Saturday, October 17, 2009

Hope And Che

Crackers And Croutons

Don't Go Breakin' My...

President jOe

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President Obama mounted a frontal assault on the insurance industry on Saturday, accusing it of using “deceptive and dishonest ads” to derail his health care legislation and threatening to strip the industry of its longstanding exemption from federal antitrust laws. In unusually harsh terms, Mr. Obama cast insurance companies as obstacles to change interested only in preserving their own “profits and bonuses” and willing to “bend the truth or break it” to stop his drive to remake the nation’s health care system. The president used his weekly radio and Internet address to challenge industry assertions that legislation will drive up premiums.

Shrill. Desperate. Bullying. But mostly desperate. Meanwhile, speaking of “deceptive and dishonest,” what about this?

Just consider yourself a kulak. And don't let him take your guns whatever you do.

Stopped Clock Watch: Hockey Edition

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Have you ever noticed that sports commentary is almost completely AWOL from this blog? That's because I played hockey and it takes something this good to get my attention.

What did I learn from hockey? Something that was later popularized in commentary about why Gretzky was so great: He skated not to where the puck was but where it was going to be.

How can that help you? Just replace the word "puck" with whatever is most important in your profession.

The Return Of Thomas Paine

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The Most Intimate Kind Of Oppression

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I've asked other feminists this question: Why are women's rights always the ones up for negotiation?

Yes, isn't that interesting? Women are mainly oppressed by their own fathers, their own brothers, their own mothers-in-law, their grandmothers, so it's the most intimate kind of oppression. Another thing: Western feminism still defines the white man as the oppressor, but right now it's the brown man, the black man, the yellow man. When you tell them, "Stop oppressing your women," they'll tell you, "Don't impose your culture on me." It would have been fantastic if, when [President] Obama went to Cairo, he [had said], "We have taught the white man that bigotry is bad and he has given it up, at least most of it. Now bigotry is committed in the name of the black man, the brown man, the yellow man, whatever color."


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UPDATE: Bill Quick: “Here’s the nut of it: The GOP establishment sees their problem as being that they are out of power. People like me see the problem as being that they are out of power because they have turned their backs on the principles those who once voted for them believe in.”


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As Fausta Wertz points out, Anita Dunn offered a variant of this exculpatory strategy when she claimed, in reaction to the tsunami of criticism her remarks occasioned, that she was only quoting Lee Atwater.

Let’s say that Mr. Atwater had quoted the bit from Mao that Anita Dunn quoted — you fight your war and I’ll fight mine, etc., etc. So what? Lee Atwater did not identify Mao as one of his two favorite political philosophers. He did not stand before a room full of high school students and praise the revolutionary tactics of the greatest mass murderer in history.

Bottom line: it is one thing to quote a tyrant. It is another to endorse his view of the world.

Not A Da*n Thing Inside

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Jus Sanguinis Or Jus Soli?

WASHINGTON – Americans will today go to the polls to elect their next President with

Senator Barack Obama largely favoured to win.

The Kenyan-born Senator will, however, face a stiff competition from his Republican counterpart, John McCain who has taken the presidential battle to the finishing line with vigorous campaign strategies.

And "Born" Was Underlined

The utmost concern of the Founders of our constitution was freedom from foreign influence upon the administration of our government. The first 4 Federalist Papers were written on the subject of “Concerning Dangers From Foreign Force and Influence.”

It is noteworthy that during the debates of the constitutional conventions Madison and Hamilton did not initially show a whole lot of concern for the NBC issue as they had not yet decided to place the power of the commander-in-chief of our armed forces (army then) in the executive branch. The debate continued on who would be the commander-in-chief and that’s when John Jay wrote to George Washington and declared:

“Permit me to hint whether it would not be wise and seasonable to provide a strong check to the admission of foreigners into the administration of our national government ; and to declare expressly that the command in chief of the American army shall not be given to, nor devolve on any but a natural born citizen.”

More Than Manchurian

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According to the Constitution Society, "The Law of Nations," a 1758 work by Swiss legal philosopher Emmerich de Vattel, "was read by many of the Founders of the United States of America and informed their understanding of the principles of law which became established in the Constitution of 1787."

