Saturday, August 29, 2009

No Time To Talk. Must Act!

It conforms to a broad view — long and fondly
promoted by fans of Big Government — that capitalism is essentially
short-sighted and greed-driven (just look at the subprime crisis!).
This stance is not merely appealing to activist politicians and
bureaucrats, it is pure gold for the vast and growing army of radical
NGO environmental lobby groups, whose raison d’être — and fundraising —
are closely related to the degree to which nature is seen to be
“endangered.” It is also appealing to rent seeking businessmen who see
the profit potential in the vast array of controls and subsidies.
For a start, the
weight of authority is based on the political doctoring of studies that
are in any case designed to countenance no other conclusion than that
man-made carbon dioxide drives the climate. Moreover, the very fact
that the theory’s promoters are so reluctant to actually engage in
scientific debate (No time to talk. Must act!) is highly suspicious.
Where have I heard that before?

Freed For Oil

The British government decided it was “in the overwhelming interests of the
United Kingdom” to make Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, the Lockerbie
bomber, eligible for return to Libya, leaked ministerial letters reveal.

Gordon Brown’s government made the decision after discussions between Libya
and BP over a multi-million-pound oil exploration deal had hit difficulties.
These were resolved soon afterwards.

The letters were sent two years ago by Jack Straw, the justice secretary, to
Kenny MacAskill, his counterpart in Scotland, who has been widely criticised
for taking the formal decision to permit Megrahi’s release.

The correspondence makes it plain that the key decision to include Megrahi in
a deal with Libya to allow prisoners to return home was, in fact, taken in
London for British national interests.


Be Not Like The Hypocrites

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“For what my grandpa called the cause of his life, as he said so often, in every part of this land, that every American will have decent, quality healthcare as a fundamental right and not a privilege, we pray to the Lord.”

Words cannot begin to express my disgust at such an outrageous political pimping of a child at a Catholic funeral mass.

The Kennedys (Kara Kennedy Allen, I’m looking at you) should be ashamed. But in the land of Leftcult the personal is the political shame that would interfer with The Cause(tm) just doesn’t occur.


And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (Mt 6:5-6)

from Kat via email

Pentacene Seen

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It may look like a piece of honeycomb, but this lattice-shaped image is the first ever close-up view of a single molecule.

Scientists from IBM used an atomic force microscope (AFM) to reveal the chemical bonds within a molecule.

'This is the first time that all the atoms in a molecule have been imaged,' lead researcher Leo Gross said.


The delicate inner structure of a pentacene molecule has been imaged with an atomic force microscope

The researchers focused on a single molecule of pentacene, which is commonly used in solar cells. The rectangular-shaped organic molecule is made up of 22 carbon atoms and 14 hydrogen atoms.

Textbook model: A computer-generated image of how we're used to seeing a molecule represented with balls and sticks

Textbook model: A computer-generated image of how we're used to seeing a molecule represented with balls and sticks

Stinking Asses Without "Health Care"

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``The whole country is stagnating. Fifty percent of its arable fields are going unfarmed. First and second year college students work one month out of the year in agriculture.''

``It's insane farm policies lead to frequent shortages of fruit, vegetables and other basic food needs, shortages even more serious than toilet paper,'' he added. ``And all those programs that they have held up for years as successes of the communist revolution -- free education for all through college, universal health care -- well, Raúl Castro just announced they're going to have to make cuts in all of these.''

``Meanwhile the average Cuban still earns less than . . . $20 per month,'' he concluded. ``Now, capitalism has its problems, as we have all seen. But at least we're not running out of toilet paper.''

The toilet paper shortage is no joking matter for Cubans.

Toilet paper is not included in the ration card that covers basic goods at highly subsidized prices

The Empty Shelves And Stinking Asses Of Socialism

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The bad news: There's a shortage of toilet paper, and officials in Havana say it will not ease until the end of the year.

The good news: Day-old copies of the Communist party's newspaper Granma, a traditional substitute, are available for less than a U.S. penny. And that's six to eight full, if rough, pages per day.

Cuban officials say the shortage is the result of the global financial crisis and three devastating hurricanes last summer, which forced cuts in imports as well as domestic production because of reductions in electricity and imports of raw materials.

But CNN commentator Fareed Zakaria says that ``at the bottom of this toilet paper shortage is Cuba's continuing commitment to its bizarro world of socialist economics.''

``Cuba's disastrous economy would be a joke were it not for the poverty it has perpetuated among millions of Cubans,'' Zakaria said in a video commentary posted last week.

