DYSPEPSIA GENERATION

We have seen the future, and it sucks.

Racists Are Everywhere: Piledriver Edition

17th July 2014

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Nothing generates that sweet, sweet digital ad revenue quicker and more effectively than calling something “racist,” then reverse engineering the why and wherefore. It’s cheap and trite, but so is the rest of American culture.

The Atlantic’s claim rests upon the supposed fact that no one of the black persuasion has ever held the WWE’s top title. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson—with his Essence and Ebony cover appearances and father Rocky “Soulman” Johnson—doesn’t count, because he’s half Samoan and comes from a wrestling family, which makes him “not black” through some manner of social justice wizardry.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | No Comments »

Detroit Police Chief: Armed Citizens Making Detroit Criminals Think Twice

17th July 2014

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With robberies in Detroit down 37 percent compared to figures from this same time last year, Detroit Police Chief James Craig says the increasing number of armed citizens is making criminals think twice before attacking.

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

Posted in News You Can Use. | No Comments »

3D-printed Armor Turns Barbie Into a Medieval Badass

17th July 2014

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When Barbie appeared in Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue earlier this year, it ignited newfound controversy over Mattel’s 50-year-plus tradition of using the doll to prop up absurd body image standards. Lost in the debate was the indisputable fact that her typical outfits are entirely inappropriate for storming a castle — but thanks to 3D designer Jim Rodda, that’s been resolved. Rodda has created the “Faire Play Battle Set,” comprising three full sets of 3D-printed battle armor for the iconic figurine. The designer has previously designed a number of 3D-printable items of a medieval persuasion, including functional miniature ballistae and catapults for tabletop gaming.

And nary a chain-mail bikini in sight.

Posted in Is this a great country, or what? | No Comments »

Hamas Firing Rockets? There’s an App for That

16th July 2014

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English speakers across the globe are getting a real-time glimpse of what it is like to live under the constant threat of terrorist rocket attacks thanks to a hugely popular smartphone app that sends out a “red alert” whenever Israel is targeted.

As Israeli citizens struggle to shelter themselves from a near-constant barrage of rockets fired by the terror group Hamas, those living outside of the Jewish state are experiencing the same sense of panic via the Red Alert: Israel app, which “provides real time alerts every time a terrorist fires rockets, mortars, or missiles into the State of Israel.”

Posted in Living with Islam. | No Comments »

Nightmare in the Marais District

16th July 2014

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Last Sunday a large group of Jew-hating pro-Palestinian rioters attacked the Don Yitzchak Abarbanel Synagogue in the 11th arrondissement of Paris. There were only a few policemen guarding the entrance at the time, and the attack took them by surprise. If civilian guards posted by the Jewish Defense League had not been on hand to help hold off the rock-throwing mob, the rioters would almost certainly have broken into the synagogue, where two hundred worshippers were trapped.

A second synagogue was attacked the same day in another part of Paris.

Posted in Living with Islam. | No Comments »

Hitler, Continued

16th July 2014

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There is one respect in which I would take Evans’s characterization further, as Lucy Dawidowicz does in Chapter 20 of my book: Hitler didn’t lose the war. Not the war Evans argues was most important to him: the racial war. Hitler won that war. Six million to one. Yes, he committed suicide at the end. (And yes, 50 million others lost their lives so he could win the part of the war he cared about most. Collateral damage.)

Thinking about that suicide now, in the light of 9/11 and the subsequent exaltations of suicide bombing on messianic, theological grounds, does in fact offer a radical new way of characterizing Hitler. In retrospect at least, it’s tempting to argue that Hitler was, if not the first, then by far history’s greatest single suicide bomber. He blew up Europe to kill the Jews in it, even if it meant killing himself and tens of millions of others in the end.

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

June 16, 1950: The Chaplain-Medic Massacre

16th July 2014

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The Chaplain–Medic massacre was a war crime that took place in the Korean War on July 16, 1950, on a mountain above the village of Tunam, South Korea. Thirty unarmed, critically wounded United States Army soldiers and an unarmed chaplain were killed by members of the North Korean army during the Battle of Taejon.

