Saturday, March 28, 2009

Oh my God! Al's two minute solution to save the world didn't work? How can that be?

Compact Fluorescent Bulbs Draw Quality Complaints:
"Take the case of Karen Zuercher and her husband, in San Francisco. Inspired by watching the movie “An Inconvenient Truth,” they decided to swap out nearly every incandescent bulb in their home for energy-saving compact fluorescents. Instead of having a satisfying green moment, however, they wound up coping with a mess.

“Here’s my sad collection of bulbs that didn’t work,” Ms. Zuercher said the other day as she pulled a cardboard box containing defunct bulbs from her laundry shelf."

And reach they will...

Mark Steyn:
"Barack Obama, even when he’s not yukking it up on 60 Minutes, barely disguises his indifference to economic matters. He is not an economist, a political philosopher, a geopolitical strategist. He is the president as social engineer, the Community-Organizer-in-Chief. His plan to reduce tax deductions for charitable giving, for example, is not intended primarily to raise revenue, but to advance government as the distributor of largesse and diminish alternative sources of societal organization, such as civic groups. Likewise, his big plans for socialized health care, a green economy, universal college education: They’re about extending the reach of the state.

In their first two months, Obama and Geithner have done nothing but vaporize your wealth, and your children’s future. What began as an economic crisis is now principally a political usurpation. And, to return to the president’s “false choice,” that “chaotic and unforgiving capitalism” is exactly what we need right now. It’s the quickest, cheapest, fairest, most-efficient route to economic stabilization and renewal. A regimented and eternally forgiving global command economy with no moral hazard will destroy us all."

Just what this administration wants - more dependents..

Food Stamps for the Well-Off: A National Trend?:
One of the workers here just approved an ongoing food stamp case where the family has over $80,000 in the bank, owns a 2001 Toyota and 2006 Mercedes Benz, and a $311,000 home that is paid for. Monthly benefits of over $500 in FS, received over $300 in expedited.

3 household members — husband, wife, and child. Wife recently lost job, husband receives SS benefits."

Thursday, March 26, 2009

You expected anything different?

What Non-political Looks Like:
"And what pillar of the legal profession will be lecturing Justice employees to help them “serve justice” in a “less political” way? Why, none other than Donna Brazile, whose own website biography describes her as a “[v]eteran Democratic political strategist” and a Vice Chairman at the Democratic National Committee.” Brazile is marketed by more than one speaker’s bureau at a cost ranging from $10,000 to $20,000. The flyer doesn't say how many taxpayer dollars are going to pay a Democratic political consultant to speak to career employees at the Justice Department (sounds like a good FOIA request). Good thing the Department is no longer politicized."

Read the whole thing, please...

“Need,” Autonomy, and Freedom:
"But in a free society, what business is it of ours what people “need,” if they are earning and spending their own money? (Skeptics will say that the recent AIG bonuses were taxpayers’ money, not the exec’s own money — a proposition that is incorrect, but in a way beyond the scope of this post.) I don’t “need” the books and games and music I buy — or at least, there is surely some bean-counter-at-heart who is willing to parse them and say I don’t “need” all of them. My father doesn’t “need” the Asian art collection he has spent a lifetime carefully accumulating. People don’t “need” to see Paris, or ski with the family, or eat a meal at a restaurant instead of rice and beans at home. But each of those choices is an expression of our own values, goals, and autonomy. Those purchases matter to us, even if some third person does not value them in the same way."

Waiting for the Brownshirts...

Expanded Americorps has an authoritarian feel:
Last summer, then-candidate Barack Obama threw civil liberties to the wind when he proposed “a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded” as the regular military. The expanded Americorps is not quite so disturbing, but a number of provisions in the bill raise serious concerns.

For those of you who thjink this is meaningless, please think again...

U.S. Sees Chinese Military Rise
The annual report from the Defense Department to Congress, “Military Power of the People’s Republic of China 2009,” catalogs efforts by China to supply its armed forces with weapons that can be used to intimidate and attack Taiwan and blunt the superiority of American naval and air power, at least near its territory.

Anytime you se "National Institute of...." beware the BS meter

kf's BS Detector Explodes:
"This study uses every trick in the liberal antipoverty advocacy playbook: Focus on children, not adults? Check. Gin up inflated numbers? Check. Include state-by-state breakdowns to interest local reporters? Check. Appealing pictures of tots? Check. Hyped-up language? ('A storm is moving across the country ... ') Check. Gloss over all the moral and policy dilemmas involved in giving cash to single mothers who aren't working? Check. It's a formula well-designed to get lots of mentions in the MSM. But it works less well in terms of actually getting policies enacted. You're not going to bowl over the American political system by engineering a wave of naive, guilt-tripping compassion. Did Marion Wright Edelman prevent welfare reform? I don't quite understand it. It's not as if homelessness isn't a real problem. An organization that gained a reputation for not hyping it might have real impact on legislation. But that doesn't seem to be what the world of non-profit grantsmanship rewards. .."

