DYSPEPSIA GENERATION

We have seen the future, and it sucks.

Mandatory Voting Is a Terrible—and Insulting—Idea

20th March 2015

Read it.

“It would be transformative if everybody voted,” he said. “That would counter money more than anything.”

No, it wouldn’t, not really. Well, first of all, let’s backtrack to the idea. Mandatory voting is a violation of our civil rights, just as denying a citizen a right to vote is a violation. Casting a vote is speech. It is showing support or opposition to a candidate or proposal. Making voting mandatory means voting is no longer a right. It’s an obligation. It’s forced speech. If we were forced to attend a church, but had a choice of several churches, we would still (most of us, anyway) recognize that this is a violation of our freedom to decline to practice religion at all. Not voting isn’t just an expression of apathy. It’s also a form of protest.

One of the purposes of not voting is to express the notion that ‘none of the above are correct’. If they would add that choice to every ballot, then my objections to mandatory voting would shrink amazingly. (But still not make them go away. The legitimate functions of government all involve making one not do something. Every time the government attempts to make one actually do something is an usurpation.)

Posted in Think about it. | 4 Comments »

Magic Bullet Fail: Obesity Rose Most in Areas of L.A. Where Fast Food Openings Were Banned

20th March 2015

Elizabeth Nolan Brown peeks behind the curtain.

Lawmakers want one type of eatery, one offending beverage, one no-no nutrient that, if abolished from American diets, will reverse the course on this whole obesity trend. Because what we actually need is a lot more nuanced and a lot tougher sell: widespread shifts in cultural atittudes toward food; increases in nutrition knowledge; and overhauling of food policies that kill innovation and subsidize the foods that are killing us. You can see why lawmakers prefer to focus on limiting the number of McDonald’s.

“Researchers agree that even without an empirical effect, policies can start conversations that change societal norms,” the Times states. Gwendolyn Flynn, nutrition policy director for Community Health Councils, “has noticed that at community meetings in South L.A., there is often fruit and water among the pastries and soda. ‘That’s huge,'” she said.

It might sound radical, but perhaps community meetings could provide fruit and water without a banning economic activity from South L.A.?

Posted in Dystopia Watch | No Comments »

Racial Trouble on Starbucks Island

20th March 2015

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This week, Starbucks Coffee Company announced its “Race Together” initiative, which encourages employees to strike up conversations with customers about race relations in America. Yes, you read that right. Baristas will be encouraged to write “Race Together” on cups, offering a gentle psychological nudge and suggesting it’s a good idea to discuss hot-button and largely misunderstood issues with complete strangers who are also armed with piping hot beverages.

Also, is it just me, or has that guy with the laptop at the prime corner table been locked in the same hunched-over position with his stuff sprawled all over for the past three days? Why isn’t he at a smaller table? Are those cobwebs in his beard? Wait. Is he even ALIVE? Welcome to Starbucks, friends. Let’s go talk to that guy about race. Maybe then he’ll actually leave.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | No Comments »

Fox Makes It Easy for Amnesty

20th March 2015

Mickey Kaus points a finger.

Most of the mainstream broadcast and cable networks avoided giving excessive coverage to the recent congressional fight over the Department of Homeland Security, which was all about Republicans trying to block Obama’s executive amnesty by attaching restrictions to DHS funding. NBC Nightly News went a step further and avoided mentioning the immigration issue even when covering the funding fight — treating the threat of a DHS shutdown as if it were some sort of out-of-the-blue natural disaster.

But it’s one thing for Dem-friendly NBC to go to bat for Obama’s causes.  It’s another if Fox does it too. Fox is supposed to be the feisty opposition network. You’d think it would wage a rousing campaign against Obama’s executive actions on immigration, which are surely wildly unpopular among its viewers, both because of their ends (de facto legalizing of illegals) and their means (presidential overreach).