Remember that when thinking about dealing with Communists.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | 1 Comment »

Boston Dynamics’ BigDog Treks Through Rough Terrain With the USMC

16th July 2014

Read it. And watch the video.

Lance Corporal Brandon Dieckmann says on their first day, his team took the robot through some thick brush, which an internally transported vehicle could not go through.

“A lot of people don’t think it will be able to handle the terrain that it does, I’d see about 70 to 80 percent of what we can go through it can actually get through,” Dieckmann said.

Posted in Is this a great country, or what? | No Comments »

Turning College Into a No-Thought Zone

16th July 2014

Virginia Postrel blows the whistle.

Last September, Vincenzo Sinapi-Riddle, a student at Citrus Community College near Los Angeles, was collecting signatures on a petition asking the student government to condemn spying by the National Security Agency. He left the school’s designated “free speech area” to go to the student center. On his way there, he saw a likely prospect to join his cause: a student wearing a “Don’t Tread on Me” T-shirt. He stopped the student and they began talking about the petition. Then an administrator came out of a nearby building, informed them their discussion was forbidden outside the speech zone, and warned Sinapi-Riddle he could be ejected from campus for violating the speech-zone rule.

Sinapi-Riddle has now sued Citrus College, a state institution, for violating his First Amendment rights by, among other things, demanding that “expressive activities” be confined to the 1.34 percent of campus designated as a “free speech area.” Perhaps the most outrageous part of his experience is how common it is. The vague bans on “offensive” language and other “politically correct” measures that most people think of when they imagine college speech codes are increasingly being joined by quarantine policies that restrict all student speech, regardless of its content.

Posted in Your tax dollars at work - and play. | No Comments »

Native Americans KILLED AND ATE DUMBO, Say Archaeologists

16th July 2014

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The primitive folk assessed by many archaeologists as being the original native Americans – that is, the Clovis people – killed and ate the lovable prehistoric elephants that inhabited the continent alongside them, scientists say.

Posted in Whose turn is it to be the victim? | 1 Comment »

What Exactly Is in McDonald’s Famous French Fries?

16th July 2014

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In the good old days, McDonald’s fries were cooked in beef tallow. But customer demand for less saturated fat prompted a switch to vegetable oil in the early ’90s.

No, it’s because they were sued by some asshole Hindus. Diversity means never being allowed to live like an American.

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

The Viking Facebook

15th July 2014

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An unusual article recently appeared in the magazine of the Royal Statistical Society and American Statistical Association.

It featured web-like diagrams of lines connecting nodes, a hallmark of research that analyzes networks. But each node, rather than being a plain dot, was the head of a burly, red-bearded Viking sporting a horned hat, his tresses blowing in the wind.

This whimsical-seeming piece of scholarship went on to describe the social network of more than 1,500 characters in the Icelandic Sagas, epic tales about the colonization of Iceland around a thousand years ago that were first written down a few hundred years after that. It was the work of a pair of statistical physicists, Ralph Kenna of University of Coventry in the UK and his graduate student Pádraig Mac Carron, now at Oxford, who are applying the tools of their trade to works of epic literature, legend, and myth.

Posted in News You Can Use. | No Comments »

Nano-cone Textures Generate Extremely ‘Robust’ Water-Repellent Surfaces

15th July 2014

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“The idea that microscopic textures can impart a material with water-repellent properties has its origins in nature,” explained Brookhaven physicist and lead author Antonio Checco. “For example, the leaves of lotus plants and some insects’ exoskeletons have tiny-scale texturing designed to repel water by trapping air. This property, called ‘superhydrophobicity’ (or super-water-hating), enables water droplets to easily roll off, carrying dirt particles along with them.”

Mimicking this self-cleaning mechanism of nature is relevant for a wide range of applications, such as non-fouling, anti-icing, and antibacterial coatings. However, engineered superhydrophobic surfaces often fail under conditions involving high temperature, pressure, and humidity-such as automotive and aircraft windshields and steam turbine power generators-when the air trapped in the texture can be prone to escape. So scientists have been looking for schemes to improve the robustness of these surfaces by delaying or preventing air escape.

