Saturday, February 06, 2010

Global Warming Now So Intense That H*ll Has Finally Frozen Over

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Snow covers a decorative iron fence at the White House in Washington, on Saturday, during a snow storm in the Washington area. Photo: AP.

Snow covers a decorative iron fence at the White House in Washington, on Saturday, during a snow storm in the Washington area. Photo: AP via The Hindu

The soundtrack is here.

MRI Madness

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A man previously thought to be in a vegetative state has successfully communicated with doctors using an MRI machine.

However, one of the patients managed to answer a series of yes or no questions using the MRI machine. Asked a series of six questions (such as, "Is your father's name Thomas?"), the patient was asked to think of one type of imagery for 'yes' and another for 'no.' brain activity on the MRI matched that of a control patient.

hOpe n Chains

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The FBI is calling for Internet service providers to keep a record of what sites customers visit and retain said log for two years.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is reportedly pressing ISPs keep a record of all sites visited by customers for a period of two years. According to CNet, the FBI believes that taking this measure could help it in investigations of child pornography and other serious crimes.

Citing a bureau attorney said at a federal task force meeting on Thursday, CNet's Declan McCullagh reports that FBI Director Robert Mueller (pictured) supports storing Internet users' "origin and destination information." McCullagh goes on to say that Mueller has backed this kind of data retention at the hands of ISPs for as long as four years and in 2008, he asked Congress to enact a law making it mandatory.

A Public Service Announcement For District Of Corruption Residents

... if you still have power that is...


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There’s a reason why Americans who don’t happen to work for the government or directly benefit from its largesse are not sensing an economic recovery. For them, it’s mostly not happening. ADP’s January employment report showing 22,000 private-sector jobs lost, the last available jobs-related information available when this column was written, only confirms that feeling.

The Back Story

When Russell Roberts, an economics professor at George Mason University and a fellow at its Mercatus Center and at the Hoover Institution, was approached last April out of the blue by a total stranger, filmmaker John Papola, and asked if he wanted to make a movie, he replied, "Well, that'd be fun."

But, Mr. Roberts told in a phone interview, he wasn't sure the movie would actually happen – he'd been approached before by other people for similar ventures only to see them sputter out.

And indeed, the project that became the Hayek vs. Keynes rap "Fear the Boom and Bust" had some false starts. The economist and the filmmaker started out with the idea of a situation comedy

So even though Mr. Roberts, who has a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago, describes himself as "not a rap fan, particularly," they settled instead on a rap video
"Video is cheap, but high-quality, high-end video like this is expensive,"

O Jupiter

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Two links for your perusal: this and this.

Perhaps you will agree with me that they are very, very disturbing. It has always been clear that Obama has an unusual amount of egotism, even for a politician. But these incidents are evidence that his narcissism may be growing, if such a thing be possible.

After reading both articles, I recalled the imperial stage set Obama had designed for his nomination acceptance speech at Denver’s Invesco Stadium.


The fact that things haven’t been going that well for Obama lately has done nothing to reduce his narcissism. That’s the way it usually is with narcissists. When they meet with obstacles, they tend to look not inward but outward at others to blame. And being surrounded by sycophants does nothing to stop this tendency.

In AD 40…Caligula began appearing in public dressed as various gods
Reportedly, he began referring to himself as a god when meeting with politicians and he was referred to as Jupiter on occasion in public documents…

Frozen Watermelons

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The population of Britain is apparently finally catching on to the scam that’s been perpetrated by the man-made global warming crowd, and skepticism is thankfully on the rise:

“It is very unusual indeed to see such a dramatic shift in opinion in such a short period,” Populus managing director Michael Simmonds told BBC News.

“The British public are sceptical about man’s contribution to climate change – and becoming more so,” he added.

“More people are now doubters than firm believers.”

And in more “deficit of trust” news, India has declared it will form it’s own scientific panel to study climate since it finds the IPCC unreliable:

The Indian government has established its own body to monitor the effects of global warming because it “cannot rely” on the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the group headed by its own leading scientist Dr R.K Pachauri.


“There is a fine line between climate science and climate evangelism. I am for climate science.

Pedal To The Metal?