Vattel writes in Book 1, Chapter 19, of his book, "The natives, or natural-born citizens, are those born in the country, of parents who are citizens. As the society cannot exist and perpetuate itself otherwise than by the children of the citizens, those children naturally follow the condition of their fathers, and succeed to all their rights. … In order to be of the country, it is necessary that a person be born of a father who is a citizen; for, if he is born there of a foreigner, it will be only the place of his birth, and not his country."

Five years later, however, Congress repealed the Act and never again drafted a legally binding definition of "natural born citizen."

The Hoaxer

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Chapman says, “a former executive of mortgage giant Fannie Mae told a congressional subcommittee that the FHA ‘appears destined for a taxpayer bailout in the next 24 to 36 months.’” Is anybody surprised? Should anybody be surprised? Chapman describes the behavior as akin to being “clinically insane”. Maybe the problem is exactly as Sir Howard Davies described it: the culture of dependency which in some circles is confused with the phrase “scientific socialism”. When even people who should know better believe they can get something for nothing — striking academics in the UK, shoppers in a store, people with health care insurance, people with mortgages — the problem comes to resemble not ordinary debt but participation in a scam. It’s almost as if a hoaxer had appear on the national scene and grandly offered to pick up the tab for a dazzling future without a real dime to his name — and people believed him.  How could it happen? And what happens when the joker is unmasked?

Pitchfork Time

As Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute pointed out, “The cost of the [Massachusetts] program has exploded; it’s running $150 million above the original projection for this year alone.” And that was in 2007 - the first full year the plan was in place. This year, according to Rep. Jeff Perry (R-Sandwich), the total “health reform” cost will be $1 billion.

Liberals whined that the Bush administration was anti-science. Well, we’ve got a health-care experiment going on in Massachusetts, and it’s going horribly wrong. And yet, as this massive, taxpayer-killing monster lurches off the lab table, Dr. Obama is still planning to use the same formula.

Time to grab the pitchforks, folks.

Spiralling Folly

In short, the plan sponsored by Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus would almost certainly lead to a death spiral in many private health insurance markets.

Insurance death spirals occur when regulators force insurers to offer coverage (“guaranteed issue”) at premiums below the known risk of those they are insuring, without any assurance that the shortfall can be made up elsewhere.

The Obama White House and congressional Democrats convinced themselves months ago that they could avoid the fate of these failed state reform efforts by forcing the young and healthy to buy insurance, whether they wanted it or not.
Robert Laszewski, a long-time observer of the health-insurance scene and no political partisan, wrote a devastating blog post on Monday documenting the folly of the Baucus plan. He cites several very real examples of low- and moderate-wage families that would clearly be better off financially if they paid the tax and waited to sign up for insurance until they were really sick.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Setting The Inconvenient Data Free

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This post is the first of what will likely be a series on the PaleoClimate.

In this part, we are just going to go through the various estimates for Temperature, CO2 and Sea Levels in the PaleoClimate.  This post is also about making the data available to everyone so that others can use it.  All of the data presented in this post is available for download at the end in easy to use Excel spreadsheets which also incorporates direct links to the actual data sources used.

Putting all the best estimates together, here is a view of the Temperatures, CO2 and Sea Level throughout the past 526 to 570 million years.

In subsequent posts, we may look at the Milankovitch Cycles and the recent ice ages, Continental Drift through time and how that may have affected the climate and then the empirical evidence surrounding the CO2 doubling sensitivity in the PaleoClimate.

The main purpose of this post was to just make the data available to everyone. 


In my six years of middle and high schools, I never once attended a club, a dance, a meeting, or any other after school activity.  My best friend Jean and I would hightail it out of there as soon as the last bell rang.

You might think my school experience is unusual.  Sadly, it's not.  Innumerable people attended schools that were racial minefields.

It wasn't the black or the white kids' fault.  High minded liberals were culpable for hatching up grand plans without an iota of thought about how it would play out in real time: that if you create a nightmare situation for black children by removing them from their neighborhood and their friends, you traumatize them.  And if you then turn them loose and give them carte blanche, some will be out for blood. 
To understand how people can shame each other, I want to introduce you to a defense mechanism, called projective identification.
PI is like a hot potato.   The other person takes their bad feelings and dumps it directly on your lap.