 <br />People line up to use their rations to buy items at a government store in the Centro City area of Havana, Cuba.<br />

QOTD For Libs

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If "torture" is bad, why aren't you out protesting this any more? The only reason I can find it that you own the Presidency now. Please explain what I'm missing.


When a man is capable of what Ted Kennedy did that night in 1969 and in the weeks afterwards, what else is he capable of? An NPR listener said the senator’s passing marked “the end of civility in the U.S. Congress.” Yes, indeed. Who among us does not mourn the lost “civility” of the 1987 Supreme Court hearings? Considering the nomination of Judge Bork, Ted Kennedy rose on the Senate floor and announced that “Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit down at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution . . . ”
f you had to identify a single speech that marked “the end of civility” in American politics, that’s a shoo-in.
The senator’s actions in the hours and days after emerging from that pond tell us something ugly about Kennedy the man. That he got away with it tells us something ugly about American public life.

"Stimulus" Update

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STIMULUS! A reader emails:

Who’s paying for upgrades to Aspen’s Pitkin County airport, where private jet usage dwarfs commercial jet operations? The taxpayer, of course.

The private jet tails made a nice backdrop for the shiny new “your tax dollars at work” sign at the airport this morning.

Thank goodness the Democrats are in power, or the fat cats would really be making out like bandits.

Spite, Envy and Innumeracy

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Finally, we come to income taxes and social security taxes. These have two principal problems. First, high marginal rates, significantly above 50%, have a large disincentive effect and almost certainly yield no net revenue or even reduce revenue and damage the economy in general. The 90% rates common in Britain before 1979 were thus both counterproductive in terms of revenue and hugely damaging to economic growth; they were a product of pure political spite and envy.
Second, if as in the United States today, less than half the population pays effectively all the income tax, political incentives can become distorted.
Hence an increase in income tax rates significantly beyond their present levels (the marginal rate of which including state taxes and social security rises above 50% at several points in the income scale) would be economically unproductive. Sadly, politics being what it is, it will almost certainly be the first resort of politicians when further borrowing becomes difficult.

So Let's See...

"KSM, an accomplished resistor, provided only a few intelligence reports prior to the use of the waterboard, and analysis of that information revealed that much of it was outdated, inaccurate or incomplete," according to newly unclassified portions of a 2004 report by the CIA's then-inspector general released Monday by the Justice Department.

The debate over the effectiveness of subjecting detainees to psychological and physical pressure is in some ways irresolvable, because it is impossible to know whether less coercive methods would have achieved the same result. But for defenders of waterboarding, the evidence is clear: Mohammed cooperated, and to an extraordinary extent, only when his spirit was broken in the month after his capture March 1, 2003, as the inspector general's report and other documents released this week indicate.

"What do you think changed KSM's mind?" one former senior intelligence official said
"Of course it began with that."
Let's translate this into lib speak. Since you could care less about the mass deaths of your fellow libs in NYC on 9/11, let's try this scenario:

It's the Civil War. You're advancing into the South and you find intelligence of massive death camps incinerating thousands of slaves. You're lucky enough to capture the General of the Confederate Army thought to be running them -- but you can't figure out where the camps are so you can focus the Union Army's attacks there and stop the killing.

The General is laughing at you and completely uncooperative because he knows you will never do anything to harm him.

I guess the lives of those slaves turn out to be pretty cheap after all compared to your moral preening, no?

Back to the present.

And do you really care about blacks when Dem libs have been running the largest U.S. cities with the highest poverty and crime rates for decades almost without interruption and they're nothing but hell-holes?

And what party was that icon president-for-life who imprisoned the Japanese again?

Time to look in the mirror champ.

Cheap O Compassion

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Obama said "you just get into some very difficult moral issues" when considering whether "to give my grandmother, or everybody else's aging grandparents or parents, a hip replacement when they're terminally ill."

Then yesterday, during his "townhall" meeting in Colorado, Obama said this:

"I just lost my grandmother last year. I know what it's like to watch somebody you love, who's aging, deteriorate and have to struggle with that," an impassioned Obama told a crowd as he spoke of Madelyn Payne Dunham. He took issue with "the notion that somehow I ran for public office or members of Congress are in this so they can go around pulling the plug on grandma."

And thus, we have a new definition of chutzpah: A President of the United States who complains about the expense of alleviating his dying grandmother's suffering, and who then uses her death as evidence of his compassion.