You’d think that.  But you would be wrong.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | No Comments »

Barbarism at the Bardo

20th March 2015

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The terrorist attack at Tunis’ Bardo museum (one of the world’s great museums) which killed 20 foreign tourists, is not just a blow to Tunisia’s political stability, but also a strike against its economy.

Though the government has been downplaying the role of organized Islamist radicals in the attack, a new group calling itself the Uqba ibn Nafi Battalion posted a video online which seemed to betray a detailed knowledge of how the attack took place. Praising the strike (while not yet taking full responsibility for it), the group went on to outline a strategy aimed specifically at foreigners….

Posted in Living with Islam. | No Comments »

ACLU Sues TSA Over Behavior Screening Program

20th March 2015

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No doubt they want to make sure that it’s not designed to catch actual terrorists but rather reflects the diversity that is America.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | No Comments »

Union Lobbyist Who Worked One Day as a Teacher Suing Illinois for $30,000 Pension

20th March 2015

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Piccioli is a retired lobbyist for the Illinois Federation of Teachers and never worked in a classroom, but he took advantage of a loophole in Illinois pension law to score his teaching pension.

In 2007, he worked one day as a substitute teacher at a Springfield school. Under Illinois pension law, that one day in the classroom allowed him to qualify for a pension that would pay him for all of his years of work as a member of the union.

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

Why Do We Have Eyelashes?

19th March 2015

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Eyelashes? More like why-lashes. A team of scientists from the Georgia Institute of Technology wanted to understand the function eyelashes serve in mammalian species. So they tested fake eyelashes in a wind tunnel.

Hey, tenure doesn’t grow on trees, you know.

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

U.N. Orders Review of 1961 Crash That Killed Dag Hammarskjold

19th March 2015

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Some would quote Ms Hillary, ‘At this point, what difference does it make?’, but not me. I love the smell of conspiracy in the morning.

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

How Your Diet Soda-Drinking Habits Affect Belly Fat

19th March 2015

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Hint: It’s not good.

Over a period of nine years covered by the study, people who regularly drank diet soda gained almost triple the amount of fat in the abdominal area as those who didn’t consume it, researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio say.

Their increase in waist circumference was three times that of people who didn’t drink diet sodas, and even people who consumed diet soda only occasionally had double the increase over people who drank no diet soda, they reported in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | No Comments »

Ireland Enters Nationwide Recovery

18th March 2015

Read it.

Happy St Patrick’s Day.

Posted in News You Can Use. | No Comments »

What I Saw At the Conspiracy Theory Conference

18th March 2015

Jesse Walker reports back.

“I think the reason we think conspiracy theories exist is because they exist,” he declared.

It was neither the first nor the last contentious moment of the conference, which took place on the university’s Coral Gables campus from March 12 to 14. The event had been organized by Joseph Uscinski and Joseph Parent, a pair of political scientists who did a commendable job of looking past their own field to invite people from different disciplines. And when I say “different disciplines,” I don’t merely mean “people who study different things.” I mean “people with entirely different tool kits for understanding the universe.”

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

Meet Saudi Arabia’s Top Cleric. Like ISIS, He Also Thinks Churches Should Be Destroyed

18th March 2015

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Take a look at this guy, and take a look at Pope Francis, and pick whose God you would rather follow.

Posted in Living with Islam. | No Comments »

Outlawing Human-Driven Cars

18th March 2015

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Of course, Daniel Keys Moran predicted all of this years ago.

He is, of course, one of my Recommended Writers, over there on the right.

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

Dear Azealia Banks, Please Feel Free to Leave America and Never Return

18th March 2015

Matt Walsh calls a bluff.

A black pop star/rapper named Azealia Banks posed for Playboy and, during the interview portion of the proceedings, went on a deranged rant against white people. She said she hates everything about America, hates white people, hates people from the middle of the country, hates white girls who work at Kmart, and wishes she could be paid reparations and then leave this nation.

Now, you might think, “well, a racist black celebrity spouting insults at white people, what else is new?” You’re right. Totally par for the course. And that’s the problem. We cannot just sit back and allow hatred and bigotry and elitist snobbery towards working class Americans to become something so totally acceptable and normal that we don’t even comment on it when it happens.

