Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Just Damn….

Look at this damn thing:

That big red bar on the far right there looks like somebody turned on a spigot.  Courtesy of SayAnythingBlog.  I’ll be charitable here and allow that $800 billion or so of that is TARP money, which I agree was necessary.  If you were looking to invest in a business and you saw the revenues take the dive that they do in 2009 while the spending goes through the roof, you would run screaming from the broker who is trying to get you to buy this pig.  Jeez, the deficit is roughly equal to all of the tax revenue.

We cannot get out from under this any time soon and Unicorn One, along with Pelosi, will blow this thing up in 2010.  I don’t care if Obama has suddenly discovered that he is using Monopoly money, this is unsustainable.

Greens vs. Greens UPDATED—AGAIN!


First, I can’t give one good reason why I haven’t posted for so long.  I’ve been commenting away on various websites, but for whatever reason, nothing here.  Whatevs, I will try to get back to it here.

So, I’m reading around this morning and I come across this article about Senator Dianne Feinstein blocking construction on a solar farm in the Mojave Desert.  She has blocked the solar farms, a decidedly green initiative, because an environmental group acquired and then donated the land for the express purpose of keeping it undeveloped.  So, the enviros spent $45 million in donated funds and another $18 million of federal money, aka, our money, to acquire the land and then donated it to the federal government.  WTF?  The enviros want us to save land, reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, eat less meat, blah, blah, blah.  But they won’t allow someone to build a solar farm in the Mojave-frakkin’ desert?  I’m just guessing here, but the desert might be a good place to harvest sun fruit.

The Left in general and the Greens in particular have tied themselves into a giant circular jerk whenever anybody wants to do something.  Inevitably, they violate one of their umpteen rules, to the point that nothing happens.  When something like this happens, they should be required to contribute electricity back into the grid in some fashion to offset the loss they cause.

UPDATE:  More redonkulosity here:  The greenest way to make a holiday fire.  Pure navel gazing.  Just burn some damn wood.

More Updates:  It just keeps getting more redonkulous all the time.  I’m guessing Al Gore and the rest of them didn’t stop to think that a commodity market works both ways.  From the Financial Times:

“Prices for carbon permits for December 2010 delivery, the benchmark contract for pricing European permits, dropped nearly 10 per cent in early trading, before recovering to end the day 8.3 per cent lower at €12.41.

Lower prices give companies less incentive to invest in cutting their greenhouse gas output. Analysts estimate that prices of more than €40 a tonne are required to stimulate investment in new low-carbon technologies.”

If €40 a tonne is what is needed to stimulate investment and carbon credits are currently trading at €12.41, then there is a long ways to go to get to where the greenies have to go.  Which raises a question that has always bothered me about cap and trade and that is the cap.  There is really only one way to drive that price up and that is for the underlying value of the credits to increase.  That can be done by either a) everybody out there generating so much carbon output that they have to mitigate their output by buying credits or, more problematically to me b) reducing the cap by fiat.  Because that is what is going to happen if this system gets implemented.  Every year, some bureaucratic body, under political pressure, will sit down and decide that the cap needs to come down by, say, 10%.  Only it may not be technologically feasible to do so, which will not alter the decision of an ideologue one bit.  And it is ideologues that will be making these decisions.  In keeping with the likelihood of unintended consequences that is my theme here, those ideologues won’t always be greenies.

And then there is this:  Pets may be worse for the environment than SUVs.  This just kills me!  I have spent a good bit of time in parts of Atlanta that are, shall we say, leftist.  These areas are overrun with pets.  My own two sisters, both of whom are to the left of center, have 5 dogs and 2 cats between them and they both drive SUVs.  One of them lives in a house that is much too big for the number of people who live there.  They frequently put their dogs in their SUVs and drive them places.  In the interest of family relations, we no longer discuss these issues, but once I pointed this out to one of my sisters, the leftier of the two, who drives an SUV.  Her reply was that it was a Low Emission Vehicle.  Then I pointed out that it didn’t matter because it still carried a big carbon load due to its manufacturing and the fact that, low emissions or not, it still burns gas.  And that was about the last time that we talked about this stuff.  I don’t begrudge either of them their homes and pets, I just wished that they would either live up to their so-called beliefs or stop conveniently overlooking their own transgressions.  Be honest about it.  I wonder if Ed Begley, Jr. has pets?  Hell, he probably feeds his dog broccoli.