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

So THAT'S the reason?

As much as I usually dislike Cottle, she definitely gets today's Quote of the Day....

Someone Please Downsize Nancy Grace:
"God save us from professional quackery mixed with moral outrage."

Once again, McArdle nails it...

Institutional investment:
"Really? Really, maybe a 26-year-old MBA might do an okay job of liquidating the financial products division of the world's largest insurance company? I was a 28 year old MBA from (she noted modestly) one of the top finance programs in the country, and let me assure you that there is not the faintest whiff of a possibility that I or any of my classmates could have done an adequate job. We would have cost the taxpayer billions.

Among the necessary assets we would have lacked: 1) adequate skill to maintain the company's portfolio trading strategy in a really screwed up market until they could be wound down 2) contacts in other firms who could buy either our securities, or our line of business 3) experience in executing trades so that they make, rather than lose, money 4) knowledge about current market conditions 5) experience with complicated transactions.

This kind of hyperbolic speculation about an industry which he, respectfully, knows nothing about, is the exact opposite of how thoughtfully he approaches the institutional problems of his own industry."

All of a sudden, everyone is a financial genius, and they could have done a better job than "those greedy jerks at AIG". Well it just ain't so, and don't you forget it.

So do I - read it all...

President Superman And The Kryptonite Presser:
"I sometimes wonder why President Obama bothers giving press conferences. It’s not that he is bad at them, but his speeches are much better and the press conferences tend to be ordinary. Robbed of a teleprompter and unable to read off a prepared answer, this eloquent President of ours “umms” and “ahhs” his answers just like any ordinary mortal. The difference between his peerless prepared oratory and his humdrum repartee when it comes to answering questions is striking.

Of course, this does not mean that there is no point in examining the President’s answers in the press conference. There are a number of responses that stick out and that naturally cause observers to wonder whether Barack Obama governs the same country of which we are citizens."

Watch the video...

Megan McArdle on Maxine Waters:
"I am beginning to consider the possibility that her entire career on the House Financial Services Committee is some sort of elaborate performance art:

She seems to get all of her questions off of the fringier conspiracy sites."

No wonder she's a Bill Maher special guest all the time.....

Great Job Barak, Barney, Maxine and the rest of you idiots!!!

Dear A.I.G., I Quit!:
"I am proud of everything I have done for the commodity and equity divisions of A.I.G.-F.P. I was in no way involved in — or responsible for — the credit default swap transactions that have hamstrung A.I.G. Nor were more than a handful of the 400 current employees of A.I.G.-F.P. Most of those responsible have left the company and have conspicuously escaped the public outrage.

After 12 months of hard work dismantling the company — during which A.I.G. reassured us many times we would be rewarded in March 2009 — we in the financial products unit have been betrayed by A.I.G. and are being unfairly persecuted by elected officials. In response to this, I will now leave the company and donate my entire post-tax retention payment to those suffering from the global economic downturn. My intent is to keep none of the money myself.

I take this action after 11 years of dedicated, honorable service to A.I.G. I can no longer effectively perform my duties in this dysfunctional environment, nor am I being paid to do so. Like you, I was asked to work for an annual salary of $1, and I agreed out of a sense of duty to the company and to the public officials who have come to its aid. Having now been let down by both, I can no longer justify spending 10, 12, 14 hours a day away from"

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Quote of the Day...

Via Instapundit:

PAYOFF? U.S. bill seeks to rescue faltering newspapers. The bill will make them nonpartisan — like NPR.

Loss of lift... or the deflation of "Hope & Change"...

Belmont Club:
The NYT, in an editorial, categorically rejects Geithner’s bank rescue plan. It is an unswerving rejection of Treasury’s assumption that the auction system through which it proposes to dispose of the troubled assets will value them properly. But more importantly, it reflects a lack of faith — even among the converted — in the ability of government to keep from playing favorites where such sums are concerned. Geithner’s bank rescue plan, coming on the heels of the AIG scandal, had to be both financially sound and politically viable to keep the administration’s credibility from cracking. With liberal economists like Krugman already against Geithner’s plan, the categorical rejection of Geithner’s plan by the NYT implies that the Obama administration is running out political places to hide.


Scalia Urges Patience with Barney Frank’s Heterophobia:
"After Rep. Barney Frank, D-MA, admitted he feared a Supreme Court ruling on homosexual marriage because “that homophobe Antonin Scalia has too many votes on this current Court“, the associate justice called on all Americans to “have patience with Rep. Frank as he struggles with his heterophobia.”

“Barney Frank, accustomed as he is to putting like with like, apparently fears things that are hetero…meaning different,” Mr. Scalia said. “Under our Constitution, the judicial and legislative branches are not homo — meaning the same. If the people want to create law about issues not mentioned in the Constitution, they have the power to do so through their elected representatives. The judiciary is a different branch, with different enumerated powers.”

Mr. Scalia refused to speculate about “whether Rep. Frank’s heterophobia is genetic or simply a lifestyle choice, but in either case,” he said, “it demonstrably weakens the constitution and harms society in general.”"