But rather than simply lecture Ms. Banks, I figured I would take her up on her proposition. I’m not usually the guy who tells people to leave the country if they don’t like it, but in this girl’s case, because she hates “everything about” this country and almost everyone in it, I really think relocation is the only feasible solution. In fact, she would be quite the hypocrite if she said these things and felt this way and still stayed here. That’s true of anyone who shares her views. It’s one thing to wish for our country to improve — I certainly share that desire — but if you hate it from an elemental level, if you hate everything about it, if you hate its history and its people and what’s left of its culture, then why in God’s name would you stick around?

Because just selling to black people wouldn’t earn her enough to keep her in the style to which she has become accustomed?

Posted in Dystopia Watch | No Comments »

Quotation of the Day

18th March 2015

Don Boudreaux, a Real Economist.

It’s important to keep in mind the distinction between inequality and poverty.  To confuse the two (as is common today) risks addressing the wrong malady.  Just as we do not blame a cancer victim’s suffering on an unequal distribution of good health – that is, just as we recognize that a cancer victim’s illness is not caused by the good health of others and cannot be cured by making healthy people less healthy – we should recognize that a poor person’s poverty is not caused by the prosperity of others and cannot be cured by making wealthy people less wealthy.  Indeed, recent research suggests that simply transferring more money to relatively poor people in rich societies does not provide much relief; poverty persists for reasons that run far more deeply than the fact that some people earn more income than do others.

The whole ‘inequality’ fetish is the perennial refuge of low-information people  who mistakenly believe that an economy is a zero-sum game, i.e. if X has more then Y necessarily has less.

I blame Rawls and the professors who make him required reading.

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

Cuban Democracy Advocate Viciously Beaten by Castro’s Thugs

18th March 2015

Read it.

You remember Castro? Obama’s new Latin American buddy?

Posted in Dystopia Watch | No Comments »

The Quantified Citizen

18th March 2015

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In 1992, when The Man from Hope established a new standard for campaign trail empathy, there were no smartphones, no wireless activity wristbands, no life-tracking apps, no cloud. Bill Clinton felt our pain, but couldn’t do much about it. In contrast, today’s government caregivers have a vast new arsenal of tools at their disposal. They can feel our pain, aggregate it, analyze it, and implement policies that will reduce it by at least 10 percent. Or at least they can aspire to such grand ambitions.

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

Feds Unclear on the Concept of Birth Tourism

18th March 2015

Steve Sailer is irate.

I’ve been covering for at least 4 years the scandal of “birth tourism” — pregnant women from China paying a lot of money to hole up in Southern California for a couple of months so their upcoming baby can be granted the pecuniary benefits of American birthright citizenship — because the advertisements in Chinese are so clear about what chumps we Americans are with our schmaltzy ideas about immigration.

Finally, early this month the federal government raided 20 birth tourism operations in SoCal.

But it looks like most of the Chinese customers are going to get birthright citizenship for their future kid anyway, sending a message to foreigners to keep engaging in this scam.

Hm. Given the choice of which sort of people are getting anchor babies, I’d pick rich Chinese over poor Mexicans any day.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | No Comments »

Starbucks to Encourage Baristas to Discuss Race Relations With Customers

18th March 2015

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So much for shopping at Starbucks. I guess they want all the non-hipsters to go elsewhere. Good luck with that.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | 1 Comment »

‘Hands up, don’t shoot’ Was Built on a Lie

18th March 2015

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At least one writer at the Voice of the Crust Washington Post is forced to admit the truth.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | No Comments »

Say Goodbye to Employer-Provided Health Insurance

18th March 2015

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The whole point of Obamacare was precisely this, to mandate health insurance levels that people can only afford if subsidized by the government, and thereby nail down another corner of dependency on government.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | No Comments »

White House Gets Rid of FOIA Regs, Raising Transparency Questions

18th March 2015

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Transparency? This White House?