Toyota uses two different electronic gas pedal designs in its cars. The version built by CTS (lower) is the subject of a massive recall, and the 2.3 million units in affected Toyota cars are to be “fixed” by the insertion of a steel shim. This CTS design is also being modified for new Toyota production, currently suspended. To our knowledge, Toyotas built with the other design (by Denso, upper) are not subject to any recalls or NHTSA investigations,. We have spent the last two days tearing down both units, and familiarized ourselves with their designs, reviewed Toyota’s “shim fix”, and replicated the fix ourselves. Toyota’s planned fix will undoubtedly reduce the likelihood of sticky pedals in the short term, but after examining both units, we are convinced that the CTS unit is intrinsically a flawed design, and poses safety risks in the long term, even with the fix.

The Crematorium Of Cost Cutters

A quarter century ago, give or take a year, my brother Paul became the first in the family to drive a Toyota. A 1984 Toyota Celica-Supra. It was a true shifting of gears for the Lang Gang. Everyone up to that time had bought a GM. Mom and Dad drove Cadillacs (only one saw 100k). The eldest one had a Monte Carlo (a.k.a. Crapo) that didn’t see the road half the time. Second in line had a Regal (a.k.a. the dying diesel) that ended up stolen and trashed in the Grand Canyon. He actually felt sorry for the Canyon.  Within three years both these Roger Smith specials were replaced with 1988 Celica GT’s. Great cars with no nicknames necessary.

But then things changed…

Toyota’s quality took a sharp U-Turn and unintentionally accelerated towards the ‘decontenting’ highway starting in the late-90’s.

pretty much every other Toyota that wasn’t a luxury car or first generation (RAV-4 and Sienna) went straight to the crematorium of cost cutters.

Friday, February 05, 2010

The Wasting Disease

I lived in Greece for more than two years, and one of my best memories is of a small hotelier at a seaside resort. He checked you in; he cooked; he did the landscaping at night; he did all the maintenance during the day. I asked him why he didn't hire more help, since his hotel wasn't all that small and he seemed to be going 24/7. What followed was a harangue about the cost of hiring a permanent worker in Greece, the difficulty of ever firing him if he proved worthless, and why he preferred to do everything himself rather than fill out all sorts of forms and hire unmotivated but tenured employees. Besides, he said, almost everyone was on some sort of pension, disability, or government benefit, and was unwilling to work, so his choices were either illegal immigrants or broke foreign students. Then he launched into a blast against socialism
I think the medicine for Greece's current crisis will prove more unpalatable than the wasting disease.

Why Is This Coming To A Head Now?

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It looks like February 11th will be the most violent confrontation to date.  The regime is taking unusual measures to put down the promised demonstrations.  In many ways it resembles the “Chinese solution.” 

The regime is aiming at 300,000 thugs in the streets.  The Greens don’t think the numbers will be that high, and in any event they expect ten times that number of protesters, upwards of three million increasingly angry people, demanding freedom and justice.

Their resolve has undoubtedly been hardened by the very tough interview released earlier this week by Green leader Mir Hossein Mousavi.

It’s quite a challenge:

Today, the prison cells are occupied with the most sincere and devoted sons of this nation: students, professors and others. [Security forces] are trying to prosecute them with espionage or charges related to financial or sexual misconduct – charges based on expired formulas – while the real criminals and thieves who steal public money are free.

See here.

Get ready for Thursday.


Her Name Is...

With his all-seeing eye, Glenn Reynolds has directed readers to an intriguing story out of Pakistan and/or Saudi Arabia:

A high-ranking Pakistani diplomat reportedly cannot be appointed ambassador to Saudi Arabia because in Arabic his name translates into a phrase more appropriate for a porn star, referring to the size of male genitals, Foreign Policy reported.

The Arabic translation of Akbar Zeb to "biggest d**k" has overwhelmed Saudi officials who have refused to allow his post there.

In place of any straightforward cue to the story, Glenn substituted a quote from a very funny scene in "Monty Python's Life of Brian" (the scene is below). Glenn linked to the Fox News story with a quote from the scene that leads to its funniest bit: "Biggus Dickus happens to be a personal friend of mind. He comes from one of the noblest families in Wome. He has a wife, you know. Her name is . . . ."