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Public Universities Fight Veterans Groups Over Bill Calling for In-State Tuition for Veterans

15th July 2014

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I don’t know why there should be any problem, plenty of public universities offer in-state tuition for illegal immigrants. Don’t veterans deserve as much if not better?

You would think….

Posted in Dystopia Watch | No Comments »

Former Utah Attorneys General John Swallow, Mark Shurtleff Arrested

15th July 2014

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Both Republicans, which shows that the rot is not confined to the Democratic Party.

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Chicago Weekend Violence: 3 Dead, 28 Wounded, and a Riot at Montrose Beach

15th July 2014

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Thank God for those strict gun control laws or the place would look like Texas.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | No Comments »

USDA Suggests Changes to Grocery Stores to ‘Nudge’ Consumers to Eat Healthy

15th July 2014

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is suggesting major changes to grocery stores to “nudge” Americans to purchase healthier foods when they shop.

The agency commissioned an “expert panel” to make recommendations on how to guide the more than 47 million Americans on food stamps into spending their benefits on fruits and vegetables.

Sorry, but the only way to get them to eat fruits and vegetables is to give them fruits and vegetables rather than food stamps. As was seen with Michelle Obama’s Kale for Kiddies programs, very few Real People have the same foodie notions as the ruling class.

Posted in Your tax dollars at work - and play. | No Comments »

Undocumented Journalist Jose Antonio Vargas Arrested At The Border

15th July 2014

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And about fargin’ time, too.

More here.

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“One of the Best Illustrations You’ll Ever Find of the Liberal Cocoon”

15th July 2014

Freeberg has the scoop.

John Scalzi, author of Redshirts & other fine science-fiction works, has engaged in some Internet bragging about — um — not being able to press as much as his daughter. Somehow, “revoking the Man Card” doesn’t seem adequate for this.

Let it be known that my daughter can lift more than I do. Because she’s on her school’s weightlifting team, and also because she’s awesome.

I’ve seen John Scalzi, and it doesn’t surprise me a bit that his daughter can lift more than he can.

Ah, well. John is more sensible than most.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | No Comments »

If You Think 3D-Printed Guns Freaked People Out, Get Ready for 3D-Printed *Vaginas*

15th July 2014

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If you were searching for a Christmas gift for the President, look no further.

Posted in News You Can Use. | No Comments »

Church of England to Allow Female Bishops

15th July 2014

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Good retirement part-time job for the Queen if she decides to step down.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | 1 Comment »

Billionaire’s Breakup Plan Would Chop California Into Six States

15th July 2014

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Timothy Draper, a founder of a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm that has invested in Twitter, Skype and Tesla, among other companies, has been agitating for months for a ballot initiative to chop the most populous U.S. state into smaller entities.

“It’s important because it will help us create a more responsive, more innovative and more local government, and that ultimately will end up being better for all of Californians,” said Roger Salazar, a spokesman for the campaign. “The idea … is to create six states with responsive local governments – states that are more representative and accountable to their constituents.”

 

Most important of all, however, it will give the Democrat Party twelve Senators in place of two. This guy must be one of the billionaires that the Democrats allegedly don’t have.

Proponents say the division would help create a more business-friendly environment, solve the state’s water issues, and ease traffic congestion.

 

And if you believe that one, they’ll tell you another one.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | 3 Comments »

World’s First Thorium Reactor Designed

15th July 2014

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The plan is to have a 300MW prototype in operation by 2016 and then expand thereafter. By 2050, thorium should meet 30% of India’s electricity demand.

The completion of the AHWR design is an important step towards reducing the import of fossil fuels and combat climate change.

Posted in News You Can Use. | 1 Comment »

Woman Takes Carjacker’s Gun, Shoots Him With It

15th July 2014

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My kind of woman.

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

Former CalPERS CEO Pleads Guilty, Admits to Taking Bribes

15th July 2014

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At a hearing in San Francisco federal court, Federico Buenrostro Jr., the former chief executive of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, consented to the government’s filing of a new complaint that described his receipt of cash bribes from Alfred J.R. Villalobos, a former pension fund board member and former deputy mayor of Los Angeles.