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

Scientists Discover How to Change Human Leukemia Cells Into Harmless Immune Cells

17th March 2015

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Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have discovered that when a certain aggressive leukemia is causing havoc in the body, the solution may be to force the cancer cells to grow up and behave.

After a chance observation in the lab, the researchers found a method that can cause dangerous leukemia cells to mature into harmless immune cells known as macrophages.

That sounds pretty useful.

Posted in News You Can Use. | No Comments »

The Spiritual Shape of Political Ideas

17th March 2015

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Every day she must search her conscience. Every day she must confront her flaws—discern the dark that dwells within her, seek the grace to turn toward the light. Oh, she is a moral person, she believes: good willed and determined to do good deeds, instructing us all about the heart’s deep iniquity. But even she, Kim Radersma, a former schoolteacher now preaching our bondage to sin—even she still feels the fault inside her. Even she must struggle to be saved. And if someone like Kim Radersma has to fight the legacy of inner evil, think of all that you must do. Think how far you are from grace, when you do not even yet know that you are lost and blind.

In another age, Radersma might have been a revivalist out on the sawdust circuit, playing the old forthright hymns on a wheezy harmonium as the tent begins to fill. In a different time, she might have been a temperance lecturer, inveighing in her passion-raw voice against the evils of the Demon Rum. In days gone by, she might have been a missionary to heathen China, or an author of Bible Society tracts, or the Scripture-quoting scourge of civic indifference—railing to the city-council members that they are like the Laodiceans in Revelation 3:16, neither hot nor cold, and God will spew them from his mouth.

But all such old American Christian might-have-beens are unreal in the present world, for someone like Kim Radersma. Mockable, for that matter, and many of her fellow activists today identify Christianity with the history of all that they oppose. She wouldn’t know a theological doctrine or a biblical quotation if she ran into it headlong. And so Radersma now fights racism: the deep racism that lurks unnoticed in our thoughts and in our words and in our hearts.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | No Comments »

Solar-Powered Membrane Separates Water Into Hydrogen and Oxygen Without Exploding

17th March 2015

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And ya gotta love that.

Author Nate Lewis and his colleagues at Caltech created a thin coating of nickel oxide that can be applied to semi-conductors made of silicon or other materials–a setup that acts like an artificial leaf, using sunlight to power the system. When introduced to water, one side of the ‘leaf’ oxidizes the water, releasing oxygen, while the other side gathers the hydrogen.

A membrane keeps the newly separated hydrogen and oxygen isolated from each other, which helps reduce the risk of explosion. If heat (or electricity) is added to a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen the results can be incredibly explosive, much more so than each gas on its own. Check out the differences in burning oxygen, hydrogen, and a mix of the two in the video below.

Posted in News You Can Use. | 2 Comments »

China Mobilizes Forces on Burmese Border

17th March 2015

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At least the Communist Chinese won’t come whining to us to kiss it and make it better.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | No Comments »

Woman Arrested for Smoking on Plane, Yelling About Venezuela for 2 Hours

17th March 2015

Read it. And watch the videos, they’re a hoot.

On a flight from Nicaragua to Miami Sunday, a woman decided to test American Airlines’ “no smoking” rule by lighting up on the plane. Even though everyone had seen her (and some of her fellow passengers were taking video), she tried to pin it on the guy sitting next to her. As in-flight annoyances go, smoking in an enclosed cabin is pretty bad—but that’s just scratching the surface of what happened in this airborne waking nightmare.

The passenger, later identified as 52-year-old Penn State-Abington sociology professor Karen Bettez Halnan, stood up and began yelling that the United States had declared war on Venezuela, for reasons having something to do with Exxon-Mobil.

Since she’d already been told the police would be meeting the aircraft to take her off the plane, she decided she’d just finish “saying her piece.” She reportedly continued for two hours.

No wonder they hate gringos down there.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | No Comments »

A Phone Used to Be a Helpline. Now It’s a Device Used to Film People in Distress

17th March 2015

Read it.