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A Nicer Bunch Of Lefties

"Those bloggers need to take off their pajamas, get dressed and realize that governing a closely dividedcountry is complicated and difficult."

The nutroots' dissatisfaction with Congressional Democrats is even greater than with the Obama administration, but they aren't alone:

The feud is entertaining for the media, but the Democrats face a very real problem: Dissatisfaction with the party has spread beyond the Internet fringe. Recent Gallup polling shows that Congress' job approval among Democrats plunged in September, from 54 percent to 36 percent -- an 18-point drop in the course of a single month.

There simply can't be that many people in pajamas.

What's funny about this is the suggestion that the Obama administration isn't left-wing enough. Apparently Van Jones, Anita Dunn, Sonia Sotomayor, Kevin Jennings and many others aren't enough for the Kossites and denizens of Democratic Underground. All I can say is, may the battle continue! It couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of lefties.


Since you're probably not a regular reader of the trade publication Nucleonics Week, let me summarize an article that appeared in its Oct. 8 issue. It reported that Iran's supply of low-enriched uranium -- the potential feedstock for nuclear bombs -- appears to have certain "impurities" that "could cause centrifuges to fail" if the Iranians try to boost it to weapons grade.

You've got to hand it to the Iranians, though, for making the best of what might be a bad situation: In the proposal embraced in Geneva, they have gotten the West to agree to decontaminate fuel that would otherwise be useful only for the low-enriched civilian nuclear power they have always claimed is their only goal.

"It's especially cheeky for Iran to try to leverage as a concession their willingness to receive international cooperation in supplying nuclear fuel," noted George Perkovich, the director of the nonproliferation program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.


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The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently announced that they will be making downward benchmark revisions to past monthly nonfarm employment data that casts doubt on the validity of the recent figures as well. As we will explain, it is highly likely that substantially more jobs are now being lost than is currently reported.

The BLS makes annual revisions to the previously announced payroll reports to account for job increases or decreases that were not picked up in the initial data. The main reason for the differences in the preliminary and final reports is the difficulty in getting numbers from the many small and medium sized business and accounting for new startups and firms going out of business. To make an educated guess at the data that they are missing, the BLS uses something called the ARIMA time series model (commonly called the birth/death model)

they would have to reduce the estimate of total nonfarm employment by about 824,000

Spin Ice

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In 1931, physicist Paul Dirac hypothesized that on the quantum level, magnetic charge must exist in discrete packets, or quanta, in the same way that electric energy exists in a photon. This implies the existence of magnetic monopoles: particles that have a single magnetic charge, or polar identity -- north or south.

For 78 years, Dirac's speculation interested only hardcore theorists, because the conjecture failed to find any expression in observed phenomena. All magnets had two poles, one north and one south, inextricably attached to each other.

That all changed in September, when physicists discovered the identity-carrying particle Dirac predicted, as well as the one-poled magnets the particle creates. These magnets, called monopoles, exist only in special crystals called "spin ice," which can't form regular magnets due to the forces generated by the unique geometry in their crystal bonding structure.

Just what we need in politics too...

Snoring In Chinese II

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Maybe putting a left-wing community activist with a communist background in charge of our national security wasn't such a good idea after all, even if it did send tingles up the liberal media's legs. Chairman Zero is not just selling our future to the communist Chinese — he may be handing over our missile technology:

President Obama recently shifted authority for approving sales to China of missile and space technology from the White House to the Commerce Department — a move critics say will loosen export controls and potentially benefit Chinese missile development.

The president issued a little-noticed "presidential determination" Sept. 29 that delegated authority for determining whether missile and space exports should be approved for China to Commerce Secretary Gary Locke. …

Into A hOle

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Item Number Two: Obama's spendulus was promised to create 2,500,000 new jobs. It fell short by 2,470,000. By some estimates, the spendulus has spent ~$530,000 for each job "created or saved." In Michigan, where Obama's base nearly rioted at the promise of Obama welfare checks, the Spendulus has created a grand total of 397 jobs. This animation vividly shows the job destruction wrought by the Obamacrat Congress (which took power in 2007) and the Obama administration (which took power two years later.) The resulting deficit from the Obamacrat consolidation is the largest since the end of World War II.