Yet another corrupt Democrat. Quelle surprise.

Posted in Your tax dollars at work - and play. | No Comments »

Is California Latino Legislative Caucus Breaking the Law by Denying Gop Lawmaker Membership?

15th July 2014

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When Republican Rocky Chávez was first elected to the California Assembly and took office in December 2012, he said that he inquired about joining the California Latino Legislative Caucus, a congressional group comprised of Democrats.

“When I didn’t get a response,” the former colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps recently told the Los Angeles Times. “I asked what the deal was and they said that I wouldn’t be allowed in. They do not allow Republicans to be part of the group.”

Rather direct proof that, like the Congressional Black Caucus in Washington, it’s just a front group for Democrat racial politics.

Posted in Your tax dollars at work - and play. | No Comments »

Race Is a Social Construct, So I’m a Poor Black Orphan

14th July 2014

Jim Goad embraces the Dark Side.

If you’re generally a busy bumblebee like I am, you don’t have time to sit around all day socially constructing things. Thus, I am so glad that there are volunteers who do this work for me—and at no charge to boot! Merely keeping up with the latest culturally acceptable semantic terms is a full-time job in itself, and I am truly grateful there are people out there who tell me what to say and how to think. I am also in awe of their ability to make shit up while believing it’s true. Hats off to them—and I say that as a man who owns about twenty hats.

So for those of you who are far more socially conscious than I am, please be patient with me, because I’m just trying to keep up here—at least as I’ve been led to understand it, according to the latest science from The Global Science Foundation or whatever it’s called—homosexuality is genetically hardwired, but race and gender are only ideas, right? Is that the latest science? Got it. Bookmarked and filed. I will pick that, lick that, stick that, and flick that.

Posted in Axis of Drivel. | 1 Comment »

All Clintoned Out

14th July 2014

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Barack Obama did not blow apart Hillary Clinton’s huge lead during the 2008 Democratic primaries just because he was a landmark African-American candidate, new to the scene, and a skilled campaigner. Even Democrats were all Clintoned out.

By such weariness, I don’t suggest that either of the Clintons is unpopular. Indeed, Americans apparently look fondly back on the high-growth 1990s as the continuation of the Reagan-Bush boom years, and a time when Democrats and Republicans finally fixed budget deficits. (Note well that when Obama went back to the Clinton-era tax rates for the more affluent, the deficit dipped, but certainly did not approach the balanced budget that was once achieved by spending discipline under the Clinton-Gingrich compromise.)

The problem instead is Hillary Clinton herself. She is not a very good speaker, and is prone to shrill outbursts and occasional chortling. She has a bad habit of committing serial gaffes (e.g., speaking too candidly), and what she says on Monday is often contradicted by her rantings on Tuesday. She seems cheap and obsessed with raking in free stuff. When Bill steps in to correct her mistakes, either sloppily or out of some strange psychological spite, he usually makes things even worse. We saw that often in 2008 and are seeing it again now. But aside from the cosmetics of her political style, the Clintons are faced with two fundamental obstacles in 2016.

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

The End of the Progressive Income Tax

13th July 2014

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Press reports now state that the U.S. tax code is more than 77,000 pages and growing at a rapid rate. Obviously, no one individual or even teams of lawyers and accountants can fully understand all of this, including people at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). When laws are too complex and increasingly subjective in their interpretation, it inevitably leads to corruption. All but the willfully blind now understand that the IRS has both become corrupt and incompetent.

Posted in Your tax dollars at work - and play. | No Comments »

Which Immigration Impasse?

13th July 2014

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The trouble with a piece like the billionaires’ op-ed is that there are really two immigration debates, and their article will turn up as an exhibit in the immigration argument they don’t endorse. They join hands with the Silicon Valley magnates who want more H1-B visas for tech Ph.D.’s, and I’m happy to join with them in supporting that argument, though I can’t help but notice that some of the most fabled names in the tech business allegedly have conspired to fix the wages of their highly qualified engineers by forming illegal non-competitive hiring pacts, so it’s hard to tell just how pressing the demand for engineering talent really is. Still, since human knowledge and ingenuity are the most valuable of all natural resources, it’s impossible not to think that the more of them we have, the better. And if our own schools and colleges aren’t turning out enough of such skills, by all means let’s import as much as we can.