For Your Protection

Douche With A K

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I realize there are plenty of shameless lying shills tossing whatever lingers of their reputations out the window to support the Obama, but Paul Krugman astounds. He has an article today explaining that while $9 Trillion in debt may sound like a lot, it's not a big deal and we'll all be fine.
In fact, deficits here and in other major economies saved the world from a much deeper slump. The longer-term outlook is worrying, but it’s not catastrophic.

Well a principled brainiac like Krugman has obviously believed in the healing power of deficits for a long time right? Hmmm let's go back to those thrilling days of yesteryear when the evil chimp W ruled and every dime he wasted was a tragedy.

TONY JONES: Well, the US is not just labouring under a record trade

world-class budget deficit not just as in absolute terms of course -
it's the biggest budget deficit in the history of the world

Friday, August 28, 2009


You won't be surprised that your home computer pales compared to systems honed by the Wall Street elite at places like Goldman Sachs, Citadel Investment Group and Renaissance Technologies. But you might be surprised at what they do with those systems to get an edge over you:
  • Scour the markets for opportunities and make millions of trades in less time than it takes you to hit the "enter" key.

  • Take advantage of exclusive "flash orders" to trade stocks at better prices than you'll ever see.

  • Fish for profitable stock bargains inside exclusive trading venues called "dark pools," where you'll never swim.

The scope of this activity might also surprise you. Over half of all trades are done by Wall Street insiders using quick-fire trading systems; 7% of all trading is done inside secretive dark pools. "The public is getting screwed here," says one hedge fund manager who follows these developments closely.

Oily Prostrates

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And suggestions that the doctor who gave the prognosis may have been employed by the Libyan government emerged in the report’s notes. It said that a professor from Libya had been involved in Megrahi’s care and the medical officer who wrote the report had been “working with clinicians from Libya over the past ten months”.

Both parties now want the doctor identified in order to determine whether the government allowed itself to get hoodwinked by the Libyans.  The alternative theory would be that the government wanted to construct a good cover story for Megrahi’s release for other reasons — for instance, oil deals, as Moammar Gaddafi hinted and his son flat-out claimed.

Perhaps we won’t know how long Megrahi has to live until he actually dies, but I suspect we have a better idea of how long the Scottish government will survive.  I’m betting Megrahi outlives their current administration.

First Talk Radio, Then...

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Cnet gives us the translation of what that means:

If your company is deemed “critical,” a new set of regulations kick in involving who you can hire, what information you must disclose, and when the government would exercise control over your computers or network.

How could that possibly be abused?

Again, we see the expansion of government power in a way which intrudes, imposes regulation and, in the end, controls. While “cyber security” is certainly important, it can be managed in a much less controlling and intrusive way than this. Like the health care insurance reform bill, this is one which needs to be torn up and the entire process started over again.

COTD: Wagers Of Men

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The problem with both parties is that they favor a government of men, not one of laws with checks and balances against centralized power. If only they can get their men in the positions of power, they reason, all will be well. The problem for Americans is obvious, because either way power is being centralized and usurped by the government. A divided government is always better for individual liberty than a de facto single-party state, such as the current government or the one briefly under President Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress. But for the party currently in power, there is the problem that in four, eight, twelve years, the reins will change hands. Maybe the Democrats are just betting that the Republicans will never take the White House again. Not an altogether irrational wager…

I Was Hoping To Hold Back...

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... but there's just no way he shouldn't have been in prison for a long, long time and then shut out of politics. A bug chunk of the state of Massachusetts are simply nutjobs.

The Patron

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Barack Obama in Roses for Stalin by Boris Vladimirski

And if you think that my fear regarding the arts becoming a tool of the state is still unfounded, I leave you with a few statements made by the NEA to the art community participants on the conference call. “This is just the beginning. This is the first telephone call of a brand new conversation. We are just now learning how to really bring this community together to speak with the government. What that looks like legally?…bare with us as we learn the language so that we can speak to each other safely…”

Is the hair on your arms standing up yet?

Yes, it is. This is shocking, but not unexpected. I am only surprised that you, Patrick Courrielche, are surprised. When the Federal Government becomes your patron, it only becomes a matter of when, not if, they flex the dollars you have become dependent on and bend you to their will.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Markey's Medicare Myths

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Represenative Markey is muchclearer on the point. She lapses into reckless candor here; it will only be hours before she retracts and claims she was "taken out of context."

Some people, including Medicare recipients, will have to give up some current benefits to truly reform the nation's health-care system, Rep. Betsy Markey told a gathering of constituents in Fort Collins on Wednesday.