A pal recently told me a story. It was about a friend of theirs who had been travelling on a train last summer, one of those old fashioned trains, with the windows that let you open the door from the outside. He was leaning on the door with his arm resting outside when another train suddenly passed by and clipped his hand. His wrist snapped. There was blood everywhere. He turned back into the carriage and was relieved to see his fellow travellers reaching for their phones. He assumed they were dialling for help. But he quickly realised he was wrong. They were in fact taking photos.

I was reminded of this somewhat grim story today, after I read about a man from Telford who had committed suicide on Saturday. The suicidal man had been perched on top of a multi-storey car park and beneath him, a group of onlookers goaded him to ‘jump and get on with it’. Members of the crowd took selfies and filmed the drama on their phones. The man jumped, and the onlookers, presumably, got the shot they were after.

Video of a sensational accident = Big bucks from a tabloid.

911 assistance call = priceless (i.e. no value for the dialer)

Posted in Dystopia Watch | 1 Comment »

What Jennifer Aniston’s Love Life Tells Us About Unemployment

17th March 2015

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

In Aniston’s case she’s not unmarried because she can’t find someone willing to tie the knot with her. In truth, 99.9% of available single men on the earth’s land mass would gladly marry her yesterday if she were to simply look their way. Surely many others would eagerly exit their existing marriages just to be with her. Aniston is funny, exceedingly talented as her active film career and wealth make plain, and after all that, she’s by most any standard beautiful. If Aniston wanted to be married she could make that happen between breakfast and lunch. With time to spare.

Still, when the work outlook for those “between jobs” is considered, it’s no reach to say that those who are unemployed aren’t jobless because they can’t find any work; rather they’re unemployed because much like Aniston vis-à-vis marriage, they haven’t found employment that meets their standards. As my upcoming book Popular Economics points out, labor is a price like any other. And it’s not a stretch to suggest that the vast majority of unemployed aren’t that way because there aren’t any jobs, but because they haven’t reduced the price of their toil to a level that would attract buyers.

Aniston could once again have millions of suitors were marriage her objective, and then on a smaller scale, many unmarried women and men who desire wedlock could have just that were they similarly willing to accept less in the way of a life mate than what they presently seek. Work is no different. Leaving aside the numerous flawed ways in which unemployment is calculated in the first place, that the jobless number presently stands at 5.7% doesn’t signal that there are no jobs for 5.7% of those actively seeking work; rather there are no jobs that meet the standards of roughly 5.7% of the work-interested. There’s a big difference.

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

Google and Tech’s Elite Are Living in a Parallel Universe

17th March 2015

The Guardian is a dependable source of ‘progressive’ drivel.

The gap between the richly rewarded few of tech firms and banks and the rest of us is growing wider. Blame the digital revolution.

Note the assumption: gap between the ‘richly rewarded few’ and ‘the rest of us’ is a Bad Thing, and Something Is To Blame. Nothing ever happens without the activities of a villain, or villains; a very animistic point of view. The fact that ‘the rest of us’ live incomparably better lives because of that same digital revolution is of no importance; one speck of shit in the wine makes it shit all the way down.

Someone once observed that the difference between Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher was that whereas Thatcher believed that she was always right, Blair believed not only that he was right but also that he was good. Visitors to the big technology companies in California come away with the feeling that they have been talking to tech-savvy analogues of Blair. They are fired with a zealous conviction that they are doing great stuff for the world, and proud of the fact that they work insanely hard in the furtherance of that goal. The fact that they are richly rewarded for their dedication is, one is given to believe, incidental.

Irony of ironies: Tony Blair and those who write for the Guardian share the same syndrome. And there’s the real rub: Those who write for the Guardian, I suspect, are not as richly rewarded for their dedication as the geeks of Silicon Valley, AND IT BURNNNNNS!.

