses basic scenarios for how revenue and expense growth might change to help America move toward positive cash flow.

‘But that trick never works!’ Can you think of anything more absurd?

(a) We already know that if a business were run like the U.S. government, they’d all be in jail long since. If the report’s honest (which I doubt), it will just underscore that, to no good purpose that I can see.

(b) A business serves a market in competition with other businesses. There is no competition for the government’s ‘services’ (and if you try it, they’ll shoot you), so there’s no market — and no competitive pressure to control costs, and no structural relationship between revenue and expense. So that conceit is just silly.

(c) A business serves customers in hopes of making a profit for its investors. For a government, the customers and investors are the same people, neither customers nor investors have any choice in the matter, and notions of ‘profit’ don’t apply. Imagine a business that takes in money by stealing from some (but not all) of its investors under threat of violence, and whose management hopes that they can spend enough of that money among (usually different) investors to keep from getting canned. Sound stupid? The reality is worse.

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Egypt: Coptic priest stabbed to death in his home by masked attackers shouting “Allahu akbar”

24th February 2011

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My, what a surprise. Aren’t you surprised? I’m sure surprised.

That’s some fine Religion o’ Peace™ you got there, Mohammed.

Posted in Living with Islam. | Comments Off

Official Notice

24th February 2011

I don’t give a shit about Libya, either.

 

Posted in News You Can Use. | 1 Comment »

As a Share of Income, Americans Have the Most Affordable Food in World & It’s Never Been Better

24th February 2011

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As much as Americans might complain about rising food prices in the U.S. (even though annual CPI food inflation hasn’t been above 2% for almost two years), we’ve got the most affordable food on the planet as a share of income (see chart above).  And compared to previous years, today’s Americans have the most affordable food in U.S. history (see chart below).

Posted in Is this a great country, or what? | 1 Comment »

Para officer survives direct hit from Taliban rocket propelled granade

24th February 2011

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Lt Col Andy Harrison has returned to the front line after a brief stint in medical care. He was said to be extremely lucky to avoid fatal injuries after the missile, designed to penetrate armoured vehicles, failed to detonate when it hit his body armour. “He had a pretty amazing escape,” said a colleague. “It’s not very often that someone gets hit full on by an RPG and lives to tell the tale.”

Being a Colonel isn’t what it used to be.

Posted in News You Can Use. | 1 Comment »

Mystic Monk Coffee

24th February 2011

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Bet that ups your hit points by a bunch.

Posted in Is this a great country, or what? | Comments Off

Mossberg 500 Roadblocker: The most badass pump action shotgun ever

24th February 2011

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Because, you know, this is America.

Posted in Is this a great country, or what? | 3 Comments »

The Left’s War on the Kochs

24th February 2011

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Understand, the Left has nothing against rich people participating in politics. Most rich people who are politically active are liberals, and the Democratic Party gets much more of its support from the wealthy than the GOP. George Soros is only the most famous of a battalion of sugar daddies who fund every left-wing cause. But the Left wants a monopoly. They want wealthy people to be barred from political participation unless they toe the liberal line. Hence their increasingly vicious attacks on the Koch brothers; they are trying to make an example of them.

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Anti-abortion billboard in New York sparks outrage

24th February 2011

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An anti-abortion billboard featuring a young black girl and the slogan “the most dangerous place for an African-American is in the womb” has provoked sharp criticism in New York.

The poster advertises a Texas-based group called Life Always, which campaigns against what it calls a “genocidal plot” against unborn babies. It is on display in the SoHo area of Manhattan.

Of course. They can’t handle the truth.

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Islamic Chutzpah

24th February 2011

Roland Shirk explains some inconvenient truths about Islam.

As I’ve written before, Islam is a religion of power, which worships a god whose first and foremost attribute is power, absolute and arbitrary power so boundless by definition that no one and nothing can “chain Allah’s hand,” not even his previous promises. In the single-minded quest to depict their god as limitless, Muslim theologians have managed to portray Allah as something actually less impressive than any human being who does keep his word; recall that in ancient cultures, oath-keeping was the virtue held in highest esteem. Without it, human action is impossible to predict, trust relationships cannot be formed, and lasting love is impossible. Allah cannot be said to love his creatures, because they can never trust him. Their love for him at best can only ever be servile, the trembling devotion of a whipped dog hoping for mercy.