Karl Rove is pushing these "myths" too, of course, in the WSJ. But that's to be expected. He's a lunatic.

wo weeks ago, White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod said in a now legendary "viral" email that, "It's a myth that health insurance reform would be financed by cutting Medicare benefits." This was sent out the day before Mr. Obama told a Montana town hall that he'd pay for health-care reform by "eliminating . . . about $177 billion over 10 years" for "what's called Medicare Advantage."

Not Bemoaned

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White House spokesman Bill Burton told reporters ... "As I recall, the previous president [took] quite a bit of vacation himself, and I don't think anyone bemoaned that."

Nah. No one bemoaned it. Michael Moore made an entire movie about it, but no one bemoaned it.

Greed Redux

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In Case You Get All Dreamy On Billy

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Just in case you trolls get all dreamy on Bill Ayers (and Jeff Jones the new Czar):

PRAIRIE FIRE is written to communist-minded people,
independent organizers and anti-imperialists;

PRAIRIE FIRE is written to all sisters and brothers who are engaged in armed struggle against the enemy. It is written to prisoners,… community groups and revolutionaries of all kinds;

We are a guerrilla organization. We are communist women and men, underground in the United States

Our intention is to engage the enemy … to wear away at him, to harass him

Our intention is to encourage the people … to provoke leaps in confidence and consciousness, to stir the imagination, to popularize power, to agitate, to organize,

Our intention is to forge an underground … a clandestine political organization engaged in every form of struggle, protected from the eyes and weapons of the state, a base against repression, to accumulate lessons, experience and constant practice, a base from which to attack.

Progressive Health "Care" Is A War Crime

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Patients left in their own filth: Progressive healthcare!

There’s an obvious solution here: Talk, or we’ll turn you over to the NHS!

For the really tough customers, there’s something they call the appendectomy.

Stolen in full from Glenn so you couldn't miss it. Talk about a home run.

COTD #2: The Smell Of Bernanke

Has anyone wondered why Ben Bernanke has been reappointed a few months ahead of schedule. Could it be because the know what is heading our way and there would be no way he would be reappointed then.
The whole stock market rising and commodities pricing in recovery does not smell right.

It's The Level Stupid


Two facts that should give pause for thought.

1) Japanese data released on Thursday showed that exports fell yet again in July. They are down 39.5pc to the US, and 26.5pc to China.

Japan is the world’s second biggest economy. It lives on exports.

2) The Baltic Dry Index measuring freight rates for bulk goods and commodities has been falling almost continuously for eleven weeks, dropping from 4,290 to 2,778 on Thursday.

Is this just a glut of ships or is this telling us what the Shanghai market is also telling us, that credit tightening by the Chinese government is pulling the rug from underneath the latest commodity bubble?

I have no idea when stock markets and commodities – especially base metals – will reflect the hard facts on the ground (ie, an end to the Chinese construction bubble). Timing is not my forte. Nor is the market.

But I am absolutely convinced that those who think we can return to the status quo ante of the credit bubble as if nothing has happened are delusional.

COTD: Seeing Through The Lies

I just finished another summer of teaching some of the executive program MBA’s here in Boston and came away with some of the learning that I always hope to gain from my students while I work to teach them. My second “section” this summer was 30+ students mostly 28-35 years old. Once again the awareness of the Asian students, both Indian and Chinese, stood out loud and clear, and while I had the pleasure as always of a dozen or so very capable, hard-working Americans, it is the Asians who seem most willing to accept, undertake and complete the painful academic slog that I put them through.

They seem better equipped to deal with the circumstances of the world around them, and they don’t need the lulling of feel-good to get on with their work and lives

and they use their time learning and not complaining nor feeling that they are the proverbial victims.

Maybe it’s in part the ability to see through the lies to the eventual truth and recovery that helps them get the most out of each day.

Did I Forget To Mention Profit?

What Obama says in favor of a public option -- as of today, at least -- tells us how little he understands competition. The public option's virtue, he told Smerconish, is that "there wouldn't be a profit motive involved."

Profit (along with loss) is what enables competition to perform its discovery role:

"Suppose for a moment that we try to take the profit motive out of health care by going to a system in which government pays for and/or directly provides the services. ... (P)ublic-spirited politicians and bureaucrats have replaced profit-seeking firms.

"By what method exactly will the officials know how to allocate resources? By what method will they know how much of what kind of health care people want? And more important, by what method will they know how to produce that health care without wasting resources?