Welcome To The "Mainstream"

The Gallup Poll finds that 53% of Democrats and 61% of liberals have a "positive image of socialism." That could explain a lot about the Obama administration. Meanwhile, the Tea Party is meeting in Nashville. CNN provides a primer on the Tea Partiers, and twice describes them as "far right."

So: socialism is mainstream, but fiscal sanity and constitutionalism are "far right."

Bailout Tsunami

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Last month, we noted that Social Security had delivered its worst performance in decades.  Now, Allen Sloan warns investors at Yahoo Finance that the entire program has gone into the red — and will stay there.  Get ready, Sloan says, for the mother of all bailouts:

Don’t look now. But even as the bank bailout is winding down, another huge bailout is starting, this time for the Social Security system.

A report from the Congressional Budget Office shows that for the first time in 25 years, Social Security is taking in less in taxes than it is spending on benefits.

This means that the federal government not only can’t rely on SocSec surpluses, which have been used to paper over budget deficits, it will have to increase the federal deficit to make benefit payments from now on.
Even if we had a federal government living within its means, this would be a crisis — but with the debt that Obama is accumulating, it’s a fiscal tsunami waiting to crest.

New Ground

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Nice. Very.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

O Jack-sses And A Dumbo

Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, today released its 2009 list of Washington's "Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians." The list, in alphabetical order, includes:

  1. Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT): This marks two years in a row for Senator Dodd, who made the 2008 "Ten Most Corrupt" list for his corrupt relationship with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and for accepting preferential treatment and loan terms from Countrywide Financial, a scandal which still dogs him. In 2009, the scandals kept coming for the Connecticut Democrat.
Senator John Ensign (R-NV): A number of scandals popped up in 2009 involving public officials who conducted illicit affairs, and then attempted to cover them up with hush payments and favors, an obvious abuse of power.
President Barack Obama: During his presidential campaign, President Obama promised to run an ethical and transparent administration. However

End Of Story

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An NRO reader points out why Chairman Zero's tinkering with the deck chairs when he's not busy drilling holes in the hull will not reduce unemployment:

As the owner of a 16 year old wholesale computer parts company with about 50 total employees here and in England, I can tell you it's not about easy loans and tax credits for hiring.

As you say, it is risk aversion. It is the knowledge that my taxes are going to go up and also we just don't see other businesses willing to take inventory positions right now.

$5000 tax credit to hire someone? That really sounds like a proposal from someone who has never hired a single person in the private sector.

Small business will start to hire when one big thing happens.

Sales Growth. End of story.

It is amazing to me that they don't get that if they did one thing, cut the corporate tax rate, business growth would happen almost immediately.

In case you missed this yesterday:


The Demon Sheep

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As was said on NRO, the sheep shots are just beginning...

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

How Low Can We gO?

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President Obama would permanently extend the Bush tax cuts for households with incomes below $200,000 ($250,000 for couples); statements that the president would allow the Bush tax cuts to expire are true only for households above those income levels. The president has also proposed some additional middle-class tax cuts.

Should this make us happy about President Obama’s budget? Quite the opposite. As Arthur Brooks, Alex Brill, and I have pointed out, the middle-class tax cuts that the president would extend have large revenue losses and do relatively little to promote economic growth. The tax cuts at the top that the president would allow to expire would significantly lower marginal tax rates on saving and investment and promote long-run growth. Letting those tax cuts expire would ultimately harm the middle class by lowering their wages.


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Allow me to make an analogy. As the Federal govt has the power to intervene in the market and cause massive harmful distortions it can also distort and damage our cultures. The grandparents of the 70-80% of Detroiters that are from single parent households came to Detroit to work in the industrial capitol of the world. Many did, and were gainfully employed without a problem. Then the federal govt started paying for single mothers causing an ever increasing number of them. With no father figure in the home the kids grew up feral, impregnated and abandoned teenage girls. These kids naturally did poorly in school. Eventually the school system became a kleptocratic patronage machine. While all this was happening state and federal money kept rolling in and anybody who pointed out that a)this was a waste of money and b)this was actually harmful to the communities causing a cycle a dependency was called a racist.