But this argument has nothing whatever to do with the massed children at our southern border, admitted through a foolish loophole unintentionally created by the Bush administration and exploited by the Obama regime as a way of changing the character of the American people, both by enlarging the underclass whom Democrats can claim it is their mission to rescue with ever more generous welfare programs, and by creating yet more Democratic voters, if these kids ever become citizens—or if they become anchor babies who can then legally bring in their parents and siblings under our existing, and harmful, family-unification immigration policy.

The real immigration debate is over illegal immigrants like these—Hispanics with no skills, little social capital, and less education. To be sure, they have been a boon to industries that depend on cheap unskilled labor, from agriculture to construction to hotels and restaurants. And they are a boon to the prosperous, who hire them as nannies, pool-boys, gardeners, butlers, what-have-you—though I take for granted that our billionaire-authors make Social Security payments for such employees, after making sure they are legal immigrants.

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

The Post-Post-Apocalyptic Detroit

13th July 2014

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In downtown Detroit, at the headquarters of the online-mortgage company Quicken Loans, there stands another downtown Detroit in miniature. The diorama, made of laser-cut acrylic and stretching out over 19 feet in length, is a riot of color and light: Every structure belonging to Quicken’s billionaire owner, Dan Gilbert, is topped in orange and illuminated from within, and Gilbert currently owns 60 of them, a lordly nine million square feet of real estate in all. He began picking up skyscrapers just three and a half years ago, one after another, paying as little as $8 a square foot. He bought five buildings surrounding Capitol Park, the seat of government when Michigan became a state in 1837. He snapped up the site of the old Hudson’s department store, where 12,000 employees catered to 100,000 customers daily in the 1950s. Many of Gilbert’s purchases are 20th-century architectural treasures, built when Detroit served as a hub of world industry. He bought a Daniel Burnham, a few Albert Kahns, a Minoru Yamasaki masterwork with a soaring glass atrium. “They’re like old-school sports cars,” said Dan Mullen, one of the executives who took over Quicken’s newly formed real estate arm. “These were buildings with so much character, so much history. They don’t exist anywhere else. And it was like, ‘Buy this parking garage, and we’ll throw in a skyscraper with it.’ ”

In the process, the Motor City has become the testing ground for an updated American dream: privateers finding the raw material for new enterprise in the wreckage of the Rust Belt. Whether or not they’re expecting to profit, Gilbert and other capitalists — large and small — are trying to rebuild the city, even stepping in and picking up some duties that were once handled by the public sector. Shop owners around the city are cleaning up the blighted storefronts and public spaces around them. Only 35,000 of Detroit’s 88,000 streetlights actually work, so some owners are buying and installing their own. In Gilbert’s downtown, a Rock Ventures security force patrols the city center 24 hours a day, monitoring 300 surveillance cameras from a control center. Gilbert is proposing to pay $50 million for the land beneath the county courthouse and a partly built jail near his center-city casino, with the intention of moving the municipal buildings to a far-off neighborhood; his goal is to clear the way for an entertainment district that flows south, without interruption, from the sports arenas past his casino and into downtown. Detroit’s new mayor, Mike Duggan, told me he had no problem with the private sector doing so much to shape his city: Other metropolises had their entrepreneurs and deep-pocketed magnates who built and bought and financed things. With a state-appointed emergency manager overseeing various aspects of Detroit’s operations, with many civic services inoperable for years and with a dire need for investment, Duggan said he felt lucky that his town was getting its turn.

In a city where a government based on machine politics and cronyism is collapsing, the inhabitants are learning that you can do for yourself what the government promised and can no longer deliver, if you’re clever enough.