Sidebar: The lamest defense of Obama I hear from his cult is, "Well, at least he's doing something." I want to slap them. With an axe.


The Minsky Meltup

Last night CNBC had clips of Maria Bartiromo interviewing Tim Geithner. That was quite the combo. Combining economic ignorance with the levered long leader of the willfully blind is pretty interesting Mr. Buffett, indeed!

On the question of leverage, Geithner proclaimed his mystery of faith stating that "credit is the oxygen"...

On the question of plans to address the Burning Buck... well... Geithner didn't have any...

I couldn't make this up if I tried, but rather than provide Bartiromo with a proactive plan to address the Currency Crisis, Geithner said that he doesn't usually talk about daily activity in the currency markets.

Again, I couldn't make this up if I tried, but Geithner is so clueless right now that he is choosing to antagonize the Chinese
Meltem' up boys, and hope that the American people are as ignorant as Geithner in understanding that the last crisis was born out of a weak-dollar debt-financed asset-price-appreciation bubble.

Not Very Well

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That’s a truly stunning number.  90 million will be on either SCHIP or Medicaid (not Medicare … Medicaid) if the Senate Finance version of health care becomes ObamaCare according to the Heritage Foundation:

But of those 29 million with new insurance coverage, almost half (14 million), will get their coverage through the welfare programs Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). That is equivalent to adding every resident of Ohio and Nevada to the welfare rolls.

So why does the government want to push so many people into SCHIP and Medicaid asks Heritage? Because it is cheaper than providing them with competitive (and private) health care coverage (and access). Medicaid pays about 20 to 25% less than private insurance. As you might imagine then, it is hard to find doctors or hospitals which accept Medicaid patients. The obvious question then is how are those who do going to handle this huge influx of patients? The obvious answer is “not very well”.

The Stuff Of Nobels

But wait a minute. Didn't Obama say in July that Iran had to show compliance by the G-20 summit in late September? And when that deadline passed, did he not then warn Iran that it would face "sanctions that have bite" and that it would have to take "a new course or face consequences"?

Gone with the wind. It's the United States that's now retreating from its already flimsy position of just three weeks ago. We're not doing sanctions now, you see. We're back to engagement. Just as the Russians suggest.

Henry Kissinger once said that the main job of Anatoly Dobrynin, the perennial Soviet ambassador to Washington, was to tell the Kremlin leadership that whenever they received a proposal from the United States that appeared disadvantageous to the United States, not to assume it was a trick.

No need for a Dobrynin today.

It is amateurishness, wrapped in naivete, inside credulity. In short, the very stuff of Nobels.

Chauncey O Gardiner

After all, this was precisely the spin on the president's various apology tours through Europe and the Middle East: National self-denigration -- excuse me, outreach and understanding -- is not meant to yield immediate results; it simply plants the seeds of good feeling from which foreign policy successes shall come.

Chauncey Gardiner could not have said it better. Well, at nine months, let's review.

What's come from Obama holding his tongue while Iranian demonstrators were being shot and from his recognizing the legitimacy of a thug regime illegitimately returned to power in a fraudulent election? Iran cracks down even more mercilessly on the opposition and races ahead with its nuclear program.

"Russia Not Budging on Iran Sanctions; Clinton Unable to Sway Counterpart." Such was The Post headline's succinct summary of the debacle.

Note how thoroughly Clinton was rebuffed.


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NICK GILLESPIE: I admit it. I want my reality back. I don’t know when it went missing. But I want it back. That’s what happens when Glenn Beck suddenly starts looking sane . . . .

Plus, from the comments: “Forget Mao. Why would you hire as a communications director a person who chews her tongue and smacks her lips like Gabby Hayes?”

Did I Forget To Mention PhRMA?