Monday, December 07, 2009

In Which I Venture Into the Land of the Dingbats


Below is an exchange I prompted at Huffington Post today, link here.  (Link should take you right to the comments, may have to scroll down just an inch or so.)  Yeah, I’ve only got 2 fans there.  Imagine that.


DaveyNC 2 fans permalink

OK, I'm a conservative, particularly in comparison to the HuffPo crowd.
I don't get it. I don't get the Palin allure for those on the right and I don't get the profound hatred of her from the left. This article helps me to understand a little more why lefties don't like her, but it doesn't help me to understand the unbridled hatred she receives. I mean, come on folks, the way to handle such a lightweight is to ignore her, yet you all seem to fairly obsess over her. I come from the right side of the spectrum and I don't pay very much attention to her, other than that poster of her I have on my ceiling.
I can only compare her baffling popularity on the right to the baffling popularity that Obama enjoys (once enjoyed?) from those on the left. There is/was absolutely nothing in their CV's to suggest that they were competent to hold high office, from these babblings by Palin to Obama's unteleprompted ramblings and continued losing streak in initiatives.
When we fall into a cult of personality, like we have now, we are in dangerous waters.

Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 05:13 PM on 12/07/2009

-heidiMT I'm a Fan of heidiMT 34 fans permalink


Under normal circumstances I would ignore someone of Palins intellectual caliber. That being said, I cannot stand by and remain silent at the divisiveness that she promotes. She is encouraging policy that is based on her religious beliefs. She is encouraging the resurgance of racially motivated attacks. I could go on and on about how I believe she is taking us backwards as a nation. Silence can be interpreted as approval.

Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 05:54 PM on 12/07/2009

-KayJay90 I'm a Fan of KayJay90 33 fans permalink

She's the face of a group of theocrats who are intent on "stealth" candidating their way into a majority of our national legislative branch, and if they can do it again, into our national executive branch of government. Witness: the C Street not-so-secret-any more secret society, of which several hypocritical 10-Command ment-break ing so-called christians belong, and are counselled (to hide their behavior) and "forgiven" by their peers.
The theocrats I'm talking about, also known as political evangelica l/dominion ists, have also done a dam'nd good job of infiltrating the U.S. Military with their brand of christianism, tinged with more than a little bit of race- and other-orga nized-reli gion hatred.

Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 05:56 PM on 12/07/2009

-sippewissett I'm a Fan of sippewissett 54 fans permalink

Your last sentence is in fact why the Left and Moderates dislike Palin. (Don't use "hate"; she slings that word around against anyone who criticizes her legitimate ly.)
We are united in our belief that we need smart, ethical leaders, NOT a former beauty contestant who looks at public service as a series of pageants to "win". It is precisely "the cult of personality" that we disdain. Palin doesn't know what she doesn't know -- nor do her "base". Can you imagine someone with her shallow grasp of economics, finance, foreign policy, geography and history in the White House?
* If Faux News wants to give her a show, have at it. We don't watch Fox anyway.
* If Wasilla wants to make her their sled-dog catcher, have at it. We won't have her in our neighborhoods any more.
* If she wants to write another book with more "haters" in it, more victimhood, more adventures from a private jet so she can connect with "real Americkuns", have at it. We won't buy it.
We just don't want her on the national political "stage" thinking that it's time to play her flute as a way to obtain a serious public service position. Bring on smart, serious, public-ser vice-minde d people for national positions and leave Palin to rail against the unfairness of it all...back in Alaska, please.

Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 05:57 PM on 12/07/2009

-wanda665 I'm a Fan of wanda665 32 fans permalink

Well said, Sipp, and I am in total agreement. The reason she flits around military bases is she is well aware many of the soldiers are from the towns she plays to. You know, the real Amerikuns. Well I am from a family of military men who do not care for her. Some men in the military know we need real leadership, not quitters. Trust is very important, and that whining bird cannot be trusted. Check her record in Alaska. Check about the school buses, if information is still available.

Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 09:06 PM on 12/07/2009

-MJHammonds I'm a Fan of MJHammonds 136 fanspermalink


As a woman who is also from a family of military men (father, brother, husband & son), I agree wholeheartedly, as does my family.

Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 09:47 PM on 12/07/2009

-MJHammonds I'm a Fan of MJHammonds 136 fans permalink


Sippe, I just wrote a rather long post in response to the same one you responded to, but I think you said it best. Fanned.

Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 10:07 PM on 12/07/2009

-c2morow I'm a Fan of c2morow 10 fans permalink

I dont hate her, but at the same time I dont respect anything about her. However, I think the biggest fear is that there are people out there who actually believe in her and find her acceptable to hold higher office, thus presenting the statistical probability, that she could actually have a position of influence at some point. It baffles any rational person, to the point of frustration, that others buy into her logic, her views and it just seems perposterous that someone like Sarah could even get this far. At least, that's my take.

Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 05:59 PM on 12/07/2009

-Kitzy I'm a Fan of Kitzy 3 fans permalink


Well said.

Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 09:19 PM on 12/07/2009

-Jeff1958 I'm a Fan of Jeff1958 42 fans permalink


FaiI. Dragging Obama through the same mud as Palin suggests that you are, in fact, cIueIess.

Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 06:27 PM on 12/07/2009

-michelesda I'm a Fan of michelesda 3 fans permalink

I always wonder when people talk about lefties hating or fearing Palin; where does this impression come from? Is it because they don't take her seriously, make fun of her; does that equate to hate for some people? In fact, you have to take somebody seriously to hate or fear them. To fear SP, you'd have to believe that she actually has a snowball's chance in hell; who really believes that? Certainly not lefties, who are actually hoping she will run. That, and being a perpetual walking punch line; what's to hate or fear about that?

Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 07:11 PM on 12/07/2009

-jdunaway65 I'm a Fan of jdunaway65 7 fans permalink

You know, I have been wondering that myself, and as I read your comment, a theory dawned on me...
As you say, not too many on the left have stated that they "hate" Palin. Many (myself included) are amused by her, and those with any intelligence keep an eye on her movements and followers, hoping there are not enough of them out there to actually get her elected.
But back to the "hate"... if you remember during the Bush years, they made all those statements that anyone who criticizes or does not blindly follow the President or support his war are unpatriotic, I think some even suggested treasonous (if that's the case, what are Cheney, Rush, Beck, O'Reilley, etc?). That same mindset comes into play when they say that anyone who criticizes or does not support her, HAS to hate her.
Again, I ask -- if non-supporters or critics of Palin hate her, wouldn't that mean that these same people who say that and at the same time do not support, or criticize Obama have to hate our President as well? Hmmm -- that's not very Christian (or patriotic), is it?

Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 07:42 PM on 12/07/2009

-drlouise I'm a Fan of drlouise 17 fans permalink

I don't hate her...I'm just worried about the permission she gives folks to be intolerant, angry and bitter. Scares me, saddens me and amazes me that there are people who believe she is qualified to lead the country.

Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 08:56 PM on 12/07/2009

-Sundiszno I'm a Fan of Sundiszno 3 fans permalink

It's not that I hater HER. I hate the politics that she represents. I hate the resurgence of the Know Nothings.

Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 09:42 PM on 12/07/2009

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Wanna Know Why the Economy Is Still In the Ditch?

Robert J. Samuelson, writing in the Washington Post nails it in the last paragraph of today’s column (emphasis is mine):


Obama can't be fairly blamed for most job losses, which stemmed from a crisis predating his election. But he has made a bad situation somewhat worse. His unwillingness to advance trade agreements (notably, with Colombia and South Korea) has hurt exports. The hostility to oil and gas drilling penalizes one source of domestic investment spending. More important, the decision to press controversial proposals (health care, climate change) was bound to increase uncertainty and undermine confidence. Some firms are postponing spending projects "until there is more clarity," Zandi notes. Others are put off by anti-business rhetoric. The recovery's vigor will determine whether unemployment declines rapidly or stays stubbornly high, and the recovery's vigor depends heavily on private business. Obama declines to recognize conflicts among goals. Choices were made -- and jobs weren't always Job One.


If you are not familiar with Samuelson, you should read him.  He is always clear, concise and accurate in his economic assessments.  He shows little if any bias, staking his positions based on solid data, not opinion.

So today, we have President Obama hosting a “jobs summit”.  This is a Potemkin village of a summit, put together for show.  He has already said that nothing will happen in the area of job creation until next year.  Of course not, Mr. President.  Because you waited until December to think about the issue.  This incredible prioritizing of issues will cost him re-election more than any other of his actions.  Somehow, it was more important to prop GM up, dive into health care, play with cap and trade, diddle around with bringing the Olympics to Chicago and pass a $787 billion porkulus bill that nobody can figure out exactly how many jobs it has “saved or created”>

OK, I’ve called him out on this clusterfuck he has made of things.  Here is how I think he should have prioritized things from the time that he took office:

  • 1.  Address Afghanistan
  • 1a. Take over and sell off the big zombie banks.  Get the bad stuff out so that the good stuff can grow.We’ve spent trillions in porkulus, bailouts and so forth.  $1.9 trillion is pretty close to the number, I believe, without trying to chase down the correct number.  Adjust that to $1.5 trillion to be conservative.  Instead of using that money to prop up banks and crappy car companies, buy up the bad assets of those companies and then sell them off, over time, for whatever they can get.  This, of course, is what TARP was supposed to be for in the first place.  This economy is languishing now because nobody knows what to do with all those empty houses and full car lots.  If the bad actors (GM, Lehman, etc.) go out of business, well, then too bad.  Obama has socialized the loss.  Bullshit.
  • 1aa. Cut taxes, especially business taxes.  Right now, an estimated $13 trillion in corporate profits is held offshore in order to avoid the 35% tax rate that companies would have to pay if they brought that money home.  That money could have been repatriated with the stroke of a pen by signing a tax amnesty bill that would either eliminate that 35% or reducing it to some much lower lever.  Instead, we went and borrowed trillions when we could have had just as much capital brought in for zero cost.  No interest at all and even gain some tax revenue if that rate were lowered to say, 15%.  This was proposed by a Texas Congressman, but since he had an R next to his name, it wasn’t considered.
  • 2.  Go collect undeserved nobel peace prize*, because those assholes were gonna give it to him no matter what he did. 

Had he done this, he would have utterly disabled the Republican party by co-opting their notions for running the country.  And he would have won over a large part of the Republican base in so doing.  And, oh yeah, he would have saved the country a Depression.

*Never capitalized here.

UPDATE:  He’s having this summit without his critics, otherwise known as people who might have some better ideas.  Jeez.  Somebody needs to remind him of how the Hegelian dialectic works.

Would You Like a Sample?

“If they make peanut oil from peanuts and they make corn oil from corn, what do they make baby oil from?”

We’ve all seen these little cups, in restaurants and in the grocery store with food samples in them:

Well, it looks like they have come out with a new size:


Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Atta Boy, Cadet!

The caption says that they were still waiting for Him to appear. I'm thinking this fellow knew that cameras would be firing away.  Photo from Reuters via Yahoo! News.

How to Fix Healthcare With a Healthy Dose of Capitalism

A personal story:  Back in about 2002, my now ex-wife and I were both out of work and thus out of health insurance.  She developed bursitis in her shoulder, a problem that she had had once many years before.  She lived with it for a while, but eventually she couldn’t bear the pain any longer and needed medical attention.  She knew from her previous experience that a cortisone shot would clear it right up, so I set about finding a doctor that would do the job for a reasonable charge.

I started calling doctors in our little town and the story was pretty much the same from all of them; $200 deposit, x-rays, treatment, office charge, etc.  Most of them could not readily give me a price; they didn’t know it but eventually I got numbers and they all came in between $800 and $1000.  All we wanted was the cortisone shot; she knew what was wrong and what would fix it.  We didn’t want x-rays or any of the other crap they were all talking about.

Finally, I found a doctor (and actually got to speak directly to him!), explained our situation and what we needed and he agreed to give her the cortisone for $120.
That is how markets work; a buyer shops for what they need and finds it at a price that is suitable and the deal is done.  In one hour on the phone, I knocked the price down by hundred’s of dollars.  Think what would happen if we all did that every time we needed medical attention.

She got the shot and in short order was as good as new.  Pretty damn simple, if the assholes in Washington would just get out of the way and let it happen.

What To Do If You Are Attacked by a Great White Shark

First, karate-chop the hell out them and then flip them on their back.  Nothing to it.

From article at Daily Mail UK Online

Obama on Afghanistan


Obama has clearly learned that actually being the man charged with making a decision is hard. It's damned easy to run around the country in a campaign and read teleprompters that tell you to call for the end of the war and another thing entirely to suddenly realize that he can't just vote "Present" any longer.

True to form, he straddled the whole thing. McChrystal asked for 40,000 troops; Obama sends him 30,000 and no doubt congratulates himself for his Solomon-like (in his mind) decision for halving the infant. It's a half-measure, calibrated to calm critics on both sides of the aisle. Eighteen months isn't enough time and he knows it, but that coincides nicely with the next Presidential election, so he tosses that number out. These are not decisions made to win the war; they are intended to buy time and relieve pressure on himself.

What a cynical, no-balls move from the President. Not that he deserved it, but the nobel committee should rescind their peace prize* award.


*never capitalized here ever again.