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

A Theory of Jerks

13th July 2014

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We need a theory of jerks. We need such a theory because, first, it can help us achieve a calm, clinical understanding when confronting such a creature in the wild. Imagine the nature-documentary voice-over: ‘Here we see the jerk in his natural environment. Notice how he subtly adjusts his dominance display to the Italian restaurant situation…’ And second – well, I don’t want to say what the second reason is quite yet.

Precedents for this type of work include the Princeton philosopher Harry Frankfurt’s essay ‘On Bullshit’ (2005) and, closer to my target, the Irvine philosopher Aaron James’s book Assholes (2012). Our taste in vulgarity reveals our values.

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

Are the Authoritarians Winning?

13th July 2014

Michael Ignatieff is afraid that the answer is ‘Yes’.

For the first time since the end of the cold war, the advance of democratic constitutionalism has stopped. The army has staged a coup in Thailand and it’s unclear whether the generals will allow democracy to take root in Burma. For every African state, like Ghana, where democratic institutions seem secure, there is a Mali, a Côte d’Ivoire, and a Zimbabwe, where democracy is in trouble.

In Latin America, democracy has sunk solid roots in Chile, but in Mexico and Colombia it is threatened by violence, while in Argentina it struggles to shake off the dead weight of Peronism. In Brazil, the millions who took to the streets last June to protest corruption seem to have had no impact on the cronyism in Brasília. In the Middle East, democracy has a foothold in Tunisia, but in Syria there is chaos; in Egypt, plebiscitary authoritarianism rules; and in the monarchies, absolutism is ascendant.

In Europe, the policy elites keep insisting that the remedy for their continent’s woes is “more Europe” while a third of their electorate is saying they want less of it. From Hungary to Holland, including in France and the UK, the anti-European right gains ground by opposing the European Union generally and immigration in particular. In Russia the democratic moment of the 1990s now seems as distant as the brief constitutional interlude between 1905 and 1914 under the tsar.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | No Comments »

Why Jobs Are Scarce, Wages Low, and Government Can’t Help

13th July 2014

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Older enterprises like Ford and younger ones like Google that form the manufacturing and technology economy of the 21st century need more tech-savvy workers than universities and community colleges provide. However, even if enough liberal arts and business programs could retool to produce all the science, math, technology, and engineering graduates needed, the remaining programs would still produce many more non-STEM graduates than the economy could absorb.

Similarly innovators often don’t need a lot of money to create valuable new enterprises or expand established businesses. Consider that many young people create profitable apps and marketing platforms on their laptops, and major corporations are flush with billions in cash and too few opportunities to deploy it.

Consequently, established companies and individual investors bid up prices for young enterprises, whose owners wish to cash in on their initial success, and pay astronomical sums for the initial public offerings of companies like Facebook. They bid up prices for stocks, bonds, and collectables, and drive down yields on dividend-paying stocks and interest rates on bonds and CDs.

To generate enough jobs, the economy must create lots of service businesses beyond the ecosystems of manufacturing and technology — everything from restaurants to retirement homes, but government regulations dictating wages, sick leave, and health benefits drive many services offshore. That’s why credit card call centers and even some back office legal services are in Asia.

Modern businesses increasingly need highly intelligent, highly educated workers. Government regulations act as a tariff on employing domestic workers who are less intelligent and less educated, which is why domestic businesses are outsourcing such work overseas where such workers don’t cost more than they’re actually worth economically. Government attempts to make sure that the Underclass make a ‘living wage’ merely ensure that they don’t have any jobs at all.

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Government Union Drops Black Interns Because of Koch Relationship

13th July 2014

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AFSCME’s relationship with the UNCF revolved around their Union Scholars Program, in which sophomore- and junior-year college students could work with AFSCME during the summer and receive scholarship support aftwerward [sic].

That program will cease on Sept. 1.

“We must hold ourselves to the same standards that we promote through the Union Scholars Program,” [union president Lee] Saunders wrote. “To practice what we preach, to fight for social justice, and to stand up for what we beleive [sic]. I cannot in good conscience face these students or AFSCME’s members if I looked the other way and ignored your actions.”