To recap, here's what ended up happening
with health care. First, they gave away single-payer before a
single gavel had fallen, apparently as a bargaining chip to the
very insurers mostly responsible for creating the crisis in the
first place. Then they watered down the public option so as to make
it almost meaningless, while simultaneously beefing up the
individual mandate, which would force millions of people now
uninsured to buy a product that is no longer certain to be either
cheaper or more likely to prevent them from going bankrupt. The
bill won't make drugs cheaper, and it might make paperwork for
doctors even more unwieldy and complex than it is now. In fact, the
various reform measures suck so badly that PhRMA, the notorious
mouthpiece for the pharmaceutical industry which last year spent
more than $20 million lobbying against health care reform, is now
gratefully spending more than seven times that much on a marketing
campaign to help the president get what he wants.

Taibbi's article is well worth reading to get a perspective on how this is really being viewed by the few semi-sentient's on the left. It expands well beyond the Air America clip on the PhRMA deal I had pointed to earlier.

Of course he has a pretty loony leftie worldview not having any clue that there's no chance to get real reform without bringing down the whole fascist edifice. But it is interesting that he brings a certain admirable counter-corruption ethic and unblinking gaze to the lunacy.

His article on Goldman's serial bubble blowing is well worth reading with an appropriate filter as well. He doesn't quite realize that he's critiquing fascism instead of capitalism but he comes dangerously close to the truth.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Just as we have a medical system that is not really designed to
care for the sick, we have a government that is not equipped to fix
actual crises. What our government is good at is something else
entirely: effecting the appearance of action, while leaving the
actual reform behind in a diabolical labyrinth of ingenious
legislative maneuvers.

It's a situation that one would have thought would be sobering
enough to snap Congress into real action for once. Instead, they
did the exact opposite, doubling down on the same-old, same-old and
laboring day and night in the halls of the Capitol to deliver us a
tour de force of old thinking and legislative trickery, as if
that's what we really wanted. Almost every single one of the main
players — from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Blue Dog
turncoat Max Baucus — found some unforeseeable,
unique-to-them way to fuck this thing up
We might look back on this summer someday and think of it as the
moment when our government lost us for good. It was that bad

What The Meaning Of "No Support" Is

Claim 3: CAIR receives "no support from any overseas group or government." Fact: Gaubatz and Sperry report that 60 percent of CAIR's income derives from two dozen donors, most of whom live outside the United States. Specifically: $978,000 from the ruler of Dubai in 2002 in exchange for controlling interest in its headquarters property on New Jersey Avenue, a $500,000 gift from Saudi prince al-Waleed bin Talal and $112,000 in 2007 from Saudi prince Abdullah bin Mosa'ad, at least $300,000 from the Saudi-based Organization of the Islamic Conference, $250,000 from the Islamic Development Bank, and at least $17,000 from the American office of the Saudi-based International Islamic Relief Organization.

"These guys talk about jihad and murdering Jews like the mob talked about killing - totally casual, like they were ordering pizza," said one FBI official in Washington quoted in the book.

Sand Power

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A new kind of portable electrochemical battery that can produce thousands of hours of power - and soon replace the expensive regular or rechargeable batteries in hearing aids and sensors and eventually in cellphones, laptop computers and even electric cars - has been developed at Haifa's Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.

The unique battery is based on silicon as a fuel that reverts to its original sand. The battery can also be left on the shelf for years and inserted into a device to provide immediate power.

It was developed over the last two-and-a-half years by Prof. Yair Ein-Eli of the Technion's materials engineering department, with collaboration by Prof. Digby Macdonald of Pennsylvania State University in the US and Prof. Rika Hagiwara of Kyoto University in Japan.

Prof. Yair Ein-Eli in his...

Prof. Yair Ein-Eli in his Technion lab, where he invented a battery that is potentially as eco-friendly as sand.
Photo: Technion

Those nasty Jews to the rescue again


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According to the data, not all races are considered equal in the college admissions game. Of students applying to private colleges in 1997, African-American applicants with SAT scores of 1150 had the same chances of being accepted as white applicants with 1460s and Asian applicants with perfect 1600s.

The results of the study come three years after Jian Li, a rejected Princeton applicant, filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. He alleged in the complaint that he had been discriminated against based on his race when he was denied admission to the University.

Read the whole thing.

And Then We're Screwed

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Pirate O The Beltway

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