While that may be the Muslim attitude toward their god, activist Muslims adopt quite the opposite posture toward non-Muslims, whenever they feel sufficiently powerful to get away with it. Robert Spencer told me a story he’d heard of an American convert to Islam (dressed like any other American) who sat down at a cafe, only to be greeted from a neighboring table with “Assalaamu ‘alaykum!” The American was stunned, and he turned to the Arab immigrant at the neighboring table to ask, “How did you know I was a Muslim?” His newfound friend replied, “You hold and carry yourself like a Muslim. You hold your head high, as if you bow before no man, but only before Allah.”

Posted in Living with Islam. | Comments Off

Domestication Genes

24th February 2011

Steve Sailer looks at a Russian program to breed foxes as friendly as dogs.

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DrChrono Makes The iPad A Doctor’s Best Friend In The Exam Room

24th February 2011

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The free iPad app allows doctors to schedule patient appointments, write prescriptions and send them to pharmacies, enable reminders, take clinical notes, access lab results, and input electronic health records. The electronic medical records element is key because the Obama administration is currently offering strong incentives for doctors to start moving their health records online. DrChrono will help doctors start, finish and manage this process.

And DrChono is more than just a simple iPad app. For $99 and up, doctors can upgrade to more storage for records, and complete medical billing. The billing component is another win for doctors, who spend hundreds of dollars each month for medical billing processing. DrChrono’s system integrates with all U.S. insurance companies, even the insurance agents that only use paper billing.

If I were a doctor, I’d be all over this.

Posted in Is this a great country, or what? | Comments Off

The Left’s Endless Culture War

24th February 2011

Maggie Gallagher lays it out.

The culture war will always be ongoing because the left is never going to stop waging it. You can never “give in” and be done with it — they will simply move on to the next item.

The culture war will never be over because the left will never permit itself to declare victory and stop pushing for more.

Maggie and I were at Yale together; she has always been a fighter.

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Chemists create current-bearing plastic

24th February 2011

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Chemists have found a new way of producing plastic that conducts electricity, potentially paving the way to cheaper, more robust and er, more plasticky computers.

A team led by Professors Paul Meredith and Ben Powell at the University of Queensland, Associate Professor Adam Micolich of the University of New South Wales School of Physics and UNSW doctoral student Andrew Stephenson used an ion beam to “tune” the plastic film.

“In theory, we can make plastics that conduct no electricity at all or as well as metals do – and everything in between,” says Stephenson.

Gotta love Australians.

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Interesting Times

24th February 2011

Jerry Pournelle has some thoughts.

In the United States we are experimenting with the limits of liberal democracy. Elections are unimportant: if the losing side simply refuses to accept the result when they lose, nor limits to their actions when they win, the applicability of the term “democracy” comes into question. Then comes the usual transition from democracy to tyranny: one side refuses to accept the results, chaos emerges, and a friend of the people steps up to restore order. He is given temporary powers. After that the stories divide.

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Whitewashing the History of Organized Labor

23rd February 2011

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As scholars ranging from the liberal political scientist Ira Katznelson to the libertarian legal historian David Bernstein have now documented, organized labor’s rise to power typically came at the expense of black workers. Consider collective bargaining, the legal arrangement whereby a union selected by a majority of employees receives the monopoly bargaining power to exclusively represent all employees. This valuable union tool first became part of federal law under section 7A of the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933. Since blacks were barred from the vast majority of unions at that time, collective bargaining served as a de facto ban on all black workers in unionized shops.

‘Progressives’ do many historically odd things, such as the embrace of the Democratic Party, which was the party of slavery from Andy Jackson’s time up through the Civil War, and the party of Jim Crow from the Civil War up through LBJ.

Posted in Axis of Drivel. | Comments Off

‘Incredibly Sexist Assertion’

23rd February 2011

The Other McCain must spend most of his time laughing.

The Lara Logan story proves to be the gift that keeps on giving, thanks to a predictable pattern: Someone attempts a reaction more complex than “rape is bad,” and immediately gets shouted down by angry feminists.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Posted in Axis of Drivel. | Comments Off

Pakistan: Brother murders sister in honor killing

23rd February 2011

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My, what a surprise. Aren’t you surprised? I’m sure surprised.

That’s some fine Religion o’ Peace™ you got there, Mohammed.

Posted in Living with Islam. | Comments Off

Obama Won’t Go to Court Over Defense of Marriage Act

23rd February 2011

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President Obama believes that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional and will no longer defend the 15-year-old law in federal court, the Justice Department announced today.

The decision, which stunned and delighted gay-rights activists, means that the administration will withdraw its defense of ongoing suits in two federal Appeals Courts and will leave it to Congress to defend the law, known as DOMA, against those challenges. It will remain a party to the lawsuits. The law itself remains in effect.

I guess my old civics teacher was wrong when he said that the President’s job was to execute the laws of the United States.