The Second Number

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David Sanger at the NYT stops just short of saying that President’s Obama’s policies are an admission that America’s pre-eminence on the world stage is over. It is broke and has no prospect of ever getting level again. The question is whether the budget simply recognizes this possibility or actually constitutes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Sanger notes that the President’s budget contains two numbers. The first is a deficit percentage unseen since the Civil War, World War 1 and World War 2. It is a World War budget without a world war. But it is the second number that scares Sanger.

But the second number, buried deeper in the budget’s projections, is the one that really commands attention: By President Obama’s own optimistic projections, American deficits will not return to what are widely considered sustainable levels over the next 10 years.

Yet it is, as Sanger says, Obama’s deficit that we are talking about now.


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Last October the BLS announced it would revise historical payrolls lower by 824,000 on February 5 (this Friday's NFP release).

First, here is what we know will be the BLS adjustment on Friday.

Second, the reason for the adjustment has to do with the great recession, which having run for over 2 years now is still in no way abating (contrary to what you may be hearing in other still GE-contolled media outlets).

Lastly, and most notably, the number that will have to be whacked from the payroll report in 2011 retroactively is even larger: according to Bloomberg it will be at least 990,000. And this is only for 9 months in the current period.

a Moody's-like glitch has misrepresented the true payroll picture due to modelling error to the tune of over 1.8 million jobs. How that will impact the president's "jobs saved or created" calculation has yet to be determined. Unless of course all those jobs appear merely on the same excel file that the BLS uses for all it other erroneous calculations.

Panama II

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Jimmy Carter's signature achievement was throwing away strategically vital control of the Panama Canal, which America built. Chairman Zero can match that easily — by throwing away the Internet:

Without the ingenuity of America's brightest minds and the investment of U.S. taxpayer dollars, there would be no Internet, as we now know it today.

Now, the Obama administration has moved quietly to cede control of the Web from the United States to foreign powers.

… In an effort to show the world how inclusive, sharing, cooperative, and international America can be, the Obama administration set off on a plan to surrender control and key management of the Internet by the U.S. Department of Commerce and its agents.

The key to the control America has over the Internet is through the management of the Domain Name System (DNS) and the giant servers that service the Internet.

What Reality Looks Like

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It looks like Chairman Zero will be forced to back down from his plans to grant Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other prominent Al Qaeda terrorists a giant soapbox a few blocks away from Ground Zero. While the NPR/PBS crowd pouts at this setback for social justice, the rest of us are heaving a sigh of relief — especially Louis Pepe. Here's why:

I was a federal prison guard at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan. In 2000, I was with a prisoner, Mamdouh Mahmud Salim, taking him back to his cell. His cellmate was Khalfan Khamis Mohamed. They were accused of bombing two embassies in Africa in 1998. Later they said that they worked with Osama bin Laden and that they helped set up al Qaeda.
They sprayed me with some kind of hot sauce. I couldn't see. They pulled me into the cell and hit me — boom, boom. They hit me so much, I swear to God, like a hundred times.
They put it in my left eye. It went three inches into my brain.


Last week, Congressional Budget Office director Douglas Elmendorf testified before the House Budget Committee.

That prompted this exchange:

Q. In the report you use the term "unsustainable," a term which a number of people use in terms of the current budget deficit track and a term I've used myself. ...

I'm not sure that there is a complete understanding of the consequences of inaction here in this town. We use the term "unsustainable." Can you be a little more specific and describe to us what that -- what happens? We do nothing; we now look at deficits of $500 billion to $1.5 trillion as far as the eye can see; what happens?

ELMENDORF: I think a particular thing that's unsustainable is to have federal debt constantly rising as a share of GDP because that requires a larger -- ever-larger share of investors' portfolios to be occupied by treasury securities. And at some point they will refuse to hold them, or will insist on much higher interest rates to do so.

Helpless To follOw

The new budget, announced Monday, seems merely an attempt to disguise the
demise of U.S. leadership in space. The president does away with
Constellation, its Orion spacecraft, and its Ares I and Ares V boosters. The
abrupt cancellation means the U.S. no longer wishes to send its explorers to
the frontiers of knowledge and spacefaring skill. We are deliberately
choosing to have no better space capability than do Russia, China, or India.