I’m sure Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton will get right on that. (snort)

Posted in Dystopia Watch | No Comments »

Annals of Government Incompetence

13th July 2014

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In a neglected speech by Calvin Coolidge entitled “The Limitations of the Law,” given to the American Bar Association in 1922 (but not available online that I’ve been able to find), Coolidge offers the following observation on one of the inherent defects of the Progressive theory of the Administrative State:

Under this weight [of ever larger government] the former accuracy of administration breaks down.  The government has not at its disposal a supply of ability, honesty, and character necessary for the solution of all these problems, or an executive capacity great enough for their perfect administration.  Nor is it in possession of a wisdom which enables it to take in great enterprises and manage them with no ground of criticism.  We cannot rid ourselves of the human element in our affairs by an act of legislation which places them under a jurisdiction of a public commission. . .  Its attempt must be accompanied with the full expectation of very many failures. . .

Posted in Your tax dollars at work - and play. | No Comments »

EXACTO Demonstrates First-Ever Guided .50-Caliber Bullets

13th July 2014

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DARPA’s Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance (EXACTO) program recently conducted the first successful live-fire tests demonstrating in-flight guidance of .50-caliber bullets. This video shows EXACTO rounds maneuvering in flight to hit targets that are offset from where the sniper rifle is aimed. EXACTO’s specially designed ammunition and real-time optical guidance system help track and direct projectiles to their targets by compensating for weather, wind, target movement and other factors that could impede successful hits.

More here.

Posted in News You Can Use. | No Comments »

British Rocket Scientist Says He’s Designed a Better Saucepan

13th July 2014

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The “Flare Pan”, designed by Thomas Povey, is being manufactured and sold by Lakeland, a British kitchenware chain. It was introduced for sale Wednesday, but so far it seems to be available only in Britain, though it can be ordered through Lakeland’s website, with prices starting at about $85. Delivery won’t begin until Aug. 25.

Made from cast aluminum and sporting a series of “fins” around the bottom of the pan, the Flare Pan “channels heat from the flame across the bottom and up the sides of the pan, resulting in highly efficient, even heat distribution,” according to a release from Isis Innovation, which licenses technology developed at Oxford.

So it only works on gas cooktops. Less than optimally useful.

UPDATE: More here.

Posted in News You Can Use. | 2 Comments »

What Libertarianism Isn’t

13th July 2014

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Not only do you not have to know the first thing about libertarianism to cover it for major news outlets, it is perfectly fine to a) decline to ask anybody who does know, b) make up your own version of what it is, and then c) lament the terribleness of this terrible philosophy or people you have just created.

Yeah, well, they do that with everybody with whom they disagree. They’re equal-opportunity haters.

Posted in Axis of Drivel. | No Comments »

HAPPY DANCE SUNDAY

13th July 2014

Down to the River to Pray

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

David Without a Sling

13th July 2014

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It may be hard for some to believe, given the endless attacks on the Jewish state today, that in the not-too-distant past, Israel was as beloved as it is now widely reviled. More remarkable, it was especially loved on the left, where now it is scorned. The process by which Israel turned from paragon into pariah is the subject of Joshua Muravchik’s well-argued new book Making David into Goliath.

Posted in Living with Islam. | No Comments »

More IRS Smidgens Show Up.

13th July 2014

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In a stunning revelation this week, it was disclosed that former IRS official Lois Lerner told colleagues, “we need to be cautious about what we say in emails” and then proceeded to ask the IRS IT department, in an e-mail, “if [instant messaging] conversations were also searchable.” When she was told they were not, she e-mailed back, “Perfect.” This is a smoking gun e-mail in that it makes plain she had a cover-up in mind. There is no other plausible explanation.

Posted in Your tax dollars at work - and play. | No Comments »

Student Data Tied to Common Core Off-Limits to Parents

13th July 2014

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As Watchdog Wire reported in late June, local Colorado school districts are collecting detailed educational and psychological data on their students for use by private companies and the federal government. Parents, however, are having a hard time getting their hands on their own children’s information.