Posted in Axis of Drivel. | No Comments »

Spain Finds Don Quixote Writer Cervantes’ Tomb in Madrid

17th March 2015

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

Posted in News You Can Use. | 2 Comments »

ALL IS NOT WHAT IT APPEARS!

17th March 2015

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The great psychological advantage of conspiracy theories is that they explain the most disparate phenomena effortlessly and indubitably. They thus satisfy man’s intellectual longing to understand the world, but also, as importantly, man’s desire to be superior in his understanding to his fellows. To have penetrated the mystery of things is an achievement not given to everyone. Those who have developed a conspiracy theory both want to keep it to themselves so that they can retain their superiority over others and spread it as far as possible to recognized for their enormous contribution to human understanding.

I love the smell of conspiracy in the morning.

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

The First Silicene Transistors Promise More Powerful Electronics

17th March 2015

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If electronics stalwart silicon and futuristic graphene had a child, it would be silicene. And silicene is growing up. A University of Texas-Austin engineer has made the first transistors from silicene, moving the material closer to its potential to create more powerful devices.

Silicene is made of an atom-thick layer of silicon that, like graphene, can move data much faster than the silicon found in current electronics. While it lacks some of graphene’s other impressive qualities and is still extremely difficult to make, researchers are interested in it because of its relationship to silicon. Modern electronics rely on a highly developed silicon-manufacturing industry. Once silicene production is more reliable, it wouldn’t be as complicated or expensive to switch to silicene as it would be to switch to graphene.

Posted in News You Can Use. | No Comments »

Thought for the Day

17th March 2015

The End of the Rainbow

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

The Obama Administration’s Attack on the Constitution: Part 2, Environmental Protection Agency

17th March 2015

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The Environmental Protection Agency has long been in the forefront of Obama administration lawlessness. Don’t forget: before Hillary Clinton’s secret email server came to light, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson was conducting government business off the books as “Richard Windsor,” which, she explained when caught, was the name of her dog.

The EPA’s current usurpation, an effort to remake America’s power supply system, is much more serious. The EPA has proposed a far-reaching regulation of power plants that would drive many of them out of business in the name of global warming. The EPA’s proposed regulation constitutes a statutory framework that Congress perhaps could have enacted, but didn’t. It represents the most extreme case, so far, of an administrative agency run amok.

The EPA is a major reason why Richard Nixon will rot in Hell for all eternity.

 

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

Kraft Singles Is First Food Allowed to Display ‘Kids Eat Right’ Logo

17th March 2015

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The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has given its first seal of approval to a processed lunchbox staple.

Kraft Singles, individually wrapped slices of processed American cheese, can now use the group’s new “Kids Eat Right” label, designed to point health-conscious families in the right nutritional direction when shopping for kid- friendly foods.

Everything bad is good for you.

Though the academy represents 75,000 registered dietitians and other professionals in the field, many are questioning why Kraft’s processed food product is the first to receive the label.

Hint: Money talks.

The Academy released a statement hoping to clarify its position on the pasteurized cheese product saying, “Kraft is putting the ‘Kids Eat Right’ logo [on its packaging and] saying Kraft is a proud supporter of Kids Eat Right, not vice versa. The Academy has never endorsed any product, brand or service, and we never will.”

Also, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

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

Thought for the Day

16th March 2015

Posted in Think about it. | No Comments »

The F-35 Can’t Use Its Bombs, Either

16th March 2015

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The news about the F-35’s inadequacies keeps rolling in. A month ago, we learned that software problems meant that the F-35 wouldn’t be able to fire its gun for the first few years it is in service. Now, it turns out it won’t be able to use a bomb critically useful for close air support (CAS) missions until 2022.

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

Philly Musician Killed on Appalachian Trail Loved Hiking

16th March 2015

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With results as you see them. Let that be a lesson to us all: It’s lovely out in the woods at night, but safer to stay at home.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | No Comments »

Is It Time for the Jews to Leave Europe?

16th March 2015

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For half a century, memories of the Holocaust limited anti-Semitism on the Continent. That period has ended—the recent fatal attacks in Paris and Copenhagen are merely the latest examples of rising violence against Jews.