Yeah, right. Like My Letter To Betsy Will Even Be Read...

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Some people, including Medicare recipients, will have to give up some current benefits to truly reform the nation’s health-care system, Rep. Betsy Markey told a gathering of constituents in Fort Collins on Wednesday.

Markey has repeatedly said during the August congressional recess that Medicare spending needs to be reined in to help pay for reforming the broader health-care system.

“There’s going to be some people who are going to have to give up some things, honestly, for all of this to work,” Markey said at a Congress on Your Corner event at CSU. “But we have to do this because we’re Americans.”

Betsy, who is this “we” you talk about? My rights as an American includes telling you, and that donkey you rode in on, to go to hell.

Letter found here.


"Energy independence" has become a byword on the American political scene, and invoking it is now as essential as baby-kissing.
There are many causes behind last year's oil price spike, but Saudi Arabia is not one of them. Unlike large oil companies, which have been slow to respond to the supply crunch with more capital investments, the kingdom realized that such investments -- even if they seem counterintuitive in the short term -- are essential to avoiding catastrophic energy shocks.

But Americans don't hear all this from their political leaders. In one of his very first speeches as U.S. president, for instance, Barack Obama declared that "America's dependence on oil is one of the most serious threats that our nation has faced." He said that it "bankrolls dictators, pays for nuclear proliferation, and funds both sides of our struggle against terrorism," and announced what he called "the first steps on our journey toward energy independence."

The allure of demagoguery is strong

You really know the world has turned upside down when one of the leaders of the country you still think we should invade has a better story to tell than your own President.


The Tithe

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The protracted debate over how to clean up after the financial crisis – and how to reform our accident-prone financial system to prevent another such episode – is stuck on the problem of how to regulate markets without undermining the benefits they bring.

What is sorely missing is any real discussion of what function our financial system is supposed to perform and how well it is doing that job – and, just as important, at what cost.

The crucial role of the financial system in a mostly free-enterprise economy is to allocate capital investment towards the most productive applications. The energetic growth and technological advance of the western economies suggest that our financial system has done this job pretty well over long periods.

Aside from the recession, it is important to ask what this once-admired mechanism costs to run.
Beneath those losses are real economic costs due to wasted resources: mortgage mis-pricing led the US to build far too many houses.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

All Bush's Fault? Not Any More...

Yesterday President Obama confirmed what futures markets seemingly already knew, that Ben Bernanke would be reappointed as Fed Chairman. Whatever one's opinion of Bernanke, his successes and failures will now reflect on the man who chose to keep him in place at the Federal Reserve.

Bernanke's reappointment is yet another reminder that Washington is truly a different world. While business failures in the private sector are routinely starved of capital so that they can no longer bring harm to customers and investors alike, Washington failures get reappointed and are handed an expanded portfolio of duties.

Uranus Bound

Economistmom says the actual budget deficit over the next decade is likely to be close to $14 trillion:

Micrometer Mania

Better yet, and here is where I got my epiphany, scientists have produced a long-term graph of sea level changes, about 20,000 years worth.  The graph below was taken from Wikipedia, but the data behind this graph are widely known and accepted.  NASA, for example, accepts this data and the government of Canada
publishes a similar graph.
First, look at the vertical scale.  It ranges over about 120 meters (not millimeters), about 400 feet.  On the page you see this graph, a change of 200 millimeters (or the change in the last 120 years per the IPCC) would be would be about the width of your eyelash.  When the seas were 400 feet lower, people could walk from Russia to Alaska and from France to England.

We engineers have a saying: measure with a micrometer, mark with chalk, cut with an axe. 

Define That System

cap and trade bill there is a provision that will spend billions of our dollars to plant 18 million acres of trees. This was put in the bill as an attempt to absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide. It is well documented that tress do NOT store carbon. Trees are net absorbers of carbon only during the early growth stage. A mature forest is carbon neutral. Trees are mortal organisms. Trees give back ALL the carbon they absorb when they die. The illusion that the left uses is all in how one defines a system. If one defines the forest system as 'the first five decades', then tress do indeed absorb more carbon dioxide than they release. A definition any longer and said trees give back all the carbon they soaked up.

I was taught in school "Always look at the definition of any system first"

We are about to spend billions on junk science with the illusion that trees can store anthropogenic carbon. Trees are mortal and simply cannot do that!

Once again, I guess we are left with "follow the money"

Upside Down: Cartoon Of The Year?