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Government Failure

23rd February 2011

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I can’t even count the number of articles and blog posts I’ve seen asserting that markets can’t work in health care.  Or that they work very imperfectly.  Or that they suffer from serious “market failure.”  In every case, the writer just assumes that government can remedy these problems.

Yet when Gerry Musgrave and I wrote Patient Power, we concluded that our most serious health care problems stem from bad government policies, rather than from markets failing to work.  In other words, “government failure” not “market failure” is the source of most of what is going wrong.

When economists talk about “market failure” they begin with a model in which consumer welfare is maximized. “Market failure” arises when imperfections cause outcomes that fall short of the ideal.  If we were to do the same thing in politics, we would begin with a model in which the political system produced ideal outcomes and then consider factors that take us away from the ideal.

But here is the problem:  whereas in economics, “market failure” is considered an exception to the norm, in politics, “government failure” is the norm.  In general, there is no model of political decision making that can reliably produce ideal outcomes.

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off

My Magic Green Hat

23rd February 2011

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The other day I needed to go to the emergency room. Not wanting to sit there for 4 hours, I put on my Magic Green Hat. When I went into the E.R., I noticed that 3/4 of the people got up and left.

I guess they decided that they weren’t that sick after all. Cut at least 3 hours off my waiting time.

Need help at the Emergency Room? Don’t want to wait six hours to see somebody? No problem! Wear the Magic Green Border Patrol Hat.

It also works at DMV. It saved me 5 hours.

At the Laundromat, three minutes after entering, I had my choice of any machine, most still running.

If you live in Texas, it might cut your wait time at the grocery store.

Posted in News You Can Use. | 1 Comment »

Digital didn’t kill marginalia. In fact, digital could turn it into a revenue source.

23rd February 2011

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A clever idea. Famous person reads e-book, makes marginal notes, sells marginal notes as an add-on to the e-book. This will, of course, require standards so that the notes will dependably attach to the book, but it’s an interesting thought.

This has actually been used in times past. I believe that most editions of the Talmud include the text along with first, second, and perhaps even third-generation glosses. I once saw a printed copy of the Seanchas Mor
in Yale’s Sterling Memorial Library that had a similar format: Old Irish Text, Latin glosses on the text, and Middle Irish notations on the Latin glosses.

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off

What if It’s All Been a Big Fat Lie?

23rd February 2011

Gary Taubes does diet. Somewhat old but still interesting.

America has become weirdly polarized on the subject of weight. On the one hand, we’ve been told with almost religious certainty by everyone from the surgeon general on down, and we have come to believe with almost religious certainty, that obesity is caused by the excessive consumption of fat, and that if we eat less fat we will lose weight and live longer. On the other, we have the ever-resilient message of Atkins and decades’ worth of best-selling diet books, including ”The Zone,” ”Sugar Busters” and ”Protein Power” to name a few. All push some variation of what scientists would call the alternative hypothesis: it’s not the fat that makes us fat, but the carbohydrates, and if we eat less carbohydrates we will lose weight and live longer.

What’s forgotten in the current controversy is that the low-fat dogma itself is only about 25 years old. Until the late 70’s, the accepted wisdom was that fat and protein protected against overeating by making you sated, and that carbohydrates made you fat. In ”The Physiology of Taste,” for instance, an 1825 discourse considered among the most famous books ever written about food, the French gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin says that he could easily identify the causes of obesity after 30 years of listening to one ”stout party” after another proclaiming the joys of bread, rice and (from a ”particularly stout party”) potatoes. Brillat-Savarin described the roots of obesity as a natural predisposition conjuncted with the ”floury and feculent substances which man makes the prime ingredients of his daily nourishment.” He added that the effects of this fecula — i.e., ”potatoes, grain or any kind of flour” — were seen sooner when sugar was added to the diet.

If you work out the numbers, you come to the surreal conclusion that you can eat lard straight from the can and conceivably reduce your risk of heart disease.

David Ludwig, the Harvard endocrinologist, says that it’s the direct effect of insulin on blood sugar that does the trick. He notes that when diabetics get too much insulin, their blood sugar drops and they get ravenously hungry. They gain weight because they eat more, and the insulin promotes fat deposition. The same happens with lab animals. This, he says, is effectively what happens when we eat carbohydrates — in particular sugar and starches like potatoes and rice, or anything made from flour, like a slice of white bread. These are known in the jargon as high-glycemic-index carbohydrates, which means they are absorbed quickly into the blood. As a result, they cause a spike of blood sugar and a surge of insulin within minutes. The resulting rush of insulin stores the blood sugar away and a few hours later, your blood sugar is lower than it was before you ate. As Ludwig explains, your body effectively thinks it has run out of fuel, but the insulin is still high enough to prevent you from burning your own fat. The result is hunger and a craving for more carbohydrates. It’s another vicious circle, and another situation ripe for obesity.