Since this is the Atlantic, of course, a Voice of the Crust, a ritual spit against Emmanuel Goldstein is required:

Renewed vitriol among right-wing fascists and new threats from radicalized Islamists have created a crisis, confronting Jews with an agonizing choice.

Sorry, but I don’t see any right-wing fascists (oxymoron) threatening Jews in Europe; it’s the ANTIFA (anti-fascist ‘progressive’ street thugs) and (wait for it) militant Muslims that are causing the problems.

I’d say it’s time for the Jews of Europe to lock & load and dish out a little of what they’ve been taking. But that’s me.

Posted in Axis of Drivel. | No Comments »

Why Has the U.S. Congress Done So Little About UNRWA?

16th March 2015

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Perhaps because the U.S. Congress is incapable of doing anything constructive? That’s just a guess, you understand.

American defenders of Israel generally see the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) as one of the worst UN agencies, an organization that harbors terrorists, teaches militant conflict with Israel and anti-Semitism in its schools, and perpetuates the Palestinian refugee issue as a source of tension. Yet the paradox is that the United States has consistently been the largest single-state donor to UNRWA.

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

This Kid Was Expelled and Charged for Bringing Pot to School, Even Though He Didn’t

16th March 2015

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Administrators at a middle school in central Virginia suspended a sixth-grader last September for one-year after discovering a marijuana leaf and a lighter in his backpack. The sheriff’s department became involved as well and filed drug possession charges against the 11-year-old boy.

Months later, prosecutors had to drop the charge. Why? The leaf had thrice been tested for marijuana and come back negative.

The boy, unnamed in this excellent story in The Roanoke Times, returned to school this week. But officials have been loathe to admit that any mistakes were made—they now maintain that since “lookalike” drugs are also prohibited, the boy may still have violated district policy.

Well, of course, first they have to demonstrate that it’s a ‘drug’. Don’t see any hint that they even tried to do that.

Homeschooling is looking better and better. Just sayin’.

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

Welcome to “Libertarian Island”: How These One Percenters Are Creating a Dystopian Nightmare

16th March 2015

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There are few Voices more Crustian than Salon, and obviously the idea of a place where people can be free from interference from, well, the sort of people who write for Salon quite naturally fills them with horror.

Of course, such people have to be subjected to the Two Minute Hate, so they set up the shot with the crack about ‘One Percenters’, as if the people who underwrite Salon were ordinary middle class folks:

Salon has been unprofitable through its entire history. Since 2007, the company has been dependent on ongoing cash injections from board Chairman John Warnock and William Hambrecht, father of former Salon CEO Elizabeth Hambrecht. During the nine months ended December 31, 2012, these cash contributions amounted to $3.4 million, compared to revenue in the same period of $2.7 million.

Warnock is one of the founders of Adobe, and I doubt that he worries about where his next Aston-Martin is going to come from. Hambrecht, after Princeton, went on to help launch Netscape and Amazon; another fellow with a well-padded investment account.

Posted in Axis of Drivel. | No Comments »

Anti-Capitalist Protesters Occupy Wrong Building

16th March 2015

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Hippies have invaded the heart of St. James’s, occupying a building on Pall Mall to protest the evils of capitalism. Yet it seems they did not do their homework…

123 Pall Mall, where the invading lefties have hoisted their banners, used to be the home of the Institute of Directors – and they were the clear target of the campaign.

However, the lease on the building was handed back by the IoD last summer, after an expansion at their headquarters down the road. The building is nothing to do with the business cheer leaders any more.

An IOD spokesman tells the Spectator:

‘We vacated this building six months ago, but there’s a chance there are some old Hayek or Adam Smith books left behind. Who knows, perhaps they’ll learn something.’

Smashing the system, one geography lesson at a time.

Posted in You can't make this stuff up. | No Comments »

The Other Cause of Immigrant Idleness

16th March 2015

Bryan Caplan with some more inconvenient truth.