During the height of the shuttle program in the 1990s, we launched six or
seven shuttles and about 40 astronauts per year into orbit for science and
defense purposes. Starting next year, and for the foreseeable future, just
four Americans will make it into space annually—as passengers on foreign
rockets. Is this a bold new course for the nation?
With no ability to
launch humans past the ISS, we will watch, helpless to follow, as China
pursues its determination to be the next nation to send its explorers into
deep space.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010


Still, it's hard not to be a little shocked. The budget says, at page 40:

Reduce the Itemized Deduction Write-off for Families with Incomes over $250,000.

It's easy to understand the Obama administration's purpose with regard to churches and private charities, which it regards as competitors of the government. It wants to damage or destroy them by making contributions more expensive. But what about the mortgage interest deduction? The administration purports to be concerned about the decline in home prices that triggered the economic crisis of 2008-2009. But severely reducing the mortgage interest deduction will inevitably depress home prices. And not just the prices of expensive homes, either; as those prices fall, the values of less-expensive houses will decline as well. Is this really what the administration wants? It is hard to escape the conclusion that the Obama administration simply doesn't care about America's economy.

 blog it

Brit Beeb Bunscombe Buncombe

Has anyone else noticed a massive "push" this week by Pravda to tell us we are all wrong when we look out at the frozen snowy British landscape in the middle of winter and say "fuck me, it's 'taters!"?

Guess why....

The man responsible for looking after the fat pensions of the boys and girls at the BBC is a climate change fanatic, and he is part of an international group of investment managers who bust a gut to invest in 'climate change' schemes. He's called Peter Dunscombe, and he runs the £8.2bn corporation pension fund, advising trustees on a day-to-day basis about their investments.
Update: I've been going through the latest BBC Pensions Trust report, and it reveals that Helen Boaden, who is the overall boss of the BBC's news and current affairs operation, was appointed to the trust in 2008. So the woman who tells environment reporters such as Roger Harrabin and Richard Black that the science is settled also works to maximise the returns of the pension fund with Peter Dunscombe.
Follow the money...

Trust: Laundry Edition

YERUSHALMI: Well that’s exactly right.  You would think that if they couldn’t own it maybe they could’ve got the Treasury Department.  But the Treasury Department had no legislative authority to take equity from AIG either.  So what did they do?  They came and opened up a discount window but created a so-called “independent trust” and they hired three trustees, and they insisted that these people were independent non-governmental actors, no conflicts of interests.  But in crafting the trust agreement they slipped in a barely noticed provision of the trust agreement which said “Oh by the way, the Fed controls the trust completely, its terms and effectively the trustees.”  Under anybody’s rendition of trust law this is not a valid trust, this is simply a ruse or an artifice for the Federal Reserve Bank.  The second–

GAFFNEY: Which makes the proposition- David we’re just about out of time.  Which makes what they did as I understand it from a technical, legal sense, money laundering.


YERUSHALMI: So here’s what we find out in the midst of discovery when we depose the Treasury Department’s deponent and the Fed and get documents, here’s what we’ve learned:

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York at the time that it structured the debt that it was going to give AIG insisted that not only did it get the debt, not only would it get principal and interest payments and collateral for that, it wanted 80% of AIG, precisely 77.9% of the shares and the voting rights.  But the Federal Reserve Bank and Geithner knew that it was illegal for the Fed system whether there’s a Fed or the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to own that, so what did they do?  They created this independent trust.

Red Hot Bugs

see his website “Musings from the Chiefio

A GIS anomaly map with a 9999 hot ocean from baseline = report  period
The empty ocean goes infinite hot on a null anomaly

What to make of THIS bizarre anomaly map?

Well, you always need a baseline benchmark, even if you are ‘benchmarking the baseline’, so why not start with the “NULL” case of baseline equal to report period? It ought to be a simple all white land area with grey oceans for missing data.

Well, I was “A bit surprised” when I got a blood red ocean everywhere on the planet.

You can try it yourself at the NASA / GISS web site map making page.

“Houston, I think you have a problem”…

Well, the code NASA GISS publishes and says is what they run, is not this code that they are running.

Yes, they are not publishing the real code.

So I simply can not do any debugging on this issue, because the code that produces these maps is not available.

But what I can say is pretty simple:

If a map with no areas of unusual warmth (by definition with the baseline = report period) has this happen; something is wrong.