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off

They Keep Using That Word

23rd February 2011

Jonah Goldberg points out an inconvenient truth.

Daniel Pletka offers a bipartisan list of American leaders using “unacceptable” to mean “we fully accept what has happened but want everyone to think we don’t.”

Posted in Axis of Drivel. | Comments Off

Report: Ex-minister says Gadhafi ordered Lockerbie

23rd February 2011

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Swedish tabloid Expressen says Libya’s ex-justice minister claims Moammar Gadhafi personally ordered the Lockerbie bombing that killed 270 people in 1988.

Expressen on Wednesday quoted Mustafa Abdel-Jalil as telling their correspondent in Libya that “I have proof that Gadhafi gave the order about Lockerbie.” He didn’t describe the proof.

Truth will out.

Posted in News You Can Use. | 1 Comment »

Exhausting the Enemy

23rd February 2011

Read it.

If there was one moment that told me we were winning our small slice of the war in Diyala Province, it was when the first al-Qaeda leader surrendered. He told me, in perfect English, “I’m here because I’m tired.” He was tired because when we “protect the population,” we drive the enemy out of his house and put him on the run. Our troops cycle in and out, year by year; they don’t. And if they don’t have a home to return to, the war can strain them beyond the breaking point.

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Public Unions Must Go

23rd February 2011

Jonah Goldberg says what we all know to be true.

A crucial distinction has been lost in the debate over Walker’s proposals: Government unions are not the same thing as private-sector unions.

Traditional, private-sector unions were born out of an often-bloody adversarial relationship between labor and management. It’s been said that during World War I, U.S. soldiers had better odds of surviving on the front lines than miners did in West Virginia coal mines. Mine disasters were frequent; hazardous conditions were the norm. In 1907, the Monongah mine explosion claimed the lives of 362 West Virginia miners. Day-to-day life often resembled serfdom, with management controlling vast swaths of the miners’ lives. Before unionization and many New Deal–era reforms, Washington had little power to reform conditions by legislation.

Government unions have no such narrative on their side. Do you recall the Great DMV Cave-in of 1959? How about the travails of second-grade teachers recounted in Upton Sinclair’s famous schoolhouse sequel to The Jungle? No? Don’t feel bad, because no such horror stories exist.

Government workers were making good salaries in 1962 when President Kennedy lifted, by executive order (so much for democracy), the federal ban on government unions. Civil-service regulations and similar laws had guaranteed good working conditions for generations.

Yet another data point in the graph that points to JFK being a shitty President.\

From 1989 to 2004, AFSCME — the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees — gave nearly $40 million to candidates in federal elections, with 98.5 percent going to Democrats, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Why would local government unions give so much in federal elections? Because government workers have an inherent interest in boosting the amount of federal tax dollars their local governments get. Put simply, people in the government business support the party of government. Which is why, as the Manhattan Institute’s Steven Malanga has been chronicling for years, public unions are the country’s foremost advocates for increased taxes at all levels of government.

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off

How to Make a Laser From a Gin and Tonic

23rd February 2011

Read it.

We have the technology.

Posted in Is this a great country, or what? | Comments Off

The Most Incredible Sword Fights in History

23rd February 2011

Read it.

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off

Fleebaggers

23rd February 2011

Michelle Malkin has some fun with Democrat legislators.

First lady Michelle Obama said, “Let’s Move!” Who knew Democratic politicians in Wisconsin and Indiana would take her literally?

Faced with stifling debt, bloated pensions, and intractable government unions, liberal Midwestern legislators have fled those states — paralyzing Republican fiscal-reform efforts. Like Monty Python’s Brave Sir Robin and his band of quivering knights, these elected officials have only one plan when confronted with political hardship or economic peril: Run away, run away, run away.

Blogger John Hayward of the conservative Human Events newspaper joked that “the next issue of National Geographic will track the migratory patterns of fugitive Democrats across the great plains.” Seton Motley of the Washington, D.C.-based Media Research Center weighed in: “First, Wisconsin. Now, Indiana. When we said ‘runaway government,’ it was a complaint — not a suggestion.” Comedian Stephen Kruiser snickered that OFA — the Democrats’ political organizing arm, Organizing for America — now stands for “Organizing Fleeing Americans.”

Posted in Dystopia Watch | Comments Off