The global poor migrate to the First World, kiss the soil, then permanently go on welfare. Idle immigrants: Nothing short of outright criminality does more to tarnish the image of immigration. It smacks of ingratitude and parasitism. And while the prevalence of immigrant idleness is overstated, it is a very real problem, especially in Europe.

As a cosmopolitan libertarian, my first reaction is point fingers at the welfare state. If the problem is government subsidies for indefinite idleness, the solution is to curtail not immigration, but redistribution. When the law allows it, plenty of natives permanently go on welfare, too. Rhetorically sliding from the generic evils of the welfare state to the selective evils of immigrants is effective demagoguery, but fuzzy logic.

Yet on reflection, my first reaction misses a major part of the story. Countries with ample redistribution also tend to have strict labor market regulations. Despite their feel-good popularity, labor market regulations have a big negative side effect: unemployment.

This collateral damage is clearest for regulations that explicitly push up wages: If the law requires a 10% raise, employers can reduce the damage to their bottom line by employing fewer workers. But unless wages are perfectly flexible, any “pro-worker” regulation risks this disemployment effect. If the law makes employers give workers free health insurance, and workers bitterly resent offsetting pay cuts, hiring fewer workers is employers’ best remaining defense.

The moral: When you see an idle immigrant, you shouldn’t jump to the conclusion that he’s a lazy parasite. There’s another possibility: Labor regulations have priced him out of a job. He’s on welfare not because he doesn’t want to work, but because he’d rather go on welfare than starve.

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Low Information Shooters: An Update on Ferguson

16th March 2015

Read it.

It is likely that every authority in William’s life, every authority that he trusts, unanimously agrees that the Ferguson police department is a cadre of racist cops who look to hurt him and his fellow Blacks. He hears this, in various flavors, from the news; he hears it from leaders of the “Black community” like Crump and Sharpton; he hears it from any Black church that he may attend; and, of course, he hears it from the likes of Obama and Holder in DC. The words may change from source to source, but the message is constant: “The cops are hateful bigots who mean you harm.”

Do we, as a society, expect a person like Williams do develop a more sophisticated view of his own situation in spite of his constant exposure to this narrative? Do you? If not, then it shouldn’t surprise us when he and people like him murder or attempt to do so. In their minds, they are striking back against a hostile institution, against the boot on their throat, against the source of all their woes. They are acting on low information. They are acting on propaganda.

Our understanding of and our response to Ferguson has to take this dynamic into account. Individuals like Williams must be punished for their crimes, but the vast matrix of professional liars who egged them on must be called to account as well. In many ways, a Williams is just a symptom. They are the disease.

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America Is Full of Slackers and Deadbeats Who Won’t Work

16th March 2015

Read it.

And many of them occupy elective office.

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How to Build a $400 Billion F-35 That Doesn’t Fly

16th March 2015

Read it.

The Pentagon’s embattled F-35 Joint Strike Fighter continues to be plagued with so many problems that it can’t even pass the most basic requirements needed to fly in combat, despite soaring roughly $170 billion over budget. 

As the most expensive weapons program in the Pentagon’s history, the $400 billion and counting F-35 is supposed to be unlike any other fighter jet—with high-tech computer capabilities that can identify a combatant plane at warp speed. However, major design flaws and test failures have placed the program under serious scrutiny for years—with auditors constantly questioning whether the jet will ever actually get off the ground, no matter how much money is thrown at it.

Give it to Apple. The result will be expensive, but it will work, and work well, and look elegant while doing it.

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What Happens to You on a Plane: Scary Health Effects Of Flying

16th March 2015

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Let’s face it: Human beings weren’t designed to spend hours at a time packed inside a pressure-controlled capsule with recycled air and manufactured heat with hundreds of other people tens of thousands of feet in the air. But that’s what we do — some of us often — every time we get on an airplane. Add in the jet lag and sleeplessness, and you have a recipe for true physiological torture.

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