Ft. Collins parent Cheri Kiesecker, for example, has written to the Colorado Department of Education (CDE), asking for her children’s data, but was told the CDE cannot share that data with parents.

“The Colorado Department of Education does not have a mechanism for verifying parent/guardian relationships to students — and the release of student information to an unauthorized entity would be a violation of Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA),” replied Dan Damagala, CDE’s CIO of Information Management Services.

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Sharia Advances in Maylaysia

13th July 2014

Read it.

Malaysia is one of those countries that have been cited, along with Indonesia and Turkey, as evidence that a predominantly Muslim country can have a secular government and can, in general, be modern. A prominent commentator wrote some years ago that the Arab world may be hopeless, but the Islamic world isn’t. That didn’t sound overly optimistic at the time, but with hindsight, it may have been.

We all know what has been happening in Turkey. In Malaysia, Reuters reports that Islamic Sharia courts are increasingly coming into conflict with secular law. You can guess who is winning. Reuters begins with a story about a Hindu family in which the husband, after leaving his wife, became a Muslim and purported to convert his children. This resulted in his gaining custody of them, contrary to orders of the “regular” Malaysian courts.

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Nebraska Gov, Illinois Senator Say White House Sending Illegal Immigrant Children to Their States Without Notice

13th July 2014

Read it.

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

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ORBIS

12th July 2014

Check it out.

ORBIS: The Stanford Geospatial Network Model of the Roman World reconstructs the time cost and financial expense associated with a wide range of different types of travel in antiquity. The model is based on a simplified version of the giant network of cities, roads, rivers and sea lanes that framed movement across the Roman Empire. It broadly reflects conditions around 200 CE but also covers a few sites and roads created in late antiquity.

The model consists of 632 sites, most of them urban settlements but also including important promontories and mountain passes, and covers close to 10 million square kilometers (~4 million square miles) of terrestrial and maritime space. 301 sites serve as sea ports. The baseline road network encompasses 84,631 kilometers (52,587 miles) of road or desert tracks, complemented by 28,272 kilometers (17,567 miles) of navigable rivers and canals.

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The Crisis on the Border

12th July 2014

Peggy Noonan sees through the man behind the curtain.

Meanwhile some in the conservative press call the president incapable, unable to handle the situation. But he is not so stupid he doesn’t know this is a crisis. He knows his poll numbers are going to go even lower next month because of it. He scrambled Wednesday to hold a news conference to control a little of the damage, but said nothing new.

There is every sign he let the crisis on the border build to put heat on Republicans and make them pass his idea of good immigration reform. It would be “comprehensive,” meaning huge, impenetrable and probably full of mischief. His base wants it. It would no doubt benefit the Democratic Party in the long term.

The little children in great danger, holding hands, staring blankly ahead, are pawns in a larger game. That game is run by adults. How cold do you have to be to use children in this way?

That’s the best summation of the essentially hollow character of Barack Obama that I’ve yet read.

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Taxpayers to Foot Bill for Starbucks’ ‘Free’ College Tuition Program

12th July 2014

Read it.

Starbucks’ recently announced partnership with Arizona State University to help its employees pay for an online degree will be funded by the taxpayer, rather than from the global coffee chain itself.

While it was billed as “free tuition” by some when the partnership was first announced, in reality ASU is offering Starbucks employees a reduced tuition rate, while the students are expected to cover the rest of the cost with federal student aid or from their own pockets.

The “scholarship” portion in the form of a discount is essentially funded by taxpayers, as the university is funded by public coffers.

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Thought for the Day

12th July 2014

Run for the border edition copy

Posted in Your tax dollars at work - and play. | 2 Comments »

Kurds Seize Two Oil Fields, Pull Out of Iraqi Government

12th July 2014

Read it.

If Nouri al-Maliki wanted to dissolve the Iraqi union purposefully, he could hardly be doing a better job. While Kurds fight ISIS in the north — and more effectively than Maliki’s politically purged army has — Maliki accused them of being in league with the extremists even as Kurds mull over whether to just go on their own. Now they want Maliki out, or they’ll be leaving for good….

Posted in Living with Islam. | No Comments »