They're just people....

Bret Stephens Says Barack Obama Needs to Listen to Iran's Bloggers:
"Barack Obama extended the olive branch to Iran's leaders last Friday in a videotaped message praising a 'great civilization' for 'accomplishments' that 'have earned the respect of the United States and the world.' The death of Iranian blogger Omid-Reza Mirsayafi in Tehran's Evin prison two days earlier was, presumably, not among the accomplishments the president had in mind."

Well worth the read...

7 Ways to Fix the Grid, Now:
"Filthy coal-fired power plants spew carbon into the air. A mish-mash of 9,200 generators streams vital electrons along 300,000 miles of aging, inefficient transmission lines and one untrimmed tree in the wrong place could plunge a quarter of the country into darkness. This is our electric grid. A whopping 40 percent of all the energy used in the US—be it oil, gas, wind, or solar—is converted into electrons that travel over these wires. Any attempt at energy reform must begin here.

But this keystone of our 21st-century economy has yet to advance much beyond its 19th-century roots. Considering how wasteful, unresponsive, and just plain dumb the grid is, it isn't surprising that outages—which have been increasing steadily over the past quarter century—cost us $150 billion a year. The real shock is that the damn thing works at all."


Capital Gains and Games:
"The issue is not whether the taxpayers will get a good deal. The issue is not whether the financiers who put these mortgage assets together got off without punishment after they pawned off risky assets on overseas investors. The issue is whether credit function in the world economy will be restored so we can get economic recovery underway. There is no clean, efficient, popular solution to this credit crisis. The solution will be to restore confidence and to get the world economy growing again at the least cost to the taxpayers. That cost will be large, but it will be a lot larger if we don't revive bank lending and get the economy growing again this year."

Right on target...

"But, the tone I find in conservative blogs is not so much anger and whining. It’s not not such much outrage any more, but just plain amusement. This is what we’ve come to expect from the mainstream media. It proves what we’ve been saying all along, that their mantra is not, as per the New York Times‘ masthead motto “All the News That’s Fit to Print,” but rather Only the News that Fits our Narrative We Print."

I think I'll read it....

Liberty And Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto:
"As Mark basically points out, with the onset of the Great Depression and The New Deal, Government, along with 'helping,' discovered a terrific marketing scheme that has continued to empower its growth. Today, bad economic news presents government with, not just another chance to help, but with the opportunity to take even more power away from the individual and bestow it upon itself. To the degree we permit this to happen, several degrees of what it means to be an American will be lost. That's why I found Liberty and Tyranny to be both a very important and incredibly timely read.

Today, the once liberal statists, to use Mark's wording, too often stand the Constitution on its head, using it more to codify government and acquire power, than do they use it to truly protect the rights of all Americans as a whole. Given the current administration's stated goals, if freedom loving, genuinely free-thinking Conservatives and Libertarians don't fight back intelligently and forcefully for all we're worth now, individual freedom in America will not be worth nearly as much as it is today in ten years."

Monday, March 23, 2009

We've got a Congress full of Barneys...

Barney Frank Says Retention Bonuses Are Extortion; Works On Plan For Involuntary Servitude of Important Executives:
"Someone needs to brand the text of the Thirteenth Amendment into Frank’s fat confiscatory ass."



Which is why assholes like Bill Maher are on the PETA board...

Tastes Like Chicken:

"PETA’s public relations strategy depends upon the premise that if people knew how badly animals are treated behind closed doors so that we might eat well and wear leather and go to the circus and so on, we would rise up and become Cirque-du-Soleil-appreciating vegans in shitty plastic shoes. But PETA lacks a sense of proportion — it seems willfully indifferent to the fact that humanity already routinely shrugs off far worse suffering inflicted upon people."

Do you want more a half hour later?

U.S. to buy Chinese condoms, ending Alabama jobs:
"That's the dilemma for the folks at the U.S. Agency for International Development, which has distributed an estimated 10 billion U.S.-made AIDS-preventing condoms in poor countries around the world.

...In a move expected to cost 300 American jobs, the government is switching to cheaper off-shore condoms, including some made in China.

The switch comes despite implied assurances over the years that the agency would continue to buy American whenever possible."

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Getting promoted to the political class...

Is a Food Revolution Now in Season? -
"“The movement is not ready for prime time,” he says. “It’s not like we have an infrastructure with legislation ready to go.”

Even so, many activists say they are packing their bags and heading to Washington. They are bringing along a copy of “Food Inc.,” which includes attacks on the corn lobby and Monsanto, and intend to provide a private screening for Mr. Vilsack and Ms. Merrigan.

“We are so used to being outside the door,” says Walter Robb, co-president and chief operating officer of Whole Foods Market, the grocery chain that played a crucial role in making organic and natural food more mainstream. “We are in the door now.”"

And you can bet your booties that once Ms. Waters and her peeps get a "taste" of the perks of being in power, they will very soon become the food nazis.....